tanithryudo: (Default)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
So let's just jump into my thoughts on the second beta for Heart of Thorns, in more or less the order experienced...

1. Daredevil

I was...very underwhelmed. It looked so good on paper, and in the demo. But once I tried it out, I had the same complaints as everyone else on the forums/reddit:

- The mechanics, especially the dodges, are way too clunky. They seriously need to get rid of the before/aftercast, or else it's useless. The daredevil's main defense is evasion. If it can't perform those reflexively and on demand, then there's nothing to save this fairly squishy class from being beat up all over the place.

- Staff skills are lackluster too, especially when you compare against other weapon sets. Compare the single aoe attack weakness and blind against offhand pistol's pulsing blind aoe, or sword's aoe stun... I just doesn't provide comparable survivability against fast attacking or resilient mobs.

Overall, I'm just not feeling the daredevil. We'll see how they shake out the next BWE. If they don't get rid of the delays on the dodge skills though, there's no reason to take that spec.

2. Herald

Wow, this was an even better legend spec than Shiro. I spent maybe 90% of my revenant playtime in this stance. Easy perma-swift/fury/might, good range of buffs, plays well with my somewhat hybrid build (zerk armor/weapons, ascended sinister trinkets).

Shield is pretty good as a secondary heal (since the glint heal skill doesn't actually heal all that much at base). I haven't come across an instance where mobs break through the shield 5 skill, so the risk to using it probably only matters in pvp.

Mainhand I still went axe instead of sword. While sword autoattack does the highest damage, the thing with the glint spec is that energy is much tighter and needed for the utilities, so there's no energy to spend on the sword 2 and 3 skills, which is a waste. With axe, the 2 and 3 skills cost much less, and thus with good management, I could still get a lot of use out of it.

One complaint about the spec though...in open world pve, there is very little impetus to use any legend other than glint. I was under the impression that the revenant was a class based on switching between two legends (ala ele attunements and engi kits). If that's the case, then...eh, glint is like the tempest for ele. It actually is more rewarding to stay in that stance and not switch. Not sure if this is intended or not... if not... well, I would rather not glint be nerfed, honestly. But I think the other specs could stand to be buffed maybe?

3. Verdant Brink canopy snapshot

Well, on the bright side, the event chain was actually working this time, unlike the last BWE where the events pretty much got stuck every time.

On the forums, I saw some people who disliked the way the event chains in VB work. It's basically Dry Top all over again, they say, with specific event taking place at specific times (in general...have we seen what happens when one of the events in the chain fails?). I get that this might be the way that Anet is trying to progress their dynamic events system to integrate closer with storytelling. But... I have to agree with the concerns of they naysayers. The way the system works now encourages people who are farming for XP (for their masteries), to park their character at the chosen waypoint, then do something else while waiting for the next "day" cycle to start, then log in and do the chain. Rinse and repeat. Sooner or later you'd get sick of them. There is something to be said for the element of randomness in a "living" world.

The map being too "busy" and aggro aggro everywhere -- Ugh, for that you'd have to blame all the people who yelled loudly and obnoxiously for harder content. It's like everyone who cried for hard content have forgotten the history of Orr (the map) -- which was much more difficult and chock full of CC-spamming mobs, til people cried about it being too hard and then Anet nerfed them. Time will tell if the same will eventually happen to VB, I guess.

Minimap is useless - given the 3D nature of the map, this was probably expected. Still kinda sad since this means players will need to depend on their own senses of direction/memory of which path goes where. After chasing down a few mastery points, I was able to familiarize myself with the major paths (and my sense of direction IRL is horrendous). Something to get used to, I guess.

The art and mechanical design... ok, here I would have to say I disagree with all the people who thought it was gorgeous. It really isn't and I expected far more out of Anet than this...

Mechanically, there's so many random dips and bumps in the terrain that make a lot of skills completely worthless. For instance, a tendril in a small dip in the ground will show up as obstructed to Mesmer GS. A slight rise in the ground causes revenant hammer 2 to cut off halfway and never get to the mob. Blargh. And ground targeted aoe skills, the green targeting circle will disappear off into the ether sometimes when passing over uneven ground, forcing you to cancel and restart the targeting all over again. I imagine that grenade engineer won't be having a good time of it on this map either.

Visually, it's like they took the most stereotypical ideas of a jungle and rendered it in game.It's all green green green leaves and ground, then brown brown brown trunks and cliffs, and then a blue sky backdrop. Boring. Have they forgotten the kind of artwork in the Grove? In Caledon? Lynchroft Mere in Kessex? Where are the giant flowers in bright red/blue/yellow/purple/mix? Where are the tropical birds you occasionally see in Bloodtide? Why are the modrem not colored more like the fern hound than a drab bunch of mud and sticks? Sigh. They could have done so much better...

