Monthly Archives: December 2011

What I did on my school hols… err, no that not it

This month:

Inspired by cries of delight & pvp within the household I downloaded Guildwars again – the others have convinced me it is worth a romp. I used to play when I was still in love with WoW and their servers were down. Time to give it a proper chance methinks! So far I am admiring how pared down it is. What is there works well and what isn’t necessary isn’t there. That makes for direct and engaging play. I’m funny about pvp – I hate it until I’m doing it. Planning more to do the solo tourist thing myself and watch the others fight on their accounts – it fits in better with the seasonal domestic demands. Jingle bells…

In EQ2 I am enchanted by my first Frostfell – ohhhhhh, it’s really nice. What I have been missing out on eh? I notice this year my own Christmas tree here at home in real is subtle and delicate – a jade plant with little bears and stars hidden in the branches…. I think the EQ2 graphics are having some kind of effect on me. A triple SC day was a welcome surprise – I bought. Mind I said I wanted to spend some money but the prices weren’t right. Well with the triple SC they are, so I now have some unlockers & interesting bags & a Fae and a Tenebrous Island and my guardian who is a big girl is gallumphing about happily with some quite ugly angel wings on and a hat she crafted. And one of those sinister backpacks too. Heh.

Still loving the housing tho I wish I could figure out which settings would let me see through the windows in my New Halas house.

In Wurm I plodded through the snow fixing things and muttering under my breath. I’m sure decay is heavier now! With the time left I did some terraforming – all in all not terribly inspiring, but independently functioning online worlds are few and far between – I’ll find a way to make this work for me. I like the idea of having one main (skilling) deed and some tiny specialisticky satelites- that bit is good. I should probably figure out which items are absolutely necessary to just keep my holdings ticking over & get rid of the rest. I should probably time the repair round. One has ample time to contemplate such things, check, repair, check….perhaps I should live on my corbita! Or take up looting… no that’s just more stuff. Hmmm, repair, check, don’t repair….Ah and I found a blue deer and managed to tame it, and some little black foals were born – verra verra cute in my head – in reality all the animals onscreen look like children’s farm game animal models. Animations are…. supposedly under developement and rare. In fact the first time a bear actually reared up I almost fell off my chair I am so used to being scared of them just as they stand there gormlessly somehow emanating damage. Wurm works the same way books do – you supply much of the exciting stuff in your own mind.  Pvp is very funny indeed – you STARE at your opponent until one of you falls over because the other has better numbers. Hahahaha! And people get very worked up about it!! (see forums)  so the imagination thing obviously works just fine hahaha – ok I know it’s not that hilarious sorry, sorry (you can in fact lose your stuff). The numbers thing as always doesn’t work out – ever – …. endless twiddling with pvp balance and it gets metagamed. Nothing new there then. It still fun though – in an “aquired taste” sort of way.

In WoW I worked the target dummy a little on my main and on the Warlock meandered over to Westfall which is much changed now. I’ll see what I think of the new version. I think I chose the wrong spec – I went demo so  I can learn another more important lock from the bottom up so to speak, but really why don’t I go affliction & tour Warsong Gulch… I’m tempted. Everyone always wants to duel warlocks tis a pest. Everyone-usually-rogues hahaha – but then they want to duel everyone, so in this case pvp is probably not going to be avoided entirely. There is always that one rogue that catches me at the right moment and away we go.

On our own game I’ve hit a block on one bit of compiling some source & blech cba so I am messing about with other stuff, it’s all needed nothing’s wasted. Really need a solid block of time to work through the code stuff. I’m doing some of the light twiddly bits – like trying to think up a project name while peeling potatoes for a roast, Project Potatoes! no….Project Peeler! Onion?  Parsley! Project Parsley has a nice alliterative ring to it & suitably has nothing whatever to do with anything we have planned. Nope too hobbity, crafty-cutesy. Uhmmmm…Annihilation? LOL

Categories: Fruit Salad, Things In General | Leave a comment

Christmas is coming and the gnolls are getting fat…(WoW)

Yeehar decs are up and presents are … wrapped

Ok I’ll give up poyetry.

