Category Archives: Game Design

Trove: Candy Barbarian revelead!

Trion Worlds made a news post revealing the candy barbarian yesterday. Or rather, revealing the skills that new class will have. We already know its name, after all. :)

Trove Preview Candy Barbarian

I’m going to be lazy and copy and paste the skills and their descriptions here:

Gum Drop (Passive): When you hit (or are hit by) enemies, you’ll spill candy on the ground. Scoop it up for sweet boosts to health or speed!

Vanilla Swirlwind: Spin like a cotton candy machine gone berserk, striking all enemies within range.

Sugar Crash: Launch into the air and crashes down on your target with devastating force.

Eis-Crom Cone (Ultimate): Invoke the powers of Eis-Crom, god of all things candy, to waylay your foes with an exploding ice cream cone of terror!

The first skill is passive which means that no matter what happens, this will always be active. Boosts to health or speed sounds a bit RNG. That reminds me of the elixirs that the engineer in Guild Wars 2 has which have that element of surprise as well (or did they change that? I haven’t played my engineer in ages, but I know people always complained about the random nature of some elixirs).

To me, the Vanilla Swirlwind sounds the most fun! Spinning and hitting. Of course, this only makes sense if there is more than one enemy, I assume? You cannot see any numbers in Trove, by the way. There is no combat log and no tool tip showing you that you did x amount of damage.

I wish they had streamed last night, so that we could have seen the candy barbarian in action. They wanted to, but seemed to have technical issues.

Anyway, I am a bit skeptical, actually. I know Trove is a fun game with silly stuff in it, but so far, the classes always still seemed “serious” enough to just put them in any fantasy game. The candy barbarian – not so much. On the other hand, I did write about classes and expectations and it is nice that they’re trying to be creative here with themes and class names etc.

Trove Candy Barbarian fighting

And look at that! The candy barbarian is a dual-wielding class! I love dual-wielding. My favourite classes are usually warrior-like types who dual-wield swords.

The patch that will bring us the candy barbarian will arrive on November 18, by the way. I can’t wait to try it out. If they go with it the way they have released the other classes, then we’ll be able to get it for 5000 cubits (the in-game currency) or alternatively, for 1050 credits*. So, go do your daily dungeons in Trove to earn the cubits needed for this class. :)

* For 18,99 €, you get 3250 credits. So, that class would cost you something like 6 € (plus a few cents). But if I were you (and wanted to support the game and buy credits), I would rather spend the cubits on the class and buy something else for my credits which cannot be paid for with cubits like costumes, some mounts and so on.

 

Are you concerned about getting spoilers?

Heads-Up: I’m trying to be as vague as possible when I touch the area of the story and will not talk about the actual content!

When the latest piece of the Living Story was released last Tuesday, I knew I would not have the time and patience to go through it in one go. On Wednesday, I usually listen to the GuildNews podcast, and I really appreciated them warning their listeners/viewers about spoilers when they started talking about the living story. One day after release, I assume there were still quite a few who hadn’t played through it yet. I quit the podcast at that point, because I did not want to know what would happen.

The funny thing is: I did get spoiled about the ending right before the patch got released. I just didn’t know that this piece was the important new story bit until I reached it myself in the story.

GW2_combat_silverwastes

So, did I get annoyed? No. Surprisingly not. I hadn’t known about it until the end, after all. ;)

I think I just watched too many episodes of Columbo as a kid. I remember a friend who made fun of me liking Columbo. He said: How can you like watching that show when you already know who the murderer is within the first minute? I replied: The point is not finding out who the murderer is. The point is finding out how Columbo finds out!

In games – or MMOs rather -, it’s a bit different, of course. Especially in Guild Wars 2, I am not sitting there watching how anybody finds out something. My own character is in the middle of the storyline. It’s not made to be like Columbo. On the other hand, games aren’t like watching TV either. You’re not passive – which may make you get bored when you already know what’s going to happen next. You are actively playing. The fights against the NPCs can still be challenging. There may even be a few good loot drops (spoiler: No, there most likely aren’t. Unless you’re very lucky with the RNG :p). And, of course, there are friends to play with. The latter is probably true for movies as well. I may even have had the most fun watching really bad things on TV with friends, because we would just laugh about it and make jokes. But I digress. The point is that while I’d appreciate not knowing what’s going to happen in advance, it doesn’t bother me much in MMOs. The story and its plot has never been the reason why I’m playing an MMO, after all.

GW2_combat_silverwastes

Having said all that, I still very much appreciate all those who start their blog posts with spoiler warnings or say loudly that they will be talking about the story in a bit in their podcast, so you can turn it off in time in case you do not want to get spoiled!

My personal oasis in Rift

With the new expansion, Rift added the “Minions” mini game. I won’t go into how the “game” – let’s rather call it “activity” – works. I will save that for a later time. But there are dimension adventures where you get dimension items and can even get keys for dimensions (more on how dimensions work here).

