Left-overs

After getting home from church yesterday, my wife and I killed the last of the Italian Beef we had made. I understand why some religions worship the cow after eating that. More than just left-overs for dinner though, I had some station-cash points still remaining on my EQ2 account from when they had the 3x sale back around Memorial Day. So, I got browsing through some of the stuff for sale, and found an amazing combination that would look great on my Shadow Knight. One thing you got to hand to EQ2, they know how to make some attractive vanity items.

Follow the jump for the images.

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An even 25

image

It’s like a bakers two dozen!

But really, I’m not too sure how I feel about this. No, scratch that, I am sure. I’m not too keen on it. For a number if reasons.

First it breaks the entire mold of the class structure currently in place. Four archetypes, six of each, four of which are split between factions. This last will undoubtedly be another neutral career like the Warriors, Bards, Sorcerers, and Druids. But what role will it fill. I have little doubt it won’t be stupid OP as well ay whatever role it ends up filling.

I’m sure it will be a station cash purchased career as well. Which brings problems of its own. You have to ensure that the people who purchase it feel like they got their money’s worth, so the tight rope walk begins. Expensive enough to make it profitable, cheap enough to make it sellable, but not so expensive as to REQUIRE it be the avatar of a deity on a power scale.

The other thing if interest is the shift from expansion pack paid content, to smaller free content. So, it may be going the way of Eve Online – except sure to try gauge you for everything in RMT instead. I don’t know if that is an acceptable tradeoff. In fact, I KNOW its not. And don’t get me started on the upcoming cross-server dungeon group finder that is all the rage in today’s themepark.

There are a lot of other things coming out of E3 in regards to EQ2 as well, like the games ability to be viewed in 3D, and a progressive advancement to flying mounts. Some cool things, but not enough to alleviate concerns on the other above mentioned things.

Pick it, and stick with it

A naming convention for blog tags that is!

Grrrrr…..

Splitting time

Is not something I’m good at. I start to play something and I really, really get into it for a short bit, ignoring all else. Right now that’s EQ2, which means I’m neglecting EVE and my new corp. I really need to find a way to not do that. More later.

One of those moments

One of the things that I really enjoy about MMOs in general is their overall complexity. The games themselves are so large, so involved, and so varied, that the details and intricacies of each separate game are a bit like a fingerprint as to the identity of the game itself. This complex system of rules and laws can seem quick to decipher at first, but even veteran players can find themselves finding out something new on occasion. When the light of discovery shines on the realization, my response ranges from joy and elation to shame and embarrassment. A tangled web of emotional processes that helps feed my continual appreciation for the genre. Last evening, I was thrust in to just such a situation while playing Everquest 2.

Since I picked up my dirge on my return to the game, I have really wanted to get his crafting level up close to his adventuring level. For those unaware – EQ2 has probably the best crafting system of any themepark MMO out there currently. It’s a fully fleshed out, deep and broad part of the game that’s difficult to find a parallel to in other games out there. In any matter, my desire to maintain the proximity of equivalence between the two is something I had never been able to maintain in any previous endeavor with the game. Killing things has always just been much more fun – but I was resolved this time around.

To that end, almost all of last weekend, I had cranked my experience distribution to go 95% towards my AA and 5% towards my actual adventuring level. This is part of how I was able to skyrocket from 32 AA to 78 AA in a week – which is in and of itself a very useful result, so my distribution is not wasted in the slightest. What I did over the weekend of play, and since, is travel between the zones intended for the 40-50 level ranges, harvesting everything in site, and doing as many quests and timelines as I could. After I felt I needed a break from mindless quest/kill grind, I would go back and grind out recipes to level.

Anyone who actively plays EQ2 is shaking their head in perplexed wonder at this point. The thing that I was not aware of, and that I just found out about last night, is that there are quests in tradeskill halls called “work orders”. These quests don’t give adventure experience like I had initially thought – they reward tradeskill experience – and a LOT of it. To give you  numbers for concrete comparisons: if completing a recipe of like level gave me 150 experience, that would be about 1% of a level. Finishing a “rush order” – a timed set of items I needed to craft – I would get in return about 4000 experience, about 20% of a level. That would be in addition to the experience for crafting the individual items themselves. As you can expect, these put afterburners on my tradeskill leveling. It also left me thrilled that I no longer would have to slave away hunting thousands of mats for crafting, and spend painful hours reproducing the same product ad nauseam. Of course, there is the embarrassment and shame I felt toward myself for being so foolish as to have missed this integral part of the game for so long. This small revelation has completely shifted my entire outlook on a portion of the game – what was formerly a painful and time-consuming chore has turned into an enjoyable side-experience.

