Friday, December 30, 2016

This And That: WoT's "Tankmas" and Swedish Tanks, War Thunder's Official Release, Rust Junks XP System, WarFrame, and Astroneer

By Bixyl Shuftan

Although my focus has been on Second Life, I've been hearing about a few developments in gaming. Some of my Second Life friends have been playing a new MMO game a lot, a new one in development caught the attention of a few, and there's been some developments in a few old favorites."World of Tanks" is going through it's yearly "Tankmas," with some goodies for it's players. For fun, this includes a tree and a snow tank players can decorate. They can get decorations by performing missions, and can level up their trees and snow tanks, getting a reward for doing so such as discounts on certain tanks or female crew members. There's also a new nation available: Sweden.

The Swedes were neutral in World War Two as neither Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia felt the risks of trying to conquer them were worth the rewards. The nation had it's own line of tanks, originally inspired by German designs but eventually finding it's own path in armor. Players have two lines of tech research: tank destroyers and a mix of light, medium, and heavy tanks. Rita mariner, one of the top tankers that I know of in Second Life, called the Swede tanks a mixed bag, some great, some okay, and some that she felt were just target practice for the opposition. But in addition to the Czech tanks that were introduced a few months ago, they do add to the variety of tanks (and spending more money for garage space).


War Thunder hasn't gotten quite as much attention among my Second Life friends as it's more difficult to team up, but I've still been hearing about developments. Some months ago, they introduced then expanded the list of, British Combat vehicles. This left Japan as the only nation in the game with airplanes only, but not for long. Japanese tanks are currently in development, currently available to those as part of the "testers team." An update in the mechanics in the game now allows for hydrolic suspension in certain vehicles. Also in development, naval combat. The first vessels won't be the destroyers, cruisers, and battleships of "World of Warships," but small craft such as PT boats. This means the game will eventually cover land, sea, and air.

With these developments, on December 21 the director of the game announced that "we have completed all the goals we set for ourselves in the early stages of development" and the open beta testing of the game was concluding after four years as the game was being officially released.

The road to release for War Thunder has been a fantastic journey, packed with development,  we have from the outset been active in development and content heavy in regular updates to the game. Our commitment to the game has provided players with millions of hours of passion filled gameplay and we have gained many, many players as well as the veterans who have been with us from the very beginning. To all our fans, we sincerely thank you, we are so grateful for the continued support of our project and look forward to your continued support into the release.

We will continue to develop the game we all know and love but you won’t be seeing the same major changes in direction we have all been part of throughout the testing, gameplay and core mechanics can now settle down and we can at last concentrate on giving the game the polish and content it deserves. Additions will continue, there are still many military vehicles that can be included, our mapmakers will still create wonderful vistas and beautiful scenery to wage war in, of course there are still exciting features yet to be added - such as World War mode, new nations, new tournaments and more.

It’s been a pleasure to provide you, our players, with such an already filled out  battle simulator and we look forward to even more happy times together as we continue to tread the path of the warrior.


When we last looked at the survival game "Rust," they had just introduced their experience, or XP, system. But not only did a number of players complain about it, the development team soon came to the conclusion the system wrecked the feel of the game as an open sandbox with exploring and random encounters and turned it into a grinding slog. So they got rid of it and put in it's place a "component system."

Players are able to build all items from the start. But some things require additional items to make. So when you go around smashing barrels and opening crates, you'll find items such as road signs, pipes, used propane tanks, tarps, and sewing kits. The sewing kits are needed to make clothes beyond the basic burlap coverings, such as pants and t-shirts. For the shoddy armor made from road signs, naturally you'll need a few of the road signs. Pipes are one of the items needed for shotguns, and so on.

You can also recycle the metal and cloth items you find in the recyclers, that one can find in the warehouses across the island. Just put in the items and a little wood, and press the green button. Tarps are made into cloth, metal parts into low quality and high quality metal. It you throw in tools and clothes, you'll get back half the metal it takes to make it.

While you can still find lone barrels around the island, you can also find them, along with crates and food boxes, on new junkpiles, which appear around the landscape. You can also find oil-bearing barrels on them sometimes, which means you don't have to make long treks to the oil storage facility or airport or kill a critter to make a little fuel, or make a trip to and use an oil rig which in itself uses up fuel. 

