Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Guild Wars - Awesome Looking Armour

Every so often when playing Guild Wars, I come across a character that looks absolutely nuts. Their armour simply works with their character and the weapons they are holding. These awesome looking characters are rarer than you may think, and so I've decided to post screen captures of those which I think look the most leet. Here they are:

Female Warrior wearing and Elite Gladiator chest piece and gloves, Vabbian leggings and Obsidian boots, all dyed black:

Female Monk wearing an Obsidian chest piece and boots, Wanderer's leggings, Chaos gloves and a Bandana, all dyed black (except the bandana and gloves):

Female Warrior wearing a complete set of Primeval armour dyed silver. Of special note is how well the shield and sword combo work with the armour:

I know theres a bit of a female theme going on, but hey, I haven't seen any good looking males yet ;)

I'll post more of these awesome armour pictures as I find them.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

MMOG Pricing – Get it Right!

There are many Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) on the market at the moment and almost all of them come at a price to the consumer. Obviously game companies cannot make their games free as it costs them money to run servers, provide maintenance and game patching. So which pricing model is the best for you?

Not all MMOG pricing strategies are the same, some benefit the consumer more than others. There are currently five different pricing schemes, of which one or more make up the pricing models of most MMOGs:

  • Pay Upfront(PU) – Where the consumer buys the game outright
  • Pay to Play (PtP) – Where the consumer is required to pay an ongoing subscription fee (usually monthly)
  • Pay for Extras (PfE) – Where the consumer must pay if they want to access/unlock additional parts of the game. This can be in the form of a subscription fee or an upfront cost. Often in the form of a 'Premium Account'.
  • Pay for Artifacts (PfA) – The consumer must pay to obtain artifacts within the game
  • In Game Advertising (IGA) – Where the consumer doesn't pay at all but is subjected to advertising during game play.

Below is a table outlining some of the more common MMOGs and the pricing schemes they use:

World of Warcraft (WoW)YY   
Guild WarsY    
Hellgate LondonY Y  
Eve OnlineYY   
Dungeon Runners  Y Y
The Matrix OnlineYY  Y
Entropia Universe   Y 
MapleStory   Y 
RuneScape  Y Y

Most games use one or two pricing schemes to make up their pricing model, however some MMOGs (i.e The Matrix Online) use three schemes, which in my opinion is just plain greedy. I mean how many times should the consumer pay for the same peanut?

One thing that really upsets me is that a lot of MMOGs charge an upfront cost and then an ongoing subscription fee, WoW and Eve to name a few. I think it should be one or the other. I'd be happy to pay $15 US a month for a game if it continued to interest me, but why should I pay $60 - $80 US just to get a copy? This is where I think games like Guild Wars and MapleStory have the right idea. Both their pricing models use a single pricing scheme. Guild Wars makes it's money by bringing out an expansion pack every six months or so and charging around 70 US for them. This would have worked out to be the same as paying around $11.66 US a month. The catch is that you don't have to buy the expansion. What I can't believe is that games like WoW charge the consumer for expansions as well as an ongoing subscription fee. How do they get away with it? Is it that consumers are so used to having their money taken, that they think its the norm, or is it that they are so addicted to the game they they will pay for extra content no matter what the cost? In either case I definitely think the consumer is getting screwed.

The pricing model used by MapleStory and Entropia Universe is an interesting one. Essentially the game is free, however if you want to 'enhance' your gaming experience you must buy items within the game. This can be good and bad at the same time. Its good because you get a feel for the game and can determine if you like it or not before paying a cent, but bad if you become seriously addicted to the game, as you will continue to hand over money to 'enhance' your experience.

I think Hellgate London's pricing model is a joke. You must first buy the game, but in order to get the best weapons and armor, you must buy a 'premium' account which comes at a cost of $9.95 a month. The downside here is that you get a bunch of overpowered rich guys running around taunting all the penny pincher's.

