My gaming these days has been restricted to wandering through the lands of World of Warcraft, completing achievements and leveling characters to 100. Last week I managed to ding 100 on my hunter, and then I decided to swap over to my alliance characters for a bit and did the same on my shaman. That brings my total characters at 100 to only 4 so far, but I’m hoping to get a few more up there too.
There has been a lot of talk this week about WildStar headed to steam, and whether or not it will be enough change to have an impact on the game and the number of people playing. I know there was also some controversy about the Madame Fay’s Fortunes changes in the recent past, but honestly I enjoy these casino-like games of chance. In Madame Fay’s Fortunes you use your currency to select three cards and flip them over to see what rewards you’ve obtained. You have to use fortune coin that is only available from the in-game store, and you can purchase it in singles or bundles. The discussion surrounding lockboxes certainly isn’t a new one in MMORPGs, it has been around for years now, and no matter your personal feeling on the matter, these games are popular. They remind of us casino games like those found at netbet.co.uk, and they’re a relaxing way to spend some downtime in between the typical MMORPG fare.
In EQ2 I’ve spent a fair amount of Daybreak cash (or whatever the term is these days) on mercenary lockboxes in order to try to get the ‘rare’ ones (they are randomly found in mercenary crates) and then sold the extras off in order to level up the guild. I’m glad that these lockboxes have a secondary use, since having a whole bunch of lower quality mercenary is not something I’m keen on collecting. I just also wish that there was a way to trade them between your own characters, or that mercenary were account wide rather than bound to the character who claims them. It makes keeping track of who has what a bit annoying.
In any case, real life has been incredibly difficult as of late, and that’s why more often than not you’ll find me playing WoW. It’s a game I can pop into no matter how much time I have left in my day and feel as though I’ve accomplished a few things even if it’s just garrison chores. Having these types of games available has meant a great deal to me over the years, and I’m thankful that as a gamer we have such a fantastic selection to delve into.
As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.
I enjoyed playing my Dominion Esper quite a bit, but once I reached 50 I decided it was time to make an alt and see how the Exiles play. It didn’t take long to fall in love with them. I’ve been leveling up a human medic this time around, and I’m just about level 50 on her too. It’s easy to see why some people may prefer Exiles to Dominion, but I think in the end I like both factions. I know there’s always a lot of discussion surrounding Exiles being more popular due to the Aurin race, but so far I haven’t made one. Maybe a future alt.
The medic class is a lot of fun. I’ve kept to a pretty simple DPS spec and I’ll branch into a healing spec when I’m level 50. I’ve been questing my way through Malgrave, which is a neat zone but unfortunately the regional story bugged for me so I can’t complete it. On Monday morning I didn’t have any of the lag issues that had plagued the release, and I managed to get a few more levels. The guild experience buff isn’t showing up on my buff icon for some reason, and I miss being able to get the buff from my housing plot. I also need to figure out how to revamp my housing plot now that they’re larger. Everything is pretty bunched up in the center and I’ll need to fix that. I do like the larger plots, but wish the fabkits you place were a bit more spread throughout.
One change that came with the F2P launch that I’m simply not a fan of is the change to Challenges. These used to be little mini events that you would do and then get a chance at a random item. The basic idea of the challenge is still there, the mini events, but now when you complete them you earn an amount of points that move up a line and unlock a specific goodie bag of your choice. Once you’ve unlocked three of the smaller goodie bags via points, you get to unlock a larger one. Gone are the awesome random prizes that we used to get a chance at winning, and instead there are three very drab choices. Aside from experience and achievements, I don’t see that big of a reason to complete these challenges any more. There’s no ‘good’ prizes, and I can certainly find better elsewhere.
Not all games get a second launch, and I think it’s a mistake to see WildStar as “just releasing”. Yes, everyone is working incredibly hard to get the issues taken care of, but treating it as a “new game launch” is ignoring the fact that the game has already been released, charging people to play, in the state it was in. I don’t expect people to be quite as patient with the issues that are occurring now and I think it’s understandable that folks would be frustrated. Of course how you demonstrate that frustration is another story. It’s not a reason to go out and treat people poorly, especially when they’re working incredibly hard. Just something to keep in mind.
As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!
I didn’t get that much gaming in this week, but of course we gamers always seem to find a bit of time here and there. Without further wait, here’s what I’ve been up to this week.
