"From the outer darkness we came, to stick our sword into your heart!"

Monday, 21 November 2011

The End of a Story almost 4 years long

It's about time to post it.

After a really long period in which I didn't really spent time on either playing AoC or testing anything related to it, after taking the decision to take a break for a while this is the right moment to step down.

Age of Conan has been a great experience, I enjoyed playing that game despite the rants about the unbalance, about the development and about the FunCom on the overall.
After almost 4 years this game sounds to me like an old song, nice to hear but really not addicting nor exciting anymore, it gave me what he had to gave, but after Turan it slowly fell to oblivion.

My opinion is still that the combat system of Age of Conan could have brought it to the highest peaks of the MMO world, but the way it has been handled during all this years, the way it became a full PvE game just disappointed me over any limit.

I started to play this game lured by the blood, the fatalities, the chances to cut the head off the neck of many people and to have mine cutted off even more times, I saw it change day by day to a PvE factory, where gear and perks have become far more important of your skills, I lived with it as I loved the game, now I want to change though, because I felt betrayed.
If you advertise a game as a PvP game and you transform it into a PvE game you are not correct toward your customers, declare it PvE based with PvP degrees here and there and you would have avoided many complaints.

I still love the game but I need a change, that's it.

So the Temple will be closed, its fires smothered and ashes and dusts will claim these halls.

Thanks to those who visited this blog, to those who wrote and to those who sponsored and incited me behind the scenes.

Keep killing in the name of Xotli, and Have fun in Hyboria!



Thursday, 6 October 2011

A Genius has passed away

Today a Genius of our time passed away, to a better life? I hope so.

I would like to remember him with one of his most famous quotes, reading and hearing it again today gives it even more depth than it actually had the first time I heard it.

"Do not settle. Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Farewell Steve Jobs.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Summer - When FC guys decide to wake up!

It's incredible, absolutely incredible.
I left for my holidays with nothing new except for the new server Rage which, despite being fun on the PvP side at some degree, is nothing new, brings us nothing new, we still end up doing the same thing, leveling first, farming for gear after, only at the end doing some proper pvp, even in this case without anything new.
The only good thing is the absence of Bori (this deserves a 10+ for FC in this case).

As soon as I came back I approached my pc again, ready to see the same boredom and... SURPRISE!

TL is overwhelmed with acitivity, lot of testing and many many good news!

First of all, the new zone of Turan is being tested with the introduction of several new instances, also a raid, by the voices I heard, given that I don't have time actually to log on TL and see myself, the zone is really well designed, the instances are intrguing and interesting! Really not bad I dare to say! I appreciate this effort.

But what caught my interest is the PvP additions:

1) World Bosses: I don't like this, we don't need a wowish solution, we need a new open pvp contest which has as main objective the slaughter, the control of objectives a persistent zone of war! If any of you knows the Ettenmoors from LOTRO I guess can understand what I mean! War, all day long!!!

2) Animation rework: let me be clear... THEY REMOVED THE COMBOSKIP!
Absolutely thumbs up for it, I've got very important feedbacks on it, animation are quicker, not skippable and....


I will try to go and test some stuff as well as gathering more information to post a detailed feedback on what's going on!

Stay tuned!


Friday, 22 July 2011

Time for Holidays!

After another exam at the university and my regular job end i'm in attempt to move out.

I'm enjoying the experience of rage with another toon, in the end I decided not to replicate my HoX there because I wanted to try something new and I started a guard (given that I already have a DT, Conq, BS, Sin and Barb) and I'm trying to get myself home with my head on my neck everyday.

It's a good experience just because everything it's much more dangerous, with fights everywhere, without rules, if you want to kill and have a real challenge at even getting out a zone then try the new ruleset.

But I've got to say that this is really nothing new, it's just a different shape of something we already done and that we are trying to redo, my plan is to stop at level 59 for a while to do some pvp and then see if I'll have the will to go up to level 80.

Also, the pre-order of Star Wars is out and I'm really eager to see how this game will look like.

But for the moment i'm just going to enjoy some weeks of relax, sea, sun, interesting cities and friends!

So guys, have fun, enjoy the holiday and always remember to dedicate some skulls to our god!

See you all at the 2nd half of august, hopefully with the chance to open up a small forum to discuss and reunite our scattered community.

A group of friends i've been part of once said "Together we stand, divided we fall" and this is true, especially when it comes down to the Herald of Xotli.

One last hint: Keep your eyes open as rumors say that the combo animation revamp is approaching and this could probably be a great change for us!

Let's wait and see.

Enjoy the summer and have fun guys!

See you on the 2nd half of August!


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Player versus Player - Collection of thoughts

It's fundamental to be clear, if I'd have to define myself as a player I would say without any doubt that I'm 75% into PvP and the remaining into PvE, it's a choice I prefere a human versus human competition against a human versus server competition, it gives me much more satisfaction.

Even though I can define me a more or less professional PvPers always looking at improving, experimenting, playing every class I can to have a larger view on the field being able to react fast I'm not the kind of person that is encouraging the "elitaristic war" of PvErs agains PvPers, but I understand why it comes out.

