Good old games: Ragnarok Online

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My Return

After being disappointed with Tree of Savior I was fairly burnt out from MMOs. The modern convention of WoW cloning or intentional mislabelling of multiplayer online games just didn’t appeal to me, especially since I didn’t really like the Warcraft formula at all. I thought to myself, why not just play an old game that I liked? So here I am returning to Ragnarok Online once again.

I’ve played Ragnarok Online since launch with some breaks here and there. This time my absence was 5 years.

New Character

Starting up again I decided to make a new character. I was surprised to see a new Race/Class the Doram (Cat People) Summoner class and decided to give it a shot.

On character creation they’ve gotten rid of the stat balancing hexagon, all your stats start at 1 so there’s no decision making required apart from sprite and name edits.

As a Doram Summoner you start off in a hyper whimsical area where the buildings are made of pastry and knitting are balls everywhere. As expected of Ragnarok Online the music is very atmospheric and catchy, so in this area it’s over the top cute/annoying depending on your temperament, I personally think it’s great.

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My Summoner in the Doram starting town of Lasagne

From the get go you’re quickly introduced to a quest chain that will teach you about the game and eventually send you off to Midgard to join other players and enjoy the classic open world grindfest.

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Torturing some snake for information.

Updated Quest System and Tracker

The quest system and UI is very temperamental, likely because this game wasn’t originally designed around questing. There were several points where I was given very little direction or names of NPCs were different between in game sprite and quest journal. There is also a searchable database and tracker in game now that will give you GPS directions.

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Tracker with guiding arrows and quest window.

Spam and Bots quelled

I’m not sure how the problem was solved, but there seems to be no/few bots and spammers. I encountered a none at all in my 3 hour game session. Previously you had to disable local chat for your chatbox to be usable and all maps were filled to the brim with bots.

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No Zeny spam or bots encountered.

Still a great game

Overall this was a satisfying return to Ragnarok Online. The population seems to be healthy (2,500 during offpeak). No/Few bots and spammers to speak of. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a comfortable grinder.

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Dead Branches are still a thing, so be vigilant! (A consumable that summons a  monster from the games database at random)

Official Site Here

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Leveling Guide

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You’ve probably finished the story mode by now and want to experiment with different character builds. Here are some tips to get your characters up and running.

1: Finish the story mode – This enables you to get the 40 tonne weight Super Soul and gives you access to what I’ve found to be the best EXP mission so far.

2: Pick up the 40 tonne weight Super Soul – This Super Soul doubles your score which in turn doubles your EXP gain.

Here’s a screenshot of where it’s found:

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Above the Time Machine area where you do Parallel Quests

3: Go to the Time Vault located at the far end of the Time Nest where you do your story missions. Here is where you can repeat story missions.

4: Do the story mission “By Shenron’s Might! – History Restored” (second last mission)

This should net you approximately 50,000 EXP per minute depending on your performance.

I’ve seen some people suggest doing the Captain Ginyu final mentor mission or simply doing the harder Parallel Quests but neither match the XP per minute of this method I’ve discovered.

Here is a video of a typical run through, as you can see even with mistakes I still manage to get Z-Rank and a lot of exp.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Preparation

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Dragon Ball  Xenoverse 2 is coming out soon and right now there is a X2 exp event going on in Xenoverse 1. This is an opportune time to level up and unlock content to transfer your save file over.

To make the most of it I’ve created a guide for the fastest leveling experience I know of. Though the level cap is 99 the highest you need to go is 93 for the Elder Kai mentor quest.

Here is a video play-through:

Requirements:
1. DLC 3 (DRAGON BALL Z: Resurrection ‘F’ pack)

Recommended:
1. Strike Attribute Focused Character
2. Maximum Charge (From Parallel Quest 32 or buy from Skill Shop)
3. Blue Hurricane Skill (From Parallel Quest 10)
4. Z-Soul “Purple Spiral Flash!”
(This is created by combining “We’re the one and only Ginyu Force!” and “Burter is the fastest in the universe” which are both found in Parallel Quest 11)
5. Strike Focused Gear

Instructions:
Do the last PQ “The Return of the Giant Ape-Fest!”
Power up. Run into the apes and Blue Hurricane.

