Tag ryzom

Ryzom website gets a makeover

The new Ryzom site, in all its glory

The new Ryzom site, in all its glory

It was about time Ryzom got itself a new website, since the old one was…well, old. But while it came as good news that Winch Gate were rolling out a new site for their game, I must say that the new one is not an improvement. The new one still looks old.

I hate to say it, I really want to do nothing except praise Ryzom, but the new site looks unprofessional. It does not, in any way, convey trust or give the impression to be made by a company that deserves your money, or can be trusted with your credit card. Had I not been playing Ryzom already, I’d probably would have decided to not even give it a try based on the website.

It’s not only the general design – it’s also about the language used. The game itself is originally in French, and at times the GMs and event managers have had problems with English, but to have the official English version of the site sport such weird language is not a very good idea. How about this wonderful quote?

The MMORPG Ryzom is the best FRENCH 3D role playing PC game playable online. Ryzom is a role-play game of science-fiction, fantasy and adventure, massively multiplayer, named RPG, MMORPG, MMO or virtual world. Ryzom MMORPG is set 30.000 years in the future. Ryzom won the MMORPG Awards of Best RPG role-play story game and is a reference in the MMORPG’s virtual world. Ryzom is downloadable online FREE, with 21 days of FREE TRIAL.

Eh. OK. Even though Ryzom is an actual MMO, that makes it sound more like a scam – or a game as serious as Evony. It might be the “FREE”, and “FREE TRIAL”, that does it. The next logical step would be a flash banner advertising the game as a new online game that can be PLAYED FOR FREE! PLAY NOW! FREE!

Yuck.

Winch Gate, please update it as quickly as you can. Or even roll back the site to your old one, which actually looked better. This one is a pain to look at, the typography is horrible, and not using enough padding makes the whole site look cramped. Did you develop this in-house? If not, I’d suggest getting your money back from whatever design studio you hired. At least take a long, good look at the 96 errors in your markup.

I love Ryzom, it’s a great indie-MMO that I hope survives for a long time to come. Anyone that’s been following this blog or read my Twitter feed should know that by now. But this website, it’s just not good enough for 2009. Please, pretty please with sugar on top, Winch Gate. Update it.

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Pick a MMO for 2009, or should I just sit down, shut up & get out?

No hugs in Fallen Earth!

We don't hug in Fallen Earth!

I can be so weak when it comes to MMOs. I bounce back and forth and I still have a hard time finding a place to call home – the only place that even resembles one right now is Atys. I’m slowly settling in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Fallen Earth‘s Grand Canyon, having teamed up with the Casualties. As I’m writing this, I’m AFK-mining in EVE using an Iteron V, hoping to at least make a few ISK without raising so much as a finger – even though my pride has taken a bit of a hit after I decided to go from PvP pilot to miner/industrial. I love all three games, but something in me feels restless already.

With the fall of 2009 here, the major MMO push is over for this year. As far as I can tell, unless I’ve been struck by a complete black out, there’s no other interesting MMO being released this year. I’ve already given up on Aion (as Wiqd said, “why play a WoW clone when you can play the real thing?“) and Champions Online never managed to grab my attention. Actually, it bored me to death, so I never saw a reason to keep playing it.

That kind of leaves me with the games mentioned above, with a few others circling around me, poking at my interest. I do miss Middle-Earth sometimes, I never did get to Moria after all, and I can’t help thinking that I don’t want to miss out on World of Warcraft’s patch 3.3. Star Wars: Galaxies still feels interesting, especially after the server mergers. And Vanguard will always be Vanguard, especially after Stargrace has started to blog about it again.

So, I’m trying to figure out what games to stick with for the rest of the year. At the same time I can’t help drawing parallels between my bouncing between MMOs and the way my head is wired in general. Right now I’m writing this, AFK-mining in EVE, poking around an EVE mining guide, trying to make the last few fixes to a review in OpenOffice, playing Brütal Legend, chatting on Skype and MSN, eating a banana (yum!), reading the Fallen Earth forums and considering doing a dive into various Star Wars: Galaxies-resources.

Brain...hurts...

