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All Posts by UnseelieCour

All Posts by UnseelieCour

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39 posts found
City of Steam might run in a browser, but it's just the same as any other mmorpg. If you're looking for a steampunk mmo, you'd be silly not to give it a go (imo).

I am in the same boat, OP (and all those who replied likewise).

 

There are some old gems still puffing away, but most of us have played them to death. Plus, they don't always sit well with the fluidity of modern games. Saying that, there is a horrible swell of new mmorpgs - including big budget ones - that are somehow clunkier than a MUD. I sincerely believe mmorpg studios have a tendency to throw too much money at amateur game designers: only in mmorpgs can devs spring out of thin-air 'fully formed' and get a multi-million dollar budget to work with (I speak as a game developer here). The industry if full of people with 'ideas' with no experience of how to realise them - it shouldn't be a surprise that there is a tendency to fall back to cloned designs and leave the marketing team to explain why it is different. The scary thing is, I think a lot of them believe their own hype!

 

A mmorpg should have a living, breathing world that we all share and, ideally, it ought to be an open seamless world. The different ways we can impact and leave our mark on the world is what will make it stand out to the gamer and entice them to stay. Investment in a character is not enough - I've gone back to mmorpgs after long periods (up to 10 years) and my characters are always the same - unfortunately, so are the worlds. The new breed of mmorpgs just don't address this fundamental pillar of mmorpg gameplay ad mmorpgs haven't for a long time (arguably since UO). I really feel there is an arguement that many mmorpgs are not mmorpgs if the only player to player participation is in small groups of 20vE or 20v20 - the only massive game to be found in most of them is on general chat, and that's not a game most enjoy playing.

 

It's been a slow creep to this stage and a painful death - let's hope the upcoming mmorpgs do things as differently as they claim to and aren't just speaking through a marketing mouthpiece. Sadly, experience makes me suspect that any positive return to the ideals of mmorpg gameplay will be as slow a creep and this new crop will turn out to only be good on paper, ending up ever-so-slightly more engaging than the current gen.

 

*sigh*

 

God, I sound like a right old moaning fart.

I agree with the OP, despite what the devs may have posted in a forum somewhere. I'm not saying I disagree with what the devs may have written, I've just been listening to them pronounce it in videos and they definitely no not pronounce it "ark-age". They don't pronounce it "ar-ke-age" either, which they should be if they are spelling it Archeage (OP is 100% correct on that).

 

What I hear is "ar-kage". I think it is a localisation issue and it should have been written Archaege, with the "e" after the "a". That, to me, would suggest a pronunciation closest to what the devs say.

TERA has a great 'first glance': from marketing materials, through to game installation and initial impressions, it does a great job of creating the illusion many MMORPG'ers look for. It is of a high-fidelity graphics-wise, runs incredibly well (both client and server-side) and generally has a polish and gloss unusual (no, unheard of) for a studio's first title. It is hard to fault TERA technically - the execution is sublime.

 

Although part of the publishing cycle, and therefore probably not under direct stewardship of Bluehole Studio, I would like to bring attention to one element of many games' cycle that, unless done badly, never seems to receive any attention. If it were not for the colour palette, the scantily clad 'bunny' girls or swords the length of a double-decker bus, you would bet your mortgage on TERA being of western origin. The language is concise yet elegant, the lexicon is advanced yet clear and the text is littered with cultural references and clever puns that are sly winks to a westernised audience. Well done the localisation team – I've never seen such a fantastic localisation job in a video game. Fullstop (or should that be Period)?

 

However, this would be the first area of contention I have with TERA. In spite of its exquisitely executed localisation, you'd be hard pushed to miss the fact that this is a MMORPG of Asian origin. Some of these Asian elements will sit well with the western gamer, such as the action-orientated combat, but others will possibly alienate those with no previous interest in art direction Asian-style. It is all here – over-sized weaponry, characters with the bodies of adults and the faces of children (along with the obligatory Panda race – the Popori), armour that Dita Von Tesse would find impractical even for the burlesque stage, sound effects that could have been recorded from one of your five-year-old's play sessions, a colour-palette from one of Syd Barrett's dreams and a general naivety to the art direction that doesn't match western expectations of high-fantasy, nevermind those large swathes of people who prefer their fantasy a little closer to the ground.

