abilities

The Black Death outlines the new profession system that starts you off as a plague doctor

There are no medical exams to pass when you start a new character in the next patch of The Black Death. You get to start off right away as a plague doctor near what appears to be the epicenter of the plague ravaging the area, and there’s even a set of quests introducing the many skills available to you. Once you’ve gotten through those quests – or just struck off on your own if you’re experienced with the game – the new profession system should allow you to mix-and-match your choice of skills to create whatever sort of profession you like.

The new system has eight professions with a grand total of 117 skills to unlock, and players can mix and match as desired. If you want to become the best plague doctor around, you can; if you want to split off and focus on farming, you can. And if you want to build a profession that’s a bizarre hybrid of farmer, hunter, and plague doctor? That’s totally all right as well. Our own MJ will be streaming the game after the patch drops on Thursday, so if you want to see it all in action, keep your eyes peeled.

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City of Titans outlines power set design for the game

As a spiritual successor to City of Heroes, there’s an obvious line through City of Titans when it comes to powers. That does not, however, mean that the game is just copying the CoH design process and calling it a day. No, CoT is designing its powers based on layers, starting with the set’s basic playstyle, then its focused style, mechanical identity, and speed.

The trick, of course, is that doing so allows quick pipelines for new sets and expansion; if the numbers are all tweaked, it’s fairly quick to go from a slow ranged area combo set to a slow ranged area damage-over-time set. Furthermore, by allowing every archetype access to a tertiary power set, you get access to another set of abilities to play off of your existing abilities. The full post outlines the 25 sets planned for the initial launch by name (if not in details), so check it out if you want a breakdown of the creative process and how the game will be implementing its superhuman abilities.

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Junkrat is exploding into Heroes of the Storm

The parade of Overwatch characters porting straight over to Heroes of the Storm continues with the latest addition to the game, Junkrat. How does he play? Like Junkrat, that’s how. He throws around lots of bombs and makes things blow up and laughs at inappropriate times. That’s his whole deal, guys, it’s not like Overwatch has a rich narrative history to draw upon.

Oh, you were curious about mechanics? In that case you can hop down below and check out the preview video, that might be more straightforward.

Junkrat’s ability include the huge knockback of Concussion Mine (it can even fling people over terrain) and the bouncing explosive fun of Frag Grenades. If you’re familiar with the character in Overwatch, you’ll have a pretty clear picture of the general tone of his abilities if not the specifics; check out the preview before to see him blowing things up with style.

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Dark and Light’s Fire magic tree does exactly what it says on the tin

Do you find yourself curious about the Fire magic tree for Dark and Light? Are you wondering what it does? Because the answer is simple. It burns things. The newest video available just past the cut informs us that the tree is almost entirely offense-focused, which you could probably have guessed simply because you’re going for Fire instead of, well, pretty much anything else.

The first rank of Fire Magic allows you to keep yourself warm and avoid dropping survival stats in cooler environments, but all subsequent ranks involve fireballs, exploding fire missiles, and walls of flame. You can check out the full walkthrough just below, with the caveat that you should prepare to have your mind blown about the difference between Fireball I and Fireball II.

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Valiance Online kicks off its investor alpha today

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when Valiance Online would open for testers, the day has come. The investor alpha is starting today (it was announced yesterday, albeit when things were winding up), but there’s still a reason to watch the archived footage of the game’s most recent developer stream down below. Just skip ahead 30 minutes first, because the archived footage has half an hour of “starting in a bit” as a lead time. No, we don’t know why.

Aside from the announcement at the end which we’ve already spoiled, the stream footage covers powersets (starting at around 52 minutes in) and character creation (around 1:55), so there’s plenty of interesting stuff in there if you’d like to see behind the scenes. You can check it out just below if you’d like to watch, assuming you’re willing to jump past the perhaps oversized prep time.

Or maybe you really like waiting half an hour after pressing “play” before watching the video, we won’t judge you.

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Take a look at Path of Exile’s new Charged Dash skill in action

Charged Dash is a new skill coming to Path of Exile, and when you read about how it works it probably seems a little counter-intuitive. See, when you use it, you don’t actually dash; you project a mirage of yourself forward for as long as you channel the ability. The mirage movement is based on your movement speed, only slightly faster, but you still only actually dash when you stop channeling. Then you deal damage to everything along your path and explode in electricity.

Of course, when you see it in action, it all makes perfect sense, and the designers helpfully point out how the skill can be used as both a movement tool and a damage skill with varying aspects. Check out the video just below to see it in action. It’s a bit like watching a lightning bolt find its destination, which seems appropriate.

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Cloud Pirates explains how best to play the Heavy Reinforced Galleon

If your goal in Cloud Pirates is to pilot the most specialized ship possible, you probably aren’t going to enjoy the Heavy Reinforced Galleon. The ship is quite explicitly not meant as the most focused ship of the line, being solidly middle-of-the-road and versatile. Of course, while that makes it not specialized, it also means that it can be kitted out for almost any situation and it means that a skilled player can have an answer for almost any situation. A new guide on the official site explains how the Heavy Reinforced Galleon can be used to deliver impressive results while retaining its high flexibility.

