Thursday, December 31, 2009

Divinity 2 - Happiness is...

No "Kill 10 x" quests.

That is right. Not a SINGLE one. And to top it off, I really enjoyed that the game calculated how many of a certain mob it wanted dead in the background, and only told you when the quest was done. I had many quests stating things like "This mob is terrorizing the town, put an end to it...", yet, I never knew how many I needed to kill before the quest was complete...

It has been about 20+ hours so far into the game, and all I can say is...


Stay tuned for a little report...coming soon.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Funcom - Silence is golden *Redux*

Oh my. Not two months ago I had a post about how discussion of Age of Conan by Devs and Game Director, Craig Morrison, has been slim to none.
Also, the fact no new information on the next patch has been presented, and when it would arrive on Testlive had really broken my resolve. I ended up leaving the game (even though it has been an all time favorite for me).
Luckily, that has changed, as the new patch is in the first iteration on TL (patch 1.06 which includes a guild renown system, new T3 content and more)
Of course this has been on the servers for several weeks now, as it is another of the "Funcom Super Patches", where they try to bring the kitchen sink in with their updates. Too many changes equals months of nothing new going into the game (as an example, for Christmas? ...totally ignored in Age of Conan...when they at least had a small event last year and even one for Halloween this year).

Anyways, all we know is this "super" patch then leads to an elongated period without any new patching or content.

Craig in an infinite wisdom of some sort, decided to update everyone on how things are progressing. This is all well and good. But, along with this, he drops some bad news in with the notice about the chance of PVP Towers being dropped due to time issues. As well, the timeline for the new update is...when it is done. No news is good news? NOT!

Basically the letter is a loss, as nothing shared equals anything of quality.

Now, this of course starts a storm on the forum and we know how this sits with current players.

The fun really begins when Craig decides that he just does not understand why people are so overzealous in their attitude about the letter, and blogs about it. Of course, the damage has already been done, and I think based on this blog post, Craig knows that something is not right.

I explain in the comments on his blog that it is really simple.

We as players do not need you to "sell" us the idea of a great patch, as we are already customers, and all the "political" speech does not help us understand why there has been no content updates or fixes to the game for months now.
We would actually just prefer info on when the patch is hitting TL, if a new iteration of the patch is ready and when it will go to TL, and then finally, tell us WHEN it will go live. If you do not know when it will go live, then just keep us in the dark or discuss something else.

The letter still feels like a "sales" job, and with Craig doing so many interviews and having to be a salesman, I mean, he must think the player will fall for the same thing.

But, I think we know that longevity is not a strong point for Age of Conan now, so they must keep a steady stream of new players rolling in to have any chance of succeeding. Then when they finally get around to patching, they need to hope players who left (ME!) will come back and see if the game is what we thought it was going to be.

But, stop selling the game, and the patch. Quit making Super patches, and send out smaller fixes...oh, and stop dropping promised features and slowing down the game...

Then  maybe you wouldn't have to blog again about how people react to stupid news.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Their mistake - Divinity 2

So, this weekend, my mail ran rather late on Saturday. I decided to wait and check the box on Sunday morning. To my surprise, my pre-order of Divinity 2 was there.

I know this title hit gold quite a few weeks ago, and  was slated for delivery on January 5th, but it looks like my distributor (who I will not name, to eliminate any issues here) screwed up and sent it too early.

I plan to not argue about it, as I loaded this bad boy up. My Sunday was a major win.

My thoughts about the game still hold, and I hope to get a little more in depth after I get further in the game.

With hints of Oblivion, Witcher, Fable 2, Diablo...I have so much to like here. The game is NOT without issues, but the issues are far outweighed by a great bit of storytelling, awesome voice overs and action like crazy.

Like I said, more as it happens.

Hope everyone had a great weekend also. Now, back to work for me.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tis the season...

That I hope everyone is having a holly, jolly.

Recuperating from a great Christmas with family. Catching up on movies (how far behind am I? I watched Wolverine...yea, not much of a movie watcher. Tonight is the latest Harry Also, had my own Christmas miracle and found out my Mom has been released from the hospital and is on her way back home to Michigan (as she was stranded in Rhode Island with her issue). Now, just praying for a safe flight, seeing as Al Qaeda tried to down a flight to Michigan...ARGH.

Played my butt off in Divinity 2, which I SO, SO cannot wait for. This is truly the type of action RPG I have been wanting. Witcher, Oblivion, Diablo and Guild Wars all rolled into a Fable 2 like package. LOVE it.

And have yet to log back into EQ2.

Yea, EQ2 has officially kinda disappointed us. Downtimes, issues with claim items, learning curves, gathering all have added up to a game we want to like, but will probably let expire after our 60 days are up.

Age of Conan is actually already calling us back. We sure do hope they get patch 1.06 in before the end of January.

Otherwise, time to sit back and have a relaxing weekend, with some shopping, some dining and family that is what it is all about.

Cheers and Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lord of the Rings Online - And so it came to pass...

Well, my little verse on LOTRO was just posted over at Scaryboosters blog today...a little piece I like to call

"An LOTRO bedtime story…"

Basically since we had our major power outage this past weekend, I really did not get much time to play. But, I made every effort I could to log in on the first day of the free schedule that LOTRO offered, which started on the 17th of December.

And it was dismal. Thus, my little Christmas verse above.

I continue to try and find the love people have for this game, but I just do not grasp it. So many problems pop up (and not "bugs" per se, but concerns over how they decided to make the gameplay, visual quality, etc...), that for me, it is near impossible to even make it through the tutorial.

Is it the lore that people love? Because as an MMO, the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. As to that "lore", it is weak, thanks to a delivery system for quests being encapsulated within small boxes of teeny fonts.

Speaking of fonts, on a 1080p display, it truly is too small for the normal human eye to read comfortably. You had the capability to change the UI size, but all of the fonts stayed at their set small teeny size 8 levels.

Models have made no progress to be better, with molded faces, painted on outfits and strange rubbery movements (looked like playdoh constantly being stretched) causing me to have fits over how ugly I looked.

Speaking of movements, what is with the broken hip running that makes the characters look like small Mechs running around? Jumping looked silly and running animations were terrible. As well, combat animations were stiff and unbelievable.

All of this would have been fine if gameplay held up, but I really got tired of the quests almost immediately. A game really needs to grab you from the beginning and LOTRO just did not cut it. The tutorial was just oh so, and I felt compelled to log within the first ten minutes. Even the music started to lull me to sleep. The same bits of tinny lutes or horn sounds just was so blah.

I came in with an open mind this time, and played for hours...but, when those hours were spent trying to get a decent playable UI, framerate (one of the few things that DID improve some was performance...but, the popping textures issue still exists) and screen size...I lost all interest when I was told to kill some Midges, and after their deaths, I could not even see their bodies to loot them.

I just do not get it.

So, it is with stockings hung by the chimney with care, I tossed my box of LOTRO heartily into the fireplace with a flare...

I bid you, Goodnight, and good luck trying to pretend that this game is even worth the title of MMO.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Everquest 2 - Why must you hurt me...

Just a quick little note.

Today serves as the third issue my wife has had with Everquest 2 since we started playing...not quite a month even I think.

Login servers went down, and we were locked out. Thus we played something else.

Things are not looking up in the EQ2 arena of gaming. Sucks too, as we always have a blast when we do play. But, I already gave Funcom lip for their less than stellar development of Age of Conan...yet here is a game going on 6 years with continued problems and bugginess.

Now, we debate if our 60 days will be it. Time will tell. For now, just a little /rant needed so I can get that little issue off my chest.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Power Restored

In case anyone has missed it, North Carolina, my home state, had a very nasty snowstorm. Dumping 3 foot overnight, this is quite the record (at least for as long as I have lived here).
This started early Friday with power flickering through the day, so not much got done but work, and a few hours of LOTRO for my upcoming major re-review for Scaryboosters blog.

