Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crafter Rage

Well, here it is folks, the AoC Dev's have released their initial crafting revamp. From first impressions it appears they are completely ripping out the old crafting system and starting fresh with a new set of mechanics. This has enraged at least a few long time vets of the game. All of the cultural gear items that they spent years of grinding and collecting, not to mention all of the gold they spent will go away with the new crafting system that has yet to hit the test live servers. I have noticed on more than a few threads rage quitting and frustration over the revised crafting system as no one really knows what is in store or where they will stand once the new system comes out.

A few key points of discussion:

- Characters will only be able to obtain 2 gathering skills and 1 crafting profession.

- Architect as a profession is going away altogether. Initial impressions are that anyone can build on the Guild Cities with the proper renown.

- The new system will not encompass old recipes that were obtained by crafters. The items created prior to going live will still exist with their appropriate stats, but will no longer be able to be reproduced. In effect they become legacy items.

- The new system will allow a profession to build baseline items but with right skill and materials will be able to improve and or tweak items to make stats more customized. Items have a higher chance of creating rares based upon the types of materials and combinations there of that get included into the build. Nodes will be more frequent and will not have random encounters spawn upon them.

These are basic points and by no means comprehensive. Alot of the new system seems to be based upon the crafting system of the pre NGE Star Wars Galaxies system with a few extra tweaks. So here are my concerns and then I will discuss what I consider as possible bonuses from the revamp:

- Let's face it, the amount of time and especially gold that veterans put into obtaining the rare recipes is pretty insane. To completely drop all of their effort without a SERIOUS compensation is a slap in the face for their devotion towards becoming master crafters. I doubt there will be gold compensated and whatever new materials that were hinted at for veterans are probably not going to really address the time and gold lost. Personally, I was never that serious in crafting with the exception of architecture for our Guild City. But my wife has been busting her ass both in Armorsmithing and Weaponsmithing. Not nearly to the degree of some noted players such as Schou on Wiccana who has just about every recipe out there, but certainly she has a time investment on it. To me, the solution would be to keep in some manner those recipes or equivalents for those who gained it. I seriously doubt this would happen as the revamp rips everything that has been crafted away. In lieu of this, a MAJOR amount of new mats that are specialized along with the appropriate skill base should be awarded to those who are veteran crafters.

- FunCom has had a reputation of releasing half tested patches that take months to finish. Considering this is a complete software re engineering I seriously am wondering how they will make the patch a viable launch even with say 2 months of constant script and coding patches. It is much more viable to have extensive testing runs on the TL server until the formulas work consistently and with minimal bug issues. I don't begrudge minor bugs or even a few major ones as long as the dev's fix it fast. But this major of a project is going to require a lot more effort from their software techs and developers to make it a consistent feature of the game.

- Something that was mentioned is whatever crafting profession we have will be transferred to the nearest equatable profession they create in the new craft system. Too vague for me. That or it shouldn't have been mentioned until they have the solution.

- Will the crafted gear provide not only stats that are useful but will the gear have a look and feel of Hyboria. I hate the generic baseline rares you get through lv 75 currently. I want variety instead of mediocrity. Yes I am a vanity whore. One of the great things about the Hyborian Genre is the barbaric look and feel. Will there be plenty of exotic skins to the weapons and armor and not just generic drek? This is an important thing for me. When FC introduced the vanity tab I was ecstatic. I could make my Cimmerian LOOK like a northerner without sacrificing my stats for the power side of the house.

Ok, so those were my major concerns. Now hear me are some of the POTENTIAL gains from this new system:

- The level of customization if delivered as promised will allow maximum use of stats for progression, especially at the end game. The in depth level of this customization should make unique and potentially powerful equipment altogether for other players.

- Economically a whole new market could open up with more competition in the Auction House. If different pieces or weapons/trinkets do different things then people can corner markets on personally crafted gear to sell. It makes the crafting system mean something for once. I hate crafted greens that world drops out perform. Also it may open up new markets for the vanity tabs depending on how varied the skins are for the equipment. Another note is whole new markets can possibly rise for new materials and gems instead of the very blase selling performance we see currently. Trade houses could indeed become filled with viable crafted gear that people will actually appreciate and use.

Ok, these again are my own opinions. I don't expect people to agree with me, only read with an open mind. I have presented some of the flaws as I see them as well as possible advantages. In the end, it will largely depend upon the forethought and the careful planning around second and third echelon effects of their decisions. I won't be overly excited until I hear more from TL or more from the FC developers. I am waiting on the sidelines for this particular revamp and will make my judgement calls when either more is known or when I actually get to put their new system into action. I do advise folks to be patient and still keep on their current crafting works as normal. We have no ideas on a solid projection date of the patch release and I personally don't see it happening till at least late summer if not the fall quarter regardless of the dev page projections.

Till next time, have fun out there in Hyboria, I'll be hording everything I can get my hands on in the hopes I may make a killing at one market or another!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Toxic Attitudes on the AoC Forums

Believe it or not, there are several posts I really enjoy in the AoC forums. There are still viable posts concerning strats class specc'ing and rotations to maximize the skill of players. What annoys the hell out of me though is the attitudes of negativity on the forums. Now I do realize that its usually the same people and that many of them don't play much if any at all these days. I got it, but man it's hard to maintain a good attitude when you are constantly being bombarded by people who will post their hatred on the forums. Now I do understand some legitimate arguments. Things that still need fixing but overall the game is still fun. What I don't understand is the constant crap attitudes. Is this simply the existence of their whole lives? To dis a game they don't play anymore? It isn't going to change. There were some epic mistakes by the developers. I got it. So, why don't those who don't like the game move on? What drives them to continuously post anger that won't be resolved?

