Tag: EQ2

Project Trinity: calling it quits in august

I’m late on the whole Blaugust thing, so i think that ship has sailed, although i might be looking into how it works and maybe join the ranks because participating might be fun. I’ve been away for the last three weeks, at a place where i couldn’t read my mail, use Twitter in a meaningful way and read/write WordPress blogs. No, i haven’t been to the moon, only china. I’ve been following the news, though, mainly through Massively Overpowered and i’ve read some of the non-Wordpress blogs.

Celondim, where elves begin their journey
Celondim, where elves begin their journey

Anyways, three weeks gone from any MMO gaming opportunity does change one’s point of view. Interestingly, the games i’ve missed aren’t Final Fantasy XIV or Star Wars: the old republic but open world games like Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft as well as full-featured themeparks like Everquest 2. Of course, all three of these games also featured heavily in the news- EQ2 with its TLE servers, Lotro with the coming server merges and WoW with the expansion news- so that might also be at work here. With WoW, i can honestly say that i wanted to play even before news of the expansion broke. I still do want to play, but the subscription is keeping me at bay for now. What i might do, though, is to level the classes i’m most interested in to 20- that would probably be the Shaman, Druid, Priest, Monk and maybe Paladin.

Still, with all this longing for the mentioned games, i still don’t want to leave SWTOR and FF14 behind. While i don’t have very pressing goals in FF14 for now- the expansion has launched and i’m way behind the curve again, i do want to level one character- possibly the Jedi Sage- in SWTOR to 60 before the expansion hits in october.

A long road ahead
A long road ahead

And then, there has been news, as well. Bad news.

Funcom is looking for a merger/acquisition. Now, we all can take a guess what that will mean for the future of Funcom’s games. Personally, i’m hoping for the best, which would mean no jobs lost, all games remain intact and get the same kind- or even better- attention in the future. But i wouldn’t bet loads of money on that outcome. So, while i really don’t know what the outcome will be, i’m kind of bracing myself for shutdown. And that would be bad on so many levels. Especially The Secret World is a great game, i’ve come to respect Funcom for what they do. I’ve also found it quite sad, really, Funcom is one of these companies providing us with games from the genre we love. I think it’s time to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions- concerning business models, for instance. Or maybe not- maybe they’d be in an even worse state if their games would still follow the sub model. What i’ve found really disheartening, though, is that- again- there’ve been comments welcoming these news, thinking that it would be well-deserved and things like that.

So, TSW needs to go back into my rotation. It might not- and let’s just hope that won’t be the case- be around much longer. The same goes for Lotro, really. We don’t know when it’ll end, but i think the best guesses would lean towards a 2017 closure…maybe. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, either.

Coincidentally, those are the only two games i ever bought a lifetime sub for. At least for Lotro, i got my money’s worth. For years it had been my “return-to” MMORPG and i loved it- Lotro is one of the most relaxing MMORPGs out there. It’s also very atmospheric and the landscapes still look stunning. I’ve never made it through Moria, though. With TSW, it’s even worse. While i feel i got a good deal there, as well, neither my /played time nor my progress could serve as proof for that.

So when i thought about ways to shrink that roster down to my usual three, i realized that it isn’t really possible. I want to experience FF14, SWTOR, TSW, Lotro, EQ2, maybe WoW and/or even more games when i feel like it. I also want to make some progress in all of them. And there’ll be releases this year, as well. Wildstar f2p, Blade and Soul, the Repopulation.

For now, the most pressing concern is to reach level 60 with my Jedi Sage before the SWTOR expansion hits. With 12XP, i think it’s very possible, even for me, if i concentrate on the story mode and leave other things like crafting, the strongholds etc. out for the time being.

Lotro is for fun, but i’d really like to progress through Moria to see what lies on the other side. It’s also the game i’ve been playing since our return home on tuesday.

