Friday 7 August 2015

Totally Useless Items (Staff Version) in HOTL3

For any gaming developer, it is a constant battle to balance between fun and challenge. Like any games, items or equipment makes or breaks the game. Players will not be attracted to a game if equipment are useless like props. In a game where good item designs are widely available, the items soon lose their significance. If coveted legendary items takes far too much resources to attain, players eventually lose their motivations to play. A pay-for-benefits model used to work until developers realise such a model may not be as sustainable as it was initially perceived, as their core non-playing players eventually leave the game due to the vast differences between paying players and non-paying characters.

In Guildwars 2, they tried something different. Players are encouraged to pay for "extras" but these are often nothing but aesthetically pleasing effects. For example, a paying player will be able to buy a staff of the same stats of one where non paying players will be able to obtain with their own effort in the game but it will look way better and invoke awesome effects when activated in battle. Other examples include items designed for fun or spoofs during festive or story events in the game. The game managed to hold their audience for years while obtaining adequate profits by the creative selling of a constant spectrum of items. Population has only dwindled recently due to other reasons, irrelevant of this topic. Overall, GW2 has done well with item management.

In HOTL3, the challenges that game masters face is far more challenging, due to the fact that a MUD is after all, a text-based game. The best thing that can be done to a newly introduced item is making it look better than ordinary items by the creative use of ascii codes, without putting the game out of balance. The real challenge though, is to decide how powerful an item it shall be. If it is useless, it will automatically be binned to the depths of oblivion like thousands of items in HOTL3. In my opinion, the game have way too many of such items. To be fair, I know little of the game's history. Thus some of these items may be designed many years ago as a joke and players of the past may have enjoyed their fair bouts of amusements. Fast forward to today, game items are introduced in mythic form, at a very modest rate due to the the lack of manpower in the developing team. I will have to say that most mythic items in the game at the moment are not bad. It has a good share of bad ones (maybe intended) that players head to the shops for immediate extraction. I know that because my clannies share the legendary drops moments with whoever online and I counted the number of howls and moans as compared to tears of joy. You should have been there when someone gets a Hateful Shard. The comments were hilarious. In my opinion the mythic items are still a the conservative side, hardly tugging the imaginative feelers of players yet. There are positive signs that may change for the better in future. For example the newly introduced Transcendence Rings will no doubt have a place for any player's bank slots.

What we really do not want though, is an introduction of totally useless items that players will never, ever use. With the limited resources at the moment, it will be a total waste of time to commit into such designs. Such as the following examples: (please take it in a light hearted manner) 

Name: a teapot
Level: 31
Area: Wonderland
Type: staff
Mat: ceramic
Stats: 1403/1403 charges of level 35 create spring
Attrib: mana 25 int 3 glow

That's some hardcore water producing mage there.

Name: an [Evil]->Gem
Level: 35
Area: Ultima
Type: staff
Mat: crystal
Stats: 1035/1035 charges of level 60 fire breath
Attrib: dark anti good anti neutral int 6 mana 50

How the fuck are we supposed to use this?!

Name: box of matches
Level: 44
Area: Descent to Hell
Type: staff
Mat: wood
Stats: 1704/1704 charges of level 48 prot fire
Attrib: glow

Would you expect a Fire Mage to fight all the way to hell to have a mob beating the daylights out of him in order to obtain a staff - as heavy as it can get in the inventory - that grants him a slight bonus to cast .... protection from fire?

Name: a green serpentine staff
Level: 17
Area: Old Thalos
Type: staff
Mat: poison
Stats: 1068/1068 charges of level 20 plague
Attrib: glow

Just 1 question. Since no player can possibly cast plague at level 17, why will any item designer expect any players to be interested in casting a level 20 version of their level 32 core attacking spell?

Name: a golden flute
Level: 22
Area: High Tower of Sorcery
Type: staff
Mat: gold
Stats: 1352/1352 charges of level 22 iceball
Attrib: int -6 invis

Same as the above. They purposely made this invis and deduct 6 from your intellect to show how stupid you are to use it.

Name: a wyvern mount
Level: 17
Area: Castle Reinhold
Type: staff
Mat: wood
Stats: 1272/1272 charges of level 15 fly
Attrib: move 30

That's a lot of flying to do, considering some newbie's E0 fly do nothing more than my E12 fly, do we need an item to "make a difference?"

Name: magic Carpet
Level: 26
Area: Playpen
Type: staff
Mat: wool
Stats: 1598/1598 charges of level 20 fly
Attrib: hitroll 2 damroll 1 glow

If it isn't enough, here is another design to assist the aerodynamically handicapped.

