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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slam



This post was named in honour of my overuse of the word 'slam' and variations thereof in my newest fanfic, Moros.

Back from vacation to the Victoria Falls. Not worth spending 4 nights there. Great for 2 nights, though. Got pictures!

First's a fun one. I happened to be pointing the camera upward at the vultures circling (no, I wasn't gonna die. The restaurant there feeds the vultures every day with leftovers for the tourists 'n' stuff). So in the picture, you really have to ask yourself whether it's a bird or a plane.


The falls themselves were a lot more interesting from the chopper. At ground level, it was hard to see anything. The spray's huge and gets in the way, and once you venture past the first set, you won't see anything. The spray's thicker than most rainstorms and has zero visibility. The spray is also 100% water, so you will be soaked from the top-down.




The Falls are situated almost in between Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. There happened to be a rainstorm going on in Botswana and I got a picture.


Other fun stuff included taking this photo of the chopper coming for a landing. Then whilst going through them, I saw that big smokestack in the background. Worked out it was the spray from the falls a bit later.



Also, poked lions with a stick and rode an elephant. Didn't get the picture of lion poking, because the guy missed it and I didn't feel like doing it again, on account of 3 lions I'd be pissing off.



Rode the elephant. Fed the elephant. Smelled like the elephant afterward. If you ever do that sort of thing, don't wear your best.


Wrote the prologue and first chapter of Moros over there. Updated some Combine stuff. Wrote more stuff for the Reform.

I cannot wait for Runescape's clan update. I wanna test it out, because I am a clan leader now.

There's been a spike of activity on the SDOF while I was gone. 2 or 3 of the members received a message in their Jagex inbox about Stellar Dawn, but were told to keep it quiet, or some variation. 2 Forum Moderators started posting again and SallyD is on the 'Just Dropping By' thread on the Stellar Dawn Central forum.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Also, Waiting Gets More Harderer



In a coupla hours, my parents are dragging me off on another vacation I don't care about (shit). For 10 days. Of my 20 day school holiday.

Also, today, I quit EVE. I got what I came for and left because I didn't feel like selling one of my nice ships to pay for membership renewal, so I handed all of my stuff to a friend and told her not to get it blown up.

EVE's real nice and all, but I don't think I'm part of the niche that it fills out for. I want internet spaceships, not Serious Business Internet Spaceships. EVE's stressful and this frees up a lot of time in my schedule.

Today, I was on the verge of leaving on this vacation and I had 6 days of gametime left just before a 10 day vacation, so I asked around if someone could hand me 10 million (100k or so in Runescape terms) and I'd pay them later. I even offered collateral. Everybody accused me of scamming. EVE's just too paranoid and mean, even for me. One more reason I'm leaving.

I'll still be working on the reform whilst on vacation, but I won't have internet access.


Now, onto my rant.

Today's topic is: JAGEX DOESN'T KNOW WHAT MAKING ITEMS BETTER IS.

See, Jagex seems to think that stronger = better. They've spent so much time adding new and more horrendously overpriced/-powered items to the Runescape that they've lost contact with making the game better. The time they're spending on stupidly overpowered and rare stuff that fewer than a thousand people see should be better spent on making the experience better for a majority.

Take Torva, Pernix and Virtus' Crap. Those are armour sets dropped by Runescape's (latest) most powerful monster, Nex. Nex being the one who takes teams of dozens to kill, for a relatively small chance at a single expensive piece of crap. A full set of said crap, most of us will see less than once a month.

This crap also happens to be the best in its class and is another layer of whining and dreaming veterans have to dispel. Swarms of kiddies fresh out of Lumbridge who want something valuable as their 5-years-down-the-road goal. Problem between this and the original dream of a party hat set is that this is actually good for something, which makes crushing their dreams through use of common sense and realism that much harder.


Now, what every single player will see in an ordinary month of varied play is rune stuff.

Thing is, most of the rune stuff is for mid-level players. And we see it everywhere. Thing is, it's still biased toward the scimitar and 2hander. The huge array of other weapons don't see much use. Jagex releases tons of weapons and never spends time rebalancing them unless strictly needed.

It's common items like those that need updates and rebalancing. We don't need another Bestest, Rarest Item Ever. We need Good, Affordable, Accessible Items.

They're in the boat that thinks Expensive + Rare = Good.

Abyssal Whips aren't extremely expensive or rare and they're good. Dragon longswords are reliable weapons. The rune scimitar/2hander combo is a valuable PvP tool used by thousands of players.

