Tag Archives: MMO

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!

Jaedia’s Perfect MMO: Part Two

Part two, aka “The Bride of FrankenMMO”. Looks like this has become part two of three! I really hope I get time to sort out part three asap because that one still needs to be written. Anyway, in the meantime, enjoy and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

Subscription

Whatever. No, seriously. Whatever works best for the developers. I might say I like buy-to-play, but the developers might not be able to provide the best game with that payment model. I’m not any where near knowledgeable enough to judge that, however, I can put forth my opinion.

All payment systems have their merits, and of course I prefer no subscription fees whether free-to-play or buy-to-play, but then a lot of things end up in the game’s store and I don’t massively enjoy having to pay to unlock bank space, character slots, and so on. I’m a big fan of Rift’s payment model. They give you the choice to play for free, the entire game, with just a few limitations, or you can pay to unlock bits and pieces. You can buy the base game and unlock a veteran account. Stick in a fiver every now and then to unlock patron passes (subscription time that you can buy ingame), and earn loyalty for fun rewards. They reward you for spending money with them. This I like. It means I actually don’t mind paying a little every now and then as there’s not subscription to worry about.

Taking a look at the likes of Lord of the Rings Online who have presented such a severely limited free-to-play experience and when you try to purchase the expansions in their store they won’t let you unless you subscribe.. (true story, by the way) it just puts you off completely. Free-to-play seems to be a difficult system to get right.

Buy-to-play is a nice idea in theory, and I believe The Secret World manages it quite well? But it often comes across not entirely different from free-to-play as, if people don’t buy the initial game and/or spend money in their store, how can the companies continue to run the game? Guild Wars 2 has limited bank space, character slots, and so on. You can happily play the game unlimited, sure, but there are still a couple of things that rankle me about this method when you have to pay so much for the initial game and then find certain limitations while playing. I think stores for buy-to-play games should be purely cosmetic, fun, and maybe the odd extension.. say.. allowing extra character slots beyond the initial number of classes.

Monthly subscriptions seem to be the default for a newly starting out MMO. Fine, whatever. As long as the initial month is free so that you can try it out before deciding whether or not you want to pay or not and if you do decide to sub, it needs to feel worth your money. If a game company chooses a subscription model, they really need some kind of reward system. World of Warcraft used to give its’ players a unique pet on their anniversary. Now the coolest mounts and pets end up in the Blizzard store and the anniversary reward is a temporary experience boost shitty tabard. Not cool. Whereas FFXIV actually gives you two options. You can pay £7.99 per month, or up it to £8.99 for a few extra features. Extra character slots, perhaps? I can’t 100% remember. But the longer you’re subscribed to FFXIV, the better the veteran rewards are. This is how you keep your fans paying for and playing your games, and something I would expect from my perfect MMO.

Personally, I just want the subscription model to be fair. The companies need to make money, yes, but they need to find ways to not appear quite so greedy. Buy-to-play is the subscription model that usually gets me air-punching, mind.

Cosmetic Items and Gear

I want to choose how my character dresses. I don’t want her to look like a shit Wonder Woman. I don’t want to run around in the Sexy Bra of Awesome Stats. I want to dress well. Lord of the Rings Online was the first game I played that did this well with their wardrobe system in which you had a separate tab for a cosmetic gear set, and thankfully Rift has the exact same method with armour dyes also involved. World of Warcraft has transmogrification which is decent. Guild Wars 2 makes you buy the armour changing items from its’ store but it does feature my personal favourite dye system in which you collect dyes, and once you own them, you can use them unlimited times on that character and play around without wasting them. The Secret World lets you dress yourself and not have to worry about how armour looks because it’s all weapons and trinkets with the stats, clothes are purely a visual thing. I could go on, but I’d definitely like a combination of Rift’s wardrobe with multiple slots for different sets (which is something I don’t mind so much having to unlock for store credit as long as the first slot is unlocked) and Guild Wars 2′s dyes.

Collections

The thing that spawned my blog name is my addiction to mini-pet collecting, and any game without them tends to bore me eventually. When World of Warcraft added the ability to learn mini-pets to your character so they stopped hogging bag spaces, I was over the moon, and honestly, their mini-pet system is still the best, especially now that these are account wide and you can name and battle them. I love it. However, FFXIV and Rift don’t do a terrible job of it, allowing you to bind mini-pets to your character also, although they aren’t account wide. Guild Wars 2 also gets an honourable mention for giving specific slots in the bank for your miniature collection which is account wide. While a lot of them are downright creepy being miniature versions of NPCs, and to use them they have to sit in your bag, the bank collections does go a long way for bag space at the very least. WoW’s system, however, hasn’t yet been beaten.

