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Experimenting with builds and decks

January 20, 2013 5 comments

This post is about some of my experiences with the Chaos/Fist weapon combination in The Secret World. This is the first post about my build experiences; I start with Chaos/Fist since this is the weapon combination I have used most of the time when playing the game. Later posts will go into other experiments with other weapons. I do not make any claims to have any optimal builds; only writing down a bit about the process with which I ended up with the presented builds.

One of the key features of The Secret World is the ability to construct just almost any kind of combination of combat abilities, plus the option to switch between those. These combinations are referred to as builds or decks – the terminology of choice probably depends a bit on your background.

The limitations are that you can only have 7 active abilities and 7 passive abilities, plus the active abilities has to be from the two weapons that are equipped. And you have to earn ability points to buy the abilities you want. Other than that, you are free to make any combination.

Given the nature of the way you gain abilities, you buy them with ability points, there a game element that you have to change your build as you play. In some cases you may have to change it radically.  I love the flexibility of this system and I love tinkering with it; but at the same time I do not want to have to think about it all the time. So I am also happy to play a build that I like  without changing it.

Ankh_hole

But from time to time the game throws something at you that you struggle with and at that point may force you to think of a different approach – one of these would be to change your build. Others would be to get help from others, or skip whatever you are doing. But since this post is about builds, that is what I am going to talk about here.

When I initially started playing The Secret World in the beta weekends, I tried a few different weapon combination. The first one was chaos magic + fist weapon. At that point I had no thoughts about any builds or what may be optimal for the game play – these two just had a visual synergy. They looked similar, only one of them was physical damage and the other one magical.  Other weapon combinations did not click in the same way with me, so at launch I picked Chaos + Fist.

Back then I read Yokai’s excellent guide to build philosophy as well as Martin Bruusgard’s blog post about character development. I was certainly inspired to play around with builds by these – getting an idea about the philosophy was important.

Zombies3

However, when I initially started playing, I was not particularly systematic in build development. I just bought the skills as they became affordable for my two weapons of choice and just did a bit of trial and error. I did not think much about saving and documenting those early build attempts. In fact, the only record I have of the very first choices are my screenshots from the very early gameplay, like above.

For the most part this approach worked. After a little while I started to think a bit more about synergies and effects, as well as what kind of talismans I used. I decided to adjust my abilities as well as my weapon and talisman equipment to apply Weaken on the enemies, as well as add boost my Evade, so that enemies would hit me less. Also a mix of single target and Area of Effect abilities was put in.

At an early stage in Savage Coast that resulted in a build that I actually have a record of. The reason for that is that I used this build pretty much all the way from early Savage Coast to most of Blue Mountain and this was the build I used when I returned to the game in December, after my focus time on City of Heroes. The build uses was this:

OldChaosFist

Total: 62 AP

  1. Hand of Change (Chaos->Theory, 1 AP)
  2. Escalation (Chaos->Chance, 1 AP)
  3. Call for Eris (Chaos->Theory, 1 AP)
  4. Wild at Heart (Fist->Primal, 4 AP)
  5. Hog Wild (Fist->Feral, 1 AP)
  6. Illusion (Chaos->Chance, 2 AP)
  7. Go for the Throat (Elite, Fist->Feral, 7 AP)
  1. Intensity (Chaos->Chance, 1 AP)
  2. Paradigm Shift (Chaos->Theory, 2 AP)
  3. Predator (Fist->Feral, 4 AP)
  4. Gnosis (Chaos->Chance, 1 AP)
  5. Chaos Adept (Chaos->Theory, 4 AP)
  6.  Master of Illusions (Chaos->Chance, 3 AP)
  7. Probability (Elite, Chaos->Chance, 7 AP)

You can also look at the details through this link. The power Escalation was the key damage dealing power here – it affects multiple targets and it applies weakened when it hits. The other four bread&butter damage dealers (Hand of Change, Call for Eris, Wild at Heart, Hog Wild) were powers that I put there to have a mix of single target and AoE as well as a mix of chaos and fist abilities. Illusion was my save-my-behind power to use in a pinch, either to survive long enough to defeat the enemy, to flee or to use a healing drink. Go for the Throat was for interrupting enemies when they were about to do Something Really Bad.