Several things happened. I lost power early Saturday and have officially been out until today (Tuesday 12/22). Been a cold few days, with us finally moving to a hotel late Sunday.

My time in LOTRO was short lived. But, I did learn something, and when my post appears on Scarybooster, I will share the LOTRO love.

For now, I am just trying to get warm again, booting up PC's and working on getting water running properly and the whole shebang.

Tough camping weekend, but we are alive and that is what matters. My son (who is 11) was a major trooper and has proven to me that in the face of adversity, he truly has the wherewithal to hold up. What, with a week long trip to Michigan and Rhode Island (basically the Eastern half of the United States during my mothers illness) and then no power thus losing access to his PC and Xbox or TV...he instead worked with us and learned how to entertain himself quite well.

Anyways, hopefully back to gaming soon. Luckily, what little time I did have on a PC, I loaded up the new Divinity 2 demo for the PC, and have finally found my action RPG to replace my love of the Witcher with.

I pre-ordered that bad boy.

Later all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

When MMO's Disappoint

Out of all genres of gaming, one seems to consistently have the buggiest and most unreliable code and support.

That would be MMO's.

Last night we did not play our normal game of EQ2 with the family. My wife actually was the one who did not want to play. I decided to ask why she was not into it (as her main complaint she stated she was "Tired"...and men, we all know this is DEFINITELY not the time to ask questions...but I did it anyways).
Her real reason I found out is because EQ2 disappointed her.

Originally this started when we enabled each of our accounts. My son and myself all had these goodies in our claim window. My wifes account was missing quite a few claimable items. So, while my son and I had cloaks running us 25% faster than normal, here was my wife trying to keep up.
I sent this into support, which took about 4 days to handle the issue. But, it was fixed...luckily.

So, we went on our merry way. This past week was exciting as we all were working on the new quest/achievement that EVERYONE gets...the Level 20 quest in 14 days.
We all started at the same time, same day and made all efforts to complete this. On Wednesday night, my son dinged first. I dinged 20, and we all saw a window pop up congratulating us with gold and a trophy and our first real title.

My wife dinged 20...and nothing. We looked at her history, and looked to see if she had the title.


The frustration was just too much for her I think. She even logged in before supper for about 10 minutes and tried to enjoy the game, but finally said that EQ2 disappointed her.

This is one of the reasons she refuses to log into LOTRO, another game with bizarre issues. The laggy hitching issues we always had, no matter what we did (and I ALWAYS have top of the line equipment and keep my systems pristine and well cleaned of junk, yet, we always had this ongoing issue) irritated her. The fact the game had little niggling problems like animations and ugly models. Combat felt unresponsive and the UI just did not seem consistent...she decided she would never play again.

Look at Age of Conan. Still a buggy mess after the multitude of patches. We finally got to the point that during most of our gameplay, if we would run into a problem, we would just laugh and say "We were funcommed again". We also realized that this became more rampant as we reached higher levels. Thus, it was easy to say goodbye to a game that we all loved.

I understand MMO's are large code bases and there are just too many angles to consider when finally launching and running your game. But, when titles like WoW and EQ2 which have been out for years and years still have stupid issues that are do you tell the standard game player, like my wife, who has played many single player RPG's, or even Guild Wars which consistently ran and displayed no major bugs that would make you want to quit...and help them understand "This is normal".

But, I also need to ask. Why should it be?

I know a lot of people will rant and rave with the stupid comment of "It's only a game". Yet, what would YOU do if you logged in one day and find out that an expansion you payed for was blocked off from you...for no reason, and that content was unaccessible? That happened to ALL of our accounts in EQ2 yesterday when I saw that my login screen which always said 9/9 addons, said 8/9 addons. And when I log into all our accounts management and see that each of us do not have access to the Shadow Odyssey pack, and SOE wants us to pay $20 to have it? Oh brother...another duel with Customer Support.

My wife finally did end up saying she will play again this weekend, but for last night, she had been hurt by a game she was really enjoying.

Why should she even have to feel this way?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Everquest 2 - Thinking of the starter zones.

I did a little tweet marathon on Twitter on what I felt like when I was in each of the starter cities or zones in Everquest 2.
Each area gives me a feeling of something I have read or watched in a movie or on TV in the past (or even visited...hehe).
Here is a reprint of that tweet-a-thon, along with reference links in case you have never heard of the stories, etc.

Qeynos is very easy. It feels very Germanic and Renaissance like. When I am in Qeynos, I feel like I am at a RenFaire.

Kelethin of course is VERY high fantasy, and almost feels cartoon like with it's huge mushrooms. Harry Potter? or Fairyland?

Neriak is a dark world, and it totally feels like the Drow races of Dungeons and Dragons fame. Drizzt comes to mind.

Freeport is old, and feels like a thieves zone. I think of Thieves World or Fafhrd and Gray Mouser.

Gorowyn is very Barbaric, and makes me feel like Conan and Hyboria.

Can you think of variations on this? What do you feel when you visit these starter zones.

And Cheers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lord of the Rings Online - Is it me?

Or is it something else? Something more within the game itself that keeps me from thinking it is worth the time or effort to even load up on my PC.

Well, this weekend my decision about LOTRO has been made.

Has it really made progress since launch. Or is it the same old crud I always just wanted to rip my hair out about.

Next week, Scarybooster will be out of town, and needed some bloggers to help him out as he gets his animal change to a cross between a transvestite and a beetle, with lion legs and crows feet (for eyes...). I offered my assistance for a post, but, I needed fodder for my post. Well, Turbine was kind enough to hand me a free weekend (Source) for me to take for a spin, and see if all the time I have been away has mellowed me.

I actually have become kind of easier to please in some arena's. For example, I do not HATE Warhammer Online as much as I did at launch, and they have made progress. I was able to go back to EQ2 and I am having a blast.

But, as many who read my blog know, my LOTRO hate is something more...something seething under the surface, waiting to make me feel all Hobbity in that Turbine special way (i.e: I will ALWAYS feel like I have a full diaper as I run around in their world...)

It's preciousss iz nots so preciousss to me'sss



What was it about LOTRO and this deep seated feeling of gut wrenching horror that drove me away? The forced grouping to complete major quest lines? The horrid performance that made uber hardware feel sluggish with all the hitching? The need to kill so many bears and wolves and boars that the genocide of these creatures became the all encompassing mission? The fact my guy had a size two waist? The fact my female avatars all had hands as large as their heads? Where was the fun and glory of most MMO's? Why did I feel like it was always a "been there, done that" kind of rat race for that next kill 10x quest?

As you can see, I have a lot that I am asking of LOTRO. I did not enjoy the crafting at the time, but I have changed since those times. I also understand the grind concept, and as long as I have my team (the family) the grind seems to disappear. Who knows...maybe grouping may even be fun?

So, this weekend, LOTRO is back on my list of "Try it again" games.

I need to know "Can we ever go back?"

Age of Conan - The giveaway saga continues...

First you offer a free, unlimited to level 20 trial for players (a free game for the best part of the game)..

Then you offer the game box on a magazine cover in a most Eco-Unfriendly way...oh, yea...just for the cost of the get AoC retail...FREE.

When will the pain end for Funcom..

Committing Heresy - Dragon Age

Discuss -

I just do not feel like loading up Dragon Age right now.

As a matter of fact, I almost dread it. I seem to like it once I am in, but something holds me back from starting it in the first place. As I look over icons on my desktop, the last game I want to load up is Dragon Age.

Thoughts? Ideas how to get past this (since I already dumped the cash on it...). And I most definitely did not hate it...but, something else makes me falter at the double click...


Monday, December 14, 2009

Age of Conan - The odd conundrum...

Every time I leave for a couple of days, some weird Age of Conan news strikes (both bad and good), and this one really takes the cake.

Located here at Fileplanet is a Free Trial, for unlimited usage.

