Friday, April 27, 2012

Guild Wars 2 - Beta Event Guide

The beta weekend launches Friday afternoon. Are you ready?
In the event that you aren’t (or even if you are!), we have a list of tips for how to handle the beta, the game and everything you will see this weekend. Credit for this goes to a member of who asked to not be named. Thank you, anonymous contributor!
  • Don’t just skip through the questions after you design your character. Your answers impact your story and will also impact some NPC interactions in different areas.
  • Guilds can be created the second you are out of the opening cinematic. Hit “G” to create a guild or to represent/stand down from a guild.
  • The intro instance boss encounter WILL down you. This is so you can see how downed works. Even if you stay downed, the NPCs will win the encounter for you. For most classes, the 3 button will get you back up.
  • Right away, hit H then select the PVP tab. Hit “Be in the Mists”. After you port, there will be an Asura Gate in front of you. Take it to Lion’s Arch. After this port, cross the bridge to Lion’s Arch. At the fountain make a left. Here there are Asura Gates to every major city. The gates to Asura and Sylvari land will be blocked. Port to each major city and get the waypoint for zippy travel around the world. (This of course will also let you choose your newbie leveling zone)
  • There are no breadcrumbs and no quest hubs. You progress in this game by EXPLORING. Pick a direction that looks good and you will stumble upon adventure. Getting sidetracked is how you will spend most of your time.
  • If you have no idea where to go, look for a scout. They are marked with binoculars. They will reveal hearts for you. Also sometimes NPCs will beckon to you or run up to you and say “hey jerky, help a bro”. Talk to these NPCs. They will reveal previously hidden dynamic events.
  • Waypoints are graveyards. As you begin exploring and leveling, you want to collect waypoints as fast as possible. Before you start working on a heart or dynamic event, get the closest waypoint or you will be very sad when you die and have to schlep all the way back.
  • Your weapon skill unlock makes progress by killing a mob. When you get a new weapon, grinding out the unlocks real quick will make for a more varied and strategic game experience early on.
  • Your first skill is auto-attack. Everything else has a cooldown. Since you have a small number of skills, this means you can do something you’ve probably never done in an MMO: look up. The primary thing holding your attention should be where and how you are moving and tells from the mob. To take care of that, you’ve got to watch carefully.
  • Circle-strafe is your friend.
  • If you run up to a mob, usually they will pause for a split second to punch you or to wind up a big attack. Use this to your advantage.
  • Look at your skill tool tips and check for conditions. Conditions are fight changers. Sure you can just spam 1 and win, but proper use of conditions will greatly increase your survival and speed of killing.
  • If you pull off a combo (a special attack combining your skills with another players skills) you will see “combo” in the heads-up combat spam. Experiment with this for hilarity and hi-jinks. The easy combos involve a field + a projectile or a field + a jumping/leaping attack.
  • Move, move, move!
  • In-combat weapon switching unlocks at 7.
  • DO NOT RUN AWAY AFTER COMPLETING ANY DYNAMIC EVENT. This is the best advice I can give. Most of the time, after a dynamic event completes, the NPCs will chat for a minute and then another dynamic event will start. You owe it to yourself to hang out and see what the next bit is. If you stay in a place for 3 minutes or so and nothing happens, it is safe to move on. The world around will change A LOT. Whether you are there to see it, is entirely up to you.
  • If you see a different looking dynamic event box that has a background and stays active in a wide area, this is the zones meta dynamic event and requires coordination over a wide area to progress. The end of these events are usually really really satisfying. For instance in the human zone, there is a gigantic scary netherworld monster.
  • You will start getting karma quickly. When you fill up a heart, the NPC will sell you gear or other goodies for karma. DO NOT BANK KARMA. Keep in mind you aren’t getting gear quest rewards… because there are no quests. If a karma vendor has an upgrade for you, buy it then and there. This will insure that your relative power stays above the mobs you are fighting.
  • There is no reason why you have to go to a higher level zone. You will automatically downlevel for an area and get appropriate rewards. If you finish a 1-15 zone, consider going to another 1-15 zone.
  • Your 7, 8, 9 skills unlock at 5, 10, and 20 respectively. To get skills you need skill points. Do skill challenges for skill points. Every major city has a few skill points that you can just buy.
  • Traits unlock at 11.
  • You want to gather. There is no gathering skill. If two people hit a node, both get full reward. You can get upgrades for your equipment in the form of crystals from gathering. Even if you don’t intend to craft you should gather for the crystals. You will need a consumable to gather. Axes are for logging, picks are for mining, sickles are for herbs and veggies. Most merchants sell these.

Skyrim DLC Hinted At in Latest Game Files, Includes Snow Elves & Crossbows

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding potential Skyrim DLC. 
 People have said that Bethesda will implement everything from dragon mounts
 to the entire province of Morrowind in the game. However, today we’ve got 
some rather concrete evidence of what future DLC may have in store, thanks 
to some handy files found within the latest patch.

On one hell of a hunch, a BethSoft forum user scanned the files from patch (1.5.26)
 and found some very interesting file names. Here are just a few:

That’s right, Snow Elves and crossbows. Even the Snow Elf Prince.

If you’re wondering just what in the world a “Snow Elf” is, you should know that they were once a proud race who were driven from Skyrim by the Nords. Those who survived the persecution sought refuge among the Dwemer but were betrayed, turned blind, and enslaved… you now know them as those hideous Falmer than lurk deep within Dwemer ruins. Oh, those poor Snow Elves.

Ah, but what of this mysterious Snow Elf Prince?

