Tobold's Blog
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Open Sunday Thread

I'm adding a "feature" to the open Sunday thread: Besides asking questions and proposing blog post subjects you can now also suggest games I should play and then write about, as I would like to "reinvest" reader donations into blog-related projects. Note that I still reserve the right to choose for myself, but suggestions are welcome.
I don't know if you have tried Dragon Age: Origins before. I really liked the fact that it plays as if you are controlling an entire party in an MMO. Pausing to micro-manage your group becomes a lot of fun if you like tactical battles, which I do. I know it isn't turn based the way you like, but the pause feature makes it play somewhat like a turn based strategy game. Give it a try if you haven't already. The PC version, not the console version.

On another topic; I would still like to hear what you think about the time between MMO expansions. It feels like WoW is in a gap between expansions right now, but since expansion packs level the playing field many people don't want to invest time any more time in Wrath. I know that is how I feel whenever I think about playing WoW currently. Although, I will resubscribe when Cataclysm comes along.

You seem to be between MMOs at the moment and I'm wondering if the looming expansion - Cataclysm - is partially responsible.
Play LOTRO. See how you find the class balance, skirmishes, and zone layout compared to WoW.
One thing I did when I got a job out of college was to buy some classic science fiction books off of Amazon. I read a lot of science fiction as a kid, but it was usually just whatever I grabbed of the shelf. Reading some classics was kind of neat.

Perhaps do the same thing here? Take a game you've heard great things about but never played back in the day. Perhaps go to and buy an older game to try out. Get a taste of a classic you hadn't played before.

If you want a specific suggestion, try out Heroes of Might & Magic III for some turn-based strategy goodness. Or, get the Might & Magic 6-pack and play through games 4-5 (World of Xeen); you can try out the other games some other time. Just a few cool games off the top of my head.
Could you comment on the (lengthy) comments I made in the last topic.

Vanilla WoW nostaliga and how Cataclysm relates to that.
Could you comment on the (lengthy) comments I made in the last topic.

Wasn't most of that about battlegrounds and arenas? I'm afraid I don't really have an opinion about that, given that I generally don't PvP.
Mmh. You're right. Forgot that you don't even do battlegrounds. A pity :(
Keep in mind that your donations will not always be stable. Spending for an unsatisfactory game now might not be as beneficial as saving for a decent/experimental game later, because who's to say you'll have so much spare, donated money later?

If I make a donation will you go back and try EVE again?

I'm at a loss as to why people suggest Dragon Age all the time. It's in the same boat for EVE as me: I can see what people are saying, but whenever I play it the "good" just doesn't shine through for me. The combat in Dragon Age is, for me, at best awkward and at worst totally non-existant (god forbid I want to wear armour AND attack.) The writing and voice acting is great, but I never really get the impression I'm doing anything other than run through slightly larger corridors than MMO dungeons.

Try it, you'll almost certainly like it (considering everyone else does) but for me Dragon Age never really did it for me.
If I make a donation will you go back and try EVE again?

If I can find a way to pay for the EVE monthly subscription with PayPal, why not? Not saying I'd write nicer things about that game after having tried it again though.
Try Final Fantasy XIII, it sounds like its the epitome of an On-Rails Quest, which is a shame coming from such an established force in the genre. Reviewers have said its basically running through one tube into the next, with little or no room for side quests, exploration or customizable growth!

Is this the direction the genre is moving in? Oversimplification? Shed some light on this troubling suspicion for us, Tobold!
Did you know my blog has a search function in the upper left corner?

My thoughts on Dragon Age: Origins.

First impressions on Final Fantasy XIII and linearity.

LotRO to WoW comparison
A question:

Do you think that EA-Mythic's screw-up this weekend will have any impact at all on SW:TOR subscriptions, or will time heal all wounds?
I think most people will think that the screwup was by "Mythic", and SW:TOR is by "Bioware", and not make the EA connection. And I'm not even sure the billing software will be the same.
From your blog posts you seem to have played CoH before. Have you played it since the Mission Architect was released? If not, do you have any plans to try it again? Also, you've mentioned several podcasts before. Do you listen to any others, and can you recommend some? For gaming I listen to Analog Hole Gaming, Giant Bombcast, Rebel FM, Massively, and Shut Up We're Talking. I still have Online Gamer's Anthology and Warp Drive Active on my subscription list, but they haven't released anything in a while.
Tobold said If I can find a way to pay for the EVE monthly subscription with PayPal, why not?

