End of Nations Becomes a MOBA

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the MMORTS.  A really long time.  But the first news from Trion Worlds is that they will be developing the game as a MOBA instead of as an MMORTS.

So what’s the difference?  You ask.

Well a MOBA involves a hero type who will level up and get stronger as you accomplish tasks+kill stuff.  In this game the hero is at the center of it all and he will be assisted by a tiny army… but keeping that hero alive is the main thing as he will become a bastion of mega strength.

By comparison the old End of Nations had various units with abilities they could use in which heroes were just slightly stronger units that not everyone necessarily used.

The switch makes the game closer to League of Legends and it is now expected that people will be able to buy “Premium Heroes” for play.

As well removed from the game is the overworld in which battles were being won and lost on a global scale.  Instead it’s now micro games in which you are trying to earn currency to purchase heroes and level up your avatar.

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End of Nations Re-Enters Alpha

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After almost a year in developer hell in which the game was basically dead, Trion Worlds has re-launched the title to re-enter alpha stages.

The game was being developed by Petroglyph Games.  Petroglyph gave us Empire at War and was composed of the team responsible for most of the Command and Conquer games.

They really have not done anything since Petroglyph headed to courts to solve legal disputes.

So End of Nations development was shut down and now End of Nations has been handed full on over to Trion Worlds.

Trion Worlds just finished development of Defiance.  Defiance’s sales of course were not that hot and has recently been knocked down 75% off on Steam.

In light of this Trion Worlds has decided to re-brand this title from an MMO-RTS to a MOBA with RTS elements (which is what it was closer to all along anyway).  Whether that means there will be major changes to the game or not is hard to say.

What Happened to End of Nations

People who purchased the Founder’s Edition of End of Nations found an odd surprise, their purchase had been refunded.

Reason given?  Game cancelled?

Although no official reason has been given it is good to speculate at this point (and far more fun).

The community manager officially stated that the game was not cancelled but was instead delayed.  Later on that day he was laid off (that’s nice way of saying fired).

There are two main scenarios that keep End of Nations down.

The first is Trion Worlds.  This is something I have discussed quite a bit.  Basically Trion has bit off a bit more than they can chew.  Here is a studio that is developing Rift, Defiance, World of Darkness, and End of Nations.  That’s a lot on the table and honestly the studio is not big enough to fund so much stuff.

It’s possible the money just dried up.

The second, and more likely problem is Petroglyph Games.  Petroglyph Games has not made a game in quite some time.  It has actually made so few games that it went into a law suit over the development of Mytheon, another MMO RTS that just didn’t happen.

As far as this studio goes it runs out of money and then it asks the publisher for more.

As far as End of Nations was going, well not well.  After alpha and beta tests… well the game just was not being received all that well.  There was really nothing to the game particularly great.  On top of that the revenue model for the game just didn’t have any ‘oomfph’ to it.

So is End of Nations dead?  Most likely, but that’s not entirely for sure.  It’s largely possible Trion will sell the IP and all the work done on it for someone else to complete if anything.

Abuse of the Rift Engine #4: Personal Adventures

If you logged on to the Rift servers today you would have found out a new patch was deployed.  This patch included a new part of the game called “Personal Adventures.”  By hitting the period key (.) you bring up the menu, a single toggle to turn on Personal Adventures.  These personal adventures teleport you to a group of people who will have to complete a number of objectives and then finally meet up with a boss.

It’s another use of the rift engine, that is whoring out their product.

What is the Rift Engine?

The Rift engine, also known as the dynamic content engine was designed by Trion Worlds for their game Rift.  The purpose of this engine was to generate content randomly throughout the zone.  The idea was that this engine would create events within the zone that would make your experience leveling different and unique.

The Rift engine deploys a chain of content that can be halted by a player or allowed to become powerful.  The model was simple.  Content would start off in planar elements.  These are potential zones for change.  A player can activate them or a planar element can trigger on it’s own over time.

These planar elements will transform into rifts, what the game is named for.  Rifts are fissures in time that will spawn units from another realm.  These will also drastically change the layout of the zone.  Death rifts for example will spawn skulls and darkness.  Fire rifts will spawn fire and brimstone.  This dynamic content can spawn anywhere and alter a zone to an experience specific to you.

The next phase of this dynamic engine is to make the rift do something so that it is not a stationary element.  So as long as a rift is opened a set number of units called an “invasion” with a boss will move across the map along the roads.  These will cause an inconvenience and will attack in every which direction.

A fourth aspect of this dynamic content engine is the foothold.  The foothold is activated by the invasion.  The foothold will take control of key points and towns further inconveniencing you and forcing you to finally address this problem… or forever be unable to turn in your quests.

So that’s the rift engine.  It is something that is complicated to develop and revolves around constantly having unique events spawn around the map.

So what are the abuses of this Rift engine to date?

#1: The Zone Wide Event

The first one to develop was the zone wide event.  This concept focused around a group of people  working together to close down a specific grouping of rifts, invasions and footholds that would just spawn,

This concept was whored out like crazy.  Most major updates including more zone wide events.  These were casual friendly events that would activate randomly all over Telaria.  The concept here is the rift engine doing it’s job with a focus and a direction.  This is an addition to the dynamic engine in that the game will dynamically and randomly spawn mass events all over the world.

