Posts Tagged ‘Launch’

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ESO: Happy Launch Day

April 4, 2014

launch

While those who preordered have been playing in headstart, today is the official launch day of Elder Scrolls Online for PC. If you’re already in the game, I hope you’ve been enjoying the experience as much as I have.

Despite some server down times which is to be expected, the game has nevertheless been always up during prime time evenings and nights which is when I usually game. I wouldn’t say launch has been perfect; there were a couple instances of major quests bugging out, but thus far ESO has been one of the smoothest launches I’ve personally experienced. Maybe it’s because it’s high time we’ve had another major MMO launch again, or the fact I refrained from going anywhere near beta in the weeks leading up to the release date, but starting out in ESO these past few days felt fresh, exciting, and even more fun than I anticipated.

I’ve rolled a Dragonknight, because for all the flexibility in the classes available in game, I always have a soft spot for the warrior archetype. Imperial race, Daggerfall faction. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve tentatively decided on a tanky-type route when it comes to leveling and allotting my points. At this time, House Stalwart the new guild I’ve joined is almost 90 members strong and it’s been kickin’ every night!

dragonknight

Things I’ve been enjoying so far: questing and exploring — now that the game is live, I’m taking my time to poke around in every nook and cranny, loot every crate or barrel, talk to every NPC. Barging into people’s houses and stealing all their crap has always been one of my favorite things to do in Elder Scrolls games (oh god, you should have seen the way I hoarded in Skyrim) and I won’t even go into how often I get distracted in my adventuring by a lone trunk or urn sitting by the side of the road that I just have to stop and check out. Even if all it holds is thin broth, pathetic drippings or a bunch of stupid grapes.

And another thing I love: CRAFTING! Who would have thought? ME! The person who has always thought crafting in games was a pain in the ass, who always leaves it until level cap because before that it’s just a hindrance to questing and progressing. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about the crafting in ESO that appeals to me. It’s so layered and complex, but not so challenging either that I couldn’t be bothered to gather materials and actually try my hand at all the professions.

I love that expression...

I love that expression…

So, those are my opening thoughts. If you’re playing, how have you been feeling about it so far? I hope to get more time into the game later this month; because of my lack of time and my dawdling, I haven’t gotten very far yet. Currently my Dragonknight is at level 8 but I’m hoping to share more of my experiences as I progress further into the game and see more of its world.

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My Panda Day

September 26, 2012

Happy pandas

Weeks even before World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria was released, I was already thinking about what I should be focusing on when the expansion went live. Should I jump right into pet battles? Should I start on leveling my main to level 90? Or should I roll a Pandaren and play around with a monk? As it turned out, I was able to fit in a bit of everything on the first day.

First things first — Pet. Battle. Trainer. Oh no, it’s all over, folks! All over! Pet battling is even more fun and addicting than I’d imagined! Within an hour I’d managed to add 25+ new pets to my collection, raised four or five different pets to level 6, and beat up several NPC pet battlemasters in the human area. And how do I feel about completely destroying a little girl and her pet rabbits, you ask? Pretty damn good, actually!

Next, I hopped onto my druid main for a couple hours of questing with my husband, heading into the Jade Forest to start on our journey to level 90. It is freakin’ gorgeous. I am also enjoying the MoP quests; so far, they feel a lot more robust than Cataclysm’s, in all sorts of different ways, e.g. story, content, impact, visuals, humor etc. (Socks!!! NOOOOO, SOCKS!)

At the end of the day, the Mercy Gaming guild got together and started Team Panda. I made my female red panda (tail and all) and named her Meilee, which is a bastardized spelling of Chinese pinyin characters for “Pretty” in Mandarin. How any and all variations of that name weren’t taken yet, I can’t imagine.

Together, we quested through the Pandaren starting area, and I finally had to put symbol markers on myself and my guildies to tell them apart from all the other big, fat, black and white pandas running all over the place. It also didn’t help that we were all monks wearing the same quest reward gear. Mint green dots everywhere on the mini-map!

