Friday, January 8

What to do?

Let me start of the New Year by wishing all the best for the coming year to everyone still reading this excuse for a Blog.

I've had a busy time of it.
Moving house, losing one job and getting another. Damn! I'm going to miss those 4 day weekends. THe regular ones are way too short and has too many people shopping on Saturdays and not enough stores open on Sundays.
With any luck I'll be rid of the old place completely this Monday. Handing in the keys.
I'm also grudginly settling into that 5x8.5 hours work schedule...

This means I have more regular hours to play MMO's in even if I actually have fewer irregular free time. So what should I do with it? I haven't been missing MMO's quite as much as I expected. I've been hanging out in Second Life a lot over the last half year or so and that accounts for some of it, but it doesn't quite give me that MMO fix. More importantly it doesn't give me my killing things with Phè fix.
So I put this to Phè a week or so ago and got some responses:

"Although I love Fallen Earth it is not really the game for you. It has an even higher fail/success ratio as Vanguard for you, I think. You will be more iritated by the flaws than enjoying the charms."

This one puzzled me a bit, my problem with Vanguard is that it's so close to what I want it to be but falling just short of it that the flaws indeed spoil the charms for me. I don't have that much of an emotional response to Fallen Earth. If Vanguard is the Incredibly cool Rock Band which touched my soul but somehow sells out at the same time, Fallen Earth is the quirky brainy Indie Pop band I kinda dig but never bought any records from.

I keep meaning to revisit it, but somehow never get around to it. Something I haven't managed to formulate stops me. Maybe it's a spectre of fear for having to manage spreadsheets just to keep track of Inventory and crafting components, or maybe it's a more generic sense of "I'll just end up bored with it in a few months like I always do". I'm not sure. I just know it's not what Phè thinks, or at least not the way it came across :-)

So what are the other options? Top of the list come COH, LOTRO and EQ2,
I actually fired up CoX one more time, and I wish I hadn't...
If I hadn't I'd have remembered it with nostalgia as a great game that unfortunately I'd outgrown the Superness aspect of, I've never been one to enjoy superheroes or vigilantes much you see. But fire it up I did and I had a real hard time coping with its dated graphics engine this time. It didn't help that I spawned at Facemakers, the clothing store, as this made the realization that while COX's customization is awesome inits expansiveness if I want to play dressup doll I really should stick with Second Life instead.
So CoX is off the list and I regret having tried it. Maybe with the new City, I mean expansion, that promises a GFX overhaul? CoX Gameplay is still rock solid and some of the best, especially when it comes to scaling and generated content Scripted, User or Randomized.

I know Phè has some deep seated personal trauma regarding EverQuest II which means we'll probably never get to explore the rich lore of Norrath together which I think is a shame. EverQuest II really does a lot of things right, and you really need some friends to play with in order to really enjoy it these days as the lower levels are a bit desolate now.
And it seems Phè also has a bit of a snobbish streak (just teasing) as the following sentiment shows: Maybe Allods could work. If it looks great for an F2P that means it doesn't look great at all to me, and I rather skip it.
Great for an F2P in my book means it's great period. Since there's very little difference in terms of quality between the two different styles. It just depends on whether you prefer to play in a system that wants you to hang around and grind alot raking in that subscription fee or a system that wants you to all but pay per view for your direct fun. Personally I'm leaning more towards the latter of late. F2P generally costs more on a Monthly basis than subscription based games, that's true. I can understand if that's a problem for some.
Allods Online tickles my "want to discover a new game and its systems" bone more than my "this is something I can spend months of my life playing" artery though so maybe I'll just go it alone when and if it launches or lets me into the Beta. I don't consider it a long term investment really. And I would really like to prod buttock and slay critters that look at us funny with Phè.

