Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mephs speaks

Mephs, legendary assassin of pre-gem era of Age of Conan took his time off assassinating people in real life to talk to me about his past experiences with assassin class:

Slith: Why assassin? Have you been plaing rogue-like characters in other MMOs?
Mephs:I never really played the ninja/stealth types in games prior to AOC. I usually played healers, actually. In FFXI I was a White Mage/Summoner, a priest in other MMOs, and a paladin in WoW (now a Warrior though). My assassin was essentially my real first character that was a stealthing type.

Slith: Your assassin wasn't stygian, why? It seems like majority of players rolled stygian characters

He was stygian. :)

Slith: Your pvp movies were very nicely put together, do you have experience with movie editing? Made pvp movies in other games?

I actually don't really do much movie editting, it was just kind of an opportunity for me to get creative and all that more than a way to show off "skills". I still don't make many movies and have made maybe 1 really lazily done pvp video in Warhammer Online, but that's all. Personally I thought the general production quality of my videos were pretty poor, but I'll blame that on the graphics card I had at the time and the fact I didn't really know what I was doing in Premiere.

Did you get into aoc raiding content or went pure pvp?
Mephs:Once I hit 80 I think all I did was randomly gank people in Keshatta for shits and giggles. I never set foot in a proper raid in that game, just kind of got really bored at 80.

Have you tried so called "hybrid build"? Your movies featured pure corruption and pure lotus builds (

Yes I tried it, but wasn't very happy with it. It had a lot of flexibility but the thing it lacked was a real focus. Sure you had a series of cooldowns to use to almost guarantee a kill at the time, but if any of those messed up you were essentially defenseless. It was only really good for 1v1 situations, most of the time I preferred to try and pick off someone in a group and bail, so I built my toon more around making people really go "wait, what just happened" when their buddy dies right next to them - and in that respect I didn't want to get caught in the process of escaping so it made more sense to go all-or-nothing in the spec of choice.

In one of your movies begins with a story about duel on a snowy mountain. What was that about?
Mephs:Just a spout of creativity. I wanted a neat intro so I just got a friend of mine (Fatwa) to help film it. It was fun and I think it turned out pretty cool.

Slith: Are you keeping track of what is happeining to AOC right now?


Slith: Have you considered coming back to aoc?

Not really.

Slith: Do you play any mmo right now?

I'm back to playing WoW but even that's kind of boring lately. I haven't been real into MMOs lately.

Tell us a little about Entourage, the elite stealthers guild you were part of. How was that working out?

It was kind of a small guild, I was good friends with Wohast, the leader, and Fatwa, his apprentice forum troll. I think it was more for them than anything else that I went to Tyranny to play in Entourage. Before that I had rolled an assassin 4 times on 4 different servers.

What gaming gear you have used for AOC? Any extraordinary keyboard or mouse?

I'm still using the same $10 keyboard I got from Walmart, and a basic 2 button mouse. I'm not a fan of these macro keyboards and whatnot, its probably not ideal for fast action PVP but it gets me by.

Are you a fan of Conan lore? Have you read any Conan book before going to AOC?

I only knew a little about the lore prior to AOC, just "wiki" knowledge I guess, other than that no it never interested me a whole lot.

Slith: Why have you started plaing AOC ina first place?

Was incredibly bored with WoW and wanted to try something new.

Slith: After AOC you went to WAR, how was that?
Mephs:WAR I would play again but I still feel like I'm not interested enough or have the free time to really dedicate myself to two MMOs. That and my friends on WoW keep me there for now. WAR I wouldn't really know enough people to say the same so I've kind of neglected going back to WAR.

If you don't know who is Mephs let me break it down:

Established pvper:
No Gimmicks I (40-50):
No Gimmicks II (50-60):
No Gimmicks III (60-70):
and others,

Author of many guides and new strats (countless posts on assassin boards)
[Video/Tutorial] Mephs & Ragni: "Melee PVP Essentials"

Assassin guru:
When Mephs was posting, baby, that post was being readed like there is no tommorow.

