Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Which Path Shall You Take?

Syp's talking about player paths in WildStar today. He's got some great ideas, like adding ways that the various paths interact with the environment on an incidental basis (e.g., blowing stuff up for extra damage to enemies, opening otherwise hidden doors, etc.).
Inherently Flawed?
I originally thought the paths would be more swappable—based on my playing mood, really. Much like the popular Bartle Test, locking paths in at character creation reflects a misunderstanding of Richard Bartle's types in the first place. On top of which, Bartle's hypothesis has been analyzed and critiqued by others, like David Yee, who came up with a different way to assess playstyle preferences. This actually makes me think of the Myers-Briggs personality test, which has been shown to be unreliable, but is often used in employment decisions and other inappropriate settings. In any event, if Bartle's model of player types is flawed or misunderstood, then games designed to appeal to such types will also be flawed, leading to player dissatisfaction.

Synergies and Efficiencies
Even though I generally love the lore of a world, overall, I am a bit disappointed with scientist. Settler is fun, though. And it seems the most appreciated path, providing buff stations for all players and repairing decorative items that garner the affection of the local NPC populace. There are synergies between settler and scientist, which Scooter and I thought were cool. And I assume all the paths have similar synergies. But often, we "waste" one another's time, one partner doing path-related things while the other stands by, not quite sure what's going on. On our more recent pairing, we went the same path, so now we can work together on the missions and be more in sync, making up for the loss of cross-path synergy.

Soldiering On
Non-soldiers participating in a holdout receive a buff, just like clicking on a settler buff station. There are chests of limited-use weapons scattered across the landscape, as well, that are accessible by anyone nearby when the soldier opens the chest. There is even a creature (with a quest) on the mountain above the first little town in Algoroc that only seems accessible by blowing up a box of explosives. I'm not sure if other paths can set it off, but when I am nearby, it's got a soldier icon above it.

While I disagree somewhat with Syp's assessment of soldier missions (there are more than just holdouts) and skills, they do seem a bit less useful to other players, the way settlers are. I do like the ability to bug out of an area like the bottom of a cave, rather than fight my way back out, though.

Heh, some soldier, right?

The siege of Blaugust is almost over. Who will emerge from the sound and fury victorious?
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Young and Old

Turns out we can all just get along.
Too much fun in the sun yesterday, as we threw a party at the local water park for my daughter's 16th birthday; as well as a last hurrah of the summer, I guess. I don't often hang out with a group of teenagers, and it's an interesting experience. The things they chit-chat about are basically the same things we discussed when I was that age. The hot celebrities, the latest couples amongst their friends, the upcoming school year, etc. They sing along with the popular songs on the radio—which I have heard most of and do enjoy, thank you very much. Makes me feel young and old at the same time.

Funny, I don't feel like a redneck.Meanwhile, with the impending release of Warlords of Draenor, Scooter got an email offering her Mists of Pandaria free when she resubscribes to WoW. Presumably it's an open offer to any returning players. We might take advantage of it, I dunno. I honestly am not sure when we'd have time between now and November.

We're making progress with our new WildStar characters, Flint and Lave (which, as I have been informed, is short for Lavender Daisy). Tonight's NCSoft outage didn't help, though.

There's still a ton folks in the running for Blaugust champion. Follow all the posts on Anook or using the #Blaugust hashtag on Twitter.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whence a Gamer?

Expecting everything to be custom tailored for you is the surest way to end up angry in the end. It is like walking into a store and complaining that a red shirt isn't blue enough for you. If you don't want to wear a red shirt, don't buy a red shirt and then expect it to change into the color you want it to be.
~Belghast, Change is Scary
Apparently, there was much discussion yesterday on Twitter about trying to define the term "Gamer" and specifically, who gets to claim the term. Belghast would like to include folks playing Bejeweled on their phone while they wait for the bus, while others are far more exclusionary. Roger Edwards questions the need for labels at all. I think there is some value in labels, but that labeling everyone who happens to play Minesweeper a gamer diffuses the term so as to make it meaningless. I am not a mini-golfer just because I go to Putt-Putt once in a blue moon.

