Tell us how you really feel (Episodes 38, 39, and 40)

I have some words to say. Some traps to lay. This is the block that contains TERA, SMITE and… well Age of Conan but who cares about that game anymore? Those of you who kept asking “Why did you say that about SMITE in your Heroes of the Storm Sidequest?” You’re about to find out.

Episode 38: TERA
What can I say about TERA that I haven’t already said a dozen times over? You know my stance. It’s a perfectly legit, but unremarkable, average game that brings little to the table, being praised as a great innovation by a vehemently irrational fanbase.
See, our problem here is that the US Publisher, “EnMasse” are FANTASTIC bullshit artists. These are the guys who convinced a major population of gamers that they invented the Reticle combat system by marketing their game with a catchy slogan. These are the guys who licensed and published a Chinese Gears of War Knockoff, then marketed and branded it to look like a schlocky action-packed B-movie tribute. They would have done well as grifters or political spin-doctors if this MMO publishing thing didn’t work out.
It’s why I even made mention of the Elin controversy in the first place. My personal feeling on Loli culture aside, if someone didn’t think this was a problem, EnMasse wouldn’t have tried to sidestep it so clumsily, drawing even further attention to the problem. Your argument isn’t with me, a lowly dipshit on the internet reporting on the issue, but those who made it an issue in the first place. Flipping your shit about it to me ain’t going to make the problem, whatever side of the problem it is you have, go away.
What I, and those who can see through BS, can see about TERA is that beneath its ridiculously over-polished graphics is a generic design philosophy that looks like every Korean MMO trying to be Lineage. We see a quest system that hinges so heavily on the fact you’ll enjoy their “TRUE ACTION COMBAT” that they didn’t feel the need to make any quest more interesting than “Go Here. Kill Things. Collect stuff.” It doesn’t try to do anything new because it’s so convinced it already has. I wasn’t sold on the combat. I’m still convinced it’s pretty much a control remap of tab-target combat, and I really should ask Hive Leader if we were playing the same game.
That’s not to say they haven’t made strides to streamline and improve the title. From what I was told, my gripe about the redundancy of the tutorials has been alleviated, thank god. It’s holding up well enough to get another server added. Though I am a bit bummed to hear a major interesting point of the game, the political system, was either removed or revamped. I might even backtrack this in the future. Might.
Recommended?: If you’re new to MMOs, YES.