With players able to get metal and oil easier, I wondered what the catch was. As it turns out, an old nemesis from Rust's earlier days is around a lot more: radiation. It had appeared earlier, but was in a few small areas that could be easily avoided. This time, it's encountered more frequently. While the oil storage area is still rad-free, other places I've been in so far will start the Geiger-counter ticks. At least the water treatment plant was only half-contaminated. There are also small power stations around which while having oil drums around also have radiation hazards. This means the radiation pills you occasionally come across are going to come in handy to avoid poisoning, in addition to the radiation suits you'll occasionally find. The downside, they're not going to provide much protection against bullets and blows. Plus most players will prefer wearing something else. You're going to need to save space in your inventory for your clothes when switching to the suit. Which means your forrays into the ruins have gotten more complicated and less rewarding. On the plus side, in servers with more and hostile players, you may have less competition.

Source: Rust Devblog

So what's new that's gotten the attention of my Second Life friends lately? Two games come to mind. One is Warframe, a first person sci-fi combat MMO game. In the game, the player takes the part of a "Teno," a warrior in a faceless biomechanical suit or "Warframe" whom has been reawoken after ages in hibernation to combat the Grineer, an army of clone soldiers trying to take over the Solar System. Players have a choice of what kind of fighter to be, as well as a choice of ranged and melee weapons. Beyond the turorial mission, from what I have heard missions are all multiplayer with no solo fighting, with some story and plot involved as one goes on.

I personally haven't had much experience with the game as I found it difficult to "get," and before I could meet up with Skylark Lefavre and Pagan Sunburn whom are fans of the game, the game fouled up while updating. My friends have had similar trouble, to the point of occasionally calling the game "Glitchframe." So unless someone does a reader submission, there may not be much more to say about Warframe.

Another game that's gotten attention of my friends is "Astroneer." This game, still in Alpha, is in it's very early stages. Players take the part of an astronaut stranded on an alien planet trying to build a base, trying not to run out of oxygen. The game is somewhat similar to "Space Engineers," but is more cartoony, simpler, and no PvP option so far. Players can get together to work on a single base. Thankfully, some needed materials are slowly renewable, but things are complicated by occasional sandstorms.

"Astroneer" is very new, so if you get it, expect some changes as the game goes on. The game is currently available on Steam.

That's all for now in gaming.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Adventures in Tyria, A Look at Guild Wars 2 And Legendary Weapons

By Grease Coakes

When I bought Guild Wars 2 a few years ago I was pulled in by the immense world that’s Tyria. Being a steady player staying up to 3 or 4am some nights playing pvp or doing dungeons has brought me a long way.

I highly recommend this game as now you just have to pay for the heart of thorns expansion as the base game is free. However the way Guild Wars 2 makes it’s money is with gems and people buying the expansion. Another name for GW2 is fashion wars as you can buy outfits or accessories with gems you purchase with real money. Or you could buy gems with gold earned in game.

The classes you can play as such as Mesmer,Elementist,Necromancer who wear light armor. The medium armor classes are Engineer,Ranger,Thief. The Heavy armor classes are Guardian,Warrior and now with the expansion Reverant which is a mystic warrior which can use the mists to bring him power.

Mesmer can make mirror images as his images attack for you and confuse foes. Elementlists harness the four elements to attack or heal with water. Necromancers use death as magic to bring foes to an early grave.

Engineers use gadgets and guns to blast enemies. Rangers like hunters in wow hunt with bow and arrow and have an animal companion to hunt along with them. Thieves have low hit points but can attack with stealth and do heavy damage with daggers and pistols.

The Heavy classes are Guardian which is like a Paladin smiting with holy powers. The Warrior is the tough mace swinging solider.

Each class can use different weapons such as pistol or sword. Every weapon gives different attacks 1-5 on your keyboard. If you decide to give Guild Wars 2 a try, play around and see what character and weapons work best for you.

Also for the new expansion there are elite classes you have to get hero points to unlock. Chronomancer for Mesmer and Tempest for Elementlist. You have to gain hero points to unlock the elite classes.

In the game there are crafting professions such as Chef, Huntsman, Artficing, Weaponsmithing and more. They can make goods, such as food and dyes for chefs, melee weapons for weaponsmiths. But crafting professions were also needed to help make something which has been a tremendous source of pride for me.

