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The Daily Run

Whatever I feel like writing about!

Author: Maisson

The MMO Spark?

Posted by Maisson Friday March 29 2013 at 1:23PM
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Where did the MMO spark go? I remember seven years ago having that spark. You know that spark, the one that drove you to play the same MMO for years and not be bored. The spark that drove you to research, plan, and theorycraft. That spark that would make you defend the game if someone talks bad about it or sparks a conversation that can last a while if some one mentions it in a positive way. So where did the spark go? Seems I have lost my spark and I have looked everywhere for it even looked where I first found that spark, but alas, no luck.

I found my spark playing none other then World of Warcraft when it first launched. Now I have played other MMO's but nothing captured my attention all that much except WoW. I remember starting my Hunter out on launch day and dealing with queue's and crashes but after a few days and the stability started to happen I started to play. At first it seemed like any other MMO I played such as Galaxies, but after I hit level 10 something changed for me with the game I remember I had a dream about it and I was not the only one, few of my friends also had dreams after level 10. I swear there had to be some kind of subliminal messaging in the game and all the way up to Cataclysm when they redid Azeroth is when I started to loose interest. I think they accidently removed the subliminal messages from the game when they launched Cataclysm.

That spark was something else. I remember playing until 2am and say I need to log off, but I only have 2 bars to level. Well lets keep going and then "ding" new level and it's 4am, time for bed but I really should train so I don't forget and while I am here in Ironforge I should stop by the AH and look what's available for my new level and now I hear birds chirping and it's getting lighter outside. Wow I really need to get to bed. and then it's rinse and repeat in a similar fashion every night just changing the excuse why I need to stay on longer then I should have.

I remember when my account was hacked 3 times and that spark put me in a bad mood for a few days until my account was restored. Always happened when I was working too. At least my brother was home during the day and would contact me asking if I am playing right now and of course I would respond with "no, I am at work. Why?". "I see you character playing and responds to my questions with bad engrish." (yes engrish is what he referred to) Well lets see, now to save my account I told my brother to log into it and change the password and kick the hacker off. By the third time all I would get is a text from my brother with "you at work" and I would say "yeah" and he would respond with "WoW hacked, all set now, call me later for password".

Now I play all kinds of MMO's and when I play some of them at first it almost feels like I will get that spark back, but after a month or two I start to wonder off to play something els or take a break from gaming for a week or two. I sometime will sit in front of a login screen debating if I should play or not and giving myself reasons as to why I should or shouldn't play. Then there are times where I would mouse over the short cuts to different games, but never click on them.

I would love to know what that spark was. Maybe it was the thrill of discovery or the fact an epic which was rare at the time could drop from the next mob, which I need to kill before that person over there does. Maybe it was the drop that would yield me a large amount of gold or that rare pet I could auction off. Maybe it was the sense of accomplishment from leveling or raid completion or boss defeat. I am just not sure and and cannot put my finger on what that spark was or how it worked. One day maybe I will find it again, I just hope it's less powerful after all I am getting older and cannot stay up until 5am anymore.

Did you have that spark? Did you know what it was or why you had it? Have you found that spark again?

The Social Aspect of MMO's

Posted by Maisson Thursday March 28 2013 at 10:32AM
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I always read reviews on MMO's and there is always a section that gets a rating for the social aspect of the game. It does bother every time I read the review and then the comments that follow about how social or not social a game is.

I would like to address this issue and say that you cannot rate a game's social aspect in general. You can only rate the tools given to the players to be social. It is up to the players to be social. Every game has some social options whether or the players utilize them is be seen.

I always read comments on GW2 taking the social aspect away with the ability to help with no tagging or the dungeon finders will group people together and you don't have to advertise LFG (looking for group). He is a crazy idea to all those people complaining about the social aspect of games, walk up to another player and say "Hi". You have a 50% chance you will get a response. Strike up a conversation with someone in private chat or group chat and get to know people. All games give you the tools to do this, but it's up to the players to use them.

I see alot of arguments about game being solo friendly and not forcing players to group makes the game less social then before or then another game in comparison. Really??!! Even if a game forces you to group with others you or the others still need to initiate some form of dialog. Once Dialog has been initiated the game is now more social then it was 5 minutes ago.