Episode 39: SMITE
*cracks knuckles*
Ok, here we go. No longer limited by Youtube comments I can’t reply to, and a 140 character limit on Twitter. You want to hear why I stopped playing SMITE?
In a minute. First, my overall impressions.
I respect the hell out of SMITE, in a way. Hi-Rez finally got the game they wanted to make, spun off, completely by accident, mind, from a mini-game created for a former failed title of theirs. A 3PS MOBA.
Granted, not the first 3PS MOBA, as every pedant who played LOCO or Monday Night Combat will attest to, but the first to so thoroughly adopt the DotA/LoL formula and place it into a 3D perspective. Three lanes, four skills, five players and six item slots. I’ve always loved the MOBA formula and idea, but I really don’t like the MOBA community and inter-team competitiveness. SMITE initially alleviated that. The shop wasn’t a confusing mess of branches and nonsensical items, only having simple stat boosts with three upgrade tiers. The lanes were perfectly even on both sides, and the “jungle” was nothing more than a few stations of easily skippable buff camps you could go into when the opportunity struck. META wasn’t a word used that often by people and most players knew their gods were capable of adaptation and multiple roles.
But everything changed when the TenCent attacked.
TenCent is a Chinese publisher that gave more than a little funding to SMITE to help launch it into the competitive stratosphere, and there’s likely no coincidence that so many of these vast changes made to SMITE happened around the time they started holding a presence.
Chinese gods were undergoing constant reworks, the formerly fun and wacky takes on Sun Wukong and Ao Kuang being tossed aside and reskinned into the lesser used “Mayan” pantheon as Hun Batz and Kukulkan, while the “new” Sun Wukong and Ao Kuang are boringly “badass” muscular humanoid “srsbzns” types. He Bo went from being a frail old man to some weirdly buff crystal covered guy. Guan Yu’s red-skinned, musical demon look gave way to another buff badass who uses the damage inflicted upon him to strengthen himself. It’s like the game’s being reworked for adolescent boys who think characters like Axe Cop aren’t a parody.
Hi-Rez wasn’t handling their own changes any better. META gamers were using Thor as an assassin, so rather than tweak the moves that players used to treat Thor like an assassin, Hi-Rez reclassified and adjusted Thor’s stats to be an assassin, despite his kit still being entirely based upon a warrior’s stats. Hel got a controversial “Sexy” rework and Bastet went from animalistic to SUPAH KAWAII!
Character changes are the least of my problems, and honestly don’t bother me AS much. My favorite god, Freya was still very much Freya. No, it was when the game started futzing with the map and item shop, is when I became concerned. The lanes were no longer even. There is now a “short lane and long lane” that, to this day, I’m not positive which is supposed to be which. (Don’t tell me. I don’t fucking care.). Jungles were expanded to include “XP camps” for “jungling”, my very least favorite thing in MOBAs. It’s counter-intuitive, overly mechanical, easily derailed, situational as fuck, and horribly stupid to force a player who doesn’t enjoy it, to do.
Then the formerly simple-to-use item shop started “testing the waters” with multi-tiered branches. Instead of picking an item, and upgrading it to full, the final tier would let you pick from two options of the item. Not the best thing, but relatively ok, I guess. Then they pushed it further, offering more items with branching paths. Now, its the same old song and dance. A generically named, non-descriptive item, that only at its final tier unlocks the potential and name it used to always be called in the first place, making locating your favorite items, a needlessly difficult chore. It’s fucking LoL’s item shop now.
The final straw was a culmination of all of them when I noticed the META starting to insist my favorite character, Freya, be played as a jungler. I got League of Legends flashbacks and what happened to Sejuani, and I was fucking DONE.
SMITE didn’t want to be SMITE anymore. It wanted to be 3D League of Legends.
I couldn’t touch Conquest any longer, and I can’t stand streaming the game now. It didn’t matter if I just tried to enter a casual mode. If I went into Joust, Arena, or Assault, THEY WERE THERE. I couldn’t stream inter-community tournaments without wannabe MLGers trying to force their way in because “lol is fun 2 wreck u noobs”. Even players within the community would get absurdly angry or butthurt for losing or yell and passively whine because others picked a character they didn’t feel they could compete against. Fun wasn’t allowed. Everything was just practice for Ranked matches and pointless near invisible glory. No items. Fox only. Final destination.
Hi-Rez seems like a pretty fun company. Their beautifully stupid promos and skit videos show more passion than Kernification, and their Chief Operations Officer, Todd Harris, has a really good humor about things, like proudly announcing SMITE’s position in the MOBA universe by leading the crowd in a chant of “We’re Number 3!” during a tournament. The game is doing very well, and even is working with Microsoft to be the first to bring the modern competitive MOBA to consoles on the XBOX ONE.
I wish them the best with everything they are doing. I just no longer wish to be a part of it, is all.
Recommended?: YES. It’s still my favorite of the “competitive MOBAs”.

Episode 40: Age of Conan
This is going to seem like chip bag full of empty air and crumbs, or a rogue party popper to end the fireworks display. I’m pretty meh toward Age of Conan. I don’t hate it. It had one of the most interesting innovations to the tab-target combat system. It’s just… not very fun for me. Hints of gankers, and channers abound, if the constant comments about my “manboobs” on Youtube claiming my masculinity was in question because I don’t enjoy being ganked by dickless teens looking to reaffirm their own masculinity after receiving their 8th consecutive swirlie, weren’t a clear indication of the type of people this game attracts.
Is the Conan universe like, really even a THING anymore? In the U.S. at least? To expect this grindy, resource hogging, griefer’s paradise with basic fantasy elements to be the next WoW was a ridiculous assumption to make, even if the majority of my old WoW guild decided to jump ship to the game.. and jump back all of 2 months later. Of course, AoC also makes the all too common mistake of telling an MMO player they are “the chosen one” in a world full of “chosen ones”. No wonder The Secret World takes the piss out of this game so much.
Funcom, you put the majority of your eggs into the wrong fucking basket.
Recommended?: NO.


