Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Offhand proc

I was contacted by Mystique (who’s name may or may not have been inspired by Marvel’s X-Men) to do a post on offhand.

Few facts:
- base offhand proc chance is 10% (naked, without gear)
- for every 5 dex you gain 0.1% chance to do offhand damage
- offhand damage proces from Main Hand Weapon , not your offhand Weapon
- offhand damage can proc even if attack is blocked/parried/evaded
- stance damage (+unholy dmg or poison dmg) is added to offhand attacks

Offhand definition:

Offhand damage is an extra damage that can proc from main hand weapon that is used in both combos and white hits.
Offhand damage will proc only once, but for your viewing pleasure it will be broken down into many pretty numbers to clog your screen and stroke your epeen.
In a nut shell offhand damage gives you chance to dubble your damage output.

http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=105050 by pants
for all details visit the provided link – it’s the definitive guide on offhand proc.

Monday, December 29, 2008

PVP lesson in mastery

Everyone had one of those minigames: your team is beaten left and right, you get insta-killed and it seems like everyone sucks. I had game like that today. Unfortunatley I forgot the golden rules of true mastery and made an ass out of myself, for which I had to apologize. Long story short, here are five golden rules that will get you closer to being true master in PVP:

1. Let your weapon do the talking - dagger through the skull says more than thousand words. Don't talk smack even if you can back it up - bad winer is worst than sore loser. Don't be cocky..

2. Accept that you won't change people - Anthony Robbins spent his whole life trying to discover how to affect and change people throu Linguistics - so far he haven't found his holy grail. So if Tony couldn't hack it, sure as hell you won't change people by typing few words on the screen in a minigame that went wrong - especialy if those words are "how come you suck?". People do all kinds of crazy shit like joining 80lvl minigame at lvl63, but they just don't know better and pointing out their flaws won't make them better.

3. Endure and in enduring grow strong - it is my favorite quote by Dak'kon from Planescape:Torment and it's a true one. Bad games happen, there is no way to avoid them - instead of ripping shit apart endure it, the game will end eventualy and you will be glad you kept few things to yourself.

4. When in doubt, say less - this is a good one. In minigames when you are not tying "gg", "gj team" or "flag room" you are probably typing something that will make you look like an ass so just go default and type less, less...

5. Nothing to prove - the most important thing: you got nothing to prove, you are here to have fun. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with a little competition, and having competitive mindset will give you an edge in PVP, but don't let it consume you and get you down.

You know what, screw it, go for #1 and have fun along the way with all skull spliting, but just don't be ass to others. This is what this post is all about.

Upcoming PVP changes

In reply to the [Suggestion] Revamp mini games down at Test Live forums, Didek - Age of Conan Developer - gave us a little sneak preview of minigames changes:

The minigame tiers will be adjusted for patch 1.04. Level 80s will have it's own tier.

PvP exp for participating and winning is in the works but I can't promise when this will go in. Quite a few other changes are in the works as well

Don't forget there is a new GUI for signing up in patch 1.04. This should make it easier to get games up and running.

Sounds good to me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beating the dead horse

The VirginWorlds podcast collective did some more Age of Conan bashing (oh there is a shock). Our only media outlet - Hyborian Herald Podcast - died quite a while ago, but other members of collective came on AOC pretty hard in their yearly review (can't blaim them for that). Check out "Massivley speaking", "No prisoners, no mercy", and "Spouse aggro" for some good podcasts related to MMOs. In "Massivley" they had a part of the show called "new year predictions" and one of the host accualy made a prediction that AOC will go "belly up" in 2009 same way the Tabula rasa did in 2008.
On another subject - I kinda envy the Lord of the rings online crowd - apparently lotro is one of best mmos around and their new expansion is a killer. Too bad I am not a fan of lotro lore.. It kind of sucks when you play the mmo everyone (including yourself) shit on...Crom laffs at all of us..

