Guild Wars 2: Trait Guide by Level and Zone
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 May 2014, 10:57 am
With the recent changes to Guild Wars 2 the process to acquire traits changed from a model of buying skill books at certain levels to gathering the traits from the world via various means.  The traits are available still from a vendor but they cost gold and skill points; both of which are sparse for the average player in Guild Wars 2.  Fortunately a reddit poster has put together an excellent guide for the traits broken down by zone and level.

The text is inserted after the jump:



Diessa Plateau (15-25)
1.IV Defeat Rhendak the Crazed (Font of Rhand mini dungeon, small group level 25)
Kessex Hills (15-25)
2.I Find the splendid chest in Earth’s Gap
Gendarran Fields (25-35)
4.III Find the grand chest in Provernic Crypt (Provernic Crypt mini dungeon, small group level 33)
1.III 100% completion
Lornar’s Pass (25-40)
2.VIII Find the grand chest in the Windy Cave (Windy Cave mini dungeon, small group level 30)
2.IV 100% completion
Fields of Ruin (30-40)
5.II Kill the Foulbear chieftain and her elite guards (group event)
3.V 100% completion
Harathi Hinterlands (35-45)
1.VI Defeat Kol Skullsmasher (group event)
2.III Defeat Ulgoth the Modniir and his minions (world boss)
4.IV 100% completion
Blazeridge Steppes (40-50)
1.V 100% completion
Dredgehaunt Cliffs (40-50)
3.I Defeat Fleshgrazer (Forsaken Fortune mini dungeon, small group level 42)
4.IX Defeat the dredge commissar (group event)
5.IV 100% completion
Bloodtide Coast (45-55)
5.IX Defeat Admiral Taidha Covington (world boss)
2.V 100% completion
Timberline Falls (50-60)
4.V 100% completion
Iron Marches (50-60)
2.IX Defeat the fire shaman and his minions (group event)
3.IV Defeat Victurus the Shattered and his army (group event)
5.X Defeat the Branded Devourer Queen (group event)
3.VI 100% completion
Sparkfly Fen (55-65)
4.VII Find the chest in Verarium Delves
5.V 100% completion
Fireheart Rise (60-70)
1.IX Find the splendid chest in Rebel’s Seclusion
5.VII Defeat Vexan and her golem in Vexa’s Lab (Vexa’s Lab mini dungeon, small group level 64)
3.IX Defeat Vidius Flame Tribune (group event)
2.VI 100% completion
Mount Maelstrom (60-70)
1.X Defeat the Terror-Seven Krewe Leader (group event)
5.VIII Defeat the Infinity Coil Commander and capture the Infinity Coil (group event)
4.VI 100% completion
Frostgorge Sound (70-80)
4.VIII Find the grand chest in Arundon Vale
5.VI 100% completion
Straits of Devastation (70-75)
2.XII Find the grand chest near Scholar Fryxx
4.XIII Find the grand chest in the Ship of Sorrows
1.XII Defeat the Risen High Priest of Balthazar (temple event)
Malchor’s Leap (75-80)
4.XII Defeat the Statue of Dwayna (temple event)
5.XIII Defeat the corrupted high priestess of Lyssa (temple event)
Southsun Cove (80)
3.XIII Defeat the Karka Queen (world boss)
Cursed Shores (80)
1.XI Discover Death’s Anthem
3.XI Find the locked door at the end of the forgotten stream
1.XIII Defeat the Risen High Wizard and secure the Promenade of the Gods (group event)
2.XIII Defeat the Risen Priest of Grenth (temple event)
3.XII Defeat the Risen Priest of Melandru (temple event)
Personal Story
3.II Level 50 “The Battle for Clorr Island”
1.I Level 55 “A Light in the Darkness”
5.III Level 59 “Retribution”
2.X Level 62 “Forging the Pact”
3.X Level 70 “The Battle of Fort Trinity”
4.X Level 80 “The Source of Orr”
Dungeons
5.I Complete Caudecus’s Manor in story mode (40)
1.II Complete Twilight Arbor in story mode (50)
3.VIII Complete Sorrow’s in Embrace story mode (60)
1.VIII Complete Citadal of Flame in story mode (70)
4.XI Complete Honor of the Waves in story mode (76)
2.XI Complete the Crucible of Eternity in story mode (78)
5.XII Complete the Ruined City of Arah in story mode (80)
World vs. World Edge of the Mists
1.II Capture Inferno’s Needle
3.III Capture Stonegaze Spire
4.II Capture Tytone Perch
World vs. World Obsidian Sanctum
4.I Complete the Obsidian Sanctum jumping puzzle
World vs. World Eternal Battlegrounds
1.VII Befriend the ogre camp
2.VII Befriend the hylek camp
3.VII Befriend the dredge camp
5.XI Defeat the Overgrown Grub



Guild Wars 2 MEGASERVER Impressions
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 April 2014, 3:53 pm
The Guild Wars 2 April 2014 feature pack (aka patch aka update aka the "new" shiny) hit clients this week and along with it Arena Net unleashed the MEGASERVER (yes; you have to type it in all caps because it contains the word MEGA).  Now, the technology has not enveloped all zones at this time, but a few zones got the early MEGASERVER treatment.  I was able to venture into the MEGA version of Brisban Wildlands and experience the technology first hand.  Here are my impressions.

"WTF!? someone just helped me back up"  The statement was odd for me to make in /map chat.  I had spent a lot of time in the Brisban Wildlands as of late eating dirt and it was fairly odd to have another player present to help me back up this time.  There simply wasn't supposed to be more than a few players in this zone at any given time and there certainly wasn't supposed to be any working on the event the same event at the same time.  Let alone was there supposed to be one there to save my warrior from a tough tangle with a veteran.

In fact, Brisban Wildlands was hopping.  It was a happening place, if such a thing means something.  I was absolutely in awe of the number of players moving through the zone and elated at the pace of events occurring.  My map was full of orange circles and rapidly depleting orange bars appeared in my notification area.

What kind of bizarro world was I in?  This wasn't Queensland!  This wasn't a living event zone!  This was the boring and forgotten Brisban Wildlands!  There shouldn't be anything more than those one or two newbie Asura players that don't know any better!  Truth be told I was learning very quickly that the MEGASERVER technology was at work ensuring my lonely adventuring was no more.