For now, i’m done with forcing myself into a schedule/a roster of MMOs, and i’ll simply do and play what is fun to me. “Of course”, you’ll say, because that’s the way one should do it- but there’s still the knowledge that i don’t really play that much- reaching significant progress in all these games with my available time might be quite difficult. I’ll try it that way, anyway.

adelbern5

When the closure of Tabula Rasa was announced, i was quite sad- i really, really liked the game and miss it to this day. Then, i decided that i wouldn’t continue to play it as i’d lose my characters/the game anyway. Nowadays, i often wish i would have decided the other way round- to try and experience as much as possible. With the news coming from Funcom and a refound love for Lotro, i’m not really in the mood to limit myself right now.

This week in /saved

I’m still playing catch-up when it comes to all these new blogs i’m following, all the people i followed via Twitter and so on. This week has been a busy one, for me, so some nice posts might have slipped- which i guess is always true, because it possibly is impossible to follow all these great blogs out there.

Bloggers and Media

This topic carried on through this week, as well. We already saw people chime in who know both sides of the medal, this week Syp from Biobreak also took a turn and offered an interesting perspective on the matter.

Ravious from Killtenrats thinks MMO journalists should concentrate on being less a part of a games’ PR and keep the dev studios more on their feet. He wants MMO press to be “needed” instead of “wanted”.

Ironweakness shares the opinion that on Massively, there were authors who are from a range of play styles and Massively served as a kind of good example in letting every opinion be valid and important in a discussion. He thinks that in a blogging community, this wouldn’t happen as much.

The last one ties in with another discussion that went on some time ago where someone mentioned that bloggers rarely seem to disagree. I’m so sorry, i can’t find the source right now and i’m pretty tight on time, so i’ll maybe get around to sharing a link when i find it.

More than pixels

There’s also been a discussion if online relationships are somewhat different than real life relationships. Belghast thinks it’s only different if you make it different, while Braxwolf thinks online relationships lack multiple things that real-life relationships have, while having some advantages, as well. I think he’s of the opinion that they lack depth.

My view on this, in short: i always try to treat pixels as people- everything else wouldn’t be true, after all there’s another player playing on the other end. But i’m not equating online friends to real life friends, this doesn’t work- have you tried to explain to a non-gamer who calls you once every several weeks that you can’t talk right now because you’re in a group? Yeah, i tried and it didn’t go so well. I’ll try and keep appointments, but really, when a friend’s standing at the door i’m not going to tell him to go away because it’s Guild EQ2 time.

Daybreak

Daybreak Games have been a topic this week- i guess there’s a good roundup out there. I haven’t shared my opinion on the topic because….i have none. Or i had none. I don’t know, i guess i was and am slightly worried, because investment firms aren’t very good for the longterm health of the companies they buy, in my opinion. But then Daybreak decides to let Dave Georgeson and Linda “Brasse” go- and, forgive me, i’m not a longterm fan of SOE/Everquest and haven’t followed the games religiously, but come on! These names, i do know. I know Dave’s face, he was very enthusiastic about the games he lead, which is always a good thing. In my opinion, letting these two people go was a poor decision and i have to wonder if they didn’t know that already- or might it be true that they stood against something that Daybreak wants to do in their games and had to be removed?

Anyway, here are the opinions of people who know more about the subject than i do.

Syp from Biobreak

Moxie, the battle priestess

Syl, the MMO Gypsie

Bhagpuss, Full Inventory

General

There have been other great posts, as well. First of all, i love how Syp tells his gameplay experiences- it’s just one way to do it, mind you, but i like how they are quick to read and entertaining, as well, with all these pictures.

J3w3l from Healing the masses took a look at the new content in Firefall, while Wilhelm Arcturus took an outlook on SWTOR’s 2015 and Telwyn went and did some advanced solo dungeons in Everquest 2 (looking forward to those!). A completely different approach was taken by Belghast, who shares the best games he isn’t playing.