Friday, December 26, 2008

EU and USA assassin community joint post

Every wanted to post something on US boards? (probably not..) and would you like to ask your EU friends on EU boards a question? (hardly). Now you can!
The Assassin community joint post in US and EU boards - hit the link and post whats on your mind and your friends across the pond will be able to post a reply in their own thread. It's magic!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Minigame bugz

Because I want to do more than bitch and whine I have been doing my share on Test Live forums to help DEVs clean the game from the bugs.

I think that video material will help the Devs much more than just couple of words in the post so here is my report:

1/ First part shows that after respawn my HP is 0, I have pernament shield on me, can't attack, can't be attacked, can't log. It is third time this happened to me over period of 2 months. I have seen this affecting one other player

2/ Second part shows me getting under the map after being knocked back on the ramp. I think FC is already aware of that.


The screen shows Necro spellweaving behind the pillars in the halls minigame. If Necro was blocked by lets say guardian or BS it would be unkillable by melee. It took 3 of us attacking necro 1-by-1 to get him killed. Clearly it is an exploit.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

6 months of FAIL

I have decided to do 6 months reviews of Age of Conan development from PVP Assassin perspective - this will be one of many reviews because I am sure I will stick with this game to the bitter end.

The good:
Client - Funcom impoved the stability of client which is like ..."meh" because I have never had problems with it. I guess the FPS rate got better so I can run this game on medium and enjoy fluent PVP. Good job here.
Rating: 9/10

The bad:
Crafting - crafting is nonexistent in this game. All I do is craft some food for my personal usage and thats it. Gems are broken beyond belief so I did not even bother to progress any further.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

Itemization - Ever since I did about 15 epic KESH runs I am wearing same gear - Midnight set + PVP lvl2 stuff. If you don't raid you will have nothing to upgrade your gear. Everyone looks the same. Funcom boasted about their freaking 1500 armor sets and social clothing, but I yet have to see them.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

PVP minigames - minigames are broken. People play on the same map over and over, Totem Torrent is out of the question and there are no rewards for capturing the flag - if you go for them I usally means you are getting you ass farmed and your team wants to end the game quick. There is no deepth to minigames. I do minigames and I do them a lot, I just wish they were better.
Rating: 4/10

PVP XP - Its harder than HARD to progress in PVP XP - instead of having few tiers where you get new gear and bonuses FC made getting to lvl 5 super hard and time consuming. After all that killing and XP farming you get you assassin set which will make you look like stygian WHORE. Also FC allowed "guild leave + farm your guild mates" which allowed total noobs to farm their lvl4 in matter of 2-3 weeks. FC ignored that issue regardless of player's feedback
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

Class balance - Just roll Necro or a TOS FTW. TOS got 6 month of non stop ownage with +3k critz while being a healer and Necro get insta crits from spell weaving and there are no signs of nerf coming.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

Criminal/murderer system - it is broken. You will get flaged criminal for defending yourself.

Open world PVP - log on, go to KESH, zerg or die. Here is your content, enjoy.

Guild dyplomacy tools - There are none. There is no support for guilds and server politics in AOC.

Guild city - Ghost towns. Same crappy buildings with bare walls inside them. Fun!

RP support - beside GMs that take actions on petitions regarding naming violations there is no support for RP in this game. We got fancy emotes but we can't even sit in a tavern and drink a beer in a WORLD OF HYBORIA FOR FUCKS SAKE! Lack of social clothing makes it even harder.
Rating: 3/10 (for emote system)

80lvl content for non Raiders - you can grind Villas for crap money. If there are no people for minigame you got nothing to do except bitching on guild chat.

Updates - it takes for ever for Funcom to do any update. I understand things take time, but they could do small additions to keep the community happy and they don't. Bugs also take for ever to fix (female attack speed being the prime example).
Rating: 2/10

Keeping the dates/giving out ETAs for updates - they doesn't.

Don't care about:
I don't care about PVE/Raid content. I don't have an alt so I haven't done any Ymir's pass quests. Raids are just not for me.

