Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

Aggro Radius

I’m not really coming up with anything original, so I’m going to piggyback off Cameron’s post once more; this time on his post regarding aggro radius. While I do agree that the idea of an aggro circle can be a bit of an immersion-breaker, I think it all depends on the way the game is built.

If you want an MMO where creatures attack when they spot you, this means that:
a) the game needs to have far fewer creatures running around, or
b) the game will have a stronger emphasis on grouping to deal with the far greater number of mobs that will attack, or
c) players will need to be able to easily slay four or five monsters at a time. I played Asheron’s Call for four years, so I’m all for muliple mob fights (remember tusker dens where your screen was literally covered in mobs and you lived?)

If there are fewer creatures, the landmass of the game is going to have to be much larger so that mobs have room to spread out and not all aggro on players at the same time. The experience gained from mobs would also have to be increased as there would be more time spent going from mob to mob, and likely more strategy involved in positioning to attack them. I personally would be a big fan of this, but I know a lot of players would not. Many players enjoy the fact that they can jump right in front of a mob, slay it, then turn and face the next mob to do the same thing. It all depends on your preference.

Also, if the mobs are more spread out, again, the landmass will need to be quite a bit bigger. Otherwise, mobs will be crammed too closely together and you’ll aggro the whole zone. On the other side of this, if mobs are too close together it this will force players to group up much moreso than they do now in case they do aggro too many mobs. This runs the risk of not being a “solo friendly” game, which seems to be the only way to build a game anymore.

It really just depends on how you build the game from the ground up. If you want a more realistic AI, you run the risk of frustrating your players in that it might be much harder to spot a creature before it attacks you, or they feel as though they are always being attacked. If this is the approach taken and is done right, you will have a much more immersive game and (at least I think) will make the world feel much more alive, strengthening its verisimilitude.

There are so many sides and angles to this topic, but I’m going to leave it at that for now. I’ll probably add on to this soon, but I’ve got some errands to run. 🙂

Hope you all have a nice weekend.

~Kanthalos

Gear Upgrades in WotLK

As Robert pointed out in his comment on the release date on WotLK, the gear that millions of players spent countless hours obtaining prior to the Burning Crusade became obsolete by the time most players hit 63-64. Sure, there was some gear that you could keep until 67-68, but it likely wasn’t any better than the green items you recieved from quests.

I think this was a feeling shared by a great deal of players, and almost unquestionably amongst raiders. if you were decked out in tiered gear, be it 1, 2, or 3, it was tough to destroy that gear for a quest item less than halfway through the expansion.

While I understand that they wanted to even the playing field for those players who hadn’t had the chance or the desire to raid before the expansion, they should have done a better job of scaling the tiered gear to last longer into the expansion. Until you hit level 70, and started to run the toughest 5-mans, there should have been no reason to upgrade from tier 2 or 3 gear. Yes, tier 1 could have been upgraded as it wasn’t entirely difficult to get, but the others were a different story.

With that said, I think WotLK won’t follow this path. I think (or hope rather) that Blizzard will fix the mistake they made with the first expansion and make higher end gear last longer (something like 78-80.) If they do end up with a similar situation to Burning Crusade, I will likely play my way to 80, though I would have serious issues ever raiding again in WoW.

~Kanthalos

Wrath of the Lich King Release Date Thoughts

I just got a chance to read Cameron’s post about this, and I got to thinking everything through a little bit. Here are a few things that have helped me through my prediction, which I will get to later:

Patch 2.4
I am assuming that patch 2.4 is going to be released in 3-4 weeks, which means mid-to-late March. I am going to further assume that it will take about a month for each server to fully unlock everything on Sunwell Isle, meaning mid-to-late April. Add another three months or so for all of the players to satisfy themselves on the new content, and allow at least the top 1,000 guilds or so a good shot at Kil’Jaeden. This leaves us at the Blizzard Invitational held in Paris in late June, where a playable version of WotLK will be available.

