Posted tagged ‘Massively Multiplayer’

Rift Beta–Stuff I Didn’t Like Edition

January 2, 2011

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The best looking humans in any MMO I’ve played.

So here we are, my second rundown of the Rift beta 3, and this time it’s all about things I didn’t like, or things that worry me because I don’t know anything about them. Here we go.

The Bad:

Kill stealing. Rift takes mob tagging back to the basics. The person or group with the most damage on a monster when it dies gets to loot it/get xp. I’ve never liked this type of loot system because it can lead to some serious griefing. Imagine going around questing, and instead of someone corpse camping you they just follow you and anything you attack they one shot, preventing you from getting XP or loot. There are a few reasons I can think of to have a system like this, such as rare boss spawns like in Final Fantasy XI, where guilds would camp these open world spots for hours or days hoping to get some rare loot. Can you imagine having one asshole tag it before you can? Oh I’d be pissed off. Is Rift going to be a open world, non-instance dungeon game? I hope not, but I’d be able to deal with it.

1, 2, 3 combat. I’m generally OK with this style of combat, so it’s not exactly a massive negative. On the other hand would I have liked to see something new? Perhaps, but it might have gotten old after a while, and it might be a blessing in disguise that Rift went with something familiar. Then again this will drive off a lot of people who seem to be in a rage over this system, so there’s that.

You’ll need a high end computer if you want to run it on max. Trust me, it looks unbelievable on maximum settings, but you’re probably going to need to upgrade your “WoW Killing Machine” if you want to see all the pretty pretty lights. Is this a negative? For some. In fact, until I upgrade my graphics card it’s a pretty sad negative for me. Hopefully I’ll upgrade when I buy the game, and really get to enjoy the amazing graphics this game is capable of.

The soul system for classes could get REALLY confusing. How so? Well first of all you have the ability to pick three classes, and then you must split your talent points between these three trees. Is it best to pump them into one tree like in WoW? That kinda kills the customization of choosing your second and third soul. So what’s going to make a good spec? More importantly, what is going to gimp the shit out of your character? How many people will quit halfway to endgame because every fight is SO DAMNED HARD, when it’s only because they’ve severely gimped their character. Add to this the fact that PVP is going to be insane. Imagine only seeing one of four classes when you attack someone. Now imagine that this means they are any one of hundreds or thousands of combinations/specs that could completely change the way you need to go about attacking them. This could be fun at first, but if it means you’re never going to be able to have high level strategy against enemies because you never know what the hell you’ll be facing, well that could seriously hurt the game.

This part isn’t really the developers fault, but I eventually had to leave general chat because it was almost as bad as WoW’s Trade chat. People spent hours slinging racial slurs, making foul ass comments or just bashing the game for being an MMORPG (How DARE they include 1,2,3 combat! And leveling! who wants leveling? Or stats? It’s all recycled!).

The Nervous:

What is the focus of Rift’s end game? Is it itemization ala WoW? Dungeons and raids? PVP? At this point I really don’t know, and if it is PvP then will the massive amount of classes and spells cause more frustration that fun, ala end game Warhammer or Aion?

What about late game? All I’ve seen so far is level 20 and below. Will the great quests crap out halfway through like Age of Conan? Will there even be ANY end game content? Will we be forced to grind for weeks to get the last few levels?

There are only two starting areas. This is seriously going to be a problem for alt-aholics like myself. Sure, it may be great the first or second time, but I’d be willing to bet that by the 20th time I’ve gone through the level 1-10 quests I’ll be giving up any idea of rolling a new character. At least games like WoW, Warhammer and Everquest II give us plenty of starting areas to explore. Sadly, no matter what race you pick, you’ve only got the one starting area per faction. I’m sure they did it this way so that they could make it as fun and polished as possible, sacrificing options for polish, which is acceptable for now. Let’s hope the first expansion adds some new starting areas for us level loving alt-aholics.

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The game does have a sense of humor. I got this squirrel tear for slaughtering an innocent level 1 critter, as I am want to do. This made me smile.

Well that’s my list of things that either worry me about Rift, or are downright crap. Let’s be clear here though, nothing on this list even makes me think about NOT buying Rift. I went from not even kind of excited or interested in Rift to blown away and eager to experience more in just a very short week. Stay tuned for more information on the game as I (hopefully) get accepted into further betas, and after the game comes out. Did I touch on the things you disliked about the beta? Did I miss something or flatout get something wrong? Let me know in the comments.

Rift Beta

January 1, 2011

I managed to sneak into the 3rd Beta event for Rift. Sadly my wife, who I always duo with in games, didn’t get accepted. Still, below is my take on the Rift Beta.

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Between me and my wife we quickly filled up all six character slots.

