Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tomorrow night, it's time to fight again.

Wednesday night from 7:00-9:00 PM. PowerPlay Videogames. Street Fighter 4. You know the drill. See you there.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanks for coming to Fight Night!

Many thanks to everyone that attended last night's Wednesday Night Fights! It was good to see some returning faces and many new ones. We even had a couple of the srk guys come down and demonstrate some advanced stuff.

If we can keep attendance up, the scene can only grow. Hopefully we'll be able to start an official league soon and start having some tourneys. The more regulars we have, the quicker we can progress to doing this.

Thanks also to PowerPlay Videogames for allowing us to host Fight Night at their store. Check them out at their website here.

Again, we'll be doing this every Wednesday Night, so if you missed the first two, there's always next week. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fight Night is Tonight!

Hey guys, don't forget, SF4 Fight Night is tonight at PowerPlay Videogames at 7:00 PM.
PowerPlay is located at 841 N. Germantown Pkwy in Cordova, next to Outdoors, Inc. If you need directions, you can call them at 901-552-4271. Or check their site at 


You can also email me if you have any questions at sf4memphis@gmail.com. Or leave a comment on this site, and I'll do my best to reply. In any case, I hope we'll have a decent turnout tonight, and have some good matches. See you guys later.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cody interview!

A new developer interview discussing Cody is now up at Eventhubs. It's a nice little read, with some juicy tidbits about how he can also use a wrench and a pipe for attacks, in addition to the knife. A cool shoutout  to the original Final Fight, for sure. Also he now has my vote for Coolest Move Name Ever; "Zonk Knuckle".

You should head over there and check it out.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's official. Wednesday Night Fights!

Hey guys, just finalized the details for the Street  Fighter Open Play nights at PowerPlay today. We're looking at Wednesday nights, from around 7-9 PM. The platform will be on XBOX 360, format to be announced later. 

Bringing your own controller or stick is highly recommended, but if you are without, I'll have a 360 controller and a Fightpad available for use. You can email me at hiryu02 (at) gmail(dot) com if you have any questions or comments. I'll be posting a bit more here at GnM as we nail things down. But currently, if you like to play SF4 and aren't doing anything Wednesday night, come down to PowerPlay and get some matches in. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stay Tuned, Fight Nights are Coming.

And now for a bit of local flavor. And by local I mean Memphis, TN.

So I'm driving to work around the Thanksgiving holiday and I notice this new videogame store called PowerPlay had just opened up right next to Outdoor's Inc on Germantown Pkwy. I go, "Cool", and make a mental note to check them out, just to see if they have anything that makes them tick. I call up, inquire about a game, and the lady I spoke to was very nice, super helpful. She also mentioned that they had an "arcade" in the back, which really piques my interest. I make it a point to stop by the next day and see the place. An idea had begun to form in my mind. 

I stop by the next day and speak to Ms. Jennifer, who was the person I had spoken to earlier. Again, she was super nice and told me all about the place; it's a mom and pop operation, they have consoles hooked up to flatscreens in the back, a separate area called their "arcade", they plan to have Halo/Madden tourneys, they host parties, and all sorts of cool sounding stuff. So I'm like, wow, this is a cool place, let's see what they think of my idea.

So I pitch it: One night a week, structured open freeplay sessions with Street Fighter 4. She likes the idea, but she tells me it's best to speak to Chris, who is in charge of the tournaments. I thank her, and tell her I'll be back later. That night, I stop by again and speak to Chris. I lay out the idea again. I explain that I basically want to do this in order to grow a scene around SF4. I've run Halo leagues and tournaments before, and I clarify that initially, these "Fight Nights" are just casual matches, not a tournament, with an eye towards just getting more people playing and interested in the game and its sequel, Super Street Fighter 4. Chris and I go back and forth over several salient points, but in summary: He likes the idea, and gives me the go-ahead to get it started. Needless to say, I'm very excited, I've wanted to do something like this for a long time.

Now, I just need to muster up some support for this, and start getting the word out. I'm hoping that we can get a good group of regulars coming to these matches, and hey, I think we're looking at a possible tournament for SSF4 after its release! I'm getting pretty hyped, but I'm trying to keep my expectations modest. I'll have more info as details finalize. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The first ever West Coast Warzone Tournament was held this past weekend in Irvine, California. I was lucky enough to catch most of it live on the live stream. All I can say is wow! Tons of quality play, by players I've never heard of and players that I'm very familiar with. On the famous front, we had Marn, John Choi, Alex Valle, Floe and Ed Ma, plus a few others. The relative unknowns were Filipino Champ, Bryant the Tyrant, Masarap, and Yeb, plus more. I'll touch on Yeb later in this post.

For commentating, the floor was held by Gootecks and John Rog. There were a few repetitive instances, but good commentary over all. The speakers got genuinely hyped and the feelings were infectious.

In early pools, some standout play by the heavy hitters like Alex Valle and Marn. Valle actually played Gouken in his early matches, and did pretty well with him, to the delight of the crowd.

Speaking of hype, the biggest swell of excitement surrounded Yeb, a Gen player from San Diego. Yeb was a relative unknown coming into the tourney, but he's well-known on the srk Gen forums alongside JiBbo. Both players are proponents of Gen's standing medium kick into hundred hands combo. For the uninitiated, the mk hands combo requires 5 punch inputs during the very short window when mk can combo. This is used profusely in matches to grab additional damage on Gen's best poke, as well as to string together combos upwards of 18+ hits. It's pretty damn impressive, to say the least. As well as being hard as hell to execute. 

Yeb wowed the audience early on in matches against Andre, and later, in a knockout match against Hugo, a Dictator player, he brought the crowd to it's feet with a last ditch final round Ultra that he landed against Dictator's EX head stomp. The significance of this is that he used the invincibility frames of the Ultra to make the head stomp miss, and plant Dictator on the ground in time for the Ultra to land. Needless to say, this was CLUTCH. The room exploded. In later matches, he took down the famous John Choi, and got a double perfect on Magus1234. At the beginning of top 8, the whole room chanted his name after he defeated Floe's Sagat. In the words of John Rog, if you don't know Yeb, You Just Don't Know. After his 4th place finish, losing to Ed Ma's Akuma, he received a standing ovation. Quite possibly a first for the fighting game scene, and this was after his loss. Yeb was definitely MVP of WCW.

Other surprises included Masarap, a relative unknown getting comparisons to Daigo due to his uncanny consistency with fadc ultras. As well as Boxer player Bryant the Tyrant with some stunning upsets, and a Blanka called Moval beasting. In the end, Marn took the finals after facing off against Alex Valle. The consensus was that it was a great tourney with a great turnout, including about a hundred players who signed up the day of the event, throwing brackets into chaos and causing some delays. Still, a great time was had by all, and some classic moments were had.