 

This is not to distract from the technical prowess of the art team who I would not exclude from the closing sentence of my opening paragraph. The artwork is very beautiful and wonderfully realised, it just isn't going to appeal to most western gamers. In the same way as my structural engineer friend finds Picasso uncomfortable and Jan Matejko infinitely more palatable (because, as my friend puts it, he paints every every last detail and leaves nothing to chance), western populations may see sexual representations of barely-legal (or worse) characters where an Asian sees an opportunity to mould an avatar with desirable cultural characteristics. I'll leave the nitty gritty to Freudian anthropologists.

 

Art direction aside, the character creation is rather good. You can choose from a variety of presets for things such as face and hair or, for the more adventurous, delve into sliders that allow you to define all the important parts of your character's facial structure. The downside is that a few texture choices (eye colour, makeup, beard, moles) are lumped into once choice, meaning the chance of your preferred combination of features being available is slim. There are also a lot a choices with regard to hair and skin colour, although I was disappointed to find 10 shades of blonde. On the whole, I was pleasantly pleased with the customisation available at creation, although I didn't manage to feel particularly comfortable with any of my creations, which is my cue bring art direction back into the review.

 

Known to play everything from a rotund slob to a withered old hag, I would definitely have liked to see some further character creation choices. Possibly for the body, although it is always understandable when this is not available, but definitely some options to alter the age appearance of avatars. There are several choices for male characters that could pass for anything up to mid-forties (and I can remember one facial texture that could pass for older), but I couldn't find a female facial texture that looked older than twenty (most look a lot younger). On the whole, I feel there is little opportunity to create a truly unique character within each individual race, which is disappointing given the excellent customisation afforded by the sliders. I use character in the truest sense of the word for those who rightly point out that you can make some very different looking avatars - it was simply my experience that no matter the dimensions of the face, it looked like it belonged to the same personality.

 

This game has bouncing breasts and there has been a lot of discussion about it, most of it light-hearted. Personally, I have no issue with it – breasts bouncing is no different than hair waving in the wind. I play Mortal Online, a game that has full nudity – I have no beef with bits and bobs that most of us have. What dismayed me was the sneaking suspicion that female avatars were being sexualised at almost every opportunity. Added to the inability to make a female character look older than a young age, the lack of modest armour available for female characters and the body-type of females being a consistent ideal (not necessarily my ideal) across all races, bouncing breasts looks more an aesthetic decision than an artistic one. It has been pointed out that male characters are also sexualised by some of the armour, but I'm not sure that's the point. If you want to play a female avatar, you have to wear sexy armour – the male avatar has a choice. Finally, because I've been typing for a long time, most of the females have bigger packages than the men. Don't believe me, go and have a look at some of the texture work on female crotch areas.

 

I was planning on writing a proper review of most of the game's systems, so when I have got over my hang-ups on art-direction, I will come back and finish this (probably in instalments) if people seem interested. If not, sorry for boring you!

Originally posted by Nevulus

All of a sudden everyone is a stock analyst, game developing expert, and software localization guru.

Not much into stock anaylsis, but I can tell that down is bad.

 

Seriously though, I am a game developer and I know how publishers work i.e. they don't make loss. They're not going to fund the launch of a MMO in a new market when it has failed in another market - it will probably be (initially) on SV's chequebook. The publisher/ studio relationship is like a music label/ rockstar one in that if you get any money out of a publisher it will be clawed back out of future sales/ royalties. You also run up a bill for other things they do which don't end up in extra development cash for you. If you don't get those future sales, you're left in quite a big bit of debt. The publisher will look at a studio and decide whether they're good for that debt if their product goes under or, more controversally, throw money at a studio for a product they know will fail and send the studio under so they can step in to the rescue (and pick up the rights to a certain engine/ IP/ whatever while they're at it). *cough*E*cough*A*cough*. I'm not sure SV appeals to a publisher on either of those fronts and its only product has failed hard.

