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the Lonely Altar

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#92 Hel in Motion

Posted by Tierless Sunday March 30 2014 at 11:59AM
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The latest Camelot Unchained update offered up a few tasty images and a run animation to help fill the never ending information hunger of the CU fans. I noticed there were words around the images but reading them would have been like eating the potatoes before the steak... When I went back to read them I ended up googling images of Dark Obi Wan and Nomak from Blade II because; fandom.

The first image shows a Helbound (the first...and only announced class for CU so far) mid swing. We see the duality of their weapon reflecting the duality of the class itself. The weapon, posture, and swing effects remind me of a monk class, a dark monk class...who doesn’t love dark monks?

The next image showed a Helbound “summoning his own special brand of magic” ;) It looks awfully familiar, and red, sort of like red lightning not to be confused with red sprite lightning which is spooky amazing. Pretty sure if they discovered that a couple hundred years ago they would assume it was evil and that the world was ending... While not quite as amazing as ball lightning, sprite lightning is indeed pretty darn cool which brings me back to the Helbound, pretty darn cool.

As I ogled at the images I thought to myself, a dark monk that wears a freaken mask (an easy win in my book) wields a dual staff/pike, and uses red lightning magic! SOLD! SO....MUCH....WIN. I feel bad for the other classes. No wonder they haven’t unVeiled any since the Helbound. It set the bar so high the others all got gunshy! It’s ok other classes, we don’t expect you to be THIS cool...(little do the other classes know we are gamers, our demands are always unrealistic and we full well expect the others to be cooler, or at the very least as cool as this badass is).

As I studied the images like my first adult magazine I thought to myself “oh boy, I sure would like to see this bad boy in action”. Welllllll! The CSE God’s were kind to me on this day because as I scrolled down what lie waiting for me was just that! A Helbound animation test (very early and not final so don’t freak out).

So how did he walk? Even though this IS NOT A FINAL VERSION, I’m gonna get deep here, because I love this class and I analyze things I love more than things I don’t because reasons. His “walk” looked good. He almost appeared to have a slight limp which I dig and which makes sense with half your body being mangled. I thought there was a hangup between the speed that his body swayed and the bit of a limp, like their unified movement was off timed just a hair. If he has a slight limp his upper body should pull that side just a hair slower than when the other leg moves. Prop your foot up until it falls asleep then try walking and you’ll know what I mean. His jog also looked good but I think his arms were bent a bit too much and a bit too close to his chest, he is a freaken Helbound, IMO he should have “arm confidence”(TM) in his jog! Let those arms come forward a bit more. The same can be said for the run. I think the leg work in the run and jog was perfect and the way he leaned forward, also perfect.

Overall he has a menacing yet confident gate, he just needs to embrace his half injured self a bit more and I think the walk will fit the class perfectly. “But Tierless, walks are for races not classes.” Are they? I mean, in an MMORPG I would think your gait is affected by two things, your chosen race and your chosen class. If you wanna go real world on it look at an old pro-wrestler’s walk and tell me their profession didn’t affect it.

”This Helbound represents a pretty good approximation of how a Helbound could look in the game at launch” Mark Jacobs. Color me satisfied. The graphics are in line with what I was anticipating. They work very well while being reasonable as to not hamper precious FPS.

So there you have it, me fanishly gushning about how cool the Helbound is. Did I mention I’m pretty sure it will be a melee healer jack of all class? I base my opinion on the information from the Nuada story and the appearance (leather, melee weapon, casting, awesomeness). Did I also mention the Tierless LOVES alts and especially LOVES archers, stealthers, and jack of all classes? Did I also also mention if the other classes are this cool my altitis will rage like 80’s cartoon fans after watching Michael Bay movie trailers? So there you have it, Helbound, helyeah!


...

“Aren’t you forgetting something?”

No, but I was testing you to see if you were, you passed. Nicely done. Did I mention I love Deadpool? I tend to have a thing for red and black ninjaesque characters as well as green skinned characters.

