skills

Crowfall explains the concepts behind skill trees and time banks

Do you like dragging yourself out of bed at three in the morning because something has finished in a game and you need to immediately address it? Probably not. That would be insane. But Crowfall recognizes that it’s a possibility with its skill training system, which is why the game has time banks. If a skill finishes training and you’re offline, time starts to fill up in the bank, and you can immediately spend it on whatever you want to train next, with VIP players able to bank up to 30 days of accumulated time. Players will also be able to use skill tomes to transfer banked time, thus ensuring that newer players can catch up with veterans.

VIP players will have the edge in terms of how many things can be trained at once, but they won’t be able to progress faster than other players while training; a VIP player can train two separate skills at once, but not the same skill twice as fast. You can catch the full overview on the official site so you know exactly how the game will help you train up your skills over time and how you can be sure to balance the demands of your time.

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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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Ship of Heroes fires up a red-hot powerset

Meanwhile, in the deep void of space, a fire has broken out on a starship. Jets of flame and a rain of red-hot meteors scour the deck, sending people running for safety. It’s OK, however, it’s just a superhero putting his powers to practice.

Ship of Heroes released a video today showing two interesting elements of the game, starting with the Fiery Blast powerset. It’s a pretty straight-forward pyro build, with lots of fireballs and flame buffs to satisfy even the most hardcore Human Torch fan. This is the first of eight powersets that the team has vowed to show off this year, and the devs stress that the animations and effects are not final.

The team also showed off its signature Justice Corp building, where Bat-person, Superdude, Amazing Woman, Ocean King, Bird Sidekick, Lightning McGuy, Verdant Lampshade, and Venusian Hitchhiker presumably meet to combat evil. On the rooftop is an area where players can test out their powers without worrying about pesky aliens dying or fighting back.

Ship of Heroes is hoping to start alpha testing by the end of the year. Take a trip to the Justice Corps HQ and roast a few marshmallows with the fire powerset after the break!

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Preview: Behind the gates of RuneScape’s Menaphos, opening today

One of the worst teases in a game for me is to see a place and not be able to go and explore it. RuneScape players have experienced that to the 12th degree! Not only were the walls and gate of the city of Menaphos erected 12 years ago with no way for players to get inside but different quests in the game would hint at the story that existed behind those unbreachable walls. And as of today, fans can finally get through those gates and experience the city.

But before the city gates opened up permanently, Jagex slipped me in for a guided tour of Menaphos, the Golden City. While I wasn’t able to play the game myself, I got see the sights and learn many things about the game’s first ever expansion from Jon Wilcox (senior communications manager), Dave Osbourne (lead designer), Joseph Redstall (product manager for the Menaphos expansion), and Benjamin Luff (gameplay development graduate.

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EVE Online is adding smaller skill injectors for newer players

The changes to PLEX for EVE Online make it easier to buy small chunks, sell small chunks, and not have all of it get blown up when you stuff a cargo hold full of your money. Of course, part of what has made PLEX so vital is the need for newer players to be able to catch up with veterans, which ties into use of skill injectors… which are currently very expensive. So the game is introducing a cheaper way to get those, as well.

Existing skill injectors will be marked as large injectors, while the new smaller skill injectors will hold a maximum of 100,000 points and offer smaller and smaller rewards to players with more skill points. The hope is that newer players can buy the bite-sized injector and start to catch up before moving on to larger purchases, thus ensuring that everyone can more quickly take part in the sprawling wars of backstabbing that make the game tick along.

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Crowfall adds skill loadout customization

Thanks to a new update, Crowfall is giving its players more freedom than before in customizing their own playstyle. The focus here is on an adjustable user interface that allows a player to drag whichever skill they prefer into the hotbar slot of choice.

The discussion of this new UI feature involves a look at Crowfall’s three types of skills: active, passive, and retaliatory. These can be mapped to the number keys, letter keys, and mouse buttons as desired.

