Thursday, September 3, 2009

Loving Champions Online

Charactor creator is awesome and game play is pretty cool to me. If you enjoyed City of Heroes or City of Villains at all you will like this game I would think. Here's a quick write up I emailed to a friend about how I came up with one of my latest designs, its really cool what you can do with this game.

So first I wanted a certain power set, I decided it was down to darkness, electricity or fire. I had a decent concept for darkness guy, but I took a closer look at the powers and honestly there aren't whole lot in there, so you would definitely have to mix and match more. I liked fire and elec, but elec just had more initial stuff that I was like oh, I want that. So that's how I settled in on elec.

Then I started playing with options. Great thing about the creator is you can just mess around until you hit that "piece" and you're like ok, I like that, I want to design something with that. For Buzz it started out with the fly wings (looked cool and were custom to game stop customers). I found I was having trouble matching a head to it. Didn't want the bug head (only one and eh), non of the animal heads were very good, and I was having trouble making a human head feel right. Then as I was looking at hats I just happened to chance on the skeleton head. I was like hmm, that looks really nice with the hat and actually looks ok with the bug wings (since bugs are kind of boney anyway).

After that I checked hands real fast, found they had a skeleton hand too! I liked that a lot and thought it looked pretty cool. Also at some point had settled in on that trench coat. It looks pretty fitting with the hat and wings and I liked how the skelly hands came out of it. Basically after that matched some nice pants and filled in the details. The feet are actually cyborg feet completely colored white, they didn't have a foot skeleton option unfortunately. Still I liked the feet enough and I think pretty much no one can tell they aren't actual bone feet unless they are looking super closely.

Anyway so I started digging the design of the guy a lot, then I thought damn, how am I gonna make this guy fit with the powers I want to use? I kind of immediately thought of the movie the fly, how he meshed with an insect, except in this case the guy meshes with the insect and one of those electric fly traps, that's how he gets his powers (also how he turns into a skelly I guess lol). Its pretty creative and yeah a little stretch, but I'm liking it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Champions Online - Man I hope this is improved CoX

So I'm going to pre-order the Champions online game and hope to be able to play open Beta soon. Man this game looks so cool, I LOOOOOVED the character creation of City of Heroes and Villains, nothing in any other game I played has been so great. You really could design the most awesome toons, and when a friend or two and I design together well we get an awesome themed team. So fun to play that way and so fun just to look at the epic powers you could use. In those games you really felt epic, you could wipe HUGE piles of enemies and travel powers made you feel well, powerful.

Anyway there was a lot done right and wrong in City of Villains and Heroes, here's hoping they take the good and improve, and take the bad out. Add some more variety to the pve, and make pvp actually work (if possible lol). I'm looking forward to this game a lot, not sure if I'm crazy like lifetime subscription looking though, but if open beta shows me the improvments I want I could see making this game permenant for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Street Fighter 4 for PC

Finally the fighting game I love has come to PC, I only own a wii console so I have been waiting on this one. Today the game has arrived and I have my PC copy plus 6 button madcatz controller, its on! Can't wait to join the ranks and master a few fighters to play competitively with. I played this a little with friends who have xbox 360 and it was a blast. My only sadness is that the pc can't play against the xbox players, but at least it does have a online system (required for me to buy it anyway since playing a game solo these days is no fun for me).

Anyway too exciting, hopefully post more later and maybe write some topics on balance and my thoughts of the online. I'll still be playing demigod as well for now, really enjoying that game still even with all its issues.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Demigod Banner 2

A friend decided to play around and make a banner for my site that looked a little nicer. What you see is the result, looks pretty great IMO. Thanks to Cliff the Chum for his efforts on making me a OP banner :-) If you came to the site hope you enjoy it hehe.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Demigod Banner

Since I'm playing Demigod with most of my free gaming time now I thought I would update my banner. Currently I'm mostly enjoying Torch Bearer as you can see with the two guides I've created here. I hope to start posting more when I get free time and am interested in what others might want to see regarding Demigod. In one of my other posts someone asked for Strategy on oak, maybe I will start there. In any case, enjoy the new site banner, for now Warhammer is shelved for me and I can't see me back in the forseeable near future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DemiGod Torch Bearer Guide - The Slow Bearer

The Slow Bearer (AKA Bad Mr. Frosty, but I know that’s from another game hehe)

The slow bearer is a full frost based Torch Bearer that maximizes your frost abilities. He focuses on creep control, debuffs, and a pretty nice amount of auto attack damage. The slow bearer does not “blow you up” for the most part, but often can wear you down and make you run or kill you if you aren’t careful. Most of the time I’d say the enemy is caught off guard when all of a sudden they think they ran early enough but cant get away from from snowballs pelting them in the back of the head and a nice ice shower for the kill shot. This build is also strong for assisting teammates, freezing enemies/towers, blowing up towers yourself if left unattended, and interrupting enemies as well as of course Slowing them massively 

Here is my typical build order with some comments:

1. Rain of ice 1 – The first level doesn’t auto pop the creeps, but its still nice to use. I like to get the circle to encase an enemy demigod and the creeps when possible, or a tower and enemy creeps. In the early game use this, then double switch forms for the mana regen and dmg boost. Do this as often as possible. When low on mana and no enemy demigods in your lane just use your auto attack to get more regen back.
2. Permafrost 1 – Start getting the slow aura asap. Sometimes after I get this at level 2 I’m already able to get players who aren’t as skilled to stick around too long and chase them down with auto attack.
3. Deep Freeze 1 – Mainly for the interrupt, use it to stop a TP, pot, or ability if you are fast enough.
4. Rain of ice 2 – Now we’re talking. You can now auto pop creep waves in one shot. This allows for very nice lane control as most the time your enemy will have to deal with all your creeps and you since you can auto blow up all of theres. Again when no demi is in your lane use this on a tower and the creep wave when possible.
5. Permafrost 2 – Frost Nova is really mana expensive and I don’t need it just yet, I keep beefing up my aura which now slows even more and starts adding mana regen to me and my team.
6. Frost Nova 1 – I don’t go firing this off like crazy but now I do have it. Very useful for taking down towers, buying time, interrupting, and snaring when in a multiple demigod fight.
7. Rain of ice 3
8. Permafrost 3
9. Stats boost or Save point
10. Rain of ice 4 (if you saved point also get Frost Nova 2)
11. Frost Nova 2 if you didn’t get it at 10

This is the basics of the build. From here you can start maximizing your shatter damage by getting higher ranks of deep freeze, or keep boosting stats for a nice boost of health/mana and a stronger auto attack with more speed/dmg. Most of the time I’d say I start increasing the deep freeze but stats to me is almost as good. Eventually you will get stats and rank 4 deep freeze, the order is up to you. I really don’t think setting up for a shatter combo is all that worth the massive mana cost unless you are level 15 and have Biting Chill (which should be your level 15 skill immediately). Even then, unless its getting the kill shot or on a really low enemy I mostly rely on auto attack and rain of ice.

Items are of course dependent on the game, your cash, who you are playing against. But I’ll list some basics I usually follow and the order I try to get stuff in with this build.

Favor Items

Poison Dagger – I used to get this item with this build mostly. When it procs and you have a teammate nearby its almost certain death for them. Or if you are 1v1 with enough time to run them down. The extra attack speed is also a nice bonus. However, it sure did seem it was proccing a lot less than 20%, I found out a while back that it has a lower chance to proc for ranged classes. Its still powerful but it makes it less appealing of a choice.

Swift Anklet – Now this synergizes so well with Slow Bearer, you are able to speed into range for your aura to take effect and also this of course helps you get away from ganks. I rarely get swift anklet on other demis but for this particular build I love it. Suprises the crap out of the enemy when at rank 2 all of a sudden they are getting slowed by your aura and you are pelting them with unstoppable snow balls until they get behind towers.

Blood of the Fallen – always nice for surviviability, I find with range, good strategy, and kiting that you don’t need it with this build.

Heavens Wrath – Love it for the creep control, and extra kill shots. Just don’t think it synergizes with this build much, its not so much burst as it is sustained damage and then following in for the kill. Auto attack plus rain of ice drop is your killer.

Regular Items (this section is copied from my fire TB build as it’s a general item guide)

Usually out of the gate I get Banded armor and save my money. Alternatively on big maps I’ll sometimes get Banded + TP + Health pot. First item I always go for is Unbreakable boots, massive boost to your health and mana pools, yes plz. After that depends. I like to get my vlemish if I can by level 7. If you are going against heavy auto attackers or armor debuffers like (UB, Reg, Ereb, Queen) Nimoth armor is usually the way to go, I mostly get this anyway but sometimes opt for the Hauberk instead. At some point you’ll want a wand of speed to make sure you can get away from bad situations or chase to hit that kill shot. These are all basic items and you can have most of this stuff pretty early. If you’ve got a ton of money to blow you can get a Heart of Life, I’ve actually found that by playing smartly I don’t need it for this build, I’d rather upgrade to a Narmoths ring or something else, mostly after those starter items above I focus on getting upgrades at the cit and saving up for purchasing priests>cats.

Special note for this build: Wand of speed is very nice, you can chase with lightning speed and run away from virtually anything. I’d probably move wand of speed higher up for this build, and possibly consider the vlemish before the unbreakable boots depending on the enemy demis and the situation. Also if you get to artifact level (after getting your creeps upgraded) orb of lightning is a stronger purchase over mageslayer. It doesn’t take up your equipment slots (which is huge) has a super nice 24 health per second boost, still gets you the 25% attack speed (also nice for this build) and an activate able 500 damage pbaoe. Try it out, u may just like it 


First off KITE! One of the major strengths of this build is the slow aura, plus your speed, plus rain of ice being ranged allows you to drop it on the enemies head without being in danger range. Run up and hit with auto attacks, back off if they pursue. Early on I’m not always able to just run up and take a lane, but I can after they’ve been hit with a few ice waves and my creeps are free to attack them. Which brings me to the next point.

