Posts Tagged ‘Beta’

This past week has been pretty damned busy. With the release of Diablo 3 and being in a few Betas, I’ve tried to spread my time between them but it hasn’t gone so well. I’ve put in around 60 hours or so into D3 already but I did manage to pry myself away from it to get some time with the Firefall Beta. I first saw some of this game was last year on GamebreakerTVs weekly show TWIMMO. I became very interested and tried to find out everything I could about it. Which at that time wasn’t all that much. Just that it was a third person shooter MMO that would be Free to Play. A shooter MMO that’s F2P? I’m in. I was pretty excited when I got my invite early last week. Let’s get to it.

Right off the bat I really enjoyed the look and feel of the world. The cel shading graphics style is cool but I am not always a fan of it. There have been a few games over the years that I have enjoyed that use it. This game is definitely one of them. I spent the first hour or so in the game jamming around checking things out and getting used to using the jet-pack. The world looks great and I can’t wait to see more of it. Having the jet-pack to get around was insanely fun. They also have certain places where you can grab a glider to get around the island quicker. While I was hopping around I ended up getting caught up in some group PvE. It was really cool to just be roaming around and stumble on them. Fighting off waves of NPC soldiers along side a big group of other players was really fun. It’s still early on in Beta so other than rocking some quests, thumping(resource gathering player triggered event) and PvP there’s not a lot to do at the moment. What they do have in is still really fun. I’m a big fan of the glider and jet-pack. I’m pretty sure I could entertain myself by just messing with them for hours and hours.

One thing that Red 5 has planned for Firefall which has some people scratching their heads and others jumping for joy is their “Staged Content”. It’s not been implemented yet but if they get it to work it’s going to be amazing. Essentially the whole game world will not be available to explore at launch. As the players work together and complete story quests and participate in the game content they unlock more of the world. Here’s a link to a really great video explaining it. Extra Credits – Firefall – Staged Content Approach. If they can actually pull this off it’s going to be wicked.

The classes are called Battleframes in Firefall. There a few different ones but the really cool part is that you don’t need to re-roll a character to try them all out. When you first load into the game you are defaulted to the Assault Battleframe. Hitting up a Battleframe terminal allows you to swap between them at any time. A load out terminal lets you swap out your different gear within each frame. I started out just messing with the Assault one to get a feel for the game. After I felt that I had a good handle on what I was doing I decided to swap over to Recon. I love playing snipers in shooters and so really wanted to give this Battleframe a test drive. Rolling around with the jet-pack sniping baddies is a lot of fun. Leveled this Battleframe up a bit doing some quests and I even dove into a bit of PvP.

I did have fun in the PvP when I tried it in the Assault and Recon frames but was watching how the healers worked and really wanted to give that a shot. Swapped over to the Medic Battleframe to give it a go. I tend to play healing classes quite a bit in MMOs I wanted to see how it worked in Firefall. So. Much. Fun. I don’t think that I’ve even played any of the other frames since I began rolling with the Medic. I found being able to heal myself made the questing a bit easier but in PvP is where I really was having the most fun. I’m still a low-level medic but I am doing pretty well. Chasing the action trying to keep teammates alive can get pretty intense at times.

I only got in a few hours of playtime with Firefall this past week. I definitely need to spend more time with it. It’s a game that has so much potential. I’ll be doing more posts as the Beta goes on and I get more time with the game. There are issues and things that still need to be added but at this point the game looks and feels really great. I’m having a lot of fun with it. Looking forward to seeing where it goes. All around a great experience so far. I think the folks at Red 5 studios really have something here. Be sure to head on over to the Firefall website and take a look. You can also sign up for the beta there.

Thanks for reading.
-FMG-

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So between catching up on the Mass Effect series, a ridiculous amount of SWTOR and that silly thing called the real world and a job, I still managed to play quite a bit of D3 beta. Especially over this past week. I knew that it would be ending soon and so made sure to get a good refresher in before making another post about it.