AoC and WAR
Both of these games are set to have a release date which will likely come between May and June. Both games are experiencing much hype from potential players. Blizzard isn’t likely to release their product soon after these games have been released, which means that they will either want to release prior to these games launching or they will do so several months after.

Beta
Blizzard has stated that they are unsure whether they will require a closed beta for this expansion, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t think they do. I think they know enough about their game and aren’t making enough changes that it would require a beta to take place. This will cut down significantly on the development time.

With all of this said, it all depends on a couple of things. How far along are they in the process now? If they are touting a playable version of the expansion in late June, does this mean that they will have a finished product, and they are pulling a PR stunt to make it sound like it will be “closed to finished” or does that mean it will be close enough to show players while still taking several months to work out the kinks and give players time to try out AoC and WAR, only to decide they would rather play the expansion come September or October? These thoughts coupled with Blizzard’s notorious track record of pushing back the release dates on their products makes it all a shot in the dark, but if I had to make a prediction, I’d have to say… September.

~Kanthalos

*Obviously WAR’s release date got pushed back. So far back, in fact, that I don’t think it changes anything about this prediction other than the fact that WotLK will be released sooner than WAR.

Raid Attendance and Hydross

Lately my guild has been having a bit of a raid attendance issue, which has caused a few problems. Two of our oldest members (one an officer) have both been removed from the guild because they’ve chosen to raid Karazhan on other servers with different guilds during our scheduled raids. While I was initially frustrated with this decision, I understood why it was done, especially in the case of the officer. Even though they weren’t the sole reason we were unable to get a few raids going over the past few days, it certainly didn’t help. Furthermore, if they’ve made a serious commitment to the guild and they don’t show up when they’re needed, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While a demotion was a possible solution, it seems pretty clear that their devotion has shifted more towards the other guild and away from ours, so do they deserve to remain in the guild? That was up to the GM and the remaining officers, and whether they made the right or wrong decision, they chose to remove them.

In any case, we were able to raid the last two nights, and Hydross is on the schedule tonight. After the practice we’ve had in our past two attempts, I am fairly certain we’ll be able to succeed tonight. I really want to get on continue our progression that has seen Gruul, Halazzi, Jan’Alai, Void Reaver, and The Lurker Below taken down over the past month and a half. My goal (although I’m not the one setting goals, hehe) is to have Hydross, High Astromancer Solarian, and Morogrim Tidewalker (and possibly Fathom-Lord Karathress) disposed of by the end of March. Magtheridon is getting a nerf with patch 2.4, so we will likely take care of him as well. I’ll have more news on this as it comes 🙂 Wish us luck tonight.

~Kanthalos

A bit on Age of Conan

I just listened to the podcast Brent posted which got me looking into AoC a bit more, and I must say I’m getting excited. After doing a little bit of digging on their website, I saw this:

“Player guilds can fight for the right to control large battlekeeps. Once captured, players will have to defend their property against the ruthless attacks of other players, driven by both greed and envy. At the same time players can also build entire cities outside the Border Kingdom, which other players can not attack! You must however be prepared to defend them from sieges brought on by computer-controlled enemies hiving next to your city.”This is something that I’ve been waiting for and describing for quite a while. I’ve always wanted to have guild-run outposts or towns that needed to be guarded and could be captured. This system offers the best of both worlds really. You and your guild (or perhaps an alliance of guilds) can vie for control of either the bigger, more powerful battlekeeps. In this case, you have to defend it from other players. If you aren’t looking for quite as much of a challenge, you can always build towns or cities and remain safe from players, but risk attack from (what I would imagine to be somewhat weaker and easier) NPC combatants. Also, from what I understand, these fortifications players built are entirely destructible which allows guilds to become far more invested in protecting their investment (be it time or money, or likely both.)