Any drop specific to Nex is a crock of shit.

These items dropped by Nex are a mix of ego boost and hopeless dream.

Only the richest players will ever receive the full set, who use it to fuel their already enormous egos. Impressionable new people get caught up in that wake left by the ego and they want a set of that, too. Those new players are then caught in a horribly, horribly boring grind for money to buy a few pieces of armour. Time spent dong much more productive things.

Happened to me, too. My first major, boring grind was for a whip. That grind was the first time I ever felt like dropping Runescape, was how boring it was. Then came my grind for the 'V' on my banner carrier. That was what, 3 months of killing the pointless monsters for a number on a flag. I've effectively quit combat training after that champion's binge. I can count how many levels I've gained in combat skills in the last 2 years on 1 hand.

Jagex hasn't worked it out.

Last year was their year for the newbs and they messed it up. Freeplay didn't get any useful new weapons or bosses. Even pay-to-players only got quests and minor training areas. We don't need one-time quests or static training areas. We carry and use our items every single day. Balance and update those.

Almost every weapon in the range is underused. Halberds were meant to be a warrior's answer to a ranger behind the table. Spears are supposed to be a perfectly balanced for weapon for general use. They're underused because they need a buff. Put a bit more strength behind the Halberd and an armour piercing gimmick. Make spear poisons available to non-members and buff their strength. Give weapons a gimmick so there is no longer a best. Right now, the weapon with the highest slash bonus + highest strength + highest speed is almost always the best. Rectify that. Make battles unpredictable.

What Runescape really needs is an addition to the useful stuff. There's no need for junk like that dropped by Nex. It's to expensive to risk in major combat events and too overpowered for most everyday uses. It's only point is to show off. I know what it's like to show off rare stuff and get compliments (Lord Marshal's stuff, 4 99's, 5 Champions, Godsword, Armadyl Armour and Dragonfire Shield, bitches). It's a nice feeling, but not everyone is a multi-year veteran.

Most players are on the ground, slugging it out with Dragon Longswords and their first whips. Give them a chance to advance. The people whose asses you're kissing with top-of-the-line gear are individual established players. The grind-weary masses with their rune scimitars and first dragon plateskirts are the one's you're supposed to pander to. They're the subscribers you need to convince to stick around.

Don't encourage mindless rote learning and grinding. Encourage innovative thought and cost effectiveness (see previous post for where grinding for a nice, expensive item gets you)

Regards, IVIilitarus

Thursday, March 17, 2011

With Regards to the Idiots Who Try to Save Money



I got a bit into Runescape again more recently, what with Jagex effectively abandoning the Stellar Dawn Official Forums, their new leadership change and teaming up with Hasbro to develop an MMORPG based on the Transformers franchise.

Guess what that means for Stellar Dawn?

I hope Transformers Online fucking burns.




So like I said, I got back into Runescape a bit and went Castle Warring (my all-time favourite minigame). Whilst in the waiting room, I got into a discussion of why I was rich, had a Dragonfire Shield, Godsword, Armadyl Armour, but still used my Barrow's armour over a set of Bandos armour.

I did the math myself more than a year ago, when on a my shark killing fest and came to a groundbreaking conclusion;

Bandos items are collected, cost ineffective pieces of shit.

It's been a year down the road and prices have changed, but the conclusion doesn't.

I'll do the math again just for you.

As of this posting, the Bandos Chestplate sells for a hefty 19.2 million and the Plateskirt runs for 21.4 million.

Guthan's Platebody is 604k and Torag's Platelegs are 849k. Guthan's is the cheapest and all Barrows Platebodies have equal stats.

So Barrows armour is well over 20 times more expensive than Bandos Armour. Logic dictates that such a discrepancy in price would mean Bandos was far superior.

So we do a stats comparison.

Bandos Chestplate Statistics

Attack Bonuses:

Stabbing: 0
Slashing: 0
Crushing: 0
Magic: -15
Ranged: -10

Defence Bonuses

Stabbing: 98
Slashing: 93
Crushing: 105
Magic: -6
Ranged: 133
Summoning: 52

Damage Absorption

4% Melee
0% Magic
9% Ranged

Other Bonuses

Strength: 4
Ranged Strength: 0
Prayer: 1
Magic Damage: 0%


Guthan's Platebody Statistics

Attack Bonuses:

Stabbing: 0
Slashing: 0
Crushing: 0
Magic: -30
Ranged: -10

Defence Bonuses

Stabbing: 122
Slashing: 120
Crushing: 107
Magic: -6
Ranged: 132
Summoning: 60

Damage Absorption

5% Melee
0% Magic
10% Ranged

Other Bonuses

Strength: 0
Ranged Strength: 0
Prayer: 0
Magic Damage: 0%


So when compared side by side...