Posted on June 14, 2015, in Miscellaneous and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Tera: The sad thing is the most I remember about this game was the Bro Team Pill video on it. Vae Victus, indeed.

    Smite: “SMITE didn’t want to be SMITE anymore. It wanted to be 3D League of Legends.” And that is why I stopped playing Smite. And why I absolutely regret spending the cash on the “all characters” pack back in the beta. Fuck the “pro” players. Fuck their metagaming. Fuck them trying to pretend like one day, if they keep acting like pretentious douchebags, they might make real cash money off some crappy tournament that noone really cares about. This is the attitude that makes games stop being fun, full stop.

    Age of Conan: If you can find anyone who remembers this game, the first thing they’d probably remember is topless-ness. And that’d also probably explain the infestation of channers.

  2. I’m somewhat curious about TERA. Mostly interested more in the combat mechanics, and how “actiony” it *really* is. Simple question to set the stage: Does the concept of hitstun exist within it?

  3. Ok to level out the anger of the TERA fan up there in the comments, I want to give my own opinions of TERA as of the new update. Since I have been playing recently as of late.

    Now since they are resetting names of people who have not played for awhile and I am rather paranoid, I decided to hop on after my Smite bing had leveled out( it has come back).

    The character creation is still the same only difference is choosing to be a reaper Elin if you already have a lvl 40 character on that server, or if you choose castanic or High elf to become a gunner. So since the gunner did interest me I decided to give it a shot so, I made my character a castanic Gunner. Pressed start and quickly as I could press escape to skip all the long cutscene’s with horrible voice acting.

    As much as I like TERA and while not all the voice acting is bad particularly later on in the game, the opening cutscene is so stupidly on lip sycned with only the characters basic, idle animation as the animation.The voice acting is so stilted and laughable the line ” BY THE GODS” still gets a chuckle out of me by how bad it is. The acting does get better and some really good lines thought, however there are to many bad and horrible animated cut-scenes to actually consider them good in any sense of the word(they still make me smile in how bad they are though)

    So anyway that aside, I load in the world and bam Newish interface, ya they did kinda tweet the menu interface on the bottom. Made fancier icon buttons and what not, and added a few for the guilds and new functions there. Moved around some other icons and I had to move my skill bar up a bit cause the UI on the bottom covers it up but it goes away if you tell it too so eh. Nothing really much to talk about interface is not bad at all it looks nice…. a bit cluttered but it fades in and out so its fine.

    So I started testin out the Gunner, and man do I love it so far it is very nice being able to move and shoot, the gunner has a very nice range and a bit of an AOE to her attacks which does make it easy to shoot more than one enemy however. No real change to combat still the same only difference is when you are the lvl to learn a new skill you get a small pop-up and to learn a skill now all you have to do is press K and opening the skill menu double click the skill to learn it…. yep no need for skill tutors now.

    I actually kinda like that so if you learn a new skill in the dungeon or somewhere a lot of backtracking to get to a trainer would be necessary you can just learn the skill on your on its nice.

    The intro island has been streamlined a lot more, well the whole quest system has but its most noticeable on starter island. Keep in mind I have more than 10 characters on the whole came on the servers and many of them around 30+ so I have done starter island so much I know it like the back of my hand. However a little annoying fairy gives you hints throughout the starter island. Good for new players sooo annoying for me personally. Anyway they really limit how much running around you have to do now for quests a lot of the times if there linked the next quest will automatically update itself for you which is nice.

    You really are just running from one person to the next on one hand its very hand holdy,on the other it takes a lot less time and you gain exp so much faster. I timed myself(after I goofed off shooting newly loaded players) and it took me 36.52 roughly 37 minutes to finish the starter island and head to Velkia. They moved some quest items you need to gather all together in a circle, and changed some enemy’s you have to beat or lowered how many items you need. If you know what your doing it does not take long to get done and gone which I think many will appreciate(there’s still half of a map that’s unused,really should get rid of that nothing there).

