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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Xbox: Assassin’s Creed Unity

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Veteran’s Day saw the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity here in the States.  The long awaited next-gen and PC game installment in the franchise.  Does the game fall down or does it hit the ball out of the park?

Honest answer?  Neither unfortunately.  It does some things extraordinarily well and then it turns around and fails just as spectacularly at others.   FYI, we play on the XboxOne.

Let’s get the abysmal failures out of the way first. 

  1. Frame Rate: the game can flat out freeze for seconds at a time or it can quickly become slide show theatre for a few seconds.  These don’t last very long or occur very frequently but the fact they occur at all is a problem.
  2. Sound Cuts Out: this is annoying beyond words.  Walking along and boom Paris goes silent, or mid sentence all sound cuts off.  Again happens for seconds and then everything returns to normal but once again, not something that should occur period.
  3. Story:  Massive, unforgivable story holes that if you’ve never played the franchise before would leave you confused and unclear what Arno was doing or why.  Also, since when did the Brotherhood Oath change?  There are just massive issues with the way the Brotherhood was written.  And since when did an Assassin become so well known that he is casually greeted walking down the street by strangers, commoners and noble alike?  The Templar vs. Assassin tension is flat out missing.
  4. External Integration: AC Initiates is a complete mess as of this writing.  It fails to show whole games not being played and has lost levels compared to when AC IV was the new game.  AC Initiates also does not have new content ready to go for Unity despite the game being released which is just poor implementation.  Uplay is spotty in it’s connectivity and usefulness.  It too is missing games previously played.  The Companion App is wonderful, that is if it hasn’t lost your Nomad Brotherhood entirely.  The App works perfectly for me and is useless for hubby because his Nomads have proven their French heritage and gone on strike.
  5. Micro Transactions: Really?  Just Really?  Pay to Win transactions for a game that doesn’t have true multiplayer and would be even worse if true multiplayer existed.
  6. Co-Op: Failure to include split screen co-op or co-op similar to Diablo III is unforgivable.
  7. Rebecca and Shawn:  They’ve been there for every game since AC II and now they are suddenly missing?  No seriously, where are they and why are these strange people talking to me about Abstergo?  Am I an Assassin or am I just some tourist in an amusement park ride?

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Here are the things that AC Unity has gotten incredibly right.

  1. Story: There is a story once again, almost worthy of the glorious story telling of the three AC II installments.  Yes, there are glaring holes and gaps in the story but by god there is a story.  I can run around Paris and meet people and help them out once again.  I helped Mme. Tussaud yesterday.  I actually like Arno, compared to my disdain for Edward Kenway. 
  2. Companion App: Kudos to Ubisoft for offering the companion app on more than just a couple of devices and kudos for the app itself.  The rendering of Paris and real time updates are incredible.  The ability to read the database outside of the game at my leisure is something I truly appreciate.
  3. Paris: The city is huge.  There are less viewpoints in this game but you can see much, much further on each and every viewpoint.  The streets are crowded, the crowds react to you and the environment, and the tension between the factions is evident.
  4. Co-Op: It isn’t reliant on you having a friends list populated by friends also playing the game.  It utilizes the matchmaking system to let solo’rs play the co-op missions.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I undoubtedly will at some point.
  5. Paris Throughout History: Helix rifts are a new type of game play that allow the player brief glimpses of alternate history of Paris throughout the ages.  Some of these are stunningly gorgeous.
  6. No SAILING: no seriously, no sailing is a huge thing for me.  AC IV was unplayable for me because of all the damn sailing required.  AC Rogue might have a great story but it has sailing, so if we get it I’ll watch the story unfold as hubby plays.
  7. Micro Transactions:  Kudos for Ubisoft for recognizing that fools and their money are soon parted.  We won’t be buying any of the micro transaction currency but hey if Ubisoft can make money from stupid people, go for it.

For me, the game is completely enjoyable.  I loose track of time.  None of the failures of the game have detracted from my enjoyment.  Sound and frame rate issues are hiccups but haven’t caused me to cuss or hurl my controller in frustration.

