Saturday, July 30, 2011

[GW] One Dervish Army

With the EotN bonus rep weekend in full swing I was up that way when I thought I'd give the norn fighting tournament a go. It was mostly to unlock Xandra, but I was making proper attempts to finish it too, it's always been quite challenging to me without resorting to some gimmicky builds or to fill the bar with PVE skills and even then it is sometimes hit or miss to take down Magni. As I was on my dervish I was just trying out a few things when I hit on the build below, which really highlights the strength of the new buffed dervish i.e. fitting so much ability into a single bar.

From left to right: condition removal, blind spamming, hex removal + heal, knockdown + weakness, enchant removal, damage + heal, IAS and anti-knockdown. I was tempted by Armour of Santity but Shield of Force is good to quickly block Magni just after he uses Purge Signet, giving time to blind him again. Even as broad as it is, it could still only complete about 2/3 of the opponents successfully every time, and Magni was about 50/50, though in more skilled hands it would probably be a better ratio, someone who'd have thought to move away as he cleaned off the conditions. Funnily enough Melonni uses the same avatar, and it was really hard to take her down, watching out for mystic regen, to remove it before it undid my efforts. One opponent really stood out, Kisai with blinding surge, which I'd call a hard counter to any melee, even with conviction blindness could not be removed fast enough, at least she only appears in the first round.

Dwayna Vs Dwayna

Tried it on my necro later using the build below, it is a bit hit and miss but it tore through any melee and made Magni himself trivial. Still the dervish build was probably better balanced, and didn't need no PvE skills. At the end the question I'm pondering is that the biggest criticisms that people thrown at the dervish revamp is that there are bars that do far too much for a single character, and I'd agree but whats a good way to temper this newfound resourcefulness without nerfing the class back to where it was with only 1 or 2 workable builds. How do you even balance a profession like that?

Easy Mode

Before energy was quite tight upfront, but now there is hardly any energy problems, so some kind of reversal of the mysticism change, maybe flash enchants could be excluded or the full energy is expended but the longer the player holds on to the flash enchant the more energy they get refunded when that enchant is removed. It would encourage the player to put them up before they plan to use them and hold onto them a while before tearing them down. The armour issue where having just 1 enchant will give the dervish an additional 10 (blessed) + 12 (mysticism) armour, maybe the mysticism buff could give say 1...2..3 armour per enchant, instead of removing it in PvP completely, but not expecting it to make a comeback.

Another criticism that tempered my enthusiasm for the class is that it's a bit mindless to play, sure the spamming and tearing down of enchants is a bit frenetic but it's fun where before it was clunky. Even as a less hardcore player these still concern me, and how it all work out in the end. A dervish was my first character, but I've played more of the game as a warrior, but looking to make a change. I was playing both a ranger and paragon recently, I enjoyed the ranger and the paragon too though the latter is in a similar position to pre-update dervish, but the dervish is appealing now, so that's where I'll be focused with one eye on a paragon update and the other on more dervish nerfs to determine the profession I'll be spending time with in the future. Even though my playstyle is casual, playing a class that might be conceived as easy mode or overpowered or even the reverse in high-end areas is enough to dampen my affections for a class, even to the point that I'd be anxious going into casual PvP because of the stick I'd get. Nevermind I can try to put all that aside and enjoy the class for what it is at the height of it's power, in a game where I find it hard to settle on one class.

A Crowning Achievement
(I've never known any other class to
combine slippers and a dress)

Friday, July 29, 2011

[Lotro] The Thorough

A while ago a deed popped up for my warden upon logging on, and I was left scratching my head what it was connected with, shrugging my shoulders I logged off again, it was one of those quick checking in moments to see if everything was exactly how I left it. It was only this week that I figured out what place the deed was connected with, the name hadn't rung a bell. I was playing through volume 3 book 2 on my burglar and journeying to the Eregion to be sent after a kidnapped dwarf gem-cutter. And the same deed popped up upon finding this place (no I didn’t quite catch the name again) with a 'frightened hero' out front, then it struck me that when I was here on my warden I didn't have the Eregion questpack, so I had missed out on a notable deed tied to the epic story because I didn't have access to Eregion.

Why was it so notable, well getting a fair warning from my less brave counterpart, this place is the best kind of place to explore. It consists of two floors that are connected via multiple doors, with some tricksy parts where some doors can lead to single rooms up above or down below and disconnected from the rest of that floor, rooms with multiple doors, that sort of thing. It's not too hard to figure out, what is hard is making sure you find all 23 places for the deed i.e. being 'thorough'. The simple strategy I used was to pick one floor and work my way around trying every door, then swap to the other floor and connect the dots and try to spot areas where a door hadn't been used, still the last 2 or 3 took a bit of retracing my footsteps to fully complete the deed.

That side-quest with its nifty title for a reward kept my attention for a lot longer than the actual quest, it perfectly suits my personality to explore every nook and cranny for something interesting but on balance the deed is catering more for an achiever than a true explorer who might find delight in spotting some attractive area but often there is little additional content or treasure for taking the time to explore everything that looks interesting, sometimes you might encounter a 'rare' mob because you are going off the beaten track where they are less likely to be killed.

I must admit if I wasn't playing my burglar I probably wouldn't have been so enthused for the actually deed, which is why I leaning towards making him my main for the expansion. My captain has been parked at the dwarven town in Forochel for weeks waiting patiently to enter the mines but I've been there before and know it to be crawling with dourhands, the combination of no stealth, slow killing, confusing passageways and multitudes of mobs is so unappealing I think he may be there for a few more weeks.

The exploration deeds in the game aren't particularly engaging, sometimes like in the Trollshaws where ruins are spread around canyons it can get tricky to work out how to get where you want to go. Secret deeds like climbing the two towers in Mirkwood or the fishing hole in Enedwaith (which I've still not found) are a little more interesting, but not quite up there with eating a piece of old cheese I found in the barrows. The seven swords deed in Angmar was good because there wasn't a quest for guidance, but finding some guys sitting on their own in random places about the landscape wasn't really fun, and then the rewards, a title that wasn't 'of the seven swords' and a 6-man instance that there isn't the slight possibility of getting a group for seeing as it was in East Angmar.The solution is in the game already, walking through the epic book instance you see ghostly scences but they don't give much info, unlike say the flashbacks featuring Gandalf beneath Dol Guldor, but what if they had a bit more drama to them to piece together into a narrative and give clues to where a secret cache might be hidden or how to find some concealed passageways. Something that could be missed if you are not paying enough attention and that need a bit of thought. There does seem to be some light on the horizon with plenty of accounts for GW2 of players going off the beaten track and finding all kinds of events, objects to interact with and not being led there by the nose. Likewise, The Secret World is looking like it will incorporate plenty of puzzling, the need to pay attention to surroundings and spotting clues, with some of the story being played out before the players eyes if they are actively observing. I tempted to give Rift another go, because I never got very far in beta and they seem at least to have things hidden off the beaten track.