Tag guild

Let’s go to Ulduar! Wait, where did you guys go…?

When Ulduar was finally introduced to the live realms in World of Warcraft, I started to consider going back to World of Warcraft for a bit just to see the place. It seems like Blizzard actually have addressed some of my concerns with WoW and that Ulduar is more challenging than Naxx. The fights all sound fun, the design of the place looks great, and the graphics are pretty. And since I’m not actively playing a MMO that steals all my free time, a trip or two to a  new raid sounded like a good idea.

A quick look at my guild’s forums later and I’m as desillusioned as ever. They are going back to Naxx?! What just happened? The officers’ desperate threads for Ulduar raids get more or less no sign-ups, while Naxx raids are full? There’s just been a whole new raid introduced to the game and people want to go back to the same raid they’ve farmed for months?

I can only see a few reasons why this could be happening. It could, of course, just be a bad week. For some reason almost everyone in our guild is away on the Ulduar raid days, while available to raid Naxx on the non-official raid days. That could be it. It’d be a weird coincidence, but hey – anything is possible.

I know that my guild did have some initial troubles in Ulduar. It could be that people feel they need better gear. Which I really doubt, since they’ve been farming heroics/Naxx/Malygos long enough to at least have more than 10 people ready to hit higher content. I haven’t been playing since February, but I’ve been keeping track of our forums almost daily since then (force of habit) and there’s been two or three raids every week. Add all the heroic badges I know people have been getting and you got at least one Ulduar-team ready to go.

The last reason I can think of? People are lazy. Naxx made them lazy. Naxx was easy, people got used to it and when they are suddenly faced with a real challenge in Ulduar, they get scared. Wiping is no longer a way to learn, it’s now a sign of boredom and frustration. They’ve already forgotten what it was like to learn Kara, or they never wiped for weeks trying to down Vashj. I don’t know.

/sigh

Good thing Free Realms went live, I suppose.

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The kitin stirs…

Trekking is dangerous business, obviously.

Trekking is dangerous business, obviously.

A couple of days ago I got tired of digging on my own outside Pyr, so I quit my Ryzom-guild. My old guildies were very understanding and I quickly found myself a new, more active, home. The game changed character instantly, suddenly I found myself surrounded by people to do things with, and I also got to go on my first trek from Pyr to Zora (where our guild hall is located) that very night. Moving between cities in Ryzom is not something you usually do on your own, considering the amount of creatures that want to eat your face on the way, and without the security keeping me safe I would’ve never made the trip in one piece.

Ryzom has also seen some developer love during the last couple of days. This Monday saw an event where the players were gathered up to kill a demonic kitin, then the game got a nice patch which saw the starter area getting a revamp and crafters now being able to tag their stuff (Beau has written a bit about it at Spouse Aggro, I haven’t had time to check out Silan yet), and last night a new event took place where the kitins planned to avenge their fallen comrade. The various races were told to meet with their leaders in their respective capitals, so me and a few members of my new guild gathered in Pyr.

One of the fights against kitin patrols in Under Spring. The colors!

One of the fights against kitin patrols in Under Spring. The colors!

After getting a speech from the Fyros emperor, the gathered players teleported to Dyron from where we trekked up to the portal to Under Spring. It was my first time in the Prime Roots, mostly because my level in fighting is 52 and the mobs there are level 200+, and the area was really impressive. Once there, we were attacked by wave after wave of kitin patrols – I tried desperately to heal the people in my team without much luck, mostly because my healing sucks compared to the massive amount of health some players have. We wiped three times in Under Spring, while we were getting reports from the Zoraï about them also having some troubles standing up to the kitin advance.

In the end, the area had been cleared of kitin. We took a breather until it was time to move to the Wastelands, where the final boss of the event had spawned. Some of us, me included, had never been to the Wastelands before, so we had to make the short trek from Zora, luckily without incident. When we arrived we met with the other three races and our combined forces – after a chaotic wipe to a major kitin patrol – managed to fight their way to Middle Point, where one huge kitin awaited our arrival. That fight, the final one of the evening, was truly epic and the whole battlefield lit up into one giant display of fireworks as everyone nuked all they had against the boss. I kept healing, but the few experience points I should’ve received were all eaten up by the death penalties from the four wipes.

The last boss of the event. Look, mom, I'm healing!

The last boss of the event. Look, mom, I'm healing!

