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.

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!

Searchlight – 5/3/10

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.: Top Searches for 5/3/10 :.

1. dungeon hunter ending – Dungeon Hunter was a great time waster. My biggest complaint was that the inventory system seemed needlessly complicated. Otherwise, the ending was satisfying for what little story there was.

2. cozyquest itunes – CozyQuest will forever be a dream unrealized by its creator. Deal with it.

3. auction house external site warcraft – While this feature has yet to be launched, I’m at least interested to see how popular this feature will turn out to be. Will work as we know it be forever altered? Probably not.

4. character slots on asherons call –  One (1)

5. guild wars 2 blog – here

Celestial Dreams

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Dreams do come true, in World of Warcraft, thanks to the recent addition of the Celestial Steed flying mount.  Celestial Steed? A new flying mount? Your probably asking what I did to obtain such a elusive piece of the heavens. Well, I can tell you that I did not:

  • Complete an epic quest
  • Slay a 1000 Murlocs
  • Or, visit the Galactic Temple high above Darkshore (surely you’ve been there!)

No, dear readers,  I simply paid $25 for this amazing downloadable addition — I love you Blizzard! –. I honestly think that the starry night sky shines brighter; that the very heavens gleam in approval of my new epic flying mount. Eat your heart out haters!

My horse from the Twisting Nether, Josie.

Still there? Good. I have a confession to make, I really didn’t spend $25 on a virtual horse. Why? Well…

  • $25 is almost as much as paying for a 2 month subscription.
  • You could buy 2 1/2 Pandaren Monks for the price of one girly-looking horse named Sparkle Fairy.

While I understand the want/need for downloadable content (money!), I just cannot bring myself to spend $25 for a virtual horse. For those of you who have, shame on you! You are supporting a practice that developers do not need to get used to. So quit it! NOW! You don’t need Sparkle Fairy. At all. So move along. NOW!

Cold Nostalgia

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Bouncing off a topic Syp @ Bio Break wrote on today, I want to take a moment and dive into what I believe is one of the reasons people still play World of Warcraft, nostalgia.

Personally, I have played WoW off and on since its inception in 2004. Sometime after graduating college and getting married, I put down the game for what I thought was the last time. My friends and I went on to play other MMO’s (Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, etc.) and always talked about the glory days in Azeroth. Our nostalgia was not just rooted in WoW but in the Warcraft RTS series as well. Hours upon hours spent playing online in high school only helped cement memories in time.

Last year I did the unthinkable though when my friends and I dove back into the lands of Azeroth. What had started out as a series of conversations about the good old days, soon manifested itself into us playing again. The past, the memories of days gone by, had pulled us back into the behemoths claws. This all didn’t last long though, as I soon grew bored in zones I had slogged through before.

Going back to Syp’s post, what will pull gamers back to World of Warcraft for the great Cataclysm? Will it be new specs? New character classes? Hardly. I believe cold hard nostalgia will be the drawing factor. Here is the thing though, nostalgia only lasts for so long. Soon reality sets in and people see things for what they are now, and not what they used to be.

The great cataclysm awaits…yawn.

Bridging the Gap

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Awhile back I blogged about World of Warcraft’s new Dungeon Finder system and my initial experiences with it. I ended the post with a list of thoughts so far. Today I would like to add to that list in light of continued use of the system (new thoughts in bold).

Pro’s-

  • Instant access to a dungeon party.
  • Easy experience (XP) earned.
  • Feels like you’ve accomplished something within an hour.
  • Instance Teleporting.
  • Meeting random new friends.

Con’s –

  • Your playing with random strangers.
  • Party members dropping out for no reason (not dedicated).
  • Dungeons seem to take about an hour to clear (45 minutes at minimum). Dedicated time is needed.
  • Finding out that the random person you just met and enjoyed playing with is on another server.
  • No penalty is given to party members who suddenly quit.
  • Lower level players are not able to play with higher level players (no scaling/ “Level Sync” system).

The friends that I play World of Warcraft with out-leveled me long ago (currently a 23 level difference and counting). Choking on their leveling dust, I manage to continue on towards that level 80 goal. (One can dream can’t they?) My high level friends occasionally fly down from Northrend and help me quest and run through dungeons — very kind of them I know–.  The other night I partied up with a few of these friends and decided to do a quick dungeon run with the Dungeon Finder. To my horror, I soon found out that the Dungeon Finder would not let me enter the queue due to my friends being too high of a level for the dungeon. What!?!

Bridging the level gap by adding a “Level Sync” system, ala Final Fantasy 11, seems like the next logical step for Blizzard to incorporate into World of Warcraft. Otherwise, for players separated by multiple levels — like me! — the level of frustration and feeling of being left behind makes one want to just give up. So Blizzard, add a scaling feature to the Dungeon Finder and let me play with my comrades in arms! Please?