Thursday, March 3, 2016

Alpha News: Black Arrow Now Calls Forth a Skeletal Minion

In hunter news it seems marksman goes some skill changes but the one I found the most interesting, and actually made me smile, was the chance to black arrow.  While still not what I personally would have wanted I do see it as a step in the right direction.

For marksman black arrow is currently a level 15 talent choice and the way it works now is as follows.

Black Arrow:
Fires a Black Arrow at the target, dealing [ 4 + 40% of AP ] Shadow damage over 8 sec and summoning a skeletal minion to taunt it for the duration. Black Arrow's cooldown is reset when you kill an enemy. 
Marksmanship Hunter - Level 15 Talent. 40 Focus. 40 yd range. Instant.15 sec cooldown.

What made me smile was the recognition, even if they did not come right now and say as much, that hunters "need" pets, it is part of their Warcraft mythos.  So they should at least have the option of having one even if it ends not not being the optimal game play.  This shows they might, and I stress the might part of this, have noticed that marksman want pets too.

With the pet lasting for the duration of black arrow and the cooldown of black arrow resetting on the death of an enemy that means it is quite possible to have your minion up near 100% of the time in a questing environment, depending on the situation.

While I do want my real pet back, and my stable back, and the pet related abilities like masters call back I do see this as a step in the right direction for marksman that would like to have some sort of pet at their side, even if not all the time.

There are some suggestions I have with this however, if blizzard ever sees this, which I doubt they will.  But maybe someone that has the ear of blizzard could whisper a few sweet nothings into it for me.

Note:  These suggestions might already be the way it is on the alpha, as I am not on the alpha because blizzard does not love me I do not know.  But I hope these things are already how it is.

The skeletal minion must be a beast skeletal.

This is nonnegotiable.  This needs to be done if blizzard wants to play the MM spec out this way.  I am willing to accept they want to change the entire lore behind the class and take pets away from one spec and move another spec into melee, neither of which make any sense, but if they are going to MM some sort of minion it should at least be a beast.

Make it like dire beast where it is a beast fit to the zone, or make some glyphs to choose which beast is summoned, be it a skeletal nightsaber, a skeletal worg, a skeletal bear, or what have you.  Hunters and beasts have a connection, it is why I say MM should not lose their pet, but if they are going to force our hands the least they can do is let that connection exist past the barrier of death.  Let the minion that assists us with black arrow be a beast.  Let us have some sort of chance to have a real pet again.  A hunter calling some random minion or some nondescript minion would make no sense, but calling upon the spirit of the pet you once roamed the world with makes sense.  And is pretty damn sad in a way too. (I still just want my pet back thank you)

Back it up with other abilities.

There are already a few skill selections that are designed to work better when you have another talent chosen from a previous row.  I'd like to see some black arrow action added to some of the other talents.  Increasing the time of the DoT, decreasing the cooldown of the ability, making the pet permanent and only resummoned when it dies.

It would most likely not be optimal, as I mentioned before, but it could be made at least a decent option for those that wish to play with a pet but want to use the MM style of a sharp shooter.  We are talking options here.  It doesn't need to be the top option, but it sure should be an option nonetheless.

Bottom line is, it seems nice for blizzard to take notice of myself and many other hunters that are greatly upset with the loss of mans best friend and the destruction of the Warcraft hunter mythos in the name of developing classes.  Still not exactly sure how you develop a class by removing a key piece of what makes that class the class it is, namely pets, but I will save that for another post.  Lets just be happy MM is getting a pet... of some sort.  Here is to hoping it is a skeletal beast.  Cheers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Random Thoughts - Blade and Soul Edition

- Figured I would do my thoughts on Blade and Soul in a random thoughts format.

- Because only having played it a few hours I do not have enough information to write about.

- But I do have some thoughts about it thus far.

- And I am enjoying it enough to write about it.

- I play a lot of games, or test them for a bit here and there at least to see what I like.

- I only write about the ones I can see me wanting to play again, and this one I do.

- I might even play tonight instead of just my normal weekend warrior thing which is how I usually play other games.

- First lets get the "bad" stuff out of the way.

- Being I wanted to be a summoner and the only race that can be a summoner is the cutesy race I decided to make mine a female.

- When creating the character I kept clicking on the "male" option and it would not change.

