Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guild Spotlight: The Knights of Ironspine

A while ago, there was this fine group of folks who came out of the original servers during launch. They called themselves the Knights of Ironspine, or KOI for short. I got the opportunity to raid with them one evening and found them to be likable, easy going and fun to work with. They seemed to often share the same goals as my own guild, The Ghostwolves, Drama free and fun loving. Without further ado, I present The Knights of Ironspine!

At Toth Amon!

First a little about yourself:

Give us a little background about how long you have been playing AoC, what is your favorite character class and what spurs you to continue playing AoC?

I started playing AoC shortly after launch, and have been playing ever since. I have 19 level 80 characters, and have played every class to 80 at least once, so I can't really say I have a favorite, but it would be a toss up between Necromancer and Tempest of Set if I were forced to choose. My "main" character is Greylaina, level 80 Necro and my primary armorsmith and weaponsmith. I love the story line of AoC, having been a Conan fan since reading the books and graphic novels as a young child. AoC also has, in my opinion, the best melee combat system of any MMO out there, and even 4 years after release still has some of the best graphics. These are the things that keep me coming back.
What aspects of the game are your favorite?

Raiding, in all the tiers, is my favorite aspect of the game. I love the challenging encounters and the need to work together, as well as the joy folks get out of obtaining epic loot to upgrade their characters!
Do you feel the game has progressed technically throughout it's lifespan?

Yes, I do. Frankly, this game was awful at release, but has steadily improved and grown, with the occasional step backwards here and there along the way. The content that has been added along the way has also been excellent. House of Crom is the best addition so far, with good challenges and rewards, and beautifully rendered scenery, thoughtful quests and great overall implementation. 
Give us an overview of your guild, what server your guild is on, how long has it been  established,  Guild  goals, accomplishments and recruitment policies?

Knights of Ironspine started at launch on the Ironspine server, and moved to the Wiccana server about 3 and a half years ago. We have an open recruitment policy. We raid frequently in the 3 main tiers available to us at this time, as well as running 6 man instances and the occasional siege. We are a friendly and helpful bunch, consisting of a large core of veteran players, and some new and returning players. Our current roster has about 50 active players and hundreds of characters.
Our guild city, in the scenic Laicesh Plains, is tier 3, with a tier 3 battle keep as well. Recently, we achieved level 20 renown as a guild. Our focus is primarily on PVE content, though we have players who pvp frequently, and players who like the role play and social aspects of the game as well.

What makes your guild stand out among the rest on your server?

Our frequent raids and our friendly and helpful attitude are what most people comment on. We really like to keep in mind that this is a game, not a second job for our players, nor a therapy session to air our personal issues. We like to keep things "low drama" as much as possible.
What things about your guild you are most proud of?

I don't think there's anything about KOI that I am not proud of!
How do you keep guild members motivated and keep new blood coming in?

Active raiding and recruiting. Keep exploring the new content, but don't let the old stuff fall by the way-side

What would you like to see in future patches and expansions?

I'd like to see player housing, contextual chat filters, settable pvp flags for open world play (on PVE servers), larger tradeskill inventories, and my hope is that with the coming crafting revamp they don't disenfranchise those of us who have spent a lot of time, gold and effort collecting the current recipes!

Where do you see the future of AoC?

I don't see the game going away anytime soon if that's what you mean. I think that it is a good sound MMO with a decent community, and still has fantastic graphics and game play among all the competition even 4 years out. As long as FC doesn't do anything to further alienate their player base, AoC is here to stay. Like many players, I love the game but am not as fond of the development and management of the game. All companies make mistakes here and there... but FC seems to have a penchant for spectacular ones. FC also has consistently failed to market this game properly. AoC could be so much bigger in the US market if FC would actually put some thought and effort into promotion.
Till next time, have a good run out there in Hyboria! Remember, we continually promote other guilds in the interest of finding good folks to play the game with. By all means, if you find any of the guilds in this blog and decide to join them, let them know where you found it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Raid Leadership PT2...Dealing with player issues

Ok, here in Part 2, I'll discuss some Leadership issues with problems that arise amongst players. This especially plays a huge part when having to recruit non guild/alliance members into a raid.

Let's face it, it takes a lot of troops with a wide array of classes to be competitive in a raid. Since getting 24 people of the right class combinations is a tough job for the new Raid Leader, you may find yourself dealing with numerous player personalities and issues. Non guild members and alliance members owe you no loyalty. They are in effect mercenaries looking for the pay off. Attitudes can be difficult at times to deal with. So a little planning goes a long way to keep people both motivated and civil with one another.

First and foremost, make sure your main crew of guildees and alliance members are on time and ready to transport to the raid site right away. I highly encourage that the raid leader has a website with a calendar for event planning in advance as well as sign up capabilities. There are plenty of free ones out there if you dont want to spend money, so don't fret the money issue. Guildlaunch allows for free websites, you just need to deal with all of the advertisements and a minimal amount of pic space for storage. Not a bad deal if you ask me. This mitigates the issue of late comers. Make sure everyone knows that if they can't show to post a few days in advance so you can shift priorities by raid day. Hey, real life can be a bitch at times, so don't get too bent out of shape...adjust fire and move on toy our objective.

