Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Revelation Online Review CBT1

Hi all and welcome to my Revelation Online Closed Beta 1 review. Revelation Online is currently being published in the west by My.com and has highly anticipated release as it's production value seems to be top notch. So, is this game feeling like it is going to live up to the hype? Let's dive in!



No, I did not get a beta key though a giveaway, I purchased a founders pack.  So lets talk Founders packs. There are three tiers, and the MAIN differences are more VIP time, more consumables and the highest really putting it's value in founders only mount and fashion. There are some other details to mention but the most important thing to know is that the only real value will be applied in OPEN BETA. Not closed...That said, the price tag does include Access to closed beta... And that value is a real measure as their delay to open closed beta gave all founders NINE EXTRA DAYS tacked on to your access. So they know there is a value, and they sold us these keys with "Guaranteed access".  That said, I was a bit burned when they game out FREE keys to people in giveaways, and then I was stuck in line on day one because server overload. And I could not help but think "How could they not calculate that there was going to be not enough capacity when they started inviting free people onboard"?
I think they should have just let key purchasers in first day and slowly let the others in. Either way, It was impossible to play on day 1. I was 2K people in line, and once I got in, it would crash and put me back out....It was bad... THANKFULLY Day 2, the game was up and running no waits. And I have never waited since. But since they consider VALUE is attached to ACCESS, they should give me and others 1 free VIP day. But I regress, let's get to the goods!

Character Creation:
Character creation as is in Closed Beta was a little sloppy and confusing. First we can nit pick on the small details like the buttons that seemed like there were more than one option to do things, but just defautled to resetting you to a standard model. Then there were sub categories under weird titles. For example, under EYES, you can't change pupils, you have to wait for the subtitle: Accessories. Things like this leaves you a bit confused or "lost" but once you get clicking around it makes sense.
The character design offered no gender lock that I could tell, I made a male ShapeShifter. Although the customization is VERY generous, it did have it's limits and some odd tweeks like certain colors not really resulting in what you think it would be (like a brown being more of a blue, etc).  It is a great character customizer, it just lacks in anything too creative. Leaving PErfect World Online and Black Desert (and honorable mention to Star Trek Online) untouchable at the moment. For example, trying to make a FAT Spirit Shaper is out of the question. And although you can get creative in colors, not too much can be applied. Very "work in the box" sort of deal. And yes, you can make a loli, but based on a certain class only (I can't shrink a female of another class down to a loli for example).
That said, I have created the prefectly Green Frog man of my dreams.


UI - Presentation - Graphics - Sound:
Starting off the game asks you to chose a movement configuration. There is the standard Keyboard movement (classic mouse moves camera witch clicking). A "mouse" version, that is the same as Keyboard but you can double click to move on the ground. And open action which is the action camera. The game is built better around the action camera as bosses will have "red tiles" thrown around and many other action based tasks that will benefit this set up. The others...Not sure why they even exist.
The UI is fine, Everything is where it should be, and standard fare there.  
There are a lot of little quirks like some auto pathing issues. Some small quality of life stuff like: "If I auto patch to Point A, I auto dismount and enter....but when I do that for point B...I can't enter until I MANUALLY dismount. Little unpolished touches like this leave the over all feel as "sloppy" or "lazy".
The Graphics are great! the background and world are well fleshed out and seem like a "picture". Your character will have a nice graphical presentation and detail. That said, you will spot LOTS of low rez textures in menus, some items, some nature, etc. Animations were a bit off where it seemed several NPC's were pasted in one spot and other glitches.  A LOT of armor poking. Your hands and body sinking in the terrain or suit...It is actually pretty bad and not smooth at all as say...BLack Desert. So bad you even spot it hilariously in the cut scenes...and I guarantee you they won't be fixing those standard files in Open Beta...I hope they work on texturing but I doubt it.
Music is standard... Not as catch as Perfect World, but not horrible. Day 2 I had it all turned off and was playing my personal playlist...

