Month: January 2021

Blade & Soul: First Impression

Here is an MMO i wanted to play for a long time, i only tried it once before for a short time, back then WoW took most of my gaming time so there was no time left for any other game, now i can play it.

It’s a themepark action MMORPG, all races and classes start from the same starting zone and have exactly the same story line, at least in the early levels, maybe in the end game things will be different, but so far the game is linear, i moved from zone to another following the quest line, the story have the usual tropes, an evil antagonist working for a dark lord … sigh, of all names to call the main threat why dark lord? it’s a name many MMOs use, it feels lazy, call him at least Jeff or something.

Anyway, there is a main threat which the player follow from zone to zone to help villages and people, the zones are beautiful and the quests are easy, they are the usual MMO quests, kill, collect, talk to NPC .. etc, but in this game it usually ask for little, collect one thing and it’ll drop 100% from the mob, or kill 3 to 5 mobs, unlike some MMOs where you have to kill the whole zone to collect 20 claws from mobs who clearly have 2 but drop none!

Jiangshi, some kind of zombie in Chinese culture

I play this game mostly for the world, to go around and look at stuff, take screenshot, and it offer a lot of beautiful places and so much details to look at, it’s a game from 2012 but it looks so good and even better than some newer games.

In the same time i’m finding myself not enjoying other aspects of the game, maybe because i’m still in early levels, maybe because the linear nature of the quest line, after years of playing WoW i’m finding myself preferring free-form of playing, to have a game where i can do all kind of things without the need to follow a linear quest line.

I’ll keep playing for few more days, one week of playing should be enough to tell me if i want to keep playing or not, the story may convince me to keep playing because at least i want to know what happens to the antagonist.

I like him!

Trying Beast Tamer and Aran in Maplestory

No context needed for this screenshot …. it’s a long story!

In a previous post i mentioned that Maplestory have 45 classes, i only tried three of them, so i thought i should try few more and i’m glad i did, the two classes i tried are different in the way they use abilities, let me explain.

Aran is a warrior who use a polearm, the main system for the class is combo attacks, basically if you attack you’ll rise the combo number until it reach 1000, it’s not hard to do that, it’s like WoW’s warrior who have to gain rage then spend it, but Aran have no way to spend the combos, with higher numbers the class gets more stats and more do more damage, then with levels the class gets an ability that procs when the combos reach 1000 and the screen borders set on fire and the warrior can make huge damage for a short time.

Add to that the unique class design that makes it easy to play this class with one button! you can activate many abilities by using arrow keys and attack button, like pressing up key + attack key or down key + right key (or left) + attack key, this takes time to learn but the reward is worth it, this is a class i enjoyed playing from early levels, compare that to other classes like the bowman which i found tedious and it needs to reach high level to start feel fun to play.

Beast Tamer is limited class, i don’t know why but Maplestory don’t allow the players to make Beast Tamer all the time, there should be an event to be able to create a character with this class, i don’t understand it.

Anyway, from the name i thought the class will be something like WoW’s Hunter but it feels like the druid without the shape shifting, the class use 4 animals and each one gives the character different abilities, to switch between these animals the player should press shift and a circle will appear:

Pressing the arrow keys will choose the animal, in the screenshot if i pres right i’ll choose a leopard, if i press left i’ll choose a bear, up and down still locked, i need to level up to unlock them.

I love this interface so much, i think it’s simple and fast, pie menus are used in many video games to provide the player a fast way to choose between different options, imagine using this to switch between druid forms or activate shaman totems.

The BT does not have job advancement like all other classes in Maplestory, it have skills for each animal and you level these skills with points gained from leveling.

What i liked most about these two classes is they break the template for classes, in WoW all classes have the same interface, the same talent tree, the same action bars, the abilites and the talents are different, but the interface and how it works is exactly the same.

The same thing goes for most other MMOs, you can’t play a class with one button, or have a class that require different interface and different talent tree.

