Dust Settles, Phoenix Rises

17 03 2009

(Yes, that’s a little play on the name of my server for those of you who haven’t managed to stalk me down yet)

Let’s start today with a quote from the glorious new official, Mythic-generated guide to Witch Hunters!

Witch Hunters don’t have big armour but it is possible to balance this weakness, at least a little bit, by increasing the ability with the weapons

delayed post = mild MMO burnout

delayed post = mild MMO burnout

I don’t know about you guys, but that answered all my questions.  OK, OK, I’ll stop; it could have been an EU player speaking outside their mother tongue and as a fairly well-educated linguist I know that English is arguably the hardest language to learn.

But then again, judging by the quality of text on the shiny new official Mythic forums, it wouldn’t surprise me if my ribbing is well-founded.  But Mythic are being good sports about the whole deal: most posters have proven unable either to write or read, as evidenced by the majority of discussion being outside the guidelines requested.  I’m still not certain why it was necessary to throw $$$ at official forums and not, say, developer salaries or server stability (or just more of them; WTB not sitting in a queue outside the Inevitable City while the other 23 members of my all-guild warband get phat lewt) BUT it does seem that some 1.2 changes are a direct product of Mythic reading and responding to feedback on their own forums, picking out valid topics of concern through rapidly expanding QQ cesspools, and for that I must commend them.

So with a quick nod to the title of this post and the wall of text it was threatening to become, thoughts on 1.2 now that everybody’s fairly well adjusted.

  • Witch Hunters are fine, even after the BAL nerf.  Killing tanks is MUCH harder than before, openers were gutted, but at least they didn’t screw stealth into the ground.  I’m killing things just fine, although I haven’t done much dueling against players of comparable gear (except to ambush high-RR Sorcs… mmmmngh yessss)  Pick Lock is amazingly fun, even if it mostly ends up a kamikaze tool with me dead and unrezzable.
  • Zone Domination is nice and in theory quite fair, but it’s definitely made zones (and fortresses!) on my server start flipping like hotcakes.
  • Choppas really hurt my alt Rune Priest and look too much like Black Orcs armor-wise, which is a bummer because that’s the biggest race in the game and should offer the most room for variation.  Not looking forward to facing them at 40, especially if tractor pull stays.
  • Made the mistake of taking up Cultivating to support my Apothecary skill, didn’t manage to get any/all BoP seeds solo farming in an hour as some people, so am apparently screwed.  Also spent lots of money levelling the skill, as I R DOIN IT WRONG
  • The Twisting Tower scenario, like Reikland Factory, was fantastic and ought to be brought back.  The Maw looks like it took about 10 minutes for a developer to toss together, and is just as boring as Reikland Hills.
  • Fuck the Windows key.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.


Reach Out, Touch Faith

24 02 2009
captions are for the weak

captions are for the weak

Well, after witnessing our first ever WH-specific Developer post (sorry for the sloppy linkage; it’s the best I could get but you still have to scroll down to the highlight) on the beta forums, it seems that 1.2(a) proves Mythic is starting to listen to us.

I say starting because presumably Burn Away Lies – soon to be virtually the only usable execution – and our offhand auto attacks seem to scale still off Ballistic Skill (say that ten times fast!).  And of course there’s the melee/ranged crit disparity.

EDIT: Well you know, Witch Hunters have hats so we can eat them.  See my hat?  Mmm, hat.  Yummy.  Tastes like foot.

But oh my god, there’s somebody out there reading our shit!

Now all I need is a regular Lost Vale group…

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.

The One.Two Punch

17 02 2009

The PTS is up, the sky is falling, my character is copied and I’m here with what everbody’s been speculating madly about – numbers.

…OK, and a little commentary.

Burn Armor: This ability has had its damage contribution from stats reduced.

  • 37% nerf (real, i.e. actual damage testing and not tooltip/delve only)
  • already barely hit hard enough against most classes you’d use it for (tanks, Marauders, melee DoKs)
Blessed Bullets of Styrofoam, go!

Blessed Bullets of Styrofoam, go!

Sudden Accusation: This ability has had its damage contribution from stats reduced.

  • 68% nerf (real)
  • all the keyboard turners can continue typing in /gu while on autorun; this won’t pose a threat any longer

Fanatical Zeal: This ability has had its damage contribution from stats reduced.

