Sunday 30 June 2013

Devil's Tears

Having finished the awesomeness of Dishonored (where I ironically prefer the "bad" ending simply because my character lives) I've moved on to a different kind of awesome, the type that breaks logic - the type only found in Devil May Cry. I was very critical upon first hearing of this reboot with the "new" Dante but now that I actually have the game he is still just as snarky cool as his white haired version (whom I still prefer, but I can see how he can "grow" into that).

The city is more modern-techno and less modern-medieval (erm, what? redundancy detected :P) but it doesn't matter because half the time you'll be fighting the hordes of demons in limbo - an alternate plane that pretty much blows the Outsider's realm (from Dishonored) out of the water. Like in the previous titles there are long and very drawn out cutscenes that give the main narrative while the interactive part pretty much is just hacking, slicing, shooting and breaking everything in the world - but doing so with style (very important as it gives you more points to unlock more upgrades)!

As if Limbo wasn't broken enough...

It's a very fun game however I get the feeling that it is also going to be short duration wise because of its many difficulty locks which are supposed to encourage me to play the game over and over. There are also tons of hidden collectibles too but I'm not sure I'll be hunting them down here since limbo (and the camera controls) are a bit annoying to navigate with. Minor, minor drawback. In any case if you were steering clear simply because of the "new" Dante, don't. He grows on you quick, moves just as fluidly as he did previously, and is really good at making those devils cry.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Path of Pirates? I don't think so.

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

I have a little issue with this next living story arc in GW2. The main plot involves chasing a pirate (who killed a pirate during a pirate festival in a pirate city) to their pirate base (dungeon party required) filled with pirates and if you are fast enough can shoot down a pirate airship. Outside that I can go grind pirates in the open world, pirate the pirates hiding in jumping puzzles (all of which I've done before) for their pirate caches or retrace the steps of a sailor (cough pirate cough) who lived in the pirate city which is a hook for the a book ANet are trying to push forward. Most likely about or containing pirates. Oh and the overall reward this time? A mini pirate.

Previously I could see the merit in helping the pirates against the risen threat from Orr, aiding them in rescuing refugees (aka cowards) from the Molten Alliance (and then bashing both them and the refu-cowards at Southsun) and even saving them from an insane supernatural entity that enjoys wearing a flaming pumpkin on his head for some reason. This time it looks like it's just in-fighting amongst a faction I would personally prefer to nuke into non-existence.

Really wondering why ANet decided to make these people "good guys" in the first place, AND give them the main capital (hub) of the world. They don't even pay well for the trouble I go through for them (seriously, 1 gold coin max is insulting) and there's literally no in-game or out of game lore posted by ANet as to how the all got mass redeemed or something other than "band together to face Zhaitan!". Yah well Zhaitan is dead. Officially. That's why the Orr zones were toned down and risen made weaker.

Truce is over criminal scum.

So help the pirates? Not this time. Someone else can go sort it out. It's not like Logan Thackeray (or anyone else) paid ME specifically to identify and catch a murderer. I've got better things to do elsewhere... in other games.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Dragons Bashed

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

With the Dragon Bash Festival coming to an end I thought I'd post a little write up on how I found it. In short, better than the Southsun arc that's for sure. There were many pointless activities like betting on moa racing, lighting/watching fireworks, whacking holographic monsters and pinatas, burning effigies and eating candy.

The pvp event "Dragon Ball" was also good fun (coming from a non pvp person that means something) and I was really dominating the matches later on when I knew what I was doing. While fun for a bit the main problem is repetition, bloody repetition - especially if you wanted some of those achievements which had pretty high rep count numbers. Obviously they got old fast.

Took a bit of time before the actual story element came into play and while overall it was still "meh, pirates" the opening cut scene was very well done and the general flow much improved from before. There was a murder and people had to help a private investigator find the culprit who ends up having ties to the featured enemy group of the next arc.

Not sure why I'm only fighting one group of pirates and not the entirety of Lion's Arch, since most of them are pirate scum anyway. Or ex-pirate scum. Makes no difference to me. It's not like people let ex-nazi's go free either. So... yeah, a step in the right direction but disappointed there was no actual dragon to bash (other than the ones who already regularly show up). Did bash a green dragon with my brothers in NWO though, and while he was a lot smaller than the ones in this game I think he put up just as much fight (if not more) than some of the ones here. Haven't gotten any more foundry stuff done yet though due to other distractions. :P

Thursday 20 June 2013

Gift of the Void

Since the NWN Foundry was down for a few days I have been playing "Dishonored" as of late, and wow is it good. It reminds me so much of my other favourite game series "Thief", but is obviously more modern with its crisp graphics and more fluid movement. Even the gear loadout screen generates nostalgia. Unlike Garret from Thief, the main character here named Corvo is a killer. He is quite fragile in hand to hand combat but so are his enemies, giving him insta-kill combos with the correct timing. He also carries a whole armament of deadly stuff and if that wasn't enough he even gains magical powers from a supernatural entity early on which while really cool, makes the gam almost too easy even if you are trying to not kill anyone, which is what I'm doing at the moment - ala thief.  All the patience and adrenaline of being sneaky can just be tossed out the window when your character can literally stop time.

