Category: Of Interest (Page 5 of 14)

So You’ve Reached Max Level – Now What? #WoW #RiftGame

Yesterday I decided to cancel my Rift account, and it wasn’t because I don’t enjoy the game but because once I reached level 50 I didn’t have anything left to do (keep in mind I don’t raid). I know, there’s a large update coming soon that would potentially rectify this issue but lets assume for the moment that it’s not releasing this week. This burn out players feel once reaching max level isn’t something that is all that rare, and I think it’s something that games need to find an answer to. While raiding is great for those who want to partake it shouldn’t be the only answer to “what is there to do” once you’ve hit max level.

In actuality it’s not all there is to do. It’s just that all of the other options were uninteresting to me. For example, there are achievements to work on. Collections to complete, factions to grind, and PvP. I had completed my T2 set of gear along with obtaining as many crafting recipes as I could per week. I think Rift is incredibly limited in their crafting due to the fact that there are only daily quests and weekly quests (ignoring the “Crifting” that goes on for now because technically that is still a once a week occurrence for those who have a lure). Once you’ve completed these quests there’s not much more to do via crafting unless you’re going harvesting. The same can be said for guild quests, you have a weekly supply of them and once they’re completed there’s nothing else you can do to progress the guilds level. You can’t even do an unlimited amount of daily quests, there’s a cap.

I’m going to generalize for a moment here which is something I typically refrain from doing but I think it’s relevant. It’s 11am on a Wednesday. A large portion of those in game may be stay at home mothers (or fathers) who have children in school. What does your game offer to them? Something they can do that allows them to step away from the PC easily when something at home comes up (player housing, I’m looking at you). Or does your game require large amounts of undivided attention.

There’s no magical answer I can supply on an easy way to give players something to do once they’ve hit max level (or even on their way to max level) aside from a comment by Petter: “.. Gief sandbox features plz” – for those who are unfamiliar with the term sandbox here’s a simple description:

A sandbox MMO is a game that drops you into a player driven world.  Players are given tools, and sand, and they get to make whatever they want with it.  just like when you were a kid in your sandbox with a shovel and pail.  You didn’t have much fancy stuff, but you had fun.

a non-sandbox MMO has already made all the fun for you, there is no sand, its a playground or a “themepark”.  its not about you creating content, its about having fun with what the devs made.  like when you used to climb around on the monkey bars or whatever.

It’s not a definition that can be put in so many words, but World of Warcraft is typically referred to as a ‘theme park’ MMO, where as games like EVE are sandbox. In EVE the game doesn’t tell you what to do, or what to train, or where to fly. You (the player) have to decide what is fun, and go out and do it. World of Warcraft holds your hand the entire way, telling you where to level and what to do. EQ2 is a theme park MMO with sandbox features, like crafting and player housing. Player-written books, and their soon to be design a dungeon feature. Players who don’t want to raid or always be in a dungeon thrive in these sorts of games, and while you can’t please everyone adding even a little sand to your theme park is never a bad thing.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

 

 

Xoom For a Day

When the ipad 2 released I decided to put myself on the waiting list for one (well, ok the other half did, but it counts!) having never owned a tablet before. I do own an ipod touch (3rd Gen) and I’ve used it every single day for about two years now (I got it for a fantastic price on EBay) and we do own an iphone 3GS in the house (I think that’s the name of it, I may be remembering wrong). The point is I’ve got a pretty established Apple account with apps that I’ve purchased (as well as free ones) itunes, etc.

But I’m always interested in the Android market, especially since a lot of my friends on twitter are split between iOS users and Android users. A trip to Best Buy told me they were out of the ipad 2 (surprise) but they had three more Xoom tablets in stock. The other half and I talked back and forth about the benefits to one or the other and in the end we decided that we would REALLY like to use flash on our tablet, so we bought the 32g Xoom.

