Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tidying Up

I've added lots of great blogs to the roll.  General and game specific blogs are always fun to read.

I have links to game specific sites and fan sites with pictures of my iconic characters from the games.  I love seeing them there :)   Many games don't seem to have fan sites and some don't even have well done wikis. It's a shame.

My Twitter Feed thingie is gone because it is just a reminder that I don't Tweet, though my gaming Twitter feed of other people Tweeting is most entertaining to read. 

Under Game Worlds and News (way at the bottom) are news sites, of course, and game companies whose games I play and enjoy.

I also looked at my January list of games I was looking forward to and added those so I can check on their progress more easily.  I left out the Nintendo and Sony PS4 games from the list since I won't be playing those.  I must gratuitously put the picture from Yoshi's Wooly World here because I love him.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Secret World: Get Along, Little Doggie

I like the game so far.  It is very bizarre, but in a good way.  A rare game set in modern times it has a semi-apocalyptic feel. 

I had trouble choosing a faction but with three character slots you can try them all.  I went with Templar though they seemed a touch overzealous in their fight to keep order.  You never know with those types.

I liked the semi-automatic weapon but went with Elemental Magic.   The Pistols looked fun too. 

There seemed to be an unusual number of mohawks at character creation.   The "long hair" styles were all above should length.  Hmmpf.

My character is always in this apelike stance. I suppose she's ready for combat, but it is odd.  She runs like a monkey too.

I haven't played anything with so many cut scenes in ages.  Just one after another.

I've made my way to Kingsmouth and ol' cowboy Jack Boone needs help with some zombies around his camp area. 

They come in groups of three to six.  As far as I can tell you can't pull one aside to talk to him, nope you get a group.  A really large group when you're asked to hop on a car hood and jump around to bring some of the zombies over.  Boy do they come running.  Next up, I'm supposed to lure the zombies into some fires to see (wink) if that kills them.

I'm doing fine with elemental magic so as long as I keep shooting and backing away from the herd.  Knock on wood I haven't died yet.
A good addition to my games list.

Darkside Detective

On the way is a teeny tiny game of detection for your phone (or other Tiny Screen Adventure Device and a variety of other platforms) called Darkside Detective.

From their home page:

Where cultists crawl, where demons dwell, where the occult… occults? you’ll find Detective Francis McQueen, the sole member of the criminally underfunded Darkside Division. When evil darkens the doorsteps of Twin Lakes City – hell, even when it just loiters around shop fronts or hangs out in shady alleyways – he’s there, ready to investigate the cases that nobody else will. He is The Darkside Detective.

The Darkside Detective is a micro-adventure game with a distinct art style and charm. It’s being developed for PC, Mac, Smart Phones and Tablet devices, and is set to be released later this year. The game consists of a series of humorous bite-size investigations into the occult and extraordinary.

You'll find a demo link on their homepage as well.   I like their attitude and enthusiasm, and I love a good mystery.

Find them on Facebook:

EQ II The Message In A Bottle

Today when I logged in my Bottle was in my inventory. 

I set it down in a nice spot for display.  Note I finally have a new outfit.  My knobbly little mouse knees are right out there for all to admire and dream on.

I read the message and of course choose to use the bottle's spell.

Poof! In a bit of sparkle I am transported to an Abandoned Island.

Nearby is a survivor of the crash who needs help.  I search the beach area and find a book which gives me a cooking recipe.  I get a quest to find the ingredients in a nearby untended garden.  There is a cooking fire near a shack.  There are several other books on the beach but they can't be interacted with.

I'm asked to make a Prime Blessing Recipe using the workbench in the shack but I don't have the recipe for some reason ( I keep thinking it must be in one of those other books).  I can't advance.

Looking around the island a bit I see a vulture like creature who is level 15 and my character is only level 12.  Remembering how much trouble my Froglok had with a spider just one level up, I don't have the confidence to attack it.

I think I'll leave her here for the nonce and see if those books can be interacted with next time I log in. 

Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders

Via the Official Agatha Christie Facebook page,  it is the 125th Anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth and there are all sorts of fun things going on to celebrate.  

One of them is a new game called The ABC Murders based on the book of the same title.

Coming this summer from Microids (Makers of Syberia and Amerzone) it looks promising!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lord of the Rings Online & Steam

Yay!  I had success using Steam to download LOTRO and there I was, floating through Middle Earth once more.

I really liked the horse mount I have.  Really nicely animated.  He has a name I chose myself, not some bizarre randomly generated name.

The music remains some of the best in game music anywhere. 

My time was spent completing a couple of quests to get a feel for the interface and combat again.   I cleared anything older than the area I'm in from my quest log, and dumped any group quests I found.  It appears you can have 43 quests in your log which is very generous, very nice.