I know this 2008 review was very negative, but I wrote how I feel about game and FC - in six months they could do SOOOO much better. Funcom has a lot of work to do in 2009 - I hope my next review will be exact the opposite because things will take turn for the better.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cunning deflection will mess you up

See the topic? I mean it, don't even fuck with cunning deflection! Let go over it right from the begining:

Cunning Deflection feat:

It is 15 points into soldier's general tree with 1/1 point investment. The feat's description:

here is what was happening to me: I was whooped by few soldier class players more than once - they have literaly beaten me to bloody pulp in matter of seconds regardless what I did...oh, wait, not really - fighting them was making things worst, I could dance and block their damage for quite a while. Being sad little noobie I never gave it much thought - I beat certain classes easly, soldiers can beat me right? Well no, things were too inconsistent, there were soldiers that I was taking down without much sweat. First I thought - it's gear, it's all about their epiXXXORZs and farmed PEEEVEEPEE itamz, but lvl70-something guardian that was beating me over and over changed my mind. The frustrating thing was that I wasn't losing to CC, or superiror combat movments - death was very sudden.
Finaly THE MAN aka Kamukoira opened my eyes with his [Soldiers] Cunning Deflectionthread.
He have posted screenshot where non damaging fear spell - The curse of the lotus - made soldier proc HELL on him in a form of cunning deflection. Check this:

After reading that I went to my combat logs and saw all that damage procing on me, and not being dealt by the soldier player himself.
1/ Preloaded GC
In this screenshot I wanted to snare my opponent with preloaded GC which did whooping 318 DMG.
I got 1.379 DMG in return. My HP buffed with food is roughly ~3700, meaning I got down to 2/3 HP before the fight even started.

2/ Dots
Turns out I don't even have to "touch" soldier (in a very special place) - mere 66dmg dot proced 626 DMG.

The above screenies are just crap I took in the minigame before posting this, and I wasn't even trying to make CD look so powerful, there are people who did that part for me:

Tests that were done:
Icoyce and Odinffs went out to test the crap out of cunning deflection and here are the screenies- one is for 12 hits proced from the DOT. DT that helped testing confirmed that all damage was done instantly. Hope FC works things out.

Discuss it here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

PVE stats work in PVP

Since I have seen people questioning the fact that PVE stats apply to pvp quite a few times I have decided to post it and create new TAG - PEEVEEPEE aka PVP:

"The PvP stats are PvP-only stats, general stats will work in both PvE and PvP"
- Jayde, Funcom system designer

People don't see stats "stacking" with their PVE ones in PVP tab and assume that assassin's unholy armor ressistance doesn't protect us in PVP - it does.

What you won't get is PVP gear helping you in PVE scenario vs mobs.

to sum it up: PVE and PVP stats stack in Player vs Player scenarios.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lotus 50-60lvl

The build:

1/ First drop 2 points into Kidney Shots and Sense weakness. Those two give most “bang for the buck” as for mere 2 points Kidney shots can add up 118 piercing damage and Sense Weaknes will add +25% crit chance to your combo openers (lethargy, GC, poison strike, Impede life).

2/ Next build up Assassination up to 5/5 – it will grant you +15% offhand when target is close to death

3/ Shift ending up to 5/5 will buff your DOTs like lotus weapon and flesh rot

4/ optionally – if you haven’t already – drop 1 point into excellent balance

As you go on you might feel like your HP is going down too fast when fighting mobs – don’t worry, at lvl 70 you will get additional 3,5% res vs all melee damage which will help a lot.

tip: Kidney shots grow stronger as the buff stacks with every hit, when you get 5x fire off OP for a very big crit. Assassins luv critz.

Moses is not coming (Happy Birthday AOC? )

Yesterday AOC hit 6 months. I have no idea why would anyone celebrate someone's birthday 6 months from his birth also when that someone is an MMO game. I am not going to troll in that "happy" thread but the game is in shit state right now, the servers are bleeding players and the mythical 1.4 patch shapes up to be an ass and not our MOZES. There is nothing to celebrate yet, all get back to work.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chillwhisper Analysis Thread Links

Chillwhisper down at US assassin board made a thread with links to all of his analysis posts. Some of them were not reposted here so make sure to check that out - lots of interesting stuff.

