Friday, April 30, 2010

Guild Wars Trilogy on Sale at Steam

This week only Steam is offering a $19.99 deal on the entire Guild Wars Trilogy. Considering there is no subscription fee and you get all this content for the same cost as Alganon, this was just too good a deal for me to pass up.

I played the original Guild Wars, but never had picked up the other campaigns. I really liked the early game, but the content toward the end game had just gotten more and more frustrating for us to a point where we couldn't proceed any further as a duo. So we'll see how far we get this go around.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Server Merge for Vanguard

On the official Vanguard forums, Silius has confirmed another server merge in the works for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. They are still working out the details but the future looks grim.

There are currently only four servers left, three PvE and one PvP. My guess is that the three will be combined, while the PvP server left as is. Since it's one big open world, I can only assume players will lose their homes and guild halls in the transfer. But I have to wonder how long will SOE continue to support an MMO with two servers?

As was mentioned in comments in a previous post, Vanguard could have been the real Everquest successor. It just needed a little TLC...okay maybe a lot of TLC. If SOE had piled on the love and care EQ2 has received, I think Vanguard could be a phenomenal game. But maybe that was intentional. Maybe they didn't want Vanguard to be good enough to compete with EQ2 which might have caused population issues there as well. They want to bring in new subscribers not spread out the ones they already have. Could they have let it flounder for that reason? I don't know, but whatever their reasons, the state of the game is a tremendous shame.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If You Liked That MMO, Then You Might Like This

While doing some internet searches for relevant DAOC information, when I'm not landing on dead links, I often find myself at old DAOC guild sites. Many of these sites had referring links as the guild has now moved on to another MMO. What was surprising was that in nearly all instances, they had moved to one of two games--LotRO or WAR. The role-play and more realm pride focused guilds tended to be in LotRO, while the RvR "we're going to kick some arse" focused guilds moved on to WAR.

It got me curious as to what players from other older MMO's were more likely to be playing now or for an extended period of time after leaving. So I did some searching through old guild sites, as well as lots of posts by individuals to see where they came from and what they liked afterward. Obviously, everyone's taste is different so there's much room for differences of opinion. But here's a summary based on gamers' first MMO experiences and where they moved on to for long terms:

If you liked Dark Age of Camelot, you might like WoW, LotRO, WAR, or Darkfall. The first three were mentioned most frequently from retired DAOC players, with Darkfall in a distant fourth. Single players more often went to WoW and LotRO, while entire guilds tended to focus on WAR or LotRO.

If you liked Everquest, you might like WoW, LotRO, DAOC, SWG, EQ2, or Vanguard. Considering how hardcore EQ1 was considered, it was surprising how the majority seemed to end up in WoW. WoW offered something for both the raiders and the casual players who had been struggling to continue in EQ1 as each expansion and mob difficulty became more raid focused. But aside from WoW, EQ1 players had varied tastes and ended up across several MMO's.

If you liked Ultima Online, you might like SWG, EVE, DAOC, WoW, or EQ. I never played this to make comparisons, but SWG and EVE were mentioned more frequently. I'm guessing the whole sandbox thing has some relevance here.

If you liked Asheron's Call 1 or 2, you might like LotRO, EQ2, WoW, or Vanguard. I didn't notice a clear number one choice here, but these were the MMO's most mentioned.

If you liked Anarchy Online, you might like EVE, Age of Conan, Ryzom, WoW, CoH, or SWG. EVE seemed to be the winner here, and I was surprised at how often Ryzom was mentioned. Also surprised to see CoH, but I guess they share similarities in the mission styles--pick them up, click on door.

If you liked SWG, you might like EVE, LotRO, CoH, and perhaps STO. LotRO was about even with EVE. Definitely something to be said for a good story line you're already familiar with. More recently, several guilds had set up shop in STO, but still too early to tell if they'll be sticking around.

I'm sure there's some I've left off here, but these were some of the older MMO's I was more famliar with. There's a few things to note here. The taste in MMO's definitely doesn't work both ways. While many EQ1 players may like WoW, odds of WoW players liking EQ1 may be slim. Same goes for DAOC/LotRO. Also there seems to be some brand loyalty in some of these cases. Why are Anarchy Online fans interested more often in Age of Conan than other gamers? Sometimes there's a comfortableness with your developer. You know what to expect from them and you already feel at home before even playing their next title.