Top 8 is here, this does not include the first game of top 8, floe vs Yeb, linked to earlier.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Playing Abel: Another Approach.

I've started playing Abel seriously as an alternate to Ryu, I say alternate, but I've been playing him fairly exclusively this past week. He's a good change of pace from Ryu, and the approach is completely different. Where shotos excel at zoning you out and spacing for anti-airs, Abel's game involves up-close mixups, combined with command throws and a roll that bypasses most attacks. His anti-air game is pretty weak, though. He has a throw that catches jumping opponents, but the timing and angle that it comes out at causes it to miss most of the time. 

Abel is pretty challenging to use, as he has no basic "safe" strategy, unlike say Ryu who can throw fireballs, and shoryuken his opponent out of the air when he tries to jump. Ryu can win matches using almost nothing but cr.mk into fireball, and shoryuken. Abel doesn't really work that way. Instead his game is based on reacting to the opponents actions and punishing their mistakes. And at intermediate to higher levels you really need to get into your opponents head and condition him into playing in a way that Abel can punish him at will. Many players call this using mindgames. 

Here's an example. Say Abel knocks down his opponent. As the opponent gets up he can:

1. Stay back a bit and sweep the opponent, as his sweep has deceptively long range

2. Use a Wheel Kick, which must be blocked high, alternate with sweep to mix it up

3. Dash in and use either regular Tornado Throw, which beats counter-throws, or EX TT, which beats most attacks

4. Roll behind the enemy, and attack from the back

5. Jump over the enemy and go for a crossup

6. Do nothing, block.

The thing is, this isn't even all his options in that scenario. He can use his step kick to dash in and start another mixup for example. The step kick itself leads to another half dozen options. Of course, not all those options are safe, and if the opponent guesses correctly he can knock Abel out of the mixup. Still, he's a real versatile character. And I think that's the key to his appeal for me. I really have to out-think and psyche out the opponent to win with Abel, so when I do win, it's very satisfying. The flipside is that when I can't get his offense rolling, it's very frustrating. "I should have done this, I should have done that" kind of frustrating. Still when you totally Yomi your oppenent's game, and make him feel that everything he's doing is getting countered or punished, there's no feeling that compares.

NOTE: "Yomi" is a japanese term that loosely translates as "knowing the mind of your opponent". And since Abel's gameplan is reliant on mixups and baiting, yomi is a big part of his game. For more about yomi, see here

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Have Stick, Will Fight!

I purchased an XBOX 360 TE FightStick yesterday, after some time spent cursing the Fightpad and saving money. And it's every bit as good as the reviews  say it is. It's much more precise and sensitive. Maybe a bit too sensitive, as I found myself jumping backwards a few times when I wanted to perform a standing block. I also have to re-adjust my timing on several combos, as opposed to mashing out my 2-in-1's on the pad. Finally being able to execute an srk FADC into Ultra online makes it worth every dollar. My movement is much improved as well, I can dash in and out on command, and positioning myself is much easier. The stick also enables me to see if I'm executing moves with the correct timing. On the pad, I would miss some moves but chalk it up to the mushiness of the pad not recognizing my inputs properly. With the stick, I can now tell that it's in fact my execution that is off. 

I've finally fought my way into Championship G2-C, after an eternity spent in D and E. I'm feeling much improved from when I picked up the game some weeks ago, but certain matchups still give me a lot of trouble. Dhalsim in particular is a tough fight for me, as is Rose. I still can't beat really good players consistently,  but I sneak out a win here and there. I do feel that my arsenal has expanded thanks to the TE stick, as I can pull several combos I wasn't able to execute consistently before. I do feel that I have a lot to learn, and I'm not making proper use of all the options available to me as Ryu.

In the meantime, I'm trying to develop a secondary character, and I'm torn between Rufus and Abel. I feel that I grasp Abel better, but Rufus has some amazing damage potential. For example, Rufus can hit a jumper with his own jumping hk, and follow that up with EX Snake Strike and do at least 30% damage. His Ultra is also relatively easy to set-up and he's got a good mixup game. My main issue with him is he requires very precise execution on many of his combos. 

Abel on the other hand, has strong grabs for turtling opponents, as well as a good assortment of strikes. His rolls enable him to bypass projectiles and setup crossups. He also has a ton of health and takes longer to defeat. His Ultra is great for projectile spammers and can be linked to his cr.hp. His Tornado Throw is also very potent. 

And then there is the possibility that this is another symptom of my love for alts in MMO's. I'm really bad about this, to the point of having nearly a dozen different characters that I all play, yet not really getting very far with any of them. I guess no matter what game I play, my indecisiveness will always surface.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Ties that Bind, the SF4 Anime Review

I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to talk about the anime DVD that came with the SF4 game. So apparently Capcom decided to release a companion anime to go along with the launch of SF4. Great idea, but shoddily executed. My first issue with the movie is that I'm not sure when it is supposed to take place. It's not a prequel, and it seems to take place in the same timeline, but its link to the game is extremely tenous. There is no mention of any "tournament", many characters, including guys like Honda, Blanka and Zangief are no where to be found. Of the new guys, you get a glimpse of Abel, and no Fuerte or Rufus. Crimson Viper has a major part, as does Cammy. Then of course Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Guile and Sakura round it out, with small baddie parts from Claw(US Vega) and Boxer(US Balrog). Seth takes the evil boss role, with Dictator(US Bison) in a smaller part. Anyone else I didn't mention is pretty much out.

Cast issues aside, there just isn't enough action. There's a fair bit of exposition, with characters running around investigating and maybe only 3-4 'fight" scenes. The fight scenes are fairly bland and the big boss fight is anticlimactic. The animation itself is very clean, but not very detailed. It's pretty much the same stuff in the arcade mode intros and endings.

I would have been okay with all this, had the translation been on par. Unfortunately, Capcom for some reason instead of commissioning an alternate script translation for the subtitles decided to go cheap and dubtitle it. Dubtitling, if you don't know, is simply using the English dub script as the subtitles. Therefore, instead of getting a better, more accurate translation with subtitles, dubtitles just give you the English dub, like closed captioning. The thing about dubbed anime, is that usually certain liberties are taken with the dub in order to match the mouth movements of the characters. So normally the dub translation, while adequate, is not as accurate as it could be since it is dealing with the constraints of the medium. 

I guess I'm not entirely surprised that Capcom skimped on the translation, seeing that the anime itself is pretty subpar. It's strange that they'd be hesitant to spend money on something that's supposed to promote the RETURN OF STREET FIGHTER! In a way, perhaps this is an indication that they might have not been as certain that SF4 was going to succeed as we thought. It sounds like a no-brainer now, but keep in mind that before the game actually gets released, they only know it did well in arcades, which is not a guaranteed success on console/PC.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good Times and Pad Woes.

