Monday, February 29, 2016

FFXIV Patch 3.2: Gears of Change

FFXIV released its latest patch last week, and I took a look at the contents. So far, it's a pretty solid patch. The main story was good, including a epic duel with a notable character.

The introduction to the next Hildibrand story was pretty funny as well, especially some of the quest descriptions.

The two new dungeons are very nice, especially Lost City of Amadpor (Hard). The last two bosses of that one are just beautiful.

There was also a new Primal introduced: Sephirot of the Warring Triad. I only did this on Hard Mode, not Extreme. This is an excellent fight. All the mechanics combine beautifully for a super fun experience.

In my opinion, FFXIV has really nailed the "softcore" dungeon/primal experience. It's not hard, precisely, but you do have to do the fight properly. There's still a little room for error, but you can't just ignore mechanics. Heck, today I wiped on the old Moogle Mog Primal fight from level 50 because people didn't kill the mobs in the correct sequence. So people are doing the fight correctly as a team.  Personally, I think it's something WoW's LFR could learn. A fight doesn't have to be toothless to be done by a random group. People will learn and do the fight properly.

Other than that, I did try FFXIV's attempt at DPS meters. There's an area called Stone, Sea, or Sky. You sign up for a specific duty tied to a given fight, and have to kill this target dummy in three minutes. If you do so, you are considered "qualified" for the fight. It's not required or anything, but it's a good way of testing if your individual dps needs work. The dps required to beat the trial varies from class to class. I beat the basic endgame trial for a Paladin. However, I think the trial would have more meaning as a DPS class.

I have not tried the new "tutorial" instances. Apparently SE introduced a set of tutorials for level 15 classes that take you through basic dungeon mechanics. I've heard good things about these trials. For example, the first DPS tutorial is about dodging AoEs. Tank tutorials apparently discuss threat and holding onto multiple mobs. These sound very interesting, and it will be interesting if they improve the skills of the playerbase.

I also haven't tried the new Beast tribe dailies, or the new Alexander: Midas raid. Heh, I haven't even finished the last floor of Alexander: Gordias.

All in all, Patch 3.2 is an excellent patch for FFXIV.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blade and Soul's 24-Person Zones/Raids

Blade and Soul has a really interesting variant on raids. It's not exactly a raid. In many ways it's a lot closer to WoW's Timeless Isle or blue-bar areas like Shattrath City or The Pit.

The zone can hold up to 24 people. It's group content, so you're expected to go in with a 6-person group. However, your group doesn't need to start with other groups, or even work together for the most part. So it's like a normal zone which just happens to have a few groups working inside.

The zone itself is not linear, but has many paths. There are also portals, and you can use windwalking and gliding abilities to quickly move around the zone.

There are essentially four classes of mobs inside the zone: regular mobs, lieutenants, captains, and the endboss (a vice-admiral). Regular mobs and lieutenants do not share tags between groups, but the captains and vice-admiral are shared. This pushes the groups to go their separate ways to guarantee they get credit for the regular and lieutenant kills, but also converge to kill captains and the vice-admiral together.

Vice-Admiral Poharan of the Blackram Marauders

There are a set of dailies at the start that cover the entire zone. Kill a bunch of regular guys, kill a couple of lieutenants from each section, kill each captain, and kill the vice-admiral.

Everything respawns after a bit, so the zone is essentially continuous in time. It is never "cleared". A captain spawns about every 5 to 10 minutes. The spawn is announced to the zone, and a marker appears on the map.  After several captain kills, the vice-admiral spawn is announced. The groups have 5 minutes to get to her area. Then the vice-admiral spawns and everyone kills her together.

This probably sounds relatively simple, but in practice I find it just works. A group goes into the zone and starts working on their dailies. When a captain spawns, the two or three closest groups make their way to it. After the captain is killed, one group will take one exit, and the other group will take a different exit. After a while the vice-admiral spawns and all the groups in the zone will converge on her location. Groups that finish all their dailies zone out, and new groups replace them.

The dailies provide natural direction to determine what the group does. They can't just sit and farm in a lucrative spot, they have to go around the entire zone to find the lieutenants and different regular mobs required. The tagging rules encourage the groups to spread out and not move as a giant zerg. But you still come together for boss kills. Finishing all your dailies gives you a nice stopping point, rather than grinding rares for hours.

