Lets skip the formalities and get to the endgame

The general consensus about WoW is that the game begins at the level cap. I'm not going to get into whether this statement can be considered true or not, instead I was wondering what would happen if Blizzard took away 1-80, and just focused totally on the endgame. I don't know how much work goes into designing hundreds of quests, new zones, and new spells and tweaks to classes but its easy to imagine that making that 1-80 content wouldn't have been easy. And if this is so then isn't a waste for it to be disregarded so easily? Blizzard has made it even worse now with a player able to power through the levels much, much faster then it would have been possible in vanilla WoW. So not only do people completely ignore the 1-80 content and focus on the aspects of the end-game but it seems that Blizzard itself believes that the game believes when a player hits the cap.

So it would make sense for Blizzard then to throw away the formalities and just throw away levels altogether. Throw out the unused zones and concentrate on raiding and PvP. Give the player a fairly long tutorial in a single player instance where they are shown the ropes of their abilities and such. The zones around the place would be highly populated with instances of varying degrees of difficulty. You start with simple 3-5 man instances and move up to the 20-40 man raids. With this, Blizzard will be able to make the raiding even more epic then it is, and perhaps bring an element of skill to the plate rather then make everything rely on gear. This way Blizzard will be able to focus all its mighty power on making the PvP and raiding even more awesome. There are of course a few problems with this idea, mainly the fact that Blizzard will be unlikely to completely throw away something they spent millions on creating, but its a nice thought. And who knows? Perhaps one day when WoW has dropped down to a measly 3 million subscribers/dedicated raiders, they will go for this option.

Challenge yourself (Personal post)

Have you ever gotten the urge to do something crazy? Wait, scratch that. Have you ever gotten the urge to do something crazy, but then it continues on well past the moment when you thought that it would be a crazy thing to do? I mean, like playing Halo for 24 hours straight without a break, or making a video every day for a year. Now, I said a month or so ago that I would try and write 500 words a day for 6 months and in a way it was successful, but mostly it was a bit disappointing. I did start off well, by planning out the story and what would happen but inevitably I lost interest in what I was writing. The thing for me was that I knew what was going to happen later on and I was excited for that to happen, but at the time I was stuck with character development/talking etc. That made me think that if I was getting tired of writing some parts, then the reader would too.

So I'm not writing it at the moment, but will definitely have a good look at it when I finish school and have my gap year. Now I am the kind of guy who, if I don't have a challenge, will just do nothing so I often set myself challenges/goals like the '500 words a day'. Right now I am also trying to design my own magazine, which, while it is quite a slow process, has been quite fun. But all of these goals have been toned down after a while as school comes crashing in, so I'm looking for something crazy to do that won't take too much time from school. Maybe I should get ripped. Maybe just draw a portrait every day. Maybe on the day after my last exam for the year I will game for 24 hours. Who knows? I'm going to have a think about it and come to a decision, right now I want to do something that will go from now till the end of my exams towards the end for the year. We'll how things go from here.

22" for microsoft word! Why????

Hit 27/25 yesterday. I seem to have finally got over the lack of quests for my Scout in Aslan Valley. Except now I'm starting to get a lot of quests that require me to kill at least 20 of one mob. If its a 'collect 20 Xs' then it often requires me to kill a whole lot more as the drop rates often aren't too great. But the bonus of these large kill quests is daily quests. Before I had been relying totally on dailies to level but now they just come hand in hand with my other quests. For instance, today I was given a quest that required me to kill 7 of each kind of Ent in the area. Now, each of these Ents drop some branches which can be handed for dailies. Now the drop rate on the branches are not too high, but by the time I had finished the quest requiring me to kill all the Ents I had gathered enough branches to complete one daily. So an extra 2.2k experience + tokens + TP. It ain't bad.

I have also recently joined a guild which turned out to be a good way to freshen up the grind. A lot of the people in the guild are quite a bit higher then me and so I often get lost in their discussions of higher end stuff, nevertheless I am enjoying myself.

In other news my Dad was given a 22" screen 190000:102090 monitor for work ie. typing up speeches and reading political blogs. QQ

Is everyone in RoM French? I mean, who would need 370 frog legs??

