Author Archives: Julian

I’d love to buy GW2…

…but apparently I can’t.

– The “buy guildwars 2″ page on the official site does not like me. Tried two different cards, says they are invalid. Tried through paypal, and “there was an error” (linked cards or transfer from my bank account – didn’t matter, same error).

– Tried through DLgamer (which I have never used, but it’s listed as a digital retailer). They did not like one of my cards, no idea why, but took the other. Success! Or… not. Got an email from them saying, and I quote… “It seems something has gone wrong during the payment and order has been cancelled”. Fantastic. Now I got a pending charge on my card for 55 bucks that should either clear, or post and be returned sometime next week.

– NC Soft’s page just redirects me to the Buy Guild Wars 2 page, so what’s the use.

– There are more retailers listed for digital download but you’ll excuse me if I don’t wanna expose myself to more “things going wrong” and end up with a bunch of charges that “should be credited” sometime in the future.

Why isn’t this on Steam again? It’s only the most anticipated launch of the year. I wanna play (or at least buy it, I don’t care about the headstart really), but I can’t.

Exception handling

To friends, acquaintances and IM stragglers: I take exception (a lot of exception, actually) to being told that if I don’t like The Secret World is because I “don’t get it” or just want “more of the same”.

Leaving personal tastes aside, it’s perfectly possible that the game just isn’t that good. I mean, you have to be open to that possibility. That much maligned Metacritic score in the 70s? To be honest, if I was still a reviewer and someone handed me TSW, since I would inevitably have to give it a final score, it wouldn’t be too far from that. I am not commenting on the issue of Metacritic financially affecting the game (or the company). That’s grain from another sack and I personally find it ridiculous and contemptible, yet a sign of our times. I’m just talking brass tacks. That’s what I would give it if I had to distill my appreciation into a number.

I do get it. It’s not a game that’s hard to get, no matter how much and how hard forum critters throw around game complications as a badge of pride. The much touted parts of the game which apparently require a superior intellect are… what… 2% of it? The rest is straight forward. You don’t need a Master’s Degree in Gameology to interpret the skill wheel, you just need to read. It’s up to you whether you embrace those who for whatever reason are struggling with it, or drive them away in a storm of elitism. Judging by recent performance, we can guess which one was the popular option. Achievement unlocked, I suppose. Kudos.

And “wanting more of the same”? No. I don’t want more of the same. And I applaud Funcom for designing something which at least attempts to stray off the beaten path, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But here’s the thing, and what seems to be ancient sumerian for some people: It’s not enough to just try something new, it also has to be good and engaging. If it’s not, then it’s a beautiful effort to try and shoot a different target that unfortunately missed the mark. I applaud the effort, but I’m not gonna lie and say it hit the target when I can see it didn’t (for me). I’m too old to be that political with these things. How you interpret this that I just wrote as “wanting more of the same” completely eludes me. Your reality distortion field clearly shows.

“The game isn’t that good, but support it anyway”? I’ll do that if a game costs $50, I only have $30 and they still let me buy it. I’ll meet them half way. I wanna be supported for trying too.

We play these things to have fun…

… therefore, it follows that if you’re not having fun there’s no reason to play.

That’s an ornate way of saying I will not be subbing to The Secret World. I’ll give the game another shot in a few years months when it inevitably descends to the lower planar realms of F2P.

City of Steam interview and impressions

I was lucky enough last week to take part in the City of Steam Alpha preview event, offered by the guys at Mechanist. I came out pleasantly surprised by it. Even in such an early Alpha state it shows polish and potential, so I thought (in true investigative journal fashion) to shoot some questions to the Mechanist crew about City of Steam. We discuss the game, optimizations and frank views on elves and fantasy.

Mike Wallace, eat a bee.

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[TSW] And so the NDA drops…

… which means we can finally talk a little bit about The Secret World without the risk of being ambushed by a warband of Dire Lawyers.

I’ve been in the closed beta for a couple of months now, and while I’m still prevented from discussing anything regarding the previous builds (Cthulhu knows why), we can kinda spill the beans about the CB’s latest iteration which, if versions are any indication, should be something very similar to what will be delivered to customers real soon now.

Thoughts and points after the break.

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Measuring interest

I’m gonna do my best to put some time aside and start posting again. The magic 8 ball points to… The Secret World being the next game I’ll spend time in.

How’s your interest in TSW? It’s not a massively popular one ’round these parts, to be sure, but you never know who’s lurking and how strongly it might be beeping on people’s radars.

Rumors of my demise…

… have been more or less accurate. You all have to thank (or complain to) Zubon for poking me and dragging me out of my hermit’s cave to post again. Work has sapped most of my will to write and free time, which combined to 2011 being not really that exciting game-wise, contributed to a lack of things I’d be remotely interested in posting about.

What I’ve been doing all this time: After growing bored of Rift I went back to LOTRO for a spell, since it was free (as in beer), but soon enough my old issues with the game peeked over the corner and off I went in search for something new. Which I found, curiously enough, in a place where had it not been for boredom I would have skipped entirely; Champions Online. I had the good fortune of finding an excellent roleplaying supergroup and it’s been good times since then. I’ve also started recently dabbling in Star Trek Online since it went F2P (notice a trend here?) so I’ve been splitting my time between both of Cryptic’s offerings. At some point I’ll have to sit down and post some impressions, since these two seem to be two games few people talk much about.

Incidentally, I’ve discovered that it’s pretty much official by now: A game won’t hold my interest unless I can get a good RP kick with it. So that’s the player I’ve slowly turned into.

More to follow soon. I’m trying to escape Zubon’s whip here, so there’ll be some stuff coming.

A loving FU to Trion

Time to eat crow.

See, I wasn’t going to play Rift. Note the past tense. Just looking at it from a distance it looked like it had nothing to offer other than its two major key points, namely the Rifts themselves and the class system. The rest was just your usual spaghetti sauce of modern MMO, adjusted for flavor here and there. Enough? For some people it was, but for me it wasn’t. I just wasn’t interested in the least bit to learn about its details.

Then, of course, I just had to go ahead and try the beta. I never learn. So, basically, FU Trion. For getting me hooked.

Recap? Briefly? Okay: This game has no right being as fun as it is. Why? Because once you take out the rifts and the class system, we’ve played this game before. Some of us for years on end. We’ve done this before. Let that sink in. So, if we did, why is it still utterly fun?

Musings about that last point: It’s still fun because you really can’t take the rifts and the class system out. Sure, you might choose never ever ever to join a PQ and do a single rift, cross your heart and hope to die. That’s fine. But it still alters your gameplay as you go along. And of course, you can’t take the class system out. It’s still fun because it works, and it works great at what it does, which is offering a condensed can of modern, post-WoW MMO, with all that people love and hate about it. It’s fun because the combat feels meaty and punchy, and at least to me, never got old with any of the soul combinations I tried. It’s fun because it’s exceptionally pretty new ground to cover and muck about in. It’s fun because it’s polished and you can tell a lot of love went into it.

So, if you’re like I was up until a few days ago, thinking that you’re gonna give it a miss because there’s nothing in it of note other than the Rifts – which you won’t care about – and the class system – which might be nice, but whatever – here’s my impressions from playing the beta for just a few days: You’re wrong.

Holidays, etc.

Just dropped by real quick to wish our readers, commenters and writers a super fun 110% happy time holidays. Hope you get a lot of presents, be safe from evil fireworks and the whole lot.

2011 can’t be anything other than better.