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The Angry Roleplayer

The extensive rantings of a man about his games and the companies who make them.

Author: Mystik86

The End of the Age of Bland

Posted by Mystik86 Tuesday June 30 2009 at 4:46AM
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Over the course of the past 5 years, I have played many different MMOs, and as such I consider myself well-versed in the ways of online gaming. My online experience does not end at MMORPGs however but at many different types of games that can be played online.

After those five years I find that we are at the very end of the "Age of Bland" in that 2009 is the beginning of the rush of "new and innovative" MMOs. Though some of the new ones have been less than spectacular (Warrior Epic, Jade Dynasty, Crimcraft and even Aion), there are many that may usher in the new era of MMO gaming. Incase you needed it laid out for you we've got games like Champions Online, Earthrise, All Points Bulletin, Black Prophecy, Global Agenda, Star Wars: The Old Republic and many others.

2009 I believe will come to be known as the Herald of Awesome for MMO games, the harbinger of the true "golden" age of online games. Do not confuse the beginning with the prime-time, though. Throughout the years 2010 to 2020 I see great things for the industry, not only in innovation but in consumer-friendliness. I think those stuffy, stuck up developers are finally going to sit down and say, "Holy shit, guys, we need to start listening to the players!" and that will be that.

Besides the various innovations in other types of games, we're going to see many things from single-player games that captured our hearts and minds IN our MMOs. SW:TOR might be the very beginning of a truly amazing style of MMOG and with it we will start seeing MMOs with the same kind of quality and craftsmanship as The Elder Scrolls series, Fallout, Mass Effect and KOTOR/2.

This isn't to say we'll see the end of bad cash-shop Asian grinders, but we should see a lot less of them in the coming years. Good riddance, I say, and I believe many others will say the same.

Hold On To Your Hats

Posted by Mystik86 Monday June 29 2009 at 3:27AM
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Just wanted to let any followers of this blog know that in the next little while I will be developing a web comic to go with my writings. The comic as it stands will be YAMMOGC (yet another mmo gaming comic) but will highlight the happenings within our community through my eyes, how I see things unfolding and with hopefully the odd guest here and there.

I would love some feedback though before I begin on what people would really like to see in a web comic based around MMORPGs and if anyone would like to contribute to the writing for the comic. Give or take the next few weeks will be spent getting things ready for the comic and most likely setting up a wordpress or blogger account for the comic and my blog.

Comments are welcomed as I really love to here from people about their thoughts and opinions. You guys help me in forming my opinions and for that I thank you!

For anyone interested in getting in on this web comic and collaborative blogging, please toss me a private message or reply in my blog comments to this entry.

EDIT: Participate in www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/241572/POLL-What-kind-of-gaming-comics-do-you-like.html to help me out!

Tips For Efficient Roleplay (Part 1)

Posted by Mystik86 Thursday June 25 2009 at 4:33AM
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In today's edition of my humble blog I'd like to bring to the table a few tips for those interested in roleplaying in their chosen game(s). I will go over the DOs and DON'Ts as I see them and hopefully you'll find it both helpful and interesting.

Tip #1:

DO - Pick up the tongues of the world around you. Find out the accents, where they come from and what they're based on. Do not be afraid to go all out with your slurs and remember that grammar doesn't play as big a role here as it would in normal OOC chatter.

DON'T - Use the old-English tongue in any scenario unless a) your character is in fact an englishman from that time period or b) the entirety of the world you're in IS set in medieval (or slightly pre-medieval England).

 

Tip #2:

DO - Look for things happening in the world and use those things to create new lore. Choose your own path and write about it for the rest of the world to see.

DON'T - Make up lore that does not fit in the current world you're playing in. For example: if you're playing a game like Everquest, don't say that you're a cybernetic space alien come to dissect the beings of the world. It doesn't work.

 

Tip #3:

DO - Try to look for conflicts and take part in them. Use your character's uniqueness to aid or rebel against the situation. If the castle is burning, run to the river for water or alternatively cast fire balls into the inferno and watch all hell break loose.

DON'T - Run around killing every single person you see because it's your character's style. A carefully planned "serial-killer" type character should be smart enough to know that he'd be caught quicker that way. Alternatively, if you're a good guy, don't act like you are the end-all be-all hero of the world. Nobody likes a show-off, unless you're Arthas.

 

Tip #4:

DO - Take part in romantic roles. Is your character the proverbial lady's man? Find a tavern, bar or pub (whatever you have in your game) and work the mojo! Leave real feelings out in the cold, and remember it's still a game!

