Monthly Archives: July 2016

I am looking forward to Crafting

When people didn’t find crafting useful anymore; I did. Always making something to create a stop gap item. I’ve posted about it before.

The new system, echoing the new random system (minus a few options unique to random items) allows even greater flexibility than before. Well, other than flexible shards.

This section explains the new system. The fundamental of the new system is that you create a shard for the ML you want and then it’ll automatically adjust the value of that option to the ML used. This is similar to the random system where you pull an item at say ML 15 and the values are set according to what an ML 15 item should have. However the major difference is that a random item can get a bonus to the value, unlike Cannith crafted items.

That means that Cannith crafted items are always going to be reliably X and that among random items you can find items that have an edge compared to crafted ones.

Another major change is that the augment slot, colored or not, adds nothing to the overall ML of an item. In other words; whether or not you have 1 or 2 augment slots, the value of the item will be the same regardless.

I’m glad I saved a few items with augment slots, because that makes those items super interesting, unless of course there is something about those items that won’t function the same as augmented items today.

The new crafting system will support both bound and unbound items, but no word if the BTA type items you can find in some lower end quest chains function the same as now; where you can use bound shards and the item remains BTA.

I hope it does; because we also know that BTA items generally (as far as I’ve seen anyways) do not drop with augment slots. Making BTA useful of course, but only in the context of not being the absolute best solution for everything.

Another change is also that we’re now talking about ONE school and ONE ingredient. Instead of having major and lesser of all types, there’s only ONE type plus collectibles as before. That cuts down on the need to have all type of mats in your bag, or level up all kind of schools. It’s a simplified system that keeps the complexity of crafting options intact. Minus the fact that there are no flexible shards.

And that is really the only bad thing about this system. Flexible shards represented the option to take one effect that would normally not fit on say a trinket and use it there. Which made all gear options more diverse.

Turbine states that with the new more flexible crafting options which includes not only prefix and suffix but also bonus and insightful, each item still offers a lot of flexibility over the more rigid prefix and suffix from before. And it’s true; the new system allows more stuff to be crammed onto an item; but it still imposes a rigid system of what can go on say a trinket as suppose to a ring.

Only time will tell of course how inflexible (or flexible) that might be.

I am however looking forward to being able to create ‘straight’ items. Particularly for spellpower/lore stuff. This is particularly useful in earlier levels, such as doing an iconic reincarnation where you sometimes have to rely on specific named items for some effects (like the rock boots for acid) or several to provide something like impulse damage and kinetic lore.

I crafted a trinket a long time ago that provides both lore and spell power for that, but it’s weak since it was post the new more generous system.

It will now be possible to create rings with both lore and spell power of the same type and create consolidate early level runs to fewer items, that works well with the many BTA items you can now get from many different quests in the 12-15 level bracket. And even if you can find random items that have both the same lore and spell power, they are very rare. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of items today that provide those synergies – true.

What that really means is that Cannith crafting still remain a stop gap item solution and not really one to compete with both named and better random pulls. But it allows you to standardize equipment options and especially for toons you run a lot less and that might not have all the standard item options out there. And that has always been the real strength behind crafting anyways.


I’m still here

I’ve been playing a lot of other games. But now and then I jump into DDO, finish off a level or 2 and move on.

My recent obsessions is Total War Warhammer. but to lesser extent Galactic Civilization III.  I also played a lot of World of Tanks, but I’m over that now. In fact I had at least 2 weeks left of premium time and just gave up. It is even more broken than it was when I took a year long break and even fewer in the community cares.

The standard response is to get lost. People think that shrinking the community is better than to expand it. We tend to get this ‘it’s the only way’ just because a Developer did or said something. I know; it’s ‘their’ game. But many times developers are blinded by the few super users who blows smoke up their asses. The reality isn’t that regular folks know better; but it is a business and when a large part of the community don’t like something – there might just be a problem.

In this case like in so many other player vs player games it boils down to balance. That’s not as important in DDO – a game without a real PvP game, but balance is still important. Ergo the many discussions about difficulty, elitism and ‘how easy it is’.  But it’s still a business.

And the long term viability for a game should always be in the best interest of Developers.