This elf stood high above all his kinsmen. It was he was who led his people against the Nords at theBattle of the Moesring and it was he who died in that battle, killed by a mere child. Out of respect for this brave warrior, the Nords laid him to rest there in Solstheim. (You can read all about it in that book you’ve probably glanced over in-game)

A Nord warrior sees much in a life of bloodshed and battle, and is rarely surprised by anything armed combat may bring. But few among us that day could have imagined the awe and uncertainty of a raging battlefield that all at once went motionless and silent. Such is the effect the Snow Prince had on us all. The glorious Snow Prince, an Elf unlike any other, did come that day to bring death to our kind. And death he so brought. May our gods honor him in death, and may we never meet his kind again in life.

I can’t wait to meet him.

Given that the Falmer were also quite fond of spears and we’ve already seen Bethesda show off full spear animations, perhaps crossbows aren’t the only new weapons coming to this DLC? One can only hope.

So string up your crossbow and get your hiking boots ready, it looks like we’re headed underground and possibly back to the island of the Bloodmoon to relive a battle for the ages…

Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops, Bethesda may have some news for us next week.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Valve Updates Steam's Account Policy, You Can Now Access Your Games While Banned

There was a flurry of comments and criticisms about Steam after news broke thatElectronic Arts updated their Origin account policy back in early March of this year, enabling banned users to access their games in offline mode. 

A lot of gamers were questioning why it wasn't possible to access games in offline mode in Steam while an account was suspended or banned, but the real news is that you already can, Valve just never told anyone. What's more? Your games aren't limited to offline mode. 

While Valve doesn't have a lot of legal lingo surrounding the use of their digital distribution service, they do make it known in the subscriber agreement consent form...
Valve may terminate your Account or a particular Subscription for any conduct or activity that Valve believes is illegal, constitutes a Cheat, or which otherwise negatively affects the enjoyment of Steam by other Subscribers.

One user put that clause to the test and was aptly banned, however, he later found out that he wasn't completely blocked out of accessing his games because of a recent policy update in Steam for account access, which has now been deemed as "account locking" instead of "account banning". According to a Steam volunteer moderator, he makes it clear that...
Steam support stopped disabling Steam accounts a bit more than two months ago. This has been replaced with "account locking": you still have access to your games, but some restrictions are applied to your account (no trading, no cd key activation, no purchase allowed, etc.).

He provides proof of this with screenshots of an account being banned but still having access to games in offline or online mode, which we were kind enough to let you view below just so you know that you're not having your junk pulled. 

This means that gamers who have been banned either for fraudulent or nefarious purposes with the intent to use their Steam account for other activities other than gaming like an upstanding member of the interactive entertainment community, can still access the games they paid for. There are simply restrictions added to the account but the content you paid for is content you still have access to. 

Valve actually offers quite a bit of leeway in using their service, so getting banned is not something that's particularly easy to do so long as you follow the rules. There are, however, some rare exceptions where tertiary license agreements are put into place for Steam games, particularly, EA's games on Steam, where an EA EULA for a [now absent] product on Steam basically outlines the same sort of restrictions you would find on Origin. Of course, since it's Steam, there's no worries about "losing entitlements" or having third-party software scan your PC for you. 

Valve's head honcho, Gabe Newell, recently spoke out against these sort of practices that EA is using for Origin, saying that as the service stands right now it's just not up to par to where it should be for consumers and gamers, and it's justnot doing anything super-well at the moment. It's kind of hard to argue against that point. 

At least gamers who went off the deep end and managed to get banned can still play their games and access the content on both Steam and Origin. So, in that regards, it's a win-win situation for gamers no matter which digital distribution service you use. 

[Update: Steam's official support representative has stated that "Games registered to suspended accounts will no longer be accessible; even in offline mode." Of course, the support didn't clarify if this applies retroactively for suspended accounts or the distinction between a suspended account or a locked account, so we're awaiting official word from Valve on the matter.] 

