I enjoy playing this person! (EQ2)

Was thinking about avatar appearance and how it affects gameplay.  The Big Girl in EQ2 unfailingly fires my imagination. She’s normally very shy, but I paparazzed her just before a fight and managed to get a rare screenshot of her face.  Even when she’s hiding in a helmet though, there’s a definite sense of unique character and I can easily add to her story when I play


so it isn’t all in the face. It’s the body, and the armour, the warhog – and the roughness of the graphics. I know this lady is going to be handy to have around in a battle and won’t be obsessing about her mascara running. And there’s that feeling of uniqueness – there are enough factors to her appearance that there’s unlikely to be too many of her running about. Together it all makes it really easy to pretend to be her character.

I do find the image below bland in comparison. It has a sort of Teflon effect on my imagination.  If looking cute under all possible circumstances even when gurning was relevant to the gameplay or story, I might feel different? Well actually, I’m not sure if that’s it. I’m not repelled or anything, just indifferent. Strange. Is it the cell shading? Maybe because I associate that with two dimensions and flat things that you can only look at but not interact with? Perhaps it’s the lack of detail in the clothes? This is kind of bugging me now.  I have no doubt I will get used to this style and it’s not a gamebreaker for me, but I’d love to know what triggers this disconnect.


Categories: EQ2

Gasp! (eq2) lifting some f2p restrictions !! (woohoo)


haven’t read it yet. Just found out, oh I’m glad. The way it was marketed was daft – well done SOE on rethinking it.

(I have read it now). Well, there goes another one of those cosmic thingies, or rather two of them!

A short while ago, I remembered I had an SOE all access pass and since I’m mostly playing two SOE games and have been very tempted recently to sub, I checked it out. It’s still there. So I subbed. I only have Vanguard and EQ2 on it, which is fine because that’s what I play. I cannot add any other games without joining ProSiebenSat – oh well. Too bad. That devalues the all access pass somewhat, but I’m not doing that. Then, I played a bit as a now supposedly much wanted gold/full member on both games for a while. I hated it.

The full games are nice, but I don’t like being held to ransom for them. I also very much didn’t like not waking up in the morning with an open horizon for gaming time- “what shall I play? who shall I be?” No, instead I start the play session with “I payed for x, must play x.” That sense of “oh – no choice” dimishes the expectation hugely and made my days poorer. I didn’t look forward to the end of the day anywhere near as much. Subs make gaming dreary. (even when I’m actually enjoying the games!) …And SOE still throw lockboxes at you, and the SC allowance is nothing exciting. I just didn’t like it at all. So I unsubbed. About 3 days later. The thing will still run it’s month and I’ll use it more than I want to. Bleh. But after that I’m free again!

So then, cosmic cosmic – I find out ProSiebenSat7 was hacked, and boom SOE improve their f2p. I am cosmic Av! . I should maybe stay home under the bed for a week or two. (I also was going on about credit unions and people shifting their money to them two days before NatWest customers’ IT went down). Lot of coincidences lately. Or maybe the chat on the bus is even more current than I already know it is. Back to games…

One thing that I’m noticing is how uncomfortable the mainstream games make you feel. I can’t name one where I actually feel comfortable – it’s all nag, nag, nag either to spend or log in or join a guild or PvP or blabla.  The independent games I’m trying out make that even more apparent. It’s quite clear that the Indies step out to welcome you and draw you in. It’s just a whole different outlook and far more enjoyable.

SOE’s new f2p is actually a little more like that. A little more welcoming. Can try all the classes, will not struggle for bag space or have to delete quests. It’s good. Not totally there, but good. Maybe even good enough. I do think though that the 2 character limit is silly – people will just make extra accounts. There is also no doubt in my mind that the unlocks on the weapons are annoying, they feel wrong on about 100 levels. Even though you are f2p you earned that Ubersword of Ubernessby slaying something mighty, it doesn’t feel right to then need to pay to use it. Or… You already payed for subs, expansions, cash shop items, but log in after an absence and find your gear is now being held at ransom. Nah. It might just be a feely-weely thing, or it might (I suspect) just be one monetisation too far. Monetizing for the sake of it. The AA sliders – another one. Errr, they seem more a personal choice/customisation thing to me and naturally part of the base game. I think they could still adjust those 3 things because:

The money! Is to be gained from skins, mounts, houses! House items. I’m not as excited about housing in Vanguard, but nobody gets even close to EQ2 for great housing, and it’s so perfect for cash shop sales. I want drapes!!  They have a complete and functioning gold mine there, and that’s just the houses. Their cash shop is now even better with player-made items being added and if I was them that’s where I’d concentrate my efforts using all the stuff in the above paragraph to draw people in. They actually have a very nice cash shop. Prices still on the high side, but a pleasure to browse through and treat yourself now and again. Cash Shopin in EQ2, in fact, is a very enjoyable aspect of the game. Not many can say that!

But that’s maybe too simple a model for those clever marketeers eh 🙂 EQNext is coming – some goodwill from a happy playerbase is also a very good move. Keep it coming SOE, right now, I’m very almost a happy customer.

All in all I’m glad they did this. I hope it works out for them and brings in lots of extra players and money – so that they’re encouraged to keep making people welcome in their game and less tempted to try and force sales by gimping the experience.

Categories: EQ2

Small Frozen Fruit Salad wrapped in Fog (2013)(Vanguard, EQ2, Wurm)

Over here we saw some sun already this year but the trees are still asleep, their buds barely visible – they knew we were in for another cold spell. I’m supposed to be out and about today but happens I have a choice in the matter and I’m not stupid. So home I am, with work to do and warm, and sensible it is too plus good for the environment. Outiside is freezing fog. This won’t take long. The fallout from January continues, albeit at a slower rate and I’ve been busy with real things. I’ve played but 3 games plus Frog Fractions which I still haven’t finished even though it’s quite short.

Vanguard continues to fascinate, I’m delighted to say. It’s the game I played most. I now just about have one of everything and have managed to see Pankhor Zhi (it’s empty), and sent a Kurashasa homeward, but the Kurashasa zone is already shut off, so too late. Quite nice plinking around nearby though where there are the starter quests for another race to be had (I forget which). A little Raki made it all the way to the wood-elf starting zone, but the pics are on my zapped external hdd, and a lesser giant made it to Halgarad (hope I spelled it right). I really like the old starter zones. I don’t care about the gear, I like the variety. This is a fabulous game to solo in by the way. Nothing is too easy, which makes it all quite gripping. Slowly I’m meeting people too and it all feels very natural. I do have the secret weapon of course, I can always get a family member to group with me and tackle anything unsoloable, but so far haven’t needed to. Shark


Everquest 2 yay, played this second most much and I neglect writing about it I know. So far it’s been a total voyage of discovery and I’ve now discovered too much to catch up on is the problem. I will make a new alt and write about all the bits as I come across them is probably the best way to tackle it. And I do want to because this is a massive game with a huge amount of good stuff in it. It’s also (oddly for an MMORPG) a game in which one of the alts has a “life” of her own (the big girl). The Big Girl is a story – mostly my alts have the (soon to be devalued) clothes they stand in and a few kills, very thin, but the Big Girl is more complex and more fun. I think she has her own take on the male gaze for one thing. Hahaha!

Poor old Wurm has made it to the household chores list, the real one. At the bottom. Well…  I log in, do chores, log out and not much to say really except it’s working. Nothing has crumbled to dust and my skills are going up. I also get to chat to friends if they’re around. I don’t have the time for this game. I’m wriggling and squirming to fit it in but it’s like trying to keep an octopus in a fish tank. I’ll do this ‘improve year’, review in June and most likely go dormant in December – with real regret. I’d like to keep playing, but there’s far too much maintenance. The whole point of a virtual world is that it should exist independent of me, and I’m afraid that bargain has to include my stuff has to exist independent of me because I don’t have the time to sustain it.  So, yeah, guess decay did for me in the end. I think the decision is made really. I can’t see “dormant” lasting long either since the trader would still be needing fed. Too many, way too many chores. Sill, I’m there for this year.

