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The Angry Roleplayer

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

Author: Mystik86

Aion CBT 4 On The Horizon

Posted by Mystik86 Friday July 17 2009 at 2:37AM
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The title says it all. In a few hours (It's about to hit 3AM EST) we will see the start of Aion's 4th closed beta test. This weekend's playtest features both Elyos and Asmodian sides as well as the Abyss and the ability to reach level 25. It should serve as a great weekend for anyone in the CBT or entering for the first time.

While we wait though I'd like to go over my thoughts on Aion thus far and how I believe it may be the next big thing to compete with the WoW market.

 

Character Creation/Customization

By far one of the most advanced character creation systems I have ever had the pleasure of using. By now it's no secret that Aion utilizes an Oblivion-styled chargen slider system for pretty much every facial feature available. They also allow you to scale your character's body and make it as tiny or as large as you can (within their limits). Though you're limited to only two races, the Elyos and Asmodians, you are able to make them as unique and different as you want and can easily distinguish yourself from others in the game.

It comes as no shock to me as I have forseen this level of character customization coming for some time now. It's something I have needed and wanted desperately for roleplaying and has only been seen in a select few games (AoC; you could use sliders but it wasn't as good as Aion's, VG and EQ2). It sure as hell beats your typical head and hair choices that most MMOs offer and is a fresh breath of air for the personalization aspect of games.

It's also possible to create your own face if you're skilled enough with the sliders, and if you prefer, a celebrity's face. The options are truly endless and time in the character creation section can be a game in itself.

 

Starting Out

As with all MMORPGs you will have to start out as a simple little person in a gigantic and wonderous world. You begin your life in a typical newbie area and work your way up to the "real" stuff over the course of an hour or two. It doesn't take long to get from 1 to 6 and by that time you're well on your way to the real deal. By level 9 you can choose your subclass and soon after at 10 you are officially through with the newbie zone.

Upon reaching level 10 (and if you're finished with everything in the starter zone) you will proceed to a ceremony that will allow you to ascend to the status of Daeva which seems to be a sign of divinity and something to respect. Not that it matters much to most people, the world around you looks up (and down) on the daeva and as such you become an integral part of things going on. There is another nice perk to hitting level 10 as well and that is your first pair of wings. These wings will serve as your primary travel method when in zones that allow it (teleporters and flight masters are available too).

When all is said and done, depending on your chosen race you will be told to hit up the next area, which for me was on the Asmodian side of the tracks the first time around.

 

Advancement/Progression

As with most other games you are faced with your general, run of the mill 1-to-cap level system. Not much to say about this besides that it's a tested and true system and it works for me. I haven't gone far enough in the game to truly know much about progression besides that I do quests, gain xp, money and move on.

 

Zones

Of the zones I have seen I have loved every bit of them. So far each zone seems to have multiple themes going on. Starting out on the Asmodian side, I saw a pleasant change in the zones and found my journey to level 10 quite refreshing and definitely easy on the eyes. It's nice to see some quality landscaping for a change. Everything looked natural and very organic. It all seemed to flow together brilliantly. Colorful, lush, dense, sparse, whatever it was it just looked great.

 

Graphics

Words cannot fully describe the beauty of Aion. It is as beautiful as it is bold and definitely delivers for anyone searching for that gem of all gems. It's no secret that NCSoft has a talented staff of developers but they have certainly pushed the envelope for Aion. It makes Lineage 2 look bland in comparison, and has a unique flare going for it.

Though Aion still seems to take a more Asian approach to design it appeals to every set of eyes that gazes upon it. Flashy outfits and weapons from the start make the higher level stuff much more appealing than any other game. Rewards look and feel like rewards. Everything in this game has been carefully crafted to sweeten you up, so much so that you may have to see a dentist after playing for long periods of time. Aion is, quite simply, the proverbial eyecandy for MMO gamers, and a beacon of light for other developers to learn from. For so long now MMO gamers have suffered through subpar graphics with few exceptions and have always been years behind other games. Aion seeks to change this and is doing a wonderful job.

All in all, there's no shortage of elegance in Aion and it's worth a look even if you're not planning on playing for long.

 

Community

The community seems decent enough, though I haven't gone too deep into it yet. In my next playtest I hope to find some fellow RPers and will be actively seeking a guild that suits this purpose.

