Tag: guild

Towards a bright future

I’m excited, again. This is a result of a few events since i last wrote.

Time is running

First of all, i haven’t had much time to play all through september until the middle of this month. What i do then is what i should always do: fire up the games i like to play in this moment. See, since i know i won’t be playing for longer than, let’s say, 1 hour , there’s not much of a point to “force” myself into those MMORPGs i decided to treat as “main MMO”- if i’m in the mood for some The Secret World atmosphere, so be it.

As a result, i’ve played that one in those weeks where my weekly average playtime was about 3-4 hours. Sometimes i started something else- like Lotro, for example, and even Star Wars: the old republic (which i still find surprisingly enjoyable, but more on that later). So these 6-8 weeks freed me up, as a result, my list of MMOs i play grew back again.

The other game

Now, there has been Syl’s NBI armchair game designer – or how that other MMO keeps ruining my gameplay experience and i wholeheartedly agree, as someone who falls into the same trap more often than not. I keep thinking about how nice it would be if MMO x borrowed feature a from MMO y with a twist of MMO z’s way of handling things. Or i bemoan missing stuff, thing the game developers have done wrong and so on. As a result, every MMO experience feels incomplete.

I like them all in one way or the other- well all of those i covered here- from Fallen Earth to EVE, Vanguard, TSW, Rift, Lotro, FF14 and so on- they’re all great in some ways and lacking in some others. Being in one of them makes me miss some others. Or even think about that MMO that is sure to come out “soon” which will be a perfect fit for me. I used to think about ArcheAge in that way, and before i really liked GW2, but it turns out that none of those is perfect. And believe me, Black Desert won’t be perfect, as well.

I think this mentality has resulted in what i’d call the first deemed-failure-before-release MMORPG, ArcheAge. If Jef is thinking of jumping ship to another MMORPG that’s even further down the line (with no word on NA/EU release whatsoever), many others will be already done with ArcheAge.

So i’ve come to the conclusion (before reading Syl’s posting, but his words really fit perfectly) that one should enjoy those MMOs that are out there- there’s no point in always chasing the next release- which i think the community’s been doing since the release of Age of Conan.

The Secret World should be a hit

When playing TSW, i always think that this poor game is neglected because of…well, i don’t know. Maybe because it launched too close to GW2, maybe it is because it’s a bit rough around the edges or maybe it is because those who tried it found it to be “more of the same”, a mistake quite easily made when you give the game only an hour or so.

When you dive in, though, there are so many points where TSW innovates and tries new stuff that one would think all those players who scream for “something different” (myself included) should happily be playing The Secret World. The quest system might look like “more of the same”, but it isn’t. You’d have to give the game a little bit of your time to realize that, but the quests in TSW are very interesting story-wise and they offer a lot of variety.

Also, The Secret World is a game where it really is about the journey- i think one could run through everything in a quite short amount of time, but that wouldn’t be the point.  I agree with Syp that story-wise, the Secret World is as good as it gets in MMO space.

But even if you’d play through the experience and were “finished”, with the releases of content (Issues) down the line, you could always expect to return to TSW for a short time- and i’ve heard those storylines are really great. The business model is a very good one, as well. You don’t need anything from the shop (except additional content) and you don’t suffer any restriction compared to subscribers. In a way, it’s quite like GW2’s business model- without the lockboxes and with stuff you’d like to buy in the item shop.

What i like very much about TSW, as well, is the balance in group/solo play. TSW doesn’t force you into grouping up (unfortunately it forces you to do some of the stuff solo) except for dungeons, but a group is really handy because the fights in this game take some time. If you can get a friend to join you, it’s more fun and easier.

I am glad i’ve “returned” to The Secret World, it’s a great experience that works very well with my gaming schedule and playstyle. Of course, if another game beckons me again, i’ll be there. And by now i already know when this is going to happen and with what game.

A good guild

I’ve always thought that guilds play a big part when it comes to longevity of an MMORPG- and right now, i’ve made a good choice. In the past, i’ve made no experiences with guilds despite almost always joining one in the games i play. Most of them were chat channels, the german guild i joined in Rift was a chat channel where tidbits of voice chat conversations would sometimes appear.

I think a guild should be more, though. And it’s not about going to dungeons or getting help, it’s about building community. At least if a guild is always recruiting it should always do community building. How much that can be, i learned in the TSW cabal i just joined.

There’s a cabal meeting every month- i can’t remember when i last was member of a guild that did guild meetings, possibly the ones i co-founded / co-lead. Guild meetings allow the members to meet up, see the characters of the other people even when they are at different stages in the game. Also, you can catch up to news about the guild, talk to the other members and stuff like that. It helps. Especially in a game like The Secret World that doesn’t really allow you to chat and play along simultaneously.

There’s also a newsletter/magazine published by quite a talented member of the community- it covers everything from news to articles provided by other members.

