Daily Archives: September 19, 2019

PlanetSide Arena Arrives at Early Access

PlanetSide Arena is up on Steam today and available to download as its Early Access launch begins.

This is the first stage of Daybreak’s announced path forward with the game, which was first revealed to the public late last year with an initial goal of a beta in late January of this year.

That was scrapped and pre-orders were refunded as the whole project was pushed out until summer, with the desire for a simultaneous console launch given as the reason for the delay.

Then we had one of those long stretches of silence, so familiar to watchers of Daybreak and SOE before them (and maybe of Rogue Planet Games at some future date), until a new set of dates was announced on August 30th.

PlanetSide Arena – August 2019 Schedule

Today the company met the first of their revised dates and, despite having pushed console support out into the future, they did managed to release something still within the months of summer.  Autumn begins on Monday in the northern hemisphere, or so say the calendar makers.

The game is free during early access on Steam, so it only costs the download time to get into it.  There are, of course, starter packs available for a price.  Daybreak has to fund this somehow.  Reviews are currently “mixed,” though there are only 70 as of this writing and the negatives seem to be coming from PlanetSide purists.

Further details about the game are available at the Daybreak web site.  And, of course, there is a trailer:

We shall see how it goes, but Daybreak is off to the races today with their only new game since the SOE era.

The PlanetSide Arena story so far:

 

Running to Ragefire Chasm Again – This Time For Sure!

Part three of our Ragefire Chasm tale, in which we return to the scene of the crime. (Parts One and Two if you are so inclined.)

1pm rolled around… it is actually a bit of a boon that we’re all in the same time zone I suppose… and Bung and his son showed up and, surprisingly, seemed okay with the idea of making the run to Orgrimmar.  It looked like we might get a crack at Ragefire Chasm after all.

Of course, they had to start the run again.  I hadn’t left Booty Bay, so I sailed back over to Ratchet again and ran up the left bank of the Southfury river again to park myself at the west gate to Orgirmmar yet again.

This screen shot appears in all three posts!

I began to consider that it might have taken us less time and effort to run this instance if we had just rolled up a fresh group of Horde characters on Saturday morning, got them up into the level range, and just sauntered into the Cleft of Shadows in Orgrimmar.  But the sunk cost fallacy is strong with us.  We were committed.

Skronk got us all in a group and they began the run across the Wetlands while I went out into the back yard to grill myself a burger.  Lacking hamburger buns, I used a plain bagel, for which crime my daughter said I should leave and not come back. (A plain bagel makes a perfectly cromulent substitute for a bun in my book.)

They made their way to Methenil Harbor, then took the boat to Darkshore and began the run down the coast then across Ashenvale and into The Barrens, eventually arriving at my perch where we grouped up for another set of rushes and deaths.

Obama, Skronk, Chad, Jeepy, and Scscla

Everybody was down to their skivvies again as we tried to describe our past experience and possible tactics to the two new members of the team.  We also described the route and, having already made the map from the last post, I dropped that in Discord so they could see where we were headed.

The route to Ragefire Chasm again

There was some hope that with more of us there might be more distractions for the guards leading to greater leaps forward and perhaps fewer deaths.

Then I stepped up with Chad to once again lead the charge.  I remained optimistic that somehow my rogue skills would help me.  I eschewed stealth, that doing nothing save slow me down the last time, and plunged in, setting off evasion as the guards started to move.

I don’t know if that worked, but a good old fashioned side-step dodge seemed to go well.  The guard was mid swing and I just went around him and fired off my sprint to get well onto the bridge before being cut down.  The numbers did seem to help and Scscla passed through all of us, making it way down the line before dying.

At least I got into the city on the first run this time

Only Skronk had a bad rush, getting whacked by the guards as they ran back from slaying me, leaving his corpse not too far past mine.

Still, it seemed like an auspicious start for most of us.  And the second and third runs seemed to go very well as Obama and I made it to the end of the long ess valley to die at the first sharp corner.

After that it became a bit of a slog.  There are a lot of guards and other NPCs about, not to mention a few players keen to take a shot at us.

At least there were signs to point the way

There were a number of times when we had to take solace that even a two or three step rush moved us forward thanks to the radius in which you can revive.

Eventually we made it within sight of the instance.

It is just over there…. one or two runs left

I had a good run this time around, having made it in only eight deaths.  I think Skronk hit ten this time around due to some bad luck at the start.  I think with some very good luck you might be able to make it in six or seven, but you’re still going to be running from the graveyard quite a bit.

So there we were, in our first instance.