I'm having trouble locating the creatures I need to kill for a task.  I wonder if I should cancel that and see if the quest NPC offers it again or if he offers a new one.   I'd hate to think the drop rate is so exceedingly low that I just didn't get the item I needed because of that sort of issue. and I haven't another way that I see to verify I'm killing the right creatures.

Frick.  I forgot to pick up my loot from the handy dandy loot bag that gathers your stuff but doesn't stuff your inventory. Eek.

Note:   Aha, it turns out the quest items were in my loot bag.  I need to pay attention to what I loot in the chat window so I can see if I'm on the right track and in the right place.

Throwback Thursday: Lego Universe

The Award for Most Frustrating Beta Ever goes to Lego Universe! 

Such an adorable game. The Mini-Figs were so cute.  The world and environments were everything you would wish for.  But.

As happens in a beta, many, many things didn't work.  Expected.  You expect to play, give feedback, see what other people think, share tips.

In this beta, you had a very limited in-game ability to say anything in chat.  You could only use certain words and phrases.  Certain letters of the alphabet!

Problematically, the forums were run the same way.  Every comment was moderated.  This doesn't mean what you think it means. They didn't removed anyone's posts, they just never let them show up.

As adorable as it all seemed, I got highly frustrated with the inability to provide feedback in game and out.  In a rare for me bit of snit-ishness, I sent some emails directly to the Support email, then I walked away from the Beta and the game.

Dear Lego Peeps:

The Imagination globes that I pick up have stopped registering so I am unable to complete "builds" and quests.


One of the Nimbus Station Quests to talk to Melodie Foxtrot is not able to be completed because her Survival mini-game "is not available in beta"


My Character’s hair keeps disappearing whenever she is near objects such as walls


The purple "infected bricks" have an extremely low drop rate this evening.  I was picking them up left and right on Sunday and tonight I could only get one after killing over 15 Stromlings.



Extremely laggy today in Avant Gardens/launchpad area/Nimbus Station


Game Crashed in Nimbus Station Rock Concert area while attempting to access vendor there.


Embarrassed Mini-fig does not wear his Party Pants to dance once you get them for him.  He wears nothing.


My character name, which I have been using (so I know it is an approved name) was not approved at any point in the play session.  My name remained the auto-generated name.


Words I could not use to help other players:



Cove (to say where Pet Cove is!!!! Aggghhh!!!)

Please reconsider the limited vocabulary useable in the game!


Did you change it so I cannot use "i" to open my backpack?




My character was deleted from Thursday so I've extra opportunities to do the starter area.


Venture Station


I'm hoping you put in a cutscene to introduce the game, and to let the player know they are on a space station that is falling apart.  I realize you have the plaques but they are easy to disregard especially if you're new to this game, or as the case may be, a new gamer altogether who may not think of examining all objects.  I think some players with slower computers may have trouble with the screen shake here as well.


Achievements--you give achievements here for reading plaques, looking through binoculars and finding all three types of ship parts.  Completists will want to know these are available and this is the area to introduce them to the fact that you have an achievement system in game.  The game announces you've gotten your first achievement in Avant Gardens, but if in fact they can be had in Venture Station, it needs to be known.


I think the directions for movement are very good here, with the onscreen mouse and confirmation that the player has performed the correct action.  Today was extremely laggy though and these did not show up right away.  I would expect heavy traffic at launch and this might be something to think about.


Avant Gardens:  I think you should take the Gold Bricks and Pets out of this area and only introduce them to areas in Nimbus Station and beyond where they will have access to pets.  I think having these in this beginning area creates confusion and frustration.


Spiders:  I would suggest you make it clear how a player can get the gas mask that allows them access to the back of the spider nest as soon as they enter the area or when the quest is given.




I would like to be able to see someone else's home to see what is possible before I attempt to build my own.  I need a simplification of the building process in this area.  It is easy to look at real Lego bricks and see what you need to build, but in this property area, I cannot see how they fit together.  I need to read the tutorial, but that level of help needs to be right in the game so play isn't interrupted,


I'm glad to see all the faction quests working.  It adds another layer of depth to what is really a fun game.


At login my character had her chosen name displayed properly rather than the auto-generated one.


She tried the AG Survival for her last faction stamp.

    -kicked out to login screen several times after being defeated

    -was partnered with herself one time

    -had a message to talk to the quest npc a couple of times, but after disconnect to login screen the npc's question mark was still greyed out so had to try instance again


Finally was given mission completion and went to Nimbus Station to turn in the four faction stamps.

