Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Aion: Fighting in the Abyss

As a fan of PvP and RvR, I can't help but keep an eye on Aion. Today I did some reading and watching about life in the Abyss. It has similarities with other games like WAR, but is also different.

Keep Sieges. The keep siege system looks very similar to WAR. The door is the main line of the defense. Attackers must break down the door using their abilities or siege weapons. The door is healed through a device inside the keep. Flying into the keep is generally a bad idea as there is a damaging field. This field can be turned off once you break through the doors. Once in you kill a boss and the castle is yours. To watch the tutorial video's, check out this thread.

I've also read that there are no incentives for holding a keep, so keep trading is rampant on existing servers. If it is true, that would be a real shame.

Artifacts. There are a number of area effecting artifacts in the game. They are captured from special npc-guarded locations throughout the abyss. It almost sounds like some of them are 1-time use, tough to tell right now. They don't seemed to be tied to keeps/forts at all.

Mobile Rez. You can carry a kisk (mobile obelisk) around with you that will act as a respawn point. Only a limited amount of players can bind to it and it can be destroyed. No more long walks back to the fight, but it could also mean perpetual life in a way. I'd have to see it in practice, but it is interesting.

Hero System. A select amount of players on each side will be able to become Guardians/Heroes. This turns them into a raid boss with special skills (and some restrictions). Only the top tier of players will be able to turn into these of course. These players will be worth more Abyss Points, but will be able to take on many players by themselves as well. I don't know how well this will work out but it's something different. See this thread for more info.

For a video of a Cleric as a Hero/Guardian, check this out. They get a powerful heal... so you can imagine what happens.

Zerg On. One of the biggest complains about WAR is that it is all about the Zerg. Nevermind the fact that all PvP, except those who activly choose not to, degenerates into a zerg. Aion's engine seems to allow Zerg on a scale yet unseen. See this video. Names are still on, but characters are not visible. We'll have to wait and see what it will be like in game.

Collision. Aion doesn't appear to have any player collision detection. It probably helps their engine, but I liked it in WAR. It gives tanks a good purpose in keep defense.

What about the Twinkie?

A couple weeks ago I got my hands on Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the XBox 360. I've been a Ghostbusters fan for a long time and was looking forward to the game. The previous efforts were not bad at all, but it has been a while since a new Ghostbusters game came out. I figured I should post some kind of review for it.

Here is what you need to know about the game:

Story. Written by Aykroyd and Ramis. Takes you to a lot of places in the original Ghostbusters films but adds a lot more detail.

Graphics. I was very surprised with how good the graphics are. They are top notch in many places.

Gameplay. Using your proton pack is tough at first, but once you buy some upgrades it becomes much more fun.

Voice Acting. All the original Ghostbusters are back and so are a lot of the supporting cast (no Moranis). It does add a lot to the game for me, as the actors are a big part of why the movie was good.

Multiplayer. There is a Multiplayer element and it is pretty neat. I would buy the game for it, but it is there.

Replay. There are hidden items to find, but the replay value isn't very high.

Ghostbusters. The developers spent a lot of time making this feel like the Ghostbusters world. There are so many small details from the movie in the game. They didn't stop there as they expanded the lore. From sliding down the pole, to the ball room at the hotel, it's all there.

I think it is a great game. The bottom line is, if you are a fan of Ghostbusters then get this game. At least rent it, it is certainly worth the money.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Return of the Producers Letter: Part 1

Mythic posted Part 3 of their Producer Letter series. Trilogies seem to be still in vogue. It contains the normal prerequisites that an official letter must have. Commitment, support, recap yada, yada, yada.

Combat and Careers. Many of the changes we saw in the short lived jumbo 1.3 patch will be making a comeback. Tears will be raining down like a Monsoon. Listen to the bass go.... sorry, got sidetracked. This time they will implement them piecemeal though. Excellent idea as you may see not all the changes are necessary.

One thing I don't understand is Mythic's seemingly love affair with the KNOCKDOWN, not back. They want to put the Knockback and root on the same immunity timer. A while back they increased the knockback immunity timer, but did not touch (or say they touched) the knockdown timer.

Knockdown's are the worst type of crowd control, as you cannot do anything. Knockback's save as many people as they get killed. Yet it never seems to bear the brunt of Mythics balancing. By all means keep taking away the non-lethal ways my Engineer can defend himself, but leave all those AoE knockdowns in play.

AM/Shaman/Zealot/RP will all be getting some attention, in a good way. Marauders and White Lions were not so lucky.