As I return on my main from a break from WoW I am of course  confronted with the behind-on-gear-low-dps thing etc so I spent some time working on that. Must say my taste for this particular grind disappeared long ago. However,  what fun I have had twiddling with addons!! I can seriously recommend it as a way of burning an hour or five. There are so many of them and I want to try them all ! Current favourite to play with is Icehud – it’s not how it looks, it’s what it can do. I had a working “rotation” (yes, yes, shot priority I knoes I knoes) in a very short time thanks to the visual information provided. Excellent! Love it to bits for that!

So that was noice. I am touristing on a little warlock as well. There is something exquisite about redoing old stuff if you haven’t been there for a long time – like reading a book you have half forgotten. Wistfully I do wish that so much hadn’t been butchered out of WoW in the great revamp of two thousand and whotsit, but it was expunged ruthlessly alas……, but there are still little things I remember and enjoy. The inn in Ratchet is one. When I first played I was trying to get to Booty Bay and I couldn’t find Ratchet for the longest time (I had seen it mentioned as one way of getting to BB) … many deaths. I gave up and ran dying some more through Stranglethorn instead, arriving at BB after some hours and discovering the troll islands (as was) along the way. So I reached Ratchet eventually backward, taking the boat from Booty Bay one day in a “where does this go” moment. And there it was – the elusive Ratchet.

The inn there for some reason is very much like some of the places I have stayed in real life during my best holidays… dont know how they managed that. There is the same spareness and yet it’s sufficient, with the great (now a bit truncated) Barrens on the doorstep to explore – ah nostalgia! I am more or less ignoring my rocketting levels, pursuing low-level quests as and when I please. For one thing not bothering with the more tedious tunnel/cave quests where you wander about wondering if you’ll ever find the whatever it was – or the entrance for that matter. And this time around my tailor is going to actually try some of the clothes she makes, so I’m evaluating mobs more on what cloth they drop and lingering happily over gnolls and razormanes and slaughtering even the poor kobold of Elwynn with joy in my heart.

I’m also taking more time to read about and learn the spells though it’s probably a waste of time. No idea who thought relearning your class periodically is a good idea. Blech. This warlock is completely different from my other warlock I started ages ago – and yes, the other one was more fun. All the classes seem somewhat generic now. Opener, dots, signature shot when possible, resource-managing shots, weave in cooldowns. The minor variations dont make for any flavour, sorry. The little lock feels very much like a hunter with a blue blob pet who is I may add just as hopeless at keeping threat as any of the hunter’s stable.

Of course the most powerful shots you need to stand still for, so I have no doubt that most group fights will need movement. Solo, the pet can’t hold threat, so you throttle most of the time and never really get to see if you can do big numbers. Jerk the player around mechanics at their best – I cant say I’m much tempted by group content on the warlock at all – she’s for enjoyment. My bigge elfe main (hunter) I’m used to all that and just do my best hopping about & stance dancing, & gauging the tank’s abilities before I shoot if it’s a strange tank, but that’s more like work. I’m not in the mood for work.

At home the decorations are up and there is a satisfying little pile of presents under the tree. School’s out tomorrow – I have tons of food for growing hungry people! The most I’ll do on WoW is tweak talents, reforge, check gems…. maybe. I’m kind of working my way towards gearing up to raid again  but I honestly can’t say I really care a huge deal. I don’t like seeing the raid struggling for an extra dps, so I’ll be around I guess. Hopping on the secret warlock for a half hour of leisurely questing/crafting now and again will mostly be the better option. Very enjoyable it is too.

Categories: Oddments, Things In General, Uncategorized, WoW | Leave a comment

Play vs Decay (Wurm Online)

Tldr – (spare yourself a rant!)  Love Wurm, loathe the way decay is handled.

Wurm is without a doubt the strangest game I ever played. It’s…. jolly hard to describe! I like it very much indeed - but you know what? I spend too much time checking and repairing stuff and not enough time doing the things I would like to, so with reluctance I’m lowering what I spend on it, and withdrawing my time. Not leaving – I like it too much, just shrinking things. Shrinking the land I deeded, keeping fewer things, spending less time there. My hands will thank me – as an excercise in totally pointless clicking the repairing of items has to be somewhere near the pinnacle.

Decay in Wurm is random – I’ve not been able to set a comfortable routine – every item needs to be checked, then repaired if necessary, but even if it wasn’t a random thing, it just all takes too long. Deeded walls at least stay standing, so my place will be there for me as long as I pay for it – and a basic toolset I can probably keep in good repair, but going is my empire. I retain one medium deed, mostly just walls, and a few satelite ones – shrinking to tiny to cover a smithy and a couple of ore veins I’m fond of. I may even disband those. That’s what is happening.

