GW2: Just a Teensy Bit Excited About the New Defiance

Just a wee bit.

Can’t overhype myself this soon, right?

Ten Ton Hammer has an exclusive on the Defiant Wyvern in Heart of Thorns, and a later interview with the devs where they clarify more about the new system.

The base concept of making a neglected part of the new trinity, control, important to players once more is super-exciting to me.

Crowd control’s something that’s really hard to get right and feel good.

I’ve heard oldtimers lament that crowd control past the Everquest days fell by the wayside in the face of the holy trinity.

My own experience with cc came mostly from City of Heroes, which managed to make it “effective” enough to be a viable “tank” alternative, pretty much by overdoing it and making it OP in a very binary fashion. Got a bunch of minions and lieutenants? Boom. Unleash your control crowd, ALL of them are now grabbing their heads and absolute punching bags for the next minute or two. Yeah, they’re dead. Next.

Boss? Arch-villain? Haha. So much for your CC. Try to stack them on top of each other long enough to have a mild effect. It was kind of a once in a blue moon occasion where the dominator class managed to pop domination, multiplying the magnitude of their mez effect to be strong enough that they could temporarily be held in place with one cast. Especially for AVs, who then turned up with the dreaded purple arrows, which made them -completely- immune to CC when they were pointing up (ie. most of the time.)

If there was one thing I did really like about Wildstar during my short trial of it, it was the interrupt armor concept, where mobs would come armed with a numerical stack of IA (similar to stacks of the old GW2 defiance) and players would have to fire off enough interrupts to strip it so that the next interrupt could actually interrupt a dreaded skill the mob was channeling.

The normal braindead DPS role now had to take on an additional responsibility, to bring interrupts and fire them at the right time to conquer this mechanic. Preferably via players coordinating with each other, but if coordination was lacking, then someone could overcompensate by bringing 3 interrupts to fire in sequence, instead of just 1.

From the sound of it, there’s going to be a few differences in GW2’s new Defiance or Breakbar system.

One, that overcompensation by someone with a clue may not be allowed to take place, if the Defiance bar regenerates too quickly.

This is the part that I’m a little iffy about. That’s kinda asking a LOT from the players of a random map, or even a random PUG in a dungeon. And we know that if you ask too much of the average player, what ends up happening is that certain mediocre to above average to excellent players will end up losing patience and getting snappy and toxic – and all you need is a few bad apples barfing vitriol over mapchat to ruin a whole map or community’s day.

Two, it’s more like, as someone in the Reddit discussion thread mentioned, a second health bar that comes up at certain times, that can be ‘attacked’ by skills that do control effects.

This is exciting, since that makes CC a little less binary (on or off, immune stacks up = cc worthless, immune stacks down = cc OP?), and gives CC durations a little more meaning. A long duration CC or something like a stun or daze will have more value then, over a short term blind, and so on.

It won’t be DPS of the red health bar uber alles, or the zerker damage specialist, but also “we need a DPSer of the control or break bar!” a control specialist who would have different weapons, skills, utilities and maybe even traits or masteries equipped to take down the purple bar (or whatever color they’re making it.)

Seriously, anything that encourages more build diversity or folks to reconsider their builds for different situations in GW2 is a good thing.

Certain people (usually not the ones that actually theorycraft up the builds) really need to realize that metas can and do change. Meta is not stagnant. Meta is simply what is optimal for a very specific purpose at a certain point in time.

Three, it appears to be built to encourage a coordinated spike of control effects from a whole crowd of different players.

While this may not be great news for the random masses, it makes me just a teensy bit excited for organized group encounters where it’ll probably feel quite thrilling to listen to someone yell ‘now!” over the mic, and for a whole bunch of people to turn and WHAM down the break bar with coordinated control, and to visually SEE it going down and feel that sense of connection and synergy, of working in beautifully synchronized unison to achieve a goal.

