Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The grinding need.

From time to time, I feel the need to grind something. It might be my magic, which still has a lot to go, or some crafting to be able to make my own stuff. Grinding magic is very much a serious need because I won't feel completed until I can bubble, blind and stormblast away as nearly everybody else can do. On the other hand, the crafting grind is not really a need. In my situation, with Lux Arcana Trading System and lots of friendly clannies to help me out, I only need to farm gold so I can buy whatever I need. Despite that, sometimes I feel the urge to grind Weaponsmithing, Bowyer, Alchemy or Armorsmithing so I don't need to bother Clan Merchants with all the stuff a player needs to go PvE or PvP. Also, if you can use everything to get from mobs and chests to craft your own stuff, you won't spend so much money in buying it but that's not the reason behind my urges. The reason is that I can and that I need the final crafted object, whatever it is. This two realitites makes me want to be able to do it. It's that simple. The Skill System in Darkfall promotes grinding or at least, that's how I feel about it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'll fight unitl I win... or run.

Keegar, fellow clanmate, complained the other day about how every fight ends up being a persecution and at least, he's able to run to and from someone. In Agon, a lot of people and most of the fighters have several bunnyhoping spells and they use it. The good chance to escape they provide has changed the classic: Victory or death to something less epic like Victory or Escape. Unfortunately for the less developed characters out there, me being one, when there's no chance of victory there's no chance of escape either so we still fight to the end. The ability to escape should be in Darkfall no doubt, my rant, as other times before, is about the amount of escaping spells a veteran character has. I hope prestige classes change that but somehow I doubt it. If everything remains the same I will keep saying: Freedom means nothing without choice and consecuences.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Offline Skilling revealed and Community Feedback

There's a couple of new information bits that have recently surfaced and I'd like to comment on them. The first one is an interview from ZAM and the second, a new activity report about community feedback. The most interesting part of the interview is this one:

ZAM: You recently announced that you're incorporating offline skilling for some of the “tedious” tasks. Could you tell us more about this feature and give some examples of which skills might be included?
Flambouras: This will be a work in progress. In a nutshell: players can buy meditation points and use them to raise skills while they’re offline. The skills we’re starting with are the magic schools only. Not the spells, just the schools. We’ll expand on this with frequent updates.
Magic schools offline skilling is a very good thing but now some new questions rise: Will it skill the intensify, duration and so on from the skilling school? There will be gains in INT while doing so? I think the answers to both questions is NO. I believe AV wants to make online skilling more effective than offline but that will leave macroing as the most efficent way to skill up. Anyway it will be great to skill Witchcraft and Spell Chanting.
The activity report is not full of information but it's something. The newbie experience sure needs to be improved but I hope they don't dumb the game with those simbols ! on top of quest givers. The crafting fundamental changes look good even if we don't know nothing about them, I just hope crafting becomes something more engaging than it is now.
Additionally, new trade route missions feedback and information was discussed along with future sea fortress changes, on making them go live during peak hours. Solo player combat mechanics and party mechanics were also brought up with feedback on the solo player experience and recommendations on how to make solo players more self-sufficient. Party number limits were also mentioned.
This ^ is also good news, all of it and so are mount upgrades and ship power improvements. I was very surprised to see that they call the proxy clans an exploit when siege mechanics are so flawed. What do you want us to do AV? With current server population and many clans having many holdings what else is there to do? I'm not happy either with this:
We agree that as far as alignment goes, going red is too forgiving when it needs to be more of an active decision with implications for the player.
The problem with alignment goes beyond it being too forgiving. The problem is that you can red by defending your holding while a guy healing and buffing a red can stay blue. Alignment has many issues and before tackling the penalty for being red you need to fix them.
The feasibility of player housing in or around NPC cities, or auction houses were also brought up. Feedback on the economy was presented and a lot of it is consistent with our development plans.
Does this mean that there will be player housing in or around NPC cities? And auction houses? I sure hope so. Well, something is something, uh?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sweet sweet devil

This morning I had around 9k gold in my bank and I was only thinking about farming gold. This afternoon I was lucky enough to be online when Orkula gathered a few luxers to go and take the Devil. As I hadn't seen the Devil before (and I needed the gold), I joined the group and we managed to kill two Devils before going back to Andruk to split the loot. The Devil is a hard sucker but a group of 9 took him down quite easily. The coordination needed to kill it is nothing espectacular but if each one doesn't do his part, I'm sure it can take a very long time. Despite that, I think the Devil needs a couple of unique and awesome skills so he can rock accordingly. The two hellfiends took us around 30 minutes and the reward was aprox. 35k gold plus some extras, including three maps, one of each, we haven't claimed yet. So, once again, grouping is the way to go!! I'm not completely poor anymore!
For now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Toad's Tongue: ForumFall never changes...