It's undeniable that, when in a MMO PvE and PvP have their source in the very same skillset, feat and whatever there will always be a conflict, any modify applied to a class X at a time Y will affect the PvE side in a way and the PvP side in another, some examples are the Assassins, the Ranger and the Guardians.

Blaming a player in a moment of frustration may happen, what we should keep in mind is that there's a lot of players who remained faithful to their class even when it was not that performing that well, i'm referring to Sins which suffered from a lot of issues in the past, so why should we blame them for being now in a so called OP Status?

True thing is that there's also a lot of re-rollers, but hey, the game allows this, so why should we surprised if one re-rolls on a class that is performing better than his own?

It's the human nature guys, human beings are always aiming to competition, and to compete properly you've got to have the proper tool to do that.
In a MMO it is translated into having a good class, today it's the sin/ranger/guard, tomorrow it will be Necro/Demo/PoM, in a year it will be ToS/Conq or HoX... err no screw the HoX :)

What I mean is, it's a game true, but we all want to be competitive, starting from this then it comes to personal choices, I decided to roll pretty much every class in the game to have a larger overview, to know more also to have more choices, but my focus still remains on the Herald of Xotli, for it is the class I picked at day 1, the class I like(d) and love(d), I'm still willing to put an effort in being a good HoX especially when I realize that with an undergeared pvp 3 barbarian I'm much more performing than on my PvP 6 geared HoX.

It's a matter of pride and honor.

But the PvP is a strange entity.

In Age of Conan what I'd the chance to see is that it is based on Gear Supremacy, Perk Supremacy and Number Supremacy, only far after those 3 comes the Skill Supremacy.

If you are skilled you won't stand a chance against a player less skilled than you but with superior gear, simple as that.
Age of Conan at the very beginning was used to be a skill based (based on what I recall) game, equip was obviously a boost, but you still had a chance if you'd been a good player.

Now that's not the case anymore, so I'm asking myself why?

There could be many reasons to this.

I'm quite confident to say that Shrines of Bori were the first unbalancing factor in this game, came immediately after a revamp of the PvP levels and a new itemization which were not that bad after all.

I say so because I can't understand how mining resources nodes can be defined as a PvP activity, especially because the behaviour about Bori is well known: One guild steamroll the map, occupies it for the whole day and has its member up to PvP level 10 in a "heartbeat" and who the hell cares if those pvp 10 are noobs? with their gear anyone below pvp 5 will not have a single chance against them even if they know perfectly their class, even if they are perfectly aware of strenghts and weakness of their enemy, they simply can't fill the gear gap.

Recently issued polls showed how roughly 92% of the community refused Bori, demanded a change in regular server and begged the Devs to not have it as an option in the upcoming Blood and Glory ruleset, it should mean something, 92% guys, it's a reallly high percentage.

Sieges are another dreadful chapter.

Siege content could be the real engine of the PvP, it SHOULD HAVE BEEN the engine, the soul, the deep reason of pvping.
World conflict to own a Battlekeep, huge efforts to build it in terms of material, huge efforts in terms of sacrifice to maintain it against the enemies storming the walls.


Compared with minigames a siege gives nothing in terms of PvP xp and reward;
Compared with Shrines of Bori it gives even less;

So why should one bother about sieging at all?

For fun you could answer.

True, you got a point. Unfortunately there are a lot of issues which are removing the fun factor from the siege activity, some have been mentioned above, other are purely technical.

It's not possible, not understandable and not acceptable that after 3 years from the release with a top maching and an ADSL connection a player, a customer is not able to perform properly in a siege, at low settings, with everything disabled.

It's not possible, not understandable and not acceptable that after 3 years from release, with a top machine and an ADSL connection a player is not able to cast an instant spell, to perform a combo without having to wait 5 seconds from the moment he casts the spell/combo till the moment he notices the animation on the screen.

Playing a 48vs48 content having the whole raid stuck in huge red lag spikes it's impossible, it's not fun, it prevents you from doing anything it DESTROYES any effort you made to build up the keep, it does not allow you to defend what you got and build with sacrifice.

If you are lucky the siege will crash. The only chance of salvation.

But we can't blame only the SH mistakes.

The Community playes a bigger role in this.

Gankers, leavers, afkers, k/d whores, big-egos, flame wars, QQ, whines, complains, add whatever you want here.

The class X is OP OMG!!!!! NERF NERF NERF!

Yes I'm part of this as well and I regret this.

I stopped posting anything openly flame-baiting on the forums since a month or so, I'm much more focused on finding a way to perform despite any possible issue.

This is a plea to you all fellow PvPers, if the game is what it is, the ONLY WAY we have to keep it enjoyable is to focus on the community, to focus on the way we play.

Let's try to be less selfish, let's try to play more for the sake of playing rather then for the dire need of establishing ourselves as the best overall in the whole universe.

We would all have benefits from this.

See you the next time.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Herald of Xotli - Discussing on Crowd Control

It's about time to write down something on how I would use the Crowd Control now that the new system has been settled.

