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Teala's Wickedly Cool MMORPG.com Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Two Web Comics About Gaming You Should Be Reading!

Posted by Teala Friday October 10 2014 at 7:37AM
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Hello fellow gamers!

Been awhile since I last posted, and yeah, well - shoot me...I've been busy doing stuff...like gaming, writing, working, enjoying this awesome summer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest...

...look!  We even have a "lonely mountain", like in the "Hobbit".  How cool is that?  Yep, yep...it's almost like living in a make believe fantasy world - but for reals.   Oh and then there is this guy...

Meet Bond, James Bond...hehehe...seriously, we named him James Bond - and the name fits him very well.  He is such a smart cat.   He's been lot's of fun since we got him a couple of months ago.   :)   He is about the most awesome purrito you'll ever meet.

OK...enough of that...let's talk about something closer to gaming...and instead of games - how about we talk about web comics that deals with one of our favorite hobbies - gaming!  You all know about Penny Arcade and probably Ctrl-Alt-Del, two web comics that are pretty well known in the gaming community, but have you ever heard of "Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl", or what about "MegaTokyo"?

Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl is a comic drawn and written by Jago Dibuja.   It is pretty much all about gaming and the gaming culture, with a little commentary on social issues thrown in from time-to-time - and is for mature teens, to adults(due to its tendency to be a little naughty at times).

The thing I love most about his comic is the offbeat and sometimes in your face humor that the writer manages to capture and express in his writing and art.   Jago is definitely a gamer and it shows in his wittiness and knowledge of the gaming community.

I think the best way to acquaint you with HipsterGirl & GamerGirl is to introduce the three main characters and then give you a few examples of Jago's work...the man is brilliant.  So without further ado...meet Artur, Erika and Sophie.

And here are few of Jago's comic strips about these three room mates and their lives - about gaming, social issues, technology.

That is just a small sample of this very funny and awesome web comic.   Look for the link at the bottom of this article to visit Jago's website and read more of his Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl.

One of my all time favorite web comics is MegaTokyo!  If you've never heard of, or read this great comic - now's your chance!  MegaTokyo is about a couple of hardcore gamers(Piro and Largo) that one day(after spending all their money at a E3), decide to take a trip to Japan, to where gaming is a way of life.

Once there(in Japan - city of Tokyo) things go from bad to worse, and the two gamers must figure out a way to get by in a strange land with no money, and no way to get back home!

From then on it is one misadventure after another, filled with gaming humor and world wide conspiracies!  A must read for any fan of web comics.

Fred Gallagher, writer and author or MegaTokyo hit a sweet spot when he created this wonderful web comic.   His uncanny ability to tell a story, mixed with great gaming and techno humor is without a doubt some of the funniest stuff you'll ever read.   The predicaments he tosses our two gamers into are not your typical run-of-the-mill everyday happenings - but nevertheless, you'll be laughing your ass off reading this.  Trust me, once you start reading you won't be able to stop.  MegaTokyo has been around since 2000, so you've got a lot of material to chew through - but every page is priceless.  

Here are a few examples of MegaTokyo so you'll have some ideal what to expect from this wonderfully drawn and written web comic.   As I said...this is my all time favorite and you'll see why!

The art is a little rough in the beginning, but Fred becomes much better as the story goes on.  One of a kind web comic done in the style of a Japanese Manga - MegaTokyo just oozes awesomesauce from every page.   If you'd like to read either, or both, of these two great web comics click on the links provided below!

Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl

MegaTokyo

If you know of some awesome web comics others might enjoy reading, please feel free to leave a comment and a URL, or name, of it so me and others might check it out!.   Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for my next article - next week - same time - same bat channel!   So you think the Golden Age of MMORPG's is long gone...I don't think so.   Find out why!

 

 

Elder Scrolls Online: That was a fast honeymoon.

Posted by Teala Wednesday April 16 2014 at 5:04PM
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I do not think, in all my time of following and writing about MMORPG's, I have ever seen an MMORPG fall out of favor so fast after its release as I have the Elder Scrolls Online.    Not even SWToR fell this fast, and it was a very controversial game at it's launch.  

Consider the amount of excitement that many gamers showed for this game as more and more was learned about it prior to beta and during its beta's - you'd think the game would be doing much better.   I even thought it would do much better...maybe not great, but I at least thought it would stay popular longer than just a couple of weeks.   That doesn't seem to be the case for ESO.   So I went exploring to find out why the game is not doing so well.

Please read on...

Most online based games have a period of time where they remain pretty hot for awhile, around a month...maybe a little longer; especially MMORPG's.   It's been 2 weeks since ESO's release and it is all ready showing signs that players are not warming up to it(as I suspect the developers had hoped) based on the growing number of unfavorable comments on various gaming websites that are dedicated to online gaming.  For instance, comments like, "I'm burned out all ready...too much of a grind.", "frustrated with all the bugs", "All ready level 50.  What now since I do not want to PvP?", "Don't like the direction Zenimax has taken the game since beta and it looks like it is only downhill from here.", "Game is not what I expected and am bored with it all ready."

Yes, those are actual quotes taken from this websites forums, and other forums around the internet - and that is just a small sampling.  Is that the only reason for the games decline or is there more behind it?

Even games that I consider "badly designed" games did better in their first month, like Aion, SWToR, and Warhammer, and had less bad player commentary so quickly after release.  So, why is ESO all ready beginning to show cracks in its armor?

I mean, I beta'd that game, and though I thought it wasn't all that great of a game, it wasn't that bad either, in the sense that there are worse games out there.   Surely, a game that is based on the Elder Scrolls IP would have garnered a much greater following and have people exclaiming its virtues than what we've seen.   It just hasn't manifested like past games.  

I mean look at the games sales record so far.  In Europe it was number one for a few days and has dropped below the top 15.   In the UK alone, it came in at number 2 on the charts, quickly jumped to number one, and then within a few days it has dropped to number 19.   Amazon has also shown a huge drop, from #1 to #20 in just a few days after it's launch.  Other MMORPG's have faired much, much better in their initial days on sales charts compared to ESO.  That cannot be a good sign.

Chart from XFire showing rapid decline of ESO.

Chart from XFire showing rapid decline of ESO.

On TwitchTV it made the top 10 most viewed games being streamed by players for it's first week.  Now suddenly it has dropped to below 15 and barely cracks the top 20.   Same on xFire.   It was one of the top 10 most played games there, and two weeks later it has dropped to #27(not even Star Wars:The Old Republic fell that fast on the chart).   

Are MMORPG players just burned out in general on Themepark based MMORPG's?  Is the game really so bad that people are just losing interest in it much faster than normal?   Or...are other games that recently released stealing it's thunder - like Diablo III and Titanfall?  And it's not as if Bethesda and Zenimax haven't advertised the game...because they have.    I certainly don't believe that the handful of somewhat negative reviews the game got could hurt it that much. 

I really am at a loss for words and am for the first time a little dumbfounded at this games quick decline.   If things keep going as they seem to be going for the game it is looking really bad for it at this rate.   The only thing that might stop this downward spiral is if the consoles release of this game is good. 

So yeah, I don't understand this.   Maybe someone out there has a better grasp as to why this game is on such a quick decline.  Feel free to share your opinion on this in the comments below.

I know some will bring up.  "What about consoles? The game is not released for them yet."

As for the console release bringing the numbers back up...I am a little skeptical they'll have a huge impact.   Yes, there are a ton of console gamers out there, and yes many PC games do sale much better on consoles(Skyrim is one of them - Titanfall recently saw a huge jump in sales after it was released for the XBoxOne), however there is a caveat in the case of ESO being released on the console systems.    It is going to require a subscription fee to play it on PS4 and Xbox consoles.   This maybe the one thing that really keeps the game from rebounding very far.   I think we may see a bit of a rebound...but I do not think it will be for long as many people will not want to pay a sub fee - as we have seen many console players say on such websites as IGN, Gamespot and Kotaku.

Being that a game like ESO needs lots of players for it to actual work properly, due to the nature of its design, I am not so sure it will stay viable for very long on either the PC game version or the console game version.

I can't be the only person that has seen this quick drop in the games popularity.   I imagine many others have seen this, too.    Now the question is...what does Bethesda and Zinemax need to do in order to stop this decline?   Please feel free to leave a comment below.  

Please, try to keep your comments civil if you do leave one.    

 

EVE Online: Welcome to Jita - here we burn witches!

Posted by Teala Sunday March 30 2014 at 5:36PM
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Do you smell smoke?  I do.   That smell is from the burning torches of a mob that recently had a witch burning.   No it was not a real witch...there is no such thing, but these people believed they had found a witch.   So they grabbed her, tied her up, and dragged her toward the town in the distance and burned her.

