I think modern MMOs are missing an interesting opportunity, and the ones trying it are getting it wrong. We should be able to build teams / parties from the other characters in our own account.
Guild Wars May Have Invented This
Guild Wars 1 or just Guild Wars added a feature near the end of it’s popular life called Mercenary Heroes. See my previous post here. The idea was to allow other characters from your account to play along side you as party members. This was incredibly useful. You needed a party to play at all times since GW is an instance based game. And it was a money making opportunity too since you needed to purchase Mercenary Slots. There was a trick too that you could play. There are two kinds of characters in GW – PVE and PVP. And PVP characters are always level 20 – max level. So the trick is to buy your Merc Slots, then create a PVP character, assign it to a Merc, then Delete the Character. Your Merc remains. Then Rinse & Repeat to build a whole squad of characters of the classes you wanted. Necros and Ritualists are especially useful in your Merc list since there are some powerful Necro skills and Ritualists do powerful heals as well as damage. The Elite Necro Skill Discord does powerful damage and of course the Necro raises every mob you kill into another member of your army. Ritualists cause conditions, which empowers Discord. Anyway, you get the idea.
Why is this interesting?
Let’s take a couple of examples: ArcheAge and Final Fantasy XIV.
After the Shadowbringers Update, the Summoner and it’s base class Arcanist has some problems related to Solo Leveling.
Pet Attacks are now AOE Attacks
First, at lower levels, the Emerald Carbuncle [blue caster pet] now appears to shoot an AOE which covers quite a large range, and may bring unwanted foes [mobs] to bear on the player. In previous releases, the Carby did a single target attack which did not aggro other mobs. Here is an example of the size of the AOE that the Carby does now.
Apparently, anything hit by the big green area, which is the auto-attack cast by the Carby, is aggro’d on the player. As you can see, two king wespe mobs are now attacking the player. Mobs do not attack the Carby, but only the player. This problem was so severe that I had to dismiss the Carby when doing a Fate at my level to avoid being overwhelmed by aggro’d mobs.
Secondly, the Topaz Carbuncle and the later upgrade to the Titan Egi, were Tank pets, which took aggro from the player. This effect has been removed. The rumor is that the pets are all the same, doing the same attacks with same potency, except for animations. In other words, the differences in pets are now just Eye Candy. I have yet to study this in detail. But it is clear from my testing that the Titan Egi no longer takes aggro. So this is a significant loss for the Solo viability of the Summoner.
But there’s another problem with the Self Heal for Summoner as well.
Just started playing Gunbreaker. The second job quest is pretty challenging. I failed the Duty called “Hired Gunblades”. I decided to level up and get a complete set of Shire gear to upgrade the item level before I try it again.
Working in Palace of the Dead has brought me to Level 61 and I wondered what happened to the stats, if the gear was not upgraded. So here are the stat changes between level 60 > 61 with the same gear. Some is Shire and some is not yet Shire gear.
Notice the number columns to the left are for level 60. Where there is only one column, there was no change. Hum. Not sure what to make of this, but there are changes, obviously.
BTW, Gunbreaker is a blast to play. And Palace of the Dead is a great place to get your rotation down. There have been a lot of Gunbreakers and Dancers in the Palace recently, as you might imagine.
Make you walk in the Light [Dark] of the Crystal.
I started Shadowbringers today. I changed a character I had to Viera, and created a new Hrothgar. Everybody gets a Fantasia, which can do a race / look change, from a level 50 Main Sequence Quest. Or you can buy the Fantasia on the Mog Station for $10.
I spent a little time leveling the Hrothgar, and playing the Viera. Of course all the jobs have changed a little or a lot, so getting used to Summoner and Scholar on the Viera took a little time.
Then I ran into a snag. The servers completely bogged down about noon PDT – Not surprisingly. Continue Reading
There is currently an event called the Moogle Treasure Trove going on in FFXIV. It ends when Shadowbringers launches, so only about three weeks left.
If you do dungeons to collect their special tomes, then you can get some mounts, minions and other items. But it takes 30 tomes for a mount, and 50 tomes for other cool items, so it takes a long time. Stop by an Itinerant Moogle in the capital cities to see what they offer. After two long days of spamming the low level dungeons with a few level 50 MSQ Dungeons tossed in, I was able to get a mount that I’ve been wanting – The Ixtal Dire Wolf.
And like almost all the mounts, it flies too.
Final Fantasy XIV has done something I have never seen a game do before – At least for an MMO. They have provided a DEMO of their new expansion. They are calling it a “Benchmark”, but it is really a demo of their new maps, job skill animations and character classes.
You don’t need an account, or to sign up for an account. Just download the demo and give it a try. You don’t play it, you just watch it. But it’s the real game engine running the real game content on your machine. And you get to create a new character to watch in it. It’s not a video, but the actual game engine. And you can run it as many times as you like with different choices.
