Archive for March 2010

Chaos Crashing!

March 29, 2010

Chaos

For my birthday I received (after asking everyone I knew since I’m far too broke to buy it myself) the expansion pack to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II entitled Chaos Rising. Chaos is my second favorite faction in the Warhammer 40k universe, next to Orks which are already included in the game, so as soon as it was announced I knew I had to own it.

I’ve got some positive stuff to say about the expansion and some negative stuff. I loved the fact that it stayed very RPG like and indeed it seemed to move more toward an RPG feel with this expansion. We now have dialog “trees”. Sure they don’t branch but I can see them testing the waters for their 40k MMO. The story is another solid area. It was well written and had me sitting there nerding out at several parts. Of course that is partly because I am a huge 40k fan.

The biggest negative for the game was that it has a bug at the moment that causes your game to crash to desktop when you beat the final mission, sometimes. This DID happen to me and I went straight to the forums where I found out it is a somewhat common problem. Relic assures us that they are working on the problem so that’s good. What’s not good is that the game uses Games For Windows Live which means any patch has to be sent to Microsoft for approval before it can be released. The last time this happened, when Dawn of War II launched and people were getting crashes left and right, it took a week from the time the patch was done to the time it could be released. A WEEK of not being able to play what I’ve paid for because of GFWL, a service I hate completely.

The only new unit you get is the Librarian (I am speaking of the single player campaign), though you do get to mess around with a few tanks and your librarian can, if he becomes corrupt, control enemy units. This is always fun to control a big unit and have it turn on it’s friends. If you can’t tell I did go Corrupt, and I found another complaint in doing so. Like in most RPGs that give you the option of being evil, you often have to perform poorly at the game to get the evil points. For example there was a mission where, if it took me over twenty minutes to complete all my squads would gain corruption points. I was done in five minutes but had to let them sit for fifteen in order to get the corruption points.

There are other ways to get corruption, some of them pretty interesting, though I won’t spoil it for you. I haven’t tried the pure route yet to see the difference but I will once Relic gets their patch out. In the meantime the game will just be occupying space on my hard drive. Or maybe I’ll play some Last Stand.

Another complaint was the voiceovers. Most of them are quality, well all of them were pretty good at least except for Thaddeus. He sounded monotone and boring. It was like he wasn’t trying and no one cared. It stands out a LOT when he is having a conversation with anyone else. The sound problems don’t stop there either. Sometimes the voices get very quiet for no reason and then they will increase in volume again, then get quiet again. It really kills the mood.

All these complaints aside I would recommend getting the expansion to anyone who enjoyed the base game, or to anyone who enjoys the 40k universe. Of course this is only AFTER THEY PATCH IT! Trust me, beating the final, 40 minute boss fight only to have it crash RIGHT after, before anything saves, is very demoralizing. Maybe it’s not a bug, maybe it’s Chaos.

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A day at the Festival!

March 29, 2010

Ranger1

LOTRO is a unique MMO for me. I enjoy playing it but it’s never grabbed me like other MMOs, never made me want to stay and play for months on end without thinking of other games. Sadly I never bought the lifetime subscription as that would alleviate my guilt about being subscribed for months at a time without playing.

Another thing that limits my LOTRO playing is that it’s become the MMO I play with my wife. She’s played games all her life but only got into MMOs with World of Warcraft. Since then we’ve tried them all. For a while we playing WAR together, then we bounced around and finally we landed on LOTRO. We don’t have tons of time to game together like we used to so LOTRO ends up taking a back seat as we mess around with our other games/projects.

We decided to load up the game today and maybe get to level 40 (we’ve been 38 for a while now). Then we discovered that it was the Spring Festival! I have to get something out there right up front. Me and my wife are event whores. If there is a holiday or special event in an MMO we want to be there and we want to enjoy it. This started for me in Ultima Online with their developer run events, and moved into WoW with it’s holiday’s.

Sadly it seems the racial dances are the same as the Winter Festival dances so we didn’t bother doing those, but there is a version of Whack-a-Mole that is hilarious fun. You run around a yard and swing boots at these mole like creatures. There’s three versions of it with the regular one requiring you to stomp three Shrews, the medium giving you a time limit to stomp said Shrews, and the final version which requires you to stomp ten Shrews AND plant 5 seeds. I was lucky and managed to do this first time, while also getting the huge Shrew. Doing the hard one was the final bit I needed to get the title “Spring Dandy” which I will never use, for obvious reasons.

