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Author Topic: What is your fix right now?  (Read 8846 times)
Maki-chan
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« on: August 12, 2010, 07:15:04 pm »

There are only two games that I have been playing recently. One is the Final Fantasy XIV beta, which I've talked about in the e-mails already. The gameplay has a lot of similarities to FFXI, but I have noticed as the beta progresses that they are doing some streamlining for PC use. The controls have become less awkward and the functionality of the mouse has improved a lot making it line up well with competing mainstream MMO's. There still aren't any right-click context menus, but I'm hoping that will come along before release date. The solo play has improved a bit, but I haven't got past level 6 so it is hard to tell what will happen later. The repeatable daily quests (Levequests) have a difficulty level selection depending on the number of players in your group which is very nice to have. The epic questline cutscenes and phased instancing really makes questing a nicely personalized experience and definitely a step away from games like WoW where the quest game has become merely a nursery for growing endgame toons.

The other game that I have been playing is Perfect World. At first I really didn't have a lot of hope for PW. It's an Asian (Chinese) game and it had all of the markings of another grindfest type game. It's pretty easy to play and the learning curve is not very difficult. Most of the quests are pretty simple, but there are a LOT of them to do which helps you level quickly. It's been out for two years now, but even so PW is surprisingly bug free. The lag only gets bad in heavily populated areas. The graphics are really nice for a free to play game. The world is a lot like Lotro - the countryside is a bit plain, but the cities and villages are very nicely done and realistic. The character models are very pretty too. So far I haven't had a need to buy anything from the cash shop, but I still have a long way to go to get to level cap. The big cash shop items are things you'd normally expect - mounts, goodies, and costumes - things that don't really give player advantage which is a good thing. Your character can actually wear two sets of gear - normal combat gear and costume gear which is only for appearance. Both can be equipped at the same time and there is a toggle that lets you choose which set to show. Here are some pictures of my cleric:

http://www.henheart.com/images/Nightingale1_PWI.bmp
http://www.henheart.com/images/Nightingale2_PWI.bmp
http://www.henheart.com/images/Nightingale3_PWI.bmp

Unlike elves in Allods, Perfect World elves can really fly and have normal looking wings like a bird or angel. Flying is an elf racial trait so it is available from the beginning at level 1. Other races don't get flying until level 30. At 30 you also can buy flying mounts and unlike WoW and Aion, there are no zone restrictions for flying. It has been a fun game with an active community and I play on a PvE server so I don't have to worry about all of the meanies out there. ^_^;; This game has different server types similar to WoW.
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 10:03:14 pm »

Perfect World is a decent looking game, and a sibling has been recommending that I try it.  Having the option to just show your "RP gear" always sounds good to me, I believe Star Wars Galaxies also allows it.  The high level sets in WoW look nice occasionally, but if most members of a certain class are wearing the same style, it gets repetitive quickly.  I've been hearing a lot of good things about that and other Chinese MMOs.

As for myself, I have a few games that I'm playing lately.  Online, I've got Fallen Earth, a post-apocalyptic MMO which takes place well after a virus has wiped out most of the humans on the planet.  This virus forces the equivalent of millions of years of evolution within a few weeks, which would be tough on any life form.  The surviving humans are occupying ruined towns, and some have gained powers through mutations.  Horses are a vital mode of transportation, but you can also get small vehicles.  They and some other animals survived the virus, but not all without changes.  Combat is much like a first person shooter, whether you're in melee or firing from a good distance.  There's a focus on gathering materials, and it's possible to craft decent armor and weapons for yourself even early on.  The developer also proudly promotes the fact that it's not a traditional fantasy world, and the game setting does stand out.

