Archive for August, 2008

Well, in an award acceptance video by Bungie’s Luke Smith, there are subtle hints towards them bringing bots to Halo 3. Along with the map editor which could either be a straightforward multiplayer map building tool, or even a Timesplitters-esque event based single player missions, the bots will be very interesting. I personally would be happy either way to see the bots used as multiplayers to tone your skills up on (think Perfect Dark or Goldeneye) or just as opponents in the Timesplitters like single player objectives.

What makes it look possible is that they have said that there will be big changes to the Matchmaking in September, and maybe this is it. The small last few seconds (at 1:12) of the video show Luke Smith’s Halo 3 character in a large grid area standing on a brick structure. He also says “Don’t show this to the internet!”. Also, all the hoo-hah about the Superintendent could be a character/helper in the map building tool. I personally think this will be where the Superintendent will come into a Bungie game and will insist players who make maps with flaws and gaps to “Keep it clean”. I certainly hope this is what is going to happen.

I apologise for this poorly written post though. I’m not writing it on my normal PC as my Mega-Hella-Awesome laptop arrived today and I am writing this post in front of the TV, so I’ve been a little distracted whilst writing. I just felt that I should write something as it’s been a while since I last posted anything here.

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I’ve spent a fair chunk of today editting together a video two friends and I filmed a few weeks ago. We spent 2 days in total filming the footage and I think it came out pretty well. I won’t say much, but it’s about Mr Potato Head who; when about his daily routine, discovers that he has to save the lives of his wife and son. So without further adue, here it is!

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It’s hard to describe in words how I feel right now, after being accepted into my top University choice. I got my grades yesterday and they were a little disapointing. I didn’t bother checking Ucas until a bit later to see if they had accepted me or not as I thought it would just further my disappointment. But after looking on it, I felt jubious. It’s just so nice now to know that I don’t have to worry about getting in and I know what I’ll be doing in just over a months time. Exciting but daunting at the same time, but completely fantastic. Most of my friends have all got the grades they wanted and I’m sure they’ll all be going to their top choices. It was a good day yesterday to see everyone I knew get what they wanted after 2 years of studying. I enjoyed a night out last night with some of them but tonight there shalt be a BBQ and it shalt be awesome.

So yer, sorry for not posting my thoughts of Survival tree, but I’ve been too worked up/relieved about my results to care 😀

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Now, it’s time for Marksmanship!


This tree is probably seeing the biggest changes of all three. Right off the board, the Tier 1 talents look completely different. Lethal Shots is still there being one of the best ever Tier 1 talents of any class, but it is now joined by a slightly different variation of Improved Concussive Shot (Old/New) and a new talent called Focused Aim. Let’s start firstly on the changes to Imp. Concussive Shot as they are simply a better working version of the old talent. The old talent definately had alot of debate over its viability as a 5 point talent and whether it really was worth getting over other 5 point talents such as Efficiency to get those 10 points to get to Aimed Shot. I personally have specced 5 points in the old talent and found it useful at times, but one of those talents that can’t really be justified, even for PvP. The new version of it is more solid and doesn’t rely on a proc rate. The new version will give you 2 more seconds on kiting time, which in pvp will help to get those extra few yards away from any melee trying to stuff their blades into your large intestine.

Now Focused Aim is also a pretty solid talent. A reduction in interuption time on Steady Shots and Aimed Shots is something extremely desirable in pvp. When I’ve pvped against another hunter, some fights come down to “whoever didnt try to steady shot the other wins” as you can push their steady shot back well beyond their auto shots. This talent will help with this problem but with that in mind, it may not be so much of an issue now as Auto Shots are not clippable by other shots. It’s another one of those talents that we’ll just have to wait and see if it’s worth getting or not.

The next change comes in at Tier 2, with a rehashed version of an already existing talent, Careful Aim. The old version was alot further down in MM and only gave you a 45% ap bonus for your intellect. It’s weird to see it being so low down and being so good. It seems to be that Blizzard expect people to go either Survival or BM and are putting all the “must have” talents in MM snuck down at the bottom meaning that every player will always be x/16/y. It’s a bit of a disapointment to be honest for Blizzard to do this but I guess it is their game, they probably have bigger plans with the talent arrangements than a mere mortal like myself could ever comprehend. Or of course, they’re being totally lame.

