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Hey guys, quick update here. I was going to post a nice new Planetside 2 article, when several things went into thew crapper. First, the ‘e’ key on my laptop decided to break. Since ‘e’ is kind of an important vowel, I’m pretty much screwed for writing anything on vacation now. Second, I have no internet, so I can’t post anyways. Writing from a public terminal, and I don’t think they’d like me standing here for 5 hours while I work on a new article. I’m very sorry, I’ll try and update as soon as I can.


Updates… from EU!

Hey guys, Kana here. Sorry about the lack of updates, life’s been a little hectic. My step-sister got married and for some reason decided to hold the ceremony on the other side of the planet. So after stressing out about that and then traveling over here, I’m still not done. Reception is being held in Ireland. Kind of overkill, don’t you think?

Anyways, I really wanted to update and let you guys know why I haven’t had a post go out in awhile or where I’ve been. However, I also wanted to ask a question to everyone: What would be more interesting for you to read? I’ve been doing a lot of first-impressions stuff, and that is a lot of fun… but it means I have less time to dig into the nitty-gritty of other games. So I could do something like a first-impressions review on Draven for League of Legends, or I could do a more in-depth look at his mechanics and explain why (I think) he works the way he does and how to exploit his strengths.

And this goes for all games. I can still do story time like with Planetside (and if you haven’t, go look at Planetside 2’s E3 coverage above), and still give the in-depth look. It’s just doing reviews and more advanced coverage will eat a lot of time, and I don’t know if anyone really wants a solid week about one dude or one class in a game. So leave your thoughts and ideas and I’ll see what we can do!


Kana, signing out!

Oh happy day!

Very short one today, mostly just so I can squee over how amazing Planetside 2 is shaping up to be. How amazing, you might ask? Well, besides looking at Totalbiscuit’s videos, we finally got to see something I’ve been very interested in. Care to guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint.

For those of you who don’t feel like clicking a link, let me just show you why today is one of those rare days where I get to be in a good mood:

NC Female

Looks good, right? It gets better.

TR Female

Really? Really? She looks like shes outfitted in military gear! You know, what the TR are famous for. Oh man, I’m so excited for this… wait, what about the Vanu?

VS Female

Nope, nope. I can’t stand it anymore. I have to have this game. Keep in mind this is only the Light Assault armor. There are more armor models for Infiltrators, Heavy Assault, etc. But with everything looking this good already? SOE, you stole my heart. I can’t stand not playing this game now! Very eagerly awaiting beta.

Oh boy. Oooh boy. I’ve been  waiting on this. The newest addition to League of Legends, provided by the one and only Meddler of Riot Games. I was eagerly awaiting this champion, because Meddler also made Ziggs. Dying to know if that was a one-off or if he’d keep up the same quality of work. And did he ever nail. Meddler’s now sitting with Xypherous a favorite designer, and that’s about the biggest compliment I can give. Now, with that out-of-the-way, let’s take a look at how Varus actually functions, and break down his playstyle.

Varus, The Arrow of Retribution:

(Passive) Living Vengeance: Varus gains attack speed for a short time after killing a target. Minion kills grant Varus 20% attack speed for 3 seconds. Champion kills or assists double this, giving Varus 40% attack speed for 6 seconds.

Piercing Arrow:  (first cast) Varus draws his bow back, charging up a powerful shot. Range and damage are increased as you charge, up to a cap. If the spell is held for too long, Piercing Arrow is cancelled and refunds half its mana cost. (second cast) After charging, Varus fires a long-range attack, dealing damage based on how long the skill was charging, up to a cap. This ability does diminishing damage the more targets it passes through.

Blighted Quiver (Passive ability): Varus’ arrows apply blight to any target hit, along with a small amount of bonus magic damage. Blight stacks up to three times, and can be proc’d by any of Varus’ other abilities, dealing a percentage of the target’s maximum health as magic damage for each stack of blight.

Hail of Arrows: Varus fires a hail of arrows at target location, desecrating the ground under it. Enemies on desecrated ground suffer a move speed penalty and receive 50% less healing.

(Ultimate) Chain of Corruption: Varus fires off a tendril of corruption, binding the first champion hit. This corruption will spread to any nearby enemy champions, rooting them in place if the tendril makes it to them. This effect can continue to spread until all no targets are available, but can not spread to the same champion more than once.

Varus excels at poking and long-range harassment, even more than most other carries. His Piercing Arrow ability has the single largest range of any non-ultimate skill shot when fully charged, and hits like an absolute truck at full charge. Varus has an insane amount of tricks up his sleeve, allowing for truly impressive play. With proper vision, Varus can easily snipe red or blue buff, dragon, or even Baron Nashor with a well placed Q, easily granting himself and his team a large advantage. Hail of Arrows applies a decently sized area that slows enemies and reduces healing, making it an essential skill against enemies with sustain, such as Soraka or Dr. Mundo. His ultimate can easily change a team fight, spreading out and binding an entire team if they clump together.
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Tera: The good!

