[GW2] Reasons to Slow Level my Revenant

I got chided the other day in Guild Wars 2 for using my skill point scrolls in lieu of the upcoming expansion, with new Revenant profession. When used they provide this flashy whirlwind-boom, which lets everybody know I gained a skill point. I politely asked if I should start, “yet another stack of skill points”. The response was a cat-face, my most hated emote ( :3), which makes no sense to me on any level. I could not punch through the internet. Continue reading [GW2] Reasons to Slow Level my Revenant

[GW2] Revenant Reminiscing

The revenant profession coming with the Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns seems like the biggest throwback yet to Guild Wars 1. It operates so differently from any other profession that I would definitely call it an expansion profession. For a really nice overview of the new profession check out GuildMag’s post on it.

The biggest reason I am excited about the revenant is the flavor. While necromancer was my main in Guild Wars 1, the ritualist was my favorite character. The whole power dependent on otherworldly spirits was quite flavorful. The revenant seems no different in channeling legends as power conduits. Even more awesome, the devs have said that the legend will actually speak to the character.

I am also interested in the style of heavy class that revenant represents. Obviously, we don’t have a complete picture having only examples of two weapon sets and two legends.

Jalis seems very guardian-ish. It’s a different and welcome flavor of guardian, but it definitely feels like a similar piece of the pie. Thankfully the corresponding weapon, the hammer feels way different from anything guardian-ish.

I am more interested in Mallyx, which feels completely different from anything on the table. The closest cousin is necromancer, but Mallyx seems to want to turn the revenant into a condition battery, a patient zero, rather than necromancer’s condition reversal.

The devs have said that each legend is going to be a package, and they kept referring to the weapons (and trait lines) as aligning with certain legends. It was pretty clear that mace seemed to line up with Mallyx for condition fun, but hammer seemed a bit broader than just being a Jalis weapon. My feeling is that like weapon set swapping, players will have a primary legend in mind when building and then a secondary legend. I’ve seen lots of talk about the revenant possibly being a great use for the celestial armor set (+x to all stats).

Out of the soldier profession, I am not a fan of the warrior, which has always felt a bit too direct for me. I like the guardian pretty much, but I much prefer the debuff/control side of things, which is why out of spite, the necromancer is my current main. Honestly, the revenant might replace the necromancer, I am not sure. The revenant – the unselfish tank-y necromancer, heh. I will definitely be booting one up with the Heart of Thorns expansion regardless.

–Ravious

[GW2] Creeping HoT – Maps and Masteries

Creep is a dirty MMO word. Yes, there are creeps who should be reported for saying things that would make any mother smack the scheisse out of them, but this is different. This is when a developer tries to make things more awesome and toes outside the earlier line of power, content, etc. and leaves the priors behind.

Creep in its worst sense is an erosion of the importance of earlier content. The most notable creep is power creep. In updating an MMO will add more levels or more gear tiers thereby lowering the importance of earlier accomplishments.  Another might be feature creep that gives people the new ability (with expansion purchase) to fly anywhere.

I feel ArenaNet’s expansion is going to be one of the lowest amounts of creep we can possibly see for an MMO expansion. The reason: compartmentalization. Continue reading [GW2] Creeping HoT – Maps and Masteries

[GW2] Scaled Raiding

The Vinewrath is one of Guild Wars 2 open-world “raids”. Compared to most conventional raids the mechanics/roles are pretty simple, but they do exist. For example, someone in the lane needs to keep an eye on the backline because I’ve seen slingers wreck whole lanes with rock bombards. A couple people in the thrasher champion fight need to deal with pustules. Many lane wipes have occurred from pustules.

Each Vinewrath fight so far had felt full with people map having been hopping between instances of Silverwastes like locusts. Nobody appeared to know the recommended population for fighting the Vinewrath. Players even felt pressured to do the content now! Now. Now! in case it became difficult later on when the active population moved on.  Continue reading [GW2] Scaled Raiding

Guild Wars 2 Flash Sale, ESO Switch, and Wildstar

So, before the Saturday announcement Guild Wars 2 is selling for $10. I’ve been trying to avoid the hype train until things become real (ArenaNet officialized). But, hot dang, $10 for Guild Wars 2 is… that’s Steam Sale worthy. That’s Steam worthy in the sense that I would buy the game to let it sit there.

Then ESO is going to buy-to-play. It even has the synics (sic :P) slightly on board. I think that’s cool and expected. The game seemed to fall off the map too quickly. The switch went pretty well for LOTRO and TSW, and I expect about the same for this.

Which leads me to Wildstar… the game I wanted to be buy-to-play. Supposedly their latest update is going to do a lot of good to the game. At least that’s what I’ve heard through the grapevine. Still, I am surprised that ESO is making the business model switch first, and it gets me looking at pappa NCSoft, killer of City of Heroes.