And the third reason i joined is a sub-group within that community that wanders different MMORPGs every few months. If interest is high enough, recruitment for the guild founded in that game will commence and it will become a part of the community. So Multigaming and game-hopping are built in.

What i like is that there is a vision, and there is an idea how to follow through on this vision. It’s neither a casual nor a “hardcore” setup in this guild. I feel great with these guys, and while probation is still ongoing for me, i’m already confident that i’ll stay with them in the long term. If they don’t kick me, that is 😉

Soon we’ll embark on a new adventure in a new game, and i’m pretty excited to start with this group of people.

5 ways to make your gaming experience more social

They put the multiplayer part out of the MMO. That’s what they- meaning us- say. Is it true, though, or is it just us who go about differently nowadays than we did 10 years ago in the time when MMORPGs rose to fame?

I was thinking about The Secret World quite a lot, recently. For one, in my opinion it was the big hit in 2012. Unapreciated, underrated and with a release date too close to GW2 to make an impact. But it is just such a bold move from Funcom- they really tried- and in many ways succeeded- to bring change to a tired themepark formula. With many great additions in this game, there’s one part that i think gets overlooked a lot: it’s just so group-friendly, without tossing soloability aside. Maybe it is my build, but the time-to-kill in TSW is considerably higher than in most other MMORPGs- and this is where a group comes in handy, especially when it’s a small group of 2-3 players. With 5, it can go too fast, but it’s still very much enjoyable.

And yet, you don’t see small groups running around the zones, at least i don’t. There aren’t many requests for grouping up besides going for dungeons. This is one reason why i think it’s more “us” – the players- than “them”, the developers, who are going solo nowadays. With my newfound focus here in the blog as well as when playing MMORPGs, let’s take a look at 5 ways to make one’s experience in MMORPGs more social.

1. Be your nice self

Yeah, it’s obvious, right? No, it isn’t. I know many nice players who think all other players in MMORPGs, besides those on their friendslist or in their guild, of course, are asshats. They steal loot and resources and act like a jerk when you are new to a dungeon or the game itself and make mistakes in group content because of that. When those players use the dungeon finder equivalent in their game, they stay silent- but what we should do instead is the opposite- be friendly, communicate with others, offer advice (instead of criticism) and add loads of people to our friends- and blacklist (won’t go into that very much, this should be a positive posting).

How many times was your gaming experience ruined by some kind of jerk? I’d guess at least on some occasions this happened, and you took notice. But there are many times when your gaming experience has been enhanced, as well. That one guy or girl who helped you with your quest? Or the group member who took his or her time to explain an encounter in a dungeon? Yeah, they’re there. Next time, try to be that guy.

And if you think “i have to rush to those resources to get them, because everybody else is so rough and will just steal it”- stop that line of thinking, now. Because if you walk into this mindset, the next time you rush to a named mob or resource node, you’ll be the asshat “stealing” someone else’s stuff. Instead: invite to party, group up, chat, ask, tell, add to friendlist, be social.

2. Open your eyes

Now the first part is mostly valid in dungeons while this one concerns our behaviour in the world. When you see someone having trouble, give them a hand- i know this used to be troublesome and sometimes it still is. Once, i was in a group in Lotro and we saw a single player challenging the named mob we wanted to attack next. We decided to lend im a hand when it happened: before he tagged the named mob (the player was busy with adds), that mob attacked one of our groupmates and got tagged by us. This was not our intention and we waited around with the other player to lend them a hand when the mobs respawned, but it was still unfortunate. Nowadays, things like this don’t tend to happen anymore. When you play a game from 2012/2013, the mob tagging system has become different- usually, you won’t steal anyones XP or quest progress.

So help others out.

3. Fill your friendslist

It’s easy to assume that you won’t meet anyone again in the game. That’s how we perceive this nowadays, we are used to filling our contact list from the guild we’re in- but those guys you meet in the world? They’re at the same stage in game as you are. If you’d be like me and everyone else is much farther into the game than you are, maybe you’ll meet someone on your travels whose pace is closer to yours. So when you meet someone who acts kind- either following points one and two of this list or reacting positively when you do so, add them.

4. Group up

Don’t wait for others to ask- and don’t ask if anyone “needs help” in Zone or guild chat- ask if anyone is willing to group up to do x, y or z. Offering help is nice and all, but with the soloability of games nowadays, few people will actually respond.

If you’re in a guild, no matter what rank you possess in this guild, pay attention and don’t always group up with the same people. Cliques in a guild are a problem on many levels, but when you’re playing with the same people all the time and your group is full, you isolate yourself and/or others. Especially newcomers to your guild will feel left out.

If your game supports on-the-fly public grouping, whether in a official way (Rift, parties are formed) or inofficially (GW2, no groups are actually formed, but you play together with others), the temptation is high to just think of the other players as “content”. They’re not. They’re people. Say something. Or at least emote after the fact. Don’t ignore other players.

