Sunday, September 20, 2015

TERA Review – How does it stack up?

Since I can remember getting my first copy of World of Warcraft back in 2004 fall. I remember the excitement and the burning desire to jump right into a world of high fantasy and rich adventure with my brother and close friends. Yet there was still a massive air of curiosity and ignorance at the same time. The term MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer online Role playing game) was still relatively young with few predecessors with the exception of Everquest and Ultima Online the latter of which I never played. Needless to say, the experience for me was magical, it was engrossing and was an experience like none I had experienced in my gaming experience. I was hooked, the urge to progress and enjoy an adventure with close friends where you could conquer dungeons and enjoy the rewards and wonderful loot with friends stole many a sleepless night through university.

Fast forward 10 years later, there are now so many MMORPG's available to play it's like just a different flavored jellybean or like trying a new potato chip, you know the basic taste but you just need an experience of the new flavor just like the old Vanilla coke experience, you know it's technically the same but still different. This is the way I view all new MMO's with curiosity yet a strange sense of familiarity and here I am finding myself trying the not so new but free-to-play MMO known as TERA – Fate of Arun.

First impressions -

How do I begin? the game is simply beautiful, although I don't have the opportunity to enjoy the game in 4K glory, I am happy with playing at 1920 x1080 and the game is still very pretty. The textures are well animated and the character models are simply beautiful. The character customisation is relatively detailed, there is plenty of options for facial customisation . The facial sliders are a nice touch but I am disappointed that there is no option to change eye color, nor height/build of the character. Still, there is plenty to do such that you can tailor the character to your liking and the base models themselves are nice enough to look at. The enemies are equally impressive, although a lot of the enemies are re skinned or slightly re-textured variations there is enough of a variety to keep you visually engrossed. Moving on, the environments are also impressive, with a nice balance of green and built up areas to feast your eyes on. However, the areas do seem familiar and not as memorable as some landscapes that might be found in older games such as World of Warcraft or guild wars 2. The capital cities are nice in their own right, but they lack an outstanding sense of grandeur when compared to the warcraft capital cities and those of Guild Wars 2 they just seem far too linear and flat to trigger that memorable jaw dropping experience like when I first explored Stormwind nearly a decade ago, and Divinity's reach or Lion's Arch to name a few. It seems the scale was just not so impressive nor outstanding to me.

The Elf capital city of Allemantheia, Trade Broker district.
Combat mechanics and game play -

Like most MMO's the interface is similar and if you have even played one MMO, or any modern day RPG for that matter you can pretty much jump and hit the ground running with little or no learning curve necessary. Each individual class is created utilising their own special mechanic and skill set that has enough variations and skills to make no class too similar. The combat is well thought out and is a combination of an MMO with a ton of skills per class and also utilises a real-time combat system that allows for twitch/clutch game play given your ping is decent enough. My experiences with an average of 261 ms was definitely playable in PVE but I would assume PVP would be a different story when match made with a player below 100ms. Therefore, all ping arguments aside I am very impressed with the combat system, it's smooth enough to feel like guild wars 2, yet offer plenty of skills to challenge the skill set of a veteran World of Warcraft arena player. There is a happy medium with TERA's combat system that makes it stand-out enough for me to play the game continuously and not get bored. I must mention that I have not tired all the classes but from what I've tasted so far with the Lancer, Gunner and Sorcerer. Each are a treat to play and offer engrossing play styles without replicating one another's play style too much.

TERA UI - Fighting fantastic monsters known as BAM (Big Ass Monster)

A big question that tickled my curiosity before I even started playing was how much the game is going to be reliant on the holy trinity stereotype, one that was heavily a focus in World of Warcraft, but rather abandoned in such games like Guild Wars 2. The holy trinity system, for those who are not familiar is a parties requirement for a tank, healer and damage dealer roles when adventuring in parties greater than two. It wasn't much of a surprise that it eventually dawned: whilst the trinity system is alive and well, it is not so dependent to dub a lot the mainstream content unplayable such as experienced in games where the trinity is a must and the logic is upheld beyond one's skill requirement. I think the TERA development has done a fine job in retaining it's heritage but not to put extreme emphasis on the requirement for all roles except maybe in the very endgame raids.  

Some Cool stuff can be obtained through the online store.

TERA does not adopt a pay to win model, but ELITE status definitely saves time and assists with the levelling process. The vast majority of real money purchases is based on aesthetic and vanity items for you characters, not to mention fantastic mounts.

