.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Guild Wars Nightfall Preview Weekend

Well, this is a lot later than I'd planned. Deadlines suck.

Anyway, some of my quick impressions from the Nightfall preview. My guild was PvEing the whole time so I don't really have any PvP comments. Apparently it was just as well because there was a bug in one skill which caused Guild Lords to just die - no, really, they ended up rolling back the guild ladder - so PvP over the weekend was a little lacking.

  • Heroes (customizable henchmen) are going to be great. I'm all about build tweaking and this just adds that much more. The only downside - as it was, the average pick-up group (PUG) member was worse than a henchman. I may never play in a PUG in PvE again.
  • Artwork was gorgeous as usual.
  • Dervishes are going to just rip up PvE. Area-of-effect default attacks are going to be great. I expect there will be an absolute sea of Dervishes in every outpost.
  • Paragons definitely have a lot of useful and interesting skills.
  • Lots of the previewed skills look strong in both PvE and PvP. The overall power level appears higher than Factions.
  • It appears that the levelling speed is somewhere between Prophecies and Factions.
After the preview, I put in my Nightfall pre-order and picked up the "bonus pack" this week.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Guild Wars: Razorwire in Random Arena

It's a bit quiet in the guild hall at the moment. I'm hoping it's just the lull before Nightfall. So, I've had a little time to mess around. Here's a little bit of fun for you. Frenzy Ranger. It's a great way to work on your positional awareness. Hint - when you have Frenzy up, watch for people without armour waving their hands at you. It might be bad.

This is Silmor of iQ's RazorWire R/W build. See the linked article for the full scoop and a bunch of play advice. I'll give you the build summary here to whet your appetite.
Expertise: 8+1
Marksmanship: 12+3
Wilderness Survival: 10+1+1

Distracting Shot
Savage Shot
Pin Down
Melandru's Arrows (elite)
Troll Unguent
Resurrection Signet

Equipment 1: Ebon Short Bow of Fortitude
Equipment 2: Vampiric Short Bow of Fortitude
It's a lot better than it looks. It's not the absolute best ranger build you could play right now, but it's pretty close. That's more than you need given some of the other people on your team will probably start off the round by putting up Mending.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guild Wars: Skill update assessment

Alright. My semi-clueless take on the highlights from the lengthy list of changes.

Shadow of Haste: decreased Energy cost to 5, increased the duration to 30..60, and decreased the movement speed by 15%.

AoD-lite? Interesting on both primary and secondary, worth a try with a switch stance. In an ideal world, it'd have less than 30s recharge, I guess.

Dash: decreased recharge time to 8 seconds.

Pretty tasty. Dash + SoH on a Monk could be nice.

Repeating Strike: increased damage to 10..30.

Nice DPS if you don't miss. I'd guess it'd have to be on a R/A as before.

Temple Strike: decreased recharge time to 20 seconds, and increased duration to 1..10 seconds.

Temple Strike was awesome when you actually land it. Now, would it be worth sacrificing AoD? Probably not but it's more tempting.

Siphon Speed: increased movement speed reduction to 33%, and this spell now has half range.

This was already pretty good but in a fairly weak attr line. Now looks very nice - maybe tempting on a W/A, even.

Black Lotus Strike: reduced recharge time to 20 seconds.

Very nice start to the combo.

Unsuspecting Strike: increased conditional damage to 15..75.

Pointy. That's going to hurt. There was a distinct lack of a really nasty lead attack - hence everyone doing their level best not to run one, instead using Shock -> Falling Spider.

Still think the profession will suck in PvE but there's not much you can do, esp. in all-the-enemies-explode-land of Factions.

Balthazar's Aura: decreased duration to 8 seconds.
Zealot's Fire: increased recharge time to 45 seconds.

So long, Smiting.

Tiger's Fury/Bestial Fury: decreased the attack speed to 25%.
Irresistible Blow: increased recharge time to 6 seconds, decreased damage to 5..20.

A bit of thumper nerfage. Does 25% on Tiger's mean you miss the deep wound on Hammer Bash -> Crushing Blow? Not sure.

Eviscerate: decreased damage to 1..31.

Still seems like the best axe elite.

Ritualist stuff - well, wow. A lot of changes. But mostly:

Shelter: increased Energy cost to 25, increased damage taken to 75..45, decreased recharge time to 45 seconds.