That same day, we returned it and sheepishly put ourselves back on the mailing list for an ipad. There were a few reasons for this and I wanted to talk about them just in case others are also trying to make these decisions. Number one, yes, flash worked – but on the Xoom tablet it was INCREDIBLY slow. Because it was so slow swiping the screen at all while using flash was next to impossible, you ended up on the next page or were zoomed in too much or too little. The camera was beautiful and the design was sleek, but it’s also very heavy. The android store is not for the faint of heart. In the Apple store at least I know exactly what I’m getting. Browsing is easy, and I can wander through the different apps and at least know what I’m looking at. The android market on the other hand is really not for beginners like myself. I’m sure with persistence I could have found what I wanted in the form of an app but it was incredibly difficult for me and I just got annoyed.

Netflix is a no-go on the Xoom (or any android) at this point in time. We tried a work around or two and none of them worked. This is due to the lack of protection on the android marketplace, Netflix afraid of people stealing material. There’s talk of an app in the future but it could be some time off (later this year) and one of my main reasons for wanting a tablet at all was to watch Netflix. Being in Canada I don’t have a lot of other movie / tv show streaming options so to me personally it was a big deal.

Not only was Netflix a no-go but I couldn’t find apps for a lot of things I had wanted to use. Things I already had apps for from Apple. I realize this is hardly the Xoom’s fault, for example ShutterCal only has an iOS version. It was just one more reason that I wanted to go back to the safety of what I already knew. My frustrations mounted as I tried to get comfortable with the device and after fiddling around with it for a few hours it just wasn’t clicking for me. Back into the box and back to the store.

The ipad gets here May 10th, and yes, I’m excited. Even more so now that I’ve played with my Fathers (he waited in line at the Apple store on release day for 15 hours to get his). My Mom gets hers tomorrow. In some ways, it almost feels like a comparison of WoW vs. Other Games to me. You hate to use it, but you always go back because it’s just so simple and easy.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Musings About The Internet

There have been a number of large internet debates here in Canada over the last little while. There is the discussion going on currently about having user caps (as low as 25 gigs a month) and charging $2+ every gig over the cap. There are also continuous debates over throttling, and the monopoly that Rogers has over the market (although it does share that market with Bell Canada). The latest news bit is about how Rogers is throttling World of Warcraft players because WoW uses peer-to-peer to transfer game files. Rogers has throttled peer-to-peer for as long as I can remember, and that was one major reason why I stopped using their service. As not only a gamer, but a gamer writing about games it was next-to impossible for me to download a game (especially a free to play game) in time for an article because I would be throttled every inch of the way. I very literally could not do my job using Rogers internet service. I have since switched, and while my service is actually slower the fact that I’m not throttled is a blessing.

For a country that is considered to be ‘free’ in many aspects (healthcare, etc) we sure do have a lot of issues when it comes to technology. Every time I see a commercial for AT&T High Speed Internet my stomach does flip flops – the prices are noticeably lower for the services provided compared to what I see up here. Jealous? Of course I am – a little bit.

These days just about everything is on the internet, not just my video games. I subscribe and pay to use Netflix to stream tv shows and movies – and they actually had to lower their video quality in order to cater to Canadians who have low internet usage caps put in place by their ISP. It would seem that Netflix is afraid of losing customers who may worry about the rate that their data transfers. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we be increasing the quality and performance (at a lower cost) of internet usage instead?

I truly love where I live and appreciate the comforts that we’re given on a daily basis, but I hate to see that we’re falling so far behind the curve in this matter.

In other news! My bard has completed her 1.5 epic and it looks amazing. I also spent a little time in Rift last night, participating in the world wide event that has taken over. My cleric is still hanging out at level 21, but it was nice to peek in and see how the server was doing population wise. I hope everyone else has a delightful Thursday (this is my Friday, woohoo for three day weekends) and happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

 

Question About A Gaming Scenario #MMORPG

I wanted to hear peoples thoughts on this scenario – so if you have any ideas to share on it, let me know please!

You’re in the game of your choice. You hear someone advertising on channels that they’re buying a 30 day game card and paying the current in game currency for it. Obviously this person doesn’t have the means to purchase the card themselves, for whatever reason. The reason doesn’t really matter. Someone offers to purchase the game card for them via a legit method (ie: directly from the company themselves, a store, or a reputable web site that sells game cards, there are a lot of them out there). The in game currency they receive for purchasing the game card for the person has not been purchased or acquired through unconventional means (ie: they’ve earned it themselves just fine).

