Weekly “What I’m playing” Update 4/20-4/25

I’m going to make this a regular feature of the blog to post sometime every Sunday about what I’ve played the past week and what I’ve done in the games while playing.  I don’t do this enough and I think it will be both useful to me when I look back at my entries and you as a reader to know where I’m coming from and what I’m up to — that is why you’re reading my blog, isn’t it?

Warhammer Online

I resubscribed to WAR this week.  I decided that it was time to return to the game after ~2 months off.  My main reason for returning was to have a character ready for Land of the Dead: The last chance WAR has to win me over long-term.  I spent most of my WAR time this week completing the Beyond the Sands Live Event.  The lore and objectives were interesting, but what really grabbed on to me was the fact that it’s leading up to something bigger than anything else WAR has seen yet.

I went with a Choppa this time around.  Having played a healer, tank, and ranged dps and not ‘feeling it’ with any of them, the obvious choice for me was melee dps.  My background in DAOC was very similar:  I played a Shaman, a Healer, an Enchanter, a Hero, an Eldritch, and finally settled on a Savage who I took the furthest in RR.  The Choppa reminds me of how the Savage played in many ways.  I mow through everything my level in PvE without breaking much of a sweat; in fact I mow through 3-5 of anything my level at a time.   In RvR I’ve been successful 1v1 against every class except the tank classes.  This seems right to me since I think I recall tanks being the original counter to melee dps.

My Choppa hit level 16 yesterday afternoon and I don’t feel like I’ve ever once struggled to level.  The levels have just come naturally while I go about doing what I want to do.  This = perfect.  I know it won’t las though.  The game is great from 1-25 then it drags in T3 and eventually dies off in T4.  However *lightbulb*, LotD will hopefully pick me up at 25 and carry me to the end.  I’m quite proud that in the 4 or so days that I’ve played (more than an hour) I’ve never once done quests beyond level 5, save for the quests that I did for Beyond the Sands.  I’ll be spending most of my time over the next few days in WAR just open-rvring.  Scenarios don’t pop fast enough -at all- (which I won’t complain about, but I’ll mention) because people are always out open-rvring.

Darkfall Online

The love hate relationship I’ve developed with Darkfall is best described, well, as love and hate. I love the basic ideas behind the game and I hate the game as it turned out (thus failing to align itself with the ideas it had). This past week was up and down for the Haven community. We’ve been reorganizing ourselves in how we want to play the game. We know that we don’t like owning our own city and just sitting around protecting it all day. We know that we don’t like sitting around PvE’ing all day because the PvE in Darkfall blows.  We’ve decided to take an approach closer to the one we took when the game first came out (when we all actually really, really enjoyed playing) that makes us more of roamers.  We’ll still have property, but where and what I can’t say at this tiem for security reasons.  I will say this:  We really do plan on moving in an entirely new direction.

My character in Darkfall is coming along… no, wait, he’s not.  Why?  Because I can’t really skill him up by PLAYING the game.  I can’t emphasize enough how this is such a fatal flaw of Darkfall’s skill system.  You really can’t skill up, as much as you want to lie to yourself about how it’s possible in theory, by just playing.  You have to macro to level your skills up to the point where you can compete with the vast majority of others who do not just “play” the game.

So overall the past week was spent dealing with drama (not within our clan, but within our “alliance”) and the rest was spent roaming around randomly pvping with what few people we could find.  When we do find someone they’re always naked farming.

I’ll keep on truckin’ for a bit longer in the game.  Like I’ve always said, I plan to play as long as my friends keep playing because this game is NOTHING (read: complete garbage) without a community.  Stay the heck away from this game if you don’t have friends already playing and even then know what you’re getting yourself into.  If you’re lookign for people to play with then you can check out our community.  We have ~20 active and hopefully will remain that active so long as our new direction we’re taking in-game pans out as well as we plan.

Quick Mentions

GTA: Chinatown Wars – Good game.  I’m only on the 7th or so mission but I like it.  I didn’t think I would enjoy the top down view of old but it’s not bad and the gameplay rocks.

