Posts tagged ‘status’

Six years.

Wow, I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for six years. I don’t stop to appreciate it much, but even though I don’t blog regularly in any sense of the word, I need to cut myself a little slack for maintaining a blog for six years, no matter how sporadically I post. And it’s definitely been sparse outside of Blaugust. Speaking of, I haven’t kept up with the “post every day” thing, but I hadn’t intended to anyway. I have been getting one or two in a week though which has been great. After looking at my archives, I don’t think I’ve been this motivated to post since 2011.

Anyway, I wanted to send out a big “Thank you!” to everyone who stops by to read and comment. Onward to year seven!

Year five?!

This has been, by far, the roughest year for me with blogging. I’ve been on a hiatus of sorts since April and only last week really started to feel the need to start writing here again. Really I don’t feel like I’ve missed too much as far as topics or news. It seems like it’s been a really quiet year overall for MMOs. Not that I’ve really been playing them anyway. I had a brief stint with Defiance before I got burned out on the clunky UI and severe lack of any social environment in the game. I also spent quite a bit of time with Star Trek Online this year, Cryptic did extremely well with their Romulan expansion, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t actually like Romulans much. No, what I’ve been spending most of my time playing this year has been Minecraft, specifically modded Minecraft. I mentioned back in April that I’ve found the Feed the Beast mod pack and since then have move on to customizing my own mod pack.

Anyway, I want to thank anyone that’s still stopping by to see if I’ve gotten off my lazy butt to write, and hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me for the rest of the year. It’s best not to make any promises, but I will say that I’ve finally managed to get into Dwarf Fortress after many failed attempts and that it’s unique among the single player games I’ve experienced in that it makes me want to write about the events that happen in the game. Beyond that, I’ve recently dropped back into Champions Online for more than a brief check in, so you all might finally see origin stories for a few more of my heroes like what I did for the Silver Hunter.

Thanks for reading.

Four years, almost missed it.

On Friday as I was leaving work, I looked at the calendar on my phone to see if anything was planned for the weekend and saw that Sunday was my blog’s anniversary. I nearly missed it.

I hadn’t realized that it’s been almost exactly a month since my last post, but I guess it’s not that surprising to anyone who follows me on Twitter. Things usually get quiet around here when I’m in the obsessive honeymoon stage of a game affair. For most of the past four weeks that’s been Guild Wars 2, but the last few days have also seen Torchlight 2 take up some of my game time.

I keep intending to sit down and write up all of the notes I’ve been taking while playing GW2 but I always end up playing instead, which is a bit of a review in itself. Obviously I need to work more on easing up on the self-editing.

Anyway, thanks to everyone that’s stuck around over the last twelve months to read my ramblings and leave comments. Even after four years I always get excited when I see an email saying there’s a new comment.

Wow, three years.

Today marks three years of blogging!

I have to say, I never expected to still be writing this long. I hoped I would be, but I don’t think I actually believed it. I’ve lost count of the number of abandoned writing project I’ve started over the years and despite my best intentions, a part of me didn’t expect this endeavor to be any different.

Like I did last year, I wanted to mention a few numbers (for my own reference later on if no other reason). I’ve published 309 posts and 1,724 comments (doubling last years numbers for both). My Red Dead Redemption post is still the most popular post on the site by a ridiculous margin (7,674 hits versus 1,170 for a Minecraft post) and I wish I knew why. My final hit count for 2010 was 21,939 (up from the YTD of 12,284 on last year’s anniversary), and 2011 has already busted that at 23,177.

Not bad for someone who vacillates between daily rambles to sporadic rants.

I wanted to send out a special “Thank you!” to the people who stop by regularly an leave comments: MMOGamerchick, Yeebo,  Anjin, Longasc, xXJayDuBXx,  Tesh, and Rowan. While the recognition is nice, it’s the chance to engage in conversations that I really enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

300

Usually I’m pretty good about staying on top of milestones for the blog, this one snuck up on me. Today’s post about Rift was my 300th!

Feel free to leave a Sparta joke in the comments.

Mostly Dead

Well not now, but Monday I did feel mostly dead.

I was on a good run with posts two weeks ago, and then nothing. Well last week I was playing Rift much more than was healthy for me. This week, I’d intended to start on Monday with a Rift update and cover a couple of topics that had been festering in my imagination, but a little bought with food poisoning put a stop to that.

