How low can they go?

Yeah, that’d be someone getting to level 10 in under 5 minutes through opening Hobbit Presents (with xp boosters.)  The xp scales with level as well. “Oh, it’s a bug”, the staunch Turbine defenders immediately exclaim as this being WAI would be a blow to them, yet DDO’s daily dice has given XP for some time now.  But a blue name came in and pronounced it WAI.  Lotro seems to be going the way of GW2, giving you XP any time you even glance at something, which is fine, I guess… except that downleveling exists in the later and not the former.  But wait!  There’s a handy XP disabler called Stone of the Tortoise, for only 495 TP per character in the store!!

Categories: fail, Lord of the Rings, meh | 2 Comments

Nintendo Boss Halves His Salary

Now if only we could get more  big business bosses to do this *glares at the banks* ….

Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata announced that he will cut his salary in half after the company recorded a tumble in profits.

According to AFP, Satoru will receive half of his usual salary for the next five months, while Nintendo board members will receive a 20 to 30 percent cut in their salaries.

http://business.time.com/2014/01/29/nintendo-boss-im-sorry-let-me-halve-my-salary/

Categories: Other Games | 1 Comment

Assassin’s Creed in Middle Earth

So this came out the other day, game play of the Shadow of Mordor game:

If you’ve played AC2, there were some definite “Huh, that looks way familiar” moments.  And you’d not be alone.  Randall does go on to tweet that he wasn’t accusing anyone of theft, would like to know if the code got licensed out and that the game looks awesome.

I can’t agree with the later. :P  After seeing that trailer, my thought was that it looks like it could be a really fun game… if they entirely scraped the Middle Earth setting and storyline.  Instead come up with an original story.  Right now it looks like a blatant cash grab using the popularity of Tolkien’s work (which really, really bothers me as it’s so against the spirit of Tolkien’s work).  It seems there’s excitement out there from “regular” gamers, but any who also tend to love LotR haven’t had many positive comments nor plan to play it.

 

Categories: AC2, fail, meh, Other Games | Leave a comment

The Origins of Madness, Part One

This week saw GW2 returning to its bi-weekly updates after a break during the holidays.   This is the first installment of four which will wrap up the ever controversial Scarlet’s story.  Two new world boss fights have been introduced:  the Twisted Marionette and the Great Jungle Wurm.  The former is temporary content and meant to be more casual with the later being a permanent addition and on the same difficulty level of the revamped Tequatl encounter.  There is also a short story instance which does an excellent job of finally introducing Scarlet’s backstory into the game, rather than making players read a separate blog post on GW2’s website (something I had completely missed when it first came out.)  Finally, players will be able to gain access to Scarlet’s secret lair which was recently discovered.

I collected the necessary components to enter Scarlet’s lair fast enough and that shall comprise another entry as there is potentially a whole lot going on there.  There   have been some who instantly fell back on the comfortable Scarlet hate brought on by the marionette fight’s bad aspects, but I have a feeling that those who have done so only had a cursory look at the patch and never made it into her lair.  After going in, I have to say that I feel a lot less hatred towards the character of Scarlet now and can’t help but feel excited and hopeful that ANet just might pull off a good story. *fingers crossed*

I’ve mainly spent my time on the marionette fight considering it’s temporary content.  I figure the Great Jungle Wurm will be there to deal with later, with the special boss killing guild that we have in the EU.  I’ve had mixed reactions regarding the marionette fight.  I feel ANet has learned some things about making a good world event, have created new issues and still haven’t figured out other problems.

The actual premise of the fight isn’t making much sense to me, but I suppose like other people, since it actually is a good fight, we’re looking past the absurdities of it.  A bit of Lornar’s pass saw some changes and the story is that this is a new weapon that’s being tested.  It’s supposed to be a mockery of the Divinity’s Reach Watchknights.  Basically the marionette lowers from.. something.. a portal? new device designed by Scarlet?… in the sky, is suspended by chains, stomps and slashes around some platforms where players are fighting.  Outside of that arena are 5 lanes in which mobs are trying to reach portals to charge up an Aether cannon and players in each lane must prevent that.  So, I have to say I’m not really getting the marionette and what sort of weapon this is testing.  I’m failing to see the purpose of it.  It is interesting that a marionette concept has been around since the original Guild Wars and the concept is actually on one of the tapestries in the Hall of Monuments.  So, I dunno… is this a cool boss idea that’s been floating around the company and they finally have the chance to use it?  Or is it actually something more?  I really hope it gets explained.