Last night was my third night of SF4, and I finally started playing in championship mode, using Ryu. I did pretty well, I'd say i won about 60% of my matches, and advanced up a bit, I'm now in G-3 C, whatever that means, heh.

I've also unlocked Gouken now, and I'm practicing with him and Abel. Strangely enough, Abel seems to be a good fit for my fighting style. His rolls are KOF-ish, and he has a easy to perform command throw, and a Fei-Long style punch/rekka combo. I'm still spotty with him, but when i get momentum going, it can be hard to stop me. Of course, smart players still drink my milkshake, but I feel that I have potential with Abel. Gouken is much the same, great when i can get momentum going, but some matches it's like I'm beating my head into the wall. I also have a bad habit of under utilizing certain moves of his, like EX palm thrusts, and overusing his demon flip and fireballs. I can get a pretty decent zoning game with him, but under pressure I tend to crack. I do like his mixups and how you can use his Ultra in multiple ways: after a back throw, as an anti-air, and in certain corner combos. I just need to get used to his unique quirks, and I think I can be a decent player. Especially once I stop whiffing Ultras.

Speaking of Ultras, I may be setting aside Ryu for a little while. Why? Well, because his main setup for his Ultra involved an FADC'd shoryuken. And on a pad, it's very difficult to do. Because of the way i have to hold the pad, quickly executing Focus Attacks can be a challenge by itself. And so FADC-ing anything for me on the pad is hard to do in the heat of the moment. The main thing is that the buttons are too close together for me to do it comfortably if I hold my button hand piano-style, and if I use the regular grip with my thumb, certain normal links get harder to do. So it's a no-win situation for me without constantly changing my grip. Also, it's getting to be murder on my left thumb So it looks like getting a stick just became a much higher priority.

I should be able to purchase a stick within the next few weeks, hopefully. The pad will have to tide me over til then. In the meantime, it looks like Abel and Gouken will be taking up most of my time, unless I somehow figure out a way to do Ryu's FADC shoryu into Ultra on the pad reliably.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My first online fights, defeats and victories.

Before I could even begin to play SF4, I have to acquire a controller, right? Logical. So I figured I'd go down to Best Buy, grab a PC game bundle and go home. Not that simple. No local Best Buy has Fightpads or sticks, much less the bundle. So I have to break my personal rule of never buying from Gamestop. I call around to six or seven locations, and only one has a Fightpad, and it's a used one at that. No matter, I go down there, purchase the pad, and then I go to work. A bit later I get around to examining the pad, which I didn't have time to do earlier as I was on my way to my job. Problem. The USB port is missing. 

So I call the Gamestop I purchased it at, and spoke to the guy who sold it to me. Initially he said I'd have to take it back, since they didn't have any others. I replied that I needed the pad, and I didn't care if he had to pull a port off another used pad and give it to me. He hemmed and hawed at this, so I added that maybe he should call around to other stores, see who has a spare port and instruct them to hold it for me. He hesitated at this as well, so I just said that I'd call him back later. A fews hours later, I call back and he says that he did find the port and that he would hold it for me. Great, that's one problem gone. After picking up the port, I head to Best Buy, and hey, they have the game with the pack-in anime DVD. I picked it up as well, glad to have the bonus DVD. My excitement about the DVD quickly soured however when I realized the travesty of its translation. But I'll go into that later.

 Anyway, after some tinkering I get the game installed and the controller drivers downloaded. Now I can play SF4 for the first time. I go into training mode, and pick Ryu. 

I suck. I'm amazed at how bad my execution is. The pad makes performing the moves slightly less difficult, but my execution is bollocks.

I sit in practice mode for a while, trying to get used to performing combos and links. Some of the stuff was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had a hard time executing his cr.lk, cr,lp, cr.hp into tatsu. This is considered one of his basic bread and butter combos (BnB). I wasn't having much success with f+hp, d+hp into special, either. Daigo's execution is truly beastly to pull links like that off on command. After about 30 minutes of practice, I went online for the very first time. I played about an 45 minutes, and managed to lose most of my first several matches. I'd get a round win every so often, but I didn't really win much at all. I did get a session in with someone called obliterage, and we played about 7 matches, 4 of which I won. I was pretty stoked about it, and I sent him a gg mesage along with a friend request afterwards. I played arcade mode solo afterwards, working on unlocking characters. So I've got Sakura, Fei Long, Cammy, Gen, and Rose. I'm going to try and unlock Gouken tonight, as he's who I intend to play as a secondary character, after Ryu. Although that may change when I get an arcade stick, so that I can start learning to use Gen, who has incredibly technical execution demands that pretty much require a stick. The Fightpad is nice, definitely better than a vanilla controller, but it has a slight mushy feeling that makes some precision movements feel somewhat floaty. Still, it'll tide me over until I get a stick.

All in all, I'm very excited to be getting back into fighting games, even if it's only on the PC. Still, it's been years since I've seriously played, and I'm looking forward to working my way up the ranks. If you see me online, send me an invite, I'm going by Hiryu ZeroTwo.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New WoW Races confirmed?

From our buddies over at Wow.com, there is an article that states pretty unequivocally that the new WoW expansion races have been "leaked". The article does not give clear sources, but it also goes on to say that "Cataclysm" will be the new expansions' name. Cataclysm was trademarked some months ago by Blizzard, so unless it's a red herring, that's one less surprise at Blizzcon.

I won't spoil the races here, so hop over to Wow.com and see what you can see.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let's Do This! Coming back to Street Fighter.

Once again I'm late to the party, but this weekend I hope to finally be playing Street Fighter 4 online...on the PC. Yes I know I'm nearly a month late to the PC release, but I had been focusing on the console versions since launch. I've been watching match videos on youtube, perusing multiple forums, and just absorbing information about the game in general. For someone who has yet to play the actual game, I've spent a remarkable amount of time just reading about it, and vicariously experiencing it through forum discussions and match videos. Unfortunately, my current financial situation prevents me from purchasing an Xbox 360, SF4 and a fighting stick. It was only recently that a light bulb lit up in my head when I realized that my gaming PC is beefy enough to run SF4. So I can snag the game and a decent fighting stick for less than $100. 

This is not my first exposure to Street Fighter. I grew up in Asia about the time Street Fighter 2 and Fatal Fury first hit arcades. I still fondly remember my dog-eared copy of EGM that had photos and descriptions of each fighter's special moves, as well as a short bio on each character. I recall acting out the special moves of every character for my oldest nephew, and describing each fighter to him. Sadly, in those days I was pretty young and was not good at understanding the finer details of fighting games. I wanted to be good at Ryu, but I didn't have the skill to do fireballs or shoryukens properly. I would often jump accidentally when trying special moves. I settled for learning Guile, because his charge moves came easier to me. And I got pretty decent against the computer, but was still a scrub against better players. I rarely won versus another player, unless he was inexperienced like me. I also played other stuff like Fatal Fury, but I would play every version of SF that came out.  Still, I was never more than a mediocre player.

