Summer Walkabout

So our small guild is taking a summer break from guild activities from the end of june to the end of august. May and especially june have shown already that this is a smart decision, as the last couple of events had some last-minute-cancellations already. For the most part it didn’t matter as we were still more than a full group to do our stuff. Yesterday, though, marked the first time i had to cancel on short notice. As i’ve said, i try my best to attend guild events that i set up and yesterday, we wanted to try and form a group for a dungeon. As far as i know, we would’ve been only three people attending anyway, so we probably would have opted to do something different. I knew i had something else to do, but i was confident that (a) that would be wrapped up just before 9 p.m. and (b) our son would be so tired by that time that he’d basically fall asleep as soon as he lay in bed. As it turned out, i was wrong on both accounts- i was home at 9.30 and greeted by a still very happy and awake son. It took him until 10 p.m. to sleep, by 10.15 i was sitting at the pc, too late to start anything really and read the message from another guildie that we’d just cancel the event. While i’m really unhappy that it was me who didn’t show up, the truth is that real life can interfer with my gaming plans, as well.

In the next couple of weeks/months, i’ll be even more busy, as we’re moving house in the end of june, our son has to change kindergarten and we’ll have to do some stuff in our old house. So july’s free time will be occupied by stuff like that (in addition to watching football/soccer, as there is the Euro 2016). My guess is that settling into the new house will keep us busy in august, as well.

Nonetheless, i have gaming-related plans for these two months, if i can get some gaming time in.


Planning ahead

For me personally, the guild’s summer break means i’ll rejoice in a two-month MMO wanderlust, if i want to. Right now, my limited time to play basically leads me to playing Elder Scrolls Online exclusively, which is a great thing as i like the game a lot and always wanted to settle down. On the other hand, the list of games i’d like to play from time to time grew significantly in the last couple of weeks. I have a few goals for ESO, but i’ll be an MMO hopper for the upcoming months. A word on EVE Online: still love it, but i think i’ll take a break for the summer, at least. I’m still a bloody newbie and playing once a week for 30 minutes won’t do much to change that. I’ll need to put EVE on hold until i begin to spend more time gaming again.

Goals for Elder Scrolls Online

Two months might be enough to get my main character from level 37 to 50. That should be around a level a week; there’s actually a chance i might be able to do that. It would be nice to have a character on maxlevel to get into collecting champion points and being able to do DLC content in a more meaningful manner. I feel i outlevel ESO’s zones too quickly- i don’t even have an idea where my ideal quest hub is right now, the quests i’m currently on in Malabal Tor are all green. And that’s just from dungeon delving and exploring Cyrodiil with the guild. This won’t be a problem anymore when One Tamriel gets released, but we’re not there yet.


MMO Wanderlust

Oh boy, do i want to visit places. I’ll probably play some or all of the following games in the next couple of months.


Blade and Soul. I think Blade and Soul can be an excellent game to play in short sessions just for the fun of it. The combat is great, i like the setting, the graphics, the style. I’m really looking forward to playing it some more and probably trying the Soul Fighter, which seems to be quite a fun class. I’ve played some Blade and Soul in the last couple of days and i guess the main thing i need to decide is whether i’d like to move to an international server with new characers as the german one i’m on seems…kind of empty.

The Secret World. TSW is always on my to-do-list. I so hope to see the content this game offers some day. For me, Funcom are the good guys of the genre and i’m happy they seem to have put their financial trouble behind for now. There’s also the museum of the occult coming up, so i’m curious. And it’s the one MMO where our guild might actually meet for an out-of-ESO experience.

Wildstar. The housing is the biggest reason for Wildstar to be on this list. Others are the recent Steam launch and the fact that this MMO is on my personal 8-Ball-endangered-games list. The marketing “effort” Carbine and NCSoft put into their Steam launch didn’t do much in terms of confidence in this game. It’s a shame, actually, as the housing is great, the game does look good, offers a wide array of activities…for me it’s the combat and the bland questing experience that make the game unenjoyable, but i’ll go and visit it anyway.


Lord of the Rings Online. Just like with TSW, i’d like to see the content here- or to be more precise, the landscapes.

World of Warcraft. Yes, i might. But i’ll avoid to sub until i’m level 20 with my newly created disc priest. My main motivation here is, again, landscapes, as Blizzard puts out very beautiful zone designs. I always wanted to see the WotLK zones in particular. This is probably going nowhere, but for now, it is included.

Tera. I might even install this. I have a new PC, the game looks good and the combat is good. Also because of it being featured on Rockpapershotgun yesterday.

Single Player. The backlog is long. I’d like to build a City in Cities: Skylines, a space empire in Stellaris, i’d like to roleplay in Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Mass Effect, shoot others in Overwatch and more.