The one harder run is to "ghost" which means never get seen and don't touch anyone but that's a bit -too- pacifistic for me. Ofcourse there are crazy people who are doing/have done that with the "it was all a dream" self imposed difficulty (no use of magic) which is impressive. Anyway I am already looking forward to doing the whole thing again in berserker blood bath mode too - because I can see it's going to be very fun and very quick (comparatively speaking). Solid game so far, with a good story to boot. Definitely high up on my recommended list! Most importantly though it led me to discover that Thief is being rebooted! AWESOME. I'm definitely grabbing that when it comes out on the PC. :)

In the meantime...

Wednesday 12 June 2013

All Things Unrelated

Intellectual Property is an interesting topic I've come across lately while working on my NWO Foundry stuff. There are clauses there to only use IP of Neverwinter related things and nothing else which is obviously to protect Cryptic from copyright violations. For example I can see how putting Batman in my campaign might cause a few problems (least of all plotwise! Don't worry, I'm not. :P) but they don't really make it clear just how much of the D&D multiverse we can use? If I make references to Krynn, Greyhawk or Spelljammer will I get in trouble? Probably not since people are actively recreating Ravenloft there as I type this.

Then I look at other games where the lines blur sometimes - Mabinogi is a great example. I'm not talking about where other Nexon related characters from their other games hop over occasionally, that is understandable. With the latest release players have the ability to pull off a "shadow clone" move, or kage-bunshin exactly like on Naruto down to the the hand seal. Previously they even had the vocaloid Hatsune Miku (a ridiculously popular singing synthesizer) feature prominently in the game as well, in addition to other anime characters who have been or are yet to be in the NA version.

On a much broader scope does this mean a game like Card Hunter (which I'm still waiting for access to, weeks after signing up. Not a good look in my opinion) are in violation for encroaching on Gary Gygax territory? Who even polices this stuff? The answer, in China anyway, is no one - as evidenced by this wonderful copy-pasted League of Legends rip-off called 300 Heroes. It slightly goes over the limit of what I'd call cross-over acceptable, don't you think?

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Generation 17 Tips: Shamala's Nightmare

Been awhile since I was last on Mabi (installer problems) but the new story arc is a good way to fill your hunting list! Most of the events take place in Cor and revolve around the titular shapeshifter Shamala. All the quests give you LOADS of room giving you lots of opportunity to use your ranged skills. I also recommend a snake pet as it helps quite a bit on the teleporting bosses.

Black Panther Panties (seriously)
After beating up some silly green birds you will be sent to hunt a black panther roaming around Cor, twice! Ofcourse this means fighting a lot of other stuff as well but it should be nothing new. Don't forget to windmill the lycan and use your highest damage skill against ghosts before they get to fireball you. The panther itself is not as devilish as the one in the stage dungeon (which was removed due to it being ludicrously hard), however on your second foray you fight the black panther king who, apart from being high def/prot can and will teleport. I recommend using your pet snake to poison it, then trans/demi up to finish it off safely, WMing when it jumps behind you.

Spirit Hunt
Shamala will assist you on the next bit where you fight possessed critters but really, you should let her do the fighting. Again you have loads of room to lure and kill which is especially important for the multi-aggro salamanders. Given you have  a god-mode assistant you shouldn't really have any problems here unless you position yourself badly or eat a few ghost fireballs. A grim reaper waits for you at the end, and he's still as lol-worthy as the first time you faced him.

If you don't have a decent ranged wep you'd better bring a lot of pots on this one as you'll be facing many waves of poisonous snakes and a giant python at the end. It has IR (don't open with a smash) and Final Hit so either WM it to death or FH it first in demi/trans mode. Shamala will arrive halfway through to "assist", though she can mess up your combos.

