GW2: The Story …

I’m going to be upfront before you dive in. I am particularly jaded when it comes to story in themepark MMOs. RIFT made me want to punch teenage japanese girls for their influence in our gaming culture and GW2 isn’t too far off. Adults play MMOs. Why can we not have adult stories? I don’t mean sexual. I mean, not lame. There is difference between cartoons on Adult Swim and cartoons in the early day on Cartoon Network.  I’m just saying.

I really don’t like the story. I want to hear what they say, I just get lost in the girlish bullshit. However, there have been things that have made me go, “Holy Shit” in the past couple of days (may include spoilers if for some reason you actually enjoy the story): Top 3 for me:

Number 3:

There is a Heart Quest area in which an NPC wants to make the local Hylek population more friendly. Hyleks are giant tribal frog beings. For some reason, blue ones are nice to you. Red colored ones will attack on sight. This NPC notices this as well. Her plan is to paint them blue. Clearly that is the underlining issue. Their skin color. If this is a level 20 mission area I have to assume by level 60 I will be indoctrinated into the SS.

The quest if you so chose to accept it, is to take this paint gun and paint the local Hylek blue. Note the defensive properties of the paint gun are that of sneezing. And just because you turn them Blue, doesn’t make them nice. Also note over half of them are under water.

The area, so long as populated, is filled with over a dozen players going up and spraying a Hylek and running away very quickly as they can’t fight back. The spectical is humorous to watch. Definitely not to do. But if you want to laugh, go here. 

Number 2:

There is another Heart Quest that has you “Clean Up” the road. The basic idea is you are making the road safe for travelers. To do this you need to help terminate the existence of evil nasty Drakes. They seem to attack without warning.

Alternatively, there are Poachers about stealing the Drake’s Eggs from their nest. Stop them by finding defenseless frogs, pick them up and bring them to this (no joke) handy Frog Juicer. This will make you a Frog Essence Potion that you can lob at the poachers to keep them away from the eggs. I couldn’t stop laughing. And then you have to go pick up these frogs, and take them to said juicer. You actually animate carrying a frog.

That alone is fucked up. But then the whole logic of the quest hub is annoying to grasp.

KILL ALL THE DRAKES. LEAVE NONE. Except for their eggs. Let the children grow up parentless. Let them know the pain.

Some really fucked up NPCs.

Number 1:

If you chose the story line of being on the Council of Vigil and you so chose to go help the Hylek, you will start an undead storyline in which you go make nice with a tribe of Hyleks. Who for some reason are so retarded, the undead versions of them are among their populations and they didn’t even notice. Literally, you have 7 normal Hyleks standing there and this behemoth of one rotting in place with half its skin missing and they go on as normal. Apparently the key to convincing them is by opening an eye glass shop or give them nasal spray so they can smell the rotting next to them. But that’s not an option.

One brave Hylek means to aid you to win over the tribe, but first you need to save his brother. You follow and fight numberous undead for this Hylek to only find his brother too late and transformed. You must sadly kill, I guess technically rekill, his brother infront of him. This is sad for me. As for the first time in hours I actually paid attention to the horribly written story. Then your sadness goes from sad to OMFG.

To prove to the council that the undead have taken over, the brother decides that he must take his bother head to the council as proof. This head isn’t in some magical bag. No, the developers animated said severed head grotesquely on his bothers spear. And he continues to run about for 3 missions with said head.

This one I can’t get over. First a writer has to make up the story. That somehow got by review. And then he/she goes to a graphic artist and says “I need you to make me a Spear with Rotting Undead version of a Hylek head on it.” And everyone says “why” I assume. And they get the story and go “that makes sense.”

Advertisements

GW2: Level 80s Before Official Launch

No, no, it’s not me. I didn’t take off this week, and I like sleep. I’m only 40. Which is still leaps and bounds it seems over many.

As of 9PM EST last night (Monday) we had our first level 80 ding. He still didn’t go to sleep. No, he spent the next couple of hours getting the rest of his buddies to 80. We now have FIVE Level 80s. With a dozen around the corner in the 60s and 70s. With a major portion over 40.

