Languished Thoughts

I am withering away waiting for the next Guild Wars 2 beta event. I have dreams of a dagger-charged necromancer or elementalist that I can’t wait to realize. Yet, the gaming world seems to be darkening as the light of the last Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event is receding. I am trying to shake the feeling as best as I can with Steam sales, and the like. Then I hear what is going on in the news.

Scarlet “MMO”

Except for the aforesaid exception, the MMO genre seems to be bleakening. With a gracious nod to Beau Hindman, I would say that this only seems to be the case for so-called “AAA” titles as F2P titles seem to flood across the land like a scute mob.

38 Studios MMO in-development now has Rhode Island managing some of it’s affairs. TERA launched, I guess, but it is going on sale within virtual minutes afterward, which as Syp says after only two weeks of launch it smells funny. Star Wars the Old Republic was a nice flash in the darkness, and its current state seems better than most. Yet, EA/BioWare is constantly sending out bat signals of free weekends, and other silly gimmicks, which seem to indicate a sinking ship, whether it actually is or not.

Yes, Syncaine, EVE Online glorious light of MMOs is standing by, and I’ve actually been somewhat interested in taking a peek at Rift again. Rift has remained rather solid, for lack of a better word. Perhaps “excellently managed” would be better, which only benefits subscribers all the more. They seem to be managed in ways to benefit both subscribers and the company, which even without stockholder-screeching subscriber numbers seems to be a pretty awesome way to go. That’s how EVE Online started, more or less. A sustained MMO is the most successful MMO.

This of course leads me to Storybricks, and I agree with Ethic that it would be a terrible shame if this project succumbed to the darkness. Yet, I can’t help wonder if they had stayed away from the three scarlet letters and simply likened the toolset to a creative tool with a rockin’ multiplayer aspect. Bhagpuss alludes in the comments that games like Neverwinter Nights might have been a better selling point. If you have a few extra bucks, Storybricks is a good cause to add light to the MMO world in a different way.

Undying aRPG

The ultra-blogs seems to be bouncing back from Diablo 3 woes quickly. Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn are both claiming the tide with events like Torchlight 2 stress test weekend and the successfully ended Grim Dawn Kickstarter. Then there is a free-ish Path to Exile, which people are saying neat things about.

Yesterday morning’s RockPaperShotgun impressions on Diablo 3 really hits it home. Did Blizzard really spend this many years working on the perfect barrel crumble instead of simple UI updates? On some level I plan on getting Diablo 3, but it didn’t feel like a “must have” from the start. It definitely does not now with all the server woes and lackluster impressions. It will likely have a Metacritic rating above 90 anyway by the time all the reviews drop.

The Irreversible Point

Life goes on anyway. I just picked up Dear Esther for $5, which was exactly the amount I wanted to pay for the experience. The game broke 100,000 sales in doing so, which seems pretty good for thechineseroom already at work on two more games. I also picked up Gratuitous Tank Battles, which is a tower defense style game. The developer  added a little campaign, but the crush of options would have been much better suited to a whole progression-scale campaign. For about $20, it is probably a tad expensive to have an ultra-deep experience. It really more amounts to fiddling with tanks and defense towers as toys rather than a deep tower-defense game.

I really think that if the developer created another “Gratuitous” game but took the time to create a tutorial-type campaign where a player was given increasing tasks to progress through the whole game instead of being handed a monstrous rule set, they would have a big hit for strategy enthusiasts. My favorite tower defense games seem to start with 2-3 towers instead of 10.


As a quick aside, today is Food Revolution day. Jamie Oliver is one of my personal heroes, and his first show The Naked Chef really transformed my ideas of food. We’ve really embraced the idea of “naked food” at our household. One of our favorite dishes is smoked salmon, roast asparagus, and pasta with olive oil. It’s simple, fast, and fresh. Our main dinners are usually stir fries and pastas because they can carry nearly anything.

I’ve spoken before on how it is relatively easy to eat healthy. I implore you all to cook something new today. Viva la revolucion!


15 thoughts on “Languished Thoughts”

  1. I understand the concern around SWTOR and all their marketing events. It’s a bit of a differebt approach to growing the game than we are used to and some of the tactics are reminisent of what other games have done in dire situations.

    However, I just think we’re witnessing a company with a strong marketing department and a hardcore sales attitude. To me, that’s the realty story there, not that the game is floundering.

  2. I really liked Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I thought he didn’t get enough attention, and whats going on in US public schools is unbelievable.

    1. Yeah,I still can’t believe chocolate milk. That is the poster boy of what’s wrong with our school foods. Have to stop myself before I get ranty. :)

      1. speaking of rants…

        Please start doing whatever you can to reduce sodium in you diets now folks. SALT IS A KILLER. You can wait until you’re older, and be required to take medication twice daily, and be on a truly restrictive diet, or you can start now when you could prevent all that crap.

