Posts Tagged ‘blog’

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Let’s move along now, shall we?

June 10, 2010

Over the past few years, how many AAA MMO titles have we seen get hyped up, release, and shed 50%+ of its population within the first few months? 3? 5? I’m sure there is more to come as well.

I think first it started off as everyone trying to tackle Blizzard, or at least get a chunk of their cake. Games like LotRO, and WAR that were marketed by the eagerly waiting players as “the next WoW killer.”

After that I think companies started backing down to the almighty Blizzard, and decided to not shoot for 10 million subscriptions and would be happy to settle with 1 million. But even that didn’t seem to help, with games like Aion, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online.. all of which have pretty much bombed almost into the “life support” category. (In Aion’s case.. in the US/EU)

So what does a company who wants to design a AAA MMO title have to do to have a successful launch and retain it’s players after the initial flood?

There is a few things I can think of. I’m not too familiar with the development process on the inside of a studio, things like Publisher pressure and deadlines can really screw up an MMO. But that’s about all I really know about what goes on internally. To possibly gain a bit more insight I’ve emailed Brian “Psychochild” Green, online game designer and blogger and asked him to chime in on this post if he has anything to add.

Back to what I think Dev studios could do in order to make the Dev process, testing, launch and post-launch go smoother.

Shrink it!

Most AAA MMO titles feature a large world. Multiple continents, large zones and etcetera. But why does it have to start out large? Maybe the bigger companies can learn a lesson from the indie F2P developers and make your world smaller at first, but have speedy development rotations on adding new content. We all want a bigger world sure, but.. would you rather have a huge world with all sorts of problems in it, or a smaller world with drastically less problems, evolving into a bigger world with time. Vanguard is a great example of what not to do here. The world was beautiful, and enormous. And empty. Not just void of players, but even the wilderness didn’t feel very wild.

Along with shrinking your world, I never quite understood why these MMO’s ship with 15+ servers. Big worlds and tons of servers are great if you’re Blizzard. But not if you’re anybody else. The dreaded server merge announcements that we see doesn’t mean that the game is dying exactly, but anytime one is announced the doomsayers come out of their holes. Usually server merging is a sign of a slowly dying MMO, or at least one that isn’t going to be picking up steam.

So, how about trying something different for once. Start with the minimum amount of servers, and if your game grows, add more. The problem with that idea is usually launch is when you have the highest populations, thus needing the extra servers. My take on server merging is that it’s better done sooner rather than later. If you launch your game and see 500k subs the first month, but at the 3rd month mark you’re down to 400k, it might be time to start thinking about server merging. There is nothing worse than the post-launch exodus that is bound to happen, and then feeling like your left with an empty server. That’s just going to push more players away.

As your game gets older I think watching your servers is important, and knowing when to time server merges before the problem gets too bad. Take EQ2 for example. It does have a healthy population, though the majority of the community are at the top end of the game. EQ2 has had 2 rounds(or maybe just 1, I can’t recall) of server merges in the past, and in this guys opinion.. is well overdue for another. I’d go as far as to say EQ2 needs to drop down to about 8 servers total. 3 normal servers, 1 bazaar server, 1 pvp server, 2 EU servers (I don’t know what the EU population of EQ2 is like), and a RP server. If you’re starting fresh in EQ2 with no friends, it is a very, very silent and quiet game. Very lonely. Not good if you’re trying to attract new customers.

But if EVE online can have 1 server with its healthy subscriber base, why can’t other games? Yeah.. EVE is a special case because it fills a specific niche, but it’s still something to be thought about.

Target Audience?

I think it may be safe to say now that trying to market your MMO to every player type doesn’t work that well. Blizzard was able to pull it off I think because of their timing. Every MMO to come out since that’s tried this has not reached the goals they originally set for themselves and their game. I think if you build your game towards a certain niche of players and stay there, maybe adding on other features later on, you would end up with a smaller population, but a much more stable one. EVE Online does this pretty well as do a few other niche titles.

Are you trying to attract new-to-the-genre players? Harcores? Casuals? PvP, PvE? Social aspects?

Scale?

I never understood why the bigger MMO companies are drawn to making a game capable of supporting millions of people, only to have it flop after release for x reason. Instead of doing that why not set a lower target for your populations. How about 500k instead of 1 million?

I would think that once you set a goal for your customer base, it would make it must easier to design the rest of the game’s size, how many servers you’ll need, and what features you can or can’t use. Also, it would give your publisher a better idea. (Or maybe the publisher is the one who dictates what the target customer pool size will be *shrug*)

Deadlines

Now.. I’m fairly certain that deadlines are set by whoever is funding the project, which is usually the publisher. If publishers used their heads a little bit, and gave the Developer the time that they actually need, we would probably see less MMO’s fall into the sub-200k club.

