Monday, April 26, 2010

I just gotta tell ya...

When the urge to write comes upon me, I just have to get it out...get it out of my head and onto the web.

As I am doing a writing project for work, I feel the need to intersperse those moments of thought with what has been happening in the household for the "Family who MMO's" (I think that is a permanent tagline now, and I had better trademark it!).

As well, it will give me a chance to talk about my two favorite MMO's and the latest news for them.

First up is Age of Conan.

We still have it on our schedule, so that when the expansion hits, we would get back into the game. News just arrived that it is finally on its way. Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer will launch on May 11th.

A great way to celebrate their anniversary as well for AoC, as it launched in May two years ago.

We plan to play it smart though. There will be no reason to jump right in, as we all know how Funcom is when it comes to launches. They have proven that they really cannot get anything off the ground without some major hiccups. I would prefer not to be a 30 day hater like I was two years ago. So, we will wait and see how this rolls. The bonus is thanks to the "endless trial" we can at least see how the game is performing and what discussions are taking place in Global about how others feel before buying.

Based on my Xfire watching though, I can see a bit of excitement for Age of Conan and the expansion as people are logging in more. This past Sundays performance shows an increase in players in the game using my calc systems. Close to 90k players actually.

Quite good for AoC.

There are quite a few deals, including a pre-order directly through Funcom and your account if active. You get a discount (the package is touted as $29.99, but 5 bucks off if purchased now). You also get a special pet and some other goodies. They also have various other packs including mounts, points to use in the game (token system) and more. Log in HERE to see information on these specials.

Next up; Warhammer Online.

I need to say this. I LOVE this game, and I am having a blast.

I was actually gone for several days and we missed some game time last week. As well, I missed the news that Mythic did a formal apology for the screw ups on billing.

For those who did not hear (all two of ya), Mythic had several problems where people were billed multiple times (some up to 20 times) for their sub.
Anyways, I will not go into the details, so here is the letter of apology. This basically explains what they will do for those affected by this error. The rewards are really incredible. And not just that, but for all players, they have a huge jump in XP for PvE and RvR renown. This really has helped, as we logged in this weekend and gained 3 LEVELS. We reached level 20 and bought our horses. Excellent.

Now, all news was not good. Warhammer servers are being shut down in Taiwan, Hong Kong and other locations in Asian countries. What does this mean? Hard to say. I have the theory still that a rough population of 65-75k players can keep a game running (look at EQ2 or Star Wars for examples of games still running with low pops). Will this affect WAR? Hard to say right now. Progress is being made on the next update which will enhance RvR, and will have quite a few changes which is almost a mini-expansion.

I will hold my thoughts on this for now. From the looks of it, the billing fiasco did not hurt WAR on Xfire (the calcs have put the game back where it was before the fiasco).

Now...playing WAR and why it works for the "Family who MMO's"?
We are just not an end game kind of group. We like the journey, pure and simple. Many complaints have been lodged at WAR on the end game becoming a huge grind for no particular reason. I.E: Like ALL MMO's.
For the Family, we just enjoy the variety of things we can do. We will cue up for Scenarios, go questing and doing the Public Quests for the rewards. It all adds up to doing something all the time. So far, we LOVE to login and play, and that is the key.

One of the nice things about WAR compared to most MMO's...less wildlife and more humanoid based mobs. I really felt this while playing this morning. As I moved from one zone to the next, I was always fighting something human like. As I am Order, it would be Chaos, Orcs, or even demons like the Blue Horrors, etc. If i had to kill boars ad nauseum (looks at LOTRO and sneers), I would kill myself.
Spawn rates is another nice feature...especially in some of the Public Quests. You have barely enough time to recoup, and the next spawn is in. Keeps you moving. And speaking of the of health and action points works quite well. Combat is faster than say WoW or LOTRO or especially EQ2 (the last time the family went into EQ2, the slow combat REALLY ruined the game for us).

Will this fun continue? I think it will, as we all have a feeling that getting to 40 will be a goal. We want to do it, and it helps us feel like we have accomplished something. If I could count how many games disappoint before we finish or get to max, it makes me happy to then realize games like WAR or AoC exists.

We purchased another 60 days (time cards), and will see how we feel when that time is up. For now, the time in game has went over a 160 hours, and we keep racking it up.

