Instance Gratification: DDO Episode 3 – Korthos Complete

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Lore Hound’s band of merry men (and the androgynous Warforged) completed Korthos Island this weekend.  After nearly a dozen hours, around a half dozen adventures, three levels and numerous trips to class trainers, the Instance Gratification team completed Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited’s lengthy starting zone.  This week’s video closes with a first look at what lies ahead, Stormreach and a ridiculous amount of more adventures.

Episode 4 will once again happen on Sunday, and is currently scheduled for an 11:00 AM EST start time on the Khyber server.  Please be sure to complete the tutorial questline of Korthos Island, otherwise you will not be eligible for a group invite.  We’ll be clearing the first few dungeons in the harbor district for Episode 4.  Supplies of DDO Point cards are limited, but still available to those that attend!

Don’t forget, Turbine is currently having a huge sale on Adventure packs in the DDO Store.  Amatera and I both picked up a pair of adventure packs that contain over 10 adventures in total.  All for less than the 500 point cards Lore Hound is giving away!

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).

Recruit-A-Friend Mount Change

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - No Comments »

Recruit-A-Friend (RAF) is a program that Blizzard implemented for World of Warcraft to give new players an easier time leveling and current players a way to bring in their friends and level alternate characters. The way it works a paying account sends out a referral to a friend and that person gets a free trial of World of Warcraft. If that person purchases the game and starts paying the subscription fee both players get triple experience as long as they level together and can summon each other. Of course the person that sent the referral gets additional perks like a free month of WoW and the exclusive Zhevra mount.

Just this week Blizzard announced that there would be a mount change in the Recruit-A-Friend program.They will be replacing the Zhevra mount which you received after doing RAF with the X-53 Touring Rocket. This is great news for mount collectors because as I mentioned before in this post, these rocket mounts are extremely rare but now there is an easy way to get one. I wish that they would upgrade the Zhevra mount to the X-53 rocket but unfortunately that won’t be happening.

Rawr 3 Goes Into Beta

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - No Comments »

For a lot of World of Warcraft players out there, figuring out how to optimize your character can be a deeply confusing and frustrating experience. Sure there are several loot-ranking sites out there, but they still require that you sort through long lists of gear and you still have to be able to eyeball which equipment will give your personal setup the most bang for your buck. And then there are all those labyrinthine spreadsheets that min-maxers seem to be fond of.

Useful for those who are used to parsing such arcane knowledge, but not as helpful for all us regular folk! And that’s why Rawr has been such a wonderful resource for the community. This stand-alone program has long assisted players by allowing them to pull their character data directly from the armory and calculate precisely how different upgrades, enchants, gems, and specs would affect their performance on the fly. As straightforward as this seems, the software is flexible enough to let you play with options on your own if its provided suggestions aren’t to your satisfaction (as is sometimes the case with particularly finicky or experimental builds).

The latest version, Rawr 3, has just gone into beta. Sure, the interface is still familiar to anyone who has used it before, and undoubtedly new data has been plugged into the system, but there is one key difference between this and previous versions: Rawr 3 is a web app. Though the stand-alone release will continue to be supported while the latest update is still in its testing phase, this is likely the future of the program.

Not every aspect of it is completely operational yet, and there are undoubtedly still bugs to be worked out, but the final product should be just as functional as it always has been (if not moreso). Importing my Rogue’s data was as easy as it ever has been, and the fact that it runs on Microsoft’s Silverlight API — instead of something like, say, Flash — makes using it feel like a smooth and satisfying experience.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself tearing your hair out over how to improve your character, there has never been a better time to give Rawr a shot than now. And if the app, or Silverlight, gives you any trouble, do remember that you can still download and run the latest version of Rawr 2.

ArenaNet Posts Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - 1 Comment »

As part of a new blog focused on the game, ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien has posted an extensive design manifesto detailing exactly what sort of direction that the upcoming Guild Wars 2 is intended to go in. Though their mantra of providing gamers with brand new experiences is key, this is more than an idle mission statement.

O’Brien states just how massive of a project that this is:

The first thing you should know about Guild Wars 2 is that, this time around, there’s no question that it’s an MMORPG. It’s an enormous, persistent, living, social world, filled with a wide variety of combat and non-combat activities. There’s so much depth here that you’re never going to run out of new things to discover.

