I’ve been wrong before…

And I will probably be so again.

That said, I replied to a commenter that one of my guildies may be a dirty exploiter, but my doubts are beginning to rise. There are a couple of reasons for this, which I’ll shortly. Beyond my near rage-enducing frustration at the lovely state of game geometry and the ever dreaded invisible walls, I was able to log onto my Knight after working a bit on my German. From there, I started looking at the whole situation a bit more critically. Now that I had gotten over the “ohmygodmyaccountisbannedandmywholeguildisgone” situation, I started to analyze and examine the whole thing.

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Things that make you quit a game

Log into Warhammer: City Siege. Okay, good stuff. Run to the door to zone into a siege, instead be sent to a Tier 1 zone. Run across the map to a flight attendant, and go BACK to the city.

Can only find instances empty of allies.

Decide instead to try and solo roam/gank any destro trying to cross Reikland unhindered.

On the path back from the city gates, drop down to the river and follow the path to Reikland, only to meet an invisible wall by rocks that you cannot jump over, even though you can clearly see the other side. Turn BACK around, and try to run up what clearly looks like a ramp returning to the bridge back to the base camp outside of Altdorf.

Discover ANOTHER invisible wall on the ramp, and have your access impeded. While rubbing your nose against the invisible wall like a hound on the scent of fowl, looking for any possible sliver of an opening through, you slide a bit off the edge of the ramp, and get stuck in a perptual non-moving fall. Only to be killed to unstick you, and put you back in the base camp. Only there are no healers in the base camp, so you are left stuck with a 15 minute PvE death timer that you have to run back to SOMEWHERE to heal.

Sorry, no scenarios, everyone is in the city.

Ahhhh…good times

I’ll say this: the customer support for EA, Mythic/Bioware/whatever-the-hell-they-are-called-now, is very good.

I got an email yesterday morning that my (trial) account had been banned for duping. I was sitting in the middle of extended care at church, so the irony of the situation had a bit more punch than usual. So, I immediately responded to the described email stating my dispute. The automated response I got in return said to expect a turn around in 24 to 72 hours. In reality, it took maybe two hours. My appeal had been reviewed and passed through. My complete lack of duping was acknowledged, a request needed to be made to reactivate my account. However, I apparently DID have some duped items in my inventory that were taken from my guild hall. Apparently someone has been misbehaving…

So, after church, my wife and I went to the in-laws to eat a crazy-good roast for lunch, and drop the little-one off to be watched over while we did some shopping for an upcoming vacation. So, after wrapping up all that, picking up the little one, and getting home, I was greeted to a Steam message from a guildie asking what happened to the guild. It seems as if almost everyone had been banned (we all use the vault for talismans/pots/etc…). So the duped items got buck-shot to all of us. I told the guildie what I did, and what I’ve done to resolve it, and proceeded onto step 2 of the guided directions to make my (trial) account active again. The process went smoothly for the most part, with the CSR’s being incredibly helpful and eager to work with me. The biggest downside is that something is going on that is keeping me from being able to actually log onto a character. I can patch the game, get to the server list, but from there I get disconnected. The issue has been passed up to tier 3, and I am expecting a resolution in 24 to 72 hours from last night, though if the track record is anything to go by, I expect it to happen much more quickly than that.

As to what I think happened: I have my suspicions, I have only been able to talk to two guildies so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my hunch lands true. I won’t cast aspersions, but if this kills off the entire guild, I’m going to be a sad, sad panda. I had just transfered my Knight over there to play with these guys, and that may have been a waste of money now. Playing on a Euro server with my hours of play is just not a viable reality if I don’t have friendlies to fall back on. Possibility of reactivating my account is low if my group is gone.

Which may not be a bad thing, because I’m back in EVE online again, and having fun. It may seem silly, but I’m learning how to better read these various star maps with jump bridges explained out, and finding out how to work with jump clones, and transport stuff around. It’s all very menial, busy work, but it feels like what I’m doing is involved and necessary for what my greater plans are. So yeah, if WAR falls flat, and I don’t feel the urge to re-roll or pony up $20-40 again for transfers (or activate my OTHER account with a BG), EVE is always there, happily waiting and ready.

No matter what you take away from this though: remember that EA’s CS has been righteous, and deserve respect and thanks for a job frequently overlooked.

A couple of Incarna pictures (no bitches)

Follow the Jump for the images.

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Incarna bitches!

It came out yesterday, but big patch is big. So I was unable to partake. I’m hoping that it will be just a short hop into the game when I get home tonight. That would make me a happy, happy man.

Yes, this is essentially little more than a cosmetic lift to the game, but I do not care. I eagerly look forward to a deeper sense of immersion in a complete sci-fi universe.

