Saturday, November 23, 2013

Halloween event of 2013 - good cheese!

I think that my Halloween event review is long overdue and, looking back at previous years, I am writing it rather gladly this time. New Game Director communicated to that his take on yearly events is to re-do them, but always to add something new. This is "building up" philosophy and it is smart.
After years upon years of complains about "Night of the Lost Souls" this year I skipped it all together and went for new content. So the story revolves pretty much around a tribe that moves into the Conarch and ...well long story shorty  your immortality makes you a perfect candidate for a  new member of the Werewolf pack. The whole story takes place in special instance of Conarch city hub and in Fields of the Dead.
There are several things to cover here so bear with me:

I knew I would see you again, dear forest, but I would never suspect that I would be a werewolf. I am crying, but those are the tears of a werewolf..

The story
It was cheesy, but it was a good cheese. Silver Antrum still has best writing so far, but this even places as second best easily. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't be talking about the plot, but I think we all know where it is going: you won. I have to give a honorable mention to the devs and writer who had enough of forethought to foresee that SOME players will want to stay infected with Werewolf curse. Me? I choose all the dialogs that said "fuck it, I am staying cursed with Werewolf paws" just to see what would happen. To my amusement the NPCs would always come up with some half-assed explanation why I couldn't become werewolf or why I shouldn't or how even if I remained werewolf it would suck for me big time (I am not making this up, at one point I was technically a werewolf but I couldn't transform and I would lose my powers slowly *roll eyes*). Lets just say that the story wasn't really all that great. Granted, it is a Halloween event and Halloween is hardly serious stuff, but still...its a good cheese but just a  cheese.

The rewards
I think those were great and .... half-assed at the same time (imagine reaching that balance of good and bad :X). There were great because you could re-do the quests (which is GREAT on its own) and try to get different items out of loot box. There were Halloween candy (giving buffs with loads of PVP and PVE exp, good stuff) and social cloaks. Sounds good eh? Well the cloaks looked only good in your inventory because the second you putted them on you were STRUCK with poor texture quality (more or less your character was wearing plastic bag on his back) and HORRENDOUS clipping issues. To give credit where credit is due I have to mention that you can sell those clacks for 50s each which is pretty good coin for fast 2 quests. There were also some pet drops (mini werewolfs) and stuff that transformed you into werewolf for 30 m (to confuse people in minigames about which class you are :P).

The technology
I have always found werewolves in AOC goofy looking (those models are surprisingly bad) and it really killed the mood for me to participate in event based on those creatures. I like the clever re-use of Conarch as a special instance, but it think it is high time to move away from Cimmeria when in comes to events. We have had enough Cimmerian events as it is. Interestingly there was one Easter-egg quest when you need to kill creature from "Dark and Secret World". The Devs pretty much "ported" one of the monsters form Secret World to AOC to test the technology. Apparently it worked pretty well so TSW and AOC can share more resources in the future (it doesn't mean same monsters in both games, but using certain parts of already existing models etc.). I was also pretty surprised by one quest that required me to kill 30 creatures or remain werewolf for *gasp* FOREVER. I got +20% damage in werewolf form so why would I ever wanted to finish that quest? The devs planned for this and this quest updated even if you killed players and not NPCs. Nice. So Funcom can give us pvp quest, but just chooses not to.

So to sum it up I have to say that it was refreshing to see new event and I am looking forward to the Halloween additions in the future.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

[Guide] Mixed Armor Sets

This thread sparked my interest enough to run some numbers and check which armor set provides best balance of DPS and protection....for PVP.

I am analyzing only armor pieces. Of course you could play A LOT with different stats via weapons and accessories, but it would be a very time consuming so I sticked to armors alone. 

I am also focusing only survivability and raw DPS stats (so no crits and no hits). 

First question: is it possible to mix T4 and SC so there is at least same DPS and prot as T3 pvp item? Lets find out!

T3 PVP armor (damage and survivability) - link to armor build

2296 Armor
1154 Critigation Amount
80.25 DPS
+2968 Health
+264 PvP Armor
+719 PvP Protection

T4 + SC (damage and survivability) - link to armor build

2518 Armor
2186 Critigation Amount
79.58 DPS
+2784 Health
+561 Protection

Pretty much I started the build with FULL T4 and added SC pieces until the armor build (link above) matched T3 pvp armor in terms of DPS.

As it clearly shows the T3 pvp armor vs T4 + SC is superior. T3 pvp armor, at same 80 DPS mark, has whooping 719 prot vs mere 561 prot.

