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Tastes Gamey

This blog is about stuff. Sometimes that stuff has to do with MMORPGs.

Author: neschria

Be My Daddy! (Fluff in games... the good and bad)

Posted by neschria Wednesday August 29 2007 at 10:01AM
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So... you can adopt people and form families in Lord of the Rings Online.  I can't decide if that's a really cool tool for roleplay or if it is just a little creepy.  I suppose it is one of those things like in-game marriage; some people really like playing that scenario out, while others are appalled. I tend to lean toward enjoying things like that  because I like fluff in games. Fluff makes everything more fun.

But let me clarify that-- I like fluff in games where there is actually a solid game there. If the whole game is fluff... I get bored and wander away.  I like to socialize as much as the next woman (or maybe even more than the next woman), but if I wanted to just chat, I'd skip the boring, repetitive clicking and just go to IRC. When I play MMORPGs, I want people to talk to, an interesting and detailed world to explore, NPCs to poke at, the opportunity for some RP and a reason for there to be a G in MMORPG. If fluff doesn't get in the way and enhances the "G" experience, it is a good thing.

Still... getting adopted by other players... That's a little too close to some of the random messages I've gotten on Yahoo Messenger. For the record, no, you can't be my daddy.

Unless you're fabulously wealthy.  In that case, have your people call my people.

Captain Obvious On The Road

Posted by neschria Monday August 27 2007 at 9:15PM
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I kinda sunburned my eyeballs or something today, driving without sunglasses all day, so this entry probably won't be too long. I want to put a wet washcloth on my eyes and turn off all the lights for a while after I type this out.

I saw the news story here about Ultima Online Kingdom Reborn... 14 day free trial? I'm such a sucker. Downloading it now with Xfire. /sigh. I can't help myself. I haven't played UO in a very long time. I don't know if I will play it much now, but I am going to give it a shot. Anyway, it is a FREE trial!

I like free. Free is good. And I might as well download while I lie here in a motel room with a washcloth on my eyes, right? (Free Internet access with the room... Did I mention how much I like free? I love free.)

Here's my free advice for the day: Don't turn down free food. Free food is a good thing. I mean, seriously, isn't the food at the reception the way friends and family bribe each other into showing up for weddings? Feel free to turn down the free cake at the reception, though, unless a willing guinea pig with tastebuds you trust eats some first and doesn't gag, puke, go into shock, or drop dead on the spot. Some wedding cake is pretty bad. If your free food comes with an educational opportunity as well, that's twice as good. Don't turn down opportunities to further your education.

P.S. The Warhammer Online "Elves Presentation + Lighting" video in the WAR media section here was at least mildly amusing in a humorous way. I don't know what made me watch it, but it made me want to be a dark elf.

 

Spore. EQ Alternate Ruleset discussion. Personal notes. Now with added Baseball!

Posted by neschria Thursday August 23 2007 at 2:21PM
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There are a couple of new Spore related videos posted by EA over at Youtube: The Leipzig Trailer and Press Video. Also, there's a hands-on preview over at 1up. 

That's right. Someone got to try it out and it wasn't you. Or me. /sigh.

Last night, my husband and I were playing around in Escape to Norrath, the EQ1 trial. It's just the tutorial made into a trial. I am not sure that it is a very good representation of the full game, and being vets of the game, we don't really need a trial, but hey... it was something to do for an evening and it was free. He was a female gnome magician. I was a male gnome wizard. It was fun for a little bit, but it has really made me doubt whether I want to go back to that particular game or not. It is a little too been there, done that.

Speaking of EQ1, The recent Producer's letter put out a call for input into what kind of alternate ruleset server people might like, and also for ideas on incentives to get people helping lowbies. I think they got some hopes up with talk of a new server, but a HoC chat since then seems to dim those hopes a little:

[20:37] <Naithin> *Kristin* In response to the August 12th Producer’s Letter, many threads have popped up around the community forums discussing and showing a strong interest in Alternate Rule Set Servers.  Given the popularity of the Progression Servers and the great job that Maddoc and the team did; have the Developers made any progress that you could talk about, or do you have any feedback as to when a server
[20:37] <Naithin>  such as this might become available
[20:38] <Rashere> Right now, we're just gauging interest to see what people would like to see.  I'm glad to see people like the idea.  We don't have any concrete plans to announce yet on what a new, alternate rule server would be or when it might occur though.