While the game has undergone some major changes the last few patches, it’s still fun as hell and feels like a Diablo game. The one change that I really didn’t like at first was when they changed the skill UI. Skill used to be separated into three categories for each class as and you leveled up you unlocked more skills and more active skill slots. You could have a total of 6 skills available to you by the time you reach the higher levels. You could pick and power to put into any slot as long as you’ve already acquired it. Now the powers are separated into 6 different categories and each group is assigned a button by default. Now Despite the change to how the skill UI looks and the multiple categories for different powers, there is an option to allow you to put any power onto any slot like it was in earlier patches. I don’t see them changing where this would be in the options from beta to live. So in order to have a little more freedom and customization make sure that in the Gameplay section of the Options, in the Interface list on the right, make sure that the Elective Mode option is checked off. For people that are new to the game or just casually play, the default setup works fine. For those that really want full flexibility for their spells setup this option i a must.

Next thing I wanted to touch on was the matter of the difficulty. Much earlier in the beta the overall difficulty was pretty easy. Most figured that Blizzard would adjust it closer to release and they have. The normal difficulty is slightly more difficult that before. I can’t walk into a mob of blues on my Witch Doctor and kill them all with melee attacks anymore. Which is good. I still feel that the normal difficulty could be tuned up a little more. Even playing through with a Hardcore character I never really found any point that I was in a lot of danger. Obviously they don’t want to make the normal difficulty too over tuned so that the average player can’t get past the first chapter, but I feel that it could still use a bit of tweaking. Definitely looking forward to playing the harder difficulties.

This past week I’ve played mostly multiplayer public games. I had done a bit with a friend of mine who was in the beta before, but I really wanted to see how it felt with more than two people. We were actually having a bit of trouble grouping up and getting a game going when we tried a few weeks back. It was weird. Once we got in, the games seemed to run fine but inviting to groups and starting the games was giving us problems. This time around I just joined random public games. I found that there was little or no lag. Everything seemed to run very smoothly. The enemy strength seemed to scale appropriately(although I feel that this could be tuned a bit more with the overall difficulty) upon a person joining or leaving. I’ve put in at least a few hours almost every day the last week or so with D3 and not a single disconnect. Unless you count the server downtime where we were rushing our asses off to down the Skeleton King before we ran outta time. We didn’t make it. Probably had him to about 10% when servers went down. So close. The multiplayer was pretty fun. I felt rushed for most of the games I joined tho. People were just rushing through to the end. I tend to enjoy exploring around. It just seemed that almost every game that I was in was like that. I’ll probably stick to playing multiplayer with people I know for the most part. Still had a lot of fun tho.

I’ve gone through and played every class at least once through to cap level during my time with the beta. Each class really does have its own feel to it. Even setting up your powers differently can give a single class a couple different play styles to really suit how you want to play. This definitely makes for plenty of replay and experimentation with the different classes and set ups. Really looking forward to experimenting with different spell builds. Also curious to see what kind of builds that the community will come up with. They did a really great job of making each class have many diverse types of abilities to let the player decide how they want to progress with their class. Obviously some classes excel at certain things like a Barbarian is obviously great in melee range. If you built your Wizard with the close range abilities and armor/damage reduction abilities you can also be viable in melee range. My favorite is still the Witch Doctor. Those Firebats so awesome. Just wish I could get high enough in beta to summon the wall of Zombies… Overall I feel the classes were very well designed and diverse which gives the game great replay value.

Barring any major changes between now and the release in three weeks, Blizzard really nailed it. This game feels like a Diablo game, but not just a D2 rehash. Definitely seems to have more depth than the previous titles. We waited over ten years for Starcraft 2 and Blizzard didn’t disappoint. I have faith that the rest of Diablo 3 will be just as bad ass as what I’ve gotten the chance to play so far. Definitely stoked. Less than one month. Evil is back 05/15/12.

Be sure to check out the Full Metal Gamer Facebook/G+/Twitter for updates. Thanks for reading folks.

-FMG-

So lately I’ve been going on about some awesome game with laser sword and telekinetic badasses. Today I will absolutely refrain from babble on about that sweet piece of awesome. Absolutely. In this post I’ll be drooling all over my keyboard while I write about a great little game called Diablo 3. I got in to the Beta the other day with the latest slew of invites. Thank you Blizzard for not having an NDA. After waiting ten years for the next Diablo and finally getting my hands on it, not being able to talk about the sheer awesomeness would literally kill me.