Color me impressed with the MEGASERVER.  It was my most anticipated feature with the patch (unlike the majority that were hyped on the wardrobe system which has turned into a complete mess post-patch) and it has lived up to my expectations.  It is a truly marvelous change for the game and Arena Net should make sure 100% of their effort is placed behind rolling this out to every zone in the game.  I can't help but believe there are players leaving every day because they get sick of boring game play in empty zones.  Dynamic events sell Guild Wars 2 and with zones full of people those events are almost always happening.

In conclusion, the MEGASERVER is MEGA awesome.



Guild Wars 2 MEGA MEGA MEGA MEGA SERVER
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 April 2014, 3:39 pm
THIS SUNDAY ONLY.  MONSTER MONSTER MONSTER TR... OOPS I MEAN... MEGA MEGA MEGA SERVER!

If this was posted on a April 1st I would have suspected shenanigans, but as it is now April the second and impossible for me to be tricked any longer I must declare that the Guild Wars 2 Megaserver is a real thing.  Traditional MMO servers are gone and in their place is one super megaserver that will host all users via various instances of each zone.  World vs World vs World will still be separated along old server assignments.  This is an exciting change for Guild Wars 2.

First it is worth noting that this is NOT equivalent to EVE Online's single universe.  In EVE there is only one copy of each "zone".  In Guild Wars 2 (GW2) the world size is limited so there will be copies of each zone which will be referred to as instances.  It would be crazy to even think about all GW2 players being stuck in the same tiny maps.

The biggest benefit to this systems is that lower popularity zones will now be more populated.  As I've recently returned to Guild Wars 2 after a hiatus from video gaming in general (and this blog if you've noticed my lack of 2014 activity) I immediately noticed how few folks were in the starting and mid-level zones.  Aside from the "champ trains" rolling over Queensland I was pretty much flying solo on my warrior and necromancer on the dynamic events.  That certainly doesn't feel massive or multiplayer.

The apparent downside is trying to get grouped correctly with your friends and guild mates, but Arena Net seems to have some plans to avoid this problem.  Players will be able to join parties and then get placed in the same instance of a zone as their fellow party members.  The overall system will aggregate data on players such as language preference, playing habits with guild members of friends, and every time a zone is entered those variables will be weighed to hopefully place the player in the most logical instance.  For a solo player like myself this won't really matter other than the fact I may actually see a friendly face and get to complete some of the harder events in the less visited zones.

There is a great chart from Arena Net's testing of the system showing the increase in player activity per map instance (yes that is +225% for each map instance on average):
MetricChange
Average population per map copy+225%
Player goes to the same map as his or her party+25%
Average population from the same party as the player on joined map+36%
Average population from the same guild as the player on joined map+5%
Average population from the same home world as the player on joined map+6%
Average population speaking the same language as the player on joined map+41%

Tagging along with that this addresses one of my biggest heartaches with Guild Wars 2 and it's dynamic events system.  So much of my playing time was spent in the same zone because that is where the players were and that is where the events were being chained together.  It was a terribly boring existence in almost any other zone.  Now at least there is hope that every zone will be packed with players as I suspect worldwide there will always be a good number of folks looking to be in every zone of the game.  It will be very cool to experience a new trip to level 80 on my new characters than what I experienced last time I leveled to 80 by literally never moving outside of Kessex Hills and Harathi Highlands.

The most amazing part about this change is that it is not the only big change happening for Guild Wars 2 this month.  There are several big system changes slated for the April 15th patch.  It is indeed an exciting time to be playing Guild Wars 2 (though I still maintain the combat is crap... but I can still have fun with it).



Viewed: Free 2 Play
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 March 2014, 8:37 pm
Long time, no post.  Yes, this is my first post of 2014.

Free to Play, Valve's documentary trailing the stories of various competitors from DOTA2's first global tournament dubbed "The International", is now available for viewing on Steam.  I had a chance to watch it this weekend and wanted to share some thoughts.

From outside view one might mistake this as just advertainment for DOTA2, but just a few minutes into the film it is very apparent that this is much more a human interest story about eSports and the athletes that pursue them than it is anything about DOTA2.  In fact, you would be hard pressed to find anything of interest from the actual game of DOTA2.

With the actual game out of the way we are left with a very well shot and edited  documentary that follows several of the players through the trials and tribulations of competing in the first million+ dollar tournament.  True to the name of the tournament, players from different countries are followed.

The film does an excellent job of giving watchers a glimpse not only into the lives of professional gamers, but also the culture surrounding those players in their home countries.  It is every interesting to see how the gaming culture is perceived in Asian countries vs countries in the west.  However, even with dramatically different cultural movements in regards to eSport gaming there was a consistent trend of doubting family members, specifically parents.  Yes, even in the gaming obsessed China the athletes mothers and fathers were just as disappointed in their children's investment into professional gaming at the cost of traditional education as the parents from the USA.

The core message of the film seems to be sacrifice.  The sacrifices are well documented throughout the film and whether its a lost girlfriend, a missed semester of school, or hard thoughts of a father no longer with a son they all hit home with the viewer.  These are real people pursuing a dream and I think most people can identify with that rare opportunity so few of use get to take that we can't help but cheer on those being followed in the film.

Of course it all comes crashing down for most of the competitors.  Most teams left The International with nothing more than expensive bills for plane tickets, hotels, and meals.  Unlike traditional sports there is no salary being earned by most eSport athletes.  If the team doesn't win, they don't get paid.  This adds up to interesting and heartwarming realizations from the participants after the tournament has come and gone.  There is in fact more to life than just games.

I can't recommend this documentary enough to gamers and nongamers alike.

Embedded copy below:





Broken hearts
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 December 2013, 11:55 pm




Christmas 2013
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 December 2013, 1:00 am




Out with a whimper
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 December 2013, 9:45 am
Warhammer Online is no more.  I have mixed emotions and debated over the end of this week what to post.  There is no game that I have ever invested so much time in prior to it's release only to give up playing it a short few months after release.  I never felt ripped off by WAR.  My money was well spent for the experiences I had.  However, the game just never lived up to any of it's potential.

In reflection I look back on my first level 40 ding from WAR:





Solforge grumblings
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 December 2013, 10:30 pm
Look, I really like Solforge.  No, I really do.  So you should probably just ignore this post.

But in the interest of typing out my thoughts: Solforge is utterly broken and imbalanced.  There is a two deck meta.  It is Steelforged Avatar decks or Nekrium/Tempys burn decks.  I'm not even sure if these are the best titles for the decks.