That’s not very good at all. I am sure my friend Breki would chastise me for it. I need to learn how to focus on one thing at a time, instead of doing everything at once. I know my brain can handle it, but I’m not sure my mind can, especially since I’ve long since started to identify stress symptoms. Not being able to settle for one MMO is probably another sign that I have problems focusing on one thing, desperately seeking stimulation from multiple sources at one time.

So, perhaps I should just stick with one. Or three. Or maybe a fourth one…hmmmm. Ok, I might need help.

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Why the Aion community is scaring me away

Or “Why quest helper, not World of Warcraft, ruined MMOs”

Let’s get the positive stuff out of the way first – I am really starting to enjoy Aion. Yes, it’s so far nothing more than a typical quest grind for XP, the quests are terribly unoriginal and getting into a fight with more than one mob (God forbid three) is a pain. But I’m having fun, I love the alien design, the flavor texts and the storyline. I’ve started to craft a bit, which I also like despite the system for doing it is traditional (do I dare call it “archaic”?) and I like to fly (even though I think the flight timer system is silly in a game so built on flight). PvP, at the arena, is intense and gives me a taste for more – I still wish there was a way to level through PvP alone. If you develop a game so focused on PvP as Aion is at higher levels, you really ought to offer that as an alternative to the typical PvE grind.

With that said, I do have problems with the game. And one of the major ones is how the community feels right now. It’s still early in the game, a lot of people probably won’t play after their first 30 days are up, but at this point it’s almost scary. The general chat is filled with utter nonsense most of the time, the names taken from World of Warcraft are in abundance and the name calling and insulting is constant. Today I was called a “rtard” (people actually use words like that?) by a player called Ladysylvanas (I called that name “unoriginal”, another player called it “gay” – you choose…) and it’s almost becoming a sport between me and Terr to spot names like “Kiljaeden”, “Jaina” or “Azeroth” while we play and point them out over Twitter. Got to love that real time updated social web, no?

I managed to find myself a pretty nice Legion to at least chat with, they seem like a good bunch, but the community is a constant noise in the back of my head. Sure, I can block them, and I keep my Legion chat tab up most of the time to not see General (I don’t want to leave it just yet, since the game is so new there might be a few hidden gems in it), but just knowing that they are out there makes my skin crawl. I guess it’s a problem with most MMOs, but I can’t remember it being this bad in Warhammer Online or Age of Conan when they launched. There were idiots, absolutely, but the community in Aion reminds me more of the one on my server in Runes of Magic than in any other game I’ve played so far.

The impact on actual gameplay is of course none, Aion is still fun. But it better pick up as I level, since I don’t really want to waste away hours on end on a game filled with people that get on my nerves. I want to enjoy Aion without the constant reminder that the good people are few and far between. If you don’t believe me, do take a look at the official forums and tell me that I’m overreacting.

Also, and this is one of the things that gets me the most, everyone seem to be terribly lazy. Despite Aion having clickable links in the quest journal that often can show you exactly where to go, a lot of players don’t seem to even bother to do that, instead asking in General chat about the most fundamental things (“where is X, where do I get Y, I can’t find N, etc”). I can’t help blaming this a bit on Quest Helper, which truly turned World of Warcraft into a game for drones. I’m guilty as well, I installed Quest Helper just like everyone else, but that does not mean I feel handicapped the second I end up in a game that doesn’t have similar tools. Read the freaking quest journal, for crying out loud. It’s all right there! Some even ask for directions to things that’s been shown in cut scenes, which always makes me wanna shove my head through my screen.

There are two things that might get me when it comes to Aion – the grind or the community. As soon as I’ve played enough to deliver my review (which will never, truly be enough of course), I’m going to make a decision. Either I press on, or I ditch Aion for the time being. The community in games like Ryzom is so nice that I don’t see why I should have to live through this crap to enjoy myself. I am also considering picking up Fallen Earth to see how it is and feels, with an extra careful eye towards its budding community. No more, I say. No more.

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Screenshot love: Play dead, doggie! Please? For me?

Ryzom celebrated its 5th anniversary this week, which the devs celebrated by spawning this guy/gal and his/her three guards and trying to kill us all. We were victorious though, still running on the fumes from the mini-mek race we had enjoyed earlier.

