Sunday, May 31, 2009

Surviving the Keshatta: the social

The social aspect of Kesh is horrible. You will need to follow few rules in order not to go crazy:

#1 Assume everyone is out to kill you
This is simple one. There are no friends in Kesh, only allies. Just because you know someone from opposite guild don't expect him and his guild "not-to-kill-ye". Those things cannot be avoided and are part of pvp ruleset. Accept them asap and move on without getting upset.

#2 There is no sacred place in Kesh
You are never safe. You will kill and get killed regardless of surcomstances: talking to vendor, getting quest, going afk, STANDING NEXT TO GUARD, dueling etc. When in doubt go with rule nr 1.

#3 Avoid shit talking
This will happen regardless if its you who killed or got killed: people WILL eventually whisper you with tells like "you suck", "go pve", "reroll caster, noob". Those will most likely be from members of a big zerg. Your rule should be: never ever allow yourself to get sucked into such "conversation". You will click your whisperer and ignore that sucker, or create special tab for tells and do not open it (I have tab for pvp xp and its my main window). Understand and accept the fact that you will never "win" such argument (how can you win argument about who sucks?), you will create more drama and in the end lose time that could be spend on killing stuff. Remember that after 3-4 tells without any reaction your "shit-talker" will lose interest (its only fun if your victim is responding), in some rare cases they could be even a little embarased by their own actions. Regardless: its a win-win for you.

#4 Avoid getting into conversation
Yes, MMOs are social games first and foremost, but Kesh is not a place for a chit-chat. If someone wants to talk to you then the stay on the respad. But be polite: when killed by someone and then whispered with non-insulting stuff: reply with good old "gg", or "good fight" (gf is widely used for "girlfriend" so don't use that as short for "good fight", its confusing). To sum it up: if you want to talk then do just that, if you are pvping then its a worst time to talk at the same time.

#5 Apologize for miss-kills and miss-hits
Since Age of Conan guild alliance system doesn't exist you will see plenty of "red" characters in Kesh that could be infact your guild's allies. Take your time to LEARN those allies names. If you hit them for a lot damage, or kill them by accident or carelessness, whisper them asap, explain yourself and apologize. If you do not do it, this could create drama beyond belief, so taking your time (about 10s) to set things right could probably save you more than few dozens of minutes if things get blown out of proportions.

#6 Allow people to quest
Lower levels (77-79) are source of pvp xp aswell so there is no reason to allow them to just pass by, especially if they are from enemy guild (meaning: they will be 80' soon and they will have no mercy for you regardless of how kind you were in the past). I kill them. If they are obviouslly not interested in pvp and just want to quest in peace, I whisper them with this tell: "It was for pvp xp, nothing personal. Go on with your questing, I won't attack again". The ammount of pvp xp you will get from second kill is marginal (about 12xp?) so don't be an ass and let the man do his thing.

#7 Kill hump?
This is quite new behavor: people after killing you will jump on your corpse. I can only assume this is someting adopted from Halo games (social hell) which is famous for it's retarded part of community "humping" their kills. In Age of Conan it's neither insulting nor satisfying so ignore it all together.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Surviving the Keshatta: prelude

As I can honestly say I know Keshatta very well I hale decided to write a little guide on how to survive that place and come out with pvp xp and sane mind at the same time.

First a little lore:

"'My brother was Theteles, and we were of the house of Chelkus, scientists and noblemen of Ophir. By special permission of the king of Stygia, my brother was allowed to go to Kheshatta, the city of magicians, to study their arts, and I accompanied him. He was only a boy -- younger than myself...' her voice faltered and broke." -- Robert E. Howard: "The Vale of Lost Women"
So yes, that place is canon. Funcom did...oh, semi good job on that place: its more city of Priests than magicans.

Here is what players made of Keshatta.

In next post I will go over all aspects of Kesh, including it's social aspect aswell as gear, xp farming strategy and tactics in various places around the zone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Expand ur vocabulary

Lets learn new word: plateau. Age of Conan have reached a point of stability which basicly means no patches for a very very very long time. Since 1.4 didn't bring anything to the table (instance which no one runs and boredom kingdoms which no one fights over) we are still in patch 1.3 in terms of gameplay. PVP activity droped to all time low and it seems like everyone are trying to get them epics before 1.5 hits because it makes super hard to get them (guys, you have LOTS of time).
Assassin EU boards are filled with beginer stuff and TL servers are not being patched with anything regarding assassins. I hardly log on AOC these days because its super hard to get some quality PVP (same scenario: me vs 2 huge groups of SCUM and EMPIRE and no one else) not to mentione minigames.