Now on to the issues that can arise, I'll try to go point by point without too many tangents:

*LOOT~ Heh, the heart and soul of success is of course the loot at the end. Yes raiding can be it's own reward by simply downing the boss, but lets face it, loot is a huge component. So it is extremely important to post your loot rules in advance. Create a script with Shadowscript describing your loot rules in advance to so you can get it out of the way quickly. If the loot rules are simple and clear, you should have no real issue.  In AOC, it's also critical that you as the Raid leader set your loot options to Master Loot initially so you can pass the loot to those in need first, or be ready to roll off when it's two of the same class competing for the same item. This mitigates any bickering between people who might have misrolled. If a dispute arises, calmly talk to the parties involved and find an equitable solution. If it turns ugly, pull both parties aside in a different channel of your vent/teamspeak and find out the issue. Remind them there will be other chances and ask that they set aside the dispute in the interest of getting the raid moving forward. If someone received loot that they shouldn't have, get them to send a petition up to a GM to have them delete the item and give it to the appropriate party. Most folks who want to be re invited to raids are pretty quick to solve the issue. I've rarely run into puggers that will ninja loot then bail as word goes round real fast and they get banned quickly by every guild available.

* Overbearing Tactician~ Well, we always did it this way and it's the only way to fight it, so stop doing it wrong! Yeah Yeah, guess what, by luck or skill there are more than a couple strats to every boss fight out there, especially if you don't have the raid make up exactly to standard. Now sometimes, they can provide valuable insight when you are having a really tough time downing a particular boss. Listen carefully with an open mind before you start pulling out your bolt thrower. If it seems reasonable, try it out...no worries. Your success as a leader is dependent upon the raid's over all success, not your ego. But what if they are being snotty, arrogant and not willing to even consider your strategy and then start flaming it in Raid chat or vent? Gently remind the aspiring god of raids that you are in charge of this, and if it fails utterly you will reconsider your stance. But until then, you are in charge...not them. Do so with a little tact and in whisper, or pull them into a separate vent channel to do so. If they still can't wrap it around their heads. remark that they may find a different raid team if they like.

*The Blame Game~ DUDE! Why did you screw that fight up? WTF? Don't you know your toon? It's your fault we wiped dammit! Yeah I still see this occasionally. Squash this firmly. Let the raid know, everyone makes mistakes and to take a deep breath then try it again. If there was indeed a fault, identify it, tactfully remind everyone of the strat again, then rest and move on. But if a harassment attitude starts to arise, Don't be afraid to let the rager to chill out, stop the arguing and move on. If that doesn't work, this is one of the few times I say kick them to the curb. There are still others who will want to take their place. In the meantime, give everyone a quick break while you find the replacement. Chances are, you might even be able to down your boss missing one member in the lower Tiered Raids.

*Adaptive Gamers~ Lets face it, there are folks who have special needs. Some may be deaf, others speech impaired or have physical disabilities which slow their reaction time. Identify what their obstacles are in advance. Discuss with them possible solutions ahead of time. You may need to set them as assist's until they can run the raid inside and out. That's ok, just work with them. Be patient on this note, remember they are valuable and can with a little practice become very effective indeed. I have read about players with bad arthritis, Cerebral Palsy etc still be effective raiders, once they find a class and set rotation that works for them. For those with hearing impairments, post the strats ahead of time, make sure they know the critical points of the fight ahead of time with minimal confusion as to thier role. Even though they can't hear, they can pick up on the visual cues of the fight and still be effective. There are also a lot of software programs that can help as well to assist their game play. I'll get to that in a different post. Point is, work with them, they can be the most stalwart and loyal members of your guild/raid team.

Ok, so I've gone over a lot of basic issues arise and some of the ways to mitigate them. By all means discuss and add in your own ideas or experiences to share across the board. Till next time, May Gold line your belt, and blood spill from your blade like a tankard of Ale!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Future Developments in AoC

So, I trotted on down to MMORPG.com and listened in on a live stream interview with Graig Morrison,Joshua Doetsch and Lidia di Zazzo. It was an hour long live stream that allowed players to ask questions of the designers and get some feedback. Over all, the first 32 minutes of it was a recap of Deadman's Hand which is good for those just coming into AoC and want to know about the Turan Xpac. Since I already had this particular xpac, I skipped ahead to the future developments. For details, go to this interview.

What I got out of it was the development team is working to add new content within the next year that will appeal to all players. So lets get a quick recap here and you can go on over to get all the details. If I missed anything, or you have comments, by all means drop them in.

~ PoM Revamp- this is about to go live with the next patch. In my opinion it will mean relearning the class and looking at builds all over again. This isn't necessarily bad, but it will take a dedicated PoM to get into it and learn how to use the class to best advantage. I may try out a PoM from the start again to see how this pans out, then revisit my opinions.

