I had another great visit with Sister Julie and Sister Fran from the No Prisioners. No Mercy. podcast. Ouch I had no idea I was having such audio issue. That's the first time that's happened to me. *Sad Panda*
I had another great visit with Sister Julie and Sister Fran from the No Prisioners. No Mercy. podcast. Ouch I had no idea I was having such audio issue. That's the first time that's happened to me. *Sad Panda*
As the years go by, I find that I have LESS time to game, which is the opposite of what I was expecting. Being an empty nester and established in my profession, I had it in my head that I’d be able to game more as time went by. Instead I have a high pressure job and multiple entrepreneurial ventures depleting my energy and gobbling up my time. I also keep telling myself that I want to finish writing one of my false-start novels some day too.
The myriad of things pulling at my strings makes me more particular about the games if any, I play. There are always a dozen things I could be or should be doing; that treading water in a game I don’t REALLY ENJOY is a thing of the past. The more games I try, the more disappointed I become but clearer about what I’m willing to spend time doing versus what I’m not.
Existing the EQN Landmark Adventure
Over the weekend I submitted a Support Ticket to be refunded my Trailblazer purchase for Landmark. I was not unhappy with the building tools. I was not disappointed with game mechanics. What I didn’t anticipate was that the world would be so full yet feel so empty. All the claims taken but I don't see a living soul. There are very FEW player structures. There are no NPCs yet. It’s mostly you, yourself and your claim. All the great builds on YouTube, linked in the forums, posted on Reddit and the alike, represent a very small portion of the claim population. For the most part it’s crickets and dead space.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wasn’t motivated to start a new project after completing my claim. I made templates of the individual structures, the whole structure and all of the custom objects I created Since the most recent patch I could tweak it with the newly added recipes which includes plants and trees but it wasn't enough of a temptation to for me to log into LM. It had the opposite effect. I felt more strongly that without “game” elements, Landmark wasn’t going to be something I’d do very often and decided to wait for EverQuest Next.
Converting and Corrupting Children
Things have been busy at the store with holiday shoppers, which is a good thing. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my favorite part of the business remains the Saturday craft classes I’ve been teaching there. I’m definitely going to expand that area in 2014. I’ve introduced steampunk inspired projects and of course, fantasy themed crafts. Yep, I’m on to corrupting other people’s children like I did my own along with my nieces and nephews. *smile*
The look of cheer joy, wonder and amazement in their eyes is so infectious and heartwarming. I thought the Harry Potter inspired wands class would be the highlight of the 2013 but we topped that with a steampunk inspired Wizard’s Sanctum Shadowbox. OMG they were so excited and happy. We heard wonderful feedback from the parents about the memories their kids are making, on top of the artistic skills and new friends. This is the video I did to commemorate it, as it was the last class of the year for us.
World of Warcraft
I re-subscribed to WOW last month. My plan is to get one of my level 80 characters to the new max level and mess around with the farming. With the help of friend, Elvenmoon, I saw three of the new instances and am sitting at level 87. Elvenmoon is a well geared and experienced Discipline Priest. So much so, that we were able to duo the instances. For the most part, my Druid stayed in kitty DPS form.
The instances are well done - as ever. Pandaria is an attractive zone with as diverse a variety of quests as can be had in any MMO and is extremely solo friendly. But it’s not exciting compared to the other games I’ve played since I was in love with WOW. There’s no imminent danger and thus, questing in WOW lacks a sense of excitement or urgency. I hope to get to max level before I exit again. I’d like to be able to see the garrisons, WOW’s version of player housing, when it’s introduced. I suspect that like the farms, Garrisons will require a near max level character.
I’ve known of Steam but until recently, I’d never availed myself of its services. That changed owed to a few games sent to me as gifts from Sarzan. Of the ones I’ve played, Bastion was my favorite and the one I almost completed. The others I’ve tinkered with here and there. We also dabbled in Saints Row IV, which is one of the few multi-player games I’ve tried given my preference for full on MMO.
