Monthly Archives: March 2014

Guild Wars 2: April Feature Pack (Wardrobe System’s Limitations)

Hello everybody, G33k Generation here.

If you play Guild Wars 2, you would have heard about the upcoming April Feature Pack. The feature pack includes some major changes to user interface (wardrobe system) and gameplay system changes (critical damage to ferocity). It’s probably fully coded by now. The reason it’s taking so long to roll out is probably to build up hype and hence increase cash shop sales on the release day.

The wardrobe system seems like a win win goodness that is going to be delivered to the players. But i can’t help but nurse a nagging feeling that there’s still something amiss. To be fair, the wardrobe system is a more elegant way of doing things than what we have right now and is definitely an upgrade toward gameplay friendliness.

To talk about the wardobe system, we first have to talk about the system that currently is. Say a player have a level 80 character that is fully equipped and runed/sigiled. The player decides to change his/her build with a new set of equipment but choose to maintain the old look of his/her character. What the player does is use a Transmutation Crystal to merge his/her character’s old item with the new item, choosing the new item’s skin and/or stats with the old rune/sigil (assuming you continue using his/her rune/sigil).

With the new wardrobe system, you apply the skin you want onto the new item with the use of a Transmutation Charge. However because it is merely the application of skins, the old rune/sigil is not transferred to the new item by way of merging. So to get the new set of items to have the same runes/sigils, the player has to buy a new set of runes/sgils, which can turn out to be an expensive endeavor. The alternative is to use an Upgrade Extractor, which as it is, costs way more than the most expensive rune/sigil in the trade post (not counting infusions). There’s simply no point in extracting the rune/sigil when you can simply buy the rune/sigil at a relatively much lower cost.

There is yet a third alternative. That is to use Black Lion Salvage Kit to salvage the old item to retrieve the rune/sigil. So the cost of replacing the of a whole set of armor is currently only 6 Transmutation Crystals. After the patch, assuming 1 Transmutation Charge is required for each skin application, it’s going to cost 6 Transmutation Charges + 6 uses of Black Lion Salvage Kit. Moreover, this third alternative is not available if the old item was a karma item, which is a non-salvageable item.

Given this scenario, it is easy to see that Transmutation Charges does less things than Transmutation Crystals and that the Transmutation cash thingy will effectively be nerfed with the new wardrobe system.

Geek Generation out.

Hearthstone: About Daily Quests

Geek Generation here.

Hearthstone gives a daily quest every day, up to a maximum of three quests. Fortunately, you do not have to log in to accumulate the quest. The daily quests serves as the source of gold income for players who, like me, do not achieve atleast 7 wins on the Arena on a consistent basis.

There is an option to delete a quest, but i assume it simply deletes the quest rather than let you roll for a new quest instantly. As such, deleting quests only hurts your income and has no benefit that i can see.

So is there any strategy for completing quests?

Hardcore players, who are also more experienced by nature of playing more, can be found playing the game any time, any day. That’s what makes them hardcore after all. However, less hardcore players, hence possibility lower skilled, have less time to play and tend to play at night (after work) or on the weekends. So during those times, the pool of players become diluted with the less hardcore players and the chance of meeting them and scoring a win toward completing your quest becomes better.

Which is also why i prefer to play Arena on weekends.

Then there’s the choice of playing Casual or Ranked games for quest that requires wins. At first thought, players might think Casual games offer better chances of winning. However, it seems that Casual games tend to be harder and filled with players playing really strong decks. I assume these players have ranked up pretty high and are afraid of losing stars so they’re playing Casual games instead. It turns out that ranked plays are the better choice since better decks would have ranked up to higher ranks and won’t be met with as long as you haven’t used a much stronger deck to raise your rank too high for the deck you’re questing with.

But of course, these are just my personal observations and might not be true for you.

Geek Generation out.

Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Aggro (King Mukla)

Hello everybody, Geek Generation here. I’ve played a couple rounds of Arena this weekend. The scores were varied from 7 wins to 1 win. I discovered that i’m really bad with Shaman but much better with Warrior and Hunter and sometimes Paladin.

King_Mukla

Anyway, i opened the prizes of 4 booster packs and boom, King Mukla has arrived in my collection. Yay.

Chillwind_Yeti Bananas

King Mukla, being a beast, instantly got my attention. Maybe it fits into my Beast deck. 5/5 for 3 mana is simply sweet. The only time that it’s no good is when your opponent plays turn 3 Chillwind Yeti. Or even turn 1 or 2 Chillwind Yeti (Druids don’t play fair). The Yeti would munch on bananas and laugh at the humbled King Mukla.