The Fallout quote works really good with ForumFall and today I'm presenting a new chapter of said soapopera. Apparently, Get Good has joined The Chickens Club, an alliance founded by I Know My Chickes and Foggen, SG of zZzZz has started this thread to "discuss the epic nutcup alliance". If you read this blog from time to time, you'll know that I won't say a bad word against someone because he wants to ally with someone else. After all, that's what this game is about. Zagenda members don't like that and the thread goes on for 30 pages already and I gotta say it's pretty amazing, famous Ninogan declaring he's leaving Get Good included. My personal comment on this situation has already been explained by someone else, but I haven't found the post in a quick revisit so I can't say who did. The thing is that now, The Chickens Club has become even a greater force in Agon and that is a good thing.
According to Urme, Sun has joined Zagenda but I'm pretty sure that's the work of some useless and bored troll so I'm not taking that into account. So, now we got Zagenda, Sun, The Chickens Cub and Shadowlords as the four biggest alliances out there ("biggest" as overall, not only numbers) and I hope that 312-Alliance, Pandora and Lux Arcana can grow enough to take some of the pie from them. Having 7 big forces fighting for Agon supremacy would be awesome!! Much better that two or three, where stagnation is much easier to happen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tasos keeps it up!

Lately, Dev communication has increased and players can't be happier about it. In the last blog post from Tasos himself, he talks about some interesting stuff.
All quests are being rewritten, more dynamic quests are going to be added, faction quests will be more helpful towards newbies and there will be more advanced quests added to the game. The events team is also preparing epic dynamic events and more lore driven events.
Quests are good because they give the player an objective when you don't have anything else to do. Of course, Tasos also hypes once more the dynamic events and lore driven events. Hopefully, they'll come soon.
The meditation feature was demonstrated to us today, it’s almost complete and should be added to the game in the next patch or shortly after that.
The meditation features is the offline skilling system for those living under a rock and it "should be added" very soon. I'm surely waiting for this new feature and hoping it will reduce the grind or at least the perception of it.
A new dynamic lighting is now working properly, we were shown a test of this in-game and it was very impressive. We expect this to be added in the next expansion after it is implemented.
Very few players have shadows on in Darkfall, at least I  don't, so this new dynamic lighting systemis not really important to me. What I'd like to hear is some like Server Optimization or whatever makes Darkfall run better on my computer. Some time ago, I was fascinated with Half Life 2 because it was a GREAT game and you couldn run it on a damn Gameboy! I'd like to see something like that in Darkfall too.
We have a sophisticated political map in the works which makes clan associations easy to explore, also it features locations for vendors, banks and other in-game resources. We saw a small demonstration of this in action and it looks really good.
About time...
Finally, we were given a demonstration of the new environmental sound system and we got to see the entire functionality of it which has so much more than a demo we had shared with the community a while back. This is a high-end, next gen, real-time surround-sound environmental sound generator which also integrates with the game music system.  Very few other games have something similar to this. During its demonstration we had a very immersive experience and we can’t wait to see this feature in-game.
I don't know what to think about it but I guess it's good news. Anyway, the really important thing about the post is the post itself. Aventurine has increased the level of communication and that's a very good thing. Hopefully, we'll never be back into the dark cave where we can only hear the Forumfall screams.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Siege Report: Banagar / Eslingar 21-11-2010

Yesterday, we had a double siege! And we won it! In the beginning, I was in the Junk tasked with destroying the Siegestones around Eslingar and keeping the enemies occupied while our main force was doing something else. The first stone went down with no problem at all but 20 enemies (or so) came to defend the second siegestone. Despite the odds, we manage to survive, ship included, until the cavalry appeared. Then we took down the second stone and, thanks to some enemy cannon we looted, we destroyed the third and last Siegestone. Eslingar, our beloved colony, was saved and so, we all moved back to Andruk to go for the second part of the siege: Banagar. After some short and very low-fps battles, my group had to go back to Andruk, take some repair shards and tools, go back to Banagar and repair the bank to take out the cannons. Some explosions later, Banagar was ours!!! Unfortunately for me, my FPS are not good enough and yesterday, there was no time to try some new tweaks.
On the bright side, Maejohl finally announced The Protectorate of Lux Arcana, a kingdom style of holding managing that  I've personally been waiting for some time now and that might bring some freshness to our gameplay. You can check the official announcemente here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dynamic Quests FTW!