I *really*, really* don't want to write more posts on how FC sucks (finding seals on old AOC fanpages as a contest? more like boretest - a test that is won by those who can find all seals without being bored to death). Since I got nothing nice to write I have decided not to write at all.
So, I will not be updating the blog as ofted as I used in good old days, but I am still around.
You will find some short news on my twitter feed if any show up.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1 year of fail: Failcom fails not to fail again

Today we were supposed to get this:

"People of Hyboria, King Conan, beloved ruler of Aquilonia, celebrates another year of his reign over the Jewel of the West. To honor this event, you all are invited to take part in the small festivities happening in the Tarantia Noble District outside of King Conan's castle tomorrow, Saturday 23rd May starting 13:00 GMT.

This would be a perfect moment to use the fireworks which were handed out to all the people of Hyboria this week (use /claim to get this item in your inventory if you haven't already)."
see the source

No one knew what is going to happen, but lets look at the key words in above message:

1. King Conan - we all luv Conan
2. King Conan celebrates - we all want to party down with Conan
3. Event- nice social stuff in MMOs. Evens are organized.
4. Invited to festivities - FC is organizing a party for players (see: event)
5. It takes place in front of Conan's castle - CONAN!

What we knew is that GM can do some pretty FUNKY stuff inside the game. For example they can spawn stuff and take over NPC to control them.

GMs spawning weird stuff in Khemi

Fate (famous Testlive NPC) taken over by the devs and going crazy in Kesh (traveled from Tortage)

My expectactions

I wasn't expecting much, but I remember how excited I was when I first had a chance to see Conan in game. I am big fan of lore so seeing Conan doing anything in AOC was for me sorta like showing up just to see celebrity (something that I don't care about in RL). If Conan came and said "Thank you, enjoy this night, the drinks are on me" I would crap my pants from happiness. Well it wasn't quite like that. If we knew what kind of "event" it was going to be (meaning: not an FC organized event and nothing will happen) perhaps 4 people would show up (with 2 of them haning outside castle because they were on their way to turn in their quests).

The sweet wait
Noble district was jam packed with people. Several instances were created to support massive gathering of players.
People were already waiting at the castle so I did /relaxed_lean and waited for King to show up

People were doing various things: some were jokeing in general chat, some were danceing and other morons were bashing each others skulls infront of castle's gate. I have to mention that some poeple were shounting for Conan to come out: We want Conan! Come to us KING! Show yourself Conan - it was a very good, but minor roleplaying and if Conan accually showed himself at that time (15:12), damn it would be good.

The wait killed us
People started to get uneasy and tired with the long wait (45 minutes in total!) so they made a thread (which is now massive) asking FC why there is such a delay. The FC reply was pretty fast:

"The announcement of this happening might have lead many players to expect a bit more than it actually was intended to deliver. The main idea was to provide a place where players can gather to celebrate and maybe use their firework items in bigger masses and get great screenshots for the competition described in the last newsletter than it is usually possible.

So the 'festivities' in front of Conan's castle are there to give players a point where they can meet, buy food and drink and celebrate.

We apologize if some expected more and are now disappointed. "
see the source.

When this post was copy/pasted to general a HELL was let loose on every server (except PVE ones) and "celebrating" turned into slaughter. This is how the event ended on Aquilonia:

Guy danceing over a corpse. What a wonderful methaphor for what FC managed to do with their game over a year.

The "festivities" were over.

What the hell was that?
I don't talk about RL stuff on this blog, but I have to mentioned that I had to cancel a meeting to show up in Age of Conan for the even - this is how dedicated I am to this game. I know other people also held up their RL stuff just to be in game and some of them even RESUBED just for the event!!! The disappointment was crushing. The above mentioned thread instantly grew to 22 pages of angry players cursing the FC for cheating them out of 45 minutes during which they stared at castle's empty gates. This could have been a wonderful event even if all Conan have done was "/fart" emote infront of the crowd - that would have been better than nothing.

Exacly 1 year

I have bought aoc, installed it and created my assassin on may 23th 2008 - exactly 1 year ago. Todays festivities were great way to sum up what a crappy year this been for the Age of Conan.

