Posts Tagged ‘Gameplay’

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ESO: Storming Spindleclutch

April 14, 2014

whisperer

The first time in a new MMO’s dungeon is always such a learning experience — it not only gives you such insight on the play style of your role or class, but also into the game and its mechanics as well.

On Friday night my husband and I along with guildies Tententacles and Ryan ventured into Spindleclutch (with Musei cheering us on in the sidelines and Pid setting up to go next in round 2), the first instance in The Elder Scrolls Online. I hadn’t gotten the chance to try any group content in beta, so it was all new to me. First of all, four seemed like a curious number for group size, but if it worked for Star Wars: The Old Republic, no reason it shouldn’t for ESO.

spindleclutch2

Thus far I’d been leveling with a sort-of-tank-sort-of-damage build so I wasn’t sure how I would fare, but I was reassured by the fact that most group make-ups can handle the instance without much problem as long as there’s some heals. It took a lot of the pressure off and I saw it as a way to learn the ropes and practice…even if I didn’t have an optimized tank build or abilities.

Let’s just say there was definitely a lot of flailing involved on my part! But it’s so much easier once you know who to target (healer mobs die first!), when to dodge (there’s a lot of that) and for the love of the Nine Divines keep up your stamina and magicka stores for your taunt and evade abilities. Once we got that down, it was all smooth-going. Though, ah, still quite explosive.

spindleclutch3

For a first instance I was surprised to see it was pretty well balanced in terms of difficulty. I’d dreaded being in there for hours and was all prepared for wipe after wipe…but for the amount of time we were in there frustration was minimal and it was very painless. More importantly, I definitely know where my build needs work. Overall a very awesome time!

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ESO: Happy Launch Day

April 4, 2014

launch

While those who preordered have been playing in headstart, today is the official launch day of Elder Scrolls Online for PC. If you’re already in the game, I hope you’ve been enjoying the experience as much as I have.

Despite some server down times which is to be expected, the game has nevertheless been always up during prime time evenings and nights which is when I usually game. I wouldn’t say launch has been perfect; there were a couple instances of major quests bugging out, but thus far ESO has been one of the smoothest launches I’ve personally experienced. Maybe it’s because it’s high time we’ve had another major MMO launch again, or the fact I refrained from going anywhere near beta in the weeks leading up to the release date, but starting out in ESO these past few days felt fresh, exciting, and even more fun than I anticipated.

I’ve rolled a Dragonknight, because for all the flexibility in the classes available in game, I always have a soft spot for the warrior archetype. Imperial race, Daggerfall faction. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve tentatively decided on a tanky-type route when it comes to leveling and allotting my points. At this time, House Stalwart the new guild I’ve joined is almost 90 members strong and it’s been kickin’ every night!

dragonknight

Things I’ve been enjoying so far: questing and exploring — now that the game is live, I’m taking my time to poke around in every nook and cranny, loot every crate or barrel, talk to every NPC. Barging into people’s houses and stealing all their crap has always been one of my favorite things to do in Elder Scrolls games (oh god, you should have seen the way I hoarded in Skyrim) and I won’t even go into how often I get distracted in my adventuring by a lone trunk or urn sitting by the side of the road that I just have to stop and check out. Even if all it holds is thin broth, pathetic drippings or a bunch of stupid grapes.

And another thing I love: CRAFTING! Who would have thought? ME! The person who has always thought crafting in games was a pain in the ass, who always leaves it until level cap because before that it’s just a hindrance to questing and progressing. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about the crafting in ESO that appeals to me. It’s so layered and complex, but not so challenging either that I couldn’t be bothered to gather materials and actually try my hand at all the professions.

I love that expression...

I love that expression…

So, those are my opening thoughts. If you’re playing, how have you been feeling about it so far? I hope to get more time into the game later this month; because of my lack of time and my dawdling, I haven’t gotten very far yet. Currently my Dragonknight is at level 8 but I’m hoping to share more of my experiences as I progress further into the game and see more of its world.

