Rants tag

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

BtV Tier 96: #BlameTomium

We had a ton of fun talking to Funcom Community Manager Sezmra and her new associate, Tomium, last Thursday night on Beyond the Veil Tier 96. We cover Tomium's gaming background, how he came to Funcom and what it was like joining the team the same week they opened TSW's first new full zone since launch.

Tonight, on the second anniversary of both The Secret World and Beyond the Veil, Funcom lead designer Tilty will be joining us, along with lead writer Scrivnomancer.
You can subscribe to the show through Holosuite Media's RSS feed, through iTunes (with older episodes here), and through Stitcher. You can catch the live show tonight and every Thursday at about 7p.m. EDT (11p.m. UTC) on Holosuite Excess. Beyond the Veil is produced by "Xander Hayes" and Holosuite Media.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summertime, and the Livin' Is Easy. . .

. . . but not the gaming.
Borrowed from TechRepublic. I meant to take a pic last night, but it didn't happen.
So I've managed to break the screen on the laptop I borrowed from Scooter. While it's not a complete showstopper—I have a monitor I can hook up to it—it's putting even more of a damper on my gaming by significantly increasing the hardware logistics of each session. (I have no permanent gaming location.) Combine this with decent (IOW, not too hot) weather, business trips, and a docket of other things to do, and my gaming has ground to a halt.

In late May, Scooter and I bought WildStar, but did not submit payment methods for subscriptions. The kind folks at Carbine sent Scooter and me a pair of emails enjoining us to re-up the other day, but I haven't logged in since it hit my inbox. Here's the thing: I like WildStar, but not enough to pay a subscription if I am barely playing, or not playing at all. I guess they have dropped a patch, "The Strain," chock full of high end content to encourage all those max-level racers to stick around for a while longer. That's cool, but it's not an incentive for me and my two characters who haven't reached 20.

TSW is on hiatus for the same reason really: hardware issues. Now I have to save some money for not just one, but two new portable computers capable of playing modern MMOs at more than minimal settings. And I need a good place to set them up. EDIT: In looking at the site that picture came from, I am wondering if I might just replace the screen on Scooter's old laptop for now. Surely it would be less expensive than a whole new "spare" computer.

This means a probable slowdown for this blog. I'm bummed because I want to keep up the writing; but at the same time, not much is inspiring me to write.
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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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life Goes On

So it's been a couple weeks. How've you been, Dear Reader? On this trip I just returned from, I was doing a lot of technical writing during the day, so when I would get back to the hotel in the evening, writing a post was the last thing I wanted to do. Days stretch into weeks, and suddenly it's been half a month since I've posted. Add to that the funk I (and several other folks in my circle) have been in since the untimely passing of our friend, River, and writing just hasn't been high on my priority list. I urge you to listen to Scary's last PastCast podcast which features River. If you don't have 17 minutes to spare, Scary has a recap.

Considering we never met, and I was never sure of his true position on certain topics, Mr. Cavelle apparently made a huge impact on me. In retrospect, I wonder how much he knew. A couple of his latest posts were . . . wistful. They demonstrated that he was rethinking some things about his life, his youth. I have things I regret about my youth: mistakes I made, the way I treated some people that didn't deserve it. People I will never be able to apologize to. Hell, I am still making such mistakes. I can only hope I get better.
However, life goes on for the rest of us, I suppose. Belghast is playing the Warlords of Draenor alpha (among other things) in Honor of River. I even have a Wildstar character I named for him. I'm still playing Wildstar with my beloved bride and loving it.

And Scary is embarking on a writing project with his 10-year-old son. A summer NaNoWriMo event seems in the offing, though I am not sure of the details or whether Scary's efforts are part of it. I for one am looking forward to reading his collaboration.
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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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"My Ping Sucks" — River's High Latency Life

A light has gone out in the gaming blogosphere. As I said on Twitter upon hearing the news, I am in shock. Chris "River" Cavelle, sometime anti-feminist warlock proprietor of A High Latency Life—and a person I consider a good friend (as good as online friends can be)—has passed away suddenly. My Twitter feed exploded with the news. I've been on his Chicago Tribune obituary and Facebook memories page, both with outpourings of grief and condolences for his family. River was well liked in real life and online.

He was among the first bloggers to welcome me into the sphere. It was from Rivs that I got the idea for the 20 Days of Blogging, a project I got most of the way through, but still have yet to finish two years later. He inspired many posts on this blog, and I am sure other blogs, as well.

Like many, I was amused by his humorous posts, almost always accompanied by a scantily clad female model, usually—but not always—human. Occasionally, not even female. Then just a couple weeks ago, in the wake of the #YesAllWomen meme, he did a survey and learned for himself what women go through. I say this not as a political statement, but as a testament to River's willingness to reconsider his position on a topic when presented with evidence contradicting his previous views. I'd like to think I share this trait with him, though I know I have a long way to go on specifics.

