Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘MMO

What’s going on?

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Before I start, let me apologise. I’ve treated this blog badly, as have I you, my reader. For that I am truly sorry. I willattempt to explain my absence, and hopefully, you’ll find the explanation fair.

I'm Back

I'm Back

The simple truth is, I’ve lost “it”. I’ve lost whatever “it” was that caused me to enjoy MMORPGs. That’s quite a statement, I know. “Burnout” – that is, when you’re “burned out” on a game (this often applies to MMORPGs, due to their time-grabbing nature). Well, I feel “Burnout” is the closest description to what I have been “suffering”. Only it’s not simply one game I’ve “burned out” on. Every MMORPG I’ve turned my hand to, I’ve found, sadly, uncompelling. Since I last wrote, I’ve played WAR, WoW, LOTRO, EVE, to no avail. Maybe I’ve become jaded by the genre, but I truly believe that I’ve fundamentally changed, somewhere, deep down, and those kinds of games no longer appeal to me.

So what have I been playing? The good news is, I’ve not lost my drive to play all games. That’s good news for me, as I’ve drawn a lot of entertainment and excitement from games throughout my lifetime. Also, it’s good news, as otherwise, a gaming blog would be a bit of a waste. I’ve been playing Team Fortress 2 a lot and Football Manager 2009, also a lot. In between, I’ve dabbled in Runeforge, a RTS/TCG and Mount & Blade, an indie medieval simulation, which I’ve had a lot of fun with.

Of course, I’ll go into more detail in later posts. This post was simply a heads up, letting you know I’m alive and well, and intending to ressurect this blog.

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Written by Gordo

March 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm

My Relationship with WoW

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I make no secret that I despise what WoW has become. The world’s biggest timesink. Yet I still see fun in it. Even when I read about incoming features that I hate, I nearly always see things that I love at the same time. My interest in this Titanic of a game has been sparked again recently by my friend offering me a ‘Scroll of Ressurection’, causing my account to regain activity for 10 days.

Those 10 days are drawing to a close, but they’ve certainly been thought-provoking and insightful. I’ve hit one of the lowest milestones in the game, in getting to level 70. In some ways, that’s where my interest in the game ends. I’ve no desire to lose hours of my time grinding an instance for a piece of gear that allows me to progress to the next level of instance to grind. I love instances, I love raids, but not when I’m doing that instance for the hundredth time. I really enjoy learning the instance, how the bosses work, I like a challenge, and I enjoy the ‘process’ of a raid, the organisation, and the feeling when it all works out, and that boss is down. But the raids in WoW take that enjoyment I experience and stretch it to the limit.

WoW grabs you with pretty graphics and easy gameplay, and sucks even the most anti-gamers in, and pretty soon they play it religiously, barely stopping to eat. It’s something we’ve all read stories about. And yet, for some reason, I don’t feel the same way. I’m not compelled to play 16 hours a day until I’ve got my ‘Epix’. I’ve no desire to spend my life in Alterac Valley. It got me thinking, why?

I think the truest answer is, that WoW is a game for people who’ve never played a game before. I mean that in an extremely loose sense of the word. Not people who’ve literally never played a game before, but people who’ve never connected with a game. People who’ve never seen what a game can really be, all the range of emotions it can bring. WoW simply provides a medium through which people can enlarge their ego, by getting better gear than someone else. That makes people feel good, but a game should be so much more than that. A game should excite you, frustrate you, make you laugh, make you sigh (because men don’t cry!), make you feel empathy, and act on that empathy so you end up feeling better about yourself and the situation you worked on. To me, WoW does none of that. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen all those things at work in better, greater games. Sorry WoW, but you’re too shallow for me. You don’t provide those things. I’ve no connection with the world, or the other characters. You just have me, as a player, looking at the next piece of gear on my wishlist. But I tend to think, ‘It doesn’t have to be like this’, and pretty soon I end up logging out. And I think unless Blizzard take WoW in a totally different direction, I might not ever be able to truly enjoy it.

Written by Gordo

July 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Posted in MMO

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Why I won’t become a fanboy.

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It might happen in every game ever released. It might not. The ‘Mark Jacobs’ moment, where the veil of enthusiasm built up, by, who now appears no more than a Lancastrian spin-doctor, is shattered as the truth is revealed and the buzzwords and promises of the last year are shown to be no more than hooks, to get the unwary viewer or reader interested in this game, this wonderful new concept. But that wonderful new concept is not entirely true. Intermingled are lies and padding to make the game appear better than the team working on it are able to create.

