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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SWTOR and I

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Blog, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 0 comments

Back in October when I got an invitation for one of the beta events for Star Wars, it was all fun and lightsabers. The game had great classes, a good story, interesting combat mechanisms, a selection of companions and it looked like a great game overall. Turns out, there were plenty of gaping holes in the game. Boring race selections, not so well thought out crew skills, a poorly implemented Galactic Trade Network. And worst of all, an inconsistent game world, with Republic and Empire sharing the same map, holding identical positions on it. The quest lines on a single planet were to long and lead you in general along a rail, without many options to stray from the path. I don’t think you have the option of just skipping a planet or a segment of your characters story.

I did play for a while together with my wife until we hit Taris on the Republic side, but her initial interest was a straw fire, and my fun was gone shortly thereafter as well. Maybe I had to wait for patch 1.2 for to long, but there is no excitement in me to wait for it.

I did unsubscribe on Sunday, but have a couple of days left to take a screenshot or two. I don’t want to start a lengthy goodbye rant, like it usually happens on the SWTOR forum. I had fun playing and I bear no ill will toward the game or the players I leave behind. It’s just not my game anymore. I will stay in contact with the SWTOR blogs around me. The people there are fun and have interesting things to say. I don’t want to give up that.

So long, SWTOR. Let me know if you want to have my stuff…


© Disclaimer: Star Wars: The Old Republic
This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with LucasArts, BioWare, or Electronic Arts.
Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008-2011 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. You may not copy any images, videos or sound clips found on this site or "deep link" to any image, video or sound clip directly.
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Learning and Leveling Curves

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Blog, Everquest, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 0 comments

I have been playing Everquest again for a few days now, and only for an hour or two at a time. It’s like a return into your home town. You know all the places, but most of it just doesn’t look right. That’s why the user interface feels so clumsy for the first few hours, but it becomes familiar again after a while. But not without wondering how much MMO interface design has evolved over time. There’s a reason everything is called a WOW clone: A good interface begs to be copied.

Something else feels awkward about the game: Myself. I’ve gotten my beastlord to level 12 and was sent to Blackburrow for some quest. Fun, fun, fun! I’ve spend a lot of time there in the past and I know the place well. However, I got myself into trouble when for some reason I had something like 6 gnolls on me, with more joining later. I had completely forgotten how aggro works in EQ, lulled into safety by some passive grey-con mobs. If I want to continue playing this game, I have to put in a good amount of time, to get these issues figured out and have them become second nature again.

All this made me think about the learning curve in MMOs. I’ve trained most of my MMO skills in Everquest. I learned about the need to pull in the Field of Bones. I learned crowd control in Solusek Ro and Karnor’s. Swarm kiting was all the rage back then, which I learned in Mayden’s Eye. In other games, different skills are required, like finding a rotation and priority lists or selecting the right companion for every occasion in SWTOR. And of course different classes require an entirely different set of training as well.

Players learn their classes as they level. Usually, the game becomes more challenging the higher the level requirements are and new techniques need to be found and deployed to master the content. All of a sudden, resistances are needed, characters have to move away from area damage, deal with a fully choreographed encounter.

In the end, the leveling process in an MMO is a big learning process as well. At the level cap, players will have learned to deal with a multitude of situations happening within a game. But now what? Is there still some challenge left? Can the endgame keep the interest of players who love to expand their skills? Or does the game stop right there, at least for some of us, it does.

 


© Disclaimer: Everquest
© Disclaimer: Star Wars: The Old Republic
This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with LucasArts, BioWare, or Electronic Arts.
Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008-2011 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. You may not copy any images, videos or sound clips found on this site or "deep link" to any image, video or sound clip directly.
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WTF, Taris?

Posted by on Mar 11, 2012 in Blog, Featured, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 0 comments

A few days ago I finally managed to get my Sith Marauder to Taris. I had some trouble at first getting oriented at the landing site, but nothing really to post about. A few initial quests yielded me some decent amounts of crystals to artifice and things looked good. Until I arrived at the “Border Assault Post”.