Classes and jobs in Maplestory

The core gameplay in Maplestory is grinding, there are many systems to help the player level up a character, but in the end the main way to do that is by grinding and killing mobs, and there are a lot of zones for all range of levels, they are called maps in Maplestory community.

The game is all about combat, and for that it offer only 5 branches or archetypes: Warrior, Magician, Bowman, Thief and Pirate.

But for each branch there are many classes, some classes have their own branches too, the original class is Explorer which have 5 sub-classes: Warrior, Magician, Bowman, Thief and Pirate!

This must be confusing for the new players, but they’ll understand it after some time, each sub-class have different jobs:

  • Warrior:
    • Hero
    • Paladin
    • Dark Knight
  • Magician:
    • Fire Wizard
    • Ice Wizard
    • Cleric
  • Bowman:
    • Bowmaster
    • Marksman
  • Theif:
    • Nightlord
    • Shadower
  • Pirate:
    • Buccaneer
    • Corsair

This is just the Explorer class, it ends with 12 jobs, the game have 45 jobs + 1 class that is an April fool joke, Pink Bean only available in April.

The game have two systems to encourage people to level many characters, one is linking skills which starts when a character reach level 70 (this is easy), that character can offer passive or active skill for any alt in the account but they should be in the same server.

Each job can offer a skill, so if you are a new player you won’t benefit from this systems, with more alts you’ll start to gain power which makes leveling new alts faster and easier.

The other system is called Legion,  this needs a whole post just to explain it, it’s another way to give alts more stats, and it have its own store which provide items to upgrade gear and provide buffs, one of the buffs is increasing the amount of gear drops from mobs and another provide more meso (gold) drop.

I like it when MMOs offer a way to level up your account and not just characters, Guild Wars and SWTOR do that, it gives the player a reason to level alts more than cosmetics.

With 45 jobs in Maplestory there is a lot to do and it takes years to maximize Legion system, for me i’m happy to just level few alts, the game have 275 levels and leveling from 200 to 275 takes serious effort.

Done with Darkening of Tristram

In every January there is an event in Diablo 3 called The Darkning of Tristram, it provide a way to go back to Diablo 2 era with retro graphics and items, there are achievements and items to get, 2 pets, 2 portrait frames, and banner graphics.

I have everything except the portrait frames, one need collecting documents from mobs, the other need killing a list of elite mobs, both needed just some grinding, and trying my luck with RNG.

If you want to collect all the items, follow this guide from Maxroll.

With that i’m truly done with Diablo 3 until the next season, i wish Blizzard will give the game last patch and add more things to collect.

Diving deep into Maplestory

Hello world, it’s been a while since i wrote here last time, i hope 2021 is better than the last year, so far i’m having great time, going out for walks after i kept myself indoor for most of 2020, i’m going back to shopping in the local stores instead of buying from the internet, of course i do that while wearing a mask, i’m looking forward for when we can go out without them.

As for gaming i’m focusing on Maplestory, this year i want to invest in games instead of trying many of them and never progress in any, so i’m back to Maplestory and i watched many videos about it to understand how the game works.

Don’t let the cute 2D graphics fool you, this game have so many systems to level up your characters and account, that’s why i look for guides and i found many written or in videos but they are so long, 1 hour long video for just gear?  that’s normal.

One thing i don’t like about Maplestory is the timed items, items that disappear after some time, some have 1 day timer and some have 3 months timer, my main used to have powerful items when i left the game, when i came back all of them gone and i have to go back to old content to farm items, and i still feel weak compared to what i was before.

It’s a system designed to create a fake urgency, usually it does not matter much but if you have a burning character (a character that level much faster) then you’ll get best items from boxes provided by the game, the last box provide powerful items that lasts for 3 months, the game expect you to get better items in that time, so don’t quit, keep grinding.

Still, i love the game, and i’ll keep playing it for a while, at least i need to level a burning character and get my main better items.