 

Oh, you want to hear the whole story?  All right, I will tell you this story.  Just sit back and hear the tale of how a town burned a witch.

 

It was a fairly nice spring day, not too cold, in fact is was almost just right.  The fruit trees were in full bloom...the birds were busy making nest, and the sun was hanging on the down slope of its journey through the sky before it set for the evening.   Everything seemed fine...just your average day in the Kingdom of EVE.

Without warning, these men grabbed a woman, tied her up, and dragged her toward the town in the distance. 

As they approached the town a crowd begin to gather about them.  A fairly good size crowd at that.  They were curious as to why these men tied up a woman and were taking her into town.   One of the men, the one that seemed to be in charge, told the people, "We have caught a witch"!

With those words the mob of people lurched forward and begin spitting, and hitting, and throwing things at her.   Some grabbed her garments and tore at them.  As to expose her flesh so that they could scratch her and hit here about the arms, and back - to better see the cuts and bruises they inflicted.

They grabbed and yanked at her hair...tearing handfuls out.  The woman they accused of being a witch screamed in pain.  They beat her harder.   They yelled and spewed forth all manner of profanities at her.   The woman tried to speak...but the mob became more unruly.   They tied a piece of cloth around her head and over her mouth to silence her, or else she might cast a spell on them.  Then the men took the woman to the town square.   Tied her to a pole on top a small wooden platform.  Men nearby fetched bundles of sticks and hastily piled them about and around the platform.   The woman was shaking and terrified...what had she done that she would deserve such a punishment.   She had done nothing.   Someone accused her of being a witch...and that is that.   

The leader of the men, that had grabbed the woman, stood in front of the small platform holding up a burning torch.  He pointed at her and yelled to the crowd, "This vile creature is a witch.   I heard her speak to someone, and suddenly the person she spoke to started getting angry and violent!  The person began hitting things uncontrollably, cursing, and spewing forth all manner of distasteful things!"   

Someone in the crowd yelled, "Burn her - she's a witch!"

"Yes,..." spoke the man again, "...for only a witch could do what she did".

The women that was tied to the pole shook her head, tears flowed down her face, and she tried to speak, but the cloth tied about her face would not allow her words to be heard over the yelling and screaming of the crowd.

Someone in the crowd spoke up, "But how do you know that means she's a witch?"  

The man with the torch stepped forward, "Because, look at what she caused this man to do, she made him go mad!".

"How did she make him go mad?" Asked the same man from the crowd.

"Well, they were playing the shell game.  The woman had a table out.  On it were three cups turned upside down.   The object of the game was for the man to find the cup among the three that hid a pea."

"And?"  

"Well the man chose the wrong cup.   She used witchcraft to trick the man!  She stole his money then!   There was no way for him to win!" 

"That game is played all over this town, and many others, in fact you can play that game right over there in that tavern.  Nobody can win that game.  Only idiots and fools play it.   So how does that make her a witch, I ask again."  said the man in the crowd.

The people fell silent for a bit. 

The leader of the men gave a disgusted look to the man that questioned him.  Then walked before the crowd, glaring at them.   "She spoke to him...it drove him mad.  She cursed him with a spell.  Clearly she is in league with the devil...for only a witch could do such a thing!"  The man stopped.  "If only you could have heard the tormented soul of the man that had been cheated out of his money.  He was in anguish!  Even his wife could not calm him down.   And it is because that witch, with her vile tongue of the devil, spoke to him and drove him mad!  Just her voice alone beguiled him...made him play her game...the man was not of his right mind.   He had no choice!   She is a witch...and we know the law..witches must burn!!!"  He thrust his fist and the hand holding the torch skyward.  "BURN!"

The man in the crowd stepped forward and faced the angry mob.

"First, there is no such law.  In fact we have few laws here.  This is the Kingdom of EVE.  The great Lords of CCP, who rule over EVE have set no such law in place.   So how can we burn this person for being a witch?"

"I am a spokesman for the people!  I am Ripard Teg, I am a CSM! I represent the people.  My word is good enough.  And my word is - this is a witch!  She spoke to this man, took his money, and the man lost his mind...clearly she used a spell to torment him and torture him - why else would he start yelling and screaming all manner of foul distasteful things?"

"Burn her! Burn the witch!"  Yelled the crowd.

"Hold on, are you all crazy, what is with you people?"  He looked at the faces of the people in the crowd.     "Look at what you are doing.  Many people here have played that game, what is the difference between what she did and any number of others have done in this town?  Are they witches, too?"

A man on a bold steed entered the town square.  He jumped from the horse and raced to the CSM, handing him a piece of paper.  Ripard Teg took the paper and read it.   After a moment he held up the paper.  "Word has spread among the other CSM and the great Lords of EVE - CCP.   They have received my message that I sent to them explaining what happened.   They agree, this woman is a witch!"

The man with the torch pushed the man back into the crowd, "Shut up!  You know not of what you speak.  CCP has spoken!  Guards, if he says another word, remove him from the town!"

The man with the torch walked toward the platform.  "This creature...this detestable vile creature isn't even human, she used her witchcraft and tormented that mans poor soul deliberately.  It's the way of the wicked to do such heinous things.  She found pleasure in it.   Only a witch could have done such a thing!"

The crowd yelled, 'Burn her! Burn her!"

The man from the crowd pushed his way past the guard.  "Wait, listen to me...this is wrong, this woman....yes she tricked a man - but what is her crime?  This game is played all over the place.   What is different now?  Because a man is heard yelling and screaming - because he lost a game you cannot win - he has been driven mad, by a...a witch?   That happens all the time here.   People get angry because they lost a game of cards, or the wheel on the cart fell off, or a fox killed one of their chickens.  People get angry and yell.  Listen to all of you...you're yelling and angry now.  Does it make that man a witch?"  He pointed to Ripard Teg.

"Guards!  Take this man away!  He has become beguiled just being in the presents of this witch!  Listen to how he speaks.   She has worked her witchcraft on him, as well!   Take him away!"  The guards grabbed the man and the people began cursing him, and calling him names, as he was drug away.  

"She is not a witch!"  Yelled the man at the crowd.

"Silence him!" 

A guard hit the man on the head knocking him out, then they proceeded to drag him away.

Ripard Teg paced in front of the mob.   "See how powerful she is!  She must be destroyed!  We must burn her!"  He stepped closer to the platform and lowered the torch to the bundles of sticks piled about it.

"WAIT!  WAIT!" yelled the man who had been cursed by the witch - the supposed victim.   The mob parted and he ran past them to face the CSM of the people.  "Why are you doing this?!" he asked him.

Ripard Teg, with hatred on his face, looked at the man, "She cursed you man.  She tortured your soul, tormented it...took your money.  We heard your lamentations.  Only a witch could do that!"

"No,...that is not what happened."

"Yes it is!"  Demanded Ripard Teg.  He stood in front of the man and looked at the crowd and waved the torch in the air, then pointed at the woman.   "She is a vile hideous monster that does the devils work!  She used evil sorcery, to trick this man, stole his money, and made him go mad!  I saw it, these other men saw it.  His wife saw it!  She is a witch, and only a witch could do that!"

"That's not what happened!" Said the man as he pushed past Ripard Teg to face the crowd.  "Listen to me.   That is not what happened.  Yes, I played her game, yes I lost money, and yes I yelled and cursed and spewed forth all manner of foul hateful things...but not on account of what she did to me.  No!  It was because I was tired and upset that I could be so stupid as to gamble away my last farthing.  I thought I could win and double my money...I knew I probably wouldn't win because it is a fools game of chance...but I played anyways.  It's my fault.  I was stupid."

"Lies!  He doesn't know what he says!  The witches curse has truly beguiled him - even now!"

"No! No! That is not true!"

"Shut up!  Speak no more of this.  She tricked and beguiled you, and used her witchcraft to do it...it's the devils work!  Take this man away...and never let him speak of this again! She has twisted this mans mind to the point that he is under her spell - he must be taken away and cleansed of this witches spell."

"But no!  It's not her fault...it's mine I was stupid and foolish!"  The man screamed as two men dragged him away.   "Don't do this!"

"Quit man, we know what she did...she is a witch and she will burn!"

The mob moved forward screaming and throwing all manner of foul rotten things at her.  "Burn her!", they screamed!  "She's a witch!  BURN HER!!!"

With the gleam of the torch in his eyes, Ripard tossed it onto the bundle of sticks.   "Burn you wicked vile creature from hell.  You filthy scum.   Your kind will rot in the bowls of the devil himself!  Burn!"