Try to use Rain of ice when it hits the enemy demi AND something else like creeps or towers. Or if just hitting creeps try to get it to hit creeps and a tower. The only time I generally drop ice on an enemy demi by themselves is if I am trying to get a kill shot on them, or it will help another enemy demi who is fighting them. When you get higher you can use it more, but it has a high mana cost so I like to use it wisely. Eventually I almost always regain lain control if I use it in this manor.

Switch forms often, the free mana regen boost is huge. But for this build, so is the auto attack damage! When you pop back down run up and fire some at enemy demis or towers if protected. The extra damage is a real nice boost, and if they don’t turn to deal with u it adds up fast. Just don’t get overextended, still be careful to use positioning. Good thing is with your aura, the anklet, and a wand you are extremely fast and can get out of a lot of trouble.

Use frost nova when teammates are around mid to late game fighting demis. The snare and stun can turn the battle sometimes. Also just might catch them trying to cast something. Also use nova on enemy towers, freezes them for a long time and you can blast away on them to bring them down. However don’t just spam it, use it for a purpose. It also costs a lot of mana. I usually save it for big confrontations and just auto attack towers with my creep waves to not take damage, but it can be useful.
For killing enemy demis I typically rain of ice drop on them and their creeps until they are weakened and add in auto attacks by running up and hitting them, dropping back, and doing it again so they can’t get on me. Obviously if they aren’t coming for you you can keep auto attacking them till they decide to, or till they decide to run. At some point if you get them low enough you can chase them when they decide to run, your speed plus the aura typically spells doom if they waited too long, watch their health and know how much your ice will drop on them for. When they get below the ice damage POOF you can pop them with it (unless they are so far from defenses that you have time to auto attack it off). Most demis will not be able to run from you (or rather they will, but they will be getting hit and running slowly).

That’s it for now on the slow bearer, I find this to be a pretty strong TB build and am having a lot of fun with it. I think it surprises people when they find they can’t get away and snowballs keep pelting them lol.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Torch Bearer Guide for Demigod (Full Fire Build)

Its been a while, but I'm starting to write Guides for Demigod as I'm currently enjoying that game. Here is one I just recently wrote for the Torch Bearer.

The Burst Bearer

The burst bearer is your typical full fire TB. He focuses on doing lots of damage in a small window of time using fireball, circle of fire, and fire nova. Just using fireball-nova-fireball will take a ton of your enemies life (especially at level 7 and beyond) even against health stackers. With this build you should know what your burst will do, for instance at level 7 fireball-nova-fireball will do 2100 damage not counting any auto attacks, creeps attacks, or if you were able to lay a circle of fire. Know your burst and it will keep you alive. Do not engage or let melees get on you unless you know you can force them to run or burst them faster than you. Pots and enemy healers/shielders change things so don’t let them get close to you till you are ready, and you should have teammates too 

Here is my typical build order with some comments:

1. Circle of fire – Why? Because with circle I can generally get an early flag even in a confrontation with another demi. I run up to a little past flag, lay down the circle. Now they have to run into my creeps and me, or a little back, either way I am closer to the flag and can get the cap. This doesn’t always work, but it’s a strong area denial. Even if they can get the flag first, Im burning down their creeps while mine generally can push past and they have to deal with that as well. Fireball 1 can come next which is fast enough anyway.
2. Fireball1
3. Fire Aura1
4. Fireball2
5. Fire Nova – Get this right away, but don’t go blasting it unless you are really trying to get a kill and pretty sure you can get it. This costs a lot of mana and you may not have your vlemish yet. This is great for clearing waves of creeps but unless I’m near full mana I usually will just use circle for that. I love this ability and sometimes you need to clear creep waves like right now! But anyway bottom line, get this, love this, but use it at the right times.
6. Fire Aura2 – I’d rather have the speed boost than ring. In fact, the lower damage lower mana ring is better still at this time. I can use it more often and it costs me less, the rank 1 still does enough damage to clear creep waves. Plus this allows me to better chase for runners with that last fireball hit.
7. Fireball3
8. Fire Aura3 – Again I go aura, now I’m at max speed. Should I be able to get some auto attacks in they are hitting harder. This plus a wand of speed (or boots should you prefer) allows me the ability to get away from some bad situations pretty easily.
9. Circle of fire 2 OR Save Point – Start building up your aoe damage, or save to get Fireball4 plus FireNova2 at level 10, a lot of times I save the point but not always.
10. Fireball 4
11. Fire Nova2 - if you didn’t get them both at level 10.

This is the basics of the build. From here I usually start filling up my circle of fire, saving the 14 point and getting fire nova3 and inspirational flame at 15. Then I’ll just get stats boosts a lot of games. Alternatively you can decide to maximize fireball by taking deep freeze from 11-14 so you can get fire and ice at 15. It makes fireball that much beefier but I’m not sure that its better for my pure fire build than just getting the other stuff.

Items are of course dependent on the game, your cash, who you are playing against. But I’ll list some basics I usually follow and the order I try to get stuff in with this build.

Favor Items

Heavens Wrath is my favorite, I’ve scored countless fireball>Heavens wrath kills where they got away with a couple hundred health and the lightning scored the kill. It also allows me to level up super fast, or clear lanes of creeps without mana. One thing I don’t do with it, do not blast your teammates lane of creeps if he is farming them and you are not in that lane, you don’t want to steal half of their xp, they need to level up too. Use it smartly, clearing creeps that no one is in at the time, scoring assists on teammates kills, getting your own kills, clearing your own lane.

Blood of the Fallen is a good choice, extra hp is always nice for confrontations. I find if I play smartly and stay back with good positioning I don’t need this, but its still a great choice.

Staff of renewal I don’t get, I don’t find the reduction enough. It could be nice on certain maps or combined with a sedna for super fast fireballs I suppose. Its pretty rare though.

If/When they fix it so Fire TB can auto attack and chase properly Mards Hammer might be a nice choice, as it stands the way Fire TB is now I wouldn’t worry about auto attack at all, you’ll only hit people closing on you, you’ll almost never hit them when they run from you.

Anklet I don’t need, it’s a nice item, positioning and buying the wand or boots is usually enough with your aura.

Regular Items

Usually out of the gate I get Banded armor and save my money. Alternatively on big maps I’ll sometimes get Banded + TP + Health pot. First item I always go for is Unbreakable boots, massive boost to your health and mana pools, yes plz. After that depends. I like to get my vlemish if I can by level 7. If you are going against heavy auto attackers or armor debuffers like (UB, Reg, Ereb, Queen) Nimoth armor is usually the way to go, I mostly get this anyway but sometimes opt for the Hauberk instead. At some point you’ll want a wand of speed to make sure you can get away from bad situations or chase to hit that kill shot. These are all basic items and you can have most of this stuff pretty early, especially when farming with Heavens. If you’ve got a ton of money to blow you can get a Heart of Life, I’ve actually found that by playing smartly I don’t need it for this build, I’d rather upgrade to a Narmoths ring or something else, mostly after those starter items above I focus on getting upgrades at the cit and saving up for purchasing priests>cats.


First off, if you want to chase an enemy demigod to get the kill (and you will) do not right click on them. Your TB will jerk around staying at max distance trying to cast a auto attack that will never fire. Click past them where they are going till you can get in fireball range, then hit fireball and go for it. Know how much health they have and whether u can finish them with a fireball>wrath if you have it or its up. If you can’t finish them might be better to save the mana (unless teammates are nearby trying to finish them too, then your shot might make the difference).

You should Aim to stay out in battle as long as you can between going back in. This gets you maximum xp and gold before purchasing. This is just in general, there are times when getting an item or upgrade is important.

Switch forms when not doing anything else (or even when you are sometimes). Early game you can lay tons of circles of fire by putting one down, switching forms as you run towards your side, then switching back. I often switch a couple times between creep waves to keep the mana regen buff up, this is huge to be able to do since I am not getting a helm for so long.

Don’t waste mana until you can afford to. Early game before level 4 you probably aren’t going to make anyone run with fireball 1 (if they are good at least). Don’t blow your mana on it unless they are already low and it will force them to run, or it will help you control a lane you otherwise couldn’t. Don’t always cast a circle of fire on every creep wave, but do use it often when you have a decent enough mana supply or a enemy demi to keep away. Use Heavens if you picked it to help even more with mana conservation. Even later don’t blow your fire nova senselessly or just lay circles and fireballs on everything, you want to have the mana to burst someone down when you need it.

For bursting someone this is my general order. Hit them with a fireball as they approach, cast circle of fire (sometimes this gets interrupted if they have one, no biggy), fire nova, fireball again. Then chase them and finish with fireball>Heavens if needed or you have it. Auto attack if you can while they are close and if you have time. Once again please note, if you aren’t sure you have a good chance to win the confrontation don’t start this combo! Instead maybe fireball and run, or just move back. Don’t let a melee on you when you aren’t going to win.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Countering the Unclean Beast's spit

First bit of advice playing Demigod, a lot of people seem to have trouble with the Unclean Beast, specifically his spit skill. Here are my thoughts as to how to handle him.

The beast is one tough cookie, especially if he spit spams (they all seem to). Even with a range class you will have to back up a lot and keep him away from you till you are powerful enough to kill him. Here are some things that have helped me (regardless of demigod choice).

--If you really really want to just counter beast there is a favor item that removes the DoT portion of spit, I think its on a 30 second cooldown.

--Combat health pots help, 750 health .5 sec cast time.

--Stay away and dance backward then forward when you see him till he targets something else, only clash with him when you think you will have the upper hand (this is true for all demi’s and matchups really).

