Posts tagged screenshots

Is the Secret World Turning the Corner?

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I was pretty surprised when I saw the posts concerning TSW’s rapidly approaching anniversary as it hardly seems like it has bee a year since it launched.  Many because so much has happened to the game and the company over the year that times has just flown past.  I’m not sure I can think of another game that has had to overcome as much as TSW has, and I’m really hoping this latest batch of news is a positive sign that the team has moved past the turmoil and is stronger because of it.  I’m not going to dwell on the past, although it would probably be plenty of material for a novel, but instead focus on what’s coming up.

Joel kicked off the news batch with his June’s Producer’s letter where he does a bit of a recap of all that TSW has been able to accomplish over this past year.  For me the biggest thing he left off were the amazing ARG events the team has put out, which really are content updates, just in another form factor.  If you think about it that way, Funcom has put out 9 content updates, lost a CEO on launch day due to suspicious circumstances, gone through 2 corporate restructurings, moved the staff half a world away, and switched business models.  That’s an impressive year, but from everything they’ve put out (and they have to be open about their numbers) TSW’s model switch has worked very well and the game is striving.  I don’t care whether you like TSW or not, you have to admit to be able to continue through everything they have and be in the position they are now is quite the accomplishment.

Before I press forward, I have to comment on the two images in his letter.  The first one is the “Cover Art” for this episode and while it does look like a James Bond montage (as it should being the them of the update) I must say I’m a little worried about the teddy bear in the image.  I have a feeling this is going to end up more like the Holy Grail Bunny then a Ted rip-off Smile

Also, the two comic strips at the end tie in that little teddy bear and you just have to wonder if it is an evil bear, or a benevolent one.

If that isn’t creepy enough, well there’s the trailer for you as well:

However, before we get to the goodies of Issue 7, we have to survive the actual game’s anniversary.  I like this idea of building up to the new content which TSW has done an amazing job of in various other patches they’ve done over the year, and I’m excited to see how they do it for this update.  So there will be some nasty and powerful creatures invading the land that will challenge the players, but success sounds like it will grant some sort of cosmetic pet?  Also during the event there will be daily bonuses to things like XP, ability and skill points as well as an across the board 30% discount in the store.  I’m pretty excited about the store sale as I know I have a huge pile of points and I need to use some before they expire.  Which I might add, is quite a smart way to do it as otherwise they’ll be hard pressed to ever get money out of lifers again.  I know my ridiculous stockpile of points in LOTRO will continue to allow me to purchase pieces of Expansions that I want, unless of course they change that model.  There will also be gifts given to the players, but no details on what those gifts are other then there will be something extra for members and Grandmasters.  And finally, the game will be completely free for anyone who has ever played a Funcom title (hint go check out AoC for free if you want to get in that way) will be able to enjoy the event without having to buy the box.

The conclusion of the event is the actual release of the Issue 7 content, which seemed a little weird to me as I thought they already released Issues 7, but then I remembered this was another one of their split patches where the guts of the update go out earlier then the story.

Joel wraps up his article with some teasers for Issue 8, and I have to say I’m probably most excited about the new Scenario and Augmentation systems as they could go horribly wrong, Funcom has done a pretty good job with their system changes as well as taking what others have done and improving on them.  Scenarios could be a HUGE content improvement for TSW in much the same way skirmishes have helped out LOTRO and I think if done well with the right story tie could fill a void in TSW’s content.

All in all, some great stuff coming up for TSW and I’m really hoping this is the start of an even better second year in The Secret World.

 

LOTRO Update 11 Goodies

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Of course this is all subject to change, but there are some pretty cool aspects to Update 11 that I wanted to share with folks.  I also will have a couple of suggestions for folks towards the end.  Don’t get me wrong, Update 11 isn’t perfect and it won’t keep end-game folks busy until the Helm’s Deep expansion, but this update is better then what I was expecting.  And I haven’t even done any of the Epic line, which always have good stories tied to them.

Visually, the area is quite stunning and unlike the other winter zones in the game – which is quite nice.  Turbine always impresses me with how they’re able to keep creating different and unique zones.  Adding to the beauty of the area, Turbine has stepped it up with their armor designs in this update.  The end-game sets with Rohan were honestly pretty disappointing as the Hytbold sets were incredibly un-inspired.  As some examples, check out some of the gear below:

Metalsmith CraftablesTailor Craftablesmore costmetics

Now as you can tell from these shots, we have all sorts of new tiers:

  • new guild obtainable craftables
    • requires mastery of the eastenment tier (double anvil)
  • More reputation to obtain
    • although this time tasks do boost reputation
  • More barter items to gather, including another set of dailies
    • some have likened the progression to Limlight Gorge

I also wanted to share a completely non-real item as I just thought it looked cool and I thought might be interesting to see if they actually use it anywhere.

Bullroarer snapshot

I would be curious to see if they decide to do something like the weapon glow already in game for armor or shields.