Players seem friendly enough, though I did run into one person who stole my kills. He looked like your typical WoW player and had the demeanor of a 13 year old. Needless to say, every game has it's bad apples. I hope the entirety of the playerbase doesn't include others like this person.

 

Overall

In the end Aion is a true work of art. Though the gameplay mirrors that of games already released it has a certain amount of charm that will hopefully only grow over time. One can only hope they use a mix of previous and new examples to make Aion the big one because if that happens it will kill the beast we've all sought to slay.

Darkfall Online - NA-1 Fiasco

Posted by Mystik86 Tuesday July 14 2009 at 7:17PM
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First let me say that I have followed DFO, supported and played as a neutral party. I have been relatively unbiased and have kept to myself in regards to the "whose dick is bigger" type fighting. I have looked past all of AV's shortcomings and have suffered through an unintelligent and bitter community of e-thugs. I have chopped through flesh and bone to get to the very heart of the game and after all of that I think I am nearly through.

You see, recently the community has been dealing with the announcement and now launch of the NA-1 server, something a lot of people-myself included-had been looking forward to. I even looked past the part about having to buy the client a second time (though I hated the very thought of wasting even more cash on a game twice over), but everything has changed. Reports are surfacing in regards to AV being the sole publisher of DFO both in Europe and North America. There have been people showing solid proof that AV is still handling everything but the actual server hosting. Thus far it is looking horrible for Aventurine and I can tell you that I am not pleased by their performance one bit.

It takes a lot for me to really be bothered by a developer's actions, though it seems these days most devs act without really caring about their players and dump out a multitude of stupid, unwanted or just plain bad features for their game. Most of these things are just heat-of-the-moment decisions by anxious devs to try to make a change. Aventurine's blatant lies have no benefited themselves or their playerbase whatsoever. This goes far beyond butchering their own game and dives head first into completely shafting their core base of players. They have not only lied about the NA-1 publisher but are still asking that you pay them for it. They are doing this and yet are still asking you to wait 3+ months before you may transfer if you don't wish to pay them for a second client.

Where has this ever been acceptible? Where has it ever been ok to just suddenly change the story and act like it was the sole truth ever spoken? Other publishers will tell you straight up that yes you will have to pay for the game per region and yes you will most likely not be able to transfer, but AV has straight out covered up their own lies by stating that you are limited to 1 character per account per server. I mean, it sounds like complete bullshit. Why do we allow them to set the standard of good business dealings? This is a farce and should be treated as such.

I am betting some people are still wondering if it's just a big prank, well I can say that NO it is not. If you try to find out for sure, you are silenced, and maybe even banned. It makes absolutely no sense. How on earth can Aventurine and Tasos get away with it? Hell, when you buy the NA client through paypal you seem to be paying DIRECTLY to him. As in, he seems to be the only person getting anything out of it, and he is in charge of the EU development of the game. Is it me or is something terribly fishy here? Or are we all just a bunch of morons that we accept this kind of thing as normal and go on with our lives?

I say refuse to accept this kind of shit. Do not for a second think that what AV is doing is right and just. Fight it with every breath in you because I sure as hell will be. Hit those pricks hard and REFUSE to buy the NA-1 client. If they invested any money in starting up the server they will LOSE a lot more if you don't buy into it. Stop being a lemming and listen to logic. See the error of Aventurine's ways and learn how to fight against them.

This will make for a fine comic...

Tips For Efficient Roleplay (Part 2)

Posted by Mystik86 Monday July 13 2009 at 12:54AM
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Following the first part I present to you part 2 of my series of "Tips for Efficient Roleplay". Please note that these tips are based on my own personal opinions on how you should handle roleplaying in your chosen game.

Tip #7

DO - Roleplay publically even if you're in an instance group. Sometimes other roleplayers will join in if they are present and you will find the experience more enjoyable.

DON'T - Join a random pick-up group and start blathering on in character about being in an instance. It ruins the immersion not only for yourself but also makes you look weird. Either stay in character or stick to a more out of character approach.

 

Tip #8

DO - Make small-talk about the various things you see in the world. This can sometimes lead to bigger things including large-scale player-driven events specifically for whatever is going on.