Yes, I’m talking about Warhammer Online. And I’ll quit the abstract nonsense and return to normality. Last week I was deeply troubled by the announcement of Mark Jacobs. And I got thinking – why does it trouble me? A few reasons:

  1. By condensing the battle into just the two cities, I fear the WAR will be diluted. I loved the idea of the struggle on three fronts – you could redirect forces to another, weaker area, at the risk of losing one you already hold. You get the idea.
  2. Realm vs. Realm inbalance. Two races no longer have a tank? Yet their counterpart does? What’s with that?
  3. Punkbuster. To be honest, this is more ‘Meh’ than anything. I just think its kind of a shame that they have to assume the worst of their players. Why can’t they give them a chance, let them play for a few months without Punkbuster, but with it on backup, ready to implement if cheating caused a problem.
  4. They lied. Weeks ago I remember reading ‘Yeah, we’ve basically just got the game in polish mode now’ (or words to that effect). Well Mythic, you’ve done what I really hoped you would not. You’ve cut content to fulfil deadlines. I really, really hoped I’d see another delay instead of an announcement like this. I think of Age of Conan with nausea because that is exactly what they did.

But the real topic of this post? Fanboyism. It shows why I refuse to truly enter the ranks of a fanboy. Sure, there’ll be a game I get excited about occasionally (it happened with WAR. Am I still as excited? Sadly, no.) But to pin all your hopes on that game, and truly believe every statement they make, is just foolish. Every comment must be taken with a pinch of salt. Sure, if you expect the worst, then you don’t get the same levels of excitement as a fanboy, but when the cutbacks come, the ‘Mark Jacobs Moment’, you don’t feel disappointed to the core. And if you do find the perfect game, you get really excited when it launches, and you realise how good it is.

Written by Gordo

July 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm

First steps into the Universe of EVE

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As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve quit AoC, and am looking for a new MMO to play. My shortlist is WoW, EVE and EQ2. WoW I really see as a last resort, I resent how it is designed as a giant timesink, so I decided to try out the next game on my list. EVE online allows a 14 day trial, which I started earlier today, and I decided to post is my inital thoughts on it.

Where do I start? Graphics seem like a good a place as any. EVE is beautiful. It’s extremely simplistic, yet absolutely amazing. The view of a distant star, a close planet, or the universe hurtling by as you warp simply is breathtaking.EVE Online

Sound. Sound is something I probably undervalue in games. Again, EVE plays it simple, with low-level, gentle ‘space’ music playing the background. The voice of your onboard AI is simple and yet useful, as, when on long journeys with little cargo I use autopilot, and I often alt-tab to read something on the net (or I use the ingame browser), during which time, she continues her commentary of my route, so I hear when I need to return to the game. Fighting sounds are reasonable, but I dislike the kind of squelching sound I hear when using a stargate.

Gameplay. This is where it gets complicated. In all honesty, my couple of hours in the game are probably insufficient to judge this games’ gameplay. As a noob, I’m charged with simple tasks involving mining for ores, to sell, which will allow me to upgrade my ship. I can, of course, do missions, but I prefer a little bit of variety, so I’m currently doing both. One feature I love is the passive skill generation. You simply say what skill you want to advance, and it advances in the background, whether you’re playing or not. This allows you to advance without grinding! Love it!

Premise. EVE has a beautiful premise, it’s designed as a ‘playground’ instead of a ‘playpark’ according to the official website. It allows complete freedom, no enforced rules about PvP, levelling or progression. You do what you like. If you hate combat, you can make your money from mining or manufacturing, and simply hiring muscle to protect you. But they could turn on you, and take your valuables. Then they get a bounty. It really is beautiful the way the events of the game lead to flow. This game has politics, worldwide shifts in attitude or opinion, corporations ingame thats actions resonate throughout the entire universe. I’ve yet to join a corporation, but I do look forward to engaging in that area of gameplay.

Time will tell whether I’ll fall in love with EVE, but so far, things are fairly positive. If any of you have anything to share with me about the game, I’d love to hear it, but in the mean time, I’ll carry on levelling my skills, gathering some cash, and learning how this game works. People say it has a steep learning curve, but only the highest peaks are worth traversing.

Written by Gordo

June 22, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Posted in EVE Online, MMO

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The future: My next MMO.

with 2 comments

So, I’ve ditched Age of Conan. Now which MMO should I play? It’s a tough choice for me. Clearly there are no AAA games out for launch soon. WAR, I’ll definetly play, and am very excited about, but what will I play in the mean time? Tricky.

