Dual classing is like powerleveling someone who never says thanks.

The title basically says it all. Previously I promised myself that I wouldn't choose my secondary class until I hit 50 with my primary or until I got utterly bored out of my brain with him, however I soon realized that the game has been designed for toons that have dual-class going. The mobs for their level are much much harder to kill and I realized that I was just making it hard on myself by delaying. By the time I found myself desperately spamming pots to stay alive like I was playing Diablo 2 on Insanely Brutal I figured that it was time to make a change. I had chosen the scout class because they seemed to be able to pour out insane damage but as a result of this I was quite squishy. The Scout plays like a hunter in WoW except without a pet. As a result of my failing ability to survive battles without relying on pots I decided to set a Priest as my secondary class. This means I will have a quick 1sec healing spell and a 20sed HoT at my disposal all the time.

But to get these abilities up to the level of my primary character (17) I had to do many of the low level quests once again. These generally involve Daily quests which can be done daily obviously. These generally required me to kill 20 baddies which, even though I was much higher then them, still took a fair amount of time. So I would kill all the mobs with my Scout and then quickly change back to the priest before handing the quest in. This process continues on and on and reminded so much of powerleveling another character. My Scout would do all the work with only a little help from my Priest and the Priest would get all the rewards. The only reason that I am helping this little hanger-on is as he gets more powerful his spells, which I can use, get more powerful. Mind you, despite the compromise, I'm not looking forward to continuing along this way for the rest on my game time...something has going to have to change.

RoM music isn't (in fact) completely horrible!

Normally I don't really listen to the music in MMOs, preferring to turn the in-game stuff right down and open up a link and listen to the radio online. I have done ever since leaving WoW and for the first time I turned off the radio just so I could enjoy the in-game music. And it was while I was playing RoM. Today I played for a tad over an hour and all I ways really doing was either 'kill x quests' or simple 'talk to x quests' with nothing for company bu the music. I was actually extremely impressed as the quality is very high.

But this isn't a gushing post because there is an issue I want to raise. I'll say it again that I don't know a whole lot about RoM, I just picked it up and started grinding, but I am discovering a few new things. While grinding away on some bandits, the crazy respawn time stuffed me over when a bandit spawned moments after I had killed him, and I hadn't even looted him. So I died and ran back to my body to find out that as a result of dying I had received a 'debt'. This debt had to repaid, except with my own experience points and TP. (Training Points??)Now call me a carebear addict but this is one of my most hated aspects of any game. Every time I see that a game has an experience penalty for dying I avoid it like a rabid chipmunk.

But despite my misgivings about this new discovery I will keep on grinding and see where it takes me in Runes of Magic...

Have I always been like this?

Today I was playing ROM and had just finished my fifth 'kill roughly 10 n00bs' quest which had taken me a fair amount of time, when I realized that I was enjoying myself. I didn't mind that all the quests had no connecting story and the NPCs simply wanted me to clear away the riffraff of bizarre creatures around where they stand. I didn't mind that all the creatures looked the same and the fights required to kill them was exactly the same. I don't know what it is. The game seems pretty stock standard, certainly not original in any way, yet I feel comfortable and perfectly content to spend all my time grinding.

In fact that is all I have actually done so far. I haven't tried out crafting aside from picking up some wood and herbs. I haven't participated in any PvP even though I am on a PvP server. I haven't bothered with the dual class system. And I haven't even joined a group, let alone do some quests with one or an instance. Maybe it is simply the fact that it is a game I haven't played before and will very soon tire of the grind, but at the moment I don't mind it at all.

Nothing says 'Hardcore' quite like a plain brown robe.

What has happened to me??!! I quit WAR because there seemed to be no end-game and all I seemed to be was grinding on mobs, yet that is all I have done in ROM so far! Has ROM done the grind bbetter then WAR? Maybe I have finally lost it....

Choppa stuff

Keen just wrote up his thoughts of the Choppa class from the PTS and it just seems to keep getting better. As much as I love the sound of the class though what I really want is significant change to the end-game RvR, as that was the real issue when I decided to leave. It may sound strange but what I really, really want is to really, really want to play this game.

Runes of Magic impressions

With still no serious continuous game to delve into when I should be studying my mind has often drifted to the free-to-play MMORPG market. From a couple of places I have been hearing reports of the game Runes of Magic (ROM) so like any good conformist I decided to check out what the fuss was about.