        Oh, to have had the wisdom of age when I was still in my youth…

        High Fructose Corn Syrup is a killer too btw… being dependent on insulin to be able to eat is no joke.

  3. uhm… to be honest I didn’t feel that the reviews for diablo 3 on Rock Paper Shotgun were really fair. Perhaps the UI could have been tweaked, and latency will always be an issue in an online game. I do disagree with their assessment of the gameplay mechanics though. I think that it is an improvement compared to the prequels.

    1. Oh sure, I agree that it was one impression. That’s why I read RPS comments much of the time too.

      So how would you say the gameplay mechanics are improved?

      1. Personally, I pretty much agree with RPS. Sure, some of the mechanics are definitely improved, you won’t get an argument from me there. The loot system in multiplayer basically being what GW2 is doing (separate loot for everyone) is nice, the ability to port to any party member freely from town, the smooth game joining via friends list.

        The problem is, saying there were some improvements to a 10 year old game is a facile argument at best. Essentially, the question I find myself asking is “What took them 10 years to come up with THIS?” Am I having fun (when there are no server problems)? Sure. Am I even slightly paying attention to the story or interested in any of the characters or even slightly surprised by any of the “twists”? Nope, not at all.

        As someone so eloquently (and of course, ironically) said, this game feels like a Torchlight clone. It’s pretty much what RPS said; the spell has been broken. There is not any significant gameplay difference between D3 and the many Diablo clones that already exist, and given the fact that the engine is incredibly simplistic (isometric, non-zooming, etc.), it ends up being a game that I will play through once or twice and be done with, just like all the other clones, and I’m one of the ones actually sticking with it.

      2. In too many ways to explain quickly. To put it simply, as a longtime hardcore mode D2 player, this was well worth the wait. I’m already in hell difficulty playing with a friend, whereas with most of the clones over the years I’ve barely bothered playing them once I’ve beaten their normal diff. A few simple things:

        1) D2 (and all it’s various clones from torchlight to path of exile) are based around you having a practically unlimited amount of healing through potions. In D3, you don’t – which suddenly means that all sorts of defensive abilities are quite valuable and building a good character is about more then picking your favorite skill and piling on every damage boost you can find. Instead you have to balance the your skills.

        2) The skills – there are lots of variations. The skills in most rpg games basically have only 3 archetypes for damage – single target, ground aoe, and explody aoe, and you get maybe 7-8 per class. D3 gives you tons of skills and then let’s you mod each skill through runes – some of the mods are trivial (i.e. +damage), but at least some of them completely change the skills – everything from adding stuns/KBs to turning an attack into a mine or a buff, etc. This is where almost all clones fail, no inventiveness when it comes to skills.

        I can go on but this is already getting too long. I think once all the excitement dies down and we don’t have everyone in the world trying to rate it, it will be a great game that many people like me will enjoy for years.

  4. While waiting for more GW2 I’m happily playing Towns ($12.45 20% off while it is in alpha) and having far more fun with a game that isn’t even in beta yet, compared to AAA games I’ve spent 3 to 5 times as much on! Also looking forward to Torchlight 2 and very likely Krater, RPG with squad combat set in post-apocalyptic Sweden!!!… with apparently a deep crafting system.

  5. You hit the nail right on the head with this one. I’m checking every GW2 source I can twice daily for an update. At least there was the stress test to get a mini fix and with starcraft 2 and the recent portal2 update I have something to keep me busy until I can get my next gw2 hit.

  6. Path of Exile is really great so far (2 days). Very nice skill tree implementation (reminds me vaguely of witcher 2, but not quite). Skills are handled separately from skill trees, and come in the form of gems you can socket.

    Game itself is really cool and lots of fun – it’s very very polished. Graphics are decent (not beautiful), but movement/casting is super smooth and lag free. Most fun I’ve had with an aRPG since Sacred Gold. Dropped US$15 on it and am finding it totally worth it.

  7. Interesting, more people with the GW2 symptoms.

    The last time one game managed to draw out all my desire to play anything else was 7 years ago, when a little MMO from a company called Blizzard launched into a tiny marked for a rather reclusive subset of gamers…

  8. I caved and picked up D3 to fill my time because the GW2 void is too much (and I’m running out of F2P browser games).

    I have to say I’m enjoying D3 quite a bit. It has enough similarities to D2 to make it good. The artwork is excellent and so are the combat/spell effects.

    The initial server issues seem to have been squashed and I don’t notice that I’m playing online.

    In some ways it reminds me of GW1 because everyone is online but in their own “instances”. It’s very easy to join up with your friends on-the-fly. That aspect is very nice.

    There are some things I don’t like about it, but they are minor (just like there are things I don’t like about GW1, also minor).

    I think the $60 is steep, and I hate giving my money to the WoW machine, but so far I’d say it was worth it.

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