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Author Topic: An extremely detailed preview of EQ2  (Read 1646 times)
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Raven
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« on: October 21, 2004, 03:44:01 PM »

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YellowKing
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2004, 05:31:31 PM »

It's a nicely written preview, but some of the reviewer's complaints have already been corrected or rebutted. Just a few I remember off the top of my head:

- Performance. Each patch continues to optimize performance and reduce lag. The reviewer also never mentions what setting she's running the game at. She has an identical system to mine and I don't encounter any of the problems she described (or at the very least not the severity she describes.) There are a TON of visual options that can be tweaked to enhance performance. I've even played the game smoothly on my laptop just by turning down video options.

- Graphics. She claims they "scaled back" graphics. This is simply untrue. Moorgard has directly refuted this claim.

- Lack of character customization and bland spell lists. As has been posted, SOE is adding traits, racial characteristics, and other customizations. In addition, they are adding new spells and revamping the artwork for their old spells. Simply not a valid complaint anymore.

- Travel. She complains about instant travel via the Mariner's Bells, but all indications are that these will not be the main travel method. In fact, I would not be surprised if they are simply a beta shortcut while they finalize mounts and boats. The developers have stated that they intentionally left teleport spells out for launch and wanted players to discover new ways of travelling. If that's the case, why would they keep in bells that allowed instant teleportation to anywhere? Everything I've read indicates that travel is not finalized and that bells will not be the primary means of transportation (if a means of transportation at all).

In addition, it's not like the bells can just port you anywhere as she implies. For instance the bells in Freeport can ONLY zone you to zones inside Freeport or 3 newbie zones that directly connect to Freeport. You can't whisk yourself across the continent using the bells, period. The city zones are BIG. All the bells do is save you from having to run through three city zones to get where you need to go.

I believe there are some bells out in the wilderness, but you have to find them to use them. Even then, they're only acting as a convenience, porting you to a handful of adjacent zones. This is not a global portal system by any stretch of the imagination.

- Combat wheel. She complains about having to case "useless" spells to finish combat chains. Spells such as See Invisible or Create Food. I think she's missing the point:

1. If it's more worthwhile to nuke a mob than to cast a "useless" spell to finish a chain, then the mob is too low for you to be using the combat wheel on anyway.

2. Spells only count towards the chain if they hit. Since See Invisible and Create Food don't miss, she is effectively asking to trade a can't miss opportunity to complete a chain for an attack that may miss and ruin the entire chain.

3. Completing a combat wheel chain can achieve some powerful results. For instance, my warrior's solo starting chain ends with a 30+ damage lightning strike. To complete that chain I have to cast Taunt (which is an effectively "useless" spell by this point in the combat. However, if by casting Taunt I can do 30 points of extra damage, is it really that useless? For 30 points of damage, I'll cast "<a href="http://www.serverlogic3.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=1&k=mickey%20mouse" onmouseover="window.status='Mickey Mouse'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">Mickey Mouse[/url]'s Magical Basket Weaving Skill Buff."

4. I find it ironic that she complains about lack of strategy in combat while simultaneously arguing against one of the more strategic elements - deciding whether to blast a mob or "waste" a turn casting a useless spell in order to finish a combat wheel opportunity.

- Quest journal. Both of the things she complains about (custom quest sorting and deleting quests) will be in before launch, according to the developers.

This is not to say that all her complaints are invalid. Her topic on Artisans should be required reading, as it's true that Artisan is simply NOT a viable archetype as it stands. Unless something drastic changes before launch, you're simply not going to be able to play a pure crafter. However, she made a lot of gripes about things that were temporary fixtures of beta, not representative of what the developers say will be the launch product.
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Sepiche
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2004, 06:39:58 PM »

Interesting stuff YK.

I honestly haven't been following EQ2 closely at all, and have not tried the beta, but based on that article and your responses it seems though that her criticisms are, based of of the current state of the game, valid.  Plus that sounds like quite a bit of stuff being added, still up in the air, or being changed in a game that's supposed to launch in 3 weeks.