Here are some tips to having a more social experience:

1) Say "Hi" to a some that is questing near you.

2) When grouped or forced to group ask how everyone one is doing. The ones that respond with more then one word are the ones you should socialize with.

3) Stop being shy, talk in general chat, talk with guildies, and talk with random people.

4) Asking questions in chat will usually get you flamed by morons, however you will have a few that will answer your questions which will start a dialog.

5) Try to have a goal of making 1 new friend or acquaintance every week or two and keep in touch with them. Try to communicate with them afterwards at least once a week to maintain the communication flow. If you don't want to then remove them from your friends list as they most likely will do the same.

6) Initiate chat with current players on your friends list.

 

If you ever see me in one of the many games I play, say Hi! unless I say "hi" first ;)

Neverwinter Beta Weekend 2 likes and dislikes so far.

Posted by Maisson Tuesday March 12 2013 at 4:28PM
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This past weekend was Cryptic's Neverwinter beta weekend event number two.  I was able to partake in this event. Yes, I actually beta tested the game and reported all bugs I found, roughly 15 or so bugs reported. All minor issues though, everything from grammer in quest text to clipping, so the polish of the game should be very good once released.

My thoughts on the overall game vary widely so far. I did however enjoy the game while I did play, now the only question would be "for how long?". I will go over dislikes first.

Dislikes:

There is only one starting zone, even though when creating my character I was able to select where they are from and why they are there such as escaped refugee and so forth, which I thought was going to be a starting area to go along with my story. So I did find that the tutorial area gets old after the second charater and yes I did try all four. You would think with this being a D&D game there would have a been a few starting areas available based on your selection of where you are from.

No matter what gear I changed  it looked the same. Same model for gear makes a lot duplicate characters running around as far as gear look goes.

Only one weapon style per class. Enough said.

Tutorial area is all map travel when going to different parts fo the city. If you have played Dragon Age then you will know what I am referring to.

There was no real story line up front so I did not know why I was washed up to shore other then my ship was distroyed and I was off to become a hero that everyone with some task needed help with.

I found it disappointing in the city that not a whole lot of NPC's talk to each other although it seemed alot were having staring contests.

Once you accepted a quest and later looked at the journal you could not see what would be rewarded to you upon completion so it made it hard to see what my upgrade would be vs what items were for sale from a vendor.

Dodging does not cancel current ability being used.

Farming materials requires you to have kits either from drops or from vendors.

Only 5 classes?????!!!!!!!!!

Now my likes:

Graphics are very nice. I found myself stopping and looking at thc scenery from time to time.

Voice overs from NPC's you speak to is a great added touch. I think SWTOR should have went this route with doing their voice over cutscenes to just voice over text reading and add mutiple choice answers would have allowed them to focus on more of the over all game. Other games may want to take note of this as well as it was a nice change to listen to them.

Quick cut scence in instances to introduce bosses or main characters is nice.

Customization has many options available except for gear iteslf. You can select premade looks or customize yourself. You will start with a list of options such as hair style/color, scars, tattoos, to actually adjusting sizes of your body parts using the slider method.

The combat is great. I enjoyed it enough to not get bored killing everything in my path. Although there were times when I was pressing my left mouse button to attack the target in front of me and it kept saying no target selected, apperantly my crosshairs were slightly above the mob, oops.

Gear in your bag will show a "recommended" if it will be better then your currently equipped gear. Makes for switching gear very easy instead of trying to decide which is better for your character.

When helping a random person at attacking a mob you may also receive drops. I found I did get some decent drops from attacking already tagged mobs, however I do not recall if I received any XP.

Foundry will allow for alot of gameplay and updates. Allowing players to create instances will allow the Cryptic to create updates at a good pace and finish it in a timely manner then releasing early because of players complaining there is nothing to do. The players creating the foundry will remain busy using the creation tool.

having the ability to turn on or off the quest path. I had mine off unless it came to the point that I was compleatly lost and turned it on like turnng on a GPS when needed.

