DF:UW – Fresh ideas!

October 9, 2014

Watching Darkfall from afar has been entertaining, if tragically so.

First the game just finished it’s first elections for a player council, and it went about as well as you would expect from that fine collection of humanity. Among the highlight from all 390 votes casts: One player had votes removed after he was caught blatantly cheating the vote (this player was previously added to the MVP forums by AV, shortly after that sub-forum become completely useless. AV still can’t add 1+1, but more on that later).

Everyone’s favorite ragemonkey got elected, paving the way for crafting unicorn hunts and fluff-barrel suggestions (oh and he is, yet again, currently banned on the forums; see ragemonkey part), as did the main voice behind the population-crushing ‘jesus patch’ of removing classes, who is now a champion of the economy (guy is really on the cutting edge, but more on THAT shortly).

I legit feel bad for Kasmos, who will have to deal with it all as chairman. If he survives the upcoming three months without putting a bullet in his head, I’d consider that a major success.

AV has also posted an update on things they say they will do (but 90% odds say they won’t fully follow through with). The focus? Why the economy of course. This is my favorite line from the update:

For us, as well as the community from what we see, a functional economy is the stepping stone for a proper sandbox, so our attention is focused on it from the beginning of October and for the next development cycles.

99% sure that bolded part was copy/pasted from my first post in the MVP forum about a year ago (if not longer). Imagine if that had been their focus back then? People might still be playing the damn game! Sadly the entire focus post misses the one critical aspect of an economy actually working (sustainability), and instead has AV wasting yet more development resources on band-aids by just throwing in more new materials and raising the iLvl of gear. One might ask when will they learn, but the safe bet here is on ‘never’. The response to this announced future waste of time? Full community support, of course, because clearly the WoW method of econ balance is a better path to take than, oh I don’t know, following the example of an MMO that actually has a working economy.

The sub-genre of fantasy sandbox titles really is a crazy place. You have Trion doing its best to screw up AA, you have AV sitting on a potential golden goose and just time after time ‘listening to the community’ and burying the game, and you have kickstarter after kickstarter showing everyone that there is demand for someone, ANYONE, to get it right and profit, but nope, no one seems to want money so they all just screw one thing up after another. When freaking Mortal Online is one of the better options out right now, you know we have a serious problem.

Patching, how does it work?

October 9, 2014

A few small items as we wait all day for Trion to apply a 150 mini-patch:

Inquisition is off to a good start in AA in terms of membership. We are averaging just under 10 people online most nights, and we will soon have people high enough to really get into larger group content. Just a reminder: we are on the Ollo server, East side factions. Come join us!

SteamWorld Dig was a fun 4-5 hours of gaming. When it goes on sale, picking it up won’t be a bad use of your gaming funds.

My Steam wishlist is getting pretty long, which makes looking forward to the yearly Xmas sale all that more exciting, though the prospect of actually digging into a lot of the games is a bit daunting, as most of them are in the “you need a solid 30-60 hours here” category. Plus the new Civ which is an easy “whelp, there goes 200 hours”.

RL has caused a pause in playing FFXIV, but the two accounts are still subbed because :wallet vote:. We will be returning however, most likely after xmas when things have settled down a bit more and we retire the now 6 year old Alienware machine that was struggling to run the game.

Only 4 spots currently remain open in our Clash of Clans… clan, Supreme Cream! Jump in now before that window closes.

CoC: Supreme Cream bringing out the failcascades

October 7, 2014

Quick Clash of Clans update time: Our last few wars have been absolute slaughters, and not worth putting stats or a report together for.

Most clans in the game are mass-invite clans, which by nature tend to be less organized and loyal. This, combined with the fact that most people just are not very good at the game, leads to poor attacks against us (zero stars) while we rack up a large lead due to our members being ready to attack a base they can 3-star. If we jump out to a big enough lead, the other clan effectively quits on the war.

This then starts a ‘failcascade’ where the clan starts to lose members, which means even fewer people able to attack us during the war, which results in everyone else in that clan not even bothering to attack. Our last three wars have been something along the line of 100-40, which is extra-nice for us since we can then use our second attack for loot rather than stars, making winning a war all that more profitable.

Hopefully at some point soon clan wars get a trophy-like system, where winning a war earns you trophies and losing one takes them away, creating some sort of ranking system. The current system is half-decent for creating even-looking wars before the fighting starts, but does nothing to account for past performance and clan consistency.

We, Supreme Cream!, are currently sitting at 43/50 members after a little spring cleaning of inactives. If you are at all interesting in the game and joining a fun group (everyone is a blog reader, so clearly a distinguished group minus Sam), apply and mention the blog.

AA: Today in Trion being Trion

October 7, 2014

If you have been keeping up with all of the issues AA is facing thanks to Trion (queues, bots and hackers going unpunished, spammers destroying public channels for hours at a time), my guess is you have also picked up on this theme: Trion laying blame for the issues with XLGames, or at least deferring to them to take some heat off.

Now granted, Trion isn’t the developer of AA (thank god, or this would be a Trove-level game), so they don’t have control over things like skill power, general bugs, or when new content is coming. That’s all fine and understood. But Trion DOES have control over server numbers, how queues are handled, and what actions they allow their GM’s to take. XLGames can develop better tools to track and catch hackers, but if Trion has an insufficient or incompetent GM staff, that’s on them.

For example, in a reply to hackers picking up housing spots as buildings decay:

We’ve been closely following the accusations of unfair land claiming methods. The team is actively investigating accounts that appear to some players as outliers in terms of number of properties owned. This data point alone isn’t sufficient evidence of foul play as some players are focusing all of their gameplay on real estate and flipping properties.

