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This is my blog-like repository for thoughts, articles, rants, and reviews on all kinds of geekery... with a mild obsession for gaming in particular. Welcome!

Quote of the Moment:

"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more." - Nikola Tesla

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There is No Second Breakfast on the High Seas

ArcheAge has been out for nearly a month now, and I’ve met all of the game goals I’d set for myself before launch:  find a good guild, get the names I want, get enough property for my SO and I both to have a large farm together consisting of 2 thatched farmhouses, 2 16×16 farms, and 4 gardens.  I haven’t yet had need for my own clipper, but I have also been craft craft crafting, making a bit of gold, and hitting level cap as a main healer.  My game time, blogging time, and PC time in general has been limited the last couple of months because of an annoying health issue… so all things considered, I feel pretty good about where I’ve gotten to in ArcheAge so far.  Things are good in Erenor — I’ve even managed to avoid getting ganked somehow — and yet, despite everything going well… I’ve recently felt that little tug at the back of my heart that always manages to pull me back to Middle-earth.

Yes… I resubbed to Lord of The Rings Online.  AGAIN.  I think that something about months of playing an open world PVP MMO with a questionable at best community… on the biggest server, might have something to do with it.  Regardless, LOTRO has called me home yet again… and so far I’m really enjoying just being in the game.  It’s such a peaceful place… I’m happy to just game quietly, and relax for a while.  Also.. turtles.

 

I know that a lot of other gamers have that one “home” game that always draws them back and hits that little nostalgia spot in their hearts.  I’m just happy that I have been able to set aside most of my past grievances with Turbine so that I can once again enjoy being in Middle-earth when it calls to me.

I feel very fortunate to have both a new, exciting MMO as well as a comfortable, happy place like LOTRO to play.

Why This “Carebear” Thinks ArcheAge Shouldn’t Have a PVE Server

I had too long-winded of a response for Syp’s Blog today, so I am writing it here!

 

I am what a lot of PVP focused gamers would consider a “carebear.”  I’ve had a lot of gaming accomplishments that I am proud of, but because they were all based in PVE end-game, they are invalid to certain people.  And at this point, I don’t really care what they think or call me because, well, you may have killed that guy over there, but… I’VE KILLED DURIN’S BANE.

So, understand that when I say this, that it comes from the heart and mind of an MMO PVE end-gamer:  ArcheAge (as it currently is) will not, and should not have PVE servers.

Firstly, people can stop speculating on if there will be PVE servers, because Trion has already said that there will not.  Please keep in mind that Trion isn’t developing this game AT ALL. They are merely producing it for the NA audience. They have very little developmental control over changes as it is, and something as big as changing the entire spirit/function of the game is just not going to happen.  Even getting little changes (like percentages of loot) made by XL Games has been challenging for them.

Second, I’ve been playing alpha for months now, and am speaking from experience when I say that there really wouldn’t be enough to do at level 50 in ArcheAge without the game being the way it is. There isn’t a big raid/dungeon system yet. “End-game” is almost entirely built around trading (and the naval PVP that often comes with it) crafting, and building and defending your own castles/land. Ultimately, you can even create your own faction and go to war with even more people.

ArcheAge is set in a world of pirates, theft, assault, murder, and an open war against the opposing factions to reclaim Auroria.  To remove PVP from it would not only make ArcheAge a totally different (and completely dull) game, but it just wouldn’t hold up.  The PVE quests. though entertaining, are mostly generic MMO fare, and the the grind of crafting would be pointless without any end-game goals to pull you forward.  Besides, you can already play the game without engaging in actual face-to-face PVP.  You just have to wait until certain zones are in “peace time” and then the other faction cannot touch you unless you touch them first.  In between peace time questing, you can do your farming/crafting, kill world bosses, find open rifts, RP, or run a dungeon.  Initially, I thought that this was how I wanted to play the game.  But as time goes on, I’ve learned that greater risk really does yield greater reward in ArcheAge.

Besides, guys.. it’s exciting to not always know what is going to happen!  Example:  my SO and I were playing in beta and got to the last of our trade run quests (which gives the much coveted Scarecrow Farm) but we didn’t have a boat to get to the other continent.  After being brutally stung to death by a level 50 jellyfish on a trial swim to the other continent, I happened to see a clipper in the harbor.  I glided onto the boat, and waved to the man at the helm.  He waved back and then asked if there was anywhere I needed to go, that his boat was for hire.  The SO and I decided to give this man 2 gold coins each for safe passage to the other continent, as did 3 other people.  Keep in mind that as soon as we reached open waters, even those people of the same faction, even this boat captain whom we hired, could have murdered us and stolen our trade packs.  That was the risk.  And this time, it paid off.  We arrived safely, paid the captain for his service, and ended up adding some new people to our friend lists.  Also, it was fun!  A 15 minute voyage across the sea with zero risk would have been pretty dull, but wondering the entire time if someone on our own boat was going to try something, and planning how we would respond… all while on the lookout for pirates and enemy boats… made for a great gaming experience.

