Tag Archives: rift

Breaking the Funk

Things have been quiet around here, eerily quiet. Has a fog come in and taken me away? Have I been fighting a zombie uprising? Not quite, I’ve just been in a bit of a MMO funk for the past month.

In early July I entered waiting-on-Guild-Wars mode. It might be the hype, I might have been spoiled by the the GW2 beta weekend events (specifically GW2’s action bar/combat system), or it might be something completely different; but I found myself not only bored with SWTOR but also having lost the desire to return to Rift (or any other past MMO).

So what have I been playing? A little bit of World of Tanks: I finished the AMX 40 grind and unlocked the AMX 12t  before the release of  patch 7.5, while reconnecting with my German tier V mediums (I’ve missed you Panzer III/IV). I’ve also played some World of Warplanes beta, but can’t share anything other than it’s really fun but I’m a horrible pilot. Steam summer sale: I finally played Portal 2 and also picked up a copy of Quantum Conundrum.

But then this past weekend I broke the MMO funk. As you may have guessed from the first paragraph, I’ve joined The Secret World. I’ve been interested in TSW for quite some time but was leery for two main reasons: I’m not much of a horror fan and I kept getting flash-backs of the buggy, but fun, mess that was Age of Conan at launch. At first I wanted to take a wait-and-see approach but as more and more positive word-of-mouth crossed my Google Reader I started looked into the game more and became enticed at the thought of playing it. The class-less skill advancement, the deck system, the modern setting, investigative missions. They all called to me.

By the end of July I had decided that I was going to pick up TSW, at some point. I was all ready to buy it but one question held me back. Is it wise to buy a new subscription game only one month before the release of, an already paid-for, Guild Wars 2? I said “no, I’ll wait until that new-game-smell wears off of GW2 before jumping into TSW,” and was satisfied with my decision. That was until Funcom went ahead and threw a free-trial/celebration weekend into the mix.

I installed the client, logged in, created Chester “Cheka” Kasorski, and entered London. My first thought was that the game runs significantly better than I had expected from my experience in one of the beta weekends and AoC. I picked my starting weapon and, taking some “I wish I knew this when I started” advice from the forums, I then grabbed one of each weapon from the Crucible and headed off the Kingsmouth.

TSW has really impressed me. All of the little things that enticed me are there but what really makes the difference is the quest log/system. I enjoy the investigative missions; I didn’t think I’d like googling clues to solve puzzels but it feels very organic and natural. I’ve found that the one story, one dungeon, one active and three side mission quest log encourages exploration and makes you focus more on the mission at hand, which greatly adds to immersion. The mission system is truly new and different, it gives the game a very unique feel and I can’t but to think that this is what MMO vets must have felt when WoW was fresh and new with the great innovation of quest-based gameplay.

I was sold. While it may be a little stupid to pick up a new MMO only weeks before I’ll be starting another one, TSW is offering me a unique enough experience that I feel comfortable being able to get the most out of both TSW and GW2 at the same time. So, with my MMO funk broken, Sunday night I bought a game key and subscribed to The Secret World.

So the question left now is “what is an altoholic to do in such a single-character centric game?” Well, that’s a post for another day.

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Perfect Timing

So August 28 for Guild Wars 2, awesome! I was really expecting a much later date: December, maybe November. Not that I think the game needs that much more time, I was just excepting ArenaNet to take as much time as they could to continue tweaking and polishing it.

But I had to just laugh at myself for the launch date and the last BWE dates. I have two “work things” going on this summer. The first is a company gathering during the July BWE and the second is a business trip the week of launch. Luckily I’ll have early access and a couple of days before I leave for a week but I still found it funny.

On another side note, that release date made up my mind on whether to go for Rift or WoW. I don’t have time for both before GW2’s launch so it’ll just be Rift.


Rumors of my Demise

Yeah, so there aren’t any rumors but it has been a while since I’ve posted. The past month has been rough but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Without getting into the gory details: the problem I’ve been having at work has been fixed and I’m happy with the solution, a family incident that occurred recently will never be resolved but at least there’s some closure now, and my home improvement project is now on track to be completed next week. Soon enough I’ll be back to a normal gaming schedule.

So what has the schedule looked like lately?

