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This month almost slipped by without an update! I have been so busy with work and taxes that it nearly slipped my mind to post this months news. It wouldn't have been any great loss. There is little to be said. I am still too busy to spend much time gaming. I play City of Heroes now and then when I have an hour or so free, world of warcraft if I have a couple hours. The one exception this month was Assassin's Creed. The game released for PC on the 9th and I purchased it through Steam. I played it over the weekend and was able to finish it. The game is very short, it took me maybe 15-20 hours total to complete the game which included completing every city objective but I didn't bother to locate all the hidden flags which seemed to have no benefit.

Assassin's Creed was very enjoyable. The graphics were outstanding and the environment well crafted. Combat in the game was a lot of fun and the variety of enemies created varying degrees of challenge. The game had a few downsides though. It is fairly repetitious. For every mission you are given you can follow the exact same formula of activities to complete it. You locate towers that you climb to get an overview of the area, complete the requisite task for the area, once you do three of these you can proceed to the final assassination. The game allows you to pursue these tasks at your leisure for the most part. Making your way through the objectives in most any order you want. Right up to the very last ten minutes of game play I would have given Assassin's Creed 10/10. It was as close to perfect as any game I have played in a long time. Unfortunately the last ten minutes (which occurs after you defeat the final enemy) is a giant turd burger of poor design and horrible implementation that will leave most players wondering if they have actually finished the game at all or just gotten stuck.

The good news this month is that Age of Conan is less than 6 weeks away. The game launches on May 20th and open beta starts up May 1. I've already pre-ordered my copy of the game and I hope it turns out well. Pre-orders are able to download the game 6 days before launch and start playing 3 days before it goes on sale in stores. Any characters you create or progress you make will be carried over to through the official launch.

Shortly after AoC comes out Mass Effect will be released for the PC on May 28th. The PC version reputedly has many enhancements and improvements over the console version which include improved inventory management and a more sophisticated lockpicking mini-game.

Sorry I was so late on this one but things have been hectic. (Hell, I'm finishing this up while waiting for a flight out of Chicago.) Hope to see you in AoC!

March (and a half) Update by KoalKoal, 18 Apr 2008 22:53
February 2008
KoalKoal 04 Mar 2008 00:30
in discussion General / Newsletter » February 2008

March is here so it must be time for another update. The Warhammer and Age of Conan betas plod on. I find I have less interest now in Warhammer and greater hopes for Age of Conan. It has never been any secret that Warhammer was particularly focused on PvP but it has become ever clearer that this appears to mean PvP to the exclusion of all else. PvE content is never spoken of in any newsletter or mentioned in any advertising. From what has been revealed of the classes and character development there are no obvious indications of any end-game beyond city raids (which do seem interesting). I know less about the ins and outs of Age of Conan than Warhammer but that ignorance leaves room for hope that it will be a more interesting game with greater depth.

Since I have had little time lately my gaming has been confined to things I can pick up and play for an hour or so at a time. Given those restrictions I have had no desire to play World of Warcraft. Logging on for 20 minutes to do a daily quest is to me the gaming equivalent of remembering to take out the garbage or making sure to mow the lawn. Another chore to be crossed off a list rather than a mode of entertainment.

One of the games I have played and enjoyed was S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Stalker is a first person shooter set in the area around Chernobyl after the accident. In this storyline the radiation released has created mutated animals and people that you will encounter as well as valuable artifacts which can be collected and sold. The people who enter the restricted area in spite of the military presence have formed small communities and strongholds. There are several factions which you can choose to support, join, or ignore as you wish. Each offers access to jobs that can be undertaken for money and stores where equipment can be purchased. Which jobs you perform is not without consequences. Working for one group may put you at odds with another and turn potential allies into enemies who will shoot you on sight.

The game is great for letting you go about your business exploring the world while avoiding anomalies (radiation hazards that can kill you in horrible ways), killing mutants, and collecting precious artifacts and loot. The combat model is fairly good and the graphics are well done. The story is adequate for providing you reason to visit certain areas and take on certain jobs while not being so overdone that it cannot be avoided or comes off as excessively melodramatic.

There are a few downsides though. The game can be unforgiving. You will want to remember the old gamers Axiom: Save Often. In a single careless moment you may turn a corner and walk straight into both barrels of a shotgun or find yourself stuck in a situation from which you cannot escape. Another potential annoyance is the weight limit imposed on your character. While it adds a certain amount of depth and strategy to the game many people may find that being unable to carry more ammunition or a wider variety of weapons and armor too restrictive. Weapons and armor also wear out over time as you use them. The body armor you just bought before starting a mission may offer about as much protection as a cardboard box before you're halfway through.