I've complained about WoW's blue bar areas before, and I think BnS's raids are a further, better evolution of the general idea. I think they're a good model, especially the clever tagging rules, for producing interesting open-world group content.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Reprints and the Cartel Market

The Old Republic is having some drama around its Cartel Market. The Cartel Market follows a collectible card game pack pattern. Every so often Bioware releases a new "set" of item and sells packs. Items have different rarities, and opening a pack gives you a number of items based on that. When a new set is released, an older set is retired.

The problem Bioware is having is determining what to do with the items from older sets. There are a number of items which are highly sought, and which the regular market price is quite high. For example, a long time ago, I picked up the Xoxaan's set for my Sith Inquisitor. I got the entire 6-piece set for about 800,000 credits. Today, a single piece of Xoxaan's costs north of 1 million credits.

The solution Bioware came up with was the Grand Chance Cube, the "lockbox inside a lockbox". The GCC is an item which comes in the current set. It contains a random item from the older sets.

There are two problems with the GCC:
  1. They have a very high chance to drop. For example, I think a current pack contains 2 items. There is a chance that both items will be GCCs. This obviously annoys the person who wants to get one of the new items from the current set.
  2. They are somewhat indiscriminate in which old items are gained. Apparently there's a high chance of getting low-value items like emotes and pets.
In any case the backlash has been fairly strong against the Grand Chance Cubes. No to mention the amount of "Yo dawg, I heard you like lockboxes in your lockboxes" memes that get brought up whenever this topic comes up.

I think that TOR should have gone with straight reprints, like Magic does, or re-releases of old items. Make a commitment that the number of reprints won't exceed 50%, and that it will be at least a year before an item is reprinted. Then be more careful what what items are reprinted at what rarity.

This way, rather than relying on complete chance, Bioware could hype the return of valuable sets, at the proper rarity. People would be happy to know that Xoxaan's armor is coming back in the next Cartel Market set. There would be an increase in supply, and prices would drop to reasonable levels. Plus Bioware would know that people would be happy if they get that specific armor. It allows them to reprint the popular stuff, and not worry about reprinting the unpopular items.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Group Mechanics in Blade and Soul

Blade and Soul has an interesting approach to group mechanics. As I understand, it's not quite Trinity gameplay, but it's not quite a zerg either.

Threat exists in BnS. Blademasters and Kung Fu Masters are considered "tanks" and have higher threat output. Their damage is still roughly the same as the other classes. Threat also appears to decay fairly rapidly, which means the tanks have to keep up with consistent threat output. But DPS can stop doing damage and will drop threat reasonably fast, and then not pull threat immediately when they restart.

However, there are no healers in BnS. That part of the trinity is entirely missing. The tanks rely on active mitigation, blocks and counters, and some self-healing to keep themselves alive. The other classes also rely on their defensives, mobility and potions. There are some group defensive abilities. I believe Summoners can occasionally heal the group, and Force Masters can put up a defensive shell that protects people under it for a few seconds.

The end result is a quasi-zerg, where everyone is attacking the boss with their full potential. But it's a controlled zerg, as the boss is generally attacking the tank, rather than bouncing from person to person. This means that incoming damage is very controllable, and if you play well, you can do an entire boss fight with minimal loss of health.

It's reasonably fun, because you do function as a group, and the quality of your play matters. As well, no one is forced to play a low damage characters. The tank classes generally have blocking and countering being central to their damage combos, so they want the boss to attack them. However, they don't have a taunt, and they don't really "control' the fight the same way a trinity tank does.

This structure is better than straight zerg or kiting. However, I don't think it's quite as good as Trinity gameplay. In particular, I don't think it can provide the variety of encounters that the Trinity structure can.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Play Diary #5

The Old Republic

Second raid night, but we only had 5 people on. So we pugged 3 people and we did an alt run of Scum & Villainy HM. I switched to my Sorc healer, who was somewhat undergeared. I didn't even realize I still had a i186 weapon.

The run went fairly well, though one of our pugs had never done S&V HM before, and the second tank had only done the first four bosses. Our newbie decided to be "helpful" on Operations Chief, and threw out a heal on someone in a different group.

