Monday, 30 November 2015

MMO Agendas: Achievement vs Equality

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Achievement vs Equality

Do you feel that developers should spend more time putting out of the way and/or difficult achievements and/or content such as end game raids to cater to that crowd or to focus on developing more generic content for everyone - equally?

My stance on this is pretty straight forward: new content should always be created for everyone, and not be behind any form of gear, pay, time, group size, or difficulty wall. It's a shame many MMOs only push out content for select groups. The end result of any "wall" as far as I'm concerned is elitism, and that's not a mindset I care much for at all.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Music to Hunt By

I know almost everyone has their own custom playlists of tunes when they get tired of the in-game tracks, I was just curious as to what you listen to get your "hero mode" on? :) I suppose I should lead by example, here are mine (strangely all from Vindictus):

Sand Guardian

Yep, what might be amazing for me is probably just noise for the next guy so please share your top tunes to hunt by!

And just for laughs, here's an awesome English fan dub/cover opening for the new "One Punch Man" anime! For those who haven't seen the series, I suggest watching the first few episodes as it is quite entertaining.

Coming up next on the blog: I'm going to try out a week or two of MMO Agendas (much like the ATITD test) that I hope all of you participate in, followed by the continuation of the Darklands story and more of my Nameless Writing Experiment sometime in the future!

Friday, 27 November 2015

MMO: Shop Price Comparison

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

How much do you pay to win?

Heh, while everyone can talk about P2W till they are blue in the face, I'm more interested in the pricing comparisons across the MMOs that you play. As a usual Free to Play shrub, I rarely notice these things until I eventually get tempted enough to get a mount or something. For those that follow this blog or know me personally, you know that parting me from my money is extremely rare and so far has only happened in one MMO: Mabinogi.

Well I recently also got tempted to get a faster mount in Neverwinter Online, especially after the trailer for the next module: Rage of Demons came out but that came to a screeching halt when I looked at the price and compared it to that of Mabinogi. Here are the exchange rates:

10 USD = 1000 Zen (NWO)
 1 USD = 1000 NX (Mabinogi)

So for a mount, here are some actual figures:

Neverwinter - Stormrider Clydesdale (2500 Zen / $25 USD)
+110% Speed. Cannot be used for anything else or in combat.

Mabinogi - Thunder Dragon (16,900 NX / $ 17 USD)
Doesn't run super fast, maybe a boost of 50% speed.
Can Fly. Can breathe lightning. Can fight. Levels up. Has a large inventory.
Stuns nearby enemies on summon.

Hrmmmm... maybe that's not a fair comparison right? Lets look at a more Horse like thing for Mabi as well...

Mabinogi - Thoroughbred    (10,900 NX) $11.
Runs bloody fast. Probably the equivalent of the NWO Stormrider.
Can be used in combat, not a good fighter though. Small Inventory.
The Kicker: That's the old price. As of G16, anyone who completes the newbie quests gets one for FREE.

This got me thinking, I wonder how everyone else's games compare in the Value for Money department. I'm very curious to hear how much it costs in your game for a "standard steed", whatever that may be. :)

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Neverwinter Online: Rage of Demons

I'm in the minority of people pretty happy with it.

Yes, there is only one new town zone and there are only new open world Heroic Encounters (HEs) and Skirmishes to partake in. The quest line by R.R. Salvatore is too short, and apart from the voice acting and some new models and map(singular?), is around the level of the better foundry works. My brother actually likened it to my stuff but he might be biased. :P

I need to learn how to do cut scenes...

The short quest line also reuses maps half of which were stolen segments from the long lost dungeons the other people have been asking for, but I feel what is needed is MORE quest lines like this. Yah, sure Drizzt is around it doesn't matter. For me storytelling is a big part of Dungeons and Dragons and simply grinding the same dungeons over and over is my definition of "not a good time".

But what about grinding HEs and Skirmishes? Those I don't mind too much. It really comes down to a matter of time. When you queue for Dungeons you can be waiting a long while before you even enter an instance and then if your team is undergeared, not playing optimally, or simply unlucky it could take even longer to get out of the place with a reward in hand for time spent. On epics you sometimes don't even leave WITH a reward if you can't complete the dungeon!

