Posts Tagged ‘Headstart’

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Played Lately: Some Thoughts From The GW2 Headstart Weekend

August 27, 2012

In a word, my experience during the Guild Wars 2 headstart weekend was awesome!

One of the things I love about GW2 is the fact each race has its own starting area. Maybe you make multiple characters of the same race, but you don’t want to do the same starting area over and over again. Maybe you love a particular race but hate their starting area or vice versa. It wouldn’t matter one whit, since you can move to any of the other starting zones pretty much right off the bat. It’s one of the things I’ve always appreciated about World of Warcraft, and really missed about some of the recent MMOs like Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic or The Secret World where all of us are funneled into pretty much the same zone or limited areas on start up.

This weekend, I only did Caledon Forest because I was a Sylvari and their starting area was the only one I’d never seen, as I had purposely saved it for live. In the future, I’ll likely start in Queensdale all the time, because while I dislike the look of the human models in GW2 and will likely never roll one, I love their lands with their fat cows and little pink hearts.

Ultimately, I achieved 100% completion in the zone, collecting all the Waypoints, Vistas, Skills Points, Points of Interest, and Hearts in Caledon Forest as well as in The Grove. Since GW2 doesn’t have a real quest log, exploring entire maps will do nicely to satisfy my “checklist syndrome”. The was rewarded some nice loot, including a nice chunk of experience as well as a Black Lion key, allowing me to open my locked Black Lion Chests, which led to more loot and more keys. The result was a pile of gear, tonics, and a whole bunch of boosters like the ones you can buy from the store. Better be careful, Arenanet, I want to spend money on your game, but I see you’re not going to make it easy.

The weekend was not without its hiccups. Though I was mainly unaffected, a chunk of downtime occurred on Saturday morning and server errors abounded. Methinks that a few years ago, the quality of this launch would have been hailed as amazing, but the near-flawless launches of some of the aforementioned MMOs in recent years have no doubt raised the bar. The GW2 launch was no where near the best I’ve experienced, but then I have been through worse, much worse.

My weekend was only marred by a few negatives — there were the little ones, things like a non-functioning trading post, and then there was the HUGE one — the wonky overflow system. An otherwise great concept, ironically it sure made it hard to let you play with your friends. As longtime readers know, my husband and I place a lot of importance into playing together, especially during an MMO launch. Alas, out of the many hours we spent in GW2 this weekend, our characters were only able to spend a small fraction of that time in-game adventuring with each other.

We experienced the worst luck of never being placed in the same overflow instance. Sometimes one of us would also log in first, but enter the main world last. We tried every trick, logging out and logging in together, entering cities and exiting together, partying up and not partying up, but we never did manage to find a consistent way to work around it; there just didn’t seem to be any rhyme or rhythm. What we ended up doing was tackling our personal story quests, entering and leaving those solo instances until we randomly happened to end up together. When that happened, we took care not to zone again, which explains why I’m finished with Caledon Forest but still way behind on my main quest line there.

I expect many of these issues would be ironed out by Arenanet, or even disappear altogether once launch hype winds down and the zone populations start to spread and even out. In any case, I still had a great time playing this weekend and hanging out in guild vent parties. Being part of the greater gaming community while everyone is playing is my favorite part of a new game launch; the company and the fun I had made up for any and all obstacles I encountered.

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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 (pronouncedĀ 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 šŸ˜‰ )

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.Ā 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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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 wasĀ 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.

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SWTOR: A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away….

December 13, 2011

You know what I love best about playing a new MMO? The first step — making your characters and naming them, and being able to put together intro posts like this one, which has been a longstanding tradition on this blog.

As you’ve probably heard, Star Wars: The Old Republic early access started today. For those wondering, the Republic Mercy Corps and our sister Empire guild the Imperial Mercenary Corps are on the server Sanctum of the Exalted. Look, I’ll happily play on server Jar Jar Binks if it meant being able to play with friends, but I was still tickled and a little relieved to see we lucked out with a pretty cool server name. I’m also happy to report recruitment is still semi-open for both guilds, so feel free to visit the links if you’re interested in joining the Corps.

For the Republic

Sha’lanni, Twi’lek Jedi Knight

Midway through the year, I think that’s when I came around to the idea of rolling a Republic force-user. Before that, I know I was pretty dead set on playing Empire exclusively at launch, but being a geek wife, I can also read Mr. MMOGC like a book — the guy’s an old school fan of the Jedi and keen on the idea of waving around a lightsaber (of course, helping found the RMC might have something to do with it too). In any case, Sha’lanni — I just picked the same name I used in beta — is the designated character chained to the Spousal Leveling Contract.

Again deferring to my dear husband, who tends to gravitate towards the caster archetypes, I let him choose the Jedi Consular while I’ll be taking up the tanking duties as a Jedi Guardian, which to be honest is my preference anyway. Guess I’m lucky I married a man who loves to heal.

So I was asking readers how they plan on tackling light side/dark side choices yesterday, while indicating that what I’ll do is probably roll my character, come up with a general idea of her personality, and see where to go from there. That said, I can kinda see it in her face already — a young up-and-coming Jedi, idealistic and perhaps a tad naive. Looks like I’ll be making light sided decisions with her at least for the next little while.

For the Empire

Xavindria, Human Bounty Hunter

I’ve dreamed of playing a Bounty Hunter in this game for so long, going so far as to completely avoid the class during beta to save myself the surprise, that the experience of creating this character and then getting to play her in-game felt a bit surreal.

