Rift on Sale, one day only

April 30, 2011

At Direct2Drive, $30.

In totally unrelated news, Inquisition is still looking for a few more to fill out the roster. Sunrest RP-PvP server, Guardians.


High Noon for the iPhone, another F2P ‘gem’

April 29, 2011

Just a quick note today about High Noon for the iPhone, an amusing-enough game that also has a pretty hilariously bad cash shop (you can buy power). What’s really amusing about the whole thing is that while you can buy power, you still have to aim better than the other guy to win, and so beating people who spend cash is a fun little mini-game for me. If I win, you wasted cash and must be really terrible. If you win, it’s because you paid for it. Either way, I win.

I get the feeling that, at some point, a switch is going to go off in most people’s heads and they will no longer be fooled by the F2P model. Now granted, it’s going to take some time, because casuals are slow at everything, but I bet it’s going to happen. The more obnoxious the cash shop, the easier it is to either totally ignore it or simply move on, and once the initial ‘ooh shiny’ wears off, the lure won’t work. Again, not saying this will happen anytime soon, but I don’t think the whole F2P scam of power shops is a long-term sustainable model, at least not in the EU/US (Asians seem to love throwing money at slot machines, be it IRL or online, so I doubt that’s going to change).

Note: I 100% support the non-power cash shop ala League of Legends (they should remove the XP boost so people have more time to learn the game before 30, but that’s very minor, and even over the long haul bads hit 30 anyway). That works so long as you don’t cave and sell power, and you balance dev time between the shop and game improvements. It’s tricky in an MMO because it’s all too easy to get lured into selling anti-grind stuff in the shop, and then dev work is spent on creating grind to fuel sales, but I consider anti-grind stuff basically selling power.


Can you spot the fail?

April 28, 2011

The picture.

My guess? Jedi get cut from SW:sRPG right before launch, with promises to add them ‘soon’, and then Darth Vader gets removed 6 months in because he was causing too much lag. Lightsabers get reworked every month, each rework a little more broken then the one before it. Mobs will blind you while a story element is playing, then root you as the escort NPC runs ahead, followed by a stun when you are asked to press the big red button to blow up the deathstar (it’s a daily quest).

I could be wrong.


SOE: Because someone has to make Blizzard look good

April 27, 2011

I’m not one to kick someone when they are down… but this is pretty hilarious.

Let me rephrase what SOE was trying to say:

Dear not-really-valued money-source,

Due to our technical incompetence, we kinda gave the internet your personal info, and probably your credit card, bank account, and key to the front door. We can’t say for sure on the CC end, because, um, we don’t have a clue what’s actually going on, but like, odds are good you are F’ed on that end as well. Haha, our B.

Luckily for most of you, if someone was going to use your CC info, clear your bank, or walk into your house to murder you at night, they would have already done so, since this actually happened a while ago and we are just now getting around to telling you. Haha, our B again. Hope you dodged that murder!

As a world-wide leader (hahaha, man I can’t believe we still say that) of online ‘entertainment’ (hahaha), we would like to make up for this potentially really minor possible interruption that most likely you did not notice by offering a truly special and amazing offer: all of our cash shop junk is now cheaper!

That’s right sheep, err, money-sources, err customers, we, the world-wide leader are giving you the very special opportunity to give us more money (one day only)! Take advantage of our extreme generosity now, and be sure to enter a new credit card since your last one just got canceled. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe! Promise!

Your friends-to-the-end (soon),

SOE

It’s getting hard to lace sarcasm into SOE announcements because they do such a damn good job of it already, but one must try, for the good of the people.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory, when my Rift account got hacked, it took Trion all of about one day to fix everything, they quickly and fully disclosed what happened, thanked the fans who helped them solve the issue, and gave everyone affected 30 days of game time + free in-game stuff. So more or less a discount on spending real money on vanity pets. Basically.

SOE: Because the bar can never be too low!