Of course, I’m also a big fan of collecting mounts, titles, cool looking armour, achievement points, artifacts, and anything else that might tickle my fancy.

Player Housing

Rift is the only game I have played in which I have yet had the opportunity to experience player housing. I know many games have it these days – Lord of the Rings Online and Everquest II come to mind, but I haven’t experienced their take on it yet. I do like Rift’s but it’d be awesome if we could do more in our dimensions. I’d like to be able to fish in the water, sit on our chairs, store readable books like in Skyrim, sleep in beds, cook on fires, and what about a few mini-games? Plus points for letting us design a few of these. They’re great places to create and socialise in. I love that you can invite people over, and they’re a fab addition for RPers too, but there’s definitely something lacking and I’m excited to see how EverQuest Next will handle this feature. Seeing the recent Landmark feature video, I think it might well satiate me in this regard so we shall have to wait and see.

Bag and Bank Space

*flops* I hate it. Hate it. Hate it. You have to shell out so much currency for bigger bags, and extend your bank space, and fish out your useless rubbish for vendors and find places for your shinies.. just.. urgh. Tedious. Guild Wars 2, at the very least, has streamlined some of it. You can deposit collectibles to your bank automatically wherever you are. Any crafting ingredients and mini-pets will go straight from your bags to your bank. If there’s anything you’d rather keep in your bags you can buy “invisible” bags which hold items that sit nicely undeposited. You can auto-arrange your bags so that everything neatly collapses into a block of tidiness, and you can auto sell grey trash items to any vendor. It’s still not perfect, by any means, but it’s the best I’ve come across. Of course, others prefer a more realistic experience if browsing Skyrim mods has taught me anything, wanting to only carry a realistic amount of items. I don’t find that particularly fun but I think differently sized bags can work for these people I just think that there must be a new way to deal with bag space.

Community, Guilds, and Friends

This is a topic that comes up a lot in the blogging and Twitter community, as they are the most important part of any MMO. Period. If not, they wouldn’t be called MMOs but rather “RPGs that happen to be online”. Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

World of Warcraft has simultaneously the best and the worst community. It’s so vast that this is possible. There are World of Warcraft bloggers and tweeters, there are different websites with communities for theorycrafting, mini-pets, PvP, gold making, all sorts. It’s fantastic. But also terrible, if Ghostcrawler’s recent news has proven anything to us. The division between the community has been astounding. I’d love to steal the best parts of WoW’s community but you can’t just leave behind the bad. So I’d love to create a game that doesn’t cater to negative players, but rather the ones that enjoy the games and enjoy each other’s company, giving options for group players and solo players who like to chat while they chill.

With guilds I really like the way both factions can join a Rift guild and that you can invite your own characters if you have that privilege in your rank. However, I’m also quite fond of Guild Wars 2′s allowing you to join multiple guilds and automatically be a part of them on your account rather than a single character. It’s so hassle free, but it doesn’t allow for much privacy if you don’t want to deal with your particular guild for whatever reason so it’d be nice to have an “invisible from guild” option for those nights.

And with the friends list, I stick to my guns. World of Warcraft so far has the best friend list, allowing you to friend by account or individual characters, giving people a choice. But I also like Guild Wars 2′s invisibilty option and ability to chat to anybody, regardless of server or even region, which The Secret World also does quite well. Too many games lack this and as a regular tweeter, it’s getting to be a necessity.

Jaedia’s Perfect MMO: Part One

I was reading my Feedly about a week ago-ish while getting ready for work and enjoyed Rakuno’s post on his “FrankenMMO” so much that I decided to write my own! Of course you should bear in mind that my first MMO was World of Warcraft and I only really got into trying different MMOs around 3 years ago and even then played WoW for most of that time so there’s a lot I haven’t experienced yet but I’ve done my best to puzzle together the features I’ve liked the most so far. It’s ended up being so long that I’ve split it up so watch this space for part two.