Mistakes:
If you mess up and don’t 1 shot the Apes. Grab them by the tail (Block+Fireball button, by default E + Q) or you can run away, charge up and go again.

Considerations:
From testing with different skills for Ki focused characters I found that the tail has its own hitbox of sorts so if you position your character in between the Ape and his Tail (being directly behind him) then you’d get more hits and thus more damage.

If you don’t have a strike attributed character you can just pick Burter. The characters seem to get stronger as your character levels so he shouldn’t be pathetic unless you’re really low level. It’s probably better to just pick Burter than to use a non-strike based character.

For leveling non-strike characters it’s faster to make a strike based character and then use the Dragonballs to wish a character reset and re-attribute your character.

If your character seems too weak or low level do Parallel Quest 53 “Dangerous Duo! Warriors Never Rest!”. In this mission just collect 3 Dragon Balls and hand in to the ship. (You can only hold 2 at a time). Repeat until you think you’ve raised your strike stat high enough or believe level is high enough for Burter to 1 shot the Apes.

World of Warcraft: Silent Edition

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Blizzard has recently introduced a silence penalty into their flagship MMO World of Warcraft.

Supporters are not just happy but aggressively supportive about the intention of silencing bad behaviour. However there are some more cynical thinkers wary of the old adage “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. As great as the intentions are, it is important to evaluate the potential results.

An argument I commonly see is the free speech versus hate speech opposing perspectives which we see in real life right now. People are concerned about being permanently silenced for wishing to talk about divisive issues. But because the game chat doesn’t count as a public space the Warcraft user-base seems to be in support of the silencing.

Players also noted that there was already an ignore and block feature in the game. They express that this feature is over the top and a misallocation of staff resources.

A more recent and also interesting point is a user revealing that some real monetary trade websites that sold Warcraft services such as levelling and currency for money are also selling silencing services. Pay them some money and they will get your enemies globally silenced forever.

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A screencap of a supposed silence service.

The potential for abuse from unsavoury players and businesses selling the power to abuse the system interests me.  I asked myself, what is the impact of the silencing and how exactly does Blizzard determine whether someone should be silenced or not?

From Blizzard’s article a silencing results in:

No instance chat (Raids, Party, Battlegrounds).

No access to global channels such as General or Trade.

Cannot create Calendar Invites/Events.

Cannot send in-game mail.

Send Party invitations.

Cannot send War Game Invitations.

Cannot Invite to Duel.

Cannot Create or Update a Group Listing.

Silenced players are still able to:

Whisper friends

Reply to whispers

Party/Raid Chat Only

Create Party/Raids

Talk in global channels only if there is a moderator

Share Quests

Sign up to premade groups.

The global chat restrictions seem fair enough however the restrictions for group interactions seems to be quite excessive especially since the game is so group focused.

Interestingly you can create parties but not invite anyone into them which makes me think what is the point?

The silence starts off at 24 hours and is doubled for each penalty received with no limit. This shows us how the permanent silence is achieved (many reports).

All up I think the punishment is a little excessive considering the limitation of gameplay not only generic chat features.

So what are the mechanics involved with silencing? Citing the Blizzard article “any player who is reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will, after investigation, receive an account-wide silence penalty.” From this we can infer the following:

Step 1: Multiple Reports of Spam/Abusive Chat

Step 2: Investigation

Step 3: Silence

Multiple reports can easily be abused by dummy accounts or simply many people ganging up on someone but what of the investigation? The article doesn’t elaborate on the nature of the investigation. Is it done via automation or by a human?

Automation is possible and false positives can be minimised by programs analysing the reported text and/or using heuristics to observe writing patterns but no matter how complex the method used it is always open to exploitation.

