Browsing articles in "Free to Play"
Aug 2, 2013

SOE Dead 2013 – Dragon’s Prophet

SOE announced that Dragon’s Prophet would be “launched” in September during the first keynote of their SOE Live convention in Las Vegas.  My question is; will anyone actually be playing by then?

A bit of background: I managed to get a Dragon’s Prophet beta key (after signing up for a chance at a key with SOE and Infernum, the European publisher) a few weeks before it went into it’s current phase, open beta, and thought the game showed a lot of promise, a couple of translation issues and it would be there.  SOE and Infernum, started offering Founders Packs, so having enjoyed my time in the beta, I decided to drop some coins for the middle tier package, the Dragon Master pack.  I’m a sucker for melee pet classes, and all the classes fitted the bill…

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Mar 24, 2013

Disappointment

Lately, I’ve been looking for my new MMO home, Guild Wars 2 was not it; I felt like I’ve done everything in the game, so not much keeping me there; The Secret World wasn’t it either; feels like they won’t be adding massive new features since it went F2P, TERA is not there either, same F2P nonsense as always.  EverQuest is not EverQuest 2 with a seriously clunky interface and the old game I knew and loved simply isn’t there any more, I even tried EQMac, but since everyone is level 65, and fine steel weapons cost several hundred thousand plat, I shall not be attempting that again.

So, the other half saw Vanguard: Saga of Heroes on Steam’s Free to Play section, so we thought we would give it a go.  I remembered my old station access details, and we were good to go.  I had tried playing it before, but quit due to the bugs and general unpolished quirkiness of it all.  I had my old character sitting where our guild house/shed used to be (seems it got removed).  Deciding I have no idea what to do, I rerolled.

Starting on the Isle of Dawn, the new tutorial island, was a fun experience, quests showing you the basics of combat, diplomacy and crafting (harvesting being fairly self explanatory) was a completely new experience to what came before, basically being left to your own devices in your races’ home town.  The new player experience is really good, as a cleric you start in some weak, but pretty cool looking equipment, which is much better than brown leather crap you started with before.  There are still some glitches, but it’s like a released game, rather than a (very) extended beta test.

It was all too good to be true, and then I noticed someone in the regional chat channel wondering why there was only ever 20 people being listed on the /who all command.  Obviously this isn’t an accurate measure of the servers population, but it doesn’t bode well.  Looking at the games Subreddit on.. err.. Reddit it seems there is very little activity at all, so with 2 servers available, it seems it’s another dead game.

Looks like the hunt for that one “home” game is back on, will it be a triumphant return to form for Final Fantasy XIV, will Dragon’s Prophet be any good?  Will I actually find a populated Shadows of Luclin emulated server for EQ1?  Who knows?  I hope some kind developer makes a good MMO one day…

Oct 10, 2011

Wurm Online: Travelling and wildlife

Journal entry 5

“I’ve decided to abandon my small slab of land, and head towards Kendra where Sres and Yetian has set up camp. It’s pretty far from where I am, but it sounds like they’ve got more resources over there, so I’m taking the chance. I’ll bring whatever important stuff I have, and hope I will be able to locate my body when I die somewhere in the wilderness; because I’m pretty sure I will!

I felt a bit sad, as I had to say goodbye to my homeland *sniff*. I slowly began my journey in the direction I believed to be north-west. My plan was to head back to Green Dog, and from there go south around the mountain and then straight west towards the coast. After that it should be a short and probably safer trip towards Kendra. Before I left, I harvested my field of cotton which yielded me 2 balls of cotton. I decided to use one of them for string, so I could finally finish my fishing pole. The other I will pick for seeds, so I can start a new production when I arrive at Sres and Yetians place. I stocked up on water and fish and headed out.

While I walked down the first hill my shed got smaller and smaller in the distance until all I could see was the smoke coming from my last campfire. I left a bunch of planks and a few fields ripe with rye.

After a long walk I realized that I was on the wrong track. Apparently I was heading straight West, and suddenly I was in a huge forest with loads of wolves. I quickly fled the place and with a pack of wolves on my tail and stamina at about 20%, I entered a settlement where the guards quickly dispatched the wolves. This running towards the guards, was a strategy I first tried in Everquest 1 and it seems to work wonderfully well in Wurm also.

I now found myself at the bank of a huge lake, and something told me I had been here before. At the left and right of the lake there was 2 mountains, so it LOOKED like I was south of Green Dog. I started my way around the lake and right enough, I ended up at the Wurm Online starter area: “Green Dog”.

