GW2 – Feature Pack Survived

I took the plunge and jumped into GW2, post-Feature Pack. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The meaning of the traits came back to me as I was looking over them, and I dumped points into things that sounded familiar. I haven’t done anything even remotely close to min-maxing in GW2 so it probably doesn’t matter. Also I don’t do dungeons or anything competitive, so my lack of optimization won’t affect anyone but me.

I know that the new wardrobe thing is supposed to be easier, but I still don’t understand it. I have never been into skins, and honestly I don’t think I’ve done a single transmutation in the entire time I’ve had the game. Anyway it looks like it costs Transmutation Charges to change your wardrobe, which I don’t have and don’t know where to find (other than buying them with real money). Basically I got confuzzled and left the wardrobe for another time.

Then I wandered around killing mobs for a little while to see if anything was different. It seemed like the number 1 Necro Axe skill (“Rending Claws”) got weaker while the number 2 Necro Axe skill (“Ghastly Claws”) got a lot more powerful. Other than that I didn’t notice much difference, so I feel like I got my character back to a point where he can tour the landscape and see whatever new Living Story things might pop up in the future.

Overall, I averted the need to uninstall. On the other hand I didn’t see much to get excited about, either. Perhaps leveling another character would make the changes more obvious.

ArcheAge RU – Flailing Around

I thought I would do a quick update on my progress in ArcheAge RU. I have made it to level 12. Update complete.

Thusfar I have still not been able to enjoy any of the vaunted sandbox features of ArcheAge, because I still can’t read Russian*. I have sort-of puzzled out how to grow vegetables from seeds, and how to make food from the vegetables. (I don’t precisely know what happens when you eat food – you get a buff but it only lasts about 30 seconds.) Recently I also learned how to make potions from some of the plants I’ve gathered.

But that’s about it. It’s difficult to figure out the crafting because when you open up the menus, it tells you everything you can craft, whether you have the ingredients or not. (Probably because you always have to buy one or more components.) Scrolling through pages and pages and pages of Russian looking for the one thing that might list ingredients I have is pretty tiresome. I figure that I need to turn my raw ore into ingots, but I have not yet figured out how to do that.

In other news, I passed by an area that clearly held player housing, but I could not figure out who to talk to about buying something, or if I even had that ability. Nearby there was a portal that teleported me to some kind of island resort. I suspect it was more player housing, but again I could not figure out who to talk to or how to make anything happen, and there were no exclamation points floating over anyone’s head. I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford beach-front property anyway.

One serious problem in ArcheAge RU is the point system that I now know is called Labor Points. I am playing on a free account, so I don’t have very many of them (last night when I logged off I think I had 7). And basically every time you gather something, it uses up one or more points. They only replenish at a fixed regeneration rate, and that rate is quite slow, and they don’t regenerate offline. I’m guessing that if I paid real money, it would be much easier to get these points. I trust that Trion Worlds will not cripple their free players as much as ArcheAge RU seems to.

Oh it never seems to save my keybinds, either. You can change them in-game but it always resets them next time you login. I’m not sure if that’s a bug or a limitation of free accounts. That’s a pretty harsh restriction if it’s intentional.

So mainly the only thing I have successfully been able to do is go from exclamation point quest to exclamation point quest, killing mobs, which is about as mundane as it sounds. (I have only puzzled out a limited number of class features – in addition to the flaming softball, I have added an ice attack to my arsenal which slows the target for a few seconds.)

I’m hoping some of the ArcheAge footage from Trion Worlds or other streamers will illuminate how to do more things. Or that Trion’s will go into beta already so I can buy it and play in English. :)

* I’m a bit scared to install the English language patches.

Late breaking news: It looks like Trion labor points regenerate a lot faster, and have a cap of 1000.

Landmark – Listening To Players?

I have to disagree with MJ at Massively when she writes, somewhat defensively, that SOE is doing a good job providing what the players want in Landmark. I like MJ and all but SOE has definitely not listened to any of my feedback.

Like for example when I keep asking for them to turn it into an actual game. If they are listening to anyone, they must only be listening to people who just want to build fancier houses and role-play in them. Because the only things they’ve added to the game since the beginning are more and fancier parts with which to build things.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m ecstatic they added a compass. I can remember thinking in the first couple of days, “Man, this game needs a compass or something. Opening the map every ten seconds to see if you’re still going the right way is kind of janky.” That was, you know, three months ago. It took them three months to add one of the most basic 3D navigation tools you can imagine to their game. (Trove had a N-S-E-W text indicator at the top of the screen on the first day.)

It makes me wonder if they have sub-contracted out the game programming work to somebody else. Say, to one C++ programmer in a basement somewhere who only works every other Friday afternoon. While all the rest of the full-time SOE staff is busily working in 3DMAX and Photoshop creating models of windows and clothes and tables to add into the asset database. So if they need a compass added to the HUD, they have to get this one basement programmer to put it in, and he’s too busy watching Game of Thrones or something all day to even get anything done on Friday afternoons. But, you know, give him a few months or a year and he’ll get those minor things like invert mouse and a compass and maybe some non-Linux-looking placeholder UI components right on in the framework.

I’m sure I’m being totally unfair to their development team, but I’m kind of irritated that I was sort-of duped into buying a Trailblazer pack. At no point did anyone say that they were not planning to add any significant gameplay features during the entire Alpha or Beta. If they had, I might have been a bit less implusive about signing up.

I know, I know, it was my own fault for being optimistic. And hey, there’s still a chance that Landmark could become something more than just a demo of the EQNext game engine. And I’m sure they will give all of us early adopters huge perks after the free-to-play launch, so it’ll be worth it in the long run. (No, the Trailblazer’s Pick is not a good enough perk.)

(Updated to fix link because WordPress consistently fails to do Markdown correctly when posting by email.)

H1Z1 – You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

So. H1Z1. Another zombie game.

That’s already enough to make me not care about it.

Zombies were old when The Secret World came out. (Yes, TSW is already an MMO with zombies.) Zombies are now so old that you can’t help but roll your eyes whenever you see another zombie game. “But wait, in this one the zombies can breakdance! See how relevant we are!” No. Zombies are dead. Pun intended. They are like elves in a fantasy MMO. Except there are no other races to distract you from the elves.

Zombies are so over that vampires would be a refreshing change. In a World War 2 setting.

Oh, H1Z1 is coming from SOE? Oh that changes everything. Now I’m thinking that if I play it, not only will I be bored to death from yet another zombie-themed survival game, but I will also be annoyed by pop-up ads or screwed out of a lot of money!

Yeah, Landmark has tarnished my opinion of SOE a bit, which was never really that high in the first place. Man was that a stupid impulse buy. (Landmark would be a fun game, if they could actually put a frickin’ game in there somewhere.)

Oh, I know how they could make it new and fresh. They could make it a cartoon zombie game, where the zombies are funny!

No, wait. That’s old too. (See World of Warcraft.)

But hey, it’ll be free-to-play, so it won’t cost anything to make fun of it.

P.S. Dear games industry: Please stop doing zombie games. Please? Zombies are quite repulsive to look at, you know. Not pretty at all.

P.P.S. I have to acknowledge that there is a small possibility that H1Z1 might be fun. It’s just that at this point, it needs to be the absolute most awesome gameplay ever to climb up above the mediocrity of the zombie genre.

Some days later…

P.P.P.S. I watched some of the H1Z1 livestream. Let’s just say that I won’t be buying into any alphas or betas for this one unless they can show something a lot more interesting.