Training and maintaining the manpower to handle requests is a possibility albeit an expensive possibility. Training for investigators to understand language and cultural norms as to not ignore context is important but requires time and money. For example being much more lenient on the Oceanic realms as Australians like to revel in friendly banter in which other cultures would find grossly offensive. Who polices the police? With humans it is difficult to maintain intentions. Just as there are corrupt law enforcement and public officials. Who’s to say there aren’t corrupt people within the Blizzard support staff supporting the RMT companies on side for extra money?

Blizzard has implemented a silencing feature before in their title “Heroes of the Storm”. When implemented they used the word “investigation” throughout their article promoting the feature similar to the Warcraft article. However users have reported that it is 100% automated. Inquiries lead to Dustin Bowder the game director of Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm tweeting that it is indeed 100% automated.

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https://twitter.com/DustinBrowder/status/643956704489504768?s=09

This leads me to believe the article written by Blizzard was intentionally vague to minimise criticism. There is also a lack of information in regards to contesting or appealing these reports and penalty’s. Can players simply abuse the system with no recourse?

An interesting topic to say the least. My impressions after investigating the issue is that this is a well-intentioned mistake that may cost Blizzard. Firstly if they are truly investigating matters with man power it will be costly. Secondly customers leaving due to either too many false reports getting falsely accused or a stagnate atmosphere from the fear of being reported. This results in unhappy customers which will leave the game and act as negative advertising as they will share their negative experience.

I leave you with some interesting player quotes and anecdotes I’ve found.

Top comment on the Warcraft silence penalty article.

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Some people are able to laugh in the face of adversity.

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This user compares this to the abuse of social metrics on other services such as youtube.

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This user is referencing WoW Tokens which is Blizzards first party RMT solution.

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This user is in admiration of the RMT companies.

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This user believes the silence services are are scam. I hope so too.

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A little naive considering the discussion is about the possibility of feature abuse. But I like the optimism.

comment07

 

Most of the quotes I’ve pulled oppose the Idea but opposition on the official Blizzard forums is very much in the minority. I didn’t include many supportive quotes as the majority of them were not constructive. The supporters posts were quite vehement and emotion filled or downright insulting. The themes of supporters were as follows:

  • Anyone who disagrees deserves to be silenced
  • Insults
  • Spam
  • Accusing critics to be trolls, sock puppets or liars.
  • Accusing critics that they fear the silence because they are the type of people to get silenced (veiled insult).
  • Condescending veiled insults “Don’t break the rules, Don’t get silenced”
  • Exclamations of victory over critics
  • Futility of critics and that they will never “win”
  • Naive comments believing Blizzard will always do things well despite the lack of evidence
  • Claim human involvement with investigation despite the lack of evidence.
  • Posturing and Virtue Signalling (To be fair almost all social media platforms have this)
  • Simple disbelief and that critics and thinkers are conspiracy theorists.
  • A lot of CAPSLOCK
  • “I” don’t want to hear “opposing opinions”
  • Supporters seemed use “I”, “myself” a lot. Their desire to speak in first person seems a lot higher than critics. (Possibly narcissism combined with the blizzard forum being an echo chamber of virtue-signaling?
  • I hope you get silenced!

Unfortunately I do not have an active subscription to interview or participate in discussion on the Blizzard forums.  But it’s still an interesting topic to think about. Maybe you can think of a similar occurrence in your games or communities?

It seems to be a hot topic at the moment with threads going up constantly. If you wish read them yourself click here. I’m certain you’ll find the general sentiment to reflect what I’ve written.

*Note: Only subscribers can interact with their forums so responses may be biased in favour of Blizzard

Tree of Savior: Review

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After months of play-time I believe I’ve experienced enough of the game to review it. Usually you’d see some kind of star or number system. I feel those aren’t descriptive enough so I am going to list what I like or dislike and why then give a conclusion.

What I liked

Combat System: The combat system is active and direct. You’ve got meaningful attacks, buffs debuffs with nice combos and interactions as opposed to the ever common rotation system you’d find in other games like Warcraft where you press a rotation of buttons to achieve one thing (damage). You can physically dodge most attacks by moving out of the way, some characters can manually block attacks or cast protection fields as well. The monsters also all have their own attributes such as race, size, element which made them more or less susceptible to different kinds of character abilities and builds which is rare these days.

