Tag Archives: MMO

Destiny – Vestian Outpost Reveal / Armor Perks are Boring!

This week Bungie live streamed the reveal of Destiny’s new social space in the reef. During that stream, we caught many glimpses of some of the new gear in the DLC, and it really got me thinking.

Items in Destiny right now, particularly armor, particularly PARTICULARLY leg armor, are really boring. Even the leg armor from the two raids are lame. The Vault of Glass greaves lets you carry more heavy ammo. How does that even make sense unless the Hezen Lords loved sewing pockets in their footwear? The boots from Crota’s End are more interesting in terms of design, but the unique perk only comes into play for 17% of raiders (Only one person gets to be sword-duder at Crota), and even then only on the last encounter. Maybe if the bridge encounter wasn’t so easily cheesed more people would experience the benefits, but honestly, even that would not make these boots interesting.

kellbreakerBut it isn’t just boots that are pretty uninspiring in Destiny. It’s armor in general. Sure, there are some cool things that are not overpowered enough to warrant being exotic, like the Facade of the Hezen Lords, which offers a choice of two perks that both randomly spawn orbs when you kill a Vex in a certain manner. In the stream, we caught a shot of Kellbreaker’s Gloves, a new item, that had a similar effect. This is absolutely a step in the right direction. All the armor from Crota’s End, light level, armor, and generic perks aside, have absolutely no impact on play outside the raid.

This problem is even worse in the Crucible, where everything is normalized, meaning your light level, armor, and many other attributes simply do not matter. You could seriously wear the boots you start the game with and notice virtually no difference because the only perk boots get outside of Radiant Dance Machines and the Crota’s End gear is increased ammo.born spark

Would it really be that hard to itemize more creatively when it comes to armor? Or even more logically? Think about all the guns you have that have increased slide distance. How does a gun enable that? Wouldn’t it make more sense if your boots had a perk like that rather than a gun? How about moving faster while aiming? Plus two to agility? It’s like Bungie took all the obvious already existing perks for boots and dumped them into weapons.

Yeah, I get that some of the aforementioned perks make some logical sense on weapons, but putting those perks on weapons came at the cost of armor becoming that much more generic.  House of Wolves appears to be aiming to fix this issue by making armor choices beyond light level more meaningful for game play. But among the scattered sprintglimpses into the new gear, I saw several perks that, once again, were on weapons but seemed to be perfect opportunities to make armor more interesting, like the new perk “sprint” which increases sprint speed after a kill with the equipped weapon. That could easily be changed to increases run speed after a kill.

I get that maybe programming this stuff into armor wouldn’t be easy, and that when you place a perk on armor, you have to balance it against all weapons rather than just the weapon the perk appears on, but man, I was really hoping to see new perks on the armor teased during the stream, but unfortunately, whenever Deej hovered over a chest piece or leg armor, all it said was “carry more ammo for X weapon.” 😦

Enough being all critical about a relatively minor, though valid, gripe. Overall, the reveal stream was awesome, and still has me excited for House of Wolves next month and the upcoming stream from Bungie(you should probably give them a follow on Twitch) for the Trials of Osiris on April 29th at 11 am pacific. Additionally, the raid armor could be more interesting, as hinted at by the Kellbreaker’s Gloves shown above. I’m also slightly more confident that the Prison of Elders won’t just be a boring horde mode after it was mentioned during the stream(I was worried I had cursed us all by begging Bungie to not let it be that in a previous post).

Let me know your thoughts on armor’s place in Destiny, and your ideas for cool perks you’d like to see on gear in the future. Also, please give me a share or a follow. C’mon, it’s like two clicks. 😛

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Destiny – House of Wolves, Raidless in the Reef

So easy to kill I think my cat did it once while I was in the bathroom.

So easy to kill I think my cat did it once while I was in the bathroom.

While I won’t say I expected it, I wasn’t all that surprised when Bungie announced as part of the House of Wolves DLC reveal that there will not be a new raid. After all, their previous DLC, Crota’s End, was a yawn-inducing snorefest of a raid that lacked substance or challenge after the initial thrill wore off. Crota’s End was far too reliant on a single person to do the vast majority of the heavy lifting exciting parts, while everyone else’s job was either to go die on purpose (bridge), not die by standing around waiting to shoot rockets every so often from the safety of a high ledge (Crota), or even worse, just doing whatever they wanted until the encounter ended (pit). Really, Deathsinger is the only encounter in the entire raid where I’ve ever felt like I was really playing the damn game.

