Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For those curious about DK leveling:

I just finished the entire DK quest chain again (for the billionth time), and this is to show you just how far into 57 you get before turning in the part in orgrimmar or stormwind.

Also, it takes roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes to run through these quests.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Current DK wishlist:

In light of some recent discussions regarding DK talents and mechanics, I decided to sit down and do a little bit of brainstorming to help come up with some interesting solutions to shape this class up a bit more.

Here is a brief list of some of the things I came up with, sort of as a "wish list" of changes I'd like to see happen:


Baseline changes:

Blood strike now acts as a method to congeal or coagulate the victims blood, and melds any diseases currently afflicting the target to their flesh, making them (the diseases) temporarily undispellable until worn out or renewed.

Reason: It's easy to see why a change like this will probably be need to be made, by following this thread: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=11676599681&sid=2000
This wouldn't make ALL diseases that the death knight spreads undispelable. You still have a chance to do so in pvp before blood strikes hit. In addition, diseases spread via pestilence would not be "sealed in" and undispelable until they are struck with a blood strike. This let's the DK focus on keeping a single target debuffed for the purpose of disease synergy, while not making diseases completely uncounterable.

Finally, this would actually make blood strike feel like it has an actual purpose (and one that makes sense), and be more fun and engaging to use. Abilities that have a clearly defined purpose always make for more interesting gameplay. In addition, it would give epidemic actual value in a PvP environment, as extra duration on dispelable diseases is rather underwhelming to say the least.

Edit: Perhaps the disease/blood strike change is too strong, and perhaps it isn't.

Perhaps the diseases should get harder and harder to dispel with each blood strike applied to the diseased target. Say, 35%/70% for every 1/2 blood strikes. This, combined with virulence, would give 100% undispelable, but ONLY on targets that you've performed blood strike on twice.

I really like the idea of blood strike causing the targets' blood to coagulate when diseased, though.

Talent changes:

Scent of blood: In adition to it's current effects, it now also reduces the RP cost of all offensive RP abilities by 5/10/15%.

Reason: Many people do not like this talent simply because it's only useful for tanking, where RP abilities aren't as huge of a concern as maintaining rune rotations. This would allow people to get use out of the talent even when not taking hits, while at the same time making things like hungering cold, DRW, gargoyle, death coil, and unholy blight easier to squeeze in for any situation.

Vendetta: In additon to it's current effects, Vendetta now also gives the DK a 10% damage boost for 20 seconds if their ghoul is prematurely slain in battle.

Reason: The idea here is to spice up this talent a bit, while at the same time encouraging players to bust the ghoul out even in environments where it might get killed off via AOE pretty easily, as blood DKs have no way of resummoning a ghoul very quickly. You must avenge poor Brainsnatcher. :)


Baseline changes:

Horn of winter now lasts 5 minutes, but now costs 30 RP. Please.

Talent changes:

Glacier rot and Endless winter have swapped places.

Reason: This one is pretty obvious. Glacier rot does nothing for deep blood and deep unholy specs. Endless winter, on the other hand, would be a great talent that any sub-spec would be interested in picking up, including any build interested in PvP. This, combined with the blood strike baseline change would go to solve a lot of mechanical issues players are having with fighting the DK resource system. Chains of ice is still dispelable, so I don't see this as being OP.

Killing Machine: KM procs now also automatically refresh the duration of Horn of Winter.

Reason: Quality of life issue that would be a perk to frost. Frost is more RP hungry than any other tree, and would benefit more from this change than blood or unholy.


Talent changes:

Anticipation: Now also reduces the RP cost of your Rune Strike by 25/50%.

Reason: This is the only early tanking talent that we get that doesn't offer an ancillary effect that's beneficial in PvP. Blade barrier has the side effect of not only providing 10% physical mitigation, but also increases the proc chance of rune strike by 10%. Tougness increases armor, but also reduces snare effects. Anticipation is just a flat 5% dodge. Useful, but not exciting. This change would allow DKs who enjoy both PvE and PvP a reason to be excited about picking up a tanking talent, and not feeling "bad" about it when not tanking.

