GW2 – Beta Weekend

I was able to get some play time in, but it was severely limited. However, limited time is better than none at all!

I dabbled across 5 professions – ranger, mesmer, thief, guardian, warrior – spending the most time on the ranger. I liked what I saw, but didn’t play enough to offer deep insights or constructive criticism.

What I did like:

  • The animated map. Not just the fly-into-zoom feature, but the scrolling and updating and circling/highlighting various quests spots.
  • Public quests. Reminiscent of Warhammer Online, these were joinable by being nearby, and were great fun. At the end, by what I assume is damage dealt to mobs, I was awarded Gold or Silver medals for my participation. I’m not sure what the really meant as far as loot, but it didn’t matter since I’m sure the mechanics will be further tweaked.
  • Instancing. I was so used to only having other players around when in a city zone (which is how Guild Wars worked), it was a lot different to play the regular content with others not in my party. But some points in a quest line required entering an instance, which was largely seamless. What was extra cool is I had to suddenly log out in the middle of one – later when I returned and logged in, I was outside the instance and greeted with a “would you like to continue” prompt. That is awesome, speaking as somebody who sometimes can’t block off hour after hour of uninterrupted playtime.
  • Map travel. In Guild Wars, you could instantly travel to any outpost or city you already visited. I didn’t get very far over the weekend, but I saw that you could map travel to nearby points – some cost money and some didn’t – and that is nice to have.
  • Skills. It looks like a character unlocks skill slots at various levels, and those slots can be filled with skills purchased via points. I earned a few points in challenges, and am unsure if there will be other ways to earn points. For my ranger, at level 5 I used a skill point to by Spike Trap, which I put to good use in the quest line where I needed to disguise myself and infiltrate a bandit den…
  • Convenience features. By this I mean I didn’t have to click or select an NPC to talk to them, or a slain foe to search for loot – merely moving close by triggered a floaty “[F] talk” (or something like that) message.
  • Downed/Defeat. In GW2 when you lose your health, you don’t “die” and become a ghost or respawn somewhere else. Instead, you fall to the ground (at that spot) and have a small selection of profession specific skills available; typically you can still fight a little bit, call for help, etc. This is similar to a LoTRO defeat except you can do something during the countdown. I’m fuzzy on the specifics but this look like a great innovation.

Well, that’s a whole lot to like in the brief time I played… I hope they hold future beta weekends AND that I can play for a few hours.

Running Around in Divinity's Reach
Running Around in Divinity’s Reach

AoC – Left Hyboria

Eagle-eyed readers will note I posted about entering Hyboria, and then nothing about AoC since (there was a long haitus in there as well).

Well, the reason for that is I stopped playing AoC. Why? Largely because I prioritized games I want to play (or try), compared against my actual real available time, and concluded I can barely play the games I want to so I needed to scale back my ambitions. And AoC was one such game. Basically I enjoy LoTRO more, and have a limit to the number of fantasy-themed MMOs I can play without them all blurring together.

I did enjoy it. I leveled a guardian to 10 (or 12?) and found the game to be pretty good overall. Yes, I didn’t really get very far, I didn’t level very high, didn’t hit the max level and have enough time to complain about lack of content or how boring the raids were – you know, the same stuff die-hard complainers always find issue with – but I did have some fun questing and leveling. The combination system for blocking and opening more powerful attacks was a nice change over the typical battle system.

I think the game got screwed by a rushed released and early stability/bugginess/balance issues, and now has a self-dug pit to climb out of. The game is better than its early reputation. However, the current field is thick with strong competition so it will tough for any game in this situation to make a come back.

EVE – EVE University Videos

I decided to refresh my EVE memories by watching the How to Survive EVE Online video series by Seamus Donohue of EVE University. I’ve been pecking away at them, watching a few each day, and recently finished up.

That was a huge undertaking, recording and narrating 45 (!) videos for new players. I’m glad people like him play the game and are willing to put so much time into spreading information.

LoTRO – Galtrev

While I consider what sci-fi MMO to try, I decided to move along Naerys in LoTRO.

I had quested to Trum Dreng and has been helping the tribe there for… well basically since the expansion rolled out last September. So I wrapped things up and received two quests: one to the Bonevales, and one to Galtrev. I decided to hurry to Galtrev and continue from there, and come back to the Bonevales some other time. Perhaps what I’ll do is take Dhrun into Dunland via the Bonevales, so I see those quests but on a different character. It’ll be a while though, Dhrun is back in Enedwaith at Echad Dagoras.

