Monday, June 3, 2013

Dawngate - Because Supports Need Love Too!

Ever play a MOBA as a support? Let me tell you, it sucks.

"Hey! Go buy wards!"

"Hey! Go buy smokes!"

"Hey! Get a gem!" (Or Oracle's for you League fans)

"Hey! Why did you buy damage? OMG fail support!"

And the list goes on and on.

You proceed to be a slave to your master carries. They can't ward their lane because they "need the money for items." They can't watch the mini-map because they'll "miss last hits." You have to sacrifice your life for your carries because "their life is more important" and they "don't want to lose out on farm." All the while they're swimming in gold like in Scrooge McDuck's money vault while you can't rub 2 bits together to call someone who cares.

It's not their fault they treat you like dirt. It's just how the game is most efficiently played. And you realize this, so you don't say anything about it.

What if someone actually did do something about it?

What if a well played support could be the highest farm in the game?

What if a support could afford to buy enough items to not die when someone looks at them funny?

What if the support didn't have to buy everyone's wards?

What if a developer finally realized that no one likes being everyone else's slave "for the good of the team"?

Would you play that game?

I would.

Enter Dawngate, by Waystone Games.

Waystone took the things that sucked about being a support, and did away with them.

Support buys wards for everyone? Nope. No one buys wards, because buying wards sucks. Everyone gets a ward to place on a 3 minute timer. If the carry doesn't ward his lane, it's his fault, not yours.

Support gets screwed on farm while the carries swim in gold? Not here. In addition to the normal passive vim (gold in Dawngate), Tacticians (the support role in Dawngate) gain bonus vim every time a lane minion dies near them and more bonus vim for harassing enemy Shapers (hero/champion). Not only that, there's income from Spirit Wells, which are resource nodes that give vim to the team over time.

Wow, so you mean I can actually buy my own items as a support to actually contribute to the team fight? Yup. I know, it's a radical concept apparently.

Where do I sign up?

Dawngate. Treating supports like people since 2013.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tarelther's Swordmaster Revamp Version 3

Keaven recently posted in the developer discussion forum for WAR looking for Combat and Careers balance feedback. The very first post stated he would not be doing a restructuring of all careers in the game, so I'm posting this here to not derail the entire thread.

Currently the SM is a very flexible tank, able to switch from offensive to defensive mode simply by varying his rotation. This is reason for his short buff/debuff durations. If the buff/debuff durations are extended without any additional changes, the SM will be capable of maximum offense and maximum defense at the same time and will be able to maintain both easily. I really don't think we want to recreate the OP Chosen that once got all the QQ though.

This is not working for most of the player base though, as evidenced by the recent survey Keaven posted. The big question I see asked is why bring a SM instead of a Knight? The big problem with the SM is the lack of a very clearly defined role. So let's make the Blade Enchantment very clearly define the role of the SM. This involves combining a lot of effects for tactics into the Blade Enchantment itself and replacing them with more interesting effects.

Also we can take this opportunity to make CC as available to the SM as other tanks.

Prior to making suggestions for changes, I'll lay out what I think each spec should do.

Also keep in mind that I am batting zero on my other two revamps.

Khaine is all about damage and damage support. A fully committed Khaine SM has forgone defense for offense, sacrificing his defensive utility for more damage. A SM less committed to Khaine still gains offensive utility allowing his group to kill opponents more quickly.

Vaul is about protection. Less committed SMs only look to Vaul to protect themselves, while those fully committed to Vaul also use the Winds of Magic to protect others.

Hoeth is about the SM using the Winds of Magic to enhance his Blade Enchants further. A SM less committed to Hoeth will find his Blade Enchantments working more often and will be able to push himself for longer. A SM fully committed to Hoeth will also use the Winds of Magic to rip apart his enemies' magical defenses for his team to exploit.