5. Find or form a guild and stick with it

Guilds have been changing recently. GW2 and FF14 allow you to join multiple guilds or guild-like structures. You shouldn’t really do this, though. The key is to find one guild that fits to you and where you can blend or even step in. If you’ve got a lot of time, you might be able to do that in more than one guild, but if you’re like me, that won’t really be possible.

Now, joining a guild can be achieved in different ways- i think the most promising approach is to just play the game, join group content / group up in the world, filling your friendslist and finally joining the guild of one of your friends. The upside to this approach is that you already know at least one member of your new guild.

Another way of doing things is to find a guild in the forums. It is a somewhat good approach, since you can sort out which guild advert suits you in terms of concept, language and playstyle. Still, i think if you have the time, you should go with the first approach, it is indeed more promising. While i have joined good guilds in this way, i’ve found the guilds either founded or joined out of friendship to other members have more longevity and fun.

There’s a new way- Massively started a new column to fit players to guilds. I welcome the idea behind that, so i’d like to encourage players and guilds to join the activity there.

Doing it wrong

Yesterday, i read the massively opinion column titled “Maybe it’s time to admit you don’t like MMOs” and it made me think- about the general perception of MMOs, their communities and my interaction with other players in the games themselves.

I came to the conclusion that i’m doing it wrong- i mean, in Final Fantasy 14 i am member in what seems to be a great linkshell/free company. My interactions with the other members have been saying “hi” and “bye” as well as one dungeon run, which was fun. In Firefall, i had fun doing stuff with one or two other players, but when our army grew to be bigger than the squad size of Firefall, i became reluctant to log in.

Finding excuses for solo-play

Now, i know what this blog’s title suggests, so i am aware of how these games are meant to be played, but there always seem to be obstacles to experience these games this way. For me, it comes down to:

  • Voice Chat. I don’t like voice chat. Yet, in many guilds using it is de facto mandatory. In my Rift guild, for example, guild chat would always just entail fragments of conversations that happened in voice chat. Yes, i might use voice chat once in a while, but don’t expect me to launch it with the game. I might want to listen to music/podcasts or whatever. Voice chat directly affects my ability to relax and enjoy an evening of leisure.
  • Log-In times. We have a toddler in the house. When he screams, i’m afk. When my wife needs assistance, i’m afk. Often, when i log in, i don’t know how long it will be- it could be 2 hours, but it could also be 15 minutes. I don’t want to ruin someone else’s evening by signing up for a dungeon run i can’t finish- or doing something in the party and let them wait for my return in a quest hub.
  • My own mood. I play these games to relax. I take my time, i play them slow- my Conjurer in FF14 is level 22 now and will remain there for a time because i want to catch up with my botanist and weaver classes. If i were to group up with my level 22 i could suddenly find myself being at level 30 without progressing in the storyline and my crafting jobs getting far behind. Playing at my own pace in groups becomes running after someone else very quick. I wouldn’t want that.
  • Other people’s progress. I’m slow, others aren’t. One reason i haven’t done very much with my linkshell is that many are in their 40s or at max level (they played 1.0) and therefore what they do isn’t available to me.
  • Other people’s playtimes. I guess this goes hand-in-hand with my last point, but there’s more than just the progression. I’m always somewhat surprised that even players who call themselves “casual” play 4 hours each day. As i mentioned, i average at about 10-15 hours a week and i consider that playing quite a lot. In Firefall, i saw how others in my army spent every free minute available to them in the game- when i see that, i think to myself how quickly they’re going to burn out and leave the game- and true enough, last week the guild leader played 2 and a half hours Firefall. As i said, right now i think Firefall is a great game, but you have to consume it bite-sized, or you’ll be burnt out when the really cool features come into play.

Resolutions

Good excuses, right? Well, no, maybe not. Maybe, if i don’t want to play with others i should just start up one of my many single player games i didn’t finish (or pretty much didn’t even start them). Sure, MMORPGs nowadays are soloable and especially the gathering and crafting bits of FF14 lend themselves very good to solo-play.

Maybe i should just scrap crafting first and just level my most advanced class to 50 as quick as possible. But then i wouldn’t be able to craft equipment for myself during the levelling process. Also, endgame is usually not what i’m playing these games for. When i reached endgame in Rift in June 2011 i just quit- doing daily quests or repeating the same dungeons over and over again doesn’t appeal to me. Levelling as quick as possible is also not what i’m there for. So that’s not going to work.

I made a resolution, nonetheless. I want to party more, and usually, when i do, i get something out of it. The other day i helped another player in a really dense spawn point- he was going to fill his hunting log, but no matter how he’d do it, he would pull 3-4 enemies to get to his targets. So, as a healer, i asked him what he wanted to do, grouped up and helped him achieve his goal. One more member on my friendslist.