DON'T - Find the nearest hot-looking toon and start openly expressing your lust for them, graphically and explicitly. Sex is private and it should be no matter where you go. Sure, you can be an exhibitionist, but it doesn't mean she/he is too. Erotic roleplay can be fun but it doesn't have to be actual cyber-sex.

 

Tip #5:

DO - Involve yourself in the politics of the game. Do it in character and enjoy it for what it is. Politics in some games can be extremely fun and deeply immersive.

DON'T - Claim that your sword can solve every problem regardless of if the Mayor's cat is stuck in a tree or a clan of Orcs is feeling diplomatic. Anyone can be civil, even in a war-torn fantasy world. Men make decisions behind closed doors before they unsheath their blade.

 

Tip #6:

DO - Be the jack-of-all-trades. Be a warrior who mines for precious ores, who knows how to build bird houses, who can drink 23 ales before passing out, who can do magic tricks, and anything else you can think of (within the game's own mechanics).

DON'T - Be absolutely good at everything. Nobody is perfect and you're no exception (sorry folks).

 

Beginner's Tip:

When all else fails, wing it. If you're smart enough to want to roleplay and you've done a bit of research, take a gamble and see where it takes you. After all, mistakes can be made but they can also be fixed.

And Then There Was Aion

Posted by Mystik86 Saturday June 20 2009 at 11:37PM
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It may seem odd that I've bounced from Vanguard to Darkfall to now Aion, however I think that it is a natural thing for any gamer on the hunt for the perfect game. The hunt continued today...

While I was out today (read as yesterday, it's 12:18AM EST) I had the chance to hit up my local EB Games. As usual I had that plastered-on face showing my complete joy of being at my former favorite game shop (more on why it's my former favorite later). I walked inside and found myself headed straight to the back where the seemingly unimpressive rack of PC games stood. Much to my dismay, it was still the way it had been several weeks prior with it's stock in poor shape and form. There were no truly new and interesting games in that section, an insult to any PC gamer if I ever saw one.

So, after mindlessly scanning over the various older titles I decided that true enlightenment lay in the clerks minding the front desk. The first thing I asked about was if there were any copies of SWG in stock. The clerk told me that they hadn't had it in stock for a LONG time and tried to ward me away from it. His words didn't phase me, I knew what I wanted and he wasn't going to change that. Then I asked what new PC games were out that were worth looking at. The one clerk said that, and I quote, "There hasn't really been any new PC games released in years. The only thing new is Prototype."

I quickly responded with, "Right." and just as quickly the clerk came back with what almost made me launch a nuclear strike of rage on him.

"In all honesty," he said, "the PC game scene is dying slowly but surely."

At that point I knew he was your typical console gamer who believed that outside of console gaming there was nothing better and nothing worth looking at. He continued on to ask me if there was anything in particular I was looking for. I thought about it for a second and told him I'd been interested in Aion. His eyes seemed to light up as he went to the cupboard of treasures and pulled out a preorder box (read as a thin plastic container shaped like a normal PC game but significantly thinner). He handed it over and I began reading over the back for information.

I knew what I was looking for though and I guess I just settled on Aion since I didn't want to leave empty-handed. Afterwards I took his attention again to ask if they had Red Faction: Guerilla in for PC. The clerk stated that he didn't think so, and at that another clerk asked if I would like him to check. After a short wait he returned and told me that they hadn't ordered in any PC copies. Again I was flabberghasted. It was at this point that I knew that EB had shut out it's PC fanbase and suckled on the many tits of the console gaming horde.

Extremely displeased I purchased my preorder and waited for my sister to finish with her business. It didn't take long after for me to leave the store and ever since then I have been thinking about the entirety of this situation and how I no longer hold any joy in seeing or going to an EB store. It truly bothers me that these morons actually believe that the PC scene is dead, and yet I see it living on vigorously, immortal in all it's chunky goodness.

All that said, when I got home I was eager to plug in my Aion preorder code and get the game downloaded. It's still only sitting at 33% after roughly 7 hours or so. During that time I have managed to have a nap, play some SWG, chat on Second Life and now write this blog. I've also been going over various threads in regards to Aion and am finding that it may be the game I was looking for (though I already know it lacks a few things I need).

The hunt still continues and perhaps soon it will pay off with juicy goodness.

It Took Years

Posted by Mystik86 Friday June 19 2009 at 2:07AM
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Yes it took years to find out what I truly wanted from MMORPGs but I have finally found out what it is. It had eluded me for so long that I began to stop caring about what I played so long as I had even the slightest bit of fun. As it turns out mere tidbits of fun were simply not enough. I have quit many MMOs because I stopped having this "fun" but most of the time I was left wondering "Why?", and I'll tell you why.