Free Realms – You can read my impressions in the entry below this one, but I clocked a few hours exploring in Free Realms this past week.

EVE Trial – Yes, I tried EVE again.  My bud Bart gave it a shot and only because of him was I brave enough to play the only MMO that really has ever forced me to stop and think … and think.. and think.  Ultimately, I won’t subscribe.  I never made it as far as I did this time around though.  Another 15 or so trials more attempts and I might actually subscribe!  Tongue out of cheek for a sec, I think they changed something that made it easier to get into.  I was able to run missions, outfit my ship, train skills, and do a tad bit of exploration without wanting to gouge my eyes out.

  • I hope your prediction (LotD removing the 25+ grind) follows through.

    As for me, I’m playing my Tauren Shaman (US-Gorefiend) in WoW ATM. The grind is still there and the PvP is still imbalanced, but Ele got buffed and Ulduar/Argent Tournament/RL Friends are enough to keep me subbed. Although, I suppose the main reason is that my PC is too slow to even run WAR….

    P.S: Can you make more videos?

  • “I love the basic ideas behind the game and I hate the game as it turned out (thus failing to align itself with the ideas it had)…. We’ve decided to take an approach closer to the one we took when the game first came out (when we all actually really, really enjoyed playing) that makes us more of roamers…. I will say this: We really do plan on moving in an entirely new direction.”

    Glad to see you’re going back to basics, to what makes the game enjoyable for most. The zerg-alliances have made it pretty boring, which should come as no surprise to anyone. If you’re in the middle of alliance land, you can’t complain about having to run for ages just to find someone to fight.

    And, no, I don’t want any insta-travel, which would just encourage alliances to grow even more and takes away from the feeling of the world being such a huge place. I have to say, that’s one thing I really disliked about WAR; I should *not* be able to travel from The Shadowlands to Altdorf to Talebacland all in 5 minutes. It really made the world feel *very* small.

    “My character in Darkfall is coming along… no, wait, he’s not. Why? Because I can’t really skill him up by PLAYING the game…. You really can’t skill up, as much as you want to lie to yourself about how it’s possible in theory, by just playing. You have to macro to level your skills up to the point where you can compete with the vast majority of others who do not just “play” the game.”

    I’d have to disagree here. I’m just ‘playing’ the game. Do I progress as fast as the macroers and exploiters? Certainly not. But I don’t feel the need to, either. Maybe you should go back to basics here, too? Rather than accusing the game of ‘requiring’ you to macro (I really hope you’re not talking unattended macroing, which is against EULA), just play it. (You don’t *need* that lvl 75 skill to compete, no matter how much you want it because you’re other friends have it.) You might find you enjoy you love the game a bit more.

  • I think darkfall is showing why the UO style of skilling was abandoned long a go. Unless you are willing to incorperate macroing as part of the game i do not see it as a viable system. You can bandaid it up to ying, but in the end it will almost always support macroers.

    The eve style skill gain over time approach would of been better. But it is too late for any change in that now gonna have to go with what we can get.

    if darkfall speeds up the gain and the grind. Fixes the monkey run combat and balances magic it will be a fantastic game. Till then it will just be blah.

    As for your complaint about cities and people hunkering down i have to disagree. The spawn is static and provides hot spots for pvp. Most of the people who mine have to do it outside of city walls. Rare ore drops and stuff though would be good to see. Something cities and people need. There are already some chests that are hot spots.

  • Darkfall’s level-by-usage system can work if it implements anti-macro limitations. Example: You can only level X by Y levels per day. That way, macroers don’t get an advantage since even a casual gamer would be able to level that amount per day.

    Of course, I doubt that’ll happen… but the idea’s there.

  • Wufiavelli, you did not have to macro in UO to achieve a 7x GM, I know because I didn’t. If you wanted one overnight, then yes you could macro.

    I honestly think the best skill approach was incorporated in AC. Yes people macro’d in AC as well but hell people macro in EVERY MMO I’ve played, including WAR. It just comes down to, does your company ban you for macroing and although AV says they do, they don’t and it’s obvious.