Another downside is the difficulty curve. Everything moves along smoothly right up until the final mission to enter the power plant. As soon as you enter the map region where the reactor can be found you are being chased by helicopters, snipers, and riflemen through highly radiated areas while under a time limit. Entering the plant itself things get even harder. Suddenly the enemies seem less flesh and blood and more like heavily armored, semi-mobile gun turrets. These soldiers will stand in complete darkness at the end of blind corners just waiting for you to poke your head out to burn you down in a hail of automatic gun fire. You will find it takes three or four times as much ammunition to stop one of these opponents as it does to kill any other enemy in the game not to mention the gauntlet you had to run through to reach this point has likely left you rather short on bullets and with your armor in tatters.

All that aside I played the game for about twenty hours before setting it aside and had a very enjoyable experience even up to the end where I was forced to quit w/o completing the mission. Considering you can get the game from Steam for only $19.95 I figure it was money well spent.

The other game I have found myself playing again recently has been City of Heroes. It's been over three years since I last played and the game hasn't changed all that much. There are new powers to choose from as well as the ability to play villains now. There are new costume pieces, new character appearance options, and a new (to me) invention system that creates an economy in the game for buying and selling craft-able power enhancers and the components to make them. There are new types of missions, new task forces, and areas where players can engage in either arena style, or open world pvp with set objectives. The game also allows players to increase or decrease the game difficulty to better suit their abilities and style.

Character creation is as compelling as ever if not more so. It is easy to spend hours planning out your hero or villain and there always seems to be just one more archetype or power combination to experiment with. The game play is as good as ever. Players can jump into the action quickly and start feeling heroic (or villainous) within minutes of entering the game world. Maximum level is still 50 after all this time but there is no shortage of people playing at the lower levels to team with. Because the character system is so enticing people are constantly creating new avatars.

In many ways I think CoH is every bit as good as, if not superior to, World of Warcraft. The player interaction and game mechanics are better as is the dynamic pace of group combat. The areas where it falls short are not insignificant however. The game still uses an xp debt system for charaters over level 10 that will turn a lot of players off and encourages people to play within their 'safe' zone rather than take on riskier encounters and test their limits. When it comes to the end game CoH still has nothing to offer. You can spend as much time as you like tweaking your skills and enhancements but new challenges are few and far between. Content updates occur roughly every 6 months and not all will have new material for old players. Fortunately the early game is good enough that if you enjoy leveling superheroes and just playing the game it can keep you entertained indefinitely.

City of Heroes is now fully in the hands of NCSoft. Cryptic handed over control of the game and has been working on a new superhero game of their own. the new title will be called Champions Online and is based on the pen and paper superhero game called 'Champions' published by Hero Games. Champions Online builds on many of the features that makes City of Heroes so compelling. Players can expect a huge array of options for customizing their character's appearance right down to their style of walk and combat. Characters will still be categorized by the class they choose but now all powers will be available to every player. The difference being that some powers will be less expensive for some classes than for others. The game is being developed for simultaneous release on consoles and PC. The interface is designed with that in mind so that there are few UI elements and combat can be carried out using just the buttons on a standard controller.

Champions Online promises to deliver the next generation of superhero MMO incorporating and expanding on all the best parts of City of Heroes while updating the graphics for even better visuals. The game is projected to be released sometime in 2009 so the wait may not be unbearably long. It is definitely something I'll be keeping an eye out for in the future.

February 2008 by KoalKoal, 04 Mar 2008 00:30

Woot! It was revealed at the Game Developers Conference that Mass Effect will be released for the PC. It should be out sometime in May. And I was this >| |< close to buying a 360 :)

Mass Effect for PC by KoalKoal, 21 Feb 2008 14:44

Used to play the older editions when I was a kid, just purchased the newest edition (have yet to try it, but looks sweet). In the box was a flyer touting that it is available on PC, Xbox, and PS3… yeah, so it's not and from the sounds of the recent posts in the Talisman forums, it's gonna be a while.

We are redirecting the project at the moment and there are a number of courses of action we are evaluating. The game is not cancelled, nor is it on hold. We want the best possible execution so it is probably fair to say that it will not make the original date of "Winter". As we complete our evaluation of our options, we will eventually formulate a new release date.

