Archive for February, 2009

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How I really feel about Darkfall

February 20, 2009

Many of you probably saw my “hands-on with Darkfall” preview/review on Massively.com, which attempted to sum up my journey with the game, including both the positive and negative aspects of the upcoming PvP-centric MMO.

While I tried to get everything I could into that article, I really felt that my main opinion of the game was too harsh for mainstream media.  And it’s not because I don’t like PvP (I enjoy it very much) or because I’m a carebear (I made 3 characters, one ended up being an outlaw just so I could try the outlaw system) but because the game just ends up getting dull.

People talk about how “once you get into PvP with this game, it never gets dull.”  Well, um, yes it does.  It gets dull really quickly.  When you have to run 10 minutes to find someone, kill them, enjoy the kill, and then run another 10 minutes to find another person, there’s a problem with that.

When fights boil down to who can run in the most awkward patterns and click the mouse button the fastest… yes, there’s a problem with that.

The problem is that there is nothing to do in this game BESIDES PvP.  Sure, PvP can be fun, and I know that.  I killed a few people, got revenge on a few murderers, and I really did enjoy the taste I got of the PvP.  But a game cannot solely be about PvP, otherwise it will quickly become predictable.

Cities are one of Darkfall’s attempts to make PvP unpredictable, and it was a good idea at the time.  Being able to go out and capture a city, build it up, and then defend it is a neat idea.  But here’s the part where it all falls apart — why should I build the city?

Owning a city, as I said, gives no tangible benefits past a new spawn point and being able to PK anyone in your city and not get caught by guards (because you own the guards).  These aren’t like EVE’s starbases, which can be upgraded to produce new products, or used to mine moons for really rare components.  They can’t be used to levy taxes or control townspeople like Lineage II.  They don’t open access to dungeons like Atlantica Online.

Darkfall’s cities are boring, mundane, pieces of stone that make you a gigantic target.  Going to the trouble of building one is just too much trouble for so little gain.

Oh, and when I talk about quests and the poor questing system of Darkfall, I’m not trying to be a damn carebear and relegate myself to controlled storylines.  I’m trying to find reward in going out and exploring the world.  I’m trying to give people that incentive to go out and risk things, because that provides LOADS more opportunity for PvP.  They create places where you know players will be, and where you know you can attack to gain new loot and gear.  PvPers, don’t call me a carebear when I’m looking out for your style of gameplay.

Right now, running around in the wilderness is exactly that — running around the wilderness.  It’s boring unless you get into PvP, and PvP can’t stay exciting and fresh forever when you get sent so far away or have the trouble of finding someone to thrash.  Battles will quickly end, opponents will quickly find themselves humiliated and leave because they don’t want to spend hours of their time attempting to work back to where they once were, and then you’ll be standing alone, the king of nothing and opponent to no one.

These aren’t unfixable problems.  Patch in a few things, take a look at spawn times and estimated run times, and you can even things out.  But until that happens… Darkfall can surmised in a few sentences.

Kill friend.  Grab stuff.  Repeat until you get bored and go play Team Fortress 2.

Don’t bitch and say I’m wrong.  Once you play the game for too long, you’ll know it.

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WTF do you not understand about steampunk and MMO?

February 10, 2009

Yeah, headline is pretty blatant, isn’t it?  Let’s face it people, this isn’t rocket science.  IT’S A FICTIONAL GENRE.  It’s a genre which you can easily research and pick up a few novels that are set in it.  Crap, you can even go on the internet and find a RPG already set in a very unique universe that picks up on many of the right tones.  (Yes, I’m talking about you, EtherScope.  Feel proud.)

So why do I keep getting shit like this?  What the hell is that?  Is that a Goron on the left?  Are those freakin’ elves?  Did you “Neo Steam” people even look up what steampunk means?

Actually, they did.  Apparently they had to prove it to us that they did do their homework.  Also, I’m not sure what an “exotional zenith” is.  I thought those were reserved for porn sites, unless they’re trying to tell us something?

Remnants of Skystone is a game that really approaches the concept of steampunk better, but fails at their definition of MMO.  “Single player side scrolling adventure” I get.  But trying to call your “co-op adventure play” an MMO is like me trying to sell you this hamburger and call it a feast for 20 people.  It’s cheap and not that filling.  Just because you can  visit someone’s house does not mean you’ve made an MMO.  You’ve made a “I-can-visit-someone’s-house-multiplayer-online-game” or ICVSHMOG.