The next new talent is at Tier 7. Before then however, there is a rearrangement of Efficiency and Concussive Barrage now includes Volley. Subtle changes but I guess they make sense. Efficiency should be deeper in than a Tier 2 talent as it does help alot with mana consumption. The change to Concussive Shot wasn’t necessary as no one took the talent anyway and I can hardly see that changing. Like I said however, the next new talent is at Tier 7 in the form of Piercing Shots. Now, I’m not overally hot on the benefits of Armor Penetration and couldn’t really give you guys any math on this. I can however say that a 6% armor ignore is going to be pretty good. This is something I can see being beneficial in PvP, Arena and PvE. Armor P is another one of those new stats that Blizzard is hoping to catch on, just look at loot post Zul Aman, all going for Armor P and Haste. Since they are so new, I haven’t seen too much math on the benefits, but the general consensus is that you should mix up your stats, don’t whore one stat.

Now at Tier 8, we have another new talent, Rapid Recuperation. 60% off the cost of spells and abilites whilst under Rapid Fire is a pretty nice trade off, especially since it’s only 3 talent points. This will be useful in situations in Arena and PvE when you’re running low on mana but you need to get that enemy down quickly but also throw out some other shots. A very nice talent indeed and will definately be worth getting if you go this deep into MM.

At Tier 9 there are 2 new talents. The first I’d like to talk about is Wild Quiver. I’m not overly keen on proc chance talents, especially if the proc rate can’t be improved like if it was tied to your crit chance. I suppose it could be said to be tied to your Hit rating, but that connection is pretty loose. 3 points in this talent will give you a 10% chance on your auto shots to give you a shot that deals 60% auto shot damage. This talent to me will only be totally viable if you are only planning on doing PvE content. It’s something that you can’t solely rely on but is a very nice extra source of dps. Combine this with Rapid Fire and Improved Aspect of The Hawk and you have yourself a winner. In any other circumstances with a lack of continual shooting you won’t be having such a great time.

The other Tier 9 talent is Improved Steady Shot. Again, another talent that relies on proccing. This time however, it promotes mixing your shots up a bit by increasing certain shots’ dmg aswell as giving them some mana reduction. Now, I’m all for mixing up rotations, but being forced into one because of a talent proc isn’t something i’m too fond off, especially since it’s an RNG (Random Number Generation) talent. I guess however it will be useful for PvE in keeping your dmg up but also your mana up.

The next talent at Tier 10 is called Marked For Death, although I think the name is rather far from the truth. It gives you another 5% dmg done to the target along with giving your Aimed Shot, Kill Shot and Steady a 10% critical strike damage bonus. It does give a nice 5% flat dmg bonus and the crit dmg bonus is also nice. However, the wording of the talent is slightly odd and could lead one to believe that you’ll only get +5% dmg to your shots (such as Aimed Shot) rather than all your ranged attacks, which is the usual wording of such +dmg talents. A nice talent for PvE and PvP but isn’t crushing for enemies. It also pends on enemies being markable or not.

Finally, the end talent here is Chimera Shot. This talent has seen some changes since the start of the Beta and definately has recieved alot of debate. It used to cost 540 mana and only dealt 30% dmg. Now, it’s down to 375 mana and the dmg has been up’d to 150%. A big difference indeed which means that there is going to be fresh debate over it’s usefulness. I personally can see the use of it in Arena and PvE with both the Serpant Sting consumption and also the Scorpid Sting consumption. With the top rank of Serpent Sting, if you are on 3000 ap, you’ll be dealing 171 dmg from Serpent Sting every 3 seconds. If you let this tick 4 times that’s 684 dmg done to the target. Now fire off a Chimera and you’ll be hitting with 150% dmg along with another 273.6 dmg. This is a nice piece of burst dps and can be the difference between taking someone down enough to make Kill Shot extremely useful or not. The Viper Sting consumption however seems a bit odd. I can see that it’s not meant to be a mana back talent, but the amount it will drain isn’t all that different to how much it would if you just left it ticking. However, the 150% dmg and an annoying effect will be fun to play with in Arena. Overall, a good talent but Viper Sting in general needs some rethinking.

So, the MM build for me for Arena would be this.

