Earthrise fans will still have a bit of a wait ahead of them in terms of getting into open beta, but development and improvements are ongoing through the current closed beta. Masthead Studios CEO Atanas Atanasov was recently interviewed by MMORPG.com’s Garrett Fuller, updating Earthrise fans on the game’s current status and details of some of the game mechanics of skills and tactics. Noteworthy — Atanasov discusses why Masthead Studios chose to develop a sandbox MMO and foster a player-driven setting, rather than a more typical game where players move quickly through the content and then wait for the next expansion to release.
“The sense of involvement and power to create and change can invigorate and keep players glued to the game for years to come,” says Atanasov. On that topic of sandboxes, the interview also discusses how MMO titles like Ultima Online and EVE Online have been part of the inspiration for Earthrise.
Atanasov also explains some of the challenges of open PvP game design, how he envisions player guilds forming, and the game’s reworked combat system. And about that open beta or a release date? Atanasov tells MMORPG.com, “We don’t want to rush Earthrise to the market so we are working hard to deliver a game that players will enjoy for years to come.”
Player vs Player (PvP)
There are no battlegrounds in Aion (e.g., Alterac Valley). Instead, the PvP is more “open-world” so to speak. The biggest PvP zone is called the Abyss. Players can only enter the Abyss from levels 25-50. Contained in the Abyss are the best XP opportunities, PvE rewards, PvP rewards, instances, and fortress raids. Think of the Abyss as a giant (and we mean giant) contested zone from a WoW PvP server. PvP is highly encouraged in Aion and it is difficult to avoid it once you reach level 25.
You gain Abyss Points (AP) by killing enemy players and Balaur NPCs in the Abyss (and lose it when you die). AP is kind of like honor from back when WoW first launched. AP gives you special PvP ranks and you can spend it like currency to buy various specialty items and abilities.
Blizzard asked for real-life stories from players a little while ago, and now they’ve posted a pretty big collection of them over on the official site (this page was around last year, but they’ve added many stories since then). As Bornakk says, these are personal accounts from players of how playing the game with others has helped them grow relationships in real-life. I’m not sure what exactly the point of posting these is (maybe Blizzard wants to stave off some of that negative media reporting about the game and addiction to it), but then again, if you dive into a few of these, you can see that they don’t really need a point — they’re really interesting (and in some cases pretty heartwarming) stories about how players are using this game to enrich real-life relationships.
They’re still accepting more stories as well, so if you’ve got a good tale of some WoW-sharing in real-life, hit them up over on the submission page and put yours in the mix. Hopefully Blizzard will figure out a way to get these out into the real world — harsh stories about addiction are so easy for the media to jump on, but great stories like these are the real reasons we all play this game.
World of Warcraft
Despite his sometimes-crass way of getting his point across, Ming is one of the best PvP bloggers around these days. When the Patch 3.2 patch notes revealed the upcoming change to resilience, I was hoping to hear his take on it. He delivered! If you haven’t seen the patch notes, Resilience in Patch 3.2 will lower incoming damage across the board in addition to its protection against critical strikes. By Ming’s estimates, after all other factors have been taken into consideration, the change will bring a net difference of an added 10% damage reduction in the upcoming Season 7.
That number probably doesn’t seem like a lot to people who don’t set foot into the arena at all, but for people who arena seriously and competitively, it will be a game changer. The developers’ stated goal is to slow down the pace of the arena, and this change will do exactly that. An extra 10% buffer on survivability has the potential to absolutely be the difference between a one minute game and a five minute game. It has the potential to be the difference between a gib and a last second defensive save. As has been stated, it’s possible to die in the span of one GCD, and that’s not fun. If this change can extend one GCD to two or three GCDs to allow for reaction time, the arena just might end up more balanced than it has ever previously been, unless you pretend Mace Stun didn’t exist in the middle seasons of The Burning Crusade.
You really shouldn’t take my word for it, though. I PvP, but I’d never claim to be a highly rated anything. There’s a reason I was waiting for Ming’s take on it. Go read what he has to say, and be bolstered by it. The arena might actually be truly fun again.
World of Warcraft
Brilliant. Just brilliant. If you’ve been keeping up with the many changes in Patch 3.2, you might get an inkling that PvP is going to change drastically and for the better. Adam has already gone through the whopper announcement that Blizzard hinted at some time back: players can now gain experience from the Battlegrounds. It’s something I’d wished for since the days of vanilla WoW and the developers have finally gotten around to implementing it in the next major patch.
Does this mean the death of twinks? Not necessarily. Players can opt to toggle experience gains on and off by going to Behsten in Orgrimmar or Slahtz in Stormwind (best-in-slot, get it?) and ponying up 10 Gold. But wait, there’s more! Players who turn off experience gains will only be placed in the same Battleground queues as other players who opt not to gain experience. That’s right — twinks will be facing off against twinks. Twinks who have always contended that it wasn’t about the unfair gear advantage will finally get the opportunity to test their mettle against equally geared opponents. Enjoy.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a whole bunch of changes that will impact World of Warcraft PvP from the obvious (Arena and Battleground changes) to the not-so-obvious (item and ability changes). Let’s hit it.
World of Warcraft
Vaneras has just released the details for the Isle of Conquest, the new battleground that will be appearing in Patch 3.2, Call of the Crusade.
You can read the complete details over on the official forums or check ‘em out after the break. There are some key things that everyone should be aware of:
IoC will be a 40-man battleground. Yes, you read that right. This is the first 40-man content released since Naxx 1.0. That is going to make some old school players very, very happy. I know I’m already giddy with excitement.
