Monday, January 30, 2012

On Diablo 3 beta aka #D3

First off, a shame-filled plug: (Dude... Where is his Bantha??) is a new blog from my absolute favorite blogger Calli.
He was the guy responsible for getting me to start blogging in the first place (please, don't send him any threatening emails, he has publicly denied responsibility). And he is a genius of a blogger (especially now that Righteous orbs stopped blogging). And he is young. And has all his hair. And is very muscular. And manly. Even if he only plays female toons. Which makes him even more manly.

He is also my guild leader in SWTOR. Biased? I don't know the meaning of the word. Literally, I don't, I'm not a native Britishspeak language.

Anyways, here's hoping that his new blog will do just as well, and be just as fabulous (in a manly way), as his old blog

Diablo 3 beta
So thanks to twitter and the @blizzardCS account. I am in the D3 Beta. How do I like it? First let me set the scene:
The year was 1996, Quake had released earlier that year. So had Tekken 2. (not to mention Duke nukem). But those games paled in comparison to what would be released that christmas: Diablo.
Before Diablo, I was a teen who liked games. After Diablo, I was a gamer who liked Diablo. I still remember me and my little brother spending the weekends on 3 hour rotation shifts playing the game. Before WoW, this was the game that I sunk the most hours into (combined with the sequal). I still think that the reason why my mouse hand creaks is after that long summer with D2s expansion 'Lord of destruction'.

In so many words, Diablo - for me- was where it all began.

So I was pretty excited to get into this beta. Even if I knew that Blizzard North where in no way involved. And all the key personnel from Diablo 1 and 2 are now on Torchlight (more on that later)
Even if I knew these things, intellectually, emotionally I was - and still am- in love with Diablo.

From the moment in 2008 when I was at the Blizzard Worldwide invitational in Paris and heard that guitar play those chords (great moment, all the kiddies went "huh" and all the elderly gamers started weeping.) I have been looking forward to this release.
However, the more info that started to pour in, the sadder I got.
No, I am not one of those "it's too bright and colourfull" morons.
 I actually *remember* the old games, and not just the Hell parts of em.
To me, it was the playable characters. None of them stuck to me.
Sure the good ol Barbarian is there, and he looks better than ever. But the reiteration of the Monk? meh. The wizzard? shrug. And I really don't want to talk about the witch doctor or the demon hunter.

None of the lore, nor the mechanics really did 'it' for me. I talked about this back in September, and after having played the game I'll stand by this post:

The "oh no a click to another article- not reading that" short version: The Companions look way more attractive to me, than the playable characters.

Especially now that Torchlight 2 has released their playable characters

Sure the Engineer looks a little silly compared to the serious tone set by the barbarian above. (and this is Blizzard throwing away their cartoony looks of WoW and following the gritty look of Diablo, so it fits, its not the style i'm moaning about)
But C'mon, a *steam* powered tank! Every class in Torchlight looks like something I want to try, none of the classes in Diablo are something I and gagging to throw days upon days of played time into.

Gamewise, Diablo 3 is fantastic. I've completed it twice now, and think i'll go through it on at least one more class, so if any of the Diablo 3 characters looks awesome to you - get the game. Me, I think i'll be waiting on the first expansion with new playable characters before I buy it.

But I am giving it to my brother for his birthday. You know, for old times sake.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No longer a hardcore casual, just casual

So something dawned on my yesterday.
I finally had an evening free to game all the SWTOR I could want. Instead I saw a documentary with Mrs Dwism, played for an hour, then went to bed early.

There where a time, where I'd log on when i got home from work, scan the AH, do dailies, then prep for raid (then -sometimes- eat dinner).

I am the only 'main' left in my SWTOR guild that have not reached 50. I say 'main' because we have some members who rolled alts on our servers to hang out with us, when their Empire mains, are not demanding their attention. Hell, Mr. Calli has a main at level 50 and 3 alts who are closing in on my level 40 main.

Part of this is because I have a 6 month old child, but she goes to sleep at 7 at the latest, so that really should not interfere with evening gaming/raiding.
Another part is that, I think (hindsight and all that) that the gruel grinding of hard mode Lich king, and the following 8 months of no content to raid, killed my last love of raiding. Sure I can watch strat videos of fireland (and I still do, even though it's been.. oh boy 6 months, since I had an active wow account), and miss raiding. But I doubt I'd find time to clear anything *for* raiding. Even if I still believe that I'd still enjoy the actual raids in themselves, but it's been so long I don't really remember.