What I Liked:

The first thing you’re going to notice is going to be the graphics. If you have a rig capable of running this bad boy with all the bells and whistles it’s a truly beautiful game. Far better than the now aging Age of Conan, and almost into the realm of single player RPG graphics ala Dragon Age on PC (I hear on consoles it wasn’t as nice looking). Screen shots don’t do it justice either. Until you see the plane of fire open up with tentacles of flame the sear into the ground, slowly spreading and charring everything in it’s path while it spews forth fire monsters, well you can’t really appreciate the beauty of it.

The classes are amazing. You have four archetypes to choose from, but this isn’t one of those shitty games where you start out as a generic mage and have to work your way to level 10 in order to finally not suck. No, once you’ve logged in as either a Warrior, Mage, Cleric or Rogue you’ll be given a quest to go collect your first soul. Souls are the classes, as you’re taking the souls of fallen warriors to fuel your own power. Anyway, you can then choose one of six classes from inside your archetype. That’s a total of 24 classes, but seeing as how you will be getting other souls, for a total of three at a time, you have a near limitless number of classes to choose from. Want to be a dual wielding melee warrior with a pet and the ability to creates spears of fire, stone or wind to hurl at your enemies as you close the gap, only to ignite your swords with fire as you tear through the enemy, perhaps using your pet for added dps or to keep another enemy busy? Well, you can do that. I haven’t been this excited about class selection since Vanguard, which had the classes right but not much else.

Looting. There’s not much you can do to make looting better, but Trion has managed to improve this very basic interaction. How so? Well imagine you’ve just gone to a lowbie area, or maybe you grabbed far to many mobs and just barely managed to take them all out. You loot your first body and you will get all of the loot from all of YOUR KILLS within a certain radius. This is called AOE looting and it is a simple change, but MUCH appreciated. This can also be turned off, for those who want an old school, slowly picking through the bodies of the fallen approach. +Rep for giving us choices!

Crafting is another thing I really enjoyed. Sure it may be very similar to games you’ve already played, but again Rift just does it a little better. Imagine you get to your first town and decide you want a profession. Perhaps you decide, being a mage, to go tailor. A couple of silver later and you’re a tailor. The first thing you’ll notice is that all of the things you can make are green, useful, and probably better than what you are wearing. This seemed to be true throughout my leveling experience in Rift, and it’s a welcome change. Add to that the fact that you can create shoulders VERY early on, and I am in love. Of course, Trion wouldn’t stop there, you see they also gave you the ability to break down armor you’ve made or gotten from quests. This isn’t like disenchanting either, that is a separate profession. Lets say you break down a low level robe. You might come away with some gray frayed twine and a couple of burlap cloth. In some cases I managed to get back all of the cloth I had used to create an item. Of course sometimes you don’t get any back. This ability to reuse items, to grind for skill ups, then tear those works down and use the pieces to get even more skill ups, has me revving my engine for more Rift.

The combat is one of the most important aspect of most games, and as long as you like the traditional 1,2,3 MMO style combat you’re going to love Rift’s system. It doesn’t stray far from tradition, and others have put it down for that. To them I say that this game is a lot like Super Meat Boy. The controls may be the same old tired run and jump we’ve seen in every platformer ever, but by perfecting them and taking it to that ‘sweet spot’ both Team Meat and Trion have managed to make it feel fresh and fun again. The spell effect are stunningly gorgeous, the attack animations are fluid and devestating, and the pacing is right on the money. It’s not as fast as WoW’s combat, and not quite as slow as Warhammers, but it manages to make me feel like a badass each and every fight. Will that wear off? Perhaps on my fifth alt, but that happens with every game.

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You start off looking cool. In many games you’ll start off looking either horrendous or somewhat ok, but you quickly progress to looking like a clown for the rest of your leveling experience. In Rift I found that no matter what piece of armor I got it may look different, but it still matched the overall scheme. This allowed my character to get even cooler looking, while never looking like a complete tool. It’s not as drastic as Warhammer’s ‘new look every 10 levels’, and it’s better off for it.

The quests, while not as cinematic as WoW’s new lowbie experience, are contained. You’ll get four or five quests for an area and you’ll clean that area out before heading back and moving on to the next. If you’re the type of person who reads through new quests the first time, you’ll also be treated to a very interesting, tightly woven story that gives a good reason to be doing what you’re doing, at least in the lower levels. If you fear that this means you won’t be exploring or seeing anything new, then you haven’t experienced the Rifts.

