Reminder: Instance Gratification: DDO Episode 5 Tomorrow, May 9 At 11:00 AM EST

Posted by on May 8, 2010 - No Comments »

Amatera will be forming the group for Instance Gratification: DDO Episode 5 on Sunday, May 9 at 11:00 AM EST. Khyber is the server of choice. Please be sure to complete the tutorial area and dungeon before go time. That means you should have at least arrived at the Harbor of Stormreach.  Supplies of DDO Point cards are nearly gone, but still available to those that attend! Spots in the primary group are open as of this posting.

Shoot us a tweet or drop a comment in the post if you want to be in the top six. I currently have a warforged cleric (iTZKooPA) and a halfling bard (iTZKHuPA).  Amatera plays as a halfling rogue named Amatera.

Warlock Changes for Cataclysm

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - No Comments »

If you have been playing a warlock as long as I have some of these changes and new spells for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm seem lackluster. For all you warlocks out there I know you guys have heard the term “magelock” but these Cataclysm changes make us even more “magelocky”.

The New spells

After going through Wrath of the Lich King and experiencing our “new” spells, I wasn’t really expecting much for Cataclysm. Turns out I was right. Our “new” spells are recycled, slightly modified versions of CURRENT mage spells.

Our new spell Fel Flame is a modified version of the mage’s Frostfire bolt. Both are instant cast and use two different schools of magic. The only real difference is the after effects of getting hit by the two spells. The mage spell will slow you and deal damage over time (DoT) upon hitting you. The new warlock Fel Flame will refresh one of two warlock DoT’s meaning immolate or Unstable Affliction has to be on the target for it to even refresh. Mage spell wins hands down because it adds a DoT and has the slow for utility.

The second new warlock spell is Dark Intent and again it is another copy of a mage spell that we warlocks will get in the NEW expansion. Dark Intent is a modified version of Focus Magic except warlocks need to be a little bit more selective on who to cast it on. The mage spell gives a flat out 3% crit to any caster while the warlock one will only give 3% crit to casters who do periodic damage and healing. I have to admit though the benefits we warlocks will receive from Dark Intent does sound nice. Currently mage’s get 3% crit if their target crits but Dark Intent will give us extra damage for 10 seconds which can stack 3 times.

The last spell warlocks will be getting is Demon Soul. There isn’t much information about this spell yet. It’s supposed to be a self burst cooldown which depends on what minion you have out. It sounds awfully like the old Demonic Sacrifice spell that warlocks had back in Burning Crusade which kind of makes it another recycled spell.

Soul Shard changes

Probably one of the most annoying and at the same time the one major thing that sets us apart from other classes is Soul Shards. Warlocks have been asking for shards to stack for a long time and now Blizzard is changing it so we don’t even need to carry 32 of them around with us anymore (we get a free bag space!).

So apparently we are only going to be allowed to use 3 soul shards (or should we call them runic shards now?) in a single combat encounter. It will be displayed in our user interface sort of how deathknight’s runes are. If you use a shard and a certain skill together you get some sort of bonus effect. I don’t know exactly how this will work out. The examples that Blizzard gave seemed really lackluster so again we’ll have to see how it plays out. Personally I think that shard usages are fine the way they are right now.

Changes to mechanics

One of the things that I am actually looking forward to is that warlock spells will now benefit from haste and crit. Our DoT’s will now crit and have additional tick damage which is a very nice change.

Two of the warlock curses: Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will now be Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom. Now warlocks can put up a bane and a curse on a target. This is a quality of life change, although
most warlocks would probably have wanted one of those two spells becoming a bane instead of both.

Closing Thoughts

The warlock changes that we are given so far is a huge disappointment. What do warlocks have to look forward to? Our new spells are far from new and our class is getting a revamp and turning into a cooldown based class like a deathknight. I mean go read the new mage new spells and compare them. Mages get a flying orb that deals damages and a line of ice that snares and hurts people while we get modified mage spells.

It feels like Blizzard doesn’t know what to do with warlocks and are now trying to turn us into some weird mage+deathknight hybrid with a pet. Am I the only one that thinks warlocks are getting the short end of the stick in Cataclysm?

Instance Gratification: DDO Episode 4 – You Take No Candle!