Blade Enchantments:

Heaven's Blade: Moved to Khaine: 25% chance on hit: Reduce all resists by x. Deals x spirit damage. Also increases outgoing damage by 45%, parry by 5% (GWM and Taunt) and crit chance by 0/10/20% based on balance state (Balanced Accuracy) and disables Taunt, Challenge and Guard. Requires 2h weapon.

Balanced Accuracy and Great Weapon Mastery get other effects.

It's known that the dev team wanted to restrict Guard to shield. I find that rather heavy-handed. I felt it was better to allow the SM to trade his defensive utility for damage. Adding another percentage increase might make damage get a bit out of control though. The flat damage added to Heaven's Blade makes the DPS SM easier to balance than another percentage increase would.

Alternately, Heaven's Blade could increase outgoing damage by 10% instead of 45%, not do the extra spirit damage when applied, and still have the SM keep his defensive utility.

Phantom's Blade: 25% chance on hit: Absorb x damage over 10s. Also Increases armor by x. Increases chance to block by 5/15/25% and chance to parry by 0/10/20% based on balance (Crushing Advance and Perfect Defenses). Increases duration of Eagle's Flight and Dragon's Talon to 10s.

Crushing Advance and Perfect Defenses get other effects.

I know the player base wanted the effects of Eagle's Flight and Dragon's Talon increased in duration, but I felt it would be overpowering to allow a DPS SM to keep these up and still output a lot of damage. By restricting the duration increase to using Phantom's Blade, which does nothing for the SM's damage, I think that problem can be avoided.

Nature's Blade: Moved to Hoeth. 25% chance on hit: Steal stats from enemies within 30 feet and give them to your group for 10s. Also increases chance to disrupt by 5/15/25% based on balance (Aethyric Armor and Calming Winds)

AA becomes group armor buff like We'z Bigger. Calming Winds has new effect.

Nature's Blade is group utility, so I think it belongs in the utility tree.

Normal ability moves: Quick Incision moved to Vaul. Wrath of Hoeth moved to Khaine (probably should be made single target and AP cost reduced with the other Hoeth changes). Intimidating Blow moved to Hoeth. This is to reinforce the purpose of each Mastery line. Khaine is damage, Vaul is protection, and Hoeth is utility.


Deep Incision is made core trading places with Forceful Shock. It's not worth the Mastery point in my opinion.

Forceful Shock now causes Blurring Shock's Shock effect to do x damage, where x is what a normal max point investment in Khaine would give, or maybe a little more. The idea is similar to the Bright Wizard tactic Fueled from Within. A full Khaine SM probably would not use it unless it was a drastic increase in damage, but this would allow a Vaul or Hoeth SM to offspec Khaine and still make use of the Shock debuff to help his group kill the enemy faster. Besides, why would anyone want to knock away a target you just made more vulnerable to damage?

Sapping Strike is now a 50% incoming heal debuff for 10s. SM is the only tank on Order without a heal debuff. The AP drain isn't strong enough to be worth anything.

Balanced Accuracy. Crashing Wave, Whispering Winds, Crushing Advance, Redirected Force, and Gusting Wind are x% (more than 20%) less likely to be defended/are undefendable. I only used Poised Attacks and Discerning Offense for one purpose, to make sure my CC landed, but 2 tactic slots is very costly for this. This tactic would accomplish the same thing with only one tactic without increasing the SM's damage potential. I would prefer undefendable, but it might be too much. This also makes Khaine more attractive for an offspec.

Phoenix's Wing is moved to 13 Hoeth with new effect.

Crashing Wave is moved to 9 Khaine. Knockdowns are offensive utility and have no business in a defensive tree. Vaul is going to be picking up a single target stagger, so this may need a 2h requirement if having both a knockdown and a stagger is too much for the SM.

Great Weapon Mastery – You gain 4 x Mastery level Strength while using Heaven's Blade. Basically Brute Force. By this point, only full Khaine SMs are still hanging around in this tree, so it's time to start piling on the DPS.