After getting some more water and fish I headed south towards Mithril Hall, as I was hoping this way would be easier and shorter than going north around the mountain. I suspect this was a wrong assessment…I reached Mithril Hall without any serious problems, but in that town I completely lost my bearings. I asked a friendly citizen, who pointed me in the right direction and he even gave me a compass! Thx a lot, stranger whose name I don’t remember!

 

Full of positivity I now headed west for the coast, but I soon got a bit worried as it seemed I was going up all the time, and I wasn’t keen on ending up on a mountain top without a chance of getting down again. After dodging a spider in an olive tree forest and exiting the forest on the other side, I was getting increasingly nervous as no sign of civilization was in sight. The tall grass had me walking over the edge of a cliff, and I ended up getting quite crippled from a nasty fall. As bad luck usually comes with an extra dose of bad luck, I was jumped by a mountain lion while recuperating.  How I survived this encounter is beyond me, but the lion went down (a feat I have yet to repeat).  To my luck I hadn’t sustained any medium wounds, so time would now be the healer.


I'm sure I'll survive a nice stroll through a dark forest!

Hmm...where is west? And what was that noise?!

 

After such a close-to-death experience people have a tendency to get cocky, and sadly I too was victim of this false sense of immortality. I simply got careless which in WO very quickly can be your downfall, and indeed did I fall…yet again. Word of advice to WO newbies: No. Taking that shortcut down a steep cliffside probably isn’t a good idea. I ended yet again in the grass, slowed down by a legwound, and ofcourse another sneaky feline predator took advantage of my obvious disadvantages. Short story even shorter: A nearby spider joined the action and I died at what I later found out to be about 50 meters from a settlement with guards.

 

This Is What You Get From Falling...and getting jumped by spiders and lions


The settlement meant that I was on the right track, and after a horrible coprserun, (running around trying to find your own corpse and dropped items) I finally reached the westcoast.

There it is! I can see water! *sob* Oh thank you looooord!

No more trees. Signs of civilization. Ffaffner is happy!

 

Following the coast north I ended up finding my needle in the haystack: Sres’ and Yetians few dirttiles.”

 

The start of something big: "neXus"


Update

I have now been living with Sres and Yetian for a few days. Markbrad and Gotchi have joined us and we are slowly getting a plan done. A plan involving lots of building and crafting to ensure our survival in this slightly more dangerous part of the world. It does feel safer though to be with friends instead of having to watch you own back all the time. The gathering of resources is a lot faster now, and even raising our first shed was fairly quick as we could divide the worktasks between us.

I’m sure my troubles aren’t over yet, but I’m looking forward to see what Wurm Online has to offer when playing in a group. From now on I won’t be writing journals on a day to day basis, but I plan to do some broader updates on our current situation.

To be continued…

PS. I never got to take any screenshots of my encounters with spiders and lions. I was way too busy either running, fighting or crying (mostly crying). Instead I will treat you to a screenie of this deceased scorpion I came by during my travels!

 

No....I didn't kill this giant scorpion. Not. At. All.


Oct 7, 2011

Wurm Online: My first couple of days

As promised in my recent post, here is a small journal of my travels so far in the land of Wurm Online. As I don’t like stripping my  games down to the math behind, my approach was to just jump in and seek info on the wiki when I needed it.

Journal entry 1:

“While the game might look awful at first, it helps the immersion knowing that everywhere around you there are other players trying to carve themselves a small piece of the world. The game feels so much more habitated than any other game I’ve tried.

It takes quite a while getting a grasp of how things work, but after that (and after your skills has raised a bit) it feels a lot more rewarding than when just starting out.

I’m struggeling with getting metal and mining, and I can’t find many creatures to hunt who won’t kill me in 5 seconds. This means that I have to forage for nuts and berries when getting low on food. Once in a while I do kill a deer and get some nice meat, but this is definately one of the things I’m not too great at. Luckily I have quite a few layers of fat to burn, when my stomach reaches empty.

 


This is a screenie of my small 1×1 shed I have JUST built. Damn it feels good! And it took quite a while, especially as I’ve chosen to leave the starter area and find myself a spot to live. This makes ressources hard to come by, though! But now I can drop my stuff inside my shed, and this way people can’t loot it. If someone breaks in it will be flagged as “stealing”, but I have no idea what that means gameplay-wise.

