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Bringing Storytelling Back to the Game: Revival

August 21st, 2015 by

Revival is the rebirth of the player-driven, sandbox, fantasy role-playing world. Player agency, world persistence, and absolutely zero compromises are the cornerstones of our quest for a living, persistent, dark fantasy role-playing world. – Revival mission statement

There is a lot of discussion in the MMO world about sandboxes versus themeparks and what each term means. To most people the phrase “themepark MMO” would be illustrated by by Warcraft, FFXIV or really any other MMO where your characters’ class, story and progression through the world are on rails with few (if any) choices that impact that world. A sandbox on the other hand usually denotes a less restricted world where you can create your own game experience. EVE Online would be one, and to a lesser extent games such as ArcheAge. Unfortunately to a lot of players that simply means that open PvP is allowed and one can run around low-level areas killing new players and generally being as big an asshat as possible.

What I’ve always dreamed of is a proper sandbox environment that can be used to tell your character’s unique story. You want to open a shop, or raise cows? Go for it. You could be a courtesan, a spy, an assassin or a mercenary bodyguard protecting vulnerable travellers from robbers. The world is defined only by the limits of your imagination.

This is what I’d hoped for with World of Darkness, and why I’ll always see that as being a massive missed opportunity for a truly unique game. Although I’m generally not a vindictive person I will forever and always hold CCP responsible for this; they took WoD, treated it like a redheaded stepchild, ignored and starved it, and then abandoned it in the woods for the wolves. You bastards.:D

revival

Revival just might be the new hope for a something really different: if they do even a fraction of what they’re promising, if the game actually launches in anything like the form that they are hoping for. They have such big plans, and everything that I read ticks those sandboxy, RP-based, story-centric boxes for me.

Although the website suffers from tiny grey text on dark backgrounds, making the wall-o-text blog posts painful to read, there are a lot of Big Dreams therein, such as their description of the concepts around building a living world:

“Revival’s Theleston is a world that both responds directly to the players and evolves over time, both naturally and through direct player action. We accomplish this with the following features:

  • The game world changes organically over time
  • Changes are caused by the actions of the denizens of the world
  • Powers of the world, including players, attempt to advance their agendas, further driving change
  • The Karma system interacts with agendas, influencing and being influenced by the gods and great old ones
  • The live storytellers act as agents of the gods and major powers, adding content to the game in response to player actions and playing key roles on gold servers for maximum impact”

revival3

Intriguing. I know that I have a tendency to get excited waay too early over games, but I’m so feeling this one.

Other elements of real life will be reflected, such as the ability to have sex. Interesting…possibly. There will be a real death penalty, the consequences of I’m still not sure I understand, except that players may spend time as a ghost in the spirit world, where you may or may not be interacted with by other players. There is (fingers crossed, ERMAHGERD!!!) taming and training animals. Ships and naval combat.

All of this gets my tired old RPer’s heart aflutter…and I am thinking of characters and their stories. I bought a tenement, which I can’t do much with at this time. I’m actually wishing I’d invested in a larger house. And I have my fingers crossed so hard that all of these dreams come true. :)

revivalLinks

Getting Older, Disreputably

August 4th, 2015 by

This weekend we got together with two old friends, Raz and Kaz (we met through gaming and I have an inability now to call either of them by their real name). Kaz very kindly spent hours bleaching highlights into my hair in order to dye it with deep blue, green and purple highlights, kind of a crow’s wing effect, but we couldn’t get enough of the dye out of it for the colour to take. We’ll have to try again. :)

I also designed a half-sleeve tattoo and today contacted a close(ish) studio about doing it. I’ve spent hours and hours trying to find someone close enough with the right style. So here it is: the steampunk Cheshire cat needs work, but I’m reasonably happy with the rest of it.

tattoo

As I said to Kaz, I intend to fully try to grow old disgracefully. I don’t want middle-aged hair or clothing. I’ll continue to wear black and big clompy boots. I’ll wear blue hair and black-and-grey tattoos and spend my time gaming. I’m just not a mumsy person.

Do we ever feel old? It’s like the saying about when an old person looks into a mirror, there is a young person looking back at them in horror saying “What the everloving fuck happened!?!” :D

Together Heavensward

July 17th, 2015 by

ffxiv

Heavensward has been a lot of fun, a lot of it due to the fact that Phil came back to the game and has played through with me. He was the one that introduced me to MMOS back in the early days of vanilla WoW, and I am always happiest when we can play the same game together.

I admit that I did leave him behind a bit because I made the decision to level my Summoner while he started a new Dark Knight tank, but really…he couldn’t take any time off for the expansion and it was more than I could bear to wait for him to get home so we could play.

Yep, I am a bad person.