I had a good time in Saints Row IV but am not a fan of the movement mechanics and obstacles in setting them up in a way that was comfortable for me. For that reason mainly, I haven’t been back. I have a hard time enjoying myself when I can’t move around confidently. I think we’re going to give it another try though because it was a lot of laughs.
World of Tanks
Queue the hysterical laughter, I’ve played a little WoT. I SUCK ASS at FPS games and am not much better at shoot ‘em ups. EVE was an exception. With EVE Online’s combat, you’ve often won or lost before you undocked from the space station. It’s not twitch dependent which is problematic for me.
I’ve been kicking around from game to game with the attention span of a gnat. Figured I’d give WoT a whirl since Sarzan plays it religiously versus dragging him to another game I’d abandoned in a couple of weeks. Here again, I like the game but am not able to get comfortable with controlling the tank’s movement. I need my movement to be muscle memory, something I’m able more easily achieve in MMOs but have difficulty transferring to FPS-like games. I suppose it takes time but I hate completely failing at games. Being incompetent isn’t much fun. Still, I might give this one a bit more time to sink in.
The Sims 3
It’s been a long time since I played The Sims with any regularity. Having become a diehard MMO fan, I let The Sims 3 release pass me by. MMO-less, I returned to the scene of the crime to find a very pleasing evolution to game play.
With the addition of Lifetime Wishes and ambitions, Maxis has introduced short and long term goals into the gameplay. For people looking for a slightly more guided experience, these elements provide a focus for objectives beyond keeping your Sims alive. A good portion of them require multiple tasks be completed in a predefined amount of time and under certain circumstances, lending them a quest-like feel.
An expansion pack also added the ability to own and run hotels and resorts. You can do this passively by hiring employees, staying at your own residence and simply collecting cash OR be hands-on and work your way to a 5-star rating. I elected the hands-on route which is a blast. I setup a private studio/suite for my Sims on the premises. I have them manage the front desk themselves while hired staff deal with the cleaning and general maintenance.
I didn’t like the few hotel room facades that shipped with the game, and of which you must include one on the property. Luckily I didn’t have to use them. I found a mod that allowed a carpet to provide them features, allowing you to design your own room around it. The built in hotel rooms are only a façade (rabbit hole). I wanted rooms that I could enter and see the inside of, not a rabbit hole.
I also have family pursuing “normal” game careers. I did an awful lot of gardening which I find strange. Why on earth do I enjoy it so much in a game??? I adored Harvest Moon. TS3 gardens takes a lot of time if you have anything more than a small plot. They do however, yield a TON of cash after you unlock the uncommon or rare vegetation and are able to grow it to perfection.
More Tera incoming. I need another MMO that’s exciting! I need another MMO love! Damn you ANet for leaving GW2 end-gaming hanging in limbo with your temporary content. Ugh. Dammit! What I really want is level in new GW2 zones, while earning new abilities, weapons and traits. I suppose Tera will have to do for now.
I like Tera. I liked it the first time I played it. I think I burned myself out because I couldn’t decide on which class to play. I’m not someone who does alts very much. Repeating the first two zones 3x in close succession soured me. By the time it was all said and done, I was wishing I’d rolled a priest from the get-go. *grumble* This time there was no question in my mind about which class to play. I went straight for my priest.
Tera is less solo friendly than many of the newer MMOs. It’s better as a duo but even then, you may elect to skip quests that require killing elite mobs because they are HARD TO KILL. Elites need the sub tag ‘bad ass’ on their name plates. They take a long time to whittle down when you’re not a full party. They can be soloed by some classes such as the Lancer but you won’t be doing it very quickly if you’re the appropriate level for the content. And it doesn’t take more than a couple of mistakes to face plant you in the dirt. Coupled with an unusually fast mob re-spawn rate and mob density, you can’t lollygag in most areas. Hell, I often leave half my damn loot on the ground. I wondered why Tera hadn’t added area loot mechanic until I saw there’s an area loot pet on the cash show. Oh well, they have to make a buck.