Most of this week was spent playing FeedTheBeast Infinity. There are 164 mods in this pack (165 on my server as I added one I really wanted) and it’s got something for pretty much everyone. Instead of setting up a village outdoors as I typically do, I created an enormous house within a rock mountain, and carved out each room. Then as I upgraded my tools and obtained a chisel I customized the home further. The screenshot above is my crafting room. Lots of space. I’ve also created a portal to the Twilight Forest, and to The Nether. There are Runic Dungeons that I haven’t explored yet, and just so much to do. The mod I added includes a way to level up your tools and weapons so that they get better and progress. You have to upgrade them in order, and it’s just a lot of fun to add this level of customization. Of course on the downside my axe for chopping trees now smelts things it hits – and that means wood just instantly turns to coal when I cut down the tree instead of giving me wooden blocks. Had to make a new axe because of that.
Closed Beta Testing has begun and so I’ve been spending most of my time on the beta servers sending in bug reports. I copied my character over from live, and have been playing around with all of the new things that have been added. Got a few new pets and some new costumes so far, I’m really looking forward to the game moving to free to play so that more people can experience what an awesome game it is and not get hung up on the monthly price tag.
In a surprising turn of events, my mesmer managed to ding level 80 this week. In part due to crafting, and also due to those daily loot boxes you get to open every day. Today when I logged in I was given 2 ‘level’ tokens that let me climb to level 79 instantly. Now I need to finish my personal story, I’m at the level 60 ones now where the giant dragon comes down and things all go crazy for a while. I’m glad that I reached 80, and now I’m debating whether I want to level up another character right away or just continue to do things on the mesmer. I do have a few other level 80 characters but they’re on a different account, so I’m glad I managed to level this one up. I picked up some level 80 gear but now that I’m 80 I have absolutely no idea what I should be working on, aside from finishing off my personal story.
A few new things have been added to the game, black sheep and some rams. I’ve been working on my priests still which is pretty slow work but I enjoy doing it. I’ve also been breeding more animals and working on meditation which is a really slow skill to try to level up. Right now I have four active accounts, but I expect that will drop down to three before too long. I have a year of premium on my Vynora priest along with my main character, Stargrace, and included a year on my Najho priest. I do have a battery that I’ve been using for the Najho, but I really don’t want to have to pay to keep them all active. That’s one of the downsides of Wurm, you have to pay per character.
That’s it for this week! What has everyone else been playing? Let me know in comments.
I love games that allow players to create 3rd party addons to help enhance game play or solve UI issues I may have. In many games I prefer to load just one overall addon that takes care of everything for me, but that isn’t always how things are done. Take WildStar for example. I use a number of individual addons there, and it works out great. Sometimes people wonder if addons make games too easy, or if they’re technically considered cheating. For example in WildStar there’s an addon that lets you relax when the simon says games are going on. Those are the challenges that flash a pattern of colours like a bop-it and you need to match the pattern. The addon responds automatically, saving you a lot of potential frustration.
In EQ2 I use DrumsUI. I used to use Prophet, but it stopped getting updated. Now, Drums hasn’t been updated in quite some time either, but it’s still a working UI, and it does everything I need it to do (which is replace the entire UI for the game). I could get by using the default stuff, but after so many years it’s just not comfortable and it feels outdated.
In World of Warcraft I use ElvUI and like all addons and mods out there, some people love it and some people hate it. This UI mod has a bit of a reputation because so many players use it and it’s seen as a ‘n00bs’ UI of sorts. Despite the negative connotations that I see floating around, it works for what I need it to do as a causal gamer. I also discovered HandyNotes which is by far the most amazing addon I’ve seen so far (especially with WoD).
HandyNotes updates your map and mini-map with every named, treasure, collectable (toys, pets, etc). As you collect the items (or kill the bosses), the icons vanish from your map. This is especially handy if you happen to hunt for achievements that require you to collect everything under the sun. Now, again this addon is not going to be for everyone. Some people really love the discovery and they don’t want any help at all – but others (lets say, completionists) want the ability to finish off these items, and that’s where this addon really shines.
I also have a few pet addons, deadly boss mod because it’s awesome, and an auction house addon here and there. Nothing all that fancy, but it suits my play style.
In games where addons are an option, my decision is usually to always go with one (depending on their availability and how easy they are to install). I like to have the option, even if it’s not for everyone.
Do you tend to use any addons in your games? Would you rather not have the ability to? Let me know in comments!
I’m not playing nearly as many games at once as I used to play, but I still manage to keep pretty busy. I decided to do a weekly roundup of the games I’m playing with a little bit of a blurb about each one. I don’t really know anyone who plays only one game these days – so if you do, let me know! I’ve always been envious of those who were able to commit to just one game at a time. First up!
