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Archive for June, 2012

Post-WoW thoughts

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while now, especially with Syl asking for how WoW changed our lives, but I’ve been holding off for this date. Today marks the date where I break my previous record for the longest run I’ve been unsuscribed from WoW. I don’t know if people recovering from various addictions do this but I actually kept track of how long I would be unsuscribed every time I dropped WoW. So today, I’m taking this opportunity to look back on my time with WoW and share it with you.

The harsh lessons of WoW

My relationship with WoW has always been somewhat dysfunctional. It started out with an intense passion that soured over time as I discovered the details of MMO life. First it was the transition to endgame that got me, I learned there that not everyone had the same views toward endgame and its requirement and what now seems so obvious was at first a big discovery that led to much drama, both in-game and in real life. It also marked my first breakup with WoW.

Then I got back a short while later, ready to face endgame on its terms and I became a hardcore raider for a while, a succesful hardcore raider I may add, with server firsts under my belt and a six days mandatory raiding program. It lasted for a few months until WoW taught me about burnout and I quit WoW once again.

And so it went for the next 6 years, with WoW teaching me a lesson about myself and MMOs which usually ended in me quitting for a while only to come back later once I had figured out how I would adapt to whatever WoW has just taught me. In the end though I have to be thankful to WoW for teaching me so much about what I want out of a MMO.

The big lesson

WoW did hold its most important lesson for last. Back in February 2011, I joined a starting guild called Eff the Ineffable who seemed to think along the same lines I did. I was looking for a group of people who were serious about raids but at the same time understood I had a life and that the game had to come second. EtI offered that and I gave them a try which turned out to be the best decision I ever took with my MMO life.

See, the big important lesson was simply that in order to enjoy myself in a MMO, I had to join up with people who thought along the same lines as me and had the same goals. Some of you might think this is obvious but for me it wasn’t. Call me a slow learner but before I got to that point where I knew what I wanted out of a MMO and realized I had to join up with people with those same goals… it took 6 years.

Why I left WoW

Simply put, because after 7 years of playing the same game you want change at some point. You could argue that Swtor and Lotro are not that different, that I’m still playing WoW a few differences and you would be right. Still, I needed a change and those small differences can make for vastly different experiences in the long run. I still disagree with a lot of choices WoW made recently and those other games allow me to enjoy myself without the parts I don’t like from WoW.

However I’ll admit that I do miss WoW some now. Maybe it’s because time is making forget the bad parts but I do miss the polish of WoW and how great that game can be to scratch that itch to try out crazy things. If I forget about some of the most ridiculous parts of WoW, it still remains a well crafted game I somewhat miss that, especially when I’m stuck in a loading screen in swtor.

The future

Will I resub to WoW? I don’t know to be honest. As a casual, one weekend thing for nostalgia I can see that happening down the road someday. As a serious raider like I’m doing I don’t think so… at least not unless Snark Side, my current guild would to decide to make such a move…  which isn’t likely.

But if it happened I’d go back to WoW in an instant. Why? Because I learned well the lesson WoW taught me. Find a group of people you enjoy playing with and stick with them no matter what.

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I hate dailies.

I’m not going to lie and pretend I think they are great even if for a guild like Snark Side who’s interested in progression they are useful. In fact, they are pretty much a necessity, you need to farm those dailies/weeklies so you can get Valor points, er… I mean Black Hole commendations, and get some sweet gear.

For me, this is what patch 1.3 brings. There’s a dungeon finder in there and some other neat stuff but all I can see is the return of the dreaded dailies. I’ve already posted elsewhere why I hate them but suffice to say it’s repetitive content that the game forces on me and if I don’t do them I feel like I’m letting the team down. I don’t like that very much.

So sorry for the gloomy post, maybe dailies “à la Old Republic” will be fine but I’m dubious.

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Ever since Civ5 released it has been a constant presence on my pc desktop. It’s my go-to game when I have some time to kill and most of the time that 30 minutes I had to kill become a marathon that end late into the night. I just love that game. Earlier this week the first expansion was released and it’s a blast.

Religion !

The big addition to this expansion is religion. Religion in Civ5 works as an enhancer to your civ. You accumulate faith points which can be then used on buildings and units. You can also use religion as way to give yourself an edge in the political game by converting others to your religion or simply use it to improve aspects of your civ. There’s a lot of options.

The best part is that if you’re the founder of a religion you get to pick the traits of your religion and make it custom fit for your civ. A lot of the bonuses are situational but if you happen to fall into the right conditions they can be pretty useful.

The best part is that all of this is optional, it can be powerful if you invest in it but you’ll lose some effort in other areas and if you chose to ignore it you can still win the game by the other means.

Spies!

Spies are back too and they are… good… in certain cases… Okay, spies are one of those things that by itself won’t win you the game but that in a close fight can be the extra edge you need. The way they work is that you have an Intelligence panel where you assign your spies to certain tasks like stealing tech and rigging elections.