Ether Dance. No change.

Whirling Geyser. No change.


Vaul's Buffer – moves to 3 Vaul. This keeps the SM alive, not his group, so it belongs lower in the tree. Absorb values may need to be adjusted. This is more for the SM who isn't using Phantom's Blade anyway. It makes Wall of Darting Steel a much better survival tool.

Redirected Force – moves to Crashing Wave's old spot 13 up Vaul, requires Perfect Balance, no longer requires defense, super punt, 10s cooldown. Blurring Shock can hold hate in PvE just fine. We don't need this for PvE. A super punt for the SM is another request, which I feel is reasonable so long as it's restricted to defensive tanks. If a SM puts 14+ points into Vaul, he won't be doing much damage anyway. It can be restricted to Phantom's Blade if a problem arises.

Protection of Hoeth – moves to 5 Vaul. This used to be worth 10 points when Sudden Shift was not in the game allowing the SM to move to Improved Balance without a target. Now, not so much. It belongs in Vaul since it's a self survival tool.

Lingering Intimidation – is now core replacing Dampening Talon. It's more I needed to room to improve Dampening Talon than not liking Lingering Intimidation.

Perfect Defenses – moves to 7 Vaul – Reduces chance to be critically hit by 10%. Mirror of Chosen tactic. In the current state of the game, this is a more practical defense then parry and block.

Crushing Advance – Requires Shield – 9s ST stagger, 20s cooldown. It's not AoE like the Knight/Chosen, but I don't think it really has to be either to make an impact on the battlefield.

Dampening Talon – moves to 11 Vaul - Dragon's Talon affects up to 9 targets within 20 feet while under the effect of Phantom's Blade and it deals less damage. Another change the player base has been asking for. I feel it really needs to be restricted to defensive tanks. DPS have no business having something like this. Granted spending 12+ in Vaul won't exactly make the SM a damage machine though.


Bolstering Enchantments – Increases chance for Blade Enchantments to trigger to 33%, instead of 25%. I always liked the idea of having a tactic increase this. It makes the SM more of what he already is. More DPS from Heaven's Blade. More survivability from Phantom's Blade. More debuff/buff goodness from Nature's Blade.

AA – group armor buff like We'z Bigger. No longer increases disrupt since that was rolled into Nature's Blade. Could also be made into a toggle, like Prayer of Absolution.

Calming Winds – You gain 40 AP when your Blade Enchants trigger. Mirrored to Stop Hittin' Da Runts. Similar to Bolstering Enchantments, it allows the SM to be more of what he already is by letting him stay in the fight longer.

Whispering Winds – Moved to 9 Hoeth

Blessing of Heaven – Nature's Blade now also reduces all resists of enemies affected for 10s. Makes up for the loss of Heaven's Blade to Khaine. Brings total utility closer to a Knight's. Name fits well.

Phoenix's Wing – Moved to 13 Hoeth. 40% AoE snare for 5s. Similar to BO Big Swing with Big Brawlin' tactic slotted. No longer has 2h requirement. I don't think the AoE disorient is needed, and the Strength debuff is already covered by Nature's Blade, but feel free to add these effects.

Alternately, Blessing of Heaven could add a 5s snare to targets affected by Nature's Blade and Phoenix's Wing could be an AoE to debuff all resists.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wrath of Heroes Open Beta Lineup

The 5 heroes for Open Beta have been decided. Aessa, Ilanya, Volrik, Ikkrik, and Glowgob will be the starting lineup. I'm surprised how balanced this ended up given the community voted on two of the slots. The lineup includes a tank/initiator(Aessa), a hard carry(Ilanya), an assassin(Ikkrik) and 2 support(Volrik and Glowgob). Aessa and Volrik provide the required crowd control.

The match-ups are also balanced.

