Posts Tagged ‘Races’

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My Panda Day

September 26, 2012

Happy pandas

Weeks even before World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria was released, I was already thinking about what I should be focusing on when the expansion went live. Should I jump right into pet battles? Should I start on leveling my main to level 90? Or should I roll a Pandaren and play around with a monk? As it turned out, I was able to fit in a bit of everything on the first day.

First things first — Pet. Battle. Trainer. Oh no, it’s all over, folks! All over! Pet battling is even more fun and addicting than I’d imagined! Within an hour I’d managed to add 25+ new pets to my collection, raised four or five different pets to level 6, and beat up several NPC pet battlemasters in the human area. And how do I feel about completely destroying a little girl and her pet rabbits, you ask? Pretty damn good, actually!

Next, I hopped onto my druid main for a couple hours of questing with my husband, heading into the Jade Forest to start on our journey to level 90. It is freakin’ gorgeous. I am also enjoying the MoP quests; so far, they feel a lot more robust than Cataclysm’s, in all sorts of different ways, e.g. story, content, impact, visuals, humor etc. (Socks!!! NOOOOO, SOCKS!)

At the end of the day, the Mercy Gaming guild got together and started Team Panda. I made my female red panda (tail and all) and named her Meilee, which is a bastardized spelling of Chinese pinyin characters for “Pretty” in Mandarin. How any and all variations of that name weren’t taken yet, I can’t imagine.

Together, we quested through the Pandaren starting area, and I finally had to put symbol markers on myself and my guildies to tell them apart from all the other big, fat, black and white pandas running all over the place. It also didn’t help that we were all monks wearing the same quest reward gear. Mint green dots everywhere on the mini-map!

I had myself a great time. While I can’t speak for my friends, I suspect they did too. The zone was visually stunning, the quests were fun and relatively unique. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might be rolling their own Pandaren one day, but suffice to say I was quite impressed. In the end we chose to join the Horde, and our modest little guild Red Solstice on the server Silvermoon is now up and running.

The nice thing is, after yesterday’s experiences I’ve decided I’m not going to concern myself too much with “focusing” on any one thing in-game anymore. I’m not in any rush, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with sampling a little bit of everything — in fact, I quite liked it.

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Played Lately: Some Thoughts From The GW2 Headstart Weekend

August 27, 2012

In a word, my experience during the Guild Wars 2 headstart weekend was awesome!

One of the things I love about GW2 is the fact each race has its own starting area. Maybe you make multiple characters of the same race, but you don’t want to do the same starting area over and over again. Maybe you love a particular race but hate their starting area or vice versa. It wouldn’t matter one whit, since you can move to any of the other starting zones pretty much right off the bat. It’s one of the things I’ve always appreciated about World of Warcraft, and really missed about some of the recent MMOs like Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic or The Secret World where all of us are funneled into pretty much the same zone or limited areas on start up.

This weekend, I only did Caledon Forest because I was a Sylvari and their starting area was the only one I’d never seen, as I had purposely saved it for live. In the future, I’ll likely start in Queensdale all the time, because while I dislike the look of the human models in GW2 and will likely never roll one, I love their lands with their fat cows and little pink hearts.

Ultimately, I achieved 100% completion in the zone, collecting all the Waypoints, Vistas, Skills Points, Points of Interest, and Hearts in Caledon Forest as well as in The Grove. Since GW2 doesn’t have a real quest log, exploring entire maps will do nicely to satisfy my “checklist syndrome”. The was rewarded some nice loot, including a nice chunk of experience as well as a Black Lion key, allowing me to open my locked Black Lion Chests, which led to more loot and more keys. The result was a pile of gear, tonics, and a whole bunch of boosters like the ones you can buy from the store. Better be careful, Arenanet, I want to spend money on your game, but I see you’re not going to make it easy.

The weekend was not without its hiccups. Though I was mainly unaffected, a chunk of downtime occurred on Saturday morning and server errors abounded. Methinks that a few years ago, the quality of this launch would have been hailed as amazing, but the near-flawless launches of some of the aforementioned MMOs in recent years have no doubt raised the bar. The GW2 launch was no where near the best I’ve experienced, but then I have been through worse, much worse.

My weekend was only marred by a few negatives — there were the little ones, things like a non-functioning trading post, and then there was the HUGE one — the wonky overflow system. An otherwise great concept, ironically it sure made it hard to let you play with your friends. As longtime readers know, my husband and I place a lot of importance into playing together, especially during an MMO launch. Alas, out of the many hours we spent in GW2 this weekend, our characters were only able to spend a small fraction of that time in-game adventuring with each other.

