Gaming Glee versus Gaming Hobby

I am continuing to find like Zubon that there are various shades of gaming. I want to focus on a highly-sought wavelength of gaming called “glee”. No, this is not the high school musical show type of fun. This is the high excitement caused by spontaneity and action that jaded adults and angsty teen rarely get anymore.

I have a table-top gaming group, and our default when no one is up to game-mastering a role-playing game is Magic the Gathering. We mostly play long games of multiplayer EDH (commander, 100-card no duplicates), but occasionally we change it up. I noticed last weekend that our EDH games feel like work, and we usually comfort ourselves at the end with the amount of “zany hijinks” that crossed the table. We always hate the winning/losing part of the game, but secretly each pray for death after the 7th or 8th turn.

A few weeks ago we decided to pull out our dusty 60-card decks to play a tournament with them. The catch was that a deck owner couldn’t play his own deck, and since we mostly played our own decks, we would be learning many decks on the fly. Winning and losing didn’t much matter anymore. We just played for the fun of it. It was missing from our Magic games for a long time, but I felt glee. That elated, uncaring happiness.

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Growing Up in Vindictus

I feel I have finally transcended past obvious noob in Vindictus to now being just a slow poke. The tutorial battles are in the Perilous Ruins, but some can be quite challenging. After that the Hoarfrost Hollow opens up. It is a zone filled with goblins of some intelligence, and it is ruled by a gigantic polar bear, the White Tyrant. I’ve experienced a few changes in leaving the early area. For the most part though, the quick, fun format is holding course.

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The First Vindictus Boss

The battles in Vindictus are quests or missions of MMO norm except they define the instance with parameters specific to that battle. The program then creates a map from a defined set of map pieces, populates the map with enemies specific to the battle, and sends the party forward to conquest. There are some strictly defined parameters to each battle, and the boss for each battle is probably the one that characterizes the whole battle. (This is especially true for people needing specific items only available from specific battle bosses.)

While there are bosses for each battle, the first battle with something that feels like a powerful, armor-breaking boss is in the Decisive Battle.  Decisive Battle leads in like the many prior battles, but when players get to the end it is clear that the giant red gnoll holding a two-handed mace weighing as much as a truck who has is back turned and is ignoring the heroes is a boss. This is the Gnoll Chieftain.

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Casual Destruction (Vindictus)

For a “review,” this is as good as it gets. I’ll have my caveat first. I don’t really care about Vindictus. I am not vested in the game. If devcat became a sentient monster-machine and in a pyrrhic victory destroyed Nexon, Maple Story, and Vindictus, I’d pour a little off the top and move on. I mean, I named my character “Shingshing” for Eru’s sake. So take my ramblings for what they are worth.

Vindictus starts out as a fantastic game. I step in to this ridiculous dialogue starting out the tutorial with my nameless, faceless soldier, and then I find myself carrying a princess-girl-person while kicking gnolls in the face.  I end up fighting a bus-sized tarantula on top of a crumbling bell tower while ballista bolts rain down on the just and unjust a like. Then I feel bad for the dead tarantula in an empathetic Ol’ Yeller kind-of-way.

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Of Cabbages and Kings

Things have been a little up in the air right now. I still have a little time to game after the event, but right now I am finding I have less time to blog. Or rather, time is not the issue so much as the sheer force of will required to transcribe thoughts in to coherent blog posts. Anyway, right now I am actively playing Vindictus, Guild Wars, and Minecraft.

Vindictus, I’m finding, has supplanted Dungeons and Dragons Online action-y, quick bite of an MMO in my stable. Not only does it have that fresh feeling, but each dungeon takes 15 minutes or so. It is a little grindy, but it seems that some forward movement can be accomplished somewhere in any small play session. I have been mostly playing alone due to the horrendous lag I get whenever I try and join a pick-up group. Occasionally, I’ll work up the gall to start a party myself, and with my connection it works a little better. I am hoping some Vindictus blog posts make it through the will barrier in the coming months.

Guild Wars is actually slowing down. I am beginning to get that warm feeling of perfect satiation. My Hall of Monuments sits at 36 points, with a hard day’s work to get to 40, where I suppose I will stay. Flameseeker, they will call me. Still, there is plenty of “play” left in the game. The Guild Wars Live Team seems to have a full plate of updates ready to be served. The next course is Halloween with my always loved Costume Brawl and more Mad King goodness. I am really excited to see both the old and the new for my favorite Guild Wars festival.

Finally Minecraft. Many MMO gamers and bloggers have stared in to that abyss. I’ve been kind of taking a break, though, in anticipation for their Halloween update. In the meantime I will have to argue with my so-called real-life friends over whether we should reset our world and use monsters (if damage is fixed for multiplayer). Might be a dark Halloween.

it would be grand


Vindictus officially launches October 27!  I am pretty excited. I put in one good long weekend for Vindictus Open Beta, and uninstalled it thereafter. It was fun, but I did not want to test it. I also didn’t want to put in my valuable time only to have it wiped away before launch with a server reset. I’ll be honest. I went in for a sneak preview.

First off, I have beta tested and am beta testing MMOs. I have no problem giving constructive feedback in return for the privilege of playing the game early.  For me that is solid consideration enough. Yet, in the case of Vindictus the means of feedback were horrific. That I found, there was one forum with one feedback area that was chock full of horse dung and contained everything from guild recruitment to an IRL photo thread to complaints about logging issues. This is not beta testing. Yet, I was under no illusion of a true beta test to begin with as I received one of thousands of keys from Massively. Each one allowed the player in to the test. There was no selection process or anything.

Secondly, even though the game was really fun there was not going to be any persistence to my actions. There is a big reason that I just cannot play single-player games anymore. I want desperately to finish Mass Effect, a really fun game, but I feel whatever small time I spend on my real-life friend’s Minecraft server is magnitudes more meaningful than going through some personal single-player game. The third strike, as always, is time. With all the other games that are finished or value my “beta” opinion, it just was not worth my while to take the full cook’s tour.

Thankfully, I felt Vindictus was a good game. I walked away a potential customer instead of fleeing from another WoW clone or poorly designed game. I had enough of a bite to realize that I would eagerly anticipate it’s launch, and I headed for more persistent pastures. Heck, I don’t even understand why it just didn’t soft launch out of the gates. Anyway, it was a sneak preview, but all “beta” tests are not sneak previews. It’s up to the developer to make it that way or find people willing to test and provide feedback to get a real “beta” test. See you on the gnoll killing fields (i.e., ruins) in a few weeks.

a vestige of the vox populi

Weekend With Vindictus

I, and just about everybody who wanted one, received a beta key for the Vindictus NA beta event going on until early October (the game is live in Korea).  I also laughably bought Minecraft on Friday mere moments before the servers crashed due to patch day overload.  Of course then Minecraft became a free-to-play weekend, but I am happy to support the indie dev making the game.  It was a very balanced gaming weekend filled with creating cliffside overlooks and aquaducts in Minecraft and destroying just about everything in free-to-play Vindictus.

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