I would return to Street Fighter when Capcom released New Challengers and Super Turbo. I quickly discovered that I sucked with Cammy, Fei Long and T Hawk.  After King of Fighters debuted in 1994, I gravitated to it. I played significantly more KOF for a while and started to learn proper move execution. About the time KOF 95' came out, I knew how to perform most special moves on demand. Still, my game relied on using mainly the strongest normals and special moves. I didn't use pokes, footsies, or jab strings. I was basically a player who used Hard Punch and Hard Kick for everything. I also played Street Fighter Alpha, and its sequels during their arcade release, but I was playing more KOF than SF at this point, and it wasn't until Street Fighter 3 that I finally "understood" the game. I got pretty good at SF3, nothing amazing, but I did pretty well in my local scene. Unfortunately, some time after SF3 3rd Strike was released, I fell out of the fighting game scene for many years. 

And so, more than eighteen years after Street Fighter 2 came out, I'm returning to Street Fighter, and to Ryu. Ryu has always been an iconic character, his ending in the original SF2 really affected me. I remember it to this day. He's the solid, well-balanced "basic" fighter archetype that has spawned countless imitations across the fighting game genre. Strangely, I haven't really tried to use him since the New Challengers. Even in the Versus series, like Capcom Vs SNK and Marvel Vs Capcom, I intentionally avoided using Ryu. I sort of had a mental block about using him, since all my attempts at "mastering" Ryu had met with failure. Also, he's always been a well-rounded popular character that gets picked by many players. And so in nearly every game I would use a character that was "different". I used Guy in the Alpha series, and Yun and Makoto in SF3. 

This time however, I'm gonna pick Ryu. I'm a better player now, with a better understanding of the game, the fighters and the engine. I think that now that I've gotten all this experience under my belt, I'm finally ready to use him. It's kind of a cool feeling, to come back to a character that I had originally wanted to play, but for one reason or another I passed over. I also have a different mindset now. I'm going to approach this as a learning experience, not as a way to show my "skills". I must credit David Sirlin for writing a series of articles collectively called "Playing to Win", that taught me many things. Not just about fighting games in general, but also about the mental barriers that a mediocre or "scrubby" player has to overcome in his head to succeed. Hopefully, the next time I play against someone with Ryu, I'll be playing to win, and to learn. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

KOF XII: Rebirth is Re-botched

If you have more than a cursory interest in 2-D fighting games, the release of SNK's flagship fighting series on July 24th is well known to you. However, what you may not know yet is that somehow SNK has taken the game that could have theoretically turned their fortunes around in the USA and royally screwed the pooch with it. No, I'm not talking about the graphics, engine or gameplay. I'm talking about the netcode. 

Reports from multiple websites and forum posters reveal that the online play for KOF XII is nigh-unplayable. A patch was released for the PS3 version shortly after launch to fix the lag issues, but it seems to have not had a noticeable effect as well as adding some bugs to the game. Compared to BlazBlue, or even SF4, KOF XII fails painfully in its implementation of the online experience. Players report difficulty connecting to matches, and laggy inputs when they do get a match going. Character Select lag, even. Other issues include being able to re-map the button assignments of the other player online and unintuitive menus with a lack of certain features. The poor online experience only emphasizes the poor single-player AI. The AI is so bad that players report no difference between the difficulty setting, the AI is equally stupid. So if you don't have any local friends to play against and were depending on the online play, you're currently out of luck. The patch has also been uploaded to XBL recently, but results are mixed. I wish to quote someone from the PA forums who summed up my feelings on this with a masterful post.

slash000 wrote: View Post
Yeah, I mean, SNK has always had a kind of small but strong following over the years. They've always been niche. 

This was their opportunity to kind of re-invigorate their main franchise, and bring in new (or returning) fans. 

And they dropped the ball, big time. Seriously. This was their opportunity to go from a tiny hardcore
fanbase to expanding to at least the more broad fighting game market (which itself is still small honestly). 

But all this game has done is made everyone who took new interest, or renewed interest, in the
KOF franchise, and basically made them feel like a shmuck for taking interest and having renewed faith in SNK and paying $60 for the game. Even those among the big longtime SNK fanbase are getting pretty sour over this.

It's a major problem. Not only is this going to completely turn off a large portion of would-be potential fans, but it's even starting to wear down on fans that have followed
SNK for a long time. What could have been a rebirth for the series both in appearance and style AS WELL as market appeal is turning out to be something that is doing more damage than good, possibly with greater negative effects in the long term.

He's completely on the ball here, I'm saddened to say. I love KOF. I've played it since its inception in 94'. But this really sucks. It sucks even more because the game itself is very good! The art is beautiful, the engine solid, and the animation is breathtaking. I don't even care that Mai isn't in this game, I just want it to be playable online! I know that it's not too late, perhaps a miracle patch is being worked on as we speak, but I really hope that if they do manage to fix this, that the damage done to KOF and SNK's rep isn't irreversible. 

Friday, July 31, 2009

Random Anime Recommendation

This is probably very old news to many people, but I recently discovered the Gundam series The 08th MS Team. I stumbled across it in a random topic in a modeling forum I frequent and thought I'd give it a shot based on all the positive comments it was getting. I was blown away. 

Compared to many of the more recent Gundam series like 00 and Seed, 08th MS Team is a breath of fresh air to me. Of course, I realize that it is a significantly older series and that I'm a Johnny-come-lately to all this, but it still kicks ass in it's own way. To paraphrase one forum poster, where something like Gundam Wing is "invincible robots doing killing ballet in outer space", 08th MS Team is gritty, dirty, and real. Instead of super-sensors spotting enemy units from large distances, the 08th MS Team relies on their hovertruck sonar, and a teammate skilled in listening, to pinpoint the enemy. Large amounts of time are spent in preparation for any upcoming conflict, which includes outlining the plan of attack, getting into position and listening for the enemies' advance. In other words, tactics. Once visual confirmation is made, the fights are over in a very short time. The terrain plays a large part in combat as well. The mobile suits aren't super-machines either, they are mass-production models, effective in combat, but nothing like say the Wing Zero Custom. For example, one episode shows an MS being temporarily sidelined because sand gets in its gears!

No "ace" pilots here either, just new-ish recruits and some seasoned veterans. If anything the only real ace in this series would probably be Norris Packard, on the Zeon side. Most characters are competent, effective pilots, but nothing like an Amuro Ray or Setsuna F. Seiei. Characterization is another plus, and it's consistent throughout the series. Shiro is a bit green, but talented. Sanders is serious but a bit haunted by his past. Karen is a bit harsh, but an effective pilot and officer. Eledore is extroverted but dependable in a fight, and Michel pines for his girlfriend, but is perhaps the most empathetic of the team. On the other side as well, the Zeon soldiers and officers are portrayed as real human beings, not faceless cogs in the military machine. The humanizing treatment given to all the characters really makes us feel for them. We empathize with the valiant Feddies, and feel for the injured yet brave Zeon. One truly sees how even opposing sides in war are made up of people who are essentially the same. It's a cliche sentiment, but one that's very appropriate here.