Game froze with  a close-up of the quest npc cheering after selecting the Venture Faction.  Tried backing out to select mini-fig screen, then going back in which put the game back in normal perspective. 


The Venture rep and the Venture NPC would not speak with my character, or interact at all.  Also in achievements the Join Venture was not marked.  The quest to collect the stamps or turn them in was gone.  Tried logging all the way out and back in.  Still not able to get recognition of completion and joining the faction.



Started a new character.  Her name was approved almost immediately, however her name on the screen remained MemeLoudTrout (auto-generated) rather than my chosen name.


I'm noticing a lot of people in the Venture Explorer stuck at the first steps and I cannot answer their questions about how to jump because I cannot say "w" to jump.  :( :( :(    People who are used to the WASD control scheme will be familiar with using the w and spacebar simultaneously with the mouse, but a new gamer will have trouble possibly and I'm picturing little hands at the keyboard and perhaps they might not have the finger span to do the actions.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

These Are Not Blood Elves...

So I log in tonight and my Atherne appears to be wearing a cold metallic Death Mask.

My Paladin doesn't look like this...

She looks like this:

My happy go lucky rogue looks full of sorrow:

And of course my Gnome is all serial killer looking once more:

Angry Gnome is Angry!

I can't find the option to have the old character models again.  Grrr.   Wait...   Game Menu/System/Advanced/Uncheck Show New Character Models

Good thing that worked. My Elf also ran like she had on Cement Boots.  Now she's ok.

Crowfall Kickstarter

Today is the official Kickstarter opener for Crowfall.

They're off to a whopping good start!  Good for them.  I watched the video and they hit all the right notes.

Although everyone says it, I believe these guys when they say they want to make an awesome game they and you will want to play. 

I'm unfamiliar with Todd Coleman, but Gordon Walton, Raph Koster, Thomas Blair, I'd follow those guys anywhere.  They're brilliant, they play the games, they enjoy interacting with the players, and they all have that rare quality, integrity.

As they say, see you in game.

Patch Day World of Warcraft 6.1

I love a good Patch Day.

Although there aren't any nice big quest lines (and there's really no excuse for that), there are tons of things that add functionality to the game.

I am not disappointed at all that there is no flying.  The zone was designed to have treasures and puzzles and alternative activities that would be diminished by flight. 

The next Expansion should take place in some land where you're always up in the air, always flying, and those who love to fly can zoom back and forth endlessly happy.

The next Patch should let me decorate my Garrison!  I want rugs, I want paintings, I want furniture.  I want the ability to have the buildings reflect the homelands of my characters or even let me choose the theme.

Highlights that I find interesting or worthy of comment:

Blood Elf Models:  Weren't they already the Fairest of Them All?  Did they really need tweaking?

Twitter Integration:   I can see this being useful for some, but Like I Tweet Much.  I'm sure not connecting my Fake-O Gamer Twitter account to my real life game account.  Keep It Separate, Keep It Safe.

Toys: ....In the real world I have lots of toys.  More toys than I ought to have.  In the game they seem useless and annoying.

Garrisons:   I can't understand why they didn't add any Guild Functionality or even the ability to just Set Permissions so people you know can just enter without being grouped.  Or let your Alts use your stuff.  Sheesh.

I do like the New Garrison Visitors
  • One of five new visitors may visit each day offering a quest to anyone that visits players with a Tier 3 Garrison.
    • Defeat a dungeon boss: Completing this daily quest awards Garrison Resources.
    • Defeat a raid boss: Completing this weekly quest awards gold and an item level 645 token with a chance for it to be an item level 655 token.
    • Bounty (intended for 2 or more players): Group up with 2 or more additional players to hunt down and defeat a powerful enemy and you’ll earn gold and a chance to get an heirloom quest item off of the creature you kill for the quest.
    • Relic: Completing these quests will reward gold and ultimately Harrison Jones as a new Follower.
    • Profession: Get your hands on more Primal Spirits, reduce surplus reagents, and buy new recipes for crafted upgrades and transmutes.
  • For the Pet Battlers out there, there's a separate chance for an additional visitor offering unique Pet Battles with a chance to award a bag containing Pet Battle items and new Battle Pets.
Harrison Jones in my Garrison!!!

I love the music of Draenor, and some other areas of the game, so I like everything that I know so far about the  New Garrison Music Box
  • Players can assemble a music box allowing them to play music in their Garrisons.
  • The music box can be obtained as a reward from a new quest found in your Garrison.
  • New songs can be collected from throughout the world to expand your music library.

