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In SWTOR (Star Wars the Old Republic), once you hit level 50 you gain access to a level 50 only planet called Ilum. This planet has some daily repeatable PvE quests, but the main function of the planet is the world PvP area (in which there is a daily and weekly which you can get PvP gear from). The problem with this area is that its… well… boring and severely lacking in PvP! The cause of this problem, in my opinion, is that aside from those trying to grind for their PvP gear, there is really nothing there thats worthwhile. What ends up happening is that, especially on low population servers, the whole area is either empty, or completely one sided (usually in favor of the imps) so actual PvP either doesn’t happen, or is essentially a gang bang with many players of one faction killing a few of the other. What follows is my ideas for making Ilum worthwhile and fun!

 

Turn it into a level 50 hub

One of the main problems with Ilum is that its simply empty, and there really isn’t any reason to spend more than an hour at the most on Ilum (mainly to finish the PvP daily). What Bioware should do is turn this area into a Hub so players are drawn to it, or at least willing to spend a little more time than the time it takes to finish the daily. In order to make it a Hub, they could add a few things to the bases that you would only find in the Fleet or capitol city of the factions. These could be more vendors (specifically the PvP gear vendors at the least), a mail box, the PvPand PvE  mission box (so we can pick up the PvP daily/weekly here, as well as the PvE daily, since there are a few flash points on Ilum), the Galactic Trade Network, and more! Doing this won’t solve the fact that Ilum is empty, but it could help keep people on Ilum who usually just come for the daily, and then leave for the fleet immediately afterwards.

Change the PvP Daily

The Ilum PvP daily is one of the worst PvP dailies i’ve ever seen. You can complete the daily without even seeing a player of the opposing faction (and I often do, being on a low population server with a pretty severe faction imbalance). For those who don’t know, the PvP daily quest has you collect 30 “armaments” or kill 30 enemies (or a combination of the 2, like kill 5 people and collet 25 armaments). Farming item nodes is Not PvP. The simplest correction would be to revert the daily back to what it used to be, which is to take control of one of the assaults 5 times. Unfortunately, what used to happen is the two factions would sit in an assault (generally center from my experience) and basically trade control of it back and forth without even touching each other. To fix this, the developers could require that all enemy players (out of stealth, to prevent abuse by stealth characters) be eliminated before you can take control of the area.

Another possible change could be to require only kills, rather than having armaments or other quest items to collect. This would most likely be bad though, especially on low population servers where the opposing faction (usually the Republic) is always outnumbered. At the least the PvP daily would take MUCH longer, and would be much more frustrating.

If Bioware refuses to change the PvP daily, the least they could do is increase the spawn rate of the armaments, and have them spawn in other areas besides he central assault.

Add a Faction Wide Buff

Right now, as I’ve mentioned, there is really no reason to go to Ilum besides the daily quest. Even then, there is no reason to stay on Ilum once you have completed it. If Bioware were to add a faction wide buff for controlling Ilum, players  buff, and damage boost in PvE would suffice. They could have a Flash point that is only accessible to the faction that controls Ilum. Regardless of what the buff does, anything that affects the whole faction in a good way would be an incentive for going to Ilum. If you combine this with my idea above for changing the daily, I think you would definitely see more fights and PvP in general on Ilum.

 

Fix the Faction Imbalance

Now this is a difficult problem to tackle. You can’t force people to reroll, and you can’t just change someones character to one of the opposing faction. There are some solutions however. Merging low population servers would definitely help. Bioware could also lower the population cap on the PvP area of Ilum itself, so that if there are a bunch of one faction, and very few of the others, at least one phase could have some fair fights. Beyond that, I’m not sure what other solutions are out there, but the faction imbalance (which can be very severe on certain servers) really needs to be addressed!

 

There are more ways in which Ilum could be fixed, but I believe that the above suggestions address the most important problems of Ilum. If you have some suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Before I get into the actual topic of this post, I want to apologize to all my potential readers. I’ve been very bad lately about making posts, mainly because I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic almost nonstop since I got the game. So sorry readers, but I’m going to make it up to you, I swear!

