Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

Not a Good Start

Well, I got into EQ2 for about 5 minutes before I was kicked, and discovered that they are performing an unscheduled fix for buff and quest problems, which started about three hours ago, and still has no ETA. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come for the rest of the weekend. Oh well, I have a couple good books to read as well.

~Kanthalos

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Four Day Weekend!

The title says it all. I don’t have class on Fridays, and we have Monday off, so I’ve got four days to do nothing. I predict mucho EQ2 and some Mythos on the side. Sorry for bailing on you last night, Cord. Some stuff came up, but hopefully we can do something over my extended weekend.

P.S. I’ve been having a blast with EQ2 again. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I think it just has to do with that feeling of having an endless amount of things to do (i.e. crafting, market, questing, exploring) which I haven’t felt in a while. I hit 20 last night, and I’m just getting into the Thundering Steppes again. It’s not a terrible zone, but I’m sure there are better ūüôā Hope to see some of you in game.

~Kanthalos

Search Term Humor

So I was looking at the search terms today that linked to my page. This little gem was waiting for me: “world of warcraft nude busty blood elves.” This probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen something like this (busty expansion toons was another.) Believe it or not, one of my posts shows up ninth under that search term (or maybe not so surprising considering how specific it is) because I use “blood elf”, “busty”, and “world of warcraft” in that post. Good luck to whoever this person is, I hope you find what you’re looking for. I’m sorry to say that you won’t find any naked blood elves on this site, however.

~Kanthalos

Back In EQ2

While I didn’t get a whole lot of gaming done this weekend, I did get back into EQ2 for a while. Basically I decided that everything along the way in Mythos was going to be the same (until they add some more variety to the game) and it would just be better drops, that made it a bit easier for me to step away and give EQ2 some playing time. I did a bit more crafting (I’m a sage) and whipped out a few more quests, and I must say it’s nice to be back. I am really looking forward to getting into some original content aka beyong Thundering Steppes. That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll be back when… I’m back ūüôā

~Kanthalos

Is There Something Wrong With Me?

As you all know, I have been playing quite a lot of Mythos lately. It’s your typical hack ‘n’ slah game without a whole lot of depth, and a lack of variety in terms of maps and creatures. So why then am I finding myself drawn more to this game than to EQ2? Before I got my beta invite I was perfectly happy and content with EQ2, and I will probably end up going back to it very shortly, but should this even be an issue? Maybe I’m simply growing a bit tired of the typical fantasy MMO (that’s not to say I’m over it) and I just need a bit of a break, or maybe it’s that I enjoy these types of games (Diablo 2, Titan Quest, Mythos, DR, etc.) and I haven’t played them as much as I would like to. I’m not sure exactly, but I do think it’s strange that as of right now, I’m more excited to play a free-to-play (upon release) beta game than I am a 3-year-old well-established, much improved MMO that could well be the best on the market right now.

~Kanthalos

P.S. If you used to read my posts earlier in the morning, I apologize.¬† I was getting to work at 7 o’clock then, and now that I’m back at school, I typically get up at about 9:30, and will try to write something between then and my first classes (12:30 or 3:00 depending) so again, I hope you don’t mind ūüôā

Dungeon Runners Vs. Mythos

So Lars asked me to give Dungeon Runners a shot so that I could do a side-by-side comparison of both DR and Mythos, so I have. That said, I have played Mythos far more than I have DR, so this is a rather basic comparison. Part of this was the fact that after reaching level six in DR (took me about three hours or so, give or take)I was already starting to notice that you needed a subscription to use the best gear, so I decided that was good enough. Here goes.

Graphics
Both games have the ability to look pretty good. Dungeon Runners focuses a little more on the detail of things, such as flora, and anti-aliasing and the like, so you can bump things up to make it look pretty nice. Mythos is much smoother though, but there isn’t quite as much detail in character models and gear and the like. I guess I’ll give the edge to Dungeon Runners, but they are both good. Mythos is a bit more cartoony, while DR is a bit more realistic.

Camera Angles/Controls
I definitely have to give this to Mythos. You never actually have to change the angles in Mythos, it does it on its own, but its pretty much seamless and knows exactly what to do. When I started up DR, I noticed in about 10 seconds that this was different. I think the best example is that when you use the arrows to rotate your character (there is no mouse rotation available) your character actually rotates partially along with it unless you aren’t moving. So if you rotate the camera 180 degrees while running straight north, you will either be running NE or E (or W depending on which way you rotated it) C’mon, you don’t connect the camera rotation with the direction your character is moving. This frustrated me so much that I eventually just used the arrows to move around, which wasn’t the greatest either (side note: it took nearly a full second sometimes for my movements to kick in. This was terribly annoying while trying to run away from a fight or simply changing directions frequently, sticking out like a sore thumb.)