I had myself a great time. While I can’t speak for my friends, I suspect they did too. The zone was visually stunning, the quests were fun and relatively unique. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might be rolling their own Pandaren one day, but suffice to say I was quite impressed. In the end we chose to join the Horde, and our modest little guild Red Solstice on the server Silvermoon is now up and running.

The nice thing is, after yesterday’s experiences I’ve decided I’m not going to concern myself too much with “focusing” on any one thing in-game anymore. I’m not in any rush, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with sampling a little bit of everything — in fact, I quite liked it.

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GW2: Insert The Standard Launch Character Introductions Post Here

August 25, 2012

It’s inevitable, I’m writing a character intro post which must mean Guild Wars 2 headstart has kicked off and is live!

It’s also inevitable, that the very fact I’m not playing right now but am instead banging out this post means that we’re experiencing some hiccups at launch (it’s around 8am at the time of this writing). I just hope that most people will be patient and realize launch days are going to be full of unexpected downtimes like this. I was grateful that Arenanet decided to bring up the servers three hours early last night, allowing me to create my characters and sneak in some brief playtime which I otherwise thought I would not have, and for the most part my hour-to-two-hours played beautifully and without a single hitch. I even got the names I wanted, without having to give last names.

If you’d like to say hello, my ID is Caylinn.6459, my guild is Knights of Mercy, and the server is Fort Aspenwood. I think most people have committed to a home by now, but if you happen to be still looking or if in the future you’re looking to guest, ss my Asura would say, we’d be pleased and honored to play with you, bookah! Without further ado, let’s get on to the new additions of my MMO family.

Kilioe (pronounced Kee-lee-oh-eh) – Sylvari Guardian

Kilioe, or Embelia pacifica, is actually a plant native to Hawaii. Not only had I wanted a flora-related name for my Sylvari, as I looked upon my Guardian in the character creator I suddenly recalled this name from a college botany project and to me the the name just seemed to fit. The current plan is for her to be my main.

Moggsi – Asura Thief

I frequently go by the abbreviation MMOGC, which some people in the blogosphere/twittersphere have taken to pronouncing it “Mogsy.” While I admit to thinking it was the most unfortunate nickname at the time, since then it has grown on me. I “Asura’ed” it up a bit, doubling up the “G” and replacing the last letter with the more feminine “I” associated with female names in Asura culture (I’m such a lore nerd). You can’t really tell by her celebration hat and town clothes, but my Asura Thief is pretty much the splitting image of the one I made in beta.

Sooner or later, I’m sure their stories will take shape and develop. (One thing I do know though, is that my Asura will be getting a happy childhood and not the damaged past that some commenters seem so fond of bestowing upon their own Asuras ;) )

One of these days I will also be making a Charr for our guild warband, a completely voluntary and fun project promoting camaraderie by KoM. Since the custom is to involve a common word in all our names (which as a guild we’ve chosen by popular vote as “Knight”), it’s going to take some idea brainstorming.

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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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What Do You Consider Content?

July 25, 2012

Yesterday, while browsing for some news on MMOs I must have suffered some sort of brain fart, because I don’t know how else to explain how I ended up in The Secret World forums. While there, a particular thread caught my eye — someone new to MMOs was expressing concern over the several “lack of content” complaint threads that were starting to crop up, and they were wondering just how well TSW holds up in this area compared to other games at launch. Oh dear. To be a newcomer and to find themselves in the general discussion section of an MMO forum. But anyway, I digress.

I think the answer depends. Firstly, I believe anyone should be able to play a game however they want without being crapped on for it. Whether you prefer to chisel away at the content slowly versus holding marathon gaming sessions is no one’s business but your own. But those gaming habits will determine your experience. If a game has 200 hours of content, someone playing 2-3 hours will probably never lack for things to do, as opposed to someone who plays 10 hours a day who will probably tap out that content in about three weeks. Players run all over the spectrum and there will always be some at both extremes, so these “There is not enough content!” threads at MMO launches are nothing new.

But I think the more important question is, what do people consider as content? Is it just quests and dungeons? Or is it more?

