Posts Tagged ‘MMO Juggling’

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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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The Secret World: Monday Night Thrill-Seekers

October 9, 2012

Hrrmm, creepy black veins around my screen. What could go wrong?

From its launch, I’ve praised The Secret World as the most fun and interesting MMO I’ve played in years, and that I plan on sticking to it for a long time especially if they keep up with their monthly updates. I know there have been some hiccups along the way for Funcom, including some restructuring and staff layoffs, but against all odds they’ve managed to catch up and maintain their update schedule! What is this? How dare they keep their promises! Now where the hell am I going to find the time to play all this new content?! Unforgivable, I tell you…

Yeah, I’ll be the first to admit I’m no good at MMO juggling. Being able to concentrate on one game at a time appeals more to my personality, but I try and try anyway. Thanks to Guild Wars 2 and now World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, I’ve been shelving TSW to play again when things calm down a little, but it doesn’t help that every time I sit down and my computer and see a TSW article, some exciting news about upcoming updates, or even the game icon on my desktop, I get the urge to fire up the game. My addiction to it is still very much in my system.

What I really need is focus, and sometimes a schedule or a little bit of enforced structure does wonders. Which is why I’m so pleased that my multi-gaming guild has decided to put together “The Secret World Nights”.

These static weekly Monday night sessions began yesterday, when a handful of members from Knights of Mercy dove right back into the game and started kicking Egyptian cultist butt. Like all MMOs, the game is so much more fun when playing with other people — not to mention the difficulty level takes a jump once you leave the Solomon Islands and head into Egypt, so the extra manpower really helps. Not only were we able to support our fellow cabal-mates, the quests being repeatable also garnered everyone, even those who have completed them already, much needed AP and SP.

At the end of the night, the remaining brave souls, full of piss and vinegar, even tried to take on super-powerful mobs in a lair. These are a somewhat new feature in the game, which is probably why we were completely unprepared for the good old-fashioned thrashing we received. Originally designed for three players in endgame gear, lairs have been toned down so more casual players can also attempt them, but it was still painfully clear that we had wildly overestimated our own power. Silly us! This is TSW, after all.

KoM will be returning to TSW next Monday night, and every Monday thereafter, hopefully to polish off some of the new quests that have been added in the latest issues. It’s great, even if you’re not the grouping type but would still like the company. Personally, I love it because I know this is a great opportunity for me to keep up with the content.

Speaking of which, by the way, I still need to get my rocket launcher. Oh, and we all know the Halloween content is coming soon…

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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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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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Playing Catch Up

August 22, 2010

There has been a lack of regular updates as of late, since the puppy has been making it extremely difficult for me to get anything done. His royal majesty the Heir of Gondor craps and pees like every hour, sleeps for only short periods at a time, and likes to wander everywhere when he’s awake and do things like steal my socks and panties from the hamper and eat anything he can sink his teeth into — lint, acorns, wood chips, shoelaces, you name it. Yesterday the little devil even managed to grab hold of a band-aid I had on my hand, tore it off and tried to make off with it. Ewwwww.

But then he can also be oh sooo adorable.

Mr. Tiger has since been redubbed Mr. Maimed Tiger. Approximately 8 hours after this photo was taken, puppy bit off his right arm.

Okay, enough with the cute. Hopefully Strider will gain more control over his bladder over the next couple of weeks and I’ll be to catch up on some gaming:

  • Star Trek Online — I still have my sights on making Vice Admiral and dammit, I’m not going to rest until I grind enough non-combat exploration missions for the last 60 diplomatic experience points needed for T’Androma to make the rank of Attaché. It is my understanding that after that, things will finally get somewhere.
  • Three weeks later, the new computer is finally loaded up with most of my MMOs (I told you our internet is slow) and both Lord of the Rings Online and Age of Conan are looking gorgeous using DX10 with all the video settings turned all the way up.
  • World of Warcraft is the only game I’ve been playing with any consistency lately, but usually late at night and only because my husband the big WoW nerd insists on it. The Terrific Tauren Two are almost ready for Northrend.
  • I still need to install the Guild Wars trilogy, because my Twitter feed has been filled with people talking about it lately, and I’m getting the hankering to fire up the Nightfall campaign.
  • Tonight, I also started downloading the EverQuest II Extended client. I have no idea when I’m going to find time to play all this, but what I do know is that I can’t argue with free.

