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MMO's & The Modern Man (err...Woman)

An honest, irreverant look at various MMO's from a typical player's point of view. OK, maybe not a typical player. Maybe a hardcore emo PVE but PVP lovin' chataholic with alt tendencies. What's that? A new beta!? BRB...

Author: Astrialla

Crowfall! Or Can I Handle The Heat?

Posted by Astrialla Saturday January 24 2015 at 11:47PM
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Oh sweet gods of dreams fulfilled - Crowfall is coming.

Before you double check whether it's me or an imposter, yes, I know Crowfall is PvP centric.  I know it's possibly free for all full loot non consensual PvP centric.  I know it's "I'm going to get ganked and griefed and not be able to move around unless I've got a squadron of bodyguards around me" centric.

I don't care.  It's Koster.  Raph Koster on the dev team and he's doing the crafting. Raph "I did the SWG crafting system" Koster.  Raph "I did the best crafting system lil Astri has ever encountered and the one she keeps looking for year after year, game after game but never finds" Koster. 

The old execproducer from SWG is one of the founders - George Walton.  The already existing boards are full of ex Shadowbane players since the other founder is J. Todd Coleman who was the creative director of  SB.  It's going to be a PvP game because their backgrounds include UI and SB and they've already specified it's a niche game for PvP nuts.

So this somewhat squishycore SWG nostalgia freak is going to get used to PvP because if that's what it takes to frolic in the Land of Koster Crafting then that's what I'll do. 

I'm not saying it's going to be easy.  I've already annoyed off a number of PvP pros on the forums with my "but what if I want to just... like....craft?" questions and managed to piss off a moderator (not my fault that the term carebear had been part of a major forum war the week before I got there - I use the term all the time - really!).  I am wading around in posts like "I live to dominate other players and their suffering is my sustenance! rawwwwrrrrr!" from user names like Killureyesded. 

I have managed to find a safe spot on the guild boards with an unnamed guild of people like myself that are there for the innovative, insanely fun aspects of the game that may or may not include PvP.   I sneak around the entire forum ninja posting on anything that catches my attention and boldy hurl my not wanted opinions into threads like "Full loot or we'll die of bots!" and "Will I be able to torch people's houses?".  I'm barely tolerated but so far have avoided being a major target of ill will by virtue of my harmless but enough edge to not be easy prey style.

I may not have mentioned that this is the beginning of a very long journey.  Crowfall is years away from launching and there's very little that we'll actually know for sure for quite some time.  In the meanwhile I'll stick with SWTOR and - yes - Istaria.  Don't judge me.  But I'm going to start accepting duel requests and I may even start visiting the Moors in LOTRO.  It's time to toughen up and get ready for the crafting ride of a lifetime.





New Game Stress or Can I Keep Up With The Betas?

Posted by Astrialla Friday February 14 2014 at 6:26PM
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So Vanguard is shutting down, SWG is long dead (RIP Tempest), SWTOR was not the droid I was looking for, LOTRO is an endless series of gear grinds for an always resetting endgame.  Time for beta testing.  There are 3 of them right now that I'm committed to not discussing and I'm swimming in bug reports, forum debates, and endless notes on legal pads.

The great thing about a beta test is that it's raw and there's a great chance of getting stuck somewhere random and/or breaking the game.  Few things are as satisfying as submitting a bug report with the words "completely nonfunctional" in the title.  I do consider it my end goal to leave a beta confident that I have gotten as close to destroying the game as possible. 

However, there have been changes in the beta experience over the last few years and I'm not having the same focused, higher path experiences that I used to savor.  Here's what's happening.  Why it’s happening is another matter and perhaps you can clue me in after reading this post.  

1.  The chat has changed dramatically.  Gone are the days of endless reams of global chat about skill build differences that had a 2% impact on dps vs a 3% impact on crowd control.  Now we have barrens chat in beta, with the whole range of pointless, attention seeking drivel that comes along with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a great fan of attention seeking chat posts.  I still remember fondly long lists of suggested ingame item changes from one fellow that all involved an amorous cowbell.  But when chat becomes filled with posts that expound on detailed violence for shock value and/or the all caps declarations of sexual prowess and/or the attack another player endlessly for no apparent reason and/or public chat snogging and/or etc, etc, there's that sad feeling of knowing it's time to shut off the general chat channel as if I'm actually playing a released game.  Betas used to be the last bastion of the amazing players - a haven for insane, smart, witty players that could kick my butt irl just by looking at me ingame.  I have always been the token squishycore in beta that makes sure to take a look at the fluff of the game but now even attempting to discuss the merits of various mounts in chat turns into a low imagination level frenzy of sexual reference.  Yes, I can see how that might happen even in a highbrow crowd but I miss worthwhile, challenging general beta chat.