“It may seem a pretty mundane thing to talk about, but the arrival of this system portents so many things coming on the horizon (like Disciplines),” said Design Lead Thomas Blair. “No one has really needed to think about loading out their character’s powers in the past as each archetype was built to have a very specific loadout of powers, but now it will be vital to ensure you have the powers loaded out into their proper slots.”

Source: Crowfall

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Revelation Online explains the leveling and advancement of Special Skills

Your normal skills in Revelation Online are what you use for 90% of the game, obviously. That’s why they’re normal skills, after all. You rely upon them and they serve as stalwart workhorses. But then there are the Special Skills, detailed in the most recent post on the official site. You can earn a few of them almost automatically through tutorial quests and consecutive logins, but most of the others must be earned through raising reputation.

The skills themselves have large effects that can turn the tide of a battle in your favor, so it only makes sense that they’d also have entirely independent advancement options for players. You can level up several aspects of your special skills including cooldowns, duration, damage, and cost; higher-ranked skills will obviously take more time to improve than lower-ranked skills. The Special Skills are your big guns that allow you to do things your class otherwise would be unable to do, so it’s worth understanding just how big the guns can be. You can try them out yourself when the game hits open beta on March 6th.

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Working As Intended: A tour of 19-year-old Ultima Online

Wanna feel old? Three years ago, I wrote a Second Wind piece for Massively-that-was on Ultima Online, which had recently been turned over to Broadsword and was celebrating its 16th birthday. “The ‘old things suck’ snobs can scoff all they want,” I concluded, “but feature for feature, UO surpasses far too many modern games to be ignored.”

Now the game has just turned 19, and I’m back in the grand-daddy of MMORPGs poking around for the readers who’ve requested another look and listen. I’d call it a third wind, but for me, it’s probably more like my 103rd wind, as I’ve gone back so many times I’ve lost count. This round, I’m going to give a little tour of some of my favorite features, like housing, runebooks, boats, and combat, plus talk about some basic mechanics and highlight cool community hot spots on Atlantic, then wind down with some opinions on UO’s place in the genre and the lessons we can learn from its long and glorious sandbox development history even here in 2016. Enjoy!

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Guild Wars 2 warns of incoming balance adjustments

Will Guild Wars 2 ever attain perfect balance with all of its classes and skills? Probably not, but such is the way of all MMOs. The GW2 skill team posted a note on the forum giving players a heads up about incoming balance changes.

Revenant and Mesmers will a mix of buffs and debuffs to some of their boons. Likewise, Druids will see some pretty big adjustments to one of their core healing spells: “One of the most notable changes being made is to the healing values of the Druid as a primary healer. Base values for the Celestial Avatar heals will be reduced, while the healing power contribution will be enhanced significantly. The reasoning for these changes is that while we are excited about the Druid being an incredibly strong healer, we would also like to see that role as one of many choices in your attribute build.”

There was no time frame given for the changes, but the tone of the post indicated that they would be coming soon. The skills team said that it wanted to warn players of these adjustments to prepare for their arrival.

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EverQuesting: Researching for your free EverQuest II skill upgrades

Who doesn’t like free? Because I certainly do! And today is all about getting stuff for free in EverQuest II. Sadly, I don’t mean from the cash shop (although that would be cool). I am talking about skill upgrades and recipes that you don’t have to loot, barter for, or buy. No in-game coin or real life cash is involved in acquiring these.

Did you know you could upgrade skills for free? Not everyone does. I even have friends who didn’t know this feature existed for the longest time. And it doesn’t matter that I have played EQII for over decade — this tidbit continues to slip my mind as well! How do you get these skill upgrades? By researching them. Don’t worry, it’s actually the easiest thing ever: no actual study is involved. All you need is time, be it online or off, and a couple mouse clicks and you have stronger, better skills. Well, you need the memory to actually do it, of course.

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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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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.

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