Monday, July 1, 2013

Taking Stock

So many plans, so many good intentions. So many projects. So many new MMOs.

So what happened?

Things I Was Going To Do

  • Project 5/5 - That was the Syp-inspired notion of playing ten unfamiliar MMOs in ten days. Several other bloggers picked up on it and there were a few posts. It looks as though Syp ran out of steam at seven. Did anyone actually play and blog about all ten? Not being able to see myself finding the time to join in I whimsically suggested I might try five then promptly forgot about the whole thing. As if I ever intended to go through with it in the first place... Then again, I've almost certainly played at least five new-to-me MMOs already just in the normal run of things.

  • Playing GW2 Properly - As in leveling a character to 80 via a linear progression through contiguous maps. That lasted about two weeks until I discovered Asurans don't really have a clear line of progress to follow. They have Rata Sum, Metrica Province and Brisban Wildlands and then the map runs out. My new ranger decided the next logical step would be Lornar's Pass. He completed that and moved on to Dredgehaunt Cliffs but about halfway through one of the Living Story events blew in. He ended up first in Lion's Arch, then in Southsun and eventually, somehow, in the Borderlands upholding the Honor of the Yak in WvW. By then the whole thing was off the rails. He's currently level 64 and spending most of his time doing much the same as all my other characters i.e. aimlessly wandering about doing Dailies, Living Story, Dragon Events and WvW as the mood takes him. Project abandoned, on this character anyway. 

  • All Eight GW2 Classes To Level 80 - Nearly there. If it hadn't been for the spare ranger it would have been done by now. The Guardian's sitting at Level 63 and so long as he only ever uses a Greatsword I can imagine playing him even after he tops out. The lack of any real ranged option still rankles and he's a weird mix of indestructible against some things and incapable against others but I've warmed to him.

  • Playing GW2 with the UI Switched Off - Still on the drawing board. I want to get to this but I need to make a new character and I don't have a spare slot. 

  •  Getting Creative - with Neverwinter's Foundry. That was the plan. See below for how well that went.

MMOs I Said I Was Going To Play 
(and one I said I wasn't)

  • Final Fantasy XIV:ARR - The big success story. It came from the back of the pack, half-forgotten, to gallop into a clear lead. So far there's very little about that I don't like and unless something unexpected happens this will most likely be the next MMO I play "seriously", especially if Mrs Bhagpuss comes on board. Her initial impressions were favorable. If housing was in at launch it would be a done deal. 

  • Neverwinter - There was a moment when this might have been the Next Game, but that moment was before I'd actually played it. Didn't dislike it; just never got going. Made one character, got to about level nine or ten in maybe three or four sessions and then...nothing. Like a great many MMOs Neverwinter would be quite absorbing if it was the only game in town but as one of many it doesn't have the necessary hook. I keep meaning to give it another run - I'd still like a look at The Foundry -  but there's always something else I'd rather do instead. It's noticeable that the flood of blog posts about it that were filling my Feedly for a while have dried up. By all accounts it's doing well but no-one I read seems to be writing about it any more.

  •  City of Steam - Playing this regularly despite feeling somewhat let-down by the direction it's taken.That deserves, and may even get, a post of its own. I log in every day for the bribes loyalty rewards, which they tweaked to the point where they are really too tasty to miss. The way they chose to stagger the Open Beta into three phases with the Human races in the first, then the Elves and finally the Greenskins was very irritating. I have a level 15 Heartlander that I'd probably never have made at all had all the races been available at the start. Now he's languishing unplayed while I level the Goblin I wanted all along through the same linear content. Not best pleased.

  • Dragons Prophet - Haven't logged in for weeks, a situation unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. DP is another one that would probably have gotten some play in leaner times but was always going to struggle to gain attention in the current MMO glut.  Only having humans as a playable race is a massive disincentive. I can be a human anytime; I don't need to play MMOs for that. 

  • The Secret World - Back to playing this sporadically but not infrequently. Got my chainsaw! That was fun. Went to Egypt to do some of the Indiana Jones missions then realized I never bought the pack. Danced with Said. Fought with a bunch of Aten cultists I'd had no trouble with at QL6 and died to them repeatedly at QL10. Either they've got a lot better or I've got a lot worse. Decided I'd enjoy TSW a whole lot more if Funcom took about 90% of the fighting out of it. Or just 90% of the mobs.

  • Firefall - Waiting on the upcoming launch because I enjoyed my brief visit a lot. Realistically, though, I imagine I'll putz about for a session or two, write an enthusiastic but ill-informed blog post and then never play it again.

  • Dino Storm - Although you never can tell, because against all odds I'm still playing this one, and not just to get my log-in rewards either. It seems to be doing very well. They announced recently that they'd hit three million registrations. It's always busy when I visit, with whomping great dinos stomping round Dinoville and a whole list of well-populated instances popping up as options any time I zone. I love the music, the colors, the ambience. The controls are comfortable. The gameplay is a weird mix - relaxing and stressful at the same time. Simple escort, FedEx and kill ten rats quests in a cartoon setting that allows unrestricted PvP is a very odd combination.  I don't make any great claims for it but it's a fun distraction.

  • EQ2 - Still thinking about it every day. Might even get to playing this week. Said that last week. And the week before that.

  • Rift - The MMO I had absolutely no plans to play again. And I wouldn't have if it hadn't been for you pesky kids if Trion hadn't filled my pockets with Free Money. Mrs Bhagpuss has been there full-time for the past week or so, spending her 20k credits on Dimensions in a building frenzy. She's also taken to fishing in a big way. I've tried to get back into the game but it's resisting me at every turn. I'm not just finding it hard to like now, I'm struggling to remember why I liked it so much the first time.
For a minute there I contemplated going through the long list of MMOs on the back-burner: Everquest, Vanguard, DCUO, even some that aren't published by SOE, but if life's too short to play an MMO it's surely too short to blog about it. Although I did play EQ last week, come to think of it...