End Game. It seems the next major effort for the dev team will be to improve the city siege. This has been a long time coming. As it stands now, the contested phase (the first one) is the only time when PvP is involved with the end game. That wouldn't be so bad if it was actually fun, but it is not.

The PQ that spawns will now be optional. Instead, each side will be required to hold 3/4 objectives in order to win the stage. But, if they kill the PQ boss, they win too. While that is nice, will players just try to find an undefended instance so that they can farm the PQ? Sounds like something players would do. Also, while one side is defending the 3 objectives, the enemy can just go beat the PQ boss for a win. I'm not 100% sure this hybrid system will have the desired effect.

The 2nd phase of the city siege is having RvR added to it as well. I have never actually seen this phase, but I do believe it was just 2 PvE encounters. It sounds like the contested phase will continue on, but the winners can choose to go do the PvE instances. Will that leave enough population for the attackers to fight on the streets?

The third and final phase, the King, is mostly remaining the same. Except that the previous phases will remain active with RvR. If the defenders win the first-phase, they will shorten the time that the attacker has to take down the King. This is an interesting idea.

Population is my big concern. Lets say it is 100 vs 100 and the attackers win. 30 of them go off to do the higher level content (Stage 2 and 3), now it is 70 - 100. That doesn't sound very fun for those 70 who remain. The defenders will enjoy it as the 70 vacate the zone and they can farm the PQ. The folks who may have gotten to the king will be disappointed that they have no time with him as the PQ is being farmed. These are just arbitrary numbers, but you get the idea.

This has run on long enough for one post, more to come later.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fight Finder v1.1

WAR is everywhere, when you have Fight Finder!

Fight Finder is an add-on which keeps you informed about the all of the RvR going on in the game. If you are hanging out and Tier 4 and a Tier 1 fight breaks out, Fight Finder will tell you so you can hop on that alt and join the fun.

At present, you are notified via a chat message using the RvR filter. It would like like this:

[!] Heavy Fighting reported in Praag!

Version 1.1 is now available on curse. In addition to command line access (use /ff help in game), Fight Finder will now give you Keep reports throughout the game. This will let you know if your allies or enemies are up to something so you can join/spoil their fun.

Requirements: LibSlash

Upcoming Changes: Different types of notifications, Filter by Tier

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's not the end of the world

As you have no doubt heard, EA is restructuring Bioware and Mythic under a new MMO group. This group will be lead by Ray Muzyka at Bioware. Mark Jacobs will be leaving and co-founder Rob Denton will report to Ray. In essence, Mythic will now report to Bioware.

It is no secret that WAR did not meet expectations. That isn't to say it's a failure as it is still a popular game. As Mark lead the studio, it is his responsibility. EA was likely not pleased and here we are. When corporations merge divisions, there are usually too many executives and not enough positions. Someone has to go.

What does this mean for Mythic and WAR? It is hard to tell as we are not privy to the details. It could be that Mythic is still largely independent or it could be Bioware will be very involved. I think it will be the former, as right now Mythic is still intact. New leadership, in the form of Bioware, could end up being beneficial to WAR in the long run.

In the coming months, we will see how this plays out. There is a chance this could be the smoke before the fire of WAR coming to an end. I don't think so, but the possibility is there. Better yet, maybe this is the start of the TOR/WAR MMO empire.

I have noticed quite a few posts/comments out there with an undercurrent of glee to outright joy at the possibility of WAR failing. This isn't a big surprise and I suspect most of them are failures and just unhappy people. When the prospect of other people joining in their misery comes about, they finally have a chance to be happy. If MMO's failing brings you happiness, it's time to log off and go make something of yourself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Opening Day Impressions

Yesterday the Land of the Dead opened in WAR. On Badlands, Order won the race and was granted access for a day. I won't be saying that the LotD is good or bad for the game, as it is way too early to tell. I know some people on my server proclaimed it to be awful for the game a few minutes after logging in. Others enjoyed it quite a bit.

When Order is away, Destro will play. Destruction took advantage of Orders armies being away and launched an invasion of Altdorf. A few of us decided to defend rather than stay in the LotD. We put up a valiant fortress defense, but only bought us a little time.

The city defense went pretty well. In our instance there was a lot of fighting until Destruction left with about 20 minutes left. This allowed us access to the PQ. In the end I walked away with a good amount of renown and 4 Invader Crests.