While HEs have no queue because you just show up, Skirmishes do but the player skill requirement in them is much lower (so far) which leads to more successes and most importantly these two have timers. Win or lose, it will take 15 minutes. The end. Having a quantifiable amount of time is important. You can plan other things around it or have a good indication of when you will be free.

Throw in that you can get currencies and rewards for doing a variety of things, this mod gets a big thumbs up from me. Bonus points for all the cool demon fights too!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Jurassic World

Proving that people are stupid.

After the disastrous events from the previous dinosaur theme park, a wealthy moron has decided to rebuild not just the park itself but all the attractions - and more! You see people apparently got bored of regular dinosaurs so now they make "new" ones through gene-splicing, often sponsored by big name companies. I had a chuckle at the mention Pepsi-saurus.

As we learned in the Flight of Dragons, reptiles can be reasoned with. :P

Obviously things get loose, people get eaten, and some silly kids continually cause their absent minded carers some heart attacks. To its credit, the CGI is great and everything looks really cool. Also the action pieces, of which there are many, are quite entertaining to watch. There are also lots of throwbacks to the first movie but most were lost on me as it has been way too long since I've last seen it.

Alas, since most of the characters (other than Starlord) are unlikable and due to the dinosaur sized plot holes throughout the movie (where seriously, one phone call could have averted the entire plot [spoiler link]) I can only give this three raptors out of five. Still enough entertainment to provide at least one watch, and I wouldn't mind watching it again. :)

NWO: Drowned Shore Disembark #ds#

[Part of Odd Jobs of Neverwinter.

Created for the Epic Foundry: Drowned Shore contest, this map showcases a different version of how the Drowned Shore could have been. Starting with Omaha landing style combat, the quest leads you through a lot of patiently, well-crafted environments with well placed traps and a LOT of decor.

One of the few quests (outside of my own) that give you an NPC party.

The slight negatives are that it is a pretty long quest and that English is clearly not the authors' first language but it is very passable. There are also a few bugs like people falling through siege towers and unlabelled containers but again these are easily overlooked. I was most impressed with the water effects during the quest and highly recommend it for everyone to play. It's also easy to find with that "#ds# tag.

It's certainly a good deal better than the repetitive vigilance tasks of the regular Drowned Shore, that's for sure!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron


That is a pretty good word to describe this. While it probably helps if you know who is who by having watched the many previous linked in movies, and possibly even some of their series, I think you can get by if this is your first foray into the Marvel universe as Joss Whedon weaves a very action packed and entertaining tale. If you are a fan then you'll probably get a kick of seeing a whole slew of minor characters from the other movies appearing here as well.

Fighting. This movie has lots of it. :)

Thor as a comedy character? Yep, it works. Also with a big studio backing it the effects are top notch. Most of the time. One short part of Thor flying looked a bit like the old superman flicks and another bit of Thor fighting was noticeably sped up. Also I have to question why the Black Widow would wear lighted shin and wrist guards, other than to let the audience see her fighting moves in the dark. Yes, there are small fiddly bits if you go poking for them but for the most part it's just pure spectacle and very fun to watch. I give it four and a half attempts at lifting Thor's hammer out of five, and highly recommend it.

Friday, 20 November 2015

NWO: Cryptic of Kelemvor [Foundry Review]

[Part of Odd Jobs of Neverwinter.]

Been a long while since I reviewed anything from Neverwinter Online, but with my recent promotion to Foundry Artifex (Rank 6), I got inspired again not only to play more foundries but to create more! This mission was quite helpful in inspiring that, and was made as a comedy during the many changes Cryptic put in during the Stronghold module.

In it, not only do you have to find Rhix the now job-less merchant, but you also have to travel through the gateway to kill leadership armies, acquire a nerf hammer to smash a new class, fight the soulless armies of bots and find a path through the "new content dungeon".

