June 9, 2010
The show is up!
Show notes from the site:
On this episode of a View from the Top we were pleased to have Morgan Feldon of EQ2 Wire as our guest. He has a lot of insight into our favorite game, EverQuest 2. We tackle some great guild related issues and spend a lot of time discussing our MMORPG of choice. Come and listen to us speculate about the next expansion, itemization and even a little class balance!
- We take a moment to talk about what we’ve been playing while Adam rudely eats. I thought we were over that!
- Morgan has been spending time with both EQ2 and single player games. He is in Europe and according to Adam it is a weird place!
- Listener feedback: We hear from Citadelli on Guk and get onto the subject of Battlegrounds. How do we feel about the new armor sets and what is their effect on overall itemization?
- Podcast Spotlight: Check out 16 Bit Radio, a podcast from Tim “Youngblood” and company. If you’re interested in hearing honest opinions about games you’ll enjoy it!
- Interviewing Feldon! We put him on the hot seat!
- The ultimate question: What do you think about Sentinel’s Fate?
- What is the deal with raid progression?
- Nobody likes Icy Keep but Ferrel? That is a shame!
- Expansion rumors! Velious is the next expansion? It might even be out at Christmas? Is that enough time?! Velious is serious business and can’t be done poorly!
- Nobody wants to go to Odus. Nobody went to Odus in EverQuest! Adam is after random areas!
- Living up to the expectations of Velious. Was it the greatest EverQuest expansion ever made?
- Lets talk about large open dungeons. They haven’t been done right in a while and were previously a big portion of Velious. Will this be an issue?
- Are we going to get an incomplete Velious spread over a few years? That might not be such a great idea. What will be the Destiny of Velious?
- Erollisi Marr story line spoiler alert!
- What would we like to see in game down the road? Morgan is looking for something more than the usual progression methods.
- Creating a golden path for grouping and raiding. Lets revitalize that old content! We should also have another look at the experience penalty with mentoring.
- Really looking at EQ2 Wire. Where did it come from? How did it get started?
- You make the Call: This week’s question comes from Mike Emeny . His question is about enforcing rules equally. It was a wonderful question! You’ll have to listen for it and the answers though!
- Don’t forget to submit your “ask a guild leader” questions. You can win some Fallen Earth goodies if you do. Check out the details in the acknowledgments.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to Feldon and EQ2 Wire. The amount of secret information he brought to the show was great! We love to dish about EverQuest II and he really allowed us to do that.
Thank you to Tim “Youngblood” for being our partner in pod-casting! We appreciate your efforts!
Adam would like to express his great appreciation to Icarus Studios for supporting Epic Slant in the Fallen Earth Epic Contest. If you’d like a chance to win some Fallen Earth game time, a boxed game and/or some swag follow the link and submit a question!
We would like to shout out to the EQ2 team for all the good things they do.
Morgan would like to shout out to Deathdealer for doing work on EQ2 Wire! He would like to shout out to Thorian as well!
Karen thanks Citadelli and would like to hook up from some BGs! She also touched on shouting out to all of her BG buddies.
Posted by jayernh under Uncategorized | Comments (1)
June 8, 2010
When raiding, I often use the analogy that learning an encounter is like dancing, only with 24 people instead of 2. Learning the steps can be a migraine inducing experience, but once everyone finds their rhythm, the fight becomes several minutes of effortless bliss.
So far, raiding in Sentinel’s Fate has been a refreshing change from The Shadow Odyssey and Kunark. If I had to sum up the difference, I’d say that in many of those raid encounters, everyone’s main focus was to not be the goat. But in Sentinel’s Fate, everyone’s focused on being the hero. The way the fights reward and penalize you is very different, and from a raid leader’s perspective, I much prefer the latter.
Above: The only way I like to see Venril Sathir.
There are several examples of raid encounters that make raiders cower in fear, and turn raid leaders into bellicose tyrants. The best one, by far, is the pre-nerf Venril Sathir encounter. There were fail conditions upon fail conditions in that fight:
- If your power falls below a certain percentage, adds spawn and the raid wipes.
- If your power goes too high, you die.
- If you don’t cure yourself of the noxious AE in time, you get hit for a ton of damage and huge power drain. If you actually do live, you end up spawning adds and the raid wipes.
- If you don’t have someone clicking the statues in the back of his room, adds spawn and the raid wipes.
- If you don’t click the soulcube at 65% when he emotes, the raid wipes.
In addition, there’s the lovely fear proc, along with the random selection of people on the raid to be hit with a mana tap or power surge if they do so much as sneeze.
