Tag: roleplaying

Changing galaxies

Transferring to the Red Eclipse

Yesterday i decided to move Soofoo over to The red eclipse from the Progenitor. It wasn’t an easy decision since i always have roleplaying or at least participating in community events in the back of my mind, but i feel in SWTOR, roleplaying is an activity mostly confined to internal guild events and community events aren’t actually large-scale. I’m also unsure anymore that the community is much better, since my first flashpoint experience wasn’t very good. The Red Eclipse is also a much more active server, the fleet was full of people/characters.

The transfer didn’t happen, unfortunately. I’m not sure if it is processed by now, but it wasn’t until midnight despite the fact that it should take only 1 hour and me queueing the transfer at 2 p.m. I opened a ticket at 9 p.m. yesterday; we’ll see how far i’ll come today. One of the main reasons i want her over there is the fact that she’s the furthest along in terms of progression and also because i want the legacy on the new server. It’s still not level 2, but i don’t want to lose even this progress.

The Sage

So yesterday i dabbled a bit in playing Samdhara, the Jedi Sage i started on The Red Eclipse.

I have to say, this might be the class- mechanically- i’m looking for in SWTOR. I chose the “Balance” specialization and it seems that i not only have healing spells available, but also “leeching skills” that provide selfhealing in relation to damage done. While this still won’t be what i’d call a “true hybrid class”, it’s close enough, at least from what i saw.

I’ve progressed her through Tython making use of the 12XP buff- so i only did the class quests. Doing this left me basically without credits and somewhat underequipped. And unsatisfied, but that’s a topic for another post.

12XP

I’ll make this short remark, though: i feel 12XP is a thing most useful to players who already did the planetary questlines on other characters and who are to supplement their 12XP characters with credits and equipment. For me, the pace felt wrong; it was too quick to experience what SWTOR has to offer. In this regard, i prefer the 2XP- it is quicker in progression while still allowing the newbie player to experience the planetary questlines, flashpoints and group quests without feeling like they could do “better” if they’d only follow the class quests.

I might have to re-think my approach on that buff. There are workarounds, like maybe first get into the planetary storylines before doing the class quests on the respective planet. On the other hand, the release of The Secret World’s update 11 showed me once again how much i’d like to have a character at the pulse of the games i’m playing. I’m reluctant to deactivate 12XP for me until i have a max-level character, though, because i fear on missing out on the buff entirely because of my slow levelling.

As for the item to remove the 12XP; i tested it yesterday: it’s an item in your inventory granting an 8-hour-buff you can deactivate and that has no cooldown.

Something’s wrong here

Final Fantasy XIV should be my main MMO now; and i enjoyed my return there immensely. This week, though, saw me being able to play quite late in the evenings- mostly 10 p.m., and that’s a time of day when i feel more comfortable launching SWTOR instead. Last week saw 5 hours of SWTOR and 3 hours of Final Fantasy XIV- i think i’ll make the 10 hours complete tonight, because the general direction still stands: i feel more invested in playing only two MMOs and play more- it’s just that i didn’t have much opportunity to do so this week.

The downside is i don’t have much to tell you. I still need to enter Tarvus’ ship with Soofoo and Samdhara is on her way to Coruscant. In FF14, the next step is gathering and bring the Botanist up to level 13 or maybe even higher.

When Soofoo arrives on the Red Eclipse, i also want to explore the group content of SWTOR further- after all, there are quests for groups of two or four characters on the planets, and groups are often built using the general chat. Furthermore it’s time for a second go at a flashpoint.

I’d also like to get into the lore more, though i’m still unsure whether the better approach is to make use of ingame-tellings (the codex, datachrons) or simply reading something on the internet. I feel like games should provide their lore in-game in a somewhat convenient way.

The Secret World: it had to be done

The Secret World just released its new player experience, which is a patch/update containing lots of quality-of-life improvements for players. Of special note are the ability to travel from anima node to anima node, reducing mob spawns and cutting on the time-to-kill of mobs. The latter causes some trouble for longtime players- you know, the usual “catering to the casuals” stuff. I kind of understand the problem; one of the things i liked about TSW was how it encourages group play instead of forcing it by simply making it a lot more convenient to do quest content in small groups instead of solo. So it seems this isn’t very valid anymore, but we’ll have to see about that.

But i think it is wrong to talk about “difficulty” here- the mobs in TSW weren’t difficult, they were annoying. How many comments are there in TSW-related articles on MMO websites that basically state “good game, great story and atmosphere. Couldn’t stand the combat”? I think it’ll go into hundreds if not thousands of individual players- but i don’t think the combat is necessarily the issue here. Yes, it is a simple “builder builder builder consumer” combat that makes you press one attack again and again and again sometimes, but honestly, combat in most MMORPGs isn’t great- generally, i’d say if you (can) use a macro, the combat is tedious, because either it should offer strategy and adaption (for non-action combat) or movement, positioning and ability (action combat). I haven’t seen an MMO that fit the bill, with the exception of perhaps Wildstar and/or Firefall. On the strategy side, there are a few- EQ2, Tera, Guild Wars 2, FF14 among others. TSW fits this bill, as well- the ability wheel is there to provide some strategical depth while the combat itself is somewhat action-oriented.

