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Archive for the tag “MMO”

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.



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.

Postcards from Hell

Just thought I would share a few more screenshots from Roknar’s adventures around The Secret World.

Why not start with a day at the amusement park?


This guy was not very friendly


Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Kingsmouth Academy Cheerleaders!

First info on the July Issue of The Secret World

This bit of information comes via

Adam Smith over at was lucky enough to get a peak at the first issue for The Secret World and what he describes has me quite excited and gives me lots of hope for the future of this game.  According to Adam’s article this content is being referred to as an Issue, such as an issue of a comic series or anthology.  The issue will add new content to already existing areas of the game, namely some new content at the Overlook Motel and Kingsmouth Academy.  Players will return to these locations and expand on the story they have already encountered.

For the exact details you can follow the link above to the article.

What excites me about this is the game is not just expanding vertically from the end content… the end content is throughout now it seems.  Places that players may have explored and completed earlier are now adding more story and in some cases new NPCs entirely.  As a player that is very slow to move from zone to zone this news signals to me that the idea is to expand the game world outward instead of just upward.   We are currently playing at a point in the time line of TSW where the foundation has been and each issue could be seen as a wave of new story expanding out from this point.

This reminds me very much of The Matrix Online.  At launch Matrix Online had a simple concept.  You enter the matrix as a newly awakened player and experience the world but as the game progressed new story lines were created that had players going back to old areas and see the changes… sometimes even to see NPCs killed off and removed entirely.

Just looking at the clock to see how long till I can get home and log back in and adventure even more!



A few details about Marvel Heroes

So a few things I notice from the screen shot I took of the developer diary video released yesterday.

  • The UI is very similar to Diablo 1 and 2.  On the left we have a health meter and on the right some sort of energy meter.
  • There are multiple hot keys for powerrs on the UI at the bottom.
  • In the center there are two item hot keys, one appears to be a medkit icon the other looks to be a sort of recall key.
  • There is a menu on the UI at the bottom as well and most of the keys seem pretty standard.  I do notice a $ key which may be a cash or item shop key since the game is f2p.
  • Two icons on the left are labeled as Traits and Unique.  The site mentions each hero will have access to specific powers and abilities for that hero only, perhaps these are selected powers from those pools.
  • The rest is pretty standard UI, mini map top right, chat features bottom left.  Nothing innovative there
  • I used this screenshot other any others as it displays some of the loot from combat.  Woven Wristbands is quite obviously just gear that is picked up, but I noticed also Composite Alloy, Steel and White Dye.

That list item raised a few questions in my mind as I was watching the video.  When a hero picks up something such as Woven Wristbands and equips them do they display on the hero on screen or just in the inventory?  Also, are Composite Allow and Steel indicators that a crafting system will exist in this game to craft your own gear pieces?  If gear can be crafted and can add to our heroes abilities and power will there be an auction house to sell that gear on?

The more I see of Marvel Heroes the more curious I get and the more anxious I become to get my hands on it.

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.


The friendly faces of The Secret World

About to log back in for a few more hours of TSW but wanted to share a few pics of the warm folks waiting to greet you in and around Kingsmouth.

Nothing like battling a large fungus looking monster in the shallow waters


uh… money shot?


I love the detail in the monster’s back… the ridges in it’s spine


With tomorrow being the 4th of July I expect to get quite a few solid hours in tonite, maybe even get out of the ‘starter zone’ finally.  I think I have a few more hours of misc side quests I can do before I am 100% then I can continue the main story line mission in the Savage Coast area.

I have to comment that this is one of the only MMOs I can recall playing in recent memory that has not had this invisible pull trying to get me to rush to the next zone.  I dare say I actually care about the stories more then anything else so far in this game and my play style is reflecting that.


A true modern setting MMO

I have been loving my time in The Secret World the past few days for so many reasons.  A refreshing skill system, multistage quests with actual stories to follow, interesting NPCs.  One thing that has been really great has been the setting Funcom has choosen, modern day.  There is something about going places and questing that could actually exist in the world, like Kingsmouth.  Exploring that town just feels like a New England shore town to me, everything from the mentions of their clam chowder to the mining history museum.

Well one player on the forums that goes by the name Vladimir actually has taken a few photos of New York where the Illuminati are based to show just how accurate Funcom is with some of their settings.

These pictures are just amazing.  Major props to Funcom for being so accurate.. and even more points to Vladimir for getting this pics.  I choose to just post the pics as a link to the forums may stop working if they move things around… and the thread is getting lots of attention since Ragnar himself has already commented on it.

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.




I’d buy that for a dollar!


I have been spending the last few nights getting comfortable with Diablo III finally and quite enjoying myself even if it is a ‘thin’ game when it comes to story and content… I just enjoy smashing the hell out of stuff ultimately.  The funny thing is that during the downtime with the server issues I have also been replaying an old favorite of mine, Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

For those that never played MUA it is basically a similar title to the older X-Men Legends series of games.  Pick a team of four heroes and battle through level after level of villains on your way to several boss fights.  Simple and easy.  The real joy though in MUA was in the vast amount of unlockable content the game offered.  Players could purchase new heroes such from the Marvel universe to play as, alternate costumes for their unlocked heroes, special abilities to use in combat or increase their existing abilities.  Add to that side missions such as the story levels for each hero to play thru alone and MUA was quite the enjoyable time sink.

So as I was playing Diablo III I was thinking to myself that while I love DC Universe Online, Marvel might do well to go the different route for their planned MMO.  I know they have slowly been releasing concept art of the heroes that will be playable in the game, but today was the first real news bit I have seen about the MMO that gives me a clear idea of what they are doing… and it sounds quite fun.

Check out the brand new teaser trailer that also includes a few seconds of combat!  

The official press release can be found here.

Simply put the game will utilize a F2P model in which players will play as their favorite heroes throughout various locations in the Marvel Universe.  Locations such as Manhattan and Xavier’s Institute will serve as social hubs in which players will interact with other players and collect missions.  Mention is made of constructing each heroes costumes out of their rich history, collecting all kinds of other items and choosing which powers to use as the way to make your hero unique.

Another reason that I found this ironic is I have to admit that I had no idea the David Brevik was the driving force behind Marvel Heroes.  Brevik is of course the co-founder of Blizzard North which created Diablo and Diablo II.  His influence is quite apparent in the teaser trailer above.

I for one can not wait to start spending countless hours unlocking all my favorite characters from the Marvel Universe… Spider-Man and Punisher here I come!

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