Diablo 3 Dumbed Down Compared To Diablo 2? ... Not So Fast

With the open beta going on, everyone is getting a chance to try their hand at D3. Of course, an insurgence of varying opinions regarding the game should be expected. But just how valid are some of these claims? While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I feel more and more like a minority reading through the Diablo subreddits.To put my opinion into perspective I have played through Diablo and, much more thoroughly, Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction (which will simply be referred to as "D2"). The following arguments depends on at least a passing knowledge of D2, but I will try to be as clear as possible.
There seems to be a number of D2 redditors that feel D3 has been dumbed down significantly compared to D2. The argument is more or less centered around the lack of stat point allocation and no skill trees/skill builds. While these things may be lacking in D3, the impact of these changes is actually a lot better than you think.
The Stat System
Stat points. 5 points every level up. Strength, Dexterity, Vitality and Energy to choose from. Simple. Of course, things aren't always as easy as they seem, but to say this system was complex seems like a bit of an overstatement to me.
Strength was used purely for equipping gear. It (barely) improved your damage, so dumping points into it for this purpose would be wasteful. If there wasn't some sort of item you needed to equip, skipping this stat entirely on a level up was quite common.
Dexterity was required for some weapons. It improved your attack rating (chance to hit) and defense rating (chance to be hit). These benefits were negligible. The most important use of dexterity was to increase your chance to block. Determining whether or not you needed dexterity was as simple as asking yourself if you were going for max block (with very few exceptions).
Vitality was more or less the only stat that mattered in D2 (with the exception of Energy Shield Sorceresses). Once you had the strength and dexterity to use your gear, this was the stat of stats so to speak. Nothing else mattered.
Energy was really only useful for (energy shield) sorceresses. It really served no other purpose than to fuck up your stat build or let you carry around less mana potions. A point in energy was a point not in vitality.
So why does any of this even matter? Consider this:
You're level 92. You want to make the most effective character possible. To do this, there must be some sort of complex way of figuring out a perfect stat build. Well...the idea isn't too far from the truth. However, the method is anything but complex. So what exactly do you do with your almost 500 stat points? You shift-click vitality. Every single point goes into vitality. All of them.
Now you're thinking, "hah, nice try asshole but I want to actually be able to use my gear!" Well, you can have both. With the right items, you can use all of your gear and still have every point in vitality. This is, more or less, the ideal stat build. Let that soak in for a moment: being able to use your gear with every point in vitality is the best stat build. Seriously. The greater your deviation from this build, the weaker you are. This isn't the complexity most of you talk about. This is simple. And yet, deviating from this build will yield a system most would describe as complex. This is because you can beat D2 with far from perfect stats. You can go ahead and wander around on your level 33 barbarian with almost 200 strength and feel like King Shit of Turd Island swinging around your cracked greatsword, but eventually, you will die. Not only this, but you will reach a point in the game where your character will be unable to triumph. So you load up a new barbarian. This one has 100 less strength and 100 more vitality. You can still use your favorite greatsword. What changed? You can take much more of a beating. You carefully navigate the dungeon and emerge victorious. Well, what really changed? Your new build was tailored to more closely resemble a perfect stat build. There's still room for improvement, but you beat the game with your "close enough" stat build.
In the end, it's this "close enough" build that so many people thought was deep and complex. You hit level 23 on your barbarian and wonder what to do with the stat points. You stare blankly at your character screen considering the possibilities of this momentous decision. Eventually, you decide to put all 5 points into strength. Content with your choice, you let out a sigh of relief. But did it really matter what stat(s) you bumped up? In the grand scheme of things...not really. Let's rewind a bit: same barbarian, 5 stat points...but you choose to dump them all into energy for whatever reason. And so you fight on. You can still kill everything, you can still beat the game, you still have fun. In the end, it doesn't matter too much what you decide to do with your stat points; a few points in strength, some dexterity, a bit of vitality and even some into energy, yet you can still beat the game. Your choice will slightly change your character, but it won't make the game unbearably easy nor will it render the rest of the game an impossibility. The stat system in D2 doesn't offer unique gameplay experiences as much as people would like to think.
The Skill System
To compare D2 and D3 and say D2 has more depth because of its skill system is a really difficult argument for me to swallow. The D2 skill system is far more linear than people make it out to be. If you wanted to make a fireball sorceress, what skills do you max? Well you max fireball. Then you mouse over fireball and see it has synergies: it receives a damage bonus for points spent in fire bolt and meteor. Great. You max those as well in hopes of getting the strongest possible fireball. You max fire mastery...because it boosts the damage of fireball. As your character levels up you gain skill points one by one until you've finally used over 80 points leveling these skills up. What do you get for it? Well you have a strong fire bolt. But who cares, you have fireball. You have meteor as well, but it's only twice as strong as fireball and not nearly as spammable, so who cares. At the end of the day, over 80 character levels were used just to get one powerful ability. Sure, you can opt for a wider variety of skills, but they will be far too weak as you progress through the game. You are more or less forced to use fewer but stronger spells. And yet this is more complex than D3? You can level 5 times in D2, put every point in zeal and feel stronger each time. Great, but how did the gameplay change? It really didn't. In D3 over the course of 5 levels a player will witness huge changes. Not only are you unlocking skills that areimmediately useful to you, you are unlocking runes for skills you already have that can significantly change the way you play the game. The abilities all scale with your gear so you can use whatever skill you want whenever you want and still be effective.
To conclude I would like to say that I think the changes implemented in D3 are good design choices by Blizzard. The game is not only more approachable, but the gameplay is also far more varied. The real complexity of D2 was the gear system, but the two games can't be compared in this regard until the full game releases.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Skyrim - Easy Money, Again.

Infinite skill level gain

This trick requires that you own a house with an alchemy lab. Obtain the Oghma Infinium book, but do not read it. Go to your house, and open the bookshelf. Read the Oghma Infinium book, then select the skill set to assign the skill gain. Close the book, but not the bookshelf. Store the book on the shelf, then take the book back off the shelf, and select it, but do not read it. Repeat this as many times as desired to get as much skill level gain as desired.
Duplicating apparel items

Place any apparel item (armor or jewelry for best results) on a mannequin. Then, put the item back into your inventory. Leave the location of the mannequin, and go to a different area (for example, exit a house), then return to the mannequin to find the item still on the mannequin, which you can then take. Repeat this as many times as desired.
Duplicating books

This trick requires that you own a house with an alchemy lab. Activate the bookshelf, then place the desired book to be duplicated on it. Leave the menu, then immediately activate the bookshelf again. If your book has not yet physically appeared on the shelf, wait at the menu screen where you can loot the bookshelf. Once you see the book in front of you (it will hover in front of the shelf while the menu is open), loot the book from the shelf in the menu. Immediately close the menu, and you can click on the book itself to read and then take it. You will now have looted the book twice, putting two of them in your inventory. Repeat this as many times as desired. It is especially useful with expensive books such as the Oghma Infinium.
Easy experience

When you reach the part in the tutorial at the beginning of the game where you choose to enter the keep with either Hadvar or Ralof, choose Hadvar, Have Hadvar cut the bindings off your hands. Grab the iron sword off the wall in the room. Then, simply keep hitting Hadvar with the sword as he stands by the door to keep leveling up the One-Handed skill. Once you knock him down, make sure to not hit him anymore until he gets back up. To level up the Sneak skill, keep sneaking up on Hadvar while he stands by the door, and then attack him with the sword. Do this for the first 32 levels. Once you reach level 33 for the Sneak skill, you can simply sit behind him and hit him with the sword every six seconds. To level up the Two-Handed skill, progress a little further in the game, and get the two-handed sword. Once you reach the area with the bear where Hadvar gives you the bow and arrow, keep hitting Hadvar with the two-handed sword to easily level up the Two-Handed skill. Note: Do not press [Sneak] while doing this or Hadvar will move on. To level up the Destruction skill, keep burning Hadvar. If you leveled the One-Handed, Sneak, Two-Handed, and Destruction skills to level 100 using this method, you should have 37 perk points and be at level 37 to start the game. Note: This glitch was done on an unpatched version of the game. You can delete all patches for the game by using the "Clear hard drive cache" code for the Xbox 360.

