Group with me at your own risk

My build is my build, group with me at your own risk. My favourite grouping experience was as a Corrupter in City of Villains, my secondary powers were Kinetics and at level 20 you unlocked a power called Speed Boost.
This power was very useful as it granted targeted allies, increased speed / increased recharge / increased recovery / resist slow effects, as powers go it was an all-round bonus for group members.

However the drawback was that the person using it could not cast it on themselves and being a player that often soloed, I only really took powers that I needed for my build to work. So I didn’t pick this power up when it unlocked on reaching level 20 as it was never needed by me and I had more important powers to unlock.

My teaming experience came in the form of a PuG invite looking for a healer. “I can do that on my head” I thought and joined up with a group of 3 other villains looking to cause mischief. We grouped up and entered a mission and started wailing on the enemies, my heals covering the team in a green glow, no-one dies and we were making good progress.

Eochai, king of the Fir Bolg during the 2010 Halloween Event
Eochai, king of the Fir Bolg during the 2010 Halloween Event
For those that have never used the Transfusion power, it’s a difficult heal to get right as you have to target the enemy to use it, thus they have to alive and your group members have to be within a certain radius to get the heal effect, one rouge member wandering away could result in them getting splatted. That was until one team member demand that I use speed boost, of course I couldn’t as I didn’t have the power in the first place. The holier-than-thou team member goes off on a huge diatribe about how everyone that uses kinetics should have it.

During the midst of this rant the other two member remain silent, perhaps acclimatised to their friends lengthy outbursts, one goes AFK and asks the team in chat to wait for them to return. Our ranty friend of course doesn’t see this message and charges off headlong into more enemies about 30 seconds away from our static position.

Of course without the rest of the team to back him up he is taking damage as the enemies slowly whittle his health away and the last message I read before leaving the group was him asking for help, then on noticing the last afk message, asking if anyone was back. I nearly doubled up laughing as I left him to whatever doom he’d incurred.

As a warning to others I updated my player listing to reflect that I didn’t have Speed Boost and not to ask for it. This appeared to deter those that only wanted to team for 1 power I could bestow on them and the quality of grouping afterwards was much improved.

So as indicated in the first line, my build is mine to decide what to use or how best to configure my hot bars, so quit telling me how to play my damn character.

P.S I did get Speed Boost after respecing but often kept that same warning message up just to avoid teaming with planks.

#MMO #CityOfHeroes #Blaugust

Lights out

There was a time when in answer to the question “What is your favourite MMO?” I would dive in with a resounding Planetside. It was where I found a gaming retreat for many years and forged friendships that are still going strong to this day.

However the answer to that question changed as I found a new home in the form of the Rogue Isles in City of Villains.

Next to City of Heroes, City of Villains was always the lesser mentioned and talked about element of the MMO. In a super hero game who wants to be the bad guy right? However it was a nice break from the normal “You are the chosen, now save the world” approach and that is what kept our interest for so long.

DXP

In 30 days it will be the anniversary of NCSofts’ announcement that the City of Heroes/Villains games were going to be shut down by the end of 2012, I remember it very clearly and how I was so very disappointed.

I was reminded of that time after reading a post by Bhagpuss @ Inventory Full, yesterday was the final day of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. My thoughts are echoed back to me about wanting to play and take more screenshots in those last few months before closure, but feeling utterly lacking in effort to do so. Not through any rational thought, but the feeling of betrayal, of knowing the game you poured much of your digital soul into is going away.

However games pull you back in one final time to say farewell and you take screenshot or videos of your characters and locations that remind you of the fun times that were had in the game.

As Bhagpuss also mentions there are moves in place to maybe run an emulator maybe in the same way that Star Wars Galaxies has done. I do hope this happens for all the player that want to continue enjoying that digital world.

For the Ex-CoH/V players there is the City of Titans game development which successfully Kickstarted a campaign to raise initial funding to build a new Super Hero themed MMO. The use of the latest Unreal engine will mean this could be the foremost superhero MMO on the market in terms of graphics.

Additionally there is some movement in the Task Force Hail Mary area of the titan network. This was originally part of the multi-pronged strategy to ask various 3rd partys to buy the game from NCSoft, but efforts died down over the first year. Ironwolf is leading the charge anew, with some positive noises coming from NCSoft and other parties with regards to purchasing the game.

As makes sense trying not to get too excited at this prospect, plus it’s not clear what exactly will be obtained from NCSoft if it does succeed. (characters etc). I’d like to think that on a disk somewhere at NCSoft-land all of my characters lay dormant just waiting to be bought to life once more.