2.  The percentage of "players there to actually beta test" vs. "players there to play the game for free before anyone else" has shifted.   There seem to be more folks in the betas that expect the game to be flawless and consistent as opposed to the beta tester types that understand that the game’s an unfinished product.  There's a lot of flailing & dismay now in forums and in chat.  One beta reset some skill  points and you would have thought the sky had fallen.  People flailed about in endless forum posts of "woe is me I haz no pointz!" and it took a number of repeated "it's a beta, it's part of beta to have your character wiped, your skills reset, the quests change, the xp change, your levels change." posts before people backed away muttering to sulk in corners.  Perhaps the Free 2 Play universe that mmo’s are existing in now has made a whole strata of folks that think it’s their birthright to play a game and they are owed something by deigning to play.  Even when it’s a beta and they’re actually there to test the game.

3.  The games themselves seem somehow out of balance in a new and different way.  This first showed up for me back when I was beta testing Aion.  I was enamored with the option of flight, yes, but there was also this odd feeling that the parts did not add up to a whole when it came to relationships between the classes and fighting as a group.  The xp/effort ratios seemed off – the focus of the game seemed to be on easy, rapid, solo leveling then a grind endgame for gear.  Things felt odd and there was a wave of players that insisted that solo play to level then a grind for endgame group play abilities/gear was the normal way things are done in game.  Gone were the joyful wipes as low level groups trying to work out between class balances in a beta.  The hours spent in voice chat switching around armor and trading items until everyone had what they needed to bravely face a completely bugged boss faded away, replaced with me looking at my inventory and choosing the looted items with the one stat assigned to the class I was testing. The nuanced skills of different classes have merged into static builds that are endlessly repeated and lest you missed it above, leveling got so fast!  People leveling in days, ripping through entire game content in weeks.  The games that are in beta now have a range of issues related to class and leveling balance and it’s my hope that my constant harping will shift them into a more durable, interactive game.

I love being a beta tester and I’m great at destroying unfinished game mechanics.  But I want better balance in the games I’m testing – I want them to last 5 years, not 5 months. And I want better testers with me in a beta.  Solid, focused players that know it’s all about the big picture and while beta is a privilege it’s also a huge amount of work that they’re willing to do well.

I’m getting dangerously close to just building a game myself so that I can experience the joy of beta testing it with like minded people until it’s broken.

My Kingdom for Housing or Checking Out Vanguard

Posted by Astrialla Wednesday October 30 2013 at 10:41PM
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So here I am, with capped toons in several games, tons of gold and glory in myriad imaginary lands, great friends to quest with in established worlds, and yet once more I grit my teeth and hit the download button on another game.  This time it's Vanguard, a truly old graphics, clunky movement, archaic combat game that I can't even begin to explain without going into Thee Amazing Aspects of Great Games discussion.  In the interests of not boring you to death I'll just tell you a bit about the game.

I like Vanguard.  I checked it out mainly because it has player housing and after the rumors of LOTRO's housing revamp settling into "they're doing some small changes here and there and kicking out squatters" I'm jonesing for housing.  I hopped into EQII (where for some reason I STILL don't have a capped toon) and puttered around but (insert your sigh and weary eye roll here to indicate you're sick and tired of me saying this) there's nothing like SWG housing and I miss my home sweet home on Corellia. 

So off I went to the wide spaces of the interwebs and soon I ran into mentions of Vanguard.  "Old, clunky, archaic!"  And yet there seemed to be a rabid fanbase established firmly and after a bit of poking around I found out a few amazing and a few distressing bits of info.  First of all, there's player housing that you can decorate internally.  Second of all, the reason there is player housing is that like SWG, like EQII, this is an SOE - Sony Online Entertainment - game.  Yep.  It seems that SOE is one of the few larger gaming corps that includes housing in the game and for that *shudders* I thank them.  For the rest of the mutated logic that fills their game development decisions I whap them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

So I download and head into game and it's very oldschool as far as the look and feel.  However, I quickly learn that there is atmospheric flight.  Yep - pegasus like horses are available for rent and fly players around like myth laden rickshaws.   After a few weeks I sprung for a flying mount of my own and got a ladybug (Yes, a ladybug.  I know, I could have picked from lizards and spiders and huge ice demons but I got a ladybug mount.  Stop judging. ) and now I flit around like a demented halfling, dive bombing npc's and seeing how many confused players I can get to ask me "um... a bug?".