There are actually several really fun Spring Festival challenges including an entire quest hub built around a hedge maze which I found particularly enjoyable. Another notable quest was Bullroarers Challenge in the Shire which required you to get drunk and them walk/jump along a crooked fence top to get to another platform. That would be a multiple manslaughter count in real life but it was a blast in the game. Except for one little detail.

I HATE THE DRUNK EFFECT! I hate it in every game I have ever played that has had it. It makes my eyes hurt, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m unsure if I can turn it off in LOTRO but I’m hoping so because it’s terrible, especially the more drunk you get.

I’m writing this while waiting for the Shrew challenge to start over, and after I finish this I should really try and get at least the last 15% of the level.

Fallen Earth Armor Pictures

March 27, 2010

Running1

There really isn’t a good repository of photo’s for Fallen Earth armor, and as there is no in game dressing room it’s impossible to know what something will look like until you equip it. As such I spent the rest of my trial account time running around and making all of the low level armor in the game that I could find. This should be most items in the ____ 1 category such as Shoes 1, Torso 1 etc. Due to level limitations I wasn’t able to craft everything from all the level 1 books, only up to skill level 45.

Here is the link to my Flickr page, where they will be kept for now. I ask that you please link to this post, and not directly to the Flickr page, as it helps generate traffic. Enjoy the pictures, I know they are dark and not the best, but if you’ve got better, or armor pieces I don’t have pictures of, let me know in the comments and we can get those posted.

This represents untold hours of material farming, crafting and picture taking, not to mention leveling to up my skill caps. Please respect that and do not republish these pictures elsewhere as your own.

An Ultima Online Experiment

March 27, 2010

UO

I played Ultima Online back before Trammel, continued playing after it came out and didn’t leave it until Final Fantasy XI came out, which i played until World of Warcraft came out. I went back when Ultima Online released it’s Kingdom Reborn expansion pack, which was a terrible mess. The updated “3D” style graphics caused the world to look more cluttered than it had before and the newbie starting quests were broken  and it was impossible to complete it.

Jump forward to today when I downloaded and installed the 14 day trial for Ultima Online. I got the new Stygian Abyss client and decided to see what kind of improvements they had brought to UO, if any. It turned out that they did a really great job, at least in the newbie starting quest area. There were many NPCs with quests once I got to New Haven, the starting town, and they ranged from getting my skills up (basically to teach you what you need to do) to crafting or escorting.

The biggest problem with the game right now isn’t even the graphics, which is what I thought it would be. It’s not even the UI which has received many great enhancements. It’s the sound. From the brutally loud and annoying walking noise that accompanies you everywhere you go (unless you turn off the walking noise completely…) or the seemingly four second music clip that seems to repeat over and over. Granted I’ve only played for a few minutes and I intend to give it a thorough playing before I give up on it. I have such fond memories of my time in Brittania that I am really tempted to resub, especially after the little I played today. But I’ll give it the full two weeks and see what’s what.

Makes me want to give Darkfall a try. If only they had a carebare server.

Blogger Interrupted

March 26, 2010

mmo-addiction

I just wanted to do a quick response to some of the blog’s I’ve been reading recently. First up is Alex Taldren who posted a clip of The Secret World gameplay and complained that it looked like Age of Conan and said that even though the combat looked like Hellgate: London or Fallen Earth, it was still better than most MMO combat.

I remember when Age of Conan first came out and we were all drooling over the graphics and how amazing they were for an MMO. I recently picked up the trial to see how things had changed and it STILL looks amazing, one of the best looking MMOs on the market. When did this become a bad thing? Do we really need to improve on the graphics with every game at the cost of stability, gameplay and fun? Can’t we stick with a nice level of graphics and just improve the game for a while?