For all those Vanguard players, sorry your home is now gone and I hope you find another soon.
Check out some of my fellow Blaugust bloggers who have also been posting about Vanguard:

#MMO #CityOfHeroes #Vanguard #Blaugust

It’s a mystery

Playing The Secret World with a static group is a far better experience to delivery measured chunks of content to players. Well better than playing solo, and that isn’t to say you can’t solo it, just that the hive mind is often better at solutionizing and less likely to resort to searching Google for answers. Don’t get me wrong my original time in TSW was very fun, however it wasn’t long until the magic faded for many players and I was playing solo alot of the time. As the mobs got harder getting from A to B took longer and longer.
This started being a chore and ultimately I also left the game for digital pastures shiny.

The Secret World throws some utterly different curve balls at you in the form of investigation missions. Of course if you were to encounter these in a single player adventure title you wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Yet in an MMO setting they truely stand out as a unique feature of the title, I have no doubt that this a side effect of having Ragnar Tørnquist as the game director.

Last night we ran a few “standard” missions as the group entered and started on Savage Coast content. I was awash with memories of the area and had a little smile knowing that I’ll get to see other people experience some of that great storytelling again. To finish the groups evening jaunt we undertook an Investigation mission that I just about remember from over a year ago, but I settled back into the story without too much hardship or spoiler for the rest of the group.

Maybe the modern day setting allows TSW the freedom to think outside the conventional MMO boundaries.
By using old/foreign languages, fake  corporation websites, asking “does anyone in your group have knowledge of Latin” or maybe basic knowledge of musical notation.
The strange part is you half feel that the game is not only testing you but also teaching you.

Outfitters

I’ve been catching up on my gamer blog reading and have been enjoying Belghast’s posts around rebuilding/recovering a WoW guild. I found myself reading these with great interest as it means getting into a certain mindset.
I haven’t been a true leader of a group since around 2009 when we mostly retired from Planetside 1 due to hacker problems and the servers being moved to the US. While reading about rekindling buried leadership skills, it dawned on me that I did really enjoyed my time-share management of ChaosNC, a brief history of which I shall relate to you, if you haven’t got anything better to do.

Continue reading “Outfitters”

Elder Scrolls Online

We now stand in 2014 the year that a well know gaming franchise plans to move into the MMO scene in the form of The Elder Scrolls Online.
Continuing the Skyrim date tradition (which may just be a way of avoiding awkward date formats across the globe) the game will be launched on the 04/04/2014, also celebrating the 20th year anniversary since the birth of the Elder scrolls.

Along with the launch date announcement was a video for the War in Cyrodiil which indicated recent trailer. there was a good indicator that the game will have large scale combat, possibility akin to the RvR of the now departed Warhammer Online.

However despite being a much love franchise there are a number of concerns floating around that could damage the games launch:

Billing Model
First up is the traditional MMO box cost and subscription approach that is rumoured, in a world filled with Free-2-Pay models, the MMO is looking to stick with the system many MMO gamer grew up with.

I’ll be the first to admit that I find the Freemium model awful, with overall being more costly to players and bringing with it additional problems such as large numbers of griefers & hackers. I for one miss the subscription pay-wall in MMO games.

tesoA Solo-friendly MMO?
Second issue I hear is that the game looks to be a solo RPG with MMO features to allow for grouping.

For me many MMOs are built like solo games, in my experience many games embrace this as they know more players in more income.

  • The Secret World (if you discount the dungeons) for me was solo friendly until I reached the 3rd Zone of Solomon and then it wasn’t too bad.
  • I found Rift was rather solo friendly until I quit playing at around level 30
  • I spent a month in The Old Republic and only teamed in that game once.

There is a concern that making a solo friendly game means the need to group becomes redundant, however I feel that a well built system can truly enable the game to be played in the manner best suited for the gamer.
In City of Heroes\Villains you could solo most large parts of the game if you wanted, if you did group up the system automatically raised the difficultly bar, scaling both difficulty and quantity of enemies. Plus you could also artificially increase your difficulty giving a toughing fight, but increasing XP and rewards.

This also allows for a easy introduction of level-less content to be played more than once, a trick that Secret World uses to enable rerunning of content without the feeling that you are losing out on XP.

I guess time will have to tell how grouping and solo play will work in TESO, will the landscape be filled with multiple gamers playing together but alone?