Then you have the option of “self-publishing.” Which is what Cryptic studio’s original intent was. Looking back over the course of the development of Champions Online, things seemed to be going very well until Atari showed up. You would also have to have the money to back yourself. Not an easy thing to come up with hehe.

What’s worse is when something like that happens, it’s usually the Dev house that gets all the negative press, not so much the publisher. When I first played Champions Online, I was sorely disappointed. Nay. I was pissed. At Cryptic. Even though I knew the game shipped the way it did because Atari shoved it out their doors. Ok.. I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what the speculation is.

The same thing happened to Vanguard. All was going well (so we think) up until Sony was announced to be the new publisher. Which was right around open beta if I remember right. Then all of a sudden, the game was on store shelves. Oh the cries of the fanboi’s (myself included)

What else could a AAA MMO company could do for itself to ensure the game’s success? Aside from the obvious answer of “make a good game”

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Telon, the last stand.

June 9, 2010

News coming in today that Vanguard, the long and slowly dying MMO from Sony, will be dropping from 3 to 1 server soon. It’s always sad to watch games slowly die, but this one has a special place in some people’s opinion.

I wont dive into the backstory of what was Vanguard, or how Brad McQuaid completely betrayed his fans and did the ONE thing he said he wouldn’t do. Sold to Sony, who then pushed the game out about 1 year before it should have been.

The game had so much potential, and really.. it still does. It’s a great game, it’s just empty and has a bit more of the hardcore aspects than a game like WoW would offer. has so much more depth than most other MMO’s.

What happened with that game was one of the big turning points in me losing faith in MMO development. It’s not the game designers fault, or the programmer.. it’s the suits. The CEO’s. Continually they push out shoddy products and loads of false advetisement. Some flat out lies. I understand that things happen over the course of making a game, and some things need to be cut but sometimes they go a little too far.

So, here’s to you Vanguard. Enjoy your final days as 1 server. So much potential in a game, a team, and a community… and Sony let’s it rot away into nothing.

/sadpanda

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How to Holy

June 9, 2010

So you wanna be a healer? If this is your first time playing a healer type, know that it can get pretty stressful. Often times in a raid when the tank screws up.. people tend to just shrug it off and continue. DPS is always laying on the floor so no point in talking about them. Healers, the thankless job. Being a Healer in many MMO’s I’ve played is one of those “Puts in a ton of work for little recognition.” In WoW Tanks get recognition when they do their jobs well because they are in the spotlight. DPS gets recognition based on DPS scores (bonus epeen too) Healers however have a lot riding on their shoulders, but nobody (except other healers, and maybe raid leaders) is paying attention to your performance. You have one task. Keep people alive. If the raid wipes and it wasn’t an obvious reason, 9 times outta 10 the raid leader will be saying “Healers gotta step it up” even though we’re all probably mashing the crap out of our keyboards already.

A great Healer though can stand out and get recognition, but it takes time to prove your worth to your guild. I was Holy in BC and Wrath up to TotC. When we were pushing through Naxx at level 80 nearly 2 years ago, we weren’t having much troubles. Not many guilds were lol. Half the time in raid I would either be meleeing or tabbed out reading something else. There was just nothing for me to heal, and I’m not a fan of overhealing… it’s a waste.

So as time went on I got more and more bored, and started chain pulling for the tanks. The raid leader hated it at first, but once he understood that I was trying to get us to move faster he let me go. I knew what I was doing. What does that have to do with healing? Nothing. But, it showed my Raid leaders that I (and we, as a guild) are capable of more. After time building a relationship and trust with my tanks and leadership, I was able to convince them to let us try more tricky setups and strats.

I convinced them to let me solo-heal. All of our other healers went DPS and we started charging through the wings. We cleared all 3 wings, only leaving Military. The only fight I needed help from another healer on was Loatheb. It was that day I knew that I was a skilled healer. Yeah, cool story bro, what’s this got to do with being a Holydin?

The point I’m trying to make is that a good healer will always try to push his or her raid to use the least amount of healers possible. Maximize the DPS, and run your raid as efficiently and quickly as possible. In order to do this, you have to build trust with your leadership. We don’t always need 5 healers for 25’s.. as you progress you should (In my opinion) try to cut down on the amount of healers, and increase your amount of DPS classes.