  • Yes but it still inherently favors macroers more then your general system. And a shit ton more then an eve online system.

    Even though that system in darkfall is definitely not going to change. So yes if they had it like UO time wise it would be a lot better.

    The other F Up on aventurines part though is the fact they have not put any visible softcap in the game. So there really is no 7x gm to stop at macroers can keep going and going and going and going.

  • WAR reminds me much of Age of Conan, the games starts really good and just gets worse and more boring for every level..

    It’s like all games get rushed, it’s far from enough content to make the process of reaching maximum level pleasant.

    Age of Conan was lots of fun the first 25-30 levels, then it was downhill all the way, more and more bugs and less content the further you progressed, it kinda feels the same with WAR 🙁

    What makes WAR even more boring in my book than Age of Conan is the horrid PvE, it just gets so poor after a while that I feel shamed of playing it! And when there is no players around besides the first ten levels and the rest being max level or almost max level it just get plain boring! When the public quests etc.. is designed for several players to do together it just feels stupid when there is no one else around in your region?

    Age of Conan at least made the game fairly solo-able so you could progress on your own without feeling you are playing the game completely wrong.

    World of Warcraft has been out for a while, but is clearly the superior to both WAR and Age of Conan when it comes to content, there is lots of rep grinding etc.. in World of Warcraft, but you can at least get your self to level 80 without the need for grinding, you actually got more regions to go through than you will need for getting max level, with WAR and Age of Conan it’s the opposite, you actually need to grind your self quite a few level to progress!

    I’m looking forward to Blizzards new MMO-release and The Old Republic hoping that one of those games will be the next big thing for me, because both Age of Conan and WAR failed in my book, I might give them both a second go as they receive new content etc, but I’m afraid those two games are already dead for me.

  • Funny that you should bring up EVE. I just stated playing EVE again (for the 3rd or 4th time).

    A big problem I have with EVE is: TIME. If I want to go out to PvP (which I do), I’m bound to my CORP. I’m not at a point where I can range out into low sec on my own and expect to come back alive, so unfortunately, my time in low sec is controlled by my CORPs time in low sec.

    Compared with the other games I play most right now (TF2, L4D, & WAR-{just started it back up}), in which I can get high paced action in just a few minutes time, EVE take a lot of prep and time. To PvP in EVE my CORP needs to warp to each other, form a fleet, assign roles & fit ships accordingly. Once the prep is done we all head out as one unit and we’re in low sec until we all come back, AS ONE UNIT.

    I was roaming low sec with my CORP a few nights back and after 2 hours or so of PvP action I was ready to go… I was tired and I had class in the morning. Unfortunately I was stuck with them. We were half a dozen jumps deep into low sec territory and if I had attempted to travel back myself I could have kissed my ship and implants goodbye. It was a good 45 minutes of jumping towards our goal and backtracking to avoid larger CORPs on the hunt before we finally made it back to our CORP hangar.

    I love the depth of EVE, how much it truly makes you think, and how real it feels, but I hate the time it demands. If I had more time it would be great, but I’m not ready to give up any more time than I already do for games.

    Does anyone else have a similar or opposing perspective on EVE, or am I alone in this sentiment ?

  • hehe, i normally would just leave in eve when i had too. never really had implants and normally flew stuff i did not mind loosing. I died a lot, and other times was just stuck in places till i found a way out.

  • “To PvP in EVE my CORP needs to warp to each other, form a fleet, assign roles & fit ships accordingly. Once the prep is done we all head out as one unit and we’re in low sec until we all come back, AS ONE UNIT.”

    Sounds almost like raiding in WoW where it takes your guild two hours to get their act together to form a 25 man raid. 🙂

    BTW the long jumps in EVE can get tedious after a while which is why I liked how jumps were handled in a game called Allegiance (a game that I thought EVE would model but didn’t). Basically to get deep into enemy territory, you have two options. The first one is flying your attack group through multiple systems trying to avoid any sensors, so you don’t give the enemy the heads up. OR, if you have a high enough tech tree, you can sneak a scout into their sector and drop a teleport probe within the enemy territory and jump in before they find it and blow it up.