That leaves the cost of software localisation, which as I said earlier my gf works in - specifically in outsourcing to Asia, mostly China. I'm not sure people relalise just what an arduous process software localisation is. It's not like opening a book and beginning to translate. A fully fledged localisation company will take on every aspect of the work, which I'm assuming SV are shooting for as they say dev time won't be taken up by localisation (which in itself worries me, because you decide whether you will localise something before you start developing, not afterwards or during - no development time devoted to localisation = a messy localisation process). Anyway, long story short - her quote for MO in 5 Asian languages was £90,000, between 900,000 and 1M SEK. I don't think SV have that sort of money - I may be wrong. Maybe they luck out and find their dream publisher - who knows?

An update:

 

One last look at my email before raising with bank and I have a response from support acknowledging error. They said they are refunding 2 subscription payments. Odd, I'm pretty sure there was only one payment taken.

 

I'll wait to see what happens, double check with my bank exactly what payments were taken and possibly ask SV to pay back only one charge. I am satisfied with the acknowledgement, I'm not looking for profit.

Henrik keeps going on about how an Asian version will allow Asian players to play it in their own language. What?!

 

Has he any clue what he is on about? If there is one language that unites the most Asians, it is English. Many Asian countries are so vast they have several languages.

 

And, who picks up the bill for localisation? My gf manages software localisation projects at the bottom end of the market, outsourcing to Asia (*chuckle*). Although MO has very little to translate/ localise, SV couldn't afford one language. They can't even get stuff translated from Swedish into English, and a couple of them speak better English than some natives.

 

They're hoping to sell publishing rights in Asia to raise money, it would seem. Publishers will not be interested in a cash injection upfront, best case scenario willl be deferred payments until they're at the break even. The cost of licensing MO must surely be ridiculously low anyway.

 

If sub numbers were good and finances flowing, it would be a good move. In context, a desperate, desperate attempt.

Originally posted by HanoverZ

Good call by your bank, mine often calls before processing any overseas e orders.  Did you ever get you money back from SV or did have to report Fraud?

 

As of today I have not received a refund and/or a further reply. As of tomorrow I will be reporting the case to my bank. I'm not incredibly bothered about the money which, let's face it, is a pittance. What I want is for the bank to press a theft case. As well as that I shall be reporting them for breach of the data protection act, something I'm familiar with from a previous life. It is EEA wide, Sweden is signed up, and it contains this:

"Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data..."

Which, even if they are having problems, leaves no excuse. They've unlawfully processed some of my data, possibly due to technical/ organisational issues.

I even have clear evidence, sent from them, that I was on a non-recurring subscription. They know that, so my assumption is that they're beyond broke and literally can't pay it back.

Ranting a bit, but it is the pure arrogance that winds me up. If they said "We're broke, we can't pay you back" I'd have to live and learn, but the insinuation that I have somehow done something wrong is nothing but smoke and mirrors. 

To clarify for anyone else reading, because I too am beginning to suspect that Rohn is awfully close to SV:

* there were two definite attempts made on my card, one of which was successful and one which the bank blocked. A 3rd 'attempt' seems to have been one of these mysterious double e-mails some people got.

* I was on a non-recurring subscription i.e. when my subscription ran out that was it

* My access to forums magically 'broke' around the end of my sub

Check your account, get your details off their system. Unless it is a lot of money, don't bother with chargebacks (can harm your account) and just report fraud, your bank is probably obliged to investigate - either internally or in law.

Half the server is complaining about this, so I know it has happened to at least 3 other people *BOOM BOOM*

Ugh, such a great waste of an idea. Poorly, poorly managed. It's Mats I feel sorry for.

