People Cry About EVERYTHING (Seamless zones discussion)

Posted on December 05, 2013

I read a post about someone unhappy with a yet-to-be-released-MMO because they don't have seamless zones. My first thought was "Hell yeah! I love seamless zones. I hear you brother."

And then I stopped. And used my brain.

Name 5 MMOs with seamless zones. I'll wait...

.

.

.

.

Could you? I couldn't. I got WoW. Swtor sort of (once you are on a planet it is seamless). Google told me Asheron's Call. Can you name any more?

Even if you can name more it seems like a very silly reason to not play a game. You have severely limited yourself to a subset of MMOs. And that's bad. People that have crazy lists of the perfect spouse never get married. They get cats.

Most of us can agree that seamless zones are better, but there's a lot of technical gains from not implementing them. Immersion is really the only thing you get from implementing them in an MMO. You can't hide from monsters by zoning out (breaks immersion). You don't have to look at a loading screen (breaks immersion). The world feels huge and open instead of in rooms (immersion).

Today most games are making bigger zones than we've ever seen. At the edge do you get a little immersion break? Yes. But I also get one when I buy a bag from Haris Pilton.

By the way, play Bastion if you want to see seamless transitions happening in real time as you run! It's fascinating.

The Sun Rises: Cutth Slays Tequatl

Posted on September 21, 2013

Last night I stayed up late and took part in Sanctum of Rall downing Tequatl the Sunless. The fight is really fun and challenging. It's great to see something raid like come into Guild Wars 2. There is one huge glaring flaw though, which I'll get to in a minute.

Strategy

The strategy used was to form a dps zerg on one commander right at the dragon's feet. Everyone in this party used Powerful Potions of Undead Slaying. All the guardians went staff for empower and swapped scepter for head shots. Their job is to kill fingers, revive comrades and dps the dragon. And also, dodge waves.

Then we had two turret groups. It doesn't take a lot of skill to man the turrets but it does take someone who can pay attention. It's very easy to lose focus of skill 2 and also lose your target because the Tequatl fingers pop up and steal it. We ran with roughly 20 people in each turrent defending group. The objective is to keep mobs and fingers away from the turrets so those players can do their job.

I was part of the "south" turret team which is really more easterly than south, but that's what everyone is calling it. I ran a standard grenade build with a mix of zerker and invader gear. I'd say it worked out really well for my role. If I had been in the zerg I would have taken less zerker gear. Without toughness and vitality one missed wave can take you down.

If everyone does their job then you will see the megalaser phase. Everyone needs to get back and protect them, but once you know none of them are going down, like with 20 seconds remaining, send the zerg back to Tequatl's point to kill fingers. You should be able to kill all of them before he arrives and you get full focused dps, including the turret defenders until they are needed back north.

Rinse repeat this and you should see a death of a dragon.

The Flaw

The main flaw I see is that this will be rarely done 6 weeks from now. It takes over one hundred coordinated people to do this. Everyone is all fired up about it now but after a few kills or after they get their wings they won't be back.

I love the challenge and I think Jormag and the Shatterer are too easy. But they still get killed almost every time they spawn and it's been over a year. I don't see that happening when something requires this many people and is also this hard. I hope I'm wrong but I just can't see that.

Arena.net has a very tough job of figuring out how to make something challenging with a few people and with tons of people. Maybe it's just tweaking the auto scaling, but I haven't seen that work. Everything in the game until Tequatl has been easily overpowered with a huge zerg. This one might go too far. Time will tell.

Coin Collectors

If my theory is right and you want to make some coin, you should see all of the Tequatl drops like minis increase dramatically in price over the next three months. The dragon is dying often right now and people are flooding the market. But those will sell and then there won't be any supply. Don't hold me liable come December if you stock up on them now and lose money, but that's what I think will happen.

Comments Tags: gw2

Bloodthirsty: New Bloodlust WvW Mechanic

Posted on September 17, 2013

Patch day, patch day, gotta get down on patch day!

Today's patch releases an awesome new mechanic into WvW. By awesome I mean it sounds awesome. Time will tell. I'm sure there will be some tweaks made over time to get rid of the non-awesome parts though. That said, I'm really looking forward to trying it out this week.

There's a long post on the official site but here's a TLDR;

TLDR

  • There are 5 new ruins in each WvW map.
  • When a team holds 3 out of 5 for 2 minutes, the whole team gets the Bloodlust buff. (+50 points to all stats)
  • Technically you earn the buff with capture points. These points decay when you don't guard the ruins, eventually forcing you to lose control of them.
  • Lastly, when you have Bloodlust, you can earn war points by using finishers on fallen enemies.