For the passives, Predator and Chaos Adept were added to increase damage. Intensity and Paradigm Shift were added to take advantage of the Weakened state from Escalation to both protect me as well as increase chance to hit. Probability was added to take advantage of the increased hit rate as well as my Evade boosts to increase survival even more. Gnosis was also added to add some extra damage from the Weakened state and Master of Illusions to make my evades with Illusion even better.

This one served me well I think, for solo play.

When I finally decided to change the build I started to put more emphasis on damage output and and also considering damage subtypes. Burst is a subtype supported by both Chaos and Fist, so I picked such abilities with the hope that I may take advantage of that at some point – I did not see much immediate synergy with the amount of ability points I had available. I also reduced emphasis on the evades and wards to put more into damage output, which resulted in this build (also viewable from this link):

ChaosFist2

Total: 201 AP

  1. Deconstruct (Chaos->Teorama, 9 AP)
  2. Prey on the Weak (Fist->Feral, 3 AP)
  3. One-Two (Fist->The Wilderness, 16 AP)
  4. Four Horsemen (Chaos->Teorama, 16 AP)
  5. Go for the Throat (Elite, Fist->Feral, 7 AP)
  6. Amor Fati (Chaos->The Value of x, 12 AP)
  7. Illusion (Chaos->Chance, 2 AP)
  1. Follow Through (Fist->The Wilderness, 21 AP)
  2. Fixation (Chaos->Shell Game, 9 AP)
  3. Predator (Fist->Feral, 4 AP)
  4. Breakdown (Chaos->The Value of x, 9 AP)
  5. Chaos Adept (Chaos->Theory, 4 AP)
  6. Cutting Thoughts (Chaos->Teorama, 12 AP)
  7. Probability (Elite, Chaos->Chance, 7 AP)

In general I have not been looking for someone else’s build to use – however, I do look from time to time on other builds to look for names of abilities. If I see the name of an ability often enough I have a look what it actually does, if I am not already familiar with it.

Three abilities that got my attention this way were Adrenalise, Twist The Knife and Improved Bursts. The two latter were in weapons I had not put that much points in and the first one was an Elite that cost 50 AP. Step-by-step I changed the build slightly; with Adrenalise in the picture the damage got more focused on Fist Weapon – only a resource consumer for Chaos remained eventually. Since I had dropped the evades and ward and at this time also use more of talismans with higher attack rating to boost damage, I also added a self-heal for those slightly tricky moments. The result of this was this build below, which is pretty much what I use currently for solo Chaos/Fist play (see also this link):

ChaosFist3

Total: 612 AP

  1. Prey on the Weak (Fist->Feral, 3 AP)
  2. One-Two (Fist->The Wilderness, 16 AP)
  3. Four Horsemen (Chaos->Teorama, 16 AP)
  4. Bushwhack (Fist->The Outback, 34 AP)
  5. Go for the Throat (Elite, Fist->Feral, 7 AP)
  6. Amor Fati (Chaos->The Value of x, 12 AP)
  7. Turn the Tables (Green->Survivalism, 16 AP)
  1. Follow Through (Fist->The Wilderness, 21 AP)
  2. Doom (Blood->Possession, 12 AP)
  3. Predator (Fist->Feral, 4 AP)
  4. Improved Bursts (Assault Rifle->Squad Duty, 21 AP)
  5. Chaos Adept (Chaos->Theory, 4 AP)
  6. Twist the Knife (Blade->Wind through Grass, 12 AP)
  7. Adrenalise (Elite, Fist->The Outback, 50 AP)

This build was part of an effort to look for useful passives from other weapons – in this case the passives have been collected from 5 different weapons. During this process I also made an effort to increase penetration and hit rating attributes on talismans and wear more attack/damage focused talismans. I used Advanced Combat Tracker (ACT) to look at the result of using these different abilities – I was a bit surprised when I first started using this how much of the damage came from the fist abilities – more than I had expected. The results from these tests were also one reason that I did focus a bit more on first abilities for damage. However, it also depends on the type of enemy you face. Using the ACT also gave some insight into how different types of talismans affected damage and other things.