I know this is way too much for two months- heck, if i focused, i’d probably be able to do most of it in two years. My main focus (besides ESO) will be on Blade&Soul, because my guess is that this will be the game that fits best into available time and playing mood- i think it can be played in shorter sessions, it seems to offer great solo content (that 100-level-thing interests me), it’s fun to play with the great combat, it offers a story i’m interested in and i guess it’s perfectly fine to be played as an alone-together-murder-simulator  MMO. Which might just be what i’ll be looking for in the next couple of months.

So we meet again, TERA

I wanted to give TERA a Backpacker post next week, and i’m surely still going to do that, but there’s news for EU/Russian players i’d like to get out there and give a short comment.

TERAs new server

Tera NA seems to be quite successful, especially since they released the game to Steam. It is so successful that they opened up a new PvE server yesterday, and of course, yours truly went in to make a report on that.

I wasn't alone
I wasn’t alone

To get some quick impressions out: there were other players. Lots of them, as well. It wasn’t exactly like the normal launch day, but close enough. It’s really good to see an MMO doing well for itself once in a while- and TERA seems to do just fine….the north-american edition, that is.

Tera is one of the most beautiful MMORPGs you can play- if i remember correctly, this beauty extends to the 10-20 zone, as well. I don’t know what zones look like after that, but the first two are green, there’s villages, trees, animals, everything. The character models look great, as does the “armor”. Yes, it’s skimpy, but the way your armor fits to your character is simply very good looking (my english is leaving me here: think the opposite of the hair-through-armor-thingie).

Fighting is fun, although it also is a bit much for my tastes- i think TERA would do better if there were fewer, tougher fights, but maybe that comes later on. The questing, though? Oh dear, the questing. It seems so generic, the lore a bit lifeless- of course, i can’t really know, since i never read even one piece of quest text in that game, but it feels a bit like Rift, which is also a very nice game in and of itself, but lacks a cohesive world and lore design, in my opinion. With TERA, i feel the same way. Still, it is fun, it is beautiful and it isn’t a bad game at all.

You’re successful with OUR game

So here come the news: starting tomorrow, june, 11th, players from certain EU countries and Russia won’t be able to download En Masses version of the game through Steam anymore, a decision made by En Masse because of the, and i quote, “influenced by external pressure from the publishers of TERA in these regions”. So Gameforge. Don’t know who it is in Russia. And now i’m going to take a deep breath.


See, whenever a german company is involved in publishing an MMORPG, i roll my eyes and count that game off. And so far, i haven’t been wrong on a lot of cases. Sometimes i feel the internet is still some kind of magic box to german companies- a place where you can still do marketing the old way, behave as though there is no competition, ignore what customers really want and just try and feed them what you want them to want. Also, protectionism is big in germany. Instead of thinking “hey, let’s see how we can bring our version to Steam, as well, and be quick about it”, the first reaction is to make sure that other guy- selling and distributing the same game Gameforge does, making it known, bringing it to the attention of new players- stops doing just that.

Yes, there’s the possibility, and a huge one at that, that Steam’s TERA will “steal” customers from europe and bring them to the US. But why is that, exactly? TERA is a game some players avoid because of the european publisher and the fact that lags can hurt your game experience in a significant manner. These players choose not to play the game because of the publisher. Now, i haven’t made my research, but i can make some guesses: Gamerforges f2p model is more restrictive/pay-2-win/expensive than EME’s version, customer service, including general communication, will be close to being non-existant, game updates will come slow, as will the news about game updates and the servers won’t be high-end. These are just guesses, of course, but i have my own experience.

The launcher. I downloaded TERA europe not too long ago and when you install the game, it will, of course, update itself. Then something strange will happen: it will seem to be stuck at 0%, the launcher will give no sign that it is still working and you are going to wonder why that is. You’ll do research, of course, and you’ll find out that, maybe, your launcher isn’t stuck but is still working in the background- all the while showing 0% and an error message during a GB big download. You might find out that there’s some kind of console command to enable you to watch the launcher’s activities in a DOS prompt. If you are patient enough to do that, you’ll be able to determine whether your client is updating itself or indeed hung up/crashed. I repeat: the gameforge launcher will show 0% progression and an error message during download/update. This is bad.

So my advice to potential TERA players from europe- lag doesn’t matter that much, do yourself a favor and download EME’s version either through Steam or through EME’s website. The former won’t be available anymore come tomorrow. The latter should work just fine, even after that. By the way, if you downloaded the game through Steam as a european, it will continue to work, but it won’t be showing itself in the shop anymore. So if you uninstall it, you might be unable to reinstall TERA through Steam.

My advice to Gameforge: you know, putting restrictions on players and/or forcing them to pay you (and only you) and restricting your “competition” (in publishing the same game) is not really a thing that works out very good. Try good customer service, community management, a fair shop, quick updates, communication with your player base and fixing your launcher.

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.