I have been flooded with dimension items ever since. And judging from the price drop of those items on the auction house, so have all other Rift players.

Before, I had my dimension “Faen’s Retreat” and had a rough idea of what I wanted it to be like: A little space that Meffanda has where she can “hide” from the rest of the world. Relax from her life as a hero and world-saver. A place where she can read a book, take a swim in the pond, enjoy the sun on her skin without having to worry about anything. Where maybe once in a while, she invites friends over for dinner.

But with the huge amount of items available in so many places (the Rift store – for in-game currency or alternatively real money, as rewards from seasonal events, some come from crafting and so on), I was overwhelmed. Whenever I started looking at items, I wondered where they came from, if I had enough platinum etc. I also wondered if that one item really was the best I wanted for a certain space. Or it was the other way around. I knew I wanted a shelf, but had no idea if that kind of shelf even existed.

So for a long time, my dimension had a few items in it (see gallery right above this paragraph), but not much. Well, except for the stairs which took me a long time to build! You can see the “early progress” below. Now with the expansion and the minions, this has changed. I get flooded with items, as I already said. But every day, I get those items in my bags. I look at them and think: Does this item fit into my dimension? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I had this great steampunk-y boat and really wanted to use it in my dimension. But really, a boat in a small pond? What’s the use? It looked out of place. Then, just for fun, I put it in the sand. I put it away then and took out the next item: Wooden scaffolding. I had an idea! If she can’t use the boat in here, she may as well still build a boat there. Yeah, maybe not too smart, considering she will have to transport it to a river or a lake later on, but still. And that’s when the little handiwork area got created. I have also slowly started adding stuff to the main house like the second floor on the right and the balcony-garden.

It’s so much more fun to build my dimension this way. It feels very organic, growing a little bit every single day. Only 156 items so far, with a current limit of 570 (I upgraded it to hold more items… very optimistic, but with the amount of items coming in, I know I’ll get there soon!).

Diversity in regional design: Spring

I really love spring in “real life”. When the sun starts to feel warm on your skin again. The snow is melting (if there had been some). The first birds are chirping again in the morning (as opposed to the cooing of pigeons). The trees and first flowers are starting to bloom. It’s just something I can’t get enough looking at.

In MMOs, you usually find a wide variety of regions all with different looks and feels: The desert, the jungle, grassland and so on. Of course, regions with snow or regions with lots of sun near a beach exist as well. But are there any regions that depict spring?

In Rift, the only one that came to my mind is Tempest Bay.

spring_rift_tempest bay

The rest of the city mainly consists of buildings and water – it’s basically a little island far away from the other regions in the game. But of course, I may forget some region at the moment.

Guild Wars 2 was equally difficult. Maybe the Grove or Caledon Forest. They’re not really spring-like, but they feature vibrant colours in the pinkish-spectrum.

spring_guild wars 2_caledon forest

It is a tiny bit disappointing to not see more spring regions. You could have them with snow in some areas, melting in others. Some flowers looking through the snow and all that. I would certainly love to see it. :)

Class names and expectations

Trove Candy BiomeI was just baking some bread while listening to a Trove stream (this one, to be precise) when the streamer was asked if Trove was going to add a healing class any time soon. I thought: Oooh, I would love that! But the streamer’s reply surprised me. “Yes, the candy barbarian will be somewhat of a healing class” (quoted by memory here). Candy barbarian… A healer. When I had heard that class’s name, I imagined a pastel coloured slightly pinkish guy running through cotton balls with an equally pastel coloured axe. Never once did I think that this guy could heal. I also always thought of “him” as a guy, even though my own character, Paeroka, is female and will always be female no matter which class I activate.

Back to the classes – I do have certain expectations towards classes. When I see a game (MMOs and RPGs mostly) I always look at what the classes are called. When they have “mage”, “warrior”, “hunter” and “priest”, I close the website almost immediately. No, thank you. If you can’t even have enough imagination to a) have more than those standard classes or b) at least give them more imaginative names, I can already assume that the game itself won’t offer anything new or intriguing either. Maybe I won’t do the game justice then, but that’s the thing about expectations.

Rift_Warrior fighting

Her build is a pretty standard warrior build: Run in, watch enemies die.

Of course, Rift is falling into that category. The main callings are named “warrior”, “mage”, “rogue” and “cleric”. But Rift advertised having souls and those do have unfamiliar names. My cleric can choose three our of ten callings: Sentinel, inquisitor, justicar, oracle, defiler, cabalist, purifier, warden, shaman and druid. Druid can call faeries to assist in combat, by the way. Purifier is a healing soul. So they clearly fit my expectations. But here comes to downside of having all those nice and imaginative names: I can never remember which soul is which. Justicar or inquisitor – which one was the tank soul?

