Monthly Archives: November 2011

The new challenge system

The new challenge system is all kind of wrong. That is the only thing I can say about a system so flawed. It’s not that the challenges are bad per say, it’s just that they have a added frustration in that the mechanics are so flawed it gets dumb.

Take the crystal cove like harvest shards for example. All of these favors casters. In fact there should be any reason (such as the case with CC) to take any fighter types. This is AOE insta death championship on steroids.
Then add the worst pathing mechaning in the universe. You think CC was bad? Wait until the kobolds find the castle and decided to go spastic. And they do so by going all over the place. And by all over the place we mean all over the place. Suddenly in what you think is a controlled environment (the path you lay out) you’ll have kobolds going all over the place; ignoring the safe path of the torches to pull monsters from rooms on the opposite side of where you are. And they’re fragile. When I mean fragile I don’t mean like – oh, did you get hurt – kind of fragile. No more like we just ran into a room, got scared and now will stand and shiver while they kill us one by one.

And kill them one by one they will. Suddenly you’ll find ‘a kobold have died’ one after one and you don’t know where since they’re not dying on your path. They’re dying 3 rooms away because they don’t like to follow the torches back – they like to take their own clown rout.

Plus the forman is super fragile. Suddenly you hear ‘incoming’ then moments later ‘the foreman have died.

Plus two of the quests are level 15 capped – not all the way to 20.

Let me put it simple; the whole concept is very interesting. But so many quests with so many flaws make for a dumb experience. If you simply bake it flaky pathing as a challenge in the system (I think someone wrote that their fragility is part of the game) then what you make is a frustration and not a fun.

No game mechanic should be built around the thing that makes it bad. Lets not pretend that poor and dumb pathing somehow is part of the game challenge itself, unless of course Turbine came to a point that they simply can’t fix it so they’ll pretend that the double whammy of poor pathing and fragile kobolds makes for a more exciting game.

That’s like trying to put up a reasonable strategy and tactic but you’re banking on that your team mate – a monkey – have the same skeelz as you do.

So yesterday when it went live I was not surprised that very few played it and more tried to play shroud on hard and elite and there was more echrono and Vod than ever before. I saw some people over in house of Cannith but my feeling was that the overwhelming amount of players simply ignored it – for now.

Turbine – I get what you’re doing here. But so many flawed challenge quests just doesn’t make for fun playin’. Personally I wish you’d scale it back to say 3-4, got those right and then keep on releasing 3-4 until you had what you envisioned. ‘Cause eventhough the items are okay the execution is so chaotic and boring that I just can’t feel all that excited about it.

Thanks for shroud tho; eventhough we failed in part 4 (and the blades are just out of the world painful) I still look forward to trying and complete. Now that’s success.




My story is nothing special. I’d tell you it over something to drink and I won’t even exaggerate. I’m not much of a story teller anyways.

It’s simple; my father – a Orc chieftan raided a human village. My mother, whomever she is was unfortunate to run into him. I don’t have to fill in any details but 9 months later my mother in shame gave birth to me in a bush outside the village. I’m guessing no one wanted a half breed like me around. Some day I might go back and track her down, maybe I kill her or maybe I just tell her who I am – so the rest of the village can see her bastard son now. Maybe that’s a more fitting punishment?

Anyways – this old hermit found me in the bush. He later told me that I didn’t cry and it was only by a chance that he ended up looking there. But he raised me. Never with pity of great care. He taught me that you either live fighting or you die. I never cried. Not even when he beat me blue and green with those wooden sparring weapons. It was simple; where we were, deep in the forest – there was no need for peaceful means of co-existance. Whatever evil critter that hid in the forest couldn’t care less if you tried to play nice or if you came armed to the teeth. And it was and still is a simple philosophy.

When I was 12 something my father – as I could only see him as my father, was ambushed and killed by a dozen or so hob goblins. Not before he killed and wounded a few of them. I had fallen behind looking for something to eat and I came to his aid just a minute or so late. I didn’t attack them. I only had this tiny sword and they were well armed. They robbed him of all his clothes and items and left his mutilated naked body where he was slain.

I carried him back to our camp, erected a mound of rocks and stones over him and took his great axe he had shown me one day. He said that it had served him well many decades ago when he was a soldier and adventurer. It was perfectly balanced he said – a sharp fine axe made for one thing; to kill. Slay. Without remorse. He called it Carniflex.

I returned to the ambush and tracked the hob goblins back to their village. It wasn’t that hard. They were dragging wounded with them and there were many tracks to follow. I found their village as the sun came down and hid overlooking the huts and tents. I watched the village all evening and night long. From when the purple bands of the dusk stretched across the horizon to the pinpricks of diamond stars strew across the sky until the first hint of sun boiled behind me in the morning and slowly chased the dark away. I gripped the axe and slowly walked down the slope towards the huts.