First, a couple of notes about the game itself (I plan on doing a write up/review of the game at a later point):

I absolutely love the game, but it isn’t without its flaws. First a few good things:

  • The Story, in true BioWare fashion, is incredibly well done. The attention to detail for all the various story lines (not just the class story lines, which were admittedly incredible) is incredibly refined.
  • The combat is very dynamic and refreshing.
  • SWTOR has the best leveling/questing I have experienced in an MMO. Leveling and questing is exciting, and even after I have played through most of the non class stories once, its still enjoyable thanks to the fact that you can play through the quests differently (My main, a level 50 bounty Hunter, was light side, and my alt, a level 12 Imperial Agent, is being played through as dark side

And of course, as I mentioned there are some flaws. Here are a few things that need some work

  • The game gets quite laggy when you have a lot of different players on the screen
  • Not many graphics options/settings for optimizing performance
  • End game content is lacking a little bit
  • World PVP is almost nonexistant, especially if playing on a low population server

 

PvPing as a Mercenary

For those who don’t know, Mercenary is one of the Advanced Classes of the Imperial Bounty Hunter class (which is mirrored by the Trooper on Republic side). Mercenary’s can specialize in either damage, or healing. I will be focusing on using the Arsenal spec, which is damage, but I will touch upon Body Gaurd, which is the healing spec.

Tracer Missile. Good spell to use, bad spell to spam

Arsenal specced Mercenaries are capable of putting out some insane damage! However, many novice Mercenaries don’t quite understand the class, and especially the role that the Mercenary’s main damaging attack, Tracer Missile, plays in a Mercenary’s spell rotation. If you happen to frequent the SWTOR forums, you have undoubtedly heard a lot of complaining about “Tracer Missile spam”. Tracer missile, for those who don’t know, is a spell with no cooldown, and solid damage. Many novice Mercenaries, for lack of experience, will end up simply spamming this spell over and over again. This can result in decent damage, but those who do this are easily shut down by a smart player, whether it be through going around corners to break line of sight (hereby referred to as LOS) or interrupting/silencing the Merc while tracer is being cast.

There are many reasons why simply spamming tracer missile is a bad idea. The main problem is simply that if you only spam tracer missile, you are really missing out on most of your damage. Tracer missile, while it has pretty good damage, is actually one of the lowest damaging spells of the Bounty Hunter, beating only missile blast, and explosive dart (and maybe another one or two that have slipped my mind). The second problem is that, while Tracer only costs 16 heat, spamming it is a great way of running out of heat (or rather, generating way too much) quickly.

Using Tracer missiles correctly, fortunately, is very straight forward. Tracer missile is essentially a set up spell. It sets a Merc up to do a lot of damage with their other spells, specially Heat Seeker Missile, Rail Shot, and Unload. Tracer Missile adds a debuff called Heat Signature to the target that reduces their armor by 4% per stack . This debuff stacks up to 5 times (which results in 20% armor reduction at 5 stacks. This stacks with High velocity Gas Cylinder, which results in 55% armor penetration!), and if you are fully specced into the arsenal tree, it adds two stacks of this debuff per hit of Tracer Missile. In addition, it also adds a buff (that similarly stacks up to 5 times) called Tracer Lock, which increases the damage of the next rail shot by 6% (so 30% rail shot damage increase at 5 Tracer Lock stacks). And in addition to all of this, Heat Seeker Missile gets its damage increased by 5% per heat signature on the target (so 25% increase at 5 stacks). But wait, theres more! Tracer missile (assuming your are fully specced into arsenal) also has a 30% chance to finish the cooldown of Unload, and increase the damage of the next unload by 25%.

As you can see, Tracer missile isn’t for spamming, but rather to be used as an opener for the rest of your skills! At most, you should shoot 5 tracer missiles at a target (To get the max stacks of Tracer Lock), and definitely not 5 in a row. One of the problems with Mercs is their lack of mobility, and sitting and shooting more tracer missiles than necessary doesn’t help.