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Making Landfall In Landmark

March 27, 2014

landmark

My closed beta email for Landmark finally arrived late last night, so it wasn’t until this morning that I got to jump into the game to check things out for myself.

So you might still pretty unsure about what Landmark really is, given its attachment to the name Everquest Next. What it is actually is a branch of the game, but also a game in itself. In a nutshell, building and creating is central to Landmark, involving the gathering and crafting of materials, then building your flag and staking your claim in the open world so you can start constructing your dream project. Some people have likened it to Minecraft on steroids, and from others’ experiences that I’ve seen, that sounds like a fairly accurate description.

As of this afternoon, I have not even staked a claim yet; most of my time has been dedicated to running around gathering materials. A couple setbacks have slowed me down, the first being that my stuff for the Founder’s Pack never did show up. I’m hoping that when I log in later today I will miraculously find those items in my bag, because a Founder’s Pickaxe should speed things along, not to mention letting me have access to higher tier resources.

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Showing that tree who’s boss.

The second setback was due to my own neglect; having found a nice copper vein in the side of a mountain, I set my mind to a-mining, and I sort of let myself get carried away with it. Long story short, I literally dug myself into a hole, but instead of using the Safe Evac option, I chose to dig myself out instead. In the face of obstacles like tight spaces and the horrific things they do to the camera, I finally managed to escape and came away with a ton of copper to boot.

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I’m okay, I think I see sky!

Despite only having scratched the surface (though that gigantic hole in the ground I made might say otherwise!) I’m finding the game very interesting so far! Can’t wait until I can make my flag, stake a claim and start my first project.

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Elder Scrolls Online Impressions: Characters

February 26, 2014

Inspired by some of the comments on my last Elder Scrolls Online post, I’ve decided to talk about my experiences with different classes in the game. I think I’ve mentioned before how I wasn’t initially that impressed by the game in this regard, though that definitely changed as I progressed through beta and leveled more characters.

The gameplay was by far the biggest surprise, I think. I liked being able to make my own class the way I liked, so that it fit my playstyle. It wasn’t like that at the beginning, when admittedly I was still stuck in the mindset that my Nightblade had to be more of a traditional-style dual wield rogue, or that my Templar had to be a heavy armored sword-and-board tanky type character. That was my mistake.

It turns out the classes are a lot more flexible than I could have ever imagined. What I discovered is that there is a lot more customization with classes, as well as weapons, armor, enchantments, and of course skill points and talents. There’s really no set-in-stone way to play your character. I learned that I could go in and make my class the way I wanted and play the way I most prefer.  And the moment I started to branch away from convention I started being able to dominate more fights, being able to survive better. More importantly, I started having more fun.

Now as promised, here’s a showcase of some of my characters from the different weekend betas and the test server beta, and the way they looked:

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TSW: The Darkness Comes

February 11, 2014
Heeeeeeere's Flappy

Heeeeeeere’s Flappy!

So you might have heard that something big is about to happen in The Secret World. Last week’s Game Director Letter teased the next stage of The Whispering Tide event, the final phase before the big Tokyo patch. And yesterday afternoon, the last canister finally went away, opening up the portal for the Flappy fight, just in time for our Secret Monday session!

Minutes before 11pm eastern, players began trickling in from all over to stand in front of the portal, waiting as the timer counted down.

portal waiting

Is this the way to the convention?

You could feel the excitement, which was practically palpable, if anything just based on the epic freakout in the chat when the timer reset and it still wouldn’t let us in. Thank goodness it was just a delay, or the rage in the crowd alone would have torn us apart, with or without help from Flappy.

Our whole raid group went in together – Solaris, Ocho, Chucho, Yeti, Thermic, and myself – but somehow we ended up separated in different instances. As a result, a couple of us got placed into a fight where Flappy was EXTRA temperamental, with what sometimes felt like more filth mobs running around the than actual players.

flappy fight

However, the fight itself was a blast! Um, though I wonder if I’ll still feel the same way on my 50th time doing it.