4. Masteries and Mastery points

Oh, so slow... Honestly, what's the point in sprinkling so many mastery points on the map if we're not going to be able to use them until days/weeks/months later of leveling in the same zone? You might as well just replace all the mastery nodes with vistas/hero pts, and then have all masteries automatically unlock once you've gotten enough XP. Don't see why we need yet another "currency" thingy to keep track of.

Oh yea, and that's on top of the airship parts currency. Are we going to be getting a new currency per zone? Is this going to be a thing for all new zones from here on out? Eventually we're going to have like 50 different currencies to keep track of with a offline spreadsheet program (or API app) or something. Just... why? The fact that you had to add geodes, bandit crests, spirit shards, etc. to the game should be a sign that something is wrong and you should be looking for a way to consolidate things, not keep adding more.

(And I realize this is going off a tangent, but is there any reason why mystic coins and laurels are both still a thing at the same time? They are obtained now through the exact same method now as a pure daily login thing. There's no need to have both. Why did Dry Top and Silverwastes need to invent its own currency rather than use karma like all other zones? Just raise the prices on the items to something like 10-50k karma per key or something. It would give people a nice karma sink as well. People would still play SW for the drops and shovels even without crests, and they'd still play Dry Top if you heavily scale the item vendor costs by the map tier.[/rant])

Ugh ok I'm rambling off topic at this point and I probably should go to bed instead. Anyway. Summary: Daredevil sucks. Herald is OP. Verdant Brink is still meh. Still waiting for Forge and Druid.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-07 01:21 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Basically same feelings. I'll go over each item:

Dare devil - staff was annoying tp use. The shift in position is not nearly as helpful because now the camera has to be re-positioned after every skill. A core mechanic of initiative - spam skill for bursting - is useless with staff thanks to positioning weirdness. Turning dodge into a dash is the cause of after cast, which makes dodge more or less useless, since now my timing is all thrown off. In short, the entire dd spec is having some severe control issue. For a profession that focus on positioning, not sure why they thought making skills that take away control of the character is a good idea.

Didn't get a chance with herald. But got to play with reaper. Must say that reaper feels pretty good. Not a fan of greatsword, but a staff/dagger - warhorn reaper was doing pretty well. Me likely. Overall, I'm finding that professions which require precision positioning tend to do poorly in VB; e.g. dragonhunter and daredevil. Which leads me right into...

Map design - where to even begin?

Ground: so many invisible ledges and walls. Things are constantly obstructed. Once I've been in the areas a bit I could remember the paths, but am definitely getting flashbacks to mud days of needing to draw your own maps because the in game map is useless. Like wtf. Verticality needs to be reflected on the map and mini map. It needs more color coding or at least fade out to let you know if the thing on your map is in the same z- axis. There needs to be more visual cues as to what are solid surface vs non. Just...so many badly designed UI.

Aesthetic: ugh. Green vines, Brown bark. Bleh. As much as I hated how much I feel in metrica, give me floating rocks again. At least we had some moss and grass to go with the trees. And flowers! And birds! Honestly, given the "rainforest" aesthetic of maguuma, where are all the colorful birds and reptiles? Bright warning colors? Flowers? So far it's been vines vines ugly stick and brown bugs. Topical insects are super colorful, where are they? Not to mention that there are too many dead ends that force you to waypoint. I guess it's the new gold sink. Not a fan.

Mastery: hate. So much hate. Agreed on the currency thing. So frikking pointless. Not to mention how hard it is to get to some of those. With the difficulty, it should have been a jumping puzzle instead of a mastery point. Precision gliding is even worse than jumping. Just gag. I mean maybe the points get easier once you've unlocked the no stamina cost and can drift up indefinitely, but that's going too take a while.

Event chains annoy me. They are clearly designed for way larger groups and take too long. Just no. I don't mind lack of hearts, but desperately needs smaller events. I would much more prefer the little events add up to a big event, but not in a timer for fruits sake. Night having increased difficulty is stupid. Like you said, ppl are just going to not play at night. Just build different events, but keep difficulty the same. I'm hoping for the orr treatment.

Overall, I'd say I find the core game much better designed. The expansion is looking to be an ill thought out idea. The only reason I would attempt map completion on the new maps would be for the rewards, and I'm hoping it won't have any so I can ignore it.
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