    I totally loved that aspect of the game, as it really mixed things up and made it possible to do surprising end arounds on your opponents. Also it means once you’ve mapped a sector of space and control it, you can easily jump directly to it.

    “hehe, i normally would just leave in eve when i had too. never really had implants and normally flew stuff i did not mind loosing.”

    Same here. I used really cheap but fast ships (less than 100K) but usually transported really high valued cargo (i.e. million ISK or more). Definitely risky but the payoffs were nice.

    I’m also waiting on EVE. One they introduce walking in stations to the point that it serves a useful purpose, I might give it a try again. I also heard they may add a HALO-like FPS combat aspect to the game in terms of taking over and control planets. Still unsure if this will be a component of the existing game or a completely separate side venture.

  • The City might also have been a problem due to events last week. Full disclosure always works.

    Like thus….My Darkfall character is an Alfar. It competes for mines and plants and has to stay watchful. I might have fired 30 magic missles without a target since the game came out. It is fun, and the gotta-look-over-your-shoulder beats any game experience I have ever had.

    I guess I am not enough of an RP’er to bring any enmity to this blog. I have consistently enjoyed reading it and its links.

    Keep up the good work. I will likely give serious attention to any suggestion you make in regards to new games to try.

  • Perhaps the city/hamlet would have meant more had it not been handed to you? Or if you had bothered to defend it the first time it was attacked?

    But again, DF is what you make of it, rather than what is handed to you. And the whole ‘macro’ thing is BS, and from actually playing you would know this. 1v1 vs rigormax is one sided, but DF is not a 1v1 game. Just like the continued worrying about PvE, you need to stop looking at the numbers on your char sheet and just go out and play it, or officially move on to a game that caters more towards stats rather than player skill.

  • Every time I think about going back to EVE I just dread the hours I will spend just spinning back up again. Are my various ships still good? What changes to the various components are there? What is the market like? Where did I leave my clones and do I have goods “lost” in 0.0 space now that I was dropped out of my last corp.

    I almost think I would rather get a trail just to see what has changed instead of learning from the top again.

    Re: Darkfall. I kind of suspected that the “use to gain” system would eventually become a macro game. This was the same problem with Ultima Online. I have yet to see any “use to gain” system that did not resort to some type of macroing or doing some other such pointless repetition. (Like in every Elder Scrolls game you are always running and jumping to get free skill points)

  • @Syncaine: Oh give me a break. You’re turning into a regular troll Syncaine. This drama for the sake of drama works better when you post it on your own blog to attract traffic. Don’t bring it here as it’s not needed.

  • “You really can’t skill up, as much as you want to lie to yourself about how it’s possible in theory, by just playing. You have to macro to level your skills up to the point where you can compete with the vast majority of others who do not just “play” the game.”

    Strange… I am doing exactly that, I am skill up while playing, I am not using macros.

    It is slower than macroing, but what is the problem? Everyone will get to skill 100 anyday, but my way is funnier.

    My guess is that the devs really need find a way to stop macroing. Maybe they can make skill ups only when hit a target…

  • Go and try to fight someone who has macro’d and exploited up their stats. They will be naked and you’ll hit them like they’re in plate+ and they’ll be hitting you like you’re naked when you’re wearing scale+. Then come and tell me that everyone will eventually get to 100. When? It will take you months. It’s like bringing a plastic knife to fight a guy holding a bazooka.

    Darkfall is beyond “if they can fix XYZ”. The time to fix it was a month ago. Now the question is whether or not they’ll wisen up and wipe the server (won’t happen), ban everyone who exploited and macro’d (won’t happen), or launch a new server where this can hopefully be avoided after they’ll patched their game to fix their broken skill system (won’t happen).

    Oh yeah, Darkfall is “what you make of it” wooo!