Wandering around the world murdering tons of monsters for shiny baubles brought me back. I’m a huge fan of Diablo. Played the hell out of the first one and still have Diablo 2 installed and on my quick launch bar that I pop into from time to time. No huge leaps and bounds apart from the previous titles. It feels like a Diablo game, and damn does it ever feel good. Even with the limited part of the game available in the Beta, in my opinion it blows D2 out of the water. Can’t wait to get my hands on the full game.

At this point I’ve played through the Beta 3 times. Twice with the Witchdoctor because fire and Zombies are awesome. Once with a Monk. About halfway with the other three classes. Some of the abilities are pretty bad ass. The resources for the classes are each different. Nothing really groundbreaking there. Barbarians use rage. Builds up as you use certain abilities so that you can use others. Monk, same thing but it’s called spirit. Except Monk starts at full spirit and has to build it back as they use it and Barbarians start with no rage and have to build it up to start. Witchdoctors use mana. Self explanatory. Wizards use arcane power. Kinda like mana except its a fixed amount that doesn’t seem to increase as you level.

The one class that has a bit of a unique dual resource system is the Demon Hunter. They have hatred and discipline. Some abilities generate hatred.  Other abilities use hatred or discipline. Some actually use both, sometimes… For example there’s an ability called Evasive Fire that uses four hatred. If you are firing at an enemy that is close to you, your character does a back-flip away from the target that causes the ability to cost four discipline as well. I’ve only gotten to about level five or six on the Demon Hunter so far but its pretty fun and definitely feels unique compared to the other classes.

My favorite so far is definitely the Witchdoctor. I’ve been playing games for a while now and can take a look at skill trees and abilities and can usually tell which one I’m gonna like the most. Since I have a huge obsession with Zombies as soon as they showed the early clips of the Witchdoctor abilities I knew that would be my “main” class. While I am unable to reach the level to unlock the Wall of Zombies ability in Beta, I have my Zombie dogs and one Zombie that jumps out of the ground at things and eats their faces. Pretty damned wicked.

Even with those kick as spells I have to say my favorite ability in the game that I’ve seen so far is Firebats. I’ve seen abilities in other games that summon swarms of bats. This one is next level wicked. While you summon in this swarm of bats that fly in over your head and attack in a cone, you breath fire. Which in turn sets the bats on fire. Then they swarm the targets. Yes. A swarm of flaming bats. Epic. When I did my second play-through with the Witchdoctor that’s pretty much the only ability I used. Was constantly getting bonus experience for killing multiple enemies with a single blow. It was hilarious. So much fun.

Which is a perfect segue to the next part. You can earn bonus experience points for chaining kills together or multiple kills with a single blow. Also by breaking a bunch of barrels etc. Getting rewards when you have a perfectly timed attack that takes out multiple enemies or just go on a massive rampage is pretty cool. I think my highest one shot kill is about 8 or so with a Lashing Tail Kick on my Monk which is a roundhouse kick that decimates anything around you. It’s pretty cool. Highest chained multikill which is called massacre if I remember correctly, is about 60. I was on my Witchdoctor. There was a room with a jar. I clicked a jar. Massive amounts of skeletons swarmed me like some sort of skeletal apocalypse. Then I Firebatted the crap out of them like a boss. Good times.

I’ll be playing through some more for sure. I want to cap level all the classes and try different ability combinations some more. Will have time to get more into it this weekend I hope and will definitely make another post. So far, I think it’s great. Looking forward to the full release even more than I was. Got my Collector’s Edition pre-order in as soon as they announced the CE. Wish there was an open Beta so more of you could experience the game and squash any doubts you may have about it. Also so I can get in some co-op. Haven’t gotten to try that yet. I know one other person that has Beta access but our D3 playtime hasn’t lined up yet. Hopefully I’ll get into some of that this weekend. Might just try getting into a random public game. So that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks again for reading folks.

-FMG-

This past weekend got another shot at the SWTOR Beta. I unfortunately have been a little sick so I didn’t get as much time with the game as I would have liked. The time I did get in was really awesome. I also had a friend of mine bring his laptop over and spend the weekend playing as well. This was his first time getting hands on with the game and whatever doubts he had about whether he would actually play when the game releases are gone. I spent some time leveling bounty hunter to 10 or 11ish with him and despite him never having much experience with MMOs in the past he was able to pick up things very quickly and had a great time.