In the latest post from Darkfall official blog, Laenih has uncovered a bit more the awaited Dynamic Quests. Apparently, dynamic quests will be given by NPCs and you'll have to do something depending on your race and probably other variables. The example given is about the Vargashi, a new addition to the Darkfall Lore. That race used to slave mahirims back in the day and so, while other races might help them in a certain quest, mahirim will attack them instead. It would be nice if an Alfar and a Mahirim can fight eachother while doing the same Quest from different sides.
As usual, Laenih teases us with upcoming Dynamic Quests and Dynamic Events and I sure hope we don't have to wait to long before we can see them. A dynamic world is just what Darkfall needs just as I said in my previous post about Starcraft 2. The world needs to change and those changes must affect players as they must be able to affect the world.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

OT: Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty

I'm quite a gamer and so, after the first Darkfall fever was gone, I've played other games that I haven't commented in here yet because of the blog title but I've decided to start doing it, under the Off-Topic tag.
Recently, I've finished Starcraft 2 first campaign and I've enjoyed a lot but not as much as I expected. First of all, I only play RTS for their campaigns; I enjoy RTS gameplay but it's not my favourite and multiplayer RTS are not for me. I like stories and Warcraft 3 campaing was great, so I was hoping for some more of it. Unfortunately, Wings of Liberty doesn't deliver. Maybe the campaign is too long for its own sake or maybe their saving their best moments for the Protoss and Zerg campaign but it's not as good as it could be. The lack of heroe presence in the battlefield might have something to do aswell because you could get into Arthas skin very easily but it's hard to enter Reynor's.
Despite all that, Wings of Liberty is a nice and polished game with a very nice "campaing navigator" in the Hyperion and full of different misions. Actually, it's probably my fault, you know hype is very bad.
So, what could Darkfall do to improve it's storytelling? MMORPG narrative is a hard concept but I think its basis should be: Players can influence the state of the world and the state of the world does influence the player's experience. Darkfall already does that but not a lot. Hopefully that will change with more events. We shall see.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Siege Report: Quarendel 14-11-2010

Yesterday, Lux Arcana sieged Quarendel and won. Despite the big groups of roamers, something that is kinda becoming a trend lately, we had quite a big group to confront them and whipe Acheron, previous owners of Quarendel. Again, the amount of players in a small area made my FPS drop til 10 or less and that was not nice. I guess I'll have to start thinking again about buying a new CPU.
SirTL KYE from Acheron made a thread in fourms complaining about we, being a big clan, sieging them, being a small one. As Maejohl said, we sieged Quarendel because we wanted it. I have already talked about this nutcup nonsense and the usual cries about fair fights in a game that is not about them. I've particularly like the contributions of noizex who seems to think like me and writes with sense and calm.
After this siege, I've decided to look for some small scale PvP this week, we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A New Home

Lux Arcana has moved from the icy Frostbourne to the Andruk fortress. I haven't been around for long so I don't know the place so well. Nearby, there's Quarendel which I know better but I have never been around Andruk before so I don't know the mob spawns or anything else to be honest. I bet I still can get lost in the city. That's actually good news because getting to know the city is part of the fun of acquiring it.
This one was a trade but we had Zagenda visitors so it was not boring. I expect great things from this city, a lot of PvP among other things and for the time being, it seems it will deliver.
Unfortunately, I still have a lot of grinding to do before I can run into the heat of battle as I want to do and survive it, as I still don't do. I've survived the last battles, Velmuna siege and yesterday's trade, but only because I was very careful (two or three days ago I died three times in a row). That also meant nearly no action, only some long range combat, and it wasn't as fun as Darkfall's PvP can be. I guess I need to practice my position in the battlefield. Not too far, not too close. I also need to duel more to train my 1v1 rusty skills but I don't enjoy them much.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Siege Report: Velmuna 7-11-2010

Yesterday, we had Wicked sieging Velmuna for some good fights. JohnB even made a declaration on the forums. As it should be, Lux Arcana officers took it very seriously and we had a very nice strategy for the siege. For starters, a very nice amount of luxers rode in a great Blue Tail Runner pack (as shown in the picture, not my best pic anyway) to the point where we would do battle. It was kinda far from the siegestone but cannons could still hit it thanks to some clever tagging from one group who was close to the siegestone. Meanwhile we only needed to defend a single bridge to stop the enemies to getting close to the cannons while another group was protecting them and the shooters. It all went down pretty fast.
As always, winning or losing a siege is a matter of several factors. The amount of people is one important factor but strategy is aswell and in this siege, we had a very good one. I was in the group protecting the cannons so I didn't get many action but my FPS was very low so it's ok. I hope Av improves game performance and I'm surely gonna buy a better processor as soon as I can.
More action incoming!