The original release date was Winter 2008 :/

The most recent update (yesterday) made it sound like they are having serious issues with the game, and personally I would not be surprised if it were scrapped. I was pretty astounded that it was in development in the first place :p

Update on Talisman by CireCire, 10 Feb 2008 23:14
Re: January 2008
KoalKoal 07 Feb 2008 22:24
in discussion General / Newsletter » January 2008

Those screenshots aren't bad at all. The graphics appear to be top notch and the world design is better than what I've seen in most other games. LotRo also had nice scenery with decent graphics but I never really found it all that impressive. Similarly, while those AoC screens do look good they also seem pretty mundane, tame even.

One limiting factor is range of sight. Let's use WoW for example. In nagrand you can stand on the road between the alliance town and the ethereal outpost and look south over a large open plain marked with crop circles around a giant hunk of crystal. What you see from there is maybe 10-20 feet of grass and maybe a handful of critters. From experience we know there are teams of ethereals working at the smaller crystal formations, a ring of patrolling voidwalkers, a couple herds of bantha, and a 5 story tall giant demon all wandering around the area before the zone drops off into the edge of the nether. But all of that is invisible. What you see is a giant empty plane with some grey-brown grafitti around a fairly featureless crystal stone. None of the detail or activity makes it into visual range.

LotRo was a bit better, they have some reasonable but crude methods of scaling distant scenery so that it can still be represented on screen w/o requiring a lot of graphical horsepower. Go out to the region north of weathertop and head north out of the hills toward the plains. Watch the horizon as you keep going north and you will see flat panels of trees begin to appear. As you get closer those will be resolved into an actual forest.

Another example of LoTRo falling short is in the Ettenmoors. I love the themes and the eternally brilliant autum colors there but so little of the area is actually usable and even the complete zone in its entirety is small enough to be virtually claustrophobic. Hardly a good example of a vast primeval forest as the books described. Take scenes from the LoTRo movies for example, any of the bits of forest that appeared in the movie were of higher quality than what is in the game. Yeah, sure that was a movie but I'm not talking about the quality of the image, I'm trying to separate that from the quality of the design. The set designer for the movie was much more skillful than the world designer for the game.

last one: I can't find an image of it online right now but one of the most impressive scenes from the film for me was where the river turned into a waterfall with a giant statue standing on either side, arms outstretched to warn travellers to stop. If done in most games the player wouldn't even see the statues till they were right on top of him and even then would be unlikely to see above their knees. hell, they would be lucky to be able to see the river bank to either side if the developers didn't shrink it to a ditch.

Re: January 2008 by KoalKoal, 07 Feb 2008 22:24
Re: January 2008
KoalKoal 07 Feb 2008 22:04
in discussion General / Newsletter » January 2008

I think they make it short so that people get to see it change. If they made it as long as a real day/night most people would see pretty much the same thing every time they logged in. Games sometimes (rarely) also have things happen based on weather it is day or night. There was an everquest zone for instance that during the day seemed pretty tame but at night was taken over by werewolves and undead (sorry I can't remember the zone name). LotRo also has some quests keyed off of specific times of day. If you had those and a realistic day/night timescale it would cause some problems.

In WoW you can hardly tell the difference between day or night anyway. In contrast, everquest nights were really dark, as in you had to have a light and could barely see 10 feet in front of your face. It was part annoyance and part ambience. I think it added quite a bit to the game but it was also really frustrating when you couldn't see and didn't have a light.

Re: January 2008 by KoalKoal, 07 Feb 2008 22:04
Re: January 2008
CireCire 06 Feb 2008 19:14
in discussion General / Newsletter » January 2008

Your post reminded me of Eve Online's description. I've seen a lot of ads for it lately and thought about trying it out, but meh… I'm enjoying trying to figure out how to DPS in raids on my rogue.

I honestly think that a LOT of the scenery in WoW is pretty amazing. I do know that when I happen to be playing the game in front of others they are generally impressed with the look of the scenery (IF the first time I ever walked into it was awesome). Anyway, I too am hopeful that these new games will offer more than WoW does currently, but I have become quite the pessimist in that regard. So far nothing has even come close to being as fun as WoW for me, though I really did like the idea of DDOs dungeons.

The thing that annoys me more than anything about some of the new games is the Day/Night cycle. Why do they insist on making it non realistic? I want a day to last a DAY! Not 2 hours. That, above all else kills immersion in the MMOs that I have tried outside of WoW.

Meh… I'll certainly not be jumping into the next MMO right away. If it gets lots of love from Keggers I'll check it out, but for now I'm pretty happy blowing time playing WoW.