Here’s my shortlist:

  1. WoW – not imaginative, not original, not brilliant. I’d rather not go back there, but maybe I would have fun if I tried again? After seeing the lack of questing in AoC, and the need for grinding, I might appreciate having quests instead of grinds to get levels. I might get to 70 (my character was 65 when I left him), and get immersed in the masses of endgame I’ve so far, left untapped.
  2. EVE – I’m personally torn on this one. I’ve done a trial before, and I found it too slow MMOsfor my liking. But people say, once you get ‘into it’, there’s nothing like it. They claim it’s the richest, deepest MMO experience out there. Does that make me shallow? I’m not sure, but my philosophy is, a game must be accessible. Forget all notions of depth, if the swimming pool has a layer of ice on top, no matter how deep it is, you won’t be able to swim until you’ve done a lot of smashing. So maybe I should try it again, and do some hacking at the ice until I’m immersed. Or would I be better admitting I’m not the kind of gamer that EVE is designed for?
  3. Everquest 2 – Kind of like WoW’s younger brother, not quite so smart, not quite so handsome, not quite so good at sport, but still not easy to write off. It has quite a large playerbase, but can it really be suitable for a complete newcomer like me?
  4. No MMO – A strange notion for me, I’ve played an MMO pretty much solid for a couple of years now. But maybe taking a break from the MMO world might allow me to enjoy some of the delights the non-MMO side of the industry has to offer. I’ve still got LoZ: Twilight Princess, GTA IV, COD 4, Super Mario Galaxy, to name but a few, that I’d like to play. Normally though, I play an MMO alongside these other games, at the expense of pace, allowing me to jump between them depending on how much fun I’m having in each at a certain time.

Written by Gordo

June 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Posted in MMO, PC

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Entering the world of Warhammer.

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2 weeks into Age of Conan, and it’s clear that it won’t be the game I stay in forever. So, my eyes are turned now to Warhammer Online. Warhammer Online is based in the fantasy world of Warhammer, a rich and diverse universe created over 30 years ago. It was originally created to house a roleplaying gaWarhammer Onlineme, but’s grown in popularity, and over the years has steadily grown in content. So, for me, it’s a challenge to get into a totally new universe like this. After some looking around, I was recommended the book ‘Tales of the Old World’, an anthology of short stories set in the Warhammer universe, and stories which were suitable to a newcomer of the series.

I’ll let you know how I get on as I enter the world of Warhammer, what I think of it, and whether it heightens my anticipation of WAR or not. But, it’d be fair to say I’m fairly excited about WAR – it’s the first time I’ve ordered a collector’s edition of a game, and it seems I got in just in time, as Play.com, the sole online suppliers to the UK, seem to have sold out recently. The team working on it have the perfect vision for what I want from an MMO, they seem determined to release a quality product, which they’ve shown by delaying (something Funcom decided against, and preferred to get massive sales when the market was quiet, but leaving the game unfinished). It has a load of neat features I’ve not seen the likes of before, public quests sound great, the Tome of Knowledge sounds awesome for the way I play games, and the RvR should be really enjoyable. Crafting as well sounds good, it might be the first time I’ve actually embraced crafting, as EA Mythic aren’t using it as simply a timesink, designed to get players’ playtime up, but actually something that adds to the experience, something you don’t need to take time out to do – the question’s not craft or level, because they occur hand in hand. Which, I think, is awesome. Bring on the autumn!

Written by Gordo

June 6, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Grinding can be fun. Wait, what?

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More reports from Hyboria. Now, I’m level 47, and recently I’ve taken part in a couple of grinding sessions with some guildies. Now, normally, I’m strongly opposed to grinding, but, in Age of Conan, it can be kinda fun. I get really good XP from these sessions, as we use the ‘apprenticeship’ system – this basically scales a character up to 1 level below a group member – so that I, as level 47 can join up with players in the 60s. The XP is scaled down, of course, but with 6 of us there, we can rip through mobs at some pace, and there are plenty of mobs to go around in some (apparently designed) grinding spots. So why is this type of grinding fun?

  1. Good rewards – get a fair amount of cash, and really good XP from doing it.
  2. Social aspect – playing with a few other people is much more enjoyable than grinding alone.
  3. No downtime – if there’s anything more annoying than grinding creatures, it’s waiting for them to respawn.
  4. Age of Conan’s combat system – it makes it all the more frantic and chaotic, and as you see the hordes of enemies fall at your feet, it’s really very fulfilling!

Now, of course, I’ve only been doing it for a few hours, and depending on how much is required, I could get sick of it. But so far, it’s been good. The problem is crafting is nowhere near as fun. The crafting system in Age of Conan is the laziest and most boring I’ve come across. They’ve made resource zones, which, in themselves are boring, as they’re just landscapes with nodes scattered, and to craft, all you do is run around, gather, run around, gather. It’s so frustrating as most of the nodes have been emptied, and it feels as though you’re getting nothing done (which you’re not!). So, I’ll be steering clear of the crafting in Age of Conan. That said, having read the latest WAR newsletter, the crafting system Mythic are using looks very cool. Quite basic, but I like it, as I play an MMO to fight, not to stand watching progress bars. Funcom saw it as an oppourtunity to increase the amount of time people play their game. Luckily, EA Mythic didn’t fall into the same money-grabbing trap.

Written by Gordo

June 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Age of Conan, MMO

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