--Get wand of speed (1050 gold I think, 25% speed increase for 8 seconds on use, 30 second cooldown or something like that).

Those are a few of the things that help. Sedna (heal), oak (shield), erubus (mist), QoT (sheild), all have built in ways to deal with spit as well.

I used to have a lot of trouble against him, I now feel pretty confident though he is definately tough to beat. Now my main issue is Erebus :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

War is over

I’ve canceled my account for some time now and it won’t let me log on again after the 17th. It has been a great game, and really brought me to blogging but I think the war is over for me for now. There are still too many bugs and too little end game. The things I loved are most relevant while leveling up, but the things I dislike happen everywhere. Overall I would rate it a very good game as far as MMORPG’s are concerned. Definitely in the running for 2nd or 3rd favorite after WoW which wins due to longevity of me playing and polish of the game. I wanted war to last longer, the game design just wasn’t going to allow for that to happen.

I know a lot of people came here to read about Warhammer posts. And it was nice to see the feedback, but now I’m moving on to other games I’m playing and maybe the occasional post on Warhammer when patch’s come out and I look back to see what is going on. I look forward to a lot of great games that will be coming out this year and maybe latching on to one of them as a main game. For now I’m playing Demigod mainly with a little bit of Atlantica mixed in (free to play mmorpg). My blog will probably be centered around those games for a bit, but for this post I’m going to talk about why I’m not coming back to Warhammer.

First off end game consists of sieging castles or main cities. Those particular events are not what I enjoyed about warhammer at all. I did many of them, but they lack a epic fun feel they should have. They layouts are too similar. The lag is terrible. And it mainly consists of you either steamrolling a keep/fort, or getting beat back forever till you gave up. Mainly the determineing factor was how many more players you had, in other words skill didn’t play a major part 95% of the time. In that regard I enjoyed scenarios far more (still do), but when the zones lock those become more limited and at the end of my play time those too became way too lopsided. For me this game needed something like wow’s arena at end game, something where I could pit my skills with a few other people against a few other people and be ranked. That would be something worth gearing up for and staying end game for.

Second the bugs crushed me. I still disconnected and dropped nightly, sometimes more than once. I had moves that went off and never hit, couldn’t land my specials, was put in the incorrect stance (as a swordmaster), had teammates naked or mounted when they weren’t, took flight paths only to be charged and returned to my location, and that is just to name a few. They introduced a new patch not long ago that also screwed up all my abilities adding like a .2 second delay on them and seemingly putting them all on cooldown every time I did something. This kind of patching in was astonishing seeing how anyone who actually played a swordmaster during the test would have been like wtf this is horrible. Made me wonder did they have any QA? Was anyone testing the patchs before they came out?

Lastly I liked the game, I liked the gameplay and the balance between classes for the most part. I really enjoyed the implementation of tank classes being able to tank pve and still do well in pvp, most games have a hard time getting that right. I enjoyed the scens from anywhere in the world, the epic questlines were mostly fun and pve was normal and tolerable. The PQ’s were a great idea that could have taken on so much more importance and significance in the game, still they were and are a cool thing I enjoyed.

War filled a gap in my game playing and I really do like the game. I definitely rate it higher than most despite the issues and I think that says a lot about how fun and balanced I felt it was most of the time. But in the end I can’t tolerate the QA, the crashing, and most of all the stale end game. I played lots of alts and leveled 3 guys into the 30’s before getting one to 40, so if it took me that long there should have been more to do once I got there. But there wasn’t. Maybe someday I’ll revist the game, most likely with the great lineup of games in the future I won’t though.

What about you, are you still playing war? If so why?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Should I return to Warhammer?

So I’ve been pondering this question with my time off while taking care of my new baby girl. Its coming time that I might start playing some games at night on a limited basis but I noticed I haven’t missed War all that much. I’ve been keeping up on the forums and have discovered quite a few of the really popular and nice guys on the SwordMaster forums have finally quit and now I’m wondering if it isn’t maybe time for me to do the same. The sad part is it isn’t really the game play that’s at fault, but all the bugs (see beta comparisons) that still exist. I enjoy the game, but I’ve made it to the end level up and now am wondering do I want to lag my way through keep sieges? Hammer away at pve dungeons?

The root of the problem is this. I love Wars pvp and I think the balance is somewhat there. But the fights are never in fair numbers, and the keeps are all exactly the same pretty much. Scens would be great, if they didn’t seem to always be one side rolling over the other. And scens are real picky whether they will be open or have people playing them anyway. I enjoyed the first three city dungeons, but after running them several times those are boring as well. I could gear up, but for what? In WoW I would gear up so I could compete better in the arena, which I guess was one of the only reasons wow kept me so long. I really wish War had an arena and ranking system, maybe some day.

So I like small scale skill based pvp, but I can’t find it much in War right now. I like the PvE, but only to the point of gearing me, not running it 90 times and not ever seeing my drop. And after I get my piece from a dungeon there isn’t a whole lot of motivation to go back there except to help friends which I have done. The end game is supposed to be Orvr and sieges, I don’t know, maybe if there wasn’t massive lag those would be more fun, but I’m not really feeling like that would be the case. The set ups are boring, the lord rooms can be walled off by players using collision detection and aoeing a small spot. This usually leads to the enemy even if outnumbered 4-1 being able to easily stop you. Again its mostly zerging and little strategy, IF you can even move well at all.

In any case I guess this post speaks for itself, I’m not sure I’ll make it back to War. My sub ends on the 17th and I may start playing other games and writing more about them. Most notably Demigod but I may try a free game called Atlantica as well. These games also have there issues but at least I don’t have to pay monthly to play them. In war these things still plague me and are wearing me out now:

Massive Lag (scens are usually ok, keeps are almost always crap, forts are outrageous)

CTD (still crashing to desktop at least once a night)

Bugs galore (fligh paths not taking me where I chose to go, chests not looting, abilities not firing, millions more that have been discussed)

So I guess I’m asking why stick around and play War through all this? What incentive do I have to get higher than 40/40? Are you all still enjoying War and plan on sticking around? Is there something I’m missing that is going to make end game more fun?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baby Time!!!

I'm a proud new papa of a sweet baby girl! I'll be out of gaming commision for a bit so don't expect too many new posts :-( If I get back to gaming faster or have time and some thoughts about games I'll be sure to be back sooner rather than later. You never know how things will go. Could be a few weeks to a few months. Well I'm super Happy, super tired too so I'll leave it at that for now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

DemiGod First Impressions

So I pre-ordered a while back the game Demigod so I could play in the beta for it. At the time I didn’t have a lot going I wanted to play and I really liked Defense of the Ancients hero game that spawned from warcraft 3 the frozen throne. So I figured what the heck. Well I played the beta for a bit then got sucked into Warhammer, I quickly stopped playing much demigod. However the game released its live version yesterday so I figured why not try out their finished product. I only got about an hour of game time in and I was playing single player mode, but here are my early impressions.

The game is pretty fun. That doesn’t mean I know how long it will be fun for, or how much it lasts, I’m just speaking from my first impressions. I jumped into a single player tournament with npc teammates and npc enemies and went at it. I liked what they did with the specialization points, I played the unclean beast assassin type demigod and could see that there were probably 2-3 different ways to build him that would be effective in game. I played him once as a aoe/projectile and once as a super speedy melee monster. Both were pretty effective (but I didn’t have any competition really since the easy computers were way too easy).

There were a lot of diversity and item choices as well. I’d imagine that each build will find the best items for that particular build and will try to get to that. I found the items seemed quite a bit powerful, but again maybe because I was on easy cpu the money flowed in faster than its supposed to. I’ll try to get to more of this when I get some time in, at the moment I’m not feeling too well and warhammer does crowd my time (new patch came out tonight to try as well). Have any questions about demigod or how the game works or plays? I’d love to expound upon it for any that are interested.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Is Warhammer Still in Beta?

Been thinking a lot about this lately. Love the game and it has kept me for a long time so they definitely did a lot of things right. But there are a ton of little things (some bigger than others) that makes me and my friends often wonder, are we paying to play beta still? Here are some issues in no particular order:


What is up with the mail system? Takes forever to send/delete/take any items out of there. Very frustrating when you do any sort of mailing between AH guys or alts. Or even just to friends. 20 seconds or more sometimes to take an item, then when you delete it gives you this message like you haven’t even read the mail yet, its all pretty crazy. AND to top it off until recently it was much much worse, could only send/receive one item at a time. They’ve improved it but its still pretty terrible, one can live with it since it isn’t core to the game play, but it sure does seem weird that it performs so poorly.


This one is a real big issue and seems to span multiple players and hardware types. The game still crashes to desktop a ton. At least once per night I play. Sometimes it doesn’t let you right back in either. Friends have reported the same, and it seems so random. Happens at different times. And when you get back in others didn’t crash you wonder why is that? Then they will crash at a completely different part. Its all very weird and annoying.


This is hard to pinpoint as well since so many people have so many different hardware configurations. But I think its safe to say even on the best rigs the game lags way too much in Orvr which is the supposed end game. I don’t know a lot about how to fix it but its definitely there. They have got to figure out a way to optimize this better since the game is supposed to be a huge open field of war driving back and forth, but when you are out there the game stutters like crazy.

Rewards System

Randomizing keep contribution THEN random rolling is a terrible way to distribute gear. You have to get lucky twice! Then to top it off you might actually get the lucky double roll, only to get the same gear piece you have! That system has to go like immediately. Influence system was a nice add but it was way after the fact and only some of the items are useful, still I’m happy they at least put that in. Pve instances could also use a much better system, especially since they have lockout timers so you can’t run them every day. I have read about their new token system, it should be a step in the right direction. However the game has been out quite a while now, it should have been obvious this gear system was terrible from the beginning, ESPECIALLY since you have a gear requirement system in place to force you to get certain pieces before you can progress to the next dungeon.