The bundles burst into flames, fueled by the pitch and the hatred of the mob.   The women struggled to escape her bonds, but it was to no avail.   Soon the flames engulfed her and the fire grew larger.    A column of dark, rancid smoke rose above her piercing the pink and red hues of the sky, as the sun began to set on the distant horizon.   

The mob continued to curse and scream at the burning corpse.    Ripard Teg then turned to the seething crowd of people before him, a smile across his face.  He held up his hands to quite them.   The mob fell silent.  

"We shall make a great sign and post it on main road leading to town.   On it will be written the words: Welcome to Jita - here we burn witches!"  

 

 

 

Keipr Online - The Little Indie Online Sandbox That Could

Posted by Teala Friday January 17 2014 at 7:23AM
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Sometimes I get lucky, and come across a tidbit of news, or article, about a new game in development, imagine my surprise to see an article on a fairly new game I recently discovered on Steam Greenlight called Keipr Online over at Kotaku.    ::sigh::  

Anyway, so Kotaku.com beat me to the punch, and released their article first, that doesn't mean I cannot go ahead and write up my own article, and spread the word about this game here at MMORPG.com.    Besides, that is what this website is all about - MMORPG's!

So, what is Keipr Online?

Well, from what little bit I have been able to scrounge up about his new online MMORPG, it is being developed by a game company called Goon Studios, out of Los Angeles, California.   These bright, brilliant, creative, and ambitious group of developers are gamers out to make a game for gamers, according to them.   They have a small team right now, but I understand they are hiring.   So if you wish to get on board with them and start a career as a game developer, this might be your big chance.   I'll provide a link to their website at the bottom of this article for those of you that are interested.

Anyway, so what is Keipr Online?  Hey...didn't I all ready...let's just contribute it to old age...

Keipr Online, from what I understand is going to be an massively multiplayer online sandbox, first person shooter game - yeah!    Keywords here are sandbox, and first person shooter.   When I read that I was all ready sold.    We've had very few actual sandbox MMO's, and even fewer first person shooter MMORPG's.   So put these two together and I am there.

Next, it seems this game will be very stylized, and when I say stylized....wow, do I mean stylized.    From the artwork, to the game play, it seems Goon Studios is out to break the MMORPG  mold and re-invent it.

The game is being touted as a true open world, sandbox game where players will be able to create a unique character, and then run around a great big world, exploring, discovering, building...well...let Goon Studios describe their own game...with their own words.

"In Keipr Online, you will be taking on the role of a planetary colonist to forge a new civilization with tens of thousands of other players. The game starts as you awaken from cryo sleep in the star ship, known as Keipr, to discover a newly-founded bustling mining town surrounding the crash site. The world is completely open: no mini map, no way-points, and nothing holding you back from where you want to go. In Keipr Online, it’s up to you to decide how to take on the world and your role in society. Will you be a lowly citizen, a bandit, a thief, an assassin, a warrior, a wizard, or maybe even King?

You can stake a claim to land and build anything imaginable, whether it be a business, a fort, an arena, a palace, or even your own town. All you need are the supplies and the human power. If homesteading isn’t for you, try your hand at bounty hunting, build a sea ship to circumnavigate the world in search of new lands, or search for mysteries of the arcane scattered across the globe in perilous dungeons. While adventuring, you may encounter anything from a zombie filled tomb to a colossal walking city or angry, man-eating natives. All of these beautiful experiences are spread across a giant, persistent globe filled with a massive amount of other players that can help or hinder your progress at any time.

Keipr Online also provides a set of tools to create your own ideas in the world. Do you imagine castle sieges, aerial battles, alien invasions, submarines or space ships to scavenge resources on remote planets? Gamers will be able to vote on these ideas to become available publicly. As a modder, you can contribute your skill set in adding vast technologies and advances to the world itself. You can literally be the Einstein of Keipr’s society!"

Games background story seems a little like Wildstar, but because this game is a sandbox and a first person shooter, I do not think that will hurt it too much, and that is pretty much where the similarities end.    It does sound cool though.   Sounds like a cross between an FPS, MMORPG, Minecraft, and Age of Empires.   Does that sound really cool or what?

One of the things that comes up when I say stylized, is the whole thing is being done in cell shader type art.  Yeah...like an anime or a cartoon.    How cool is that?   I know some people may hate this, but I think this is so very cool.  Sorta like Samurai Jack stuff, or the game Journey on the Playstation 3.  Remember how beautiful that game was?  I suspect this one will have it's beautiful moments as well if it is anything like Journey.

Here is some artwork of the game to show you what I am talking about.

 

And here is some of the character artwork.  If the in game characters look anything like what we see in these images(and from indications it is), this game will be quite unique and very beautiful to look at. 

Here is a link to a cell shader test from inside the game engine.   Remember this is still a work in progress.

I know some people maybe be turned off by the stylized anime/cartoon, cell shader, artwork depicted in this game, but I for one think it is beautiful.   If the creators can pull this off, Keipr Online will be one of the most unique MMORPG's on the market.   Not just because it is a sandbox and a first person shooter, but because it has an art style that will stand the test of time.  

Oh, and the game will come with a built in modder so game players can contribute to the creation to the game once it is released.   Of course I am sure the developers will have a final say as to what is and isn't acceptable - it is still cool that we gamers might be able to make and create things that will be in an online game that everyone can partake of - something like Second Life or Planet Calypso of the Entropia Universe. 

As for what else we know or don't know.   The game, I understand, was conceived in 2012.  It made its first appearance on the web back in spring of 2013.    There is no news as to when the game might be released, but I would suspect this is a 2015 or 2016 game.   So there is also no news as to when it will be in alpha, beta or any kind of released date.  There is also no word on if this is a free to play game, buy to play game, or if it will have a subscription.   With the ambitious of the games developers, I am thinking around spring of 2016.   Which is cool.   We have other games like Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen and EQ Next just around the corner.  So these should tie us over until then.

One thing is for certain, this indie game could be the game that rejuvenates the slowly dying MMORPG genre.   If there is one this this genre needs, it needs new game designers, with new ideals, with big dreams, who are gamers at heart, that want to make MMORPG's that are big and bold, open and spectacular, and totally epic.    Keipr Online might just be that game.    Keipr Online might just be the little Indie Online Game that could.

 

If you wish to stay up with this games progress there are a number of websites you can visit.   The main website also has the job offers.  Here are those links.

Goon Studios Main Website

Keipr Facebook Page

Steam Greenlight Page

 

War Thunder - Good Luck, Good Hunting - Tally Ho!

Posted by Teala Friday January 10 2014 at 12:24PM
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I have been holding off writing about this game for a long time.   It is one of the games I have become somewhat attached to recently - sort of a go to game for some fun.   However, the more I play it the more I realized the game, that has lots of potential, just continues to take a steeper nose dive, and I think the last patch(patch 1.37) caused compression that not even Gaijin may not recover from.

I’m not going to come right out and proclaim that this game will crush and burn, but if Gaijin continues down the path they currently are - I think they will be hard pressed to stop it.

You may ask why I would say this.  Well...I will tell you, but first let me give you a thorough write up on what War Thunder is all about.   Also, consider this a review - this is not a preview.   Yes, War Thunder is in open beta(at least that is what Gaijin Entertainment calls it), but as many of you who know me(from reading previous write ups of mine) I consider a game released if the company starts charging for services.  Gaijin does this.   You can spend money on this game and even have a premium account.   True beta’s don't charge any money.   This game has released(it’s even available for download on Steam), and as such I will be treating it as a released title.

“Well Kristi...can you at least give us some details about the game you’re blabbering about, all ready?”

Sure, sure...I am getting to it.   I just had to get a couple of things straight up front before I really start getting into it, because I want to make it perfectly clear, and understood, where I am coming from so that some people don’t get their panties all in a big wad telling me - “the game is in beta - give Gaijin some time.”

So, do your pre-flight, then climb into the cockpit, strap yourself in good and tight.  Then prepare to take to the skies, for this is War Thunder!



War Thunder, first off, is a very ambitious title of an online game being developed by Gaijin Entertainment.   Gaijin Entertainment is a game developer out of Russia that is no stranger to the world of games.   Though they are a fairly young company, established in 2002, Gaijin has all ready made a name for it self in the PC and Console markets with released games - such as: Birds of Steel, Wings of Prey, IL-2 Stormovik: Wings of Prey, X-Blaades, Braveheart and many other various titles.   

The game itself will eventually be about...you guessed it - war.   Duh...but...when I say war...I mean WAR!  Rawr  As in tanks, planes, ships...the whole enchilada.   The game itself falls under the category of combat simulator.   I’ll say more about this a little later - the simulator stuff, that is.

