Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In an mmo-vacuum

So earlier today I was browsing my old guilds website (they are the best WoW-playing 25 manned raiding guild out there, if you need a friendly place filled with really nice leaders, in the EU they are looking for boomkins (25 raid) rogues and dps (10 raid) Think they are 4/13 heroic nowadays).
And I started to miss playing an mmo again. Specifically WoW. Then I browsed some of the achievements they have been knocking of, and the whole time/grind rinse repeat we-have-done-this-for-too-many-years-over-and-over-again feeling hit me, and I let the thought, of returning, go.

Thing is, I miss playing an mmo, but I really do not have... that something needed to play wow again, but I do miss playing an online adventure game.
So far bulletstorm/portal2/the orange box, have been able to satisfy my gaming lust, but I'm really starting to miss the online interaction (and there is noway I'm going online in a shooter on a console... I still have a will to live) and adventure and sense of grandure, that is typical of an mmo. So what to do? Play another mmo?
As some of my readers may have noticed, this blogs focus has shifted towards one MMO in particular, but with no beta in sight for eu players, and while the game does not seem to have an 2011 release, that leaves me in a vacuum between me gotten fed up with wow (unfortunately, I really do wish I still wanted to play that game), and SWTOR being released.

I could start a new mmo, or reboot an old one I've played before, and there are loads to choose from: DC universe, champions online, WARhammer, Conan, Rift, Aion, City of heroes, guild wars and LORTO... And those are just the ones *ive already tried*

... Oh my, that is a lot.

I did boot up WAR again recently, and while I do adore the mechanics and the lore surrounding the green-skins ["hit em" (good plan) "Oi, hit em again" (great plan)], a quick look at their website reveals a game that (apart from the 'free to play to level 10 thing',) seems very dead... unfortunately, because out og that very long list of mmo's above, WAR, was the one i liked the most.

So I am stuck in a mmo vacuum. The empty nothing space between burning out on an old favorite, and the release of a (hopefully) new favorite.

Fingers crossed for an early release!! and mayhaps that mini-dwism will take some of my attention away from missing an mmo... but honestly, if Mrs Dwism couldn't, I don't see how a tiny little thing that sleeps eats and poops and nothing else, ever could! (famous last gaming words)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Star wars ToR release date, yet again!


Last thing: we absolutely know that some of you feel we should have announced a date, or at least narrowed the release window, already. That's your opinion. Our opinion is until we're ready to commit to a narrower window or a specific date, we're not going to do that. When we commit, we'll commit in a big way. 
From a rather lengthy forum thread about the release date, where Stephen Reid gets... well no, he doesn't *get himself* anything. He uses x-mas as an example on how long in advance we will know the game will come out (just like you know that x-mas will come way before december), and morons thougth that meant that he was confirming a december release.
Regardless. The above quote was how he ended his input, and that sort of saddens me.
Just like the release of both the Lich king, cataclysm, and even TBC I used to have a tiny bit of holiday/overtime set aside, for when a game was released, so I could make sure I'd get to really have a good solid 'go' at it.

For Star Wars, however, it seems I won't get that chance.

If the game is released (and that seems to become a bigger and bigger *if*) in 2011, My workplace simply does not have the flexibility to give me days of within a certain amount of time, and that is slowly running out for this year (plus in 2 months the baby is coming, and I am honestly starting to have doubts as to whether I even *want* to lock myself in a room for a week once she's here... Let alone Mrs Dwism will allow me to :D)

/sigh
I hate growing up

Friday, April 8, 2011

How do you play an evil Character in an mmoRPG?

The spark for this post came from Spinks post about "Do you play evil Characters in RPGs?" Which was not about any of the things *I* wanted it to be about.
So I thought I'd make this post and talk about what I'd hoped Spinks would have touched down on. (And try and bribe her, to throw in her 2 cents too... Do you accept paintings?)

How to play Eeeeeevuuuuul in an mmoRPG
The focus point being the RPG part. The opcomming mega-blockbuster-epic-super-win game (I am so not looking for a Job at any gaming company now... I... I love you, Bioware...) Star Wars - The Old Republic.
The game where, you either play the racist elitist Warmongering slave-torturing Empire, or you play as the peaceloving bunny-hugging, flowersniffing Republic, also known as the good guys or the bad guys.

This is a major change of direction from any other MMO that I am aware of, in wow you have the honorable misunderstood horde, and the honorable self righteous aliance (or is that the other way around), they are both similar, but on opposite sides in this conflict due to interesting and complicated accidents. And more times than others they have to band together in order to fight greater and *real* evils of the world (Burning Legion, Arthas, yourmomma!! ect ect). Same with Rift, where you have the loyal followers of the ancient Gods and the not-so-loyal-more-of-an-screw-you-deities-variety (and I'll bet with anyone, that sooner or later they will also be banding together to fight giga-rifts, or something along those lines). So when your protagonist all of a sudden is a puppy-kicking "I want power" type of person, in a society filled to the brim with back-stabbing plotting and scheeming villans, from the school-nurse over to the trash-collectors and up to the emporer himself, you have to ask yourself two questions:
1. Why does my avatar do what he does? What motivates him to kick said puppy?Are anyone only evil? and
2. How on earth does a whole society of evil backstabbing plotters and scheemers survive? Isn't every single thing being developed or build, constantly getting blown up? Aren't every single inventor more occupied with avoiding poisonous darts than surviving? Who, in a society like the Sith, would ever settle down to become a moist-farmer? How does this society work?