Now that my little epeen introduction is complete, we can continue with the actual guide. Just as with my guide to Retribution, I’m not going to go into serious detail for two reasons. EJ’s already got all the info you need, and 4.0 is going to change a lot of the content in this guide. So I will give a link, and then just chime in with a few of my own words of wisdom.

Holy Paladin Thread for 3.3 curteousy of Elitist Jerks

First and foremost, there is two different ways to play a Holy Paladin. You have your Holy Light builds or your Flash of Light builds. They are equal in ability, but vary in play style is all. The FoL build concentrates on inflating Spellpower as high as possible and typically assigned to raid healing w/ Beacon on the tank.

The Holy Light build is for a Tank healing position. Though you can still raid heal with HL build, it’s less efficient than an FoL build. Chances are also that if you’re an FoL build, you wont have the HPS required to keep a tank alive. So your first decision should be what position you’ll be taking in your raids.

Stats

These are going to change based off of the build you choose. Priorities are pretty simple though:

HL Build – INT>INT>INT>Haste to cap>Crit.. you won’t be needing Mp5, so avoid it as best as you can. Gem for INT, strictly, unless it’s to nab a socket bonus of 4 int or higher, then you should use int + haste or int + crit gems, depending on what you need. You’ll get all the spellpower you need just by picking up gear.

FoL Build – SP>Haste>Mp5>INT>Crit. You want to stack as much SP as you can possibly get. Stack haste until AT LEAST your FoL’s are down to 1.0 second cast times. Rely on MP5 vs. large mana pool due to the efficiency of FoL.

A few things to clear up about the builds before we continue. Whichever build you choose, that is pretty much going to be your primary spell. Either way your going to be spamming 1 spell for the most part. It’s just up to you which spell you like to use more. If you’re the only Holy Paladin in your raid group, avoid the FoL build. Holy Paladins are arguably the strongest Tank healer in the game and should be a priority over a FoL Pally until you have one.

Abilities

Sacred Shield – Keep it on the tank you’re assigned to. When you see the shield proc try to throw a FoL at the tank with the shield to get the HoT rolling on him. This goes for both builds. FoL build just toss a quick one to the tank, HL build is a bit trickier. If you’re in complete spam HL mode, it will be hard to fit in a FoL to get the HoT up on the tank. Luckily for you the HoT wont matter that much compared to your raw HPS from HL spam. Still, if you find a opprotunity, take it.

Beacon of Light – When they introduced this spell with 3.0, it was a godsend. It’s one of the coolest parts about being a Holy Paladin and in my opinion is still largely overpowered. You can frikken heal 2 people at once! Overheal transfers as well. This is also why Holy Paladins make the best tank healers. Beacon the main tank, who will be taking the most damage, and HL spam the OT/Raid. Even if they aren’t taking any damage.

There are so many different and interesting things to do with this ability. It can transfer healing without Line of Sight. Meaning you can Beacon the tank and hide behind a corner and heal yourself while still keeping the tank plenty alive.

Or in a situation where things go wrong you can mix it up a bit. Beacon yourself and spam the tank/other party members. I’ve survived numerous almost wipes in 5 man dungeons (and some 10 mans) with just myself and the tank left standing because I was able to throw up Conc. Aura and just spam HL bombs on both of us at the same time. Another example is Faction Champions. I like to put my Beacon on a Resto druid during that fight because it always seems that that pesky Rogue is going after my trees.

It also works great while levelling if you like to have a partner around. Enough of Bacon though. Great ability, learn to use it smart!

Judgements of the Pure – You best be keeping this buff up on yourself, it’s a HUGE haste increase. You want to be judging Light, regardless of what build you are due to JoL proc heals scaling with Divinity.

Divine Plea – Another game changing ability we got with 3.0. Regens mana, scales off of INT. Decreases healing, so make sure you either use it during a pause in the fight, or use it in conjunction with Avenging Wrath to negate the healing debuff.

Holy Shock – Still pretty crappy. Good in a pinch because it’s instant, but it’s not efficient and doesn’t heal for very much more than a FoL. It’s great for 5 mans though, using the “Shock + Infusion” combo you can pretty much get through the dungeon just using that. Depending on your tank.

Divine Illumination – Yes, use it. As much as possible. Don’t wait to use it either, it can usually be used multiple times during a boss fight. Be weary of using it while tanks, or other healers are using their defensive cooldowns as it would be wasteful. Time it for when you’re going to be spamming for its duration.