I just cannot be doing with fixing storage and food bins instead of playing anymore, let alone trying to keep a torch/lamp for any length of time. And laboriously checking and rechecking day after day to make sure things I am going to need are repaired – meh, had enough. At lower levels it’s at its worst – who knows maybe if you’re skilled enough it doesn’t bother you. But it takes a while to reach high skill levels (understatement). Nor is this the end of it. When you repair something its quality diminishes, making it more prone to decay. The repair round doesn’t even maintain the status quo. To maintain the status quo you would need a repair and improve round - and improve actions can fail. This isn’t quite a red-mist issue but still, polite words for what I think about the rate of decay and all the actions associated with it are hard to find. Ummm check, repair/not, improve, fail/not for each item … it takes quite a long time. Luckily you can customise your own input into Wurm, which is what I intend to do.

It is very Wurmian that the bins which you slowly craft to stop materials decaying, happily decay themselves, (going poof with all contents if you are not vigilant enough. Hahaha - yes – it was funny for a while, but now I actually want to keep the stuff I need for projects and it’s just … annoying). In fact I’d like to actually DO some of those projects. I find by the time the repair round is over I don’t want to play anymore or have run out of time. Mostly I just don’t feel like playing – the impetus goes. Instead of spending an hour or two making wine or doing something interesting it’s been check, repair, check, repair, check, dont repair, check repair …clickety click o good the storage bins are done, now to fix the stuff I’ve been trying to smith for a month before I start smithing. Heaven help you if you are grinding skills trust me I was never tempted – 1000 frying pans for hot food cooking? Check, repair…

Apart from that though – oh and perimeters (they can have their own post too) – I think it’s a wonderful, quirky, strange, not for everyone, unusual game. Doubt I’ll ever leave. It’s very deep, the gameplay is slow, there is a marvelous sense of achievement when a project is complete. It’s more like suburbia than the wilderness – has to be said – with highways all over the place & settlements never really very far apart. I don’t think I have been anywhere that was isolated for long. The best you can hope for is people coming and going so that you have some feeling of wilderness when the area happens to be quiet – if you plant trees in front of the ubiquitous highway. Mostly someone appears to nose about your deed more often than not though. Friendly neighbours are great – I have many of those, or being part of a village. One of my alts is a villager & I enjoy that side too. My main deed is far in the north – it’s reasonably quiet up there for now, with good neighbours, but things change all the time.

One of the strengths of the game is just that –  the world isn’t a stage set, it has a life of its own and in fact decay fits right in. Things grow, mature, die. Seasons change, the landscape changes. The problem is one of degree. I find the decay too much – it is replacing play instead of being one of many background ingredients.

I’m assured that’s a personal opinion by some – it is indeed, very personal. I don’t intend to spend this amount of a play session on a mechanic that has no “done” state. You check it, repair it/or not – and tomorrow and tomorrow – every item you own, and after that it needs improving too! Weekly I could almost live with – but in my real home I only check things aren’t falling apart once a year and do maintenance as required. I certainly don’t spend half the day fingering every single item to make sure the Wurms haven’t moved in overnight.

I think that’s also part of the problem – an item can be fine one day and then take a massive hit the next, so you are never sure what stage they are at until you check…tons of unnecessary clicking there.

Anyway a few weeks ago a storage bin I had just made and not had time to improve went poof on the day I was due to renew my premium. I looked at the empty spot where some good stuff had been stored and realised I had had enough for now. Everything you make, mine or harvest takes a long time – it’s kind of disrespectful to undervalue a player’s real time for a cheap keep ‘em playing ploy. Be fine if it was tuned down, or even turned off for active players – I can understand abandoned deeds and settlements decaying to ease serverload (???? – that’s what I’ve seen suggested, but surely the degree of decay has to be recorded and amended for each item – hmm?). And yet decay does fit in – aww just less of it pretty please!

Some people like the high decay rate (makes looting easier and deeding over old properties easier) & would like it increased.  I feel that the last few months it has indeed increased, but that’s unreliable because I’m now so annoyed with it I’m sensitised. There’s a theory going around too that if our stuff decays and breaks we’ll all rush off to buy stuff from more skilled (already advantaged) players. In your dreams, bub. That’s about the last solution I’d consider.

