There’s been a number of new (or maybe just new to me) videos posted over the past few days that I wanted to comment on and share.
First up, I know many of you are interested in the Lua scripting so in addition to the video and information I posted previously Merric from a Casual Stroll to Mordor has put up a great video. His video focuses on just a couple plugins and seems to hint that he’ll be doing more of them, this review touches on the Plugin Manager and Hunter Travel Window. I think the Hunter Travel window will definitely be one of the must-haves for any Hunter or Warden.
Next up for those of you looking for tips or hints from running the various Instances, Middle Earth Chronicles has started a new section of the blog with a good collection of videos. Go check out their Instance page and make sure to send in any videos you may have.
In addition check out Carlosjuero’s video showing some of the new UI tweaks over at LOTRO Reporter. Many I had seen, but I totally missed that you can now color code your quest helper on the map overlay. Good stuff and really walks through all the new tweaks available.
And finally but certainly not least I’ve been quite enjoying the video podcast published by the Uruk Hunter. Not only some good information but he also does comment his videos quite well.
Go check those sites out if you haven’t already, and I’ve also updated my Blog roll appropriately.
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged BG, blog, End-game, Expansion, Free to Play, hard-mode, LOTRO, Podcast, raid, video
So I debated a bit about posting on this based on my disdain of pretty looking trailers and my frustration with the previous Dragon Age support and DLC, but I decided it warranted a quick post. To recap a little bit, I’m still a big fan of Bioware and absolutely loved Dragon Age Origins. However my main issues have come from their support and rollout of content which makes me leery about their ability to support an MMO. Their decision to push out more DLC as opposed to fixing some major gameplay issues was a big issue for me and concerns me quite a bit for their future games.
With all that being said, I will continue to watch Dragon Age 2 as I really do enjoy single player RPGs as they’re a nice distraction from MMOs or during periods when I’m stuck without a good internet connection. I am intrigued that they decided to only have one character option as opposed to all the diversity in Origins and Awakenings but that should allow them to focus the story a bit more.
On to the trailer, I certainly recommend checking it out as like other trailers it does look VERY good. If this is anything like the previous Dragon Age trailers the skills we see here will be similar to the skills available in the game, just not quite as flashy. So there seems to be lots of fire and summoning ability and this character seems to be a mix of a mage and warrior which could prove interesting. It strikes me as something along the lines of a Spirit Warrior that wields a huge sword but can utilize some sorts of “magic.” I’m curious if this is representative of one class or a combination of a couple, as it seems like they might limit some of the re-playability of DA:2. But there’s still LOTS of time to flush things out as the release date isn’t until March of 2011.
Just like The Old Republic, DA:2 is one of the games I’m eagerly watching but by no means are either of them automatic buys. Depending on how the next 6 months or so go with their information roll-outs I may decide against them, or at least not buy on launch day. 🙂
I’m not 100% sure where I found Scormus’s Full of Fail Video podcast but I have enjoyed them quite a bit. He’s up to episode 5 now and they’re all around 5 to 10 minutes in length. There’s some news coverage but what I really enjoy is the fact that he films it all in-game and I can really appreciate the effort to get emotes and such synced up. I do enjoy the various podcasts I listen to but having quick in-game versions are nice as well. You can also check out Scormus’s YouTube Channel page or the link above for his first episode.
For me this was the most highly anticipated part of the instance scaling diaries to date as not only do I love Helegrod but I’m curious to see what they have planned for the space. There’s a lot of good information in the Diary so check out the latest from JWBarry.
To start off, three of the wings will be 12-man spaces with the Thorog wing being a full 24-man raid. There are no locks at all, but before being able to tackle Thorog you must complete the other three wings at least once. So essentially, clear the first 3 and you can farm Thorog to your hearts content.
JWBarry breaks up the diary just like the raid so I’ll cover each wing separately. Before I dive in too far, I must admit that I can’t wait to run this on my Warden!!!
The Spider wing was a pretty fun wing to begin with but they did shorten up the trash a bit. They also added a new mob type the Spider-singer that buffs all the nearby spiders to make them more challenging. Also in order to proceed you need to burn holes through the webs, which does tend to anger a fair number of spiders such that it isn’t just a matter of running through and killing stuff. The Breosal mini-boss fight was tweaked such that there are more adds at the start and more come when Breosal runs away after the morale trigger. It sounds as though the normal mode of the final boss fight is pretty much un-changed but the challenge mode sounds quite fun. Essentially at the last wave of the Silkspinners you need to keep them alive while burning 4 cocoons, the last of which spawns Zaudru. So you need to finish off all five in order to survive this encounter which sounds rather rough as just Zaudru alone is pretty darn challenging.
