Played Lately: Week At A Glance

June 29, 2012

Well, this has certainly been a busy week for gaming, I’m sure my Raptr feed has not seen action like this in months. Here’s what has been occupying my time:

The Secret War

I’d originally planned on going into this “blind” but I caved during last week’s beta 4 weekend. My husband and I played a couple hours just to get a feel for it, and in the words of Mr. GC, “‘Ignite gas cans and draw zombies into the fire?’ God, I love this game!”

Zombie killling-wise, I’d say my sentiments echo his, but I do have my misgivings about the clunky feel of combat. Still, it’s something I can see myself easily getting used to. More importantly, I feel it’s a small price to pay to experience this unique game with its mystery-driven story and incredibly atmospheric setting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where Funcom has focused most of its efforts. I’ve seen people describe themselves as getting “lost” in TSW, and I have to agree with that feeling wholeheartedly. I look forward to playing in the early access this weekend — Templar on Arcadia.

TERA Online

I’ve been dabbling in this MMO ever since I bought it for half-price earlier this month. I have to say combat in this game is drastically different from all other MMOs and is very engaging. Graphically, it’s also a feast for the eyes.

Still, I’m not feeling the motivation to play it much. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m not making the connection because I don’t think the reason has much to do with the gameplay, which I actually find quite enjoyable. It galls me to admit that it might be due to the art style. Maybe I’m just being shallow, but you’d be surprised how much something that could have an impact on my experience. I’ll probably go into it a bit more in a separate post at a later date, but for now I plan on getting the most out of my free month and we’ll see where I’ll go from there.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

This is still my MMO of choice, and will probably remain so for a while even when newer games this year will come out and vie for my attention. Patch 1.3 was released earlier this week on Tuesday, and I had been looking forward to checking out the updates it offers.

I haven’t really had a chance, though. For the last few weeks, I’ve been playing on the Imperial side almost exclusively, concentrating on leveling up that Bounty Hunter I’ve always wanted, the class I’d dreamed about ever since the game was announced. Coupled with my husband’s Sith Warrior, we’re steadily making progress towards level 50 and I hope we can keep up the pace, as level-capping her is currently one of my MMO goals. Right now we find ourselves on Hoth, on the cusp of wrapping up Chapter 2.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I swear, I’ve had this game and AC: Revelations sitting on the to-play pile still in their original wrapping since…damn, I think November of last year. In fact, I think I picked them both up during a Black Friday deal, telling myself that I’d better get it now at a good price since I had definite plans to play both at some point anyway. Famous last words. Incidentally, that’s also how I ended up with my unmanageable Steam to-play pile.

Okay, so it was probably a terrible, terrible idea to start this game Monday on the eve of the Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC and Mass Effect 3 extended cut releases, but I had a feeling deep down that if I didn’t open that box like right now it was never going to happen otherwise. And so, I spent the day playing Ezio and getting used to climbing walls and shoving around civilians again. I also discovered something about myself: I am way too impatient and bloodthirsty to make a good, stealthy assassin.

Mass Effect 3

No spoilers. I downloaded the extended cut for the ending first thing Tuesday and fired up my last save point that afternoon in order to see the changes. However, this time around I decided to choose a different ending, opting for red instead of green. Then, I watched the other endings on YouTube.

As you may know, I’d just finished the game earlier last week, with the original ending. I had a friend tell me that I should have waited for the extended cut to arrive before I did, but after seeing the new ending I’m glad I didn’t. Having played the original version so recently made me appreciate the new one all the more. It really emphasized for me my problem with the old one in the first place — not the actual events of the ending itself, but instead just how lazily the entire sequence was executed.

The new ending fleshed out the story, explaining some of the ramifications and the fates of my squadmates and friends. More importantly, it had feeling — which was what I felt was lacking in the original. I was almost brought to tears in the final moments, and that’s when it hit me: the storytelling is what I like most about these games, and the emotions they evoke. It’s not the what but the how, as in this was how the story should have been told, in the BioWare way that I know and love.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard

No spoilers. This week, I made my return to Tamriel in order to play the new DLC (I own the game for the Xbox 360). Thanks to the new content, I get to be a vampire lord! Er, a very nasty and ugly vampire lord, as in no one will be swooning over me anytime soon. Disappointed to say that playing as a vampire lord is a bit of a pain though, and I’ll probably only do as much as it takes to get my vampire perks, then go back to fighting and adventuring in my Nightingale gear.