Go to Riverwood village, and find Alvor & Sigrid's house. Inside is a man named Hadvar. Rest until it is after 8 a.m. so Alvor leaves the house. Sigrid and the young girl should remain downstairs, and Hadvar will be upstairs. If he is not, just wait until he comes upstairs. Then, save the game just in case there is a problem during the next part. Equip your strongest sword or weapon that you want to increase the skill level for, and sneak behind him until he cannot see you. Do a heavy strike, and he will stumble to the floor. When he gets up, he will have no knowledge that you hit him. He also never dies, so it can be done indefinitely. Repeat the process to level up as much as desired. This will also maximize your Sneak skill, and whatever weapon type you are using.
Easy gold

Take a horse and carriage to Winterhold. Once in Winterhold, immediately turn right. Travel southwest from Winterhold to a location called "Sightless Pit". Just above Slightless Pit on the mountain is an alter with a skeleton on it. Beside the skeleton is a book called "The Doors To Oblivion". Pick up the book, and then kill the skeleton on the table. Two other skeletons will rise around the alter; kill them as well. Return to the skeleton near where you picked up the book, and loot its body, taking everything. Loot it again, and you will notice the book on the skeleton keeps reappearing. You can keep taking "The Doors Of Oblivion" book worth 50 gold each. Every time you view the Skeleton's inventory, even if you do not take the book, it should add one book to the skeleton's inventory. Repeat this as much as desired. Note: This glitch was done on an unpatched version of the game. You can delete all patches for the game by using the "Clear hard drive cache" code for the Xbox 360.

At any time, go to Dawnstar. Once in Dawnstar, locate the entrance to the Iron-Breaker Mine, but do not enter it. To the left of the entrance are some rocks around a tree. Walk under the tree, and aim your crosshairs around the edges of the rocks until "Search Chest" appears. Open it to find a large amount of free loot, including crafting supplies, weapons, armor, enchanted items, gold, and more. Note: The chest is invisible as it sits under the ground, but it is still lootable. Loot everything, then sell the items for a large sum of gold. It is recommended you bring a horse, as you will quickly become over-encumbered and unable to move quickly or fast travel. To reset the chest and get more loot, go back to the entrance to Dawnstar. You will see a Khajiit trader caravan. If the caravan is not there, wait a few days for it to return. Look for the Khajiit named "Ahkari". Save the game while looking at her, then attack her after saving. It is not necessary to kill her, as damaging her should be enough. Then, reload the saved game file, and talk to her. Ask to see her wares, then exit the "Trade" menu, and return to the invisible chest by the mine. Repeat this process as many times as desired.

When doing the quest to get married, marry a follower. Then, make them follow you and trade items. They should have 750 gold because of the store they run. Take their gold, leave, and wait one day to get more gold. Repeat this as many times as desired.

While doing the quests to get the "One With The Shadows" achievement, you will get a special request for Windhelm called "Summerset Shadows". Once you have completed this quest, Niranye will have 4,000 gold on her every two days. Keep stealing as much gold from her as desired. It is possible to steal almost 145,000 gold in thirty minutes. This also is an easy way to get the "Golden Touch" achievement.

At the beginning of the game, when you reach the first town of Riverwood, find Hod. He usually stands at the top of the sawmill during the day. He will pay you for as much wood as you can give him. There is no limit to how much you can make by chopping wood and selling it to him, as he never runs out of gold like the merchants. Chop and sell as much wood to him as desired for easy gold.
Easy gold and Alchemy and Speech skills

This trick requires some time to set up, but once it is done, you can get as much gold as desired. It requires the following:1. Fortify Alchemy Enchantment2. Helmet, gloves/bracers, two rings, and a necklace3. Five Grand Soul Gems filled with Grand Souls. Grand Souls can be taken from Mammoths or bought.4. The ingredients for Fortify Restoration potions: Abecean Longfins, Cyrodilic Spadetails, and Salt Piles. The fish can be obtained easily by swimming around Goldenglow Estate near Riften. Collect as many of these as you can, at least ten to fifteen of each ingredient.5. Ingredients for a Fortify Enchanting potion: Snowberries, Spriggan Sap, Hagraven Claw, and Blue Butterfly Wing.

