Tobold's Blog
Sunday, April 19, 2009
 
Open Sunday Thread

Hey Brain, what are we going to do this Sunday? The same thing we are doing every Sunday, Pinky, TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD! aeh, posting on the open Sunday thread. :) As every Sunday you have the opportunity to express yourself here without a subject matter given by me. Post your questions, discuss, or propose subjects you want me to write about!
Comments:
I'd like to draw your attention Tobold, and that of some of your readers, to a blog project I will be unveiling over the course of the next week over at my blog site and also on the WoW EU General Forum.

First post will be up tomorrow then there will be one per day.

I think you will find it very interesting.

http://deathknightspree.blogspot.com/
 
Sir Tobold... long time Open Sunday Thread reader, first-time writer... wanted to know what you and your readership have found in regards to how dial specs has affected the PuG experience, from forming to execution to loot distribution.
 
This post reminded me of the glut of death knights that were all over the old content up until last month when the numbers seemed to go down. The mob of DKs has thinned somewhat in our realm. Are people over the latest character and back to their favorites? Have people run through the Lich King content and not playing? What are you seeing where you play?
 
Other people have mentioned in the past that it seems players who play MMOs less intensely actually enjoy them more, or at least have more fun. This is true in my personal experience as well. Do other people seem to notice this as well, and have any idea why this seems to be the case?

(I can see a bunch of reasons, people who play less will be less personally invested, for example. When I play intensely, I tend to have goals in mind, and am less likely to explore or try new things, and when something gets in the way of the goal it gets quite frustrating. i have noticed that I tend to be less stressed in life in general when not playing computer games intensely than when I am.)

I also wonder if whether some MMO players who go from burnout cycles, or spend a lot of time complaining, get disappointed over and over again, etc., might be looking for the wrong sort of game, and would enjoy these games more if they played less intensely and sought out games that could be played less intensely.
 
Hey Tobold and fellow readers,

I'm amazed that nobody has mentioned Vanguard lately...I tried it a month ago and I'm completely hooked! After AoC, WAR, WOW, etc...I was getting depressed that I'd never find another solid PVE MMO with that "world" immersion feeling. Vanguard has that and more!! It is also the most bug free experience I've had in an MMO in a long time. In fact, I haven't seen one yet in Vanguard. The storylines are interesting, the world is huge and fun to explore and the community...WOW.

I've NEVER seen such a helpful bunch. You ask a question, and not only do you get dozens of responses, but chances are another player will gladly help you with what you are trying to accomplish. I've seen nothing but respectful play, thoughtful responses and TONS of people on at any given time.

So what gives?!? Why is this game not all over the blogsphere? It's everything a PVE game has ever promised and more. Keep in mind, I'm no PVPer, so that may be why there aren't hordes of people leaving WOW for this game. But there's something really compelling here, with a level of detail, a fun world that definitely doesn't take itself seriously and a PVE experience that I haven't felt since the first day I played WOW.

I highly reccomend it! Tobold, you should download the 14 day trial and give it a shot. Your new system would render it beautifully.The graphics are absolutely stunning on my GTX 285. My son plays on an 8800 GT and it looks spectacular there too. The graphics are much better than WOW or AOC, with a level of artistry in design that I've only seen in a few MMOs.

Give it a try, folks. If you're a PVE lover, you just might find that MMO you've been looking for...
 
Much better graphics than AoC? AoC was bad, but the graphics were phenomenal ...

@Dillon:
I made the opposite experience. I never enjoyed MMOs more than when I had 24 hours the day to play. Now that I finished my studies and finally need to work the whole immersion is lost. I'm not really capable of investing enough time to be one of the decision makers in the guild anymore :(. It's become some kind of superficial experience with no depth or purpose.
 
@Paul

Wow - VG must have changed! Last time I played it, it was a bug-ridden mess and the graphics, whilst having lots of polygons, were artistically uninspired. When did this miraculous transformation occur?
 
In reference to Vanguard, I agree with Paul on all points.
I played the 14 day trial and it impressed me enough to purchase the game.
(Don't pay retail, you can find it for about 5.99 at Amazon if you are lucky).
The graphics are amazing, and the island trial has a very good story line adventure.
I decided to level all 'spheres' to level 10 before leaving the island and it kept me busy for days.
I've really enjoyed the game so far, and as Paul mentioned the player base is extremely helpful and friendly.
This very important to me and I think is the foundation for a massively mulitplayer online game.
From what I have seen most players are in the 20 - 40 age bracket.
Anyhow, I did not play it at launch because of the bad press, so I can not compare it to what it once was.
I would recommend trying it.
-I mean it's free, what the heck.
 