We experienced the worst luck of never being placed in the same overflow instance. Sometimes one of us would also log in first, but enter the main world last. We tried every trick, logging out and logging in together, entering cities and exiting together, partying up and not partying up, but we never did manage to find a consistent way to work around it; there just didn’t seem to be any rhyme or rhythm. What we ended up doing was tackling our personal story quests, entering and leaving those solo instances until we randomly happened to end up together. When that happened, we took care not to zone again, which explains why I’m finished with Caledon Forest but still way behind on my main quest line there.

I expect many of these issues would be ironed out by Arenanet, or even disappear altogether once launch hype winds down and the zone populations start to spread and even out. In any case, I still had a great time playing this weekend and hanging out in guild vent parties. Being part of the greater gaming community while everyone is playing is my favorite part of a new game launch; the company and the fun I had made up for any and all obstacles I encountered.

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Screenshot Of The Day: Kill Him, Mr. Bubbles, Kill Him!

July 21, 2012

Starring Kysha my Asura Guardian and DoubleUnder, my own, er, “pocket” Charr Big Daddy.

So is it just me, or are the Asura just so ridiculously adorable? Like, deadly adorable.

For many, the highlight of Guild Wars 2’s third and final beta test weekend which started yesterday is of course the ability to create Asura and Sylvari characters. I always figured that when the game officially launches, it’s going to come down to either one of these races for me.

However, last night as I was fiddling with the character creator, it occurred to me that due to my husband’s dislike for any and all cute, diminutive and “puntable” races in MMOs, playing an Asura with him might very well lead to some, ah, irreconcilable differences.

So that’s it, folks. Asura for beta, Sylvari for launch.

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Asura: Cute But Definitely Not Stupid

September 12, 2011

Like many others keeping up with news on the AAA MMOs currently in development, I’ve had my eye on Guild Wars 2, and I’m so excited that it’s finally Asura week!

While I follow all the gaming news websites and relevant Twitter accounts, I also rely heavily on Hunter’s Insight blog to make sure I won’t miss a single thing on GW2. In fact, for as long as he’s used it, it was actually his blog banner that first sparked my interest in this peculiar race of floppy-eared, diminutive geniuses:

I can’t help it; I have a weakness for anything that adorable. And yes, I do realize I shouldn’t say that too loud, lest I want my throat crushed by a golem.

That’s why I really enjoyed reading today’s dev post by Matt Barrett on Asura design, though admittedly I find any commentary to do with concept art and design fascinating in general. It did remind me of a time when the Asura weren’t so cute, and instead looked like something you wouldn’t hesitate to roundhouse kick through the window if you woke up face-to-face with one in the middle of the night. I liked seeing the evolution of a design for an original race, because while tiny tinkering creatures like gnomes and goblins abound in the lore of other intellectual properties, it was really cool to witness a soup of ideas and concepts like “ambition”, “complexity”, and “underestimated” on paper gradually take shape and come to life in the form of an actual creature on a canvas.

I very much love developer posts like this, especially on subjects dealing with the “art” side of things (need more artist commentary videos!) and also because in my heart I’ve already chosen the Asura to be my race of choice. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t usually find myself attracted to the small, punt-able races, but there’s just something about these little guys and I have to make an exception. And not just because they’re cute as hell. Though they really are.

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Bounty Hunters? We DO Need Their Scum!!!

March 4, 2011

*Ahem* Pardon me while I go and have a nerdgasm — OH YES YES YES YESSSSSS THAT’S IT RIGHT THERE!!!

Okay, now that that’s out of my system, if I even have any readers left, I solemnly swear to never ever do that again. But as you know, this week’s Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday update is the one I’ve been waiting for — not-so-patiently, I might add — for more than half a year now ever since Bioware started rolling out the class videos and profiles. In fact, I’ve actually been geeking out since early yesterday afternoon, as that was when IGN first released their exclusive coverage on the Bounty Hunter video and interview.

Yes, the Bounty Hunter. My class of choice, the one I’ve set my sights on for my main character ever since it was announced, has finally gotten its update.

I love how each class trailer so far has featured a “hook” or a main theme to build the video around. For the Trooper, it’s honor and duty. For the Smuggler, he’s like “I’m-the-man-who-can-get-the-job-done”. For the Imperial Agent, it’s all about the suave.

For the Bounty Hunter, your only concern is the DEATH MARK. *Cue thriller-suspense music*

Gotta love picking out the little details in the video, stuff like delivering your bounty frozen in a block of carbonite. As usual, Darth Hater has picked out a lot of other interesting things in their dissection, which is definitely worth checking out. You can bet I’m looking forward to playing with all those abilities!