The second Woot! moment came with the crafting.  Which is intricate and difficult to learn at first since the logic is defined nowhere and the instructions are minimal ingame at best.  The whole process reeks of nerdy devs developing a system that makes them giggle with joy but really is just a labyrinth of convoluted rules, requirements, tools, and resources.  I love it.  Crafting is reliant upon your choices to determine success so you can be amazingly, incredibly horrible at it until you get the hang of the crafting logic.  Ingame community is helpful and I asked a lot of questions while people did their best not to put me on mute after the 78th "but I wound up with a requirement for water/a chisel/solvent/basalt/an old boot/ a goat ear/ mid crafting and I lost it all!" whine of mine in general chat.

There is also an ingame card based system of diplomacy in Vanguard, which like the crafting is tough to work out initially and then gets to be fairly fun.  No way to play against other players that I can see but the NPC's are pretty lively and the conversations are lore illuminating without being pedantic. (<--spiffy word use alert).

And apparently I'm a long way from housing which is expensive and difficult as it gets built by your character from the ground up.  But at least it's there and while it's nothing like the "here's 10 housing slots go buy a house and start dropping stuff in it in your first week!" world of SWG I can appreciate that there is indeed a spot for me to call home down the road.


Vanguard is free to play  with a monthly sub available (14.99) if you want extra bells and whistles.  There's a lot of stuff to fill your bags and and ingame store for those who want the fluff.   If you're into EQII as well as Vanguard it might be worth doing an SOE station pass for 19.99 a month as you get most of the SOE game memberships that way.  Download is easy, game runs smoothly.


It's old, it's clunky, it's archaic but Vanguard also has a stellar community and one of the most intricate ingame crafting systems I've seen.  So far I've only made one toon - a healer (I know that shocks my regular readers) - and I've killed a great deal of humanoids but so far not one pig/piglet/boar/wild boar.  Could it be that I've finally found a game with no pig mobs!  For that fact alone it might be worth a looksee. Check it out and let me know what you think.




Finding Tera, or The Endless Lure of Gaming Store Back Bins

Posted by Astrialla Sunday April 21 2013 at 2:14PM
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This is a cautionary tale about the pitfalls and dangers of even visiting a gaming store. 

Yesterday I was escorting a buddy to Gamestop (he has impulse buying issues and is not allowed in any gaming store without adult supervision).  I made endlessly snide comments about corporate gaming greed and buy local and support independent games and then I saw a vision.  

There, glowing slightly on an out of the way wire rack, was a box copy of Tera.  The box was scuffed, clearly the result of being used by staff as an off-hours football, but it seemed legit and in spite of being the brunt of my friends aha-I-told-you-so scorn for the next few hours I bought it.

I can hear my regular readers hollering now.  What about SWTOR/LOTRO?  How can I get a NEW game when I've not level capped all alts in every game I currently subscribe to?  Why not revisit Rift or even Aion *coughbotfestcough* and save that money?  Didn't I just download STO?  And why even BUY Tera when it's free to play these days?

I'm going to confess fully and place the blame clearly where it belongs.


That's right, Reddit.  The self professed front page of the internet, the land of orangered and periwinkle, where you can find so cute! cats, intense political debate, lots of trolls and kewl stuff to learn.  Picture a huge time sink where you spiral down surrounded by funny, smart, stupid, annoying, inspirational people.  There I was on the gaming subreddit when someone *coughkuldebarcough* posted about Tera Rising.  "Hey try it it's fun" and "Lots of content and lore and super combat" and other clearly subliminal messages.   So I posted that I'd try it.  I wandered over to the Tera site, downloaded the game, made a character, loaded in, ran forward and stopped right there.

The esthetic of the game is lovely.  Beautiful buildings, charming natural surroundings, insane armor in some of the screenshots.  But when my lil character (complete with cute horns and green hair) ran forward, the back of her skirt lifted up showing her perky lil undies. 

