I’ve gotten into a good routine in World of Warcraft that allows me to complete my valor grind in minimal time, so that leaves me free to pursue my altoholism. Two alts in particular have proven themselves worthy of note, recently — each a mirror of the other, but in separate games.
It was the best of times:
As part of my new lifestyle of game-hopping, I’m continuing to play through the Secret World when not valor-capping grinding.
Instead, I’ve been playing my Templar alt. Initially, I found it a bit dull to be repeating the game on a new character, but I’m really starting to get into it now. Part of this is due to finding an interesting build for her.
I said in a past post I’d settled on pistols/blades as her build. I lied. With my main taking up swords, I wanted her to be more distinct, so she’s now chaos/shotgun.
The interesting thing about this build — and I didn’t plan this at all — is that she’s essentially become a mid-range fighter, which is not something I’ve ever played before.
In most of the MMOs I’ve played, range is standardized. You’re ranged, or you’re melee, and there’s not much middle ground.
Nearly all of my Templar’s skills are ranged, but their range is very short — to the point where I’ve already aggroed enemies by the time I can get a shot off, like a melee character. My builder, wheel of knives, is technically a point-blank AoE, but it also has a weak range, so I can hit enemies with it before they can reach me.
My only truly melee ability is Call for Eris, my chaos finisher. So this has led to a rather odd play style of dancing around my enemies, trying to always stay in that sweet spot where I can hit them but they can’t hit me, and only rarely moving into melee for CfE.
It’s bizarre, but I think I like it. It suits the mobility-centric combat of The Secret World very well. Since my builder hits anything near me, I’m very free to maneuver away from enemy attacks. Ak’ab and their constant knockdown charges are hardly annoying at all.
It’s especially useful for powerful boss mobs, which tend to have devastating point blank AoE attacks. I can easily back flip out of the way and pepper them with shotgun attacks while their abilities hit nothing but air.
In other news, I’ve recently made it to Innsmouth Academy on that character. I think this is where the game really starts to get going. This is the second character on which Innsmouth has taken me from “this is pretty fun” to “OMG I love this game.”
Part of this is due to the story and writing. The characters at Innsmouth are all just brilliant, and their dialogue and interplay is among the best in the game — which says a lot.
Also, Jeffrey freaking Combs.
It’s also very fun from a gameplay perspective. Innsmouth always had a lot of missions packed into a small space, and even more have been added over the course of the first five issues, providing a huge amount of content in a very compact area.
On top of that, all the missions are action missions. Now, I love this game’s stealth and investigation missions as much as anyone, but there is something uniquely satisfying about just going in and wrecking up the place. All of the missions tend to be fairly simple and quick, so it’s a great place to kick your leveling into overdrive and watch the AP roll in.
This makes Innsmouth probably the first time in the game you can really start to experiment with your build, which is one of the most enjoyable aspects of TSW.
So, yeah, Innsmouth is pretty awesome.
Something else I’ve noticed — not for the first time — is that TSW seems awfully crowded for a game that is supposedly on its deathbed. I was constantly having to wade through a small crowd to get to Headmaster Montag.
Not to mention the fact Agartha’s like Grand Central Station at rush hour most of the time.
Granted, TSW is a pretty small game — geographically — so that might make things seem more crowded than they are, but even so, it’s hard to reconcile the lively game world with the image of a dying game unlikely to see the end of the year.
It was the worst of times:
I must admit, though, my playing my Templar alt is not entirely due to to my love of TSW. WoW hasn’t been the best at scratching my altitis itch lately. I have been getting into my monk a lot more, but she’s hit the Outland wall now.
That leaves my rogue, and there is a tale of woe.
Blizzard, what did you do to my class?
I’ve been playing a rogue since Wrath, and I haven’t felt this weak since I was a level twenty getting killed by murlocs in Darkshore.
I can barely even do dailies. First time I did the spirit trap quest in Ruins of Ogudei, I blew all my cooldowns and still died without killing the first one. I had to switch back to combat, and even then, it was a struggle.
Doing raids or dungeons is just a frustrating exercise in “not enough energy,” realizing I’m useless to a group outside of my mediocre damage, and remembering how much Blizzard’s encounter design sucks for melee.
The funny thing is I know rogues are balanced by most objective standards. They’re a bit underpowered in PvP right now, but their damage is competitive, if not stellar, in PvE. Combat’s cleave is actually quite blatantly overpowered.
I recently heard Ghostcrawler say one of the best things they can achieve is a class that is balanced but feels OP. Rogues right now are the opposite. We’re balanced, but we feel crippled.
Part of how bad my rogue feels is due to how awesome my warlock is at the moment. Warlocks aren’t a class at this point; they’re demigods. Going from my lock to my rogue is like going from Usain Bolt to a fat, asthmatic kid who can’t climb stairs.
In stark contrast to my rogue, my warlock is always useful to a group beyond her damage. When doing Scholomance the other day, our tank bailed after the first boss, so I just turned on dark apotheosis and tanked until we got a new one.
I can battle rez tanks and healers to prevent wipes. I can help keep a group healed with healthstones. My stargate is invaluable on Blade Lord Ta’yak. I have so many defensive and self-healing skills that I barely even need to be healed.
When I do scenarios, I tank them with dark apotheosis. I’ve checked Recount, and it’s not uncommon for me to be #1 in damage dealt, damage taken, and healing done without ever letting myself or any other character be in any danger of dying.
When soloing, the only limit to how many enemies my warlock can fight is how many she can pull before some of them start to evade because they left their spawn area.
Oh, and she can drop asteroids on people, turn into Illidan, and summon armies of demons.
I won’t even get into all the different ways my monk blows a rogue out of the water.
I’m sure it won’t always be like this. Rogues are getting a few buffs in the upcoming patch, and while most are only relevant to PvP, there is one very nice change in smoke bomb gaining a damage reduction effect for allies in its radius, making it a useful PvE skill.
As one of the many people who spent all of beta asking for this very change, I feel rather vindicated.
Ghostcrawler has also said they’re considering more long term plans to make rogues more appealing. Apparently, rogues have always been one of the least popular classes, even when they’ve been brokenly overpowered, and Blizzard considers this a red flag.
Hopefully some positive changes will be coming.