Archive for the ‘Mythos’ Category

Overworld – Like It or Not…?

Well, as I said late last week, the new overworld patch for Mythos has been released. After they fixed one big problem, things have been pretty smooth, but how are people liking it? Most people are pretty glad to have it, and I’m in the same boat. With that said, I don’t feel that it made the game leaps and bounds better or made it seem like a completely different game. There are still a great deal of the same elements now as there were before, just with some modifications. I’ll dive in and hopefully you can follow along.

Many people say or claim that this is making the game much more like WoW, but this is actually pretty far from the truth. Yes, there is now an actually world that you can run around in, but this alone doesn’t make it a “WoW clone.” For one thing, WoW has the vast majority of its content outside, and a great deal of quests and activities to do outdoors as well. This really isn’t the case in Mythos, even with the new overworld. Almost all of the quests are still based around the randomly generated maps that you enter. I understand that the big emphasis was on getting this implemented smoothly and also that it is just a beta product, but what is the point in making this new improvement if you aren’t really going to take full advantage of it by implementing quests outdoors?

Also, the world is rather small which I don’t understand. To go from corner to corner of the map takes about 6-8 minutes, which should give you a rough idea of how big it is. Also, there are seven anchor shrines littered throughout the zone which you can teleport to and from, which means that you can be anywhere you need to be within 2-3 minutes of running from one of these anchor shrines. With that in mind, why not have things spread further apart with a bigger map? If transportation is still relatively fast and easy, why not make it so that getting from point a to point b take five minutes instead of two or three and have a much bigger map full of things to do? I guess this wouldn’t be so much of an issue for me if I knew that there were going to be 6-8 of these zones at release, but they’ve already said that they weren’t planning on adding more than three. Also, by the time they do have three zones implemented, my mind could completely change, but right now, I feel like Greenreach should have been bigger and more spread out.

Combat in the overworld is for the most part not necessary. The mobs are too spread out and there aren’t really enough of them to make grinding viable, so this basically means they are there almost solely for atmospheric purposes. However, there is the occasional champion running around that is worth killing to hopefully find a nice piece of gear. There aren’t an unique mobs or quests that can only be done in the overworld right now, though.

The map could use some more detail. The static dungeons that are there for quests don’t show up on the overall map unless you have a quest there, so unless you know where it is or happen to run by it and see it on your mini-map, then it can be tough finding certain locations. It’s not a big deal, as most of the time when you finish the quest there, you don’t need to go back, but if they are going to remain available for players to enter, why not have them show up on the map to find them?

Rune stones and rune gates are the new equivalent to random regular and epic maps. The major difference is that they don’t disappear if you or your party members all leave. You need to run back to the rune gate, but the last one opened will always be available to you. Once you are finished with one of these and want to use another rune stone, you simply click on the gateway and select which stone you want to use. There are four rune gates of different colors and likewise four sets of rune stones. The color seems to be an indicator of the level the stone is good for. Blue seems to be the lowest (1-6) with yellow and green (1-6, 3-16) in the middle and red (3-16, 14-26) being the highest. This leads me to believe that the effective cap for the game right now is about 30, not that this is all that important, but worth mentioning I think.

Combat is basically the same. They’ve made some alterations to pyromancer and bloodletter I believe, but I haven’t really checked them out. I went with my old blade breaker build for now, which I’ve gotten to level 17. No real changes there.

Stonehill is pretty neat now. It’s the only part of the world that has it’s own instance (other than the dungeons, obviously.)

I haven’t really gotten a chance to do any crafting other than a few of the quests. I hear it got a bit of an overhaul so I’ll have to give it a look later. I’ve been having enough trouble getting enough money to buy potions and charms that I don’t really have the money to buy materials for crafting right now, but I’m finally starting to save some of the gold that I’m getting along the way.

So there was an extremely choppy rundown of what I think of the overworld so far. Basically, I enjoy it, and I think it makes the world seem a little more visible and not so divided and chopped up. That said, I think there is a lot that needs to be done to make it more appealing and worthwhile. For instance, the zone should be quite a bit bigger, as it feels smaller than a WoW zone and there is only one right now. Also, the developers said that they created the world themselves, so why not put it to use? Why not add some quests and unique mobs and such to make it worth exploring? If these two things are done (especially the second) then I will be very happy with this change, but right now I’m pretty “meh” about it.

As I figure more things out about the changes, I’ll either write up new posts or mark them with a *.

~Kanthalos

Mythos Info

Last night at some point the overworld went live, but shortly after went back down for some fixes. Hopefully whatever they needed to fix will be done shortly, at which point I can get in and check it out. Whenever this happens, you can be sure that I will be letting you all know what I think of it. Keep checking in throughout the day, as I’ll be modifying this post once it’s back up.

~Kanthalos

Daily Quest #1

I am constantly considering quests and missions of all sorts, thinking up new and interesting quests that I would love to see implemented into a wide variety of MMO’s. After all, this is ultimately what I want to do as a career, so shouldn’t I be thinking about this stuff? In that vein, I decided that I would come up with a new quest of some sort each day (hopefully) for either a specific game or one that would fit any number of MMO’s out. Obviously, without knowing the inner-workings of these games, some of the details might have to be shifted a bit, but they provide a general idea of what would happen. I also know nothing about the format these would be written in, so bear with me. So for the first day, I’ll create two. Since I’ve been playing Mythos mostly, I figured I’d use it for my quests today.