Maps
The map/minimap in Mythos is done so much better in Mythos than DR. For one thing, when you open the full map in DR, you can’t still move your character, while you can in Mythos. It also seemed like you could zoom out further in the Mythos minimap and see more of the area around you.

In the bigger scheme of things, Dungeon Runners wins. I’m referring to actual locations/tilesets/etc.. Mythos currently suffers from a severe lack of tilesets with only one type of outdoors area, and probably 6 or so indoors. Looking at some YouTube videos and screenshots, I can see that DR has many more environments. Mythos also only has three “towns” in the game currently. Only one can really be considered a city with your stash and a multitude of vendors, while the other two simply have one vendor and some quests. I’m convinced that Mythos will include more as they near release (not sure when that’s supposed to be.)

Drops
I’m going with Mythos, here. In DR it can be quite difficult to actually see the gear on the ground, although you can use the alt key to bring up a label. That said, in Mythos the label already shows up on the screen, though its small enough that it doesn’t interfere with play.

On a material level, DR brought comedy to the table here. For instance, very fast weapons are labeled Ludicrous, while very slow weapons are labeled Grandma. Also, on the comedic note, as you put points into attributes your title changes, so you might become a “studios noobie obsidian mage” or something like that. I didn’t really get the chance to see a lot of the gear in DR, but a lot of the models get recycled in Mythos, simply being more powerful as you progressed. DR definitely wins the “cool weapon/armor” category, btw.

Quests
Both seem to have a wide variety of quests (at least in early levels, Mythos not so much after level 10.) I must say the quests in Mythos were a little more interesting and fun to read. The good number of them were still “kill ten foozles/rats” but they still weren’t dry enough that you simply looked at the objective.

Well those are the topics I noted so far. If there’s anything else you’d like me to compare, I can probably do it, at least briefly unless it involves high level DR content. To summarize, I was very frustrated when starting DR, but eventually I got over that and saw that it was a pretty fun game, albeit one that almost requires that you pay the $5/mo to play. Mythos was much smoother, both in terms of graphics and gameplay, but doesn’t have as much variety in content as DR, but again, I think this is largely due to the fact that it’s still in beta. My personal, subjective choice is Mythos for reasons I’ve said and a lot of the finer details I haven’t mentioned, but I do have respect for Dungeon Runners and you should at least give it a shot and see if it’s worth the $5/mo. If you are in need of hack ‘n’ slash, these are two very good options.

~Kanthalos

More On Mythos

Time Spent Playing EQ2 This Weekend — 0 Hours
Time Spent Playing Mythos This Weekend —¬† 10¬† Hours

There you have it.¬† I have just been having a great time with Mythos.¬† It’s a pretty refreshing break from the standard MMO’s that I’ve been playing lately.¬† It’s the typical hack ‘n’ slash like Diablo 2, but really addictive.¬† The two main problems that I have with the game so far are the lack of tilesets in maps, and the disconnect issues (expected in a beta, though.)¬† Also, depending on the way you use your skills, you can gimp yourself pretty well like I did.¬† Even so, I’m still having a blast and the gear that I’m getting makes up for the poor choices I’ve made in skills (side note:¬† you get tons of storage space.)¬† They balance solo and group play pretty well.¬† If you want more xp and decent loot, you use individual maps, but if you want less xp and much better loot, you go with epic maps (usually 3-5 players.)¬† Maybe I’ll give Dungeon Runners a try and compare the two for you guys.¬†¬† More to come.

~Kanthalos

Contest Time

By some freak accident, I ended up receiving two beta keys for Mythos. I figure I should share the wealth, and give the second out to one of my awesome readers. Here’s the deal. All you have to do is tell me what the best song ever created is. I can assure you of this; I will be completely objective in my judging of the songs. Just leave a comment with your choice and I’ll choose the winner on Wednesday. I will probably have the means of downloading it if I deem it necessary (school uses a program with lots of songs, not illegal.) So there you have it — Good luck.

~Kanthalos

If this isn’t funny, I don’t know what is…

Time to get a little side-tracked. 

My fiancee pointed this out to me over at McSweeney’s and I just had to share it with everyone.¬† For those of you who’ve never been to McSweeney’s its basically a compilation of lists that people make for random things.¬† As creative writing majors, we couldn’t help but bust a gut for this one.¬† Here it is.

¬†Comments I’ve Recieved on my Short Story from My Creative-Writing Classmates.

BY ROBERT HINDERLITER

– – – –

  • A hackneyed, masturbatory miscarriage of a story.
  • You have managed to coldly and persistently rape the English language for 17 pages. Congratulations.
  • The fact that this story exists is the ultimate argument against Creationism.
  • Your embarrassingly ineffectual and flaccid prose made me feel uncomfortable.
  • This smugly written tripe is an affront to the craft of writing and fails to meet even the most generous definition of adequacy.
  • Truly abysmal. Maybe singularly so.
  • You had some nice details.

