• Game Reviews,  MMOs

    FFXIV Boo Hiss

    I won’t post what everyone else in the beta has already posted. I’ll just say…Meh.

    Oh, it’s very pretty. The intro sequences are gorgeous. And then it all falls apart.

    1. No quest givers? You mean I have to run around the city talking to literally everyone to find quests?
    2. I finally got quests. Supposedly they are easy to find on my map – she says she marked it on my map. Err…not that I can see. I have two places on my map, neither of which are the place I’m supposed to go.
    3. Let’s wander around. It’s supposed to be just outside the city. I’m a reasonably competent adventurer, surely I can find it. Lots of gullys.
    4. I can’t jump off small ledges. Neither can I jump up. The only way off the tiny hill that I’m on is way way back the way I came.
    5. The heck with it.

    I watched P., an experienced gamer, die to some beginning-level fluffy mob because combat is so difficult to figure out. Or maybe it was an elite fluffy animal, no way to tell the difference. Anyway, it took him five minutes to figure out how to res. (Here’s a hint – buried in your menus is an option called “Return”. This is a revive.)

    It’s really disappointing…the UI and combat are just shockingly bad, and as much as I would love to play for a while just for the sheer loveliness of it, the non-responsiveness of the combat and the difficulty that you have in doing every single thing makes it gamebreaking for me.

    I cancelled my pre-order. :(

  • Console Games,  Game Reviews,  Personal

    home sweet home

    As of this weekend, I’m back in the UK – it was wonderful seeing my family, but I’m glad to be home. I feel like the walking dead, of course – I think I’ve spent half the day so far going through mail, going through case lists, and trying to remember what the hell I was actually doing prior to Easter. It’s a Monday with a vengeance.

    Economy-class transatlantic flights are torture. They were never exactly fun, mind you, but at least you could try to sleep through it. Now the seats are so narrow that there’s no room for regular-sized people, much less Kevin Smith-sized people, and there is no leg room whatsoever. I’m just under 5’5″ (walking next to a tall person I look like a Chihuahua trotting to keep up), and I had no leg room. I was also sitting in the middle of five seats. If you want to stand up to use the lavatory or just stretch your legs, you need to ask two other people to collect all of their stuff and move into the aisle so you can get out. I got up twice during the trip. I kept myself awake by having territorial elbow wars with the fat German teenage boy next to me. (Don’t mess with me boy, I’m much meaner than you are!)

    My sisters and I all got a tattoo together – the kanji for family, combined with a blue-green dragonfly for my mother. Two of my sisters had never had a tattoo before, and I have video of them concentrating veryvery hard, trying to “cowboy up” and not be a crybaby. :D

    I’m catching up on tons of blog posts in my feed reader – trying to read anything, even just checking mail, was impossible on dailup (which is all my father has). I can’t believe that we ever put up with that. The connecting noise brought back memories, however.

    Lots of Cataclysm news. I’ve been reading through it, but I feel a bit distant from the changes – it’s difficult to really get excited over things when you’re not raiding.

    And I have to say that Red Dead Redemption looks totally awesome. Awesome to the point of considering buying a second XBox so we can play together.

  • Game Reviews,  MMOs

    Star Trek Online Open Beta

    The servers were up last night, so I created a second character for the beta (since I realised that I had royally messed up my choices for the first one). I went through the tutorial intro again, and then the servers went down for an extended period of time. By the time they came back up, I was tired and veryvery ready for bed. I understand that they’re better during the day, when less players are on – a lot of the game bugs that I thought I was having were evidently due to massive lag and server instability, since they evidently disappear during the day. Hopefully they can get the server issues worked out prior to headstart.

    The game is fun, and it will be something that I’ll enjoy – especially since pvp is supposed to be great fun. Will it be a main MMO? No, I’m pretty sure that it won’t – but it will be a nice change. In the limited time that I’ve been allowed to actually play, it hasn’t felt as much like a universe as EVE does…and that bothers me a bit. As inpenetrable as EVE can be (figuring out for yourself the right kit to train for and buy – even down to the type of ammo to use and when, it’s quite difficult to get a grasp of what choices you should be making), it still feels like a real place. As nice as the interiors and ships are in STO, at the moment it doesn’t – and that is what I play for, the total immersion in an environment.

    Part of that is the multitude of loading screens. Especially when there is a lot of lag, you seem to spend a good portion of your gametime staring at loading screens. Games with high levels of instancing, that have very slow loading screens, tend to really bother me. Again, it’s an issue of immersion and feeling that you are in a real, seamless environment.

    But this is very early days, and I know I haven’t been able to play much with the servers being up and down like a bride’s nightie (such lovely expressions they have here in the UK!). So I will cross my fingers and hope to be able to spend some serious time in my starship this weekend.

  • Game Reviews,  MMOs

    to boldly go…

    Ravven is now flying into the black in her new ship. The Star Trek open beta started last night, and I had a chance to play a bit. I say a bit because the servers spent so much time going up and down, and I finally gave up. But the initial impressions of the intro tutorial section is that it’s unfinished, yes, but fun. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Game Reviews,  MMOs

    Holiday Laziness

    Well, I have been doing some work on all the planned projects. But mostly I’ve been:

    • Reading
    • Eating holiday food
    • Drinking
    • Reading more
    • Levelling my paladin
    • Playing Allods Online – closed beta at last!