I was also able to get my Ironbreaker to 25 yesterday. He immediately hopped on the first airship to Zandri. Being bolstered to 36 is really nice as I could hold my own. I participated in a few PQ's and got two purple bags. Sadly, the items can't be used until I hit level 31. It was fun and I made some decent experience.

I almost feel bad for the denizens of Zandri. Order was down there in force. PQ bosses were dropping like flies to the massive zergs. This is only temporary of course. Once the newness wears off you will see less people there at a time.

This morning around 11am EDT is when the early access wears off so we will see how the purge mechanics work. Overall, I had a fun day yesterday between the city defense and the LotD. That is what this new zone is about for me, options.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Land of the Dead Opens

Today Warhammer Online's new zone, The Land of the Dead, opens. The winner of the Rise of the Tomb Kings will get a full days access before being able to be purged by their enemy. I'm not really sure what time the new zone opens, but the Herald message makes it seem like this morning.

Sadly, I did not make my goal of having my Ironbreaker ready before its launch. He is rank 24 with 75% more to go. I will of course be hitting up the new zone with Tirew, so Hoplon will have to wait. On Badlands, Order has the lead as of this morning. It isn't a large lead, so who knows if we will still be ahead when the zone opens.

Be ready for the complaints about no one being in the old world once the zone launches. Its something new, so everyone will be all over it. I am going to wait a few weeks to judge how the expansion was for the game. I won't spend all of my time in the new zone, as PvE isn't my thing. Once the newness wears off, I'll need some real competition and head back to the Old World.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New WAR Add-on: Fight Finder

I was feeling especially productive this morning, so I made a small WAR add-on called Fight Finder. This add-on will notify you of any fights happening in every zone. For example, if I am questing in High Pass and a fight breaks out in Avelorn, I will get a message.

It is based on Hotspots, so small skirmishes may not register. You are notified via a chat message through the RvR filter. It will only notify you once per zone for each battle size. For example, if a small battle goes on in Praag, you will get a message. If it escalates to a large battle, you will get a message. Otherwise, the next message you get for Praag will be a new battle.

This was a quick and simple project, so please let me know if you want any improvements. I don't feel like registering for Curse yet... maybe if people actually find this useful.

You can download it here. Just unzip it to your WAR\Interface\AddOns directory.

UPDATE: Changed link to Curse.

Tank On

In my post, Things to do before the Land of the Dead, I wanted to get my Ironbreaker to Level 25 so he could journey to the new zone. In the first few weeks, it should be quite a popular place so leveling should be good. This weekend was spent mostly leveling him.

I must say playing the IB, Hoplon, has bee a lot of fun. Like any good Dwarf, I took up my shield and a hammer. Currently he is rank 23, but almost to 24. Those 63k Exp quests were a great help. I am currently working my way up the Brotherhood mastery path toward Earthshatter.

When using a shield, I have found my damage pretty abysmal, but that is perfectly fine with me. I am playing the IB as a defensive tank class, so offensive power is not really required. It seems that they are damage mitigation machines and a lot of fun to play.

My current goal is to reduce damage to my group as much as possible. If the enemy attacks me, great. If not I can still do a good job of reducing their damage. I will often lead with Challenge, which reduces all enemies damage in front of me by 30%. To help protect myself and my Oath Friend I use Runic Shield often which absorbs some damage.

When the opportunity is there I will use Away with Ye (knockback) and Taunt/attack. The rest of the time you'll find me Holding the Line. There is something satisfying about seeing all of the blocks, absorbs and Disrupts go flying by. If they decide to focus fire on me, I pop Shield Wall and hope my team can take advantage.

Once I get Earthshatter, I should be even more dangerous. Until then I am having fun in my current role. There are some frustrations though. Choppa's still wreck me and Squig Herders can kite me forever.

It has been a nice change from my Engineer as they play totally different. On Badlands, we always seem to have a lack of tanks, so I hope I can contribute soon. A healer is next on my list, as we are in desperate need of them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

WoW adds PvP Exp

With the 3.2 patch, Blizzard plans to give experience points in Battlegrounds. You can read the full Q&A here. At first I was very excited, as I love PvP leveling. Then I read this:

"Experience will be granted based on honor gain from actions, not kills. For example, if you capture a flag in Warsong Hold, you would gain experience, but killing a player would not grant experience."

That seems to kill the notion of leveling via PvP. The following section they even say that they want it to be slower than leveling via PvE. Why can't it be equal?

