Friday, May 29, 2009

City of Zerg

Recently some friends and I have gotten together in City of Heroes/Villains and created a team. It's not quite a static team, though it comes close. It is also not really a superteam, though arguably it has the hallmarks.

To elaborate, a superteam is a group of characters in CoH/CoV that are usually comprised of identical or highly complimentary powersets. It goes to such a point where the major level organised superteams even have predesigned builds so they get certain powers (typically Leadership) at certain levels to maximize the twink. Example: Fire/Radiation Controller teams.
A static team, well most of you know but for those that don't; it's a group who will always come together at a set time on a set day and play together. Some run statics that rarely group with anyone else, others roleplay all the time on their static characters but only ever level with the other members.

Anyway we have a team of Masterminds. Specifically five Thugs Masterminds for a simple reason. The same reason that class gets used for superteams. GANG WAR!

We have a
  • Thugs/Storm
  • Thugs/Pain Domination
  • Thugs/Dark Miasma
  • Thugs/Forcefields
  • Thugs/Traps

So that represents alot of slows, resistance and defense debuffs, accuracy debuffs, healing, defense boosts and stealth powers. A few of us have also started taking the Leadership powers which stack with the Enforcer leadership. Provided there are no cascading defense failures, the team will only get tougher and tougher as time goes on.

This weekend, we'll be tackling the Silver Mantis strikeforce together. If you are on Virtue and over level 20, give me a shout on @Ardua and join in. Just a word of warning, when all the pets are down, at this level we account for 75 characters on screen at once :P

Bullet Points

Lo folks.

Sorry for being under the radar so long. Between work, play and sleep there's been precious little time for things like blog, snacking and other lesiure. Still three day weekend here and I'll kick works ass so you'll all have to put up with me again.

What I've been playing!

  • Left 4 Dead (Ardua on Steam)
  • City of Heroes (@Ardua)
  • Warhammer Online

What I am looking forward to!

  • Warhammer 40k
  • Black Prophecy
  • Global Agenda

What I will be honour bound to try.

  • Champions Online
  • Star Trek Online
  • Stargate Worlds (If it ever comes out)

What I'd get into again if I had more free time.

  • EVE Online

I'll blog properly later about Warhammer vs time and City Of Heroes superteams. Till then.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WCPI : Gaarawarr Gabs

This week in WCPI I hereby promote my new favourite person.

Gaarawarr has a fantastic blog dealing with his views on patches, updates, armors, wards and so much more.

If nothing else, he should be worshipped for these two. " Moar Tokens! " and his Guides section.

Read, enjoy and like me, plan out what you'll be doing tonight. Moar tokens indeed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quilldragon Now Open

Ladies and Gents, Quilldragon is now open.

If you like fantasy literature or just really like the bunch of bloggers involved, pop on over and check us out.
If not, do it anyway or face my wrath! Muhahahahaha.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Everyone say awwwww now

WAR news, but not WAR related.

From Twitter : JoshDrescher Less than six hours left until the wedding...

Come on everyone. Tweet the man and wish him luck.

Trying a different question

Syp made a post about the validity of solo play, despite him being mostly a grouper. Due to the back and forth in the comments Ysharros had a stab at defending their playstyle of preference. I threw a comment out there myself. Spinks on the other hand has a different view and once again the comments flow, as doother posts.

Here's something I want to ask though.
Grouping is fine for those who group. Reasons have been given ranging from personal achievement, enjoying a metagame, tactical reasons and so on.
Soloing is fine for those who want to. There should be an overlap permitted but both camps seem to have a problem with that.

My question is this. Soloers, what would entice you to group? You have your reasons for not doing so, and that is acceptable. Maybe you don't always feel like it, maybe you dislike the chaos, maybe you have a medical reasons (I've known a few).

When the solo vs group question comes up, inevitably the question posed is "Why would you solo in an MMO?" with the implication to some that soloing is the digital equivalent of leprosy.
How can we make the question "What would get you to group with us?". People don't have to group, people will always still want some alone time, me time, time to do whatever insanity or drudgery catches their fancy. Could you make it enticing to group though, even to a soloer, without necessarily forcing the issue?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heads up people.

Coming soon

On the Group/Solo cost of living.