I stress to underline that no part of this, has anything to do with the game I am playing atm. Leveling in SWTOR is way more fun, than in WoW. Only time I ever got a bit tired of it, was when I hit 36'ish and I felt I had to level 2 levels up before I could continue on my class quests, and the story had JUST gotten to such a exciting point (again). As a matter of fact I try and postpone my class quests on each planet to as late as possible, so I can do those in one go. Nothing kills story more than having another exciting storyline come and distract you.

What I fear has happened
I fear, that I have outgrown gaming. I truly am afraid of that. So much of my identity is around me playing games in my free time. Hell, the reason I have the job I have, is because I play so many games, and know so much about games. I haven't touched my xbox since two hours right after I got Batman Arkham City home, and before that, not once in 4 months.
I dunno what I'd do, if I turn into someone who comes home from work, cleans a bit up, starts dinner and then spends the evening in front of the television, repeating the "whats on tonight" line. Night after night after night. That sounds very close to my version of hell.
Maybe it's the whole, 'life has kindda changed, your a dad' - thing. Maybe its because i'm turning 30. I'm not sure what the illness is, I just know what the symptoms are. And this patient, does not like what he is witnessing. I'm getting old
I fear that one day, I'll be in a permanent state of this:

I really hope, that when my babygirl gets to that age, when she wants to play with me, I'll have outgrown this thing, and be all like  

"barbie-adventure dressup???? I've completed it TWICE, but for you my love, i'll play it again".

But for now, I'll just take a slight step back, log in when I feel like playing, and cross my fingers that I won't fall completly out of love with gaming. Because right now, the only thing that is keeping me playing anything, is the fantastic people in my guild, and the story of Star Wars The Old Republic.

I did it, made this whole post w/o using the "I'm getting to old for this... sh"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why is healing in swtor so bad?

For those that do not know my history, I've started my mmo-career out as a healer. Hell this blog is named after the nicname my healer had (Dreamweaver, DW). And I've always had him in my backhand ready to help out, in case my group did not need a tank.
So it was with WoW, so I had planned it to be with SWTOR.

Enter; Washburne Whom I had (in honor of Alan Tudyks marvelous performance) rolled as a smuggler and planned on giving him the title Captain, and never changing that. So I rolled Scoundrel, and talented up in sawbones.
Now, I'm okay with the fact that it seems to take him *forever* to kill anything, he is a healer after all, even if my tanking companion seems unable to do any actual tanking... may just be a low level thing. Regardless, everyone knows healers, level up in group play. So I went group playing.

Healing is horrible in this game. Both because of personal preferences and because the game does not seem to not like healers. Allow me to elaborate

1. Setting up any sort of decent healing grid is a pain. 
Honestly, when you have to look at tutorial videos in order to find out how to set groups up in the same grid as in operations, something is wrong. It is not very intuitive, it is not easily done and you have to set it up in order to have any chance at healing, because the default is not made by healers for healers. It's made by... well my guess is that the UI in general, has been made by a designer. Not a game designer, but an add designer. It has all the slickness and cleanliness as any add agency I've worked with, can produce. But it has no thought behind it, either. It was made to look pretty, not to be functional. 

2. Nobody in the design process where healers
That is a harsh statement, I know, and it is more meant as a provocation than something I actually believe, but when you can't get companions on your healing bars. And you can't get the person you group with Companions health to show up *anywhere*, something is amiss.
I ran Esseless with a guildie on his Jedi Sentinel alt, so our two companions where the tanks. It was a horrible experience. He had to remind me of his little droid every now and again because I had no where to see it's health. And then I had to try and click on that little metallic thing in the middle of where all the mobs where, in order to heal it.
If Companions are supposed to receive a heal, either in Flash-points or in heroic areas, why not automatically add em to the group grid, so I can see their effing health?

3. (personal preferences) I want my click casting
This point might seem petty to some, but for me, this is the difference between enjoying healing, and not. It's to do with those blasted addons, that has spoiled me. Be it "Healbot" (my ol' favorite), Vuhdu, grid or whathaveyou. They gave me a clear view of HoT's, health and made it easy for me to cast a heal and the type of heal I wanted to cast. I could rightclick on a portrait that lacked health, and it would cast my big heal. If I held down Ctrl+right clicked, it would cast a HoT ect ect. Sure it sometimes gave healing a "whack-a-mole'esque" feel, but it allowed you to do what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it.
Just looking at theese addons makes we long to play WoW again...