This coupled with the seemingly revolutionary combat being implemented in Conan, I can’t help but feel a twinge of anticipation and excitement. That said, I’m not sold on the style (the mature theme) of the game yet. That’s not to say that I won’t play it because of that, but more to say that if I’m not convinced of its necessity, it will be tough for me to enjoy playing this game. I haven’t done much research on Warhammer so I’m not sure whether they are implementing a system similar to this, but seeing as that game seems to be equally or even more geared towards PvP (or RvR if you will,) I’m curious to see how they stack up in this respect. It might come down to a few minor or major differences in the two that help players decide which is their game of choice.

~Kanthalos

Tokens/Trophies for Every Boss Drop?

I was reading through comments on Tobold’s post about rewards in raids. Someone mentioned having tokens drop for every piece of gear…

I think this is an excellent idea! This would work well both for raids and 5-man instances. It’s not like you’re losing an immersion factor by turning in the tokens to an NPC for the items anyway. I actually think it INCREASES immersion. Does Hydross carry around a backpack with a robe, a plate helm, leather shoulders, and so on? Even if it’s sitting in a chest behind the boss, why would they even have those items to begin with? You’re much more likely to get rewarded by an NPC than have a water elemental drop a robe that fits on a gnome. Why not let all of those drops be token or trophy rewards instead? Say Lurker’s would be “Scale of The Lurker Below” and Hydross would have “Essence of Hydross The Unstable,” etc.. Bosses that drop tiered gear would just drop both. These could also function as quests, which would help us learn more about the bosses as well as get another monetary or reputation reward.

The FIRST time we killed The Lurker Below we DE’ed a reward because it wasn’t even needed by any of our pallies (they had better items that weren’t even from a 25-man raid, go figure…) so we had to shard the drop. This just seems asinine to me. When competition for gear is so high and drops are so low, shouldn’t raiders at least be able to use every drop that they get? Even moreso when you are just entering a new instance killing new, harder bosses.

Hopefully we’ll see a change like this at some point, but I doubt it will be any time soon.

~Kanthalos

Hydross and More

Well, I regret to inform you that our guild has not killed Hydross the Unstable as of yet 😦 What I can say is that we have had three very solid attempts. On the first good attempt, we were able to survive until the enrage counter went off at 10 minutes at about 50%. The second attempt we got him to 52% with 4.5 minutes left before we ended up with 8 adds (we probably would have wiped at about 5-7% if not.) The third attempt we got him to 23% before enrage. Clearly, we have all of the concepts of the fight down, our dps was just a little light because the raid composition was a bit off. We have Gruul scheduled for tonight, but I have a feeling we’ll be headed back to SSC, and I have little doubt that I’ll walk out of there with the Robe of Hateful Echoes (ok, maybe not me, and maybe not that drop, but you get the idea. 😉 )

On another note, I jumped back into Mythos a few days ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my level 11 pyromancer hadn’t been wiped, so I hopped back on with him. I quickly discovered that my skill points had been in large part wasted, so I went to the NPC to have respec. It cost 1g which is a somewhat substantial sum, but I was glad I did it. After some research on the forums, I found the build I liked (Flaming Fist) and started in.

Several things quite different since the last time I played. There are now four “difficulty” options to choose from. The first is normal, which hasn’t really changed. The second is Elite mode, which means significantly harder mobs, better drops, more experience, and 50% return on items sold to vendors. The third is Hardcore mode, which means one death and your gone. The fourth is Hardcore Elite which you can figure out. The main other change I’ve noticed is that pots, which used to be insanely priced, are now very reasonable, which is good since they are used frequently. Many other changes have also been included, like guilds, a looking for group tab, achievements (very similar to LotRO), a few more maps, and lots of things that I haven’t noticed 🙂

With that said, I suggest you a) try this game again if it’s been a while since you’ve done so, or b) get your hands on a beta key. There are lots of them floating around, so it shouldn’t be terribly difficult. I have two extras, which I can give out if anyone is curious, I just need an e-mail address. Please actually intend to play the game and do so if you ask for a beta key. I would really like to get these to players who actually want to try it out.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back soon.