Source: http://forums.station.sony.com/eq/posts/list.m?topic_id=117748

 

I think virtually any new server would bring people back, to some degree, since one of the things that makes starting or returning to EQ now so daunting is that everyone is already high level. Some people are calling for a FFA PvP Progression server or a Permadeath server (where death resets you to level 1). While I appreciate the reasons why people would ask for those things, I don't think that kind of server would have any longevity. There's got to be a reason why all the Zeks, with their various PvP rulesets, ended up merging into one. I don't think PvP in EQ1 is going to hold too many people with so many other games with PvP elements (often better executed) already available. Another popular request, aside from the perennial call for a "Classic" server, was a slower Progression server based on time locks rather than player action. Actually, there were a zillion ideas floating around. You can find threads on alternate rulesets in both the newbie and veteran forums over on the official site.

If they put up any kind of blue (PvE), no-transfer server, I will be there with bells on. Until then... I just don't know. There are other, newer games that are starting to appeal to me. If I am knee-deep in another game and having fun, then there's a pretty good chance that even a new server wouldn't bring me back.

My husband seemed more inclined to play EQ again after our trip to the trial. But I think he'd be just as happy going back to VCO for his occasional MMORPG fix. He's said on at least one occasion that he's just about sick of elves, and playing a free game (with the very infrequent $5 or so trip to the item mall) may make more sense for him in terms of time and money.

As for me... I just want to survive this move. After that... Well, my top 5 game prospects for September are EQ2, LoTRO, EQ1, L2, or WoW... Coming up on the outside in 6th and 7th would be Ryzom and Horizons-if-it-really-does-get-pulled-together. This is all assuming that I'll have my desktop back to play. I've got some free games on the table too, for incidental play-- VCO, Archlord, and Shadowbane are all still on this laptop. (And does this machine ever mangle Archlord graphics! Good grief! But it is playable.)

We'll see what I am thinking when October rolls around. I'll probably be singing a whole different tune.

Not everybody gets to the Off Topic forum, so I thought I'd post a link to the thread about the MMORPG.com Folding @ Home team  for anyone who has managed to read this far. So, there it is. Go join the team and donate some unused CPU cycles.

In other news, the Atlanta Braves (husband's favorite team) lost to Cincinnati, the Phillies (the "local" team) had a pretty big loss to the Dodgers (15-3), and the Texas Rangers stomped the living crap out of the Orioles (the second choice "local" team around here).  30-3 isn't just a spanking. It's definitely a STOMPING.

Not a game entry in the least...

Posted by neschria Sunday August 19 2007 at 2:41PM
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We were supposed to go to Washington, DC today, but the forecast of thunderstorms scuttled those plans. So... here I am, writing a blog entry instead.

Woot.

You guys are great... But this isn't the same as a nice day trip. =P

I am moving documents from Google Documents (formerly Writely) onto this laptop so that I can continue to access them when I don't have Internet access. I am going to be offline for a while before and after our move, but that's no reason for me to quit working on the projects I've been storing at Google Docs. It's mostly constructed language stuff. That sort of thing doesn't require Internet access.

I am tempted to go on about how my noun cases are not working out as well in practice as I had thought they would when they were on the drawing board, but this isn't really the right place for that. I know I'm a boring nerd. No point in proving it AGAIN.

I got a comment on a recent entry that read "u suck." I think I let my Ms. Smartypants tendencies get the best of me when I replied, "That's what he said."  That was really lame on my part, I admit. I am just not really offended by "u suck"... In fact, the attention seeker in me thinks, "Hurray! I got a comment! Ok, it wasn't a nice comment, but... Someone NOTICED me! They noticed ME!"

I belong in Hollywood. LOL. (That was a joke.... You know, because I said, "LOL". That makes it funny... In theory. Honestly, I didn't really LOL. I just smirked. But how would you know I was joking if I didn't claim that I had laughed out loud?)

I would try to get some game-related remarks in here at this point, but I don't have a thing to say. I was going to say that there's no game I am playing and no upcoming game that I am looking forward to, but that wouldn't be true. That's only true about MMORPGs.For so long, MMORPGs were the only games I played or followed. I couldn't imagine there would come a day when the games I want most, both released and in development, are all single player. It's just not a turn I would have expected.