In conclusion, I can say that TERA is not for everyone, it definitely is a great free to play MMO, but it falls short in areas of depth. If you are a sucker for pretty characters and especially like playing a female character with all the crazy costume customisations which I honestly think is awesome, then certainly go ahead and give it go. Another note for players outside the US you may have a difficult time against other players if you are into PVP as the NA players will most definitely carry the advantage in ping, Lastly, the western version of TERA is influenced by it's Korean heritage but because Enmasse owns the rights to the US release, content will likely be lagging by around 6 months or so for new classes just like the brawler and gunner. On the bright side, it does give players a chance to prepare what might be install for the near future. TERA is definitely a game worth trying but far from the best MMORPG's currently available. 

Tell me what you think? :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Divinity: Original Sin (Spot Review)

DOS is another one of those games that was made possible via the use of crowd funding through the Kickstarter website. Again, paying homage to the 2D isometric CRPG's that were immensely popular in the mid to late nineties, some such titles that veteran gamers may remember and love are Baldur's Gate and Fallout. DOS proudly carries on the tradition and greatness that games of a genre long past but not forgotten once graced and bestowed us old school gamers with hours of fond memories crafting that ideal build and spoiling the completionist within by learning and completing all the side-quests and missions. If you have your hand on your heart and feel all warm and fuzzy just by reminiscing over those times then DOS is definitely highly recommended to you.
A rewarding part of the game is the impressive loot you acquire throughout your journey. Each chest is entirely random, picking up legendary weapons or unique quality is always welcome :)

This game fantastically showcases isometric turn-based combat system in all it's modern generation beauty and depth. Feel free to play the game how you want to play it, and with each decision you make has a bearing in how you progress through the game. There is a rich dialogue and plenty of side-quests for those of you who would like to commit the extra time to discovering all the secrets and extras the game has to offer. Going onto Classes, the classes are basically templates built toward a certain play style, but you are generally free to customise your character 100% as the game unfolds, meaning you can start as a rogue and change or hybrid into a warrior if you so choose too. This allows for complete control over how you want to play the game and allows you to theory craft and try builds that you would think best suits your play style and role-playing persona. The game does not hold your hand and you can basically complete most aspects in a complete random fashion of your choosing, although for some players this may prove challenging if you prefer to follow a linear story-line. However, by all means do not let this deter you from playing one of the best CRPGs to date. The combat system is ingenious and allows a player control over environment affects, a good example is running a lightning bolt through a puddle of water to stun enemies standing in it.
The game is beautifully animated and the environments are very well designed and thought-up. And as you can see the sonics and spell affects are also equally impressive. Lightning sandwich anyone?

These aspects add great strategy not to mention re-playability for future play-throughs. The graphics are crisp and tidy, I personally really find the overall style appealing although I would have liked a little extra detail in the 3D models but again that is the critical me fantasising the perfect CRPG. I have yet to try the multi-player aspect of the game, but from what I can see, it would play relatively well, and can definitely add value to those players who are up for a good RP session with a friend, although I would have liked to seen more development to the game's decision making system, as the old Scissor, paper, stone game got a little boring after a few hours in.In conclusion, I think the guys at Larian have done a superb job with DOS, and this gem is definitely a title worth playing for generally anyone who likes a good CRPG it's a lot of fun and not to mention immersive. If you are interested you can pick this up on the steam store or from a local retailer near you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Update: Quest for Sunrise the Legendary Greatsword (Guild Wars 2)