    Edit: Yaay, I can finally add screenshots. BT is quite arbitrary on when they’ll allow connections to things like WordPress. It would be so nice if there was another reliable ISP that we could get in our area. Anyway…I finally finished the grind for the raptor mount! It wasn’t bad, all things considered – I’ve never wanted to try the Wintersaber rep grind on any character (I have a life!), but this one wasn’t bad.

    And then there’s Allods Online. Allods is a lot of fun. A bit basic in normal MMO terms, but absolutely lovely for a f2p MMO.

    Although the loading screen looks uncomfortably like Evony/Civony (no, I’m NOT going to link to it!).

    For anyone who is unreasonably excited about playing the game right now, please note that I have (so far) not encountered any elf-on-elf lesbian sex. But who knows…perhaps there’s a reason for the steamy loading screen, and I just haven’t unlocked that content yet.

    Perhaps I just have a dirty mind. If so, I blame teh Internets.

  • Game Reviews,  MMOs

    Fallen Earth

    I admit I’m struggling a bit with Fallen Earth. The tutorial was very well done, and I loved it. But when I got out into the world, I was lost. Not literally, since I was barely out of the starting area. But lost in the sense of not being able to figure out the game mechanics.

    Combat was quite easy in the tutorial, and I was able to attack and switch weapons. I didn’t pay much attention to how I was doing it, since it worked…but then it stopped working when I was out in the world and I can’t remember exactly what I was doing in the tutorial. I almost got killed by a prairie chicken because I couldn’t figure out how to switch weapons. I’ve looked through options, tried putting things on the bars, but the only way I’ve actually been able to do it is open the menu where you’re looking at your character’s amor and weapons, and drag the one I wanted to use to the hand. Surely there’s a hotkey or something for it, but I haven’t found it yet.

    You can’t look at your character’s face anywhere except on the character selection screen. Sucks for doing screenshots. And is it my imagination, or is it always night?  Weird. And crafting…as you get higher level, does it speed up?  I spent several minutes making two bandages.

    I’m persevering, but so far the fun factor has been pretty low. I’ll have to look online for a guide or something…but these are basic things that should be very intuitive, in my opinion.

    Ah, here we go:


    How do I turn off the UI?
    Hit ALT and F10 at the same time.

    How do I turn the camera around to look at myself?
    Hold down ALT and use the right mouse button to swing the camera around.

    How do I take a screen-shot?

    How do I switch weapons?

    Weapons are controlled by hitting CTRL and then 1-6, depending on which slots you want to activate. Here’s how they break down so far as defaults:

    • CTRL-1 is the weapon on your right shoulder. This is your 2-handed ranged weapon by default.
    • CTRL-2 is your left shoulder. This is a 2-handed melee weapon by default.
    • CTRL-3 & CTRL-4 are your right and left hand melee weapons, respectively.
    • CTRL-5 & CTRL-6 are your right and left hand ranged weapons, respectively.

    You can change weapons around later with all manner of things – pool cues, shinai, hand-grenades with chemical agents, chainsaws, and more.

    *sigh*  Back to it…

  • Game Reviews,  MMOs

    a very small post on EQ2

    I was a bit bored this weekend, and in my search for something new to do I thought I would try Everquest 2 again. I played it about the same amount of time that I did during the first trial…about fifteen minutes. That is obviously nowhere near enough time to form a defensible opinion, so this in no way resembles a review. It’s merely my initial impression, which is…unplayable.

    Seriously. I know that there are tons of longtime fans of this game. It was many people’s first MMO experience, and many people are still happily playing. I started with Warcraft, however, and moved on to games such as Warhammer, EVE, a few months playing LotRO, Aion, Age on Conan, etc. – all more modern games with better graphics. I expected the graphics to be very basic (as indeed they were). But the thing that I absolutely hated was combat. I felt so disassociated from the game. The character seemed quite stiff, and there was a noticeable time interval between pushing a button and the character actually doing anything.

    I understand that the crafting/professions system is quite good in EQ2. But I never got to experience it, because my main feeling in the starting area was:

    I. Cannot. Play. This.

  • Game Reviews

    Dragon Age: Origins

    Although I was waiting for P to finish Dragon Age before I played (since we’re trying to save money right now), I started a character while he was dealing with the plumber. The soon to be very rich plumber…but I digress.

    I loved it. After a short, but vicious catfight over control of the game I retreated, licking my wounds, and ordered it from Steam, so I now have my very own copy.

    As all the reviews state, the storytelling is incredible – it’s the closest I’ve come to actually feeling like I was part of a movie. The graphics are pretty good, and as someone who has mainly played MMOs, I suppose combat takes a bit of getting used to. But as P said, “it’s kind of an MMO without other players – perfect for you!” Well, I can’t deny that.  :D

    I started with a human assassin, and did the noble-daughter story arc. Amazing storytelling. I got my mother killed once, which bothered me, and quite early into it I acquired the ugliest dog in the world, Grendel.

    This Is My Happy Face

    I’m now at the point on this character when Morrigan has joined our party, quests are coming in fast and furious, and I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the options.

    I’ve also worked through some of the other class/race combinations. The dwarf commoner was quite amusing, and I loved the initial sidekick who sounded like Vin Diesel.

    So, again gaming acts as the perfect escape from plumbers and leaking toilets and broken boilers and the flu. I’d much rather be facing darkspawn rather than plumbing issues, I’ll tell you that.  :D