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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

And so the days of the Avatar and Multi-Crew Game Play Begins for Elite Dangerous.

Posted by Teala Sunday February 19 2017 at 4:29PM
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Hello fellow Cmdr's.   Frontier, the developers behind the game Elite Dangerous, are about to take the game to a whole new level with the release of patch 2.3 The Commanders.  With it's release comes the ability to create your character/avatar - something that has been missing from the game for a very long time.  The character creation system that Frontier is unleashing on it's players appears to be as robust as any you might see in a modern released game and will rival even EVE Online for how much control one has on creating their perfect Cmdr.  

Another aspect that has been requested by players is finally seeing the light of day - true multi-crew game play!  Where two or more players can actually fly in the same ship and each one can perform different duties as is required for any given situation.  It seems that currently it is somewhat limited in scope - but it is a start and I can see a whole lot of fun game play coming our way.  Playing the gunner of a say a large vessel just took on a whole new meaning in gaming - just an awesome addition to an all ready great game.

We will also get a new space liner ship called the Dolphin.  It is smaller then the Beluga and Orca - but is very classy for the Cmdr's that ferry travelers to the far reaches of the galaxy.

In the videos below let, the developers of Frontier show off their newest, greatest patch to a game that is just getting better and better with every new addition Frontier adds.   Oh, and listen up at the end of the video - spoil alert - there is a lot more to patch 2.3 that we're not being shown that is suppost to be be even bigger than the release of the character creator.  :)

On the Horizon - 2.3 The Commanders Beta - Part 1

On the Horizon - 2.3 The Commanders Beta - Part 2


Elite Dangerous - become a legend in the year 3303 - today!


Note:  Next Entry - My Review of Conan Exiles!  The new release from FunCom - is it a hit or miss?  Check back in 4 days to read my opinion on their latest game. 

Blade & Soul - A good game made bad by the people running it.

Posted by Teala Monday February 8 2016 at 11:44PM
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Before I get started I just wanted to say it has been awhile since I have written any sort of real review on any MMORPG's of late.   The reason for this is - nothing has come out recently worth writing about here in the North American MMO market.  It takes a good game for me to even want to write about it first of all and in order to do that you have to play it to the end(or at least play it long enough to get a good handle on it for sandbox games like "Elite: Dangerous").  I've just gotten to the point that if a game sucks(and many of the NA released games of recent have sucked) I won't write anything on it.  With that said, I've recently found a game that in my opinion doesn't suck and to top it off - it's a themepark game on rails!  For me liking a themepark game at all is a rare thing - very rare.  For it to be totally on rails and still like it - hell must have froze over because it is my least favorite type of MMORPG of them all. 

How can this be Kristi?  You've written some pretty nasty critiques on themepark MMO's in the past - what's different about this game compared to all those others?

Back in 2012 NCSoft, one of the biggest producers of Korean based MMO games announced that they had a new game being released called Blade and Soul.   At first I was like "meh", another Asian grinding game from hell.   So I paid little attention to it.  Then, one of better known video game reviewers named Steparu put some videos up of them playing the Korean version of the game.  It looked really good.  For a game coming out in 2012 it looked really fun to play.  My interest picked up again and I started following it more closely - since it had also been announced that it would eventually come to the North American market. 

About a year after it's release I learned that the game had an update so I checked into it.  I really didn't care for the direction they were taking it - so once again it fail off my radar.  Game was becoming exactly what I though it would become - a typical Korean grindfest game. 

It's now 2016.  NCSoft kept their word and finally brought Blade and Soul to the NA market.  Again, this game wasn't even on my radar as a game that might interest me - but I checked it out anyway.  I watched a few streams of people playing it on Twitch.  It surprised me.  People were liking it.  So I looked back into.  Turns out NCSoft had done their home work and took the effort to make sure this game would do well in the NA market by actually changing it and making it work in a market where the gamers that play these types of games are notoriously fickle.  I guess previous experience has taught NCSoft that for a game to succeed in this market it can't be to grindy and it must not be "pay to win"(P2W) - which are two things that will kill a game faster here in the US than anything else - beside the fact that it has to be fun - first and foremost.

So on the day of it's official release(not early release mind you) I decided I would give it a shot.  So I downloaded it(Blade and Soul by the way is a free to play game - you don't  have to pay a cent to play it).  The servers must of been getting hammered by other people trying to download it because it was going to take about 5hrs for me to get it.  So I went to bed and decided to play it the next day after downloading it that night. 

Next day - started to play the game. 

Of course the first thing you do when you fire up the game is create your character.  One thing I have to say about Blade and Souls character creator is that is is really well done.  One of the best I've come across.  It is very easy to understand and allows for you to make a pretty unique looking character.

It is during this process that you'll of course choose what race, gender and class you'll play in game.  This is not the full blown version of the game mind you...NCSoft is releasing it in pieces so not all the classes you can play will be there(the rest are coming in a later update). What is there is enough to get the game on a good footing. 

For races there are the Gon, Lyn, Yun and Jin.  One race is gender specific, the Yun - which is female only.  There are no racial traits in this game.  So playing a specific race doesn't give you any special abilities like you might find in other games - like World of Warcraft. 

In my opinion, for the game, the character creator is just a little above average.  If you're expecting EVE level or better - this one isn't that complex.  What it dos have is enough that you'll be able to make a character that you'll be happy with and will most certainly be unique enough that it's not likely anyone will have a character that looks exactly like yours.

As for classes - there are seven in the first installment of the game(2 others will be added later).

There are Blade Dancer, Blade Master, Force Master, Kung Fu Master, Assassin, Destroyer, and Summoner.  The other two classes that will be added later are the Soul Master and Warlock.  Likemost MMORPG's your race will determine what classes you can play.  For instance the Force Master is limited to the Lyn, Yun and Gon races.

The classes all have unique play styles, some are melee based, two(in game now) are ranged(Force Master and Summoner) and the two ranged and one melee are able to handle group of mobs(have creature control(CC) type skills better than the others).  The Summoner is the only real class that has some semblance of healing other party members while in combat - but it is weak, so don't rely on it to keep a party healed. 

The game tells you upfront which classes are easy to play and which are the more difficult.  The Kung Fu Master is by far the most difficult class to master.  The Summoner the easiest.  Though I think playing a Summoner isn't that easy at higher levels once you start getting into combos.  I'll discuss all this in the combat portion of this review a little be better. 

So onto the game itself.

First thing that caught my attention was the cinematic style beginning of the game.  It was really well done.  I loved the way the producers placed the credits into was like - "OK - so there is a reason there is a movie type start to this game."  And there is.  It has a(in my opinion) a very robust and lengthy storyline you'll take part in as you progress through the game.  I highly recommend you follow it and not just tab through it.  Though it is like many stories of bad vs evil, there is a unique flavor to it that I can't put my finger on - but I found it very entertaining and liked it a lot(so far - we have to wait for more of the game to get deeper into the story - because we only got a part of it).  No spoilers here - but the story has many feels at times. 

By the way, there are character introductions(characters you'll encounter as you play the game with their own little backs stories) and after the little intro plays out it ends with a stylistic "Kill Bill"- esque poster type image.  Like after you are introduced to Soha, the gun slinging heroine in the story.  The cut scenes in this game are some of the best I've seen in an MMORPG before.  Soha's is very cool.   So watch for it.

Another - by the way - this game is very into the female form...I mean, really, really, really into it.  So be warned if you have issues with big breast and scantly clad women - THIS GAME IS NOT FOR YOU.

OK we covered that.  No need to go further.  It is what it is.

"Wake up Cricket!"

With those three words I knew I was in an Asian story based game, and you know what - I loved it!  I think this was the moment that I knew I was going to like this game.   I really am enjoying the story and the characters you meet.  I like them so much I read every non-spoken quest to boot!  I didn't skip a one.  I dunno why...but I found myself really enjoying the main story and the side quest a lot; and when I say side quest - wholly mackerel - there are many and I mean lots of side quest!  For instance in one place there is a young Lyn female trying to get this young Jin character to notice her.  In the end, you're flinging pig poo and mud balls as you try to get these two together.   As for the pig poo and mud balls - don't ask...but it was silly fun. 

All in all, if you are a fan of questing in games like this, then this game is right up your alley and you'll most likely take the time to do all the quest and dungeons this game currently offers.  For those that don't, all I can say is you're missing out on one of the best aspects of this game - your loss.

Remember when I said this is a themepark on rails - well that is exactly what this game is, make no mistake about it.  You go from one quest hub to another.   It doesn't even try to cover it up at all.  There is no weather system, no night and day cycle, no little critters or bugs flitting about.   It is what it is and that's that.  If things like that are important to you - this game has none of it - at all.  Though I will tell you this from my perspective and opinion - this game doesn't need it.   It's not trying to be something it's not.  It's not an open world.  It is specifically designed to get you from one section of the game to the next as you follow the story.   Is this a bad thing...I guess it all depends on how you look at it.  The game is story driven for the most part so if you don't pay attention to the story as I mentioned the world will seem rather lifeless.  If you follow the story it seems the opposite - that's because you're being distracted to the point that you won't notice the lack of things that make most games seem like breathing living worlds. 

Traveling in this game is not like other games.  You'll not board mounts, nor get on a blimp, train or ship.  Nope, in this game we have "windwalking".   Ever watch a good kung fu movie?  How about Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon?  Remember how people could walk on water, or run up the sides of buildings, or even fly of glide to some degree?  Well you can do it in this game as well.  As you gain levels you'll also increase your windwalking skills.   When you get to a certain level you'll even gain the ability to use special kind of windwalking travel which enable you to basically transport great distances.   Using the windwalking portals to go great distances(teleport from one area of the game to another) cost money, so be sure to check the cost before going - otherwise you'll look at you money and say, "hmmm...I thought I had X amount of silver".  By the way, for fast travel in certain zones once you have wall walking, just run up a tree, jump off and then hit wind walking.  You can thank me later.

Now I can go into what you should do and shouldn't do in this game - like hoard money for all it is worth.  Don't buy anything!  Sell everything you pick up.  Money in this game is very difficult to come by and you'll need it later in game for crafting and upgrading weapons and items.  Trust me on this.  In game money is key to everything in this game - without it you will "not" be upgrading anything.

Which bring me to "Gold Sellers" in Blade and Soul.  Now it is well known that gold sellers plague every free to play game on the market, but B&S is way worse than any game I have ever come across.  The spam from them got so bad that B&S forums, Twitter, and Reddit were littered with complaints about the amount of gold sellers spamming the chat.   It got worse because NCWest only allowed for you to block 50 at a time.  That was no where near enough to block the shear amount of gold sellers spamming the chat channels.  And when I say "channels" I mean every channel that players have access to in game(regional, faction, clan, Dragonspire LFG channel - all of them).  Good news is that NCSoft has fixed a few things and the gold spamming isn't so bad.  Occasionally one gets through but we can easily right click the name which allows for reporting and blocking at the same time - and we now can block 200 at a time.

Certain channels however are still filled with gold spammers and they are useless to use.  Go into the PvP arena and the channel is filled with spammers.  Go in the Dungeon Lobby where you find cross-server groups(PUGS) to run dungeons and the chat is filled with gold spammers.  So though NCSoft may have stopped some of the gold spamming - they have a long way to go to stopping it at all.

One thing that might drive these gold sellers out is if NCSoft wasn't so stingy with the way players get money in game.  It is incredibly stupid that items sell for only 1 copper to an NPC vendor up until you reach you mid 40's.  Even then most things sell for no more than 3 copper.   You run out of quest at 45 - one of the best sources for money.  You can run dailies - but even then you'll be spending hours - yes hours running dailies just to get a few gold.