Corpse Explosion: Additional effect: Targets affected by corpse explosion are now dazed for 8 seconds, and take an additional 10% shadow damage while dazed. In addition, all diseases on affected targets are now refreshed to their maximum duration.

Reason: The idea here is that players don't like weaving CE into their rotations, not because of the damage it does or doesn't do, but because it costs players an unholy rune that could/should be used to refresh desecration instead. It simply doesn't "do" enough or warrant enough reason for use. If CE dazed targets and increased the shadow damage they take, you'd somewhat make up for the loss of a desecration on your next rotation, feel rewarded for using CE (which is VERY situational at best anyways), and would make players actually look forward to using the ability. In addition, refreshing the diseases on affected targets means that using CE creates the opportunity of using blood boil more, which encourages picking up talents such as outbreak and reaping. This would be a great synergy change, and rightfully so, as again it's a very situational ability at best.

Unholy Blight: Additional Effect: Now heals the Death knight for 50% of the damage done.

Reason: Simply put? Flavor.

If you want more reasons, follow these posts: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=11829574034&sid=2000#7 & http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=11693920086&postId=118283298100&sid=2000#61

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DK mechanics too clunky for PvP?


Edit: Follow up post.

Blizzard games have always traditionally been about the "Easy to play, hard to master" mentality. Unfortunately, I don't think the DK quite falls into the "easy to play" part just yet.

It is a rather complicated class, and the mechanics can get a little clunky sometimes when things don't quite fall into place. It can be a lot of work for a new DK to not only learn how to manage multiple resources instead of one like they're probably used to, but to also be required to do their moves in specific orders, so as to get the most bang for their GCD spent.

Is that a good thing? For the sake of keeping things interesting, I suppose. But from a competitive standpoint, I'm not so sure. I'll give examples of why down below.

If you were to ask me (and I'm probably going to catch a ton of flak for saying this), I would suspect that the single biggest culprit of the challenge of playing the class properly, is the over-dependence of having diseases up on the target to do maximum damage with most of your strikes. It's a cool mechanic, until you start running into situations where rotations simply aren't feasable (I'm looking mostly at pvp here).

I have this suspicion that, if anything, this is the department that will probably need to be looked at going into the future, if things prove too difficult or DK DPS is too inconsistent depending on the opponents they face.

One example of a class that was probably too hard to play well in TBC (if you chose to forgo the way of mods, macros and a G15 keyboard), was the hunter. Not only were they arguably the most difficult class to play well in the arena for a myriad of reasons, but they were also the most difficult class to properly DPS with in raids. One tiny, simply fix to alleviate their huge learning curve, was to remove auto shot clipping. Bam, much easier to play, and now will also be easier to dish out the damage in pvp without worrying about clipping shots while you're constantly repositioning yourself.

Also, try to sit back for a second and imagine for a second if rogue DPS strikes like Sinister strike and Hemo (or even eviscerate), were balanced around the assumption that to do max damage, you HAD to have some sort of deadly or other poison up at all times, otherwise you'd take a pretty huge DPS hit. On top of keeping up SnD, managing combo points, possible positional requirements, cooldowns, and keeping enough energy in reserves to kick/etc, you'd also cringe everytime your poisons got cleansed.

Not only would rogues be frustrated that their "MS" and snare poisons would fall off, but their hemo/SS damage would be less as well.

Fortunately for rogues, this isn't the case. They can do all their high damage moves without worrying about this, with the exception of mutliate. However, as in mutliate's case, it isn't so bad, since Assassination specs have typically have their target poisoned the vast majority of the time, if not by auto attacks alone, but also easy access to shiv which is essentially on demand, and doesn't run them the risk of screwing up any "rotations".

I guess what I'm trying to say is, is that I probably wouldn't rule out the possibility that DKs might end up needing some sort of disease dependency rework in the future. Would it dumb things down? Yeah, but if Blizzard has learned anything from TBC PvP, it should have been that overly complex classes that take more effort to play well fight an uphill battle against classes that are at least as effective with far less effort.