 

I wil say that I did get lost in game versus reality as I realized on Friday night that it was 3:30am. This has not happened since vanilla WoW days. I did have a lot fun playing all in all and I would enjoy playing more currently, but I do feel there is plenty of room for improvement such as add ing more classes.

Once I can play the full game I will give it a full review.

Is Player Progression in Today's MMO's Lacking Something?

Posted by Maisson Tuesday December 4 2012 at 11:49AM
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There are two types of MMORPG's currently, you have either "theme park" or "sandbox". What is the difference? Just in case you did ask, which is unlikely, but never the less the "theme park" style is like strapping yourself to a theme park coaster and you just need to enjoy the ride of a linear style game where you gain levels and are directed to go this area or that area, but how you get there is up to you. A "sandbox" style allows you to do what you want with out level restriction as there are no levels, usually your character is defined by skills not levels. You are given some basic skills and you need to figure out what you want to do as there is no quest leveling hubs.

What about progression in both of those types of MMO's? When playing a theme park MMO your progression is either all or mostly vertical. This means you will have forward progress on leveling going from quest hub to quest hub and from zone to zone based on current character level, which can only go higher. Your crafting will follow suit and can only get higher in level as well along with gear and weapon levels. Now what happens when you hit max level in both leveling and crafting? Most of the time you will have to venture towards vertical gear progression which is the same as leveling your gear through various dungeons and raids. What happens after you have the highest gear level? You either will wait for the next major content patch or expansion pack to be released or if there is what is called horizontal progression which means you are gaining either skills (also Alternate advancement) or simply learning new craftable items. In some games they will have housing and so forth allowing you to decorate it with items that you can work on getting, but again you will max out some where or get bored of doing the same thing over and over (dailies come to mind when I say that.) .

All "theme park" MMORPGS fall into this vertical progression path. In my opinion it seems this is a major fault of a lot of these games being released may have great vertical progression at first but have no real horizontal progression to entertain between new content patches or expansion packs. When I talk about this with some people they always seem to refer to WoW being able to do it. I agree they were able to create a successful and highly populated theme park, however my rebuttal towards this is they also had progression going very slow for the original game, meaning it took the average player 6 months to a year to hit 60 and hardcore players 3 to 6 months. Then the dungeons and raids were very difficult and you were repeating wipe after wipe until you defeated a boss and it was rinse and repeat each week. At this point you have grown to invest in your character for almost  over a year or more. That is a lot of work that you invested in, making it harder to leave a game or why you end up returning sometimes. Now in these new MMO's I see hardcore players being able to hit max level within a month sometimes weeks (this includes WoW with all the changes they made) and the casual player within a month or two. Now they have to either wait for content, which with a new game may be awhile, or go find something else to do, which is either play something new or go back to your old MMO.

This scenario above can easily be avoided by two things:

1) Make leveling progression slower and take longer to achieve max level, which may require more content out the door, but will allow for content patches to be released in a timely  manner.

2) Make  horizontal progression available as well. This will allow players to do other things while waiting patiently for another patch or expansion.

As for the "sandbox" type it has its own progression issues as well except it is the opposite of the theme park. It has plenty of horizontal progression, take EVE for example, this is a sandbox type of MMORPG. In EVE you can do almost anything you want, such as be bad or good, be a merc for hire or pirate, attack anyone you want. Crafting is unlimited as you can make your own blueprints and hire other players to collect the materials for you and so on. There is no major vertical progression in the game except learning higher skills to use stronger items and weapons. There is no real hand holding or quest hub to bounce from. You will obtain missions from NPC agents at space stations or from other players. 

So the sandbox, based from my example above, will give you basic tools and skills and then you are own your own with the exception of a small tutorial which may be available. You will need to figure out what you want to do an how to accomplish it. The most common issue that arises in a sandbox type of game is new players don't know what or how to do something (just remember Google is your friend), which in turns causes them frustration and they leave.  So the lack of major vertical progression hinders a lot of new players, especially the players that started  there MMO path with a them park based game such as WoW.

What do you think about progression in MMO's today?

GW2 weapon abilities, limited or just right?

