Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Secret World Column: Review In Progress Part 4 – Dungeons & PvP

In the final chapter of my Review in Progress for Funcom’s The Secret World, I’ll be taking a look at both dungeons and PvP. I will admit right here that neither are aspects of any MMO in which I regularly participate. It’s not that I’m against them for any philosophical reasons or deep seeded hatred of player killing. It’s mainly because I am most focused on finishing quests and collecting gear. By the time I hit the mythical ‘end game’, it’s usually time to move on to the next title. Yeah, I know. I’m rather slow that way but, hey, it’s not easy balancing work, kids, family responsibilities and gaming. Add in the fact that LFG is a poor way to find a successful group, PvP just doesn’t do much for me and you have the recipe for a “CAREBEAR”. So sue me.


I spent some time wandering about (or trying to!) in The Secret World’s PvP zones to get an idea what they were like. As for the dungeons…well, I was less successful there. It seems that many players are getting rather snobbish about who they will allow into groups and without a dungeon finder tool, it makes it quite hard to find a PUG. Luckily, I had terrific experiences during a media event not long ago that gives me plenty to write about.


Dungeons in The Secret World are actually pretty interesting and seem to have a lot more people playing them than my experiences with PvP. There is a lot of spamming going on in the public channels as people search for dungeon mates. Luckily, Funcom is working on a Dungeon Finder tool that will reduce this and make it easier for folks to find others to tackle the game’s dungeons with.

What I love about TSW’s dungeons is the fact that they actually have a part to play in the overall story of the game. They’re not just some random encounter thrown in to give players an excuse to take on bosses for epic loot. Sure, there’s that too, but that’s not all. Not only are the dungeons packed with boss monsters that escalate in difficulty and toughness as the group ventures through but the end features what I think of as the “king of the castle”, the final boss that will give players pause to actually think rather than just survive.  It’s not enough to have party members fulfilling the traditional roles of tank, healer and DPS. Winning in a Secret World dungeon requires strategy and cooperation.

In most MMO dungeons, if a player dies, he/she can be resurrected by others and play continues until the end boss is finally brought down. It’s a battle of attrition much more than a battle of skill. In The Secret World, players aren’t given that luxury. If you die, you stay dead (albeit in an anima well nearby) until either the entire team wipes or the boss is finally killed. It’s harsh but it’s something that players seem to really enjoy. I’ve always said that TSW is a “thinking man’s” MMO and dungeons like Polaris and all the rest certainly embody that notion.

Funcom has really capitalized on TSW’s story here and it shows.

PVP: El Dorado, Fusang & Stonehenge

I have to admit that I put of PvP for as long as I possibly could. It’s just not my thing. That others love it and that it’s included in MMOs is great. It should be since the idea is to appeal to a broad base of players in as many ways as possible. Whether is gear or clothing acquisition or participating in several types of PvP, Funcom has done a good job giving players a lot of ways to engage themselves with the game.

In The Secret World there are basically four different ways to engage in PvP:

  • Fight Clubs are where players can take on others to try out new skill builds, etc. These are found in each faction’s city. Matches can be 1v1, 2v2, all the way up to 10v10. These are terrific places for players to try out group dynamics as well.
  • Stonehenge offers players a ‘king of the hill’ experience with faction teams of five scoring points for having the most players inside the stones’ ring or for killing off those inside the ring. Again, strategy is king with teams needing to decide whether it’s better to be in control of the ring or to be the ones on the outside picking off the weaklings.
  • El Dorado brings the traditional “capture the flag” experience into the game with faction teams of ten trying to capture and control relics. Interestingly, teams spawn in the center of the map, everyone together which makes for interesting scenarios for survival!
  • Fusang District is the persistent zone where I found the most activity. The map can hold enormous teams of players all fighting for control of facilities that can grant big bonuses as well as nearby anima wells for resurrection. It’s a huge map that can leave players feeling a bit lost as it can take quite a while to reach the most hotly contested areas of the map.

Honestly, I could not get into either Stonehenge or El Dorado so I have nothing to say about them. I queued up and never managed to get in so I’m not sure if it’s just that those areas are not well-trafficked in favor of the more popular dungeons and warzone or if it was just my bad luck when I tried. I know I’d like to try them out and will keep working at it!