In addition to all the cool looks of these sets, there are actually some interesting things going on with stats in this update.  The guild crafted items all have 5 variants to choose from to give you lots of flexibility.  I’m not sure about everything, but at least the Tailor, Metalsmith, and Jeweler items all have 5 options, which is pretty impressive.  Granted, you won’t have set bonuses, but for many classes those bonuses aren’t that useful so here’s another series of pieces you can mix and match.  Here’s an example of one of these pieces compared with the Hytbold piece.

One example of stats

This kinda makes my head spin a bit from a min/maxing perspective as there are now ALL SORTS of options to play with.  As another example, here are the stats for the pretty eye-popped barterable bauble items available in the new zone.

New Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter Items

So there’s some pretty cool stuff coming with Update 11, but it would really be nice if they find a way to squeeze in some sort of other update prior to the expansion.  If they could do something like last year and add a couple instances and/or skirmishes I think that would go a long way.  However, I have a feeling that the reputation grind is all we’re going to have to keep us busy until the expansion hits.

As for those looking for things to do, I’d suggest working on your crafting as the new goodies may require some work.  First off, they all require mastery of the Eastenment tier (double anvil) where as the previous build recipes just required access to the tier, not mastery.  Also, they do require the large guild items (the weekly cooldown ones) so it might be a good idea to stock up on those.  Another option for you is that you can now trade up symbols such that small symbols can be turned into medium ones, and those can further be upgraded to large ones.  I haven’t looked at the tasks yet, but it is possible there could be a re-use of item drops – but I’d honestly be surprised if they didn’t introduce new items.

While not a total cure-all for what’s going on with LOTRO, I really think Update 11 is a significantly good update that if more updates (and more often) were of this quality, LOTRO might be in a better state.

 

Turbine with an Interesting News Day

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I’ve been waiting a little bit to absorb and digest the releases yesterday as there are certain things that just don’t make sense to me.  We saw 3 main pieces of news that I wanted to go a little deeper into.

After a delay hit last week, Update 11 finally makes its way over to Bullroarer for public testing.  I will admit that I’ve only popped on the server for a little bit, so this isn’t any sort of thorough review of the update.  For the most part, we knew much of what is in this update but I wanted to touch on a couple of things.  I was a bit underwhelmed by the changes to mounted combat, as Rowan made it out to be a pretty significant change to the mechanics as well as giving the mount trees more options.  At first glance, it really just seemed like the removed many of the basic traits and rolled them into the base mount.  While I appreciate the change, I was hoping for more of an evolution.  But, I will reserve full judgment until I play with it more and see the new content in case they added something spiffy there.  I am (as always) happy to see new zones and am VERY curious to see where the story continues, and visually it appears that the new zone doesn’t disappoint.  I did check out the new Hobbit Presents, and I really don’t have any personal issues with it – but at least now we should be able to get confirmation regarding non-VIPs and gold boxes.  On my first roll I did win 50 Mithril Tokens, so I used those up for research purposes.  The main thing that jumped out to me is that the gear in there maxes out at level 80, but there are Teal and Orange drops.  Below are some shots of what’s possible to get, notice the orange item is not that far off from my Hytbold gear. In addition to this use of coins, there are new ways to spend them, which is all well and good but I’m just not entirely sure the rationale behind the change.  We shall see how much of this build stays the way it currently exists and how many BR builds we get before live, but for the most part I’m liking the Update for what it is.

Hobbit Presents OptionsHobbit Presents OptionsHobbit Presents Options

The announcement that shouldn’t have shocked anyone was the “official” announcement of the Helm’s Deep expansion.  My biggest issue with this is that there’s NOTHING new in the announcement that we didn’t already hear last year from Rowan or earlier this year from Kate Paiz.  Why make such a big deal about a “huge” announcement around the anniversary that you’ve already made?  This announcement is almost identical to the ones for Isengard and Rohan, (Isengard Release & Rohan Release) but those were both a few months earlier in the calendar year.  I was thinking possibly they might announce pre-orders and beta, but for each of those last 2 expansions (Isengard and Rohan) those announcements didn’t come until July – so this would certainly be early for that.  I’m not sure what else I would have wanted to know, but this announcement just didn’t excite me much at all.  Getting to the few details they did announce, I’ve mentioned before that I”m not a big fan of level cap increases so I’m not excited that they included one, but it probably is best with all the class revamp stuff going on.  Probably the most confusing part of the announcement is the mention of Helm’s Deep content available starting at level 10!  I’m not sure how this will actually work, but it smacks of a money grab that just wants to give everyone a reason to get the expansion and not just those at level cap.  However, I can see this happening in a number of ways, but here’s my speculation.  For those who’ve been around for a while, you may remember Book 14 of Epic Volume 1 (thanks to twitter for helping jog my memory) had a server wide quest turn-in gate on finishing the rest of the book.  Essentially once enough people did enough of a certain group of quests you were able to tip the scales of the battle enough to un-lock the rest of the story.  I’m reading into what’s in the release in that Turbine is doing something similar here with this expansion.  Notice, no where in the release do we see the mention of instances, raid, skirmishes, etc. which I do NOT expect to be part of the expansion just like they haven’t been for the past 2 expansions.  However, this server wide un-lock, could provide a neat tie-in to better “explain” the time gap between the content.  They’ll know when the instance cluster should be ready, so they can just adjust the math such that it isn’t possible to unlock the content until it is ready.  This would provide a way in which everyone could participate in some way without tossing level 10 players way out into Rohan.  Another possibility would be to include session plays in some form, but I’m just not sure how they’d introduce those for folks that early on in the story.