So i want to do that some more- go around with open eyes and help players i see having trouble. I did that before, as well, but it was a case of throwing out one or two heals and going my way. Also, i should ask in linkshell chat if somebody wants to group up- either for my most advanced class or for some of the classes i want to play down the line. I mean, there’s many of them. Just for adventuring classes, i aim to play:

  • Conjurer
  • Arcanist
  • Thaumaturge
  • Archer
  • Pugilist
  • Lancer
  • Gladiator

All this to get the jobs of White Mage, Black Mage, Bard, Monk and Scholar- more or less in that order.

Making (and keeping) friends

One problem, of course, is that none of my friends play MMORPGs. Many players just enjoy group content with either real life friends or acquaintances from the game(s) they’re playing- none of the two are available to me, for different reasons, many of them my own fault. If you jump around in games and guilds very much, you’ll have a hard time making “online friends”. And when you do make them and let the connections somehow fall apart (as i did with the guild i co-founded in GW2), that’s your own fault, as well. Maybe i’ll talk more about that last mistake some time.

This blog

Now, there’s a topic for a series of blog posts that fits right into this blog’s title. Party business- how to put the multiplayer part back into MMORPGs from the perspective of a casual player.

I haven’t written for some time, because when commenting around at the last post i realized that the reason i started this blog- or the topics i wanted to cover- aren’t really hot anymore. EQ Next is a thing of the past- i’ll look into it again either when SOE scraps P7S1 or when i cave in and decide that making an account there isn’t the end of the world. With EQN, there’s another thing: i can’t shake the feeling that this will play very GW2-like. ArcheAge seems to become a lot more themeparky than expected and The Repopulation seems still to be far off.

Final Fantasy 14 caught me by surprise- i didn’t expect to enjoy it so much, but as you can see above, i have goals that last for quite some time- for me, at least- and i didn’t even mention crafting. But i’ll have to put some thought into how i’m going to develop this blog further, since it really doesn’t bother anyone what i’m doing in my MMO and so the journal-type i was using isn’t of much interest. That’s not to say i won’t continue like that, but there will be another theme to my blogging, and right now i think it’s going to be somewhat community-focused, which might be an odd thing to do for someone who’s doing it wrong.

Is ArcheAge dead on arrival? Is Final Fantasy XIV’s launch bad?

So, i’ve been quiet for a few days due to real life stuff, not much game time and no “hot topic” to discuss. I’ve played some Final Fantasy and will come around to that. For now, i’d like to focus on two impressions i had after reading articles and comments of the two games mentioned in the title.

ArcheAge

It seems XLGAMES go through a restructuring period after Archeage didn’t become the huge success they expected it to be in Korea. This is a rumour, mind you, and it is clearly stated as such in the article’s title. The news itself doesn’t need to surprise anyone- it’s a familiar path newly released games go through: from being a new hope to good sales, dropping subscriber numbers, transitioning to free-to-play and laying off staff- that’s the way things seem to go in the MMORPG business right now. It is unfortunate, but when you take a look at the last MMORPGs that released as pay-to-play products- namely The Secret World and Star Wars: the old Republic; both didn’t make it to one year as a purely pay-to-play game. So it’s not a surprise that ArcheAge shares their fate, right?

In that line of thought, i wasn’t surprised when the game went f2p in Korea, although i still have some worries with a Sandpark/Sandbox being free-to-play. Fallen Earth does a great job with that and i don’t know what Archeage does in Korea. Also, despite AA being one of the formerly 3, now 2 future releases of sandboxes i’m watching out and waiting for, i didn’t follow the developement of the game in Korea – i read two reviews of the game with one’s conclusion being “meh” and the other seemingly having a good time and hopes for the game, but i don’t know how they’re making money now or what changes from the earlier advertised vision were made.

I don’t think steam-driven hot rods are a huge shift in design philosophy, but what i read in the comments of the linked article worries me; for instance, the removing of a durability system for gear. Now, i’ve mentioned it before and i’m going to reiterate that: to have a player driven economy, items need to vanish into nothing just like they came into being out of nothing. If the game’s not doing that, the economy won’t work. In a themepark, it doesn’t matter much- you can do something with interdependency of crafters instead of the markets. But we all know how that turns out: it will be “time” that sells in the auction house- resources, for example, are going to be more expensive than finished products…and why is that? Because they vanish and it takes time to get them back.

Also, nevermind that goats used to be the moneymaker in the game- that happens, design mistakes are going to be made and corrected, but the general impression in the comments seems to be that Archeage got “dumbed down” to themepark levels with sandpark possibilities. I don’t know what these changes would be, but from reading Massively a lot, i know the commentors who stated that and know that they aren’t talking out of their backends.

Archeage went from being the new hope of MMORPGs to DOA in the comments of Massively without even being released in NA/EU. That has to be a new record. Also, this makes me wonder about us, the players and customers in this genre- now we are dismissing games before they even release, and that doesn’t bode well, in my opinion. I’m going to continue to wait for ArcheAge, although i have to say: tough luck, Final Fantasy XIV ARR is great and i like it a lot, so any new game would have to compete with that.