Name: the Ancient Vessel of Aquarius
Level: 21
Area: Galaxy
Type: staff
Mat: wood
Stats: 1357/1357 charges of level 10 create spring
Attrib: glow anti evil

An awful drought might have occurred in ancient days.

Name: the Red DragonOrb
Level: 33
Area: Sewer
Type: staff
Mat: bone
Stats: 1528/1528 charges of level 20 sanctuary
Attrib: anti good wis 2 int 2 mana 15

I am a level 33 Holy Cleric with the ability to cast Sanctuary of the same level but I am going to wear my staff and cast a level 20 Sanctuary on you! #becauseihatemyclannies

Name: the staff of the dragon
Level: 41
Area: Dragon Tower
Type: staff
Mat: wood
Stats: 1164/1164 charges of level 25 lightning bolt
Attrib: damroll 5 glow

And my powerful level 41 party member sanctified with my level 20 Sanctuary is going to cast his level 25 lightning bolt on that hydra over there!

Name: the lamp
Level: 27
Area: The Great Pyramid
Type: staff
Mat: brass
Stats: 1243/1243 charges of level 25 fly
Attrib: ac -10 hitroll 1 damroll 2 wis 2 anti evil hum glow

What's up with all these flying fetish, can anyone enlighten me?

Tuesday 28 July 2015

You Fail to Masturbate

Chiobu failed to rebirth TWICE in consecutive days and I happened to be online to read his desperate rants.

Unfortunately I was questing and pages were refreshing really fast and before I had the chance to do screenshots, the information was already behind my history limits. Lousy client I have, what to do.

While I could not quote word for word, they went something like that,

"Sibei sian, come fuse me! Anyone, gen 1 also can!"
- boredom after finishing all quests. 

"No more moons already!!!"
- after failing to find a fuser on time. 

"Fuck! I'll rebirth."
- masturbation as the last resort.

"Nabei need 1200kps to rebirth!!! Anyone can lend me 50kps?"
- after finding out the hard truths. (Celine lent the 50kps because I was questing)

"WTF! WTF!!! My blessings potion give me stoneform instead of blessings!" 
- more miscalculations

"Nooooo. I can't play Gen 1 anymore!"
- when someone suggested playing another toon in the meantime

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Rains of Fire Testing for Update on 20/7/15

After the recent change in Rains of Fire, I did a test at a Magic: 145, Mana 30 setting. Mob chosen was Almuhara (lazy to walk) in a fully dispelled state. I stacked AP to 120 and did continuous blasting so it is easier to do a screen capture without snitching up multiple screen shots for the same effect.

According to the changelog  
Rains of fire has been buffed to have higher subsequent damage (+50%)

That sounds like a huge buff. So naturally it got Eken (probably the only other active firemage) and me excited at the prospect of a real boost in our games. Within 5 minutes of the change, Eken tested it and concluded that "play with handphone, cannot see that well."

Upon seeing Eken's lacklustre response, I was considerably less eager in leveling up to 48 to test ROF. I just fused a few hours before the change and my max hp gain dropped to 134 per mob (even if I kill, say, Esper the Gatekeeper) I think Nobody must be insane or feel terribly alienated in real life to somehow Gen Up to >20. But he can do some cool botting tricks to help out and I can't. Thus I am not going to get there for sure. When my tnl reaches the 10k mark, it will be where I'll stop because it is a classic case of diminishing marginal utility. My enjoyment of the game nosedive with this illogical XP gain system. I'll probably play another Gen 1 if I want to bring the grind/enjoyment equation closer to equilibrium. Perhaps I should join Eken in the near impossible project of getting hands for a wraith to play a proper class.

Cutting the bullshit short, this is a result of an E8 ROF at Magic 145, Mana 30, on a fully dispelled Almuhara with a binded ROF staff and a full Integen Set.

And this is my review:

My take remains the same. For me, to make this skill logical, we should choose between a random number of fireballs and a diminishing damage but not both at the same time. Else the skill will be nothing but an over-rated aesthetically pleasing skill. I'll pick diminishing damage as the main issue here. With the diminishing effect, it is probably pointless to have more fireballs. As you can see from the screenshot, the damage beyond the 2nd fireball is negligible, unless we expect players to be fighting fido mutants and get XP out of it by the time we obtain this spell at level 48 (excellent mage rating). Thus, even if ROF is not capped at 5 fireballs max and I will be able to potentially rain 10 fireballs down with high E, the damage remains insignificant after the second fireball. This entirely destroys the beauty of the idea behind the spell.