I made a post a while back about making your own challenge in a game that offers very little. Well, I have reached this point when playing with my Scout. I have been hanging around in Aslan Valley for longer then I can remember now with my Scout and seemingly always doing the same daily quest over and over again; collecting frog legs. The reason is that the mobs are pretty easy to kill and the drop rate is pretty decent, that and the fact that the daily requires me only to collect 10 instead of some others which require 18 along with a dismal drop rate. In Aslan Valley there appears to be a complete lack of quests available for me to do so I have been just doing constant dailys. Through this I have collected over 1000 tokens now, but it almost made me quit the game.

After killing innumerable amounts of hairy frogs and collecting 370 frog legs I gave up and decided to move on from these mobs who were 3-4 levels below me, and try to complete some dailys that required me to kill some higher levels. Now here it the thing in RoM; If a mob is just 2 levels higher then you, the chance of you dying is greatly increased and fights go for a lot longer. And this is what I am happy to do. When grinding on frogs I could just shut down my brain and spam two buttons, but with these higher level mobs I need to be constantly checking my health, chucking quick heals and trying to bring them down as fast as possible. Finally a challenge!

Now killing the higher levels and handing in the daily quests doesn't give me as much xp as the frog legs, but I reckon I'll go made if I kill anymore frogs. So at the moment I'm killing tree REnts (Wait...Ents?) and collecting their branches. Its like playing my priest again; healing myself a lot and being aware of what is around me, because the Ents hit hard! I remember I was talking to someone while fighting an Ent, and forgot to chuck a HoT on myself before I pulled him and was killed in a matter of seconds. I guess its like playing with fire; dangerous but so much more interesting!

I like squishiness over spammyness

I haven't written much on RoM lately, but I am still playing it. School has been quite consuming and haven't had a lot of time to play. Well yesterday marked the official launch of RoM and this included new instances and quests not available during the Open Beta. I'm assuming all this is at the end game because I haven't seen any changes as yet. I'm level 25 with my Scout and 22 with my Priest. The time it takes to level my scout now is getting tiring and frustrating; there are virtually no quests in the area where I am trying to level so often I found myself just going through endless daily quests. One of the easiest daily quests I found was collecting frog legs and handing them in, this worked well as the quest only required 10 of them and the drop rate was quite quick.

There has been a nerf on the Scout however, as apparently it was quite overpowered previously. I can see a small difference in how long it takes for me to burn down mobs, but it hasn't effected me too greatly. The problem I'm having is that my Scout really has very few abilities; only two that I really ever use. This makes grinding even more tedious where I just spam one or two buttons only to stop to chuck a HoT on me. So after farming 300 frog legs and handing them in for dailies I decided to level up my priest who was sitting back on level 20. This turned out to create a lot more enjoyment for me. To start with, the area where I am leveling is packed with quests and from 20-22 I have only done about 2 dailies because I haven't had the need. Also with my priest I have a wider variety of spells and because of my squishiness I need to monitor my health/mana etc. something I never needed really to do with my Scout.

I'm trying to hit 25/25 as quickly as possible so I can have a look at the instance: forsaken abbey, where I have a couple of quests. I'm not quite sure what role I will play in it as demand for the Scout might not be very high. So, after going through quite a bad phase of not playing due to school/grinding dailies all the time, I have started to really enjoy my time again leveling my priest. In fact, overall, I have enjoyed playing on my priest a lot more then my scout. I also want to get into a guild so I can have more of the game open to me, and it does get quite boring sometimes just playing by yourself.

Photshopping Mag Cover (Again)

I was bored so decided to set myself the task of designing my own magazine, and started off by creating a magazine cover.
The thing I notice nowadays is that magazine covers for gaming always seem clogged up with fluff to look at, whereas I prefer the clean, simple look. Which do you prefer?

Do you know your character?

I was thinking the other day about how I didn't really know or care who my character was in any MMO that I have played. The fact is that I have never seen my character as an individual who has any character and can change anything. The only difference between who I am and the next person is how they look. MMOs today seem really to lack deep stories that surround and suck in the player. Sure, we have developers who brag about how epic their story is, but the fact is that if they don't press it onto the player then often we never know it is there.

