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?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Class Forums in MMORPG's

I must say, I love visiting which ever class forum I happen to be playing. Mostly because it entertains me, but also because I sometimes read a tid bit of information that will help me play my class better or think differently about the classes abilities. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you are) the forums are often filled with tons of fluff, spam, mis-information, personal attacks, or other revolutionary things such as “first” and “L2P”. The thing is for me, I find the posts that aren’t useful to be entertaining, as such I really enjoy the forums even though only 1 out of 10 posts gets me any useful information.

As I was thinking about Class forums I started thinking about the different type of posters there, and how those posters are viewed by others. So I started a little list:

The Troll

This person posts something ridiculous and claims it as truth (or extremely exaggerates what is a truth). The purpose is to insight conversation and anger in the class forums to get attention or who knows what else. This person will post half truths or come to conclusions that they know will make the others that enjoy and play the class mad, or they will come in and start claiming x or y is overpowered and that the class needs to get nerfed. The problem for the people that read the forum is, they don’t want the devs to read x or y is overpowered (even if it is) so they feel the need to feed the troll and explain why he’s an idiot. In any case, these are usually quite funny, tho mostly not very informative posts.

The Fan Boy

This person will reply to other topics for information or concerns that others might have in a way that has no thought behind it. They are simply a fan of the class and as such can’t see how anyone else could have a problem with said class. They love to reply “Learn To Play” if all other arguments fail, or that said issue isn’t a problem for most people just the poster. Not all people who post replies like this are actually fan boys, sometimes the original poster really is a bad player or troll. But even so they will come out looking like one if the person who has a question ended up being genuine or really not understanding how the class played.

The Elitist

This is the person who has played x class like a full time job since the game came out. Rushed to the MMORPG cap, and claims to know all. This person will diss any opinion that is conflicting with theirs. Often this will be the person that doesn’t care if you have issues at level 10, 20, 30 or leveling in any way, they will simply say your opinion is not valid if you are not at the cap. Unfortunately in some ways they are right, that person doesn’t have any idea what the game is like at the cap and developers can’t really ever “perfectly” balance a game at every stage all the way to the level cap, so they usually concentrate their efforts there. Still, dismissing others concerns because they are not at the cap is silly, though the person not at the cap must also admit they are not sure if the issue persists later.

The Legendary Poster

This person has posted so many times and helped so many people they became “famous” in a way for posting on that very forum! When they post, people automatically assume its truth. Sometimes these people are also elitists but not always. Sometimes these people are very cool and helpful to the community, but whenever anyone says anything that crosses them that other person is automatically considered wrong (even if proven right later). I wonder sometimes if these people are just really helpful, or don’t have anything better to do, or a combination of that, or something else. I usually like Legendary Posters because most of the time they are either helpful, or extremely entertaining as they verbally joust with those who oppose them.

Why am I classifying posters in game class forums? I don’t know really, but it was just something on my mind. I’ve read a lot of class forums for games I play and every one has several of the above types. There are lots of regular posters too, helpful people who come in and try to answer questions. Others who have legitimate questions they hope to have answered. Its just an interesting dynamic to see that every single class forum is somewhat the same. Different questions sure, but there are always Fan Boys, Trolls, Elitists and Legendary Posters at one point or another. And I think most everyone thinks that they are the only unbiased opinion in the forum (and anyone who happens to agree with them on a post) which makes it all the more interesting.

Do you enjoy reading the forums for the class you like to play? Do you go mostly for the entertainment or the information? Do you like to go into other classes forums so that you can express how overpowered you think they are?