To make my little shed I’ve been levelling the ground with my shovel and flattening it. Then I’ve been mining iron to make some nails for the shed. After that I’ve been cutting down surrounding trees to make me some planks (a LOT is needed *phew*). And at last I could start building the walls. I finished it all by making a lock to put on the door, so now I’m finally safe……SOMEWHAT  safe as I’ve seen a few giant spiders running around my area

Next step is to cultivate the ground around my shed and set up a wooden fence to keep other players AND scary demon-spider-goblin-lions out. After that I need to forage for seeds and then grow some stuff. Hopefully I will stumble upon some cotton, as i need it for my stick and fishhook. After that it will all be a breeze…..I hope.”

Journal entry 2:

“I read somewhere that if you want to find a nice place to setup without everybody around you owning everything, you have to pick a direction and then just walk on. The first two times I did that I walked for 20 mins and then some spider or bear killed me. Third time I went straight for some mountains and after 15 mins I found a nice place close to water, mountainside and trees. It seems like I’m very far from clay, which annoys the hell out of me. I might “leave home” soon and go on a trip to find some clay, make myself some pottery and then head back. I probably won’t make it in a day, though.

I’m not 100% sure where I am, but it must be around south of Middle Of Nowhere on this map: http://noizeviola…m_map2.png (You start out at Green Dog).

Regarding  sharing and living with friends, I think at least one has to be a subscriber to set up a village and create a deed for some land, but I have no idea how all that works. If we all set up close to each other we can always share components and other stuff.

You need to set up close to water until you can get some pottery to hold water in. Fairly quickly you can carve yourself a stick and make a wooden fish hook. If you then succeed to botanize some cotton from a grass tile, you can make some string and then finish a fishing pole, which means an end to starving AFAIK. I havent found any cotton yet though.

Each crafting step has a timed component to it which is annoying but quite fair. After all it wouldn’t be fun if it took under a second to mine a wall. The time component scales according to the quality and condition of your tools, your nutrition-, water- and foodlevel, your skilllevel and your current stamina. Some actions require you to keep an eye on a lot of different craftingitems at once. Try juggling a campfire that needs to stay lit by adding wooden scraps and the heatlevel of iron lumps inside the fire while trying to craft nails from glowing iron before it turns cold again.

Right now, Im trying to build a wooden fence around my shed, but I need more iron for nails….and it’s cold outside and there are wolves after me *sniffle*”

Journal entry 3:

“I just ventured out in what I believe to be north west of my position. I tried to find some clay, and although I stumbled upon quite a few villages and lakes, I never found any clay at all :/ I did find someones unfinished clay jars, and as there was no owner I put them in my inventory. I found out that the next step in creating them was using water on them, but as I have no clay bowl, I cant handle water…sigh.

I hear theres plenty of clay near the shoreline, so I might venture south another day to get to the nearest shore. I’m a bit hesitant to do so though, because today it took me quite a while finding my shed again after going on the quest for clay. At some point I thought I was going crazy and should just give up on my small shed and start over again, but then JUST over a hill, there it was!

Damn this game takes a lot of time!”

Journal entry 4:

“I succeded in finishing the clay jars I found, but I can only use them to store food and water, as I need a bowl to be able to make soup and casseroles…I was a bit dissapointed but at least I can now carry water around with me!

Today I finally found a ball of cotton! I didnt use it for string though, as I choose to pick it for seeds instead. This way I can plant cotton and hopefully get more cotton this way. Cant wait till my crops are ready

Still Im struggeling with getting enough food atm, but I hope that my recently sowed rye will help me make some bread…I just need a scythe to harvest it, and I have no idea how to get one atm….sigh. Every time you take a step forward you realize there are two more to be taken to actually get what you want “

This has been a description of my first days in Wurm Online. Some time has past since then, and a lot has happened. I will soon follow up with another journal of how my situation in Wurm Online has changed quite a bit….oh, and I promise you some action and bloodshed too.

Oct 3, 2011

Ffaffner in the land of Wurm Online

In the ever continuation of detachment from the virtual world, that is going on in recent (and future) MMO’s, I have found myself craving a new world to escape to. It seems that every single MMO these days have 90% of its focus set on gameplay and 10% on a players ability to interact with the world without the result being of a competitive nature. Wolfshead over at WolfsheadOnline.com, has discussed this problem over and over again, and his points has IMO become more and more valid as each new MMO releases.

The last couple of weeks I have decided to “tune out”, and like a hermit fed up with the current state of society, I have fled out into the woods to get back to “how it once was”; back to older days, or at least a world that looks like and works like older days.

