Monday Ramblings

What’s new with me? I think everyone is back to full health around the house so that is a plus.

I’ve been able to get a little WoW playing in – got my Rogue to level 21 and now able to use poisons. Currently he is equipped with two gigantic swords (that just look stupid in my opinion) I found in Shadowfang Keep during my late night raids with Inhibit. Really, all I did was follow him around and observe but we had a good time chatting and goofing off. I went through levels 18 and 19 in that place. Honestly, I really like that instance. It just flows nicely and looks great all the way through. I really like when you get outside and look down off the wall and realize that you are really high up above the ground.

Played just a bit of EQ2 Trial of Isle. So far it seems all right, if not a little dark (lighting that is). Perhaps it was just night time. I started a Scout there, which seems to be like a Rogue. Getting stealth right off the bat was nice. The tracking feature was interesting. I selected what I wanted to track from a dropdown list (which I assume is a list of things only in the nearby area) and a magic path shows up that I can follow to whatever I am tracking. Not overly excited to play it any more but I’ll keep popping back in there now and then.

Asheron’s Call 2 has announced a ship date for the expansion pack (Legions) of May 5th. That is a little over a month later than expected. Turbine is really struggling to manage expectations these days. I tried to play some but when I log in I get hit immediately with the choppy movement. I don’t know what is the deal with that game, but it has been choppy for me since day one. It makes me rush back to WoW just for the fact I can run and not have to stop once and a while to wait for control back.

Played some of the MMORPG beta tests I am in as well. One of them (The Matrix Online) has an interesting combat system. I spent a large chunk of time in the fight tutorial just playing with it. I also tried Puzzle Pirates recently, not my cup of tea for sure. What else? Oh, I have not reactivated City of Heroes as I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet. That is all for now.

Cinco No Playo

It has been about 5 days since I last played any serious amount of World of Warcraft. Sick kids, sick wife and the stench of vomit buckets has pretty much kept me offline.

I don’t miss the game all that much. That is good. I used to go nuts when I had time away from the game. I am pretty comfortable without the game these days. Sure I miss it and I look forward to playing some more, but no more shakes when I can’t get my fix.

Another relevation for me is that I am actually coming to grips with my altoholism. I have started to enjoy the variety of playing multiple characters. Sometimes I feel like a Rogue, sometimes I don’t. With the rest bonus it only makes it even better.

And tradeskills? What is with those? I pretty much avoid them lately. It just seems mostly counter productive to my game play. I don’t find them fun so I don’t do them. When I need a break away from combat, I just log out. Fishing is the only one I halfway enjoy and even that is not part of my game sessions any more. It seems that a lot of people use them to make money, but since my brother gives me piles of gold, I guess I have no need for making my own.

In other news, I have started reading the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin. The first book is called “A Game of Thrones”. Very good stuff. This is possibly another reason why I am not going through WoW shakes. A good book does wonders for your soul. And your brain.

More Beta – Ballerium

I was picked to participate in the Ballerium beta test. This game, according to the devs, is considered an MMORTS. They say that stands for: Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Realtime-Strategy-Game. Why didn’t they call it an MMORSG then?

Anyway, I’ll check it out as soon as possible. Since there is an NDA, I won’t be sharing much here until the time that it is lifted. I’m not a big RTS fan so I can’t say I’m overly excited about the release of this one, but I’m currently only being asked to test, not to have fun.

Face Of Mankind Open Beta

Face of Mankind is an MMORPG set in the 24th century. You are invited to play out the ageless battle of good vs. evil, and witness all shades of gray in between. Role-playing and your real-life skills are the raw ingredients of game play.

This MMORPG uses the first ever player-generated mission system, and combines it with sophisticated economics and complex player politics for a new kind of online experience. Only your ability to shoot, bargain, politic and otherwise duck and deal will advance your character�s private or corporate agenda. The success of each and every mission will determine your rise to the top, or your fall into obscurity. Whatever path you take in this astonishing world, plan well: one day, one minute or a single second could bring you to your destiny as the true Face of Mankind.

Get the open beta client while it’s hot.

My Name Is Ethic…

And I’m an Altoholic. Seriously, I have toon commitment issues. I don’t play all that often, so logic would dictate I choose one character and focus on it so eventually I can get to the upper levels. In reality, I get bored after a while and start a new character.

I may find one that I can keep playing for a long time, but that is pretty rare. My current character selection window in WoW has 8 characters. Rogue, Mage, Warlock, Shaman, Hunter, Priest, Druid, and a Warrior. Highest level is 24 and the rest are around level 10-15.

The first step to fixing a problem is to admit you have a problem. This probably isn’t really a problem, but it does tend to make me cancel a game after a while because I burn out on all the low level content. So it is a problem for me.

What is the solution? Play games with only one character slot like FFXI or SWG? Well I played them both. In FFXI I kept changes jobs so the same thing happened. I burned out on low levels. In SWG, well lets just say I was never really into that game in the first place. So I guess one character slot is out.

