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Archive for February, 2013

Age of Wushu: Color me intrigued

Age of Wushu is an upcoming MMO I’ve literally stumbled upon. On the surface it seems like a classic MMO set in Asia with a focus on martial arts and high-flying  Hong Kong action movies. As far as I can tell there’s no level involved and you improve by learning new moves and developing your skills over time. Not untile Eve Online.

In fact, I’ve seen a few people sum up the game as EVE online set in China with all that it entails. Meaning that its open PvP warfare and you can and will get ganked absolutely everywhere. From what I heard it leads to strong clan based gameplay where people flock together for survival and guild wars ensue.

I’m not a big fan of EVE online so I’m a bit surprised to find myself considering checking out this game when it comes out. Maybe I have a pvp player sleeping inside of me.

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Sc2 Challenge: Revising my goals

Things have been somewhat quieter on the Starcraft front lately. I’m still playing, still trying to improve but life has been eating at my time a lot as you probably have noticed already. But, I’ve been less and it’s not only because of Real Life. Some decisions have been made regarding my commitment to Sc2 and I had think carefully about my approach.

Warning signs

MMO addiction was a popular topic a while back especially with WoW and Everquest, like a deadly diseased that was going around destroying lives, careers and families. Of course it was all blown out of proportion but it was still a real thing and quite a few people have come out saying that their playing was interfering in negative ways with their lives.

And without realising, I was starting to fall into some of those patterns. I was spending way too much time obessing about the game, thinking about how to improve, how to beat certain matchups, etc… etc… Most of my free time was devoted to the game.

The wake-up call came late last week when I nearly didn’t sleep at all for an entire night because I was laying awake thinking about the details of the Terran vs Zerg matchup and despite all my efforts I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Re-evaluating

I don’t believe in knee-jerks reactions like swearing off Sc2 forever on the spot because it was getting out of hand. I find that often these kind of decisions miss the entire point of why it was happening in the first place.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out why I was so stressed out about the game and winning, I was putting too much pressure on myself  simply because I wanted to reach Platinum league. Not because I put much value in my ranking by itself but because I had that set as a goal and usualy I reach my goals and anything else would be a failure…. I don’t like to fail much.

But no matter how I turned it around, it always came back to the same thing. Getting to that damn league was not doing any good for me and I couldn’t continue going at it the same way. Also, my most important goal was to enjoy myself playing and not be stressed and trying to get to Plat at all cost was doing the exact opposite.

New goals

I love playing Sc2. Always did and I’ll probably keep loving it for a long time. I do still want to improve myself but getting to an arbitrary league or ranking should not be my goal. So I’m adjusting my goals.

First and most important I still want to enjoy myself playing the game. That hasn’t changed. Second, I’ll content myself with simply improving myself. It will be at my own rate and if I feel like doing something else a certain night it’s perfectly fine. But on the whole, I’ll still try to pick new tricks here and there.

For the past few days I’ve been playing without the pressure of achieving a ranking and I have to say it’s done wonders. I stopped worrying about it all the time and I enjoy my time more when I’m actually in the game.  I don’t know how long that will last but I can see myself playing this way for a long time.

 

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Yesterday Starcraft Universe released after months of work and a lot of speculation on whether or not it would see the light of day. Reviews have been positive for the most part and if you can be patient with some of the technical difficulties I’m pretty sure it will grow to be a top mod.

For those wondering, Starcraft Universe is a mod for Starcraft 2 that aims to be the unofficial Starcraft MMO and I spent some time playing it yesterday.

First of all I want to congratulate the team that worked on SCU. The end result is impressive looking and for the most part it has all the right bells and whistles a classic MMO needs. It has quests, dungeons, raids, guilds, crafting, etc… One important thing is missing though and that is a world to explore but I’ll get to it soon.