My personal preference is to start of with an explosive dart, and then shoot a most 3 tracer missiles at a target to start off my rotation (this assumes, of course, that I don’t need to move around) followed immediately by a Heat Seeker Missile. This gives you he full 5 stacks Heat Signatures on your target, giving you the max Heat Seeker Missile damage. Under optimal conditions (optimal being that i’m no being harassed or focused, and can stand still) I will follow this up with an unload. Because of the 30% chance for the improved Unload (mentioned above) you have a 90% chance for your unload to do 25% more damage! Tracer missile has a 1.5 second cast time, and unload has a 3 second channel time (assuming you aren’t damaged, and don’t lose one of the unload damage ticks), so in total, you can do this combo in about 8-10 seconds (4.5 for tracers, 3 for unload, and the global cooldown for Heat Seeker Missile cast, which is an instant cast spell). This Combo can do some Insane damage. My Bounty Hunter has Full champion gear (with a couple pieces of Battlemaster gear) and his combo can do upwards of 15k  damage on a squishy target if you get very lucky with crits! I’ve been able to essentially get a kill on low health/squishy enemies with this rotation. However,  I can pull off about 7-10k damage  fairly reliably if the target has low armor, 5-8k on a high armor/beefy target.

However, this assumes that I get lucky and have great positioning while being left alone (or focused by one or two enemy players) As I mentioned, mobility for a Arsenal specced Merc is a problem, especially in Huttball, where mobility rules! If I can’t pull off the unload after the 3 Tracer missiles and Heatseeker Missle, I will instead use rail shot. This allows me to still do some awesome damage (rail shot damage is increased by 15%, which isn’t the max increase, but is still quite good!) while having a lot more mobility.

Kite, Kite, Kite!

Another very important aspect of playing a Merc is being able to kite. For those who don’t know, kiting is basically running outside of melee range from a melee class, while still doing damage. Bounty Hunters have two knock back spells on fairly low cooldown. Rocket Punch and and Jet Boost. Jet Boost is the strongest push back, and will knock a player quite a ways away from you. The Rocket Punch push back is much shorter, but it also has a shorter cooldown. Using this spells correctly is crucial when trying to kite a melee enemy, especially a Jedi/Sith that have charge spells. One thing to remember is that Jedi/Sith can charge you twice in a very short amount of time. So you need to be prepared to use rocket punch right after Jet Boost if they end up recharging you after the initial Jet Boost.

Many Mercs simply don’t know how to counter melee who are in their face, especially if they recharge you after Jet Boost. Mercs do the most damage while standing still, but standing still against a melee will only result in interrupts and stuns, so you need to keep your distance. Here are a few tips for fighting melee as a Merc

  • Don’t be afraid to use Energy Shield in a fight with a melee! Kolto Overload is also a great spell to use (especially in conjunction with Energy shield. I generally pop energy shield against a melee when I hit about 50-60% health.
  • As I mentioned, always be prepared to rocket punch right after jet boost if the enemy charges you after a knock back.
  • If they don’t or can’t charge you after the initial Jet Boost (if they are an Imperial Agent or Smuggler for example) hit them with tracers while they try to get close. I can generally get 2 tracer missiles in before a melee can get back to me if they are pushed back the full distance.
  • If they DO  re-charge immediately after being pushed back, and you rocket punch, most good melee will be able to interrupt a tracer before you can cast it because Rocket Punch doesn’t push back very far. I have found that using Unload rather than tracer after a Rocket Punch is a good way to get in some damage without having your tracer missle interrupted.
  • Fake Cast! If they are all up in your Face, DO NOT CAST Tracer Missile outright. I like to cast Fusion missile instead to eat the interrupt, and follow that immediately by a tracer.
  • Use your Instant casts! Starting off with an explosive dart against a melee, followed by rocket punch is pretty good burst, and a crit with one of these spells can lead to a nice burst without having to stand still.
  • Don’t be afraid to use Power surge to turn a Tracer missile into an instant cast if you need to hit them with damage, or to turn Rapid scan into an instant heal if you are running low on health.
  • Use your Environment to your benefit. This is especially true in Huttball, where you can push melee of the edges of the rafters, or into one of the hazards. Unfortunately this tip can be somewhat difficult to follow in The Civil War and Voidstar Warzones.

 

Healing

I spend the majority of my time PvPing as a damage spec Merc, but I do have quite a bit of experience as a Healer. Healing as a Merc can take some getting used to, but Healing Mercs are one of the best combat medics! A couple of tips and tricks that I’ve learned.