But enough complaining about a DLC that was more or less finished before anyone even logged into the actual game for the first time. Let’s examine what Bungie’s announcement means for the DLC and for us content-hungry Guardians.

FIrst, I’m pretty sure there was a raid in the works for HoW. Planet Destiny, among others, have published articles in the past mentioning a raid. In the announcement stating there is no raid, it was stated that they “didn’t make this decision lightly,” implying that they cut the raid from HoW relatively recently.

You know what? I’m glad they did it.

Despite a general lack of chatter from the player base about the Crota raid being boring/exploitable, it kinda sucked, but people aren’t complaining because they are getting their loot. You know what people ARE complaining about? Wanting more content! Too bad everyone blew through the Crota raid like a Gjallarhorn rocket through, well, everything.

If House of Wolves had NO new gear or content but told an awesome story about the Queen, I would buy it.

If House of Wolves had NO new gear or content but told an awesome story about the Queen, I would buy it.

Its clear that the raid simply was not any ‘better’ than Crota’s End. I don’t want the next raid to be 20 minutes long and chock-full of easy ways to win, and neither does Bungie, but they clearly can’t figure out how to design interesting encounters for six people that are fun and remain fun the 10th time you do them. The Vault of Glass is alright I guess, and at least it feels like a raid both in scale and in how long it takes, but how long did they work on that, like two years?

Enter their solution – the Prison of Elders. You know, that place where the Archon Priest with the BIGGEST precision damage zone ever came from, and wishes he never left after you stagger-locked him with Black Hammer a few hundred times.

The Prison of Elders is a “new cooperative end game activity focused on variety, replayability, and skill,” which sounds fun, but is eerily generic. That could define basically anything from the Iron Banner to a raid to the Roc playlist to fucking playing soccer in the tower. My guess is that this is the trial run for making three-man content the focus of the endgame PvE. It makes perfect sense to try after all the problems with the Crota raid. Players will have more of the burden, and so more things to do. Mobs, like the Knights you have to clean up after killing Deathsinger, won’t have gigantic HP pools, and things will probably be less dangerous in close quarters in general, making in-your-face playstyles (like mine) less suicidal. Also, I’m no game designer, but I have to believe that designing mechanics for encounters with three people have to be less exploitable than encounters designed with six in mind.

Now, we don’t know much about the Prison yet, but there’s one thing that, while I would like to see it as a part of Destiny, I really REALLY hope is not what the Prison of Elders turns out to be.

Bungie, if you read this, PLEASE. Don’t let it be Horde mode from Gears of War. Fighting wave after wave of dudes is fun, and should be in the game somewhere besides the pit after ‘the path forward is clear,” but I don’t want to have to grind that for months on end to get the best gear.

upgradeThat scary notion aside, the next few weeks are going to be a blast. Next week we learn how our current exotics are going to get to the new max attack of, presumably from the announcement page, 365, and the week after that, we’ll see the Trials of Osiris in action, which also has gear drops.

In closing, I’m viewing the lack of a raid in House of Wolves as Bungie finally stepping up and saying “Hey, we haven’t done Destiny justice, and we take pride in our work, so from now on, we are only going to release content that we can be proud of.” Or maybe I’m just continuing to justify my playing a game I’ve invested almost 400 hours into in the vain hope it will magically become what I know it could be.

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My First and Last Healing Experience in Warlords of Draenor

It may come as something of a surprise to some, but I’m playing World of Warcraft again. I’ll wait while you finish laughing, crying, and rolling on the floor.

OK, let’s continue, but I feel I should explain why I’m playing again after publicly stating countless reasons why I hated the game. I’ll try to be brief.