On designing specific missions for the Bounty Hunter class, Writing Director Daniel Erickson had this to say in the IGN interview:

The Bounty Hunter is his own man and always needs space to stretch out, so as much as possible missions take you into situations you won’t see with other classes. Conflicts with authority figures on both sides, stand offs with other individualists, and, of course, the epic chase are all important parts of designing a Bounty Hunter story.

I have to say, I think that’s what drew me to the class in the first place. Most of the other classes seem to be beholden to one authority or another. The Trooper serves the Republic. The Imperial Agent serves the Empire. The Jedi serve their Order. And so forth. I love how even the NPCs will apparently react most differently to the Bounty Hunters and Smugglers (the latter, of course, being the other class in the game seen as more of an “outsider”).

And well, there’s also my crush on Boba Fett…that is, before George Lucas went and destroyed all his delicious mystery.

Anyway, yes, you can probably roleplay a rogue Trooper or Agent or a “grey” Jedi, but the Bounty Hunter doesn’t need any excuse not to serve anyone. It’s just as he says in the video, “The only law in the galaxy, is the one a man makes for himself.” In fact, I think IGN even picks up on that, if their question about Bioware’s decision to ally Bounty Hunters with the Dark Side is any indication. Given the nefarious roles which many Bounty Hunters have played in the Star Wars expanded universe, I think it was the right choice. The only choice, perhaps.

Doesn’t mean I’m necessarily going down the dark path. Most likely I’ll be playing the class following my own moral compass. Who knows, maybe I’ll only hunt the bad guys. I may work for the Sith, but I’m a Bounty Hunter, I can make those kinds of decisions without clearing it with them first.

On inspiration for the Bounty Hunter class, Erickson states:

Before originally planning the first chapter of the Bounty Hunter I read every Bounty Hunter comic and book I could get my hands on. Dengar is a particular favorite both for his complicated friendship with Boba Fett and his gritty, old cowboy attitude towards life.

I see a lot of potential for this class. There have been so many Bounty Hunters featured in years and years of Star Wars history. From Calo Nord to Aurra Sing, from Bossk to Cad Bane, from Boushh to IG-88. Lots of big names to work with and ideas to draw from, so hopefully they’re not relying so heavily on Boba Fett for inspiration the same way the Smuggler class appears to be stuck on Han Solo. Erickson’s mention of Dengar and “a very diverse group of companions” available to the Bounty Hunter are good signs of things to come.

The Bounty Hunter’s role for the Empire is similar to that of the Trooper on the Republic side. One could say that they are arch enemies. Within the class, the roles are divided as follows : the Mercenary advanced class can take the role of ranged damage dealer or healer [and] the Powertech advanced class can take the role of close range damage dealer or tank. The skill trees for these advanced classes offer various ways of sub-specializing these roles (e.g. burst vs. sustained kind of damage dealing roles, etc.)

I do prefer playing classes with multiple utilities, so I’m glad the Bounty Hunter has Advanced Class options to either go tanking or healing, in addition to dealing damage.

And I suppose if we’re looking at roles and abilities, the class does have clear parallels to the Republic’s Trooper. Lorewise, however, I’ve always personally thought of the Smuggler as the Bounty Hunter’s natural “mirror”. As already mentioned above, they’re both seen as the outsiders compared to the other classes. Erickson’s words about looking at classic Westerns for tone and texture as well as his quote about Dengar’s “gritty, old cowboy attitude” underscores the similarities to the Smuggler for me even more.

From the screenshots, it appears each specialization will have its own distinct look-and-feel. I guess it’s no surprise that the Mercenary Advanced Class is the one taking it to the Westerns.

The Powertech specialization on the other hand has the more “traditional” armored look, and this is probably the AC I’ll end up going with since I love playing with gadgets and I want to tank.

The Bounty Hunter also features an update to the Rattataki entry in the Holonet under Humanoids. They’re an interesting species, but not my thing, I’m afraid. They just creep me out. That, and I’m shallow and prefer having hair. Or hey, better yet, how about a pair of long beautiful lekku?

As well, a companion for the Bounty Hunter has been revealed. Meet Mako, the “Cyber Orphan”. I have to say, I’d expected another hard-boiled, tough-as-nails description for her, and I was relieved that I was wrong. After all, we already have two crazy chicks and that’s plenty enough for now! Mako seems down-to-earth to me. And everyone loves a geek girl.

And last but not least, it’s not a real update unless it’s also got a ship reveal. Bounty Hunters will be flying around in a Kuat Drive Yards D5-Mantis Patrol Craft. Seriously, where do they come up with these names? KDY and its subsidiary Kuat Systems Engineering, however, was also the manufacturer responsible for the beloved spacecraft of Boba Fett, the original Slave I. Its influences can clearly be seen weaved into the D5-Mantis. Not the most luxurious-looking ship (seriously, that bed in the video looks like I’ll need a tetanus shot after sleeping in it), but it can fight and that’s all that matters.