Goodbye Yellow Lightsaber

I’ve officially cancelled my SWTOR account. I don’t hate the game or anything, I just haven’t been having much as much fun and wasn’t logging in. I’ve got a couple of weeks left in  my sub so I’ll give the LFG tool a try before leaving but it’s time for a break. I hope to give it another try sometime in the near future, and would still highly recommend it to anyone considering giving it a try.

Bioware sent me a survey asking why I was leaving and what it would take to get me back. Two of my reasons are thing I’m sure they’ll never “fix”: playable Yodas and Wookies, damn you Lucas! Other than that I stated my disappointment in the Legacy system: I was really hoping for an alternative advancement for altoholics rather than a credit-sink and incentive for bored 50s to re-roll. I also requested that they add my favorite GW2 feature: downranking. At the end of the day I kept burning out on characters because I was out-leveling content faster than I could complete it so any kind of downranking or mentoring system would be much appreciated.

Roll Out (How did I never before notice that WoT stole the Autobot’s catchphrase?)

I’ve adjusted my focus in World of Tanks yet again. Mediums, with a side of TDs. I’ve got my M4, PzIII/IV, PzIV, and AMX40 all in rotation along with a T82, M8A1 and Hetzer. As soon as I elite the T82 I’m going to pick up a BT-2 and start on the Soviet medium line.

I dread the AMX40 every time I login. It has replaced the M3 Lee as my most hated tank. Even fully upgraded it’s slow and can barely damage anything, it doesn’t help that most of the time I’m matched up against high tier tanks as the tier IV light. The big difference between the two tanks for me is that somehow I actually did pretty well in the Lee. It seemed that I would get at least one metal in every match, even getting a Billotte’s Metal on my last match with it (my only epic metal to date). So even though I wasn’t having much fun with the Lee there was some consolation in the fact that I was at least doing well, not so much with the AMX40. I’ll just keep plugging along until I can trade up to that AMX 12t and the reasons why I’m playing the French line.

Which Road?

I’ve been interested in getting back into Rift and have even been playing Rift Lite lately. I’m still enjoying my little forays into Rift but keep finding that I’m really not enjoying the Cleric. My old main was a Cleric and I’d like to get him ready for Storm Legion but every time I try playing a Cleric I find myself logging out with little-to-no desire to log back into Rift at all. If I go back to Rift I’ll probably be playing a warrior and trying to get him to 50 before the expansion comes out but I’m a little weary about my feelings toward the Cleric right now. The experience has me thinking about another game I’d like to get back into and get ready for the up coming expansion.

I like to start by saying: I like Pandas; I didn’t see the Mists of Pandera announcement and think “oh, Kung Fu Panda in WoW,” I saw Kung Fu Panda and thought “oh a movie about Pandaren, I wish they were playable in WoW.”

The primary reason I stopped playing WoW and have had little desire to return was that the design direction of the Druid class had hit the tipping point, for me, from the “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” type of hybrid to the “can specialize in any role” hybrid. I even missed having spell power and intellect on my feral gear. While they’re not turning the ship around, MoP is seeming to re-introduce some of that overlap between specs that I used to enjoy so much. It’s worth a look and that has me wanting to give the game another try, level my Druid to 85 (and see how things stand with my Shaman, Warlock and DK), mess around a little at 85 (since I never did that) and get prepped for MoP.

I do want to pick both games back up sometime this year but the question is “which one now?”. I want to return to Rift as a more long-term gaming plan, something I will play until GW2 releases (and maybe continue after since there’s no sub for GW2). I just want get back into WoW to prep for the next expansion with no intention of staying long-term.

So does it make more sense to take care of my business in WoW and then move onto Rift to stay there comfortably, or should I just jump back into Rift, with all the cool stuff in 1.9, and then get my WoW house in order when the pre-expansion world events start happening?


When it rains, it pours…

I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for regular posts and the first one, and as of yet the only one implemented, is that my first post of the week should be a review of what I did the previous week and weekend. Real life, of the most serious variety, stepped in last week and made that first post of the week also my last. I was also unable to play much: my Sith Assassin gained half a level, I created but didn’t play a Dwarf Rogue in Rift and I got a handful of World of Tanks matches in. Since I don’t have anything to share about what I’ve been playing I thought I’d share what I’m planning.

Is that a Marder II on cinder blocks?