Offline, I'm working my way through the StarCraft II campaign, and recently started a file in Fable II for the first time.  That series is based around the choices you make through the course of the game.  The way you look and act often determines whether people will like you.  You can do good deeds and stay in good standing with the townsfolk.  Or go around smashing windows, slaying guards and aiding criminals (possibly growing demonic horns, too).  Just had a male character option in the original game, but you can choose either gender in the sequel.  Another difference is that the first Fable is in a more medieval world, while the sequel takes place later and feels more like 17th century Europe, with simple guns in use but not a lot of machines.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 12:39:11 am by Webmaster_Kami » Logged
Maki-chan
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2010, 10:05:15 am »

For a long time the Chinese and Koreans have been struggling to get a good foothold in the North American market. The Japanese have done well, however their culture has been strongly mixed with ours over the past several decades. So the Japanese seem to have a much better handle on what goes over good in the west. Aion is a good, recent example of a Korean company's failure to adapt to what western gamers are looking for. The are 42 servers running Aion in Korea, but recently Aion has merged into just 5 here. One thing I've found out about Korea is that video gaming is so big there that it is an integrated part of the public society. For the most part gamers in the U.S. stay at home. For whatever reason, we go home to our computers and entertain ourselves much the way we watch TV. At most, video gaming might be a family activity. In Korea, there are organized leagues where large groups or teams of people gather and game together much like a bowling league or softball league here. Gaming is very social and very competitive. So things like the Aion fort battles that require 200 players or more go over very easily in Korea, they do not here. WoW has been constantly reducing raids from 40 down to 25 and down to 10 because it is so difficult to organize larger groups. I also think that a lot of people jumped from WoW to Aion expecting the same 25 man raid experience which Aion is not. Aion guilds are also limited to 90 members which basically forces you to cooperate with other guilds to conquer a fort. Being so used to guild centric games like WoW pretty much dooms a WoW crossover player to failure. Well that's my explanation of how Aion started out so strong and fizzled so quickly. It still remains very popular in Asia though. Perfect World has 6 person dungeon instances, but I don't think that there are any raids for larger numbers of people which is good in a lot of ways. The same company is supposed to launch "Forsaken World" later on this year and that might turn out to be a good game if they can make improvements on Perfect World. Maybe an Asian company has finally solved the riddle of the western gamer? ^_^;;

I think that I remember reading about Fallen Earth at some point, but I've never tried it. A little while ago I tried a different multiplayer FPS type game, but I didn't like it very much. It wasn't because it was an FPS game because I liked the aspect of no target lock and things like "hit rating" or "accuracy" were determined by your playing skill rather than a simple character stat. The controls were kinda quirky and kill stealing seemed quite common, so that would turn me off from any game lol. Fallen Earth does sound like it could be interesting so maybe I will go look at it again.
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2010, 11:13:53 am »

I had heard about how big gaming is in Korea, but didn't know it went to that extent.  While there's an increasing social aspect in American online gaming (like Blizzard's RealID stuff), you're right, most Americans don't go out of their way to meet up with large groups of people in real places just to play a game.  It's something to enjoy in privacy.  It may also be an interest that many American gamers don't want to publicly broadcast to the world.  ^^;;

Took a bit for me to get used to the controls in Fallen Earth.  You can fight in third or first person, but it's usually easier when you've zoomed in.  You can hit the scroll wheel to switch into fighting mode instantly.  You can equip a bunch of different weapons at a time, which you select with the keyboard or by clicking them on your toon.  I've got a few guns and a baseball bat equipped right now.  I've focused on melee though, so the bat is usually all I need.  Instead of having you choose a class, you get ability points as you progress and spend them as you like in different stats and skills.  You can still choose a desired character type from a list, and it highlights the ideal categories to put points into.  Having no classes reminds me of playing Ultima Online 10 years ago.
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Maki-chan
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2010, 11:27:45 am »

It may also be an interest that many American gamers don't want to publicly broadcast to the world.

I think that this is at the heart of the issue. There is still a social stigma associated with video games in America - gamers are "geeks" or "no-lifers" - a stigma that doesn't seem to exist in Korea. It would be a nice to not have that stigma here as well. Imagine not having to worry about going out to a game cafe to enjoy Fallen Earth or WoW without having to get picked on or sneered at. It's one thing that I love about anime conventions - I don't have to worry about being around other people that don't like it. ^_^ A couple of years ago someone was running a gaming cafe here but they had a lot of financial problems and closed down. I can imagine the internet service must have been quite expensive. It seems that America isn't quite ready for that yet.
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Maki-chan
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2010, 10:41:25 am »

