Haven’t written much here yet but from now on, I’m going to post on http://nerdybookahs.wordpress.com/ instead. It’s a collaboration between me and my boyfriend (who hasn’t posted there yet, though).
Oh, what do we do? No, seriously: Reading through the official forums has spoiled so many MMOs for me. It always looks like the game’s doomed to fail when you believe everything that’s complained about there.
So far, I’ve had a wonderful experience with hardly any problems. Once a Rift was bugged as it wanted us to kill a mob that just wasn’t there. We searched high and low, turned around every stone, looked in every bush but it just wasn’t there! We decided to go for another Rift then. Problem solved. ;)
One bug that really annoys me, though: The auction house search is not working correctly! I can right-shift-click on an item and the AH says there are 0 results. I can type in parts of the name of the item or the whole item. Again: 0 results. Scrolling through a category, however, reveals that there are several items listed. It took me a while but I finally found a posting in the forum that fits to my problem. It appears that the search is bugged when you’re playing with the English client but are on a German server. That also explains why it took me three days to find information about it! I was already wondering why nobody was complaining about not being able to find anything. But I guess not that many German-speaking people are playing with the English client.
I, however, love doing so. I know I’ve heard nasty comments about it before and I’m quite tired of them. But I’m still going to “defend” myself here in advance: a) I love the English language, b) the game’s originally designed in English and thus, German is only a translation and every translation is more or less a big interpretation. I prefer having the original and c) I love getting practice in the English language. Also because studying psychology (and soon being a psychologist) means that I need English quite often (most of the literature and studies are in English, after all). So for the aforementioned reasons, I’d really hate having to switch to the German client.
At least, apart from that bug, Trion has made it very easy to switch between languages and even regions! It’s just a setting in the game’s launcher and you can change the language and even the region of the game (US and EU servers). I was positively surprised to see that! Having to switch before you actually see the server list also means that they can, in most cases, patch the servers separately. So finally, Europeans won’t have regular server maintenance during their prime time or late afternoon (as they have in Warhammer Online). Very nice service here! I also remember being very annoyed to find out that half of Warhammer’s language was server-bound. You got the quests and skills according to the server’s language. Everything else was in the language you chose. It was the only MMO I ever played in German because Denglish is just not my cup of tea. ;) But enough about that. I don’t want to get into WAR and my bitterness about the game. I’m just happy to see that Trion’s handling the language settings better.
I don’t get why everybody calls Rift a “WoW clone”. A clone means that it’s… well, exactly the same! Only a copy. So if it’s a clone, then explain to me, please, why there are so many different features in the game that WoW doesn’t have?
I prefer calling it something like “Frankenstein’s monster”. It’s taken bits and pieces from different games and put it all together and we can now see how it breathes and functions. I’m also very happy to see the invasions from Tabula Rasa work in a different game. It feels similar to Warhammer’s public quests (especially the concept of ‘public groups’ and how the loot is distributed) but it reminds me more of the aliens invading your quest hubs and taking over those places when you weren’t there to help defend the places. Ever since it closed down, I said that I’d love to see that concept in another MMO and here we are now. :) Even though I was annoyed that I had to hop off the street yesterday just in time to avoid being slaughtered by level 18 mobs (with my measly level 10) it gives everything a feeling of uncertainty and risk which is great (I imagine that to be even better when you’re on a PvP server).
Apparently, Rift has had the first level 50s on February 26 and 27. 50 is the current maximum level. I do wonder if that isn’t a bit too fast. What’s the low level content for then? Just to rush through it and arrive at max level within a matter of time? I remember that it took me 6 months to get my first character to level 60 in LotRO (I’m not a fast leveller, obviously) and while I’m always impatient especially with my first character in a game, I also want to enjoy the levelling process.
I do hope Trion was prepared for that (although they should have been, seeing how people also levelled really fast during the closed beta) and have some nice endcontent. Because so far, I’ve only heard about raids at endgame content and that could be a bit boring in the long run (yes, I’m comparing it to WoW in my mind right now because it seems that most of what they add to the game is higher levels and more raids but no real horizontal additions).
Oh well, I will enjoy the game anyway, I think. I’ve already enjoyed Aion and never reached a high level there. I’ve also been enjoying WoW before I cancelled my account again without ever setting foot into a single raid in Northrend or Cataclysm (and I’ve only been to one (heroic) instance in Cataclysm). Instead, I usually do stuff others consider boring like running around the areas looking at everything (I love being able to climb on mountains and few the scenery from there!). So, as long as there’s a niche, I’m going to find it and make myself comfortable there (preferrably a niche consisting of scenarios/battlegrounds/warfronts ^^).