I enjoy the game for what it offers, a stunning setting that works pretty decent. No, it doesn't cater to PvP'ers. Like as not, pvp communities are pretty fickle when we look at business models. Now I do agree FC totally fucked up the Sieging system which was one of their original points of sale. They have yet to really fix this in a solid way. Yes, some of the encounters in PvE Raiding have been dumbed down and the raid mechanic borked. There are some issues. I won't deny that. Legitimate issues do need addressing. But the game is still enjoyable.

Here is something that annoys me, the bitter trolling that goes on. The forums were created for discussion, not trolling. It's hard to sift through the trash and keep working towards common goals. The MMO community in general is a pretty fickle bunch. Once things are conquered people move on to the next greatest and latest.

Ok, this was my rant for a Sunday. My only hope is that those players still enjoying the game overlook the selfish drama loaded attitudes. Hey, I'm going back to work some faction, farming and working on our guild city lol. Maybe the team and I will do a few runs on Pagoda and Warmonks. These are enjoyable for small guilds like us. We got most of the strats down and we learned them for the most part on our own. I got good friends in our guild, I'm happy to see them logged on. Here is to enjoying a game that still has a lot to offer.  See ya all in Hyboria!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Guild finally reaching Khitai 6 mans together

Fat Bastard Down!
In the Ghostwolves, we tend to keep things pretty laid back, no pressure. Mostly a Social guild if you look at it. But last night was magic. Our lv 80's that were on finally came together and did our first 6 man in Khitai. It was on EZ mode, but as a first run it took us several tries to complete. What I enjoyed was the tenacity they each displayed in finally downing the Fat Bastard of Pagoda. Now I know some will know those jaded elitists that have been raiding since beta. But as a small guild we really worked some magic together. The best part was, we just kept calm when things got hectic and enjoyed learning the strat by ourselves rather than lift it from an established source. The communication was outstanding between each members. Healers were calling out their big heal cooldowns, tanks were aggro swapping on point, everyone got into the rhythm and above all, NO ONE QUIT! That's why it was such a fine evening. In the end, we dropped fat boy and made off with other projects. We discussed gearing issues and worked out where our crafters could help out the best. The time spent was so worth it and that's a reason why I love our guild. Everyone is plain friendly. It's understood from the get go, no drama allowed. Issues with each other get mediated by the leadership with an impartial attitude. We don't get angry at each other, we just talk it out and keep at it. So, thanks Ghostwolves, outstanding work!

A couple of tips that worked out for us if you happen to be new to the Khitai instances:

1. You have to have patience. No'll not make it.
2. Keep all world particles up, this is critical especially in this fight.
3. Tanks, watch eachother's health bars and aggro swap accordingly. This can also be the job of your Teamleader to call it out. Tanks should try to keep the fight in the front as much as possible.
4. Make sure your camera angle is pointed from above looking down, its easier to spot the cone Miasma's and avoid them. Team leader can also call this out to the team in vent by using the clock direction method based upon where the tanks are. Communication is essential here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Ghostwolves got thier Tier 3 Armorsmith

Tier 3 Armorsmith
 One thing you learn once you start building your Tier 3 City shops is PATIENCE. It takes a ton of effort to raise these shops and a lot of time. This took us a couple of weeks of farming from at least a few of our lv 80s to get all the materials. Its worth it in the end but boy is it a daunting task. One thing I found helpful was posting on our forums every couple of days the progress in materials to give our Guildees a goal to reach. This sort of motivated them to work harder towards the end state. The members present on the pic all gave a lot of time towards getting this done. I give shout outs to Rhotan, Hermodr, Longtime, Randomized, Sayo, Phuelle, Jaspeh, Shakyjake, Akantha, and a few others for their tenacious efforts. Our next goal is to get our Alchemist Tower upgraded.

Overall the guild has seemed to stabilize in numbers as a whole. I have noticed a lot of our free to players have not logged on and so I dropped them from the rosters. They helped some of course, but many have left for other games and after 30 days of no show I figure they have moved on unless they make special arrangements with me. Members online have slowed a little. On average I am seeing between 10 to 20 online with an average of about 16. We should hit Renown lv 5 by the end of next week. We average around 5.5 - 6 million renown per week. This has kept us at Rank 10 for the past 2 weeks which isn't bad for a small guild.

The game itself is still filled with a lot to do. We as a guild have decided to do regular recipe farming to pre raid gear our folks. It also allows us to get a feel for each other's working styles and that's always a good thing.

The game has been pretty stable of late since the last patch. I haven't noticed much in the way of crashes in raids or 6 mans. I haven't noticed much in the way of banding either. It happens every great now and then, but not enough to make an issue of the deal.

What I did notice is when we went into House of Crom and tried to deal with ghosts, they were all of a sudden elite. I'm not sure if this was intended with the last update but it left us as a group pretty surprised since before we were able to solo them with no issue. It may be that the game developers wanted them as elites in the first place but hadn't programmed them to be as such when HoC first came out.

The server continues to be pretty active as a whole with about 6 major guilds doing regular T2 - T3 raids. There is still the issue of regular folks being able to get into lower lv instances. Even when you have a guild, it seems pretty difficult to get into those instances that are pre end game. This is kinda sad as there is a lot you can learn about your class by simply hitting them at level. But too often I see people asking for run throughs in Global Channel. They never really learn their jobs, rotations or spec's. There is no easy answer to this though. I know while even our Senior members try to keep lower lv alts on hand, it is still difficult to get folks going into those instances at level.

I am hoping that more folks become premium players over time. IT would help a lot with getting enough players rolling in. FC seems to think they can get cross server grouping done sometime in the next quarter. Im not sure if this will happen or not. Guess we will have to see there.