Monday, August 29, 2005

WoW - 9 months later

My look back at the last 9 months of WoW is up at Gamergod.com (now defunct). It is a look back at what has been introduced to WoW since its launch nine fateful months ago. PvP honor, battlegrounds, and PvE content are covered.

WoW has changed for the better and has a good future ahead of it. Blizzard hopefully can fix battlegrounds to make them more enjoyable as well as keep pushing out content to further plant WoW as #1.

Stay tuned for more.

Update: 3 Aug, 2010 - Removed bad link to Gamergod.com (now defunct)

Required reading - 29 Aug 05

From my good ole' buddy Grimwell over at Gamergod.com. Wanted to focus on one quote I found very insightful and promising for MMOs.
Grimwell: What range of levels will the content cover in this expansion? Will it focus only on the high level characters, or will there be something for everyone at every level?

Shawn: While the full range of levels is covered, it won't be equal; the support will be proportional to the population of the game, so it will tip to the high end of the game (as most veteran players will be of high level). Any new quest arcs will fit into existing areas and arcs. Since WoW takes players on a deliberate path through the levels in specific areas, any new quests need to take advantage of these areas and pair up with existing content instead of making new areas for the same level range and moving or splitting up the player population.

Well first off... woohoo expansion! The good news is that it seems they are going to get it right for once. Not adding just more landmass, but using the expansion as a means to fill in the current world. This allows new areas to mainly be built for level 60 content. I feel this is the way to go... no more EQ syndrome expansions that result in 50% more land to explore.

While I love exploring in WoW, I love the current world and don't feel more land would fit without destroying what we have. Sending us on quests through the same areas on new story arcs is better.

What do you guys think?

Update: 11 May, 2009 - Edited post, applied label, and removed broken links.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Gamergod.com - F.E.A.R. preview

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post originally linked to a Gamergod.com article about F.E.A.R., but Gamergod.com is now defunct.

Alterac Valley needs to be rebuilt

Take a look at this thread over on WoW's official Azgalor realm forums. (link removed) Now do a search and you will find hundreds of other posts stating the exact same thing.

Charging in and dieing is preferred to balanced group play because you can resurrect at full mana and health a lot faster than you could actually get healed or regenerate. How much more evident can it get that Blizzard wants AV to focus 100% on graveyard to graveyard zerging?

Every AV match starts out with the two sides trying to zerg rush the graveyard closest to the enemy general, Iceblood or Stonehearth. Every single time! If you go in organized; chances are your zerg will get to the graveyard first allowing for quite an easy victory. Once the graveyard is captured it turns into an instant resurrection spot every 30 seconds making it nearly impossible to be captured spelling the end of the match.

Every side objective in AV is a joke and results in no positive gain for your team. The fight will remain between two graveyards almost the entire time. Anyone else wishing to venture off most likely will get killed off by NPC guards and then return to the zerg fight.

Here is what is needed to fix AV.
  • 30 second resurrection timer increased to 2 minutes.
  • No honor given out for player kills. Honor only earned through completion of goals, side objectives, and winning the BG.
  • Max of 100 resurrections per graveyard, but can be increased through the gathering of resources. The "home" graveyards would be unlimited.
  • All towers and forts must be captured first before the enemy general will spawn.
  • Resource gathering required as the initial stage. Require players to split up and capture as many resources as quickly as possible. Resources directly affect strength of forts and towers.
  • Every resource would have a limited supply. Once the supplies are cleaned out the source is shutdown.
  • Players would be required to carry the resources.
  • Put doors on forts and towers that must be destroyed first.
  • General can not be pulled out of their main room and goes into "evade" mode anytime they are being hit and can not hit the attacker back.
  • More AOE attacks for the generals.
  • Limit # of the players allowed to join. If there is only 20 on one side and 40 on the other side waiting to get in... only let 20 in. As more join the lower side allow more from the other side in.
Some of these are far fetched... and some are not. Team size, resurrection timer, and graveyard rushing need to be changed!