(Yes, this is also fodder for the voicechat versus text debate. If a commander typed “now!” over text, would it actually get the same response from a very trained populace? (maybe, say, a year after, like how Teq is run now, like clockwork?) I dunno. I predict some very bitter tears and a lot of mapchat blame before we ever get to that point though.

I dunno how I feel about this. I think as long as it still remains an easy, open, non-exclusive road for any random person to join an organized group attempt and get onto a Teamspeak equivalent (though you do have the issue of the hard-of-hearing being left out thusly, unless they find someone understanding to type heard commands to them), I won’t rant too hard about it.)

Because I have to admit that I like that feeling, and I like when designers take care to build in situations where players all look in the same direction and share a certain camaraderie of connection.

You get it in places like Natural Selection maps, where human marine players are purposefully crammed into a small elevator going up, so that they’re all looking in the same direction when the door opens… revealing an nasty alien player in the form of a Fade or Onos, and then there’s that shared sense of “AAAIIIEEEE” and madcap firing.

You get it in GW2 in places like an organized Triple Trouble Wurm, or a WvW zerg fight of the highest order, when the group is really together and listening and acting as a coordinated clump, a swarm that’s more than the sum of its parts.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get another source of it from the new Defiance Breakbar that will put Control’s star in ascendance.

Fingers crossed, anyway.

Minecraft: Wanderlust Reloaded

I wish I had the words (and time to nail down those words) to describe why I’ve been spending most of the past week in Minecraft – sandboxing and crafting around on one screen, while the other screen plays a DVD or a Youtube video of a tabletop adventure laden with story.

I think part of it is that I tend to go on breaks from GW2 at predictable intervals – probably a model customer in that regard, as content drops slow,  I cut back my time in the game as well, ready to go nuts once more new stuff hits.

Right now, all that’s new and seasonal is the Lunar New Year stuff. (It’s probably planned catchup time for all the new $10 customers, slower players, etc. to get to 80 and do some of the things we’ve been doing for two years already before the expansion hits.)

I’m done with the dailies in under an hour or less. The rest of my time could be spent replaying old content, or elsewhere.

Elsewhere is currently more attractive, so I go with the flow.

2015-02-25_05.35.13

The house has had an expansion of floors.

The color scheme sucks at the moment, but I was mostly using up the diorite, andesite and granite that turns up in Minecraft 1.7, and experimenting with chiseled blocks for different texture patterns.

Maybe another time I’ll build something prettier, but for now, it’s functional.

Just got started with beehives. In a way, it’s a little easier than Agrarian Skies in the sense that you can pull out different bees from hives scattered across the landscape. And it’s harder in the sense that the available recipes for seed oil are different, and more limited.

I was hoping to use up vast quantities of Pam’s harvestcraft seeds and apparently that doesn’t work here.

2015-02-25_05.35.53

So instead, a wheat field powered by a sprinkler (in turn powered by an aqueous accumulator) was called for, to produce metric tons of ordinary Minecraft seeds.

What was really strange was that the sprinkler attracted an insane number of Pneumaticcraft plastic plants – they were growing all over the entire area before I got enough wheat seeds to replace them, and they -still- surround the outskirts of the field.

I’d gathered from the mod description that the creator didn’t like the normal seed propagation method of Pneumaticcraft (which I haven’t experienced yet, and seems to be a minigame in itself) and altered it so that wheat seed + a dye would create Pneumaticcraft seeds, but this whole sprinkler behavior thing was rather new and unexpected.

Decent enough bonus though. I presume I might be able to set up another sprinkler elsewhere and grow an entire field of plastic plants if I wanted to, later.

2015-02-25_05.36.44

My modest starter field, that has pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, strawberries, and an experimental grape or two.

Each could be expanded further into its own field, really, but I just wanted to have things to eat and not starve, at the time.

2015-02-25_05.36.52

This beautiful raspberry bush, all grown up, is pretty much all I need these days.

Couple that with a juicer, and I could subsist on raspberry juice, though I’ve also branched out to mushroom stew.

All good though, since I need the other crops to make bio-fuel, to power my generators.