  • If someone is getting focused hard, don’t be afraid to use Power Surge in combination with Rapid scan followed by an Emergency scan (the Instant heal spell) to give the person you are healing a boost.
  • Super Charged Gas is a GREAT way of not only reducing your heat, but also being able to heal faster and for more, and is great for controlling your cooldowns. Don’t be afraid to use it! It has no cooldown, and getting 30 stacks for the spell is very easy if you are healing alot!
  • When healing, try to heal your target with a healing scan followed by rapid scan instead of simply spamming rapid scan. Healing scan, when fully specced into Body Guard, not only reduces the heat cost of Rapid scan, but also increases the armor of your target.
  • Don’t forget that Kolto Shell can only be deployed on ONE target. Choose this target wisely! I tend to put this on myself unless i’m healing a ball carrier in huttball, or a high priority ally in Civil War/Voidstar.
  • Don’t be afraid to demand a guard from one of the tanks. Healers are one of the first people targeted by the enemy, and Guards not only let you last a lot longer, but is also somewhat of a deterrent to being attacked. Its extremely difficult to kill a healer while he/she is gaurded, especially if they are healing themselves
  • Kolto Missile is a great heal, is instant cost, and Costs NO HEAT! Use it as much as possible! Its not only useful for AOE heals either, its a great way to heal yourself when you are being focused and on the run.
  • Using rapid shots on an ally in between heals is a great way to manage your heat while keeping your players up!
  • The targeting system can be a bit of a pain, so always target an ally via the Ops box, rather than clicking their actual character.

 

I plan on writing a much more comprehensive PvP guide on Mercs in the future, but this has some good tips and tricks that I’ve learned so far as a heavy PvPer. Hope this helps newer and veteran Mercs out!

 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the latest addition to the Elder Scrolls (TES) series of Role Playing Games (RPGs) released by the developer studio Bethesda. The Elder Scrolls series has a long history, beginning with The Elder Scrolls: Arena released in 1994 for the PC. Followed by The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall released in 1996 and a few unnumbered titles (Battle Spire, and TES adventures: Redgaurd) in the latter part of the 90s. In this Article, I will compare Skyrim to its two predecessors, Oblivion (the fourth game in the series, and the one that Skyrim followed) and Morrowind (the third part of the series, that Oblivion followed).

Skyrim

First let’s look at Skyrim itself. The original release build was riddled with bugs (something Bethesda fans now expect and accept), some of which were debilitating (preventing players from advancing though the main storyline). Historically, Elder Scrolls games tend to be relatively bug heavy. However, the extensive nature of the game makes releasing a bug free build near impossible, so it would be difficult to fault Bethesda, especially since patches were made exactly for this type of situation. Beyond the bugs, the game is absolutely fantastic. The game landscape itself is incredibly detailed and gorgeous, and this is an opinion from someone who is fanatical about their hatred of snow! The old trademark of the TES series, a wide expansive world where you can essentially do and be whatever character you wish, continues to be a dominant theme within in Skyrim (perhaps even stronger than it is in Oblivion arguably, but I digress. The main story line and various side and faction quest lines are well done for the most part. In fact, my only real gripe is with the Bard College quest “line” was inherently less robust. I was greatly disappointed that the Bard College quests lacked depth and were essentially a collection of disconnected fetch quests devoid of any overarching theme or quest chain. Moreover, not only could you not advance in the college, once you were done with the quest line, the college basically becomes useless, unless of course, you’re interested in the few skill trainers available. You can’t even learn to play an instrument!

The change to the skill system was awesome. Instead of the original system, where you had to have a specific class, and you could only level up by increasing your major and minor skills, you can level up from any skill increase. However, as you level up, you need more skill increases to level (as opposed to Oblivion and Morrowind, where you only needed 10 skill level ups, regardless of what level you are.) In addition, I really loved the new perk system that was introduced. It allowed them to simplify the skill system by reducing the amount of skills you have to keep track of, while letting you customize your character as much or more than you could in either Morrowind or Oblivion. Personally, I think it might have been better to have changed how many perk points you get per level. At a certain point, even with a high level in something, it becomes less useful than it would be in, say, Morrowind, because you may not have spent your perk points. For example, I can have a character with 70 smithing, but I wouldn’t be able to make iron or leather gear unless I invested skill points down that tree. When you get to a high level, leveling up, and obtaining perk points is more time consuming, so it becomes difficult to get to a desired skill level since you can’t just level up the skill anymore to be effective.