You guessed it, another free trial that never ends. As the page states,,,"Play the first part of the game for free FOREVER!". First WAR and now Age of Conan.

Now, here is where it gets...odd.

First, this offer is "limited", thus, people can only sign up for this until the end of the year. So, why create new files and a new system to lock players into a certain number of levels, and say they can play free FOREVER, but then offer it for only a limited time? STUPID Funcom logic is my guess. But, we also all know...this will change. We are assured, that come next year, this offer will be open to EVERYONE. So, if you are NOT a Fileplanet subscriber, why bother signing up now.

Second, you must PAY for a subscription. "WHAT!"

To play Age of Conan's free trial, you must PAY for the FREE trial. WTF? More logic from stupid people who have NO clue.

Anyways, this is at least a good sign, and I will wait until 2010, so I can start an alt...hehe.

Also. Wonder how that kiddy MMO is going for Funcom. More on that soon.

(EDIT: Well, whaddya know. Looks like they did not try the stupid idea above for very long. Now open to EVERYONE who starts a trial before..Jan 1st, 2010)

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the road again...

As many may have gauged by this frequent blog title...we travel a bit.

We are off for the weekend as we head to Concord North Carolina and to the Great Wolf Lodge.
Our family is hooked on this place, and it is also birthday weekend.

I turn a MASSIVE 47 years old, and my son hits the 11'sies. (We have a two day stretch between our B-Days)

So we make it a weekend of fun this time. But, I will be back next week with some more reporting on the EQ2 adventure.

Everyone have an awesome weekend...I will!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Everquest 2 - Modeling is fun

Yesterday, a small Twitter discussion was had over the quality of the models in EQ2. I, of course in my infinite wisdom, decided to compare the models of LOTRO to EQ2, which started a small storm of "EQ2 models make my eyes bleed" as one person put it.

There is no doubt that when it comes to models for games, EQ2 and LOTRO are just not winners anyways. Especially with us coming from Age of Conan, it is hard to compare their realistic and gorgeous models to any other on the market.
Take The stock models of Clay that EQ2 provides. Those are truly ugly to look at.

Luckily, thanks to an alternate model system, I feel the EQ2 visuals of their models get a boost in quality over LOTRO.

As someone pointed out, the females do have an issue with standing to attention...yet, they visually are more appealing.

Another thing of note is thanks to a lifelike skeletal system, the run animations for EQ2 models and their fighting animations are truly much better. Hand motions for emotes are good, and armor at least looks like it is worn instead of painted on.

LOTRO suffers from some issues of oversized hands, a multitude of ugly female faces (which from my understanding are much better on NPC's than the characters which is just wrong), and males with size two waist...which all detract from the visual quality.

Men also have a terrible issue with beards looking like they are also painted on. Here is a perfect example of the size two waist, painted on spandex armor and painted beard. I really dig the "That 70's show" Ashton Kutcher hairdo also.

But, all of this does not matter if the animations look good...which we again run into an issue where all of the models look like Mechs when they run (they twist at the waist which gives the sensation that they are robots), and combat looks to be done at 30FPS in a 60FPS+ game.

These are all personal beliefs, and would finally all not matter if the games are fun. EQ2 has so much to do, and keeps you occupied that a majority of the time, thinking about how your model looks becomes a moot point...

We are having fun.

LOTRO never did this for us in our household.

I have in the past really griped about LOTRO, so everyone knows my views. I will just leave with what my wife says when I ask her if we should go back and give it another try...

"I am sorry, but I want to feel and look pretty while having fun. LOTRO offered me neither of those".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Everquest 2- Getting to grips

If there is one thing Everquest 2 does NOT do for the is hold their hand.

Coming back, there is a lot I remember, and more is coming back to me. But, some things leave me wondering where to start.
The abundance of things you need to do while leveling is truly insane. From XP for levels to the AA system, crafting XP, to leveling up each type of skill (for example, if you do not cast certain spells enough, you do not level those abilities within themselves...yea, I know...convoluted).

But, this must be what makes the game FUN. Also, I am thinking that EQ2 is the best game for future Alzheimer's patients, as the number of things you must remember, and how it makes the brain work, is phenomenal!

We are close to finishing a new achievement the game gives you, the race to level 20. Finish in a week and you get a special prize. I am level 15, the wife 14 and my son...16. Yea, he is rocking.

As to my son, he has started an alt already. We who have played EQ2 know the alt addiction that can happen in this game, as the classes are so varied.
He is playing a Monk as a secondary right now. Figured that kung fu stuff would rock his world.

So far, the game is running great and we are having a blast in Antonica (that region really brings back memories). We have started on the writs for the guild to help level her. We are level 27 and have a long ways to go. We are almost level 20 in crafting and then we can start the work orders there as well.

Great to be back in Norrath.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Everquest 2 - Old accounts enabled

Just seen someone mention this on Twitter. So, I went to check it out on the wifes old account. It was enabled and available for 25, we can grab all her cash and items and put them in the Guild bank.

Love it when they do this for EQ2.

I have some more info coming soon and some screenies are starting to pile up. Hope to post those soon.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad...

You take them all and there you have...EQ2.

Wow is all I can say. Talk about blasting through some hours. I think we accumulated about 4-6 hours of EQ2 yesterday. Myself, the wife and son took times to log in, quest, level up, gather resources, craft, get shinies and play with the UI to get it all set up.
We re-enabled the Guild, Simple Complexities, which should be a blast working on leveling that up...

As you can see...we had so much fun.

But, as I sit down today, I want to give that good ole..."Hey, I am back. Lets talk about YOU for a bit and where you are in your life" talk to EQ2.

The Good

I am so glad you have kept your same style. You feel familiar to me, and that helps me get to feeling all funny inside. You know, that good funny feeling as I remember those old times.
But, I do see you have been working out some. What is this cool new "achievement" feature that keeps standing out to me. Yea, I know the other girls are doing it, but hey, you do it very well.
I also see you have been working on making sure you are more serious about running well. The way you use those multiple cores and moved those shadow maps to usability on the CPU or GPU...well... it makes me all giddy.
Also, thank you for all the presents you gave me with that "Complete Collection". I really appreciate that.

The Bad

I just wish you would change your clothes a little. You continue to wear some old fashions. That UI is just dreadful. There are some new items I see, but feels so "80's".
I just had to think of you with an alternate model still, as I really like those better than your original looks. Clay modeling is so passee`.
You still feel a little confined to me as well, but I know that cannot change. Luckily I forget how boxed in you make me I will accept that.
BTW, you really have gained weight. And do you realize it took me over 30 minutes to load your DVD, and I STILL see you gain another whopping 4.6 GIGS of patching. That sure does NOT feel so "Complete".

The Ugly

I am sorry, but why should I feel so slow and like my system will crash after playing with you. I have today's latest tech, and other games we should not mention (Yea, you know, that...other guy...named Conan), well, he doesn't run like that. And I mean...really...he is TWICE your size!

But, I tell you what. I will accept those "Bads" as the "Goods" make me feel happy inside.

Lets go play now.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Simple Complexities LIVES!!!

All I gotta say.

Hmmm...Seems we are a Level 27 EQ2 guild. Better get to work and reach 30 with our super group.


Friday, December 4, 2009

What is this? Two posts?

And in one day?

ARGH...the insanity.

Anyways, first a heartfelt thanks to everyone with their grats on the game to play. I really feel invigorated again.

Also, as you may I go again, with the redux of the website. So, be prepared for the changes as they happen. Longasc, in my previous post, commented that maybe I need to kill my single game focus...and he is right. My best stuff was when I was looking at gaming in general, and I really enjoyed the commentary and of course...the comment-ary (uh, you know...people's comments?

Anyways, another thing lately is my playing focus for games has been with the family. Thanks to all of us having the same likes in regards to RPG's, Renaissance periods, and Fantasy overall...I am looking to focus on how everyone in the family is about the games we play.
We have added my son as an avid gamer, and he is doing an excellent job. The fact our 11 year old RAIDED in Age of Conan should give a clue on how well he is doing.
So, from time to time, I may actually talk to them about adventures we do within games, to get their point of view instead of mine and blog about that.