And then, Massively Overpowered’s Eliot, who also writes the shaman class column for Blizzardwatch, was very mean, at least in my book. He shared his view on the Enhancement Shaman as the last true hybrid. I loved playing the Druid as a hybrid and i’d love to experience something similar again, so i was quite tempted to see if what he writes is true.

 

How blogging and gaming feed each other

In the short time since i started blogging regularly, big things happened. First of all, i didn’t expect to be connecting quite so fast as it happened now. Even when i restarted writing more regularly in the end of 2014, after the news broke that Massively would shut down, i doubled down on that. My goal right now is to publish something every day, although i have to confess that this might not be the best of ideas- see yesterday’s post for reasons why. While i liked the topic and stand by the argument, i had to hurry somewhat and the post developed from one topic to the other. And now it’s quite a mess, but that’s ok.

I started following more blogs via WordPress and Twitter gave me new blogs to see, as well. Furthermore, i wasn’t alone in this line of thinking- Ironweakness’ Blog exists because of the impending shutdown (and, reading it, one has to wonder why he didn’t start earlier). Right now my following of blogs is a mess- some of them are only in the WordPress reader i don’t use, some of them are only on Twitter and despite the fact that this is an MMO-exclusive account the stream runs by very fast. And then there’s Feedly, where i do read and i’m slowly migrating everyone over there.

So, the social connecting thing works in this regard. I’ll also have to thank many of the “real bloggers” for that. You really visit my blog from time to time, comment, like, write posts answering some of the posts i made or even link to me. This is a great experience, and i’d really like to thank you for being such an inclusive breed of gamers!

Playing and Writing

Of course, these connections make me want to write even more. But then there’s another thing: i found that my writing and gaming feed each other. Sometimes i’d think about a topic for a post and realize that i should go and play something, focussing the attention during the session on the topic i want to write about. And sometimes it’s the other way round- i play something and a topic opens up.

As someone who is, sometimes literally, playing a different game each day, this connection between writing and playing has given me a focus i didn’t achieve before. Yes, i’d resolve myself to play “just this one” MMO for some time, but it never lasts- and why should it? When you don’t have strong social ties in a game and are playing solo, mostly, why should you be “faithful” to one or two games? There are reasons, of course. Social ties, for instance, grow while staying in one game- it’s more difficult if you switch every other week.

Rift Dragon
I wanted to stay in Rift until ArcheAge released. Didn’t quite work out.

But now? I want to write about things- and i want to experience things in the games. I also found out that i look at games differently- even when not thinking about making something a topic, i feel like i experience these games more intense. Right now, inspired also by comments here and some blog posts in other places, there are a few quite focussed projects i’d like to take on. We’ll see how it goes, because time is still limited.

Lord of the Rings

As i’ve mentioned, i fear a little bit for Lotro. I’m not overly optimistic that it’ll last longer than 2017. I might be wrong here, and i do hope i am, but when the gates close on this one, we’ll lose access to the best realized Middle Earth in MMOs and maybe games in general. I don’t like that to happen. I planned to visit Vanguard when i had a “bad feeling” about it in the beginning of last year only to sadly be right and have the world yanked from us. When you don’t have lots of time to play, a project like “visiting the world” can take months, even years. So when i begin this now, there might be a chance that i’ll get to see the Middle Earth of Lotro before it shuts down.

Next up: the Chetwood and Staddle
Next up: the Chetwood and Staddle

My plan here is quite like something a tourist guide writer would do- see the places, know some things about them (i’m not going to graduate in Middleearthology) and present them here.

Final Fantasy XIV

Deidra_aetheryte

This is a game where a second, third or fourth look on crafting and economy is going to be interesting. I’ve read several times now that there’s kind of a barrier in the mid-30-levels, and i’m quite interested to see how it goes. I’ve experienced similar things, mostly in Lotro, where i always seemed to be stuck in the mid-30s.

So it’s going to be crafting/economy for Final Fantasy XIV, but also general gameplay experience. I guess i’ll continue to cover this for all the games i play, but if the last two weeks are any indication, it seems as though FF14 is my favourite game, for now. And it should be – it is good, after all, and i’d like to be ready for Heavensward without hurrying along.