World of Tanks isn’t the only game that ‘simulates’ tank combat. War Thunder is another one; but there just as in reality seeing and hitting first is more important than as in World of Tanks where everything has hit points.

The problem then boils down to DPS. Just as it does in DDO. Now imagine if you’re a slow hitting tank that is basically without protection and where less armored targets are better off. That sounds like DDO and tanking prior to the first armor up. Once MOTU dropped the heavy hitter scene died out completely. Other than the vexing few fighter types, both barbarians and tanking died.

That is less of an issue in a game where you can reincarnate and where you don’t play other players – but in WOT it’s detrimental to the whole idea of classes and rock paper scissors. When only paper and scissors work, the entire game is completely skewed when people want to play rocks.

However as soon as Total War Warhammer dropped I could effortless leave WOT behind and get my gaming need by playing an excellent adaptation of the Age of Strife in one of the richest lore in a fantasy world that dates back to the first pure war table top games of the good old 80’s and 90’s.

There has been several adaptations of the universe, but few have been as successful at capturing the grit of the Warhammer battlefield.

TWW is a game that borrows from the feature rich engine of the Total War games – constantly improved to provide a better and more ‘natural’ feeling, and the lore and beastiary of Warhammer.

If you haven’t delved into the universe is one where Man is surrounded by Greenskins, Undead and Chaos and aided lightly by Elves and Dwarves.

Normally Total War is about periods of war and expansions through history. It started with Medieval Japan during the shogun Era, continued with Rome and Medieval Europe and ended with Empire building in Europe during the 1700’s. And all of the eras have been treated with a second version using an updated graphic Engine and great improvements in the GUI and unit behavior and effects.

This have all put in good use in TWW. There are differences. While the other games had some different factions with unit types unique to a country or faction or a slight edge in some statistics dependent on what faction you picked – Warhammer offer a little more than cosmetics and statistical difference.

Not only do factions play differently, but they also have different attitude towards war and tactics. The game comes with 5 factions to start out and another factions (chaos beastmen) will be added in the end of July.

Currently you can play Empire (humans), Dwarves, Greenskins, undead and Chaos.

Humans and Dwarves are the most defensive. However humans at least have strong cavalry troops as well as artillery and ranged. Dwarves are all infantry with a few specialist troops like gyrocopters.

Greenskins are mostly melee but with both ranged and a few artillery units. Chaos have exactly one artillery unit and very few ranged. In contrast Undead have no ranged units but several good flying units instead.

Again – all of them play differently, have different goals and fundamentally are niched towards a typical playstyle.

Dwarves are entirely defensive with a strong but slow counter offensive. They have many type of ranged units as well as artillery. I covered Humans, but range and artillery wise they are almost as diverse as Dwarves. Main difference is that Dwarves are almost all well armored where as Humans are average.

Greenskins are very motivated to war and melee. Their strength is in a diverse melee and cavalry mix with some ranged (mostly for harassment) and artillery. They’re also further motivated by ‘fightiness’. It’s an additional motivation to go out a beat someone over the head. When Greenskins are inactive the flightiness meter goes down and there’s more unrest among troops and there’s a risk for defections. When it’s up and max, it can lead to a whaag. Whaag is when Greenskins goes into a complete frenzy and can spawn a full army of greenskins that the player can point in one direction, but not control.

It’s one way of creating a wave of Greenskin armies that trounces anyone in their path. Undead on the other hand need to corrupt lands before they can control them. Otherwise they take additional damage outside their own territory. Another fly in the ointment is that if the controlling general (lord) dies, the rest of the army dies with it. Moral therefor works differently; undead don’t flee like living troops. Undead takes additional damage as the lord lose control. So one way of winning against undead is to target all their leadership and watch them crumble completely.

Chaos cannot conquer territory. They instead destroy and enslave. Their entire goal is to kill, maim and subvert in the name of their chaos gods. They’re also the hardest to play since their entire economy comes from destroying and raiding areas, as suppose to conquer and control like with the other races.

The developers have promised to release many different unique unit types, campaigns and entire factions. The next one off the block is Chaos Beastment, but we’ve yet to see lizardmen, dark elves, high and wood elves, as well as Chaos dwarves and other undead types – since only a fraction of the game world is covered.