Meh.  Another game built for teen age boys and intheirmom'sbasement guys that need to look at bootie while they grind.  It's apparently part of the look and feel of the game overall- and truthfully as a woman I still don't get it.  I'm not turned on in the least by the look of the guys in the game.  I have not rolled a male alt so I can watch his powerful thighs stride boldly forward as he kills a piglet  (yes, there are pigs in this game).  I was, however, taken back by the peekaboo nature of my female character's lingerie and rolled another to see if all female characters had the same purposeful wardrobe malfunction.

Fortunately they do not.  I created a female Aman and made her as alluring as possible, given the hefty nature of the race.  Green hair, gorgeous horns, piercing eyes, and an ever so discrete scar.  (Stop judging me about my green hair fetish.  I'm living vicariously through my toons.) When I loaded her in not only was she wearing a charming capri pant/tunic combo but it turns out that this race is HUGE.  I tower over all the other players like Goliath, and yet I'm still incredibly cute.  Really.  In a knock you down with a backslap kinda way.

Community on the RP server I chose is insanely nice.  Think LOTRO Landroval Server a few years ago nice, area chat is full of helpful answers and fun impromptu player driven games nice, veteran players rolling alts to help in the newbie areas nice.  And in all of the murmers and convo's on area chat I picked up the fact that the box set of Tera gives you more character slots and a nifty mount.  I didn't have any real plans to buy Tera Rising but when I saw that box, dusty, forlorn, in the back of that Gamestop I knew in my heart that I needed it with a yearning that rivaled trying to get into SWTOR on launch day.

So here I am with another game.  I still have not gotten all my spiffy loot from the Anniversary Festival in LOTRO, have not managed to take the 30+ minute balloon ride on Tatooine to get that flippin hologram in SWTOR, and am nowhere near fully geared in either game.  I blame Reddit and the gaming community on there, as well as the Tera Rising character creator for its effortless creation of green haired vixens.

My final thoughts?  Don't go in Gamestop.  Stay off Reddit.  Game addiction portals, both of them.


In Search of Wide Range Random or How To Play 6 Games At Once

Posted by Astrialla Thursday February 21 2013 at 8:02PM
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It's a brand new year!  And I've been terrible about keeping this blog up to date.  Mea Culpa and whatnot.

So my current mmo game list that I'm actually playing is as follows:  LOTRO, SWTOR, Everquest II, WarHammer, Istaria, Fallen Earth and a few beta's cause hey - I've not found my game of games even at this late date.

You may be judging me right now. Fine, but what is a gal to do?  I am still looking for the experience I had my first year of SWG and I'll be fershnabbled if I give up looking just cause my requests are apparently unreasonable.  And what, you may ask, am I looking for?  Well, since you asked...

Here's my List of Things a Great Game Should Have If You Want to Keep My Heart & Sub.  It's not complete as I'm never satisfied (perogative due to my gender) and it may be slightly slanted towards the squshycore.  But it's my dream list and when I find the game that will cover all of this I'll stick with it for life and ne're stray!

Great Lore:  Something that I can sink my virtual teeth into.  LOTRO has this, as does SWTOR and Fallen Earth.  Some history, some storytelling, some amazing twists and turns that allow me to not only immerse myself in the world but stick with me when I'm not playing.  Along the lines of "Hmm... that fellow looks just like the Captain on SWTOR that was skimming profits from his platoon and decorating his tent" - and yes, yes I did glare at the guy IRL and mutter about his taste in wall hangings.