So what's left? LotRO?
I get the feeling it's mentioned because Phè hasn't got an actual cause for dislike rather than an avid interest. I mean, I gave him a copy for free 10 months ago and spent three months in Middle Earth all by my self afterwards. Not a sterling statement of interest that :-)
I liked LotRO more than I expected, but I never really touched base with the community for some reason. It's pretty close to EQ-2 in some good respects but my main qualm is that the only two classes I really liked were the two that had been introduced with the Moria expansion. Warden and Runekeeper.

It so happens those two are rather well suited for both Solo and Duo play, maybe even a small group of three. Warden is a spear wielding (Yay!) tank/melee DPS hybrid class with a combo system that's reminiscent of Age of Conan, and the Runekeeper is a DPS/Healer Hybrid which works a bit like some CoX classes. I.e. you build up power in either DPS or Healing by casting Runes of that type. Casting a Rune of the other branch negates the buildup. So a Runekeeper can spend a few minutes nuking away and dealing ever more damage, then heal him/herself and lose most of that Overkill whilst saving his/her skin or that of his/her mate.

So what do I do?
- Further ruin fond memories of CoX by forcing myself to play it at this time?
- Browbeat Phè into giving EverQuest-II a shot knowing it'll never get a fair shot?
- Give Fallen Earth another shot and run the risk of disappointing Phè by not liking it or worse, repeat the "Vanguard effect" within myself?
- Try LotRO and somehow convince Phè to play a Runekeeper?
- Do something completely different?

Darn. I think Phè and my expectations of the other's enjoyment of these games are almost completely opposite to each other. We really have not been playing together for way too long is the message.
Of course if we somehow manage to cross this huge hurdle and find something we both enjoy step#2 is to get Geeky on board too :-)

Sorry for the rambliness, apparent Phè bashing and otherwise low quality of this post. I just threw this out with no editting as it's something I've been thinking about in the back of my head this last week and I really felt I should put something on here even if it's of low quality.
I'm really not trying to bash on Phè's chocies. I do think there's one or two less than perfectly nuanced opionions concerning some games on his part but that's a crime I'm just as guilty of and quite alright with me when it doesn't get in the way of us having fun together. :-)


  1. The last two days, hell, whole week actually, I have been planning to make a lenghty post about my view on MMOs vs Geekie's view and even Lani's view added it as well. But somehow the words are not coming. Maybe we haven't posted in a long time and it is just getting harder. I still hope to make that post this week while I am away from home. But since I am not sure it will happen I will have to do with a somewhat short reply to this post.

    What I meant with my F2P statement is to me all games are equal. It is good or it is bad. I would think a game is good for a free game. I don't mind paying, so being free does not mean it can be half bad. I tried Atlantica Online, and there got that 'it is F2P, so don't complain' feeling. Maybe indeed a bit snobbish, but I couldn't get into it. If Allods will be at the same level, I would rather skip it.

    My reason to play an MMO is to have a great long journey, and to make friends and talk endlessly about my journey with them. I am not much interested at all in trying out the mechanics. If I know it will be a one month affair I will skip that too. Aion and Champions Online showed me that. Of course you never fully know that up front, but with some games that it more likely than others. Allods could have the longer run hold for me. I have signed up for CB (am I allowed to say that out loud? I saw no NDA thingies).

    The reason I didn't activate LOTRO at all yet is because I think it will be a very nice game. When you gave that to me I was obsessed with Vanguard, and later you stated you wanted a break from MMOs. I was busy with other games, so I didn't want to waste your very nice gift. I still think LOTRO is the best choice. I would love to kick it off next week. Runekeeper sounds swell enough.

    Too bad your COH return was disillusion. It is now only fun when played with friends. A solo trip is not a good move. But you have already figured that out.

    Fallen Earth is still the game I enjoy thoroughly. Maybe my Vanguard comparison is a bit flawed. Anarchy Online then. You basically rage-quit over half explained missions that lacked the basic features that any MMO should have. I think FE will bring out those same feelings in you. You should stay clear.