Wow - VG must have changed! Last time I played it, it was a bug-ridden mess and the graphics, whilst having lots of polygons, were artistically uninspired. When did this miraculous transformation occur?I think it happened a year or 2 ago, I remember searching around several blogs a few months ago or so, and seeing descriptions of Vanguard being much improved. (I do not have personal experience, however).
 
@Paul
Give it a try, folks. If you're a PVE lover, you just might find that MMO you've been looking for.Then there are those of us who would disagree. I mean, yes, most certainly do the trial, find out for yourself. But to me the game is still a bore, combat is horrid, characters look awful, and the world still feels clunky performance wise.

If playing WoW and still happy, stick to WoW...otherwise, try some other variations.

Age of Conan works for me.
 
I'm also in the Vanguard trial and loving it. WoW is still my main game but Vanguard is a very enjoyable second. Nothing like relaxing after leading a raid by crafting in a game with a really excellent and immersive crafting system, haven't seen one this good since SW:G.

PvE is also pretty complex and appeals very much to me as someone who loves figuring stuff out.

The look of it at first glance is a little bland, certainly behind AoC. What makes the graphics interseting is the animation and detail. The trees blow in the wind and occasionally fall down. There is a NPC in Sun Village performing an amazing series of martial arts kata. As a former Kung Fu student it was a real pleasure to just watch him go through his moves.

This site http://www.journeyswithjaye.com/ is excellent for Vanguard pictures even though she no longer plays the game. She discusses it on Shut up we're talking and all the bloggers who talk on that show are firm fans of this game.

The game suffers still from a number of small but obvious glitches. One of the first quest you do misspells the word "aid" as "aide". The crafting quest guy often bugs and the fix is to run out of range to reset his conversation. However if you get stuck people will help you.

This would have been an amazing game had they managed their development resources well. But they pushed it out the door early, it had to get rescued by Sony and they miscalculated the amount of PC power the general public would have when it launched. I wanted to buy it at the time it came out but I didn't have the spare cash to rebuild my pc to run it.

Another recent blight on the game is the introduction of RMT, legalised gold-selling and e-baying. It is discussed here: http://www.virginworlds.com/podcast.php?show=5&ep=44 (Shut up we're talking).

Imho that doesn't affect people like me who are starting late. Sure it means some level 50 who quits might get replaced by a different person playing the same toon instead of a different person playing a level 1 but that isn't such a big deal and I think the uptake will be small. Interestingly the community is very hostile. All of the big raid guilds on my server have published declarations stating that if people buy characters or gold they won't be allowed to join guilds which makes the purchase pointless.

Here's a link to one of those statements: http://forums.station.sony.com/vg/posts/list.m?topic_id=45773

All in all it's very worth playing and absolutely worth using the fourteen day free trial. Some of the quests are quite quite brilliant, the diplomacy minigame has a bit of an initial learning curve but is then very addictive, story is good, crafting is brilliant and the players are very warm. Another thing that influenced my decision to make this my second game over Lotro or EQ2 is that the latter games will definitely be around in a year's time and I'm not sure VG will. I do think it will be around long enough for me to max out a character and try the raiding out though so that's my plan.
 
Thanks for your comments, Dillon, but I last played VG after that. The sad truth is that there's a good game trapped inside Vanguard that I fear will never be realised. The class design is superb and some of the old starter areas (particularly the human Kojani one) have yet to be bettered. From what I could see during beta & launch, this was a good concept that was wrecked by appalling project management: the game had ample funding, but it was squandered.

Whilst it was fascinating to have one-to-one chats with Brad McQuaid on the beta forums in the run-up to launch, I couldn't help thinking "shouldn't you be working on the game?". Some of the news that's leaked out since from people who worked on the project suggests that it was even worse than I had appreciated at the time (there's an ancient thread on Fires of Heaven about this, if you can bear to dredge out the facts from amongst the mud-slinging. It seems to me that the game itself is beyond salvation now, although I still hope that some of the ideas (e.g. disciple and blood mage) will inspire other developers. They'd both make an excellent starting point for a new WOW DPS/heal hybrid.
 
Re: Vanguard - Just goes to show how unforgiving the audience is. Once people have played something and decided it's bad, or have even heard that it's bad, there's very little chance they'll ever come back. It takes a LOT of improvement to get back on peoples' good sides once they feel you've wronged them.

Sadly there's a long list of MMOs that that have launched in a half-baked state, and then made drastic improvements, only to have those improvements ignored by all but their hardcore fans. Launch day is very important.

Mike
http://mikedarga.blogspot.com
 
The Warhammer Online 1.2.1 patch took out all the lag that kept me from playing Warhammer. BUT... they put in a token system for purchasing gear. Thats fine except some people did the math and posted it in the Warhammer forums... it could take you six months to get a full set.
 
Just wanted to say hi and that I enjoy reading your blog! Maybe you could check out mine sometime =).
 
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