Regardless, Flappy is a pretty tough encounter, especially if you don’t have a dedicated tank and healers. His strafes and huge AoEs are very unforgiving, despite looking oh so awesome. But to be able to finally see him up close was the icing on the cake — I just love the design on this part-bird-part-dragon-part-wasp-looking-like dude!

In the end, he he went down and gave me a bag with five HoT pots. FIVE STINKING POTS. As if to spite me. Oh well, this was only just my first time killing Flappy. It certainly won’t be the last!

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TSW: Upstairs! Lobby! Out Back!

February 4, 2014

a little help

My thanks to TenTentacles for the lovely screenshot above, because I was honestly too busy running around the castle like a headless chicken to remember to take any.

A recent update to The Secret World brought some changes to scenarios, and we decided to take a break from Nightmares this week to try them out. When you’re focused on progression, sometimes you can forget there are other great group activities in the game other than dungeons, and once in a while it’s just good to do something more relaxing. Plus, everyone can do with more oreos. I’d like to work on getting the Council of Venice outfit too, since my tank set is currently all purple’d out.

Well anyway, “relaxing” is a relative term. Still, I had a blast. Nothing gets the heart racing like seeing four or five orange lights flash up in your mini map, and then it’s everyone calling out where they’re going to hold the line. “Upstairs!” “At the mausoleum!” “Watch the golem!” “Oops, I’m dead!” But still, we persevered and dominated. Not a surprise, as it’s not even so much our gear, it’s that we’ve come a long since the first day Scenarios launched when no one had a freakin’ clue what we were doing.

The other big news this week that had us all atwitter is the impending arrival of the next and final stage of The Whispering Tides event. Flappy, you’re going down. We’re one step closer to Tokyo!

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TSW: Nightmare Darkness War

January 31, 2014

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Wait, what’s this? A Secret World post on a Friday? Surprise!

Yesterday, a few of my guildies and I put together an impromptu TSW night, to try our hand at another Nightmare. Thanks to the tips and advice from helpful commenters in my last post, we had a better idea of which dungeon to do. Seems to me the overall consensus is that Darkness War is the best entry level NM, so that is exactly what we did. Sometimes I have to remind myself that TSW is a whole different beast than other MMOs, that typical assumptions — such as, the first chronological dungeon in a game is always the easiest — are not always the case!

Polaris, for example, is apparently quite the toughie on NM mode. Now I actually feel a lot better about getting as far as we did, for a group just starting out. And to have almost beat the last boss too. It didn’t occur to me that most groups do the first five bosses in the various dungeons first, getting more adequately geared up in epics before tackling the sixth bosses. It just sounds so contrary to intuition especially if you’re used to playing other MMOs, but in TSW actually makes a lot of sense. And like I said, TSW is not like other MMOs.

nm dw

So how did we do in Darkness War? Quite well, to be honest. Was it actually easier? Well, compared to some of the bosses in Polaris? Yes. I don’t think we would have made it as far as we did (killed the first give bosses and left the last boss, as per the plan) if it wasn’t. So folks who commented were absolutely right about that. Still, compared to dungeons I’ve run in other games, it was still a bitch.

Again, this is TSW after all. Sometimes I do feel this game is pure evil, pretty much leaving you zero room for mistakes. But after much trial and error, practice and persistence, the feeling you get when you finally kill a boss for the first time is very rewarding. Case in point, it felt so satisfying to finally bring down the Unbound Ak’ab (to tell the truth, bringing down any Ak’ab is satisfying). Ironically, this boss is a cakewalk when it comes to normal and Elite modes, but on NM he gave us a lot of trouble.

mayan battle mage

The fifth boss, the Mayan Battle Mage, wasn’t much better, though his fight is all about knowing when to run away from bad stuff on the ground. The fact that even one misstep can kill the unsuspecting healer or DPS was the problem. In the end, I think he finally had it with us and just decided to bug out in one place, throw all his adds out at once, and keel over dead. Hey, I don’t care if we beat him by default, a win is a win! And we would have gotten him on our next try anyway *wink*

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