Thursday, June 20, 2019

Second Hand News

I clearly picked the right time to go on holiday a couple of weeks back. Almost nothing of note seemed to have happened in the MMORPG world while I was away but since I've returned the news nozzle has been spraying wildly in all directions.


This morning I saw a highly unwelcome report on Massively OP. Black Desert Online is the latest in a very long line of games to suffer a data breach. Kakao's response has been swift and draconian. All known affected accounts have been locked, their passwords reset, and their owners required to submit visual evidence of identity in the form of "government-issued photo ID (to verify name and date of birth) alongside either a physical newspaper showing the current date or the player’s screen showing his or her open support ticket." We didn't have to go anything like that far even in the Great Sony Disaster of 2011.

Naturally, even though I haven't played BDO for a long while and had no intention of starting again any time soon, my immediate reaction was to try to log in just to see if I could. The first, and as it turned out only, hurdle was a 13GB update. Once that was installed I pressed play and in I went.

Following the inevitable law of unintended consequences I then found myself looking at the splash screen for the latest of BDO's ever-increasing rosta of classes, The Shai, a small race, gender locked female, using a giant boomerang as a main weapon. I tried to resist - for about five seconds.


After about an hour in the extremely detailed character creator I had something - someone - I was reasonably happy with. I went to log in which was when I discovered the class doesn't go Live until June 26.

Making my Shai plays handily into another post I have in mind about the character I've just made in Riders of Icarus and the uncomfortable topic of childlike races in non-Western MMORPGs. It's a difficult subject and I'm still thinking about how to approach it. I may want to wait until I can see the Shai in game, since the character creation screen helpfully warns you, when you choose between the several excellent clothing options, that whatever you're looking at isn't what you'll get when you log in.

Anyway, it looks like I might be playing Black Desert again, at least for a while, so I should probably change my password to be on the safe side. Must get right on that...


A mere few hours after I observed "I had been planning to resubscribe when we got back from holiday but after I played a couple of sessions and looked at what subbing would get me I couldn't really see the point" EA announced they plan to significantly loosen the restrictions on Free and Preferred players.

The main changes are the raising of the Credit Cap to 1m credits, access to Quick Travel and Medical Probes without recourse to purchasable consumables, and an increase in the notorious Hotbar limit, which goes from two to three for F2P and from four to five for Preferred.

Of these changes, the only one that interests me is the raised credit cap. The current limits for Preferred players, which is what I am having once subscribed, is 350k. I can make 350k in a single session. It's insanely low. Even one million seems restrictive but it's obviously almost three times better so I'll take it.

I never once used Quick Travel while I was subbed and I think I might have used a Med Probe maybe twice, so those mean nothing to me. I have four hotbars now, which seems like plenty. About the only thing I can think of that might make subbing worthwhile for me now would be access to rested xp and the general xp bonus but as I'm in no rush to level those hardly seem worth paying for.

I think it's safe to say I won't be resubscribing at this time, so good work EA!


Another topic awaiting its own post is the compeltely unexpected return of Dragon Bash. This event, last, and only, seen in 2013, encores on June 25. The Norns are hosting it in Hoelbrak. I look forward to finding out the supposed lore reasons for that, since they have next to nothing to do with Kralkatorrik, the most recent dragon to be dispatched. At least it makes a nice change from everything happening in Divinity's Reach.

It will also be enough to make me log in although probably not to hang around for long unless the events and/or rewards are particularly appealing. The inclusion of Dragon Bash as an annual event would make a nice run across the summer with The Festival of the Four Winds in July and The Queen's Jubilee in August, if that's what's planned.

A much less welcome holiday event, if the reaction on Massively OP is to be believed (always a big "if" but in this case I find myself in tune with the general sentiment ) is the "Second Anniversary" celebration. SWL is two years old. Gosh!

The Secret World itself will be seven years old very soon. I'm not sure if you can still play it. I know you can't buy it. I wonder if anyone's still there? They aren't going to get any special events if they are, I'll bet that much.

I haven't logged into SWL for a loooong time. I'd pretty much forgotten it was still going. This doesn't prompt me to start playing again, either, although I wouldn't count it out entirely. I do like those big PQ-style raids Funcom pop for the holidays.


I have no plans to play this, although apparently I signed up for it because Niantic sent me an email a few weeks ago telling me it was coming. I've heard nothing from them since but maybe they'll get in touch tomorrow, when the game officially launches.