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I’ve finally decided to write my analysis of the new hunter talents for World of Warcraft, coming in WoTLK. I’ve already skimmed over them quickly in a previous post but I want to now take the oppurtunity to go through each talent tree and talk about how each will hold up on their own in PvE, PvP and ofcourse, Arena. The difference between Arena and PvP is subtle but is definately worth mentioning. I’ll also have a go at trying to make a “near-perfect” build of each tree in my point of view. I’ll do a different tree each day over the next couple of days, starting with Beast Mastery.

Beast Mastery

To me, this looks like a very promising tree. It’s currently the raider’s favourite and I doubt that will change all too much. The first changes to the tree only begin at Tier 3 with a 1 point talent, Master’s Call. At first it seems like a pretty decent talent and as far as I can see, it can be targetted on anyone, not just the hunter or the pet, making this a pretty decent talent for Arena and even PvP. Ofcourse, it will still have it’s usage in PvE content. It also costs 7% of base mana which I think would be about 3% or so of my overall mana, not too shabby for a tier 3 talent.

The next change to the tree isn’t until Tier 8, with the introduction of Invigoration. Now, it’s nice that BM Hunters finally get a nice source of mana regen. However, what doesn’t seem fair is that this talent far outweighs the benefit for the hunter than the other new Survival talent, Hunting Party. With Focused Fire, the Kill Command crit rate is relatively high meaning that you could get this off every 5 seconds. Along with the other special abilities given to pets in WoTLK, I think it’s very likely to get an Invigoration proc every 5 seconds. Hunting Party is definately bounds more beneficial to a party than Invigoration, but to the hunter alone, the 8 second cooldown will drastically have an impact on mana regen. But with Thill of The Hunt also in use for Hunting Party, I’m sure that Surv hunters won’t have too much of an issue.

The next set of new talents come alongside the now end talent at Tier 9. Longevity will reduce the cooldown on Intimidation, Bestial Wrath and pet specials by 30%. This will take BW to 1min 24 (if my math is any good these days) and Intimidation down to 42 seconds. Personally I always felt that Intimidation was always on cooldown for that little bit more than you needed. I’ve found many times in Arena needing it but not quite being able to use it yet. This reduction in cooldown is very much welcomed but is a very nice Tier 9 talent, worthy of the stuff you’d expect to see so far in. The reduction on CD on BW is also going to boost BM dps in raids significantly.

The other new Tier 9 talent is Cobra Strikes. This talent will give your Arcane Shots, Steady Shots and Kill Shots a 60% chance when critted to make your pet’s next 3 specials crit. Again, if my math is correct, if you’re running on about 30% crit, your Steady Shots, Arcane Shots and Kill Shots will have about an 18% chance to proc this, subsequently then proccing Invigoration 3 times. If my math is also correct, with Serpant’s Swiftness, you’ll be getting Steady Shots off every 1.2 seconds. Now let’s just say that you forget about Arcane Shot and Kill Shot and just fire 50 Steady Shots off in a minute. Since they are getting rid of clipping Auto Shots, spamming Steady Shot won’t hinder your dps. If you managed to keep this up that would make 9 critted shots every minute, making a Cobra Strike proc happen every 6.666 seconds. With Go For The Throat, your pet will pretty much be fighting to get rid of its Focus meaning that your pet will definately be able to get 2 or 3 crits off before your next proc. This will eventually make you generate 54% of your mana back every minute with no strings attached. This to me seems incredibly over powered, I’ll definately be wanting to test this out as soon as I hit 80.

Now up to Tier 10, and things are slowing down a little with Aspect Mastery. I’ve always hated talents that don’t scale, and here’s another one right now. This talent gives a flat 50% +ap from your aspect of the hawk. The Rank 10 AoTH gives 300 ap, making this talent boost it to 450. Not shabby, but it’s a shame that it won’t scale to your ap or anything. The bonuses to Aspect of the Viper and Cheetah however are pretty good. This talent will give the hunter 10% of the mana drained from a target via AoTV back to the Hunter. The talent will also reduce damage done to you by 10% whilst using AoTCheetah. Not an amazing talent, but I can see it being useful, especially if you need 5 more talents to get to the Tier 11 talent.

