Monthly Archives: August 2011

PAX Day 2: DDO: Secrets of the Artificers

Day 2 PAX: DDO Secrets of the Artificers

By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-In-Chief


Lord of the Rings Online wasn’t the only big draw at the Turbine booth this year. Dungeons & Dragons Online will be unleashing one of their largest content updates to date on September 12th, known as the Secrets of the Artificers. The first order of business was being shown the latest class of the DDO Universe, the Artificer.



The Artificer is a tough being to pidgeon hole with typical MMO terminology. Maintaining a healthy mix of rogue, arcanist, and Megaman, The Artificer can keep any opponent guessing in combat. They feature a new mechanic as well, a permanent pet that levels up independently from the master and can be trained to fill different rolls depending on how the Artificer equips them. Although the pets are labeled as homunculus, they look more alike to robotic hound dogs rather than Full Metal Alchemist antagonists. These pets are fast moving and very powerful, so don’t expect this to be only a cosmetic addition to the class.



The Artificer itself is a confusing little character with a random bag of tricks that combine to form a type of zone control defensive specialty. By combining local area fire turrets with a runic magic based charge shot (that shoots more balls of energy the longer you stay still to charge), you get a class that rules over any dungeon choke point with vicious aptitude. Their pet becomes the ideal lure for bringing foes into your premade death traps and blasting them to bits! However if pressured by an enemy and forced to kite, the Artificer losses much of its effectiveness.


After a detailed walk through of the new class, I was introduced to the House Cannith Enclave, a city that rivals the size and scope of just about any town in MMO history. For comparison I would perhaps point out that it was roughly the size of the capital cities in Warhammer Online, but with much more densely packed content to explore and less open space. Recent innovations in the server technology has allowed for the implementation of moving platforms as well. This not only makes the city feel more dynamic and alive, but will surely lead to more challenging platforming elements in future DDO dungeon instances.



DDO’s crafting system has also been reworked to allow players to craft all the way to level 150. For those worried about falling behind in crafting skill on their new Artificer, I was told by the developers that they will be starting off with a base level of crafting in all areas to give them a 1-up on other classes seeking profession advancement! While talking about crafting and customization, players will be glad to hear that character face accessories have now been graphically implemented into the game. As such putting on goggles and various helmet accessories will visibly change the look of your character, and you will have the option to show or hide your equipment to ensure the look you prefer.


The new dungeons being released tell an epic tale of cyborgs rising up against their ‘fleshy’ masters and an internal struggle in the House of Cannith as to how best to deal with this rebellion. In the end it will take you into deep winding dungeons with difficult puzzle solving elements and some of the most intricately played boss battles in MMO history. The culmination battle against the Lord of Blades (who I am told is a very big deal in DDO lore) forces teams to think on their feet. A central runic power source will fire off every few minutes, permanently powering up the Lord of Blades should he be inside the radius when it fires. Conversely, should a member of your team receive the ray of power instead, you can gain additional buffs that you most certainly will need to complete this battle.


While half of your team focuses on leading the Lord of Blades and his robotic terminator squad on a rabbit hunt through the boss room, the other half must move from corner to corner of the room destroying a series of pillars that will eventually destroy the runic system being used to grant the Lord of Blades infinite power. This is just a little preview of one of the three new dungeons being unveiled on September 12th so don’t miss out.

PAX Day 2: LOTRO: Rise of Isengard

PAX Day 2: LOTRO: Rise of Isengard

By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-In-Chief



While Spunkify was shooting clips of all the cute cosplay girls at PAX, I took some time to visit the Turbine booth to chat with Executive Producer Fernando Paiz about Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeon and Dragons Online‘s upcoming expansions, both slated for September launches!


The Lord of the Rings: Rise of Isengard is set to launch September 27th and there is A LOT to be excited about with this expansion. Of course they started off with the basics, raising the level cap to 75 along with new more powerful end game skills to acquire. But this should be expected of any traditional MMO expansion.



