Action RPGs and me (Blaugust Post 12)

I finally finished playing Torchlight 2 not too long ago. In general, I really liked the game. The pets are cute, but useful, although mostly to send them off sell your found items and bring back more health potions. The story was okay, the settings were great and the bosses were really well done! There was only one thing I did not like and that is the classes. Yeah, in a game where the focus is on fighting a ton of mobs, this is kind of bad, isn’t it? I sticked with the Embermage as it seemed to be the most interesting class, but I did get bored with it pretty soon.


Next up in my Action RGP gaming backlog is Van Helsing: Final Cut. I have just finished chapter 2 and if I understood it correctly, there are 9 chapters in total (or was it 12?). So there is still quite a lot ahead of me. I chose the Protector class and more or less force myself to stick with this game for now. The gameplay itself is great, the story is interesting and I love the ghost, Katharina. I just cannot warm up to any of the game’s classes. Other than the Protector, there is the Elementalist which is basically a mage. After playing a mage in Torchlight 2, I really want something else. Then there’s the Bounty Hunter, Umbralist, Phlogistoneer and Constructor. If there is one thing to say about the game’s classes it’s that they are not your traditional fantasy/steampunk classes – or class names, at the very least! Still, I did not really love playing any of these classes. Some classes have a cooldown on their main attack which is something I really cannot stand in an Action RPG which is why I chose the Protector now. Standard sword and shield and on the right-mouse button, I have a skill to rush into enemies.

Grim Dawn Shaman

In Diablo 3, my problem was the opposite. I liked too many classes and could not choose which one I actually wanted to play. So I would really like to replay the with another class soon. I also actually never got far in Diablo 2 and want to do that at some point. And there is also Victor Vran that I’ve only played the first tutorial mission or so. There was something with jumping up walls etc. which made the game very interesting, but I figured I should first finish Van Helsing before I really get into Victor Vran. Last but not least, Path of Exile is also pretty great – or so I’ve heard, as I never got far there either.

As you can see, I have lots of Action RPGs to play, right? There is no need at all to get another one to add to my already long list of these games. I told myself that and yet, somehow, Grim Dawn sneaked into my Steam library. I don’t even know how that happened! I must have miss-clicked when I looked at the game (hey, miss-clicks happen! Ask a certain German politician… :p). What sold me here was the classes. I chose Shaman now, but I’m not too far into the game, so I don’t know how good or bad this choice will be. But from the available classes, you can choose a second one. That reminds me of the good old Guild Wars. I haven’t yet made my choice on what second class I want to get. But as I said, there are a lot of other games and I really want to focus on Van Helsing first before diving into Grim Dawn. I guess the other games will just have to wait a bit more… And yes, I do realize that I have a problem and a very weak willpower when it comes to resisting these games… ;)

Too many games…

Diablo3_paerokabetaI’m currently waiting for Diablo 3 to arrive. Unfortunately, it seems it won’t be here tomorrow, but hopefully on Thursday then. I got the game during (German) Amazon’s Cyber Monday Week… how silly is that, by the way? Cyber Monday Week. It got released in May 2012 and so far, I’ve never seen it cheap anywhere. The 25€ I paid for it now seemed like a very good deal.

In the end, this could be yet another game in a long list of games that I bought and there are so many that I really want to play, but in the end, don’t. We’re currently planning to play Diablo 3 together, just me and bookahnerk. I got the game for him when it came out and he never got far. So together we can hopefully conquer the world! I also promised I would turn off Skype, twitter, my browser while playing the game together. Fewer distractions that way and more “us time” even if we’re at the PC.

We’re also currently watching the Warlock 2 world Premiere on Twitch. Another game I definitely want to buy when it releases. But Warlock 1 is one of the few games I’ve spent lots of hours playing, so this one will probably at least have a tiny chance. ;)

I think I’d play those kinds of games (meaning: Non-MMOs) much more often if I didn’t play MMOs. Just now, I spent about an hour researching which gear I want for my mesmer after I got some superior traveller runes from ArcherAvatar! Thanks again, you made my day. :D Now I only need to find gear to put them on… hmm… And decide which class I want to play in Diablo 3.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (May 12, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^).