Aura Mastery – 1 point for this talent? Yes. It does make a large difference too. It’s a defensive heroism. Pump up a tank’s armor, or the entire raids resists! Plenty of places to use this. Make sure if there is any other Holy pallies you coordinate.

Divine Sacrifice – Typically this will be taken by only Holy Paladins since it’s been changed so much from its original use. Not nearly as good as it used to be, but still a powerful ability. It should be fairly obvious when you should use it.

Seals – This is mostly a personal choice as it depends on which Glyph you choose. 5% increased healing with SoL glyph, or 5% mana reduction with SoW glyph. I think the SoW glyph is the best option due to being able to whack bosses with my stick and have infinite mana. There are quite a few fights where Paladins have infinite mana and most people don’t even realize it. Just a few.. Gluth, XT, Icehowl, Jaraxxus, Anub.. the list goes on. Pretty much if you can hit the boss a few times in between heals, it’s impossible for you to run out of mana. Always judge Light though.

Divine Favor – It’s a free crit, good to use in a pinch but, meh. If you’re a HL build, chances are you’re going to have pretty high crit ratings as is. I don’t keep this one on my bars, I feel it’s a practically worthless ability when you’re at 50%+ crit rating already, and spamming spells.

Gear

Short and sweet. The only Libram you will ever need is the Libram of Renewal. Yes, the T7 Libram. Best in the game by far. Get some good trinkets too.

Addons (Specific to Holy mostly)

Class Timers – For monitoring Beacon/Sacred Shields. There is a Paladin specific addon out there that does the same thing, but the reason I choose Class Timers is that it’s not specific to Paladins and it’s very minimalistic and customizable.

Grid + Clique – Before I started using Clique I thought my healing was fine. Then I started using it with Pitbull Unit Frames. I liked that a lot and it made me way more efficient and faster to react. Now I use Grid + Clique because Grid has a lot of different Plugins to show you a myriad of information. But Clique is the real key to healing success. It doesn’t matter which Raid Frames you choose.

A few examples from my Clique binds:

Left click – FoL, Shift+LClick – HS, Alt+LClick – HL, Shift+Rclick – Cleanse. I could go on, but I have nearly all of my abilities bound to mouse clicks as I like a minimalist UI, I only have 1 bar of abilities. The rest is hidden-keybinds or bound via Clique.

PowerAuras – This one isn’t as needed as the others are, but still handy to have. You can set up aura’s to follow Beacon, Sacred shield.. trinket procs, JotP.. anything.

PallyPower – A Paladin without this addon is just a DK in disguise.

General Tips

– Currently, no matter what healer you play, it’s just like a game of whack-a-mole. Health bars go down, you fill em up. The default interface doesn’t give you the proper tools to handle the load put on healers, so you have to be sure to make use of the tools available to you via addons.

– Try to train your eyes to watch the raid frames with your peripheral vision and keep your main focus on the other important aspects of the fight. This takes time and good UI positioning. Try to put your raid frames in the center of your screen, towards the bottom, or top.. whichever is easiest on your eyes. Practice on not looking directly at the raid frames. This will keep your eyes available to dodge things like fire on the floor, or malleable goo’s.

– If it’s time to move, it’s time to move. Remember that. If you’re mid-cast on a big heal that a tank needs, and a fire spawns beneath you, you have to make the choice and make it quick. You have to use your judgement on whether or not to finish the cast and move, or just move. BIG TIP: This goes for everyone. If a fire or some such spawns underneath you, DO NOT JUMP OUT OF IT. Just run out of it. The reason for this is the servers don’t register that you’ve left the fire until your feet hit the ground. Which means you could take an extra 1 or 2 ticks of fire.

That’s about that. I’m sure I’m missing a few things, or possibly have got a few things wrong seeing as I haven’t been main spec Holy since late Ulduar. So, I urge you to refer to the EJ thread if you have any other questions.

I will do a full re-write of this guide once we have more solid information on Cataclysm.

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My armor smells of onions and cheese

June 7, 2010

The look of your avatar can sometimes have an impact on how you feel about your avatar. Say you’re wearing a full Tier set (pick your favorite), and you just so happen to find an upgrade for one of those slots. Sure you equip it because it’s better, but part of you doesn’t want it because it will throw off your “style”

Doing some dungeons with guildies last night this was mentioned, and well… we couldn’t figure out why Blizzard wont put something like an appearance window in the game.

Then this morning there was someone asking about the armor textures in The Queue at wow.com. The question was basically why we have all these crazy looking armors, and if there is any chance Blizzard would implement items that don’t have completely “out-there” models, but are still Epic quality. Alex Ziebart responds..