Here's why it's awesome.

  • If a team wants the buff (and they should) they will need to split zergs into smaller teams and coordinate. We should see the number of smaller battles skyrocket.
  • Small battles are exciting. They encourage builds besides AoE damage and AoE support.
  • Smart commanders will form teams that can split on command for small tasks and form on command to siege a Keep. This should add some new tactics on the field.
  • Bunker builds become viable in WvW!!!! Still situational, but there's now a place where the only important feature is not dying. I love it.
Comments Tags: gw2, wvw, patch

State of the Professions

Posted on September 15, 2013

A guildmate of mine has been doing some research both in game and on the forums in regards to the current perception of how professions are faring. It's important to note that this is based on perception. Some players' perception is based on experience and observation. Some players have actually run numbers on DPS and health and toughness and come up different situations. It's also important to note that players have an insane range of skill level.

Each profession has been rated as one of the following (from my guildmate's post)

  • Strong: efficient & desirable
  • Nominal: can be used will little impact on group/game play
  • Weak not desirable or if played requires more effort than other classes to achieve results

  • PvE Farming - Open World and/or General Dungeon Running
  • PvE Fractal - High End Fractal Dungeons
  • WvW Zerg - Coordinated Open World Zerg usage
  • WvW Roam - 1v1 situational
  • sPvP - High end Tournament competitions

This is in no way my opinion. It's simply a research experiment based on the community's current perception.

I like what I see in the Engineer column. The only non strong is in the WvW Roam column, which I think is useless anyway. Why 1v1 in WvW? I frequently run in a small group in WvW but never alone.

Usually when running in this 5-10 man group I run a heavy healing and condition removal build. Here is an example. That build is a little light on damage but the guys I run with do more than enough. This focuses on condition stripping and healing.

Reconsidering stats for WvW: Toughness and Vitality

Posted on September 10, 2013

Right now I'm focusing on WvW with my Engineer and it's forcing me to reconsider stats. Defense in sPvP was all about dodging, blocking, cc and vitality for me. Except one build I ran purely for bunkers with super high vitality and toughness.

Now in WvW, you just. get. hit. All the time. The good news is that most of this damage is normal AoE damage and your toughness isn't useless against them! Toughness is best designed for normal, non burst damage. Tada! That's what we have.

I read a few forums where people's arguments basically looked like this:

Toughness > Vitality in WvW because racecar

I want to remove some of the magic from that statement:

Toughness > Vitality in WvW because of AoE and Healing

That leads to my second point. Toughness does not affect Healing but Vitality makes Healing weaker. Keep in mind I'm speaking from an idealogical standpoint here. Vitality doesn't actually weaken your heals. But it does make them less effective if (and only if) you gave up some toughness to get that vitality.

Consider this example: Someone hits you for 1000. If your toughness reduces that to 800, you only need to heal 800 points to be back to full. But if you took the full 1000 damage, then you need to heal 1000 to get back to full regardless of how high your health pool is.

Back in the Saddle

Posted on September 09, 2013

This is my first post in almost ten months. Along the way I bought a new house and my wife had a baby. I'm finally settling back in to some great video game time. I've jumped back in to Guild Wars 2 and have to say thanks to my guild, Gaiscioch for making it so easy. I literally haven't played in six months and the first night I logged in I got swept into guild night WvW and had a blast.

But because of how I am, I can't just play a video game. Maybe it's because I run the product team at a tech startup, I don't know, but I have to nitpick it and dream of new features and do a little math on the table next to me. So here's my thought of the week:

Why hasn't anyone made a real website for their MMO?

World of Warcraft has come the closest. All the armory stuff is alright but honestly not what I'm looking for. It's more for showing off your character. When you get to be a certain age, that's just not important. What they did right however is being able to use the Auction House. Something like that basically lets me play the game when I can't play the game.

And that's all I really want. How can I play the game when I can't play the game. Managing the Auction House is a good start, but how about managing inventory, crafting, using the Mystic Forge? These are all places tied to a location that don't really have to be. Maybe I have to park my character's leather bound butt in Lion's Arch to do this. I'm ok with that. But it would be really cool to have something that progresses me.

Crafting almost feels like a waste of time for me because I only have a couple of precious hours in the evening. I would rather be hurling grenades off the side of a keep than making pasta. I still want to make the pasta though! Let me do it on the bus or in this meeting I'm in right now.

Anyway, that's what I'd love to see from an MMO web site. Not a place to show off new armor or look up someone's achievements; but a real live gaming experience.