Pre-release beta expansions of a re-launch… wait what?

April 26, 2011

You can have an expansion to a game in beta? Wtf does that even mean? Should GW2 devs start hyping the expansion they have planned to launch when they go into closed beta? Zomg did anyone check out the awesome massive expansion SW:sRPG just got? So cool guyz! Herp meet durp…

A cash shop? The game is in beta, WHY ARE YOU PAYING FOR IT? My head is spinning so fast right now it’s nauseating. And didn’t this game die along with Alganon, when they tried selling WoW version .004 but with $700 gear sets and $10 death penalties?

MMO hype is generally stupidly over the top, but this? And shame on Massively for posting is garbage (Jef of all people… really man?).


Rift: 1.2 Update and World Events

April 26, 2011

The upcoming 1.2 update to Rift is pretty substantial, and considering what 1.1 brought just a month ago, Trion is keeping to a brisk pace for updates. Part of me wants to cheer, the other part sits here, nods, and wonders what 1.3 will bring next month. I want to say such expectations are unfair (especially when I make the totally unfair comparison to Darkfall update pacing, or the even slower rehashing of WoW), but then, this is a themepark, and well, it’s the pace you must sustain to keep people happy. Asherons Call did it back in 2000, and EQ1 released weekly expansions. About time we return to those days.

I will say this though, if Trion DOES continue to release updates of 1.2 size monthly, I don’t see how people can realistically be upset (forum warriors aside, as those ‘people’ are professional crybabies, minus the whole “getting paid, self respect, contributing member of society” thing). So long as the monthly updates don’t replace content like expansions do, Rift will be a game bursting with (even more) options in a few short months, along with being an incredibly feature-rich game. And again, given what the baseline is (2004 WoW), that’s almost expected. If the pace drops to one big update every three months, I think it will be ok to call that disappointing.

Along with the update itself, I want to talk about the world events. Initially I understood the first world event as something the players would influence and shape the outcome of. Obviously that was not the case. Phase 2 and 3 were going to happen regardless, and the result of phase 3 was set in stone before even the first player action was taken. The sandbox player in me is disappointed. The themepark carebear wonders why.

Now I’m not sure if the devs ever called these things dynamic events, but if they did, it’s a lie. There is nothing dynamic about them (or at least with the first one, and I’d be pretty shocked if future events were). But that aside, the event overall was fun for what it was. The carebear in me is a fan. Yay collecting stuff for shinies, yay seeing RP events, yay cheap motivators to get randoms together. Grade A themepark entertainment (for real, no sarcasm).

And since these events are not dynamic, since the actions of the players DON’T matter, the whole ‘unique event’ aspect goes out the window as well. Replay the RP event every night. Have the big bad respawn and attack again next weekend. Cycle the whole thing twice if you want. Whatever. My immersion aside, who cares. Dynamic world + player actions != themepark. The only upsetting thing is that I’m just now coming to that conclusion. Pretty embarrassing actually. AQ40 was a lie, that gate was going to open, racing to do so was only important to the world-first e-peen clubs. Nothing has changed, and that’s ok.

But like the update pacing, these events need to be pretty consistent. Maybe not one every month, but every other? Like one month an event is going, the next all is quiet, then another starts up for a month? I’d be cool with that. And while players won’t impact the result after said month, can we maybe have a daily impact? Can an invasion actually take over a quest hub, or, gosh, a zone? And if the players don’t care, the mobs don’t leave?

Is there any chance a town gets wiped off the face of Telara AC1 style one month? Or we find a new mini-zone thanks to some cave that opens up? Asking too much here? Aiming too high?

Aiming too low?


The Ancient Gaming Noob is a crybaby

April 25, 2011

Proof


The real reason for the tank shortage

April 25, 2011

Let me start off by saying I enjoy playing the tank more than any other role in a themepark. I enjoy the challenge, I find the gameplay more entertaining, and well, I’m not a droolcup so playing DPS would be a waste.