    Before I go on to long…I already have the rest of the game I have finding has been streamed lined a lot quest wise, which is fine the further you get in the game its nice in the spread of area’s I do not have to run so long just to get a new quest, in dungeons its even better. I am almost lvl 40 with my Gunner as of 8 hours of playing so there is a definite exp boost. Got into PVP its not for everyone but I still really like TERA’s PVP. I am going to have to go to my main to check out the new end game stuff though. Quest are still just an ends to the means but at least there quicker.

    The political system was indeed removed, it was quite easy for one guild to basically win the whole server, I never cared for it cause I never truly noticed it.Heck only reason I knew it was gone cause all the Spice and Wolf flags disappeared. Never noticed,never will miss it honestly.

    Now I respect that even on the lowest settings TERA looks better than a lot of MMO’S and yes it is over designed in some places, but I have to admit TERA is gorgeous to look at…well most of the time. Whenever I got to a new area(minus the Deseret even than it had some good things) I would just look around in awe at times some area’s are very impressive. Allemantheia, or the Elin’s home being the best examples of this, my problem is there…well kinda empty if there is not a lot of people on server.

    My problem is not the graphics themselves it is that TERA makes a lot of the area’s to big for there own good. There just so damn empty that no matter how detailed or how impressive they look I feel if some were just smaller and had more landmarks, or npc’s it would do it so much better to immerse me. The game is really detailed though in fact so detailed that if you zoom into your weapons and armor you can see small intricate patterns engraved thought the whole piece. Which is probably way to over detailed as no one will ever notice the fine detailing like that, but its nice. So ya….the graphics are more than likely too good for there own good at times.

    Combat is…fine just fine, I have as of now played and gotten every class in the game up to lvl 30 at least once, and each class does play differently as to where you need to alter your mind set a little or a lot so you can adjust. Hardest classes for me being, the Warrior, Berserker, and the Mystic(especially in later dungeons where the boss just loves to come after your ass,still my main though.). The Gunner is very fun the movement it provides changes it up from the archer quite a bit, enough not to feel like its the same class(gunner has best outfits).

    The combat is still just fine not end all to be all, but I have no clue how you get lineage out of it? Course played Lineage a long time ago so barley remember anyway. Still fun combat just…. Vindictus does it better still, in terms of retical combat like WAY better.

    I NEED to cut myself off now before I end up reviewing the game myself lol, anyway played TERA for 2 or so years, and I will continue playing TERA. I just really enjoy it and since I have been playing it for so long have so many guild-mates that just keep me playing( that and I really like the PVP and end game dungeons). I do see a lot of the flaws with it, and totally understand where your coming from. If you every go back and look at it so count me in,even if I have a RC for my guild I usually play by myself anyway.

    Was going to talk about smite….but um I will do a short version, Its really frustrating at the best of times, makes me want to toss my PC through a window at the worse of times. However I still play it almost daily,(me probably being one of the only grindstone members left who play it) and I still really enjoy the game a lot. I won’t lie I have been playing ranked Conquest, and recently Ranked 1v1 joust quite a bit, cause I find it really fun(1v1 joust is better cause you only have yourself to rely on). However I can say casuals have become a mess a lot of the times trolling is hard more of an assault or conquest problem, than any other mode but still.

  4. IamAWAYSright

    1) It’s a perfectly legit, but unremarkable, average game that brings little to the table, being praised as a great innovation by a vehemently irrational fanbase. – That is every game. No single mmorpg does something that pleases all. And this game gets more right where it counts than wrong, THAT is why people like this game. NOT THE MARKETING CATCH PHRASE. The “fanbois” is only in YOUR world because you fail at reviewing this game so you get negative feed back. Honostly, I find more haters and “game jumpers” in this game with very a solid loyal fan base. Game jumpers as in the crowds that boost an open beta of any game that opens up and then leave 2 months later from “boredom” as a new title opens up. You got caught in that whirl wind, and judge the game on false accusations. And got called out in which you hide an whine about it.