With this build it was also easier for me to get a good builder-consumer rhythm; it flowed better simply. Good as it is; for dungeon play I change this build a bit – Bushwack, Go for the Throat and Turn the Tables are dropped.  The first two because I do not want to include Impair effects; dungeon bosses tend to get immune against those if they are applied to often, so that gets reserved for the tank-type person(s). I might not need the self-heal if there are people that can heal the team.

Instead these have been replaced with other abilities to deal more damage (e.g. Do or Die), or to reduce hate towards me (e.g. Confuse).

There has been times when this build has not been that useful, for example some elemental golem fights in Scorched Earth. For these I ended up with a build like this (see also this link):

ChaosFistKite

Total: 335 AP

  1. Run Rampant (Chaos->Building Blocks, 9 AP)
  2. Four Horsemen (Chaos->Teorama, 16 AP)
  3. Domino Effect (Elite, Chaos->Theory, 7 AP)
  4. Nurture (Fist->Primal, 1 AP)
  5. Surgical Steel (Fist->Warming Up, 9 AP)
  6. Pack Leader (Fist->Primal, 2 AP)
  7. Turn the Tables (Green->Survivalism, 16 AP)
  1. Chaos Adept (Chaos->Theory, 4 AP)
  2. Nurturing Gift (Fist->Primal, 1 AP)
  3. Lick Your Wounds (Fist->Primal, 1 AP)
  4. Improved Bursts (Assault Rifle->Squad Duty, 21 AP)
  5. Hot Iron (Fist->Warming Up, 12 AP)
  6. Twist the Knife (Blade->Wind through Grass, 12 AP)
  7. Out of the Woods (Elite, Fist->Primal, 7 AP)

The main idea here was to focus on magical damage, since the golems were resistant to physical damage, and to use more of a kiting approach, due to the environment and the abilities the golems used. Thus instead of Fist damage, I picked abilities from the healing side of Fist instead – which are pretty good ones. Domino Effect was quite useful here to interrupt and get a bit of breathing space in addition to dealing some damage on enemies as well.

This concludes my first post on build experiences; hopefully there has been something of interest here. I can also highly recommend the build tool that I linked to for the builds above, TSW Builder. It is a very nice tool I think and is quite helpful in finding synergies good combinations.

Categories: The Secret World

In the City of the Sun God

January 13, 2013 2 comments

In roughly the past week I have been spending my time in The City of the Sun God, the second Egyptian zone in The Secret World. For me, this was a noticeably different experience from the other zones. The reason for this was primarily the NPCs that I met in this zone.

The entrance to the City of the Sun God

The entrance to the City of the Sun God

 

Contrary to other MMOs, many of the NPCs one meets and talks to are people that I remember and/or relate to them and their situation in some way. In the City of the Sun God that was a bit … difficult, I found. They do have certain personalities and I remember some of them because of that and the dialogue is well written. But ancient Egyptians trapped into statues in a zone that did not have much to indicate that this is a contemporary setting… no, this was not my favourite zone.

BlackPyramid1

 

I still like the zone though, it has been fun to play through a lot of the content. It just that many of the other zones simply were more fun to me. I did skip a couple of the missions, so I might have missed some     of the good stuff.  At some point I will probably return to do those later – I know there was at least one investigation mission that I skipped and I want to try out these at some point.

MummyThing1

 

As perhaps expected the zone contains more of the same type of enemies that are found in the previous Eqyptian zone; cultists, ghouls, locust and some golems, with a splash of Jinns. And filth of course. And there are mummies also, can’t have an ancient Egyptian city without mummies.