WoW also does not have any kind of Bolster (increase stats to an arbitrary level for that level tier) mechanic, so it will still be quite painful versus all of those higher level players when you are at the bottom of the tier. Luckily Twinks will be in their own bracket, so you won't have to deal with them. There is also no loot drops on players, so gearing up only by BG's might be difficult.

Blizzard seems so close to giving people a good PvE alternative, but they are reluctant to take the steps that are needed. Add in a basic Bolster mechanic to even the playing field some and grant experience from kills. It would be nice for PvP not to just be a waste until you are level capped.

If Blizzard did make PvP leveling viable, would I play? Maybe. There is still no end game I am interested in. Also PvP in WoW just feels strange after playing WAR for so long. It's hard to put my finger on it, but it really does feel like it was tacked on rather than being planned from the start.


Mythic has always been pretty good about communication with their players. Recently though, one member of their team has gone above and beyond. Bryant, a Senior testing Lead, has been very active on the WAR forums.

He doesn't give any great details or revelations but does more for the community than other developers. Most of his posts just acknowledge a bug and give some sort of status about it. It may be that they know about it and it's been fixed or that it's been added to their tracking system and they are working on it.

You can offer all the in-game rewards that you want, but giving feedback on bug reports is the best way you can encourage more in the future. Most players will feel very satisfied knowing that they were heard and contributed to improving the game.

I don't know how much time it takes Bryant each day to respond on the forums, but it has been well worth it. So please Mythic, give him a bonus or something as he has been doing an excellent job. Dealing with the community is likely not in his job description, so that is really nice of him ;)

Overall I think this is a good lesson in communication. You don't have to spend all your time on the forums writing novels to the players. Acknowledgments and small status updates work wonders.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

UI Improvements

I spent some time yesterday on my WAR UI. It has long been neglected and became quite cluttered. Using WAR's native interface tools I was able to adjust it so it is very minimal and gives a lot of screen space. Here is what it looks like now.

I am planning on recording some battle videos in the near future, so this UI should allow for much better viewing.

In other WAR news....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You just lost a refinery!

Yesterday was Patch Day in WAR and overall it went pretty smooth. I had some patcher issues, but it was all resolved ones the server came back up. I logged in and got to work exploring the new content.

The first thing I did was setup my Auto-Roll. Maybe it's just me, but I find it fun to see what I got after a big fight. So far it has been mostly green's with some Officer Medallions, but still it is nice not to have windows popping up.

Then I headed down to the Lucky Lady PQ in Aldorf. There was only a couple of us to start and we failed during the second stage. The airship blew up and Order lost the war. The second try we completed it with the help of a few more people. I won a gold bag but the only choice in it was the Shroud which I received for helping out on PTS.

After that I went and did the Iron Eagle quest line. I loved that movie as a kid. Fighter Jets and Twisted Sister, how can you go wrong? The sequels were awful though. The quest itself was pretty good and it paid well.

Then it was into the RvR lakes where the real fun started. I could only play during the afternoon but there was plenty of action. We went back and forth over the Airship Cargo crates in small group action (12 vs 12). I even won an Invader Crest with the help of the warcamp guards.

Mixed in we played Reikland Factory. That scenario is a nice change of pace from the normal rotation. My FPS did take a beating in there though, wonder if it needs some optimizations. The scenario was popping with pretty good frequency. Between the crates and the Factory, it was almost nonstop action.

As of this morning, the score on Badlands is 725,000 to 690,000 in favor of Destruction. The event lasts until the 23rd, so I expect these numbers to get pretty large. I have not completed all 10 tasks yet as I still need the blueprints and two more fuel tanks from the factory.

The event has been great fun so far. I do think the event lasts a bit longer than it should. I'm sure many will tire of fighting over the crates and the same scenario for a week. Mythic does have to accommodate a lot of people, so there may not be much they can do. I hope Tier 3 is busier with the event, could be a great time to level my IB to 25.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rise of the Tomb Kings Task List

The Live Event, Rise of the Tomb Kings, has started! Here is the full task list for the event.

Completing the tasks contributes toward your realms total score. A good bit of them are RvR too, so it should make for some interesting times.

It has begun

The Land of the Dead expansion and patch 1.3 go live, today! It starts with the Rise of the Tomb Kings event and culminates with one realm getting full access to Zandri for a day. I expect the RvR to be fast and furious as both sides compete for the prize. The new patch contains many improvements, read the notes here.

Land of the Dead. I've talked about it quite a bit already, so enough said.