My alt leveling has been put on hold while a friend of mine returns to the game. Right now they’re making their way through Whitevale and I’ve been having a blast mentoring them. I’ve found soldier holdouts that I missed when I was passing through along with other collectibles. I’ve mentioned this a few times now, but I’m very happy that WildStar has a mentor system, and I think all games (I’m looking at you WoW) need this sort of system. It encourages me to play with friends and motivates me to explore zones I’ve already been through. I always found it sad when games give you zero reason to revisit an area after the developers put all that work into it. When a new expansion releases if you travel to the older zones they’re always empty. It just seems like a waste.
Not exactly an MMO, but I’ve been playing this on the PS4 (my PSN is Stargrace if you’re looking to add me) and I’m having a lot of fun. Unlike on the PC, my hand never gets sore from holding the controller buttons down while I attack. I purchased the game some time ago but today was the first day I actually spent any time playing. I’m level 20 now, and I also had a mailbox full of legendary items for me to open. One really neat thing about Diablo 3 is that when you’re playing it you’ll occasionally get items to drop that get sent to your friends. They’re great ways to motivate them to log in! I had to be level 11 before I could wear the items but once I did mobs just melted away. I’m still trying to get a hang of the controls, but I’m not doing too bad. Since I haven’t actually completed the game on the PS4 before, I can’t play at a very high difficulty, but I’m hoping to ‘beat’ the base game and unlock the other modes. One thing that frustrates me is that this game is not cross platform, so even though I can play on the PC and on the PS4, my accounts don’t really interact together and my PC characters don’t show up on my PS4 or vice versa. I wish it were more like FFXIV in that regard.
I heard that crafting writs won’t be fixed until Tuesday and that has slowed my progression down a bit. My coercer is still sitting at level 28, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get 29 today or not. I think I’ll attempt it, but I’m taking a much more casual approach now, so we’ll see how it goes. I did manage to level up a few of my other alts to 10 since there’s no writs to do, but I’ll hold off before getting them above 15. I may take them to Halas to do the crafting quest chain that’s available there (it gives a nice selection of rares, and the ability to purchase the 10-19 advanced books). I’m still having fun playing, and that’s what really matters.
I’ve been logging my priests in to get their max allotment of prayers each day, but I haven’t done a lot else besides that lately. My Najho priests are just over 42 skill, and it’s not until 70 skill that they’ll really open up as a priest. Then I’ll be able to cast strongwall along with genesis, two skills I’m really eager for. Once I’m able to strongwall I can fix the mine that I broke over at my main deed. I ended up mining straight and creating a drop shaft instead of mining up. An easy fix, once I get the proper faith to be able to cast the spell. I’ve also been working on my animal husbandry and breeding horses / sheep / cows / bison. I’m trying to get a few 5 speeds, but since my skill is only 50 at this time (on both Stargrace and Maivis, my Vynora priest) I typically end up with 4 speeds + one extra useless trait. I know it takes time, and I have the patience to see it through.
Besides the big names at the top, I’ve also spent some time playing Tropico 5 on steam (I’m Stargrace there, too, if you want to add me). The humor just fits with my mood perfectly, and it’s very relaxed and casual. I’ve also spent some time playing Terraria, working on my home and building up a supply of components for future projects. I think I would still rather play Minecraft but since I reformatted my machine not too long ago I also forgot to save my Minecraft world, along with the castle I had built, and that really deterred me from starting all over again. I’ll probably create another world before too long just because the game is so dang fun.
That’s it! Those are the games I’m currently playing and what I’ve been up to. I hope everyone is having an amazing weekend so far, and that you find yourself with at least a little time to play a game or two that you adore. As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!
It happens every year around this time. I can’t figure out what I want to play and so I spend the majority of my time bouncing in and out of various games, hoping one will catch my attention for longer than 20 minutes. Then I feel bad when it doesn’t. It could be the amazing weather, stresses from work, watching friends and family all do their thing while I’m across the country, or something else. I have no idea. I just know that normally when I have a bit of free time (and I’m at home) I think nothing of what game to play and I just do it. These days though I’ll log into 4-5 games only to wander around aimlessly and then decide they were not what I wanted to ‘do’ after all.
I managed to resist every sale on steam – even though there are quite a few DLC I’d love to own on my wishlist. I just didn’t think I was gaming enough to justify the cost at the moment. I’m tired of Early Access games. While I understand that crowdfunding and EA games are a fantastic way to get indie developers into game releases, I’ve just been burned and frustrated too many times. The latest is with Windborne, which sat on my wishlist for over a year before developers announced that they just don’t have the funds to continue.