In the case of N/T burn decks the power comes from the Flameshaper Savant and it's ability to toss out ridiculous amounts of direct damage from every card that gets played.  Throw in cards like Master of Elements and Spark that allow for extra cards to be played each turn and it's trivial, at best, to win a long string of games against any other decks.




Well, except for Steelforged Avatar decks which are powered by, yep you guessed it, Steelforged Avatar.  The Avatar cycle is very simple: X Avatar gains plus health and attack equal to the number of same-faction cards in hand.  This is perfectly acceptable until you take into consideration that the Steelforged Avatar is the Alloyin faction's avatar.  The same Alloyin faction that happens to feature Ghox, Metamind Paragon and the free to play after level 2 Energy Surge which means you can roll out 30/30 bad asses for the same cost paid by any other deck for a horribly, not even fucking close, equivalent cost in cards and investment over the course of the game.

Throw in Alloyin's dominant control cards like Energy Prison and Metasculpt or even more insane, the out of play card leveling cards such as Technosmith and you very quickly can see how insane a Steelforged Avatar deck can get with just the Alloyin cards.  Throw in a splash of Chrogias and BOOM.

So whats at the root of the problem here?  Is it deck synergy winning out in a small card pool?  This would make sense as both Steelforged Avatar and Flameshaper Savants are part of their respective cycles and happen to be the only avatar and savant that gel perfectly with the current cards in game.  Yet, I can't really seem to convince myself this is the case.  It just feels like something else is amiss.

Tonight I think I've hit on the underlying issue.  It's actually mechanics combined with the way these cards are built.  Solforge does not have resources such as lands in Magic the Gathering or mana in Hearthstone.  Regardless of the power level of the cards being played, a Solforge player gets to play two cards per turn.  This means the cards that are chosen to be played need to always be high-value, best of cards because there is no "cost difference" between playing a level 1 Swampmoss Lurker and a level 3 Chrogias.  With the limitation for playing cards being only the number of cards that get played, then it is only obvious that the few cards that give "extra" plays are thus going to be the most powerful and empower the most powerful combos.

Steelforged Avatar doesn't break Solforge, but the likes of Ghox and Energy Surge do.  Both give draw advantage in a game where the player's deck infinitely recycles itself with stronger and stronger versions of cards.  Steelforged Avatars almost always have the right card to play and a hell of a bomb to drop at any time in the Steelforged Avatar that benefits from Alloyin cards in hand.

Flameshaper Savant doesn't break Solforge, but the likes of Master of Elements and Spark do.  Both give additional plays which in turn trigger additional direct damage hits from Flameshaper.  Since Flameshaper's ability can hit the player it only takes a couple in play to quickly burn down any opponent.

So the question and debate that needs to be had for Solforge is whether or not cards that give power through extra plays can exist in the game without fundamentally breaking the game by being the dominant strategy.  Right now, I can't even tell you the last time I faced a Uterra deck, let alone the last time I played a game that didn't feature Steelforged Avatar or Flameshaper.  This is not good to have such a stale metagame this early in the game's life, especially one that feels like it is stale because of flawed mechanics which can only get worse the more and more cards that are released to be abused by these flaws.



Black Friday Gaming Deals 2013
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 November 2013, 9:33 am
Video Game Deals

Amazon.com video game deals (limited quantity, new deals cycling on all day/weekend)
Some of my personal picks:
EVE Online The Second Decade collector's edition (price reduced starting at 4:10p PST today)
Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm (price reduced starting at 8:10p PST today)
For those of you with Skylander-obsessed kids: buy 2, get 1 free Skylanders SWAP force characters

Steam Autumn Sale
General Steam sale rules:
1. Don't buy a game until the last day of the sale unless it is on a daily sale
2. Flash sales are often repeated
3. Don't hesitate to buy a daily deal as the available keys can run out
4. The best deals are usually repeated the last day of the sale

Board Game Deals

Amazon.com still has their buy one, get one half off deal for board games.  See my previous post on the sales and my recommendations.

Target also has buy one, get one half off on their board games (slightly different selection than Amazon).

Cool Stuff Inc is running some good deals on board, card, and miniature games.

Miniature Market started their sale yesterday and had some really great deals (like Netrunner data packs for $7), but it appears a ton of their stock is sold out already.



Thanksgiving 2013
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 November 2013, 8:29 am
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Let the shopping commence.



Android: Netrunner is an amazing game
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 November 2013, 12:07 am
I am a huge fan of card games (one of my favorites of all time being The Spoils TCG).  I've played Magic the Gathering on and off since the 1990s in both physical and digital forms.  I've tended to prefer board games with cards more than those with dice.  There is just something soothing about holding a hand of cards and battling wits with an opponent.  Android: Netrunner itches all the recesses of my mind and is one of the most amazing card games I have ever played.

First, this is not your 1990s Netrunner; I am here to talk about Fantasy Flight Games re-release and reworking of Netrunner under the title Android: Netrunner.  Aside from theme, borrowed names, and a few core mechanics (corp vs runner), the two games can be separated from each other.  For all intents and purposes when I am referring to Netrunner, I am referring to Android: Netrunner.

The core of Netrunner themed by a runner hacking the servers of a big corporation.  This is brought to the game mat through asymmetrical game play where one player plays the role of runner and the other player plays the role of corporation.  The corporation figures out ways of protecting their valuable servers via cards known as ICE while the runner figures out ways to break through that ICE (via icebreakers) to loot and plunder the wonderful rewards within.  Alongside the main icebreaker vs ICE there is a slew of card types that have immediate or triggered effects.  Cards are played through the use of "clicks" and paid for via the payment of "credits".  The end goal is to collect 7 agenda points; which are scored after being advanced by the corporation or stolen by the runner via various means.  An alternate victory condition is for the corporation to be run out of cards or for the runner to be dealt more damage than they have cards in hand (known as flat-lining).

What really sets Netrunner apart, in my opinion, is the play of the corporation.  The corporation primarily plays their cards face down to the game table.  Playing a card is know as installing.  ICE is installed face down in front of servers to protect them from "runs" (aka hacking attempts).  Agendas, assets, and upgrades are installed face down in the servers themselves.  The cards remain face down, generally, until the runner attempts to access them (either through a run or card effect).  ICE and most assets and upgrades have a "rez" cost that the corporation must pay to flip the card face up and reap its benefits.