I took a look at Fallen Earth yesterday and saw some things that are good and some not so good. It has a monthly fee, so I'm a bit hesitant to start another one while I am already planning on doing FF14 about a month from now. And then Cataclysm a couple of months after that would be 3 monthly fees which would hurt a little bit. ^_^;; From what I've read, Fallen Earth doesn't have any endgame content which seems strange, but likely irrelevant since I can never get into endgame anyways. I don't know if there is a free trial, but if there is I'd like to give that a try before committing to the game.
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2010, 05:11:12 pm »

I started out with a free two week trial of Fallen Earth.  There should be a link on the official site.

http://www.fallenearth.com/

I can understand not wanting to have too many subscription based games going.  More games are going for the free to play model, or at least experimenting.  Lord of the Rings Online is supposed to relaunch as a free game.  Everquest II will have a free to play version alongside it's normal subscription based one (a little odd, guess they don't want to give up on fees just yet).  Those are both fairly old games now, of course.  Allowing free play could breathe new life into them.  Have to be careful while visiting the related item shops, but we've discussed that elsewhere.  ^^;
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Maki-chan
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2010, 06:52:39 pm »

I wonder if the free version of EQ2 is supposed to be a prototype for EQ3? It wouldn't surprise me a bit if they are thinking about making that a cash shop game too and want to use EQ2 to see how well it goes over with the veteran EQ players before committing EQ3 to that format.

It took forever to download all of the files, but I finally got the Fallen Earth game to work. It seems to be okay, but it was a little disappointing to lose all of the cool gear that they give you in the tutorial thingy. ^_^;; It's definitely not a "pretty" game like Aion or FF14 so it would take me a while to get used to that. I know that it must seem kind of facetious that the appearance means a lot to me, but I guess I'll always be that way. It's not something I limit to video games either ... I do it to just about everything. ^_^;; The combat seems to be okay, but I'm clueless as to how the stats and AP system is supposed to work.
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2010, 08:22:34 pm »

I recently read about upcoming EQ game plans.  Rather than continue the series, they're going to remake it with an alternate universe.  Supposedly a next gen MMO with the spirit of the original EQ, tentatively called Everquest Next.

I guess Fallen Earth does have a dirty or gritty feel to it.  In that setting, it's been a while since most humans lived in pretty places.  Every town has crumbling buildings and rusted, abandoned vehicles scattered about.  One of the first things you do is scavenge through garbage bags left in the dirt, so I get what you mean.  ^^;;  As for the AP, it took a bit for me to understand it.  Skills like "armor use" or "melee" have caps that are determined by both your level and how high related stats are.  You can keep putting AP into a skill to get it toward the cap.  You can also apply AP directly to stats, but for each stat point, it costs 5 AP to advance.  Basically, you put AP into skills or stats, depending on what you need to advance and equip the things you want.
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Maki-chan
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2010, 06:08:36 pm »

Another thing that I'd read about EQ3 is that the Everquest franchise has been acquired by Sony. *cringes* Given their track record the chances are very slim that EQ3 will be a good, successful game. Sad I've heard a lot of dreadful stories about what Sony did with Star Wars Galaxies although the only SoE game I ever played was Freerealms. Like Allods, you can play Freerealms for free, but if you want access to any area higher that level 10 (I think) you have to pay for it. I think a lot of people (not just gamers) find such misrepresentation or bait and switch tactics to be intellectually insulting so games with their business model based on that will never do well. With subscription based games, the companies are much more up front about what you are getting for your money which is much better for your customer relations.

I haven't had a chance to get back to Fallen Earth yet and this week I have another work trip planned so I will be out of town for a while. My own laptop is too old to run any modern games, but sometimes I will install one on the work laptop. It used to do pretty good with WoW, and I had Allods on it for a while too, but I don't play either of those currently. I'll still be able to come here and post on forums though.
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2010, 12:01:23 am »

