Tag Archives: MMO

Woe Is Jae!

Disclaimer: I do not apologise for my most excellent of the MS Paint skills. If you would like to thank anybody personally, you can thank Simcha and Lodur for the idea. You’re welcome! The internet is still not working at Casa Jae as there’s an issue on our line and we need engineers to come out and fix that *sob*, so I thought I’d talk a little about the games I have been playing during the internet dry-season that has been early May.

That's a router with no internet connection, not a cassette tape.
That’s a router with no internet connection, not a cassette tape.

Before we moved I made sure all of the games I might want to play were installed, updated, and able to load through Steam so that I didn’t get blocked from playing something I really fancied, because I never know what’s going to take my fancy in a week’s time. I’ve played all sorts over the past couple of weeks. Fable, Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, The Witcher, Torchlight I & II, Long Live The Queen, Solitaire.. Some good, some average, all wasting the hours until I can once again jump back into the world of MMOs I love so very much.

Points if you can guess the game!
Points if you can guess the game!

And oh, how I miss my MMOs! I miss logging into an avatar that I can customise any way I want, listening to the fantastic music that goes into these games, talking to my friends and spending time with them, exploring worlds whilst talking to friends and just.. everything. When you find a hobby that you truly love, it’s tough to pin down every single thing that you love about it. I’ve also missed out on the new Rift patch. I hear the new souls are fairly pricey and I want to get my arse into gear and get farming some REX so I can afford them. I’m supposed to be setting up a little twig of Eternal Dawn in Guild Wars 2 as it’s a game that I have a real passion for, and a few in the guild would like to give it a little go as well.

woeisjaetwig
This is a twig.

In the ever-changing world of MMORPGs, time is passing. I have internet via BT hotspot but all it’s doing is teasing me as I watch people enjoying the WildStar open beta and the new stuff rolling in and all I can do is play Civ 5 for a little bit until it crashes because Windows 8. At this rate, I won’t leave the house for at least a week when I do retain access to my ever-precious MMO worlds. Just you wait.

woeisjae03
Hermit Jae playing MMOs. Yay! Colour and internet and things!

In seriousness, however, the engineers should be coming out on Thursday, supposedly. Just have to cross all fingers and toes that they’re able to get us connected finally. I miss you guys!!

When The Night Is Dark And Full Of Terrors

When life gets tough, video games are there for you. They are not a fix. They do not make your problems go away. But they can be a comfort.

This is not my first heavier post, nor will it be the last, I imagine. But I felt I needed to say a few things and hopefully there’s some nice stuff within.

Recently, I’ve been struggling. I suffer a lot with anxiety and depression and sometimes it all gets too much. Work is difficult for me. I try, I really do, and heck.. the past few months I’ve even succeeded, but every now and then, something tweaks and I come crashing down. Most recently I was told that I wasn’t doing well enough at my job and that caused a complete mental collapse. I felt as though I’d fallen down and every time I tried to get back up, somebody was pushing me back down with their foot. After a while of that, you’d give up, right? Just stay down until the foot goes away. Except I’m not okay with that. I’ve done the giving up thing and it’s quite unpleasant. I have a life to live so I circumvented the foot and sought as much help and support as I possibly could, resulting in a huge shake-up in my life and a doctor’s note declaring me unfit for work. It’s frightening, but I’m rolling out from under that foot. I might be a bit muddy for a while, my legs shaky from disuse, but I’ll get back up. I might even have to sit there one the ground for a little while, but I will get up. And in the meantime I’m gaming.

Gaming Can Be A Healthy Escape

Some people turn to self harm, alcohol, drugs, all sorts when the foot keeps them down. I, personally, ignore those urges as much as I can. Sometimes I comfort eat, sure, but mostly I escape. I read, I watch TV shows, I write, I game. I might even spend a lot of time doing nothing but, however, at the end of each day, I go to bed feeling more like myself than I do around the times when I don’t get to escape.

rift_sepiaguild

Cue Rift. The game I’ve always loved and never really had the chance to play because I couldn’t find likeminded people to play with. Not people who were active enough for me, anyway. So I sought a guild. I decided I wasn’t going to just settle like I have done in the past, I wanted a guild that fitted me. And that’s how I stumbled into The White Wolves and found a guild that wasn’t just a bunch of people playing a game together, but a community, and one that I’m proud to be a part of.

They’re warm and welcoming. Silly. Helpful. Fun. People that I can call friends. All the things that I need when I’m gaming. And all the things I need when I escape from the crap going on in my life. All within a game that I love.

So while I’m sat on this muddy floor feeling cold and a little put off, I’ll be getting a little white wolf cuddle to stave a little of that off.

Blogs CAN Be Community

Belghast published a fantastic post today talking about the community of both MMO blogs and World of Warcraft blogs and the differences between the two. It wasn’t until I published my comment that I realised I had a lot to say about this subject so here goes.