  • 22% nerf (real)
  • Sorcerers/Magi should already be easy targets, but this and other buffs to healers will make them much tougher marks

Trial by Pain: This ability will deal slightly more damage, and activate Blessed Bullets twice if allowed to run the full duration.

  • 25% buff (real)
  • procs bullets before first and last of the 6 shots
  • looks like they increased the base damage but lowered the scaling…? too little, too late; still worthless.

Burn Away Lies: This ability will now deal more damage.

  • 65% buff (tooltip*)
  • NOTE: I have not had the opportunity to test the real damage on this; it could be that the base has improved but scaling decreased, similar to TbP above.  …and then the server crashed, and characters were wiped, and someone else managed to get the info first ; looks like 50-60% real.
  • does away with the irony of the “burst damage” mastery tree offering less burst than the alternative harass/debuff tree
  • still calculated through Ballistics from what I can tell, despite being a melee-range ability like Burn, Heretic (which improves with Strength)

I’ll not address the various bug fixes.  If they’re accurately implemented, hurrah; if not, then nothing’s changed anyway.

The bullet nerf is unkind, to be sure, and does nothing to bridge the gap between WE kisses and our mechanic.  If anything, it widens because the newly-possible bullet crits seem dependent on the ranged critical% (which no WH in their right mind stacks) and not melee.  But the dual stat dependency dilemma is a huge issue in itself, and I won’t get started on that here.  The stealth nerf – no longer being able to sneak away when under attack, even if you disrupt/parry/dodge everything – is salt on the wound for careers with already very limited survivability and escape mechanisms.

Overall we seem to have gotten hit by a lot of crossfire in the QQ-inspired Witch Elf nerfs.  I won’t get on a soapbox yet or scream about the apocalypse as some would, but it doesn’t look pretty.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.

To Zerg or Not to Zerg?

12 02 2009

When you’re low renown rank, doing pretty much anything is awesomely rewarding.  When you need ORvR influence for those frustratingly buggedlucrative item rewards, you kill two birds with one stone, reaping renown out in the lakes as well.

But the curve hits sharply.  Let me take a moment to say that I’m not trying to toot my horn, wave my epeen, or boast about the glorious virtual existence I enjoy alongside real life unemployment (although I got called in to work yesterday, woohoo!).  I’m not in the top 10 of anything for Witch Hunters on my server, nor do I particularly care to be.

Why?  Because the “best” simply zerg.

Whatever that Ironbreaker was smoking, I want some.

Whatever that Ironbreaker was smoking, I want some.

After attaining a certain renown rank, killing other players rewards poorly; the only renown gains that don’t plummet sharply as you advance are ORvR captures: keeps and battlefield objectives.  So rather than spend 15 minutes in a scenario watching both sides blindly rush the middle of the map despite the explanation on the loading screen moments before entering…

  1. Fly to contested zone
  2. Find and join open warband
  3. Kill NPCs
  4. AFK for 3 minutes
  5. profit!

And pretty soon renown rank boils down to who has more playtime, not skill in RvR.  I’ve seen some of the “best” get their faces pounded in by level 35s in quest reward gear.

So now my strategy is (although I don’t degroup and solo; perhaps I should): find the player on the enemy team worth the most and assassinate them at least once for more renown than the entire scenario or capture would be worth otherwise.

Which is actually pretty fun.  I’m making a lot of enemies, naturally, but that only makes things more interesting.  After all, if the top 10% of your players only stand to gain from slaughtering one another, it’ll weed out the keyboard turners eventually.

…I hope.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.

Lost Vale Wins ‘Most Scenic MMO Corpse Run’

3 02 2009

Sunday night I was asked to help an alliance group with an MIA DPS and simultaneously be initiated into the hardest dungeon currently in the game, Lost Vale.  I’ll not go into too much detail about the buggy boss fights or what-were-they-smoking-when-they-coded-this loot because – if the ubiquitous leaked 1.2 patch notes* are genuine – those will hopefully be addressed soon.  We finished the first two wings and will be going back later tonight for the third; so far I’ve picked up two weapons (one very odd and one total crap; still no sign of the third, moderately useful one) and an inspired awe for WAR’s graphics engine when my processor can handle it.

I thought we could pay Chinese warehouses to do monotonous tasks

I thought we could pay Chinese warehouses to do monotonous tasks

No, really.  The place is absolutely gorgeous; major kudos to the art and design team that showered it with their attention.

…but did they let anybody else know that they were planning this place?