  1. No flying in Draenor zones. This was my number one complaint about the game. Flying made the game world feel fragmented, and encounters with other players were somewhat rare (and PvP encounters with flying mounts were rare AND stupidly frustrating. Fucking flight form). Removing flying meant Draenor could have quests and exploration in a more traditional sense. I love exploring zones and questing in WoD because I don’t have the ability to just fly directly to the objective, land ON IT, kill it/loot it/talk to it, and leave.
  2. I lost the fire. I played WoW for a long time with the mindset that I wanted to raid everything, do everything, and be the best I could be. It really made it tough for me to just play the game and have fun. A few years away has really doused that desire (thankfully), and I can just try to enjoy playing the game like I did way back in early 2005.
  3. The free ten-day trial. I was bored, and this is how they sucked me back in. I didn’t have a 90, and I wanted one. Marketing, it works. Also, The Angry Chicken podcast talking about WoW all the time didn’t help, jerks.

I still have issues with the feeling that the entire game is a much of mini-games you queue for, but that isn’t changing anytime soon because truthfully, it works. It lets more people experience more of the game, and now that I’m part of the unwashed masses and not an elite raider, I have to say I sorta enjoy it.

OK, the elephant in the room has been acknowledged. I really want to ramble on and turn this into a pros/cons of WoD, but let’s leave that for another post and move on to the bitching session (let’s call it what it probably is).

I chose to boost my Shaman to 90 because I raided with Shaman in Cataclysm, and I liked his professions (JC/Enchanting) because you could make a fair amount of money, which I enjoyed doing, and when you got an upgrade you didn’t have to screw around finding someone to put the finishing touches on your new item.

This was a mistake, and not just because Versatility was already level 85.

Shaman kinda suck right now. Enhancement is terrible in PvP, Elemental is acceptable in Arena and marginal in BGs, and I just don’t like PvP healing as a Shaman (or in general really). In PvE, their feel just doesn’t work for me anymore. The specs don’t feel that much different, but I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to, especially with Echo of the Elements causing me to constantly miss out on extra damage.

That left PvE Restoration, something I don’t have a ton of gear for. My ilevel is only 609 in healing gear, and frankly, I wasn’t great in Cataclysm as a healer. But I had put a lot of time into the character, completed almost all the quests, and had a huge garrison to play in, so I wanted to find reasons to play the class until they became viable in PvP.

versaI queued up for a Heroic after going through the seriously annoying silver-level Proving Grounds where I did just fine aside from Healbot not registering those bubble debuffs on party members. I got a group for the Docks pretty quickly, but I quickly found that my party took more damage than I thought they would, and I was casting more often as well, meaning I had to plan ahead.

We cleared to the first boss, and the tank pulled it while I was at about 50% mana (he hadn’t stopped once since we began). Our hunter and shadow priest were taking excessive damage from the fire-poop that occasionally landed near us, but the tank was doing alright.

Then our Paladin walked too close to a few guys we didn’t clear, and the fight became a mess. He died because I wasn’t going to heal him and die next, but I managed to finish the fight with no other deaths and no mana. We continued on to the area where LARGE areas of the ground were occasionally bombarded by cannon fire, but unless it’s your first time at the Docks, it’s easy to not stand in.

The Paladin pulled the first group in that area while the tank was afk, so that chewed up a fair chunk of my mana. Once the tank arrived, he continued to turbo-pull. Every pull, our shadow priest and hunter would stand out in the open exactly where you are not supposed to, and took HEAVY damage. Several times all five of us were at or below 25% health because of excessive dummy damage, but no one died.

After we cleared the area, just before the boss, I was booted from the group. No reason was given, and no one had complained in chat about my healing. I couldn’t believe that they booted me, not because there was great loot or anything in a heroic (better than my current healing gear, but w/e my healing gear was kinda bad), but because they preemptively got rid of me before anyone, aside from an idiot who needed to because he pulled adds during a boss fight, died.

I repeat, despite the DPS playing like crap and taking tons of damage, NO ONE HAD DIED. If anyone had a complaint about the group, it should have been the tank and I, really mostly just me. I’ve healed instances and raids pre-WoD, but healing that group was at least three times as much stress and work than the average average puts in, and only a small part of that was because my gear was relatively poor.

I can only imagine how the next healer reacted to their idiocy, but the real question is “Is this what it’s like healing in WoD?”

If I’m going to get booted for doing my job (albeit barely), then fuck healing, and fuck shaman.

Yep, this ended up as mostly a rant. That’s OK, I needed to get it out.

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