Archive for August, 2011

I didn’t invent the term, but damn do I love it.  I took some time the other day to submit some questions over to Sanya, and just get a feel for what’s going on in their head that we’ve not really talked about.  Some has been talked about since then, and some of this may sound new.  Either way, it’s straight from the horse’s mouth, so you can’t get any closer than this without Warren signing your paycheck.

Going Rancid: In the first Q&A, it was stated that character progression was targeted at a month.  Is that achieving maximum skill points, or actually being able to compete in Dominus?  If the former, what’s the draw to keep players playing when there isn’t any tangible progression?

Sanya Weathers: It is my opinion that we will be adjusting that. We do want people to be kicking ass on Dominus within a few weeks, but I’m not sure maxing out in a couple of weeks will turn out to be our best choice of action.

Our beta testers will let us know.

[Rancid:  I hope it takes more than a month. I want a good ol’ fashioned sense of accomplishment for hitting 1000 skillpoints.  We’ll see how this evolves, but it’s no surprise that some might make it there rather quickly.  That’s how it goes.]

GR: Aside from having a lootable corpse, are there any other temporary effects for dying?  Ie, while in a newly cloned state, your stats are reduced by X%.

SW: Right now (8/24/2011), your stats are only reduced if you’re rezzed.

[Rancid: I’m not fond of this idea. I’m hoping for a more meaningful death penalty, as it should be some sort of deterrent to running into a zerg with guns blazing.  It helps encourage more strategic gameplay.]

GR: Are there any enhancements available to the UI for those who might be colorblind or otherwise visually impaired?

SW: We’re working on it. I can always count on my colorblind testers to point out areas where the existing UI is failing them. (Remember late 90s MMOs, where the purple cons and the blue cons were totally indistinguishable from each other? My colorblind reporter friend never misses a chance to remind me of that ;))

Right now there’s a little chevron system in addition to color for cons, by the way. If it’s higher level than you, the chevron points up. If it’s lower, it points down.

[Rancid: Glad to hear this. It doesn’t personally affect me, but it does affect other people, and with some stuff that’s so easy to fix, it’s a no brainer to keep all the people happy that you can.]

GR: Can you elaborate on some of the audio cues that will be available in the game?  Will there be true combat sounds (realistic sound effects of people parrying attacks, blocking, etc)?

SW: It’s still up in the air. Some battle sounds happen so often that the sound effect we picked is annoying.

GR: Will there be the ability to tie our in-game characters to our profiles in the forums and use in-game models for avatars?

SW: No to the in-game avatar model, it turns out to be a resource hog that is not on our priority list. I definitely have a whole system of opt-in stuff in mind for forum/in-game connections and bragging.

[Rancid: There’s not enough epeen wagging tools out there these days.  It keeps the community connected, especially on bigger servers. I like this.]

GR: Will crafted armor (or any armor for that matter) all look the same, or will different pieces use different models?  Can the same piece be crafted to use different models (similar to an appearance slot)

SW: Different pieces use different models, but at this time every piece of a particular name uses the same model. I mean, if you craft a Primal Death Helmet, it’s going to look like all the other Primal Death Helmets but it won’t look like the Helmet of Space Whomping. (I totally made up these names.) Our intent is for you to customize with dyes, which are player-made.

[Rancid: I hope this goes along with being able to visually ID a class at a distance.  The extra couple seconds to plan out your strategy is important.  It’s also why some casters in DAoC will pay real life cash for bugged out shields that can be equipped by anyone, even casters…]

GR: Housing:  Yay? Nay?  Want to, but not high in the list?

SW: Definitely not at launch.

[Rancid:  This is a good answer for me. I loved housing.  I know it was mostly fluff, but it added an emotional attachment to the game that I don’t know can be duplicated elsewhere. Models, merchants, and customization isn’t an easy thing to throw it, but I think it pays off in spades for community relations.  I’m happy they’re not saying “Not no, but hell no” to it.]

GR: In regards to the Trinity, is there a Rock/Paper/Scissors aspect to this game?  Are certain classes supposed to kill certain other classes? (like melee DPS shredding ranged DPS, but getting waxed by tanks)

SW: No, not really. We’ve set it up so that there’s too much variability available for each class for there to be an (insert archetype) killer.

GR: Are there plans to offer an online career builder, or at least furnish the community with the appropriate resources to build one on our own?

SW: I’m hoping for the latter, if you want to know the honest truth. My community will always build something more useful than I will, because my community will build the tool for the way people actually play, as opposed to the way we think they will play.

[Rancid: I’m liking this mentality. If the resources are available, I’d most definitely get myself involved in it.  I’m a super nerd like that.  Using my powers for good and all that whatnot.]

GR: Will there be a program similar to the Team Lead system (without all the bias “fix my stuff or else” crap)?

SW: Tell me how you really feel 😉 The High Council, currently composed of the alpha and some beta testers, is the seed of the eventual system. At some point I will be switching the Council to special invitation only. Council members will see concepts and designs and give input while things are being developed.

[Rancid: I’m still bitter about not being the Druid TL in DAoC.  I hope it shows.  I was epic win.]

GR: Have you ever farted in a phone booth?  I’d never heard that, so I figured I might as well ask. I’m also out of real questions by now.

