Thursday, March 06, 2008

After getting kicked in the nuts for two weeks straight, a punch to the face is like cake.

So there is finally an update note that I actually care about, or at least partially care about, or probably wouldn't care about at all if the last two weeks of updates hadn't been filled with Pankration updates, new emote dances, and other fucking irrelevant shit. Well, lets get right to it.

A number of job and battle system adjustments have been scheduled for the next version update.
  • New Magic and Job Abilities
A host of new magic and job abilities will be added to a number of jobs for the next version update. For example, teleport spells for the white mage, a warp spell for the black mage, sneak ninjutsu for the ninja, elemental spirit MP absorption ability for the summoner, and new automaton weapon skills for the puppetmaster.

Additions and adjustments are also in store for the two new jobs introduced in the Wings of the Goddess expansion.
For the dancer, adjustments will include shortened ability delay to six seconds for all waltzes used when trance is in effect. Adjustments for the scholar will see an increase in the maximum number of charges available for stratagems, and a reduction in charge time.

Apart from job abilities, new status-specific status icons will be also introduced to further enhance playability.
  • Shortened Immobility Duration
The issue whereby certain restoration magic causes the character to become temporarily immobile, will be addressed. Up until now, casting cure on a character immediately after they initiate the attack command will result in that character becoming unable to move until spellcasting is complete, even after they have assumed battle stance. This immobility duration will be reduced drastically with the next version update.
What all this really amounts to is this:
  1. Teleport spells for WHM - Depending on the placement of the telepoints these will be anywhere from useful to complete waste of time.
  2. Warp spell for BLM - Depending on where this sends you these will be anywhere from useful to complete waste of time. Sound familiar? And BLM's thought they had it bad when they were just D2 bitches after events, now they might even have to deal with picky people wanting a certain D2. Unless, of course, its Warpga, then they are much better off.
  3. Sneak ninjustu for NIN - I am going to stab the popular opinion right in the eye here and go ahead and say that this better be above level 37. The last thing crafters need is another one of their crafting items that actually sells destroyed because people will just use these instead. And they will stack to 99, so it's not like their will be an even trade off between those that gain a new craft from this. And as a totally nerdy response to the totally nerdy comment that "NIN's are Ninjas, they should have a sneak spell because they are sneaky." Ok, look nerd, Ninjas are indeed sneaky, that is why they get the stealth trait. Ninja spells in the game are fashioned after a traditional view of Ninjas, not some modern Americanized/Animized version that are magical or something. Think of the invisibility as the shattering egg with the puff of smoke that covers their retreat but in a game related context. Yes, oh mega-nerd, I understand that it is a game and SE can do whatever they want, but they were using a style in the game that was drawn from a historical perspective. Now they are just tossing that out the window for a little fan service. God, that speech felt so hypocritical. LOL
  4. Elemental MP absorption ability for SMN - Really, couldn't care less. All I know is that when I am leveling SMN, I will do it ostensively as a WHM. It's probably the job I know the least about and care the least about in the entire game. Yeah, while you were collecting every single last Esper in FFIII, I was kicking Kefka's face in with Locke, Sabin, Edgar and Shadow. Sure they did a ton of damage, but stabbing was so much more fun.
  5. New Automaton WS for PUP - Cool, I guess, if anyone cared. Cynical enough for ya?
I sure hope there is more than this, because these look neat I guess, but they don't alter the game in any real way. There were a bunch more adjustments they were looking into, but like I said before most of them sounded pretty retarded. True tanking WAR's and melee RDM's, is this 2004?