“Sigh”

Bear with me, it was my lead-in!...The last image in the updates was a big one. Some might say it could have huge implications. In my humble opinion it’s too soon to tell but what I saw was a TDD bog giant emerging...and he was freaken green (but I wouldn’t dare call em’ jolly)! GREEN! The color of the coolest races in all of pop culture and gaming! It looked like he was about to eat a small child...or a fully grown woman depending on the size of the giant ;) If the picture is any indicator we are about to get a becoming story not unlike the Iron Giant...or Cormoran’s revenge depending...either way I can’t! We are only $38,480 away at this point with 1.5 years of dev left, so, well, yes, yes Camelot Unchained WILL have GIANTS!

#91 Tierless fights Time

Posted by Tierless Monday March 17 2014 at 2:33PM
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It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain...I won’t have enough time for Camelot Unchained. Even if SWG, or DAOC, or even UO itself came out for the first time tomorrow I wouldn’t have time for them. As great as they were it wouldn’t be the same again. I’m not who I was back then and I never will be again. I’m not a kid living on $100 a week and somehow making it work because the only thing I spend money on is food, gas, and MMOs lol. “Go out? Why? To where? I travel the world in my MMO!” Now I’m spread thinner than Nutella and it shows. (that stuff (Nutella) is expensive, gotta make it last)

Life is full of choices which come with consequences. I’ve made several that leave me with little time for my favorite hobby. Days used to feel like years, now years feel like days! Suddenly you realize you lost yourself somewhere along the way and all you want to do is log into a quality MMO to get a few minutes of precious escape. I’m back exactly where I started all those years ago. MMOs were the escape that kept my head above water, kept my soul out of the darkness, and kept me treading toward the light. All I had was time, too much time that took far too long to pass, and then I found MMOs. Time started to fly, but only when I was logged in. Outside of my virtual kingdom time crawled. In games I was fearless and always seeked out the toughest challenges to test myself! On the battlefield I was death incarnate!

Time being the devil that it is started slowly creeping up on me. It doesn’t come at you like Tyson, that would be too merciful. Time lulls you in like Foreman on the comeback. It builds your confidence, gets you to drop your guard, then it makes you feel it’s power.  What I failed to realize was once it starts it doesn’t stop. It just keeps on accelerating. As I’ve had less time to play I became more cautious, more calculated. I still liked challenges but I was careful about which ones I picked. On the battlefield I was dangerous but selective. A tactician of death!

Today I’m fractured. I cling to MMO hopes and promises and I desperately pay for air. Time is the one resource I seem to have the least of. Blink and you missed it. Months go by in a flash. Entire years are a blur. I barely have any time to play anything let alone an MMO! When I do I look for small progressive goals I can incrementally work toward. Ironically I’ve never been more vicious. With such little time I’m not looking for a challenge, I’m looking for a quick victory. I don’t want to spend my precious time dying, I need to maximize my minutes! That is what it’s all about, getting the most out of the limited play time I have but unfortunately my skills are rusty and I don’t have the time to grind it off. As selective and ruthless as I am I spend more time meeting death than serving it!

This isn’t a blog about pity, or sorrow, or even a declining gamer longing for his youth. This is a blog about perspective and adjusting your play style to fit your lifestyle. It’s about keeping your favorite escape from becoming another prison. It’s about us changing who we’ve become to fit our beloved MMOs, not changing our MMOs to fit us. The industry has been trying to make MMOs where everyone gets a trophy for the last 8 years. All we ended up with a bunch of easily accessible games that were ok and everything and great at nothing. Camelot Unchained is a game of choices and consequences that aims to be great at one thing. Due to the consequences of the lifestyle I enjoy living it’s a game I might not have enough time to be the best at, and I wouldn’t have chosen to back it if it was.