Let's put it it this way:
  • If you consider the games you play to be a hobby, you might be a gamer.
  • If you set aside time to play a game on a  regular basis, you might be a gamer.
  • If you spend time thinking about a game while not actually playing, you might be a gamer.
  • If you've ever bored or annoyed someone because you're talking about a game you've played, you might be a gamer.
  • If you do research to improve your performance in the game you are playing, you might be a gamer.
  • If someone who is definitely not a gamer would comment on your gaming when describing you, you might be a gamer.
  • If you write about gaming, you might be a gamer.
  • If you argue on social media about who gets to be called a gamer, you're probably a gamer.
  • If you think you are somehow more a "Gamer" than someone else because you play on certain platforms or difficulty levels or are more "hardcore" or are more skilled or more committed—or whatever—shut the fuck up.
If you're interested in joining the circadian sun showers of Blaugust, breeze on over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast has prizes prepared for high achievers.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blaugust Has Ruined My Routines

So here I am, yet again, at bedtime, trying to think of something interesting to write about. Unlike other days, it's not pastmy bedtime with me laying in bed posting on my phone. This is a quiet time for me. I often have the time to jot stuff down at work, due to the nature of my job. But things are busier around the office than in the past. Or perhaps it's that when I am not posting every day, those brief opportunities only seem to come up more often.

Anyway, Rades over at Orcish Army Knife had some interesting insights into the behavior of Garrosh Hellscream in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic trailer released the other day. I encourage you to read it, but suffice it to say that the Garrosh we see in this trailer is a far wiser Orc than the one defeated at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar. I don't know enough about the backstory surrounding his appearance here versus what we consider the normal timeline, but I would be interested to find out. For all I know, the information is out there, I just haven't heard about it because I am not really involved in WoW any more.

There are quite a few folks excited for WoD to drop. Others have said the trailer left them "meh." It certainly didn't get them excited for the new expansion. At least, not more excited than they may already have been. While I found the cinematic interesting, it made me more interested in the fabled Warcraft movie they keep telling us happening, more than it drew me back into WoW itself.

As Shintar asked, "Why should I be invested in this as a player?" I've mentioned this before, I think that as the World of Warcraft cinematics moved away from showing essentially player characters and classes to showing Epic Lore NPCs like Illidan and Arthas, so too the expansions themselves focused more on the "big story" and left players as sidekicks in their own stories. And the game is poorer for it.

GIVE IN TO THE MADNESS!! GO NOW TO THE BLAUGUST INITIATIVE PAGE ON ANOOK! POST YOUR BLOGS! THE AGGRONAUT HAS SPOKEN!!
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Afternoon on Nexus

So Scooter and I were discussing our our characters, Rowan Blaze and Sabrine, a medic and spellslinger, respectively, and how they'd grown a bit stale, even though we'd only reached maybe level 17 with them. I am enjoying my spellslinger, Lyra, but then again it's only been a few days since I created her. I'd been wondering how a warrior would play in WildStar, and Scooter wanted an Aurin. I decided on a Granok, and Scooter went with the stalker class. Thus were Flint Buckthorn and Lave (LAH-veh) created. It's hard to get them both in frame, honestly.
In about five hours worth of play, including character creation, we got to level 10. And we're really enjoying the melee classes. I kinda wish one or the other had some healing, but we're doing just fine, I think. I am speccing into Tank; while Scooter is going DPS, as is her wont.

Since we'd gone through Everstar Grove and Celestion with our Human characters, we decided to brave the Northern Wilds and Algoroc. This is my second time on this storyline, and I gotta say that I really enjoy it a lot more than the Aurin/Mordesh one. There's something about the Old West feel of Algoroc that really appeals to me. Perhaps it's the feeling of a land to be tamed, rather than a forest to be preserved.
It might be a bit late to start in on Blaugust, but it's never too late get support and encouragement. If you're interested in joining the fun, double-jump over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast has prizes prepared for high achievers.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.