Still, I would have appreciated a little more description. Like, what kind of cargo space am I looking at? Where can I pack and load my frozen carbonite prisoners for safe transport? Come on, it’s not like I can insure that crap!

Anyway, as Jaramukhti (I so wish he had a blog for me to link! Really!) pointed out from a quote from a dev, this update was probably intended to have been last week’s reveal, following the pattern of releases. Hence this week, we get something like an update-and-a-half. Which turns out to be more information and details on SWTOR at PAX East.

I can’t believe it’s next week. Seriously, the time has just flown by. At BioWare’s Booth 912, they will be providing hands-on gameplay experience for the Republic Flashpoint Taral V and the starting origin worlds. I’m not sure if I want to try for the opportunity. Strange, but in being so emotionally invested in SWTOR, it has also become one of those games I don’t want to get so intimately involved with before release. That, and I can’t promise my hands won’t be shaking so hard from excitement and delirium. I will, however, probably do my darndest to attend any presentations and Live Q&As.

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Super Trooper

December 24, 2010

I know — really, really cringe-worthy and groan-inducing title. But I have the sniffles and the cold meds make my head feel like someone stuffed my skull full of cotton candy, so bear with me. Please pardon any typos and if I stop making sense, feel free to nod, smile and back away.

Today’s Star Wars: The Old Republic update has been the subject of much speculation over the last week. “It’s Christmas Eve, are they going to give us something extra awesome?” “No, no, no, it’s a holiday weekend, no way it’s going to be anything special.” The actual result? The skeptics were right in that there was no “extra special” reveal for the holidays, but the other camp was right too —  the Friday update was still nothing short of AWSOOOOMMMME!

Today, Bioware says, Dear Troopers, Merry Christmas. Enjoy the goods:

Class video:

I’m Trooper Shepard, and this is my favorite video on the Citadel.

Trooper starship, the BT-7 Thunderclap:

Like I read somewhere, the Thunderclap really does have the look of a love-child between an Imperial Lambda shuttle and a giant B-Wing. Very nice. And very “Republic”, if you know what I mean. Or maybe you don’t. Cold meds, remember.

Trooper companion, Tanno Vik:

I don’t like him. He has the look of a cocky bastard and his description doesn’t exactly report to the contrary, but his “undisciplined and unstoppable” presence could be the key to the question of whether or not you can play a darkside trooper. I say yes, for sure, and it would be believable to boot. I like having the choice, but personally I think I’d feel pretty bad about being an amoral trooper. I’m sure the Republic doesn’t pay me to mow down NPCs.

Playable species for Trooper, Zabrak:

A lot of folks thought the Zabrak would only be available for the Sith, but a very minor character in the SWTOR novel Fatal Alliance made me think otherwise. Yeah, he was sort of a jerk in the book, but a Zabrak Trooper is a Zabrak Trooper, and I had a feeling it was a big hint on possible playable species.

And finally, revealed Advanced Classes to round out the Trooper Dossier.

All in all, a great update. Now bring on the Bounty Hunter!

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The 5-Inhabitants-For-The-Price-Of-One-Update Deal!

November 26, 2010

Hey, good lookin'!

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, I wasn’t surprised to see a modest update from Star Wars: The Old Republic today. Hey, it’s Black Friday, Bioware devs need to shop too. And I’m sure there are a lot of gamers like me as well, too busy spending time with their loved ones and sleeping off the turkey overload. I don’t know what my husband was thinking, getting a bird big enough to feed a small village.

Anyway, five new entries were added to the Inhabitants page this morning — the Terentatek, the Vine Cat, the Sith Pureblood, the M3-M1 Medical Droid, and the S3-F5 Inclement Condition Probe. Okay, keeping track of those droids and their letter and number designations is going to be the death of me.

Nothing too extravagant, but wow, if you have time, check out some of the new screenshots. I remember a time when I was less than impressed with the graphics and models. Back then, folks were still saying, “Relax, just give Bioware time to work on things.” I didn’t doubt improvements were going to be made, but at the same time, I don’t think I expected such a stark difference between the “Before” and “After” either. Compared to some of the older material we’ve seen, it almost looks like a whole different game.

I for one really love the new stuff about the Sith Pureblood. Almost makes me want to change my mind about rolling a Bounty Hunter and roll a Sith Warrior instead, so I can look all badass with my red lightsaber like buddy there in the screenshot. Almost.