Auto-Roll. This system allows you to set roll preferences for loot. It worked very nicely on PTS. It is very granular so you won't have to ever see a loot window again if you so choose.

Lifelines. Regis not included. If you get disconnected in a dungeon and scenario, you will be able to reconnect and be where you were. I really hope this applies to fortresses too.

Deadbolt. A new Keep Upgrade has been added, Deadbolt, which allows you to look the back door of the inner keep. This should stop those pesky ninja's.

Bag Space. Is more bag space the one thing that no gamer ever complains about? Seems like some sort of universal constant. Well, you get more with 1.3.

Sigils. Get your wards by the armor you have, killing players, killing bosses and other ways. More options == good.

Scenario Fixes. Many scenarios have been adjusted. The dreaded Black Fire Basin looks a lot more fun now.

Rewards. Tokens for Keep defenders, tokens for keep/BO defense quests, more bags for attackers if it is a larger fight. Upgraded keeps yield more rewards.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stuff to get in the Land of the Dead

With the Land of the Dead fast approaching, you may be wondering what is down there that you would want. Gold will not go very far with the risen dead, but scarabs will. With these tokens there are a number of items you can trade them in for, in addition to the plunder from our gracious hosts.

Tyrant gear is the highest end loot in the zone. You can trade in tokens for the Gloves and the belt. The rest of it will be from drops in the Tomb of the Vulture Lord. The loot system is a bit different than other dungeons though as pieces will drop per archetype rather than class. Mythic has said that these drops will be very rare though, so don't go in here with the idea of farming your Tyrant set. The image below is probably not accurate state wise anymore.

Souls are a new type of talisman used in vessel weapons. These can be bought for tokens or looted off many of the denizens of the zone. The longest duration soul I have seen is 8 hours. As they are quite useful (and you'll probably need 3 or 4 at a time) it should be some incentive to keep coming back to the zone.

There are several new crafting goods to buy with tokens. I suspect these will be popular, especially the run speed talisman (thanks Radishlaw!). These can only be found within the Land of the Dead.

Jewelery and accessories also play a big part of the rewards in the new zone. Many new 2 piece jewelry sets have been added which can be traded for with tokens. In the Tomb you can also get a 5 piece jewelery set (1 piece is available through tokens). Cloaks are also included in the sets. According to the devs, these are meant to compliment your Lost Vale and Invader gear.

A new item type has been added to the game that allows you to summon NPC help. Four of these items can be purchased with tokens from a vendor. I never did get to try them out on PTS but they look very interesting. I wonder if they will work back in the Old World?

There are also trophies that you can buy with tokens and who knows what else. I wouldn't be surprised to see a mount in there at some point. It looks like there is a lot to keep most players busy fighting over the zone for a while.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Clip Show Friday!

It's been a busy week here on Werit. That means you get a clip show!

On Werit...

Bones for Werit - A package from Mythic!

Crafting in the Land of the Dead - What's new with crafting down south?

Tomb of the Vulture Lord Footage - Small peak into the latest dungeon.

Land of the Dead - In Action - A trailer with Land of the Dead action footage.

Aion, Not feeling it - Is Werit immune to the Aion hype?

Vessel Weapons - Details on how these new LotD weapons work.

Land of the Dead Scenery Trailer - A look at the scenery in the Land of the Dead.


Warhammer Alliance is ground zero for the Bone Blog Challenge.

Druchii Journal has compiled the Diary of Doom for your reading pleasure.

Massively talks about the new vessel weapons.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bones for Werit

UPS dropped off a package for me today... from Mythic. It is a part of the Rise of the Tomb Kings Blog Challenge and contains a number of things. First, a nice jawbone...

Here we have Day 4 for of the Diary of Doom.

And the Map...

Crafting in the Land of the Dead

Crafting received some additions in Warhammer Online's upcoming Land of the Dead expansion. When you venture to the new zone, you will find several new ingredients that can be purchased from vendors for scarabs. Apothecary and Talisman Making both got two new types of additions.

Let's look at Apothecary first, as my character on PTS is trained in that field. There are actually 6 new ingredients, 3 potency levels for each of the new potions. As I was short on scarabs, I chose the cheapest ingredients. A few minutes later I had an Elixr of Ptra and an Elixr of Tahoth. These are their effects when consumed.

I was able to test the Elixir of Ptra by letting a carrion beat on me. When I had low health it healed me for 1,500. The bird kept attacking and I eventually died, so it doesn't trigger all of the time. Remember, this was the cheapest version.