It's been roughly a couple of weeks since I first stepped off on my journey to create Sunrise, and whilst being preoccupied with the demise of Lion's Arch event. I am back in the grinding seat toward completion of my legendary weapon. I still have a fair means to go if I do not end up giving in and buying the remaining materials off the trading post. However, so far so good... I have completed 4 out of the 8 stacks of tier 6 materials necessary one step at a time. My main source of doing this without having to buy any materials was to farm the "cursed shore" zone. I have slain more risen than I can even begin to comprehend, but fortunately for me I am that grinding kind of guy :) Well so far my main source of income and chance at T6 are the vast amounts of Heavy Moldy bags I collect per run. 
Whilst there is a slim chance of T6 mats it is still there and I find I can get some lucrative drops of T5 materials in them as well as silk scraps. However, if I were to go on this method alone I could be farming for months on end and still struggle to reach my goal of 250 stacks of all 8 T6 materials. Therefore, I also use the drops I get of T5 mats and forge them into the mystic forge for a chance of between 4-10 t6 mats. So what is involved? You need a stack of 50 x T5 material, 1 X T6 corresponding mat e.g. 50 x potent venom sac and therefore 1 x powerful venom sac. Next you need what some people may find difficult to obtain 5 x Crystalline dust and 5 Philospher's stones. The stones are easy and can be purches in stacks of 10 for 1 skill point from Miyani who stands next to the forge in Lion's Arch. The dust on the other hand, can be slightly hit and miss as my current source of obtaining it is from salvaging globs of ectoplasm obtained from salvaging level 76+ rare items. I do my world boss chest runs and with roughly 140% magic find, I find enough rares from mobs to give me a decent number of ectos for salvage. Make sure if  you salvage globs of ectoplasm you only need to use a "basic salvage kit" using anything better does not increase your chances at more crystalline dust. Another advantage for salvaging globs of ectos is the essences of luck that you obtain per salvage. This will in the long run also increase your magic-find as you go. Basically, that's all for what I do to obtain my T6 mats, bear in mind you can also buy the stacks of T5 from the TP when prices are lower, but I have yet needed to do so as I am not in the greatest rush. For more updated information on material prices you can check them at This website is a god-send to track prices if you intend to buy low and capitalise. Thanks for reading folks and see you in the next update :) 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guild Wars 2 Revisited: In pursuit of the Legendary Sunrise

The Quest for the legendary.

Hey guys, after a long break away from GW2, I have decided to give the game another shot and having returned to my plethora of goodies in my decently stocked bank vault. I decided to bite the bullet and fork out the gold for a precursor on the TP. Now I am well aware of the possibility of precursor crafting, but with this being only a rumor and the large uncertainty surrounding what might be involved I made the decision to buy the "Dawn" great-sword precursor to craft my legendary "Sunrise". I am still extremely excited but feel slightly overwhelmed by the mammoth task at hand. Please bear in mind, I am not investing any real money to buy gems and convert to gold, but doing everything the old fashioned way by grinding it out and farming the materials.

So what is involved? 

Many GW2 players would know the intensive length a player must go to farm the materials and prepare the 3 main gifts that is required to forge the legendary itself. So with precursor in hand I set out on my legendary journey to craft the awesome looking great-sword known as "sunrise". So far, after doing an inventory check on my bank stock. I have all the globs of ectoplasm required and plenty of materials to level both weapon-smithing and armor-smithing to 400, required to craft the gifts required for "sunrise". I have also just managed to craft all my mystic clovers 77 in total and boy was that a task in itself. I crafted one by one as I figured it would potentially increase my chances of attaining a single clover over the proposed 10 method. For those interested it took about just under 250 of all the required materials to craft them factoring RNG, and I also recieved a fair number of tier 6 materials which I will save for the 2 gifts that require 250 stacks on all tier 6 ingredients. I think I am about a third of the way there and already feel exhausted. Please feel free to leave a comment regarding your experiences and stay tuned for the next update. :)

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dragon's Crown Vita/PS3

If you were looking forward to an action-packed side-scrolling beat'em up with RPG aspects, then look no further this game has it all. Guys and Girls, the game I am referring to is absolutely awesome and looks visually stunning too. If you are a semi-old school gamer and had the opportunity to play side scrolling adventure games such as "D&D: Shadows over Mystara" This title is definitely worth picking up. I am talking about non other than the highly anticipated "Dragon's Crown" Atlus' side-scrolling adventure action game that is available for purchase on the Sony Vita and PS3 consoles. 

Having played 10+ hours I can say there is enough depth and character combinations that make this game a diamond among today's arcade offerings. Choose from 5 playable character classes: Fighter, Elf, Sorceress, Dwarf or Wizard each with it's own style and game play with enough talents and shared traits to make the game not so overwhelming and simple enough to pickup and play regardless of which level of gamer you are. The game play is mainly action beat'em up based which involves combos and skill sets to assist in your adventures. Loot rewarded from treasure chests and boss battles is instanced between players so it eliminates the "ninja looters" from multiplayer games. 