I had cash on my account from the last go ‘round burning a hole in my pocket. Ever the dress up maven, I bought a steampunk armor skin. I’d like it a whole lot better if I HAD PANTS instead of booty shorts but whatevs. I almost bought the pirate outfit instead because it had real bottoms but I love steampunk. Guess my lower butt cheeks will just have show. *smile*
EQ Landmark Founder
Yep, I’ve already slapped down money as a founder for Landmark. The early access is nice but what I really wanted was the perk of being able to claim land first and the crafting perk from the top tier package ‘cuz we all know I’m going to craft and decorate. I might as well be real about it up front and get the little extras they’re handing out.
I expect to bail on Tera once EQL is out. Here’s hoping it and EQN have some staying power for me. If not, I’ve got nothing – nadda in the MMO space that I’m looking forward to in 2014. Ugh, that’s a grim thought.
Long time readers of this blog know how much I enjoy crafting and a vibrant economy in massive titles. I often get so carried away, being a purveyor of virtual goods becomes my primary activity. About 2 years ago, I expanded my love of crafting into a real life endeavor by designing and selling handmade accessories on Etsy. I’ve had a blast even though the effort dominates my free time. It’s been a wonderful form of creative expression that pays for itself. It was also an on-time sanctuary and balm when my mother passed away suddenly. I could sit down and express myself without words and be left with something that was at least to my eyes, beautiful – tangible.
My absence from gaming and blogging is owed to taking it one step further. I’ve leapt from the ledge of selling online to purchasing a brick-and-mortar business. I was hoping to find something I could afford that possessed growth potential, provided creative expression and that also leveraged the time and investment I’ve made in making accessories. I’ll have to tweak my target audience and aesthetic a bit but I found a great opportunity.
My youngest daughter and I are now in the high end children’s consignment business – a growing trend. I purchased an adorable boutique called Hissy Fits that’s less than 10 minutes from my house. My daughter is managing the front of the store so I can keep my day job. I join her after work and on weekends. I’ll be doing marketing, merchandising, new product introduction and working to transition my accessories into this new target audience.
We carry more than clothes. It’s the whole children’s kit-n-caboodle of shoes, baby gear, gifts, furniture, décor items, maternity wear and exquisite handmade special occasion outfits (Baptism, First Communion and Christening). It will be easy to fit my sewing skills into the mix. I have some ideas on the accessories but am still noodling that part over.
My gaming and blogging has waned over the past couple of years into spurts around starting to play a new title. Well it’s about to get even thinner. I’ve considered that I may have outgrown the end game treadmill no matter how much I enjoy the leveling experience in a new MMO. But I don’t think I could walk away forever. I adore the excitement and adventure of exploring new fantasy worlds and conquering new classes. But my focus is definitely elsewhere for the foreseeable future. I don’t know how I’m going to fit Final Fantasy – A Realm Reborn into the mix. I’ve wanted to play a FF MMO for quite some time and I’m a pre-order. I suppose we shall see.
I will be replacing the very lame and sparse website I inherited into something more substantial that will also have a blogging component. [Fixed - oh the joys of GoDaddy and WordPress. I was able to put something presentable together in a few hours].
I’m about to see how much of my EQ2 furniture business savvy translates into real life. Just kidding. I co-owned a physical business in the past with my ex – bistro. And I ran a small SW consulting business before the tech bubble burst.
If you’re curious about the life and times of a virtual crafter gone b-n-m, check me out in a few weeks. For now, most of what’s going on with the shop is on our Facebook page. Ugh, I hate social media. Guess I’m going to have to get over myself on that score. *smile*
I’ve been playing a bit of Dragon’s Prophet (DP), the new title from RuneWalker, who also developed Runes of Magic (ROM). I was enticed by player housing, where the homes are visible in the landscape and the promise of creating my own furniture much like I did in EQ2. I bought into one of the founder programs to secure a free house and some starter furniture. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn until I started playing that unlike ROM, player housing is end-game material and not something immediately available. Unfortunate, but not a deal breaker for me.