So lets try another build: more T4 and less SC so it will be better than T3 for at least 10 DPS:

T4 + SC (more damage than survivability) - link to armor build

2577 Armor
2029 Critigation Amount
89.98 DPS
+2992 Health
+226 Protection

So when T3 pvp is matched with T4 + SC mix the T4 is better by 10 DPS, but has more than three times less protection. Not a major upgrade in DPS but HUGE loss of protection.

Now lets check out how T4 stacks up to T3 pvp:

2600 Armor
1921 Critigation Amount
98.27 DPS
+3144 Health

So T3 pvp armor vs T4 pvp armor is a balanced match: T3 is superior to T4 in terms of protection, but T4 has crushing advantage of almost 20 more DPS.

So now lets try the middle road: T3 items mixed with T4 items so it has 10 more DPS than pure T3 but 10 less than pure T4.

Pvp T3 + T4 (damage and survivability) - link to armor build 

2405 Armor
1484 Critigation Amount
89.62 DPS
+3120 Health
+1147 Tenacity
+161 PvP Armor
+472 PvP Protection

So best balanced set is T3 pvp + T4. Moreso T3 pvp + T4, at same 90 mark, beats T4 + SC to the ground with more than twice the protection and still retaining some tenacity.

And what would be the BEST "starter" gear mix for aspiring pvp assassins that can only dream of pvp T3 and T4?

T3 PVP armor (damage and survivability)
2296 Armor
1154 Critigation Amount
80.25 DPS
+2968 Health
+264 PvP Armor
+719 PvP Protection

T4 + SC (damage and survivability)

2518 Armor
2186 Critigation Amount
79.58 DPS
+2784 Health
+561 Protection

Brittle Blade + PvP T1 (damage and survivability) - link to the build 
2097 Armor
809 Critigation Amount
79.36 DPS
+2496 Health
+244 PvP Armor
+472 PvP Protection

This is CRAZY but, ignoring other stuff like health and armor or crit rating, Brittle Blade + PvP T1 has same DPS and only 89 less protection than T4 + SC.

This combination is pretty much a way to go for new assassin that are pvp lvl4 (or want to buy 3 epics from the store). Epic Birttle Blade + PvP T1 will be best stuff to wear (in terms of balanced stats) before getting your hand on T3 pvp or T3 pvp with T4 mixed in.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dungeon Mastery: Excavators and Temple of Erlik Loot

Funcom is currently preparing so called "loot extensions" which is new loot granted as a box (it gives a chance of epic loot) via mastery quest. In order to complete the quest you need to do the following dungeons:

The Coils of Ubah Kan
The Sepulcher of the Wyrm
The Vile Nativity
Fort Ardashir

So might call this "cheap" shot at making people do less than popular dungeons, but others welcome it as a new chance at pretty rad loot.

For the Temple of Erlik the new loot will be added to the existing loot tables of the 3 bosses there.

Since Funcom devs asked for feedback (as they did with unchained loot) here are my few words on proposed assassin loot:

Trinket of Sharpned Blades vs Wolf Snarl: hands down new Trinket neck is an obvious downgrade for Wolf Snarl which is  T'ian'an District - Time Trial loot. It trades 80 CR and Stamina regen for 50 hit rating and +1 offhand rating. Hit rating might just be the most undesired stat of them all as every piece of Khitai/SDS loot is loaded with it and everyone is using general perk that also gives +hit rating. The trinket needs something that will make it stand out of the rest so since you already shaved off the CR perhaps buff up the Offhand Ratting to 80 to make this Trinket all about offhand damage. Either way it needs to be different from Wolf Snar and not a downgrade in terms of damage without giving utility that goes beyond hated hit rating.

Erlik Knife of the Afterlife vs Shiv of the Autum Night vs Blade of the Ancient Sands: While Erlik is absurdly close to the Shiv it totally destroys current T3,5 dagger. It seems like, by design, planned loot extensions are, in fact, a loot replacement, by making old drops obsolete. If that is intended then Erlik vs Shiv is pretty ok. I would drop Erlik 1 DPS point more just to make Shiv stand out as most desirable PV(P)E weapon.

I think you will quickly run out of stats configurations on loot if you don't introduce some kind of added benefits like weapons procs (items used to have a lot of procs back in 1.4). It is a great way to customize the gear further without adding too much power. 

Also you might want to consider adding spell/armor penetration to the weapons.