Re: January 2008 by CireCire, 06 Feb 2008 19:14
Re: January 2008
TrinithTrinith 06 Feb 2008 17:25
in discussion General / Newsletter » January 2008

Most of those came out as thumbs, but still very nice scenery. Do you know of those impose limitations in the form of clipping boxes so you can't climb those mountains, or is it pretty much free-form?

AoC looks awesome, I'm definitely picking it up but I need to upgrade my system because I need to enjoy that in all it's graphical glory.

By the way, as far as scenery went, that Lord of the Rings Online game you all were playing looked pretty good. The only reason I couldn't get into it was because the combat mechanics seemed… weird to me.

Re: January 2008 by TrinithTrinith, 06 Feb 2008 17:25
Re: January 2008
KrisroeKrisroe 04 Feb 2008 22:10
in discussion General / Newsletter » January 2008

I think that there are some interesting landscapes in MMO's. Here are some examples from the screenshots section for Age of Conan (yes I'm totally biased, but they are good examples.)

And before I post them, I don't necessarily think that all of the landscapes are boring, just sometimes they're more background and you can't go explore the mountains, its just a perimeter or boundary of the next zone. I think that is lame. If you are going to make it, let people run around it (which AoC does - told you I'm totally biased…)

Anyway to the pics:
Some are thumbnails because I don't know why. Here is the link to all of them since I don't want to get the links to work.
Screenshots from Age of Conan

Hills leading into mountains
Different mountain range
Inside a jungle
Mountainous coastline
City Harbor
Mountain in the distance
Jungle ruins

There are lots of others, they are just more focused on the combat, characters, etc. so they aren't as scenic since they are zoomed in a lot. So I do think good environments exist, but they can be hard to find depending on the game.

Re: January 2008 by KrisroeKrisroe, 04 Feb 2008 22:10

needs to just be I'd do it myself but can't edit :)

January 2008
KoalKoal 02 Feb 2008 21:34
in discussion General / Newsletter » January 2008

Hello again. Not much new at all in the MMO world. Age of Conan has been delayed and things have been very quiet regarding Warhammer Online. Both games sill have a lot of eager watchers. All we can do is hope that the many delays work out for the best and the games are that much better when they are finally released.

Pirates of the Burning Sea came out in January but word is that they have had extensive stability problems. There hasn't been a whole lot of community interest in the game despite it having a reputation for a sophisticated economic model and engaging ship-to-ship combat. The buzz-level for PotBS is somewhere between Tabula Rasa and Lord of the Rings Online. I would have tried the game myself just to see how it was but I started a new job this month which has confiscated all of my free time for a while so I don't have any personal opinions to offer.

Star Trek Online has been transferred to a new developer w/o any of the existing code. This means to me that the game is either completely dead with no chance of revival or that it will be 2-3 years before we see any further signs of life from it. Lesson learned here I believe is if there is one company you do NOT want working on your MMO it has to be Perpetual.

I have added a second section to the Watchlist just to track the development of interesting MMO's. When they get closer to release I'll promote them to the top half of the page. In the meantime it makes a convenient spot for me to remember what to look for when I troll for MMO news.

Since there are no new announcements or releases worth mentioning I'm going to talk about what I would like to see instead.

What I would like to see in an MMO is a return to the sandbox game. Every major game released or in development since Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft has been more and more an example of a 'theme park' game. A theme park world is one where players are lead from one activity to the next like a tourist in Disneyland. Each activity (quests, dungeons, pvp, pve) can be thought of as a ride and players as the customers. This gives the player the illusion of being able to travel freely around the world while the designer subtly leads them by the nose from place to place ensuring that players always know what they are supposed to do. Each quest leads to the next as players are pointed, even pushed, towards content tailor made for characters with their background and experience. This sounds like it should be a good thing, and in truth, it does a fine job of presenting the MMO newbie with a very directed and controlled game experience that can create a sort of protected comfort zone for them to play in.

Where the Theme Park game focuses on creating a series of interesting rides to carry players from start to finish the sandbox game on the other hand focuses on creating the game world as a whole. Another way to look at it is the Theme Park world is designed one ride at a time and these rides are then connected to form the world in the same way puzzle pieces form a picture with specific paths for players to follow from one piece to the next. The sandbox game focuses on the picture itself rather than the individual pieces. Unfortunately, in past sandbox games, this left finding interesting things to do in the hands of the player. If the player was new to the genre they could easily feel lost, without purpose or direction, become bored and quit. Even experienced players often dislike not being explicitly told what they should do as well as when and where they should do it. For my taste though, I hate being lead around. I greatly prefer to find my own way through a game. Exploration and discovery is at least half the reason I play these types of games to begin with.