Consus Cave - First Instance in Puretia
Sitting at level 13, I’ve moved past the starter zone into more active combat quests and have completed the Consus Cave, the first instance in the Puretia area. Consus was a bit underwhelming to say the least. While I did enjoy the fact that I could enter solo and complete the trash mob quests alone, the encounters were pretty bland. None of the special mechanics or orchestrated combat I expect when you take the time to instance an encounter. It was more of the same hack-n-slash quest material.
Many people slammed ROM for its generic watered down World of Warcraft feel. I liked it well enough. I enjoyed the housing. The crafting was decent and I liked the meta game of upgrading your armor. The daily quests were helpful in gaining XP. What I disliked most however, was the lack of combat against humanoids. I really get bored fighting beasts out in the wild! It’s so uninspiring.
Paler Version of ROM
From what I’ve seen so far, DP is a paler version of ROM. Hard to imagine you could make a ROM-like experience more generic, but apparently, you can. I do like the class I’ve selected. Taming a stable of dragons is appealing. As is the meta game of acquiring ones with different skills for different situations. I like that I can place them in the lair and send them out on errands (processes – that so needs a better, more RP name guys) like harvesting raw materials, training up their skills, etc. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mitigate the banality of the leveling experience. *sigh*
Continuing a discussion on my early impressions of Tera Online...
The Classes Shine
Where Tera shines for me are the classes. The world can be bland if the classes are cool. Back to the basic party trinity of tank, healer and damage, you have at least two options for each role. I messed around with a few and ended up enjoying Lancer (tank) and Mystic (healer/support) the best.
From a pure combat point of view, I think the Lancer is pretty sweet. His moves have a visceral feel to them. I feel the impact in combat and his animations are tight. Who wouldn't enjoy slamming a wall of mobs in the face with a shield??? Or a basic lance attack that inches you forward with each thrust, with the 3rd delivering big damage if you can pull it off. Think fencing moves with a lance 2x your height and a big whomping shield. It's muhaha goodness. We don't have macros but there's a spell/skill chain feature which lets you link abilities together into sequences that are advanced using the spacebar.
For the past few weeks, I've been playing Tera Online 1 to 2 evenings a week as a static duo with Sarzan, who is by the way, starting to blog on Spicy Funyun. For me, the idea is to surf F2P games until the next big surge of enthusiasm for GW2 aka an expansion, as filler. GW2 is my home for the foreseeable future but an alternative would be nice.
Despite having a list, of which Tera Online wasn't even included, that's where we've landed first. I don't remember how that happened. *Smile* Going in, I knew Tera Online wasn't targeted to players like me. I'm no FPS gamer. I've played a few in my day and have enjoyed them but I suck at them. I'm a die hard keyboard gamer. Me and PC games go way back. Me and controllers, not so much. So I can't blame the game for aspects that are awkward for me merely because I prefer to do most things with the keyboard. So I'll skip my opinion on those aspects for the most part.
It Ain't no Tyria
I don't know when I'll see the likes of GW2 Tyria graphics and detail again in another MMO. It's incomparable, inspiring and stunning. We do pay dearly for all this pomp and circumstance. Large body combat can be an agonizing slide show. For me culling just added insult to injury. Even so, gaming in Tyria's lush world that always feels alive, reminds me why I play fantasy games, in particular, MMOs.
Tera is somewhat of a generic fantasy MMO environment. The art style feels a bit dated coming out of GW2. It's not on the level of realism like Age of Conan, nor is it stylistic like Allods. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are "nice" but they're not really special. There are elements that appeal to me. So far I've seen shire-like areas, woods and germanic style locations I'm partial to as zones. The human city is slightly industrial in a way that gives it a whisper of steampunk.