Footnote: If you want to see what’s left of the starting zones in Vanguard – I found this guide helpful:


Categories: EQ2, Fruit Salad, Life On Wurm, Vanguard

Springy January Fruit Salad

It’s been a busy old week but here I am thankfully, gratefully, happily back at the dashboard of my blog, yay! There I was too, thinking this year would be all about single player games. I’ve not touched them this month though. In a surprise move Vanguard Saga of Heroes has crept to the fore and is currently main game. The one I go to when I have spare time. I am like a small child in a bath full of marshmallows, making new alts  –  but also trying out the crafting and diplomacy, exploring, just enjoying. Here below is another of the brood – a ranger:


and some pretty little shiny things… I like pretty little shiny things…

I have been able to crank up my settings a little, without any problems, so the game is quite pretty now. I have only made about 7 alts so far (there are 15 classes). They take a while to level. I love that! My highest is the Necromancer (no surprise hehe) who is attempting to fly a pegasus. I think I have got the hang of it now, but its an awkward business involving a double spacebar tap to take off while moving forward and at the same time looking in the direction you want to go (as in “up”). Meh, I’m almost done the quest. Flying isn’t something I’ll be rushing to do – or swimming underwater which is even odder. I would rather lurk about in dungeons! The ranger above has been living in The Earth Den (Isle of Dawn) for a week or two. Actually I’ve finished the quests there I just like sneaking about the place, dw it’s just one of those me things, and because of the slow levelling, she still gets enough little scraps of experience to justify being there.

I’m not sure why I’m so taken with it. It may just be “new to me”, but like it I do. I looked at the matrix, very tempted to sub, but saw alas, that you get 20% experience gain. Just what I don’t want! And I mean that very much. Nevermind, later maybe. The cash shop was a strange experience with everything facing the wrong way when you preview it. When you turn things it takes ages to do, holding down mouse, drag sideways many times before a front view is achieved. Fraid I can’t be bothered doing that more than once or twice. So that will be a “later” thing too. I don’t mind not spending money, of course, but I really have enjoyed my month with Vanguard and would like to. I’m sure I’ll find a way 🙂

Wurm will get a longer post when I get around to it. I’m doing an improve year, with some mining and woodcutting. Truth be told I could do with a break from it and return refreshed, but that’s not something it’s built for. So when I do log in now and then, yes, I fix things, and improve the quality. At the end of 2013 I should have some nice skills and there’s the value. Improving things only delays the inevitable destruction through decay – there is no real point to it but the skills are worth having. I also have some bigger projects I can pick at if I have a block ‘o time and a Wurmy yen concurrently. Not something that happens very often. I don’t feel too bad about spending less time in Wurm for the now. Wurm is doing well! I have never seen so many players and the improvements keep happening. Rolf is back to coding pvp and finding new ways to crank decay up – all is well. And, a nice thing, we are getting some new tree types – one moment I’ll dig up the forum post…


Edit: forgot to add. Wurm is running very badly just now, if it loads at all, stuttering over every tile and crashing now and again. I’m sure this will all be fixed/improved but I’m glad I’m not trying to struggle through it.

Other things, EQ2 remains a firm favourite with that rhythm of go out and adventure, come home and move the furniture about – sheer genius! And a friend got me to download ToME (forgotten what it stands for)  but not had a lot of time to play it yet. That’s what I played in January, it was a very busy and somewhat fraught month, even for a January.

Categories: EQ2, Fruit Salad, Life On Wurm, Vanguard

Plod, plod, plod

Yes, it’s one of *those* times again. Footsoldier stuff. No thinking just keep going, my soul is not singing like a sewing machine like it usually does. It’s just mundane things that have to be got through – and once again like a few weeks ago, just rather a lot of them. So, got nothing to blog about.

I have been mostly taking refuge in EQ2 because the last thing I want when I stop is more mundane slogging. A little adventure and no nonsense about play gated behind maintenence is suiting me better just now. Plus, I keep discovering new things I didn’t know were there… is there no end to the content, systems, lore? – it’s a very big game and it takes me out of the rut I’m in beautifuly. It is much bigger than I had realised. I notice it’s much livelier now than it was before – I think people are playing it more, or returning to it as other games disappoint. I still think the SOE marketing is barking, but the game itself remains something out of the ordinary.

