Wherein A Certain Game Is Mentioned

August 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

It is the rainy end of a bank holiday Monday, I’ve got a sausage sandwich-shaped hole in my tum, and tomorrow is A Certain Game’s official launch day.

Aye, the beast that is Guild Wars 2 is upon us.  I have not been involved in the head-start launch as anything other than a spectator, but I still got to hear about issues with accounts, logging in, and general server evil.  All in all, an MMO launch.

My sole participation in the head-start was to Not Help Very Much by installing the game.  My game box arrived on Saturday morning from the Shop of the Amazon, so I installed it and created a game account.  It took a few attempts to get an account created, but that’s both understandable, and no means rare for a new game launch.  It was then a short while the game patched itself.

In a way, it’s been a bit of a strange feeling.  This is the first MMO in a long time where I’ve not been in any way before launch.  Nowadays a game pre-order comes with head-start access at the very least, and quite often some open-beta.  And as the sort of gamer that enjoys an MMO launch, I tend to pre-order.

This time, not.  ArenaNet’s choice of Pre-*Purchase* rather than Pre-*Order* came at a time when I just couldn’t afford to hand over the funds for something that I might not enjoy that much.  At best, I’m a beta scratcher; I can’t invest in a beta so all I do is log on, check out the character creation, the combat, and maybe a bit of hunter-gathering, and then call it quits.  Paying for a few hour’s testing seems counter-intuitive, when there are so many cool toys that I *need*.

But I’m really glad for all those people who did go on; it’s because of their blogging and tweeting that I shall be having a go at Guild Wars 2.  You are all too numerous to mention, but Scarybooster gets a nod for the most in-depth analysis of the game so far, which did in fact prove to be the tipping point between indecision and life-long fandom.

A hearty congratulation to ArenaNet on the launch of their new game.

Cheers,

Hawley.

Warp Factor: Stupid

May 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

You know those “You must be this tall” signs at the entrance to roller-coaster queues?  Well, I sometimes wonder if some games should have “You must be this smart” signs…

I spotted that Steam had a Star Trek Online demo.  Now, both of my regular readers are well aware that Hawley loves free trials, so I was all over it like a rash.

Unfortunately, I just had problems getting into the demo.  It just wasn’t intuitive, in terms of finding out what I needed to do to get into the game.  Sometimes I can be thick, whilst other times I really do need instructions written on the soul of a boot in order to pour p1ss out of it.  Especially if it’s a style of boot I’ve not seen before.

In the end, I had to ask a mate, who kindly provided the answer.  Thank you.  You’ve saved a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

It seems I needed to right click the game entry in the library, and select Manage Game Account.

Maybe my stupidity was due to not knowing Steam very well, maybe it was due to being a monkey.  And maybe it was because Cryptic hate me, and enjoyed laughing at me.

I shall have a go at the demo.  Insert overused Star Trek quote here…

Cheers,
Hawley.

Free Trials Ahoy!

December 29, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I’m blaming the weird unexplainable headache I’m suffering from.  And Steam.

Steam is currently selling Eve Online for not very much at all.  It’s so long since I’ve played Eve that I’d have no problem starting a new account/character, and seeing as the price Steam is charging is low enough, it’s the equivalent of a cheap month, and see where I stand with it.

I also couldn’t help noticing that Steam was also tempting me with a free trial of Eve.

Oh, and a free trial of Champions Online.

So, from no free trials to two free trials in a couple of clicks.

Now, I currently don’t think of free trials as being strictly “free”.  At the very least they cost me bandwidth, download allowance, and time.

The decision for Eve is an easy one to make; it has a seductive call, and maybe I’m more in the mood for sandbox play.  14 days of gameplay will tell me whether or not I want to fly around in space shooting stuff.

Champions Online’s trial seems to be one of those new-fangled unlimited trials.  As long as I’m happy with 2 character slots, one starter zone and no more than 15 levels, I can play as much as I want.

Well, seeing as I already had an account, and Steam had kept all the installation files for me (thanks to the fun I’d had with my first experience of a Cryptic free trial), it was only about an hour before I was up to date and ready to create another member of the British Expeditionary Space Force.

So, why swap my hard-earned and sparse free time for time in two free trials when I could be playing Lord of the Rings Online or Fallen Earth, both of which I really enjoy and are more than enough for me, thankyouverymuch(kthxbai)?

Well, first of all, Eve Online is The Daddy.  Boast about achievements in any game you like, Eve Online is the only one where the game world allows you to actually make a difference.  That’s enticing, but I’ve never been able to get to the point where I actually feel like I’m relaxed and happy in game.  Maybe this time I will, and I’ll not leave.

Besides, the views can be amazing.

Champions Online is a different matter entirely.  I felt like I just didn’t get enough time in my first experience of the game, and that given the time that’s elapsed, it’s only fair to take a second look.  Especially since that second look (unlike the first) is letting me take my time.

Furthermore, Star Trek Online is peeking around the door.  And whilst comparing Champions Online and Star Trek Online would be a bit like comparing cheese to the inner workings of the combustion engine, they are both Cryptic games, and I’m pretty sure that this free trial isn’t just about getting Champions Online players, it’s about improving public relations just ahead of the launch of Star Trek Online.

Now, I’m long past the point of caring about a game because of its name or intellectual property.

