Friday, June 29, 2012

Annual Survey results and June Development Letter

Well if this ain't just an interesting set of results. First and foremost, you can read the full breakdown HERE . I won't regurgitate the results for you. I will let you as the reader interpret the results. Instead, I will offer my opinions on where I think the game is going.

PvE: We will probably see more solo instances and dynamic solo instances being rolled out in the coming year. This isn't a bad deal. It offers interesting things to do for players who enjoy solo content. More 6 mans and 6 man hard modes will additionally be rolled out. We may see less and less of the full on raid content. This will of course allow smaller guilds to see more action together with comparable rewards for their efforts. I don't see this as a bad deal, though I enjoy the big raids personally. There are plenty of main line raids at this point and really some of the epic gear being dropped from the 6 mans is comparable to a lot of the T2 gear, possibly T3.

The big revamp seems to be Onyx Chamber, with Sanctum and Black Rock Castle being 2nd and third.

What bothers me is the results for crafting. Especially since they have put such a huge focus on the crafting revamp for late this summer or early fall. I hope they still maintain a focus on it. If they half step, it really will be kinda a let down to me as I have been looking forward to the crafting revamp for quite some time. It is my hope they don't completely drop the ball on this.

Small things like player housing etc seem to have been low on the priority listing of the dedicated player base that answered the survey. Again, my own opinion is that player housing is a cool thing for the Immersion player/ RP play style.

Guild related stuff is also taking a backseat. I dunno about this, I think it is important to bring guild members together that allow everyone from different levels to participate in activities.

Class Balance: Well, HoX and Conq still rates last on the list for balance with other classes. Hopefully the dev's will rework the class to make it more viable and flexible. I'm a fan of the conq class. I hope they do more for the class a whole.

PvP: Mini games seem to still rate high on the list. I don't understand this as it's very rare for mini games to even pop. I don't think more of them will solve the issues of pvp content. As a matter of fact, I think it will be wasted resources. Interestingly, this is not at all what is reflected by the forums. Now, I grant, those posting there seem to be a very small but very vocal community, as is their right. What I gather from this is that the majority are probably PvE orientated players that want to see more minis pop. I don't think they understand that just because you have more fields, doesn't mean you will have more people participate. Sieges, which I thought would figure huge, seems to not play first fiddle here. There was a big indication that if the number of players were capped lower that more would participate. That is a possible fix, especially since the population of PvPers has dropped significantly over the past 3 years.

In a nutshell, what we see on the forums is largely different from what we see on this survey. Many are already calling the survey skewed but without us seeing the raw data, there is no way to judge it. We only get the final results. I have no way to judge the facts except what we see by the results. I will say I did take the full survey myself. For the record I personally voted for more open world pvp objectives, less minis, fix sieges, player housing, more dynamic solo instances, more 6 mans, revamp of crafting, and a strengthening of the Conq class over all.

Now, it appears their team will take the summer off, so I am wondering when the crafting revamp will be released. I don't expect to see another Adventure pack to open till close to December. While it seems a noble statement that they will take more time with AoC once the release of TSW is finished, I doubt it. On the technical end, I guarantee that they will need a ton of code support to deal with the inevitable bugs that will drop once the game goes live. Don't expect the support that they seem to project, that's just simple business and not them being callous.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on the whole subject. I am betting the forums to light up in a chaotic blaze any second now. Oh, for the next Xpac, check this image out:

 Now, I'm thinking we are heading back down to Stygia. Three Temples with a Eye of Set seems pretty obvious. The artwork kinda looks a little Mezo American which I thought interesting. But I'm guessing back to old Stygia. I never was fond of that sand blasted area, but it may prove to be interesting for awhile.

As an update, just got done with a quick tweet with Mr Morrison:

also is there a projected date before fall for revamp of crafting/sprint mechanic?
In terms of sprint that will depend on testing. Not going to rush it out. Crafting is still in progress

 That at least tells me crafting is a priority AND they are being smart about the sprint mechanic, not rushing it's release before more testing is facilitated. I'm ok with this.

Well, that's it for now. Guess the future will hold a lot of changes for us. Here is to drinking with fine friends, fighting and spilling blood of our enemies and having every bit of a righteous time as we can in Hyboria!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

3.3.6 is on Live, Future developments, Ghostwolf Building Progress

Ok all I can say is this is a huge bonus for getting raid gear on the Tier 1 and Tier 2 raids. 3.3.6 Patch comes out today. You can read all the details Here.
But the real prize is the following:

Raids / Group Encounters
Raid Tier 1
  • Yakhmar, Kyllikki and Vissitrix will now drop 1 guaranteed Simple Relic I each for all raid members when killed.