Sounds a little like EVE Online’s method of selling pilot licenses, right? Except that not all games have an in-game item that represents a 30 day time code. Do readers feel that this exchange of goods is an acceptable transaction, or is it cheating some how? Does it break a rule of trading real life money for in-game currency even though you’re trading a time card for in game currency?

From my own perspective – since the game card as well as the in game currency are both obtained through legit means, I consider it player B being helped by player A who can’t afford a time card. Of course that’s not really taking into account the question of whether or not you should be playing video games that you can’t really afford to be playing. I’m just wondering how everyone else sees this issue, since lets face it, it’s rare that our views are all the same.

Let me know in comments!

Please Don’t Force me to Give up my Job #CRTC #meterednet

If you haven’t heard, Canada is switching to a metered billing plan for internet usage – a bill passed to make this ridiculous thing legal. What this means basically is that we (users of the internet in Canada) will have an incredibly low cap on internet – right now it’s being spoken of as 25 gigs a month. For every gig OVER this 25 gigs a month, we will be charged extra. The number right now, is $2 a gig.

That’s the jist of it. If you want specifics, please take a look at my friend David’s in depth post. It’s a fantastic read. You can also find more information here, and here.

My job requires me to download multiple games every single month in order to write about them. I also work from home, so I use my home internet. That does not include any internet I use for regular things like downloading movies, ipod apps, netflix, youtube, game play and game patching. That doesn’t include the multiple purchases from steam, etc. There is, quite frankly, NO WAY I will be able to afford to do my job with this cap in effect. I simpley can not afford to pay $2 extra for every gig I go over the cap, I don’t make enough money.

PLEASE speak up about this fellow Canadians. Contact your local government officials, sign the petitions going around and get involved. This is NOT ok to implement, the internet is supposed to becoming EASIER to access, not only for the rich who can afford it.

Please help out by spreading this news around to your fellow Canadians who may not be aware of these changes.

Another great post here by Darren from Common Sense Gamer – check it out.

Holiday Gaming Goodies

The holidays are finally rounding up, and with it hopefully a little more time to write here on MmoQuests as well as NomadicGamer. I’ve settled into a semi routine with my gaming and I’m happy for that. What am I up to at the end of 2010? Nothing all that exciting, but I’ll list it in any case.

Rift – Today the 3rd Rift beta starts and runs until the 31st of December. Chances are if I were participating in it a lot of my time will be spent there.

EVE Online – I’m also three days away from flying an Orca – my dream hauler. I can’t afford one quite yet but I know that will come with time. I can’t wait to fly one of these. Ever since I got my hulk and saw my friend David flying on I’ve wanted to be able to fly myself.

WoW – I haven’t been playing in the Cataclysm zones (80+) all that much. Both my priest and my warlock are at a comfortable 82 and I’ve been working on their crafting skills as well as playing lower level alts on the opposite faction. I have been having a great time with the new quests in “vanilla” WoW. I just finished Redridge mountains on my paladin and I thought it was really well done, gained a few levels even though the quests were gray and worked up my enchanting skill. I’ve been enjoying the slow walk towards 85 and I mean it’s more like a crawl than a walk. I’ll get there eventually. I’ve unlocked and completed two dungeons (Throne of Tides and the one in Blackrock) which were quite fun. Healing PUGs is always stressful but I’ve enjoyed the challenge.

Sims 3 – This game continues to hold my attention in a big way. I wish there were less bugs would be one of my major complaints. It feels like EA just likes to push expansion packs out the door and rarely fixes any of the issues that they come up with, so it’s all about me dealing with bugs from a few expansions and packs that they’ve sold. I really enjoy and appreciate the amount of options we’re given in game, and though at times it feels a little “too real” for a video game there is enough humor to keep me trucking along finding out what happens next.

Neverwinter Nights 2 – This game was on sale at Steam for $10 including two expansion packs. I own NWN but haven’t played in ages, and while I have heard there was a lot of bugs at launch for NWN2 I decided why not, and picked it up. Still a few hours left to go on the patcher, but it should be a few hours of fun none the less.