Character creation

Where an MMO all begins. You can’t log in to play without a virtual avatar and there have been many different versions of character creation. My personal favourites have come from Aion and Rift because I recall being able to spend a silly amount of time playing with sliders to get my settings just right. It’s important to me to have a character that looks unique as there’s not much I hate more in an MMO than running past multiple people who look just like your character. It gets.. boring. So sliders are vital. Many hair choices, also. From the get go, not the ingame store. Some games only give you a few options and I’m not keen on that. There should also be multiple races. Many go with the human races and that’s fine, but there are folk who like playing Elves, Little People, Large People, Furry Creatures, and so on, so there should be choice. Guild Wars 2 is pretty good for racial choices. And of course, for those who couldn’t give a crap, a randomise option.

Flight

Aion gave us wings. My god those things were pretty. Fairly crap in the beginning but I loved being able to glide gently to the ground when I fell off of something, and it’d be nice to be able to reach awkwardly placed corpses and nodes. Just flutter on up with the challenge being in the landing.

As for flying mounts.. I’m kind of over them. I loved collecting them in World of Warcraft but they really make the world feel small and I’m wondering if that’s part of the reason why I don’t enjoy the game so much any more. I much prefer taxis and teleportation systems as a method of getting around when you can’t be bothered to run, by foot or land mount. At least then you can go afk if you can’t be bothered with travel time. Mostly, though, I just love when worlds feel big and epic.

Mounts

However, I’m not against land mounts. Or underwater mounts, for that matter. I adore games that use different styles of mounts and give you the choice between several. It’s another nice way to personalise your character somewhat. Gaining the currency to buy one also gives you a goal, and I love me some goals.

Achievements

The ultimate in goals. Sorry Syl, but I love them. Some achievement systems seem to be there just because the developers feel it necessary to pop one in these days and they feel a little half arsed, but my favourites are achievement systems that aid in exploration. I love unlocking titles and silly little achievements for exploring the world, Rift and The Secret World do this particularly well. And Guild Wars 2 receives an honourable mention for daily/monthly/living world achievements, as well as granting you rewards at each milestone and providing a simple tracking system for whatever you’re going after. World of Warcraft’s system is what got me so into achievements in the first place but after playing around with a few, I find it a little obtrusive. Plus I think the amount of “gz” I’ve seen for reaching level 10 or entering the Darkmoon Faire have just broken me in that regard.

However, I’d love to see options. I like my achievements being account wide. Some prefer them to be bound to each character. Some would rather not have them at all. My MMO would have those options.

Gameplay

Ah yes. And where would any MMO be without gameplay? Combat style should make you think. I don’t like how in Guild Wars 2 you’re given 5 main abilities and you might use three of those in the average fight, if you’re lucky, many classes simply auto attack. Yawn. I want my combat to feel like a dance. I want a big, ramp up ability like in Secret World, so that it feels like a crescendo rather than just a shiny button that locks up for a minute or so after use. I want to dance around the mob, stun them, dodge backwards, and all sorts. It shouldn’t be “1, 2, 2, dead,” it should need a little thought. You need to know how to play your character and utilise their abilities based on the type of mob you are fighting. And yes, I mentioned dodging. I love dodge mechanics in an MMO and after Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World I find too many games lack them.

Class System

This is a complicated one. I tend to find, “Pick Warrior, Mage, Priest, or Rogue” boring but Guild Wars 2 has proven to us that removing the trinity (tank, healer, dps) is not a popular choice and I’m definitely there.. While I love Guild Wars 2 and my dps classes, it just feels like utter chaos without tanks and healers around.

With all that in mind, there’s only one real answer: choice. Rift, at the very least, has a decent Soul system once you’ve chosen one of the four base classes. Your Rogue can be an Assassin, a Ranger, a Bard, a tank, your Mage can be a Warlock, Stormcaller, Pyromaniacmancer, healer, support, and so on. You have choices and that’s cool. In Everquest II, you open character creation and are met with an overwhelming choice of classes. This way is a little old fashioned now, in my honest opinion, but you can’t complain about the lack of choice. Guild Wars 2 has you choose your class in a similar way but the playstyle changes drastically depending on the weapon you have equipped. I found FFXIV’s class system intriguing, how you choose a class and can unlock others later, but you have to level each class from level one and that gets incredibly grindy. It’s a good idea but still needs some polish to make it a truly good feature. So we head back to The Secret World wherein you have ability and skill points. To unlock a class, similarly to Guild Wars 2 you must equip the right weapon, but that’s where the similarity ends. You then place points in an ability wheel which you earn throughout gameplay, and your skill points are placed in a separate section which unlocks the ability to equip higher level gear and weapons. This is how you unlock each class, as you start off as just a human being and work your way up.