Rifts are basically Warhammer’s Public Quests, but done right. Instead of a long, slow fight in a static location that yields a set reward which, after receiving you never go back to, in Rift you’ll open your map to see where you’re going and see a rift off in the distance. As you close Rifts you get ‘currency’ to buy good equipment and buff items, so you’ll drop what you’re doing and haul ass right through whatever’s in your way to reach the rift in time. This means you’ll actually be exploring areas of the map that may or may not have quests associated with them. Rifts are pretty fast events, ranging from three to six stages from what I saw. You’ll quickly burn through them and it didn’t seem to take many people to utterly decimate the rifts when they appeared, giving me hope for early level rifts late in the games life cycle once most people have reached level cap.

That’s it for this post as it’s getting kind of long. There are plenty more things I loved about Rift, but next post will concentrate on the things I didn’t like, or am worried about.

Confessions of an EVE Noob

June 30, 2010

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I haven’t put too much time into EVE yet. According to Raptr it’s only been 5 hours, so I’m not going to comment on my overall view of the game obviously. I am however going to mention a few things that I like, and a few things that I dislike.

First off the game is as beautiful as ever, though I’m not sure whether I like the graphics of EVE or Star Trek Online better. Obviously I love the SIZE of the EVE space compared to STO and it’s instanced bits, though I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune when I have a four hour flight sometime down the line.

I like that they have a tutorial now (the last time I played, shortly after it came out, it didn’t). I’d prefer it if the tutorial were scripted and instanced, just so I they could make sure everything happened as it should, and the tutorial could react to unexpected things, like losing your ship on the third military career mission. I was left sitting there wondering what to do. Do I fly back to the base? Can I come back for my stuff? I figured it out, but it would have been nice for the game to tell me.

The reason I died, and a major problem with my own way of thinking, was that I was too close to my enemies. I knew guns in EVE had optimal ranges, so I checked them out. ~15km for my guns. I figured that meant that 15km was good, and anything closer was better, like a handgun. That is not the case though. Apparently when they say 15km for optimal range, you better be at 15km or as close to that as you can get! Once I found this out and bought a ship upgrade I was nearly unstoppable for the rest of the military career tutorial.

The music is another thing I wanted to mention. I don’t normally notice music in games, and I don’t normally like anything techno-ish. That said, I LOVE the EVE Online combat music. As soon as I warped into an area I needed to clear of pirates the music kicked on and I was blasted with music that got my heart pumping, even if the actual action wasn’t all that fast paced or exciting.

I’ve applied to EVE University, but apparently the interview que is 7-10 days, so it’s going to be a while before I can comment on that. In the meantime I plan to finish the tutorials, figure out EVEMon, and figure out what I need to do to eventually fly something that shoots out drones or fighter jets or something like that. I want to look like an ant hill just exploded when I attack something.

For race I picked the Amarr, simply because they seemed the coolest. Their crazy strict society and willingness to make everyone their slaves appealed to me, even if in game I’ll probably just be avoiding fights and running for a long time.

Fallen Earth Cash Shop

June 11, 2010

Fallen Earth unveiled its new Cash Shop. Right now there are only two in game items to buy, and the prices really aren’t too bad. Nothing like a $25 mount, yet anyway.

The first item up for sale is a $10 companion pet. He’s purely non-combat, just like the current in game dog pet, but he looks a bit different and can hold up to four items, making it a bag slot that can die. No bad though, I’d think about getting it if I was still playing Fallen Earth.

Sadly the second item sets a pretty bad precedent in a lot of peoples minds. The Brass Goggles are a level 7ish head item that is actual armor. It’s not just for looks, but actually useful in game. Some people are already raving about the sky falling on Fallen Earth and discussion threads are ripe with people talking about how they are selling useful in game items and how they aren’t going to resub at the next billing cycle.

That’s crap. The Brass Goggles are selling for $5 on the store. Before this they were a special item obtainable only (as far as I know) if you bought one specific copy of Beckett Massive Online Gamer Magazine. The odds that you could find a copy of that now are pretty slim. Not to mention if it was out there for purchase before, all they have done here is allow more people to purchase it.

And let us keep in mind that it’s a level 7 item. That might be useful for a few levels, but you’re really only spending $5 for the look of the item, not it’s use, because you’re going to level out of that pretty quickly. I see no problem with it. However if it IS the start of a bunch of armor and weapons being put up for sale…well let’s just hope it isn’t.

Advanced Class System…Ugh

May 14, 2010

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You have to understand that I am a pessimist. That said I will get almost every new MMO and at least give it an initial chance. With all of that out of the way I have to say that The Old Republic earned it’s first red mark for me.

Bioware announced the Advanced Class sytem, but other than this page I haven’t seen any more information. Some people, namely MMO Gamer Chick are excited about the new announcement. For me it has literally called into question whether I will enjoy the game.