Multiplayer is also enjoyable and is unlocked after progressing through the first part of the game, this ensures that all players will have access to all zones and allows players enough time to gain familiartiy with their chosen class before teaming up with others to combat the dark forces. This game has enough RPG aspects to satisfy those looking for character advancement too, characters gain levels and skill-points which can be uniquely allocated to suit the players play-style, it also will add re playability for the more hardcore players. Multiplayer is not mandatory as you can easily fill the vacant party spots with NPC players, but be forewarned that the AI is rather "blunt" and will blindly step into traps directly. I did not find this a problem on normal mode, but could see it becoming a little frustrating when attempting the higher level of difficulty levels. The story fits rather well, and presents an old-school simple feel like your older arcade games that unravels the more you progress into the game.

Graphically, Dragon's Crown has few rivals in the artistic department, if you are a fan of side-scrollers/beat'em ups and also like beautifully fluid like animations this game is a definite must play, there are some points where so much is happening on screen that the Vita may feel like it's slightly struggling with all the graphical activity but this is barely detrimental to the overall experience. 

Overall, people this game is very well put together and enjoyable by players of all levels so long as you enjoy beat'em up side scroller games. I will definitely be playing this one a good deal more and would not hesitate to recommend this to RPG fans too. Dragon's Crown definitely rate's an impressive 8.5/10 in my opinion, and those wanting to pickup a copy can do so from the links below. Thanks for reading guys and girls, happy gaming and see you soon.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Update to gaming. Happy New Year! Oshima Yuko and FFXIII-2

Hey all, just want to thank anybody who is visiting the blog and taking the time to read the content I have posted over the last few years. What a journey it has been since I started this blog and I have also personally transitioned over many interests these past few years. If anyone is wondering I will be trying to update this site more regularly now that work is settling down and yes, hopefully a lot more this year. I am still heavily interested in gaming in general so most of the posts will be closely tied to that and my thoughts on games I have played or are going to play. Recently, I have been playing less consoles and more PC games. However, this may change as I got an awesome Christmas present in the form of a PS Vita, and so far so good! I only have Dragon's Crown and Persona 4 so far, but to my surprise this little machine packs some serious hardware, close to that of PS3 standards. For anyone looking into handheld consoles, this one is definitely worth a look, although you may want to pick-up the extended battery as I noticed mine would last roughly 3.5 hours after serious use. Also, I will still be playing my PS3 occasionally and perhaps PS4 once developers release more titles and when I come around to purchasing one. I doubt I will get an XBOX one this time, so I won't be covering any games there.

I am still looking forward to the PS3 title "Final Fantasy XIII-2" Especially after I have learned an Idol from the popular girl band AKB48 (Oshima Yuko pictured with 2 concept designs) has been designing an alternate costume for Serah. In my opinion this is awesome. Yuko is so talented and perfect
, I am sad to hear her announce her graduation from AKB48 as it's forefront most dominant and inspiring member. I will be closely following Yuko in her solo career and wish her the very best of luck and success! Lastly, a very Happy new year to anyone reading this. Thanks for your support and hope to interact with you all soon.

- C

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Borderlands 2 is coming : )

Hey guys, it’s now the middle of the week and it’s time for another update. This time I want to talk about the game borderlands and its long-awaited sequel that will be released mid-September this year. Now, I played the first game significantly cooperative mode with my brother and it was a lot of fun.  We would do end boss runs and pool the equipment we found to build up a very impressive arsenal.

Now from what I can see of the preview it looks as though we are in for a lot more fun and gun shooting adventures with the next instalment of borderlands. I’m glad they are retaining the beautifully cel-shaded graphics because this was a real appealing aspect of the game to me since I last played dark cloud on the ps2. Although there were other games using this style of concept such as “Prince of Persia” No other title had yet impressed me this much until borderlands came along. Another aspect that I am looking forward to is the reworked AI system. Enemies will re-spawn more often and traverse the World; they will also interact with each other promoting aspects of team-work in the new advanced AI of the game. This should add further excitement in contrast to the damage system that will allow enemies to take damage specific to the area where they were injured.

Finally 2K games also released a sweet collector edition of the game.  It took the shape of the signature loot-able borderlands weapons cache. I thought this was definitely a nice touch to what is most likely going to be a phenomenal game. Also, there will be other goodies like a bobble-head figure, cloth map, stickers, steel-book case and of course bonus DLC (digital-download content) I am slightly miffed that I missed this one down-under as the pre-orders for this were sold out very fast. Hopefully I may still have some hope purchasing this at a later stage online.