The picture in this post features actual drawing of Mephs character.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That is soooo gosu

I was running with 20g in my pocket when I got stuck with "periodic temporary aoc burnout" (P.T.A.B). I have had enough with pvp xp grind, constant zerging of my ass and picts in the cellar whooping me. So I have prepared a "farewell" post and was about to quit when I got a great idea: yet another, 18g worth of a respecc - this time back into hybrid. All of sudden pvp was a breeze and PVE was E-Z mode . Is hyrbid overpowered? Hell yeah! I have made 110.000,00 pvp xp when specced with full Lotus and about 60% of that XP was from pure solo jumps in Kesh. I could kill clothies in general, but BSes and all soliders were hard as nails. With hyrbid that is hardly a problem. I know that I am switching back and forth and posting: "this is nice and that is nicer", but even when Lotus I was posting about hyrbid needing a kick.
There is not doubt that I have cut off my e-peen that grew out of being lotus (hybrid players should avert their eyes when confronted by lotus, they shouldn't speak if not asked to and also should be donating 1g a week to lotus playerbase) but hyrbid is just too gosu flavored- it kills stuff dead, and if not - it sure as hell can outlive that stuff). Oh and if you don't know what gosu means check it here.
Also in upcoming month of may I will be officialy playing assassin character without single alt for 1 year straight - I need to spin and change speccs to keep things as interesing and "fresh" as much as I can, or else I will get that "burnout" I have mentioned erlier (its not the first time as you can imagine).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Assassin advocate speaks

Our Beloved advocate - FURYBlakhart - posted a thread confirming that he keeps track of the stuff. The other advocate is nowere to be seen and presumed missing or dead. So apart from this small advocate bashing there is nothing really to report on.

Hope you like the cat, I had quite a lol at this pic :D

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Important questions anwsered

Unexpected Dev reply to Patch Wish list thread gave us few ideas on how AoC will develop further down the line:

PVP resources need to be reworked:

"We might make some changes to the pvp resources but not in the way you described. I was however looking at a different way to do something similar. This would expand on what is there right now.

We need player housing in aoc:

"Hopefully some day."

We need Arathi Basin Style minigame - 12 vs 12 or bigger

"I don't think it would be a straight copy of the battleground you mentioned. I would love to do a larger scale minigame."

We need rewards for minigames

"This is being looked into."

We need a system preventing people farming each other for pvp xp, perhaps lowering dimishing returns to 0 will do it

"Fight clubbing is being looked into. If this is one of the changes we decide to go with so be it"

People farm resources via bots

"Not sure what you mean by this. If it has to do with no resource encounters happening outside of the Resource and Building playfields that has already been changed.

Give us 1vs1 arenas

"Maybe one day"

We need dueling system that still yellds pvp xp

"On my wish list but a duelling system as described for EQ2 is pretty expensive to implement. Hopefully we can get other ways that allow duels in the game soon enough"
Reduce sieges to 36 vs 36 to help with FPS/Lag issues, and because no guild out there can fill their own 48 man sieges

"Changing the cap is not very likely. We are looking at the lag issues. Hopefully we can look at a proper merchenary system as well

Improve trade skills in such a way that they can help in pvp

"This is something Ilaliya and me want to do"

Fix Battle Keep buff stacking

"This is one of our priorities at the moment"

Open levels 6 to 10 for pvp advancement and new gear

"Looking into the current PvP advancement is a bigger priority than expanding it. Once this works well we can look into expanding the system."
So as you can see a lot of good question anwsered - especialy it was important for FC to confirm existance of pvp xp guild farming (Fight clubbing or Naked RP) and fixing it before we can move further with pvp progression.

You can also get good test live news from my tweetter feedor via tweett's rss.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

1.5 PVE needs balancing

The above video features my assassin barely holding his own in 80lvl Villa.
The developers are already aware of "mob damage" issue:

The balance between monsters and players will be tuned throughout the TestLive cycle. It is not Live just yet :-).

see the source.
I say - about damn time, killing mobs en masse = fun, half-killing yourself in order to take down 2 mobs = not fun. Agree?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quick look on 1.5 Lotus assassin part 2

More issues that need dev's attention.

1/ Light footed anti snare chance doesn't work
2/ Flesh rots have low proc rate and barely do any damage befor expiration
3/ Flesh necrosis do next to nothing damage - 436 dmg from 4 stacks, up to WHOOPING 600 dmg on full 5
4/ Flesh necrosis doesn't give any visual sign that it has been used (some flashing on target would be nice)
5/ Flesh necrosis doesn't give any sound effect (perfect example: brutality, you can't mistake that sound with anything else)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Because youtube video is mightier than a sword

or a dagge for that fact.

Enjoy 1.5 preview of some of issues that still need to be fleshed out on test live

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Farewell to dear friend, mentor, lover..

Kruella, author of "Life and death of the necromancer" blog recently posted a farewell thread and is apparently quiting AOC and blogging all thogether.