~Kanthalos

Update and Gold Farming Tips

Well, as it happens, we didn’t get a chance to give Hydross a go the other night because our raid leader got run off the road into a ravine and had to go to the hospital for a few hours (he’s alright, just a bit sore.) That said, we are heading back to SSC tonight for the attempt. Over the weekend we had a nice farming session where we took 15 of our guildmates to elemental plateau in Nagrand and donated all of the motes/primals we got to the guild bank so we could start working on a fourth set of resist gear, which was extremely successful. This is a lot of fun and very worthwhile if your guild needs to do the same, I highly recommend it.

With that little update, I have some excellent tips for farming gold, that are all possible for virtually every class. With these tips, depending on the economy of your server, you should be able to make between 90 and 150g per hour.

Requirements — 375 cooking and fishing. It’s a long and tedious process, but well worth it. Here’s why:

1. Mixed Highland/Darter Nodes near Skettis — If you hit up the three highland lakes (Blackwind, Ere’Noru, and Jorune (near the Horde outpost)) and the schools of darter down below (all of which are constantly respawning) this can keep you busy as long as you want to do it, and you can cook up the crawdads and darter for huge amounts of money. I’m currently selling stacks of five golden fish sticks for 10g 75s, and every stack is selling. thats more than 42g a stack. Spicy Crawdads sell for around 30g a stack and are the easiest to catch in the schools (in terms of %.)

On a sidenote, there is a very easy quest given from a little boy named Seth in the tavern in Lower City which gives you a +20 fishing pole, it’s definitely worth it.

2. Basilisks in Terokkar — Run along the river in terokkar and kill the dampscale basilisks. They are only 62-64ish and die extremely fast. if you go the whole way up or down, you just fly back and they will have respawned, so it’s continuous. These basilisks drop Chunk ‘o Basilisks at about a 50-70% rate, and each one can be cooked into a Blackened Basilisk which generally sell for around a gold each. Furthermore, you can fish the darter nodes you see along the way, and the Dampscale Basilisk Eyes can be used for rep with Scryer and sell for 50s each or so on the AH (a stack of 100 will sell for around 50g — not bad when that’s not even what you’re farming for!)

These reasons are why Terokkar is my favorite farming zone in the game. I also have Herbalism and Mining, which combined with wowhead gatherer (make sure you get the Gatherer DB Wowhead version and update the database in the configuration options) is unbelievable.

Recipes:

Blackened Basilisk (+23 Spell Damage) — Supply Officer Mills, Allerican Stronghold
Golden Fish Sticks (+44 Healing) –Innkeeper Biribi, Allerian Stronghold
Furious Crawdad (+30 Stamina) — Innkeeper Biribi, Allerian Stronghold

I hope this helps, and hopefully no one from my server is reading this 😉 Be back later with an update on Hydross!

~Kanthalos

Lurker Down!

I’m having trouble formulating my ideas around anything too thought-provoking, so I’m just going to write about my guild’s raiding situation.

After a few nights of failed attempts at bringing down The Lurker Below, we changed our strategy and “we smashed his face!” as a few guildmates claimed.  Actually, since we took him out Monday night and the server reset on Tuesday, we killed him again the next night, and we’re going after Hydross tonight.  Hopefully our guild has a bit more success than Tobold’s did, but it’s certainly not going to be a cakewalk.  We only have to kill 6(?) mobs/groups to get to him which only takes 20 minutes so if we need to reclear it won’t be a problem.  That said, we should have time for 6-8 attempts if necessary.  Honestly, I don’t think we’ll need them all as our tanks are very experienced (one is the guild leader) who have obtained all of the resist gear that they need.

I apologize for the funk I’m in, but this is all I’ve got for today, I’ll return tomorrow with the results and hopefully I’ll work my way back into a normal blogging routine.

~Kanthalos