On my way to Tokyo- kind of.
On my way to Tokyo- kind of.

I think the main problem was the time-to-kill. Everytime i tried to get back into the game, mainly for story and atmosphere, as so many others, i rolled my eyes every time i pulled one of the more sophisticated mobs- it wasn’t dangerous; it was tedious.

So here we are, with the new player experience, and by the looks of it, many players (who didn’t play the game regularly last week) like what they see. I’ve not been able to take a look myself, although a new character was born yesterday late in the evening- i brought her to the sheriff’s office in Kingsmouth and logged out there.

If Funcom is able to get some players back into the game, more power to them. They have to do it, we know financials aren’t looking stellar, and personally, i think it’s a pity- here’s a small developer who cares for their players and tries its best to provide unique experiences (say what you want, but AoC isn’t exactly a WoW clone, Anarchy Online is its own beast and TSW is three steps away from what usually gets released), aren’t easily shutting down games and do have some interesting business models without exploiting them.

Onward to Kingsmouth
Onward to Kingsmouth

The Secret World’s business model aims to sell content to players- which, in my opinion, is one of the fairest business model out there- because the “hardcore” player who powerlevels through the game pays the same as someone who takes his or her time to play. Sure, there are cosmetics and other stuff in the store, but i don’t think this makes the monetization worse. But once all your current players bought every DLC, you won’t be selling much, so getting back those former players who might then buy DLC is a good idea- not only for Funcom, but also for all who like TSW for what it is- after all, it’s the money that’ll get new content made.

AoC takes a different approach- you can play just fine as f2p player, until you go into expansion territory, then you’ll have to sub up. This might not be as fair, but at least it monetizes the dedicated players and not- like all those PLEX, CREDD, REX, WoW token games those who aren’t loyal customers.

So i’d like to see Funcom succeed, in my eyes, they deserve it. I know there have been some troubled launches and player experience hickups (Tortage vs. the rest of AoC), but this is a truly independent MMO dev.

Hanging out in NY
Hanging out in NY

I think TSW is one of the handful of great “second MMOs” out there- for me, it would lack something to play it regularly and often, but it has its very, very strong points, as well- story and atmosphere are about the best you can get in MMO land. And it is somewhat of a “play-to-finish” MMO, you don’t need to devote everything you have into TSW to “achieve” something. One quest is good enough.

The game caters to roleplayers in a way MMOs rarely do. First of all, your role isn’t exactly the super-hero that saves the world all by him-/herself, the setting allows to roleplay in a way that you have lesser things to work around (like whispering, death and so on), you can take the RP out into the real world, as well (to Twitter, for example) or take the real world into the game world. It’s quite “easy to do” in TSW, so i might take this angle (without the twitter stuff, i don’t have time for that), but i haven’t decided yet.

What i can say is, that at least for the zombies you fight early on, they’re taking me more time to kill with my current (blood focus and assault rifle) than with my usual weapons (sword & assault rifle), but i wanted to do something different this time around and so i’ll probably go and try some kind of leeching build.

Shroud of the avatar (very) early impressions

When january the 2nd came, i needed to decide whether to buy two games from my watchlist for their discounted prizes or not. I chose to do so because SotA looks….different and Telltale/Game of thrones seems to be a combination that simply works (first impression from that: it seems great so far).

Really, i haven’t played SotA, i just took a look. Here’s what i found:

  • character customization could offer more hairstyles and maybe even clothing
  • the combat doesn’t seem so bad
  • it’s immersive! Holy cow
  • small zones
  • SotA is unpolished as of yet
  • i heard great stuff about the community but haven’t played long enough to experience it myself

Now, let’s remind ourselves that this is early access. Polish, hairstyles, small zones could all be changed. Also, i’m not a fan of the 2D-travelling you do between zones, although i have to say: if/when those zones are bigger, perhaps resembling MMORPG zones a little more, i prefer 2D-travel over portals.

What impressed me most was just how immersive this game is. Sure, you could point out how strange it feels to really type stuff in conversations with NPCs, at least to end conversations you’ll have to say “Farewell”, the rest is made “convenient” by highlighting conversational pieces in the NPCs sentences, but i found it to be very much…well, immersive. Also, when you enter the first town, there’ll be NPCs called “Villager” or “Guard”. You can ask for their names and they will pop up from then on. Soon you’ll know one villager as being “Jack, the lantern lighter” and so on.

I liked that very much.

Oh, also: what do i care if this is an MMO or not? As with Elite: Dangerous, if others can impact me in a significant (and not deadly) manner, it is more MMO than some themeparks. And, when an NPC changes his name from something indistinctive to a name, then there is more RPG than in…well, all MMORPGs.