So which model is the best for the consumer? Without being too biased to a game I love, I definitely think Guild Wars has it right with a pay upfront model. It worked for Blizzard with Diablo 2, so why did they change with World of Warcraft? The simple answer is greed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mesmer Build: Cheeky Thief

This PvP build is a lot of fun to play and doesn't require a lot of skill to get right:

Template code: OQNDAcwzMCVTYUoCgBzgWAdC

Fast Casting: 13 (12+1)
Illusion Magic: 16 (12+4)
Inspiration Magic: 3
Signet of Illusions [Elite] (Illusion Magic)
Arcane Larceny (Domination Magic)
Arcane Thievery (Domination Magic)
Inspired Enchantment (Inspiration Magic)
Revealed Enchantment (Inspiration Magic)
Revealed Hex (Inspiration Magic)
Inspired Hex (Inspiration Magic)
Restore Life (Healing Prayers)

You just cast Signet of Illusions and then what ever spells you like. Don't forget to use Signet of Illusions before casting Arcane Thievery/Larceny or else you will only steal the spells for 7 seconds. The best part about this build is that you can alter your strategy depending on the kind of team you're facing. For example if are facing a heavy damage team, you can steal spells off their monk and use them to heal your monk, or if you are facing a team with little healing, you can steal spells off the elementalist or other damage casters and send them back at them. The trick is to know what strategy to use and when. A good little trick when fighting on priest levels is to steal the priest's heal area. Since he will be unable to heal himself, you can just wand him down. The other bonus is that you act as a form of hex removal, which greatly assists any monk under pressure. The hard res is also a big bonus (dont forget Signet of Illusions first).

Survivor Title – Getting there

For three weeks now I've been slowly working on getting my survivor title for a newly created Warrior (guild wars). At first I thought the task was an awesome challenge, and I was really enjoying the concentration and skill required to complete missions and quests without dying. It kinda took me back to the good old days of playing a 'Hardcore' Diablo 2 character, where by if you died, you lost the character. Obtaining rank 1 in the survivor title is not all that difficult if you are an experienced guild wars gamer, however obtaining rank 3, is a long and arduous task, which has me thinking, is this really worth it?

Naturally I've done my research and will be attempting to obtain my rank 3 survivor title by continuous Killroy Jenkins runs with scrolls on hard mode, but I'm only half way to rank 2 and I've already lost interest. Each run takes around 20 mins (including selling pick ups) and collects about 35K XP with scrolls, which means I need to do another 29 or so (approx 10 hours) worth of grinding to get my rank three (1337,500 XP). I guess when you compare this to some of the other titles, 10 hours to max out a rank is a good deal. Its just the repetitive grinding that I'm not looking forward to, especially given that I left playing WoW for that very reason. I could always veto the Killroy runs and get the XP by doing missions and quests, but that would only prolong getting the title and increase the risk of dying. Sigh.

The up side that given the difficulty/boringness of obtaining rank 3 survivor, there aren't a lot of people who have it. Which makes the title worth a lot more. Plus since ArenaNet has said its ok to use G15 and G11 keyboard macro's I've set up a macro that spams the 8 key (stand up), which makes it near impossible to die during the Killroy runs. Oh well, hopefully I'll be able post that I have my rank 3 survivor title soon :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Glad points a plenty

Double Arena Point Weekend has just finished (Guild Wars), which meant double Balthazar Faction and Gladiator Points in RA and TA. I racked up an impressive 48 glad points form 14 hours of play.

This was achieved by hooking up with a guild mate and spike entering into RA (Polish district) to team up and score some easy Glad Points. The spike enter works by co-ordinating over vent and pressing enter 2 seconds before 'mission start'. This worked rather well in Polish district because we were usually the only ones in there, which almost guaranteed being placed on the same team. We both took turns at monking, to varying effect, but the majority of the wins came from playing damage classes.

When changing districts, we discovered that it was now possible to travel to Korean districts, which were previously banned. Jackpot!! Korean RA is a completely different game from American RA. For one, the majority of players are extremely good and two, if you don't get a monk in your team first go everyone does a spike resign (which is almost unheard of in US RA). Since the standard of play is a lot higher, when you get a good team (very common) you often go far. So playing through Korean RA accounted for around 30 of my total glad points for the weekend.

I found the most effect build was a stock standard lightning Ele:

Build code: OgBDgcOMTcDLglDhNgVkChDCAA

Using a fast cast lightning staff and enchant mod sword quick swap for casting the enchantments:

I find the fast cast staff assists the most in spikes, plus the HSR 20% makes for good DPS. Glyph of Restoration when used with Lightning Orb and Lightning Hammer heals you for almost 300 health with 13 in energy storage, which takes pressure off the monks.

My first blog

Ahh... my first blog. Finally the opportunity to say something smart for the rest of the world to hear...


"Helloes" :)