I played a Trapsin in Diablo II. It was a fun class that turned the game into action tower defense. Drop traps, throw my pitiful attacks at the enemy, and kite them around traps until they fell down. I was particularly fond of the the exploding corpse trap and the cow level. Explosion damage scaled based on the enemy’s hit points, and cows were big tanks. Killing the first one took a while, then they fell like dominoes as high-damage corpses converted cows into more high-damage corpses.

This scaled nicely based on enemy hit points but not on group size. Enemy hit points scaled up with group size, but the trap’s damage was scaled on the enemy’s base hit points, not its scaled hit points. That is, the trap that was devastating on a solo map did less and less as the team size grew, because enemy hit points increased but trap damage did not. (Granted, neither did any other damage source, but there is a large difference between falling dominoes that take out a whole group and “kite, 1 dies and damages several, kite more, 1 dies and damages several, kite more…”)

With no allies, I could solo the map easily by knocking over dominoes. Every additional ally made me relatively weaker. One direct damage specialist was nice for knocking over the first cow, but past that, the game incentivized me to be alone with my exploding corpses.

There were definitely situations for which grouping was a better option, but it sapped my favorite activity in-game.

: Zubon

Defying the Sophomore Slump

Our blogging world has adopted Guild Wars 2 en masse. Orcs Must Die! 2 was an unexpected treat earlier this summer. Torchlight 2 will be out later this month, and I preferred waiting for Torchlight 2 to playing Diablo 3. Borderlands 2 is coming. Team Fortress 2 remains my go-to FPS, and it added PvE content earlier this year.

Like TF2, some games reached their defining points only in their sequels: Master of Orion 2, Diablo 2, Street Fighter 2, WarCraft 2. Second try’s a charm?

: Zubon

Giant Lag Spikes on Your Shoulderpads

Diablo III is doing hardcore mode wrong. … Let me get the most glaringly obvious point out of the way. Diablo III requires an internet connection to play. This means lag. This means that you WILL die due to circumstances which are beyond your control. No internet connection is 100% reliable. Sometimes the Blizzard servers cock it up, and this will happen no matter what premium you pay for your connection. Therefore, as enticing it is to take a hardcore character seriously, the fact that you are at the mercy of the internet connection turns what should be a test of skill and caution into a veritable lottery. If your name gets pulled out of the hat you win a one way trip to permadeath.
The Mighty Viking Hamster

LotRO guides to the Undying title recommend against always running the easiest, safest content. If you have out-leveled the content, you are getting very little experience, while you are almost always safe enough on blue content. You are in a race with lag spikes and random perversity; given enough hours, your character will die due to no fault of your own, so if you want to achieve X before dying, you must reach it before “enough hours.”

: Zubon