~ Crafting Revamp- This one should come out around summer time. I am really looking forward to this. According to Mr Morrison, those folks who have horded rare materials should still have use for them for crafting though not necessarily in the same way. Materials that no longer have use are supposed to be given equivalents...well they will try their best too anyhow. There should be some new armor skins and looks to add in. I am pretty stoked about this. Hopefully they will be careful about release and make sure it doesn't totally bork the game up. 

~ New Content- This won't happen for a hot minute but they are trying to make some of the old dungeons at lv 80 for revisit. They are also trying to figure out a way to make some of those old favorites into scale-able instances so they can be revisited by teams as they progress in levels. I like this idea, but I don't expect too many to be created. Most likely they will release one to see if it works out correctly and then go for more.

~ PvP/PvE single server technology- Here is an interesting topic, but I don't expect to see results till Fall or Winter (MY OPINION). They are working towards allowing players to toggle pvp/pve on and off. so anyone can play in both on the same server. IF it works, it would allow greater populations and perhaps more interest in pvp. I see clouds looming though. The unfortunate tendency for players is to find exploits to personal advantage. It could mean quick and easy escapes for those on the loosing end. It could also mean griefing and utter annoyance for PvE folks who don't want to be harassed by PvPers looking to pick a fight. I dunno, I'm a little mixed on this. There are good and bad points to it so I guess we will see. They are also looking at making cross server switches easier to obtain for different players. This might be a good idea, we will see.

~ PvP Open World Content- Well, Craig had a point on this, with the failure of Bori, it is extremely difficult to create open world objectives that actually make sense and will appeal to the pvp community. They are working on it, but I think they lack direction at this point. This is a wait and hold item. They weren't very forthcoming on it but Mr Morrison did state he wanted to keep pushing his dev's to come up with valid ideas for this type of thing to come about. Personally, I think if they completely fixed the issues with Sieges that would solve a huge chunk of the PvP needs off the bat. The quick fix is to attempt to create more mini's. I dunno how many capture the flag sets with different maps I could bother handling. They were working on open world bosses, but Craig admitted that the feeback was mixed at best, so they are going back to the drawing board on that. The biggest problem I see though is, what exactly is meaningful objectives for PvPer's? I see a lot of wanting objectives, but no real valid ideas on it in the forums of hatred.

~ Duel Speccing- Yes, this is something they are working on coding for the near future. My bet is on summer/fall time frame before release. Most likely fall. They want to make sure this works so one can have a pve/pvp spec handy as well as different spec utilities for specific raids. What they don't want to see is being able to switch mid raid/instance to easy kill different fights. They also don't want it to be exploitable to fast switch during open world conflict. It's in the works to make though so I am looking forward to it.

~Future Expansions- YES, Hyboria will expand with new adventure packs possibly by the end of this fiscal year. I'll be very interested in what new lands we will see. But the developers aren't closing shop. They will release new stuff.

Ok, that's my recap. Get on down to the interview to get more detailed information. Remember that timelines are always flexible...so I wouldn't hold my breath. But I would give the game developers a chance to get new stuff out. Remember, I invite all discussion, but keep it civil and constructive.

Leadership in instances and raids PT 1

One thing that draws most MMO players from the PvE side is the instances and raid end game content. There is a feeling of accomplishment and progression on some of the toughest scenarios that game developers can create. But it takes a serious calm attitude to lead anything from 6mans/6man hard mode, to the huge undertaking of Raiding. With the development of so many MMO's out there, it can be daunting to keep end game focus at hand, especially if new content is not forthcoming. But for the new Leaders, I have some thoughts and observations.

Newer guilds that wish to progress to raiding, take heed: build your team gradually, make sure they work together and know eachother's habits. Work towards getting more than one class so if substitutes are necessary, you can find them fairly quickly. Work on easier instances first so you and your team understand each other's rotations and what each class can bring to a fight. Leaders especially need to have at least a general knowledge of each class capabilities and how they effect one another. Once you have established at least 10 players with at least an alt a piece, you can think about hosting raids. Now there are some existing large guilds out there that pull their own full crew raids with the occasional spot for outsiders. Most likely with AoC's very niche population, you will have to resort to outside recruitment. I advise you make some alliance with some of the medium to large guilds to help each other out. This means using tact, diplomacy and good gamesmanship. It means bringing a small force to fill their gaps a couple rounds to see if the prospective alliance is a good fit together. Cross talk is imperative, and keeping an open mind critical. Learn different ways of handling strategies and don't interject your opinion immediately unless solicited.

Ok with those simple ideas in place, let's look at your Leadership. Leading a team is pretty daunting, especially when trying an instance for the first time or leading a raid for the first time. Keeping a cool head and not getting frustrated over failure is the first step to success. Look, even if you have reviewed the best strategies available, you will never account for Murphy dropping by. Someone missed a combo by accident, a lag spike locked one of your players during a critical moment in the fight. A wireless mouse battery finally gave in. Murphy will haunt you constantly. That's ok, keep the team positive and upbeat.