 
(MANDATORY to redo your hot bar slots. Put the skills where you fingers can hit them the most comfortable for you)

Combat:
Despite open action, combat does have TAB lock ons. So although you are "swinging" you only will the mob you are targeted on. That said, most skills are AOE. So it has that "open action" feel despite it not really being. You cannot just "swing" either, you HAVE to be targeted (with the exception of a FEW skills) making it feel BnS like. The open action camera is BAD. It switches targets on the go making healing a NIGHT mare. I can have my "cross hair" on the friendly I want to heal, but the green target box is way off to the left locked on someone else. Or switches back and forth at random, or unlocks if something or someone crosses it... This left me less on the "precsision healing" and more on "spam and spray and pray healing" kind of game play. To worsen this, the skills seem to be based on the classic tab targeting mmorpgs. See, in TERA, the healing was based on ACTION oriented combat, so all heals were either non targeting SELF heals or CIRCLES OF HEALING you lay down to "TARGET" your friendlies. This is smart design. Not in Revelation, we have target specific heals and AOE requires we have one targeted already, not just "open fire in area" find of heals. It is super frustrating. That said, it posed no real problems early on, and thankfully, there were enough "move while casting" heals.
Healing while dodging is also chaotic and will require people understand where to run to at certain situations. Although not a real issue early on, the end game gets super intense. TERA turned into a game where you can ignore a healer and just over tank everything, this game will give you the illusion you can, but you will need a healer eventually, so get in the hanbit of understanding to the dynamics of healing vs  dps etc... 

Animations and attack skills are nicely animated and the rest seems to work fine. Again, nothing that really impressed me...A notch better than some competitors, but I would place it just below Blade and Soul, and Black Desert, and TERA, but a notch above others like Never Winter.

Dodging consists of double tapping or SHIFT+direction. It seems to work good in some situations, but a lot of boss fights are less on body language reading and more on just memorizing attack patterns. And more than often despite your best effots, you will take damage as it is too fast to really dodge a split second attack that takes up half the map when you take 2 seconds to execute and only move a little ways out...
That said,  the rest felt all very standard and working.



Game play:
The game play was marketed as giant open world with lots to explore and do. YES and NO. The world is a large seamless map, but lots of points are instanced... teleported....And automated. This leads to this large world being whittled down nothing what feels like any other walled in singe path mmorpg.
See, you can follow the tutorial missions, and start playing by PvE mission questing, with it's nice cut scenes. But soon you start to have the 3 major quest types filling up. Active - Guild - Curiousity. Active is a mix of the selected quests you want, Guild is just guild related and curiousity are "training" like quests that offer you learn the games mechanics while rewarding you. And of course Dailies (which show up under Active once you accept them).


You notice QUICKLY that your story PvE is giving you about 1 to 2K exp,  a few goodies, and some ok items. Doing your dailies will drastically give you EXP boosts, dungeons major armor updates, grind spots; rare drops and nice exp... And soon a daily routine is: LOG IN. Do your dailies. Guild quests (instancing into guild base, instancing in and out of guild b ase doing fast tasks, suchs as collecting X item). - Doing a daily dungeon, again, instancing to it, with auto pathing, auto grouping, instancing in and out. - "Trials", a sort of "arena" zone where you do different things like battle bosses, run around collect tokens, etc...Lots of ZONE here n there, for at least a good 4 hours of your day doing dailies. And slowly you see your main story arch (PvE) is getting pushed farther and farther off priorities...And it ended up the least leveled quest type (as my other quests ranked my level (level 45 etc,) my story was lacking at like lvl 30,e tc..)... It felt the only reasn to do story was out of boredom. To "change the pace" and see where it is taking me. And of course naturally AUTO GUIDING ME AROUND THE MAP.
I say that because there are also "Grind spots". See, there are three  "dungeon" types, private ones for you and group only (mentioned above). The "arena" I mentioned above...and then there are these pubilc instanced areas (considered dungeon like) with different levels, and rooms tucked in with mobs that respawn FAST. If you sit and farm this, you can get rare nice gear drops. And pretty decent EXP. I found my EXP bar moving a little faster in these zones than in regular PvE. So again, it felt more rewarding to just grind, of course,, if it got boring PvE is there if you  like it.
And that is what I like about this game, and I think what will seperate it from others: The sort of log in: Open a menu, chose your daily activity, play how you want....saying that, it also feels like an over gloriied cell phone mmorpg in a sense. Where you just log in, click on your activity, let it auto path. And in PvE, just clicking my QUEST LOG TASKS do the task, I rarely had to interact directly with the world... It is an odd balance.  And in again, in summary: The game does not feel as large as it is. Or you can ignore the big picture to focus on teh instanced details...Rendering the whole cncept of "open world" NUL.
See, in PErfect World Online, the open world played naturally with the story, and offered hide spots for large guild battles. So we will see, by Open Beta I hope, if they give us incentives to explore / Use terrain in this game. Until then, it is just decoration...or unused assets.