I’ve searched for a place to bring back that level of escapism, that older MMOs as Everquest 1 and Vanguard has provided me in the past. Yes, I have even re-subbed to some of these old games to see if the magic was still there, and ofcourse I became the victim of glorified memories that couldn’t stand up to the changes that has happened to myself and NOT happened to these games, since I left them many years ago.

As a way to get my feet in the binary soil of a fake reality again, I have shifted my focus from socializing, exploring and fighting, to the art of crafting. Crafting has always been kind of offputting to me, as I found it dull and without any meaning in the virtual worlds I have been habitating. I’ve always felt that crafting took away precious time, where I could be interacting and adventuring with my friends, but now it seems like it might be the only way to interact with a world, that today has been reduced to a stage, a bleak lifeless background-set in a cartoon you’ve seen a billion times.

A few weeks ago I booted up Wurm Online for the first time. My first notion was to delete the game as fast as possible, but as I’ve heard some good things about it in the past, I gave it a chance. It wasn’t easy though, as WO looks like something that is older than old. But after finishing the important tutorial, I set foot out into the real world, and then I saw that the world of Wurm offers something I have been missing for a long time. Horizons, stretches of land, possibilities and magnitude.

I believe I wish I could fly

In short Wurm Online is a sandbox MMORPG focused on survival and crafting. It’s built up almost entirely in Java, which is probably the reason for the dated graphics. The crafting system is pretty simple, but VERY deep, and this is what makes it interesting. You can manipulate the gameworld and the physical attributes of the land, and you can build almost anything from houses to ships. The game do have a simple combat-system, but this isn’t where the main focus is….at least not on a PvE server. Dangers are everywhere in the form of normal wildlife and more fantasy oriented creatures like goblins, trolls and demons, so some kind of strategy towards protection is a very good idea. And this is something I REALLY like about WO. It’s more about protecting yourself than attacking other. At least for now.

At the moment I am playing on the free PvE server “Deliverance”, and to hopefully get some guildies to try the game out with me, I have been making some posts on our guildforum about my experiences in Wurm Online. I have decided to move this small journal of mine to these pages, to see if anyone else might find this strange little game interesting. What I have written so far, will be accessible here in a new post, and I plan to make other posts in the future about WO if I should choose to subscribe and stick to the game. Mmo-symposium writers Sres and Yetian is trying out the game with me, so they will probably chip in with their own posts in the near future.

The beginning of a field

Sep 26, 2011

EverQuest 3 (to Play)?

Sorry for the bad pun, but John Smedley of SOE Fame, or infamy if you’re not a fan, said something this week in an interview on GamesIndustry.biz that got me thinking;

“In my opinion this [The Old Republic] is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model.” 

Now call me curious, but aren’t you, Mr Smedley, developing EverQuest 3?  Isn’t that a “large scale MMO”?  Of course it is, it has to be, it better be!

PlanetSide 2 going Free to Play should’ve set off my spidey senses, but I’m now thinking the venerable EQ3 will be launching sans Sub.

F2P is all well and good, but this is SOE, I can’t help but think that they’ll be fleecing the players for every penny they can get their grubby mitts on, to me, the difference between subscription and free to play is the same as the difference between those awesome Theme Parks like Alton Towers and Oakwood Park; where you pay to get in and the rides are free, and those rubbish “Fun Fairs”, if they can be so-called, where you get in for free, but pay for all the rides.  SOE would like to have you pay to get in, then pay for the rides, as they did with EQ2.

I’m also quite annoyed with F2P actually costing you more than a subscription.  I like knowing how much a game is going to cost me before I play, call me old fashioned, but I certainly think spending real money on pretend things is still a bit odd.   A Massive game like EQ3 would have loads of things to do other than questing and grinding exp.  Crafting, customising your home, trading with other players etc. Imagine, if you will, that you had to pay a fee every time you did that, or were severely limited in what you could do until you coughed up the cash for a “Traders Pack” or maybe an increase to your “House Item Limit”, which wouldn’t be permanent, would only be a 7 or 30 day “rental” until you needed to top it up.  NO! THE HORROR! ARGH!!

Obviously, this is a worst case scenario, but if SOE moves EQ3 into the F2P arena, as they will be doing with DC Universe Online; and with SOE’s track record for telling their players the truth (the RMT in EQ2 thing still hurts!)  it doesn’t bode well for players’ value for money.

Sep 8, 2011

PlanetSide 2 For Nowt!