Meanwhile, I’m still not sure whether to play a cleric or a warrior…
I’m currently studying for my final exams. After that, I’ll finally be done with university. Until then, however, I am not able to play much which on the one hand is sad and on the other, isn’t. I’ve always loved studying, so I don’t mind it much. It’s actually fun and I don’t feel like I’m wasting any time.
Now, if it weren’t for those finals, I would have preordered Rift. As it is, I won’t buy the game. I’ll be done in the middle of April and we’ll see where Rift is until then. I do hope it does well, so I can jump into it then.
In the meantime, when I do get a break from studying in the evenings, I usually just watch some TV or play a few easy games (Facebook is perfect for that but I also love getting into the old-school “Cultures”. I also recently bought the Settlers 5 which, oddly enough, works on Windows 7 – as do Settlers 2 in the new version and Settlers 4 with a few bugs. Settlers 6 doesn’t work at all).
Anyway. Thanks to games without monthly fees, I get to play a few MMOs here and there. Most of all, Guild Wars, LotRO and Rift (while it’s still in beta, of course!). And while I can’t play much, I’ll at least enjoy the pretty scenery they give me. I’m always in awe with what game artists come up. I did spent quite some time back in World of Warcraft travelling around the Barrens, climbing up mountains (that was before you could get a mount with level 20 already and could fly through the old world!), just to have a look at my surroundings. I don’t need any high-end graphics. I just want to see something “fitting”. So, here are some of my favourite screenshots from Rift (I haven’t seen that much yet, of course ^^), Guild Wars and LotRO:
Last but not least, Rift (Defiant starting area, the second picture is in their capital city – and a good argument for why I think it’s silly to say that Rift shouldn’t include guns and only have bows! O.O, the third one showing my Eth chloromancer)
Rift’s open beta is starting in just a few hours. If I hurry with studying and get everything done today that I wanted to get done, I will treat myself to one or two hours of gaming. But first, let’s see how they’ll deal with having an open beta and if we can even log on tonight or if there’s pure chaos when thousands of people want to log on at the same time! ^^
I’ve read countless times how guys brag that they got a geeky girlfriend who shares their interest and usually, there are other guys who are jealous because they’d love to find such a girl for themselves. It works the other way round, too! I am really happy that I found a guy who is as geeky as I am (and a bit more in some aspects and less in others), who shares my interests and understands my passion for games. He started with Ultima Online and dragged me into World of Warcraft (we got to know each other too late for him to pull me into UO as well ;) ). But I dragged him into my favourite browser game (http://www.world-of-dungeons.net – it has to be mentioned here because it’s a great game and has the best implementation of a paid-for-premium account that I have ever seen in any game!). Besides, ever since my older brother sold me his old Commodore 64, I’ve been hooked.
Anyway, Rift is starting its first closed beta event tonight. I managed to get a VIP key and so did my boyfriend. Of course, I won’t write about the game or show any screenshots etc. There’s an NDA, after all. It’s just nice to look forward to something like that and to be able to share the pleasant anticipation with somebody. We’ve already decided on what to eat (Cevapcici with Ajvar-red wine sauce) and hopefully, everything goes well when the event starts. And tomorrow, we’re going out to a Christmas market and do our grocery shopping. Today, I’m going to work on a report I need to write for my job (still 9 hours until the beta event starts, after all). So everything’s organised and there’s a good mixture of RL and necessary chores in there. :)
Sales are really bad. I wasn’t even looking for a new game. But Torchlight was offered for only 4 Euros on Steam! I tried the demo and immediately bought the game then.
I always do that, though. I see a game for cheap and buy it. Most of the time, I try the games and then leave them. Sooner or later, I reinstall Windows on my PC and am too lazy to reinstall the game and start all over again (and no, I hardly ever actually save my progress. I’m silly like that and always forget to do that ^^).
I have started Diablo II countless times. I know the first area very well. But I never got much further. And again, I’m just too lazy to reinstall it now and continue/start again. Even though I really like the game (apart from the graphics, maybe). I spent a few hours yesterday playing Torchlight and really enjoyed myself. So I do think I’ll get my money’s worth here. ;) 4 Euros isn’t that much, after all. That’d give me 1 1/2 months of my browser game. Or a quarter of a month of an MMO’s subscription. Still, it is usually a waste of my money. Spending 4 Euros for a game I didn’t actually want or don’t play is still more than not buying the game and spending 0 Euros. ;)
I’m always curious about the state of support in games. I’ve heard lots of horror stories but of course, those are usually also the worst examples and not necessarily a true reflection about a support system.