Overall, Ubisoft did well but not amazing.  They need to hire more QA staff and not release games until they are ready rather than sticking to the “every fall” time table.  Unity and the external companions could have benefitted greatly from another quarter or two of polishing.  Instead, Ubisoft rushed the game to market and risked customer goodwill.  They’ve earned some of my trust back with the story once again being present.  They need to vastly improve their customer communication about fixes and problems.  They are all over Twitter when it suits them but when there are problems they fall silent.  Silence in today’s market place will kill a game far quicker than bugs.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Shift in Gaming focus

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Last week I canceled the last monthly revolving subscriptions we had to MMOs.  It wasn’t because of expenses but rather out of a complete lack of desire to log in and deal with the MMO environment.  Tired of developers that flat out lie, constant skill resets, communities of various games, and the endless grind for faction or gear.  I would rather curl up on the sofa, turn on the console and play a single player game or co-op game with hubby. 

MMOs are a great value for the money you spend compared with a dinner and movie once a month but given all the other choices of entertainment, MMOs aren’t cutting it anymore.  I’m tired of paying money for content that I have no interest in (i.e.. “end game” raids) and then losing access to that content once I’ve canceled my subscription (i.e.. Lord of the Rings Online).  Give me a single player game where the content I purchase is available to me whenever the mood strikes me to log on and play.

I’ve been burned out before but this time just feels different.  Usually news from Blizzcon interests me or sucks me back in, but this year I could care less: zero interest, haven’t read a single blog or tweet about Blizzcon.  Finding out who the Prophet was in Elder Scrolls Online so early in the story killed it for me, why bother to log-in the remainder of the story was just killed for me.  Everquest 2, and SOE games in general, are routinely killed by the stupidity of their marketing and accounting departments.  Their pricing structures and lack of appreciation of their customers, oh hell their failure to recognize that their pricing is completely out of whack with their competition, is just aggravating and infuriating.

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I won’t claim we will never again sub to a MMO but honestly, much like my warden above I believe we are riding into the dawn toward console (XboxOne) and single player PC games.  I’ll still share impressions from games but they won’t be MMOs.  Up first on the console are Halo: Master Chief Collection, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and then finally DragonAge: Inquisition.  It is truly an excellent week plus of game anticipation.

If you follow on Twitter I will probably be much more active on my other account @stitchersflock or on @Path, send me a DM if you want to add me on Path.  Have fun gaming!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Disincentives to Play is Piss Poor Game Design

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We all know I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with The Secret World over the years.  The lifetime subscriptions we purchased prior to launch means I can pop in and out as the mood strikes me. 

Well, it’s Halloween and the mood struck.  TSW should be a game which does Halloween with gusto and welcomes and HOOKS new players this time of year.

Instead, it has piss poor design flaws that mean Halloween quests cannot be completed by new or low level characters.

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A quest particular up my alley and it is marked devastating, meaning I have no chance to complete it.  I love old time radio programs, grew up listening to them, and still do today.  I was looking forward to the quest chain involve old time radio programs.  But because I’m a casual player, I have zero chance of completing it.

Apparently Funcom likes missing out on cash expenditures from casual players.  I would be much more likely to stop in more frequently (and SPEND real life dollars on fluff) if the game was friendlier to casual players on holiday events.  I in NO SENSE want the quests to be dumbed down or made less difficult.

I want Funcom to pull their heads out of their corporate asses and realize that casual players are much more likely to spend money when they stop in and play as their free time allows.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Abuse of the Gamergate Hashtag

https://twitter.com/femfreq/status/522204937178976257

This is utter and complete nonsense by a media whoring individual determined to keep the spotlight on herself rather than the issues.  Utah is a right to carry state and demanding that state officials break the law for her to give a "talk" at Utah State University is hypocrisy personified.

To carry a concealed firearm in any state in the Union requires a background check by state and federal governmental bodies.  Not any crazy can legally carry a concealed weapon.

Look it is horrible that some nut job or nut jobs called in threats against Ms. Sarkeeshian.  If she didn't feel her personal protection or the security measures taken by Utah State and local authorities were sufficient then cancelling her speech was her only choice.  However, that doesn't give her the right to act indigent and angry that state law was enforced.