I think it may be a by-product of my determination to NOT get sucked into believing that the Net is a substitute for REAL experiences. I was talking to someone once about wanting my kids to see the world and have a lot of different experiences, and she said she thought that her kids got to explore the world well enough through the Net. I was shocked and horrified, to say the least. I've seen the Eiffel Tower and the Washington monument, among other things, and there is no way to get the same experience of the scale of landmarks like that without being there. No amount of exchanging e-mail with people in far off places will ever be a substitute for walking down their street and sitting in their living room. Anyway, that person did me a favor, because she made me think more critically about how I was using the Net and what I was using it for, what it is good for and where it will always fall short.

Eh... I am straying too close to what I really think and too far away from who I am online. For a minute there, it almost looked like I might have had a thought.

 

Friday Screenshots 'n' Stuff

Posted by neschria Friday August 17 2007 at 6:41PM
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I don't have a lot of screenshots at my disposal. Most of them are on my desktop computer, which remains on a shelf for now. These are mostly ones that I posted elsewhere and then went back to find in order to post them here.  My intent is not to impress but to entertain. Maybe. We'll see.

Also, I had a frustrating afternoon out in the heat, so I am at the mental level of looking at picture books. Words hurt my poor sun-fried brain. 

I am sure you've met this guy somewhere before-- All mouth from the neck up! :

all mouth from the neck up

And I am pretty sure I dated this fellow in high school:

What are friends and guildies for if not to make fun of you? "We still saw you die." Hehehe!:

Here's the character I mentioned in a post this week. I had never experienced any of the advantages of playing female characters until I played this one. It was almost surreal being flirted with so much. I can't imagine why she was so popular:

And on the topic of gender in games, this was an experimental character. I'm just throwing this in here because it amuses me:

The family that plays together stays together. Me and two of my sons during one of those anniversary events where their accounts were reactivated:

I have more AAs than my title suggests, but I'll always be Mistress Mirin.

This next picture is about a year old, so everyone looks older than this now, and the sun was so bad it isn't even a great picture. Nonetheless, the mom in me is overcoming my common sense, so I am posting it anyway. My RL guildies...er....family:

Villagers so totally do NOT need any more offspring! 

Villagers need food! Time for me to make some dinner.

 

 

 

I wish I could have alts in real life too.

Posted by neschria Friday August 17 2007 at 2:21PM
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I have a confession to make. Throughout much of my MMORPG career, I have been She-Of-Many-Alts. A quick trip to EQplayers reveals that my main EQ account has 72 characters on it, spread over many servers. That number is after the server merge that wiped out all the ones under level 10 that I hadn't played in 6 months at the time of the merge. Many of those are still very low level, made to take a little vacation from my usual server, or to try out a particular class or race/class combinations. Still... That's a lot. What's really surprising is how many of those temporary characters are over level 30.

I hit the cap on characters across all servers (50, was it?) in WoW. Some of those were my kids' characters. Apparently they have inherited my Altism.  I ended up deleting some of their created-but-never-played characters to make room for more of my own.

EQ2 put a stop to my out-of-control alt addiction. I have to admit, it ripped out my little heart to lose the extra character slots in EQ2 (and EQ1) when I cancelled my all-access Station Pass. They just don't allow you all that many characters in EQ2. I guess that's when I started to get over having alts. When there's a limit to how many characters you can have, you tend to make your choices count.

Sometimes I make alts with the intention of quitting my main character and taking up the new one, but that is really hard to do. People work against you while you're trying to level. "Can you log your high level character on just for this one group?"  If you do that enough, your new character doesn't make a lot of progress. Perhaps the easiest way to switch is to play your new character without telling anyone it is the same person who plays the old one.

Which brings me to another benefit of alts: you can be a new person any time you want. If you've really made some stupid mistakes and want to turn over a new leaf, if you want to avoid people who are getting on your nerves for a while, or if you just want to try on a new identity, as long as you have a free character slot, you're a few clicks away from having a whole new face. This can be misused and abused by people who are just out to cause trouble, but it also means that when you suddenly realize you've been an arrogant jerk for a couple of years, you can have instant redemption, and if you're careful and wise, you can avoid being known as "That Buttmonkey" for the rest of your time in that game. Beyond avoiding who you were, you can add new aspects to yourself by switching from tanking to healing or from healing to damage-- change your face and change the way a game plays for you in one shot. Or you can try out being a male or a female, whichever you haven't done yet.