Things that I have learned about leveling in GW2:

Open PVP WvWvW does give you a ton of XP. But you have to stay on track. Take objective, defend objectives. Kills are kills, but not if they take away from objectives. The map is overall too big to maximize XP gain. But … as long as you aren’t just dwindling about looking for kills, and take things, you’ll get a ton of XP. Actually, if you have the gold. Pick up siege and defend common attack points. You’ll get massive kills and you’ll bank massive defense scores.

Group levelling is stronger, but it requires a team that stays on track. There is no split XP, so if you can group and all do everything together and push through, you’ll do fine. There are no follow options so, staying on track is the difficulty.

When completing task in an area. Pick the kill stuff option to complete it. “The Charr encampment requires help. Kill invading separatist, fix bombard stations, or train nearby troops to help.” If you didn’t take that entire area by killing Separatist, just punch yourself in the balls. You could work today and either a) get paid or b) work for the satisfaction. If you aren’t killing you aren’t getting paid. Think of it like that.

Overall my understanding of how they breached 80 so fast wasn’t just a manner of no sleep. They were levelling at amazing paces and no of it was due to XP boost purchases. They basically stayed together and did every event they could find. When they out levelled an area the travelled to lower areas and help the zone by wandering for these events. So, getting Gold in the events is your best bet. Other than escort missions. Those are apparently time sinks.

Going to buckle down tonight and tommorrow and try to breach atleast 60. I feel like a slacker now.

GW2: Launch and Mr. Meh’s Wish List

GW2 Launch went okay for me. I hear it went okay for lots of us. That seems like a success. If it wasn’t for free transfers, I would say the worrying and suffering would have been different.

I like many others just happen to take a nap Friday night, to awake a couple of minutes before Midnight. Sure enough, that special caveat that they were saving about opening 3 hours earlier wasn’t a lie. At midnight the servers opened. I, oh so delicately, made a very quick player, ignoring almost any custom designing to grab my name.

It was a good weekend overall. Levelling gets to be more annoying at times. I get set on completing an entire zone, and I keep running into Quest Areas that undoubtably seem well under-thought. I come into The Wildlands for the first time and there’s an area with an objective to Paint Frogs Blue. And then goto another area in which in wants me to kill Ogres. There are no Ogres. I have to resort to 20 mins of picking up Charr Supplies that spawn for little influence in an empty area.

Overall, I didn’t do much of story line paying attention during Beta, but took some time to listen this go. I have to say, again, much like RIFT, I much unimpressed with the story. Immersion is hard when you took all this time to write a story that makes Twilight seem deep and meaningful. I don’t get cute-sy theme park stories. Your game is played by adults. That’s just my beef. I want to like the story, I really do, but my lack of vagina keeps me from it.

As of Midnight last night I was Level 34. Top people in my guild were rounding the mid 50s.

And with that I get into my first GW2 Wish List:

WvWvW

You have multiple issues here. Mostly that the statistics and real-time data suck. It’s kind of like looking at the front number of the NASDAQ, truly, unless you are an idiot, this number means nothing if you have actual investments. Same goes for WvWvW. Oh look a Pie Chart, I know what I must do! Oh look NASDAQ is up, let me call my broker and tell him to buy something. Anything, clearly I can’t lose.

WvWvW is split in 4 ways. You have the middle map that is a 3 way server battle for domination. Then you have 3 repeat zones that represent a Home World for each Server present.

Currently WvWvW queues are a little bit ridiculous. What makes it sadder is you don’t even know what area needs help or which queues are lower. Maybe if we did, we could space out  the wait times.

We need more stats. Like how many are where and what are the approximate queue times.

I would personally like a more detailed stat display that outlined the points and the rewards. But, queue times would be nice.

Kill XP versus Chopping a Tree XP

Oh look 3 mobs. Oh look a tree. Guess which one you should pick?