Patch notes are erratic, so no way of knowing if it has become worse really. I do suspect the best loot probably comes from people who have lost interest in maintaining their deeds and belongings and moved on like me and one of the weaknesses of the game is that people lobby for things which alienate other players to the point of disengaging if not outright leaving, for their own short term gain.

By the way off-deed buildings, fences and walls decay too and pretty quickly - so if you’re thinking of going f2p be warned. Even more repairing joy for you!

To balance my annoyance, it is true that a small amount of money monthly grants you upkeep on a nicely sized deed and safeguards walls and fences – I have never regretted placing a deed or found it a drain or a bad deal. Each alt you wish to keep premium has to be payed for too. What I like a lot though is you can tailor your payments to suit yourself. At my height I payed the same as for three Warcraft accounts – that was me frontloading though – setting large deeds where I wanted them. It’s better to start large and trim fast if you can. Mine were placed so they could be shrunk or expanded – neighbours & highways permitting of course, and at that time I kept several alts premium both to place deeds and do some basic building/destroying. None of the deeds were ever huge, or high maintenance, but they did have stuff on them, and the stuff needed to be checked, fixed, improved daily. That stuff was meant to be used for interesting projects = the easiest way to miniminse decay is unfortunately to withdraw from attempting to do those projects and letting go of everything associated with them.

Now I am down to one premium alt, occasionally two, one medium main deed with not much “stuff” on it to upkeep and the totally small ones which I might not keep. Very regretfully I have decided that’s all I want to repair and if I still find it too much I will get rid of even more - don’t doubt it.

Land intended for interesting things I end up not doing because I’m checking/repairing too much can still go – as can any associated storage, farming fields and mines. The more I fix, the less I play, and the less I play… well plenty of other games to explore yet. I am enjoying Everquest2 more and more as I get into it too… I could do with maybe treating myself to something from there with the money I save from Wurm. It’s nice to have options.

And I love that nothing in my Everquest2 house decays – Did I already say that a time or two? It’s a constant delight hee hee. Think I’ll go there now!

Categories: Life On Wurm | Leave a comment

All pink from the frost (EQ2x)

outside, now inside fed and snuggled in a blanket with my trusty laptop. I’m not playing EQ2x tonight because tonight’s the night AoD launches – night for me anyway, and Freeport is revamped, and the free & live servers are merged. It won’t be f2p, not really – to me the payment model looks like a funnel to subscription.

I never played any of the Everquests – luckily for me its all still new and I’m content with what’s free plus one payment for silver membership and one for a house (half price). If they want more money, they’ll have to drop their prices some. Meanwhile I’m ok with plootering about crafting, questing, decorating. More than ok. I’d like to give them more, I really would, but I find what I get for what I pay to be underwhelming & cannot bring myself to do it!  The house was nice to buy – might get another of those – but paying for a race/class I may not like doesn’t really sound like a good idea for example.

As a new player I find myself constantly amazed by how much World of Warcraft copied the game. My goodness, I had NO idea. That’s interesting in it’s own right, just that aspect keeps me involved. As an artefact, historically,  it’s fascinating - but there are other things I like. The delicacy of the artwork is refreshing. I have no idea how it can be called dated – photorealism and photographs date – works of the imagination do not since they are not linked to the space/time continuum. I don’t find old paintings dated – their style carries with them into their imaginary space – like cartoons. Herrumph getting my head in knots here and diverting from the point. I like the artwork. I spend a lot of time zooming in on things. I like that it’s not huge flashy stuff but has some sublety and grace.

Having a house is a semi-revelation – after all, I do play Wurm. Having a house without decay is an indescribable relief. Repairing decay is what will eventually drive me from Wurm to nurse my incipient RSI for a good long while. Decay in Wurm will get a blog all to itself, I dislike it so much. Having nicer furniture, similarly is a huge relief. I am pretty tired of the Rough Hewn Nordic Plank look, though it totally suits Wurm and probably shouldn’t be changed. Like most of Wurm’s graphics it’s somewhat unrelieved. A change is most welcome.

The quests and dialogue in EQ2x are beautifully done – that’s another thing. Questing really is a pleasure and there is enough choice too, it seems to me (at this early stage). The crafting system is new to me. Not sure I like having to babysit the process quite so intensively but in short stints it’s enjoyable. Yes, it’s fine – sometimes I feel a yen for a bit of intense crafting.