If the threats made were real, and I admit I have my doubts, then any violence would most likely have been perpetrated by individuals that did not have a concealed weapon permit.  The leaked details of the threat clearly indicate no intent to use a concealed weapon to carry out the threat.

It is much more likely that the "threats" were made by some lunatic fringe supporter of Ms. Sarkeeshian to keep her name in the spotlight and thus "relevant" in gaming.  She by no means speaks for the whole gaming community or for women in the gaming community.  She is one voice among a chorus but the difference is her voice is the loudest and most strident.

https://twitter.com/femfreq/status/522218360763731968

This tweet is just utter crap and nonsense.  I haven't been a vocal supporter of #Gamergate and honestly I believe that gamers should realize that all journalism, not just gaming journalism, is corrupt and opinionated.  Supporters of #Gamergate are the furthest thing from supporters of violence against women.  They are striving to improve the journalism ethics from gaming journalists, companies, and bloggers.  They are not trying to perpetuate an atmosphere of harassment, hate, or fear for any gamer.

For any of you confused about Ms. Sarkeeshian she does not represent all women in gaming by any stretch of the imagination.  She in no respect speaks for me or my views in gaming.  Her continued use of the Gamergate hashtag is to keep herself relevant and in the public eye.  She wants to diminished and tarnish the supporters of #Gamergate so that her voice, and those of her cronies, are the only voices heard, reported, and published by mainstream media.  She is nothing more than a bully in feminist clothing, the flip side of the coin of the misogynist bully who fears women in video games.  Expose her for the bully and media spotlight junkie she is.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Elder Scrolls Online: Enjoying Life Immensely

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We stopped playing Elder Scrolls Online within a month of launch, mostly because the little things were so highly irritating they were driving both of us bonkers.  We resubbed two weeks ago and while Hubby hasn’t had much time to play, I’ve been enjoying the game once again.  I’m fully immersed in the word, loving every quest and off the beaten path I find. 

As reported by Tamriel Foundry this week from the guild summit meeting with Zenimax, there are upcoming quality of life improvements coming to the game.  A collection system for maps, pets, and trophies immediately springs to mind.  I have so much inventory space that will be freed up with this implementation.  There are also changes coming to crafting which will result in non-faction specific foods and fewer ingredients.

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Admittedly, there was no discussion of housing coming and I’m still waiting (impatiently admittedly) for an announcement about housing.  I’m pleased with the state of the game.  The world is full, community is friendly, and there is no pressure to rush to the end game.

I’ve gotten three characters, one per faction, to approximately the same level where they can move on to the next zone.  I am undecided about which character to concentrate on moving forward, so undoubtedly I will continue with my normal play style and play what character and faction I want on any given day.  I’ve taken the pressure off myself with my RP blog and now all my characters are free to write glimpses of their lives.

I am having fun, and after all isn’t that why we play video games in the first place?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gaming & the Decisions We Make

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So, darling hubby has had this theory for years that gaming turns us all into virtual mass murderers on a horrific scale.  We log into the game of our choice and set about questing, battling, destroying the enemy and/or the other side.  And what do we have to show for it at the end of the day?

Now, this isn’t going to turn into some anti-gaming, politically correct piece, or a rant against the current state of games we all play.  Rather, it is more about the decisions we make as parents and families when we aren’t gaming. Do we offset the hours spent slaughtering the enemy in pursuit of videogame justice with acts of kindness and beauty in the real world?

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It is easy to lose yourself in the world created by video games, there is always something just over the next rise that needs to be done just before logging off.  I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to regulating game time sometimes.  However, I’ve decided to take a moment or two each day from here on out to make the world around me a more positive and beautiful place. 

Will one gamer doing a a positive, personal thing for those around her change the world?  Nope, it won’t change the world at large but it will change my immediate world which is enough.  If every gamer stopped and took a couple of moments out of the day to improve their immediate world, imagine how much positive change would be wrought in the world at large.

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Positive changes don’t have to be large, showy acts.  Make dinner or do the dishes, pick the kids up from school, pick up flowers for someone you love, or stop in the elderly neighbor down the street and see what you can do to make their life more enjoyable.