As pictured above I also got a brand new Logitech G700 gaming mouse for Christmas, and so far I’m really liking it. The fit of the mouse is perfect to my hands, and unlike my previous razor, I can very easily hit the buttons and what’s more important to me – feel the buttons while I game. I found with the razor it was impossible for me to hit the buttons because they didn’t exactly stand out to me. I don’t want to fumble along the mouse or have to look down in order to hit them. Fully programmable with different profiles, I’ve already set one up for WoW. My attempts at learning WASD are going alright. I’ve completely unbound the arrow keys as movement keys in all of my games so that is at least forcing me to use them. I own a Steelseries merc keyboard which has a special gaming pad section on the far left that emulates the WASD keys as well as a few others. It’s not something I’m used to quite yet, but my right wrist is MUCH happier with the new set up.

How about all of my wonderful readers, get anything new and shiny for Christmas? Any new games on your horizon? Let me know in comments!

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Merry Christmas to You all (Literally)

In November there was NaNoWriMo, and my attempt at raising a little money for their charity, the office of letters and light. In December, I run the 2010 Gamers Secret Santa, which soared after some twitter / facebook and forum promotions by some incredible people (Cheesy, you know I’m looking at you). Last year I ran the 2009 Gamers Secret Santa and although only a small handful of people participated that year, it was more than enough to entice me to run it again. I really hope everyone has had fun with it this year.

The point of that introduction is simply to say thank you. Through my work and my hobbies I have met some incredibly awesome people and this time of year as well as all year around I need to remind myself just how lucky I am.This list isn’t going to cover everyone, but I hope to name off those who have made this year especially amazing.

Tipa, who runs WestKarana – she is an incredibly strong woman who has inspired me on so many levels. I owe her more than she will ever realize, and if you don’t read her blog posts – you most certainly should!

Kasul, who runs Shattered, although he doesn’t write nearly as often as he should he has been an enormous help and a fantastic friend this year.

Blue Kae from his blog appropriately named. He made such a fantastic attempt at NaNoWriMo this year, and I really admired it. He has also continued on with the writing, and that’s something I think more people need to make time to do. Things they enjoy, even when time is slim.

Scopique. From Levelcapped. When I feel like I am the only one playing games I actually enjoy, and not ranting and raving about the latest bug, Scopique lets me know that there are others out there in the same boat. Some times it’s great just to know we’re not alone.

Petter, from Don’t Fear the Mutant. Another one of those “wow they need to write MOAR” bloggers, but when he does write, we all love reading it. It’s nice to know he appreciates gamers for their good and bad points, and he’s a fantastic listener.

Those are the main 5 from the community who have helped me out this year, but the list of those I’ve come to deeply appreciate runs a lot longer. There’s Hudson, though we don’t always see eye to eye I love reading his in depth articles. MMO Gamer Chick, who always has a great perspective on things, Pasmith who lets us all know about the latest gadgets and gizmos out there. Rebecca, who writes for A girl IRL – fellow Sims enthusiast, Jeremy Stratton, who writes for Massively, Ardwulf, who I have known for a long time now and just started co-hosting some EVE podcasts. How exciting! Leala who just finished creating an incredible Marshcraft diorama and is involved in so many gaming communities I wouldn’t know where to begin listing them. Arkenor who reminded me how FUN games are with his incredible Minecraft videos. Beau, who is always incredibly honest with his thoughts about gaming communities. ScaryBooster who is just .. insane. In the best way possible. Gavin from Flex Your Geek – who also writes from time to time for Nomadic Gamer, and is now a brand new writer for PC Gamer. There’s Ysharros, who is the most elusive blogger I’ve ever seen – but when she does write, oh boy you’d better read it. Ethic from Kill Ten Rats, who I have been reading for almost as long as I’ve been gaming. Sypster, who I watched start out writing for Biobreak and then grow to include writing for Massively. Werit, who is probably the most devoted gamer I’ve ever known, and I’ve known a lot of them. Krystalle, who I finally got to “see” in game for the first time ever in EVE. Talk about a star moment! Gordon, who is a fantastic writer for We Fly Spitfires. Victor, who reminds me of my younger brothers. It’s just a joy to read his work. Of course I can’t forget Dusty_Monk, who is the president of Windstorm Studios, and proves to us time and time again that developers are gamers too.