Should be fun.

This takes me back to the subtitle of my blog. The "Simple and Complex" part will always that is what it is all about. Gaming can be as simple or as complex as life can be, so this works.
For now, my subtitle is in between the RPG. It seems to fit where I am in the genre (single player and MMO between a rock and a hard place maybe?) and makes me think of discussing the games more so than "scratching the surface". There seems to be more to playing games now that brings about emotion and feeling toward the genres.

Anyways, thanks to everyone who reads my ramblings. You know, I think I need to bring back my RSS feed and stuff. Lets see how that goes. Also, working on a header image. Should be fun to break into the Photoshop skillz again...hehe.


And the winner is?

Everquest 2!!

That is right. After much deliberation, the family has chosen it's "interim" game, and that is EQ2.

Originally it started as trying to decide what to even do. I had been feeling kind of down with life in general thanks to my Mothers condition, Christmas not being a grand affair this year due to going broke helping my family, I was just not in the mood AT ALL to play anything. Things started to pile up on me, where I debated about playing the Xbox 360, but my sons Xbox goes and dies. I wish for him to have the system, and I was not really in the mood yet to play it, so I handed mine over to him. (I have also been unimpressed with the RPG collection available on the 360 anyways).
I logged into various games, like WAR and DDO. Yet, they just did not grab me. But, then I was graced by a star. A ...Stargrace if you will.

Over at, I saw her post, a little piece, a simple video explaining what she liked about EQ2 compared to WoW.

Then the nostalgia hit.

Since I have been playing MMO's, only 3 have kept me occupied and happy enough to play them for extended periods. Guild Wars has kept me for years and years, but I have played it so much, it just does not call me now. Age of Conan is the longest subscription MMO for myself (and my wife), but as we have seen, Funcom just has NO clue how to run a game, and I needed to talk with my wallet for a while (I will return, but probably not until a lot happens change wise).

Then came Everquest 2. The 3rd longest game we ever played, and we had a blast. Just like any MMO, after an extended period of time, everyone needs a break, and after 8 months we had moved on.

But, now we have a difference. Our son.

So, after watching the little piece by Stargrace, I suggested it to the wife. She actually seemed interested, and we thought it may just be the two of us again. Last night, I loaded up the demo to see how it felt. During that time, my son watched and asked about the game. Since he has a growing interest in MMO's, well, we let him in. As he saw and heard all of the things we could do...decent combat, gathering and crafting (which he enjoyed doing..), housing (which he really liked) and SHINIES!!....he was sold. So were we as we watched him play. The music lulled me in to that nostalgic feel, and the game instantly became familiar to both myself and my wife (who was slightly napping, but as my son started to play, actually woke up and interjected with her own commentary and

The second selling point is what is called the "Complete" collection. You get all of the game...every expansion, every addon AND 60 days of gameplay (not just 30)...all for 20 BUCKS. WOW, what a deal.

This helped us make the next decision...start from scratch...EVERYONE.

Both myself and the wife have higher level characters. But, one thing is for sure. EQ2 was never about the race to level, but reaching the things to do AS you level. The wife has already started discussing gathering and crafting, I started discussing housing....well, you get the idea. The game is NOT just about questing and killing.

So, we should be able to enter Norrath by Monday!!

Now, who thinks I need to change the title of my blog?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What is a "Knee Jerk Reaction"?

This letter from Craig Morrison on some ideas to help alleviate issues with Casters in Age of Conan.

Basically the change is to take casters and remove their usage of Stamina potions (from certain caster classes) to help balance their skill in PvP, due to their capability to use stuns or roots, and run away to blast the melee player.
This of course takes zero account of PvE...but PvE be damned, so that the melee players will be happy in PvP.
As an added bonus, all CC skills like the stuns and roots will not be usable except in closer quarters...thus eliminating the other issue of cast to root from far away, then blast the melee player.

So, instead of maybe bringing the power of the melee class more in line with the caster, they instead will gimp the casters to thus make it more "fair" to PvP melee.

I am all for balance, but this is the classic example of "Knee Jerk" if I have ever seen it.

If you check the forums, you can find hundreds of threads (I do not exaggerate) of major discussions from players on how to fix the balance. All are better than this move, which shows ZERO skill on Funcoms part, and really truly shows us...Funcom has no skill at developing a game or how to cater to the players needs.

The worst part is this move takes two classes, the Heralds of Xotli and the Dark Templar, both caster classes as well, and lets them keep their stamina pots AND mana usage.

In so many words, I present the two new OP classes.

Anyways, enjoy the thread linked above. Seems there is a major divide on who likes it and who doesn't. Take a wild guess who does...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Age of Conan Decisions

Ok, as of today, my first day back home, I am sitting here and thinking to myself "What to do?".

As I stated previously, my account for Age of Conan has expired. I have been using time cards every 60 days, and I even have some time cards here now from the massive markdown sale at Gamestop about a month back.

But, I am thinking of letting it sit in protest of the way they are handling the game.

As I predicted, the new patch 1.06 has still made no move to Testlive, thus Funcom has no confidence in it's playability yet. It may go this week, but this is almost 4 months now since 1.05 went to live.

Content updates are moving slower than molasses, and with multiple 80's, and raiding being a difficult thing to do (time wise, and population wise...finding a group to join...), I just do not want to level another character.

So, now I am debating on what to do. I like Dragon Age and have been playing that game here and there...but, whenever I start, the time allotment gets out of hand, and I play way too it is more of a weekend game. MMO's always allowed me to hop in, accomplish something and go back to real life.

So, what game to look into or go back to? I will be looking at games like Aion (if I can find a great deal on a copy, I may just give it a 30 day go), DDO for a while maybe? Continue trialing Warhammer and their free 10 levels?

The debate is on.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Almost home....

And so my long trip is almost at an end.

I have driven from North Carolina to Michigan, to Rhode Island then back to NC.

Truly a difficult time.

I have done all I can for my Mother, and have helped my Step Dad with his billing questions and concerns. Now, to try and get my life back to normal and hope that my Mom recovers is all I can do.

While away, I received the email that my Age of Conan account expired. Now, I am in limbo of what I wish to do there. I heard no news of patch 1.06 going to TL yet, and I guess I just need to let my wallet talk there for a while. I see many others are doing the same.

I will play some Dragon Age, watch the AoC forums, and see where this goes...

Good luck Funcom.

Anyways...more blogging later in the week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Funcom - Silence is golden

Or maybe this is what Funcom believes, and they think gold will pour out of their a** if they continue to not update Age of Conan and just sit silently as their financials show progress is downward.

Didn't anyone say to them "Hey guys, you want profits to go up or at least stabilize."

The fact that Funcom is siphoning off Cash on Hand, this bodes ill for their continued efforts.

Now , of course, the Montreal move is a good measure and will save cash, and a note in the financials about saving on fees for servers and bandwidth down the road (I smell a server merge here) could help.

But, when you bleed subs, and you make no move to advance the game in any manner, shape or form, the horrible feeling you know, that one down in your tummy of gut wrenching horror..sets in on the future of the company and game.

So far, discussion has circulated on the 1.06 update. A doozy for sure...with guild renown, new PvP content and some other changes (like Tier know, raid content that has not been updated for months and months), is AWOL on the Testlive servers months after the release of 1.05.

Maybe to some this is normal. Hard to say. But, when people start complaining of all the multiple 80's they have and no new content to do, except the last update which added a total of 2-4 hours of stuff ...that becomes a problem, at least to me.

Funcom decides to offer a free return to old players. Why do this when there is nothing major new to do? And then sit on your laurels as you hope they will stick it out for the 1.06 update.
Maybe giving away stuff will help them in this endeavor. Beta invites, free expansion, XP potions...the lot.