So, what am I going to do to make my immediate world better?  Well, I’m starting with returning to my first and second, albeit frustrating, loves writing and stitching.   I’ve stopped writing every day and that needs to change.  It seems trivial and small but I’m a better person to live with when I write daily.  Stitching is also integral to the health and happiness of our home.  Stitching forces me to relax no matter how stressed life around me might be and keeps my fingers limber preventing the possible onset of arthritis.

So, small steps but they will make a difference in my immediate world.  Does it make me any less of a mass murderer in video games?  Not in the slightest, but it will offset the pile of digital bodies I leave in my wake.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

ArcheAge: Our Impressions

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Server queue at 4AM on a Sunday morning, and that’s after already being in the queue for over ten minutes.  Look I understand the positives and negatives of launching with too many or too few servers.  However, the amount of hype ArcheAge has received in the west for the last two years should have been an indication that servers needed to be able to hold more characters at a time or megaserver technology.  Now, all that happens is potential paying customers are waiting and this is after the reported horrendous wait times during headstart last weekend.

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Our impressions overall were no favorable.  I first rolled on archer and it was flat, stilted, and uninspired.  No, seriously holding down the auto-attack key while your one skill refreshes is NOT good game play for a first impression.  Hubby rolled an occultist and his gameplay was better.  I gave the game another shot by rolling first a sorcerer and than a vitalist, both were better than the archer.  But that being said, I could care less about any of the three characters I tried. 

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Yup, I stand out as unique among all these characters don’t I?  When every character looks the same in the beginning, why even bother picking a starting skill set?  A magic user should be distinguishable from a melee character, etc.  Instead it was mini-skirts, bouncing boobies, and covered up males in a pond (literally) of sameness.  Look I have nothing against boobs but really if you give me the opportunity to make a character that has wrinkles and is aged, then dammit give me the opportunity to not have unrealistic bouncy, round anime boobs!

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The UI is a mess.  The mini-map takes up far too much of the screen which can’t be resized or removed and the chat window is filled with gold spam with no obvious method to ignore or report.   The options menu is non-intuitive and a mess.  Good luck finding the info you want, like screenshots or hiding the UI (I found them by trial and error).

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Then there are the creepy quest cut-scenes, similar to  Guild Wars 2, only there is no sound and yet sometimes the lips of the NPC move.  Truly it’s just creepy and unnecessary.  Made me despise the game more rather than caring or feeling immersed in the world.

The only bright spot was character customization, it is fairly extensive.  However, it isn’t unique looking but rather looks like your typical Korean MMO.  Same faces, choices, and hairstyles appear to have been lifted directly from Guild Wars 2.

Overall, nothing about the game impressed either of us.  It certainly isn’t free-to-play friendly.  It isn’t unique.  It isn’t cutting edge.  Sure I probably could have played longer and maybe found something I could tolerate but honestly, I couldn’t be bothered to continue to play a character I didn’t like.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

“Gamer Gate” & Why I Could Care Less

For the last month of so, social gaming media has been in a self-induced uproar over “Gamer Gate”.  Both sides of the issue have their view points and opinions, and neither side has a chance of convincing the other that their side is correct. 

Synopsis of the issue, as I understand it, is that it was revealed that a woman indie game developer was sleeping with a reviewer of her game.  Suddenly gamers are in an uproar over gaming journalism ethics (or lack thereof) and it becomes blown completely out of proportion.  Sexism, sloppy ethics, paid reviews, favorites, elitism, misogyny, hard core, casual, ad nauseam are all words and phrases bandied about by both sides of the “debate”.

Look, it’s pretty simple gaming journalism is as corrupt and biased as non-gaming journalism.  Developers buy favorable reviews, games that step out of the box get little to no coverage, the face of gaming is changing, and much more are all easy to understand truths about gaming.  Here’s an even easier truth, the best way to change gaming and the gaming community is to vote with your wallet.

Don’t like the manner in which women are portrayed?  Don’t buy the product, no matter how much social pressure is applied.  Don’t approve of how a gaming site conducts itself? Stop visiting the site and its sponsors.  Learn to ignore people in games, don’t be afraid to talk because of who you are.  Your voice and opinion matter just as much as the rude, screaming, foul mouthed child on the other end.

