Aug 14

Sad day

Category: Games, MMO

Well as you may (or may not know), NCsoft released their figures for Q2 of 2008.

Now whilst it looks like NCsoft are in a bit of a downer (looking at their bottom line), you have to also remember that this year, there has been NO Guild Wars expansion this year.

On the plus side though, Tabula Rasa (yes it IS still going, and looking better than it was a few months ago i have to admit) and City of Heroes both had their earnings increase in the past Quarter (ie more subscribers are coming into the game)

Unfortunately on the flip side of the increase in subscribers, the drop in earnings though has meant that some belt strings have had to be tightened.

So whilst Tabula Rasa is (so far) unaffected in terms of development, and City of Heroes has taken on more coders, Dungeon Runners though has suffered a HUGE cut in the number of people working on it (from 18 down to 5).

One of the most well known people for Dungeon Runners (who had also been in the NCsoft family for many a year, going from City of Heroes, to Tabula Rasa and then to Dungeon Runners) was April “CuppaJo” Burba.

But other losses are also Crickette (Dungeon Runners Community person) and Scott “Lum The Mad” Jennings

So for all those that find themselves with a path laying ahead of them, and they dont know where it goes; follow your heart and your dreams will come true. And you will be missed by the community and players of your games greatly.

Gangrel

2 comments

Jul 31

New Game announced from NCSoft Korea

Category: Games, MMO

Hmm this i cant tell you much about, as i dont read Korean… but thanks to Ghostraptor for sending me the video link to Blade and Soul…

Looks interesting doestn’t it but it does raise a few questions…

1) Do you need a controller to get the most out of the combat system (looks ideal for one really)
2) Will it ever see light of day in the Western world?

*edits for stupidy on spelling… small children are distracting*

No comments

Jul 8

Silence was golden

Category: Uncategorized

Yes…

I know…

I have been very very quiet.

In space no one can here you scream (or more accurately space=Wrexham)

For the 1st time in forever I have had no motivation to do anything (play online games, listen to music, watch movies)… I have just been junk browsing the internet (and also probably giving myself a hairline stress fracture in my index finger on my right hand)

All until a couple of weeks ago…

BT messing up with Direct Debits (or my bank, not sure who to blame), almost getting my phone line DC’d (fast talking happening now on my part) and STILL looking for work…

Oh, and my sisters wedding in 5 days from now (which reminds me… how the HELL do i get to the wedding? Google-maps to the rescue!)

Guess I should get on the forum war horse and get back in game at some point (somehow my account is active….)

Anyway, see you guys soon and I might even have photos of me at the wedding to show off….

No comments

May 29

What do you want me to talk about?

Category: Uncategorized

Yes basically that is the question that i have open to you people…

What do you want me to comment on… concerning games, music, community….

You name it and i will answer it (within reason)

Gangrel (Vodka in hand right now)

2 comments

May 28

Forums, Forums, Forums… and trials as well

Category: Games, MMO, Rant

Ahhh, dont you just love the sweet smell of flamewar in the morning?

Well depending on the forums that you frequent this might be a regular occurance.

I shall copy what was directly said on a forum that I frequent (note, this is the 3rd post in a thread which started off saying how nice and peaceful the general section was after it was decided to move all “Rants and Flames” into their own section)

ep. All 15 people that are still playing are enjoying their short-bus game w/ no interuptions from non-fanbois. While 90% of the people that held on for TR to get good have washed their hands and moved on.
Most of them to AoC. Since they catch so much flak for pointing out TR’s short comings, whether in an informative post or bashing, they’ve left the site dwellers and mods here to bask in their pithy soloable game. GRATZ!!!

See you in AoC, 2 months after you hit 50! (or after the next patch that’s “deployed” and nerfs more unbroken game aspecs).

Now whilst I have my own opinions of said forum (which i have made known on a couple of occasions, and recieved warnings over) the above quote made me think a little bit.

If you are running an MMO, and you have “Official” Forums, I would assume that you would at least make them visible to non-subscribed members of the community. Hell even portal websites (MMORPG.com, Gamespot, IGN, TenTonHammer et al) allow you to view their forums without being a subscriber to the game.