For any of you who’ve been in a writing workshop, you’ll see the beauty that is this list ūüôā¬†

~Kanthalos

The SOE Patcher Is Complete Garbage…

I don’t even feel like explaining all the details for why the above statement is true but here is a brief rundown.

  1. On my connection at my family’s house, the patcher would literally stop after every third file (of decent size)¬† It would get stuck and I would have to stop it and restart it (thankfully not from the beginning,) which means that on really big patches (as well as when I digitally downloaded EoF) I had to spend the entire time in front of my computer, or it wouldn’t do anything.
  2. When we used two accounts on the same computer, it would patch everything twice.¬† My brother actually took a screenshot (that’s not on this computer) of one patcher running that was playable, while the other had a 45 minute patch to get through.
  3. Several times I’ve been able to get into the game after patching previously in the day, before logging off and having to patch yet again later that day! Yes there was a hotfix last night, and yes I spent 45 minutes patching it, so why the heck do do I have two more f’ing hours of patching NOW?

Don’t get me wrong, I still love EQ2 and I don’t want to burn SOE to the ground, but seriously, get some competent coders or whatever it is you need to figure out how to get a decent freakin’ patcher running.

~Kanthalos

Brief Mythos Review

**I see that this is still getting quite a bit of traffic, so I’m going point you to the post I just wrote here with much more up-to-date and accurate information about the game.**

Well, I spent about four more hours in Mythos today and I must say, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’ll take a little time to go over some of the things I’ve taken note of.

  • The graphics are pretty smooth, and end up looking quite similar to WoW.
  • Customization is pretty poor. You can’t change anything about your character. All you do is choose which class you want (Just a Pyromancer and Bloodletter) and your appearance shifts slightly, but that’s all you get. This will likely change as it gets closer to release.
  • I’ve started a pyromancer, which so far has been pretty fun. When you level, you get 5 attribute points to distribute in standard attributes (strength, wisdom, etc.) and one skill point to put into a variety of skills in three sub-categories. Like I said, it’s fun to play, though there’s nothing really unique about it.
  • Combat is extremely fast-paced as expected in this style of game (Diablo 2, Titan Quest, etc.)
  • Lots of quests, which are the main source of leveling. They are actually somewhat interesting.
  • You start with three locations you can travel between, and you either find maps, buy maps, or take quests to open up new locations to go to. Actually a rather interesting system IMO.
  • Socketable items are in the game, and crafting will be soon.
  • Load times can be annoying, and you can lock up loading zones, but all in all it’s not that bad for a beta.

Most of the time while playing, I’d almost forget it was in beta. I must say, for a free to play MMO, this is extremely well done. I’ll definitely be playing this after release.

~Kanthalos

EQ2 Screens On Extreme Quality

kerra-wizard.jpg

Well I told you I’d post some screenshots, so here you go. Obviously they never look quite as good as in game, but they still look pretty freakin sweet. I sized them down a little so they would fit better, so there is a little distortion, but look at the definition in the kerra’s face, and you’ll know what I’m talking about ūüôā

~Kanthalos

P.S. I just edited this down to the one picture because it did the best job of showing off the graphics.

See You At End-Game

Last year when I got back to school one of my¬†friends Joey¬†told me that he’d starting playing WoW over the summer.¬† I hadn’t played in a few months by that time, and I was ready to dive back in, so I made a new character (because he¬†was on a different server, of course.)¬† We each had different play times, and in general I played more than he did (as well as another friend, Jake,¬†who’d also started playing.)¬† In fact, all three of us ended up playing different amounts and usually at different times, so by the time I quite playing my character, I was 43 (having played many more hours than them also helped because I knew what some quicker ways to level,) Joey was about 28, and Jake was about 18.¬† I had a 58 warlock sitting on another server, which I seemed to enjoy playing more than my hunter anyways, so I simply gave up on my hunter,¬†Joey¬†went to his warrior on another server, and¬†Jake simply quit because he felt like it was taking too much of his time.¬† Eventually Joey transferred his warrior to my server because he couldn’t find a guild that he liked (though he quit shortly after BC anyways.)

I’m sure many of you have gone through frustrations similar to my situation.¬† Either you realize that a friend of yours plays the MMO that you play and are on a different server, or you choose to start one and you each have different play times or one of you simply out-levels the other.¬† Finding friends online to play with just seems to be all around easier.¬† In general, you can find players or guilds who have the same play schedule as you, and if they don’t, you find someone or¬†some other¬†guild¬†that does, and you always have¬†people to play with (if you want.)