I got an okay session of World of Tanks in yesterday, only a handful of matches but I felt good about it afterward. I did realize one thing though: my garage is a fucking mess. When I first started last summer I gave each nation’s tier I tank a try and then decided to attempt to elite the entire German tree, with a focus on the tanks. I’m currently sitting with a Wespe, Hetzer, Panzer III/IV, Panzer IV, Leopard, and various old tanks from the journey (the Panzer III being the only old one I actually ever play). And of course being the altoholic that I am I branched out: I “needed” a Sherman, wanted to give Soviet heavies a try, and their lights, and when I started back up I wanted to try the French tanks. So now I’m just a tank pack rat with a full garage.

Time for some cleaning.

Step one: sell all of the old tanks I’m saving “in case I want to play them again later.” I play the Panzer III, and even bought a camo skin for it, so I’ll keep that one but the rest have to go.

Step two: decide my goal tanks and the progression paths I want to follow. Elite-ing the entire German tree is a fool’s errand, especially when I’m not running a premium account. I don’t even like playing arty and although I enjoy TDs, I have to be in the right mood for them and I’m more interested in the US tree. The the new plan for the German tree is to get a Tiger. I’m going to elite and then sell my Wespe, Leopard and Hetzer, shelf my Panzer III/IV (until I later come back to work toward a Panther) and focus on my Panzer IV to progress toward the Tiger. I haven’t progressed far in the Soviet tree (just a T-46 and a T-50) so i’m just going to stop it for now. I’ve barely progressed on the T-50 so I’ll sell it to free up the space while I’ll unlock everything for the T-46 before selling it. I’ve come to really enjoy the Sherman so I’m going to stick it out with the US mediums and continue down that path. I’ve started on the French medium tree and plan to continue to try and get a feel of them.

So my goals for World of Tanks are: (1) clean shop, (2) get a Tiger, (3) progress all the way down the US medium tree and (4) give French mediums a fair shake.

I can taste the freedom.

As much as I’ve been enjoying my little sabbatical into Rift Lite, and am excited about the upcoming expansion, I’m trying not to get hooked. My SWTOR sub is up in July and I’m finding myself excited about being liberated from a subscription. I’ve had at least one active MMO subscription running constantly since I started playing WoW in July of 2005. The big reason I’m excited is for the freedom from feeling like I have to play game X to get my money’s worth. Then again I might just wait for Guild Wars 2 to go subscription free.

Stepping into the Mists

I already know I’m not going to have much, if any, gaming time next weekend. I originally had some grandiose plans for the second Guild Wars 2 BWE but have paired them back, maybe next time. Instead, if I get some time to play, I’ve got a very short list of what I want to see: PvP.

I never got around to PvP during the first BWE and only stepped into the Mist for about 1/2 an hour during the stress test. This time I’d like to try taking my Guardian and/or Engineer into both sPvP and WvW. We’ll see how things pan out.

So that’s about it for now. I’ve got a couple of plans for the blog this week: take more screen shots for posts (I know I’m horrible about that), complete the blogroll (lots of NBI blogs to add), add podcasts to the blogroll, and follow my desired basic post schedule: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


The Feral Assassin

What a beautiful holiday weekend. Great weather, good food, wonderful company and tasty beverages (every grocery store in town had New Belgian beers on sale, now available in cans!). The only hitch was two little thunderstorms that both miraculously timed themselves perfectly for when I was grilling dinner on two separate nights, but at least they helped keep me cool. Between the holiday and coming off a busy week at work I didn’t have time to blog, hell I’m even behind on reading blogs right now, but I did get some gaming time in.

Khem Val Hates Me

So my Assassin has crossed level 20, 22 to be exact at this point, and moved onto Nar Shaddaa. Belsavis was fun, slow to start but I enjoyed it in the end. I got to “enjoy” the greatest affection change I’ve yet to see from a companion: -160 Khem Val for a light side choice, and that was right after we had a little chat about mercy. Sure I could have just dismissed him and avoided the lost but that breaks immersion and cheapens the experience.

Leveling has been proceeding well. I’m still not doing Flashpoints and Warzones, skipping Heroics and Bonus series, and not exploring and I’m almost not out leveling content faster than I can complete it. I still had a quest log full of greens when I finished Belsavis but I’m sitting with proper-leveled quests right now. I still think it’s absurd that I have to skip so much content just to not out level zones; I can’t wait for Guild Wars 2 and their downranking system.