“No, probably not. The Warcraft aesthetic is all about those huge shoulders, the random spikes, the intricate little decorations on each pauldron. In Azeroth, bigger is better. Bigger is much better. Having that massive gear is prestigious. The stripped-down gear is for nameless schmucks that haven’t fought a proper battle in their lives.

If you’re looking for a simpler aesthetic, you’re really better off looking at a different game. I don’t mean that in a rude or smug way in the slightest. It just isn’t Blizzard’s style. It definitely isn’t Warcraft‘s style.”

What a way to answer the question. A flat-out no. While, yes, it’s Blizzard’s style to go for crazy shoulders and items that just look outrageous. It’s obviously not the only style, otherwise why would they have normal looking weapons and armor as you level up, or even grey/green items at level 80 as the player asking the question stated.

Since Massively(wow.com) is probably one of the most read blog/news sites for MMOs. Instead of just answering a question by saying “No way” or “Go find another game” To me… that’s just not productive at all. I wonder if the reader who asked the question wanted to throat-punch Alex when he/she read the article. I would have.

Yes, Alex has a point. But, instead of stopping there why not offer up an example of how it could be changed. Since it is the big news site, has a ton of readers of all walks of WoW life, and Blizzard employees probably pay attention to it as well. Offering up a change, new feature, or even just opinions could possibly sway the almighty Blizzard to.. change something.

Not the armor models, keep going with the “Blizzard” style. Whatever fits the expansion. Throughout WotLK there have been people who really like the armor design, and people who really don’t. As I say a lot, why not just give the option?

Unlike with talents (which I spoke of earlier today), if you’re wearing no gear, chances of you leveling all the way to 80 are laughable. There is no choice right now except to either equip, or not equip the piece. As with most everything in the MMO world.. someone’s already perfected a design option. Appearance slots.

If you played Everquest post-PoP, chances are you remember armor dyes being implemented. A very cool feature.. except they gave you a photoshop style color pallet to choose from. Which is actually awesome, until you run into an Ogre Warrior who decided he wanted to dye every piece of his armor a different, vibrant color. Rainbow Ogres.. *shudder*

Then EQ2 implemented the Appearance window. Basically it was just an extra inventory window. When you put a piece of armor in one of the slots, it didn’t matter what you were really wearing. The item in the appearance slot is what showed on your avatar. Though you kept all the stats from the armor you’re “actually” wearing. There is NO downside to doing this. It doesn’t change the game, it doesn’t appeal to the casual player base more than the hardcore player base, or PvP vs. PvE. Other games have adopted this as well. Why not WoW?

While doing some quests in classic zones this weekend, and an MC run for fun, I realized that there are quite a few items that I would prefer to be wearing. Then I looked in my bank, and found that I’m quite the packrat. I hold on to gear that I think looks neat just in case I get bored and want to play dress up.

Blizzard gave us the dressing room, which was a very nice feature. They also gave us various clothes to wear, like the Tuxedo suit. So it’s not SO far out there that they shouldn’t think about adding a way for players to customize what they wear, without effecting stats. If anything, this would be more awesome because it gives the game more of a variety.

When I stand next to another Dwarf Paladin in Dalaran, there’s very little difference visually. If we had a way to change our armor without gimping ourselves, we’d all have a bit more of a unique look.

I’d stray away from adding weapons into the appearance slots though, as a Warrior holding the Chalice from TotC-25, and beating the crap outta mobs with it would look pretty silly. But armor customization is;

1) not terribly difficult to implement.

2) would make players feel more unique

3) would create something else to do in the game (go hunting for gear you think looks awesome!)

4) something that I think the WoW community would appreciate

Is your T10 gear getting that “battle-funk” smell? Or, do you have some T6 sitting in the bank that you just think looks awesome and wish you could still wear it? This would solve those two issues.

Hell, Blizzard probably wouldn’t even have to do much. Write the code to enable the feature and let the Addon community take care of the rest. It couldn’t seriously take that much time. EQ2 was able to push it out within 1 patch cycle… and they have far less resources than Blizzard.

Side-note : *sigh* a simple post turned into a book.

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Please just stop already!!! (Pt. 3)

June 5, 2010

Today I said I was going to take you on a text-walkthrough of my rendition of PvE Arenas. So let’s get to it and hope I can keep this post under 1000 words.

Everyone say hello to our imaginary Rogue, Wunderbutts. He will be doing solo arena today on normal difficulty. He is currently wearing all ICC gear and his GS is 62 million. That means shit poop here.