Solid Game Functionality:  Everything from cut scene transition time to how to get mail.  The nuts and bolts of the game as well as how easy it is to get help and info when stuck or confuzzled.  This is more about the level of respect given to the player and less about the actual specific solutions to logistical issues.  LOTRO falls down here as they lean heavily on a diabolical random number generator that makes sure you're getting suckky drops rather than what you're actually after.  Add in the huge delays in help, quests that stay bugged for years (yep - years) and LOTRO goes kersplat.  So far SWTOR wins here as does Istaria as both of them have some clunky options for how to get things done but they're clear and help comes quickly either through the community or via the help function.   Nothing like getting a quick response when you've become stuck in a compromising position with a rakgul.
Sane yet Nuts Community:  I've ranted about this before.  I love mmo's because of the people that I get to play with.  Anything with more than 20% barrens chat and I'm turning of general chat.  Anything with a global/server chat with active, awake people and I'm thrilled.  Tons of boss/loot/mob/bot ninjas and I'm meh.  Tons of players looking for groups, offering help, discussing builds, arguing lore and I'm a happy li'l carebear.  LOTRO has a great community, as does Istaria.  SWTOR is halfway there and Fallen Earth is the worst.  EQII is a bit clique-ish and what can I say about the Warhammer community.  I use Warhammer when I'm seriously pissed off/full of road rage. It's a fantastic way to vent steam AND level a character at the same time. 
Housing:  Hah! Yes! Housing!  I want frikken housing!  Not that cheap ol here's your limited number of hooks in odd places LOTRO junk - I want old fashioned SWG (RIP Tempest) type housing that lets me mess around and spend way too much time jostling things into just the right spot.  EQII shines here as it's got 75% of the housing capabilities of SWG and I can collect way too much stuff and plop it all over the place.  SWTOR has a ship that I get but I can't decorate it and their taste is feeble at best.  Housing and player based cities are amazing ways to involve and fascinate players.  Why more new games don't have them (or at least plan for them down the pipeline) is a mystery to me.  Perhaps they've received word that if they do add housing then a crazy blogger lady will come and fill their server space with 1400 versions of the same flower in her front yard, crashing the entire system and rendering both pvp and ingame store transactions invalid until she manages to either weed the flowerbeds or add in some shrubbery...
Notice I did not specify that my Dream Game has to be free to play, or a particular style, or allow me to fly/own a jetpack/swim underwater/have a flamethrower.  I don't care if I have a super uber armor set or even if it's easy/hard/fast/ to level.  I just want a game with great lore, solid tech and structure, decent community and housing.  
I'll give you fair warning - if I don't find it in the next few years then I'mma gonna make it.  Holler if you want to be on the dev team.

Settling into Coruscant or Oh Gawd Another Alt??

Posted by Astrialla Thursday January 26 2012 at 8:16PM
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Oh it's a bitter day, a bitter day indeed. 

I'm back on Coruscant.  Again. 

For those of you not Playing SWTOR Cause You're A Not A Sheep I salute you.  I, my friend, I am a sheep. I am hooked and immersed and heedlessly spending my gaming time leveling alt after alt to the magical point where they get a starship and then abandoning them to the whims of fate.

I'd like to point out that the first alt was not my fault.  I joined a guild (I nao rite!) and the guild leader turned out to be the smarmiest, slickest thing since petroleum jelly and within a week I was trading snerky tells with him and rebuffing invites up to see his ship.    But then the guild got juvenile guy heavy and a bit meh.  Hey, I'm all for some flirt now and again but when guild chat turned a corner into locker room territory (did you see the **** on that toon? Dude!? Gotta get me sommadat! etc), I realized that alas, snerkfest or not, the guild was a little too bros before hos for me and gracefully bowed out by inventing a sudden need for an RP guild that would fulfill all my gaming dreams.

But - and you know there's a but - guild leader extraordinnaire did not drop off.   Tells galore, and escalating and oh dear.  Time to log out for a bit before he feels the need to explain what exactly he means by lowering his shields and hey.. still want to play so woot! Make an alt! Yeah!

I blame him.  I made an alt, she wandered all over a new and special planet and woot! Leveled her up to go to ... Coruscant.  Well now I'd already run Coruscant on my first toon but this was a bit different.  Different main quest line, ship was just as hard to get, and I got to wondering hmmmmm what else do different classes experience on Coruscant. 

And thus the Great Alt Coruscant Experience was born.  Stop judging me.  OK so I've made more alts in the last 2 weeks than I have in my whole gaming career (snerk.. career...) and none of them have gotten over level 20.  OK so most requests for additional group members are for healers and I have every healer class in every variation but I can't join groups cause I don't want to play them cause hey... they're not the unleveled alt.

It's a sickness.  It's a curse.  It's never going to end because I've only been doing lightside toons and I've not even dealt with darkside and what on earth do they go through? 

On top of it all, apparently I have a rather telling conversational style in general planet chat as this morning I got a ... "darling! Is that you!? I'd know that turn of phrase anywhere.. let me fire up my ship engines and let's explore unseen space!" tell from out of the blue.

Gah.  Time to make another alt.

I'm a Hobbit! I'm Blind! I'm a Hobbit I'm Blind! or What Happens When Festivals Hit

Posted by Astrialla Thursday December 29 2011 at 1:00PM
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Oh Gods of Gaming and Random Escapism, Hear My Plea....