Like Apothecary, Talisman Making has 6 new ingredients, 3 levels for each new talisman. I couldn't make any, but here are the described benefits.

Both of them sound quite nice. I wonder if speed means attack speed or movement speed? Draining energy sounds like a nice addition for a tank.

I have heard that there are new items to salvage and such too, as a cultivator I was not able to verify. PQ bags still drop crafting materials as well. I really hope some new seeds are available in the zone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tomb of the Vulture Lord Footage

Last night, the Tomb of the Vulture Lord was opened for testing on the PTS. I managed to find a group and ventured into the new dungeon. The video does not really spoil anything for a couple reasons. One, I hate spoiling content before it even hits the live servers. Two, I was not on long enough to get very far.

At no extra charge, this footage contains an experimental new technology, PopUp Werit. That's right, yours truly will guide you through the video!

Direct Link.

The Warhammer Blog Times also has a video up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Land of the Dead - In Action

I put together another Land of the Dead trailer, this time with more action oriented video. I hoped to get some Destruction players in it, but such are the pitfalls of filming on PTS.

Direct Link.

Aion, Not feeling it

Recently, Aion buzz has taken hold of many blogs and gaming sites. I did not play during their preview weekend but was curious about the game so I did some research. It was not an easy task, as it seems different Aion patch versions are run in different countries. AionSource turned out to be a decent resource though.

The Basics. Aion is a traditional Diku-style MMO. You quest/grind to gain experience, loot and level up to 50. It has its own combat style, but it is fundamentally the same as other MMOs, using abilities, a hotbar and a global cooldown.

Graphics. It's graphics look to be top notch (for a MMO) and it seems to perform very well.

Raids. There are no raids currently in the game. There are a few Level 50 dungeons for small groups, and world bosses but no raid encounters. Word has it one is coming, see below.

The Abyss. This is one of the features that piques my interest in Aion. The Abyss is a PvP zone with no population cap and has siegable castles and a fortress. This zone is only for Level 25 and above. There is no bolster effect, so you may face much higher level characters. There is also a relic system that can give your side a buff in a certain area. While there is no population cap, there is a NPC 3rd party that will help the outnumbered side.

If your faction captures a fortress, it may unlock future raid content. This is similar to The Ettermoors and Delving in LoTRO,WAR's new Land of the Dead and WoW's Lake Wintersgrasp. At this time it doesn't look like any of that raid content is in the game.

Abyss Points. When fighting in the abyss you gain special points. These points are a currency. You can spend them to buy new gear, then you have to earn them back. You gain points by killing players and NPC's. If you die, you lose abyss points. There is also a ranking system that depends on how many points you have.

Crafting. Aion has a relatively simple crafting system. There is a single gathering skill for all materials and multiple crafting skills (i.e. Armorsmith). You can craft using recipes or NPC work orders. There is no mini-game like EQ2 has or anything as complex as SWG.

Style. It's an Asian/Anime styled MMO.

Wings. Flying is one of the more original features of Aion. In the Abyss, flying is a big part. However, in the rest of the world there seems to be a lot of invisible walls and no fly zones.

That is pretty much what I found in my research. Some of the details may be off but I believe it to be mostly accurate.

Personally, I do not like the Anime style, so that is an immediate turn off for me. Also, while flying is nice, the wings just are not my style. Give me a jetpack or even a gyrocopter and we'll talk. This is just superficial stuff though.

While the Abyss looks interesting, you have to PvE through the first 25 levels before you can gain access. My interest in PvE, especially for 25 levels, is nil right now. Once you reach 25, you will still be at a large disadvantage since there is no bolster mechanic.

The abyss points also worry me. They seem to reward PvE in the abyss by having npc kills give points. Add in the fact you can lose points when you die and you'll have a lot of people avoiding PvP. I play WAR, so I know about people avoiding PvP ;)

I may try Aion someday, but right now it isn't really something I am looking forward to. This is surprising considering how much press the game is getting. There just isn't much that draws me to the game.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vessel Weapons

One of the new features that the Land of the Dead will be bringing us is Vessel Weapons. These are weapons that are less powerful by default but offer more in the way of customization than other weapons in the game. They come with a dps value, a single stat and multiple Talisman/Soul slots. Here you can see two vessel weapons I won in blue bags. NOTE: This information if off of PTS so it is subject to change.

Basic (blue quality) vessel weapons can also be purchased off of a vendor in your warcamp. They have versions for Rank 31 and Rank 40 available.

