Archive for the ‘Neverwinter’ Category

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Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

January 8, 2014

4 bday

Holy crap, as of yesterday this blog is four years old! Time really flies, doesn’t it? It feels more like three, though that might be because I completely forgot my blogiversary last year. Would have forgotten this year too, truth be told, if Rowan (who will be celebrating his own blogiversary very soon as well) hadn’t reminded me. I am just bad with birthdays.

Anyway, since my blog’s anniversary is in January, technically this post could also serve as a look back at 2013. Once again, this blog didn’t see as much activity in the last year as I would have liked. In my defense though, it was a busy year in terms of real life, and quite honestly, it was a pretty tame one for MMOs. Tame…but definitely not lame.

I only participated in the launches of mainly two games — Defiance and Neverwinter — and both released during the first part of the year (though in the latter’s case, an um, open-beta-that-really-wasn’t-a-beta).

nw

Instead, I spent the last year revisiting a lot of old favorites. World of Warcraft, of course, is as ever the dependable standby. I would play a couple months, take another couple months off, then do it all over again. I know I can always count on it being there whenever I feel like a romp through Azeroth.

panda

Star Trek Online saw some play too because of their new expansion. I rolled a Romulan, got to have some fun with the duty officer mini-game, and got roped into doing dailies for their summer event. This was the year I truly came to develop an appreciation for a free-to-play STO.

romulan

A few months ago, I also surprised myself by resubbing to Star Wars: The Old Republic. This was thanks to the revitalization of our guild, which included a faction change to refocus our efforts on the Empire side. SWTOR saw an expansion too, and I’m still hopping in now and then getting in my Galactic Starfighter battles. They’re a lot more fun once you get a hang of the controls and start upgrading your ship.

ops

And finally, there’s The Secret World. TSW Mondays are still going strong, and in terms of social events, it’s probably Mercy Gaming’s greatest success. I don’t think anyone would have believed it a year and a half ago, but it’s true that our weekly group has steadily grown since Secret Mondays first started. To the usual gang, thanks for making this such a great year in TSW.

headstand

Other highlights of the year that aren’t really related to gaming (and in fact, they actually took away from my gaming time, but I wouldn’t change that for the world!) include some of my new hobbies:

1) Pathfinder! I have reason to look forward to Sunday nights now that my friends and I hold weekly games over Fantasy Grounds 2 and Teamspeak.

2) Miniature painting! I’ve always wanted to get into this, and this year I finally took the plunge!

3) Podcasting! Recording Battle Bards with my co-hosts Syp and Syl has been such fun this year.

4) Book blogging! I’ve always read voraciously, and this year I went one step further and started a book blog with a couple of my friends. It has been amazing.

And of course, nothing beats spending time with my family. My little girl is almost two now, and every day she fills my life with surprises and delight. My husband and I don’t get to play video games as much anymore, spending a couple hours a night in our MMOs only after we’ve put the baby to bed. When she’s awake, we don’t want to miss a moment with her!

Finally, to my readers, I want to thank you for another fantastic year. 2014 looks to be another great one with a couple big MMOs on the horizon. I haven’t mentioned these games a lot on my blog the past year, mostly because I’ve resolved to keep my excitement in check going forward, but I’d like to go on record to say that I am very much looking forward to BOTH Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online.

wildstar

ESO

I have no doubt I’ll be gracing this blog with my thoughts on both sometime in the future. And perhaps more! Thanks again, and I’m definitely looking forward to another year of blogging. Ciao!

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The Big Ding: Neverwinter Online

July 22, 2013

nw50

Adding yet another MMO character to my stable of maxed-levels  is always a happy occasion to celebrate…even in this case, where “the big ding” happened in like the most mundane and anti-climactic way ever.

I’ve been playing Neverwinter Online — that is, if your definition of “playing” can extend to simply logging in every day, just to queue up professions and burn the daily prayer cooldown for my coin.

3 minutes each night was all it took. But the experience I gained from doing that over weeks and weeks was actually enough to take me all the way from level 52 to 60. That’s right, instead of doing quests and killing wolves out in the great wide world like any adventurer worth her salt, Alistara Arborshale the Great Weapon Fighter spent the last month or so sequestered in the main city being the equivalent of a paper-pusher!

