Wednesday, March 14, 2007

FOR WHOM THE NERF BATS


I play DDO once a week with a bunch of friends. I’ve enjoyed it as a chance to play with friends but the overall game hasn’t been anything to write home about. Some of the design decisions were pretty lame and the game is – like most MMORPGs – multi-player whack-a-mole.

The March update to the game introduced a new system of using action points. The action point system was one of my least favorite parts of the game. You can use action points to buy enhancements for your character. These are supposed to allow you to specialize your character into different areas and abilities. You were allowed to pick four enhancements to your character and each mini-level (each level is divided up into 5 mini levels) you would receive an action point to spend. If you had any unused action points when you hit a major level (level 5 to level 6 for example) you would loose those unspent action points forever.

My character is now level 6 and from level 1 to level 6 I had thrown away well over half of the action points ever awarded to me. In fact, one of my character enhancements I had kept since level one for lack of an upgrade path for it. All of the other enhancements were in pretty much the same boat – they were things I’ve had for ages and were at low levels of effectiveness.

The March update scrapped all that and now allows you to have more than 4 enhancements. As a part of that process each character has had their enhancements removed and all their action points restored so that they can re-select enhancements. This was a tremendous improvement on the previous system. In addition if you don’t like what you’ve changed it to you can pay some in-game money and reset them again and try one more time.

These changes to the action point system made my character a much more interesting bard. The highlights include: I have 20% increase to the time that my song effects linger, I have 40 more spell points than before, my sonic and healing spells are 20% more effective than before and I have a 3% chance of generating a “critical” on sonic and healing spells which adds a 1.25 multiplier to the numerical effects of such spells. In addition to that my haggle skill is +3 better than before, I got +1 to my charisma score, my Inspire Courage song adds a +1 to attack and damage (before it was only damage) and I have a 10% improvement in effectiveness of healing spells cast on me. The only decrement I see to my character is that in spite of taking two levels of extra bard song I can only perform a song 8 times before resting where as previously I could do 11. It seems like a small price to pay for the improvements to my character.

For me the nerf bat hit a triple.

For others the nerf bat seems to have hit them right between the eyes. The rouge in our party, Coyote, was really unhappy with the changes to the enhancement system. He was previously enjoying a +3 bonus to all sorts of skill checks that was converted into a time based effect that only lasts for 30 seconds now. We stumbled into several traps that he was unable to detect for some reason. Hopefully that was due to a design of the dungeon and not to his abilities being nerfed but that is yet to be determined.

The rest of the party wasn’t very vocal about their changes. The Paladin/Rouge (what a combo) seemed to like his but I don’t know what they were except that he did get some skill bonuses. What is that score – a single, a double?

I know our wizard took an enhancement that makes it so monsters don’t mind being blown up with fireballs quite so much. That is a pretty cool enhancement since she has a tendency to attract a lot of monster attention after cutting loose with a powerful spell. I certainly spent less time hanging back with the wizard to pull beasties off of her than previously so that’s an enhancement that works for me too! I’d call this a nerf bat double just for that alone unless there are detriments I don’t know about.

The warrior – I have no idea. He always seems to be able to smash stuff dead before I can even hit them. I didn’t notice anything different – so nerf bat score: unknown.

The cleric – seemed to be reasonably happy with his changes. He did note that he was using spell points much more quickly than previously. He also took enhancements to the effectiveness of his healing spells. From outside it looks like at least a sold single for him.

All in all it’s a score for the home team (that would be us) with these changes.

3 comments:

Julie said...

As the wizard, I made out alright. I was able to keep the same pluses for intelligence, but dropped in concentration. I added skills to increased fire damage, a crit ability for fire and cold spells, and got the spell stealth which I appreciate. I definitely had more options than I did before, but couldn't get as high a bonus on some of the skills I DID have. So, in the end, it evened out alright. I'm not terribly unhappy.

John O said...

On the cleric side it was about a wash. Plenty of cool-sounding new stuff, most of it out of reach until I've got more points. I went pretty heavily into the always-active effects rather than the triggerable ones.

Rebecca said...

I tried to make sense of this post. I really did. Over my head! But, hope y'all have fun playing. :)

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