I also get to ride a new flaming undead horse, which to me was a very timely addition, seeing as how one time these bandits shot and killed my last horse almost the instant I quick traveled and loaded into the zone. I wasn’t even on it! I’m not kidding, that actually kinda pissed me off, damn cowards that would shoot an opponent’s horse…

Uh, back on topic, so far I’m liking Dawnguard. Still, I’m not sure if it will be worth the money for some. As most expansions like these go, there seems to be one main quest line driving the entire thing, spruced up with some goodies like new weapons and locations, etc. on the side, but not much else. It also makes the gameplay feel more linear than I’m used to getting from Skyrim. You do, however, get to go deeper into the lore of the game, which is one of the strongest aspects of the Elder Scrolls series and incidentally something I happen to really enjoy.


  1. In regards to TSW, I caved during the Beta 4 weekend as well. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the game, much like yourself. I actually found the combat to be a little bit invigorating. It feels like a really weird combination of an action RPG and a standard MMO. I played with one of the rifles, mostly. I think, actually, I used rifles and fists (fists so I could get some healing).

    My offset to all that was good was whether or not I actually wanted to immerse myself in a new, and very different MMO at this time. A new setting, completely new approach to skills, levels (not), etc. really make it feel like *work* and I am not sure my brain can handle more of that LOL! With Diablo 3 still fresh, and SWTOR still there (I finally got to level cap), I’m really torn. There is also Guild Wars 2 out there, with an August 28 release date.

    TLDR: I think I would like TSW, a lot, but not sure I am ready to take the plunge at this juncture. That can also be said for GW2, I suspect. I still have to finish ME3, and Tera also felt like work having to learn a new setting, game play mechanics, etc. Don’t forget Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is also out this summer. Too many games!!

    • The combat is different, especially the use of firearms. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t particularly like the shotgun, LOL. Anyway, I went with blades, because I often feel more comfortable with melee weapons in an MMO.

      It is quite the learning curve, so I understand where you’re coming from. My guild leader from RMC and I spent like a chunk of time today in game just trying to figure out the cabal system and chat LOL! Though to be fair to us, I think it was a little buggy 😛

      TSW will be a good casual game in the meantime until August 28, I expect. There are more people than I anticipated playing, so the next couple months should be fun.

      • I haven’t actually looked, but I assume it’s a standard subscription model? $15/month?

      • Yes, $14.99 in the U.S.

  2. Riddle me this, GeeCee. When you say clunky combat, to what are you comparing it? I clearly have not played whatever it is, or am not a discerning connoisseur of combat systems.

    • Well, like I said in my above comment, I went with blades because I often go with melee weapons in MMOs. For some reason, the actions didn’t feel as smooth to me, almost making me feel like my character was fighting under water. I don’t know if that makes much sense. Granted, like I said it might just be me getting used to the game.

  3. I’m also sufficiently far behind that Brotherhood is on my docket. If it weren’t for the side story, honestly I’d be inclined to leave Ezio alone and go play AC III when it comes out, but I’m guessing that whatever happens to poor Desmond won’t make sense if I do that.

    • Oh yes, I forgot to mention in my post, but the info I saw at E3 about AC3 did factor into my decision to break out Brotherhood and play 😛 I want to play both that and Revelations before it comes out.

  4. @Rowan: I think the combat can be quite clunky on some weapons. For example, start out as an elementalist. You won’t have any group attacks, leaving you to slowly burn through groups of mobs one foe at a time. Contrast with swords (or melee weapons in general really) where the combat is very fluid and fast paced.

    More on topic, I pre-orderd TSW too but don’t plan to play it a whole lot this weekend. I am still going strong in SWTOR and also have some things I need to do in DDO.

    • Ah, I see. I tried fist weapons, blood magic, and dabbled in swords and chaos. I didn’t get an AoE in blood until the outer ring. I’ve been trying to figure out if people were talking about animations or UI/Controls or what. Thanks. 🙂

    • Haha, I felt the opposite. I felt the swords were clunky and not as fluid as they feel in other games. Firearms were even worse for me, but I think I’m just not used to the strangeness of using something like a shotgun in an MMO. I did not try magic.

      Regarding whether it’s animations vs UI/Controls, it’s a bit of both, but I think it’s more of the former for me.