With out going into the gross details, I want to say that my perception of the seriousness of food poisoning has changed drastically. I’d always thought it was along the lines of a rough night in the bathroom (washroom for you Canadians) similar to what happens when you drink three pints too many. Well that’s part of it, I woke up at 2:30 am on Monday morning and didn’t spent a miserable 4 hours. What I wasn’t expecting was the way it sapped my strength and stamina for days afterward. I was hit a lot harder than my wife was, but we were both laid up all day on Monday napping off and on. Even now days later, I’m planning to go to bed early, which is entirely out of character for me. My usual bedtime is 12:30 or 1 am. Last night I went to bed at 10. Food poisoning is vicious and much more serious than I ever gave it credit for being.

Thankfully, my son’s been picky about food over the last week and he didn’t eat the chicken that made my wife and I so sick, so at least we didn’t have a miserable two year old to contend with as well.

Looking Forward to 2011 – Console/PC

I debated just tacking this onto the end of my 2011 MMOs post, since it could be condensed down to:

Mass Effect 3! Mass Effect 3! Minecraft! Minecraft!

But that feels a bit lazy and January is way too early for me to give into laziness, that’s what March is for.

Console Games

There’s only two games I’m excited to play on the Xbox 360 this coming year:

  • Mass Effect 3
  • Batman: Arkham City

Do I really need to explain why? Fine.

Mass Effect 3

Bioware has shown marked improvement in the game-play from 1 to 2, I can only imagine 3 with be even better. Honestly, I’m not sure how though, the mining mini-game was really the only part that was below excellent.

The story, characters, and dialogue have been consistently good through out the first two games, despite my concerns based on the way Mass Effect 2 was marketed. It will be shocking if they somehow manage to drop the ball for the finale.

Batman: Arkham City

It’s the rare superhero game that really recreate the experience of being an iconic hero from the comics. Besides Batman: Arkham Asylum only Spider-man 2 and Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction come to mind. I’m very interested to see if Rocksteady Studios can pull off a sequel. Will they be able to improve on the combat and the detective mode issues without losing the magic from the first game?

PC Games

I’m sure I missed one or two, but this was all I had in my wish-lists on Steam and Amazon.

Minecraft

Obviously there’s going to be a lot happening with Minecraft this year. Notch’s company, Mojang, is up and running, he’s got developers and an artist helping out now, and he’s got big plans. While I’m excited to see Notch does this year with all the resources at his disposal, to be totally honest, I’ve already gotten more than my $14 worth.

Portal 2

I hate puzzle games and platformers, yes even Mario Bros. I loved Portal though. The game did an excellent job of training you on how to solve the puzzles in the game and the difficulty curve always managed to challenge me without causing my to break my keyboard. I’ve been on a complete media blackout regarding this game, all I know is that it’s scheduled for 2011 and I want it.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 – Retribution & Warhammer 40k: Space Marine

An expansion for DoW2 and a 40k shooter are both due out this year. I loved the single player game for DoW2 but it took a while before I really started to like the multi-player mode, mostly I just missed the base building. Still, I’m very excited to get to play my favorite race from DoW1, the Imperial Guard.

The shooter, Space Marine, looks interesting and given Relic and THQ’s track record with DoW 1 and 2, I’m definitely going to give it a shot. I’m assuming I’ll get the PC version, but there is an Xbox 360 version scheduled as well.

Looking Forward to 2011 – MMOs

This will be an interesting year.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

A lot of hopes have been pinned on this game. Some people’s expectations for TOR are so high, that I don’t see how the game can match them. So there will be a lot of disappointed people when the game launches. I myself have been trying to stay away from the news and hype for the game as much as I could for most of the year.

It’s Star Wars so I know I’m going to get it and give it a shot for the first month. It’s basically KotOR 3 (only this time finished unlike 2) so I’m sure I’ll play through at least one or two of the storyline (probably light-side Jedi of some flavor and a Smuggler), but I’m also not expecting to still be playing this game in December. This is basically a single-player game with a subscription fee, it’s something I’m not particularly excited about money-wise, but it is Star Wars so what can I say.

Rift

For the longest time I had trouble differentiating between this game and Tera Online, so I’m glad that they’ve changed their name.

Unlike TOR, Rift was not an instant buy for me. I didn’t have any interest until I started see some of the news and videos about their rift system for dynamic PvE content.

I’ve been in a few of the semi-closed beta events and gotten a chance to experience the new system. It is quite a bit of fun, and in several ways rifts could be considered a more dynamic version of Warhammer public quests. The game is an evolutionary mix of WoW’s and Warhammer’s game designs with a touch of Aion’s graphical style. In short, it doesn’t break the DIKU mold common to MMOs, but it is fun.