There is money to be made and NCSoft is actually creating the atmosphere that drives gold sellers to games like this.   People want to play the game - not spend countless hours "grinding" for coinage when upgrading items and weapon cost so much.  It's not so bad at the lower levels, but once you hit level 45 expenses go up exponentially - and I mean from a few silver to costing lots of gold!  

So yeah, there is a market for gold and NCWest is making it happen because they make geting money in game so damn hard.  Is it any wonder why gold sellers can stay in business.

It is insane that a games designers think that making a game that requires a player to run hours of dailies to get ahead is good for game retention - but from my experience it will drive players away.   Sure B&S will retain a die-hard fan base of players that don't mind the endless grind...but this will surely make a majority stop playing once they find out what it entails to obtain the highest tiered items and weapons in game. 

Another thing...dailies are your bread an butter for everything.  From keys to open lock boxes to unsealing charms that actually allow you to equip and or use an item or weapon.   Like money hoard these.  Hoard these and don't use them unless you really need to.   They are as important to upgrading as anything.   You can't open boxes nor equip items without them.   So use them sparingly.  If you don't you'll run out and be kicking yourself in the butt for not doing it.  I've had people I played this game with quit because just getting these things is a real chore.  They drop from boxes you get running dailies and dungeons and it's all RNG(based on chance) that what you'll need will drop.   So I am telling you now - hoard them.

Another thing I am telling you now, if you decide to play this game - read everything and anything you can regarding how to play before you start to play.  If you don't - you'll be lost and not have a clue how to do things like setting up Soul Shields.  How to create upgrade gems.  How to upgrade items and weapons to maximize the bonuses you can put on them.   Seriously, do yourself a favor and go to Youtube and learn all you can about the game - it'll save you time, effort and a lot of headaches if you do.  Again I have seen people in game rage quit because they couldn't figure things out.  The game has 0, zilch, nada tutorial on much of what you need to do to equip and upgrade your gear.   NCWest should really take the time to add some tutorials on the B&S website to explain how to do things.   It's so ridiculous that players have to access blogs and videos posted by players to learn how something is done.  What's worse is many of the videos are older versions of the game made for the Asian market and some of it has changed for the NA and EU market.   Nevertheless - learn what you can about the game before getting too deep, otherwise you'll end up frustrated and probably rage quit like I have seen many do all ready.

Also, make no mistake, this is a PvP game.  Sure you can do the PvE parts, but to get the best gear and items it does require you to participate in the PvP part of the game.   This game is designed with PvP in mind and the end game revolves around it.  If you're not in PvP - maybe you should skip this game because it is what drives it. 

Gear is important. Good thing is, you only need one set for both PvP and PvE.  Another good aspect is the game gives you the main gear you'll need in the form of drops.  They can come from world boss mobs to dungeon boss mobs.   The cool thing is the clothes your character wears is just that - clothing.  No stats on it at all, so you can wear whatever clothes you like - it won't hurt your characters performance.  Another good thing is there is lot's of it.  Both in game and on the games out of game store.   More and more is being added all the time. 

One of the things I like is the ability to just have the one weapon and upgrade it.   Make it how you want it to be.   Second, if you don't like the looks of it, find a weapon you do like and then transform the look of the weapon you have to the weapon you like.  Tada - no more "wishing" said weapon looked a certain way or had a certain group of stats on it.  Because now you can change all that.  I like this system and have been wanting in an MMORPG for a very, very long time.

Crafting and gathering materials for crafting.  Start them as soon as you can!  Do not wait.  Grab two crafting professions and two gathering professions and pay attention that the gathering profession you take is linked with the crafting profession you choose.   It is with utmost importance you do this.   There are items you'll need to upgrade weapons and items that can only be crafted.   Crafting can also make you money!  But no matter what you do in game there are things you'll need to buy from the market in order to craft.   It's a messed up convoluted system - but it is what it is.  Gathering is different than you'll find in other games as well.  You don't do it yourself - accept to find the initial material you're looking for to unlock it - at which time you pay the gathering union you joined to do it for you.   That's right.  You gather no materials you'll use for crafting.  Nope - in game NPC's do it for you.  It cost time and money to do it.  Some things take as long as 30 minutes for them to gather, while others can take literally hours and when I say hours I am talking 6+ hrs.   The rarer that material the longer it takes and the more it cost.  So as you climb the crafting and gathering ladder - it takes more time and more money to make an item.  So start the process early.

Combat and PvP is what this game is all about.  Yes the story is there in the background, but clearly this game was designed around one thing - combat and PvP.   I will say this- this games combat is one of the best systems I've ever seen implemented in an MMORPG of this type - ever.  It is fluid, it is dynamic, and very responsive.  It is easy to do...but it takes time, effort and practice to master.   The level and depth of this combat system is unlike anything I've encountered in an MMORPG before.  At first it seems rather simple - and it is.  Then you start getting skill points to put into skills and you'll be unlocking more skills and then combos of those skills and then if you perform combos or certain events in the fight occur in a specific sequence - you'll unlock a skill or move you didn't even know you had.   Top that off with even group specific attacks that can pop up during boss fights and what you have is one of the most extensive combat systems ever to be put into an MMORPG.  It is fun first and foremost.  It is challenging.  It is without a doubt the single best combat system I have ever had the pleasure to partake of. 

As I mentioned before classes in this game are rated from easy to play to more difficult(Summoner easiest - King Fu Master hardest).   One thing I learned is that the rating system isn't all it's cracked up to be.  The Summoner at higher levels can be overly complicated and you have to pay attention to what you and your pet is doing at all times.  Situational awareness in very important as well - especially for the ranged classes.  So I recommend watching Youtube videos to see what class you might like to try and then after you level it to some degree - find someone to spar with in the arena.   Learn the strengths and weakness of your opponents and then play against them accordingly.

Open world PvP in this game is fast and furious and is nothing like an arena fight.  In the arena everyone is raised to max level and nobody has any kind of advantage gear wise.  In open world PvP it is a totally different story.   Gear and skill rules the day - and or numbers(if you have more people than the opposing force at any given encounter - you'll generally win).  I've participated in huge battles in the Misty Woods that had upwards of 50 people involved.   It can be very intense and very unforgiving.   It is unforgiving because when you die - your weapon gets damaged.  The more you die the more damage it takes.   If you die a lot eventually your weapon will need repaired.  Once it needs repaired you need to find a bonfire and have a repair hammer to fix it.  Repair hammers like most items in this game become harder to come by later in the game.  So hoard them in the early stages.  Only repair when your weapon actually needs it - not before.  Later as you progress and start getting involved in the PvP end of things you'll need lots and lots of those hammers.

Dungeons of various degrees are scattered throughout the game - some you'll be able to do solo, some with a small group and others will require a large group of at least 6.   Later releases will have dungeons that require 20+ which sounds cool - sorta like a massive raid type you might find in WoW.  Now some of these dungeons are quite easy to run through, others - not so much.  So again, go to Youtube and watch how a certain boss fights are done - save yourself frustration of dying countless times because you didn't know to attack certain adds in game that could have kept you alive(like when you fight Slashimi).

Oh and before I forget.  Important treasure drops in dungeons are not randomly given out to players, nor do you request it because you "need it" for your class, or crafting profession.  No in this game you "bid" on items with your in game money. 

Forget it.  Don't waste your time and money bidding on stuff.  You'll just go broke doing it.  There are people in game that either buy gold from gold sellers or they are part of a guild that has pooled their money to make sure they have enough to get the special items that drop in the dungeons.  I have seen bids on items reach 1 gold and higher.  And as I stated before - you'll need every cent you make just to level your gear.  So be your money for that.

(World Boss - the BlackWyrm)

There are world bosses in this game.  They are scattered throughout the game world.  Killing them is a good way of getting easily obtainable "Soul Shields" and of course weapons and items drop off them.  Win you kill one of these boss mobs most drop a treasure box, some drop a treasure box and also give you little gems called "essence".  Take the essence to the spinning wheel gambling thingy that are generally near these bosses and "spin the wheel" - each spin cost you one of these essence.  If you're lucky you'll get what you're looking for.  If not, keep killing the boss and getting essence and keep spinning.  Eventually what  you need will drop. 

Graphics in this game aren't going to make compete against Skyrim, nor most other MMORPG's.  They are nice and fit the game world.  Colors are vibrant when they need to be and subdued when the game calls for it.  They recommend an nVidia Geforce 8800GT or AMD Radeon HD4850, or better.   I can tell you this.  When you have 20+ people on screen fighting a boss mob, it will push your video card.  I have seen mine go from 140fps to 35fps with 50+ people fighting it out in a small area.  I also have 16 gig of ram and a quad core 3.6ghz CPU.  So imagine what the game will be like with all the bells and whistles turned on and having just the bare requirements.   It'll probably burn up your vid card or smoke your power supply - at the very least it'll be a sideshow on your video monitor.

Sound is really well done.  Nothing to write home about.  Nothing stands out perse, and nothing seems out of place.   I think if there were something that needs mentioned I'd say it here.   The game does have voice overs for the main story NPC characters you'll interact with and a few other NPC's.  I really wish they all had voice overs because it was one of the reasons I found the story very enjoyable over all.

Music on the other hand is awesome.  Can't say enough about the music in this game.  It's one of the first MMO's I have played that I didn't eventually turn the background music off of.   Not this game.  I especially like the background music of Lycandi Foothills.   I really do like all the music in this game and it appropriately changes depending on your action - like when you enter combat - it has this tempo of urgency that something serious is about to go down. 

The UI is pretty much fully customizable with in game controls.  So you can put things where you want and how you want them.  The one thing I disliked was the inability to map controls to my mouse.   That would make this game a whole lot better. 

Most of what I have written so far is pretty good and some bad(like how hard it is to get money in game - that is just insane), what follows is the really bad stuff.

Game has bots in it.   I'm pretty damn sure they are farming bots of gold sellers.  You can report them but NCWest doesn't seem to care one iota that their game is filled with money farming bots.  They also farm materials that can only be gotten once in a blue moon from certain nodes.   Gold sellers also control the global in game market.   They will buy up things on the cheap and then turn around and repost them on the market at a higher price.   NCWest could do something about them - but they don't seem to give a shit that their game is being ruined by gold farmers - so it is what it is.  This will drive me from the game fast.  I will not continue nor support a game that allows for gold sellers and farmers to control the game and right now - gold sellers control this game in many ways.   From chat channels, to rare materials, to farming boss mobs.  It is ridiculous that NCWest has attempted to do nothing about  them at all.   So I am telling you now, this game is not going to last long in NA if NCWest doesn't stop this crap from ruining their game.   It's bad enough that NCWest makes players grind for what little money they can get in game - it makes it worse that the market that players rely on is totally controlled by gold sellers.   They could fix this, but all signs are that they just don't give a shit at all.   

I will say one final thing about Blade and Soul.  I really like the game(a lot) and have enjoyed it up to a point.  It wasn't until I was level 45 looking to upgrade my gear that I realized just how borked the game design is regarding the acquisition of in game money.  I think if it wasn't for the constant need to grind dailies(some dailies are dungeons and take a good 15 minutes or more to complete - multiply that times the number of dailies that are dungeons and you can spend hours running dailies) to literally scrounge up a few silver here, a few silver there - this game might be a little more enjoyable.  Once you hit 45 all that fun you were having at first quickly becomes a chore.   When things start to become a chore in a game - that's when it no longer is a game and becomes work.   I all ready work a 9 to 5 job, I sure as hell do not want to spend another 4 or 5 hours in a game doing more work when I should be enjoying it and having fun. 

If you recall I said I knew the Korean version of the game become a typical grindfest.  Well it took playing this game to level 45 to find out that it is just that.  Such a fun game, too...sad it is made bad by stingy in game rewards where money is so damn important.