Operations Chief is a really neat boss. You have to sneak through a city, avoiding patrolling droids and get to 4 guard teams. The raid breaks into 4 groups of 2 people, and each group takes a separate guard team. You have 6 minutes to take out all the guards and get to the chief guard. In HM, you absolutely cannot interfere with another group in any way or you wipe, which is unfortunately what happened.

(You know, writing that fight's description makes me sad about TOR's current lack of raiding. Their raid design team made some excellent boss fights.)

But aside from that, the run went fairly well and we killed the first 6 bosses. We didn't really have enough time, dps or heals for Styrak, so we called it after that. It was a pretty good run for being alts and pugs.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Play Diary #4

The Old Republic

Raid night again. This time Ravagers was the highlighted HM operation, so we tried that. We went with two melee, which was not entirely successful. For Sparky, the melee didn't really help with adds, so I managed to get 100 stacks of the add debuff before the 25% soft enrage even started. Surprising I stayed alive for a fair bit, much to the credit of the healers, but died at around 10%.

Bulo was messy as well, but we killed it. Then we wiped on Torque for the rest of the night. I think we've beaten Torque once, but we don't do Ravagers very often, so we are out of practice.

As well, I think we would benefit from precisely choreographing the tank's movement to avoid certain hazards. But the standard guides just say "avoid fire", so we're left to wing it. We also have a couple of high skill players who prefer to stick to the guides and the standard strategies at all times. And who knows, maybe they're right and the precise movement plan won't work.

Blade And Soul

I didn't do much in Blade and Soul. I did a couple of the low level PvP dailies to increase my Faction rank and become eligible for the higher level dailies. I then tried the higher level PvP dailies, but got killed several times by the opposing faction.

So I gave that up and ran two of the level 45 blue dungeons. I really should write a post on BnS dungeons. They're a zerg, but they're not quite a zerg. I'm not even sure how to describe it. They somehow work, but I'm not exactly sure why I find them fun when I deeply dislike all other zergs in other MMOs.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blade And Soul Endgame

My Force Master reached the level cap of 45 and finished off the story so far. The ending of the story was quite interesting, and went off in a new direction. The set up for the next arc is fairly intriguing.

There appears to be a fair number of things to do at 45. Apparently I need to increase my faction PvP level a bit in order to unlock some of the more lucrative dailies. This system of Blade and Soul is pretty neat, as you have to equip your faction uniform to accept and do these quests. The quests are PvE'ish, but you can be attacked by the opposing faction (while wearing your uniform).

BnS also has an interesting system revolving around Prestige Coins. As you kill enemy faction people (players or NPCs) you accumulate Prestige Coins. If you are killed by an enemy player, you drop all your Prestige Coins and the enemy acquires them.  You turn your Prestige Coins into a vendor in exchange for faction influence. However, the exchange rate is determined by the number of Prestige Coins you have. If you have less than 10, you get 1 influence per Coin, 11-20 is 2 influence per Coin, and 21+ is 3 influence per Coin. However, the rate applies to all the Coins you are carrying. Thus if you have 20 coins, you turn them in for 40 influence, but if you have 21 coins, you would get 63 influence instead.

The system is designed to push you to carry larger amounts of Prestige on you at all times. The amount of Prestige you are carrying is visible, making you a more lucrative target for enemy players. I thought it was pretty clever.

Of course, this PvP system is fairly optional. There are tons of other pure PvE dailies, and 4-5 dungeons you can run. There's also Mushin's Tower, which appears to be a single-person dungeon consisting of 7 bosses of increasing difficulty. And there's the whole Arena system if you're into formal PvP.

So I'm a bit unsure of what I will do next. I think I will take a tour of the various options and then decide if I want to go with an alt, or move on to a different game.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Play Diary #3

Blade and Soul

I've been focusing on BnS the last couple of days. My Force Master is level 44, about half a level from the current cap of 45.

I did revise my opinion of the story. It's not that bad. It got more interesting at the end of Act 1. The English voice acting is still pretty bad, and the translation is a bit weak. But the actual story itself is like an entertaining B-movie, an old Kung Fu flick from the 70s. Also, I like the main villain, Jinsoyun. I'm not entirely sure what she's up to, but she has style and is reasonably competent.

Right now, I'm a bit stuck on gold. I need about 50% more money than I have to be able to afford the next step in upgrading my weapon. Upgrading weapons is interesting. At the start of the game, you're given a Hongmoon weapon which you can upgrade by consuming other weapons. Every five weapon levels, you need to consume a specific weapon in order to get to the next tier.