What really stood out is the sheer amount of effort put into the new worlds built for this expansion, Dunland, The Gap of Rohan, and Isengard. Dunland is lush and gigantic, taking up the majority of the region introduced in this new expansion. Each barbarian NPC looks unique from the last and the villages truly feel alive.



At one point the game driver took me to a hillside that allows you to look down at an entire Dunland war camp in one view. NPCs were charging back and forth. Villagers seemed focused on bringing horses to one location, or carrying supplies to another. All in all there seemed to be over 100 NPCs in this one village each actively going about their daily lives. I hadn’t seen village activity in a game like this since Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask, and witnessing it within an MMO made it all the more impressive.


Moving on to the southern region of the map was the Gap of Rohan. Mighty rivers filled the area and wild horsemen rode around. The world they are building is truly one of majesty and the capabilities of their graphics engine are still impressive after so many years of operation. Of course by now I was really pumped for what lay over the horizon, The Tower of Isengard!



Now the majority of MMOs I have played in the past go the lazy route and only render the player’s nearby surrounding, allowing the horizon to slowly come into view as they approach it and it becomes relevant. This simply wouldn’t do for the ambitious art team at Turbine! They decided they wouldn’t settle until the player was able to see the Tower of Isengard from a great distance, with the surrounding mountain peaks forming a protective cone around it in all directions. You truly gain an appreciation for this behemoth structure when you ride towards it for a good number of minutes before you are even inside of the Orc Encampments.



This map is cleverly designed. Though you will need a large party to break into the inner sanctum, due to some massive trolls guarding the front gates, once inside stealth is the order of the day. Brutally powerful trolls patrol the main pathways and smaller goblins lurk in the shadows of various huts and trash strewn throughout the once beautiful courtyard. I can’t say how important the stealth mechanics are for completing quests inside Isengard, but from the look of those trolls and the sheer number of them patrolling the walkways, I imagine you won’t want to attract a lot of attention.



Another really unique feature of this expansion that should send fanboys squealing is a scene in which you play as Grima Wormtongue and visit the lands of Isengard before Sauroman turned against the Free People of Middle-earth. This gives you some impressive visuals of the lush green courtyard, the shining white tower, and the friendly wise Sauroman before his turn to darkness.



Although I was running short on time and didn’t get to witness it myself, I was promised a new Legendary 24 man raid would be introduced in this expansion. Players must unite against the dark dragon Draigoch to claim his ample treasures. This sounds incredibly challenging and I wouldn’t recommend pugging it! For more information on the new expansion, be sure to check out our Developer’s Diary posted earlier today.

PAX Day 2: Guild Wars 2

PAX Day 2: Guild Wars 2

By Michael Dunaway (Spunkify), OnRPG Site Admin



This is Spunkify reporting in helping DizzyPW with the massive amount of game coverage available at PAX. During day 2 of PAX I was able to visit the ArenaNet booth and finally experience the MMO behemoth that is to be Guild Wars 2. Over the past year or so ArenaNet has slowly been showing off more and more of Guild Wars 2 at trade conventions and this year’s PAX was no exception. I was able to experience a full lineup of GW2 content both during the actual media event and afterwards at ArenaNet’s PAX party (more on that later).


Big Things Come in Small Packages

At the beginning of the demo I opted to experience some of the higher level content GW2 would have to offer. I ended up picking Asura as my playtest race, the Asura being a short statured race that makes up for their size with technical and magical prowess.  To complement my small Asura, I choose Guardian as his profession. The Guardians, being masters of defense, can not only protect and shield their allies from nearby pain and destruction through the use of their protective spells and barriers but can also deal out quite a bit of damage from afar, using a combination of secondary weapon abilities shot forth from the Guardians mighty staff.