It is a great loss for AOC community and huge dent in aoc blogging scene.

You will be missed.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh man, I am enjoying this

I am having quite the laffs at others expense over the test live forums. Let me tell you a little secret: when certain classes where underpowered like assassin and DT, others rolled totaly crazy classes like TOS, BS or BARB that are simply mind blowing in both PVE and PVP. Right now the Devs are taking those classes down to their archtype: they are nerfed into healers and rogue. Can you imagine TOS dpsing more on raid than demo being squized into "healer's stinky pants"?

Here are the results:

This patch TOTALLY nerfed barbs and totally overpowered soldiers..
I mean what's the sence of getting in a fight against a conqueror that deals more dps than any barbarian, doesnt get damage and kills you so easy...

I dont really know if funcom really thinks about what they do...
I play a tos myself and i agree about the fact that the sc crits quite hard. so in my opinion it is justified to lower the damage of the sc, but not as hard as this cause you spend 12 points on it and receive a damage output of max 200.... thats just a joke.

hi all,
bearshaman is now realy crap in dmg....

SC feats are broken. fully feated it does 100-150 dmg with a full t2 tos.
its not nerfed, its broken, and useless.

Necro,Its completely broken

HOX are WAY nerfed,Seriously on :D The ammount of Assassin whine? Zero! Single thread made with developer enex posting:
Thanks for this detailed feedback Slith
But what I am suspecting is that its not the class or the changes that make people whine - its the players that are playing those classes. When the necro was god, games were filled with necro, TOS have been top of its game for 9 months now, BS was greatness since ever so no wonder that people are upset with going "from hero to zero". On the other hand if assassins got nerfed now we would probably take it with silient dignity just like we did on hybrid specc being pretty much taken out of the game for us.

So I am sipping my coffie on lunch breaks and reading through all those hart filled threads where people are swearing to leave the game is 1.5 hits live:

This change to NF necros are complete BS. If you wanted us to be such pet dependent, you shoulve left the freakin lich class in!
Funcom, if you nerf NF necros this bad, you will lose yet another customer. Curious who else gonna leave?
Their sufering is almost amusing.

BTW have you seen HOX'es new avatar? Its "mega-manga-dragonballz-crazy-anime-shit" :D Can't believe some graphic artis down at FC thought for a second that it looks good.
To sum it up: if you are one of the nerfed classes don't even try to provide detailed and constructive feedback, just keep making new threads with words like "nerf", "useless", "I quit", "its sucks", "OP", "stupid changes" and expect things to turn out great :D.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lotus heightened senses solution to 1.5 lotus?

This was supposed to be a short reply to 1.5 assassin thread post, but it kinda grew into this article:

Even if FC's intention is to polarize the Lotus=caster Corruption=armor killers, corruption, while superiror at cutting armor, still handles casters well (charge, aod, good fear) while lotus can be geat against casters we just plain suck against armor users..

Armor to damage ratio
we don't have armor to go toe to toe with any class. In case of stun/root/snare/knockback that we can't get rid off (stagger..) we can only stand and take it. It doesn't matter how hard out opponent hits in melee, his armor to damage ratio still will come out better as compared to our armor to damage ratio. We dish out not enough damage to make up for lack of armor. The obvious fix is not to jack up the damage, but to balance armor a bit, or tweak lotus with some evade feat that is not once-every-5-fights.

Survival in melee
We don't have survival stuff for melee. Not just some fancy 2 minute feat like curse of the lotus (which is great), but simple fight-to-fight feat that can bail our asses in sticky situations. Corruption has Death's Gaze and Vampyric nature both on 1m cooldown. Yes, you need shard for it so I am not asking for "get out of jail card" every 1 minute, but some feat that bases on our evade (this seems to be lotus theme), and can be used only under specific circumstances.


Since our lotus feats are already based on target's HP, lets bring the concept to our HP:

Buff: as we get lower on HP we get buffs to evade. 90% is +5% evade, 70% is +10% evade 50% is 15% and so on. The evade buffs last 5s and can be reapplied - if enemy lands succesful attack on us. The evade buff cannot be refreshed - hit no. one applies evade effect, but hit two won't do nothing until evade buff fades after 5s.
Feat name: Lotus heightened senses

Cooldown: 1 minute
Effect: next melee attack applies Lotus heightened senses buff. The ammount of evade gained increases with your health getting lower.