ROM has been branded as a WoW clone, but it looks like they embrace that fact rather then try to deny it. Probably good thing they do because its hard not to feel that you are wandering around in Elwynn Forest at the started zone of ROM. There are a number of different classes to choose from, nearly all clones of WoW's characters. ROM however only has the race of humans to choose from so I'm wondering what they are going to do with PvP.

Most of the stuff in ROM is quite generic and even the early levels of the game are quite grindy. But it strikes me that this is a game you play after a long day of work, where you don't have to think...just grind. Mind you, I haven't got particularly far in the game yet so cannot speak for the later levels.

One of the special 'features' of ROM is their dual class system which is pretty basic. You are able to have a primary class and a secondary class. You can use all the abilities of your primary class but only a few of your secondary. The two classes can be swapped around but you must be willing to level for both of them. So far, what I have seen this system just makes you play the game twice, with twice as much grinding.

So its not brilliant, but it isn't awful. I'm going to keep on playing for a time and we'll see where it goes from there. Oh, and ROM is still in the beta stage yet there will be no wipe when it is released in March, so you can level to your heart's content in beta which I think anyone can join. I took some screenshots in the game for this post just to show you how similar it looked to WoW but for some reason they all ended up as black images. Sop instead I'll give you a link to the video I made just running around the early levels of ROM.



When a MMO offers you a game without a grind, many people take a second look. Grinding is a part of everyday life for most of us; its something we have grown up with and in a way it makes us feel secure. When I imagine a game without a grind I imagine a game with a massive variety of ways to reach the level cap, and plenty of things to keep me occupied when I do so. In a situation like this I can see myself getting scared that I am not getting everything I want to do done. That is a feeling that I rarely have experienced, generally it occurs when a completely pimped out toon walks past me and after a moment I follow, dragging my jaw along.

A MMO requires a lot of time and effort (Debatable) and surely, something that is incredibly fun when you first start can get old by the time you have spent 100+ hours doing it. So then the challenge is to create lots and lots of incredibly fun things, and that is a challenge, and would take quite a while to perfect. And I mean, why bother putting all that time and effort into creating a large variety of content that supports the anti-grind message when the developers could stick the old grind methodology into any old game, add a few sparkles, add a bit of epic loot, polish it up a little bit and the money pours in. (*cough* WoW *cough*)

PS. It feels like I have written this before? Have I said all this in a previous post?

Choices, choices, choices

I received COD2 in the mail the other day, after looking for something to waste some of my precious study time with and have been enjoying quite a lot. I have never been particularly good at FPS games, mainly because I don't like the extremely competitive nature of most of them.

At the core I am a MMORPG person and am still looking for the one true one. I have been tempted on many occasions to take up both WAR and LotRO again. Its been a long long time since I have played LotRO and since I quit I have heard nothing but good news about it. I adored the PvE book aspect of the game and would love to try it out again some time.

WAR also has been calling to me, as I often think about how many fun times I had in the PvP. I loved the graphics and RvR, but in the end there wasn't enough variety of good quality end-game to keep me there. I am considering resubbing when the Choppa comes out, because I think the class looks fantastic.

Lastly I have been having a look at Guild Wars 2. I haven't played the original but reading some of the FAQ of GW2 it looks like it is going to be a very popular MMORPG option, especially with the unique pricing option.

Blizzard's next MMO

Blizzard's next MMO will be nothing like WOW yet will have many of the same elements and style. This tiem around Blizzard will opt for a higher graphical level because they know no matter what kind of game they will make people will play it, so making significantly better graphics will not drive away people but most likely lure them in. Their next MMO will obviously have no fantasy connections whatsoever, but they will not make anything in the present/past day, because that's not very interesting. Space looks like the way to go, with jumpsuits and Spore-like customization on your various races.

Blizzard will focus on some sort of instance based game because that is what they do best, but my guess is that they will put a lot of effort into dolling up the PvP aspect. WoW will always probably be the best raiding type MMO out there and they don't want to detract from that so their next MMO won't have raiding. Open world PvP is hard to get right and Mythic are the closest to getting that nailed so Blizzard's next MMO will have instance based PvP galour. Also they don't want to make it too familiar to EVE so that's another reason why open world PvP wouldn't be a focus.