It occurred to me that what I may consider content, some people don’t. Speaking for myself, I consider “content” as generally anything I would actively need to put aside time to do. Last night, I calculated my /played to come up to about 105 hours and I’m only about halfway through the Scorched Desert in Egypt. That works out to about 30 hours per zone. It seems like quite a lot, but I’m afraid it might lead people to believe there is an abundance of missions or quests to do in TSW.

The thing to keep in mind is, I tend to try and do everything before moving on to the next zone. “Everything” includes missions, both main and side quests, but also activities like exploration, lore hunting, achievements, the whole shebang. It could mean running instances to PvPing to simply standing around “doing nothing” but cycling through each NPC’s dialogue options.

On the other hand, some players who are ambivalent towards things collecting lore items or talking to NPCs and who partake in those activities casually or only when they come across them incidentally, can argue that stuff like that adds flavor, not true content. Fair enough. Others will point out that repetitive activities don’t count, like dailies or dungeon grinds, and there I might even have to agree.

In the end, it comes down to the kind of gamer you are. Granted, I’m nowhere near the end of the game so I don’t know for sure, but I’d say if the number of zones plus the quests and instances they contain are all you’re willing to consider content, then TSW probably does not have as much as other MMOs like World of Warcraft, or Rift, or Star Wars: The Old Republic at release. That said, TSW isn’t for everyone. The more I play the game, the more I get a “niche” vibe pouring off of it.

So if on the other hand you’re the type of gamer who likes to poke their nose into everything, there will be lore items to find and read, NPC monologues to listen to, rare mobs to hunt down, outfits to collect, achievements to complete, nooks and crannies to explore, weapons and talismans to craft, and the list goes on. I’m aware that not everyone will agree, but that’s all content to me. TSW is about more than just a quest and dungeon grind and there’s really no reason to rush to a “cap”; I believe they made it so every aspect of the game is meant to be savored, a special treat for those who enjoy delving completely into unexplored worlds.

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My Top 5 Gaming Highlights Of 2011

January 6, 2012

I’m always so behind on these kinds of things. I realize we’re already six days into 2012 and almost figured I would skip the rundown this year, but oh what the hey…for tradition’s sake.

The five things that gave me much joy in the past year:

5. Rift

If I didn’t give Trion a tip of the hat it would be a great disservice — considering they kept me playing their game for much of last year, quite a feat when you take into account the influx of F2P MMOs in 2011 to distract me. Looking back, there were quite a few games that excited me but ended coming up short, but Rift wasn’t one of them. In fact, it was one of those pleasant surprises that caught me off guard; the rifts and flexible class system were what drew me in, but it was also the impressive number and frequency of updates from Trion that made me go back for more.

Oh, and the advent of area loot. Best thing since sliced bread.

4. NaNoWriMo

Last year I included Goodreads on my highlights of 2010 list, which wasn’t exactly related directly to gaming but regardless made an impact on my gaming life because of the social aspect behind it. I include National Novel Writing Month this year in my list for pretty much the same reasons. In November 2011 myself and a handful of my fellow gamer bloggers/tweeters took the leap and participated in this challenge, and I have to say any activity is more invigorating and inspiring when you’re doing it with a group of friends.

3. Launch of Star Wars: the Old Republic

Duh. This game has been on my radar since I was still in college, so yeah, I would say the launch of SWTOR was kind of a big deal to me. At one point on the eve of December 20, 2011 I had to pinch myself just to make sure it was really happening.

SWTOR’s impact remains to be seen, but already I get the feeling that story and voiceovers in MMOs are going to be a big deal. Even last year I noticed more games adding their own VOs and cutscenes — from Star Trek Online to World of Warcraft. I mean, after five years of not caring and saying shit all to me, Thrall finally wants to get chatty? How timely.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Every once in a while I like to indulge in the single-player experience, and I’m so glad in 2011 I had Skyrim. The last time I was so absorbed by an RPG was probably Dragon Age: Origins, and my game time in Skyrim was probably close to double the amount of time I spent in that. I bought the guide, I bought the soundtrack, I read the Books of Skyrim compilation, and quite honestly, if I could I would go back in time and buy the collector’s edition. The game isn’t without its bugs, but it’s the whole experience that counts — and for me it was such that I would happily throw money at Bethesda if it means they will continue making immersive games like this.

