Recently, Gamer Geoff posted a “call for discussion” on his site. In the spirit of participiation – and that my long-winded ramblings tend to take up far more space than a mere comment box allows – here goes!
1.) Lag is not gone, but it does seem to be maybe getting better?
Being completely honest, I never really had that much of an issue with lag in the past. Sure, my current living arrangement involves a temperamental router that likes to disconnect me randomly (and yes, it’s the router – this should be resolved in the next few weeks), but that aside, it never really plagued me. Lately, however, it seems that I’m experiencing more frequent and brutal lag spikes – not short-lived bursts of isolated stuttering, but full-blown “nobody moves for five to ten minutes while the monsters kill us all” party-wipe spikes. I’m not certain if this is something experienced only on Orien, but from my perspective, it’s certainly becoming more noticeable, not less.
2.) Lots and lots of LFMs on Sarlona, especially during prime time. Pugging is easier than it has been for quite some time.
Oddly, even though I spend 95% of my time either running solo or with a small group of friends, I still keep an eye on the LFM panel.. Mostly for raids or the occasional S/R/E PUG. Orien seemed to have the exact opposite reaction to Monster Champions than was expected – I assume the intent of the unpredictable difficulty increase was to increase PUGging and teamwork to overcome the new challenges. The first night Champions were released, the PUG scene on Orien nearly died. Seriously. I have a screenshot where there were only four (4) LFMs up, and not a single one of them was for Elite difficulty, even though they were all Heroic. For several days, it appeared that PUGging on Orien was on life support; slowly, over time, it has recovered to where it is pretty much back to the population it was at before the Champions launch. I’m not certain if it was because the onset of Champions forced players to tighten up their play together with selected individuals, rather than random groups, or if the champs themselves really scared a bunch of players off; in either case, the LFM panel is once again as healthy as it was beforehand. Having said that, it does appear that there are more LFMs up on off-hours than there were before the onset of Champions – it used to be that the panel would be reduced to ten or twelve LFMs at two in the morning EST, and now there’s typically twenty. Prime time appears to stil have the same saturation.
So that response looks to be more about Champs than the LFM panel, but for my home server, at least, the health of the two in recent months has been inextricably linked. The day before monster champs at 10pm? Thirty-one LFMs. The night they were released, at the same time? 4. The night after? 5. I can’t call that coincidence.
3.) After so many years watching Bards be such an unusual niche build, it is weird to see them everywhere. But I do. Everywhere.
SO MUCH BARDZ. Seriously. I was in a Caught in the Web run a few nights ago that had no less than eight (8) bards in it. While I fully understand that when a tree is revamped, folks will flock to it to check out all the newness, the bard revamp happened ages ago in DDO time. To be honest, I’m kind of tired of bards, now. The whole idea of a “flavor of the month” build is that it lasts a short while – the whole battlebard concept was getting tired in December, and it’s now March. One cannot say that the new bards are bad – and I’m happy they got a nice revamp, because they sorely needed it – but it’s hard to remain excited about something you’ve seen done over and over again. And over again. And over again. And over again. OH LOOK, ANOTHER BARD JUST RAN BY.
4.) Guild airship portals are cheap, and I have a lot of them. But I wish they were built into the game as an available-anywhere feature rather than something extra you have to buy.
I have to honestly state that I have no real opinion on this topic, mostly because I’ve never used one. Sure, I see them being used on occasion from other players, but.. really, that’s about it. About the only comment I would have is regarding “other folks'” portals – it’d be nice if, when opened, an airship portal could either a) be usable by anyone to teleport them to their respective guild ship, or b) be labeled with what guild actually opened it. (If the latter already occurs, I’m retarded and haven’t noticed yet. –Ed.) For the most part, however, I don’t really care if ship buffs run out – I did far too many hours questing in Eveningstar last night without them, because I couldn’t be bothered to run back – so that probably adds to my clearly-biased indifference on the airship portal. If I were being completely honest, even if an “airship portal vendor for plat” were to open up, I’d still probably not use them… it’d just be one more thing to carry around.
5.) I am so looking forward to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Probably too much; can any new content live up to expectations like this?
Being that my brain tends to automatically argue both sides of an issue (whether I want it to or not… grr), I’m putting myself down for this as “cautiously ecstatic.” What I’d like to see is a rift entrance to Greyhawk, the villages of Hommlet and Nulb, and then the Temple itself, spread through the course of half a dozen quests each with the grandiosity of The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar. What I’m cautious (and worried) is that they will attempt to cram the entirety of the Temple of Elemental Evil experience into a single quest; while Haunted Halls worked masterfully – and is still one of my favorite quests in the game – the scope of the Temple doesn’t lend itself to such an application. Heck, the village of Hommlet alone could result in an entire quest in a vein similar to that of The Battle for Eveningstar. Having shared that bit of apprehension, allow me then to say ZOMG PORTALS TO ANOTHER D&D GAMEWORLD AND TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL!!!!!!!!!!one!!!!11!!! Not just new content, but new content in one of the greatest adventure modules in the history of Dungeons & Dragons? If the level designers for Haunted Halls are working on it, and they get the time to do it right – please, Turbine, delay launch and give them the time to do it up proper-like if it comes to that, I’d much rather wait for brilliance than given premature poo – then this should be absolutely amazing. There’s a lot to live up to when working with these classic modules, and I can only hope that my fears are unwarranted. And, just to plant a seed for the future… we can haz Caverns of Chaos next? Plz? Priddy plz? Wiff a cherry on top?