July 17, 2008

17th July patch - PvP stats and attributes

The 17th July patch introduced a number of new things to the game, improved UI, Line-Of-Sight check at the end of spell casts, and various bug fixes among them. A whole new PvP stat window and a separate bar for PvP exp were added as well, although it seems these aren't working at all yet.

I'm not sure if these new PvP attributes (such as invulnerabilities or health/mana/stamina taps) will only be gained from new PvP gear, or from old PvE/crafted gear as well. The latter seems more likely to me; some sort of modifier could also be applied. For example, a gear which gives 1% invulnerability in PvE could give only half that amount in PvP. This is of course only speculation; I really hope Funcom will soon provide reliable and detailed info on a major addition to the game like this.

Now for a bit of a laugh, mouse over the new attributes in your PvP tab and you will see things like "ShieldChemicalAC", "ShieldNanoAC", and so on. It seems Funcom did a splendid Copy>Paste job from their 7 year old sci-fi MMORPG, Anarchy Online!

July 14, 2008

My conflagration demonologist build

Seeing how I introduce myself as a demonologist in the blog description, I thought it wouldn't hurt to actually tell a little about my character. He's a short guy who lives in Wildsoul and enjoys setting things on fire. Here are a few screenshots from his endless wandering around Hyboria looking for more flammable stuff:

Demonologist in Kheshatta Demonologist in Tortage
Demonologist in Khopshef Demonologist in Conarch Village

As I'm sure you already understood, I'm playing a conflagration demonologist. Us demonologists are forced to specialize in one school of magic (either fire or lightning) by means of reducing our magical rating severely, and then buffing it with a spell - but only either for lightning or fire this time. It is theoretically possible to use both schools effectively by putting 5/5 points into Archmage feat (general Mage tree), but I don't see much point in that, not to mention you won't have enough points to get the 'good' feats in both Havoc and Conflagration trees. Note that magical rating plays no role in PvP, so even conflagration demonologists will be able to use some lightning spells (most notably Shockstrike and Storm Roots) to their full effect (minus all the bonuses given by Havoc tree, of course).

Personally I went the "fire" route right from the beginning since it's effects just seemed so much "cooler" to me than those of lightning. That is to say, I would have stuck with conflagration even if it was considered the weaker tree, but it really isn't. Both Havoc and Conflagration have their uses, with Havoc delivering a bit less dps but having better CC and I believe higher burst (temporary) damage as well. Here are the main good points (in my opinion, of course) of the Conflagration tree:

  • Gates of Hell: awesome 10 second root that also damages your enemies.
  • Let Them Burn: powerful channeled AoE spell, great against groups of mobs or players.
  • Set's Chosen: -50% to the damage dealt to the demonologist by his Pact with Set and Bloody Pact with Set buffs (with 5/5 points invested). Makes you able to deal damage with Pacts on without commiting suicide!
  • Phase Out: a buff to your Planar Shift spell, with 2/2 points invested the spell will now give you 50% evade (as well as other bonuses) for 6 seconds.
  • Hell's Blood: boosts the Vile Ambrosia buff given by your pet. This gives all your group a very nice in and out of combat regeneration.
  • Greater Flames: doubles the cast time of your main single-target nuke (Fires of Gehenna) and increases it's damage by 200%. The only feat in Conflagration that allows us to actually deal some serious burst damage.
  • Combustion: with 2/2 points, this makes your Hellfire Stream an instant-cast spell, although it reduces the cooldown to 3 seconds. This increases your dps as well as gives you a second (!) instant-cast spell for PvP in addition to Shockstrike.
I'm only a few bars from hitting lvl80. and here's the demonologist build I decided to use. Note that I'm missing Hell's Blood from the list of good feats above - I decided to get Chaos Imps instead, and haven't really found where else to take points from. If you decide to use this build by any chance, you might want to consider putting only one point into Gates of Hell (the rest don't seem to do much at all, although some say they increase the damage dealt by GoH slightly) and get Hell's Blood instead. My alternate build would be this one; Fields of Fire isn't that useful at all, but I'd probably take any feat that boosts my nuke, no matter how slightly. Alternatively you can take those 3 points from Fields of Fire and put them wherever you want.

As you can see I haven't put any points in the hate reduction talents and Misdirection. This is a build mostly for group PvP, or so I'd like to think. I only got to lvl80 just now, and it will also take a while for my guild to "grow" enough to be able to participate in any real mass PvP, so I am yet to test it out there. I seem to be doing alright in 1vs1 and PvP minigames though - for a demonologist, anyway :-)

July 10, 2008

Weekly poll - game content

This week's poll is about the type of game content you prefer (PvE or PvP). As you know Age of Conan has both (in form of endgame raiding and massive PvP siege combat) which is probably a nice strategy since it attracts different kinds of players. Personally, I'm playing on a PvP server, but I have some interest in PvE content as well (even though I'm not really a raiding player). Let's see what other players think!

Last week's poll was about the character classes. Here are the results:

I found some of these surprising. Tempest of Set and Priest of Mitra being the most played classes wasn't a surprise at all, but strangely Guardian made it into top 3 as well. Assassin is one of the least played classes, and that makes sense considering their poor performance in PvE and PvP.

July 7, 2008

Age of Conan Quick Start

I have been using AoCQS for a while and I really love it since it saves so much time when launching Age of Conan. This cool little program lets you skip intro videos automatically and even start the game without the annoying scan of local files. It also has a number of other interesting options, such as performance-boosting ones (which I have enabled, although I haven't noticed much of an FPS increase) and stability-related tweaks like automatic deletion of the shader cache before each launch.

Age of Conan Quick Launch
I'm usually very cautious when it comes to software like this, but AoCQS seems safe enough. At any rate, a huge number of people (over 30k) are using it. You can download the program from ConanMods and even get support from the author in the official forums.

July 3, 2008

Weekly poll - player class

Let's find out the most (and least) popular classes with this week's AoCBlog poll. Since it has been over a month since the launch of Age of Conan, I expect most players will have found the most appealing class for them. Personally, I'm still sticking with my Demonologist - the damage it can deal isn't what I expected (considering the squishiness of the class) but it's still the closest to offensive mage that I usually like to play in MMOs.

The last week's poll was about Age of Conan rating. The result was 3.39/5 or 6.78/10, a respectable score, but nothing like the ratings most gaming portals have been giving to AoC. There barely were any 'best' votes (5), but the majority of players gave it a 4, which shows they still enjoy the game despite it's flaws. I think this kind of rating reflects the current state of the game much better than, say, 9.4 that Gamezone gave it.

On another note, I'm finally done with my exams, so I'll have more time for all the good stuff (including AoC), and of course getting back to regular posting here in AoCBlog.