Right now, however, the title is mostly about the planes of war - most notably the planes that were used in World War II and the Korean War.  Tanks have just been added, but they are brand new and not part of the main game as of yet.  They are still separate, and use their own maps, and in closed beta.   So we’re not going to be discussing them or the ships since neither of them are available to the gaming public in general - this write up is about the aircraft side of the game.

What War Thunder does have right now though is impressive.   With over 186 planes to choose from, planes that belonged to 6 nations(5 which are playable), that makes for a lot of different battle scenarios.    

You can fly the infamous Spitfire or the BF 109 E-3 in the Battle of Britain, or jump in a jet, like and F86 Sabre, and fly a combat mission over Mig Alley against the Mig 15.   They also have more than just fighters in this game, but bombers as well.  So if flying a fighter isn’t your cup of tea, and you would rather bomb your way to victory...you can pick one of many bombers that are available, like the Lancaster bomber, or the B-17.    The one thing this game offers is variety and War Thunders has it is spades.

Note: As of right now, only a couple of light bombers have cockpit views.   Unlike fighters, which offer not only isometric 3D over the shoulder view, but also, in cockpit views(which by the way is extremely immersive if you are into that type of thing).  

Speaking of playable nations, in War Thunder, you can chose amongst the 5 major powers of WWII; like the allies, United States, Britain, Russia, or fly for one of the Axis powers Germany, and Japan.   

Each nations planes have strengths and weaknesses, and Gaijin attempts to make the aircraft behave in flight(what is known as the aircrafts flight model) as they really would have.   And when I say attempt...well...let’s just say...there are good planes and their are bad planes.   I’ll dig deeper into flight models later because it is one of the things that is hotly debated among the players and the developers.   Needless to say...since the game is made by a Russian based game company...flight models for certain planes are a bit supernatural for one particular nation.

Gaijin also gives players plenty of options with which to control the aircraft.   You can use a standard mouse and keyboard, a joystick, a joystick and rudder control foot pedals(like a real plane), joystick, rudder control, and throttle control(even more like a real aircraft), or a console type game pad.   The game can also make use of head tracking systems like IRTrack, and of course the soon to be released virtual gaming headgear Oculus Rift.

Now, from my experience, the best way to play depends on what game mode you are playing.   I’ll be discussing the game modes later, and with it the different player controls.   The game modes are very unforgiving and favor certain game control styles.   

One cool thing about War Thunder is the game is totally free to play.   You really don’t have to spend a dime to play it, though you will most likely decide to in the long run if you really want to progress in the game at a steady pace.    Having a premium account will allow you to gain rewards faster...and this of course allows you to get into higher ranked planes as you progress.

Think of it as leveling in your typical MMO.   The higher you level, the more planes you can fly and get into.   

The games planes are broken up into what is known as “Era’s”.  Era’s let players know when that plane first came into service.  Inside each Era is a set of planes that were known to have been in service for that time.    Planes are also ranked based on performance.   So it can be a little confusing, since some planes that should be in Era 1 plane listing are found in Era 2 listing due to the planes overall “battle rating”(aka performance rating).   I don’t understand this myself, since Gaijin promotes the game as being a historically accurate online flight sim - when clearly it is not...for the most part.  Though I will say it is less arcadie like than a major game competitor(World of Warplanes by Wargaming.net - makers of World of Tanks) in this online flight sim market.


There are 3 main modes of game play in War Thunder: Arcade Mode, Realistic Battle Mode, and Simulator Mode.   The “Arcade Mode" game mode plays exactly like it sounds...like an arcade game.   You are tossed into a world map with upwards of 32 players - 16 vs 16.   Each map has different task that players most perform in order to when a game match.   For instance one map might be a ground attack task map, where whichever team destroys the opposing teams ground targets first wins.   Another map might be capture the flag type game, but in this case, the players capture a base and then must keep the opposing team from taking control of it...the longer you control the base, the more points your team gets until one team wins.   You also have unrealistic flight models, auto reloading(no need to land at bases to reload), and planes can take a lot more damage.   This mode is very fast paced and very unpredictable.   In this mode you may encounter planes that can be two and three ranks different.   That means, that you might be in a early bi-plane with two guns, going up against a faster mono-plane that has four guns and two cannons.   What can I say...that is how Gaijin does it.

As I mentioned earlier, what method of game control you use makes a huge difference in the various modes, and I highly recommend using a mouse and keyboard for the arcade mode.   The planes flight models are so jacked up and unrealistic in arcade mode that using a joystick in this mode against a player using a mouse and keyboard will just frustrate you.

Don’t even bother with a game controller in War Thunder - they suck in every mode(unless you are playing the PS4 version of the game - then it tends to work OK).  

Realistic Battle Mode is a game mode that tries to re-enact actual battles or realistic battle situations that occurred during WWII and the Korean War.   This mode also includes game maps that are called “alternate history maps” and “training mission maps”(I’ll explain these two shortly).   RB mode includes game maps from the Battle of Britain, Battle of the Bulge, Berlin, Guadalcanal, and Midway.    The match making system can screw these “realistic battles” up more times than not, and that can have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.   When I say match making, what I am referring to is the system the game uses to place your plane into a game that fits the battle and Era that plane was present in during WWII.   It rarely gets it right as you get into the higher ranked planes.   It’s just something you’ll have to deal with because Gaijin doesn’t seem interested in trying to make this mode all the historically accurate(even though this mode use to be called historical battle mode).   For instance, there were no Spitfires present at the Battle of Midway...but you may find yourself flying a Spitfire at the Battle of Midway, or you might be flying in the Battle of Britain in a F6F Hellcat...which of course was not there.   Maybe someday Gaijin will fix this, but I do not see that happening anytime soon.   So as a player, you just have to deal with it.

I would highly recommend a joystick for this mode.   It will take practice to get good with a joystick, but I can tell you from my own experience that a joystick in RB mode beats a mouse and keyboard player due to the fact that the joystick control allows you more control of your plane.  In other words, you can make your plane do things with a joystick, that a mouse and keyboard player cannot do.    The good news is though, a mouse and keyboard can still hold there own in RB mode, but you’re at a bit of a disadvantage compared to a joystick user.

Then there is what is known as “Simulator Mode”.    This can be a very challenging mode and I only recommend it if you have at a minimum, a joystick and IRTrack system.   It is best to have a joystick, rudder control system, throttle control and IRTrack - because then you have ultimate control and as realistic flight model as you will ever encounter.   You really have to be into flight sims to become good at this level of the game.   This game mode also does a better job at match making.   The big difference between this mode and the other two...there are no markers for enemy planes, positions, or ground vehicles.   You have to know what you are looking for and looking at in order to get anywhere in this game mode.   In other words...there will be no names above targets.    You have to identify them by sight alone.   I would at least play RP mode for a bit before even attempting the simulator mode.   Get use to using a joystick and flying from the cockpit view of the plane - because that is what Simulator Mode is all about...it puts you in the cockpit of the plane and all the gauges and displays will tell you how your plane is operating.   Though you can have a couple of things on your game UI HUD like airspeed and altitude.   There is also no lead aiming reticle - you have to use your aiming pip on your aircrafts dash and then you have to also learn where to place it before you shoot in order to even hit your target.    This will take practice.   Learning to gauge distance, target speed and lead time is critical in a dogfight.   So as I said...play in RB mode, use a joystick and go full control, with IRTrack, at a minimum, before heading to Simulator Mode. 

Alternate History Maps are just as it sounds...alternate history.   In these maps, you will see what might have happened if the war had been played out differently.  For instance in one map, you might see British and US fighting Russians.  Or maybe US, Germany fighting the Russians.   Be aware that in these maps...things can get really borked up, not only due to balance issues, but match making as well.

Training Mission Maps are, again, just like they sound - training maps.   These maps toss allied planes against allied planes.   So for instance you might see British plains vs US planes.    Again, be aware that sometimes match making can have a impact on these maps and you might see a wide variety of planes from different ranks.

 
There is one more mode I’ll mention and this is called an EVENT.   Event modes are by far the best modes in War Thunder - in my opinion.   This is where Gaijin gets it right 90% of the time, especially in the RB and Sim Mode.   In the RB and Sim mode, you will only see planes that were actually in a particular battle, and battles are recreated as accurately as possible(within the limit of the games capacity).   For instance, let’s take the Battle of Britain.   They have an EVENT called, “the Hardest Day”.    This recreates the the air battle during the Battle of Britain that took place on August 18th, 1940.    In this battle, you’ll only see planes that actually fought during that battle, and if you fly it in RB you’ll get a pretty accurate version of what occurred that day.   EVENT’s are only offered for 24hrs at a lime and then they change to a new map.   So one day you might have a Battle of Midway Event, the next day(24hrs later) it will switch to Guadalcanal or maybe the Battle of the Bulge.   And as I said, these Event’s is where War Thunder really shines...and if you are a fan of history and airplanes...you’ll love this mode.   I know it is my favorite and I play them as often as I can.