For questing you have your bears, pigs and boars clustered in groupings that are all too familiar and doing nothing new - same old pathing and static behavior. The zones themselves are very reminiscent of Runes of Magic. If ROM wasn't your cup of tea, Tera won't impress you much either. It doesn't feel like developers have come to terms with the sheer variety of choices we have now in the MMO space and that merely decent or "okay", isn't going to get you monthly subscribers anymore.
You will encounter some NPC and mob types I've not seen anywhere before, with details that are very nicely done. However, so far, it's back to questing in the wilds ala EQ1/2, WOW and the rest of the old guard. This questing in the wilds leaves me flat. I'm left wondering why I'm supposed to care what these creatures are doing out here amongst themselves? The answer is I don't. For me, there's no sense of urgency in that questing model. I don't bother with the quest text. I'm merely a schlub grabbing tasks and managing a "To Do" list.
All that said, there are aspects of Tera that shine, such as the classes and other reasons that kept me moving past the starter area. Check back on Wednesday for part 2 of my early impressions and Friday for the conclusion.
When I first hit level 80, I planned to do all of the instances I hadn't done along the way, as well as their explorer mode versions. That's not how things worked out. I joined a static PVE group within our guild but quickly realized that I really couldn't dedicate the fixed periods of time anymore. Obligations and temperament combined, the 2 to 3 hour chunks of time required, no longer suited my play style or personality. My preference for playing an hour here-n-there, tending to real life things in between sessions, was much more the norm. And this play style had now been encourage by the gaming mechanics in Rift and GW2. So in the end, I bailed on focusing on instanced PVE for end game.
Instead I worked on my crafting and found a profitable selection of items which I pursue with rigor. Farming, doing whatever local events pop when I'm nearby and chasing dragons fits perfectly into schedule. However, it wasn't until recently that it dawned on me that I was making farming a bit harder by rolling around in what is essentially, support/healer gear. Doh!
At first I resisted the idea of getting another set. I don't have to have it. I do fine farming and pull multiple mobs where possible to do so and kill them just fine. When I'm doing world bosses I play the supportive roll anyway so there's no real harm in keeping the set I have now. But after looking at the other crafted armor sets and the stats that are available on them, I changed my mind. I wondered how much faster I could farm with more DPS? Faster farming = more materials = more crafted items = more gold. So what if I'm not sure what I'm saving gold up for now anyway. Someday, something will come along that I need it for! *smile*
I purchased the Rift expansion a few weeks ago thinking I'd jump right in to level and build houses. That's now how it panned out after playing for a bit. Rift is still gorgeous. My cleric is still a fun class but it doesn't hold up to my experiences in GW2, which feels like Rift evolved and then some. I'm not unhappy with the purchase or having done a 6-month subscription. One of my nephews has taken a liking to the game.
This one in particular enjoys player housing and hence, was on my EQ2 account a bit but finds that game too daunting for a 10 yr old. The travel alone confuses him - moving from my houses spread across different racial zones plus the prestige ones was always confusing to him. Rift he gets and likes having a max level character. Combined with the new player housing, it's becoming his favorite. He asked me to make him his first starter house - the basics. A place he could call home and then decorate as he learned the mechanics and discovered new items.
These days, I spend the vast majority of my harvesting and chasing down dragons. I’m very pleased with the returns I’m getting for the portfolio of crafted items I’m focused on selling, and nothing breaks up farming runs like dancing with dragons.
There are 3 dragons as world bosses in GW2. You can read about them here. They are part of dynamic events, are hella fun and drop decent loot to use, sell or salvage. These continue the “come as you are” activity I’ve enjoyed most about playing GW2. I don’t need a group. I don’t have to be available on specific days at pre-set times. More importantly, I’m not obligated to stay for prolonged periods of time to complete the activity. I simply work them into my gaming session as possible.