crowd control

Shadow Priest-esque hero Seris is live in Paladins’ open beta

Paladins’ open beta update #48 went live yesterday, and with it arrived the champion teased for the last week and change. Her name is Seris, Oracle of the Abyss; Hi-Rez says she “plays unlike any other champion currently in the game and she really speaks to the fantasy art style” the studio is pursuing. That’s because she’s a bit of a hybrid shadow priest, with shadow damage and heals as well as a stealthy shift-phase and a super annoying (for enemies) crowd control move.

There are also a few new skins for existing characters (Alley Cat Maeve! Bomb King in what appears to be a blinged-out pimp costume!), plus tweaks to the co-op Cops and Robbers map and a bunch of requisite balance adjustments for other toons. Check out Seris’ vid below!

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TERA previews the fluid combat of the Valkyrie class, launching April 11 with Honorbound

Excited for TERA’s next new class? She’s the Valkyrie, with a name voted on by you, and today En Masse has queued up a brand-new trailer showing off her badass moves.

“Valkyries are an ancient Castanic martial order who have returned from exile to help fight the Archdevan army. They originate in a culture that celebrates freedom and express that through a fluid combat style. Close-combat specialists with a dual-focus on crowd control and burst damage, a Valkyrie’s weapons, armor, and skill sets are designed to set up opponents for massive attacks. These attacks generate Runemarks, a new combat mechanic exclusive to the Valkyrie class, for them to exploit and explode. Combining fast movement with high damage, Valkyries will be a dominant factor in any battle.”

The Valkyrie launches in next week’s Honorbound update, landing April 11th. Until then, drool over the official website’s skill list and get ready for clickin’.

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Meet City of Titans’ six heroic archetypes

Thanks to some website spring cleaning, City of Titans made a previously hidden article visible to the masses. This particular page outlines the upcoming superhero MMO’s six archetypes, their mottos, and the general playstyle that each will offer.

City of Heroes veterans may be familiar with some of the archetypes here, although some offer slightly different twists. There is the Stalwart, a tank that can take large amounts of damage; the Enforcer, a melee DPS type; the Guardian, a tough paladin-like role; the Ranger, which deals out damage from a long way off; the Commander, which fiddles with crowd control and enemy manipulation; and the Operator, a pet-controlling mastermind.

Each archetype then branches out into three subtypes, such as the Centurion, the Warden, or the Ringleader. Simple math tells us that City of Titans is aiming for at least 18 different classes in its final product.


Elder Scrolls Online previews Morrowind’s Foyada Quarry (pro tip: lava is hot)

ZeniMax has this morning released a deep-dive of one of the trio of battlegrounds due to launch in The Elder Scrolls Online when Morrowind arrives in June. The so-dubbed Foyada Quarry is quite different from the last battleground previewed, being wide-open with little cover.

“In this deserted granite quarry, you can view exactly where the action is right from the start. However, when navigating this map, you should watch your step; the entire site is now overflowing with lava, bathing the arena in a red glow and burning those unfortunate enough to fall in. Despite the environmental hazards provided by the looming Red Mountain, Foyada Quarry funnels the action right into the center of the map via a selection of granite pathways and seared wooden bridges. Because the majority of the map is so open, teams are able to quickly close and engage with each other, thrusting you into battle almost immediately upon leaving your base and making it an especially fast-paced Battleground.”

ZOS notes that crowd control will be particularly useful on the map as you knock enemies into lava and away from the capture point in the center of the map, at least in domination mode. Ouch.

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Paragon’s Aurora would trounce Frozen’s Elsa

With the weather that some of us are having, it seems appropriate that Paragon is introducing a winter-themed character to its roster. This week, Aurora joins the game as the 27th playable hero, bringing all manner of ice attacks and movement powers that leave her with no time for musical interludes about yearning and inner turmoil.

Aurora is a crowd control master, flinging down ice barriers at melee range with her sword, whipping up a frozen (and strangely functional) clone, and surfing on a pocket glacier that can be left behind for friends. This week’s patch also makes a change to its deathstreak mechanic, awarding fewer CP if a player has died an awful lot lately.

Get acquainted with Aurora in her announcement video below!

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Albion Online on buffing tanks and gear for gatherers

Albion Online Game Designer Michael Schwahn has a long-form dev recap out that should satisfy both the visual and auditory learners out there in our audience as it comes in both YouTube and blog flavors.

Schwahn focuses on combat specifically, explaining that while crafting and the economy feed back into the game’s combat core, gathering had been left in the dust. “To change this and give the gatherers the love they deserve, we are introducing new equipment that can only be unlocked purely by gathering,” he says. “Each resource type will have its own equipment set consisting of four pieces: helmet, armor, shoes and a backpack. That is a total of 20 new pieces gatherer gear!”

So there you go, combat gear for picking flowers. I can hear the wolf rage already.

