• MMO/Gaming

    Rift: The Anachronaut’s House

    I’ve been having a lot of fun lately (and a lot of irritation, to be honest) playing with creating a dimension in Rift. The base dimension, the Central Necropolis, is a large ruined house with sweeping staircases in a bare landscape with small temples/mausoleums and a tumbled graveyard.

    My concept was to create the remains of a house owned by a lost time traveller and inventor. There are a lot of very steampunk elements available for dimensions, and I utilised as many of those as I could make or afford in the shop. I’ll keep adding to it as I can. Eventually I’ll add a lot of ground cover outside, so the area looks lush rather than bleak, and may even add a garden maze.

    So, this is my house. Slowly falling into ruin as the books become mildewed and the machines shut down one by one. And somewhere, lost in time, is the inventor who created it all.
























  • Personal

    Looking Forward to 2013

    I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Ours was quiet as usual (being across entire oceans from my family and friends) but still nice. Phil got me a Kindle Fire HD, which I love to bits – it’s my preciousssss. We’ve been very lazy, have eaten a metric buttload of holiday food (and isn’t that a lovely image), and had some guilt-free game time. I even had some time to work on the graphic strip that I’ve been thinking about for ages. (More on that later – it’s still not ready for prime time.)

    As far as gaming goes, this is actually a great time for MMO gamers. There are a couple of very solid and enjoyable MMOs that have gone pay-to-play (with varying degrees of success) and Rift had a solid expansion. This is what I’ve been playing:

    I re-subbed for two months and haven’t played a great deal. I saw some of the new areas, but got involved with other games for a couple of reasons. One reason was that although the expansion was up to Trion’s normal high standard, it felt a lot grindier than it used to. Mobs hit a lot harder so questing is slower, and on one day I’d played for almost two hours and went from being 48% through that level to 51%. This was while using the Veteran’s 50% XP potion as well. I don’t like flying through content, but this just felt hopeless so I became less and less enthusiastic about logging in.

    The positive part of the conversion to pay-to-play was that the story (so far) was offered for free, without restriction. The rest of it pretty much sucked: 20-30% XP reduction along with a host of less catastrophic, but no less annoying, restrictions such as not being able to sprint for ages and having to pay to remove your ugly hat. I’m still planning on working my way through a number of storylines, but am currently sidetracked by…

    The Secret World:This is my current game of choice. I can’t convince anyone I know to play, so it’s a bit lonely, but I’m still enjoying it. I must say, though, that I hadn’t realised how non-solo-friendly areas of this game are (I’d levelled my first character in tandem with Phil). It can be a harsh game, and you’ll become quite familiar with anima form. Add in the miserable freakin annoying Mayan zombies that are currently plaguing new players right now, and death becomes a regular thing. (They seem to be coded to spawn when you’re at death’s door, or when you’re doing a wave event such as the one in Edgar’s scrapyard where you’re AOEing down lots of mobs.)

    Guild Wars 2:
    I haven’t played much GW2, as I needed to let my anger at ArenaNet and their community managers cool. This relates to the Great Bot Problem, when they were not addressing bots because they were too busy deleting and locking community threads where players were complaining about said bots. Now, a couple of months later, they’ve finally started doing something about the bot armies and goldspammers, but I still think they’re jerks and don’t want to support their game. Hey, I’m a mature adult, which is all about cutting off your nose to…well, you know. :)

    I’ve been thinking about finding a guild, once I decide on a game to settle down in. I don’t think I would ever think about raiding again, but a group that does a bit of everything would be great. A mature group of people who don’t think that everything is “gay.” Non-elitist types. Hmmn, must do some research.

    I’m looking forward to 2013, and hoping for a year of positive things. I wish you happiness and health and all good things as well.

  • MMO/Gaming

    MMOs: The Stupid Hat Edition

    Perhaps I’m getting old. Perhaps I’ve just played MMOs for too many years. Perhaps I’m just overly cranky after the horrific headaches which have sidelined me during much of this month. I find myself firmly in that “You kids get the hell off my lawn” state of shaky belligerence and ire when it comes to gaming. ArenaNet, Bioware? Y’all can both kiss my butt, to be honest. Trion is the only one who gets a pass, because they make good games and take care of their players. You can stay, come up here on the porch and have a glass of tea.

