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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:

"Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Love, love, love!

Love, love, love!

To The Moon

Thanks to the last Humble Indie Bundle, I picked up a little title I hadn’t heard of before called, “To the Moon.”  I really wasn’t expecting much from a 16-bit RPG made on a program you can buy on Steam for $24 (RPGMXP) but I ended up pleasantly surprised.  I don’t want to give out spoilers, so here is a very simple description from the creator, Freebird Games: “To the Moon is an indie Adventure RPG, about two doctors traversing through the memories of a dying man to fulfill his last wish.”

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The game was obviously built more around telling a story than actually playing a game, but somehow that worked for me.  I went into this expecting next to nothing, but in the 3 hours that I spent with it, ended up enjoying a tale that was touching — unsettling, at times — and funny.

To be fair, there are some minor issues: some of the game play felt a bit forced onto the story, there was a plot-hole in a certain scene, a bit of poor translation happened, and a couple of things weren’t fully explained in the end.  THAT SAID… I don’t feel like any of these things were big enough issues that they should dissuade anyone from giving this title a go.  Even those of us who love our DPS (me, me, me!) might find it worth a try.  What To the Moon lacks in things to shoot in the head… it makes up for with heart.

/thefeels!

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Find out more about the game HERE.

/sprinklewave

Face-lift!

My — already pretty sweet — website got a face-lift this weekend thanks to my super-hero-web-dev SO, “Zap!”  I love the changes in font, and the updates to some of my widgets.  I also decided to jump on the “list your current games in the form of photo icons” wagon, and I really like the visual of it.  Although, I think it might prove to be a bit of a pain to update as I cycle through certain titles.  Maybe I’ll just use it for listing the bigger, MMO games and not, like, every Steam game and solo title I play…. ’cause that would leave me with less time to actually GAME… and that would make me /cry.

Anyway, loving the changes…. they’re inspiring me to make some new posts, even.  Yay!

/sprinkleflail

Still a Trovian!

While other games/MMOs haven’t been able to keep my interest for more than a few weeks — I’m looking at you World of Warcraft! — somehow , TROVE (Trion’s little sandbox-to-be) has.  While it isn’t anywhere near complete, or even playable for long stretches, the game itself is just FUN.  Since they added “cornerstones” (your own little plot of land that others can’t mess with) it’s given people the drive to really craft some great things within the currently limited alpha.  My SO earned himself an alpha key on Reddit (by being awesome) and so we’ve been able to adventure together for the last month or so.  We’ve also built matching LOTR themed CS’s, because we’re super nerds –

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My SO (“Zap” in-game) has also been actively designing weapons and decor for the game.  (If this is something you’re interested in doing — which could earn you an alpha key — you can learn about it, here on Reddit)  He’s had several things accepted, which is pretty awesome.  I’ve been impatiently waiting for his “Monkey Cudgel” to drop! /monkeysmack!

While Zap is enjoying creating/development, I think I’ve been primarily entertained by the “social experiment” aspect of playing a sandbox game.  I like making things just to see what other people’s reactions will be, as well as coming across interesting creations out in the world, and adding to them.  Last week, I was running up a tower and noticed that someone was making roads/stairs from many of the tallest CSs all the way to max height (256 voxels) above Town Square.  There was also a small platform there.  IDEA!  Why not see how massive we can make this platform?  Maybe we can block out the sun?*  Maybe other people will help?  It didn’t take too long to outline a huge, floating monstrosity above the whole of Town Square.  I quickly realized that it was going to take WAY too long to fill in on my own, so I enlisted the help of Zap, and 2 other friends.  We ended up filling in about 40% when we came across a bug that needed reporting.  By building above — even 253 voxels above — the portal platform in TS, the portals were no longer spawning where they were supposed to, but rather on our platform in the sky.  Zap immediately reported the bug on Reddit, and the result was interesting.  People came to see… and then, help.  We ended up with a few others helping us fill in the rest of the platform, and an hour and 30,000 bricks later, we had THIS –

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The Trove dev reaction (did I mention that you can actually interact with a development team that cares about your input as they make their game?) was amused, although the very next patch they removed the ability to build anything on, or ABOVE, Town Square.  I hope that there is another fix for this, because being able to add, yet not destroy, was a nice aspect of having a town area.  I like freedom in my sandbox, although I understand the need to also protect certain areas from trolls and saboteurs.

There’s so much more to post about this neat, little game.  I hope to catch up on my Trove posts within the coming days, and next time will talk about the newly added gunslinger class, and our first glimpse at quests!  Till then, you can check out what’s happening with the game HERE.

/sprinklewave

 

*I’ve never been accused of “trolling” before, except during this one building exercise.  I find it strange that anyone could possibly think that creating a temporary (and removable)  non-offensive (albeit HUGE) structure in a public space, on a server that is about to be reset, could be “trolling” or even better “the worst trolls this game will ever see.”  Ha!

The Post I’ve Been Avoiding.

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for almost a month now — mostly for reasons of social backlash — but since it’s actually kept me from writing other blog entries, it’s time to get it over with.

I’ve stopped playing Lord of The Rings Online again… and here’s what makes it different this time, and likely final.

The first time I stopped playing LOTRO was just after Turbine implemented pay-to-win, er, free-to-play and the monstrosity that is the LOTRO Store.  I was very righteously indignant and angry at that time.  (How could this company ruin MY GAME?!?)   I was extremely emotional over not playing.  I was both angry and sad whenever I thought about the game that had become home.  Not being able to find another “home” to replace it with, I went back to the game after several months.