A very significant nerf to the best defensive Ritualist skill. Together with all the spirit recharge buffs, it's looking like the effective-but-deathly-dull defensive Ritual Lord build can be put away for a while. The new Channeling skills and damage spirits sound a lot better but I'm not sure they'll be good enough for actual PvP use. I'll have to try it.

Broad Head Arrow: decreased Energy cost to 15.

Last time I did a TA run we had a ranger wrecking casters with this, even with the increased cost. I'll be interested to see what he does with it now...

Extinguish: increased cast time to 1 second, increased recharge time to 12 seconds.

At last now you can try to land an interrupt - and especially, Distracting Shot. Serious help for condition pressure builds - I'm expecting to see significantly more Tainted Flesh.

Ether Prodigy: increased damage per Energy to 3.

Strange but true. Not sure why this really makes any difference - seems like a "well, we couldn't come up with a real fix so this will be better than nothing in the meantime".

Divine Boon: increased recharge time to 10 seconds, decreased amount healed to 15..60.

Boon was really, really good. Now it's not as good but it still seems playable.

And there you have it. The biggest changes, obviously, to Assassin and Ritualist mean there's a ton of experimentation room in there to find out some new workable builds.

Guild Wars: Balance update

A pretty sweeping update to skill balance today. Some really key skills and GvG staples in the list like Ether Prodigy and Divine Boon. Notably, both Assassin and Ritualist skills got some major changes.

Also, the GvG format was updated to make it substantially faster - Victory or Death now at 20 minutes instead of 30 and one Bodyguard was removed.

I'm not going to chip in with my 2 cents till I've had a chance to think about all this some more. There's a discussion about the changes going on over at Guild Wars Guru.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guild Wars: Nightfall Preview

The next Nightfall preview was announced to be from Friday September 22th to Sunday September 24th. Hopefully I'll get to play this time - although I'm also trying to arrange going to the M:tG Time Spiral Release tournament downtown that Saturday.

Update: the official page is up with much more detail. Looks like we're going to see the new Hero system too, which should be interesting.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Guild Wars: Upcoming PvP Unlock Pack price update

Apparently someone over at ArenaNet agreed with me. Shortly, you won't have to own Prophecies to buy the Prophecies unlock pack. Additionally, they are going to do the same deal for Factions after Nightfall comes out.

They will remove the $9.99 "unlock a profession" option though, so if you did want that for some reason you'd better snap it up now.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Guild Wars: PC Gamer minipet

Apparently the next issue of PC Gamer will have a bunch of Guild Wars: Nightfall coverage. It'll also have a special per-issue code that unlocks a special minipet. The minipet won't be one of the existing ones, it's a promo item.

Guild Wars: PvP Unlock Packs, part two

So, predictably the GW community is divided as to whether the sale of PvP unlock packs is a good idea or not.

There's a massive amount of whining over at the more PvE-centric GWOnline - a 50+ page thread already. There's even some whining in the PvP forum at GWGuru although generally the response there seems more positive.

It's unclear exactly what they are complaining about - it seems generally that the sky-is-falling PvE people expect that ArenaNet will start charging for everything, including PvE items etc. That would devalue their perceived character value that they've farmed their little hearts out for.

Seems overwhelmingly unlikely.

The whole debate reminds me a bit of the real-life drama where gay marriage gets people upset. Apparently that devalues people's own marriage (unlike, say, Ms. Britney Spears getting married for 20 seconds in Vegas). This is even weirder than that argument, if anything, because it's purely PvP and has nothing to do with PvE. Admittedly, in the gay marriage case it's clearly an example of barely-veiled homophobia and the "devaluing marriage" argument is just a proxy.

Skill unlocks are an option which don't even apply to the latest content. There's nothing forcing you to buy them and it doesn't affect PvE at all. It just means that it's easier for new PvP players to catch up with the otherwise mammoth grind required to unlock everything. Personally, I think that having an unlock system for skills isn't all bad - gotta tap into that operant conditioning, after all - but right now the Balthazar's Faction system needs some tweaking to let people do all their unlocking directly from PvP instead of making it more efficient to play PvE.

Now, as Ensign points out, the right price point is debatable but overall this development is a good thing. Obviously the price is something they can fix. The price does seem rather high, especially if you have to own Prophecies too - which is apparently the case right now.