Everquest 2

Not much focus here. I also stopped playing it outside of my guild group, because my guild group character progresses much faster than my other character and i’ll transfer her over to Antonia Bayle when the guild project is over. But there’s something about EQ2 that’s really great- and from time to time, you’ll read about how it has so many features, how it is almost a sandbox in themepark’s clothing- i’d like to flesh that out a bit and look at the different features.

Socializing

This has been a topic here for quite some time- how to connect to other players- what can we, as players, do to make our gameplay experience more social? What can developers do? I’d like to take a look into that and also want to make my personal gameplay experience more social. You’d like to do that, as well? Goody, just head on over to Group up and give me a /tell.

So this is it- in the two months since i restarted blogging here i found that writing enhances gameplay experience, and you’ll get to know/talk to/discuss with great, like minded people…or not so like-minded. Doesn’t matter as long as discussion is civil.

Everquest 2

Why it took so long

I think it’s quite unusual to “fall in love” with a game that’s been out for 10 years, but it might have happened to me and Everquest 2. I tried the game on several occasions after it went free-to-play. Before, i was one of the WoW crowd and was under the impression that EQ2 was somewhat older than WoW. While i like some of the systems in old school MMORPGs, i can’t overlook the production quality of those titles.

In the case of EQ2, there were several issues i had that made me stop playing it after dabbling in the starting areas. First of all, the human avatars- they don’t really look so good.

The environment grew on me, though
The environment grew on me, though

The other thing was a feeling of detachment from my pressing a key and my avatar reacting. There’s some kind of lag, i don’t know where it stems from, but i think it isn’t my internet connection or the server location. It feels quite slow, somewhat comparable to the combat feeling of Lotro.

What drew me in

News of the coming expnasion. I don’t know why, but the general excitement infected me, as well. Also, since SOE got rid of ProsiebenSat1, i can judge the developer on its own merits, and generally i can’t say too many bad things about SOE. Yeah, that Vanguard thing- but really, i think it’s because of SOE that it was available as long as it was. I have no connections to SWG, either, so the CU and NGE stuff doesn’t apply to me. What i see, though, seems to be a company willing to take some risks and approach the genre in new ways (Landmark, H1Z1, EQN) as well as providing their playerbase with new stuff to do (expansions in EQ, EQ2) and good value for their money (All Access). So they have my goodwill, now, and my money, as well.

Of course, all of that wouldn’t matter if the game wasn’t appealing to me, but strangely, now it does. I still think it would be good to have a starting area that’s more like a medieval european landscape, since i’m not really into giant mushrooms and dark woods…and Faes, for that matter, but Greater Faydark pulled me in, nonetheless. It’s a huge zone with many landmarks to see, orientate oneself by and many, many quests.

I also like how complicated it all seems to be- of course i looked for a newbie guide but couldn’t find anything that seemed up-to-date. My first instinct was to level as fast as i could, get to 20 and leave the starting area. The double XP weekend seemed very suitable to do something like that. But now, as i understand it, it seems that i would miss out a lot- equipment, a free mount (although i don’t know if it’s still provided in the quest series), gathering nodes and so on.

So i backtracked. Because i had to, since the timeline quests often seem to build up on one another and i really want the free horse. And that’s another thing i like about the game: there is a quest progression. It’s not enough to be of high enough level to do something, there are quest requirements.

So i went and did level 8 quests with my level 16 Warden, until i could do the Tuathil Laeds quests which, according to one guide over at TTH rewards a mount at some point. The wiki doesn’t mention the horse as a quest reward, so it might have changed in the meantime- nevertheless, i’m eager to find out.