The Archaeology Follower Mission changes are my favorite part of the Follower Missions Updates
  • New Profession Missions are now available on upgrading a profession building to level 3. Successfully completing these missions award an item that allows instant completion of work orders.
  • Players can unlock Relic and Bounty missions for their followers by completing the corresponding Relic or Bounty quest offered by one of the random daily new visitors to the Garrison.
  • New exploration missions are available to players with a skill of at least 1 in Archeology. Successfully completing these missions can award Archeology fragments, keystones, or treasure maps for a Draenor zone. Treasure maps obtained in this manner does not require quest achievement completion for the Draenor zone.
  • Archeology Vendors in Stormshield and Warspear now sell an item that'll spawn a follower exploration mission for 5 Restored Artifacts.
  • New Level-100 Scouting missions to a Battlefield now awards an item that grants access to missions that award Apexis Crystals.
  • New Raid missions to Blackrock Foundry are now available for a cache that awards level 665, 680, or 695 items.
  • New follower missions have been added that can award gold, Apexis Crystals, Savage Blood, or Augmentation runes.
  • Level 90-94 gold and Garrison Resource missions will now continue to appear even if there are no Followers that are level 90-94.
  • Level-100 Garrison resource missions now award more Garrison Resources.
  • Scavenger trait for Followers now increases Garrison Resources gained from a mission by 100% (down from 200%).

Darkmoon Faire (This Very Weekend!   )
  • The Darkmoon Faire have added an exciting new racing event with opportunities to obtain new unique prizes!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Crowfall: They Must Have Seen Me Coming

Well.  I decided to register on the Crowfall site and Poof! Rejecto!  No error message, just wouldn't allow me to register.

I had a good forum name picked out too.  Hmmpf.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wandering the Worlds

World of Warcraft

I played my Atherne character for a bit this evening.  I spent most of the time looking for those Shadowmoon Treasures.  Only a Satchel was hard to get to.  For as many as I've found I might still have ten more.  The place is packed.

I couldn't use a single thing, but got good gold in exchange for them.  I'm wondering if I can remember these locations, I can just send my other characters to find them without the treasure map and it might be things they can use.


My Cleric is still in Moonshade Highlands.  She's level 37 so it's right on level for her, plus I need the resources here for potions.   There were some tantalizing Rifts in the area but I stayed on target with my quests. 

Sent her to snooze in The Breach Chamber, which is a lovely place.  It occurred to me I haven't randomly looted anything for my house in a long while.  I hope they didn't take that sort of thing out of the loot tables.


Played my Wizard for a bit. Neriak is really a confusing city for me but I made progress.  The game was laggy for the first time that I recall, ever. 

I had some mail that I should take a message in a bottle to my home and open it. Had a devil of a time finding my house again.  Once there, I had no bottle.  Ran back to the mailbox to see if I missed it but no.  Went home again and was booted to the character screen, then could not get back in game. 

Adventures of all kinds everywhere.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

LOTRO Patch Issues

Tsk, after five hours of download time, I thought I'd be able to play at last. A final Patcher issue arose, and though I looked at numerous threads, I'm not able to get the Patcher to complete.

On the plus side, I now know about UAC.  That didn't help.

There was no "tm" in any line anywhere in the LOTRO folder.

Firewall isn't the issue.

Most of the posts were from Macintosh users (Get thee behind me, Macintosh!) These threads occur from 2009 to 2014 so I would say that this ought to be A Known Issue with a Known Set of Fixes.

I'll wait to see if it clears up. If not, no LOTRO for me, alas.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday! Thoughts On Lord of The Rings Online

If this were Facebook I'd have a picture of me at age two so you could go awwww soooo cute!

Since I'm done with Galaxies Tuesday, we'll just toss out any old thing here for Throwback Thursday.

I used to be so very serious about what I expected in a game.  Here is my early analysis of Lord of the Rings Online:

Plot: Story arc, background, quests, IP or original storyline. Everything in the game should tie into and revolve around the plot in some way.   Perfectly done! Middle Earth feels like Middle Earth in every way.  The stories and plots as revealed through quests are engaging and help the plot move forward.  They help give depth to the world.

Character creation options: Face customization including options for all features, eyes, nose, mouth, hair (long hair! not in a braid or bun!), hair and eye color options, cosmetic options, body size options including height and weight. If there are different species they should be very different and have tons of ways to customize appearance.   Terribly done.  Very limited character creation and customization tools.  You should have more hair, eye, head shape options.  Mouth-ack you can hardly see any change when you try to manipulate this feature.  I understand the whole “it is too taxing on the database” thing with customization and coloring, etc.  I can’t believe that you can offer more options up front though.

Classes: if there are various classes, whatever they may be called, they should have very different roles, abilities, and functions solo and within groups.   Well defined for me: Hunter, Minstrel, Loremaster, Burglar.  Captain, Champion, Guardian very fuzzy.