I think my tendecy to have many alts has kept me from fully developing any one character. It means that I know a little about a lot of classes, but with the exception of the EQ1 shadow knight, I haven't really gotten that far or that deeply into any of them. (The EQ1 shadow knight is an exception because I have played 2 of them to high level, another to moderately-high-level-for-the-era, and many of those 72 alts are shadow knights on other servers... Sometimes more than one on the same server. I <3 SKs! ) Honestly, how much time can you devote to any one character when you have even as few as three alts you're grooming and raising up? You do have to go back into real life once in a while. (...as far as I know. I haven't found a way to avoid it yet. ;) )

Each time I have played EQ2, I have played one character more than all the others for the duration of that stint, changing each time I come back. I played a wood elf warden the first time, a fae conjuror the second time, and a ratonga inquisitor the last time. (A healer, a pet caster, and another healer! Totally out of character for me, if you'll pardon the play on words.) I still had alts, though.  If I ever go back, I may take a few days to mess with different characters, but I will pick one, and I will probably stick with it, for the sake of making some progress for a change. There's a dark elf bruiser that was fun, and the ogre wizard was a blast too. It would probably be one of those.

After leaving EQ1, WoW, and EQ2 for a while, I started playing some other games. I played one single character in Lineage 2. I created a bunch of other characters, but they never really got played. I think a couple got to level 4 or 5. I knew going into the game what sort of character I wanted to play, and that's what I made. Since then, I've played a few free games here and there, sticking to one character in each. I didn't even make more than one character in some of those.  I think I am cured.

If I go back to EQ or WoW or EQ2, or move on to LoTRO, I will probably play one single character. As I've noted elsewhere, we're leaning toward EQ1, and I am inclined to play from a fresh start, myself. I already know what kind of character I want to play. I am certain I can stick to that one.

I haven't touched at all on one player playing multiple characters at once. To me, that's a little different than just having alts. For all intents and purposes, your group of characters is your character, if you're actively sitting there and playing the group. I've done that, too, in my time. But that's not the same, and that's not what this entry was about, and I think I hear a burrito at Taco Bell calling my name. Late lunch, time to go.

Return to EQ? Hrmmm.

Posted by neschria Wednesday August 15 2007 at 1:54PM
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Last night, my husband was telling me that he had gotten invited to join guilds in WoW and EQ, if he'd just resubscribe and move his main characters to the servers where his coworkers play. He was considering it.

We talked about it for a bit, and I suggested that perhaps we could just go back to EQ and play from the start together. He wasn't too keen on giving up his vet rewards, but I can live without those. Leveling isn't what it used to be... Or at least it isn't as hard as it used to be. My fun is in the leveling and not so much in the endgame, while he's the raiding sort, so all those levels before he hits the cap are just obstacles between where he is and where he wants to be. Perhaps we can never reconcile our differences.

I am willing to give the endgame/raiding another shot, but I want to play through, and I don't want anyone to know that I've come back. It's not that I am trying to avoid my reputation. Despite being very silly and a bit of a pain in the butt on this site sometimes, I am actually very sweet and well-liked in real time communication, in game and otherwise. I do, however, want to get out of my husband's shadow. I am so very sick of being perceived as his tag-along, and when he's off ranting on forums and in game about some game-related issue, I want people to know that he and I rarely, if ever, agree on such things. I might tell a few, select people who I am, but otherwise, I want to meet people on my own terms and let them get to know me for myself, not just as "the Mrs."

I was pretty serious about playing a male character next time around. My experience is that male characters get taken more seriously and don't get patronized as much. For all the advantages people cite for playing female characters, there are perks to being male too. The downside to being taken more seriously is that people are less forgiving... but I can live with that.

I have the EQ1 Anniversary pack in my cart at Amazon.com, waiting to be purchased. I haven't yet taken it to the checkout, so I guess there's still hope for me. I suggested that perhaps we could play EQ2 instead. He didn't have a lot of enthusiasm for that idea. He felt about EQ2 how I feel about WoW- we don't hate the game in question. It's just not enough to hold our attention.

I would like to check out some of the newer games, but I really need to be convinced that they bring enough new to the table to be worth spending the money when I already have accounts in so many existing games. Right now, it is looking like we might go spend a little time in EQ1 in a month or so, after we move. I don't know if our return will last more than a month, though.

But I am  already planning out what I want to do. I am already playing in my head.

 

Archlord (A Short Entry, For a Change.)

Posted by neschria Wednesday August 15 2007 at 1:14PM
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 MMORPG.com is giving away Archlord keys. I snagged one and applied it to my closed trial account. I am not sure if I posted a forum review of Archlord somewhere already, but I'll say that it is not a bad game for a free/item-mall game. I realize that's not saying much, akin to saying it wasn't the meanest of the guys who beat me up for my lunch money... but I've played worse. In fact, I've played many games that weren't as good as Archlord.