It also reminded me how varied the older titles were compared to newer ones. Dark Age of Camelot had features to accommodate different tastes. You had a sense of belonging to your realm rather than a visitor passing through. This created such immersive play which also was a great setting for role-play guilds to form. The PvE content was expansive enough that you didn't have to RvR if you didn't care to. I felt none of that immersion playing WAR. I felt no connection to where I was and just was a visitor plopped down in a blazing outpost. The city was a place to bank, not a place to belong to. And the PvE.....bleh.

But not everyone is into that immersive play and RvR is plenty enough for them. So a portion of that type of DAOC player went to WAR, while some of those seeking the open world adventures, housing and immersion went to LotRO. How could an older game on a much smaller budget accommodate several play styles, while newer MMO's spending millions of dollars are so narrowly focused?

Ten years from now I wonder where those whose first MMO was WoW will be playing. If the new MMO's keep churning out like the last several, I'm guessing they'll still be playing WoW.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mythic's Apology

For the billing blunders that took place a couple weeks ago which affected players of both Warhammer Online and Dark Age of Camelot, Mythic issued a public apology explaining what and how it occurred and implementing precautions to ensure it doesn't happen again.

To help restore relationships with their players and as a thank you, they will be implementing some special goodies in both games:


For starters all players will earn 100% bonus experience and renown when killing enemies and monsters for two weeks. As well, during this time we’ll be hard at work designing and implementing a special vendor. This vendor will only accept special tokens that will be sent to your mailbox, using these two tokens each of your characters will be able to receive two of the following items:

• Bottomless Black Dye
• Bottomless White Dye
• Imperial Griffon Mount (Order)
• Enslaved Manticore Mount (Destruction)
• WAR Tract – earn a free level
• Choose from any of these pets – Order: Imperial Hunting Hound or Dwarf Keg Handler; Destruction: Warlord’s Fell Hound or the Goblin Bar-Back.
• Change your appearance with any of these illusion items: Skaven Skin Cloak (skaven), Kossar’s Helm (bear), or the Signet of the Cursed Company (skeleton)

Since I'm playing DAOC, I was more interested in what's coming my way, which is:


For starters all players will earn 100% bonus experience, bounty and realm points when killing enemies and monsters for two weeks. As well, during this time we’ll be hard at work designing and implementing a special NPC. This NPC will allow each of your characters to select two of the following items:

• Bottomless Black Dye
• Bottomless Crimson Dye (Albion), Hunter Green Dye (Hibernia), and Royal Blue Dye (Midgard)
• A selection of rare mounts: The Fire Steed, Clockwork Steed, and Storm Steed
• Choose from any of these pets – Clockwork Cat, a Mini-Dragon, and a pet of your realm.
• Vegas Round Table Trophy
• The Old Dragon Heads of Smoldering Golestandt (Albion), Frozen Gjalpinulva (Midgard), and Glimmering Culldurach (Hibernia)

Dye is easy enough to get, so not sure why that's there. I'm guessing I'll be going with some of the trophies as I'm not big on overly flashy mounts. Time to start stocking up on my realm point seals!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gods and Heroes Nostalgia

I came across some old screenshots from the Gods and Heroes beta. While there was no transgender option in character creation, I logged in once to find some funny business going on with my female toon. And here I thought the TERA armor was skimpy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Westernizing Asian MMO's

I was reading about yet another new free to play Asian MMO. I've gotten into the habit of not bothering to take a look since I know how it will turn out. But the screenshots in this one seemed sort of pretty along with some cool mounts so I thought maybe...just maybe. But no, yet another open PvP MMO.

So I couldn't help but think "about darn time" as I read an interview with former Blizzard guy Patrick Wyatt, who is now one of the head honchos at En Masse Entertainment. While I realized En Masse would be the Western publisher of TERA, I hadn't realized the company was formed for the purpose of adapting games to make them more suited to the Western audience.

According to the interview, they will be enhancing aspects that Western players like, while de-emphasizing anything that doesn't work well here. They will be rewriting stories as necessary that might not otherwise translate well. And in the case of TERA, there will be PvE servers.

TERA is their first project. There are currently six races and eight classes planned. It will be releasing in Korea this summer, while the Western version is scheduled for some time in early 2011. Definitely one I'll be watching. And hopefully there will be other female armor options to cover up a little more *cough cough*.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Alganon - Civil Action Filed

Per David Allen:

In an effort to enhance Alganon’s® market visibility and following the direction of certain investors, QOL hired Derek Smart as a consultant on December 3, 2009 to assist in the area of sales and marketing. Soon thereafter, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, Mr. Smart began a smear campaign attacking my credibility, first privately among the investors, and then publicly. As many have read on various Internet websites, Mr. Smart has made disparaging remarks concerning my professional work and comments that could lead others to question my loyalty, honesty, and ability to successfully create, build, run, and manage a multi-million dollar MMOG development company; something I have been doing successfully for over four years. Please be aware that Mr. Smart’s comments are false and that I have filed a civil action against him in Maricopa County Superior Court for his defamatory conduct, among other things. I have been advised by my legal counsel to offer no further comment at this time on this matter during the pendency of the litigation.

