Thursday, October 30, 2008

World of Gatheryn

I just caught word of a new multiplayer online world in the works called Gatheryn. The setting is Victorian era with elements of fantasy. Rather than what most consider to be a typical mmo, this seems to be a combination of mmo, virtual world, and Myst. There are lands to explore and quests which involve mini-games and puzzles, rather than slaughter. You will have a home which you will be able to furnish. But all is not peaceful, as the background story involves the struggle of the people to free themselves from the powerful overlord.

The screenshots so far are very nice. Although the information available is pretty limited right now, it definitely looks to be something quite different from anything else out there. I'm not a puzzle type person, but this has piqued my interest enough that I'll be keeping my eye out on this one.

Carebears vs. PvP'rs - The Final Showdown

Errmm ok not really. But the developers of Crusades sure seem to think so. Here's a snip from a recent interview:

"Carebear players might form large guilds in order to protect their cities. We all know how much time they spend crafting. Thus, they will most likely have the best crafted items which the PvP'rs will enjoy looting (if they can) and that will force the Carebears to unite and fight, or perhaps hire the best PvP'rs to fight. Within an infinite universe setting, confrontations for territory and resources may escalate into major battles between the two player-styles. The current speculation is that PvP'rs may not survive. PvP'rs need to work with the Carebears to obtain the best weapons, planetary defenses, and spacecraft, and Carebears won't tolerate being attacked everywhere they go. Thus we have a potential Yin & Yang per say, where Carebears vs. PvP'rs could develop into a final showdown. Personally I think it is long overdue, and it could make for some interesting gameplay. But only the players may answer the question as to who would win."

Since when does carebear = crafting? They are correct though about one statement they made. As a card-carrying member of my local Carebears Union, it is true that I will not tolerate being attacked everywhere I go. However, my solution to that is not to unite and fight or hire someone to fight for me. It's to not play in the first place.

Aside from the PvP, they do have some interesting elements, some of them reminiscent of pre-NGE SWG. It will be a player-based economy, there will be player-run cities, and rather than levels it will be a tier-based skill system. Similar to Guild Wars, there will be one server and you will be able to hire NPC henchman. Release date currently planned for 2009.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

As We Approach Election Day

I have my own political opinions which I won't share here, but as a fan of Dancing With The Stars, this gave me a chuckle and I just had to share:

TCoS - Small Groups and No Raiding

Over a year ago I had The Chronicles of Spellborn listed as one of my anticipated games. But as I read more about it, it seemed to be a PvP-focused game so I dropped it from my radar. However, I came across the following recent post from TCoS staff:

"So far for PvE biggest group is 4 people and we do not intend to increase it, so far for PvP biggest group is 8. We also do not intend to have EQ/WoW style raids - that sort of thing where you need numbers to be able to do it."

I may just have to try this out after all. My biggest gripes with EQ2 have been the full-group requirements for dungeons as well as the trickle down effects of raiding. We tried to do a Kunark dungeon with four guildmates last week. The mobs were seven levels below us and we couldn't do it. Our gear just wasn't good enough. I hear raiders can solo this dungeon, but four of us in regular gear couldn't. And with the upcoming expansion being centered around dungeons, I'm guessing I'm not geared well enough for that either. Just as in EQ1, I anticipate the expansions will continue to get more difficult with raid/instance gear in mind, and the casual players will get further and further behind.

Honestly, I've been so annoyed with this aspect of EQ2 lately that if it weren't for the guild, I wanted to just cancel and uninstall. But really, where is there to go? I might have tried out LotRO again with the upcoming Moria expansion. But with TCoS coming out in a month, I plan to give this a try now. While originally there was just one server type, due to popular demand they have added a FFA PvP server. So maybe it won't be quite so bad on the other servers as the gankers have found a new home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Nice Place to Visit, But Would I Want to Live There?

Sometimes there are those stressful days where I'd just like to escape it all, climb through the looking glass monitor, and settle down in Norrath somewhere. Maybe a cabin hidden in the forests of Greater Faydark or a homestead in the fields of Antonica.

There are some games that elicit that feeling. I look around the world and think "Yep, I can live here!" I have to wonder if that's been a big part of why I enjoy one game over another. When I think back on the games I most enjoyed, they all had that livability factor. Not only is the world pretty, but my character felt connected to it.

I experienced this in EQ1, EQ2, DAOC, SWG, Anarchy Online, and WoW to a lesser degree. I'm sort of on the fence with LotRO. But with Vanguard and more recently Warhammer, I just didn't feel part of the world. I had this feeling like I was a visitor just passing through.

I don't know if it's a gender thing, an age thing, or maybe it's just me. But I need to have a home base in my MMO. And as much as all MMO's are pretty much all about slaughtering things, I need to have a peaceful home and safe haven there. In Vanguard, while you had a starting home, there was little reason to visit again once you left and it was too dang far to travel to anyway. From then on, you just move from outpost to outpost with no connection to anywhere. In Warhammer also you have this movement from outpost to outpost. While there was the main city of Altdorf, it was a long trip that I rarely made and even the city wasn't safe. And when I envision setting a house down anywhere in the Warhammer world, my first thought is that it would be burned to the ground within hours.

I have a feeling this is likely the trend of future MMO's. Rather than town heroes, we're nomads traveling down the one and only path.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guild Hall Decorating

What a busy few weeks it has been! Along with some things at home keeping me busy and a couple of betas I've been squeezing in some time for, the guild halls have taken up a tremendous amount of time. Most of it is done but still much tweaking to do as ideas continue to pop in my head. I'm definitely not as talented as most of the decorators I've seen out there, and it can take me days of staring at a room before something finally hits me.

While we had the money to obtain the level 50 guild hall, I was a little worried about the weekly maintenance and how we'd sustain it. But the guild came through and almost half the members donated both money and status, a few quite generously. The size is just perfect for us. What with the costs of the level 70 hall, as well as the lag I hear many complaining about there, we have no intention of upgrading when we hit level 70.

The halls have made game play so much more convenient. While you used to just have one gate ability with an hour refresh, you now also have a guild hall gate with a 15 minute refresh. Gone are the boat rides, waits for spires, and multiple zonings. We have just about all the portals and bells and can get places quickly now. The tradeskill stations are all there, as well as the writ givers and vendors. So it's been nice to be crafting alongside guild mates I usually rarely saw.

Here's just a couple pictures to share. The first here is the entry room. That center device is hard to see here but is an orrery with planets rotating around it.

We have a recreation room off the entry that has a gambling area as well as the bar here with some clickable kegs with free drinks. Watch out for the big keg behind the bartender. The effects from that one take along time to wear off!

One of the first things a few guild mates asked for was a spa, so that was one of the first rooms I worked on downstairs.

I think the halls have been a wonderful addition to the game. But it has had both positive and negative effects on our guild and I'm sure others as well. Our members have built stronger relationships because of the halls. It's a central meeting point regardless of race. And we've all been having a blast hanging out together. But for those that had alts spread across multiple guilds, I think it has put some pressure to stick with one guild. Most would prefer to donate status to one guild hall rather than several, so we have seen some departures for larger guilds. But we anticipated this might happen so were prepared for it.

At the moment we're closed to general visitors, but may change that in the future. But if anyone wants to stop in, don't hesitate to give a holler and I'll add your name to the visitor list.