Archive for the ‘Guild Wars 2’ Category

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GW2: On Preparations…

August 24, 2012

For those of us who have prepurchased Guild Wars 2, tonight’s the big night. As I’ve been repeatedly reminded all this week by Arenanet emails, Headstart Access begins officially at midnight Pacific time. I know there have been reports that they might be bringing up the servers earlier than planned, up to three hours prior, but whether that means we get to play three hours earlier or just that we can make our characters and lock in our names, I don’t know; I’ve heard all kinds of conflicting information.

East Coaster that I am, it won’t matter much — I’ll have to head to bed and conk out at my usual time. It’s funny, really. If you’d asked me what my plans were for an eagerly anticipated game launch even just two years ago, my answer probably would have involved something along the lines of stockpiling the Red Bull, staying up late and burning the midnight oil in front of my computer going all night until well after the dawn rises over the horizon. But what can I say, the times have changed and I’m pretty sure my all-nighter days are over, as the idea of a few more hours of sleep has become such a magical, beautiful thing! Geez, sometimes I feel so old.

In light of this, I feel fortunate that I’ve already been approached by many helpful friends with offers to reserve any names I might want, since realistically I might not be able to play GW2 until late in the day Saturday. Grateful as I am, it’s unnecessary. Coincidentally, I had a conversation about MMO character naming a few days ago, and while I know some like to stick with the same handles across multiple games, one of my personal idiosyncrasies actually involves giving each of my characters different names — and usually on the spot.

You know how sometimes you make a character, get them just right, and a random name pops into your head that just fits perfectly? That’s generally how I roll.

I’m prepared.

And yet, this doesn’t mean I don’t consider possible names beforehand, especially if I feel like observing the naming conventions of a game’s world or lore. For the rest of today, I know I’ll be contemplating and studying up on the ones for GW2. I’m a giant sucker for that stuff. Just to give you an idea, simply thinking about giving my Asura the “wrong” kind of name and her having been “teased horribly in Asuran primary studies schools” as a result of it is enough to break my heart. I mean, just look at her! Wouldn’t it break yours?! If you say no, you have no soul.

I’ve also spent the last few stress tests deciding on race/class combos and fiddling with the character creator. I already know I’ll be playing a Sylvari Guardian, and though I have yet to step foot in her starting lands, I have a general idea of what she’ll look like. I’ve gotten even further with my Asura Thief, as I’m pretty sure she won’t be deviating too much from what you see in the image above. Big blue eyes? Check. Long floppy ears? Check. Pink dreads? Check.

Will the servers will be up by the time I turn in tonight? Ah, that remains the big question, but regardless I believe I’m as ready as I can be. How prepared are you feeling? Are the names/races/classes decided? Are you staying up late, sleeping early to wake up early, or just playing it completely by ear? To my fellow headstarters, whatever your plans may be for GW2, I say here’s to smooth sailing tonight…and never mess with an Asura!

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Something’s Gotta Give

August 16, 2012

I feel both blessed and cursed that so many MMOs have caught my eye this year. On the one hand, I wouldn’t be playing them if I didn’t think I would enjoy myself, but on the other, my gaming schedule is already full enough as it is and my wallet is begging for mercy. Even Guild Wars 2 isn’t off the hook on this, because let’s face it — I want to support the game and there’s no better way to do it than to spend money. I know we all get excited over free-to-play, but I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I took full advantage of F2P and never spent a dime, while all my money went to subscription games.

What’s that old adage? It never rains but it pours? GW2 headstart for pre-purchasers on August 25, with the official launch on the 28thThe Secret World with its big Issue 2 update on August 28th. Huge World of Warcraft pre-expansion patch on August 28th, with Mists of Panderia rolling out on September 25th. Rift with a brand new expansion Storm Legion hitting stores later “this fall”. I think I’m set for the rest of the year. That is, if I manage to survive my head exploding at the end of August, of course.

I mean, summers always tend to be slower for gaming so it’s not exactly unexpected when things pick up again when fall rolls around, but here I thought last year was bad with its parade of single player games all coming out within a couple months of each other. This year is even worse — Fall 2012 is the Attack Of The MMOs, and online games generally require a fair bit more in terms of commitment and investment. It’s time to put my foot down, draw the line, insert whatever metaphor it takes as long as it ends up with me coming up with a viable MMO plan, one which involves:

1) No more than two subscriptions, as I have never maintained more than two concurrent MMO subs at any given time and I’m not going to start.