Nevertheless, I made a very positive experience with League of Legends. A few days ago, I bought the Digital Collector’s Pack. With it came 10 Euros worth of Riot Points. Now, I didn’t actually look too closely at the amount and didn’t notice that I was missing those points. About two days later, I received in email in which they apologised and explained that there’d been an issue with that Collector’s Pack or whatever and that they’d given me back my points… plus a few more points! Only then did I realise the missing points. ;) It was a very positive surprise, though. I don’t remember the exact number but it was around 5 Euros that they gave me for free. I spent another 5 Euros and bought the second champions bundle. So now I have more champions than I can play and only need to overcome my fear of playing with and against strangers. ;)
Still, it’s nice to see that the support worked fast and we got a generous compensation on top. I’ve seen enough games where you were lucky if they even apologised.
So… gamescom. I promised a “report” about it. ^^
We left the house at 7.30am. We’d planned to leave at 7 but of course, we didn’t manage that. Still, 7.30 was good, too. We went to the entrance of the area at 9.20am. I didn’t know that Cologne was this close! O.o On our way there, we did find one traffic jam… which was actually the end of the queue to leave the Autobahn to get to the Kölnmesse area (where gamescom took place). The parking space on their parking lot cost us 8 Euros. But that also meant that we didn’t have to drive around Cologne to find a parking space and then find our way back to the area. We also almost parked in the shadow… ;) When we came back to drive home, half the car was in the shadow which meant that at least the steering wheel wasn’t hot. Saturday was a very, very hot day.
We’d bought the tickets online. So we could just pass all the queues where people waited to buy tickets and enter immediately. Seriously, people… if you’re gaming geeks, why didn’t you know you can buy tickets online? ;) Even with ELV (very popular here in Germany where lots of people don’t own or don’t want to own credit cards: You give them your bank information and they pull the amount of money from your bank account. Also safe because I can tell my bank to undo it if somebody takes the money without having the rights to do so – or even WITH having the rights to do so but then I’d have problems with them because I’d owe them money… ;) ). Anyway. So we passed them and went inside. Our first stop was NCSoft! Then we realised we still had time left before their first demo. However, we also saw lots and lots of people walking around with paper bags that showed a picture from Aion on one side and a Charr from Guild Wars 2 on the other side. They had to give them out somewhere! After walking around the NCSoft booth, we found the guys who handed them out and grabbed two. That’s the only “swag” we got but we’re very happy with it. Within the next few hours, we had countless (okay, at least six groups ^^) of people asking us where we got the bags.
All in all, we spent most of our day near the NCSoft booth. The next time we’ll go to something like this, I’ll bring earplugs, though! At one time, we wanted to go to the TERA booth which was next to the NCSoft booth. But it was SO loud!
We also stood in line for the GW2 demo. Everybody was allowed to play for 40 minutes, though. We had 4 people in front of us. Erm… yes. No, thanks. ;) It would have been cool but we decided not to play the demo and walk around instead. We mostly looked and didn’t playtest anything. At the Civilization V booth, there were empty stands and no lines. So we could have tested that game, too. Or Dom could have as he’s been anxiously awaiting this game for weeks now. He decided not to, though. I think it was very loud there as well. It was loud everywhere… but just TOO loud at some places. ;)
Codemasters also offered everybody a 10 Euro coupon to spend in their LotRO store, so we were looking for their booth. Silly us… we thought that their booth would be with the rest of the Codemasters games. So we looked at the info magazine which said that Codemasters was in Hall 7. We walked towards that hall and entered. It was CROWDED. But that was the hall with Blizzard (Diablo 3, WoW Cataclysm and Starcraft II) and EA. So it wasn’t a big surprise. Annoying nonetheless, though. What I found a bit… weird was that both of them didn’t have “open booths”. You stood in line (we passed the sign that said “from here on: Wait time of about 2 hours O.o) and then… I don’t even know what you got to do or see then. It was a closed box that you entered. I think SW:ToR showed some trailers and whatnot. I think with WoW, you at least got to play through their new starting areas? Anyway, we again decided it wasn’t worth it. Besides, we wanted to find the LotRO booth for our 10 Euros. ;)
I did tell Dom at that point that I didn’t remember EA, Blizzard *and* Codemasters being in the same hall and I mentioned that I though we were in the wrong hall. But Dom assured me we were in the right hall. It turned out: We weren’t. ;) That was hall 6. So then we went to hall 7, walked all around and… didn’t find Codemasters. :( Only some “Deep Silver” thingy with Formula One. I remembered Codemasters tweeting something about F1 and yes, that was their booth. The guy we asked of course had never heard about LotRO and said that Codemasters didn’t have a second booth at gamescom. We went through all halls because I *knew* the booth existed (I’d seen a picture!). The last hall, hall 8, was the one that had a booth for a new offline Lord of the Rings game. We went in there and fiiiiinally. They shoved LotRO into a corner of that booth! Two monitors with short queues where people either entered their account information or created a new account (and we’ll hopefully get our 10 Euro coupons next week or so) and 6 or 8 PCs where people could playtest LotRO. We didn’t play, of course. We already know that game. ;)
Then we went around again to look at all stands/booths. Then we returned to the NCSoft stand to listen to their demo and Q&A session.