Scenario System

A great system IMO and seems to work well in tiers 1-3. In tier 4 with zones locking and scens getting locked out it seems to need more work. There needs to be a MUCH better way to get the sides more even possibly not starting them till the proper teams get in. Over my tier 4 experience I’ve noticed my side either crushes the enemy, or gets crushed, 90% of the time. That’s pretty boring. A lot of people ask for more Orvr and get rid of scens, I like the scens and wish that I could play them more often, and have them more balanced. They are a much fairer fight most of the time, and allow for more small skirmishes which can be some of the most fun battles to me.

Added from emails with a friend of mine, Cliff the Chum (my comments in parenthesis) –

Character pictures

Why are these images randomized when the group is first formed?? Instead of just showing their face? I’d rather not see anything if it’s not going to be the people I’m actually in a group with. (Its silly to me when I see a weird mask or face on a teammates picture then all of a sudden later its actually them. Doesn’t bother me too much but is kind of dumb it does that, doesn’t seem like that hard to fix that. Where is it getting those other pictures from lol.)

Zone tracking

This is usually way off the mark. Several times I’ve been in the SAME zone with my friend (lets say Eataine) and it tracks me in Kadrin Valley and him in Altdorf. (This is very true and super annoying. I’ll often run to where my team is supposed to be in a scenario or in Orvr only to find that no one is actually there. The tracking is way off and it really throws off your choices of where to strategically go sometimes. Also knowing what zones your friends are in is beneficial, its stupid to fly somewhere only to find they aren’t even there.)

NPC lag

After a scenario or a flight path trip or death in RVR, it takes the game almost 10 seconds before it displays the NPCs in the area. I notice this the most when looking for a healer after I die. (I agree with this too, how bout just make the loading screen take an extra few seconds, why have me show up but then I’m in a world with no people in it for a while. Seems odd).

General Game Responsiveness

General game responsiveness is subpar. When I have a morale ability up and ready and NOT on global cooldown, it should work WHEN I press it, not 2 seconds later like it currently does. This is not on the client end, this is completely on the server end. I notice this with all my abilities but particularly noticeable when using CC moves like Roots and Knockdowns and especially morale moves. (This is a big game issue as well. They have done a lot of work on this as it used to be even worse, but as a SwordMaster there is still a long way to go. Having balances I have to work through its extremely annoying to hit an ability, have my balance move, but then not be able to use the next balance and have to do it over again. In laggy situations this becomes even worse, but sometimes it happens even without lag.)

That’s it for now, anything I missed?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Level 40 Sword Master

So I been out of the loop here posting for a little bit, I’ve been busy but also I got my Sword Master to level 40! I finished a couple of the first level 40 city instances and re-specialized a couple times to test some things out. So far I’m extremely happy and now I’m ready to post some of my thoughts on the early stages of a fresh level 40 Sword Master.

1. Wall of darting steel (our level 40 ability that grants us 50% parry/disrupt/dodge while wielding a two hander) is absolutely amazing. Really, it’s the only reason I’m fully enjoying playing a 2h SwordMaster in Orvr. Sure I used a 2h throughout my level up process, but at 40 with high Strength you start to notice you aren’t doing a lot less damage than a 2h, a little bit maybe, but not enough to forgo being able to block nearly 22% or what not. And you definitely feel the squishyness (and seemingly lack of heals given to you) when running with a 2h. Channel that Wall of Darting Steel when you are taking heat though and wow, its beautiful how long you can last, often retreating or finally getting healed. Bonus to it as well is it is hitting em back for damage, sweet.

2. The early instances are fun and challenging. I’ve done crypts and tunnels (helmet side). Both instances had a few wipes in my pick up groups, but we were relatively inexperienced and I only have 3 wards. Our main tanks had 5 but I’d imagine it could be done with 4 and a little more experience. It was fun learning the pve encounters. I’m guessing that sure I might get a little bored of them after 10 or so runs (maybe more not sure) but the lock out timers actually help with this I think. I can’t run it more than once every 3 days or so, that helps force me to do other things. Even at 40 I have a lot to do, and I still enjoy Orvr when its not a zergfest (getting rarer these days) and scenarios.

3. Strategic Orvr seems to be happening a lot more. With the changes to zone capture I’ve been involved in a lot of warband splits where we guard different BO’s and just a lot more coordination in general. Its pretty refreshing and enjoyable. Even had one epic orvr battle at a BO that lasted like 4-5 minutes or longer with tons from each side fighting. It was pretty awesome. Most rvr however is one huge group rolling over another, but when we have large really cool fights its very fun and fulfilling, also when I get in small skirmishes I enjoy that a lot too.

There’s a lot more but I’ll stop at that for now. Still having a blast, even with no experience gain and that’s a good thing. I’m happy to be at the cap. I still have things to achieve like RR and gear, but I’m happy where I’m at and having fun playing the game so really I couldn’t ask for more than that at the moment.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sword Master Rap

Almost to the level cap and really enjoying my Sword Master still, decided to put out my first Sword Master Rap. Enjoy!

Sword in your back jack, so what now homey?
How many times did I kill you, let me check the tome
Cause it shows, just how much you blows,
wiping out large numbers of my feeble little foes

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe
Who’s the next victim in the Sword Master show?
Blade is shining, witch elfs are whining,
you got me standing in the corner, it’s a gangster elf sighting!

And all you haters wish you had my skills,
turning in bounties for the dollar bills
Insta-gibbing destro pretty much at will,
or I can live forever if I want to chill

Wipe off my sword and leave you all crying,
your geeky friends are left on the ground…. Dying
Its funny cause I’m not even hardly trying,
but if I did damn… the nerfs would be flying

So think about it,
be quiet don’t shout it,
maybe next time you see me you can get me… lol doubt it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Balance Mechanic 2

Disclaimer – I still really enjoy the play style that the balance mechanic brings, part of the reason I really enjoy my sword master. I also don’t feel underpowered nor that we need some great buffs or that we suck. But…..

The balance mechanic does bring a bunch of drawbacks I’m not sure if other classes face similar things and I’m left wondering why our abilities don’t seem to be compensated for the lack of being able to use them all the time like other classes. Here are some examples:

Quick Incision – Our snare to stop people from running. This ability is in our second stance, meaning we have to hit the enemy with one attack before landing this. This is a huge drawback in many ways, they could be sprinting then get out of range, or we could get KB, disabled, rooted, or one of many many other things before we get the chance to land this. Honestly this should be in opening stance because of this reason, but its not. Other tanks all have it right there as openers, some melee dps classes too (if not all not sure). Ours we not only have to wait on, BUT, also have it compete with many other important second stance moves. All of that and if you do use it, its no better than other classes snares, shouldn’t it be better for all the drawbacks we face?

Eagle’s Flight – Our parry buff to help us parry when we use it. For one this ability is also in second stance competeing with all of our other abilities there. For two it lasts only 5 seconds! That’s barely one stance cycle, other classes have similar abilities, some are even spam able! Yet ours has a built in cycle restriction (meaning they get out of melee range or any type of cc on you and you once again can’t use it). So we have to use it every cycle forgoing all else in our second balance, and we have to cycle through balances to get to it. Shouldn’t this be more powerful than our counter parts that can spam this at will due to all these restrictions? Or at least last as long as theirs?

Blurring Shock – When this was more powerful it used to be something sword masters would use in perfect balance to set up the next cycle. Now in its weakened state nobody uses it. The reason? We have to use this as our perfect balance attack which takes the longest to get to and again has many important abilites there. If we use this we have to wait to use our knockback, (specced silience, knock down, ether dance for damage) or our damage reducer DT (which only last for 4 seconds!!! I won’t list it again but shouldn’t it be as powerful or more powerful than other classes who don’t have a restriction when they can use theirs?), or dazzling strike which increases enemy build times. So who can substitute this in for a weak dmg proc on crit? It really should be made an opener (so Khaine specs have a new option for openers which is our least diverse balance set) or buffed back up to levels where one might consider it as a finisher.

There are lots more examples but lets start with that. I know some classes have cool downs and other things, but I’m not sure they make up for the fact that they can choose when and how they want to use those important abilities, while we can only choose when and how if we happen to have enough time to cycle to the proper stance and then use it. Thank goodness for PoH moving balance, if they took that away I may really be frustrated. Whenever I spec out of it I feel so restricted in what I can do. For a class where stances are supposed to be powerful and advantageous I’m not seeing where they actually give the SM any benefit unless for some reason our skills and abilities we have in total are better than other classes. On that note maybe there should be some baseline ability like PoH to help SM's who aren't Hoeth and give them better tools to get to their abilities.

What do you think, does the balance mechanic actually offer any advantages to the SM? Do we have extra abilities or something better about our abilities to justify having to dance to get to them?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Heal Master

I didn’t think it possible based on the craptastic amount of healing that the SwordMaster tactics actually bring in (32 a tick and 45 a tick) but I actually think I’ve been able to build a heal master (when you want to be of course). The thing is you won’t get credit for your blessing of heaven healing in scenarios, but if it did show up I think you might see healing numbers in the 50K area or so, not bad for a defensive tank. Who knows, it could be much higher, its too hard for me to tell (I wonder if a mod would track that as healing for me, hmmm). In any case back to the topic at hand, its quite enjoyable in pve and sometimes in pvp, to be able to heal as a tank.

The spec is full Hoeth, taking everything except calming winds tactic (obviously you can do this before full Hoeth but this is when I’ve actually tried it so its hard to comment on using it earlier). Calming winds I skipped because I wasn’t sure (and still can’t tell) if the extra disrupt is even all that good. Reports on the forums are that high int classes negate it altogether anyway. So I took the rest, Bolstering Enchantments (heal tactic), AA (extra armor and disrupt), PoH (Bubble, super useful for absorbing damage while you are healing yourself), Blessing of Heaven (other heal tactic), Whispering Winds (lowers your cool down on PoH so you can use it in each cycle a few times and/or lowers your aoe knockdown to once per cycle for extra damage).