No, I’m not a Star Trek Fanboy.  I even have the temerity to have really, really enjoyed the franchise reboot.  Heck, I even laughed at the comedy moments.  Yeah, I rate highly on the “Literally Worse Than Hitler” scale.

That doesn’t mean I want the game to fall on its arse.  In fact, I want the opposite.  I’m an MMO fan, and the more fantastic MMOs there are, the better life is (and of course, whilst I *am* a big fat Star Wars fanboy, that doesn’t mean that BioWare have a guaranteed sale of Star Wars: The Old Republic coming their way.  I’ll need them to make a good game too, before I buy it).

So, I’m going into both Champions Online and Eve Online with an open mind.  Of course, that’s a mind that’s currently sat inside a nasty painy head, so I can blame that if it all goes wrong.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Fallen Earth: First Impressions

November 2, 2009 at 5:58 am | Posted in fallen earth, General | 4 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Thanks to the 14 day free trial available from Massively, MMORPG and The Escapist, I got to spend a couple of hours with Fallen Earth, without having to shell out any cash.  Now whilst some people think that a free trial shortly after launch is a sign of impending doom, I think it might be the reverse for Fallen Earth; I think Icarus have decided to capitalise on the good word that’s being spread about their baby, by letting people have a decent amount of time to make their own minds up.  Well, I appreciate it.

I got to play through the tutorial, and then run through a few quests that seemed designed to help me learn how things worked in normal gameplay.  Then a couple of friends popped ‘round for a brew, so I stopped playing.

My first impressions were very positive.  Yes, it’s easy to be positive in the first couple of hours of playing; the gloss of NEW can make even a floating turd seem positive.  So here’s why:

It reminded me of Star Wars Galaxies. Yay.  I miss Star Wars Galaxies.  The dual-natured user interface, and the feeling that I can do whatever I want within the game is something that I discovered surprisingly nostalgic, and appealing.

I got some Converse All-Stars. I love my Chuck Taylors.  I’m not a fashionable person, as I like to think that fashion is something that happens to other people.  I’ve had a number of pairs of Converse All-Stars, so to find them as a clothing option was a lovely surprise.  An alt may be end up going all street with a pair of Adidas, but Hawley wears All-Stars.  Honestly, it made my day.  Yeah, they’re not fully licensed pixel-perfect reproductions, but a close enough homage for me to smile whenever I look at them.

The learning curve is sharp. And quite possibly has jagged rocks waiting at the bottom. More nostalgia; when I first started playing Everquest, one of the things that really made me take note was the fact that there was no save and reload.  It was all live, and happening now.  Strangely, I was reminded of this shortly after appearing in the game proper, when I was half eaten by a dog-sized ant.  Just after that, I was dedded by another dog-sized ant.  Yet rather than the usual sigh-and-respawn, I guiltily looked around to see if anyone had noticed me making an arse of myself; that hasn’t happened in a long time.

It’s not pretty. Fallout looks better, which is saying something. The game isn’t as pretty as some, but then again it doesn’t look ugly.  And what it does do really well is suit its subject matter well.  The impression of a post-apocalyptic world is very well realised.  Heck, I even went and had a look at a ruined house, because it looked interesting.  And I’m not an explorer type.

Controls aren’t intuitive. It took me a while to even start figuring out combat. Instead of running around levelling at high speed, I was forced to spend a while experimenting with stuff.  Including how the combat works, how best to use the UI, and generally how to interact with the world.  Again, it reminded me of Star Wars Galaxies, which could be charming in its lack of intuit.  Is a game that is easy to figure out better than a game that takes time to figure out, but is “easy when you know how”?

Help Channel! With added GM! Okay, this was a new one for me.  No, not a help channel for players, but a GM actually interacting with the civvies, the population at large?  I know people who’ve spoken with (or been spoken at by) GMs, but never have I seen one actively moderating a public channel before.  This was a new thing, and made me wonder what GMs are doing in other games.  Conversation in the Help Channel could be a little robust at times, but there was the GM to give a gentle nudge back on topic, all nice and friendly.  I think this was one of the things that impressed me most about Fallen Earth.

Horse. Yes, I got a horse. It seems to me that most horses in MMOs are used as an incentive, as a reward for continuing to play.  Yet here is Hawley, just having learned how to equip weapons and now he’s got a horse.  It’s as if there was a definite design choice to stop being silly about an arbitrary number, and just let people travel quickly.  Of course, it’s countered by a decided lack of teleportation, but it’s early level running between quest areas that can become a real chore, so thumbs up from me.

This is not a game for the faint of heart.  The interface is a beast, and sometimes it seems that it’s actually working against me, but it also has some wonderful little touches.  Combat is another; getting used to how combat works will take time.  In many ways, this is the dark other to Aion’s shining light-filled being.

Where Aion is a game that was fantastically easy to pick up and play, Fallen Earth is something that demands time to learn how to play.  In Aion, it was possible to hit the ground running.  In Fallen Earth, I’ve had to relearn how to tie my shoe-laces

Am I sold?  Well, I’ll have an answer for you in two weeks or less.  It’s certainly a slow-burner, and I’m really appreciative of the two weeks I’ll have to look at it, and make a decision.  Ta muchly, Icarus.

Cheers,

Hawley.

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