I have a lot of frapsed video from the anniversary event which I’m trying to edit together, but Windows Movie Maker (which is the only editing software I have on this machine) refuses to play nice and keeps blanking out certain clips without giving a good reason for doing so. It annoys me to no end. Anyway, happy birthday Ryzom! Here’s for another five years!

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Back in the sandbox

I’ve been praising sandbox MMOs before and it slowly dawned on me that I should put my money where my mouth is and resub to Ryzom. I always knew I would, so why not now? I activated my account, patched the client to 1.5 and logged in. And there my character stood, in the same place as I left her. Wearing her focus gear, pick in hand, with the two mektoub packers who spawned with her filled to the brim with gear and materials. No one in my guild was online, so I ran around Dyron for a bit, gathering some stray materials while trying to remember how I had configured my skills and stanzas. Then I logged out, since I mostly felt confused and didn’t have a proper reason to play.

Instead I turned back to Final Fantasy XI, since I’ve been meaning to play it for what seems like ages. I wasn’t sure when the free play time that came with the box ran out, but it turned out I still had a few days to go before billing kicks in, so I patched it up and got comfy in the sofa, 360 controller in hand. And just like my character in Ryzom, my tarutaru was still where I left him – near the fishers’ guild in Windurst, where I had logged out after doing a bit of fishing. I took a stroll down to the Auction House, cleared out old sales that ran out several weeks ago, then I sat down near the gate to the East Sarutabaruta plains. I was confused, alone and had no idea what I had been doing when I stopped playing. So I logged out.

I am not a huge fan of quest based MMOs, I prefer a sandbox to play around in. But quests are not always a bad thing, they only become bad when it is the only real activity the game actually offers. It’s not all clear cut, it’s not black and white. A perfect mix between a wide open world, such as Ryzom’s dangerous wilderness, and some form of quest driven play, is probably what I would have needed today. If I knew that I could do what I felt like, including hitting up a quest hub for a quick infusion of cash or a sense of direction for a few hours, I would have spent the whole evening in Atys or in Vana’diel. Now I spent it in Blood Bowl instead, pitting my Skaven team against a friend’s Orcs. The ball needs to go in the end zone to score a point. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins. Easy and clear.

I am glad that my Ryzom account is active again, absolutely. Seeing Windurst gave me a sense of happy nostalgia, just like returning to Dyron Oasis felt like coming home. I look forward to digging around in those two sandboxes. But if I don’t figure out exactly what to do, where to go, or what project to immerse myself in, I have a feeling that the MMO burnout will come much faster than I’d want it to.

September brings both Fallen Earth and Aion. Two completely different games, but both have peaked my interest. Let’s see if the sandboxes of old can stand up against the roller coasters of the near future.

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The “revolution” has already happened

A constant hot topic in the MMO-blogosphere is how we can improve future MMOs. That’s a good thing, it’s a genre that could easily stagnate (even though I am not 100% convinced that it has) if the things that worked in older games keep getting copied until we only have a bunch of different WoW-clones to choose from. But it’s also interesting to see certain points being dragged up again and again, despite there actually being a game that manages to address them to a large degree. It’s not the perfect MMO in any way, but if there would be a new game that would include similar features, I am certain some would herald that new game as “revolutionary”.

Crimson Starfire just summed up some of the points that he (she? Sorry if that’s the case, Crimson) thinks should be addressed before we have a “MMORPG 2.0″. I could go digging after more similar posts, but I like how that post manages to distill a lot of the criticism that’s been flying around for a long time. Here are the points, all copied and pasted from World of Shadow:

  • Static worlds: Player actions have very little impact on the world. Kill something and it respawns moments later.
  • Everyone is a hero: Everyone follows the same quests and story lines.
  • NPC and monster AI: It’s laughable at best. Aggro bubbles? Seriously…
  • Balance: How do you make completely different classes equal in strength?
  • Grind: These will always exist but the disguises need some work.
  • Economy: When you get 10 silver for killing the same rat that respawns every 20 seconds, you know the economy will have issues.