Ouch - I guess I walked into that. I looked into the options and the cheapest time-card is €30 for 60 months and that is a little bit more than the price of my convictions. I will volunteer €15 though which would be enough to activate an old account for 1 month (more than enough time to confirm your views I think) or even to buy a new account with the 1 month free according to this offer:
If I can find a way to pay for the EVE monthly subscription with PayPal, why not? Not saying I'd write nicer things about that game after having tried it again though.

That will get you into trouble, Tobold. Don't offer services, for money unless you thought about it twice. If you accept the money, but people think that you 'just didn't spend enough time' after reading your review, they will be angry.

Besied: Eve is a game you need to spend hundrets of hours in and you need a lot of social contacts before you can have fun.

The single player experience is simply bad. And the interface, well, I rambled about that before. You need a 40' screen to be able to lean back and read the text.
Hahahaha sorry Tobold, looks like I read your review of FFXIII, grew concerned over your assertions of linearity, forgot where I read it, and suggested it right back to you!

How about this: How can we avoid the inevitability of a player mastering all the patterns in a game, at which point they grow bored? The current solutions seem to be either letting players create half assed quests for other players, or just throwing shinier shinies at them to keep them playing the patterns they've already learned and mastered.
Don't offer services, for money unless you thought about it twice.

Okay, let me rephrase that. I'm not asking mbp or anyone to finance an EVE subscription specifically. I'm accepting general donations, and general suggestions on what I could play and write about.

I can get EVE on Steam for 20 bucks, with 1 month of gameplay included. I'm not into PvP, and I don't have connections to a powerful EVE guild. Thus what I could do is play EVE for a month like any other new player would do, and then write about it. Does anyone think that is a good idea?
I don't care much about EVE as it is a complete change from WoW, but why not. Still I don't see what could you add to current released reviews about the subject.
And because you called my bluff I will follow through on my offer to subsidise your first month of EVE (you can use paypal to pay for it and it will only cost €14.95 direct from ccp if you avail of a special offer which expires this Wednesday:

No expectations or obligations. In fact I am sure it won't change your mind about the game but I would love to read your thoughts on the game as it is now and I do believe it is a game worth writing about.
How do you feel about the direction Blizzard is taking WoW Lore? I know people often discredit WoW and talk about how it ruined Warcraft Lore and whatnot, but it's my opinion that while yes some things were butchered to fit into a mmo, WoW did a lot of things to expand the Warcraft universe and introduce interesting lore.

With the rise of Deathwing and the Faction Leader shakeups, Horde especially, I think Blizzard are in a prime spot to introduce some really fun and exciting stories for us players. Questlines to help Thrall in his new position as Guardian, dealing with a tyrannical Garrosh as Warchief, Gnomes and Trolls stepping up to take a more active role in world events, the Forsaken dealing with life after Arthas's death, the conclusion to the Bronze Dragonflight mystery, etc.

The potential for epic questlines and amazing stories could make Cata my favorite expansion. I'll even dare to say that now that Blizzard has more or less wrapped up the WC3 storyline they'll be able to come up with more interesting adventures instead of trying to shoehorn us into pre-existing lore.
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Perhaps you find this link (and the comments) interesting.

You have many times referred to the cap raise of 5 levels instead of 10 in Cataclysm as an indication that there will he half as much high end content. Do you have any reason to assume there will be half as many instances (rather than just zones)?

You dislike the soloing/questing leveling game outside of instances anyway, would you care if they cut half of that out as long as the instances are there?
I didn't realize you had played DA:O. Sorry. I'm glad you liked the tactical combat though. I really enjoyed that part of the game. Bioware usually creates good stuff to play.
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