Very worrying. It appears they tried to charge my account 3 times, but the bank blocked the 2nd and 3rd transactions.

 

However, I wasn't even on a recurring subscription so they shouldn't have even charged once. Raised a ticket to be pointed to refund policy. The email before the three charges in my inbox is from the previous day and explicitly tells me that I'm on a manual subscription and will need to take action to prevent an interruption to my subscription. Pointed that out to support and they ignored it. Given them another chance to reread my support ticket and see if they reply with the correct answer. If not, I'll be reporting fraud to my bank account.

 

Tried to reply to a guy on the official forums who wa smug because he never sets to auto-renew and so can't be charged x number of times to find out my forum privaleges have been removed. That is very dodgy. So if you're that guy and reading it, don't be so smug - get your crd details off their account system and pay via paypal or something.

 

I have defended this game quite a bit, but as others have said: start messing with my bank account and you've lost. I actually really like the game, but Henrik is an absolute crook. I've known that all along - it is all in his body language.

 

Enough is enough.

Originally posted by Rohn

Press releases or marketing materials that are picked up on and chosen to be reported on by an agency is clearly different from "bought and paid for" advertising, which was the clear insinuation that I was clarifying.

And that explains why I didn't have a clue what you were on about, slap. Rohn quoted hercules perfectly and it looked like you were agruing that.  Re. "bought and paid", I don't see where this is a quote attributed to anyone. Large font my emphasis.

 

Again, I don't see the slightest difference it would make anyway.

 

And thank you, I hope you have an enjoyable evening too.

Originally posted by Slapshot1188

 Your quote is NOT his quote so I am not sure who you are quoting.  His quote was "They paid for some marketing. I guess that's what this is." and since you yourself describe "marketing materials that are picked up on" I really fail to see your point.  You are blatantly misquoting...

No, those were his exact words. Not that it matters in the slightest, apart from the insinuation that someone is misquoting/misleading. Even then, I fail to see your point.

Originally posted by Toferio

I dont see the lack of subscription preventing several fans sugatcoating the game.

I'm afraid I don't follow your argument - the only thing I read is, in your opinion, slap hasn't maintained an active subscription during the majority of his reports on the state of game.

Originally posted by Toferio

I believe Slap is capable of doing a more or less realistic report, without sugarcoating it as many fans would do. I tend to trust such people over the hardcore fans. If you look at his posting history, despite him highlighting negative sides of MO, they have not really been lies, have they? While many fans tend to sugarcoat all the cons and deny all the bugs.

 

How long has slap had an active subscription?

Originally posted by Slapshot1188

The purpose of this thread is not to complain but to simply documeny my journey.  I will list the good (great stranger just handing me pickaxes!) as well as the bad (file errors and crashes).  Again, if you don't enjoy the tale then simply skip it

 

Anyhow.. did not do much more as it's now night.  I did grab a FRAPS of town for the naysayer.  Sorry it isn;t 5 minutes because I have a 30 second limit with the free version.  Uploading to youtube now and will link later on.  There was one person in the city at this time and he was AFK chopping wood in the center of town.  That's fine though.. this isn't a population debate thread as there is a new free trial so I am sure that the pop will pick up for the next few weeks.  Vid is simply to rebut the naysayer who accused me of doctoring a photo.

I don't see anyone accusing you of doctoring a photo. I see people accusing someone of accusing someone else of doctoring a photo. For the record, it was you who brought up population. If you have decided it is outwith the scope of the thread, perhaps delete your own references to it? Otherwise, I don't believe the terms of these forums disallow the questioning of the inclusiveness/context of any evidence put forward.

 

A dairy is for documenting, a book is for tales. A forum is based on the priciple of discussion and debate and you accept that when you publish to this format.

Originally posted by shogunone

Wow now you are accusing him of deliberatly deleting files to make errors to report on.  Just wow.

 

No, I don't believe I did say that.