Why make the forums visible to non subscribers of the game? Well if they are official forums, then they will have the finger on the pulse of the game. You will be able to, and very fast as well, be able to gauge the “state of play” for the game. City of Heroes/Villains, World Of Warcraft, Eve Online, hell even everyones favourite “company you just love to hate” SOE allow non-subscribers to view the forums (even if you cant post on the game).

Funcom seemed to have done the reverse of what Destination Games (Developers of Tabula Rasa) have done. At least with DG they let the Devs post on “unofficial” forums… seeing as there a NO official forums for Tabula Rasa.

In this situation Funcom have “locked” themselves into a black box right now… Whoever is inside it (ie subscribed) can hear everything fine, whilst those on the outside can only hear mumblings of what is happening (via portal websites/forums). And normally as well, they are of a higher “signal to noise” ratio than official sources.

So how are we (the common, maybe slighty interested punter) going to get info on the game?

Right now its hard to say. Official forums are a No-No (see above), there are no major reviews for the game (just yet), and also on top of that portal sites seem to be split on “if the game is good/ the game is bad” (take your pick of any site, and chances are you will see “this game sucks, and this is why” posts, OR its more “tech support/asking about what class can i pwn newbs with)

So that leaves us with three (yes 3!) avenues.

1) Wait for a review

2) Get your hands on a trial code and give it a shot yourself

3) Take the plunge and buy the game yourself.

Ah-ha, but each of these has a catch though (for point 3 it should be pretty obvious)

1) Wait for a review
Yes you can wait for a review of the game, but for MMO’s these normally come a couple of months after the game has been released, although they might do a “quick hands on” feature for it. MMO’s (at release) can be a bug filled mess. I say can be, as there have been games released that have had pretty smooth launches (Lord Of The Rings Online being one example that springs to mind).

Reviews are going to be skewed slightly as they generally avoid “the community” by and large and just focus on the game itself (which is not a bad thing especially early on in the games life). But hangon, even if the game DOES have it short fallings (or is even “Teh best game in the world eva!!!11!!elevnty!”), the community itself is what makes or breaks a game.

2) Get your hands on a trial code and give it a shot yourself
Again, Funcom seem to have shot themselves in the foot (either deliberately or accidentally) on this one. You see, they have done the sensible thing and given a “buddy code” to each copy of the game that you buy (5 buddy codes in collectors editions)…. BUT have chosen not to make them usable until they get the game/servers stable enough (granted this is where I might give them the benefit of the doubt).

So what does this say to me… well it can be one of 2 ways. On one hand, the game could be soooo over subscribed that the servers cannot cope, and Funcom got caught unawares with it; and on the other hand it could also mean that the game isnt ready yet (hang on though, wasnt it originally meant to have been released October of last year, and then again over Easter, and then they pushed it back again? Makes you wonder doesnt it?)

So why on earth did they say that you could use the buddy codes at release? Why did they even announce it? To get punters in fast and early (marketing for the win)… although in this case it does seem like there is some spin on it.

And when/IF there are ever going to be official trials for AoC, they had better do a dual DVD version that you can buy in a shop as well…. not everyone can/has the bandwidth available to download 13GB in the space of a few days (yay! more time taken up downloading the game!)

Now at least when City of Heroes did their Trial Codes, there wasnt a delay as to when you could apply them to your account. Even WoW had the option to use it immediately (although WoW at launch had it owns issues)

and then there is

3) Take the plunge and buy the game yourself.
Would suck though if you didnt like the game in the 1st place though wouldnt it… especially as you have to take a risk on “can my PC run it”

Ok enough ranting (as it were) about Age of Conan (as i know i have done a large enough derailment as my mind wanders along a certain paths)

So why was I ranting about this? Well it appears that unhappy member(s) of said forum are looking at a place to vent their anger towards the old(er) game that disappointed them (although saying that, just make the one post explaining your reason in a clear concise and NON-ranting way would be accepted) and then move on… Check back every now and then but don’t keep on chewing the same old issues (they might not necessarily still be valid, or infact they might never be changed fullstop).