NCSoft has gotten a new German Community Manager. Please welcome Ramon Domke! I’ve only met him once so far where he was sent to say “Hello” to me from Al’Ellisande. ;) But maybe we get to meet again during GamesCom. Germans may know him from Wartower which is a pretty big German Guild Wars Fansite (I don’t know if it’s *the* biggest. I just know it’s big).

His first day of work will be on Monday (May 14) which is also the day ArenaNet is hosting their next Guild Wars 2 stress test. You can find the announcement here. Our task in this stress test is written down in more detail here. They’re asking us to “rush the servers and crowd Tyria”. In other words: Don’t expect to get to play much. ;)

On Tuesday, May 15, Diablo 3 will finally be released. Now while I haven’t bought the game and probably won’t do it for quite some time (read: until it’s much cheaper), we will get one copy that was bundled with the subscription for a gamer’s magazine I got bookahnerk for Christmas. So we will get to play the game. In order to get back to the setting and the story, we had a look at YouTube and found a few nice videos with the cut scenes from Diablo and Diable 2. You can start watching them here (for Diablo) or here (for Diablo 2). Those videos show the cut scenes and the most important conversations within the game. If you just want to see Diablo 2’s cut scenes, you can find them here.

Also, don’t forget that the Newbie Blogger Initiative is still running until the end of the month. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own gaming blog, now is the perfect time to do so!

Diablo 3 beta – or: Why I preordered Torchlight 2 instead

Let me start by saying that I truly enjoyed what I’ve seen about Diablo 3 per se. Neither bookahnerk nor I have found any bugs so far which just seems to be typical for Blizzard. Their betas are usually rather polished already (at least, from what I’ve heard and seen so far). One flaw, however, is that we didn’t see the intro video. I looked for it and then played it and it does help explain a few things. For example, why they’re talking about a fallen star. ;) I hadn’t read too much about Diablo 3 before starting the open beta. I’d seen a few screenshots and read about a few changes but that’s nothing compared to what I’ve read and seen about Guild Wars 2 so far. ;)

What I really liked about Diablo 3 so far is some of the game’s sounds. Not the music (although I like the soundtrack as well) but rather the sounds that are familiar from Diablo 2 like the coins that are dropped from dead mobs. It just adds enough nostalgic flavour. And Deckard Cain, of course! Another thing I really liked were the book cases that you can click on. They usually don’t seem to drop anything at all and if they do, it’s a few coins or a healing potion. However, the animation when clicking on a bookcase shows stuff falling out of the bookcase – including a few scrolls that have red and blue bands around them. Oooh, they look vaguely familiar. If only I knew where I’ve seen them before. ;) Unfortunately, those scrolls aren’t in the game. At a certain point in your storyline, you get a teleport skill that you can use whenever you want. And while there are items that need to be identified, it’s just done by right-clicking and waiting until the cast bar went through. I mentioned the music a few moments ago and if you’re looking for songs that sound like Diablo 2, you have to go play Torchlight (1 and 2) because Matt Uelmen who composed the soundtrack for Diablo and Diablo 2 is working for RunicGames now and has composed the Torchlight 1 and 2 soundtracks. Russell Brower apparently composed the soundtrack for Diablo 3 (among others).

The graphics are similar to Torchlight and not what I would expect from a Diablo game. I actually like the gothic look that Diablo 2 had and I would have preferred to have this graphic style again instead of the more comic-looking style that we have now. I don’t think it’s too bright and colourful but… well, a bit more dark/grey would have been great. ;) Despite its not so good graphics quality (and the too tiny resolution for today’s monitors), I found them fitting for the game as everything seemed more mysterious and serious in a way. I don’t mind WoW’s comic graphics but in Diablo, I’d prefer the old Diablo style. Oh well, it’s not like Diablo 3 really had WoW’s comic style. It’s just closer to it. And at the same time, I don’t mind it at all in Torchlight (or Torchlight 2 for that matter). It’s just the different expectations here based on the previous Diablo game. I did upload a few screenshots and I’m sure that if you’re interested in Diablo 3, you’ve had a look at videos and screenshots, etc. already, so this is nothing new for you. ;)