I've got a fair amount of experience with games published by Sony Online Entertainment.  My brothers and I played the original Everquest back when it was a fairly recent release.  EQ was quite a hit for it's time, and Sony has depended on that legacy, even though they didn't create the game themselves.  I played the second game in the franchise, Everquest Online Adventures, on my PS2 over 7 years ago.  A really simple game but I had a good time playing it and exploring.  Later the same year, Star Wars Galaxies was released, and I was there at launch.  It certainly did have it's issues early on, (like adding vehicles but not a way to put them away, leading to them "decaying" and burning in the streets) but it kept my brother and I busy for about 6 months.  More recently I played SWG with a friend and enjoyed some of the changes that had been made, like a quest chain that took me to Jabba's palace.  I was there for the launch of Everquest II, as well.  Played it a lot despite the fact that it barely ran on my hardware, right up until WoW launched a couple of weeks later.  Maybe a month or two after that, I logged into EQII briefly and found it had implemented a rested state system similar to WoW's.  ^^;   Maybe just a coincidence.  I've even played Freerealms a bit, too, but haven't gotten that far.

It really is important for a company to be upfront about what a game will cost you.  I've been looking over the breakdown of EQII Extended subscription plans and I'm not liking what I'm seeing.  They've got Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  As you might guess, Bronze is free access, but with severe limits to available races (4 of 19), classes (8 of 24), spell tiers, equipment upgrades, total money owned, bag slots, character slots, and a bunch of other stuff.  You can purchase additional races.  More classes require an upgrade to Gold or Platinum.  Silver is a $10 one time purchase, with restrictions similar to Bronze, but a bit lighter.  Both feature "frequent upgrade reminders" though, which SOE also calls in-game pop-up ads, and customer support is very limited.  Gold level is the typical $15 per month and has few restrictions, except for the same 4 races that the lower tiers start with, and less than 10 character slots.  Platinum looks the most like what I'd expect a full MMORPG to be, with full access to everything, but it's a single payment of $200 per year (yeah, more than Gold would cost over a year).  Here's a breakdown link that a gaming site posted:

http://everquest2.com/_themes/default/images/extended/membershipMatrix.jpg

Clearly, I won't be returning to that game any time soon. ^^;;  The free EQII is little more than a limited yet ongoing trial version missing most of what I'd want.  Some restrictions on free accounts are to be expected, with gold farmers and such to consider.  But you don't even get the full game by paying a monthly fee, it has to be yearly.  I'm not sure why this version of the game is called "Extended", but EQII has seen better days.  They're going to kill interest in EQ Next if they keep this up.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 10:47:18 pm by Webmaster_Kami » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2010, 10:02:36 pm »

I should note again that EQII Extended is separate from the normal EQII, each handled as separate games.  Extended just doesn't hold much appeal for me with any of the membership levels, as a former player.  There are better ways to do "free to play".  I'm not seeing much incentive to choose Extended over the normal edition, with the limits to put up with.

Okay, done rambling!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 10:48:59 pm by Webmaster_Kami » Logged
Maki-chan
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 06:49:50 pm »

Yeah, the $200/year thing is a total money grab, but the thing worth noting about it is that the developers do not have the confidence that regular subscription ("gold" plan) players will stick around long enough (14 months) to fork over the equivalent Platinum fee. This is a pretty sad note to see that MMO development has gone this far down the toilet. If the developers and company don't believe in the longevity of their own products ... then no one else will either. Or worse yet they've become con artists just looking to phish gamers for a few bucks. >_<
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2010, 07:50:02 pm »

It's a money grab all right, and a strange path for them to take to breathe new life into an old game.  I'm not sure what will be happening to Lord of the Rings Online as they make it free to play.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty has a great ending, though it also of course leaves plenty of room for more story in the campaigns to come.  Still a lot of replay value, can go back for achievements (eerily similar to the ones in WoW as far as presentation), or try some challenges.  The real long term draw of any Blizzard game is usually the multiplayer, though.  People will be crushing each other using their favorite species for many years to come.  ^_^;;
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 11:35:07 pm by Webmaster_Kami » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2010, 11:18:59 pm »

I've been staying away from MMORPGs.  I played The Sims Online until they quit updating it (the first time, EA tried to re-boot it, but killed it off a year later). I played Second Life on and off for a few years, but it's pretty much dead. I logged in for the first time in months earlier, and someone "bite" me. Logged off right after.
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