It Takes Skills To Kill

After I had created my character, the developer gave me a quick overview of the control scheme and UI layout. As a veteran MMO player, the control scheme and UI felt instantly familiar and I found myself quickly adapting to the controls. However there were a few nice surprises to be found within how the game played. While the game does use hot-key command style combat, (you press a combat skill after targeting an enemy to perform the skill) there is no auto attack feature. What this means is that every attack you make is an actual keystroke action. A few of my abilities were on short enough cooldowns that I found myself constantly cycling between them without letup, ensuring maximum damage was dealt to my foes. What’s more, the game also allows you to cast abilities even if you aren’t in range of your opponent or facing them. Mashing your keys without proper timing or positioning won’t get you far in this MMO.



That’s a Big Dragon You Got There

Once familiar with my controls I was dropped straight into combat with one of GW2 fierce dragons! This dragon, which was a part of a large public style quest, was no pushover.  The dragon wasted no time destroying my seemingly small health pool and I found myself having to take a rez very quickly. Unlike the previous dragon Arenanet showed off at PAX East, this dragon had an entirely different theme. He seemed to be some sort of Necromancer as he constantly crafted large undead minions to go forth and explode upon contact with players.


Of course a dragon wouldn’t be menacing if he hid behind his minions and relied on them to do his bidding. During the fight the dragon spewed huge amounts of toxic filth all over large areas. Souls unfortunate to get caught in the puddles were slowed and dealt huge amounts of damage over time that lingered even if you were fortunate enough to get out. Even those that were close, but not directly inside the range of the AOE were feared in all directions creating frantic moments where the player must react and use their dodge maneuver to avoid these spots as quickly as possible. Once I was finally able to get into melee range of the dragon only to be met with underground tendrils that shot up through the ground and grabbed any unfortunates nearby.



All of these mechanics made for an intense but controlled experience.  Teamwork was obviously a huge component to this encounter and I could see all across the battlefield my allies banding together to fight off the various mechanics the dragon threw at us. It wasn’t enough for us to simply attack the dragon. In fact out of the 30 to 40 of us fighting that dragon only about 10 to 15 were fighting the dragon directly. The others were busy dealing with the deadly tendrils, necro mobs, and other challenges presented to us.  In fact, not all jobs on the battlefield consisted of fighting. Spaced out across the deadly oceanic shore the dragon currently occupied, were large player controlled defense turrets. These almost steam punk style turrets were used to deal massive damage to the dragon. The turrets however, were very susceptible to attacks and if destroyed required players to repair and reactivate them. Not only that but the dragon periodically summoned large bone walls that blocked the turret shots and needed to be destroyed before a clear line-of-site could be established once more.


A Challenge No Matter What The Size

Overall, this showing of PvE content has me excited. The sheer scale of the encounter felt amazing, the developer assured me that the content would always be challenging no matter how many players were involved. This is due to the dynamic scaling implemented into the public encounters. The system takes into account how many players are currently engaged in the encounter and scales both the damage and the actual number of mechanics the encounter utilizes. This prevents the content from feeling either impossible with too few players or a breeze with too many. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on GW2 for a while now and so far ArenaNet has not disappointed. Be sure to check back soon here on OnRPG as we cover the PvP aspects of GW2 in an upcoming article!

PAX Day 2: League of Legends Dominion

PAX Day 2: League of Legends Dominion



I left The Secret World booth in a daze that lasted for hours. Although we covered a few other games in the meantime I just wasn’t able to wake up to reality until Spunkify and I approached the gigantic sea of human masses. So much popularity surrounding one booth could only mean one thing: League of Legends had Dominion on display for the public!


After being frantically rushed around by RiotNick who handed us off to another Riot member, and then another Riot member, we eventually found ourselves inside the living wall of people staring down at a 2 story LAN super party. From there PR Manager Chris Heintz sat us down with RiotBrackhar and two other members of the press to face off with some of the general public in our first game ever of Dominion. We had virtually no time to prepare and were thrust into the match making screen where it soon became painfully obvious that the two nameless press on our team had never so much as touched a MOBA before. Our initiate team setup was:


Spunkify: Lux (AD Build)

DizzyPW: Sona (Tanky + CDR)

