Tag: NcSoft

16 Apr

A Tailored Buffet [WildStar]

WildStar - Mailbox Header

Every since WildStar was announced in 2011 I found myself intrigued by the game. Perhaps you could attribute this to the art style but, I was genuinely interested in their design approach. Over and over, Carbine Studios stated that they just wanted to make a fun game and cater to as many people as they could. To create an environment that not matter what the played did, they could enjoy themselves. This lead to development of content rich areas, unique play experiences and, sandbox-like features that enables players and guilds to create their own footprint.

When I played the game at Pax East this year I was able to experience some of that philosophy first hand. Getting a taste of the Dominion faction in the Dredune starter are, a Draken tribal area, I started out playing as a Cassian Spellslinger who specialized in the Solider Path. Right out of the gate, I seen the wealth of content and how it all melding together. The first quest I received tasked me with proving myself by hunting nearby creatures, a basic quest to introduce combat. However, since I chose the Soldier’s Path during character creation, I also had the opportunity to test stick grenades on the same wildlife I had to hunt. Essentially I was completing two quests at once but I was receiving a tailored experience from my path.

The combat varies with each class but the fundamental rules apply, don’t stand in the fire and be aware of your situation and surroundings. The game has dodge mechanics as well as, free form moves that allow you to DPS as you manuever. Do note however, that there are skills that will root you in place. Monsters will telegraph any big moves they are about to unleash, they vary from conal attacks, charges, and some skills randomly target the surrounding area. There is a mix of strategy and on your toes reactions. Utilizing your skill set, you slowly learn what a monster is capable of and adjusting the way you do combat to take it down efficiently.


04 Sep

The Beginning of a Long Journey [GW2]

This past week has been all about Guild Wars 2, well mostly anyways. Since I pre-purchased the game, I was able to hop on for headstart and I never looked back. Starting off, I was unable to get the names I wanted but I was able to tact on a last name to remedy that situation.   Although, I named my human necromancer Cáde, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea since if I’m talking to some in PMs, I need to talk to them first or they need to dig in a menu for my name since most people are not familiar with alt key shortcuts for special characters.

Naming conundrums aside, I’ve been having a ball with the game. After reserving a name for a cherished friend I moved on to create a necromancer and norn thief. The human necromancer was a no brainer for me with the story I had setup for myself – street rat, lost sister, attuned to Grenth – but I made a bit of a gamble choosing a Norn to go with the Thief profession. I love the class a lot but, my early adventures with the Norn race during beta let me very disappointed.

During the early betas, all the dialogue felt like it was forced bravado. Everyone was gun-ho 110% of the time to the point where they all felt really one dimensional and it didn’t feel real. However, they a lot of changed that overall made the race feel a lot better while retaining that gun-ho super positive attitude that represents the Norn. So for the moment I’m enjoying my Norn Thief and sometime down the line I will pick up the Asura since I really enjoyed my time with the race during BWE 3.


19 Aug

Videos of the Week: WildStar Gamescom 2012 Footage

Gamescom, News, WildStar by Tramell

Ever since Pax Prime 2011, Carbine Studio’s MMO, WildStar has been quietly being developed. Aside from the WildStar Wenesdays and #Wsuplink on Twitter information has been pretty sparse over the year. At Gamescom 2012, they held private demonstrations showcasing combat, world design, philosophy, and teasing future content. What I came away with after watching all the videos and what really impressed was their mentality of “keeping the experience fresh.”

The world design is expressive and varied. As the developer flew around you can see the environment constantly changing along the way. The monsters found within have unique way of attacking and with the way combat being very movement heavy, the environment you fight said monster in can offer a different experience. There are places where you can interact with the world such as, blue crystals embedded into the ground that allows you to jump higher and reach new areas that may have hidden gems. You can set off a box of fireworks to destroy enemies in the vicinity if you’re a stealth class. I really like that type of interaction, it makes me feel more connected to the world  because it break away from the “kill stuff, loot and repeat” mindset you develop as you play creating that dreaded laundry-list playstyle.

One thing that does worry me though is that they added tons and tons of content. I hope it is all meaningful and not just the same thing with a simple word swap. It’s inevitable but mask it a bit. Instead kill 17 this or collect 72 of that, I would like see a “research this node over here” objective and I just happen to kill 20 of tigerbear-magi pigs along the way. Perhaps something in the way of Guild Wars 2 and  provided varied objectives for a given area or simply hide the number count and players fill up a progress bar instead. Hopefully they can mask the grind well with varied objectives, visual elements and gameplay.