When it comes to choosing an Advanced Class, I have no idea which direction to take her yet. Honestly, both Mercenary and Powertech sound equally appealing and I doubt I will mind whichever I end up with, so if anyone has experience with either ACs I would love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions.

I have a feeling this class is going to be a hell lot of fun to play — for the brief time I had with my character, I was already bouncing everywhere with my light side/dark side choices. Fine, mostly in the name of fame and credits. My Bounty Hunter isn’t a bad person, but hey, fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.

I wish all the best to everyone who preordered and hope you will be getting into early access and the game soon. And if you ever find yourself adventuring on Sanctum of the Exalted, feel free to say hello!

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Postcards From Telara: Bring On Rift

February 23, 2011

Hard to believe the seventh Rift beta event is behind us now, and headstart is imminent. I should think the next time I blog about the game, the live servers will be up and running, which is a pretty exciting thought. I was pleased when I saw that the 8.3 gig “patch” downloaded last night without a hitch, even though thousands of players were likely trying to do it at the same time. It gives me hope for a smooth launch.

I’ve decided to join up with the friendly folks at Multiplaying.net and their Circle of Trust guild, who are rolling Defiant side on the RP-PvE server of Faeblight. Ahh, “Defiant” and “PvE”. What a sweet, sweet sound those two words make. Also, thanks to MP, looks like a lot of people I know will be playing together, if not on the same faction at least on the same server. Since I’ll most likely be making a Guardian alt too, at some point I’m sure I’ll be able to meet up with everyone in Telara.

Like most people, I reined in my activity during the last beta. I played many hours during that week, but instead of pushing to see as much as the game as I can, I mostly rifted and explored at my leisure. I’m looking forward to starting the game tomorrow, with a Cleric soul combination in mind — hmm, Druid/Justicar and something else…maybe Shaman. The last time I saw the starting areas was about two months ago, so that and the fact I’ll be playing a new class should still make the experience feel lemony fresh and new.

And now, once again, for the “postcards” part of this post in which I plunder my screenshot folder (which thankfully I had the foresight to save before uninstalling the beta client) for my favorite images. Because seriously, why take a kajillion bajillion pictures if I can’t share them from time to time?

See you all in game! And long live the Defiants!

Fire rifts and lightning are no excuse to ignore your exercises.

A wind rift that was part of a quest.

About to be stomped to death by an asparagus on steroids.

A variation of the one I posted to twitter. That face is going to give me nightmares...

Er, this on the other hand...MROW?

Caidia in all her glory. Good bye, beta character!

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Star Trek Online: First Day Thoughts

January 30, 2010

Star Trek Online has officially started for those of us who purchased a preorder, and I can honestly say it’s been a pretty good launch day. I experienced zero problems on my end, though I did log in two hours later than when the servers opened, and thus managed to avoid the login issues and other difficulties caused by high load.

I enjoyed playing a tactical officer so much during the beta that I decided to roll another one, a Vulcan female with space traits this time around, now that I know how much fighting I would be doing on my ship. She is called T’Androma, a name I came up with by literally punching the word “random” into a Vulcan name generator. Hey, I never said I was a Star Trek connoisseur, I couldn’t tell you anything about Vulcan naming conventions if my life depended on it. Then it was on to my favorite part: character customization. With a little tweaking, this is what I came up with:

Yep, she's a busty one.

So I logged in and immediately saw the nifty little cut scene they’ve added, narrated by Spock and all (yay, I actually knew that!) and off I went to kick some Borg Drone butt. While I did so, I noticed the improvements they made to the user interface. It is gorgeous now, and I did a happy dance when I saw the option to turn on “view target of target”.

Space combat is a lot easier now that I know what the hell I’m doing, and I can take down four or five Birds of Prey at once without breaking a sweat. My new ship is almost a twin of the U.S.S. Taiga, the one I had in beta, but I named this one after another biome instead:

In case you're wondering, no, my next ship will not be named the U.S.S. Temperate Coniferous Forest.

I was also a little more careful when it came to distributing my skill points this time around, not only because I know that there’s going to be a cap, but also because I’ve learned that there are clear advantages to giving more attention to certain space and ground abilities. That said, space combat is still very tactical and combat on the ground is still somewhat lackluster, though I’ve come to appreciate every chance I get to beam down as a nice reprieve from the hectic and often lengthy space battles.

So far, there’s a decent mix of quests, some that require fighting and blowing stuff up, and others where you won’t have to fire a single shot at all. Yes, as with any game, there’s always going to be the risk of missions starting to feel repetitive, but well, at least in this game I’m pretty positive you’ll never have to kill 10 rats.

The most impressive thing I experienced was also the most fun I had today, and that was the fleet action. I was initially let down by them during the beta, as I was expecting the massive battles and epic moments that the developers had promised in their videos and interviews, and needless to say, I didn’t quite get that. Today was a different story. Maybe it was the greater number of players involved, but the fleet action gameplay I experienced this afternoon was just insane. Player allies and enemy ships and proton mines and debris and asteroids and you name it were just flying all over the place as literally dozens of phaser beams were shooting across the screen at once. This was more like the large-scale conflict I had expected.

A screenshot taken during one of the "calmer" moments, i.e. the few seconds when I was able to take my hands off the control keys and mouse.

I was also surprised at the level of stability. Sure, I had the occasional “connection to server lost” message flash across the screen as well as some rubber-banding, but having no ridiculous wait times, severe crashes or server shutdowns on launch day certainly gets major points in my book. I guess I’ll see what more this game will bring in the weeks to come.