Final Fantasy XIV

Talking about that one, the free trial seems to be extended for 7 days. And also, today marks the day they want to get over their launch issues which are: too many players want to play the game. As with Archeage, it’s the comments that really make this article interesting, since the extension of the free game time is not surprising after many players, including me, had difficulties with playing the game.

To call this launch “failed” and attacking Square Enix for not implementing a “proper queue” or afk timers is a bit harsh, in my opinion. MMORPG launches usually come with their share of problems- in Guild Wars 2, my guild had to invite everybody everyday for almost a week and there was trouble with the guild chat and other stuff. The auction house and the forums were deactivated; you could play the game, but with a guild starting its life the problems with the guild interface were extremely bad, but it had to be expected to some extent. Also, huge spikes of players after release are nothing new and i actually think developers are in the right when not opening up servers like crazy in these days only to find them depopulated after a few months.

So i couldn’t play it in the evenings, which is my time to play during the week, and my last time playing it was sunday morning despite wanting to play sunday afternoon and on the evenings since then. I tried, got 1017’d and left. Guess what? I watched a movie and read a book instead and it was fun. I’m looking forward to playing FF14 for quite some time, and the staggering launch won’t change that. And in a year or two, when/if i’m still in Eorzea, the launch won’t matter in the slightest.

What matters is the game- and this one is great- it is interesting to explore and play. I can’t really understand why people are so disenfranchised by a few evenings of not being able to play as to pass on this game just because of that. If you want to enter a new MMO smoothly, just wait 2 weeks before buying it.

Aleport

Aleport

Game time: Final Fantasy XIV

I was ingame, though, and i experienced the first bits of group content, which i liked very much. There are two downsides: one is the small group size- i like 5 people being a party- and the other one is me being a healer. Both are minor, the latter my own “mistake” for playing Conjurer first. Right now, i know the Arcanist is more up my alley, but i don’t want to play that up to 15 before going on in my story, although it wouldn’t take that long, i guess.

But my first goal is being able to sell and store stuff, so i am “rushing” to get retainers. With my gaming schedule being a bit weird, in the way that i don’t usually know if i’m going to play for 30 minutes or 3 hours, it’s not easy to plan for the mandatory Dungeons you have to enter in the storyline of the game. I went into Sastasha and am now approaching Tam-Tara. When i know my gaming session will be short, i just gather up some herbs and lumber as a Botanic. The next time, though, i’ll want to fight stuff. I know i’m not going into a dungeon before the weekend, so i might be switching over to Arcanist again and see where it leads me.

So, again, here is my revised list of goals in Final Fantasy XIV ARR:

  • get retainer access by advancing in the storyline
  • bringing the Arcanist up to par (probably Level 20 by then)
  • bringing the Botanic and Weaver up to par (probably Level 20 by then)
  • switch over to Arcanist as main class
  • find a linkshell/free company

Getting sidetracked in FF XIV

Yesterday i was able to log into and play Final Fantasy XIV ARR to finish my airship-travel story mission. At least that was the plan- what i found out is that the tip given by Massively, namely to have a plan, is a good one. Or else, you’ll find yourself having fun on all sides without making a lot of progress.

For a player new to the game, like me, “having a plan” is not very easy, though. Now i am somewhere in my level 15 with the Conjurer class, only to find out that the Arcanist is somewhat able to heal- so maybe i should’ve started with that. Furthermore, with time i learned that you can use skills cross-class- i knew this was in V1.0 of the game, but i hadn’t prepared for that in ARR. So i guess i could build up a class for myself- like a melee DPS with some healing attached. But when it comes to jobs, you can only use the cross-class skills of certain other classes. There is a nice Google spreadsheet that shows these restrictions/possibilities, although there is no mention in here regarding the use of cross-class skills of the third class in addition to the two you need to start a second-tier job.

The Bismarck
The Bismarck

One thing i’ll stick to is to get to Level 20 with my Conjurer class to get retainer access. One of the things i did yesterday was to look a bit more into crafting, and for that to be continued, i need retainer access to buy and sell stuff as well as store items somewhere else than in my inventory, although inventory space in FF14 is generous.

So my plan was to continue the story mission- and i have to confess, in more than two hours, i barely made it before logging out. Of course i had to pick up the Arcanist class in Limsa Lominsa, and while i had it activated, i had to do the starter quest of this class- and of course, there are the beginner quests in Limsa Lominsa, as well. Those teaching you to use the NPC-market, emotes and so on. I had to do some of them, as well. Before i saw it coming, i had gained Level 7 of the Arcanist.

Balcony of the Bismarck, Limsa Lominsa
Balcony of the Bismarck, Limsa Lominsa

The restaurant in Limsa Lominsa looked nice, so i had to venture there, as well- there, at the Bismarck, i could pick up Culinarian- not my first choice of crafting, that would be the Weaver, but i always like cooking professions in MMORPGs, so i picked that up, as well- and did the starter quest.