If anything, my only complaint would be that the love story subplot is a bit abrupt and perhaps not fully fleshed out. But considering the setting of said love story, it's not completely illogical. I would really recommend that you pick this up, especially if you do not have much experience with the Universal Century timeline of the Gundam series. And of course, after watching this I'm itching to pick up a kit of the RX-79 [G] when I get the cash, heh.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Epiphany

I had an epiphany the other night, whilst lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. For the first time in many many months, I realized that I finally understood why I've been without motivation to pursue many of my hobbies. I'll talk about model building, since it relates the best to what I'm trying to explain. This passage from Gunota.info pretty much sums up what I've been suffering from:

Do You Have It? AMS –  Advanced Modeling Syndrome;  is a condition that is characterized by a modeler’s obsession or continual pursuit to outdo his own capability & standard, resulting in the inability to complete a model kit. In the worst possible scenario, the modeler can suffer burnout and become incapable of doing any model kit for long periods of time.

The root for causes are many but can be typified by the some of the following examples below;

  • adding Metal thrusters, Spikes, Tubing, Grooves covers and also LED lit beam sabers to model kits,
  • adding mobility mods and making proportion adjustments,
  • surfing the internet for references and research on similar builds before embarking on the project and
  • many more.

All these itsy-bitsy things will trip-up a modeler, potentially reducing his/ her production levels to near-zero and leave them in depression, despair and remorse.

 I cleaned up the above a bit, but the gist is clear. And it's exactly what I've been going through. I've always had a bad habit of putting off doing stuff, because I always want to be perfectly prepared for the project I'm going to be starting "soon". First it was that I had to get a compressor and airbrush, then I needed a specific paint, then I ran out of primer, and on and on... Before long, nothing ever got started, and all the while I was planning three or four kits ahead! Pretty dumb now that I think about it. Instead of starting a kit I currently owned, I'd fixate on some new one, and I couldn't start anything until I purchased the new one. And like clockwork, when the new one came in, I'd lose interest and start fixating on something else. I had this problem with games too. While playing WAR, I'd get soo wrapped up in raising my Renown Rank that I started to dread logging in to play my "required" amount of scenarios instead of just paying attention to my current options and trying to enjoy just playing the game. 

Same deal with my drawing hobby: I'd plan a piece like a poster type illustration, start my  preliminary sketches and never get past that point. I'd plan and sketch and plan, but I would never start the actual piece.

Now that I've recognized this mental block of mine, I've begun making a concerted effort to actually start and finish a model kit. I'm trying to just sit down every night for a decent chunk of time and get something done. Even if it's just assembling/sanding one part, so long as some progress is made. I'm really happy about this new state of mind and I hope I'll be able to show you a completed project before too long. I'm actually looking forward to this. It's been a while.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm back. Now what?

Yes, after many months of inactivity, I return to this blog. However, I am not returning to my previous theme and subject matter.

I burned out. 

After months of hype and excitement, both with Warhammer Online and my blog, I began to hit a wall. It became harder and harder to come up with content, and I was logging in less and less. It became less fun and more work. In hindsight, of course it's easy to realize that getting buried in WAR and everything related to it was going to burn me out sooner or later. And just like most people, I didn't see it coming at the time. And eventually, I just stopped logging in and playing, and I stopped writing. There were other factors, of course. My fiance and I just moved to a new apartment, we had a minor car wreck, our wedding date is fast approaching, etc, etc.

So yeah, a bunch of stuff has been happening in a relatively short time, and it is only now that I feel caught up enough to try and start writing again. Since I'm no longer playing WAR, I will be re-orienting this blog towards my other interests, while still including video games. I've been getting back into plastic modeling, mainly Gundam models, as well as anime and manga. And of course some PC and console gaming. 

Luckily, my blog name is still relevant to the topics I plan to post about and the name will stay. If you are reading, you have my thanks. And I hope that what I write will still be somewhat interesting to you. I'll see you next post.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We All Knew It Was Coming

And here it is. Good thing, too. I did hope that Mythic would have come to this conclusion sooner, but I'm glad it happened at all. Nice to now have token rewards for the warcamp rvr quests as well.

Also, I apologize for the recent lack of posts, I've been very busy with that demon known as real life and my playtime has suffered as a result. However, I hope to be getting more gaming in these next few weeks. I'll see you guys in RvR.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My First Dungeon Runs.

Yep, that's the truth. I had never done any instanced dungeons in WAR until last night. This is mainly because I was unable to settle on a character until the Slayer was released. Now, with Khazgar at 4/5 Annihilator, I felt ready to start doing Sigmar Crypts or Skaven Tunnels. Luckiy, I'm in a guild that is ready to run newbies through dungeons, and we have a good group of players that are now massively overgeared for the instances. This is probably why the runs went so smoothly. The group was composed of myself, another newbie Slayer, our Guild Master was the single tank, with an Engi and two Runepriests. Yes, an all-dwarf group. For some reason our guild is composed of over 75% dwarfs. Go figure,

Anyway, the run went smoothly, we hit Crypts first, with my GM laying out basic strats on vent along the way. We got all the way to Twin Lectors without a hitch, and after the strategy was explained, we went to it. It was surprisingly easy, even with one tank, but as I said, my guildies were overgeared for this run. We downed them without a hitch, and the Sentinel Leathers dropped! My roll karma was strong and I won the chestpiece! I was stoked, and they don't loot half bad either. At least they aren't bugged and actually show up on my character, unlike the Annihilator chest.

After this we headed out to the Blowhole Tavern and hit the Tunnels. This was a first for me as well, but it seemed to go by quick. The tank kited the Grey Seer Boss while we ran around like headless chickens beating on the boss. Grey Seer went down like cake and not only did the Sentinel War Shroud head piece drop, but I won that roll as well! I honestly felt kind of bad for the other Slayer in the group, but I'll pass on both next time til he gets them should they drop.

Doing these runs gave me a better understanding of the Ward System and how one is supposed to start progression through the endgame. I now know exactly when I can start doing Bastion Stair on my next alt, and I'm gonna make a concerted effort to get at least one character through Lost Vale.

Speaking of Bastion Stair, why don't more players run it? It seems like a pretty doable dungeon, especially considering you can start getting your lesser wards regardless of your Renown Rank. I mean, considering the relative difficulty of getting certain pieces of the Annihilator set, doing BS sounds like a more reliable method.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cross-server Scenarios, Is Now The Time?