#2: The Story Event

A second abuse of the rift engine is the storyline event.  Trion puts forth a very minor story line.  And I do mean very minor.  As in nothing really happens.  Quests will involve killing rift monsters or closing rifts.  Usually it will involve a specific type of mob therefore during high populated times the game will spawn extra types of this rift in all zones.

#3: The Raid Rift/Epic Rift

This next part of the rift engine was to create a brand new type of rift that players can call upon.  These rifts unlike other rifts would give raid valued rewards.  This was designed for casuals to be able to gain gear in a raid scenario without having to try too hard.

Epic rifts would have 5 people in a group together to take out a rift and gain a single reward for it.  The raid rift would require an entire raid.  These would also require specific lures that you would have to purchase with planarite.

This solved the problem of mass amounts of stockpiled planarite and the problem of gearing up for content.

All they have to do was tweek their engine to make more powerful rifts and make them for cheap.

#4: The Personal Adventure

This is the final whoring out of the rift engine and the most recent one.  I’m sure there will be more.  Trion spent a tonne of money developing this engine and they have whored it out ALL over the game.  Most people when they develop something this expensive either deploy it to all of their games (like Cryptic Studios did) or they will sell it off to other games (like Everquest did).  Trion Worlds however has no other games (at the moment) and no one is really interested in this dwindling studio.

So this has really caused a money problem for Trion.  They need to get this engine to max use, but only have one game.

Solution?  Over use the engine in the one game.

And they are.

The new “personal adventure” is just another adventure involving rifts and rift creatures.  Sometimes you will go to a zone and have to clear out some mobs that aren’t rift creatures, but for the most part you are just killing rift beasts.  The personal adventure brings absolutely nothing new to the game.  You are teleported to a public zone that anyone can join and you kill off objectives that were in the game before the patch.

It’s 100% nothing new.  Just a new way of doing the same thing you always did.

Personal adventures have no stories to them.  Personal adventures are also not personal adventures.  They can involve up to 20 people.  How personal can things get when you have a full raid?

Overall personal adventures are another failed attempt by Trion to pimp out their content and add nothing.

How to: Black Garden Stockpile Mode

As part of a 1.6 weekend special Trion released the new Stockpile mode into their game set. Stockpile mode is only available during the special Black Garden weekends (the warfronts will rotate) meaning this will be available once every five weeks. So in this article I will deal with how the game works.

How it Works

The fang is gone.

In its place are lootable black balls.

Your job is to carry these black balls to Cleansing Orbs.

But there’s a trick. Each orb you carry reduces your movement speed. You can carry a maximum of three at once.

The orbs come in pairs and will spawn in mirrored locations. Each orb will have 8 charges on it. Every time you do a turn in you lose a charge on the orb.

Each black ball is worth 10 so it is advantageous to carry a whole bunch at once.

Orbs are placed in strategic locations that will favor one team over the other. The first set has a minor inconvenience in a large rock placement making it a slightly longer run path. After that orbs will appear very close to bases. Considering there are eight charges this leaves a mini strategy involving dumping on their orbs or dumping only 3 orbs into yours.

As another note a kill with worth 2 points. You will need 500 points to win so obviously carrying orbs will be more worthwhile. Winning teams are successful in cleansing black balls and preventing their opponents from doing so. Priority targets are the ones who have the three orbs debuff.

New Ember Isles Fire Raid Rift: Enkindled Spirits

In this video my guild (Elite) take on one of the new T2 Rift raids.  Everything in here is dangerous.  The raid rift has four phases.  Missing from this video is the phase where you kill 24 demons.

The second phase (first boss) involves three enemy NPCs appearing.  We numbered the firelord #1, the cyclone #2 and the fire imp #3.  The cyclone and fire imp must die at the same time and the game will prevent you from doing otherwise.  The firelord should be pulled away to avoid AoE on the melee.

The fire imp will put up a debuff that is casted on himself.  Your DPS and tanks must stop attacking him until it is dispelled off.  The debuff will cause a thorns effect (when you attack him he hurts you back) that will deal up to 4,000 damage per hit.  This means you get two shot.  DoTs will trigger this effect as you will see in the movie.

The cyclone has to have it’s own set of DPS on it to interrupt every single one of his casts.  He will just randomly one shot people and if a cast gets through someone dies.

Once the two of these die kill off the firelord and move on to the next phase.

The next phase is Level 52 dogs.  We rounded up all of these and AoEed them down, easy peasy.

The final phase involves a Djinn.  The Djinn will put a stacking buff on himself that will increase damage.  He will occasionally summon bats to aid him and will often blind a target.  The key is to off tank the bats and focus the Djinn.  You will want two tanks swapping off and on the Djinn for cooldowns and you will want a third tank just tanking bats.  As you can see in the vid when my group tried to kill off bats we ran out of time and the Djinn two shot our tank.

