Archive for October, 2008

29
Oct
08

hammer time

Insider tips to master the Warhammer: Age of Reckoning MMO

 

 

This Week: Rank Milestones

 

An elite influence reward is a good thing in WAR, a piece of legendary armor, even better. We’re all looking to gear up our toons to godlike level so that the next time we run into some innocent joe scratching his head out in the middle of the RvR zone he’ll look like a heap of paste even a squig wouldn’t touch. There’s certainly a lot to look forward to in WAR, but what about those milestones everyone gets just by ranking up? Here are our faves…

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 10: New Bag

How many times have you gone out questing, only to have to return prematurely because your dang bag is full up again? You can’t carry much as a rookie…just 32 slots. There is hope, though. At Rank 10, you get a new 16-slot bag, vastly improving your carrying capacity, and you get others every 10 ranks. It’s worth leveling up just to gain the luggage and the peace of mind knowing you won’t be leaving sparkling corpses out on the battlefield anymore.

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 20: Mounts

Once you hit Rank 20, your life gets much easier, as you can now buy a mount! With a mount you can’t use any spells or abilities, but you travel 50 percent faster, which makes getting around much easier. You buy them in the capital cities, right across from the flight master in the Inevitable City, and to the very south by the guild registrar in Altdorf.

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 30: Tactics Slot

Actually, you get Tactics slots every 10 ranks, but by Rank 30 you’ve got a kickin’ array that will allow you to customize abilities for many different situations. You can also unlock a Tome Tactics slot and a Guild Tactics slot along the way.

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 40: Your Ultimate Morale Ability

You should be celebrating that you’ve attained the top rank in WAR! Still, you’ll probably have a lot of prime abilities when you hit 40, and the best may just be your Rank 4 Morale ability. In those long battles where you can build up a ton of Morale, this ability will dramatically turn the tides. It’s rare that it will go off, but when it does, look out!

 

29
Oct
08

Fallout 3 Guide Preview

Fallout 3 Regular Edition Cover

Fallout 3 Regular Edition Cover

Get a chance to read a free preview of the Fallout 3 guide (or click the cover image!).

27
Oct
08

Fallout, then Fall Over: Guide Creation Blog 07 / 07

Part 07: The Back of the Book

An entire extra chapter with insider information, including Todd Howard's favorite armor? It's all here!

An entire extra chapter with insider information, including Todd Howard's favorite armor? It's all here!

The back of this behemoth of a book has three additional chapters, the first of which is called “Ending it All”. Flanked by a “Spoiler Alert!”, this tells you how to obtain all the endings in the game. Yes, every single one of them. Following that are the Appendices – all 22 of them. Without resorting to some nasty Spoilers, I can reveal that every type of Collectible, Unique Weapon, Fat Man, MiniNuke, and other advantageous item that doesn’t “randomly” appear is listed. However, instead of simply flagging them, every special item has its own number, Zone, precise location, and description of its hiding place. This way you can additionally refer to the Tour of the Wasteland Chapter for more information on finding the exact items you’re looking for. Naturally, all the Xbox 360 Achievements are listed too, complete with any relevant tactical advice.

    If you’re thinking of bagging the Limited Edition guide, with its hardback cover, biggest map poster, and one-inch thick spine, you’re in for an extra treat. Firstly, there are dozens of art pieces, along with narratives by the team, in a section dubbed “Post-Game, Post-Apocalyptic Musings”. Whether you’re after information on how V.A.T.S. was created, the team members’ favorite locations, and some weird and wonderful scrapped ideas, this is the chapter to turn to. Exclusive art drips from every page, including some great sketches, early designs, and other oddities.

    The goodies continue in the final section called “Tall Tales from the Capital Wasteland”. Not only do you receive Bethesda’s top tips for preventing certain death (which includes some tactical advice you never thought possible), but there’s the unwrapping of some delicious Easter Eggs, too! Next up are a half-dozen “Wasteland Wanderers”; a few of the hundreds of player characters that Bethesda team members employed during their playthroughs. Each has their own (usually disgusting, despicable, and always socially-awkward) story to tell, whether it’s the lament of Davey “Comet” MacDonald (who overly relied on Chems and booze), or Porkchops the Fish Lady, searching for her giant teddy bear and honing her A3-21 Energy Weapon talents at the same time.

    All of this is wrapped up by an Afterword typed out by Moira Brown personally, exclusive to the guide.