I’m not saying nerf XP on gathering. I’m just saying, that killing mobs takes longer to gain XP than almost any other method.

Random Charr: I just spent 30 minutes battling my way out of that Ogre Encampment. I barely escaped with my life. But I did get 600XP!

Random Asura: I just spent 5 minutes climbing that staircase to that Point of Interest and received 750XP.

Think it’s worth it to take on a veteran or worse a champion? Nope. You are better off finding 2 nodes of mining. In some cases 1 is enough.

Though I did find a sort of broken NPC area. The clusters are packed and respawn ridiculously fast. Alone, you will die no matter what. In a group of 3, bring your XP bonuses and go at it. 6 levels in an hour. I hate my life, but I did it.

PvP Gear

Don’t make me go into dungeons. Please, please don’t do it. Give us PVP gear. Please!

GW2: Choose Wisely … or at least act like it matters.

It’s that time. A time of renewal. A time of planning. A time of … waiting.

It’s the worst of times. That little notch of space before a launch where you just casually play different games. I hate casual gaming.

I’m still buried deep in EVE for the time. And actually plan to keep playing. The PVP has just become that good. But what EVE lacks is family. It’s business. You can get along with your corpmates, but you still probably call them by their avatar’s name.

With GW2 fast approaching, it’s time to gear up and get set. It’s time to make decisions. It’s that time. Why?

Because, when you aren’t casual, neither are the people around you. This means they are there for launch, they are there for the first couple of weeks pioneering the landscape of the server, they are at the forefront of knowing their class the best, first. To change toons on Day 2 is far more detrimental than most assume.

I look back at RIFT for an example. In all terms the game was okay. It was the most amazing launch month for an MMO for me to date. No launch have I been in more interested than that one. The Open PVP server was amazing. But, then again, it was amazing because I was one of the top levels. No one was there to pick on me. It was wonderful. After that, I was only left with memories. I have to assume GW2 will be the same for me. Not the exact same way. But if nothing else the first weeks will be amazing, even if the game doesn’t work out long-term for me.

GW2 launch is actually a different start for me from all my other beginnings. In EVE I was recruited outside of game and had a Corp waiting for me. In EQII, I just plaid solo. Same happened for LOTRO and AOC. WAR I joined on my own and found many homes. It was WAR the made me realize, I wasn’t casual. From there I joined only in guilds to other games: AION, RIFT, SWTOR. In SWTOR, we made the PVP our own. We had to, BioWare didn’t realize it existed. We just assumed they would fix it. And in that wake we strategize and befriended different guilds to prepare for Open PVP in Ilum. Sadly, the complete opposite happened. BW just pulled out of Open PVP all together. Hopefully this is a testament to all future developers what it means to ignore endgame PVP.

But the guild friendships of the server endured. A collaboration of PVP focused players realized the flaws of SWTOR and prepared for GW2. After the first Betas, it became apparent that WvW would eventually mean numbers. Not the most, but numbers would mean something. These former SWTOR friends and enemies formed a joint guild to prepare. Which in itself is a neat idea. Players coming from older guilds willing to let go of the history and be apart of a new formation. It’s amazing to see the formation take place. But I have written on the subject before. To which I have heard, “What makes this so special? You think you are the only PVPers to do this?”

The answer is no and yes. No, I don’t think we are the only PVP oriented guild to form in the wake of a new MMO. But yes, I do think it will be a formidable force. But only time will tell. What will the internal politics do to the guild? What will game changes do? Will individual philosophies take over? Will the game just fall apart and claim the beginning and the end of the guild? I don’t care. What I do care about is being surrounded by the most competent professional MMO PVPers I have come across in years. And to be within a guild that discovers the best route, rather than reads up on the best route is in itself worth watching.

Right now, the ideas are set around, what class, what builds.

I was pretty much set on Guardian far before I should have settled. The class just screams volumes to the type of archetypes I play. More armour, off healing, buffs and debuffs with a little CC. It’s the Warrior Priest/DOK, Cleric design just in a new format. While a Mace and Shield will be required for any healing, I’m quite intrigued with the Great Hammer. Single DPS with a barrier. Sounds perfect.