RiotBrackhar: AP Annie

Press1: Janna

Press2: Lee Sin




Udyr, Malzahar, Nunu, Shaco, and Janna



Needless to say this team composition was going to be brutally mangled in Dominion, and I quickly switched to Shen but was unable to find a good runeset on the account and ended up running an AD runed Shen with defensive masteries. RiotBrackhar gave our team some quick tips about what works well on Dominion. For those unfamiliar with the Dominion map, it is shaped like a massive doughnut with a jelly filled goodness pack in the center known as the Storm Shield and sugary morsels placed in a triangle on the S, NW, and NE sides of the map to offer temporary speed boosts to anyone who passes through. Fog of war hides the center of the map but the outer rim is always visible to players of both teams. The objective of the match is to capture and hold 3 or more of the 5 control towers placed equal distances apart on the outer rim of the doughnut. For each second you control that many points, the enemy’s nexus will begin to lose HP. The nexus starts at 500 HP and the first team to lose all nexus HP is defeated.



RiotBrackhar went into the match with a master plan: Send Spunk down the southern road as a distraction, attempting to force a chase with the enemy while using Lux’s incredible CC skills to delay the enemy. Meanwhile I would capture the tower closest to the base and then rush to join up with Brackhar and the other 2 to do battle for the northern most tower on the doughnut. The gates opened and off we went, and in true LOL noob style the 2 other press members followed Spunk on bottom lane, and Brackhar and I ended up in a 2v4 battle for top tower against Janna, Twisted Fate, Udyr, and Nunu. It got ugly fast.


Despite the two randoms on our team going 0/11/2 and 1/11/1 for their Kill/Death/Assist counts, Spunk, Brackhar, and I were able to utilize the bonuses on the map to keep a fighting chance. Spunk stayed just inside the fog of war and raced around the map using the speed boosts to launch Lux’s long range laser ulti to interrupt enemies attempting to capture our towers. I picked up the Storm Shield on Shen and was able to hold off 3 enemies at once thanks to my new found protection and shen’s taunt luring people into firing range of our controlled towers. The game suddenly swung from our nexus only having 120 HP left and theirs having 480 HP to a 90-200 game. At this point anyone could win!



Besides the obvious changes on the map, we also found quite a few interesting changes to the item shop that altered our gameplay. I discovered that wards were not available for purchase, turning the inner jungle into Udyr’s hunting grounds for any of my team members crazy enough to enter the jungle alone. This worked both ways though as people fleeing team fights on the outer rim would often run straight into me for an easy kill as there was no way they could know I was laying in wait unless another member of the enemy team stumbled upon me first. The map is definitely large enough that players can still go mysteriously missing so map awareness is more important than ever before.


Another new item of particular interest was the Entropy Hammer. This hammer is a legendary tier item built by combining the Phage with the BF Sword + 600 gold. Essentially it acts as a Frozen Mallet but with an active ability to 100% slow attacked enemies by 30% for 2.5 seconds with each melee strike while dealing 80 true damage over the period of the slow. This effect lasts for 5 seconds and then has a 60 second cooldown. This item on a tank when it came to ganking was the equivalent of having red buff whenever you needed it and squishy enemies were helpless to the traps we set for them. Shen in particular seemed to be a raid boss. This map is set up so perfectly for him with walls everywhere he can hop, turrets everywhere he can utilize with taunt, and the built in ability to teleport to any team fight in the map makes him an ideal choice and a likely ban in competitive matches.


Although we put up a valiant effort and I finished 12/4/3 on Shen, we were still defeated by a Nexus Score of 140-0. The game mode lasted about 18 minutes, true to Riot Game’s predictions that this is a much faster paced mode. After that we received our complementary Riot Sivir cards and got some time to walk and talk with RiotBrackhar.



We will have the full interview video eventually but I’ll share a few interesting tid bits to wet your appetite for now. Brackhar claims he is one of the biggest pushers for removing dodge from the game and confirms that dodge is really on the chopping block though not the highest priority. He also mentioned that the general office consensus is Talon is not underpowered and likely won’t be receiving any significant changes in the next patch.