There are some tricky fights and that is quite good. I do like it when the majority of the fighting is going rather swift, but without getting tedious. Then from time to time there is a fight that I really stuggle with and I sometimes perhaps die. In those case there may be because I made a mistake, or it gets me thinking how I can do this better. And then try again and in the end be successful. These are the victories that feels the best – I think The Secret World is going a pretty good job with providing these moments from time to time.

HotPortal

Tonight I decided to finish the main story mission in the zone, which I almost did. I succeeded with the expected battle (after a few attempts, i.e. one of these moments I mentioned), but the whole thing seems to have bugged out after completing that tier and I believe I ended up in the wrong spot. It has been petitioned, so hopefully it will sort itself out eventually.

Skeleton

For now though I feel that I am done with the ancient city and I move on to an area slightly closer to home – Transylvania.

Categories: The Secret World

Dungeon Day

January 5, 2013 Comments off

My cabal (or rather the group of cabals, one for each faction) that I am member of runs a weekly Dungeon Day. This used to be a time slot once per week (now twice per week) that is geared towards supporting each other to run through dungeons, be it normal, elite or nightmare mode. Dungeon runs can of course happen at other times also, but with people spread out across a few different time zones and at different stages in their character development it certainly helps to have a scheduled time.

Yesterday was one of those times and I ended up running through three dungeons (normal mode) in The Secret World in that session – Ankh, Hell Fallen and The Darkness War. From a QL perspective this was perhaps not the optimal choice to do them in the mentioned order, but they were all enjoyable experiences nevertheless.

Ankh

Ankh

Of the five people in the team, which stayed the same through all three dungeons, there were two of us that had not done these dungeons before. The other three were a bit overpowered for these dungeons, since they normally were doing the nightmare mode versions of these dungeons. Thus the whole thing probably went through a lot easier than it would have been if all had been geared in line with the difficulty of the dungeon and/or new to these dungeons.

I must say that I quite enjoy these dungeons, compared to some other dungeon/instance experiences in other MMOs. They are reasonably short in time and does not require a couple of hours to get through. Part of the reason for that is that there is not much trash mobs between the bosses. In those case that there are such mobs, they seem to typically be there to teach the players something.  There is also mechanics of various types in play, rather than just a big bunch of hit points that need to be reduced to zero – it makes the encounters more interesting. And they are also for a single team, only five players.

Hell Fallen

Hell Fallen

I like the single team/small group experience much better than big raid groups. Although I did a fair amount of “raiding” in City of Heroes during a period, with the incarnate trials and some other regular events, like Rikti Mothership raid. Still these were typically quite short in time and at least in the trials typically had a few objectives to perform with a few mechanics involved.

Our experienced members in the team were very good and helpful to make the dungeon run an enjoyable experience and we good a fair amount of nice loot drops. So from having purely green items in QL7-8 range my character now has decent set-up of blue items mixed in with the greens also, in QL7-9 range.

The Darkness War

The Darkness War

I learned a few things running through these dungeons, which should help to prepare and adjust my builds for future runs; this is all part of the fun – learn and adapt. I am looking forward more Dungeon Day runs!

Categories: The Secret World

NCSoft and Paragon Studios

January 5, 2013 13 comments

A recent post on Massively caught my attention this morning; it was about another article on mmorpg.com with some information about the NCSoft & Paragon Studios debacle. The source of the information is supposedly anonymous former employees of NCSoft and Paragon Studios. The bullet point information presented in the article, from this source, is the following:

  • CoH was profitable even before they converted to Free to Play but were even more so after the conversion.
  • The studio’s total annual operating cost was 4 million USD.  They grossed 12 million in revenue annually.
  • NCSoft paid $8 million USD to buy CoH. They wanted $80 million USD to sell it. They only value it at $3 million for tax purposes.
  • CoH had a high retention rate. Subscribers had a stick rate of 95-98%.
  • NCSoft has no plans for a CoH 2.  Paragon wanted to do it but NCSoft was growing ever more uncomfortable with a Superhero IP, worried that it wouldn’t work in today’s market.
  • Brian Clayton tried to orchestrate a management buyout of Paragon starting over a year ago because it became progressively more difficult to deal with NCSoft. They had created a Kickstarter page and a campaign video, but it never went to press.
  • They (Paragon) had a second project in the works. It was a compromise to not being able to make CoH 2.  It was the show “Lost” meets Minecraft.  You crash-landed on an island and you were able to build your own fortress and weapons. You teamed up with other players to tackle the mysteries of the island.
  • NCSoft tried to work with Paragon, they really did.  But the profits were not what they needed to be, and CoH/Paragon were the weak link in NCsoft’s lineup moving forward.

Impact

The article continues with some comments from NCSoft’s director of Corporate Communications, Lincoln Davis. He pretty much says that all the financial information provided is inaccurate and that the studio was not profitable (studio, not the game City of Heroes). This is the first time I have seen any name behind any communication from NCSoft around this. Even though the second part of his comments essentially repeats some earlier statements released from the company, I do appreciate to actually see a name and a title.

I think 4 million USD sounds a bit low for a studio with 80 people in the Silicon Valley area. But it has been a few years since I was visiting there and I have not been involved in the game industry, so maybe it is accurate. I am not surprised that the stick rate is high, although as high as 95-98% I would never have thought, if those numbers are accurate. I know a number of people who paid the subscription fee even though they were not playing actively, but still…

I think the information is somewhat conflicting though. It both talks about it being progressively difficult to deal with NCSoft and that NCSoft really tried to work with Paragon Studios. Lincoln Davis also does not claim any of that information to be incorrect, or anything about attempts to buy out Paragon Studios or thoughts around City of Heroes 2, superhero MMOs etc.

The financial information does not point to why NCSoft behaved as jerks when they handled the shutdown though; this is an area I became more disappointed with NCSoft than the game closure alone. I suspect that the actual closure decision has more to do with political matters and possibly that Paragon Studios were increasingly being considered a disloyal studio to NCSoft. In Korea, loyalty matters. At least that would make the behaviour from NCSoft a bit more plausible.

Therefore I also believe that the efforts made that showed the player loyalty and affection for the game actually made an impact on NCSoft, even though it did not reverse their decision.

Categories: City of Heroes

Investigating Egypt

January 4, 2013 6 comments

I have played through most of the missions in the Scorched Desert zone in The Secret World now; in this zone there are three different investigation missions:

  • The Big Terrible Picture
  • Angels & Demons
  • Unburnt Bush

I am not going to go into details about the puzzles in these missions; I do not want to spoil anything for anyone that has not played them. At least not in clear text, there are some comments in bullet points below, but you have to crack the puzzle of decoding them if you want to read them.

The order in which I played these missions were in the order they are listed above. I did figure out the way to solve the puzzles in all three of the missions, but there was an increasing about of frustration with these missions, from no frustration with The Big Terrible Picture to a fair amount of frustration with Unburnt Bush. In the last mission it part of the frustration came from a technical issue so to speak.

TBTP1
The mission The Big Terrible Picture takes place in some Egyptian ruins, which happens to be inside one of the Lair areas in the game. Fortunately if you are not at an appropriate QL to handle the mobs in there you can still do the mission without running into any of these enemies. Just do not stray off the path that is given to you by the mission. There is a spot near the second puzzle that will get you close to some enemies in the area; just watch your step and you should be ok.

The second mission, Angels & Demons, takes place in and near the town of al-Merayah and is the one with the fewest tiers. It was interesting also because it added some pieces to the puzzle of the overall story around the area; although perhaps it raised more questions than it answered from that point of view – but in a good way.

UB1
The third mission takes place in various places in the zone; this one I ended up looking up on tier 2 after quite a while – I was quite sure I had a proper solution, but was not able to progress. It turned out that my solution was correct, but there may have been an issue where I was standing perhaps that caused problems. Moving a bit resolved the problem – that was frustrating because it had nothing to with the puzzle itself.  Once I managed past that point the rest was quicker to do.