Resources

This is something that grinds my gears about World of Warcraft. You see an ore node, a herb, or something similar, but there’s a mob. You have to kill the mob to get the resource because it will simply interrupt you. Some classes can stun, sleep, polymorph the mob, some can pop their pet on it while they grab the resource, others just have to kill it. In the meantime, another player has swooped down and taken the node and swooped off again, leaving you shouting, “That git stole my resource!” No, they didn’t, they were just rude. But Guild Wars 2 has proven that this isn’t a necessary feature with shared resources. Imagine the same situation, except you can both take the resource. They’re still a little rude for not helping with the mob, but mobs are shared too so it’s equally worth their while to help you kill the mob because it’s polite and absolutely nothing is lost.

Levelling and Questing

I like levelling, so that’s one thing I wouldn’t take over from The Secret World. But how it’s done is important.

Quests work, and I’m happy to do them. But the whole ‘kill ten rats’ thing has been done. Yawn. So Rift? Nice try with carnage quests, but all you’ve done is streamlined the yawning. Lucky for Rift, they’ve also streamlined story quests and played with rifts a little more so there are multiple ways to level, and I believe this is key. Guild Wars 2 has, likely, my favourite levelling experience of any MMO right now. Everything you do can give you experience. Discovery and exploration, earning achievements, completing ‘hearts’, which is Guild Wars 2′s play on questing. They’re a little like quests but you also unlock a vendor when you’ve completed one and they count towards zone completion. Sadly, I think they’re doing away with hearts for any future content but I like them. There are also zone events, your character’s story quest, dungeons, and living world content, and all sorts. It really encourages you to mix up your levelling a lot, especially with the addition of daily achievements which change every day. The Secret World, however, makes you choose. You have 6 slots for your ‘quests’ (I forget what they call them at this time), one for your main story, one for a dungeon, one for a major quest, perhaps a timed event or something, and then three slots for side-missions. These are basic, repeatable missions (that’s the word I was after, isn’t it?) which reward experience, reputation, currency for that zone. So you have to decide which missions are the most worthwhile to you.

Shh.. We’re Huntin’ Gaming Communities

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As I seem to be back playing games and blogging about them at the moment, I’m on the lookout for communities. I’ve got the MMO blogging/Twitter community *gives you all a wave* and the World of Warcraft ones as well, of course, but I’m looking to follow more people on Twitter who play all sorts of games (preferably PC/MMO gamers), and to find more of an EU presence as at this time, most of my EU friends are playing Warcraft and I’m getting lonely!

I’m looking for:

  1. Any gaming tweeps. Send me your lists. Tired of my feed being so very WoW focused and wanting to mix it up a bit more.
  2. An EU based community, perhaps with forum. If not EU, a friendly one at the very least.
  3. Friendly EU based guilds in various MMOs. Particularly The Secret World, FFXIV.
  4. More not-solely-focused-on-Warcraft blogs (happy with the handful I follow). I have a bundle, but you can never have enough blogs, right?

If you’d like to connect in any game, just look for your nearest Jaedia. ;) I regularly tweet my various usernames but I shall add them to the about page soonish. In the meantime, I have listed my web presences on that page and my GW2 id is listed on my Twitter profile, and you’re welcome to ask for others. I just want to connect with people who share the same interests! So please do get in touch, I’d really appreciate any help you can send my way, even if it’s simply sharing the post on your Twitter. Thanks peeps.

O’ Brave New World

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Today I am excited for four of EverQuest Next’s classes have been announced in PC Gamer! There will be many more to come, I’m sure, but discovering future class choices is always exciting, so from EQNexus:

Cleric - Wields either a two-handed hammer or a hammer and shield. Buffing and protecting allies is the typical Clerical duty, but these magic men and women do it with the power of fire, which gives them some killing power, too.

Necromancer - Wielding a tome or a dagger and focus object, the Necromancer summons destructive chaotic energies and comes with a companion: a Monstrosity that grows in power with its master.

Beast Lord - If you’re a fan of ‘trampling’ and ‘savaging,’ the Beast Lord’s furry friends make excellent companions. You can do your own savagin, too, with a flail and shield combination, or a spear for medium range attacks.

