Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Tide Rolls In

Rift's Nightmare Tide expansion launched yesterday. And with our return to Telara only last week, Scooter and I were sort of primed to get right in and check it out. Since I wasn't really tracking the date of the expansion other than "some time this fall," when I discovered there was a patch to load, I initially assumed it was the Halloween event. Until I started reading the patch notes (which, honestly, I rarely do). Rift 3.0 brings lots of changes and new things. Stats have been simplified a bit, like Deflect being rolled into Block. The Warrior soul "Reaver" has received a complete overhaul, warranting its own section in the patch notes. And, of course, there are new zones, new instanced dungeons, raids, etc.

We are concentrating on new characters, and our highest level characters are not even through the Storm Legion content. So Scooter and I were not in a position to check out the Nightmare Tide zones. The plus side to sticking to lowbies was that we didn't encounter huge crowds fighting around us like Belghast did.

We were looking at crafting last night, as well, and I ended up going with Dream Weaver, among other things. DW is a "new" crafting profession (introduced in January, 2014) that is able to create Dimension (a.k.a. Housing) items and effects, including whole dimensions. Seems like it may be quite a resource sink, especially given that the resources it uses are artifacts (a.k.a. Shinies). So I am torn between using Shinies to fill out my own collections or using them as the crafting materials for my Dream Weaving. DW-crafted items seem to go for quite a bit at the Auction House, but I noticed they were all buyout only, so the prices may be wishful thinking on the part of the crafter/sellers.

I ended up raiding the guild bank of House Stalwart of a bunch of Shinies, but I don't want to seem too greedy. On the other hand, prior last night, it had been over a month since anyone had touched the guild bank, and House Stalwart's message of the day can be paraphrased as "Take the Shinies."
I totally stole this screen from Belghast, I'll replace it with one of my own later.
We did, however, get a chance to try out the brand new Minion system. I assumed at first that minions would be like some kind of combat companion like SWTOR or EQ2 have. However, it bears more resemblance to STO's Duty Officers mixed with Neverwinter's Professions, where you send your minions out on adventures to collect stuff for you. The interface is kinda cool, more like a card game than anything else. Scooter and I bought all the basic minions, who turn out to be creatures, rather than humanoids (Stofie is a shrimp, for instance). The adventures range from one minute to several hours, with corresponding costs and rewards. And many are amusing, though there seems to be little choice beyond the four on display at any given time. Unlocking adventure slots costs credits (in other words, RL money) and I accidentally bought one because of where the button is on the interface. Overall, Minions seem like a cute diversion, though an offline interface through the Rift mobile app would be really cool.

Having just plunked down a bunch of dough on patron status and other goodies, I was not prepared to purchase any of the Nightmare Tide special editions with their bonuses and boosts. We'll see next month whether we are still enjoying ourselves and want the goodies. I really like Rift, but I am cautious about making the investment only to leave in a few weeks like we last time we played.

And I kind of hate that, too. That indecision about making a commitment to my hobby.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Golden Child

I can't believe it took me a whole week to get this posted, but there's been a lot going on, I suppose. Last weekend Funcom put on a Golden Weekend, including a new outfit ("Extra Heavy Metal"), and a chance to fight Samsu Nasiru (aka Goldzilla). The big deal—at least for me—was the chance to get double AP for working on the wheel. Over the course of the weekend, I managed to gain several hundred ability points and over 21 abilities on the wheel, finishing out the 21-point abilities and putting a significant dent in the 27-point tier.

Grinding the Goldzilla fight (12 TIMES Saturday and Sunday) got a little boring, so I also ran through the Last Train to Cairo mission series. It's still my favorite of the DLC Issues, I can't get over how awesome the Train instance is. One of these days I am going to have to get the Issue 9, The Black Signal, and run through Tokyo with Scooter.

This weekend has been more about getting settled into Rift, not to mention replacing a ceiling fan that malfunctioned in September. It's already significantly cooler in the living room, which is where I spend most of my time gaming.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, October 17, 2014

End of an Age

I have a longer post about Open World PvP, but it may be moot as far as ArcheAge goes. Even after Scooter did a bunch of research and upgraded her video drivers, etc., her computer still spontaneously reboots at random while running the client. So despite a promising little storyline and a pretty good skill/ability system—not to mention beautiful graphics—we will no longer be playing the game.
Misteli II
ArcheAge isn't the only game we are leaving behind this month. Despite my optimism about WildStar's server mega-merger (with a healthy side helping of "Why wasn't it this way at launch?"), the truth is all my characters have stalled just after reaching eligibility for housing. Messing around with my various WildStar plots—and examining the farm/housing system in ArcheAge—only makes me long for the Dimension system Trion uses for Rift. Scooter canceled her WildStar sub a week or so ago, and I followed suit just the other day. We have until our current month runs out, but I doubt we'll be doing much on Nexus.
Sonnenblume (Scooter) and Girasol
And so Scooter and I made the decision last night to re-up in Rift to see if we can make a home in Telara. I plan to throw some money at Trion to get the Dream Soul pack, enabling me to possibly create a rogue character similar to the Warpriest class in ArcheAge, a combination of healz, sword-and-board, and archery. A bit has changed since the last time we got involved with Rift, and I think quite a lot has changed since we left the game the first time so many moons ago. I am hoping to see more of what has happened to Telaria in the intervening years.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gamergate Must Stop

Mi·sog·y·ny (məˈsäjənē)—noun: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
(Google it)
I was trying to stay out of gamergate because up until now, it seemed pretty silly: a bunch of hot air and anti-feminism trying to disguise itself as a movement for journalistic integrity. But it has gotten way more serious, and it has to stop.