There. Have I told ya enough now? Ok...better get back to work now. Cheers to ya and Game on!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sparkle Ponies are just like Cigs and Alcohol

Please read the fine print:

Riding a Sparkle Pony may cause lung cancer. As well, Sparkle Ponies may harm unborn fetuses.

But, most of all, Sparkle Ponies DEFINITELY impair better judgement.

You have been warned....

(DISCLAIMER: World of Warcraft and Activision have been know to cause nausea when taken literally. At times a rare ailment may occur, and people may actually continue to subscribe to said game if not taken properly.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Do NOT Support Capitalist Greed

This is real simple today. Make today a day YOU donate to a worthy cause, and let Activision / Blizzard NOT get your $25.00 buckos.

All I ask is that if you feel the urge to take $25 bucks of your hard earned money and throw it away on a "Virtual" pet in World of Warcraft that is owned by another company that you will have zero claim to, but the company who DOES own it will allow you to ride on it, as long as you continue to pay them another $15 bucks a month of course...

Please instead, click on one of these links, and take that 25 bucks and put it to greater use.

American Cancer Society
Aids Healthcare Foundation
Muscular Dystrophy
Children International
Ford Foundation

Or any other foundation or cause that you feel deserves it.

The total charge for this horse being offered by Blizzard costs maybe a weeks worth of wages of one to two developers. The overall costs to Activision/Blizzard after it is launched...minimal. Yet, the amount of money being charged is over $10 more than a monthly fee to the game. The money they earn on this could feed one nation for a YEAR. And, as I have stated, ownership of that product is ZERO. You must pay to continue to own the product. If you stop paying, you have lost that $25 until you pay another $15 again to regain ownership.

Lets put our money to a better use shall we?

Thank you

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Warhammer Online: Your money or your sub mister...

So, the days are winding down on the huge financial debacle from Mythic/EA/Bioware this past weekend.
I personally was NOT affected. I also took action and did not let them get me. I cancelled the credit card on file and cancelled my sub.

I WILL use time cards though.

Thats right. I am NOT leaving.

And really. Would I have left if this happened? There is no doubt it is upsetting when something like this takes place. Many people were hurt by this (bouncing checks, late bills, true embarrassment, like one story of a Father who could not pay for his kids lunch at Pizza Hut on Friday thanks to this). But, for myself, I know it is an "error". Companies make them, and at the same time, they can rectify them.

How many were truly affected?

Mythic was quick to try and get this fixed. It was not perfect. The payments did not get charged back until after the weekend, leaving some stranded, etc. But, the company DID make every effort to help.
They personally faxed banks, made calls, and did what was possible, for what I assume is a small team.

But, should they be forgiven? I, for example, am out 16 bucks for an overnight of a new Credit Card through my bank. I am 100% ATM/Debit carded. I do not use checks. Luckily, I also have a backup account. Many others were not so lucky. The pain and suffering is insurmountable for some.

If anything, the lesson here is to avoid giving Mythic your info, and using Time Cards. Now, Mythic needs to make a decision on what to do. They have been quite silent since this started. Will there be some type of "lets kiss and make up" situation at hand? Free game time maybe?

Eventually someone has to fess up, and something needs to be done. If my meal is bad at a restaurant, they make sure it is fixed. If my cable bill is screwed up, they make amends. Mythic is no different. They NEED to make those arrangements.

The silence right now to many is deafening. Should Mythic or EA be talking yet?

The next two weeks will help me decide though.

Can I enjoy a game from a company who has not decided just how important it's customer is yet?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Warhammer Online: Class Act

Currently I have been messing around with the various classes on the Order side of Warhammer Online. Since I am relatively new, I figured I needed to gain an understanding of what I like.

I have several solo characters who I will use to grind when the "Family who MMO's" is not playing. For the family though, I seem to be the one who gets put in a particular role. During this playtime, one thing became abundantly clear.

I was attempting to play as I normally played most MMO's.

In choosing the classes, which I have a good variety of to pick from, I followed my hearts desire, and what I was most familiar with. The healer classes.

If anything, the Archmage should have been my opportune class. All previous MMO's had me as the healer type, the one who always kept the "Family who MMO's" safe. But, I had to redirect my efforts this time.

Last nights game session proved to me that maybe I should not always be looking out for them, and instead try to make it an overall system of defense. Maybe it is the fact that in WAR the heals are not powerful enough to heal both yourself AND the group. You either focus on one or the other. As well, if you follow the Archmage path, then you must have a strong group around you who can keep you safe.