Update: 3 Aug, 2010 - Edited post to remove bad link to WoW forums.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I love the smell of Dire Maul in the morning

Another tribute run. Another fun adventure.

First we started with finding out our warrior spoke NO English. Then we found out our rogue had never been to DM before and thought he was suppose to pull right away. We survived, but I instantly turned on babysitter mode.

No matter how hard we tried we could not convince the warrior to stop attacking the named guards. No English comprehension = bad. So we just let him die every time. Then came the end boss... and the pull right before getting there. You can choose to pull the three on the left or the two on the right... and last time I check two was less than three.

Sadly our rogue forgot what left and right was... pulled the wrong side and found out that the hyenas can see him in stealth. Wipe. Now this is normal for any pick up group I am in... but most of the time we manage to finish DM anyways. I won't be giving up now!

BAM! OWNED! SMOKED! Blizzard /slaps you with a trout.

I died, disconnected, and popped up at the Alterac Valley portal. This is the point where I would normally hurt my cat... but... anyways.

30 minutes later I was back at DM. We killed the end boss no problems... and of course the loot stunk. That is my WoW life. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My first Gamergod.com article has been posted

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post was originally linking to my first article posted at Gamergod.com which was an interview with WarcraftRealms.com founder, Rollie. Gamergod.com is now defunct, but the interview can be found here.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Long awaited UPDATE to Dizzarian.com WoW tips post

I started this post ages ago and have edited it many times with several updates. It is just general good info on how to be a success in WoW. It has turned more to a focus of Auction House money making, but that is where the money in WoW is.... trust me.

Take a look at it here.

Comment here or give me suggestions. Thanks!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tried Irth Online for a Bit

Update: 8 Jul, 2007 - Edited post and applied label.

Update: 4 May, 2009 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
Originally, this post contained a link to Irth Online's website (now defunct) and gave a blurb about playing in the NDA-protected beta.

DAoC clustering... the way to fix WoW Battlegrounds

For anyone that has ever played World of Warcraft during non-peak hours you unfortunately know that the PvP battlegrounds are rarely, if ever, open during that time. Two days in a row where I've just wanted to hit the battlegrounds for an hour or two has resulted in the following... two hour waits for nothing. Both days I waited from about 7 am EST until 10 AM EST and not one Alterac Valley or Warsong Gulch opened. This is not a limited occurrence to two days either. This is a normal occurrence on Azgalor and most other servers during the weekdays.

Battlegrounds normally do not open until after 6 pm EST on Azgalor and even then you have to be one of the lucky people who were already standing in line since 4 pm to get in. The battlegrounds usually remain open well into the night and about midnight is when they start closing up.

So for gamers like me all the previews in the world can't sell me on Arathi Basin. Outside of the first couple of days I will never see this battleground. Plus with the 1.7 inclusion of battleground holidays rewarding ONLY players who get to play at prime time, there is once again no point in me trying to compete in the PvP ranks.

I make limited gains and put in 3x the amount of work to get my honor. I have to do it the good ole' fashioned way. Ride out to enemy lands and hunt them down. Three hours results in maybe 30 HK's. Three hours in a battleground for random newb #1 results in 100's of HK and 1,000's of bonus honor. This needs to be fixed.

And here is the fix, thanks to Dark Ages of Camelot. When DAoC servers started having severe population imbalances and PvP combat was becoming few and far between Mythic decided to cluster servers together, but only their PvP combat areas. Now 3-5 servers are joined together and share PvP areas.

WoW needs to do the same with battlegrounds. Combine 3-5 servers and have the battlegrounds pull people from each one. This way if there is 1-2 people waiting in line at 2 am in the morning 5 servers will combine to make 10. What a brilliant idea! The coding can not be that hard and it makes complete sense. Give everyone equal chance to compete in PvP ranks regardless of whether they are logged in at prime time or not.

Oh and remove the battleground holiday, as it insults the non-peak hour gamer.