And just in case you weren’t sure who it was that screwed up, the person’s name would be plastered in big bright red letters across the screen to the entire raid.
This was a raid where I had to tell people that when in doubt, do nothing. This was a raid where I had to ask people to not rez back in if they died. There was nothing enjoyable about this encounter at all, and people had good reason to loathe it.
Venril Sathir was about not being the goat. People often held back out of fear of making a mistake, and costing the raid an important victory. I joke with the guild that we’re probably the only ones who got through that encounter without anyone raising their voices at each other (at least when the mic was open). But I don’t doubt that many guilds were strained to the breaking point over raiders losing trust in each other. It’s one thing to have a challenging raid encounter, but the Venril Sathir fight actually encouraged guildmates to resent each other.
What I like about the Sentinel’s Fate raid content is that it focuses on giving a few people the opportunity on the raid to be a hero. So instead of people raiding in fear of being the goat, everyone now is eager to push themselves more and be the one that really steps it up.
The very first fight in the Lair of the Dragon Queen is a great example of that. Wyvernlord Tuluun does the usual stuff to hamper a raid, but his trick is that he will randomly blind one person, causing them to absorb a lot of damage until they either cure themselves at a nearby pool, or die.
Another person on the raid can help them out though, by right clicking their name and leading them to the pool. It’s become almost a game within a game for our raid, as everyone tries to outclick each other in helping cure the blind people. And in contrast to the Venril Sathir “JoeRaider has screwed up, everyone hate on him” message, the person who successfully leads the blind gets to see their name in nice, bright red letters for all the raid to see. (For us it’s always “Draxer clicked the fastest, try again punks!”)
Raiding should be about being the hero. I still remember my favorite raiding moment in Everquest, during the 10th ring war. Up on that snow-capped, sharp edged, pixelated mountaintop, I was one of the lookouts for the legions of giants charging towards Thurgadin. At one point, a few giants had slipped past our raid’s defenses and were getting very close towards the little dwarves that we had to protect. I had to decide whether or not to abandon my scouting post, engage the giants, and risk missing a call of another wave of giants. I decided to take the gamble, and I was able to snare them long enough for the reinforcements to come in and finish them off. Luckily, I made it back to my post in time to scout my designated area and keep making calls to the raid.
The 10th ring war was one of the best encounters, because there were dozens of moments in the battle where individuals had to take risks, roll the dice, and possibly become a hero. I get that same feeling from Sentinel’s Fate raids so far, and it’s a refreshing change from Kunark and The Shadow Odyssey.
Posted by jayernh under Uncategorized | Comments (4)
June 1, 2010
As I played blog catch up today, I saw Darren’s entry regarding an interview with Bioware’s Daniel Erickson. In the article, Erickson, lead writer for Star Wars the Old Republic, was quoted as saying that MMOs have “no point.” My initial reaction was, huh? But I figured I should go directly to the source before proceeding with the typical reactionary blog post.
After further review, my reaction is…huh?
The big takeaway from the interview is the following:
“In the early days when they first announced that there were MMOs, like the existence of them, I knew in my head what that meant – because I played Role Playing Games. It was just giant Role Playing Games.
“And then MMO [games] showed up, and it wasn’t that. It was the ruleset to an RPG:
There was combat,
and there were areas,
but that was all.
Someone had left out the module. There was no story,
there was no point.
You just kind of wandered around.
And that hasn’t really changed all that much over the years.”
Obviously, I cannot disagree more with the above quote. I bristle any time I hear a comment that MMOs lack story or a point. One could argue about whether the current crop of MMOs contain quality story, but bottom line is that it’s in there.
That’s irrelevant though, because the best moments in MMO history are made by the people playing the game. The players are the story, whether it’s The Mittani explaining how Goonswarm infiltrated Band of Brothers in Eve (NSFW btw), or Altdorf prematurely falling in Warhammer Online (Years and years of development, 15 minutes for the actual siege!). It could be player protests of in game changes, or real life political issues. It could be a bank embezzlement of historic proportions, Dives having a meltdown during the Onyxia fight (NSFW too), or a player-organized memorial for a fallen friend. In short, MMOs are at their best during those unexpected moments, inspired by the human element.
Now, I know that Bioware knows this. They have to, with MMO sages like Gordon Walton and Damion Schubert on the payroll. So, despite the glaring absence of information about multiplayer gameplay in comparison to solo play, I still am confident that there will be iconic moments in the game that will rival the ones above.
But they won’t involve cutscenes.
Posted by jayernh under Uncategorized | Comments (2)