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

I’m just going out to…err buy a potato

don’t bother to cook dinner for me…

I don’t think I’ve ever ragequit a game – do people still do that? Seems a bit last year to me – from the era when you played one MMO and one only. Like a marriage it was. Or monogamy anyway. Maybe people still play that way, I kind of hope so – there’s something endearing about it, and trusting.

Anyhoo what I do usually when the purveyors/devs/publishers of a game get up my nose is go and do something else or play something else, taking my cash with me needless to say. I thought it was like, just saying goodbye to a friend for a while, but I suppose its more like going out to buy what used to be “a packet of cigarettes” and not returning. They need us you see. Players I mean. I wonder how many they need…. I love the idea of a server in a cupboard somewhere providing a world for a few die-hards at not much cost. No idea – will get to investigate all that sometime.

So, yes I know my thought processes are somewhat odd – it serves me well, so… they need us, we don’t need them (need as in cannot survive without) – bit like the man used to be in relationships, when they used to be breadearners ooooo way back when. I’m not a man, but my goodness it must have been tempting to go out to buy something and never return. Actually my thought processes are odder than usual today. I got to thinking about this relationship we end up with – they provide the game, we provide the dosh. The power would seem to lie with us the players, yet it rarely feels that way. How strange.

Brainwashing via Eula and TOS aside, it’s probably because they make up the rules as they go along. That feels a lot more like power than paying the bills does. I tend to look at my gaming relationship partner, the devs/purveyors/publishers, in a critical light. And it is sort of a relationship light. I was mildly irritated at Ghostcrawler patting himself and team on the head for all the things in Cataclysm I personally disliked – enough to snort up some of my cup of tea anyway. Can’t recommend doing that btw. If WoW (easier to just refer to an entity) really thinks that stuff is successful this relationship is going nowhere so to speak, I’m out of it! Ha, this gets easier as you go (not the tea-snorting).

Keeping cup of tea well away from nose I considered EQ2. Sooo attractive, but soo strange. Now, the silent treatment. Do I do silent treatments? Do I heck. Who wants any relationship with someone who doesn’t communicate? It’s potato time for sure.

Those two games … well don’t keep dinner warm, chances are I wont be home.

Oh dear I seem to be something of a flirt. There’s that bandit with the charming smile and flashy dark eyes, Startrek Online, Wurm of the suburban wastes and basic necessities whatta hunk,  featherheady Rift, Free Realms who might sell my grandma or sell me a grandma, whichever made the most cash, Guild Wars the steady – maybe consider something more long term with that one, Skyrim of the cramped interiors (nonono I don’t do nurse), Eden Eternal is really cute!, Forsaken World the plush – how did they get it so plush and runs well too?,  Fallen Earth the wild and mean and also…. alas a bit hicky to run on my machine (all that hard living I daresay), Anarchy Online the unexplored.

I think it was one of my earliest lessons in life that – when a voluntary relationship goes bad beit employer, spouse, friend, it’s time to look around and see what else there is to do. If it ever edges towards abusive it’s most definitely time to withdraw. Some of what goes on with games does remind me of abusive stuff – hey I’m old, I have many t-shirts. Denigration (solo players are antisocial), humiliation (non subscribers are second class), silence (PSS1 deal, still not a word on it 206pg thread now) – is it my imagination or do we players even sometimes feel punished (not paying a sub, not getting any good stuff !!!!)? Or we suspect there’s a mind-game going on (triple rng grind archaeology anyone) ? Classically, abusively, I would now be told I was nuts and all alone in my thinking. A blow would finally fall, there would be shock (on both sides), disbelief, then fine promises…I would keep thinking things might get better….

However. – errr doesn’t matter if I’m nuts or all alone in what I think – I’m off to go buy a potato. Or to be more specific the USS Potato heh. Star Trekking… Amg the skills, what is this thing! Nvm it looks good and runs well and, doesn’t annoy me.

It’s a pretty fun game to spend half an hour musing on relationships with MMO’s – but in the end the publishers/devs/purveyors are just making a poor business decision by being out of touch with their players to the point of losing them.  I’ll look in on the two unfavoured some time for sure, keep the lights sparkling you guys and don’t mess with the playerbase too much!

Categories: EQ2, Uncategorized, WoW

The subscription model is doomed.

!) Yes I’m totally sure of it. The sands are shifting rapidly under AAA games, and it’s almost painful to watch them struggle to keep the shreds of a comfortable monthly income. Taxes only work on a captive base. It’s only January and my hard drive is full of games that I can try out and play with a bewildering variety of “free”ness. This was always the case but it’s different now. The difference is the games are good. There are proper alternatives in place and there is no way on earth the sub will remain the standard. It might still be the holy grail for a while though.