A guildie and I were having a conversation last night while we were on our T3 alts, lamenting the recent lack of scenario pops on our server. I play on Badlands, which is the sixth most active server according to Warheap. We chalked it up to the fact that the Slayer/Choppa wave has mostly progressed to T4, and so, the lower tiers are pretty slow as a result. 

We were brainstorming ways to fix this, and when the subject of cross-server scenarios was brought up, we were at first reluctant to really consider it, but then we realized that in T4 at least, the Zone Domination mechanic makes VP spillover from previous tiers almost insignificant. In my experience, when locking a zone, players are running around in the lakes, capping BO's and Keeps, or trying to bottle up the opposing realm in their warcamp. When it usually takes less than 2 hours to lock a zone, the VP spillover doesn't seem so important..

And so, if VP from previous tiers is no longer a significant factor, why not implement cross-server scenarios? This feature worked well for WoW, who at the time was having similar issues with some servers having constant Battleground pops, while others could take hours to get a single game in.

I would support this if they were to implement it. As a player with multiple alts, scenarios can be one of the most efficient ways to get xp and renown when leveling an alt. They are also a welcome break from PvE, especially if the open RvR in your area is slow. However, since most servers can now be considered mature, with a large percentage of their population now in T4, leveling an alt can be an arduous process. This is bad for the game as it makes it difficult for new players to progress quickly through the tiers. When your game is about WAR is everywhere, not being able to get a scenario pop is pretty discouraging, especially if you are a new player.

However, Cross-server scs should only be implemented for Tiers One to Three. Tier Four activity is sufficient to not require this feature on most servers' T4. So on each server, server pride will still be preserved. Don't worry, you'll still be facing your mortal enemies from your rival guilds when warbands are galloping around Praag, trying to capture the zone.

I hope Mythic takes a look at the possibility of implementing this feature, as it would address some concerns with the activity of early tiers, and it would foster a more welcoming and active RvR experience for players new to the game. While they are addressing concerns at endgame, I hope that Mythic does not neglect the early to mid-level experience for it's players, both old and new.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ding 40! And Additional Randomness.

I turned 40 on Khazgar finally last weekend, and I still have the same pants =/. Anyway, I got myself a Tellurian Giantsplitter from the Guild Vault and I'm now in the process of figuring out what I need to do from here. I'm evaluating what stats I need to be stacking, as well as trying to figure out what jewelry I need to be slotting. I'm also looking at different build/tactic combos, currently I'm Trollslayer to Rune of Absorption, and Giantslayer to Violent Impacts. My professions are still below 150, so that's another thing I need to catch up on.

In other news, Order on Badlands had a great zone flip this past weekend. I say great, because of the level of organization that was required to pull it off. Destro was pushing Reikland really hard, but we were able to hold both Keeps and eventually take and hold all the BO's and lock the zone. We had a little more than three warbands in Reikland, and we were able to hold off several Destro assaults on all the objectives. We did this by posting a scout on the high cliff at Wilhelm's Fist, and this scout would watch the Destro warcamp and call out the directions that Destro groups would take out of the camp. Using this strategy, we were able to coordinate the different warbands to defend or assault the various objectives. Normally with this many players in a zone, warbands just randomly zerg, but this time players listened to the warband leaders and actually followed orders! It was a great experience, with a hefty chunk of renown, influence and medals for finally locking the zone. After the zone lock, we all rode north to Praag and captured the south keep just to spite Destro. I logged off shortly after this, with a great feeling of realm pride and camaraderie with my fellow players. Good job, Order of Badlands, it was a privilege to fight by your side.

And now that I finally got to 40 on Khaz, guess what I do next? Yup. I rolled another alt. This time a Warrior Priest. Sigh. This altoholism is definitely a chronic condition. Oh, and I'm sorry I haven't put up the next book review yet. I ran into a snag, namely, I didn't have access to the book I was reviewing for about a week, Long story. But not quite as long as the review, which I will post soon. That's it for now ladies and gents, I will see you guys again soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Khazgar, Rank 39 and Counting.

Here's Khaz in Oathgrund's Watch. Rank 39, wearing 4/5 Annihilator gear, with the 2h Axe from the Frostshard Prison. Someone requested a look at my toon recently, so here he is.

You can click the image for a CLOSER LOOK.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Final Stretch, and Live Event comments

Still at Rank 38, I've been a bit slow over the last couple days because of the Live Event. Completing the tasks is not as xp-efficient as straight-questing or playing scenarios, but the storyline is really interesting so far. Placing the bulk of the tasks to be completed in shared RvR areas is either brilliant or stupid depending on who you ask. Personally, I like that they did do this, as it forces players to /gasp- fight each other!.

Of course, there are downsides to this, especially when there are multiple groups from the other realm monopolizing the objectives, but now with the Event PQ, we ought to see a large number of players from both sides skirmishing, so hopefully you'll be able to complete tasks on the sidelines while the main battle is going on.

When I logged on this morning, I was hoping to have a half-hour to complete a task I missed yesterday, so I was planning to sneak out to Thunder Mountain real early, so that I would get there before Destro woke up. Surprisingly when I arrived, there was a large skirmish already going on at near the PQ site, with about a warband's worth of players on each side. I stayed away from the main fight, and concentrated on collecting crates near the gobbo mobs. I would join the fight briefly when a tank or mdps would break through to the backlines to help take them down.

I did get the trophy reward for completing the past two days worth of Live Event tasks, and I must say it looks quite spiffy on my Slayer. I have yet to figure out how to complete the rest of the tasks, but I'll be devoting the rest of my evening to that, and maybe I'll even hit rank 39. I gotta say though, the feel on my server has been one of optimism since the event started. I get the feeling that as the Land of the Dead draws nearer to release, players are getting hyped up with anticipation. On the internet, many players seem to be coming back and resubbing, and even previously critical bloggers are getting excited about WAR again. I hope the excitement can last. Again, now is a good time for WAR! 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Busy, Busy Weekend.

In a strange turn of events, I've been too busy actually playing to get much writing done! Over the weekend, I hit Rank 38, and participated in not one, but two City defenses. Destro was out in force this past weekend, and contested Altdorf at least twice. Collected 20 Officer tokens and one Invader token for my efforts. I'd have gotten two Invader Crests, but the second siege was pretty late, and I didn't have time to finish it off.

In other news, the Beyond the Sands event goes live today, and I'll be checking it out as soon as I get back from work. Oh, and I hit Renown Rank 33 this past weekend too. I now have 4/5 Annihilator equipped. Yay! Khazgar is looking more and more badass. Well, I'll hit you guys back up when I have a chance to digest all the latest events. See you guys in a bit.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Patch! 1.21 is Live!

All right, here's the next major content update, link to the full patch notes is here.