2) Finding a good combination of games that will “scratch all itches”, so to speak.

Here’s what I mean by the second part: TSW is a no brainer as it offers a very different environment and gameplay style, WoW has got the traditional PvE experience covered, and GW2 doesn’t require a subscription and reigns supreme when it comes to the dynamic events department. This last point does unfortunately mean Rift will have to take a backseat as its fantasy setting and features make it too similar to the games I’ll already be playing, though at this point I have to wonder if I’ll even get to its expansion before the end of the year.

The thing is, I still want to play Rift — quite badly actually, especially now that I know some really cool things like housing dimensions are coming to the game. Earlier this week I was very tempted by an offer from Trion: buy a full year of Rift, and get Storm Legion free, but it may be best to just pass on that and wait to subscribe until after the winter or after I’ve had my fill of WoW. It’s a great thing when new games come out and the existing ones I love add new content, but something’s gotta give. Right now I’m just breathing a sigh of relief that I don’t also have the Lord of the Rings Online expansion (September 5) to juggle too.

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SWTOR: Going Down A Path I Cannot Follow

August 1, 2012

(Yes, I made a prequel reference. I realize I deserve to be taken out back and beaten savagely now, but I could not resist.)

It’s official. Yesterday, the news broke that one of the biggest MMOs we’ve seen in years is going free-to-play later this fall, though not too many, least of all us current players, are surprised.

Disappointment abounds though, from EA execs to yours truly. I wish the best for the game, but it does appear — after being continuously subbed since its launch — that this is to be the beginning of the end of my time with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It’s not that I think a free-to-play model isn’t a good move for SWTOR or that I’ve suddenly decided it’s a bad game or going to be a bad game — the same way I’ve never thought switching to a F2P hybrid model has been bad for Lord of the Rings Online or Star Trek Online. On the contrary, I think it has worked out smashingly for Turbine and Perfect World, respectively.

I’m simply going by history here. Looking back at past experiences, my play time in the two games mentioned above dropped dramatically and ceased completely very soon after the announcement and switch. Maybe things will be different this time, but the data is against me. I can only extrapolate from that and apply it to what I think might happen with me and SWTOR — that I will continue to sub and play as normal from now until the switch, but afterwards I can expect to see my play time taper and diminish.

I really have nothing against F2P. I think it’s a great system which allows for a great deal of freedom and flexibility. I also know that I can go back to SWTOR whenever I want — in fact, it’s an inevitability, if they continue to update the game. But it never fails; rather than draw me in, F2P just tends to make me drift away.

While I love free MMOs, my problem is never having enough time to play them. These days, when a couple hours of game time is all I can manage each night, priority rightly goes to the MMOs to which I pay a subscription fee. I realize the hybrid model means I can always maintain a SWTOR sub even after the switch, but while I’m sorely tempted, being currently neck-deep in The Secret World and having both the Rift and World of Warcraft expansions (all sub games) and their promise of fresh content on the horizon, my economic mind is urging me to save money where I can.

I also tend to be the all-or-nothing type of MMO player, which is probably why I don’t particularly mind forking over $15 each month if it will buy quality content and everything I need to enjoy a game. In the words of my friend and fellow blogger Belghast (whom, by the way, put thoughts to words far better and more coherently than I ever could in his latest blog post), a subscription model is upfront and honest. I know I will never have to worry about encountering a roadblock and having to hit up the item store for the solution. I personally cannot imagine myself playing SWTOR this way, paying piecemeal to get restrictions removed.

For an “all-in” person like me, it tends to be a sub or nothing. That doesn’t mean I won’t find myself resubbing to SWTOR at all, but if my past experience with LOTRO and STO are any indication, it’s questionable whether or not I’ll be able to dedicate myself to the game with the same fervor again (though apparently, my purchase of a Collector’s Edition and the many months of being subscribed adds up to a good number of Cartel points which should last me a while). And let’s face it, when it comes to allocating my limited game time to a free MMO this fall, if anything that privilege will likely go to Guild Wars 2.

That said (and I’m clearly speaking from a bias here), despite witnessing one of the most highly anticipated big-budget triple-A game announcing it’s F2P plans after only a mere 8 months, I don’t think this necessarily spells the end of the subscription MMO. We currently have sub games including niche MMOs that are still flourishing, underscoring a need to keep in mind that each and every situation is different. To me, the message behind this whole situation with SWTOR isn’t so much that F2P is inevitable; rather, it is simply a company doing what it is best for their game.

