Fine, SWTOR, I forgive you

March 10, 2016 1 comment

My friend Tom who just moved to Canada has been asking me questions about SWTOR since he has gotten back into it recently. I dropped my sub a few months back, so I haven’t been playing much at all. With the warzone coming out soon, I’ve been excited, so I decided to transfer a character to his server and see what’s up.

While cleaning out the mail of my Guardian, I grabbed a Cantina box from a code I had received on Reddit, and I decided to open it really fast.

Lo and behold, it sat there in my inventory, staring at me like a golden ticket to a chocolate factory. Read more…

TSW, I think I’m in love with you

February 11, 2016 Comments off

Geldarr-2016-02-11-14-05-28

Please tell me if you love me back. Check yes or no.

Yes ▢
No ▢
Maybe ▢

Okay, so I’ve made the rounds through the MMOs. In the last few months, I’ve played Wildstar, WoW, Firefall, Marvel Heroes, GW2, and SWTOR. Finally, I’ve looped back around to The Secret World. They just released their new membership with new and improved stuff.

The last time I quit TSW, it was because my computer would lock up to where I had to hard-reboot it about every 15 minutes.

The thing is, I still keep coming back. Despite the issues I have with it hardware-wise, I frickin’ love this game! Read more…

How long have I been playing MMO’s again?

January 24, 2016 Comments off

Questgiver PC

I’ve been playing MMO’s for 12 years now. I guess that answered the question in the title. You can leave now. Or you can stay to see why I feel like a noob.

Pets in WoW don’t act like Companions in SWTOR do. They don’t just hitch for a second and then teleport to your side if you jump down a cliff. Pets in WoW take the scenic route, scouring what seems like the ENTIRE DUNGEON pulling every conceivable mob, running up to their oblivious master, and plopping them at your feet like a happy golden retriever puppy with a dead bird.

Proud.

Sad.

Because their master dies.

Since I’ve spent most of my time leveling up either in Battlegrounds or in dungeons, I learned this wonderful fact pretty early on. Ever since, I’ve been careful to not pull the dungeon when jumping off a cliff.

Except for the other day. The other day I failed.

I pugged into a Blackrock Caverns at level 81, which is fun for me, since I play Hearthstone, and any references that have been made have been lost on me this whole time. So I am enjoying the references in the reverse direction from anyone else.

Halfway through the dungeon is a a drop that didn’t look like a drop because the terrain made it look like a ramp. Before I could do anything, my pet had gone off in the other direction, pulling a group just as the tank pulled the next boss. It didn’t end well.

Then, not 10 minutes later, I swing a bit wide in the same stupid dungeon, just not paying attention, and I face-pull another group. I’m surprised I didn’t get kicked right then and there. Could have been my profuse apologies. Or my begging for forgiveness. Or maybe they could sense how embarrassed I was.

Oh yeah, and I move a lot even when I do dungeons, because it is a twitchy habit I learned from PvPing. This caused me to die to a debuff that did more damage the more I moved. Lovely.

Looking like a noob aside, I really don’t like dying. I had to be rezzed three times. That is almost more than I’ve been rezzed in the entire time I’ve done dungeons in WoW put together. I think the tally before then was five times total.

Did I mention I was embarrassed?

So yeah, even though I feel like a old, wizened pro at this point, sometimes you can still have bad days and off moments.

What about you? Have you had any facepalm moments that made you question your noobiness? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below!

Death to the leveling game!

August 15, 2015 3 comments

I can’t even begin to describe how sick I am of leveling.

These days, I see the words “level-cap increase” and I want to run into a game dev’s office and take pliers to the number keys, so they can’t type 50, 60, 65, 70, 85, 90, or 100 ever again.

Then they’ll actually have to use creativity to come up with alternate progression schemes instead of relying on the same tired trope from D&D of using a number in an RP game to signify skill.

In fact, just get rid of levels altogether. Stop arbitrarily shutting off huge sections of the world to beginning players.

There aren’t many games besides SWTOR that do “leveling” well. Seriously, if you play SWTOR, you advance through a story that rivals the original trilogy at points for “Star Wars-ness.” Not all of it is that good, but a huge majority of players will agree with me that the story that Bioware crafted is truly a cinematic experience, and a good one at that.