Game: Mythos

Quest Title: Helping Raskin

Setting: Instanced

Quest Giver: Raskin

Quest Giver Location: Stonehill

Quest Destination: Stonehill Valley

Quest Text: “Greetings <player>! It is truly an honor to meet you. Stories of your valour have reached even my little ears, which is saying something. Adventurers such as yourself do much to ease the fears of the villagers here in Stonehill, and we can never truly thank you for that. However, there is a task I would very much like your assistance with. Though it doesn’t involve slaying any great beasts, it is something that I fear I cannot do myself. You see, I am in need of some wood to fix several holes in my home, but no one in town seems willing to share any with me, so I need to go find some. I know of an old windmill that no longer works that would likely have some wood that I could use. I don’t think it would be missed since the valley is swarming with beasts, anyway. If you could go destroy it and bring back five of the best pieces, I would reward you for your efforts.

Reward: Unknown

How It Works: The windmill spawns in a random location with X hit points. After dealing X damage, the windmill explodes, splintering into a mass of pieces. The pieces worthy of retrieving are labelled as such, and once enough are collected, “‘Helping Raskin’ complete, return for your reward.” flashes briefly across the screen.

Obviously this wouldn’t need to be instanced, it would just need to be set to respawn on a regular basis so it could be completed by more than one person.

Game: Mythos

Quest Giver: Unknown

Quest Giver Location: Stonehill

Quest Destination: Stonehill Valley

Quest Text: “<player>, as I’m sure you know, Stonehill Valley is teeming with monsters of all kinds, but there is one kind that is truly a nuisance: the Lazarus Beetle. They have the power to resurrect their fallen allies, and they must be stopped.

This is not all, however. Their wings have powerful magical properties. If you could bring me 15 of their wings, this would provide me with plenty of material to experiment with as well as craft you a fine cape. This cape can also be imbued with other properties, depending on what you need. If you desire to be stronger, a wolf’s frayed hide would be required. Should you seek great intelligence, the eye of a hollow would serve well. Greater dexterity could be achieved with the use of an imp claw. Bring me the wings and the reagent of your choice, and the cape will be yours.

Reward: 1,500 xp and:
“Lustrous cape of [modifier]” Stats: 8 armor, +5 to all attributes, with a +3 bonus based on the reagent.

How it works: It’s pretty self-explanatory. The creatures could of course be switched, and the drops could be things that they already drop, so they wouldn’t necessarily need to be a unique item used just for this quest, but the general idea is there.

I think the idea that you can alter your quest reward is one that hasn’t really been used enough. Yes, there are currently reward choices, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to alter the stats to suit you better? Obviously they could simply offer more items, but I think this is better because something that you do (acquiring the reagent) has an effect on your reward.

So there are a few quests I thought up. More than anything, this is a way for me to get some of my thoughts out. I just figured they might be worth putting up here. Let me know what you think. I tried to make them pretty simple so they wouldn’t be all that tough to implement. Obviously, the windmill explosion would have to be created, but barrels and crates can explode, so the ability to do this is already there.

~Kanthalos

Mythos Item Drops… Sheesh!

I’ve been thinking about Mythos and the item drops for some time now on multiple levels. Right now I’m talking about the amount of items that drop that fill up your screen with tags to pick up. There can frequently be hundreds of potions, jewelry pieces, armor pieces, weapons, and crafting materials/recipes covering the screen. This alone wouldn’t be a problem, but it goes deeper than that. As I’m sure many of you know, Diablo 2 had both an option to show all of the tags for dropped items as well as the fact that none of the tags overlapped. This made it extremely easy to see every drop and whether it was worth picking up or not.

In Mythos, you either need to decide whether that orange “superior” you see is attached to “dwarven cannon” (excellent) or “goblin flyswatter” (not so excellent.) Unless you want to pick up all the other items that are covering the tag, you’re pretty much left to guess what it is. Frequently in these situations I won’t even bother. Given the extremely poor chance that it will be something worthwhile (I’ve already described how terrible my “luck” has been finding new gear, even with a very high luck rating,) I usually just forget about it and keep moving. Who knows, there may have been a few really nice items that I’ve left behind, but on the same hand, if I stopped to figure out what each of these items was I would be level 30 instead of level 49. So what all can be done to fix this?

1) Increase the chance that items will be worth picking up. If none (or very few) of the drops are going to be good, then what’s the point of having drops anyway?

2) Decrease (drastically) the amount of potion and crafting drops. As far as I know, noone collects the high-end potions (that you can’t currently purchase.) It takes far too long to collect a healthy sum of them, and you burn through them very quickly. Once crafting is in full swing, crafters will be able to make these better potions, but until then there really isn’t any value to them. In fact, I really don’t pick up any potions at all, except for the occasional luck potion, but even that is rare. I going to be bold enough to say that I don’t think any potions (except luck potions) need to be dropped at all. That’s not to say that they should be removed, but I think their worth is extremely small. Picking up one or two extra potions isn’t going to do anybody any good, because if they need more potions, they likely need 10 or more, which means a trip to the vendor.

The group potions had good intentions, but Mythos is so fast-paced that using a health or mana potion that will benefit everybody is tough. I think the two exceptions to this are the luck and antidote potions. These can be used anytime, and can actually help the group out quite a bit, but the health and mana potions don’t really belong. Plus, more than anything, these additional potions mean more buttons that you have to manage on your skillbar, which can be more hassle than it’s worth.

As for crafting materials, limit this to only the materials that you can’t purchase from vendors. They are incredibly cheap to start with, and they do nothing but clutter up the screen. They don’t need to be there. Crafting recipes? You currently can’t find any recipes that can’t also be purchased from a vendor. Again, remove these drops until they can be replaced with unique recipes.