For me Forums are the place to go and see what the community is like. With official forums, you can get that feeling pretty fast; with unofficial forums though, you might have to scour 2 or 3 of them to get a general feeling (especially if they are in a “slow” period)

I will do the whole “We haz forums” Vs “We haz no forums” discussion later on in more depth….

3 comments

May 27

Interesting Video

Category: Games

Found this one stumbling over a set of forums that I frequent (although it was originally posted on Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

I shall let you digest the video clip whilst I go and get a cup of coffee.

All done?

Good.

I have to admit this guy thinks along the same lines of thought as me, especially seeing as video games have become more mainstream as a money earner. The retailers have to learn (looks evily over to the coutry across the pond, ie USA and not the UK) that computer games are NOT suitable for every group of players, and to start rating them the same way as movies… for in a fashion they are movies with playtimes ranging in the 10’s of hours (even longer in some cases).

But there is also the interaction part as well…how well the game brings you into “their world” with RPG’s, some FPS games, and “platformer/action/shoot ‘em up” ($random_deity dont you love trying to classify games?) have being the main “story telling” games out there.

Roleplaying Games are inherantly (due to what they are based on) heavily storyline driven, and so they are the ones that would naturally make a case for being able to use intimacy to progress the story. Infact these would be the ones where most of the (US) controvosy would be thrown towards IF the games designers decided to be more brazen about it.

Why?

Because in the RPG’s you are the main protagonist, YOU have the choice to affect everything in the game world and to lead the character into many an impossible situation (and get them out of said situation). They also have the time for the player to develop attatchment to characters in the story as well. You choose who you take with you (for different reasons, one of which could be “i like to see a woman kick some ass!”)

And it is probably because of my attatchment to certain characters in said computer games, that if the (permanent) loss of a party member is done well, it does bring up emotions inside you.

Rage, Anger, Remorse, Sadness.

All of those can be linked to loss, and also are “typical” emotions that a person will go through when they lose a loved one.

“But why” you might be asking, “arent you talking about SEX. That is what the whole article is about!”

Well in my eyes I am. Sex is, for me anyway, a form of intimacy. And it should be shown appropriately… the crying, the “puppy dog eyes”, the hugging, the holding of hands. Then once its appropriate have “something more” happen. But not right off the bat please… and no, i dont want to control their actions when they are in the sack either… for me that is actually quite repulsive (and never as good as the real thing anyway)

So for me, no brazen “whore house” effects for me in a game that is PEGI rate “12″ or (US) “T for Teen”.

Interesting thing as well that was brought up as well….

Have you ever noticed that the games where they focused on “SEX SEX SEX” never seemed to sell as well?

Maybe we need some extra content in the other games ;)

No comments

May 26

Long time working this one out

Category: Rant

As you might have noticed now, you know have to register to comment on this blog (it will help me keep track of who says what etc etc).

What made this interesting, was that somehow the registration email wasnt getting sent out at all…

Hmm interesting, but seeing as my forums were doing the same thing, it made me look back into the problem.

For a long time (ie since around November last year), my forums have had NO email notifications being sent at all, and this was even when i had put in the correct settings.

Now remember that i am NO computer newb, and i do know the correct end of a firewire 4 pin plug… (still doesnt stop me from willingly plugging in a hard drive whilst the PC is on though ;) ).

You see, the problem (or so I am lead to believe) was that Hotmail and Yahoo seem to be pretty strict on their mail filtering systems, so as a result those people weren’t recieving their registration emails.

Hmmm….. me trying to get Yahoo or Microsoft to do anything for me seems like a lesson in futility, so i decided in the end to turn off the “requires member activation” of the forums and just let everyone (who signs up) become a member. And then just delete/ban the goldselling accounts (of which i have only had 5 so far from *cough*itemcoo*cough*)

Now lets speed forward to the present day, where i decided to set up this very blog.

Right.