If you've met me in Second Life lately, you might have seen my fliptitle which says “I have Rodgort the Legendary Torch.” You might of wondered what that means. There are legendary weapons you can attain which isn’t just soulbound to one character. However it takes a long time and lots of the in-game gold. There’s a list of them here on the bottom of the page One of them Rodgort happens to be the one I have that Cat Mage now has (my Mesmer).

When you forge a legendary it’s useable by ANY of your account characters. So long as your character can use whatever legendary weapon. For example my Mesmer can use it, but also so can my human ranger.

Another bonus to having a legendary weapon on top of having wonderful visual effects is the fact that so long as you’re out of combat you can change the stats to whatever you choose. If you want more hit points pick solider. If you want more condition damage and precision pick viper. Equipment such as armor and weapons have stat combos. If you want to change stats you have to unequip your legendary weapon and click select stats. It’s fun to experiment to see how Viper or Assassin will change your damage or boost your armor.

You might be asking “Grease how do you get a legendary weapon?” Well it took a LOT of work. And a lot of gold. When you first start the game you might want to start exploring and practice playing at one class or try another class and like that better. One of the things you need for any legendary weapon is the gift of exploration. You get that when you explore all the maps of Tyria. The new legendary weapons such as Nevermore you need to explore the new areas in the Heart of thorns expansion.

 Also dungeons and PvP. You can get free weapons and armor through dungeon tracks. The eight dungeons offer weapons and armor and specific to each dungeon. The weapons and armor have stat combos. So it very possible before you even hit 80 which is the max level to have exotic or orange gear.

PvP is very harsh. Overwatch is a fairy tale compared to how hard and intense Guild Wars 2 PvP can be. HOWEVER. You can get clovers and weapons and armor for free if you stick to it. Mystic clovers you also need for legendary weapons. It’s easier to get them through PvP but slower and cheaper then taking chances with the mystic forge. You also receive tomes of knowledge through PvP.

But don’t throw all your time into PvP though. Once you hit 80 you can do dungeons and get gold along with lots of low level weapons and armor to salvage for magic find. Over time magic find gets higher so you find better armor and weapons and also materials such as vicious claws that you also need for legendary weapons. Dungeons are easy once you get the hang of them.

In order to PvP on the dungeon tracks you have to complete the story mode of whatever dungeon. For example the first dungeon story mode I unlocked was Honor of the waves. When you first start Citadel of Flame is already playable. That offers berserker gear which has power precision and Ferocity. Most players use this gear for the highest damage but it makes your character fragile as well.

Also something you can complete is a title called dungeoneer which offers you ascended (pink) accessories for free. Each dungeon has the weapons and armor sets you can unlock through completing the dungeons giving you tokens for whatever dungeon. When you unlock ALL of them you receive an accessory on the house. Two of them have healing stats. Two of them have assanin’s stats for high damage. The other two are solider’s for tanking. The last two are carrion for condition damage. Such as fire burning an enemy or a sword cutting someone making him/her bleed.
When you finally grunt and get all the dungeons you not only have those eight accessories for free. You also get the title of dungeoneer AND a large treasure chest.

While you get these armor and weapons you might not be using you can salvage them into ectos which (surprise) you need for a legendary weapon AND sell for decent gold. When you get dungeoneer you can keep using tokens for gear just salvage on top anything else you find in dungeons.

Also to get legendries, you have to get gifts from professions. For example for Rodgort I need Chef and Huntsman to create gifts to combine in the mystic forge for your weapon. Not only that it was costly in gold to get the materials for the gifts. You also had to spend gold to bring your crafting profession to a high enough level to create the gift. Sound expensive? Yes it was but worth it as my Mesmer walks around with fire foot prints now.

I hope this helps anyone looking for a new game to play to suck you in to goof off and play on your days off. Also once you pay for the expansion THERE’S NO MONTHLY FEE. Whether you play around for free with limited options or buy the expansion Heart of Thorns of HOT for short. Arena Net doesn’t charge you a subscription fee. Feel free if you see something you like to buy  with gems (from real money) or gold within game traded for gems.

Bring yourself to Tyria for a grand adventure I know I have. There’s also guilds to join to share your adventure with others who might share in your interests and you might get lucky as you might also talk with people also from Second life. In fact I’m working on a second legendary called the Bifrost a rainbow staff. Who knows you might run into me in this fantasy/steampunk massive RPG.

Grease Coakes