Catacombs, first impressions

Fana

Fledgling Freddie
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Dec 23, 2003
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Ok, so servers aer going up and i log on.

First thing i do is fiddle alittle with the character visual customization on existing characters. Fun trying to get them as close to the picture i had of them as possible, although truth be told the options arent that many (6 faces, and 4 hairstyles only f.ex). It does look very good though and i seem to recall mythic saying they will add more (or have already in a patch we dont have yet). Easy to work with anyway.

Then i log on my main, my healer, and get invited to a small rvr grp almost instantly in svasud. I sort my qbars as quick as i can and me and 2 kobold runies go out for some rvr. Since i havent played for over a month we get owned badly - i also had wrong setup and no advanced UI installed yet. And i ran with dynamic shadows enabled for some reason, slowing the fps considerably. After removing shadows it ran as good as a ToA client does more or less, altho the "inclag" was more noticeable (more advanced textures to load into memory etc). I excused myself after a couple runs, realizing that skilled rvr wasnt on the cards this evening for me :)

Instead i created my Valkyrie. Now, i had decided to try Cata without a bb, so have only activated my main account. I also decided initially to try to be really oldschool and dont twink down any equipment/gold from my loaded mains. Instead i started with nothing, in Mularn outside Jordheim and decided to see what exactly a newbie would face when entering the game. Must say i was impressed by the upgrade the game has done in newbiefriendliness - there are now "learn-the-game-quests" that start right away, and you quest your way through the first 5 levels, gaining usefull equipment and valuable knowledge about how the game works - you learn about /use, horseroutes, other / commands, the local areas, and even about rvr since one quest sends you to the proving grounds (level 1-5bg).
There are plenty of popups telling you what to do and where to do it, and good descriptions of how to proceed with the quests, the journal updates often and you dont have to guess alot like in the old times. You even get a guide that follows you around and can teleport you etc when you visit Jorheim in a quest. All very streamlined and i expect a newbie would feel pretty confident about the game mechanics when she was done with level 5.

All this was a nice nostalgic moment for me ^^

You now also get onscreen text telling you what area you enter, when you complete an objective and such.

At level 5 i went and signed up as a valkyrie in Jordheim and then went to the Cata entrance. You can go there right away, since the first quests and mobs inside are designed for 1-5. I proceeded alittle further down the halls and started picking up quests, of which there are alot. The questmarker, a yellow circle at the feet of a npc, is great. All i did were pretty easy to understand (no need for guides etc), gave decent rewards and about 0.5+ bub exp per quest (taking from 5-20 min to complete). The queststories were also good quality. There are also killtasks, which is probably the fastest way to level since the mobs are usually very near the guard giving the task - i didnt do many since i wanted to see what the quests were like but i can see myself doing more of those when ive done some more exploring and try for some more concentrated leveling.

Quests took me to Kobold Undercity, which is *really* good looking (rest of the areas i saw are also mostly very well rendered, has all the facilities you could want, and a portal system to obelisks around Cata which you can port to and from once you have found them, making travel pretty fast, similar to ToA djinns.

Performance of the Valkyrie - well, i only got to level 7 before we had a CTA in mid and i had to log main and go defend :) So, dont have all the different sort of abilities yet. Seems like a decent soloer tho, and reminds me of the Thane for obvious reasons, altho Valk is alot less distance capable (no castable dd etc, only a 30 sec delay insta dd). She is more like a Thane/Savage mix - she has spells but she wants to get stuck in melee to use them. Good thing is that her cone spells dont break when she fights in melee, they keep pulsing, making her capable of killing 2-3 lower cons at once without buffs - have to be very carefull that no adds wander into the cone tho :) I can see this ability beeing great for interupting casters as she can just sweep over them when the pulse ticks and interupt lots at once etc, and otherwise join in an assisttrain. Will be invaluable for breaking roomcamping. Does burn power very fast when using magic as the cone effect draws a % of full power each tick.

Cata client in zergs - Works, but is definetly more slugish than ToA, although it is fully playable with a of gig of ram and a decent gfx. Was not a large zerg tho so further testing might be required.

All in all, im very impressed by Cata, and if we only (please please) can get more people into the game and into Cata i can see this game getting a second spring. Catacombs does exactly what its supposed to do - it makes the game accessible for newcomers, shakes things up alil in rvr (nothing too much tho), and generally gives disillusioned players some new and rather different stuff. This combined with the easing of ToA that is happening atm marks some really good changes in a game that was going downhill fast. All i can wish for really now is a nerf to maximum castspeeds, some more downtime lessening stuff like food, better alchemy, and more players, and i would not hesitate to say that DAoC is the best mmorpg you can play right now.