DON'T - Insist on commenting on every single thing happening. Most likely your character will be more concerned with a couple things going on and not the entire world. Unless your character is a god you probably won't know every little bit of information out there.

 

Tip #9

DO - Love your character. Love that you've taken a bunch of pixels and personalized them to be that person you've imagined for your adventures.

DON'T - Be IN LOVE with your character. Last time I checked narcisism was out.

 

Tip #10

DO - Show off your character's gear in character. Go into great detail about how you slew the beast and skinned it, brought it's hide to the leatherworker and had him make you a beautiful chest piece. Show of that giant fiery sword and be proud, you've earned a bit of glory.

DON'T - Assume anyone will really care. Sometimes people just don't really care about the basic game mechanics even if cleverly written into a story. Getting gear is a very common practice for most people.

 

Tip #11

DO - Enjoy seclusion. Find the deepest, darkest cave and spend days there. If your character prefers to stay in one place, stay there!

DON'T - Claim you own the cave you're currently "living" in. Most likely there's something bigger than you still inside.

 

Tip #12

DO - Eat the purple mushrooms.

DON'T - Get angry if you die from them.

 

Beginner's tip:

Try not to play the commonly known role of a "god-moder". Your character isn't invincible and still must play by the rules of fate. Know that some guilds or groups expect a character to stay lost, kidnapped or dead. Final death is inevitable, so try to stay alive!

Yet Another MMO Gaming Comic - Number 1

Posted by Mystik86 Saturday July 11 2009 at 2:28AM
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And, without further hesitation I present a rushed but funny comic!

 

The Never-Ending RP vs. Power Gamer War: Staff vs. Gamers

Posted by Mystik86 Friday July 10 2009 at 9:26PM
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After several days of what has seemed like a shitstorm of blog posts, forum posts and general buzz about group play, solo play and roleplayers, I've come to the conclusion that we're about to see the next phase in the "war". We now have so-called industry insiders firing back at players, one even being so bold as to basically say that roleplayers are whiners. I can say, after picking that up from this fellow's horrible column I am not impressed. Not by a long shot.

I hate to go over this but I do not believe in any case it's the roleplayer or roleplaying crowds whining about anything. In fact, roleplayers don't typically give a rat's ass about a game's mechanics or the balancing or loot or what-have-you because as long as they LIKE the game they are playing, they play it and enjoy their time spent in it, in character or out. It is POWER GAMERS that are ALWAYS whining about every little thing. They go from whining about class balance to loot drop percentages to roleplayers slowing them down to whatever else is changing/happening in their chosen game.

Power gamers whine more than anyone else because they are looking for the best edge on what they do. If ANYTHING is changed in any way that affects how they play they whine about it. It doesn't matter how small and insignificant it may be if it kills the buzz for the power gamer they whine like a little baby about it.

Now, you may be foaming at the mouth by now if you are a power gamer and I can tell you straight up I will laugh in your face until I can't breath because seriously, realize that you are the reason MMORPGs have gone to shit. You might pay to play and keep a game alive but you have ruined the genre for anyone with an imagination and a desire for a challenge.

I won't say roleplayers are all great folks. Some are hybrid gamers. Half power gamer, half roleplayer. I play that part myself sometimes. Some purist roleplayers are complete asshats, as much or more than some power gamers. It doesn't matter who you are or what your playstyle is, you can make the games you play good or bad. You have the choice whether you make or break the experience for yourself and/or others.

I think a lot of people stereotype the different playstyles of gamers and I think that's a major issue here. Casual and power gamers sometimes think that roleplayers are uptight and only use old-English "accents" and don't play by the lore. Not true, and most roleplayers will jump down your throat for this sort of thing. Many of the stereotypes for roleplayers are untrue, though not all of them. I would have to say that out of all the stereotypes out there for gamers, among power and roleplay gamers there are more that can be confirmed as truths for power gamers.

I'm sure we will not see the end of this and I imagine I will be getting a ton of negative comments on this one but I don't care. I need to say these things...

 

Why I Don't Like To Group

Posted by Mystik86 Thursday July 9 2009 at 4:00AM
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I thought of this earlier today as I was reading stuff on the site and wanted to get it out there.