As for a race, the Norn I thought were for me. Then I realized how ridiculous they looked. Therefore the opposite must be awesome.

I’m pretty set on an Asura Guardian for launch. Pretty set. Now, the question or the bet is, how long can I level before saying fuck it, and going straight to WvWvW? I say Level 3, the moment I have to wait to do a quest with others around me.

EVE: FW: It’s Not an Exploit

I am not a Goon Fan Boy or even neutral to them. I kill them on sight like every other pilot with some PVP background. See the Goon in local, kill it. I was also among those shocked in Faction Warfare to learn that it was mostly Goon driven alts that plowed Minnie FW into  Tier 4 and 5 allowing them to buy LP items for a cheap as possible. But I also can’t ignore the fact this is being called an exploit. More disturbing I don’t understand CCP’s promise to rollback these characters as punishment.

You set up a new system, that by the way took heavy scrutiny from veteran FW bloggers,vocal capsuleers and CSMs, that heavily favors PLEX farming for LP and rewards for non-engagement. You say, here is loads of LP for literally circling a button for 10mins plus. And here are reduced LP costs for doing an excessive amount of this.

But if a bunch of players actually go and do this as featured, it’s exploiting?

Even though they are twats, they aren’t wrong. And it’s not an exploit. You made the system bad. If you didn’t intend the possibility of someone using your changes to their advantages, then that’s really a shame on you.

I wait to see what happens on the rollbacks. I’m assuming it will be against brand new alts that made billions in days. I’ll be damned if you think I’m giving these Fleet Issue Tempest back. It’s not our fault if we went and used the mechanics you advertised as an expansion.

The only good news is this is a living breathing economy. And a major influx of commodities does take its toll on the market. Meaning, Fleet Issue ships have taken a dive in the market. To the point that holding on to them, is a much more advantageous approach.

So what of the future of FW, Plexing and Loyalty Points?

The overall idea was good.

  • Make Plexes have Reward
  • Make expansion grant a Reward

But these were excessively done and then made excessively easy to not deter PVP within them. This resulted in:

  • Cheap Frig Fits to Run Easy Plexing for Major LP Cashout
  • Focus Offensive Plexing Only

These fixes should be obvious:

Loyalty Point and Zone Control

First is to overhaul the percentages of dis/advantages to Zone Control. The Double Costs at Level 1 and the Half Costs at Level 5 are ludicrous. Simply put, move these to a 20% range.

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
LP Gain 0% 5.00% 10% 15% 20%
LP Store Discount -20% -10.00% 0% 10% 20%

The 100% up and down is too much. You neuter the losing side and grant rich convenience to those with the most plexers. 20% is a reward worth fighting for, but not detrimental if you can’t get out of it.

Defensive Plexing

Everything currently is a matter of Offensive Plexing. Because simply it’s the only one with reward. If you are defensive plexing you are either bating for a fight (PVP) or you are a cheap trial alt.

Defensive plexing has a risk and it serves a means. But it is quite easy to do. The only risks are PVP offensive plexers in which you have NPCs hopefully on your side.

Defensive Plexing needs LP rewards. Small ones, but a reward none the less. I suggest two parts: a reward for running the boring defensive plex and a reward for further LP gain for kills in a defensive plex:

  Minor  Medium Major
LP for Kills 15% 30% 45%
LP for Completion  500 LP   1000 LP   1500 LP 

Percentage for LP are a bonus LP adjuster for the kill inside the Plex. LP for completion is a very small reward for Defensive Plexing. But something.

Adjusted Offensive Plex Rewards 

Overall the LP output for Plexing is far too high. It dwarfs FW missioning which is just as dangerous, but without the risks. Missioning opens the same outlet for intruders, and is essentially a Plex in sorts. But the Plex doesn’t present an Agent standing loss if not completed. And the Plex can be run by an AB fitted t1 frig where the L4 mission requires a SB or HAC.

