To MMORPG Or Not To MMORPG, That Is The Question: Commandment 4

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To MMO or Not.: The MMORPG Commandments :.

Commandment 4. Know When to Quiteth…

Sad to say, but all things must end and MMO’s are no different. If your preferred MMO has become more of an obligation than a joy, it’s time to retire your character. I myself have also fallen into this most deadly of MMO traps, prioritizing my game obligations above my real life ones. Luckily, I have never lost anything as dramatic as a job or a relationship over it.

Near the end of my MMO playing career I found myself dutifully logging in simply to administrate my guild, check my crafted auctions, and run dungeons, only to fall asleep at the keyboard as I waited for someone in my party to return from AFK (away from keyboard).

Sure guilds, crafting, pvp, dungeon running, and all the social aspects of MMO’s can be fun but they can also be draining, sometimes making us gamers lose sight of what’s really important in life

Are MMO’s evil? Heck no! Just realize you’re playing on a slippery slope.

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To MMORPG Or Not To MMORPG, That Is The Question: Commandment 3

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To MMO or Not.: The MMORPG Commandments :.

Commandment 3. Know thine Commitment Required…

Casual Player Friendly” is a buzzword in the online gaming world at the moment. What it means is, the developers want to make online games just as accessible to those players who can only manage a couple of hours a week versus the hardcore “who needs a social life?” players and gold farmers. Unfortunately, as most MMO’s now stand, soloing isn’t very viable for long. Sure all MMO’s start out easy enough but they are designed to require group play before you can access the higher tiered areas, dungeons and epic items. Designers implement this to help build a lasting social experience (and keep their customers paying the monthly fee) but it also means you must rely on others if you really want to advance.

I can remember more than once in Everquest 2 having my paladin spam for an hour, “LFG, PALLY, HEALER!” to finally fall into a half-baked PUG (pick up group) that fell apart the minute a member’s mother called them to dinner.

Of course one can join a guild to avoid these kinds of problems, but then again you have to deal with personalities, and often petty rule sets that have little to do with actual game play. I recall, in WOW, running Molten Core ten times with a guild as a “probationary member.” I was of course allowed to take part in killing the awful beasties (and dying several times in the process) but rolling on items was a right that only went to “Senior members.” I believe becoming said “Senior member” meant you had to know the guild leader, “Chuck,” and spot him for pizza and beer at least twice.

Not all guilds are that elitist but most of the well equipped ones have some kind of lame hierarchy that you must agree to. In addition, these guilds maintain fairly intensive “raiding schedules” that are considered mandatory and will eat up your social life. Your best bet is to find some real life friends and start your own guild with your own timelines for doing dungeons.

Continue to Commandment 4

To MMORPG Or Not To MMORPG, That Is The Question: Commandment 2

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To MMO or Not

.: The MMORPG Commandments :.

Commandment 2. Know thine Cost…

Sure $15 a month (the usual price) doesn’t sound too bad, but if you’re going to stick with the game for any period of time and be fairly successful at it, the cost adds up. If you’re spending $15 a month for 12 months, that comes to $180 per year. That’s not counting the initial cost of the client software (anywhere from $20-$60). Of course if you can afford this continual pay cycle then go for it, but if I were to put my favorite single player video game of all time (Thief: Gold) next to the most popular MMORPG on the market right now (World of Warcraft) the difference would be immense. Here is the cost breakdown:.

Games Initial Cost YEARLY COST after initial purchase EXPANSIONS COST TOTAL COST after 3 years
Thief: Gold $39.95 $0.00 Fan missions and expansions are FREE. Still only the initial $39.95 and it’s still fun!
World of Warcraft $19.99 12 months @ $15/month = $180 $40.00 $600.00! (That’s right! All those monthlies add up…and it doesn’t count future expansion costs).

I’m not trying to say MMO’s are a waste of money, but they’re not exactly a cheap ticket either.

