Saturday, 3 September 2011

Break from 3 to 9, back after Dinner?

That's what it looks like on the blog anyway. I would like those work hours, I have to admit. Bit of a break in the afternoon, going for a cup of coffee, some cake, a little rest in the garden, some starter with a dry sherry, a soup, maybe, now that it's getting colder outside, a sorbet - vodka sorbet, server in a half coconut for instance - a main course with a nice glass of red wine, a bit of fruit salad with a generous helping of brown sugar and rum. And then back to work. Yeah... I'm sure reports would look better in the evening.


Anyway. WoW got boring. I stopped. I tried quite a few different games. New on the list were single player games that were woefully neglected during my raiding days. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 were good. At the time of play I would have called them great, but they do suffer from "Bioware required party interaction syndrome" (that's a true medical term. Look it up!). You need to talk to your party at every single rest period to get to all the subplots. If you are a completionist, you also need to have sex with at least one of them (although I have to admit: Bioware is flexible and usually allows more creative approaches there).

Personally? Those are work mates. They are here to help me save the universe. Some of them are members of my military unit. Some of them are aliens with thought processes completely unlike my own (well - not very, but they might as well be). If they have a problem: Come to me. My door is always open! Honestly. Get off your ass, walk up to your commanding officer and say "Shepard? There is a research lab where I was tortured. I have just found the location in the ships computer. When we next pass by - could we have a look inside? The doctor said it would be good for me."

Was that hard? Seriously? But nooooo... instead we hide in the darkest, dingiest corner we could find on the whole ship and won't even mention any sort of personal problems until I tried to talk to you (that's not you, the reader, that is you, the NPC) at least three times. And apparently took you on 12 missions, at least 8 of which needed to be story relevant. No wonder I never got you into bed! (Yes, I am still bitter that I didn't get Miranda to shag Jack and Shepard at the same time.)

This probably deserved a followup on how scared I am about Star Wars: The Old Republic to do the same - but it's going to be an online game, so maybe there will be a "chatting up before sex: required 255 times" nerf in patch 1.7.2d.

Wow that was rambely... the other single player game was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. Now this game is just what I occasionally need. It's for those times when I took my level 85 warrior to Westfall to do the old quests. Those times when "kill an enemy with one blow" is what you need. Except ... in this case ... it's even better. The protagonist of the story is so ridiculously overpowered that normal NPCs are proper Mooks. Killing them is not only easy - it's so easy the character is allowed to get creative now and then: don't want to chop them in half with a lightsaber? No worries.. we have something for you.

How about:

1) Fry them with lightning (relatively tame, I agree) or choke them to death (not much better, but hey, it's a different button on the mouse).
2) Grab them by the throat (err.. not in person) and fling them over the side of a really really high up ledge and watch them fall to their deaths? (Getting better, I thought).
3) Pick up something large and heavy (like a statue), lift it off the ground, fire a lightning bolt at it to "charge" it, then throw it at the person to make the lightning ground through them just as they are squashed by a metric ton of rock?
4) Lift someone up, dangle them around and then throw a lightsaber through their chest? Good thing you got two, so you can still defend .. I think.

and last, but certainly not least:

5) Grab an approaching TIE fighter in midair, crush it into a sphere of twisted metal and then throw the wreckage (leaking toxic fuel, I'm sure) into someone.


It didn't even bother me any more that the protagonist rammed his spaceship into another one, jumped through the roof into space, dropped towards the planet at reentry speeds (with no spacesuit? who cares, we have the force!) while shoving other broken ships out of the way, turning into a bizarro human-reentry-fireball-meteority to land in the courtyard of the enemy station. On one knee (as is required in those situations), leaving a crater in the concrete. Unharmed, obviously, I mean .. hello?

Oh yes. Sometimes that's just what I need. And I don't care that it sounds silly. It has me cackling like a maniac.

On the multiplayer front there were a few old favourites. DDO (now free to play) and LotRO (also free to play). Both of them were not really free. I did spend quite a bit of money in the DDO shop, using it to unlock new race and class options, buying "veteran character" status (all characters start at 4/20 instead of 1/20) and buying a permanent stat increase tome for my main. All good choices that actually make play nicer. They fall completely out of the "purely cosmetic" range - and smack dab into the middle of "you buy this to make your character more powerful" range. And it's good. Those options actually are the only ones I want to spend money on in DDO - purely cosmetic would not work there.

In LotRO the situation is slightly different. I (or rather we - Issy is the same) bought a lifetime membership a while ago. When we come back it's usually with a sense of "this is something we don't take seriously - we can just bimble about". I think my highest character to date is level 35 and I've been to a grand total of one dungeon (whatever they are called there). With the lifetime account come points. Lots of points. So many, in fact, that my little hobbit warden got a pony with a black/red shoulderpatch. Which is apparently rare (and possibly slightly faster than another horse).

Would I spend several tens of euros on something like that? Well no. Sorry. The item shop would sort of fail there. However, as the points are free, I don't mind. And I really really want to wait until the day before LotRO shuts down (hopefully late.. in 20 years would be nice) and then log in one last time, go to the item shop and buy "One of each, please - on second thought - make it two".

And then there was Rift. As Tobold was just asking about a verdict, I might as well post it here. It was quite fun. It suffered a bit from "Early Age of Conan" syndrome, though. The beginning areas were well done and well designed, end-game was possibly not expansive enough. There were not many options at the very start, with more being patched in rapidly though. For me, it was just more of the same. Progression and gameplay were the same as in World of Warcraft (and I really really do not care that there were lots of soultrees and that it all was named differently). Quests consisted of "go there, kill 10 of x, come back". I'm not complaining - because it was new and shiny it was a great change from WoW. Dwarf females were incredibly cute (much better even than pink ponytailed gnomes), but in the end it came down to "press button 1, press button 2 after event x, hit button 3 to finish".

Again, I'm not trying to pull down Rift because of the programming. This is basically the same as in World of Warcraft. I did come back there, however, as many of our friends are still playing. Left the old (raiding) guild and rejoined my original place. Hey.. I even got my name back.

Koch (Aszune) now is sort of active again - except that I don't want to be stressed any more. Raiding? Nah .. thanks. Maybe if someone desperately needs a spotfiller (because the fights were fun, usually), but I'm also wasting time on Archaeology, the auction house (sometimes), achievements (quite a bit) and running alts through content. Hey.. I even got a warlock to 85 - and found out that I am apparently incapable of playing casters. My damage sucketh.

The gameplay in WoW is smoother though. There are not "too many" abilities (as in Rift - try paladin tanking without macroes, please: You have .. what... four reactive abilities in addition to your four attack and 6 protective options? My fingers are not long enough for that. Or rogue tanking: Why do I need 6 different teleports instead of one with a cooldown of 1/6th of the time?), there are more parallel leveling paths (one gets really really painful after the third alt in relatively short time) and the combat "feels" smoother. Maybe that's because of the aforementioned "I need 139741 buttons" problem, but the quality of WoW only shows when you compare it to some of the other options.

Actually that makes a good finish: Go and try something else if you can't appreciate the quality. And hey.. if you find you like something else better: No reason to stick around except for your friends.

1 comment:

  1. yeah yeah I know I am totally necroing your sept 3 post but traffic was hell getting here. Your last 4 paragraphs really mirror my experiences outside of WoW. Yes, we are all grown up now and don't have ALL that much free time left to raid plus at this time in my life I am not sure I even want to schedule my free time such that raiding would be plausible. I log on, dither about with achievements, or a few quick low level 5 mans on alts when my homies are online and when they are not online.. I log off.

    Salv is once again Playing for the People and not the loot :D