Tag patching

The End Times: The end of the end times (until the next apocalypse)

A few minutes ago I logged into Fallen Earth to grab my complimentary gas mask before I cancelled my account. Cancelling a subscription is always a bit sad, especially when it’s for a game I really like, but I don’t play Fallen Earth nearly enough to warrant paying for it. If my monthly income was a bit more stable and if I felt like Icarus could use my support, I might have kept it up – they seem to be doing fine, and freelancing is always a bit up and down, so the cancellation came pretty naturally.

As mentioned above, it’s not that I don’t like the game. Quite the opposite, Fallen Earth is a small wonder of a MMO. It deserves a lot of attention, even though Icarus seems a bit confused at times, and the constant stream of updates coming from the developers is impressive. Other small MMO studios, like Winch Gate and Aventurine, would do well to take inspiration from the flurry of patches that Fallen Earth has seen since launch.

Come to think of it, larger MMO studios would also have a lot to gain from taking a closer look at how things seem to work at Icarus. I guess it comes down to the bureaucracy of  larger studios, where bugs and priority lists have to be passed from office to office, from department to department, before they end up being patched into the game – if the issue gets addressed at all. Icarus has shown the world that it can be done, that we can expect a developer to take our subscription money and put it to good use almost every week.

A couple of times, Fallen Earth has been patched several days in a row. That’s fast. I can’t help thinking that it comes down to how the studio is structured and the development philosophy it has adapted. A strong belief in the game, a strong belief that the customers should be kept happy, that a game can evolve.

For now, for me, Fallen Earth will be put on the back burner. I didn’t get as far into the game as I might have liked, but there will always be the option to resub in the future. At some point I know I will have return to my own personal MMO apocalypse. I can’t wait to see how far the game has come at that point.

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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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Patch day blues (updated)

We’ve all had them – a new patch is released, servers go ballistic, firewalls you didn’t even knew you had become issues, red lights flashing, 0.5kb/s for a 350mb file, patch mirrors suddenly want cash or strings you along a never ending variety of pop up banners…dreams of updated abilities and new content turns into a nightmare where the only way out becomes smashing your face through your monitor.

Or you buy a new MMO, bounce all the way home with dreams about that new character that you are going to roll, dreams about phat new loot in a whole new world to explore only to be slapped in the face with a 36h patch time. Or you decide to resub to a game you used to play, like I just did, and end up with a patcher window that looks something like…this:

Lord of the Rings Online patcher - at 121%

Lord of the Rings Online patcher - at 121%

Right. 121%. My patcher is now at 183%. Can I hit 200% before this is over? Probably.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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