That brings me to the first thing I want to touch on in this post today. The accessibility of the game. It is an MMO and has more going on than most single player RPGs but it’s built in a way that newcomers can jump right in without worrying too much. Bioware really outdid themselves by making a game that really has something there for everyone. Whether you’re just a fan of MMOs, story driven RPGs, fast paced action games, big PvP fans, or a really hardcore MMO player, Bioware has you covered. The game has a lot of depth for the more hardcore players that for the more casual gamer may not even be interested in. From the intricacies of talent builds, taking full advantage of powers and combinations and crafting the hardcore players really have the opportunity to excel. For the more casual or newcomer to MMOs the game really does a great job of easing you into the game and doesn’t cut you off at the knees if you skip over crafting or avoid group play and solo your way to 50. They have implemented social points to encourage people to group up but it is not necessary. Personally, I really enjoyed group questing and what little I did experience of the Flashpoints. The way the group conversations work is really awesome and interesting and one of my favorite parts of the game. In other MMOs that I have played I usually just solo quest my way to cap level but am looking forward to grouping up with guild mates or random people as I level. Definitely a very unique way to evolve the PvE experience and make it much more engaging than reading a wall of text in a quest log. Off on a little rant there for a second but my point is that if you are a Star Wars Fan, a casual gamer, hardcore gamer or whatever, that this game really does have something for everyone no matter your gaming history or play style.

I’d like to go a bit more into the classes and how different they really do feel unique compared to one another. Now in order for game balance, especially in PvP, the classes do have to be somewhat mirrored on either side. The example that I will use because it’s the mirror that I have had the most time with is the Bounty Hunter/Republic Trooper. They both have similar abilities. For example, the BH has something called carbonite spray that is a coned crowd control ability while the RT has the carbonite grenade. Both have basically the same effect they are just deployed differently. While this is only one example they have a lot of similar abilities like that. Pretty boring right? Wrong. While they do share a lot of similar abilities Bioware has done a marvelous job making sure that they feel nothing alike. I think it has a large part to do with the resource that the classes use. The BH uses heat. Your heat bar begins empty and by using abilities you generate hat and if you overheat it stuns you for a few seconds. You have a vent heat ability that has a cooldown to help you manage it. I really enjoyed the way that this resource mechanic worked. The RT on the other hand has ammo. It starts at 12 if I remember correctly, and you use up ammo as you use abilities. The less ammo you have the slower it recharges so finding that balance and learning to manage it to its full potential will be tricky. You also have a reload ability that has a cooldown to help you manage it. So despite the two classes being mirrors of one another something as simple as slight deployment differences in the abilities and a varying resource I found that they felt completely different and I had a lot of fun with both. Had so much fun with the BH that I will be making that my second character after my Sith Inquisitor instead of the Imperial Agent. Death from above = win.

So instead of writing a lot about story again this time around and worrying about spoiling anything all I’m gonna say this time around is that everything I have experienced story wise in the game has been absolutely stellar. Really engaging characters and plots and the voice acting is probably the best I have ever heard in a video game. Scratch that. Some of the best voice acting I have ever heard. The highest level character I had was my Sith Inquisitor. She was level 24 and the story just kept getting better and better. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out when the game is live.

This past weekend was a HUGE stress test for the servers. I personally didn’t have any queue times or noticeable lag at all. Actually had two minor crashes this weekend but that was it. Tweets from @SWTOR announcing addition of more servers throughout the weekend. I noticed a couple of servers went down but it seemed that they were able to bring them back rather quickly from what I saw. Overall a pretty smooth weekend and things are really looking great for launch.

I mentioned in the previous SWTOR post that I did a few great resources to check out for all you SWTOR needs but I’ll throw them out there again. Be sure to check them out.
GamebreakerTV
Darth Hater
Darth Hater Database

If you’re a fan of PvP and would like a little more insight into SWTOR PvP be sure to check out Ed aka Taugrim. He now has a weekly spot on GamebreakerTVs show The Republic and his own site has videos diving into how PvP works for some classes and game play footage from SWTOR warzones. He also does live streams on his Twitch TV channel that you can check out. Actually been watching his videos while I’ve written this. Really great stuff full of insightful commentary to help you out while you PvP.

