Training is over. Well, that part of the training is at any rate. I’m a little split on it mind you, given that I’ve taken training that was more “advanced” than this in the past. So I considered it as a refresher, plus the time to meet new people and share some ideas. To further point, while I was in this course – let’s call it level 1 for lack of a better term – I was accepted into another course in March, which ostensibly we can call level 3.
I will say that I’m glad I was taking a refresher course and not a deep dive course of completely new material. With a new government, and cabinet (because it’s 2015 is a great line), meant that I was rather busy. The past 10 years of government have been, um, challenging. Lots of good people were shut out of any decision making. That’s changed overnight. But old habits die hard and there’s still a risk-aversion attitude. I have a very just do it attitude at work, and while that’s been a double edged sword for some time, in this particular case it’s paid dividends. Dealing with the highest level of government throughout the day is fun. People are people after all, and this new government clearly wants to go social rather than the totalitarian viewset of the past (which as an aside, is a poor reflection on the high quality members that were present in the past). I’m quite curious to see how the next year or so rolls out.
This was the first year where it was evident I could care less what was being spouted. You can check out MMO-Champ for a massive log of what did go down. The highlights are: SC2’s final expansion is live today, D3 is the ugly step brother, HS is getting a new deck and mode, HotS is eating paint chips, OW’s closed beta is starting with a launch in spring, and WoW:L is still a year out.
That last one…I dunno. The game is at 5.5M, a near 50% loss from the WoD launch. It’s still going to be 18 months between the final patch and the expansion. And it’s not like the con didn’t talk about WoW, a lot of it was about that MMO. But with the marketplace today, the sheer competition of everything else, it really makes you wonder what’s being smoked in those offices. And some of the design promises just seem like a massive stretch for a 10 year old game. After the sales pitch and delivery of WoD…I’d expect that most people have just plain ol’ given up and are ready to move on.
I decided to draw up another alt, this time a Stalker. Back to my Rogue roots I guess. Having gone through the leveling cycle a LOT, the first few zones were pretty quick runs. The trick is to keep a 1-2 quest level buffer above your current level and simply move on when it gets easy. More specifically, avoid quests that are tagged as tasks. Think of it like SWTOR’s class quests being the most efficient XP route, same here.
So he’s level 30 now, has done some group content and the broad strokes of each zone. The F2P tweaks and previous changes are obvious enough. There are no more 5+ person quests, just 2+. Mind you, soloing a 2 person boss is now actually hard. The Stalker’s stealth mode is pretty sweet, making infiltration much easier. Having a mount at level 1 is awesome. Fast travel rocks. Enemy HPs have been tweaked. Quest objectives have been standardizes (very rare where you need to “farm” a quest for drops) and the social tools are super. It really puts into contrast what was in the game at launch and what’s there today.
I will say that the burst damage appeal of the Stalker is neat, and much different than the sustain of my Esper, or the build up from my Engineer. The downside is that if the enemy isn’t dead in 5 seconds, it turns into a slog. When it does work, whoo is it satisfying.
The largest downside to the game right now is the lag, and not the network kind. I’m well under 100ms ping and there is a consistent 3s lag that shows up every couple fights. It’s much worse on weekends. T reminds me a lot of WoW’s vanilla launch, and well, every expansion since. It’s rather clear that the servers are unable to take the load, and it begs the question what NCsoft is going to do about it. Always a tough question in a F2P environment. My guess is that they are going to defer this issue for a little while. I know I don’t care about it so much, as of today, because “war, war never changes”.
So, early reviews claim this is the second coming. I’m looking forward to the Bethesda bug-fest, combined with an amazing world and story. I bought the game and it’s pre-loading for my play session in the evening. Tell my wife and kids I love them, and I’ll see them in a month.