Music: The music is atmospheric and varies between whimsical to epic depending on the area. There’s orchestral, electronic, pop-ish sounding music that is quite pleasing to the ears. I find myself sometimes opening up the BGM folder and listening to the games music when I do other things.

Art: The art-style and colour palette is very nice. Sometimes it looks like the entire area is painted by hand and your character fits in with the area nicely.

Character System: The character system is great and allows for great customization. For example the Cleric characters can be built into a melee-fighter, auto-attacker, full support, magic-caster or some kind of hybrid depending on your class choices along the way and the way you allocate your attributes as you level up.

What I disliked:

Content: Your typical gameplay session would involve questing. There is a main questline which awards status points upon completion so you pretty much have to do these. There are also side-quests sprinkled around the maps that award EXP cards for you to use at your leisure. The maps are designed in such a way that you are funnelled through the main quest with branches along the map where side-quests will be present which makes all maps very samey in terms of exploration.

Missions: These are in short instanced content where you’d typically kill a bunch of mobs and a few bosses. Missions are exactly the same each time so get very repetitive. You can only do 2-3 per day and the EXP to time ratio is so good you’d be mad to skip these, so this becomes a mandatory task.

Dungeons: These are introduced earlier than missions and is practically the same thing, kill a bunch of mobs and some bosses. Some dungeons have clearing requirements and some don’t so you can just rush bosses or kill in whatever order you want. Dungeons also gave good gear and really good EXP depending on dungeon which is also time locked to 2-3 times a day so you pretty much have to do these.

Conclusion: The combat system, class system and presentation is great. But the content is very linear and boring. It feels like the game was designed to be a grinder to appeal to people who don’t like grinding. The result is great gameplay with boring content, especially if you like to create multiple characters.

Recommendation: In general I’d say give this a go and see how you feel about it as the content seems to be designed with modern sensibilities in mind. If you’re an old man like myself looking for the new Ragnarok Online or a completely new experience this I’d skip this.

Links:

Official Website

Steam Page

My Class Guide (For those curious about the system)

 

Tree of Savior: Sadhu

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Sadhu Astral Projection

Though I’m quite happy with my Monk main character, I’ve always been interested in the Sadhu class. I’ve been playing Sadhu recently  despite the amount of bugs with positioning causing rubber banding and loading issues.

Why pick Sadhu?

The Astral Projection skill called Out-of-Body (OoB) is why you pick Sadhu. The spirit you project cannot be targeted or hit. In spirit form the spirit’s normal attacks are based off magic attack power. As with typical magic attacks it cannot miss or crit. You have some skills that can only be cast in spirit form but you can still also cast your other skills. Interestingly your non-spirit spells will be cast by your body still. If you’re low on SP you can cast OoB and then sit next to a bonfire, your body sitting down will accelerate your HP/SP regeneration and your spirit form can continue attacking things. You must take care that your body doesn’t get hit though, because when your body is hit, your OoB is interrupted and goes back into your body.

Sadhu Skills

Out of Body – This is your main skill, project your spirit which you control movement and attacks. Damage is determined by magic attack, it is multi hit (x3). Higher skill levels increase the range you can move away from your body. Pressing the skill after you already cast returns your spirit to your body.

Pakriti  – This skill moves your body to your spirit and ends OoB. Useful movement skill when your body gets threatened or better positioning is available.

Astral Body Explosion – AoE Skill can be attributed to knockback (turn this off in PvM, will annoy party members). One of the few skills in game with % damage (250% Damage). High skill levels increase its base damage number.

Vashita Siddhi – AoE Debuffs all enemy stats, however this is channelled and drains your SP over time so you will be inactive. You can trait this to confuse monsters to fight each other however (requires level 3) so this can be used for crowd control

Possession – Fast multi-hitting channelled spell, interestingly not a spirit skill. Does a lot of damage and stuns.