For the new jobs, changes were inevitable, but I don't think that Dancer really need any tweaks, I mean this just basically makes Dancer have a full time Benediction ability for however long Trance is active. If you are going to make it like Dancer Manafont then you need to limit it based on recast time, if you are going to make it like Chainspell, then limit their TP pool. Giving them both just pushing WHM more to the side than they already were by Dancer. As much as people scream, whine and cry for new and better things, obsolescence is always a dangerous path to take. Bgalvin left I comment a couple of days ago pointing out that Byakko's Haidate still being top notch gear is a bad thing, but I have railed against this in many a post. WoW and EQII both have this problem. WoW essentially destroyed all of the work that everyone in the game had done up until that point when they released their first expansion, and it looks like they are going to do it again with this new expansion. EQII just kills anything they have already done in every patch just to have new things for people to do. For longevity, you need to add new things that are harder to do in tiers, and you need to fill gaps, or you need to make the next upgrade very, very hard to get. If you do not do that then you are just pissing over all of the work that people have already spent years on. And this is the reason why, despite all of the moaning and wailing, FFXI has maintained an incredibly steady player base. Yes, WoW has millions of more players, but they were in the right place at the right time, FFXI was before it's time. I am not trying to directly compare FFXI and WoW on anything other than obsolescence, because if WoW was released earlier or FFXI released later, the games would have been different. I am just saying that timing more than anything played a role in WoW's success, so citing it's success as a validation of it's construction will fall on deaf ears to me. I mean, how many people that you know that quit FFXI are back? And how many new FFXI people have you met since WoW was released. If you say not many, then you either lying or don't get out of the Mog House much. LOL Consistency is the first rule of MMO's, if you destroy that, you can destroy a game, evidenced by the utter collapse of Star Wars: Galaxies. So, Bg is wrong about Byakko's Haidate, and ultimately about how gear should be improved upon. The same theory applies to jobs, and this is why just handing out abilities and neat trinkets to new jobs without considering how they effect old jobs is bad. BLM's were tossed from merit parties and their wasn't even a change in the game, but more of a discovery on how to exploit the games mechanics. WHM's were already marginalized from these parties too, but at least they can sometimes take part, but giving another job an improvement upon someone that that another job specializes is just change for change sake. SE puts so much consideration into some of the games balancing while almost wholly ignoring other aspects. In the end, what the game needs instead of new trinkets, is a set of balanced abilities that has some kind of general draw for every job to a party situation, and to an end-game situation. Now, hold on! I am not saying that all jobs should be equal far from it! I am saying that maybe SE should take a look not at the job by itself but how it operates in a party, you know that fundamental basis of the game that SE made essential to any potential advancement, and then add something to the jobs that need it to make it more attractive in those situations. Give more -ga buffs (hastega for WHM), give more short term buffs (short duration accuracy and attack bonuses, etc.), give them stuff we know they should have for someone (regain), give them amplifications (BLM gets a buff they can put on another that decreases resists to skillchains), the list goes on and on. Don't make them better or strong that a BRD's songs or a COR's rolls, just make them so that when people do a /search and don't see a BRD or COR seeking they don't just give up. Once you add these party amplification buffs you can spread the wealth on the old "must have to make a party" abilities. Maybe give out Haste to a few more jobs, Gravity, Refresh? Maybe not to start, but if you tweak it so that those new abilities make it so that the old abilities while still greatly beneficial, are not absolutely required, you will have balanced the game, added new content that is better than the old content without completely making the old content obsolete, and added new options for the future. There is always a danger going down this path but as long as they go slow, which SE seems to have no trouble with, they can chart a new path, and not just make ad-hoc adjustments that force more and more jobs to larger and larger margins.
So, as I was saying, the Dancer changes are retarded.

Scholar? Definitely needed, and they did one of the best things they could do to tweak the job and improve it. Stratagems are powerful and they can be abused if there are too many, but they can also be too weak if they don't get enough of them. And the fact that a SCH subjob only gets one every four minutes is kinda useless. Also, man, they can get more creative with the Stratagems too. Give a stratagem that lets you cast one spell as Light while Dark Arts is up? How about one that shortens the recast of a spell (HINT, HINT WEATHER EFFECT SPELLS) since you are already stealing from BLM and WHM, why not steal from RDM too! Also, they could do so much more with their "battlefield knowledge" like giving elemental DoT's that give the status effect of their element. Dark = Blind, Water = Poison, Earth = Slow, or better yet Break, etc. Make them really powerful but really short like the Helices, and have whether being a large modifier, etc. Make two tiers for whether effects and helices. Or add two of my ideas together and add make a tier two Helix that has those additional effects. Or if you don't want to do any of those, just give Scholar Regain, it fits the storyline (they are battlefield mages which enhance the strength of others) and it gives them a role to play end-game. More charges is a good thing, but does it make Scholar's role unique in the game? Hardly. If balanced well it will strengthen the job as a WHM or BLM or both, but it wont make it anymore of a Scholar. But that then only runs the risk of further marginalizing WHM and BLM again.