Continue to Commandment 3

To MMORPG Or Not To MMORPG, That Is The Question: Commandment 1

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To MMO or Not

Saying you’re thinking about trying out a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is akin to saying, “I think I’ll start a crack addiction today.” Well, maybe its not all that bad. Certainly the media has overblown the woes of ex-Everquesters and WOW (World of Warcraft) fanatics who flushed their jobs or marriages down the toilet for more “raid time,” but there are a few things to consider before getting knee deep in all the virtual hack ‘n slash fun.

Being an ex-WOW addict, an ex-Everquest 2 addict, an ex-Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) addict, and a casual user of a myriad of other MMORPG’s has instilled in me certain commandments that should always be followed before shelling out that monthly fee…

.: The MMORPG Commandments :.

Commandment 1. Know Thy Parent Company and Its Track Record…

I don’t care how flashy the graphics are, or how much “phat lootz” may be attainable, if you don’t read up on the company that is producing the MMO, you are doing yourself a major disservice. Case and point: Star Wars Galaxies.

What started out as a wonderful rock solid “sandbox” type MMO became an uber turd fest within three years of its initial launch. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) realized it couldn’t support the innovative character classes, and instead of doing something logical (like hiring more designers and developers) they simply ditched half of their professions. Instead of listening to the growing tide of criticisms for this move on their official message boards they deleted and locked posts. As expansion packs were added, more and more bugs crept into the basic game play, many of which are still unresolved, and then right after their last major expansion, The Trials of Obi-Wan, they reworked the entire combat system and nerfed the remaining classes. These nerfs were given official names like “Combat Upgrade” and “New Game Enhancements.” When asked about these changes, Jon Smedley (henceforth known as Satan) simply replied, “We went for more iconic and Star-Warsy game play and characters.” Nowadays SWG is a wasteland only occasionally frequented by level 1 Jedis and retarded Wookies.

I’m not saying SOE is the worst online gaming company in the world but their less than stellar customer service and short term vision for games (i.e. little to no work being done on any IP except Everquest) has lost them many a customer. Reading up on the forums can save you a headache later on. Try, for fairly unbiased reviews.

Continue to Commandment 2

Surf Report – 10/23/09

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Surf ReportWelcome to a Friday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

While on a Spanish trip to Puebla, Mexico, during my college years, I happened to borrow Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz from a fellow traveler.  At the time, I remember being at a point in my life where Christianity felt stale to me. Too many many people claiming to have this revolutionary Jesus and yet no one living like Him. I felt alone in a sea of hypocrisy and blandness.  Blue Like Jazz, came along at a time when I needed a breath of fresh air. The book showed me a world in which being a Christian isn’t about legalism but about truly living for God in a real way. I suddenly didn’t feel as alone as I had before.

I am unsure if Miller’s new book will speak to me (or you, dear readers) in the same way. Below you will find the first thirty pages of Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

.: Life :


.: Gaming :

Like the ebb and flow of the tides, gaming seems to come and go in my life with regularity. Lately I’ve been playing the following:

World of Warcraft -I have recently hit level 52 with my druid Night Elf, Arclight (Stormscale server). I am also currently looking for a good casual guild. Any suggestions?

Dragon Quest IV – I am now in the final chapter of the game. This chapter is said to be the longest…and it is so far. No joke.

Dungeon Hunter – Currently on the last boss. Game has been pretty good thus far. Although I am questioning, now that I am at the end of the game, how one justifies spending $8 for a few short hours of gameplay. Gaming on the iDevice is like riding a roller coaster, short and expensive (admission ticket wise).

Wave SplinterThat is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Dragon Age: Journeys

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Dragon Age Journeys

In a clever attempt at marketing, hype, and product synergy for the upcoming Dragon Age: Origins, EA 2D has created a browser-based tactical RPG by the name of Dragon Age: Journeys. Divided into chapter installments, subtitled The Deep Roads, the free-to-play RPG will serve as an introduction to the world of Dragon Age: Origins. This time killer will be available October 2009.

Dragon Age: Journeys Screen 1The age of the dragon is but a click away.