There’s a new layout for the blog and i’m looking for ways to customize it some more. My return to The Secret World was a bit confusing and Nuria killed a few Vampires in Elder Scrolls Online.
March is going to be exciting- first, Black Desert Online will release on the third. Then, the Thieves Guild DLC for ESO will release on the seventh. One day after, … Continue reading March will be interesting: ESO, Black Desert and The Division
…the Nord fighting for Queen Ayrenn in the Aldmeri Dominion. I’m still working/thinking about in-character details. To be honest, i’m not really much of a roleplayer, although the concept intrigues … Continue reading Meet Nuria Solstrum
…and why i probably won’t play it as an MMORPG. The Beta experience I’ve played B&S on one of those CBT weekends and made my way through the introduction before … Continue reading Why i’ll take a look at Blade and Soul
2015 has, similar to 2014, been all about dabbling in a myriad of MMORPGs. There are so many downsides to this approach to MMO gaming that it could become a … Continue reading Games for 2016
Happy New Year everyone! It’s time to take a look at the rest of my gaming-related resolutions for 2016.
Keeping a budget
This sounds similar to what i posted last year- as will some other resolutions further down this post- and i failed to achieve most of them. But that’s all the more reason to try again. We all know this by now, but free-to-play and Early Access are actually quite expensive if you don’t keep your spending in order. If you simply spend money on everything that interests you, you’re going to spend a lot of money for games.
Since i didn’t keep a budget, i can only try to remember what i spent- and i think it amounts to about 1k€….and that’s really too much for someone who’s playing an hour a day on average. So this year, i’m going to cut it down and limit my spending to 300€/year, 25€ per month, give or take a few euros. This, of course, means one thing….again.
Prioritize my MMO gaming
This has been on my list since the beginning of this blog in 2013. I’m stretching myself way too thin in all those MMOs i play and i’m unable to achieve anything in any of them because you can’t play 9 MMOs with maybe 40 hours /played a month. I need to cut some of them loose. I don’t know which ones yet, but good candidates are The Secret World, SWTOR, Wildstar and i need to stop thinking about Rift, WoW and maybe even Lotro.
I’ve still got about three weeks of (wasted) subscription time on Final Fantasy 14, and i’m going to make use of them and see whether FF14 will be on my friends- or blacklist. Elder Scrolls Online is a strong candidate right now- it fits some of the criteria i’m setting for myself: it has a good business model and the subscription doesn’t even tempt me, my small guild maintains a levelling party, all active members in that community like the game and the PvP experience in Cyrodiil is actually quite good.
This selection process will be discussed in an extra post (again), but in 2016, two things are not going to happen: i will not subscribe to more than one game at a time and i will not sub for the longest possible period to “save” money. It never worked.
Spend more time in good games
This might be a seperate blog post, as well, but in general, MMOs are not “good games”. I think the big advantage of a “true MMO” is that it’s actually a genre mix- you have RPG in most of them, of course. Then, there’s the economy, the crafting, the housing/decoration/clothing minigame, small group PvE, solo PvE, instanced PvP, open PvP, the social part, the story, gameplay and more. All these small pieces in one game is what makes MMOs exciting- if you would take a look at an individual element- the RPG part, for instance, you’d find better examples in singleplayer land. The same goes for all the other parts. MMOs mix all these elements into one game and that’s what sets them apart.
Like many others’, my Steam backlog is huge. There are so many great games that i haven’t paid as much attention to as they deserve: Divinity, Cities: Skylines, Pillars of Eternity, Fallout 4, Fallout NV, Wasteland 2, Endless Legend, The Witcher 3 and many, many others. In fact, in 2016 i wouldn’t really need to buy new games or even play MMOs and i’d still be busy the whole year and possibly even well into 2017.
So this year, i’d like to play more non-MMOs instead of playing 7 MMOs in one month.
Spend more time with people / build and grow our guild
Our community is chugging along quite…ok…ish. We’re very, very small. Three active members at the moment. We don’t know how and when we’ll try to grow, but i want to foster that small community. I’d like it to have about 10 active members when 2016 will come to an end. That doesn’t sound like much and it probably isn’t, but i think a small tight-knit community that plays comes together to play once in a while instead of daily is a much better fit for me. As of right now, we have a recruitment form open and we will take applicants in if they seem to be a good fit, but sooner or later, we’ll probably close that form down and rely on direct invitations.
If we continue to be as happy in ESO as we are right now, there’s a good possibility that we’ll look into growing our guild there- at least up to ten members (to get the guild bank).
Another thing related to this- i wrote about that in another post, i want to reconnect to some people i started a community with in 2012. We had some kind of silly argument at that time and i had thought of reconnecting with them more than a few times. Now, i’ve played Rocket League with two of the three people i really liked at that time because thankfully, one person hasn’t been as much of a craven as i was. That leaves one person to go and it will be the toughest one.