The crafting system in Skyrim is also vastly improved from that of its predecessors. In this current iteration you can actually make armor and weapons with the smithing skill, instead of just being able to repair your armor and weapons (via the “armorer” skill). This not only provides a function for the various mines you come across in Tamriel, but it’s another way to “be what you want!” When it comes to the enchanting skill I have mixed feelings. On one hand I like what they’ve done with disenchanting , basically giving a purpose to all the otherwise worthless magical items. However, I disapprove of their decision to make disenchanting the only means of learning now enchantments. Personally, I prefer the Morrowind system, where the enchantments you can do was based on the spells you know.

Comparison

As is the case with any sequel, inevitably there will be a comparison made between the sequel and its predecessor(s). Skyrim of course is no exception, so using my perspective let’s take a look at how Skyrim compares to Oblivion and Morrowind.

Many people (myself included) thought that Oblivion, while excellent in its own right, was a step backward compared to Morrowind and even Daggerfall. However, Skyrim does not follow this path. In my opinion, Skyrim is leaps and bounds ahead of Oblivion in nearly every aspect of the game. Skyrim improves on many of the more lackluster elements in Oblivion. For example, Skyrim’s crafting system is far superior to it predecessor.

Quests

The main quest in Skyrim is far more fun and engaging than in Oblivion. For me, the first couple of Oblivion gates I had to close were quite interesting, but eventually the game play becomes boring and stale. I found myself dreading coming across Oblivion gates in Oblivion because going inside was repetitive. It essentially boiled down to get in, bash skulls until you get to the right building, and activate the sigil to close the gate. These encounters were also incredibly time consuming. There is nothing I dislike more than being on my way to completing some unrelated quest, only to have to trudge through a long pseudo dungeon in order to continue. Of course, I’m sure I could have just skipped closing the gates, but I was sort of compelled by a sense of duty. It became kind of like a job, which is a description that no game should aspire to obtain. Skyrim’s version of these encounters (dragon attacks) are far superior; they are shorter, making it more of a temporary epic battle, rather than a long trudge through deadre after deadre. Notably, while the story is more engaging, it also feels shorter in its entirety. Despite disliking the long drawn out dungeon crawls to close various gates, I did find the story’s depth appealing. Conversely, Skyrim’s story feels much too short for such an epic tale. My senses tell me that I shouldn’t have been able to foil the plans of the “Eater of Worlds” so quickly, this is one aspect where Skyrim falls short. Morrowind’s story felt truly epic both in scale and in action. Although the actions in Skyrim’s main quest are great, it doesn’t quite have the depth required to meet the bar set by

Morrowind.

The same holds true for Skyrim’s faction quest lines. For example, when traversing the College of Winterhold quest chain, it seemed like it was just a random encounter and they decided that I would handle extremely important tasks right off the bat (well like 2 quests in). A few (in game) days later and I’m Arch-Mage just like that. At least in Oblivion, they have you doing menial tasks first so you at least rise through the ranks, but it seems like the College of Winterhold (and indeed the other factions as well) were just waiting for someone to come along to be named Arch-Mage. All the factions seemed be just an express lane to becoming their leader, rather than an organic guild that actually cares about someone rising through the ranks before they are tasked with important stuff. In Morrowind, when joining and completing quests for a guild, it actually seems like I’m rising through the ranks, rather than just randomly becoming the most important person in the guild overnight. While some people would be glad to be rid of the meaningless quests that acted as fillers before you were deemed important enough to get to the real work, these “meaningless” tasks actually added a lot to the role playing aspect of the game.

Game Mechanics

There are many game mechanics present in TES series that Skyrim really improved upon. Combat in Skyrim is the best implementation in the series bar none. The dual wielding mechanic was expertly done, and really makes combat much more fluid and organic, and dual wielding swords/maces/what have you is an awesome feeling! Casting spells is also much better now because of this new system. In Morrowind and Oblivion, while I loved the magic system, casting magic spells in combat just seemed clunky and awkward. However, sometimes I do find myself instinctively mashing the C key to no avail. As discussed, the crafting system far surpasses the implementation in the third and fourth installment of the series in most regards. I’m glad that they added back the Morrowind style fast travel (where you basically fast travel to preset locations by paying someone to take you there).

