What have I been up to? I formed a DDO static group.
You wanna know more? Click on the DDO link in my menu.
What have I been up to? I formed a DDO static group.
You wanna know more? Click on the DDO link in my menu.
A friend and I were discussing the other night how one of the most interesting sociological experiments of playing mmos is dealing with playing with complete strangers, and how sets of PUGs can differ depending on what game you play, or what group you join. For weeks I tried to put together a “static group” in DDO, meaning a group that would adventure together at set times of the week. This exercise proved futile, the one time I did manage to get a few people to commit to a set time to play, i.e. a few times during the week, our schedules inevitably made it hard for one or all of us to maintain the commitment to play. More often than not, I used the “social” function of the game to LFG which were doing similar level quests. I am sure this is how most people approach playing DDO.
So I recently reverted to running with PUGs in both DDO and Wow. PUGs tend to be impatient, especially with newb players, but as anyone who has played wow can attest, inexperience, nOObishness, insufficient gear, or even virtual incompatibility will get you kicked from most groups, especially in raids, whereas PUGs can behave differently in other games. Point in case, I was running the massive Ragefire Chasm in wow, admittedly a low level dungeon to be sure, but since I had not done so for quite some time, I was not really familiar with the map. Anyway, while I was running, I came to a fork or a split where you are supposed to jump and forgot to do so and fell. This delayed my rendezvous with the group. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get with your PUG group and getting lost, or getting separated from the party for whatever reason.
The DDO PUGs tend to be more forgiving. I had a similar experience running a dungeon in DDO, I got killed by deadly elite traps (instances can be played in various degrees of difficulty in DDO and I find that most people will try to do “elites” in a group, they tend to be more challenging and fun) and one of my party members had to retrieve my soulstone to try and revive me. I also fell off a cliff or some precipice, (I seem to fall a lot in maps I am not familiar with the terrain) and one of my party members was kind enough to come back for me and show me the way back to the treasure chest, long after the encounter had ended and everyone in the party had teleported out. I don’t really see that happening a lot with wow PUGs, which is one of the reasons I like playing DDO. It is highly unlikely that I will stop playing wow altogether solely based on my experiences with the wow PUGs, just recently my friend said he’d roll a toon and help me run dungeons, so I am waiting a few days for him to catch up to me.
I will be sure to report back on our progress and on my experiences in both games.
So last night, in anticipation of the new DDO expansion dropping, I logged on to DDO for the first time in about a month and I had so much fun, it provided a necessary respite from wow and DAoC, and whatever else I have been sporadically sampling of late. I probably won’t be playing it until at least early next month, when I get some time to really explore it, but I wanted to see how much of an impact the news has been having on the mmo blogosphere. Apparently, with some many gaming options out there, even the news of an expansion pack for a great f2p game like DDO has competition.
Although Ten Ton Hammer has a very detailed look at the new expansion, will smaller more fan driven blogs have similar content? Massively.com reported earlier today that the game is available for download from Steam, (fantastic!) but the bulk of their report came from a Turbine press release which did include an interview with the developers.
Other bloggers barely noticed it, it seems.
Tobold, for one, has been writing a lot about D&D table top gaming, as he has been interested in D&D 4E of late, but it doesn’t appear as he is playing DDO much these days, or at all. Tobold writes about puzzles and riddles in mmorpg games and previous to this he was blogging some more about pen and paper D&D. Other blogs focused on diverse topics such as The Secret world beta weekend, discussion of the changing nature of the mmo industry and saturation in the marketplace, and one how movies based on video games usually suck, while the Ancient Gaming Noob is writing about Little Big Planet.
As for me, I think I will be running with some DDO PUGs in Stormreach to get into the mood of DDO once more. It has always been a great game for grouping and running instances, and while it may or may not be as much fun as wow, I think one mistake people have made in the past is comparing it to other mmorpgs. Turbine really has a unique property, while the license may not be unique with Cryptic bringing Neverwinter into the MMO milieu, the game’s mechanics and fully instanced dungeons are a fun and different experience, which is why I keep coming back, at least periodically. Yes, I am excited about playing in the Forgotten Realms setting, and yes I will be giving my warforged toon another go at it in the weeks to come.
I think it’s official, I think DAoC is now my favorite mmorpg of all time. I base this realization on the fact that as fun as pvp was, leveling my old toon to 50, doing some pve in the Gaheris server with my new Thane Mr. graybeard is also very enjoyable. In fact, pwning mobs in wow can be tedious and boring, mostly because Blizzard has nerfed the leveling game in order to get people to level up faster on a linear track to the endgame and raiding, with the occasional bout of pvp.