Hard fought gains through perseverance
Perseverance will keep them motivated to keep hammering it down. Make sure you plan in advance for a couple of wipes...possibly more. It is critical you read available strategies when possible. Make sure to explain these strategies before every major engagement. Divy out responsibilities and always be ready to review strats to new players. Have some scripts set up to quickly push out vent information (if you don't have it...GET IT!!!!). Shadowscript is what I use, and I have some quick handy ones at the ready for ventrillo info and loot rules or quick strat guides. That being said, be patient and non critical of your guild members on the fight team. Cross talk but don't talk down to your team. Let them know, it's alright when a wipe happens and the do a quick review of what needs to be done the next try. Keeping things light and fun is key. Now if after several tries you see your team becoming burnt out...take a break. If necessary call the instance/raid with the promise that you as the leader will do a little more research to see what can be done to mitigate the wipes. Also, if your outside recruits (puggers) have some insight, welcome it. They may have the key to succeeding where you are missing the mark. There is nothing wrong with this, and your open mindedness goes a long ways in solidifying your role as a solid Leader.

Scouting ahead
So what if you head out to an instance blind with no information on fight mechanics? Take things very slowly. Be cautious on your trash pulls and survey your way ahead. Get a feel for terrain and look for possible ways you will get hammered. Be very attentive to things that seem to one shot you out of the fight. Remember, the game is for fun so keep your anger at  minimum. Those first forays can be exciting and blood pumping. They can also be disastrous so don't take your initial reconnaissance too seriously. Just take it slow and remember it's all about being mellow. ABOVE ALL, REMEMBER NO BLAME GAMES! If someone owns up to a screw up, let them know its ok and good they identified what went wrong to avoid it in the future.

These are some basic things I have found that keep a team together. In the future I'll discuss prepping you members in pre gearing and being ready to saddle up for thier instances. I'll also be giving leadership discussions on dealing with chronic problem members. Again, this post was primarily focused on the new leaders. Experienced leaders can take this as a refresher or throw it away as you please. Hope you enjoyed this post and I welcome all comments. Till next time, may your blade be wet with blood and your belt be lined with gold! Happy Hunting in Hyboria!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guild Leadership...beware the Burnout Dragon!

Guilds. Gotta love them. They are fine places to meet and greet folks. They make it easier to group up for questing and instances/raids. It gets lonely out there, chattin away during a grind is always nice to do. The team concept and belonging to something greater than the self is an accomplishment. Building a City and gaining guild renown is it's own reward. But there is a danger for those inclined to lead.

See, we all have a vision of what a guild should or should not be. Often it goes through evolutions over time. One thing though, it is very demanding for a Guild Leader and his subordinate officers to handle both mentally and emotionally. Let's face it, leaders want to bring thier guild to success and glory. They want to organize the events and plan in detail the Guild's progression. But when is it too much? I have seen somoe of the finest Guild Leaders in many different MMO's fall to the side over time as thier once mighty guilds crumble slowly with neglect. It takes a toll on a person to constantly be planning and providing for a guild, especially those with very focused objectives. Then there is that Real Life factor. Leaders often feel responsible if something doesnt kick off in thier absence. It can be taxing to even the most stalwart Guild Leader who wishes to make sure his members regardless of level or experience are provided with an environment where it is a joy to play amongst guildmates.

Recently, I noticed a number of guilds calling it quits on Age of Conan. Now, part of it happens from discontent of the game or been there, done that and its time to move on. These I understand. I won't make arguements etc over them. But something more insidious has happened to a few of the long time veteran Leaders which I have noticed in other games as well. The Burn Out Dragon. Yup, ugly beast. Burn out in Guild Leadership happens when more often than not, the Leader has devoted so much time to a given group that the game became work, not play. They no longer enjoyed the game for itself, but dreaded logging on for fear of one more requirement by thier members.

I have a policy for myself, if it seems like work...STOP. There are days I don't log on. I enjoy other aspects of life in general. Or, I log on, but onto an alt and let people know Im just out goofing around. Do Not Disturb. Keeping things casual and low stress is important folks. Remember the mmo worlds are not life...only an aspect of life. Keep that in mind when your out there.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guild Spotlight: Shadow Company

Hello all! This week I'd like to do a Guild Spotlight with the fine Folks of Shadow Company. So I got to get the chance to sit with one of their Leaders, Kiuss. Their Guild Leadership  Garethden & Sino shared thoughts along with Kiuss for us to read. This group has been around for quite some time and has guilds on numerous other MMO Platforms. What I can tell you is that working with them was a complete pleasure to experience. They welcome folks of all levels and experiences. They take the time to explain anything you might have questions. Best of all, they are just fun people!  So, without further a due, SHADOW COMPANY!

Shadow Company, Mercenaries for Hire
Give us an overview of your guild, what server your guild is on, how long has it been  established,  Guild  goals, accomplishments and recruitment policies?

Shadow Company runs on Wiccana server and has been with AOC since the beginning. The guild was actually established long before, in 2004, by Commander Bugbig back in Everquest II after existing in Neverwinter Nights as an idea. SC is all about respect, loyalty, and striving for excellence in whatever it may be we're up to – we are moderate in all aspects of the games we play, while maintaining our guild culture of military/mercenary themes. We're cross MMO, which means we run multiple gaming divisions at once, right now we're in AOC, Lord of the Rings Online (our longest running troop) and recently started up Star Wars the Old Republic. We currently employ just shy of 2000 registered members and are always looking for good people to join our community.

