Tag: landmark

NBI talkback challenge: early access and kickstarter

So do i support unfinished games? Why, yes i do; at least if you asked my wallet. I ‘bought’ Shroud of the Avatar, Landmark, Divinity: Original Sin, ArcheAge, Skyforge, Neverwinter and Elite: Dangerous before they released. To be fair, only the first three were actually unfinished when i bought them.

If you look closely, however, you’ll find that none of them needed my money when i “kickstarted” them- SotA’s Kickstarter campaign was well finished when i bought into it via Steam, Landmark was started by SOE, a company who didn’t really need my money and D:OS was bought via Steam.

Reluctant backer

The reason for this behaviour is that i’d actually like to see if the product they put out to ‘testers’ resembles the design goals outlined in the Kickstarter campaign- i’m not a huge risktaker when it comes to the product- it’s more my fickle nature i’m taking risks with, so i want to at least know that i’m interested in seeing the product as is when i ‘buy’ it.

A spiritual successor to Syndicate? Yes, please!
A spiritual successor to Syndicate? Yes, please!

And there lies the key, in my opinion: you should be interested in the product that’s available when you buy it, because there’s actually a chance that it will never really see the light of day. Granted, i don’t know of many failures, but still. If i wanted to promote an idea, i’d also do Kickstarters. For instance, i’d have backed Satellite Reign if there would have been signals that it wouldn’t make its Kickstarter goals. There weren’t, so right now, i’m waiting to become interested in the product that is available- when i am, i’ll buy it.

You should know what you’re spending your money on

Don’t think you buy a game when you’re supporting an idea by kickstarting a game, because what you do is give money to the devs so they know someone is interested in seeing their vision come to fruition. Right now, if you’re buying a 200$ starship for Star Citizen, you won’t help make the product better, become available quicker or make it happen at all. You’re buying a virtual ship in a game that might release at some point and that you know virtually nothing about. Would i do that? Oh for sure i wouldn’t.

This could become a great game- it puts the RPG back into the MMOs.
This could become a great game- it puts the RPG back into the MMOs.

If a release date is set, you’re actually not backing but pre-ordering a game. You might get early access, too.

Is kickstarter / selling early access bad?

No, i don’t think so. The thing is, if we’re spending money on it, we deserve what we get. It’s quite the same as with lockboxes in MMOs- if that is what the devs make their money on, they’re well within their rights to sell them and make them attractive. I don’t think adults need help in getting their spending habits under control- and if they do, it’s on them to realize the problem, not on the devs.

A spaceship for an unfinished game? No, thanks.
A spaceship for an unfinished game? No, thanks.

In free-to-play-land early access is similar to a box sell, in my opinion- and that’s especially true if you get to play a longer period after the final wipe in that game. Everywhere else it’s selling a product- an unfinished product, at that, but it is a product.

Now, if we, as customers, should tag along in this venture, i don’t know. I don’t think there are many products that made a 180-turn in terms of product design between early access and release. There are, however, some products that were left behind by their devs. This isn’t a problem that’s unique to early access titles, though- just remember how Hi-Rez, a dev team i used to respect greatly in the times of Global Agenda, treated said title and Tribes afterwards. Or remember Vanguard. Or Champions Online.

On the other hand, sometimes, Kickstarter can be the only way for ideas to become products. I think we should back ideas we like to become reality- if we can afford to. I don’t think we should spend money on spaceships in a game that isn’t released yet and got 60,000,000$ already. But in the end, it’s your money and how to spend it is your decision to make.

Game time: rejoining a guild and experience bonus

This past week i played both of my main MMOs and dabbled in three others.

Everquest 2

There was a bonus experience event in Everquest 2 this weekend and i planned to take full advantage of that. As plans concerning MMORPGs usually go for me, it didn’t quite happen as i’d liked it to. I wasted friday just reading blogs and other stuff on the net- i was in the mood for a movie (haven’t watched one of those in what feels like forever) and researched options. Saturday i watched what i found out (Guardians of the Galaxy); it was a good choice to make- it was very relaxing, just watching a blockbuster which was both somewhat funny and quite entertaining. I liked watching space superheroes.

Sunday evening i was finally able and in the mood to dive into EQ2 again and quested in the Butcherblock Mountains- yeah, my main character was just level 23 and i know that the description of “main” might be stretching it a bit, but still. I got him up to level 27 in about two and a half hours, which was great. I realize, of course, that i could have levelled more efficiently if i’d got a mercenary and went to a dungeon, but i also like to see the overland zones of this game. Next time, though, i will take a merc and head to some dungeon or continue the armor timeline for the inquisitor.

While Everquest 2 is a quest grinder (for me) and gives each class way too many skills (i’ve got 4 fully slotted hotbars), there’s also a lot to discover. I think one would be able to level a character by just exploring dungeons and killing stuff that’s on the way while, maybe, gathering materials for crafting for a good while in the early levelling process, especially when experience bonus weekends are around. For now, though, i’ll take the handholding approach and simply quest while slowly attaining a broader point of view on the game. As i said, i plan to visit dungeons solo/with a merc soon.

Why solo, you ask? Well, you won’t find many PUGs that do the old dungeons. Also, while my guild seemed to be a friendly, welcoming bunch of people when i joined (shortly after the expansion launched), it seemed awfully quiet yesterday. They’ll take me to level agnostic dungeons and help me progress and they’ll answer my questions, though it seems to be very dependant on which members are online. The guild is huge, if you count inactive players, but it actually is quite small when you consider activity. Unfortunately, there is a big, silent majority in there, as well. I can live with that, it’s an old game after all.