Black Ring Citadel
  • Yaremka, Sabazios, Seruah, Chatha and Leviathus will now drop 1 guaranteed Simple Relic II each for all raid members
    when killed.
 Why important? Well look, we constantly have alts that we want to push through raids and such. But also, of late, I am seeing an influx of beginning raiders come into the game. So this assists them in avoiding months of grinding for gear. Now, that won't do much for them SKILL wise, only time in the trenches does that. But, especially for young raiding guilds this helps them get their crews ready for that next level. I am VERY happy about that. See, do a T1 sweep once a week, pug or not and everyone is guaranteed to gain enough relics that in a month they have another piece to their sets. Furthermore, it's not sooo much that it becomes a total cake walk. I think the pace is just right and it brings new life back into the old raids. Yes, I expect some basic issues for about three days folks, but this patch is a boon to all of us young raiding guilds. Anyways I'm pretty stoked about it. It also means one more obstacle out of the way till the new crafting revamp.

In further news, the devs decided to listen to feedback from the TL players.  It's been put out that they will hold back the sprint revamp as they saw fundamental flaws in the system after extensive testing and feedback. While I know a lot of players really want this sprint mechanic to be released, FunCom did the right thing this past week and decided to hold back till they could properly fix the issues or scrap it. They are getting smart about avoiding bullshit new mechanics that could screw the entire system up. I would prefer that it get's scrapped now and then fixed than released into a mess.

T3 Barracks, can you spot the lil Ghostwolf pup?
Oh, for the Ghostwolves, we got our T3 Barracks up now and hit renown 11 this week. The guys and gals are hard at work there. Next project is the Alchemist shop, then the Temple and finally the Tradepost. Walls and Tavern will be placed last priority right now. Though we do of course have the ability to get the tavern to T2 upgrade level.

On the raiding scene, we are pretty comfortable with Wing 1 BRC, working on Wing two on Saturdays,  and have started to call out PUG T1 raids during the week to help our new raiders who want some action and of course help the server community. That's not an arrogant statement. The fact is, there are a lot of unguilded players or small guilds that don't have the raid capabilities to really host a raid. So, couple times during the week we hold 1 T1 raid a night. We get a few of our folks on that need gear as they are building their skills and reputation with us, see if any of our allies in The Walking Dead want in, then open the rest to Global and help those other players still working on their gear. I think this is actually a good policy for all guilds out there that can field enough to host a run. First, it's plain good PR. Yup, you as a guild build a reputation on being friendly and helpful to the rest of the server. Second, it helps your new lv 80 players when you have already progressed to the next level. Third, it's just plain fun to go beat the snot out of your old raiding nemesis's.

After the patch release there was chaos abound! The first day, no one could get into raids or dungeons correctly and there were serious log in issues to the character screen. So far, as of this writing, things are working correctly.. Tonight I take my crew on a quick Vissy run so we will see how it works out and if the relic returns are in place. Lag was initially an nasty little surprise but now seems to have tapered off. Same with the FPS meters. They saw all the issues at hand after I had dedicated a thread to listing the bugs encountered. Hopefully everything is fixed at this point. I'll update more if it seems relevant.

So there you have it folks, a bunch of happy goodness for everyone! Till next time, may you pave the roads you walk with glory, bloodshed and plenty of ale!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Forgotten City Unchained Solo

So I had the opportunity to go check out the Forgotten City Solo in Unchained mode. I would not recommend it for a fresh lv 80 toon without any critigation and only lv 80 blues gear. It might be obtainable but is kind of a rough run. I first tried my fresh 80 Conq (Mhorgrim) in Brute speccing and had to pull individually on the trash mobs just to have a chance. Needless to say, it did not go well, especially at the first boss encounter.

So I went in on Czcibor, my Bear Shammy that has a fair amount of gear both Khitai and raid. Much easier. It was still a bit of a challenge, and here is why:

The panthers hit for a ton of damage and occasionally a bleed effect that is pretty vicious. All trash Mobs are lv 83 so it take a little bit of doing. The Scorpians have a lovely poison DoT as well as an armor wreck that makes life a lil annoying. Still, not too bad of a fight. Just about all of the Mobs were dropping tokens of esteem, and a few dropped pouches that contained some 2k Mastery books. Handy. All of them were giving me between 475-540 mastery pts. per kill, which isn't too bad by the way.

The First Boss:

Most of the mechanics are the same, when he stuns you, the second you get un-stunned, run out of his AoE or you will hate life. Second serious ability is a Leech life which has a pretty serious range on it. This one I was able to heal through fairly decently with no major issue, but on my Conq...epic fail. Not that my conq is bad, just badly geared with no critigation. Anyways, it was sort of a kite fight so be on your toes with it. Just be aware of his casts and be ready to move out of the way fast. I would say the first boss for my Bear Shaman was the hardest. Drop included some nice potions and a 20k mastery book. Not too bad there.

Don't forget to pick up the scrolls on the ground at the entrance of the main city, at the base of the steps, in front of the second boss and at the base of the long stairway up to the temple.

The Second Boss.

Same fight mechanic on the ledge. Blue Typhoon casts a little faster though so be ready for a lot of back and forth. When you see him cast the Typhoon, haul ass (read SPRINT) and get behind the wall. His other spells had dps in them, but again I wasn't too hard pressed to heal through them. The white tornadoes seem to hover a bit longer and do a fair amount more damage than on easy mode, so I would do a bit of fast footwork to avoid them. Other than that, the fight wasn't too overwhelming. Again loot was a hefty Mastery book along with some nice pots, and he also dropped a blue healer necklace. Didn't really do me much good per se as I am more inclined on the DPS side than heal botting.