I can understand that. I understand that we live in an age where there are lots of games out there, and to create something that’s going to be profitable is hard. It’s still frustrating as a player and as a potential investor in these games. I miss the day when I could purchase a completely finished game (or at least what I would consider ‘finished’). There are some great Early Access games out there, but the chances of me being interested in them when they finally release are pretty slim.
What have I been playing lately? Well. The list isn’t that long, but like I said I haven’t been doing a lot of gaming.
Wurm Online: In summer my Wurm interest flags a bit, but I’ve still got two active accounts and deeds, and I still check in daily to take care of crops and animals. I know my interest in this one will pick back up after summer, it always does.
FFXIV: I keep trying to be interested in this one, and it’s just not happening. I still have 44 days active on my account but something about the game is just not appealing to me lately.
WoW: I still have time left on my account, but honestly I just haven’t been playing. Garrison grind is a thing, and I just don’t like it. Not even pets are able to keep me entertained these days.
WildStar: I play daily, and I still enjoy it quite a bit but I limit my time so that I don’t get burned out. Since I work for NCSOFT on WildStar it’s also pretty much a given that I’m playing it daily.
EQ/EQ2: As much as I love the Ragefire server, it’s hard to get into if you’re not already in a community or with established friends. I was hoping it would be more like the communities of days gone by, but so far it hasn’t been and that bugs me to some degree. Instead I’ve been playing EQ2, my old haunting grounds. I’ve been clearing out older heritage quests and playing in my guild on my own, we’re level 78, and I’m having quite a bit of fun with that. My defiler is still only level 96, but I’m not really in a rush to reach level 100. I don’t even know what is available to do at level 100.
EVE Online: I don’t play nearly as much as I should / could / want to, but I do have an active subscription for a year, and in the meantime my skills are training up. I know this is a great game to pop into when I can here and there, so I haven’t been concerned about my lack of playtime.
GW2: Still working on my mesmer, on a new account. Right now she’s 49, which is great but I’d still ideally like to reach 80 before the expansion hits, and maybe get another character or two up there on the new account. We’ll see how that goes. It’s hard when I don’t really have any inclination to play.
Hopefully I climb out of this rut I’ve found myself in before too long. I imagine when fall rolls around I’ll be back to my ‘typical’ gaming self, whatever that is. In the meantime, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!
Wow, I haven’t made a blog post since April 7th! I just haven’t had the time, as much as I wish I did. Most of my days are filled with work, and when I’m not working I’m sleeping or getting a few household chores done. I do still fit in some gaming here and there, mostly to regroup and relax after the things mentioned above. I decided to create a new alt in WildStar, to start. I love my Chua Spellslinger, but I decided I wanted to see how the other side lives (a common occurrence with MMOs, especially for myself) so I decided to create a human medic. I know, it’s not that exciting but the character is quite fun to play. I created a little back story, and so far she’s level 18. Still a long way to go. I picked the soldier path this time, my main character is an explorer. It’s a lot of smashing of things which is fine by me.
In Wurm Online, well. It’s exciting times there. I picked up a new priest (Vynora), a new deed (up North) and a set of drake. I set up a merchant at one of the markets up North that seems to get quite a bit of players passing through and made my first 5 silver in a very long time. Granted it was because I sold some rewards I had been given ages ago (a breastplate and some ore) but a sale is a sale, and it was nice. Of course I promptly went back to the market to restock and to do a bit of shopping. I walked away with a new leather at that looks like Indiana Jones wore it, a bassinet helm because my drake didn’t come with one, some Mol Rehan banners, and a Mol rehan guard tower that I’ll have to complete some time. I spent about 1.5 silver which I’m quite pleased with. Oh and I picked up 8 source crystals which will no doubt come in handy. I think people underestimate how awesome karma is (though I do wish I could port between alliance deeds with karma).
I’m also still playing FFXIV though my time in that game has been quite limited this week. I’ve been working up my crafting and harvesting skills because it’s just so relaxing. The guild I’m in (well, Free Company) is going strong, and it’s nice to see so many people around. I’m quite pleased at the come back that FFXIV has made, it’s a huge change from when I played before the re-release.
All in all being busy isn’t exactly bad. It just takes away some (all?) of my game time but I still manage to log in here and there. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend, and lets hope that I don’t go quite so long before my next update! As always, happy gaming no matter where you find yourself.