Most other games I have played have levels there to keep you from burning out on raiding. Thanks, WoW, for making raiding so stupidly popular that I have to wade through 50 levels of crap in a new game to become viable in PvP and earn PvP gear.

I also hate gear, but that is a separate issue altogether.

In some games, the leveling experience is excruciatingly slow. In Wildstar, I couldn’t do it a second time. I honestly couldn’t. I had my level 50 that took about a month to level, and it was boring as all-get-out. The story was good in most places, but the story experiences were far to short to savor. They were punctuation marks on the long drawn-out paragraphs of “kill 30 of these rat-things” and “collect 15 of this thingamagummy” (and no, I am not kidding on those numbers). With far too little xp coming from PvP, and only two PvP battlegrounds at launch, it was a brutal and long climb.

In some games, I don’t really notice the leveling curve. Guild Wars 2 has a nice smooth curve that is more like a line, because it doesn’t really take longer to level from 79-80 than it does to go from 15-16. The first 10 are fast, but that is to be expected. The main reason why I don’t notice the leveling curve is because the PvP game opens up at level 2 and is gear-less. I love being able to jump in right away and start fighting other players.

Star Trek Online doesn’t have a large leveling curve until level 50, but it does a pretty effective job of hiding the levels behind secondary progression systems. The main “level” you see is your rank, and that increases every ten levels until level 40 (when it is every 5 levels after that). Not only that, but the secondary progression system of your Duty Officers gives a ton of XP, so much so that I didn’t even mean to level my engineer from 45 to 52; it just sort of happened.

Another thing that both Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online do effectively as well is having horizontal progression systems in place at level cap (it is more of a recent thing with STO).

GW2 has a reward track system for PvP that you can earn points in to get gear and other loot. They will also be incorporating that into their profession system soon, and you will earn points towards a new specialization (kinda like a subclass), or towards gliders, or towards crafting, etc.

STO has their specialization system as well, which gives a spec point for each level past level 50 (so ten when you reach level 60), then you can earn more spec points by filling up the XP bar again and again, or by doing special events that give you more spec points. There is a cap on the power of the specialization, but there is a lot of customization that can come from it. Choices are permanent in the spec trees, but they allow you to earn all of the spec’s options, given enough time.

But regardless of how good the story and secondary systems in GW2 and STO are, they still have the same problem of locking off content until you reach a certain level. At least in the case of STO and SWTOR, it is locked off for story reasons. It doesn’t make much sense to be fighting Iconians if they haven’t attacked Qo’nos yet). It doesn’t make sense to be going against Revan in a raid if you haven’t yet released him from the Maelstrom prison. That at least makes sense.

And then you have games like Firefall that had the right idea at first (it was level-less in beta), but they blew it in primetime, because they cowed to the masses and turned it into a grindy, pointless mess. Oh yeah, and they eliminated PvP.*

I am just really happy that Crowfall and other games that are coming out soon are going to be attempting a level-less system. That is the next step in MMO evolution, in my opinion. You can’t have a good PvP game if you make people PvE the whole time to stay relevant, which is essentially what leveling is. Bring me your tired, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free and enjoy their content without arbitrary gates, and I will point them in the direction of upcoming PvP content that will satisfy their bloodlust.

 

*Firefall is finally going to be bringing back arena-based PvP under the watchful eye of the awesome Kevin Lee (formerly of Carbine studios and Wildstar). Also, I will be resuming playing Firefall when this does happen.

 

20 innovative things about Crowfall

August 14, 2015 7 comments

crowfall

Crowfall is an amazing new MMO that is the works (due to launch sometime late 2016-early 2017). This is definitely an MMO to keep your eye on, especially if you are like me, and you like intense PvP, character creation, meaningful choices and consequences, and bragging rights.

My goal today is to write up some of the reasons I think Crowfall is going to be awesome, that way:

  1. People who follow my blog can become aware of the game if they aren’t already.
  2. People can share this with their friends to get them interested.
  3. I can get this out of my system, because I am addicted to Crowfall news.

Here are 20 things about Crowfall that I think make it different and new when compared to the current MMO scenery. Read more…