Wurm… is sitting evilly with life at the moment, since it just replicates the tedious work already done for real during the day. And I feel crowded !!  Deeds being founded left right and centre as people return and new people arrive, which is great for Wurm, but not great for me. Last thing I need is to log on and have someone’s nose up my bhind whichever way I turn.  All in all it feels like just another version of what I would like a break from. I have been plodding along there too, but mostly to set things up for not being there daily. Or being there for only a very short time daily, or something – it’s absurd the level of commitment ideally needed. Like having a wife, or a mortgage, or a job – that size of big commitment, which is no good for me since I need my commitment for more appropriate things. On the other hand, it has that magic of being another world – so there’s still that.

Categories: Comparisons, EQ2, Life On Wurm

Small Festive Fruit Salad – ((the best gifties) EQ2, GW1, Wurm, Wow) and some singleplayer games

Pressies thin out some as you get older, at least until you have grandchildren to make homemade ones, (hopefully), which I don’t have yet. So I spent Christmas play hours with the game that gave me the nicest gifts. So there.

The Big Girl looking unusually spiffy, (helm closed though (shy!))

It was Frostfell the first time I played Everquest II and I remember how impressed I was then. Nowadays the game runs much better and I’m still impressed. Every year more content is added. Gifts are given out daily (for quite a long time – right through early January) and accessible to f2p (and trial !!) players too. New items are added. Useful items, craftables, and decorative items. Yay! Thank you Everquest for that very seasonal and generous reminder that there can be, even in this old world, enough nice stuff for everyone if the effort is made. It does warm the heart. Hey, guess what I bought an expansion! Destiny of Velious (edit: no, sigh, I “misread”. DoV is not included. Dontcha just love advertising that makes you think something when something else is true) is now included with Age of Discovery, so it’s a very decent deal (not really so decent then) and I did want to treat myself to one game thing this year.  If it hadn’t been for their lovely Frostfell events, I wouldn’t have known that or decided to buy, so it payed off for them too. Now I can have a Mercenary – the Big Girl won’t be so lonely. You know, she’s a romantic at heart. Maybe that’s why she bought an outfit from the CS. Who knows perhaps …

Edit: So… in that case I think I’ll hold off trying out “gold”. I really don’t like sneaky stuff.

Much fun had in GW1 too. Err I never got near anything seasonal, because I got sucked into this quest about a Nornbear and then after that there was another interesting one,  and then I wanted to move my ranger out from pre-searing and so it went on. Great play, but no special gifties really. I think they go for cosmetic only, but I haven’t got anywhere near to find out.

Wurm is still settling after all the excitement of Wurm 1.0. . Here are some of the splendid (mostly hahaahaha!) things players are already making. http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/71682-multi-story-house-pics/ I think multistorey has already and will, bring in much revenue for Codeclub AB. The playerbase, which loyally supported the game through to release and in last months lost quite some silver(euros) through disappearing enchanted grass and horses walking through fences, was very polite about the cosmetic santa hat gift (premium players only). Wurm has a very nice playerbase. There is also some problem that makes the game begin to stutter after about an hours play (not only me)  which is a bit offputting, so I didn’t spend too much time there. Thank you for the hat.

I had a yen to visit WoW (my comfy old slipper), and thought I’d see what their free trial is like and I did see a Chrismas tree in Dolanaar. It’s the silliest free trial I ever saw. All social functions and the auction house and mail are disabled (to deter gold sellers and spammers) so you get a fast run through some tramelled, cut down and incredibly bland content on a character which has a few clunky skills. Frankly if I’d started with this trial I’d never have bothered playing it. I most certainly wasn’t going to go and read up where to go for Chrismas events, let alone trail along there – probably not available for trial players anyway. I didn’t care to find out. WoW also runs very badly now meaning a sub is forever out of the question. For my purposes, sadly for I’m fond of it, it’s pretty much become a hunka junk, and the loss of old content doesn’t help (compare to the stupendous amount there is to do in EQ2 even on the most basic account). The fund for a computer with a better graphics card has been started and is growing in tiny increments – and we’ll get there but you know what all these games you have to play on high enders also miss? Most households don’t have 4 high end machines. One good one and 3 older is much more likely, with members of the family wanting sometimes to play together. Silly game vendors. Use brain.