Tempest - With two blades or one two-handed blade, the Tempest ‘dances across the battlefield’ and unleashes powerful winds and blasts of lightning. Ought to appeal to fans of action RPGs.

Tempest, mostly, has my eye from these choices. I adore classes that utilise lightning and this one sounds fantastic, even from this small piece of information. I can already picture it playing like a storm itself. My character wielding a huge blade and swooshing towards her enemies in a whirl of wind and lightning, cracking down and breaking the very earth around her feet as her lightning-crackling blade stabs into the very heart of her enemy, and dancing around it until it is no more. *rubs hands together* Most excellent. Beast Lord, also somewhat has my attention. From the blog title you might guess at my love of all things adorable in the gaming world but usually this comes alongside the Ranger class, so for me it’s interesting to see the first announced pet class sounding a bit more Barbarian than Ranger. Of course it’s all speculation for the moment but it’s always interesting to imagine these things.

For the moment, we don’t know whether or not these will be baseline classes or unlockable ingame or a mixture of the two, or none of the above. Personally, I’d like to hold back on speculating and get the answer from the EverQuest Next officials, but don’t let that stop you. What do you think of these announcements? Base classes or no? Which most catch your eye and what are your hopes?

Places To Call Home Within A Rift Torn World

Last night I picked up the Storm Legion souls from the Rift store. Not only does this mean that I can play the full game once again and try out the apparently fantastic Harbinger soul on my Mage, but I unlocked the green tier of loyalty. Rift is one of few MMOs that gives you worthwhile rewards for spending money and time on their game and I respect them immensely for this. Each coloured tier gives you increasingly improved rewards. The green one unlocked quite a lot, including the Faen’s Retreat dimension which I spent a fair while decorating last night with the items that were given with the green dimension item pack and Warden’s Point.

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Of these I unlocked the 21,000 and 30,000 rewards. The 21,000 ones are a pair of cool looking shoulders and a vendor upgrade. Of the 30,000 ones, the Writ gives a title, the bauble allows me to change the appearance of my weapon, and I’ll show you the horse and dimension below.
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This is the horse pictured before the front exterior of the Faen’s Retreat building. The horse has quite a ‘Paladin’ appearance to it and I prefer my bears (sorry, Ursin), but it’s still pretty nice. And I added a couple of trees/shrubbery to the exterior. That torch is the first of three leading down to the water.
This is my little pool. I’ve popped in a little platform overlooking the water here which I’m hoping to turn into a little “hang out” area eventually. For now it’s just about tranquility.
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The outside looking in. I’ve set up the little reading/dining table just here overlooking the water. I also popped in the armour rack on this side which seems appropriate for an adventurer’s home.
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Last but not least, the sleeping area. I picked up some storage where a Mage might keep her gear, the bed, and some food supplies. As basic as it is, I think I’m most proud of this little area.

As you can see, it’s nice and simple. I pretty much just used the items the game has provided so far, as well as a couple of cheap items from the dimension store. However, I think it’s turned out to be a nice little home for my Eth. I’m really looking forward to picking up a foresty type dimension to really play around with when my ingame finances stabilise. Just a shame that I missed out on Gloamwood – that looked like a pretty dimension.

I also joined a new guild last night. I had joined the biggest guild on the server in lieu of any knowledge about guilds worth joining on my shard, purely so that I didn’t feel lonely while playing as none of my friends are in Rift right now, but always keeping my eye on various chat channel advertisements incase something caught my eye. Well last night it did. The advert claimed it was a guild for mature yet silly people who liked to have fun at their own pace and yeah, that’s the kind of place I like to call home so I got in touch and immediately upon joining felt more welcome than I had in the other one. There were 15 people online instead of 100 and there was genuine conversation happening, with banter and everything. And friendly achievement gratsing, which I used to hate but I’ve grown to really love.

So I didn’t level up last night in the end and I’m still sitting just shy of level 55, but all in all I had quite a good evening and today I’m hoping to learn how to play this Harbinger role I’ve equipped over my healing role (let’s face it, it’s never going to get any use) and of course, watch Doctor Who!

