The Secret World Beta Weekend

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Blog, Featured, Guides, The Secret World | 0 comments

I went into this beta weekend for “The Secret World” expecting to collect some material about the mechanics of the game. Last time I played I hadn’t touched tradeskills and didn’t pay to much attention to combat and or skills in general, either. Guess what? I didn’t get around to gather more facts. Instead I solved puzzles, listened to voice overs and pushed dialog buttons to take in more and more of the great story this game is telling their players.
Savage Coast

Competing secret societies are meddling in the world’s affairs, fighting each other and common enemies. Powerful mega corporations and powerless and corrupt political organisations are players as well. It’s never really clear if you fight paranormal activities or you are looking at failed experiments of the other involved parties. It isn’t clear if the experiments have failed, either. Chaos is introduced, just to learn how the system reacts. Every conspiracy theory is true, the water supply has been messed with, and they are ready to attach a tracking device to your spine anytime.

That’s what differentiates this game from all other MMO’s. The setting is unique and the story is unique. Do not approach it as a hack and slash game, don’t ask about the endgame. Sit back and enjoy the show, push that dialogue button again a few more times and pay attention. Take copious notes. You may need that information, or it hides yet another conspiracy.

There are more differences to other MMORPG’s. The game doesn’t have any classes nor levels. Only skills and abilities. These will improve over time and more abilities can be added. Your class is determined by the abilities you choose. Of interest is the fact that you are allowed to put only 7 active and 7 passive abilities into your hotbars. Skill levels replace classic levels, but with much more granularity, since those levels exist for almost ever type of equipment, weapons, talismans, belts and rings.

Other reviewers have complained about the quality of combat. I didn’t pay much attention, I just played. There is PVP, but I haven’t checked it myself. I’m just not interested in it. I still need to explore tradeskills. The basic mechanics are there, but what you can do with the items you collect isn’t fully clear, yet.

There will be another beta weekend starting this Friday, lets find out if I’ll collect more facts about the game or get lost in the content.


© Disclaimer: The Secret World
"The Secret World" is a registered trademark of Funcom GmbH. All logos, images and names are intellectual properties of Funcom GmBH unless otherwise noted. This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Funcom GmbH.


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Welcome to Kingsmouth

Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Featured, The Secret World | 0 comments

Welcome to Kingsmouth, Solomon Island.
Where SUMMER RECREATION is written in all capital letters. Come and join me for a quick tour through town.
Welcome Sign, Kingsmouth, The Secret World

 

Lets go down to the harbor, busy for fishermen and tourists alike.

Kingsmouth Harbor, Solomon Island, The Secret World

 

Learn of our local mining history at the museum.
Kingsmouth Mining Museum, The Secret World

 

Lets stop for a meal or for a quick coffee at Susie’s Diner.
Susie's Diner, Kingsmouth, Harbor, The Secret World

 

Visit the historical residence of the Priest family.

Historical Priest Home, Kingsmouth, The Secret World

 

Main Street invites for arts & crafts shopping.

Main Street Shopping, Kingsmouth, The Secret World

 

Visit the local Sheriff’s station for advice how to deal with the zombie population.

Sheriff's Station, Kingsmouth, The Secret World
I had fun playing this weekend’s “The Secret World” open beta. I didn’t really follow the game until recently some fellow blogger mentioned it. Also, my Twitter feed was full of beta anticipation since at least Wednesday. Here are just a few impressions from playing the game for a few hours.

The game did surprise me with its looks, with great background music and a beautiful user interface. Strangely enough I was impressed by the splash screens, which start out black and white and slowly add color. A simple effect, easy to implement, but a nice impact for me.

It also helps that one of the first voice actors I meet in the game is Catherine Taber, well known as Vette from SWTOR. Which makes me wonder, how much value and recognition voice actors will add to MMO’s in the future. The first set of quests led me to Kingsmouth, on an island off the New England coast. As you can see in my picture tour, it’s wonderfully set, recreating the Eastern seaboard feeling.

The game mechanics promise to be interesting, since the game doesn’t have player levels, only skills. The consequences of this aren’t fully visible, since the beta players didn’t get to far into the game.  There are plenty of quests, classified as story line missions, action missions, investigation missions and some more. During the quests you will discover various puzzles, finding a path through a maze of lightning fields, finding hidden switches, etc, etc.

One other thing is worth mentioning. The area doesn’t seem crowded, despite the claim of 1 million beta signups. There wasn’t any server selection during character creation and there wasn’t any visible division of zones into multiple instances. I’ll see if I can find out more about it next beta.

Of course, this being beta, there were bugs, we’ll have to see how agile (there’s a pun somewhere) the development team is in fixing them. But in general I was surprised finding such a nice game. However, I am not really a fan of horror settings or events in the present. But this game might convince me.


© Disclaimer: The Secret World
"The Secret World" is a registered trademark of Funcom GmbH. All logos, images and names are intellectual properties of Funcom GmBH unless otherwise noted. This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Funcom GmbH.


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Shooting Yourself in the Foot with Dual Pistols

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

My Guildwars 2 beta weekend wasn’t much fun, because I was distracted by troubles with my blog. When I wrote my first post on Saturday morning, I noticed that there weren’t any ads visible. The Google Adsense console also showed that they hadn’t served any since the day before, but Google Analytics showed normal site traffic. Strange. Two other websites I am working on didn’t display any ads, either. Fearing the worst, I expected an email telling me that my Adsense account had been disabled, but that hasn’t happened as of the time of this post. I created a trouble ticket with Google hoping to get some help there.