Blog more often/regular than in 2015
Blogging in 2015 has been a mixed bag- i had quite active times and a long stretch of inactivity after the summer holidays. I still love the “Dual Wielding” column and would really like to give that another try this year, but it seems that Ironweakness suffered the same lull after the summer. In 2015, some times i tried to publish daily, but i’ll have to admit that i can’t keep that up for very long. My new goal would be to publish at least one post per week, but to keep this up consistently throughout this year.
Project Trinity isn’t doing too well these weeks. I wrote about having far less playing time than i’d like to have- it’s summer, so even if there’s nothing else real-lifey going on, our 2 yr. old sleeps late. When he’s finally sleeping, i still have some chores to do, so i haven’t been able to sit in front of a pc before 10/10.30 p.m. At that hour, what game do you launch when your usual bedtime is around 11.30 p.m.? In Final Fantasy 14, an hour is basically almost nothing. Sure, you could do a quest or two, but that’s about it. In SWTOR, you could do something in an hour, but my subscription lapsed and while i plan to continue the sub, i won’t restart it on an evening when i know i’ll only have an hour to play. The Secret World would be possible, as well, but it needs attention- the strong points of that game don’t come to light when you’re just “playing around”.
Maybe i just chose “wrong” for this month- or maybe, just like the guild project i’m doing where we play a free-to-play game for a few months, Project Trinity should have a summer break. Of course i won’t give up so easily, but there will be cop-outs. Another one is going to happen tomorrow, when TERA launches a new server. Can you believe that? A 3-year old game opening another server? This is great news and TERA isn’t so bad- it’s not on my usual rotation because of the european publisher and the quite generic questing. The Steam version is the NA version, as far as i know, and i’ll join the masses for the new server to take a look- is lag really that bad? And also, launch hype- and a new server is one kind of “launch hype” makes me curious. I’ll justify that by creating a new “series” for this blog….oh right, Trove.
So Ironweakness‘ series of posts regarding Trove made me curious and yesterday, when our son slept surprisingly early, i gave my possible selection of games a thought, but i also knew i was tired- so going for a story heavy MMO didn’t fit the bill. Also, i kind of hoped- it was sunday, after all, that i could meet Ironweakness in game- it would be a first. He’s my partner in writing the Dual Wielding series which proved to be great fun with the small caveat that we seem to have similar opinions on a lot of topics. Sometimes, there’s enough differences to make the reading of both posts interesting- or so i hope- sometimes, like with our 12XP post, it seems as if we were talking about the posts beforehand. We don’t.
And luckily, we really met up! He invited me to his cornerstone and we talked a bit before heading off into an adventure world and did some dungeons while he explained some of the games’ mechanics. Because, to be honest, i don’t understand Trove.
There seem to be multiple gameplay elements on focus here: the building, although your cornerstone is quite small and doesn’t really offer a lot of opportunity to build. The adventuring and exploring, where the point seems to be to enter one adventure world and explore the heck out of it- which is good, because really, there are impressive sights to be seen, but with the early worlds, you do outlevel them quickly, so maybe the exploring stuff will become more interesting later. Of course, one could explore an adventure world anyway, even when outlevelled- mobs don’t grey out, you’ll get xp just like before and of course, exploring is its own reward. And finally, there’s the crafting component. The problem is, i don’t really know where to start- there are many craftable objects which is a good thing- but it isn’t that easy to know what one should build first and where/how to get the materials for building something.
But fun it was, especially going out as a team and finally meeting up with someone who i’ve been in contact with since…well, is it four months already? Crazy! Of course we e-mailed, but chatting is a whole different thing- remember, this was the wonder of MMORPGs- that you could meet up, chat and play with people from all over the world. Thankfully, Trove doesn’t seperate players by region, so you can meet pretty much everyone without it being a hassle for someone. Usually, when you try to meet people from another continent, you’d have to join another server, which might lead to lag or time-zone issues. That’s not a problem with Trove, though. I’ll continue to give it a look and i promise to take screenshots next time- it seems there’s no keybind for that yet, and i haven’t made use of the chat command.
So, well, today (05-17) is my birthday. This was a good oportunity to review the About-Page here on Party Business, so i did just that. Since birthdays are a good day to form some goals and look into the past, i’ll do that quickly, as well.
On this blog, i’d like to improve three things:
- i’d like to write more “column-like” posts to add some structure. I’ve said that before, but in the past, i tried to let the gaming inspire the blogging- maybe it’s time to do it the other way round
- connecting: i really need to comment more on others’ posts and blogs.
- my writing: it must be painful to read for natives. I think my english is good enough, but usually, i don’t need to use it actively- as in writing, speaking and such. I watch most movies and tv-series and read books english, so if i were to watch/read something that was written in the way of this blog, it would be obvious to me that the source isn’t a native speaker. The key here is more editing- i’d like to think i could do better, but i’m lucky to get as many posts out as i do, so re-reading and editing is the part where i save the time.