Also, there are single player campaigns you can play through as well as custom mission maps made by players, and custom campaigns created by players.   The custom player maps I would be watchful of because sometimes these maps have allow Korean Era jets to be pitted against bi-planes.   It is no brainer to guess which plane is fodder and which is not in this situation.   Personally, I just stay away from custom maps and campaigns unless I know the person that made it.

Single player campaigns like the “Pacific Campaign” can be bought separately and played offline.   

The games music score is decent.   Not anything to write home about, but it can set the mood for the game.  So no need to stay on this topic for very long.   It is what it is and with the main theme of the game being war, the music has the typical sound to it that is distinctively identified with soldiers marching off to war and such.

The sounds in this game are just frikking awesome.   No honestly...when you start up the Spitfire or the BF 109's engines, they sound like the real thing.   Add to that the sound of the various weapons, the wind, and other little noises you might hear while flying an aircraft and Gaijin gets another A+ for effort.    Dude...let me tell you, it can make your palms sweat when you are flying through a mass of flak from the AA guns over an airfield or a city.   You can actually hear some shells fly by.  And when they explode near you, you can hear the the shrapnel falling onto your plane like little pebbles on a car hood.   It can get pretty intense.

 

 
Now for the graphics.

One thing I have no issues with regarding this game is it’s graphics.   Then again, it is not your typical MMO and has no need for overwhelming character graphics or architecture.   However, the graphics it does have - did I tell you I want a Spitfire!  Gaijin did a fantastic job modeling the planes and their graphics for them are just awesome.   When you look at the planes...they look gorgeous.   Being a fan of all types of aircraft and having done my share of reading about aircraft and their development - Gaijin gets an A+ for the effort they have put into making the aircraft look as authentic as they could.   From the chipped paint due to weathering - to the oil streaks on the cowling’s...this Gaijin got right.

I’ve always had a thing for Spitfires, and I just love how the Spitfire looks in this game.  I know it is a weapon of war, but...I dunno, there is just something so beautiful about the look of certain aircraft, and the Spitfire have these graceful lines and curves that make you think it is more than just a piece of equipment or a vehicle - it is a work of art.  A work of art that you can fly.   A work of art that is as deadly as it is beautiful.    Oh and did I mention how fun it is to control this aircraft in game?   Oh I will...just keep reading!  ::huge grin::


Another thing that I find impressive is the ability to customize the look of your aircraft.   You can add decals, nose art, and enemy kill markers to your aircraft - just as they did long ago.   Though it is something you can’t just do, at least Gaijin gives you options to do this, either through earning it with accomplishments in game, or buying it with the games form of currency - Golden Eagles.  

One note of contention regarding customization is planes can be upgraded.   You can add better engines, engine parts, guns, and such.  You do this via research.   You earn what is called research points(or RP).  Before patch 1.37 we earned and used Silver Lions to upgrade and buy planes.   Patch 1.37 changed this and Silver Lions are used primarily for reloading, repairing and buying new aircraft in a tech tree.   RP is used to research planes and to upgrade them.    With the new system it can be slow going because you do not earn as much RP as we use to earn Silver Lions.   This has been another thorn in the side of the game that has really annoyed and frustrated many of the players.    There are many threads with hundreds of pages discussing this on the main forum.   Gaijin doesn't seem to care or be very interested in making any reasonable adjustments to this new system.   So be aware that once you hit the upper ranks in planes, it can be quite a grind to earn RP at a reasonable rate - especially in the RP and SB modes of the game.

Back to the graphics.

From the cliffs of Dover to the Island of Malta, the land graphics for the maps are impressive, too.   Gaijin must have spent a lot of time going over old maps and pictures to accurately display the locations that you’ll be flying and fighting over, because I am telling you...it is awesome.   The view distances in this game are incredible and at height...you can easily get taken in an immersed into this games settings.    Oh, and this game has some of the best weather and cloud effects, I have ever seen in any MMO.   Sunsets can be spectacles of gold, red, and pink hues so vivid you think you’re looking at a real sunset.   Just beautiful.

One thing I wish Gaijin would add is contrail’s.  One of the most iconic sights during the Battle of Britain were the contrail’s left behind from the bombers and fighters at high altitudes above the English country side.   It was rare that the planes didn’t leave them on those cold September days when the planes were dog fighting at altitudes above 4k meters.   It would just add to the over all immersive feeling of the game experience.   


Now let’s talk about game play.   This can be a hit or miss.   I say this because of one reason - the way the game puts matches or battles together in the general game modes(not the EVENTS I mentioned early).  As I stated before the game is broken up into different game modes.   In the arcade game modes you will face aircraft from all the nations and depending on the rank of the planes in your hanger/s, this will determine the other ranks of the planes you’ll face in any given battle.   For instance, if you have  ranked 1 planes in your hanger/s, you will most likely encounter planes that are ranked the same or near to it - at least that is the ideal.   But what works on paper doesn’t always work in reality - and that is one of the major drawbacks to Gaijin’s system of match making(or MM) in War Thunder.

This is a huge thorn in the side of the game right now and a major issue with the players and the developers.   The players say it sucks...Gaijin says it is working as intended.   Well, I have to side with the majority of players on this issue, because nothing sucks worse than to be in a WWII era prop plane and facing Korean War era jets.    Or, flying a rank one bi-plane and facing planes that are nearly twice as fast with twice the armament.  20mm cannons make bi-planes go all explody and can make for a miserable game experience - and more often than not - this happens a lot in War Thunder.   Trust me on this.  When you take into consideration the flight models of some planes and then add to that the difference in overall performance, getting a bad match is almost a given.   

Back before Gaijin’s latest patch(patch 1.37 - a patch that almost single handedly took this game back to what many would consider an alpha state), the games match making was notoriously fickle and amusingly mean at times - it was nothing compared to what we see now.    Now...it is no longer amusing...it is just down right mean and ugly - especially in the higher ranks(ranks 3 and 4).

At ranks three and four, it is not uncommon to face planes that just outright do not belong facing one another in a dogfight.   And as I stated before, add to that that some of the flight models are in need of major tweaking and you’ll be pulling your hair out in no time with frustration because its as if the game just loves to cause you grief.  

Speaking of flight models - be aware - this game was made by a Russian based gaming company and there is some serious bias toward certain planes in the game.   Anyone that has played War Thunder knows what I am talking about - I’ll just say, if you fly bi-planes beware of the Chaika.   In fact, just be ready to deal with many planes that are extremely OP from this nation.   

If I had to least best performing planes to the worse performing planes in game as I write this, this is how my list would look.

Russian
German
Japanese
Britain
United States

I know some people will disagree with me on this, but from my experience, this is how I see it.   Oh and just how bad is the US planes in this game?  It is sad that the most highly sought  US plane is not even a US plane!  It is a British plane.   The Spitfire.   You can purchase what is called a Premium Spitfire IX and fly it for the US.   It is without a doubt the best prop plane you can get in the American tech tree.   Most US planes flight models are borked to hell and gone and resemble nothing like the actual planes that flew in WWII.   I’ll mention the P38 as a prime example of US planes that are borked.   Players have for months been asking Gaijin to fix this planes flight model and Gaijin refuses to budge on it.   They say their data sheets they are using are accurate and are the sheets they use to create the fight model of the P38 - yet refuse to show the players these data sheets they are using.   Players have dug up the planes actual performance data sheets and compared them with the way the way the P38 handles in game and it is nothing like what the data sheets say the plane should behave.   That is how it is with most of the planes in the US tech tree.   So be aware of this.  Certain nations planes have questionable flight models and some are just outright wrong.  

Despite this...if you are good at FPS and are also an avid flight simmer, you might still do well in War Thunder.   It is very unforgiving to noobs, but for experienced FPS gamers and flight sim people - you’re going to love this game despite its serious short comings when it comes to flight models and plane performance.