Transmit Prana – A channelled buff which transfers 10 INT per level to someone else.

Recommendations: If you’re an INT based damage dealer Cleric looking to fill in down time between casting spells, picking up C1 for OoB magic auto-attacks provides a nice moderate option. However I do believe this option though fun, is weaker than higher ranks of Krivis for very powerful Zaibas or Dievdirby for the powerful Owl Statues and utility provided by it’s other statues (Cooldown Reduction, SP Regeneration, Silence Aura)

If you’re convinced you want Sadhu in your overall build do not go further than C2. C2 Provides the powerful Possession skill but C3 provides only Transmit Prana +50 INT to a party member sounds great but keep in mind that you have to channel this, so in essence you’re removing a character slot in your party for a +50 INT buff for only 1 other person.

Sample Build – Sadhu/Druid

This is the build I’am using, the build is developed to get the most out of Sadhu and Transition into Druid which seems to be the most powerful caster option for Clerics.

Rank 1Cleric C1– Max Heal and Safety Wall. 5 Points saved for Cleric C2 skills.

Rank 2Krivis C1– Max Zaibas great for damage and Zalciai Level 1 for the Magic Amplification Attribute. A lot of left over points, I max Daino for the buff limit breaker since there are alot of buffs in this game, especially in party. Zalciai I got to level 3 to buff the crit attack of party members (purely supportive since you can’t crit).  2 More left over can be used to max Zalciai or get some Aukuras, the impact of these is quite minimal and is up to you.

Rank 3Cleric C2 – Max Heal, Safety Wall, Divine Might, Fade. Should have no points left over. Safety wall and Fade important to protect your body while you’re in OoB Spirit form.

Rank 4Sadhu C1 – Finally Sadhu, get 1 OoB immediately so you can start spirit attacks. 1 Pakriti, Max Astral Explosion. Left over points can be spent on no more than 3 in Vashita Siddhi to gain confusion crowd control or more into OoB for extra range of movement.

Rank 5Sadhu C2 – I was actually thinking of maybe getting Cleric C3 for longer Fade uptime and playing with Guardian Saint skill but I wasn’t sure if your OoB still got interrupted or not and the Druid Sterea Trofh skill later on gives you even more protection anyways. Sadhu C2 I chose to Max Astral Explosion and Possession then dump the left over into OoB for more range.

Rank 6 and 7 Druid – These ranks are fairly standardised no matter what you’re doing. Start with at least 1 Chortasmata to create grass, Max Carnivory for incredible damage, 1 Shapeshifting to get forms, save points for C2 Druid. Once in C2 Max Sterea Trofh for invincibility, Max Carnivory for more damage, get 9 Chortasmata for grass duration then max Transform to be able to change into previous form for longer durations.

Stat Distribution – Pure INT. One of the main reasons I wanted to play Sadhu was to try and make a pure INT build since your spirit cannot be hurt and you protect your body with Safety Zone, Fade and Sterea Trofh.

Gameplay – Buff yourself, cast your spells run away, Safety Zone, Fade or Sterea Trofh to protect your body then OoB auto attacks. Depending on spacing, positioning and how you use your safety skills casting spells can be risky but rewarding. I find Sadhu quite fun though.

Important Notes – Sadhu OoB can be a little buggy resulting in alot of rubberbanding or things just not loading, when you find your character unusable try mashing OoB on and off or Pakriti to change position. I find doing that helps fix the problem most of the time.

Quick Build Link

Virtual Reality: Impressions with the HTC Vive

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HTC Vive and accessories

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is not necessarily new. With the releases of the Vive, Gear VR and Oculus interest in VR has been rekindled and there are plenty of questions going around. I’ve recently gotten myself the HTC Vive and hopefully my experiments and research can shed some light.

Software Background

The options software-wise are OpenVR, SteamVR and Oculus Runtime. OpenVR and SteamVR are generally compatible with each other. Some third party tools can be used to make Oculus products work with the Vive or OpenVR. Oculus devkits came out much earlier it seems there is more support for the Oculus at the moment. I get the impression this will turn around.

