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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…Aw fuck

I don't have any actual animosity towards this kid. I do think it's funny that so many people express such intense dislike for him. To me, he's a non-entity, and I probably wouldn't recognize him if I saw him on the street without a throng of weeping tween girls.

[Edit: WordPress gets wonky when adding pictures with captions. By wonky, I mean, it likes to chop out chunks of  an intro, like this introductory paragraph that Beiber gobbled up. If my post seemed like it was starting out in the middle of a conversation, that’s because it was. Sorry about the mix-up!]

I was happily going about my weekend, doing things that I do. I got my Shadowknight in EQ progression server to 18. Was happy about that. I should have just been content with that. I should have just kept on rolling with the leveling, and continued to enjoy the social atmosphere of playing a game that actually reinforces group cooperation. I should have, but I didn’t.

When I knew I only had a bit of time for short-term play, I was jumping into EQ2. I played around a bit on a new character, and then on a level 39 alt I had, and eventually on my old 80 Shadowknight – and I just wasn’t having fun. There’s too many abilities, my old standby UI (Profit) has gone out of date it seems, and I can’t even update collection quests with it. Mostly, my issue was just too many abilities. Three hot-bars of combat abilities, and at least one of buffs – it’s absurd how much there is. The only thing that keeps me coming back to EQ2 is the housing. What SOE did with housing in that game is amazing, and the level of integration with the rest of the game should be lauded. Beyond that, the ingenuity of players to craft amazing looking homes is some of the best emergant creativity I have seen in any game.

So, my eye kept straying to that Rift icon. After my post on Friday, I was kind of curious to get the first hand experience with the queue. I still had the headstart active from a pre-order I had put with the game a bit back as a “just-in-case” measure, and as a way to ensure a name-grab. All the tweets about the game weren’t exactly pushing me away from the game, and there is nothing like that new-launch smell…

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Acceleration of Speed

These always remind me of my childhood.

Leveling speed.

This one facet of any game is probably something mulled over and over as the design process goes on. With good reason, it’s an integral facet of any MMO. How fast do you want players to move through each area? How quickly do you want people to reach the end? If you make it too fast, will it loose consequence? If it’s too slow, will players become frustrated, especially in today’s market of instant gratification? Is the focus of your game supposed to be on the journey, or the destination, and how do you create the curve appropriately?

WAR is an interesting beast in regards to how it approached level-progression. On the one hand, there is the 1-40 career levels you have to progress through. I remember before release, Jeff Hickman saying in an interview that it was a very time-friendly 10-days gameplay to reach cap. Yes, you read that correctly, 10 days of play time to reach level 40. The rampage system sped this up insanely well for highly coordinated individuals. However, for most of us, and eerily-so for me, he was pretty darn accurate. My very first character, my DoK hit 40 after 10 days, and some hours. My second character (my Shadow Warrior) did it in about 8. My Knight: in about 5. My Blackguard: in about 2 or 3. On the other hand, there are the 80 renown ranks, the amount of time needed for this achievement is considerable, I’ve only done it once so far, and I’m getting close on my second. 

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Long Weekend

EQ2 - 77 MC Plate ArmorSo, I had Friday and Today off from work. Sadly, I didn’t get to just lounge away my days, playing video games. No, I actually had to do stuff. Friday, my wife and I went to this huge, high-end, used-baby-stuff sale. High-chairs, swings, strollers, changing tables, all that crap, and all held to a strict quality control for second-hand stuff. When we walked into the building, I was the only drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen. I felt incredibly out-of-place. Eventually though, the baby-buying extravaganza ended. We walked out with some great deals (got this Baby-Einstein play-walker-thing for half of new, and it still had the tags on it and the instruction manual), but it still wasn’t what I had hoped to do with my day off.

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shadowknightTwo hour Heroes season premier last night. It was great. I loved it. Also, season premier of House last night. I DVR’d it. I love the fact that the shows I watch are smartly sandwiched into different “season” slots. Though, with BSG over and done, one end is lop-sidedly light. Burn Notice stands all alone in the summer slot. I’m now down to five shows that I watch through the entire year. Burn Notice, Eureka, 24, Heroes, and House. They’re usually staggered enough that they don’t interfere with each other, and since I got the DVR it has made watching tv such a pleasure. I really didn’t believe how great a tool it would be for my leisure time. I imagine I’ll appreciate it even more once the kid arrives.

Oh, and I played some EQ2 last night. It was great, like putting on a comfortable pair of pants. I at first betrayed my SK over to Paladin (from his quasi-betrayed state in Haven), and realized that was a terrible, terrible mistake. Even though I played him as a paladin for the first 50 levels or so, the SK really is more for me and my playstyle. So I instantly betrayed back. Yes, I spent almost my entire night getting right back to where I started. Still, it felt good, and the game looks amazing. I can’t get over how good the game still looks. Back when I originally played, my computer couldn’t handle the graphics, now it can, and it’s brilliant. I’m already starting to tear through forums and trying to find out best gear progression to look forward too, and I’ve started working on my loam gathering to make adept 3’s of all my spells, so that I can THEN start using the researcher to get me the master versions of them.

Yes, EQ2 is a deep game. Very, very deep. It’s a great contrast to the fun, fast-paced, instant gratification of Champions.

Still missing my PvP though. My fingers are twitching for some face smashing, brain pounding, blood-letting goodness.


Can’t have it all I guess.

Edit: Dear Lord above, you can tell it was early when I wrote this, typos abounded, hopefully all corrected now.

Psychic Snakes – FROM SPACE

screenshot_2009-09-08-22-32-58Continuing in my super-heroic efforts of Champions Online, I’ve been sticking with my Power Armor character, and resisting the temptation to play my alts. Three demands my time, and if he doesn’t get it, I’ll probably have a chest beam go through my head. Or a laser sword leave me one-armed and unable to blog. I didn’t game too much these last 5 days, for a couple of reasons.

  1. Labor Day holiday.
  2. Booze (for said holiday).
  3. U.S. Open “My name is Rafael Nadal, I will switch my racket in the first set and commence with the ass-beating”
  4. Sweet, sweet sleep.
  5. Jury duty.

Yes, I’m a tennis fan. I love tennis, and watch every major that comes along. I’ve noticed that as I get older, I watch it more, not sure why. I was never a huge football/basketball/baseball fan, but I LOVE watching tennis. If you missed James Blake’s match that went 7 sets in this open, you missed one of the best knock-down, drag-out matches in U.S. Open history. It was amazing to watch.

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Return to Hell

So, I’ve been stuck at level 31 for two days now, and I’m only barely half-way through it. I remember that this range of levels was a bear to work through on my disciple, and how much I hated the return of “hell levels”. Read more of this post