King of the Jungle
Cool, you become a big deadly cat! You won't have time to enjoy it though, get familiar with your skills quick as there is literally an army of hobgoblins (plus their giant bear pets) to tear through before they kill the defenseless girl. It's an RP mission though so you don't really lose anything if you fail. Afterwards you have to go hunt lions/lionesses at the Cenae Meadows which is good practice if you haven't fought them yet.

Demonic Attacks
The "nightmare" phase begins here and starts with you assisting Waboka in fighting off demons which come in a variety of forms. All of them have no passive defenses though, and again you can make use of the vast space to snipe (or lance) everything. In addition Waboka goes for your target so if you hang back and take pot shots, he can do most of the wet work. Your main road blocks will be the trolls (unlikely), hollow knights (they have AR too), Arachne (who can summon burgundy multi-aggro spiders) and a Demilich who likes teleporting and casting high level chain lightining (the mini-liches are one hit trash mobs though). I recommend demi/trans especially for the last two.

Invasion of Cor
The demons are coming in force into the village now, but you have a lot of aid from the high level villagers. Indeed you can probably AFK in a safe spot and let them win this for you but I don't think they'll do it in time. Just pick your targets and let be the meat shields. Don't trans for the first two headlesses, you'll probably want it for the six Arguses or Demilich. Also, don't stand beside volatile zombies when they die (kaboom) and don't freak out too much about the ifrit at the end - the villagers will help you keep him stunned/knocked down. Also gold mask ghosts = snakes.

After all that comes the mysterious man who you must defeat solo. He summons monsters but doesn't himself attack, move or get knocked down. Simplest method for me was to hang back on a hill and magnum shot him with my ego bow, well out of the aggro range of his protectors.

Why do we need to save Shamala?
Seriously, you RP as her now and are technically on god-mode. Just follow the blue flowers and try learn the behaviour of the monsters for when you fight them as yourself.

Training Millia
After meeting this new NPC you have to help train her. First round is pretty straight forward (hope you remember how to fight skeletons and there's an ogre at the end), second round is trickier with the giant headlesses at the start and then the bone drakes and bone dragon at the end. Millia isn't as competent/useful in combat but she won't die. She will screw your combos though. The bone drakes/dragon move quick and teleport so range isn't that useful. I suggest demi/trans for them while you learn their AI. Alternatively they are super weak to snake poison (no idea why) so you can pet revolve them if you want as long as there is a snake in your stable.

Boar Hunting
LOL. Everything here has the AI of a pig (counter + defense only) until you reach the Sacrificial Pig (grendel) which has bear AI if the sound doesn't give it away. Just fight well and you won't need to use any tricks or transformations here.

Stupid Tribesmen
Somehow after helping all the Corians they think -you- are the bad guy. Oh well, kill them all - they behave for the most part like their demon counterparts with archers doing double aggro. Getting out of the town center is a good first move. Kusina has decent range with her bow but can still be outgunned. Tupai and Ruwai are a dangerous combo of stun-lock + summons so make sure you annihilate them (probably trans here) and quickly follow up by hunting down Kousai who has strong magic (FH works well). Waboka faces you last and alone and despite him having FH shouldn't be much of a challenge.

Escape from the deep dark Cave
Yeah I don't know WTF is going on. Just escape from the Solea caves. Despite being "enclosed" you still have tons of room (and time) to use range/pet revolve. Time your entry to be able to trans twice for easy mode since it's a long mission, otherwise slow and steady is the key. Bone drakes and another bone dragon await after the first false wall so snake em. Afterwards are more trash mobs until you get to the one hit light banshees and then the named banshee Elizabeth. She likes to teleport and fireball which is a stupid combo because you can windmill her out of her casting. FH works better, and as usual Demi/Trans to end the fight quicker.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Your reward is Crabs

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

As the "Secret of Southsun" draws to a close I can only speculate on the many questions left unanswered by this living story arc, mainly "WTF was this crap?". With the cowards (ahem, refugees) from the previous storyline relocated into Consortium slave-labour of Southsun Cove all the action was taking place on that not so little island paradise/hell. Quelling riots and running about re-exploring the island for weird flora samples were actually the highlight for me, but really there was not a lot of quest direction given at all so for achievement hunters the best bet was still to go ask Dulfy. A new PvP game called Crab tossing was also introduced where you basically use the young of the highly dangerous local crustaceans as a ball which for me was ok entertainment but got dull really quick since I'm not a PvP sort of guy.