Update: 6 Sept, 2009 - Edited post and applied labels.

Friday, August 19, 2005

WoW 1.7 patch notes... commentary

Check out the official patch notes here... finally they weren't leaked early. As always I am here to sift through and pull out the good stuff... and of course tell you what I think.

Switching weapons in combat triggers a 1 second global cooldown for all abilities for rogues and a 1.5 second global cooldown for everyone else.
-EDIT:Sprawl from VN WoW General forum has explained this better than I could....

"What this change did do was fix it so exploiters couldn't use the instant swap in order to backstab with a sword. People were using macros to pass the dagger check with backstab but swap to swords before the damage is calculated." - Sprawl

Battleground "holidays" have been added to Warsong Gulch, Alterac Valley and Arathi Basin. Holidays occur during most weekends, starting on Thursday night at midnight and continuing until Tuesday morning. During a holiday, emmissaries from that Battleground will be found in the major cities, and honor/faction rewards for performing objectives in that battleground are increased.
-Another wonderful blow to those of us that play off hours and on odd days. Shouldn't bother us anyways, because the battlegrounds are rarely open outside of primetime.

Losers of Warsong Gulch are now given a "Ribbon of Sacrifice" which they may turn in to Captain Shatterspear or Sentinel Farsong for a faction reward.
-Huh? WoW... the only game where losers are rewarded!

New Spell: Hammer of Wrath (Level 44) - Hurls a hammer that strikes an enemy for Holy damage. Only usable on a wounded target.
-Now that class that never dies... gets a ranged attack. Interesting to see how powerful this is. Still doesn't give them any sort of range to pull with... which is the main complaint of Paladins.

Proficiency Bonuses have been added to the game. Some sets of equippable items have been added that will give bonus effects to the player only if they have a specific skill, such as Leatherworking.
-Good change. Funny they mention Leatherworking... one of the most useless crafting skills in game. Finally balancing things out towards engineering by buffing the other crafting skills... great move.

New "Dressing Room" Interface now available! If you control-left click on any item, item reference (vendors, quests) or item link (chat), a UI panel will appear showing your character wearing that item. You can then use the same command (control-left click) on additional items to add to the preview appearance. In addition, the Auction House now has a checkbox in the upper right-hand corner; if checked, any item you click on within the Auction House will automatically be previewed on your character.
-24/7 window shopping baby! Who says games aren't programmed without women in mind?

The Effects of Flasks will now persist through death.
-Woot! Another buff to alchemy and actual reason to justify the cost of overpriced potions.

That is all I could find worth noting -_o Seems to be a few good anti-rogue things... a definate plus. The addition of a new area and a new battleground should keep us busy for a while. See everyone when this pig goes live :)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

CS:S video released - Two of the gReatest things eveR

I have worked on this video for a week or so now and finally got time to put it all together today.

I hope you enjoy!

Update: 15 Oct, 2005 - Video hosted via Google video. Download it here.

**Not safe for work**

Scout is level 24 now

And I'm getting that old feeling of hate for DAoC again. Took him to Thidranki full of catacombs gear. It pretty much is unmatched outside of getting a full spell crafted suit and set of weapons.

I am facing the fact that a scout can barely kill yellows in PvE let alone kill anything in RvR. Blue casters eat me alive... especially warlocks who unload one insta dot that kills me.

I don't know what to do... keep getting pissed off... quit... roll a necro that I know I can level... or just take a break.

/sigh

Anyways my DAoC review for Gamergod.com is coming along good. I can seperate my hate from the review :P It is more a broad stroke review with a bit of game history included. It is scheduled to go live Monday the 22nd so keep an eye out over at Gamergod.com!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gamergod.com... my new home

Gamergod.com has brought me on as an author for various MMORPG related articles. Grimwell from the old Grimwell.com website took one look at this blog and decided I was a shoe in for the Gamergod.com staff.