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - 4 Comments »

View in high definition.

Ah, kobolds.  You are simply a people of oversized rats with all the anger and none of the brains.  Your affection for candles, treasure or plain junk is nothing short of staggering.  But I will receive my payment.  I will fulfill my duty to some guy above ground.

Do not through your lives away, for I have with me a band of merry men known as the Lore Hounds.  They hunger to use their skills of graveyard running, trap tripping and the unprecedented ability to fail upon you.  Fear us, for we know not why we are here, just that you and your clansmen possess a knack for hiding treasure.  And XP.  Delicious XP.

/scene

The Lore Hound DDO crew meet again last Sunday to thin out the kobold population.  Despite having a well-rounded team, including Amatera to disable traps, the party hit its first major roadblock when defending Stormreach from an endless invasion (200 is endless IMO) of kobold critters.  We struggled through it, but hilarity ensued.  Take a gander.

Episode 5 will happen on Sunday, May 9 and is currently scheduled for an 11:00 AM EST start time on the Khyber server.  It’ll be Amatera’s first turn at the helm.  In his honor, let’s make sure there are tons of players online to make my Sunday job look as difficult as possible.  Please complete the tutorial questline of Korthos Island (final adventure detailed here), otherwise you will not be eligible for a group invite.  Supplies of DDO Point cards are highly limited, but still available to those that attend!

Prospective attendees should drop a line below so we can gauge the expected attendance.  Include your class if you’ve already decided upon one.  I currently have a warforged cleric (iTZKooPA) and a halfling bard (iTZKHuPA).  Amatera plays as a halfling rogue named Amatera.  Who woulda guessed it?

Ryzom Goes Open Source

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - No Comments »

The Saga of Ryzom, more commonly known as “Ryzom” has made MMO history by becoming the first commercial MMORPG to become completely open source. The Ryzom source code consists of  “over 2 million lines of code, over 20,000 textures and thousands of 3D objects.”

While anyone can now use anything they wish from the source code it has been mentioned on the Ryzom Forums that the game will still be carrying on as it is with its pay-to-play subscription.

For you as a Ryzom player, nothing changes. The game continues to be pay-to-play to help pay for the cost of development and running of Ryzom.

One can only wonder how, if at all, this will help the game as the inevitable free copy-cats start to show.

First Look At Global Agenda V1.3(A)

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - No Comments »

Players of Global Agenda have been waiting for Patch v1.3 for some time.  The first massive patch for the squad-based shooter MMOG is to introduce a myriad of new features across every facet of the game.  AvA, PvP, and PvE are all receiving tweaks and new content.  The User Interface is being retooled, trial accounts reworked, vendors and shops added, weapon acquisition and upgrading retuned.  PvPvE will enter as a new mode (not included in v1.3(a)).  The list just goes on, for eight pages.

Currently in its third month, there hasn’t been a single charge to a player’s account.  Hi-Rez Studios continues to abide by its earlier statement that subscription fees will not begin until the company has earned our money.  The scope of the upcoming patch and the issues it addresses make me think Hi-Rez is well on its way.

Patch v1.3 was supposed to be released in April.  Here we are in the first week of May, and we’re just receiving the patch on the Player Test Server (PTS).  Furthermore, the update has become so large, that Hi-Rez has decided to break it up into multiple parts, less we testers gorge ourselves all at once.  Hi-Rez will push out the iterations as the previous one is tested to completion.  It’s unknown how many sub-patches we’ll encounter and no final date has been set.

Hi-Rez Studios is in the midst of pushing the first iteration of the massive v1.3 patch to the test servers of Global Agenda right now.  The company was kinda enough to make the patch notes available to the general public here.

Eight pages is easily a TL:DR.  After the jump is a synopsis of what to expect for v1.3(A). Read more…

Cataclysm Leaks: To Read, or Not to Read

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - 5 Comments »

Fanart by TheNekow @ DeviantArt

I’m usually not the hugest fan of spoilers. Sure, if it’s about a book, movie or game that I have no interest in, then I don’t really care whether the main character was dead all along. But when it comes to those series that I am a fan of, I typically keep away from spoilers in favor of discovering the juicy tidbits on my own terms — by actually experiencing them in the moment.

