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FromSoftware, Sekiro, and Challenging Games

There has been a fierce debate on Twitter (and probably elsewhere) since the release of Sekiro. The debate is about accessibility when it comes to challenging games. The sides seem to be thus: Challenging games should be more accessible vs. challenging games should not be easy.

This entire debate is rather interesting from a gaming culture standpoint. But before I can dig into why, I need to first address some terminology. I should first note that I'm using the word "challenging" instead of "hard" because I view there as being a difference. To me, a challenging game is a game that has a high level of difficulty for some purpose, usually so that overcoming the game becomes a powerful reward. This is what FromSoftware has generally tried to do. This contrasts with a hard game, which is a game that is difficult for no reason other than to be difficult.

Of course, the distinction between these is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes. However, I recall hea…

"Fear Me!" - Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project (Warrior)

Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project Overview Post - Warrior Overview Post

"Fear Me!" is a Tactics Warrior skill that costs 4 Adrenaline and has a 6 second recharge. As a shout, it has no activation time. Its description is as follows:
Shout. All nearby foes lose 1...3...4 Energy. For 1...12...15 second[s], your melee attacks gain +5...25...30% chance of a critical hit against stationary foes.Rating: 4/5

This rating might seem oddly high, and to some extent it is. However, "Fear Me!" gets this rating by being a generically useful Tactics skill. In general, if I have a melee attacker using Tactics, this particular skill ends up on their skill bar.

So while I rarely go into Tactics for this skill (usually only if I'm trying to make an Energy denial build), if I'm already there, I'll often bring it. This is for a few reasons. The first is that energy pressure like this is very useful. It is easy to underestimate, but in very intense combat situations, suddenly…

"Coward!" - Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project (Warrior)

Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project Overview Post - Warrior Overview Post

"Coward!" is a Warrior skill with no associated attribute. It costs 4 Adrenaline to activate and has a 2 second recharge. As it is a shout, it has no activation time. Its description is as follows:
Elite Shout. If target foe is moving, that foe is knocked down.Rating: 3/5

This is one of those skills that seems pretty decent on the surface, but turns out to be kind of awkward to use. It's mostly useful for using the knockdown to snare foes you are actively chasing with a melee attack, though I could see it being used to also disrupt someone pursuing one of your casters.

All of this means that it's a fine, but not a particularly exciting, skill. You shouldn't bring it expecting to be able to combo with the knockdown, since the fact that the target has to be moving for it to actually knock them down means that it is usually very difficult to capitalize on that knockdown. It definitely is better o…

"Charge!" - Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project (Warrior)

Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project Overview Post - Warrior Overview Post

"Charge!" is a Tactics Warrior skill that costs 5 energy to activate and has a 20 second recharge. As a shout, it has no activation time. Its description is as follows:
Elite Shout. Allies in earshot lose the Crippled condition. For 5...11...13 seconds, these allies move 33% faster.Rating: 4/5

This rating is somewhat generous. From a pure combat standpoint, it definitely doesn't deserve it. However, I like having "Charge!" available on two members of my party for the purposes of moving more quickly across maps outside of combat. It's purely based on this usefulness that I've given it this rating; otherwise it would probably be a 3/5.

It does have competition for this out-of-combat purpose with "Fall Back!". The fact that the Paragon skill isn't an elite wins it points over "Charge!", but the fact that you need 3 instances (rather than the 2 of "Charge!&qu…

GW1 Skill Review Profession Highlight: Warrior

This is a profession overview post that's part of my Guild Wars 1 skill review. For a general overview, you can check out this post.

All of the currently reviewed Warrior skills can be found under the GW1SRP Warrior tag.
About the WarriorArmor Stats:Base 80 armor.Inbuilt +20 additional armor against physical damage.No bonuses to maximum energy or energy regeneration!Armor mods can grant additional armor against elemental damage, increase knockdown duration by 1 second, and reduce physical damage taken by subtract amounts (rather than multiplicative).Weapons associated with attributes:Swords (one-handed)Axes (one-handed)Hammers (two-handed)Shield (off-hand, grants up to 16 additional armor) Warriors are highly durable, especially when using a one-handed weapon and a shield. They are also fairly versatile. However, they have overall poor access to energy given a reduced pool, low energy regeneration rate (only the standard 2 pips), and no inbuilt energy management. This means that t…

Guild Wars 1 Skill Review Project

This post serves as an overview and reference for a rather large project I'm undertaking: Reviewing and rating all player-usable skills in Guild Wars 1.

I'm undertaking this project for two major reasons. The first is that I believe there is a lot to learn about game design from this sort of review. The second is that I want to make a program to generate randomized pools of skills, and for that, I need ratings in order to have the program work the way I want.

Edit: As this became quite the challenge to actually undertake in post form, I've made it into a YouTube series instead. You can find the playlist here.
Rating Rubric Skills will be rated 1 to 5 points, as outlined below. Note that these ratings are based on my subjective experiences, and are focused on the PvE experience! I might bring up PvP every now and then, but it won't factor into the ratings I give. I also will not be reviewing the PvP-only versions of skills. (Some skills have a PvE version and PvP version…

Guild Wars: Prophecies - The "Spellcaster Races"

There are two races in Guild Wars: Prophecies that are strangely similar in structure. These two races are presented as spellcasters, rather than physical attackers.

But let me back up and go over some of the simple structure of the game, for those who are unfamiliar with it.

The very first Guild Wars game, later subtitled "Prophecies," was released in 2005 and is a sort of online RPG. It has six classes, called "professions," because why not. Of these six, four were spellcasters: Mesmer (a sort of disruptive caster), Necromancer, Monk (the healing class—analogous to priests in other games), and Elementalists (basically a black mage). The other two professions were physically oriented professions: Rangers (bow users) and Warriors (could use swords, hammers, and axes).

Every character in the game has a profession. You can technically use two at once, a primary profession and a secondary profession, but in the base game, this wasn't really used much on enemies. I…