That’s not to say I undervalue the experience, though. Leveling is leveling, and hitting level cap is hitting level cap. I’m actually quite grateful for a game that allows me do so in spite of my busy schedule. It took very little effort on my part — but then again, also a crap ton of persistence!

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How Neverwinter Broke My F2P Malaise

June 10, 2013

Neverwinter

I think I wrote once that free-to-play games don’t typically hook me the same way subscription games do — for two reasons, mainly. One, when I have at least one other sub game going on at the same time, that’s where my attention generally goes. There’s always that sense of “I need to get my money’s worth” chirping at me in the back of my mind, and the comforting knowledge that “the F2P games will always be there” and so that’s why it’s okay to put them on the backburner.

Two, I’m not the kind who likes to buy things piecemeal. I’d much rather just throw a one-time sum of money at a service to get the whole shebang, negating the need to wrack my brain later worrying about hitting the item store to remove any roadblocks.

Funny how Neverwinter, a game that almost didn’t even make it onto my to-play list, should be the one to break this funk I have when it comes to my track record with F2P games. It’s not so much the lack of roadblocks I’ve been hitting, though it helps that I have not yet been made to feel obliged to spend real money to keep playing. Leveling pace has been surprisingly comfortable so far; it’s definitely not fast, but at the same time I’m certainly not facing the horrific time sinks I’d expected and dreaded.

Better yet, there appears to be no end to things for me to do; between running Neverwinter’s dungeons and skirmishes, I actually had to cut back on the number of foundry missions I’ve been doing recently, so as not to out-level the game’s PvE and quest content which I want to experience too.

Granted, I’ve been taking my sweet time with this game, but I’m currently about a smidgen short of level 54 and at this rate I should be level 60 within the next couple of weeks, maybe even around the time Neverwinter officially goes “live” on June 20. When I do, it will actually be my first level-capped character in a new MMO in a good long while. Pretty sobering fact, for someone who’s always made it a point to hit the level-cap in a game before moving on to the next one. Oh how the times have changed, when all my gaming habits have turned on their head.

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It’s A Perfect World

May 24, 2013

Cryptic/Perfect World seems bent on taking up all my gaming time lately. Though I can’t seem to convince my husband to come back to Star Trek Online with me, I myself have been sucked back into the game big time.

Romulan starting area

Um, yeah. This is definitely not the STO I knew and remembered. It’s bigger and better. I am still set-phasers-to-stunned by how much has changed. I know a lot of features have been added since I left, but it’s also the little things too. Stuff has been tidied up and streamlined, from the user interface to combat mechanics, the visuals and environment and effects have been updated or improved. This was something I played for almost two years before I stopped, but coming back again now feels like discovering a brand new game.

And yet, memories of gameplay inevitably flow back to me while I’m playing. Sometimes it’s a good thing, like during ground combat. Remembering the Expose/Exploit system helped me decide which weapons to give to myself and my bridge officers, and mobs went down without any trouble. But sometimes, half-remembering the game can also hinder. During space combat with my new Romulan character, I’m maneuvering my beached whale of a starting hunk of metal and wishing so badly I was still back in my main’s escort ship. A lot of the battle tactics I developed I mastered using that little Maelstrom, and that baby turned on a dime.

Space combat

Perhaps not surprisingly, my first foray back among the stars did not go so well. I even forgot the golden rule of STO space combat: DO NOT hang around exploding ships! I guess my MMO-player instinct to run up to enemies I’ve just killed in order to loot them was just too strong, and I was almost blown up for it, bleh.

It’s a shame I can only fit in about an hour or less of time in STO during the afternoons, because like I said, the mister doesn’t seem to have any interest in captain duties anymore. As for the game we’re both still playing, the obsession with Neverwinter is still holding strong and I’m glad to report we’re slowly climbing the levels every evening.

Ebon Downs

It’s a good balance, don’t you think? Sci-fi by day, fantasy by night.

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All My Games Are “Casual”

May 6, 2013

NW horse

Here are the MMOs I’m currently playing:

  • quite a bit of Neverwinter
  • some World of Warcraft
  • a little Defiance
  • weekly dose of The Secret World
  • a light smattering of Rift

I used to tell myself I’m a horrible juggler and that trying to play a whole bunch of games at once never works out. Indeed, given the choice I’d prefer to be able to give an MMO my full attention, do things like reach level cap, explore the entire world, finish “everything” before moving on. The “hardcore completionist” way of doing things has always been a better match for my own personality and play style.