The last thing is that Blizzard's next MMO will be easy to grasp and will just require a lot of time dedicated to it. This will be the big challenge. When you think 'futuristic' and 'space' you think 'massive' and 'expansive' and, dare I say it, 'complicated' making a space/futuristic MMO simple and easy to play will be a pretty big challenge for them.

So to summarise; Blizzard's next MMO will be space/futuristic.
It will have many different aspects to WoW but many similar ones.
It will have a different audience, probably a bit older and mature.
And it will be more focused around PvP.

Why can't we have both?

First of all where is the line that governs whether a game is singleplayer or multiplayer? The most common answer would be that a multiplayer requires more then one player, so two people playing at one time. Would that mean they would have to be playing together for it to be a multiplayer? Of course it would. Many people complain that playing an MMO is like playing a singleplayer game. In most circumstances this is due to the fact that there are not a lot of players around that area, or they just don't group a lot. However, even if a MMO is first and foremost a multiplayer game why does it always seem that the singleplayer sucks?

Every major objective in an MMO is generally achieved by teamwork, whether it be in a raid group fighting an instance, or a warband participating in PVP, or even in something more subtle such as using the AH to get gear/money. So with all the focus on the multiplayer side of things the solo stuff tends to suffer greatly. But why is this so? Many singleplayers nowadays have at least some form of multiplayer - this has now become normal. Its not often particularly great, but its just there to fill in space because it is expected. So in nearly all games that have both a singleplayer element and a multiplayer element one of these will inevitably stink. But why? Why can't we have more games that have a solid grounding on both aspects? Perhaps in the future of gaming, games will lose their 'singleplayer' or 'multiplayer' tag and all have both equally good. That will be something to look forward to.

BTW just endured my first week of Year12 which was pretty tough. All of a sudden I have a whole lot less time to do everything and right now I really have to do some homework, before doing my '500 words a day' and then get ready for my brother's uni friends to come over. Wish me luck. :)

Indi vs. Mainstream

Is it just me or do Indi game designers seem much more hardcore then major mainstream developers?
I recently read a couple of articles about Indi gaming and the discussions and courses they have on it is incredible. They seem to have such a large pool of knowledge and so many ideas about what gaming should be in contrast to what we see mainstream developers as. In the article they were talking about how they saw gaming as art and how they could reflect this. It was very interesting and slightly confusing seeing as their ideas and concepts were so 'original' and different to what we see all the time in gaming.

I'm thinking when an Indi game designer sees something like Crysis that cry into their tea at the thought of not having the same resources as the people at crytek, while the people that do have the resources waste it on such an eye-candy centered game. It got me thinking about where do the mainstream developers come from? How do they become so different to the Indi guys? Is it the large gaming companies who just tell them what to do or they lose their jobs? I'm curious.

Gaming at Uni

i read in a magazine the other day that the government were considering using Civ4 or something to teach students at school. Furthermore I heard that there is a course somewhere at uni totally focused on Starcraft. In the Starcraft course they would study all sorts of mathematics and units strengths , as well as even psychology I think in relation to strategies. The students would be required to record two full length videos of themselves playing Stacraft and submit it to the teacher to analyze. If they had time/could be bothered then they would go over some of the tapes in class.

When I first heard about it I thought it was some sort of joke, but when I started reading into the notes then it became obvious that this was a truly serious course, and looked like it was pretty hard. It got me thinking what kind of gaming university course that I would like best. After much deliberation I decided that studying the MMORPG would be the most interesting. What makes these games so durable? What makes people play them? And also, what can we learn from MMORPGs?

Too bad, everything sucks here in Western Australia, where little happens, but here's to hoping. In other news I bought COD2 so that should be arriving in a couple of weeks. I was going to buy it off steam but it costed more then getting it off ebay.

Net problems = wasted download

A number of times now I've been trying to download large game clients when in the middle of a 2GB+ download my net stops for a time causing the download to fail. I don't quite know what the problem is or how to fix it suffice to say that it is extremely irritating.

In other news I got 20 bucks for killing that guinea pig a few weeks ago so I'm thinking of spending it on COD2 because I tried out the multiplayer on a LAN center and loved it even more then COD4.
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