    – It’s why I even made mention of the Elin controversy in the first place. My personal feeling on Loli culture aside, if someone didn’t think this was a problem – THATIS YOUR PROBLEM. I have been playing since OB…I never saw “crowds of loli’s attacking me”. In fact, I have more a problem with the growing trend of “I need high DPS class in every mmorpg” and too mayn elf rouges… I am a popori healer…I did not like the popori at first, but I thought, hell, why not. Never played an animal in a mmorpg, this will be a first. And it grew on me. It also does not detract from the game worlds fantasy setting. And I generally hate cutesy and anime games (based on looks. SOme I play due to decent gameplay). So the fact you got hung up on ONE character design..Is sad. Get past it. It is not there unless you go deep looking for it. There are TONS of things to see that are not loli bothi n game and out. As of date, there is no “loli” land or town. It is usually adult looking sexy npc ladies. Soooo… cry ore?

    – What I, and those who can see through BS, can see about TERA is that beneath its ridiculously over-polished graphics is a generic design philosophy that looks like every Korean MMO trying to be Lineage. – ths is where you get proven wrong and resort to desperate measures…really? Lineage???? The Lineage GAMES? That is like comparing mario to tetris… One is insiane grind fest that takes years and mass mobs of the same type (and they recently removed level caps in L2…) that is based on group effort to hold land… TERA Is about moving around, exploring…I have a end game healer blood splatter ful set… I have one quest where at most I am told to get 50 kills…middle range is 20 kills, and typical is 10 kils. Anything higher than 10 usually is mobbed up like “a mother mob with babies following” so you get 5 in one battle, so it literally rounds down to 20 fighting sessions for 50 kills… like for 20 individual kills (unless you roundup mobs and cut those sessions in half)…I never stayed more than a day in one area, the map ALWAYS changing with progression . End game in less than six months casual play…lineage??? youll be near end level in 2 years investment of hardcore play, and now no level cap. TERA IS VERY RICH IN STORY. But you have to READ! There are cinematic CUTSCENES that support the story…OMFG there are INSTANCED STORY PARTS in the game that ENHANCE the story. You derped, or you never got passed the tutorial zone, opened your fail mouth wit lies, got called out, and now resrot to desperate lies to cover up. Sad. No wonder 1 fan subcriber here LOL And this guy still doesnt get a clue he sucks at mmorpg reviews…

    What is “bad” about TERA?

    The combat, if played hard core non stop, in ANY ACTION game, hurts fingers. Roll, stab stab, gets tiring and requires breaks between game play (like in raiderZ etc.) But it is the best PRiest class in ANY mmorpg I ever played balancing our roles in PVE (where I can fight using skill and progress) and putting us in the back keeping people alive in Dungeons, to useful PvP…Without changing out armor sets or stats, it is all in genious design.

    The last major update (actually one before last), was “Alice in Wonder Land” themed, and although darker and a bit twisted, I felt was a bit out of place, but the last update is more appropriate.
    EU version is run by idiots Gamefoge, and STEAM is now trying to profit playing “region” police in putting gameforges forced down EU throat.

    In the end, low to no grind steady progression (they even upped the exp rates for new players to get up a bit faster). Best mmorpg action combat (I am a tab target fan though). GREAT grpahics that work even on low end systems (I spend A LOT of time climbing mountaints and exploring to take screen shots…MOre than GW2 ever got out of me). GREAT STORY that is epic and makes the world feel alive inlcuding reactive npc based on your story progression. All considered, best mmorpg out there. And growing back in popularity where others FAIL and get shut down or chug on with low populations.

  5. Wow, honestly didn’t expect both TERA and Smite to get a recommendation here. Then again, I suppose that even for me at the end of the day, my problems with it aside, I do still like Smite a whole lot more than any of the other MOBA offerings, if only because I like the more action oriented combat. Though, the grievance that I’d add about Smite for me is the damned match making. When I am getting paired up with people who are fucking whatever the highest rank is in conquest ranked in a casual assault match, somethings wrong. For me, it all happened when they moved away from the non-timed queues. Though, on another note, I’m sure Chachera will be excited to see the “Yes” on TERA. I do kinda like seeing these ones with long descriptions personally.

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