Monday, August 7, 2006

Okay ... continuing the Saga of Ryzom bit:
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Some of the quests on the newbie island are bizarre. They don't seem properly translated, as the original source is in French, and some of them have almost no information at all in your Missions window. I had one mission that wanted me to "Get the bandits to tell you their plans". Except it didn't specify which bandits, where, or if they had the info, or it was something I had to loot from a crate. I ended up wasting a bunch of my time, and unfortunately a bunch of someone else's time, just to find out the mob I need to kill is on the other side of the lake. It was some randomly spawning mob called "Specialist Bandit", and after killing him /4 times/ it finally updated my mission status.

Some of the other missions have been fine, but others are just a pain in the ass. Fortunately, SoR doesn't have missions as it's main focus, cause I don't think the developers have a good grasp how to make them anyway.

I've also got a better idea on why soloing was so hard for me. I was fighting in Melee, with mage armour on, and fighting mobs tougher than I should have. No wonder I was getting my ass kicked.

I upgraded to Medium armour, added the shield I got from a mission, and started to try other mobs, as mobs of the same level range can give different amounts of XP. Plus, some are vulnerable to different attacks. So far, it's been /waaaaay/ easier than before. But, what sucks though is that I can't effectively use my Magic skills at all during combat. I can toss a spell to start the fight, and pull the mob to me, but while in melee, casting pretty much equals a death wish. I think there are Attacks of Opportunity while casting, just like in DnD 3.5. Either that, or it lowers your Parry/Dodge chances while casting. Most likely the second one.

It sucks cause I was hoping to make a Fighter/Mage combo of sorts, but the way that SoR is designed, you can do both, just not at the same time. It was similar in SWG to an extent. You couldn't use your Pistol abilities while firing a rifle, nor could you use any melee abilities while firing a blaster. I'm guessing it's just easier to balance, and easier to code, since if people could do both at the same time, everyone would be a "Tank-Mage". For those who don't know, A "Tank-Mage" is the MMO equivalent of playing a game with /godmode on. You can take huge damage and deal huge damage, there's no counter balance.

CoH was originally designed to allow people to select whatever powers they wanted, rather than the class/Archetype system they have now. It was much cooler, as you could make your character be the exact superhero you wanted, with whatever abilities you wanted. But it was too easy for people who didn't know what they were doing to gimp themselves. And it was equally too easy for those who knew the system to exploit it and build a Tank-Mage. Hence, Cryptic went with the current system to allow for better balance and make it easier for players to understand. It sucks, cause if you've ever played Freedom Force, you will understand how cool it is to make your own superhero, with whatever bizarre combo of powers you want.

Anyway, back to SoR.

Not being able to use both Magic and Fighting at the same time, unless you're in Light Armour and maybe only wielding 2 daggers, isn't a huge issue with me. There has to be some restrictions there or things will be too easy to exploit. I was just hoping it would be like Oblivion, where I can create my own class and have them do whatever I want. Like a thief character who can also throw Destruction spells. Or a fighter in Heavy Armour who can also heal, like a Paladin.

[Aside: Now, some of the combos I thought of for Oblivion would be cool, but they're much more suited to a multiplayer environment, than a single-player game. There's a mod that some guys are developing that will allow people to play Oblivion /multiplayer/ though. I've seen a video of it. It's still in Alpha, but they've got the basics going. ]

Since Magic and Fighting are basically separated in SoR, you can still do both, you just have to pick one or the other for a specific moment. I can easily swap out my sword and shield for my Magic Amplifiers, and switch my armour from Medium to Light, then go be a Mage. It's that easy. Though you have to carry around both outfits, and that can take up lots of space in your inventory.

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There's some stuff in the previous post that I need to clarify/fix.

1) The community of SoR is by far, the very best in any MMO I've ever played. People are genuinely helpful and friendly. True, there are a few people who come across as arrogant, but I think they were like this as I had effectively "insulted their game". It's like telling someone their favourite TV show/movie is utter crap. Just see how long they are friendly to you. After I kind of realized this, as it didn't cross my mind before for some odd reason, I changed the way I posted on the SoR forums, etc. I only used facts, no "this sucks" type of responses, and I tried my best to be impartial and logical in my posts. I noticed a marked improvement compared to before. People were once again helpful and friendly.

2) When I said the Fighting stanzas were limited, I didn't know that some of them aren't available until you go to the mainland. Plus, I found out that things like Pierce Armour, are usable on certain mobs, like ones with a chitinous shell. There are more when you get up to higher skill levels, but right now I'm only level 32 out of a possible 250 in Fighting. And it branches out again at 51, 76, etc. It's still pretty limited, but not as bad as what I originally thought.

3) I also was told by another player that they can't hear their character make any battle cries in combat, but only when they use certain weapons. So I'm thinking this is some kind of bug with the sword I'm using. I might try a different weapon and see.

4) I understand the con system a bit better now. When it says something is between 21 and 30 in skill, you can almost bet it's basically level 30. So, fighting something that's between 31 and 40 when you're 31 yourself isn't a great idea.

5) Soloing has become a lot easier for me now, as I have figured out a better way to get XP. Easier mobs may give 1/2 the XP, but I can kill them non-stop for a couple minutes, and they don't hit near as hard. I've taken out a herd of herbivore creatures, that look like a weird Buffalo, in no time, where I would almost die killing one harder mob, then have to sit and regen my HPs for a minute or two.

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Basically, I don't think I was informed enough when I was first playing SoR to really understand the game. Nor am I now. I'm still learning how to play, just like when I was playing EVE Online. It's not like WoW where it takes you about 10-15 mins to figure out how to best play your class, and the rest is cake.

Speaking of WoW ...

I've grown tired of WoW already, and I had only played the trial for a few days, and reactivated my old account for a few more. In less than 2 weeks I'm back to where I was when I left WoW. The classes aren't all that interesting, and since I deleted my old characters, I'm stuck in the lower level areas that I remember vividly. I can remember where everything is, which quests I have to do, what mobs are hard/easy to kill and their abilities, etc. Nothing is new. Even playing a Warlock, which I had never gone above lvl 6 maybe, doesn't hold anything truly interesting anymore. You get your basic abilities so early on, and they simply get better as you level.

But for the most part, I can't get into WoW cause there's nothing for me to explore. About the only thing I haven't seen are the areas for levels 50+, and a lot of the higher level instances. But I don't want to grind to get to that point, as I remember it took me over 5 days of /played to get my Paladin to 41 (i.e.. that's 120 hours). I don't think I ever RPed with him extensively, and I do remember the trip from 20-30 being very quick, as I had a overpowered 2-handed weapon from a Paladin-only quest.

Another thing that's caused me to lose interest is I saw some of the higher level items again. I had forgot how god-awful they looked, and how silly people appeared with their multi-coloured clown armour. I like the appearance of the low-level items, and the NPCs all look cool, but for some reason the player armour looks like shit.

I've been lucky so far on the Sentinels server as, apart from Goldshire (the Human starting area and "asshole of Azeroth"), the community has been good. General chat, which is usually filled with inane babble and l33t speak, has been oddly silent. I keep checking to see if I turned it off or something. There hasn't been any RPing that I can see, other than one warrior I teamed with in the Human areas.

WoW is an okay game, I think it's just I've had my time there, and there's no going back. I need something new to explore. Exploration is my biggest reason for playing an MMO, as I scored 86% in Explorer for the Bartle test of MMO player types. I'll probably keep playing SoR for a while, as I haven't seen the entire newbie island and it's free. I'll probably fiddle with Oblivion some more. There's a few mods out there that fix some of the annoying things about the game. Like the way levels and random mobs works.

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