    The Guild Wars 2 forums have melted down with anger and concern about the announcement that ArenaNet had, contrary to their original manifesto, actually created a gear treadmill game. There have been innumerable threads and posts deleted and locked in true ArenaNet style, but what was allowed to remain is a 190 page, 9484 post (and still growing by the minute) thread. I’ve been watching it with popcorn in hand, rather enjoying it all because I haven’t played GW2 in a while. Prior to this major misstep, they’d already pissed me off by almost totally ignoring bots and deleting posts on the forums which complained about them, so I really have nothing at stake here.

    I was looking forward to going back to Star Wars after it went free to play, since they were going to leave access to story questlines and limit everything else, which was fine with me. I could care less about access to Huttball or being able to run the same instances over and over again. I have to say, though, that this is the cheapest, shoddiest f2p conversion ever. Not giving you bank access is a bit unpleasant, but I can see that as a legitimate perk to sell in the shop. Inability to customise your UI and add additional action bars is pretty ridiculous, as is the fact that non-preferred players don’t have access to sprint. But the real kicker for me? The inability to hide the headgear slot. This from a game which is famous for having the ugliest headgear ever. Remember, I want to come back for the story, which was superb. I loved the way that they handled cutscenes, and seeing my character acting out the choices that I had made for her. And, shallow though it may be, I simply cannot do that if I have to wear a stupid hat.


    There she is, my beautiful, snarky Sith Lord wearing a hat that looks like a prop from a really bad 1950s sci fi movie. “I am Electra, from the planet Electronikos. Take me to your leader, Earthling, or I will kill you with my amplified brainwaves!” I just can’t do it. And I refuse to pay to remove it because it would be rewarding them for a really, really petty choice.

    So that game, as well, can just get offa my freakin’ lawn.

    And like the cranky old fart in the yellowing undershirt scaring kids away from his yard, I don’t have a lot of people left to talk to, and it’s a bit lonely. I still have a Rift sub, and will keep that up for a bit. But aside from that? Not exactly a wide range of choices for escapist fare. I miss being able to lose myself in a game. There was a time when I could lose hours and hours and love every minute of it. And now? Too cranky. Too disappointed. Too much of an old fart. And that makes me sad.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Midsummer Gaming Ennui

    I’ve been bored with everything lately, at least in terms of gaming. After giving up on chasing Guild Wars Hall of Monuments achievements as punishing and unfun, I’ve been at a loss for something to play. I miss my escape into virtual worlds!

    I’ve been levelling a baby rogue in Warcraft, and I think she’s currently 28. It’s been a lot of fun, actually. I started her in the Undead starting area due to my longstanding desire to have an undead bone pony, and really enjoyed the questlines. Sylvanas is one of my favourite characters in WoW, and it was interesting to work alongside her for several levels of quests. Oh, the Dark Rangers…please please please let Dark Ranger be a class option someday. I have always longed to play one.

    I’m still in The Secret World beta, of course, and can jump in and play whenever I want…but I don’t want to. Due to Funcom debiting my card early (for a pre-order, still quite miffed about that), I’ll probably give the game a shot when it launches. I’m just not excited enough to play through the beta, and then do it all over again.

    There is a Guild Wars 2 open beta weekend coming up and although I will play, I admit to feeling a bit meh about it. ANet really needs to start communicating with people and announce a launch date, probably after this next beta weekend. Their marketing plan has peaked way early and now people are feeling a bit let down about the previous oversaturation of information and the current drought. Although this is a game that I am still very much looking forward to, I have to admit that they are kind of pissing me off.

    So here I am, with nothing to do. Pah! The Secret World is coming out in July, so I will play then. The fall and early winter will be stuffed full of juicy MMO launch goodness, with GW2, Mists of Pandaria, and a very interesting Rift expansion. (Downloading Rift again right now, but won’t resub until closer to the expansion.)

    As always, it’s feast or famine. And this summer? Nothing to eat but dust and tears.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Lost in Azeroth

    Friday was my last day at work. Given the circumstances, I’d tried to keep it very low-key, and only told a few people…who told a few people, who told a few people. :) I had a very lovely Italian girls-only lunch, and then at the end of the day I was presented with a cards and flowers and a 60 day game card for Warcraft. (Everyone knows that I do a lot of gaming, but not that I’d cancelled my Warcraft sub.) Leaving was quite difficult, and I almost managed getting through all of the goodbyes and hugs before tearing up.