I could care less about Gamer Gate.  I am smart enough to support games, sites, and sponsors that fit who I am as a gamer.  Question is, is the rest of the community smart enough to do more than just make a splash on social media?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Xbox: Upcoming Indie Games

 

The Fall/Winter gaming season is chock full of games on the XboxOne from AA publishers, also coming to PS4 consoles.  Games like Shadows of Mordor, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Halo: The Master Chief Collection (XboxOne only), Assassin’s Creed: Unity & Rogue, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will all be released between now and the end of the year. 

However, the indie developers (other than Project Spark) get little to no love from either gaming “journalists” or console manufacturers prior to the release of the game.  Well, so far the tripe AAA titles have all been lackluster or vastly disappointing, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition being an exception.

There are three games very high on my radar from independent developers that look interesting and worth the investment. 

Lords of the Fallen by Ci Games as gotten the most coverage from gaming press and websites and releases on 28 October 2014.  The game looks to have a decent story and challenging gameplay without the penalties found in Darksouls. 

Crimes and Punishment: This is Sherlock Holmes from Frogwares releases this month on the One, PC, and the 4.  I admit it, I’m always interested in game play of this type since I’m an avid reader of mysteries.  The game play looks immersive and interesting.  I will post our review after we’ve had a chance to play and experience Holmes and Watson on the One.

Styx: Master of Shadows from Cyanide Studios releases in October for PC and next-gen consoles as a digital releases.  Game play looks interesting and much truer to the origins of the Assassin’s Creed franchise than the last several releases from Ubisoft.  Besides who can resist playing as a Goblin?

What I find fascinating, is that all three indie game developers are located overseas (Poland, Lithuania, and France to be precise).  So, is the future of good, unique gaming coming from Europe while North American developers languish and turn out tried and true games that no longer push the envelope?

Monday, September 15, 2014

World of Warcraft: New Character Models

I admit it, I resubbed for a month of WOW, but I haven’t purchased the expansion.  I will wait until the “boys club” put it on fire sale after release before picking it up.  There are simply too many good XboxOne releases this fall and Alter of Malice also releases in November.

I went onto the PTR to look at new character models.  Keep in mind, almost all of my characters are Alliance and all are female.  I must admit they are all awful.  No strike that, they are ugly as a drunken hookup with serious morning after regret.

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Pippa, one of the two characters I always come back to play.  Admittedly in the “real” picture her face is a little angular but she has a smile and she looks like a woman.  In the “new” picture, which Blizzard considers true to the previous face, she looks hung-over, flat nosed, and miserable.

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Gone is the sweet faced Gnome warrior of the “real” photo and in her place is the overly bug eyed, heavily made-up Gnome with a sour face in the “new” photo.  Seriously, those eyes swallow her face completely.

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Gone is my feminine Paladin and in her place, is a dopey looking face playing dress-up in Paladin clothing.  Worse part is the “new” picture gives no evidence of the ungodly, never-ending eyebrow wiggle that now accompanies female human faces.  She looks like she got caught playing dress-up in her mother’s closet!

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Sure the “real” one has angular face issues and poor lighting but that “new” face is just dopey looking!  Same eyebrow waggling issue and she looks like she’s fifteen and incapable of controlling the fire and curses that fly from her fingertips.

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Same issues, this face is at least a little better but she still looks like she’s sucking a sour lemon or two.

Overall, the new facial models on the Alliance side are downright bad.  Updating character models was a risky move and I give them credit for that, but it is like they failed to even look at the older models when doing so.  It will be a game breaking change for a lot of people I’m sure.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Xbox One: Destiny

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Hype and endless PS4 commercials later, Activision and Bungie have sold $500 million worldwide of Destiny since the release on 9 September 2014.  Reviews are hard to come by because professional reviewers received their copies on Friday and only had access to the game when the servers went live on 8 September 2014.

So, here’s my review … not worth the price of admission, and certainly not worth the pre-order bonus we paid.

