Free you say?

Capitulating to my spanish-speaking demographic

Lately, my ability to jump into a game and play for long sessions has been on the far low side. I’ve also not been getting an urge to play MMOs in general. I’m just on a lull for the genre right now I think. So, I’m going to take the next couple months to spend my MMO time participating in an aspect of the industry I’ve formally been completely dismissive of: free to play. Yes, the payment model I loathe and despise, I’m going to give it a fair shake that I denied it in the past. In fact, I’m going to do more than that, I’m going to play what SHOULD be the best of the crop of F2P by playing games that were originally designed as AAA subscription-based MMOs, and then converted to the dastardly deviants of the despicable cash shops. Some of these are games I played for a while in the past, others are games I gave their free trial a whirl before it’s conversion. So, as of right now, I’m looking at Lord of the Rings Online, Champions Online, and possible Dungeons and Dragons Online.

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Listen Up

I’ve been watching/listening to back episodes of Keaven and Steven in the Morning, in one of last weeks episodes they touched on the topic of game music (with a guest appearance by Mr. Belford). The overall consensus seemed to be that, in MMOs particularly, music gets turned off rather quickly, and never heard again, which mirrors my own experience. In fact, most ALL volume is turned down to nothing. I think this is because of a combination of factors, and when laid out, I don’t think you’ll be surprised.

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Incuring a Facelift

The colored dots are where Sansha has invaded.

I’ve been out of EVE the last week as a sick daughter (aka – Baby Vomit Dragon) has required gaming time with, to be blunt, people I don’t care about. It’s far easier to go /afk and disconnect a game of LoL with strangers than it is to suddenly bail on a fleet of corps-mates while doing a lo-sec roam. But, the last two nights, I’ve been able to put my daughter to bed at night at her typical time, and feel comfortable that she’ll stay asleep, and not vomit everywhere. So, when back in the game the VERY first thing I noticed was that the new character creator was implemented, and I had to update my portrait. The very second thing I remembered is that I never put together a video of the footage I took doing this. Self-condemnation set in, I’m a bad blogger. However, I’ll try to make amends for that a bit here, and may actually get around to editing that video in the future. Isn’t it nice how I can lie to myself like that? 

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This quote came from where?

[GAME] supports a lot of solo play. However, we want dungeons to be a group experience. In fact, we think the game is more fun overall when you play with friends, which is why we put so much effort into encouraging players to join guilds for [EXPANSION]. Running a hard dungeon with friends tends to be a much better experience. Communication feels less awkward, and everyone is generally more supportive of mistakes. You learn the strengths and weaknesses and nuances of players that you run with regularly. There tend to be fewer loot arguments as well. PUGs have their place — don’t get me wrong. But we don’t want to sacrifice dungeons being fun and challenging for organized groups in order to have everything be conquered by any possible group. Make sense?

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Dealing with Disappointment

You thought I was going to put the "I am disappoint" picture, didn't you?

Sunday night was a tough evening for me. It was the first time the Bears and the Packers had gone head to head for the NFC title in 70 years. The Bears have a coach who said his first priority was simple – to beat the Packers. But in the first couple of minutes, it was clear that things were not going well. Emotionally, the game was a roller coaster for this Bears fan, and the ending was no less heart-breaking: on a fairly successful drive in the final minutes of the game, the third-string QB threw an interception and lost the game.

To say that I was disappointed would be putting it mildly.

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Weather Game

Actual view from my car this morning.

Inspiration comes unexpectedly at times, and these last two mornings for me are perfect examples of that. Here in “sunny” Florida, we’ve been having insane amounts of fog the last couple days due to a huge rain system that’s decided to basically chill out and grab a breather before moving on. So, as I did my daily drive into work, I found myself suffering in the visual department by orders of magnitude. Outside of the typical reaction to it, the situation triggered a portion of my that is constantly firing impulses about gaming. The slow metamorphosis of thought traversed around vision, weather, visibility, targeting and interaction. Round and round, a circle of repetition, not truly leading anywhere, but bringing forth a few conclusions and more questions.

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Patch Days

Yesterday was a patch day for League of Legends, and for anyone familiar with the things that go on around patch day of MMOs, what occurred on the forums is old hat. Maybe it is for people who regularly play LoL as well, but I took a measure of solace in knowing that the issues that plague MMOs plague other genres as well. In particular for me, the patcher had decided to be permanently stuck in one of two unfavorable statuses, “Busy” or “Unavailable”, denying me of gratifying playtime. Even the website’s “server status” page was uncooperative, reporting forbidden access with each try to piece the veil.

 Happily enough, I stumbled upon a tip from someone on a YouTube video of the newest hero. At the patcher, you could enter a code that apparently activated the play button. Left, Right, Left, Right, Down, Down, Up, Up, 3, 4. The directional inputs are the arrow keys, very reminiscent of the Konami Code. So, I got to play, albeit, in a very slow, long-loading process, and games took slightly longer than usual to occur. The wait of 3 minutes compared to the typical 35 seconds was painful to bear.

I’ll say this: the things I love most about Warhammer (scenarios), is part of what draws me to LoL (and DotA before it). It’s a short wait, before some really intense small team PvP that can be played in relatively short bursts. It’s fast, furious, and immediately rewarding. LoL being a properly done F2P model with marginal progression bonuses are icing on this delicious cake, and the cake is just familiar enough to not make me uncomfortable. Even on patch day.

That about sums it up

More glad than ever I didn’t check out the expansion.

Really, everything he explains about the expansion just verifies what I’ve read elsewhere.

More on Darkfall

In the times between spitting my lungs out of my chest thanks to the ever-wonderful “Maximum Strength Mucinex DM”, I found that I was able to dabble a bit more with Darkfall, and I’m liking the game, despite some of it’s very serious draw backs, but I don’t think I’ll end up there for any serious amount of time, until those drawbacks are fixed, but I’ll most likely finish out my 14-day trial. I find I’m becoming less tolerant of some issues the more I game, and I have to wonder if that’s why I’m less of any MMOs right now, including EVE and WAR. Besides the point though, I want to talk about the things in Darkfall that really bothered me.

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The ol’ college try

Last night, in a Sudafed and NyQuil fueled stuper, I decided to try a game I haven’t really given a fair shake in the past. It’s not a huge triple-A developed venture, and is extremely small population-wise, but it’s something that’s been sticking around and picking up players as it goes. It’s also a sandbox and non-level based, which is a fun twist from the classic MMO structure. I went into it, not really sure what to expect, but I wanted to keep an open mind. The game, (if you hadn’t guessed by now) is Darkfall.

Dun, dun, DUN.

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