One of the questions left unanswered from yesterday was whether or not the game had controller support. On a whim I picked up my controller towards the end of one of yesterdays streams and I noticed that I could in fact control my character with it. Today I popped into game with the mission of trying to test this theory out. It seems that maybe they are working on controller support but that it does not actually work fully. I could control my character perfectly using both of my analog sticks, and if I hit the A button on my XBox 360 controller I could perform any of the normal actions that require the spacebar. However it did not actually seem to interact with the world, and pressing A when not hovering over an objective did not perform the jump action, which is normally the default action for spacebar. I went so far as to go into the keybindings section and it would not let me bind anything to controller presses.
Now of course if you wanted to go so far as to use Xpadder you could easily get this game up and running. It takes care of the toughest part which is getting the analog movement feeling right. My hope is that in subsequent patches it is going to add full controller support, and then this game is likely to increase significantly in enjoyment. Left button spammy attacks feel less spammy when done with a controller button. Since writing yesterdays post I have added another few hours worth of gameplay, and I have to say my verdict is still very mixed. I even talked about it a bit on last nights podcast. On some level I am feeling about this game much the same as I felt about Guild Wars 2 when it was in testing. There is something that compels me to keep trying to figure it out, but at the same time I find it extremely easy to stop playing after completing a single mission. The act of running a mission just wears me out, in a way that content in Elder Scrolls Online used to wear me out. Things are so ridiculously tightly packed that on normal solo missions you spend so much of your time mindlessly grinding through huge encounters.
This morning however I ventured into what seems to be another large shared cooperative zone, much the same as the very first mission in the game. It involved a series of around 25 smaller objectives that were scattered throughout the map. The frustrating thing about this zone in particular is that the objectives were super linear, meaning when I tried to do my normal thing and hop off the path… I missed an objective that I then later had to double back through the entire zone to go find again. As a whole though I have to say I like this style of zone so much better than the little instanced mini dungeons I had completed more recently. The game also feels better when lots of other players are wandering around, which greatly speeds up the amount of time it takes to burn through the various health bars of the bosses. This tells me that a lot of my frustrations was simply that I was soloing content designed for groups to take down. The fact that I could fairly easily solo content as a paladin, maybe points to that class being a little overpowered for this sort of thing? Then again tanks in most games are adept at soloing bosses that were originally meant for a group to take down… I am looking at you Deathknight.
The other cool thing about this region is that it seemed to be full of boss encounters that did not seem to be tied to a specific objective. There may be a quest that I missed somewhere that opened these up, but from what I saw there was a fire, water and wind warden. Above you can see me taking on the fire one. The only thing missing elemental wise is earth, which I did not really see while wandering around. I managed to get a few greens off these bosses, so my theory is they are just there to make your experience more interesting. The boss fights with other players helping were significantly more enjoyable, but I could still shield up as a paladin and whittle them down until I succeeded. There was only one single encounter where I even came close to dying. At the last minute a wave of players rushed in and helped me finish the boss off.
Combat Still Repetitive
All of this said… my problem with the combat still exists. It just doesn’t feel like I can do anything interesting with the encounters. I did add a new combo attack to my repertoire, and while I abused the hell out of it.. each individual fight still seemed to take a little bit longer than they should for the game to feel really “fun”. The mobs still suffer from the same problem where they tend to be one trick ponies, and keep using the same attack sequence over and over. There is almost always one thing that you should dodge out of, but other than that it is grind them down with your main attack until they are gone. There are a lot of things I do like however when it comes to the interactions with other players. This seems like a game where everything is open tagging, and if you are in an area and have dealt any damage to a pack… you seem to get full credit for the entire pack. Similarly if there is an objective, it seems like everyone can click said objective, and that seems to have changed from one of the closed beta streams I happened to watch.
As a result I found myself wading into a lot of fights that I did not strictly need to just to help out the other players. Unfortunately not a single one of them did I actually communicate with. There are a lot of ifs about this game, and I am not quite certain how much I will be playing of it. In theory I kinda dig the model of purchasing classes or having a slow tedious process of unlocking them. To some extent I wish I had gotten in on the ability to play the Berserker, because I think that might be a class I would really enjoy. I have heard that you can go to the training center and test drive all of the classes, much like you can test drive champions in a moba, so that might be one of the things I do next. At this point I have played around five hours of the game, and I have enjoyed it just enough to keep me coming back to try and find the secrets that I seem to be missing as to why this game is really fun. Ultimately there will be a point where I just give up on it, but I have not quite reached that yet. After all it gives me a bit of a diversion from leveling my Dragoon and gearing in Final Fantasy XIV. If you want to check out the last two videos I have posted since yesterday I will be embedding them below.
Port Naori – Instanced Dungeon-like Mission
Isola Digs – Open World-ish Shared Zone Mission
(was still encoding at the time of posting this… so might have to check back later)