In contrast, pve grinding in DAoC, even at the early levels isn’t as tedious or as bad. Sometimes, if I get bored of smashing mobs with my axe or hammer, I challenge myself and take on a higher level, or walk into a camp where there are a bit high level enemies. Just today I went toe to toe with a yellow colored mob, there’s a certain thrill to winning the mini battle, but my hit points went so low, I thought I’d be visiting the healer for sure. A mmorpg where mobs will actually aggro? Something you see less and less of, especially in wow in the early levels.
I do wish I was already max leveled, so I can group or try to move out to the Frontiers, but since I am sticking with DAoC for the months to come, I guess I might get my chance soon enough. Sorry about my constant comparisons to wow, but other than briefly toying with Aion last week and the days of DDO grouping and the occasional LOTRO indulgence, wow is the mmo I played most prior to my current love affair with DAoC.
There are some things about wow I do like: I like the b.g.s but because the leveling game is so dry, I often am not high level enough in wow to make any significant impact in the b.g.s. I also like the dungeon finder, I think this is a fairly new invention by mmo standards, so DAoC being over 10 years old, I don’t think there is any instance finder to speak of, not that one is truly needed as you can port to most cities and zones and find an instance pretty easily.
When I think about the fact that I have barely scratched the surface with my thane, it looks as though I will be enjoying DAoC, for as long as I can afford to pay for it, being a p2p game after all.
The title of this post refers to the fact a big deal has been made in the blogosphere about wow’s subscription numbers being down, especially with the documented early success of newer mmorpgs like SWTOR.
I have not really had much time to venture into Azeroth, save the occasional weeknight and weekend dungeon runs with the PUGs. GRE and grad school preparations have really robbed me from my free time away from work, but I have managed to get Gannisper the fire mage to level 24, mostly through queuing into dungeons and doing the occasional quest.
My original plan was to join a guild in the Sisters of Elune server, primarily a role playing server and not my usual PvP, because it sounded like a fun endeavor, but alas, that has not come to pass.
Those who write that wow is dead, or dying have not visited Ogrimmar or any capital city lately, where I see most of the players. Yet, since I don’t have as much time to quest, running through dungeons has been most of my interaction with other folks in Azeroth, and I get a bit bored of it often, so I do it very sporadically.
Once in a while it is fun, because coordinating the groups takes communication, otherwise players risk getting kicked for capricious reasons.
Earlier today, I also logged back into EQ2. EQ2 was a very frustrating experience, given the fact it is hard to group in that game without a level capped toon, but I found some levity out of traveling to various parts of Norrath via the “world bell” network and staying within zones that are appropriate for my level. I made the mistake of venturing out to unknown territory and kept getting killed by mobs for my troubles.
I have DDO on reserve as my third mmo of choice, but that game is so entrenched in its own idiosyncrasies and unique elements, it is less of a grind than EQ2, but it means I have to be in the D&D mind frame and mood to play it. What’s next?
I plan to be playing Stark Trek Online come early March, by that time I should have sent off all my paperwork and made all my grad school preparation, so the summer may be one full of mmo goodness for me. What are the rest of you all up to???
The other night I found out my ancient laptop can run LOTRO. I was excited over the possibilities of getting back into Turbine’s other game and doing some skirmishes with my tank.
I logged on to the LOTRO Imladris server and there he was, smiling back at me, my level 16 dwarf Guardian, still decked out in the gear I put him in some 7 months ago.
LOTRO suffers the same ailment as DDO though, a considerable lack of PvP. There is some PVP, there’s the whole monster system, but you have to pay to get into that, and frankly, there are too many free mmorpgs I have yet to check out. That is probably the main reason I got bored and stopped playing LOTRO, though I was surprised to find that it had been more than six months since I played! Now I gotta find a new guild
Speaking of free mmorpgs, I have not been playing DDO as much, not because I don’t like the game but because work and my recent preparations to get into grad school have sapped most of my free time, except for nights.
I have been kicking around the idea of getting back into wow, because my co-worker plays it, and frankly it would be fun to run dungeons with him.
Here are some advantages that DDO has over wow in case anyone is on the fence about them:
This Saturday I am going to a meeting of the Pasadena D&D meet club. Should be a blast to dust off the old books and play some 4E D&D
The other night I went back to playing EQ2 and my character dinged level 12. It dawned on me that I probably won’t be playing this game much, at least for awhile. While I think it is a good game, I am not sure about the community, and it is still really hard to find groups at a lower level. I was questing and trying to level and I got asked to join a party. I gladly accepted the invite because of late it seems that I have been mostly playing solo. I was asked to help with a quest, so I did.
Then, when I asked if in turn the person help me with my quest I got the response I expected: Just go ahead and finish your quest and I will meet you after.
A bit later I was asked to help with another quest, but I learned my lesson I just stood there as I watched the player get punked.
He was screaming, “Why aren’t you helping me? You are allowed to help.”