Sure, the Everqueen’s disembodied spirit teabagging every boss’ corpse doubles as both quest-advancer and healer, but why?  Any wipe without a prepared Rune Priest is going to send the entire team back to the shores of Avelorn, ten feet from a warcamp healer, and then back on a 5-15 minute retread before catching up with Her Ghostliness.

Hopefully Mythic will take a page from WoW and implement intra-instance dungeon teleports a la Karazhan, Black Temple, etc.  I haven’t read anything explicitly yet about this, but there’s something frustrating as a player when your first five hours of exposure to new content is 30% slack-jawed zombie jog back whence you came, or taking a much-needed pee break while another groupmate suffers their turn at driving the /follow taxi (hopefully he can figure out how to get around that tricky debris-ridden stair landing this time).

Verdant groves and picturesque ruins notwithstanding, it will get old quickly.

*OK, that’s mostly the combat & careers stuff; I had been thinking about the ‘second half’ of 1.2 patch notes – dealing explicitly with lots of LV and itemization issues – that my guildmaster posted on our forums this past week, but I can’t seem to find a persistent link to them elsewhere so I suppose you’ll just have to take my word… and I’ll have to start wondering about my guildmates’ connections!

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28 01 2009

Aah, the hotfix.  I don’t recall when exactly it became a staple for MMORPG developers, but they sure love it now.

When ORvR influence was implemented, it was a fantastic way to motivate players and get them out of WoW-battleground-esque scenario queues, even if only to play musical keeps.  The promise of extremely sexy equipment rewards drew many, myself included, to the kind of RvR DAoC players knew and missed.

After roughly a month of influence farming, I finally finished Dwarf vs. Greenskin and proudly chose my Bloodfist Rapier reward, which boasted a Boost proc to buff melee critical % and damage.



I thought I’d try something out and paired it with my epic offhand weapon, Wyvernsting, for double Boost procs and proceeded to build my character around various synergies.  Inquisitor’s Fury would hasten me, which would cause me to attack faster, thereby critting more often, etc.  I was able to achieve 75-80% uptime on both the haste and crit buffs, and I began resocketing my gear from my former spec to a more melee-oriented lineup.  I also respecialized Judgment-Confession to take advantage of strong positionals and burst DPS that would compliment my crit frenzy.  For a while, I almost did as much damage as a Witch Elf (almost)!

And then something damning came to pass.

The poor rapier had been victim of botched coding and had received a hidden Hemorr(h)age proc – a pitifully weak bleed.  I barely saw it go off and could have cared less, but it was reason enough for a Mythic developer to heavyhandedly butcher the weapon in an overnight hotfix.

I woke up one morning to find my beloved weapon not with the hidden bleed proc removed, as one might expect, but to have the Boost proc removed and me stuck with a disgusting Hemorr(h)age proc.  My precious Boost was now on a different weapon – the other ORvR influence sword – which I was barred from receiving since I had already chosen my rewards.

Suffice to say I avoided RvR for a few days because my performance had tanked with all my strategies gone awry. Myself and many Witch Hunters are frustrated for several reasons.

  • The change doesn’t make sense – why not just delete the hidden proc?  Why stick us with the proc that we deliberately avoided in the first place?
  • Why an unannounced hotfix?  Ironwind was more seriously bugged (with stats calibrated for a two-handed weapon), but had its fix written in patch notes.  A similar issue with a KotBS sword’s procs in 1.2 received a nod in the patch notes instead.
  • Why have we no recourse?  The T4 ORvR influence rewards are a one-time choice, and although the Boost proc that we sought still exists on different equipment, myself and several WHs have spoken with CSRs only to be told that we cannot have influence refunded or an option to rechoose, although Mythic gives free mastery point respecializations to players after drastic patch changes and that option is actually available in-game for a few gold.
  • These are the best weapons in the game.  Lost Vale drops could be better, but in fact are loaded down with obscure stats like +34 Willpower, missing talisman slots, and lack any procs whatsoever.  Also many players will probably never see them because of the dedication, organization, and effort required to run the most difficult instance in the game.

WAR Community Coordinator James Nichols did address the issue equivocally, but nothing has surfaced since then and the prognosis is bleak.  If you know of another career that was affected by a similar change, I encourage you to submit feedback, create forum posts, and try to draw attention.

I wasn’t really expecting this from Mythic, to be honest; a large reason why I hopped onboard for WAR was because I remembered their superior dedication to the community and honest dealings.  This was certainly a rude awakening, and I hope not a sign of what’s to come.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.