The other point from his post I wanted to get into is the complaints I hear, not just from him but from most bloggers, about the boring MMO combat system. There are a few others but for the most part MMOs all control like World of Warcraft. Everyone seems to be complaining about this. The problem I have is that the people complaining aren’t offering up any alternatives. Of course these alternatives would have to be something that wouldn’t alienate too many people, which is the problem with adding FPS mechanics into an MMO. What other control schemes are out there? You want a Fable control scheme? It’s out there already, and it’s pretty much WoW without the action bar.

To me it seems like these same people could play a First Person Shooter and complain about the First Person Shooter combat. If it’s not your cup of tea I’m sorry but maybe it’s not for you. Maybe I’ve got all this wrong though and people have a good idea of what they want. I can’t imagine it’s the Darkfall style combat though as that basically takes the Morrowind/Oblivion combat style, which EVERYONE agreed was the worst part about those games.

The second blog post I want to comment on is Player vs. Developer’s post on Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unleashed and it’s cash shop. He argues that a poor exchange rate (unless you buy the most expensive iteration of points) is a barrier to entry. I would simply argue that he is looking at it the wrong way. The normal amount of points here is the bottom rate, $6.50 for 420 points. If you are willing to spend more you get more for your dollar as a thank you. It’s not that they are gimping your spending if you don’t spend much, they are just rewarding you if you spend more, which is exactly what a cash shop SHOULD do. Make me WANT to spend $50 at the cash shop and you know what, if I only want to spend EXACTLY enough to buy a new race or class, I can do that too.

The last blog I’d like to address is Hardcore Casual and it’s post on FFA vs. Faction based PVP. I’d have to say that while I prefer faction based PVP for the stability and security to be “safe” sometimes, I might change my tune if there was a FFA game I could try that did not have full loot rules. Maybe it’s out there and I just haven’t found it yet, but the full loot really kills a game for me. I know it shouldn’t but I haven’t been able to get into it since Ultima Online, and I could enjoy it in that game because the community policed themselves, literally you have guilds that acted as police and protection for miners or lumberjacks and wondered the woods killing any PKers. Now days everyone just wants to grief and I don’t enjoy being griefed. More power to those who do I guess.

This post turned out to be longer than I wanted it to be, but I just had to respond to a few things.

But it’s not real!

March 26, 2010

internetaddict

I am sick and tired of people saying that my enjoyment inside an MMO, that my friends and my memories aren’t real just because they happened inside or because of an MMO. I’m sorry but when was I spirited away to some fantasy land to play these games? As far as I knew that happened IN the real world. Regardless of how I got them they are still my feelings, my memories, as real as anything else.

A lot of people these days seem to think that they are addicted to MMOs. There are people who are addicted to video games just as there are people who are addicted to masturbation or anything else that makes you feel good. That does not mean that there is anything inherently more addictive about video games than anything else. If you think you are addicted ask yourself one SIMPLE question: Have you suffered serious repercussions in life due to your gaming habit? By this I mean eviction, divorce, your child died, anything like that.

Stop trying to downplay my accomplishments, my memories and my friends because you can’t seem to find happiness in your own life. Just because I don’t sit in front of the television and watch grown men huddle with each other and I choose to sit in front of a monitor and watch fake men huddle each other does not mean that my time is wasted. Just because I choose to read, both in MMO’s and in books, instead of tossing a ball does not mean that I am wasting my time.

I have years of great memories with friends and family inside MMOs. I’ve had relationships that felt as real, and thus were as real, as any relationship I’ve had outside of my computer. I’m just tired of people acting high and mighty because they have the IQ of a Junior High School graduate and can’t appreciate the wonders I’ve seen.

Am I addicted to MMOs? Not even a little. Would I choose to play and hang out with my MMO friends over watching television? Every damn time.

The Devil Wears Ragged Leather

March 26, 2010

Yeah, I just made a Devil Wears Prada reference. I think we can be mature enough to move past that. Maybe.

Sunset

If you’ve been following the blog then you already know that I’ve become somewhat addicted to Fallen Earth in the past week or so. I’ve been playing it pretty non-stop for a while and it’s everything I could hope for. It very much reminds me of Ultima Online without the annoying getting killed and having all of your possessions looted.

To really get into a game like Fallen Earth, Ultima Online or other games of the type you can’t expect them to tell you what to do. Sure FE’s tutorial does a decent job of getting you read to move around and figure out what you MIGHT want to do, but that’s where the handholding stops.

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