I’ve replaced the lone Ironfur Grizzly with King Mukla. So instead of Scavenging Hyena -> Ironfur Grizzly, i’ll be hoping for Scavenging Hyena -> King Mukla. Sure, King Mukla doesn’t protect the Hyenas and also doesn’t grow any bigger. But i’ve never seen my Hyenas grow bigger than 4/3.

Freezing_Trap

Together with the addition of King Mukla, i discovered that i really liked Freezing Trap. It gives a really strong tempo advantage and often lets you seize the initiative from your opponent. I don’t quite know what to remove, so i went with Bestial Wrath and Stonetusk Boar. *sigh* i really do like the lone copy of Stonetusk Boar. It feeds the Starving Buzzards and Houndmasters so well.

Here’s the updated list. I’ll let you know how it goes next week after i play with it. Hopefully before the end of the current season.

1 x Hunter’s Mark
2 x Arcane Shot
2 x Freezing Trap
1 x Unleash the Hounds
2 x Animal Companion
1 x Eaglehorn Bow
2 x Kill Command
2 x Multi-shot

2 x Timber Wolf
2 x Dire Wolf Alpha
2 x Ironbeak Owl
2 x River Crocolisk
2 x Scavenging Hyena
2 x Starving Buzzard
1 x King Mukla
2 x Houndmaster
2 x Tundra Rhino

My deck will be complete with 1 more Eaglehorn, Unleash the Hounds and King Krush. But then, King Krush could well be a Kobold instead of a Beast. If i’m casting King Krush, i’m pretty sure that it’s not its Beast-ness that will turn the game. Leeroy Jenkins would do the job well enough.

Geek Generation out.

Guild Wars 2: Living Story Intermission After Retaking Lion’s Arch

Hello everybody, Geek Generation here.

New patch for Guild Wars 2 came on yesterday. Living story’s first story has come to a conclusion, Scarlet is dead without saying why she did what she did or what it was that she saw or contacted with in the Eternal Alchemy. Surely it cannot be the dragon she woke that masterminded the whole thing. If the dragon was the mastermind, did it scheme all the events while asleep to wake himself up? Which sounds rather ludicrous.

So after the whole fiasco, a dragon woke up. According to the wiki, it was Mordremoth, elder jungle dragon, that woke up, though i’m not sure how that was inferred, probably there are other sources of information i have yet to come across. So what next? Not much actually, if you thought about it. According to the novel, Edge of Destiny, Kralkatorrik, elder crystal dragon, itself was flying around in Ascalon. It was not even clear why it didn’t finish off Ebonhawke since Destiny’s Edge’s trap didn’t work.

So Kralkatorrik was awake, and didn’t need a whole Scarlet Briar fiasco to do it, and being awake doesn’t mean very much apparently.

In terms of the living story, the patch doesn’t have much updates. Just one lengthy scene in the Dead End’s bar. I really hope we get to see black curtains that was promised the next time we go in there.

Another point to note is that there isn’t any Sylvari in the hero line up in the last season. So quite likely, the next season of living story is going to add a Sylvari. Some speculation on the forums say that the next story could possibly explore Malyck and the other mother/father tree. Let’s hope it’s not going to be another Trahearne-like weakling that claims all the glory while others do the hard work.

Can’t there be an asura that’s not obnoxious, a sylvari that’s actually mysterious and prophetic with his/her dreams?

Oh well.. Anyway before i leave off, i saw in the forums that someone was saying that: considering the rebuilding of the statue that got destroyed took three months of real world time, the rebuilding of Lion’s Arch is gonna take one to two years. Lol, Geek Generation out.

What is Death Zerging?

Hello everybody, Geek Generation here.

Following my previous post on What is to zerg, i thought i’ll make a post on a what is to death zerg.

Death zerging occurs in games where a monster’s health does not reset between fights and the penalty of player character death is relatively cheap. Thus players can employ the death zerging strategy of winning by attrition. Do as much damage to the said monster before dying to said monster, then respawning at the closest spawn point and returning to continue with the fight against the monster.

Even if the monster’s health does regenerate in between fights, if it cannot regenerate quickly enough in the time that takes the player to respawn his character and return to the fight, death zerging can still be used.

Understandably, death zerging cannot be employed in games where death of the player character is permanent or has a penalty that is alot harsher relative to the rewards of killing the target. I.e. Diablo 3’s and Path of Exile’s Hardcore mode where death of the player character is permanent.

