Gaming Keyboard

For about 5 years was pretty happy with my Razer Tarantula keyboard (in fact in have had 2) but after the last failure I decided that I would move away from the Razer and try out something new.

The Gamer keyboard market is getting busier and there are numerous variations being released all the time. First I needed to decide on what features I wanted in my new keyboard.

  • Size – This is a rather big factor in my decision process as space is at a premium, ideally I wanted something smaller than the Tarantula (522mm)
  • I wanted something that looked like a gaming keyboard and not a office keyboard.
  • Volume controls & though not essential media keys if possible
  • Macros, not that I use them much any more but they are invaluable when required

I was looking a wide selection ranging from the Logitech to the Steel Series, of course I had many people telling me their preferences, much of which weren’t really what I was after.

Mechanical keyboards are a little too noisy for my liking, plus they often pick up on my headset deafening everyone else on Teamspeak.
Many keyboard now seem to be all about the gimmicks, how streamlines their appear is over competitors or what cool LEDS colours you can set the backlit keys.

The X4 is a gaming keyboard that is the successor to the X6, notable distinctions include:

  • Reduction in the number of macros available to 18
  • Anti-ghosting is included across the whole keyboard not just the WASD key cluster.
  • Compact yet wide enough design, meaning that the location of the keys feel natural and I wasn’t crammed into one little area.

I’m been using the SideWinder x4 for over 7 months  now and it’s been very solid, occasionally I have an issue with the volume buttons not functioning in Windows 7.

Summary

If you are all about the new shiny or the ultimate in gaming precision, then this really isn’t the Keyboard for you. Compared to the high-end products it’s plain and straight-forward and doesn’t try to be anything more than it needs to be. For a mid-core gamer like me it’s ideal. Once you get the software installed setting up the macros or remapping keys was straight forward and you can record macros on the fly also.
The macros are easily activated and the key strokes are comfortable so you don’t feel like you are fighting with the keys. The W key has 2 small spots on it that makes find your way back to WASD very straight forward.

There is a reminder that this keyboard is Microsoft product with the handy addition of a quick-launch calculator button, on a gaming keyboard I struggle to see the use, unless they are targeting EvE players. The good news is that you can remap it to something more useful like Teamspeak or Media Player.

I have the power

I have often alluded to the fact that power choice is my favourite game mechanic, stemming from days in Planetside through to City of Villains. Of course a great system isn’t they only component that draws my attention it must be employed in a way that works well with the game mechanics.

Planetside employed the Cert system that allowed you to drop or acquire new abilities at a regular scheduled pace.
Guild Wars made all the powers available but gave the primary one a buff and limited the tray to 8 powers.
City of Heroes pinned you down to 2 selections at the start (excluding epic archetypes) but allowed complete freedom of how you configured the powers for your own use, down to how they were slotted.

The Secret World takes all of the above a mixes into a newer combination.
Unlock any power you want, slot any power you have bought, choose 7 active and 7 passive abilities whenever you are out of combat.

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This allows you to pick and choose powers from other Ability sets that enhance your current build, for example, there is a great power in one of the melee classes that increases your Crit Power by 15%, which when I’m being a healer means the amount of healing when I get a Crit is increased.

This level of flexibility is means that as you progress through the game more options and combinations become available, you can pick-up abilities that complement your existing powers, without being block due to not being a tank or having not selected a certain race.

I am currently focused on pistols and blood magic, but I have allocated points into other areas for powers that I use in solo and group builds.

What powers are you using or heading towards?

More Secret World

Secret World has been out for 2 weeks now and the overall opinion seems to be generally good. I’ve caught up on a number of bloggers posts focused on Secret World, who shamed me into finally getting this blog post done, I’ve linked them for reference.

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Effective Communication

I have to admit I find the flow of information coming from FunCom has been rather good. They have been good at releasing detailed information about future content and been honest about problems that have been encountered thus far. Additionally update 1.0.2 was released yesterday proving they are wanting to minimise impact of bugs on the player-base, I hope they can keep it up

Here is a list of the recent updates from FunCom:

  • Buddy Key – A rare move this early in a games lifecycle but a nice idea, a 24 hour pass you can give to a friend so they can join in the fun.
  • Chronicle – An online Character and Cabal profile tool
  • State of the Game – A post by Ragnar Tørnquist outlining the future content starting with the first issue on 31st July. A detailed post that shows that FunCom are planning on keeping us entertained.
  • Chat Problem update – A frank update on the chat problems that have been encountered.
  • A Developer live Stream – Hopefully the first of many giving insight into the game and it’s development.
  • More Issue #1 news – A blog entry detailing Issue #1 content, with a comic style image as the cover.

Mr. Bounder of adventure

We all have fond memories of certain missions in our MMOs that were enjoyable and a pleasure to play. However once complete they are usually lost forever in the completed missions list. With a few exceptions (main story & investigations) all the quests in Secret World are repeatable and you often find yourself drawn into doing so.

As you spend more time in these areas you stumble across side-quests that are positioned off the beaten path, I encountered two over the weekend that I had never seen before. This is a nice touch as it encourages you to wander of into the unknown and utilises more of the map so there is less dead-space where nothing happens.

What rush?

The most frequent comment when I hear when gamers are talking about The Secret World is that they don’t feel rushed. There is a natural progression to the game but with no levels limiting your adventures you can merrily take your time to play through missions, find lore items and hunt for other goodies.
An additional benefit of being able to replay missions is that it allows you to team up with friends and get the enjoyment of grouping without the juggling of levels or alts.

I think that covers everything I wanted to discuss, I leave you with a screenshot of Dok and I rocking out with Cannibal Corpse
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