Advancement: There need to be a variety of ways you can advance your character. It cannot be that the only viable method is following a particular quest string, or even only quests period as the way to move forward. Sometimes, you just want to explore or craft, or gather resources by shooting stuff. You have to able to break free of a set path.   There need to be more opportunities to do side things such as the in-testing Reputation stuff that can help your character advance.  I haven’t had an opportunity to test the chicken play yet (tried this morning and got a message I had my max no. of quests….I have 28…argh.  Yes I bugged it.)  I think this type of alternate play is a good thing.  Anytime you can wander off and do some side quest it makes the game more appealing.

Option for good and evil and other faction types. In order for the world to be more complex, there should be a choice between being good or evil. How this plays out can vary widely. There should also be some neutral/gray areas or other factional influences that will distinguish your character and their life in the world.   MP and the Reputation stuff are good ways to go.  I do think more can be done here within the main PVE game environment. 

Setting: Time period and genre: Too many fantasy games for sure, but they could still distinguish themselves from one another by varying the time period they are set in. LOTRO has great attention to world detail, they have this right on the money.

World Size: Yes size does matter! If people are to spend alot of time in the world, then it needs to be large and varied and worthy of exploration.   I am all admiration for how much LOTRO packs into every inch of its world map, as revealed thus far.  I know everyone wants to rush to Moria and Helms Deep etc, but for the story and game to unfold as it should, given that we are living in the backstory of the world,  it should take time to unveil it all.

Travel options: We all want to drive cool machines, ride amazing creatures on land and in the air, move freely about the large world that has been built.   For LOTRO, this can be done with more horse options, with carts and wagons and carriages.  Are there catapults and siege engines for use in the Ettenmoors?  I thing more time frame appropriate mechanisms could make it more interesting.

Instancing: Some things should be instanced, mostly group type stuff so some camping fiend can't spoil things. Some instancing can be for mazes, puzzles, or such things that can be randomly reset for each user or group so it is a new experience each time.   I really like the use of instancing in LOTRO.  I think more solo options would be nice—what session play is getting at I take it?  I always thought the monk guy on the island-bah I can’t recall his name who gives you keys to the chests?...I thought it would be great if those rest and the locations of the chests moved on the island so you couldn’t just memorize.   In any case, I’m in favor of more puzzles, riddles, and instances which are not quite the same layout wise or mob or treasure wise each time you enter, both for challenge and replayability.

Sandbox! Yes, make the world a big, open, explorable many optioned thing. Let those who wish a more predetermined path set out along quest sequences if they choose. Give people choices all along the way between being led by the snoot and doing what they want to do next.   Funny! You do have way too much leading by the snoot going on here.  You can explore but it does not really pay off unless you’re just wandering collecting ore or hides.

Mail: make is easy and intuitive to send/receive mail. Make it simple to send to multiple players. Allow some sort of mail save feature that puts it in Notepad or someplace you can get to it out of game.   Needs work.  Too annoyingly expensive still to send mail.

Bank: easy to use, includes storage. Nice on the extra storage being offered now. 

Bazaar: system for buying on the spot or searching player vendors.   No player vendors, no player merchant system that is viable and distinctive.  L

Player vendors: Different vendor options. Customizeable to look like player or other in game characters.   Nope.

Group sizes: Small for regular groups, larger for raids, larger yet for social groups (entertainers).  Fine for the groups and raids.  Can use more mid-level group sizes…looks like that is coming so so fine..  More social options and band options needed for musicians.  I would like to be able to play the same song as the band leader, for instance.  Playing music should give some reward or xp or have some stylized clothing…anything to make it more of a social and true entertainer ability.   Dance needs to be added.  There should be dance troupes playing at the fairs and on the stages of Middle Earth.

Tutorial: Well defined tutorial area. Basics of chat, combat, social interaction, money and banking, User Interface should be covered.   Really well done.  Very engaging as well.

Guild management: Guild lists, chat, halls, management of membership should be easy to use.  I think the Kinship lists are great and dynamic.  I like the recent addition of seeing at a glance who is online.  Guild Halls need to be added.  Shared environments, places to meet and trade and drop off goods for others.  It would enhance the community feel greatly.

Resource management and collection: It isn't all about the loot! There should be a deep crafting game that includes resource collection of many types, both hunted and mined. Both combatants and crafters should be involved in and interdependant.  Well, everyone is forced to be a combatant.  You can’t advance in your craft because of the nature of the craft quests without ubering up your toon.  It is just not right that the dedicated crafter needs to do that.  While there is interdependency in the crafts, the crafter should be able to gather for himself non-hunted materials.  A woodworker of any stripe should be able to gather wood, for instance. 