We agree that one player claiming multiple properties that many other players are simultaneously trying to claim is suspect, which is why we’re taking a close look to determine the cause, prevent it, and remove the players using it. Additionally, we’re proposing new methods for land claiming to XLGAMES that will remove the benefit of fastest ping or most clicks per second.

So Trion is aware that certain players own silly amounts of housing, yet currently haven’t done something about it like, oh I don’t know, have a GM look into how that player got all that property? Maybe flag that account to see what they do? Look into who owns that account? See what happens to the houses they claim (wonder what’s happening if they are being traded for next to nothing in-game…)? We don’t need weeks worth of investigating here, not when housing spots are being picked up daily.

It’s 2014. This isn’t 1997 where all of these basic MMO issues are something new. Hell, this isn’t even Trion’s first big MMO, not to mention the fact that Trion was founded by ‘MMO vets’. If AA’s design is an example of learning from MMO history to make a better game, Trion’s handling of AA as the EU/US publisher is currently a textbook example of how to royally screw a successful launch in every possible way.AA is a fun game DESPITE Trion. All they had to do was be decent. That’s it. The bar is so freaking low here, and yet Trion continues to knock it down day after day.

I mean, how is gold-seller spam in your global public chat channels something that caught you by surprise and the added tweak (need to be level 15 to type) not something you had in on day one of a massively popular, free-to-make-accounts MMO? Did you really thing “gee, surely no one will attempt to spam our global chat channels with throwaway characters, better just focus on copy/pasting text into Google translate”?

Are Trion and SOE in some sort of hidden bet for who can be the king of incompetence, with MMO players as the unaware test subjects? That has to be it. Entire companies with prior MMO experience can’t be unintentionally this terrible… right?

AA: Surprisingly good questing

October 6, 2014

One bad ArcheAge post (because Trion) needs to be balanced with a positive one, so let’s talk about the great questing!

The above line actually isn’t sarcasm.

AA has surprisingly entertaining questing for an MMO. Now I’m not talking about the quest text, because I’ve been skimming and mostly skipping that due to the fairly terrible translation; I’m talking about the mechanics. AA has all of them. Probably literally. If there is a quest mechanic out there, I’m guessing AA uses it. And that is a huge plus when talking about a sandbox that, more than most other games, really does let you gain XP in viable ways without touching a quest.

AA will allow you to quest as if the game was WoW. You can go from one standard quest hub to the next, never branch out, and most likely hit the level cap. I think you’d have a terribly boring time, but a sandbox is about choice, and if you choose to bore yourself, that’s on you.

AA also has some ‘out of the way’ quests. Sometimes these are one or two simple steps and act as an XP bonus, while other times they are cross-zone multi-step epics with suitable rewards. These reward moving off the standard ‘quest path’ and digging into the side bits of a zone, or killing a named mob (or bunch of random mobs) to see what happens. The nice thing is that sometimes nothing happens, so you don’t always expect every action to be rewarded. When you are, it feels like you actually found something.

Then there are a slew of hidden quests. Some are only ‘hidden’ until you click an item to start them, while others require quite a bit more legwork.

My favorite so far featured a set of five tombs, and the normal quest progression only takes you to one of those. When you kill a mob inside that tomb, you get a drop that seems to have no purpose. If you read a book at the bottom of that tomb, it hints at something behind a locked door, and that in order to open it you must collect the four broken pieces. However the pieces aren’t called “key piece 1”, but rather broken armor piece.

Still without anything showing in your quest log, you can opt to head into the other four tombs and kill the named mob for the broken armor pieces. Once you have all four, you head to the fifth to craft the key on an anvil at the bottom. With that key you can finally open the sealed door in the first tomb, which then takes you to a bit of a boss fight and finally, only after that mob is dead, do you have something show up on your quest log, which directs you to the NPC to claim your reward. Totally optional, not exactly mickey mouse to complete, and actually fun questing content. A nice piece of advanced ‘themepark’ in a sandbox.

AA has a pretty short level 1-to-cap game (I’m currently 41 and haven’t really been trying to gain XP all that much. If I had to guess, I’d say you could hit 50 in a week with some semi-serious grinding.), but that short leveling game does have some nice PvE content. Why it really works great in AA is that you don’t have to just quest until the cap and then do other stuff.

The way I’m currently playing, I’m doing that ‘other stuff’ 80% of the time, and when I need a break or playing for 30 minutes at off hours, I’ll do some questing and I’ll enjoy it. Hell sometimes I’ll even be amused by a quest. That’s more than enough in my book here; given how good the ‘other stuff’ is in AA.



AA: Trion is really doing a great job, example 1 billion

October 6, 2014

Take your time Trion, no rush. It’s not like the economy in a sandbox is important or anything.

AA: Inquisition guild forum info

October 2, 2014

As ArcheAge has rather weak guild functionality in-game, guild forums will be more important than in most games for keeping us organized and letting people know what is going on.

Our forums can be found here.

Create an account and post an application in the correct forum. The forum mods are usually pretty quick on approval. Once that is done look up the Vent info and head on over to the ArcheAge sub-forum to get caught up. Also let anyone who you spot online know, because I believe we have a few non-readers in the guild (the scum).

Once people are signed up, I’ll be posting trade run nights, dungeon runs, and whatever else benefits from an organized group in AA. As we get more people to higher levels, we will be hitting the PvP zones as well, plus maybe some piracy!

Final note: Everyone currently in the guild has invite access, so if someone who wants to join is online, feel free to invite them into the guild, assuming they aren’t a mutant.

Edit: To see the ArcheAge sub-forum, you will need to post in the “Member Access” thread once you have your account created.


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