The game is a beautiful and accessible first-person shooter but it is not ground breaking or anything new even.  What it is instead is a lonely and empty planet that has a lot of mixed-up, mashed-up ideas from other games and a cerebral not visceral story telling like the Halo franchise.  Halo grips you from the get go and really never lets go.  Destiny is not that way, instead it tells a story in short bursts without really saying a lot. 

The Good:

  • Game is gorgeous
  • Darkness zones: you must start from the last in zone checkpoint to kill the boss of the checkpoint if you die in the zone.
  • Accessible first person shooter: you don’t have to be a twitch shooter player to hit the enemy

The Mediocre:

  • Shadows are jaggy and horrible
  • World is EMPTY
  • Too much of the game relies on the game’s companion app and website for information about events in game
  • Too much is left unexplained mechanics wise and the user stumbles upon the answer by luck (I.e dismounting your mounting)

The BAD:

  • For a game the touted it’s cooperative play, it is unforgiveable that two friends in the same room cannot join the player playing.  Kills the title as something a group of friends can pick-up and play together.
  • Lobby system: empty planets, players hang out on their mostly useless space ships waiting from matchmaking
  • Three classes that are all the same, just different melee skills which then flavor their bland and dull covering
  • Too much has been pulled from other games:
    • Public events like that that exist in Everquest 2, Rift, Defiance, Guild Wars 2 … the list is endless really
    • Reputation grind – really horrible, slow reputation grind for factions you neither care about nor understand why you are grinding the reputation
    • Space ships: other than travel to other planets what purpose do they serve and why on earth would you ever upgrade one?
    • Loot drops are horrible?  Oh look an unidentified green loot piece dropped.  Fly back to earth to get it identified and you get?  Oh look, white gear that was not worth the time to fly back and deal with the loading screens.
    • Halo’s influence is clearly seen throughout the game:
      • Thrall are the new Flood
      • Ammo readouts on weapons just like Halo
      • Jumping just like Halo
    • PvP is the core of the game, sure there is a single player, that can admittedly be played through with two other players, campaign but it isn’t the quality or the depth of the Halo single player campaigns.
  • LOAD SCREENS: seriously load screens are alright but when they last longer than 10-1 seconds it is unforgiveable.

World is just soulless and empty.  You log in and play for a bit and then you realize you are lonely and bored and would rather be doing other things.  If you haven’t already, wait until it goes on sale in a few months before picking up the title. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Everquest 2: Kells, the Berserker, & Freeport questing

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Kells, my human Berserker, was “born” in Gorowyn but immediately moved to Freeport to quest there, picking up all but the Qeynosian mercenaries along the path to Freeport.  After picking up mercenaries, she arrived at level 4 and immediately went to The Ruins after hiring Stamper to act as her healer merc.  I did give her a mount  and any level appropriate weapons from my stash, but otherwise no help from my bigger characters

She immediately thought, “Hey let’s go to The Ruins” and then promptly noticed that everything was a little too large to kill in a timely fashion and so off to The Sprawl she went.  The Sprawl is filled with gangs and those gangs are “managed” by The Dreadnaughts with the blessings of the Overlord.  I was immediately given tasks to restore discipline and order amongst the various gangs. 

I’ll admit these “gangs” were challenging at first.  Slightly under-geared, Kells began her questing for The Dreadnaughts which resulted in the meeting of Gloomstalker.

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While a non-elite, he took a good minute to bring down but it was so worth it.

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That lovely Exquisite Chest at level six contained all level ten items, including a Master for my class at 10.  Needless to say, it was a minute well spent.  While working for The Dreadnaughts, I was sent to find out information from the Ratonga gang, The Black Magi.  The Black Magi appear in The Shattered Vale in Antonica as well.  There is mention of “The Marked” and “The Wheel”, both of which are hints of a quest in the Commonlands.

Quests completed in The Sprawl and I was given a new quested to report to The Ruins.  So off Kells went happily to The Ruins to continue working for the Overlord, although let’s be honest she will never kowtow to him like the Freeport Militia members pictured below.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Xbox: Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition

We tried the demo of Diablo III on the Xbox360 several months ago.  It was appealing, the ability to play together without a split screen was the extremely appealing.  Life intruded and we never pulled the trigger, until this week on the Xbox One when the Ultimate Evil Edition released.