What I really want is a huge world that I can wander around in finding interesting things to see and to do. I want it to be so big that I could easily spend an entire year playing the game and still not have seen every location, completed every quest, or encountered every type of content in the game. Related to that I want the world to change and evolve over time. I want places I visited months ago to have grown or been altered in some way based upon game events and player actions. I want the world to be a living, organic thing that is continually molded by the players who populate it.

The second big change I want is in appearance. I'm not referring to poly counts or graphics quality here. I mean I want the world's terrain and topography to be interesting. So often game worlds are bland and mundane, their landscapes dull and unimaginative. It seems ironic that so called 'fantasy' game worlds are often more deprived of interesting detail and depth than what can easily be found in the real one. Game designers really need to get out from behind their computer screens and take a look at the world around them. There are so many profoundly awe inspiring places out there that put anything ever done digitally to shame. The mountains, rivers and forests of places like Yosemite or Yellowstone, the giant sequioas of California, the deserts and canyons of the American Southwest. Amazing places like this exist all around the world yet when game designers undertake the creation of a fantasy setting they are so mired down in the dull and uninspired I have to wonder if they have ever even left their mother's basement. Part of their problem is one of scale. Their worlds are so compressed that they could easily be misplaced if translated meter for meter to the real one. I suppose it's hard to find room for something like Utah's Monument Valley or China's Soaring Dragon Cave when your entire world is no larger than a dozen or so city blocks.

To summarize: I want my next MMO to be huge, larger than all other game worlds combined and able to house anywhere from 10,000 - 100,000 players without becoming crowded. I want it to be a living, organic entity that changes over time. I want it to be at least as beautiful and interesting as anything I'm likely to see on the Travel Channel or in National Geographic. And lastly, I want it to be so stuffed full of dynamically generated content that there is no chance I will ever encounter every single thing that the game has to offer. While doing all that I want to maintain much of the hand tailored content of traditional worlds. Carefully crafted dungeons, castles, pvp battlegrounds and quest lines still have a place in my perfect game but only as further enhancement to the vast virtual world that houses them.

January 2008 by KoalKoal, 02 Feb 2008 21:34

They made some changes to the classes from beta feedback, including removing two classes entirely and merging some of their abilities into existing classes. That alone would require extra time to re-balance all of the classes.

Oh well, it gives me more time to finish the books.

Re: AoC Release Delayed by KrisroeKrisroe, 31 Jan 2008 17:05

AoC release delayed another 8 weeks to May 20th. Funcom cites significant improvements during the previous delay period and a desire to continue to polish and tune the game as the underlying reasons.

Official Announcement

Re: AoC Release Delayed by KoalKoal, 21 Jan 2008 19:28

Here's the chain of events so far.

Around September Perpetual postponed the release of Gods and Heroes and laid off ~40 developers saying that the game would be undergoing further beta testing to focus on "quality and polish". -gamasutra

In October Gods and Heroes was put on 'indefinite hold' so that Perpetual could focus on Star Trek Online. -gamasutra

Then in November news leaked out that Perpetual was liquidating assets to pay off creditors and that Gravity, one of its investors, expected to loose the entirety of its 9 million dollar investment. -gamasutra

In December Perpetual's PR firm Kohnke Communications filed suit claiming fraudulent business practices in the transfer of the Star Trek License during the liquidation which went to another Perpetual entity, P2 entertainment. -gamasutra -TTH lawsuit info

Now (January) it has been announced that Perpetual is no longer working on Star Trek Online and that development has been transferred to an undisclosed developer -wired

Troubled times for the game at the very least. It seems extremely probable that this game will die in development before ever being released.

Star Trek Online troubles by KoalKoal, 15 Jan 2008 15:01
Re: December 2007
KoalKoal 04 Jan 2008 22:25
in discussion General / Newsletter » December 2007

No amount of PvP will knock so much sense out of me that I can't realize that I don't have to do anything to be rewarded.

PvP and PvE instances on farm status is a fair comparison for they are of equal difficulty. However there is still a greater penalty for pvE than for PvP. lesser instances may have lower requirements but the lowest of any PvE instance will still require more than what PvP demands.

If you are unable to read skill descriptions to determine what abilities other players possess there isn't really anything I can do to help you 'see the future'.