Through the portal at last

That probably means I should introduce the full group in the style of the posts from the old days.  We were:

  • Scscla – level 16 warrior
  • Chadwicke – level 15 rogue
  • Obama – level 15 warlock
  • Jeepy – level 14 mage
  • Skronk – level 13 priest

And after all of the work and words getting everybody to this point, I wish I had some riveting tales from Ragefire Chasm.

Time to kill worms I guess

The problem is that it is something of a low-to-middling dungeon that doesn’t really have any standout features.

Granted, I am sure that is part by design.  It is the first dungeon in the game by levels and as something players are supposed to take on in their mid-teens when most classes do not yet have all of their skills yet, it has to be somewhat simple.

It’s main theme is many mobs standing around in groups with some patrolling mobs scattered about.  It teaches players how to pull (with some fun line of sight options possible), do crowd control, maintain situational awareness, and generally focusing on burning down targets one at a time.

And graphically, well, it isn’t bad.  It is better looking than any Lost Dungeons of Norrath instance I suppose.  Put there isn’t a lot of “there” there.

Still, for us, a mechanically simple dungeon was probably what we needed.  With Scscla a new tank and Obama new to the whole WoW dungeon thing (he was born about when we formed the instance group) and me learning how to play the very positional rogue class and Jeepy with a fresh mage. I guess only Skronk was in the same place as before, playing the dwarf priest to heal the group.  And I am sure even he needed a warm up.

The run went pretty well.  Things went wrong a few times, with aggro getting pulled off the tank or people running around trying to grab the right target.  But we only had a couple of deaths and one wipe.  The wipe happened when Obama’s void walker, which we were using to off-tank extra mobs on pulls, got a wild hare up its backside and ran off for no apparent reason into the middle of some mobs.  We were standing there after a fight and way off to my left I saw a void walker flash on by, heading into some mobs off to the side.  Given that some of the NPCs here were warlocks and had void walker pets, it could have been nothing.  But then Obama’s void walker was nowhere to be seen and we knew we had a problem.

The void walker died and soon all the mobs it had aggro’d came running straight at us.

Here they come

We stood and fought and brought down a few, but ended up dead.

But what is one more run from the graveyard on Razor Hill?  At least we knew the way.  In fact, we were all pretty familiar with the layout of Durotar and Orgrimmar by that point I think.  You don’t get that sort of on the ground knowledge with the Dungeon Finder.

Ready for another go

We finished off the final boss and took the traditional end of instance group picture.  Well, that is actually Jergosh the Invoker, who is the next to last boss, but we did last boss, Bazzalan, before him, because we missed a turn-off, so Jergosh was the last boss down.

There we are again

There were a few decent drops, but nothing spectacular.  We all gained a level along the way, but in the mid-teens it would have been hard not to gain a level killing that many mobs.

Viewed objectively, there wasn’t much reason for us to go to Ragefire Chasm.  There was no Alliance quest that sent us there.  The rewards were paltry.  And the time spent… well… we pretty much burned our entire weekend play time budget and then some setting up this venture.  We could have probably just focused on leveling up in Westfall on Saturday and some of Sunday and maybe been set for the Deadmines.

But we had never done it before, at least not at level.  When I looked back at our previous pre-Dungeon Finder run at the instance, it was during Wrath of the Lich King and four of us went in mostly to get the achievement.  We had some problems on that run… that was back when Blizz was having issues spawning dungeon instances.  But this time we did it the hard way, at level, with a real group, because we wanted to say we’d done it.

Which is the sort of opportunity WoW Classic gives you.

The instance done we decided to use this as an opportunity to lay down some groundwork for future efforts.  We ran back to the entrance and took off our gear again.

That was a bit of a problem for some, as our limited bag space had filled up, but we managed even if some people had to trash their goo collections.

Then we stepped out into the Cleft of Shadow again and ran around and danced and cavorted with the somewhat stunned Horde players who were hanging around the portal.

Just time for a catch phrase

Eventually they decided to kill us, but we were hanging out there for longer than we probably should have.

That put us back at the graveyard at Razor Hill, where we had the angel revive us, taking the ress sickness and the durability hit.  Then we made the run short run to Ratchet and picked up the flight point. (And got dressed and maybe sold some stuff to a vendor.)

From there it was down to the dock to take the boat to Booty Bay so that everybody could get the flight path there before calling it.

Waiting at the dock

That was a long effort, and by the time we were ready to take the boat I was ready to log off.  But we were now setup to get over to Kalimdor and The Barrens, something that will become useful with the Wailing Caverns on the list of upcoming instances.

But next up is the Deadmines.  The level target is 18 and I have to get Chad caught up on the quest line in Westfall as he was absent when we were helping Jeepy along there on Saturday night.