• MMO/Gaming

    Rift End Game

    Yesterday while I was doing a very boring ecommerce product migration from one site to another, I was playing around in my Google analytics account and noticed some interesting things. One, traffic had increased since Rift has come out – it was no longer just my husband and two close friends reading the blog. (I love you guys!) Second, my bounce rate was really high, which worried me a bit (“Do I suck?!?”). The current main keywords that people were coming in on were variations on “Rift end game”.

    *snicker* Well, that explains it. There are evidently a lot of people searching for confirmation of actual end game content, either because they are trying to make a decision about playing the game, or they have reached 50 and are trying to see if anyone else has anything to do. And then they land on my personal waffle and fluff, and bounce back immediately. Sorry to disappoint, guys…this is SO not a theorycrafting or raid tactics blog.

    Of course, that doesn’t prevent me from capitalising on search terms, titles and so on…just to be evil. :)

    I think Ravven is 42 right now, and I have been making a definite attempt to not rush things. We do have quite a few 50s in the guild, and I know that they really want to start raiding and doing expert dungeons. But I don’t want it to be all over…I want to enjoy the journey for as long as I can.

    I think that playing Warcraft for so long has soured my experience of end game content. In the present era of Gearscore and all of the would-be elitist jerks, raiding and running heroics isn’t much fun. I know there are guilds that do do casual raiding, but (perhaps because of having been a member of a semi-hardcore guild for so long) I think I kind of see those players as being less than effective. See how diplomatically that was put? As much as I no longer want to raid five nights a week, neither do I want to spend time wiping with people who have no idea that the fire is there, much less that it is currrently singeing their feet. I want my cake (competent, knowledgeable people to play with) and I want to eat it too (being in a guild of nice, funny, relaxed, non-dickhead people).

    I do think that Rift will have longevity even for people who are not focussed on end game content due to the soul system. I would really like to level one character of each class. As long as I space it out a bit, I think I can level through the same content four times without a problem. I’ve done it much more than that in Warcraft. The one thing that I would like to see is a different starting area for each race. I think that that is a glaring lack that Rift has, and it is something that I hope they rectify in a future expansion.

    Anyway, it was a slight relief to see people coming in on normal search terms such as “Rift end game” rather than the old favourite “furry mmo”. That always worried me a bit…I so didn’t want to be gaming blog of choice for people who want to have kinky furry sex in an MMO setting.


  • MMO/Gaming

    We Don’t Like Change

    There is a lot of Rift vs. Warcraft discussion across the blogosphere right now – we’ve all read the posts, the recriminations and fanboi postings on both sides, as well as the declarations of “Rift free zones”. It’s silly, but it is human nature. None of us want change unless we are the ones doing the changing. We want our friends to share the same interests with us, we want the blogs we read to be about the games that we play…until we ourselves start playing something else.

    Although I myself would probably classify this blog as a gaming blog, it isn’t exclusively about that. I do write about personal matters, books, depression, web design and development, and a lot of other things. It started as a blog describing my experiences as an American in the UK. After I discovered Warcraft and gaming addiction, it slowly changed to being a Warcraft gaming blog. And now I write a lot about Rift. Once Secret World or GW2 or World of Darkness come out, I’ll be writing exclusively about those games…because I tend to go overboard on everything that I do. Someday (theoretically speaking) this will no longer be a gaming blog at all, because I will have gotten bored with gaming. Probably not, but you never know.

    There is a place for in-depth theorycrafting blogs – when you are trying to figure out how to play your class, or how to raid effectively, those blogs and forums are essential. Being so game-specific, however, means that they will inevitably close some day, when that MMO goes dark or the owner of the site stops playing the game. Bloggers who have a wider range of interests have more longevity, in my opinion. If I like the twists and turns of someone’s thought processes, if I love the way that they describe things in relation to themselves personally, I will continue reading their blogs no matter what they are writing. For example, Daniel Howell remains intelligent and funny whether he is “being” BigRedKitty or himself on his new blog. I still read it. I miss Righteous Orbs a lot – I would have continued reading that no matter what Tam and Chastity were writing about, because the blog was smart, biting at times, and deeply funny.