This was not the case in scenarios last night. Lets just say I have never been dead so much in any MMO.
Maybe this was a one time deal? Maybe I could learn to work around this? But, I really feel if I am not twinked out in armor and talismans, I will spend more time kissing dirt than kissing the sky with the healing love.

Now, keep in mind, we started new characters, as we wanted to try an alternate group, and I already have other characters I could play. But, so far, my wife enjoys being a tank class (Swordmaster) moreso than a DPS and my son loves his DPS (Witch Hunter) more than tanking.

So, where does this leave me? This morning I decided to solo level a character up, a Warrior Priest. Now, this class is still heals based, but with an advantage.


I spent time doing quests and after reaching level 4 (quite quickly I might add), I queued up for scenarios solo. Now, again, was it the group? This time I do not think so.
I watched as I was being pummeled by a Choppa, and was able to keep myself healed, and doing damage...massive the same time.
I then noticed they stopped attacking me, and went after the Archmage in the group. Maybe they thought they were not making headway with me (they were not...hehe). I started to heal the Archmage while still attacking that same Choppa (I wish to also note, he was rated "Challenging").

The Archmage lived. I got the kill. And I was happy again.

I guess I can still be the one who "helps" others. But, maybe I need to be able to do some of my own damage as well. I just could not get to grips with the concept of the Archmage. But, for the Warrior Priest, I truly felt like I could contribute.

Sometimes we need to step out of our norms and try new things. We may be surprised.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Age of Conan - Second Chances

Some games just deserve to get a second chance. Companies at first make a mistake, then try to rectify it.

Some have great results (I am quite content with Warhammer Online now).

But, some people are just too bull headed to know when to at least stop bickering and get to gaming.

So, we need your help. Age of Conan has made leaps and bounds in gameplay since it's initial launch, but there are those who let the launch continue to keep them away.

I went back after launch, and was quite happy. It is a good game now.

Well, those of you who also have went back, need to go tell Pitrelli at KillThatCheerleader. He has a poll up, and is looking to find out which game he should go back to try. Age of Conan is there and ready for your click.

Head there now, and let him know, it is ok to go back, as sometimes, yes, that girlfriend may have cheated on you before, but learned her lesson, and will cook for you EVERY DAY (while rubbing your feet, clipping your toenails and bringing you the beers).


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Warhammer Online: WAR Report

What do these images have in common?

What is the one thing I find in Warhammer Online that I really do not see much of in other MMO's?

Why are these images important to understanding why I am really enjoying this game?

A constant "Grouping" factor.

I have played in more "group" based Scenarios, PVP and PVE than any other MMO since I first started playing MMO's.

The dread of LFG all hours of the day got to be an annoyance in most MMO's I have played. Of course, Guilds are one way to avoid this, yet the commitment needed is beyond compare. Then hours of the day that we play can cause concern. Or lets say someone has outleveled you, etc.
So many ways that grouping just does not seem to work in most average MMO's WORKS in Warhammer.

Some people complain about the PvE being plain in WAR. Some people complain about balance in RvR in WAR, or PVP in general. These do not seem to concern the "Family who MMO's", because, we are actually having fun doing what we do.

Ok, now that is out of the way, I guess you may have figured out how we feel as a group in WAR. Basically the balance of what to do has really shined for us.
One minute we can be grinding a PQ (Public Quest) with others to raise our Influence bar. The next, we have entered a scenario to work on Renown. Or we may stray into the Open RVR and get a bit of fun fighting Destruction, or taking a Keep. And if none of this is going on, we can still do kill quests, a bit of crafting or gathering, and still be having fun.

There is not a total bed of roses here, as some concerns still are glaring to say the least.

The server we are on seems to have a very dedicated group on the Destruction side, who seem to work well together, while the Order side can be a bit lame. But, we are learning how to work through this.
Issues with the lag on the servers can cause some weird issues. Floating players, mobs who disappear and reappear across the field from where they were killed, and skills not firing off immediately, causes a bit of..WTF??
Yet, each night, these seem to not cause concern, as we all will look at the clock and say.."Wow, it is past bedtime."

Did we get our moneys worth? Sure did. Will it last? Hard to say...

For now, I am savoring the fun. I am enjoying the deep lore of the game (so much so, that I bought a new Warhammer novel). As long as I am entertained, it is worth the meager amount I have paid.