Damn, I’ve seen that place before. It looks just like one of the Republic outpost on Taris. And as it turns out, the whole map is identical to the Republic map. Which shouldn’t be much of a surprise, since it’s the same world and both sides are competing for this world. However, all the quest hubs are now in use by Imperials instead of the Republic and there are different mobs throughout the area. No pirates, like on the Republic side, and the Cathar and the Taris Militia are exclusive to the Empire map.

I just got quests leading me into the starship Endar Spire, but I fear the story which presents itself there will be very different from the Republic one. Just like the other quests throughout Taris. It’s not just a different point of view, the events in the stories differ. Which annoys me to no end. I’ve seen a few story elements within class quests which just didn’t fit together with other class quests. Most obvious to me is the complete absence of the Twi’lek matriarch of the Consular line within the Jedi Knight quest line. Or the differences around Nem’ro the Hutt between the Imperial Agent and the Bounty Hunter quests. Nemro’s located on the left side of his palace for IA’s and on the right side for Bounty Hunters. He’s got lieutenants for the IA where there’s just a single accountant around for BH.

This really makes me wonder, if I should head over to some SWTOR role playing sites and check out hat they have to say about the poor development of lore. In the end, it’s just another piece of the puzzle that is Bioware. I keep noticing issues where I keep thinking that they went designing the game all by themselves as a company who makes single user games, without much consultation of experts from the MMO world. They could have learned a thing or two. And somewhere down the road, when they finally notice the errors of their ways, they will have to create some very clumsy stories and explanations to make the lore between the classes and the factions consistent.


© Disclaimer: Star Wars: The Old Republic
This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with LucasArts, BioWare, or Electronic Arts.
Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008-2011 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. You may not copy any images, videos or sound clips found on this site or "deep link" to any image, video or sound clip directly.
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Returning to your MMO

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Blog, Current Games | 2 comments

There’s a little meme going around on the blogs I read: Are you returning to MMOs you have left? Do you have favorites you return to multiple times? Syp at Bio Break and Syl at Raging Monkeys have something to say about the issue.

Before I can tell you which games I am returning to, it might be helpful to know what is currently on my hard disk. On second thought, I shouldn’t do that, considering how many of tags and categories this will produce.

Current Games:

Aerrevan Needs to be deleted. Played in beta for about 1 hour
Aion Will certainly go back, just because of the looks
Darkfall Never subscribed, but had a couple of trial accounts. Might even go back just to look at the class model
DDO Played on opening day, returned two or three times once it was free-to-play. Spent hours playing with the offline character generators.
Eligium Currently in beta, fumbled around with it for a while, won’t be playing it
Everquest99 Project 99 client. Everquest private server like it was during the Kunark period. Fun. But leads to moments of “did I really have that much patience?”
Fallen Earth Love it. Returning frequently. The fact that the original creators offices are 1 mile away from my house may have something to do with it
Guild Wars Did only a trial. Not sure why I didn’t stick with it. Tried it only years after it came out, and most likely was waiting for another game to come out.
Istaria Friends of mine beta tested it way back when. It has certainly a sandbox feel. And is free to play now.
NWN2 Started playing it also years after it came out while waiting for MMO #27
Rift It’s up-to-date and waiting to be played. I like the soul system, but wasn’t to happy about some play-on-rails aspects
Runes of Magic Spent some time playing, never got a character beyond 20, but liked the dual class system and the fact that it didn’t have any quarrels being a WOW clone
Everquest Last played when they opened Fippy Darkpaw. Awaiting F2P
Everquest 2 Was there when it opened and came back many times
Star Wars Galaxies Can’t delete it, yet. It has been played only before the revamp. Syl was talking about nostalgia. There it is.
Vanguard Played the beta, was subscribed for a couple of weeks on and off, did some free trials. Waiting for the F2P announcement. Like that will ever happen
FF XIV Did the Open Beta, turned me off. Went back once shortly before they announced that monthly payments would begin again. Didn’t see any real improvements
SWTOR Currently subscribed and played 95% of the time
STO Tried it in Open Beta and a few weeks back, still don’t like it.
SWGemu SWG private server. More nostalgia than real interest
Tera Online I am in beta, but seriously wonder why I bothered
LotRO Was subscribed when it went live and a couple of times since. I am having fun with it usually for 2 month at a time
WOW Played open beta and subscribed since day 1. Use it on occasion to help my wife or to chat with friends I left behind there
Aion Will certainly go back, just because of the looks.

