Thursday, November 6, 2008

The current state of Age of Conan

So, I promised a big post. I did quite a bit of dueling on Saturday and Sunday and really must say, the strategy around 1v1 has changed *significantly.* We simply lack the killing power to really dominate 1v1 without being extremely cautious with our cooldowns. What do I mean by this?

Well... if you're fighting a ToS (for example, since I just so happened to fight one about 20 times last night...) there are a few major factors that come into play.

1) Did you open in stealth?
-In this case, the answer is no. The answer is no, because we were dueling... so it almost always began with FtD and eating a Charged Bolt which isn't necessarily fair, but neither is starting with SA.

2) Do you have Lotus Overload?
-My specs are a little outdated. Lotus Overload is an ABSOLUTE MUST if you want to fight any caster now. It makes their life difficult, and buys you breathing room to save those heals until after your opponent lands a crit.

3) Did you use your cooldowns correctly?
-Basically from what I've seen... going against melee, you want to use your cooldowns extremely aggressively. You want to get them behind early and use it to your advantage while you're going for the kill. The complete opposite is true against casters. You want to avoid using cooldowns until you can get them at ~50-60%. You want to then lock them to death... which would be the same old FtD->Death's Gaze->SS->Snap Kick->GC(or SS if you used SDS after step 1.) If you think that the fight is going to be decently long, you can blow Snap Kick early and it should be back up by the time you go in for the kill (depending on how much damage you're taking.)

-Take a look at these, and then think- how long is the fight going to last? Take an average of 10 or so fights and see how long they lasted... use that to figure out when you need to use those cooldowns. Things like Snap Kick, Lunge, FtD, etc... these are what effect your burst damage. You're not putting out 2k+ damage with FtD anymore. You have to plan ahead and plan to play perfectly.

Here's my new build. Lotus Overload is IMPORTANT.

These things seem simple but it took about an hour of dueling to even get back in the groove of landing combos and not whiffing like a fool (which I continue to do now and then, still in WoW-style syndrome.) This sort of leads in to my next section for this post:

Someone asked: Where have you been?
Real life: I started a new job in the past month or so. It's been relatively slow but quite time consuming at the same time because you always want to make a good impression. Still in NYC, no change there.

WoW: I played WoW mostly from when I stopped playing AoC until now. I was gladiator in season 3 on my druid... broke top 10 a couple of times in season 4 (shoulders and all) but ended up quitting a few weeks before season 4 end and not getting gladiator.

A new patch has been released for WoW... 3.x, which is absolutely insane. All of the new Wrath of the Lich King talents are in and everyone is silly overpowered. It's fun but at the same time it kind of makes you wonder where the game is going. My fall back has been doing a 5man instance or two to have a little fun or doing battlegrounds waiting for the Wrath release (which is November 13th.) I must say I'm getting that sort of giddy "new expansion" feeling from WoW right now but I'm hard pressed to believe it will last so I'm splitting my time between WoW and AoC. If anyone wants to look me up, I'm Viia or Hiies on Mannoroth now.. having left Hellscream, and then Staghelm.

War: I played War for about 3 weeks. I leveled a warrior priest to 30ish and was extremely disappointed as a whole. The game is very much like WoW, without the polish.. and AoC... without the amazing game mechanics. I just couldn't "get into" this... but it did take up a little chunk of time.

AoC: As I said I've been splitting my time between WoW and AoC the past couple of weeks. I'm primarily waiting on an AoC server merger and then hopefully a "real population" will exist again. I *really* wish AoC were a more popular game. It's phenomenal and completely revolutionary but some of the areas are just really not well balanced (instances and Raids come to mind... as being quit lackluster...) and with the way the game is designed it makes it hard to "keep people around." It's always been the case with MMOs- you want to be where the people are. I think they should have stuck to small scale instances as whole. 10 mans (sort of where WoW is going these days) seem to strike the balance between grouping and manageability. Smaller groups and instances are easier to handle, easier to test, and thus I assume easier to produce. I don't know how to get people back to AoC or how to keep them here, so I'm really at a loss. I'll continue to play the game part time and continue to absolutely love it, but the social aspect just isn't as strong as I would like it to be.