But if you want to know why there is a tank shortage, just watch a tank’s screen during some boss encounters. It’s not a whole lot of fun to have a 24” ultra-bright monitor become a techno rave for 5-10 minutes because the boss is so close to you that you’re inside his crotch, and those fancy effects and great animations he has become screen-filling single-color flashes of nausea-inducing nothingness. Now a single 5-10 minutes stretch is one thing (it still sucks, but at least the suck is limited), but repeat wipes on Mr. Techno? No thanks. An instance where it seems every boss is Mr. Techno? I’ll come back when we can steamroll the place just to see it once.

The bad solution would be to make bosses stationary or move on a pre-set pattern. That’s a cheap way out, and would limit encounter design way too much. Not that I don’t appreciate those types of bosses, I do, and they certainly make nice breaks from crotch-viewing, but it’s not the long-term solution.

The long-term solution is collision detection. Why is it that devs only consider this important for PvP, and even then it’s pretty rare to see it done right (ie: Darkfall)? With collision detection not only would you stop the boss from standing on top of a tank, you could also do a whole lot more with encounter design. Narrow corridors would matter, getting knocked into a corner would matter, and positioning would be a lot deeper if you had to consider where your teammates are running. A giant boss would actually be a giant obstacle instead of yet another mob that the tank finds himself half-way inside of.

Until then, I’ll keep the Advil close at hand.


Expansion vs Replacement content

April 21, 2011

Prompted by the reminder that I massively ragequit Darkfall (account status: active), and reading this post on the Aventurine blog, reminded me of yet another reason why sandbox > themepark: over time a sandbox should get more/better content, while over time a themepark replaces it’s content.

If I don’t play Darkfall for a year, when I come back I’ll still have all of the content available to me, plus whatever was added in that year. The whole game should contain few bugs, some new systems should be added, and overall things should be better. And when I am back, I’ll still be joining in on sieges, going out to PvP, doing some PvE, crafting, all that in good old Agon.

If I miss a year of Rift or some other themepark, odds are good the level cap has been increased (ok, 2-3 years for WoW), people have moved on from whatever end-game was around when I left, and people are all focused on whatever is the current end-game. My crafting will be behind, half-completed rep grinds will be useless, and whatever gear I was working towards will quickly be replaced by quest-drop greens. Running any of the older group content will be done in novelty mode rather than in its intended form. Yes, hopefully whatever bugs were around are fixed, but considering the safe/polished state a good themepark is in anyway, that’s not a massive plus.


Rift: All aboard the fail train

April 21, 2011

Back to back ‘make it to the last boss, fail at 1am’ tier two runs, yay… Yes, I’m mad. Bro.

On the bright side I did pick up one of the better shields in the game for 60p last night, a rare BoE drop from CC T2 that someone happened to be selling. I now have 30g to my name, and a total guild debt of over 70p. Such are the sacrifices I make as the main tank though. One for all something-something.

We ran Runic Descent last night, and it was pretty noticeable that some of the trash mobs have been removed. The pacing was quicker, the time between bosses was reduced, and I think overall everything just felt better. I’ve never been a huge fan of “boss only” instances, but trash should be treated somewhat like a boss, in that if I show I can do it once, don’t have me do it again. Given the variety of trash mobs, and the different combos, it should be easy to setup each pull as something unique without creating dozens of different creatures.

What drives me nuts, and really makes running an instance a huge pain, is when you have the same pull 3-4 times in one dungeon, especially if it’s time consuming. If I can tank/burn something with 63k once, I can do it again, and the only thing that same pull is accomplishing is extending the length of the run and increasing frustration. Hopefully this is an area Trion can fine-tune further, because the actual trash pulls themselves are often pretty interesting when you factor in soul combinations and all that, so things are good as one-offs per run. The upcoming 1.2 patch preview hinted at reducing trash HP, but hopefully it accomplishes the goal of speeding things up without dumbing them down. We will see.


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