Whoops. Seem to have forgotten to actually get this out last week. Let’s just blame Varus and call it a day. I’m seriously putting Meddler up with Xypherous as my two favorite designers. But that’s enough about angry-bow-man for a while, he has his own post coming up. Now it’s time for TERA! All the good things I’ve been waiting to say, it’s time to put to light.

First, and most obvious, is the combat. I know, I know, I harp on this all the time, but trust me, it truly is worth it. There is no such thing as tab-targetting or “spell-hit/accuracy” or whatever. If you want to hit it, you have to aim at it. There are a few auto-lock skills, but these are mostly in the realm of healing or AoE skills, like archer’s volley, oddly enough. Monsters actually take direct location into account, it’s very easy to dodge some attacks simply by moving away. This is easy to practice in the start zone, watch for the telegraphed attack and then walk back a few feet.  Unlike all it’ contemporaries, monsters in TERA will miss if they do not physically connect with you.

Aggression from players also carries positional based rewards. A lancer has the largest melee-attack range in the game, but at its longest you’ll only tap an opponent once. Attack when they’re in your face? The lance will proc up to three hits on that target. And any other target you hit, there is no “damage  cap” that reduces outgoing damage. If you can line up one-hundred minions (and not die), you’ll nail all of them for the same damage as any other, with any melee weapon. Caster’s have their attacks stop at one target, but gain powerful long-range abilities to compensate. There are literally endless combinations of play-styles, classes, and monsters to interact with in the game. No two players will ever approach a problem the same way, even if they are the same class! I’ve seen tank and damage lancers who are soloing, and those that augment different skills when dungeon running. The possibilities are endless.
Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I utterly adore the combat. What other game would I go out of my way to kill something just because I want to? Well, besides Monster Hunter, smart alec. Really, I would never do something like… this:

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TERA (belated) Tuesday: Archer Class

So this was delayed because of my little whinge on Tuesday, because that’s kind of my thing. I like picking apart games, especially ones that annoy me to figure out why. But now that I’ve got all that ou of my system, I can move back to enjoying the game. Seriously, despite all that I’m still playing the game happily. So next time will (finally) be all the things I enjoy about the game. But for now… the Archer!

Role: Damage
Difficulty: [***]

The Archer is TERA’s answer to a long-range sniper class, although it’s a bit wonky. It does feel like you get to play a long-range sniper if you would so desire, but they still have the same basic attack range of the other classes. However, this is toyed with in an interesting way; quite a few of the Archer’s skills do increased damage the closer you are to the target. Which would make sense, being that you’re shooting straight ahead, so that arrow is as strong as it’ll ever be right as it leaves the bow. Alternatively, magic. Magic did it. For a good comparison, consider this: The Archer is the physical version of the Sorcerer, only where the Sorcerer has insane burst and crits, the Archer deals steady ad consistent damage.

Skill wise, Archers get a few fun things to play with. The classic “hail of arrows” and “piercing shot” are all here, and you get those pretty early on. But, do remember what I said before, most of your ranged skills do more damage the closer you are, so knowing how close to be to something is the key to perfect use of your skills. The targeting on Arrow Volley can be a little weird at times, but the skill is still alright for aoe-clearing. Like a certain other game I could name (or twelve), Archers in TERA also gain access to several traps to help out. These come in various flavors, ice-burst slow, big area fire, and so on, and can be fun to use and set up in a chain. Thankfully they also have a close-range smack with a chance to stun, giving you all the time you’ll need to hop away from the fight, rounding out their already fun skill kit.
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TERA: The Garbage

So, today is the day that TERA goes live, hooray! Or I would be saying that, if I wasn’t so infuriated with the game. So, instead of doing the Good bits today, we’re putting it off while I vent all the other things that infuriate me. So here we go, another full article on things TERA does poorly. Once again, keep in mind I am (for now) still playing the game, even if one of these pushed me closer to quitting than any other one. In no particular order…

Why is it the default loot settings are absolutely retarded for loot? By default it sets to superior gear only as the minimum. If you don’t know about how loot works, the first piece of good loot is usually Rare, which is blue. Because of this single stupid setting, you will have to spend the first five minutes of every single instance trying to get whoever randomed to party leader to change the loot settings for you. What happens if you don’t? The odds of you getting the loot you want are minimum at best. The first run I lost the best lance I could possibly get to a Berserker, who got nothing else. The Priest got plate armor and I got a bow. Keep in mind you can’t trade if you aren’t from the same server, so if that loot randoms to someone from over-yonder, it’s gone forever.

Please believe me when I say the actual game is not as bad as the prologue. You can’t rebind skills, the quest texts is unclear, and the ending is a literal ass-pull. To expand on the last two, several times I had to run around like a headless chicken just trying to get the next phase of the quest to trigger. After that, I got a quest saying “fight your way to the top of the cliff.” Which I did. With no problems. Only the next phase again didn’t start. See, what it should have said is “kill every living thing between you and the back wall.” Since this is an MMO, you will be trained that things respawn, and will assume it as a given after a while. There is no indication that nothing will respawn once you kill it here.