27 Apr

Beta Weekend Event Prelude [GW2]

Games, Guild Wars 2 by Tramell

The long awaited beta for Guild Wars 2 is almost here. Many of us have watched from the sidelines for many years, a fortunate few, myself included had the opportunity to play the game at conventions, while others were stuck living vicariously through others via Youtube videos. Our patience is about to pay off. The first beta event kicks off this weekend allowing everyone who prepurchased the game or was lucky to attain beta codes at PAX East to play the game all weekend long. No more time-limit demos! For three days we have open access to a highly anticipated game that has plenty to offer.

Naturally some of us need a plan to gain as much insight as we can possibly muster and some of us just want to play the game and wring it for all that it’s worth .My plan of action is to focus on figuring out all the different professions as well as, testing my opinion of ArenaNet’s style of presentation in terms of the leveling game(journey). Will the Renown hearts areas and dynamic event bring a refreshing experience to the genre? The hot spots and dynamic events allows players to naturally explore the world and get involved instead of that ‘daily grind’ feeling when it comes to leveling using the traditional methods.

Along with that, I plan to play around with most of the professions and figuring out how they work in general and form a real understanding of how the function. I also want to mess around with different weapon combinations and fiddle with the trait system. I want to see how all the different professions perform when they try to fill certain roles. How can a Necromancer be tanky? Not in the “tank and spank” way but survivability and hardiness. What tools does a Thief have that allow it to support allies. So I’ll be doing plenty of profession digging throughout the beta.


25 Mar

Character Diversity: The Many Flavors [GW2]

Articles, Guild Wars 2, MMOs by Tramell

Being able to create something unique, to be able to set yourself apart from the crowd is what character diversity is about. It can be a unique look, playstyle or story but, it also means much more than that. Depending on how the game allows you to put your spin on something it can often lead to something more than a personal creation. If you are allowed to make choices in a story, it can lead to excellent dialogue between players when discussing the specifics. Allowing a player to tweak how there character performs allows the spreadsheet masters to create something they are satisfied with and allows them to discuss the different ways a character can be optimal. Even a certain playstyle can shed light on something you never would have experienced with the way you play. Guild Wars 2 allows players to do all of the above.

Obviously, the first step in character diversity is creating a character. As you know there are five races to choose from, each has their own special characteristics. You will be able to choose the fur pattern of a Charr character while the Norn allows you access to unique body tattoos. Along with this, you also get all the bells and whistles. You can select body type, hair, face type, facial features, and dyeing your starter gear.

Aside from a unique look that allows you to create a bond with that character there are also a number of professions to choose from that dictate how you play. There are eight professions in the game and they range from the powerhouse Warrior, the protective Guardian to the Mesmer, an illusion specialist. Each class has something that sets them apart e.g., the Mesmer creating illusions, a Necromancer using pets and death shroud, the Engineer using a variety of gadgets including turrets.


29 Feb

Improved Trait System and New Attributes [GW2]

Games, Guild Wars 2, MMOs by Tramell

This week on the ArenaNet blog, combat designer Jon Peters took the time to explain the new traits system in Guild Wars 2 as well as, new attributes to provide more choice on how players can build their character and retain their viability when compared to others.

If you recall a while back they tweaked their attribute system into the four existing statistics we know today, power, which increases damage down by all attacks. Vitality increases the players’ maximum health. Increasing the critical hit chance of attacks is Precision and Toughness increases the armor rating of a character.

To help promote unique character building they thought it was best to add some more attributes to promote flexibility. This provided different bonuses to the main stats. For the offensive minded person there is the Prowess, Malice and Expertise attribute. Prowess increases the damage of your critical strike, similar to Surge in SW:TOR. Malice increases the damage done by conditions such as, poison, confusion, and bleeding; a must have for Necromancers. Lastly, Expertise extends the duration of all conditions inflicted by the player.


24 Feb

News Blitz and Confirmations [GW2]

Games, Guild Wars 2, MMOs by Tramell

I imagine Guild Wars fans have been in both heaven and hell this week when ArenaNet lifted a press embargo that allowed various site talk about their experiences from the most recent closed beta. I learned quite a few things when sifting through all the information. Similar to SW:TOR, I believe ArenaNet is on to something with their dynamic event system and the way it affects the journey. WvW still intrigues me and Elisabeth Cardy of Massively has given us some insight on crafting, a rarely talked about feature of the game.