  1. @Bhagpuss

    "He's currently level 64 and spending most of his time doing much the same as all my other characters i.e. aimlessly wandering about doing Dailies, Living Story, Dragon Events and WvW as the mood takes him."

    Sorry to say it, but you are playing the ranger properly. At least, as GW2 need really be played.

    Everyone that try GW2 as a linear grind don't have sucess, becasue GW2 is not linear. Everything you quote is GW2 "end content" and everyone have it disponible from level 1 to level 80 and after level 80. I can add to your list of "end content" too sPvP, jump puzzles, map completion, fractals and dungeons, and players do what they like to do.

    However, people need change mind and forget everything they learned from WoW and WoW clones. Linearity need be un-learned.

  2. GW2 Guardian: I actually enjoy the scepter as a ranged option, and have never understood all the fuss about it. It performs very solidly in PvE.

    Neverwinter: Other than the foundry the game has... nothing going for it. The art style is 'generic' and the voice acting 'is'... it just 'is' as in it 'is' there. The UI is, so alien to me I can't handle more than limited play. Having the camera always follow my mouse even when clicking nothing - been unable to get past that. I got to level 10 and still had no pants or skirt... Nice to have an armor vest and all, but give my toon some pants, shorts, skirt... or something.

    Never looked back on Rift after my initial character loaded into a sci fi chamber rather than a fantasy setting I was expecting. Just seemed like the genre was not for me.

    EQ2: The game I am desperate to like but can't get into. I want to play a rat person, but can't enjoy how they look in this.

    1. I used the Scepter for quite a while at the start. The problem I have with it is that it doesn't *look* as though it's doing anything. I was never convinced it was working.

      Ratongas are my second-favorite player race of all time in any MMO (Raki in Vanguard is my favorite). You have to like "cute" ratfolk for them to work, though. Skritt are possibly even cuter. Warhammer Online really missed a trick not having playable Skaven. They could have cornered the market in non-cute rats.

    2. There's some lumpyness in the nose shape of nose on the EQ2 rat folk. It looked like a 'Second Life Furry' made from 'basic prims'.
      - as in someone took a sphere and stretched it, and then took another sphere and popped that one on the end for a nose.

      I just need higher quality graphics there, with as much facial character as I find in human-like models.

      MY EQ2 account has been a series of attempts to make a ratling or a frog character, logging in and looking at the face or some other aspect of the model, and then logging out. Then trying again months or a year later.

  3. Sounds like you have way too much on your plate! But should you ever venture into Neverwinter again please try out my foundry mission "One Step to Darkness". :P

    Short code: NW-DNJC9SK7A

    Also, little trick with Neverwinter. Just log in and "pray" at a shrine once a day. Takes all of 10 seconds. You gain xp/level and will reach foundry editing eligibility in a week or so. Very weird that you can level without actually playing the game. Then you can curb stomp lesser level content when you actually get into it. :)

    1. Now that's what I call a Pro-Tip! Yet another MMO I can log into once a day for thirty seconds, click on something then log out. We seem to entering some kind of gaming Twilight Zone where first we don't pay for the games and then we don't play them either...

      I'll try that and I'll gladly also try your foundry mission.

    2. Thanks Bhagpuss! You probably need that short code to find it since I'm only small fry in the foundry world. :P

      And yeah I found the whole Twilight Zone thing weird too, but hey - very convenient. In addition if you can spare an extra 10 seconds you can probably do your profession tasks too (just press "N").

      Your character doesn't have to do anything, just sends his workers about to be busy. They'll happily do their thing while you are offline. :P

      Leadership ones grant you XP, loot and Astral Diamonds (which you can convert to Zen/cash shop money, at a very crap rate of course). Not sure about the others since this is the only one I've focused on.

      Last weird thing: People that enjoy the foundry missions actually don't like reaching level 60 (max). Why? Because foundry missions level up with you (and so do the mobs within, gaining new abilities).

      A level 1 guy in my mission for example will have a cakewalk. Testing it with my proper level 40 and I'm using up a fair bit of potions to stay alive.

      Really peculiar that in a game that lets you level up without really playing it then, you have this subset of people that don't want to. One more for the weirdness list I guess! ^_^

  4. This is such a terrible problem. Wildstar, City of Steam, and Firefall are all games I can totally see myself being engrossed with. And here I am having trouble fitting everything I want to do in GW2 in play secession. Not to mention all those single-player games that's just piling up waiting to get played.

    Aaaaaaaugh there is simply not enough time in a day, I tell you.


    1. Ursan I think we're all in the same boat. Anyone tried making a schedule calendar and sticking to it yet? Like, play Wildstar on Monday, GW2 on Tuesday, watch TV on Wednesday, etc. I'm terrible at that sort of thing but was just curious.

    2. Syp has blogged about doing that once or twice. I just tend to wing it, with one MMO taking the lion's share of free time and a bunch more getting the leftovers. Of course if I blogged less I could play more...

    3. Heh. No scheduling for me. I do whatever I find the most fun, and most often than not, one game takes over until it winds down, then I move on.

      ....In my present situation, GW2 is just having a hard hard time dying down.


  5. Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn will be my excalibur. I just hope that it is as good as 11! When that came out it was just epic but as time goes on you need something new to keep you entertained.


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