If NCSoft doesn't remedy this - this will be just another Asian game that failed to catch on in the NA market and they'll be pulling the plug on it.   For once we finally get what could be a fun and engaging game, one that might actually make a name for itself here in the US - it would be sad to see it get dragged down by poorly implemented game mechanics and gold sellers. 

So here is what it is.   Blade and Soul could be a great game.  It has many things people like about these kinds of games, especially the combat.  Combat can make or break a game alone.  That is one thing Blade and Soul has going for it is the combat.   The other in my opinion is the story driven game play.   However with everything else that is wrong with the game - I say play it if you can stomach the bad parts and there is plenty in this game that is bad that it might turn many potential gamers off from it - even if they do give it a good, fair shot, there are aspects of the games mechanics that take this game from being a good one to a bad one.   Blade and Soul would be a good game if it weren't for the people running it.


  • Combat
  • Music
  • Story Driven Game Play
  • Gold Sellers
  • Stingy Game Rewards
  • Poorly implemented game mechanics
  • Did I mention the amount of gold sellers?  Yea, they own the game.
  • Did I mention how the gold sellers ruin the economy of the games market? 
  • One more time, gold farming bots and gold sellers are by far the biggest issue in this game.
If after everything I have mentioned makes you wish to give  the game a shot, here is a link to the website where you can download it.

Star Citizen - why do you care?

Posted by Teala Wednesday October 7 2015 at 4:39PM
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Have you been following the Internet gaming drama created by Derek Smart regarding the game Star Citizen?  Well if not, many of us gamers have, and well - there are many things people want to know.   I was reading a thread(Discussion / Star Citizen Employees Speak Out on Project Woes!) on this website when I came across an inquiry by a fellow forum reader who left a question regarding this topic to those of us that have contributed to the funding of this game. 

I am a backer and have donated to the creation of this game.   So I have some degree of monetary investment and would like to see this game come out - and be as good as Chris has promised it would be.

With that said, anyone that knows me here on from my blogs and comments here on the forums knows I am probably one of the most critical observers of games and am willing to say what needs to be said - both good and bad.   If I think a game development company is making a mistake with the direction they are taking a game - I'll tell them my opinion.   I have come down pretty hard on developers and publishers many times.   Some people accused me of being unreasonable and or to harsh in my criticism of a game numerous times - even saying I had an agenda to make the game fail.   I always said, "I have no agenda, I just want to see them make a better game."  I keep saying that to this day.

I've stated that I think the current state of SC(Star Citizen) is becoming a victim of feature creep.   I also think the game is going to be a game that will require a monster of a computer to run once it is released.   Both these things are - in my opinion - critical things that will hurt the game in the end.   I do not think we'll get the game we were promised at the time of release.  I believe GIG(Cloud Imperium Games) will release bits and pieces(as they have been doing) at a time - but we'll never see a full blown game for another couple of years - released all at one time that a person can buy off steam.  The game is a work in progress - and I've accepted that.   So I'm in for the long haul and willing to have patience and wait. 

What I don't get is why some of you, who have not backed the game nor donated a cent, are so worried about?  Why the hell should you care if the game is made - or not?  If you were truly interested in the game you'd have donated or backed it long ago.   You come on these forums and behave like rabid children, ranting and raving as if Chris Roberts personally killed your dog, your cat, spat on your mom, and then stole your hamster - while pissing in your Cherrios. 

What’s really weird, I have donated and I am not the least bit worried if the game comes out or not.  I’m not raising a big stink about the game not being out yet, in fact most backers are like me(I read the forums over at the RSI website) and they all pretty much say that same thing - the game will come out when it comes out.  Numerous polls over on the forums are pretty unanimous regarding this topic as well.   So a vast, huge majority of backers are not the least bit concerned about the game and it's overall development.  

By the way, I think those of us the donated to the crowd funding of this game knew and or know of the risk we're taking when we participate in funding these projects.   We were willing participants.  There was no contract, no guarantee that this game would ever see the light of day.   We understood this.  We accept this(well a vast majority of us do).

There are some that don't - which brings me to Derek Smart (and the others - but mostly Derek Smart) and they shouldn't be donating if they failed to understand this.  If you don't have patience - don't donate.   Games of this magnitude are not built over night.   MMO gamers should know this better than any others.  And how many times have we seen people bitching and moaning on forums about games that are released before they are done? damn many times.  So if this game takes a few years to be the game Chris Roberts promised us - I can wait.  

As for Derek Smart, he is the last person that should be raising a stink about this game when he can't even be bothered to fix his own POS game that is on Steam now - "Line of Defense".   On top of that CIG gave him back his money he donated.   CIG didn't need to do that.  They did anyway.  Not many crowd funded projects will do that - at all - ever.   Ask the backers of Oculus Rift how much they got back when asking for a refund.   Derek Smart does have an agenda and it is to see this game fail.  He stated that numerous times on Twitter, "I'll burn it down."  That is all he wants.   He has gone out of his way to try to bring down CR and CIG and for what?  Because the game isn't done yet? 

News flash - "Line of Defense", Derek Smarts own game is not done.   He's been working on it for 5 damn years and it is one of the biggest pieces of garbage ever released on Steam.  A game with one of the worst ratings ever.  Know what he tells people that ask for a refund.  Nothing.  He just has them banned on Steam and if they try to contact him through Twitter - he bans them there as well.  Tells people the game is still a work in progress and it'll be done when it's done.  Yet he has the nerve to make demands of Chris Roberts and CIG regarding Star Citizen.   Dude is seriously in need of mental evaluation.   He has caused a huge shit storm over his perceived delusional self importance.  Man is the guy a piece of work. 

As for the rest of you, why are you being his patsies?  Derek can give a rats ass about you.  He's out for himself.  He really only wants you to agree with him so he looks good.   You really want to be associated with a person of such calibre?  

So again, why the hell should you people that have nothing, or any real interest in the game, make such a huge stink about a game you’ve not donated to?


Elite: Dangerous - It's the start of something big, bold and beautiful.

Posted by Teala Saturday January 3 2015 at 11:58PM
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In September 1984, little did a game publisher known as AcornSoft realize that they were about to change the fledgling computer gaming world forever.  They released a new game.  It was a space flight simulator/trading game set in an open ended gaming world.   It had state of the art wire frame graphics.  It had procedural content.  There really weren't many game like it on the market at the time .  The game was so revolutionary and daring that people would debate and discuss it years after its release.  It would go on to be named one of the most influential computer games by numerous gaming magazines, developers, and computer gaming enthusiast from around the world - that game was Elite.  

Oh yes, I played this game back in the day.  I played it for many hours.   It was one of my all time favorite games I have ever played.   It was twitched based space sim combat.  It had the trading aspect.  There were space pirates to deal with and alien invaders that were best avoided.   It truly was, for its time, a great game - and a blast to play.  

Over the years, various sequels would be released, which would update the game with better graphics and a variation on the game play - each great within its own right.    Again, these sequels would get played for hours and hours.   Even the games that came out later, whose game play was influenced by Elite: like Wing Commander, Privateer, Freelancer, and the online MMO EVE Online, would see many hours of game play, but in many ways the original Elite was still one of the single best games I have personally ever played.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that David Braben(one of the original developers of Elite and the owner to its copyright) had decided to make an up-to-date version Elite.   Just the thought of an updated version of the game using a modern gaming rig was enough to get me even more excited about computer gaming than ever before.  Then we were told it was going to be an online version...

...::faints::... THUD!  <<< That was me hitting the floor.  

Few moments later...after I compose myself.

OMG...oh my fricking God, are you serious?  Elite is going to be made to be played online with other people?  I can play with my friends?!  Elite...the space game from the 1980's, the space game that really got me into gaming in the first place?  That Elite?  

Again... THUD!!

LOL!  Yeah, I was that excited. 

Then I picked myself up again.   Not only is it going to be online, but they're expanding it beyond what we ever experienced in previous versions.  You'll not only land on stations and planets, but you will have an actual character, be able to walk around in stations, on planets, do EVA's, explore derelict ships...


If any of you have been following my blog, back in 2009 I wrote about what my dream MMO would be would be like Elite - a space based sci-fi, spaceship sim, FPS combat type combat, explore the galaxy, be a trader, a bounty hunter, a pirate...essentially Elite, but better because we'd do more than just fly ships..., yeah...excited...oh hell yes!  This is the kind of computer game I have wanted for so long...and now, now...OH MY FRACKING GOD!    Guess what I have been doing the past 5+ months?   I'VE BEEN PLAYING AND TESTING ELITE!  ELITE ONLINE!!!

To say that I'm excited about computer gaming again is an under statement on the grandest scale.  Sure, there are other MMO games coming out in the near future that promise to deliver open worlds, and a more rounded RPG type experience, but even those are limited in scope.   Elite: Dangerous has the whole damn Milkyway Galaxy as its play ground - 400 billion(yes - that is 400 billion - billion with a B) star systems you'll be able to explore.    Even in your life time, you couldn't explore all the star systems this game has in it.   How fricking cool is that?!   I said, when I wrote about my dream MMO that it would have the whole galaxy for us to explore...guess what - Elite: Dangerous has the whole galaxy for us to explore!!!   Am I a happy gamer?  Am...I...a...happy....gamer?

Oh yes!  I am a happy gamer, I am smiling from ear-to-ear right now - and have been for months!  I'm playing my dream MMO!  Or at least the game what will eventually be my dream MMO.   It is awesome!

It has most everything the original had(sans the Thargoids - they are being added later to the game) and some.  We can do most everything we could do in the original: we can trade, we can collect bounties, take missions, smuggle goods, be a..."Space Pirate, scourge of the universe"(does her impression of the alien from the movie Explorers - hehehe...), explore and discover new things - and now we can even mine minerals from asteroids, and that is just for starters.   Yes, this is Elite...and yes, it is Elite Online! 

Now for me, I am in gamers nirvana.   This game as is, is one of the best games I have ever played.   That is just me.  Elite was one of the first computer games I ever played.   It was the computer game that got me hooked on computers and gaming when I was younger.   With that said...

...Elite: Dangerous is not a game for everyone.   It is not the holy grail of gaming.  It is not greatest game ever made.  It is Elite, and if you've never played the original or any of its sequels you might be sorely disappointed.  Elite is an open ended game.  There is no hand holding(the game telling you what to do and how to progress), it is an open world game.  You get to decide what you are going to do, and where you are going to go - the game does none of that for you, unlike most MMO games where you are out to become the hero.   Most MMO's there are story arcs you must follow, and certain task to perform as you play the game and progress - Elite does none of that.

Another thing - Elite is twitch based.   There is no click on target and then spam hotkeys to defeat your enemy.  Elite is llike a first person shooter - align the targeting pip on your enemy and fire.   You can opt to use a joystick, a gamepad, or keyboard and mouse to play.   It is not very forgiving if you are not into twitch type game play.

You must also learn to pilot your ship.   That means fly it, control its power systems and modules, how to land on stations, and how to avoid getting caught in a stars gravity well(which can test your ability to think and react quickly), or be interdicted by a space pirate or the police(if you're wanted by them).  Of all these, landing on stations has quite a learning curve.   Trust me, the first few times is a very nail biting experience.    You'll think to yourself that it cannot be done.   However, once you've done it a few dozen times it becomes second nature and it isn't such a problem any more.   For those that never quite get the hang of it, or for those that find landing boring after a bit, you can opt to install a docking assist computer.   The computer handles docking for you and you'll never have to worry about how you're going to fly your ship through that narrow slot of a station opening again.  

The good thing about all the things I have mentioned - Elite has a great tutorial system that allows you to practice everything I have mentioned and more.  You can practice everything as many times as you want without actually being in the game world itself.   There are also videos available on the main website that will walk you through most aspects of this game.   Once you get comfortable with the games workings and how to pilot and land your ship, you can jump into the main game and be ready to go.  

