Friday, May 25, 2012

Thoughts on Diablo 3 Elective mode

I was scanning through my Google reader when I came across Mr. Rohan's post on the failure of elective mode and decided to express my views here instead of clogging up his posts comments with it XD

To be honest, the true hardcore players I doubt would actually whine about having to make choices. At the end of the day, a computer game is based around numbers. Everything can be calculated, Procs can be determined and rotations can be maximized for true effectiveness at a given task. Once you know the formulas, and can calculate what you want to do, then isn't there no choice in the matter of skill selection? You would be able to determine the right answer for a given situation. For example, if you want your Barbarian to survive long in a pack of enemies, intuitively you would perhaps choose some self healing skill, a skill that reduces damage taken or perhaps a set of skills that would allow you to chain stun a set of mobs.

What however is killing the game, is pseudo power gamers who think that their way is the most effective method and that there are no choices. It's actually quite telling about how hardcore these players are when they don't even have proper spreadsheets or formulas listed out. Sure it's actually easy to think of skill combination that would help you do great dps or have greatly increased survivability, but is it the only way? These voices are perhaps the loudest on the forums and moan about the fact that elective mode actually reduces the number of choices they have.

In truth it really doesn't matter. Like what Marius said in the comments on that post, using the correct skill combination that meshes with your play style could perhaps create more effective builds or even more entertaining builds.

Though I must admit that Mr. Rohan has a point regarding the restriction of tools. Restricting the number of tools that a player has access to will greatly increase the creativity of the player in handling problems. This actually has been discussed a bit on the Team Liquid forums as well on the optimization of Resource nodes in Starcraft 2.

Personally I think that elective mode actually helps you be more expressive of how you want to play your character. Want to play a Pure Melee Wizard with increased survivability? You can with the right skill selection. Or what about a Ninja Demon hunter that hurls Chakrams and lays traps to kill enemies? I honestly think that without Elective mode, you can't play those classes effectively.

If anything, recall at the start of Starcraft 2 and how PvP games were. Or rather, Protoss versus anything to be honest. Every single match up was dealt with a simple 4 gate timing push. This eventually changed to a more varied strategy setup over time. There are not a few different strats for Protoss players. Diablo 3 is barely even 2 weeks old. I feel that it's too early to say that there are really no choices in play style or skills.

Butcher One Shots

An absolutely brilliant idea from HardFlaccid to kill Butcher :) Hope you guys enjoy XD

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Burning Axe of Sankis in Diablo 3

Oh Blizzard, how I adore thee. I was looking through the Diablo 3 Database to see what legendaries are in the game currently when I came across this gem of a find.

The name Sankis by itself sounded really familiar to me, but what gave it away immediately was the word 'Fortress'. When I read the flavor text fully, I couldn't stop laughing. The origin of this Easter egg comes from a communal game on the something awful forums a long long time ago.

Back in the day, a person by the name of Evilslug decided to start up a succession game of Dwarf fortress. Every participant to the game would be alllowed to play for 1 year of in game time. Then he would need to send the save file over to the next person. For that 1 year of in game time, the player would then have to chronicle his tale of woe of leading a fortress of dwarfs.

Now if you have no idea of what Dwarf Fortress is, well, it's easily the most manly and the hardest game ever made in existence. It's so manly that it can withstand a Chuck Norris Roundhouse kick.

kudos to 1d4chan wiki

The full story of the fortress itself is too long to put in a single blog post. It spans 2 threads, and nearly 64 separate updates. After a colossal series of accident, the then previous Emperor to the fortress 'Sankis' went on a rampage with his axe. This despite being set on fire.

I would really suggest you guys read the entire series if you can. It's absolutely hilarious, on par with thelittlestmurloc's tale of 'You Awaken in Razor Hill'

The link to the full tale of woe starts here:

Big Kudos to Blizzard to actually putting in such Easter eggs in their game :D

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Justice in APB:reloaded

Just Hot off the press! APB Reloaded admin lets hacking victim decide hacker's fate.

linky here:

It's a surprising piece of news, considering vigilante justice is generally frowned upon in the real world. Despite this, in the virtual world, such forms of justice is not really discouraged, but instead encouraged. This is actually not the only incidence of CM's actually taking a personal hand in dealing with Bots and hackers. For example in Guild Wars, Botters were actually taken out by a GM using the avatar of Grenth, a end game boss.

Personally, I think that the CM should not have displayed such investigation information on the forums so readily. It might invite unwanted attacks on the hacker in the future. I honestly believe in the ideal of redemption, and that everybody should have a second chance to prove themselves. With such an attack on the hacker itself, the internet might take every opportunity it can to bully the hacker.