Must be said, once I hit Frostfell I stopped bothering about looking at other games for the presents and seasonal events. I checked Vanguard, but I’m too new in it to know where things are, and never got as far as Star Trek.

The first of the single player games were already downloaded (a pound/5 spent here and there over 2012) and fun is being had with those. FTL – wow, I really like that. It makes stories as you go – that’s a new one, not played much yet, but what I did play I very much enjoyed. Spacechem – at top of the list for everyone in family to be told about because of how it makes you think – in a way that’s going to be very useful for coding, o I am sneaky, yes. I found an infant modding Legend of Grimrock the other day. My methods do most certainly work. Dungeonkeeper II – delighted! found on Gog. Used to have this but it used to keep falling over on my old desktop, which I binned this year. Now it runs nicely and I’m looking forward to getting further than the tutorial. Gnomoria – had this for a whiley, go my gnomes… go…. build me an empire. (yes, I talk to them). NeoScavenger remains terribly addictive. I thought I was burned out on it then I played it again and woops, ahm…. yes. Only for when I have time because I can’t stop playing it at one game. Two roguelikes in that list there (FTL is the other one), and both near the top for enjoyment. I didn’t think I liked roguelikes. Now I know eh. Plants vs Zombies. Whats to say. Much loved :). Ravenhearst – I like this game, you find objects in the clutter. It’s also good for me – my eyes are slowly getting not so good and all crises are greeted with the words “Where’s my specs!” I find it handy to practice spotting things in what is increasingly a difficult to visually decipher world.

On the upside all men are handsome now.

Think that’s about it… ahm downloaded but not yet played RealMyst, and barely started playing something called Tag – the single player games fit my life well, and I’ll be sticking with them mostly as things hot up. They are also very good value, most of them well under 5 euros. No subs this year apart from, much later, see if EQII gold is any good for a month, maybe 2. Although compared to other forms of entertainment, subs are cheap, it’s the commitment and pressure they bring I don’t need, and the lack of opportunity to play other games caused by a lockdown on budgetted funds and time. One sub game is already one too much. Playtime will be for play this year, not “I payed a sub so now so I should”…blah blah blah, no tx go away. Early conclusion…. single player games by Indies are far and away the best value just now (beginning of the year) and more diverse and creative than current multiplayer offerings.

Categories: EQ2, Fruit Salad, Guild Wars 1, Life On Wurm

Surprisingly Small Fruit Salad (GW1,EQ2, WoW, Wurm Online)

So with life being very whirly and disconnected just now, there is less time to play. Plus if you remember I decluttered my hard drive and gave the laptop a new lease of life by doing a destructive restore – and I’m not in a hurry to add too many odds and ends. They’ll accrue eventually.

GW1 – To the amusement of all mum finally got a character out of pre-searing and is (4 years late) completely hooked. There are an awful lot of reasons why I like playing this. We all do.

Here are some of the reasons we like it then (trying out this blog editor at same time, Iets see how bullets go) :

it runs well

  • it runs well
  • it runs well (ok enough of that)
  • it looks good
  • the combat is fun and direct and unfussy.
  • it is immersive due to the very beautiful graphics and the music helps too
  • the story provides some extra immersion without being clumsy or obtrusive
  • I like the sense of being on a journey through strange new lands, fighting my way, that theme works!
  • there is no sub – I don’t feel any pressure to log on lest I waste money
  • there is no nagging at all in fact
  • in all the time I have attempted to play it it has always felt fresh and properly supported, if pared down
  • I am not a second class player, I am equal to all … (edit: this post is already threatening to get rather large, I’ll leave it there)

Soo what stopped me from getting more involved for four years? Believe it or not, baggage limitation. Nothing as immersion-breaking as having to stop and empty your inadequate bags too often. And no, I’m not going to pay to remove the irritant.