Story-wise there were basically only two main things to do: recapture the sylvari terrorist Canach personally (because the Lionguard and Consortium are completely inept) and escort the contract papers out to a waiting ship, which is a little weird given there was a working asura teleporter right there. Both of those were solo quests which is great, and the second one was actually pretty fun and had a good twist. The first one was quite crap, given that regardless of your class/previous experience in the game - the only thing you needed to be now is a minesweeper. Literally. Canach was on god mode, and the only way to beat him was with his -own- mines. If that doesn't make sense, wait till I tell you about the new Karka Queen Mega-Meta event where the only way to remove her armor is by throwing her own eggs at her. On second thought, I won't bother. It's amazing people are paid to make this stupidity.

His defences are down NOW! Attack quickly before he gets a towel!

I guess the storyline was successful in that it managed to bring people back to the island, but if people are going to voluntarily stay there afterwards despite the terrible wildlife and faecal rewards (an ANet staple as they have a serious aversion to handing out gold, or letting people gain wealth other than from the Trading Post) is another matter as there are easier places to get already. Coming up next, the Dragon Festival in the only city that matters to Anet: Lion's Arch... again. Starting to wonder why they bothered making the other cities to begin with. They could always cycle the location of the festival/events but nope.

Monday 3 June 2013

The Forge of Winter

Current Foundry Rank: Artifex (Level 6)
Current Scribes' Enclave Rank: Member-Scribe

Decided to post this little tracker to let people know how I'm going with my quests being constructed in the Neverwinter Online Foundry, along with any notes I've found while using it and mistakes I make. Hopefully it proves useful to some others.

All the below are stand-alone and solo friendly.

One Step to Darkness [NW-DNJC9SK7A]  (1 hr story focus)
Rebel Incursion [NW-DFHLFGNQY] (15-20 min combat focus)
Dirty Rats [NW-DGLB37WLW] (15-25 min combat focus)
Spiders of the Glade [NW-DUWK7BEE7] (15-25 min combat focus)
Arroway Manor [NW-DP3GLWRDP] (8-15 min stealth focus)
Coeden [NW-DM719BCQ5] (15-20 min combat focus)
A Measure of Character [NW-DKJKPQKH8] (15-45 min story focus)

  1. Given that people can still find/play individual quests out of order I'm not really fussed on releasing each one as they complete.
  2. So far, it's taken awhile to even complete one quest mainly due to the (not so bad, but still there) learning curve.
  3. Also spent sometime just writing in a notebook about how things will play out for the whole campaign.
  4. CTRL+S will save you if the editor hangs when you are dragging an item to the playing area.
  5. Don't duplicate maps after you put dialogue. Do it before.
  6. Don't add things to a map after putting dialogue or you'll need to add it in copied maps manually (argh).
  7. You can rig a timer by making guards fight monsters in a separate room.
  8. The Foundry Forums are a good source of info.
  9. People don't like running around. Tried to cut this down (Q1) but still ended up on the heavy side. I'm guessing especially the final part. Them tomb halls are huge. :P
  10. Dungeon prefabs don't always gel well together and cause odd graphic issues. To combat this I've put walls to try hide those missing textures.
  11. Knock backs can break a module if a monster falls to an unreachable zone and doesn't die. The players will then forever be in combat and cannot interact with stuff. With this in mind I paved over all the big holes I had (Q1) so it wouldn't happen.
  12. Getting reviews and plays is actually the hardest part it seems. Hopefully I can count on my guildies to get my content through the review phase (must get 5 reviews and 20 plays).
  13. Apparently it's common for new patch releases to break modules, according to Star Trek Online (another Cryptic game) foundry users. The only way to beat it is eternal vigilance. 
  14. After raging a bit I decided to have another crack at this, modifying my planned quests to be even simpler to better cater for the audience and more importantly, to work around the weaknesses of the editor.
  15. Having decided to switch to quick 15-20 minute quests I've realized it will be too cumbersome to try tell the story I had originally planned. Because of this I've scrapped my original campaign plan and have decided just to make a bunch of stand alone things that may or may not link together.
  16. Just as a note as of Febuary 2014 my quest and campaign limit has been bumped up from 10 to 15. Not sure if that was a global thing.
  17. Put up my current foundry rank. Totally aiming for level 10! Or.. 9... or 8... :P
  18. Joined the Scribes' Enclave to see what they are all about. They are bloody amazing. I strongly others to join too. Non-authors will be able to find some really fantastic hidden works in here as well. Unfortunately the Enclave has closed due to lack of activity.
  19. When posting for reviews on the Foundry Forums, always offer to trade. People are more likely to play your maps if they get some much needed plays and reviews themselves. 
  20. Join competitions. Especially silly ones since it will up your skill in things like decor and costume design! :P