Videos

For VR Videos the Oculus has a few tools made specifically for it provided by some of the content providers. For all VR in general you have Whirligig which works fine (hint: barrel or fisheye then press Y, press O if the eyes are the wrong way around). In terms of video all devices work well. If you’re only interested in viewing video, one of the GearVR options will be sufficient.

Gaming

For gaming there are some hacks you can play with to get apps running or streaming on GearVR. How effective these are I’m not too sure since my experiences are exclusively on the Vive. The main options will be choosing between the Oculus or Vive. The Vive has roomscale which lets you designate a play-space where you can literally walk around in the the virtual world but it is not required. You can play standing or seated also (depending on game) whereas the Oculus is seated only. I started off with the seated experience because I assumed the controller waggling would be a similar experience to the Nintendo wii. However, when I gave roomscale a shot I found it incredibly immersive.

Backwards Compatibility

To get VR in your favourite games you’ll need to use third party tools. If you have some extra cash there is VorpX. A freeware option called Vireio is also available. I’ve tried Vireio, it doesn’t have proper Vive support yet (the author states it is coming soon). Vorpx seems to be recommended by many, but I haven’t felt the need to fork out for it yet.

Controllers

This is game dependant, the Vive will allow you to use roomscale, standing, seated, vive controller, any game controller or keyboard and mouse. The Vive also has a camera on the front for you to enable a video feed or overlay of the real world around you to see what’s going on outside of VR. Your phone can also be configured to give notifications to you in VR just in case you get too absorbed. Oculus rift is controller and keyboard and mouse only, it also lacks the front camera so you can’t see around you.

Privacy

The Oculus Rift collects your data and sends it to facebook for undisclosed reasons. So if privacy is a concern of yours, you should probably avoid it.

Is it a buy?

If you just want to view VR Videos just look into some gearVR options. They are much cheaper and work just fine.

Gaming I’d say not at all or the Vive. The games at the moment are without a doubt immersive but lack depth or longevity. You’ll get over the VR newness quickly and realise there’s not much to the games. Between Oculus and Vive? Get the Vive. The room scale, controller options, front camera and ability to attach your phone are too useful to go without.

Quick links for VR Owners

Whirligig for videos

Revive Injector to run Oculus Rift games and apps on your HTC Vive

Oculus Runtimes page to go along with the Revive Injector

Virveio bookmark this so you can play your old games in VR when Vive is supported.

Overwatch: Overpriced

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First Impressions

This past weekend I was able to try out Blizzards first foray into into FPS Overwatch. There is a forced tutorial  which isn’t too long winded and gets to the point, interestingly it assumes no prior knowledge of computers it seems for example the first instruction informs the player on how to move the mouse around to look.  Afterwards you’re recommended to try out a sandbox training mode area to get a hang of the various characters and their abilities which I found quite nice. Then I just dived into about 4 hours of live play it was overall fun.

Gameplay

Available in this weekend test were 3 modes:

  1. Capture Point – Fight to conquer or hold areas.
  2. King of the Hill – Fight over a single area.
  3. Payload – Escort a cart to the end of a stage.

The modes were exactly the same as from experiences from other games. However one big difference  is that the games can be over quite fast, a game can be over in 5 minutes (rare but it happens).  Also this game seems to be Multiplayer only at the moment.

Characters/Weapons

In Overwatch you don’t pick up weapon powerups or even configure a load out. You pick a character which has a set weapon(s) and set abilities. To make up for this though, there are a lot of characters (21 in the beta). Each character is drastically different and feel very different to play for example Soldier 76 feels like you’re playing Call of Duty but Pharah feels like I’m kind of playing Quake. No-matter what your preferences are you should be able to find at least 1 character suitable to your play-style. You can switch character any time you’re in base or when you’re dead to counter-pick enemies so you’re not stuck.

Comparisons

Whilst playing this game I was immediately reminded of Team Fortress 2 so afterwards I played some TF2 to juxtapose.