That is why even if a plane is a little under-performing, in its flight model, a good player can make it seem like the plane is OP as hell.   This comes down to player skill.   Not everyone can take a BF109 and do good with it.  Others however, make it seem like that plane is evincible.   It is all about player skill in the long run.   Good planes that have good flight models with a good player controlling them...they are untouchable.  Sure you might get a lucky shot and shoot one of these planes down, but more often than not...its you that are a streaking pile of flaming wreckage falling out of the sky.    Trust me on this...either you are good at this game or you are not.   You can practice and get good, but that will take you some time, but truth be told not everyone is cut out for FPS type gaming.   War Thunder is a very unforgiving game to the inexperienced.   If you do practice and get good, it can be a very rewarding game experience.   I personally love this game, despite all its problems, I just love the challenge of being good at this game, and War Thunder, in a lot of ways reminds me of Mount and Blade in that - it challenges you like no other FPS. 


The main draw to this game though right now is the planes and the dog fighting, and this game delivers - in Aces(no pun intended).   Truly, this game succeeds at bringing dog fighting, flight sim, from the single player experience to the multi-player like no other game on the market right now.    I’ve played my share of combat flight sims, but never have I experienced the thrill of flight and dog fighting like I have in this game.   Every time I sign in and then wait for a match to start my heart starts to beat a little faster and my stomach gets little butterflies.   I really, truly, love this type of game play.  It pits one players skills against another in a way most other games fail to do.  Maybe that is why I am drawn to it.   It is the air warrior in me that says, grab your gear, suit up, climb into the cockpit of a suped up aircraft and find an opponent worthy of a good challenge.  Only one of us will come out the winner - and if I have my way, that will be me.

BTW - there are many great planes to experience in this game War Thunder, but in my opinion, the one plane that stands out from them all is the Spitfire.   Truly an exceptional plane.  It was a great plane for real in WWII and it is a great plane in War Thunder if you know how to properly control it.   Sure you can fly one of the better planes in game that is faster and has more fire power, but let me tell you something - none of that matters when it comes to the agility and pure smooth controls of the Spitfire.   As a real Spitfire pilot once said in an interview, you don’t fly a Spitfire, you wear it and it becomes one with you.   It is this way in the game as well.   

I had the opportunity to play War Thunder using an Oculus Rift and I swear...I felt as though I was in the cockpit.  Short of the smell and the actual g-forces you might feel from actually flying, the Oculus Rift does a great job at making you feel like you are there.   The next best thing to this is a good monitor, a joystick, rudder control pedals, thrust control and IRTrack 5, but nothing can touch the experience of the Oculus Rift.     


Here are a few tips for the new Sprog.   

Learn a few basic ACM’s(air combat maneuvers), like the Immelmann, the split-s, and the hammerhead.    You can practice these maneuvers by test flying planes you have access to.    I highly recommend doing this, and if you are going to use a joystick this is a great way to get a feel for how the aircraft behave.   Just learning to take off with full controls can be a task in itself.    Single prop aircraft tend to turn left and nose over as you begin to gain speed to take off.   You’ll have to adjust for the torque of the engine to keep your plane from nosing over and flipping.   Which is a common occurrence for new pilots who use a joystick.   Gaijin has a great example of many ACM’s you can use in game  - here is a link.  

Air Combat Maneuvers Page: War Thunder Website

Another tip.   In Realistic Battles and Simulator Battles, you have limited ammo.   So use burst shots.   Don’t spray and pray.  Make every shot count.   Holding down the trigger will cause your guns to either overheat or possibly jam and the bigger the gun the more likely it will jam or you’ll just run out of ammo quicker.   So burst shots.   You can aim at specific parts of planes.    Unlike some FPS games, Gaijin has done a great job at how damage is recorded and detected in game.   You can target cockpits, engines, wings, tails, gunners...so just a few well placed shots can cause some serious damage if you hit a plane in the right area.   If you do run out of ammo or your guns get jammed.   Make a B-line back to base to re-arm.   You do not have to do this in arcade mode, however,  just simply hit the proper key on your keyboard to do it, but in RB and SB, you must land.   So remember that.

Here are the basic pro’s and con’s of the game again.

Pro:

  • Great Graphics
  • Great Sound
  • Online Multi-player Air Combat Sim
  • Large Selection of Planes To Fly
  • Semi-Historical Recreations of World War II History That You Can Experience
  • Free To Play


Con:
  • Balance Issues
  • Flight Model Issues
  • In Game Reward Issues
  • Developers Seem Biased
  • Broken Match Making
  • Developers Tend To Ignore Playerbase Concerns

If you can put up with this games cons, War Thunder is a great, fun, little game with a lot of potential.   The developers have put their sights on making it one of the best online combat war sims, and if they can pull it off, and work out the kinks...War Thunder will be one of the best free to play games on the Internet.  
 
Added bonus!  Yeah!  Here is a little tutorial I put together for those wannabe Naval Aviators about the proper way to land on an aircraft carrier.   It takes you step by step with easy to follow instructions.
 
 
Oh, and here are some in game videos I made so that you might get a better feel for how the game plays.   Enjoy!
 

Get into War Thunders Ground Forces Beta!

Posted by Teala Wednesday November 13 2013 at 11:40PM
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Gaijin Entertainment made an announcement that they are going to be opening the ground forces beta for War Thunder this Dec 3rd.   Found out how to get a spot.   Read their announcement here.   Click Image!

 

Dear Bill Murphy - A rebuttal to his column: Bringing In The Non-MMO Gamer

Posted by Teala Tuesday September 24 2013 at 7:21PM
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Dear Bill;

I do not know how to say this without rolling my eyes after reading your latest column about Elder Scrolls Online: "Bringing In The Non-MMO Gamer", here on MMORPG.com.  Seriously.   After all the years of you being in this business, and knowing the history of MMORPG's, you wrote that column as if you are a total noob to the industry.   ::sigh::

Ugh...let's start from the simple knowledge that the MMORPG genre is filled to the brim with bad games and over the years we've seen countless games with big names fail - and fail big.  So that is your first mistake.  Thinking that the popularity of the IP will somehow get people to play it.   One thing this genre has shown us over the years is that an IP's popularity is not going to get people to buy and play it.    Here are just a few examples.

  • Sims Online - this IP's popularity is unquestionable - yet it failed to pull in the numbers and died.  (Yes Sims still holds the record for the most box units ever sold for a video game franchise - ever).
  • Matrix Online - despite its movie popularity the online game crashed and burned.
  • Warhammer - another popular gaming franchise known by millions of gamers - closing down before the end of the year. 
  • Lord of the Rings Online - big IP, huge IP, probably the biggest IP to ever be made into an MMORPG, and yet it never managed to draw in the numbers Turbine was hoping for - eventually it had to go free to play to stay afloat - just barely.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic - LotR's is huge, but there is not a kid or many adults on this planet that haven't heard of Star Wars - this game become known as the Tortanic for a reason.
So yeah...counting on an IP's popularity to sell your game is one thing, but if that game isn't a great game right out of the chute - it just isn't going to make it.  All indications of what we know about ESO is that it is no Skyrim and it certainly isn't a TES game.   Nope...sorry, the IP alone will not make this game great.
 
Then we come to the selling factor that this game is being made not just for PC gamers, but for console gamers as well.   Sorry to laugh. 
 
LMFAO!  
 
If Zinamax and Matt Firor honestly think that console gamers will play their game for years to come...they don't know their market.   Console gamers are notoriously ADD.   Game publishers cannot even keep them playing games all ready on the market long enough before they(the gamers) are out looking for the next game.   Yes, FPS games do have people playing them for countless months, but that is only until something bigger and better comes along - plus FPS games like Call of Duty and Battlefield are not MMORPG's.  So we won't even count them - because they are not the gamers that Zenimax are marketing toward.  They want the MMORPG players and the fans of TES, and especially Skyrim.  I seriously doubt many console players of Skyrim still play it.  
 
Which brings us to the MMORPG PC market.   A market over flowing with MMORPG's, many of which are just hanging on by their teeth...and that includes free to play ones.    Now Zenimax is going to bring us a new fantasy MMORPG based on the Elder Scrolls(but isn't the Elder Scrolls based on what we know so far) and if Matt Firor thinks that slapping the name Elder Scrolls on his game is going to sell it to the MMORPG gamers - he is on some really bad mind altering chemicals that he should stay far away from.    If console gamers have ADD - MMORPG players are worse.
 
MMORPG gamers are not casual gamers.   Of all the gamers on the market, MMORPG gamers are like locust.  They get the latest game, and eat its contents up - faster than the Artful Dodger could pick your pockets, or Oliver and the boys of the Old Strand Workhouse ate their porridge.   We've seen it countless times, in countless MMORPG's, where players go through the content, and before the developer can get the first patch in for bugs and fixes, the players are begging for more content.  "Please, sir, may I have some more?"
 

