Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grind vs Fun - The Guild Wars 2 Debate

Having finished up a brief, but fruitful stint in Guild Wars 2, I wanted to review a few things I noted while playing. No doubt you will read many blog sites expounding upon combat, adventures, story. etc. I think I want to look at something that GW2 throws out the window.

How you play your MMO.

Something that you will never see in Guild Wars 2 is a full quest log. The flow of adventure as you move from one area to the next seems natural and endearing. You have the typical area in your UI where quests show up...but, you will always only have the MAIN persistent quest. Unlike most MMO's which have you go from place to place filling up your quest log, and trying to tackle them, GW2 will flash your screen where quests appear, and assign duties there. You will normally see a completion bar, and when it fills, you are done with that area. These usually fill up "hearts" and then reward Karma.

Again, you can read game sites, etc, to know more of how this works and what these naming conventions mean.

For myself and the family who MMO's, this felt organic. We just looked at our maps, and decided we should just run around, investigate the areas and let what come work its way to us naturally. Sometimes major events would happen, like in Rift, which would show up in your quest area, and you could see a major rush of people to get to that area. These were major situations, and eventually we would see many people dying.

Speaking of which, lets talk death. The unique system of trying to fight while fallen, and having other players help you back up is incredible. But, more than that, the fact people actually ENJOYED helping you back up...this really led to more "community" like situations. I mean, aren't you going to remember that person who helped you back up, as the fight raged on? But, as well, the reward system for doing this was a nice touch (get some XP, maybe some Karma....that was great).

GW2 is not easy. Period. So, expect to die a lot.

Seems most of the MMO's of late have held our hands way too long. I died more in GW2 than any other MMO of the last few years (and that was just over the weekend). And some of those deaths could have been prevented if I was better at my class. THAT speaks volumes of how the game will play out. The original Guild Wars was never a cake walk, and GW2 carries on that tradition.

Note my words: I could have prevented. The fact I do NOT need to rely on others to heal me, but at the same point, classes have skills that can offer "boons" to others around them with heals, defense, etc...this synergy was in effect so much as I played.

Finally, as we mention synergy, I want to talk about the guilds in Guild Wars 2. What a unique aspect of this game. All of your characters have the right to join the first guild you join...this was cool. BUT, you also did not have to join. The systems in place for upgrades to the guild was really neat. I did not have much time to play with it, but there seems to be a lot we can do, without being forced to be in groups together...everyone contributes. And in regards to groups, the whole "Stay in a party, even if logged out" was a god send. I could leave for a while, come back and log on with my family, and still be in the group with them. Awesome.

GW2 really takes a lot of conventions we're use to in MMO's and really shakes it up. Any hater who says GW2 is the same as any other MMO is just that...trolling for attention. There is just too much to enjoy here, where going back to the old way of MMO's will be hard. We will see when I attempt to go back to Rift after my vacation.

I know Guild Wars 2 may be a way off, but all I know is when it does launch, it will be a ways off before I leave that world.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Site of the Day

Just a quick post...

For those who played Guild Wars 1 and want to see what nostalgia Guild Wars 2 will share...check out this blog

Project Tyria

What happened to the world of Guild Wars 1 in the latest installment? Take a gander at these comparisons.


Friday, May 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Guild Sites..


It was the best of was even better times....and then it got REAL!

Barring my plagiaristic opener, times are awesome. Coming off a great opening experience in the Guild Wars 2 stress test, doing a bit of single player gaming, my job settling in, and progress moving forward on the two game guild setup for Simple Complexities, 2012 is looking up for the "Family who games" household.

As some of my fellow guildies from Rift may have noticed, I have started playing with new logos for the guild on our website at Guildlaunch. I am incorporating the two game logos into our banner. Both Rift and Guild Wars 2 are the games of choice going forward, and I cannot wait to join my old friends from Simple Complexities. So much so that this morning I logged into the "trial" version of my Rift account to goof off with my lowbie Defiant.

A return will soon be at hand.

As to the 2 game guild, I just wanted to update everyone on how the guild sites will work.

First up, I do NOT plan to take the current site and convert it to Guild Wars 2. There is too much data there for Rift. Plus, we need a way to separate the guilds from both games, for those who are not interested in GW2.

Thus, welcome to the new guildlaunch site at SimpleNComplex.

Next, as many may notice, I have started to play with our banner for the site. I already have the banner on our main Rift site updated. My ultimate goal is that the game the site is for will have a large logo of the main game, but the other game will be represented. So, looking at the current Rift site, I will make adjustments and have the Rift logo be LARGE and GW2 logo small. Then vice versa for the GW2 guild site.

As to Facebook, I plan to centralize posts there between BOTH games. Facebook will act as our centralized news source for both games. Twitter will also come into play...more on that soon.

As of this time, Gilraden is truly the main lead for the Rift faction of SC (thanks mate). I will be in charge of the GW2 faction. Gil really did a great job taking charge, and he has been in cohorts with several long time members. I appreciate all of their work.