Do you feel the game has progressed technically throughout its lifespan?

Most definitely – to this day AOC is still the most graphically sophisticated MMO on the market and it runs tons better now than it did day one. There are bugs here and there like with any game, but it would be unrealistic to expect otherwise. Funcom gets a lot of flack, but they've done a lot of good with AOC.

What makes your guild stand out among the rest on your server?

SC is professional but fun. We have a clear code of conduct so that people know what to expect and always know where we're going. We provide where we can and devote a lot of time to our people and expect good things in return. Some people get a little freaked out by our rules – addressing officers, roll call, etc – but in truth we're just a bunch of like-minded people who all want to have fun – none of our members are here (or there) to give anyone a hard time. For example, if someone can't get in vent for a raid, we'll find a way around it. If for some reason someone has a problem with one of our members, we'll take a look at it and act accordingly. We're part of a persistent community in MMOs and SC is interested in keeping things cool for everyone wherever we're active.

The Company Formation
What things about your guild you are most proud of?

The people and what we've all accomplished together. Khitai has been smashed to bits, Thoth Amon's shaking in his boots every week. The guild bank is full to the brim with profit and our members are never lacking in gear – their guildmates make sure of it. Without the people, “Shadow Company” is just a name.

How do you keep guild members motivated and keep new blood coming in?

We host events every week and commit to our members. Recruitment is always open – you never know when a great person is going to stumble in, and everyone (with a decent personality) is allowed a chance. Some of our members are looking at RL retirement, some are just getting into post secondary – you can be a cat for all we care, so long as you can make a positive contribution to our community. We recruit everywhere, it's practically a full time job. In many cases, our reputation speaks for itself.

What would you like to see in future patches and expansions?

Just continued support and commitment. Specifically, the crafting revamp looks very exciting.

Where do you see the future of AoC?

People are always saying AOC is going to die when X game comes out. It hasn't happened yet – if anything, the game can take a punch. I can't say where it's going to end up, but I'd say it's got a few years of goodness left in it, and Shadow Company will be here in the meantime.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bank Space...FOR SALE..WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!

Something I missed recently with the up and coming patch was that bank space would now be able to be purchased through the in game store. Now, I understand FC is trying to make another selling point for FTP folks to actually by stuff which would theoretically gain revenue for FC. It seems sound, but I can't say I agree with making veterans pay for bank space storage as well. The thing is...when I look to see how many FTP folks actually generate lasting runs with the game, I see it somewhat lacking. This isn't a money making scheme here that will be successful. As a matter of fact I think it is counterproductive. Let's face it, very few FTP folks actually buy shit from the In game store. After a bit, the novelty wore off from me as well being a premium player. Ya they got an extra 20 bucks off me...then the shinies weren't shiny and I kept with my sub only. The percentage of FTP actually purchasing a lot of items from the In Game Store really isn't all that much revenue. Now, I don't mind that FC offers it for sale. BUT....I think they should automatically add 10 spaces to every toon of every veteran player that currently subs. Easier system really would be to offer the bank spaces just like bags from vendors for gold. The price needs to be fair...say 5 gold per 5 slot increments.

In the end it doesn't break the game for me. Ya I'd like some more bank space, especially for the guild bank. Sure FC offers it...for a price. But they get enough of my pocket book already so I'm not going to buy it. Now FC has a problem because I am willing to bet that most premium folks are pretty pissed about this. No one wants to pay additional funds when they are already loyal subscribers. Sure, offer it for sale to the FTP community....just give something back to the loyal customers who already pay cash. I won't be getting too bent out of shape for this. It again comes down to personal choice. No one is being forced to buy the space and the intent is to reap more revenue from the FTP community. But this is also a case where the marketing team in FC have not thought through the second and third echelon effects of their choices. The premium subscribers need a little more incentive to keep paying premium dollar amounts on a sustained basis.

What would be nice is making all resources stack to 1000 instead of 100. Or making the Resource bag just as large as whatever the storage bag is instead of capping at 45. I dump a lot of crap that could be selling for profit because I have no place to put it. By capping the stacks at 1000, we have cut down the needed space to carry stuff and stopped the need for storage mules. Anyways, these are my thoughts for the day. Please discuss or drop an opinion as you will. Enjoy Hyboria for what it can and remember always, it is a game not a life. Take care one and all till next time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

PoM Revamp

Seems like there are a ton of PoM changes coming out in the near future. After reading the Test live forums, I get the clear impression that it will make PoMs a little more desirable to play as a lot of the cool downs have been reduced and the game play has eased up a little. The intent appears to be allowing the spells from PoMs more useful in multiple situations, not just a couple here and there. My wife isn't too excited as she feels she will need to relearn the class completely. I'm not so sure about this being true. There will be a few things to get the rotations down right, but I doubt it will be too ungodly.
Below is the Test Live Forum posts fro those not following. Read it carefully and compare what you currently are running and what it will effect. It will be a little different for play style, but I liked the decreased cool down times and it may make me decide to try a PoM when the revamp comes out. Some of the long time PoM players are considering dusting off their PoMs to test run it and compare results. I invite you players to make your own decisions only after you have tried it out, then give the proper feedback over it.