River's last blog post was about getting into the alpha for Warlords of Draenor. I haven't decided if I will play the WoW expansion when it launches. But if I do, it will be bittersweet. I'll miss you, Rivs.

Several other bloggers also have tributes up already. I will try to consolidating the posts here. If you write one or see one I have missed, please let me know.
And a special bullet for Scary's Podcast episode with River.
With that…
MY PING SUCKS..I AM OUTTA HERE!
~The Real River
You may think your ping sucked, but we always got your message.
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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.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's the Little Things

Darn it! I started writing this post yesterday after reading Syp's Poky Little Puppy post. Then he goes and posts his own 10 Little Things, and I look like a copycat. Well, this won't be all happiness and fluffy Aurin. There's some Chua in there, too. Evuhl vermin!

Little things I love:
For lack of playing time, I am not quite to level 11, with Scooter on my heels. My main is RowanBlaze—how original!—a Human medic scientist (or is it scientist medic?), and just barely Monday, Scooter and I realized that I could activate some mining bots that she, as a settler, had repaired(?), which then provided building materials for her. We'd heard of synergies between the paths, but this was the first time we'd really seen it in action beyond simple buffs and things that benefit anyone walking by.
Another little thing that I find fascinating is that the water flows. If I am in a river, there is a current. I move downstream if I am not actively swimming. There may be other MMOs that have done this, but Wildstar is the first that I have played with moving water.

Breaking out of crowd control is a welcome mechanic. Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck helpless while some other player—or an NPC—whales on me. I've been blinded and stunned a couple times, but haven't reacted quickly enough to get out them before they end on their own. Luckily, Scooter is often right there with me, fighting the good fight; though I have died several times as well, still learning my character's strengths and vulnerabilities.

I like the costume button, which allows you to customize your look without sacrificing your stats. [EDIT] Unlike GW2 at launch (ANet has since revisited that mechanic—thanks João Carlos), costumes are not just "city clothes." I realize this is not a new concept, but it's a pretty good implementation.

I love the buff stations and other benefits of the Settler path. Scooter and another settler made a plant and seed vendor as well. I'm not sure if this feature actually supports a sense of community, but it certainly makes me appreciate at least one subset of players. I haven't really seen much of how the other paths benefit everyone in quite the way that Settler stuff does, but I'd like to think that's because I just haven't realized what they were.

Some things I already find annoying:
Challenges: Ludus interruptus, with a healthy side of "Hell is other people." Challenges break the flow of a relatively leisurely questing session. And in the current fairly well-populated areas, they are virtually impossible to finish, since the the quarry is hunted to extinction on a regular basis.

Class/Race limitations: My opinion on this matter has not changed. I came up with the perfect name for a Mordesh esper the other day, only to realize the Mordesh can't be espers.

Fully separated "Realms": Helloo, Carbine, this is 2014. For one thing, calling them realms (a la WoW) makes very little sense in the context of a Sci-Fi planetary colonization setting. "Worlds" (a la GW2) would have been a better word choice for the servers. And more importantly, why is the playerbase being separated from itself in such a way at all? Plenty of modern games, from STO to TSW and GW2 (and dare I say it, TESO?) have had either seamless super-servers or easy visiting privileges. Even Rift has had free server transfers almost since its launch.

Yesterday, the official launch day, Carbine announced free realm transfers so people could join their friends without losing any progress they'd made. But the fine print, as it turned out, was that free transfers were only offered from high to low population servers. Which meant that my BtV buddy, Feii, had to re-create his character on my server and essentially losing any head start he once had. While I applaud the server balancing effort, it would have been obviated by a better, more modern server structure. [EDIT] As I was reminded by the MMO Gypsy, there is also a region lock, meaning North American and European friends don't even have the option to play on the same server.

Factions locked in eternal conflict: I've harped on this before—repeatedly—but I feel more ranty about this than the Class/Race thing. Segregating your playerbase along faction lines does not really serve anyone but the PvP fringe, which can be addressed in a different way. I know, PvPers like to think they are hardcore and a major factor in MMO gaming. I believe that many game developers are PvPers too, and that explains the devotion to PvP in so many games. Hey that's cool, but many people don't do any PvP at all, at I'd be willing to bet that most who do only dabble in it at best.

Now you may be saying to yourself—maybe even getting ready to comment—that the story lends itself to factionalism. And you'd be right. But I'd bet dollars to donuts that the idea for opposing sides in a war over the planet came before any details about what those two factions would be like, or even what the war would be about. They certainly gave the Exiles who went to Everstar Grove reason enough to hate the Chua, though.
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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.