Monday, December 18, 2017

A Second Look at Path of Exile

On the recommendation of a friend, I'm taking a second look at Path of Exile.

I've gotten a lot further than last time. I'm currently in Act III with a Witch, but I'm thinking about starting over with a Scion. My Witch is currently a Lightning caster, but I kind of want to try a sword-and-board melee class instead.

I really like the story so far. It's told well, and the New Zealand flavor makes it a bit different than the norm.

The Path of Exile devs have spent the last few years steadily adding to the game. It makes it more complex, which can be daunting, but it also means there's more to dig into if you want to.

Speaking of complexity, so much loot drops in the game. Players can actually write "loot filters" in a quasi-scripting language to only show loot that you want to drop. I downloaded a loot filter that literally has a Github repository. While it seems like overkill, it does go a long way towards cleaning up the clutter on-screen.

The ironic part is that even if a lot of loot drops, you don't really replace what you're wearing all that often. D3 had the same issue at launch, but Blizzard went in the direction of having fewer but more relevant drops.

If you're looking for a ARPG, give Path of Exile a shot. You'll probably have to spend your first character just figuring out how everything works. But once you get a handle on the complexity, it's pretty neat.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

World PvP in Battle for Azeroth

One of the most interesting elements in Battle of Azeroth is that Blizzard is doing away with PvP and PvE rulesets for different servers. Instead, any character on any server will be able to flag or unflag PvP in a major city. Then when they go out into the world, they will be (seamlessly) put into a cross-realm zone where everyone has the same PvP state.

This is a really interesting way to handle PvP. Limiting changing state to major cities encourages people to try out world PvP. If they decide it's not for them, it's fairly painless to switch back.

There are also lots of interesting things Blizzard can do with this system. For example, they could ensure that each PvP cross-realm zone is balanced between Horde and Alliance. It won't be like modern PvP servers where one faction outnumbers the other ten-fold.

Blizzard could also eliminate ganking entirely. Simply put the max level players into a different cross-realm zone than the lower level players. Absolutely unfair fights simply can't happen without the players forcing it through grouping shenanigans.

About the only major loss I can see is that PvP fights at raid entrances will probably go away. It would be very likely that a group intent on raiding will unflag before heading over to the instance.

All in all, I think Blizzard's plan for PvP is a good one, and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Dropping FFXIV

I've decided to stop playing Final Fantasy XIV.

The first reason is that I've decide to try and get through the backlog of games I have to play. So I've decided to stick with one long-term game, WoW, and one short-term game which gets uninstalled after I finish it. Thus FFXIV is dropped and uninstalled.

The second reason is that I do not find the current meta much fun. I don't like running through the dungeon and mass pulls. I also played a paladin, which is a tank class. But the current meta is all about staying in DPS stance as much as possible and doing maximum DPS. I didn't find it as fun as actually tanking.

So I switched to playing a Red Mage, but my heart wasn't really in it. It's perfectly fine, I suppose, but spamming AoE was a little boring.

The main story quest and other single-player quests are still excellent. I may resub when the story patches are releaed. But the heart of FFXIV daily gameplay is regular dungeon runs and group content. And somewhere along the line, I lost the "fun" in that.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Battle for Azeroth Trailer

The next WoW expansion, Battle for Azeroth, was revealed at Blizzcon, and the cinematic trailer made its debut.

We make the standard observation that it is not as good as the Wrath trailer. But it's still quite good, and honestly, is a lot more understandable than the last couple of trailers. The graphics are excellent as always.

It's got some good moments for both factions. Sylvanas reminds everyone that she's the Banshee Queen and discovers Horde pride. Anduin, on the other hand, has a really cool helm, and realizes that healers win battlegrounds, thus putting him ahead of 80% of PvP players.

As for the theme of the expansion, way back in 2009 I wrote a post on The Nature of War, and I think it still holds up today. I don't think Blizzard can make this work without fully committing one side as the aggressor.

I do hope Blizzard doesn't make Jaina Proudmoore into the bad guy though, and butcher her character like they did to Fandral Staghelm. Her perspective is interesting, and I don't think it's wrong.