You can play with your gear, but if I go full defensive gear I can gather up a massive amount of enemies with this spec 35+ and then kill them all at once. Sure it’s a little slow since my damage is low, but its way faster than say putting on damage gear and killing them a few at a time for sure. If I put on my strength gear but leave on 1h sword and shield I can gather a little less but kill them all faster so it’s a slight tradeoff and I haven’t determine which is faster, but I have determined that one can level up quite fast this way, and its super fun to have that many mobs beating on you and not being able to kill you before you kill them all. Makes you feel pretty darn powerful hehe.

So here is what you do, equip your gear and put on the tactics Bolstering, Blessing of Heaven, and Rugged. Gather up the mobs while hitting them with EB>WoH>PoH>WoH rinse and repeat till you have a nice pile (start small until you get used to the idea). You can toss in a Gusting Wind if you feel you are taking too much heat, however I like to keep them pretty close and not let them wander off so I usually don’t. Then when you do have them all nice and lined up in a pile around you position them in front of you and start whacking away. PoH when its up as your opener, almost always WoH for your second attack (though if you feel you are getting crushed you can throw in an Eagles flight every third chain or more to keep you going, I usually don’t have to). Gusting Wind for your finisher when its up, when its not up hit whispering wind to lower the cool down on your PoH and your Gusting Wind.

That’s it, I got half a level from 36-37 last night in just a few hours (I was rested though). Also I was doing it in a pq with a ton of mobs so was getting the completion bonus, not sure if that was slowing me down or giving me extra but was doing it to try and get a gold bag (not sure if you can get one on easy pq’s hehe). Tactics can be experimented with, I’m going to try replacing Rugged with PE for more damage and see how that works out. In the end you just have to balance how many you can take on and at what speed. It is truly remarkable to be able to take on that many at all by yourself though, enough so that I thought I would share. Later if I have time I think I will write down the actual heal and damage numbers or load a mod so I can see what kind of healing per second I’m doing and what kind of dps as well. Whats nice is with all the blocks/parrys/dodge/disrupts plus PoH absorbs the heals even though small add up fast since a lot of the damage you aren’t taking in the first place. Also with really high armor you are taking a pretty small amount of damage from pve mobs.

In PvP this also works to an extent, however players can/will burn you down a lot better as they can cc you, disable you, and do a lot more damage than the mobs in general. Its still pretty fun though, usually can only take about 4 people on though and they will kill you eventually (sometimes faster than others). Have made some pretty nice stands using it though, guarding a location for quite some time till help comes. The best part about the whole thing is being full Hoeth I can swap strait out into my Str gear (2her or 1h up to me), change my tactic sets to EA, PE, +anything else, and do some pretty impressive damage. Makes for a lot of fun.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Putting the Sword back in Warhammer

Ahh good to be back in business and feeling good.

The last so many play sessions on war have been great. I got my SwordMaster up to 36 now and the cap is in sight! At 35 I was able to equip my new set pieces and form some nice offensive an defensive combos. And most importantly (I think) I respecced full Hoeth which has some of my favorite abilities that are good for offense and defense, sword and board or two hander. I bring the damage, and the defense, and whatever else J All in once nice package. In any case the bitter title is gone, currently I’m the denier of disease lol.

On that note what is it that makes the Hoeth spec so great? At least for me here is what I really really really am loving about it:

--EB opening attack is buffed by the tree. Using it and EA is still very strong when specced this way especially IMO.

--DS is a nice finisher, and can be used just for the damage if not for the additional build time on casters.

--Both aoe’s are buffed here, amazing for when I grind PQ’s. Cycling the two over and over and over adds up fast, and debuffs, can’t beat it.

--Self bubble that puts increases you to improved stance. Honestly, every time I spec out of hoeth I miss this so much it hurts. Its not just the damage absorb (which is nice), but it’s the ability to cycle my abilities without having to hit someone all the time, and it’s the attack chains it lets me do by allowing me to use it in which ever part of the cycle I want. Truly amazing ability.

--Whispering wind is great for the build time reducers on the self bubble and on the aoe knockdown. Using whispering wind first you can set yourself up to bubble 3 times in a row at 5 sec cool down each, or back to back aoe knockdown. Possibilities on these chains are a lot and are very powerful, especially in pve but very strong in pvp too.

--AA free bunch of armor and 5% disrupt, yes please! Simple but effective.

--Heal tactics are weak, but I like to take them anyway. They provide some fun times when no healers are around and you stack them. I rarely have them equipped but I find them useful enough to have fun right now, especially since I can’t get high enough in the other trees for a full spec build yet anyway.

There you have it, back on the Sword Master and loving it. Hope to reach for the cap and start running end game instances soon.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ramblings on War's Live Event Bitter Rivals

The event is coming to an end and I must say I usually like these things. However this last event has left a "bitter" taste in my mouth. Though the new patch hit which was initially quite fun to play with new things, I'm now trying to find out just how good or useful my different specs are and its really hard to tell with the newly introduced lag. My abilites don't hit, or target moves, or balance doesn't switch. Its pretty frustrating. I tried out a full D vaul spec for my SwordMaster which at first seemed pretty powerful but last few sessions I been getting blown up and can't do any damage to boot. Quite frustrating.

The new scen was nice in previous life events, and the concept of this one "twisting tower" is good. However I think the multi layer of it is causing massive lag in there. Having everyone fighting on different levels is like having them fight in the same place maybe? Not sure but whatever it is it causes the scen to be pretty unenjoyable for the most part. It also seems to make for a lopsided game. Either my team owns them or they own us, I've seen very little close games and a lot of zerging. Over all this makes this new scen a thumbs down for me. Bring back Reikland factory!

In any case I complete all the live event tasks and put on my new title earned (seriously bitter). That sums up my attitude (over the last couple sessions at least hehe). I’m bitter about the lag, and I’m bitter about getting roflstomped. Last few sessions have changed dramatically for some reason. Haven’t been able to kill well at all (but I am a full D spec) but on the flip side haven’t been surviving all that well either (which is suprising). Maybe my groups have been gimp, but its been lame as hell that way. Combine it with the lag and I would say I am “seriously bitter” hehe. I hope to push to 35 since some major gear upgrades hit me there. I’m probably going to have to respec (again) to tolerate the last half of the level.

The other thing I’m bitter about is the bastards who made SF4 but didn’t make it for Wii or PC. So lame, by the time it does come out most of my friends will be either seasoned pro’s or not caring much about it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Should there be a tier 5?

Normally when you first enter a new tier, lets say tier 3, you fight against other classes who are slightly above you. They have at most about 10 levels on you, some new abilities and maybe 1 tactic slot. They also have some better gear, but what they don’t have is end game gear, or even a focus on gear typically. When you get to tier 4 all that changes. Not only are you facing the steepest level climb in terms of xp needed, but now you are facing all of the above, plus end game geared players or even RR 50, 60, or more. What that does is leaves you with a somewhat disheartening impression, especially if you are doing scens and orvr to level up.

I was thinking the game has been out a while now. Why not have a new scenario queue for just 40’s, and let tier 3 belong to the 39’s and lower. This would give more a competitive feel to the leveling up process and not create such lopsided match ups. Now I’m not sure what this would do as far as the zone domination scheme (Orvr would have to remain the same I’d guess) but at least it could make the scenario games more interesting and even. And lower the barrier to entry for those that hit tier 4.

As I’ve posted before it seems the game is at its most fun point in tiers 2 and 3. There has to be ways to make tier 4 more fun and the place to be. I like the zone set up but because the zones are so huge its also very easy to get lost there. Not to mention the number of high level mobs that wander the Orvr area’s easily make those fresh 32’s wishing to participate have a hard time. Then they have to learn many more zones than before (3 at least for each pairing) and navigate somewhat confusing maps of multiple levels (I’ve come up many times to mountains that I didn’t see or was too high up to join a fight below). I haven’t had a chance to see the “rally call” feature in action that they put for tier2 and 3 but if its good hopefully they add it to tier 4 as well.

What do you think could make end game and tier 4 better? Do you like war how it stands now? I’m still having fun, but my good friends interest is dwindling. My level ups are way slow, and thus my progress is too. I’m still trying to hit the cap, but it needs to remain fun and new. Keep swapping and zerging back and forth in the open field will get old pretty fast. Scens will too though I probably enjoy them the most currently (especially if the new twisting tower scen wasn’t so laggy). I’d like to try some end game instances, but I can’t imagine them being all that exciting after completing 2-3 times either. Anyhow, I’ll probably write about all that here, if War can keep me going.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

1.2 is here!

So the mega SwordMaster patch has finally hit. I was excited to patch up and see and test all the changes. And test I did, more than I have before. I found some interesting results and I definitely need to do a lot more testing but I will post what I found so far none the less. Here are my initial impressions:

My first thought is who patched in the massive lag? In PvE out in the world I was actually fine, but as soon as I stepped in the new scenario twisting tower or did any sort of orvr I was lagging pretty hard. I never lagged like this before. This hits SM’s probably double of other classes because we rely on a balance system to be able to use our moves. On a class without restrictions in a laggy situation you can mash one button and eventually it will go off, on the SM you sometimes are shown in the wrong balance and won’t ever get the move off no matter how much you mash because the game thinks you are in the wrong stance. Anyway this didn’t get me down too much, but it was pretty annoying and made it truly hard to test my actual performance in pvp which what I mostly care about.