He then laughed a bit about the support changes and said Soraka had been made into a real monster. When I mentioned to him the success I had been having building Sona AD via Win10Cent’s Ezona build he said he would definitely be testing it out for himself. The real irony is that angry support players are now playing their characters aggressively in early game and forcing non-support characters on the enemy team to play passively and hug turrets. He then said that there is still a lot of tweaks likely needed to be made to support characters and if the right people see to it, we might not have seen the end of the support class rework. Be sure to keep an eye out for the full Spunkify and RiotBrackhar interview later this month!

League of Legends: The Edge of Glory

League of Legends: The Edge Of Glory

By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter


Welcome summoners, to the patch v1.0.0.124 article for League of Legends, the game in which nothing is true, everything is permitted. This patch includes a rework to sustained healing, UI reworks to pave the way for Dominion, and Talon, The Blade’s Shadow.


Talon is walking murder. Seeing a Talon means only one thing – He is trying to kill you. Not later, sometime in the future, perhaps. Now. Right the hell now. Defense and utility are for pansies, a Talon player says, as they step over the bloodied remains of their recently departed foes. If you enjoyed playing ultra aggressive characters like Akali, but felt even she wasn’t aggressive enough, then Talon is your man.



The trick with Talon is to use as many of his abilities as possible on a single target, as each one causes the following attacks to deal more damage. This can be through the use of Rake [W], a conical skill shot that slows the enemy, and through Cutthroat [E], a targeted blink that increases the damage output of any attacks following it. His passive, Mercy, allows him to deal more damage to targets under the effects of any crowd control except silence or blindness, so Rake’s slow will, in turn, give him yet another damage bonus, in addition to making him harder to escape from. Once he’s got the two damage enhancements on his desired target, you can then immediately finish them with a combination of Noxian Diplomacy [Q], and his ultimate, Shadow Assault [R].


The most common combo to achieve single target damage is to tag the enemy with Rake, getting the slow on them, activating Noxian Diplomacy and Shadow Assault before jumping into their face with Cutthroat. This final act will trigger every other secondary effect at once, while hitting them with all of his most damaging abilities at the exact same moment. Depending where you are in a match, this can do anywhere from a third of someone’s health, to bursting them down from full health to nothing.




The problem with this method though is that once your initial burst is done, everything you have is now on cooldown, and the enemy is now fully prepared to drive Talon’s head through his knees. If there is anyone around that might help your victim, don’t expect to survive the following encounter. The safer method then is triggering the ultimate late, using the stealth to cover your cooldowns in the same manner as Akali, and maybe make your escape if you need to. This lowers your burst considerably though, and should only be used if enemies have a vested interest in staying in an area, likely due to fighting a teammate, monster or tower, buying you enough time to hammer them with your second round of burst.


Rake is going to be the first ability you should pick up, and the first to max out. This will help his damage, help his escape, act as harass and help his farming considerably. It’s the Swiss army knife of knives. Now, level 2 depends on who you’re up against. If you’re against a squishy ranged character, likely a mage, then Cutthroat’s leap and silence combo will help make them fear you, giving you greater control of your lane. If you’re against some burly meat head who wants to get up close and personal, grab Noxian Diplomacy to make them regret it. At level 4, pick up the choice you didn’t go for, rounding out your combo and letting the fun really begin. Once you’re done leveling Rake, Noxian Diplomacy is going to help with his ganking damage, especially once you start getting some attack damage items to back it up, so max this second. Cutthroat will be your final stop.



I’ve been struggling with finding a good pick for him in the laning phase. All of his starting items feel sub optimal. The best pick I’ve managed is using the Doran’s Shield, or a cloth and five health potions for enough sustain to keep in a lane. After that, I try to stick around long enough to rush a BF sword or Brutalizer. The latter I only buy if I’m suffering in my lane, the former if things are going well. From there, I get my boots and complete the Bloodthirster, which will both help your farm with Rake, adding just enough to blow up a minion wave in a single use, and also add some beastly damage to Noxian Diplomacy. From there, keep getting damaging stuff (Focusing on AD and Cooldown) until you start being focused in team fights, at which point a defensive item may be in order. Sheen/Triforce works well on him I’m told, but I’ve been refusing to get it simply because the last two characters were Trinity Force users and I can’t stand doing that build yet again.