Like TOR , I don’t foresee this being a long-term subscription for me. LotRO has been my main fantasy game for years now, and I expect that to continue, but who knows. A lot can happen in twelve months.

Guild Wars 2

Here’s the short version: excited for the game, hesitant about NCSoft.

The original Guild Wars has a lot of faithful fans, but I’m not one of them. I bought the game when it released and I’ve played it off an on over the years, but never for very long. Primarily, I think, because of the focus on private over public instancing and the number of invisible walls in the outdoor maps, the game’s just never clicked with me. So it’s been exciting to me to see that ArenaNet is addressing both of those issues in Guild Wars 2.

NCSoft though has me worried. They’ve had some real problems with their security in the last year, and their customer support hasn’t been much better. Hopefully they get their act together before GW2 launches.

MMO Wish-list

If my personal predictions turn out correct I won’t really be playing any of the new 2011 MMOs all year. Come December, I’m expecting that my core games will still be: Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Champions.

Star Trek Online

Of all the MMOs I currently play, this is the one I’m the most happy with. Cryptic’s made a lot of improvements in the eleven months since the game launched, and I like a lot of the plans that I’ve heard Daniel Stahl talk about for the game.

Some of these are things that Cryptic has talked about and some are, but here’s some of the changes (both small and large) that I’d like to see happen this year.

  • Ship-wide uniforms. It’s a real pain right now to keep my bridge officer’s uniforms consistent, and there’s no to customize crewman uniforms for when walking around the spacious hallways of my ship.
  • Speaking of spacious, there’s got to be someway to bring the scale of the interior maps down at least a little bit.
  • Allow bridge officers to have multiple uniform slots just like command officers do.
  • Improve the save/load functionality in the tailor so that uniform saves are easier to distinguish from one another.
  • Make the pop-up dialog that occurs when crossing zone borders optional. I’d like to be able to leave Sol and set a course for DS9 and not have to keep an eye on the ship to approve warping from one Sector Block to the next.
  • Ability to disable ships rather than destroy them. Even if it’s only a cosmetic change where enemies pull some kind of emergency warp. It wouldn’t even have to happen all the time, but incorporating disabling ships in some fashion into the combat system would make the game feel just a bit more Trek-like.
  • Change the ground combat system to something cover-based. I would love to see Cryptic borrow some design decisions from Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 and make STO’s ground combat more about moving from cover to cover rather than standing still out in the open and depending on personal shields. Tweaking melee combat so that it’s not a Benny Hill kite-fest would be good too.
  • Keep doing the Featured Episodes! Taking a month off here and there is fine, after all TV does too, but I’d love to see a commitment from Cryptic that this is a permanent feature of the game.

Champions Online

Even with my interest trailing off in the second half of 2010, I do enjoy hopping into the game from time to time and heroing about. Of course I’m a bit concerned about how the F2P switch will turn out, but I’m not worried about the same over-commercialization happening that happened with LotRO.

First, Cryptic already has a store interface in the game and it’s not nearly as prominent as Turbine’s is.

Second, there’s no way to earn Cryptic Points in the game (or there wasn’t last time I checked), so there won’t be an annoying pop-up message anytime I finish a Perk or Adventure Pack reminding me about the store.

Third, a little commercialism fits pretty well into the Champions setting. I’m also don’t have emotional ties to the Champions property that go back to my childhood.

So aside from seeing how the F2P change works out, all I want from Cryptic’s Champions team is more. More new zones. More new mission. More new costume pieces.

A few new levels wouldn’t hurt either.

Lord of the Rings Online

Last year with LotRO was a real roller-coaster for me. A one-two punch of little to no content updates and way too much marketing of the store.

My hope is that this year Turbine turns things around, and given recent interviews where they claim to have tripled their revenues, they really have no excuse not to.

  • There needs to be a configuration option to turn off the store buttons and TP alerts. I don’t care if I’ve earned another 10 Turbine Points. I may care if I can buy a consumable to speed up crafting sometime, but I usually don’t and I’d rather not be reminded of it every time I open the crafting panel.
  • Regular content updates. They don’t have to be large and I actually prefer that Turbine keep them small and frequent rather than dropping a single large one half-way through the year.
  • Expanded cosmetic system: more costume slots, the ability to bring one’s cloak hood up or down without switching cloaks, and cosmetic weapons.
  • A total revamp of the legendary item system. Drop the lottery aspects and make LI’s work more like a person’s skirmish soldier.
  • For the love of Tolkien, find someone to make some decent hats.