Start by enchanting your helmet, gloves, one of the rings, and the necklace with Fortify Alchemy using the Grand Soul Gems. It works best if your Enchanting is at 100 with five perks in Enchanter. Equip the newly fortified equipment. Go to an alchemy lab, and create a potion of Fortify Restoration. Exit and drink the potion. Without exiting the menu, go to "Apparel", unequip, and re-equip the gear. Then, create another Fortify Restoration potion. Drink it, unequip, and re-equip the gear until you can craft very strong Fortify Restorations (in the millions of percent). If you go too high, the potions will start getting negative numbers. Do not drink those or the game will glitch. When you are satisfied with the strength of your potions, drink one, then craft a Fortify Enchanting potion. Go to an Arcane Enchanter, drink your Fortify Enchanting potion, and enchant the remaining ring with Fortify Alchemy. This negates the need to repeat this process. Then, go to any apothecary, and buy a Giants Toe and some Wheat. While wearing your ring, craft a potion using these two ingredients. You should get a massive increase in Alchemy. It will be worth hundreds of thousands of Septim. No merchant will have that much money, but sell it to them for whatever they can pay, and your Speech will rise to 100. If it does not raise your Speech skill to 100, make another potion, and repeat. After your Speech is leveled, add perks until you get to the "Invest" perk. Go to the Riverwood trader, and invest in him. Go outside, and wait 48 hours. Return, and he will have 10,000 Septim. Sell him a potion to get all his gold. Go outside, and wait another 48 hours. Return, and sell him a potion to get all his gold. Repeat this as many times as desired. It is possible to get over 100,000 Septim in ten minutes in exchange for the cost of making the potions.
Easy gold and Enchanting and Smithing skills

Note: This trick requires a Soul Trap weapon and access to a smith and arcane enchanter. First, purchase an equal number of Iron Ingots, Leather Strips, and Petty Soul Gems. Fill the Petty Soul Gems (by killing with the Soul Trap weapon), then go to a smith. Create as many Iron Daggers as possible, then go to an arcane enchanter (there is one in Dragonsreach). Enchant all the daggers with the Petty Soul Gems (disenchant the Soul Trap weapon, if required). Go to a shop, and sell the daggers. Depending on your barter skill, you will make approximately 170 gold per dagger in profit, and will level up your Enchanting and Smithing skills. Note: Smith every three or four daggers, and enchant every one or two daggers early on.
Easy super weapons and armor

This trick requires the necessary perks in the Alchemy, Enchanting, and Smithing skills. First, enchant armor/boots/gloves/etc. with alchemy boosting properties. Then, equip the enchanted gear, and create a potion that enhances your enchanting skill for a certain amount of time. Go back, drink the potion, and enchant new equipment with alchemy boosting properties again. Your new equipment will now boost your alchemy even more, which will allow you to create a potion that enhances your enchanting even more than the first potion you made. Repeat this as many times as desired. Then, create smith boosting equipment and a smith boosting potion. Go to the blacksmith, and create your gear while you have your smith boosting equipment/potion, and upgrade it to the desired stats.
Adding Fortify enchantment to a weapon

This glitch requires you have 100 enchantment and the perk that allows you to add two enchantments to a weapon. First, go to the enchantment table, and select the soul gem you wish to use. Then, choose a weapon enchantment such as Frost damage, Stamina damage, Soul Trap, etc. Select a fortify enchantment, de-select the fortify enchantment, then select it again. You should now be able to select a weapon to enchant.
Infinite arrows

Pickpocket someone who shoots target dummies with arrows, and take the arrows they were using (usually iron or steel). Then, give them one of the arrow type you want more of. They will now shoot that type of arrow instead of the one they were shooting before. Simply collect the arrows as they hit the target dummy to get as many arrows as desired.

After killing the first dragon and being appointed Thane of Whiterun, talk to the new house earl, and trade items with them. Give them one arrow from your best set of arrows, then remove their sword, and assign them a bow. Every time you go into battle, they will fire multiple arrows from the one you traded. Then, collect all of the arrows after the battle is over.
Infinite weight limit

Containers are persistent and items do not disappear. Thus, any barrel, box, or chest can be used to store your items. It works best to use containers near a quick travel loading location. However, since the game is buggy, your items probably will not disappear when placed in a random barrel or chest, but there is no way to guarantee they will not disappear unless you purchase a house and store your items in it.
Easy armor, spells, and general experience

Set the difficulty to "Novice", and have a weak one-handed attack enemy hit you while healing. This will level the armor you are wearing, Restoration, and also may level up Illusion.
Easy experience and Illusion skill

Most spells require you to actively use them in combat situations or on specific objects to progress, but the Muffle spell does not require this. Muffle is an Illusion spell that quiets your movements. Continually cast Muffle while you are walking around the world of Skyrim to boost your Illusion skill and increase your overall experience.
Easy Archery skill

Go to Riverwood, find an elf named Faendal, and then deliver a note to Camilla. Next, find Faendal, and ask him to follow you. Make sure you have at least 200 gold. Ask him to train you. When he does, ask him to trade with you. Go into his inventory, and take your money back. You can do this five times a level, and it really helps early in the game. Repeat this as much as desired.
Easy Blocking skill

Use the following trick to level up your Blocking skill or save a few spare perks. Find a weak enemy that does not enter water (for example, a wolf). Pin yourself between the enemy and the water, then use a rubber band to hold the trigger button that controls your shield for as long as desired to keep leveling up the Blocking skill. Note: Make sure the enemy will not move from where he is attacking you.
Easy Conjuration skill

Buy or steal a horse. You can get one in Whiterun. Learn the Soul Trap spell. Then, use the Soul Trap spell on your horse. It will not harm your horse, but it will keep leveling up the Conjuration skill. Repeat this as much as desired.

This trick works best with the Bound Sword spell, as you are able to conjure two of these at the same time to gain experience faster. This works best when there is an enemy that is trying to fight you, but you are at an area that they cannot reach you (for example, fighting a troll or bear while you are too high for them to actually hit you). Use the Bound Sword spell, put the sword(s) away, then repeat the process to level up your Conjuration skill quickly.