- It was after 5 or 6 attempts that I slapped myself upside the head and say "Grumpy, that is the male version".

- So in terms of choice, a female or a male that looks female, I decided on a female.

- Hey, if I am going to look female might as well be female right?

- One problem, I only have a few female names I like to use.

- I tried one server for new players, taken.

- Tried the other server for new players, taken.

- Tried a few other servers, taken, taken, taken.

- Blah, switch names and tried again on the new servers than some others, all taken.

- Tired a different spelling, slightly, all taken.

- Come on now, give me a freaking break.

- I was at the point I was almost going to say forget it and not even create a character.

- Seriously, if I can not even get a name I want on any server, why play?

- Sure a name is not that important over all, but it sure is frustrating when you waste 30 minutes trying to find a freaking name even.

- Even more so when you are not being picky and you will go on any server with that name and none of the names you want can be used on any server.

- Still do not understand why no MMO has used my idea yet of last names.

- So if a dozen people want to be John, they all can.

- One would be John Smith, another John Jones, and so forth.

- But names are something silly to complain about in the long run, however if it almost made me say screw it and I really do not care I am sure the people that are really attached to their names would never even sign up for a free game.

- Being there is no "cash" invested in a free game, they might not make it past character creation if they try a dozen servers and their name is unavailable on all of them.

- They would have nothing invested in the game, so why even sign up?

- So the name issue can hurt a free game, but I got around it.

- I added the word "Lady" to the front of the name and got in no problem.

- So now I am royalty.

- Complaint number two is the same complaint I have about every other MMO I think I have ever played, gold sellers.

- In the grand scheme of things, at least on my server, this is one of the things WoW is so much better than any other game at.

- And I am talking leaps and bounds better, entire different universe better, amazingly advanced better.

- I rarely see seller spam.

- But in this game, being it is both new and free, the pace of gold selling posts is break neck fast.

- If anyone posts anything in chat your chances of seeing it are slim to none.

- The screen never stopped moving, it was post after post after post.

- It is both annoying and very distracting, even more so when trying to learn the game.

- After I played a little I tuned it out, but starting out when I was trying to see messages from the system as I did things  and it was impossible.

- That really ends the complaints, so to speak.

- Now to the game so far.

- It is visually very nice in a slightly cartoonish way.

- And if you know me you know I actually prefer the cartoonish visuals over the "real life" ones.

- They lend them selves to standing the test of time a hell of a lot better in my opinion and you can just look at warcraft for an example.

- I still love their visuals and they are miles away from trying to be realistic.

- So that bodes well for the game in my opinion.

- Games that try to hard to look "real" tend to look dated within a couple of years of release whereas the art here is something I can see lasting for a long time.

- And as the game has been out in other areas for 4 years and still looks good on first impression here, to me, that shows the art stands the test of time.

- Look at any other "realistic" game from 4 years ago and see how dated their art looks now.

- I was not a fan of the race that I ended up with, as it was the only race that could be a summoner, because it was the cutesy race.

- I am not a big fan of that, but after playing it a while I didn't even notice I was playing the "silly" race any more.

- I forgot I was playing the cutesy race for two reasons really.

- The game play was so new and interesting to me that I forgot I was playing the "silly" race.

- The character creator was so great I forgot I was playing the "small" race.

- While I could not make her as tall as I wanted to it did allow me to make her rather tall for a small race, enough so that the size of the race, at least to me, was no longer an issue.

- Now the character just seems like the standard humanoid shape and size, maybe of a teenager, but still normal.

- Or as normal as you can get with cat ears and a big bushy tail.

- I took the smallest ears I could find, it just so happened the smallest ears came with one of the largest tails.

- Oddly enough, I've grown quite fond of the tail.

- The character creation options completely and totally blew me out of the water.

- I thought I would be stuck playing a small race I did not want to play and not only was I allowed to change it, I was allowed to change it enough that I am happy with it and do not feel "stuck" with something I did not like.

- In truth the character I am playing does not even look like the race it is intended to be and if it were not for the ears and the tail you would never even notice and I really liked that.

- Your opinion could surely vary.

- You might still hate the tail but I say, love the tail, it will grow on you.

- No pun intended.

- The main quest line quests are all, so far it seems, voice acted.

- And while the voice acting is not great, it is fair.

- You can skip them but I have been listening to them all.