Apparently this was a catch up mechanic introduced after the Korean launch, the equivalent of heirloom weapons. I think it's a nice spin on heirlooms. Having to manually upgrade them is more interesting than having them automatically scale with your character.

The Old Republic

I have too many Light Side characters, and I wanted another Dark Side character. So I decided to remake my Jedi Knight, and tilt her to the Dark Side. I can't really handle full Dark Side, so I'm trying a middle path. This one is mostly good, but shows no mercy to enemies. Surprisingly, you get a lot of Dark Side points from the early Jedi Knight story by playing in this manner. But the side and planetary quests tend to have different LS/DS choices, so I find I'm getting DS points from the Knight story, and LS points from the planetary quests.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues. I'm only on Corsuscant so far. The planetary quests also have a lot of "Dark Side for money" choices, where you do something bad because the NPC will reward you. There's a lot less "Dark Side for expedience, or total victory at a cost" style choices.

It's also interesting to see what missions are now deemed optional, and not shown by default. A lot of the more morally ambiguous missions, with more interesting DS/LS choices, are hidden. For example, the mission to steal documents from a Republic Senator who is an Imperial sympathizer; or the mission to dig up dirt on the Justicars by investigating the execution of the son of a prominent family. I'm not sure if this trend will continue on future planets, or if I'm seeing a pattern where none exists.

Monday, February 15, 2016

F2P Versus Subscription in Blade and Soul

Normally, if you asked me how to best spend money in a Free-2-Play MMO, I would tell you to buy a subscription. In most F2P MMOs I've seen, a subscription basically replaces the F2P structure. You subscribe, and everything unlocks. Most subscriptions even give you some F2P currency so you can indulge in some of the cosmetic items for sale. The idea here is that you can either go a la carte, and pick up exactly what you want in bits or pieces, or go for the one price which gets you everything.

In Blade and Soul, though, I'd tell you hold off on the subscription, or Premium, option. First, BnS Premium can't be purchased directly, you have to spend the F2P currency, NCoins, to buy it. Thus it doesn't come with a NCoin grant, because buying it for 2000 NCoins and getting 500 back would be silly.

Second, Premium doesn't actually unlock anything other than the wardrobe. Admittedly the Wardrobe, which stores costumes, is nice. Premium grants you a lot of bonuses: increased loot from mobs, increased XP, more spins on this Daily Dash login game, etc. But you still have to purchase extra character slots and inventory expansions separately.

I'm not saying not to spend money on BnS if you want to. Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that you can just buy Premium and you can ignore the cash shop, the way you can in SWTOR, for example.

Rather, if you're spending $15/month, or whatever your budget is, you should put your first purchases toward inventory expansion items, additional character slots, multiple skill specialization slots, etc. Unlock the full structure of the game first. Then in the second or third month or whenever you're satisfied with all the unlocks, you can purchase Premium if you want.

I guess this post is prompted by a bit of buyer's remorse. I picked up a month of Premium, simply because I'm in the habit of assuming that subscriptions are the best way to play this genre. I really should have spent that money on unlocks instead.

Still, it was an interesting look at a setup where the subscription does not replace the F2P elements, but just acts as an extra boost on your characters.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Knights of the Fallen Empire: Chapter X

Chapter X

Bioware released the latest chapter for The Old Republic last week. I did the content of Chapter X this weekend. This is the first chapter in the one-chapter-per-month cadence that Bioware is planning for this year.

Overall, the story was pretty decent. However, it really felt like a part of the Agent story line. Which was great for me since my main is an Agent. But I really wonder how a non-Agent character would find this story? Would it work for them, or would it fall flat? Normally, you'd think that the story would be roughly the same for all the classes, but maybe they just took extra care to personalize extensively for the Agent.

The biggest reservation is that the chapter took about an hour to play through. Is that enough content to keep people subscribed? I have no idea, and it will be interesting to find out if it is or is not.


The other piece of "content" was giving a HK-55 companion to everyone who had been subscribed on January 10th.

I really don't understand these rewards. Making them a one-time reward for subscribing on a specific date seems excessively restricting. I thought they would simply give you the companion, and that would be that.