The piece of news that’s probably getting the least amount of publicity is the changes coming to the forums.  They’ve been hinting and talking about the change, even going so far as to tell people to export any blogs, but we’re now getting details of what’s coming.  Long story short, everything not on the forums is going away.  This includes My.lotro blogs, character data, programmatic access to the item and character databases, PvMP and skirmish leaderboards, the Lorebook, and probably a few other things that I’m forgetting.  Everyone realizes that the whole system has issues, but this seems like a pretty drastic step.  Sapience does reveal that the merging of NA and EU systems has caused a huge assortment of problems so it seems like this is a necessary evil.  However, the more concerning part about the announcement is there’s no mention of any sort of upside for players, or any mention of doing something to address players concern over security.

One thing that these 3 announcements all have in common is a very confusing PR strategy that Turbine has embraced.  Why roll out the bad news together with the two pieces of good positive stuff?  Why wait all this time to “officially” announce the expansion?  Why nothing addressing huge security holes that have already been compromised once as part of this forum apocalypse?  I think many of the issues the community has stems directly from this lack of quality communication.  I don’t know what specifically has changed, but I don’t remember them coming this frequently.  Hopefully the Player Council can shake something loose, but only time will tell.

 

LOTRO Update 10 2nd Bullroarer Patch and Armor Screenshots

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The second build hit Bullroarer today and it included quite a few additions that were not there previously.  You can find the full patch notes here, but there aren’t too many changes mainly the finishing off of the changes they had already announced:

  • Fate determines out of combat power regen, not Will
  • Quests can be completed/advanced in raids
  • All sorts of class tweaks – mainly power related
  • Various Mounted combat tweaks, again mainly power related
  • All sorts of creep changes – shockingly enough, power related
  • Freeps now get Battlefield Promotions while in the Moors based on rank which boosts Power, Morale, and Damage
    • only active while in the moors
  • Various tweaks to the new instance spaces
  • New Armor sets at the skirmish vendors
  • Warden sets flipping over to Agility (even existing Hytbold sets, which is nice)

As for the sets, we get not only one set per trait line but also two tiers of those sets.  The first tier is simply deed gated by completing Tier 1 of the various raids.  The second tier is obtained by trading in the first tier piece and two separate drops from the raids.  The Tier one pieces cost:

  • 2600 – 3500 marks
  • 673 – 807 medallions
  • 31 – 92 seals

I have no clue what the drop rates for any of these will be in the new spaces, but I’m sure folks will be finding out soon.  Also, since the gear is deed gated, we don’t yet know what the level requirement is for that deed – but I’m sure someone will find out for us.

As for the stats on the gear, Tier 1 is essentially the same as the Hytbold sets with slightly different stats and bonuses but overall just as powerful.  Tier 2 is a step up, but not a significant one, although it does include an additional set bonus.  Below are some snaps of the pieces as well as some comparisons to the existing Hytbold sets I’m wearing.  I’m not sure these are final as especially the Captain one is clearly not finished.  Personally I love the looks of the sets and will probably be working towards them for that reason, but there are some nifty set bonuses that are intriguing.

Guardian Erebor SetChampion Erebor SetCaptain Erebor SetRunekeeper Erebor SetMinstrel Erebor SetLoremaster Erebor SetBurglar Erebor SetHunter Erebor SetWarden Erebor Set

 

LOTRO Update 9 New Screenshots

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In advance of the new Update coming for LOTRO, Turbine has released a number of screenshots showing off the new instance spaces.  As much as I may be disappointed about what’s not in the Update, there are a number of good aspects of it and I do like 3-man instances.  And these spaces do look pretty darn cool!  The other thing I like about these shots is they do show off some different looking mobs and not just a re-hashing of what we’ve seen before.  There also appears to be a potential teaser for some of the new allies we may have in these instances, what kind of bird is that in the last image?

Here they are, and as usual they are quite large.

Iorgar’s Peak

Stone Giant Boss?Other Giant Boss?

Seat of the Great Goblin

Inside the Throne Room?Boss inside some Goo?

Webs of the Scuttedells

Looks like we might get some help?One big ugly spiderLooks like a set of ruins we're fighting aroundFlying help in this instance perhaps?

 
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