The MMO Hop

I’m really enjoying hopping around different games as the mood takes me at the moment. There are so many great games with different reasons to play them and by trying multiple games, it’s harder to burn out on one. Of course, I have my preferences, which currently seem to lie with FFXIV and Rift, but I’m taking it slow and making sure I don’t burn myself out too easily. Dan has made a little game of it though, walking in and trying to guess which one I’m playing before looking.

In Guild Wars 2…

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I’m just not feeling it since I took the week off when my dad was down. I don’t know. I burned out on my Ranger because I felt as though I was supposed to go melee and I really didn’t want to but Longbow is supposedly subpar and I got tired of the bulky Norn actions so.. yeah I have a Human Mesmer and a Human Elementalist. Both are fun, but I don’t like much more than half an hour before I want to log out and do something else. It doesn’t help that the guild I’m in seems to have teamspeak as a communication necessity and I’m just not into that. I’ll voice chat when necessary, or with friends, but these people (minus a very small handful) are still more or less strangers to me so it doesn’t do it for me. Thus. Yawn. Sad times.

In World of Warcraft…

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Definitely not my main game any more. I can see there’s some great stuff coming in 5.4 but I’m just not excited. I still enjoy group activities with the guild. We did a Firelands Heroic tonight (plus a couple of non-guildies) and it was easy and fun. So for some reason I felt like crap afterwards but think that’s more down to my depression. Then a few of us did a couple of heroics for the meta achievements, and we’re hoping to do a few challenge modes and some flex raiding in the future so all in all, there’s stuff to be doing with them but outside of these activities I have this big old ball of meh. It’s a shame. I keep thinking I should just quit but I always miss my friends and come back, because one thing I still adore about World of Warcraft is its’ community so not just yet.

In FFXIV…

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Oh my gosh I love this game. The music is amazing, I particularly like the Ul’dah music, it’s gorgeous, it runs okay on my laptop compared with Guild Wars 2 and perhaps Rift when it’s not too overcrowded, there’s mount music, Moogles, Chocobos, minipets, our little Free Company is full of nice peeps, I get to be a Cat Lady… I could actually go on. I’m really enjoying it which is such a surprise considering it wasn’t on my radar at all, then suddenly everybody was raving about it, and I still didn’t think I’d be playing because money, but then Ravven gifted me her copy and I fell in love (no, not with her, she managed that a long time ago). And as I’m starting my job tomorrow, I’ll be upgrading to collector’s because Coeurls are amazing and pig in a wig.

Honestly, if you’re on Phoenix EU or feel a bit lonely and want to roll an alt somewhere, give us a shout. Officers are myself, @badleeroybrown @baskius and @wabbage and any one of us can get you invited. We’re a friendly bunch and would love to have you.

In Rift…

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I wanted to go back to Rift so many times. I adored it on release. It was the first MMO outside of WoW in which I reached max level and I subbed for one or two months before getting lonely and going back to WoW. Since then I couldn’t afford to resub or get hold of the expansion then it went f2p and I still didn’t go back straight away. However, this weekend I made a little Rogue Huntsman on Faeblight and joined Belghast‘s guild, who are all lovely and have an amazing guild tavern. I’m seriously astounded at how much Trion have added to this game, and how well I feel they’ve made the f2p model work for them. I don’t feel at all restricted as I’m playing, and it may be because I bought the original game, but it’s fantastic and I do feel more likely to actually consider subbing for a month here and there because of it.

I’d also like to level up my original character, Jaedia the Stormcaller on EU shards to 60 and have a good play around so I’ve scouted out the guild finder and will hopefully plonk her in one of those guilds unless any of you are playing at the moment and wouldn’t mind me tagging along?

In Saints Row III…

Yeah I also had a brief poke around in Saints Row III finally on Saturday when I was having some latency issues. It was a part of a recent Humble Bundle Dan picked up for me and it seems to have a bunch of DLC which is very cool. I don’t usually like shooty games but I’ve heard good things about this one so I jumped in, made a badass Chinese lady and drove around very badly, running over many, many hotdog men. It’s quite fun.

As For Me…

I’m not feeling great tonight. I start my new job tomorrow which will be great, but I’m worrying the hours might break me during my recovery. However, it’s an ideal job for me and my mental state as it’s in a little petrol station. I can focus on the customer’s needs and keeping the store tidy and safe rather than whatever my brain tells me to focus on. In the meantime, I feel as though I’m off to school tomorrow and I’m having a bad night, though writing this blog post has helped a fair bit. But yes, I’m officially no longer unemployed guys!