Thanks again for reading. I’ll see you soon in a galaxy far far away. May the force serve you well.

-FMG-

The Star Wars The Old Republic NDA was lifted, and the internet exploded. There is a ton of awesome information and videos coming out of the huge circle of fan sites and live streamers. I was only able to get my first hands on with SWTOR this past weekend. I’ve been chomping at the bit to be able to share my awesome experience with the game. Thank you Bioware for lifting the NDA. You guys rock. Let’s see if I can get through this without any spoilers. Here we go.

So I’ll start talking about the graphics and the overall look of the game. When I first saw the stylized graphics during the early reveals I wasn’t sure if I liked it. As time progressed they definitely polished up the look quite a bit. I am very happy with the look of the game now. My PC was running the game with almost all settings at max and the environments and characters looked spectacular. I found myself at one point not even questing, just running around exploring Dromund Kaas. Really awesome environments. A lot to see. The highest level character I had was a level 14 Sith Sorcerer so I only got to explore, Korriban, Dromund Kaas and a bit of Balmora.

A lot of people are up in arms about the space combat in the game. I don’t know why. The space combat for me is a secondary part to the game. It’s a mini game put in as something else to do while leveling. The complaint that a lot of people have is the rail shooter aspect to it. That means that it automatically flies your ship’s course while you worry about dodging fire and blowing things up. Yes you can do a barrel roll. I had a lot of fun with the space combat. Locking missiles on a few targets and letting them loose taking out multiple targets at once is just an awesome feeling. If they choose to evolve the space combat in the future it would be cool but I have no complaints at all about its current incarnation.

From the fan site summit a few months back I heard mixed opinions about how the combat felt. Last weekend one of my goals was to try different types of combat and see how it all felt. I mixed it up a bit and played a Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor and Imperial Agent. They each have their own style and gave me a good sample of different types of combat the game has to offer. I actually thought the combat was fun and fast paced. With the Sith Warrior being able to leap right into a mob and massacre the poor bastards was pretty epic. Got finished a few of those fights by the skin of my teeth and some I bit off a bit more than I could chew. At one point I figured, “Hey. I got this.” and pulled 3 groups thinking that I could just tear my way through them. Wrong. Got my ass handed to me. It was hilarious. The Sith Inquisitor is considerably more squishy than the Warrior so I tried to not pull as many. I found I was able to mix it up with my force lightning and my melee attacks pretty well and stay alive. The Imperial Agent is not as squishy as the Inquisitor but I found myself looking at the fights from a more tactical viewpoint. Before engaging an enemy I would scope out the area and spot where I would be able to take cover and possible fall back points if I needed. Combat for all three classes felt very different and I really like that. Something in the game to fit different play styles or for me who is a raging altoholic, unique experiences to fit whatever mood I may be in. So having briefly tasted some of the different types of combat that SWTOR has to offer I enjoyed it all. Looking forward to exploring the combat further in the upcoming beta weekend.

Now I get to the hard part. I’m sure the final version of this part of the post will be edited, scrapped and rewritten a bunch of times. I want to talk about the story without revealing or spoiling anything for anyone. Here we go. Bioware is known for writing very epic story lines into their games. From KOTOR, to Dragon Age and Mass Effect they have proven themselves to be very worthy storytellers. SWTOR is no exception. From the classes that I did get the chance to level up and experience the story for, it was amazing. Two two that I spent the most time with were the Imperial Agent and Sith Inquisitor.

The one “reveal” I will say about the Sith Inquisitor storyline which has been stated a hundred times over on many sites is that you begin the story as a slave. Which causes many at the Sith Academy to underestimate you and treat you like crap. So you have to set out and prove to them that you are the real deal. The companion you get first as the Inquisitor is Khem Val. A big ass alien who loves to eat people. He will ask you more than once if you’d like him to dispose of someone you are in a conversation with by killing and eating them. It’s hilarious. When you get him he’s practically naked so I can’t wait to get a companion kit for him so he can cover himself up. Hopefully before I get to Hoth because well, its damn cold. I love healing in MMOs and so I chose Sith Sorcerer as my Advanced class. I had reached up to level 14 and had a couple of heals and was able to do pretty well in the one flashpoint that I ran with some friends. I was still also to deal a decent amount of damage while doing quests. Having Khem Val as my companion helped a bit. Inquisitors are pretty squishy but Khem Val is a pretty solid tank which allowed me to stand back keep him healed and blast the crap out of things with my force lightning. Epic. A comment made in the Trooper VS Inquisitor video mentions that you can be a mastermind which I can totally see. I’ve only scratched the surface of the story and it definitely has a twisting plot full of deceit and treachery early on. I can only imagine how much more intense the rest of it will be. I was playing dark side during the beta but once it goes live I haven’t decided what I’ll do. I have heard that one of the hardest things to play in the game is a light side inquisitor. Which from the small amount that I saw I can totally see. Seems like it would be very interesting. I’ll see how I feel once I get into live.