That being said, there's a little part of me that is pumping my hand in the air shouting, 'Booyah! Hacker deserved it!' LOL, guess it's hard for me to get rid of my vindictive side :P

Critique of RPS way of handling reviews of Diablo 3

As an advocate of Game design, I read quite a few blogs/sites which concern game development. I'm actually pretty disheartened by the way Rock Paper Shotgun actually handled the review of Diablo 3.  I know I should have followed spink's advice to not start flame wars or write inciting stuff, but the way they handled the whole review system got my hackles raised.

2 out of the 4 writers (Jonathan Walker and Nathan Grayson) actually wrote articles pertaining to the gameplay of Diablo 3, and how it felt while playing the game. All 3 articles however groused about the effect of 'DRM' when playing it online. I'll go through each article and list out some of their misconception of the game.

First up would be 'Hack Slashes: 3 hours with Diablo 3'. He starts off describing the little details that make Diablo 3 great. Things such as the inventory window closing when walking away from the store, the little stories that pop up when you walk around the world of sanctuary. Then he comes to the cons of Diablo 3. Which basically sums up to his intense hatred of always on DRM. I understand if you have worries about always having to connect to the internet in order to play your game, but seriously? If you're writing articles on gaming news sites, I kinda expect feelings to like not play such an important part in a review of it >.< A lot of people often grouse about this part of Diablo 3. Look I understand that you feel it's irritating that you have to worry about lag in order to play a game but I honestly think nostalgia is coloring your perceptions a little.

Do you know what I remember about Diablo 2 and Battlenet then?

I remember maphacks and Treasure hacks.
I remember Blizzard having to implement the Uber Bosses in order to help remove inflation in the game
I remember Item duping to such a great extent that people traded in Stone of Jordan's instead of Gold.
I remember people getting hacked and all the items lost, sold on Ebay.
I remember people hacking their characters to ridiculous extents, such as having a level 40 Hydra spell
I remember people copying their Hardcore character files so that if they ever died, they could just continue from the last time they copied the file.

So really, is always online a bad thing? I honestly say no. I would rather have the always online DRM than have constant bots, cheats and other douches ruining my gaming experience. With the need to connect to Battlenet, I won't need to worry about such hacks being in my games so much. Not to say that the exploiters won't be able to exploit Diablo 3. I'm pretty sure they will, but with more eyes on them, it will be easier to spot them this time.

The second article by Nathan Grayson is 'Opinion: why the problem with diablo 3 isn't Diablo'. He writes a better article than Jonathan and he argues that we should be against the always on DRM because we should stay angry at the always on DRM. while it's valid in a way I would actually disagree with the staying angry and unstatisfied. Why should you direct it against a company that is trying it's very best to make the idea work? It's a controversial idea, but Blizzard is committed to trying to make it work. Battle net 2.0 was always meant to be a comparable social network to Steam actually. That was the original vision for it. If you wanted to raise objections, do it against a proper target instead of just directing your resentment against such changes from all game companies. It's not healthy for growth and developement of the gaming sector. It hearkens to mind the days when the Church tried to suppress science in the middle ages.

The last and final article, 'How Diablo 3's solo experience reveals a hollow game'. Again here he talks about the always on DRM and how stupid it is. Look We get that you hate the DRM aspect but can you stop whining about it constantly? Other then that he starts talking about how the gameplay seems hollow and how it doesn't add anything to the genre.

Uhm.... Newsflash Jonathan, it never meant to add to the genre. The Developers never wanted to add anything to it. Let's look at the criticisms you made and i'll direct you to the relevant articles to which you can read to correct your well meaning and erroneous views.

First point of contention: Unable to change camera angle.
Jay Wilson says, "Very early on in the process we had some people who argued that we should not make the game isometric, that it would be better technology, more modern, if we made a third or first-person game," said Wilson. "I really would have nothing of it. For me a camera is not a technology choice, there's more than enough first and third-person games out there." (Linky here)

Second point of contention: You mentioned that it's a very primitive game when taking into account it's failings. It's suppose to be easy and the mechanics simple enough to pick up.

Third point of contention: No more inventory Tetris, which means you just portal back, sell stuff and then go back to killing. There's nothing wrong with that. I actually like that. If you ever really played diablo 2 properly, you would know that inventory Tetris, while fun, detracted from the constant killing. Blizzard has implemented tons of quality of life change in the hope of making the experience more fun for you. So you know you can enjoy the game more fully? I have no idea why you want to make it more troublesome to get to the fun bits but hey I guess everybody has his own fetishes like BDSM.