I group. I solo. I duo. I've staticed. I have raided, taskforced, pugged, warbanded, fleet maneuvered and run around like a headless chicken in an Escher painting.

I understand that an MMO has people. I know that even when I run alone, there are people. I accept that when there are people en masse, I sometimes wish there wasn't. I play what I'd like when I want and do what I can for the mass when I can.

At the end of the day however it depends on my mood. I've seen people who group more than anything not log on when they have a bad mood. Why? So they don't take it out on others. Noble that, but the alternative is you could play your game still and just not play with other people.
I've seen hardcore soloers complain about new group based content essentially locking them out, but guys if any random schmoe could solo the content, we'd all be bored fast.

I think the reason Groupers hate Soloers is the old old old player type, the Tank Mages. Tank Mages either want or have the ability to carry the game on their shoulders. They can solo every boss that ever wiped your team, they don't need heals or dps or (de)buffs as they have them themselves. They don't need you. In social games and online spaces where depending on others is promoted, this can be a bit jarring. Especially if you need the Tank Mage so your group can do things. Not everyone who prefers to play alone is a Tank Mage though, just as how not everyone who only ever groups is a powerleveller.

In City of Heroes, I soloed every Kheldian arc. Why? Well.. as much as I love my friends and as much as I enjoy playing with new people, you lot get in my way when I am playing for the content and fluff. You want to do this mission and get to the next as fast as possible or roleplay something that will slow me down or make the fluff whore in me cry quietly.
In Warhammer, when I am not feeling up to the mania of a Warband or the banter of the guild and groups, I go and solo. I can take my time reading the mission text. I can suicide repeatedly if I so choose. I can play NinjaDwarf and get into places I really probably shouldn't. Nothing in that playstyle is bad. I am not saying you cannot come and mission/quest with me, I just want to take it easy and am not offering you a fast and productive experience.

Am I drain on the Sentinels in Warhammer? I like to think not. Through taxes and tithes, they make money from me. Am I a drain on Luna Arcanum in CoH? They are making prestige off of me. When I am soloing, I am still contributing. I'm not always on the team, but I am engaged in teamwork. Maybe not as obviously as when I am in a group, but it is still happening.

If I don't participate with the group as a whole, I do not expect to get the same preference. A raid or taskforce won't ever hinge on my showing up, nor can I expect them to hold a spot for me when others want to go unless I have given the group time in return. Many of the new soloers do not expect such. They are not asking you to bring them on every raid and leave them alone at all other times. If they are, their solo playstle has nothing to do with them being a leech.

Sometimes, even in the most solitary of moods, people like to know others are near and can be reached if necessary. You can solo and be in an MMO. Just don't take it too far one way or the other. Warhammer, for me, had lost its appeal when I was always soloing. If you have soloers in the guild, maybe they just need a friendly hand extended. If you always run in groups, keep in mind that's not for everyone. One former friend in City of Heroes physically could not cope with 8 man teams and would sooner leave than put themselves through strain and no one would say that they were wrong to.

Finally on the grouping side of the fence.. if you never put yourself outside your guild or outside yourself, consider this. You are missing an experience and you may not make friends you otherwise could. My life is richer, online and off, for having pugged and talked to groups.
There is no one ideal playstyle for an MMO in the same way that there is no one ideal MMO for all us online players. If there was, we'd all be raiding tonight, some in groups, some by themselves and some just sitting by and watching us do it.

What possible application could you have for pudding flavoured gunpowder?

In this universe? None whatsoever. But in the universe of shrimp it might be useful.

To be honest, the title line was something odd that came up in conversation once (don't ask) and I promised I'd use it. It does however let me launch into a City Of Discussion.

Having had time to settle down from my nerdrage, I think it is time we talk about Going Rogue and Praetorians.

For a long time, since the introduction of Portal Corps, Praetorian Earth has been a fantastic roleplay device. Evil twin? Praetorian! That or a Nemesis plot. Statesman is missing? Praetorians! A well known hero flip you off? Praetorian, or just a bit of a dick (I'm looking at you Manticore).

Going Rogue seems to be promising us access to this parallel world in more than just missions to beat up the Mirror Universe versions of our favourite Heroes. As such, some things you should know.