But since the year started, game time for me has pretty much been reduced to about 2-3 hours a night on weekdays and I’ve long come to the realization that doing “The One Game” thing isn’t going to fly anymore, especially with so many new releases that look so fun and amazing, and many older titles I still want to stick with. So…unless I win the lottery or learn how to bend time: A limited gaming schedule + MUST PLAY ALL TEH GAMEZ = everything I play must become “casual”.

The great thing is the majority of MMOs on my list now are subscription-less, and are completely adaptable to my current schedule. TSW Mondays are enough for me to do grab enough AP/SP to advance each week, and I’ve always thought Defiance is the perfect game to jump in and out of if you only have an hour or less of free time. Even in WoW, the one MMO in which I’m participating in even a semblance of an endgame, is now a lot more suitable for the more casual player; through LFR I’m still able to raid and not have the encounter take up my whole night.

It does mean I don’t get to play as much of one game as I’d like each week, but on the other hand I get to experience everything I want to — remember how I almost gave Neverwinter a pass, and looking back now I see what a shame that would have been. I’m glad I didn’t; it’s been a lot of fun so far. Cramming it into an already full gaming schedule felt like a crazy thing to do, but it was totally worth it.

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In The Time Of Neverwinter

April 29, 2013

Neverwinter

My decision to hop aboard the Neverwinter train came as a fairly recent one.

To understand how it came about, you have to know that in our family, I’m the one who keeps up with the news in the gaming industry, reads the reviews and blogs, researches the games and decides in the end whether to get them or not. So it’s not uncommon for my husband, even though he’s an avid gamer, to be completely clueless about what games are out there or what’s coming out, because he’s perfectly happy just letting me fill him in and playing anything that I play.

It definitely helps that we have very similar gaming tastes. I’d like to think I’ve always chosen well and that I know the kind of games he prefers and never had to push my luck or his self-respect with anything like Hello Kitty Online. The most important thing is that we get to play together, and bless him for trusting me enough to follow me into whatever MMO world I want to explore.

But still, I almost made a faux pas with Neverwinter. I’d gotten my hands on a beta key earlier this year, played a few days of the beta and liked what I saw, but when “soft launch” came this week I took one look at the sea of games we’re already swimming in and said to the mister, “Maybe we should pass on this, or at least wait until after the open beta when we can both play free at our leisure.” His answer: “But why?”

In retrospect, I suppose I should have foreseen this; that as someone who prides himself on having owned the original Dungeons and Dragons basic boxed set, my husband would be hard-pressed to pass up anything attached to the franchise, let alone an actual MMO based in the Forgotten Realms city of Neverwinter. So he promptly went ahead and bought us both each a Guardian pack, which is how I found myself in front of my computer Saturday morning downloading the client and trawling the multitudes of D&D name generator sites for ideas.

Ultimately, my husband ended up rolling what he calls a “classical cleric”, while I rolled a Wood Elf Great Weapon Fighter. Because if there’s one thing I like more than elves, it’s elves wielding big honking swords.

Alistara

Alistara Arborshale

It was pretty much all we played this weekend. I can already tell Neverwinter is not going to be as deep as some of the more involved MMOs I’ve played, but it’s still very engaging for a story-based online game supported by lots of dungeons and opportunities to play with friends.

The important thing is, I’m enjoying it; but apparently Neverwinter has gotten its hooks even deeper into my husband — which is incredible, for he is usually so even-tempered and takes a judicious attitude towards new games. I’d say 60 bucks, which is the usual price I’m used to dropping for a brand new game anyway, was definitely worth it for the chance to see things a little early and play with the gang of usual suspects, not to mention the items and perks that come with the pack.

Anyway, it’s only been a couple days and I still feel so green, but I’m slowly discovering that there’s a lot more to Neverwinter. Every hour, I still get surprised when I stumble across new game mechanics or systems that I didn’t know existed, while continuing to be impressed by how much is already in place. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface, or looked into the Foundry. As I only reached level 15 yesterday, I’m looking forward to a whole new world still waiting for me.