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Typing With Gloves On

Why do they have to keep the office I work in so darn cold?

Author: streea

AoC Beta Thoughts (Because this dead horse hasn't been beaten enough)

Posted by streea Tuesday May 13 2008 at 1:11PM
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Classes played: Bear Shaman, Ranger, Conqueror. No PvP was involved, but heaving grouping was.

Combat - The lack of auto attack is a nice idea, but there are only three default attacks: right, straight and left. As far as I could tell though, there is no difference between swinging right or left; even if my attacker swings right and I swing right, I'm just as likely to hit as I am miss. If this were based on reality, it would make more sense to have a head shot, body shot and leg shot. Once you start gaining abilities, however, you realize that the right-straight-left attacks are nothing more than DDR-esque triggers to set off combos.

The combo system, at first, seems nice. In fact, a lot of what AoC offers seems, at first, to be pretty nice. In the end though it comes down to just trying to spam as many combos as you can in some random order. Sure, getting the bleed attacks off first might seem like a good idea and if you're in a group, taunting abilities are useful to start with, but the order doesn't really change the outcome of the battle... I've never once thought "oh whew, it's a good thing I got that X combo off in time instead of Y combo, otherwise I would've died!" I'm sure someone with an excel sheet could figure out the best order for the most damage with the least amount of cooldown time, but at the early stages, none of this matters.

Load Screens - The only load screen worth complaining about is the very first one you have to sit through when you try to enter the game. That particular one takes about five minutes to complete and is extremely annoying. Every other load screen I ran across when moving between zones only took about 10 seconds to get through at the most. So why are people complaining so much about it? Probably because it takes several days to download and patch the game, so waiting those five extra minutes when trying to get in for the first time can seem like a nightmare (PS: this is a nice way of saying that people just like to QQ when they don't get their way).

Graphics - Extremely beautiful. The colors especially. The only concern I have is that the armor at the beginning is very boring. It's realistic, but it lacks any artistic touch that makes you hesitate to dump one old armor for a newer one. In fact, most of the time I couldn't wait to get out of the gear I was in, if only so that I could look at something different.

Class Imbalance - First off, if you decide to play a healer, you're going to suffer a lot. I dropped my Bear Shaman when I couldn't continue with the main storyline (which, by the way, you're FORCED to solo) because I had trouble defeating two enemies at the same level (I couldn't even kill one, respawn, and then take out the other). The Bear Shaman was slow and weak, and the only healing ability I had at the time was a HOT.

I then tried a Ranger. Rangers are just warriors who can stealth and have a few bow specials. Yawn. It was pretty boring.

Finally I went with a Conqueror. The warrior class focused on buffs, debuffs (which always seemed extremely weak), and straight up damage. I could survive groups of three if I made sure my enemies were all clustered together, since I had a massive 2-hander that did cone-like damage in front of me. The most important thing though was that I could solo the main storyline. I couldn't do that on my healer. My fiance also had trouble soloing on his Necro, even with a demon pet, and he greatly preferred grouping with my Conqueror since he wouldn't die against every group of two that came at him.

Forced Soloing - This is, without a doubt, the biggest complaint I have about this game. No game should force you to solo something. What's worse is that the solo/storyline content levels up with you, so trying to go back and deal with it when you're a bit stronger will not work. I'm not sure if completing this is required for players to get off the island, but even if it isn't, you miss out on the best quest rewards and interesting stories that change depending on which class archetype you play. Maybe, just maybe, this will be changed for release, but if not, I can honestly say this is what's keeping me away from the game. If I want to play by myself, I'll fire up Mass Effect, thanks.

Final Things - There are a lot of decisions you can make when it comes to customizing your character, both in appearance and skills. Creating characters is probably one of the most entertaining aspects of this game. I also absolutely adore how RPG-like holding conversations with characters is. Actually being able to interact with characters and say different things to them is something that MMOs have been desperately needing, and I love picking between different choices to see what types of responses I'll get.

Sadly, combat, class imbalances and, most importantly, forced soloing, really take away from the experience. Since this is a beta, it's hard to know exactly what things will be like in the official version, but unless there were some major changes done, I just don't see AoC becoming my next MMO.

Giddian writes:

Imbalances if classes happen till tweaking starts. Every game Does that. As far as the combat goes, there are reasons for the left, right, and center attacks, and that is shields. You can see shields on the person you are attacking. left, right, and center. you have to adjust your attacks so you can hit the side with no or less shields.

I think you need to look into it more. you might find it a little better than what you think. you should download this video.  It could explain it better.

I don't think the combat is the best. I find it refreshingly different. I hope the video helps you enjoy the game better.

Tue May 13 2008 1:31PM Report
streea writes:

That makes sense, I never played a shield-bearing class. I'll have to try one out then and check out the video. Thanks :)

While I agree that there will always be tweaking, if the solo content was designed specifically for one player in mind, yet one player can't successfully tackle it, then the problem is definitely bigger then what a tweaking can solve.

Tue May 13 2008 1:42PM Report
Giddian writes:

I had no issues with the Solo Missions. I just went to multi player went up a level and went back to solo to finish the Mission. Trial and error. if it is too hard, I think they will make it less difficult. After all, they do want you to enjoy the game.

Tue May 13 2008 1:49PM Report
streea writes:

The problem with that is that the enemies inside level up to match you for the storyline/solo missions. They were level 9 against my level 9 character and level 13 against my level 13 character.

Tue May 13 2008 1:58PM Report
Gnomig writes:

I thought the same thing about the combos... that was the reason i won't buy the game ^^. It just doesn't seem to make a difference if you trigger combo A or B, at least it didn't really influence the outcome of a fight.

Tue May 13 2008 2:03PM Report
Giddian writes:

I see your point. The way I did it was try to pull 1 or 2 at a time, If I became too weighted down....RUN, Come back and try again. Thats what I did. If I died,,, Well, I would make sure I at least took out 1 or 2 before I died so I could come back and Finish it.   I Allso, on harder Missions, Waited till I was all most leveled to go in. Kill 1 or 2 things and Boom, Your a level above everything.

Tue May 13 2008 2:04PM Report
streea writes:

I Allso, on harder Missions, Waited till I was all most leveled to go in. Kill 1 or 2 things and Boom, Your a level above everything.

Haha! I'll have to remember that.

Tue May 13 2008 2:12PM Report
grimfall writes:

I agree with some of the things you say here, but there is something that's mis-represented here and has been repeated through a lot of these beta reviews.

The NPC's move their shileds to the spot that you're hitting.  If you are using attack 3 and the target has all of his shields on his left (your right) you're not going to do any damage.

The way you use the attacks it to set up your combos.  You want to use combo A, which is triggered by an attack 3. Then you need to start the fight by attacking to the left (1) or to the center (2) so that the enemy opens up for combo swing.

The meless are way over powered compared to the casters in the Tortage campaign part of the game.  Healers, not just Bear Shaman all have the same problem reported here.

Tue May 13 2008 3:13PM Report writes:
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