Comments Tags: gw2, ideas

The Honeymoon Is Over

Posted on November 15, 2012

Guild Wars 2 has been out for almost 2 months now. The initial leveling and crafting rush is over. It's hilarious to see people brag about "being here since the beginning". It IS the beginning. Right now. But it is far enough in to start thinking about the long term.

I'm still having a blast in GW2, especially WvW. It's the best WvW/RvR I've experienced in a long, long time. So this is not a whine post or a "Guild Wars didn't live up to my expectations" post. It's just too things I think GW2 needs to maintain longevity.

What does GW2 need (now)?

sPvP rank matching. A full ladder system would be awesome, but they at least need to get in some simple "average rank of the team" matching going. The paid/free tournament system is broken and here is why: You need tickets to play in the paid ones. You get tickets from free ones. This just encourages the best teams to go stomp the bad teams. Then they go play in paid. If they don't win, they are forced to go stomp some noobs again.

The random levels of play my group faces in Free Tournaments is horrible. And it gets old. People can talk all they want about Private Arenas and the monthly tournaments but these things are far less important than matching skill level to skill level. It's the one thing that will benefit hardcore l33t "professional" gamers and the first timer who is checking out sPvP. It needs to be done quickly.

Threat mechanics I know this probably won't happen. And I'm not talking about Holy Trinity here. I'm talking about some skill that each profession can have to draw aggro or give it away temporarily. As it is, no one really understands exactly how the threat is working. (It'd be nice if A.net would just tell us.) I think some skills where you draw attention automatically for 4 seconds would really make dungeons a lot more fun. Expert Dungeons just feel like chaos right now. Even with a good group that has a "tank" there's a lack of control in the fights. For me it's fun to do each one once, but I have no interest in repeating them for fun or for the gear.

These two things would make sPvP and PvE a lot more fun for me, and I think everyone.

Comments Tags: ideas

Setting up Camp

Posted on October 29, 2012

Most of you probably already know that Engineers have emerged as an excellent Bunker profession, something I figured would happen after first playing with the shield and turrets. What I didn't expect was that the best bunker build wouldn't use turrets at all (imho).

I've spent the last week playing a bunker build and pretty much not dying. It's not perfect, as I can't really kill anyone else, but at least I don't lose a node before my team can catch up.

Here's a link to the build I'm running.

A couple of points:

  • I don't take Self Regulating Defenses because you can't control when it happens, and using Elixir S takes you out of the node ticks. Meaning if you use it, your presence doesn't count for defending or taking a node.
  • Going high on toughness instead of Vitality allows me to put less into + healing and get the same bang for the buck. Unfortunately this means your only real condition defense is to remove them, which is why I have Cleansing 409, Elixir C, and 20% elixir CD reduction.
  • The medkit skill 5 is your only source of swiftness. However if you are playing Bunker right, you shouldn't need it that often. I mostly use it in the beginning to get to my node.
  • Generally speaking, Big Ole Bomb is you clearing push back and your Shield is your "OMG save my downed friend" push back, although I have been known to use both to get people off my node.

All in all, there's a lot of personal choice in a bunker build. I've had a lot of fun playing it in tournaments but not so much in Hot Join. For Hot Join I think I will stick to killing stuff.

Dress to Kill

Posted on October 08, 2012

So GW2 Armor is getting a lot of buzz. It's a great site and it makes it really easy to pick out exotic armor based on how it looks. But I'm more of the player that picks on stats first, looks second.

So to make it easy, I've made this spreadsheet of all the Exotic Armor, how to get it, and what the stats are. Not just Primary stat: Power, Secondary: Precisions. But the actual stat numbers.

The chart is color coded by sets that have the same stats. It's amazing how many choices you get of style once you pick the stats you want.

The Spreadsheet!

Keep in mind that you can mix and match any of these to get the stats you really want. Let's say you want Precision, Critcal Damage, and Toughness. Well you are out of luck. But you could get Power/Pre/Critical Dmg/Toughness by mixing Berserker's and Knight's. I won't judge the way you look, especially if you use some Transmutation stones.

Cutth on the Hunt!

Posted on October 02, 2012

Today I begin my quest for The Predator, the Guild Wars 2 Legendary Rifle. It is likely to be a long journey filled with spoilers so take heed.

The only thing I know is that I first need the Rifle called "The Hunter" and as far as I know, you can get this by paying someone a whole lot of gold or by joining four high level items in the Mystic Forge and getting lucky.

So here goes, tonight I start farming rifles and throwing them to the wind. I will document everything here.

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