Below was posted by Loke on the TL Forums. Since  there was a lot of QQ without actually testing it, I thought I would post here to get PoM players to look at it and see where they stand in comparison.

**These notes do not necessarily reflect the final version that will be deployed on Live**

The Priest of Mitra feat trees have primarily been improved and streamlined, the play style of the Priest of Mitra will not change dramatically with these changes. Several core spells have been tweaked or redesigned to make them more useful and less situational, some made more user-friendly, all changes done with the main goal of improving the gameplay experience of the Priest of Mitra. Players should now be able to get a clear understanding of what each of the feat trees grant them, and make an informed choice on which of the two endfeat-lines they wish to invest in.

Divinity is a good choice for a priest who wants to focus on becoming the primary healer. The Divinity feat tree will expand the priest's divine knowledge with new prayers and heal empowering feats like Lance of Mitra, Divine Lance, Blessing of Mitra, Divine Halo, Divine Salvation and Holy Cleansing. A Divinity priest will also become a strong damage dealer, though primarily against single targets. He can empower his core damage spells to improve heals and investing divine power into channelling holy damage on his target through the use of the Condemnation spell. The Divinity priest is also a strong crowd controller with increased damage and range for Repulse and extra immunity and utilities like Exorcism, Spiritual Warding and Avatar of Mitra. Focus of the Divinity tree will improve the healing capacity of the priest, shield companions and protect the group through additional crowd control utilities.

Vengeance is the clear choice for any priest that wants face the challenges of taking down several enemies on the battlefield at the same time. The Vengeance priest boosts his AoE damage through healing. By investing points into feats like Cleansing Fire, Sacred Fire and Mitra’s Searing Eye, the priest is granted a new vengeful damage bonus through the Sacred Smite. The priest's healing prayers can also be infused to become powerful area damage spells by investing into Purification of Mitra. Additional points invested into the Immortal Wrath feat line specializes the Priest further into the field of area damage. The main focus of the Vengeance tree is not only area damage, however. Vengeance priests also supports and empowers their team with unique team buffs like Glowing Radiance, The Light Within, Guardian Spirit, Vengeful Devotion and Manifestation of Mitra.

General Priest of Mitra Changes

* Reduced cast time and tweaked damage of Smite. The cast time is now 2 seconds, the DPS of this spell will be the same.
* Rebuke will now add a minor spiritual wrack to target and nearby targets. If the target is already rebuked once, the penalty is doubled. Also increased the mana cost of Rebuke slightly.
* Armor of Faith has been turned into a stance like spell, it now only decreases the Unholy Invulnerability by 15%, the magic damage reduction and the mana over time penalty has been removed.
* Devotional Prayer has been redesigned to increase the Hit rating of all team members.
* Reduced the mana cost of Avert Thine Eyes and Repudiate.
* Reduced the cast time of Eye of Judgment to 1 second and increased recast time to 45 seconds.
* Reduced the cast time of Soul of Mitra to 3 seconds (down from 4).
* Spellweaving will now also grant bonuses to Mitra's Searing Eye and Sacred Fire.
* Changed the gain level of some spells to improve the gameplay experience of low level priests.
* Tweaked raid tier 1-3 armor for the Priest of Mitra (More crit stats, slightly less hate decrease rating)
* Mitra's Searing Eye and Condemnation will no longer inflict extra damage on Demons and Undead.
* There should now be less stutter when healing large groups of players with Wave of Life when having Spiritual Feedback and/or Ether Discharge trained.

Divinity Tree

* New level 10 Divinity feat 'Spiritual Vigor'. Converts part of the damage inflicted by the priest into healing.