LotRO in my opinion has the best story-telling elements through the Books, yet even that game failed to achieve an 'epic' story. I remember in Baldur's Gate I was able to shape who my character was and how people reacted to him. I was engrossed in the story; I wanted to help those in my group, I didn't want to offend some, and I wanted be someone. And the game allowed me to do so. The many various side missions are not just generic time-filling fluff but actions that have a real effect in the world in which I am playing.

The problem seemingly is that in MMOs you can't really change the world around you since it is inhabited by so many other players, but I think this is a problem that can and shoudl be overcome. Perhaps sometime in the future I will look at the back of my character in an MMO and not see just a lot of epics hanging off me, but an individual that I have created with his/her own character.


So I have been messing around with photoshop recently as a friend gave it to me for try out. As I want to be a graphic artist I thought that I might as well teach myself some skills now. So after having a look on the internet for some tutorials, I practiced a bit on photoshop and was encouraged about how easy it was when explained in simple steps. After a while I decided to venture out my myself and decided to have a go at fiddling with the lighting effects. So I copied this photo;

And after a bit of messing around achieved this;

So I'm still trying out new things and hopefully will have more stuff to show you later.

Can they make an MMO on anything..or is a unwritten law not to do so?

I begin to wonder. I heard recently that Vin Diesel thought it would be fun just to make his own MMO, you know, cos he thinks it would be cool. Now, when we think about an MMO we automatically think orcs, elves, fantasy, raiding, grind. Its a lethal combination that works. There are a thousand and one Korean clones out there which all play the same and have nothing going for them. The rate at which these games seem to be churned out is incredible. So if the Koreans are breeding MMOs like crazy and Vin Diesel can make up a MMO because he thinks it will be fun then why aren't we getting better quality stuff? I mean, what do all those Koreans think when they release their game? Do they actually believe they have made a great game?

Just for once, can we have an MMO without the obligatory grind, (I mean if you can't create decent middle-game content just cut out leveling all together) for once can we have an MMO that has a different story/setting/character/classes? Surely, with all these MMOs being pumped out it wouldn't be too much of an effort to do so. I just wonder if Vin Diesel's MMO would have orcs in it and have "war" in the title somewhere...

Stronghold, how I love thee

So I have been playing this game called Stronghold a great deal lately. As I said before it is a castle-building game and has several game modes. I am playing the demo as we lost our copy of the game a long time ago but it still gives a fair few hours of gameplay if you can play with someone else. The solo stuff includes an economic mission, where you have to makesome weapons in a specific amount of time, a siege where you can attack or defend, and an invasion, where you have a limited amount of time to prepare your castle for a large attack. The game requires you to manage your resources and servants as efficiently as possible. Often there isn't a lot of space, and you always need to make the most of it, so you need to be able to know in future what you are going to build and where it is going to go.

Depending on the popularity of your castle/king people will rock up at your castle for you to use as workers, or to turn into archers/macemen/crossbowmen etc. The main resource in the game is wood. This can be used to make buildings, make spears and bows and crossbows, and make fairly weak wooden walls. There are a few other resources such as iron, wheat, apples, peat etc. but these are less essential in the early parts in the game. To build certain buildings you need gold and the only way you can gain gold is by either selling your goods for a tiny amount, or taxing your workers. However, taxing your workers results them in being unhappy and they will begin top leave the castle unless you do something to cheer them up. These things include bribing them with food by increasing their rations, increase the variety of their food, so produce apples, cheese, and bread, or build happy little places for them to look at such as large ponds.

The game however does have some major flaws. As I said above I have been playing with my brothers and friends. My on one computer and them on the other, yet the game is always favoring the defending side. If you decide to build up massive defenses then there is little the other person can do to beat you. There are also issues with...balance...I guess you could say, as some troops are much much stronger then others for about the same cost. But overall, it has been a blast, I wasted most of yesterday playing with my brothers and loving the nostalgia. Oh, one last thing about Stronghold which is really the icing on the castle; each player is able to trade medieval insults. You just hit a button and the man will roar out "Weasel Turd!!"