The thing about death zerging is that the opinion of it is fairly mixed. Some people view it as strategy of the poorly skilled. Some view it as determination. I tend to think of it more as a combination of both tending towards more determination than being poorly skilled. But as a strategy, i think it’s pretty valid as it lets the not so skilled players complete the content; no matter whether their lower skill is due to lack of coordination or reflexes or have poor computer or graphics or network speeds, or it might even be due to poor server quality or poor game content design.

Some games might employ a mixture of allowing death zerging in some content and not allowing death zerging in other parts of the game. Path of Exile, for example, does this. The triple bandit fights prevents death zerging by not allowing the player to return to the fight after leaving the area. And once the entire team dies, the bandit is returned to full health for the next fight. And this applies only to the bandits, leaving all other bosses susceptible to death zerging. In fact, since there is no armor repairs, death zerging almost seems to be encouraged as long as experience loss is not a factor (no experience loss if there are none to lose).

However, some game developers have the view that death zerging is not part of intended play style. Guild Wars 2, for example, prevents the use of waypoints (hence self respawn) when atleast one of the members of the party is in combat. This leads to boring waits if a player accidentally misses some critical dodges. It also punishes the less coordinated teams; by not letting them death zerg, poorly coordinated teams might not be able to win the content resulting in dissolution of the party and hence time wasted.

Imo, this unforgiving system is what feeds the PUG discrimination in the game. It ostracizes players new to the content and alienates players from the more difficult dungeons like Arah dungeon.

The thing with Guild Wars 2’s non-death zerging dungeons is that it wasn’t always like that. There was a time before the change where death zerging was allowed. Personally, i think Guild Wars 2 will have a more friendly environment if they were to allow the new or not so skilled players to have a go at winning difficult dungeons via death zerging.

So much for now. Geek Generation out.

Hearthstone: Patch 11/3/2014

Geek Generation here.

The latest Hearthstone patch brings some welcome changes. I haven’t played it yet and i’m basing this post on the patch notes.

The first and most welcome change is in the form of match reconnection in the event of getting disconnected from the game. Rather than automatically accumulating a loss for Arena matches, players now have one minute grace time to return to the game. Nicely done, Blizzard.

Another irritating thing that was fixed was the random position swapping of cards which caused much problems with popular cards like Dire Wolf Alpha and Defender of Argus.

Then there is the graphics fix for a creature having both Taunt and Stealth. Which is good, but still not sufficient. The knowledge that Taunt is disabled when a creature goes into Stealth comes after the fact, which as strategic information, might be a tad bit too late. There should a note in the description of cards that have Stealth or grant Stealth that Taunt would be disabled.

I’m talking about Nat Pagle changes only because i happen to have one. Nat Pagle was nerfed to “chance to draw a card at the beginning of the next turn” instead of “chance to draw a card at end of turn“. While this makes Nat Pagle less powerful overall, an unanswered Nat Pagle is as good as the old Nat Pagle since you still get to play the card (if you chanced to draw) on the next turn.

Last but not least, Water Elementals are now changed to be able to freeze armored heroes. Blizzard claims that this is a change to intended play. But it seems to me that it’s more likely a shift in philosophy. In any case, it should be a welcome change to Mages playing with them. Though it brings to mind what i said in my post Understanding the Warrior:

I often see Warriors armor up before hitting a minion. As long as the game remains such that no cards can remove armor and no damage can bypass it, the correct play would be to always armor after the hitting the minion, as long as the minion does not kill you. This gives you a chance to stack armor to protect against Water Elemental’s freeze or to represent Shield Slam.

Given the changes to Water Elemental, is there still a need to Armor up after (instead of before) a hero attack? I would say that the advice remains sound and that there remains no reason for wanting to armor up before a hero attack. The following cards are good reasons for Armoring up after a hero attack.

Shield_Slam Earthen_Ring_Farseer Alexstrasza

Even if you don’t have Shield Slam in your deck at all, you could represent it by Armoring up after a hero attack in hopes of causing your opponent to wrongly play around a card that you do not have.

Ok so much for now. Geek Generation out.

What is to zerg?

Hello everybody, Geek Generation is talking about zerg and zerging today. Which is different from Zerg with the capital Z even though zerg originates from it.

Zerg originates from the Starcraft universe, an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game by Blizzard. Zerg is one of the three playable factions in the game and its strategy for winning is often characterized as winning via overwhelming, expendable numbers. According to Starcraft lore, the Zerg are composed of a number of species, the majority of which are primitive-minded.. monsters that are minded by more advanced minded monsters.