A dog barked. It’s breath plumed in the crisp morning air as fog stirred around my feet. The sun, now tipping over the edge of the trees poured in over the village and hit the alerted hob goblins as I started running across the last field. They tried to cover their eyes against the merciless morning sun and before anyone of them could grasp what was going on I had built up a fury and with a roar cut into the first stumbling out of a hut, leaving its blood spraying across the walls and the ground as he died with a surprised gurgle.

I was death. I don’t really remember the rest. Call it war trance or simply blood fury. I killed them all. Male, female and kids. Even their bravest male lost their nerve and tried to flee. And as there was a hint of them rallying around their leader; a massive older hob goblin with braided beard they quickly lost their nerves again as I cleaved him in half. I guess even in their eyes the bloodsoaked enraged half orc – even if I was a foot or so shorter than I am now – was something out of a nightmare to them all.

I’ve killed more since then.

I don’t count them. To me they’re simple another milestone in my life. A job. A adventure. A journey to a place I don’t know about yet. Just as there are shopkeepers, innkeepers and servants, there are those that keep the walls thick and sturdy. Men such as I with unflinching timber. And I feel no shame admitting that this is all that I will be.

Did I tell you that I met my real father? He was infiltrating Stormreach lead by a Medusa. He recognized the medallion I had around my neck; the one and only possession my mother had left me with.

‘You’ he screamed with his thick voice. ‘Ha – so I spawned something with that human’

He seemed amused. This tall, broad Orc in his thick armor carrying a massive crude axe. He wasn’t so amused when I growled and lifted my axe to strike him. He tried to parry – by holding up the shaft of his weapon to block. It was a thick shaft, probably with some form of metal inside to strengthen it.
But it didn’t matter. I swung with all my might. Rage and all. And it cut through the shaft and hit him straight in the chest – penetrating his armor that threw sparks from the impact and killed him right away.

I still don’t know why I did it. Maybe because I was hired to stop them or maybe because I feel closer to my humanity than the beast of my father. My father – then one I left dead when I was 12 always told me to stay true and never back down. And I guess this was my true moment.

It doesn’t bother me. I didn’t stand there in thoughts about my actions as there was other Orcs and creatures to kill. And I didn’t even think about it much afterwards when I washed my body clean from the smelly dreck of the slain. Not even when the water turned red and pink from all the blood.

It’s my nature and it will be so until my dying breath.



I still seek him. The one who gave the final order.

A long time ago, when I was still young and eager to explore the world, I came home from a succesful hunt and found my father and mother slain and our cabin at blaze. By their bodies stood one of the villagers; Reavan – the weird town fool. You always felt on edge with him around. By him stood several shambling figures – risen undead. Mindless rotting creature with swarms of flies buzzing around them. Reavan was mumbling some arcane evil ritual and I quickly understood that he was trying to raise my parents to join the horde.

He saw me – continuing the ritual in haste and with a grin on his face.

What he forgot or never knew was that my father had thaught me the art of the ranger; to track, to fight and to shoot.

Rage bubbled inside me. I pulled a arrow with haste as I dashed across the grass out from the trees. The mindless horde stumbled towards me as the arrow left my bow and nailed their master right in the shoulder as I planned. He staggered backwards, breaking his concentrated as the purple mist of what ever arcane power he was using blew away in the soft breeze. He gripped the arrow, screaming a painful shriek that echoed across they open area.

I tumbled between two of the zombies that flailed their arms to catch me and as I sprinted up I pulled my two scimitars and in 5 quick steps ran up to the necromancer and cut across his body with both blades and dodged as he tried to cast some kind of ray in my direction. He fell backwards. Crimson blood spread across his robe. Unable to keep his horde under control the undead figures fell – this time dead to the ground for good.

He laid there with his lips ruby with blood, his stained teeth pink. He was sucking air in quick painful gulps.

I stared at him, unable to look at my dead parents. ‘Why?’

he grinned and then quickly grimaced from the pain. ‘Because…he….told….me…that…if….I did….he would….give….me…more….pooooower’. The last word left him in a whisper as the last air in his body escaped him. There was a soft gurgle and his leg twitched and then he lay there flat in the grass with his blood soaking into the ground.

I left behind me the funeral mound of my dead parents and a pile of charred bodies as I burned them and the necromancer. And I have since wandered Eberron in search of the figure that had drafted this mad man to its cause.

All I have is this ancient token the dead fool carried; the same token I’ve seen in my fathers chest together with his blades and his bow as I snuck into my parents bedroom one day.

Those items are now lost in the fire, but I know that it is somehow linked to the fool, my parents and whomever ordered my parents death.