There will be significant use of siege and vehicle combat. This includes going on The Airship Hanger and using parachutes to drop teams onto the enemy keep from above.
You will need to kill a general held up in the enemy keep, much like Alterac Valley.
Reinforcements will be used. Capture resources to boost your strength.
This looks like an amazing new battleground, and one that I’m sure many of us cannot wait to try out on the PTR. There has been a ton of new information about Patch 3.2 released in the last few days, so it looks like PTR might be soonish. Keep your fingers crossed.
World of Warcraft
The dominance of Rogue/Mage/Priest continues as SK Gaming defeated eMazing Gaming’s faceroll Unholy/BM/Holy comp in the Major League Gaming Columbus Grand Finals 6-3 (best of 11 counting previous matchups). SK Gaming took home the $9,000 Grand Prize in the first leg of the MLG 2009 pro circuit, proving that the US still has a competitive RMP team. Europe’s RMP contingent, Ensidia, barely missed the Finals after dropping to eMG in the prior round.
Some of the teams didn’t do so well despite expectations, such as two-time MLG winners Fnatic, who were playing without their Warrior, Rhaegyn. Fnatic did rather poorly, playing a Rogue/Warlock/Shaman comp that simply couldn’t match up against the dominant RMPs or even eMG’s Death Knight/Hunter/Paladin. Evil Geniuses also played below par, but there really have to be teams that occupy the bottom of the standings. The good news is that teams collect points through all MLG legs to tally at the end of the season, so we might see some changes in the next MLG stops.
All the matches were streamed through three different sites via Octoshape, but the streams were choppy and often stalled more than it did in the first two days of the tournament. It came to the point where the matches were simply unwatchable, which is a shame because there were some pretty good games on the last day. The shoutcasters did an excellent job commentating on the matches but camerawork and the pace of the games were just too fast at times to appreciate. Arena Tournaments could benefit greatly from instant replays, slow motion, and camera angles beyond the third person view. Replays should be available on GotFrag soon.
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As an unannounced change in this morning’s patch 3.1.1, Exorcism can no longer be used against players. The stated rationale for this change not being announced ahead of time was that they were “trying to get the tooltip changed at the same time to reduce confusion,” which doesn’t quite seem to hold water for me – wouldn’t it be less confusing to tell the players, and not leave them to find out for themselves the next time they tried to PvP? Anyway, that’s a relatively minor issue.
Recall that in patch 3.1, Exorcism was changed to be usable on all targets, and to automatically crit against demons and undead (before, it could only be used against demons and undead). Evidently Blizzard feels that it’s just too much burst damage for Ret pallies in PvP, especially given that it means they can start up their combos from range. Edit: Just to clarify, the functionality of Exorcism in PvE is unchanged.
Ghostcrawler also promises that they’re working on making Pally DPS “more interesting and also less bursty” instead of just using all your skills on cooldown, and that once they figure out how to do that, you’ll be able to Exorcise other players again. He gives Conflagrate, Brain Freeze, Rip, Overpower, and Arcane Blast as examples of the kind of more interesting mechanics they might be going for. He invites feedback on ways to make Pally DPS more reactive, so go make your thoughts known in the thread if you have any ideas.
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It’s time to get Murkimus the Gladiator! The Arena Tournament has officially moved on to the second phase of the tournament, where all matches played will count towards the season rankings. The bloodshed began last February, kicking off a two-week testing phase where players could create fully geared Level 80 characters, test out comps and strategies, and generally get warmed up for the real deal.
Players interested in participating simply have to pony up $20 or £15 for a shot at winning prizes totalling $200,000. All ranked matches now count towards the qualifiers, and the players belonging to the Top 1000 teams will receive the title of ‘Vanquisher’ on all their characters Level 71 and above on the live realms. Players who don’t crack the upper echelons of Arena rankings can still get the lovable armored murloc pet by playing 200 matches. The matches must be played on the same character and with the same team charter.
Blizzard has also opened up Arena Tournament forums for US realms and EU realms, which players can use to recruit for teams, discuss strategies or ask for advice, and generally keep up-to-date on the latest goings-on in the Tournament Realms. Of course, if you want a good shot at winning, it might help to take some pointers from Korea’s H O N, who played RMP to a completely different level, taking home $30,000 at the recently concluded ESL Arena Tournament.
World of Warcraft
The 2009 Arena Tournament officially begun yesterday, kicking of a six-week qualifying period to find the best Arena players who will earn the chance to win prizes totaling over $200,000. Registration was opened a little over a week ago, with Blizzard enticing aspiring Gladiators with the Vanquisher title and a Murloc vanity pet that will translate over to the live realms. The tournament will consist of one round of regional qualifiers, followed by the regional finals, and winners of those finals will compete against each other for the top prize.
Registering for the tournament, which costs $20 or £15, will grant players access to the tournament realms where they can create Level 80 characters of any race and class. These characters will be outfitted with the best Arena gear available — Deadly Gladiator items from Season 5 — and will have access to other epic items as well as enchants, gems, and glyphs allowing them to customize their character as they see fit.
Players whose teams finish in the Top 1000 at the end of the qualifiers will receive the Vanquisher title for all their characters over Level 70. Casual players who don’t play Arenas seriously still have some incentive as the only requirement to obtain the Murloc pet — Murkimus the Gladiator, according to the Patch 3.1 files — is to play 200 games over the six-week qualifying period with one team regardless of record. Players must have an active subscription in order to register.
World of Warcraft