There’s more in terms of blogging, though: i’d also like to get some other topics out there- like books, movies, and general life stuff. I think movies and books would fit in here, as well- i often find that people who share one interest at least tend to enjoy similar stuff in other parts of entertainment. So maybe it would be of interest to you why and how i became a Marvel fan (the word “fan” is hyperbole, but still) or why my favourite fantasy author is Joe Abercrombie, but the highlights (and darker moments) of being a dad or our next family holiday won’t interest anyone who’s visiting here for the MMO stuff.
I think i’ll end up occasionally talking about movies/series/books here and keeping the private stuff to me.
This weekend i decided to get back to Final Fantasy XIV “early”- i planned to re-enter the game in may, so that would have been next week. Although the plan is to have it as “side MMO” this week, i have some things to do already.
The backward project
When i re-entered, i had four options on how to do it:
- the reasonable way: continue my character, stay in the FC and the server i was in
- the american way pt.1: continue the level 6 archer on cactuar, try and join Belghast’s FC
- the american way pt.2: create a new character on Faerie, join quite a well known social FC over there
- the backward way: find an FC first, join their server with a new character
As you can guess by the title, i went in backwards. The thing is, a good player community is essential to my enjoyment of an MMO. The old server was Shiva, which is what the german community chose to be the “unofficial german server”, which isn’t so much of a problem if there was an FC that really stuck out. There wasn’t. On Faerie, there is the FC “Orange Pekoe” i was interested in joining, but in the end i was simply afraid to join an FC and a server that operates outside of my timezone.
In the end, i found a nice-sounding FC on Phoenix, coincidentally the biggest EU server population-wise, created a character, applied to the FC, was accepted, joined up and received a very warm welcome. One of the reasons i joined that FC was the tone of conversation which seemed nice, open but also pretty direct and the fact that they don’t use voice chat. It turned out that they recently have set up a voice chat server, but i think it won’t be much of a problem because the FC’s culture is already established without one. I liked what i saw so far.
Of course, that means starting at level 1 and pretty much give up on being ready for the expansion content-wise when it hits. There were a few mistakes i made on my last character that i’d like to avoid this time. Concentrating on one class/job to get it as far as possible isn’t my play style, so gathering and crafting will be included in this round as it has always been.
For now, i’m picking the main story quest line first in everything i do- i’m level 9 now and have done maybe 3 or 4 quests that weren’t storyline quests. There are two reasons for me to go at it this way: first, i don’t want to outlevel the storyline quests as much as i did last time- it was a pain to get the story from level 20 to level 24. The second reason, of course, is that FF14 gates content behind the story; the faster i progress there, the earlier i can pick up a gathering and crafting class, get a retainer, a chocobo and so on.
While it is somewhat…hm, stupid to do all that again i feel that if the new FC turns out as good as i hope it to be it’s worth it. Also, it’s still almost two months until the expansion hits, so there is hope i’ll be able to level to 30, at least.
Another painful experience was to get the gathering/crafting jobs up to par with my adventuring level- i think part of the reasons why my excitement for the game went down was that i basically played catch-up from all directions. So this time, i want that gap to be smaller. So i’ll pick up the botanist class as soon as possible and directly join the level of the adventuring class. I’ll do the same for weaver as soon as i have access to the airships. So my goal this time around is to have class quest, story quest, adventuring level, gathering class and crafting class at about the same level all the time. If it turns out to be hard to do, i’ll immediately get a second adventuring class up to the level of the storyline.
Overall, i have to say i had a great time- again- in Final Fantasy 14. It’s fun, the community is nice, Phoenix is packed with players and feels very much alive, the FC is fun and even though i do the same stuff i already did at least twice it feels good.
MMO setup for this week and may
So, in line with my plans to have one main MMO and two side MMOs, this week will still see SWTOR in the top spot, with FF14 and ESO as additions to play when i’m not in the mood for SWTOR. In may, the focus will shift to FF14, SWTOR will become a side MMO and will be accompanied by Elder Scrolls Online, again. The last one is tough, since GW2 was also close to getting a “side MMO” spot, but right now i’m betting that the expansion won’t hit in may and that i’ll have ample opportunity to put it in the rotation before it is released.
Right now i’m very confident in this way of doing things- choosing one main MMO and two side MMOs for distraction and different moods will work out just fine for me. Of course, there is a ruleset: i’ll allow myself to change side MMOs on a monthly basis. The main MMO is allowed to switch, as well, but it would move from main to side MMO before dropping out of the rotation. And it should also be fixed in its position for a longer time (3 months?). This way, i can experience one MMO in as deep a way as possible for me while still having a way of picking other MMOs to play and having somewhat of a focus there, as well.