I realised that there were people of all ages and both genders. There were, however, lots of male teenagers around and hardly any female teenagers. If there were females, they were either still children (and there with their geeky parents ^^) or adult women. But still, from the adult population, I’d say there were lots of women. And almost none of them looked bored (in other words: I assume most of them were interested in gaming, too).
Funny to then see how lots of gaming developers (or the firms giving them money, rather) still concentrate on male gamers almost exclusively (maybe you’ve read the rumours about Activision not wanting any games with female leads because the gamers don’t want heroines because they can’t identify with them? – Here is an article about that).
There were also lots of booth babes. Some even got to go-go dance. Yaaay. But no good-looking half-dressed guys anyway. This world is not fair! *grumbles* (Although I’d prefer them to be fully dressed anyway. There is lots of sexy clothing a guy can wear if you ask me… same for women, though ;)).
By now, I’m also half happy and half sad that we didn’t inspect the TERA booth closer. The developers come from EA, Blizzard and NCSoft (all Koreans as far as I know) and TERA will be a p2p (monthly fee) MMORPG. They’re already talking about killing WoW. Now, have a look at this demo video. The female character you see there is from their demonic race. Here is an example of their armor. Careful, it might not be SFW!
Also, there’s one race, the Popori. The males look like panda bears. Here is a picture of the male – on the left – and the female – on the right. And yes, those are women. Not girls! And their males are… animals. ARGH! SO much wrong with that if you ask me (yes, I know… personal opinion and for some, it’s just a game ;) ).
Maybe I’m being overly dramatic but I don’t think I could play a game like that were females are obviously not taken seriously. It’s already bad enough that in all those games out there, female armor is usually just a bikini and a coat while guys get to wear real armor. But that… that is taking it two steps too far! Who wants to be reminded of butt sex the whole time they’re playing? Hmm… okay, maybe some. But I don’t. ;)
So, TERA is out for me. I don’t care how good your game is. If I can’t even stand looking at the characters, I will not get to like the game.
But back to the gamescom. We left at around 1.30pm. We’d seen it all and we didn’t feel like standing in any queues for two hours. I’d seen a few days before that the Warhammer community (Warhammer didn’t have a booth at gamescom) met at the Hard Rock Café in Cologne in the evening. And it was quite close to the gamescom area. So we left gamescom and went there. Dom’s never been to one (the one in Cologne is actually the closest one to us) and I’ve only been to one (in Cleveland). We were also hungry. So perfect. I had the “small burger” and was SO full, I couldn’t even finish my fries. But it was so good. Yummy. :)
The only picture I took was with my mobile phone and it shows the Kölner Dom. Evidence that we’ve been there! ;) We’d recharged the batteries for our camera the day before we left. Or so we thought. But the recharger thingy is broken, it seems. My mobile phone sucks when it comes to taking pictures in the half-dark. So no pictures from gamescom.
It was still a really good day and I enjoyed myself even without having played anything. But it was enough fun and quite fascinating to watch the different booths. And the people there. Especially those in Cosplay costumes. Some really good and some… quite funny ones. Though probably not intended. ;)
What I do know now, however, is that I absolutely HAVE to get Guild Wars 2! We stood there and watched some people who played the demo and it looked great… dare I say it… *awesome* even! O.O It won’t have a monthly fee (it’s not f2p either. You buy the game and there is an ingame shop like in GW1 where you buy extra character slots and extra storage space but no ingame items AT ALL! And you pay for content updates but you also pay for addons in other MMOs, so no difference there). So even if the game turns out to be bad or horribly buggy etc., I at least won’t have paid a monthly fee for it and thus, can always return to the game or just leave it behind. ;)