 

And if we look at what Matt has planned for ESO, you the player will only see 1/3rd of the games content - which means even less content for you.   Unless of course you want to fall prey to his SWTOR selling point crap that if you wish to see all the content, just make a new character for one of the other factions.
 
Which then brings me to this.
 
It didn't work for SWTOR and other games - it isn't going to somehow magically work for Elder Scrolls either.    If you force people to have to endure making more than one character to see the content of your game - it is going to fail and fail hard.  People tend to play one character(it is known as their main character), only after they have played their main to some degree will they make a new one, and then, not necessarily to play new content - but to try something new.    In all my time playing DAoC I never played Midgard, and never played for Albion.  Can't even tell you what those two lands major cities look like.   I played as a Hibernian - Ranger and a Cleric.   Ranger was my main and my Cleric was something I ran when I wanted to do something different.    Same for any game I have played.   I played WoW for years and never played an Alliance character - ever.   All my characters were Blood Elf, and I played my main a Huntress the most.   I am loyal to my character - not some faction.
 
Know what  the difference between WoW and Elder Scrolls is?   WoW has an open world.   No lines in the dirt stopping me from exploring.   Elder Scrolls - lines in the dirt.   For that alone WoW is a better game and if I were asked which game I would suggest a new non-MMORPG gamer play  for the first time - I'd point them to WoW.
 
And that brings me to this...
 
...Matt Firor also thinks that he can copy Blizzards success with faction loyalty(Horde vs Alliance) by having players jump around playing the other factions.   So tell me Matt how does having to switch races and factions and forcing me to create a whole new character build loyalty?   Clearly he is clueless on why people play the race and characters they do and it has nothing to do with loyalty to a faction.   Because if I had my way, I would have defected with my Blood Elf to the Alliance when Garrosh took control of the Horde in World of Warcraft.   I do not play a character for the faction - I play the character for who it is and what it is.   I played a Blood Elf because I liked them.  I played a Hunter because I liked that class.  I could have cared less if it were Horde or Alliance...at the time my Blood Elf was for the Horde, but as I said, after Garrosh came to power - I'd gladly switch sides and join the Alliance.
 
Forcing artificial alliances between races in TES is just stupid, and he is only doing it so he can put in what will ultimate fail as RvR.   That topic however is for a whole other article - which I will be putting up a little later on why Zinemax's Elder Scrolls Online as a game  is doomed to fail.
 
So yeah...not going to happen - ESO is dead before it even launches if Zinemax releases it as the mess they intend to release.
 
Now we come to this games other so-called big selling point - PvP/RvR.   Yeah...hello!  Did I just wake up in some bizarro alternate gaming genre where PvP has been a big selling point of MMORPG's?   MMORPG players are not exactly huge fans of PvP, not even controlled and limited PvP.    Sure there are lots of MMORPG's that offer PvP in some manner, but the number of actual players that participate in that aspect of the game is never in great numbers.   
 
Matt Firor is still thinking it is 2001 and he is releasing DAoC.    Well sorry Matt, that was then and this is now.   Back then, DAoC succeeded not because of of the PvP or RvR, it succeeded because there were only two other titles it was competing with:  EverQuest and Asheron's Call.   Some MMORPG gamers were looking for something different and DAoC fit the bill.   It was an MMORPG with a twist - it had built in PvP and or RvR.    It was different, and it was new, and one of a couple of games available for online RPG players.
 
Now let's look at today's market.   No MMORPG launches without some form of PvP, but is that what gets people to buy and play it?   If it is, than Warhammer should still be going strong!   Oh wait...that is right, game is shutting the servers off on Dec 18th of this year - RvR didn't save Warhammer.   If PvP is what sells MMORPG's than games like GW2 would be packed with players, Rift wouldn't have gone free to play, Aion would still be big, Age of Conan would not be merging the last of their servers, and games like Darkfall:Unholy Wars and Planetside 2(and PS2 is free to play!) would be blockbusters.   Yeah...PvP certainly sells games...not.
 
I am sorry Bill, but Elder Scrolls will not make new MMORPG players.   Not the way World of Warcraft did.    Elder Scrolls is all ready shooting itself in the foot, the hand, the stomach, and the head due to the way they are making the game play.   Sure...they will sell maybe a couple of million copies, but not to the people that he thinks.   Console gamers hate monthly fees.   If they have to pay for the service, and then also subscribe - lol - forget it, you can count them out.   No the ones that will buy it are the locust of the MMORPG genre.   The ones that buy any piece of fey wu game and then abandon it when they get bored.   Then, like many MMORPG's before it, Elder Scrolls will fade slowly into the abyss of bad games.
 
That is Elder Scrolls fate - it is all ready written - because Matt and company have learned nothing about what makes a good MMORPG(despite all the failed games they could have learned from), and the definitely do not know what made TES: Skyrim the great game it is and why it was so successful. 
 
Yes I do have a crystal ball.   Yes I am that accurate in my predictions for games.    But hey, don't take my word for it, just watch and see.
 
 
Stay tuned for my next entry - Elder Scrolls Online: Why it is the next big title that is doomed to fail.   :)  
 
 
 

Skyrim - still kicking arse in the gaming verse!

Posted by Teala Sunday September 15 2013 at 8:30PM
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Amazing...12+ million copies sold

...game is almost 2 years old and is still going strong and still selling.   Why?   Because Bethesda got it right.   They gave people a game that is timeless and will no doubt be played for years and years to come.   I'm going to say it again, and keep saying it, to whomever will listen - this is how an RPG should be done.   Open world, no restrictions, with tons of content(with the option to add content as you go).    Of all the games I have ever played Skyrim is almost my perfect game.

I say almost because the one thing I wish Bethesda had given us is co-op game play.   If they had done this...MMORPG's as we know it would probably be dead or would at least have taken a huge hit.   A co-op version of Skyrim would be the perfect computer RPG.   

Think about it.   It would be like that perfect vision of a computer based dungeon master I am sure many RPG gamers dreamed of when they were younger.  I know I did.   TES Skyrim is, for me, that vision.   With Skyrim I can have hundreds of hours of adventuring in a make believe world of dungeons and dragons.    

With the ability to mod and add adventures - I see me still playing Skyrim years down the road - at least until Bethesda releases the full world version of TES Tamriel - with full immerssive graphics in 4k.    Well I can dream can't I?

Back to the topic at hand - why does Skyrim kick so much arse?   I have played countless computer RPG games, many since Skyrim's release and none have come close to the level of Skyrim.   Skyrim is a 12 while the others barely score a 7 on a scale of 1-10.   I know...but the scale only goes to 10...so how can Skyrim score a 12?  Because this is my blog and I say it does.  

Let's talk graphics.   I'll just let Skyrim's speak for themselves.  

Seen enough yet?  No...ok then...bam!

I know right...still not enough to convince you...then how about these?

Graphics aren't everything - but frakking "fus ro dah" - tell me graphics like this don't help with immersion - go on - I'm listening.  In the mean time - here's a few more pieces of gaming eye candy for your enjoyment.

No...but seriously, name me one computer RPG that is as rich graphically and stunningly beautiful on the scale that is Skyrim.   If you have played a computer RPG with better graphics tell me what game it is I'd really like to know.   Seriously, the graphics in Skyrim are mind blowing awesome.  

Now I know some people are wondering how you can get such rich graphics in Skyrim.  You can, if your computer can handle the graphics levels that  the game is capable of putting out.   With a few mods to enhance the graphics and a little tweaking the game is incredibly beautiful and none...none of these screenshots do it justice.   You have to play it on a good monitor, with all the bells and whistles turned on to see TES Skyrim in its full glory.   And yes - graphics are important in a game like this - it helps draw you into its magical world of dragons, demons and sorcerers.    It's like taking part in a fantasy movie and you're the main character.   That is how a game should be and wow...Bethesda nailed it with their game.

What else makes Skyrim a game that game developers can learn from?  It's openness and scalability.  I have never played a game that was so open.   You can literally go where you want and never not find something to do.

For example.

I was put to a quest by a mage to retrieve some lost script that would help him unlock the secrets to a powerful conjuration spell.   So off I go in the direction that the mage said I should go to get more information that might lead me to this lost script.   I get on my horse and no more than a few minutes pass and I am off chasing butterflies for their wings.    Not that I wasn't hard pressed to finished the quest I had just begun, but I saw the butterflies and knew I needed them for a potion.   Next thing I know I'm hunting an elk.   Then - what's this?  What is that glowing tree? 

Oh cool!   A grotto. 

Oh and look...a cave behind the waterfall.  Hmmm...I wonder what's inside?  Quest?  What quest...quest be damned I found a cave!   

