tisdagen den 5:e maj 2009

One adiction at a time

'Why do you play so much?' my wife often asks me. And since I like to analyze stuff I have thought about that a lot.

My conclusion is this:

As most guys I am a bit a 'one track mind'. And if I doesn't have anything that occupies my thoughts I get a bit restless. Like that feeling after a 500 page book ends.
So I tend to immerse my self in some activity that needs me to focus on it in a analytical way. It may be a book, a game or building new shelves in the cupboard. Sometimes it is work - but since I don't want to work around the clock I like some thing not work related to focus on.

Usually this 'thing' is a game. Mostly since it appeals to the problem solving and exploring side of me.

This is what I think is the core reason that busy working guys starts home improving as soon as they leave the car. The more stressful job - the more addictive side activity needed.

Anyone out there that agree?

fredagen den 10:e oktober 2008

Back in Chaos

Hello out there.

Long time since I made a tanking post but here is one again. The reason for that is I have started playing Warhammer online (yes I know i jump around alot) and rolled a Chaos warrior class called Chosen. Incredibly cool class to play. From the experinece I presume it will be a bit similar to Death Knights in WoW.

Basically the Chosen is an evil human in fat armour wielding sword 'n board and having auras. The reason for the auras is the corruption from the evil Raven god the Chaos armies worship.

Aside from auras and ordinariy spanking abilities the Chosen have acess to some semi-magical abilities aswell. Like Ravage which is a attack making spirit damage and therefore negating armor.

One of the best things about the Chosen tank class is the viability in PvP (called RvR in WAR). Aside from taking damage we can really dish some out. And we can be annoying enough for the other team so they need to take us out. This is mostly by snare abilitys etc, but also due to the fair damage output we do.

In WoW's Warsong gulch the tanks was mostly flag carriers and in Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley we could be mostly ignored. Not so in Warhammer.

PvE?
But how is the tanks in PvE. On sologrinding we are good. Better than good I would say, downtime is about zero. But I havent doneany dungeons yet. I'm just lvl 15 (of 40) and about right level for the first available instance. Looking forward to it though.

Will fill you in when I know more.

onsdagen den 3:e september 2008

Long time no post

Hello out there.

It's been a while since I posted. Mostly because I've been away on "daddy-leave" for eight weeks. But also that my WoW-experiences has dwindled to almost nothing.

Well. I will keep posting now and then. A bit sparser now when I don't game that much.

Right now I'm playing Max Payne2 (with #1 bullet time was an innovation - now it's just main stream, but the story and atmosphere are great) and Medieval Total War 2 (good fun - but I hate the irrationality of the pope by now).

måndagen den 16:e juni 2008

For the love of seams

These last couple of years one of the big technical improvements in game is the seamless worlds, like World of Warcraft. Everything sticks together without any loading screens and you get the massive feeling of being in a real world.

Some games would greatly benefit from this - like Witcher - where the seams break the pace a lot. But there are also games that makes the most out of the seams instead.

Often these games are referred to as "episode games". You play one part in a confined area with a big "out of game" pause in between. Recently I have played two old games where this is a good thing namely Homeworld2 and Hitman.

Hitman in a seamless world would be a lot like GTA or Assassins Creed. Instead it makes the most of the confined area. The great reward in a game like hitman is the scripted events which are scripted in such a fashion that you don't think they are scripted but more like a stroke of luck.

I climbed a scaffold on the outside of the White house to look into a window. Two carpenters are chatting inside. I hang on for a short while and one of them leaves while the other turns his back to me and continue using his nail gun. I sneak into through the window, just before the marine on patrol below sees me, and sneak up behind the now lonely carpenter with a syringe dripping with a sedative.

A couple of rooms later I look out through the window onto the lawn. As I do this I can see my target, the conspiring vice president, exiting the West Wing to walk the dog in the rain. From the window I have a clear shot with my sniper rifle.

The good thing with these scriptings are that I don’t know where I trigger them and don't have a clue what scripted behaviours I can trigger at the start of the episode. But they make the game feel like a movie where the story unfolds while I progress through the mission.

When gaming is good it is like this. I could rush through ant mission with guns blazing and probably make it out alive. Or I can try to sneak and only hit the marked targets and even make it look like accidents. Most maps can be rushed through in 10 minutes but in reality it takes about a couple of hours since I sneak, fail, get into gun fights and need to reload.

To make it especially worthwhile to play properly is that there are myriads of options to take out the targets. Poison their food? Snipe them from distance? Garrotte the from behind or feed the to the piranhas?

The game facilitates for me in such a way I don’t notice it - only feel like there is a good pace in the story.

fredagen den 6:e juni 2008

Long time no post

I have been away from blogging for a long time now. Probably the longest since I started my blog.

Right now I am playing the waiting game. The content available isn't that interesting for me to play the game and I can't play as much as needed to progress beyond heroics and PuG Karas. And honestly - PuGing Kara is a pain as most ppl know.

And heroics was stale from the start. Same place - harder mobs. Not much to do for a content oriented player.

The problem with being away for some time is that the old friends which I tried on Kara with a looong time ago is already doing Gruul and Mag so it isnt much fun for them to play with me - and getting new friends is to bothersome.

That was a whole lot of whining at once =)

Right now I am playing a old copy of Hitman - Blood money. Great game. Not the graphics or the story - but the blend of puzzle, action and sneaking. And short missions with loads of different options of success.

torsdagen den 24:e april 2008

Getting rid of the gear race

One of the biggest issues and controversies in WoW at the moment is the comparisons between gear.