But Bioware actually added a little quest/scenario around recruiting HK-55 that was quite fun. You had to calibrate HK's targeting parameters for the times he was on his own (thus side-stepping the issue when you're actually using him as a companion). This was done by going through several scenarios. Things like a hostage crisis, escort missions, wildlife attacks, etc. You'd then go through the potential targets, and mark them as kill or avoid.

It was an interesting exercise, and a novel way of tapping into the morality aspect of TOR (without actually invoking Light/Dark choices). For example, my LS Agent side marked unknown civilians as avoid, but unknown droids as kill.

Which makes it all the more odd that future players won't be able to see this piece of content, even if they subscribe.

Sometimes Bioware's plans for this game are very opaque.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Play Diary #2

Blade and Soul

I popped on BnS for 15 minutes to try and get the Jangshi Stalker Hat from the wheel. Suprisingly, I got two hats! Sadly, they're character-bound, so I just threw the extra one into the wardrobe. Now my destroyer can move on to the rest of the game.

A couple forums I read have BnS threads. I just can't keep a straight face when Lyn Summoners discuss theorycraft. Here's a sample conversation:
From my reading, Rumblebees is better for bossing or for mobs that are on inclines, since sunflower doesn't work well there. But I've not tried it yet.  
You build photosynthesis stacks when you hit a target with sunflower twice that is either doom and bloomed, standing in nettles, or pinned by your cat. So you need to not doom and bloom then immediately nettle or you'll lose your stacks. I usually doom and bloom, lmb/rmb alternate until about 4-5s left on doom and bloom debuff, then drop nettles and continue lmb/rmb weaving. I ensure that my cat is either taunting or pinning right before I get my 5th stack of photosynth, and just hold rmb until the buff is gone. You can get about 5 free sunflowers that way, depending on ping. I just unlocked the hongmoon skill for sunflowers, which gives me 2 more seconds of overflow, and I've gotten up to 9 sunflowers cast in that time. 
A tip for Summoner dps rotation is opening with Doom 'n' Bloom and get 3 photo stacks then briar patch the target and build the 2 last stacks and nuke with Sunflower until the buff ends then end with Weed Whack and Thorn Strike. Just rotate this and remember to start with full focus. Pet rotation is Ankle Biter + Power Pounce after that Strike to daze the target then pop Crouching and just rotate.
I can't take these guys seriously at all. The juxtaposition of hardcore theorycraft with the Summoner ability names is just so terribly cute.

The Old Republic

Tonight was our second raid night of the week. Sadly we only had six people from our regular raid group, so we took two other guildmates. We didn't attempt Revan, but attempted Explosive Conflict. We wiped a couple times on Thoth and Zorn, but eventually killed them. We then attempted Stormcaller and Firebrand, but didn't have enough DPS, and hit enrage at 10% or so. So we went to Karagga's Palace to try and get some gear for the newer people. KP went quickly and smoothly.

After the raid I spent some time sorting out professions on my characters. Bioware reworked professions this patch, introducing a new tier of materials and craftables. However, they also included a temporary vendor where you can trade your old Grade 8 materials for Grade 9 ones. This was a very nice touch.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Play Diary #1

To get back into the habit of writing, if I can't think of a larger topic, I'm going to write a recap of what I've done in the various games I'm playing.

Blade and Soul

I killed the Stalker Jangshi a few times on my Destroyer. BnS has these loot wheels every so often. You get essences by killing a world boss that respawns fairly often, who everyone in the area can attack. Each wheel has a specific boss essence required. The Stalker Jangshi wheel is for levels 7-10. The wheels give you weapons, soul shields, and costumes at varying odds. I'm trying to get the entire Jangshi outfit (costume, hat, adornment) for this character. I've gotten about 5 costumes and 2 adornments (in addition to dozens of weapons and soul shield boxes), but no hat so far. Since this is just a low level alt, I've parked it at the wheel, and log in and kill the boss for 15 minutes every so often.

I also did a few quests on my Force Master, who is level 42. Slowly but surely progressing to the cap. The latest patch that dropped a couple days ago seemed to have a lot of buffs for the Force Master, as killing quest mobs suddenly became easier.

The Old Republic

Tonight was raid night in The Old Republic. A major patch dropped Tuesday, and it broke a lot of things, so there was another patch today. As a result we started late because people were still patching. One of our raiders had computer issues, so we ending up pugging an Aussie marauder to help out.