I think I’ve also figured out why the Assassin is clicking so well with me: it plays a lot like a feral Druid. Sure there’s no “John Madden rotation” but the same “feel” is there. I realized it one day when I was thinking: “it’s so nice to have a pocket tank so I can actually shred instead of mangle.” Yeah, so there’s that.

I also gave Commando a try. I had leveled another Trooper through Ord Mantel a while ago and stopped after picking Commando as an AC. I picked it back up last week but it just wasn’t working for me. I’ve always been more of a melee player but can enjoy ranged classes if they’re very mobile, the Commando seems to be just the opposite of that. I’m not deleting this character just yet but I won’t be playing a commando as my healer.

Defying The Cleric

We are go on Rift Lite. I patched up my client and jumped into Rift Lite. Picked a new shard and then created a Defiant Mage and a Guardian Cleric. With the cleric I instantly started falling into my old Cleric ways: Shamicar. The Mage captured my attention though. I never got far with a Mage when I subscribed so I just picked one of the soul templates and went with the flow. My limited previous experience with a Mage was as a Chloromancer so I chose one of the DPS templates, the mobile one, and just fell into it. I was shooting lightning left and right and the next thing I knew a couple of hours had flown by.

The soul templates are a great idea. I was able to just pick it up go without having to worry about exactly how I’m going to spec my character from the start. I can get the feeling of the class first and then take it from there. Sure I’m missing out on the “accomplishment” of unlocking the different souls but that felt more like a grind rather than an accomplishment, especially after they removed the quests in favor of purchasing them.

I’m looking forward to playing some more of the Mage but I might be rerolling the Cleric as a rogue: the other class I have little experience with. My desire to come back with a subscription is only being fueled by the news of a possible expansion, but that’s a discussion for another time.

On A Second Thought…

I miss how all the TV channels used to play old war movies all Memorial Weekend long. It was nice being able to turn on the TV at any time and find either The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape or Kelly’s Heroes on, but no more. So I decided to jump into some World of Tanks for a WWII fix. And then I looked at my garage: German, German, German, US, German, German, etc. Yeah, maybe rolling around in a panzer isn’t the best way to celebrate Memorial Day. So one match in my Panzer III and I was out.

So that’s about it for last week. Now time to start planning what to do in the recently announced Guild Wars 2 BWE.


A Fissure In the Force

For many years I was less of an MMO gamer and more of a WoW player. I’d give other games a try from time to time by WoW was always my home, I guess the proper term is “WoW tourist.” That was until I pickup up Rift. Like many other players, I saw Rift as somewhat of a dark horse. I wasn’t really following it and wasn’t expecting much of anything from it. I guess that’s why it impressed me so much.

After picking it up I was swept away by the open classes,  rift/invasion system, Trion’s update schedule and their dedication to their customers. Sure, the quests were nothing special and rifts often ended up feeling like more of the same after the umpteenth time but the game is incredible fun and well-made. Last fall I decided to take a break. My Cleric had hit 50 and I started to settling into my typical end game groove of battlegrounds, but then the gear grind reared its ugly head. I found myself essentially committing suicide by R8 PvPer in order to farm gear to compete. There’s nothing fun in that and so I decided to play something else, at least for the time being.

Fast forward 6 months. Trion’s been working hard at adding new things and generally improving the game. I’ve heard some good things about the current state of the game and I’m very intrigued by the newly announced Conquest system. The itch to pick it up again is here. But it’s different from my typical urge to give a game another shot, it’s the desire to go home. I want to go home again but home has moved: it’s not in Azeroth anymore.

I’ve still have quite some time left on my SWTOR subscription so I’m not resubbing to Rift anytime too soon but I might patch up the client and give Rift Lite a try with a new alt. Maybe when my SWTOR sub is up for renewal I’ll find myself in Telara again.


Shiny Happy PvP

Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast (I believe it was Too Long Didn’t Listen) during my morning commute when one of the hosts, Syp, mentioned RP-PvP servers and what the deal with them is. As someone who plays on RP-PvP servers I thought I’d explain the benefits of this server rule set and why I’ve come to make RP-PvP servers my home.