This trick requires dragons roaming around and being far enough in The Dark Brotherhood to have Shadowmere. When you find where a dragon is located, fast travel there so Shadowmere can be with you. Start the battle with the dragon, but do not worry when the dragon goes after Shadowmere, as Shadowmere is invincible and will fight and eventually kill the dragon for you. While he is fighting the dragon, use the Bound Sword spell, put the sword(s) away, then repeat the process to level up your Conjuration skill quickly.
Easy Destruction skill

When you join the Fighter's Guild, you will be prompted to go outside and duel with one of the members. When you are outside, switch to destruction magic, and use it against the opponent repeatedly. He will keep telling you to use a sword, but you will gain experience, and he will not die. Repeat this as much as desired to get easy XP for magic.
Easy Pickpocket skill

Go to jail in Riften, then unlock your cell door. Directly across from your cell is a guy named Black-Briar. You can pickpocket him even after he catches you. Pickpocket all of his stuff, then place it back into his inventory. Repeat this as many times as desired to easily increase your Pickpocket skill level.
Easy Restoration skill

Go to High Hrothgar. Go out the door to the area where you are taught the Whirlwind Sprint, then go to the right. Look for a small staircase that goes up to a blizzard of some kind. Go forward just enough to start getting hurt by it, then start using the Healing spell. Your health will go down slowly because you are using the healing spell, but you will also gain experience. This method is better than fighting an enemy and leveling up your experience since you can control how much damage you are taking by simply walking backwards.
Easy Smithing and Speech skill

Every time you go to a forge, make sure to talk to the person in charge of it, and buy all the iron ingot and leather or leather strips they are selling. Then, make as many leather strips as it takes for each iron ingot. Take it to the forge, and make an iron dagger that only takes one of each ingredient to create. If you sell it back to the merchant, sell it one at a time so you create more transactions to level up the Speech skill.
Easy Sneak skill

At the beginning of the game, you will encounter a sleeping bear in Helgen's Keep. Hadvar will say you can either sneak past it or kill it. Just off to the left of where Hadvar stops is a small rock pile. Go to the back side of it, and you can sneak in the crevice there and remain hidden from the bear. Keep sneaking at the rock to increase your Sneak skill level. Repeat this for a long as desired, as the bear will only move if it detects you. To make sure you are in a good location, sneak for a short time, then check your Sneak skill to see if it is rising. If not, move slightly closer to the bear and keep trying.

After the prologue part of the game, go to Embershard Mine. Kill the two bandits in the first chamber of the mine, then go into the short tunnel. Lower the bridge by pulling the nearby switch (explore along the tunnel on the far wall from the entrance). Continue through the next few rooms until you reach an area with a bandit in a sort of pit (the pit has a forge in it). Kill the bandit in the pit to attract the attention of the guard on the bridge. She will start shooting arrows at you. Hide about half way down the bridge in the shadows, and just keep walking into the wall while sneaking to easily level up your Sneak skill.

Reach White Run, and go east. Move toward the mountain until you find White River Watch. Kill the two bandits outside, and enter. The blind guy inside will ask if you are Ralph. Say yes, and then keep walking into the wall in the shadows while sneaking to easily keep leveling up your Sneak skill. You can also place a rubber band around the Analog-stick and controller and leave it for a few hours to keep leveling up while you are away.

Once you can go to Bleak Falls Barrow, go there, and talk to Sven about his love troubles with a girl. Accept to deliver a fake letter to the girl he mentions. Find the girl, and deliver the letter to her. Then, go to Faendal, and accept the "Golden Claw" quest. Go back to Sven, and talk to him about the quest. Tell him to follow you, then sneak behind Sven, and sneak attack him. Repeat this as many times as desired to easily level up the Sneak skill, the weapon skill for the weapon you have equipped, and general experience. Note: Make sure you do not kill Sven. Sven will get mad at you when you keep attacking him, but he will never try to attack you back. Additionally, make sure to not get the perk that increases one-handed weapons to do 6x damage or the sneak attack will kill Sven.

Once you can reach the Greybeards at High Hrothgar, keep sneaking behind one of the Greybeards, and wait until you become undetected. Then, attack them, and keep repeating this as many times as desired. The Greybeards will not attack you, and this is not considered a crime. Additionally, you can use a weapon while you attack them, but there is a chance you will kill them. It works best while unarmed.
Easy Speech skill

Go to Riften, and talk to the Dark Elf named Ungrien. Choose the "Tell me about Maven Black-Briar." option, and then select the persuade option. After that, the persuade option will not disappear, allowing you to keep selecting it as many times as desired to get easy experience and max out your Speech skill. Note: This glitch was done on an unpatched version of the game. You can delete all patches for the game by using the "Clear hard drive cache" code for the Xbox 360.

Skyrim - Unlimited Easy Money Glitch

A glitch in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim apparently allows players to earn unlimited gold by picking up copies of The Doors of Oblivion over and over and over again.
The book is worth 50 Gold, so by picking up copies of the book over and over again, you have a seemingly endless supply of money that is dependent largely on how long you want to pick up the book from a skeleton.
The skeleton might disappear, but, if you remember where it was, you can still pick up the book.