Who knows how much, how long, how often I’ll find myself in the Old Republic, but no matter what, I wish them the best of luck.

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Screenshot Of The Day: Kill Him, Mr. Bubbles, Kill Him!

July 21, 2012

Starring Kysha my Asura Guardian and DoubleUnder, my own, er, “pocket” Charr Big Daddy.

So is it just me, or are the Asura just so ridiculously adorable? Like, deadly adorable.

For many, the highlight of Guild Wars 2’s third and final beta test weekend which started yesterday is of course the ability to create Asura and Sylvari characters. I always figured that when the game officially launches, it’s going to come down to either one of these races for me.

However, last night as I was fiddling with the character creator, it occurred to me that due to my husband’s dislike for any and all cute, diminutive and “puntable” races in MMOs, playing an Asura with him might very well lead to some, ah, irreconcilable differences.

So that’s it, folks. Asura for beta, Sylvari for launch.

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MMO Hopping, My New MO

June 28, 2012

There were many reactions this morning to the Guild Wars 2 release date of August 28, 2012. Wanna know mine?

It was, WHY OH WHY MMO GODS MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!

Granted, I’m pleased as pie that I’ll be playing GW2 in about two months, but at the same time I can’t seem to help but feel a rising panic in me, knowing I still have so many goals to meet so many games, but so little time. This news…is going to lead to some rearranging of those goals. I know that when GW2 comes around, I’ll probably be dropping everything else for a while, and who knows when I’ll get back to them?

My plans to play The Secret World, for instance. That’s still a go, but in one fell swoop, the news of GW2’s release date has altered the status of the game from “something I’ll enjoy in tandem with Star Wars: The Old Republic” to “a placeholder until GW2 comes out.”

I’m not kidding, I actually felt quite bad about thinking that.  Oh, but why deny it? I’ve long given up on the notion that I can stay with an MMO for the long haul. No longer do I look at an upcoming MMO and think about its lasting appeal and what that means to me for the long-term. I even have doubts about GW2. After all, the way I’ve been going through games in the last couple of years, that viewpoint has become irrelevant. In these times, a few months with a game is considered a good run.

This is tentative, but here’s what my MMO life will probably look like for the rest of the year and beyond: TSW, GW2, Rift: Storm Legion expansion and possibly World of Warcraft: Mists of Panderia expansion. And I wouldn’t be the least surprised if others are in a similar boat, have similar plans. Can’t just expect people to stick with one MMO anymore, and I don’t even know if we ever did. It may have been the case when the choices were limited, but if you’re like me, you’ll only have the time and energy to invest into one or at most two MMOs at any given time. And yet, at the same time, you’ll still want to experience everything great that’s out there.

There in lies the dilemma. In recent years, we’ve seen so many new MMOs, it feels like there’s one or two popping up every day. The playing field has become saturated, but for them all to co-exist and thrive they will each need a certain threshold of players. The problem is, I think while the MMO playerbase has grown, it has not grown anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the rate the new games are being pumped into the market. Obviously, we can’t play all these games at the same time. The result is a chunk of the population that goes from game to game, leaving a game once the new car smell has worn off to check out the next big thing.

Yep, that’s me right there.

I accept that I’ll always be a little bit of a game hopper, as much as I want to find an MMO I can stick with for a good long time. I was never really that good at juggling games, and even before I’ve ever only been able to maintain a presence in at the very most two MMOs before my activity in one soon eclipses that in the other.

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GW2: The Strangeness Of Grouping

June 11, 2012

As other gaming couples must know, love is about refraining from playing an MMO without your other half, never leaving them behind in experience and out-leveling their character without their express consent or knowledge. In fact, that’s a pretty surefire way to bring about spousal aggro in this house.

As such, my husband and I have always maintained at least one character for the purposes of concurrent leveling in every MMO we play together, and lately it has become apparent that this spousal-leveling contract has been extended to game betas as well. I guess it will come as no surprise then, that we also played together for the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend.

I was really liking the look of my Elementalist…until my husband said, “Hey, Lucy Lawless!”

