Tag: Repopulation

Two good news in one day

Who would have thought, right? It’s 2015, in some ways a new age of MMORPGs, with smaller titles, less hype and a lot of happiness with what’s already out there. And yet, today there were two big news for the MMORPG player: Blade & Soul is going to get a western version and the Repopulation seems to make it to release– this year!

For me, this means that Project Trinity is almost set for this year- SWTOR should be a side MMO, but is my main pastime at the moment. By the way, i decided to do one run of an Imperial Agent, solely focussing on the class storyline. I can’t see myself stop playing that game right now- it’s fun, it’s rewarding, it fits my schedule, preferences and moods. Final Fantasy XIV should get a bump soon(ish)- after all, it is my “main” game until august, at least. Elder Scrolls Online didn’t see me, this month, and will be swapped with Guild Wars 2 come june. Heart of thorns is going to release soon(ish), if leaked info is to be believed, it will be releasing on june, 30th. I can play- even a new character- to 80, easily, in one month.

Come the end of this year, the Repopulation will release, and that means the second of three games for which this blog was created- as a reminder- back when i started, i looked forward to either ArcheAge, the Repopulation or Everquest Next to be the new home MMO for me. Nowadays, i’m not so positive anymore- and the games are not the whole reason for that. If i were to play only one MMO, that game would have to be very versatile. I don’t think one game can do that.

The Repopulation is interesting to me because, on paper, it offers everything an MMO in my opinion needs- an open world, restricted-but-existing open world pvp, trade opportunities, a player-centric economy, somewhat dynamic pve, crafting that isn’t just an add-on to the game and so on. When it comes, i might even hop onto a hardcore server, for the trade.

The thing is- as much as i’d like to be able and willing to play such an MMO, my time-restraints might become an obstacle. I’m not sensitive in this- if it is possible to enjoy the game with as few gaming hours as i have, i’ll be a happy camper. But it would have to be a “sandbox” like EVE, where there’s not only goals for player groups to achieve, but also for solo/casual players. Then, there’s the “polish” thing- the Repopulation’s tutorial reminded me heavily of Fallen Earth, setting-wise as well as handling-wise. This shouldn’t be much of an obstacle, but it did feel a bit clunky.

Still, i’m very much looking forward to the Repopulations release and might play some of it before it’s happening.

Blade and Soul is a different thing. I don’t really know what it is- action combat, wuxia and, well, outfits. For the last point, there’s mostly the skimpy ones getting attention, but i read that there is more diversity to choose from.

The reason i don’t know anything about it is simple: after the long wait for ArcheAge, i decided i won’t look too deep into new releases over in asia- after all, you can’t be sure if the games make it over here at all. Even if they do, usually there’s a period of over one year between releases- in ArcheAges case 2 years, with Blade and Soul it’s three.

I’m not expecting the game here, but i think NCSoft releases decent MMORPGs, quality-wise, so it’s nice to be able to look forward to a wuxia MMORPG that might actually be good. I always wanted to delve deeper into wuxia novels- they are “chinese fantasy novels”, but it’s quite hard to find wuxia novels who were translated into english- there are fan translations, but somehow those don’t appeal to me. So, if you know about a good wuxia novel that’s available in english or german, let me know.

Blade and Soul might allow me to experience wuxia in a different way. Granted, MMO story is rarely as good as what’s available in book-form, but in this case, i’ll take it happily. If the game is fun and interesting, as well- all the better.

So i’m really looking forward to both of them- it might not be as quiet a year as one would have expected when it began.

The Repopulation: hardcore servers

When i contacted an old gaming community’s leader about the Repopulation, something caught my eye: despite being hopelessly casual in nature and also with a few set-backs in the closer past, he wanted to join what they call a “hardcore ruleset” server in that game. I hadn’t made the research yet, so all i was thinking was “FFA pvp”- but it turns out it’s so much more in this game.

The Repopulation

PvP

Yes, PvP is harsher on the hardcore servers, looting is also possible, from what i understand, as is degrading of items. They’re taking the EVE approach, though, with areas that are not really safe, but close enough, thanks to “police”. The security status lowers the farther away you get from the capitals of your faction and will eventually be zero, which would of course mean that everyone can kill you. It’s possible to lose inventory or at least it will be lowered by one quality tier or destroyed if it reaches the bottom of this line. And there’ll be crafted “Biolocks” that can be used to make looting your corpse more difficult for other players.