  • Praetorian Earth has previously been depicted as a Crapsack World
  • Most groups seem to have an inverse there. The Carnival of Shadows having a good guy version in the Carnival of Light. We've never seen Praetorian Recluse, so expect that one to be interesting (assuming Tyrant aka Emperor Cole didn't just off him)
  • Unless they are being literal about their worlds colliding or there is a third path (the theorised Spy AT) that starts in Praetoria and comes to Paragon, expect this to be a high level zone. After all the machines are all based in Peregrine Island, Level 40+.

Fluff linkdump for those who want to get the skinny on all this Portal and Alternate Universe stuff.

This guy did the reseach and founded Portal Corp. This has led to a possible I15 Mcguffinpopping by, the Rikti invading, people accessing the Shadow Shard and of course Praetorians noticing Earth.

Probably all a Nemesis plot, as per the meme and the status quo

Other rumor mill items, some from the Shield of Paragon coalition and official boards include:

I'll certainly be keeping an eye on all this, though I stand by my complaint that it should have been announced in a better and more coherent fashion.

Some end of blog entry bonus Squick.
Miss Liberty is the granddaughter of Statesman. It has always been assumed that Dominatrix is the same to Tyrant, certainly Statesman in one of the CoH comics went to Praetorian Earth (and it looked like crap) to "rescue" her. Make what you will of the last line in her In Game bio.

WCPI : Tome Of Knowledge

This weeks WCPI.

It has to be, it's got to be. It is the Tome of Knowledge.

Webcomic? Oh you bet. Great posts, great commentary and still the blog I'd go to for Land of the Dead stuff, fluff and history. Looking back and going forward, always check your Tome.

Go! Read!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bad to the Bone

Ok no. I am annoyed at Paragon Studios and NCSoft.

Let's have a quick run around. We have NCSoft being sued by, NCSoft being sued by Richard Garriot and my original complaint for the lackluster annoucement.

Now we have this : City Of Heroes : Going Rogue

Is it an interesting idea? You bet. Is it something the player base has asked for for ages? Oh most certainly. Could it improve teaming in City of Villains and make City of Heroes pop just that little bit more.
Is it a big announcement that could steal Champions thunder and retain some of the current base or the resubs? Oh yes.

Then why has it been rolled out in this manner? There is a direct page for it on the main City of Heroes page, but as of writing this, there is no link to it on the front page. People have been emailed and directed to the link given, which is not an NC page. There were 13 pages of "omgwtfbbq" on the boards before Castle weighed in to say that it was legit.

Am I glad to have something coming? Of course I am.

I am however very annoyed at the execution. This hasn't so much been announced as "oh by the way.."
Where was this news two weeks ago?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Blogroll Update

Had to go and take an axe to the blogroll on the side. So many WAR Bloggers gone, so many blogs that I didn't pay enough attention to.

Sad to see them all go, but still I thank them for what they shared with everyone while they were here.

Coming later tonight : WCPI

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Goodbye Grind, Hello Ban (There's a rant in here)

To my friends recently, I've been a bit vocal about City of Heroes, its lifespan and what I considered idiotic decisions. Hey, it's the internet. Bitching ahoy, granted it would have made sense to blog it all.

Yes I came back for a bit, Shannon wanted to and that was my deal maker/breaker.

Issue 14 is a failure. Issue 15 is an insult and the big announcement the other week was a let down.

In reverse order, here we go.
Posi gave an interview on Massively and hyped up a really big annoucement coming on the 5th anniversary of City of Heroes. All trial and inactive accounts in good standing (read: not banned) were given a free week in which to come back to Paragon and have fun. There was to be chaos on the live servers, Giant Monsters, invasions and Av's everywhere but no Rularuu invasion or 5th Column vs Council war much to my disappointment. In fact given the meat of the i15 annoucement, a 5th/Council war like we had way back at the end of i2/start of i3 would have been amazing. Seph sent me a link from the official site the morning of the anniversary, it was the i15 annoucement. Ooo the 5th Column are coming back, that's cool. Meh, one non co-op taskforce at level 45-50, that's ok. Some stuff from the Magic pack is being copied into the live game (costume change emotes, how long have people waited for those?) and there's some eye candy in more faces and costume pieces.