It wasn't bad mechanics, terrible communities, lack of character customization or any other bad quality the games may have had. It was probably the fact that the game didn't have what I as a player was looking for and so desperately needed.

So the years passed and I took on game after game, trying to enjoy them yet quitting as quickly as a single hour of playing. The games just totally lacked what I had to have to make them absolutely godly. I needed a truly living environment where things I did alone made a difference no matter how slow and insignificant. I needed the ability to live in such a world but not have to socialize with anyone if I didn't want to. I had to be able to log on and know that no matter what I did I could have fun doing it.

What I needed was a game that offered a single-player experience in a multiplayer world. I don't like grouping. I find it tedious and unnecessary for many tasks. From a roleplay perspective, my characters have never gone after "great evils" or giant dragons. They just do what they want to do. For example: I play as a lone vampiric daemon who is cursed with demonic blood and can walk in the daylight. He doesn't drink blood but drains soul essence and can only do so from other vampires. He doesn't need to eat often, but when he does it requires a hefty amount of casualties.

His days are rather simple. They involve hunting the "evil" vampires, evading humans who would see him dead and offering his mercenary services to various lycanthrope tribes in the area. He travels a lot, but doesn't necessarily explore in the typical sense. He leaves a spot knowing he'll find another good spot to camp out at or call home for a period of time.

No MMO I know of offers such a personalized experience, especially for someone who enjoys playing as a vampire. The same can be said for most of my other characters except for my warriors or paladins, though they DO enjoy exploring and never know where they will end up. The only game that comes close to this so far has surprisingly been Age of Conan. While I developed new characters for the game's lore, I found it offered a delightful solo-player experience that didn't force you to group up and offered a good bit of exploration. It still feels like a game though rather than a world and I can't be anyone I want to be.

Second Life was actually one of the best spots I found for freeform RP, but it lacked built in mechanics to satisfy the typical MMO gamer. Everything either costs money or needs extensive scripting and I found myself quickly NOT enjoying roleplay in SL. In fact, I stay far away from anything but the military scene. Again though, even the military stuff lacks personalization as you have to conform to a specific role (no matter what you happen to be playing as).

In terms of exploration only one MMO has really given me that and it was SWG. I found myself exploring vast regions on a speeder and taking ages to get to my point of interest. It was hard to roleplay in the SW universe though as my tastes are more sci-fantasy and require magic and swords, and maybe guns. Hell, Fallout 3 seemed to have most of what I needed in a game but lacked social aspects (and vehicles).

In short, I know now what I need to keep me hooked for a long time.

Single-player experience with fully voiced actors like that of Tortage in AoC.

Skill-based progression like Oblivion, Fallout 3 or even Darkfall.

Vast uncharted and explorable areas (not exactly seen in any MMO except perhaps EVE).

A bit of social content, just enough to make you feel like you're living with other people.

A living, breathing world with choices, consequences, rewards and punishments.

I think that perhaps a Fallout or Elder Scrolls MMO would satisfy my needs but those are a long time coming.

Falling Into Darkness

Posted by Mystik86 Monday June 15 2009 at 3:41AM
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And so it begins. I have finally obtained my copy of Darkfall (account really) and started playing last night. I played for about four hours or so and in that span of time not only did I join a guild but I even got to participate in my first resource gathering session. We only ran into one guy on a mount but scared him off relatively easy and managed to gather a good amount of ore from rocks in the area. Needless to say it was not the gankfest I had expected to jump into.

I jumped on for a short period today and worked on skilling up my swords so that I could return to take down those pesky goblins, and I was rewarded as not too long into my session some guildies asked me to join them on some goblin farming. We spent a bit of time out in the wild where we found what appeared to be a run-down elven village infested with goblins. Obtaining the four axes and the kills needed seemed like a breeze with help from my guildies as we seemingly slaughtered the buggers and looted their bloody tombstones.

It wasn't until our return to a local city that I encountered my first real PvP experience. There were two orange named guys near the bank which I was told meant that they were enemies of our guild. We engaged the targets and both were slaughtered. Little did I know one of them had a good selection of stuff on him, though it was hard to get much of what he carried as the others around him surrounded his tombstone and took most of his stuff. He carried a modest amount of gold, some heavier armor, weapons and a mount. Sadly I didn't manage to grab the mount but was awarded with his shield and boots, along with some food, a staff and a sickle. He returned rather quickly and while I was banking my goods he managed to kill me, however I got lucky when some random person revived me and was able to get most of my stuff in the bank.