* Lance of Mitra is now a level 15 feat. The cast time of the spell has been reduced to 2 seconds, while the recast time has been slightly increased.
* Divine Blessing is now a level 20 feat. The additional mana cost from this feat has been slightly reduced.
* The Sacred Lance feat has been removed. With the removal of this feat the base AoE radius of Divine Blessing has been slightly increased.
* New Divinity feat 'Divine Intervention' improves the Avert Thine Eyes spell by increasing the target's chance to miss physical attacks.
* Light of Mitra is now a 1-point feat and has a new linked 2-point feat upgrade 'Improved Rejuvenation' which improves the Light of Mitra prayer by increasing the duration of the Rejuvenating Light effect.
* New 2-point feat linked to Light of Mitra ‘Blistering Radiance’ augments the Light of Mitra Prayer by infusing the Radiance prayer to inflict Blistering Wounds on enemies within the are of effect. Blistering Wounds reduces the power of incoming heals for a short time.
* Blessing of Mitra has been redesigned; it is no longer a channelling spell, but a 1 second spell that grants a friendly target 20% damage deflection for 10 seconds.
* Vengeful Blessing will now grant the friendly target and the priest a damage boost for the duration of the Blessing of Mitra spell.
* Redesigned and moved the the Divinity feat Blessed Armor of Faith out of the Holy Cleansing featline, it will now increase the armor value of Armor of Faith by 10% per rank.
* Exorcism has been changed back to a instant cast spell that removes fear and silence effects from the priests group. The spell will no longer remove these effects from the priest, although the priest will still be immune to these effects when the spell is running. (Investing further feat points in Spiritual Warding gives the Priest a strong defense against being affected by Silence or Fear)
* Clarified the feat description for Divine Halo
* New feat in the Holy Cleansing featline: ‘Divine Salvation’ increases the magnitude and chance of critically healing healing and rejuvenating their companions. (Increases Critical chance and Critical Damage Bonus of Divine Halo, Divine Lance and Rejuvenating Light)
* Holy Cleansing has been redesigned, it will now reduce all incoming poison damage by 80% and grant the priest's team a high resistance to all types of magic. The reuse time of the spell has been reduced to 2 minutes and the Condemnation damage upgrade has been replaced with a passive 50% heal increase on Divine Halo. Holy Cleansing will still inflict holy damage on nearby enemies, in addition to granting the priest the Holy Storm effect and resetting the cooldown of Condemnation.
* New feat in the Avatar of Mitra featline ‘Holy Conviction’ increases the damage done by Condemnation.
* Avatar of Mitra will now also passively increase the range of Condemnation by 5 m.
The particle effect for Avatar of Mitra has been tweaked to better display the area of effect.
Having Avatar of Mitra feated now also passively grants the Priest the Holy Storm effect when Holy Accession triggers (no longer requires both end feats in Divinity).

Vengeance Tree

* Increased the duration of stack (4) and (5) of Holy Vengeance slightly.
* Replaced the Vengeance feat Improved Rebuke with the new 3-point feat: ‘Prolific Strikes’ improves the Rebuke and Smite spells by increasing the damage of the splash effect on enemies nearby the primary target.
* Replaced the Vengeance feat Admonishment with the new 2-point feat 'Crucify' increases the critical chance and critical damage multiplier of the Smite spell.
* Increased the damage increase percentage of additional Cleansing Fire feats.
* The Sacred Fire effect from Cleansing Fire will now tick every 2 seconds (previously every second), the additional feat points in Sacred Fire will now also increase the duration by 2 seconds per rank.
* The Vengeance feat Inspiring Light will now also reduce the mana cost of Cleansing Fire and Mitra's Searing Eye (but no longer Lance of Mitra) after casting the Radiance spell.
* New Vengeance feat 'Eye of Penance' augments Mitra's Searing Eye by causing victims to lose mana and stamina over time.
* The former Sacred Guardian mechanic has been tweaked and turned into a new level 30 Vengeance feat 'Sacred Smite'.
* Spell - Purification of Mitra is now a 1 point feat granting the same total effect as the former 2 point feat. The mana penalty attached to this spell has also been removed.
* Redesigned the Vengeance feat Mitra's Will to extend the duration of the Purifying Light damage effect. Feat renamed to Improved Purification.
* The Searing Light feat is now linked to Purification of Mitra and also requires Purification of Mitra to be active in order to trigger the instant damage effect when casting Radiance. This enables the priest to control whether he wants to inflict damage with Radiance or not.
* Revivication will now also trigger from magical attacks, and can in addition be refreshed every 10 seconds.
* The Light Within will now also improve Revivication by inflicting Purifying Light in enemies around the priest if Purification of Mitra is active, or add stamina and mana regeneration increase for the priest and their companions if Light of Mitra is active.
* Redesigned and moved the Relentless Faith feat to a standalone 2-point level 40 feat. It now increases the duration of Condemn, Eye of Judgment and Repudiate spells by 0.5 seconds per featpoint.
* New 5-point Vengeance feat 'Revelation', this feat lowers the mana cost of Avert Thine Eyes, Condemn, Eye of Judgment, Repudiate, Repulse and Soul of Mitra.
* Empowered Hand of Mitra will now decrease the casting time of Hand of Mitra in addition to reducing the damage penalty of Hand of Mitra.
* Moved the feat Undying Belief up to level 50, increased the reuse time reduction and removed the mana shield.
* The Guardian Spirit spell will now grant a Mana and Stamina renew effect, instead of heal, if the damage effect is not triggered by the end of the spell duration.
* Replaced the Vengeance feat Guardian Vengeance with the new feat 'Vengeful Devotion' increases the hit rating bonus bestowed by Devotional Prayer.
* New feat in the Immortal Wrath featline ‘Ruthless Glare’ increases the damage of Mitra's Searing Eye.
* New feat in the Immortal Wrath featline ‘Unyielding Wrath’ increases the critical chance of several area damage spells.
* Immortal Wrath now increases the range of Mitra's Searing Eye by 5 meters.
* Manifestation of Mitra has been redesigned to a pulsing self-centered spell that grants health tap and boosted critical chance for all allies close to the priest.


