Giving EQ2 another go

Everquest II had a major update today adding the Neriak area and a new “evil Fae” race.  “Emofae’s”, as Cuppycake calls them, and the new area are really tempting me to resubscribe.  Recently with LOTRO I have been feeling the drain of having no one to play with.  I’ve been playing LOTRO for five months now and while I am still having fun I think I need to take a little break and step away from the game for a bit.  I am by no means quitting the game and I do fully intend to continue my subscription and continue playing – but a short break must come first.

On top of this large content update to EQ2 there is also the expansion packs, adventure packs, and other various updates I have not been able to explore and have fun with.  I am really interested in seeing what SOE has done with the game and how it has changed, from what I’ve heard, for the better.  The game was extremely group based back when I played and that’s just not my cup of tea anymore.  I need an experience where I can log in and play for an hour or two and not feel completely unsatisfied.

So to be 100% certain that I want to resub I’m downloading the “Play the Fae Trial” and if everything works EQ2 will get another go.

5

Random thought of the day – We’re in their world now.

So I was browsing message boards like I usually do when I’m bored out of my skull and I came across an interesting discussion. Can MMORPG’s survive without the “standards”? Auction Houses, mounts, quest-leveling, fast travel, ability to solo from beginning to end, mail system, mild penalties for death, level based advancement, and so on have now become the basis of which a company designs and molds our virtual worlds.

It wasn’t more than 4 years ago that these things were considered new and nothing more than fluff or extras. When World of Warcraft hit the shelves everything changed. No longer were these things considered extra and cool to see – they became standards. I want to quote something I read because it fuels great discussions. The bottom-line is that MMORPGs are now at the same point as the auto industry: “innovation” is incrementally evolutionary, not fundamentally revolutionary. Few customers are going to buy something that is radically different from the standards, so few investors are willing to shell out the capital required to fund radical development projects. But they will fund incrementally different projects, provided there’s a potential to earn a decent profit in return for their investment.” And there you have it.

Back when MMORPG’s were first introduced we saw major and dramatic change from game to game. Side scrollers evolved into birds-eye view pseudo 3d games which then evolved into full 3d worlds. Every release held something new and exciting which had to be introduced to the gaming community. Games were designed from the ground up in order to introduce something new and fresh. Rarely would a game mechanic from another one game be similar in another. But now it’s different. Gamers don’t want to be introduced to new things but instead expect to see the standards. This expectation has caused developers to include and perhaps even design their game around said things instead of the other way around. Bottom line? Any Massively Multiplayer Roleplaying Game released today without these standards is doomed to fail.

Gone are the days of innovation. Welcome to the days of MMO’s for the masses. We’re in their world now.

Vanguard’s newest patch offers cheap thrills

GAMEPLAY NOTES
– Mount masters have found a home near all rift way points. These masters will allow you to rent one of three flying mounts based on continent for a fee of 20 silver. You can use the flying mount as many times as you want within the 5 minute timer given. When the timer wears off you will be given a freefall effect for a short duration and the mount will be removed from your inventory.

Have fun and see you all in the skies of Telon!

An interesting addition to the game in today’s patch notes to say the least. Now I see this from a few angles. We all know SOE acquired Vanguard and I won’t go into that however I can’t help but wonder if this is a peace offering or a little “treat” to the community asking players to accept change. I also see this as a money sink to help reverse the negative effects that the long-ignored duping bug brought into the economy. Maybe a little bit of both?

A few months ago we were tipped off that “teleportation” is being added into the game to increase the speed of forming groups. If you haven’t played Vanguard know that getting a group all together in one location anywhere quick is next to impossible. The news was received with 50/50 approval. Sigil had promised the game was going back to the “hardcore roots” of an expansive world to explore. So we have teleports still on the way and now we have cheap five minute thrill rides. This is where I get the third angle. Borrowing a page from World of Warcraft’s “catering to the masses”, perhaps SOE is trying to retain subs.

I can’t wait to see the first “Omg my five minute joy ride got me killed!” when the safe fall buff bugs out.

7

North Downs Quest Map

If you’ve played LOTRO and reached that wonderful stage in the game where it’s time to head to the North Downs I pity you. Only joking of course… sorta. 😉

The North Downs are incredibly large and spread out. The region contains quite possibly every creature/mob type in the game. I know, some of you might not think much of that given the fact that by now you’ve likely seen 80% of them anyway. Boars, Wargs, Spiders, oh yes they’re all here. Orcs, Goblins, Drakes, Hillmen, Trolls, Wights, the list goes on and on! If you’re like me you get lost and easily frustrated when you can’t find where to go next for quests. Since I’ve completed this zone I feel it’s now my duty to pass on what I have learned to the rest of you and perhaps ease the burden of this … oh so fun… place.

So here you have it! My North Downs Quest Location Map! You will find every quest location hub encased in a red square with a little snippet of text explaining briefly what the location has to offer or the importance of that specific spot. I can tell you right now that I think I included everything but I am not perfect. If I missed something please by all means leave me a comment or contact me and let me know! I hope this helps some of you out there. For more references on the North Downs feel free to visit our LOTRO Maps section!

Click the map and it gets bigger!

Shadowrun for Xbox360 and Windows..huh? Vista?

Shadowrun, the upcoming FPS for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista, has gone gold. From the gameplay videos and trailers I saw on Gametrailers.com it really does look like an awesome game. You can choose between what looks like a human, elf, troll, and dwarf and take these characters into a fragfest of exotic weapons and magical spells. From their official site: Shadowrun is an intense multi-player focussed FPS experience that rewards cleverness and split-second improvisation through a unique combination of modern weapons, ancient magic and advanced technology.” So there you have it – the fixings for what could be an extremely fun game.

However there’s one nasty little hiccup in all of this. Have you guessed it? Vista. Apparently to play Shadowrun you must have Windows Vista Games for Windows Live running and apparently that’s a “Vista only thing”. Can Microsoft be serious? How many gamers have actually upgraded or plan to upgrade in the near future? I certainly do not plan to upgrade until I am forced into it by the software developers. I’m considering this one of many stunts to increase Vista revenue.

So it looks like if Keen and Graev do end up buying Shadowrun it will be for the Xbox360 and we won’t be playing together. I hope when Microsoft sees that they have all of maybe 10 Vista users playing they change their minds for future productions.

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