A good thing about these investigation missions is that you may learn something; in two of the missions I learned some new things and in the remaining mission I dusted off some old knowledge revisiting some texts that I had not read in decades.

Despite some of the frustrations I very much enjoyed playing these missions; it was enjoyable in the end. I put a few comments and hints below, although the text below has 1-2 levels of obfuscation. For most of you there are two levels to deal with; these have also been inspired by the missions themselves.

  • Xbzznaqbg ‘/cenl’ xna inen alggvtg. Uåyy xbyy cå ine qrg svaaf ywhf bpxfå
  • Naiäaq xelcgrevatzrgbqra fbz svaaf v Cbr’f irex
  • Unaf rsgreanza äe unaf yöfrabeq
  • Uroervfxn bpu nenovfxn naiäaqf. Rsgre gvre 1 sbxhfren cå uroervfxn grkgra bpu bztviavatnean.
  • Xunyvq bpu Zbfrf une ra qry trzrafnzg
Categories: The Secret World

Wrapping up 2012

January 1, 2013 1 comment

Another year has passed and it is time to look back a bit on my MMO gaming in 2012.

City of Heroes

For most of the year, City of Heroes was my base game, the one I always fallen back to after excursions to other MMOs. Except for the months July and August when I had a break from the game, this was one I played to the very end. I do very much miss the game and community, in particular on my main server Defiant. I still get sad about it from time to time. There has been a lot of discussion and speculation why it was shut down; it would be good at some point to hear actual reasons and a bit more specific than “change in policy”. It would also be good to hear why they handled the shutdown the way they did, but I guess that is not something we will ever hear.

Earth

Champions Online

I did also play some of the competition to City of Heroes in the superhero genre, both Champions Online and DC Universe Online. After all, I am a lifetime subscriber to Champions Online. There are certainly good things in Champions, but for me that is a game that I can only enjoy during short periods of time. Part of the reason for that is because some of the features and elements of the game felt like simple money-grabbing features – the crafting/harvesting is one of those. I initially liked the change they had made, but realized it was a broken design from a game-play perspective – which could be overcome somewhat by spending plenty of money. I am ok with spending money on a game that is “free to play”, but not when design seems to be broken on purpose for people to spend money.

DC Universe Online

Very late this year, after the shutdown of City of Heroes, I also tried out DC Universe Online again briefly. Previously I had played in on PS3, but this time was my first experience with the game on a PC. I liked it a little bit better on the PC, but in the end the controls and the horrible character creator and tutorial turned me off that game. That, and that I could not use my SOE acount either, but had to use a ProSieben1 (Alaplaya) account – plus that it was not possible to merge these two accounts either. Maybe I will give it ago at some point later, but the controls does put me off this game.

Jorda1

Star Wars – The Old Republic

During spring-time I also ventured into Star Wars – The Old Republic. It was really a great and fun game to play – at first. In the beginning it was very cool and fun to play and I enjoyed trying out most of the different classes available, up to the point that it was time to leave the starter areas. For continued play, I stuck with my Sith Sorcerer and it was a quite enjoyable ride for some time. In the long run though the non-class-story missions started to feel grindy though and even getting to the different points for the class story missions became grindy – which is when I lost interest. I reached about level 30 I believe. Maybe at some point I will give this game ago again; I did not read up closely on the details for the “free to play”, but it did not seem that it would require much or any money spent from my side really considering how I expect to play. This is probably a game I will return to at some point in 2013.

Anarchy Online

Early this sping I did play a bit of Anarchy Online as well and enjoyed it quite a bit; at least for some time. The setting is marvelous, even though the graphics are dated. While there are many nice people in the game, many are long time veterans that have played the game for years. Most of them started playing the game long after I initially played the game, so in calendar time I am “more veteran”, but a newbie in terms of played time in comparison.  We do not quite play at the same level, unfortunately. I do hope for a revamp of some of the combat mechanics; it is too much reliant on auto-attack for my taste at the moment. I did sign up for a 12-month subscription close to the end of this year and I hope to jump back in the game during spring, hopefully when there may be some beta testing of a new New Player Experience and the new game engine.