3) This is the heart of what I am getting at in this post. First and foremost, item tags should not overlap at all. If they literally need to cover the screen it would be better than having them all clumped together. When this does get implemented there needs to be some filtering abilities, because only having a way to see every item at once is pretty archaic. Here is a list of all the filters that I think should be included: crafting materials, armor, weapons, jewelry, and magical items (which show all items that have magical properties.) One way that I think this could be done very well is with the mousewheel. Say you hit tab to display every drop, then you rotate the mousewheel up and down to then filter through each of these groups. This would leave one hand on the mouse in case you needed to stop to fight some more, while also being really slick and offering a lot of functionality. If for whatever reason you can’t use a mousewheel, they could simply be mapped to Tab+1, Tab+2, etc.. You should be able to hit one through five while also holding tab with the same hand, but if not, you can use both hands if necessary.

There is a new patch coming to Mythos very shortly. While it is primarily related to the Overworld aspect, it will be interesting to see if any changes are made to the drops as well.

~Kanthalos

More About Mythos: Blade Breaker and Meteor

Well, I told you that I would be back with information about these two builds when I had them leveled up a little bit. Soon after that post, I realized that my BB toon was already at 24, and I got my meteor toon to 20 tonight, so I figure I’ll give you all a little write up about what I think of them.

Blade Breaker:
This build is quite fun in my opinion. While it relies almost entirely on passive abilities (increased attack rating, crit rating, damage, etc.) to make it more powerful, it is extremely efficient and can really be a powerhouse. This is the epitome of a kiting class in Mythos since they generally are wearing strength gear (better “armor”) as well as a shield (at least in my case) so they can take a few more whacks than many other builds. I’ll frequently have 50-70 mobs behind me by the time I round on them and eliminate them all with one attack. Something this build and piercing barrage can do that meteor and tesla builds can’t do is speed through an instance. All you have to do in collect up all the mobs, kill the majority of the group, and keep heading to the bottom. This is particularly effective when you are doing random quests because the boss you need to kill is always in the final floor, so the faster you get there, the faster you get xp.

Well there is my brief overview of the blade breaker build. If you want a toon that’s beefy that really makes you feel powerful, this is a great choice.

Meteor:
While I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on this class now, I’m not quite sure what to think of it. It has a very large radius once it explodes, however, it frequently takes 3-4 attacks to kill everything in big groups. I had originally assumed that it would function much like Diablo 2’s frozen orb skill, but there are two big differences that affect it quite a bit. For a bit of reference, frozen orb would be sent into a great big group of mobs. It would explode when it struck your target and send out frozen shards from the explosion. An excellent shot would mean that every shard would strike a surrounding enemy. As I said though, there are two differences.

The first big difference is that meteor explodes on the first solid object it comes into contact with, not the target you picked (in fact, it doesn’t require a target at all, but rather a click anywhere on the screen.) This means that you must be much more aware of your surroundings, understanding how obstacles or other mobs moving around could affect the way your meteor is going to work. More often than not, this simply means that it won’t be nearly as effective as if it exploded only upon impacting a mob that you target.

The second big difference is that the fragments that spread outward from the explosion seem to have a slight gap between where they originate and where the explosion itself occurs. Basically what this means is that grouping mobs tightly together, a tactic used with some other builds, could actually hurt your damage more than if you allow the mobs to stay spread out since those fragments will start out past the cluster and therefore be largely worthless (except for mobs that haven’t quite been collected up.) This really bothers me quite a bit, as it means that you are basically better off shooting blindly and hoping to strike as many mobs as possible than you are if you use tactics to bunch them all together to blow them away. It seems to me that using some skill, even if it is just kiting, should be rewarded rather than penalized.

In any case, I enjoy this build, but I think that it could use some tweaking. This is obviously just an opinion, and I haven’t asked anyone else whether they would prefer a definitive target and/or removing the gap between the fragments and the explosions, but I think they would bring a greater need for skill to the table. I will probably hop on this toon occasionally, but I much prefer the other three builds that I’ve been working with.

On a side note, I’m gradually starting to lose my awe for the tesla build. After switching from this toon to my blade breaker, I realized that I could wipe out a much larger group much faster with the blade breaker because he can kill multiple mobs with the same attack instead of having a limit on the number of mobs than could be attacked at once, which is four for tesla widgets. I still think that this is the most powerful build for epic maps, but seeing as I don’t run these very often, this doesn’t do me much good.

~Kanthalos

Tesla Widgets vs. Piercing Barrage

Having gotten my tesla toon to 30 in Mythos, I think it’s safe to say I’ve seen most of its effectiveness. I also have a level 49 (so close!) piercing barrage toon, which I also enjoy quite a bit. The two are quite different in their styles of play, and both are enjoyable, but they seem to excel in different situations.

The Tesla build seems perfect for epic map situations. They can cut through champion and epic-level normal mobs quite effectively, and in doing, generally can avoid taking much damage if played correctly. The problem with this is that even if you can solo an epic map your level, you still can’t kill things fast enough to equal the amount of experience you would get slicing through non-epic content. Epic maps are built to be played by 3-5 players, and if you don’t have them, you generally aren’t going to earn that much experience. If you are using a tesla build within a group, you are going to be able to cut through mobs like butter and earn a ton of experience, which makes them a perfect class for teaming up. As for single-player maps, they are still quite effective, but are limited to the fact that they can only be attacking four mobs at any given time (only four tesla widgets can be active at once.)

As for piercing barrage, they tend to excel at solo content because they have so many arrows flying at once, which can penetrate mobs and continue on through more mobs. Furthermore, they can ricochet off objects and continue doing heavy damage. This means that each arrow is somewhat less effective than the tesla widgets, but strong enough that they can easily slay the average mob with one (or occasionally two) hits. If you aren’t running an epic map, this is going to be more than capable of anything you would want to do. In fact, many of the bosses (such as zivia) have incredibly high resistance to electricity, so if you are hurling nothing but electrical damage at them, it can often take quite a bit longer to kill than with piercing barrage or a handful of other builds.