Now if only BioWare and Bethesda would have a hot night of sex; their lovechild will probably be the RPG to end all RPGs.

1. Republic Mercy Corps and Imperial Mercenary Corps

I won’t lie, getting into the SWTOR beta and being able to play it for six months was pretty damn exciting. But actually being in general testing wasn’t what made the experience a highlight for me. As much as I enjoyed reporting bugs and writing up my feedback every week, in point of fact, it was the friends I made and the relationships I forged over that period of time which made it memorable. As we all know, finding a good guild can be a challenge. Early last year, I was content on waiting until closer to launch to start guild-hunting, but lo and behold, during testing I was fortunate enough to meet an amazing group of players. The result: the RMC and the IMC, a pair of great guilds I am happy to be a part of.

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So…Was It Good For You Too?

December 21, 2011

Um. Launch, that is.

Now that December 20th, 2011 has come and gone, I think for better or worse the thing that made the Star Wars: The Old Republic launch stick out for a lot of players is the interesting “staggered” early access approach they employed a week before the game’s official release. For many, their in-game adventures actually began up to seven days before the actual launch date.

Personally, I considered my time in early access as part of the whole “launch experience” package. And as I struggle to catch my breath here, covered with a metaphorical sheen of lusty sweat and smoking my metaphorical post-release cigarette, I gotta admit that yeah…overall it was pretty good for me. I do realize, however, that everyone’s answers may differ, depending on their own experiences through early access and server choice, etc. Also, if the massive outcry we saw on the game forums on the 13th is any indication, I suppose it also depends on how tolerant you are.

It was the first time I’ve ever participated in a launch that used a staggered early access strategy, so like many others I was quite curious as to how it would play out. In the end, it worked out well for me, mainly for a couple reasons: 1) I understood what was advertised, that early access would be granted on a “first-come-first-served” basis, determined in the order of when you entered your preorder code. 2) I preordered my game in the wee hours of July 21st, so I had the added benefit of knowing when exactly I was going to be let into the game.

That said, I don’t know if I can bring myself to sympathize with those who knowingly preordered SWTOR a mere week before release and still bitterly whined about expecting to get into day 1 of early access. But on the other hand, I did feel for those whose main complaint was not knowing when they were going to get in. BioWare wasn’t exactly communicative on that front and while I can sort of understand why, I imagine F5ing your inbox waiting for that coveted email not having a clue when it might arrive couldn’t have been much fun, especially if SWTOR’s been something you were looking forward to for a long time and all your friends seemed to be getting in left and right.

I agree early access might have rolled out shakily at first, but then I also remind myself we were initially only given five days, and the two extra days were gravy. In the end, I think most people must have gotten their five days or close to it anyway. My own brother-in-law didn’t even preorder until the night of the 16th and still managed to get into the game the  next morning, so it couldn’t have been too bad.

As for the actual launch day, I did get a little worried yesterday morning when I logged in to find myself in line to get into my server. Number 300-and-something on a Tuesday morning. Holy crap. I dreaded coming home in the evening and seeing 5-hour long queues.

Surprisingly, it didn’t happen. Prime time and I got in without a queue. I have the population cap tweaks to thank, I imagine. Unfortunately, I’m aware that there are a few outlier servers (to my friends on The Harbinger, hang in there!)

So for me, I have to say it was a pretty smooth launch, just minus some points for mild communicative issues. More importantly, at least I’ve not encountered bad lag, client crashes or long unexpected downtimes (yet!)

What was your own SWTOR launch experience like? Good? Bad? Went off without a hitch? Complete fiasco?

And because in retrospect, I realize it’s understandable why some consumers would be reluctant to preorder a game months before its release without knowing anything about it — do you think SWTOR’s staggered early access approach for launch was a good idea? Would you be optimistic about it if future MMOs attempted the same?

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