Is the amount of stuff in flux feasible to get done and tested in that time?
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YellowKing
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2004, 06:47:49 PM »

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Is the amount of stuff in flux feasible to get done and tested in that time?


Stuff like character customization, journal fixes, travel, etc. have been in development for quite some time. These aren't "quick fixes" in response to beta complaints, but features that simply haven't been pushed out to testers yet.

Just like WoW, the EQ development team is running a more advanced build than what the testers are seeing. At one point I think there were three separate builds being tested at the same time. So yes, I think it's feasible that this stuff will be in before launch.

That's not to say I think the game will be perfect and bug-free within 3 weeks. I haven't tested a MMORPG yet that I or any other tester thought was "ready."
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Arkon
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2004, 02:08:05 PM »

In response to graphics... perhaps this is the problem people are seeing...from the dev chat..

Quote
<Brekkee> *StormCrow* Some of the early beta testers have noticed a downgrade in graphics in the last few months as more people join have you toned them down??
<[SOE]Stratos> There hasn't been any downgrade in graphics quality. The graphic options got reset with one of the beta updates a while back. Look through some of the options like 'Texture Resolution', 'Complex Rendering Distance', and some of the lighting options and make sure they are set where you had them before.
<[SOE]Stratos> done


So I am guessing it is more a matter of people not checking the options.  Is it just me or in a beta if graphics looked different one day from another would you not think to check ALL options to see if they were changed... it is a beta this sort of thing happens...
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Gryndyl
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2004, 11:18:05 PM »

Not having played the EQ2 Beta at all, I have zero idea what a combat wheel is.

Please enlighten me as to why on earth someone would feel the need to cast 'create food' on a mob during combat? I did see the example of it adding 30 points damage to the spell,  which I'm assuming is the result of this combat wheel thingie, so that's certainly good cause to do it but I'm curious as to the logic behind it.  Right now it seems to make as much sense as saying "If you do a 'jig3' emote during combat then gold coins come out of the mobs butt". I'd be like 'ok, but wtf?'
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YellowKing
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2004, 11:45:50 PM »

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Not having played the EQ2 Beta at all, I have zero idea what a combat wheel is.


Basically certain skills start a "chain." For instance, any time I land a successful Kick on an opponent, it initializes a chain. Certain skills can link to this chain. In the example of the Kick, I can link to it with a slashing attack, a cleric can link to it with a certain type of their spell, a mage can link to it with a certain type of spell, etc. You know what links by watching the icons that pop up on the screen (though it does take a bit of practice.)

Once a chain is long enough, it initiates a combat wheel. This combat wheel has a certain number of spells or attacks that must be performed. If they are pulled off correctly, the group gets a major bonus - it could be a buff, or a heal, or a damage attack - the effect is dependent on the classes involved and has a bit of a random element with it (with common, uncommon, and rare effects.)

In solo play, you're typically just completing a chain, and that will grant you a bonus effect. The true combat wheel only comes up in group play, and gets more complex (and the chains get longer to even initialize it) the more group members you have.

It takes good timing and good teamwork to successfully pull off the combat wheel. Casting the wrong spell at the wrong time or missing with an offensive spell or attack will break the chain and you have to start from square one again. The combat wheel can literally make the difference in a fight, and I imagine in some boss fights it will be a necessity.

So to answer your original question, sometimes the next spell in the chain or combat wheel might be something as mundane as a "Create Food."

By the way, the spells that make up the chains are typically not that specific. For instance, I can use any Taunt spell to complete my chain, not just the single Taunt. The chain is made up more of spell TYPES rather than specific spells.

Another quick tidbit - scouts play an important role with the combat wheel. In groups, scouts are the only archetype that can actually move the wheel in a different direction to change its outcome.

If it sounds complicated, that's because it is at first! It takes some time to get used to it. The biggest chain I've completed so far is with a 4-person group and it's hard enough. I can't imagine what a 6-person group will be like. It does make combat quite fun though!