Lets start with the first one. Back in August of 2010 I tried to give my own version of how the Jedi propaganda had only made it *seem* like Sith where bad, when in reality The Empire where the good guys! (Go read it, I'm sort of kinda really proud of that piece), that one got shot down pretty badly by the release of the first swtor book 'Fatal alliances'. In that book, Sith where once again eeeeeevuuuuul (but not completely unbelievable, so the book works), and considering the 'Knights of the old Republic' games, it's not really that shocking that Sith seem to have become cartoonish villains twirrrrrling their moustahces and petting their cats.
The good guys over on Darthhater made this fantastic piece on 'Ideology of a dark lord' that throws out plenty of bones, for us players who want to play as an Empire loyal subject.

The thing is, I am a goodie too shoo, I've killed of my characters in Vampire rpgs in order to save their imaginary families. I am a sucker for the whole knight in shining armor thing. My friends, at least my gaming friends, are not so much.
That was not a big deal when I played with them in WoW, I could still roll a noble Orc, or a wise Tauren and tag along their warlock undead world conquerers (Why, yes, Lamaron, I was thinking of you), but this time around... It's going to be hard for me to be anything near noble or goodhearted, or non-scheeming. I have to be a bad guy, if I want to play with my friends. And I'm taking that task to heart, it's going to be healthy for me, to try and push myself a little bit. Try and be the bully, be the Darth I know lives within me. It is going to be hard. But hopefully it will also be giving.
At least I've convinced Mrs Dwism to get the game too, and we'll duo as Jedi knight/Jedi councellor, so I get to have a little good guy action on the side!!

But today I stumbled over this little gem from the official swtor forum. Its from managing editor Alexander Freed and it reads:

Imagine living in a society where you're taught that great men and women - the brilliant, the inspired, the powerful - should rise as far as they can, and lesser men and women are uplifted by following and supporting the highest of the high. Imagine your society has believed this for centuries, and - after suffering terribly a long time ago - built a magnificent and powerful nation that celebrates art, achievement, struggle, duty and conquest.

This is a culture where every citizen serves the state - at least for a time, in the best capacity he or she can - and where that contribution is honored. A culture where a great number of joys and vices are permitted - in the proper context, so long as they don't interfere with one's duty.

Of course, that's not necessarily how you'd view it if you were a slave. Or someone who suffered from the random whims of the powerful. Or someone who believed that species isn't an indicator of inherent potential. Or...

Well, there are plenty of reasons to see the Empire as a tyrannical, billions-strong cult without conscience, kept in line by propaganda and unearned rewards on one hand and terror on the other.

But most Imperials wouldn't see it that way.
And I'm getting it. They *are* evil, but now -to me- the Sith seem Plausible evil, instead of cartoonishly evil. I am going to have a blast I think!

Swimming in SW:ToR

Torocast lead the way in my bloggroll of blogs ranting on just how horrible the announcement made by Bioware, that there would be no swimming in SW:ToR.
And it worked, I got all huffed and bothered and very very annoyed, and had halfway written a rant on how this kills everythign everywhere, and "won't somebody think of the immersion", untill i did some - you know- research, and digging.Before, I was in line with forum commentator Shobu:

 No multiplayer space combat, no controlling your ship's flight, no swimming, all races have the same body, non-customizable companions that you can't use at endgame...... This had better have one heck of a mindblowing story
Then I was reminded that this was Bioware, and I found this 

There's no rigid wall in the game at this point. You walk in shallow water, it becomes deeper as you progress, and at some point you start getting the message that you should turn back. You can continue on and ultimately drown (then respawn) or move back.

In order for swimming to be actually worth the implementation and time, we'd want to do it right - meaning content built around it, maybe a water centric planet, etc. Absent that content - there are no water worlds in this game - we've decided to focus on other things that are more important to us.

I can definitely see why people like swimming (or any other feature for that matter), however, the decision to put a feature like that in the game cannot be solved with a simple yes/no poll. In reality, the question is more like “Do you want swimming or 'feature X'”. In this case, we chose feature X (or Y, or Z) for a number of reasons - one being that just adding a very basic version of swimming without building proper content around isn't something we wanted to focus on for launch. 

We'll definitely look at this again later, after launch, but if we were to decide to do it, it'd be accompanied with proper content and mechanics themed around it.
Is this in any way, shape or form worse than the 'Fatigue' you get in WoW? Not in my optics. Faith in game restored, body at ease, exhale... ahh, all is once again right in the universe, and we can continue to look forward to hearing all the gory details of the UK event!



Now, give me a release week, so I can start planning my vacations, dammit!