The corporation is not forced into "rezzing" a card leading to a critical aspect of the game: bluffing.  The potential for the corporation to bluff a runner is there and many a Netrunner game has been lost to a bad decision.  At the same time, just like in Poker, a bluff is still only hiding an end result that can be broken down to a mathematical probability.  A good runner is going to be able to look at their cards in hand and in play and know when the odds are in their favor.  Between experienced players, bluffing does not play as big of a role as it does for new players learning the game, but the simple fact of having a bluff as a physical representation (face down cards) on the board is an amazing piece of the puzzle for this game.

By description it would seem that the game is tilted towards the corporation player, but that is anything but the truth.  The game, in my experience, slightly favors the runner as the idea of playing offensively is more natural and the defensive nature of the corporation is something harder to learn and execute.  The runner could always stumble into victory while the corporation will only find victory through appropriate planning.

The runner also has advantages in their favor, first being that they receive 4 clicks per turn to the 3 clicks of the corporation's turn (the corporation is allowed to draw a card for free every turn though as a compromise).  Clicks are actions that can be taken during a turn.  Secondly, the runner can "trash" corporation cards for a set cost after accessing them which allows the runner to really negatively impact the corporations play.  Lastly, the runner does not need to spend actions each turn advancing agendas to score the related points.  The runner simply needs to access an agenda played by the corporation to steal it and thus receive it's allocated agenda points towards their victory total (7 are needed to win).

The one big drawback to the runner is that their hand of cards is their life total in the game.  Run out of cards and take one more damage and the game is over, victory going to the corporation regardless of the state of agenda points scored.  This is a great mechanic which forces the runner to hold back cards and again opens up the bluff mechanic between the two sides.  Could the corporation player be holding a card that will do one meat damage and thus bring the game to an end if the runner chooses to end the turn with zero cards in hand?

To further cement Netrunner as an amazing game it also allows deckbuilding via a living card game (LCG) model.  LCGs, contrary to booster-pack games such as MtG, release sets of cards on a regular basis.  In each set is a complete play set of every card in that release.  There is no rarity or chase cards to worry about.  If a player wants to play a deck, all they need to do is buy the appropriate "data packs" that contain the cards they want.  Gone are the days of having 50 copies of that single common card while having only 1 of the rare.  In Netrunner all a player will ever need is sold in each data pack release.  Data packs average in cost about $10 to $15 and are released about every 3 months.  There is phenomenal value in the LCG model and at the end of the day the core set is plenty to start out with and try some of the deckbuilding without having to invest anything else.

Now there are a couple areas I think the game could improve.  First of all, the card layout and use of symbols needs work.  It is hard, at first, to differentiate cards or determine values such as influence for use in deckbuilding.  The card design appears to be artistic in nature more than driven by the need to present information.  This makes for some stunning visuals on cards, but can lead to some agonizing card pile searches looking for a card of a certain faction or value that is not easily visible.  Secondly, some of the terms used to describe aspects of the game are a bit hard to grasp at first.  For example: the runner's hand is known as their grip, but the corporations hand is known as the HQ.  While players adjust to these terms after playing the game, I am not sure what, if anything, is gained by calling a players hand (just one example) by another name.

Over all, Netrunner is a phenomenal game and quickly is rocketing up my chart of favorite card games.  It is not for everyone, but for the core gamer out there seeking a challenging and competitive card game there is nothing finer than Netrunner currently.  Add in the LCG model and it is friendly to the wallet.  If you are interested in the game, the core set is currently on sale for $29 on Amazon.





Board Games: Buy one, get one 50% off
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 November 2013, 10:02 am
Amazon.com is running an amazing pre-Black Friday deal on dozens of popular board games: buy one and get one half off.

There are some great games on sale.  Here are a few of my picks for games worth getting.

Ticket to Ride

Blokus

The Resistance

Castle Panic

The Settlers of Catan

Munchkin

Dixit Journey

Apples to Apples


There are also some add on packs (aka DLC of the board game world) for some popular games:

Munchkin Zombies 2 Armed and Dangerous
Munchkin 7 Cheat With Both Hands
Munchkin Clerical Errors

Battles Of Westeros: Wardens Of The North

Tannhauser Single Figure Packs: Gorgei



Solforge:OREIAN JUSTICAR incoming to shake up the meta
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2013, 10:29 pm
The meta in Solforge currently is centered on the Savant cycle cards (Flamehaper, Darkshaper, Lifeshaper, Steelshaper), but a nerf was already incoming for the cycle in the next patch. Beyond the Savants, the meta was looking to be shaped by powerful cards such as Zimus the Undying and Everflame Phoenix who rely heavily on being able to come back on the battlefield. They both are very hard cards to deal with, especially Zimus which has very few reliable counters that can keep it off the board. Queue the Oreian Justicar; a beefy Aloyin card that causes any creature entering the field to lose massive amounts of attack power if they were not played from your opponents hand. Have a 14/7 level 3 Zimus coming back on the field? It is now a 4/7 with a level 3 Justicar in play.

This is a great for Solforge and indicates that developer Stoneblade Entertainment (SBE) is on the right path for balance. This is very much a "counter the overpowered with a direct counter" instead of an outright nerf (though there are still situations like the Savant cycle which clearly scream the need for NERF, but thats OK for a pre-release product). The Justicar is an exciting card and I think will push the Steelforged Avatar decks up a notch to the cream of the crop of meta decks. However, Justicar can be splashed in many different decks to be effective and can even be used in a deck it is specifically meant to counter which offers players wielding powerful Zombie themed decks that rely on reappearing creatures an excellent counter in a mirror match.

Well done SBE, well done.



Judged: Guild Wars 2
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 November 2013, 3:56 pm
Better late than never. Right? Right? Tap tap… is this thing on. Ok, there we go.

After a few restarts, I’ve reached level 80 in Guild Wars 2. (pause for applause)

This push was with an Asuran Guardian and in less than 40 hours /played I was level 80. (pause for applause)

I enjoyed my trip to 80. Leveling in GW2 is a simple process. Every action a player takes, from harvesting to crafting to killing to exploring, results in experience that contributes towards leveling. Each zone is broken down into “hearts” and dynamic events that also result in experience bonuses when completed. Zones scale players to the level of zone allowing players to play in any level zone they choose. In combination this makes leveling in Guild Wars 2 very easy and players can feel rewarded, experience-wise, for everything they do no matter where they do it.