I would have to say that overall FFXIV is the best, deepest, most polished MMO out there today. Blizzard has alienated a lot of longtime players with recent expansions, GW2 just doesn’t feel like home (although it is undeniably beautiful), Wildstar made the fatal mistake of placing all their eggs in the basket of hardcore raiding, and I personally hated ESO. FFXIV is a very complex game in that it takes time to learn (and is difficult to come back and try to pick up where you left off), but in some respects I think that is a good thing. You won’t be bored by it. I love the instance design, and although normal questing is very kill-ten-rats the main story quests are wonderful. Heartbreaking at times, but still wonderful.

Currently I have just reached the ilvl needed for Alexander access, and Phil is getting there. For the first time in years I’m pugging instances every night and looking forward to actual raiding, something which I swore I would never do after Warcraft. I love it.

It Can’t Rain All The Time

July 17th, 2015 by

Yep, this is probably another TMI post, so be warned. :D

After waiting almost a month after the last biopsy and scan, I finally received a letter through the post from the hospital that said they “wanted to let me know that the biopsy did not show any abnormal results. We hope this relieves your concerns.”

Over three weeks I waited for this. You bastards.

In any event, this is obviously very good news and now I just have one (two if you count the minor one to take out my gallbladder) surgery to get through and then everything should be back to normal. I feel SO much better! The constant pain and bleeding were evidently caused by massive fibroids, so they are going to do a hysterectomy and possibly take the ovaries as well, I think perhaps as a safety measure because they can’t see them on scans due to the other issue. I am looking forward to having a flat tummy and no more pain…a very good thing.

So, even though I felt as though I was going to have a nervous breakdown due to the months of scans and biopsies and endless waiting, we got there in the end and all is well. This feels like a new beginning and I am wondering what I want to do next. This is an opportunity to make major changes, to jump over the edge and do something mad. Or brave. Perhaps just mad. :)

Heavensward: Smooth Sailing

June 23rd, 2015 by

FFXIV Ravana

I really have to hand it to Squenix, they pulled off an extremely smooth headstart with Heavensward. There have been some of the usually weird lobby errors, but overall this headstard has been as problem-free as possible. I’m currently almost 56 on my Summoner (waylaid a bit because I’ve been watching every cut scene and doing every side quest before I move on). I’ve really, truly been enjoying the new content.

Juvenile moment during one of the early fates: butt

Okaaay…

I am currently the proud owner of a gorgeous new flying machine which I shall post pictures of as soon as I go back to one of the earlier areas where I can actually fly. The area that I’m currently in (Dravanian Forelands, I think?) is so infuriating to try to navigate. I spent an hour running all over the map trying to find objectives, being thwarted over and over again by areas that I seemingly couldn’t reach. I was in quite a frosty mood by the time I logged off. :)

Instances so far have been fun and relatively straight forward so far. I ran Aery last night, and we had a wipe at the end. The only person who had done it before, the DRK tank, had a hissy fit over it: “I’m doing this as a low-level roulette (really?) for some quick XP and you people are ruining it for me!” This is the type of thing that I’d hoped to avoid by pushing through the content as fast as possible: all the entitled jerks in Duty Finder who have no patience for people who haven’t seen the encounter before. Most of these don’t have guides yet, although they’re starting to pop up here and there. We haven’t even seen actual launch yet, and he’s speed-running instances? I’d like to introduce you to the aforementioned Alaimbert’s butt.

So, a very enjoyable few days so far, and here’s hoping that there isn’t too much of an influx when the servers go up today for actual launch!

Waiting On Heavensward

June 18th, 2015 by

FFXIV

 

Although I didn’t achieve everything that I wanted to in FFXIV: ARR, I’m still ready for Heavensward. My bags are clean (which took a relentless slash-and-burn on crafting materials) and I have a set of armor waiting for my Astrologian. The servers are now down and I’m hoping that we can download the patch for the new client soon.

Part of the preparation involved an upgrade on my aging graphics card to a new Nvidia GTX 970 card which brought my benchmark score from 7584 to 14,117. With everything maxed the benchmark client looks incredible.

One of the things I wasn’t able to do was to find a really good guild. The one that Phil and I are in has a small core of people who work their asses off to be welcoming and helpful (which is absolutely wonderful), a large group of people who play completely silently and have very little to do with the rest (not so wonderful) and no use of forums, no planning of events (which is horrible). I always find it really weird and uncomfortable when  guild doesn’t use forums, as it is then almost impossible to plan anything and it feels much more difficult to get to know people. It’s nice to check in on the forums during the middle of a work day and banter a bit. So, still looking for a good guild. I would love to find a good EU-based guild that spans multiple games and has a large, active player base.

I’m still rethinking which job I’m going to want to level. I’d originally planned to switch to Astrologian, but the RNG element to healing makes me nervous. I may just level either Summoner or Bard and treat the new healer spec as an alt class until I decide. Either way, I am really looking forward to a proper gaming marathon again. Bring it on!

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