Have a nice rest of the weekend!

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The Game Plan

July 21, 2010

My whole life, I’ve never had a desktop computer to call my own. I got my first PC at 17, a Sony laptop that was to go away with me across the ocean when I went to college. Then with the switching of residences, going to grad school, moving around the city in general, I figured buying laptops just made sense for someone like me with my nomadic life. But now that I’ve finally settled down, I thought maybe investing in a  good desktop may be in order, so I can finally enjoy the luxuries of having a nice big screen, and more importantly, be able to do my graphics work on a computer without worrying about it scorching the skin off my legs.

It’s not going to be all about work, obviously; I also made sure the new machine will be a decent gaming rig. The parts won’t be here for a while yet, but I’m already looking forward to setting it up and have been thinking about what MMOs I’ll be putting on it and also my gaming plans for the rest of 2010. World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online, the two games on my “Currently Playing” list, will definitely get installed, but then so might these:

1. Star Trek Online

I  chose to sign up for my Twitter account right around the time the Season 2 Update started on the test server Tribble, so everyday I’ve been inundated with tweets from my fellow bloggers about how great it is. New additions to the game include diplomacy, mini-games, a level cap increase, and much more — it’s enough to bring me back to the game and I think I’m going to reactivate my subscription as soon as the update goes live on Holodeck…or maybe even sooner. It’ll make more sense to give myself some time to re-familiarize with the game controls, lest I get blown to bits by the Undine the first time I venture into their native fluidic space.

Seeing as STO is my perfect casual game, unless there will be a whole slew of new content available, I’ll probably only maintain an active account for a month or two and take a break from it again come fall.

By the way, is the Federation News Service fleet still there? Please say it is so.

2. Age of Conan

I haven’t been playing  this game lately, mostly because of the number of technical problems I’ve encountered with the new Rise of the Godslayer expansion. Most of the issues are Funcom’s, but admittedly, some are mine. I had no problems playing my lower level characters, but memory leaks caused the client to crash to desktop as soon as my level 80 Priest of Mitra entered the new Khitai lands. Much of the expansion’s new features are tied up in the post-level cap content, so everything I had wanted to do, like explore the Alternate Advancement system or grind reputation with the new factions to get my Tiger or Wolf mount/pet, had to be put on hold.

Raids were also out of the question. My poor gaming laptop, which is a few years old, can run this game smoothly when I’m playing solo or in a six-man team, but big groups made my frame rates plummet. And when you’re the healer, that’s always bad news. I’m hoping the new computer will alleviate a lot of these problems, and that I’ll finally get to do all that I’d ever wanted in AoC. Now that I think about it, I might even have racked up enough offline levels by now to give to my Bear Shaman to make her my second level 80.

3. Final Fantasy XIV

Another game with beautiful graphics that I’m hoping the new computer will run more smoothly. To be honest, I was quite shocked to hear that FFXIV will be coming out this year, at the end of September, no less. I’ll probably end up giving this a try this fall, even though I haven’t really been buying into the hype. I’ve never been a rabid FF fan, never played FFXI, but I’m still quite interested in this, at least enough to keep a distant eye on the news coming out. This can either be a hit or miss for me, I really can’t tell yet.

4. DC Universe Online

If and only if FFXIV doesn’t work out, I’ll most likely be giving DCUO a look come winter. I like the DC universe okay, nowhere near as much as I love Marvel, but some of my all-time favorite comic book characters belong to DC (like Harley Quinn) and I know the heroes, the villains and the stories well enough to make me ooh and ahh over what I’ve seen so far. Looks like it’s been slated for a November release, but I might give it a month or so to see what others are saying about it before I take the plunge for myself (if it comes to that). By then, LOTRO should also have gone F2P, so I won’t have to juggle more than 2-3 subscriptions.