While I will say that the experience was different than anything I'd ever been part of, there were a few things left to be desired. Melee combat seems very choppy, laggy even. It doesn't flow and feels more like a hack and slash rather than a full-bodied twitch-based combat system. Though I do know it is still twitch-based I think that Aventurine needs to do some work on the combat system at least for melee users. I hadn't wanted to be purely melee though and will most likely be skilling up with bows as soon as I can get a decent stash of arrows or gold to buy them.

Traveling without a mount makes the world feel even bigger. On my first mining expedition it took us around 20 minutes to get to the spot we needed to be at and even on the map it didn't appear to be that far away from our hamlet. I can only imagine the time required to travel outside of my homelands as I know there's a vast world out there to explore. One thing I do hope for is that they make the game solo-friendly for those who wish to explore or gather. I'm not saying to make it appeal to carebears, but rather to make it more enjoyable for someone who enjoyed playing Morrowind or Oblivion.

Lastly, I want to go over something I should have done first, character creation. Definitely left something to be desired as I was limited to preset styles and colors. I can deal with it as I never expected to get any roleplay with actual people in Darkfall. I think my time will be spent solo-RPing if at all possible, otherwise I don't think I will be playing in a month's time. Beyond the lack of options in character creation I am satisfied at the moment with my decision to buy the game and hope that the coming days will bring more fun and enjoyment to my life in Darkfall.

 

Roleplayer's tip: When all else fails, do it yourself. The imagination is a powerful tool and if used properly can make for hours and hours of solid roleplay without needing other real players to mingle with.

Vanguard, Darkfall, Second Life And Me

Posted by Mystik86 Saturday June 13 2009 at 3:28AM
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Mid-June approaches and I find myself NOT playing Vanguard anymore. Although the game itself is quite good it just hasn't held my attention, and not even for roleplay. I didn't grow bored of the game in the traditional sense however. I just stopped playing as simple as that. I logged my character out with the full intention of returning the next day and haven't yet.

I don't think it has anything to do with the game itself either, but rather that I am seeking for something different. I can't say I wasted my money as I only paid the $14.95 standard fee for the game and the first month. I don't even feel guilty for abandoning it or the guild I had just joined. I suppose this is just my own personal way of saying, "no thanks." So with that I am once again gameless, or rather I am not properly situated in a new game yet.

I've been spending my time on Second Life though and as usual it is filled with drama. The drama comes from the things I participate in while playing Second Life-be it running a military or designing clothes or simply just hanging out with friends, there's always drama in good old SL. I find myself needing to leave SL again though as is my way. I tend to be involved with it for several weeks or even months then I just disappear. It makes things interesting, but every time I return it's like I'm starting over. I have to find old friends and explain why I left or flat out justify why I left. It's why I'm hesitant to leave this time since I've built up a lot of rep, made new friends, have a "job" to do and am in a position that if I do leave I will disappoint many people.

Such is the life of a Second Life player. The stress never ends when you use your time productively. Besides that however I have been dreaming of the day when I can finally play Darkfall. Yes I know what you're thinking, "Don't play DF, it's crap" or "OMG dood tats ghey". I can assure you that my reasons for joining are the same as anyone else's. I expect I will be ganked, harassed and made miserable for a time but it doesn't bother me. I always knew DF would be like that. So I sit here now and wait.

It's been months since Darkfall's launch and I am still without an account. I've run into the same problems as most other people and haven't been able to solve them. I am hopeful though that my vigilance will be rewarded soon. They do say good things come to people who wait and I believe it. When the day comes that I am running around within the world of Darkfall I do believe I shall be quite happy indeed, especially now more than ever. One of my favorite bloggers, Beau Turkey, has recently made the leap of faith into Darkfall and is seemingly enjoying it. I think that if he can enjoy it then so can I.

The waiting game does suck though, I will admit this freely. Most of my days are spent waiting on one thing or another. I'm used to it but then I'm also used to being let down too. I usually know when that will happen though and I am not feeling that way about Darkfall. I'm in a very positive mood about playing this game and am not at all worried about people flaming me or trolling my blog simply because I don't care for the opinions of such people. My choice is my own and I will have to live with it regardless of if it turns out to be a bad one. All I can really say at this point is that I'm definitely excited to jump in.

 

Roleplayer's Tip: Use your surroundings to your advantage. Every object in your midst can be a tool for good roleplay. This includes emotive objects (think smoking the pipe in LoTRO) and stationary objects alike.