  • Keen, it’s been kind of funny watching you turn from Darkfall fanboy to hater in a matter of two weeks. And it’s exactly what some posters said would happen after your first couple glowing reports on the game as you’ve done this exact thing in the past…so i guess your reputation preceeds you 😉

    Anyway, i agree somewhat with Carlos and Syncaine. I’m just playing the game, not worrying about numbers, never macro, and my skills are increasing. I’ve yet to run into a single macroer (keep in mind my playtime is somewhat limited and i don’t get to put in 3 hours/day like some people) who was able to snap his fingers and melt me in my tracks. Ya, i know they are out there, but i believe they are definitely in the minority and most people play the way i do. Either that or i’m the luckiest sob on the server.

    I’ve said this in an earlier blog and still think it’s true, you just really aren’t the target audience for this game based on your latest blogs i’ve read. And again there is nothing wrong with that. You want a little more action and a little less work in your games. And i think this fact is starting to cloud your observations on the game as they turn from overly positive to overly negative. The people who really like Darkfall for the most part are the people who like to put some work into their game and experience a slower but more meaningful progression. Maybe a little less action too, but when that action happens it is more meaningfull and has a little bit of “weight” to it and actually impacts the server politics (the bigger battles anyway) as opposed to some meaningless battle in some instance of some zone on a server. I can’t wait until clans with harbors start building small navies and ship warfare starts breaking out across the server. Stuff like this i’m looking forward to, especially because it hasn’t happened yet and it takes so long and so much commitment for clans to build these ships etc.

    And this is coming from a person who still hasn’t even joined a clan which really is where this game shines. All my time so far has been solo, exploring, doing quests etc.

    I also have much more faith than you do in AVs ability to work on and improve this game. Every patch they’ve released so far has had major fixes in the game, stuff to curb the exploits, feature rebalances, some significant feature additions (city gates). Just yesterday they finally banned over 200 cheaters, so they are working on that and making great progress as well.

    I do hope when the NA server opens that it is a clean server with either no or limited transfers. But even if it isn’t i’ll still have fun. If I were you though, i’d just end my sub and move on. You’re at a point now where you’re just not going to like playing this game unless AV made some major design changes…and this isn’t going to happen.

  • @Jordan: I think it’s obvious that I was very wrong about Darkfall in general, and I can admit that. I allowed the ideas that Darkfall had to cloud the actual implementation beyond the initial experience of the game. I was going to write a blog entry dedicated to this sentiment, but I’m simply not interested in continuing the beat a dead horse of negativity.

    There is no question about it though, I was wrong about the game and I did flip from loving it (which I truly did) to thinking it’s a bad game (Which I truly do). But as you also know if you read my blog, perspectives on games do change with time and I welcome anyone to try and contradict that.

    If you haven’t run into a single person who has a godlike character then you really haven’t played enough to comment on their existence being an issue with the game or not. They are everywhere now and they have ascended above the ranks of a minority to an equal part in Darkfall’s population. It’s not that you’re lucky for not finding one, it’s that you simply aren’t putting yourself into the situations where these exploiters would want to fight you or you’re not playing enough. And honestly, by your own admittance of not being in a clan, your perspective is still blinded by your inexperience with the game as mine was a month ago.

    Work vs. Reward is the issue here, not Work vs. No Work. Having played the MMOs in 96-2001 I know what having to work for something is all about. I also know what being rewarded for that work is all about.

    I have zero faith in AV and Darkfall to turn around. Like I said, for the game to turn around it would have to undergo miraculous changes to several core parts. It’s taken AV 7(?) years to get this far and they launched a game that destroyed itself within two months. Fixing it would be like trying to restore wood after it has already burned.

  • Wow, you really are a hater!