So why, after asking the leader about it and questioning this plan, am i now in full favour of this mode?

Economy

There will be no global auction house. No, that’s not entirely correct, since you can buy stuff from the auction house globally, but there’ll be only local delivery. Also, there will only be local banking.

The Repopulation

You can put out delivery contracts and pay other players to deliver your goods from one place to the other. If you take this route, you’ll need to assign a value to your goods and need to pay the player who takes the contract at least 10% of this value. This player would need to make a security deposit that equals the given value and receive his or her payment upon as well as the deposit back upon delivery. There might be NPC delivery, as well, although it won’t be as fast and more expensive than paying other players- but this is still under discussion.

Of course, you’ll get better and more resources when harvesting in more dangerous areas. Also, skill gain will be increased there. There’ll be no skill loss upon death in any ruleset.

Fast travel

There are two options being discussed- remove all fast travel options from the servers under this ruleset or fast travelling without inventory- all items in the inventory would be lost if using fast travel.

I’m sold

First of all, i really like The Repopulation – on paper. I also know it plays like an indie game at the moment; it’s a bit clunky. But then again, i can live with that if the features are implemented in a solid way and there’s a player-driven economy making crafting and trading a viable pastime in the game. This is something i always wanted to see in an MMO.

I don’t really care for the PvP part, either, but as with the lower production quality, i’ll take that if the economy is as great as it sounds.

I have to get into this game soon and see what i can do to help my old and perhaps new guildmates to get a foothold into this game. To get there fast, i’ll first “check off” Guild Wars 2 from my to-do list and try to get the Elementalist to 80 as fast as possible- then i’m not under pressure there, anymore and can raise my Ranger slowly whenever i feel like playing the game.

While i am sold on the server ruleset, there’s another thing the leader wants to do: forming a rogue nation. As of right now, i don’t agree on that part, but i’ll have to do my research on that one, as well.

I need a plan

Yesterday i chatted with a guildmate in Elder Scrolls Online. Since i know her to like Final Fantasy XIV a lot, we talked about that game in passing. She mentioned some uncertainty on her part in regards to buying Heavensward- because she hasn’t got time. Pew, who knew that time could be a problem, right? That was when i told her about stuff i’d like to get done at some point this year- i mentioned that yesterday when i tried to estimate at what time stuff releases this year. My guess is that when we’re talking about expansions, Final Fantasy XIV will be next.

Please don't remind me of all the ways you're awesome!
Please don’t remind me of all the ways you’re awesome!

So, to recount the games and my plans, as well as provide an overview for myself, let’s see what’s on my table and what goals i want to achieve as well as how much time i’ve got.

  • Final Fantasy XIV – get at least one adventuring class to 50 before the release of Heavensward – this will be a tough one.
  • The Repopulation – it turns out my old gaming community plans to start a chapter there, and rather sooner than later at that. Not much to do, here, just finish up the tutorial this or next week, after that it’ll be dabbling.
  • Guild Wars 2 – get my Ranger and my Elementalist to 80 before the expansion- shouldn’t be too tough.
  • Everquest 2 – my goal in Norrath is quite simple: just some steady progress and maybe be at the level cap in time for the expected expansion.
  • Lord of the Rings Online – smell the roses, see the world. My guess is i’m somewhat time-pressed here because i really don’t think the game will be around longer than 2017.
  • Elder Scrolls Online – smell the roses, see the world, craft. No pressure here.

So counting that and adding the project i have in my guild, which takes away one night every week, we have 6 games i need to juggle somehow. The easy way, of course, would be to just play what i like when i like to play it. But i’m pretty sure i won’t meet my “hard goals” this way, so i’m going to set up a schedule, you know, like Syp. I’ll mix it up a bit but will keep his “anything goes” – evening just to have it there. Also, since weeks just don’t have enough days, Lotro and Repopulation will have to wait for their turn on Anything-goes-evenings.