That, and I guess I'm trying to say that our strikes and abilities should provide strong incentive to use on their own, and not require us to use X, Y abilities before we can even think about using ability Z. If anything comes along to screw up that pattern, then everything gets a little out of whack, and the whole process just feels very much out of place. Whenever that happens, I always sit there and think to myself, "Well Gee, do I just start my whole rotation over because A) My disease got cleansed, or B) I had to use chains of ice instead of apply frost fever via icy touch? Or do I just go ahead and blow a 1F1U ability that does subpar damage?" It's a double whammy. Not only is our utility/damaging disease removed, but our subsequent strike damage that would have followed suite also do less damage unless those diseases are reapplied.

It's... frustrating, to say the least. While learning how to pvp with this class, I'd often run into situations like the above stated, and just try and figure out in my head if it's worth it to just spam disease applicators and get as many quick strikes in? Or just forget about keeping diseases up and try to get those hard hitters off anyways, even if they do less damage.

After a while, I started to go with the second option, but even then, that doesn't work with an ability like howling blast, as it's damage is absolutely laughable without frost fever up. It struck me odd that what was once an excellent burst ability has now become a real pain to get working right in a competitive PvP environment.

I don't want to sit here and go into the frustrations I have with each individual strike or ability that suffers from this problem, as you can probably see where I'm going with this anyway. I just wanted to bring up the overall point that I'm trying to make, which is that the heavy disease dependencies are more frustrating than fun in pvp, and that our "rotations" don't apply themselves well in pvp, once we start needing to apply chains of ice as often as is required.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warlock Destro Suggestion:

So I was reviewing the destro changes for locks lately after the ruin/devastation change, and did some thinking.

It seems that PVE locks are just fine with ruin being a 5 point talent, as it helps with their stat (crit) scaling for raids. It's a better 5 point investment as an 11-15 point talent sink than just 5% crit (which is the current 21 pointer). This leads me to believe that, assuming most people will end up going at least 51 demo or 51 affliction before going destro, that the current 21 pointer in destro could stand to be changed to help destro warlocks where they need it most right now: PvP viability.

So my idea is to basically get rid of the 5% crit talent, melt that lost DPS elsewhere into the tree, and replace it with something that would actually change a warlocks playstyle.

You wanted to give warlocks a different type of CC and make them less reliant on fear. That was the whole idea for introducing cripple, was it not? Well, why not give destro warlocks a chance at squeezing some sort of new CC in that would solve some of their issues (mobility and survivability), but NOT reintroduce cripple.

The first thing that came to mind was aflame wreath type ability, similar to the Shade of Aran in Karazhan, even if only a single target version with a moderate (30s or so) cooldown. Think chains of ice that locks you into place for a short duration via chains of fire, preventing movement for 2 seconds, but allows you to move after that, at your own risk: Any target who attempts to move out of the wreath explodes, dealing damage to all around them, and also burns away Y resources (lose a bit of rage/energy/RP/mana). I think that could be pretty cool.

To make up for the loss of 5% crit via devastation, you can simply melt that into the tree elsewhere.

The only other thing I was thinking of, was introducing a new "armor" for locks, to match more of a destro play-style.

Mages have Molten armor for fire specs, frost armor for frost, and mage armor for arcane (although the other armors can still be useful for arcane, too).

Warlocks basically have a PVE armor and a PvP armor... And to be honest: I really don't like demon armor at all unless I know I'll be catching a ton of heals. The 2% health regen and extra spell power is clearly superior for double DPS 2s, triple DPS 3s, and any small scale combat when you're not being followed/spam healed by a pocket healer, and/or being focused. When I do BGs, I almost always prefer fel armor.

I really think Demon armor could use a little boost, either with the physical damage duration reductions, or something along those lines. I at least think Demon armor needs to have it's flat armor increase # scale with another stat, such as spell power.

Alpha Nostolgia Pictures:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hunter Explosive Shot Feedback:


Explosive shot seems to have been over-nerfed, simply because it was (like many other talents introduced this expansion) trying to do too many cool things at once, and was summarily nerfed pretty badly.