Then there are the others I know, not through their writing per say but from their influence on my gaming none the less. There’s Squeecha, who I know always enjoys a good cheese. Naylie, who has been fantastic at keeping Vanguard together this year. Domino, who I adore simply because of all the crafting goodies added to EQ2. ShutterCal for their amazing calendar project that has grown SO much over the last year. Kiara, who has been a fantastic friend. Findpurpose, who listens to even the most boring of my rants.There’s Pennie, who patiently looked at every single one of my decorated houses in EQ2, and Shadowgeist who gamed with me and kept me company no matter where I ended up.

Since this is a game related post, I’ve tried to keep the list restricted to those who have influenced me in some gamer aspect, but there are of course always those I love who are not involved in gaming what so ever. I love, and appreciate every single person I am lucky enough to have in my life, and I really hope that this next year is just as amazing as the last. Thank you all so very, very much.

Turning Games into Art #EQ2

It comes as no surprise to those who know me that as the winter months approach I tend to game a little less, and get involved in crafts a little more. One hobby I have is cross-stitching which is a counted-thread embroidery where you make images using nothing but a collection of little X’s in different colours onto aida cloth. I’ve been doing these for as long as I can remember, my Mom got me involved and she has been doing them for as long as I can remember, creating some absolutely amazing crafted pieces. It takes a lot of time, but in the end well worth it.

I recently obtained an aida afghan from her, it’s a series of panels that you can cross stitch images onto to create a finished afghan product. She gave me a pattern of cats that seems really nice but it’s not really for me. It got me thinking, could I perhaps create my own patterns and hence my own personalized afghan using in-game screen shots that reflected my different game and character choices.

There are numerous programs out there that will take your photographs and turn them into printable cross-stitch patterns. They relate each colour to a floss type (DMC is a regular brand and easy to find in any craft store) and print out a grid where each colour is represented by a symbol. I figured that screen shots are bound to have less colour than a photograph, and if I adjusted the shots in photoshop first to reduce the number of colours that the program would have to process, that would be even easier.

Pictured above is one of my results. It’s a cross-stitch pattern for my Fae in EQ2. The grids are hidden and it’s zoomed out so you can see the over all effect, but it turned out pretty well. I think I would want to ignore the background unless I really wanted a complex image. This one in particular was a screen shot reduced to 50 colours in photoshop, and then adjusted to 200 thread colours in the pattern program I’m using. I could have easily switched this to any number of floss colours but wanted to use the most I could for maximum effect of this post in specific. 200 colours would be an incredible amount to work with – but it really does give the best options as far as keeping your details go.

I’m pretty excited. Of course it’s a lot of work to find screen shots I want to use and then adjust them all so that they’re optimized to turn into a pattern. Concept art seems to work best, and games with bright vibrant colours. I posted some one twitter last night that I had created for World of Warcraft, and Wizard101. As for my afghan I thought perhaps creating a panel collection of each of the EQ2 epic weapons would be neat (and completely geeky). I thought SOE released some concept art of each weapon just before they came out in game, I’ll have to see if I can’t find them.

Unfortunately you won’t see me selling these finished products any time soon since they are covered by copyright laws. I can’t make a profit from selling images of someone else’ property (which just makes sense). That won’t stop me from making them for myself and friends for personal use though and I’m really excited.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

2010 Gamers Secret Santa Under Way

Wow. What an incredible turn out this year. With over 100 people from all over the world participating, this years Gamers Secret Santa is off to an incredible start. I sent out the emails earlier today, so if you registered and have NOT gotten the email with the address for your recipient PLEASE let me know (email me stargrace@mmoquests.com) and be sure to check your trash bin because my emails typically get sent there first.