Things like this can mess up my weekend. I ended up checking my email for answers from Google frequently. And every time I checked my email, I looked for other ways to fix the problem or reasons why the account should have been blocked.

This continued until today and will probably last a while longer. However, I have one scenario which is most likely: The Adsense policy clearly states that your site has to be squeaky clean in regards to content. No adult content, no hate speech, no drugs, tobacco or alcohol. In short, everything an advertiser wouldn’t want to be associated with.

So what’s wrong with an MMORPG blog? Nothing. It’s completely acceptable. Except when you write an article about Hardcore gaming. And use that word frequently in your article. And it is used in the comment section as well. Add a link to a blog who’s got the offending word in its title. And use that word in your post title, the tags and meta tags and -descriptions. Meta tags and -descriptions is text that’s visible to  Google and other search engines to make it easier for their bots to analyze your content. And I just told them I have content on that page they don’t like.

I should have written that article about guns in MMO’s. Guns in general, and perhaps dual pistols in particular. But no, I have to shoot in my own foot.

I’ve taken down the post in question, hoping the problem goes away. Perhaps there will be an acceptable way to repost. But just to be clear, I haven’t gotten any communication from Google if my troubles are caused by this single article. But I have some more indicators pointing in this direction. Until then, there are backup ads from another provider. Plus a single Adsense ad below the blog roll, which is currently not being served.



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OCD? Don’t Play Guildwars 2

Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in Guildwars 2, World of Warcraft | 3 comments

Is that bag to the left making you nervous? Do you think something is odd about it? Do you you consider 22 an odd number? Have you ever scaled back to 20 slots because you just couldn’t stand having them in your inventory?

Does it make you nervous that we are talking about bag size? Maybe it helps if I come out of the closet and admit to my sins. I haven’t downgraded to 20 slots, but I have been annoyed by the number of bag slots since I saw my first 10 slot bag. For the 6 slot bags, the availability of slots far outweighed my OCD impulses. Besides, the pain didn’t last to long, since you could upgrade them with relative ease. Eight and 12 slots made me happy, but I used 14 slots for way to long.

And here comes trouble. Guildwars 2 has a main bag with 20 slots and allows for 4 more bags. The first ones you can loot or buy from a vendor are 4 slot bags. Except… If you get “lucky”, this will happen to you. When I picked it up, I saw the 5 slots in the tool tip. “Woohoo !” And then I put it in the inventory. I told my wive that ArenaNet will make a lot of players very unhappy with 5 slot bags. How dare they? They are programmers and geeks ! They ought to have the same problems and preferences as their players. Perhaps they can blame it on somebody from marketing.

And then I’ll find a 7 slot bag. Somebody please tell me I can resize the bag window.

 

(Edit) That’s what I am left with, if I untick “bags”. Still hurts.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© Disclaimer: World of Warcraft

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Barfight

Posted by on Apr 28, 2012 in Guildwars 2 | 0 comments

It took me a while to get playing, since I had graphics trouble. I could get into the game right after character creation, but my screen was mostly black, green or blue. Playing around with the settings would fix it for a while. However, there were still spots in the human starting area where the problem reappeared. Eventually I found a forum post telling me that the graphic card should be set to allow the application to set anti-aliasing parameters, something not to many gaming apps actually do. I may have some collisions with other games eventually. I didn’t get access to the forum posts right away, since those were lagging out as well. Since I played in the closed beta, I had to keep my old server, named “Borli’s Pass”

As for actual play, I created a Charr thief, but I just don’t like that race. On top of it, things were chaotic and laggy, which made me create a human thief named Shamble. The lag in the human starter area wasn’t less than the lag on the Charr side, but the area quests were a bit more straight forward. I got to level 4 quickly, somewhat annoyed by my own overblown heroism in the cut scenes, but everything else seems okay. I made it into town, to meet up with my old friend Petra who’s a server in her dad’s tavern. And got promptly into a scripted barfight. Smack a few ruffians around, make a few more surrender and finally duel their boss. And way to late I find those bottles standing around in the tavern, ready to be picked up:

Once you pick up the bottle, the action bar changes and gives you 3 options: Bash, drink or throw. This is possible with many other items you find throughout the game world. I’ve found a garden hoe and a shovel on one of the farms and they could be used as improvised weapons. The Charr players will have to pick up mortar shells and some mini games use this feature to grab fish to feed a bear or to pick up some bags and defend them against attack rabbits. Weapons you find in game are treated with a slight difference: the 3 options aren’t available immediately. They have to be trained by using the weapon.

I am having fun despite the lag and random guild invite spam. And now I am off to play some more.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


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Guildwars 2 Beta Signup Twitter Storm

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Guildwars 2, News | 1 comment

Only 3 hours left to signup for Guildwars 2 beta. A small twitter storm has broken out with people and @Guildwars2 tweeting and retweeting beta notices in all languages from Latvian to Klingon. It leaves me wondering if this is going to be the biggest beta flood in MMO history. SWTOR and Rift seemed more stretched out over time. And I don’t recall to much about the WOW beta signup phase.

In any case, this game is highly anticipated, lots has been written about it already and hopefully we get to see more of it soon.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


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