Yes, i like that one, too
Yes, i like that one, too

Final Fantasy XIV will have to get two evenings, and even then i’m not entirely sure if it will work out in the end. But for now, let’s stick with that. EQ2 gets one evening for now, since it’s also the current game in the guild project. The guild project gets another one. I think one evening for GW2 will be enough right now to get to level 80, at least with my Elementalist who already is around level 60. Elder Scrolls Online gets one evening, too, because, right now, i pay a sub for that.

So let’s see…

Monday: Final Fantasy XIV

Tuesday: Guild project / Everquest 2

Wednesday: Guild Wars 2

Thursday: Elder Scrolls Online

Friday: Guild project / Everquest 2

Saturday: Anything goes

Sunday: Final Fantasy XIV

Although i have to say that i don’t know yet what i’ll do if i don’t play some night, which will happen, of course, since gaming is not my only hobby and i’m not in the mood for it every day. Either i’ll just stick with the days or i’ll move them around (while keeping saturday for anything)- right now, i prefer the latter.

Is this good?

No, it isn’t. If you call me names, i’m perfectly fine with it. I really tried to be Mmonogamist, but it doesn’t work out for me right now. Every time i decide to play just one or two games, it just makes me miss the other ones more. It’s hard to describe, the best example i have is when i tried to quit smoking- i could go whole workdays of 8 to 10 hours without a cigarette easily, but my penultimate try to get rid of it lasted only about 4 hours- time i mainly spent thinking “i will never smoke again” and panicking at the thought. Meanwhile, i succeeded, but it’s quite similar here- when i try to play only FF14, for instance, suddenly i remember how game x is better in this-or-that feature.

Lord of the Rings - Archet

If i had to come up with reasons, i’d say there are mainly three to name: no game is a perfect fit for me yet, as are the guilds i joined in these games- although i do like them. The third reason is that while no game is a perfect fit, i do like most of the mentioned MMOs for something. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but i like them. And, to be honest, i’d rather like too many MMOs than being grumpy about all of them while still thinking i’m the “real” type of MMO player who strangely doesn’t like any MMO on the market.

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)

The Repopulation: primer

It’s time to check out the second of the three future MMORPGs i laid my eyes on: the Repopulation. Now, the Repopulation is in Alpha 2 right now, so it may be some time before we get to play it, but the general direction the game is going is set and made available for your reading pleasure with great articles and descriptions by the devs.

The Repopulation is set in the quite-distant future and a time when earth as we know it is no longer there. Fortunately, we aren’t on Earth anymore- scientists had sent out some spaceships to habitable planets 200 years ago and we are going to be inhabitants of a planet called Rhyldan.

The Repopulation calls itself a sandbox and it is quite obvious from their design descriptions where this is coming from. You could summarize it by saying “It’s a lot like SWG pre-CU”, but if you are like me, you don’t know what Star Wars Galaxies was like neither pre- nor after CU.

Factions

There are three factions in the Repopulation: the OWON (One World, One Nation) and the FPR (Free people’s republic)- we can summarize these by saying one is the oppressive empire and one are the rebels. Of course, it’s more complicated than that- and there’s a great backstory on the official homepage.

The third faction is no faction at all- all players start as either OWON or FPR characters and are put in a generic nation (tR’s equivalent to guilds) of their faction. Eventually, players can form their own nations and align them to one of the two factions or become a rogue nation. A rogue nation has no allies by default and therefore has to conduct diplomacy by themselves. Nations can start out as being a part of OWON or FPR and become a rogue nation, but they can not revert to being part of one of these two factions.

Now, while it does seem somewhat generic, i still enjoyed reading the Lore to the Repopulation and think that this is a great way of doing things- Sandboxes usually tend to offer free-for-all PvP, additionally with full loot systems (Darkfall and EVE come to mind), but i think it is served better when there is some kind of alignment- i mean, when you enter the game, at least you know there are people out there who do not want to kill you. In my view that’s a big step forward from my panic attacks while picking iron in Darkfall.

PvP

The interesting twist with factions will influence PvP, as well. Now, nations can own cities, outposts and harvestable areas in this game, they can lay sieges on other cities and so on. So there is a massive amount of possibility in the Open PvP realm.

Other than that, tR seems to be somewhat like ArcheAge’s PvP system, at least under what the devs call the “normal ruleset”- in which there are protected areas, no loot system and no heavy death penalty. Furthermore, there’s a distinction between reserve and active soldiers. You start out in reserve status and are protected in non-contested areas controlled by your faction- you can’t attack anyone there and nobody’s able to attack you. When you venture out of your faction’s area into the contested land, though, there’s open PvP between the factions.