    Thanks for reading this Blog, and thanks to Bethesda for all their help. Please let us know what you thought of the guide by emailing dhodgson@primagames.com. This concludes your Fallout 3 author blog.

Check out both the regular edition game guide and the collector’s edition game guide.

26
Oct
08

Fallout, then Fall Over: Guide Creation Blog 06

Part 06: Tour of the Capital Wasteland: Overview

A grim and unforgiving landscape, dotted with hundreds of areas to explore, like this long-abandoned church.

A grim and unforgiving landscape, dotted with hundreds of areas to explore, like this long-abandoned church.

    In an attempt to craft the most valuable guide imaginable, we went kinda crazy with this section. Clocking in at over 200 pages (just over two-fifths of the total pages in the Limited Edition guide), the Tour of the Capital Wasteland was to serve two main purposes: 1: To allow you to instantly locate an area you’re needing help with, and 2: To reveal the items available, so you can judge whether a sortie is worth the risk of possible (and almost always grisly) death. This took around two months of hard graft to achieve, but the results were definitely worth it: You have a complete atlas of the entire game world at your fingertips.

    Written with the map poster in mind (although all the poster maps also appear inside the guide too), the Tour begins with explanations on the information each location has to offer. To start with, if the location is featured in a Main, Miscellaneous, or Freeform Quest, this is noted. Then comes the Threat Level (rated from one to five), so you can quickly ascertain whether to bring a 10mm Pistol, or a hulking great Follower armed to the teeth with a Minigun and a bad attitude. Then comes a Faction flag; showing you which Wasteland group controls this area; especially useful as you can bring preferred killing equipment to the expedition. Services are flagged for each location, too; so you can instantly know whether you’ll find a Healer, Repairer, or Trader. Next up are possible dangers (aside from the regular enemies); such as the types of traps to watch out for. Finally, the type and number of Collectibles the location has is shown, as well as more “miscellaneous” information; like whether you can find a Follower, sizable ammo caches, Perks, Radio Signals, and even a place to live in.

    Delve a little deeper, and there’s information on the dozens of Mini-Encounters that you might run into. Following that, the entire Wasteland is subdivided into nine sprawling Zones. Each Zone gets an Overview (which shows the Collectibles present in the entire area, as well as Primary and Secondary locations). Every single location can be found by either tracing the Latitude/Longitude on the Map Poster, or by its own Zone number. Naturally, the overview map looks just like the one on your Pip-Boy, so you can easily spot where you are. Once the overview is out of the way, you can dig into each specific area. Let’s take the church in the screenshot as an example.

    This is the eighth Primary location in Zone 1, so it is flagged as location 1.08. Instantly locatable on a map, there’s a list of assets, and a biography of any inhabitant living at the location (in this case, no one important enough is around). If the area has a likelihood of an enemy encounter, it is listed here, too. Then comes general and succinct tactical advice for the location, along with any Freeform Quests. Freeform Quests are smaller and optional tasks, usually taking place at one or two locations, and every single one of them is shown during this chapter.

    For larger settlements, such as Megaton, every single location within town is revealed, the type of Terminal and Locked Doors are shown (so you know whether your Skills are good enough to allow you access), and more importantly still, every location that needs it gets its own map. Maps have waypoints labeled on them so you know where every major occurrence is. With well over 150 “interior” maps (that aren’t on the poster), it took a team of four map makers around three months to finish them all, and they look superb. Naturally, they’re all extremely detailed (down to computers on tables, floor tiles, and debris piles), and are a great way to learn the topography of a location without blindly trekking through increasingly hostile corridors without any knowledge of how vast an area is.

    Around a third of the Tour showcases the labyrinth of the D.C. Metro Area itself. A massive series of locations that join the exterior Wasteland via dozens of snaking underground tunnels, finding your way around here is almost impossible without an “underground” map. Fortunately, there is one, so you can figure out the quickest routes between major areas. Naturally, each underground location gets its own map, too. There are 11 D.C. Metro areas to witness too; whether it’s the somber gloom of Arlington Cemetery, or the awe-inspiring Mall and Capitol Building, these get a meticulous going-over, too.

    Whether you’re out on a jaunt and want to find some specific enemies to slaughter, you’re out to grab every single particular type of collectible, or you’re encroaching an area that looks foreboding, this chapter can be dipped into and skipped across in a multitude of ways. Whatever you’re doing, and wherever you’re going, try utilizing the Tour to get there and back with a greater chance of living than you thought possible!