The fact remains nothing you have posted has said anything to refute the basic point of my first post: PvP rewards players for doing nothing. PvE does not. Because there are equivalent rewards from both systems players will gravitate toward the one which requires less effort. In the current state of WoW that is PvP.

Re: December 2007 by KoalKoal, 04 Jan 2008 22:25
Re: December 2007
TrinithTrinith 04 Jan 2008 20:38
in discussion General / Newsletter » December 2007

1) Maybe you should try PvP sometime.

2) Well, in about an hour to an hour and a half of daily quests I can make up my raiding expenses for the next 3 raids. I usually spend about 20 - 40 gold in repairs on new content nights and consumable costs have been drastically reduced, to the point where there's a near-free alternative available in the instances I've seen:

Kara - Flasks not really needed, mana/health pots would have to be farmed I suppose.
Gruul - Extremely cheap flasks, health potions, and mana pots available.
Mag - I don't know what's available here.
SSC/TK - Trash mobs drop tokens for flasks; health and mana pots obtained through coilfang armaments.
BT/MH - I don't know what's available here.

This is comparable to how PvP consumables are obtained… no free flasks available, but mana/health pots can be bought with honour.

Also, while not nearly as high as PvE, there are repair costs in PvP. Not so much in arenas, but if you run any AV you'll see that you need to repair, and if you run it all day like a lot of people do (you actually have to play it), those add up quick. Again, try serious PvP for a while… it seems you pretty much have to experience it before you believe me anyways.

3) I wasn't aware that you were a tactical genius with the ability to see the future. Man, must be nice. For the rest of us "normal folks", we have to do things the hard way. I know I certainly can't tell when someone else is going to do something, or what tactics the other team is going to use against me and when. Or what class makeup the other team will have and with what specs, all before the fight starts given that they're behind a couple doors and across a map.

Good talk, but as I said in the other thread, I'm done. You're so far off the mark here and you're there without really having spent much time actually playing PvP. How can I compete with what you've made up in your mind and convinced yourself is true? Really, I can't even figure out where you got half that stuff from in that second last paragraph; it's laughable. Certainly, if it were that way I'd have seen Koal, or one of your alts at Grand Marshal long ago, or in a 2000+ rated team now, but I don't.

By the way, I have no doubts you can get there, especially given you are a dedicated and intelligent (if pig-headed) individual and the two 70's that you have (to my knowledge) fit in very well in the PvP system; however, if and when you do, I'm willing to bet that you'll revise your opinions, at least a little. Lets talk then.

Re: December 2007 by TrinithTrinith, 04 Jan 2008 20:38
Re: December 2007
KoalKoal 04 Jan 2008 19:22
in discussion General / Newsletter » December 2007

1) That's ridiculous. It doesn't matter how they are spec'ed you know what skills they can acquire and what counters are available to you before the fight even starts. Fighting one team requires the same tactics and approach as fighting any other team. It may as well be the exact same people every time using an assortment of random scripts to control their actions. Losing in PvP is meaningless. So you have to fight another team after you get beaten, or win for that matter. The next team wont be any more capable of doing something you can't plan for than the last one. If you want to make PvP equal to PvE on this level you would have to force PvP'ers to fight the same team over and over until they beat them, receive nothing at all until they won, and impose a penalty on them for every loss.

2) and what is the penalty for loosing in PvP? Nothing at all. As much as you try to brush off the expense of raiding you know better and so do I. Individuals frequently spend hundreds of gold a night in consumables and repairs to make little to no progress at all vs difficult encounters. Maybe that expense plus the time required to gear up is trivial to you but it is still greater than the zero investment made by the PvP'er.

Although it has nothing to do with this discussion by pointing out the lack of reward for being the first to kill a boss only serves to make my point for me regarding the disparity of PvP and PvE in Warcraft. If players come out of PvP at the top of the ladder they receive unique rewards and move on to a tournament where they can win real world cash. This happens 3 times a year. What do raiders get for being the best in the world at their game? Jack Squat.

3) No I wasn't surprised the first time I got MC'ed, kited, or anything else. I am clever enough to pay attention to what other classes can do, to learn who and what I am fighting before I set foot on the battlefield. I try every class and learn at least the basics of how they work and what tactics they employ. Nothing that has happened in PvP has ever surprised me with the exception of what series of digits the random number generator can produce. From the sounds of things you are far more naive regarding PvP and ignorant of the capabilities of other classes than I ever was.