If all goes well I will be moving my reviews over to Gamergod.com and I will use this blog as a place to post my ramblings. Look for great things to come from Heartless Gamer and Gamergod.com.

Come pay us a visit over there.

Half Life 2 MOD Spotlight - Battlegrounds 2

Battlegrounds 2 MOD has a beta version up and running. I jumped on a few servers and blasted away with it. But first what is this MOD all about? From their FAQ...

Q #2: What is it all about?
A #2: BG places you in the time period of the revolutionary war in America. American rebels are fighting for their freedom and the troops of the british crown are trying to keep control of the colonies.

Yes you heard that right... a Revolutionary War mod! Enough with WWII and Vietnam... lets go way back in history! The game reflects the time period with highly inaccurate weaponry and a lot of bayonet action. The battles are frantic and no real strategy could be found on any servers I played on. I would like to get an organized group on a server and just line em up like they did in those days... firing shots off at each other.... ending in a big melee scrimmage!

Check it out... you may just like it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

15 Aug 05 - Required Reading

Another day; more required reading for the MMO enthusiast. This is a repost of Raph Koster's, Laws of Online World Design< that he has compiled over the years. This a must read for anyone interested in the design of MMO's.
Ownership is key. You have to give players a sense of ownership in the game. This is what will make them stay--it is a "barrier to departure." Social bonds are not enough, because good social bonds extend outside the game. Instead, it is context. If they can build their own buildings, build a character, own possessions, hold down a job, feel a sense of responsibility to something that cannot be removed from the game--then you have ownership.

Enjoy the read and don't forget to leave your comments.

Update: 11 May, 2009 - Edited post, applied label, and removed broken link.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Owens

Not only do I play games, but I am also an avid NFL fan. My team? The Green Bay Packers. Green and gold runs in my blood. Packer football is what I was born and raised on! So why am I here on a gaming blog to speak about Eagles' wide receiver Terrel Owens? Because I want to connect some dots for everyone.

Yesterday, Owens was kicked out of training camp for a week for not being a team player, arguing with the head coach, and telling the offensive coordinator not to speak to him. Last year, by mid-season, Owens could be seen on the sideline arguing with McNabb, the Eagles' quarterback.

None of this surprising. When Owens was picked up a year ago by the Eagles I knew it was only a matter of time before Owens would return to being the greedy and selfish player he is. After all, that is why San Francisco got rid of him in the first place.

Moving on, Owens shares the same agent as Javon Walker, wide receiver for my beloved Packers. Javon Walker had a break out year last year and now believes he deserves more money. Both Owens and Walker decided to hold out at the start of training camp from their respective teams. However, Walker is now practicing with the team and there is no controversy left in Green Bay.

I blame their agent for the hold outs, but I won't blame the agent for Owens actions on the practice field. There is a reason why Walker is playing and practicing, and why Owens is QQ'ing in his driveway.

Donovan McNabb has sat by and defended Owens actions; even after Owens called McNabb out and took uncalled-for pot shots at his him. McNabb continually sat back saying that Owens needed to take care of numero uno and that his relationship with Owens was "fine".

What now McNabb? Owens doesn't want anything to do with the Eagles as a team. He never did. Everything was great when Owens was getting the ball, but when he wasn't, he took it out on you. Keyshawn Johnson, another loud mouth NFL reciever, made the words, "Give me the damn ball!", famous and we all know how far that took his career.

Flip over to the Packers now. Brett Favre, the undisputed leader of the Packers as a team, came out and publicly blasted Javon Walker for holding out and not honoring his contract. Donovan McNabb, facing a similar situation with Owens, came out and berated Favre, saying that Favre needed to stay out of other player's salary disputes.

Take a clue here McNabb. Favre came out as the LEADER of his team and put his foot down on a bad situation. He sent a message to Walker, reminding who's team he plays on and who will be giving him the damn ball. He put public pressure on a player who somehow thought that salaries came before the team. Walker will learn; if you put the team first the salary will come.