    So it is Allods or LOTRO. Since we can all three be in Allods next week, should we start with that? If after one week it doesn't work out, I'll grow pointy ears and learn how to cast spells.

  2. Well I really hope you'll get that post out sometime. You've been referring to the concept for over a month now so it's something that clearly 'lives' for you. Get it of your chest soon :-)

    Funny thing. The Rage Quit over the quest wasn't so much about the quest itself but rather a last straw case. I'd been building up and keeping quietabout a lot of frustration with the game. From its retarded and never updated UI and awkward (for me but Phè friendly) movement pattern to things like Gatling Machine Guns with a lower rate of fire than a Brittish riflemen in the 1800's and the reliance on outgame resources. The broken in-game help facilities just spoke of abandonment to me and were the final straw.

    In fact what bugged me the most about AO was close to that "shut up its free" sensation you get with the not-so-good F2P games. A sense that you shouldn't complain because of some mitigating factor you don't believe should be mitigating at all.

    I never got that same feeling from Fallen Earth. I think it's a great game, but somehow a bit too serious maybe. Or I'm so indoctrinated by the guided tour MMO's that I can't build up my own fun in a Sandbox anymore. Because that's what you have to do, work at making your own fun/game/story. Even though I'm worried about the low replay value Bioware's recent Dragon Age: Chronicles provided me (fodder for another post maybe) I suspect that with the time constraints and whatnot I now live under, a more casual/guided tour style MMO is more for me.

    Geeky gave me an Allods CB Europe key (I'd been trying to get into US not knowing there was an EU site. Ironic that even with a Russian game there's a default site which links to the US and localized sites for other regions) with mention that he couldn't get worked up about the game. I tried it for a few hours yesterday (dodging the dreaded chore of sorting out the contents of 21 feet of 6 feet high bookcases) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stuff for another post as well.

    LotRO is definately an option, maybe Geeky has an inner Gimli or Faramir in him? Oh, that reminds me Phè. If the pointy ears bother you, you can always grow a beard to be a Runekeeper :-)
    Maybe I should write a little introduction to the game?

    Hmmm, where have the night-shifts gone? How did you guys find the time to blog? There's so many calls on my time, like playing MMO's to replacing the water-tap in my kitchen and getting drapes to stem the draft in my livingroom.

  3. P.S. Regarding Closed Beta of Allods online.
    I get the impression they don't really want to hide an unfinished game so much as want to limit the number of people in it. I've yet to find any means of filing a bug report either. Admittedly I didn't search for one for very long. It feels like a limited access Open Beta. Given the Open readability of the game's forums I suspect there isn't an NDA at all :-)

  4. Did you go Empire or League ? I'm happy to start a new toon and I know phe won't be joining for a few days yet.

    I'll join you both in LotRO, have an account just need to buy a timecard.

    Currently still loving Atlantica (another post on that in progress), it's the first F2P I've spent money on.

  5. My names are Nibblet, Nibbit, Droopy and the Squirrel Munch :-)

    Gibberling Animist for the League.
    I love the idea of a whole group of Gibberlings, which probably ought to be called a herd I guess.
    There's no healing class for Gibberlings though so you'd end up with a single Elven Priestess and a bunch of rowdy schoolkids :-D

  6. I see your not far behind me Lani, Nahkti my Warden (League) is currently lvl 8, there's a bad ass squirrel that needs killing, think I'll wait for your ankle biters to help with that one :)

  7. Aye, out of any betas I've been involved with, Allods' "closed" beta is the most "open" by almost any measure. Yes, they are throttling population, but that seems to be a smart way to stress test server architecture. They aren't really throttling information much. It seems the biggest constraint is merely the translation/localization team. So far, it's by far the most impressive "beta" game I've had the pleasure of experimenting with. (Oh, and bug reports should be submitted directly via email. They note that on the forums. There really should be an in-game report mechanism, as well as a place for bug reporting on the main website.)

    It's a solid game. I have my reservations, but I like it quite a bit, and wish them well.