While my playstyle has always changed to work within my lifestyle there has always been one consistency. No matter how limited my MMO time was I’ve always found a way to have fun as long as I kept things in perspective and was willing to adapt.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” Bruce Lee

#90 What I did in World of Warcraft

Posted by Tierless Thursday March 6 2014 at 9:21PM
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Coming from SWG I spent most of my time in WOW waiting for patches to add all the cool stuff SWG had. What attracted me to WOW was it’s bugless lagless cleanliness. It was bright and easy and felt really organized in the beginning, all of which I loved but expected to dissipate later on. I expected WOW to progressively open up and be a sandbox at end game. Unfortunately that never happened and I found myself waiting for patches or expansions to add that sort of content which sadly never came.

So what did I do in WOW? I spent several years in it so surely I liked something about it right? I have a knack for picking the most gimped classes at launch so naturally I ended up a big dumb cow druid. FYI I LOVE green skinned races from TMNT to the Hulk to Orcs and it KILLED me to go cow but I was fascinated by druid (and it sounded the most Jedi like lol). As my friends blew past me I realized Druid wasn’t quite ready so I switched to rogue, then hunter, then priest, then settled with rogue for a while before turning back to druid. Before I knew it I had 4 level 60’s when it was cool to have more than one. I spent a lot of my early WOW time alting. (surprising right)

Once that bored me I tried an Ally on a different server (Obviously the Tierless mained on a PVP server!) but I simply couldn’t get into them. I missed my Orcs too much. I spent a fair amount of time PVPing at T-mill and S-Shore (you know what I’m talkin about old schoolers). Unfortunately rather than embrace open world PVP and give it meaning Blizz killed it and instanced it to control it, like everything in WOW, effectively killing the game world.

I never raided because IMO insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and I never cared for gear. I wanted to build houses, acquire unique art stuff to decorate it with, and PVP-by burning my enemie’s houses down and taking over their lands. For a while a rogue friend and I ran around causing chaos and camping flight masters. When that got old one of us logged a lowb alt and ran into lowb enemy territory while the other stealthed near by. The old bait and gank!

I finally gave up on the world being alive and decided to grind AV and AB, both of which had their moments but never came close to feeling the way open world PVP, the kind with real consequences, does. I got up to Legionnaire and was generally a top ranked hunter on my server. Soon it got to the point where leading an AV or AB was a bit too easy (most of the time) so I switched it up and started doing the PVP instance grind with my Druid. Playing the healer was fun for a while but eventually I found myself feral specced and playing it like a rogue! I could never get past not being an orc. Man I love orcs...

After that I did a bit of instancing, not the raid ones, the 10 mans. Those were fun, especially with the druid specced right and filling a variety of rolls. Keeping it random keeps it interesting for longer but it was never as fun as the challenge of another player in PVP.

Toward the end of my time with WOW a typical play session meant doing a bit of all of the above in an increasingly more difficult attempt to stay invested but I couldn’t. I saw where the game was going. I was always 100% about the living game world and WOW was turning into a Diablo 2esque dungeon crawler with every patch! I remember telling my guild “I picture WOW in 5 years being a game you log into, pick your instance, and zone in”...sadly I was spot on.

So there we have it, what I did in WOW. I certainly had moments of fun, I mean I played it for a few years, but it was NEVER not one single time even remotely comparable to the type of random chaotic open world fun I had experienced in SWG and had hear about in UO. For me WOW will always be the game with great Orcs that could have been amazing had they embraced the sandbox and allowed their players to take chances and experience consequences. Instead they made it into “everyone gets a trophy” and nearly killed the genre we all love by rote. I don’t blame WOW. WOW has always WOWed, but I do resent the gutless money driven decisions that led the genre to the brink until Kickstarter pulled us from the depths and gave us a new hope. Yes, I still miss my Orcs from time to time.

#89 Camelot Unchained Armor Unveiled

Posted by Tierless Saturday March 1 2014 at 7:50PM
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“Believability and functionality are high priorities when designing realm identification and armor. Our game sets itself to be unique and interesting, but also realistic. Our goal is to pair artistic expression and a perceived sense of realism within this magical world, which we hope our players will embrace for years to come.” Lead Artist and Animator Scott Trolan.