How do you make money doing this exactly?

Well, I think Funcom is following the Golden Rule I stated, and think that the money will keep pouring in as they enter "Status Quo".

But, guess what...I think Judas Priest said it best..."You've got another thing coming..."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Hiatus

There sure has been a lot going on in Funcom world. But, as you may guess, things have changed in my life for now.

My Mother has become very ill, thus I have not been able to be focused on the Funcom issues.

I do some rare updates in Twitter thanks to the speed I can do them, and in small bits, so please follow me there if you wish (openedge1 is my user name).

But, as we all know, the new financials have hit and Funcom really needs to start thinking of it's overall strategy as it was mighty ugly for them this round. Losses (even though I actually see fanboys spinning a 69% loss over a year as ...gulp...healthy!)

I hope to return once my mind is clearer, and I can accept what is happening with my Mother.

Don't remove me from your readers yet...

Cheers and be well to all! (PS: if you are a heavy drinker or eat a ton of fat, may I caution you of how a simple thing like Pancreatitis can become OVERNIGHT a truly deadly killer)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is the "Never Give Up" strategy working?

If any company can use this motto more today than is Funcom.

From Anarchy Online to Age of Conan, this company has had a strategy that follows a specific pattern.

Mess up, break it some more, fix it up some, add some more breaks, and it goes on.

But, during all this time, the company still struggles, still survives, and holds on for dear life. Is this admirable to you the player? Or is it a sign of a company that just tries to "get by".

In todays work ethic, the "getting by" is a road to disaster in my opinion. Yet, Funcom still survives and holds out for the next financials report.

For example, I can note that each time a financial report is almost due, Funcom takes it upon themselves to scrabble and release an update, do a trial, add new content...something. It is almost like Funcom is working on the "get it in at the last minute" strategy actually.
What do these last minute fixes and changes do? Fix their bottom line and help make those financials look good.

This time around, the 3rd quarter financials are due November 12th of 2009. Luckily Funcom came through and patched Age of Conan. But, they also made the mistake of introducing a multitude of bugs. Then again, they recently lowered the monthly subs for multiple month, could this help that bottom line at the end of the day?

The other issue that always seems to be making the rounds of discussion when it comes to choices.
As of late, their decisions on changes to the game seem to be questioned in all manner and form.
No new raid content for close to a year, another 6 man dungeon when so many exist. Changes to classes making one play style more prevalent over the other..
I am sure any MMO developer is guilty of this. Just for Funcom, at this time, these choices are not the best means to build back up a dwindling population.

So, where do we stand here. The "Never Give Up" strategy looks to be a good call, and makes the company look like they are trying...just waiting to the last minute to make changes, and as well, make some choices that do not vibe well with the community is questionable.

Is Funcom "Not giving up" or are they just "Getting by"?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Age of Conan - Who else worries about AoC?

Looks like Gamestop and Barnes and Noble are worried about Age of Conans longevity as well as me.

60 Day Game cards, normally 30 bucks, now going for $12.99

Gamestop drops price of AoC time cards


Age of Conan - Truth or Dare?

The Dare...
Play a game that is fun to you, even though the company does not care about it's product and then watch as servers dwindle and die as said company continues to degrade the client..

The Truth?
Funcom has a lack of skill and intelligence to truly run a full fledged AAA MMO product without degrading the performance, playability and add content on a timely manner...that it makes it truly unbearable to give the company another red cent.

Lets take a step back in time, and see where this all started for Age of Conan's downfall.

In June of this year a new content patch was applied. Also known as the gear revamp, this patch changed the systems of how gear related to attacks, magic, etc. In so many words, the gear mattered now.
Before the gear had an issue of using numbers that were less than intuitive. But, this also led to a system that skill was more important over the numbers, that people could actually wear basic armor pieces and be good at combat and actually survive combat.
People were torn over this update, but it did make a difference in how the gear looked in relation to stats. They made sense. A new gear reliance game was born.
At this time new content was introduced. New dungeons, a new zone. Life was looking up.

Funcom then introduced the return trial for launch players. The servers loaded up. New stuff to do. Quest progression versus leveling was well done now. People were pleased with the changes taking place.
Age of Conan went to the upper 20's on Xfire. Life was looking up.

Then began the balancing act.

From July and on, Funcom started a MAJOR revamp of the classes in Age of Conan. Melee took some hits as their capabilities were diminished. Casters were spiked to be more powerful and even sometimes harder to kill.
A disconnect took place over the issue of Stamina versus Mana (Stamina runs out for Melee for running AND combat, yet only running for Casters...and as well, the amount of Mana used is less to a degree than the relation of stamina for a melee is complicated to say the least), and people started to complain. The game had a new name by many ... "Age of Casters".

This is normal for most MMO's though. Some class becomes favorited and it sees a balance shift...but not a whole STYLE of gameplay.

But, then time went on in the revamps, and nothing was done for classes (Assassins receive no revamp) and certain classes were gimped even more (Barbarians...the mainstay of Conan).

Then the issues started.

Each patch would break something for no reason. Guild cities now had a bug where if you entered and stayed for a bit, goodbye ALL sound in the game, forcing a relog.
Bizarre issues like hair changing color while zoning, turning the players body gray after certain knockdowns in certain zones...the list goes on and on.
And each patch got worse. Life was looking...down.

The worst part is during this whole time...ZERO content was added. Thus endgame suffered, and nothing was taking place to create things to do. It took almost 4 months before anything new would be added.

What would we get with that new update? They add a 6 man dungeon. That is all. (They did add a Halloween event, which will be removed within the next two, if you wish to count quests that can be completed in 1-2

But, with the content patch, we get NEW bugs. Blocked quests, mitigation in raid issues, new memory leaks, the return of the dreaded RED BAR lag spike that had been missing since the beginning of patch 1.05...the list goes on AGAIN.

Thus, this is where we are at. Two hot fixes are in and yet, some of the issues still well as old issues that have not been fixed.

The client degrades and Funcom sees the outcome (at least I can as many others do). Xfire has a dip into the low 60's and over the weekend bombed into the 70's. The first time ever.
Raids are taking a decline in how many are taking place. Grouping takes hours to get together. The Trader suffers as certain products become over priced and others take a dive as the player cannot get rid of it. Certain items flooding the market coming from people running the same content over and over.

Emptying servers overall is Funcom's reward.

So...Truth or Dare: Would you play a game where the company who runs the game continues to ruin the experience, creates a dwindling population with empty servers and hits a long running game with bugs that creates a game environment where you are more scared to run the client and log in than just load up another game title instead..

You decide!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I am BACK!!!

And ready to rant my ass off.

Basically, as you can probably tell by the title of my blog that this is going to get ugly.

I have a few remarks I would like to make about a game I love to play, and the company who is out to destroy it.

For now...I will let it sit and fester and grow into it's seething rant...waiting to happen!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Age of Conan - Issues all make sense now

Age of Conan's issues have all been explained now..We understand why the game is where it is at!

From Craig Morrisons blog...(Source)

"Alas there is one thing I am bad...really and that is actually finishing work."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Age of Conan - BROKEN game!

Age of Conan truly has hit rock bottom. Ongoing issues and then new bugs as well causes the game to become an almost unplayable mess.

Recently an update went live (Tuesday Oct. 27th) which added new event content and a new dungeon.
Along with this wonderful content ... a slew of new bugs like lag spikes kicking you out of the game, raids being borked due to mitigation issues, broken quests, trader issues...

Basically they fixed one issue and introduced three more.

I am now in a major discussion with my family of what to do. The wife is of course very forgiving...especially seeing she has not played an MMO in ages, and AoC is the first one to entice her back.

She loves it. And she does not want to give up that easy.

Same for me...

But, at what point do you say that you have had enough.

Do you go to a restaurant, eat a shoddy meal, yet have good appetizers, but the delivery of the food took forever, yet it was an excellent deal....and finally say...well, I will go back again or never return?