As you know there are a few ways to help with this problem.¬† One is of course server transfers.¬† While this is an option, it more often doesn’t work out than it does.¬† There are restrictions on which server you can transfer from or to due to PvP/PvE issues, or servers might already be full.¬† That aside, it’s expensive.¬† In WoW, it costs $25 to transfer a character, and that’s just for one.¬† If you have two characters you play equally and want to play with a friend on another server, you either have to split them up or throw down $50 on top of your monthly subscription.¬† This usually results in friends saying “well, that sucks,” and sticking to their respective servers.¬†

If you do end up being on the same server for whatever reason, this still leaves several issues.¬† If you have more play time than your friend or vice versa, odds are you will level faster (or slower) than them and in effect make playing with them worthless, and you’ll simply chat with them while doing your respective questing/crafting/instancing/grinding.¬† You can make an alt that you play while your friend is not online, but everyone knows this is harder than it sounds.¬† There will always be that quest that you just want to get out of the way or that new zone that you just got to last night that you want to explore.¬† EQ2 has tried to help with this through the mentoring program they’ve implemented,¬†¬†which means you can play with your friend, dropping the higher level down to meet the lower level, reducing the effectiveness of gear and spells.¬† While this is cool, the higher level player gets very limited xp (or so I’ve heard.)¬† Good friends might say that doesn’t matter as long as they can play together, but a lot of people will still have problems with this.¬†

Getting back to the topic, this means that a lot of RL friends will effectively say “see you at end-game” because that is the simplest way to eventually start playing together.¬† How ironic is that?¬† Even once you both reach end game, there are still problems.¬† If you end up raiding and your friend can’t invest that much time, again, you’re still split by barriers.¬† You can PvP, but not everyone enjoyes it.¬† So what are some solutions?¬† Well, I think TR has found one way to remedy this problem with their clone system.¬† You can create a number of clones of yourself at different levels and even switch classes.¬† So if you create a clone every 10 levels or so, you will constantly have characters to play at whatever level your friend may be.¬† While this still¬†suffers from¬†the problem of wanting to continue progressing your main character and server transferring, it’s a step in the right direction.¬† Perhaps one free transfer per character might be a way to go?¬† I’m not sure, but it’s a possibility.

As far as I know, you have the ability to talk to players on different servers in EQ2.¬† Shouldn’t this be good enough then?¬† After all, as long as you can still talk to¬†friends while you play, that’s all we can really ask for, right?¬† Some might take this mentality, but I don’t buy it.¬† After all, MMO’s are all about social interaction, not just talking to people (if you want that, go to a chat room,) so why should you be penalized because your real-life friends don’t always have the same play schedule as you or you don’t want to take a monetary or experience hit to play with them?¬† I’m not sure, but this idea of being penalized for playing with RL friends needs to change.

~Kanthalos

Murloc Suit For Sale

improved-murloc-suit.jpg

One of many up for sale. Not surprised, but amused all the same ūüôā

~Kanthalos

Anarchy Online Hosts In-Game Concert

I just found out about this.  

Durham, USA – August 10, 2007 – Funcom is proud to reveal the world’s first MMO concert delivered via in-game video feed delivery. The popular US band “All American Rejects” will have a unique virtual concert for the many citizens of Rubi-Ka this Sunday, perfectly merging technology and music from the 21 st century with a game set 25,000 years into the future.

While some games have had virtual avatars of bands performing in their virtual worlds, this will be the first known concert via dynamic mega size screens, delivered through technology developed by Microsoft Corp.’s Massive. Gamers will see the band’s performance, hear them and be able to mingle in the giant concert arena specifically designed for this historical event.

The concert is available free of charge to all players of Anarchy Online, and all they need to do to see it is to opt to toggle on viewing of the commercial advertising billboards in the game during the event. New players to the game can simply go to http://www.anarchy-online.com to download the free client, but since the event is secured via a sponsorship deal with a major U.S Telecom provider it can only be seen by North American gamers. With time Funcom hope that it is possible to expand the offering to global users, as well as providing other encore events.

Craig Morrison, the Producer / Director on Anarchy Online stated, “Virtual world entertainment is definitively expanding, and this historical opportunity to bring a concert to our players is something we have wanted to do for years. We know how much our players love music, whether it’s the award winning soundtracks from the game, listening to the in-game radio station GridStream or bringing their own, and now they will get to experience yet another level of interaction thanks to Microsoft Corp.’s Missive’s unique technology.”

I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen more of this type of convergence between MMO’s and other media (for better or worse.)¬†¬†While I think its a cool idea and it sort of fits with AO better than most other games, I don’t see how AO could really benefit from this, especially since the game is free.¬† I suppose a few people might end up giving the game a shot after downloading it to check this out, but I think this game is pretty much already dead.¬† It had a decent number of subs during its prime, but I think there are too many other games out there right now for this to really compete (regardless of the fact that it’s a¬†rare sci-fi¬† MMO in an ocean of fantasy games.)¬† While this idea is novel, I think for the most part it’s just a gimmick to get some more numbers for a dying game.¬†

~Kanthalos