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The Guild Wars 2 dust up…

So I have been away from posting for a bit here due to that thing called life but just had to share my views on this whole Guild Wars 2 ban hammer situation.

To be transparent about my view on Guild Wars 2 as a game I will say this.  I never played Guild Wars more then perhaps a week total and have yet to pick up Guild Wars 2 though I am planning on doing so in early September.  I tend to take a wait and see approach with new MMOs and let the rush die down before I enter the game.

Now as for this banning situation.  I get it.  Shit is screwed up because a mistake was made and players took advantage of it.  What these players did may be questionable or sneaky but using the term cheating or hacking is a bit of a stretch.

I think the easiest way to view the situation is to translate what happened in to a real world metaphor.

What these players did to me is the same as if Target made a mistake and sold the LEGO Millennium Falcon for $49.99 instead of the standard retail $129.99 and someone bought them all and sold them on Ebay for $100.00 Target made the mistake… the buyer just capitalized on it.

The person that makes their own bar codes at home and places them on the box and changes the price themselves is the same as the person that uses 3rd party software to exploit the system and deserves the ban.

One is clearly going outside the system to make money, one is merely ringing up the item at the register and walking out.

What this situation has really shined a light on though is the way ArenaNet choose to handle it.  Once again, real world metaphor.

Most of us have worked retail in one way or another and have seen those emails or memos that come in and say ‘hey… we screwed this thing up… pull it from the shelf’ or ‘we screwed up… change the price right away or put this sign out that says the price is wrong’.  I have not often seen the response to a improperly priced item to be to continue selling it and then go back and pursue those that bought it.

Is it not possible to shut off one NPC in an MMO? If not then what about a simple EULA notice on login that states the vendor is screwed up and any purchases will be open to review and action?  ANet said many responsible people reported the issue rather then take advantage of it so clearly they knew it was happening.

I respect ANet for wanting to show a hard stance on cheaters and hackers, most MMOs certainly do not care as long as they get the sub and box price.  (Looking at you Blizzard)  However, I respect a level headed approach even more… and taking care of your own house before simply banning people is a great place to start.

 

 

 

The best and worst of Total Recall (2012)

The best:  Kate Beckinsale.  Just simply amazing to watch her run around and kick so much ass.  Hell, amazing to watch her do anything really.

The worst:  The average CGI.  I just do not get it.  I hate CGI.  It has no depth to it.

In fact this is what watching your boring CGI makes me feel like

Words can not do this justice

Fallout 3 Terminal

Not only does it like the part, but it actually functions.  I have much respect for people that take the time to create these props and replicas with such an amazing attention to detail.

 

 

Making it free does not make it fun

Needless to say the news that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to officially go F2P is taking the blogosphere and gaming sites over the last two days.  At last look the article on Massively had 1500 comments.  I think it is safe to say people have feelings about this.

I of course do as well.

Ok… I shall share.

To give a proper back story though I should disclose that I was a huge Galaxies fan.  I played at launch up till the NGE.  Even after the NGE I would pop in from time to time, but not with the level of commitment that I had before the changes.  To me, Galaxies was the ultimate immersive MMO world.  I was NOT this pivotal hero in the epic struggle.  I was just another guy running around DURING the epic struggle between the Rebels and the Empire… and I loved every minute of it.  I loved the fact that it really and truly felt like the world of Star Wars.

Now to jump forward roughly 8 years to the launch of SW: TOR.

It was not a bad game.  I enjoyed it for a few weeks after I picked it up.  I played a Bounty Hunter mostly.  The story line was fun.  Then I stepped outside of the story line and looked around and things fell flat.  There was no depth to the world.  It was Star Wars… but it did not FEEL like Star Wars to me.

Now to be clear, I do not now nor did I think at the time that the game was poor.  It looked nice, handled well on my system and sounded like Star Wars.  It just did not pull me in the way Galaxies did.  While Galaxies was in and of itself a grind with my character sometimes spending hours at a spot harvesting or killing, it all felt as though it was towards something greater.  The creation of my shop, building my home or finally getting that freighter I had been eyeing for so long.  They were achievements that took real time and were great moments when they finally came to pass.