However, with the ease of leveling and being rewarded based on their actual level in any zone, the system erodes the motivation to explore the world. Once I hit Kessex Hills and Harathi Highlands I was completing events in chains and gaining 3-4 levels per play session. Plus the current live event, Tower of Nightmares, was centered in Kessex Hills which meant that the frequency with which the events in the zone completed was increased exponentially. At one point I was literally just running from spot to spot and collecting enough experience for 25% of a single level. It seemed crazy at the time that I would move away from that gravy train of experience since the leveling curve in GW2 is flat.

I leveled to 70+ by playing in the aforementioned zones which are meant only for level 15-35 players. In terms of world completion I only hit 19%. This is all possible because of the level down mechanic which balances the player’s level (and thus reduces their inherent strength) to match the content in the zone, but it continues to provide rewards consistent with the player’s actual level as the content is evenly matched by the downgraded player level. This was a refreshing mechanic considering how most MMOGs like GW2 are designed the complete opposite and aim to punish players that don’t play in the zones that are on the cutting edge of their level range.

Yet, even though I was generously rewarded for doing what I wanted, I found myself feeling cheated once I hit 80 and I started exploring many of the zones I had not visited during leveling. There were so many events and story lines I had missed and at level 80 the progression goes from vertical to horizontal so there was little incentive for me to go and visit.

Experience is still worth gaining as each level of experience after 80 generates a skill point (which in turn can be turned into skill unlocks or converted to other rewards). However, experience gain is not a driving force at level 80 and outside of gaining karma from unfinished hearts or going for world completion I found nothing to push me towards investigating the 80% of the world I had yet to visit.

And looking further into the horizontal progression model of level 80 GW2 I quickly realized that the “path of least resistance” was the dominant theme. This pushed me further away from visiting the higher level zones as I found out about min/max things such as the Queensland champion trains. Basically, one of the most efficient gold and karma gaining methods is for level 80 players to just repeatedly complete the event chains in the level 1-15 zone (this is possible because, again, the level down mechanic balances power levels while maintaining the level appropriate rewards regardless of zone level). This simply was not appealing to me even though I’ve been known now and again to get my farm on in many an MMOG.

Some experienced GW2 players may try to point out that it is actually dungeons where the real “time vs reward” battle is won and I would probably not argue with them. However, for my tastes, I found the dungeons in GW2 to be Boring with a capital B. For the most part dungeons come down to one mechanic and one mechanic only: damage per second. DPS is king in GW2. Group healing and tanking are replaced by individual player mechanics. Every class has its own self-heal and group-based heals are weak and ineffective in dungeons. Tanking is non-existent as damage mitigation is all reliant on dodging by each player individually.

On top of this the damage-focused combat, the dungeons have been min/maxed to the extreme and outside of the occasional group looking to complete the story modes, players are looking at speed runs aimed at knocking the dungeons out quickly for maximum gain. That means even further min/max to the damage per second making everyone, regardless of class, shooting for the same exact berserker based equipment. It is just a terrible model and depletes dungeons of any sense of awe or adventure. They are simply a numbers game.

Unfortunately the poor dungeons just highlight the underlying problem with GW2: the combat system. It is fun when playing solo and makes complete sense one on one versus a creature or another player. In fact, avoiding other players for the majority of my leveling (outside of the Kessex Hills events), was the key to me lasting until level 80 this time around because once more than a couple players show up the combat breaks down and becomes devoid of feedback to the players. The sheer number of times I’ve randomly died in a group of players without a single clue as to what was about to or actually hit me is insane. Throw in champion boss enemies that are all just about standing around and beating on them and you may as well just throw the action combat out the window because it’s pointless in a game meant for players to play together. I didn’t even bother to mention the completely insane over use of area of effect skills and spells.

Fortunately World vs World vs World saves everything. Right? The Wuv d Wuv, the WuvWuv, the WvWvW, the promise of Guild Wars 2! Wrong. It’s crap. It’s so crap that I hate to even waste time typing about it. The combat problems from PvE are simply multiplied out tenfold as even more players are crowded into even smaller areas where even more AoE can be dropped. Defense? Impossible. WvW is all about zerging from point A to B to C and hoping your zerg doesn’t meet a bigger zerg that will wipe it out. It’s more efficient to let a capture point be lost than it is to attempt and defend it. Even if a good defense is put up, the doors to the keep are going to fall in a couple minutes and the keep’s champion even faster. There is no hope for a smaller defensive force to prevail. If you aren’t in the zerg you are just wasting your time.

Now I’m just angry as I type about the aspects I don’t like about Guild Wars 2. I could continue on and break down the Trading Post that makes ZERO logical sense related to the game or I could bash the completely one-dimensional crafting system but that would just grind my gears even further. In conclusion the same things that caused me to stop playing GW2 the first few times around are the same reasons that I’ve stopped playing it again after finally reaching level 80 with a character. The “action combat” makes combat feel floaty and unpredictable. Horizontal progression is just a clever way of saying grind. The use of AoE is completely out of control.

The game is absolutely gorgeous from a world design perspective, but it does nothing to encourage the exploration of or use of that world on a regular basis. Over all, the concepts of GW2 are great on paper but they are all poor in execution. I would love, and would pay handsomely, to play the game that GW2 was on paper before it launched.



The 3 MMOs you should NOT have paid attention to and the 2 NEW games TO pay attention to
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 November 2013, 1:45 pm
In a follow up to my post from May 2012, I wanted to point out the three MMOs that you probably really didn't need to pay any attention to.

First up there was Dominus which actually had shuttered its doors prior to me even posting it's name in my 2012 post.  This was clearly a game that didn't need any attention paid to it.

The next was Salem which closed its doors in June of 2013 before ever getting to a launch phase.  Amazing ideas wrapped up in a pretty terrible game.  Please look the other way.

Lastly there was The Otherlands based on Tad Williams' novels of the same name.  This is still kicking around in Closed Beta and still has all the premise that it had last year.  However, Wildstar has pretty much come along to promise almost all the same features in a much more promising package.  I still am interested in The Otherlands, but doubt it will swing many heads it's direction when (and if) it ever launches.

Basically I suck at picking niche games that will make it big (though I still maintain I was an early adopter and fan of Minecraft before it exploded).  Instead I should probably focus my time on games that have broken out of that initial phase of skepticism and have begun proving themselves on the market.  So I present to you faithful reader the two games you should probably get up to speed on if you are not already.

Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone

If you have followed the gaming media over the past couple of weeks it would have been hard to miss the news coming out of BlizzCon 2013.  Not only was another World of Warcraft expansion announced, but Blizzard also put on display two of it's more niche titles: Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone.




Hearthstone is a digital card game that has exploded exponentially since it's initial announcement.  The BlizzCon tournament was streamed to more than 100,000 peak concurrent watchers.  The game is only in early beta and is taking the digital card game scene by storm.  It absolutely puts to shame the focus on digital card games such as Solforge and Hex that were the Kickstarter darlings of this genre.  Hearthstone is poised to dominate and dominate quickly.  The Blizzard polish is present and the "easy to play, hard to master" mantra is on target.

Heroes of the Storm (HotS) is Blizzard's take on the MOBA genre.  They went back into the hopper with Blizzard DotA and out comes HotS which at first glance looks to be an amazing overhaul of a genre that has been, in my opinion, completely stale and unwilling to change.  League of Legends took a tiny step forward out of the hardcore insanity of what the original Defense of the Ancients was while DOTA2 from Valve copied it wholesale.  HotS is a giant leap from both.

The immediate draw to HotS is that it destroys the "learning wall" that is present in other MOBA games.  The game looks immediately approachable and understandable for the casual gamer.  Matches are on smaller maps with clear goals.  Different maps offer different ways to victory with some pretty neat graphical displays such as a ghost ship firing it's cannons to down one of the two sides defenses.

However, just as with Hearthstone, there is a very clear "easy to play, hard to master" vibe going on.  The Heroes all seemed simple enough to play without deep concerns about certain Heroes serving no purpose in a casual game.  At the same time there appears to be higher-level tactical decisions to be made.  Items and shops are gone in favor of decision trees after leveling up.

The presentation of the game also looks to be friendly and has the classic Blizzard polish.  The game is not even in a true beta form and it is being displayed and shoutcast live at BlizzCon.  This is classic Blizzard. This is why their games are amazing and leaders in their respective genres.  I've often said that World of Warcraft has spoiled me.  I have not played a game outside Minecraft, let alone an MMO, since World of Warcraft that can grab me within minutes.  I suspect both Hearthstone and HotS will be immediately familiar once my fingers set down on WASD.





WAR, finally free 2 play
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 November 2013, 9:22 am
WAR is finally going free 2 play.  Unfortunately it is only until the game will be shutdown come December.
"To give Warhammer Online a proper sendoff we are opening the game to anyone free of charge that has or had an account in good standing starting October 31st, 2013," said the Warhammer team in an announcement on Friday.
I don't have much to comment on at this point.  I will probably have more to say once the game shuts it's doors for the final time.





Obligatory October Post
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2013, 11:07 am
I am alive.
It's Halloween.





SteamOS
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 September 2013, 9:19 pm
Valve stole executed on my idea. In November 2007 I had a healthy conversation with Jeff Freeman (may he rest in peace) about an operating system (OS) completely dedicated to gaming.  At the time Fedora Core 8 was launching with it's derivative "re-spin" idea with the goal to allow anyone to use the core Linux technology to build their own OS geared for their needs.  A lot of people agreed that it was a good idea but that is sort of where the idea fizzled out as far as the core gaming scene is concerned.  Since then the Linux gaming scene has progressed slowly until today where it has now taken a step over the edge when Valve announced their Linux-derived SteamOS.

SteamOS is the first foray for Valve into the operating system realm, but it should come as no surprise considering the leaps that their flagship digital distribution platform, Steam, has taken over the years.  Steam has grown to a dominant place in the market and has continued to evolve.  Everything from community hub pages to an active marketplace is included in Steam.  It was growing into far more than a simple software platform and it now only seems logical that an operating system was the next step.

And here we are.  SteamOS is real.  Core gaming via Linux is here (and has been here to a degree for a couple years now).  This is an exciting time for the PC gaming market.  It marks the first shot fired in a war for not only the foundation of PC gaming, but for the concept of video gaming in its entirety.  Valve is gunning for the living room where a PC makes just as much sense as an Xbox One.  PC gaming is a concept more than it is a platform and it is one that the gaming market was well past due to recognize.  SteamOS will proudly carry the banner into the trenches.



Everquest Next
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 August 2013, 12:16 pm
My pants are wet and no, I did not spill my coffee. Everquest Next was announced and shown at SOE Live 2013. To say SOE blew many pundits away is an understatement. SOE single-handedly re-invigorated the core MMO community. Everquest Next is everything a next-generation MMO should be. It is a game changer. Everquest Next, if executed to the presentation and glimpses given, will redefine the MMO genre for the forseeable future.

It is hard, really hard, for me to congratulate SOE on anything. After all, they still have my heart locked up in some backroom safe and only bring it out every once and a while to tread over it while wearing Star Wars Galaxies promo shirts. SOE has a track record of playing second fiddle to the rest of the market. Everquest 2 was destroyed by WoW. Planetside 2, while an OK game, is a game for five years ago. Star Wars Galaxies was shelved when The Old Republic was released. SOE seemed content with simply making sequels that didn’t advance anything other than the bottom line.

With Everquest Next, SOE is looking to shed the persona of comfortable. Everquest Next does not simply feature a single game changing idea; it features several. Every pillar of what makes modern MMOs is being touched.

Everquest Next starts with the very fundamentals with a game changing voxel-based engine which allows the entire world to be torn apart and remolded on the fly. This engine is not simply a gimmick. Alongside the voxel engine being used to generate the game world, SOE is launching a tool called Landmark which will allow players to build their own pieces of the world. Objects and buildings and are all possible. To top it off, player’s can sell their creations to fellow players and earn a profit. Crafting is now an entirely new ballgame.

The best voxel-based engine still does not make for a great game. Sure it’s great that a player can dig a hole to the middle of the earth or erect their own private castle, but what drives players to explore? What pulls players together? What makes this an actual MMOG and not just a giant box of legos? The answer is again in SOE’s willingness to step outside of the norm.

The first item is the Rallying Calls which are an evolution of Public Quests from other MMOs such as WAR and Guild Wars 2. With the voxel-based engine these can take on an entire new meaning. The world can be permanently changed on the fly by the developers or the players or the AI. These changes can be different across multiple groups of players and a player starting today is going to have a completely different experience than one that started a year ago. There will be real story telling and world building at the hands of the players.