(Guild Wars 2 runs ok on the other machine but not well enough for anyone to want to spread. One copy will do but if it ever gets better, we will buy more. We have 3/4 copies of GW1)


EQ2 – Surprise! Yes me too. I am surprised I went back to this. I can play it until the point where the in-your-face marketing gets me (alas not long before that happens).

They have only themselves to blame that I barely spent money here because this is a great game. I love the rhythm of going out and adventuring, then coming home to decorate or just mess about in my home(s) so by rights I should be playing more and spending more.

I even like browsing the cash shop and treating myself now and again but all the other constant “buy, buy, buy” stuff gets on my nerves big time so I hardly bother. (The items are really nice when I do look).

I am planning to play bronze (totally free) on one account and play Gold (full sub) on one account for a month or two (already have a silver account) in the interests of finding out if any of their payment plans are remotely coherent and/or comfortable. I doubt it. Plus, since they double-dip I will not be subbing for quite some time. The money thus saved will go to buying some not-all-that-new expansions. Only then will I do the Gold experiment. i.e. dont hold breath.

So…  their only recent sale is this:


I may rust though.

which is rather nice, I must say, though it cries out for more holes. The inside spaces are lovely shapes. But they need windows for max atmosphere! It would also, to me have been a no-brainer for this to be able to travel, but it’s pretty good as it is. It is a house by the way. I think the carnivorous plant suffers from sea-sickness but I do have a few other bits and bobs I can use to furnish it 🙂

In its favour, EQ2 now runs very well at medium-ish settings and is still playable if cranked up, so it looks like they have worked on that part. Still haven’t managed to see through my windows in New Halas though. Hardware? Setting I am missing? Anyone know?

Wurm Online – is too interesting not to play just now, but I very soon won’t have time for Wurmstyle time-hogging. It’s a real shame that it’s so life-unfriendly. I’m not quitting but have no idea how much or when I’ll be able to play and anyway at times I won’t have internet making the expense truly worthless. If all I’m paying for is to log on when I can and repair stuff because that’s all there is time for, some hard decisions might be made. I’ll keep going for now though and see how I feel as time passes. I still just like being there, so there is that.  Much as I love Wurm I have to note the contrast with EQ2 where after a few months complete absence I could simply walk back in to all my stuff, and all the things I had made, arranged and achieved – without loss. I realise that it’s a different style of game. But a barrier to re-entry is a barrier to re-entry and padding (high proportion of repetitive maintenance tasks) is padding.

WoW – I finally dropped my sub. It’s still my old slippers though and I’ll go back now and again. Again, I’m time limited, no point in paying if I can’t play.

Categories: EQ2, Fruit Salad, WoW

April fruit salad (Wurm Online, Star Trek Online, Creatures 1, Guild Wars, Aion, Forsaken World, EQ2 …The Guardian)

I had completely forgotten about Creatures 1

You wouldn’t believe it from the wonderfully tranquil posts but in fact most of my belongings are in boxes and quotes are rolling in for work to be done to this house. Well, not rolling. Amazing how many people don’t want work. I’m still chasing for quotes. Anyway it’s a weird way to be living. Yet another situation with which a desktop could not cope. Of. The lappy moves happily from one work area to another, and even out of the house when needs must. I have no trouble blogging, gaming, working on …Thingie, checking Reuters or doing anything computery I normally would. When I tell people I haven’t watched tv since 2009 they get a strange blank look on their faces right enough, but the internet allows me access to Reuters which allows me to watch the markets’ reactions to news as well as see what’s going on, I’m fine for news and if I want to watch something entertaining I usually can do it on here. I think the tv still works, but who cares. The computer access is probably why I’m not a screaming madperson. Home improvements are such a trial.

Theres been a huge dejunk which I’ve enjoyed terrifically and I like having life reduced to basics. It reminds me of the old days. Various old days. I’ve had the peculiar joy of back to basics during several stages of my time, though a stint in the bush was the best by far. Would do that one again anytime! That was when I was at school – we really had a fabulous education.

I’m still de-junking. I think I’m addicted.