Posted by Maisson Wednesday October 24 2012 at 12:14PM
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GW2 is a great MMO, especially since it has no monthly subscription. I do have one gripe about it, weapon abilities.  The way you unlock your abilities is a great start. To use your weapon to it's fullest potential you need to master it first, however it doesn't take long to master it at all, maybe 20 minutes of grinding per weapon. Now some classes can use a lot of weapons while others can only use a few. With each weapon type you will get anywhere from 2 to 5 abilities depending on if the weapon is a 2 hander weapon or a 1 hander along with if the one hander is in the main hand or off hand.

Once you have a weapon equipped you will begin to use it (Thank you Captain Obvious). Each weapon type will start you out with one ability and every time you use it it will begin to unlock the next ability until all abilities are unlocked. The abilities are dependent on your class. So in about 20 minutes you can have all abilities unlocked for an equipped weapon, then what?

No, really then what?I have to use the same abilities for 70+ levels?!?

No, at level 7 you can weapon swap! In combat too!

Oh okay so I will have 10 abilities for 70+ levels.

Wait there's more, you will also be on a slight cool down when weapon swapping in combat.

 

The second part of the weapon gripe I have is that some of the limited number of abilities that are given from a weapon are just not used or are more of a PVP ability, for example a Ranger's shortbow abilities

<table skills="" table"=""> 1

 

Crossfire

 

 Crossfire       Fire an arrow. Bleed your target if you hit them from behind or from the side. 2

 

Poison Volley

 

 Poison Volley   ¼ 9 Fire a spread of five poison arrows. 3

 

Quick Shot

 

 Quick Shot   ¼ 9 Fire a quick shot in an evasive retreat. Gain swiftness if the shot hits. This can be used while retreating. 4

 

Crippling Shot

 

 Crippling Shot     12 Fire an arrow that cripples your target. Your pet's next three attacks inflict bleeding. 5

 

Concussion Shot

 

 Concussion Shot   ¼ 25 Daze your foe with an arrow. Stun them if you hit from behind or from the side.

 

Out of those the only viable PVE abilities for a Ranger are Crossfire and maybe crippling for the bleeding effect your pet can cause. The rest are more PVP abilities. If my pet is holding the aggro then I don't really need to daze the target or retreat from the target and 5 poison arrows means nothing unless I shot at point blank range to have all 5 arrows hit.  This is just an example to what I am referring to.

Maybe there should be a set of abilities for PVP and PVE since the 2 can options can never merge.

Maybe there should be an extra ability swap set like the elementalist can switch between elements (4 of them) which will give them 20 total abilities. Maybe each weapon should have some type of option that is similar so you don't have to hit the same 3 to 5 buttons for 70+ levels. (I am getting a bit bored of the same rotation of abilities)

Maybe there should be more abilities every few levels let the player choose 1 ability to unlock and let them customize their ability bar (weapon side). There is no uniqueness to the classes., such as if I am playing with another ranger that has a short bow then we will be doing the same attacks and will not have any type of synergy together. 

The last thing I want to say is after playing both a warrior and a ranger, I can say a warrior has better long bow abilities, which should not happen either.

 

-Maisson

 

What do you think about the weapon abilities?

 

 

 

 

My GW2 review

Posted by Maisson Tuesday September 25 2012 at 4:27PM
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GW2 is a fantastic MMO escpecially for the price. This is the first time in a very long time that I have not had to pay a monthly sub. GW2 is not perfect nor will any MMO or game ever be perfect, unless we were mindless idiots and have the same perception for everything, well maybe we will with the Zombie Apocolypse happing soon ;)

I have been playing MMORPG's for quite a few years, not to date my self and call me old, but UO was one of the first that I played. I have tried all of the AAA MMO's that have been released since then along with a number of F2p/P2W MMO's. Since I have played my fair share of MMO's I am going to review GW2 based on all  my past experiences.

Graphics: 8.5

The Graphics are really good, not great though. There is room for improvement, however this will hinder alot of people playing that don't have top of the line PC's. I would rather have a more populated server than top of the line graphics. I do notice some clipping issues and ground could use more detail, but that is my only real gripe about graphics.