GW2_Mesmer_Illusions

For those who don’t know, the mesmer in Guild Wars 2 can create clones of itself.

What I’m trying to say here is that a class’s name should ideally give you some kind of an idea what it is about but not be as bland and boring as “warrior”. Or at least, a game should offer more classes to choose from with some “better” names. Warhammer Online comes to my mind (though they had it easy seeing how it was an already established IP): Black orc, Disciple of Khaine, Zealot on the one hand and Engineer, Shaman and Swordmaster on the other. Guild Wars 2 has pretty generic class names mostly (warrior, elementalist, necromancer), but at least, they have more than standard 4 classes and add the mesmer which is a class name I haven’t seen anywhere else yet.

Long story short: Candy Barbarian will be a healer. Okay. I’m still looking forward to trying that class – I love healers, after all!

Trove Robo Raptor mount

Trove_Robo raptor mount 1Sometimes, I can’t believe my luck. I had a look at the dev trackers I’m following earlier today (for Guild Wars 2, Trove and Rift) and saw this post where Ocho explains that the Robo Raptor mount in Trove is an exclusive giveaway item they are handing out to streamers in order to help promote them.

I had a look at who was streaming Trove a bit after that. The first streamer with the most viewers was one of those with loud music going on (usually not the gaming soundtrack) and I can’t stand that. Music in the background is fine. But I watch streams to see the game and hear about it or at the very least, hear what the streamer has to say. The second one I clicked on was Sirregular. Exactly the kind of streamer I prefer. The music can barely be heard. ;)

Trove_Robo raptor mount 2Anyway, he gave away two Robo Raptors today (he has a few more codes, in case you’re looking for Trove streamers where you can win that mount) and guess who won the second code? Yes, ME! I don’t know how much I’ve already won that was Trion-related. Probably too much for my own good.
I jumped right into the game to have a look at this mount. It’s so cute! Probably a perfect fit for when I’m playing my dracolyte (I was too excited to take screenshots, so I didn’t switch my class from knight to dracolyte now).

As it turns out, there was no need for that filler blog post earlier. I could have just waited a bit… ;)

If you want one for yourself, go watch this site. Quite a few streamers put it in their headline if they have a giveaway.

Hello there, do I know you?

Perfect timing from Blizzard… Just when I feared I would have nothing to write about on the 4th day of NaBloPoMo, they sent me an email reminder that the offer of 7 free days of playtime in World of Warcraft is about to expire. I activated my account this morning, patched it and then went to work.

I think it’s great that they give you free days every year or so. It actually did make me return to WoW before. I even bought an expansion just for that. However, usually after the first month or so, I realize: You either pay or you’re out. And that’s when I usually leave again. I still like the game, but it doesn’t offer me anything that other games can’t give me either. Or, at least, they offer me a similar experience without forcing me to pay. I’m not a “freeloader”, in case you’re worried about that. I do give companies some of my hard-earned money. Especially now that my financial situation allows me to spend money on such luxuries as gaming. I am still very clingy, though, and don’t like to feel forced. It’s all about perception here!

Anyway, this doesn’t change the fact that Blizzard offering me 7 free days here and there has had the intended effect in the past. This time, however, I very much doubt I’ll return. Guild Wars 2 is releasing their new patch today which also comes with a new zone and Rift has just released their expansion which I’m slowly playing through. On top of that, Trove is entering open beta and I’m curious to see how the development of the game is coming along and when they will release the candy barbarian. That’s three fine games right there and not one is asking for any money, just so I can even play it.

WOW_Female human

Left: old. Right: new.

But let’s look at World of Warcraft. I don’t know everything that has changed since I’ve last left the game, but upon loading the game, I got quite a shock. I had seen the redesigns of the character models and always thought: That looks nice! But when I saw my own characters, my heart sank a bit. It’s not that they look completely different, but in a lot of cases, something in their expression changed. While I chose this one human face because it has a mixture of naiveté and curiosity, it now just looks… weird. Yes, weird could be it. Maybe a bit skeptical even. Look at the picture and you will probably see what I mean. My dwarf had this pretty shiny orange hair. I loved her friendly expression. The new face frankly just takes away any personality my dwarf has ever had.

Thankfully, I quickly found out that you can re-enable the old character models. For a moment, I thought everything was gone. All those memories… yes, I know I’m not even playing the game anymore, so that doesn’t matter, right? But in a way, it did. Friendships formed in that game and for several years, it just accompanied me through my life. I know a lot has changed since then (both in my life and in the game), but my characters have always still been there whenever I returned.

I am curious what else I will discover in the next… 6 days. But for now, this blog post has actually been cut short as ArenaNet announced that they’ll be giving us the patch soon. This also saves you a lengthy rant today, I think. ;)