This is not his first time in this Arena. His promoter’s are the Stormwind Lumberjack’s Union (?) and he is just a few points away from hitting Exalted with them. Hop to!

As he enters the arena he sees his first opponents for the day. A group of 5 non-elite Nagas. 3 warrior types and 2 of those evil caster ones that do that big blue circle explosion thingy on the ground. Zangarmarsh, ugh.

Wunderbutts scoffs at the group and charges in, dispatching the foes quickly as he is a skilled (i.e. non-tard) Rogue.

Next up is a single baddie. Doesn’t look too tough, an Ogre Shaman. Haha.. stunlock beoch!

What’s this? Icehowl had babies?!? Yep, Wunderbutts has just discovered Icehowl is asexual. Let’s deal with these 3 babies before they grow into something mean! Evasion go! /charge

Wunderbutt’s looks confused though, as the babies seem to have the majority of big daddy Icehowl’s abilities. Including that stomp/charge. How is Wunderbutts going to deal with all that charging? Skill, that’s how. Pure keyboard acrobatics. and maybe a little help from Sprint.

Ok, whew, they’re dead now. Another trash pack up next. This time they are elites though. Time for some fun! As the pack of stupid elite kobolds walks through the gates Wunderbutt’s takes Stealth. At least SOME thought is going to have to go into this fight he thinks. While making clever use of some CC’s and switching up poisons a little bit he is still finding it hard to take down this group. As one of the little terd geomancers lets loose a Fireball, our Rogue hears a chime letting him know his limit break is ready. He has already met his requirement to dodge 100 attacks, and his ability is off of cooldown. This one however requires Stealth to perform. VANISH! BUTTONSMASH! *amazed* Wunderbutts explodes into a dance of sharp things. 300% movement speed increase, 100% dodge, and a 5 second “Blade Storm” type ability. Only the character retains movement. At 300% movement speed and 5 seconds of whirling death most of the little kobold terds are done for. The rest is just mopping up.

So.. wtf is next? We can’t see anything but Wunderbutts covered in Kobold blood and breathing heavily. But we still have 6 rounds to go! Wait a minute. Wtf is that purple sh–… omfg. It’s Edwin VanCleef and he just sapped Wunderbutts! Roflcopter. This should make for a good 1v1 fight hehe. VC is elite, so he’s not going to be easy and a lot of Wunderbutts abilities are on Cooldown. As it turns out VC is beating the snot out of our friend. He’s at a healthy 70% health and our heroic Rogue is merely scratching by with 35% health left, and he already used the Kidney Shot>Bandage combo. It’s not looking good for Wunderbutts. Lucky for him he was smart and used some of his points to buy special toys. As he glugs down a “Back in the Fight” potion (40s cooldown), he’s brought back to full health, full energy, cooldowns refreshed and even has a HoT ticking on him!!

The fights continue in this fashion. Requiring more skill, smarts and planning than great gear. All the while our Rogue is collecting points, rep and stunning us with his killer moves.

Finally, Wunderbutts.. battle-weary comes up against his final opponent for the day. Oh em gee, it’s Grobbulous from Naxx! The last fight of the day gets a healthy pause to introduce the final match. (3 minutes) Wunderbutts is coming up with a strategy. He knows this guy’s moves, knows them well in fact. But without9/24 of his buddies to back him up is kinda wondering how he will beat this fat tub of lard. 3…2…1… FIGHT!

Wunderbutts decides to take the defensive stance at first and let Grobb come to him. This Rogue is no tank though, and the fat mutant bitch slaps our rogue for nearly 15% of his total health.. in one hit!

Vanish! Now we know how hard this bastard hits.. it’s lucky Wunderbutts stocked up on Gladiator Potions before coming in (Heals 20k hp, 10 second cool-down). Back into the fight! Wunderbutts, fighting for his life, burning all cooldowns he’s got and chuggin health potions like the town drunkard chugs the whiskey. And he’s barely putting a dent in the tubby golem.

Wunderbutt’s is running out of options. He’s used his last “Back in the fight” potion, and he’s only got 5 Gladiator potions left. He’s managed to get Grobby down to 30% health by using the common tactics he learned in Naxx. Kiting him around the Arena. But what about the goo you say? Since its Solo mode there is only 1 goo being spawned, Wunderbutts just tabs over and continues. And how about the gas rings left by players who get diseased? Since Wunderbutts is only 1 person, he gets hit with it every time. But it’s negated since he’s already kiting Grobby. Our smart Rogue used his previous experience, combined with knowledge of his class and some of his own finesse to adjust the strategy of the fight to work for him. And now he hears a fun noise. That’s right, it’s “limit break” time! This particular ability is more geared towards single targets and boss fights, as every class would get 1 limit break for AE situations and 1 limit break for single target/Boss situations. Though our Rogue is not limited to just using one.. if conditions are met for both, he can use both.