And here comes the quandary. When you’re as big of a fan of WoW as I and most of you reading this are, it’s hard not to come across mountains of spoilers. And when they’re so easily accessible, it’s also hard to turn your head away. A peek of a screenshot here, a leaked little factoid there, a piece of guild chat that unwillingly meets my eyes in-game.

Pretty soon, and I’m hooked. What I have seen cannot be unseen! And it leaves me thirsting for more! It’s a real problem, fueled by my added self-reassurance that I need to know these things in order to write and podcast chat about them.

I suppose this whole rant was brought on by our readers’ reactions to the recent posts that include masses of leaked info from the Cataclysm Friends and Family Alpha. For some fans, seeing huge amounts of spoilers serves as a way to fuel the anticipation factor.

But it seems that of you also try to stay away from the hoopla. Some fans even are turned off by leaked information because, for them, it only dulls the rising anticipation of the impending game release. Some readers try to stay away from this information altogether, while others read the information that pertains to their class so they can plan for how to stay in the game, while avoiding all other spoilers.

It seems that those players have one thing that I do not, at least when it comes to WoW: Resolve. I’ve accepted my lack of it, and decided to embrace it. If it lessons my surprise while in-game, so be it — instead, I’ll score my cheap, little thrills now.

Who else has wrestled with the decision of whether or not to read WoW leaks and spoilers?

Cataclysm Dungeons: Halls of Origination Preview

Posted by on May 6, 2010 - No Comments »

Despite the massive info dump unleashed on the internet today, Blizzard is holding a little preview of its own, and surprisingly enough, it’s something that wasn’t featured in that deluge: the Halls of Origination. This new Level 85 dungeon is part of the Egyptian-themed Titan zone, Uldum. It looks a heckuva lot like you’d expect, mixing the slick, technolgical architecture of other Titan strongholds like Ulduar with the dusty and arcane affectations of a Pharaoh’s tomb. It also holds its fair share of secrets…

Of course, where there are ancient artifacts to be discovered, you’ll also find famed Dwarf adventurer, Brann Bronzebeard. Something powerful exists deep within the Halls of Origination, and guess what? You’re going to help him get to it!

According to the descriptions in the preview, the instance is a bit of a doozy, being perhaps as large as some of the old-school dungeons, as well as featuring seven unique boss encounters. Expect to weave through indoor and outdoor areas such as the Maker’s Overlook, Chamber of Prophecy, Tomb of the Earthrager, Vault of Lights, and the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Much like Ulduar, these all lead up to a hub area with four guardians to face off against: Titan constructs called the Keepers of Magic, Life, Chaos, and Radiance, respectively.

Defeating them, and ensuring the safety of the mysterious artifact they protect, may just save all life on Azeroth! For a few more screenshots, hit the jump! Read more…

Warhammer 40K MMOG Causes THQ CEO To Put Foot In Mouth

Posted by on May 6, 2010 - No Comments »

In a recent conference call with investors – the evil overlords of video game companies – THQ CEO Brian Farrell refused to give a subscriber guestimation for the highly-anticipated Warhammer 40K MMOG.  A smart move given the PR gaffe that Mark Jacobs kicked off when Warhammer Online failed to meet his 500,000 estimation of success.

Farrell said “We don’t need the kind of subscriber levels that people throw around, like a million subscribers, to make a lot of money on this title.”

THQ believes that the low initial investment and a highly-talented team enables the company to make a solid game at a relatively low budget.

Farrell managed to stick his foot in his mouth in the following breath.  “If we get anywhere near that level, we’ll be making a lot of money.”  God forbid the support and on-going development costs eat that pile of money.  Then he’ll look like a fool!

These types of statements are why I can’t stand reading about conference calls.  I know he is trying to placate investors to make them feel like their money is being well spent.  But CEOs come off sounding like greedy jerks.  Activision’s Bobby Kotick for instance.  It’s like a train wreck, I just can’t look away even though it pains me to see it.

Mr. Farrell, it’d be nice if you just gave us a break on the subscription fee.  Ya know, because you didn’t invest a boatload of money up front.  A pipe dream, I know.

THQ subsidiary Vigil Games is developing the upcoming MMOG.