By contrast, Fusang was packed on my server though it didn’t always appear so because of the size of the map and the proclivity for all players to be centered in one or two spots battling for control. It was fun but I was laughingly weak and got ganked most of the time by high level and very skilled players. Still and all everyone seemed to be having a pretty good time though and control points shifted hands often.

Final Thoughts

Basically, Funcom has given players lots of ways to continue playing the game in interesting ways after finishing the main story arc. Dungeons, in my opinion, will continue to draw the most players as they definitely fill in the overall story as well as provide some wickedly awesome battles for players to try their skills on.

It will remain to be seen whether or not PvP as it is right now will continue to engage players. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it seems a bit ‘tacked on’ to the game. The Secret World’s overall strength is in its story and PvP just doesn’t seem to fit in as well as the dungeons do. There’s nothing wrong with it and there are very familiar ways for MMOers to participate but Funcom will have to step up the inclusion of more Stonehenge and El Dorado type maps to hold player interest.

What about you? Love dungeoneering? Tell us about your best and worst experiences! What about PvP? Love it? Hate it? Tell us why in the comments.

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World of Warcraft Patch 5.0.4 on PTR


Patch 5.0.4 Patch Notes a.k.a “What to expect ?”


Account-wide achievements, pets and mounts

In Patch 5.0.4 and beyond, the majority of your character’s achievements, pets, and mounts will be shared with your other characters.

World Event: Attack on Theramore Isle

Warchief Garrosh, obsessed with assuring the Horde’s supremacy over Kalimdor, launches an all-out attack against Jaina’s island home of Theramore. Though valiant Alliance defenders rush to repel the sudden onslaught, they’ll soon find themselves unprepared for the terrible scope of Garrosh’s true plans…

AOE Looting

Area of effect looting comes to World of Warcraft with this patch. After killing a group of enemies in close proximity, when you loot one of their corpses, the loot window will include items from all of the nearby corpses for which you have loot rights.

BattleTag support for World of Warcraft

Players who have enabled their BattleTag will now be able to:

See BattleTag friends in your list.

Add and remove BattleTag friends.

Send BattleTag invites to other players via right-click.


All classes have been updated with a new talent system, improved abilities, and spells (accessible throughout levels 1-85). Your character’s talents have been reset.

Many old talents have been converted to specialization abilities.

Druids now have access to a fourth class specialization: Guardian.

New spells are now learned automatically. Class trainers are only needed to change talents, glyphs, class specialization, or to utilize the dual specialization feature.

All characters now take 30% less damage from other players.


Spell Penetration has been replaced by PvP Power on existing items.

Head enchants removed. Enchants that modify the gear in your head slot have been removed from the game. This includes older head enchants of every type.

Relics, ranged, and thrown items. The slot in which ranged, relics, and thrown items were previously equipped has been removed. All weapons should now be equipped in the weapon slot.

Ranged weapons, including wands, have been adjusted to be more powerful.

Ranged weapons no longer have a minimum range.


The glyph system has been updated. Many class glyphs have been added, altered, or moved to different glyph types.

Prime glyphs have been removed.


There is a new user interface for your mounts and pets.

Character creation screens have been updated.

Buffs have been consolidated in the UI.

New roll results frame added. This new feature can be accessed by clicking the word “[Loot]” in chat, or by typing “/loot”.

The PvE queue frames have been unified. You can now queue for dungeons, raids, and other queueable content in one handy place.

Vendors now offer item filtering.

Spellbooks have been updated to reflect changes to core abilities, and now include a brief overview of specializations.

The Dungeon Journal has been expanded with information on all pre-Cataclysm encounters.

A new help system has been added to many frames. You can toggle this on and off by clicking the “ï” button in the upper left corner of the frame.

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How i know GW2 will be sucessful

So I’ve been playing GW2 since BWE1, and reading the boards…and I’m pretty convinced that this game will do very well.  But it’s not my own experience that really convinced me of this.  It is, shockingly enough, the complaints I read on the board.

Just about every major MMORPG released in recent history had one or more very serious, potentially gamebreaking, complaints leveled at it in the early stages.  And without exception, one or more of these complaints seemed to eventually lead to its downfall.  A few examples…

1.  SWTOR:  An MMORPG game that seemed to entirely focus on largely single player story and didn’t really bring anything new at all MMORPG-wise.

2.  WAR:  Seemed like it would be amazing at first, but two faction RvR was just failed from the start, and once we heard that they were cutting every major city but two, and four classes…it was obvious this game had problems.