Final Fantasy XIV

I continued the main story questline, but still haven’t made it to the point that the main story level equals my adventuring class level. I travelled a lot. My Arcanist is level 23 now, i’m a level 15 Weaver, a level 18 Botanist, Level 6 Conjurer and Leatherworker and a Level 4 Carpenter. And i learned how to dye my clothing as well as how to get materia out of items (but not how to get it in other items, yet). So that’s where i stand.

Fighting Ifrit

I also chose my grand company (that one from Gridania) and saw that this path gives levelling options and stuff to do aplenty. It’s very difficult for me to not take every crafting and gathering class that’s available, because i don’t like selling stuff i might use later in the game for another craft. Also, i think it’s more useful to level the gathering professions with some sense of meaning by gathering materials i use in the different crafting classes. But if i do it that way, i kind of know i will be all classes level 10 when Heavensward launches. And i don’t want that, so i’ll see how far my bank space takes me.

I also rejoined my german free company, they’re a nice bunch of people and it’s a small but friendly and quite successful guildand i’m happy to be back with them.

The dabbling

I loaded up Landmark, Marvel Heroes and TERA, as well. Reasons were: to find land for my possible building project, just logging in for a reward / checking if store specials were still active and, well, i don’t know why i launched TERA. Maybe because someone wrote about it and called it a great MMO to dabble in and have fun fighting stuff.

I’d really like to get the Landmark project going, but i really am not very talented in building stuff when it’s totally free (that’s also why i prefer EQ2’s housing over Rifts Dimesions, by the way) and i’m not very creative. But i want to do that…thing. I’ll write about that when it seems at least possible in some way. Meanwhile, combat is in, but for now, i just find it…annoying when you’re out there gathering stuff.

So, what are my plans for 2015?

2015 will be a good year for MMORPGs. I believe so, because there’s not much in the way of “new shiny” coming out. This will be good, in my opinion, because the genre will relax a little bit- players will be more happy with their choices (because there’s nothing coming out next month that will make everything better), the chosen games will turn a profit and see some kind of development, and maybe some will be left behind and close shop. This may seem like a sceptical outlook, but i think this year is going to be healthy for the genre and its players.

So, i’ve put my resolutions for 2015 into some words and there’s two that are hopefully going to define my MMORPG-related gaming in 2015: focus better on some titles instead of spreading out too thin and “be ready when they come”. Also, i’d like to NOT discover an open subscription to a game like i did with Final Fantasy XIV the other week.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Speaking of which, FF14 will be my first candidate. With Update 2.5 possibly coming in January and the expansion, let’s say, in April, there’s still some time to get my main character to 50 at least in one class/job and hopefully one gathering and one crafting profession, as well. As i’ve mentioned a couple of times, i like the game a lot- it’s a nice mix of old school mechanics and new features and it at least tries to make crafting and the economy somewhat worthwhile.

So, at least in the first quarter of the year, i’d like to make that one my main MMO and hopefully get something done in there.

Everquest 2

Everquest 2 will be my “main alternative” MMORPG for the time being. I like it a lot (in reality, this is my problem- it’s not that all MMORPGs suck, but that they all have their strengths and i do like them).

EQ2 New Halas Mount

 

I’d like to play it when i’m not in the mood for FFXIV and continue levelling my Inquisitor slow and steady. My goal is to be where i need to be when the next expansion comes, presumably some time in November. But, of course i know that this game would be too big for that goal even if i’d play EQ2 exclusively until November, so i’ll see how far i’ll come.

Other candidates

SWTOR will lie dormant for the time being. It’s that “third” MMO i’d like to play, but i won’t have it in my roster permanently- the other two will take up all my free time to achieve what i’d like to achieve there. But still, when i’m in the mood, i’ll probably fire it up some time.

The Repopulation- i’ll take a look before headstart/final wipe and i’ll play it if and when it releases. But we’ll see if that’ll be in 2015, anyway, soooo i’m totally relaxed on that part.

Landmark- i have a vision i’ll share when i looked into the game and my abilities with it and have decided to follow through with it. So that might come up at some point, as well.

World of Warcraft is postponed. I might get back to that if i’m in the mood.

Lord of the Rings Online. If and when they let me buy my way through Moria i’ll take a look at the lands beyond. I won’t play through those caves, though.

Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar. If and when they go buy-to-play and/or free-to-play, i’ll be there on relaunch day.

The Secret World. Hmmm, i don’t know. Funcom did something spectacular with this game, it might just be the best “play-to-finish” MMO out there, but unfortunately, it’s too quest-heavy for my tastes. But it is possible i’ll be hopping in from time to time.

Did i forget something?

For sure. I’m fickle. Sometimes i’m in the mood for this and sometimes i’m in the mood for something else. As much as i’d like to call one MMORPG my home, i don’t see a candidate yet. It would have to offer almost everything MMOs have to offer in one game- also, my guess is it would have to be polished and, of course, at least hack-and-cheat-free. Also, of course, there are Elite: Dangerous and The Crew, which you might or might not call MMO…and there’ll be new games.

Doesn’t matter, though, for now. We know Heavensward is coming and that should be my priority right now, because i know for a fact i’ll consider buying it and it would be a nice change to finally see an expansion i paid for. So, right now, i’d like to declare 2015 to be the FFXIV and Everquest 2- year for me. We’ll see if that pans out. (Spoiler: it probably won’t)