To summarize the changes from the HoX point of view we can start with these small points:

1) Dread Visage is now 1 second casting time;
2) Word of Command is now 0.5 seconds casting time;
3) Desecrating Essence remained untoched;
4) The innate feat Roots of Hell gives up to 50% resistance to KB (if fully feated) while in demon form;
5) There's a lesser amount of CC around.

The 5 points above should be enough to grant a player an overview on how the Crowd Control works now and how it will affect his own way of using them.

The first thing that becomes clear is that the HoX lost its instant CC, I wrote in the past that CCs like WoC and DV were used mostly for defensive purposes, something like a "oh shit" ability to escape dangerous situation, that is obviously not the same anymore, even though the first impression on it made me scream about the nerf I have to be honest that it was not so if you try to watch it in the greater picture.

The modifies to our CC are now forcing us to play our class more tactically, we have to time properly our CC and we absolutely need to be able to prevent what our opponent will do, movement and positionin is now even more important than it was before and the line between a good HoX and a not good HoX is now even more defined.

If you are able to prevent and react properly you'll survive, else you're dead meat.

Simple as that.

More in detail:

WoC: I'm not using it only to escape anymore. I can't cast it instantly but it's a great tool to be effectively supporting especially when trying to help the flag carrier, in a minigame played yesterday I managed to get our flag carrier out of troubles a couple of time by simply rooting down the chasers with WoC and interrupting their casts and combos with Hellfire breath. I'm alse re-evaluating the role of WoC as a backup CC for when I stun a target, I'm perfectly aware that the stun can be easily removed especially in early stages of a fight, but the process takes at least 1 second and I'm managing to apply the root before my enemy is removing the stun gaining in this way enough time to either land a buffed ToX or to retreat waiting for a better moment to shot it.

DV: This was the ultimate "I need to save my back" cc for the HoX, it isn't so anymore, but even in this case I found it usefull for supporting the team, especially in this new Furian reality I'm noticing that it's really common to have 3 enemies on you trying to burn you down and it's in this case that I use my DV to buy some time for me or my ally to run out, maybe also using WoC as a backup if I believe I've got enough time to stay and cast it (it means more than 60% of my hp).

What comes out from this small analisys is that now the HoX has less "selfish" tools (and that's bad) but has on the other hand of the deal more "teamplay" tools which is not a bad thing after all, it's true that we are maybe a bit forced to play that way, but in the long run it will turn out to be a good thing creating some kind of "mutual aid" behaviour in minigame, and it's always nice to see a guy standing between you and your death just because you saved his back before.

I'm enjoying my "new" role of supporter, and especially in crowded fight when healers and flag carriers are the main focused targets my root or fear or stun can often change the tide of the fight.

It's all about making the habit to this new style, I wouldn't dislike a bit more of survival, but while I wait for it, at least now  I can try to find a new "reason" for my class, and a new role I may like to play.

I hope you enjoyed the read.

Take care.


Monday, 6 June 2011

Fury: New dimension of life

So we've been through the server merge.

The new experience within the new PvP server Fury has begun and after a week of play I can try to summarize my impressions on it.

First thing to be said is that finally we have a living server, vibrating server, a lot of stuff is going on and especially on the PvP side the things have improved a lot in terms of frequency and numbers.
Minigames are starting at the speed of light and it's now normal to be able to run 3-4 or even 5 JS in a day if one has the stomach to do that, 40 minutes of minigame are quite a lot, but yet, you have the chance to choose to play it or not to play it. Back at Aquilonian's days have you missed a JS you couldn't be sure that you'd had another chance to play it within the day.

I've had the chance to see also the old Keshatta Zerg activity back on track, with around 20-30 players taking out the doubts and fighting bad in there, nice activity after years of Empty Kesh in which the only activity was some rare duel going on the duel area, downside of it is that the "Duel area" has become again the hunting ground for gankers, but this should have been expected.

Fury is traditionally a full PvP server, without the RP tag that Aquilonia had, so far I think there have never been a duel area in there, not officially at least.

About my experience the feelings are mixed, I'm absolutely happy to have the chance to spend 4 hours doing minigame without a break, being able to enter a map as soon as I'm out from the one I was playing in, but I have to admit I'm a bit concerned about the "quality" of the experience.

Regardless of the map, you'll end up in a minigame in which killing the enemy is far more important than actually winning the minigame, people is leaving as soon as the group composition does not match whit one's personal tastes, and it's absolutely normal to have 4 guys chasing and hunting you down even at your resspad, which is utterly annoying.

I've been through a devastating siege experience, my guild has been attacked and in a 48vs48 siege at prime time 20:00 CET the lag was so bad that I was not able to even cast Hellfire Breath.
Obviously with this situation it took 30 minutes to the attackers to burn the keep down, catapults and trebuchet will keep on shooting regardless of lag.

The impact has not been easy, I was used to play at the much slower rate of Aquilonia, but I adapted quite soon to the new speedy game in Fury, I'm enjoying the experience so far, I'd wish I could siege properly, but at the next attempt if the lag remains that bad I guess I will call it and close my sieging experience, untill when FunCom will do something to make siege finally enjoyable.

They've got a full PvP server with guilds willing to actively siege, it's a shame they can't do it properly.

Catch you around soon.