I don't really see how it was balanced to have an arcane shot that ticked in an AOE that did 3x the damage of arcane shot per GCD used. It was high damage move that could be used completely on the move. The result? It obviously got nerfed.

I think that the main issue with explosive shot, from my perspective, is that it was trying to replace the wrong skill to give hunters that big damage boost. Hunters already have mobile damage. Since when do they need (massive) mobile AOE damage? And if they do (for pve), how is big mobile AOE damage balanced for PVP? It would be like giving mages instant cast targetable flame strikes and arcane explosions. The answer: It isn't, and wasn't. The result? Now you have a weak damage component, but keep the mobility factor as an instant shot.

Instead, I see myself wanting explosive shot to do nice, big damage, but at a cost: Mobility. Why isn't explosive shot a replacement for steady shot instead? Reinstate it's damage, but give it a cast time, not much different from having to cast shadowbolts and fireballs. If it had a cast time, the devs could afford to bump it's damage back up quite considerably, as well as sever the shared cooldown between it and arcane shot.

Chew on that in your mind and try to visualize how that would play out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Necrosis, pvp burst, unholy presence, etc:


The thing I hate about necrosis, is that it only really boosts white damage, which is unappealing to me for two main (PvE and PvP) reasons:

1) Auto attacking things to death isn't fun (which is why I personally hated the retadin playstyle prior to WotLK), and talents that boost that type of mechanic I look down upon. Mechanics that exist simply to boost white damage hold very little appeal to any DK not planning on dual wielding. This is directly contradictory to staple, spec-defining talents that you get later in the tree, such as scourge strike, which screams 2hander.

2) In PvP, talents that focus mainly on boosting auto attack damage aren't highly sought after at all, unless those same talents also boost instant strike damage as well. A good example would be dual wield spec for rogues. By itself, it's fairly unappealing to rogues that care about what matters in pvp: Burst damage. Where it DOES become appealing, is how it affects mutilate burst damage. That extra burst damage coming from your offhand dagger on this big crit mutilates is a huge attraction for pvpers. Necrosis does nothing of the sort. It's a small, flat boost of white damage. That's it. It's an interesting concept, but doesn't really change the way a deathknight will use his or her active abilities, and thus I consider it to be a rather boring talent.

To along with this, look at a different example of how this affected another class:

BM hunters were, by far, the most damaging spec they could be: In PvE. Why? Because a lot of their damage was off GCD via the pet, and they had a very balanced shot rotation via steady-auto rotations. However, to do this sort of rotation, you essentially had to sacrifice ALL mobility, as steady shot is a "cast time" ability, meaning you can't move while you use it.

So, what was the supreme "DPS" spec in pve, failed miserably in Competitive PvP (arena), turned out to be pretty bad when mobility and burst is suddenly king. Marks was their best bet, since it relied heavily on front-loaded damage, and you could reposition yourself between front-loaded burst cooldowns, or use that time to drop traps, wingclip and reposition, etc.

Now, given that context, I also feel that our "pvp presence" of unholy presence fails to make up for the loss of damage gained in blood presence, since Auto attack damage is NOT an acceptable replacement for 15% overall damage lost. You could argue that the extra 7% movement speed of being in unholy presence vs having some sort of run speed enchant could somehow theoretically make up for whatever the increased auto attack damage doesn't cover, but I doubt it. Though, I cannot prove this point at this time.

Necrosis falls in the same category, and will probably end up being regulated into a pure pve spec, and probably only for dual-wield specs.

Hungering Cold Love:

I still think hungering cold could benefit from a new, additional mechanic to give it more flavor in more situations.

Hungering cold doesn't always feel rewarding to use in the situations you'd want to use it. I think part of the problem stems from the fact that it not only doesn't provide a DPS increase at all, but actually hurts your dps by consuming RP that could have been used on frost strikes instead.

A pvper can sometimes look past the above issue due to the fact that it's essentially our only real CC option. At the very least, it can force a trinket or two. Sadly, I think that is the role that it will be dwindled down to in PvP.