This is where I am. I love the meal, but man oh man, I hate the service.

Age of Conan is just on it's last legs. Maybe someone finally needs to put her out of her misery...or mine at least, as I just do not want to play another MMO. Maybe if they shut it down, I could finally move on.

Help me Obi-Wan!

EDIT: Just when you think you are talking to a brick wall, along comes the Game Director and opens the "Devtracker" (Source)
Looks like details on upcoming updates, a central source for info on the expansion and a way to see what bugs are being tracked, issues, concerns and more.
Alright, Funcom gains a small reprieve...but for how long?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Age of Conan - Ending? Beginning?

Well, a little hiatus never hurts.

I have been super busy, and as you can probably see above, my signatures show an "official" 3 level 80's in my repertoire.

So, where do I go? What do I do?

Hard to say.

Several things are keeping me busy right now.

Our Guild City as part of an experiment (only 3 people in the guild) is COMPLETELY Tier one. Seems it works if you have cash, and put the time into gathering. We liked having this goal.
We are now progressing on Tier Two. But, this requires even more cash, and that has been my current plan.
Gathering, job contracts and hopefully some dungeon runs will net me some goodies to sell and an abundance of cash (which is not easy in this game).
But, Raids are off limits. The time it takes, and the outcome is not really what I need.
We as a guild were able to afford several "Culture" pieces of armor, or called Tier Zero armor for running quests, etc. So, the need for Raid gear is not really there yet.
An example of how powerful we are was the 3 of us tackled the Slaughterhouse on normal in less than 30 minutes, which can net about 2-3, this is on our list of "to do". My hope is we may be able to go "Epic" mode on this dungeon and try to get even more cash...
Wonder what the payout is?
The Tarantia Commons is quick silver per contract (and the contracts are easy)...

But, that is all we got.

Luckily as you may have read, a new Halloween event is coming soon to occupy us, and the Iron Tower which is group based. I am interested on if it is any good or not.

But, the money is the key. I like having the guild city be a goal, and not raiding nightly.

But, my son desperately wants to raid, so I will need to go with him once so he can learn some raid etiquette, and then he can go on his own from that point on.

For myself, I have started to break my time up in game with some Single Player RPG's. I have went back to playing the Witcher (so love that game) and am playing Risen. Risen is truly enamoring and has kept me wanting to play more.

So my routine is now AoC in the mornings for gathering and contracts, and in the evening with the family. Afternoons and off times in SPRPG's.

Funcom's speed in updates is truly a cement and molasses affair, and I find it hard for them to continue to keep players entertained this way. I know it is killing me with nothing to do. I do not want to start again at this time on a new character, so what do I do?

Will this be the ending? Or a new beginning? Time will tell

Friday, October 16, 2009

Age of Conan - Upcoming Halloween Event

Age of Conan will be doing it's first holiday themed event.

For Halloween, Funcom will present "Nights of Lost Souls "

With two brand new solo quests, and an additional team quest, players will have to track down and defeat three Lost Souls. The quests will take you to places you thought you knew, but this time of year casts a shadow over things you once found familiar.

With fun and fantastic seasonal items to acquire, those that seek out the Lost Souls will find themselves facing the true dangers that lurk just beyond firelight.

Of course, there are plenty of rewards as well. How about the Fermented Brain Juice that causes you to vomit and become drunk, or the Void Essence that changes your skin? Here is a selection of the great, new items you can collect from these autumn quests! The nights begin after Update 5.6!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Age of Conan - Defensive, On Message or Right?

Craig Morrison has dropped into a forum post based on a recent blog post he did a little over a week ago...(Source).
Craig called the blog post "Community Communication...Between a rock and a hard place".
In it he discusses how difficult it can be to communicate with the "forum" crowd when stating his message.
He points out how someone "argued" with him over PM about Age of Conan.

The conversation went

"'[PM'er]You can't possibly tell me what I like or dislike most' and I [Craig] replied explaining that I wasn't trying to do that at all, that I was just pointing out that there were different playstyles out there and that we, as an MMO developer, had to try and balance the needs of many different playstyles. (much in the way I have discussed it here before) to which he then replied - 'That's exactly the same thing no matter how you word it. You are still telling me I am wrong in my opinion."

This is understandable on Craig's part. The person was still seeing it his way. But, then the blog post does go on to state that he maybe felt this person was wrong in his basically, wrong?

A fine line there.

Anyways, someone posted his conversation (blog post) on the AoC forums. And seems Craig gets a bit defensive. (Source) At least from my viewpoint.

I am trying my best to understand if Craig is trying to just make sure he stays on his message, is being defensive or is he right? Or should the old adage apply..."The customer is always right".

The post takes a turn into some "opinion" territory, with players stopping in to point out their concerns, with Craig stating the reasons they have done what they did in the game...yet, so many seem to think it is NOT the right "direction".

What basically started as a "state your point in a concise manner" looks to me to turn into a "now dear forum poster, here is why your point is NOT right"

For example...

POSTER: I really think you should make some new armor/weapons, so everyone isn't pigeon holed into a single set of options in order to be viable in pvp.

CRAIG: ON an aside first, I think 'viable' is subjective to your personal approach to gaming. If you are a true min/maxer there will only ever be one 'viable' choice....aside from that though we are working on adding more items and armor into the game, and the expansion will see a huge addition there.

So Craig DOES answer his post, but seems to take an attitude that this specific posters opinion of viable is...not viable?

That poster returns and states...

POSTER: Great! Love the idea of an expansion other than that I shouldn't have to pay for content that should have already been here. Hate to hear that I'm stuck with mostly the same gear as what I've been wearing for the last 18 months for at least another 6-10. That seems like an awful lot to ask of your subscribers.

I also don't agree with your assessment about being "viable". I'm approaching 'viable' from the standpoint of 'I want to kill people, rather than be killed by people'. There is no reason to level up in pvp or use pvp gear in this game other than if you don't have the raid equivalent. DPS > mitigation in this game, so if you're using Pvp gear over raid gear, you're fooling yourself.

The way your gear progression should be going based on how hard it is to acquire in this game is :

(He goes on to explain what he sees as viable)

This gets no response from Craig. But he does have this to say when someone points out that he looks like he is defending and not saying --Well, we may be wrong, or we need to look into that--......

POSTER: I think the real issue is that Craig is "defending" his stance, and these points will go on deaf ears. But, that was a really good (but tough) read. Everyone at the Funcom offices should also read it thoroughly, and not reply or defend anything.

CRAIG: They don't fall on deaf ears, all the feedback is read and assimilated and while we won't always agree hearing other opinions is always valid, and being able to discuss them without feeling like it is 'defending' is an important part of taking part in an actual discussion. Think of it more as explaining rather than defending.

I guess I do not understand that if opinions are "valid", why must you always explain away the opinion to make it feel like the person is "wrong".

Or is it wrong to believe the dev is trying to do this, and just needs to give you the "reason" they did something?

This is a really tough situation right now for Craig, with updates being few and far between for Age of Conan, layoffs, subs seeming to disappear (based on visual acuity as well as sources like Xfire).

Should Craig even be in this discussion? for now...Cheers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Age of Conan - Progressions

As you may see above (in my signatures list), several characters have leveled.

Ethalos, my Tempest of Set has hit level 73. He plays with the family guild. Tabari, my Herald of Xotli is 79 and just 6 bars from 80.

Basically Tabari has been on morning duty, and tackling contracts and running what is called the Slaughterhouse. He also has several quests yet to complete in Kheshatta, the region of Stygia where Thoth-Amons castle reigns.
He does not have much further and will start the final road of quests for the storyline. I have not debated what I will do with him once I hit 80. I am unsure of raiding with him at this point. But, due to how he does combat, it sure would be a blast.