People have fired of their fireworks (or shall we say: failworks) as they were leaving (totaly not in mood for a celebration), but I have decided not to use mine: here is something else for FC, happy anniversary, baby!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


There is a lot that could be said about Age of Conan as a game, but I firmly believe in AOC community. Even at it's worst (hate tells, stupid names) AOC commmunity is the most mature on the MMO scene. When compared to oh shall we say WOW, or even better - Runescape, or TIBIA - Age of Conan really shines (its one of the things that keep me in game).
This is why talking about "boobish" game in relation to AOC mature content is really unfair: no one takes advantage of this (with sole exception of unfamous and already removed drunk pissing). I have yet to see a single player running around with tits haning out, while in WoW "naked banks" chars in their underpants are common sight in RP events (seen it, been there, done that). What I am trying to say if that there is very little "boobs" in this so called "boob centric" game.

With that in mind check the comic strip.

Also: post in comments the worst think that you have done in Age of Conan in terms of social behavior (so no pvp related stuff, no ganking, just social like daneing naked in trader). Lets see how bad we really are.

Monday, May 18, 2009

1 year of fail

This is something I wish didn't happen: after hiting one year the state of AOC is EXACLY where it has been six months ago. I might just do copy/paste job and call it a day, but lets go over these one more time:

The good:
DX10 - you will probably not use it if you are a "KESH pvper". It's mostly used to stroke epeens of people who have the BALLS to post their cpu speccs in their sigs (who the hell does that?). It looks great non the less so I guess it should be counted as an improvment.
Rating: 9/10

The bad:
Crafting - crafting is nonexistent in this game. Still.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

Itemization - Ever since I did about 15 epic KESH runs I am wearing same gear with sloooowly added pvp gear which takes forever to get.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

PVP minigames - currently dominated by premade groups with casters. The only way to win is the get somewhat equal number of casters.
Rating: 2/10

PVP XP - pvp progression got turned into joke. Biggest guilds do "Nekid RP" to get to lvl 5 in no time. Your achievment as honest pvper is meaningless - there are tons of lvl 5 exploiters.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

Class balance - Same old same old. Just roll a TOS.
Rating: 1/10 EPIC FAIL

Criminal/murderer system - it got turned from "broken" to "nonexistant". It is used to let your buddies get more PVP XP for killing you so they can reach lvl 5 faster.

Open world PVP - log on, go to KESH, zerg or die. Here is your content, enjoy. The "Cimmerian Boredom Kingdoms" died in two weeks, it was HUGE waste of time to development time and a big letdown.

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 - GMs no longer act on RP ruleset infraction. Go ahead and make your "Supadupa" Barbarian, you won't get namelocked. Instead of social clothing we got "/fart" emote 0_o
Rating: 0/10 LEGENDAY FAIL

80lvl content for non Raiders - we got Slaughterhouse, somewhat neat solo instance. Even thou I like it a lot, its too little to cover "conent for 80lvls". The Xibaluku (or whatever its called) instance was popular for like 2 weeks, you won't get group for it even inside big guild (everyone would rather raid) not to mention PUG.
Rating: 3/10

Updates - it takes forever for Funcom to do any update.
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 can honestly say that with 6 months of development time was wasted. Yes, there is a mythical beast called 1.5, but it didn't come out today (not that it should) so I can't review content that isn't live yet. This is where we stand right now. Yes, there have been some progress, but no more than a drunk makes by falling over.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Relish in whine!

If feats worked in real life I would put 1/1 into Relish in Whine to gain a souldshard everytime member of community whines about nerf.
Since ToSes are gods from the very first day no wonder the ammount of crying that is going on the forums is getting out of hand. Here is my personal favorite "engrish" post related to those bastards assassins and poor, neglected TOSes that have every right to remian Healer and DPSer and Minigame wreckers:

"You of that create? Developers! You have finished Sets to such condition that it will die as a class and you at all will not see it in game. I tested it against the barbarian: 1 prompt throw - knocking down from legs and the combination of impacts at all treatment takes away 90 % of lives. Yes to you hands for it to tear off it is necessary and to thrust there than you think ugly creatures. I any more do not speak about assasins which can kill the magician having used all impacts. More shortly at such patch you will lose classes necessary in game. And about that as ToS I will treat in road zones in general I am silent. Leave all as is and be not dishonoured, you will hate болше only for such pornography, open better stronghold Tot Amona. I all have told if this patch will leave I shall leave нахрен this excellent game with such foolish developers! That to you hands were torn off by owners АоК! Суки пазорные!!!"

see the source.