But Jayde! You can potentially hit 5 targets with it at once in a 5v5! Yeah, and if you manage to hit all five of your opponents with it, since it's a PBAOE, you're probably fighting people that are extremely bad and have no real sense of positioning.

As a matter of fact, as arena fights become more and more scripted, it will become very apparent that you're fighting a frost death knight (chains applying frost fever is a dead giveaway), and all it takes is a little coordination for your healer to stay away from the DK or DPSer so as to not eat a HC. Going with this, as these fights get more scripted in the arena, it will become painfully obvious when a death knight is going to want to use hungering cold, much in the same way that you know that you'll eat a blind as soon as you trinket X move, or you'll eat a hasty follow-up fear or deathcoil into a fear as soon as the first fear is trinketed. The problem with this scenario? The death knight has to run, or crawl, over to the target they want to CC, which is more than likely NOT going to be the target that they have been DPSing, who's going to typically have more then just disease debuffs on them in any group environment.

Hungering cold as a pvp-only ability certainly has it's flaws, as you can see. I haven't even mentioned just how expensive it is to use as a "snap" ability, because at this point it doesn't really matter.

Here are the issues with hungering cold:

1) It's only usable on trash in PVE. Great, but other people in the group are going to be doing CC already, as is. Besides, if you need HC to clear an instance, then the instance probably needs to be retuned. Not to mention, if you need HC to do every pull, then the one minute cooldown becomes a thorn in everyone's side. An ability that really only helps on trash is far from exciting, at least for me, for a 51 pointer.

2) It's very, very situational in pvp, and will have counters as people learn how to effectively CC/control DKs from getting it off at key moments. Yes, you might be surprising people in the arena right now with it, since they probably A) don't expect it, or B) Don't know what they're fighting against. I promise you, this won't last. It isn't really that difficult to avoid if you're a smart player.

3) It's a very large drain on resources, without actually providing a boost in damage. This is because it provides an element of CC. However, given the two points stated above, this isn't a very good trade off at the moment.

Now here comes the inevitable part where I toss some ham-handed suggestion(s) out. Get ready to cringe!

I have a few thoughts towards this talent, some of which I've held since the beginning of alpha.

1) I've always wanted it to provide an additional debuff of some sort, that is unique to the talent, and not simple be an additional way to spread frost fever. That's pestilences job. I don't want a 51 pointer that basically does the same thing. Pestilence should have always spread FF to unlimited targets, and now that it does, this point needs to be reevaluated. There are many ideas to go with this, such as :

  • A) Increasing the affected targets susceptibility to being crit. They are thawing out, thus might share some of the similar portions of being weak to "shatter" type combos.
    B) Provide an additional "slow" effect for people that are thawing out from the freeze portion of the spell, even after the freeze wears off, similar to an AOE chains of ice
    C) The lazy way: Increase the amount of damage affected targets take for X seconds by Y%. Let this debuff work even on bosses, so that it would give us an excuse to be usable on bosses, or on targets that we are DPSing in pvp if we optimal CC positioning simply isn't an option.

  • 2) The only other thing that I've tossed around in my mind about HC, was that perhaps it's just not fit for a 51 point talent, but for a 31 point instead. Going with this, people would be more psyched about going 51 + frost if their 51 pointer was a nice damage ability. My suggestion would probably be to potentially swap howling blast (and increasing it's damage to make it feel more like a 51 pointer), and making HC the 31 pointer.

    Why? How many people actually only go 31 deep in frost for howling blast, and then go down another tree? I'd argue slim-to-none. That's because to make Howling blast good, you really have to press on deep further down the tree to make it arguably worth using. Going 31 deep to HB doesn't really do much, at least not the same way you can go down 31 into arms and get MS. MS starts hitting hard for warriors at 31 points in. Howling blast doesn't start hitting "hard" until you're down to around GoG, Tundra stalker levels. This is beside the fact that you need blood of the north to get the most out of it in rotations.