As for play-styles, they are quite different. Piercing barrage uses one skill to attack with lots of passive abilities and bonuses that enhance your power. This can be nice if you aren’t wanting to pay too much attention while you are playing. The tesla build on the other hand requires that you maintain three (and possibly four) widgets at all times with three or four of each type going at once. Keeping 10 or 15 widgets up constantly can get exhausting, but if you want to do more than hit one button continuously, then this is a great way to go.

Knowing this, hopefully you can make a more informed decision on which of these builds you prefer and ultimately would like to play. If you enjoy running with groups and taking on tougher mobs that come with epic maps, then tesla widgets are perfect for you. Keep in mind that epic maps can dramatically reduce your fps due to all of the mobs, particle effects, and drops. If you don’t have a very nice rig or aren’t willing to turn your graphics down substantially to play in this mode, then you probably are going to want to avoid epic maps most of the time.

If you want to solo most of your playing time, then piercing barrage is going to be a great way to go. It’s incredibly effective in normal maps, and it’s fun to see all of the arrows flying around. If you enjoy kiting, and love to get a huge number of mobs behind you to mow them down, this is an excellent way to do that, and something that can’t really be done with the tesla widgets since they are single target.

I’ll try to go into detail about some more builds eventually. I have a meteor build as well as a blade breaker that are about around level 15, so when i get them to 25-30 I’ll let you know what I think.

~Kanthalos

A Crazy Mythos Build: Tesla Widgets

I had a level 14 gadgeteer on elite mode that a guildmate had power-leveled, so I had 14 levels worth of skill points and attributes do distribute. After looking around at a few builds, I decided I would give tesla widgets a shot. I’d heard that they were impressive, but I’d never tried them or seen them in action, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try them out.

Basically, tesla widgets work by using electrical damage to drain the life of surrounding enemies. Generally the way these builds work is you max the tesla tree and supplement them with suppression widgets (which slow down enemies) and galvanic widgets (which add even more electrical damage.) At first you really don’t need to worry about any sort of weapon damage because they widgets you summon don’t stick around long enough for you to use any other skills. When you first begin, all you have time to do is continuously summon tesla widgets. As time goes on, you can gradually add in suppression widgets, and around 28 or so, you can start adding in galvanic widgets, which basically make you unstoppable. If you have a strong set of minion damage gear to add on, you can easily solo epic maps your level, which is tough to impossible for almost any other class because anything that lives for more than a few seconds will get held off by the suppression widgets.

Once you get to around level 40 and you’ve more or less maxed tesla, galvanic, and suppression widgets, you can either go over to boom zipper widgets, which move to the nearest creature and explode (fire damage to supplement your electrical damage) or use a skill like napalm or piercing barrage coupled with insight/rally (increase defense/attack rating per kill.) In any case, this is a build that I think is a lot of fun. Some say that it’s boring since you aren’t actually killing anything yourself (or rarely that is) but I think that you might as well be since you are constantly summoning widgets to do it for you, and you need to balance the number of widgets you have out, which is fun in my opinion. I will hopefully add a video soon of this build in action, but a) I don’t have Fraps installed and b) I am only 25, so it would be tough to understand the full effectiveness of this build at half the max level. That said, anything other than champion mobs die within two seconds, and everything else I can stay away from until they are dead because of suppression widgets. If you are looking for a new build, I strongly suggest you give this one a shot.

~Kanthalos

More On Mythos

Ok, so I really do feel pretty bad about how harsh I was in my review of Mythos that I posted earlier. In that frame of mind, I’m going to offer up a few suggestions that I think would help improve the situation in several ways. Whether they are the perfect solution to their issues or not, it’s more of an excercise in problem-solving and MMO design for myself than anything else, so I’m going to get started. This post might rival the length of Van Hemlock’s posts so be prepared!

Combat: I realize that this is how combat in action-rpg’s is always going to be based primarily around 1-3 skills and never really get much more in-depth than that simply because it is so fast-paced. You are either kiting enemies around spamming a skill or one or two shotting them, so there really aren’t the long, face-to-face fights that last 30-45 seconds like a typical MMO. That said, there are a lot of skills within the game that simply aren’t effective enough to be considered in the vast majority of builds. For instance, there are three skill sets for each class, and in the gadgeteers case those three are marksman, grenadier, and tinker. I’ll look at each of the three individually so it’s easier to distinguish.

Marksman:
The marksman panel almost without question is going to be where the majority of your skill points are going to go because it has the two most popular skills (piercing barrage/napalm) and almost all of your passive skills (increase crit, weapon range/speed, etc..) This is by far the best-executed tree of the three, even though there are still skills such as rapid refire and seeking shot that, while decent, can’t come close to the power of piercing barrage and napalm, and therefore won’t be used much if at all.

Tinker:
Tinker is where you can get skills for widgets that you summon to stun/damage/slow your enemies. Typically one or two of these are used with a build, though there are also skills that allow you to drop turrets. In my opinion turrets really don’t have a place in this game, and a new skill should be considered to replace them because this isn’t the type of game where you sit around and let a turret destroy your enemies. Players are powerful enough without them that they are unnecessary and would rather put those skill points into a skill that is more useful or a passive skill that they can use with their primary skill rather than balancing another skill to use. How about a widget that reduces enemy attack speed or reduces elemental resistances instead? These would be far more useful than an immobile turret.