Nothing in SW:TOR compelled me to keep playing and grinding away.  A new piece of armor?  Not that appealing.  Getting to the next level just to choose where to spend a simple skill point?  No thanks.

So now SW:TOR is going to switch business models to F2P.  Will it pull me back in… I highly doubt it.

See about 2 weeks ago, right at the time of the food poisoning incident of 2012 😦 I started reading the Timothy Zahn Thrawn Trilogy again.  Anyone that has never read these and considers themselves a Star Wars fan needs to get off their ass and read them RIGHT NOW.  They just bring the feel of Star Wars to the page like nothing else written.  It helps that they came out at a time before Lucas starting going back and redoing the movies and the prequels.  Waiting for the new installments to come out made me feel like a kid again waiting for Empire and Jedi.

Anyway, so I started reading those again and wanted to get some Star Wars gaming going on.  I could not fire up Galaxies, thank you so much whoever is really to blame for that, and SW:TOR just did not appeal to me at the time.  I did what any sane Star Wars fan would do, I fired up my copy of Knights of the Old Republic and spent the next 4 days blasting and cutting my way thru that epic game like it was the first time I played it so many years ago.

Now some folks have said that SW:TOR going F2P is great as it is a wonderful single player Star Wars RPG.  To that I say nay.  Playing KOTOR again reminded me just how great of a world the Star Wars mythology is, a feeling that SW:TOR never delivered on at $14.99 a month and will not deliver on for $0.00 a month either.

More updates from The Secret World to follow…

I have a few more pieces on The Secret World in the pipeline but have been set back by a small case of food poisoning 😦

I have been attempting to lose a little bit of extra weight but this is hardly the way I wanted to go about it!

The real deal

No moving of fire hydrants.  No annoying scientologists hamming up the role of the villain.  Just pure brutal ass whooping.

 

 

Unleashed

The official announcement came down today for Issue 1 of The Secret World and Funcom just keeps hitting the bullseye.  The content is going to be spread throughout the game world with new missions in all three zones, some continuing already established story lines and some creating new stories from newly introduced NPCs.  This Issue will also see the introduction finally of the Marketplace, TSW’s version of the auction house.  The Marketplace is going to be cross server so all players from all dimensions can buy and sell from one another, just as the chat functions.  Well, when it functions 😉

There is mention of new construction we may notice around the three Faction Cities that also ties in to some hints as to what is coming in Issue 2.  “Dr Aldini is sharpening his scalpels, the Ockham triplets are readying their scissors and razors.”  These sound like nods to the expanded character customization options that were not available at launch in the form of NPC vendors.

The other comment I saw that really inspires me and just increases my love for this game already is the following statement  “But that’s not all! Another mission awaits observant players on Solomon Island — one that explores a character that may be more than she pretends to be…”  Does this sound to anyone else like there will be more missions dropped into an area that will not be clearly marked and we will need to discover?  Perhaps missions that are uncovered thru conversations with NPCs or new missions unlocked by interacting with objects in the game world..

Of course even this news has been met with some criticism as some of these features, specifically the Marketplace, were removed before launch so can be considered new content.  Often times in MMOs there is no pleasing everyone.  If the Marketplace was in at launch but stopped working, such as the chat, some folks would have screamed Fail.  I for one prefer things be delayed a bit and working as intended then released only to break and cause more problems.  Patience is a virtue folks.

What matters most?

Gazillion Entertainment released a new developer diary yesterday to shed a bit more light on their upcoming game Marvel Heroes, this time a video with COO David Brevik .  They seem to be taking the smart approach now of putting Brevik out in front and really pushing the fact that he was one of the creative heads that made Diablo 1 and 2.  Few people could argue that his being involved is NOT a good thing considering the love for Diablo 1 and 2 in the PC gaming world.