Crafting game: This should involve being able to be a combatant or not. You should be able to create and customize a wide variety of useful and decorative objects. What a player makes should always be the best item available factoring in their skill level, resources used, and the requirements of the object.   I still agree with me here. J  Hopefully over time more useful objects can be crafted.  Right now I don’t use myself my own crafted goods because my character always seems to outlevel what I can usefully craft at any given time.  I can always get a better reward from quests than I can make at any given time.   There is very little that can be crafted that is ornamental in any way.

Loot: I love loot! I want it to be decorative or useful to somebody though. No need to spend time or effort making pure crud dropping, we're talking no brains, stomachs, glands or whatever, that I can't use in a recipe or schematic or drop onto something to make it better or more attractive.   I’ve gone to the dark side on this one and treasure any old boar part I come across or any bone that gives me repair money.  On the other hand, useful crafting items and components should drop at a much greater rate.  Loosen that loot table!

The Arts and Imagination: Entertainers should be in the world with the ability to dance, sing and compose. Artists should be able to paint and sell their creations. Writers should be able to author and sell their stories. There should be some version of a newspaper or other way of allowing events in information to be passed to the denizens of the world.   No sign of anything like this, except for the ability to compose.  I thought when I wrote this that that would open up a world of possibility, but without a supporting set of emotes and clothing and entertaining skills, it has not.


PVP: Consensual. Instanced or allowed in certain areas so there aren't people clogging up the main game areas with their showboating contests. Competitive. Duels, fields of battle that require tactics, Capture the Flag, tournaments with leaderboards. Perhaps put versions of real world sports contests such as soccer in so that it fits with the world.   I haven’t MP’d but think from what I read it goes a long way towards this one.  Chickenball, and things like that, if they worked really well, would be a good start on the tournament thoughts.  Still would like to see jousting.  Also racing, horse racing, or wild boar races through the shire!

Solo vs Group: There should be both solo and group advancement and play options. There should be no required quests that you need to do with a group only that will keep you from advancing your character through the story or their skills. There should be other advantages to grouping--more money, more resources or loot collected, better chance at phat loot in a group, faster character advancement (xp gain) perhaps so it is desirable to group but not necessary.  Here is a real problem.  Too many story arcs do require a group, and a full group at that.  Also, it needs to be easier to step in and help someone with a quest even if you already completed it or haven’t completed it or whatever.  I hear people all the time asking for help and you can’t get into the instance, or you have to crawl to Timbuktu to get to a spot where you maybe can help.  Make it all friendly! 


Quests:  Story arcs (static and monthly/serial); side quests that develop the story or give depth to a region/city/planet/area; repeatable killing quests that yield xp and resources or money; delivery quests that do not involve long distances or backtracking; race or profession specific quests;  quests that allow you to solve a problem or piece together and item or puzzle.   I can’t fault quests in this game for sheer number, variety, cleverness and fun.  The quests are a pleasure to read and play through.  Just make them easier to complete or help someone else to complete! 


Arcanum: The Dread Bridge

The rotten bridge came up sooner than I hoped it would.  The Master Thief is quite the goofball.  Too much time spent at the dining hall in college, not enough time studying. 

I chose the mildest conversational path and appeared to be in major awe of him.  Guppy, he believed me.  Back to Shrouded Hills to see if there is an alternate way out.

I did make my character over pretty much the same as my first try. Except, I put a point in Melee, two in Dexterity and 2 in Strength.  So far pretty good.  Wolf Killers R Us.

Rift Behind the Scenes with Julia Fleming

I like to know the stories and people behind my games.  How cool are these people (usually) who create amazing worlds for us to adventure in?   It is valuable to know how these people "think" if nothing else, because this will affect your virtual worlds and whether you and they live or die.

Here's a feature on Julia "Darkmoon" Fleming (apparently not named after the Faire).

I appreciate that she thinks about and has backstories for recurring characters in Rift.  The world is much more immersive and welcoming if you have guides along the way who share or affect your adventures.

Good news that they're tweeking/adding to Instant Adventures in their next update/patch.  They are so addictive.  Anything added should be most exciting.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Arcanum of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: F7

One evening last week the Internet went out. It was after midnight and the router isn't conveniently placed so that I could reboot it.  Rather than go to bed I looked at my desktop to see what else I might play that didn't want a connection.

Voila, the GOG games were available.  I tried out Return to Zork.  I did not play the original Zork games.  So I went in, found the little guys in the videos to be really weird, and I died pretty much immediately.  All indicators said to go south, despite alleged dangers.  It turns out the Zork game I had really wanted to play was Zork Nemesis (found that on my shelves while looking for the Arcanum box).  Much different.  Sacrilege to Zork-ites, I'm sure.

