I’ve been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto: Online lately, and I must say, it’s rather good, if flawed. I even persisted through a stint in the Bad Sports lobby, which happened because of disk read errors, nothing to do with me, hence why I was given a reprieve, and left back into the general population.
It’s fun, in a “make your own fun” kinda way, the picture above was taken after challenging my friends to get buses up the top of Mount Chiliad, then parachuting down from the top.
Lately, it’s got considerably more fun, why? Hackers giving out Billions of dollars to everyone. Yes, I am a (virtual) Billionaire!
Ordinarily I frown upon any hacking, glitching or exploit abuse, anything that gives you an unfair advantage that wasn’t earned, but this is different…
First, a bit of information: There are 2 main forms of progression; RP, which is your level, and cold hard cash. RP comes relatively quickly, but cash is slow to gain unless you’re using this patches exploit of choice. The fact of the matter is, you need to be grinding missions to make money in the game, at the time of writing, Coveted is where it’s at, but it’s still a measly $12,000 for less than 10 mins work, repetitive and boring work.
One day, I was randomly given $2,000,000,023 dollars, and the game suddenly became fun! The grind disappeared, and I could play the game for enjoyment, rather than a sense of duty towards the grind. I modded some cars for my mates, bought all the upgrades I’ve been tirelessly grinding for weeks towards, got some new cars, and I’m having a blast.
Unfortunately, Rockstar is seriously clamping down on this, hackers are getting shifted to the bad sport lobbies, or just plain old banned, people who received illicit funds will have their money, and possibly assets bought with the funds, removed. This will be a very testing time for the game, there are those that want the “cheaters” punished, and those “cheaters” want to have fun without the very tedious grind. What makes it more interesting is the fact Rockstar is doing the RMT thing with “Shark Cards” so they’re losing money over this, but I feel the hackers would never spend extra money on in game cash anyway, and the exchange rate is frankly terrible, for $20 you get enough for a mid range house/garage and maybe a half decent car, I guess that’s Rockstar’s way of showing the world that the creators of GTA are the masters of robbery.
I hope Rockstar doesn’t give up on the MMO genre, but they need to learn from their mistakes, and maybe the game will survive the cash purge.
Nowadays, if you’re playing an MMO, chances are, it’s being run by a company based in the US. With the prevalence of high speed broadband, latency is no longer an issue, so why do non US players still get the short end of the stick?
Case in point, SOEs recent unveiling of EverQuest Next. In Europe, the game is run by ProSiebenSat.1, which I really don’t like at all. I decided I was going to sign up through SOEs site, to avoid all that rubbish, but alas, I was met with popups informing me I was in Europe (with an EU flag, which doesn’t apply as I’m currently in Switzerland, not part of the EU, I digress, this isn’t about politics); it asked if I would like to venture to ProSiebenSat.1′s site, or remain on the SOE run, US site. Obviously I picked the SOE site, as thats where I want to keep my game account. Did it work? Nope. I was sent into an endless loop of confirming I wanted to remain on the US site, logging in, applying for beta, then reconfirming my wish to use the US site… I eventually beat the system using a proxy. This simply isn’t good enough, SOE have stated they have no problem with EU players using their services instead of ProSiebenSat.1s, so why the problems getting it to work?
Another example: TERA Online. In the States, it’s run by En Masse, who seem to be doing a sterling job. Content updates, loads of free stuff, an instant level 58 promotion going on at the moment, an actual CS team helping out any players in need. Unfortunately for me, I decided to go with Gameforge’s version, hosted in the EU. What do I get for my trouble? Weekly server maintenance during daylight hours, not primetime, but there is usually a lot of disgruntled players, several versions behind the US version, and owners of the game before it went F2P got a fraction of the stuff their US counterparts got. The short end of the stick it seems.
After being a bit burned by Gameforge in regards to TERA in Europe, I decided to persevere when it came to Dragons Prophet, and insist on a US run SOE account. Oh boy, did I make a mistake… Infernum in the EU are updating the game constantly, free stuff codes being handed out, Raptr Rewards in place, and an actual playerbase. SOE’s servers on the other hand are dead, very little has been done with the game, no attempt to fix the controversy with the housing (founders got a house, which sounds excellent until you see the price of the land you must buy first). SOE have sent the game out to die, and I was going along for the ride. Very disappointed to say the least.
I think these game publishers should put a bit more effort in. There are no “borders” on the internet, language barriers aside, so games should be released without IP blocks and all the other nonsense which makes people feel others are getting a better deal.
I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV for a week or so now. It is good. Very good, infact. Unfortunately, some of the players have a less than active imagination when choosing what to call themselves in game…
I’m no roleplayer, but your name should your name. It is kinda immersion breaking to go on a quest to vanquish a great evil, and your party of brave adventurers includes someone called Epic Dave. Above is just a small selection of the odd names people have selected, there are many more… I wish there was an actual person employed to check character names are at least names, and not something worse (which has since been fixed). On my travels I’ve seen a load of truly awful/unoriginal names. I now make a point of asking any Lannister I meet “Are you paying?” to which there is often a puzzled response, to which I reply “I thought a Lannister always pays.” Oh god my sides! There seems to be a lot of Lannisters and Starks, it was the same back in EverQuest 1 after the first Lord of The Rings film came out, every other character you saw was called Legolasss, Legalas, Legoolos etc. (also, I recall a fair amount of people changing their surname to Evanescence, after the pretend emo goth band, there is no accounting for taste it seems.)