On the way to Galtrev, I stopped at a scenic overlook:

Outside Galtrev
Scenic Spot

Once in Galtrev, I, Naerys, World-Reknowned Hobbit Guardian, helped out with a variety of menial tasks such as collecting nails and serving messenger duty. Such is the life of an adventurer. 😉 I stopped there and will return to Middle Earth far more regularly.

Sci-Fi game

I played EVE Online for 18 months or so. Well, more like 9 or 10 months, since the last half of my playtime was largely me logging in long enough to fiddle with my skill queue.

Reading the recent posts over at TAGN on EVE, and all the posts at KTR on EVE, kinda makes me was to resub. Plus my coworker plays, which I mentioned earlier…

Still, I remember that the PvE combat wasn’t terribly exciting. Syp’s comment on a Massively post, about how EVE Online is “mindless circling and autofiring” reminded me that yeah, that’s kinda true, at least for PvE. Of course there is the PvP option, but that would be a very abrupt change. Somewhere between “PVP: very high risk and probably very difficult” and “PVE: too easy” is a happy medium. Perhaps the key is harder agent missions: accepting challenging missions in lower security systems. On the other hand, how much should “exciting” combat matter, versus exploration content? EVE Online, I think, is unsurpassed in exploration opportunities.

I would like to play a sci-fi game, and these days, there are some great options. Fallen Earth looks interesting, as does Star Trek Online, especially since both are free-to-play. Then there is EVE Online, with a monthly fee but honestly that isn’t exactly the barrier. I’d certainly feel more casual about a free-to-play game, which meshes well with the actual available time I am able to devote.

But I suppose that even as much as I lean towards reactivating EVE Online, I should give Fallen Earth and Star Trek Online a whirl first, or perhaps even Star Wars: The Old Republic.

GW2 – Pre-Purchase

In my long MMO haitus, I’d lost track of the fact GW2 is nearly ready. This dampens my enthusiasm for wrapping up miscellaneous unfinished business in GW further. I’m at 30 in my Hall of Monuments, and it would require heroic effort to bump that up meaningfully higher… so I’m kinda thinking, why bother. I don’t want to burn out before Guild Wars 2 hits!

So instead, today I pre-purchased my copy of Guild Wars 2 – the Digital Deluxe edition. I’m excited, and will be deciding between a Ranger or Mesmer (my favorites from Guild Wars). In the past, I would have started a character of every profession, but these days I need to limit myself more. Two chars should be plenty enough to “see” the game with.

Haitus

Has it really been 10 months since I last posted? I must be lazy since plenty of other MMO bloggers like Syp (BioBreak) or Wilhelm (TAGN) post several times a week.

So I haven’t been playing MMOs recently; instead I’ve been off trying some Indie games (SpaceChem!) and regular RPGs, like Skyrim. However, I feel the lure once again, now I just need to carve out the time. But what games to focus on?

  • LoTRO – still my favorite and after a break I’ll be motivated to proceed to Isengard
  • DDO – I’d like to level my monk a bit more
  • Guild Wars (at this point I’m really just waiting for Guild Wars 2) – I haven’t finished the extra “War in Kryta” content nor have I ventured into most EoTN dungeons
  • Fallen Earth – now it is F2P and I have it installed
  • EVE – a coworker plays this and offered to help me with some in-game cash and help should I reactivate
  • SWTOR – I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I’d like to try this out for a few weeks

Six games I am interested in, and the first four are F2P! That’s sweet and is several hobbies/distractions worth of content no matter how you look at it. I’ve justified two subscriptions to MMOs in the past (reasoning that at $30/month it is a good deal if I can squeeze as little as 5 hours a week of play in), and am tempted to pick up EVE again as my only pay MMO.

EVE is a bit of a surprise because I never expected to return, when I unsubbed back in 2009. It’s a great game but I wasn’t getting too much out of it because I was chronically poor. Now it is tempting because I’d know somebody that also play – my coworker runs his own corp, has sufficient funds (he’s apparently reasonably wealthy in game) and offered to provide me with some in-game cash should I reactivate. This is very tempting because I’d like to train all the exploring skills (and associated stealth “hide me from other players” skills) and give that a try. With some seed money I could buy the skill books I need, buy a decent ship and outfit it, etc.

And that’s why EVE bumps out SWTOR, as far as piquing my interest. If my coworker didn’t play, I’d definitely try SWTOR first. Actually, I still might since I am curious. It would be nice to have a good sci-fi MMO to play rather than just fantasy MMOs.