Warcraft Beginnings

Many of us have our origins in the World of Warcraft blogosphere. It was the game that projected the MMO market to a more mainstream audience and so many of us have our beginnings in this game, in MMO gaming, and in blogging. Of course, not all of us, for sure, but even those who started back with EQ, Ultima, and such will have played WoW at some point or at the very least considered doing so.

Those of us who started in WoW blogging will most likely have signed up to Blog Azeroth and met other WoW bloggers through the forums there. There’s an introduction forum to introduce yourself and your blog, so very often new bloggers will interact most with other new bloggers and then go on to check out the shared topics and various community events which get bloggers, new, old, known, and unknown alike interacting and getting to know each other.

Drifting Away

This is all fantastic, but World of Warcraft isn’t forever and isn’t the only MMO out there and many of us drift away eventually. Some stop with MMOs, some move on to others. Some stop blogging, some switch to a more generic MMO based blog. Sadly, this is where things get a little tough. As Belghast says in his post, “…with the non-wow MMO blogosphere is ..no common point of reference that we all have… instead of immediate bonds over shared experience, what I found instead were a bunch of wholly independent personalities, not all of which were that open to new people operating in their shared space.” This is the comment that really hit home for me. Yes, I’ve been fickle with my posting since changing my blog up, and yes, I have made a few friends that I’d like to think are very open to newer bloggers and don’t mind my fleeting existence in this ‘sphere – you guys are wonderful, by the way. But there are those that (and this could well be down to my poor mental health) make me feel.. not so much unwelcome as disinteresting. They couldn’t care less if new people start blogging in these parts or not and this is, I feel at least, the issue with keeping people in this little blogosphere that we like to call a community.

So What?

As I said in my essay comment on Bel’s post, which was almost a blog post in itself, “The MMO blogosphere CAN be as communal as the WoW blogosphere. I have seen it. All it requires is a bit of inter-blog commenting, Twitter discussions, link love, whatever. But interaction is the key.”

Lots of us are great with commenting, discussing different things on Twitter, linking up to other blogs in some way or another, and of course there was the Newbie Blogger Initiative (which I just missed out on yet again this year), which is all brilliant, but I feel there is a lot we could learn from the WoW blogosphere. Remember the shared topics? Easter Egg hunts? Secret Santa blog post exchanges? Heck, I even remember a secret admirer programme a few years back for Valentine’s Day! They were all great fun and brought people together, introducing bloggers and blog readers to blogs they may not have previously known about. We need more of this, the only problem is time. And a lot of us don’t have it. I, sadly, know full well that I would start out with the best of intentions and quickly forget a post, leaving it to stagnate, so I’m not entirely sure where to go from here. However, I fully believe that something can be done. What do you think?

Night Before PC Glee

‘Twas the night before PC, and all through the flat, not a creature was stirring, not even a cat. *sadface*
Ethernet cable wound round the room with great care, in the hopes that soon the MMO playing beast would be there..

gw2_mesmer01

I get my new PC tomorrow!! I’m very excited. Can you tell? I’ve been attempting to game on a laptop for the past year as my old PC was on its’ last legs, devoid of RAM and a working monitor, and said laptop isn’t really designed for gaming so for months you could likely hear my cries of frustration. Even before I got my laptop, my PC wasn’t amazing. A little better, granted, but not by much as it was several years old at this point (pre-Burning Crusade Warcraft old). So imagine my delight when my dear father offered to buy me a PC for Christmas. This is exactly why my budget was £600, for those wondering. I could neither ask him for any more, nor afford to add in any money of my own.

The finalised specs took a fair bit of poking around. First, my dad’s friend was going to be building me a PC and my dad would drive over for a weekend with it (he lives 230 miles away, for a little perspective). Suicidal Zebra and Moketronics were fantastically helpful in refining those particular specs but then that fell through and he almost gave me his PC which is mega but that also fell through and then my dad just came down anyway, which was a lovely weekend, and gave me the money to spend as I saw fit. Then the frustration began as I asked and asked for help, consistently being told to build it myself. While I appreciate that this is the best option, I am technologically inept and Dan isn’t too much better so that wasn’t really the option for me.

So we were looking at pre-built options, myself and the internet. Many of you were very very helpful (a couple.. not so much..), honourable mention to JackBeanStalker, but it was dear Mr. Ocho who came up with the final specs for a PC built through PC Specialist. I put the order through on the 26th December and it should be arriving tomorrow! Eek! I shall reveal the specs then so as to keep you in suspense – lucky you. We picked up a monitor through Dan’s catalogue, I ordered an ethernet cable, all that’s missing now is a desk that isn’t broken.

In the meantime, I’m pondering what to play on the machine that will actually run games (I think it needs a catchier name, don’t you agree?). Obviously, I’ll be able to enjoy Rift and Guild Wars 2 much more. Graphically, and beyond. I can’t wait to see how pretty these games can be for real. Of course, I won’t necessarily be running the games on full graphics, even with the new computer, because I’ll be particularly enjoying the smoothness of gameplay. The ability to get out of the shit and play in groups!! I seriously can’t wait.