We started over with new human characters for this BWE; I made myself an Elementalist while my husband rolled a Guardian. We journeyed across Queensdale hitting up “heart tasks”, personal story missions, dynamic events and any other activity we came across along the way. We had a blast. Something interesting that I want to bring up though: after several hours, I started to notice something — GW2 is the first MMO in which partying with my husband has felt “off”, and sometimes even downright awkward.

I guess it’s not surprising, given what Arenanet has said about de-emphasizing grouping. Of course, this means that while partying is supported, it doesn’t feel as necessary as they do in other MMOs. Obviously there are lots of benefits to this. Gone are the days of kill stealing or competing tooth and nail for mobs in crowded areas, for instance.

And yet, for someone like me who probably spends up to 90% of her MMO game time playing with at least one other person in the group, GW2’s brand of cooperative PvE takes some getting used to.

For one thing, concurrent experience gain is much more unpredictable. For example, if I run around with a bunch of people during a dynamic event whacking at centaurs and killing them one after an other in quick succession, that gains me a lot more experience than my husband who is sitting off to the edge of the group whittling down a enemy’s health by himself. Likewise, while we’re both completing tasks for the denizens of Queensdale, my husband’s XP takes off because he’s killing worms while I prefer more passive tasks like feeding bags of oats to cows for their cute floating pink hearts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two group members’ XP bars fluctuate so greatly while still doing the same things together.

While our rates of experience gain tend to even out eventually, I have to say what still feels missing is the synergy between us. That’s the biggie, I think. One of my favorite things about always playing with my husband is the inevitable discovery of how our chosen classes simply click. I mostly PvE, and in playing within a structured group, a lot of the time I end up learning more about how my class plays by observing the abilities of others and seeing how my own can play off of them. A wonderful thing happens when the mister and I play together, just me and him; gradually we come up with unspoken strategies and somehow I know all his moves before he makes them and vice versa. I can see there will be less opportunity to do this in GW2, when there is little reason to attune to each other as most everything is done with every other player who is in the same area.

The strange feeling of grouping in GW2 is just an intriguing observation that occurred to me this weekend, and is by no means a criticism. Really. Of course, the most enlightening moment for me is when the realization hit that we don’t actually even have to be partied up and the little difference it would make! We still did though, if for no other reason but the fact it’s easier to see where each other are on the mini-map.

It would be interesting to see what other gaming couples or people who frequently group together will make of the GW2 duo-ing experience. I think leastwise, it adds a new dynamic.

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Dear Santa…

December 6, 2011

I know my days of sitting in your lap as a little tot may be over, but I figure one can never be too old to write. As well, I hear Rivs, Rowan, Scary, and Scopique have already sent you their regards, and I’m sure they can attest to the fact we’re all children at heart anyway. If I may, I’d like to put forth my wishlist too, because I’ve been really, really good this year. So here goes:

1. Above all else, I wish for good health for myself, my family and my friends. I can’t stress that enough. This holiday season, everyone please be safe, be balanced, be hale and hardy!

2. More time, for both work and play. Time for polishing off my art commission projects. Time for more books so I can finally put an actual dent in my to-read list. Time for more games so I can actually get to experience all the stuff in my Steam library (#$%# Steam sales!)  and my pile of unopened Xbox 360 games. Time for…ah, you get the idea.

3. Let the MMOs we play be successful and profitable. As well, let the ones currently in development like Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World be ever inspired and moving forward. Let the genre flourish, so those who make MMOs can continue doing so for the folks who love to play them. Let Star Wars: The Old Republic live up to expectations — not only because many of us have looked forward to this game for ages or the fact the devs have worked so hard for years, but also because I think you have to be a really jaded and curmudgeony person to actually want to see a game fail. Seriously.

4. One of these days, may I actually get off my procrastinating butt and finish the novel I started for NaNoWriMo. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that writer’s block has suddenly set in, right after the community support and self-imposed deadline ended with November. But I’ve come too far not to complete this.

5. Harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan… *crowd is silent* …and world peace!

Aaaaand when quotes from crappy Sandra Bullock movies start coming out, you know that’s a sign to quit while you’re ahead. Oh, who am I kidding? I loved Miss Congeniality.

Anyway, thanks in advance. Give my love to your wife, your elves, and the polar bears you drink Coke with. Take care, and be sure to stay warm up there!

Sincerely,

MMOGC

P.S. Have you heard from Blue Kae yet, or has he gotten himself on your naughty list this year? You know him.

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