Friday, September 3, 2010

If you don't have anything nice to say...

I know it's been getting more and more quiet around here. But honestly when I feel like saying something lately, it's just not been anything positive, so it's best left unsaid. I didn't want to turn this into some grumpy ramblings blog. Oh but what the heck.

I've been back to EQ2 for a couple months now just in time for the new FTP update. I played through the expansion, which felt like something that was quickly thrown together in a couple weeks. The zone is very small with quests mindlessly running back and forth to the same spot to kill the same mob multiple times. And there weren't enough quests to get you to the next level cap, so there is some grinding required for a few levels. The appearance of the items, even Legendary and Fabled, were just re-used graphics from the low levels. Gone are the neat cloaks and glowing weapons. Those are only in the Marketplace now.

EQ2 has always had a different approach to spells and abilities compared to other games. Along with armor, your spells also need to be upgraded. You get an Apprentice version of your ability automatically when you level, and this gets upgraded to better versions either via crafting or drops. So it used to be that when you dinged, your new Apprentice spell would appear in an empty spot on your hotbar as a reminder you have a new spell to upgrade. But this was changed so now the Apprentice version overwrites your Master version from the previous tier. Definitely not a fun thing to lose your best spells in the middle of a large fight and have to find them again in your spell book. But this was done to help the players on the free to play server who can't upgrade their spells anyway. And I won't get into the UI and merchant changes, and removal of experience potions from veteran rewards to help promote their Marketplace further.

Taken individually, some of this stuff you could just suck it up and get used to, but when they're all lumped in together, the community has not been pleased. I thought the feedback thread when Station Cash was introduced a couple years ago was huge. But that's nothing compared to the feedback from these particular changes.

And then there's Final Fantasy XIV. I had been testing since Alpha but passed on the open beta as I was having to force myself to log in to test. Even though they made the mouse eventually usable along with some other positive changes, it felt like I was playing an interface game rather than an MMO. Everyone has probably heard all about the number of steps involved to perform the most simplest of activities, so won't rehash it here. Pretty world, but otherwise a huge disappointment.

And there are my grumblings for the day. Still waiting for Rift and Guild Wars 2.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rift - Dungeon Lovers Rejoice

With Gamescon taking place right now in Germany, Trion has been pretty active releasing a couple articles or videos each day. IGN shared their hands-on experience at Gamescon. At the end of that article they stated that the developers' ultimate goal was to have enough dungeons that the player could reach maximum level by running each dungeon once. Either leveling is really fast or that's a heck of a lot of dungeons.

The videos coming out have been short teasers. The dungeon mentioned in the IGN article was Realm of the Fae, where you experience the four seasons as you progress through it. And it will be something we can experience early on, as it's a lower level dungeon. Rumors are that beta will begin in September. It's seriously getting harder for me to wait for Rift to release.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Forum Popularity = Beta Invite

I've never been a fan of forums that utilize a reputation system. People vote up those that represent their view point and vote down the opposing view. It's just never made any sense to me to even have this "feature". So it's just been something that I pretend isn't there. But that's been hard to do lately over on the Rift forums since the topic seems to work its way into the majority of posts.

A couple weeks ago the CM announced that forum reputation would be one of the things they would look at when choosing beta participants. What a huge mistake that was. Groups started forming exchanging private messages to vote for each others' posts. Some members admitted to creating multiple accounts in order to vote for their own posts. Members who were voted down were posting the names of those who had done so in retaliation. Those who found themselves at the bottom of the reputation list hurried to fill the forums with their idea of "thoughtful" posts, hoping to regain some favor with the forum posters.

Recently, one fellow posted a suggestion that all the released Rift information be consolidated in one spot on the forums so it is easier to find. Currently, if you want to find the latest information on Rift, you have to do some digging on your own to visit fan sites, listen to podcasts, etc. Now if the reputation system weren't in place, I expect the forum thread would have had more normal responses to that post. Instead, hoping to gain forum favor with the fansite people and the CM responsible for posting forum info, members insulted the fellow, called him a troll for disparaging all the hard work they'd done. It's like some high school reality show over there. What a mess.

For any interested, the CM has also started a thread for you to post why you should be in beta. I'm not a fan of publicly selling myself so will likely be sitting this beta out unless I get invited through some other means. *crosses fingers*

To end on a more positive note, have you guys seen this Guild Wars 2 video? Wow, just wow. This is really looking and sounding amazing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

News from SOE Fan Faire

As most were expecting, the next EQ2 expansion will be Destiny of Velious and releases February 8. I'm crossing my fingers it's not a bunch of snowy islands high up in the sky with some sort of snowdrift-type hover board transport. The expansion will include EQ2's first flying mounts.

The EQ1 expansion releases in October and includes player housing!! Woohoo! Not that I'm playing, but maybe I'll have a look. :)

And they released some concept art for EverQuest Next, which you can find here.

DC Universe Online releases November 2. Not something I have an interest in personally. Just not into the comic books. But pre-ordering supposedly gets you a lot of free goodies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And I Write Like...

Joining the I Write Like bandwagon, I took a two blog samples and came up with:

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

and then:

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

To get a different perspective, I took a sample of some fiction I wrote elsewhere and came up with:

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

So I suppose Dan Brown it is.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EQ2 Extended - FTP Option

SOE has announced they will soon be offering their own version of free-to-play for EverQuest 2.

They will continue to offer the subscription model; however the Extended model will function separately on completely different server lists. While you technically can play completely for free, your options will be limited to two character slots, two backpacks, eight classes, and four races. Free players also will be unable to upgrade their spells and gear, and will have restrictions in gold and broker usage. There will also be a subscription model available on these servers. As far as I can tell, the difference for subscribers between the Extended and Regular servers will be a more "robust" cash marketplace including the ability to purchase stat armor, buffs, and cutting your spell research time.

While initially, I suppose current players opposed to ftp or this type of cash shop will rejoice that they're not on the same servers, I don't think in the long run this will be a good thing for the population of the current servers. New players trying the game will automatically start on the other servers now and are more likely to stay there than have to start over on new servers, especially knowing the option to purchase certain perks will be available. Researching a spell currently takes me 30 days to complete...who wouldn't want to pay to speed that up? Also players from normal servers will be able to have their characters copied to the new servers for a fee and minus their gold and many of their items.

I realize they've done it this way to not chase off their current subscribers as they've done in previous MMO's, but in the long run I don't think this fares well for the old servers and is more a way of getting players used to the idea before merging the old servers with the new.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

EQ2 - Direct2Drive Special

For the next week Direct2Drive is offering EQ2's latest expansion Sentinel's Fate (including all previous expansions and content), along with 25% bonus experience flasks and some sets of appearance armor, all for $14.95. New accounts also get a 30-day subscription.

This deal was too good for even me to pass up.