Diablo 3 - Increased Difficulty Changes To Inferno Mode

Bashiok has announced some important changes to Inferno mode which will increase the difficulty of the end game and increase longevity/replay value.
This is may be a good a time as any to REVEAL TEH SEKRITS! that Inferno monster levels aren’t linear any longer. They get progressively more difficult. This was really a reaction to Inferno playtesting. Our original intent was to have a flat difficulty level where you could go wherever you want, farm for items, and it’d be no more or less difficult than any other area in Inferno. This caused a few inherent issues for us, though:
It just felt wrong. It didn’t feel right to be progressing through the game and have it stay pretty much the same difficulty the whole time. It felt like a let down to get to the final boss of the game and it be no more difficult than the first.
There’s a wide variety of players out there and we wanted to make sure everybody had something to sink their teeth into. We expect that anybody with enough time and dedication will reach level 60. But the jump in difficulty to Inferno needed to be different amounts for different people. For the crazy people they need a HUGE ramp in difficulty, for a more “casual but still hardcore” audience you want an obvious but milder increase in difficulty. So for the crazy people who play non-stop they’ll hit Act I and get a challenge, but 1 month later they’ll still have something to work on (Acts II, III and IV). For the “hardcore-casual” they will reach level 60 later and not get brick walled when they reach Inferno. They can experience some “small victories” working on Act I with the dream of maybe someday reaching the later acts.
Longevity. We know people really want goals to work towards and challenges to overcome. We made Act III and Act IV really, really brutally hard, for the most elite players only. It felt wrong to make ALL of Inferno that brutally hard.

Now, you may be saying “I thought you wanted us to be able to farm anywhere we wanted. Now we only have half as much area in the game to farm in? What gives?” Our goal is to make the loot mathematically better in the later acts without making the earlier gear completely obsolete. We feel Diablo II actually did a very good job with this and we expect Diablo III to perform similarly.

Specifically, people in D2 did Diablo runs, Mephisto runs, Pindleskin runs, Pit runs, Baal runs, etc. because the loot in Diablo is extremely random. Even though the theoretical best items might come from the later Acts, well-rolled items from earlier acts will still be better. Internally we find sometimes after an intense session of brutally hard Inferno it can be really fun to cruise through Hell Act III or IV and it’s not too uncommon surprise when an upgrade drops. We expect this to carry through to Inferno difficulty where somebody who can theoretically farm Act IV will likely still enjoy romping through Act I simply because the drop potential is still there. It’s all because of the highly random items having lots of overlap in their power distribution curves.
Inferno mode is shaping up to be exciting to say the least!

Buying & Selling Characters In Diablo 3

A feature of the RMAH that is unknown to many Diablo 3 fans is the ability to not only buy and sell virtual items but characters as well. While it’s looking like the option to do this won’t be in at launch (more on this later), Blizzard have previously confirmed their commitment to allowing characters to be bought and sold for real money; it’s more than just a rumor!
What items can be traded in Diablo III?
Nearly everything that drops on the ground, including gold, can be traded with other players directly or through the auction house system. Aside from certain quest items, there will be very few (if any) items that will be “soulbound” to your character and therefore untradable. We are also planning to allow players to buy and sell characters in the auction house at some point in the future and will have more details to share on that at a later date.
While it’s still unknown just how many people will use the RMAH, it’s more than likely going to be a huge success. Many players will want to cash in on their unwanted items to get the money to buy the stuff they really want and this might also include level 60 characters.
For those that want to take it up a notch in their attempts to make a living from Diablo 3, leveling up characters for the sole purpose of selling them could be a lucrative aspect of the market they can get involved with but it’s unlikely to net any serious money when compared to farming Inferno quality items.
Selling level 60 characters during the first few weeks of launch could’ve been quite lucrative despite the downsides to player longevity. This is probably why Blizzard are delaying the functionality – not to spite users who want to make money but to avoid having people buying a few characters and then quickly growing tired of the game.
They quite obviously want the RMAH to be viable for years to come and are not willing to take a quick short term gain in spite of a long term one. Given everyone has to level their own character during the 1st or 2nd playthough, Blizzard are also ensuring there will be a good supply of characters ready to be sold when they do patch in the ability to buy/sell characters.
Buying & Selling Diablo 3 Characters
Specific details of how buying and selling characters will work aren’t known but it’s safe to say that you won’t need multiple accounts to participate on a casual level. When selling a character, it will be a simple process of moving the character from your account to the account of the person buying it. Any achievements earned on that character are unlikely to be transferred as it appears achievements are tied to an account and not a specific character – this won’t do anything positive for value of selling a character.
An unknown factor that makes it difficult to speculate on the value of a character is the amount of time required to hit level 60. If it takes a short amount of time (15-20 hours), characters won’t have much value as very little time investment is required. If it takes a much longer period of time (60+ hours) – which is the likely scenario, one might expect cheap labor in the 3rd world to undercut those in the 1st and reduce the profit margins to a point where it’s better to farm for items instead. It’s yet unknown what Blizzard will do (if anything?) to combat farmers leveling characters purely for resale.
Speculating on the value of a character isn’t just about time investment either. There will be forces outside of a player’s control such as patches which might increase the value of one class and/or decimate the value of another.
For example, let’s say a patch nerfs the Witch Doctor and gives buffs to the Wizard which are perceived by the community to be OP thus making the Wizard the most desired class. If you don’t have a level 60 Wizard, you might be inclined to sell your Witch Doctor to fund the purchase of a Wizard. If you play a Wizard and have grown tired of it, want to explore builds that other classes use but don’t have the time or desire to level to 60, this would make for a good opportunity to sell your character at a higher than usual market price.
Of course, this then raises the question of whether or not those who intend to level characters for pure profit should stick to 1 class on which they can ride the higher priced market waves when a patch hits or diversify by leveling all 5 classes. Those that spent considerable time playing Diablo 2 know full well just how many people come back to the game when a patch is released and this is sure to fuel demand.
Another factor that will impact pricing is the 10 character limit per account. Unlike WoW where you could buy up vast quantities of items for resale at a later date, buying up large quantities of cheap characters will require additional accounts. Given most players won’t have more than 1 account, this will help to put a floor under the price of characters.
It’s a given that most players will playthrough the game to enjoy the story while leveling their own character to 60 in the process but what happens when they want try out different classes and the builds that go along with them? There is no compelling reason to level another character from scratch (besides fun) when a level 60 might be purchased for under $500. This is especially important if those 60 hours you would spend leveling to 60 will now be spent in Inferno where you could possibly find more than $500 worth of items in those 60 hours thus recouping the cost of your character purchase.
Do you intend to buy and sell characters or do you feel that it’s a bad idea and should not form part of the RMAH? Will characters be worth $0 or $1000′s? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Diablo 3 Hardcore Mode: 5 Tips To Get You Started