It was a spectacular fight. I don’t know exactly how many of us that were there, but with the combined forces I am guessing around 100 players in total. I am not sure how much fun I actually had, after all I didn’t make any difference and I couldn’t do much except spamming my pathetic heal during the whole event, and the writing and acting from the event team were hardly top notch. But it was great to see something like this happen in the game and that the new developers are trying to push the saga of Ryzom forward.

With the new guild, the new patch and the current storyline – with the increased presence of kitin patrols in the Prime Root-areas – it’s hard for me not to fall completely in love with Ryzom. The game that at first seemed like nothing but a giant grind fest is slowly becoming so much more. It is still free to play, so I recommend that you download it and give it a try. It’s totally worth it and since Silan seems a lot more friendly to newbies these days, it’s the perfect time.

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A guild guilt trip

In World of Warcraft, most players assume that everyone they meet have played the game long enough to know what they are doing and most guilds don’t recruit newbies or help them adjust to the life in Azeroth. Not all that strange, considering how easy it is to level up and how basic the crafting professions are. In EVE Online, most corps are jaded and paranoid and except for corporations like EVE University and Agony Unleashed, there isn’t all that much help for the new players. Most corps do offer stuff like free T1 frigates and cheap modules, but that doesn’t go very far to explain how the complex game actually works.

In smaller MMOs, new players are usually seen as an asset. Old players want new players to keep the game alive, to keep subs up and their game running – especially in games that’s not as competative as EVE. One good way of doing that is to help the newbies to become a part of the community as fast as possible. I didn’t see it happen in Chronicles of Spellborn, probably because the community was too small and everyone around me were as new as me, but in games like Everquest II and Ryzom it has been much more noticeable. The community in Ryzom can be extremely helpful, I’ve had strangers offer to follow me around as healers when I level and asking a question in the Universe chat usually nets you a quick and friendly reply.

Me and my trust mektoub packer.

Me and my trusty mektoub packer.

Which brings me to my problem. When I reached Pyr on the mainland of Atys in Ryzom (more on that in a later post), I soon met another player that invited me to his guild. All of the sudden I found myself showered with gifts. One of my new guildies gave me a whole set of light armor for magic and foraging, the guy who had invited me handed over 200k dappers (the currency in Ryzom) so I could buy my own mektoub packer to use as a makeshift bank. When I tried telling them that it wasn’t necessary, that I mostly wanted some company and a guild to help out, I only got “you are a guildie, we share” as a reply.

Now, that’s a great idea. In a game as focused on teamwork and resource gathering as Ryzom, of course you help each other out.  Having guild members share their resources and crafted items helps everyone, not only the new recruit. But for me, it also causes a problem. I had been a member of the guild for five minutes when receiving the light armor mentioned above, ten minutes when I bought my mektoub. How would I be able to know, at that point, that this was the right guild for me? A lot of guilds in other games have some form of trial period where the new member can see if this is the right place for him/her while the guild decide if the player is fit to be a part of their community.

I logged into Ryzom a couple of minutes ago. I had no intention of doing anything, I was just hoping to hang out a bit in guild and Universe chat. Universe is filled with people. but I am completely alone in guild – the roster says that we have 142 members, but none of them are online. And I have no idea if that number is actually correct, since it could be alts or players that never returned to Ryzom after it was cancelled. If I am going to stick around in the game, I’ll need an active guild with a lot of active players, preferably in my time zone. As it stands right now, I’ve seen at most three players (including me) online at the same time – and that’s during European prime time.

In other words, I am considering leaving this guild and see if I can find another home. The problem I have is the gifts I received. Even though I could return the armor (there’s no soulbound equipment in Ryzom), there’s no way I could pay back those 200k dappers. My wallet says 26k, at most I’ve had 50k that I spent on new armor and weapons. Leaving without sharing anything back would feel like “ninjaing” the stuff given me. Kinda like nabbing some epic loot, saying “kk thxz baiii”, /gquitting and logging out in the middle of a raid in World of Warcraft.

Perhaps this is a non-issue, perhaps it’s just my upbringing in the real world (I have a hard time accepting gifts out of the blue like that) that influences how I live in a virtual one. In WoW, I’ve hardly ever touched the guild banks of the guilds I’ve been a member of (even now, when I’m the guild leader I almost never go near it) and the most expensive thing I’ve taken out of a corp hangar in EVE was some Antimatter S-charges before heading out on a roaming war target hunt. In the end, no matter if I am over-analyzing this or not, I am still hopelessly torn about what to do next.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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