Unfortunately, there are also some mechanics in Skyrim that, in my opinion, are not improvements to the previous iterations in Morrowind and Oblivion. One glaring problem I discovered is the complete lack of Deadric armor/weapons in the game world. As far as I know (and I’ve done quite a bit of research in this area), you cannot find Deadric armor and weapons (aside from the artifacts that are rewards for the various Deadric quests) in the game world, but have to smith them yourself. I love the crafting system, but I don’t like being forced to level up a certain skill just to wear the best armor in the game. There should be other ways of getting Deadric armor that, while much harder than simply smithing it, is still available for those who don’t want to have a high level smithing character. Not to mention the need to not only level smithing, but get the correct perks as well.

I miss the ability to create your own spells. The spells in Skyrim are all quite satisfying (at least the destruction spells) but not having a way to create your own simply reduces a player’s choices when customizing their character. While I’m not privy to Bethesda’s rationale was for omitting this feature, I can’t imagine anything that could have justified the decision.

Bethesda also greatly simplified the armor system. Where originally you would have separate pieces for the chest, legs, etc. now you have fewer pieces (for example, armor is now what in Morrowind was a Cuirass, left and right pauldrens (shoulder armor) and greaves. Morrowind was a bit overboard, I think they simplified the armor too much. Essentially, what it comes down to is fewer choices for customization in exchange for simpler game play. I can appreciate wanting to simplify things that were a little too complicated, but it calls for a balancing act and in my opinion they leaned a little too far towards simplification. Moreover, it doesn’t stop at armor. The entire stat system has been completely jettisoned and you can no longer select becoming stronger, faster, or more intelligent. Now you simply pick whether you think you should have more health, stamina, or magicka, an oversimplification in my opinion that takes something substantial away from the game.

In Closing

Ultimately, I would give Skyrim a rating just below Morrowind, but above Oblivion. By itself it is an amazing (albeit buggy) game. Bethesda seems to be going along with the current trend in the gaming industry to simplify their game in an attempt to make it more accessible. However, while they were successful in certain aspects, other areas suffered from an oversimplified. Nevertheless, Bethesda delivered an awesome game, and I hope they keep delivering more!

For those who haven’t been following It’s a City building simulation game with a unique RTS twist. This is a very very very early form of the game. This simply consists of the foundation on which I’m going to develop my game. I have a few (poorly made) models but the real magic happens behind the scenes in the programming that simulates this world. Check out the Simulated City Game page (link above) to view about these stats and how the simulation works. I have created a video of the game (below) and took quite a few screen shots.

Simulated City Game video

If you view the video, make sure you pay attention to the stats, and how they change as I build the city. This video shows quite a few things.

Achievements: This video shows two achievements, Barter System, which is an economic achievement, and Community, which is a social achievement. Achievements are what define your civilization, and certain achievements make other achievements possible to get, and bar you from achieving others. The third achievement (not shown in the video) is Tribalism, which is unattainable when you get community. In the future, I may make this barring more flexible, as civilizations do change with time. Achievements also open up new buildings, techonology, and even new game mechanics. At a certain point, a civilization will be rewarded with an economic achievement (probably called currency) that will allow the player to enact taxes. Different tech trees will allow different forms of government, and there are further implementations that I haven’t even thought of yet! The achievement system really makes the possibilities almost endless!

Simulations: This is the bread and butter of my game. This is what makes the world change with time and what will (in the future, once I develop this game further) make the world interactive. Eventually I will have actual moving parts! I plan on adding civilians who will walk around (probably spawn at certain buildings, and un-spawn at others, perhaps going to work, going out to have fun, etc.) and a combat system. Right now, you can see this simulation unfold by watching the stats change as the player (me) builds different buildings. You can see how certain buildings depend on others (IE trade carts need goods to trade! so farms have to be built for people to start working at trade carts). I also simulate the global averages for other civilizations near yours. This will give a point of reference when calculating various stats about your city (like desirability, which uses the global averages), and in the future, determining things like trade agreements, war, etc.

Misc: The video also shows various other features of the game. I have a few sound effects in the game (some for buildings, general ambiance music, and error sounds (like when you try to build, but can’t). It also shows the GUI, which has menus for building, achievements, global stats, city stats, and a message system that hasn’t been utilized yet. It also has text alerts at the bottom of the page (for things like not having enough money, being blocked from building, etc.) The game also features 6 spiffy (read terrible) models!