For this ability the conditions were take 400k damage, deal 800k damage, and dodge 72 attacks. BUTTON SMASH! and now Wunderbutts is “chargin his lazor”. He dissapears from sight, both of Grobby, and us spectators.

A yell from one of the NPC spectators (what you don’t think they wanna see a good show?) indicates for everyone to look up! As you move your camera towards the rafters you see our lovely Wunderbutts take a leap from the rafters.. or fall outta the sky.. or something. But he looks pissed, his entire body glowing red. He thrusts his blades downwards into Grob’s back for a massive double-crit 157k points of damage. That took a whole 10% from the fatty! But Wunderbutt’s not finished, no way. That ability gave him a 200% attack speed increase, and half energy cost on all abilities for 15 seconds! He’s tearing this fat piece of gaseous crap down! The NPCs are hootin’ an’ hollerin’ as it comes down to the final few seconds of the fight. Wunder and Grob going blow for blow at each other. Face to face, no more potions to rely on. Butts throws everything he’s got! Another slime spawns.. no time for fighting this one. Here’s some dirt in your eye Mr. Goo, now your blind, go run around for 6 seconds while I finish killing this cow. And with the final strike Grobby falls to the floor in defeat. The representative from the Stormwind Lumberjack’s Union comes to greet our Rogue and announces that he has reached full Gladiator status. (Which happily comes with a package of PvE arena consumables, and a tabard)

Now that Wunderbutt’s has hit Exalted with his promoters, they offer him a quest. One that will take him to higher challenges in the arena’s, and possibly elsewhere.. to what end, what purpose? *shrug*

Ok, does that not sound like it would be fun? Sure there are mechanical, and balance issues out the yazoo. But it’s not something that’s going to be implemented anyways. It’s just an idea.. a stolen idea at that! But why can’t we have things *LIKE* this? Hell.. me personally.. I would pay extra for something like this.

As of now we have 2 PvP facets in the game, and only 1 PvE (unless you count questing/levelling, which I don’t) Something like this would just bring another option for us strict PvE’ers. I’m sure the PvP crowd would go nuts if they read this paragraph saying that PvE doesn’t need any MORE stuff. Hah.. crazy PvPers go play DFO nubs.

Also, just to tack this on at the end because I forgot to put it in two posts ago. In the Duo/5man versions you could also design group “limit breaks.” Pretty sure not much explanation is needed for this. It’d be cool. Other MMOs have things like it.. EQ2 and LotRO just for two examples.

Anyways, if you could withstand reading all of this 3 part post I thank you for your time and any comments are great! If you didn’t like the read, or the idea.. good thing it was just an idea right? And you never, ever have to come back to this blog again lol… but seriously. Please stay? : )

~dorf

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Another day another copper

May 20, 2010

Greetings!

MMO-space always seems to slow down as summer closes in. The newsflow slows. You’ve generally talked and/or analyzed coming updates with your guildies. Raid attendance and recruiting is down.

It’s also a strange time to enter the realm of MMO blogging. With not much news being thrown out there isn’t much to talk about. So for today I have a few things prepared for you. You’ve probably seen similar talks around other blogs lately.

Blizzard AH app

Honestly, I don’t even have an opinion on this. Why anyone would want it is really beyond me, and it doesn’t change the game for better or worse. Enjoy your offline AH.

Guild Wars 2 Dynamic Questing

I played Guild Wars during Beta. I don’t remember much about it, or care to really. Guild Wars 2 has made headlines though claiming it will have a dynamic questing system that will be groundbreaking to the MMO industry. Can they do it?

They elaborated a little more on the system yesterday, clearing up some confusion people had. I think all the designs that they have are awesome and truly going a step forward. The system mostly sounds like it’s going to make use of small, timed scripts. I’m all for more scripting, the more it feels like a world the better. Quest text is largely ignored by most anyways, so developers finding other ways to tell stories is a must in this guys opinion.

Bioware is doing it with their famed cutscene dialogue. And now GW2 will be attempting something new. I’m more in favor of GW2’s system than Bioware’s simply because it sounds like GW2’s system is going to give the players more control. Nothing pisses me off more than having to sit through cutscene dialogue and pick my choices. It was awesome in Baldur’s Gate. In an MMO, not so much (I’m lookin at you AoC Tortage!) But I think I’m the minority when it comes to not liking the cutscene dialogue.