I've got a problem in gaming.  No, I'm not talking about the hi my name is Astri and I'm an altaholic or the fact that the hour of twilight trailers keep catching my eye.  I'm talking about a real issue and one that those of us that are loyal and diligent in our gaming encounter around this time every year.

We're hooked on Festivals. You know you want them.. you know you check the festival vendor and see what the new cape/hat/housing item looks like then how much it is going for on the general auction house.  You know you're racing around to your faction npc's, finding your lil gathering/kill xx mobs quests and slamming them against your forehead with an empty can crunch and a howl.

OK so maybe that's just me.

Regardless, this year is an issue.  I thought for sure I'd be in great shape what with SWG biting the dust (RIP Life Day) and no need to run around putting up posters and blowing up piles of presents but no. Not the case at all.  This year there's SWTOR with it's Oh I'm So Cool I'm Releasing Mid Holiday atitude and the game has the affrontery to actual be fun and engaging and there's 3 other games that have festivals going on and what is a girl to do? 

Now contrary to popular believe I actually work for a living (don't judge me) and have to spend an outrageous amount of time at my place of employment.  No, I don't wear a lightsaber to work.  Anymore. When work is done there's family and friends and well the truth of the matter is that I only really get a few hours of playtime a day and that's only if I stick to my very strict no more than 4 hours of sleep a night rule.

So come the holiday season I'm ready like that speed filled lady on the Target commercials. I've got my lists of festival items, approximate time needed to quest for each item, and the possible worth of said items in both sentiment and resale.  This year I had a huge sharpie scribbled black wreath over the SWG section of the grid but other than that, things looked under control.  Even the insane time requirements needed to get all the baubles of EQII seemed doable this year, but then along came SWTOR.

Now I've rolled more than one character on SWTOR - I know - that's actually not like me to alt before leveling a character to cap.  But my healzor has a light saber (bzzzzzzrrrtttttt bzzzzzzrrrttt) and the smugglers got this very cool blaster (pew pew pew pew pew pew!) and then there was the whole I'm a blind Jedi thing too. No I'm not fruitlooping on you - there's a race called Miraluka that is completely blind and who doesn't want to run around like Helen Keller meets The Terminator?  So I've got 3 different toons to get at least leveled enough to get their ships and there's the whole new guild joined and make friends there thing (Yes! I joined a guild! I know! I don't join guilds!  I can't help it.. SWTOR has all my gaming rules smashing like pumpkins on November 1st) and my few hours of gametime each evening zips by in a flash. 

Before I know it it's time to head out of game and what have I done?  Have I gotten my winter cape with the holiday danglies on the hood? No. Have I secured the Wreath Of Joy & Peace for my front door house ingame? No.  Have I run the horserace over and over and finally prevailed by blind luck, allowing me to get yet another horse but this one with a different saddle?  No. 

All I've done is kill some black sun and curse at SWTOR for their feeble rail based space game.  OK so maybe I got my Miraluka to feel her way down a few ramps on her starter planet and kill insane fleshythings that aren't supposed to have blasters.  And ran a fun instance with my healer who now can actually heal (check the bottom tabs on your skill trainer people... there's more than one .. voice of experience here.... dies of embarassment.... ) But on the whole there's little to see for my efforts and the festivals are waning as I type! 

So last night I tried hopping game to game and doing a bit of everything. I ran my lil hobbity bundle of goodness to the party tree to collect apples, then off to my lil elf thing in EQII to collect any number of insane housing items, then back to SWTOR to see about some rakghoul thingies (i'm supposed to infect myself ON PURPOSE? Wha?), then back to LOTRO and yeah who am I kidding. 

I'm skipping the festivals this year.  Curse you SWTOR and your bzzrrrt pew pew blind soul!

The Waiting Room or Frikken Let Me Play SWTOR!

Posted by Astrialla Thursday December 22 2011 at 2:55PM
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So here we go! After saving a part of my gaming budget for what, the last year and a half? I finally have SWTOR in my hawt lil hands and am ready to play! 

I got into the very end of the Beta-ness and into Pre-Launch but now i'm locked out of the game.  That's right - locked out.  Can't play, can't post on the forums.  And NO I didn't get banned again for trying to tie holiday themed bows on the NPC's errrr.. ears.  This time I got banned for Not Reading Properly.