Players who reach tier 4 with the galleon will be able to shut down ship technology and increase the vulnerability of other ships in the area, a valuable tool for any confrontation. Players can also kit out these ships in more defensive or offensive roles while retaining the overall versatility of the class, allowing you to shut down or dampen enemy damage and firing while healing your own ship. If you’d prefer to be behind a diverse arsenal, you could do worse than working the skies in a heavy reinforced galleon.

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Check out Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood’s new abilities in action

The second expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is bringing more than just new abilities; it’s also bringing an extensive set of changes for existing abilities and classes. Yesterday’s live letter covered the changes in brief, including the various job gauges for each job and the new role-specific actions for tanks, healers, and all three types of DPS. But perhaps you’d prefer to see these things in action? You can do exactly that with the latest job ability trailer and screenshots of the same just below.

The letter also revealed that PvP will be changed to have specific job layouts for PvP, with a small selection of traits and abilities replacing the existing system of PvP ranks and improvements. Players will also have access to jumping potions starting on June 16th, with one potion allowing you to level a specific job to 60 instantly and another allowing you to flag all of the MSQ as cleared up through Heavensward. Both will cost $25, so you can use them to speed your way to being ready for all of the new tricks shown below in Stormblood.

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Crowfall explains the logic and breadth of passive powers

It is reasonable to assume that anyone who has spent a bit of time playing MMOs is familiar with the basic concept of passive powers. They’re powers you don’t click to operate, they just… work. But Crowfall is taking the concept a bit further with its passive powers, as players will start with a variety of passives from race, class, and any disciplines chosen. At this time, three can be slotted, but these powers are not limited to selections like beating things up with more power.

For example, are you just starting to gather? You can equip gathering passives which will allow you to gather more resources when you’re just starting out. Have an otherwise great weapon with an awful power cost modifier? Equip a passive to drop your power costs again and balance it out. Invested a lot of points in leadership? Equip the Group Leadership skill and unlock powerful buffs as long as you’re in the lead of the party. It’s a multi-faceted system, in other words, and there should be no shortage of interesting combinations to build for dedicated players.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s removed skills, Ranged/Caster edition

Well, folks, by all reasonable estimation we’re going to have the final story patch of Heavensward next week. Why? Because there’s no more March for it to exist in after that. So it seems like a reasonable prediction, and it also gives me just enough time to finish up with these Final Fantasy XIV skill predictions before I want to move on to reviewing the expansion in hindsight anyhow. So everybody wins, if I double up today.

The first installment is all about tanks, while the second installment is all about melee DPS. As always, the usual disclaimer applies that this is all speculation, not absolute fact; I don’t have a clearer picture than you do about how abilities are actually being arranged. If you think I’m wrong? I might very well be wrong! All I can do is justify what I say and make my case. Let’s move on.

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DC Universe Online adjusts abilities to have a little more impact

The stat revamp for DC Universe Online is an ongoing process with a lot of moving parts, and that means that none of those parts are finished moving until all is said and done. The most recent adjustment to the revamp is only about three changes, but those three changes ripple outward to have a big impact. Tank pulls have their cooldowns lowered, some heals have increased potency, and weapon buffs have increased duration. That’s it.

It sounds small, but all three have big implications for actual gameplay. More potent heals make the healing process less focused on spamming one ability and more focused upon landing something with impact, while faster tank cooldowns make it easier to pull things and move faster without fear of losing control. The weapon buffs also synergize better with other ability and help ensure that weapon-based playstyles will still work. These changes are on the test server now, so you can see how they shake out for yourself if you’re so inclined.

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Atlas Reactor shows off Kaigin the Warpstalker

The newest character in Atlas Reactor, Kaigin, does not respect the personal space of warp. He’s sneaking through warp’s closets and taking compromising photos of warp. He’s the Warpstalker, and while his personal habits might leave something to be desired, you can probably use his tendencies to your advantage as he bisects space itself to tear your enemies apart.

Kaigin is legitimately hard to spot, too; he can throw down smoke grenades to obscure enemy vision, teleport through walls with his dashing Void Strike, turn invisible, and damage both areas and single targets. He’ll also apply a specialized debuff to anything he damages, with subsequent attacks consuming the debuff for extra damage while re-applying it. You can easily use him to teleport through barriers, deal damage, then bolt back through and out of sight with controlled play. Check out the full rundown for more actual lore behind Kaigin and some tips for playing with and against him.

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Albion Online introduces the Hell artifacts

A new batch of artifacts is arriving in Albion Online, and it’s hellish. These are literally called the Hell Artifacts, you see, and are forged with the aids of Hell Fragments obtained from Hellgates or melding Artifact fragments (which may be rather hellish itself). As we all know, wielding the horrifying powers of demons will have no long-term negative consequences and is in fact a superb idea, especially when said Hell Artifacts have the array of powers being shown off.

Each Hell Artifact weapon has its own unique ability, from the sword’s charge-and-snare technique to the shrinking power of the mace. Meanwhile, the offhands also boost various abilities, and the armor sets boast new powers to shut down your enemies whilst buffing yourself. You can wield all sorts of demonic powers with the new artifacts, and all it takes is… well, you know, lots of Hell. That’s probably fine.

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