Daily Blogroll 1/27 — Inevitable Backlash edition

Yeah, I’ve been MIA for a couple weeks now. Work time is creeping into home time. It’s so cold when I get home that I find myself cuddling up with blankets and a cat on the couch, watching Netflix (tonight: the Canadian comedy “Slings & Arrows“, season 1). I’m not wild about this “winter” thing in general. I haven’t been able to get on the bicycle for a few weeks now, and it’s really making me antsy.

Anyway, Rift beta 5 is underway. I logged in last night and made a warrior on the Belmont server and met my guild, Black Company. Played up through level 9, got caught up in some rift fights, had a little fun, but you know… I’m losing enthusiasm for the game.

Does that sound bad? I vowed to play Rift up to the level cap in the company of a guild and see all there was to see. Shouldn’t I be really excited?

I was really excited when it was me discovering a world of mystery. I was pretty damn pleased to try out different souls and make my own unique class. I was jumping for joy when I realized one didn’t need to grind quests with the rifts opening everywhere, just handing out adventure and experience.

But now, you can get a dozen decent build suggestions everywhere you look. There are guides for all the dungeons, all the quests, all the warfronts. By the time the game ships, the game will be completely known and over-examined. It will be SPOILED.

I’m still going to play Rift, and enjoy it. I just see that it’s going to become the same damn thing as with WoW, where my refusal to learn anything about the game other than what I discover for myself makes me look like a raw clueless newbie to everyone unfortunate enough to group with me. I really hate that feeling.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/27 — Inevitable Backlash edition

Daily Blogroll 1/7 – Better than Life edition

If there could be a greater revolution in online gaming than Microsoft’s upcoming Avatar Kinect, I’m not really sure what it could be. Avatar Kinect uses its popular new peripheral to track your gestures, mouth movements and even your eyebrows and use this data to create a lifelike puppet of you in an online chat room. The traditional problems of the Kinect remain; your avatar won’t be spending much time walking from place to place, but it is certainly worlds better than having to clean house to have friends over.

On to the blogroll.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/7 – Better than Life edition

The Magic 8 Ball predicts the losers and winners of 2011.

I suck at predictions, but everyone else is doing them. Luckily, I have a Magic 8 Ball. I’m just gonna list some games, and ask the Magic 8 Ball what it thinks of them. Question to the 8 Ball for all of these games: Will this game have a good year in 2011?

Age of Conan: “Outlook Not So Good”. AoC released its first expansion, “Ride of the Godslayer”, last summer, and that’s pretty much the last I’ve heard of the game. I don’t think the Magic 8 Ball is correct; I think Funcom is content to support their current player base without feeling the need to go F2P. Their massively hyped launch should have helped them recoup their development costs years ago.

Aion: “Concentrate and Ask Again”. November saw Aion publish a massive revamp which added more loot to the game. December brought with it a rebalancing of the world PvP via rifts. Perhaps the Magic 8 Ball’s confusion stemmed from the game’s more Asian market?
Continue reading The Magic 8 Ball predicts the losers and winners of 2011.

Daily Blogroll 5/27 — Bump in the Night edition


Working on a first impressions piece about Mabinogi. Will keep the self-flagellation to a minimum but really, I only do it because it feels good when I stop.

On to the blogs!

Are persistent henchmen the new groups? Syp thinks they might be. Star Wars: The Old Republic will have them (echoing the party you gathered in Knights of the Old Republic). Guild Wars has their henchmen. EverQuest has their mecenaries. Star Trek Online has their bridge crew. Have MMOs truly come full circle back to their single player, you+your crew of helpers, roots? Is it truly not worth the trouble anymore to be part of a group that includes other living people?

Beau at Spouse Aggro takes a stand that we, as players, shouldn’t ever settle for the same-old, same-old. Because, American Idol is pablum and hip hop has stopped innovating in order to chase the bouncing ball of commercial success. Hey, I LIKE American Idol, and you know why? Because it’s not ABOUT the music. It’s about the journey. Not about the horse, it’s about the horse race, right? He has a point, though. If all people ever play are the popular games, all people will make is games just like them. You want something different? You have to play something different.

I would have HATED to have missed Wizard 101 just because it wasn’t like any other MMO.

Spinks has a few words of advice for raid leaders on how to keep people focused and moving. Though she’s speaking specifically of WoW, this is more or less how you had to run an EverQuest raid if you expected anything to happen (though EQ required appointing team leaders for healing, pulling, crowd control and so on that may not apply to WoW). REALLY good advice.

What if you played an MMO, not for loot and levels, but just for fun? It’s an idea that hasn’t been popular lately, with achiever-type games that urge you to progress at great speed to a legendary end game where everything you have worked for for so long is reduced to stats and parses and soul-crushing grinds. But there’s ways to put some of the fun back in achiever type games, if you work at it.

Green Armadillo is working through EverQuest II a section at a time, not letting explorations of dusty tombs or fiery lands go by just because they no longer give the best experience. And Hudson has gone all the way back to the original achiever MMO, EverQuest, to see what mysteries still lurk in the places nobody goes.

Drew Shial of The Wizard of Duke Street is loving EQII as well, especially the Timorous Deep quest lines added with the Rise of Kunark expansion. Reasons why he’s having fun? The relative LACK of explicit guidance as compared to WoW’s reliance on guides and in-game help, and the plot (and plot twists) of the Sarnak’s quest to both find themselves and preserve their way of life. I love reading these kinds of stories :)

Gordon of We Fly Spitfires is nostalgic about an old SOE game, but it’s not EQ or EQII — he’s missing the good old days of Star Wars: Galaxies. Surprised? I hear a LOT of people wax nostalgic about that game, though I could never get into it (and plus, it ran poorly on my machine, always a downer).

No matter what the game, I always hear the same things about the games people really loved: they were an integral part of a story, even if it was only a story they made up, and they shared their time with friends. Doesn’t matter what the game is. Memories are made through stories and friendships.

Caliga takes a little look at two social MMOs, Gatheryn and Blue Mars. He doesn’t like how Gatheryn looks because, well, compared to Blue Mars, everything looks a little cheap. But how much of a computer will you need to run Gatheryn vs Blue Mars? And neither game is done, Gatheryn may add optional shaders for more graphical coolness. Both games, though, are different than most games of the genre.

Blue Mars, reports Caliga, is a planet full of self-contained regions, any of which could have different rules, payment plans — anything. Second Life meets Metaplace, right?

Ooops, guess we’ve hit the end of the text box, so it must be time to get going. See you tomorrow, and no matter where you are — have fun!