Having cohabited with various individuals at various stages, I’ve inherited some of the daftest things – which I suddenly realised I neither need nor want. I have found no less than six dead toasters all of which were kept to be fixed sometime. Less obvious examples abound too. Old diaries. Man, I doubt anyone is ever going to be interested and I have no intention of wading through them. I had the verbals badly when I was young and looking for lerve – and its all total rubbish hahaha! I mean who cares if X had a nice colour hair in my last year of high school 🙂 which reminded me of the cap of a certain species of mushroom. All grey and gold sheened etc etc. Heh. Out. Anything I want to say about my life I’ll say now I think. I’ll keep the diaries from when I was sailing.

So there’s that going on. My Wurm begunner’s guide will have to wait it’s turn. I manage to game here and there, but nothing deep or sustained. It’s fruit salad gaming. Very nice, very light, bit here bit there.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.

Wurm still has the flickery ui thing, I kind of just cope with it now. I’ve not had time to test some things out for the devs – will do soon. Umm all the spawns are unicorns and my fishing rod keeps breaking. I still find farming my fields very soothing though, and just generally pottering about on my land. Last night spent some time making some leather armour – very satisfying. Should be good enough for hunting wild green dogs and when my fighting skills are up some, a unicorn may fall – the hunting alt is a wuss remember.

Star Trek online I play quite often. For some reason it always puts me in a really good mood. I’m only a Lieutenant I think, and a very inept one at that, but that doesn’t bother me any. I just have to commend a game where I can go and play a mission without doing homework and have a really good experience which leaves me smiling and happy. If it had housing I’d probably spend even more time there – I like the trekkiness, the graphics, the sounds. I want to own my own bit of it!

Creatures 1 – I had completely forgotten about Creatures until I was browsing GoG. Creatures 1 and 2 are downloaded and I’m once again spending 15 minutes here and there with the Norns which in Creatures 1 rather fatally don’t know how to eat. It’s a problem. I think I’ve managed to get the Encyclopedia Nornica working, but I suspect my Norns are doomed, doomed I tell you – What an amazing game though.  Will blog about sometime – if I ever manage to get them to eat something. Creatures is something like an ultimate tamagochi. Your little Norns do all the tamagochi stuff, but with a lot more independence. You can leave them to it and they will get on with exploring their very pretty world (at this stage with disastrous consequences) and eventually breed (maybe). Or you can intervene. And they are without doubt the cutest ever digital beasties – not in the sickly, referenced “about something else” way anime is cute, but just plain cute. The real deal. Their toys are fun, their world is pretty – and the Creatures community is a long way from dead, I am pleased to say. Player-made tools are available to enhance your little Nornic world – not explored many of those yet, the Encyclopedia Nornica I already mentioned is my first COB I’ve ever imported. Except I managed to inject a christmas tree too, I seriously don’t remember how I did that. Age…

Guild Wars has mostly been played by other people in here – I’ve not spent much time with it. This is partly because I (with the purse strings) buy copies and make accounts for supervised play – and the account I reserve for myself gets kidnapped/begged for/given away… this time I have made a secret one and am bopping around pre-searing Ascalon with hope in my heart! Perhaps for once I’ll actually make it over the wall before someone realises there’s another account in the house. It really is very popular in here.

Aion I tried to download. And tried again. And tried again. And fiddled a bit and tried again… well, to be honest if they can’t even sort out their launcher there isn’t much hope for the rest of it. The game downloads ok, the launcher downloads ok – then it informs me it needs one patch and goes into a world of its own, hanging at various percents. ah who cares. It’s 2012. I want to download, install, see if it runs and see what I think. Four steps only. I don’t want to revert drivers, disable firewalls, open ports, edit inis, unistall p2p stuff that they “need” (they have apparently stopped using Pando Media Booster now, but I don’t care anymore.)  Might try again sometime if I’m bored. Which is unlikely.

Forsaken World – play most days before bed – nice graphics, nothing too demanding, can let my head unravel happily in pleasant surroundings and pheumonia-inducing beginner garb (modesty does improve somewhat as you earn more gear – but the armour is never armour).