Luckily, Crimson doesn’t just complain – he/she/it (“he” from now on) has a couple of solutions and suggestions for how we could address and solve those six points. And constantly, while reading the post, I am reminded by a small MMO from France. A MMO that a lot of people constantly overlook and that was way before its time when it launched. And, obviously, still is in many ways.

The game I am talking about is Ryzom. Poor underachieving Ryzom, fighting against constant financial trouble instead of getting the praise it deserves. Still going, getting a flurry of patches that includes updates to both game and storyline…yet no one seem to notice (except Massively, when you bug them enough – check the “thanks” at the bottom of that post…). Poor Ryzom, the kid in a classroom filled with fighting bullies, overlooked by both teachers and the other kids in the schoolyard. Yeah, you get my point by now. I think it deserves a lot more publicity and a lot more credit.

So, back to the list, and Crimson’s solutions (some of them paired together when appropriate, quotes in italics, check the original post to get their full context)…

Static Worlds & NPC AI:This brings me to the ‘world without a player’ scenario, where the world is ever changing on its own. Players should only ever speed up or slow down this process” and “If they can get away with adding an aggro bubble to a monster with a trigger to attack, then they will. There is nothing stopping NPC and monster AI from improving except the game budget“.

Now, Crimson does suggest that “[f]or every player action there needs to be an equal and opposite server reaction in order to maintain a dynamic equilibrium”, which is not present in Ryzom. But the world is certainly alive with or without the player. Ryzom has seasons and the wildlife migrates depending on which is active on the server at the time (every season lasts four days, replacing each other in a 16 day cycle). The creatures also have a primitive AI. Herbivores will react to players passing by, coming to sniff them or in some cases beg for attention. Sometimes they even break off from their herd to check out things, i.e. players, that make them curious. Also, carnivores hunt the herbivores, attacking and trying to kill them.

Depending on the season, certain materials might not be available. Since materials are the blood that keeps Ryzom ticking, players usually spend a lot of time mapping out where they can be found and at what time. Dangerous creatures have set aggro bubbles that does not change depending on player level, which means that you also have to learn how close you can go before being attacked (which can be very important when digging for rare resources). Since the wilderness of Ryzom is filled with dangerous creatures, going from one city to another is not something done without planning ahead – and preferably not alone. All of this creates at least the illusion of a world that exists on its own, without players being around or not.

Everyone is a hero & Balance: “[T]he only thing blocking this from happening is problem number 1: static worlds. Fix that and everyone can follow their own story to heroism” and “The balancing process can be sped up with better tools and analyzing techniques, but essentially it will always be a problem“.

I very much agree on the “everyone is a hero”-issue. I shall return to that in the near future, since I have a whole post about it planned. But it is a problem, but it’s far from happening in all MMOs. EVE Online is a perfect example where everyone is a super-human pod pilot. In City of Heroes everyone is a hero (it’s in the title!). And in Ryzom we are all refugees, we are all trying to re-build Atys and our society, while protecting what we’re building against the wildlife and the Kitin invaders. There is no raid boss to kill in order to save the world which we, and hundreds if not thousands just like us, will be back to kill again next week. There are world bosses, and named creatures walking around, but I always felt like they were more part of the world than in almost any game I’ve played before.

That does not mean that everyone is equal, though. Crafters especially can gain quite a lot of fame if they have self-discovered recipes (not drops, recipes they’ve researched themselves by putting together various pieces of materials to see what stats the equipment they are making will get). Guilds become famous through their deeds, through warfare against other guilds and for their trading or generosity. Since server population in Ryzom is still quite small it doesn’t take long before you start to recognize most guild names and what kind of play style or faction you associate them with.

The balance issue in Ryzom is, just like in EVE Online, quite easy to deal with. Certain skills might be better than others (even seen ranged DPS in Ryzom PvP? Ouch.), but everyone is able to learn all skills. It will take a long, long time, but it is theoretically possible. And, just like in EVE, a player can only reach a certain level in a skill, which means everyone is always able to catch up. All this while still allowing players to customize their characters and their builds as they see fit. The variety in looks, builds and equipment can be simply stunning. A game does not need classes to allow players to explore different ways to play. Classes are inherently restrictive and I for one would be happy to see them go.