Many games have tried this already, if it truly is what I fear. You will pick a class, such as “Scout”, and at level 10-ish you will be able to go the equivalent of “Ranged Ranger” or “Melee Assassin”. I hate this style of class system. That means that the first tem levels of two separate classes play exactly the same, and it seriously hinders my enjoyment of rolling alts, or even trying out a bunch of classes when I first start to see what is for me.

I really hope I am wrong here, and that it’s going to be a high level thing, but even then, unless they still play almost the exact same, or you can “respec”, then it’s going to just be dragging out the time you are exactly like another class.

I have never understand why games do this, other than running out of time and mashing together classes in the early ten levels. Ten of the most important levels to get players hooked on your game by the way.

But who knows? Maybe Bioware will surprise me and it’ll be a level 2 choice. Probably not though.

EverQuest III?

May 12, 2010

My EverQuest II character is a level 29 Coercer. I got him up to level 20 just doing the Neriak starting area quests and it flew by. There were some new things to get used to, and the Coercer was pretty hectic what with the charmed mobs turning on me, Mezes being resisted and my clothie but having nothing resembling a heal. There were some confusing things during the first twenty levels, and some really cool things that I learned.

Sadly it seems to have gone downhill from there. I am worried that perhaps it might just be better for me to wait for EverQuest III. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of things about EQII still and I would love to figure it all out. Sadly it seems like I might have come in too late. It was easier to figure out EVE and Fallen Earth, for me at least, than it is to figure out all the facets of EverQuest II.

It doesn’t help that I got two dungeon runs from guildies. They came down, mentored me so we were the same level, got a group together, took me to the dungeon and we ran through two separate dungeons multiple times each. I have no idea what the mobs looked like, or if it was cool or not. It was all just a jumble of movement and non-stop action. Imagine if your first experience with WoW dungeons was 4 level 80s, and you at level 60, and then running you through Blackrock Depths. Mobs are AOE’d quicker than I can see them, and the bosses are dropped so quickly I hardly understand WHAT TYPE of mob I am fighting.

So maybe judging the early dungeons isn’t a good idea. The problem is that those two runs, on the same day, got me nine levels. Now I’m stuck at level 29. I know I need to go to Enchanted Lands at level 30, but I am scared of that place. Why? Because I am currently in The Forest of…Nukerot? (Apparently it is Nektulos Forest) The Forest is filled with level 20-26ish mobs. I generally die once every four or five pulls to the level 20 mobs, and once every other pull to the 26-ish mobs. I’m 29! It’s not the class either, it’s my nubness. I have no idea what I’m doing. Are there attacks that don’t break CC? I don’t know. Do I need more AA? No idea. How do I go about getting AA? Got me, should I set my AA bar to 90% and grind mobs? The problem with that is that I’m dying left and right.

Did I do myself a disservice by going to those dungeons? My guess is yes, but how much of a disservice? Everytime I use an ability it says my skill in the corresponding skill has increased. I’m 60-something out of 100-something on most of my abilities. Does that effect my spells? Do I need to get the next rank/tier of my abilities? I have no idea! My charmed mobs can’t tank and die if they try, meanwhile my charms, mezes, roots etc break or are resisted all the time.

Today has been a terrible gaming day for me, so that’s not helping. Am I giving up on EverQuest II? Not just yet. I think I might try a class that isn’t quite so involved. A Berserker maybe? Or I might just go back to a Necromancer. I think I need to learn a lot more about the game before I can start having fun again, which is sad, especially since everyone else playing already knows this stuff and they don’t think so mention it when I ask for help.

Doesn’t help that my guild doesn’t talk much, or respond much, either. Ah well, I’ll keep trying. Just in a really foul mood today and it’s not being helped by my sucking it up.

An Idea for the STO Store

May 6, 2010

I don’t usually endorse in game stores for MMO’s, especially if I purchased the game for $40 or more, and am currently paying them $15 a month for the right to play the game I payed them $40 or more for. That being said the entire industry is going that way, so I might as well start working at steering it in the direction I want it to go.

With that in mind I had an idea while I was laying in bed this morning. It was partly because I read a bunch of Star Trek Online related blogs last night before going to bed, and partly because I’m still trying to get through The Original Series. So what is this amazing idea you ask? It’s simple, as anything going into the store should be. They have tons of different “bridges” in the game and for sale in the store, but do they have the most important bridge in Star Trek history? No they do not. What is this bridge you ask?

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The destroyed bridge bridge. I want bodies strewn everywhere, lights flashing, NPC’s using medical tricorders on my Bridge Officers. I want the ship the shake every few minutes and send people flying, only to land on the floor and have medics come running up to them and check on them. I want debris and rubble to be strewn around the bridge!

Just a small idea I had, what do you think?

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