I specced into a full Khaine damage build to try out ether dance (channeled damaging hit at the top of the tree). Let me say this, in pve and on stationary targets this thing is pretty nasty. When the lag issues get fixed in 1.2 I think this will also be nice in pvp. However as said before due to lag it was hard to test, I wouldn’t get near the full amount of hits off on anyone moving and I couldn’t compensate by staying on them because I was lagging as well. Still I could see the potential. I’d defiantly say using the damage spec was and is very powerful this patch, on par to or greater than before. I’m pretty happy with it though my results were unspectacular. Great Weapon Mastery is awesome to have and there are lots of tactics to make some really nice damage capabilities for a SM going with this tree.

I will over the next so many days test the other builds as well and hopefully report on them here. For now I would like to share my tests done on some of the opener’s a SM has available along with number from four of our damage tactics to compare. All tests were done at level 33, against a level 36 wolf using my Defensive gear (low str maybe 280) and 1h plus shield. I just wanted to get general numbers, I may re-run these tests using a 2her later for comparison. Spec was 13 Khaine.


Sapping Strike – 78
EB – 69 (non debuffed mob)
GL – 97

From the looks here a Khaine specced SM can certainly consider GL instead of EB as an opener. It still has slightly more cost per use (5ap) but I’m just saying I found it a useful alternative and it has many instances where it hits much harder than EB. Of course using it means you won’t be using EA but that is ok too since my research on the tactics seem to show EA doing not as good of damage as the others as well.


EA – 26 a tic times 5, lasts 5 sec, 26dps
PE – 75 a tic times 4, lasts 9 sec, 33dps
CoT – 56 a tic times 3, lasts 3 sec, 56dps
DI – 71 a tic times 5, lasts 10 sec, 35.5dps

Initial thoughts are CoT is much more powerful than before, is it actually the best choice now? I’m not so sold yet just based on this evidence what is best but it would appear that CoT got a lot better and EA a lot worse. DI became pretty good, but not sure worth the mastery point when the other choices don’t cost one. Do all these abilities raise the same amount given the same amount increase in strength and weapon dps? If so then it would seem this scale is pretty telling, and that slotting EA would probably be reserved for SM’s that spec hoeth and use EB as their opener anyway, while even those SM’s may choose PE or CoT.

So that’s my results for now, I hope to run more tests soon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Old School Nintendo Entertainment System

Ahh the glory days of gaming. The original Nintendo entertainment system. I still remember the greatness of smashing my games down with the front of the game hitting the lip, blowing on the cartridge, or any other number of tricks to get those games loading and working. Recently, I have been enticed into re-visiting the glory and fun of the old school games again, and they were and are still fun! Old graphics and all, that system produced countless classics that are still enjoyable. Why are these games still so dang good?

One thing I noticed is that in general these games are pretty hard! You get hit once and usually you are dead. Jumps and timing of moves need to be near perfect. Your skill in general has to be a lot higher, even for simple games like Kung Fu! There is a simple mindless side to these games, then there is another level where to progress you have to actually be pretty good. You’d think you could pick up the title now being a seasoned gamer and just destroy it, but it just didn’t seem to work that way. I’m sure with more days playing I could get used to it all again and master those games I used to burn late into the night on, but the most important aspect is still there, the games are still providing me a challenge and a sense of accomplishment when winning.

Another great aspect of these games were the little things they put in there back then to make them good such as the high five cut scene for a touchdown in tecmo bowl or the dunk cut scene in double dribble. After you have done those things a couple times its totally old and lame, but guess what, super memorable and a point of conversation. I’m not saying I want games designed like that now, just saying if you bring it up to someone who enjoyed that game back in the day, you will share a moment for certain. All these little nuances and glitches that today are silly are now made classic. How about getting a turtle stuck on super Mario and jumping on it multiple times to achieve a high level of free men so you could pass the game? The great thing about some of these things is they weren’t even intended but gamers found them.

Another thing about old school games is when you got too good, and finally mastered a difficult game, you generally upped the stakes artificially. Like going for a high score against friends, passing the game the fastest, or other player imposed ideas to make it more of a challenge. I remember back in the Atari days playing Super Cobra I was so good I turned the contrast way down so you could only see the peaks and valleys of the stages and the obsticles, and was still able to pass it.

Anyhow I’m enjoying a blast from the past right now, its amazing how little space these games actually take up on a computer now days (less than 5MB for probably around 50 games!). I’ll continue to enjoy em for a while, maybe even teaching my own children someday or grand children for that matter. Much love for NES. What are your favorite old school games?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Defense Swordmaster Spec Seems Viable

Man, SM changes are so sweet I really can’t wait for the patch. I am going to be able to make some great specs, going to have to respec probably 6 times just to try all the combos I’ll have available lol. There are some O specs that will make enemies cry, but there are also some D specs that are just insanity, I can see myself sitting at something like this:

25% base block (add 5% when I do shield hit, add 5-10% when I am in improved balances) potential 40% block.
10% base disrupt (add 10-20% when in improved balances) potential 30% disrupt.
10% base parry (add 25% when using parry hit) potential 35% parry
5% or so dodge? Not sure.

Then I can use another tactic that auto parrys after you parry for a free parry.
Ok so add all that crap up and I have probably over 50% chance on any given hit to avoid the damage. Then if I do get hit I have potentially 3 absorb shields on me, each one having the absorb buffed by 50% with this patch, so approx 400 on one shield, 500 on another and 800 on the third. They probably wont all be up at the same time but damn, this might be an epicly fun d spec. Sure I won’t kill much but its fun to play like this sometimes.

There are some great new options coming our way, I can't wait till they hit live and I can play with them more. It seems like a lot of other classes got some nice changes too (I think knights and chosen got their auras to cost no ap) so it looks like overall things are going to keep moving nicely in War. I like the changes the devs make and the directions they take, maybe it could have started out better but at least I have faith they are moving it in the right direction. Only time will tell, but at least for me and my main, I'm pretty happy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Updated changes for SwordMasters in 1.2

Amazing additions to the notes for SwordMasters, they really fixed and changed a lot of things to make them better and more comparable to other classes. I really love my SwordMaster but now I'm truly excited for the potential of all these new changes to make me even stronger and able to pick up useful tactics and abilities in my trees. Here are the new notes!

Perfect Defenses: Should now provide actual benefit.

Quick Incision: This ability was receiving less stat benefit than intended.

Deep Incision: This tactic was worded to make it sound like it enhances a DoT on quick Incision when it actually adds one itself.

Redirected Force: This ability will now trigger off Block, Dodge, Disrupt or Parry. The damage of this ability has been slightly decreased but is now enhanced by weapon DPS. This ability will no longer affect balance when activated.

Gusting Wind: Radius of this ability has been increased.

Gryphon’s Precision: This ability has been renamed to “Great Weapon Mastery” and will now increase damage and parry rate when wielding a great weapon.

Blessing of Heaven: This ability now has a 100% trigger rate on all offensive Path of Hoeth abilities.

Impeccable Reactions: This ability now has a new effect; whenever you Parry, you will automatically parry the next hit as well. (This ability can trigger only once every 5 seconds)

Wind’s Force: This ability has been renamed to “Calming Winds” and now increases your Disrupt chance based on your current balance.

Nature’s Blade: Whenever this ability procs, the stat buff will now be applied to your group members as well.

Blurring Shock: The on crit effect damage of this ability has been increased and changed to Spirit damage. However, this damage will not critically hit or receive benefit from stats. In addition, the crit effect damage from this ability will now display as “Shock” in your combat log.

Ensorcelled Agony: The damage of this ability has been increased, but now receives less benefit from stats.

Potent Enchantments: The damage of this ability has been increased and changed to Spirit damage. However, this damage will not critically hit or receive benefit from stats.

Deep Incision: The damage and duration of this ability has been increased and changed to Physical damage. In addition, this ability will now receive more benefits from stats.

Even if some of these abilities lose some damage (like EA or Blurring shock) the overall changes are really great and provide some real punch for the specs. Whereas before I felt like my spec didn't matter much (could tank, dps, or mix with all 3), I know feel that specializing will definately make you better in each roll a bit more. I'm especially excited for great sword mastery, natures blade buff helping my group (awesome), winds force range increased (yes plz), and the new impeccable reactions (allows for some nice parry utility and defense). I can't wait for the patch to come now, I'm going to try and get on test so I can try this stuff out. Sweet!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Street Fighter 4 First Impressions

I spent a good half a day playing street fighter 4 over a friend’s house this past weekend and all the good memories of my street fighter days of the past in arcades came rushing back to me. This game is really well put together and I had a blast. They did a really good job of making the action fast enough to be fun, yet slow enough to not get overwhelmed by button mashing. I was able to quickly pick up the game and at least with the original cast of characters get right into things and perform their moves. Here are some of my initial impressions of the game.

The move sets and combinations are great. Ex Moves (more powerful versions of your characters special moves) are awesome twists adding a lot more variety into the game. Also focus moves make for some very interesting mix up as well, and of course the ultra and super moves make for some nice come backs and entertaining cut scenes. There is a lot of playing to be done by players far better than me to determine what is and isn’t balanced in this game but it has a great base I think to make it one of the better tournament games for the ages. Its simple enough to pick up and play, but has some very nice detailed strategy to make players that master it far and away better. This kind of blend makes it over all an amazing game, A+.

Now on to my thoughts on some of the characters. Ken and Ryu seem a little more difficult to do the commands for their fireballs and hurricane kick (if that’s what it is called hehe). I used to be able to easily perform these and they used to be some of my better fighters in the original. Granted, I didn’t play a long time and did try a lot of different characters, but I was thinking these guys would be in my rotation for sure. After a few matches of moves not going off, I decided to leave them be. Maybe if I end up buying the game later I’ll see if I can pick em back up, but I’m not too keen on playing or mastering the characters that the majority of people like to play so I’m not too worried about it.