Another skill that seems to be rather worthless is the servant widget which turns an enemy in your favor for 15 seconds. This can’t be used on champion mobs (elites if you will) which means that the benefit of this skill would be truly minimal. As stated before, with the ability to one or two shot enemies in a matter of one or two seconds, what benefit could an average mob possibly have? The only time this could potentially be worthwhile is if the mobs had a silencing/poisoning/stunning skill, but what are the odds that the widget will actually work on that mob instead of an average one? If this skill were to be kept, it would have to work on say up to 5 enemies. You can create multiple widgets, but if you are using a build that already utilizes one or two widgets (which you summon multiple versions of) you aren’t going to have time to summon 15 widgets and then start firing at them, it just isn’t efficient.

Grenadier:

This is by far the most underused skill panel of the three. Basically the way it works is dropping grenades or bombs. The problem with many of these skills is that they are geared towards constant kiting. For example latchbomb explodes when enemies get near it. The noxious grenade does poison damage (that takes far longer to kill than a simple shot from a rifle.) Bauble trap absorbs some of the damage of enemies (that, again, you could kill with a shot from a rifle.) Another skill that doesn’t really seem to have much use is fire sentry (drops a wall of fire that the enemies run through.) Elemental walls are something that have baffled me constantly in these games. Unless you run the mobs back and forth through it, they are only going to run through it once. This skill is set for damage over time, not a burst of damage, furthering my confusion. The thing that gets me the most about this panel is that there aren’t any plain-and simple grenades. You can find them and use them, but why let this be a skill used by a class that has a “grenadier” skill set? The only skill that I find to have potential use is the mute bomb, which can silence enemies for up to 15 seconds. The problem with this, though, is that to maximize it takes 14 skill points just to silence an enemy (even though it can still use basic attacks on you in the process.) Make this 5-6 points instead, or else it won’t get used.

Ok, there’s the combat section. Perhaps I’ll go through the Bloodletter and Pyromancer in the future, but I have a lot more to talk about besides just combat so I’ll leave it at that.

Crafting:
Crafting is something that should be a part of any MMO today, just as it is in Mythos. The problem is that it is very confusing and uses far too many ingredients. You get a lot of space for ingredient space, but the many ingredients that you can buy can also be dropped by mobs, and your space fills up quickly, leaving you unsure which ingredients to keep and which to drop to make room for others. Not only are a good deal of the drops purchasable at NPC’s, they are spread out throughout the three zones, so it can be a pain figuring out what all materials (which happen to be extremely cheap) are buyable and which are not. As I mentioned in the previous post, crafting items that aren’t from the top tier is a waste of time. Not only do you have to find the ingredients, but by the time you hit level 20-25, you can already use the best gear in the game, so why bother crafting something for less than that? I see two options here: either make it so ingredients that you can purchase don’t drop off mobs, or cut out 25-50% of the crafting ingredients and make the remaining ingredients usable in more of the crafting recipes.

Gear:
Like I said in my review, gear is most frequently obtained from random quests once you get up there in levels. I’m not sure exactly how it would determine what quality of items it should generate (perhaps it could check what your top attribute was and base it off that,) but this ability to keep generating new items needs to stop. For one thing it’s a waste of time to the player, and it’s an exploit that shouldn’t be allowed. It should generate gear that is appropriate for your level (and possibly class) and even if you abandon it, it would still keep those 3 options. This way you have a pretty good chance of finding gear that you will use (or be able to trade) but not have complete control over the situation. Also, once the gear set to your level, the quests need to take more than the 5-10 minutes they currently take to complete or have a daily limit of one or two.

Not only do the randomly generated quests need to be fixed, but the drops need to be fixed as well. For one thing, your luck skill doesn’t provide the option for normal items to become magical, but only affects those that already have magical properties, and it only kicks it up by one level. This means that you end up with an unbelievable amount of normal items, a good deal of green, blue, and yellow items, but still with very few purple and orange items (the best.) They need to cut out about 25% of all gear drops (at least those with no magical properties) and find a way to make it so your luck can increase the modifier by more than one setting. I understand that not every piece of gear should be uber, but as I stated, the 4 pieces that I haven’t upgraded through random quests haven’t been replaced in over 12 levels. This isn’t right.

Also, there are a number of unique items in the game, which are obviously items with set stats that aren’t randomly generated. The problem with these items is that almost none of them have excellent stats. They generally have two or three stats that don’t fit the class that would be using them, or they are just stats that people don’t want. If you are going to take the time to make unique items, at least make them desirable to the players.

Quests:
As I said, the quests are basically written well and are usually entertaining, but the objectives are completely dull and uninspired. I understand that it can be difficult when you are dealing with mostly random maps, but there are still ways that you can have fun with these quests. For instance, one quest could be that you need to trap a warg and bring it to someone to study. You need to lay a trap and lure one into it/throw a net over it/shoot it with a tranquilizing dart. Even something simple like an NPC left an heirloom on a broken-down cart in a zone after being attacked by hollows, but he was flustered and doesn’t know where exactly it is. This at least gives you a bit more purpose than “foozles infested the forest, kill 10 of them and bring me proof.”

PvP:
It’s clear that the PvP system didn’t work out they way it was intended. Very few people are participating, and those who are are using junky gear so they don’t lose their good equipment. I have one solution that I think would work much better than dropping actual gear from a corpse. It also prevents punishing those who unknowingly killing a lower level toon. Instead of dropping actual gear when a player is killed, they drop some sort of trophy or token.

Killing a player 10+ levels above you: 15 tokens
Killing a player 7-9 levels above you: 12 tokens
Killing a player 4-6 levels above you: 9 tokens
Killing a player +/- 3 levels: 6 tokens
Killing a player 4-10 levels below you: 3 tokens
Killing a player 11-14 levels below you: 0 tokens
Killing a player 15+levels below you: -3 total tokens per kill for the next 3 kills
After killing a person three times for tokens each day they no longer yield tokens.