Now the game has not really been shown much and lots of comments around the internet are focusing mostly on one specific aspect of the game, or the lack of something.  Players do not create their own character in Marvel Heroes, much as they did not in Diablo 1 and 2.  Instead you choose from existing characters and play thru the game with them and power them up in ways in which are more suitable to your own style.  So yes, there will be perhaps mulitple Iron Man players at one time, but some may be more defensive built or some could be more offensive built.  Add to that the fact that additional skins for your character can be unlocked or purchased and there can be some significant variety on screen.  For those complaining about three Wolverines on screen at once I have to wonder if playing Diablo 2 with three Paladins was a major issue.. so much so that they stopped playing.

Adding on top of the fact that Brevik is involved is that the main storyline head is Brian Michael Bendis who was a big part of the Marvel Ultimate launch.  Few could reasonably question his storytelling abilities.

So the question is what do you really care about?  Is it absolutely important to create from scratch a character all your own?  I remember the early days of City of Heroes where despite the amazing character creator I was surrounded by Wolverine and Superman copies…. hell even some of the names were copies.  Marvel Heroes is focusing not on the character creator but more on the content to experience.  Personally I want to explore some of these zones… I want to run around as Captain America dishing out justice with my shield or play as Wolverine exploring the Morlock tunnels… especially if I can do so during perhaps say the Mutant Massacre.

I like the approach they are taking with Marvel Heroes.. is it an MMORPG?  Hell if I know.  Will it be massive?  I am not really sure what that means anymore.  I do know it will be online… I do know it will have multiplayer aspects.. not so sure about the actual ‘role playing’ though.  I see it being more of a online mulitplayer action game with large amounts of collectibles and unlockable items.. and marvel characters… and to me that sounds pretty enjoyable.  That is what matters most to me as a gamer… enjoyment.

 

What makes a successful launch?

The Secret World early entry period started yesterday for pre-orders and I must say that thus far Funcom is doing a superb job of handing things.  I know no matter how things go with the launch of TSW there will always be those that want to point back to Age of Conan and Anarchy Online and talk about how horrible things were, but I prefer to live in the moment, and at the moment I am having a blast and enjoying my purchase 100%.

This post though is not going to focus on the game itself, I plan on doing that in segments, this is just about the launch and my experience with the process.

I did have a slight delay in processing my purchase via paypal, but once I switched to a CC the order went thru within minutes.  My name reservation was easy to set up and my beta client patched to the early access client without any major issues.  Once I got home from work I was easily able to log in to the character creation menu without any delay.  I have read that from time to time the client locks up at the character menu but by shutting down the client and restarting it will sort itself out.  I have not had to deal with this yet myself but since the forums are not on fire with anger I trust the restart works for most players.

The character creation is pretty much as simple as it was in the extended beta periods, perhaps a few new added options here and there though I did not notice anything remarkable different.  There is already an announcement on the forums that a ‘plastic surgery’ feature is being worked on for a later period that will allow players to redo their appearance once, free of charge, with the exception of changing your gender.  After the initial redo of looks you can still choose to do this in your faction hub, but it will be at the expense of PAX.  I have no issue a developer adding in more content to the character creator post launch, especially when they offer access to it for free to early players.  As it stands I was able to make a character I am happy with at this point.

Once in game I have had nothing but a smooth experience.  I am playing on Arcadia, the RP dimension.  Lag has been a non-issue for me so far even at bottle neck points such as the Sheriff’s Station in Kingsmouth where players are bouncing all over.  I should mention that the population is nothing like what I saw in some other launches, but I have no idea if that is due to me choosing the RP dimension or just low numbers.  Technically with this being early access this could all go to hell on the official launch but I really think a good portion of players are already in the game and do not think a ton of retail buyers are out there.

There has been a report of some players having a delay in getting their pre-order items via the store, but once I was settled in Kingsmouth I opened the store and clicked on my items and they were in my inventory in about 2 minutes… not an issue at all.

I have not suffered a single crash since starting to play yesterday and today I plan on getting to some heavy traffic areas, such as the PVP zones and some of the dungeons.  I am interested to see if things stay as smooth in more congested areas… and especially how things will be later this week when the official launch happens.

 

 

 

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

True visionary writer.  I grew up engrossed in many of the man’s works and while it is sad to see him pass, he had an amazing 91 year run at things.  Carry on good sir.

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