The new game contains the expansion to the game and looks amazing.  Blizzard did an amazing job, and the ability to link to your existing battle.net account was a very nice edition to the new release.  I can see familiar themes in Diablo and Warcraft.  Witch Doctor models are very similar to trolls, spells and animations are familiar as well.  Familiarity isn’t a bad thing, it is comforting in it’s own way.

We got our first chance to play yesterday afternoon and late into the evening.  He rolled a Witch Doctor and I rolled a Demon Hunter.  We are still in Act I but have had a blast.  The Witch Doctor is an amazing class with creepy pets and spells galore.  He has zombie dogs, spiders, bats, zombies, and soon hex chickens at his disposal.  Creepy wonderfulness and fits the name of the class.  Demon Hunter is ranged damage that is mobile and a blast.  She looks like a grown-up Little Red Riding Hood out for vengeance.

We started together and now I’m three levels ahead because all the gear I got had +experience modifiers and the exact opposite was true for him.  I have also been the random beneficiary of gifts from my friends list, although I haven’t been able to return the favor yet.  The gifts have been amazing pieces of loot that have made my demon hunter that much more kickass.

I have no doubt that there will be more Diablo III today, so excuse me it’s time to go kick evil in the ass.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

EQ2, The Forgotten Quests: Cedona Books, Freebloods, & City Quests


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Cedona ventured up from the Caves and into Qeynos to check out the sage’s offerings in the Mage’s Tower and to start her adventuring in Antonica. She was still level locked at 10 but close to flipping the switch. The helpful Sage, Indis Surion, gladly sold a selection of books from his vast offerings. I was disappointed to find that no history of Freebloods was available. I understand why after a Twitter conversation with Nathan McCall, but still disappointed.



So since I missed the Live event back in 2010, I did some digging around on the web this morning. Here’s what I learned. Freebloods were introduced into the game following Nights of the Dead in 2010 and were the result of experimentation by the vampires (House D’Morte) of Neriak. Cedona is not at all pleased to learn that she was brought back from the dead as the result of some twisted experiment by vampires. However she is relieved to learn that she is one of the lucky ones and has freewill and can bask in sunlight.

Having learned all this, she purchased the High Elf, aka Koada’Dal, history book along with several others. She hasn’t started the quest the book offers yet but it will be up soon. After purchasing the books, she did the Freeblood racial quest line in Qeynos which is very similar to the quest offer in Freeport. It offered a glimpse into why Freebloods are allowed within Qeynos.

Running around Antonica was helpful. Cedona started the lost love quest line which has a much different ending than it’s counterpart in the Commonlands. She also slaughtered gnolls at the bequest of various factions within Qeynos, hey what can she say easy way to level AA. Cedona then ran into my favorite halfing in Antonica and began his quests. It isn’t complicated but the poetry is lovely and you get a feel for the zone.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SWTOR: Galactic Strongholds

Did reality match the long anticipated hype and hope?  First impression, not in the slightest did the hope and hype match reality this afternoon.

We all know I like my video games to have housing.  A place where my character can relax while I play someone else.  You know, home for the character.  Thus, I was very much looking forward to housing being implemented in SWTOR.  Star Wars holds a special place in my heart and I wanted my characters to have a place to kick back, relax, and express their personalities.

What I got was a hanger bay with prettier doors.  SWTOR, EA, and Bioware decided to go with the hook system of housing thereby destroying all player creativity.  No seriously, it is impossible to be creative when item can only go in certain places.  The decoration choices so far are cold and sterile, not remotely personal.  I’m disappointment to say the least.  Crew members and pets can be placed in the house, but they are static and unmoving.  Basically, the stand there like frozen actors or deer caught in the headlights.  It was soul crushing.

There was one highlight, the ability to park vehicles on the taxi pad.  But six vehicles parked next to a taxi is far from enough to make housing rewarding or enjoyable.

Screenshot_2014-08-19_15_48_23_931777

I will give housing another chance but I am not holding out much hope. I need housing that is warm, cozy, and creative.  I need housing like in Everquest 2 or Wildstar.  I need throw pillows, pets the move and make noise, pictures in odd places, well you get the idea.