Archive for the ‘MMO’ category

Guess who's back!

June 25, 2010

Ok so I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. Why? Because I’ve reactivated my account, taken over leadership of my guild and started raiding again. No matter how much I’ve tried to deny it, WoW just has that magnetic pull.
It’s not even the game as such, but more the people. Even during my 2 months of inactivity I’ve had constant contact with my guildmates, through IM and the forums. I’ve pretty much ran the guild via out-of-game contact with the GM I left in charge. Through him I learnt of the depression that sank over the guild, the planned coup of one of the high officers and the begging for my return.
And I miss the guys and girls. Thats what makes WoW such an astonishingly addictive game – the people in it. I’ve met people from Switzerland, Finland, Lebanon, Vietnam, Australia. I’ve met kids and parents, even a family of three generations playing together: grandparent, parent and child. As much as the game frustrates me, the people and the politics don’t.
So I’m back and ready to write content that actually involves current issues and my playtime. Oh, and my new domain is registered, should be transfering this weekend. Watch this space for the new site soon!

Old Heroes are best forgotten.

June 21, 2010

Wall of text alert!
I’ve been a gamer since the late 80’s. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I started with games like The Caverns of Zoarre (an extreme Rogue-like), Monty, Deathtrack, moved on to the Ultima series, the Diablos, etc. I’ve had Spectrums, MSX’s, basically everything but an Atari (They didn’t really take off in South Africa). Many a time I fondly look back at the games I haven’t touched in over 10 years and think of the joy I had playing them, the countless hours bent over that green screen trying to get to the next level, the next upgrade. I sometimes wish that the games of today had the same intense storylines as those text-based adventures, the same action as those Commander Keen games, the same immersion that makes you believe that you’re there, not behind a grimy keyboard.

And then I go do something stupid like downloading and playing my old heroes. Then I find Zoarre to be so much more infuriating than I remember. X-Com to be unforgiving to the pick-up-and-play generation. Ultima (the 3 -7 range) to be impossible to play without resorting to mountains of notes or googling a map and a spellbook walkthrough. Gran Turismo, the game that stunned us with its awesome graphics, realistic driving and stunning tracks, to be no better looking than what the average indie producer does as a side-job. I have a hundred other heroes that have disappointed me but I won’t go through the lot.

The problem is that my memory isn’t what it used to be, and I idolize the old games a bit too much. I look at todays games with the flashy graphics and expect them to have no depth, no proper story, no fun once you look past the pretty lights. A lot of the time I don’t give them enough credit. Another problem is that when I was younger, the choices we had wasn’t too great. We HAD to play whatever we had so we made it enjoyable, we lived into the games. But take Bioshock as an example: not many games of old had that much story behind it, that much choice, action, adventure.

Ok, some games do live up to the test of time – Arcanum is still one of the best RPGs I’ve played, and I still play it from time to time. Those old side-scrollers are still good for a pick up every now and then. Diablo will still be on my shelf to be dusted off every now and again for years to come. Syndicate Wars is still as captivating as ever.

I guess what I’m saying is that I for one shouldn’t live in the past and put today’s games against yesterday’s games. They hold their own memories, memories that should stay just that. Let them be, play today’s games, and if I do decide to relive the past, do so as a 15 year old boy again, not as a gamer with 20 years experience. Don’t expect too much of the old heroes, they’ve been in the retirement home for a long time.

Do you have any retro gems or relived disappointments from your gaming history? Let me know.

Keeping myself busy during the pre-launch slump.

June 10, 2010

I’ve gone as far as deactivating my account. The new dungeon holds no interest for me so I don’t see the need for paying a subscription for a game that I’ll only play again in a few months. This means I’ve had to find alternative distractions since even alting is off-limits to me now.

So what can one do once the shakes from withdrawal settles down? Well I’ve been splitting my time between PC games and my XBox, with the XBox getting a bit more attention than normal.

My XBox lineup:

  • #1: Forza 3: I’ve gone back to this game to get my driver level 50 and R1 WorldChampionship complete. Currently lvl 49 and 3 races into the last championship.
  • #2: Red Dead Redemption: Probably the best non-MMO I’ve played in years. I’m taking my sweet time with it and won’t be rushed to the end before I have all the sub-quests completed.
  • #3: Final Fantasy XIII: Not as fun as the old VI and VII Playstation versions, but still good enough to give a play through. Could have done with less cutscene and more customisation.

My PC lineup: (in no particular order)

  • Runescape: Started this last night. It’s a bit laggy on my slow dsl line, but playable and seems to have a lot of character growth available. I’ll be giving this a fair chance over the next few weeks.
  • Hydorah: Awesome side-scrolling spaceship game done in true 8-bit style with tons of powerups and shields. Great fun. Also have a look at the developer’s other 8-bit adventures. (Edit: site seems to be down at the moment)
  • Flash games: There’s tons of them all over the web but the one that got my attention the most in the last week was Wallace and Gromit’s Sprocket Rocket. Give it a try, it’s worth it. Another is a racing management sim called Formulawan. Originally a french game, they’ve been working hard to convert it and improve on some areas.
  • Torn City: It’s a text-based online RPG where the aim is to commit crimes, mug, steal, etc to get ahead. I’ve been playing this one for almost a year and it’s proven to be addictive and fun, but not a timesink.

There’s a few other distractions, but these are the top ones at the moment. Oh, and a few web-comics that I’ll go over some other time. A special mention should probably go out to Plants vs. Zombies though, always a good fall-back game.

What games do you play when you’re bored with WoW? Comments appreciated.

LOTRO to go free.

June 4, 2010

Ok so I didn’t enjoy LOTRO when I played it when it came out the first time but I heard it got better with the patches. But since I’ve gone extreme-casual on WoW I might give it another spin. Here’s the lowdown from Massively

There’s been a lot of speculation that was largely wishful thinking, but it’s been confirmed this morning: Lord of the Rings Online is going free-to-play.

Yes, you heard that right. LOTRO will introduce Turbine’s innovative new pricing model that allows players to download the game and play for free, purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new LOTRO Store, or join the VIP program to get unlimited access to all of the game’s content for one low price.”

The news gets even better, as the offer is not restricted to Turbine players. The update will launch this fall across North America and Europe — Codemasters will also be adopting the pricing structure.

The beta program for the new free-to-play model will launch June 16th, and anyone interested in participating can sign up on the LotRO site.

Link to source

Good news to the Free-To-Play community but I doubt even this move will dent the WoWmachine’s power.