[Edited] to correct some information learned tonight. Got a chance to really explore the wheel thoroughly tonight, and it starts to become second nature once you get the hang of it. It still takes a lot of teamwork and coordination, but once you understand the mechanics behind it, it's not that difficult. It's not something you will use in every situation either - for low to equal conning mobs, we'd typically just ignore the wheel, or the warriors would complete their solo wheels. For big fights we'd pay more attention and make sure we pulled them off.

Also a bit better explanation of the wheel's sequence:

Some skill starts the chain - typically just about anyone can link to it.

A second intermediate chain then pops up, usually requiring a more specific chain (a heal spell or an offensive nuke, for instance).

If that's completed the combat wheel pops up. The combat wheel has one or more skills that must be pulled off, but they don't have to be pulled off in any particular order like I first thought. In addition, casting other spells/skills won't break the wheel at this point - once it's up, it's up, until you either complete it or run out of time.

This was in a 4-man group. In a 5-or-6 man group you might have an extra link in the chain, or more skills to be performed once the combat wheel was initialized.

I'm really digging it, it's a lot of fun.
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Gryndyl
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2004, 02:25:46 AM »

That sounds like an interesting system but the logic behind including spells like create food still escapes me.  Why on earth would that be part of a combat wheel?
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Arkon
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2004, 05:08:23 AM »

Because it is more needed to cast a summons spell for example... or a conjuration type spell and so on.  It isn't so much the specific skill as it is the type of skill.
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YellowKing
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2004, 06:06:40 AM »

It's also a strategic decision - do I take the time to cast Create Food (and burn the mana) to complete the wheel, or do I just nuke the guy? The wheel was designed to have trade-offs, not be a side effect of casting every offensive spell you would have cast anyway.

For instance, there are many occasions when our cleric would have to sacrifice the wheel in order to save power for her heals. You regen barely ANY in combat now, so you have to make your mana count!
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2004, 07:39:30 PM »

Quote from: "YellowKing"
It's also a strategic decision - do I take the time to cast Create Food (and burn the mana) to complete the wheel, or do I just nuke the guy? The wheel was designed to have trade-offs, not be a side effect of casting every offensive spell you would have cast anyway.

The HO (Heroic Opportunity) wheel is very...strange. But it's amazingly effective as well.

Let me describe the one that I see:

I'm in a group of three (myself and two friends who happen to be in the Beta as well). We consist of a Fighter (Crusader to be exact), Priest (Shaman), and Mage (Wizard).

When the Fighter pulls (arrow, taunt ability, etc), he opens with a Kick (does damage). That move starts off the HO chain, which gives us 4 different options to spread out the chain.

The Priest continues with the Smite ability (also does damage), which continues the HO chain. It still hasn't 'locked' in yet, so any miscast here will cancel the whole thing. Now there's another (and only one) ability available to continue the chain with.

Then the Mage casts Lightning (also does damage), and that finishes off the start of the HO wheel. Now it's 'locked' in, which means that it becomes a timed event. Once we all cast the spells associated with the chain, the HO will fire off.

I've seen a common HO wheel (Fighter does a damage move, mage casts a damage spell, and the Priest casts regen), which then completes to do a bonus damage of about all three of us hitting the mob with another damage spell (combined), or a more rare one (two buffs and a damage from the mage), which tends to do a bit weaker damage as a result, but also buffs or heals the entire party.

The HO system is complicated, but VERY rewarding for those more difficult encounters.  Odds are though that unless you're with a good team leader (or have a good set group like I have), you won't be pulling it off consistantly.

One thing to keep in mind though - you can still pull off this combo solo. Some classes have it a bit easier than others, but all classes can do solo HOs.

Personally though, I've never seen a HO that requires things like Create Food in order to complete though. Normally they're useful things like buffs or the Taunt ability of the Warrior. Things that you'd use in the course of battle, but not things you'd always use.
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