Now, let me mention right here that I’m obviously biased but I’ve been a gamer for many many years now, and while working for them I have developed an enormous amount of respect for what they do and how they handle things.
Our developer team includes such well-known forum goers as Tranagram, Meerkat, Timetravel, Caydiem, Moja, and a whole lot of others that I can’t even name. All of these people work together to create an entire living world that we lucky players get to participate in.
It’s not easy. If anything I’ve learned over the years that this fine balancing act of giving players what they want, what is best for the game, what can be done with the time and funds available, and every other factor that comes into it is probably one of the most difficult things to do. They need to be able to look at an issue from many different sides and then choose the best course of action.
If anything working so closely with these different teams has given me a better understanding of what it is they have to handle on a daily basis and for that I give them my DAW for the week.
Don’t forget to show a little developer love on your own blog this week. Lets face it, sometimes we can be pretty demanding. We should be able to take a little time aside to remind everyone that even when we’re screaming about the latest issue we’re having with our favourite games, we do still appreciate everyone who works on making them the best games they can be.
In games (especially in MMOs with linear progression) I expect that certain content will be ‘locked’ behind levels. Things like raid content especially. Then there are games that seem to lock everything behind obtaining some magical number, and those games I’m not quite as fond of. I feel that locking content, behind levels in specific, deters a certain group of gamers who may otherwise enjoy that aspect of the game and continue to play because of it.
Lets take housing for example. In WildStar housing is locked behind obtaining level 14. Now, that’s not a huge amount of leveling in the grand scheme of things, but then there are fabkits and other useful housing items that are also level locked. Even some decor is locked behind a level. Motivating people to play your way is one method of doing things, sure, but for the truly casual gamer all this will do is deter them from sticking around.
In games like EQ2 housing (in specific) is not restricted by level. Casual and hardcore alike are free to decorate to their hearts content starting at level 1. Aspects of housing, are of course locked. For example if you want the best of the best, you’ll need to work towards it. Working towards it does not always include leveling or adventuring. It could include finding methods of earning in-game currency in order to afford the items you want, or hiring players who are level appropriate to obtain rare items for you. There are workarounds to getting what you want.
How do you feel about games locking content behind levels? Does it have to be this way? Does it not matter to you any more because it’s simply the way things have always been? When World of Warcraft released Warlords I was pretty excited about garrison, but then I saw how locked behind leveling they were. It’s great for your main and your first run through the content, but what about all those alts who wanted to have a garrison too.
Is there a point to playing games where everything is just handed to you and there is no progression locked behind levels? Even Sims 4 has gone the rout of locked content where you need to level up your skills before obtaining certain house items – though this can be bypassed with cheats at least.
I love crafting. It doesn’t matter what game I play, chances are I’m going to get involved. That doesn’t mean I like every type of crafting though. One of my least favourite crafting methods is the one you find in World of Warcraft, where you click one button to combine, and wait around until everything in your inventory is used up. It feels very hands free, and it’s meant to be that way. The ‘hard’ part involves collecting the resources, usually through combat (if you’re going to collect it yourself) and adventuring.
My absolutely favourite way to craft, was in Vanguard. Crafting was its own sphere, and did not rely on adventuring at all. You could do work orders where you were given the supplies you needed and only had to purchase the vendor sold components, and this was the ideal way to level, saving your hard earned harvests for actual useful items. It was difficult, complicated, and you would take pride in your creations. Through the use of powders and dusts you could customize every piece a bunch of different ways, and of course you could make pieces more rare than others. One of the best things about this system for me personally was that it wasn’t timed, like it is in EQ2. In EQ2 I feel like I have to constantly sit at the craft bench and not step away to answer the phone or go get the door, because my craft will fail. It’s a timed mechanic, and while I enjoy the process of crafting, I dislike being so tied to the desk as I craft. Sometimes I need to step away.
Crafting in WildStar is complex, but I feel it leans too much on the side of RNG rather than skill. I don’t like having to compete with RNG, because I typically (always) lose. ArcheAge crafting matches that of World of Warcraft, where it’s just a finger click to combine items in your inventory, so long as you have the materials available. There is a bit of RNG as you have a chance to “auto upgrade” an item as you craft it, but the system isn’t complex by any means.
So what are your favourite methods of crafting? Would you prefer to buy from crafters and not create your own items? Players who choose to harvest and sell those goods to crafters can make a nice amount of money in a balanced game, spending the money they earn from selling craft components back on crafters for their finished goods. Of course if you’re like me you have to DO ALL THE THINGS and so you’re both a crafter and an adventurer.