4. SWTOR does not seem to know what they want healers to do
That would be the short answer, but it would also be wrong. Do they want all healing classes to be similar? Doesn't seem like it.
Do they want healers to do damage while healing? This does not seem to have been discussed. On one hand it seems that the idea for healers where that healing is boring, so the design of the class was that they (not unlike WARhammer) should be able to dish out whilst still healing.
But then why not give us the same ability as in WARhammer? two targets, one friendly, one not. Allow me to target a mob while I heal the tank.
Actually, this is something my tank could use in pvp too.
This was one of the greatest things about WARhammer. If you are of the belief that healing is boring, then facilitate us healing and dps'ing, similar to how WARhammer did it.
If you believe that people actually roll healers because they want to heal (shocking), then give us the tools to actually heal.
They way I see healing, is that the people behind the game, have not been able to decide what they want healers to do, or be.
Smuggler, do you want us to do damage too, while healing? Why not pair us in the gunslinger tree, instead of the melee tree? (This might change drastically if I ever get him past 30'ish, but atm it is clunky and akward to heal and do dps, and it seems to be a waste of my time to only heal - especially soloing)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gone blackout

Yes even few-reader blogs, like mine, will close shop if anything like SOPA og PIPA gets through over there... in America. That weird and wonderful and powerful country that is so very far away from where I live, but has so much power over stuff like this.

Monday, January 9, 2012

3 weeks in: So how’s the game?

Can you believe that tomorrow Star Wars the ol’ Republic has been out for 3 whole weeks (not including early access).

So how’s the game? In a word: great

 So that is it? Silence for a month and this is your post? Really? And I even /w you in game telling you that you where awesome, just to get an invite to your guild, that is bt to the w AWESOME! 

Don’t worry, I’ll elaborate. Besides being great, the game has 4 themes of flaws, besides the bugs and UI, which will always be problems for new games, I'm not fussed nor worried.

 First flaw: the game is too damn great.

My alt-a-holicism, which used to be manageable, has blown out into full hardcore indecision’O’rama.
Yep, I’ve switched mains – and rolled new ones- more times than I care to admit. So far I am sticking to my Jedi Knight Guardian (currently questing in Balmorra), but my Trooper (vanguard), my jedi knight sentinel, my Smuggler gunslinger/scoundrel are all begging for attention and to - yet again – become my main. I’ve managed to stick to my JK for now, because a) I have to get something to 50 at some point, and b) my guild is in dire need of tanks atm.

 Soon they will need dps, and then I’ll be stuck again. Most likely I’ll level… I’ve no idea. Alright if it was not abundantly clear, I really like this game. So this flaw is more of a praise. Lets look at what is not working.

There are too many Goddamn abilities.

 I’m sorry but 2 bars filled with active abilities at level 30, is too many. You can’t log out for more than a day and still remember em all. At it get’s in the way of any kind of flow. At least for me. Especcially when; There is no notice when proc abilities… proc. Staring at your ability bar, waiting for Riposte to proc is not fun. Let me look at my game, not my bars.

Action house This might be rough, but the galactic trade network makes me think that no-one on board of this game, has ever played an mmo before.

There should have been 8 mirror classes at launch, not 4.

This one might take a little while longer to explain. No, I don’t need more alts to take up my time. Nor new stories. But I think that part of the reason why there are too many abilities per class, is because each class is essentially 2 classes rolled into one. And two – I might add – that are nothing alike. Vanguard and Commando play very differently, one is basically melee dps/tank when the other is ranged heal/dps. Why not be up front: We have 8 classes, but 4 stories.

Why does my scoundrel even have cover and cover abilities? He does not seem to have any talents (at least in healing) that supports this, at all. Yet he has abilities that in early game does support this, and does fill up my ability bar. Same with Every class I've played. They have plenty of cross-abilities that both use, but loads that you do not. It gets in the way of flow. It blocks class uniqueness. And it *seems* like this is only in place so as to cover up that there is “only” four unique stories per faction. In wow there is only 1 quest per class. And the only one still active of those, are the new rogue legendary. It is pretty effing AWESOME that there are 4 completely unique stories per faction. Just be up front about there being 2 classes to each story. OR take some abilities away when we chose class at level 10. Anything but this halfhearted clusterF… That is the current ability/class system.

 It would give a better prio/rotation system. It would give a clearer class distinction, everything would be better. At least from where I stand.