I did, eventually with some last shots but not before I was called a jerk for my troubles. Who needs it?
If I want to play a solo game, I may as well play DDO with some hirelings, would be just as fun, probably more, given there is a strong possibility I could join a PUG. Dark Age of Camelot is a better game than EQ2, but it is strictly a pvp affair, and I like my games to have some more variety and reason to log on other than strict pvp pwning action (not that that option isn’t fun, which it very much is)
I also downloaded Nexon’s game “Dragon’s Nest” because I read it was a very dynamic game, I actually played through the tutorial and I am not sure that I can stick with it very long, the cutesy graphics are something to get used to.
What mmorpgs other than SWTOR are you guys playing??
Well, the news came in on Monday that Wizards of the Coast, the makers of the legendary table top game Dungeons and Dragons are going to be making a new edition, this comes in the wake of controversy surrounding the 4E rule set introduced in 2008.
Has it really been that long? It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was looking up 4E and the supplementary materials which Wizards of the Coast made available, including a revamped Player’s Guide, Dungeon Masters Guide and Monster manual. Many supplements soon followed.
For many gamers, myself included, D&D holds a special place in their hearts, it being the precursor to most modern day video games and RPGs. Without Gygax’s baby, we would not have the innovations which we got and we certainly would not have as much creativity in the development of every other game which followed. Despite its checkered history and society’s branding of D&D players as social pariahs, nerds, or whatever else, the influence of this game in gaming and in pop culture cannot be overstated.
Therefore, it was with great skepticism, some trepidation and even heightened interest in which I received the news about the proposed changes. The most significant development as you may know by now, will be the greater involvement of players in the development of the new rules. It will be interesting to see if Wizards of the Coast further muddle the waters by ruining the game, or if the intended purpose comes to pass and we get a more unified table top gaming experience: I guess only time will tell.
In the interim, I will continue to play DDO. The other day my warforged Barbarian dinged level 5, which is quite an accomplishment given I have not really put in a lot of time in the world of Stormreach, something I aim to change in 2012. I am reading the D&D novel “The Shard Axe” in hopes of inspiring my imagination and my writing, but you can read more about that on the DDO link on this site. Enjoy!
This time of year there are a number of winter time in game events which make your favorite game more fun to play, or adds an extra element to the mmo experience of your choice. Some games like SWTOR are too new, or would not benefit from having these in game events because it would detract somewhat from the overall storyline, but for more established retro mmorpgs, fans have come to expect them and delight in them every year.
The feast of winter veil is going on currently in Azeroth. I remember previous holiday season spending sometime doing seasonal quests and looking at the colorful graphics in game. In Everquest 2, frostfell meant that members of the community relations team got to hang out with players in selected servers handing out in game goodies. Though the event is now over, The Double Station Cash Stocking Stuffer promotion that SOE has going, lasts through tomorrow (Dec.27)
Over at DDO, Turbine continues to celebrate Festivult by giving players coins from treasure chests which can be turned into the jester for special gifts. LOTRO offered its annual Yule festival with local events in the Shire, Ered Luin and Bree-land, additionally players could travel to the festival-themed mini-area of Frostbluff to participate in a town wide celebration.
Personally, I really am looking forward to the Midwinter Festival event on the DAoC servers, although I probably may not be able to enjoy it for awhile as I have 26 more levels to climb with my savage. Still, the event runs until January 17, so if I extend my DAoC trial into a new month sub, I may be able to catch the tail end of it. Honestly, I am having the most fun playing a game in RvR battlegrounds. The game’s learning curve is a little high for newbies, but I learned that most players don’t really quest but wait until they hit the level needed to do battlegrounds. B.g.s in DAoC are a dicey proposition, people from the other factions in RvR tend to wait until one is pulling aggro on mobs to jump in and try to score a kill. It can get annoying with all the camping, but if you can find a group, you are able to fend off the attacks, provided you are on the high level end of the specific b.g.
No matter what game you choose to play this winter season, may you have fun as we turn the calendar page into a new year, because that is what it is all about is it not??? Peace!
I am starting to update this blog once again. My domain at the paid address is still mine, but I don’t really see the point of hosting the site when wordpress has this powerful free blog feature, so for now this is our virtual home.
What have I been up to? This winter season I have been bouncing between Everquest 2, League of Legends and DDO and just recenlty, I have gotten back into World of Warcraft. Those are the games I seem to enjoy playing the most, with Everquest falling a little behind the other 3, mostly because it is harder to group in that game than the others. Wow is also hobby that I practice sparingly these days, since it is pay to play and because there is so much downtime waiting to queue in dungeons.
There will be game updates on games regularly, probably Mondays and fridays, as those are the days I seem to have free now, and whenever something interesting breaks on the blogosphere. Of course, I will also examine old mmos and their influence on pop culture, like always. Welcome back!