    For me it’s the blogger, not the game.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Rift: Scenes from Telara

    Sometimes I just like to explore new areas (seeing how far I can get without being killed by a high-level mob), or just ride around and enjoy the scenery. These are some screeenshots showing some of the really lovely areas (and lovely skies) in Telara.


  • MMO/Gaming

    Guild Banks

    There was quite a candid and in-depth interview recently that Massively did with Scott Hartsman at Pax East 2011. If you’re interested in Rift, it’s definitely worth a read. They cover launch, queues, a bit about the hacking issues, and so on. One thing I found interesting was the following:

    Massively: How about plans for a guild bank?

    Scott Hartsman: Yes it’s on the list! It’s not on the top of the list yet; we still have to get through our launch growing pains, and again, security is paramount now. There are lots of things that are waiting after we get all that stuff nailed down.

    Actually, the lack of a guild bank is one of my present major headaches in the game. Not a game-breaking issue such as account hacking, of course (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, does the horn thing with my fingers to avert misfortune), but still – it would be of immense help to anyone in a guild. I have so many mats and crafting items, gear that I’ve picked up and can’t use, etc., that I would love to dump in the guild bank for others to use. Sure, I mail whatever I can to those I think can use it…but damn, mail is expensive. And there are the usual callouts for “can anyone use this?” in guild chat. If people play at non-peak times, they miss out on most of that.

    I do know that guild banks come with a certain level of customer service problems, people doing a runner with a guild’s collected resources and so on…but seriously, in a new game that has to be relatively rare (barring all of the hacked account problems, of course – those would probably start affecting guilds as well as individuals). It would really benefit players in general.

    So, that’s top of my wishlist. Followed by 1) sexier armour, 2) not being dismounted by low-level mobs, 3) more bag space and 4) a mass ban of pretty much anyone on the official forums. Have you ever seen more petty nastiness and snark anywhere else? Ok, Aion was pretty bad…but the Rift forums come close.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Rift: Technical Issues

    Since the last patch, I’ve been experiencing some distressing problems with Rift. There is a certain location (Trollsbane Caverns) where I was trying to finish up some lower-level quests before I move out of the area to Moonshade Highlands or Doughtlands that causes my PC to spontaneously shut down without warning. Everything is running cool, the graphics card isn’t stressed, but the PC just quits. The troll bit is ok, but as soon as I move to the section of the caves with the elvish types, BOOM the PC shuts down. Quite frustrating.

    EDIT: We may have fixed this issue with updated Nvidia drivers – fingers crossed!

    There are also a lot of intermittent problems with extremely high lag and disconnects – quite a few guildies were complaining about them last night. Curiously enough, that wasn’t a problem that I had. Go figure. :)

    Another issue relates to messages upon login that the client might be corrupt – quite a few people are getting those, as well. I did, ran the repair tool, and haven’t had them since. Phil has had ongoing problems with it. We have considered uninstalling the game and re-downloading it fresh, but if the problem is inherent in the current version of the code, then we would go through a lot of work for nothing.

    Hopefully we see a fix for some of these issues soon.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Rift: Enoying the Ride

    Last night in Rift we ran Iron Tombs again both to complete some Meridian storyline quests, and also for a guildie who had never done it. We were all way above the target level for the instance, and you know what? It didn’t matter at all. It would have been the same if we were all dinking around chasing rifts, or anything else – contrary to how I approach pretty much every other MMO, I’m really enjoying the j0urney. Without grinding or effort, my Cleric is level 26, and I’m fine with that. I felt quite sorry for the first level 50 on our server, which a group of people played 24/7 to be shard first. It was such a sad accomplishment, and I sincerely hope that they went on to slowly level other characters. This game is too good, and too much fun, to just burn through.

    I love that everyone isn’t focussed on “end game”. At this point, do any of us really know what end game is? People are enjoying levelling professions and solving puzzles – there isn’t that mad dash to level cap.If I want to go level an alt, I don’t feel as though I’m letting my guild down. When I was raiding in Warcraft, I levelled my main as fast as I possibly could, wary of being left behind and losing my raid spot.