So as I was saying, the Scholar changes are good, but more are needed.

Status-specific icons? Rock my world, baby. Man, it is retarded that we have 1 icon for anything that increases our attack and one for defense, etc. Souleater, Berzerk, Hasso and Barrage aren't even close in form or function, but when I am trying to figure out which is up and which isn't I either have to remember where they fall in the list of buffs at the top of the screen or I have to cycle through to check them. I don't know if they are just talking about Scholar buffs here or all game buffs. If it's Scholar buffs thats fine because they both use the same damn icon and I have to check if I have the one I want up if I have been idle for more than a minute or so, but I sure would like a complete overhaul of the icon system. And while you are at it! Lets get some more in-game animations for statuses. I am talking about buffs, debuffs, anything that gives you or the mob a status icon. And don't you parrot PS2 limitations either! It's in the freaking game already! Mobs in ToAU areas already sleep! And it doesn't even have to be that often, just every 5-10 seconds toss up a Z~Z~Z animation at the head of the mob if you put it to sleep. If it's poisoned make a few poison bubbles pop up, and maybe tint the mob a little purple. You can do this for all of the statuses, and if it gets to be too much, just have the most recent applied pop up. Or the better solution would be to have them all on some kind of rotation timer, so that each one gets there own little slot of time in a ten second period. This would be pretty easy to do based on SE in game time system. If you are worried about animations, just turn them off in the config. And you could do the same thing for buffs, Berzerk, Warcry, etc. I would be much less averse to the idea of grouping together buffs if you they are animated. An attack up effect would just give a little flame animation and maybe a slight red tint. Or as an alternative to all of that graphical stuff, just add a series of icons that appear above the name of the character when the character is engaged on a mob. This will prevent people from just walking around with stacks of buffs in Whitegate or whatever. Ultimately, I think there should be some kind of graphical indication of the status effects in the game on players and mobs. The only difference it would make besides convince is that it would let people know when someone else's buff or debuff has worn. And that really isn't a bad thing at all. For everything else it just has to do with chat filters, and how quickly you can screen everything that flashes by way too fast. The way that I read the update is that we are all getting new status effect icons, and I will be displeased if they stop at just Scholar.

Spell-lock fix. This is good and long overdue, I mean come on, there is no reason I should be standing there essentially stunned while being healed. We all have experienced this and sometimes to our own demise. But really, this is just one small facet of the spell-lock problem. Another, more substantial problem occurs when you are already engaged or have no plans on engaging, but what you really want to do is just GTFO. But if you were just standing when the spell was initiated on you, you have to wait until it terminates to be able to move again. I assume this will be covered by this portion of the update, but that almost definitely means that it will not be covered just to spite me. They also say that "this immobility duration will be reduced drastically" but what are they reducing? Either it spell-locks you or it doesn't. The pretty obvious reading is just that you will be able to move again earlier than when the spell is supposed to go off, which means it won't just effect engagement but also standing to movement time, but not necessarily a given. I just hate the way they word things, always open for interpretation.

So, at least this update had something but lets put it all together and see what we are getting, lets make two nice columns shall we? Key to levels of suck: Suck = Suck, Meh = Meh, Not Suck = Not Suck, Woohoo = Woohoo.

Update InfoLevel of suck
Update AnnouncementMeh
New Campaign ElementsWoohoo
SCH and DNC AFNot Suck but for some I can see this being Woohoo.
Wings MissionsNot Suck
New EquipmentCould be Suck to Woohoo, but right now it gets a temporary WTF.
Battle MusicUmmm... people play mage jobs? Meh.
Monster Name Text Color ChangesNot Suck
Macro SavingPotential for Woohoo, but if it's used to ban people for using Windower macros this could be the biggest mega-Suck ever.
Fellowship Crap.Suck, really suck, there is a whole lot of suck going on here. And if you say you love fellows, blah, blah, I am just going to go ahead and stab you right in the face.
Dancing EmotesSuck
Adventurer RecruitmentCome on, give me a break. Suck!!!
Emperor BandWoohoo to Woohoo++ (See below)
Magic and Job AbilitiesWoohoo (See below)
Shortened Immobility DurationWoohoo (See below)