Unoriginality seems to be rife, I’ve seen hundreds of Tifaa Lockhhart, Tiffa Lookhearts and other spellings. The Striffe family seems to be huge. Square Enix has actually locked out people being called Cloud Strife, Rinoa Heartilly et al, but they didn’t manage to stop people from deliberately misspelling those names. There is also a trend for vaguely Japanese sounding names, this trend is puzzling. I get that the game is developed in Japan, but Final Fantasy 14 is resoundingly Western in it’s Medieval High Fantasy setting. So far I have met 1 Samurai style NPC, and 100s of heavily armoured Knights. Those Japan-esque names don’t really fit the style of the game.
I leave you with this: Why did you think this was a good name? WHY?
Zenimax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks announced that The Elder Scrolls Online will have a subscription fee.
Personally, I think this is tremendous news. As someone who doesn’t like the Free-to-Play model, I hope this begins a trend back towards subscriptions and the Buy-to-Play model used by Guild Wars 2, The Secret World and Defiance.
After playing Final Fantasy XIV in last weekends phase 4 beta test, I can tell you how refreshing it was to have all your inventory available without having to delve into a cash shop, with Wildstar also having subs, I’m hoping developers move towards constantly adding engaging content to keep people playing, rather than going for the quick buck with cash shop fluff.
It’ll be costing around £9 a month, so not bad at all. Here’s hoping the game lives up to The Elder Scrolls name.
UPDATE: It seems TESO will have a fluff item cash shop in addition to a subscription, this screams of a cash grab and laying the groundwork for a switch to F2P at a later date. Disappointing.
Apart from Crimecraft and APB, there hasn’t been many Criminally orientated MMOs. In APB’s case you can see why (it’s a horrible, unbalanced mess, which happens to have the best character customisation of any MMO ever).
Now there is a third contender, and lets face it, it’ll be the best one of the three.
Yessir, it’s Grand Theft Auto Online.
If it has half the content of GTA: San Andreas, it’ll be amazing.
Shut Up And Take My Money now, Rockstar.
As I am someone from Europe, registering interest in joining the rather blogged about EverQuest Next is becoming an issue. If I wanted to, I could go to the EU site, and register there and be done with it, but unfortunately, SOE seems to be offloading EU players onto ProSiebenSat.1, who happen to be awful.
I’ve heard tales of items being lost in EverQuest 2, and GMs not doing a thing about it; characters being deleted after patches, servers going down unexpectedly and other general bits of crappery. I personally had the pleasure of having money in my shared bank going missing after a patch, didn’t get it back, luckily it was just a few gold, but it’s not good enough.
If you play an SOE game, and are in Europe, and are not happy with this (and if you are, you are mental) please click HERE to sign a petition to allow EU players access to SOE’s superior support for their first party games (we won’t talk about how they handle other developers games).
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…
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…
Ok, I’ll be first to admit it.
This Blog has been neglected.
There is various reasons for that though…
Firstly, there simply isn’t an MMO that is holding any of our collective attentions for long enough for us to formulate an opinion about it, and secondly, we have been busy, Yetian is now a Dad (yay!), Sres hates everything and I moved to Switzerland.
On the MMO front I’ve been giving TERA a second chance since it went F2P, it’s ok, but the nagging feeling that the US servers are getting a considerably better deal is off-putting to say the least. I tried EQ1, they’ve actually changed it into a clunky EQ2, the game is now officially off my radar until I can find a decently populated Emulated server running the expansions up to Planes of Power.
As it stands, I’m waiting for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, hoping that it will deliver, ArcheAge, though some reports are painting it as a bit meh, and finally Bless and Black Desert, which both look really good, but are a bit of an unknown quantity.
I digress, I now have a PC with an interweb connection (oh god, the price on things here hurts my soul) so I shall endeavour to post more often.
Again, apologies for the slacking!
MMO giant Sony Online Entertainment are busy on the next big installment of Everquest. Word has come our way that the Everquest 3 (EQNext) will be a sandbox MMO.
Let’s all hope that their initial project meeting didn’t start with the words, ‘How can we take players from World of Warcraft’, there has been a slew of poor themepark style MMOs over recent years that have tried to beat WoW and quite frankly they’ve all failed, games like SWTOR and GW2 promised so much and never delivered a long lasting gaming experience.
Everquest is and will always be my first home when it comes to MMOs and regardless of what a cluster**** SOE make of it, I will be purchasing the game to play, just to return to the setting that I love so much.
Oh to be a Qeynos Bard again and travel the hills of Qeynos and battle giant green scarabs in the Karana’s.
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