    I also am very much enjoying this (probably brief) honeymoon period before there are cookie-cutter specs and Gearscore clones and damage meters, before the elitist jerk mentality rules the game. Do I have an odd spec? Perhaps, but I’m enjoying it and it works for me. Am I still wearing greens?  You betcha…I’m level 26 for gods sake. Can I still make a difference in instances and rifts? Yep. You really don’t have to be totally overgeared for everything that you do in game. Warcraft has gotten so bad that I saw people looking for achievement runs through old vanilla instances who were demanding a certain Gearscore level. Dude, take your epeen and **** yourself with it – Molten Core doesn’t need epic geared players just so you can get your stupid achievement.

    Wiping doesn’t bother me. And I don’t want to read tactics…I am looking forward to figuring things out for ourselves. Yes, strategy guides exist for all instances already, but I want to pretend that they aren’t there. (So far, the fights haven’t been that difficult anyway.) And along with the joy of figuring things out, I am very much loving not having to group with the “Gogogogo” guy. Granted, I’ve only done guild and friend runs so far, but I think most people are more relaxed.

    I am loving the journey, and I don’t feel as though I really have a destination. And that is a lovely feeling.


  • MMO/Gaming

    Cake or Death

    Just had to use that title because I saw someone with a <Cake or Death> guild tag last night, and it really amused me. Great name. (For those of you who don’t know where the reference comes from, Eddie Izzard below.)

    So, death, please…no, cake! I meant cake.  :D

    I dinged 26 on my Cleric last night in Deepstrike Mines. We had a really fun guild run, and although we wiped a few times on the last boss, I really liked it as an instance. Perhaps because we wiped several times – it makes a nice change from AOE-fest gogogogo runs. I healed (with some help from Harli on the last boss, who was kind enough to gimp himself by switching to an off-healer spec, thank you!). We ended the night with some mad runs to do some of the puzzles. Very nice night.

    I quite like Deepstrike (although Realm of the Fae is my favourite so far). The physical design was interesting, there was quite a bit of trash but not a punishing amount, and the last boss has an interesting mechanic to overcome.

    I can’t remember if I’ve posted about the queue times since they fixed them. I don’t think they’ve officially admitted to increasing the server cap, but it seems obvious that they have – the queues actually move now. Before, you could be number 300, 400, 600 – and the queues would barely move. Now they seem to decrease a lot more naturally (naturally in the sense that they act more like the queues at Aion launch, or in the old days of WoW). Whatever they did, the change is very much appreciated.

    But anyway. Cake? Or Death?

  • MMO/Gaming

    Starting Area Blues

    Although I feel as though I’m conceeding something to the snarky little bastards on the forums (“stop QQing about queues, just reroll as many times as it takes to be able to play, I’m all smug and ass-hatty because I got in late and rolled on an empty server”), we logged in to Argent and started levelling yet again.

    I’m having a serious problem making it through the starting area for the thousandth time. During beta I did a lot of rolling characters and playing them through the starting areas to see how different specs and soul combinations felt. I know both starting areas like the back of my hand. And doing it again, on a new server? God, it’s hard to face. It’s a shame that there isn’t a starting area to each race, at least for a few levels – similar to the way that Warcraft handles it.

    Argent seems like a good server, even with the influx of people who were only there because they couldn’t get on their server of choice. I’ve always loved RP servers – although you do have the trolling Legolols types, there is a solid base of people who are mature, literate, funny and helpful. Find the right group, and it will be the best experience you will ever have in an MMO.

    So, we shall see what happens with the queues. I’ll be honest, though – I really dread launnch, as this situation can only get worse until Trion agree to allow server transfers.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Big Blue Girls Can’t Ride

    I love my big blue Bahmi girl. I love the way that horses have been modelled and animated. The trouble is, the two don’t work well together because Bahmi characters have a horrible riding animation. Oh, she rides the stupid turtle just fine. But as soon as she gets on her horse, she does a weird one-handed riding animation, similar to what oldschool steeplechase riders describe as “calling a cab”. It bothers me.