Looking forward to playing more cata over the coming days.
 

LawBringer

Fledgling Freddie
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Sep 8, 2004
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Nice round up, thanks - cant wait - unfortunately here in UK going to be a few days before Cata is delivered being a holiday weekend and all glad to see the expansion is looking like it is a winner and the client is not to heavy slowing the game down. Hope to be joining all you lucky sods in the rest of Euro land asap - sadly Bank Holiday over here means just that and seems that the country comes to a grinding halt. Still let you iron out the bugs so when I do get in will be nice and smooth :)
 

Bugz

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Enjoyed reading that.

Makes me want to level a catacombs class ^^.
 

Gamah

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Dec 22, 2003
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Thanks for the reveiw fana, very well written...im downloading my cata client now cant wait :)
 

Mauness

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Feb 2, 2004
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yes, ty for the round up :)

i myself, like many other UK people are waiting till after the holiday period, but cant wait to start my heretic.

Will also do what you have done, start with nothing, no bot, gold, armour etc :) should be interesting.
 

Haazheel

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Check the webby in the General forums, apparently a UK site propose to d/l the game and send you the keys :clap:
 

Mikah75

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.

sounds awesome that review:)
downloading from DL gamer now:p
 

Vintersorg

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Having played Catacombs on the US-servers a few months ago (just couldn't wait ;) ), I can give a few other impressions about it:

Catacombs is again a more PvE geared expansion. But the good part of Catacombs is that it's friendlier to new players than the previous expansions.
Consider this:
- Dungeon tasks and instanced dungeons help you level quicker, and you can get some nice cash out of it (task reward, and the mobs give som good money as well: if I remember correctly, an average of 4-5 silver at level 11-12) . Keep in mind that dungeon tasks give you quite a lot of money, but no drops. But you can get these via other instanced dungeons (non-task instances). While there are not really drops as such in these other instances, you get some nice Aurulite chips of the Mobs. Afterwards, you can take these chips to the vendors in the new cities, who can sell you equipment for these. This equipment is very good, generally better than the average drop you can get of mobs. Just an example, my level 13 warlock was running around with armour that augmented his power cap.
Thanks to this, you can buy pretty decent equipment for RvR at higher levels (of course, not as good as the ToA stuff :p )
- The Xp you get from dungeon tasks is considerable too, since there is an extra instance XP bonus towards your total.

There was some other stuff, but I can't remember it exactly.

At any rate, Catacombs is good enough to make me forget the ToA crap and has me thinking about returning to DaoC (even if I play a bit more casual, since WoW is my min game)
 

Raven

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Some of the graphic touchs look a bit odd and will take a while to get used to, the sound effects are really good for weapon styles and parry/block etc.

I went down into the dungeon that leads from coruscating mines in hib, the place is immense, probably 20X bigger than corus, it also has an end mob which was nice, i didnt get much of a chance to play with my vamp last night as i was called to rvr all evening, but it looks as though its great for rolling new toons.

going to spend the weekend exploring some of the harder areas with my enchanter and bb, really looking forward to it.

For those that like pve cata is a must, for those that only play for the rvr, you can probably leave it, though the graphics upgrade is nice.
 

Raven

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vamps are insane, you have virtually no downtime, you can heal in-combat, regain end and regain mana in combat add to that debuffs and "the claw!!!" excellent class.
 

Shafu

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Am I the only one who dislikes the new models? The first thing I did was to switch back to classic models :(
 

Shanaia

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thanks for that review ^^

I lub Cata's so far .. played it a bit on US and now fully into it over here ... and yes Vamp's are silly... basicly 'the forgotten class' since everybody is concerned about the warlocks
 

Raven

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been around the high level places this evening, not a lot there and no real point to it, catacombs is awsome to exp in though, plenty of places to go in the low-mid levels and ofc instanced dungeons too.
 

LawBringer

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I have considered d/l client, but I prefer to have the disks, and as I am working all weekend would not have had much time in any case - so Play.com have my order and should arrive I hope in time for next weekend whan I am off :)

Can't wait :) but will be :(
 

Raven

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yeah, i didnt get that far tbh, it wasnt pretty :)
 

Fana

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Have played some more now and have experienced instant content. The "set" instances ive been into have all seem to require a group to do, at least at my low level.
Ive done some instance tasking tho and must say this rocks for exping with no bb - mobs will scale to your level/party, so if your solo mobs wont be higher than yellowcon and easily soloable as long as you avoid adds etc (they have a forgiving aggroradius so far) - only downside is that if your forced to flee out the task is reset, i.e. you fail, and have to get another, which can be annoying if you spent 30 min getting to the boss of the instance and have to flee because of 2 mobs aggroing you etc.