SW: Dude, how old do you think I am? 😉

[Rancid: Old enough to work as a CSR in the year 2000. :)]

So there you have it.  I’m working on another interview series behind the scenes here, so keep yourself glued to the blog.  Both of you.  Ok, you can take turns….

[WAR] De-Evolution of ORvR

Posted: August 16, 2011 in WAR

It’s been a while since I’ve had a WAR-related post, so here goes nothin’

I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one.  I’m not even tempted to try out Wrath of Heroes.  In fact, I’m overly disappointed with the way that BioWare (I’m not going to even apply the Mythic tag anymore, as I would affectionately do from time to time) went with this.

If you don’t want to hear about ORvR, then click the back button.  Don’t leave a bitchy comment; I’ll roast you like a chestnut at Christmas.

As one who played WAR for nearly two years (which is pretty long, considering the average WAR player’s tenure in the game), I appreciate how the game started with a fully open RvR feeling.  There were keeps being sieged all over the place.  The zerg would run here to there, try to get in to kill the Lord, and then get that random chance (and I snicker as I type that) to get gold bag.  Sure, scenarios were  popping up here and there, but it was a rarity to have someone drop out of a good keep siege, or a huge open-world skimish to hop into an instance and fight for a flag.  After all, there were 80 faces to melt out here, and 12 in there.  The math said that there was more fun to be had out here.  Plus, nothing compares to ass-jamming a zerg with a group of about a dozen late comers and ending the battle in mayhem.

Then things changed.  Fortresses turned into lag-fests.  Servers started crashing.  People started raging.  The balance issues in the game wore people down.  Rain.  Of. Fire.  People started leaving.  So what’s a company to do?  Well, it made sense to strike fortresses from the game for the time being.  Campaign streamlined.  I fault them in not testing it better, but not the decision to put the fortresses out of their misery.  It happens.  We moved on.

Then came the new City Siege.  It was arguably better-organized than before.  It was now a giant scenario.  Ok, anything was better than having to figure out the complicated City Siege which was originally in place.  Also, putting out fires sucked.  While I liked the new objective-based City, it pained me that ORvR would eventually lead to a scenario.  I didn’t play non-instanced-PvP to get thrown into instanced-PvP.  This hurt me.

Now let’s talk about Scenario Currency.  The progression of your character stopped at Rank 80.  Ta-Da, you won the game.  Time to melt more faces, and do what you want to do.  *SCREECHING TIRES* Just kidding.  Now you need to play Scenarios (and a crapton of them) to keep up with others due to this nice and fancy token system.  Not the open-RvR medallion system.  These tokens could be turned in for great weapons and other “niceties” to help you compete against your enemies.  Where’s the draw to go ORvR now?  Hrm, seems to be fading.

And the final nail in the coffin comes in the form of the new Keep Siege.  There is NOTHING Open about this system, aside from the fact it actually occurs in a RvR lake.  The mechanics are scripted, the upgrades are scripted, the entire system has moved from a choice-based system (in regards to when and where to fight) to a play-here-now-k-thx-bai system.

What’s the point of an ORvR game if it isn’t really open?

You’re right, there is no point.  You might as well just take out Keeps and Lakes, take out the PvE, take out the quests (the gear sucked, compared to SC/Renown gear). Hell, might as well take out leveling, since that was so trivial compared to the grind to 100.

Why don’t you just change this game into a persistent FPS?  Maybe call it… Wrath of Heroes.

No lies here.  I’ve been incredibly busy at work, which is when I usually keep tabs on all the games of the world.  I actually do work too, but most of the time I’m waiting on requirements and I get to peruse the interwebs and all their glory.

I just managed to get around to reading the crafting FAQ.  There’s so much win in there, I can’t put into words just how excited I am to try Prime.  I’ll try though!

1.  1,000 points to max a crafting skill.  It was all to easy to get 300 points in WoW or 280 or whatever in Rift.  Having 1,000 points necessary means it’s going to take some time.  That leads to a more manageable economy as every Tom, Dick and Harry won’t be out there filling the AH with useless wares.  I’m all for competition, but sorting through pages of useless crap is annoying.

2.   Maxing secondary crafts at 200.  This reminds me a lot of DAoC before the “accessibility patches” that took the fun out of crafting.  With only 200 points, you’ll be able to bump your lowbies up a bit, but you won’t be able to be self-sufficient in every aspect.  You’ll have to spend quite a few hours to get to 1,000 in every craft (see why I like #1?)

3.  Considering crafting hubs.  I love this idea.  The sadistic part of me really wants some of those hubs to be PvP enabled.  I remember crafting in a keep in DAoC and get wtf ganked in the middle of an order.  What a pain.

4.  Crafting skill gains depend on combat skill.  This is really going to help stave off the lowbie crafting twinks.  I don’t mind those twinks really, but this will get people out doing PvP, which I love more.

5.  Biotech.  I’ve already mentioned that I love the idea of armor augments.  With the decay of items, this profession seems like it will be in high demand.

6.  Espionage System – Stealing trade secrets sounds pretty sweet.  I look forward to ganking some sweet recipes and then murdering the person I stole them from.

Needless to say, I really want to give this a try. Mix this system with a fully-realized open-world PvP system and I’m in love.  I cannot wait for this game to come out.