You could then turn in the tokens you received for things like idols that would improve your stats while in your pack with higher token rewards being more powerful. Of course the actual levels could be altered depending on balance issues, but I think this would be a great way to increase participation in the Shadowlands. You would no longer have to fear losing your gear, and you would also have the potential to obtain very nice items. All is better.

Wow, so there you have some of my suggestions and more in-depth description of several aspects of this game. Again, this is a game that I truly enjoy, I just wanted to formulate some of my thoughts on what I think can be improved and ways I think this could be achieved (though I’m no expert.)

~Kanthalos

New Mythos Review – 4/28/08

I see that my post about my Mythos review that’s around nine months old is still getting quite a few views. Taking that into account, I’m going to write up another little review and talk about how the game has changed since then.

Combat: Combat in the game is still as fast-paced as it ever has been, which is one of the things that many people enjoy it for and the main reason it is touted as a Diablo 2 clone. It’s always fun to be able to plow down 30-50 mobs at the same time, however it suffers from the fact that there is generally one skill used depending on the class you pick. Occasionally builds are created that utilize multiple skills (gadgets for gadgeteer for instance) but by and large it’s one skill you’re using the vast majority of the time (piercing barrage.) This is something that generally grows old after a while, even with the crazy amount of mobs you face. In fact, most classes are built around the idea that you gather up as many mobs as you can behind you, turn around, and blow them all away. It’s actually pretty inefficient if you kill mobs as you see them, which is a bit unusual I think, but that’s the way the system is built. Obviously it’s not something that’s going to break the game as I’m still playing it.

Crafting: Crafting is rather chaotic and unstructured right now. You can craft items that you will actually wear, but with the high chance of breaking (if you want them to be as good as possible) coupled with the fact that finding all of the materials to create it is a big hassle generally is putting people off crafting. I think this will be remedied a bit with the marketplace they are working on currently, but right now it’s not really something that is living up to its potential. Also, crafting anything but the top tier is an outright waste of time.

Gear: Gear is a major problem with the game right now, for several reasons. First and foremost, they didn’t create a scale of gear from levels 1-50. To illustrate my point the top requirement for gear is basically 140’ish (strength, dexterity, wisdom) and my dexterity at level 48 is 210. To me, this means that gear requirements should be capping out at about 200, or 215, but the foresight didn’t really seem to be there when they first created this system. This is understandable really, since they were just getting the game out the door when the gear system was set up and it hasn’t been changed really since. Obviously, it’s still in beta and they are going to perform at least one character wipe before now and release so this could change, but right now, a level 25 character can basically have as good of gear as a level 50.

Not only is the gear itself a problem, but the obtaining of gear is another problem entirely. The way the majority of higher level players obtain their gear is through random quests. These quests are generated with 3 potential rewards (which scale from basically from garbage to really good gear.) If you don’t like the choices you are presented with, you can simply abandon the quest and retake it with three new rewards. If you do this 20-30 times, you are generally going to find really good items one of those tries. This is the way that I have obtained 9 of my 13 pieces of gear that I use, and the other four pieces I have not found upgrades for in over 12 levels. I don’t have the max amount of luck on my character, which is 200 (luck increases the modifier on the item when it drops from uncommon to rare to unique, etc.,) however it is at 175. Even with my rather high luck, I still find tons and tons of items that I have absolutely no use that I leave on the ground. I understand that if they drastically increase the amount of really good gear that can drop, the player base would be flooded with items and their value would drop to almost nothing, but this isn’t really an issue anyways because there is virtually no trade economy to speak of. You basically have to give your gear away if you don’t need it because the currency has almost no value right now and the odds of finding another player with an equivalent piece of gear that you want is slim at best.

Quests: Quests are pretty much terrible right now to be perfectly honest. The writing for some of the quests is pretty entertaining and worth reading, but almost all of the quests are the typical “kill 10 foozles/find 10 foozle hides.” I understand that this is part of the problem when you are dealing with a game in which the vast majority of the maps are randomly generated, but there has to be some way of spicing things up a bit. There are only 2-3 uniques in each zone really, so the possibility for quests there are pretty minimal. It goes without saying that quests cap out at about 25 because the three zones are built to sustain 10 levels of play, so getting from 25-50 is done either through running epic maps which you buy or find, running random quests, or running two maps that scale from 20-50 (one for solo play, the other for a group.)

PvP: PvP was just added to Mythos in the form of Shadowlands, and I must say that it didn’t really work out the way it was intended. The system is set up so that all of the towns are shared among players and every map has the chance that another player can enter it (and fight each other.) When a player is killed, they will drop a piece of gear. If you kill a player who is significantly lower in level than you, you get a karma rating which means that there is a chance that you will drop more than one piece of gear.

The problems with the system are many:

  • It can be extremely difficult to determine what level a player is with a quick glance. By the time you figure out whether you should kill them or not, they could have killed you already. That said, you don’t want to kill just anyone because it could cause you to drop even more gear the next time you die.
  • Players are generally running around with garbage for gear for fear of losing equipment that has taken an immense amount of time to acquire. What fun is PvP if you can’t truly put yourself to the test and see whether you were the better player? Constantly wondering whether you would have won a fight with better gear can be frustrating.
  • There are literally no safe areas in the Shadowlands (an exact replica of the normal world) so unless you head out to the gate where you enter/leave the Shadowlands when you need to take a break or go afk or whatever, you are constantly in jeopardy of being killed and looted.

