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Month: May 2014

Death to the cash shop

Posted in Gaming

After paying my first subscription payment for Elder Scrolls Online I’m reinforced in my belief that Free-2-Play/Freemium is a poisoned chalice instead of the golden goblet of awesome that the F2P revolution always alluded to.

Not that I don’t see the benefits that the shift has brought with it, removing the barriers and opening up the playing field. As a MMO gamer I can play a different MMO every night for a fortnight and not pay a penny, which isn’t something you could say 8 years ago. When done badly or greedily it’s no better than the hordes of Facebook titles begging for your money.

However I feel that dividing a games assets into purchasable bundles detracts from the game as a whole. I as a player can’t experience the game in the way that the developers originally intended or in a joined up way, now the only way to get that level X equipment is to grid out experience, farm certain enemy types or transform your real money into “Company points” to soften the blow of spending it on electronic goods.

Now many F2P games offer a monthly subscription VIP/Premium/Member service that should reduce a players dependency on in-game purchases, yet in recent times it has felt like companies target these already paying customers more with exclusive deals, discounted items or just plain old asking for more money with an array of hats (replace with flavour of the month item).

I hope that The Elder Scrolls Online keeps taking my money and doesn’t venture down the F2P road.

/rantoff

#F2P #FreetoPlay # subscription #ElderScrollsOnline

That lived in feeling

Posted in Gaming

Of all the elements that a MMO game brings to the table the environment is the one that can really make the game feel like a Home for it’s players.
In a usual single player game the environment can be highly detailed enough to dispel belief for the 20 to 30 hours it takes to complete the story-lines, maybe 100 hours for bigger world like in games like in Skyrim or GTA V.

The cast

The voice over work is very well done, as with The Secret World they are filled with humour, quips, flippant remarks and feel mostly believable given the setting.
Below is a screenshot of the dialogue during our weekend venture while rescuing someone and we quizzed him about his predicament.

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The world

The continents feel big yet the content isn’t spread out too thinly like I found in Trion’s Rift game, quests can be picked up in towns and villages, but organically via exploration similar to how you stumbled across many quests in The Secret World.

The quests organically push you forward towards the increasingly higher content, so you don’t end up at quest hubs only to hand in 4 missions, pick up 4 more and head off in to the wilds to kill another ten rats.

I think it’s worth mentioning that the game doesn’t shy away from playing with the traditional MMO functions. I good example of this is when you are handed a quest to collect 25 crocodiles teeth, a usual MMO collect X things from beast Y type of quest.
This quest is completed after kills 2 to 3 crocodiles as they yield about 8 or more teeth each. Nicely played.

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The detail

The elements that I enjoy the most are the little pieces of lore that briefly hints at a building past, or the belongings of a house strewn over a house. These allow you to dream up your own history behind them or left wondering why part of a town has been left to fall into ruin.

It really boils down to that lived in feeling that comes from the effort Zenimax have put into making each environment and the characters feel very unique.

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The designers have added elements that bring the world to life.
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Funnily enough as writing this post took me a couple of days my companion in Elder Scrolls Online, Dok, blogged about his experiences in the game and I’m happy to say they match mine on many elements.

#ESO #ElderScrollsOnline

We could be legion

Posted in Gaming

I have to admit that I was disappointed when CCP announced that Dust 514 was only going to be out on Playstation, but wither the decision was made to avoid sapping the Eve Online player base or due to an exclusive deal with Sony, the choice looks to have been the wrong one with reports of the game being overall poor.

And now out of Fanfest comes news of Legion, a First Person Shooter MMO with Player versus Player and Environmental components. This is going to be target the PC platform, but CCP haven’t ruled out a PS4 release but I don’t think it’s high on the cards.

Initially I thought the game will go head to head with SoEs Planetside 2 title yet given the PvE elements it maybe more like Defiance and FireFall.
Interestingly the original Planetside game was going to have PvE and a mission system build into it, but sadly they never made the final version.

The experiences in making Dust have allowed CCP to expand on the idea making it bigger and more involved. This will hopefully allow for a greater interaction with the whole Eve Universe and enable more direct control of planets/systems.

Now all it needs is to allow you to move your character seamlessly between Legion and Eve and Dok Chaos will never have to log out.

#Legion # EveOnline #Dust514

Blogging with WordPress

Posted in Software

Since migrating my blog to WordPress I haven’t regretted the decision. Mine of course is a hosted blog rather then using a free or hosted one over at http://wordpress.com.

The good thing is much of the process is now automated, updates automatically install, of if you rather it will prompt you to update. In the old days when you needed to download the update, migrate the files to the server using FTP and hope that nothing broke in the process.

Via the application

The editor in WordPress is very good, infact compared to many editors it’s leaps ahead. Editing a new post is usually a straight forward process and you can adjust the editing box size as needed.

Another option that has been introduced is the “Distraction free writing” mode that removes all the surrounding menus and options to help you focus on the writing. If you combine this with the feature that many Browser have now to enter full screen mode, you can make it truly distraction free. (For Windows machine F11, For Macs fn+ F11).

3rd Party blogging tools

There aren’t that many 3rd party clients that are maintained nowadays. Following advice from CopperBird during the original Newbie Blogger Initiative, I downloaded and installed Microsoft’s Live Writer software. If you want to give this a try you can get it here http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/confirmation.aspx?id=8621, you can just install the Live Writer element of the install by selecting custom install and unchecked the other elements.

The software is simple and handles most of the functionality I need,  you are able to upload drafts or publish straight to your blog if you’d rather. It’s quite a useful tool if you don’t want to to have to be online as drafts are saved locally, useful if you are on a laptop with no internet connection.

Android App

The WordPress App is rather helpful, I tend to use the one on my phone for jotting down ideas and on occasion hitting publish on a pre-written post. I also use the application on my Nexus where I tend to write up drafts of new posts. Of course most of the spelling and writing issues may stem from how well you and your auto-correct get on, or if you are on a bus.

Now I shall share with you a few words of warning on using the mobile application (At least Android) as there are a few bugbears that I feel I should tell you about:

  1. The default status for a new post is Published, so if you upload it to your Blog it will be published immediately, alter this in post settings (cog symbol)
  2. It’s not initially clear how the saving and updating posts works, if you exit a post and it prompts to save with a Yes, No & Discard box this will save locally to your device, you instead need to hit the send button to upload it to the server (Remember about the draft status if you do)
  3. On the setting for each post it stored the date and time, this can often get set to the last edit date and time, if you go into the settings and press immediately this will not set the fields until you publish
#NBI #Wordpress

All hail the new flesh

Posted in Websites

The Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014 is in full swing and there are a stack of new bloggers, my RSS reader is slightly more crazy than normal. Not that this is a bad thing, it means I need to make a little more time to read through the extra posts.

The list is growing by the day with some last minute folk joining the blog zero,  this list is likely to be out of date by tomorrow. So if you have a spare few minutes why not check some of them out.

If I have missed anyone off this list please let me know.
#NBI #NBI2014