- The voice actors really can not be the ones to blame for me calling it only a fair performance, that probably is more because of the writing.

- The story moves along nicely enough but they seemed to have over used the "I'm to scared, you handle this" vehicle to send you on missions.

- Because of that all the voice acting feels the same, as they are all playing the same character, just with a different skin.

- I am sure the voice actors could have done better had they had something better to work with than playing the same old song and dance each quest.

- The other quests are not voice acted, but I am reading them all, as I do my first time playing through a game.

- It is all standard fare for a game like this really, nothing earth shattering and more importantly nothing different from anything you might have already done hundreds if not thousands of times.

- Kill four of these, collected six of those, talk to this person at that place.

- If you played one MMO you have played this one, in terms of the questing it seems.

- The pace seems fast enough and I've learned from games before to pick up all the quests before you head out somewhere, this game is no different.

- Collect all the quests before you go into any cave or what not.

- Speaking of going into caves, there are these swirls between zoning (I am guessing) and they are near seamless.

- The most it takes is one second, for me, to move from one zone to the next.

- I jump every time I zone through so my character is stuck in a mid air jump for a second each time I zone.

- Call it silly, but I bet there are still people that jump going into the raids in WoW, I know I still do.

- Like there is going to be some guy on the other side to trip you or something.

- Who the hell knows why I, and many others, still do that.

- I can tell from watching other players a hell of a lot of people do exactly that, so it is not just me.

- The weapon (and gear) leveling system is different from anything I have seen before and I really like it thus far.

- However as an experienced gamer I figured out how to use it before I got the quest to teach me how to use it.

- This means I have a quest stuck in my quest book that tells me to upgrade a piece of gear.

- I wish the quest would realize I did it already and let me complete it, I will put in a bug report on this because I believe if you already figured it out you really do not need the tutorial quest on how to do it.

- You feed special items you get and/or other weapons into your weapon to level it.

- Every few levels you have to get a specific piece to upgrade it more, but up until that point you can feed anything to it really.

- It is kind of interesting.

- Different at least.

- What I believe, do not quote me on this yet as I just started, is that you will be able to transmog your weapon into the appearance of any weapon you fed to it to upgrade it.

- If it does indeed work that way I say that is pretty darn cool.

- The characters you run across are sometimes comical, as it seems they were intended to be, and you can see their thought bubbles, many of which make for a humorous side story all it own.

- Some give you a little back ground on the character or situation as well, sort of things you might know if you were reading a book, but would never know if you only had the information from the conversation to work with.

- This adds a little more depth to the characters as I see it.

- It seems like the game is trying for the "fun" approach to it and even if it does seem a tad bit childish and created for a younger crowd from time to time, I have been liking it.

- You do not seem to spend too long in any one place, which makes for a nice pace.

- I did happen to get lucky with the wheel spins in the first major town I went to.

- Some quest rewards gave me spins at a wheel and the second one I did gave me a full 8 piece set of soul shards (at least I think that is what they were called).

- It allowed me to equip all 8 giving me the stat boost from those 8 and the 3, 5 and 8 set bonus, right off the bat.

- So I feel a little on the OP side right now starting out that strong.

- But as it seems, I don't think I really am.

- Further spins got me two five piece collections and five three piece collections, meaning even if I was not lucky getting all 8 at once I think they want us to get our first 8 piece here as they gave me so many pieces.

- I got weapons from spinning for 4 different classes, but not the one I need to feed weapons so I can upgrade her weapons, sadly.

- Word to the wise however, do not those those other weapons away however, you can still feed them to your own weapon to upgrade it later and you do not even need to unlock them first.

- At this point I do not know if I will get more spins at the wheel ever again or if I will have to try to get my weapon upgrade piece from somewhere else.

- (Note, before I posted this I did some research and found that killing that one elite mob over near said wheel drops 5 of those rolls each time and you can kill it as often as you like, so I will get my upgrade that way it seems.)

- (Will leave the rest of the comments as they were because they were my first impression before I did research and this is about those impressions.)

- As it seems, I do not think they will make it so I can not upgrade my weapon so I will run across it sooner or later.

- Basically because you will use that weapon forever really as you upgrade it as you go so I doubt they will leave me with a starting level weapon.

- I looked all over the " cash shop" and I really could not see anything that I would call pay to win.