    Even then, howling blast takes arguably more "prep work" than any other talent we have. You've gotta get frost fever up, spread it around via pestilence, and then do it as a 1F1U ability. It's the added requirement of pestilence that really makes howling blast feel awkward. It's damage is very lackluster compared to oblit on single targets every single time. It actually feels like our most expensive ability to use. It requires, at the very minimum, 4 runes to use optimally, and I say optimally because any time you are on a single target, you simply won't even think about using HB. Frost fever not up first? Don't even think about using howling blast. In an AOE? Yeah, you can get by with not using pestilence, but why would you? The damage difference is so significant on the off targets if they don't have frost fever up first, that you absolutely feel compelled to use pestilence first.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I had it my way, I'd like to see:

    1) Howling blast and Hungering cold swap places
    2) Howling blast have the FF dependency completely dropped, and do frost-fever type damage all the time. Even with frost fever up, it's still less damage than oblit on single targets. I suppose I'm ok with that, but if it becomes a 51 pointer, I'd actually rather see HB become the better choice between the two for single target damage.

    Why? Because oblit has nice crit chance via rime and subversion. It's a "spikier" move to use. Howling Blast is also riskier to use in situations where breaking CC isn't the best option. You have to make a choice, based on player skill, as to when howling blast would be best used over obliterate, even if HB did more damage.

    Also, sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Been extremely busy. :)

    Edit: Typos and such. It's late. :(

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Warlock Idea:

    I posted this on the forums here.

    Demon armor: Now also reduces the duration of physical effects on the caster by 30%.

    What does this include? Here's a short list:

    Cheap shot
    Kidney shot
    Intercept stun
    Deadly throw snare
    Wing clip
    Mortal Strike
    Aimed shot
    Garrote (both the silence and the dot)
    Expose armor
    Sunder armor
    Piercing howl

    I'm not too worried about diseases, dots, and rogue poisons, simply because it's possible to cleanse or remove them in some form or fashion. They have counters. The abilities above, however, do not. Most classes can deal with the abilities listed above for various reasons. Warlocks, on the other hand, seem to be designed around the fact that they are best dealt with by having melee sit on top of them the whole fight.

    Making fel armor and demon armor undispelable was a good start, but it might be necessary going forward to give demon armor even more passive defense against effects that they really have no other way of getting rid of.

    If you're going to design warlock abilities based on the assumption that they are meant to "tank" melee in pvp, then you will probably find that they will need a buff to core abilities and mechanics to help them fulfill this role. This would also make demonic aegis a lot more attractive.

    In addition:

    I'd really like to see Demon Armor's armor value scale off of another stat, such as spell power. I.e. static number + 20% of spell power or something along those lines.

    I don't think it would be a good idea to scale the armor value off of another defensive stat, such as resilience or stamina. I'd hate to see encouraging locks to be competitive by simply stacking a bunch of defensive stats. It's ultimately less fun in the long run, and fun is what the game is all about.

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    Team Fortress 2 Analysis (not wow related. please ignore for now)

    Last year, Valve dropped a bombshell on the first-person shooter market with their latest and greatest hit: Team Fortress 2.

    "TF2", as it's commonly known by its many adoring fans around the world, is the much anticipated sequel to a very popular quake 1 mod (or modification), aptly known as Team Fortress. Many of TF2's features, mechanics, and team-based gameplay goals reflect the original in several ways.


    Much like the original Team Fortress, TF2 is focused on two competing teams fighting over goals or objectives that vary depending on the map currently in rotation. These vary from capture-and-hold control point style objectives, to the more classic capture-the-flag (Team Fortress 2 uses "intelligence" instead of flags). More recently, Valve has introduced several new gameplay objective modes. One of these revolves around one team pushing a hilariously designed "bomb cart" with comical writings on the front, while the defending team does all they can to prevent the attackers from reaching their checkpoints with said cart.