How to fight LHS: wait with your last combo step for the buff to fade and then unload it, knockback
Closing notes:
- Lets not forget that de facto all corruption build have pernament +10% evade with prediction feat.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

1.5 Assassin data

Last night the 1.5 hit the servers with tons of assassin changes. Without bullshiting you with my blah blah blah lets go down to business:

Item revamp - link to notes
As you can see my PVE crap gear aka not-so-full-midnight set got totaly reworked along with my scorpion daggers. Ofcourse those stats are meaningless to me....right now, because all of us need to set their minds on new rules. Overall it seems like a better, more clear system that is user friendly. Without doubt FC can now crank out new items that will progress your character in a more visible and easy to understand way.

My rating: 5/5 Good change

General tree changes (ala rogue tree)

Without doubt rogue tree changes screwed any hybrid build and screwed it hard.

Quick recovery - adds stamina regen. Its a 5/5 feat and you need it to progress into tier 1 of the treee. More stamina is good.

Excellent balance - 1/1 feat. It gives resistance to knockback as it used to along with instant stamina recovery.

Lethality - 5/5 feat. New tool in the tool box and a big disapoitment. Lethality adds up to 17% more damage based on your weapon damage. No doubt it is a great stuff for barbarians with their huge axes and epeens, but we assassin fight with TOOTHPICKS and a good chunk of our damage comes in fact from our stance that adds +posion +unholy.

My rating: 4/5 Leathality needs to be reworked.

Grim corruption (GC) mechanics:

It is a step into right direction with few flaws.

Lotus stance GC - finaly a debuff for some armor. It benefits you and all of your allies. Vile Posions now shines with +15% dmg and -10% posion debuff from a single GC hit.

Corruption stance GC - clearly a good way to improve Soul Strike or Vile Corruption.

Please note that Grim Corruptions now SHARE cooldown. Thats right, no more GCIV + GCIII snare stack, or GC+Sense Weaknes chain-o-critin'. Take other GCs off your bar because you are married to GCIV now. Don't like this change. I would make GC's debuff NOT STACK and STANCE DEPENDENT (more on that later). If you can't snare running caster with first GC for whatever reason, you are now stuck with nothing to keep him less mobile. Not cool.

How to exploit Burden to bear and Lotus GC? Preload GC in Lotus stance, land it, switch to Unholy and wait for your -25% invuls stack. Needs a fix.

My rating: 2/5 Step into a right direction. Needs A LOT of work.

Lotus/general specc

Here is what I have specced for this test.

Corrupted body - yes, it is good, but why oh why giving us yet another magic debuff when we need guns and armor? I say corrupted body should buff the armor we are wearing so we can HOPE to survive in melee group fight.

Currently for magical protection we have:
  • Antrophy
  • Arcane Backlash
  • Lotus Tainted blood
  • Lotus Overload
  • Corrupted body
  • Natural protection
Thats too much, thank you. I would rather do some damage that dance like a retarded moneky in a orgy of fire, thuner and ice thrown at me. We need more armor to have a chance of survival in a new melee frenzy that is coming with 1.5. We never had problems with casters, this new corrupted body is not needed.

Flesh necrosis - I won't beat a dead horse, the devs have clearly not worked at all on this feat. It still gives crap damage for 3/3 investment. Linking FN to new Corrupted backlash would be smart only and ONLY if FN is fixed.

Arcane backlash/Corrupted backlash - lets get real, for 9 point investment this is not all that great.Basicly it gives some damage from time-to-time that might or might not proc. The very mechanic looks promising thou.

Here is how I would twist it around: corrupted backlash should add a dot, not a single hit. The DOT can be consumed by Flesh Necrosis and would work like full 5x stack of flesh rots (assuming the whole FN will get a buff). This way we would reward fast thinking player who, by watching the Corrupted backlash procing, could get more benefit from it and quickly use FN for more damage. I rather have corrupted backlash giving one good DOT than procing radomly with crap damage. Lotus is already very random damage based, we need more stuff than we can use when needed. Precision is the key.

Curse of lotus - it got caped on 12 targets. I guess that is resonable.

Lotus overdose - it got buffed with crazy weapon damage and +40% magic damage. So? It still has mind blowing cooldown and a potent debuff that we have to suffer through.

Kidney shots - this must be a joke. Lunge, 10s duration with 20s cooldown buff, gives 70% weapon damage while fully stacked KS gives us ...65%? Clearly devs must have made some typo while tweaking this feat. No need to go crazy here, just fix your mistake guys, and add some mechanic that will make KS diffrent from every single other buff while you are at it.

My rating: 2/5 Fc didn't really give much tought to the lotus in first 1.5 build. 1 point for new mechanics, but the rest of changes are bad.