So, on that note...I have a lot of work to do, so I better get to it. Cheers readers and Cheers fellow SC members...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Testing my stress - Guild Wars 2

Yesterday was the Guild Wars 2 stress test. And stressing it was, to quote my inner Yoda.

There is no doubt that GW2 offers something special in gameplay. Right off the bat, you are thrown into learning movement, combat, talking, and more. That is...if you were not stuck at a load screen, dropping to desktop, etc.

But, as I noted, I would not let myself get worked up about testing GW2. If anything, it allowed me to see some of my Xbox 360 controls to mess around with. I need to do some more configuring, but overall, mapping worked per most of my MMO's.

I did not get far, but that is OK. My goal was to test settings, help Arenanet test the game...and of course, get that first look. Heck, within 15 minutes, I was in one zone and the music kicked up...and a wave of nostalgia hit. I got the biggest smile possible, and was overjoyed at remembering all I loved about my original launch days in GW1. They have totally grasped the feeling of the original game with the beautiful music.

One aspect that I truly enjoyed is how they gradually brought you new skills as you used you main skills. Another bit of true gaming fun was the fact that though I had a main goal in the game, as I walked around, events would show up, and off I went, all A.D.D as I tried to do each little quest. The "no streamlined questing" thing is perfect for how I want to play now. No more rigid, funneled questing.

I took some screenies, and will post those soon. Not a lot of them, but, as I said...load screen lockups, dropped connections and overall messing in settings all led to just a taste of what is in store....and it is good indeed.

PS: A true sign of what gaming will be like on launch is how the wife enjoys character creation...and let me just say, she is in love with it. We will be gaming our butts off when GW2 launches.

Now...when is that next beta event???

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beta tester...ugh

So, recently, I stepped into the shoes of "Beta Tester" again for a specific game I cannot mention. I was very excited to be doing this...


What happens when you just do not enjoy the game being tested? I really want to do my part and help them improve on this unique title...but, after 30 minutes, the pleasure of the title just did not....please.

This leads me back to Guild Wars 2 and why I have NOT done the beta test.

Will I be disappointed? (as you may have guessed, the game I am testing is NOT GW2)

So, this past weekend we finally purchased our Digital Collector's editions of GW2 (the whole family...which led to a very large one time purchase...). This means we CAN step into the world of GW2 come next beta event.

But, should we?

My son matter what. This will not bother me. Well, OK, it may. As he will be playing, I will not be able to avoid seeing the game in action. But, I have seen so many videos, write-ups and screenshots...that I feel I have been to Tyria. So, will his playing entice me, or make me force him away?

Should I login as well? And should we ALL login so we can test class aspects?

I really want that feeling of returning to the wonder of Guild Wars. It has been our best MMO experience ever. And GW2 I feel can match that with a new way of playing an MMO.

So, I sit and wonder after this failed experiment of beta testing, if I should even think of GW2 beta. I am assured of loving it, but I believe I should hold until launch, and thus moving past the disappointment of issues that could crop up.

Oh the pain...

Monday, April 30, 2012

I Did NOT Play The Guild Wars 2 Beta...

Because I really want to be surprised...and happy.

The complaints of "lag" and issues logging in let me know that I would NOT have been happy this past weekend. But, more than that, the feeling of awe and wonder in the game I have been waiting for could be mind numbingly awesome...

..............If I just wait...

So, I hope those who did take the time to log in enjoyed themselves. I did hear great stuff from those who did get in...and that is good news.

For me though, Guild Wars 2 is a sure thing. Why ruin the expectations by dealing with the issues...I am sure there is 5.9 million other players who can test the mess for me, and get it working top notch for MY early start.

So, this ones for you early adopters...fix the game please, and help ME enjoy myself to the fullest extent!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Beta's Weekend - The Sub Dilemma

Over the past weekend I had a chance to goof off in both TERA and Diablo 3. Since I am making a concerted effort to get back to gaming, I figured new stuff would be the right way to go.

TERA was first up. Not a true typical MMO, but an MMO none the less.

The action combat was the selling point. It does deliver. I appreciated the ability to use my Xbox 360 controller (which had some minor weird mapping issues). I always use a piece of software called Xpadder to play all of my MMO's with the controller. To have it built in to the game was great.

Aiming could be a problem at times, as you need to watch a reticule on your screen. It would change from silver to gray (and become slightly thicker) to let you know the skill would work on the target.

Yea...silver to gray.

Some classes also felt sluggish because of this aiming feature. Any melee class became troublesome as you ran after mobs or avoided their attacks. I would then get confused as I was learning the odd mapping. (Some skills would be on a button, yet one would work with a trigger...etc. Just did not flow well).

But, eventually I got used to it. Made some adjustments and I was good to go.

After about 2 hours in, it was after my 5th or 6th fetch/kill 10x quest that I eventually lost interest. It just did not feel like enough to me for a sub. I also got this feeling that a "sub" based game may not be right for me anymore. What with my schedule, being so full with work and life, my gaming is minimal if existent at all.