3.  AoC:  HUGE gaps in content, so bad that you literally had to just grind for like 15-20 levels, and a newbie area that offered a deceptively rich experience that was not present in the rest of the game.

All of these complaints were discussed in the early days of the game…basically once the NDA was down, and I think they were HUGE red flags.  However, nearly every complaint about GW2 I read on the board is ridiculous, and they typically fall into a handful of categories:

1.  The completely unsubstantiated:  “This game is horrible!” (no reason why)

2.  The obviously incorrect:  “PvP takes no skill at all!”  (Anyone who has played PvP in GW2 will know this is obviously wrong)

3.  The subjective:  “I don’t like the graphics.”  (While it is fine to make a complaint like this, I’ve never seen one that seems like it would be the opinion of the majority)

Now this said, I completely understand that there are people who will just not like this game, and they may have articulated why very well.  And that is fine.  Not everyone will like it.

But the key here is that I have yet to see the “killer” complaint for GW2.  There’s really no complaint I have seen that will indicate an achilles heel for the game.  And, provided that the quality of the higher level content keeps up with what we have seen so far, I think that is a pretty good indication that it will wind up doing well. Continue reading

Did Someone Say 1,000 Guild Wars 2 Beta Keys

(EDITOR’S NOTE: All 1,000 codes have been claimed; they’ll go out to the lucky thousand shortly (they tell me they’ll be emailed Thursday morning). Thank you for entering!)

What’s that? Did someone say Nerdist News is giving away 1,000Guild Wars 2 beta keys? Well, you’d be smart to listen to that person, because that’s exactly what we’re doing. Be one of the first 1,000 people to enter your e-mail on our contest page and you can walk away with exclusive access to the third and final Beta Weekend, taking place July 20-22. Once you get your key, simply enter it at, and you’ll be ready to face the Elder Dragons of Tyria head-on with 999 of your Nerdist friends. Need more convincing? This Beta Weekend event will let you play the two previously unplayable races, the chlorophyll-filled warriors of the Sylvari and the Asura, a diminutive, gadget-obsessed race. So, enter your e-mail, take up your swords and get ready to take Tyria by storm. read more…….

Guild Wars 2 Beta Will Include New PvP Map, Live Gem Store


We’ve already told you that you can play as the Asura and Sylvari in the upcoming Guild Wars 2 beta weekend, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Along with a chance to meet the last two races, characters will have access to a brand-new map for characters in the 17 to 20 level range. The new map, the Brisbane Wildlands, borders the areas of the Asura, Sylvari, and humans, with a heaping helping of Skritt thrown in for good measure. There’s trouble in paradise, though, according to Game Designer Kim Kirsch. “The Inquest, Nightmare Court, and human bandits now flood the area, preying on skritt and disrupting lab operations. Worse still, each of these groups seem to have their own dark intentions — plots that could be catastrophic if left unchecked.”

If you’re torn between keeping your existing beta characters or rolling anew as an Asura or Sylvari, ArenaNet has made your choice a great deal easier. All existing beta information (characters, items, and likely server selection) will be deleted. You’ll keep your contact list, but that’s about it! This wipe will happen both before and after the upcoming beta weekend, so you’ll have a clean slate for the last test and then again for the headstart weekend or launch proper. In addition, transactions in the in-game gem store will require actual credit card or PayPal purchases. While items bought in the store this weekend will be wiped, a record will be kept of how many gems were purchased, and those gems will be waiting for you after Guild Wars 2 launches.

A new PvP map, Legacy of the Foefire, will also debut this weekend. While the map’s main mechanic is still the familiar Conquest format, Legacy of the Foefire will include guild lords and NPC guard teams. In addition, the map is supposed to be reminiscent of Guild Wars maps, making this the “nostalgic” PvP map that was hinted at. Solo objectives have been added for WvW players. Sentries now dot the map, and while they’re not exactly target dummies, the sentries are made for single players to be able to take down for points

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servers will be updated to 3.1

AION website will be bringing the Aion servers, the Black Cloud Marketplace, and down at 5:30 a.m. CDT, July 12, 2012 for maintenance.

The maintenance will take approximately four and half hours.

The servers will be updated to 3.1 at this time!

Please note that the website will be down, and so they will be unable to communicate with you on the forums. Be sure to check back here for updates during the downtime!

Thank you for your patience!