In fact, what identifies as Zerg is largely dependent on whether a primitive-minded creature is mind controlled by the advanced minds or whether an advanced mind controls any such primitive-minded creature. Zerg, as a definition of a collective, is quite vague if you thought about it.

Ok, enough about Zerg as a faction in Starcraft universe.

In games where there are open world content, where people can come together to complete certain objectives, the phenomenon of gathering up in numbers to win open world content has often been referred to as “zerging”, with the player bulk referred to as the “zerg”; for there is both firepower and safety in numbers.

Understandably, zerging usually occurs only when there are rewards for cooperative play, like Guild Wars 2 where rewards are awarded to every player who participated in the content. If the rewards are not for cooperative play and are awarded to one or a select few, then usually it’s not called zerging but kill-stealing.

When someone initiates an attack on a monster, and hence establishes the perception of the right of loot from the said monster, then someone else comes along and kills the monster (or supply sufficient damage) and wins the loot instead of the initiator; when that happens, it’s called kill stealing. But i digressed.

It is interesting how zergs act. They tend to become primitive-minded minions adhering to the instructions of leaders among the zerg. When a leader has to leave, another would evolve and promote to the status of the leader. Failing which, the zerg pursues its current objective and next objectives that are immediately obvious and eventually disintegrating to attrition.

In zerg mobility, early birds, without the might of the zerg behind them, are hesitant, stragglers are left to die. In zerg combat, bloodlust fills the minions and inadvertently some will fail to keep an eye out on the chat window and perform the wrong actions. Or fail to take note of the movement of the zerg center of gravity and fall prey to the same fate of stragglers or become the suicide vanguard.

Speaking of suicide vanguards, about the only way to lead a zerg forward in a charge is to lead by example. And it’s important not to die in leading the charge or the morale will break and the mass would end up not inching forward.

Regardless, the terms zerg and zerging are becoming so popular that even players who do not play Starcraft or Starcraft II are using them.

Geek Generation out.

Guild Wars 2: The Battle for Lion’s Arch (Continued)

Geek Generation is back.

The earlier post on Battle for Lion’s Arch can be found here.

I’ve played more and found out more about the content. Apparently there is loot from the colored bosses called Assault Knights. It’s just that the ground is usually such a mess and the “Press F to search” or some text like that might not even appear. Just roam around the corpse and keep hitting the grab loot key until you get five Deluxe Gear Boxes. You also get a chance at looting a Spinal Blades upgrade component.

After the Prime Hologram, there’s the three smaller colored hologram. With each hologram, you’ve got to get the correct color buff in order to damage it. The group i was in proposed to do in the order of Red -> Green -> Blue. Not too sure about the significance of the order though.

The red hologram drops the dredge fire circles which should be plenty easy to avoid. After killing the hologram, it kind of splits into 6 more others which we have to kill. I don’t remember much about the green and didn’t get to fight the blue much. I do recall seeing huge semi circle AOEs at one of them. The green hologram split into 6 too. The blue didn’t but i’m not sure if it’s because it was blue or it was because it was the last.

In any case, once all the small holograms are dealt with, there’s the third and final phase before getting into the instanced content. There’s a treasure chest after this phase. In this one, there’s one big hologram in the center. At some point, you can head on in to the center to get the triple color buff, then head back out to kill small holograms. At least that’s what i think we’re supposed to do since those are the only things i managed to damage with the triple color buff. Do not try to dodge over the danger zones as they can’t seem to be evaded.

On a side note, one of the bosses in Lion’s Arch, called the Canoneer, that appears on the left side of the map, is really hard to kill. For this boss, it has a reflective shield that prevents ranged damage and returns that damage back to the players. The shield doesn’t seem to go away. I asked around and someone said the aether cannon bombardment could reduced the reflective shield stacks. But it has an insane amount of stacks to remove.

So if you’re fighting the Canoneer, please switch to melee weapons to fight it. If you’re targeted for bombardment, just move away from the melee fighters.

Geek Generation out.

Guild Wars 2: The Battle for Lion’s Arch

[Wordpress acted up on me. I typed so much but it didn’t save or get published, just lost.. So i had to take down the post, redo it and republish.]

Hello everybody, Geek Generation here. Oh crap..

The Battle for Lion’s Arch patch for Guild Wars 2 is released today. Warning, possible spoilers ahead.