At that time I jumped 100% back into raiding with my kinship/guild there, but took note (and made some posts) about changes/things in the game that didn’t make me happy.  I took occasional game breaks as needed and even though LOTRO was still my main game, I continued to explore a lot of other games as they presented themselves to me… as well as other gaming communities outside of my LOTRO raiding guild.

Riders of Rohan came out and it was *almost* everything I wanted it to be.   I really would have liked to have seen mounted combat play a bigger role in the game.  Lag was as horrible as always.  And I was also sad that there was no new end-game content.  We had to wait until a later update to get that, and when it came, it was very disappointing with its lack of epicness that had been present in almost all other LOTRO raids to that point.  The skirmish-like pseudo-raids just didn’t make me happy, but I still wanted to raid and spend time with my LOTRO guild, so I overlooked that I just didn’t really care about the content we were running.

Then Helm’s Deep and the class changes were announced.  I played only enough beta to be able to try out the changes to my classes.  In hindsight, I wish I had leveled all the way to cap and played around with the “Big Battle” system that has now completely replaced traditional raiding at end-game.  Because, if I had, I would have saved myself $59… and for the first time ever, not purchased the “premium” level of a new, LOTRO expansion.  Initially, I was holding out hope that they would give us a big, REAL raid with the next spring update (like they have in the past) but after reading this on Massively (and then finding the entire letter) I knew that LOTRO was not going to go back to being a place that would satisfy my need for epic, end-game raiding.

Time and time again, I’ve used the term “cautiously optimistic” regarding the future of this game.  I’ve even championed the class changes, and waved off many LOTRO naysayers.  But after the Helm’s Deep “expansion” and the obvious continual pandering to f2p passers-by and easy money through store transactions — rather than truly supporting their dedicated, long-term community — I can easily say that I no longer have any hope for Lord of the Rings Online recovering or returning to anything that even resembles the game that I fell in love with all those years ago.  This game is not alive and thriving for avid raiders.  The majority of the end-game community either left a long time ago, or stayed and compromised their gaming needs.  The game may not be dead yet, but end-game is… and that is the same thing to me.

What makes leaving feel so different this time is, simply:  I am ready.  I have no room in my gaming life for things that just aren’t working and that I am not enjoying.  Last time, I metaphorically (okay, and maybe literally) beat my fists against my pillow in a childlike tantrum.  This time, I shook my head at the loss of such potential, quietly unsubbed, and continued to play other games.

As always, I won’t make statements like “never” because if by some miracle, end-game should return (and they fix their horrible, ever-present lag… stop pandering to f2p/store transactions… update their character models, etc, etc etc.. ) then I would consider coming back.

I’ll miss people I’ve known for so many years from Trucido kinship, and many others on Windfola and Landroval servers.  I sincerely hope that some of you keep in contact with me, and that we can meet up in other games on other worlds.  Till then, find me here, or on Twitter.

~Curiel — Level 90 elven hunter extraordinaire — /goodbye

/goodbye

Trove: Adventures in Alpha – Part 1

Thanks to a random number generator — and the generosity of Belghast‘s YouTube contest — I am now part of a small group of people in the alpha stage of testing for Trion’s up-and-coming title “Trove.”

In concept, Trove is very similar to other games like Minecraft and Cube World.  It’s a stylized, sandbox adventure MMO that has a core of exploration and building.  I haven’t jumped on the cube-shaped building game bandwagon before, other than the brief nod to some of the mods (Minecraft TARDIS? Yesss!) I see my family using when they play.  I have to say that from the first time I saw the dev video for Trove (the day it dropped) I was interested.  I think that not only did the team sound passionate about their product, but I have faith in the F2P model that Trion has used in the past.  I think that they are a great example of “doing it right.”  Plus, they make good games.

Jumping immediately into Trove after applying my code was interesting.  At this stage in development, there is no character customization, no classes, etc.  I popped into the sole, alpha server (which had maybe 12 other people on) and started running around on my little, blue-haired toon.  After killing a few mobs (birds and bugs and bees!) I started to play with the building aspect a bit… and, of course, tagging the world with my name so other would-be adventurers would know I was there!

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Bel gave me a weapon that helped me stay alive long enough to really build some things, so the next morning I decided to build a little house on a hill.

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Then I ran and ran as far as I could stand before getting bored of running (about 5,000 cubes out… though, some people have been past 50K!) and tagged a castle just ’cause… sprinkle gangsta…

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I committed suicide to get back to spawn point (which is currently set since we don’t yet have our Cornerstones) and commenced with building an amazing hobbit-style dwelling.  I wish I had taken a screenie of the inside, but in this one shot you can at least see the sparkle of the fireplace through the door…

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After patch # 2, the server has been a big buggy with random areas/biomes resetting to earlier points in time.  This is very sad, because my hobbit-hole was un-created.  I couldn’t bear to start over since it was a lot of building that I already had to rebuild once — thanks to someone bombing it — so I decided to make a tree-castle instead.

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The Trove community seems very invested in this game so far (just read the reddit) but, like anywhere that has actual humans in it, it’s not a perfect world.  Even with less than 20 people online there always seems to be someone who is discovering that their creations have been bombed and/or items stolen.  Thankfully having our own personal, locked home areas (Cornerstones) will keep this from being such an annoyance later on.  Until then, I just shake my head at humanity and wonder why even in the smallest numbers, people can’t treat other people respectfully.

All in all, I’m having a lot of fun just messing around in the limited experience that is Trove’s alpha.  I think that being able to actually talk in-game with devs during creation is awesome, and being there from the very start of a game is an amazing thing.

I’ll be sure to post more when there is more to post, and am happy to answer any questions you might have about the game that I can!