The one strategy where spying can give you a real edge would be the diplomatic victory since you can ally yourself more easily with independent city-states.

It’s a good time to be a king

If you’re any kind of civ 5 fan I strongly recommend this expansion. Religion and spying add more options to an already great game and they are fun. On top of that Gods and Kings adds scenarios, a much improved AI and there’s even a scenario to play a steam punk version of the game complete with steam tanks and flying airships.

I highly recommend it!

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Bioware… I am really worried

I’ve spent some time lately working on a big open letter to Bioware where I was going to explain what I thought they needed to do in order to stop the bleeding. I am not pleased with it. Quite simply it sounds presumptuous and in the end I have no real idea of what is happening behind the closed doors of Bioware.

Then this morning I learn about the tragedy of Battle chicken (part 1 and 2) and my ideas of what to do about the game sound even less pertinent. Any game company that can treat a customer like this makes reconsider even paying for swtor. To be perfectly honest with everyone, at this point I am playing swtor because I am in a guild with wonderful people who I’d follow anywhere, even back to WoW if it ever came to that. If it wasn’t for them I’d be unsuscribing from swtor right now just to show my support to BattleChicken.

What happened is simply unacceptable.

Let me be clear, Swtor has a lot of potential, more so than any MMO I know of right now. But that potential is wasted by numerous bugs and badly thought out features. The GTN is still a mess, Flashpoints are still horribly tuned, the game engine is performing like a dying car and the list goes on.

So instead of the long ass open letter I will simply offer these few comments from a paying customer.

Dear Bioware,

Apologize right now to BattleChicken and do something about your customer service. Also, fix your damn game. We’re six months in and we’re still having unacceptable performance issues as well as numerous bugs and poorly designed features. You know what they are so fix them.

Also, do all of this right now!!! You are in a race against time and if anything the server mergers should be a clear proof that you are losing that race. 

The clock is ticking…

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Clever readers will notice a new link at the top of the page today, my game master list. This list is something that I’ve been keeping up to date for the past few months when I decided to start keeping tracks of what games I had completed and which ones I still have to do. It started out as a sort of book-keeping exercise but in the end I found it fun to see what kind of games I tend to gravitate toward and just how insane I can be.

For the longest time I’ve kept this list private because I thought sharing it would be bragging but apparently there’s some of you out there who thought it would be interesting so here it is. This list is by no means complete because I keep remembering old games I’ve completed that I simply forgot about but I think the majority of it is there.

So there it is, my long obsession with video games for all to see.

PS: I just wanted to add that I plan on talking a bit more about my console/computer gaming. I feel like I’ve slipped up on that these past few months and I figure I’m not the only one who likes games others than MMOs.

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They are necessary… but badly handled…

Look, I’m the first one to acknowledge that the current situation was untenable for Bioware. Servers were dying, players were left stranded and things could have spiraled quickly out of control. Servers tranfers/mergers are a necessity if they want to provide a fun environment for the remaining players.

But yet again… Bioware is doing a kick ass job of messing things up. First of all, the transfers are not mandatory when they should be. Why? Because the servers that people are transferring from will be even more empty after the change. So for any player playing occasionally and not following the news actively, it’s entirely possible that they miss the mass exodus and log back in later to find out that everyone is gone. On top of that, by the time they log back in the free transfer period might actually be over…

Picture this, you log back in after a few weeks because you were out-of-town. You didn’t follow the game news and log back in to find out there’s no one left on your server. Then, you realize that in order to transfer you will have to pay money… how would you feel? I can tell you right away that some people feelings might involve simply quitting the game. The transfers need to be mandatory!

Not only that but they should actually do mergers. Right now, guilds and players on transferring servers have to deal with the hassle of a transfer. You have to transfer all your characters one by one, the guild bank has to emptied and the content transferred to characters. Then, you have to recreate the guild, ask a gm to give you back your bank tabs, transfer everything…. It’s a pain in the ass to manage.

So why not simply merge the servers and save everyone a lot of trouble? No problems with people left behind, no hassle with the transfers… saves everyone a lot of trouble right?

I honestly don’t get how Bioware operates. I remember communications at launch to be a mess, they failed to communicate properly with the issues on Illum, a lot of performance bugs are still not addressed and now this. Common Bioware, I really love your game and I see a lot of potential but why do you keep doing these things?! It’s like you want to fail sometime… stop antagonizing the remaining players you have please!

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Quick update

I know, I’ve said a lot the past few posts about how I’m scrambling to find time to do everything I need to and as a result this blog has taken a hit in updates. Simply put, a lot of things are happening at once and I’m find it hard to find time to really sit down and write here.

Hopefully, things will settle down soon and I’ll be back to posting here on a more frequent basis. Thanks for your patience.

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