That's going to be a tad late because apparently it's already gone Live a day early. The M:OP post is unclear on whether this is intentional or a cock-up on Niantic's part but given the effort Blizzard is taking to minimize disruption on launch day for Classic and Niantic's experience of the Pokemon Go! launch, I wouldn't be surprised if the intent was to ninja launch and let word of mouth disperse the load.


Last but possibly not least comes the news that the Pirate Sandpark is planning a single-player mode for the summer. I haven't been back to check but I believe there have been many, many changes since my brief time in the game around launch.

I liked it but it wasn't quite my thing. I'm not sure whether playing alone would make that much difference. It wasn't so much the other players that put me off - more the survival mechanics. I do think of giving it another try now and again but I don't think single-player is the spur I need to patch up and log in.

There's more, I'm sure. I can feel myself forgetting something as I type but that'll do for now. It's a new news day tomorrow!


  1. I think Secret Worlds Legends completely replaced Secret Worlds, though I wouldn't bet my last dollar on that.

    I bought a lifetime subscription to Secret Worlds. Some day I should try to get out of New England in it.

    1. I still have TSW installed but it's on an external HDD or I would have tried logging in yesterday to check it was running. I think we'd have heard if it closed down although these things are easy to miss.

  2. The Secret World is still up and running. Not many folks still play it, but there's enough to run dungeons and raids. At least, that's what people say when I login to my old account. I really ought to play my toons there and see the bits that aren't in SWL. New England felt so dull and cliched I never did much in TSW. I finally pushed myself in SWL to get to Tokyo and have enjoyed the game. I wish I had done that early with TSW, but the inertia not to play was too strong in those early days of TSW. :/

    1. I got as far as the end of Transylvania, almost, on my original run. I hit a solo instance in the Main storyline that I literally could not beat and it was one of those that you can't have anyone group with to help, so that was the end of it for me. Otherwise I would have finsihed the main game.

      Having seen everything up to almost the end, though, I still like New England the best by far. It may seem cliched if you really know the locale but to me, as a foreigner who's never been there but has always wanted to, it seemed iconic and atmospheric. I still log in to TSW sometimes just to ride around the roads on my motorbike and look at the clapboard houses and talk to the locals.

    2. For me, it felt too Lovecraftian and Stephen King-ish. I suspect I've just been too exposed to bad imitations of those two to get excited by New England. I was much more excited about Egypt & Transylvania. Still, looking back New England is still much better story telling than what you get in most MMOs.

      I am amused by the combat systems in both games. The wheel, no levels, with tab-targeting in TSW and 'classes', levels, and action combat in SWL. I wonder if they had gone all traditional or all action in TSW if that would have brought in more players? As it is, the split system never quite feels 'right' or true to itself to me.

  3. One of these days I should actually go look at what the differences between TSW and SWL actually are. I played and somewhat enjoyed TSW, although I couldn't claim to have gotten terribly far with it.

    BDO hack though.. Gack. I was going to try login too, but then discovered I've completely uninstalled the game client. So that is a job for another day. >.>

    1. SWL has significantly easier combat, especially in the early stages. It also has a whole load of really unsympathetic and unimmersive cosmetic changes, particularly to The Agartha. I don't know if those were also imposed on TSW. Other than that I didn't notice a whole lot of difference.

  4. If the game still plays like it did the last time I was there, I would almost call the lack of an XP bonus for non-subbers in SWTOR a feature rather than a restriction. When I last played, on a subbed account, even sticking to the class stories and ingnorning everything else I felt like was leveling too quickly.

    I recently went back to both Secret World games. TSW is still up, but if you want to see anyone else running around or play a game with a functional player economy it's SWL or nothing these days. SWL also has a much more forgiving difficulty curve. Mainly because of that I've made it much further than I ever did in the original (where I stalled out in Egypt). The anniversary event seems to be going well, at least in that large groups of players are showing up to take down the bosses once an hour . . . even in the wee hours of the morning.

    1. Yes, TOR hardly needs any help in the xp department. And SWL is very noticeably easier, although I found the difference was already less noticeable once I got towards the end of New England. Not made it any further so I don't know if it eventually ends up in around the same place.

      Good to hear about the big PQ bosses though. I'm up for some of those.

  5. Lakisa and I also created our Shai characters right away. I'm looking forward to see her in action.

    In case you didn't know, you'll get some rewards just for creating her during this pre-creation week, an 8-slot inventory boost and a 50 LT weight increase among them. As far as I know those can be used on any character.

    The main reason for playing her though, to me at least, is the fact that her awakening weapon will be a lute. I hope they'll do something cool with that.

    1. Oh that's good! I didn't know that. Extra inventory and weight allowance is always very welcome. I wonder how you go from a boomerang to a lute, though?


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