NEWS FLASH to the gamer-gaters out there: journalism has been prone to corruption for centuries, since long before William Randolph Hearst raised yellow journalism to an art form. News outlets are there to make money; whatever story that sells brings the most revenue will be printed. The industry is a revolving door in and out of politics and other businesses, and the video game development world is no different. Deal with it.

In the meantime, you have allowed whatever modicum of integrity present in your movement to be blown completely away by misogyny. Anita Sarkeesian is pointing out literary tropes that fuel many of the games we play. Counterarguments—even countertropes—and justifications do not make the tropes vanish. It is a literary critique, not a scientific survey; something you would understand if you had paid any attention at all in your high school or college English classes. Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn are only trying to make games they want to play. There is not a woman out there who is capable of bringing harm to your precious access to digitized violence. You know why? Because there's too much money to be had in publishing the latest GTA or CoD, making your heroes manly men and bodacious babes.
Ter·ror·ism (ˈterəˌrizəm)—noun: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
(Google it)
Both Wu and Quinn have had to leave their homes due to credible threats against them and their families. The threats are ugly, describing heinous acts of violation and violence no one should have to contemplate. And now Sarkeesian has decided to cancel a speech at Utah State University because she didn't trust the local police to be able to protect her and other attendees from a specific threat that referenced the Montreal Massacre, a mass shooting in December of 1989 directed at engineering students in Montreal's École Polytechnique. The shooter in Montreal also claimed that his life had been ruined by feminists, singled out women, and murdered 14 before killing himself.
Obtained from this story in the Standard Examiner
If this were an Islamic militant, I would bet money that DHS would already have him (because it's not a woman) in custody. I can only hope the authorities track down the USU threat with the same zeal they would any other terrorist and prosecute him to the full extent of the law. To do otherwise would be hypocrisy in the extreme. The ideology is irrelevant; only the threat matters.
As·sault (əˈsôlt)—noun; Law: an act, criminal or tortious, that threatens physical harm to a person, whether or not actual harm is done.
(Google it
And to those who are trying to defend the gamergate movement by saying these sociopaths are only a few outliers, and why shouldn't we be concerned about journalistic integrity, I say this: Look in the mirror. You weren't too concerned about the coziness of game devs and journos before. But your anger exploded based on lies told by a jealous ex-boyfriend. So much for the integrity of the movement. Fight real issues, not theoretical conspiracies. Your first step might be to shed the Gamergate appellation; because frankly, it's tainted by the trolls and whackjobs among you.

I grew up dealing with bullies (more on that in a different post). Gamergaters jumped on me the second I started decrying the movement through the StopGamerGate2014 hashtag. You are not downtrodden, no one is oppressing you. You are nothing but bullies, but you will not bully me. 

Sure, always be wary of what you read. Every journalistic story has biases; some are hidden better than others, and there may even be "corruption." That is no excuse for cajoling, coercing or threatening people out of their homes or jobs because they have opinions or beliefs contrary to your own.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, October 13, 2014

ArcheAge Old Questions

Scooter's Stormchaser, Kammi, and Henry the horse
I really want to like ArcheAge. I do. I do like the mix-and-match skill sets. I do like the story behind the main quest line. I do like the character creation, although I think I overdid it on reshaping my own. I always like highly customizable housing (ever since I wished I could do more with my ship in STO).

But I have concerns. The housing that promises to be pretty cool—and functional, at least if you're into farming—turns out to be another thing I may avoid entirely. The open-world nature of the farms means you're always competing with other players for prime space. I "compete" for real estate in the real world. Why would I want some backwater plot in my pretend one?

What, did you think this would be a pic of John Hancock?
Despite the protestations of many, the game is almost completely about PvP. Even those people that say PvP is not the end-all, be-all of the game indirectly admit to actively avoiding PvP combat. Because, while they do manage to avoid said combat, it is no less PvP when you stealth behind enemy lines to deliver trade goods. It just means you're a successful smuggler.

I could be confused on this point.
There also seems to be a theft mechanic to go along with the justice system they have set up. There are those who talk about banding together for protection. Even if it is purely defensive, that ends up looking to me like this. →

On top of all that, Scooter, who was the original impetus behind trying ArcheAge, frequently encounters a problem where ArcheAge literally causes her computer to reboot. Given that it is newer than my own, and there is no heat problem that we can discern, I am at a loss as to what can fix it. The hard drive I have the game installed on was running incessantly during play sessions. But I turned the video settings down, and it seems to be doing better. In the end, if we can't resolve the technical issues Scooter is having, it won't matter whether either of us likes the game or not.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.