Indeed, gone is the almost purely-instanced, PvP-focused gameplay. Not to say that it won’t be there in some form, of course, but rather that the scope is much grander than that of its predecessor. You may think this means that Guild Wars 2 is simply towing the line, following in the footsteps of the rest of the genre. Not so, says O’Brien! Peruse the following quote, and pay (or rather, don’t) careful attention the last bit:

So if you love MMORPGs, you should check out Guild Wars 2. But if you hate traditional MMORPGs, then you shouldreally check out Guild Wars 2. Because, like Guild Wars before it, GW2 doesn’t fall into the traps of traditional MMORPGs. It doesn’t suck your life away and force you onto a grinding treadmill; it doesn’t make you spend hours preparing to have fun rather than just having fun; and of course, it doesn’t have a monthly fee.

But it’s easy to say such things. How many MMORPGs have over-promised and under-delivered on their innovation? Or rather, how many have striven so hard to be different that they end up ignoring the core aspects of the game that keep players engaged? That’s where the rest of the design manifesto comes into play. Continue onward to see just how Guild Wars 2 plans on setting itself apart from its massively-multiplayer bretheren…

Read more…

Cataclysm Zones: The Echo Isles

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - 2 Comments »

In order to make sure that everybody gets a fair shake in the early going, Blizzard is giving two of the game’s existing races their own, special starting areas. While not as elaborate as those of the Goblin or Worgen, of course, it’s still nice to see that they’re paying attention.

In the coming months, players will have the opportunity to retake the Echo Isles from the evil witch doctor, Zalazane. Nascent Hordies of the Orc and Troll persuasion already pass this area as the first questing hub outside of the Valley of Trials, but from Cataclysm onwards, it will be the exclusive 1-5 introductory area for the latter.

As a beginning Troll, no longer will you be burdened with the menial tasks of slaying scorpions or picking apples (though, I will miss slapping lazy peons upside the hide). Instead, you’ll be charged with protecting the Darkspears’ newly reclaimed land from deadly predators and the encroaching Naga, who regularly threaten its safety.

But that’s not all, because this mini-zone has been completely re-jiggered! New Troll outposts and buildings have appeared on the islands, along with bridges that connect the archipelago with the mainland (I can’t be the only one that hated swimming across the inlet for every quest). And it looks even sexier with the new Cataclysm water effects.

Hit the break for full details and even more screenshots! Read more…

Global Agenda: It’s All About The Skill

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - No Comments »

The RPG aspect of most modern MMORPGs really overpowers the rest of the game.  In far too many cases, the power of your character is tied directly with its current level, and the current gear they have.  Often times, these aspects are serve as limiters for each other (you can’t equip this until your this level).  By and large, this gives players with additional time on their hands an advantage.  Their dedication allows them to progress their character further, far outranking those below them in every facet: hit points, damage, etc.  But there’s one thing that playing more doesn’t guarantee — skill.

I don’t mean skill as in the innate ability to “pwn newbs.”  Skill, as defined by me, is the ability to know the game and its intangibles.  In WoW, it’s knowing your class’ hit cap, the best spec, and encyclopedic knowledge of encounters.  It’s a clear understanding of your chosen avatar’s calling, and how to best utilize all its inherent abilities at the appropriate moments.  Skill is the comprehensive knowledge of tactics and strategy you can offer, not time spent farming shinies or grinding friends.

Hit the jump to see why the design philosophy of Global Agenda is so intriguing to many PvP-minded MMOG players. Read more…

Another New World of Warcraft Pet

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - No Comments »

Blizzard is set to release two powerhouse games this year: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and StarCraft 2. To celebrate these two games being released Blizzard has unveiled another World of Warcraft in-game pet much like the old Tyrael in-game pet that was made available a couple of years ago. Tyrael, for those of you who don’t know, is a character from Blizzard’s Diablo games and the pet was given to those who attended the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in France.

The new StarCraft 2 based in-game pet for WoW will be the mini Thor. To get this exclusive pet you don’t need to go to one of Blizzard’s events like in the past but you do need to pay a little extra to get the Thor pet. People who purchase the Collector’s Edition of StarCraft 2 will be given a code to unlock the Thor for WoW. As of now the price for the Collector’s Edition is $99.99.

Blizzard HQ In Pictures

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - No Comments »

Ars Technica donated its first baby (what, companies can have babies) for a trip to Blizzard Entertainment’s decadent HQ.  The glorified slideshow shows off countless behind-the-scenes shots, including a developer pumping iron in the 24-hour gym, employees munching down at the subsidized cafeteria, a nerd’s dream library featuring hundreds of games, books and other activities and art.  Lots of art.  Heck, lots of different kinds of art.

Just check it out over at Opposable Thumbs.  Picture’s worth a thousand words and all that.