As I mentioned earlier, Elite is far from being the greatest game ever made, if people have hyped it up as such - don't listen to them - Elite is not going to be a game that fits every gamers needs, and in its current state it is basically the original game with a few bells and whistles added; it is not finished.

What Elite is however, as it is right now, is the foundation for a better game.  The basics are in place, it is up to the developers to expand upon what they have began to create and to take the game to the next level.  Right now, we can fly spaceships, fight, pirate, scavenge, explore, trade, mine, smuggle, do missions, and have some influence(not a whole lot) on how the game world itself progresses: in that players can have a minimal effect on market prices for goods, players can influence star systems political behaviors(like start wars or end them - change sides to different states of power) - but not a whole lot.   We're told this will be expanded upon in future updates as the game is updated and other game play mechanics are added.

Right now there are three main political factions - Federation, Empire, and the Alliance, with many smaller independent political factions tossed in among the those three major powers.

Elite, though it is called an MMO sometimes doesn't feel like one.  There are a few reasons it is like this.  For instance, one of the biggest things missing that we have in most MMO's is global chat.  Elite doesn't have this.   You can chat(voice or text) with a person if you have them targeted, or if you have them in a 3rd party app with you like Vent or Skype.   This I feel, is one of the most important social tools Frontier needs to add to the game to help make it feel more like a true MMO.    What I'd love to see is a comm system like EVE Online.   You have local system chat.  You also have a myriad of channels you can get into like trade chat, mining chat, etc, etc, - Elite needs this.   Some people will disagree, that's OK...they don't have to use it.   Those of us that are MMO junkies like the option to be able to chat and talk with lots of people in game - and no MMO, in my opinion is complete without it.

Then there is the ability to actually play with friends.  This can be done, but right now it isn't implemented as well as it should have been.   You might find it a little frustrating to get together with friends in game at times.   Good news is, there are work arounds to get together.   On the main games forums and Youtube, you'll find all the information you need to meet up with friends in game.    Frontier needs to fix this and make it better.    We also need to be able to come together to form groups, call them guilds, corps, or clans, whatever - but this definitely needs added.   We're told it will be in the near future.  This is good.    Again, without it, Elite is missing a key element of what makes an MMO and MMO.  

We must also be able to fly in unison at times.   For instance, because the way the game is set up, only 32 people at a time can be in the same instance at any one time.   That means you can get separated from people you are teamed up with from time to time.   The game has one big Universe, everyone plays in it, no different servers or shards(think Elder Scrolls Online) but since the game can only handle 32 people per instance it requires the game to create multiple instances of the same instance.   When this happens, you might find yourself in a different instance than one of your friends is in.  Again, this is an issue, just as it was in Elder Scrolls Online) and hopefully Frontier will find a way to fix this.  

Another huge issue, one that the game simply cannot overcome is the lack of players.  I say it cannot overcome it for two reasons.    One, the game world is so huge, it wouldn't matter if all the people on the planet Earth played Elite: Dangerous(all 7+ billion of us) we'd eventually get so spread thinly across the 400 billion star systems - you'd be lucky to come across another player in your life time of playing the game.   Think about that for one second...there are 400 billion star systems in this game...and the Earth has just 7 billion people.  If each of those 7 billion people were in a separate star system - that means there are 393 billion(that is 393 billion with a B), star systems that have no human player in them.   As the game is right now, we know that not all 7 billion people are playing, in fact due to the fact that the game is the type of game it is I would suspect that there are maybe, at most, at any one given moment around 20k to 40k people playing Elite at any one time, and that is being generous.   It is very easy to see how defused the player base can get with so few players and such a large gaming area.   This will happen as players move away from the main starter systems and begin to explore.  The further they travel, the more defuse they'll become.   It's going to happen.    There is really no way for this to be fixed and I myself do not want Frontier to change it.  Let the game develop on its own and let's see what happens.   Maybe little pockets of player populations will spring up in various regions of the Milkyway, maybe they won't.   Just don't manipulate the sandbox and make us have to stay together.   Let us decide how the game develops.

The second issue this game cannot overcome, and I mentioned it earlier,  is that Elite: Dangerous is a niche' type game.  Only a certain type of gamer will be drawn to it.   Not even your average MMO player is going to find Elite attractive.   It is FPS based.   That is one thing that turns a lot of MMO players off.  It is sci-fi, a genre that hasn't done all that well in the MMO gaming world.   It has a fairly steep learning curve - another turn-off.  It is an open world, with no set rules of progression.   There is no preconceived story arc that players are involved in that evolves into a main story arc that they participate in.  All these things will turn a large portion of the gaming community off from ever playing Elite.   Just like EVE Online, Elite will have a player base that doesn't need those aspects to make the game enjoyable and that is the reason games like EVE Online are niche' games - they appeal to only a certain type of gamer.   Elite will never have players that number into the millions as World of Warcraft or even the hundreds of thousands that some MMO's have.    This is something Elite will probably never overcome - and this will add to the sense that there are not a lot of people playing.   I'm personally OK with that.   Others will find it a turn off.    It is what it is and I do not believe there is any solution that Frontier can come up with that can alleviate these two problems without shrinking the playing area of the game. 

There is one interesting aspect of this game I find interesting.   You are playing the game online, but there is a twist.  You can decide to play in the open world with other people or play in the same world without all the other players - play it solo, or play it with friends or groups, again all in the same game world.   In all these versions your actions can influence the game - the difference being that in the solo version - you see no other players, just NPC's - but you can see the markets change, and the star systems politics change as if you're playing in the open world game.  That is quite cool.  Not sure I like it, but it is very cool.   It means if you're a little intimidated by the  thought of encountering another player in game - play Solo and still enjoy all the game has to offer minus the actually in your face PvP the open game world offers.  

There are currently a total of 14 flyable ships players can pilot and more to come.   Not sure how many they have planned for the game, but it is a good start.

Combat in Elite: Dangerous is like most other space type sims.  There isn't a whole lot that makes it stand out really.   If you've played any type of computer space fighter sim you'd probably notice that Elite pretty much is what it is.   You can make it a bit more exciting and challenging by turning off flight assist.  This allows for Newtons laws of physics to be used to some degree and you can pull off some pretty screwy maneuvers.   But, to be honest, it really doesn't bring anything new to the table...and you know what, that is OK.  No need to re-invent the wheel or try to be something more, that will just turn people off.   The space combat is engaging enough that it doesn't stress you out to no end - OK, maybe a little, when you're zipping around inside a asteroid field with 20+ other ships - that can get hairy and require a little white knuckle flying, then again a little excitement now and then is a good thing. 

Weapons are the standard fair for a space sim, bullets, lasers, rail guns, missiles...nothing over the top.   It makes for what you'd expect in a sci-fi type shoot-em up space sim.

Graphics are really good, some are great, and some are jaw dropping.   You can play the game in 4k.  It is fully Oculus Rift supported(this is by far the best way to play it right now and will be even better with the release of consumer version of Oculus Rift).   I can put up screen shots, but they'll never give you the same effect or do this game justice - this is one game you'll have to experience yourself.

Sounds in game are very well done.    I love the little sounds your ship makes, especially when you flight through a dust cloud from an exploding ship.  You can hear the small pieces of debris plinking on the hull and canopy.   It always reminds me of what Admiral Adama of Battlestar Galactica asked Starbuck when she was in a dogfight, "Tell me what you hear Starbuck."   She'd reply, "Nothing but the rain."   Another sound that I love is a few of the ships make the same noise as some of the ships in Star Wars.   Remember when Obi Wan was chasing Jango Fett through the asteroids.   Yeah, there are a couple of ships that sound just like that.   So when you're flying through the asteroids and you hear that sound, you'll probably think - Star Wars!  Cool!

(the picture above is from Star Wars)

(this is from Elite: Dangerous)

Elite is what it is.  If you are thinking that it is going to be World of Warcraft in're going to be sorely disappointed for sure. 

Things I think need added to the game to make it better than what it is.   Well for starters, a wider variety of station types - this would be cool.  Right now there are just a few, but I think Frontier has plans to add more types and this will help make this game more immersive.

I'd also like to see a lot more different types of ships added in the future.   Different combat specialized ships, mining ships, trading ships, large capital ships...just more ship types and lot's of them.

Of course since they have said we're going to have characters, I hope we have a good character creation system in game.  Not too fancy, just something that can allow us to make a fairly unique character.   Then add lots of different clothing options(this is what will help make our characters unique even more).

Give us things to do when we can in stations.   Gamble, socialize, make deals, assassinate people, explore derelict ships, explore worlds, etc, etc.   There really is so many things they could add it would be hard to go over all of them.  Two that would be cool is to be able to land on a planet and capture flora/fauna that can be sold on the market.   Another is to be able to go on planets to scan for mineral deposits, then set up automated mining equipment to mine ores and minerals.   Then when the hoppers are full we simply transfer the goods to our ships and take them to a refinery and or market to be sold.

There are all ready plenty of things we can do in game, some just need tweaked and others need tweaked and added to that would make them more engaging or fun.   As I mentioned we can mine in the game(asteroids - right now).  This is one thing that needs tweaked a bit and added to.   Mining is a bit of a mini game in how it is implemented - right now - however, I think in its current form people might get a little bored.  So Frontier should add different ways to mine asteroids.  For instance using drones, and a tractor beam for pulling in the chunks of rock you knock off asteroids - just as an example.

For ships that can have a crew, I hope we can hire NPC crew members and or have player friends fly in our ships with us.  It would be so cool to have a player co-pilot or maybe a rear turret gunner.   That would be awesome.  Just examples.

We definitely need to be able to go 3rd person view in this game(which currently we cannot do).  Not for combat - that is a no brainer.  No, the reason we need to be able to go 3rd person is for taking screenshots of our ships!   Right now we can buy and put new paint jobs on our ship, but what fun is it if we cannot see them(not talking about the static image in the outfitting window - that doesn't count).   I'd like emblems and stickers, too.   We also need to be able to name our ships.  As of right now we cannot name them.   They said it would be in at release, but it wasn't there.   No word on when it would be added either.   I hope it is soon.

As I have stated, Elite is not finished, there is still lots of work the developers need to do.  They've given us the basic original Elite right now, with the promise of more and better things to come.  For a game that only just started major development 2 years ago, I'm amazed it is as far along as it is and it has come a long ways.   If Braben and his team of fantastic developers can keep up the pace of deliver on these things they are planning to add - I suspect this game will grow very quickly over the next year.   I for one cannot wait to take that trip with them.  Just as EVE Online was a mere shell of a game compared to what it is today, Elite has the beginnings and ability to be what I will consider the single best persistent online world sandbox game.    The foundation is set - now Frontier just needs to add more toys to their sandbox.  Elite:Dangerous - It's the start of something big, bold, and beautiful.


  • Plays a lot like the original Elite right now.
  • Great graphics.
  • Great Sound.
  • Makes great use of current tech, is Oculus Rift compatible, voice commands.
  • Needs more social and community tools in game.
  • Is not very forgiving - you can loose ships and money - worth millions of credits if you're not really careful.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • Players need to have more influence and impact on the games direction and game play - within the game.
Available On: PC
If I rated Elite: Dangerous on a score from 1 to 10, 10 being the best - I'd rate it a 7 right now.  It isn't bad, it is a little above average.  Frontier needs to fill it out more to rate it a higher score.  Maybe in another year I'll re-evaluate my score - but for now it gets a 7. 

For those that are more interested in what Elite: Dangerous has to offer you can always go check out the main website.   Link provided below.

Elite: Dangerous Official Website



Two Web Comics About Gaming You Should Be Reading!

Posted by Teala Friday October 10 2014 at 7:37AM
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Hello fellow gamers!

Been awhile since I last posted, and yeah, well - shoot me...I've been busy doing gaming, writing, working, enjoying this awesome summer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest...