Zelmira1

Age of Conan

Late this spring I also jumped into Age of Conan. I do like this type of fantasy setting better than the typical high-fantasy-with-elves-and-dwarves settings one see in a lot of MMOs. I am not too keen on fantasy settings, but this one is at least more tolerable. In the end though it felt a bit empty – most active people seemed to be doing high-end raids and dungeons. The gold seller spam was also quite annoying. Plus, another Funcom game craved for some time and attention in the summer-time, with a more contemporary setting. Similar to Anarchy Online, if this game gets a bit more people playing in my level range and experience level I might try it out again.

Guild Wars

I played Guild Wars a bit on and off during spring. This is a game I love returning too – every time I do I realize why this was my favourite fantasy MMO-type game. For some reason I do not stick around though – I have yet to figure out why that is. While I have completed all of the main campaigns in the game, there are other story-oriented content I have bought but not yet played and a number of things on my to-do list. Remains to see how many people still play this when Guild Wars 2 is the new kid from Arenanet.

Tutorial1

Raiderz

One game that I played briefly in the beta, but did not write anything about, was Raiderz. For some reason I got an invite to the beta for this game, so I tried it out for a short time. I did not expect to like it, but I quite enjoyed the tutorial/starter area. It was a bit different and it was fun. Then I got to the main land and to me the game transformed a bit from quite fun to more of a normal fantasy MMO-with-a-bit-of-grind from Asia. Perhaps the launch version is better, but the fantasy setting did not thrill me though.

Steam Angels gathering at the Xmas tree?

Steam Angels gathering at the Xmas tree?

City of Steam

Industral Age fantasy with steampunk elements – that is how the setting for City of Steam is described as. This game have had four closed beta weekends during autumn/winter an d I have played a bit in these four weekends. A notable feature of this game is that is is a browser-based game – there is nothing to install (except for the Unity3D web player plugin). The game looks great for a browser-based game; I think it compares favourably to for example Runes of Magic (at least as I remember Runes of Magic). I thought the combat was pretty fun (dual-wielding “wands” that throw lightning balls – what is not to like… 🙂 ). There are some design elements that I do not quite like or am on the fence about; but the interaction betweent he developers and the community is top notch I think. I would be happy to provide some support to the game because of this, even if I would end up not playing it so much.  There will be an open beta later in 2013, but no dates are set yet. I will try it out again then.

Guild Wars 2

A big game of the year, but one I only played for about a week. Pre-ordered the game and played for almost a week – then NCSoft announed that they were going to terminate City of Heroes and Paragon Studios on August 31st. My focus switched to City of Heroes then after that weekend and I have not played Guild Wars 2 since that. I pretty much lost my urge to play the game during that period. Perhaps in 2013 if I get some cravings for fantasy settings I will try it out again. I am not sure that I will spend any money in the game though; I do have a bit of a trust issue with NCSoft corporate.

Ur-Draug

The Secret World

And finally, the game that for me has been the best still remaining game of the year. I played it a fair amount from early access to a few weeks after launch, then due to Real Life interfering activity dropped significantly during summer-time. The City of Heroes situation forced a pause from the game as well and now in December I picked up up for real again. The stories and missions are for the most part really quite enjoyable and I have gotten back into making builds/decks for my character, trying out different abilities and play styles & weapons. Contrary to most other MMOs I have mainly played melee-oriented combat in this game and I am quite enjoying it.

I have a lifetime subscription for the game and with the recent change I will get monthly bonus points to buy stuff for from the store. I will probably spend more than those points in the end – not because it would be necessary, but because  I am more inclined to buy stuff just because I love the game and want to support it. The same thing happened in City of Heroes, so I suspect it will happen here.

Sente2