Oh, look, video games.

30 05 2012

So, I wrote two pretty lengthy articles this week and I’ll probably shitcan both of them. One pokes fun at that Project Copernicus thing (R. A. Salvatore? Seriously?) and the other talks about the “single player MMO” thing. Amidst all of this, Massively (leave it to Massively) drops articles about the MMOcalypse (pronounced “muh-moh-calypse”) and that really pushed me over the edge. You guys all hate video games, I know; maybe me too.

Okay, not me too. I’m enjoying video games. That’s what this post is about.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Is still awesome. No, really. All those people shit-talking it don’t know what they’re talkin about. Did they aim to high? Did they make cuts because investors wanted a bigger margin? So what? That’s what happens when you are publicly traded and being risky and aggressive, but – more to the point – the game is still good, still making money, and still being worked on.

I still laugh out loud at every other conversation that my smuggler has. The Sawbones Healing game – even at lv. 35 (where I am now) – is damned fun. It is possibly the most fun healer I’ve played (okay, the Chloromancer is still my favorite, but finally I’ve found a contender) as the healing is rhythmic; not repetitive…rhythmic.

I have two resources that I need to manage: Energy and Upper Hand. The first resource is the standard smuggler Energy bar which regenerates at a fixed rate, which is one of three (fast, medium, slow) depending on how much I’m in the hole (i.e. the lower my energy, the slower it comes back). I’ve got a HoT (stacks twice, long-lived), a cleanser (removes debuffs), and a standard long-cast/big heal, all of which take Energy. Casting the big one generates Upper Hand stacks; the HoT also has a proc (on Crit) that gives me Upper Hand stacks. I’ve only healed for groups in FPs two or three times now, but I found that the HoT procs alone would flood me with UH.

Upper Hand serves three functions for me. First, if I have at least one stack of it, my healing is buffed. Second, it’s a resource I can spend for either a small instant heal, or a time-saver version of the big heal (which costs Energy and an UH stack). Finally, I can convert one stack of UH into a 45-second buff (cast is a 35 second cooldown, so I can keep it up indefinitely under ideal circumstances) increasing my Energy regeneration across the board. I can have no more than three UP stacks, so I try to keep my amount at one or two, so no procs are wasted but I have the heal buff as often as possible. Instant heals and HoTs mean I can very often heal on the move.

I also have a brief channeled “free heal” which heals basically nothing, however it gives me a few ticks of Energy regen; while that’s also miniscule, the idea here is not to “Give me more Energy”…the idea is to “Push me over the edge from Medium regen to Fast regen”.

Oh, and also, I have Stealth. I can Vanish, sneak past pulls, even long-term stun (“Sap”) a biological target from Stealth. Out of Stealth I have a long lock down for droids…both stuns are in the order of 60 seconds. I can also briefly stun many targets with a quick kick to the groin, which – for a healer – is the most awesome CC ever conceived. Attack the healer, will you?

In summary, I still really enjoy SW:TOR. The solo game is fun; I really enjoy leveling with a friend or two (and it’s way faster this way); I really enjoy the flashpoints and raids, both from a level-design standpoint and a party composition standpoint. The game’s a good one; pinnacle of the theme park genre. I really like it.

Diablo 3

My main is a Barb, as it always was. I’ve enjoyed the other classes too, though I haven’t tried the Demonhunter yet…Barbarian was always my class of choice. Let’s face it, no Diablo mage could have hoped to stand his or her ground against the Diablo 1 mage; that guy was unstoppable. (Except for Obsidian Witches. Screw those clowns.)

My spec is a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of deal. As I ran a tank for a long while in theme park MMOs, I do try to tank a bit in D3…but “tanking” isn’t really the word for it. It’s more aptly called “running interference”.

I’ll do a full article on my build at some point, as it digresses a good amount from what I’ve seen as the “recommended builds” out there – but suffice it to say that I refuse to live without “Super Saiyan Musuo Mode” and “Seismic Knockback Party” as they are awesome to me.

The game is super fun and is an intriguing testament to the direction Blizzard wants to take social gaming in. I suspect that Titan will be a lot less like WoW and a lot more like Diablo insofar as how easy it is to game together: things like insta-joining your friends, complete divorce from the tank/healer/dps trinity, and a real-cash auction house. I have no hard evidence for this…unless  you count how ridiculously successful D3 already is. I do.

Minecraft

My friend and I have built a freakin city. I should say, we “are building” a city, because it’s 1. huge and 2. still in progress. Best $10 I ever spent, hands down.

TL;DR

There are some really sweet games out there right now. Thanks to Syncaine I’ve been eyeballing Crusader Kings 2; I will very likely pick it up when it goes on sale on Steam for the holidays. There’s no guarantee this will happen, but I very strong suspect that it will.

D3 and SW:TOR are thoroughly enjoyable; I recommend them.

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