  Minor  Medium Major
LP for Completion  2,500 LP   5,000 LP   7,500 LP 

Almost cutting minor LP gain by a quarter. This more rewards those willing to take further risks and deters from LP farming for little risk/gain returns.

Adjusting Plex Difficulty

Offensive Plex difficulty is overall far too easy. You can complete Mediums in a completely non-tanked destroyer. You can AFK speed tank a Major. You can tank the entire Minor with a frig and still be in a fair 1 on 1 PVP fight.

We need to up the difficulty. While currently CCP is talking about making it easier by reducing EWAR from NPCs to make it fair, I would rather see Plexers, if they are going to PVE cowardly in a PVP environment, at least have to PVE. Point being, is that Minors should probably have double the waves and two at a time. Mediums need a the same with some more availability to heavy ship NPCs joining in. And Majors, they need the same but with some Statis Webbing NPC frigs. That last part alone will pretty much fix a great deal of the issues. A Webbing NPC in the Majors. That’s it if nothing else.

Further Advantages to System Upgrades

Currently system upgrades do 2 things. They grant small reductions to production and clone costs and they need to be increased with coordination from other FW pilots to get to higher tiers of FW control for discounts. Theese upgrades are costly LP wise and they reduce easily to plexing. You can dump 10K in LP into a system and that can be reduced immediately by one minor plex completion.

It will be far more advantageous  if this upgrades also upgraded the plexing NPCs. What if each level of upgrades granted more waves of defensive NPCs in the local Plexes. It would means that local defenders would be more apt to off load LP into system upgrades for the purpose of more NPC help.

Conclusion

Overall the idea of the FW changes were good. No one disagrees inside of FW. The amount of gains and rewards are what were changed out of proportion. And for more to the effect, the reason was in the ease of difficulty in plexing was overlooked. If nothing changes, all we will see is Goons and other alts taking to a new Militia to do the same in that market. This time without the bragging and the obvious disparity.

I would be hard pressed to beleive this wasn’t already the case with Caldari Militia. They have 5 times the plexers with less PVP kills than any militia. I’m guessing the difference was that opposition wasn’t as easy to over turn as the Amarr space. I doubt this was advertised as it wasn’t the overwhelming success story, but literally hundreds of brand new pilots join Caldari on expansion day and they run Plexs nonstop far more than any other militia. Yet, because they aren’t in Tier 4 and 5, they aren’t exploiting.

Either way. The current system was a bone thrown to FW, it just needs some tweaking.

EVE Online: Useless Skills and Custom Slot Idea

I’m a veteran of EVE Online, yet I am a nub. It’s what you get with a 9 year old game. To someone fresh, I have all the skills they would love. To me, I can look at all the time wasted in things no longer relevant. 45 Million Skill Points should really be all a normal combat pilot needs to have a good time. Yet, spent in poor areas, this can also mean that only 20 Million are relevant.

I add this it up because I am the 45 Million Skill Point pilot. A pilot that was brought into the universe thinking that there should be something to factions and loyalty. That was a poor decision. In the beginning I saw what an Ishtar could do in PVE, and what it could to in PVP. I spent 2 years training to fly that thing. Only to find that normal PVE can suck my right testicle, and after the Nano-Nerf of Oh Nine the Ishtar had a only a few places to go. Very versatile ship, just lacking the CPU to really take full advantage of it. And there are few places a heavy drone has in PVP these days.

When I joined Gallente Faction Warfare I tried to keep up the Gallente tradition. And that has over and over again proven pointless. When a Shield Nano Fleet is forming, short of Lachesis, there really isn’t room for a Gallente boat. When the Armor BS gang is forming, it basically is Abbaddon or nothing. The Megas will be accepted with heavy sighs at best. Even in Frig and Destroyer gangs, the Gallente are only accepted in Interceptors and Comets.

Sure, you can go solo rape in a tri-repping Myrmidon and there’s not too many things scarier than a Deimos fully tackling you with Blasters, but this doesn’t help the problem I see in general with Racial Ships.