Perhaps the problem is that I am addicted to the fast levelling the lower levels offer. I think this may be the whole problem for me. Which makes me wonder what I would feel about playing a game with no levels. Would I have no incentive? Or would I focus on something else? Is levelling really what drives my MMOG gameplay?

What can I do to fix this? Delete all my characters but one? Maybe do some soul searching to determine what is the most fun for me. Or am I making too big a deal out of this? Perhaps I need to take a break.

Turbine In Bed With Sony Online Entertainment

Just caught this announcement on the Turbine website:

Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today announced the formation of Station Publishing, a new distribution label within the company. Station Publishing will focus on distributing interactive entertainment products licensed from external content providers for the PC and game console market. The first titles due from Station Publishing will be Turbine Entertainment Software�s Asheron�s Call: Throne of Destiny and Asheron�s Call 2: Legions.

Argus, the senior producer of AC2 Legions, had this to say about the decision:

Turbine is a developer and publisher. We make games. When it comes to putting these games into boxes and getting them on store shelves, it is better for us to partner with a well established distributor than to grow in a direction that is not in line with our focus: making games. If what we want is a distribution partner that has succeeded with the marketing and retail launch of expansion packs, SOE starts to make good sense. Sony�s sales force is one of the best in the games industry, and we�re more than happy to have them working on our behalf.

Wish Post Mortem

Marc Laukien responded to some emails regarding the reasons for the end of Wish and what may happen to the code over on Stratics:

Wish has been shut down because with the data we gathered during the first 10 days of our Beta 2.0 test, even with our best-case projections for player numbers, we could not have reached enough subscribers for Wish to sustain itself.

This is the reason that I already gave to several fan site managers, and it is the only reason. There have been no technical problems out of the ordinary, we have not been bought out, and neither is there any truth in any of the other rumors that are being spread in the Internet.

This reason is hard to accept for some fans of Wish, and I can understand that. There has been a very loyal and dedicated community around Wish. But it is simply not large enough to support a group of over 32 full-time game developers, plus many others that worked as consultants.

And later:

It is very unlikely that the Wish source code will be released under some form of open source license. The code depends on several commercial products, so you couldn’t just use the code as it is. Furthermore, you would need a large and highly experienced development staff to actually use the code, plus a lot of support from the original authors, something that most likely would not be possible. I’m really sorry that I cannot give you any better news, but knowing the complexity and required efforts of development, I’m afraid that Wish as a community project is not feasible.

So there you have it. They did not think the number of potential subscribers would keep the game afloat. The code is tied up in a bunch of 3rd party rights. The end?

That Was Fast

I quote my own predictions for 2005: Wish: I wish this one would go away, and I may see my wish come true.

Here you go:

Dear friends of Wish:

Unfortunately we have bad news.

After careful consideration of all the facts and analyzing all the data
which we have gathered from the Wish Beta 2.0 test so far, we have decided
to cancel the Wish project.

Our Beta test will end this evening at 6pm EST, and at this time our Beta
forums will close as well.

We enjoyed working together with our fans very much, and we are very sorry
about this development. We wish you the best of luck in the future, and hope
that you continue to enjoy online gaming, even with Mutable Realms and Wish
not being available anymore.

We also wish the best luck to our competitors, and hope that they will not
suffer the same fate as us.

Best regards,
Your Mutable Realms Team

Ethic’s 2005 MMORPG Predictions

World of Warcraft: Will continue to dominate the casual playerbase. Hardcores will move on. Will become the number one MMOG in the USA.

Asheron’s Call 2: Won’t make it to 2006.

Everquest 2: Completely gives up on the casual player market and focuses on the powergamers, thus raping Everquest.

The Matrix Online: I’d be shocked if this one ever gets released.

City of Heroes: Will continue to be strong. City of Villians will be very big for them.

Guild Wars: I hate to call this an MMORPG, but what else can I call it. Will be rather popular but will not be able to remain free of monthly charges. I predict they will find a way to charge people other than the planned “expansion” idea.

Wish: I wish this one would go away, and I may see my wish come true.

Dungeons & Dragons Online: This one has good potential except for one thing: Turbine. Can they erase the stain of AC2?

Middle Earth Online: Same problem as DDO, but this one is already getting the rumors of cancellation (again). As much as I’d like to see this one and give it a try, I’m not hopeful. Turbine, what went wrong?

Tabula Rasa: Square Enix and Richard Garriott. That’s two pretty good things going for you. Won’t be out in 2005 however.

Final Fantasy XI: Will remain strong outside of the USA.

Lineage 2: Suckage will continue.

Asheron’s Call: Will remain a soft spot in many players heart’s, but most will refuse to play it unless they update the graphics.

Anarchy Online: Free game play can be good for the exposure, but it does not help the bottom line. Was one of my favorites and I hope it can get more players. It will hang around for another year.

EVE Online: Will remain popular with math geeks and scam artists.

Star Wars Galaxies: Space expansion a little too little, a little too late. Will hang around but it’s chance for glory is long gone.

Everquest, Ultima Online, Horizons, Shadowbane: Meh, I just don’t care. Go to hell.

What am I forgettting? Planetside. Yes, I forgot Planetside. Thankfully.