It also occured to me that in search of an MMO home, there aren’t many possibilities really. An MMO home has to offer so much, but in the end, even for me, it’s the “endgame” that counts- but not in the usual sense of dungeons and raiding. On the contrary, if it’s just that, it’s not enough.
I play MMORPGs almost exclusively- there used to be only one, World of Warcraft, although i didn’t linger there for as long as most players do- i played for about 6 months before questing in Stranglethorn Valley and the Un’Goro crater put an end to a fun progression and made it a grind. Since then, i’ve gained maxlevel only once, in Rift, and that was because i had great fun in a great group- i think i did play only dungeons from the mid-thirties to level 50. Everything else i played, i got stuck in the early mid-levels. Let’s say level 30 usually is when i hit a wall. Curiously, i’m not alone in this, as Ironweakness has a post up to announce a series on his blog about levelling from “One to X”.
That post made me think about reasons for my not being able to do something like that, as much as i’d want. There are some.
Something else beckons
I like most mainstream MMOs that are out there. Often, when i return to a game, i wonder why i left/didn’t continue/don’t put more deliberation in that particular game. It really doesn’t matter which game it is we’re talking about- i cycle through Lotro, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, SWTOR, Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2, Marvel Heroes, maybe even EQ2 and World of Warcraft (not really) all the time. It’s offers and updates that are calling me.
Just to take the more recent events- i’d like to play FF14 and Guild Wars 2 for their respective expansions. I wanted to get into SWTOR for their housing system, always want to continue Lotro for its story and world, The Secret World for the New player experience and so on. But while i am on game x, there’s always something happening in game y. I really wish i’d be there, at the level cap, to witness all new content. If i were to make an effort to play “One to X” in each of these games successively, i’d be in a happy place.
It gets cumbersome
The early levels of many MMOs are quite fun. Even when you are a time-challenged casual player like myself, you’ll be able to make some progress- even if it’s just “finishing one quest” in MMOs where one quest really matters, like in ESO or TSW. In Guild Wars 2, even in the higher levels, i manage to get a level out of most play sessions while mostly just taking a look around.
But sometimes, it’s just getting very cumbersome to make any progress in the games. So much so that i’ll need a whole play session just to figure out where i left, what my goals were and how to play my class. Quests and other ingame goals take you to places all over the virtual worlds, the inventory is cluttered and i don’t even know what is useful and what isn’t. Mobs take ages to get down and so on. Life in the midlevels is busywork.
The most recent example in my personal experience would be Final Fantasy XIV, where i simply wanted to get the main story quest up to the level my character is. It took me about two months and still i didn’t reach that goal. Of course i did other stuff- i made progress in crafting, different combat classes as well as gathering. Unfortunately, this all didn’t really feel like progress because i was merely catching up on all positions- trying to get the gathering and crafting jobs as well as the main storyline up to par with my combat class level- and it took ages.
I don’t believe in worlds- even virtual ones, that are devoid of any humanity. Often, you’ll have the starting zones and they’re happy places- there are villages, woods, beautiful sights all around. All this vanishes when you hit the early midlevels. Think about Lord of the Rings Online- you start either in the shire, bree-land or Ered Luin – all beautiful places, with villages and signs of humanity all around. Then you’ll continue to the Lonely Lands- ok, they’re named fittingly, but all you get there is an inn. The North Downs aren’t much better- from the second area up until Moria you’ll only get ruins, cabins and other small places. There’s Rivendell, of course, but not much of cities in other ways. And then…comes Moria, the epitome of boredom in zone design (in my opinion; it’s designed in a very good way, but these are still basically caves).
And later on, there will be desert/lava zones. Nobody wants to see something like that. Of course, i can see why dangers must present themselves and an all-green happy-place world might be equally boring, but i still can’t understand why people build great cities in the early game and live in tents from level 20 onwards.
So i was thinking- how could i do something like Ironweakness and Syp, who also plays a bajillion MMORPGs but somehow manages to be at (or almost at) the top of the content curve in all of them? Of course, one way to do it would be to not play 30 MMORPGs at the same time and instead reduce to a number i could handle- namely, one at a time. This won’t work, of course, because diversity is the spice of life, after all.
“Going buy-to-play”, as i’ve mentioned in my previous post, would be another way to reduce the amount of concurrent MMOs as well as lifting some pressure off me. There would be three games available- Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World. They would offer a diverse diet as well as some depth in their gameplay. All i’d really cut out would be Final Fantasy 14, SWTOR and the newly-returned-to EVE. And Lotro. But frankly, i doubt i’ll ever make it through Moria.
So i don’t know, this is still a topic. It’s a funny thing- this blog was created because i wanted to document my finding of a new MMORPG home- i guess it worked in that way. Unfortunately, when i started it i was of the opinion that i’d found it by now.