The Imperial Agent gives you the opportunity to play a spy type character. Early on you are assigned to infiltrate a criminal organization for the Empire under a stolen identity. This story also had a lot of cool little twists and I really enjoyed the Rattataki companion you get early on. Kaliyo is a pretty self-confident and witty companion that I loved having around. I totally felt that with her at my side we could take over the galaxy. I didn’t get as far into the story on this character as I did on my Inquisitor but I was definitely interested in seeing where the story was heading. When you are finished on Hutta, where you begin as Agent or Bounty Hunter, you head to Dromund Kaas which is the Imperial equivalent to Coruscant. There you get to report to Imperial Intelligence HQ. Bad ass companion. Check. Path to becoming bad ass Imperial super spy. Check. This is gonna be awesome. I haven’t played much past that but I chose my advanced class to be sniper because well… I love being a sniper. The other AC Operative does look really wicked as well. That one has closer range and stealth capabilities where the sniper is a very strong long-range class. My time with this class really has me sold on it. I was unsure of what my second character in live would be after my Sith Inquisitor but at this point I am heavily leaning towards Imperial Agent – Sniper. It was a lot of fun to play and I was having fun with the cover system and the long-range attacks. I was able to take out multiple groups of enemies at times while strategically working with the cover mechanic and keeping them at a distance. I’m sure there’s even more at higher levels but there was enough abilities to deal with anyone that got a bit too close.

Those were really the only two classes that I spent a substantial amount of time with to really be able to form a solid opinion about. I did dabble a bit with the Sith Warrior and it was looking pretty awesome but he was only up to about level 5 or 6. I was at the point with him where I was about to get his first companion Vette. A sassy Twi’Lek that, come the live game I will torture in hopes that she will cry. My Sith Warrior will definitely be played dark side. Ever since I heard a comment from one of the devs a while back saying that there is a Sith Warrior companion that will spend the entire time on the ship crying because of how you treat them. I will be treating them all like meat bags in hopes of figuring out which one it is. Once I do, I will still treat them all like crap because he’s the biggest big bad the galaxy has ever known. Plus it should be fun. Really looking forward to the torture.. uh I mean story line for the Sith Warrior.

I apologize if some of this seems all over the place and erratic but I did have to do some serious editing to keep it spoiler free. Seems like a good place to stop there. I’ll surely make another post after the next beta weekend. I may even do another later this week touching on a few things that I didn’t get to here. I’ll hopefully be able to hop into some PvP so I can give you my impressions about that. I’ve only seen videos and live streams so far and I must say…. Huttball looks REALLY fun. Stoked to get into that. Also I didn’t really get much time to spend on Flashpoints so hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that as well. So far I must say that everything I have had the chance to get hands on with in SWTOR has lived up to or exceeded my expectations. Very eagerly looking forward to launch.

Be sure to check out some of the great resources and fan sites out there. Darth Hater just launched their database for SWTOR. Darth Hater is one of my favorite sites to check out for information on the game. They are pretty good at keeping us up to date all the breaking news and have links to a lot of other quality fan sites to check out. Also there’s GamebreakerTV which has a weekly show called The Republic where they discuss the game. Now that the NDA is lifted there should be a TON for them to talk about on this Mondays episode. They also put up an episode Friday after the NDA was lifted talking about fan site summit that happened a few weeks back and a few other videos throughout the day including a BFF report with Mike B AKA Fony and a look at the class/race combinations. Be sure to check it out. A lot of great stuff.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.

-FMG-