Exp is excellent, seems to be roughly 50% better than killing mobs outside (about one third of the exp you get when you kill a mob is "instance bonus" exp) and the final reward for completing your task is over a bub of exp at this low level (valkyrie is level 12 now).
Completing a task takes from 20-40 min or so, and ive gotten between 4-5 bubs total so far, from task completion and killing mobs inside.

Very nice alternative for people without buffbots :)
 

Shike

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Im currently lvling a wizard and we are using a s/s pala+reaver+cleric+my wiz. In the lvl50 taskdungeon we made 20 lvls on the wiz in around 14 hours played (mind you, the DPS we have isnt the worlds greatest, but its actually decent fun). Xp is quite decent, all mobs are red and you get a nifty completionbonus aswell alongside with the instancebonus. (completion for a lvl50 varies from 838 mill to 1.3 billion xp.) Cashflow is nice too.
 

Cracked

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Shafu said:
Am I the only one who dislikes the new models? The first thing I did was to switch back to classic models :(
Nope, then we are 2 Shafu. Didn't feel like DAoC anymore. First i switched to old namefont, later old looks too. I didn't like the quest system either, when u played WoW u know how a good quest system should be. So it boils down to the new classes, that's why i bought the expansion in the first place. I also noticed that the game was alot laggier then with ToA GFX, but that is to be expected perhaps.
 

Thorwyn

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Just had a quick trip to the instanced dungeons with a /level 20 toon and a guildmate. Not too impressive, but I guess for new players, it´s pretty ok.

I really like the new models though. Although we´re all used to the old models after playing this game for 3+ years, the new look is more state of the art than those 50-poly-twolls. :)
As Fana said, the number of different face options is quite limited. Some more
faces would have been nice, but then, who´s looking at a face in RvR anyways? ;)

Dyable ToA cloaks... :clap:
Finally no more "Hey, look at me, I`m wearing a Healers Embrace, now go kill me!". No more Attack of the Clone Warrior scenarios at Castle Sauvage.

New fonts... :puke:
Change to old fonts if you want to avoid eyecancer.

As for the new classes: I´ve killed a Warlock yesterday (sitting, afk, oop)... so they can´t be THAT op´ed.
 

Motowntheta

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New fonts are the win Thor... your just a old school designer with no taste :p

Instanced dungeon in Adventure wings really rock with more people in a group.... Instanced task Dungeons really rock when all you have is 1 hour to play and want to get a bubble at lvl 47 :)

Instanced dungeon and /freelevel really rock :)

Do some quests for fast and nice XP ;)

When I get my catacombs activated I'll come back and show you around ;) I know you just can't wait !!
 

Svartmetall

Great Unclean One
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Jan 5, 2004
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Cons:

1: The new Troll models suck.
2: The new Berserker Frenzy model REALLY sucks.

Pros:

1: Everything else.
 

Teslacoil

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i for one ain't using cata client when playing my zerk, can't stand watching my ferocious BEAR turn into something you normally give to you your daughter to play with...
 

danmrman

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From what i have seen, the new models dnt look good at all, and it seems as i run with a limp as your cloak only seems to sway left. Althought i the Instants are a good idea and cata's will improve the playability of ppl that dnt have much time to play.

As to do with the new classes, they all rock part from the heretic. which suck and get stuck in thier focus move mode.

I have seen a few of the new classes in rvr and have to say i feel sorry for em. i 1 hit a banshee with my inf.

Also the new text above chars heads looks to cartoony and not like daoc at all, good thought that u can change it :p
 

Kinag

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I tried it on US and I must say I really enjoy the new models, and the fonts.

It's all a nice and good change for the game imo.

I must say I laughed when I saw the zerk frenzy and troll models though ^^

But, all in all, pretty good :D

(haven't gotten it yet, it's launched 30th where I live, but it's pre-ordered.)
 

Fana

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Ive changed enemy realm models to old models now, but only to reduce lag - i like the new models overal. Some new details i dont like but might just be because im used to the old models. I also use old name display fonts since the new ones are harder to target and read at a distance (also for rvr purposes), although i like the look of the new ones.
 

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