I actually met some nice people when I played my trial. That may have made the difference for me. People group for auto-loot, if nothing else.  It seemed like some of the "optional" things from the item mall were a little too useful to be really optional. (If you're the only person in your group that has to run back when you die, for instance, you'll soon start to feel that buying the resurrection thing isn't so optional... It's been a long time since I played, but I think that may be a more-or-less valid example.)  I did have fun, even without any purchase from the item mall, and the community did seem pretty nice at the time.

Also, I was a ridiculously cute moon elf, or whatever they are called. I am a sucker for cute. That's why I played Scions of Fate for more than 30 seconds.

In the end, I decided that if I was going to play a game that had the general gameplay style of a Lineage 2... I'd just go play Lineage 2. And that's what I did. Now that I am not playing L2 and I don't even have to buy a box, I think I am going to keep Archlord around as my free, part-time grinder. I rather expect the community to take a nosedive if it goes 100% free (i.e., no purchase of any sort necessary), but I don't think it will end up any worse than any other item-mall game. We'll see how it turns out.

I should have a disclaimer on all my reviews of Asian-style games that says up-front that I don't hate that sort of game across the board. I don't mind click-to-move. I rather like the flexible camera angles in many point-and-click games, actually. I know they are all essentially grinders, but I guess I am immune to the sheer frustration of an endless uphill grind. I think I must have fried the grind-sensitive part of my brain while playing EQ in the supposedly good old days.

If you aren't allergic to Asian-style MMORPGs, check out Archlord. It won't cost you anything but a few clicks and a download.

 

Ramayan 3392 A.D. announcement; In-Game/Out-of-Game Friendships

Posted by neschria Friday August 10 2007 at 5:16PM
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I read the announcement about SOE and Virgin Comics getting together to create a Ramayan 3392 A.D.  game with interest. I bopped on over to read the whole press release and then back to check out the news discussion thread here. I must confess that I am more familiar with the traditional Ramayana, never having heard of the comic before today, but I can't help but look forward to seeing a different, more unusual cultural perspective in a game.

A quote from the press release:

 

Virgin Comics’ Ramayan 3392 A.D., initially released as a comic in late 2006, re-imagines one of India’s greatest epics into a futuristic realm. Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics’ Chief Creative Officer commented, “While many of the characters and settings remain familiar to the original lore, we never intended to re-tell the story, but essentially use it as the key inspiration for something fresh. What remains intact to our story are some of the core universal themes like duty, honor, sacrifice, and fraternity while also mining uniquely Indian ideas like karma (how action and consequence are linked) and the malleability of time itself. To bring all of these ideas into a game with SOE is just awesome.”

Devarajan concluded, “In a world increasingly dominated with games influenced by a western Tolkien mythos, Ramayan will offer gamers a chance to experience a whole new universe of characters and archetypes derived from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Our mission at Virgin Comics has always been to allow this generation of Indian youth to have a creative platform through which to speak to the world. Through this collaboration with the likeminded visionaries at SOE, our young Indian creators will make gaming history worldwide.”

 

I see real potential there. Even if it is standard fare as a game, I hope the world will be detailed and intriguing enough for the explorer/roleplayer in me. Only time will tell.

On the topic of in-game and out-of-game friendships, I wonder how many people play with people they already knew IRL, how many people make friends in the game that are only in-game friends, and how many people form friendships in game that transcend the game. I tend to be in all three of those categories, playing with various family members, meeting new people, and staying in contact with one or two when I leave the game. Most of the people I meet in game come and go, though. It's just sort of the nature of the beast, I guess.

One of the things I like about EQPlayers and EQ2Players is that it lets you spy on your in-game friends to see if they are still playing, what guild they are in now, and what kind of gear they've gotten. It doesn't let you talk to them, but it lets you be a virtual peeping Tom.

My husband had a lot of friendships in UO that extended into the real world, and he followed those people into EQ. They introduced him to new people. Then the original people went their own ways-- one died IRL, and he had a little conflict with another and they never spoke again. Most just faded away. And since then, he's decided he doesn't want his in-game relationships to extend beyond the boundaries of the game. He wants that boundary between game and RL never to be crossed. Maybe it is because I am female, but that seems strange to me.

