Guild Wars 1

So Graceful! (Guild Wars 1)

Occasionally someone does something very innovative and it goes preety much unexplored. I think this might be the case here, and easy not to notice when it’s not one of the fresh, new, sparkly games but an old one.

I held off writing this until I had played a few months with Guild Wars 1 on it’s automation mode. Automation mode. Hmmm. Well it means that the game systems and events are now automated, not supported by a team of dedicated humans any more. Guild Wars 1 runs quietly on it’s own somewhere, presumably attended to only if anything goes horribly wrong. Does it work? Yes. So far, perfectly.  Is it still fun – yep. Am I happy. Ohhh yes.


It’s still there

After the the destruction of SWG, and CoH, both done with an unexamined hurr hurr “£business>playerbase” hurr attitude (cringe) this is  an absolute sparkly wonder. Don’t kill the old game, just… automate it – leave it for the fans to enjoy, build up some goodwill too (thus generating sales for new game).

And I’m very relieved they did this! I love this game. I want it  to still be around.  It is what it is, mind – pared down to essentials: on rails pve, a bit confining to be on a path – no buildings you can go into, you can’t climb the mountains etc. But it is incredibly beautiful, it runs like a dream, you can have a lot of fun with builds and the music is lovely. I have never tried the pvp yet (I’m still slowly playing through the campaigns), but others in my family have and I’m told its pretty decent pvp at that.

On the money side GW1 is a perfect example of how to sell things – a good product at a fair price (look ma, no hoogledy boogledy). There’s not much more to selling things by the way. Make sure people know you exist is in the mix for selling things too, and a way to deliver (distribution). Few more bits ‘n bobs. But nothing like all the jazz hands and contortions we’re seeing this year by marketing teams. Actually, about that: I do sometimes wonder if studios mistake the process of making money for A Game – A Game in which they attempt to outwit their playerbase. That would explain some of the complicated, untransparent, frankly weird things they do to part us from our money. Conflating profit with stealth based pvp against the customers.  Could be, could be.

But then I’m irritated with “monetization of players (see last post)” just now, so might be imagining things. Back to Guild Wars 1. I do not play this lots and lots. I amble in, usually when tired, play a section of a campaign  or try out a build and feel soothed and pleased, and have enjoyed myself thoroughly by the time I log out. I’m sure I’ll try the pvp sometime. Will there be anyone to play with? Well, now that you mention it – yes. There are not loads and hordes of people, but I do see people around. Plus I can always bribe a handy teenager (pizza!) to show me the ropes, eh.

It’s Wintersday around now, and so far all the automated festivals have been fine. You know, I do also get a strange sense of Arenanet lurking/watching –  not sure, might be that active imagination of mine. But I am certain it’s not (at this point anyway) anything approaching abandonware. More like… a very innovative experiment.

If it works it has some quite interesting implications. It means there’s no need for the unceremonious axing of old games we sometimes see when a studio wants to promote a new game. It means it’s perfectly possible that our children and even grandchildren have a better chance of playing the things we are playing now.  And they do quite like exploring the past. Legend of Grimrock was a surprise success here, and led to tryouts of Might and Magic (alas didn’t run). Text based games are played quite compulsively too, and GoG is regularly trawled for likely entertainment. I think Arenanet’s automation mode is a big step forward, and it would be lovely to see more things like it. I have never seen the commercial sense in alienating a loyal existing customer base.

Categories: Guild Wars 1

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. 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

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