    Well, i understand some of what you are saying, but I disagree with the way you are saying it. Obviously there are many people who play the game w/out cheating and are still enjoying it. You state that the game has destroyed itself in 2 months and basically has no chance of turning things around as if it were fact. While this may be true in the context of what you are looking for in a game, it certainly isn’t a statement of fact and doesn’t apply across the board to all subscribers or fans of this style of game. (I believe that’s how you meant it but wasn’t sure as it didn’t read that way)

    I may not be in a clan yet to see some of what you are talking about (mainly the affect cheating is having on the game), but I still play the same game. God-like characters just simply are not “everywhere” as you say as i’ve yet to see a single one, and they are no where near an equal part of the population. That’s just a patently false statement. While i don’t get to play 3 hours every night i’ve still logged enough hours to do a lot of exploring around the world and see a lot of people and places. Again i’ve yet to run into a single god-like character and i’ve been in probably 30-40 PvP fights so far.

    And again, some of the god-like characters were that way because of the hacks (speed/teleport/auto-aim etc.). AV banned over 200 of those cheaters yesterday, so i think they are making strides there. (although i believe your complaint is more on the macroers…but they are making some changes to curb that as well although you’ll never get entirely rid of it in any game like this).

    As for the work vs. reward – i’m sure you know what it’s all about but again people’s taste range all the way up and down the “work vs reward” scale. I’ve been playing MMOs as long as you (starting with the Realm) and i have a different viewpoint and what i consider to be the proper work vs. reward balance than you do. So far i like the balance that Darkfall has given me. And also, just because i’m not in a clan doesn’t mean i have no idea how things work there. I do a lot of reading on the politics of the game as well and how the mechanics work in that setting so i’m not oblivious to how the game works at that level. And from what i’ve read as well as what i’ve seen in my own playtime i like where the scale is at currently.

    Keep in mind i’m not saying the game is perfect either. There is no perfect game. If the devs took a good 6 months to ramp up the PvE part of the game i wouldn’t complain. (Then we might be getting close to something i would consider “perfect” 😉 I truly think the sky is the limit with this game if the Devs make the right moves going forward. You keep on saying that it took them 7 years to get this far and they launched a bad game so there is no hope. I see it differently, look at the changes they’ve made since launch and project that going forward. I’ve been very impressed with the quantity and direction of the changes so based on what i’ve seen since launch i’m even more excited for the future of this game.

    Anywho…different strokes and all that. If anything you should be rooting for the success of this game as it can only encourage others to try to perfect the formula as opposed to encouraging another 10 WoW clones over the next couple years!!

  • Nothing I say on my blog should be taken as the end all be all facts that apply to everyone. Everything on this blog(that I write) is from my perspective aimed and someone playing from my perspective. If I say Darkfall is a bad game, that’s obviously an opinion. It’s the reader’s job to continue reading to find out why and then decide if they agree or not. So when I say the game has destroyed itself, I do mean it has destroyed the part of itself that -I play- and the part that has interested me. I won’t go in to all of that because I think I’ve made it apparent.

    No one roots for the success of games (ones made by small teams) like this more than me. I think if I’ve stuck to anything it’s that Darkfall had potential and the fact that it even launched with a playerbase at all is a good sign.

  • Game actually could fix itself pretty easily i think. Implement an actual softcap, or maybe even a hardcap. And then speed up skill gain insanely.

    Most of the other game mechanics can be fixed pretty easily also i think without a major overhaul.

  • Speeding up skill gain insanely with a softcap is absolutely the best bandaid fix. I think it’s the direction Darkfall needed to take from the beginning. Darkfall needed to go the action route with skill trees and SKILLS rather than accumulation of points all pertaining to just one ability. It should be about constant action and dynamic gameplay in a hardcore, real-time, environment. Ships everywhere in the seas, warhulks razing the countryside, keeps falling, armies amassing, and all of that good stuff. Right now Darkfall is like watching paint dry.

  • I didn’t resub after the first month, but mostly because I want to see some more stuff fixed and really lost interest building a guy I would leave once a NA server is created. (They better start fresh)….

    I think the devs are doing a pretty good job catching up and making improvements, but I’ll play WAR a bit longer and see where the game goes.

    With that said I really miss the archery in DF…Soooo gooood!

  • Random question, but are you going to get both champions online and jumpgate when they come out? they are both coming out in about a month and a half.