I feel all in all that it’s a good and enjoyable fight.  Given that you need 100-125 people at least for it, it’s not that hard to organise, even on an overflow.  I’m not sure I’d agree with ANet that it’s made for a more casually-skilled player as some bits of it are tough.  Regarding things that ANet has learned, I feel they’ve made a massive event yet managed to split up the zerg, twice over.  The zerg must first split into 5 different lanes then each of those lanes gets their turn at severing a chain which splits that group up into 5 more separate groups.  Five chains must be destroyed in order to defeat the marionette, yet a few chain-severing attempts are able to fail before the entire event fails.   In many ways I prefer this over the big blob so many world bosses are.  Also very little loot drops, especially no champion bags, yet it’s still very important to kill said champions.  But the items that do drop go towards opening chests in Scarlet’s lair that yield plenty of rares.  So I think of it as delayed loot.  As a whole, the fight is a good concept.  Players have different roles at different times, each role is important, even each individual is important (yet that can also be a negative as covered below) and players are rewarded with items through the event and some afterwards based on how far the event progresses.

Image courtesy of Dulfy.net

Whilst on one hand, I find it a positive that the zerg is being split up, on the other hand it is causing problems and failures of parts of the event by just a few people.  The achievements also make you rely on others whilst you can do absolutely nothing to help.  That has been one of the biggest frustrations.  There are issues with the players being distributed evenly on the inner platforms, which means setting some up for near certain failures.  Or sometimes it’s unlucky and less skilled or less knowledgeable players get grouped together.  I don’t know what ANet could do about the later given part of the fun of new fights is figuring it from the clues one is given.  I believe they’ve most definitely given enough for this fight.  It always seems a portion of the population is unable to read the event instructions or even the words written under champion’s vitals that a give clues as to how to survive its attacks and beat it.  Honestly, it makes me despair sometimes. :/  In order for a chain to be severed, all five platforms must succeed, yet it is very common for only 4/5 to do so.  Nearly every group I’ve been with has swiftly beaten the champ and had a good minute to spare on the timer.  Then there are others who can’t complete their event at all.   It is impossible for players on different platforms to help the other ones out, so you have to just stand there and watch the other ones fail.   I honestly don’t know why ANet thought that was a good idea.

The worst bits are the same that keep plaguing every large, new fight: waiting time and overflows.  Especially the waiting time.  Over at reddit, there’s a thread titled “Wait Wars 2″.  They’ve scheduled the marionette to start every even GMT hour (6pm, 8pm etc) and the Wurm to spawn on every odd hour so at face value it looks like you could bounce between the fights with 30 minutes in between.  But then we come to the issue of overflows.  Generally you have a better chance of success for these harder more coordinated fights which require a lot of people on main servers (though that’s not always the case.)  You can’t be assured you’ll have enough in an overflow and quite frankly the trust just isn’t there give people are so used to overflow fails due to lack of known and trusted leadership I suppose.  So what happens it you try to get to the map at least an hour beforehand to guarantee a spot.  And then you just have to sit there.  I’m just not very sure raid-like encounters like this should be in the open world.

Lastly, there are issues with loading screens that take too long when you’re loading to the platforms, which screw up achievements, etc, the ever present shitty fps at the large events.. frustrating crap regarding ANet’s optimisation of the game.

Though all in all I’m having a decent time.  What’s been the most fun has been seeing what’s in Scarlet’s lair and reading the speculation that’s going on on reddit and the GW2 forums.  That shall be for part two though. :)

Categories: Guild Wars 2 | Leave a comment

Return to Skyrim

One thing playing in the TESO beta made me want to do was fire up Skyrim (for reasons I shall elaborate on post NDA hopefully).  I have to say I’ve never stop being in awe of its game world or how beautiful it is.. especially my modded up version! (I highly recommend getting an ENB for the game.) Clicky all for full size.

 

 

I was soon reminded of the too-frequent dragon attacks though, which can be even more tiresome on a melee character as mine is.  I was trying to get to the top of a mountain to take a picture but was interrupted by a dumb dragon who got in the way of a nice sunset. :P

I’d been meaning to post these next two screenshots for ages.  Paused game plus toggle free camera can capture some awesome moment whilst your character is in combat.  I present: The Dragonborn!

I never have finished the main storyline of the game.  I’ve always been so distracted with all the wonderful bits elsewhere in the game and have tried to space out the main story to make it all last longer.  I really ought to finish it one of these days.

Categories: exploration, fun, Skyrim | 5 Comments

Payment models

ESO: “Nobody believes that The Elder Scroll Online would be hurt by its business model if it had a Free2Play model with a subscription option.”

Totally dude.

ESO would be just as good a game with cash shop ad loading screens, devs spending time coming up with ways to get you to buy yet another hat/wing/item (eventually of questionable power), seeing said items on people around town (nothing says ES like neon wings or a baseball cap), and finally we would get the awesome immersion effect of the guards telling us to visit the cash shop rather than about that arrow in the knee.