That used to be the slot for EQ2 but I don’t find that so appealing nowadays. Looking at the box from the outside, yes Sony need cash (it turns out). Under current management I am not convinced that this lovely game even has a future – and that puts me off playing it. Its badly priced, communication with customers is abysmal and on top of all that Sony, like the Guardian seem to think console and hand-held gaming is the only real gaming and that’s where their efforts will be concentrated. On a side note the Guardian video games section should be called Console and Hand-Held Games – if you just read it and nothing else  you’d think the pc as a platform was nothing more than a blip. Hahahaha! Tell that to Warcraft. It’s from that hidebound era when the pc was srs b’ness toy on which mployees did not play! My laptop indeed looks like it should belong to some go-getter in a suit (until you spot the raid-ravaged keyboard), but it has a few tricks under its hood like 4g ram and for Intel a notbad graphics chip with still unexplored potential. I’m not sure if people are still modding drivers for the chip – last time I looked people were, but those are sites you don’t want to visit without bug spray and full armour. In other words don’t go unless you know what you are doing re malware, registers, assembly code and preferably sandbox the entire journey. My apologies to any legitimate operators out there, but even finding those is perilous.

And that’s about it – plootering with other games but most I’m still at the “learning the controls” stage, not much to report. Nor do most games lend themselves to story-telling. I’m sure I’ll find another one that does sometime, but mostly there isn’t a lot to say about one’s personal journey – you play through the quests/missions – maybe fight another player, perhaps defeat a boss – all the same as anyone else = its very “lite”.  It’s when you creatively interact that stories happen. EQ2 has some potetial via housing for that, but not a huge amount. Likewise Creatures has a little via the breeding and (mis)adventures of Norns, and possible the creation of COBs. It’s something I’m actively on the lookout for. Lietenant Dgirp of the USS Potato is happy on her rails though, as are my new Vampire in Forsaken World, and the tourist Warlock in WoW – they are just not very interesting in themselves, though they sometimes point me to general issues I’d like to write about or think about.

Categories: EQ2, Fruit Salad, STO, Things In General, Uncategorized, WoW


4 a.m. bolt upright in bed. This is it, I’m sure this is it. This makes sense! This is why!

It’s been bugging me a lot how such a lovely game is being sooo badly managed, I’ve been trying to come up with a plausible reason – if only to settle my own head. I have it, I’m sure I do! (hehe)

It’s being Zynganised!

hmmm? no I promise I didn’t eat the mouldy cheese again (wut anyway, I like mouldy cheese)…. transient customers instead of a playerbase, heavy cash shop presence, pop ups, communicating via forcebook, and tweeter instead of the forums, losing the herdcore, losing the vets and aristocrats, compressing levels to the speed of light to get everyone homogenised at the end for greater sales…

I know it’s just one of those 4 a.m. theories that looks silly in the light of day but kind of creepy how many things do fit, unsettling. Yeech. Don’t like.

Categories: EQ2, Game Design and Creation, Uncategorized

Community ftw!

I see Blizzard is teasing about announcing the launch of Diablo 3 any day now. Interesting timing.

SOE remains silent in the face of all requests for information except – there’s that didactic article on Massively. About how community relations work http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/03/10/the-tattered-notebook-soes-brasse-talks-community-at-gdc/
of all the …!

It’s now 3 weeks since their players were promised “news on Monday”, the General Discussion forum thread on the Prosiebensat/Sony deal is at 211 – thats pages, not posts, and hasn’t left the front page. No word from SOE at all – so seeing one of the SOE staff doing a panel about community relations almost caused another tea snorting event.

The weekend’s activities on Guk show what the community is made of anyway, and it’s amazing stuff. Well done to everyone that did this lovely thing. In brief, people pooled together to create a digital wonderland for a very sick little boy – and you know what? It’s pretty much Sony’s loss if any of these people walk. What a very, very odd company. I see a few official Sony people appeared at the Guk event. But they weren’t responsible for it happening. The community organised this and pushed it through. Some of the tale as it unfolds here: http://forums.station.sony.com/eq2/posts/list.m?topic_id=515820  and many EQ2 sites and blogs have posted pictures. The pictures say it all. An amazing effort. By Zam this:

A Scrapbook for Ribbitribbit


not a dry eye this house

Categories: EQ2, Things In General, Uncategorized

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