However, my biggest excitement is reserved for The Secret World and FFXIV:ARR, both of which I really, really tried to play on my laptop to no avail. Gameplay is choppy at best, mobs don’t spawn before they try to kill me, and then some. It was not enjoyable but the little I did experience I adored. So these will be the first games I install and jump into.

But then there are others I’ve been wanting to try out, including Neverwinter, Tera, many of the games I have on Steam, not forgetting the upcoming MMOs which doubtless wouldn’t have run on my laptop either. I just don’t know where I’m going to end up. It’s a little intimidating, actually, but mostly exciting! I just can’t wait to finally be able to play the games that I want to play. And a huge thank you to everybody who tried to help me with the specs, even the unnamed peeps. I’m totally rubbish at this stuff so couldn’t have done it without you.

Jaedia’s Perfect MMO: Part Three

Part three, “The Son of FrankenMMO”. Here it is, the final part of my FrankenMMO post. I think by now you have an idea of the kind of MMO gamer I am, and developers? You’re welcome. ;)

Addons/Mods

Mods should always be optional. I can’t think of an instance in which they aren’t.. unless you want to play Morrowind on a larger resolution than existed when it was released, but even then, somewhat optional.

Mods are always quite a divisive feature in MMO communities. Some prefer the purity of the basic game or the simplicity of not having to work out what’s best based on playstyle/system and so on, whereas others want to improve their gameplay by customising their UI, auction house, and so on. Some guilds will kick raiders for not using particular mods whereas others don’t care so long as you play well enough and/or aren’t a dick.

Personally, I always find games run better without mods and if a game doesn’t have the function for them, then everybody’s on a level footing in that regards so generally I prefer games that come without but allow decent customisation of the UI appearance from ingame.

However, when they are available, I do use them. There are always improvements to be made on a default UI depending on your personal choices and I like that. Ideally, it would be nice if some day modding would allow players to create new content within an MMO like you can in the Elder Scrolls games and such, however, if this ever happens I can only imagine it’s a long way off being a reality. A girl can dream.

In the meantime, I think EverQuest Next sounds as though it has the right idea with modding. They are saying they want to allow customisation but not to an extent that players would have a real benefit over others. So addons would be purely cosmetic, basically. They used the example that you couldn’t enter a zone and instantly know where all mining nodes are with the use of a mod.They have also said that they will watch the modding community and if something comes up that is a definite improvement, they will consider implementing it into the base UI. This is the system I’d have in my FrankenMMO, it sounds just about right.

Endgame

Levelling is only one part of an MMO, there’s always going to be the question of, “What do I do when I hit max level?” And if there’s little to do but grind the same dungeons over and over, complete achievements, and level alts (I’m looking at you, Guild Wars 2), then people will end up turned off eventually and we don’t want that.

Then again, people are also becoming tired of the same old formula: level up, grind gear, complete raids/grind battlegrounds, rinse, repeat. It works, yes, but it’s old and tired.

I’d like to see a form of raiding, something big that guilds can focus on, because people like that kind of thing. Perhaps something similar to World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor ‘flexi’ system, allowing 10-25 people to choose between 3 difficulties and go for it. But it needs to find a way to allow for more spontaneity, because I don’t know about you guys, but I’m incredibly bored of being told to log on at x time with x amount of preparation for the chance of waiting around for at least half an hour to find out if I have to do what 9-24 other people want to do for the night. I like to choose how to spend my time, not have it feel like a second job in a more comfortable chair. I’d also like to see more focused group PvP for the PvPers, perhaps in a raid style. I think Guild Wars 2 went a way to create this with World v. World, and of course PvP arenas work for this purpose too, but I’d like to see something more guild focused for PvPers like raiding.

But it would need something else. Perhaps similar to Guild Wars 2′s living world content and Secret World’s chapters. Some content that is added on a cycle, say every 3 weeks or so, which reduces repetition and gives players more variety, story, fun things to do, and much of it soloable, if not allowing very small groups.

Events

Similarly, events are important. Whether it’s living world content, a holiday event, dynamic zone events, or something else entirely, they break the monotony of a game’s day-to-day life and give something new to focus on for people who need that. But they should also be entirely optional for those who aren’t so keen. I particularly love seeing Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s, and so on in some kind of ingame form, preferably with their own game lore.

Events should add minigames, fun rewards, cosmetic items, and just generally be a way to bring communities together with the excitement of a new patch.

Options

One trick ponies don’t keep players playing, so every MMO needs to provide different options for different kinds of players. Of course, they should focus on their strengths. World of Warcraft has its’ raiding, Guild Wars 2 has World v. world, Rift has whatever Rift has.. But to really keep players interested, the best MMO has variety.  Though I suppose the rest of this post series has said that for me.

Right, so that’s this post finally complete! So please tell me: what would your favourite MMO be? Would you take pieces from various MMOs you’ve enjoyed over the year to combine into a mighty FrankenMMO of perfection or look towards the future? What do you like and don’t you like? What particular features interest you the most or perhaps turn you off? Leave your comments or write your own posts!