RIFT Impressions 1.1

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"Nirvana is coming, the mystic portal awaits."

Ah, the smell of a new MMO! The joy of playing through starting content and actually seeing fellow human players running around completing quests. I had forgotten what this feels like.

During my first play session last night, no matter what, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be playing World of Warcraft instead. I mean, there is nothing inherently wrong with RIFT. I fear though that years spent in the refined lands of Azeroth somehow set a mental bar in my head. Why should I play anything less than the perfection that is WoW?

After leveling to level 4, I called it quits last night. That is, until a few minutes later…when I sat down again and played some more. Call it the MMO pull or the relaxation that mindless tasks (kill ten mystic dudes) bring, but I continued to play until I hit level 5. By then my laptop’s fan was screaming and the base of the computer was super hot.

The last time I really dove into an MMO, besides WoW, was with Warhammer Online. Warhammer had something special going for it. At least I thought it did. The public quests, dark art style, and a land perpetually at war drew me in. Heck, the fact that it was something other than World of Warcraft was enough for me. As I progressed through the levels however, I soon came to the conclusion that Warhammer was a shallow affair. My friends quit shortly after the first few months and I did too. Warhammer was fun while it lasted.

I‘m still not sure what I think of RIFT. Can’t tell if it is just more of the same or if something “special” is just over the next horizon. Like I said in my first post, I’ll keep you updated. Until next time.

Connections

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In the hustle and bustle that has become everyday life, I am beginning to wonder how I ever found time to play such games as World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online. I think that when I was playing them, I was using them as a social means to hang out with friends from back in California. With the time difference proving to be too big of a drawback–I’m usually in bed by the time my friends get around to being able to game–, my friends and I all slowly walked away from MMO’s.

While part of me misses the thrills of leveling and exploring the various game worlds, I more so miss being able to hang out with friends in another state. Slaughtering the digital denizens, while shooting the breeze, created good memories for me. As a guy, doing something with other guys is just priceless, even if it is just playing a game online.

I don’t know if it is this way with every gamer, but I have a core group of friends that I have gamed with since high school. Since moving to Texas, I have kept in touch with them by phone, email, and occasional visits. I ultimately don’t want our connection to be lost due to distance. Though we may have walked away from MMO’s for the moment–Bioware’s Star Wars MMO is on the horizon–, we are all still good friends. I am thankful for friendships that evolve and change with time… and distance.

For the Love of Flight

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Sadly, Jasmine decided to ditch me...for some guy named Aladdin.

Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling

Through an endless diamond sky…

Flying through the forests near Shattrath, I was suddenly struck with the thought that flying in World of Warcraft is lame. I mean, don’t be me wrong, I love the ability to take flight at any time. In fact, I absolutely dislike having to dismount from my flying mount. If I could fly everywhere in-game, I would. That said, the flight mechanics/ physics in WoW are rigid. Flap, flap, flap.

Locked and loaded for a bombing run. The Ewoks won't know what hit'em.

As I flew just below the forest canopy, I wondered why my mount doesn’t increase speed when flying downwards. Why doesn’t the flying mount have the same physics that govern airplane movement? Imagine the excitement this could bring to the game! Aeriel PvP, quests that involve air races,  and dogfighting are but a few ideas that a flight mechanic overall could bring about.

In the end, I want my time spent soaring to not only be a convenient way to get from point A to point B, but to add to the storytelling and adventure.

 

Confessions of an MMO Tourist: Cataclysm Edition

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A few months back, I had heard that there had been a cataclysm in Azeroth. All of the lands and continents of the game had been changed. Realizing that this might be a great time to visit at a discounted rate, I made sure to keep my eyes open for travel deals. No sooner had I started my search, when an e-mail arrived in my inbox with this subject line: “Bryan – Try World of Warcraft: Cataclysm FREE for 10 Days.” 10 whole days of vacationing in a new land, for free? How could I not pounce on this offer? A game client download and a few patches later, I found myself venturing once more in the lands of Azeroth.

A giant lurks in the mist.

Blizzard wasn’t joking when they said that things had changed. Right away I noticed the two new races featured in the game, the Worgen and the Goblins. So I decided to choose a new race. The thought of being a werewolf was too amazing to pass up, so I quickly created a Worgen mage by the name of Ruford. Ruford and I rode around the Worgen starting area, slowly learning about the Worgen infestation and how the great cataclysm occurred.

Ah Gilneas, World of Warcraft at its most refined.

My adventures with Ruford lasted until level 9. It was then that I decided that enough was enough. Though Cataclysm represents a fantastic upgrade to the World of Warcraft experience, the game is still the same. Frustrated, I quit playing. 10 days later I find myself wanting to play again…but alas, it is not to be. Farewell new content!

Gamer OCD

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I have quickly come to the conclusion that I play too many games at the same time. A friend of mine calls it “gamer OCD”. Want proof? Within the last month I have explored:

  • Ratchet and Clank: Future
  • Dragon Age Origins
  • Final Fantasy 13
  • World of Warcraft
  • Little Big Planet
  • Flower (With only six levels, I rocked this game!)
  • Final Fantasy 7
  • Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Did you count how many games I have played off and on? 8! Keep in mind that it is not like I play each game for 5 minutes and then jump to the next. No sir. Instead I dump more than a few hours into each title. With Final Fantasy 13, I have probably played for more than 6 hours total. Run. Battle. Discuss random things. Run. Battle. Etc.

The problem with moving between so many games at a time is that you quickly forget how to play a specific game. Take last night for instance when I fired up Final Fantasy 13 and quickly died. I had forgotten how to play the game. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So, where am I going with all this? This year, I really want to focus on playing one game until I complete it or decide to discard it forever. FOREVER. I inwardly laugh over making such a resolution (I don’t think I’m capable of it) but I would certainly like to try.

Climb aboard my tidy ship of serial-gaming-monogamy. The waters ahead could be a tad rough.

Beyond the Cataclysm

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So, you’ve just shattered a six year old game Blizzard Entertainment, what are you going to do next?

1. Release expansion packs that build upon the new Cataclysm content. Expansion packs are like the carrot on the end of a stick, enticing gamers to hang around for new content. Will there be new races and lands announced in the future? You betcha ya!
2. Find ways to further grow the current player base. Research into video game addiction and recruiting your grandma will no doubt be internally announced soon. “What are the kids into these days?”, they’ll ask. Hopefully the addition of Silly Bandz, Webkinz mini-games, or anything remotely related to cutsey talking animals are added to the Azerothian landscape.
3. With the release of Cataclysm, the ablity to fly all over the Warcraft world will finally be attained (or soI have been told/ lied to). The next logical step, in WoW’s development, will be to add an underground kingdom. Imagine riding around on mole mounts past vast underground cities and luminous lakes. Let the current Minecraft game/ craze be your guide!
4. In-game advertising! Always remember, a druid likes to be reminded of the latest hamburger available at Burger King.
5. Celebrity designed armor sets. Wait, never mind.
6. Drop the current monthly pay structure. Free is the way to be.

*Inspired by Bio Breaks Where can World of Warcraft go from here article/ posty thing.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Launch Parties Are Go!

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A friend of mine was telling me, over lunch, that Blizzard is hosting Cataclysm launch parties. Apparently the party/event closest to him will have developers on hand to sign retail copies. Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Check out this link for a list of stores and events surrounding the December 7th Cataclysm launch.