Volrik loses to everyone solo, but he hard counters Glowgob due to his pull, 100% heal debuff, and root and snare to keep him from running away. Conrad would have just silenced Volrik with his 3 after the pull and run away.

Aessa counters a team composition focused on single target damage due to her Elite Bodyguard skill 5. Aessa also hard counters Ikkrik due to her CC, preventing the Smoke Screen skill 5 escape, and dodge chance.

Ilanya counters Aessa with her high magical burst damage, which Aessa has nothing in her base kit to counter. Ilanya's knock up on her 4 can help create a little distance after the pounce.

Ikkrik counters Ilanya since he can Smoke Screen the DoTs upon which she relies. Not to mention his damage is ridiculous against soft targets.

Glowgob won't kill anyone solo, but no one will kill him solo either. Glowgob's healing counters single target damage team compositions. For example, his 1 heals a single target for 63, and his 2 heals a single target for 213. The heals are split among all nearby damaged allies, including him, so AoE damage lowers Glowgob's single target healing significantly. None of the heroes in the lineup use AoE damage.

I'm kinda sad Conrad didn't make it, but given there's no AoE damage, his healing is kinda gimped. That's probably a good thing though. He would beat Ilanya and laugh at Volrik due to his silence though. Even if Durrig had made it instead of Ikkrik, Conrad would have countered 3 of the other 4 heroes in the lineup and would be unbalanced.

I had a match where a premade team used Ilanya, Durrig, and Korith for their damage output and I picked Conrad. I already counter Ilanya and Durrig, and I slotted an armor tactic to deal with Korith. Here's what happened. Note, this is in 1080p, so it looks a lot better on YouTube.

See you in Open Beta.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

3 Steps to (Almost) Malware-Proof of Your Internet Browsing

Here's the 3 easiest steps to eliminate most threats you'll come across while browsing the web. They're all free.

1. Use Mozilla Firefox.


Yes, I get credit if you download Firefox through that link. No, I don't make a dime from it. But I might get a really cool T-shirt if enough people download it from there. :)

The main reason Firefox is used has more to do with number 2 below than anything else. Firefox has a few things going for it. It's open source, meaning that the source code is visible and changeable by anyone. Instead of a small team at a company working on it, millions can (and do) work to improve upon the software. There's no monetary payment involved, but you'll get credit for the improvement if it's implemented and it looks good on a resume. Since it's quite popular, a lot of web developers will make sure their sites work with it. Did I mention it's free?

2. Install the NoScript plug-in.

Plugin Checker

Just search for NoScript there and it will come right up. NoScript disables Javascript universally unless you whitelist the site and allow it. It also has the side effect of blocking a lot of ads. Without Javascript, sites cannot just install something onto your computer without you knowing about it. There's a bit of a learning curve to browsing with the plug-in enabled, but it's worth it. These two things will fix half your problems with picking up malware from the Internet.

3. Use common sense.

This is the other half. If you just hit allow all all the time in NoScript, it will be like not even having it. Stay away from sites that are obviously potentially malicious. For example, downloading the latest, greatest single for free from a file sharing site is stealing. Chances are, that free download, isn't really free. (Yes, that goes double for the free porn sites gang.) Those sites make money somehow, and a lot of the time it's by installing tracking and "ad-serving" software on your machine. Or they might just install software on your computer to have it participate in DDoS attacks whenever the site owner wants. This could land you in serious legal trouble. Just don't go there.

It's been awhile since I've posted anything. It's mostly because I haven't really been playing anything. Real life has been kinda crazy. I'm back on overnight shift, but I don't mind it so much since it allows me to do something I like.

My guild is moving towards Guild Wars 2. WAR just doesn't have the population any more, and TOR has been kinda disappointing. Circle of Rage always an Open RvR, large scale guild. Back in the day, we fielded no less than 3 warbands. The WvW in GW2 looks very promising.