I want to know the people I play with. Interestingly, most of the people I've stayed in touch with have also been 30-something females. Maybe it is something about us as a group that makes us interested in the real people behind the character.

Or maybe my husband is just an antisocial nerd. =P

Melancholy Friday...

Posted by neschria Friday August 10 2007 at 1:16PM
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Yesterday, I was over at YouTube looking at some EverQuest raid videos. Looking at the "related videos", I saw a documentary bit made about EverQuest players (in two parts; quite old-- it appears to be Velious era, from the fan faire footage).  From there, I went on to a documentary by the same guy about Centralia, PA. From there, I watched a whole bunch of other videos about Centralia, from TV clips to road trip videos. Somewhere along the line, I wandered off to bits about the "axe murder house" in Villisca, Iowa where 8 people were murdered in 1912.

I have insatiable, morbid curiosity about destruction, decay, and death. Perhaps that's weird, but maybe it is also just human nature. It's what makes people slow down to get a good look at a car wreck. It's what makes people watch horror movies and CSI. It is what makes me crawl from one video on YouTube to another, following where my curiosity takes me.

My cousins used to go into abandoned houses and stuff just too look around, but I was raised to be too "play-it-safe"/scaredy-cat to do anything like that. Still,  I can't drive past an abandoned house without looking, wondering, and wanting to see, even if there's probably nothing really there. I am fascinated with abandoned farmhouses out in the country, boarded-up rowhouses in the city, and foundations in the woods where houses used to be. I wonder about the people who lived there. I imagine them eating breakfast and going about their chores, unaware of what time will do to their home.

I wonder about the fate of the house my great-grandparents built, currently owned by my mom and my aunt. I remember my great-grandmother having a box on her porch with little chicks in it when I was about 3. I remember many Christmas Eves with my grandparents after they moved there. The roof of the garage is caving in now. I wonder what will happen to the house as the years go by. Will my mom really move there? Will it get sold to someone else? Will they restore it or tear it down? My mind is full of the ghosts of what-was, what-will-be, and what-might-have-been.

When I was a kid, I hated the desolate, grey landscapes of Delaware in winter. It snows here only occasionally and it melts within a couple of days, generally, and it rains quite a lot, so everything is flat grey, brown, and lifeless. As I got older, I started to see things differently and I find that desolation beautiful... And now we are moving away.

Not that there are many landscapes of my youth still visible, now that they are building McMansions everywhere that farms used to be and relocating wetlands (i.e. destroying wetlands and putting man-made wetlands elsewhere). It takes a 20 minute drive to the west into Maryland (The Eastern Shore) to see landscapes like the ones I grew up in. The development (and over-development) around here is a different kind of destruction, and it breaks my heart. The people moving in are from PA, NJ, and NY, and they think they are moving out into the country, but they are really just bringing the sprawl in with them. Everything they move to escape, they bring with them.

/sigh

Heh... I guess they are just revamping the old zones around here. They are Freeportizing them.

SimCity Societies, Buying a PC, and Ways To Get Kicked Out of Your Guild

Posted by neschria Tuesday August 7 2007 at 5:09PM
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Most of my time on the web lately has been devoted to real estate, the logistics of moving, and research for the business we're planning on starting. I haven't been getting much game news. I missed hearing about SimCity Societies until yesterday. As I understand it, this title is being developed by Tilted Mill rather than Maxis (still EA, in any case). It's not Spore, and it doesn't appear to even be SimCity-As-We-Know-It, but I am still very interested in this title. It is due out in November, which isn't too much longer.  If it gets some good reviews and good press right off the bat, I might actually pick it up soon after release/at full price. I am in need of a good builder/strategy fix.

I am both cheap and extremely picky when it comes to paying for games. I think someone else here has a blog entry about killing the game industry like that. (Jimmy_Scythe, here.) What can I say? If I didn't buy cheap, I wouldn't buy at all. I can name the last three game related purchases I made at release and at full price. They were Echoes of Faydwer (EQ2 expansion including all expansions and the original game in the retail box), The Serpent's Spine (EQ1 expansion) and Morrowind. No. Not Oblivion. Morrowind.

I am looking into getting a new PC soonish. I've been looking at both pre-built systems and at building my own (or letting my husband build it... as if I could stop him). I saw a couple of acceptable systems at Best Buy in the $1100-$1500 range (w/ monitor) while I was supposed to be pricing washers and dryers. I could build something pretty nice for that much, too. And I'd get to build something! Or I could shove it all at my husband and get him out of my hair for a bit while he does the build for me.

