Lichborne’s DK Summary

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The wowinsider Lichborne collum has a snappy summary of the outcomes from the Beta for Death Knights as they stand now. Hop across and read, it is a reasonable summary and the comments grant perspective.

What I took away as interesting from the information was that Frost is going to remain as a two option spec, where dual wield and two handed weapons are options. Honestly I’m not so sure that I care for two handed Frost specs, but there are many circumstances where a diversity might be advantageous – such as balancing the needs of pvp vs pve for the DK specs. It seems to be heading in the right direction. That said, if it assists with greatly reducing the balance issues, then kill 2H Frost.

Counter to that, if 2h frost were to become “the most” useful spec for pvp due to some tweaks to the abilities (as much as I hate re-tooling pve for pvp aspects), then pve players still have Unholy 2H and Frost dual wield as selections. Lock in the roles, and allow pve and pvp selection to be readily viewable by presence and selection of weapon – Warriors have that locked in now anyway. Continue reading

Diablo 3 patch … What exploit?

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Aside … Diablo 3 has a mini-patch 1.0.3a to address some small issues, and it reminds me that I’m out of the loop in terms of game exploits (via wowinsider).

Fixed several gold and leveling exploits

Gone are the days of getting out a hex editor to snaffle straight 24 stats in Bard’s Tale 2. I wish I knew more about the exploits they were fixing, just to have cool insight into how it worked. Darn it.

It is no longer possible to create fake achievement links.

Ha! I’m sure there was some comedy gold in there due to that, the odd complaint, and perhaps a dummy spit. Fixing it is a fair thing though.

Witchdoctor – Zombie Bears should no longer become stuck on objects with which they shouldn’t have collision.

But they will still be stuck on items for which they do have collision? Whew! Why do they get stuck, instead of either pathing to the toon?

You know a game is wonderful when the collision mechanics for Zombie Bears is a consideration. This note alone should be a marker for people to try the game. Now if it was Zombie Bear Cavalry then the world would play. Or Feral Zombie Bear Tanks with Guns!

Go read the rest, I’ll stay here and create more silly Zombie Bear notes.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Has SWToR Tanked? Is that even a balanced question?

Star Wars: The Old Republic

MMO Melting Pot article took a somewhat imprudent view on SWToR’s longevity since the recent server merges – and asked “how’s the SWTOR server transfer experience treating you and your friends?

Responses from comments and community are mixed, although while the fan base is obviously diminished, there is certainly hope.

A view on longevity really depends on how far the owning company wants to stretch, and what is considered a profitable player base. As a market commodity there is probably value in keeping The Old Republic going for as long as possible, as an extension of the franchise. Much of the Star Wars brand strength comes from the many sources of direct connection it has from the fans, and there is a value to having an active MMO, especially if the costs can be curtailed to a moderate profit.

The server merges come along with some seriously large redundancies in the dev staff too. Large sections of the team have been let go, and while that too is initially a worry it actually is to be expected. The dev team size needed for a game once it a few months post-launch are far less than when it is being built. Devs, testers, managers, and all others should expect to either move to new projects, or move on. That is the reality in software development.

It depends on what you consider a failure too. It is fair to say that Conan did not survive, but Rift continues regardless of the fact that a very large number of people have “tanked” the game. Perhaps a few hundred thousand people paying the equivalent of five coffee breaks a month is enough to continue a game franchise. In Jan 2012 the Rift publishers declared that they’d made over $100 Million from the game. Tanked? Not really, and they’re now letting folks play to level 20 for free. That’s the best demo around, and other game creators should take note.

I have friends who were fanatics about the Star Wars game, quit all other gaming aspects, and then have now relinquished their fanaticism. Others still play regularly, and some never even started but still love the brand.

I played while the free weekends were in session, but didn’t subscribe as Blizzard has locked me into the annual pass for a while longer. Nice strategy there by Blizzard, although many forum posts now tell me that their time in the sun has faded too. If they fade like Rift tanked then World of Warcraft will be around for a long time to come.

What is a tanked game anyway? Eve is another game that plays well still, after so many years and expansions; and so many declarations of death by corners of the gaming community. A player-base far smaller that the megalithic World of Warcraft, but still  successful.

The Star Wars dev have started talking about SW-ToR going free to play upto level 15, akin to the free pass for WoW/Rift. I like this idea a lot as I’ll get to play more of the story lore, but it may not be enough to get me to subscribe every month. More likely is that I’ll play each class till level 15 and then stop. Is that really a good idea – well it is if you consider playing the game is the best ad a game can have.

So we won’t know really the game has tanked until the servers shut-off and the podcasts fade. The Old Republic might slowly fade from the MMO market over time. I hope it stays around long enough to add a few more features which get absorbed into the “standard” mmo feature set. It’s focus on story was certainly controversial, and bloody enjoyable.

I’ll leave you with this cartoon by Scott Johnson, on ExtraLife. No Comment. Kek.

Quick aside on D3

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Diablo III Act III

Diablo III Act III (Photo credit: JBLivin)

I enjoy that I can play Diablo 3 for a minute at a time, and not be punished. Casual? Yes. The game so far has no respawns that will find you when you if AFK. That makes coffee/wife/kid/phone breaks easier.

A few things I’ve changed in the game settings: Turn off auto join, and Turn on move key. Both are tweaks which make the game more pleasant.

Free Windows Authenticator OS

Warning: This app is not sanctioned by Blizzard, or tested in any manner – use at own risk! Blizzard have stated a stance of accepting that it works, but they prefer customers use the real sanctioned tools.

As the app runs on a pc, that app can be compromised as much as any other.

Wandering through the D3 and Blizzard discussions on security, I found a free Windows app which emulates the authenticators. Basically it is the same app as used on the mobile devices, except it is Windows software. And it is open source, currently v1.7.1314 and appears to be updated regularly.

screnshot of windows authenticator softwareRefs:

Wow, a pretty impressive give away of a useful function!

WinAuth uses the same algorithm as the Mobile Authenticator for Android and iPhone, and so generates the same codes when using the same serial number and secret key. One of the initial reasons to write it was to remove the dependency on having the phone available, but still use the same codes.

Whilst you cannot directly read the Mobile Authenticator’s private keys from an iPhone or non-rooted Android, you can now use the new Restore feature to copy your authenticator over to WinAuth.

Impressive, and now even less excuse not to have an additional line of account security for Blizzard games.