It’s hard to remember at times, but no matter how much we may learn about any one game, there is almost always more to discover and find out – and some of it is probably even obvious.

Crossing the line

My wife pounded three Pabst and said I had to use this one.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have already read snippets about what I’m going to say here. If not, a quick refresher: last Thursday I had my wisdom teeth taken out, and was given pain meds for afterwards. Because of this, I had Friday off from work, and have been more-or-less excused/denied from doing anything of real import around the house. Apparently, we don’t need a person hopped up on narcotics driving a vehicle, operating sharp yard tools, or given babies a bath. This meant that I basically had a weekend free to do whatever gaming I wanted. Happily, SOE released their much-enjoyed welcome-back campaign at roughly the same time, in response to the hack-hear-around-the-world.

I played Everquest 2 extensively in my past. It was probably the first MMO I put a huge chunk (over a year) of continuous time into. The welcome back campaign was a great way to entice me back to the game to see how things are going. I didn’t play my level 80 Shadowknight like I expected I would. For some reason, I jumped onto my (adventure/artisan) level 39/35 with low 30 AA’s, and started playing him. I played the crap out of him. All my vitality has been burned for a while, and I’m seeing the game in a whole new way – literally.

When I gave the game a good try, I didn’t have my current video card, and I don’t think I ever tuned my graphics to take advantage of the rig I had, so the world looked a bit like it did to me back in 2006. Now, the game is gorgeous, the textures and lighting that are still in this game continue to impress me, and I actually noticed backdrops and the far-off world around me. Lavastorm in particular has been amazing, in part because it received a bit of an overhaul to accommodate new expansions. Beyond the world itself though, is the character models. I was seeing amazing looking gear and items on players, stuff that made me instantly say to myself, “That’s freakin’ cool!”. There’s a “wow” factor that wasn’t quite there before.

And that’s where it hit me. I saw some gear on Kerra, and when I inspected him, it was all in his appearance slot, and the stats were junk. So in short order of hunting around, I found armor sets for sale on the market place. Oh, the dreaded market place of RMT – the cesspool of MMOs that I disagree with on a fundamental moral foundation. But damn that armor looked awesome…

So I crossed the line. I dropped $5 on a game, that I’m not even officially subscribed to, and bought a whole outfit for my Bard. I’m playing virtual dress-up in my MMOs now. But damnit, I don’t think I care.

Evidence of my betrayal after the jump.

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Jump Ahead

This song will now be in your head all day.

EQ2 is contemplating a big idea.

I have Syp and Ardwulf to thank for pointing this out to me, and my thoughts are substantial enough to warrant its own blog-post. I want to start off the meat of my opinion with this: this is not a new idea, or one without precedent. WoW did this, basically, with the Death Knight class. You had a max level character and you got a high-level one to play as an alt. You didn’t get one at the CAP, but you got to skip all the old stuff you’d done before. This isn’t a new concept, or an untested idea. We’ve seen it, and as a whole, it didn’t really have a big effect on the game.

In regards to EQ2 specifically, it’s not a complete shift in outlook. This is a game that has an in-place bonus for alts once you have a character at max adventure or crafting level, and that bonus increases for each maxed level. For SOE, this isn’t changing the shift of the game, or completely altering the paradigm – it’s taking an in-place concept, and carrying it to a logical conclusion. Leveling after the first time kinda blows.

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(Some) non-topical topics

I had a decent weekend. Wife’s birthday saw  us with friends at a new-to-us sushi place, where we were loud. People were throwing evil-eyes at us. Screw them, I enjoyed my hot sake, edamame, and spicy tuna. My mother-in-law was kind enough to let our daughter spend the night at her place so we could entertain and enjoy ourselves. After dinner, said friends came over, and had a few drinks while playing some really amusing games. One game, called Pass the Popcorn, had my wife at grabbing my shoulder and shaking my arm like a rag-doll while screaming, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuckity-fuck fuck! FUCK!”. I heard my shirt tear.

Last night, like every other red-blooded American, I was watching the super-bowl (mostly). All I wanted was for the Packer’s to lose, good commercials, and maybe a decent half-time show. I failed to receive any of that. The Steelers lost despite a commendable second-half recovery, the best commercial was a Pepsi Max commercial of some blonde getting hit in the head with a pop-can, and the half-time show was god-awful bad  as it was plagued by technical issues (why in the world didn’t a couple of the 100s of white-jump suit wearing extras sneak extra mic’s on stage, or maybe the crew standing under the platform?), all covered with a terrible impersonation of Axel Rose by a shim wearing a sparkly approximation of football pads. But the food was good.

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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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