Next is emergent AI. Gone are the monster camps of dumb monsters standing around waiting to be killed and in their place are actual functioning groups of enemies with a purpose and goal. Bandits may realize a town is not frequented by players so makes the perfect place to raid and plunder. As time goes on the Bandits build up their camp nearby and take over the town until players come and kick them out. During rallying calls the players may be building a city and goblins may start appearing in the woods. If the players don’t take care of the goblins they may raid the fledgling city and set it back or destroy it outright.

There is a danger though. These ideas have been tried before. Ultima Online tried emergent AI over a decade ago and it didn’t work due to players simply killing everything in sight and it has not been tried since. The infamous “time until penis” phenomenon has plagued any and all user-generated content games. The MMO genre is famous for promises that fall flat in the face of yet another WoW-clone launching. The disappointment I have met in the MMO genre is epic and SOE was at one point the center of that disappointment. If there is any MMO developer that can fuck a good thing up it is SOE.

However, with that said, SOE has clearly listened and paid attention to the gaming scene (not just the MMO scene). They have taken innovative ideas from Team Fortress 2 (players selling assets to each other) and Minecraft (voxel-based engine and world) and brought them to a genre that no one expected to see them in: MMOs.

SOE is not making a WoW-killer with Everquest Next and I don’t get the feeling that massive success is on their mind. They are making a true MMOG with a living and breathing world aimed at the core gamers that have stuck with them as a company over the past 14+ years. This is a game that they as developers and gamers actually want to play. This is a game that I want to play. I am excited beyond words to see what Everquest Next can accomplish. I applaud SOE for taking a bold step into the minefield that is new ideas.



First Look: Solforge
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 August 2013, 11:27 am
Initial Thoughts: Solforge I jumped into the early access for Solforge recently on Steam. I followed it’s kickstarter campaign but did not donate to the project (I’m kind of silly like that… wanting something for the money I spend). Solforge is a digital collectible card game (CCG) that takes advantage of the digital form via cards that level as the game is played (a mechanic that would be difficult to pull off in paper form). Cards are played onto a field that contains five different lanes (sections of play that allow a creature to attack a player). Opposing players take asynchronous turns battling each other until the first player is reduced from a life total of 100 to 0. Players can play spells which impact play or other cards in various ways or they can play creatures which occupy a lane and then can attack the other player directly or end up doing battle with the opponents creature that occupies the same lane.

Solforge is unique in that it features both deck building (think Magic the Gathering) and a “build your deck as you play” mechanic (think Dominion). Solforge decks consist of 30 pre-chosen cards to start. Decks can be built from the card pools of two of the four factions (Utteran, Nekrium, Tempys, and Alloyin). As cards are played during a game they are leveled up (levels 1 thru 3). When the card is played the higher level version (or a clone if it’s already level 3) is added to the player’s discard pile. Leveled up versions of cards are more powerful. As the game progresses, the player then levels up (aka player levels referred to as P1, P2, P3, etc.) and their discard pile is shuffled into their draw deck allowing them to potentially draw the next higher level cards. This leads to big moments on turns every 4th round as the next level of cards may come into play.

The leveling system is key to Solforge and ensures that games escalate towards a conclusion. There is always a mounting sense of destruction looming over each game and when the level 3 versions of cards start hitting the board the real fireworks start going off. The leveling system also ensures that the most powerful cards are not played until after turn 8 (when P3 is reached). This allows even weak cards to have a purpose in the game during the early turns and some of those weak cards turn into much stronger level 2 and 3 versions.

Overall I really enjoy Solforge even though it has a very limited card pool currently (~60 cards) and there are some balance issues (I’m looking at you Packmaster and Hellion!). Also currently we have access to all of the cards so can build any deck as needed. In the future, cards will have to be purchased via digital booster packs or traded for from other players (both of those features are not yet in the game). Over the next week the game will see the release of the first full set of cards (most likely to be named the Alpha set). It is expected to be over 200 cards. This will significantly increase the variety the game has to offer to the early access testers.

If you are looking for a solid online CCG that will is multi-platform then Solforge is an excellent choice. Due to its asynchronous nature it makes a perfect mobile game that can be played a turn at a time and games can be stretched over a long period of time (I have games that took over a week to complete). Solforge is currently only available on PC via the Steam early access, but it will be released on iOS and Android in the future.



Solforge deck building guide
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 August 2013, 12:37 am
I've played a lot of Solforge over the past few days.  Solforge is an online collectible card game that is currently in it's early access phase via Steam.  The game is a combination of build your deck as you play games such as Dominion and traditional deck building as seen in Magic the Gathering.  It features asynchronous play in turns between two players who can play spells or creatures each turn while battling it out in five "lanes" on the playing board.  Inside the industry this type of game is often referred to as a "laner".  Solforge is a good game and I want to take a minute to help out any interested new players.

Currently. there is a limited number of cards in early access and there are two well known, completely broken decks that dominate a lot of games.  However, what I'm about to talk about should apply later down the line when more cards are available to shake up the scene.

The first thought when building a deck is to decide on two factions as you can only pool cards from a max of two of the four factions in the game: Tempys, Utteran, Nekrium, and Alloyin.  To compare them to Magic the Gathering colors and play styles:

Tempys = red = quick and direct damage and DRAGON
Utteran = green = lots of big meanies
Nekrium = black = lots of creature removal
Alloyin = white/artifacts = defense, defense, and buffs

This is just a general outline, but it holds pretty true for the set of cards we have as of today.
Popular combinations currently are Nekrium/Utteran, Tempys/Nekrium, Alloyin/Utteran, Tempys/Utteran.

The next step is to decide whether you want the deck to be more spell heavy or creature heavy.  While it may be possible to go all spells, it is not recommended.  At some point, creatures will be needed on the board.  Really only the Nekrium/Tempys combination can get away with heavy spell usage.

Once a balance is decided between spells and creatures, the next step is to look at the three different versions of each card.  Each comes in a level 1,2, and 3 version.  Cards level up everytime they are played.  Example: player A plays a level 1 Death Seeker.  A level 2 Death Seeker is added to his discard pile.  When he levels up to level 2 as a player after turn 4, the player now has a chance to draw the level 2 cards that they have leveled.  Its an odd concept but it boils down to this: the cards you play determine your deck later on.