Sorry, I’m being too hard on them.  Nice game, just not an MMO.  Next.

Ah, The World of Gatheryn.  A game that really is an MMO.  All right, good job there.  It also uses a Victorian era view of steampunk.  Getting closer… It doesn’t have any f-ing Goron wannabies… getting even closer… casual game!  Damn it!

Actually, it doesn’t look too bad for a game that bills itself as casual.  It uses puzzles and mini-games as the main sources of conflict, and also pushes exploration and socialization, the two things I think games need more of in order to cater to all of the Bartle types.

Yet, let’s get back to the point.  The point is that if something isn’t broken, don’t attempt to slap Goron wannabies and furries into it.  People want steampunk at face value.

Of course, most readers would then turn to me and say, “Aren’t you changing up the steampunk formula?”

Yes, but I’m not forgetting the basic tenents of the damn genre.  My steampunk genre is still steampunk, if that makes sense.  I didn’t change the genre itself, just the tone.  Still has the same wonderous exploration, still has the same steam powered weapons and intrigue of your steampunk universe.

That’s how you change a genre without breaking it.  Take notes here people.

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Sickness & level 78

February 10, 2009

So, I’m sick.  It sucks.

This has to happen once a winter, and I’ve been avoiding it up until now.  Sure, it hits me when my week is busy — figures.  So I took the day off from campus games master guy.  Did my work for Massively, then turned off the computer tower and went out to watch some NCIS.  Thank you, Special Agent Gibbs, for making TV not suck.

In related crap, my computer is being a jerk.  There must be a short somewhere in the tower, because it’s making a really high frequency electrical whine every once in a while.  I wish I knew more tech stuff beyond that… I can only diagnose the symptoms.  I’d take it to Geek Squad, but I’m poor.  Surprise surprise.  Of course something breaks when I can’t afford to fix it.

Hopefully it stops on it’s own, that would be awesome.

So, actually, this is going somewhere.  Because of my splitting headache and because high pitched noises really don’t help out said headache, I’m not doing my run to level 78 in Warcraft this evening.  I hit 75 on Friday, 76 on Saturday (and soloed Onyxia the same day, and got the Judgment Crown to drop for a truly epic win), 77 yesterday, and am now sitting at a quarter of the way to level 78 that I got last night.  Cold Weather Flying is already in my possession, so I enjoy being able to fly around Northrend and not have a sword shoved up my ass from a level 80 horde dick.  But, with that crappy whine, I just can’t take sitting in front of the PC.

But, mark my words, I will get all of my elders before the Lunar Festival is over.  I will hit 78, and I will get that guy in the heroic dungeon.  Elder Sephare, here I come!  *triumphant upwards point*

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I think my own game hates me.

February 6, 2009

So I’m stuck on Black Clover right now.  It’s kinda driving me nuts.  I blog in the day, interview in the day, try to get out at night so I’m not home all the time, and then by the time I’m done all of that I finally have some time for Black Clover.

And then nothing comes out.

It’s like the game idea purposely jerks me around so it can be utterly sadistic and melt my mind from the inside.  During the day, I get ideas that I go, “Oh, those will work perfectly.”  Then, at night, I go to write out those ideas and something never works right with them.  Something always seems off and makes me hit the delete key.

What’s really jerking me around are the skills, attributes, and abilities.  Attributes and abilities are getting underway now, while I’m going to work on the skills later once the attributes and abilities are in place.  Which, yes, sounds backwards, because skills might actually be affected by attributes and abilities.

Short explanation for what’s going on in my mind — attributes are static traits of a character and provide flat bonuses to skills and rolls.  They are like str, dex, wis, con, etc. except they’re infinitely more badass and usable in roleplaying.  Skills are the types of things you’d find in D&D 4th edition or World of Warcraft.  They’re abilities to be used both in and out of combat.  Mostly in combat, however.

But, since my mind feels like shutting off and not wanting to work, they’re not getting done.  And without them getting done, I can’t playtest the system to make sure the damn classes are balanced and functioning as intended.

Bugger.  Hopefully this block drops away soon.