The variety of PvE so far outstrips anything you can encounter in PvP the two are virtually incomparable. Wow, that rogues used Sap on me instead of Cheap Shot! I am so amazed? vs That 60 foot titan just rose up out of the pool of lava and tossed a bomb into the group that exploded for 10,000 damage and sent everyone flying around the room! The only times I have ever had jaw dropping, adrenaline pumping experiences in an MMO has been fighting raid bosses. I have never felt more tension in any of the thousands of PvP matches I have played than in the last seconds of a guild first boss kill. When was the last time you heard your entire PvP team stand up and cheer on vent for 10 minutes because they won a game? Which will be more memorable to you 20 years from now, the time you ran that flag back to the base to win WSG or the first (or second or third) time you beat C'Thun or Vaelestraz or Illidan?

Re: December 2007 by KoalKoal, 04 Jan 2008 19:22
Re: December 2007
TrinithTrinith 04 Jan 2008 03:03
in discussion General / Newsletter » December 2007

I didn't see your edit until just now… I might comment later but to be honest, for the most part I agree with you. I'm comparing similarities between gearing in PvE to gearing in PvP to refute that PvP ruins PvE. It does not, in any way. It's very separate and while there is some cross bleeding, for the most part they can be played independently of each other.

A player can do both, but you never have and never will gear in PvP to be a top raider, and you will never gear in PvE to be a top PvP'er.

Maybe more later :)

Response to your edit… I'll go by your numbers.

1) That's not entirely accurate… sure you might have a rudimentary understanding of what each class is capable of, but you don't know what spec they are, what gear they are wearing, or how they play their class. Players can, and do, pull tricks on you because you generally don't know what to expect. The players who do the best in PvP have tactics that other players haven't planned for, and they are also capable of reacting fast enough to counter the other team's tactics. By contrast, in PvE it's a comparatively more simple matter of throwing yourself at a boss until you do learn that encounter. What makes it easier is that things aren't going to change. Whatever caused your wipe last fight is generally static and once you see it, you can figure out how to counter it and you now know it's coming. Almost every boss in WoW is completely predictable… to the point where scripted mods are written to tell you exactly what is happening when. The only exception is a few small cases where it is random for drop placement… the first example I can think of that most people will have seen is prince.

In a PvP match, you generally get one shot. You win, or you lose, then you move on to another match up. The only way PvE could compare to this is if every time you wiped on a boss, the next time you fought it there would be something else quite different that you face. This isn't the case.

2) No, the boss will never grow lazy or complacent, or have an off day, but that's my point. It never changes, it's the same every time. You have to remember that in PvP, there are two thinking and reasoning entities against eachother, so if one has an off-day, another wins. If you wipe on a boss, there is only a loser… the boss doesn't win, it doesn't care. It gains nothing, doesn't progress, it's the same. If you're to say that you can't overwhelm a boss with sheer numbers, the same applies to PvP (not counting world-pvp) as matchups are equal. If you disagree, then it's a valid statement to say that individual components of a boss are overwhelmed with sheer numbers, which degrades the argument entirely. You can also outgear encounters… bosses are often skipped to be done later when people are better geared. Many new instances aren't completely linear and contain difficult, yet optional bosses. Naxx is an example of this… you're free to start and complete wing you like. It's quite possible to farm certain wings until gear is bloated and it is much easier to fight other bosses in another wing. I'll admit that's kind of a skewed point because that's pretty much how raid progression works, but I find your comparison to PvP equally as skewed so I figured I'd toss it out there.

With regards to penalty… what's the death penalty in PvE? You pay a bit of gold, then you get right back on the horse and try again. No real loss, and given the nature of a PvE encounter, sheer perseverance and gear will surmount 90% of the odds against you. In PvP, failure results in low standing. Consistent failure results in falling behind, which means further failure. If you fail at PvE and take a year to down one boss, the next boss is still one small step above the one you just beat. If you fail at PvP and take a year to complete your first set, you are much farther behind as the rest of the competition has surpassed you greatly in gear and your encounters only become more difficult. I guess what I'm trying to say is, in PvE you have control over what you face, in PvP you don't.

Last point on this one… falling behind other players in PvE generally means nothing. Yea if you're the first to down something world-wide, people might, maybe, possibly, remember your guild name. If you're the second, a much smaller group knows, or even cares. If you're third? Nobody has any clue who you are. Past that it doesn't matter. You aren't going to have a harder time in PvE because someone else is doing better than you. If someone else does better than you in PvP, you suffer directly because you have to face those teams who are now better geared and more skilled.