Gameplay-wise both games feel kind of similar at the surface level except for 2 things, movement and game length. There are many characters in Overwatch that move very fast and have mobility options like wall-climbing, flying and teleporting which I feel are the main contributors to the faster feel and shorter games. TF2 isn’t necessarily slow-paced, its just that progress feels more deliberate. These two differences make the games very different.

The characters options are samey in my opinion, TF2 has few characters that you customise to change gameplay where as Overwatch has many fixed characters.

Match-making

Content-wise it seems Overwatch doesn’t have many maps at the moment, but I assume that map pool will improve considering the price-tag.

Value

No doubt the game is great fun however at the moment, you get a handful of maps and a few game modes. The developers have promised post-launch content to justify its price tag, but for me tangible results are more important than intentions as we’ve all seen those expensive season passes which eventuate into only a few updates. After currency conversion I paid approximately 55 USD for the base version (other versions just have character skins). Thinking about the enjoyment I’ve gotten from other FPS and their current prices I think a list is important for comparison.

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 14.99 USD
  • Team Fortress 2 Free
  • Insurgency 14.99 USD (Goes on sale often)
  • Quake Live 9.99 USD
  • Overwatch 55 USD

To be fair those games are much more mature in their life-cycle than Overwatch and their game-styles aren’t exactly the same  but even at launch the games I’ve listed were not much more expensive than their current price. It is very hard for Overwatch to justify its price as it has less content then any single of those games and is more than 3 times more expensive.

Should you buy?

For the more directly comparable games, you’ve got Quake and Team fortress 2 which are available so much cheaper if you need your arena shooter or team-based fix. However if you want to play the latest shooter which will have a high population of players you may want to get Overwatch for 2 reasons, firstly its new, people like new things and secondly brand name, Blizzard’s name is strong and their titles sell well regardless of quality.

Personal Choice

Overwatch is lacking content and not worth it, I have purchased the game however my decision was motivated mainly by friends playing as well.

Tree of Savior: Guide Updates

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Updated Monk Guides

With some more experience on live and higher level content I’ve made some change to my suggestions.

Aspersion is less useful than it seems because at higher levels there is a lot of magic damage going around, I previously suggested anywhere from 1-15 points as a skill dump but right now I don’t recommend it at all.

Sacrament is a great skill adding an extra holy attack to your whole parties autos and greatly influential to your killing speeds whilst levelling and not double punching. I’d previously recommended maxing this out, however each subsequent level adds very little damage, this is a 1 point wonder do not max it.

Mass Heal I’d previously advised against getting this skill however, upon playing with it more, I don’t find it hard to use at all and the base % healing when maxed out is 28% HP which is huge. Note care must be used when using and will take a little practice but it is well worth it. Max this out.

The following guide’s have been altered to reflect the changes:

Monk Options Part 2 – In-depth review of all pre-monk options.

Monk Options Part 3 – Example Generalist Monk skill build and explanation

The skill builds listed in Part 3 have also been updated for quick reference.

Tree of Savior: PvP Discussion

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Valis the PvP Arena NPC Found in main city of  Fedimian

PvP Modes: There are basically 2 kinds of PvP in the game at the moment, Arena and Guild vs Guild (GvG).

I have little knowledge on GvG at the moment and there is  new content in relation to it coming up soon so this article will focus on the Arena.

Arena Types: Auto Match Making 2v2 and 5v5. Premade 5v5.

The most popular mode seems to be 5v5 matchmaking.

To get started you need to talk to the NPC I’ve screencapped and simply que up.

The Metagame

The metagame I am describing is a snapshot of Korean Tree of Savior prior to the release of International ToS early access, since then I’ve simply been grinding it out not PvPing.

If you looked at the Korean top 50 PvP rankings in the past for 5v5 you would’ve seen 2 classes dominate the rankings Plague Doctor and Warlock plus a few Musketeers and Dragoons.

To understand why it is so, first you need to understand that this is 5v5 Random Matched up people so there’s less coordination and planning so thinking about all the class abilities, who can help out 4 random people the best? Obviously it’d be a cleric or support of some kind which you can plainly see is the Plague Doctor from the results.