As for the argument about less trolling on PVE servers, we all should know by now that trolls exist in all places.  I’ve had some of my worst interpersonal online experiences in a PVE game with an overall friendly community.  “Bad guys” are everywhere.  ArcheAge just has systems in place so that you can actually hunt them down and do something about it yourself. :-D

As I’ve said before, ArcheAge also has a certain realism that is missing from most other MMOs that is all about the way we interact with other players in-game.  This game has MORE options for not having PVE-only servers.  Be nice and make alliances, and maybe you won’t get killed by your neighbor.  Join a well-loved guild, and maybe you won’t even get convicted of the crime when you DO kill your neighbor… or, pay off the jury.  Or hire people to help you do a trade run.  Or call on your guild-mates and family when there is danger.  Or CC and run!  Or just get better at PVP and take vengeance on those who have wronged you.  Or become a bounty hunter, and take down those who are hurting the innocent so they can be brought to trial.

To those who are wanting to play ArcheAge without the the PVP, you need to know that this game would truly not even BE this game without it.  ArcheAge is not a game that everyone will want to play, and that’s OK.  But if you do want to be part of this beautiful, immersive, intriguing, and exciting experience… you are going to have to accept that it is a dangerous world, and learn find your place within it.  Just like this “carebear” has.

Care-Bear-Funshine-Umbrella

ArcheAge Alpha: Notes On Version 1.2

Yep, I’m still spending my (limited) free time horsing around in Trion’s up-and-coming MMO sandbox, ArcheAge!

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Now that I’ve had the chance to play through the changes that were recently made in version 1.2, I have some feedback to share here.

1)  Crafting is more of a grind than it was before due to the lack of archeum (an ingredient that is needed for almost all crafting) dropping in game.

2) Labor points (which are needed for crafting, farming, etc) are used for too many things now, and also regenerate faster IN-GAME.  This is leading to hordes of us (yes, me included) AFKing overnight to regain labor so that we can actually play the next day.

3) Mana regeneration out of combat is now VERY slow.  I think it’s fine while fighting, but after a fight I don’t want to constantly down mana pots/food just to keep questing.

4) The new, high turbulence for gliders at sea makes it pretty impossible to even use them effectively (although there is a high-end glider that isn’t affected)

5) I really miss the rewards for exploration points!  Removing Nui’s Tears from the game is fine, but not replacing them with anything for us explorers makes us QQ.  Maybe adding Gilda Star fragments (1/4 or 1/8 of a star?) would work.

6) The changes to healing lines (vitalism and songcraft) have made it so that the skill lines are way less useful while leveling a DPS mage or any class that isn’t a dedicated healer.  I really loved the initial hybrid aspects of this game with its 100+ playable classes, but making more and more combinations unplayable/bad choices doesn’t seem like the way to fix certain aspects being over-powered.  I know that weapon swapping can help this a bit, but I don’t really want to be a MELEE healer.  ;-p

7) I like that more coin purses drop now!  (I don’t like that they require labor to open.)

8) I have mixed feelings on forcing players to do transcontinental trade runs to get the highest level crafting materials.  On one hand, I like the idea of “greater risk = greater reward” and that it encourages more people to venture out to sea.  BUT I feel that if this is the sandbox I was hoping for, that should mean more options, not less.  If someone wants to be a dedicated crafter that never leaves their farm land, I want that to be a viable option like it was before 1.2.

9) We have more/better skin color options than before, but for a game that is made for PIRATES and privateers, there should be bigger and better beard options! (You’re welcome, Sig ;-) )

I know my list sounds fairly negative, but its intent is really just to be informative since I don’t feel a need for alarm at this point.  Trion has already said that they have heard the player base and are working with XLGames to find a solution to many of the issues I stated.  So, I am choosing to not be disheartened!  This game is still in alpha, and I am sure there will be many more changes to come, some good, some not-so good… but always with the possibility of getting better.  We all just need to find a happy place where we can wait and see what happens…

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And if you are playing in either the alpha or beta, and have feedback/concerns, too… please remember to share them with Trion on the official forums.  They really are listening to their players!

~Sprinks

ArcheAge – Ahoy! Changes Ahead!