Art Style: 9.5

I love the art style of the game. The scenery is magnificent. I find my self stopping just to look around and enjoy the view. Not alot of MMO's can pull this off. The look of the armor and weapons is fantastic and it doesn't go to over board like some MMO's do with shoulder armor that has pieces levatating above it or that wolves that actually howl from it. The underwater scenery is also the best I have seen. It's great to see a company go in a slightly different direction for the art styles for a game, this almost has an oil painting type of look and they pull it off so well!

Sound: 9.0

The ambient sound along with the musical score mesh well with the Artistic direction of this game. I played for a few days with normal speakers and one day I used my headset instead and I was blown away by how much more ambient background noise I heard, I actually had to stop to listen, it was nice to go from good sound to great with the headset. The musical score is also great. I do enjoy listening to the music that plays when logging in to the music played in the cities when running around.

Character Creation: 8.0

This is one area where GW2 could improve on. There are a decent number of options when creating your character, however there are some points that need to be covered.

1) The facial selection is bad, you can look really good or really cartoony. Sometimes the face is very misproportioned.

2) Should be able to choose a starter outfit, maybe have a choice between 3 different ones.

3) Have the ability to choose a starter weapon from a small list.

4) Choose a voice.

 

Combat: 8.5

The combat is fun. I do like discovering synergies between different moves, such as casting a flame ring around you and then doing a move that strikes your foe then launches you back and if you click again will launch you back to foe striking again (combo attack), this will create a synergy causing you to create a temporary fire shield that will harm any mob attacking you. You can also accomplish these between 2 different classes working together, such as a mage casting a flame wall and a ranger shooting an arrow through it making it a flame arrow causing burning damage when it hits.

Now tab targeting is there however you can dodge attacks and also cast and move at the same time which is a huge plus in my opinion. The combat is a lot faster then most MMO's (Tera excluded).  Another good point to the combat is when gaining a different weapon you will have to use for a a little bit to unlock new abilities, however this is also where the combat can fall short. It takes only a few minutes of grinding to unlock all the abilities and once they are unlocked (2 to 5 abilitites) then that's it, those are your abilities for the rest of the game, which can start to become repetitive. If they were to give you the ability to unlock 15 abilities per weapon and you have to choose 5 to use at a time. That would also help differ you from the other guy playing the same class with the same weapon.

UI: 8.5

Althought the UI is basic it is very easy to navigate and use and does not take up a lot of room. Do I need to customize anything? Just bags would be the only thing. it would be nice to be able to sort the what is in my bags out.  There is not much else to say about the UI.

PVE: 9.0

The PVE in this game is much better then most MMO's out. I like the fact that there is no yellow exclimation point floating about someones head. That drove me nuts. In GW2 you have different quests and how you get them is different depending on your current location. The heart quests that you see on the map is a starter set of quests for that area so that you are around when a dynamic event may pop up. Also there are quests where you run by an NPC and they are asking for you to come to talk to them so they can ask for your help. Another way is an NPC will come find you to ask you for help, and also when you explore you may stumble upon a quest, boss, or random chest.

PVP: 8.5

The SPVP is great and a lot of fun with the objectives available. When you down another player you have the option to finish them off by sticking a banner in the downed player and the same for the reverse, when you are downed you have some new abilities which allow you to fight for your life. The WvW is good and huge in comparison to other PVP maps. WvW pits your home server against 2 other home servers for a 2 week long battle for control. It is fun, but first timers may be turned off when they are getting one shotted during the battle and are rez'ing more than you are attacking. Once you get higher up in levels then the WVW is fun.+

Crafting: 9.0

Crafting has become fun with GW2, I can't remember when I actually enjoyed crafting before GW2. You gather your materials by looting, gathering, and salvaging (also the Black Lion Trading comapny). You then have to build the materials that will make up said item. The best part is the discovery section where you will combine three or four ingedients to discover a new receipe. Another great feature is there is a collectables tab where all your materials can be placed right from your bags when exploring. The collectables tab is accessable by all your characters which is nice for levleing up crafting on all your characters. Also note that the cooking skill, receipes are actual real life receipes so if you are stuck research ingredients for real dishes (I read that some where, cooking I have only just started so I will edit if wrong.)

Over all score: 8.7

Please remember these are my opinions for this game ( which really are the only ones that matter....wow I sound like my wife)

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