*TAKES DEEP BREATH* I realize that sounded pretty harsh, but understand that I still do enjoy this game and am spending about 4-6 hours with it a week, there are just some issues that (at least past level 30) are really sticking out at me. Most of the problems stated here aren’t affecting the core of the game, they are just opportunities that aren’t being taken advantage of. Many of these issues will likely be either improved or fixed altogether before its release. Up until level 30, the game is very enjoyable. There is just enough variety between the classes that you can try them all and enjoy each one. A word to the wise, however: If you start in hardcore mode, make sure you read up on the build you want to try, as you won’t be able to respec at all. If you want to start on normal, you will level a bit slower (less mobs = less xp) but you will have a bit more money to throw around for potions and such and you will be able to try out as many builds as you want (though you can’t change your skill point allocations.) If you’re going for uber pwnage, you’ll probably want to go with a gadgeteer (piercing barrage) but there are powerful builds with all classes. If anyone has any questions they would like me to answer, feel free to ask away. Hopefully soon I’ll post some suggestions for these issues that I have, but this is enough for now.

~Kanthalos

WoW-Free and Still Breathing!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted — sorry about that. It’s been a couple weeks since moving, and we’re still getting things taken care of for now, but it’s slowing down now, so I have time to write to you guys! As the title indicates, I am done with WoW yet again. After moving and taking a week-long break from it, I realized that I was no longer interested in playing anymore. A lot of guild drama was still present (even after switching servers) and I wasn’t prepared to dedicate three or four nights a week to raiding with a new guild. I had also leveled four characters to level 70 either entirely on my own or in part. There was nothing new about the game, nothing exciting anymore so I decided it was time to move on.

After waiting a week, I finally caved and resubscribed to LotRO for the second time (I also played in beta.) While I was a little worried that I would (or still will) lose my desire to play within the first month, I have something that will make my chances of sticking around infinitely better — I DON’T WANT TO PLAY WOW AT ALL RIGHT NOW. Before when I played it, I was either playing WoW currently or I was in a rough patch though there was still lots of content for me to come back and see later. Now that I’ve exhausted virtually everything there is to see in WoW (except all of the raiding instances) I can think clearly and devote myself fully to this game and it feels great.

So based on the fact that in just under a week of played (and being unemployed 🙂 ) I have managed to get my champion to level 23! I just can’t get enough of it. Having read most of the the trilogy recently the lore of the game is really making itself apparent to me and it’s truly exciting. The first time I went to Tom Bombadil’s house I did a happy chair dance. Seeing little neeker-breekers running around and talking to Barliman Butterbur were the same way. When I ran the instance “Retake Weathertop” I was truly amazed at how epic it felt when we were fighting the troll at the end. The fighting seems to be far more in-your-face than that of WoW’s. That along with the amazing atmosphere and graphical beauty of this game have put me over the top. Also the community so far has been excellent. Everyone is extremely friendly and finding groups (or a second to knock out the solo quests) is never very difficult. While I have joined a guild and everyone is helpful and friendly, I don’t think they are going to work out as most of them are are in their mid-30’s or higher and I don’t seem to be connecting with the players the way I’d hoped to. I’d like to get into a leveling guild where I can do a lot of the same quests with players my level instead of getting someone to walk me through them.

I’ll probably dive more into the game soon, but there’s a brief overview of my third experience with LotRO, which I really hope won’t lose its appeal any time soon.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Mythos lately. While I haven’t quite made it to 50 yet with my Gadgeteer (almost 48!) I’m still having fun hopping on for short bursts every now and again. I’m going to try to do some crafting today and see how I like the new system. The only real problem I have right now is that there are tiers of crafting items and once you level above the creatures that drop the tier that you need, it can be extremely difficult getting those items yourself without begging a guildmate for them or buying them (without a marketplace which they are working on.) Again though, I’m still having fun hopping on for brief sessions, and will continue to use this game as my action-rpg of the present.

So there you have it. I will likely be talking to you more in the near future about LotRO, which I hope you’ll enjoy. I’m also going to try to start writing some pieces on MMO gaming in general or game design which I’ve gotten away from a little bit as of late. Anyway, I’ll be back soon.

~Kanthalos

One Mythos Beta Key

I have one Mythos beta invite to give away, so here it is.  It’s another extremely objective contest in which you tell me your favorite book, and I choose “the best one.”  The contest will end at midnight EST on the 26th.  If you win, just send me your e-mail address and I’ll get you set up.  Let’s see what you’ve got!

~Kanthalos

P.S. If you want to submit and don’t need/want a key, just put “for fun” or something next to it so I know.

P.P.S. I will be back with something meatier soon 🙂

Mythos Has A New Patch Today!

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to let everyone who plays Mythos that they are releasing a new patch today that include a whole new zone with a great deal of new content. The bad news is that there will indeed be a character wipe. That doesn’t really bother me though as this game is a total breath of fresh air. While it does have a lot in common with Diablo 2, it distinguishes itself quite well so it doesn’t feel like it’s looming in Diablo 2’s shadow. My one major gripe with the game was that there was a lot of repetitive content (creatures and maps) but hopefully this new patch will remedy that.  I’m not quite sure when the patch is going live, but they did say it would require you to uninstall the old client and download a new one due to changes in the patching system. Head on over to their site later to see if the patch has gone live. Enjoy!

P.S. Here are a few posts I’ve written about Mythos if you want to check them out.

Here is it straight from them:

Massive Mythos Update October 15!
By MaxSchaefer on 2007-10-10 12:00 AM

Greetings Mythos Testers! We are pleased to announce that a huge new update is scheduled to go live this Monday. This “Zone 2” update will nearly double the available content, adding a new city, new levels, new monsters, new quests, new items, new skills, and lots of polish and tweaks throughout the game. The new zone is dubbed Bloodbristle Heath, and the new city, Tulin’s Hope. Many more details are forthcoming!

A couple notes: There will be a character wipe prior to the update. Additionally, due to changes in the patching system, you will be required to uninstall Mythos and download it again after we publish the update. Woohoo! It’s great to be back in action!