PlanetSide 2 is going F2P.  This had to happen to compete, Tribes and Firefall being Free to Play made it seem like a bit too costly.  This also means I will definitely be playing from launch rather than “umm”-ing and “ahh”-ing until deciding to play it after everyone else has been playing it for a few weeks, condemning me to always being behind everyone else with the time based leveling skills system.  DAMN YOU TIME! DAMN YOU TO A SNAKEY HELL!

I do hope the F2P stuff is limited to fluff and not superior weapons.  Balance is of vital importance in a PvP player skill based game like PlanetSide.  The game will bomb if it becomes Pay2Win, and I will be very sad indeed.

;(

Via The Internet

Aug 31, 2011

Dragon Nest Adventures

I tend to stick to the same MMO for a while, I like the idea of building up a persona and then levelling up, it’s a part of games that developers seem to shy away from these days and concentrate more and more on the end game, they’ve swapped grind for repetitive end game content (See rift world events)

So with my new found flitting skill, I started looking around for some new MMOs to tinker with.  The first proper MMO that I found that caught my interest was Dragon Nest.  Eyedentity Games are the developer who I hadn’t heard of mainly because they’re a South Korean development team who started back in 2007, Dragon Nest is their first commercial game and is quite the success in Asia. Continue reading »

Aug 18, 2011

To Pay, or not to Pay…

As a Nerd, it is my solemn duty to keep abreast of the goings on in the world of video games, and as such, I actively follow the development of MMOs that catch my eye with a hope that this may be the next great MMO that I get to play.

I’ve noticed in the last year or so, that Free to Play games are becoming more and more attractive than their Pay to Play counterparts.  12 months ago, I wouldn’t even have considered playing a F2P game for any length of time other than a quick go to “see how bad it was” whereas now, they feature quite prominently in my “MMO Watch List” which is after the break.

Continue reading »

Jun 21, 2011

…not having to pay: Priceless.

With news coming from everywhere about previously subscription based MMOs going Free 2 Play, with a variety of different models, I’m beginning to wonder where I’m going to find the time to play all these games, and where this is all heading to.

Last week it was Age of Conan and a possibility of Star Trek Online, this week it’s been Fallen Earth, and today it was City of Heroes and Lego Universe.  Age of Conan is somewhat more extreme with limited classes available and quite a few other restrictions to free players, Fallen Earth has been taken over by GamersFirst, so will probably become a Pay 2 Win shambles within a month (don’t quote me!) but they’re all opening their doors to anyone with the hard drive space and intelligence to fill in a registration page.

I don’t have a problem with increasing the player numbers, keeps the games alive, and the F2P model seems to make developers way more cash than your standard subscription model, but after delving into Steam’s F2P offerings I must say the “Credit Card Details Barrier” is certainly a good thing.

I’ve never played a F2P MMO that was developed from the ground up, to have micro transactions and no monthly fees, this week I sampled the delights of Forsaken World.  To be honest, I was expecting a grindfest and little else, but what I got was a proper, honest-to-goodness MMO with kinda out-dated graphics, but nothing offensively bad.  It is actually really good fun, and has a load of features from other MMOs, a la Rift but with no monthly fee.  From reading up on it a bit more, it has the lot, guild fortresses, raiding, instances, in depth crafting, all the bells and whistles of an AAA MMO.

What it doesn’t have, is a GM presence, or a sense of the players being policed. Griefing seems to be a major pass time, and players seem to be rather rude or just ignorant, having players take harvest nodes which you’ve been fighting towards happens far more often than in Rift/EQ2.   APB is another example, aimbotting is rife, as is wallhacking and lagswitching.  I haven’t seen much evidence of things being fixed, it does seem like the publishers are interested in one thing, grabbing every last penny off you for the virtual wares they have on offer.  If you pay for the upgraded guns, you will have an advantage, and some of those guns cost £50, it’s ridiculous, and it’s like GamersFirst just don’t care about the game at all.

Lord of the Rings Online on the other hand, is Subscription converted to F2P done right.  You pay for new content, not having an unfair advantage, the cash shop is not in your face either, and the game feels like it’s being managed.  Upon rolling my first character, players were helpful, I saw a GM in the global chat channel answering questions, how an MMO should be, unlike EQ2, which is a subscription based game, with a cash shop, call me cynical, but that’s being greedy.

If I’m being honest, I really hope this F2P lark is just a fad, and it goes back to 14 day trials and subscriptions.  With a sub, I know how much a month it’s going to cost to play the game, and not have to think about paying out for anything else to stay competitive.

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