 

The Future: For the future, there are several things I want to implement. As I stated above, in the long term future, I want to get a combat system, and a robust implementation of the achievements. The achievements will be one of the main game play mechanics that the player will interact with. In the near future, in addition to adding more content (buildings, achievements, etc.) I want to add some new mechanics. This includes:

  • Simulate Wealth gain/loss
  • Supply and demand
  • static, low frequency population increase (due to births and stuff)
  • Upkeep and revenue generation from buildings

And this game still needs a name! If you have an idea for a name, leave it on the Simulation Game page (link above!). Any other comments or questions, leave them below! Suggestions, and feedback is welcome!

View the screenshots below (which I started taking after I stopped recording the video)

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Anyone who is into MMORPG’s or video games in general should know about Star Wars the Old Republic, by Bioware. Many people have said that Bioware’s latest game will be a. WoW killer. While this is great from Bioware’s perspective, I sincerely hope that SWTOR doesn’t kill WoW.

Now, this may seem like a strange opinion, but here me out. In my opinion, WoW was best in its first iteration, before any of the expansions came out. Vanilla WoW was one of my best gaming experiences ever, and i’m sure this is true for many others. However, over the years the game play has gotten stale (even as the player base grew). So what happened?

Well, I attribute the above to WoW’s success. More accurately, as WoW got more popular it got worse. To further explain, each subsequent expansion (and even each subsequent patch) overall degraded the game play. Things that were once challenging had ceased to become a challenge, but rather a repetitive grind to chase the proverbial carrot on a stick, and new content was of similar, or the same caliber. This is of course because as WoW’s audience grew, Blizzard decided to continue making the game easier to play. At a certain point, Blizzard had to pick between the novice players, who wanted some sort of instant gratification or else they would quit, and the hard core players. Unfortunately, as far as numbers go, the novice members were Blizzards bread and butter, and the rest is history.

Think about it. WoW’s unprecedented success come from the fact that WoW is very easy for a casual or new player to get into. The term welfare epics, which has been thrown around the WoW community, comes to mind as an example of this. This dumbing down of the game to appeal to casuals and noobs is exactly what I don’t want to happen to SWTOR. I’m not saying that SWTOR shouldn’t Be easy for noobs or casuals to get into, but they shouldn’t make the game essentially give out gear for free, or dumb down end game fights. Wow used to be like a teens novel. Easy to read but had some depth and provided rewards for those willing to read through all the way. Now it’s like a children’s picture book, providing cheap and easy gratification without the need to read more than a few words.

Besides being dumbed down, I also don’t want to see world PVP become nonexistent like it became in WoW. Unfortunately, world PVP started its slow death once battlegrounds were implemented. The same kind of players who want instant gratification, rather than a greater reward after longer time spent, are the ones who made battlegrounds so popular, and as a result world PVP became non existent. Unfortunately Blizzard did nothing to make world PVP worthwhile until it was much too late. Now, I am not saying Battlegrounds are bad. In fact Battlegrounds were a whole lot of fun, and are a great way to get some quick PVP in, especially during non peak hours when world PVP is low. However, what I hope Bioware will do that Blizzard did not until too late is add incentive for both styles of play. And I don’t mean the same incentive (IE both grant you honor) because battleground like PVP will always win out in a race to grind honor.

Now you may be thinking, just because SWTOR is a WoW killer doesn’t mean that Bioware will have to dumb down their game, or appeal solely to casual players. However, if you think about it, they kind of will. In order to attract the WoW players, who are so used to the instant gratification, Bioware will have to either provide a game so compelling, that the WoW players completely forget about the WoW style of MMO, or play WoW’s game (which as evident by recently released MMORPG’s like Rift, you can’t beat WoW at the WoW game). Now, whether or not the game is compelling enough to kill WoW is another story, and if it becomes a WoW killer in that sense, I will be ok with that. However, given that the game has yet to be released, only time will tell. My only hope is, regardless of how compelling WoW fans find SWTOR, I hope SWTOR stays SWTOR.

For all the creative minds out there, I need a name for my game! You can read about it in previous posts, but the game is essentially a city building simulation. I was thinking of a name that incorporates the word sim or civ, but I’m at a list for names. Anyone who is able to think of a great name will get a small prize, consisting of a shutout on this blog!

If you want to leave a suggestion, leave it in the comments section please!

Posting this from my iPhone so I can’t give the exact link, but anyone who signed up for testing before november 11th will be invited to test Swtor!! So check your email if you haven’t already. Check out swtor.com to find the update post!