That reminds me, I still have yet to see the EVE gate first hand. I need to do that.

Escape Dependency

I played a bit of WAR over the weekend. My Knight remains on Gorfang, so I hooked back up with my old guild Blitz who are on Norn with my Shadow Warrior. The nostalgia was pleasant, and the game’s art is still some of the best around, but there are still some serious flaws that I just think aren’t going away anytime soon. One of these issues is the way escape tools perform in the game.

When looking at WAR as a PvP game, I tend to do so strongly filtered through my recenly refined lense that from playing EVE and LoL. In doing so, I see concepts that may be miss-applied between games. When looking at LoL, you see that the melee killers have some way of closing the distance. Xin’s charge, Eve’s stealth, Nocturnes speed path and his crazy warp ultimate. This same concept is found in MDPS in WAR: leap, charge, stealth. All are actions that work independent of the some enemy condition, outside of range.

Now, look at the escape tools for the ranged in LoL. Ashe tends to be insanely fast, Nidalee has her cat leap, Cait has her net snare + blow back, and so on. Most of these don’t depend on the state of the target, or even a target at all. When looking at ranged careers in WAR, all tools for escape are contingent on hitting the enemy and not being met with an immunity (outside of the universal flee).

Why is this a problem? Melee has much higher damage. This was done to make up for needing to close the distance. Except always functioning gap closers, and sometimes multiples of them give them the ability to make the range advantage immaterial, and this problem became even further attenuated by the unification if immunities. That act may have been good for the game as a whole, but it fucked the ranged players.

Ranged players either need to have the damage to stand toe to toe with a melee combatant, or need to be equally good at escaping as their assailants.

It always brings you back

Feeling the WAR itch again. Going to see about possibly transferring my Knight to Norn and joining back up with my old guild. Going to queue up the download when I get home.

Hackers, Developers, and Forums. Oh my!

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There has been a whole lot going on of late in the world surrounding everyone’s favorite sandbox, EVE. It seems like real life is imitating art; stretches of relative quiet followed by moments of intense activity and drama. And we all get a front.row seat.

By now, I’m sure you have heard of the DDoS attacks on EVE, by the same group that have allegedly hit (to date), sites like League of Legends, CIA, Sony, and Facebook. I see them as a worthless group of hoodlums, striving for attention. The world will be better off when they are eventually caught and prosecuted. I won’t go any further than that commentary.

On the brighter side, CCP is putting out the beta of their new-again forums. They claim to have made tweak to both its usability as well as its security. Both things were clambered for in the previous iteration. I hope they last this time, as I actually enjoyed their previous life, sans the safety holes. In large part, I just want the current awful mess called a forum to go the way of the buffalo.

Lastly, CCP has made an intriguing move on the market of third party app developers. A lot of games have these fans who create tools to help alleviate perceived defects in game or meta-game functionality. Different studios support them to various degrees, and also respect then to differing levels. CCP is going to allow developers a commercial distribution licence, that if they choose to do so, will allow then to charge users/make money (read: ads) from their creation. HOWEVER, before you and I get our panties in a twist, a free non-commercial licence will also be available. It’s something that I am torn all over the place about, and in the end, I don’t think we will really know how it plays out until the reality is tangible in front of us.

Either way, with all this, and Incarna coming to the table in a week, New Eden is seeing some major upheaval. Exciting times.

Musical Interlude

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I am sitting in the buliding for the college of computing at our local university right now. In my lap (well hands now) my phone is streaming a drum and bass channel for me to listen to. I’m killing time because the suggested 45 minute lead time was a serve over estimate.

But while I’m sitting here, enjoying some REALLY good electronic music, I can’t help but remember some thoughts I had rattling in my skull as sleep dragged me into its playground of unconscious hallucinations. My last gaming of the night for me was spent in Wipeout HD. I remembered thinking of how strong an asset to the game the music is, and how unique that is in the industry.

Yes, there are some games where the score will forever be inscribed into the gamer collective consciousness (I’m looking..at you FFVII “fanfare”), but the large majority of games audio fades to, at best, a dim and whispy memory. Leaving no lasting impression on the player emotionally.

What will it take to have that change in games? Is it something that can even be applied across all genres of games? To take the thought through the capitalistic lense: is music in games at the state it currently is because, as consumers, we just don’t care/value/want it?

Bah, I still have 15 minutes until this thing starts.

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!

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If you haven’t read this yet, you really need to. It is probably one of the sexiest  bits if MMO news I have ever read. Beyond just my fan of the game and the genre, it brings a layer of connectivity and interaction that has been unseen of before. This is the kind of innovation and advancement that MMOs should be headed. When you heat MMO 3.0, this is the level of change I think of.