The Drake Wing was changed quite a bit to incorporate more mob diversity and better visual intrigue. Also following what they’ve done in other instances, the lever puzzle has been tweaked to provide more feedback and better information on what needs to be done. The final boss fight is now 3 stages as opposed to 2 with each having different levels of vulnerabilities and invulnerabilities on the Angmarim, worms, and drakes. The challenge mode sounds INSANE as you need to pop ALL the eggs in the room to complete. In the current room I’d say there are probably 50 some odd eggs, but I’m not sure how many will be in the new area. Each egg popped spawns a handful of worms so this will be an AoE intensive fight for sure, Champs and Wardens get ready for some fun!
I have to agree that the Giant Wing was my least favorite portion of the raid as it just seemed to drag on forever with no real challenge. I’m very happy about the new mobs and the addition of the min-boss fight. If JWBarry’s pumped up about it I can’t wait to see it! As for the main boss fight, it sounds interesting but I will admit I’m a bit worried about the challenge mode mechanics as it sounds like knockbacks could cause you to lose challenge mode. It does require you to pay more attention which is a good thing, I’m just worried about lag causing you to be in the wrong place even though you think you’re good.
The Dragon Wing still has the three main areas, the drums, Drugoth, and Thorog. The drums section which includes Coldbear pretty much was untouched and I certainly agree that if you can’t make it through the drums you’re in for a world of hurt. I love the changes to Drugoth as it was a super easy portion of the raid. Having the mirror images as you fight similar to Mordirith sounds not only challenging but a lot of fun. Basically he will form copies at various morale thresholds but it wasn’t clear if they were 1 morale “spirits” like Mordirth or full up copies that you need to burn down. I’m sad to see the Thorog flying mechanic gone but certainly if it was causing issues I’ll trust the team. Removing the flying mechanic basically meant they had to re-work the entire fight. Included in the new version are some of his old tricks plus some new things that JWBarry is saving for us to find. Challenge mode is being designed to be the most difficult encounter in the game which is intriguing. There are some pretty tricky parts in BG so I’ll be curious to see what else they come up with. And I’m encouraged that they are conscious of folks not liking arbitrary or luck as key elements of fights. Making this the hardest fight seems to be in-line with the recent changes to the radiance gear as the new Helegrod sets are pretty nice! For those of you who haven’t seen the area or the original version of this fight check out my post on a recent adventure in Helegrod.
Overall it sounds like a very fun raid and I like the way they’re broken things up. There are some areas of concern as I can imagine folks farming Thorog repeatedly for marks and the armor pieces. Granted, it does require 24 people to complete so that is a bit more challenging but if you have that number ready I can see folks going for a couple runs at a time. I’m also not sure about the knockback portion of the Giant Wing but will have to see how that plays out. If definitely is good to see they are listening to the community and incorporating aspects of fights that we enjoy and not relying on things we don’t. I was encouraged to see JWBarry talk about the Rift and the reasons why it hasn’t been tackled yet. From what we’ve seen so far, that does sound like a big task but I can’t wait to see what they have planned for the Rift. I’m also quite happy that he acknowledges that the Balrog fight is quite broken and will require work 😉
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged beta, BG, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, hard-mode, LOTRO, radiance, raid, video, Warden
I played around quite a bit with the Lua Plugins during beta and I wanted to share some of the plugins that I really enjoyed. I also suggest checking out the LOTRO Plugins site and keep your eye on the LOTRO Interface site for more details on the plugins and some help in how to actually script using Lua. I will admit I didn’t write any plugins I just used them and tested them out.
Here’s a screenshot of my listing of the plugins I played around with:
A favorite for all you Wardens (and Hunters) who hate taking quickslots up with travel options, look at the right side of this shot:
It takes all the ports, maps, etc. and puts them on a scroll bar such that you can just select the one you want and use it instead of having all of them loaded.
I’m a bit on the fence about the bag-space options, but certainly I like the option to set them up in different ways. Check out the before and after:
However, by far my favorite ones are the Plugins that allow you to re-orient how your vitals display looks. In the below shots, just focus on the area at the center of the screen and not the Warden wheel section, I’ll get to that. The area at the center is actually 2 plugins, Palantir and FX – FX is just the horizontal bar and Palantir is everything else.