...look!  We even have a "lonely mountain", like in the "Hobbit".  How cool is that?  Yep,'s almost like living in a make believe fantasy world - but for reals.   Oh and then there is this guy...

Meet Bond, James Bond...hehehe...seriously, we named him James Bond - and the name fits him very well.  He is such a smart cat.   He's been lot's of fun since we got him a couple of months ago.   :)   He is about the most awesome purrito you'll ever meet.

OK...enough of that...let's talk about something closer to gaming...and instead of games - how about we talk about web comics that deals with one of our favorite hobbies - gaming!  You all know about Penny Arcade and probably Ctrl-Alt-Del, two web comics that are pretty well known in the gaming community, but have you ever heard of "Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl", or what about "MegaTokyo"?

Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl is a comic drawn and written by Jago Dibuja.   It is pretty much all about gaming and the gaming culture, with a little commentary on social issues thrown in from time-to-time - and is for mature teens, to adults(due to its tendency to be a little naughty at times).

The thing I love most about his comic is the offbeat and sometimes in your face humor that the writer manages to capture and express in his writing and art.   Jago is definitely a gamer and it shows in his wittiness and knowledge of the gaming community.

I think the best way to acquaint you with HipsterGirl & GamerGirl is to introduce the three main characters and then give you a few examples of Jago's work...the man is brilliant.  So without further Artur, Erika and Sophie.

And here are few of Jago's comic strips about these three room mates and their lives - about gaming, social issues, technology.

That is just a small sample of this very funny and awesome web comic.   Look for the link at the bottom of this article to visit Jago's website and read more of his Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl.

One of my all time favorite web comics is MegaTokyo!  If you've never heard of, or read this great comic - now's your chance!  MegaTokyo is about a couple of hardcore gamers(Piro and Largo) that one day(after spending all their money at a E3), decide to take a trip to Japan, to where gaming is a way of life.

Once there(in Japan - city of Tokyo) things go from bad to worse, and the two gamers must figure out a way to get by in a strange land with no money, and no way to get back home!

From then on it is one misadventure after another, filled with gaming humor and world wide conspiracies!  A must read for any fan of web comics.

Fred Gallagher, writer and author or MegaTokyo hit a sweet spot when he created this wonderful web comic.   His uncanny ability to tell a story, mixed with great gaming and techno humor is without a doubt some of the funniest stuff you'll ever read.   The predicaments he tosses our two gamers into are not your typical run-of-the-mill everyday happenings - but nevertheless, you'll be laughing your ass off reading this.  Trust me, once you start reading you won't be able to stop.  MegaTokyo has been around since 2000, so you've got a lot of material to chew through - but every page is priceless.  

Here are a few examples of MegaTokyo so you'll have some ideal what to expect from this wonderfully drawn and written web comic.   As I said...this is my all time favorite and you'll see why!

The art is a little rough in the beginning, but Fred becomes much better as the story goes on.  One of a kind web comic done in the style of a Japanese Manga - MegaTokyo just oozes awesomesauce from every page.   If you'd like to read either, or both, of these two great web comics click on the links provided below!

Living With: HipsterGirl & GamerGirl


If you know of some awesome web comics others might enjoy reading, please feel free to leave a comment and a URL, or name, of it so me and others might check it out!.   Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for my next article - next week - same time - same bat channel!   So you think the Golden Age of MMORPG's is long gone...I don't think so.   Find out why!



Elder Scrolls Online: That was a fast honeymoon.

Posted by Teala Wednesday April 16 2014 at 5:04PM
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I do not think, in all my time of following and writing about MMORPG's, I have ever seen an MMORPG fall out of favor so fast after its release as I have the Elder Scrolls Online.    Not even SWToR fell this fast, and it was a very controversial game at it's launch.  

Consider the amount of excitement that many gamers showed for this game as more and more was learned about it prior to beta and during its beta's - you'd think the game would be doing much better.   I even thought it would do much better...maybe not great, but I at least thought it would stay popular longer than just a couple of weeks.   That doesn't seem to be the case for ESO.   So I went exploring to find out why the game is not doing so well.

Please read on...

Most online based games have a period of time where they remain pretty hot for awhile, around a month...maybe a little longer; especially MMORPG's.   It's been 2 weeks since ESO's release and it is all ready showing signs that players are not warming up to it(as I suspect the developers had hoped) based on the growing number of unfavorable comments on various gaming websites that are dedicated to online gaming.  For instance, comments like, "I'm burned out all ready...too much of a grind.", "frustrated with all the bugs", "All ready level 50.  What now since I do not want to PvP?", "Don't like the direction Zenimax has taken the game since beta and it looks like it is only downhill from here.", "Game is not what I expected and am bored with it all ready."

Yes, those are actual quotes taken from this websites forums, and other forums around the internet - and that is just a small sampling.  Is that the only reason for the games decline or is there more behind it?

Even games that I consider "badly designed" games did better in their first month, like Aion, SWToR, and Warhammer, and had less bad player commentary so quickly after release.  So, why is ESO all ready beginning to show cracks in its armor?

I mean, I beta'd that game, and though I thought it wasn't all that great of a game, it wasn't that bad either, in the sense that there are worse games out there.   Surely, a game that is based on the Elder Scrolls IP would have garnered a much greater following and have people exclaiming its virtues than what we've seen.   It just hasn't manifested like past games.  

I mean look at the games sales record so far.  In Europe it was number one for a few days and has dropped below the top 15.   In the UK alone, it came in at number 2 on the charts, quickly jumped to number one, and then within a few days it has dropped to number 19.   Amazon has also shown a huge drop, from #1 to #20 in just a few days after it's launch.  Other MMORPG's have faired much, much better in their initial days on sales charts compared to ESO.  That cannot be a good sign.

Chart from XFire showing rapid decline of ESO.

Chart from XFire showing rapid decline of ESO.

On TwitchTV it made the top 10 most viewed games being streamed by players for it's first week.  Now suddenly it has dropped to below 15 and barely cracks the top 20.   Same on xFire.   It was one of the top 10 most played games there, and two weeks later it has dropped to #27(not even Star Wars:The Old Republic fell that fast on the chart).   

Are MMORPG players just burned out in general on Themepark based MMORPG's?  Is the game really so bad that people are just losing interest in it much faster than normal?   Or...are other games that recently released stealing it's thunder - like Diablo III and Titanfall?  And it's not as if Bethesda and Zenimax haven't advertised the game...because they have.    I certainly don't believe that the handful of somewhat negative reviews the game got could hurt it that much. 

I really am at a loss for words and am for the first time a little dumbfounded at this games quick decline.   If things keep going as they seem to be going for the game it is looking really bad for it at this rate.   The only thing that might stop this downward spiral is if the consoles release of this game is good. 

So yeah, I don't understand this.   Maybe someone out there has a better grasp as to why this game is on such a quick decline.  Feel free to share your opinion on this in the comments below.

I know some will bring up.  "What about consoles? The game is not released for them yet."

As for the console release bringing the numbers back up...I am a little skeptical they'll have a huge impact.   Yes, there are a ton of console gamers out there, and yes many PC games do sale much better on consoles(Skyrim is one of them - Titanfall recently saw a huge jump in sales after it was released for the XBoxOne), however there is a caveat in the case of ESO being released on the console systems.    It is going to require a subscription fee to play it on PS4 and Xbox consoles.   This maybe the one thing that really keeps the game from rebounding very far.   I think we may see a bit of a rebound...but I do not think it will be for long as many people will not want to pay a sub fee - as we have seen many console players say on such websites as IGN, Gamespot and Kotaku.

Being that a game like ESO needs lots of players for it to actual work properly, due to the nature of its design, I am not so sure it will stay viable for very long on either the PC game version or the console game version.

I can't be the only person that has seen this quick drop in the games popularity.   I imagine many others have seen this, too.    Now the question is...what does Bethesda and Zinemax need to do in order to stop this decline?   Please feel free to leave a comment below.  

Please, try to keep your comments civil if you do leave one.    


EVE Online: Welcome to Jita - here we burn witches!

Posted by Teala Sunday March 30 2014 at 5:36PM
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Do you smell smoke?  I do.   That smell is from the burning torches of a mob that recently had a witch burning.   No it was not a real witch...there is no such thing, but these people believed they had found a witch.   So they grabbed her, tied her up, and dragged her toward the town in the distance and burned her.


Oh, you want to hear the whole story?  All right, I will tell you this story.  Just sit back and hear the tale of how a town burned a witch.


It was a fairly nice spring day, not too cold, in fact is was almost just right.  The fruit trees were in full bloom...the birds were busy making nest, and the sun was hanging on the down slope of its journey through the sky before it set for the evening.   Everything seemed fine...just your average day in the Kingdom of EVE.

Without warning, these men grabbed a woman, tied her up, and dragged her toward the town in the distance. 

As they approached the town a crowd begin to gather about them.  A fairly good size crowd at that.  They were curious as to why these men tied up a woman and were taking her into town.   One of the men, the one that seemed to be in charge, told the people, "We have caught a witch"!

With those words the mob of people lurched forward and begin spitting, and hitting, and throwing things at her.   Some grabbed her garments and tore at them.  As to expose her flesh so that they could scratch her and hit here about the arms, and back - to better see the cuts and bruises they inflicted.

They grabbed and yanked at her hair...tearing handfuls out.  The woman they accused of being a witch screamed in pain.  They beat her harder.   They yelled and spewed forth all manner of profanities at her.   The woman tried to speak...but the mob became more unruly.   They tied a piece of cloth around her head and over her mouth to silence her, or else she might cast a spell on them.  Then the men took the woman to the town square.   Tied her to a pole on top a small wooden platform.  Men nearby fetched bundles of sticks and hastily piled them about and around the platform.   The woman was shaking and terrified...what had she done that she would deserve such a punishment.   She had done nothing.   Someone accused her of being a witch...and that is that.   

The leader of the men, that had grabbed the woman, stood in front of the small platform holding up a burning torch.  He pointed at her and yelled to the crowd, "This vile creature is a witch.   I heard her speak to someone, and suddenly the person she spoke to started getting angry and violent!  The person began hitting things uncontrollably, cursing, and spewing forth all manner of distasteful things!"   

Someone in the crowd yelled, "Burn her - she's a witch!"

"Yes,..." spoke the man again, "...for only a witch could do what she did".

The women that was tied to the pole shook her head, tears flowed down her face, and she tried to speak, but the cloth tied about her face would not allow her words to be heard over the yelling and screaming of the crowd.

Someone in the crowd spoke up, "But how do you know that means she's a witch?"  

The man with the torch stepped forward, "Because, look at what she caused this man to do, she made him go mad!".

"How did she make him go mad?" Asked the same man from the crowd.

"Well, they were playing the shell game.  The woman had a table out.  On it were three cups turned upside down.   The object of the game was for the man to find the cup among the three that hid a pea."


"Well the man chose the wrong cup.   She used witchcraft to trick the man!  She stole his money then!   There was no way for him to win!" 

"That game is played all over this town, and many others, in fact you can play that game right over there in that tavern.  Nobody can win that game.  Only idiots and fools play it.   So how does that make her a witch, I ask again."  said the man in the crowd.

The people fell silent for a bit. 

The leader of the men gave a disgusted look to the man that questioned him.  Then walked before the crowd, glaring at them.   "She spoke to drove him mad.  She cursed him with a spell.  Clearly she is in league with the devil...for only a witch could do such a thing!"  The man stopped.  "If only you could have heard the tormented soul of the man that had been cheated out of his money.  He was in anguish!  Even his wife could not calm him down.   And it is because that witch, with her vile tongue of the devil, spoke to him and drove him mad!  Just her voice alone beguiled him...made him play her game...the man was not of his right mind.   He had no choice!   She is a witch...and we know the law..witches must burn!!!"  He thrust his fist and the hand holding the torch skyward.  "BURN!"

