Thursday, October 27, 2011

More expansion thoughts

I realised I neglected to mention a major expansion feature, PvE Scenarios. It seems like a fairly obvious design evolution when you think of it; all the mission-ey stuff that's in the more recent BGs such as Isle of Conquest, just without an opposing team to gank you along the way.

I initially dismissed this as more noob pandering [er, no pun intended =\ ], recalling the eponymous Rift events from that game that got so boring, so fast. But then it occurred to me that they may actually be designed to be challenging. If they can get the challenge of a dungeon boss into a small-group encounter which does not necessitate a tank, I can see that being something well worth getting into. Of course, my inner cynic points out they will probably just make them faceroll noob fodder, so I refuse to raise my expectations until I can actually play one.

Rohan of Blessing of Kings pointed something out which bothered me:

As for tanking, it's somewhat odd, but non-shield tanks will actually outnumber the shield tanks. That does feel a bit weird to me. Legendary tanking polearm incoming?

I see how this has happened. What was at the beginning the standard [or depending on your opinion, only] tank configuration has now fallen out of fashion as every new class introduced to the game has had tanking shoehorned into it, along with the necessary stat contrivances to give them plate + shield-level armour.

I guess this is just another unfortunate effect of the evolution in design philosophy which has occurred since the classes were originally created using outdated design concepts like a non-hybrid DPS class.

Actually, one more thought occurs to me. With twice as many Leather tanking classes [and Druids being given the added endorsement of a tank-specific spec], perhaps there is enough reason to finally put Leather tanking gear back into the game. =D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gentle Evening Mists of Hippieland

Well, isn't this a joke. =|

The thing I am most curious about is how terrible the rejected ideas were to make this bottom-of-the-barrel concept seem like a good idea.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way I must remind myself that Blizzard does not make bad games and regardless of the story concept, WoW will continue to be an excellent game for the forseeable future, especially now that they are done with that cataclysmic timesink of redesigning Azeroth and can focus more on developing actual game systems.

The new talent system is really well thought-out. The Challenge dungeons sound fucking awesome and I can't wait for an excuse to do more five-man content. The introduction of gear-normalisation [along with smoothing the gear progression from levels one through eighty-five] opens up all kinds of future options to expand gameplay which would otherwise be restricted by level. Going from three to two weapon slots is an extremely overdue change. Resilience is being made into a base stat, and I still hope that Spirit becomes a secondary stat at the same time.

The critter pet battling sounds pretty lame, but if I know me, I'll end up getting into it. >_>

I'll have to hear more about the new class before I pass judgement, but the idea of a melee healer gets me very, very excited. Let's just hope it doesn't become one of those unbalanceable concepts like Death Knight tanking or Discipline healing where they end up homogenising the hell out of it just to stop it from being overpowered. I also like the idea of a melee class without auto-attacks [though this may not end up being final] and disagree that this is really anything unusual. We already have loads of classes that don't use autoattacks and have to press a button for every offensive move. We call them casters.

I still eyetwitch every time I hear Blizzard talking about how a Legendary needs a story to go along with it, considering that when the Rogue daggers were first announced, they also said they had yet to make up a story to go with them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Australia fail

I've heard a bit of discussion of Dark Souls, and it strikes me as being very much a gamer's game. Though my first reaction is to dismiss it on the grounds that it's probably too hard for me, I only have to remind myself that I had the same thought when I first heard about Super Meat Boy, before I ended up playing that and having about as much fun as I ever have playing a video game. [Seriously, seriously cannot recommend that game enough.]

But then I checked into the availability of the game: it's only on consoles [strike one], and the US version is not compatible with my Australian X-Box, so I would have to pay Australian retail price for it. $90+ is far more than I'm willing to pay for a game that I'm not certain I'll even get into for more than a few hours.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diablo III

First of all, calling this a Beta is a gross misrepresentation. When you release something for free that only includes the first chapter of the first act, that is called a demo. I'm extremely skeptical of the actual testing usefulness of this beta with only around two hours of gameplay to be had per tester. Ten, I suppose, if you play the same chapter five times to see each class.

Prior to this weekend I had never played more than 20 minutes of a Diablo game, though according to Steam I've logged about 20 hours on Torchlight, so I'm not really sure whether to qualify myself as a noob to the genre or not...

I am thoroughly, thoroughly impressed with this game. The gameplay is just so ridiculously smooth... it reeks of a refinement that you see in very few games.

I just have nothing bad to say about it whatsoever. My favourite class so far is the Wizard, mainly because of how immensely satisfying it is to evaporate a group of monsters from across the screen with a few lazy bursts of chain lightning.

It's easy to understand the direction WoW has been going recently after seeing how streamlined Diablo III is. Every peripheral feature is secondary to the gameplay itself. Sell and salvage straight from your bag. No talent trees-- just choose the abilities you want at that minute. No equipment binding. Shared professions between characters. Mana regeneration is fast and constant. Skip all the quest text and follow the map arrows.

Just kill monsters, get loot.

I can't believe how fucking short this damn demo is. =|