Palantir puts up the big morale and power bars which for me are much easier to look at then the normal display. It also has boxes at the bottom which light up when hit by a fear, poison, wound, or disease. The FX Bar is a nicer customizable display of all buffs and de-buffs on your character. The nicest thing for me is the “wheel” count-down that graphically shows how much time said effect has before it wears off. I absolutely LOVE this as it REALLY helps know when things are coming on and off. The top of the bar shows all the buffs I have up and the bottom any debuffs. Another nice option is shown off below in that you can select buffs/debuffs and have them show bigger whenever that same effect comes up again as shown in this shot below:
You can see these in action in this quick video I took:
As for the Warden Trainer, it is a cool little script where you can right click and get a list of the gambits and it will populate the bar with the correct builders. I can see that really helping folks out in learning the gambits or if there’s one critical gambit you always forget. The gambit loaded below is Mighty Blow.
Posted in Gambits, LOTRO, Warden
Tagged beta, Enedwaith, Expansion, Free to Play, LOTRO, lua, screenshots, scripting, video, Warden
It seems like many of the highly hyped games are producing very high quality cinematic trailers to help get people excited for their upcoming releases. For the most part, I do enjoy these trailers but I’m starting to wonder what they really tell us about the games themselves and are they doing more harm then good. It seems like many of these trailers are given lots of room to expand on what is possible in the game such that they look cooler and tell a better story. Even from a purely graphical nature these trailers are incredibly misleading as the games never look as good as what they can show cinematically.
The trailer that touched this off for me was the recent DC Universe Online trailer from Comic-Con (which is very cool btw), but I see Star Wars the Old Republic as one of the biggest culprits. I’m sure there are others doing this exact same thing, but SWTOR sticks out for me mainly because of the effect these trailers have had on my interest for the game. I know many like myself were absolutely floored when the Deceived trailer hit and then were even more in awe with the recent Hope trailer. In case you haven’t seen them, check them out here:
Some REALLY cool stuff and they get me really excited about this game. But there are quite a few things that you know just aren’t or can’t happen in a game, for instance, using your hands to block a light-saber. Also, all along we’ve been hearing the SWTOR is all about Story and will be a completely different game-play style from all other MMOs without the traditional group dynamics, which these trailers reinforce. But, for all they’ve shown in the trailers it really doesn’t tell us much about the actual game.
That is until they released the Multiplayer Demo @ E3 that shows us actual gameplay and some of the group dynamics. This was possibly the most disappointing video I’ve seen in a long time as not only did it look nothing like the trailers (not that I expected it to) but the gameplay is exactly like any other MMO with the traditional tank, healer, and DPS roles. Now when I look back at the trailers, I don’t even connect them with SWTOR I just see them as some cool Star Wars videos because they are so far removed from what the game actually looks and plays like. With all the money spent on these trailers by the game companies, couldn’t there be a balance somewhere to put some of that into the game as opposed to something which is arguably un-related?
Maybe the core of my real question is can too much hype be a bad thing? It seemed to really hurt a number of titles like Vanguard, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online to name a few and all these new cool trailers are just amping up the expectations. With such high expectations, the level of potential disappointment continues to grow such that for many there’s no way players will be able to enjoy the game as they’ll keep wishing it was more like the trailer they saw.
For me, I have pretty much stopped following SWTOR other then reading headlines from various bloggers, and at this point I”m not even sure I will play it. The one piece that might change my mind is the pricing model – if it is a traditional MMO subscription I’m pretty confident that I won’t play it. But if they do some sort of hybrid model or something different then I might be more willing to check it out.
To wrap up, is it better to show a trailer along the lines of what Turbine did for their recent Mirkwood launch:
which is shot using only footage from actual game-play, or use a cinematic version that your game will never live up to? Or does it come down to the surrounding messaging to portray the trailers as what they are – cool videos loosely based on the game they’re tied to?
So I just finished watching the 3 clips Rifftrax (one of the companies created by the MST3000 guys) have posted and I figured I’d share for those fans of MST3000. For those of you not familiar with MST3000, it basically is 3 guys cracking jokes and other observations during the movie. You can download the full track from their website and then play that while watching the movies. Each of the 3 clips is about 10 minutes so you can get a good feel for what you’re in for. All three movies are $11.99 or you can buy them separately for $4.99. Sadly the track’s are just for the theatrical version and not the extended cuts 😦 but that’s still a whole lot of content!
Posted in General
Tagged films, video