Sagat seems a little overpowered to me. Not only does he have a great arsenal of moves including low and high fireballs, tiger uppercut, and tiger knee, but he also has high priority on his attacks that always seem to out hit whomever I am fighting him with. He has a high life bar and hits really hard, I’d often find myself getting hit 4-5 times from my opponent then hitting them with one fireball and an uppercut or something and being ahead of them in the match. Also his ultra does massive damage, many matches I was losing pretty good only to pull of the ultra and win. I enjoyed playing him for sure, but I felt a little bit of an advantage when doing so. Again with so many people probably picking him up I won’t try to master him, but he is definitely going to be one to be reckoned with in the tournaments.

I didn’t get time to play with everyone nor try out everything I would have liked but I settled in on Guile as my favorite this time around. He suits my play style well and he had a good arsenal of moves to keep the enemy off him. I typically don’t enjoy the charge up moves (such as his sonic boom and axe kick) but for some reason in street fighter 4 they seem easier to pull off and not such a chore. For that reason I also really enjoyed Balrog as well and have always liked Blanka. I hope this game comes out for computer so I can get it, I wonder if I’ll be able to play against others who have xbox 360 like my friend. That would be awesome if so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Sword Master Balance Mechanic

What can I say, I have somewhat of a love hate relationship with the class mechanic of my SwordMaster right now. I guess hate is a strong word, its more like I see so much great potential for what it could be in addition to the good things it already has. For those who don’t know the Sword Master fights with abilities available on three tiers. We open with all starter moves (lets call them 1’s), once we hit with a 1 we have access to all our middle moves (2’s) or we can use another 1 again. Once we use a 2 we have access to all our finishers (3’s) or we can use a 1 again and start over. We can never use two 2’s or 3’s in a row. The last part to mention is most (if not all) the 3’s have no attack power cost. This is done in a way to encourage us to cycle through 1-2-3 then start over. If you are constantly 1-2ing anything you will run out of attack power super fast on a SM.

So that out of the way here is my list of Pro’s Con’s to start this off:

Here is what I like:

The mechanic forces me to think constantly. This is mostly done with the second and third moves since openers are pretty limited right now (will get into this later). For the second move I have to choose, do I snare that guy if he is running or might run soon, do I debuff spirit resists (my main damage type and also aoe attack), do I put my 25% parry buff on myself to keep me up? There are more but this is the basics. Finishers are somewhat the same. Do I put on the extra damage crit proc on my enemy, or do I debuff the amount of damage they can do? I like all these possibilities, it really makes me think as a SM and plan out my moves as well as keep me constantly thinking and not button mashing.

Here is what I don’t like:

In high lag situations the mechanic really borks what you can do. High lag will screw up anyone for sure, but for SM its even worse because we can’t mash a button and eventually have it go off, if we don’t know what balance we are in due to lag its like pressing down a hotkey for a skill that is not ready yet, it won’t do anything. This however is mostly not a factor for me, but it could be improved to be a lot smoother for sure. Minor annoyance.

Also as I said above we lack a choice in openers. Pretty much everyone regardless of spec uses EA (spirit based attack) with a tactic that adds a dot to it. That is a good attack and worthy of using, but the others just aren’t. We have an attack that does physical damage that can be close to on par with it (without the tactic) but it suffers from being physical and also from costing more attack power. Both not good things. There really isn’t any good choices for consistent openers, we should have more choices here. I would like to see the parry buff skill or snare be moved here so we could decide in the first hit, do I parry more, snare or go for a damage skill. Wouldn’t be overpowered at all since all other classes don’t suffer from having to wait to use their skills that do the same exact thing.

On that note the balance mechanic is a hinderence limiting what skills we can use at any given time. That alone should make our skills better than other classes who can use any of their skills at any time. We are restricted pretty badly. So why are a lot of our skills actually weaker? Take for instance the parry buff, lasts 5 seconds. We have to use this every single cycle and even then probably can’t keep this buff up. Other classes have a similar defensive buff that lasts for 10 or 20 seconds, and they can use it whenever they want with no cooldown. That seems odd. Similar comparisons can be made to our other abilities which require us to be in the right stance, in fact if we are snared and range is hitting us we are sitting ducks, we can’t do hardly anything without being near enough to the enemy to stance dance, yet we aren’t compensated for it.


You might thing from my much longer list of things I don’t like that I should maybe re-roll or play another class. Here’s the thing, the SwordMaster is the first class I’ve played in a MMO where I haven’t been overly concerned with the actual numbers on my hits, nor what abilities I’m going to get next. I’ve just been enjoying playing the class, logging on and choosing to Orvr, Scen, Pve, PQ, or whatever else I might fancy. The class didn’t really get any huge upgrades from 20-30 and yet I didn’t care. All I know is when I put on my Str Offensive gear and a 2her, I can kill pretty much any class, and when I put on my tough/wounds Defensive gear with 1h and shield, I can survive pretty damn well. The talent trees and tactics add nice flavor, but none are needed to perform either role.

So bottom line, I’m not blind, I see Iron Breakers talent trees and think damn, those are well designed, but I’m still not jealous either. I’d like to see my class get some of its tactics and abilities fixed to meet the design of other more “finished” or whatever you might want to call them classes. But even without the fixes I am fine, and I’m excited to see what 1.2 brings and try out new things. I will keep forging on with my SwordMaster, and I hope somewhere down the line some improvements can be made to the balance mechanic to make its abilities worth the drawbacks and limitations the system presents.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From the test server

Some reports are trickling in from the test server about the new Sword Master changes. Of note:

--Ether Dance (my 2h finisher top of dmg tree, got a massive buff, as it stood currently I wasn’t even getting to it a lot of times and it was questionable whether it was more dmg then just hitting them with another blurring shock due to the cast time. Now it is supposedly doing outrageous damage, yummy)

--Wispering Wind Silence (top of my balanced tree, now reduces cooldowns on all abilities by 5 seconds. This is a pretty nice group utility thing, also brings up things like my aoe knockback available every 5 seconds instead of 10).

--Crashing Wave (top of D tree 3 sec knockdown, now gives 4 seconds immunity to your group to silence, disarm, disable and knockdown)

--Absorb shields appear to be buffed by 50%, a lot of people feel that’s not enough, I’m feeling like that is still pretty damn nice. I’m not 40 but if I spec for shields I’ve been able to survive quite a beating.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Live Events

The Valentines Day live event is coming to a close here and I thought I would post how I really enjoy these live events they introduce. They give me another thing I can choose to do among the other choices of pve questing, orvr, or scenarios. There are things to figure out how to do, sometimes new scenarios, and just in general it usually gets people out and accomplishing things. I’d like to see this sort of thing incorporated even more in the future but I must say I do like how they have done these for the most part so far.

Thinking for the future it might be nice for them to implement goals like this into a broader spectrum, maybe a whole new tab for “monthly” events or something similar. In these monthly events they might lead players towards a particular thing such as win x amount of scenarios or take x amount of keeps or BO’s or even hunt particular enemies. They could do a lot with it too, like what if they decided one month for elf race to get goals to defend elf lands and focus all the action there but dwarfs and humans had their own goals? Well I don’t know if splitting up the population is a good idea actually, but there could be a lot done to make interesting events.

I like where they have gone with the events that have run. I find myself checking the tab and seeing where I am at and going for the rewards, even when I’m not all that interested in what they provide. Its fun to have another checklist of things to try, and to add to the amount of things one can do on the way up breaks up the monotony a little bit. As I’m in tier 4 now with my Sword Master I can’t wait for the next live event set with the new scenario and goals to unlock the new classes. Not because I want to switch to them, but just so that the action gets stirred up a bit and because I’d like to see the new scenario. When they released the last new scenario it was really well made and a lot of fun, I hope this one done that good as well, and possibly we can keep them in the game after the live event at some point.

Do you enjoy the live events or do you feel like they are more of a distraction? Do you like the rewards and find yourself motivated to complete the tasks?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sword Master 1.2 Thoughts

So, there are a ton of changes coming through for SwordMasters in the upcoming 1.2 patch. Some seem like buffs, others nerfs. No matter what happens I’m enjoying my SwordMaster and I will adapt, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Here are my thoughts on 1.2 for Swordmasters in no particular order:

--They moved our AoE finisher knockback to the second balance from the third. While this gives us access to the knockback faster, it seems like a very weird move to me. First off we knock everyone off of us, then we are in perfect balance with no one in range, that seems weird since perfect is our finishing moves. Second we have a massive amount of abilities in the second balance already, our snare, our dodge increase, our aoe debuff. There are too many competing abilities here. Moving another one down here sucks pretty bad to me, what we really need is a few of these moved to opening balance where we only have one move that everybody uses EB + EA. End verdict I don’t think I like this change.

--Ether Dance more damage, Balanced Accuracy working through the finishers are nice changes. I feel like I do massive damage already without these but ok. I think this tree is the damage tree for SM’s and should feel that way. I like these changes, don’t necessarily feel like we needed them (well the tactic fix we did) but they are good.

--Protection of hoeth bubble not moving our balance forward is a major bummer. I thought maybe it was intended though the tool tip didn’t say that. It made the move very useful in allowing for starting with different abilities. It was a nice side effect, especially since the bubbles are nerfed so hard it barely protects from one attack a lot of times. I’ll miss it but it probably wasn’t intended to work that way, oh well.

--Sounds like potent enchantments is getting nerfed while deep incision is getting buffed. Didn’t use these too often enough to comment but these seems like a bit of a nerf since again we have too many competing slots for that second hit already (deep incision buffs it) and potent enchantments was considered one of our few useful tactics.