I think a random number of fireballs is a good idea to keep the spell from being OP. From my observations (can provide data if requested), I rarely achieve 4 fireballs during my battles, seeing mostly 1-2 fireballs for the majority of the casts. So I don't think removing the diminishing effect, leaving the subsequent damage random will make the spell OP. Even with random damage, I will rarely get full fireballs raining down anyway and due to the wide range of damage, it is probably going to get me 2-3 small damage and 1 big one during the luckiest strike. I think that's not a lot to ask for at E8. In fact, it won't be even close to DS, even after its recent nerf. I'll still take the option of getting 1 guaranteed (potentially 2) Megawrecks of typeless damage over 1 Annihilate, 1 devastate and a series dark green fire damage any day.

I'll still recommend potential mages to stay out of the Fire School due to the fact you can't depend on the spells to level up. The only AOE is firestorm, at level 45 (if you can even reach there killing mobs at 134 xp per pop with your magic missiles and flamestrikes hacking away a TNL close to 10k) and the most bitter pill of it all, when you finally get to the grand prize of ROF at level 48, it sucks.

If you think I am over critical on this Spec Spell,  let me put things into perspective. I can achieve this kind of damage with an E5 Iceball (3E less than my ROF) that only requires me 6 slots to obtain (don't even need adept) compared to 21 slots for ROF at 8ap and 11ap respectively.

And the most bitter pill of it all

Thursday 16 July 2015

How to kill Ti'amat, the Ruler of First Hell

I know everyone knows how to to do these. This blog isn't really put up for them anyway. It is compiled for the HOTL3 newbie population (which we have 0 of). Anyway, in the event of a miracle of any who comes our way, he or she will probably enjoy this guide.

Cut the bullshit short. We want to kill Tiamat, the Ruler of First Hell. How?

First, to get there, we have to get through a few areas, notably Descent to Hell, which can be daunting for newbies to navigate, due to the amount of agros lurking around.


Getting to Descent to Hell

1) recall;s;s;w;w;w;w;w;s;d;w;w;n;n;n;  (this will take you to a maze)
2) find gold pile or hunt for farmer's guarddog, it will take you to a room called "A Farmer's House", which leads to... hell?
3) Unlock e; (Kill the dog and get key) e;u;e;open s;s;open s;s;w;d;w;open w;w

Getting to 9Hells from Descent (continue)

Note: It is preferable to have a higher gen player who can cast a higher level of invisibility on you. If you are a base thief, your sneak should be high enough to get through the agro mobs by the time you are ready to face Ti'amat. For other classes, it is highly recommended to get a wand of invisibility along. I'm not sure if the wand can grant invisibility powerful enough, or where to get the wand. I'll update this when I get hold of it and test it out. With yourself properly shrouded, this speedwalk should get you to the entrance of 9Hells from the entrance of Descent to Hell. (you can cut and paste)

w;w;w;w;d;e;s;e;e;n;e;e;s;e;e;n;e;d;d;s;w;w;n;e;s;w;w;w;w;n;w;w;d;d;d;e;e;s;e;e;n;e;e;s;e;e;n;open e;e;s;s;d;open n;n

Getting to Ti'mat from Entrance of 9Hells

n;n;open w;w;w;n;n;n; (this point is recallable);n;w;n;e;open n;

You made it. Ti'mat is just north of you from here.

To kill Ti'mat

To date I have only played two main characters, Dragonspawn and Erdah (the Irda Reines gifted me). So I am unable to write a guide for every class, unless players of other classes are willing to write and contribute. Since you know your own build the best, it's up to you to derive the best way to handle this mob with the following information I can provide from my fight with it. The fighting conditions may not be fully documented. For example, Chaichen mocked at me when I was stunned by Amosdeus a couple of days back because he claimed that he had never saw it stunning during his decades of HOTL3 career. Well, I was very sure I wasn't hallucinating. I was clearly stunned by one of his earth spells (not special ability). A stun is a stun.

From this I am pretty sure I will probably leave out some details that you may encounter in your own fight.

Ti'amat's fighting style:
  • Since this boss is supposed to be a boss, it has pretty high hp so the fight may drag on for a while.
  • Its weapon cannot be disarmed (or maybe it's just me). Thus he will deal high damage throughout the fight.
  • It casts conditions very often. I received Iceball, Electrify, Poison, Disease, Plague and worse, Unholy Pact.
  • Its main damage comes from his melee attacks with occasion Water and Evil spells.
  • Edit: He DOES cast complete heal.

