Posted in January 2013

Roadmaps and Rapid Rounds

Meanwhile, in games which aren’t Guild Wars 2, Planetside 2 is going pretty well. Getting the K/D out of the way right now, I seem to be consistently coming in at 0.3 or so, which is similar enough to my six years of on and off Planetside 1 play. Sometimes I finish a night with over 1.0! It doesn’t matter though, because the main reason I loved Planetside 1 was the sheer spectacle of the ongoing massive fighting, which very much exists in the sequel.

The differences between the first and second games are many and varied, but the essential spirit of the game seems intact. The art and engine are both huge improvements on the first game, delivering a very modern feel to basic gameplay, on a par with current console shooters in a way that Planetside 1 never really managed against Counterstrike and its contemporaries.

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I, Mesmer: Shattering

Guild Wars 1 has Attributes, alterable point scores in four or five disciplines for each class, which govern how powerful the skills of that discipline are, and also which carry some innate passive effects as well. For the Memser, these would be Fast Casting, Domination, Inspiration and Illusion. One of these would be the Primary Attribute (Fast Casting for the Mesmer), and unique to that class. It was this, and the armour piece stats, which would make a Mesmer/Ranger subtly different to a Ranger/Mesmer, who would get Expertise instead.

Guild Wars 2 has gone with a more conventional Talent Tree style of customisation, often using the same names, but something of the spirit of the Primary Attribute lives on in the Profession Mechanic. This is different for each class and usually involves the F1-F4 keys, and the UI area just above the Weapon Slots. For the Mesmer, this is Shattering.

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How To Murder Time 2.08

This week Jon finally watched Dredd and discovers MMOs, while Tim is really into a first person shooter and bringing mystery objects into the podcast for show and tell.


I, Mesmer: Spear and Trident

New and different in Guild Wars 2 is Underwater Combat. All characters start life with a miraculous Aqua Breather item in the appropriate slot which makes all inhabitants of Tyria amphibious! Its actually a bit of a stat-holding placebo designed to trick the nervous fish-people of Tyria into using their previously untested gills – try going deep and then unsloting the breather; nothing happens! All a bit creepy! Many of the zones contain large expanses of deep water, often with important hearts, vistas and events going on in them, and of course fighting.

The texture of underwater combat is quite different to the usual land-based shenanigans, and requires a slightly different, three-dimensional mindset which many players can find tricky. Without the ground as a familiar distance and perspective cue it can be tricky to judge ranges, particularly with point-blank melee-based underwater weapons, and of course, enemies can come at you from all directions, not just the horizontal.

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I, Mesmer: Elite Slot

The cornerstone of any exotic quirky Comedy Mesmer Build in Guild Wars 1 was always the Elite Skill. You’d only be allowed one of these in a bar at a time, and they had to be captured off monster Bosses out in the wide world, using the Signet of Capture. This was an element of game play that struck a particular affinity with me. I loved it and over about five long years I eventually ended up completing the Legendary Skill Hunter title, gained by capturing every Elite Skill in all three Guild Wars Campaigns, about 140 of them in total. Go me!

An Elite Skill was typically a powerful thing, opening up entirely unexpected play styles, or in other cases offering a much more powerful version of a normal skill you used a lot anyway. Builds on wikis were typically named for the Elite Skill in use. They were powerful and significant. How has that translated into the newer game?


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How To Murder Time 2.07

This week Jon got eaten by a crocodile and continues to get annoyed by iPhone games while Tim has worrying thoughts about MMOs. We also say bad things about one of the darlings of the Indie PC scene, but you’ll have to listen to find out which one.

Warning: this show contains iced tea.


How To Murder Time 2.06

In this episode of How To Murder Time Tim goes mad at the Christmas events in the MMOs he’s been playing and Jon goes in search of the ideal iPhone game without actually wanting to play that kind of game.

I, Mesmer: Utility Slots

For me, a good Comedy Mesmer Build has always been about searching through a vast list of obscure skills, finding hidden gems and utilising them in unexpected or unusual ways. The first game was a treasure trove in this regard, with around 180 skills to choose from in the Mesmer list alone, and double that when dual-classing.

The sequel is more limited, offering the modern Mesmer twenty Utility Skills to be used in the three Utility Slots you eventually unlock access to. With seven of the ten skill slots fixed in purpose, perhaps the Utility Slots hold a glimmer of the old meta-skill of build-craft, being the one place where a quirky mix of skills can be allowed to interact in unusual ways. Can a comedy build exist in only three skills? Continue reading

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