So I figured I'd at least post something useful until I have more to talk about. I can do more stuff like this if you all want. Let me know.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

7 Tenets of PvP Tanking

I originally posted this on the SW:TOR boards here. Given the positive reception, I'll post it here too.

1. You shall initiate the fight when appropriate.

As the tank you are the most likely of your team to absorb the initial focus of the enemy team and live, so it's your job to pick the fights. You will go in first and start messing with people for a couple seconds before your team engages. The idea is that the enemy starts with focus on you and forces the enemy to interrupt a damage rotation and take a second to switch targets to start hitting your big DPS character. The seconds you buy from this can make the difference between winning and losing the fight.

2. Defense before offense.

Your primary responsibility as a tank is to keep your DPS alive so they can kill the opponent. Adding assist damage to your DPS's target, while very important, is secondary to your other functions such as Taunt, Guard, and various CC and damage debuffs. Your DPS can do no damage dead.

3. You must be a threat.

You don't necessary need to make an enemy go, "He's gonna kill me, get him off." It helps if you can do that while still being able to initiate, but you just have to be enough of a pain in the rear to the enemy to make them deal with you. It can be with CC frustrating the enemy to the point of focusing you just so they feel like they can act. It can be making the enemy's primary healer or DPS useless by debuffing them. One of my favorite things to do to a sorceress in WAR was to start by dropping her damage to 70% of normal, cutting down her crit chance and draining her morale, then disorienting her to make all her casts take 50% longer, followed by a snare, a silence, then draining her AP and morale further. It usually got me some attention.

4. Take advantage of player psychology.

This really applies to everyone, but the PvP tank can do this in ways no one else can. In WAR, I always carried 2 full sets of gear and had a few preset combinations of them I could switch to with the push of a button ranging from balls to the wall offense to a couple balanced sets to full turtle tank. One thing I would often do is try to project an image of being one end of the spectrum and then switch to the other. If I wanted to be a full tank for example, I'd rush in, lay some heavy damage on a enemy, get focused, die, respawn or get a rez, switch gear to full defensive gear, and then go in like that for the rest of the fight. It also works the other way too if I want to DPS. This is similar to a poker player presenting a table image then switching to another play style hoping his opponents don't notice.

Of course, you want to communicate something like this to your team ahead of time if you can. Going in first as a DPS to give an early, easy kill can also make the enemy overconfident, and you definitely want to take advantage of that if you notice by luring the enemy into traps.

5. The life of your DPS is more important than yours. (But not by a whole lot)

You should be willing to sacrifice yourself to save the life of your DPS. Your DPS should NEVER die before you do. Obviously, this does not always happen, but it's the mindset to have. If your DPS is going down before you consistently (and it's not his fault for being stupid), you need to make yourself more of a threat by shifting some of your survivability for damage. This works the other way as well. If you die well before your DPS consistently (and it's not your fault for being stupid), you need to trade damage for survivability. Ideally when your DPS dies, you should have been killed seconds earlier or be about to go down shortly after the DPS dies. In this way, you'll have a perfect balance of threat to survivability. This is presuming the DPS player is competent of course. If your DPS teammate couldn't DPS his way out of a wet paper bag, he's not worth your life.

Guard damage should be one of the major causes of your death when it happens. Yes, you can take more damage than most, but that's because you have to be able to do so. You intentionally redirect some of the incoming damage from a teammate onto yourself. You are able to defend and mitigate this damage. You should be able handle this damage without being a major drain on the healing resources which are better conserved to keep your DPS alive.

6. If your DPS is wrong, you should be wrong with him.

This is related to number 5. This means if the DPS you are protecting has run off by himself to do something, you need to be with him. Your DPS is useless dead, and a lot of your abilities to mitigate damage do not work on you, so you might as well be useful with your DPS being wrong, than useless being "right."

Taunt for example, unless it changed from the Eternity Vault video, reduces damage of the targeted enemy to everyone else except you for a time. You can't Guard yourself, not that it would do anything dividing the damage you take between you and you.

