Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Demon Killing and Thera

The past week and a half or so, I've been off in Diablo3 doing a quick play-through and earning the Season 1 rewards.  It's been fun to roll a Crusader and romp through the game content again.

And the short game duration has gone over well with my current availability -- I'm in the workshop finishing a few Christmas presents (I do just a bit of woodworking each year).  Winter came early this year, so I've had to move the final finishing into the living room.  Mrs. Durden is playing a good sport and walking around the temporary work table and drop cloth, but after almost 2 weeks of it, she and I both are ready for the mess to be cleaned up.


Anyway, D3 is one of those games that's cathartic for me in small doses, but quickly turns into a tedious grind.  A nice place to visit, but not someplace I'd want to live.  I'm almost done with my endeavors in Demon Killing, and I'll be back in space humping lvl4's again in no time I'm sure.

I have a few extra minutes tonight, so thought I'd walk through the Thera dev blog and give a few thoughts.  This is old news by now, but just for the sake of completeness, here you go:

Thera and the new WH space - I think CCP has done an outstanding job of trying to address all areas of the game and improve content availability and quality of life for high, low, null, and WH residents.  While Thera and the hundred new systems don't interest me personally, I think they're a fine addition overall.

No clone grades - as a played-mostly-since-beta player, my clones cost a lot. I think expensive clones drives certain behavior (I may not be overjoyed to play tackler in pvp, for example) and I think getting rid of the antiquated system is a good idea.

Tech 3 Destroyer - New ships are cool.  Personally, I'll be interested to see if there's PVE viability in these.

The Bowhead Ship Moverator - New ships are cool, but I'm puzzled.  Seems like a gank target.

Sleeper Drones in known space - Interesting, from a story standpoint.

New Rendering - Sexy.

New UI - This one will need to grow on me.  I'd rather have more customization options, more ways to tweak your overall layout (more control over button size than UI scaling, for example), but won't shoot CCP for trying to improve the look of the game.

Opt-In WASD - Wish this had been in from the start.  I don't know how often I'd use it, but ... I like the idea.

Opt-In Star Map - Haven't played with this yet.  I'll opt-in and play, of course.  Tbh, I don't use the old starmap much anymore, which is maybe a problem on its own.

New Models and the Rest - New Blackbird looks cool.  My first cruiser was a BB, so will see if I still own it (I might!) and go for a spin.  It looks like the Khanid Apoc skin I was whining about a few days ago is going to be available as a Paladin skin.  Guess I should go buy a Paladin. :)

All in all, this is a substantial feature list for a monthly (MONTHLY) patch.  Is there a lot of heavy lifting going on?  Not really.  But it's a comprehensive set of changes that touches most player types and more than a few cubbyholes in the game.

When CCP announced their quicker dev cycle, I was honestly unimpressed.  Arena.net went to a went to a shorter dev cycle for GW2 last year, and it kind of killed the game for me.  Every patch became a "mandatory" login and a race to do the new content.  Every patch seemed to underwhelm, and every patch seemed to just iterate on the same 3 or 4 things that the one before it did.

I was fearful that CCP would fall into the same trap, but looking back on the releases this fall, I'll say that despite the controversy of Jump Fatigue, I think overall the game is better off for this approach.

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