    Come back on launch day (Tuesday 28th October), where we finish off this blog in style with some extra-cool Appendices, and Limited Edition content information.

Check out both the regular edition game guide and the collector’s edition game guide.

 

25
Oct
08

Fallout, then Fall Over: Guide Creation Blog 05

Part 05: Main and Miscellaneous Quests: Chapter Overviews

A Brotherhood squad comes kitted out with all the best killing ordnance, and comes to your aid at a critical moment in a Quest.

A Brotherhood squad comes kitted out with all the best killing ordnance, and comes to your aid at a critical moment.

Much of this book (196 pages, in fact) is taken up with a thorough and meticulous exploration of the Main and Miscellaneous Quests you can begin at any point during your adventure. Segmented into dozens of logical parts, the strategy guide has some key advantages for getting the most (or just the very basic facts) from any point in the game, whether you’re exploring the basement of Tenpenny Tower, or searching for your father and finding out more about your upbringing, and his plans for the future. Expect copious amounts of advice throughout these chapters, which includes the following elements:

    Firstly, these two chapters of the guide are easily flipped to, as there’s an intuitive “tab” system on the side of the book, so you can locate a chapter in a second. Then, we’ve assumed you want to either “dip in” to a specific part of a Quest you’re having difficulties with (or want to find out more information about), or you’re content to read through an entire Quest to figure out all ways to complete it. Either way of reading the guide is simple to achieve: Firstly, the top-right of each page has the section of the Main Quest, or the specific Miscellaneous Quest named, along with specific Vault-Boy iconography. The first page has a complete overview of your course of action, with the main settlements flagged so you can easily cross-reference them with the guide’s poster map. There’s even a small mini-map showing the major location where most (but not all) of the Quest’s action takes place in.

    Perhaps the coolest element of these chapters is the Quest Flowchart. For every part of the Main Quest, and every Miscellaneous Quest, there’s a plotted-out series of boxes and arrows, in one of three colors (white, red, and green). White boxes refer to Objectives you’ve unlocked (or yet to unlock) on your Pip-Boy. Red boxes indicate actions you need to attempt, and green boxes reveal the rewards you receive if the action is successful. As every major path variant is showcased in these flowcharts, and you can easily figure out your next course of action without wading through pages of text. Main and Optional paths are shown in this flowchart, along with the characters you need to interact with, the locations to visit, any recommended Skills and Items you might want to use, possible enemies to encounter, and whether your path has a particular Karmic influence. More often than not, checking these flowcharts gives you enough encouragement to continue playing the game with minimal interruptions.

    Naturally, after the Flowchart is a highly-detailed Walkthrough, too. There are captioned screenshots dotted throughout, along with text designed to inform and entertain. We hone in on every specific detail, with objective flags in the text so you know which part of the Quest you’re reading about. There are also icons showing every major item you can pick up, and box-outs showing particular Statistics, Skills, and Perks to employ at every critical point. Again, Karmic choices are flagged in the text too, and there’s the obligatory notes, tips, cautions, and spoilers to try to ensure you don’t die, and also don’t accidentally read a section with game-changing information in it! We even went as far as noting when computers, holotapes, and other information sources provide pertinent (or simply flavorful) information. “Exhaustive” is a great description to apply to these chapters. “Exhausted” is a great description of my mental state after writing these chapters.

    So, every gameplay path is catered for, every eventuality is noted, all possible rewards are flagged, and there’s help aplenty – not just to see you through the adventure, but to point to hundreds of possibilities you may not have even thought about. No wonder these chapters took two and a half months to write….

   Come back on Monday 27th October, where the Tour of the Capital Wasteland (over 200 pages in length) is detailed and dissected. 

Check out both the regular edition game guide and the collector’s edition game guide.

23
Oct
08

Fallout, then Fall Over: Guide Creation Blog 04

Part 04: Bestiary Chapter Overview

Three parts insect and two parts disgusting. You don't want to know what the Bloatfly throws at you...

Three parts insect and two parts disgusting. You don't want to know what the Bloatfly throws at you....

CAUTION! Some minor spoilers ahead!