The man in the crowd stepped forward and faced the angry mob.

"First, there is no such law.  In fact we have few laws here.  This is the Kingdom of EVE.  The great Lords of CCP, who rule over EVE have set no such law in place.   So how can we burn this person for being a witch?"

"I am a spokesman for the people!  I am Ripard Teg, I am a CSM! I represent the people.  My word is good enough.  And my word is - this is a witch!  She spoke to this man, took his money, and the man lost his mind...clearly she used a spell to torment him and torture him - why else would he start yelling and screaming all manner of foul distasteful things?"

"Burn her! Burn the witch!"  Yelled the crowd.

"Hold on, are you all crazy, what is with you people?"  He looked at the faces of the people in the crowd.     "Look at what you are doing.  Many people here have played that game, what is the difference between what she did and any number of others have done in this town?  Are they witches, too?"

A man on a bold steed entered the town square.  He jumped from the horse and raced to the CSM, handing him a piece of paper.  Ripard Teg took the paper and read it.   After a moment he held up the paper.  "Word has spread among the other CSM and the great Lords of EVE - CCP.   They have received my message that I sent to them explaining what happened.   They agree, this woman is a witch!"

The man with the torch pushed the man back into the crowd, "Shut up!  You know not of what you speak.  CCP has spoken!  Guards, if he says another word, remove him from the town!"

The man with the torch walked toward the platform.  "This creature...this detestable vile creature isn't even human, she used her witchcraft and tormented that mans poor soul deliberately.  It's the way of the wicked to do such heinous things.  She found pleasure in it.   Only a witch could have done such a thing!"

The crowd yelled, 'Burn her! Burn her!"

The man from the crowd pushed his way past the guard.  "Wait, listen to me...this is wrong, this woman....yes she tricked a man - but what is her crime?  This game is played all over the place.   What is different now?  Because a man is heard yelling and screaming - because he lost a game you cannot win - he has been driven mad, by a...a witch?   That happens all the time here.   People get angry because they lost a game of cards, or the wheel on the cart fell off, or a fox killed one of their chickens.  People get angry and yell.  Listen to all of're yelling and angry now.  Does it make that man a witch?"  He pointed to Ripard Teg.

"Guards!  Take this man away!  He has become beguiled just being in the presents of this witch!  Listen to how he speaks.   She has worked her witchcraft on him, as well!   Take him away!"  The guards grabbed the man and the people began cursing him, and calling him names, as he was drug away.  

"She is not a witch!"  Yelled the man at the crowd.

"Silence him!" 

A guard hit the man on the head knocking him out, then they proceeded to drag him away.

Ripard Teg paced in front of the mob.   "See how powerful she is!  She must be destroyed!  We must burn her!"  He stepped closer to the platform and lowered the torch to the bundles of sticks piled about it.

"WAIT!  WAIT!" yelled the man who had been cursed by the witch - the supposed victim.   The mob parted and he ran past them to face the CSM of the people.  "Why are you doing this?!" he asked him.

Ripard Teg, with hatred on his face, looked at the man, "She cursed you man.  She tortured your soul, tormented it...took your money.  We heard your lamentations.  Only a witch could do that!"

"No,...that is not what happened."

"Yes it is!"  Demanded Ripard Teg.  He stood in front of the man and looked at the crowd and waved the torch in the air, then pointed at the woman.   "She is a vile hideous monster that does the devils work!  She used evil sorcery, to trick this man, stole his money, and made him go mad!  I saw it, these other men saw it.  His wife saw it!  She is a witch, and only a witch could do that!"

"That's not what happened!" Said the man as he pushed past Ripard Teg to face the crowd.  "Listen to me.   That is not what happened.  Yes, I played her game, yes I lost money, and yes I yelled and cursed and spewed forth all manner of foul hateful things...but not on account of what she did to me.  No!  It was because I was tired and upset that I could be so stupid as to gamble away my last farthing.  I thought I could win and double my money...I knew I probably wouldn't win because it is a fools game of chance...but I played anyways.  It's my fault.  I was stupid."

"Lies!  He doesn't know what he says!  The witches curse has truly beguiled him - even now!"

"No! No! That is not true!"

"Shut up!  Speak no more of this.  She tricked and beguiled you, and used her witchcraft to do's the devils work!  Take this man away...and never let him speak of this again! She has twisted this mans mind to the point that he is under her spell - he must be taken away and cleansed of this witches spell."

"But no!  It's not her's mine I was stupid and foolish!"  The man screamed as two men dragged him away.   "Don't do this!"

"Quit man, we know what she did...she is a witch and she will burn!"

The mob moved forward screaming and throwing all manner of foul rotten things at her.  "Burn her!", they screamed!  "She's a witch!  BURN HER!!!"

With the gleam of the torch in his eyes, Ripard tossed it onto the bundle of sticks.   "Burn you wicked vile creature from hell.  You filthy scum.   Your kind will rot in the bowls of the devil himself!  Burn!"

The bundles burst into flames, fueled by the pitch and the hatred of the mob.   The women struggled to escape her bonds, but it was to no avail.   Soon the flames engulfed her and the fire grew larger.    A column of dark, rancid smoke rose above her piercing the pink and red hues of the sky, as the sun began to set on the distant horizon.   

The mob continued to curse and scream at the burning corpse.    Ripard Teg then turned to the seething crowd of people before him, a smile across his face.  He held up his hands to quite them.   The mob fell silent.  

"We shall make a great sign and post it on main road leading to town.   On it will be written the words: Welcome to Jita - here we burn witches!"  




Keipr Online - The Little Indie Online Sandbox That Could

Posted by Teala Friday January 17 2014 at 7:23AM
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Sometimes I get lucky, and come across a tidbit of news, or article, about a new game in development, imagine my surprise to see an article on a fairly new game I recently discovered on Steam Greenlight called Keipr Online over at Kotaku.    ::sigh::  

Anyway, so beat me to the punch, and released their article first, that doesn't mean I cannot go ahead and write up my own article, and spread the word about this game here at    Besides, that is what this website is all about - MMORPG's!

So, what is Keipr Online?

Well, from what little bit I have been able to scrounge up about his new online MMORPG, it is being developed by a game company called Goon Studios, out of Los Angeles, California.   These bright, brilliant, creative, and ambitious group of developers are gamers out to make a game for gamers, according to them.   They have a small team right now, but I understand they are hiring.   So if you wish to get on board with them and start a career as a game developer, this might be your big chance.   I'll provide a link to their website at the bottom of this article for those of you that are interested.

Anyway, so what is Keipr Online?  Hey...didn't I all ready...let's just contribute it to old age...

Keipr Online, from what I understand is going to be an massively multiplayer online sandbox, first person shooter game - yeah!    Keywords here are sandbox, and first person shooter.   When I read that I was all ready sold.    We've had very few actual sandbox MMO's, and even fewer first person shooter MMORPG's.   So put these two together and I am there.

Next, it seems this game will be very stylized, and when I say, do I mean stylized.    From the artwork, to the game play, it seems Goon Studios is out to break the MMORPG  mold and re-invent it.

The game is being touted as a true open world, sandbox game where players will be able to create a unique character, and then run around a great big world, exploring, discovering, building...well...let Goon Studios describe their own game...with their own words.

"In Keipr Online, you will be taking on the role of a planetary colonist to forge a new civilization with tens of thousands of other players. The game starts as you awaken from cryo sleep in the star ship, known as Keipr, to discover a newly-founded bustling mining town surrounding the crash site. The world is completely open: no mini map, no way-points, and nothing holding you back from where you want to go. In Keipr Online, it’s up to you to decide how to take on the world and your role in society. Will you be a lowly citizen, a bandit, a thief, an assassin, a warrior, a wizard, or maybe even King?

You can stake a claim to land and build anything imaginable, whether it be a business, a fort, an arena, a palace, or even your own town. All you need are the supplies and the human power. If homesteading isn’t for you, try your hand at bounty hunting, build a sea ship to circumnavigate the world in search of new lands, or search for mysteries of the arcane scattered across the globe in perilous dungeons. While adventuring, you may encounter anything from a zombie filled tomb to a colossal walking city or angry, man-eating natives. All of these beautiful experiences are spread across a giant, persistent globe filled with a massive amount of other players that can help or hinder your progress at any time.

Keipr Online also provides a set of tools to create your own ideas in the world. Do you imagine castle sieges, aerial battles, alien invasions, submarines or space ships to scavenge resources on remote planets? Gamers will be able to vote on these ideas to become available publicly. As a modder, you can contribute your skill set in adding vast technologies and advances to the world itself. You can literally be the Einstein of Keipr’s society!"

Games background story seems a little like Wildstar, but because this game is a sandbox and a first person shooter, I do not think that will hurt it too much, and that is pretty much where the similarities end.    It does sound cool though.   Sounds like a cross between an FPS, MMORPG, Minecraft, and Age of Empires.   Does that sound really cool or what?

One of the things that comes up when I say stylized, is the whole thing is being done in cell shader type art. an anime or a cartoon.    How cool is that?   I know some people may hate this, but I think this is so very cool.  Sorta like Samurai Jack stuff, or the game Journey on the Playstation 3.  Remember how beautiful that game was?  I suspect this one will have it's beautiful moments as well if it is anything like Journey.

Here is some artwork of the game to show you what I am talking about.


And here is some of the character artwork.  If the in game characters look anything like what we see in these images(and from indications it is), this game will be quite unique and very beautiful to look at. 

Here is a link to a cell shader test from inside the game engine.   Remember this is still a work in progress.

I know some people maybe be turned off by the stylized anime/cartoon, cell shader, artwork depicted in this game, but I for one think it is beautiful.   If the creators can pull this off, Keipr Online will be one of the most unique MMORPG's on the market.   Not just because it is a sandbox and a first person shooter, but because it has an art style that will stand the test of time.  

Oh, and the game will come with a built in modder so game players can contribute to the creation to the game once it is released.   Of course I am sure the developers will have a final say as to what is and isn't acceptable - it is still cool that we gamers might be able to make and create things that will be in an online game that everyone can partake of - something like Second Life or Planet Calypso of the Entropia Universe. 

As for what else we know or don't know.   The game, I understand, was conceived in 2012.  It made its first appearance on the web back in spring of 2013.    There is no news as to when the game might be released, but I would suspect this is a 2015 or 2016 game.   So there is also no news as to when it will be in alpha, beta or any kind of released date.  There is also no word on if this is a free to play game, buy to play game, or if it will have a subscription.   With the ambitious of the games developers, I am thinking around spring of 2016.   Which is cool.   We have other games like Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen and EQ Next just around the corner.  So these should tie us over until then.

One thing is for certain, this indie game could be the game that rejuvenates the slowly dying MMORPG genre.   If there is one this this genre needs, it needs new game designers, with new ideals, with big dreams, who are gamers at heart, that want to make MMORPG's that are big and bold, open and spectacular, and totally epic.    Keipr Online might just be that game.    Keipr Online might just be the little Indie Online Game that could.


If you wish to stay up with this games progress there are a number of websites you can visit.   The main website also has the job offers.  Here are those links.

Goon Studios Main Website

Keipr Facebook Page

Steam Greenlight Page


War Thunder - Good Luck, Good Hunting - Tally Ho!

Posted by Teala Friday January 10 2014 at 12:24PM
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I have been holding off writing about this game for a long time.   It is one of the games I have become somewhat attached to recently - sort of a go to game for some fun.   However, the more I play it the more I realized the game, that has lots of potential, just continues to take a steeper nose dive, and I think the last patch(patch 1.37) caused compression that not even Gaijin may not recover from.

