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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Yesterday saw the launch of the first part of EVE’s Incursion expansion (patchnotes). Many people seem to feel as if it was a somewhat light expansion, but this is most likely due to its being segmented into multiple parts. Though, significant changes have still found their way into the game.

For starters, rockets have been overhauled entirely in an attempt to make them into an actually viable weapon system, and my jaws are now drooling to finish leveling up my Assault skill to fly a Hawk (which has also been updated) and blow the crap out of someone. Then you have the introduction of a new ship, the Noctis, which fills the niche-salvager role. And probably one of the biggest changes is Sansha’s nation starting their invasions. I have yet to experience them, as I played for all of 45 minutes last night, but I really hope to see this new faction and the unpredictable, smart behavior of them really bring the chaos to the game. Beyond the game play stuff, there have been performance tweeks, visual improvements, and UI advancements.

So, a bit light on the whole, but it looks to be setting the stage for the other portions of expansion, namely the removal of learning skills and the updated character modeller, which I really, REALLY mean to get a video of that made. I’ve got the recording done, I “just” need to put it together. Good stuff all in all, and I’m really enjoying my time back in Eve again, especially now that I found a Corps with players that seem to provide good information. The group is worlds apart, competitively speaking, from where my Warhammer guild is, but they know the game well, and are proving to be a good asset.

Speaking of Warhammer, no Producer’s Letter? Did I miss an announcement?

The rats have landed

As you should be well aware of by now, The Verminous Horde RvR pack arrived last Thursday, and we just had our first full weekend of play with the new toys it brought. Rats have been roaming the lakes left and right. As far as patches go, this one was implemented incredibly smoothly. No game-crashing bugs, or campaign-destroying issues were there, and downtime for it was relatively minor, especially when considering how much was added in. That’s not to say that there aren’t issues that need to be dealt with, and the importance of the various issues will vary from person to person. For instance, on some servers, it was discovered over the weekend that scenarios were obliterated into non-existence. And of course, in typical, and perfectly reasonable ( is my “/sarcasm” needed?) internet fashion everyone cried bloody murder in response.

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I’ve been feeling the itch to get back into Eve for a while now, craving a sandbox to play in. And now that I’ve finished replaying through the original Metroid on the Wii (no more need for complicated passwords is a plus!), EVE seems like a perfect fill-in for my Sci-Fi junky craving. I’ll say this, CCP knows how to promote themselves and entice players back. With the upcoming expansion Incursion coming as precursor to Incarta, I wanted to play around again in their internet spaceships, so what does CCP do: offer 5 free days of play followed by a two month deal for $19.95.  If you’re curious about more Incursion details, follow this link and read all about it.

With joyful abandon, I accepted their invitation for the free 5 days at the onset of weekend, and started looking for a corp to join up with. Hopefully a new home will make my stay last a good deal longer than usual – a tough call with the WAR RvR packs coming out in two days. As-is, I’ve hunkered down and started doing some chain missioning of level two’s with an odd rat-kill in between to help my sec status. I’m sitting at -2.95 right now, which means I can go into 0.8 space for the most part, leaving only the highest-security systems out-of-bounds. What I’m hoping to do as a result of my new-found freedom of travel is go around collecting all my random goods and items scattered across multiple regions and centralized them in one place. I have a badger I can do this with, and a Minmatar shuttle that I think will be great for jumps in between stations with a ship stashed away.

To the outsider, that all sounds probably insanely laborious and overly complicated, but it’s part of what makes the game great. The necessity for travel and planning makes the game a world (er… universe) as opposed to “just” a game. It’s that eternal persistence that keeps drawing me back to Eve every time I stray away.

No room at the inn

Last night was the North America PTS event to test out the RR100 templates. To say it went well is an understatement. To say there was a good turnout would be a disservice. My class ended early last night, so I was able to rush home in time to catch the tail end of the event. I sat down in front my computer screen at 8:25 PM EST, and was met with an unsettling message when I tried to bring my newly created Shadow Warrior into WAR: “Population is full”.

Wait, what? I thought that I’d have better luck if I tried to create a destruction character – Blackguard incoming!

The results were no different.

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Why, hello there

Look. At. You. P.S - Click me!

You want answers, you got answers

In case you missed it, there’s a Q&A thread going on at the official forums, where Andy is answering as much as he can about the new RvR Packs that are coming out. You post a question and Andy will answer it if able. There’s a lot he still can’t discuss, but some new info is coming out. I’m going to take the Herculean effort of posting all answered questions here, in one consolidated place. Keep in mind, there are (as of right now, this moment) eight (8) pages of this thread, sooooo… yeah. This’ll be fun!

Edit: Updated with Andy’s late-night answers. Gets some sleep man!

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From the bullpen

(left to right) Nate Levy, James Casey, Mike Wyatt, Steven Engle, James Nichols (thanks to GG for the photo)

As you are all aware, last week was GamesCom in Cologne, and there our much-loved Warhammer made some announcements and initial reviews. The weekend we just had Gamesday Baltimore, where more of the developers from Warhammer fielded questions from players and bloggers. There are incredibly mixed reactions all around from the community it seems, as expectations were higher on the meat of the delivered information (myself included). The variance I believe, comes in that, as players, we’re more used to hearing about an expansion being announced, and having some type of page to find all the details and information about it. That’s not as likely to happen with the upcoming “packs”. It reinforces in my mind, that these are being treated more like DLC items that supplement gameplay more than change gameplay. That’s not an entirely a bad thing, and some of the things that were said in various places really makes me pleased with the overall outlook the team has design wise.

So, with no further ado, I’m going to throw a bunch of links at you to read.

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The trail so far

Sadly, we don’t know a lot, and this path we’re wandering down is taking us places we don’t know about. Our only option is to enjoy the ride and see where it drops us.

We know that Andy and Carrie have been doing a stupid amount of interviews while in the land of Germany. They’ve obviously talked to onRpg.com, GoHa.Ru (Russian site), WAR-Welten (German), Gamereactor, @70MS (Meghan Rodberg from Turbine), and  Massively. What we know from those various sources is scant indeed.

As we found out yesterday, onRPG told us that the renown cap is increased to 100, Skaven will be introduced in some fashion (possible player controlled), and thanks to a friendly reader at Werit’s blog, we know that the blurb at GoHa.ru does indeed confirm a new zone of some sort.

Information is scant, but Andy Belford assured us via a forum post and a tweet, that we can expect a lot more detailed information this weekend. Also if you read any of the so-far interviewed articles/sites, they all are pretty much in lock-step at having more information forth-coming. My guess is from the need to actually, you know, write and edit things. They can’t all be free-wheeling, non-sensical bloggers like me!

Strap in, and lets go for a ride

Okay, so I’m going to be totally spit-balling here. Take nothing that I mention as honest to god insight, or top-secretz-newz! I’m going to be jumping to conclusions all over the place like a man in a wheel chair after a botched suicide attempt. So, sit down, pull out your favorite drink, craft your tin-foil hat (don’t forget the feather!), and buckle your seatbelt, because I’m going to throw wild speculation at your face and brains.

I think we will have an expansion announced this summer.

Dun, dun, DUN!

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