You watch the EVE movies, trailers and even the posters, and you see these fleet formations of all the same race and you go “Where in the fuck did that happen in game?” The answer is it didn’t if you are Amarr or Gallente. I can see the Minmatar and Caldari having that chance. Each race has a solid performer in almost every role. And Minnies can pretty much do whatever they want in this game.

New Pilot Spoiler Alert: If you only have time to train for one type of Racial Ship, the answer is always Minmatar.

You see the Gallente poster and it has a wing of Tristans (possible) in front of a smaller wing of Catalysts (unlikely) that seem to be escorting a fleet of Brutixs (there has never been more than 3 in one place at a time) ann behind that some Hyperions (yeah, no). Put that with a poster for Caldari sporting Merlins, Comorants, Drakes and Scorpions and you bet that’s at least likely.

What it really means for me, is that I basically have a toon that has all the passive skills needed to V. I will need to spend the next 2 years training into Minmatar and Caldari to be able to bring the right ships. Another 6 months to get into Amarr Battleships proper. Just the thought of it pisses me off beyond belief. Seeing that I have Heavy Drones to V is upsetting. Large Hybrids to V is even more upsetting. It’s all very upsetting to know that really, the only thing we need is Minnie ships to be happy.

If only CCP would consider any of the following as a solution to everyone’s benefit:

Skill Point Refund

Account Management sells for a cost the ability to refund Skill Points for selected Skills. Say $5 per skill.

Attribute Remap

Account Management sells for a cost a neural remap reset. Say $10.

Customization Slot Point

CCP goes above and beyond and inserts a new type of Hard Point to each ship fitting. They call it a Custom Slot.

All ships still have the normal High, Mid, Low, and Mod Slots, but now they have a Custom Slot that allows the user to input a Custom Mod to change or further improve a bonus skill. At first glance and my bias for Gallente usefulness, would be to have it always change the Secondary Bonus. Each ship always seems to have 2 bonuses (I can’t think of an exception). The custom slot would cancel the secondary bonus and replace it with a new. Depending on the type of custom slot it may also adjust hard points, PG and CPU for that purpose.

For example I could take a Myrmidon and slot in a Custom Slot Mod to replace the 7.5% Armor Repair Bonus with one of the following:

  • Shield Resistance Bonus: 5% to All Shield Resist
  • Shield Booster Bonus: 7.5% Shield Boosting
  • Armor Resistance Bonus: 5% to All Armor Resist
  • Armor Repair Bonus: 7.5% Armor Boosting
  • Capacitor Recharge Bonus: 5% Recharge Rate
  • Capacitor Size Bonus: 5% Larger Capacitor
  • Inertia Bonus: 5% Reduction to Aligning
  • Speed Bonus: 5% Bonus to Max Velocity

Maybe take consideration for Mid and Low slot changes depending on the mod as well as PG and CPU changes to correlate.  Just food for thought that can help any user of certain ships adjust it at a cost. This way specialty skilled pilots can keep flying their favorite into combat as well a help break assumptions on ship when fighting what is thought to be sure fire.

That and new items to be built and put on market. To me, when this idea hit me, all I saw was very little change to the balance of ships, rather adding more economy, more variety and more shadows of war. I see a great deal of availability to improve ships thought to be useless, and rather than revamp each ship at a time, you now give the player base a simple way to revamp it for themselves without the ability to cause a massive new influx of overpowered ships.

Just gears turning while fingers are near a keyboard.

EVE Online: Gallente Faction Warfare: Mr. Meh’s Noob Guide

I got some new and old players excited about Faction Warfare in EVE. And for good reason. EVE with the changes to Faction Warfare are that much closer in closing the gap Theme Park MMOs have a hold on for constant action. EVE was not a universe in which instant action occurs. PVP takes a hunt, a strategy, and preparation. Not with Inferno however. It’s now a big ball of PVP fun. So I decided to pull together real quick a small noobish guide to Gallente Basics for Faction Warfare Continue reading