I've read the entire complaint which covers Smart's scheme to infiltrate and take over Quest Online, Allen's unlawful removal in violation of the Operating Agreement, and Smart's false and defamatory statements which has caused irreparable damage to Allen's career. I think the defamation went to extremes so I hope he at least gains some compensation for that. A very interesting read and I wish him much luck.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Greener Pastures of Aerrevan

There have only been a few MMO's where I involved myself in the forums prior to or even after the game's launch--Vanguard, Alganon, and more recently Aerrevan. I'm typically not much of a forum poster. But when the community is smaller and new, it's not so intimidating to be joining in and adding your own voice and opinion. So it was a pleasant surprise to find myself not so alone over there when someone I'm familiar with from Alganon read my blog and posted over at the Aerrevan forums. And then more came. She in turn spread the word to other displaced Alganites, and each day I've seen another one or two familiar names show up there as more continue to trickle in.

And then I started thinking (yeah I know...uh oh). I wondered what the motivating factor was for our interest in Aerrevan. We don't know enough to really say it's the game itself. Considering we've all come from Alganon, it's likely we all have a common interest in a smaller gaming community. Although I've never held a conversation with many of these players, there's a certain familiarity after months of reading their posts and seeing them in the chat channels in game. And with a smaller community, there's often a keener developer interaction both in the forums and in game, further cementing that community bond. It has a very cozy feel to it and is what kept many playing Alganon despite all the problems.

Hopefully, the good people over at Aerrevan and its established community aren't feeling invaded upon as the migration continues. We're just looking for a friendly place to hang our hats for hopefully a long while.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Free Realms - One Year Later

With Free Realms approaching their one year anniversary, I thought I'd have a look at all the new things added that I've read about. I had played at release and stuck around for a month or two. There have been a heck of a lot of changes since then.

I opted for the $4.99 subscription which is really hard to beat. While you can do some things for free, it's become much more restrictive. The combat has been completely revamped. I had left as an 18 archer and still had quests on me that were too difficult to complete. The past few levels had become a bit tedious.

So checking my quest list, I headed into one of the instances I couldn't complete previously. I'm not sure why, but they removed targeting of mobs. I used to try to single pull a mob, since getting too many would mean being knocked out. But now you just pretty much charge in and your attack abilities hit whatever is in front of you. The first time I saw about a dozen mobs rush at me I thought "uh oh". But my main arrow attack is now an area attack and they all went down pretty easily. Combat has definitely been sped up and the instances don't take nearly as long as they used to. Also, instead of being granted three knockouts before you fail the instance, you are given 15 in most.

Regeneration also seems higher. I used to be annoyed at all the potions I had to buy and consume. Now I only had to use them for the boss fights and a few times when I just took on too many. I'm sure many were not happy with the combat being made easier. But for their targeted younger audience, I do think it was a bit too hard before. And I even thought it was fun blasting tons of mobs at a time.

Housing has been added and I was given a small house with a yard for free. You can buy a larger house with Station Cash, but I thought the small one was plenty large enough for now. There's furniture of course in the SC store, but you can also purchase furniture from various merchants with game coins. Since there is no housing zone (you just click a button to get to your home), I haven't seen any way to randomly visit other player's homes to see how they've decorated them.

Guilds were also added and anyone can start one up solo. I think the kids are having a lot of fun with this. Looking at some of the guild names, it's pretty easy to tell it wasn't started by an adult, but some are actually cute. The guild names all are sent for approval before showing up, so you can be sure you won't see some offensive name as you or your child runs around.

Travel has been made much easier, not that it was difficult before. You used to be able to only teleport to certain hubs which you've opened up. Now you can teleport directly to any point of interest or instance.

While you always were able to see new areas referenced on the edge of the map, these areas still have not been implemented yet. But they have added more quests and more activities such as soccer and pirate plunder. And of course the SC market is filled with tons of stuff like furniture, pets, mounts, and cosmetic outfits. You do also get lots of free stuff. There's a daily wheel that spins that gives you some random item. Also, if you go to the main Free Realms page, there's usually an item displayed that you can claim.

I like the changes they've made, and I think it's a great value for 5 bucks a month. It's a cute, casual diversion from the typical MMO grind.