I’m not going to come right out and proclaim that this game will crush and burn, but if Gaijin continues down the path they currently are - I think they will be hard pressed to stop it.

You may ask why I would say this.  Well...I will tell you, but first let me give you a thorough write up on what War Thunder is all about.   Also, consider this a review - this is not a preview.   Yes, War Thunder is in open beta(at least that is what Gaijin Entertainment calls it), but as many of you who know me(from reading previous write ups of mine) I consider a game released if the company starts charging for services.  Gaijin does this.   You can spend money on this game and even have a premium account.   True beta’s don't charge any money.   This game has released(it’s even available for download on Steam), and as such I will be treating it as a released title.

“Well Kristi...can you at least give us some details about the game you’re blabbering about, all ready?”

Sure, sure...I am getting to it.   I just had to get a couple of things straight up front before I really start getting into it, because I want to make it perfectly clear, and understood, where I am coming from so that some people don’t get their panties all in a big wad telling me - “the game is in beta - give Gaijin some time.”

So, do your pre-flight, then climb into the cockpit, strap yourself in good and tight.  Then prepare to take to the skies, for this is War Thunder!

War Thunder, first off, is a very ambitious title of an online game being developed by Gaijin Entertainment.   Gaijin Entertainment is a game developer out of Russia that is no stranger to the world of games.   Though they are a fairly young company, established in 2002, Gaijin has all ready made a name for it self in the PC and Console markets with released games - such as: Birds of Steel, Wings of Prey, IL-2 Stormovik: Wings of Prey, X-Blaades, Braveheart and many other various titles.   

The game itself will eventually be guessed it - war.   Duh...but...when I say war...I mean WAR!  Rawr  As in tanks, planes, ships...the whole enchilada.   The game itself falls under the category of combat simulator.   I’ll say more about this a little later - the simulator stuff, that is.

Right now, however, the title is mostly about the planes of war - most notably the planes that were used in World War II and the Korean War.  Tanks have just been added, but they are brand new and not part of the main game as of yet.  They are still separate, and use their own maps, and in closed beta.   So we’re not going to be discussing them or the ships since neither of them are available to the gaming public in general - this write up is about the aircraft side of the game.

What War Thunder does have right now though is impressive.   With over 186 planes to choose from, planes that belonged to 6 nations(5 which are playable), that makes for a lot of different battle scenarios.    

You can fly the infamous Spitfire or the BF 109 E-3 in the Battle of Britain, or jump in a jet, like and F86 Sabre, and fly a combat mission over Mig Alley against the Mig 15.   They also have more than just fighters in this game, but bombers as well.  So if flying a fighter isn’t your cup of tea, and you would rather bomb your way to can pick one of many bombers that are available, like the Lancaster bomber, or the B-17.    The one thing this game offers is variety and War Thunders has it is spades.

Note: As of right now, only a couple of light bombers have cockpit views.   Unlike fighters, which offer not only isometric 3D over the shoulder view, but also, in cockpit views(which by the way is extremely immersive if you are into that type of thing).  

Speaking of playable nations, in War Thunder, you can chose amongst the 5 major powers of WWII; like the allies, United States, Britain, Russia, or fly for one of the Axis powers Germany, and Japan.   

Each nations planes have strengths and weaknesses, and Gaijin attempts to make the aircraft behave in flight(what is known as the aircrafts flight model) as they really would have.   And when I say attempt...well...let’s just say...there are good planes and their are bad planes.   I’ll dig deeper into flight models later because it is one of the things that is hotly debated among the players and the developers.   Needless to say...since the game is made by a Russian based game company...flight models for certain planes are a bit supernatural for one particular nation.

Gaijin also gives players plenty of options with which to control the aircraft.   You can use a standard mouse and keyboard, a joystick, a joystick and rudder control foot pedals(like a real plane), joystick, rudder control, and throttle control(even more like a real aircraft), or a console type game pad.   The game can also make use of head tracking systems like IRTrack, and of course the soon to be released virtual gaming headgear Oculus Rift.

Now, from my experience, the best way to play depends on what game mode you are playing.   I’ll be discussing the game modes later, and with it the different player controls.   The game modes are very unforgiving and favor certain game control styles.   

One cool thing about War Thunder is the game is totally free to play.   You really don’t have to spend a dime to play it, though you will most likely decide to in the long run if you really want to progress in the game at a steady pace.    Having a premium account will allow you to gain rewards faster...and this of course allows you to get into higher ranked planes as you progress.

Think of it as leveling in your typical MMO.   The higher you level, the more planes you can fly and get into.   

The games planes are broken up into what is known as “Era’s”.  Era’s let players know when that plane first came into service.  Inside each Era is a set of planes that were known to have been in service for that time.    Planes are also ranked based on performance.   So it can be a little confusing, since some planes that should be in Era 1 plane listing are found in Era 2 listing due to the planes overall “battle rating”(aka performance rating).   I don’t understand this myself, since Gaijin promotes the game as being a historically accurate online flight sim - when clearly it is not...for the most part.  Though I will say it is less arcadie like than a major game competitor(World of Warplanes by - makers of World of Tanks) in this online flight sim market.

There are 3 main modes of game play in War Thunder: Arcade Mode, Realistic Battle Mode, and Simulator Mode.   The “Arcade Mode" game mode plays exactly like it an arcade game.   You are tossed into a world map with upwards of 32 players - 16 vs 16.   Each map has different task that players most perform in order to when a game match.   For instance one map might be a ground attack task map, where whichever team destroys the opposing teams ground targets first wins.   Another map might be capture the flag type game, but in this case, the players capture a base and then must keep the opposing team from taking control of it...the longer you control the base, the more points your team gets until one team wins.   You also have unrealistic flight models, auto reloading(no need to land at bases to reload), and planes can take a lot more damage.   This mode is very fast paced and very unpredictable.   In this mode you may encounter planes that can be two and three ranks different.   That means, that you might be in a early bi-plane with two guns, going up against a faster mono-plane that has four guns and two cannons.   What can I say...that is how Gaijin does it.

As I mentioned earlier, what method of game control you use makes a huge difference in the various modes, and I highly recommend using a mouse and keyboard for the arcade mode.   The planes flight models are so jacked up and unrealistic in arcade mode that using a joystick in this mode against a player using a mouse and keyboard will just frustrate you.

Don’t even bother with a game controller in War Thunder - they suck in every mode(unless you are playing the PS4 version of the game - then it tends to work OK).  

Realistic Battle Mode is a game mode that tries to re-enact actual battles or realistic battle situations that occurred during WWII and the Korean War.   This mode also includes game maps that are called “alternate history maps” and “training mission maps”(I’ll explain these two shortly).   RB mode includes game maps from the Battle of Britain, Battle of the Bulge, Berlin, Guadalcanal, and Midway.    The match making system can screw these “realistic battles” up more times than not, and that can have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.   When I say match making, what I am referring to is the system the game uses to place your plane into a game that fits the battle and Era that plane was present in during WWII.   It rarely gets it right as you get into the higher ranked planes.   It’s just something you’ll have to deal with because Gaijin doesn’t seem interested in trying to make this mode all the historically accurate(even though this mode use to be called historical battle mode).   For instance, there were no Spitfires present at the Battle of Midway...but you may find yourself flying a Spitfire at the Battle of Midway, or you might be flying in the Battle of Britain in a F6F Hellcat...which of course was not there.   Maybe someday Gaijin will fix this, but I do not see that happening anytime soon.   So as a player, you just have to deal with it.

I would highly recommend a joystick for this mode.   It will take practice to get good with a joystick, but I can tell you from my own experience that a joystick in RB mode beats a mouse and keyboard player due to the fact that the joystick control allows you more control of your plane.  In other words, you can make your plane do things with a joystick, that a mouse and keyboard player cannot do.    The good news is though, a mouse and keyboard can still hold there own in RB mode, but you’re at a bit of a disadvantage compared to a joystick user.

Then there is what is known as “Simulator Mode”.    This can be a very challenging mode and I only recommend it if you have at a minimum, a joystick and IRTrack system.   It is best to have a joystick, rudder control system, throttle control and IRTrack - because then you have ultimate control and as realistic flight model as you will ever encounter.   You really have to be into flight sims to become good at this level of the game.   This game mode also does a better job at match making.   The big difference between this mode and the other two...there are no markers for enemy planes, positions, or ground vehicles.   You have to know what you are looking for and looking at in order to get anywhere in this game mode.   In other words...there will be no names above targets.    You have to identify them by sight alone.   I would at least play RP mode for a bit before even attempting the simulator mode.   Get use to using a joystick and flying from the cockpit view of the plane - because that is what Simulator Mode is all puts you in the cockpit of the plane and all the gauges and displays will tell you how your plane is operating.   Though you can have a couple of things on your game UI HUD like airspeed and altitude.   There is also no lead aiming reticle - you have to use your aiming pip on your aircrafts dash and then you have to also learn where to place it before you shoot in order to even hit your target.    This will take practice.   Learning to gauge distance, target speed and lead time is critical in a dogfight.   So as I in RB mode, use a joystick and go full control, with IRTrack, at a minimum, before heading to Simulator Mode. 

Alternate History Maps are just as it sounds...alternate history.   In these maps, you will see what might have happened if the war had been played out differently.  For instance in one map, you might see British and US fighting Russians.  Or maybe US, Germany fighting the Russians.   Be aware that in these maps...things can get really borked up, not only due to balance issues, but match making as well.

Training Mission Maps are, again, just like they sound - training maps.   These maps toss allied planes against allied planes.   So for instance you might see British plains vs US planes.    Again, be aware that sometimes match making can have a impact on these maps and you might see a wide variety of planes from different ranks.

There is one more mode I’ll mention and this is called an EVENT.   Event modes are by far the best modes in War Thunder - in my opinion.   This is where Gaijin gets it right 90% of the time, especially in the RB and Sim Mode.   In the RB and Sim mode, you will only see planes that were actually in a particular battle, and battles are recreated as accurately as possible(within the limit of the games capacity).   For instance, let’s take the Battle of Britain.   They have an EVENT called, “the Hardest Day”.    This recreates the the air battle during the Battle of Britain that took place on August 18th, 1940.    In this battle, you’ll only see planes that actually fought during that battle, and if you fly it in RB you’ll get a pretty accurate version of what occurred that day.   EVENT’s are only offered for 24hrs at a lime and then they change to a new map.   So one day you might have a Battle of Midway Event, the next day(24hrs later) it will switch to Guadalcanal or maybe the Battle of the Bulge.   And as I said, these Event’s is where War Thunder really shines...and if you are a fan of history and’ll love this mode.   I know it is my favorite and I play them as often as I can.

Also, there are single player campaigns you can play through as well as custom mission maps made by players, and custom campaigns created by players.   The custom player maps I would be watchful of because sometimes these maps have allow Korean Era jets to be pitted against bi-planes.   It is no brainer to guess which plane is fodder and which is not in this situation.   Personally, I just stay away from custom maps and campaigns unless I know the person that made it.

Single player campaigns like the “Pacific Campaign” can be bought separately and played offline.   

The games music score is decent.   Not anything to write home about, but it can set the mood for the game.  So no need to stay on this topic for very long.   It is what it is and with the main theme of the game being war, the music has the typical sound to it that is distinctively identified with soldiers marching off to war and such.

The sounds in this game are just frikking awesome.   No honestly...when you start up the Spitfire or the BF 109's engines, they sound like the real thing.   Add to that the sound of the various weapons, the wind, and other little noises you might hear while flying an aircraft and Gaijin gets another A+ for effort.    Dude...let me tell you, it can make your palms sweat when you are flying through a mass of flak from the AA guns over an airfield or a city.   You can actually hear some shells fly by.  And when they explode near you, you can hear the the shrapnel falling onto your plane like little pebbles on a car hood.   It can get pretty intense.


Now for the graphics.