For his Masteries, you could use a 21/0/9 for an all out offensive build. Personally, I’m not very good at the total offense, so I’ve been using a 16/14/0 build on him, using his defenses to make sure he doesn’t explode quite so quickly. For Runes (now stop me if this sounds familiar) I’ve been using armour penetration marks, armour seals, magic resist glyphs and health regeneration quintessences. I’ve been wondering if it’s worth slipping in some attack damage or more armour penetration in there, likely in the quintessences, to make him a little less item reliant for his damage, but that health regeneration is really needed to help his weak early game.


I have to confess, I am terrible with this sort of character. I’ve never been a fan of these high risk, high reward types. If you are the sort of person who likes to go all in for every single fight they enter into, then you should find him a pretty good pick, as his burst is pretty insane once he’s got some farm. Farming though can be difficult on him, due to having a weak laning phase against anyone with some sustain. This usually means that his team’s jungler needs to set up a gank for him early to more reliably get the ball rolling, which is usually more co-ordination than is found in most solo queue matches.



I’m going to hazard a guess that he’s not going to be seen much in competitive play, given that conservative play is usually rewarded there far more than risk taking. I will say though that he makes a great solo queue pub stomper, as most of these sorts of high damage dealing glass cannons often wind up being. He also might work out to be an excellent Dominion pick, given his need for a lot of gold early in the game, and reliance on kills aren’t a problem in that game type.


The sustain changes have been painful for support players. While I fully understand why the nerfs were needed (I think I’ve fallen asleep in bottom a few times), I don’t entirely agree with some of the exact changes. For example, why was the AP ratios on most supports’ heals nerfed? I’ve never seen a single support who stacked AP and was actually effective. Everyone just grabbed gold per 10 items and bought loads of wards. It seems a bit superfluous to target a nerf at something that no-one who knew how to play their characters ever did. Then again, it’s not like that part of the nerf actually has affected any support players, given none of them are going to be buying AP anyway. You’d think though that Riot might want to discourage this type of play, as the gold per ten stacking encourages passive supports, but evidently they don’t see this behaviour as a problem. Fine by me, I’ll just keep stacking up my wards.



The changes to Soraka are not only the most extensive, but also the most bizarre. Her heals have been nerfed so hard that you couldn’t put her on a team as the dedicated healer any more. Her damage output is now really, really high though, putting her more into the role that was once filled by Nidalee (RIP Nidalee) on top as a self sustaining mage. Where once you would pick Soraka to be the team’s heal-bot, now she’s better as a nuker and pusher, with a little bit of added sustain thrown in.


My own bit of vitriol at the changes is the odd buff Sona has received for her heal to compensate for its lowered effectiveness. The idea is that she’ll enhance whatever auras she has active on the heal’s target while the buff lasts. This was to encourage clutch healing, giving allies more armour, damage and/or movement speed. The problem, however, is that this is Sona. You can’t choose your targets, only go with what the automated system picks for you, so clutch healing is nearly impossible when you know your mage is going to be burst down from full health, yet your half health tank is the only person you can heal. The buff is worthless when it winds up on the wrong target most of the time. This indirect targeting was fine when it was a good heal, since there was rarely a reason not to heal the person with the lowest health, but as a buffing system this is painful.


The most likely result of these changes is we’ll simply see a shift away from the characters that relied on healing entirely, and more towards, well, everyone that didn’t get their ability to support nerfed. Alistar’s healing hasn’t been affected, nor Janna’s shield or ultimate, so they’re going to remain top of the support pile. Karma and Kayle might get a chance to shine now, since neither of their support capabilities got hit, but I’m a bit dubious myself. They both require a bit too much gold to be effective, and if there’s one thing you don’t want your support doing, it’s having to farm.



To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section. Also look forward to a review of Dominion mode coming up on OnRPG soon. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.