This really hit home when I tried Diablo 3. I had my wife and son join along with me on this ride...and it was a win. We were struck by the simplicity; dropping in and playing an hour or so to have fun; the camaraderie as we discussed our drops together and did trades...and how we handled fights was great.

We argued a lot less than when we are in MMO mode. It seems the stress of getting stuff done in groups with others would cause more stress for all of us. The "you must tank or heal" attitudes always led to in home strife. Here, we only needed to rely on each other.

This started me thinking of our future game...Guild Wars 2...and how THAT has no sub as well. I then started discussing using what would have been our monthly fee for the "cash shop" as a stipend. As to grouping, thanks to the "no trinity" system of GW2 combat (which, btw, when you think of it...Diablo 3 is the same), it is believed that we can leave the stress of "who is healing...who is tanking" issues behind us.

This past weekends beta's were a real eye opener in the next phase of my gaming lifestyle. Guess I need to apologize to my Rift'ers of Simple Complexities, as at this time I do not expect to step back into that game.

What has been your outlook on the monthly sub versus free games (or buy the box, then play as you wish type of gaming)?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guild Wars 2 - Take a "Free" ride...

As of late I have been watching the stories of success in regards to the "Free to play" initiatives most MMO's have been taking. With Everquest, of all games, gaining an audience, it just seems foolish to not go this route now.

I know, I know...some people hate the idea of purchasing all of the little items to help their character grow. I do not have an issue with this. If anything, what this really boils down to is PvE vs PvP when it comes to the "Pay to win" descriptions we see thrown around.

So, looking at games which still have not gone the way of the Free, like Warhammer Online, makes me feel remorse for their losses (down to one server? WTF people....go FREE and be ready to turn back on those lost servers and get more players....and revenue again).

So, how is GW2 approaching this? I have not looked into it too much, but I always appreciated the "Buy once, free forever" style of game. Let me pay for expansions, addons, etc....but, one price for the box is awesome.

Lets review the Microtransaction system for GW2...

A great post here with some straight forward data. We see...

"In Guild Wars 2 we have three currencies: gold, karma, and gems. Gold is the common in-game currency. Karma, which players earn in-game but cannot trade, is used for unique rewards. And gems are the currency that’s bought and used to purchase microtransactions."

Interesting that just three variations of "money" will exist. One thing that started to get difficult in Rift was the currency system. It got out of control actually...with each event having a new currency item. Each raid tier started using new forms of was insane. GW2 seems nice and simple.

"MMO veterans will note the similarities of our system to EVE Online’s PLEX system. As in that case, our system takes gold trading out of the hands of real-money trading (RMT) companies and puts it directly in the hands of players."

Though I am personally not a fan of EVE, something always touted as a singular system of both discussion and derision has been the PLEX system. How do you feel about it?

This though is the best quote...

"If you want something, whether it’s an in-game item or a microtransaction, you ultimately have two ways to get it: you can play to earn gold or you can use money to buy gems. We think that’s important, because it lets more players participate on a level playing field, whether they use their free time or their disposable income to do it." 

A sore point all along has been players attitudes towards those who have all the time in the world, or all the cash in the world to do with as they wish. Well, now each type of player has the ability to purchase as they want. This will be important down the road towards leveling the playing field.

Of course, Massively has an article on the many pitfalls of such a system. Check that here...

Bots, RMT stealing, the infamous "Pay 2 win" terminology all play key roles in this system falling down.

Until we see it in action, we will not know how this will play out. The entry price and then no monthly fee though will attract a much larger audience than most MMO's, and I predict a large sell out of this game off the bat...all because of the single player game pricing scheme.

As to being free, to do what I want, any ole GW2, I couldn't be happier.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Working hard....trying to get all arranged to start blogging once again.

It has been a long, strange trip since last I posted here. I took off due to gaming becoming my central focus (which is quite funny, seeing I write about gaming).

Rift really took up all of my time.

I was in charge of the guild Simple Complexities, which became a haven for the casual MMO'er, Raider, PvP'er... We were quite strict about who joined, yet left our home open for anyone that was older, had a family, or a real life...

It really worked. I made some great new friends, who I miss dearly, and am ready to game with again.

It was at the end of 2011 that tragedy struck, as I lost my job. We were prepared, but knew cost cutting had to take effect. As well, my time became limited. I had to pull back on the leadership of SC, and due diligence found me work a month going in.

That really hit me hard though. The job was quite difficult. I had to be trained, I was on the road a lot...

And I still am quite busy, but I know what I am doing now, and my time is almost my own once again.

And it was with the pre-order call to Guild Wars 2, that I knew it was time to return.

For those who would like to know, you may remember, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease over a year ago. I am medicated, and life has been looking up. I will be going for my final test on that next month, and if it is clear, I can stop taking the meds.

So, overall, life is good...and with GW2 around the corner, and a gaggle of awesome people from SC ready to all get together again...I am excited once more to game.

I hope you will join me here on this little adventure.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Return....

Soon, I will be back. I plan to change this site over to a complete Guild Wars 2 discussion.

Hope you all missed me...

If you didn't ...well, go look at some X-Fire charts, as I'm busy!