Overall the Update notes so far have been a mediocre Meh+ with the day of Fellows and Pankration being the most Suck in one Update since the RNG nerf. As for the notes, the Emperor Band should go down like this: if you use it, it makes the Signet effect give you an XP bonus up to +15% depending on your rank. So rank 1 would be 5% and rank 10 would be 15%. This would mimic pretty well the Sanction bonus in Aht Urhgan areas and would be A-MAZ-ING for clearing up the congested XP areas there. I mean, there are no places like some of the camps in Aht Urghan, but the alternatives would be great. Sky, Sea, Kuftal Tunnel, Lufaise Meadows, Boyhada Tree, the list goes on and on. And this is something that most people don't realize because their minds have numbed from XPing in Aht Urhgan for so long, but the base XP for mobs in the older areas is higher than in Aht Urhgan. I doubt this is going to be what they give us, but hey I man can wish can't he? What about the last two Woohoos? Well, I don't think they would be Woohoos if the rest of the update notes hadn't be so totally awful. And here is where we get the title of today's post, if you have trained yourself to set your standards low, then any improvement looks better in comparison to crap that came before. Now, if the update notes had been "New Relic Weapons!" and "Sandworm is gonna drop some cool shit now!" then these two items would still be cool, but their comparative coolness would fade. And what about those Relic Weapons? Whats up with the insanely vague New Equipment post? With all Aht Urhgan style weapons? My guess is that we are going to see more information on the Aht Urhgan relic weapons here, and that update note will actually be the most important one of the entire set, and SE is just playing it cool.

Bonus update note: AV Video? Biggest Woohoo tease turned into a Suck ever! :(

Am I done ranting for the day? Yeah, probably, but hey, everyone loves a good rant post every once in a while.

So, I use this thing called StatCounter to stalk everyone that reads my blog! No, but really, its more to get an idea of how many people read my blog and where they link in from. It's usually one of three places, Google, BG Forums or TTTO (Tarutaru Times Online, it's Wyred's site you should check it out). Anyway, I hadn't checked it in a while, so I peaked around yesterday and I found this: If you look at the ISP, it plain as day says Square Enix, but the location is the Isle of Man, which if you don't know your British geography is a small little and pretty desolate island between Great Britain and Ireland. My guess is that is the placement for "we are hiding our exact location" for the UK or Europe. Either way, unless someone is masking themselves as Square Enix, then that means that someone, somewhere at mother fucking SQUARE ENIX, reads my blog. Man... thats just cool. NOW LISTEN TO MY RANT TODAY! Anyway...

In other news, I actually did play the game yesterday, and got my WHM to 49 and only about 1.3k to 50. 50 is irrelvent to me because all of the sweet, sweet mage gear is at 51. That is where I want to be sometime today or tomorrow, I don't care how late I have to stay up. I will do it through Campaign if I have to but I am going to get my Light Staff, Dark Staff and Serket Ring if it freaking kills me!

Thats it. If that wasn't enough for you then, man, it's time for you to get two straight weeks of nut-kicking.


Anonymous said...

Entertaining post, even disagreeing with some of your comments. My expectations are so low and I'm still playing so much existing content, that I'll be pleasantly surprised by anything. Usually the changes I use and enjoy the most are one-liners like accessing lockers at nomad moogles, not switching residences, etc.

Here from TTTO btw. ;)


Omoikitte said...

Speaking as a British person, who is considerably closer to the Isle of Man than you, AND from the fact that I have been there more than once, I can agree... yes it is small.. but small does not = desolate! Maybe the Calf of Man, which is a bird reserve anyway, and you aren't allowed to land there unless you have a special permit, but the Isle of Man is far from desolate.

Anonymous said...

Your thoughts are exactly the same as mine regarding the update. All SE do is dance around the issues in game. I'm also hoping Snk Ninjutsu is +38, it shouldn't be in the game anyway... even crappy American films know that you can hear a ninja in the woods but just not see them -_- ... l'll stop my rant :x

Crossing my figures that youre right about the emperor band! Im betting it just costs a tonne of CP in a lame attempt to make people party in the middle lands so they can afford it >_>

...that wasn't meant to be a pun about dancing...

Millions Knives said...

(^ Millionsknives)

Anonymous said...

more like the fellowship npc does the sucking!!!