After all that, i finally continued to Ul’Dah, which was not like i expected it to be. The city seems to be all interior, i expected a more open space, but what do i know? Maybe there’s an outdoors part of the city i didn’t venture in yesterday. So i continued the story quest there and picked up the Weaver, did the starter quest and continued weaving until i gained Level 6 of that class, as well- and had to realize i didn’t pick up the leatherworker profession in Gridania, which would have been somewhat useful.

Limsa Lominsa by night
Limsa Lominsa by night

There’s no point in trying to be self-sufficient at first, i think. Maybe i’ll pick up the professions feeding into the Weaver- i already am a Botanic, and before i logged out of the game i returned to Gridania to pick up the Leatherworker class. I really can’t wait to add “the market” to my gaming experience.

Final Fantasy XIV is as wide as a themepark is going to get- the progression system in classes, jobs and professions is so open that, with my available play time, i can play this game for years- and that’s even without counting stuff like housing, dungeons or PvP, which are all parts of the game, as well.

I’m still trying to figure out my account troubles, though. I’d guess buying ARR should get me 30 days of game time, and i’ve been sent a code to register- but it states i’ll be asked to enter that when i log into the game the next time, which doesn’t happen, or enter the code in the account management, but i don’t know where to enter it and i don’t want to waste the code. Furthermore, wouldn’t there be something in it for me after having bought both ARR and 1.0? I wouldn’t mind if this was not the case, but if there was a possibility, i wouldn’t want to waste that, either. But i’ll be more than happy, when the time comes, to sub to this game in 6-month-intervals. I don’t expect neither ArcheAge nor the Repopulation in that time, and to be frank, right now they’d have to be really great games to completely steer me away from the fantastic experience that is FF XIV ARR.

Another thing on my to-do list: i need to find likeminded people and join them in their linkshell or free company. A guild enhances the game experience by a large margin. This time, i don’t really want to scan the forums and join a linkshell or free company that sounds right- instead i’d like to do it the old-fashioned way: getting to know people and then join their guild. On the other hand, that could be asking to much when you are only a casual player, because getting to know people takes time, and there’s not a real downside to joining a linkshell, since you can join more than one at a time. Plus, Balmung being a northamerican server, there’s the added difficulty in finding a linkshell or free company with an active european player base. Ah well, i guess time will tell how this is going to work out.

Firefall is a great addition

Forget what i said. It’s no use to choose to stick to just one game/MMO at a time, when said MMO doesn’t satisfy all your gaming needs. It makes sense to stick to as few MMORPGs as possible, though, because game hopping as a casual player doesn’t really help anybody- not if you like your MMORPGs to have depth, a wide array of activities and longevity- which is, for me, a cornerstone and one of the main reasons i like the genre.

But sometimes, a game comes along, that fits the scenario you’re in very well. For me, this game is Firefall. While Final Fantasy XIV ARR with its truckloads full of content is my main-MMORPG for now, there are times when a change of pace is in order- or when there’s launch- or patch day and i know i won’t be able to play FF14 (i tried, yesterday, but wasn’t able to login, as expected).

Our army continues to grow, i think we are 8 now. With the restriction of 20 characters per army, there’s no reason to go out recruiting or anything. We guess we’ll fill the other 12 seats naturally with time. We went out and did some ARES missions, thumpers and one Tornado in a full squad, which was fun.

Yesterday was a bad day, though, because my main game had launch day issues and Firefall had Patchday issues. We had some fun regardless.

Now, here are the reasons why Firefall is a great addition to my MMO-diet:

Easy to get in and play

You don’t have to prepare very much in this game if you just want to have some fun- log in, join the online guildmates or place a thumper if you are on your own. Or just run around, do ARES missions or invasions or whatever. You can jump right into the action.

Somewhere in New Eden
Somewhere in New Eden

Still deep

While it’s easy to get in, there are a lot of things to grasp in this game- how does crafting work? What do i need to jump into melding pockets or the instanced area? You can upgrade your equipment and so on. There is a lot to do, but you don’t feel forced to do that quickly, because you are not missing out on gameplay features just because you haven’t progressed very far. Sure, crafting the key to the instance or the pockets might take some time, but there’s no hurry.

Don’t powergame your way through it

If you play this game to “reach the end”, beat it or just to progress your character, you will be finished with Firefall in no time- and chances are you’ll be burned out when the game will be in shape for “release” and miss out on something great. Red5 have a plan, but it will take time to implement it. Firefall is a very fun game, and if you’re having fun, play it all you want- there’s enough to explore, beautiful landscapes, great missions and content, but when you set out to “beat” the game, i’ve got a feeling it will be over very quick.

Squad fun

A vision

Red5 has a vision for this game, and they try to stick to it. This is one thing that makes a good MMORPG- and Red5 are willing to hold their position- the durability system is one thing where one can see that- some, or many, players didn’t like the introduction of breaking items because it made the game “grindy”, but Red5 feel it is a good thing to have in their game and i tend to agree- without removing items out of the economy, there will be no economy. And also, this gives players “something to do”, because Red5 won’t be able to provide content at a very quick pace.