Is the PvP gear 'welfare epics'? Should all new drops go to tanks/main healers in the first place in a raid? Is the arena rating limitations on S4 arena gear making the 'below 1700' not worth going arena? etc etc.

I think I have the embryo of an idea to solve this.

Let's first explain with arena gear.
With the coming season 4 lots of the gear demands a specific rating, and already there have been a discussion about it killing of the non hardcore arena teams.

First I thought - that’s easily solved. Why not get like 5 different versions of the shoulders which demands specific ratings? Like: none, 1500, 1700, 1900, 2100. This will make it possible for every arena player to slowly achieve better gear according to accomplishment.

And to not make it cost too much, get rid of earned arena points (not rating) and say that chest takes 4 weeks of playing a minimum 10 matches/week to be able to buy. And shoulders 8 weeks.

Here we have options of needing to work toward specific pieces. Like say that each week earns you a merit point which can be put in towards the 4 needed for chest. (A bit like a talent tree where the full tree make you able to wear that piece. Maybe should come with the option of respeccs.) Gettig 'attuned' to wear shoulders makes u able to upgrade to better rating shoulders without putting in the weeks again. A bit of a two way improvement avenue. Rating wise or slot wise.

New arena gear
What will be the result? Well. We would get arena players which all can work toward new gear in two ways. Either by improving their rating or to week by week work towards ability to wear a specific gear slot. More intervals makes it easier to actually get up on the ladder in comparison to now where its a huge difference if u can get the S4 set or not. This would make skill more important but keeping the gear advancement element of play.

But what about PvE then?
Yeah that’s another thing - or is it really? Why not get rid of the old drop system. Let everyone earn PvE rating by downing bosses and clearing instances.

This rating would then make you eligible to buy new gear, much like the arena system.

Wait a minute! Why not grind ZF then to get the best gear!?

Well thats easily solved too. Each boss is wort a number of points, say 60 points for Omor the Unscarred. Say that first time you get 60 points and then we have diminishing returns for him like cutting it to a third each time. 2nd=20, 3rd=7, 4th=3 etc. This to a max of like double the original value for him 120 points. Then you cant grind Omorr any more.

Then we can get phat loot by going in with a good group. Twink runs FTW!

Sure. But if we then add this system with a negative multiplier according to the PvE score of all the individuals in the group/raid? So doing Omorr the Unscarred with a group of BT raiders will diminish the PvE-points gained a lot. That will actually make it worth the time to do the instances with like levelled people.

Ok. I'll save up my points and buy the phattest axe in Azeroth already at lvl 60

Well, you wont. The system will work like the arena system above. The total points make you able to buy better gear. But they will not go away. They are a rating and not spendable points.

What do we get then for PvE?
Players get gear according to accomplishment. There is still a grinding component in there. And there is a motivator for taking on content made for your level.

This will make it meaningless to do Kara badge runs or easy heroics.

There is one drawback though. The thrill of seeing what that boss will drop today. Nothing is as thrilling like seeing that nifty helm drop and checking it out with a ctrl-click.

OK. Suggestion time is over. Please comment if you made it all through =)

onsdagen den 16:e april 2008

Is levelling the wrong path?

MMORPG is all about getting better and doing cooler stuff. No problem with that. But I do wonder - is levelling actually the right thing?

Ok, I really liked to level up my first WoW-charachter, my paladin Gawain, to lvl 60. And then I levelled up my warrior to level 70. 1-60 was boooring but done with the 60 to 70 span to look forward to.

Then I tried to level up a warlock to 70 on a different server (this was actually my very first char that got abandoned at lvl 42 for my paladin). I managed to get the lock to 62 before interest faded completely. Same with trying to level up the pally just to be able to heal in the end game. He's stuck at 65-ish.

Not that I don't wanna play them in 70 instances. But it was too much of a boring one man job to get the bastards to 70. Doing the 1-60 span was better since with dedicated playing following a levelling guide it was kinda neat just to ding twice an evening. The lock was levelled after the "fast levelling patch" so he was even easier. And maybe because paladins are one of the slowest classes to level, fury warrior and affliction lock was pure dps fun in different aspects.

Reason for 10 new levels
But back to the point. New level caps are made for two reasons. One of them is that reaching the new cap is time needed to play (play time = income for Blizzard) and the other that everybody is at square one after reaching the new cap. All old gear needs to be replaced, factions worked at etc which needs more play time. And also since the slate is wiped clean we are all on equal footing Newbies and Hardcore raiders which makes it possible to become a hardcore raider for a former newbie.

Ok, that settled.

Blizzard wants us to play more. But levelling of alts is just made by some. Most people tend to leave them midlevel in my experience. If we played with many characters we would probably play more. Maybe it should only be needed to level one char and the rest would follow? Or will that mean we will only see hunters farm their way up to lvl 70 and then become different classes that don't know how to play their class?

More gaming = more fun = more money
All I know is that I would play more if I didn't need to level my alts. Especially since the problem with my warrior was that I reached what I call the "content-cap" (it is reaching the cap of content that you may experience due to different circumstances like game time, guild progress etc). I didn't have enough game time to do Karazhan on a regular basis and doing heroics over and over wasn't that fun. But I wouldn't mind healing through Shadow Labs if my pally had been lvl 70.

I don’t have the solution for the problem but I feel like it needs to be addressed. This is maybe a way towards a problem I noticed a while back with mates playing but not able to enjoy it fully because of different levels of progress. That might become a later post.