3) PvE is static, predictable progression with unpredictable rewards. PvP is predictable rewards but unpredictable progression. However, in PvP you can catch up to the competition in comparatively little time to PvE. I see this as a gigantic flaw in PvE far more than any issue with the PvP system. There was too big a gap between new players coming in and Naxx players, to the point where anybody who didn't start raiding at day one found it extremely difficult to catch up. Most Naxx guilds wouldn't accept anybody without at least a good portion of AQ40 gear. It simply doesn't make sense to design a game this way… at least not if you want to attract new players. Again, a flaw in the PvE system.

What do you mean players never surprise you? Have you even PvP'd? You weren't surprised the first time a priest mind controlled you and threw you off a cliff, or zoned you out of the battleground? You weren't surprised when you were guarding a flag and 5 rogues popped out of stealth, destroyed you, and capped the flag? You weren't surprised when just as you were about to kill someone a healer who was heading in at full speed mounted just got there in time to heal them? You weren't surprised when some warrior quickly switched on a shield and spell-reflected that pyroblast? You weren't surprised (and utterly amazed) when a frost mage kited you into oblivion after you got them down to 10% health and you just couldn't quite get there for the finisher?

Those are just a small subset of the things I've experienced in PvP that I never would have seen coming or expected, and even if I've seen them you never know when they are coming again. PvP is full of variety. The only time you get variety in PvE is when Blizzard finally gets around to designing a new instance, and then it's just a matter of throwing yourself at the content until you learn that and get bored with it too.

Please note, that last comment is pretty much the negative end of the spectrum… I actually do enjoy PvE and it is fun learning the new encounters. However, once you learn them they get stale, whereas I'm finding myself being pulled more and more towards PvP simply because of the unpredictability.

Re: December 2007 by TrinithTrinith, 04 Jan 2008 03:03
Re: December 2007
TrinithTrinith 04 Jan 2008 01:26
in discussion General / Newsletter » December 2007

What options do PvE players have of obtaining resilience? Lets see…;cr=79;crs=1;crv=0

Hopefully that works… if not go to wowhead and search items for epics with resilience > 0. There's definitely a few there and some are even craftable. I know the PvP cloak comes from badge rewards and there's a pretty good ring which comes from spirit shards. Certainly enough to get you started and working towards your PvP gear, similar to how PvP gear can be used to get you started in PvE as you work towards your PvE gear.

I think loot is getting out of hand to begin with, but it's happening equally between PvE items and PvP. Notice that PvP items always lag behind PvE. Season 1 came out at launch with T4 and T5 epics already available. Season 2 was later added and thus became "tied" with t5, then BT/MH was released providing t6 gear with no season equivalent. Now season 3 is out which "catches up" to t6. 2.4 is on the horizon and I don't know what is planned for loot, but I would have to assume it's better than t6 and I'm willing to bet that Season 4 will come out a good while after that.

Also, there is a kind of progression… you have to remember that while you can cheese your way through arenas to get gear, it doesn't really do you a lot of good. Sure you can take 5 months to get yourself geared up in full season 2. Meanwhile, the rest of the PvP world has gone on to get Season 3 (or even 4) and the PvE world has moved up to t6. You're still at a disadvantage. Those who put in the time and effort in PvP still get the reward, and to be honest, it takes much more skill to be good at PvP than it does to go read a strat someone else posted on the internet and duplicate it in a scripted battle. Yea it takes a bit of practice, but for the most part once you've done it you're pretty much set.

Here's something else to think about… I disagree that arena gear is "welfare" but I'll concede that battleground gear is, especially because you can afk day in and out and get them at the same rate as the person who played their ass off. However, is easily obtaining this gear so bad? One of the biggest issues WoW was suffering from was the gigantic gap between new players just coming into the game and players who had been playing for a long time. If you're new to the game it's pretty damn hard to catch up to those players because good luck finding someone willing to accept a player in blues into a guild running Naxx, and that's how it was for 6 months before TBC. There were very few guilds running MC and BWL… most of the rest were in AQ40 and upwards and were recruiting players at that level. There was absolutely no way, short of PvP, to catch up. In TBC, this isn't the case… you can pretty quickly gear yourself up in arena gear if you try. Now you don't have to sit at the bottom until the next expansion, you can catch up to others and contribute.

This doesn't seem unfair at all… it seems like a good way to get players involved and a sound business strategy to keep subscriptions. Also, since PvP gear still isn't as good as PvE gear for PvE at the comparable level, once you catch up to that level underneath you still have something to work towards.

Re: December 2007 by TrinithTrinith, 04 Jan 2008 01:26
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