To counter:
  • Most high gen players are trying to max out every possible resists to deal with any mob. Obviously, that isn't attainable at earlier stages so for this fight get your resist phy, resist fire and evil as high as possible. Protection from poison is also recommended.
  • It is a non-recall room but you can flee anytime to a safe room. Just take note the door behind you (south) is open at the crucial moment.
  • Backstabs (that hit) will always be the best solution for any mob in a flee-able room.
  • Ti'mat is weak against Water and Holy. I tried Wind against him and it worked as well as Water. Make sure you equip the right element if you plan to melee him to death or throw your divine shots.
  • Ti'mat does not seems to spell up at all. I did not encounter any spell buff up during my fight. However, I think he probably cast an occasion Sanctuary.
Its loot:

It's nothing to shout about, since I have a great disdain for alignment-locked items. It's just my personal preference. My entire set of equipment has no alignment requirement, which makes me even weaker, coupled with the fact I am probably the only player around my gen without extra limbs.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Azrael the Shambling Shambler

Do not let Azrael's current race fool you. She was born a Shambler one night, under the full moon of Nuitari when the wolves howled miserably. Trained under a master with a wealth of experience, coupled with natural talent, Azrael grew to be one of the deadliest assassin that walked the realms of Krynn. Her reputation gained her such vast recognition among heroes that horny Irdas flocked to mate her, leaving their perfect DNA far within her depths. Eventually, she evolved into one of their kind. Azrael continued to train hard to reach the peak of her potential. 


When I was trying to kill a Shambling Mound this morning, I was hit by a high damage attack somewhere along the lines of "Rubbish throwing attack" or whatever it called it. My mental image of a Shambler was crushed. Azrael was responsible for setting up an unreasonable image of a slick, suave,  beauty of an elite assassin. So I googled to find out what the heck a Shambler is. In the end,


This is how Azrael looks like

Where to Find the Common Quest Mobs in 9Hells

Even with Portal, questing in 9Hells can be a chore. The mobs are not particularly difficult to kill, just terribly annoying. For example, you can be humbled by a lame Erinyes in the mood to do a perma-stun on you. Then, the area designer decided it was a cool idea to grant some quest mobs the ability to log you out of the game. 
That is spectacular. 
I have never played an online game where a mob kicks me out of the game and make me re-login only to found that I have -20 ap and pounded a few more times while I was away. Well, I learn something new everyday in this game. Back to the topic, what is more challenging (for me) about questing in 9Hells isn't the annoying mobs or the fact that every single mob will be healed by my main attacking spell Rains of Fire but the navigation part.
9Hells is one of the biggest areas in the game, if not the biggest. To make things worse, many of the rooms have the exact same title and room description. So I decided that enough is enough and did a little chart to keep my mind sane while I take 9Hells quest. This post will not be enough to cover all the necessary knowledge to quest there efficiently, but that's one for the start.

Common Quests Mobs of 9Hells
3hellMammonBaelBarbed Devil
4hellBelialBearded Devil
5hellAmonGeryonBone Devil
6hellMolochHorned Devil
8hellHutijinMephistophelesIce DevilPit Fiend

Separately, I stole borrowed Maps from Morit to attach here for personal use. The last time I visited his website, all the maps were unavailable due to broken links. We can't let this happen again. Resources of this game is far and between and we should do something to keep them up if we want to continue playing this.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Does Magic/Cost stat really matter?

Had a talk with Chaichen the Legend formerly known as Chaichen the Legend before HOTL3 was relaunched by Thor and he told me HR/DR and MAGIC/COST is not really that crucial as the damage is more or less taken care of by Class Level instead.

I don't disagree with one of these wise sages in the game, especially when I found fighting gradually easier for me as I gen up. It could be due to the higher "E" in the skills or the increase in Class Level itself. There is no way I can test it so I can't see how much it impacts us in damage dealing.

What I can do is, though, test out if there is any differences in damage dealing at 3 different MAGIC/COST levels. I did my damage test on good ol' Almuhara, who was standing there doing nothing useful today.

My results are as follow;

With Magic: 56 Cost 64


With Magic: 168 Cost 15

With Magic: 270 Cost 9

I did several tests for each level but it will be too tedious for me to post every screenshot but I believe I have done enough tests to get a general feeling of the impact of these stats. My conclusion is that the Magic stat does affect damage, as it is obviously shown here in the screenshots but it appears to me that it is not on a straight-line, proportionate setting but rather on a curve that gives diminishing return on the high side. That means damage should be significantly improved from low to medium Magic but more gradual from medium to high.

Another conclusion you may want to draw from this is that, Rains of Fire sucks even at E7. As you can see, I hardly dent Almuhara even on a respectable Magic level of 270. Not only that following fireballs are not guaranteed (in fact, I get 2 balls 75% of the time), most crucially, they will be of half the damage of each of their precedents. Thus even if I have 4-5 balls guaranteed on each attack, I will be dealing next to nothing in damage from the 3rd ball onward, unless you consider dark green damage as something to cheer about. 

Not surprisingly, Eken took my advice to ditch Fire and told me he is loving his new class.