1) Software installed. This went surprisingly well, even considering as well that i managed to upgrade the Wordpress software without a problem.

2) Enter in required details, and start writing.

3) Message on MSN from a friend saying “Hi, i tried to register on your Blog, but no registration email was sent out…”

Cue swearing, and then setting up said blog so that anyone can post on it (with moderation of course)

Hmm really? Could this be the same problem as I had with my forums all those months ago?

Thankfully this didnt take so long to work out (although I have to admit i was in the process of drinking a nice amount of Vodka yesterday, so when I sobered up today, i dove back into resolving this issue).

4) *start searching the Wordpress forums* AHA! looks like that for some people the default settings will not work for the sending out of emails (hmmm this sounds strangely familiar) and that you need to install a plugin to enable the alternative method of sending emails…. wooop woop!

Cue downloading of plugin (WP-Mail-SMTP by the way), install it…. and then totally forget my mail server password.

BALLS!

Hmm, strange, as i do actually use this mail server on a regular basis, and stupidly I dont have them written down. Right, looks like i will have to dive into the server admin (and pray that I can remember the login for that and retrieve them that way) and then change the password to something I can remember (although I do wish that it would show you WHAT the password is though in the first place… I mean “I am admin show me the damn password….don’t make me try to guess it”.

Well at least I got the password correct, although it did take 3 attempts >.>

5) Now that is resolved for Wordpress, I know proceeded to see if I can set it up (properly) for the forums… With information in hand (written down on a piece of paper that will get lost by tomorrow morning, I can guarentee that), I proceed to re-enter the mail server details…

And by jove! IT WORKS!!!! There is a $random_deity!!!

Cue celebration and messaging of people asking them how to blow up a mail server for it being sooooo stupid that it can’t what you tell it to do (especially over the past several months)

Ah well…

Plus ca change, comme la meme (if you can remember which Roleplaying Game has a short story of that title then you can get a cookie)

Gangrel (with hangover and typing ability of 2 left feet)

2 comments

May 24

Grouping in MMO’s

Category: MMO

Well, lets get the cat out of the bag, note that i WILL be honest in my thoughts here, so i am sorry if i offend people (and their favourite MMO).

As you may well know, i play Tabula Rasa (link provided to the right of the page), and every week there is a “Feedback Friday” (oooh i might as well write up my own thoughts and opinions here about it each week come to think of it) and this week they spoke about what was upcoming… something that although seems quite obvious i have yet to see implemented in an MMO (forgive me though IF it has been done before)…

Squad merging

Now having played several MMO’s in the past, i have grouped up with other players on a regular basis. Now one of the major problems that has ALWAYS cropped up, no matter the game, is when 2 half-full groups try to join up… and this is a “partly” true quote (only partly as its taken from the Feedback Friday, but i can relate to what follows though)

”Hey, you guys are in a group, you need to leave. I’ll invite you.”
”No, you leave. We have more people.”
”brb - bio”
”Oh fine, we’ll disband, but we’ll need an invite.”
”Um.. I think someone’s afk, so you guys really should leave your group.”
”Fine, I’ll disband. Everyone disband now.”
”Wait, did you guys disband too! OMG!!!! Epic fail.”
”That’s it…. I’m coming over so we can work this out. Get a soda and leave your computers unlocked.”

Now raise your hands if this has ever happened to you?

Good, so you know how annoying this is when 2 or more groups try to join up into a larger group. So what the designers have designed to do is tweak their “invite” system… you can invite a player/group to join your own OR you can offer to join another squad/player with your character/squad.

Now that is something that I would personally like to see happen more in other MMO’s. What I would also like to see as well is a better LFG (Looking For Group) system for Tabula Rasa as well (I still feel that City Of Heroes has THE best LFG tool that i have experianced so far), actually lets take that one step further… a Looking For Group tool for TR would please me as well.

*insert slight diversion*

In response to this weeks feedback though, someone pointed out that actually having a reason to group up would be nice as well…. They are semi accurate on that point.

To an extent.