So finally, Beast Mastery, the end talent. I’ve already discussed how the Pet Talent trees are looking good already, but with 5 more Pet Talent Points from this talent make this a worthy end talent. This will allow BM hunters to max their pets out and make them stand out dps-wise hugely. The Exotic Pet idea is also interesting, meaning that BM hunters will also have exceptional pets compared to non-BM hunters. This talent is the sort of thing you’d expect at the end of a tree and will be worth getting for every BM hunter. With the vastness in speccing your pets via their talents, this will be essential to really make it be a fully fledged OT or tank (especially when farming), a balls-to-the-walls dps kitty or even just a nice bit of nuisance in Arena. Either of these three ways are very viable indeed and with the expansion of the Stable to have 2 more slots for your pets, it’s almost as if Blizzard want every hunter to go BM.

So finally, here’s the WoTLK perfect BM build.

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Frequent readers here will probably know that I will soon be heading off for Uni, leaving my life of luxury behind me to be replaced with eating cold baked bean sandwiches off a mouse mat. I was hoping to quit my current shitty job in order to just relax and enjoy my first year at uni without too much hassle. This morning however, I finally got through my letter about the total amount being lent to me for my student finances.

“Shit me, that’s alot of money.”

This is pretty much what came into my head when I saw the amount. I don’t want to say how much cash I’m getting because as an English Gentleman, I don’t talk about money. But to give you a basic idea, it’s somewhere between £5,000 and £10,000. And this is just for my first year! This massive number on the piece of paper by far towers any amount of money I’ve ever had. Since I’ve been working since I was 16 (nearly 3 years now) I have quite a bit of money and didn’t think I had too much to worry about. But what that number told me is that I can’t afford to quit my job. When I leave uni in 3 years time (maybe 4 if I do a placement year), I’m going to lumped with a loan in excess of £25,000. In my eyes, the difference between working 8 hours a week on a saturday for £180+ every 4 weeks and not working is massive. Over 3 years, that’s just over £7,000, quite a dent to the loan.

But in all seriousness, i’m not even sure how well the loan will actually pay for food etc. From my older brother’s experience along with his friends’, the student loan won’t seriously be enough to keep me fed. Having a job is almost looking like a necessity for anyone going to Uni that isn’t loaded. Today has been a wake up call for me and I think I needed it. Surely it won’t be ideal to have to work, but in the long run, it’s more than ideal.

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Well, after a good 5 months or so, I’ve finally respeced my Hunter. I’ve dropped the cookie cutter 41/20/0 spec for a weird 0/42/19 spec for arena. This isn’t something I just did spontaneously as that’s not me at all. My arena partner (a rogue) and I decided after losing a few games today that BM really wasn’t working for us and a trap/scatter/silence build would be of more benefit to us. After respeccing to my new build we did considerably better.

The inspiration for my build and also what gave my rogue partner the idea to suggest it to me came after he watched a video of a successful rogue/hunter team. The hunter in question is called Jacktrapper and is definately a very skilled hunter. I should have seen that a scatter/trap (followed by a Blind if trinketed out) build would be of more use to us than the Big Red Pet spec. We managed to do well with the 41/20/0 the weeks before this but we were at a 1430 or so rating when we started as a Paladin and I took the 1500 down somewhat. We managed to get the team up to 1500 or so but couldn’t stay above this very well with what we were doing. But with this change, we managed to win almost every game after the respec and are now sitting comfortably just over 1500 (1507) ready to hit that up to 1550+ next week. Unfortunately he is going away to Italy this weekend which means no arena points next week, but this should give me some time to grind the honour to replace my T5 leggings for the S2 leggings for Arena. With 33 resilience on the leggings, this will definately help.

What I love most about being Marksmanship again is that the dmg from this spec is simply awesome. I know it doesn’t outdo the insane 1100+ dps from 41/20/0, but when in Arena do I ever get the chance to sit and do a perfect rotation with my pet grinding away at them to even hit 1100? Arena isn’t about pure dps but is about knowing what abilities to play against what and when. The more you play, the more finally tuned you and your partner become with what each other are doing meaning that you can play your abilities in perfect sync. The more we play (even at 1500 or in skirmishes) the better we get, which what makes WoW worth playing and I have something to look forward to every week.