A few things I learned this year. Number one, we as gamers belong to an exclusive club of inside jokes that most of the world simply wouldn’t get. These make great ideas for Christmas presents. We have such an incredibly awesome community, I can’t phrase it into words. Despite the fact that we are often at one another for having a difference in opinion, when it comes down to it that’s simply passion. Passion for what we believe in, passion for our hobbies. Making sure that passion doesn’t rise to an extent that it hurts someone else is what we all have to be mindful of.

To everyone who signed up and is participating this year, I couldn’t be happier. I wish I could partake myself, but it wouldn’t really be much of a surprise that way. I’m quite content to stand in the background and make sure everything runs as smooth as possible.

On that same note, I am once more offering to do a Christmas Card exchange with anyone who is interested. Simply drop me an email: Stargrace@mmoquests.com and we’ll exchange addresses. Last year I received more than 20 cards from old and new gamer friends alike, and it was a lot of fun. I typically tape them up around my desk during the holiday season to remind myself of all I have to be thankful for.

I know I’ve been coating everything in a nice layer of sticky sweet syrup these days but I simply can’t help it. Safe travels, and happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

November Update Thoughts #LotRO

First of all, please don’t forget that TOMORROW is the last day I’ll be taking names for the 2010 Gamers Secret Santa. If you want to partake, be sure to email me! Compared to last year this years participation numbers have grown by leaps and bounds and I’m incredibly thankful and excited for everyone who has decided to partake.

Now, on to the good stuff! Yesterday was the November update for The Lord of the Rings Online, and what an update it was. I absolutely LOVE the changes to the vault / chest systems. As a crafter and a player with four alts being able to organize my belongings into tabs that I can name is incredibly handy. No, LotRO is not the first game to implement this feature but it’s typically reserved for guild banks (WoW and EQ2 both allow you to name the bank tabs). I now have tabs for crafting raws, recipes, gear, etc. There are 10 tabs in all as well as an ‘all’ tab that allows you to scroll through each of your named compartments. I spent an hour organizing each character as well as my shared vault.

The changes to crafting I could go either way on. Number one the UI is HUGE. It actually blocks too much of my screen when I am on my farmer and I have to adjust it in order to harvest from the fields below me. I also do not enjoy the fact that VIP’s who are already paying to play the game are bombarded with the store screen at every possibility. I understand that the company is there to make money, but if a player is already making those purchases I’d love to see them exempt. More motivation to become a VIP and all that. I do like the double layout, so that I can see my crafting recipe list at the same time that I can see what those recipes make. I just wish it were smaller. I realize you can shrink your UI down but it’s just this one aspect in particular that I find gigantic.

Tasks. I was disappointed with the task system. You will find bulletin boards all through towns, typically level appropriate. If you can interact with it you’ll see a quest ring icon on your mini map and the base of the bulletin board will also sparkle. You must be within 4 levels in order to accept tasks from one, and as has already been stated the jist of it is to pass over your vendor fodder in exchange for xp and faction.

Except in my humble opinion, it’s completely not worth it. At level 42 I received barely 1,000 xp – which is pretty much nothing when I gain 6,000 xp for doing some quests. 4,000 xp for doing a skirmish daily. You gain 300 faction which IS very nice but not at the cost of losing your vendor fodder. You can only do 5 tasks a day, and if you want to do more you have to pay 50 turbine points each time to refresh them, for a max of 5 times refreshed (granting you 30 tasks a day). I like the fact that you are unable to simply purchase items from the broker in order to level up – but on that same hand find the rewards a little lacking. Another issue is that the boards do not tell you what level ranges they provide tasks for, and you need to be within 4 levels in order to accept them. At level 40 and 42 none of my characters were able to accept tasks from Rivendell, although they were able to get them from the camp in Misty Mountains.

The barter wallet is there but again lacking. While most of my skirmish tokens were automatically added, none of my fall festival tokens were inside the wallet, nor were some of my other tokens. This is a great idea in concept but I wish they had of refined it a little before adding it to the game.

There were numerous other changes that took place as well, but those are the ones I had that directly affected my characters. Has anyone else explored the November Update yet? What are your thoughts on the changes?

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

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