Current state of AOC

Things turned from "nasty" to "sour". *sigh*

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lotus crit rate

There was some oh-not-so-great post on Test life forums calling for assassin nerf because of their combo starter crit damage. The thread starter suggested that assassin with both OP and SW (sense weaknes) which affect crit rate, can deal massive damage (with a little help from other buffs) just by doing combo starters. I called bullshit on this, but then said that I will test it. I did mob test because my rule is "if it ain't working on mobs, it sure as shit won't work on people". I did quite few tests, but here are the most representative results:

Buffed SS (regular combo):

Buffed openers (with chance to crit):

With Buffed SS you get constant damage with 3 keystrokes and buffed openers will give similiar damage with A LOT of "keyboard" dancing.

Also: combo openers do not benefit from +25% range which is granted to last combo step, it much harder to land 3 x openers vs 3 combo steps to SS.

Conclusion: buffed openers crit give a mere chance to deal good damage and even when all of them crit (rate is 25%) - it is still within the realms of buffed SS. Not worth the fuss.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lotus bomb aka Curse of the lotus

This feat comes directly from Rogues in the House by R.E.Howard - there is no doubt about it. Right now the feat says "Detonates small Lotus powder bomb amongst assassin's enemies, causing them to become confused for a short period of time", but it used to have this text "and unable to tell the diffrence between friend and foe" (you can still read the original description on ConanArmory). In the story there is an ape - Thak - that activates a device that traps few "assassins" (not the "real deal" guys, some political cutthroats) in glass walls and then lotus pollen that falls on them drives them mad, causing them to kill each other in most horrid way. Apparently Funcom wanted to give us same stuff, but there must have been problems with implementation that into AOC.

Check the story, it's one of Howard's best.

Assassin lore in Age of Conan

I have decided to write few posts about Assassins in Conan lore - sadly there are hardly any mentions of them in the books except posioned dagger wielding assassins doing megacide . However Lotus tree of assassin character (my love for lotus is great) seems to be deeply lodged in the books. One of devs even mentioned that assassin char is a combination of two characters - assassin and Lotusist (whatever that means - it suggests heavy lotus usage). Keep an eye out for those updates because I am crunching on those Conan books like there is no tommorow and posting lore bits.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Patch 1.4 assassin's review! (test server content)

Long awaited 1.4 patch hit the test server so it is time for some review:

Assassin changes:
Oh nothing major....only FREAKING 50% snare to Curse of Lotus aoe fear! Great boost for both pvp and pve.

UI changes:
- Timers were added for buffs/debuff/food etc. Nice litte feat, but I hope it can be disabled as Lotus assassin has A LOT of timers it tends to be distracting.

- minigames interface allows you to keep track of how many people apply for map/game. Very nice addition and slick ui.

- massive pvp ui got somesort of callendar. I don't know much about it, but looks good.


- Treasure chests spreaded around the world are holding new phat lootz - I found only one chest, but it looks promising.

- mobs can now fatality your sorry ass. Also when you die the camera zooms on you. Nice addition, kudos FC!


I do a lot of Villas (I know most people hate them) when waiting for minigame (I listen do podcast then) - it's very relaxing. There have been two major changes to Villa content:

Welcomed one:
- NPC now drop obsidian egg (generic item, worth 71 copper) which is stackable. It drops from almost every mob, along with green item crap, cloth and 33-40 copper. Yep, Villas just became the place to grind cash - 2 mobs gave me 3 x egg = 2s 13c and
2 x 35 c = 70, so 2s 83c and after few minutes I had 10s in eggs alone. Thanks FC!

Tree of woe:
- This change is NOT WELCOMED! FC yet again made Villas EASER by nerfing "aggro radius". You can now pull mobs one-by-one regardless of how close they are to each other - same mobs used to aggro everytime when I attacked one of them. So now there is no challenge in Villas as you can Shot-to-pull, Kill, pot, repeat. I honestly hope it is a bug.

- Client is unstable. I don't really care about DX10 stuff, I rather have game running. Seems like graphical and client bugs are behind every corner.