I had played Arcanum in the past, and have the GOG version, all nicely ready to play.  In the dim past, full disclosure, I played Arcanum and only got as far as a bridge where some guys killed me.  I couldn't get around them for anything.  Sad story.

I was enjoying my new game of it, exploring, killing things successfully and relatively easily, I thought.

My human, long sword wielding, Tomboy background techie seemed good. Then a bunch of wolves killed me and my pal Virgil.

I could not figure out how to save, or it needn't have ended so tragically.  It also wasn't clear how to use the World Map to travel.

Enter the Pack Rat.  With some things.  Like my games.  I have the original box.  I always loved all of things that came with games in the good old gaming days.  When I was knee high to a grasshopper.  Or an Orc.

I've got the Quick Key List

I have a map! Yay me!

Gloriously I have the 189 page book to guide me as I consider if I should have gone with a magical character instead.  Or shall I remake my Tomboy?

While I ponder, perhaps I should try this recipe, helpfully included.  ( I thought at first Halfling might be one of the ingredients).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What Happened And What's Going On

Homage to The Walking Dead!  It's been that sort of a week.
(2/16/15 Note I've added links to MassivelyOP and Blizzard Watch sites and fund raising sites below.)

Department of Good News

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is holding at 10 million subscribers.  They need to get that Patch 6.1 out and also really quickly get some content patches out.  Draenor has plenty of opportunities for new quests  Garrison Improvements at the very least.

The Raceway from Darkmoon Faire in beta is coming in 6.1!  It is so much fun and reminds me somehow of Mario Racing or Wacky Wheels if you remember that game. Or Speed Racer!

Their Kickstarter reached its goal in under 48 hours, which is just incredible and well deserved.  There are still 21 days and much more they can do with additional support.  I've been following the writers and MassivelyOP on Twitter and they are all so nice, smart and dedicated to continuing to bring MMO news to everyone.  Ever better things coming from these folks.


The Wow Insider staff also hit the ground running and has a fully funded site via Patreon, which I haven't heard of before.  With Patreon you just pledge a monthly contribution, it looks like it can be whatever you wish.  If you think of it as a subscription for one of your favorite game sites, it is well worthwhile and as affordable as can be.  They seem to be working hard to restore much of the content they lost to layoffs, such as their Class columns.  I'm wishing them the best.

The Adventure Gamers Store

The Adventure Gamers Review site will be opening an online store later this month which will allow them to offer Adventure focused games.  They were reaching out to publishers large and small of these titles to get started.

Department of Bad News

Daybreak Studios Breaks Down Immediately

Much sooner than I expected, a large wave of layoffs went through the new "indie" company.  Many beloved people are now looking for new roles in the industry.  I hope they'll all find new places quickly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blogging Anniversary Coming Up

The fifth anniversary of my "real" blog is almost here.  Although it has gone through a few changes in focus, and I broke off a gardening blog from it at one time, it has remained me and I've posted pretty consistently on it.

My game blogs have a much stranger history.  I've started them, enjoyed them, then have taken them down.  One of the incarnations was actually quite successful as far as readership and posting whatever was in my head.  I honestly can't recall what made me yank it down.

I may have had six different versions of this blog.  My guess is that my game persona at any given time might change.  Maybe I get tired of not being me.  It's all well and good to play and take on characters, but hmmpf. 

Interestingly this version may get the least readers, and it is most like me.  Best not to ponder that too long.

Here are a few quotes from my very first game blog, which I saved to some extent for some reason in my tricksy copy/paste way.   I think my writing hasn't changed much.

Bioware and a Star Wars MMO

Bioware continues to not say yes or no on a Star Wars MMO and LA announced a Star Wars game but gave no details, so yes yes I hope they make a Star Wars MMORPG, and even if it is space only, as long as they let me land and get on the ground sometimes I will be right there when it becomes available. Just don't co-publish with the evil ones.

Small SWG Rant

I have been so disgusted with the SWG development and community relations staff, I had to not write anything here. Their treatment of crafters has been burning my biscuits since the NGE, but as I see people running out of resources to craft their goods with no hope in sight, and continued non-response from SOE staff....grrrr.

Their excuse of course is that they need to put their time in the professions that the most people play. They create a self-fulfilling prophecy by making any profession but Jedi (as everyone points out absent from this time period except for Darth, Luke and Yoda) absolutely useless. They force people to take the Legacy quest series because there is no other way to advance in the game, but this set of quests notoriously doesn't update for many people or give them xp.

