Tag rappelz

Which virtual world to visit this summer?

Summer is coming. Summer means gaming. So does the rest of the year, but still. Which means I need a summer MMO to keep myself busy.

I really did try to give EverQuest II another chance, but after a brief session yesterday I decided to call it quits again. I do enjoy the game on certain levels, the gameplay is fairly solid and the graphics aren’t all that bad (except the character design, which I’m not a big fan of), but I am amazed at how the zoning always gets to me. It really shouldn’t be that big a deal, but I can’t help having to stretch my imagination too far every time I zone – in my head, The Baubleshire and the Forest Ruins aren’t connected in any way, despite the fact that they are right next to each other. The zoning between them completely breaks my immersion, which annoys me to the degree that I have a hard time enjoying the rest of the EQII-experience.

For a weak moment I was considering resubbing to Age of Conan, despite what some people seem to think about Funcom’s latest event screw up, but then I remembered that if there’s one game that has a lot of zoning, it’s AoC. I also did some reading on the official AoC forums and seeing references to the amount of instances of a given zone up at one time, I really decided to skip it. If there is one thing that gets me more than zoning it’s instancing of an open zone (dungeons are exceptions). I even prefer more servers with less people on them than multiple instances of a zone on one server. Just the thought of it makes my skin crawl. It’s a horrible, bad and cheap design solution.

So where does that leave me? Rappelz still won’t co-operate, which really bugs me. A clean install is coming up and some manual patching on top of that should solve my issues, even though it’s really damn annoying that I have to do that just to get the thing running. Champions Online has been delayed until September, but to be honest I wasn’t all that impressed with the press beta. Jumpgate Evolution has been delayed as well, but considering what a train wreck of a MMO NetDevil’s old Auto Assault was, why do I even care to begin with? I’m not very impressed with the ship design and I know I will always expect space MMOs that only has a ship as your avatar to be as cut-throat as EVE Online. Dog fights are cool and all, but I still love the rush of EVE’s PvP fights.

Darkfall? The €42 price tag says “no”. I would love to give it a try, but I can’t for the life of me see myself paying that much money for it. It also seems like the European, and only, server is already populated and entrenched by now. I might consider it if they open up the NA-1 server in June and allow people to transfer off from EU-1, but I would prefer to see a brand new server opening up in Europe instead. Even though the empires are already established in EVE Online, you still have Empire space to keep you safe and cuddly until you dare to leave for low- or null-sec. I’m not 100% sure, since I’ve not tried DF myself, but it seems like it would be harder to start up a brand new, small sized guild compared to getting a corp up and running in EVE.

So, my eyes have once again fallen on Vanguard. There might not be any large-scale politics to get involved in, but it has a massive and epic world filled with places to see and explore. I really liked it when I played it, but since raiding in World of Warcraft got the better of me I cancelled my sub ages ago. I haven’t seen the Isle of Dawn (except the very first parts), I never got past level 20 and since diplomacy has seen a bit of a revamp since I left I’m really aching to see what they’ve done with those quest chains (I really liked diplomacy). I’ve been a bit worried (and still am, in a way) that SOE would leave the game to rot, but the Halls of the Pantheon update was just applied to the live servers which means the devs are keeping themselves busy.

As it stands right now, it’s Vanguard vs a deeper commitment to EVE Online. I love EVE, I always have, always will. But it plays completely different than other MMOs, at least for me. It’s about 10 days until I finished Small Railgun Spec V, then we’ll see if EVE will be my summer MMO. Until then, I think I’ll resub to Vanguard and give Isle of Dawn a spin. After all, Beau seems to be quite impressed with it.

And then there’s that damn Ryzom I just can’t get out of my head…arrrrrgh. I think I’ll go play inFamous for a bit.

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London, Nordic Game and a wedding

I’ve had two fairly busy weeks, including the aforementioned trip with THQ to London and the annual Nordic Game convention here in Malmö. The trip to London was very nice, especially since most of it went so smoothly – the press event was held at the same hotel as we stayed at, so we more or less just had to leave it to head over to a restaurant in the evening. I’ve been to London so many times that I can’t really be bothered with actually walking around in it (except to visit Forbidden Planet and Atlantis Bookshop, my two favorite stores that are only three blocks away from each other), and since the hotel was only 5 minutes away from Victoria we didn’t even have to care about buses or the Tube. Too bad for Eirik, our camera guy, who had never been to London before.

We did get a bunch of interviews done there, including one with Joe Madureira – as an old Marvel and Image-fan, that was a bit of a nerdgasm right there. The interviews are currently being edited and should be online next week or so. Also got some hands-on with Darksiders, Joe’s upcoming game, which looks promising. We’ve seen the formulae before in games like Devil May Cry and God of War, but I think the visual design of Darksiders is so much better than in those two games. Will Porter from Eurogamer was there as well and he has penned  down some first impressions of the game if you want to read more about it.

Then I had to spend the weekend more or less locked up in my apartment, reviewing The Sims 3…that review will go online June 1 (in Swedish) and should be in print around the same time (in Swedish, of course). It was a tight deadline, had the review code waiting for me when I got back from London, but I managed to get a lot of playtime in before the review was due.

Nordic Game this year was nice as well, even though I only had time to go to one of the lectures. We did get some interviews done there as well, and some pre-E3-stuff at the same time, and the big nerdgasm this year was getting to meet Suda51. I didn’t do that interview, in fact I only did one with Nathan Richardson from CCP, but I got to stand around and look like some form of GRTV-supervisor. I should had kept my sunglasses on inside and had a much sterner look…when the interview was done I did manage to get to use my Japanese to ask to take a photo of him before we had to get going – at least I still remember how to ask that. Expect the interviews to go online over the coming weeks.

I’ve also started to deal with some personal issues and things might actually look a bit brighter. Hopefully things will be more stable in general soon and give me an opportunity to some real restructuring of my life. It’s sorely needed and hopefully DFTM will be updated more frequently as a result. We’ll see.

With all this going on, and a wedding this weekend to plan for (I’m the Best Man, which means I need to finish writing that damn speech), I’ve hardly had any time for some good old MMO-gaming. I’ve promised Brendon to take a look at Rappelz, but the damn thing refuses to patch properly. I might strangle it soon. When this weekend is over I do hope I will have some time to just sit down and fix the darn game, as I really do want to give it a go. EverQuest II is also beckoning me back, I kinda miss my Gnomish berserker already.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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