All in all, i’m looking forward to Open Beta stage 2 and the future of the game- with this developer, i’m quite optimistic. I don’t know when Red5 will reach a state of the game where they are comfortable to call it “V1.0”, but i think, they will arrive there and the game will be very good by then.

When you add FF14 on top of that, right now, i am one happy gamer (who would be even happier if i could play FF14 or understand Square’s account management system).

Game Time: Firefall and Final Fantasy 14 weekend

Last week i was a MMORPG player without a game. That’s not a new state for me, i’m in that waiting phase for almost 3 years now. Of course i’ve played MMORPGs, but without much dedication. Then, incidentally, a friend of mine started playing Firefall and decided to inject some life into the game and a longstanding, but gamewise inactive guild on friday. And there’s also the early access to Final Fantasy XIV.

Firefall

We created an Army for us and frankly, i didn’t expect others to join us. Part of that has to do with our more recent history of going into and out of games in quite a rapid succession, so many members lost faith in the community being able to form an active guild. While some of the members are close, they started viewing the community as forum-only. Not surprisingly, forum activity is quite low nowadays. Surprisingly, for now we seem to have grown to 5 members, if i counted correctly, with two invites pending. I guess we’ll see a first result in about two weeks- if we are still playing the game, and do so together, we have achieved something.

Firefall is not very beginner friendly, besides there being a tutorial and beginner missions. Once you are in the world, you’ll begin wandering around freely and some things are not self-explanatory. For instance, there’s this type of ARES mission where you have to bring some coloured items with you and it seems to me that the mission fails when you don’t have those items. But i wouldn’t know where to get them. Some other members tried starting a race and had to realize they don’t know how to summon a vehicle yet.

I guess it'd be fun with a vehicle
I guess it’d be fun with a vehicle

Mind you, finding out stuff is part of the fun to be had in this game. I’m looking forward to more of this game. What i like here, is:

  • while it’s not easy to understand the game mechanics, it is an easy game to pick up and have some fun with others. Without level- and gear restrictions, you can play together as you want
  • it seems there is content for almost any group size- even with ARES missions or other singleplayer content, there’s nothing wrong with some other people being around
  • getting to know the mechanics is fun

Final Fantasy XIV

On the other hand, there’s Final Fantasy XIV ARR. With the early access beginning on saturday, i clocked about 6 hours this weekend and my good feelings about this MMORPG are getting deeper. My newest discovery are story missions that take place in an instanced battle area. For now, i’ve met about three of these, and i guess the first one’s just an introduction to the feature while it gets more difficult afterwards. These quests actually consist of more or less just one fight- but i met a group of bandits, had the mission fail on me because i didn’t realize one of the enemies is a healer (the mob’s tag had been the same as the other mobs’ tags- you had to look at the enemy to find out he’s a healer).

After continuing this quest chain you come to a fight with “bird-men” – my first try failed here, as well. You go into this fight with a group of rangers and there are many enemies around- i have no idea how to succeed here- i guess there would be two options to try out next: bring the main guy down and hope that the mission will succeed or concentrate on healing the rangers. I’m not very confident one of these approaches will do the trick, though, so i’ll be looking forward to figure out what to do.

Up there
Up there

 

And this is great- first, the mission feels epic in scope- i don’t know why that is, but i guess it comes down to the fact that you’re not supposed to be the “chosen” to free the land from all evil, but just an adventurer lending a hand. The mission and quest texts, not only in this one, support that- there are also NPCs that are annoyed by all those adventurers around. The whole game supports you in immersing yourself in the experience.

I’ll have to change my goals, though, mainly because i learned that you’ll get retainer access only with level 20 (don’t know whether this means doing the Level 20 story mission or getting to the level), so i’ll do as follows:

  • Bring the Conjurer to Level 20 to get retainer access
  • Go to Limsa Lominsa and enter the Arcanist guild
  • Go to Ul’dah and enter the Weaver guild
  • Level Arcanist, Botanic and Weaver to 20

So yes, there’s much to do and it will take some time to reach these goals.

Game time: Firefall

Whoa, now that was interesting. I tried to get into Firefall two or three times before, without success- i think mainly because i didn’t really know what to do. Firefalls PvE is entirely dynamic, in this game you have to go out and seek out the fun yourselves.

But when a member of a german multigaming community where i’m in asked for some people to join him so he can found an Army and show the Army tag ingame, i went in with him. And that made a whole lot of a difference. First, regarding that community: i’m with them since Global Agenda released early 2010- they are a really casual bunch. So casual, in fact, that they didn’t bother building up a guild in any game since SWTOR.

My personal opinion is that this is a pity and they/we should be represented in the games we do play. It’s a guild with some history- they made a name for themselves as a RP-focused guild in Tabula Rasa as well as Vanguard and Fallen Earth, but it’s not easy organizing those who are still active in this community in a single guild. But sometimes i still watch the forums and am in direct contact with the leader- which is the one who asked for support in Firefall.