I’ve always felt the Turbine did a good job of staying close to the spirit of Tolkien’s lore even if they had to bend the letter of it to fit the MMO genre, but the commercialism that’s invaded the game since it went free-to-play has gotten out of control.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, Turbine, don’t let me down.

Looking Back at 2010

December is done and 2010 along with it. Seems like a lot of people are happy to see 2010 go, but the last twelve months of gaming here in Kae-land have been pretty good.

New MMOs in 2010

There were four MMOs scheduled or rumored for 2010 that I was keeping an eye one.

Star Trek Online

The game launched on time and pretty smoothly. At least smoothly enough that I don’t remember encountering any problems eleven months later, unlike Anarchy Online’s launch which I still rememberyears later.

The game had a larger flood of launch players than I expected, but it seemed like that initial wave passed through pretty quickly. Say what you will about Cryptic, but I do like their single world architecture. Not only do you not have to play the server-coordination game with your friends, but there’s also no drama over server queues or merges.

For such a new game, not quite a year old yet, STO has made a lot of improvements. Cryptic has added a diplomacy system (months before I expected them to), several new sectors of content, revamped the crafting system (twice, although more work needs to be done on it), updated sector space, done two month’s worth of weekly episodes, and done an excellent job of following through on their promises of transparency with their Engineering Reports. They’re also close to releasing a user-generated content system, the Foundry.

Of course, Cryptic has caused a lot of drama and made a lot of mistakes this year as well, but I have to give them credit for their responsiveness. The Star Trek team has been especially good at gathering community feedback and then acting on it. Daniel Stahl has done an excellent job since taking over as Executive Producer, and I’m very optimistic about the future of the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Even with all the new information this year, my expectations haven’t changed much.

I like the emphasis on story. Going fully voiced will be an interesting experiment to see how players react and the impact on adding content. I’m sure I’ll buy this even if I don’t subscribe past the first month just to see for myself how Bioware did. Besides the original Knights of the Old Republic was one of my favorite games on the first Xbox.

One thing has changed though, I’ve been surprised about how poorly Bioware has managed the hype for the game this year. In 2009 they’d been doing an excellent job of keeping people excited for the game without letting community expectations get unreasonable. I can’t say the same about Bioware for 2010. It seems to me like the backlash I was expecting to follow the game’s launch has already started.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

My expectations for Cataclysm were set at “wait and see.” That was where they stayed right up until the expansion launched. Despite my general lack of enthusiasm, I did end up buying it. I blame Twitter.

I played through the Dwarven starting zone again (up to level 11) to see what the old world was like now and came away pretty disappointed. It was different, but it was just streamlined a bit and not the Azeroth shattering new experience I expected.

I also started a Worgen Mage and I’m about halfway (just judging by levels) through their starter area as well. I have to say, it’s fun so far but it’s not living up to the hype. That’s the tricky part of this. There’s a lot of hyperbole out there about how amazing Cataclysm is and how fantastic the new zones are, and I don’t think that the game lives up to it’s reputation.

Who knows, maybe I’ll change my tune once I finish the starter area. December just hasn’t been a good month for me to spend enough time with any MMOs.

DC Universe Online

DCUO was supposed to release in November, but SOE pushed it to the beginning of 2011. I think this was smart for two reasons: Cataclysm was scheduled for December (duh) and they listened to the feedback from their beta testers (something more developers should do).

I said back in January that I would wait until I’d had a chance to beta the game and make a decision close to launch of whether or not I’d play it. Well both of those things have happened, and I’ve decided to give it a pass. The reasons for that decision deserves a more in-depth treatment than I want to go into just now, so let me just say that there’s nothing that DCUO does for me that I can’t already get from playing either Champions Online or Arkham Asylum.

Old MMOs

At the start of 2010, there were three MMOs that I was playing regularly and/or subscribing to: Lord of the Rings Online, EVE Online, and Champions Online. (I’m thinking of making a New Years Resolution soon to boycott the use of the word Online in MMO titles.)

Lord of the Rings Online

Whew, what a year it’s been for LotRO and Turbine. It started out as my favorite MMO. I was (and still am) in a great Kinship (which it still is) and was having lot’s of fun in the game. Then came June 4th and the Free-to-Play bombshell. I was completely blindsided by the announcement. Maybe it’s because I played on Landroval, which was always one of the most populated servers, but I had never considered the possibility that Turbine would go the DDO-route for the game. Eventually, after the shock wore off and I was able to look at the details, it really didn’t seem like the F2P change would have a huge impact on my playing experience.

Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be quite correct. My minute to minute playing experience is mostly the same as it ever was, and I’m not paying any more to play the game than I was before, but the level of store integration into the UI really started to get to me. Between the alert that shows up anytime I do something that earns Turbine Points and all of the little gold buttons that link to the store (of which there are three on the crafting panel alone), I’ve found that my interest in logging in and playing as dwindled down to nearly nothing.

EVE Online

I was doubtful that I would still be subscribed to EVE by the end of the year. I did end up stopping the subscription on my second account, and would have canceled my primary except that it renewed before I got around to it. That’s not totally a bad thing as I’ve continued to train skills (towards no particular goal) and I’ll get a chance to try out the new character portrait generator when it comes out. Regardless though, I’m definitely letting the account lapse in March when the current six month cycle is up.

Champions Online

My plans to have this be my other primary game besides LotRO turned out to be true until I go my first hero to max level in March. After that, I played with some alts and returned for the Serpent Lantern Adventure Pack, but my playtime has dwindled down quite a bit this year. I have to be in a certain (rare) mood to enjoy re-experiencing content, so once I’ve been through the game once my playtime almost always declines (which is true for me in all MMOs).

Console Games

Mass Effect 2 was my favorite console game of the year. Great story, great graphics, and much improved combat over the previous game.

Red Dead Redemption was my second favorite console game, and one I almost missed. I hadn’t paid any attention to it at all until Scott from Pumping Irony asked me if I was getting it. I’m glad he did, because it turned out to be a really good game and the first Rockstar game I’ve ever finished.

Star Wars: Force Unleashed wasn’t new but I’d skipped it on release because of poor reviews. I ended up picking it up after news that a sequel was going to be release, and it turned out to be surprisingly good. So good, actually, that I was able to add it to my very small list of completed games. Ironically, based on several trusted sources, it seems like the sequel is a stinker. That’s too bad, but at least it got me to buy the first one.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions turned out to be a disappointment. The game was way more linear than I wanted it to be and has ended up in my limbo games stack. These are games stacked up next to my 360 that I feel I should finish but probably won’t.

Fable 3 was also a disappointment and will likely be joining Shattered Dimensions in limbo soon. It’s really too bad considering how much I loved playing Fable 2.

PC Games

Minecraft! Minecraft! Minecraft!

I’ve played and enjoyed a lot of PC games this year, most of them acquired via Steam sales, but the stand-out PC game for the year for me has been Minecraft.

I’m still surprised by how much I enjoy this game. I’m usually a shallow gamer. Good game-play is important of course, but no more so to me than the good graphics. Generally when a sequel to a game comes out I stop playing the older version, even if I don’t enjoy the new version as much, because it just looks better. What can I say.

If you qualify as a Crafter or Explorer personality type, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you do end up liking it, come check out the multi-player servers I’m running.

Second Anniversary!

Today’s the big day! I now have two years of blogging under my keyboard. That’s 158 (counting this one) posts written with 800 comments (likely half of them mine).

Last year I had one goal: post more. I barely managed 50 posts during my first year, so for my second year what I really wanted to do was double that and write 100 posts. I’m pretty happy that I managed that and a few more, I started pretty strong in January with 15 and did pretty well most months.

Even better than meeting my posting goal, has been the new connections I’ve with readers and other bloggers this year. I’ve had some good discussions in blog comments, on Twitter, and in game chats. I have to say that the new friends I’ve made has been the best thing to come out of blogging for me.

Since, I mentioned stats last year I figured I should again. I hadn’t been paying much attention to them this year and there were some surprises to me. Hopefully none of these come off as bragging. I’m know that there are other blogs get a lot more traffic, but for someone like me who is sporadically productive (if improving), I feel pretty good about them.

  • Traffic jumped right at the start: 537 in December to 1,449 in January (I imagine because I was fairly regular about posting for a change)
  • Monthly hits for the year haven’t gone below 1,000 (except for February at 943)
  • June was the biggest month ever with 2,005 hits (due to the LotRO free to play announcement)
  • Three most popular posts (both this year and all time): LotRO F2P?!? at 1,246, Red Dead Redemption at 1,246, and LotRO, Cosmetic Gear, and the Wardrobe at 366.
  • The total hits for 2009 were 2,504. Year-to-date for 2010 is 12,284 (um what?).

I can’t think of anything else to add at the moment (and the twin siren calls of Civ5 and Minecraft are getting a bit too enticing), so here’s to two years passed and more to come.

Thanks for reading.