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Try New Things

May 28, 2010

As I’ve reiterated so many times before on this blog, I’ve just started playing World of Warcraft again after a long period of being away. But I realized I never really explained why I took my break. Yes, I was a little tired of the raiding, the heroics, the dailies, the treadmill and all that jazz, but the ultimate reason was much more than just plain old burnout. You see, back then I was mostly just playing WoW. Meanwhile, as the market expanded, new games were popping up left and right. All of a sudden, I felt like I was missing out on these other great titles because I was too focused on just one game.

I also want to take this opportunity to talk about a disturbing trend I’ve been noticing. Certain segments of the MMO community seem to treat WoW like a disease, don’t you think? That’s nothing new; people can say what they want about a game and it doesn’t bother me. No, instead, what really irks me these days is the ostracizing and belittling of all the game’s players like they’re mentally handicapped or that their opinions don’t count or matter if they “only play WoW”.

Well, I think dismissing people solely based on their game of choice is a bit elitist and unfair. But then I’m also going to play devil’s advocate here and say that if you look past the insults and attitude there’s a smidgen of logic there, even if it’s just barely. If your only focus is on one game, whether it’s WoW or some other MMO, you’re limited to a very narrow view of the genre.

So with this post, I want to talk about the matter of playing one game versus many games, and the notion of branching out and trying new things. Now, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if a player only sticks to just one game, because what it really comes down to what you enjoy. In the end, you should play the games you want to play, not because of what anyone else thinks. Yes, I used to only play WoW…and am currently playing it again along with a few other MMOs. Its critics can crap on the game all they want and I don’t care; they’re entitled to their opinion and the only thing that matters to me is whether or not I’m having fun. Sometime last year, however, I made the decision to experience more MMOs and broaden my horizons. It was my own personal choice, and it had nothing to do with anyone or anything else.

For me, my hiatus from WoW availed me to try many other MMOs out there and I don’t regret any of them at all. Especially now that I have this blog, I find it easier these days to engage in meaningful discourse with other gamers like the ones on my blogroll. Whether or not I agree with a certain point of view, I feel more informed and thus more comfortable now with piping up on many MMO topics than I ever did before. It’s wonderful when I find that I actually “get it” when I read about someone’s unique take on things, or their thoughts on certain playing styles. Even when they talk about a game I’ve never played before, at least I feel I can add to the discussion by drawing parallels or giving examples.

My time away from WoW has also taught me a lot about my own gaming habits. I look at the games I’ve played over the last couple of years, and see all these titles I’ve tried (EvE Online, Champions Online, etc.), subscribed to and dropped for good (Warhammer, Aion, etc.), or canceled only to be picked up again (Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, etc.) Regardless of the result, I think each game was a valuable experience. It made me realize what I liked, or what I didn’t like.

For example, while it’s arguably one of the most polished MMOs on the market, WoW isn’t perfect. I knew that before, of course, but it was hard to pinpoint exactly why. But now that I’ve seen some of what’s out there, I am more aware of the various mechanics, features, systems and other things related to gameplay. I think to myself, I love this from Game X or that from Game Y, or I think such-and-such in game Z isn’t as well executed compared to Game A, B, or C, etc.

Playing more MMOs has also given me a new perspective on how their developers operate. Obviously, not every company has the resources Blizzard has,  and it’s interesting to see how different teams tackle the same challenges. I’ve come to recognize that while a certain solution might work for one game, it doesn’t automatically mean it can work for others. Instead of making me go, “Well, Blizzard can do it, so why can’t they?” it’s actually made me a lot more open-minded and sympathetic.

So speaking of which, if I seem overly positive in some of my articles, it might also be due to the fact that many things are still so new and fresh to me. After all, I’ve only been playing MMOs for about four years, and for more than half that time I was only playing WoW. So admittedly I’m a noob compared to some of the MMO veterans out there, but just give me another ten or so years and a few dozen more MMOs! Who knows, you may make a cynical and jaded gamer out of me yet!

All joking aside though, I thought I knew what things were like until I took a break to try new things. Some MMOs have pleasantly surprised me, others have lead to disappointment. Regardless, I’m still having fun and my eyes have been opened ever since I started giving more games a chance.