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 1/1/11 — Happy New Year edition

We’re way behind on our latest project at work, so I’ spent most of Friday working. I did take a break, though, to log on and participate in the final Beta 3 invasion event this afternoon. I’d spent all night (until 4:30AM) leveling my cleric from 12 to 20, and though I didn’t get a chance to visit the Iron Tombs, I did want to help keep Freemarch free. I’d leveled from 16 to 18 in a raid group at one of Thursday’s invasions. That also earned me nearly enough planar currency to get some nice epic items. I logged on, joined in, and earned enough to get some “purple” leggings. Good stuff.

While waiting for the servers to get turned off, I ported over to the Guardian lands and tried to invade the scholar’s grove. Those places are MADE for PvP — as you near an enemy stronghold, the familiar rift/public quest panel gets added to your quest display, and you get a nice list of goals that need to be met in order to capture the area. First, kill the guards. Then destroy the wardstone. All the while fending off the enemy players, who are being summoned to the area by broadcast warnings.

I could post a lot more about Rift — lots of people are. It’s all a reminder of the similar enthusiasm around Warhammer and Age of Conan etc, where the betas were incredibly fun and everyone was stoked. When the games went live, the laid back beta fun turned into laser-sharp focused achievements and min-maxing.

Will this happen to Rift? Of course it will.

Anyway, let’s see what’s on the collective blog-consciousness, this start of a new year.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/1/11 — Happy New Year edition

Daily Blogroll 6/24 — I Love Allergies edition

Nashuya in Aion

Yes, we’re back to the Daily Blogroll. Another allergy attack has left me asleep by 9PM, which really shortens the nights for me.

Is Aion too derivative to be successful? Tobold thinks so. In fact he wonders why people would pay full price (US$15/month) for a WoW-like like Aion when they can get the real thing for the same price, or a free WoW-like in Runes of Magic. He also doesn’t hold out much hope for Fallen Earth, calling it too much like failed MMO Tabula Rasa “just working less well, being less fun, and having less good graphics”. So that’s that.

Being a WoW-like doesn’t look like it will keep many away from Aion. Spinks thinks the beauty of the game, the storytelling and the PvP (as well as the third dimension with flight) will bring people in. Caliga of MMO Gamers has the rundown of the extra stuff you can expect in the collector’s edition, as well as an automatic pass into the beta.

Speaking of new games, Hudson has the latest round-up of the news Cryptic has been leaking about the state of Champions Online, due to be released September, same as Aion.

Having played both betas, I would go with Aion if forced to choose, but the Champions NDA prevents me from saying just why.

Syncaine at Hardcore Casual looks at Blizzard’s limiting of the formerly-open Wintergrasp PvP zone to 100v100 with some measure of skepticism based on other games (like Warhammer, Dark Age of Camelot, EVE Online, Darkfall and others) being able to handle much larger fights. Tobold uses some bad math to make the case for it being a strain on resources to keep it unlimited. (In a client-server architecture, resource use increase linearly, not geometrically).

Blizzard is using WoW as a money machine to support development on other upcoming titles. As long as the WoW ATM keeps spitting out million dollar bills, everything is FINE and it’s easier to limit players than add more resources.

The best thing about WoW, if you’re Blizzard, is that you can’t beat players away with a STICK, as Zubon Ethic found when he tried to sign back up. No matter how many roadblocks Blizzard threw in his way, no matter how much it cost him to do it, he was gonna play WoW again, dammit.

Lastly, if you’re not a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies, I can only guess you’ve never seen any of them. To even start with why I love them would take a thousand words, so I won’t say more than: The very first anime I ever saw was Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind”. A friend sat me down and made me watch it, and he had a weird smile on his face. It was in Japanese, I didn’t understand a word of it, nor what was going on, but even just with the pictures and Jo Hisaishi’s amazing music to go on, I was blown away. When I later saw it dubbed in English, I was blown away yet again because the plot was just as amazing as the visuals.

For the past decade or so, Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli has had a deal with Disney where they would bring Miyazaki’s films to the US dubbed in English by major voice talents, uncut and unrearranged, exactly as how they were released in Japan, except in English. Since then, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle have had astonishingly wonderful US theatrical releases, and this summer comes his latest masterpiece, Ponyo, about a goldfish who makes a wish to be human — with disastrous consequences.

See it, you’ll love it.

Daily Blogroll 5/15 — Endelig Fredag edition

Clan of the Dire Bear needs you! http://a-dire-bear.mybrute.com

I was thinking this morning about Norman Spinrad’s “Bug Jack Barron”, where a treatment can make you immortal, but a child has to die (this btw is a massive spoiler if you have not read the book). In MMOs, we are immortal, but at some point we’ve done everything or it just gets boring and we move on to the next game. If we had immortality in our real lives, how long would we live before we were just desperate to have it end so we could move on?

Anjin at Bullet Points closes out the raging argument on what the best balance is between solo and group content with his list of the pros and cons of soloing. His conclusion? If you don’t like your game’s balance — leave.

Syp of Bio Break looks at the breakaway success of F2P MMO Runes of Magic, and wonders if dead games of the past could have been saved if they’d gone free. He cites Tabula Rasa as a game that might have been saved if they’d gone free, but I wonder. Going free hasn’t made Anarchy Online popular, and Shadowbane stayed niche even after it discarded the subscription model.

Prolific blogger he, he muses about Lord of the Rings Online’s possible future as a console game, deciding it can never happen, and here’s why. I disagree; the game they were talking about would clearly be a far different game from the one we know on the PC.

Okay, here’s a delicate matter. I consider Ogrebear a friend, though we’ve never met. I’ve been a big fan of his blog for years but… well, you know, the spelling. Not the best. But I have to give him props for Taking Steps. WTG Ogre :) And looking forward to EQ2 street view!

Openedge (how we miss the Communist Manifesto days!) was nodding his head in time to the beat of an article that was calling SOE’s new MMO Free Realms an overwhelming assault on the senses, but the song in his heart halted when he turned to the comments and read Ixobelle calling Age of Conan ugly. Ugly? NOBODY calls AoC “ugly” around the Edge! OPENEDGE1 SMASH!

Beau, recently returned to Vanguard, stands on the edge of a snowy vista and declares that THIS is how you get money from his wallet — give him a world to explore, a life to live, the sense of immersion that few games do well. I’m right there with you. Well, not in Vanguard. Not yet, anyway.

Tobold doesn’t expect Star Trek Online to come out before 2011, but Massively has news about a contest that nets you a STO beta key, when’s the real date? Best fan guess is spring 2010… and that sounds about right (would like it this year, though).

Copra hates it when people only comment on his posts when they are negative toward WoW, and not on the ones where he’s bullish on the game, so I won’t link to this one where he talks about signs that WoW is dying.

And lastly, Green Armadillo, given the corporate need MMOs have to simultaneously nullify the accomplishments of the previous expansion when introducing a new one, but also give benefits to lapsed players to catch them up quickly, wonders if it just makes sense to skip every other expansion to get both the benefits of a hand up and a debugged game?