What used to be there:

Age of Conan Played it for a while, even got a guild started, might even try to go back some day.
Warhammer The fun lasted through open beta and the free month
EVE Tried a couple of times, but never got really into it
Uncounted numbers of betas, open betas, some f2p’s which I didn’t enjoy and pretend not to remember their names.

 

What’s my short list of games I want to go back to or most likely will go back to in the near future? In descending priority, which can change daily: Rift, Everquest, Fallen Earth, Everquest 2, WOW, Aion

Rift has just fun mechanics, dynamic events and some other nice features.

Everquest will be a nostalgic return to the roots. After all, I started a few weeks after Velious came out.

I like Fallen Earth because of its sandboxy feel, and to be honest a little bit because it used to be so close to home.

Everquest 2 is halfway nostalgia and halfway amazement that it keeps coming up with new stuff.

I know I will be rolling a monk and a panda on WOW, not necessarily a panda monk, though. Pure curiosity.

 

 



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Princess Ileana

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Blog, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 0 comments

Ever since I got my first beta invite for SWTOR last November, I’ve been gently nudging my wife to try it out as well. I didn’t get much response during beta itself, only something like “If I try it, you won’t be able to test it.” Which was nice of her, but didn’t help in making a pre-order decision for her copy. And I know better by now than to just go and buy 2 licenses, let Rift be an example of this.

Opening day came and went and it was still just me playing SWTOR, while my wife kept collecting pets, and did her dailies on WOW. Plus some raiding. And numerous alts. And holiday events. At some point, when I asked I got this answer: “I don’t like Star Wars!”. What do you mean, you don’t like Star Wars? The game or the movies? “The movies!”. I had no problems with her being major league annoyed at the acting in episode 2+3 a couple of years back, but it never appeared to me that this included the original  episodes as well!

Life’s back to normal now and I haven’t divorced her over it, especially since her WOW guild mates convinced her that SWTOR is actually a cool game. Half of them were playing already and talking about it on Ventrilo, plus my persistence convinced her on Sunday to try out a Jedi Consular, with the goal of becoming a Sage. Initially she had made “Ileana” on my account, but on Sunday night it became clear she’d get her own.

I spent two hours on Monday recreating her looks on the new account, and less than an hour to bring her to level 6, where my wife had left off. You wouldn’t believe how different colors can look on two monitors. Head type, hair style and even complexion were easy to duplicate. But I am being told I missed the hair color by a notch. I restarted the game a number of times with different accounts on both of our computers to get the skin color right. But it was quite an ordeal to figure out that skin color #17 on my monitor looked like skin color #22 on hers.

Those are differences I really don’t notice during normal use of our computers or just by glancing over to my wife’s monitor. But you might have gotten the idea, that it is a science, if you’ve ever set up a new monitor and went through the installation process suggested by the manufacturer. But regardless of looks and color temperatures, I made a Trooper as a play mate, ready to explore “The Old Republic” together. You’ll be hearing about those travels more in this place


© Disclaimer: Star Wars: The Old Republic
This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with LucasArts, BioWare, or Electronic Arts.
Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008-2011 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. You may not copy any images, videos or sound clips found on this site or "deep link" to any image, video or sound clip directly.
Game content and materials copyright LICENSOR. All Rights Reserved.


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