Although not the largest chapter in this gargantuan-sized strategy guide, this is perhaps the one that packs the largest concentration of thoroughly enjoyable and tactical goodness. If you’re wanting to know what just rammed into you and defiled your corpse after an ill-fated Wasteland wander, this is the chapter to peruse. Basically, you’ve got all the information on every single living entity in D.C.’s smoking remains, and the surrounding area. Rest assured; there’s stats aplenty here.

 

But to begin with, there’s some highly detailed “canon” about the variety of Wasteland Factions that battle the irradiated hellscape for supremacy (or in the case of feral ghouls, fleshy morsels). This is the section with revelations about the government forces known as The Enclave. There’s background information on the Brotherhood of Steel, as well as an “Outcast” contingent that have been spotted in the wilds of the Wasteland. The Vault Dwellers themselves get a good going-over; then it’s back on the surface to read the raison d’etre of the Raiders, and other scum that shoot first, and ask questions after they dance on your entrails; the Talon Company Mercenaries.

 

There’s some rather interesting reading about Super Mutants, and how these hulking beasts have arrived at the East Coast, some background on a small Merc clan called Reilly’s Rangers, and some general information on those seeking a meager existence outside the confines of Megaton. Next up are Slavers, and the poor humans they barter with. Then come the Ghouls, and finally there’s some revelations about small pockets of the Chinese military that still survive, decades after the bombs dropped. You’ll also find out about an odd collection of folk known as The Family, and some other clandestine organizations too….

 

[Remember; these are the main Factions that exist here; specific settlements, and the weird, wonderful (and sometimes feral) populace inhabiting them, are detailed in future chapters.]

 

Now, about those stats…. The second half of the Bestiary goes into (actually rather obsessive) detail about every single beast, being, mechanoid, and mutant you can battle. I won’t list every single entity in this blog post, but I will reveal the type of information you can find (and then rely on). Among the informative statistics is the “Level” of the enemy; basically, when your character reaches this level, you can expect a preponderance of this type of foe. Then there’s “Perception”. This is the entity’s PER stat, and the higher the stat, the quicker you’re spotted, surrounded, savaged, and bludgeoned to death.

 

Needing to know a foe’s Health Points is always a benefit; especially as you can cross-reference this with the damage each weapon causes (that’s the big table in the Training chapter), and then work out how many 10mm Pistol shots it takes to drop a Mole Rat (the answer is five by the way, if you didn’t miss, and didn’t cause a Critical Hit). Some of the less primitive (and more bipedal) adversaries you meet have their own Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Melee Weapons, and Small Guns Skills, so we noted their precise ability values, too. Why? So you can tell how adept that a Raider carrying a Flamer is (the answer, by the way, is “reasonably” – that value is 45/100).

 

Next up is the Armor they wear (which you can then cross-reference with the Armor equipment table in the Training to work out how much damage they can absorb (hint; not much if you aim at an exposed head!). Then there’s information on their Primary and Secondary means of attack. For example, there are 11 Raider “variants” you might encounter. If you see one with a Hunting Rifle, you can instantly reference it in this chapter, and find out all the information about him (or her). Finally, we reveal the likely experience points for dropping each foe. For the slightly less “humanoid” entities, there’s complete information on the type of (usually disgusting) unique damage they cause, and any special notes (like whether the foe has a weak point, flees easily, or is much faster than you).

 

All in all, it’s essential statistical viewing, and quickly enables you to figure out how to approach – and then dominate – combat. Come back on Saturday 25th October, when we reveal how we put together the massive Main and Miscellaneous Quest chapters together.

If you can’t wait that long, check out both the regular edition game guide and the collector’s edition game guide.

 

21
Oct
08

Far Cry 2 Author Tips

Far Cry 2 Author Tips
1. Weapons dropped by enemies are always in a somewhat unreliable state so avoid them unless in extreme circumstances. For best results, purchase weapons at a weapon shop and pull fresh models off the armory’s shelves with each visit. Once you buy a weapon, an unlimited amount of the same type are always available at armories, and always in mint condition.


2. The LPO-50 flamethrower is a great way to quickly eliminate enemies in assault trucks. Duck behind cover and wait for an assault truck to approach, then when it’s nearby, stand up and douse the vehicle in flames. Due to the vehicle’s open sides and rear, the driver and gunner don’t stand a chance. Just make sure you’re not hit by the truck before you can attack-if you’re spotted, the driver will try to run you down.

Continue reading ‘Far Cry 2 Author Tips’