History of a PvP Hopeful

I started playing MMOs with World of Warcraft and from my first character creation I’ve been playing on PvP servers. My initial thought was that by narrowing my multiplayer experience to cooperative only, especially in a game with opposing factions, I was effectively limiting the ways that I could play with other people. For the first year or so I constantly rerolled and bounced between alts, rarely ever getting a character above level 20, and into contested zones. It wasn’t until the summer before the release of the Burning Crusade that I made a serious attempt at progressing farther than Ashenvale.

I rolled a new Shaman, on a new server, and told myself that I wouldn’t play another character until either the expansion came out or I made it to level 60. A few days later I found myself  sitting in Orgrimmar looking for a Ragefire Chasm group. After about a half hour of futile searching I decided to roll a Warlock alt to play in the meantime. Before I knew it that fresh little Forsaken Warlock was my first proper main. Soon after, with my first taste of Tarren Mill vs Southshore, I was hooked on world PvP. I ended up tooling around with a few open world PvP groups and had a lot fun. By the time TBC launched I had quit the Warlock and moved on to a Tauren Druid. Said Druid was my first end-game character. I leveled him to 70, joined regular battles over Halaa (always busy on my server at the time), small skirmishes in Hellfire Peninsula, and 1v1 battles in the daily zones. It was the best PvP I experienced in WoW.

Things changed with the release of Wrath of the Lich King, at least on my server. I guess it was the combination of Wintergrasp and the lack of open world PvP objects, but open world PvP seemed to completely die. Gankings were always an issue but at the same time they were balanced by the enjoyment of evenly matched encounters, no more. The situation was only made worse by the sift in faction balance: originally Alliance-heavy, the server became more Horde dominated. And then the second great Blood Elf Influx, more commonly know as the introduction of faction transfers, pushed that imbalance to absurd proportions that only fueled the gankings. Horde player would jump at any opportunity to actually kill an Alliance player, and then Alliance player took it out on lowbies. Even Wintergrasp turned from a simple Horde zerg into a slew of siege engines just bombarding the Alliance graveyard for half an hour. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Uh, I thought this was about RP-PvP…

Yeah, I’m getting there. I had enough so I started looking for a new server. I hit the forums and eventually found myself in a couple of RP-PvP server forums. The people seemed nice and everyone kept bragging about how great the world PvP was there. So I rolled a couple of alts, gave them a try and loved it. People were friendly, no rogues with names like Xxkillerdudexx or Istabyou waiting to gank you, actual open world PvP and best of all: great immersion.

Even though I’m not much of and RPer, I’ll create a back story and play along with RP but I won’t seek it out, the environment cultivated by RPers is unparalleled. One instance in particular comes to mind. I was running around Ironforge when a low level Gnome comes up and, in character, explains that this is his first time in Ironforge and that he needs directions to Tinker Town to meet some friends. I play along, tell him how to get there, and he was off on this way. A little later I encounter a group of Gnomes on a walking tour of the city and the one who stopped me earlier is among them. He stops, waves and thanks me. I return the gesture and he continued with his tour group. Little things like this made the world feel so alive.

Moving On

I ended up not spending too much more time in WoW, bounced around some and then moved onto Rift last year. This time I started on an RP-PvP server but found something new. In Rift I encountered RP in PvP. People put thought into how and why they were attacking each other and, without a language barrier, were able to express it. The most epic encounter involved a mid-to-high level Defiant Necromancer who turned himself into a Gloamwood raid boss. He followed around death rifts and invasions while yelling taunts about his minions conquering the region. Eventually a bunch of us lowbie Guardians grouped up and managed to take him down. He shouted a final warning of his impending revenge and left us toasting our victory. Since then I’ve played RP-PvP exclusively.

Would I Recommend It?

If you enjoy PvP but hate the type of community that typically grows on dedicated PvP servers then yes, go for it. Are there any downsides? Of course, a couple. Dedicated or hardcore PvPers probably want to stay away. There seems to be a lot of people who are just in it for a good time and don’t care about being that competitive. That’s not to say there isn’t competition or that people don’t take it seriously. The competition just isn’t as feverish as it is on dedicated PvP servers. Likewise, dedicated RPers might want to steer clear. RP seems to be more centered in guilds with very little in the open world, I’ve been playing on two different RP-PvP SWTOR servers since launch and haven’t encountered any impromptu RP. You will also find many people, like myself, who are there for the more mature community rather than the RP.

All the fun of PvP but with a nicer community and less assholes. If that sounds like your kind of thing then give RP-PvP servers a try. I don’t regret it.