Haven't tested the other stuff (pvp drops, new mobs in borders, new solo instance), but so far so good, baby :D

Also: I am sorry about the youtube videos, I had to make them really small because someone on my lan decided that it is porn-downloading-day and my bandwith got slaughtered.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Micro vs Macro

As AOC is very “keyboard” intensive game there comes a point where you have to find proper balance between your micro and macro.
I consider micro the buffing, debuffing feats and defensive stuff/anti cc, while macro will be using your main damage dealers and healing/stamina recovery management..

Micro skills (from now on I will refer to feats as skills as well) don’t have the generic use and in order to be used properly the user has to apply them to specific situation:

Example: droping escape artist in the middle of no were will do you no good (this is no brainer)

Macro skills will be the stuff you will be using ALL the time and whenever it is possible when engaged in melee combat (since assassins are DPS class and doesn’t have supporting skills):

Example: you want to hit with your highest possible SS whenever you can.

Also I consider “macro” the “core” skills – non feated combos.

What you don’t want to do is having whole bunch of crap skills that you forget they are even there. Here is a good example of crap PVP Build:

http://www.conanarmory.com/feat.aspx?id=1#::e2ae2fcf2e2fefe2fefae2f2efe4f25ef2ef2e2fef5efcf2: for Lotus

http://www.conanarmory.com/feat.aspx?id=1#::f30e2aedefebefef2e2fe3fe5f2ef2e2fef5cfcf2: for Corruption

People want to squeeze everything out tree and they end up with a bunch of skills that not fully feated and thus gimped. The point is: micro takes it’s toll on macro – if you overdo micro with bunch of crappy skills you will end up with lower damage output because when you should have been droping SS10 you were trying to land Sabotage armor that will last 3 sec and fade out before you do anything.
I have seen many times people posting their builds where they put 1/5 into the feat just to get it, regardless of how viable that feat will be in fight (EB being the single exception – do get it for 1/5 or 5/5).

Assassins need to focus and specialize (which probably is a good idea for all classes) – there is no point getting both burden to bear and soulstrike whenB2B debuffs piercing ress and soulstrike converts combo damage to unholy damage. You need synergy.

I won’t even go over “clickers” – people who use mouse to fire up their micro skills (hopefully not combos too) – taking too many micro skills will literally kill them.

To Sum it up:

Don’t get greedy when picking you buff/debuff skills – your core combos are more than enough to deal with your opponents, focus on upgrading them via feats points, get the passive stuff and then top it off with buffin/debuffing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Voice your opinion on PEEEVEEEPEEE!

Hardly an assassin news, but this will affect us all: Wiesel, member of FC team, made a thread where you can fill up the "form" and let the developers know you preferences regarding PvP. Also you will be asked about type of content you like to play and how important you consider rewards for PvP.

Since the results of this thread (which will be MASSIVE in couple of hours) will most likely shape up this game for the next couple of months I suggest you post yours preferences.

Where would you go with PvP? via Age of Conan Europe Forums

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Since there is nothing else going on...

Yes, you guessed it: bombay assassin time :D
This time I promise it's a good one: Hybrid vs Lotus. Game is sloooooowing down. Less people online, less news, things are getting sluggish in long await for the famous 1.4 patch aka 4.0 goodness. Hope it will go beyond expectaions because we need a miracle right now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Update 1.04 Notes (Preview)?

It seems that Update 1.04 Notes posthas been edited and word "preview" being added. People were already calling the patch down because it turned out that 1.4 is the famous 4.0 patch after all. Seems that update notes are merely a teaser, and far from being the complete thing. I guess that could mean that some more assassin changes are in the works.
Since there is still hope for improvments check the [Feedback]Broken and underpowered Lotus feats and bump it a little so we get dev's attention.

The majority of assassins are hybrid, but buffed lotus will probably result in them being buffed, or in new, great builds.

The Roleplayer - Age of Conan Machinima

The Roleplayer is AOC machinima which is really well done. Since it is an assassin class blog, machinima that is well done is not enough to be in news so I will spoil it for ya - there is an assassin character in there :D.