    Anyway, so today I used the gamecard to re-sub and have a look around to see how it felt after playing Rift exclusively for so long.

    It was lovely. I expected to think that the graphics looked terrible in comparison with Rift, but it was beautiful. I’d upgraded my graphics card since I last played, and with a high resolution and all graphics on max it was stunning. I’ve always liked the very stylised look of Warcraft; I think the game is only let down by some of the older racial models.

    There were a lot of differences, of course. I kept wishing that I could AOE-loot as you can in Rift, and I really miss having a mount right out of the gate. On the other hand, I love having starting areas that really make you connect with the race that you have chosen to play – Rift is greatly lacking in that area. I don’t feel any different as a Bahmi than I do as a Kelari. In Warcraft, however, if you start as a troll you damn well feel like a troll, mon. I miss rifts and other opportunities for easy grouping. Werewolf invasions in Gloamwood, for example, feel like epic battles – even if everything has slowed down to a slideshow due to the amount of lag. Ogrimmar is SO confusing! I found it confusing even before it was all changed, and now I spend ages running around trying to find things on the various levels.

    So Phil and I are going to do some casual playing on our baby Horde characters while the gamecard is still in effect, and see the new content that we haven’t had a chance to see yet. And I very much appreciate the chance to re-visit a place that I’ve spent so much time in over the years…thanks, guys. It was a great gift, and I’m really going to miss you all.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Sunday Blues

    Loved this line from Bio Break:

    “It was as if a million voices at once said ‘Meh.’”

    ~ poster on the RIFT forums

    Very funny, and very descriptive of the culmination of the River of Souls live event. Very very meh, and such a shame for Trion to have fumbled the end of the event so badly. I hope that they learn from this and continue to create them, as I think if all had gone well, it would have been enormous fun. And Trion? Fire whomever decided to do a free weekend on the same weekend as the end of the live event; that was an extremely bad decision.

    Otherwise, Ravven is still not 50. She is just short of dinging, as I didn’t play much on Sunday. Instead I got a whopping great case of the blues and spent the afternoon watching Firefly on the couch with a glass of vodka and Pepsi. Bad Ravven. I’m having a detox week this week.

    After Ravven is 50, I suppose I’ll start on my mage and level her…I just worry a bit about getting on that WoW treadmill where I get bored with dailies, and can’t face levelling another alt. But we will see.


  • MMO/Gaming

    Lazy Leveller

    Still hovering two levels underneath 50 on my cleric, where I have been for some time now. Sometimes I quest, sometimes I do warfronts or just ride around picking flowers…either way, she seems firmly stuck where she is and the XP bar doesn’t move an inch. I’m still enjoying it, and I don’t regret my six month subscription – but the desire to level is gone, and I’m in no rush to be “finished”.

    I think part of it has to do with people. Our guild is laid-back to the point of being antisocial, with very little guild chat. Sometimes it’s nice, as I’m wiped out from work and not very talkative myself, but sometimes it feels uncomfortable and on those nights I play something else. I am a bit disappointed with all of the people in the game who are trying to min-max all the pleasure out of just playing the spec you love, and I’m not looking forward to raiding – unless I can find the right group for it.

    So a bit meh, but still enjoying it. I think it’s one of the most solid games to come out in a long time. I’ll have to make a final decision once I make it over that huge hump to 50, and have a chance to see end-game.

  • MMO/Gaming

    The Endless Court Invasion, Part 1

    Jeez louise, was it laggy last night in Meridian or what? Once outside it was much better, but in the city it was virtually unplayable.

    I love the idea of these events, but last night I felt quite meh and blue. Everyone in the guild were doing separate things, and although I was trying to rift in Iron Peaks, I could rarely get into an open group because everyone had private groups. Not much fun playing alone, not very productive, and eventually I logged off.

    Here’s looking at a better night tonight. :)

  • MMO/Gaming

    River of Souls

    Really looking forward to the new content and the live events starting tonight. And Alsbeth is pretty hot, even if she is a bitch.

    PS: Why can’t I get any armor like that in game?