Trash from here seem to aggro up pretty quick and at range. Individually or in pairs, not too hard to over come. However, at one point I was dealing with 4 casters which made things annoying. Again, they do have some increased distance to aggro.

Mechanics from here pretty much the same, the tree of life hit before you aggro all the mobs, no issue what so ever. Don't forget to drop the blood you have collected from the scrolls quest at the center of the Temple before taking on the final boss.

The Third Boss:

Now I'm not sure if it was just my lucky day, or if the instance developers didn't increase the difficulty of the final boss fight. I had him down about 80% before he cast his first knock back and sprint. The tactic here is the same, get to the alter he goes after and right click on it before he finishes casting his spell to keep him down. Then it's the chase game to burn him down. Anyways, he was an easy kill for me. Drop included a jar for mastery, more pots, 3 Imp Insignia Boxes of 30 tokens each...very nice, and another 20k Book of Mastery.

So, while you won't see major gear rewards, it is worth it to get the Imperial Insignias and all the mastery that comes along with it. Occasionally these bosses will drop decent Lv 80 Blue Cloaks, Necklaces and Rings which will assist in gearing.

I recommend this run as it only took me like 20 min to clear through and the mastery returns as well as the Imperial Insignias were worth my time. Go check it out when you get the chance! It's at the Gateway to Khitai if you haven't been there already. By the way, Both the Forgotten City and The Breach are scaleable dungeons to lv with from about lv 30 all the way on out to 80. The Breach also has an Unchained GROUP instance that will keep you well challenged with new and interesting fights. Once I can get my teams in there on a regular basis, I'll come back and give a report on the Boss fights there.

I have yet to hit up on the Deadman's Hand Solo Unchained. Never was fond of the area, but it may appeal to some, so go check it out if you get the chance.

Monday, June 11, 2012

3.3.5 Patch and Progress

So its been a hot minute since I last posted but Ive been busy as hell. The new update seems to have gone through its cycle of patches to hotfix the hotfixes and for the most part, everything is running pretty smoothly. There are still a few issues with random game crashes but overall things have stabilized. What I'm getting at here is that every time there is a new major patch, folks just need to be patient till things get updated and fixed. It has happened every time and I got to laugh at all the forum whiners who scream bloody murder. So what did this huge patch bring us that is good?

The new Duel Spec, make sure to talk to Trainer
Well, first and foremost, the duel speccing system. This in itself has been long awaited for folks to really bring utility into their toons. I was jumping for joy when I saw this come out. I gotta say its been worth the game issues that the first week caused. anyways, to make sure you get your duel spec on, go see any of the trainers within any of the main cities. They give you a quick quest which is done right there and then you will have your primary and secondary specs at your disposal. Understand that there is a ten minute cool down each time you change between your specs so be advised to plan a little in advance the function you wish to serve as.

Of other interest, regular mode Khitai 6 mans now drop the rare trophies so it wont by quite as difficult to get your epic pieces from Khitai. Speaking of Khitai, you gotta go try The Breach instance on Unchained mode for 6 mans. The fights are a blast! A couple of quick hints: The first boss does 2 major attacks you need to be aware of: Slashing Hurricane (Melee AoE...when it starts move away fast as it hits like a brick!) and the Hyrkanian potency which gives him a fast heal. We used Finely Honed and Tainted Weapons to keep his heals and buffs down. they are fairly slow abilities so with a little practice you can get through them. The Second boss Is fairly easy INITIALLY. Hes got a couple of DoTs and Fears but nothing too outrageous. It's when he calls his minions that life becomes a total evil mess. The minions are actually full blown elite trash...not easy for a lil 6 man. How to avoid? Well, keep him fought in the center. There are 3 skulls in the center. Healers and DPS be ready to click on him when he makes his call for minions, it's like a 3sec cast so if you are fast enough, all three click the skulls then it will negate his spell and you continue to tank and spank. We haven't gotten much further than this so there is still a lot to learn but it's pretty damned cool!

Those are the quick highlights and I'm pretty happy with the over all patch this round. Still have a lot to figure out but I'm gettin there.

Nothin but Ghostwolves!
As for the Ghostwolves, a few highlights worth talking about:
T3 Library now up!
For two weeks now we have kept our T1 Raids completely in house, filled with our own crew, no pugging. W1 we are still muddling through and occasionally need a couple extra puggers but over all 90% of the raid is our people. This makes looting so much easier for us. Our two main tanks are now completely T1 geared and now working on healers and OT's. People are taking the time to go ahead and practice with our new lv 80s and things are looking pretty damned good. On average I see between 15-20 people on most nights with a peak of 30 and a low of 7. We hit renown lv 10 last night as well as put up our T3 Library. As a guild, the diversity and good natured-ness of the members has been really outstanding. I'm pretty proud of how things have been going. Our Senior members and returning veterans are making it happen every day. They are a great crew to be with.

Anyways, my small update in AoC. Till next time, may your belts be lined with Gold, and your Blades wet with blood!