7. Tunnel vision will kill your team.

You need watch health bars like you were a healer so you can place Guard where it is needed. You need to watch the enemy so you can place your CC, buffs and debuffs effectively. You need to watch the positioning of your team since Guard only works within a short range. (See also number 6 for this.) You need to do all this on top off watching yourself, your ability rotation/priority, your health and resources, and your positioning. It can be very stressful, and sometimes impossible, to keep track of all this.

Sometimes in WAR my healers would tell me to potion because their resources are drained or focused on another player. They did this because they understood sometimes I can lose track of my own health trying to perform all my other duties. I rarely needed the reminder, but I appreciated it.

The PvP tank is a thankless job, much like the PvE tank, but it is very satisfying when played well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

WAR Reboot - Affording the Necessities

So I haven't been leveling up my new character this week. I've been focused on another project. My 16/25 SM now has 200 Apothecary and 200 Cultivating. My alt is working on Butchering. I'm working on getting level 200 extenders, multipliers, stimulators, and stabilizers. The skill can be easily leveled, but leveling the plants takes some time or gold if the cultivating enhancers are used.

Some of the lower level potions sell, in particular the level 15 and 25 heal potions. I'm sure the 60 minute armor and stat potions do as well since I see them up all the time.

The potions make a huge difference in the lower Tiers. I didn't get it on fraps, (wish I did), but a level 11 witch elf jumped me while I was level 5 and I straight up owned her. She didn't come back. If you decide to make talismans instead, the potions are very worth it. Pop an absorb potion plus a regen potion plus a renown potion in Tier 1 and you can about double the amount of damage you can take once every 5 minutes. If you're fighting one on one, a molotov potion is a free dot you can use from range. If you have group chasing you, you can drop a snare potion to allow you to kite a little better. If someone is trying to cap an objective, a napalm or flame breath potion will stop that for awhile.

I like to have every advantage I can get, within the rules of course. Potions can give you that small edge. Try to have some on you at all times.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

WAR Reboot - On to Tier 2

One of the things I wanted to test is if Tier 1 or Tier 2 is more renown/xp. With one kill in Tier 2 at rank 12, I had my answer and it wasn't even close. Tier 2 is miles ahead in renown/time and renown/xp. Rank 12 is the soonest you can enter Tier 2 and be eligible for Bolster, zone captures, and AAO. I was defending the Altar of Khaine in the Blighted Isle. I killed a DoK on the objective and received 3000 experience and 300 renown. Later when defending the Ironclad in Barak Varr, I killed a Chosen for 1500 experience and 700 renown. Sure, it might be fun to totally dominate the lower Tier, but you don't learn anything like that and I find more enjoyment out of a challenge.

I actually ended up staying up until 2AM fighting in Tier 2. It was so much fun with fights actually happening that I lost track of time. My new character is now R12/RR20. I've bought a few talismans, but good lord, potions can be ridiculous to buy (or sell) at lower Tiers. I'm definitely going Apothecary/Cultivating with Butchering on the alt.

I don't feel underpowered in Tier 2 even though I'm the lowest level in the Tier. You can definitely tell the difference between a Rank 1 and Rank 15 in Tier 1, but it's not that bad Rank 12 versus Rank 26. It's likely because at Rank 10 you have all the basic tools you need to function. I would certainly be in favor of just giving players all their Rank 1-10 abilities at Rank 1. I understand the whole not wanting to overwhelm a new player with everything at once, but it's crippling in RvR. If one side has Rank 10+ tanks and the other doesn't, it's usually decided before the fight starts for example.

For those curious, I'm playing a Swordmaster on Badlands, also named Tarelther. Say hi if you see me there. But please, send a tell before inviting me to anything. I swear that people have forgotten common courtesy these days. Doing stuff like that in FFXI when I played it earned you an instant blacklist (/ignore) and I'm going to be adopting the same policy.