Progression is boosting your character in several areas. You have Stats (int, str, etc) you are free to build in any way (however, I have a feeling you will be cookie cutter into specific stat build). Upping your personal "path" giving you combat bonuses, Soul grids where you implant "tokens" or "gems" that enhance elemental stats (not sure how it works as it was entirely in chinese). 
In addition to that you have skills that level up, and special skills that level up on use! And those skills can be linked to "flying" skills (like being able to attack or heal while flying) and they all level up, stat up, etc...). It leaves a lot of motivation to log in, and get your self leveled, and find gear that compliments it all. Although, like most Chinese games, I can't help but see that some stats would be so insignicant, or just lead to a P2W scenario, such as P2W gems, P2W schemes where you build one way (say dps to level up as a tank or healer, then forced to buy a stat reset end game to get your heal on,  or tank build on...then redo it all again next expansion)... 
Again, Loong online, 2moons, etc, all these old Chinese games I used to play with their boxes everywhere with number stating everywhere, micro managing your Chi, your "art", your "spirit", etc... how that really lets you progress in the game, or is significant is yet to be seen (usually in PvP). But the stage is there for rage if they hide things behind pay walls or large unrealistic grinds...we will see....

Guild building is fun and will be a regular activity and more evident than most mmorpgs! A nice plus! And there is a crafting system in place that was not fully working and not at all translated. So those are going to be things I look forward too. PvP is active and a major focus of the game.

Mounts are odd. You get a horse and a mount level up system. But you also get wings with level up...Using wings almost instantly cancels out the use for a horse. This kind of "Why does this even exist"? question pops up in the games overall design often (like the open world).
A LOT of game play requires group. Your dailies will require interacting with another guild member. Your dungeons need at least 2 people. The solo stuff is the PvE, and the grinding. MY biggest fear is the best this game has to offer is going to be behind social interaction and grouping up, and if populations dip... There will be problems, and in the long run, the meta will be nearly impossible to catch up with unless you just grind solo...and of course the publisher will be forced to cater to this and patch to make it more solo friendly or huge EXP boosts to get you to end game niche group....

Conclusion:
This is just CB. It was rough start. Translation are not finished, and once you hit level 20 (in like an hour or less of game play) you will have NOTHING translated any more. But that is expected. I just hope they get everything squared away.
The game offers A LOT. Not Black Desert "a lot", but a lot in choice on how to spend a day. And everything is more or less rewarding. This is a great choice of Free 2 play mmorpg. The problem lays in the "why" am I doing this. You can spend a few months focusing on leveling up a mount, chasing materials to upgrade it...but if you can fly and have better use of upgrading wings...why even have mounts? Or, again, the world design....Why have a large open world when my entire game is just clicking on active quest text and auto pathing and instancing into all the important areas. Bypassing the entire world altogether.
This is where blind faith is used. I HAVE BLIND FAITH IN THE POTENTIAL of this game. Only time will tell if Western sales will push the developers to ENHANCE the world. Build on it. GIVE US REASONS to use these systems (horse races, zones of horse mounts only. Exploring that offers rewards, places in the open world to go in groups fighting for RANDOMLY GENERATED PvP contested zones...that would actually be awesome...Or PvE spots that work like that...).

I won't give a numerical rating, as it is only closed beta. I feel it's potential, I hope it works out, but I am not feeling what the implies: Revolutionary change. I do however, recommend it as a great game to play in 2017. If you feel stressed or not sure to buy a founders pack. DONT. I got one, and honostly, I am not really impressed enough to put this pack in the price I got. It will give me more Open Beta perks, but had I known, I would have just purchased one month of VIP time for say 11 bucks than my VIP pack for 18...It just was not in shape, or over all merits the quality of these early packs. Give it time, play it on OB, let it grow and see how it goes.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Soon...

Fast update. I do plan a Revelation Online CBT1 review very soon! I did not come back as a full time blog gamer writer recently because of a lot of personal busy issues. I have a wave of more personal stuff coming, and inbetween all that, I did manage to get a CBT package and get in. See you soon! (cross fingers tomorrow)


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Guild Wars 2 Review 2016

Hello internet voyager and welcome to a quick review of my last visit in to GW2. Since the Buy To Play model that I had reviewed, the game has gone Free To Play.



