Archive for November, 2010

November 22, 2010

Comments on my travels in Azeroth (Part 1): Pre Cataclysm

Thoughts on tactical healing in MMOs:

I have always played healers in MMOs, from the clerics in EQ to the Medic in Tabula Rasa to empaths in City of Heroes to both a Priest and Druid in WoW. I love the tactical choices presented in healing, I am not one to just stare at health bars for hours on end, I like to make decisions based on what is happening: Group member C is being charged by “big hit” mob, let me select him and line up a heal before the bar drops. Cast and ability rotations bore me to bits. Throw in a latency of 400 ms+ and you are talking a very active gaming session in a group as a healer.

Most MMOs offer the standard healing spells, a big expensive heal, a smaller cheaper heal and HOTs of different kinds. This is the healer toolbox and each MMO in some way or another tackles them the same way. In WAR the Disciple of Khaine and Warpriests had melee based heals, you heal when you hit, which was an amazing turn on the whole healing thing. Of course WAR also allowed you to have two targets, enemy and friendly so you can do damage to one and give health to another through it, something I have not seen in any other MMO.

 

Changing shape of MMO healing

World of Warcaft seems to have changed their healing strategies in design as well to some extent while I was away.

Especially the druid healing in post 4.0.1 seems to be a much more active type of healing with plenty choices to make.

After running some dungeons with my level 71 druid, this became very obvious, I had to be very active and it wasn’t just a case of standing and pumping the tank with heals. The nature of druid healing is very much on the run with more than just one HOT to use. I am still coming to grips with this kind of healing but I can tell you this.

It is a GREAT change to the 3 button healing in Aion. At level 71 I have a stackable hot that I can only place on one group member up to 3 stacks, I have a basic hot and I have a HOT that heals in an AE around the target. I also have a button that will heal the target that has a hot as an instant cast AND it will heal those around them with another hot. I also have 2 basic heals with cast times: a short one with moderate heal plus a hot and a long heal. Plenty of tactical choices and all but two of them can be done while moving, have to love that.

I love druids, so versatile.

Just unpacked my bags from my travels in EQ2 and now I have wings!

November 19, 2010

For the last month Sep-Nov I have been playing EQ2 courtesy of a friend who graciously gave me a spare account he had lying around. It meant that I did not have to buy a new account. Interesting thing about EQ2: the second you buy an account you also get ALL the expansions for the game free. EQ2 had TONS of expansions, 5 I think up to this point.

The first really addictive MMO

This gives you a HUGE amount of content to play through and I wanted to see how the baby of the first MMO I ever played had grown up. I spent 4 years in EQ1, was on a raid when my first kid was born. I still remember shouting in game, OFF I GO TO THE HOSPITAL! in the raid, memories 😉

Made a new character in EQ2, a necromancer, I always play either pet classes and/or healers. Enjoyed my time in EQ2 but ultimately a very lonely journey. Guild text can only sustain you so long while you adventure through a world populated only by NPCs. Don’t get me wrong, there are many players, just all on their top level characters, a long way off from the starting zones I was in.

Decided to call it quits when I got into one group in the whole month. Just one month’s sub spent, thanks to my friends.

I then found out that I had a digital collector’s edition hiding in my NCsoft account menu! Imagine that, no idea where it came from, probably something to do with my long standing account with City of heroes.

I packed my bags and waved bye-bye to the helpful folks in my EQ2 guild and moved on to Aion, an MMO that I now have 37 free days of play time, hey, why not!

The prettiest MMO I have ever played.

Ahhh Aion, what an entrancingly beautiful game! This is by far the MMO with the best graphics I have ever seen. I got a client from a friend close to where I stay and started playing. The world is very populated, hundreds of people running around in newbie zones, it is awesome! Blazed through levels 1-15 at a breakneck speed, which I hear is pretty fast. Soon I saw why. From 15+ things slowed down a lot and all the nice quests started fading away. Soon the grind became evident.

I must admit, I actually enjoyed having only 5 buttons to push in combat, a welcome break from 3 quickbars full of buttons to press. Combat is a joy, it is hard and challenging. I soon noticed that the majority of my quests at my current level (28) have become 1/10 repetition. Basically go kill 10 of this mob, come back, get xp and coin, go and do it again for 2/10. If you do it 10/10 you get extra xp . I have no idea why the devs couldn’t just have made it, kill 100 mobs and come back for mega xp, sure would have cut down on the travel time.

Grouping in Aion happens in instances usually and these instances have long cooldowns. So when I wanted to group I had to wait for a 12 hour cooldown on the first instance, bummer.

Look, the game is amazing in graphics, great polished game play but the grind (which is why I never even started playing it) starts to get to you. There is only so much you can stomach killing 10 mobs 1/10 times in a really beautiful backdrop.

I wanted to returno Azeroth to witness the Cataclysm anyways. No tourist stop would be complete without a view of a major disaster in an MMO world ;-). My only issue is that I read that WoW has become World of PatchCraft and that patches are over 1GB.  My next mission was to find a client, which is now at a bloated 25GB. I wanted to get into Azeroth before the expansion, just to see what Blizzard is going to do as a lead up. Hopefully by tonight I will be in Azeroth again!

Blog resurrection

November 19, 2010

Finally decided to resurrect this blog and occupy it and post on it …. often!

Quick summary of my MMO travels this year:

Eve Online

Star Trek Online: friend bought me the game. Thanks David!

DDO

City of heroes (always return to this one)

LOTRO: bought all the expansions after Moria and played for 2 months

Fallen Earth: great game

WoW: returned to the game after 4 years, my old account was long ago destroyed by my guild that I gave it to. Friends bought me a new account + BC + WOTLK. Thanks David and Shaun!

City of Heroes again: played Going Rogue

EQ2: played this for a month on an account given to me by a friend. Thanks Andrew!

Aion: free collector’s edition I found I had online, no idea how.

WoW: going to resub WoW today in preparation for the big cataclysm expansion, as a tourist I HAVE to be there to see this.

Also adding a professional page that will hold all my professional info and serve as my online CV.