I’ve played the Demon Hunter class and it was lots of fun. At first, I feared that you really just unlock a new skill every few levels and then choose which ones you want to use but the system is a bit more complex than that. You have your left-click and right-mouseclick skill. You’ll get to choose between four different ones for left-clicking and four different ones for right-clicking. They’re unlocked one after another, depending on your level. Each of those skills can also have one active rune (out of 5 each) which again get unlocked the higher your level is. The different runes give its skill an added effect: more damage, a higher number of enemies hit, longer duration, etc. Then you have four action bar skills which in the demon hunter’s case use a different resource than her mouse-clicking abilities. They work the same way than your mouse-clicking abilities: You can choose out of several ones that you unlock the higher your level gets. And then you unlock 5 runes for each of those skills (also more the higher your level is) and can choose which rune you want for which skill and then you choose which skills you want to use. It seems that there’s no respeccing necessary. You can switch skills around whenever you want. Starting with level 10, you also unlock passive abilities (again, you don’t need to do anything. You unlock the first two with level 10 and choose one. With level 13, you get an additional choice etc. up to 15 different passive skills to choose from at level 50. With level 20 and 30, you get an additional slot for a passive skill which means that you can have three passive skills with level 30. All in all, that’s a lot to choose from! And since you can switch whenever you want (I didn’t see any limits here), you don’t need to be afraid to do something wrong. That was one of the problems I had with Diablo 2. While I loved the game, I was too afraid to mess up and having to start over again, so I ended up just not playing much at all after a while. ;)

The storyline seems interesting and I’d certainly want to find out more and play through the story. The classes also seem interesting even though I’ve only played one so far. I wanted to concentrate on one and see what this game has to offer. If I had decided to buy it, I would have had enough time to figure out which class I want to play.

Unfortunately, and now we come to the one big point that makes me stay away from this game for now, it was rather difficult to actually start playing the beta on Friday. The servers were busy and I didn’t get to play at all. I didn’t even realise the “flaw” in this “logic” here, at first. Yesterday morning, I finally succeeded and got online. I played for a bit and reached level 6. Then it happened: I got disconnected and after half an hour, I got back online… to find myself back at level 5. Yay for rollbacks! I get it, they’re basically stress-testing and things like that can happen. But then it dawned on me: This isn’t an MMO, nor is it an online game. I was playing the single-player game. Once upon a time, those were offline games. Once upon a time, there were no server issues and rollbacks with single-player offline games. I remember clearly how I could play Diablo 2 in my room with no problems even though the internet wasn’t reliable in that room, because I didn’t need the internet for the single-player part!

And this very thing is what will hold me back from buying the game (unless… maybe… its cost is reduced to something like 10€ in the distant future). I want to be able to play single player games whenever I feel like it and not rely on the game servers to be accessible. Especially as I don’t see a reason for why they should do this. Diablo 2 already had the single player part and the coop, the multiplayer and online part. It also had LAN-mode. In that regard, it offered more. But now they took that back and force me to be online all the time even if I just play the “offline” part. And I guess they can’t give me a guarantee that rollbacks won’t happen again or that I’m suddenly disconnected or that I can’t even start the game because I regularly play on weekend evenings when a zillion other players decide to play as well and the servers get overloaded… or maybe I’ll get to stare at a waiting queue until there’s a free spot on the servers for me… to play the single-player game.

We will have one copy of Diablo 3 in this household, though, because I gave bookahnerk a 6 months subscription for a gaming magazine for Christmas and as a special, they added a bonus of our choice (the decision fell on a copy of Diablo 3 once it’s released). And as I said, I’ve really enjoyed the game per se. But I dislike this always-online part of the game enough to not buy the game for 50€ or whatever they want for it on release.