Friday, November 5, 2010

How Aventurine works

In today's Activity Report, posted in the Darkfall Blog Tasos give us a peak into Aventurine work process. It's not like I know what Scrum or Agile Software Development exactly means but it seems Av is using some nice and advanced tools to improve our beloved Darkfall and that's also good news! Tasos has also posted the precise activity each of the 11 teams are working on. And now, the question is: Which is your favourite team? Mine is surely team 10. I'm eager to see Agon's lore fleshed out in lots of events. I'd like to see Agon's History being guided by us, players.
On the bad side, the offline skilling system seems to be still kinda far away but patience, my padawan, it shall come.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Toad's Tongue: So much anger

Right now or very soon there's a couple of sieges that have filled near 30 pages in two days. Those post are mainly written by Get Good, Zagenda and Sun members in a very unsettling fashion. In every competetitive game I've ever played there has been some name calling and swearing in its forums or ingame itself but I think I've never seen something like Eu1 Clan Discussion and, mind you, I played non-professional football in official leagues for 12 years and I thought I had seen everything.
These last days posts aren't specially worst than any other, threads like that are common on that sub-forum. Why there is so much hatred between opposed clans in this game? As they say, it's only pixels. Some little voice in my head tells me that all that anger is just a joke, that everybody is just trolling and enjoying it but, on the other side, it feels kinda real. When someone calls someone retard, it looks like he means it. There sure are people who just enjoy the dialectic e-brawl but I can't find any sense in that because one of the basic traits of ForumFall is that it barely matters what you say, it's always hard to have a decent, clean and interesting conversation. You need to sail through many rocks to find a nice place where you can have some precise stuff discussed. Those places exist, make no mistake, but they're rarely seen in Eu1 Clan Discussion.
One of the reasons behind me wanting more politics in the game also has something to do with this. Right now, wars are fought over some shittalk in forums and I just don't like it very much. Well, one can hope this will change over time and I'd really like to see heavier moderation.
Anyway, you don't need to read all the crap and most likely it won't affect your ingame time. I just wonder, you know?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gameplay focus changing

These last few days I've barely been playing Darkfall due to Bad Company 2 but I'm already feeling inside the need for some PvP in Agon. That's right, PvP. Even if I still need to level a lot of stuff and the fact that I should do it on mobs for some effectiveness, I don't feel like doing PvE anymore. It's probably just a phase and I still want to find one of those damn treasure maps but right now, whenever I got online I just want to kill some other players.
Another thing I still would like to do and probably will tonight is to participate in clan events. As already stated, events are awesome sauce since most of the clan are ingame and playing with more people is what really makes the game fun.
I guess that soon I'll have all the weapons and upgrades unlocked in BC2 and the "game fever" will decrease a bit. It happened with Darkfall too, the first weeks I couldn't stop playing and all those sweet dings were more than a carrot to me. With time, the fever goes down and I could properly balance real life with ingame life. That's not an easy thing to do...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nutcupping and stuff, you know...

Nutcup is another shiny MMORPG concept strongly tied to politics. In Clan Discussion sub-forum there's always a thread about some clans who have nutcupped and that, my friends, is one of the worst sins in the e-bible of videogaming. Why? Well, I guess people sometimes think that every videogame should be perfectly balanced in each and every aspect so it can be a nice e-sport where you can show your true gaming skills. In most sandbox MMORPG that's just not the case, mainly because players have more freedom and options. In Darkfall city A might be easier to defend than city B but you're free to bring as many soldiers as you want to conquer it and so can do the defending side.
A nutcup is just a bad word to say alliance. Unfortunately, clans doesn't have many tools to wage war on other clans so when your target allies with 5 other clans making the victory impossible, you can't sabotage those quick allies or compromise their trade routes or whatever, the only thing you can do is go to forums and call them cowards and nutcuppers for not giving you a fair fight when Darkfall IS NOT about fair fights.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Darkfall, I'm cheating on you...

Yup and the friend I tried to pull into Darkfall is to blame, great irony! These last few days I've been playing more Bad Company 2 than Darkfall. In games, like in life, there are times where you feel like killing people with swords and other times, you want put a bullet in their foreheads. It's going to be tough to do anything else besides playing with these two games in my hard drive and I'm talking about living the real life but I'll manage. Bad Company 2 is the new shiny game so I guess I'll spend some more hours on it than in Darkfall for the next week or so but I'm not abandoning Agon now that I am enjoying myself so much.
Also, I can't help myself but to think what kind of great game a mix between Darkfall and Bad Company 2 would be. I pray Cthulhu that Aventurine next project is an MMOFPS. Oh, it would be very nice.
Anyway, this blog is not dead even if its periodicity slows a bit down.