The end goal, either way, is to end up with system that will play new games pretty well and older games spectacularly well. My old desktop PC plays EQ2 acceptably on low settings, but I sure would like to see what it looks like on the high settings. And, as I have said in an earlier entry somewhere, I have a morbid curiosity about Vanguard, which I can't run at all on my current system. I figure being able to run those will get me up there so that I'll be able to run the other new games coming out. I have reached the point that my trusty old rig just isn't making minimum specs anymore.

I am tempted to go back to EQ1 for a while in the time between moving and getting the new PC because I know people who still play it and some psychotic part of me misses it, but since my husband won't touch that with a 10'  pole after being ejected from his last guild, I guess I will have to just move on to something a little more up-to-date.

How do you get ejected from a guild? In his case, he was a recruit on probation, and apparently was quite controversial in the discussion behind closed forum doors. I was never a member of the guild, but I can imagine some of the things he might have done, knowing him so well. Having been a guild leader in a guild that didn't have such approval procedures, I can tell you why I kicked people to the curb, and having been in other guilds that did have approval procedures, I can tell you why I've voted against applicants. Let's examine this, shall we?

10 Ways To Get Kicked Out of Your Guild, Right Off The Top Of My Head:

10. Beg. Beg and Beg and Beg. Beg some more, even after people politely tell you not to beg. Really. If you didn't really want to be in that guild anyway, I suggest going to guild chat and asking repeatedly for gear and help with whatever quest you're stuck on. Ask at least 3 more times for help as people are on their way to help you, if you don't think you've been annoying enough.

9. Scam, cheat, and generally make an ass of yourself all over the server.  One idiot can ruin a guild's reputation if they aren't ejected fast enough. Are you that idiot? Scam people in trades and then laugh at them in a broadcast channel. That should do the trick.

8. Pass information on what your guild is doing and how they are doing it to rival guilds.  In a PvP game, sometimes it is better that other guilds are unaware of what you're up to and where you're at. Do you have the leaky lips that are going to sink your guild's ships? Even in PvE games, some guilds can be quite protective of the hard-won strategies they've developed for certain encounters. In some games and some guilds, this is no big deal. In some others, it is the biggest deal. If your whole guild gets ambushed and slaughtered because you're feeding information to your friends in other guilds, you won't be too popular, once they figure out it was you.

7. Bad mouth your guild to other people.  Goodness knows the loyal people in the guild who are working hard to make it the best at whatever they are doing (even if it is old content) really appreciate you belittling what they are doing.... Oh... was my sarcasm button stuck again? Sorry about that.

6. Don't show up for anything, ever. Poor attendance makes people wonder if you really wanted to be in the guild at all. When it comes time to vote on your app, or if you've done some of the other things on the list, this can be the thing that pushes you over into guildlessness.

5. Show up for everything and go AFK for 90% of the event and then leave early. This is showing up without actually showing up. It may actually be more annoying than not showing up at all.

4. Show up for everything, but never pay attention to raid instructions. Read NO chat. Maybe skim what's being said to see if you can make a joke that will disrupt the instructons being given. Refuse to join voice chat if requested, even in a listening/non-speaking capacity. When something starts to happen, ask what's going on and what you're supposed to be doing, especially if you see "Any questions?" somewhere back in the text that has already scrolled by.

3. If you're in a guild with a hierarchy, go over the heads of the people directly over you. This is to say, if you have a class leader giving instructions on a raid, you are the guy sending tells to the raid leader. This is going to irritate the guy or gal that you're supposed to be talking to, and it may well piss off the raid leader as well.

2. Be as belligerent as possible toward the officers in game and in the forums about every single decision they make. Be sure to tell them at great length how they SHOULD be doing things. They are the people who can kick you out the fastest, after all.

1. Be a drama queen all the time. Constantly. Without Ceasing.. Yes, even men can be drama queens. You know who you are. You gossip and backbite, you act like everything ever said was directed at you specifically. You start arguments and spread rumors. You act as though your feelings are hurt if not enough people say "hi" when you log on. If you haven't gotten kicked out for stirring things up in your own guild,  stir up drama involving another guild. Really, every guild leader wakes up every morning thinking, "Gee, I hope we have a lot of drama in the guild today!" And drama involving other guilds is a special treat.

Drat. There's that sarcasm button again. I need to get that thing oiled so it doesn't stick.