One of my friends got to the end of the content, which was an instanced content. As i was in a party with her, i got pulled in as well. So i got to see the ending before i went through the long and tedious fight.

ColoredBosses

Anyway, to begin, enter into Lion’s Arch. First thing to do would be to press M key to look at the map. Look for the colored icons, red, blue and green, that indicates the boss fights that must be completed before you can enter the Scarlet Briar part of the map.

The colored bosses are relatively simple. They have two AOEs, a smaller circle followed by a bigger circle. Simply use a range weapon to fight outside of the smaller circle. With the bigger circle, the strike time is a little slower than usual. So instead of dodging the moment you see the warning circle, dodge once after the bigger warning circle disappears. During the fight, there’ll be colored circles on the ground where you can stand to gain a damage buff.

After killing all three colored bosses, there’ll be three colored circles on the ground near the entrance to the Scarlet Briar area that you have to walk over to collect colored buffs over your head. You can only enter Scarlet Briar area after you’ve collected all three colors.

PrimeHologram

Upon entering the Scarlet Briar area, you’ll be in a fight with a boss called the Prime Hologram. The boss shoots beams that downs you instantly and leaves behind a burning ground which will eventually kill you if you’re down inside of it. Simply walk out of the warning zones the moment you see it. during the fight, a huge version of Scarlet Briar pops out take pop shots every now and then.

To damage the boss, there are colored circles on the ground that you have to walk over to gain a buff. You need at least one color to begin damaging the boss. I assume you can do more damage with all three colors. The thing with the burning beams shot by the hologram is that it originates from the circumference of the hologram. So if for some reason you need to change segments as demarcated by the burning ground, simply go through the center. Or if you’re tanky enough, you could just walk over the burning ground. But do note the yellow bubbles to the right (our right) of the hologram, as shown in the screenshot. The bubbles prevent movement and causes damage if you bump into them.

After the Prime Hologram, three smaller holograms appears, one for each color. I’m not too sure though, i think it might be that the Prime Hologram split into three smaller ones. You have to get the corresponding color buff to damage the smaller holograms. My game crashed during the fight with the first smaller hologram and after that i had to go off to cook : ( I’ll play more later and come back with more information.

Warning: Spoiler paragraph.
I doubt the smaller holograms are the last of it since i had to fight a wounded Scarlet in the instanced content. Which means there must be at least one more fight involving Scarlet after the holograms, where we wound her. Anyway, i was so sad when i thought Marjory was dead. I always thought Kasmeer was the one who’s going to die so she can like fuel Marjory. I’m just glad they both survived. Yay for Kajory !

One thing to note though is that the bosses are rather beefy and doesn’t give any loot. Not sure if the beefiness is due to scaling from lots of people, but if it’s not.. So if you want to get to the instanced content, better do it early while there’s still lots of people doing it.

Geek Generation out.

Update: The post on Battle for Lion’s Arch continues here.

Hearthstone: Hunter Beast (more)

Hello everybody, Geek Generation here.

I guess i should be more concise with naming my decks. The beast deck i had was a Beast Aggro deck. Basically it wants to be played aggressively, without over-extending. Conceivably, it there could be Beast Control decks. Understandably, a Beast Control deck would have less beasts than a Beast Aggro, since a huge amount of Beasts are cheap efficient minions.

From what i’ve seen, a Hunter Control (with some Beasts) would likely have the following structure.

2 x Timber Wolf
2 x Knife Juggler
2 x Animal Companion
2 x Argent Commander
Some x Savannah Highmane

2 x Unleash the Hounds
2 x Kill Command
2 x Eaglehorn Bow
2 x Multi-Shot
Many x Traps

The basic idea of such a deck would be to play the hero ability as much as possible, every turn if the opponent aggro is not strong or the opponent is a control deck, starting from turn 2.

Speaking of traps, why doesn’t my Beast Aggro use a trap like Explosive Trap?

Explosive_Trap

A fair question considering that the trap is capable of being used as a direct damage, dealing two to the opponent. The reason i don’t use it, aside from there being few cards that i would like to trim, is that the trigger happens only when the opponent attacks you. If your minion is attacked instead, the trap does not trigger. And since you’re the aggro, your opponent is likely to attack your minion whenever you have one out there.

Traps that would be good for the Beast Aggro would be Freezing Trap and Misdirection. Even then, unless i get the second Eaglehorn Bow, i won’t be adding any traps into the deck any time soon.

Until next time, Geek Generation out.