Female Worgen shots released. Furry fans everywhere purr. *yawn*

Lately with me I’ve been getting in some Age of Conan when I get some free time. I dropped my Necro and picked up my Guardian again (Harn) Respec’d him to the Tempest tree and now I’m a whilring spartan-looking death machine. I’m having fun re-learning the mechanics of that game, as well as playing it. Though the melee system still urks me a bit.

As far as the future goes..

TERA is a few months away from release. This one has me interested. And as usual FFXIV.

I’ve decided I am going to return to playing WoW though. Just not right now. With the complete lack of wanting to experience any more WotLK raid content than I already have I’m holding out for Cataclysm. I’ll probably re-activate once the Cata Beta gets rolling. There’s quite a few achievements, and gold-saving I’d like to get done on Dunzlo before the expac comes out.

My pre-Cata Checklist includes:

Save 20k Gold

Justicar title

Finish all Wrath Rep Grinds (Frenzy’s and Argent Tourney)

Make sure I have all the old world Dungeon and Raid achievements.

Possibly plan on starting a new progression 10M guild.

I’d love to go back and play now, but aside from the daily and daily dungeon quests I think I would get bored too quickly. Once information starts flowing smoother about Cata, and we can actually get some numbers and data, then I’ll have something to keep me in game and talking with mah buds.

Smell ya later!

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Who would win 10vs25?

May 15, 2010

Saturdays in my office are quiet days. Days for reflection. Days where I’d like to jump out the 5th story office window. This Saturday I’m bringing you a round of news from the past week or so, and my opinions on them.

Raid Balancing 10 vs. 25 – World of Warcraft

Though I haven’t played in a few months. I still keep up on all the news regarding the game. This has been a hot topic recently, so I figured I’d comment. Equalizing 10 man and 25 man content is not a bad thing. However, without further details I can see why everyone is saying doomsday for guilds that raid 25’s. Being the ex-guild leader of a raiding guild myself I can say that this news would scare the pee right outta me.

It’s always been hard enough being a 25m guild, recruitment is a constant battle. Dealing with vacations, pregnancies, burnout. Makes it hard to progress unless you’re the top 3 guilds on the realm. I can only imagine it’s even worse right now due to Cataclysm being so far out and no real content patches coming.

But on the flipside, there are, and always have been perks to 10m raiding. As people have stated, it’s a more tight-knit group where strategies play out better, and drama is rare. When I was raiding on our 25 nights.. by the end of the night usually morale was low. We were bashing our heads against the wall every week. All due to attendance and having those 5-10 players who you’re carrying. On the weekends we started a 10’s group. Our best players.. and it was probably some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

Now I’m all for large scale raiding. To me it’s not raiding unless you have 50+ people (Go EQ).. but that dinosaur is extinct. We live in a day where raids are never any bigger than 25, and even that number seems to be dwindling.

Back on track. I like the changes announced. I do think how they stand right now kills any motivation to do 25’s, except for the “bigger group experience”

Now onto the lockout timer changes. This I think is ridiculous. Only being able to do one, or the other, and not both. There is a myriad of instances you could bring up where the proposed lockout changes will be an annoyance to players. Sure it slows down the players getting gear.. and thus progressing. But it creates millions of little issues for guild leaders and officers. We’ll find ways to deal with it, but it’s still a pain in the ass.

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer

The expansion for the game that had one of the worst launches is now out! Apparently.. Funcom actually did a pretty good job. There’s bugs, lag, and crashes. But it’s pretty much standard for a launch. No massive bugs. They did have more server downtime than they expected, but everything is up and ready for some asian styled ass-whoopin.

The positive buzz has me re-subbed. So I’m trying to blow through Tortage on my new Necromancer so I can see the new Khitai 20-40 area. I have to admit, being back in this game. They have done alot.. it’s still not completely polished. But I would say it’s 20x better than it was at launch. So far.

Rumored EQ2’s Next Expansion to be Velious

Awesome news! EQ2 has always been one of my favorites. It would be my main game if it had a strong low-mid level population. They keep the content rolling and have a strong relationship with their players. If Velious is the next expansion (which I am almost certain) and you haven’t checked out EQ2 before. I recommend doing so. Velious is an amazing continent, and I’m sure it will be even more amazing in EQ2. It was hands down the best expansion in EQ1.

Ah Coldain Ring Wars, how I miss you.

Have a happy Saturday!