What a huge loss for the game that it’s sub only. Total killer.

-Syncaine

When one thinks about it, criticising a game for not going f2p given the state of some f2p games is absolutely absurd.  I think it’s fair enough to say that none of us like having a store/cash shop or adverts thrown in our faces all the time.  But, people are actually saying this about TESO.  I think the reason why is because there are some games out there that are doing f2p well such as Rift or buy-to-play games such as Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World.

Obviously Syncaine was referring to the type f2p game such as Lotro which is done poorly:  the store is constantly thrown in one’s face, subscriber (or VIP) status has been degraded with some things being taken away and added to the store (I’m looking at you Destiny Points and relic removal) and also gone so far as to monetise some things such as some festival quests, needing to buy an extra trait slot in order to enjoy each of the three lines per character or even having the choice of what colour warsteed you want.  In my opinion, Lotro is an example of a hybrid sub/f2p payment model gone wrong as I believe a sub should open up the entire game to you aside from store cosmetics.  Monetise the hell out of the rest of it for non-sub folks.

On the other hand we have games like Rift which appears to be doing f2p (and a true f2p at that) the right way.  I’ve not gone back to Rift since they made the switch as I can’t properly devote enough time to it, but from what I hear, the game is doing well and is really enjoyable.  I know from the Lotro forums, many raiders have moved to Rift.  I hear praise about Rift’s store and no complaints about it being intrusive.

Then we have b2p games such as GW2 where you pay for the box once and that’s it.  There is no intrusive store.  If you look at one of my recent screenshots, you can see the only icon for it.  It’s the little lion symbol at the top near the middle of the other icons that has a little red exclamation point on it (as I had money/items ready for pick up at the Trading Post, aka Auction House):

None of the items found within are pay to win either.  GW2 is also churning out new content every two weeks for a few months now (aside from a break during the holidays.)  One can argue how good it is or isn’t (personally I think the game might could use a paid expansion or at least make much more of their work permanent in the game) but I think the game been an incredible value.  It would seem microtransactions have been doing quite well for ArenaNet as well.  There was some report out a few months ago regarding sales dropping but I believe the report was only referencing box sales.  A drop in those is entirely expected.

There are more games to mention such as The Secret World, Swtor (though I hear life is difficult in that game without a sub, though I’d say it should be), League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Path of Exile… I think enough to show that microtransactions can be done in a positive way.  I think this is why the cries of TESO not being f2p are out there:  because other companies are showing that you can have a profitable game without a sub.  So some people are seeing better deals for their money.

To me, TESO better be damned good if it wants people to cough up money every month in addition to a box sale.  Due to NDA I can’t really say anything (though honestly, didn’t everyone and their mother get into the recent stress test? :P), but I will say I don’t think they’ve succeeded in that.  Personally I wish it would go with the buy-to-play model, not the sub only PLUS a cash shop model they’ve chosen .  If they’d do that, they’d have a sale from me.  But after reading what people have to say about the game, I think it’s only a matter of time until they’ll drop their current payment model.  It’s going to be Swtor all over again.

Categories: f2p, Guild Wars 2, Lord of the Rings, Other Games, TESO, Turbine | Leave a comment

Mad skillz, yo…

Yep, totally did that on purpose.  I was completely and totally under control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*cough*

Categories: fun, Guild Wars 2, lolz | 2 Comments

Moar Paint

A submission by a guildie to the paint thread on our guild’s forums.  All of you who have had a norn or charr in front of you whilst in a jumping puzzle will get this:

 

 

Categories: fun, Guild Wars 2, lolz | 2 Comments

Achievements, Part One

A guildie started a thread called “Show off your MS paint skills” which is a spin off of a thread called ‘WvW in MS Paint’ on our server’s unofficial forums.  He thought it would be funny to see what guildies could come up.

My submission, a commentary on the effect of the WvW Season 1 achievements on the state of WvW. :P (click for full size)

I wanted to do more, but I’m so used to any artistic endeavours being undertaken in Photoshop.  I <3 layers!  They make everything easier.

I have two more ideas I want to draw.   Perhaps I’ll be a bit cheaty with Photoshop.  Or just try a bit harder with paint.  Ally Brosh can come up with some epic stuff with paint  at Hyperbole and a Half (I highly recommend reading through her blog… it’s brilliant), so it’s worth a try. :P

Categories: fail, fun, Guild Wars 2, lolz, noob, pvp | 5 Comments

Oh dear….

One of the results of the new class revamps.. one seriously, OP LM:

Apparently part of this bug has existed since RoI(!!!) but has become even stronger in combination with a new LM trait.

gg Turbine devs! gg!

Categories: fail, lolz, Lord of the Rings, Turbine | Leave a comment

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