One handed weapons get 2 Soul/Talisman slots while Two handed weapons get 3. Before you slot a soul in a two hander, you must convert it to a large soul. This will normalize the power of the soul to take into account that dual wielders will get an extra soul slot.

A soul is basically a souped up talisman. Much like stars that burn bright, a soul will usually last a shorter time than a talisman. They also offer different benefits. For example, souls can add proc effects to your weapon. You can obtain souls from vendors using scarabs or from loot drops throughout the Land of the Dead. You can place old world talismans into these slots as well. However, you cannot place souls in old world weapons.

I cashed in some scarabs and got a lucky loot drop (the epic soul) to get the following talismans.

You cannot place 2 proc souls in the same vessel weapons just like you cannot place multiple +strength ones too. That means I will have to put a +toughness soul in each weapon. These are placed just like normal talismans, so the result is:

There are numerous souls to choose from, so you do have a nice amount of options. This adds some nice customization aspects thanks to the proc souls. This should also keep the Land of the Dead relevant for a long time to come as players need to replace souls. I wonder if we will see this system applied to armor sometime?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Land of the Dead Fan Trailer

To continue this weeks video trend, I put together a Land of the Dead (on PTS) trailer. This is my first attempt at such a thing but I think it worked out well enough. Not much action in this one, maybe next time.

Direct link.

The Glyph Bar

There have been a few questions about a bar of blocks that appear in your Land of the Dead interface. It is your Glyph bar and the star of a new video!

Direct link.

WARs Future

Last weeks post about Vertical Progression got me thinking about what options are available for WAR. There is certainly a lot of horizontal progression possibilities which we will likely see. Are there really any vertical opportunities?

In a traditional MMO, vertical progression usually consists of adding a new area, new raids, bumping up the level cap and adding new items. WAR is not a typical MMO. The core of WAR's game and its endgame is the RvR Campaign. This really starts in Tier 4 and culminates with the city siege.

Where a traditional MMO keeps players in the linear progression via gear, WAR uses the Sigil (ward) system. If you do not have enough Wards, you will likely not survive the encounter. WAR follows most MMO's with a set of gear for each raid/encounter level. The Sovereign set is the best you can get from the game's final encounter.

The big difference which WAR has to deal with is that the city siege is gated by RvR. On a balanced server this makes those encounters a much more unreliable source of gear and advancement. The new token system has improved this as has the Sigil system. Still, unlike a raid, it will be very difficult to gear up for progression.

If they add higher level rewards to something other than the city siege, they will risk making the core of the game obsolete. The City Siege isn't just another Molten Core, it is an important game mechanic and the end goal. Also, the King is the end of the siege, so how would you add an encounter after him?

On the plus side, Sigil can be obtained by a number of ways. This will help alleviate the treadmill gear requirement system that plagues many MMO's. That is if Mythic uses it correctly. On PTS, the only way to obtain the best sigil's are to get the actual Sovereign gear.

Adding vertical progression to WAR is not as easy as just plopping down new stuff. It must fit in the campaign without making it obsolete. I'm sure Mythic has a plan so I guess we have to wait and see. They may concentrate on horizontal progression, but the truth is many players need to advance those experience bars.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Through the Looking Glass

I am in a video mood today. Here is another quickie showing a new way of getting around the Land of the Dead (PTS).

That Elf creeps me out.

Direct link here.

Land of the Dead Footage

Werit took his camcorder along with him to the Land of the Dead. Be sure to play it in HD.

The original can be found here.

Werit enters the Land of the Dead

Last night was the Land of the Dead opening on the Public Test Server. It got off to a rough start as most people had no idea what was going on or what to do. Eventually Order unlocked the Land of the Dead.

As you can see from the snapshot below, a few people were interested and taking a trip down south.

This is the first view you get when you arrive.

Just outside of the warcamp is a nice look at a couple of PQ areas.

Near the entrance to the pyramid. That statue looks like it is watching me. What am I worried about, it's just stone right? ;)

Here is a nice look at the pyramid. The enviornment in the new zone is very nice. The artists outdid themselves.

I tried out a PQ and won a bag! The PQ itself involved lots of snakes. The mechanic here seems to have been killing a creatures friends before it would take damage.

Now Mythic, we need to talk. What real use is this spanner that I won? How important do you think Strength is to an Engineer? The 2 Talisman slots are nice, but you can see my current hammer there which is pretty low ranked in comparison. Why would I switch?

That's when I called it a night as it was getting late. My character is logged off somewhere in the Land of the Dead ready to surprise some Destro.