What brought me back? I had a bit of a burn out in Black Desert and looked for a more "casual"/"traditional" straight forward mmorpg. I hopped right back into GW2 after several "should I?" discussion with myself. I picked up on my level 40 ,EU account,  pistol main, dagger off hand wielding assassin.

Right off the bat, everything holds true in my older reviews. There are no missions, just "things to do that go on around the map". Now... I have to revise any negativity I may have mentioned about this kind of system in the past. Although I would have wanted a strong story line that is interesting to follow through sub missions, it is a nice way to through "events" at you to level up and replaces the typical "kill 10 boars". That said, it takes 10 STEPS BACK.





The main issues are still there: The questing is scaled down so even thought I am level 40ish, I am scaled down to level 15 / 20 /30 etc.. depending on the map level requirement. This means, I never feel as epic as I have leveled up as. That is, I have upgraded my armor and weapons, and the only reason I am even RUNNING these lower level 15 maps is for exploration reasons. I SHOULD skip it all, and just go right for the areas my level to keep getting armor updates, but my itch as a partial completion-ist begs me to finish it, and I know the next content is another purchase, so I may as well fully explore the content I purchased (sad motivation to do this). This means every single dog, stray mob, etc I have to chop down to get past. Or...just run past as the game is designed thankfully.

I once said I disliked the Never Winter formula of "kill everything in your narrow path with open action dancing. That means, you have to acrobatically dodge, roll, attack every thing thrown at you blocking your path. It is tedious. It hurts the hands, and makes me feel I am doing a major dungeon tactical boss, and all just to reach a check point on a low level map. I need to chop through these low level mobs at ease. I double their level, but GW2 "fair for everyone" approach and level scaling hurts. Again, this also makes your equipment just for "looks" as it has no impact weather you are using your level 65 item or a level 15 item... the result is the same...so you have to just "go for the looks". As a guild member once told me as I did not want to upgrade to an ugly skin: "Dude just keep the low level item you like, the PvE has been nerfed to super easy". And this takes the steam out of any motivation to do what I am doing: "Playing the game".




(Legendary weapons. The cheese that keeps the mice running the grind treadmill)

So the exp is scaled also! Doing low level "events" in a map gives you high exp for you high level you brought with. In addition, they have a new SIGN IN REWARDS system that most F2P games have. One of these items includes INSTANT 4 LEVEL UP. The max level for original box purchases and new F2P model is 80. I hear it is over 100 and with the purchase of last expansion. So as I do these low level maps I am pumping up in levels and I will have quit this game at around 1 week and level 60 (20 levels just cleating 3 new map areas I had not previously...effortlessly).

The goal of all this is to boost you to 80 and get you thirsty to spend on the new content and "catch up" with others. 

Before we get into that lets talk about what these original F2P (that I paid 60 bucks for back in the day) maps have to offer: This is where, at any level as a player, the game is a slap in the face. I am pushing and cleared out 90% of the map now. All maps except level 80 and the expansion maps I unlocked and did all the events in this return. I was jaw dropped disappointed as almost every map had the same copy and paste mobs: EVERYTHING WAS A CENTAUR OR A GHOST. Pepper in a spider or bat or bear as a trash mob. It feels so lazy, and so under developed and I can see that my original price of 60 bucks for this crap game that is just below F2P quality in and out.


(Guild wars 1: Diverse mobs according to environment. Guild Wars 2: Same mob in all environments)
Everywhere I was going, the same "Centaur" camps, the same models, the same attacks.... They were the heart of each map. The environnement changed radically from desert, to forest, to snow, to high fantasy setting with purple haze and black wisps....but the same Centaur cries and attacks and models over and over...same stale brown centaurs, not even modified to adapt to their environment. No other creative creatures to fight....just, jaw dropping SAD.
Then there are the ghost models. And this is really lazy design. If it is not a centaur, the "human models" used in game are these "ghost armies" which are just teh regular NPC models previously used in cities, etc.. and turned transparent. Just white. No skin. And to see how lazy they got, IF YOU TARGET THE ENEMY GHOST, THE AVATAR IN THE TOP TARGET CIRCLE IS FLESH MODEL REGULAR NPC SKIN, BUT THE PHYSICAL MODEL YOU FIGHT IS A GHOST. Meaning, they did not even put the effort in changing the target box avatar to reflect the lazy re-skin.