Now those of you who know me IRL know that's kinda funny given my propensity for reading.  But yes, when I saw all those "Make sure You put In your dang Tootin game Code or Come December 23rd You're gonna be in a World of Hurt" notices on the login screen I said to myself, "Hey - I did that already.  Put it in way back when I got my Pre-Launch invite - no biggie.".

Biggie. The notices meant SECOND game code.  One came for pre-launch, another apparently came for the actual launch.  World of Hurt. Went to login this morning, rubbing my hands with glee at visiting yet again my lovely Consular of Goodness and Healz and got "there is no active subscription on this account".

Seriously. Seriously? Went to the SWTOR site and got an image of the domed entry hall to some huge building and the words "WAITING ROOM.  With a lil blurb saying that there's so much traffic to the SWTOR site that they're controlling the traffic and having people wait to enter.

Have you ever stood around in a "get into your gaming site" waiting room before?  First of all there are no chairs anywhere.  Second of all even though you can't see them you can feel the presence of 154 thousand other intent on playing SWTOR nuts right there as they stare at their screen, willing it to change to the main page of the SWTOR site... 

Now truthfully I'm so Uber Free that this was actually the first time I ever had to que to get into a game site before as opposed to the actual game.  But I was patient (snerk) and after about 10 minutes voila - I was at the SWTOR main page.  Woot!  Logged into my account - tracked down my second code via the Origin site, went to enter my game code on the SWTOR site and could not enter it.  It kept flipping me to the main SWTOR page every time I hit enter after putting in my code - a trip back to my account showed that the code was still unentered.  Now I know there's this thing called Shedding Load where if servers get too overloaded they just reroute users back to a safe page but this was a bit much.  45 minutes later I finally got the code in.  Made sure my contact info was up to date.  Made sure my security questions were in place. 

And then I tried to play but was told that in order to play I needed a valid sub again.  Hmmm.  Went back to SWTOR, stood in the waiting room and met a kewl Ithorian named Binkles, got into the site, went to my account - and even though there's 30 days free game time with the purchase of SWTOR,  I signed up for a sub cause they won't let you play without doing so.  Selected my sub length, hit enter, and got routed back to the main SWTOR page.  Shedded. 

It's been 3 hours now.  The one time I got past the actual select your duration screen and to the select your payment screen I wound up with a screen saying "you have already purchased this product.  Please select another product."


Can't play SWTOR.  Can't get my sub info in and apparently I'm one of thousands. Poor Ellanen, my lovely Consular at Large.  She's all alone on some swampy planet, with only her lizard companion to aide her and he's just got one eye.  *Wipes tear*.  I'm on my way Ellanen!  Don't worry!  Qyzen will take care of you till I get there... err... Qyzen?  Hey leave those bugs alone.. you don't know where they've been...

OMG Another SWG Post or You Can't Go Home Again

Posted by Astrialla Sunday December 4 2011 at 8:35PM
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Brace yourself.  It's another SWG is ending what will I do the sky is falling blog post.  Except this one is not about the game ending - it's about the people that played the game. The crazy, lovable, laughfilled, smexy, kind, infuriating people that made my first MMO so astounding that I'm still looking for another game that will give me the same experience.   And I'm not cursing SEO, or the game itself - rather I'm pissed as hades at the people that I played with. 

You know they (yeah.. they.. those folks over there lounging around and laughing at me) say that you can never recreate your first heroin high.  Or your first drug of choice high - you pick.  I think it's the same with MMO's - you truly can't go home again and the first MMO you play impacts every game after.   I started SWG and spent the first 3 months playing solo.  I had no idea what chat was let alone how to use it and I actually hid when I saw other players near a quest area I was working in.  Stop laughing.   When I did finally make it to Kashyyk and teamed up with a charming Jedi to rob some ruins, I was amazed at how much more fun it was. 

So I started grouping with people.  And joined a guild (RIP Ghost) and then created a guild and then joined alliances and then of all things got into massive RP scenarious where we were literally creating  week long Jedi trials for folks.  Crazy amounts of fun and endless escapades of groups and parties and player built festivals. I made friends, I made enemies, there was drama and reconciliation and through it all there were people that I considered great friends.

They're all gone now.   They shut down the server (RIP Tempest) but they were mostly gone long before that.  And in all this time since I've not found them in any other games. Nor have I found folks like them - it's as if they disappeared from this galaxy when that galaxy ended. 