So in i went. It’s not really easy getting the grip of the user interface and the underlying mechanics in Firefall- it’s quite a special game, but when we went out to do some ARES missions, i had fun immediately. Playing in groups and/or guilds always makes MMORPGs more fun. At first, it was a confusing, because he always saw missions i didn’t see and didn’t know why i didn’t see them on my map. It became clear that one has to find the SIN uplinks to have missions pop up in the corresponding area.

Firefall - Sunken Harbour
Firefall is quite beautiful

I had to leave after we had some fun in the world and while trying to figure out how to spend my XP- in Firefall, you use your experience points directly to progress the battleframe (class) you earned that experience with. When i returned, i changed over to engineer and went out to level the engineer, which i guess is my preferred battleframe. In the course of two hours, i was once again in a pickup group (which makes for 2 times in a week compared to 0 times the rest of the year) and we had some fun with squad thumping and a melding tornado. Both of which were insane action.

Afterwards, i set out to get the SIN uplinks- each one of them grants a generous amount of experience and i think it’s a good way to make a start in this game- by “unlocking” missions of all areas. I logged out having gained 100k XP in the engineer battleframe and after an evening of immense- and intense fun.

There’s quite of a downside, though: i can’t really see them making money. The game is in open beta and free-to-play right now, and of course they sell “starter packs” and sold founder packs before. But the ingame cash store is….well, this game is too free. You can buy some XP boosts, a lot of fun items and two types of transportation for “red beans”, their shop currency. One doesn’t have to buy anything. If i understand correctly, some battleframes are going to be sold, as well, so there might be that.

Another thing that bothered me: with my founder pack i also bought 20$ worth of red beans- 168 of them. The motorcycle you can buy for red beans, as well as what you’d call a “teleport to home”-skill in normal MMORPGs cost 175 red beans, so…yeah. By all means, though, 20$ for this game is a steal, and i shouldn’t be too hesitant to stock up on red beans. Furthermore, you can craft this vehicle in game, as well. It costs about 200k chrystanite- a resource gained by defeating enemies and doing missions- after yesterdays session, i had 3k of them. It would take some time to get the vehicle, or, you know, i could just buy it.

Now, Firefall is not “main MMO” material for me, it somewhat to free and too restricted at the same time for that. But i am sure this hasn’t been the last time i logged in- i’m really looking forward to seeing New Eden again (isn’t that what the EVE “world” is called?).

First of all, though: today’s early access day 🙂 I’ve added a contact page to this blog, so feel free to hit me up in one of the games i’m playing, on steam or via raptr.

Game time: Rift

Wow, yesterday i found some time- about half an hour- to play some Rift. I’ll confess, though: the new Massively columnist for Guild Wars 2 and his posting yesterday made me want to play Guild Wars 2- go ahead, read it. He almost makes it seem as if there’s a story in the game. I know, i know, some of it seems to come from the personal story quests and it’s totally my fault i didn’t get invested in it. Anyway, his writing is excellent. (Un-?)fortunately, my GW2 client decided it needed to download the whole client again- i don’t know why, but it took to long and so i found myself in the MMO i wanted to stick to.

My “second main” is situated in the Moonshade Highlands, which is a beautiful enough place, but levelling is not my main concern these days. Still, i fired up a round of Instant Adventure to finish the daily IA which granted me around 55k experience in a very reasonable amount of time.

In the Moonshade Highlands
In the Moonshade Highlands

Right now, though, my priority is to find a home dimension where i’d like to build. I got Faen’s Retreat by way of my loyalty, but i don’t really want to build that zone up, because it doesn’t seem to fit what i have in mind for my character. I’d like to build up one of the following:

  • A place where Elomina can charge her batteries. Since every build she has contains the Chloromancer Soul and will probably continue to do so, even when it’s not her main soul (i like hybrid characters of dps and some healing) it would be nice to see some green/wood area. I am kind of waiting for the Three Springs dimension, thinking that one might fit. But there might be others…the Moonshade pools look promising, as well.
  • A place where Elomina does business. I mean, you’ll have to earn some money while saving the world from all the evils, right? A tavern might be too obvious, but is still tempting.
  • A place for hobbies. Unfortunately, i haven’t decided what her hobbies are. Reading, for sure- in her home she’ll have a library (don’t know if it’s possible, but i’d try, at least). Another option would be mountain climbing – a base camp might be something that looks affordable for the beginning.

So, i guess it’ll be one of those three options, and so i spent the rest of my time looking at various dimensions and almost buying one to start building.

Another thing that’s still bothering me is the guild i’m in- i’m pretty sure that i’ll be far behind in levels in almost any guild i enter, but as i already said, it’s just strange when you can only read fragments of a conversation that happens on voice chat. I could join them, of course but it’s not really me and i’m pretty sure i’d need to always join them there to stay in touch. They seem to be nice people, but still.