You are expected to be tier 2 ready to do this raid rift.  This means having conquered all of T1, otherwise this will be very hard.  The rewards however are worth it, unlike most raid rifts all of the loot in these rifts was immediately used.

Best of luck.

Rift PvP: How to PvP with Little Gear

I’ve made it known my re-intention to do the grind but this time instead of Rank 5 being the maximum it has been re-proportioned so that Rank 8 is the new maximum. This makes it a longer grind and less about free gearzors. I’m currently sitting at Rank 5 and it is a grind. I recently put out a nice guide on how Port Scion works and in a future article I will be dealing with Stockpile Mode in Black Garden. So in this article I thought I’d give some helpful tips on, How to PvP Little Gear!

PvP is gear oriented. Once you have enough gear you can almost go as any spec in the world and have great success. But without gear it sucks, in fact, it’s brutal. PvP is definitely not a good place to get an introduction to the game. As a newbie you will be crushed and everything will be 10x harder than it ought to be. Without tiering off PvP the game transforms into Mass Rank 5-8 vs. Mass Rank 1-4. In this regard PvP is something that you will have to suffer through until you get enough gear to compete.

Don’t Get Bogged Down

Everything you do will involve a learning process. From the first time you install that new tire to the first time you decide to make muffins for your loved one you will always have to learn how to do it the first time and get better at it over time.

It should be no surprised that without knowing the maps, the rules, the tactics, or personal strategy it will be hard to PvP without gear.

Don’t let death and losses bog you on. You get prestige from your allies killing people and losses are worth something to. The latest stockpile mode for Black Garden offers 600 prestige for a loss.

If you get bogged down on your losses and stop trying to win you are only empowering yourself to level up far slower. You need to think of yourself as a valued team member and look at what you can do to help. You have to accept that losses are not your losses its due to a total weak team, but you also have to keep in mind that you can move on to the next match.

On that note, don’t think you’re not part of the team and don’t have any responsibility in the loss. You should prohibit yourself from getting angry. If you are getting angry at a game, take a deep breath and continue on. NO need to insult your team mates. That just builds bad report and lowers a winning spirit.

You can get excited though, getting excited is very good.

Find Something to Do!

Let us face it; you are not a pyscho killer. You won’t be a psycho killer for some time. Your heaviest hit probably brings down someone’s health by speckles. This does not mean you cannot be a useful member of a team. Not everyone is meant to kill their opponent.

If you are a cleric you should be a healer. A low level healer will help more than a melee cleric.

If you are a rogue go marksman and dispel off people’s buffs, alternatively go bard to provide buffs to your group.

If you are a warrior, go void knight and drain out healer mana. But pop your cooldowns often to survive.

If you are a mage grab yourself a chloro build and keep people alive.

The fact is you need to find something to do, and it will not be mass killing people until you get decent gear. This means doing a lot of the ‘bitch’ jobs on maps. In Port Scion this might mean killing NPCs and doing turn ins.

I can honestly say I spent a lot of my first two ranks just dispelling people and sapping people to slow them down. This gave me a great opportunity to figure out what buffs are REALLY important to people. I actually still fully debuff spam rank 8s.

And on that note:

Be a Pest

You are not going to be on the front line owning face. So you need to slow down the enemy victory as much as possible. Sometimes by preventing victory at any turn you are ensuring that your side gains a victory.

This is something I just started doing in high rated player matches I’m in with the new Black Garden mode. When the new drop areas show up I will start running single orbs to my enemy’s base. My thought is if I get one in I am stealing a charge from them and gaining 10 points for my team. If I die I’m still stealing a charge off of their orb since they will undoubtedly pick it up and try and turn it in themselves (instead of a three turn in).

This means just camping on the healer and spamming your interrupt button.

You need to make it harder for these guys to accomplish their tasks, so apply all your snares as they continue to move around. Sap them as they attempt to cap a node. Spam your AoE in the middle of Black Garden. If you can make it harder for your opponents to do something your better geared allies will be able to knock off people easier.

Don’t Suicide

Sometimes you may feel like doing an AoE knockback is worth your death. So you will run in there and do your AoE knockback. Bad idea friend! When you die that means your team is less one person in the match up putting your team at a further disadvantage. Warriors are by far the hardest to get good use out of at lower ranks specifically because they are purely melee (and purely squishy if not part tank spec).

There is never a good reason to run into a crowd of people and deal stupid damage. Don’t suicide means playing smart. Generally if you are a ranged player you do not ever want to fight out in the open. Instead you will want to fight next to a rock, a tree, a ledge, or a wall so that you can sneakily move out of line of sight.

A lot of people complain about dying too easily when they have no gear. This is not because of low gear; it is because of low skill. You will still get owned pretty hard even after you get gear. You need to learn how to survive in this game or surely you will always die.

Port Scion is Your Friend

Port Scion is a game that is low responsibility. It involves 20 people making it the largest warfront available. It is also one with NPCs that will do a lot of fighting as well.

As an alternative Trion sponsors high prestige weekends for specific warfronts.

Well hope that was in some way helpful, see you in game.