To be fair, the Prologue is also extremely pretty. I'd live there.

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TERA: The Ugly

So, today marks the head-start event for TERA and will, presumably, be the last time we get spammed beta invites from En Masse, so I figured now would be the perfect time to start up a new three-part series, similar to what happened with rift. This will be called the same thing, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. So why start with the worst category? Well, because TERA has a lot of problems. So this isn’t the game for everyone, and if any of this sounds like a deal breaker already, then go ahead and skip the game. It won’t get much better. However, just because I’m about to verbally assassinate the game doesn’t mean I’m not going to play it. Far from it. The combat truly is great enough for me to deal with these issues. Mostly.

Now, you might be thinking, “Kana, what could possibly be that wrong with the game?”, and the answer always comes back to the same thing, time and time again. This is a game designed from the ground up and maximum level play and only max level play. Every major complaint I or anyone else has ever had has been BS’d around by the community going, “oh, it’s that way for the high level players!”

Last time I checked, the Korean and Japanese players got their own server, and won’t be coming over here. So why is it that this game still has such a terrible design even though no one is even at the level to exploit it? I’m talking about things like…

Wrecked Economy:

There are a lot of things to do in TERA with your character. Glyphs, Crystals, crafting, dyes, armor remodeling, and even more. And TERA wants you to do absolutely none of it until you get of your lazy bum and go grind a few dozen levels. I came out of the Island of Dawn with close to two-hundred pieces of ore, to practice weaponsmithing with. I almost broke my newbie character doing it. You might think, “well, don’t buy expensive recipes then!” The recipe I was using? Yeah, the game gave that to me for free. I wasn’t making weapons, I was just trying to smelt all that ore. And that took almost all my money. Crafting recipes are even more ludicrously expensive, and all rely entirely on the player flat-out buying most of the components anyways.

So yeah, it’s a good thing this isn’t an rpg or anything, or it would be troble trying to convince myself my character has any skill what so ever when she has to continuously buy half the pieces to a weapon instead of just making them herself. Feels like cheating when I keep buying metal handles and shield pieces.  Seriously, what was the point of getting all that ore if the game was just going to break my bank and then still not do anything with it?
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TERA Tuesday: Mystic Class

Time for another foray into the realms of Arboria, this time to look at the Mystic class. Promising ahead of time I won’t be so mean to this one, even if it is a support/healer class. Mystic is still boring compared to the other classes, but is miles ahead of the Priest in terms of fun. Mostly because of the area-drain vampire skill. But we’ll get to that in just a minute…

Role: Support/Healer
Difficulty: [*****]

Mystic is an odd little class, being a healer with more emphasis on damage than the Priest, and less on direct heals. They’re also the only class that gets a pet, so there is that. However, the little bugger is so annoying I found myself trying to commit suicide multiple times just to get rid of him, so there is that as well. Honestly, a first impressions on Mystic is kind of hard, simply because they’re supposed to be a support class, but you only get one support spell at all through the intro area. It is nifty though, so it’s alright for the time being. I’ve heard their player support comes in the form of summoned orbs, and if it’s anything like the first you get, then the orbs grant a unique and interesting mechanic to the class overall.

Unlike Priest, most of the skills a Mystic grabs are focused on hurting things. You share an AoE spell or two, but other than that the skills have a different emphasis. Heck, you even get a vampire-aura that boosts damage (and I’m assuming burst healing to you) the longer you channel the spell. Early levels can be very boring, falling into the same “hold basic-attack to win” strategy that plagues Priest. Since both classes start with a heal, there’s no punishment for just face-tanking everything. However, the Mystic’s heal differs from the Priest’s in two special ways: the Mystic’s heal is a heal-over time effect, and is “castable” on other players. In an interesting twist, it’s not a true spell at all, but is instead something of a creation spell. Once cast, the Mystic creates an orb that plonks down on the ground, and is usable by anyone nearby. Once used, the orb disappears and begins healing the person who used it over time. Likewise, the orbs last for a while, and there doesn’t appear to be a hard cap on how many you can toss out.
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TERA Online Guild

Hey guys, Kana here with some good news. With Open Beta on it’s last legs and head start quickly approaching, now would be the best time to announce that we’ve started a guild for players on the Arachnaea server. If you feel like stopping by, or making the server you home, send us a message. Black Lotus will always be up for more members!

Right now, with the game having just launched, we’re primarily focused on providing a friendly environment for people wanting to level up or just sit around and chat. Later on, we’ll probably shift to late game PvE content (hard mode 5-mans, maybe raids if they are ever implemented), and maybe some PvP on the side for fun. So we’ve got a little of everything either now or planned for down the road. Why not stop by and say hi?