Guthan's Platebody has;

-15 Magic Attack below Bandos.
+24 Stab Defence above Bandos
+27 Slash Defence above Bandos.
+2 Crush Defence above Bandos.
-1 Ranged Defence below Bandos.
+8 Summoning Defence above Bandos.

+1% more Melee Absorption above Bandos.
+1% Ranged Absorption above Bandos.

-4 Strength Bonus below Bandos.
-1 Prayer Bonus below Bandos.


Which means even though you're paying 30 times the price of Guthan's Platebody, Bandos is consistently worse. -15 Magic Attack is meaningless, as no sane person mages in a Barrows Platebody. -1 Ranged Defence is a 0.77% difference.

-4 Strength Bonus means a difference of 10 lifepoints in damage.
-1 Prayer Bonus is really, really tiny. Especially if you are in grave need of a Prayer Bonus, you will wear something with a better boost. Like Verac's.

So you're paying 30 times the price of Guthan's Platebody for an item that is consistently worse.

Let's see if the Tassets fare better compared to Platebody and Chestplate issue.

Bandos Tassets Statistics

Attack Bonuses:

Stabbing: 0
Slashing: 0
Crushing: 0
Magic: -21
Ranged: -7

Defence Bonuses

Stabbing: 71
Slashing: 73
Crushing: 66
Magic: -4
Ranged: 93
Summoning: 25

Damage Absorption

3% Melee
0% Magic
6% Ranged

Other Bonuses

Strength: 2
Ranged Strength: 0
Prayer: 1
Magic Damage: 0%


Torag's Platelegs Statistics

Attack Bonuses:

Stabbing: 0
Slashing: 0
Crushing: 0
Magic: -21
Ranged: -7

Defence Bonuses

Stabbing: 85
Slashing: 82
Crushing: 83
Magic: -4
Ranged: 92
Summoning: 30

Damage Absorption

3% Melee
0% Magic
7% Ranged

Other Bonuses

Strength: 0
Ranged Strength: 0
Prayer: 0
Magic Damage: 0%

So when compared side by side...

Torag's Platelegs have;

+14 Stab Defence above Bandos
+19 Slash Defence above Bandos.
+17 Crush Defence above Bandos.
-1 Ranged Defence below Bandos.
+5 Summoning Defence above Bandos.

+1% Ranged Absorption above Bandos.

-2 Strength Bonus below Bandos.
-1 Prayer Bonus below Bandos.

Once again, you're paying 25 times more money for an item that has consistently lower stats. -1 Ranged Defence in this case is only less than a 1.5% difference. The Strength and Prayer Bonuses still don't justify 25 times the price or use of armour that is worse in 2 thirds of categories.

Combined, the difference is quite dramatic.

When comparing Guthan's Chestplate worn with Torag's Platelegs to the Bandos Chestplate worn with the Bandos Tassets, the Barrow's equipment has...

-15 Magic Attack below Bandos.

+38 Stab Defence above Bandos.
+46 Slash Defence above Bandos.
+19 Crush Defence above Bandos.
-2 Ranged Defence below Bandos.
+13 Summoning Defence Bonus

+1% Melee Absorption above Bandos.
+2% Ranged Absorption above Bandos.

-6 Strength Bonus below Bandos.
-2 Prayer Bonus below Bandos.

A Rune Full Helm has less Stab, Slash and Summoning Defence compared to the difference. Meaning if you wear Bandos over Barrows, you've given up the equivalent of a Rune Full Helm in Stab, Slash and Summoning Defence without using a single extra slot and saving over 20 times the money.


"But we save so much money on repairs!"

That's the best reason people have for paying exorbitant prices.

Okay. Fine. Let's stack the repair costs of Barrows against the buying price of Bandos armour.

We'll start with some stats. Let's assume the character repairing the Barrows uses an NPC repair, not an armour stand at home, so must pay full price for repairs. You know, because his skills suck.

That means a total of 85850 is spent on repairs for Barrows armour every 15 hours.