Ethalos of course travels with the family pack, and progression is FAST due to being grouped and being able to tackle quests quickly and efficiently.
We have been in Kheshatta, but have still some quests in Atzels Fortress zone.

But, all of this is moot, as the big news is the Guild City.

We tackled this as a 3 person team. My old main, Amatheon, became an Architect, and we have been working on the build of the city gradually.
We have all of the main Professions and standard buildings in place (Temple, Keep, Barracks). One set of walls and tower up to the gates (the gates have been built as well).
We still have about 17 wall pieces and 3 towers left, then we can move to the inner wall.

Once that is complete, we will be Tier One!

This has actually proven to be a major fun project for us. From working on the Trader to sell goods, collecting gold, gathering resources...we really made an effort.
I can see how tough this is, and with just 3 of us, I think it is pretty impressive work.

I think the best part is it allows us to do something different than the norm of questing and killing, and it has been a blast.

Well, that is all for now. Our main goal at this point is to have our family team hit level 80 and hit Tier one on the city. After this we will make some decisions on what we want to do. As long as Funcom can't get content out, then it is hard to say where we will go.
No other MMO works for us, so we could all go our separate ways...hard to say.

For now, all we know is we are happy, and the family that plays together...stays


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Age of Conan - Bizarre downtime for Oct. 7th

Tomorrow, October 7th, Age of Conan will come down for maintenance. This in itself is not bizarre. What IS bizarre is first...we had maintenance last week. We have never had more than one maintenance in a month... except once.

Which leads me to #2. The usual times for maintenance is 2 hours. This one is scheduled for...SIX?

The last time we had SIX hours or more AND more than once in a month for maintenance...

We had MERGES!

Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Age of Conan - Economy?

As we have been discussing, Age of Conan has of course (like other MMO's) seen a loss of players due to Aion's launch, Champions Online (not so much there, seeing how it keeps dropping on Xfire) and Fallen Earth (indie = niche = small pop.).
But, it seems a huge discussion is going on at the community (probably the lowest denominator of posters you are likely to see except for a select few..)

I call them "The Kids are NOT alright" there.

Anyways, I have been having a Twitter discussion with Sevenwind, another regular player of AoC, as he has seen someone start a thread called "Another reason not to play...Age of Conan - Economy".

It seems the poster is using a tool called Yellow Gremlin to discuss how there not that many items for level 80's to purchase, and uses an example of the Cloth Wearer and notes a total of just...25 items in all.

As quoted

"Of level 80 items, there are 171 for sale. If you wanted to buy level 80 equipment for your character, this is what is available in the game at the moment:

Yoggite Ritual Club
Darkfate Mask
Crown of Torment
Robes of Torment
Belt of Torment
Fine Steelsilk hood, robe, sash, tunic, cap, wristbands (cloth player made)
Impskin Tunic
Illfated belt
voidseeker sash
wildfire sash
celeritous slippers
palemoon leggings
deathvigil tunic
shadowslick treads
blacknettle sash
bloodrill pants
nadiril sash
nadiril wristbands

25 things in total, including the player made cloth items. "

Basically he is saying whether it is Armor, weapons, rings, etc...there are a total of 25 items IN ALL for sale for level 80.
As I can see first, he took the "Steelsilk" items (which are each one piece) and made that ONE piece. He also lists NO rings, NO necklaces...etc.

Sevenwind asked me to see if this was possible. I decided to log into SET (server where he said his data is from) and see what the problem was (as you could see, this WOULD be a worrisome issue).

First off, I noted in Cloth armor alone, there was a total of 40 "unique" pieces (that means head, wrist, legs, chest...) etc pieces in all available. Quite a few crafted items were available also.
When looking at weapons I came up with 4 "unique" maces (while the above poster lists ONE).

I mean, really, what is the purpose of doing this in the first place? As one note, there are NO or virtually no Chest pieces that are available for sale at higher levels, as they are all strictly Bind on, any chest piece will already be worn by the player...who PICKED IT UP...not as a for sale item.
Second, a majority of players will actually wear level 78 or 79 pieces known as "Culture" armor which, if a person can afford them, as they go between 8 all the way up to 40 gold for one piece and they are CRAFTED and EPIC RARE, can actually wear those pieces until they get Tier one pieces.

The issue boils down to a person who is not a player trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. His information is way off, and he is strictly trying to start an argument.
There is a REASON level 80 equipment is thin, as FIRST this is not WoW.. AoC is not such a gear oriented game, that all the player does is camp the AH and wait for their armor piece to appear. There are no tokens to get armor, and everything in Age of Conan must be EARNED.
Crafted pieces are just a bandaid until someone gets the drop they REALLY want.
And that is the SECOND item. Most pieces are NOT for sale, but instead are BoP and as such, everyone is out getting what they want...thus PLAYING the game, and not camping the Trader.

A final say on the market. The economy actually revolves around resources. THIS is what the poster at should have noted. He cannot note it as for some reason when you search the rare resources on AoC.YG.COM...for some reason they do not appear.

An example, Tainted Alkahest, a needed potion to remove gems from crafted items to place new ones in...each sell for 1G 25S on a regular basis (this does not waver..)

AoC.YG shows ZERO of these on Set.

There is a full page of these when I search the Trader on Set in game.

Platinum, one of the more expensive crafting pieces needed to make the "Culture" armor I noted above? A full page in game at 1G or more.


Good thing this poster had a reliable source!

Next time, please poor argumentative poster who has nothing better to do, get your facts from a true source, and not use a tool that has it's ups and downs (PS: More downs than ups...)

What are your thoughts on economies and MMO success? Pipe in...and btw...


(Just an EDIT: Seems this DIIIMaster who started the hate thread at is now stating he has been in contact with me, and he has not. Also of note, I was FORCED to create a new MMORPG account to set the record straight ...I am known as TempestNews there. I do not plan to keep it...but, when you have someone causing issues like that, hard not to pop in and say otherwise)

(EDIT TWO: Seems that I am a liar unless I have pictures of the Trader, as this is some VAST, here are the pictures. Enjoy folks...)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Age of Conan - As we go into October...

Age of Conan players are left with a bitter taste in their mouths.

With the announced layoffs, it seems that the forums have started to fill up at the community site for AoC with discussion of where Funcom is headed with Age of Conan.

Several posts really speak out for how everyone is feeling both in the community and in the game as well...

This last thread speaks volumes.

What the issue boils down to is priorities of the Funcom staff.

Many surveys have gone out, and many times the forums fill up with the same concerns after this happens.

Not enough endgame and not enough PvP fixes.

The first issue is that the raids have been relatively the same (except for fixes to certain raids that already existed but were a buggy mess). As these raids grow stagnant, the team has been working on??...

Another 6 man dungeon.

If we look, most content has been new dungeons for small teams. It is getting old for many.
Guild Tools was another gripe that has been on the forefront of player concerns. We may not see any Guild changes (like the Renown system) until the end of the year.
Finally, PvP has done absolutely NOTHING since the new "Criminal" system went into place last year (around September actually)...except again for some "fixes".

Is Age of Conan just in maintenance mode? And how can they continue in that aspect with "The Secret World" being delayed?

Is the main push now for the free to play MMO that Funcom has been working on? As we can see, the Free to Play market is becoming lucrative for many companies (overseas and local to the US, like Dungeons & Dragons Online, which has seen a massive jump in the number of players since going free)..

Or is it that Age of Conan's issues continue to cause havoc for the team as they try and add new content? For example, the next patch is to include the Iron Tower which has been discussed for several months now (in the Tarantia Commons district which was added several months ago), yet the first iteration to hit Testlive is buggy beyond belief (with complaints of all bosses being bugged, issues with lighting and shading, etc...).
And for the Iron Tower, Funcom has put T3 raids in "dev" mode...meaning it will not show up for some time..