One thing I have no issues with regarding this game is it’s graphics.   Then again, it is not your typical MMO and has no need for overwhelming character graphics or architecture.   However, the graphics it does have - did I tell you I want a Spitfire!  Gaijin did a fantastic job modeling the planes and their graphics for them are just awesome.   When you look at the planes...they look gorgeous.   Being a fan of all types of aircraft and having done my share of reading about aircraft and their development - Gaijin gets an A+ for the effort they have put into making the aircraft look as authentic as they could.   From the chipped paint due to weathering - to the oil streaks on the cowling’s...this Gaijin got right.

I’ve always had a thing for Spitfires, and I just love how the Spitfire looks in this game.  I know it is a weapon of war, but...I dunno, there is just something so beautiful about the look of certain aircraft, and the Spitfire have these graceful lines and curves that make you think it is more than just a piece of equipment or a vehicle - it is a work of art.  A work of art that you can fly.   A work of art that is as deadly as it is beautiful.    Oh and did I mention how fun it is to control this aircraft in game?   Oh I will...just keep reading!  ::huge grin::

Another thing that I find impressive is the ability to customize the look of your aircraft.   You can add decals, nose art, and enemy kill markers to your aircraft - just as they did long ago.   Though it is something you can’t just do, at least Gaijin gives you options to do this, either through earning it with accomplishments in game, or buying it with the games form of currency - Golden Eagles.  

One note of contention regarding customization is planes can be upgraded.   You can add better engines, engine parts, guns, and such.  You do this via research.   You earn what is called research points(or RP).  Before patch 1.37 we earned and used Silver Lions to upgrade and buy planes.   Patch 1.37 changed this and Silver Lions are used primarily for reloading, repairing and buying new aircraft in a tech tree.   RP is used to research planes and to upgrade them.    With the new system it can be slow going because you do not earn as much RP as we use to earn Silver Lions.   This has been another thorn in the side of the game that has really annoyed and frustrated many of the players.    There are many threads with hundreds of pages discussing this on the main forum.   Gaijin doesn't seem to care or be very interested in making any reasonable adjustments to this new system.   So be aware that once you hit the upper ranks in planes, it can be quite a grind to earn RP at a reasonable rate - especially in the RP and SB modes of the game.

Back to the graphics.

From the cliffs of Dover to the Island of Malta, the land graphics for the maps are impressive, too.   Gaijin must have spent a lot of time going over old maps and pictures to accurately display the locations that you’ll be flying and fighting over, because I am telling is awesome.   The view distances in this game are incredible and at can easily get taken in an immersed into this games settings.    Oh, and this game has some of the best weather and cloud effects, I have ever seen in any MMO.   Sunsets can be spectacles of gold, red, and pink hues so vivid you think you’re looking at a real sunset.   Just beautiful.

One thing I wish Gaijin would add is contrail’s.  One of the most iconic sights during the Battle of Britain were the contrail’s left behind from the bombers and fighters at high altitudes above the English country side.   It was rare that the planes didn’t leave them on those cold September days when the planes were dog fighting at altitudes above 4k meters.   It would just add to the over all immersive feeling of the game experience.   

Now let’s talk about game play.   This can be a hit or miss.   I say this because of one reason - the way the game puts matches or battles together in the general game modes(not the EVENTS I mentioned early).  As I stated before the game is broken up into different game modes.   In the arcade game modes you will face aircraft from all the nations and depending on the rank of the planes in your hanger/s, this will determine the other ranks of the planes you’ll face in any given battle.   For instance, if you have  ranked 1 planes in your hanger/s, you will most likely encounter planes that are ranked the same or near to it - at least that is the ideal.   But what works on paper doesn’t always work in reality - and that is one of the major drawbacks to Gaijin’s system of match making(or MM) in War Thunder.

This is a huge thorn in the side of the game right now and a major issue with the players and the developers.   The players say it sucks...Gaijin says it is working as intended.   Well, I have to side with the majority of players on this issue, because nothing sucks worse than to be in a WWII era prop plane and facing Korean War era jets.    Or, flying a rank one bi-plane and facing planes that are nearly twice as fast with twice the armament.  20mm cannons make bi-planes go all explody and can make for a miserable game experience - and more often than not - this happens a lot in War Thunder.   Trust me on this.  When you take into consideration the flight models of some planes and then add to that the difference in overall performance, getting a bad match is almost a given.   

Back before Gaijin’s latest patch(patch 1.37 - a patch that almost single handedly took this game back to what many would consider an alpha state), the games match making was notoriously fickle and amusingly mean at times - it was nothing compared to what we see now. is no longer is just down right mean and ugly - especially in the higher ranks(ranks 3 and 4).

At ranks three and four, it is not uncommon to face planes that just outright do not belong facing one another in a dogfight.   And as I stated before, add to that that some of the flight models are in need of major tweaking and you’ll be pulling your hair out in no time with frustration because its as if the game just loves to cause you grief.  

Speaking of flight models - be aware - this game was made by a Russian based gaming company and there is some serious bias toward certain planes in the game.   Anyone that has played War Thunder knows what I am talking about - I’ll just say, if you fly bi-planes beware of the Chaika.   In fact, just be ready to deal with many planes that are extremely OP from this nation.   

If I had to least best performing planes to the worse performing planes in game as I write this, this is how my list would look.

United States

I know some people will disagree with me on this, but from my experience, this is how I see it.   Oh and just how bad is the US planes in this game?  It is sad that the most highly sought  US plane is not even a US plane!  It is a British plane.   The Spitfire.   You can purchase what is called a Premium Spitfire IX and fly it for the US.   It is without a doubt the best prop plane you can get in the American tech tree.   Most US planes flight models are borked to hell and gone and resemble nothing like the actual planes that flew in WWII.   I’ll mention the P38 as a prime example of US planes that are borked.   Players have for months been asking Gaijin to fix this planes flight model and Gaijin refuses to budge on it.   They say their data sheets they are using are accurate and are the sheets they use to create the fight model of the P38 - yet refuse to show the players these data sheets they are using.   Players have dug up the planes actual performance data sheets and compared them with the way the way the P38 handles in game and it is nothing like what the data sheets say the plane should behave.   That is how it is with most of the planes in the US tech tree.   So be aware of this.  Certain nations planes have questionable flight models and some are just outright wrong.  

Despite this...if you are good at FPS and are also an avid flight simmer, you might still do well in War Thunder.   It is very unforgiving to noobs, but for experienced FPS gamers and flight sim people - you’re going to love this game despite its serious short comings when it comes to flight models and plane performance.

That is why even if a plane is a little under-performing, in its flight model, a good player can make it seem like the plane is OP as hell.   This comes down to player skill.   Not everyone can take a BF109 and do good with it.  Others however, make it seem like that plane is evincible.   It is all about player skill in the long run.   Good planes that have good flight models with a good player controlling them...they are untouchable.  Sure you might get a lucky shot and shoot one of these planes down, but more often than not...its you that are a streaking pile of flaming wreckage falling out of the sky.    Trust me on this...either you are good at this game or you are not.   You can practice and get good, but that will take you some time, but truth be told not everyone is cut out for FPS type gaming.   War Thunder is a very unforgiving game to the inexperienced.   If you do practice and get good, it can be a very rewarding game experience.   I personally love this game, despite all its problems, I just love the challenge of being good at this game, and War Thunder, in a lot of ways reminds me of Mount and Blade in that - it challenges you like no other FPS. 

The main draw to this game though right now is the planes and the dog fighting, and this game delivers - in Aces(no pun intended).   Truly, this game succeeds at bringing dog fighting, flight sim, from the single player experience to the multi-player like no other game on the market right now.    I’ve played my share of combat flight sims, but never have I experienced the thrill of flight and dog fighting like I have in this game.   Every time I sign in and then wait for a match to start my heart starts to beat a little faster and my stomach gets little butterflies.   I really, truly, love this type of game play.  It pits one players skills against another in a way most other games fail to do.  Maybe that is why I am drawn to it.   It is the air warrior in me that says, grab your gear, suit up, climb into the cockpit of a suped up aircraft and find an opponent worthy of a good challenge.  Only one of us will come out the winner - and if I have my way, that will be me.

BTW - there are many great planes to experience in this game War Thunder, but in my opinion, the one plane that stands out from them all is the Spitfire.   Truly an exceptional plane.  It was a great plane for real in WWII and it is a great plane in War Thunder if you know how to properly control it.   Sure you can fly one of the better planes in game that is faster and has more fire power, but let me tell you something - none of that matters when it comes to the agility and pure smooth controls of the Spitfire.   As a real Spitfire pilot once said in an interview, you don’t fly a Spitfire, you wear it and it becomes one with you.   It is this way in the game as well.   

I had the opportunity to play War Thunder using an Oculus Rift and I swear...I felt as though I was in the cockpit.  Short of the smell and the actual g-forces you might feel from actually flying, the Oculus Rift does a great job at making you feel like you are there.   The next best thing to this is a good monitor, a joystick, rudder control pedals, thrust control and IRTrack 5, but nothing can touch the experience of the Oculus Rift.     

Here are a few tips for the new Sprog.   

Learn a few basic ACM’s(air combat maneuvers), like the Immelmann, the split-s, and the hammerhead.    You can practice these maneuvers by test flying planes you have access to.    I highly recommend doing this, and if you are going to use a joystick this is a great way to get a feel for how the aircraft behave.   Just learning to take off with full controls can be a task in itself.    Single prop aircraft tend to turn left and nose over as you begin to gain speed to take off.   You’ll have to adjust for the torque of the engine to keep your plane from nosing over and flipping.   Which is a common occurrence for new pilots who use a joystick.   Gaijin has a great example of many ACM’s you can use in game  - here is a link.  

Air Combat Maneuvers Page: War Thunder Website

Another tip.   In Realistic Battles and Simulator Battles, you have limited ammo.   So use burst shots.   Don’t spray and pray.  Make every shot count.   Holding down the trigger will cause your guns to either overheat or possibly jam and the bigger the gun the more likely it will jam or you’ll just run out of ammo quicker.   So burst shots.   You can aim at specific parts of planes.    Unlike some FPS games, Gaijin has done a great job at how damage is recorded and detected in game.   You can target cockpits, engines, wings, tails, just a few well placed shots can cause some serious damage if you hit a plane in the right area.   If you do run out of ammo or your guns get jammed.   Make a B-line back to base to re-arm.   You do not have to do this in arcade mode, however,  just simply hit the proper key on your keyboard to do it, but in RB and SB, you must land.   So remember that.

Here are the basic pro’s and con’s of the game again.


  • Great Graphics
  • Great Sound
  • Online Multi-player Air Combat Sim
  • Large Selection of Planes To Fly
  • Semi-Historical Recreations of World War II History That You Can Experience
  • Free To Play

  • Balance Issues
  • Flight Model Issues
  • In Game Reward Issues
  • Developers Seem Biased
  • Broken Match Making
  • Developers Tend To Ignore Playerbase Concerns

If you can put up with this games cons, War Thunder is a great, fun, little game with a lot of potential.   The developers have put their sights on making it one of the best online combat war sims, and if they can pull it off, and work out the kinks...War Thunder will be one of the best free to play games on the Internet.  
Added bonus!  Yeah!  Here is a little tutorial I put together for those wannabe Naval Aviators about the proper way to land on an aircraft carrier.   It takes you step by step with easy to follow instructions.
Oh, and here are some in game videos I made so that you might get a better feel for how the game plays.   Enjoy!

Get into War Thunders Ground Forces Beta!

Posted by Teala Wednesday November 13 2013 at 11:40PM
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Gaijin Entertainment made an announcement that they are going to be opening the ground forces beta for War Thunder this Dec 3rd.   Found out how to get a spot.   Read their announcement here.   Click Image!