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.


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.


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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The Daily Grind: How complex should playing an MMORPG character be?

I am downright out of room in Final Fantasy XIV. My characters have two sets of action bars packed to the gills along with some overflow, and I tell you, I need every single button on there. I don’t know how this could be consolidated with the next expansion, but boy, it’s going to need to be, because there is no more space for new abilities in there. There’s barely space for the existing abilities.

Having played World of Warcraft for a long while, I’ve seen lots of people complain about the game “oversimplifying” things, but I think a lot of that is missing the point. Sure, I miss the old talent trees, but I can certainly see how having those trees go 90 points down would be… problematic. The class rotations have been made a bit more straightforward, but that’s less about “ugh, it’s too simple now” and more about not forcing you to deal with 80-odd abilities just to deal reasonable damage.

But then, maybe you want that. Maybe you really would like to have a rotation that requires an intricate 40-button combination in normal content. I don’t, but perhaps I’m the minority. So let’s talk about that today, dear readers. How complex should playing a character be in an MMO? Should you have a huge number of buttons, a few, or should your action bars always be full at the level cap?

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Albion Online previews its passive weapon abilities

The final beta test for Albion Online has added in plenty of stuff for players to explore, and that includes more passive weapon abilities. Each weapon now has four different passives to choose between, with each option unlocked at a different tier, thus giving players a wider choice of passive abilities to customize individual playstyles. That’s accompanied by a preview of every single weapon passive and its effects.

Using a sword? You can choose between inflicting bleeding, buffing your defenses, draining health, or improving your threat generation as passive abilities. Hammers, meanwhile, can also increase threat passively or drain health, but they can also stun enemies or improve crowd control effects. Check out the full rundown of the various weapon passives to get an idea of what’s available; the spread should ensure that you have more control than ever in building your character just the way you’d like.


Crowfall shows off the power design for the Myrmidon

Crowfall‘s Myrmidon is the kind of fighter who attacks first, then attacks second, crushes everything to dust, and then asks questions of the smoldering wreckage. It’s an archetype built around significant destructive potential and rampaging across the battlefield. The latest design article on the official site covers the basic powerset and playstyle of the Myrmidon, walking future players through the mechanics of playing a berserk minotaur.

A Myrmidon’s first power is Bull Rush, a charge that also sticks enemies to the Myrmidon and carries them along his path. He can follow that up with a variety of attacks to deal damage, as well as thrown nets to immobilize enemies. At the center of his mechanics is the Berserk ability, allowing him to heal damage and channel damage taken into his attacks; the caveat is that when Berserk ends, he takes all of the damage he had been healing in one burst, which could easily kill him. Then again, when you’re playing a smashy archetype that wants to lay waste to everything, you really didn’t expect to live forever, did you?

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Perfect Ten: What your MMO character type says about you

Every MMO has character classes. Every single one. You might rail against this by pointing out that there are several games out there with open skill systems, and this is undeniably true, but it’s the rare MMORPG that allows you to really mix and match from totally opposite ends of the skill spectrum. You might have plenty of freedom in building your character, but in most MMOs, you’re not wielding Ranged Spell of Doom alongside the Great Armor and Smashy Hammer of Destiny.

Unless you’re playing Darkfall, at least, and then everyone is playing “teleporting death wizard” anyhow, so who cares?

The point is that there are certain character types that show up again and again in almost every game, no matter how far off the beaten path its advancement system might be. Skill-based, class-based, whatever – if you’ve got combat, you’ve got some familiar character types. And you probably have some types that you play over and over again, which says something about you, in the same way that always ordering the same thing at Starbucks but debating over it for half an hour every time says something about you.

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Trove previews the Gem system coming with the Mantle of Power expansion

The upcoming expansion for Trove offers you a chance to really alter your character fundamentally with the new Gem system. A new preview outlines the workings of the system in brief while giving players an idea of what to expect. It’s quite a lot of changes, with Empowered gems allowing for major new effects like fundamentally rewriting your basic attacks or bursting into rings of fire every time you take down an enemy.