Eventually I did finish the quest.   After traveling across the country in the wrong direction doing stuff.   Never once did I get bored or wonder what to do next.   That is Skyrim...that is what makes it such a great game.    With all the mods and down loadable content is it any wonder why so many people are still playing it.  

Speaking of mods.

Don't like vanilla Skyrim?  That's OK...the makers of the game gave us players the tools to mod the game to our hearts content!  Want to change the look of your armor?  No problem.  With the right tools you can alter textures.  Don't like the way that building or house looks, or maybe you want to increase the size of a town - get out the Skyrim Creation Kit and...it's like being a kid with a box of Legos® - you can build anything, anywhere and put it into the game.   For example I really disliked that we had so few choices in mages robes in Skyrim...and the ones we did have for our mages were - blah at best.  Most are all dirty, torn and look like a dragon chewed up the former owner and spit the clothes back out.   So I went in and created new textures for many of the robes and put them in the game(not replaced - added - so old ones are still there, I just put new choices in the game).   Did the same for hair and jewelry...you name it and I probably have modded it.   See for yourself.

I mean...how cool is this?   Skyrim with the creation kit is like the ultimate tools for great game masters(aka dungeon masters for the old school players reading this - who have played or played any pen and paper RPG's).    With the tools, as I said, we can add, destroy, remake, build - do whatever we want in Skyrim.   I know there are games like Fallout and others that you can mod...but I do not think they are as easy as Skyrim is and for me - well, I'm no computer genius and if I can do it...I think just about anyone else can as well.   Which means more mods and more gaming in TES!  I think I spend as much time modding as I do gaming...hehehe.  Just another reason Skyrim is still kicking much arse.

Imagine if Bethesda decided to do a true successor to Skyrim - but as an MMO...and no, TES Online is not it's true successor - it is a hack and a wannabe.   Why make a TES game and then close it off at every turn to the players because you decide you want to change the way a TES game plays.  And then...then you also want to add realm vs realm in the world of TES!  Screw that, the head developer of TES Online needs replaced.   TES Online should be open and scalable - and if you don't wish to get involved with the BS that Matt Firor is dragging over from his time with Mythic and Dark Age of Camelot we players shouldn't have to.  It should be optional.  No imaginary lines drawn in the dirt to keep you from exploring Tamriel(like they have planned).  Classes?  Really?

Ugh...it  really burns my britches that the people making TES Online are trashing the core game mechanics and elements that make the TES games so great.  

I still think this game could be made into either a co-op game or a multiplayer online game and retain what makes it great.    Sure a few things might need tweaked here and there, but the main core game mechanics can remain.  That would make for an awesome MMORPG.

I dream alot - huh?

Anyway...back to Skyrim.

This game is so full of awesome sauce - it oozes out of our computers and our monitors.   Game developers need to take notes and start producing more games like this for us RPG fans.   That includes the up and coming Star Citizen.   I really hope Chris Roberts is paying attention.   Give us a TES Skyrim in space - give us a Skyrim version of Star  Citizen.    Then we players can have both a high medieval fantasy RPG and a Sci-FI RPG.    We'd truly be in gaming nirvana.   

How cool would it be to be able to add and mod Star Citizen as much as we mod Skyrim?   Hear that Chris.   That is the sound of money being printed into your bank account by the millions of Skyrim fans.

I think we've been told that Star Citizen will be moddable - but I do not know to what extent.   If it is as moddable as Skyrim...cha-ching!  Chris's bank account explodes.    :)

Anyway, Skyrim is the single best game I think I have ever played.  It is the single best computer RPG I have ever played.  It is the single player RPG that plays like an MMO - but isn't - and it should be.  It is the best computer dungeon master any pen and paper gamer could ask for in this day and age.   It can be a game masters greatest tool for pen and paper fans. It is a great vehicle for telling epic stories - and you get to participate in them!  It is a great tool for present and future game developers to learn from.   It is all this and much more, and that my friends is why Skyrim is still kicking arse in the gaming verse!

 

NOTE: To mod Skyrim there are two great places to get them.   Here are links to them.

Skyrim Nexus

Steam Skyrim Workshop

To learn how to mod - if you are interested.  Bethesda has a complete tutorial online via Youtube.  Here is a link to their channel.

Bethesda Game Studio Skyrim Tutorial

 

 

 

Ugh...no, I am not dead...been super busy.

Posted by Teala Wednesday July 24 2013 at 11:28PM
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OK, so I have gotten numerous emails asking is I am still alive, because I haven't been blogging as much as I use to in the past.  First, I am not dead.   I have been busy with real life stuff.   Second, I still game regularly.   In fact I do not think that aspect of my life has ever been an issue - there are many great games a person can play right now - many cost nothing and are totally free.    Third, I'll start blogging again when there is an MMO or MMO's worthy of being written about.   Right now, the ones I am interested in are still in development and are a long way off from being released.  The info on them is rather sketchy and seems to change from day to day.   Why write about a game if what you write about it is just going to be changed before it is released?  I see no reason to do that.  Now as to what games I have been currently playing - some of you are curious.  Here is a list.

EVE Online - yes, I still dabble in EVE.   It is my go to game for my sci-fi needs.   It is probably the main game that keeps me occupied the most for now.   It will however be replaced when Star Citizen comes out.

Other games I play from time to time.

Skyrim - yep, still play Skyrim.   A new mod just recently came out that adds new territory.   It is about 1/3 the size of the original game, and though it is made by a fan of the game, you'd never know it.  Look it up - it's called Falskaar.   You know, Skyrim is without a doubt one of the single best games I have ever played and if you haven't played it yet - you really should give it a shot.   Just an awesome, beautiful game.   I cannot say enough about it.   You can truly get lost in it.   :)

World of Tanks - fun, go to game for some quick action.

War Thunder -   War Thunder is the new name for World of Planes.   It is in open beta right now and a blast to play.   It is all about aircraft right now, but soon they'll add tanks and battleships.   Another fun go to game.    Check it out if you like flying and FPS style game play. 

Mount and Blade: Warband - still play this when I get a need to go all medieval. 

Now for games I am looking forward to that are still in development.

ArcheAge - still up in the air about this game.  It may or may not be the game I thought it might be.  Have to wait and see.

Black Desert - hmmm...this looks very cool, sounds cool, but it is another game that I have marked as "wait and see."  

EverQuest Next - I dunno, it is an SOE title and they never seem to deliver what they promise - so I am dubious as to whether this game will be any different then their other games.   Have to wait and see.

Elite: Dangerous - I was a huge fan of Elite back in the day, so I suspect I'll give this a go and see if it can live up to its predecessor.

Star Citizen - this, this is the game I am hoping is the game I have been looking for.   Of all the games I have listed, this one game has caught my interest the most and the one I follow the most.   If Chris Roberts can deliver what he promises, Star Citizen will be a great game, and maybe an instant classic.  

Well, there you go, a new blog, new info, a couple of links to a few good games you should try if you all ready haven't.    So...yeah, I'm not dead(sorry haters) and I do intend to write more blogs in the future once stuff becomes more clear on certain games.   In the mean time...it is summer!  Get some sun!  Enjoy the weather(I live in the Pacific Northwest and it is awesome here), good food, and friends.   And remember, when all else fails, it is the second star to the right and then straight on 'til morning - read a good book!   Until then, stay safe all!

 

 

 

Star Citizen - you have less than 12hrs.

Posted by Teala Saturday July 6 2013 at 4:10PM
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Just a quick reminder to those of you that may or may not be aware of this, but at 12 midnight, Pacific time is the cut-off to be able to get your ship with LTI(life time insurance) for the game Star Citizen.   So if you have been sitting on the fence about making a donation to Chris Roberts game company, Cloud Imperium Games, and the development of the game Star Citizen - now might be the best time to do it.   Here is a link to the page with all the various offers and cost.  

Star Citizen LTI Ships and Packages

This however is not the only and last way to get an LTI based ship or package.   Good news is that if you have a family member or friend that has all ready pledged and or donated to the game prior to the cut-off of midnight tonight - they can purchase an LTI ship or Pledge Package and gift it to you.   So if you are in a pinch, there is always a way to still get that life-time insurance. (This will be in effect until Nov 2013).

It is not often that I would do something like promote a game in such a manner, but as a gamer that is tired of poorly made, closed end games, I do not feel bad about it this time - in fact I am a little excited.   The game is really starting to take shape and the community is one of the best I have come across for a game before.   So if you are a fan of sandbox, open ended games, maybe you need to take a good long look at what Star Citizen will have to offer.  

Just as a ship needs love to keep her flying, a game company needs funds to make and operate games.   So with that in mind - fly safe and may the second star to the right never misguide you.  o/

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