2) Those aren’t the only moving foundations either. NPCs are springing up all over the place and speaking for myself… I’d rather not be grouped with people I wouldn’t sit next to on a bus. I don’t know where the supremacy of forced grouping came from, but I won’t be sad to see it go. Choosing between an NPC and a lootgrubbing loudmouthed bragging unevolved creep is just not hard. That’s the thing – a lot of forced conventions will be unsustainable. Solo players are not going to be second class citizens for much longer because (cue lightbulb) – there are more solo players than conventional wisdom supposed, and when they hit the restrictions, they move along taking their friends – yes, their actual friends! who are friends! you know, people you know in life or chat with online because you like them, regardless of whether you are poles apart in levels/activities/zones/real countries or part of a joint endeavour.

3) Awesome is not the same as being the biggest jerkdev. If I have to play with any more aaahsum jerks in any more aaahsum instances designed by other aaahsum jerks, you can kiss my absolutely aaahsum behind goodbye and where my bum goes there goeth my wallet. The difference now is I don’t feel like a lone voice. A lot of people have had enough of aaahsum and are going to be shifting around, trying stuff out, making up their minds.  Nevermind shifting sands, think sinking islands on this one – messing with the playerbase suddenly got very unpopular with the shareholders.

4) Yay

and thats my prediction for the general flow of 2012, gaming wise. Anything games were getting away with for lack of comparable alternatives to play is for the heave ho.

Have you seen whats out there?

Added (7/02) The current noise about subs particularly over at Massively (I’m sure it’s coincidence) isn’t unexpected. It always amuses me that the makers of WoW, creators of “School of Hard Knocks”  actually believed the people who said things were too easy in Wrath. In that case it took one not to recognise one. I personally would take comments on “how much I’d pay” as delivered in good faith – but decide what payment model to use based on the bottom line, the one that says “net profit”  – but hey, it’s not my job or company on the line. Funders and moneylenders of all descriptions loooove a steady monthly income, shareholders (though they too are funders) can be appeased by a big profit. You can kind of tell where a game is by which model it’s pushing.

Categories: Game Design and Creation, Things In General, WoW

On keyboard turning

I type at 120 wpm. Wanna dance?

o ok its a lot slower now I’m not on WoW so much, fact is though I lose out moving my hands off the keyboard for any reason – dps and honor both. Full keybinding means your hands move a lot less, and – you’re very very fast. The touring warlock is quite handy – I recently realised I could be using even better fingering to turn…. muscle memory buildup is going on as I ramble through the levels, but its unpressured and when I feel like it. Nice that.

Categories: Shorts, WoW

Back to gaming!

After… stuff, I always go back to gaming. Non-interactive entertaiment just doesn’t float my boat that much. I don’t like being told what to think about things, and directed. I can make my own mind up. So… I got this lovely new hard drive and will be able to try more games out – I also have a brief few weeks with more time. What a lovely combination. But gaming time chunks are reserved for my guild.

Mostly my games are like companions – a backdrop to the day’s main tasks and events. I do stuff. Then I game some. I like games I can pick up and drop at will or play in small chunks. That’s where the bulk of my game time goes. Then now and again I get a few clear hours, which brings me to my guild. I haven’t written about my guild here yet. I started it a few years ago with 15 good people and true – we had been abandoned by our gm. We raid, we do arena in spates. It’s built of ordinary, nice people and it’s steady. Due entirely to the members we are level 25  – they did that themselves without me nagging or pushing. People put a ton of time in. They, not I, are what make the guild. Totally.

I had the time to do that – to build and grow a guild, so I did. Then I had less time and took a break. The guild is built for people who cannot work at World of Warcraft like a job, or don’t want to – that’s probably why it’s lasted so well. There’s a ton I could write about it – how hard it was to get a stable raid going could fill a book really – but the core of it is, in the end, that it’s a bunch of really splendid people who get together to enjoy a (still) good game. We hang out together & do WoW stuff either in groups or alone – either is fine. It’s very fair to say that because we all have varying responsibilities and such different things to do in our lives we are interesting – WoW not being a job works fine. I like hanging out with my guild!

There’s no big point or moral argument in this post.

I am able to spend chunks of time guild-leading more over the next few weeks though – some things might turn up here, so a little background isn’t too out of place.

Categories: WoW

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

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