Reading Tap Repeatedly and Kill Ten Rats, Ravious and Lewis B. touched upon some of the features that initially drew my interest into Guild Wars 2. We are all use to that guided leveling experience, but Guild Wars 2 breaks away from that. In a given area, they give you a handful of hot spots that have various tasks that need to be carried out in order to gain the favor of a particular NPC.

The difference here is that there is choice. You can choose how you want to proceed with a particular NPC. You can collect berries for a farmer, help them grow their corn, or kick trees and lower the spider population to make the area safe for baking. I am sure I just combined three different farmers, but you get my point. Reading the above posts confirms the idea that I had in my head, that the world is at your fingertips.


17 Feb

Some Insight on WvW [GW2]

Games, Guild Wars 2, MMOs by Tramell

We all knew Guild Wars 2 would feature world vs. world PvP, but we were not sure how exactly it would shape up to be. Mike Ferguson, one of the many system designers at ArenaNet took to the company’s blog to layout what players can expect from WvW in their game.

First, the basics. WvW will pit three servers against each other in a massive area filled with various objectives for players to fight over in two-week long struggle. At launch, they plan to have four gigantic maps filled with objectives that caters to all types of groups. You will be able to take over forts, towers, and camps. Forts are meant to be tackled with a large group of people. There will be plenty of NPCs protecting the fort surrounding by thick walls. Assaulting the keep will be challenging but you will have quite a few tools at your disposal. Catapults and trebuchets will help you bust down those pesky walls and gates. Arrow carts and ballistae to combat enemy players and NPCs. You also have access to Siege Golems who are monsters in close quarters combat. Overall, this reminds of my days in Aion, I just hope they can replicate the fun of sieging a fort and optimize the game so it is not a five frames per second affair.

Although I never experience WvW, many players who heart PvP always refer to Dark Age of Camelot’s three-team PvP system as some sort of godsend in terms of solving faction imbalance. When you have two factions in a game, it is hard to design PvP arenas or open-world maps that could cater to a side that were at a disadvantage in terms of numbers. Whether or not Guild Wars 2 WvW system will successfully solve the issues people have with open-world PvP remains to be seen, as it will be my first time I’ll experiencing the three team dynamic.


29 Jan

Endgame At Your Fingertips [GW2]

Guild Wars 2, MMOs by Tramell

Quite a number of people have been wondering about endgame in Guild Wars 2. It has been a topic of debate in the forums, countless bloggers have written about it, and a previous episode of GuildCast addressed it. Going by Jon Peter’s statement during his ImA session, he stated that ArenaNet’s philosophy regarding endgame is that their whole game in the endgame. There will not be an endgame in the traditional sense. Typically, in an MMO, you start by grinding to improve your character’s level and then you transition over to a more idle period of high-end group content or player versus player.

ArenaNet aims to change the way that process folds out with a few new systems. First of which is their massive intertwining dynamic event system. This system aims to create an ever-changing world by having events play out and semi-permanently effect the world. Second is the level scaling system, which allows players to go back and revisit all the areas in the game whenever they want. The system downscale the player’s level to match the area so that it is still competitive for the player. It also allows players to mingle more freely with their friends without having to worry about the level of their character. Next, they provide an avenue for players who still enjoy the raiding scene. There are plenty of scenarios where you have to sit back and try to figure how a boss functions. Then conjure up a plan on how to counter it.


15 Dec

Mesmer, A Confusing Conundrum & Closed Beta [GW2]

Guild Wars 2, MMOs by Tramell

The most talked about and most recognized class the Mesmer was revealed by ArenaNet. They kept their promise on topping off the professions before the year was up. Although I am not super familiar with how the classed worked in the original Guild Wars, I am still satisfied by what has become of it. I knew the Mesmer has the unique ability of doing damage to players by throwing debuffs on them that make it so that they hurt themselves when they executed abilities.

That has carried to the Mesmer in Guild Wars 2. They have access to a unique condition that they can place on enemies called Confusion. When placed on an enemy they take damage every time they use one of their abilities. The confusion condition stacks and can do immense damage to enemies who are skill happy.

The Mesmers are a three-part story, they have Illusions, Mantras, and Shatter effects. Illusions allow Mesmers to create a mind trick in the game. They come in two parts, Clones and Phantasms. The clones are the weaker of the two and mimic the Mesmer. They have low health and do little damage, so I am assuming these are best used when you want to distract your opponent for a moment while you set yourself up with something else.