85850 x 250 = 21.46 million.

Meaning that you can repair both Barrows items fully for 250 times before it matches up to the cost of a single set of Bandos Tassets.

85850 x 223 = 19.1 million.

Meaning you can repair both Barrows items fully another 223 times before it matches the cost of the Bandos Chestplate.

The total number of times (at today's prices) you can repair your Guthan's Platebody and Torag's Platelegs 473 times, before it is equal to buying the Bandos Chestplate and Platelegs.

So 473 full repairs meant the items fully degraded 473 times.

473 x 15 = 7095 hours

That's 7095 hours of combat without a break, before Barrows items can degrade enough to make up the cost of Bandos items.

7095 ÷ 24 = 295 days.

So you have to spend 295 days fighting without a single break for eating, sleep or even repairs to make up for the Bandos items' price.

My total level is 1882. I have 4 skills at level 99.

I have spent 172 days on Runescape in real time, spread over half a decade.


So somehow, you need to spend over 50% more time fighting with Barrows armour than I have spent training every skill on my character 1882 levels, before you save enough money on repairs to make Bandos items cost effective.

The Bandos items still have consistently worse stats.

Does that answer the question to which one is better?

Is that a lesson to the people who spent over 20 times what they could have for a worse item under the guise of saving money in the long term?

Once again, my groundbreaking conclusion: Bandos items are collected, cost ineffective pieces of shit.

The only reason to buy Bandos is for giant spikes and looking rich*.

Regards, IVIilitarus

*looking rich does not equate to being intelligent.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Drone Spewing Tumour

Despite the relative suckness of my old Rokh compared to everything else in EVE, I still loved it. No doubt my favourite ship ever. I did sink into an all time low and bought a Raven (it's ugly and can't defend itself), but could never get into it. Flying the Raven was an experience not unlike dating Ke$ha. Unfulfilling and boring. Yes, it brings in money, but you start to wonder why anyone would do it at all after a while.

The Raven is just annoying to fly, to me. There's not enough damage in it for me to make the paper-thin tank worthwhile, so I sold it off and replaced it with a much cheaper Dominix. In fact, the Dominix is the cheapest battleship of all and the Raven hull alone cost as much as a fully-fitted Dominix.

The Dominix is ugly and opinions vary on whether it looks more like a tumour or a shoe. There is a popular photoshop of the shoe concept, but nobody is willing to try and do the tumour version.



The defining qualities of the Dominix are drone spam and tank. The Dominix is the recommended Gallente missioning battleship, due to its AFK potential (warp in, get aggro, launch drones, wait) and is quite a lot like a Rattlesnake. Even with my sucktastic armour tanking skills (trained for shields, me), the ship still holds up better than the Rokh or Raven in a fight.

The Rokh nostalgia hasn't left me, though and I dug up some nice screenies I took of my Rokh and the jerks shooting at my Rokh from a few weeks back.





Also, just got 81 Fletching and looking into 99 Fletching. It's cheap and easy and I like the idea of a 5th 99.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Writing tl;dr's for Fun and Profit

The Combine's in the middle of reforms. Reforms are planned upgrades to the Combine that happen at intervals, fixing things that go wrong and adding lots of pretty new stuff.

First Reform changes the way the Combine is organised (sigh, again) and will be the last ginormohugic upgrade to the Combine before BETA release.

Speaking of the BETA, Jagex has stated that they will give out no new information until BETA announcement. They' stated that it's all part of their plan.

It's really not hard to tell that that is not how you manage a pre-release video game. Especially not an MMORPG.

More information on a Combine Reform is a bit of a tl;dr (like half of my writing), so can read the wiki pages.

Right. A wiki.

See, Jagex forums aren't a good place to write and archive tl;dr's, what with the 2000 character limit and habit of inactive threads dropping offa the edge in a month. Our offsite forum could only handle so much of my junk, and I write too much, so why the hell not? SDCombine Wiki was born.

So far I'm the only one editing and adding to it on account of the Stellar Dawn Official Forum being deader than dead. Lots of goodbye threads are popping up in the Stellar Dawn section and a number of my best clan members have become inactive (after saying goodbye, natch). I've stuck a buncha stuff in, already, but still.

Despite being a sci-fi-ish and Stellar Dawn blog, I got offa my ass and pulled up two Fletching levels today, thanks to the Double Experience Thingie.


Regards, IVIilitarus