I have been reading old interviews and forums in other venues to try to see how they came to this point of utter hideous crap in what was a rich and deep game. What I am seeing is, they actually have always ignored all but the Jedi professions, claiming that they have had soooo many requests for Jedi gameplay.

I had one of those glimmers of hope again last week because LucasArts is doing a focus group in the LA area for veteran and new players. WOW, I thought. They want to talk to people face to face and ask some deep questions about where the game has been and where it should go. Then, I found a thread on from people who had been called to take part in the survey. It seems they only want to talk to people who have began playing in the last three months and either stayed or left. Well, well. Would this be people who have only tried out the game in the NGE time period? /bonks self on head for having any hope.

Elder Scrolls Morrowind

Another try is Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. Now that game has lots of potential. Freedom of movement, the ability to explore and examine the environment. There are plenty of people to talk to, but even those who haven't much to say seem to enrich the story and the setting.

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

I love this game. It has come at just the right time as I rummaged through my games looking for something that grabbed me story wise and gameplay wise. I have been having trouble getting my character the way I want, so I find myself back in the sewer tweaking her. I started out with a kajiit, and really liked my cat, but it seems the female kajiit is fatally flawed except as a mage type character. Explorer and adventurer that I am, I want to slay anything in my path with ease. So back to the sewers for a Redguard. She has done much better right off, so I guess no lovely kitty tail unless I want to play again later when I know the world better as a sorcerer type.

The character creation is really difficult. Slider bars are used which on my pc means the mouse pointer sort of floats over the slider at times. This gives either too much or too little tweaking of coloring and facial shape. The eyes...Very creepy looking on this screen. The eyes peer out like the moving eyes behind a portrait in a ghost story. Also, there are only three eye colors, and the blue is washed out, the green is an ucky flat shade that doesn't look green and the brown looks warm but I want blue or green eyes :( Lets talk about the lips. You can't really resize the lips, but you do things with the chin and cheek sliders that make your lips very very odd. The nose also cannot be made long or short or narrow or wide. You can change the nostrils. Eeeww. All of this is sort of why I made the kitty in the first place. She had lovely red gold fur, with sort of jeweled hair.

I've mostly run into animals and the Undead. I did stop in an inn that had an interesting mix of characters. All acknowledged my character as she came in. One referred to my character as "fur licker".

After coming out of the sewers you are able to instant travel to your quest location, or travel overland. Luckily there is no timer on getting to the quest. So overland I go. I am finding the leveling system interesting as an idea, but it seems to me that any caves and creatures in the immediate area around the initial area should have low level stuff. I was getting whomped by the magical types with my non-magical characters.

Another try at Dark Age of Camelot

Well, since I decided to drop SWG (though I haven't hit the button yet), I am finding to my amazement I don't really want to play at all. I guess my methods of assuring few withdrawl symptoms are working. Hehe.

So...I thought I would give DAOC another try. In my first attempt, being a SWG-er firmly believing in the earlier version as best, I had chosen the "classic" server. Some post on made me think maybe I would see a more up to date version of the game on a "normal" server. Not the case but... Maybe I am paying more attention this time around, or maybe the "normal" gives a more helpful interface, but I was able to give a start and kill a few beasties (the go here talk to that npc task makes me nuts pretty fast). I was pleased to kill a skeleton and some little scrubby humanoid. I couldn't figure out how to pick up the booty once I slew them :(

I can't help but compare any game to SWG, though so I noted that I couldn't quite tell an NPC from a player, very potentially embarrassing. I recalled I couldn't tell for a bit in SWG either. I found an armorsmiths store in the village, all manned by npcs and thought sadly of the fate of AS in SWG and how they are no doubt slotted to be replaced by npcs as well. The sad thought "What a dead world" came to mind, and I logged out. Still, even the command line stuff and the way the npcs talk to you about the world (the bad bad phrase "too much reading" sprang to mind) remind me of the old days.

Gabriel Knight

Ah, Gabriel! Determined to become the gamer I once was, I fired this up again and made progress! I figured out the arrow keys allow you to rotate the field of view so you can point the little arrow and make Gabriel walk to the next appointed spot. I recall back in the days when Myst was new, and games were touted for having 360 degree...can't recall what they called it. The point being, you could see but not interact with, everything in a wondrous 360 degree environment. No more looking at the predetermined pixels!

There is this little timer and "counter" in the game that clocks how you're doing (apparently you need to accomplish certain tasks within a certain in game time frame) and a counter for how many tasks you have accomplished. You have this running score that lets you know if you've found the clues, talked to the right people, hit those markers. It provides a sort of encouragement to move along through the story, which is interesting. I do like the way single player games tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.