(so yes, sorry if this is a long post)

Yes, you can solo most of the game, but you also have remember that the instances are designed for more than 1 player (well if you wanted to it at the recommended level I would definately bring friends), OR you can wait till later and then play them by yourself (and be boring)

I am not the best example of this as i have indeed “waited my time” so that i could do the missions in the instances by myself, as sometimes getting a group together was just tooo much hassle.

*back on track*

So what does this mean for Tabula Rasa?

Well I see it as MORE people grouping up, as it will be easier to join up. I see this as well becoming an almost integral part of the LFG system (which would show you how many people the player is grouped up with, and IF they are taking invites etc), maybe even so far as to the list of players in the group and what class they are (as well as their level as well)… THAT would be something that i would like to see in that system….

Oh and dont forget the individual player comments as well (such as “NO BLIND INVITES” *grumble grumble*). That would make it a nice LFG tool in my eyes….

And also makes me look forward to the content where I HAVE to group up (granted the last 2 zones make it pretty much essential to group up to even think about attempting them instance wise, and Descent is still pretty much a death zone, unless you are 50 and have a death wish). Hell even for Control Point assaults and defence, grouping is always nice to have…. cant get enough of that grouping XP and watching the levels fly by…

Gangrel, in hunt of more coffee

1 comment

May 23

Oh dont you just hate it when….?

Category: Rant

your mouse batteries die on you all of a sudden, and then all you are reduced to is the memory of ANY windows hotkey combinations that you can remember, and a slightly “picky”[1] gamepad….

Well yes, that has just happened to me :D, isnt life amazing and brilliant when that happens.

Thankfully i am quite greatful for my gamepad, as it does mean that I can at least use the internet et al quite easily.

Unfortunately, i have yet to set any of my MMO’s up properly to use it (especially seeing as i have just now decided to change my control setup for Tabula Rasa, from the FPS setup (ie gamepad ideal) to MMO (ie the more “traditional”[2] setup) )

Even worse, the broadcast software that I use when I DJ is NOT gamepad friendly, as it requires too much mouse control, and unfortunately, my style between songs is very “mouse intensive”… and the gamepad is too slow.

Maybe one day i will get it sorted out… will that be the day that i return to a wired mouse? *shudder* who knows for now.

Ciao for now

Gangrel

  • [1]picky as in: the joystick is suitable for some software and not for others :D
  • [2]well for me in TR, the FPS setup IS the traditional setup, but that is just showing my age in the game….
  • 1 comment

    May 23

    Mutterings

    Category: Introductions

    Well this is about the 2nd or 3rd “true” blog that I will attempt to stay on top with.

    Many a time, i have been tempted to do this, and i have only just gotten off my rear end and decided to start one properly (I have had a livejournal account BUT that died a poor and quite miserable death to be honest)…

    Which reminds me, my main website needs updating on FAR too many fronts, although that is something that is more of a personal project than anything else, so it keeps on getting kicked back to the wayside.

    So what will you find in here?

    Mutterings, musings, rants, and generally anything that catches my interest… i am subscribed up to a couple of blogs already which i do read avidly with Rockjaws “To The Blogmobile” being the main one, and you will find that as a link attatched elsewhere (once i get used to Wordpress >.< )...

    Apart from that i am quite busy in running a set of “unofficial” Tabula Rasa forums, as well as posting on a couple of others.

    And how could i forget the gaming? (Well unless you are like me and have NO recollection of who you are/where you are/WHAT you are in the morning). Currently i am playing (of course) Tabula Rasa, as well as some City of Heroes as well (thankyou random deity for a free weekend :D) whilst also dipping my toe in and out of Guild Wars on an infrequent basis (i still have to work my through any of the campaigns, so i really should get started on that.)

    So with the gaming, and also about the ranting, raving and “oooh, pretty shiney things” i will also be talking about the live and times of being an member of the “great unwashed” (ie unemployed) and also what takes up my spare time…. oh and anything else that catches my eyes… >.>

    Gangrel signing out with a cup of coffee in his hand :D

    1 comment

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