The only major problem of the night was that animations were broken on npc's in the new zone. They were a bit stiff.... ha? It was a fun time, but I will be saving most of the new content for when it hits live.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Things to do before the Land of the Dead

The Land of the Dead (and 1.3) should hit the live servers in the next few weeks. Before a big patch, there is always a lull. With so much potential on the horizon it can be hard to be motivated to play now. I am playing though as I have a list of things I want to get done before the new expansion arrives.

Get a LotD Alt. The minimum rank to enter the LotD is 25. So my plan is get my Ironbreaker up to that rank so I can ship him down south. The new zone will be very popular when it launches so there will be a lot of XP/Renown to be had. Currently I am at Rank 15, so I should be able to make it to 25 as I have resorted to questing at times.

Max Crafting. Tirew has been in existence for almost 9 months now and has yet to max a crafting skill. Cultivation is at 125 and Apothecary is at 50. It is time I get these to 200. 1.3 will be giving bag space and new crafting ingredients. Also, potions never hurt in RvR.

Talisman Refresh. I have been neglecting my talisman's and am running around with empty slots. Before the LotD comes out I want to rectify that and be fully loaded with talismans. I may have to hit the AH as I only have 1 blue item for a guildmate to break down.

Potion Run. I rarely use potions as I am just plain lazy. When I take my trip to the desert, I do want to have potions ready to go. Ballistic, toughness and healing potions will have to be bought on the AH unless I can max my crafting very soon.

Those are my plans, what are yours?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Amazing TOR Trailer

This is one of the greatest trailers I've ever seen.

Change is coming

Not only is the 1.3 patch bringing us the Land of the Dead, it is also bringing many changes to class balance. Many have been requested by the community while others have not. These changes are currently on the Public Test Server, so if you're curious you can log in and form your own opinions. The Engineer class has been hit pretty hard with the 1.3 changes.

AoE. Area of Effect abilities are often the target of class balance complaints, for good reason. Prior to 1.3, AoE was dominate on the battlefield. This has been taken care of with the new patch. Nearly everything related to AoE has been reduced. This includes damage, radius and healing.

The Grenadier mastery tree of the Engineer is based on AoE. As you can expect, this will hit many Engineers with a nerf. I believe most of the AoE damage complaints were actually the result of Rain of Fire and Pit of Shades. The exact complaint is that it is more efficient/damaging just to use AoE than single target spells. The Engineer (all trees) is primarily AoE based, so we don't have much of a choice. Besides, our AoE is very weak in comparison to that of a BW or Sorc as we don't have to deal with Backlash.

Throwing Arm. One of the favorite Engineer tactics was Throwing Arm. This increased the range of our grenade abilities to 98 feet (from 64 feet). In 1.3, this tactic was nerfed and it will only increase our range to 78 feet. This one actually hurts because most of us are used to the longer range and it will take time to adjust. It also cuts down our survivability.

Engineers are a light armor class (but can get really high armor). Sadly this armor does not help against magic, so forcing us closer will put us at more risk. As we saw above, there is now less reward too.

One of the primary purposes of the Engineer class is to be defensive. The change to Throwing Arm will hurt that role, especially defending keeps. We will not be able to hit enemy casters with grenades or napalm now.

Unshakable Focus. This is likely the culprit to most Engineer damage complaints. As it works now, it is a Rank 2 morale that increases our damage 100% (crit included) for 7 seconds. This was extremely potent when we have a lot of our DoT's on targets. I fully expected this to be reduced in damage.

In 1.3, this morale will just force all attacks to be critical. This is a large damage nerf to the morale and to Engineers in general. An Engineer DoT critting is nothing to get excited about. It will still have some use, but will be easily healed through.

Single Target Buffed? One positive that was supposed to have come out of this was that single target damage was increased. In the case of the Engineer it doesn't seemed to have helped much. Snipe, our 3 second cast nuke, still seems pretty weak. On PTS I was hitting (non crit) Dok"s for 600 damage and Choppa's for 400. This is not much different than live. Meanwhile, Word of Pain, a delayed Instant Cast, crits me for 2.6k.

Most of this post sounds negative, but it isn't that bad. I am not quitting the game in a fit of nerd rage. I will continue to play and Engineer as I have since Day 1. Tirew (my Engineer) will just require a bit of reinventing.

I do think that if Mythic did these changes in stages (on live) that they would find not all are necessary. For example, without Unshakable Focus, many Engineer damage complaints will go away.