 

/dance! (Just a personal note)

Posted by neschria Tuesday August 7 2007 at 12:24PM
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Now, I don't want to encourage excessive emoting here, because it can get a little annoying if emotes are making one of your chat boxes scroll, but I just have to /dance and /giggle a little here because we got an offer on our house, counteroffered, and now we go to settlement on August 31. I need to mail a deposit check today on the place that we're hoping to buy. If everything goes smoothly, we'll be moving soon.

If you've been reading this blog over time, then you know what that means: soon I will get my desktop PC out of storage, and that may very well mark my return to active MMORPGing.*  Oh, what fun we'll have when my feet are firmly.... or not so much firmly as imaginarily... planted on the electronic  soil of some virtual world! 

There will be /dancing. Oh, yes. There will be /dancing.

And then there will be blogging. Oh, yes. Much blogging.

*Ugh... did I just verbify MMORPG? To quote Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes), "Verbing weirds language." It's probably a sign of the times that I read MMORPG as a single word, pronounced "Ememo-arpeegee" (or "More Pig", when I am in a mood), rather than the words it stands for. I don't think I'd ever say that I'd be returning to "massively multiplayer online role playing gaming". For one thing, I am too lazy to say that many words in a row when I am talking about a single thing. For another, it's ugly and awkward.

I've got to run to the post office now. I'll be trying to think of a better, more compact way of naming the genre while I am gone. I realize noone will adopt my suggestion and MMORPG is pretty well established, but it is just the sort of problem I like to mull over when my brain is idling.

Chicks with Swords

Posted by neschria Friday August 3 2007 at 12:11AM
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Have you seen that commercial for ask.com where the guy "finds what he's looking for," and what he's looking for is "chicks with swords"? Ah, well... Since I brought it up, here are 2 videos of chicks with swords. Both are from Tribal Fest 7... That is to say, they are dance videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o3MR-XAliw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1gGDcdLJi4

I would normally have saved that for the end, but it is naughty of me to tease you guys too much. Now, on to the MMORPG part of this post:

My husband told me that he was talking to this 24 year old woman at work who plays EQ1. She tried EQ2 and WoW and didn't like them. I asked him how long she'd been playing. (Actually, I asked him, "24? How long has she been playing? Since she was in the womb?" because I am  a smarty pants like that.). Apparently she's been playing for 5 years now. He went on to tell me that she commented that most women she knows that play like to play "girly" support classes like clerics, druids and enchanters, but she was different because she played a dark elf shadow knight.

At this point, I asked my husband if he mentioned that I also played a dark elf shadow knight. But, no, he hadn't. Somehow, the whole wife thing just never crossed his mind. (I'm not mad, btw. I think it is kind of funny.)

I am not so sure about her observation, though. I have known a lot of (RL) female players who play warriors, paladins, and shadow knights, including those who originally played clerics and druids and such, but later switched. I suspect that this might be one of those cases where there's a stereotype that only appears to be true. Having played both support classes and melee classes, it seems to me that people were far more likely to assume I was male IRL (in the absence of any indication or evidence in favor of either sex) when I was playing the melee classes and to assume I was female when I was playing support classes... With all the crossdressing that goes on, who knows what anyone is hiding under their armor anyway?

Playing support classes is pretty thankless. And, if you ask me, pretty boring... but I am one for cracking skulls, rather than sitting back and lending a hand to the guy who is cracking the skulls. That's just me. Give this chick a big sword and some plate armor, and I'll be ready to roll.

If I ever play EQ1 again, I am going to play a big, ugly male troll SK, and I am not going to tell anyone that I am really female. They'll just have to hear me on Vent or TS to find out. That's my plan, anyway... Hey, after a zillion years in the game, I gotta do something to change it up a little. ;)

Slowly losing my mind

Posted by neschria Thursday August 2 2007 at 2:59PM
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Last night would have been a perfect MMORPG night. I had a really stressful day and at the end of it, I just wanted to have some downtime to recover. I have Shadowbane and VCO on this laptop, but the former hasn't really caught my imagination and the latter crashes a lot, so I haven't been playing them much.

Last night, instead of relaxing with a game, I watched Apocalypto with my husband. I actually kinda liked it, but it isn't a very relaxing movie. Neither is 300, which we watched the night before. I think I would rather have gone on a nice little vacation in Norrath... or even Azeroth!

There's a lot of talk about MMORPGs and video game addiction, but what about all the folks who are kept sane by MMORPGs? I don't suppose they've done any studies on that.