- Pay to boost, maybe.

- There are experience boosts which last a short time, buff foods which last a short time and are not huge buffs, this 5%, and other stuff of the ilk.

- There is nothing really powerful that I saw yet.

- And for experience boosts, it seems like they might be something you could consider if you are leveling a second character but surely not a first.

- I am already out leveling the quests I am doing and I am not grinding mobs or doing anything to level faster.

- Not sure if I am happy doing gray quests this soon as I out paced it, but it is what it is, and I will keep doing what I am as I want to see the whole story my first time through.

- I am just going from quest to quest and only killing the quest mobs or things that attack me otherwise.

- So leveling will not be a problem and there is absolutely no reason to speed it along, at least as I see it, on your first time through.

- I say enjoy the leveling, read the quests, get into the story and don't worry about rushing to max level.

- Speed leveling is for alts.

- Now to combat and how it feels.

- Pretty darn awesome thus far in my opinion.

- As someone that was a key binder to begin with it did not take much getting used to but I think that playing this, at least the entry parts, could really help many wow players that do not bind learn to bind.

- So I would suggest anyone that wants to learn to key bind, give it a try, it is free and it adds a little at a time to let you get used to it.

- I love that the left and right mouse do abilities.

- You have your standard builder and spender there for a summoner and the rest are cooldown based.

- Not sure if other classes are like this but so far I really like it.

- It reminds me of a cross between diablo and standard MMOs.

- I am level 10 and have about a dozen abilities so far.

- My builder and spender, some damage abilities, some defensive abilities, and some pet abilities.

- It uses a wide range of default key binds that should actually be very comfortable for many players.

- I know it was for me but some people will surely need to adjust to using things like Z, X, C and V more often.

- I greatly dislike the fixed camera angle but being I use a trackball mouse it does make moving a pleasure for me and I quickly realized I did not dislike it at much as I thought I would.

- You can hit Alt to free move your mouse, which I do often, but sometimes find myself forgetting and go to move my mouse to click on something lit up on my screen and it does not work quite as I intended.

- It is something you will need to get used to but only a minor annoyance right now for me after playing so many games that have free mouse movement.

- Looking at the future I do not see rotations in game as being overly complex.

- With builders and spenders and everything else on a cooldown it seems like your started rotation would be something like 1, build, spend, repeat 3 times, 2, build, spend, repeat 3 times, 1, and so on.

- Maybe I will be wrong but I am a long way from getting to the point of figuring out how to do max DPS, that is just the initial impression I get.

- If that is the case, I would be pleasantly surprised and this game would immediately jump up a few spots in my mind as an alternate game to play.

- I don't want any complexity, or at least not a great deal of it, for a game I might play once in a while.

- I want mindless fun, and at the moment, that is exactly what the game feels like.

- Now to my pet.

- When I first got my pet and they show the cut scene with it looking all sweet and cutesy I momentarily regretted my choice in classes.

- It seemed, at first, like this was aimed at the 10 year old female gamer.

- I am a hunter, I just wanted a class with a pet and I get this.

- But once that passed and I got out in the world and learned to use my cat I can say one thing, she is one hell of a bad ass.

- She looks all cute and sweet and innocent, but she will claw your eyes out in a second if you mess with her.

- For a game designed without the holy trinity, meaning no tanks and no healers, fluffy sure as hell can tank with the best of them.

- I think I've been hit a total of two times since I started playing and one of them was me walking into a mob.

- Fluffy is not as innocent as she looks, not even close.

- And you know why she is licking her paws all the time?

- It is not to clean herself, it is to lick all the blood off them.

- She has a thirst for blood.

- I am really liking my summoner, or as I call it, my caster hunter.

- The game has a lot of the overly sexualized stuff you expect to find in any asian import but not nearly as much as I have seen in others of the same ilk and not so much it was a turn off to playing it, they keep it pretty mild.

- I get some people like that style, I don't personally, I just want to play a game and kill stuff with my trusty side kick, and this game is giving me that so I am happy with it.

- So after initial impressions I can say with absolute 100% certainty that will be buying the membership, not sure for how long, but it seems with it from what I have seen thus far.

- Remember, I am only level 10, so my opinions can surely change as I experience more of the game like dungeons, PvP, grinding, and max level, but for now, it is fun to play and I will play again, for sure.

- Have a great day.