The Plague Doctor

What makes the Plague Doctor so good? They don’t have any killer skills however there are some key abilities in their support kit which can shut down many classes. Firstly Stone Skin gained from Priest 3 increases the teams block rate dramatically, making any shield wielders practically immune to physical damage. The plague doctor itself has a singular star ability Blood-letting this makes your team immune to most status effects. These two buffs provided eliminate the effectiveness of physical based damage and status based damage leaving behind only Magic unmitigated. Apart from these two abilities the Plague Doctor can heal well and provide a myriad of buffs, resurrect the whole team and spread status effects.

Wizards

Now understanding the nature of the Plague Doctor, knowing that magic is the only unmitigated type of attack naturally Wizards are dominant. Initially due to a bug with resetting the Arena Warlocks could kill on respawn, but since this has been fixed the ratings of Warlocks have dropped but are replaced by other sorts of Wizards. Previously the main build consisted of variations of Wiz3/Ele3/Warlock built with Pure CON as the magic skill damage is high and boosted by Wiz3 Magic Amplification attribute by 50% already.

Dragoon and Musketeer

Knowing that Plague Doctor severely limits the effectiveness of physical classes, why do these two prop up? These two classes have block penetration available to them and don’t rely on status effects. The Dragoon has some nice burst and high damaging skills however this is just icing on the cake, the main tools come from the Cataphract, Impale allows you to grab 1 of the enemy team members and move them around. The Musketeer is a nice single target burst damage dealer and one of the few classes with % increased damage rather than flat.

Building your PvP Character

Stat wise building your character knowing the above meta as a reference point becomes much easier.

Defensively you know most damage is magic, you can’t block magic and you can’t evade magic, only certain classes can provide some measure of magic resist. The main defensive stats are CON which provides health and block rate and DEX which applies to evasion. Since you cannot evade magic dex is alot less valuable, with CON yes you can’t block magic however the extra HP will keep you alive from bursts when you’re caught out of position or targeted and provide extra block rating to supplement the huge blockrate gained from a Priests Stone Skin. SPR does provide a little magic resist 0.2/stat its very small so CON is more worthy. Most healing magic from clerics in this game is based on % of your HP which makes higher CON even more valuable. TL;DR CON is the only real defensive stat for PvP

Offensively we know that unless our class has block penetration available it will be difficult to be physical or use status you also know that because you can’t evade magic, knowledgeable players will not depend on this so you don’t need much DEX for accuracy purposes but you still may way some to be able to hit the few that try. Also with the abundance of CON in PvP which contributes to critical resistance, Dex builds are even weaker. Offence wise there isn’t much variety if STR is your damage stat get STR if its INT get INT etc. However keep in mind that the stat contribution is flat, e.g. 1 STR = 1 Extra Damage at the end of the calculation and that most of your skills damage comes from the skill and attribute levels, knowing this alot of people have chosen to not raise their offensive stats at all and just go full CON.

Whats the point of building anything other than Plague Doctor or Wizard?

The meta-game changes depending on two things, what the players choose to do and balance patches. Quite often a meta-game does change more to do with players finding answers to previously dominant elements or strategies when developers allow for time rather than nerf quickly and in heavily competitive environments people like to hoard secrets which allow them to defeat the main strategies that everyone thinks is the best. So before crying for nerfs or mindlessly copying the top players I’d implore you to look at all the class skills and play with skill simulators to find answers as it could be you who sets the new meta. Though there’s nothing wrong with simply picking up the winning strategy and running with it if thats what makes you happy.

Summary

Due to the presence of Plague Doctor support mitigating physical and status offence heavily, magic was the predominant source of damage resulting in Wizards dominating when I last looked at PvP Arena rankings. The only physical classes available to combat were Dragoon and Musketeer due to availability of block penetration along the way and extremely high burst damage. Stat wise you want to stack CON or CON plus one other supporting stat for damage or buff contribution. (Pure CON, CON/Str, CON/INT, CON/SPR)