Apart being funny it shows the sad state the roleplaying is in this game - something I miss very much from my old WoW days.Hope that after server mergers the RP will be back to Hyborian world. Enjoy the movie!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Buff to Lotus tree in patch 1.04

check the Update 1.04 Notes
* Curse of the Lotus will now snare victims by 50% for the duration of the fear effect.

Seems like FC finaly starting to notice that there are other specc than hybrid.
You can see what others think about this change here.

Proc and offhand rates by experiment

The main man down the US assassin boards - Chillwhisper - did another fantastic break down of corruption feat proc chances. Very good read.

Here is an interesting find from mentioned post:
"Dark Weapons proc'd 25 times out of 151 chances, or 16.5%." which is very low - makes you think if dark weapons are really worth the points after all.

There have been suggestions, that after the 3.0 patch which made SS our main, and arguably only damage dealer, to spread Dark Weapons points into:

Soul prison 2/2
Rapid striking 3/3
Life Leech 3/5

I would advocate for 3 points in life leech for 2 reasons:

SS has 4 sec cooldown as it is and 1 sec cooldown between doing same combo prevents you from buffering two of the same SS into smooth two combos so the benefirs of rapid striking are not that big.

2/ SSVIII has 3 steps so that means you would mean you would get all your health from LL just doing the combo and nothing would go to waste*, or at least - no as much.

*if you have 5/5 in Life Leech it means it will give you 5 heals from 5 hits, if you get healed to FULL on, for example, second hit, the life leech will fade away, making you lose the 3 remaning heals that could be used as you get damaged during the combo itself.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God mode on! (lotus window)

Still playing and enjoying my lotus/general so I though I would share a little story:

It happened in one of the random minigames on the center of the map (that place which every team camps to secure the win ;p). Two teams clashed with each other and I, ignoring guardian and BS on my back, went straight for their POM. I wanted to do a clean, fast kill so I droped OP + KS (opportunistic strike and kidney shots) at once and opened with SS. I got POM down to few HP when she got backed with BS heals and guardian was already on me – needless to say she got full HP in a seconds. Then all of sudden POM started pulsing with meant that Knock Back spell in on the way and both my snap kick and lotus bomb were on cooldown as well as excellent balance – if she knocks me, I die for sure. I have used my lotus overdose buff and did GCIV followed by antrophy. BAM! Never have I seen so many numbers fly around as they literally blocked my view with big, orange crits. Needless to say the POM was cut in half, dieing almost instantly on the spot.

This was what I call “lotus window”, a rare event where lotus assassin have stacked all his buffs into one, unstoppable force.

Def blades (passive) - +10%
Flurry of blows (proc) - +15%
Assassination (proc based on target’s HP) - +15%
Offhand from items – 3,9~ +4%

Kidney shots (proc, stacking) - +102 dps when fully stacked
Lotus overdoes (buff) - +40% dmg

Grim corruption (combo) - -5% poison debuff
Corrupted body (proc) - -5% poison debuff
(helps increasing +poison damage from stance)

The trick was that since POM got up to almost full HP the assassination proc was going away, same for kidney shots, which was already on its fifth stack.

So for 5-8 seconds I was doing amazing damage which melted my opponent. Too bad I don’t get that more often as assassin’s lotus buffs have quite the cooldowns :/

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hybrid vs xxx/general rages on

There seems to be rather heated debate on US forums over how viable is the hybrid for group pvp.
Jcp23 did a SOLID POST about hybrid vs xxx/general specc so if you don't want to cut through 2 pages of crap such as "hybrid rules, and you suck" jump straight to his post.
I have to agree that in 1v1 lotus specc HAS NOTHING on Hybrid, and if hybrid sin opens with FTD and uses shard for avatar it is all over but the crying, baby.
Same goes for HOXes, its very very hard for Lotusins to kill them, where Hybrid just jumps in and outheals the poor bastard while using avatar.

I remember that I had to work my ASS off on test server to beat HOX in fair 1v1 as Lotus (did 1-5), but hybrid got me 5-2 score without much sweat.