* Increased the snare reduction of Blessed Soul to a total of 75%. Additional points invested in this perk will now also reduce the mana amount removed after casting Soul of Mitra.
* Light the Path proc buff duration has been increased to 35 seconds to better fit the Repulse recast time.
* Added 4 additional kill bonus stacks to Wandering Disciple, now granting bonuses up to a max of 70% Weapon Damage and 40% Base Spell Damage. Also reduced the cast time of Wandering Disciple to 0.5 seconds.


General Tree

* Redesigned the ‘Ether Discharge’ mechanic to increase the priest’s mana over time. The effect is increased for additional targets healed. This new design should also cause less stutter when healing large groups of players.
* 'Grace' is now a 5-point feat lowering hate reduction by 1% per point invested.
* 'Presence of Mind' is now a 3-point feat lowering the cast time by 33% per point invested.
* Vengeance of the Gods: Cast time reduced to 0.5 sec (Down from 1.5).

Further priest changes for Tempest of Set and Bear Shaman will follow in future patches.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ghostwolves host thier first T1 Raid

War on Kylikki as we stand with Allies
I'm pretty damned proud of our crew today. We had a nice showing of Ten Guild members ready to fight and fight we did. We hosted our first ever T1 raid and kicked it off with Kylikki. Before I go further, I'd like to extend thanks to The Walking Dead who helped fill out our ranks and provided insight into the Raid as well as patience. Hats off to your support guys! We picked up a few others as well, Snickerrs and one of the Rogue Angels to name a few.

After a couple of initial hiccups in pulls and such, everyone pulled together and worked their butts off to achieve victory without even one wipe. It took careful pulls and cross talking but everyone really put on a good showing. For this I am extremely proud of our guild. They fought hard and they fought well...and they won! In this particular run no less than 3 Jeweled boxes dropped from Trash mobs and then of course the bosses themselves. A very profitable run indeed.

We next attempted to put together a run on Yakhmar but unfortunately we could not down her today. Still, everyone put out their best effort and worked well with one another. In the end, a very successful day for the guild and fun was had by all.

I learned a lot about being a Raid Leader today. It's no easy task coordinating events such as this and once in keeping positive control on the Raid team is a challenge the first couple times around. But I gained a lot of insight and techniques for future runs so that made me pretty happy. Anyways it looks like the guild wants to do this on a weekly basis so here is to a very busy future as we progress.

Good work Ghostwolves, keep up the Fire!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Free Shit February now at an end

Over the last month players whether FTP or premium have been able to access a free chest of goodies each week for each of their toons. It is now at an end. Is free shit good? To a degree yes it is as a matter of fact. Nothing was game changing per se, though having a free AA slot for my lowbie toons was just sweet. The extra bonus was nice without destroying game play. The extra pots were nice for when we were running a few high lv instance just for kicks. I enjoyed this particular free edge. But wait folks, I do wish some things had been taken into consideration.

See in my last post I talked about the looming changes to the crafting system in AoC and how it has resulted in a few nerd rage quits as well as some of it's potential. Something I hope FC takes into consideration is why not have alchemists get the ability to craft some of these bad ass potions that I saw given away for free? I mean since we are talking about a revamp why not make some of these things for different crafters totally epic in nature balanced by the materials required? Look, most of our alchemists right now really cant even compare at end game in a serious meaningful way...at least not one that is conducive to continue to grind away at pots that are pretty harsh To find and craft and reproduce for a guild. Its an idea though I'm not sure it'll ever see serious scrutiny form FC.

In the meantime, I hope there are other months up and coming where some of this free shit continues to be put out. They are small tokens that have an extra effect for those casual players as well as hardcore.  But this brings me to another side topic concerning free shit and Free to Play players.

 I got a small bone to pick and I figure if the shoe fits, wear it. If not throw it at the stinky bastard that needs to wear it. Premium players deserve all the options available as they pay to play. I think a lot of Free to play players take this for granted. They don't realize you get what you pay for. I really hate beggars too. I'm all about helping people out. But I hate whiners who sit there and bitch about not having enough bag space or gold capacity as a Free to Play. Cough up a measly 15 bucks a month and get over it. They already get a damned mount at 80...what do they expect? Now this ain't every FTP person I have seen. But I do see a lot of them sit there, beg for gear without putting an ounce of effort into their toons or the game. Just gimme gimme gimme. And maybe there would be a ghost town of only a few premium members if the FTP community left.....ok and? The game lives or dies.

But seriously, to the FTP community, some of them have become very good friends of mine but honestly cant afford to go premium due to hardship such as school, kids etc, I gotcha. To those who are just being stingy, get over yourself, you are easily replaced. I also hate it when one of my guild crafters goes out of the way to create a nice blue crafted rare for a FTP thinking it would help them, only to see it sold for a few coin. You know, generosity only goes so far. Hyboria don't owe anybody a damned thing but a place to live or die...that's it. The entitlement attitude that has really sapped the world today of any sort of real motivation needs to stop in the pixelated world of Hyboria. We aren't the damned Salvation Army. Free run throughs without giving back anything to your guild and free shit without even so much as a thanks man...ya BULLSHIT!

Am I too cruel for you? MUAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!!!