On another note, I have finally started playing City Of Heroes. This time round however, it is more awesome than I remember. Doing missions all day with my older brother didn’t get boring until we got tired and I really want to go back to it for some more. I would be playing it more but since my older brother doesn’t want me to get ahead of him level wise, I’m holding back my CoH urges until he’s ready for another day of missions. What’s also good is that we have set up a Supergroup between us and have our own little base. It’s not much now, but with a bit of playing, it will become awesome.

I also want to apologise for a lack of pictures in my recent posts. I said a while back that I had to wipe my PC, well, this also included Paint Shop Pro which means I’m almost completely image-editingless besides Paint, and Paint is wank. I promise to post some pictures with my posts again soon but since it’s 1am, I’m not in the mood to start pissing about with some pictures now.

Meh, I might just edit this post when I wake up to include some sort of picture, I dunno.

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Last night whilst I laid in bed, I started thinking about how myself and most of my friends have indeed become institutionalised, most without even knowing it. My use of the word institutionalised isn’t to say that my friends and I have all become scared of leaving a certain place and find it hard to adjust elsewhere like the sympton found in quite alot of prisoners when released, although im sure we’ll all find it hard to adjust to Uni life. But what I mean is that we have become blinded by what education really should be and instead just chase grades. I’ll give you an example.

I feel that I have learnt quite alot at College over the last 2 years and feel that I have become more educated. But what also has happened is that I am being taught in a way to only care about the grades and not about what I’m learning. Teachers push you for an extra mark or two on your coursework and on exam resits, but they don’t actually try to teach you the information; you’re only taught how to pass the exam. The only reason I feel that I have actually become educated is that I’ve been aware of this lack of education and tried to understand the material and the wider subject and then apply that to the exam. But this isn’t apparent to every student and most will blindly chase grades.

My teachers, my parents and the universities I have applied to only care about that final grade. Universities start it all by asking for certain grades for you to get in. Your teachers then try to teach you to pass the exam to what they ask. And then finally your parents expect you to out perform the required grades. And for those not going to uni but are instead getting a job, employers are exactly the same. There seems to be little regard for a student that understands all the material perfectly but then lacks exam technique. Sure you can then say that they can’t express their knowledge in an exam situation, but do you really get quizzed in an exam format whenever you’re asked a question? My point is that exams are an awful way to find out if someone knows the information, especially since most exam papers will only ask a candidate about 5-10% of the overall information they have learnt. Another problem is that Universities can’t see the difference between an A student with a 99% pass and an A student that just scraped it.

So what needs to happen you say? Well, if Labour could stick to Blair’s “Education, education, education”, then there might be some change. But it appears that their ideas of education are quite different to mine. With that said however, some universities are changing their systems but let’s be honest, this will just bring about a new grade for teachers and students to aimlessly chase without really caring about learning rather than passing.

*Rant over*

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Sorry for the butchering of a classic Shakespeare quote for my title, but it’s the best I can do first thing in the morning. But enough about the title, you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Well, my older brother has recently started playing City Of Heroes and I’m puzzled as to whether to start playing it again not. Last time I played it I played the first month that comes free and then just stopped. I think I got to level 14 or something; maybe higher, but I got bored enough to stop playing it and go back to WoW.

But my dilema really isn’t if I should go back because of the game play and the quality of the game, because it’s still a good game; even if it has got a few issues. The whole premise of the game is interesting and the abilities such as flying mean that you can really swoop down in true superhero style to save the older lady from a gang of Hellions; which is the only enemy I seem to ever fight. But with the promise from a friend that the game picks up again at level 20, im curious to see if it does not.

Now, the real problem I have is: Do I pay for another subscription? I already have WoW on the go and don’t really fancy reimbursing CoH whilst my WoW sub is going. You only devote your time and money to one at a time and paying for another would feel like you’re cheating on your loyal prostitute (odd analagy I know). If I had known my older brother was going to fall for the charms of Madam Heroes, I wouldn’t have paid Lady WoW for another month of services. But I have this nagging feeling that I will end up paying for both because I’ll cave under the pressure to please both ladies.

Another little thing I’d like to add in this post, thanks for the comment axelsgirl. Maybe you’re right, maybe Roxas doesn’t suck, but you have to agree he’s no Sora. Maybe I hate him so much because of the first 3  hours of the game where you play as him, doing pointless shit just to get to the real game. A mini game where you have to deliver mail on a skateboard within the first 3 hours of an RPG just feels wrong.

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