Slight aside that may get me flamed. Spinks put up a post a while back about a community blog Feministing complaining about the casual sexism in World of Warcraft with the bunny ears and the achievement gotten from tagging a female toon over level 18 with them. Personally I just thought it was an incredibly obvious popculture reference. I had no opinion on the sexual connotations and when you factor in Tauren and Scourge, I had a hard time thinking it'd be sexual. Then again, I'm not a feminist. Even so, why havent they complained about this

Back on track. The i15 annoucement page was up some 16 hours before Posis (late) 8est annoucement. I had come back from Star Trek, I had some free City of Heroes and I was expecting something huge. After all they went down in text as saying that the annoucement would only be published to the website after it was made. It sounded massive.

Global Anniversary Address From Positron™

Also on our anniversary day, be watching around 8pm EST in-game (and shortly thereafter on the website), for a special Anniversary Address from everyone's favorite Lead Designer, Positron.
He will certainly have some fun information to share!

Actually it was just the i15 annoucement page. The only added bit was that the closed beta testing of i15 would be open to all. So not closed then. Thanks for that.

To go back to the start, as mentioned Posi gave an interview on Massively before his big message we'd all seen. In this he talks about programmers they have on board working on a graphical update to City of Heroes. He teases about CoH 2 and plans for the future. He's working the marketing machine as Champions is just around the corner and it's built by the people who built CoH.
None of that made it into the address. No new zone, no mention of updating the game (look at EVE for an example of how to constantly keep your game gorgeous), no mention of plans for the future. Just "lawl new tf, closed beta isnt closed".

As a result I now find i15 insulting. Why? i14.

Issue 14 brought in the much vaunted Mission Architect system. Create your own content! Customise enemies and earn badges based on kills, tickets and people voting on your submission!

Now you have this.

I'm sorry, you're the ones who have gradually made the game easier and easier to the point that some people can fart and hit the midpoint of your levelling system. But because some people are now able to use a meow to burn right to the end of the game, the banstick comes out. As people on the forum have pointed out, the traditional farming maps aren't being removed, nor is the nature of the discipline clear. I got Shannon from 29 to 32 the other night so she could have a new costume and her controller pet. It was late and I was tired, so we farmed it. Are those levels at risk? Who knows.

This is turning into a long winded rant (it's always been a rant) so I'll bring it to a close and cleverly save myself some stuff to blog about later.

The level grind, Posis risk/reward ratio has been steadily pushed over to reward for a long time. Bringing out a system to let people create their own content was always going to be loaded. Sure there are some wonderful stories now that people have crafted themselves, at the same time farming has always been in games. I farmed in Warhammer to get myself to 35.

What really is happening is this. For whatever reason (smaller team, less funds, who knows) there is less new compelling content being created for City of Heroes. Instead they've focused on the end game and farmed (heh) the job of entertaining the masses out to the masses. People are always going to try rush to the end if that's where they think the goods are, look at Warcraft and what it's done to its early game. Death Knights start at 55 for more than just thematic reasons in my opinion. Now because of the farming that the studio themselves enabled, the lack of "official" content is clear. Oroboros was meant as a patch on the content by rewarding badges for rerunning old content, MA was meant as another to distract people while they got more things done. They tied badges to it and as someone on the forums so wonderfully put it "prayed on angel farts" that people wouldn't do what people always do. Min/Max.
It didn't work. Now out comes the banhammer to try balance the equation. They want farming to be dirty again instead of dev enabled.

In the end, under the wording of the announcement, technically anything that changes that magic risk/reward ratio is at risk. Are the PI farms a thing of the past? Are Superteams doomed to die as they max their potential? Will Soldiers of Arachnos get nerfed?

We'll see.

Friday, May 01, 2009

WCPI : Blogwarhammer

For this WCPI it is less a promotion of the active and more a good bye.

  • Alt Much? rips off the bandaid.
  • Girl IRL makes a sideways move.
  • Wizards & Wenches beats a towel to death with another towel. Don't meddle in the affairs of Wizards, they is the cwaaaziest people. <3
  • Bugmans Best is no longer being served.

Blame The Healer and the Tome of Knowledge continue and I along with them. Over on the sidebar there's still the link to the Blog Warhammer Forum. Drop by and annoy some folks.
(Ardy watches for spam .... always watches)