2015-02-25_05.38.00

Made a Tinker’s Construct smelter, for old time’s sake, though most of my alloys and ore processing are being shunted off to Ender IO’s machines, a mod that is new to me and has pretty compact machines that fit in one floor of the house – one can keep industry going through the night.

2015-02-25_06.04.05

Buildcraft pipes are also new to me. It’s a lot more hair-pulling to deal with so many different colors of piping. I kinda miss the itemducts in Agrarian Skies, simple, one speed, didn’t spit out your items if you connected the pipes in some unstated ‘wrong’ order.

Ender IO’s conduits are really elegant though. Apparently you can put more than one conduit in the same space, so that you can have a line carrying power, one carrying fluid and one carrying items all in the same block, and then cover the whole thing with a facade that makes it look like a block… which sounds extremely awesome.

Sadly, the item conduits in Ender IO require ender pearls and I haven’t figured out how to get a continuous source of those yet. Maybe I have to eventually go catch an Enderman with a Safari Net and make a spawner for that.

2015-02-25_05.37.43

After one too many deaths in which I couldn’t figure out where I died, I gave in and tried to figure out where my minimap went.

Cos I could have sworn the first time I played WLR, there was a minimap… but then when I had to manually copy some files to get WLR working again because the launcher version was acting up, my minimap disappeared.

Eventually, I figured out that a bunch of mods had been disabled, one of which was the minimap, and bravely renabled it.

Life is so much better now.

Especially with the full map, which makes exploration feel a lot more rewarding now that I can figure out where the biomes are in relation to each other, and where home is, and also place waypoints to mark things of interest.

There’s magical forest to the south of me, which is great for Thaumcraft when I get into that mod. I’d stumbled on a giant redwood tree in one pre-minimap expedition, but haven’t found it again post mini-map.

There’s a massive island/continent of Taint to the southwest… I really hope it doesn’t spread. Or if it does, not too quickly.

Eventually, I’m thinking I want to push it back with Silverwood trees, but haven’t got into doing that yet.

2015-02-25_05.39.25

Most of my time has been spent trying to locate lava.

I have been so -so- spoiled with Agrarian Skies and Ex Nihilo/Ex Acquilo. Some crucibles and cobblestone take care of that problem in Ag Skies.

In Wanderlust Reloaded, it’s been going down tons and tons of hand-carved mineshafts (or stairs, in this case) hoping to find lava sources – and I’ll probably have to mount an expedition into the Nether later on to either pull more lava or find some Blazes so that I can make a Lava Fabricator machine one day.

2015-02-25_05.39.39

The stairs led to a ravine, which I milked of any small lava sources.

2015-02-25_05.40.50

Then into the world’s worst collection of mineshafts that criss crossed each other and had a hundred cave spiders and zombies and skeletons around every corner.

Several dozen twists and turns later, completely losing track of how to get back again…

2015-02-25_05.42.26

…jackpot. Big enough lava pool, with obsidian, and some bonus sulfur ore.

But how was I going to find my way back?

2015-02-25_05.42.35

Didn’t bother. I decided to go straight up instead.

Made a little 3-deep landing pool, then cut a 2×2 mineshaft all the way UP.

2015-02-25_05.42.40

Also managed to cut straight into a mossy cobblestone spider spawning room in the process, one of whom knocked me off the column I was pillaring up, and died mid-construction.

Had to come back and finish the build, armed with a lot more ladders this time.

2015-02-25_05.43.21

Why, yes, I kinda want to be able to see and remember this entrance down to my lava pool.

2015-02-25_05.43.29

Turns out it’s quite near to my wheat farm.

2015-02-25_05.38.40

The new doors from various new trees are pretty cool. This one looks like a dungeon entrance, almost.

2015-02-25_05.38.59

Leads to my (usually unlit) oreberry bush growing room.

Some day, I want to make a redstone circuit thing with lamps, so that one button press turns on the lights and turns them off again, instead of having to manually place and remove torches.

All in good time.