Where did you go?  Out of the core 10 people that used to meet to mess with HK or save the Tat civilians from the Tuskens - I've kept in touch with one and though we both play LOTRO we've yet to meet ingame.  And why is it that I've yet to find their equal in any other game?  Surely there are other kind, nutty, people out there playing MMO's - why am I not finding them?

I'm forced to come to the conclusion that it's me.  I'm not the same traveler that left the station and whatever kind of player I am now is not a type that draws the good, charming, creative people that I loved playing with in SWG.  So I guess I should be pissed at myself rather than them.  I just wish I could /hug some of them again, /slap others fondly - erase the memories of some and spend time making new memories with others.  I miss them and as SWG ends there goes any chance I have of ever experiencing the joy and connection I had with them ever again.

I'm raising a glass to the Tempest server.  I'm screenshotting my houses, and bringing my toons to the Jedi Shrine that I used to visit with K.  On December 15th I'll log them out there and fondly wish everyone well that was such a part of my SWG experience.

And then I'll try and be a better person ingame.  I'll try and be kinder, laugh more, be more creative, be more courageous.  I'll do my best to be half the person that my friends on Tempest were.

Luring the Common Carebear or Gimme Shelter!

Posted by Astrialla Wednesday January 19 2011 at 7:45PM
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So there I was hopping around various MMO boards, inserting my 2 coppers here, my 2 credits there, and suddenly I realized that it's happened.  The fluff bunnies are gone.  You know the ones, the carebear comforting ones - the ones that know your RL name cause they /hugged you at that crucial moment ingame when you really needed a buddeeeeee.  The ones that remember birthdays, always let you finish your train of thought in tells even if it means endless, endless tells, and make sure to gather up support for you on the board if you lose a loved one/ragequit because you lost the frikken roll again to a class that CAN'T USE THE GEAR/can't play for a month cause your interwebs iz disconnected.

I tried to trace it back - I even ran to LOTRO and the Landroval server boards to make sure (phew!) that the daily coffee thread/ride ride chinchillas was still in place (the last Keepers of the Kind eventually make their way to Landroval it seems) but other than the coffee thread and a few hearty "Gear for Noobs!" announcements on general chat in EQII, it seems the Good and Pure of Heart have mostly abandoned the common MMO's. 

But where have they gone?  I checked everywhere - I even looked in on Star Trek Online. Yeah! I went there! All I saw was the raiders, the pvp'ers, the rp'ers, the altaholics, the levelmongers and the hangoutanddanceonthemailboxers. Oh, and the trolls.

So we've lost the carebears.  Why?  And more importantly, how do we get them back?

And yes.  We want them back. We want good people playing, people with instincts other than auto-loot and spamduelrequest.  We want folks that will do runs for others even if they don't need the run - we need the folks that play squishy classes not just cause their kin is short a caster but cause they actually LIKE healing.  We need that balance, that fill in the gapness that the Calm and Considerate bring to the gaming table.

So how do we do this - this get them back thing.  I vote for re-investing in player housing.  That's right. I said it - player housing.  Think about the releases of the last few years - AoC - no housing, Aion - no housing, Warhammer- no housing.  And I'm not even going to talk about the 4 beta's I've slogged through in the last year - NO housing in any of them.   No wonder the Gentler Ones have left- there's no place for them to call home. 

We need player housing back!  Good housing - not that LOTRO poor excuse for a hobbit hole with oddly spaced limited placement of items that spend more time in storage than in your house.  But housing in an active game - don't get me wrong, I love my SWG house.  But the game is dead (RIP Tempest) and it's no fun decorating a house that you can never ever have hot tub parties in unless you invite the NPC's.  And housing that is important to the dev's as well as the squishycore players.  Housing that is updated regularly and allows players to spend endless pointless hours creating a home they can never live in.  This is what our carebears need! 

And yes, yes, EQII has some great housing moments.  But the game overall is dated (ducks the hurled fruit) and while it's fun to play truthfully the squishy classes are pretty boring in groups (gets asbestos suit on just in time to avoid incineration).  We need a new game with new content that has well created housing to lure those usually playing a squishy unless they roll a tank just in case it helps out carebears.

I bet there is some game somewhere with amazing SWG meets EQII housing with the build the whole dang thing from the ground up from Istaria thrown in.  And all our carebears are running around leaping with glee and thinking rarely but fondly of the rest of us as we can't get groups, mope when no one remembers our birthday, and give up on ever getting that hidden title from getting hugs.