In essence, playing SCU is kinda like playing a version of WoW where everything is instanced and in dungeons/raids. Imagine WoW with only a few cities to act as hubs and then it’s off to run instances all the time. You know that quest in Elwynn Forest where you have to go kill Goldtooth in a mine? Well now it’s an instance and Goldtooth has some boss mechanics.

Each mission in SCU has various difficulties that you have to unlock one after the other and that’s pretty much how the game goes. I guess the closest comparison I can make would be DDO online at launch where there was one city acting as hub and everything else was instanced.

Do we need exploration?

If anything SCU made me think about whether or not needing an actual world to explore was really a necessity. I mean, DDO does pretty well considering and it has more or less the same structure so I guess already have my answer that there’s a group of gamer out there that doesn’t need much world exploration in their games.

But then again DDO is at best a niche game and some people have pointed out that the lack of world was the reason the game was held back. Others have said it’s the quality of the game itself so in the end I suppose the question remains. Do MMO really need exploration to be succesful.  If Blizzard had made DDO, would it have become a hit like WoW or would it have suffered the same fate…

I’m curious, could you see yourself playing an MMO without a world to explore? I know personally I’d find it difficult to stay interested but maybe it’s only me.

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Those February doldrums…

It’s February again and I’m feeling restless… the current offering of MMOs doesn’t seem to hold my interest and while WoW does a good job of killing time I can feel the need for some more excitement. I’m still enjoying my nightly Sc2 adventures but on the MMO front…. meh…. but then again its February and I tend to get that way every year right around now so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.

I’ve been revisiting shortly some old MMOs like Lotro and Conan of all things but they didn’t keep my interest for more than a big 30 minutes. I even thought about trying out Eve online and then remembered I’d have to mine forever and then get ganked by a raging troll so I’ll skip. TSW is still present in my mind but I want to wait until I get my new PC so it can be a more smooth experience…

So… like I said, I’m restless. Nothing seems to fit and I get critical of everything coming my way. I’ll get out of it at some point but until then, do forgive this blog for being a bit quieter.

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The title says it all. I’ve been pondering lately about how much fun/easy some MMOs make it to group up and just quest with friends.  WoW isn’t horrible but the whole thing feels like a giant faceroll so I’m not sure how fun it really is. Others games like TSW make it feel somewhat awkward despite what should be an easy time. Investigation quests and stealth quest are just not that much fun in a group.

So I’m wondering, does any of you know of a MMO where questing with a friend or two is just great fun without it needing to be convoluted? I’m really curious here.

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Back in WoW, I finally managed to land a Brawler’s Guild invite after watching the black market auction house like a hawk for an hour or so the other night. For the low low price of only 6.8k gold, I got myself the right to fight more monsters in an arena and pretend I’m the most awesome monster killer ever.

Turns out that these guys hit hard… Sure the first few fights are a matter of “stay out of the bad” mostly but it didn’t take long before I started to die with some regularity. Sure my gear could use improvement(a lot in fact…) but I’m wondering if it’s even designed to be done by all classes. I’m a warrior and I can see how my old DK would have an easier time.

Anyway, any of you guys have any advice about how to go about this whole Brawler buiseness?

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Sc2 challenge update and other things

After three weeks of Sc2 I ‘m slowly getting in the groove of things. I play a few matches most days with some practice and even if I don’t always feel like I’m making a ton of progress I know I am so it’s all good. I’m ranked 7 in my division and seem to be able to hold my own up there, I’m facing gold opponents nearly all the time and I get a few silvers here and there and I can usually beat them without much trouble. I haven’t seen any platinum opponents yet but I’m suspecting it won’t be long before I face them if things keep going like they are. Long story short, I just need to keep at it.

The MMO front is pretty quiet. I log in quickly most days and do a few things but I’m usually not staying very long. It’s not that I’m bored or tired of WoW, just that lately I get distracted by other shiny stuff. In fact if I go by past years, I tend to have a slump right around this time and it picks back up a few weeks later.

So that’s it for me, hope you guys are enjoying yourselves.

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