Grind & Economy:If you give the player a different experience each time, the grind with be less prevalent” and “[t]he solution lies with getting a balance of currency generated with currency destroyed“.

I’m not going to go on record saying that there is no grind in Ryzom. Hell, there is a ton of grinding in Ryzom. It can be made a lot better, and a lot more fun, in groups – even resource gathering can be done by groups, where one player digs while the other is trying to keep the resource from blowing up in their faces (called “careplanning”). But the grind is quite prevalent at times, there’s no denying that. Hopefully, as time goes by, the developers will be able to address this part of the game.

Ryzom does take a whole new angle when it comes to economy though. Dappers, the “gold” of Ryzom, is more or less worthless. Sure, there are things that only dappers can buy (including mounts, banking animals and apartments), but when you have all that there’s nothing for you to spend more on. The “economy” of Ryzom is more or less based on trading and quid pro quo – you do me a favor, or get me a piece of armor that you can craft, I’ll help you in the future. Guilds trade constantly and anything from rare materials to experience catalysts gained from outposts change hands every day. The system, all built on trust and the concept of “you scratch my back, I scratch yours”, works. No economical back end that the developers need to keep constant track off.

Of course, that kind of economy does not fit into every MMO, even though I would love to see what would happen in World of Warcraft if you took out the AH and all the gold sinks (mounts, bank space, the Dalaran rings, etc). It’s very interesting to see in action though. It might not have been what the developers intended from the start, but if not it makes it so much more interesting.

As I said before, Ryzom is not the perfect MMO. It has a lot of issues, including the fact that it was never fully developed, that needs to be dealt with – hopefully it has a big enough paying community these days to at least make some of the old goals reality. We shall see. But what it does have can be amazing at times. Play it for a while and you will never play another MMO the same way again. You will miss the freedom, the community. You will curse at animals that just wanders around aimlessly and ignores you despite you jumping in a circle around them. You will miss the way the economy works, how players seem to help their friends in the knowledge that it will benefit everyone in the end.

Most of all, you will realise what a small revolution Ryzom was and, in many ways, still is. And it all happened back in 2004, when we all were busy staring blindly at Azeroth…

(Did I mention that Ryzom has a free trial? It does. Go download it and give it a try. I also didn’t mention the Ryzom Ring, which preceded CoH’s Mission Architecht with 5 years.)

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Ryzom gets dedicated roleplay-site

Roleplay, for nubs or not? I don’t really know anymore. I started out on a roleplay server in World of Warcraft and it became quite obvious rather quickly that Blizzard do not care one bit about roleplayers and have no intentions whatsoever to actually enforce their own roleplaying rules (that document is a joke). I’ve seen the roleplay, at least on my server of choice, erode away and now nothing remains. We had some really good roleplaying guilds that gave a lot of flavor to places like Stormwind and Aerie Peak. Those days are gone and I got the feeling that most roleplaying servers have seen the same development.

So it amazing to see certain MMO-companies not only encouraging roleplaying, but also helping the roleplayers out. One game which has had a strong RP-element to it for a long time is Ryzom, and the company behind the game is now launching a dedicated roleplay-site. Even though the site is still rather barren, it is such a great idea that it makes me want to log in and never log out again, even though I don’t actively roleplay anymore. This is how you build a loyal customer base from at least one of the subgroups that play your game. It’s not that much work and if you put some effort into it, it can yield amazing results. Add a team that only works on live roleplay events (called “Animation” in Ryzom) and you got a winning combo.

The full e-mail is quoted after the jump. Now go give Ryzom a try.

Read more

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The loneliness of the long distance runner

Having some time to kill today, and since the Aion beta event is over, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and do the trek from Lotus Hold to Tanvu in Vanguard. I guess the word “trek” has a whole different meaning after playing Ryzom, where a “trek” is something fraught with danger and not something usually done solo, but anyway. The run between Lotus Hold and Tanvu, I suppose I should say.