McNabb sent a message to Owens: "I like it!!! Give me more!". McNabb now has a team in a media circus and the Eagles will suffer because of it. McNabb had the chance to stop this situation before it escalated. McNabb needed to step up and tell Owens to get his ass in camp and show the team he was worth the extra money. After all, Owens was one of the highest paid wide receivers in 2004, with over 10 million earned in bonuses alone.

McNabb, as the leader of his team, should have reminded Owens that football was played by a team.

Update: 15 July 2008 - Edited post and labels.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Vanguard will be an Everquest rehash...

Reading up on an article over at Gamergod.com it seems that Vanguard is going to be another treadmill game. From the article I have grave reason for concern...

Jeff Butler mentioned at the demo that downtime will be making somewhat of a comeback as it's an important factor in socialization and community building. Players will have mental and physical stamina that they will need to replenish, but it will be reasonable for lower level characters.

-Holy shit! How socialization comes out of having my character sit on their proverbial ass is well well beyond me. I'm guessing these developers have no idea that players actually want to PLAY the game when they are logged in. Sitting, resting, or "replenishing" is not FUN. Remove fun and you remove me. Socialization and community come out of two things. Putting players together and having community driven goals. Both of which require as little downtime as possible.

Without details I don't want to go too overboard here, but unless they have taverns that push real beers out of my CD drive...

Another breakthrough feature is called demeanor. Each player will have to evaluate the demeanor of each NPC they come in contact with and apply their diplomacy skill to get the desired result. Vincent also stated that each class will be able to utilize different strategies for getting the same results. A rogue may choose to steal something from an NPC to complete a quest. A warrior may choose to use diplomacy to achieve the same ends. Also, the "hail" command will be back and each NPC will have something to say depending on your diplomacy level and their demeanor towards you.

-Breakthrough? Hardly. Retarded? Possibly. Most gamers I know ignore 99% of the quest text and NPC text that is dribbled their way. It is the reason games like DAoC and WoW have quest journals that abbreviate the goals on a given quest or task. Sometimes more detail is nice... most of the time it is not. Once again it comes back to the fact that gamers like to play the game... not read NPC text and hope they are persuading a NON-PLAYER CHARACTER to respond to them.

As the crafter progresses, he will eventually outgrow the village and need to move on to a more advanced town to learn more skills. This will have the effect of opening up his workshop slot to junior crafters. A crafter can pass on the location to a fellow guild member or friend. Each village will have a finite amount of crafting slots available. Also, many advanced crafting recipes will only be found in dungeons.

-Oh... so.... the players with no life who are logged in 24/7 get to control the crafting market? Great plan! Well guess this is good considering this game is shaping up to be powergamers'R'us.

Another inspired feature is that players can learn more exotic combat and spell skills using a skill called tactic recognition. Players can do this finding and fighting various mobs. Skills can also be learned just by grouping with other players. For example, a Thestrian warrior could learn a skill uniquely Qalian combat move just by grouping with Qalian warrior.

-Ah yes. Instead of trainers... or hell just giving us a skill tree to click on we will be scouring "spoiler" websites looking for the location of the fuzzy fuzbugger to get the fuzzy fuzzbugger attack. I'm doubting this will reward explorer types... considering that there will most likely be a line when they get there anyways.

It was important to Brad that Vanguard brings back a sense of accomplishment to players by providing a world where players can succeed by employing skill and tactics. He echoed what other Sigil staff had told me by stressing that Vanguard was about letting players make their own stories with more of an emphasis on open ended, non-linear game play.
-If it was "important" to bring back a sense of accomplishment they may want to stay far away from treadmills as possible... and clearly so far that is not the case. The old cliche of "You only won because you have no life." is ringing in my ears... and it is quite loud. If they think accomplishment = time spent... they are sadly mistaken.

True Heartless Insight... the THI effect.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Blizzard up to it again!