 

Goodbye Vanguard, welcome back FFXIV and nice to meet you, EQ2

Welcome back

So yeah, it’s been a while since i posted. I guess having a baby at home gets in the way of gaming and especially blogging about it. So what happened in the meantime? Not much, of course. Last year after my last posting i didn’t play much- i think Raptr counted 30 hours, mostly in SWTOR, if i remember correctly. This year i saw ESO and Wildstar coming and going (for me). I knew they weren’t games designed with me as a player in mind before going in, but i couldn’t resist. Needless to say, i dropped both of them. Also, we moved. New job and all that.

So here i am, still trying to figure out and find “my” MMO home. The three candidates that made me start this blog still haven’t released yet, so there’s still hope for me. A lot more of it, to be frank, because SOE dropped ProsiebenSat1, so EQN is on my radar once again.

On a side note: i stumbled across old (guild) friends of mine and rejoined a german guild because of them- the guild/community i joined last year is the best organized guild i ever encountered and they offer great community-related stuff, really great people, i can’t complain. The new, german one is a lot more casual in their together-ness, but they’re also very nice. One thing i miss is some structure- but honestly, i never was in a german guild that also had a good organization (maybe i’ll post about that another time).

Goodbye, Vanguard

When the year 2014 came, i had a bad feeling concerning Vanguard. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but some news coming from SOE made me think Vanguard might be nearing its end by the end of 2014. So i subbed, thinking i might spend 2014 with getting to know Telon in my own pace. One week after i subbed, SOE really broke the news about Vanguard closing. But much sooner than i thought. With a closure in the end of july, there was no hope for me to see as much of Telon as i’d liked, so i stopped playing. But that’s not the point.

A huge loss

The point is; i think Vanguard was the last of the more old-school, world-orientated MMORPGs out there. It had an open world, a great crafting system and diplomacy. There are other games with an open world, of course, but they also have that “zone”-feel. Go from Elwynn to Westfall in WoW and it isn’t a slow and steady but a sudden change of landscape. There’s only one game i know of that doesn’t have that as much- and that’s ArcheAge.

Also, character progression should take almost forever. That’s how i like MMOs- open world, a variety of activities, a good ingame economy, lots of opportunity to socialize. I’ve never been one to “finish” MMORPGs, Rift being the only game i maxleveled a character, but still…endgame is not for me. At least not the WoW-inspired raiding endgame.

So the loss of Vanguard made me think about that, and that’s why i knew ESO and WS wouldn’t be for me, but i didn’t know what else to play. Also, i wanted to make a “decision”, to stick it out with one MMORPG for quite some time. But which one. As it stands, i am now committed to two games.

Final Fantasy XIV

I liked FF14 very much when i visited it- there was one thing i didn’t like, though: i thought levelling crafting was a huge grind. What i didn’t know is that you can do these Levequests for gathering and crafting, as well. Those help with progress, a lot. Also, my new german guild is also actively playing it, so i am not alone. I’m really looking forward to playing this to level 50…and i will!

Everquest 2

News of the new expansion made me curious, once again. The player base seems to be very excited for the expansion coming 11/11. I don’t really know anything about EQ2, but the excitement carried over nonetheless. Everquest 2 is mentioned very often when it comes to full-featured themepark MMORPGs. The housing and crafting systems also get a lot of praise. Also, it is the successor of Everquest, to which Vanguard was the spiritual successor. Somehow i thought, maybe this is the game one would play if Vanguard was no longer available.

I decided to get All Access, as well. The perks SOE gives out aren’t that interesting for me, yet, but still…and now we are coming out of a member-double xp weekend that was so well-timed that SOE might have read my mind (went All Access one day before they announced the double xp).

I’m playing a Warden right now (Broshia), got to level 16 and just started levelling as an artisan. I haven’t decided on a crafting profession, yet, but i think it might be tailor.

In the case of EQ2, i plan to play it as “second” MMO. Soon there’ll be ArcheAge (my guess is a release in late september), so it’ll become third. I like it so far and think i should have looked into it much sooner. I can also see it being the “casual”, “fall back to” MMORPG that in reality gets the most of my available play time.