Hey guys, just a bit of an update about life and love (aka gaming). I recently dinged 17 and had quite a quiet birthday, nothing flashy which was nice. I got some money which I am torn between saving to buy a new screen or getting some games in future. (Dragon Age: Origins) School has been quite heavy on me lately, although compared to others I do little to no study. I recently got the lowest mark I have ever got in two years at school in Applicable maths so I need to raise my game, especially as my Dad is a math tutor. Although I do contest that it wasn't 100% my fault because I was sick of the entire weekend and first few days of the week before the test on Wednesday so I couldn't study.

Because of all of this I haven't been gaming a whole lot, and virtually none at all of RoM. This is mainly because my interest has slightly waned and also because I discovered one of my gaming loves from childhood; Stronghold. This is quite an epic castle building sim which I have been playing with my brother for the past few days. I haven't abandoned RoM as yet, but my playtime has been massively reduced and may be even more so if I decide to resub to WAR.

I got the email today offering my a 10 day free pass to try out all the changes and am going to try it out. I truly hope the game has had big a change as I have heard. I am desperate to try out the Choppa class but my main aim will be hitting 40 with my Sorcerer. But I still don't know whether it will work out. My RoM videos on youtube seem quite popular so might be persuaded to keep on making them. We'll see how we go. :)

Challenging gaming

There has to be some challenge in everything we humans do otherwise we end up falling into the habit of not thinking about anything, never challenging ourselves and therefore never achieving anything. So what do you do when a game doesn't offer any challenge to you anymore? The most logical and often occurrence is that you simply quit the game and go find another one which stimulates the mind to a greater degree then the prior game did. O.o

The other option which some of you might have tried is to make up challenges for yourself, such as fighting battles naked (Thats a popular one) try and collect an insane about of junk, or just grind one a single mob for 24 hours nonstop. Often these impossible challenges signify that it is definitely time to drop the game, but if the developer offered rewards for these ridiculous achievements then I'm sure many people would do them and so continue playing. And yet I am sure that many developers are doing this; rewarding players for doing stupid insane tasks, but why don't they ever reward the player for doing something that requires greater skill/intelligence.

We've heard that the average age of a gamer in today's world is something like in the low 30s. If this is true then it seems incredible that the reward-for-insane-tasks kind of things still exist, I mean, maybe young kids with nothing to do will gladly destroy their brains performing monotonous tasks for long periods of time, but for low 30s?? I think Tobold had the idea of a dungeon that included trivia questions as a part of the boss encounter and its an intriguing idea. MMORPGs have real trouble in including skill as a major part of their game so instead they could go all out of intelligence. Strategic thinking and logical problems would not only add another dimension to the challenges in the game as well as benefiting gamers.

Is it such a horrible idea that gamers would reject; having to think on a reasonably deep level in a game? Perhaps so, considering the fact that we are perfectly happy to sit in front of our computer for 24 hours finishing 12 separate games. We do play games to escape from reality, but surely thinking can come as an exception to this rule.

Grouping thoughts: RoM vs. WAR

I hit level 20/20 in RoM yesterday. That means I'm level 20 with my primary class (Scout) as well as my secondary class (Priest). Runes of Magic for me has been almost a completely solo game so far. I have only grouped once and that was so I could quickly loot some bodies, and aside from I have simply quested on my own. Its quite a big difference from WAR which was all about grouping. Everything in WAR centered around being in a group and working as a team while RoM really leaves you to yourself. There are a few elite quests scattered around that you will need a group to complete but it is often hard to get a group for these. Its interesting to see how two MMORPGs approach the multiplayer aspect completely differently.

The end-game of RoM is very similar to WoW in that it is centered around raiding. From what I have heard even the easiest raiding instance in quite hard and you will need an organized and balanced group to complete it. This seems a rather large jump from the previous levels where you are simply expected to run around by yourself and complete quests. I expect a lot of players who never grouped once will reach the endgame and find that they cannot get a group or have no idea what to do when they are in one. At 20/20 I haven't entered a proper instance yet but I am hoping that once I get to 25/25 that I will do one as I have heard of an instance called Forsaken Abbey which I think is the lowest level instance. I also have a couple of quests for it so hopefully I can get a good group and knock off some of them.
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