I’m Not Dead Yet

I'm Not Dead Yet

It’s been just over two weeks since my last post, which is a lifetime in blogging terms, but rest assured I’m still around (because I know you were wondering… right?).  The fact of the matter is, now that I’m no longer actively playing any MMOs, the blogging well has started to run dry.  There isn’t really a whole lot of interesting stuff to write about when you’re playing single-player games, is there?

Here’s a quick little update on a few different things:

Guild Wars
I was challenged by a friend claiming that I’d never be able to play Guild Wars up to level ten without first quitting of boredom.  I set out to prove him wrong and I definitely got off to a roaring start.  I was having a fair bit of fun with the game and rocketed my way up to level 8 and have since hit a brick wall.  I haven’t logged in to the game in weeks, so I’ll concede to my friend.  It probably wouldn’t take much to get those next two levels, but I’m not sure if I want to.  There you go Kuarlos… you win.

Dungeons and Dragons Online
The game went free, I played for a bit, and lost interest.  I definitely liked what I played, but my problem with it at the moment is that I wasn’t having a great time solo’ing it.  This game screams out for group play but my real life commitments don’t allow for that right now.  Maybe some day.

World of Warcraft
My subscription has been up  for two weeks now and I still have no burning desire to head back.  I suspect I’ll be able to last until Cataclysm’s release, at which time I fully intend to resubscribe, however, there’s nothing in that game for me right now.

Fallout 3
I finally cracked this one open on my Xbox 360 and I’m loving it.  It took a little bit to get going, but once it did, I was hooked.  I really like the atmosphere, although I can certainly see how it wouldn’t be for everyone.  There’s something so very satisfying about playing an RPG like this on a big TV while sitting in a comfy couch.  Sure the PC version looks better, but my rear end is so much more happy to be ensconced on the couch.  By my estimates I’m about halfway through the main story, and I’ve done every single side quest I’ve come across.

NHL 10
I hate (the internet version of hate) EA as much as the next guy, but they sure do make a good hockey game.  I’m having a blast with the “Be A Pro” mode in this one; a great feature if I’ve ever seen one.

Another reason I’ve migrated to my Xbox as of late is because I’m desperately in need of a new computer.  My current rig is approaching six years old and has been chugging on the newer games for the past little while.  When I finally get around to purchasing a new one I can see a whole lot of Dragon Age: Origins in my future.  For the meantime though, I’ll be sticking with the 360.

DDO: First Few Hours

Underground Complex

I have now spent a few hours with Dungeons and Dragons Online, completing all of the starting area quests.  While I haven’t played nearly enough to form a concrete opinion on the game, my initial impression is that this isn’t a game I’d pay a monthly fee for.  I have however, quite enjoyed what I’ve experienced so far and am eagerly anticipating the games move to a free-to-play, micro-transaction supported model on September 9th.

Aussircaex

What I Like So Far:
Character creation.  Easily the best character creation process I’ve been through in an MMO.  I was led step by step through the whole process and there was detailed information readily available for each step.  I particularly liked how it provides a rating for how easy it is to solo with each given class.  If you actually know what you’re doing you have the option to skip the hand-holding and customize your character however you’d like.  I ended up creating a Human Paladin, following the Flame of Justice path.

The dungeons I saw were all very well done with a definite D&D feel to them.  I quite liked the points of narration by the “Dungeon Master” which really helped add some atmosphere to the game.  The few traps and interactive puzzles I saw were also very nice touches.  The dungeons also have a difficulty selector which appears upon entering, allowing you to select from multiple difficulty settings, including a solo setting.  I’m looking forward to seeing more.

The entire introductory island was well done story-wise.  It was easy, and interesting, to follow with a really cool conclusion.  If the rest of the game has story elements like this it may just be able to keep my interest.

What I Don’t Like So Far:
The character movement feels very “floaty” to me, as though my character is hovering an inch off the ground as opposed to actually walking.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  The camera system is also a little different than what I’ve experienced in other games.  I’m used to using the right mouse button to move my view where I want, but the right click is used to attack in DDO.  I suppose that’s more of a “not used to it yet”, as opposed to a dislike though.

I’m kind of iffy on the combat so far, and it’s leaning more towards dislike.  It’s hard to say, because I’m only level two, but all I’ve done to this point is swing my sword; am I missing something?  Enemy mobs rush at me, I face them, and hold down the right mouse button.  It doesn’t feel very D&D to me.

The good thing so far is that nothing has stood out to me as an obvious dislike.  The two I’ve listed certainly aren’t deal breakers for me; I’m eager to spend more time with the game.

I was originally going to post some more details about the content itself but it’s already been done better than I could ever do back in November 2008 at Pumping Irony:

I Just Want To Play

DDO Denied

Real life commitments lately have kept me away from any sort of gaming, so I haven’t been able to try out Dungeons and Dragons Online which I picked up for two dollars.  I did manage to get in and create a character the other night but haven’t been able to actually play the game.

I finally have some free time right at this very moment as I write this post, and I was quite eager to get some game time in.  I clicked my DDO icon which started up the games launcher.  A quick little patch was applied and the launcher automatically restarted.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  The launcher came back up and then told me that “Client DAT files do not correspond to those on the patch server” at which point the launcher would just continue retrying unsuccessfully.

I check the forums and see the message above in the screenshot: There is currently an issue with the DDO game client that causes it to download incorrect files, leaving the game in an uplayable state.  At this time we recommend you do not open the launcher to prevent the files from downloading.

Well gosh.  Thanks.

A New Old Addiction

It’s been three weeks since I canceled my World of Warcraft account, and despite the fact that my account won’t actually expire until the first of October, my motivation to play the game has plummeted.  I suppose I just don’t see the point any more, which only reaffirms my decision to cancel.  I had a great time with the game for a while but towards the end, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my character was just a hamster running on a wheel, not doing anything useful, just repeating daily after daily.  It’s a good time for a break.

In the mean time I’ve fallen back in love with Civilization IV.  I had forgotten how addictive that game is and I’ve caught myself several times late at night playing “just one more turn!”.  Unfortunately it doesn’t make for the most interesting blogging material, hence the lack of updates here.

Civ IV has prevented me from playing a few games I picked up on the cheap in the last week.  First, I purchased Supreme Commander for $10.  I’ve always wanted to try it because I loved Total Annihilation back in the day.  I’ve gotten as far as installing it, but haven’t actually played it yet.  Actually, after installing I launched the game only to be told I didn’t have the correct CD in the drive.  A few internet searches later led me to the latest official patch which fixes that issue.  How does that issue even occur?  Stupid DRM.

The other cheap game I picked up was Dungeons and Dragons Online for a whopping grand total of $2.20.  That’s right, two dollars and twenty cents.  I realize of course that the game is going free to play September 9th, but the retail box comes with 30 days free so I figure it was worth two bucks to try it out for a bit.  I’ll try and post some impressions shortly, assuming of course I can pull myself away from Civ IV for a bit.

I have zero experience with DDO, so it’ll be interesting to see how simple or hard it is to start playing an established game.