Explosive Conflict was the "highlight" Hard Mode operation this week, the one which gives i224 gear. But for some reason, everyone else in my guild hates EC. I'm not really sure why. I kind of like it, and we can beat the entire thing fairly easily. But instead we decided to clear Temple of Sacrifice through to Revan. Revan is the fight we are working on, though we are still in the first phase.

It was fairly straightforward, though the Underlurker was bugged in new and interesting ways. For some reason, this fight is very fragile, and seems to break after every patch. In this fight there are rocks which fall from the ceiling in random locations. You need to hide behind the rocks to avoid the boss's roar. Normally, the rocks have a green outline showing the "safe" place to hide. Today the green zones seemed completely random and totally unrelated to where you should be. So we just eyeballed it. We wiped several times, but eventually killed it.

We ended up killing all four bosses before Revan, so tomorrow we'll probably be practicing that fight for the full raid. Maybe we'll make it phase two cleanly.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Blizzard's F2P Model

The Overwatch beta returned today. This time they included more information on their progression and cash shop model. This is interesting because they have settled on the same system used in Hearthstone. So I thought I'd take a look at that model.

Here's a diagram of the system:

The first point is that the items are not sold directly. Rather containers containing a random assortment of items are sold. In Hearthstone, it's card packs. In Overwatch, it's loot boxes.

You can get the containers either through time and gameplay (levels in Overwatch, dailies in Hearthstone) or by spending real currency. This exact ratio of time to real currency can be changed. In Hearthstone, since it is fully F2P, it's weighted towards real currency. Overwatch is B2P, so it appears that levels through gameplay will be the main method.

The container contains several times, with pre-determined rarity. This is pretty much any collectible card pack system.

The most interesting part of Blizzard's model is how duplicates are handled. If you get duplicate items, you can convert them to a game currency (credits in Hearthstone, dust in Overwatch). You can then use the game currency to create specific items.

One key point is that you cannot buy specific items directly. Instead you have to go through the entire chain, and there is effectively loss when going from the random item to the specific item. You might have to get five random rares to purchase once specific rare.

There's also no secondary market involved. SWTOR and Magic:the Gathering has much the same system for the first part, but after you get the random items, you can buy and sell them on a secondary market. However, going through the secondary market means that prices vary with supply and demand. You can have two rares: one highly-sought and worth a large amount; and the other disdained, and can be picked up cheaply.

In contrast, in the Blizzard model, each rare is be broken down into the same amount of game currency, and each rare also costs the same amount of game currency to get directly. This maintains a minimum level of value for each item.

This system also gives Blizzard a lot of knobs to tweak:
  • The cost of a container in real currency
  • The cost of a container in time
  • The number and distribution of random items in a container
  • The amount of game currency generated by an converted item
  • The amount of game currency needed to purchase a specific item
It also has a minimum number of products available to purchase, making the store very simple. It's also relatively fair, combining both the fun and excitement of opening random packs with a path to obtaining specific desired items for a known and expected price.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Updates, Blade and Soul Classes

I haven't written much lately. I need to get back into the habit. Especially when there's a lot of stuff that happened that I do want to talk about.

I've mostly been playing Blade & Soul lately. It's a little surprising how long it's lasted for me. The things I usually like in an MMO, the stories, are pretty terrible in B&S. But the base combat is really good. I especially like how the combat mechanics for each class really capture the flavor of that class.

I've tried three classes so far: Force Master, Assassin, and Destroyer. The Force Master is a fire and ice mage, with lots of freezing and control. It's a very even class. The Assassin really feels like an Assassin. You set up, and then it's like stealth, backstab, triggered slash, counter the enemies attack and automatically return to stealth behind them, backstab, dead. It's very fast and efficient, but requires a bit of time to set up properly. Destroyer is the big warrior with the axe, and it uses slow powerful attacks, with a lot of grabbing the opponent and throwing them around.

Another interesting thing is that each class usually has multiple "paths" in combat. If one set of cooldowns is up, you can use combo A, if not, use combo B. It's more chaining of combos, rather than executing a repeat rotation.

I'm still not sure how long I'll play it. But Blade & Soul is definitely worth trying if you're on the fence. Just treat the story as if it was a bad kung fu movie from the 70s.