Corruption/general specc
Now that we are done with Lotus - FC's illegitemate son - we can go through Dev's favorite firstborn - CORRUPTION.

Here is what I specced (its a bad specc, but allows for full test)

My general feel of Corruption - god more. I am not even kidding - I have ripped through Villa content like it was nothing. Corruption now has full range of tools for dealing with everything thrown at it.

Lunge - 10s duration, 20s cooldown, 70% weapon buff. How could you ask for more? Right now corruption has corrupting strikes, soul strike and lunge all on small CD with 10s duration and a lot of punch. Say hello to great feats for sudden bursts of damage and new lunge compleates the corruption tree.

Seeds of corruption - not only they debuff heals, but can also add nasty and instant damage. Can't knock back those damn healers? Well you sure as hell can debuff them and explode into whirlwind of spike damage. Stack seeds of corruption-->GC-->Death Whirlwind. Sounds like a lot of smackdown in a very short time. I like it and will proves to be a great tool in group pvp.

Burden to bear - obvious fix to a semi-broken feat. It just WORKS now. Thumbs up.

Life leech - it is too good now. For 236 per hit you can get as much as 1180 HP back from a single combo with 1 shard investment. Thats almost 2 HP pots, instantly. Why would you wait for slow Golden Lotus Extrac ticks when you can have this baby?

Posible solution to life leech
- buff up heals to 250 hp per hit and make every hit consume 1 shard. With full 5 shards you can get 1250 HP back, but you have to make a tough decision - get damage from other feats like CS,SS,DWW etc. or heal up. This change would make Soul Prison more viable as shard generation would mean a lot more than now because the only REAL shard hugger as in 1.4 - 1.5 is Death Whirlwind. Please consider this.

Avatar of death - a bit of damage nerf, but considering its buff - it is still a holy grail of assassins

When activating avatar you will get a cool little efect on your hands that will indicate to your opponen that dark powers are at work. Sweet. Oh and with Lunge cd on 20s you would be stupid not to stack Lunge with Avatar. Say hello to 140% weapon damage.

Death's gaze - cool little spell efect added on your target. Nice.

Unholy armor - here is where its at. With 1.4 unholy armor assasin were getting +10% resistance when in unholy stance which was fixed at that ammount. Lotus assassins could get Toughness feat to give them extra +3,5% ress and with a little better gear they could be closer to what Corruption offered while still remaining a lot worst in terms of melee fights survival. With 1.5 changes unholy gets +100% armor bonus. Thats right - the more you have the more you gain.

Lets look at solid numbers:

My PVE crap gear gave me solid 4257 armor which is 10,4% damage mitigation. When I buff my poor lotus with Toughness I get my armor racked up to 5057 with 13,8% mitigation. Not look at unholy: with 100% armor buff I get 8374 armor which translates into 28,7%.

Conclustion: without tougness feat lotus has 2 times less armor than corruption with roughly 10% vs 28%. With even slight item diffrence corruption grows beyond lotus in terms that we can't even imagine (or can we?). Lets keep in mind that corruption already benefits from WHOOPING +10% evade, giving it a 100% bonus and not a fixed ammount of armor will grow into a problem fast. While going though villa not once I was close to dieing with 2,3,4 even 5 mob pulls and I wear blues, think about that epic items.

Suggestion: corruption needs to remain superior to lotus in melee combat, but lets not go nuts. Needs some tweaking.

Other little tweaks:
  1. Stance buff moved from left side to up-center.
  2. Villa mobs drop 80lvl items again
  3. There is a new loading screen - some burnign tower, probably Stygian
  4. Servers are really unstable with huge lag spikes and out of memory crashes

Closing notes:
Corruption is almost done, but Lotus needs all the hugz and love it can get. For big list of Lotus suggestions and issues see my 1.5 Lotus post.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Burned out on AOC

All I wanted is to log on and play some pvp in Age of Conan:

This is what I got:
6 waiting around respad, the rest hidden behind or near gates. People on respad mostly waiting for their Patch of Aura Cooldown.
Tried to sneak pass them, but got tracked & traped (also known as TNT)
After 15 minutes minigame UI have shown 2/12 people for minigame (me included) and at that point I have loged :/

Playing since the launch and with /played of 32 days today my back was finaly broken.
I don't know where should I got from here? I don't raid, I want to pvp! Even if I somehow crawl to pvp lvl4...then what? There is nothing to enjoy no more in AOC.
Perhaps another mmo?