Cutting the fat out of hybrid specc

Seems like I was wrong on burring the hybrid specc for 1.5 - it is still there and still very gosu.
With recent quick recovery being 5/5 preq. to Excellent Ballance the changes to classic hybrid must be made, BUT we got new toys too, so it might not be as bad as it looked.

This was the classic (cookie cutter) hyrbid build.

New age build
With life leech being kick ass now, we can get this new age hybrid build.

The catch is:
- all magic resistance is gear based
- you have to pick: snap kick or GLE. I would go with snap kick because life leech fills that spot.

The benefit:
- 30s on EB, something we didn't have before (1m cd with 1/5 in EB)

Melee killer
This build provides access to new burden do bear and GLE & Snap kick with some magical resistance Melee killer

The catch is:
- FTD is gone (big loss)
- 10% evade is gone (not so good either)

The benefit:
- cut those armor open with B2B
- get better magical resistance
- 4 (!) sources of healing

Balanced hybrid
This build is very close to classic with a little twist. Balanced hybrid.

The catch is:
- FTD is gone (big loss)
- 10% evade is gone (not so good either)

The benefit:
- great magical resistance with both Lotus tainted blood and lotus overload,
- 4 (!) sources of healing
- both snap kick and GLE
- Opportunistick strike for that sweet DPS boost on opener

Dieting in general tree:
Cutting Exellent Balance and it's preq. Quick Recovery is not an option because it makes solo PVE unplayable (every guard in villa will try to knock you down, almost every fight).

Seems like balanced hybrid might just be the way to go: prediction doesn't matter as much because you will have still tons of armor and heals to make up for it and FTD...well, lotus assassins live without it, hybrid can too.

I am sure there will be other versions of hybrid and stance switching will be used a lot more (Poison stance to land GC with it's sweet debuffs) and so will be Ville Poison so we can benefit from those first 10 points we "wasted" when opening Lotus tree's tier 2.

Looking foward to seeing how will this develop.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

[Guide] Escape Artist and Agile Mind

Those two feats are our main source of anti-cc, and a life savers in pvp situations – especially in 1v1. The guide was written for Lotus assassins, but to some extend it also applies to both Hybrid and Corruption

EA and AM usage should be wise and as a rule of thumb you should use them at the right time, not just when CCed.

Escape artist
This feat allows to escape any root and snare effects thrown at you with just a few exceptions – one being stagger effect (applies when you are hit in the back). Do not try to “dispell” stagger, it won’t work.

How to use it
You can use escape artist at any given moment – the root or snare doesn’t need to be applied. When clicked the EA will break any effects and give you 2 s immunity to them. Yes, after those 2 s you can be rooted and snared again so keep that in mind.

Fully feated EA will have 1m cooldown which allows for frequent usage. Save it for right situations, but do not be afraid to use it – 1m is not really all that much.

Timing in root

a) rooted by melee - when your opponent gets you rooted he will most likely move to your back, buff up and unload his hardest hitting combo. You cannot allow that to happen. Break the root with EA as soon as he moves to your back and strafe left or right to avoid the combo. Never just run forward because combo might still reach you.

b) rooted by ranger – he will try to gain distance and then get his hardest hitter on you. Since he wastes few seconds to run consider using Cat’s paw to avoid the combo and active blocking to reduce its damage if it lands. After the root expires you will be granted immunity to it and still have EA for the snare. Rangers do not try to hit you to the back because it would take too much time for them to run pass you, turn around, get his combo steps up etc.

c) rooted by casters – similar to Rangers (running away), but with very important difference – spells will land on you. You have two options: either try to outheal the caster (HP pot + Golden lotus), or pray for Lotus overload proc to bail you out.

Timing in snare:

a) snared by melee – when snared by melee consider what class you are against. Players often follow snare with a knockback because it is much easer to land. If you see him doing the knockback animation, use Excellent Balance and wait it out – Barbarian’s knockback take forever to do and the damage dealt by it is marginal. After he did his knockback do yours, or use EA to bail. If you see that he is circle strafing to land combo on the back, bail ASAP.

b) snared by ranger – happens all the time. If he himself got snared with your GC, do not use EA, let him slowly get away while you slowly chase after him. The distance he will gain is marginal. As he runs away quickly use Impede life – do not worry about landing an opener – it has quite a reach and damage even with combo step missed! The other option is preloading the GC asap and breaking the snare as he is about to run to snare him back.

c) snared by casters – just like in root, either try to wait it out, or break the snare and counter with Snap Kick.