      • To me, in order of fluidity the game goes melee weapons > firearms > magic. The fluidity of the combat is slightly above average on melee weapons (compared to most MMOs) and below average when playing a pure magic user or a firearms user in my experience. Of course this is all very subjective, and also likely depends somewhat on your rig and the settings you choose to run the game at (I run it at lowish settings).

      • It’s likely also worth noting that fist weapons are the fastest paced weapons in the game 🙂

      • Oh, I wanted to add that my character also felt “slow to react”, but now that I think about it, it could have been due to slight lag on the beta servers. I was playing last night in early access and it felt better, or maybe I just got used to it as I expected.


    I think it’s because nearly all of the quests totally lack lore. The lore in TERA is actually very very good, better even than most MMOs of its genre in that it’s not another derivative Tolkien rip-off, but you would never know this from the quest text, and that’s just plain awful.


    I am however enjoying my RP-lite guild on the Celestial Hills server where I have an Elin Warrior in her 40s and a Castanic Mystic in her 30s. I’m taking my time, I’ve been playing the game since Closed Beta 2, even dropping my RIFT sub (with plans to get the Storm Legion expansion later this year) in favor of simply playing the beta, and became a founding member and later active officer of my guild during one of the CBs.

    EME/BHS have a lot to learn about making their world of Arborea inclusive and interactive in such a way that makes the average gamer really care about it. They could learn a lot from western games in this regard. Fortunately they really appear to be trying and have already added quite a few features to aid RP players and guild-leading tools since launch.

    But there’s still a long way to go if they want to match the likes of WoW or RIFT.

    For one thing there really doesn’t seem to be much point in ranking up your guild other than to elevate visibility if you’d like to run for Vanarch. This has indeed been handy for us as we have had two victories so far in the province of our choice, Sylvanoth… however I honestly had expected something more, like guild perks, or a method to expand the guild bank as we leveled up..

    But as a guild near its population cap with a great active membership and daily bank contributions all of our bank tabs are simply maxed out and it’s a twice-daily task for myself and the other officers to offload lesser blues and golds to maintain inventory order… and there’s no way to get more tabs or greater capacity therein.

    At this stage we need to set up a small alt guild specifically for bank space and that seems a little too late-90’s to me. Hey, I’m happy that we all get fancy mounts, but there are these quality of life issues that really need to be addressed.

    Despite all this though, and the terrible lore-disconnect I’m actually finding myself more involved in this MMO than I have been for any others, and other than the great community we have in our guild, and the supportive nature of the bulk of the Celestial Hills population I’m really not sure why that is..

    Maybe the combat really is making me feel more a part of the game, rather than a being that just rides around in someone’s head clicking at windows and buttons… I really don’t know, but I am having a great time! ;P

    • Glad to hear you’re enjoying TERA. I don’t know if it’s the lack of lore that makes me feel disconnected to the game world, but it might be. Usually when I think that might be the case I try to read up on the backstory of the game and any books I can get my hands on (I did grab the TERA short story ebooks from Amazon!) But I recall taking a bit of time getting a hang of Rift’s lore but was regardless still able to enjoy my time in the game right off the bat.

      I really do think it may be the art style. I know that is heavily influenced by culture, but I’ve never really been drawn to it. Could be the reason I could never get into any JRPGs or even Aion.

  6. I got invited to TSW Beta 1 weekend and accidentally deleted my Beta Key. Ouch! Then got invited again to Beta 4 weekend, but didn’t have much time to download the game to try it then. All in all kinda glad didn’t get to play so it’s all fresh to me since I now pre-ordered the game. TSW seem the kinda game I would like as picky as I tend to be about the MMO games I tend to choose. Been a very long time since I picked up a new MMO been almost two and a half years.

    At the moment downloading the game. Hopefully see you all in game soon on Arcadia I guess it is I seem to read.

    • Heh, I was invited to closed beta but was way too busy and going through a period where I was very sleep-deprived, so I never accepted. Double ouch 😀

      We’ll be seeing you in game. If you want to join our casual social guild Knights of Mercy (Templar) look us up! Send tell to Paganrites, Nadea, Eleison or Laeyn (that’s me).

  7. Send me a Cabal invite when you in game:
    Templar: Dutty
    Illuminati: DirtyZero

  8. […] attention will remember that I caved during the last beta weekend and played for a couple of hours (dammit, I’m so weak). Still, as it was for such a short time and only barely a week before early access, I’m […]

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