Reading over on the VN WoW General Forum it seems that the new Darkmoon Faire rewards that were shown on test server are being changed right before the patch is going to be released. Blizzard once again pulls the wool over the sheeps eyes. Carrot on a stick tactics that made countless people waste countless hours farming, crafting, gathering, and running around to get the required 1,000's of items to get enough Faire tickets for their item of choice.

Blizzard... masters of the bait ' n ' switch. Keep wasting your time in WoW... obviously its what Blizzards wants you to do.

Sad.T

Level 15 is the goal!

And I am at 13.9 as we speak. Going to farm up some arulite (DAoC's Catacombs expansion uber trading commodity) and then upgrade my gear all around :) Or at least I hope... never used arulite before!

Heartless out.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Aug 6th, 2005 - Required Reading

The real impacft of video games. A discussion of the morality of gaming and its effects on youth.

Highlight :
But aren't critics right to worry that gaming might make people violent? Hardly a week goes by in which a game is not blamed for inspiring someone to commit a violent crime. After all, say critics, acting out violent behaviour in a game is very different from passively watching it in a film. Yet surveys of studies into games and violence have produced inconclusive results, notes Dmitri Williams, who specialises in studying the social impact of media at the University of Illinois. And, in a paper on the subject published in June in Communication Monographs, he notes that such research typically has serious shortcomings.

Read it... Love it... comment on it!

Update: 11 May, 2009 - Edited post and applied label.

2 days and no BF2

DAoC and 12 hour work shifts have kept me offline of BF2 for the last two days... and I'm ITCHING to pull the trigger. However I am working this weekend and have other business to take are of... so I won't get my BF2 fix until Monday!

Oh the tragedy!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

6 hours... 8 levels... 12 hour shifts

After fumbling my way through the new Catacomb's newbie quests on my scout, Favre, in DAoC, I finally got rolling after level three and the new Catacomb's instanced task dungeons really helped.

My impressions so far:

1. Catacombs newbie quests make 1-5 enjoyable!

2. The task dungeons are great for solo gamers like myself and can be relatively easy to complete.

3. The graphics are a good upgrade, scratch that, GREAT upgrade.

4. The community on Gareth/Albion is nice. No asshats to be found, yet. Keyword being yet. Did you get that yet???



On a side note I have switched over to 12 hour shifts 4 days a week for work. That means a lot of my gaming time is now being devoted to sleeping :( The good thing is I get 3 days off a week now... hmmm...

Update: 9 May, 2009 - Edited post and updated labels.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Favre... no not Brett!

I have rolled a Briton Scout on the Gareth DAoC Classic server. This is my first time in Albion and marks a stark change of direction for me. I am all but done with WoW. Second of all, I absolutely hated scouts when I played DAoC (considering them an "EZ mode" class to RvR with in keep or tower battles).

But here I am, playing a class I've always wanted to play. I love archers and archery and have since I started D&D pen'n'paper when I was young. A few of my friends over at Bakerton.com are setting up an Albion rogue team: scouts, minstrels, and infiltrators. We are focusing on scouts for our main attack. It should be fun.

Are you getting fun out of the game you are playing now? If not, switch to something you want to play and that will bring the fun to you!

Update: 9 May, 2009 - Edited post and updated labels.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Battlefield 2 Video - Lets Go!

I sat down and tackled the BF2 Recorder finally and here are my first results. This took approx 2 hours to film, edit, and load onto the web. It is nothing fancy... more a practice run with the tools.

Sorry for the poor quality. My computer couldn't handle recording at any higher resolutions and BF2 is a hog on system resources. At least I can record with FRAPS in BF2 unlike *cough* Counterstrike:Source *cough*

I lost my FRAPS registration info so you will have to deal with the www.fraps.com banner.

I struggled with the name of the video and also what music to put in the background. Citizen Cope - Bullet and a Target was my first choice, but it didn't work as well as it could have. Lil' John and Lets Go fits the video much better IMO.

Enjoy.

EDIT: Link updated 10 Oct 2005 thanks to Google Video!Get it here.
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