That’s the thing about the world in Vanguard – it’s huge. The area between those two locations would probably have spanned several zones, and several level ranges, in most other games. But not in Vanguard. During the whole journey I didn’t see a mob with a level higher than 12, and that would be some bandits I decided to avoid. I stumbled upon a settlement, a small keep (which housed the teleport between the island LH is on and the one where Tanvu is) and a monastery in the woods occupied by friendly spirits (where I took refuge when my cell phone rang). These places all housed quests for me, the world might be large but it’s not empty, but I decided to press on instead of getting caught up in a new quest chain. I guess I should have picked them up, it would’ve made the whole journey more interesting in one way, but it would also take days instead of the 30 minutes it took now.

I did manage to take a wrong turn at one point, since the main road was covered by some undergrowth, and ended up outside Magi Hold instead. A detour that cost me 10 minutes or so, but I was happy to have found a new place that I’ll hopefully get to revisit at some point. I was really happy when I finally made it to Tanvu. I took a brief tour of the city before I found the horse vendor outside the House of Mirrors. So now, at level 10, I finally have my first mount. I guess I should decide which city to fight for soon, so I can aim for one of the racial mounts, but I will have to do some more research first. Don’t want to let precious time go to waste!

I was also happy to see some other players running around town. While the Isle of Dawn was quite populated, the main land (at least the Kojan main land) has so far been rather barren. Chat is quite silent too. Could be that most players are up on Thestra, but it’s sad to see a large capital city as Tanvu be that empty. One can clearly see that Sigil designed the capital cities to host a whole horde of players, considering their size, and Tanvu is still quite small compared to cities like Bordinar’s Cleft. I doubt they will ever look like Dalaran, or Ironforge back in the day, which is actually quite sad. Vanguard is still a gem, a really cool game, and it’s too bad it never got – and probably never will – the mainstream praise it deserves.

If it is closed, as some people seem to think will happen after SOE closed down Matrix Online, well…I will be a sad Petter, even though I might not even be playing it when that happens. I might be playing Dungeons & Dragons Online for free instead. Probably not, since I’m not a fan of instanced content, but still. I just might.

Now I’m going to go poke one of my rats, since she’s fallen asleep in their food bowl. She might be trying to “protect” it from the new rat I introduced to them today, but somehow I just think she’s a little bit stupid. Cute as hell, yet stupid.

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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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Don’t fear the future?

Today I realised that I’m stuck in a rut in the MMOs I currently play. I have no idea what skill path to go down in EVE, I generally just train whatever I can stick into the daily queue and then add a longer skill at the end of it, and even though I still enjoy Ryzom and completely adore my guildies there I don’t have a project in it except leveling and trying to make enough dappers to buy an apartment. Having projects is very important to me, it’s a great way to keep my interest up.

I also realised that I have another problem with Ryzom. Even if I do find a project to keep me occupied, I’m not really sure that the game will be around for much longer – I guess the pessimism that’s so rampant in the community finally managed to rub off on me. A few days ago the team behind Shadowbane announced that the game was shutting down and reading the official thread on the subject was quite depressing (I do recommend reading at least a few pages of it though, it’s fascinating while being incredibly sad) and I really don’t want to end up in a similar situation any time soon. Every MMO will, sooner or later, go down the same route, the only question is if I actually want to get 100% involved in a game that is standing on what just might be the brink of disaster.

It’s a tricky situation. If I look at the MMOs that interest me at the moment, almost all of them can be considered dangerous territory – Vanguard has always teetered on the edge of the abyss, Star Wars Galaxies might go the way of the dodo when The Old Republic launches, Ryzom has had a very bumpy ride since launch…I managed to get two of my friends to try out Runes of Magic, but they’ve both gone back to Warhammer Online now (I’m personally holding out until Land of the Dead drops). World of Warcraft is the most stable game on the market, but I have no interest in going back.

What to do, what to do? Should I just bite the bullet, take a chance on Ryzom, hope that everything works out? Or should I try to find a more stable game that might just save me from the general rut I’m in right now? Or should I just give up on MMOs for the time being, spend more time with my Nintendo DS, and just wait for that perfect game to launch?

I’m bored and grumpy.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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