 

Do you deny that doing that would create the same error message?

 

Let's leave it at that and not go around in circles.

For anyone following this thread, have a look at the OP's posting history.

 

For slappie, I shalln't descend into a flamewar. You know why I know those things.

 

For anyone wanting to recreate slappies errors, alt-tab out of game and delete a few files.

I'm skeptical for the reasons stated.

 

Throw up a 5 minute video of fab and I'll be placated.

 

Long story short, I can't think of a time I could have taken that screenshot myself over the past 3 months - unless I was first on after the server came up.

12 hour donwload and patch isn''t that bad for a 32gb game. If you're really sincere about exposing Mortal Online for the fraud it is, it would be helpful to quantify your porblems a little more. You're supposed to work in IT, right?

 

Aside from the blank error message, which you as well as I know is of little use to anyone outside of SV anyway, and the icons being moved around your desktop (which I believe is a graphics driver issue with Windows that normally appears after you close a maximised window of some sort , especially a wrapper window for a directX application), what exact problems are you having? You lowered everything to the lowest settings. Did you have them on the highest before? It would be really good to have such statements quantified with this sort of information and supplemented with the specs of your rig - it would give the potential player a much better understanding of problems s/he may face.

 

I'm skeptical of your screenshot, however. I travel all around Nave (Mortal Online's world) and Fabernum is by far the busiest place in the game. I can't think of any time of the day such a shot could be taken and I play at all hours (I have to squeeze my time in when I can, being in full-time and shifted employment). The server just went up and you were first in? Again, quantifying statements is of great help in warning the potential defrauded away from this steaming pile of a game.

 

Mechanics you don't like - I can live with that. I do remember the time you positively gushed over them, however. Discovered they're not actually for you? That's cool.

 

And to the new player:

 

Why not try it for yourself? Mortal Online is a fantastic experience - some people get bored quickly and some have been playing for over a year (beta included). But I can't think of many who didn't at least get a month of enjoyment out of it and you're getting 2 weeks for free. I do recommend downloading/patching client before you get the trial, but that goes without saying across the whole mmorpg industry.

Well, it wasn't entirely new faces for me, maybe a 50/50 split. My point was that out of the faces known to me, they probably accounted for a few % of the people I know play the game to this day. I was messaging people asking what they were up to and if they were going to turn up at some point and most of my contacts were in game, but doing other things.

 

I'm not suggesting the 50% unknowns were new players either - just that the event was a good indicator for me that there are a good number of established players and guilds who aren't particularly vocal or present in my networks. How many completely new players were there? That's hard to say. Poorly-equiped players could probably have been counted on one hand, but they could well have been alts.

 

I run with what is regarded as a small, insignificant guild and we number 6 or 7 online during our playing hours. There were 5 of us during the tournament and I was the only one present at the tourney. It seems to me there were similar percentages there from my own knowledge of other guilds, plus the same again from unknown entities. Of course, without knowledge of who these other entities represent, I can't make a reliable estimate at population online, but even discounting them and sticking with what I know, estimates of 150 max cocurrent players are laughable - it is far higher.

 

I think that's my point - I believed that 150 figure until the event last night, but seeing such a gathering allowed me to make estimates that were surprisingly optimistic.

To my eye there was a fairly consitent 50-75 people scattered around the area, principally in 3 clusters. People were logging and joining, but numbers remained stable the 2 hours I was there. I don't think I saw any more than 2 representatives from any one guild: I know for a fact none of my guild were there apart from me and, going by our alliance chat, none of our alliance were present either. Lot's of faces I didn't know existed were there and a few familiar ones too. The turnout was good, but what was suprising was that a good percentage of known entities weren't particularly represented, which gives hope for subscription numbers.

 

There was some trouble with some guy attacking anything that came over the mountain from the central steppe and a rogue AQ member was attacking folks coming through the tunnel. On the whole is was quite a civil gathering - Kubalay, Queen of Nave, even made an appearance.

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