Every faction owns around one third of the game world, the last third being contested by all factions and nations. I think there’s only cross-faction PvP, but the article isn’t clear on that.

PvE

PvE in the Repopulations seems to look like standard fare when looked at for a short amount of time- there are Missions (Quests), Engagements (Public Quests), and a general system of delivering those that is similar to something like Rifts or Dynamic Events.

When you read upon the details, however, there are some very interesting twists. One twist is that you don’t have a linear path through the world- missions are tailor made for your character and reach you through the ingame mail system. They take your skill & gear levels (there are no character levels) and previous actions into account and offer branching dialogues and outcomes. In the article, there’s an example of an NPC who changes its mood to “angry” based on your actions- now he might reference you in a bad way to other players, insult you when you walk by and offer varying missions. Engagements don’t have to be combat related, but could, for instance, involve building up a city. Instead of spawn points the game uses Dens. Dens can spawn various amounts of mobs in number, strength and type, but still fitting to the area the dens are in. Oh, and they can spread if players don’t take action.

Crafting and Items

Now, here comes the core. See, everything mentioned above is interesting and all, but this is it- at least for me. If a Sandbox doesn’t offer a complex crafting and trading system, it might just as well be a first person shooter. Fortunately, crafting in tR is complex and rewarding- i’ll start that off with a video.

Crafting will be interdisciplinary, so chances are high that you have to depend on other crafters to focus your own progress. The only bound items? Cosmetic ones from the cash shop. Items degenerate in quality and become useless with time. So there is opportunity in crafting and market, here.

Items you craft will have a quality range from F (bad) to A (good) and a subquality ranging from 0 to 9- so you can craft items with qualities from F0 to A9. Quality is determined by your skill, the quality of the ingredients and some luck and decisions made during the process of crafting itself. From what i saw, i think the crafting system will be similar to those of EQ2 and Vanguard (and FFXIV), but a bit more complicated.

Impressions

I’ll finish this entry, for now. The systems i mentioned are more complicated than i have made them to be, of course. But let’s have a look how the Repopulation measures up with some of the points i made in previous entries.

Virtual World

The worldbuilding seems fine to me- the Lore doesn’t seem like much, but i enjoyed reading it nonetheless. There don’t seem to be fast travel options like teleports, but one can craft vehicles. The world seems to be as open as possible with some sensible restrictions put into place.

I was surprised, however, that after really reading about this game for this post i found there are many systems at work here that EQN is advertising for, as well. But to me, it seems as if players make a bigger impact in this game.

Player-to-player interaction

There seems to be a lot in this regard. From building houses (in-world as well as instanced individual housing), cities, a crafting system that’s complex and involves other players to PvP, PvE encounters, open grouping, item degeneration, a reduction of bound items there are many options to play with, alongside or against others.

While the auction house seems to be global and i’d prefer locally different prizes, a good crafting system can make up for that. We’ll see how that goes.

Conclusion

I’m really looking forward to the Repopulation. What i read is encouraging, this game is developed as an MMORPG at its core. There are many systems in place that will allow for longevity- actually, even if EQN hadn’t disqualified itself for me, right now i’d place the Repopulation higher in regards to expectations. Also, tR might release before EQN, but since it’s still in Alpha2 it’s too early to estimate a release date- although it is slated for 2013.

The Repopulation will be free-to-play, which, at the moment, is my main concern. They’ll have to earn money and with Sandboxes, i think it’s quite difficult to strike a balance in a free-to-play title that’s both good for the devs and the players. Either they’ll offer convenience/fluff items only, and leave me wondering if many people buy those, or they’ll interfere with gameplay- for instance by selling repair kits that should be crafted and traded by players.

Above & Beyond Technologies are an independent dev studio, so there might be some concerns in regard to polish and gameplay feel, but i don’t think this is critical- if it’s playable, it will be alright. Fallen Earth is a good example of a game developed by an independent studio with not-so-polished gameplay that’s still highly enjoyable.

I can see this game being a huge contender for ArcheAge when it comes to my personal “next MMO” decision.