As usual, I'm going to single out certain notes and additions for analysis. Without further ado, let us commence:

The new Live Event, Beyond the Sands, does not actually begin this patch, but will hit the servers on the 20th.

Major highlights are the Keep Upgrade system, which I've covered in a previous post, improvements to the UI and combat responsiveness, and the new RvR Quartermaster token system. Other additions are the new Zone Control rewards for T4, Character Profiles, Guild Profiles, and an expanded version of the Gates of Ekrund scenario.

Keep Upgrades are now live, but Mythic decided not to implement the Dynamite and Caltrops for keep sieges, as the tester feedback was that they were too powerful. I'm disappointed about the caltrops, as I was looking forward to using them for more efficient postern defense. But I'm sure we will see them again eventually. I did notice that they are adding "oil immunity" potions, which can be purchased with Ordnance, the new RvR resource. I like the idea of being immune to oil, so that my mpds can actually attack the door for once, instead of hanging back. 

The new Ekrund sc will be 6-on-6, for ranks 19-24. I hope that they let higher ranks play this version of the sc eventually. 

* Players will no longer be required to select an instance when entering a contested city. Instead, players will always be placed in the same instance as their group or warband. New instances will be created by the server as older instances become full.

* In order to allow more players the opportunity to participate in city-related RvR, the contested city Scenarios (The Undercroft and the War Quarters) are now only accessible to players in the Rank range of 8-29. All players below Rank 28 will be bolstered to Rank 28 while in the Scenario.

This is pretty interesting. This fix addresses the issues of players involved in a City defense having to choose the correct numbered instance to actually play with their group or guildmates. Also, players were getting ported into empty or poorly populated instances, which made completing certain aspects of the siege extremely hard to complete. 

And it's good to see that every player in the 8-29 range will now be able to actively contribute to City defense, instead of feeling useless. The more participants in City attacks, the better in my book.

In career notes, it looks like Archmages and Shaman get a large buff to many of their damage abilities.Their mechanic is also currently under review. No word yet on any major mechanic changes, but keep an eye out. In the meantime, soloing should be less painful for them with the new buffs. BW's and Sorcs will no longer be able to stack their ground-targeted AoE's, namely Rain of Fire and Pit of Shades. This stacking change also affect the Magus, with Tzeetch's Firestorm. Abilities of this type will now all behave like the Engineer Napalm Grenade, only the highest rank one will apply in case of multiple ones in the same area.

For the White Lion and Squig Herder, their pet stats will increase by a percentage of the master's stats. For WL's, the War Lion gains different stats depending on what "Training" stance is active, while Squigs gain different stats based on the type of Squig summoned. Also, all pets gain a base increase to their hit points. Hopefully this will be the start of Mythic actively addressing pet issues such as pet damage and survivability that WL's and SH's have been concerned about for some time.

In Miscellaneous RvR changes, you can now queue for T4 scenarios regardless of whether or not the pairing you are currently in is locked. I ran into this last night, I was confused as to why it would not allow me to queue after Thunder Mountain locked. I'm glad they did this, as I don't want to have to travel to another pairing just to queue up. This definitely was a pain while questing.

* Keep doors will now always be attackable by the opposite realm after the Keep has changed hands. Additionally, defenders will now be able to see the health of the Keep door at all times.

Yes! I was getting tired of having to ask someone with a mod what the door's health was at.

* Players operating a Ram will now be immune to Knockback and receive reduced damage from Oil Siege Weapons.

* Siege Rams will now do twice the damage as they previously did.

* Keep doors will now have double the hit points they previously had.

* We have significantly increased the hit points of Ram Siege Pads.

This is good to hear. Keeping guys up on the Ram is hard enough as it is. It sounds like they are trying to make the attack on the door last longer, which is good as far as renown gains go, I guess.

I'm gonna try and write another post on the RvR tokens and other stuff I passed over here. But in the meantime, get out there and get those tokens!

Oh yeah, 

* Pre-game splash screens and opening cinematic can now be skipped by hitting the ESC key.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's In A Name? Apparently Quite A Lot

Along with Syp, I'm going to take these 10 questions from GirlIrl and put out my own take on this. 

1.  What is your current main character’s name (or names, if you play multiple games)?  Explain how you chose the name.

Right now, I'm playing my slayer, Khazgar, who I consider to be my current main. I wanted to have a typical "dwarfy" name, that sounded right lore-wise. The name is an homage to a character from the novel Oathbreaker, Azgar Grobkul. I added Khaz, which is my favorite dwarf name prefix. I actually went into a whole spiel about this very subject, which you can find here if you are interested. But basically, I wanted a guttural-sounding name, that kept the dwarf flavor while still rolling off the tongue.

2.  What was the name of your very first character in an MMO?  Explain how you chose that name.

My "first" character was a Dwarf Hunter in WoW named Sudoh. The name is another reference to a character in a work of literature, this time Sudo from Masamune Shirow's manga Appleseed. However, he got deleted before he hit 30 because he was actually on a friends account who was letting me try out the game. I purchased my own account, and I started a new character to duo with my girlfriend, who is now my fiance. I started a Human Warrior named Zenbei who was the leveling partner of her Warlock. I consider him my first "real" character. Zenbei comes from Zenbe Harada, an obscure character from the manga Lone Wolf and Cub. He was in only one chapter, which was about him killing the corrupt leadership of a starving village, preventing a peasant revolt. After which he took full responsibility for his actions, sparing the village the wrath of the government. I loved the tragic story of this noble character, so I took the name in the hopes that my character would achieve similar heroics.

3.  Have you kept a specific name through various games, or do you tend to change your naming habits based on the individual game?

I used to try and keep the same name, but now since I try to think of my characters as real people, I try to come up with names that a real person in that setting might have. My Empire characters have Germanic-sounding names, like Ulbrecht or Richter. My undead rogue was named Geheimnis, which means "secret" in German. And of course, I try to incorporate the Dwarf language Khazalid when I name my Dwarfs. My Orc was named Kurok, which sounds nice and orc-y. And so on. I try to match the name to the race and class whenever possible. My Tauren Druid was named Wildhorne, for example. He was feral.

4.  Do you ever reserve names, planning to use them for characters that you might play later?  If so, what are they and why do you hold on them? 

I have done this, but it's rare. I normally don't have trouble getting the names I want, except on the most popular servers. I'm also pretty good at modifying names to still work for me, even if the original is taken. 

5.  Of the three common archetypes in MMOs — tank, healer, DPS — which is your current main character?

Khazgar is melee dps, but my first 40 in WAR was a tank.

6.  What archetype was your very first character in an MMO?  Why did you choose it?

My first toon was a Hunter in WoW, mainly because it was recommended to me as an easy class to learn, and the Dwarf hunter in the intro movie was damn cool. Once I learned more about the game, I rerolled as a Warrior, because I realized I wanted to smash faces in. And I wanted to be the knight-in-shining-armor for my girlfriend, who I was duo-ing with.