    Players can choose between one of nine classes to play at any given time, and barring any server-side restrictions, have the option to change their current class at any time. To do this, they must return to the starting safe-zone. Each class has their own strengths and weaknesses, and some create wonderful synergies with each other, such as the Heavy and the Medic. It's a sort of rock-paper-scissors approach to class balance that, when combined with the ability to change classes relatively often, can create a very fun and dynamic combat flow with classes being introduced to counter others non-stop. More advanced players will often find that simply sticking with the same class will put them at a disadvantage, as the opposing team will react to this by simply choosing the counter class(es). This is a great way to prevent player burnout; by simply offering many different roles for you to play at any given time. Using this method, Valve manages to keep the gameplay fresh without actually changing the game. This gives each scenario a large amount of replay value, because you never end up playing a map the same way twice.


    There are nine different classes for players to choose from. In no specific order, they are: The Soldier, The Pyro, The Demoman, The Sniper, The Spy, The Heavy, The Medic, The Engineer, and The Scout.

    The broad selection of classes and roles to assume really opens up many different playstyles that players can use to reach their objectives.

    For example: A player with steady aim might find themselves best suited to suppress the advancing forces with well-placed sniper fire, while another might find it more suitable to sneak behind the enemy lines and backstab all of the attackers with the spy instead.

    A more strategic player might find themselves thoroughly enjoying the engineer, as he can lay down tactical placements of deadly auto-aiming turrets, as well as teleporter pads for teammates to use, and places to heal up and restock supplies. Meanwhile, a more bloodthirsty friend (or foe) might enjoy getting behind the mini chaingun of the heavy, lumbering slowly towards their foes, and ripping their enemies to shreds.

    Design Fun and Flaws:

    All in all, the game is a lot of fun. There is a very strong emphasis on teamwork in TF2, which means that there's really nothing better than getting a few buddies together and jumping on a server and simply wreaking havoc wherever you go. Few things are more satisfying than exercising a concerted effort to render an opposing teams' defenses useless with deadly precision. The gameplay possibilities are seemingly endless, because you never really know just what's going to be around the corner.

    Albeit few and far between, there are some frustrating things about the game. For starters, the game can feel awfully frustrating for a player who joins up on a server by himself where people aren't playing very well as a team. When you have a game that strongly emphasizes teamwork, and your team isn't working together, it's very easy to find yourself running into counter classes that eat you for lunch, or sacrificing yourself for the team only to see them go the other way. This game is really meant to be played with well-coordinated teammates, and not doing so will often lead to frustration.

    Another flaw would be the fact that the game simply does not allow the ability to inflict damage on your teammates. While this would normally be a good approach to prevent griefing, it greatly diminishes the viability for one of the nine classes in TF2, the spy. The spy's role is to cloak past the front lines, and disguise themselves as enemy players. Thus, a common tactic is to shoot any suspicious looking teammate, just to make sure it isn't a lurking spy. This can cause endless frustration for players learning how to pick up the spy class, simply because your enemies will shoot anyone, friend or foe, before you even have the chance to do your job. When punishment for friendly fire is removed in the name of grief prevention, you also encourage the enemy to shoot at any teammate they can, since there's absolutely no detriment for doing so. I find it difficult to view this game as being truly competitive on the same level that Counterstrike or Quake ever was, simply because you're rewarded for bad gameplay (shooting at your teammates). In addition, sometimes it's just nice to have the ability to put your teammates in their place.

    From a design standpoint, the game is almost perfect. It keeps people entertained for hours on end, and is packed full of comical flavor. Valve's art direction and design is unique for an FPS game, although it bears some resemblance to the older but popular "No one lives forever" PC spy game. Valve has put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing each of the nine character classes to life with their own unique, and very well done voice-overs. Combined with the wonderful, cartoony art direction inspired by the likes of Norman Rockwell, Valve has created a near flawless rendition of what is likely to remain one of the most popular team-based FPS games of all time.

    Saturday, October 4, 2008

    Lack of updates again:

    Things are starting to slow down for me in the feedback department. I know I haven't been around to post much in the past week or so, but I've been really busy with some important things that have cropped up lately. Blizzcon is fast approaching, and I have a few things to take care of before I go.

    If all goes well, I may be moving to California soon. =]