--Dazzling strike change is interesting, I think it will require a lot more testing to see how it plays out. Probably will still be nice for casters and healers, now useless on melee or tanks. On the flip side I’m not sad at all because as a tank we will no longer have all our abilities have a timer on them when we get disorientated. Please note my SM is not yet 35 so I never got to use it as it used to be, I can fully understand those that loved this ability the way it was will be severely disappointed with the changes to it.

--Changes to the finishers in the talent trees (crushing wave and whispering wind). These changes IMO are awesome. It will give some definite group utility that will make SM’s a little more desired once groups learn what they do. Of course it depends on what “briefly immune to disabling effects” means and how long it lasts as well as how much whispering wind reduces cooldown times by, but those are some very cool additions I’m looking forward to testing out.

--Lastly not mentioned is the bubble increase. They flat out need to absorb more damage IMO. As of now they get blasted out pretty fast. Still they provide some real nice protection that I do enjoy, its just not near the protection of the heal our counter part black orcs get. They get to use their full arsenal of defenses to stop your incoming damage and get full heath back for it. I don’t know what a fair number is, I just feel they are a little underwhelming for the defensive specced SM.

That's it for now, can't wait to try these out for real, still loving my Sword Master but I'm reaching the dreaded tier 4 now so we shall see how I progress!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Engineer Raps

A while back I made some funny Rap's about destroying the enemy on my Engineer. Also made a few with my zealot but we'll save those for requests (yeah right) lol. I'm entertaining the thought of making some on my Sword Master soon. Anyway, enjoy!

Engineer Rap 1

Rat tat tat tat, bullets bouncing off your back
As you try to press up on me, you just hitting on my flak
Then a nade blasts ya, you fly back like a helpless wimp
You run back and trip a land mine cause your style’s so gimp

You get up but you can’t do nothing
Dots ticking your sad life its disgusting
You cant run and you cant relate
You cant hide but you cant escape

Then more nades drop on your silly little head
Making you look like a 10 year old kid
Sorry Son, It had to be done, This Engy burned you thoroughly completely for fun

What’s that, your team will break through?
I got a little something called barbed wire for you
It makes your feets hurt oh so much
You crying cause now you move like you use a crutch

All the while got my turret blazing
Firing off damage for free so crazy
All you damn noobs in a pile is lazy
Check the scores fools cause your crys don’t faze me

So Spex is on the hunt and looking for the kills
Dropping down the bounties slipping devs the dollar bills
It doesn’t hurt having super engy madness skills
That’s just how we do and now you know the drill

Engineer Rap 2

Jumpin Jamin, y’all be planning
To avoid the mines in your face they landin
Outstandin, demandin
Got you laced up tight and crammed in

Step left get knocked back so far
Step right you face plant retard
Step forward too late fubarred
Step back and run like a coward

Spex got you and my damage freakin
Rank 2 moral and your life is leakin
Got you hit so hard you thinking
WTF can kill so frequent

So you run but you cant hide
Snipe hits you where the sun don’t shine
Crits nasty it is so devine
If it don’t kill then dots in time will

If you rush you get crack shot
Drop you weapon like a scrubbed out tot
Hit the floor cause you not so hot
While you down there would you like a mop?
Cause you cleaning up the slop
Of your friends that I just dropped
Its too easy so why stop
Love to see you when you flop

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ability and Skill Graphics in Warhammer

First off, can you see what your teammates are doing on the battlefield? Can you tell when they cast a certain spell, or use a certain ability? For me that answer has to be not really right now. Now I checked my settings, and I haven’t changed them, I know I selected to see what my teammates are doing, and my graphics settings are quite high. So I should be seeing all sorts of nice animations… but I’m not. And I thinking they never see mine either.

They don’t see my swordmaster spinning in a 360, winds blowing through the air. They don’t see my small aoe blast of force coming from me. I doubt they even see the blade enchants. You know why I say that? Because I can’t see them on any other SM. Its interesting, and maybe they did this because they couldn’t control lag otherwise in large scale battles, but it kind of draws back a little bit on being able to tell if a teammate is good or did something helpful other than trying to decipher the scoreboard at the end of a scenario which we all know is only good for so much.

The only things I can tell my teammates are doing is when someone gets knocked back, knocked down, or uses one of very few abilities that all can see like turrets. This leaves an interesting impression on a player, now while it hasn’t deterred me form playing, it has often left me focusing only on what I’m doing in battle, because my friends for the most part all look like they are wandering around auto attacking at best. Am I just not paying enough attention?

I’m going to try to dive deeper into this when I play tonight. Really look in depth at the settings again. Its just weird running around, feeling like my guy is blasting and blowing things up with these great animations, only to feel like everyone else is jib jabbing and looking rather dull while doing so unless they happen to be knocking someone down or blasting them backwards. It also leaves me with the impression that there are a ton of things I am not seeing my enemy doing. Am I missing a certain hit, skill they are using, because it looks like all the others. The action isn’t that fast, is it?

I know in other games where pvp happens there was the element of knowing what your enemy was using, because you can see it. Even obvious things like fireballs from BW and doombolts from sorcs are hard to see if I ever see them at all. Do you think that moves should be more obvious to emulate other games where you were able to see intense action with very cool graphics from yourself, your teammates and your enemies? Or would you rather have it how it is, with enemies not knowing exactly what you are using even if they know your class?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Damage and Block Calculation in Warhammer

Been thinking about this yesterday, trying to reliably come up with a way to figure out just which weapon is better than another for my Sword Master. My friend ran some tests with surprising results, so we went to the warhammer alliance forums to see if anyone else had the actual formula to test our data. Turns out we did some things a little off, but in the end were given the proper formula’s for weapon damage on auto attacks, weapon damage on skills, and lastly I asked for a block rating formula. The purpose of these formulas is to test ahead of time what rewards or items you might want to go after as you are leveling up. So here is what was found and we confirmed to be true:

Autoattack damage:

(DPS+(str/10))*delay = weapon damage output

Skill damage:

(DPS+(str/5))*1.5 + skill bonus damage = skill damage output

Block Formula:

Block Percentage = [Block Rating of Shield / (Level * 7.5 + 50)] * 20

The most important category for us in an offensive set is what increases skill damage the highest, but it shouldn’t be ignored that those slower big 2h weapons will hit harder in autoattack damage by a decent margin. So the old adage is still here, slower equals more burst, faster equals more procs and chances to hit. For 2h I lean towards slower, but for 1h I don’t mind the faster hit as much, swordmaster has a lot of things that have a chance to proc on hit. Still even though when I run the numbers they don’t come out too far off it sure seems that big 2her does more. The tests don’t lie though :-)

Also good to note is the block formula, there have been several times there is a shield upgrade with more block rating, but less stats. So its been hard to tell if I should switch. Now I can tell exactly how much more % chance to block I would get to make a more educated decision. How about you, any number crunching formulas out there or game mechanics you wish you knew more about? I love researching that sort of thing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hitting the Wall

Hitting the wall in MMORPG’s seems inevitable. You get to a certain point leveling up your character where the development slows and the progress seems non existent. You spend several nights without upgrades, or doing tasks in game that you aren’t really enjoying. Why is this? Did you pick the wrong class? Is it the game design flawed? Is it just natural for this to happen?

For me it feels like this mostly somewhere on the last ten levels to get to the cap. In CoH/CoV the experience gain of those last 10 levels was so high that it made it ridiculously hard to gain a level. And in that game with every mission being fairly identical you can imagine that got old realllllllly fast. The lure of that game (and a lot of games for me) was the awesome powers you could use, the way they looked, and the effects they had. The only problem is as you neared the cap (just like most other games) you almost already got everything you could want or need around 8 levels before you even get to the end. So now the level ups are taking longer (bad), I’m not getting any new skills to look forward to (bad), there is nothing that will improve/change the way I play my guy (bad). Does it need to work this way?

Lets explore other games. Warhammer online I felt like I hit the wall on my 32 Engineer. Sure there are other factors (a friend of mine decided to start a new guy and I wanted to play with him) but even after I started a new guy the desire to jump back on the engineer wasn’t there. What happened? I was loving my engineer to that point. Heck I still love what he can do, and how he plays. I even like the looks a lot! But I looked down the line and was like ok, what am I looking forward to getting here. And for the first time I was like hmmmm, nothing really. That’s when it becomes hard to climb the wall and level past it, especially when something else comes up (playing another class with a friend). Again the level ups (progress) takes longer, I’m not motivated towards getting anything (gear on an engineer is not nearly as desired as say a new weapon for a melee dps class), and so it happens, a giant wall.

In World of Warcraft the wall was there for me, but not nearly as high as other games I played. Why is that? The progress near the top while slower did not seem astronomically slower, and they provided sufficient motivations at the end. You got cool new abilities that changed your character and they provided the Arena, like it or not, for exclusively those at the cap. For me, I wanted to do arena, I wanted to do small scale battles with friends or acquaintances that got ranked and also allowed for gear. So there was a reason to climb that wall, without it you couldn’t Arena, and you could be missing some key new skills (or amazing talent tree combinations) that you couldn’t get until the cap. Maybe lowering that wall to end game is part of the success WoW introduced into the MMORPG market.

So what can be done in all MMORPG’s to take down that wall? Here are a few thoughts:

--Don’t hike the leveling curve too high at the end, make it just slightly more than the previous level. Especially in games where the end game is supposed to be where its at, why make it so hard to get there?

--Give me some game changing or graphically awesome abilities scattered through the last 10 levels. Don’t give everything about a class so there is nothing to look forward to. If not a new ability give something that dramatically improves something the class already does.

--Make something at end game worth getting to if the goal is end game. Arena’s were probably one of the only things like that to me where I was like damn, I want to fight there. For war they could do something more unique then just more keep sieges (and possibly city/fortress sieges). That doesn’t seem unique enough though I haven’t got there yet to try myself and see.

Have you hit the wall? Would you like to see it come down like me, or do you think its more like a right of passage?