Gems can be found through adventuring in various worlds or bought via random boxes via the in-game store, with gems coming in a variety of different types with different effects. Games can also be leveled up by enterprising players, with more powerful gems also being capable of leveling up further. It’s all a very ornate system; you can find out more with the full preview, and you can also check out the latest expansion trailer just below. You could also pick up the new Extra Life bundle to get an assortment of gewgaws for the game while also supporting charity.

Update: Trion has clarified that these gems will not be sold in the Empowered Gem Boxes coming to the Trove Store: “Gems can only be picked up during your adventures in game while Gem-related items, such as boosters and gem dust, come in the empowered boxes.”

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Interview: The scoop on Star Trek Online’s skill redesign

I make no secret of the fact that I’m very fond of Star Trek Online, but I also make no secret of the fact that several systems underpinning the game are a bit of a mess. The game’s skill system, while charming in its own way, is something that I’ve tried to explain to many new players, and it’s an obvious sticking point for retention. The news of an overhaul piqued my curiosity, and at a glance it certainly looks like a major improvement.

Of course, it’s important to be a bit more curious than “yes, that looks all right,” so I had a few questions about the overhaul that’s currently on the PTS. Staff systems designer Jeremy Randall was kind enough to answer those questions for us.

Massively Overpowered: The skill overhaul looks similar in places to the specialization trees introduced in Delta Rising; was the possibility of the overhaul discussed at the time?

Jeremy Randall: We’ve known for a long while – since before the development of Delta Rising – that our skill system needed some updating and improving. The success we saw with the roll-out of the specialization system that launched with Delta Rising gave us a lot of inspiration for our newest update, which will be announced soon.

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Star Trek Online is overhauling its skill system (again)

The skill system in Star Trek Online is kind of a hot mess. It always has been, from the game’s initial launch skills to its present system. That’s not editorializing – that’s a position that even the game’s developers seem to share, as outlined in the latest entry on the game’s official site detailing the upcoming skill system overhaul. The new system should make the difference between Ground and Space skills clear, eliminate useless or sub-optimal skills, and generally give players a solid picture of what they’re doing and why all through levels 1-50.

Skills will now be following an active and passive unlock system. Points are granted for Space and Ground skills per level, allowing players to actively unlock a variety of abilities; as abilities are unlocked in the various space disciplines, new skills are passively unlocked, while ground skills offer choices as more points are invested in the single progression track. Little to nothing is being lost, but a few new choices are being added, giving captains reason to find new ways to progress when the revamp beams onto the live servers later in spring.


Path of Exile shows off the Earthquake skill for big melee hits

When Path of Exile launches its Ascendancy expansion, your character builds will have new skills to play with, and many of those new skills are meant to change the ways you use those builds. The newest skill revealed is the Earthquake ability, a melee skill that is all about having a slow weapon and shortening the duration on the skill. It causes a fissure in the ground that explodes in an aftershock, useful for clearing out large patches of enemies… and even more useful if you shorten the time between the initial hit and the subsequent aftershock.

The team behind the game has also answered a number of player questions about the next expansion and later updates to the client. Ascendancy specializations will be revealed largely in February, with an optional passive skill reset available to players when the expansion launches. The developers also stated for the record that it’s important for parts of the game to be hard, but the game as a whole shouldn’t be hard at all times; it gets kind of exhausting.

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Dogma: Eternal Night nears the end of its Kickstarter campaign

The sun is setting on the Kickstarter campaign for vampire-themepark Dogma: Eternal Night, and at the time of this writing, the future doesn’t look particularly bright. With a funding goal of $100,000, the game has three days left to make nearly two-thirds of that total, currently sitting well shy of its mark at around $34,500. That doesn’t bode well for the remainder of its campaign period, although there’s always the possibility that it will rally.

The developers have posted updates regarding the design of the game’s character creator as well as the various abilities available to characters, although it’s short on details about what those abilities will be. If you’re on the fence about donating, you’re just about out of time, so you’ll have to decide if that’s a deal-breaker.


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