7.  Are you usually attracted to one archetype over another, or do you play them equally?  Why?

I almost always choose a melee class, a tank is usually my first choice. Then maybe a melee dps class. I've always loved the visceral feel of melee combat. I enjoy a ranged class from time to time, but I never play casters. I like wearing armor and a slinging a two-hander, or stealthy leathers and backstabbing daggers. If I do play a ranged class, it's usually a class that uses guns or bows, anything so long as it's not a spell-slinging career. I don't like healers much either, but I would like to level a Warrior Priest someday in WAR, if only because they are still melee combat based. Right now my Slayer is getting all my playtime, and while he doesn't wear much armor, I still love him. He hits like a truck and is a raging berserker. Besides, Slayers got me into Warhammer in the first place, no way I'm not playing one. I do have a Shadow Warrior in T3, but I'm still wavering as to whether or not I like him. 

8.  What is your favorite feature from an MMO you no longer play?

I'm a relative MMO newbie, so I don't have much prior experience aside from WoW. I did really like how in certain questlines, you were treated to a pretty awesome ingame event. Two examples would be in the Draenei starting zones, you capture a Blood Elf officer who taunts the Draenei present after being sent away by Velen. Upon hearing this, a Draenei officer charges the Blood Elf and kills him outright, /spitting on the corpse afterward. When I saw that, I was blown away, it really brought home the feeling that you were involved in something major. Later on in the same area, after you complete the last quest in the area, Velen, the racial leader, appears along with everyone you had helped up to that point in an impromptu reward ceremony for you. It's a great little event, and again, it really makes you feel like you are part of something. I really wish WAR would do more things like that.

9.  Is there an MMO that you would play if it was free?  Which and why?

Honestly, no. I simply do not have the time to devote to more than one MMO, and aside from WAR, no other MMO, free or not is as compelling to me right now. Maybe when the Bioware SW MMO comes out, ask me again.

10.  How do you measure the success of a character in an MMO (total kills, titles accumulated, wealth, rare items collected, level reached, etc.)?

I consider any character I get to max level a success, but I also take into account how much enjoyment I've derived from playing that character along the way. Gold and gear is a factor, as well as stuff like trophies and unlocks. However, a big part of considering the character a success is whether or not I feel that I can play him effectively and whether I feel like I'm making a difference at endgame. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Still Alive!

This was a triumph.... no, wait. 

Anyway, I'm sorry about the lack of recent updates. My internet at work went out for a week, and that's is where I do most of my writing and research for this blog. Internet restored, crisis averted. 

Currently I just hit Rank 33 on Khazgar, and I'm leveling at a steady clip. Content-wise, I'm working on another book review, this time on Nick Kyme's Honorkeeper. 

Now that my internet is back, I'll be posting at a more regular pace. I'm sorry if you've been wondering where I've been all week, thanks for bearing with me and this blog. Your readership is highly appreciated.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Getting Closer to T4...Oh So Slowly. And an Update on Stats.

I hit Rank 29 on Khazgar last night. I also hit Renown Rank 25, and purchased my Devastator Torc as well. Now I have the Devastator Boots, Armbraces and Shoulders. All I have to do now is participate in as many keep sieges as I possibly can, and hope that the contribution gods smile on my rolls for a gold loot bag. I really want to complete my Devastator set, but I'm also really looking forward to getting to Tier 4. 

This time around, I really tried to include regular RvR and scenarios into my questing rotation. Normally, I'm doing PvE first, while doing scenarios in between. I would also wait  until I was in the middle of the tier before doing sc's. On my first 40, I was rank 40...and renown rank 23. Heh. I definitely like it better this time around. I started doing T3 scenarios as early as rank 21, instead of waiting. And I run around with warbands taking keeps and BO's much more often as well. I should have done that sooner. 

On a related note, my guild was running a small group around Thunder Mountain last night taking BO's and keeps, and they asked my near-useless rank 28 slayer to tag along. So I did, feeling sorta sheepish, as I really couldn't do much aside from assist dps and not die. We took the west keep in TM, and I got a lesser loot bag. But what's this? I have TWO Massive Loot bags?! My guildies had donated their gold bags to me! It was awesome, I came away with the Annihilator Helm and Torc. I really want to thank them here. I can't mention their  names since I'm unsure if they'd want to be named online. But you Candies, you know who you are, Khazgar thanks you! 

Update: I'll be hitting Rank 30 tonight with any luck. Recently I just ground out the Dwarf Chapter 14 Influence for the Runic Stone Waraxe. I really like two-handed axes, even though dual-wielding is arguably superior. I will say that when I played around with the 2h in scenarios last night, it felt like my targets were dying quicker. I'm also a fan of the Deathblow ability, it feels awesome to use especially when it crits. I'm planning to grind out High Elf Chapter 14 tonight while doing scenarios. I'm am trying to collect more "split-stat" items, in preparation for when the planned changes to all stats gets implemented. Currently, they are testing new changes to all stats in upcoming patches. For example, toughness will also grant a small amount of hp regen in combat in addition to the current effect. For melee classes, some big changes to our crit damage are planned as well. Weapon Skill will now add to your base bonus crit damage, which will be affected by your targets Initiative. So say that you have 0 WepSkill, and you crit someone who stacks Ini, you may do as little as 5% additional damage. 

Basically, Mythic is trying to address the issue of arguably "useless" stats. Players currently stack their main offensive and defensive stat, like Strength and Wounds, while ignoring other stats such as WepSkill and Initiative. So many items that have these unwanted stats get ignored my a majority of the playerbase. So the plan is to give additional bonuses to stats like Toughness, while making stats like WepSkill and Willpower more attractive by tying them into your bonus critical damage. In a way, this is similar to what WoW did with stats like Resilience and Spell Penetration. 

Of course, whether this will be an overall positive or negative change remains to be seen. While I like that Mythic is trying to make spreading your stats out more attractive, I'm sure that many players will lament the end of stacking 2-3 stats on their gear. Also, I predict that we will see an overall lowering of dps across the board, at least at first. This is actually a good thing, because players will live longer in combat, instead of getting insta-gibbed, the moment they get focus fired. Even squishy classes should see an increase in their overall survivability, as killing power decreases for anyone. I know that players will be up in arms about this initially, but I think as players realize that combined with the nerf to stacking AoE, this will result in survivability getting better for everyone. Right now, even tanks are complaining of getting melted within moments. AoE is considered to be out of control. Even melee dps say that they are cut down long before they can actually make it to the back lines. Time To Kill is so short, that it is extremely frustrating to many players who feel like they are constantly dying within seconds of entering combat. 

With increased survivability on the horizon, I hope that we will start seeing slightly more tactical combat, with a less spammy feel. Let's cross our fingers and hope these proposed changes work out for the best.