How They Did It?
Cut scenes in FFXIV are scripted game footage that the engine renders with your character in the mix. Unlike some other games the cut scenes are not pre-rendered as videos for FFXIV.
Part of the Stormblood expansion, this is a multi-stage quest with a fight and then a run through the city to find your friends. The problem is that there are no pointers along the way, although at some point a “curious Kojin” shows up to guide you.
Part of the issue is that you are doing this quest at Night – At least I was and I assume based on the description of the quest, that everyone does it in the dark. The only Youtube walk throughs that I found were done by first timers who didn’t go back on an Alt to show the best way. I think I’ve found the best way by scouting it out in the daylight.
So to review.
- You meet your fishy friend on the bridge at night.
- He leads you to the docks and there betrays you to the Imperial Forces. Lyse beats up the fishy friend and holds him while you and Alisaie kill the imperials. The fight is easy. Just kill them all.
- The Local Samurai show up and want to arrest you, but you have 9 smoke bombs.
- Notice as you face East away from the water up the ramp a shimmering wall on your left. It’s not a barrier. Run through it. Use a smoke bomb here if you must.
- Then follow the map to the East, up and over and then down in an alleyway to find your friends. You don’t need to go through the market place.
I got lost and didn’t see the message about following the Kojin until I had found my friends. So you are likely to have plenty of smoke bombs. I didn’t use them until I was trapped. That’s fine too. You don’t need to avoid being trapped.
I wrote this up to remind me for when I do it on my Alts, but you might find it useful too.
Recently Wow developers announced removal of many portals in the game and there was an uproar.
While World of Warcraft v8.1.5 adds a lot of new content, it also is removing things from the game. In this case, many of the portals that get players around Azeroth in a timely fashion are being taken out to keep “the world having a meaningful size”. However, this design decision has sparked a massive backlash with the community, with several threads topping the 5,000 response mark. A new dev post acknowledges the outcry but essentially says, “Sorry, not sorry. We’re sticking to it.”
Wow Travel Has Always Been Slower than in Other Games
All the other games I play have always had portals. Wow has been alone is not providing universally fast ways to get around the world. If you aren’t a mage, or don’t have a mage in your party, then it’s always been a trek to get to a ship, airship or portal to where you want to go. Of course you can fly long distances, but those flights take “Real Time”, whether you use your own mount or take a flight they move at the same speed. Ship / Airship travel is a pair of short cut scenes and a portal across the world. At least they got that right. But unlike other games, there is no setting for SKIP THE TRAVEL CUTSCENE I have seen hundreds of times. And I still have to stand around waiting on a Wow [Air]Ship rather than it being ready to go when I am. No waiting in FFXIV on any ship and the cut scenes are optional.
It has long been a convention in most MMOs that to teleport to somewhere you must have been there before. Guild Wars 2 is a good example of this convention. Asura Gates, which are like Wow Portals take you anywhere, and will work the first time you use them. But the Waypoints must have been visited on foot before you can teleport to them. But in GW2 once you visit a place, you can instantly travel across the world to any waypoint, for a small fee.
GW2 is great fun, but I don’t like playing it.
FFXIV can be boring at times, but I love playing it.
Here’s a large group of folks in the Crystal Desert doing bounties and me crossing the 9000 mark in Achievement Points. Yeah for me. Great Fun. I love it. And I hate it.
Sound strange? Let me explain.
Early in my MMO experiences I played a lot of GW1 and was looking forward to GW2 when it came out. As an early player, I suffered through the early teething pains and grew to love it. I quickly made many alts of all professions and races and played through to the end of the core game, and cleared the map on most of my characters. Loved it.
But then came Living World Season 1. I played some of this. Most noteably I climbed the Tower of Nightmares in Kessex Hills. But alas I was doing other things and missed the war that Scarlet made on Lion’s Arch. But I did come back and see the devestation over the next couple of years until it was rebuilt.
The core game areas are all solo-able by a level 80 character with “Exotic Gear” which can easily be crafted by you and your alts for all the classes. Exotic gear is only 5% less powerful than the much more difficult to craft Legendary or Ascended gear. There are tons of attractive armor skins that can be earned through dungeon tokens or purchased with Karma or Gold. All my alts have attractive cultural or dungeon skins over crafted exotic armor.
I love rocking and rolling with large groups of folks, sometimes 50 or more, doing open world events. BUT
Above are various low level weapons in Palace of the Dead. Pink is a lower level, and green is approaching powerful for the floors you are on. Bright White is appropriate for the levels where you are playing.
When you start playing in the Palace of the Dead, your weapon is pink or green and eventually, as you trigger more Silver Chests, it turns White. I could not find any place that this was carefully described.
Here’s a play guide for the Deep Dungeon aka Palace of the Dead.