There are a bunch of big reasons why I do not like to group up in MMOs, reasons which have actually made me quit games. First and foremost it makes me feel, as one player, weak. It makes me feel unheroic and very vulnerable. I like a challenge, don't get me wrong, but I also like to feel like I am a hero in posession of some truly unique skills, skills which can keep me alive no matter what. Many MMOs have content that you cannot solo as it's simply impossible to do so. Even non-group quests can be this tough when you're playing on your own (EQ2 had some difficult content to push through solo). LoTRO is a major culprit here I think as there are a bunch of things that become extremely difficult to do solo. I enjoy dungeons but LoTRO has dungeons you absolutely must have a full group for and it gets on my nerves.

Another big thing that ruins games for me is the constant need to group to get anything worthwhile. The best gear is almost always obtained through instance runs that require groups. This can happen over a single run or many runs depending on what you're trying to get. I'm not always in it for the gear, as I said I enjoy dungeons and would love to do more DDO style instances. It all goes back to my desire for more singleplayer quality content for solo players.

Finding groups can also be a big thing for me. It takes time to find one and once you do the fun doesn't end there. First you have to make sure the group is balanced usually the typical formation of a tank, healer, and a few damage dealers. After this you have to actually make sure your group is capable. PUGs (pick-up groups) can be a nightmare when it comes to making sure everyone can handle the task at hand. Sometimes a dungeon will require you to have already obtained certain gear to be able to weather the storm so to speak. Most of the time a PUG is lacking in skill, knowledge of the dungeon, proper gear and voice comms-things that can make or break a run.

I enjoy most games until the endgame content. Not because it's too hard (I spent 5 years in WoW and raided up until WotLK) but because it requires vast amounts of time and people to do. Raiding becomes a necessity and it gets old fast. You can only run a dungeon so many times before you realize it's the same old shit and you leave. I'm still a firm believer that a single hero could slay a dragon and as such I don't think we should have 20-40 skilled heroes needed to take the beast down.

I guess it really boils down to the risk and reward factor, and also the time spent to obtain the rewards. If it takes too long, too many people and is too dangerous it's not worth it and it gets boring.

Looking Ahead, Never Behind

Posted by Mystik86 Wednesday July 8 2009 at 12:09AM
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The past is a wonderful thing. It can show us the mistakes of the past, however many there may be. It's shown us how to become better at the things we do and helped us advance into the current age (which seems to have begun at the turn of the century and hasn't yet ended). It is true that the past hasn't always helped us progress, though, and at times I believe we are taking large strides backwards. Gaming seems to go back and forth rather frequently with developers trying to please the oldschool gamers while selling to the new.

It can be said that some of the current offerings have been massive leaps backwards but I beg to differ. One game that seems to be moving forward (finally) is none other than Darkfall Online. As a neutral party to the game and the community I've been able to step back and watch the changes that have happened and are about to happen without any extreme bias either way. From what I can see now Aventurine is shaping up, and that's after the whole North American client fiasco. It's obviously a big downer for anyone excited about playing on a server closer to home but I believe that it will be worth it to jump on that particular bandwagon.

After reading the length expansion patch notes I have come to the conclusion that Darkfall will be the game we'd hoped for and it's only been a few months. They've done what the VG team couldn't do. They've quickly taken their game for what it was worth and rebuilt it into something worthwhile. This is not to say that there won't be shortcomings, and we've already forseen some of the possible bad things that may happen (the "hardcore" bunch whining that the game is moving in a carebear direction; I think not).

The game appears to be offering exactly what I and I'm sure a lot of other gamers had been looking for. It's a welcome addition to the game and it makes my money a little bit better spent. It's a good feeling to know that the purchase I made last month was not in vain. Relief has washed over me and my true desires will come alive when the expansion goes live (patching isn't available atm).

I'm sure by now you've scratched your head a couple of times wondering, "What the hell is this weirdo on about?", and let me tell you I am on about a game that may become one of the biggest things to hit the MMO scene since EQ and UO. I look ahead to the future, and never behind, and know that the best is yet to come.

 

EDIT: Just wanted to shout out to Inktomi, a man who has been a welcome addition to the community and who has interested me in reading and writing again! Keep on keepin' on, brother!