Is It Worth Your Time to Alpha Test?


Let me start by sharing with you what I don’t do:

  1. I don’t buy every new MMO on the market
  2. I no longer feel a strong interest in playing on the first day of Alpha

Much of this has to do with acquired skepticism.

A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs. And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.

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Posted in Aion, Allods Online, Armored Warfare, Camelot Unchained, Game Design, Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, PVE, PVP, RIFT, SWTOR, Warhammer Online, WildStar, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft

Muay Thai (Kickboxing) Light Sparring


Been working on my real life PVP with Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) sparring. It’s been super helpful to watch myself spar so I can see what I need to correct, beyond getting into good shape.

If you’re into martials arts, let me know what disciplines you practice and what you think of them.

Posted in PVP, Real Life

Unicum Guide to Light Tanks


Light tanks have the highest “skill cap” of any class in World of Tanks (WoT), as they are fragile, possess relatively weak guns, and have enough mobility to get the driver into trouble.

In this in-depth guide, we review common mistakes and break down effective tactics to help you understand how to play light tanks correctly.

What Bad Looks Like
1. Suiscouting / charging recklessly
2. Spawn camping
3. Spotting in areas where spotting can be done by anyone else
4. Overexposing your tank
5. Dumb brawling / poor trading

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Posted in Guide, Light Tank, PVP, Video, World of Tanks

Thoughts on Legion & Stormblood – Ability Pruning & More


The Ugly

So far this year has been an unsurprising one for MMOs, nothing new has flabbergasted us, yet all the oldies have only gotten better. There are two games I’d like to focus on today. Ageing like a fine wine, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft gave us Legion, their sixth expansion since launch late last year. And few months later we were given Square Enix’s Stormblood, the second expansion for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn.

After recovering from a dreadful launch, FFXIV has steadily grown in popularity. I myself tried the 1.0 beta out, all those years ago. And through the dreadful UI and clumsy combat, I found a graphically outstanding and adventurous MMO, albeit it had its work cut out would it want to triumph over such other contenders at the time. WAR was just beginning to crumble, and Aion was competing for the top PvP scene. Whilst WoW was trying to follow up its most successful expansion of all time with Cataclysm.

As a side-note: for more information regarding the production and development cycle of FFXIV, I would eagerly refer you to the just-released documentary by Noclip.

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Posted in Content, Game, Game Design, PVP, World of Warcraft

Is Class Customization Going the Way of the Dinosaur?


In MMOs, on opposite ends of the spectrum there are two models for class design:

  1. Each class supports very high customization, where the player can invest in particular skill trees / talents / abilities to support their preferred playstyle and capabilities. E.g. WoW, RIFT, SWTOR, WildStar
  2. Each class allows zero functional customization, any customization is strictly cosmetic (skins, etc.). E.g. Overwatch

For years, the high customization model was the industry norm, starting with WoW and later reaching its zenith with RIFT in 2011. In RIFT each of the 4 classes – cleric, mage, rogue, warrior – had 9 (yes, nine!) talent trees, and you could mix-and-match any 3 trees and decide how to spend your talent points in your chosen 3 trees. I loved the RIFT’s class design – there were so many different combinations and I had a field day trying to create different viable specs and builds, including my M*A*S*H Melee Healer Cleric spec for PVP.

One obvious issue with the high customization model is balancing trees and classes, both within a class and across classes. This was very true in PVE for classes that could play the same role, e.g. tank or healer or DPS.

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Posted in Game Design, PVP, RIFT, SWTOR, WildStar, World of Warcraft
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