Agile Mind
This feat allows to escape any fear or charm effect .

How to use it
You can use AM only when the fear or charm affect have been applied to you. If you click AM without being feared or charmed it will do nothing and won’t go on cooldown.

Fully feated AM will have 3m cooldown (1 point = 9m, 2p=6m, 3p=3m) which is a lot. Never ever put in AM less than 3 points – either go all the way or forget it. With 1p the AM will have ridiculous cooldown of 9m and that’s just not fitting for any regular pvping.

Timing in fear or charm:

a) feared by melee – when feared you will turn your back on your opponent which means smackdown on your back resulting in massive damage and most likely – stagger effect. Break the fear the very second you get it and strafe left or right to avoid combo. Other possibility is breaking the fear and using snap kick,

b) feared by ranger – you will run around like a headless chicken, but the combo will land on you anyway. Break the fear the second you get it (ranger applies only when forced to melee) and apply snare to prevent running.

c) feared by caster – exactly the same as ranger, respond with instant breaking and snapkick

When in group pvp the fear will fly around, use AM only if you are certain you can secure your kill.

Monday, May 11, 2009

itz Slithalicious!

I have been getting tons of feedback and questions via prv message on AOC boards. So much that my inbox is busted and needs a cleaning. Ofcourse I am very humbled that people would even give me thumbs up for the blog, let alone ask me a question related to assassins. This is ofcourse very encouraged and no prv msg have been left unanwsered. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me during this almost year of blogging: without your people I would most certain not go on with this crazy thing.

Also you bastards could post more comments because I really like those and never really got all that much with exception of always faithful Pumpkins who is "3-comments veteran" of this blog.

Again thanks and keep on stabbin'

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sold in six pacs

If you were getting shot of pain in your arm from chain-clicking when buying pots from vendor you can now rejoice: new pots are now sold in crates!! I am very happy about this change even thou I haven't tested it myself. It was just emberasing to have this modern days mmo with state of art graphic force you to *clickez* 500 time to get your supply for pvp or raid.  It has been suggested billion times and FC found a nice solution - CRATES!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Great changes to assassin class!

I wish I could say there have been great changes to assassin, but we didn't even get bad ones - there are no changes! Since april 17th we got one change: Necrotic Leech's particle effect should now properly move with the character as intended. Wooooh! I have no idea why every single class under the sun got something except for us. My theory is: devs found out that assassins are over balanced and that means they are balanced as hell so no patch is needed.

In other news PVP dominated Age of Conan so much that FC had to shut down Test PVP server and ask for PVE feedback. Thats good! It means: 1. FC should *REALLY* focus on pvp conent (see hilarious post by the informer) 2. PVE content is due for revamp because its hell for Lotus assassins. I made my PVE Lotus topic because I already had stuff to post.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lotus 60-70lvl

The build:

1/ build up your excellent balance to 5/5
2/ build up your toughness to 5/5 for +3,5% melee ress
Some lotus build focuses on natural protection for 80lvl pvp which is a valid but for PVE leveling - since there is hardly any good gear pre lvl80 - you will need that melee ressesistance from toughness. Also you will hardly face caster mobs as compared to melee and ranged.

with the above mentioned points you should be now with 68 points spent.

3/ Lotus overdose - for that amazing dmg buff and stamina regen
4/ Curse of lotus - aoe fear you will learn to love. Use it before pressing last combo step and then do the combo, otherwise the fear might break on damage(its not really a fear, its a charm spell)

Quick look at Lotus assassin p.3 "One bridge too far"

I did some test of Lotus vs casters - demo and it turns out its ....well I hate to say it, but it is OP.
Quick analissis of what I think the deciding factors were:

1. Pet with it's fast casting was constantly bumping up my corrupted body giving me hell of resistance 30% of my base,
2. Arcane backlash was cuting down Demos the big hits
3. The big hits were criting and procing Lotus overload

As you can see at the very begining of the movie I was just standing still and taking it and still demo could hardly do anything - he for few brief moments he was outhealed by POT + GLE. Needless to say this was HARDLY fun for any of us. In my humble opinion FC took it "one bridge too far"

My suggestion:
change corrupted body so it gives FIXed ammount of proces:
first proc: +magic resistance
second proc: +magic resistance and +armor
third proc: +magic resistance and +armor and +hp regeneration
the bonuses should be small, but helpful so Lotus can get more survivality vs melee while retaining it's main "anti caster" theme.