So why did I preorder Torchlight 2 instead? Diablo 3 showed me that I really want a game like Torchlight and Diablo. Torchlight 1 has the problemt that it lacks multiplayer (I don’t use it often but I do like playing with bookahnerk once in a while) and the story… oooh, the story. Not so good. Hopefully, Torchlight 2 will be better. They will have a LAN mode and I can play the game offline. It will also just cost 20€ which is a lot cheaper than Diablo 3. And what I really love is that you have pet companions. Tell me how you can top a ferret companion (watch the video with the pets here)! Of course, the game doesn’t have the gothic graphics. ;) And I do find it odd how often the release date has been pushed back so far. But I’ve only preordered the game, not prepurchased it. So there’s no harm done yet. ;) Of course, there’s also no need for deciding only for one and not the other. If you like both, you can play both. However, I don’t think I would need two such games. Especially if one is considerably more expensive.

I wonder how many other people will decide not to get Diablo 3 because of its policy of forcing you to be online and connected to a server at all times? And how many will not care just because it’s Blizzard and Diablo. In the end, if you do decide to get the game, I think you’ll get a good and solid game… and let’s just hope their servers will be stable (and more stable than Ubisoft’s servers ^^).

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (August 1)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about LotRO, Guild Wars 2 and any other interesting news related to gaming.

First things first, I found it amusing to read a dispute between several players in the Warhammer Online forum. The short of it: Mythic was at GamesDay in the USA (I forgot which city it was in. Sorry). A (former?) player asked some questions and got some uncomfortable answers. The worst one would be:
Me Q: So what you’re saying is Mythic is gonna stand back and do nothing while the game is going to hell?

Prod A: The game will stay up for the hardcore dedicated players as long as we got them the game isn’t going anywhere. We still have Ultima Online and DAoC and we’re adding new content for them.

However, he apparently misunderstood when James Casey talked about Rift and how some former members of Mythic worked on that game. And there’s still the question whether Shadow Warriors will get more Crowd Control or not. So what I quoted above is also questioned. Is it true or not? If you ask me personally, I’d say that the patch history and how much was added to the game since its release (compared to what was taken out) speaks volumes.

Edit: Artiee published a recording of the Q&A. It’s hard to understand but what I could hear basically confirms the quoted answer above. Still not really a surprise, I guess. But they did confirm that there are no resources for new content like a new class etc.

Not an MMO, but still a game I’m interested in: Diablo 3. This game will offer an auction house where players can sell items for real money. You’ll be able to see items and also characters! Apart from that, another sentence stood out: It was also confirmed that the game will require an internet connection to play at all times. I love having games on my laptop that I can play wherever I take it without having to be online. Germany isn’t known for its wide access to WLAN hotspots or other cheap methods to go online when away from your home access. ;)

For interested readers who are capable of German, I’ll give you three more links: Diablo 3 im Hands-on-Test, Item-Handel gegen echtes Geld und Jay Wilson im Interview. – The following might be a “good to know” for concerned WoW players: “Ich glaube nicht, dass unser Echtgeld-Auktionshaus auch in World of Warcraft funktionieren könnte.” Translation: I do not think that a real-money auction house would also work in World of Warcraft. So hopefully, we will never see something like that in WoW.

Guild Wars 2 will hopefully bring us some cool information at GamesCom. On the list of things to show is the Charr starter region, mid-level play for Sylvari AND Asuras, all 7 professions (which means we will probably not see the last class revealed there), finally more information about PvP in Guild Wars 2 and last but not least, the character customization! The latter is probably the most exciting part for me. Call me odd but I usually spend a lot of time making sure my character looks the way I want it to. Of course, knowing more about the PvP systems is also high up on my priority list. I can’t wait to get into PvP again (preferrably without having to worry about item spirals and sucking not because I can’t play my class but because it’s horribly undergeared).

Last but not least, Lord of the Rings Online talked about itemization with the upcoming expansion, Rise of Isengard. When I read the first two paragraphs, my heart sank a little. Fortunately, it gets better when you keep reading. I am just not a fan of the whole item spirals. I also do not get why a character should become more and more and more powerful because of super awesome gear. But at least, they will offer some good items to everybody no matter their playstyle. I would assume that this also makes balancing content easier. If you need to balance quests around players that have super-awesome-über gear and players in regular-standard-unter gear, I’d assume that it’s either too hard for the latter or too easy for the first group (I’m looking at you, World of Warcraft!).