I look back and compare the over hype of this game when it launched well into a year of it's life (The fan bois, and MMORPG.COM would call this the WOW killer). Back then, the maps were populated...over populated to the point we literally stood in groups bashing the same mini boss over and over for drops and fast level up. Now, a pure wasteland with illegal bots running around, or just people too indifferent to respond (I spot at least 5 bots per log in running around on a "QSDERF3434" named character running DIRECTLY to the resource nodes to farm ressources (later sold to make gold, to get weapons, to resell). That just feels sad. That said, there are still guilds hanging out to get into and recruiting. The new guild system allows you to be in several guilds at once.



(Did I mention you can sort of fly now? Sort of...it is just gliders and half ass implementation. Don't ask about the cash or the skins to unlock for them. Depression sets in)

Yes... GUILD WARS 2 still has NOTHING TO DO WITH GUILDS AT WAR. This is like buying a game called battle tanks and getting Pok√©mon like game. Nothing in common. So, you can join up to about ohhh 5 guilds at the same time. you then represent them, that is, click a box and at any time you wear their symbol and profit from their guild stats / achievements. I think they did this out of the loss of population as no other logical purpose for this exists. To build a guild up in resources takes a decent grind. Why you would ever want to help build 5 at the same time is crazy. So you really just use the others as "chat boxes" while other guilds are empty. Which is exactly what this  does for me. My friendly cool guild of 5 players online max...we chat about anything, everything, and we have no idea how to run a raid. My other 20 people on max per day guild are all dedicated fan that don't speak unless spoken too and are focused on raid times, PvP etc...while everyone takes quiet play sessions to grind out armor. So I use one guild for the goods, the other for the social chat...

In summary, I look at where I am 20 levels later and ask if it is worth it to go to 80. I am bored. The main story line is not epic, it feels like every other crap event + my previous explained gripe about the "dialog" scenes they cheaply replaced a good cut scene with. And the fact I leveled too fast, and I prefer to catch up with the low level maps and logically "learn about the world" that the main story is taking place in. The problem is after weeks of unlocking maps, doing "missions", and catching up, I forget the main story arch, and or/it is not as important and loses steam. That is, NO WHERE is it tied in with the rest of what I am doing. For example: I spend weeks in famrs cleaning cow poop, stopping waves of centaurs, seeing a living environment with invading ether world objects, conflicts of centaur camps, and ghost villages...tinkering gnomes telling me about their science advancements...NO WHERE DOES THE MAIN STORY, IT'S CHARACTERS, THEIR ISSUES, THEIR EXPLANATION OF MY WORLD EVER COME TIED BACK / WOVEN INTO THE WORLD I AM EXPLORING.
 Not once! "Oh hey, giant monster attacked a princess, suspicious lion tribe perhaps at the plot?" now go spend a month cleaning cow poop, watering plants, fighting ghosts, then come back to see how this plot unravels like WTF???  This makes  disconnect between player / plot / and world. I can see fan bois that have maybe flash black out memory or "oh cool I clicked and things happening" brains that are easily pleased. But I would rather play for fully free TERA, that at least gave me nice cut scene stories that pushed a plot I would eat in tid bits and tied into the raids. It was not perfect, but I felt more connected to the main arching story than this game. And what is odd, the people cried: "TERA has no story PvE"....these people did not read the text and hit ESC on the cut scenes just to "got 2 go fast".


(There are also guild missions now, but no one except top guilds do them as well...not enough people and they will hurt you more than Bunbun here)

I guess I still feel the burn for paying full price for a game I easily identified as F2P quality at launch, and being silenced by the fan bois. I now sit back and laugh as the title is forced F2P and pulling all the cheap F2P tricks including "level boost" and technical pay to win. How so? If you do not pay for the expansion you are out of the level / power bosts of up to 100 levels of power. You have a new skill tree that you can not touch. And of course, weapons and other items you can not wield.

So even at Free 2 Play, I do not recommend you play or start this game. It is boring. Poorly designed. And pumping out even more disappointing content with it's update that serve as just power boosts (it's new content are poorly made maps and raids that cater only to those that burned their lives away grinding for / paying for the armor / weapon check).


Final score of Guild Wars in 2016: 1/5. 1 point for the cool people I met in my guild that really do not care about the game as much as they do about just chatting.





Debuff Blog Returning!

Hi random reader that happened to fall into this blog.

I am coming back from a long hiatus. More posts coming! Next game up should be Baten Kaitos Origins for Gamecube. And some movie reviews sprinkled in here and there. Before all that though, a quick "Return to Guild Wars 2" post.