~Kanthalos

Back In EQ2

While I didn’t get a whole lot of gaming done this weekend, I did get back into EQ2 for a while. Basically I decided that everything along the way in Mythos was going to be the same (until they add some more variety to the game) and it would just be better drops, that made it a bit easier for me to step away and give EQ2 some playing time. I did a bit more crafting (I’m a sage) and whipped out a few more quests, and I must say it’s nice to be back. I am really looking forward to getting into some original content aka beyong Thundering Steppes. That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll be back when… I’m back 🙂

~Kanthalos

Is There Something Wrong With Me?

As you all know, I have been playing quite a lot of Mythos lately. It’s your typical hack ‘n’ slah game without a whole lot of depth, and a lack of variety in terms of maps and creatures. So why then am I finding myself drawn more to this game than to EQ2? Before I got my beta invite I was perfectly happy and content with EQ2, and I will probably end up going back to it very shortly, but should this even be an issue? Maybe I’m simply growing a bit tired of the typical fantasy MMO (that’s not to say I’m over it) and I just need a bit of a break, or maybe it’s that I enjoy these types of games (Diablo 2, Titan Quest, Mythos, DR, etc.) and I haven’t played them as much as I would like to. I’m not sure exactly, but I do think it’s strange that as of right now, I’m more excited to play a free-to-play (upon release) beta game than I am a 3-year-old well-established, much improved MMO that could well be the best on the market right now.

~Kanthalos

P.S. If you used to read my posts earlier in the morning, I apologize.  I was getting to work at 7 o’clock then, and now that I’m back at school, I typically get up at about 9:30, and will try to write something between then and my first classes (12:30 or 3:00 depending) so again, I hope you don’t mind 🙂

Dungeon Runners Vs. Mythos

So Lars asked me to give Dungeon Runners a shot so that I could do a side-by-side comparison of both DR and Mythos, so I have. That said, I have played Mythos far more than I have DR, so this is a rather basic comparison. Part of this was the fact that after reaching level six in DR (took me about three hours or so, give or take)I was already starting to notice that you needed a subscription to use the best gear, so I decided that was good enough. Here goes.

Graphics
Both games have the ability to look pretty good. Dungeon Runners focuses a little more on the detail of things, such as flora, and anti-aliasing and the like, so you can bump things up to make it look pretty nice. Mythos is much smoother though, but there isn’t quite as much detail in character models and gear and the like. I guess I’ll give the edge to Dungeon Runners, but they are both good. Mythos is a bit more cartoony, while DR is a bit more realistic.

Camera Angles/Controls
I definitely have to give this to Mythos. You never actually have to change the angles in Mythos, it does it on its own, but its pretty much seamless and knows exactly what to do. When I started up DR, I noticed in about 10 seconds that this was different. I think the best example is that when you use the arrows to rotate your character (there is no mouse rotation available) your character actually rotates partially along with it unless you aren’t moving. So if you rotate the camera 180 degrees while running straight north, you will either be running NE or E (or W depending on which way you rotated it) C’mon, you don’t connect the camera rotation with the direction your character is moving. This frustrated me so much that I eventually just used the arrows to move around, which wasn’t the greatest either (side note: it took nearly a full second sometimes for my movements to kick in. This was terribly annoying while trying to run away from a fight or simply changing directions frequently, sticking out like a sore thumb.)

Maps
The map/minimap in Mythos is done so much better in Mythos than DR. For one thing, when you open the full map in DR, you can’t still move your character, while you can in Mythos. It also seemed like you could zoom out further in the Mythos minimap and see more of the area around you.

In the bigger scheme of things, Dungeon Runners wins. I’m referring to actual locations/tilesets/etc.. Mythos currently suffers from a severe lack of tilesets with only one type of outdoors area, and probably 6 or so indoors. Looking at some YouTube videos and screenshots, I can see that DR has many more environments. Mythos also only has three “towns” in the game currently. Only one can really be considered a city with your stash and a multitude of vendors, while the other two simply have one vendor and some quests. I’m convinced that Mythos will include more as they near release (not sure when that’s supposed to be.)

Drops
I’m going with Mythos, here. In DR it can be quite difficult to actually see the gear on the ground, although you can use the alt key to bring up a label. That said, in Mythos the label already shows up on the screen, though its small enough that it doesn’t interfere with play.

On a material level, DR brought comedy to the table here. For instance, very fast weapons are labeled Ludicrous, while very slow weapons are labeled Grandma. Also, on the comedic note, as you put points into attributes your title changes, so you might become a “studios noobie obsidian mage” or something like that. I didn’t really get the chance to see a lot of the gear in DR, but a lot of the models get recycled in Mythos, simply being more powerful as you progressed. DR definitely wins the “cool weapon/armor” category, btw.

Quests
Both seem to have a wide variety of quests (at least in early levels, Mythos not so much after level 10.) I must say the quests in Mythos were a little more interesting and fun to read. The good number of them were still “kill ten foozles/rats” but they still weren’t dry enough that you simply looked at the objective.

Well those are the topics I noted so far. If there’s anything else you’d like me to compare, I can probably do it, at least briefly unless it involves high level DR content. To summarize, I was very frustrated when starting DR, but eventually I got over that and saw that it was a pretty fun game, albeit one that almost requires that you pay the $5/mo to play. Mythos was much smoother, both in terms of graphics and gameplay, but doesn’t have as much variety in content as DR, but again, I think this is largely due to the fact that it’s still in beta. My personal, subjective choice is Mythos for reasons I’ve said and a lot of the finer details I haven’t mentioned, but I do have respect for Dungeon Runners and you should at least give it a shot and see if it’s worth the $5/mo. If you are in need of hack ‘n’ slash, these are two very good options.

~Kanthalos