Changes (even BIG ones) are normal when you’re alpha/beta testing a game, and ArcheAge is no exception.  I am not going to spend my time rehashing all of the things that are going to be different in AA when version 1.2 goes live later today, but I do want to mention a few things that I find noteworthy…

1)  There will be a 2nd alpha server, which means more reasonable server populations, and therefore more real estate to go around.  (Someday I might actually get that 16×16 farm!)

2)  More XP from kills and quests… and even PVP kills.  Yay!

3)  Healers are undergoing significant changes, which is causing panic for some people.  Personally, I’m OK with the general nerfing so that one can’t be an amazing sorcerer (ranged, magic DPS) and an amazing healer, but I’m concerned with being pigeon-holed into rolling only a Templar as a PVP main healer when there are soooo many class variations out there.  There isn’t much point to even having tons of classes if only a few of them are viable, right?  To be clear, I’m really not among the panicking masses, but I do feel this is worth mentioning and keeping an eye on.

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Unlike some players (who may have been tainted by XLGames original) I am not freaking out about V 1.2 yet, because — as with all game changes — I’m happy to wait and try things out before I judge them.  And, all in all, I think that a lot of Trion’s changes make sense.  There are just A LOT of them… and even more on the way!  Scapes has promised us (by actually answering my question directly in the last live-stream) that they are working on making a more balanced experience for us healers in PVP… as in eventually we will get our fair share of honor points and XP for doing our job… healing.  :-)

Crafting is also on the table for some changes that are said to make the RNG a little less painful.  This is a good thing, and will ease one of my complaints about the game so far.

As for the ArcheAge community being what it is… well, only WE can change that.  I’ve decided that — much like in my real life — I’m not going to run when I see things that I don’t like, but rather will stay and try to make them better.  And I hope that at least some of my other awesome gaming friends will choose to do the same.  :-)

MORE ON V 1.2 AFTER I ACTUALLY SINK MY TEETH INTO THIS PATCH.  See you later in-game, me hearties!

The Guild That Wasn’t

I recently had my first experience with being part of a guild that “dissolved,” and although we had only existed for a few weeks, it was pretty disheartening.  I can only imagine how upsetting that same experience is for members of long-standing communities.

I’m not going to go into all the details of the drama and politics (especially since I wasn’t directly involved in any of it) that led to the demise of Legend Gaming’s would-be ArcheAge guild “Blackthorne” but I am going to express how highly disappointed I am by the people who presented themselves as leaders of this community, and who brought others in under false pretense.  The short version:  the guild leader told us new recruits that Blackthorne was going to be made an LG chapter, but LG leaders told us (during our final meeting) that they had told him that there was a very slim chance that would ever happen.  Someone obviously lied… and I’m not sure who, but those of us who thought we were joining up with Legend Gaming were misled.  I’m still not sure who is at fault in this, but I am completely unimpressed with how Legend Gaming’s leadership chose to handle the situation, and therefore have lost all interest in continuing to game with them in any other of their other chapters.  If this is how they run their community, I want nothing to do with it.  I chose to join them because they were presented to me as a group that had stood the test of time, and — from the outside — looked very organized, fair, and successful.  This was not my experience.  After dissolving the “unofficial” Legend Gaming chapter, it was stated that they would never support another ArcheAge guild.  Oh, and we were all directly threatened that there would be massive repercussions for us if we ever tried to recruit anyone from LG into an ArcheAge guild.  (Er, what???)  I’m not even withholding dramatic details here, they just weren’t given.  Mostly the meeting was a bunch of threats, posturing and insincere apologies from LG’s “Inner Sanctum.”  AND I AM STILL CONFUSED.  I have no desire to recruit people I don’t want to game with anyway, but being threatened by angry “well-known leaders in the gaming community who can ruin your lives” seemed a little over the top.  (OK, so apparently I’ll share *some* dramatic details.  ;-p)

I’ll be honest… I didn’t have a huge emotional investment after only knowing these people a few weeks, especially with my sporadic summer play schedule — and I know that I will go on to find an actual thriving, successful guild for ArcheAge — but that doesn’t mean I’m not upset at being misled.  You see, I learned that Legend Gaming’s outside forum threads (like on MMORGP, and other official game forums) only seem active/popular because they coerce their members to “bump” them weekly, or face retribution/dismissal.  So, I was forced to put MY NAME AND REPUTATION out there to promote what ended up being a lie.  (RAGE!)

I am now going to take this time to apologize to anyone who may have been led toward Blackthorne/Legend Gaming because of me.  In the words of one of the members during our final guild meeting, “We were all sold something that never existed.”