Fourth point of contention: Monsters don't attack in interesting ways. Nostalgia is coloring your perceptions here. Monsters in Diablo 2 did not attack in interesting ways. They swarmed you, they attacked you with a variety of skills like Charge from the Snakemen, Inferno from the Fetish shamans.

Fifth Point of contention: Skills are made more restrictive because they are simpler. I really disagree with this. It's not really that restrictive. You can actually changed what skills you want to put in the 4 quick action slots. They do not have to be defensive skills in the defensive slots, utility skills in the Utility slots. In the case of the monk, you could even put your 3 spirit generators into the quick action slots and use it together with a passive skill in order to get 24% bonus damage. The complexity is there if you want to look for it. This is not like Diablo 2 where you only had 2 skills, and synergies between various skills were not implemented till patch 1.10 or something. Skills are a bit more complex now compared to Diablo 2.

Sixth point of contention: Died 4 times with 87 potions in your inventory, meaning the game is too simple. Clearly you have not been playing Nightmare or Hell yet. Add the fact that you're playing a monk, the one class in the game with a healing spell. Wow, i'm so totally amazed that you have not used any potions yet. 

Last point of contention: Grouses about the always online DRM. Jay Wilson has you covered as well! He said, "One of the big reasons is if we take a server-client structure and you allow offline play, you have to put the server architecture into the build that you give to players. Once you have that server architecture, it's way easier to hack it." (same link as before)

I would really appreciate it if the writers actually got their facts right first before writing their articles. I really do not like seeing emotions and views color facts that can be easily verified. 

TL;DR : I'm so amazed by the quality of the writing at such an established website.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I can imagine phone conversations between Couples going something like this today:

Generic GF: Hey baby :) how are you today sweetheart? :) All ready for our date later?
Generic BF: *Attempts to fake Cough* Sorry love, I don't think I can make it.... Think I'm coming down with some thing
Generic GF: awww :( what happened darling? Do you want me to come over to make some chicken soup for you?
Generic BF: No no! It's okay, I'll be fine. Might need to be isolated for the next week or so though. I think it's contagious.
Generic GF: Are you sure? Have you seen a doctor about it?
Generic BF: Uhm Uhm... yeah, he said it's a common condition, just like the flu! Yeah just like the flu. Called it i think uhm uhm... *mumbles* Diabloitis *mumbles*
Generic GF: Diabloitis? Such a terrible name..... :( I'll call you everyday okay? Are you sure you will be fine honey?
Generic BF: Yea I will be fine, just need to stay at home.
Generic GF: Okay..... Love you baby, and take care of yourself love

Yeap..... I can totally see that happening today. Totally ;) I mean, most of us have waited a long time for it havn't we :)

Now if you excuse me, I think I have to take my medication for Diabloitis now...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pandaren Dances

I know I shouldn't be spamming my blog so much, but to be honest? I'm sold on MOP. Caremeldansen for my Female Panda? I'll buy the collector's edition just for it LOL XD

Diablo 3: Wrath Animated Short

Had a fanboy squeal when I saw this video on Ausgamers this morning :D Directed by Peter Chung? Made with the help of the studio that did work on Afro Samurai? It's a wonderful Morning to start it off by watching it XD

Hello World! Back into the writing circuit again....

Hello everyone! Tis' been a long time since I wrote stuff. Ah well, it's kinda like a swimming right? You will never forget how to swim once you learnt it :)

Like all of the other newbie bloggers taking part in the NBI, i'm an avid gamer. I love playing games and reading up about them. I dabble a bit in theorycrafting, but not to the extent of taking out spreadsheets and meticulously noting down every single case. It's not just video games as well. I love reading up on RPGs and tabletop Strategy games like Warhammer 40.000 Dark Heresy or Warhammer 40,000: tabletop. Sadly I don't have the money to support the tabletop, but I do hope that someday I can convince my friends to play Dark Heresy with me.

I'm currently playing both SWTOR and WOW. Despite the NBI being a drive to create MMO blogs, I don't think I will have such a heavy emphasis on MMOs. I do plan to actually post about game design of current games and analyzing them. I aim to post at least once every 2 days, just to make sure my writing skills don't deteriorate too far XD

So... Thank you for reading my first post and I hope that you will continue visiting my blog in the future XD

p.s: I don't think I will take a formal tone while writing, I'm way too informal a person to put everything in a cold logical manner. Unless it's a Math/Theorycrafting post XD