There’s also a bit about gear from Royal Expeditionary Forces, dealing with overpowered zergs and crowd control, mobility mechanics, and class balance.

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DC Universe Online explains further changes in the new pass of the stat revamp

Power is important in DC Universe Online. You need power. But the fact of the matter is that power had kind of become a mess; providing power to yourself over time was a chore and didn’t provide much interesting gameplay, controllers wound up needing to spam power healing, and it was all around not a great scene. The latest iteration of the stat revamp has altered all of this significantly; power healing is an automatic passive for all characters now, and controllers in the controller role will automatically provide a passive power healing aura, thus allowing focused healing in specific situations while requiring less spam and loadout dedication.

Most ability cooldowns have also been reduced, while controllers in general have received more attention to offer crowd control that lasts longer and is harder to break. The result should be that controllers are more active and effective in battle, players can use powers more, and the necessary but not super-engaging power regeneration loop is no longer mandatory. Players can test out these changes on the test server and offer feedback about whether the changes are for the best or not.


DragonCon 2016: ArcheAge on FFA arena, belly physics, fresh-start servers, and December 3.0 launch

Community Manager Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan was on hand at DragonCon 2016 to show off ArcheAge’s upcoming updates, from the September second anniversary update coming this month to the big 3.0 expansion coming in December. The earlier update may be more known at the moment for the previously announced flashy customizable underwear, but it also introduces an 8-man free-for-all PvP arena and opens up the Auroria zones of Exlock and Sunstone Fields for castle building. ArcheAge 3.0, named Revelation, brings even more to the table, including two new races, six new zones (with tons of housing!), and a way for players to shoot a large energy cannon at the opposing continent.

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Perfect Ten: Comparing Druids across MMORPGs

If I asked you what a Mage is in an MMORPG, what would you say? Some cloth-wearing gal who lugs around a long staff and flings fireballs (or other elemental chunks) at bad guys. What about Rogues? Stealthy sneaks with twin daggers and lightning-fast attacks. Warriors? Big lugs with shields and swords larger than most compact cars. Fantasy class tropes are so ingrained that even developers seem powerless to go against them.

But there always seems to be this weird exception when it comes to Druids. A Druid in one MMO isn’t quite the same as one in a different game. Sure, there are usually some common threads — most notably an attunement to and use of nature — but each team has more freedom to interpret and design the Druid concept how it likes.

I thought it would be fun today to riffle through some of the current and past MMOs that have boasted a Druidic class (if not always in name) and see where the similarities and end and the wild notions begin.

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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.


Diablo III brings patch 2.4.2 to the live servers

The latest patch for Diablo III is here, and it brings with it new challenges. Specifically, it brings the new Torment XI-XIII challenge levels, allowing you to clear through new hordes of demons with your ludicrously powerful characters. It also brings new challenges in other ways, however, by toning down powers that allow players to simply gather enemies, root them in a single spot, and then unleash huge AoE fields on the one spot; crowd control has been made more situational to avoid these strategies.

Classes and items have also seen some changes. Group buff skills have been redesigned to encourage more role diversity when taking on challenging content, while the Magic Find property has been replaced with Resource Cost Reduction due to the diminished importance of Magic Find. Gold rewards and the rewards for closing a Nephalem Rift have also been tuned up to feel more substantial. Check out the full patch notes for a detailed rundown of all the changes.


TennoCon 2016: Warframe’s convention, new primes and cartoon

Warframe has been one of those games that I’ve always meant to look into as soon as I had the time. Well, thanks to TennoCon 2016, the opportunity arose to make the time. And I am glad I went! It may have been the first Warframe convention, but I think it rivals the bigger, established cons for feel and fun.

Over the course of the day I toured the Digital Extremes office with Game Director Steve Sinclair, hung out with devs, listened to the soundtrack for the second dream sequence (over and over), sat in on sound and art panels, and mingled with the crowd. From that, I came away from TennoCon with an interest in and excitement for the game and its upcoming plans — and an anticipation for a repeat performance next year.

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Perfect Ten: The 10 components of a ‘fair’ MMO PvP fight

I spend a lot of my time thinking about MMO PvP. You might not realize it, but I’m actually a really big fan of PvP; it’s one of those misconceptions about me that gets passed around a lot based on the occasional comment about disliking specific implementations of PvP rather actually disliking the idea of it entirely. So the other day, Massively OP’s Bree and I wound up having a lengthy discussion about PvP and the fairness of fights within an open PvP environment, and that inspired the piece you’re reading right now.

See, I’m noticing a trend among a large number of games that are embracing what I call the “throwback” model of open PvP that what really made open PvP so distasteful in games like Ultima Online was the fact that it was unfair. And there’s something to that, definitely. It’s hard to be upset about losing a completely fair fight, right? So let’s walk through the things that need to be changed in order to make an actual 100% completely fair fight for a PvP game.

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