Vets are the main concern now, as with new games launched like Aion pulling scrips from EVERYONE who is a fantasy nut. Fallen Earth and Champions Online and their niche playing in those worlds...the vets who love the game are the ones Funcom should be concerned about pleasing.
Yet, all they will offer vets are rewards in the new vet program...which are things like horses and bags (which most vets have), Cassilda following you around and cheering you on like she does in the tutorial island (annoying) and BREAST ENLARGEMENT POTIONS...yea...everyone needs those.

So, with layoffs, this may not be a concern for Funcom, as moving to Canada allows them to take a huge tax break and really get motivated...but so far a lot of the team is not leaving Norway (as who wants to leave one of the top 5 best countries to live in?..I think it was #2 - SOURCE)

So, really...where does this leave Funcom...and where does this leave Age of Conan?

Looks like scary times for AoC and those who love her, thanks to a company so many do not love...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Age of Conan - Middle Class Performance

Welcome to my report on the Middle Class system. Obama would be proud to own this rig and play him some Age of Conan. Just don't ask for that health care plan and expect to have the system survive the OC'ing I did on this baby...

But, I digress.

This time around we are playing with the middle class system. An e8400 (OC'd to 3.2Ghz), an Nvidia GTX 260 (not OC'd), 4 gigs DDR3 1333FSB and good ole onboard sound. As we have seen about 600-700 bucks will net you this beauty.

Well, lets not wait around any longer, and lets get to the numbers shall we? First we always start with that lovely scene. You know the one. The one that makes you cry as you watch all of your frame quality be cut in more than half...

1360x76 All effects on - 20FPS

Interesting. Now, just a little commentary on this real quick. First off, I have been impressed with Nvidia's drivers as so many optimizations exists in their control panel, that we are not quite sure if this scene is actually being fully rendered. I mean, so much culling of back scene polygons are taking place. As well, we can note a "washed" out effect to these images compared to the ATI. When it comes to IQ, ATI definitely wins. But, Nvidia allows full 16x AA over this scene with not too much slow down. For the cost of this card, it is hard not to like those numbers.

1920x1080 All on - 18.1FPS

Not too much loss there. But still, noting how washed out some of the screens look. This seems odd. I tried adjusting gamma and contrast, colorization...but not with too much luck.
Also of note (which does not show up in the screenshots) is a strange "sparkle" to textures the further out they are. Like I stated earlier, looking like missing polygons being rendered...weird.

How about the Optimized settings? These are noted in my previous ATI 5870 article. We pull back on view, and remove grass, etc.

1920x1080 Optimized - 26FPS

Impressed that the GTX 260 can handle this spot and at such a high framerate. Depending on the card, some feature causes each card to bog a bit (water? snow? lighting?). As you will see in this comparison section.


1360 Nvidia - 34.5FPS

1360 ATI - 58.4FPS (23 frame increase)

1360 Nvidia - 36.5FPS

1360 ATI - 58.5FPS (over 21 FPS increase)

1360 Nvidia - 128.8FPS

1360 ATI - 217.3FPS (over 88 FPS INCREASE)

Something to keep in mind. Drivers for ATI are still beta and not optimized quite yet. I am also running 8x Supersample (16x regular on Nvidia), and this can give a hit in performance in some zones as well. But, there is no doubt that the Nvidia does quite well for it's price...but at a cost of visual quality and some performance quirks

At one point while in Atzels Zone, my frames dipped to about 18, and started to stutter, yet the ATI kept rolling at over 50+ FPS. I actually had to shut down the game and restart after this stutter incident, yet Atzels never seemed to recover in this one section (near the Fortress for those who know the zone).
This was an unexplained quirk to me, and I could not recover for the life of me.

So, it is hard to say what you should do. Save money or hold the cash. If you are on a limited budget, you may wish to go this route. Another option may be to get the computer equipment from the previous kit with the new Intel i5 series, and then get the GTX 260 to tide you over until prices come down on the ATI.
Another option is to start watching prices on the ATI 4890 which is not too much slower than the 5870 and get a good boost here. Prices should start to drop thanks to the 5870. (I will post some benchmarks for that card in this system at a later date).

Thats it for the Middle Class. Next up will be the lower class money saver for those on a "I have to eat ramen noodles to survive" budget.


Age of Conan - Upcoming report - Nvidia

Hey all...before I forget, I am finalizing my report on the next system in class performance for Age of Nvidia GTX260, E8400 and 4 gigs DDR3.

Before I do that, here is how this price breakdown occurs on that system. I call it the "Middle Class" system. Affordable for those on decent incomes, but are not into the latest gadgets.


I have not included the power supply, those are up to you. I suggest the previous power supply linked in my first system (Source).
You can get a smoother frame rate if you use the X-Fi sound card as well, but really not needed.

I will have more on the numbers keep an eye open.

Age of Conan - Funcom announces layoffs

By way of Twitter and the Hudson grabbing all news as it immediately happens (Mad News Skillz!)...seems Funcom is rolling in a 20% reduction of staff.

This seems to affect Secret World the most, and discussion is that Age of Conan's expansion for Rise of the Godslayer is still on (but my bet is on "live" updates taking a fall...big time...especially when they need them most)

You can read Hudsons quickie post here (which links to Funcom)- SOURCE

I will have more to say on this later based on some conversations I have seen on the Testlive forums and the main forums as well.

Not cool with this, and I am truly saddened (wish I had another game that was worth a crap...)

Age of Conan - Insanity sets in

Well, just a quick post. I will have more on an interview several developers at Funcom gave on the upcoming Iron Tower, Veteran rewards patch.

But, talk about insanity. The Simple Complexities guild (our small family guild) finally hit level 70 (our characters did anyways).
When we went to go about doing crafting for the level 70 quests...we hit a snag.
Seems most of the goods we need to craft must have a guild city in place with Tier 1 bldgs to start.

If we want 4 hour food, new armor, etc., then a Guild City must be created.

Talk about insanity. We decided to go after this goal. My main, Amatheon has become an Architect, and the wife and son, who are both now hitting the Trader and selling goods have begun the cash collection process so we can start building.

Talk about insanity...did I mention insanity?

I will update on this as we progress. But, I mean, we just helped the casual Thursday guild, Creeping Darkness, complete their city (check out that work here)...and now we plan to do it all over again.

Insanity! (But, oh so fun)

Cheers for to the nut house!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Age of Conan - New survey circulating

Age of Conan subscribers, make sure to check your emails.

Seems a survey is coming along asking questions of the players again. I understand their need to do this, but it really is not needed.
The questions are easy to answer...

Content and PvP should be your main concerns. The Sieges which are still borked, need to be fixed. All the little niggles and concerns (floating swords, shields through heads....basically QA) needs to be looked at.

If anything, you only have vets right now until the next expansion. This means make new ENDGAME content...NOW!

The questions in the survey seem to ask the same thing as before...

If you were a game developer for Age of Conan how would you prioritize the need for development in the following areas with 1 being a top priority and 5 meaning this area does not need immediate attention?
  • Class balance PVE
  • Class balance PVP
  • Combat mechanics
  • GUI
  • Tradeskills
  • Sieges
  • Character Customization
  • More items
  • Social activities
  • (emotes, pets, etc)
  • Events
  • Customer Support
  • Bug fixes
  • Griefers/Exploiters
  • New group dungeons
  • New Quests
  • More Levels
  • More Professions/Classes
  • New Raid Dungeons
  • New Siege Dungeons
  • More areas (non dungeons)
  • Travel modes/time
  • Graphics
  • Technical
Forget class balance. You have done it, and you need to stop that mess and get with the program. The classes may get as polished as can be, but you will not have an audience if the players are STILL doing the same things they did 6 or even 12 months ago.
The combat is what we love about this game, and the reason we are here...why mess with that?
Graphics...uh, some of the best in the industry, so please don't even tough them...

Ok...anyways, enough rant today. I do not plan to go to another MMO, but if content dries up for me, I will not be in AoC. Good thing I am still having fun...but, I am almost to the year, you may want to think about some major stuff to do.