With this knowledge in hand, it is wise to look for combos that can be followed through the various levels.  Some cards may not have an ability at level 1, but their level 2 version does.  Some cards are not useful by themselves, but when combined with other cards they become key to victory.  And really the combos are where the game is won so keep your eyes out for synergistic cards.  A good example combo is Corpse Crawler and Death Seeker.  Corpse Crawler comes into play and Death Seeker is sacrificed to pay for Corpse Crawler.  This in turn triggers Death Seekers ability to return a 5/5 creature to the board in it's place. Add this into the Grimgaunt Devourer who receives + to attack and defense anytime a creature dies and a player can quickly build up a combo engine to dominate the field.

The end goal is build a deck around a solid combo engine.  The over all deck size is 30 cards to start (which then goes up as level 2 and 3 versions of the cards get added in during play).  At 30 cards total, it is very likely that in the first few turns the required cards for the engine will come up.  After that engine is established it is all about support an escalation.

Due to the nature of the leveling of cards, Solforge matches quickly escalate into slug fests which brings games to a finish relatively quickly compared to other card games where stall tactics can be used to drag games out.  With this tidbit to mull over, players need to consider what exterior cards from their core combo engine benefit the most from that engine as well as provide the late game strength needed to push for a victory.  If a player finds themselves losing right as level 3 cards start to appear in hand, then chances are the deck lacks sufficient level 2 strength.  If the deck ends up in a level 3 slug fest with multiple rounds of level 3 cards facing off, then chances are the deck lacks a finisher.

Play testing is key.  There is no easy tip to give when a deck fails to even get to the level 3 cards.  Evaluating how a deck played and where it struggled in the flow of the game is critical.  Sometimes looking back on a game log shows where a wrong play was made or maybe where a creature was left on the board at 1 life and a slight deck adjustment may mean next time that creature won't be hanging around with 1 life.  There are a lot of variables to consider so play a lot of games.  Bad decks will generally fail at the same phase of play.

With all of this said, here is what I have been playtesting for over 7 hours of Solforge gameplay:

3x Cull the weak
3x Lightning Spark
3x Death Seeker
3x Ashuran Mystic
3x Uranti Bolt
3x Corpse Crawler
3x Magma Hound
3x Epidemic
3x Firestorm
3x Grimgaunt Devourer

The theme is control and the main combo engine is centered on feeding Grimgaunt Devourer plenty of deaths; both your own troops and your opponents.  Complimenting this are plenty of removal cards that help keep the lanes clear for beefed up Grimgaunt's later in the game.  I've also bred in some balance to handle a few unique situations that are popular in the current meta game.  The deck so far is at about a 40% win rate (keep in mind, there are just flat out broken decks currently because of the limited card pool and they get played all.. the... freaking...time).  Against the hard AI, I enjoy more around a 75% win rate (again losing to the problematic decks).





About damn time: DOTA2 officially launched
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 July 2013, 9:37 pm
DOTA 2 is now officially launched.





Games Made Me: IDOCs
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2013, 9:52 pm
There are certain games and gaming moments that made me who I am as a gamer.  One of the most critical to my development as an online gamer was Ultima Online (UO).  It was an amazing game that was truly a virtual world (not just whack-a-mole).  There was real consequence to action and there was an equal and opposite reaction to almost everything.  UO ushered in a golden era of MMORPGs; an era we will never see again.  One of the most critical elements to that virtual world excellence was the idea of habitable player housing that existed in the game world.  It is something that has not been equally matched since and remains one of UO's strongest features (yes, the game is still chugging along all these years later).  To top it off, player housing wasn't permanent.  There was a real possibility to losing your housing in the early days by losing your house key to a thief or player-killer.  Later on after that was changed, players only lost their housing after their account subscription expired.  Then it was a countdown to one of the greatest phenomena in my online gaming memory: IDOC (in danger of collapse).
A crowd of hopeful IDOC campers.

The premise behind an IDOC was that the player-placed structure was about to disappear from the game world leaving behind all of it's now unlocked items.  Anything in the house was available for the taking from the bookshelves to the rarest of rare items from Ultima Online's past.  Player's would camp out for days at IDOC houses (and the term houses is used loosely as sometimes they were actually massive castles).  In the case of houses in the Felucca realm where open world PvP was allowed it was a blood bath as the time ticked nearer and nearer (and Felucca being the oldest realm in UO, it's collapsing houses offered the chance for the rarest loot).

After the loot was scooped up the real prize was yet to be had: one lucky person would get to place a new structure.  This may seem insignificant in today's MMOs where there is an endless supply of special housing areas, but in Ultima Online's case there was literally not a single bit of land left to build on.  There was far more players wanting to place a house than there were spots to place one.  Placing a house after an IDOC was cleared out was a feat for the history books, especially when it was done in Felucca where there was a very real chance that the player would be killed and have their "house deed" stolen (which for a lot of players was a very expensive item to lose).

I can't claim to have ever "won" an IDOC.  I was more of the opportunist when it came to IDOCs.  I would take the time to make runes so players could portal/warp to the IDOC location.  Becoming well known for finding IDOCs and not selling bogus runes to players meant good income.  Then to opportune even more with the situation if the house was in Felucca it was time to bring out my sneak thief and pick pocket any of the campers visiting.  Or if I was up to the task I could unstable an entire army of tamed dragons on my tamer and let them loose upon the camping crowds.

The IDOC is something I truly miss in today's MMOs.  The idea of actually losing something; of the world actually changing.   This is deep thought stuff that developers stand up on grand stages and get voracious applause for before they turn around and build another WoWClone in the background.  MMOs will never return to their golden age, but the memories I formed in that time will never stop me from dreaming about them.



Where does time go?
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 May 2013, 9:21 pm
I don't honestly know, but when I find out I'll let ya'll know.  Just a post to say I'm still here and I do plan to post some more at some point.  I've been on a self-imposed break for video games.  Aside from a little dabbling here and there I have not played much of anything lately on the PC.

I have gotten back into weekly board game night and may share some of that goodness at some point.  I have a burning desire to write a review about Small World, but I fear the backlash when I finally admit that it is actually not all that great.



Wildstar: MMO Housing done right
Posted by Heartlessgamer.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 March 2013, 10:29 pm
Long time, no post.  But had to share because Wildstar is really starting to impress me.  Their latest entry is player housing.





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