I am a big fan of MMO’s I own. I am much more likely to buy it in Steam fashion and play it some. I did it with TSW, which I adore but just don’t have time for, and I still have my lifetime “sub” with LOTRO because I wanted ownership. I will probably pick up ESO for that reason. I might even get Mrs. Ravious interested, who knows. I’ll probably pick up another GW2 account as well, just ‘cus.

–Ravious

[GW2] Season 2 Living World Review

The short of it is: it is a vast improvement over Season 1. There is more permanence, more cohesive, apparent plot, and a strong heading. ArenaNet seems to have gone from “too many cooks in the kitchen” to “yes, chef” in one Living World season. Also spoilers.

Permanence!

The most objective improvement is that almost everything is now a permanent fixture. Every launch period (2+ weeks) a player can log in to snag the personal story chapter for free. Thereafter it costs 200 gems ($2.50), or 20 something gold. After that, whatever instances and achievements that come with the chapter are at the player’s whim. There are no timed achievements. Either the achievements are tied to the story instances or to the zones themselves.

ArenaNet also chose to devote most of their attention to permanent zones rather than instanced, temporary pop-up areas, such as the Tower of Nightmares, or temporary activities to zones, such as the Marionette. The debris left behind by the temporary activities and areas makes areas of the zone feel unfinished. Continue reading [GW2] Season 2 Living World Review

[GW2] The Vinewrath

There is a lot to talk about with the latest Guild Wars 2 update, which closes out Season 2 of the Living World story. I am going to go from least spoiler’y to most spoiler’y in my posts about the update. First, I am going to talk about the Silverwastes and its boss.

The latest two zones are what I would consider highpoints of MMO zone design because each zone has its own rhythm and life. My least favorite MMO zones are ones where there’s a bit of everything, and none of it really ties together. My favorites are ones where when I enter the zone I know what the cadence will be. Dry Top is an event farming zone with handy dandy hourly timer and reset. Silverwastes is more chaotic, and also more rewarding. Continue reading [GW2] The Vinewrath

Difficulty and Creativity

Lower difficulty accommodates a broader range of playstyles and options. Higher difficulty increasingly demands optimization and can make every fight a puzzle boss.

There are more and less effective ways of accomplishing goals in games. For many people, theorycrafting and metagaming are the game, and the real fun comes from figuring out how to manipulate rules and situations for optimal effectiveness. There is a lot to be said for this approach to fun. If you enjoy strategy games, this is probably what you enjoy. Wringing the most value out of every move and option is the heart of strategy gaming.

Many care less about that. They have concepts they want to play, toys they want to use, or “I’m just here to have fun.” It does not matter if the flamethrower is 20% less effective per point than the shotgun; they just want to watch the world burn. At an extreme, there are those who love the difficulty of execution, and they will intentiontally make suboptimal choices to prove they can succeed under those conditions.

High levels of difficulty tend to restrict the range of viable options. In easy fights, like solo MMO play, a silly concept build works just fine, and a perfectly optimized build just saves a little time. As difficulty increases, the number of viable builds narrows (given constant player skill). Difficulty gets tuned this way: playing at the highest difficulty, you may need great execution and a great strategy and an optimized build. If not, the highest difficulty could be made even harder.

The Queen’s Gauntlet in Guild Wars 2 was a good example. You could sleepwalk through most of the fights with an optimized mesmer, and I’m told that warriors were also strong. Other classes needed to struggle and adapt more. Stronger classes and builds could keep their usual skills and talents; some people needed to switch up weapons and abilities to beat some bosses. More skilled players could do more with less, but the DPS check (X hit points, Y seconds to defeat it) limited that.

You can also optimize fun and silly builds to make them viable at higher difficulties or use optimized builds for casual play to compensate for unoptimized playstyles (inexperienced, lazy, drunk, limited physical capabilities). One of the joys of character optimization in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 was seeing experts take mechanically weak ideas and make them viable characters rather than burdens that needed to be carried by the rest of the party. “We swapped some feats on your whip-wielding halfling cleric, and if you take these spells, you should be back up to par.” The car looks the same on the outside, but because it is souped up under the hood, it handles better when conditions get rough.

: Zubon

[GW2] Double the Legendary, Double the Fun

Mrs. Ravious is now the proud owner of two legendaries. It definitely helped that the RNGhost in the Machine decided to give, ironically, Mrs. Ravious the Leaf of Kudzu precursor for the holidays. Her Christmas gift last year was the Leaf of Kudzu. This year it was put up on the auction block with the proceeds turning in to Dawn, the precursor for the legendary greatsword Sunrise.

Then for the holidays she farmed well… everything, and I led her through Ascalon Catacombs a dozen or so times. I now stand next to my wife like a filthy casual.

I kid. She hates that I don’t have a legendary, but I don’t know which legendary ArenaNet made to look good with necromancers. Wait, yes I do. None. They made none legendaries for the stepchild class of PvE. I guess if I want to be some anti-necromancer, bubble-gum angel holding-a-rainbow… necro like Noscoc I could do that. Continue reading [GW2] Double the Legendary, Double the Fun