That last bit was the most impressive for me as the design is really cool despite being simple. You can "grind" your way to the top via the large ramps, use the "pay" method and climb the green pillar in the center or simply "bug abuse" and use the clearly visible teleporter to skip to the top, despite the NPC GM telling you not too. All up a pretty fun and funny quest and one definitely deserving of as many stars as it can get. Highly recommended!

Alas, since I didn't take screenshots inside - enjoy this picture of my guildies and I taking down a pair of beholders in our Stronghold instead. :P

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Taking it Slow

Sorry for the picture madness as of late. You can blame Chestnut at Gamer Girl Confessions for running IntPiPoMo2015, the more visual cousin of Nanowrimo where the goal is to post 50 screenshots in the month of November. The best way to describe my attempt is via another screenshot from Wizardry Online. :P

Anyway, after what feels like a year of -almost- daily posts I think I'm going to cut down a bit again on the frequency of my posting. Yes, it is draining but more importantly there are other things I want to do too. One of which might ironically be starting up another blog-type site! :P Not sure yet how that is going to pan out if I actually go that route but don't worry, this workshop will still be going - just a little more quietly like it used to be before.

Apparently I'm not the only one either, if this chart is to be believed. This is the number of "active" blogs I've had links to, and my definition of "active" is having at least one post every three weeks. That first 150 is also not accurate, I just noted "150+" in the past so I don't have the actual figure - in reality I think it was more 175-200.

Gone up again to 90ish from IntPiPoMo though!

Speaking of charts, things look pretty glum for most of the games I play on the steamcharts too, which I know doesn't represent the entire player base but still:

Neverwinter Online
Warframe - the exception, seems to be thriving!
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim -Funny to compare the numbers of a single player game to the MMOs

Anywho, to perk up your spirits again I've got youtube links to something called Skill Con which involves a whole slew of random abilities people have and most are pretty cool to watch: Everything from Cardistry to Juggling!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 7) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

Of course there are many other dangers about.

Such as the Thayan invasion at the Dread Ring.

Which is home to my favorite looking dungeon: the Phantasmal fortress.

You can play with cute dragon pinatas!

Or go into Tiamat's Temple...

Or more familiar terrors...

Waiting within epic dungeons!

Or play the market where "heroes" sell refugees as slaves!?

Just don't complain when you get lousy loot...

Because I don't think anyone is going to hear you.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 6) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

Once done with the cult you probably should visit Icewind Dale.

It's a very pretty place.

It's also the only place to mine Black Ice.

And have giant sized beer apparently.

There are hideous monsters out there too.

But also cute adventurers...

and hot sorceresses...

that want to ride discs...

Or tigers!

Some are more horny than others.

And some are just slu....


Current #IntPiPoMo2015 Count - 66 / 50

Friday, 13 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 5) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

The final cult group - the one of the air, makes base up at Spinward Rise.

Gravity is all out of whack up there.

You can pretty much fly in some places.

Even while mounted!

Don't worry, the landing isn't fatal. It's only near fatal.

It probably should be fatal if I shot you through the neck with an arrow?

Maybe that's why air archons all aim too high?

It does explain why cloud giants like baseball.

Not as scary as a half giant though!

"Whooo goes there?"

These cute things are pretty agile.

And occasionally menacing.

I do wonder where they come up with some of these names though.
Sometimes I can't help but wonder if it's meant to be a comedy.


Current #IntPiPoMo2015 Count - 54 / 50

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 4) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

Helms Hold is a strange place.

Some scenery just makes you go WTF?

I mean, just look at the double face palming castle.

The Earth cultists also want this zone, laying seige from their rock spire.
Odd choice given the amount of earthquakes in the region.

But still better than the Water cults gigantic bird bath base.

The earth cult leader has a bad hair day every day.

Especially when adventurers "heroically" mess with his stuff.

Obviously he makes use of earth elementals. That jump.

Also gorgons that are best fought with bladed or explosive suppositories.

Most annoyingly he never runs out of bulettes...

Current #IntPiPoMo2015 Count - 40 / 50