I feel happy and relaxed in Norrath – I think thats the main thing, and right at this moment it is my favourite place to be. As always solo play is heavily restricted compared to group play & guild participation. So I probably will only play it for a little while, maybe visit now and then after that. Its something of a non-starter, with the limits in place, for consideration as a long-term game & bless it not worth the subscription at current levels – especially if cash purchases are expected of one - on top of the subscription. Such on-top purchases may be voluntary but they devalue the sub even further.

So that’s it – the suitable and unsuitable – for me. I hope they don’t mess up with the revamps – I do not like revamps, too much is usually lost. It will be interesting to see. I’m a little more immersed than it looks from what I wrote perhaps – it’s a lovely place to end the day, adventuring in another world (scenery is splendid!) or crafting a little and then going to one’s own online home. That’s very attractive to me. Now that it’s offline downloading or whatever, I do indeed miss it.

I am not one to sit about griping frustratedly for too long. The offspring and I have embarked on our own game-writing – we are a good 6 months into the project already - mostly preparatory work, no big rush. There are things we want that just aren’t out there is one side of it. The other is all the stuff they don’t teach at school which fits so nicely into such a project. Sensible stuff like… mmmm….ha! setting up a company – project planning, time management, resource allocation, economies of scale, coding, design, basic office systems, integration of components, compatibility of platforms, financing, demographics.  (Boring as dust the lot of it but digestible when seen in practice and as the needed framework for something more exciting.)

This weekend a small milestone, we are moving into our first real creative phase and pausing the backround nuts and bolts – we’ll be comparing synopses we’ve come up with while we were working through the more mundane things, and creating a few more. I can’t wait to be honest.

Categories: ...Thingie, EQ2, Reviews and Impressions | Tags: | Leave a comment

Here is wherever I am

Free at last!

At some point during my time as a guild leader I found out that much as I like the people I play with, some times I fancy being on my own –  doing what I like, when I want to. I began to roam. I began to try out other games – I unilaterally decided that having social choices in an MMO is perfectly valid. Some days I want company. Other days I don’t. Some days I have time for prolonged group activities, other times perhaps for months, I don’t. At the point where the next step up in the game I was playing was to become hardcore, I sniffed the wind, smelled the freedom of not doing that, and bolted. I demoted my main game to just another one of the choices and headed for horizons new, and experiences untrammelled.

It should have been a bit sad – lone play is not supported in any meaningful way by most MMOs at the moment (2011). You can wander around, possibly do some quests or craft a little but mostly you are supposed to forgo progress, and are deemed unworthy of endgame and the best loot  like some digital pariah. It should have been a step down. But the sheer freedom of doing whatever I please when I want to has proved exhilarating – and it’s not very lonely either I may add. Most people are capable of making friends in the normal course of events online (and offline) and meeting new people naturally is very much part of the solo player’s spectrum.  As is waking up and not worrying about some digital dilemma, knowing instead that at some point, if it is convenient, I will dip into some game & enjoy myself thoroughly. It all feels far, far more pleasant.

My playground is  comparatively limited  though, I cannot deny it. I am in no doubt that my style of play is on the whole not catered for – often actively discouraged  (I don’t really care why – marketing is their problem, maybe I’ll think about it some other time).

And the attitude of some players can be blinkered I suppose… the best loot is generally reserved for the ubergamers, the dungeons and raids are all too often not accessible unless you group. Gosh it’s awful  … I think I’ll stick with it   :)

Having got that out of the way

At the moment I am bouncing around in Wurm Online, EQ2x and World of Warcraft, so I’ll probably blog about those. Other games being played in our house are Guild Wars, Glitch,  Stranded 2, Forsaken World ummmm… – I think thats all of it. Today is a bright, sparkly, frosty winter’s day & I’m off to do things while it is light. The sun sets early in winter here, that’s when I escape to more exotic climes online.

A brief note on finances – although f2p is completely wonderful for checking games out initially, I usually pay my way if I like something or if solo access to content is above the norm. Wurm has had a  good subsidy from me for a while now due to being outstandingly solo-accessible, though some (other) things are beginning to niggle  and I should probably take a break from it. I like to vote with my purse and again I don’t give a hoot whether my contribution is a drop in the ocean (market share = their problem). Even taking that into account, I am spending less money and having more fun.

Categories: Introductions, Things In General | Leave a comment

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