In honor of the addition of hardcore mode to the Diablo 3 beta and the impending May 15th release date, here is a brief overview of hardcore plus tips and strategies to maximize your experience and enjoyment while playing the most challenging mode Diablo 3 has to offer.
Diablo 3 Hardcore ModeHardcore mode is a special mode distinct from the normal realms of Diablo. Unlike general population realms and their characters, hardcore realms and characters are distinct from one another and cannot share items, gold, or join normal games.
However, with the chat function, a hardcore and softcore player will be able to communicate.
The difference between the two realms is that while softcore characters receive a gold and experience penalty after death, yet can still respawn in town with all their items and character intact, hardcore characters do not respawn after death. This means that if you kill your character (even to lag) you must rebuild them over and all of their items.
One other thing to keep in mind, the auction houses are also distinct. Hardcore and softcore items exist on independent realms and therefore auction houses are not shared nor does hardcore have a real money auction house (at this time). Blizzard has stated that they do not want to deal with the consequences of players paying real money for items and then losing them. It’s something that I and many other hardcore players disagree with and here is to hoping Blizzard will change their minds.
With that said, the constant danger and adrenaline-pumping action makes hardcore mode an exciting challenge for Diablo 3 players. Let us take a look at ways to make the most of the game mode and keep the nerd rage from losing your level 60 to a minimum.
1. Hardcore means hard, not fast
The most valuable asset a good hardcore player can have is patience.  Hardcore isn’t anymore difficult than softcore, but the stakes are much higher and so a good player always tries to minimize their margin of error.  The best way to do that is by playing slower.
While it may be fulfilling to rush through content (and it is in softcore where a death doesn’t mean anything), you need to make sure you’re slowly leveling and tackling new content at a much higher level than you think you need to be. For example, in Diablo 2 you could simply start a new game and walk through to the end on most characters, as long as you were willing to die.  Not so in hardcore.
At every moment of the game you should ask yourself, “Is this getting dicey?” if the answer is yes, relog and redo areas to gain a few levels. The same goes for items. If you’re struggling, do a few low level area runs to improve equipment.
Dead Hardcore Character Diablo 3This advice is extremely important between jumping difficulties. Blizzard has already explained that the jump from normal to nightmare is huge, and that’s just the first jump. Take your time and use the most recent difficulty to find better items and to obtain a higher level. A little patience now is worth it in the long run.
2. Maximize Life Saving Stats
While on the lookout for items in Diablo it’s really easy to get a sense of damage lust.  And again that’s not a bad thing when playing softcore where a death has no large consequence other then gold for repairs.  In hardcore, it’s a different story.
Life/Vitality are stats that are extremely important.  You need to make sure to give extra weight to stats that prolong the life of your character.  Why?  Death in hardcore never comes because you couldn’t kill something.  It happens because you had too low of hit points for what you were facing and you couldn’t town portal or escape fast enough.
If you’re not killing something practice step 1. If you’re about to die, leave. Having more life and other related stats will make that cushion between the moment you realize “oh crap” and need to hit escape that much longer. While it is obviously too early to tell, gems are probably going to be a great way to increase that cushion.
3.  Play with Others
Having friends that you play the game with will make challenges significantly easier. While the difficulty does increase some, it should never outpace the benefit of having another person available.
You will clear areas faster, have twice the drops and play safer because someone can tank damage while the other focuses strategic mobs or blasts from afar. This is easily evident from the Diablo 3 beta. Co-op play can clear the beta level twice as fast if not faster. The importance of playing with others rises exponentially when the difficulties get harder.
4. Build for Control
Honestly, again the game has yet to be released so it’s extremely early to tell but it’s obvious that some builds are safer than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean weaker but it does mean that you utilize skills that increase your cushion from death. The iconic example of this is the Skellymancer of Diablo 2. By being surrounded by his summoned minions, the Necromancer was an extremely conservative build to play through hardcore mode with.
Some championed that style of play to be less fun, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. The frozen orb Sorceress from Diablo 2 was an extremely aggressive character that utilized teleport and orb to lay waste to anything in her way. It was an extremely viable build for hardcore mode.
Diablo 3 Hardcore Death
What did the passive summon Necro have in common with highly aggressive orb-it-all Sorceress? They both focused on control over raw fire power. The summons gave a sense of control in that they kept the enemies away from your caster.
The combination of teleport and frozen orb allowed the Sorceress to be highly mobile but freeze enemies with chill effect of frozen orb. In Diablo 3, always look at skills that give some element of control over mobs. Ask “how does this skill keep me from getting hit.”
5. Have a sense of humor
It’s going to happen. You will kill a character in hardcore mode (or Blizzard’s lag will). The number one way to ruin your hardcore experience is to take a loss too hard. If you can, make fun of the death of your character.
I once had a Sorceress die to a special effect on an item called the Oculus that when struck randomly teleported your character to a different location on screen. It teleported me 7 times in a row, finally sticking me dead in the middle of a horde of axe wielding bovines. It stung but I learned to laugh at it.
Always looks on the positive side of things and realize that a death allows you to build another champion and have quality time with your friends and strangers of Sanctuary.