The above quote is exactly what I hoped CU would do with it’s armor, and looking at the concepts they pulled it off in spades. Now I get to play barstool dev and give my breakdown of the EARLY Camelot Unchained armor CONCEPTS. Mark Jacobs DISCLAIMER: “Please keep in mind that these sketches are simply that: a series of thoughts expressed via the artists' skill, not "money" pieces or the kind of finished concept work you would offer for sale.”

Arthurian - How do you offset blocky, thick, square, heavy, metal armor? With a scarf! Or rather a variety of cloth drapery. Sometimes extreme contrast works, sometimes it doesn’t, in this case it works incredibly well. I often joke about Arthurians being lame but after seeing the early armor concepts I wasn’t joking, I was contemplating, contemplating how cool my character would look in that dark plate armor paired with that black cloak accented with blood red trim! These guys appear to have the best armor crafting tech by a long shot. I wasn’t sold on a few concepts as they seemed a bit too decorative but the majority of them found a great place between nice looking yet functional. The cloth accents were perfectly executed. It looked like impressive armor you could fight in, yet still comfortably walk around in, which is a nice departure from the over the top unrealistic heavy armor we’ve grown so accustomed to. This armor shows you can have it look fancy and legit at the same time. Elegant and civilized, yet capable and effective, sounds like an Arthurian to me. Great job art team.

TDD - If a TDD wearing these concepts were to lay down in a field during the fall they might be completely camouflaged, and that is exactly how they should be! Leather, wood, and antlers, these guys are one with nature and it shows. It appears they are the least technological race, yet something about their appearance makes this blogger think they might just be the most magical. It takes talented artists to pull off that kind of subtle undertone. Obvious is easy, subtle, that takes skill. I do feel some of their armor looked a bit overly stiff and tight and the metal looking TDD armor didn’t quite sync up with the other stuff. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few Samurai elements in the metal stuff. Samurai armor made to look more natural would look formidable while feeling less out of sync than the current metal stuff. I love the use of color and small skull accents. The skulls help give them a sort of dark magical voodoo vibe which is exactly what I think of when I think TDD. Another perfectly race represented armor set. Again, nice work art team.

Viking - Originally I wasn’t sure how I felt about this armor. The more I looked at it and noted all of the different textures, shapes, objects, patterns, and colors the more I was impressed. The Viking armor should not work as a whole, and yet the more I studied it the more I realized it works perfectly. I have to give a lot of credit to the artists for what they pulled off with this armor. They appear to be more technologically well off than the TDD, but just barely, while being a fair ways behind the Arthurian armorsmiths. I love the use of bones but feel like the armor is lacking a little bit of the intimidation factor that I think the Vikings will have in CU. I’d like to see a few more spiky bones and some skulls to turn that up a notch. The few pieces that did this looked phenomenal! Functional, interesting, and intimidating. That sounds like a viking to me. I /bow to you art team.

Mechanics - pretty stuff aside lets talk about the important stuff, mechanics. Armor in CU will be layered as it is in real life. On top of that it can be mixed and matched. The combinations and the amount of pros and cons must have the min maxers on the edge of their rolling chairs! Not to leave the crafters out they can mix and match materials to get different armor results! Imagine the possibilities but remember, choice matters. What gains in one area surely must be lost in another. Oh, and did I mention those bones I’m so fond of might just have a function!

My only major armor criticism is how pristine everything looked. These are people living in constant war and I’d prefer the armor had a bit more wear to it but that could always come later, these are early concepts after all. Then again if it is new from the crafter to the player it should look pristine until it suffers the scars of battle and I don’t think a system like that is feasible at this time but it sure would be nice. My favorite thing about every concept we saw was how functional, yet interesting they looked. Team CSE is proving you can have your pie and eat it too and you don’t have to look like the wayward child of a disco ball and a christmas tree to pull it off. A hood or antlers? I just don’t know anymore! I love both so so much, Darth Maul pulled it off...but he had tiny horns, I’d expect my TDD to be a healthy looking 5x5 once he matures!