Archive for February, 2010

A goblin mooned me!

February 26, 2010

I actually started questing in Butcherblock Mountains today. The quest hubs are centrally located, but the quests take you wandering all sorts of places. I either had to scale a cliff face, run down a beach, or swim out to an island. I was pretty excited when I got to kick the snot out of a giant turtle. Probably the most interesting thing I had seen was a blue aquagoblin waving his rear at me! I mean is that really necessary. Children could be watching! Too funny.

Of note so far, the encounters have become a little more difficult as a solo player. Hopefully I will be duoing and trioing here in the near future with my other character, but for now it’s the solo life for me. Also, anyone heading to tier 3 should note that the resource nodes require a 90 skill to even attempts harvesting from them. This means I will be heading back to TD to get a couple of my skills up a little bit. No biggie, I like that zone anyway!

On a side note, EQ2 Sentinel’s fate has topped the sales charts for PC games for the past two weeks. Go EQ!

-Pid

EQ2 and the Wizard of Oz

February 25, 2010

I was about to hop onto EQ2 before I had to get ready for work today, but the servers are locked for whatever reason (new expansion…whatever). So I figured I would write this post instead. So what do Dorothy and EQ2 have in common? Maybe you have heard talk of the “Golden Path” coming out of the EQ2 devs. Essentially from what I have read, this golden path (aka Yellow Brick Road) is a change to the game that SOE has made during this last update/expansion. There is a good writeup about it on Zam here. In a nutshell it is a system that the devs have put into place that more or less leads you by the hand in your journey through Norrath. It is designed to enhance the new player experience of the game.

I did not know about this advancement before I tried out the game last month, so it had no bearing on my decision to subscribe to the game, but it really makes sense now. I tried a number of the starting zones with the plethora of characters that I was trying out. I came to the conclusion that Timorous Deep was my favorite area. The reason I liked this area so much is there appears to be a natural progression to the zone. You find out in the beginning that there are two factions fighting each other and you follow the plight of the Sarnaks through the entire zone. Once you hit level 20 or so, you are sent off to Butcherblock Mountains to continue your journey. It is pretty neat all things considered.

Some people might be turned off by this because they like to roam free or they are veterans and have their own idea on how to progress through the game. A number of people (mostly old timers) are upset that the golden path encourages people to start in the newer starter zones and ignore the original starter zones of Freeport and Qeynos. I can kind of see their point, but as a new player I was much happier to play in TD than I was in those areas. I have yet to actually quest in Butcherblock Mts. as I have been trying to finish leveling up my trade skill to tier 3. I finished that last night so providing the servers are live after work today I hope to see if the revamp of that zone is as friendly as TD is now. We shall see…

-Pid

Pidonomics

February 24, 2010

I know there have been blog posts out there discussing the economics of RMT in games, but I am trying to wrap my head around the idea of how a company can determine what the sweet spot is for pricing in these cash shops. Your typical macroeconomics that you learned in high school tells you that the price is ultimately determined by the intersection of the supply and demand curves.

Source

In a virtual market though essentially what we typically think of as supply is now practically unlimited. How many heal potions are there? Answer: as many as we need. In this scenario supply is unlimited and the supply curve becomes a vertical line.

As the quantity is fixed at “unlimited” demand essentially governs the entire equation. For instance the demand for hair dye in a game like DDO is relatively low, so you can get the dye rather cheaply. On the other hand, potions of experience in a game like Everquest is rather high, so the price gets jacked up. In a big enough pool there will always be a few people who will pay as much as the seller asks and some that refuse to buy it at all, but the average bloke has a price point that more than likely falls in some kind of bell curve distribution.

None of this comes as a big surprise to me, but what I am curious about is how companies will determine what they can get away with. A hyped, polished game like Allods tried to push the envelope and caught some serious flack for it. Was it a ploy gone wrong or just a major miscalculation? I’m sure some people ponied up the cash for the high priced items, but is this really where gPotato thought the sweet spot was or were they thinking if they shocked the community with sick prices and then came back and lowered the prices a bit it would sell more? I really don’t know. In any event it should be interesting to see how these types of things pan out. For my part I am happy to pay my $15 a month and once in a blue moon drop a couple of bucks for that pink hair in a F2P game.

-Pid

Common Sense Aggro

February 23, 2010

I was caught by surprise on Monday when I got back from my weekend vacation at an indoor water park with my family. Apparently a firestorm whipped up in the Allods online community about the introduction of a death penalty and more importantly the apparent extreme prices of gear in the item shop. I could list a number of references but if you are reading my blog then you clearly already know about hubbub in the greater blogging community.

What I did note was Darren’s post from Common Sense Gamer. Was it the fact that his soap box was so appealing that I wanted to jump on board too? Nope. It made me laugh. Plain and simple. Not that I think Darren’s post was silly or didn’t have valid points, but the delivery just made me laugh to myself. Specifically:

We took it up the ass with the horse, now we’re just providing them with the lube.

Today I read Beau’s comments on Darren’s post and was taken aback at the bashing of Darren’s position. I am not familiar if Beau and Darren have a history or not, and I am familiar with Darren’s $10 horse rant, but sheesh! I think that though Darren’s point of view could have been painted in a more eloquent manner, he does have a valid gripe. There should be some standard of value for what you are buying otherwise Mr. Deeppockets is always going to buy his way through a game. You might say well that’s just fine and dandy for Mr. Deeppockets, as he is paying for me to play this game for free, but I challenge that the essence of a GAME is that it is fair. Life’s not fair, but shouldn’t the games be?

One more opinion in the sea of them.

-Pid

Picture source

Noob-no-more

February 23, 2010

It’s official, I am no longer in Timorous Deep. I have left noobville forever or at least until I feel like crafting some more. I hitched a ride on your friendly neighborhood griffin and headed to butcherblock mountains. I hear the air is a little cleaner there. While I admit I am still a noob, it felt like quite an accomplishment to make it out of the starter area for the first time in this game. I had made any number of characters on the trial account, but none made it out of the starter zones. I plan to make a trip back to TD in order to gather some supplies to level my crafting up to 20 at some point this week, so it won’t be so long forever.

So this brings me to a question. At what point in MMORPG’s do you feel like you are no longer a noob? After a certain level, a certain amount of time, or after some other monumental event? Let me know I’d be curious to find out.

-Pid

Crafting: The Mini Game

February 22, 2010

I had managed to get Pid up to crafting level (CL) 9 in crafting at which point you need to pick  a more specialized subgenre of crafting as a focus. I picked scholar as my focus thinking that this guy could either make potions for a profit, or maybe make spells. At CL 20 I have to pick from Alchemy, Jewelry, or Sage (ie spellcrafter). The crafting process in EQ2 is a little like a mini game as opposed to other MMO’s that are just grindy click fests. I this case, you can apparently die from crafting! That is crazy! So here is how this thing works. You have a recipe like in any other game, but when you approach the crafting station and start crafting, a little window comes up with six buttons on it and a bunch of blue and green lines. Needless to say I was just randomly pressing buttons and such, and I am quite amazed through the 10 levels I have not died once and have only one failure.

I figured that if I was going to do this frequently, I better try and figure out what the heck I am doing. I stumbled across a crafting guide on Zam that illuminated me to what was going on. I suggest you read this guide before starting because the crafting tutorial guy is a bit of a joke. Also there is a decent guide about harvesting also on Zam.

I managed to make some backpacks for myself before work today and I hope to level up some more in crafting when I get home. Hopefully now that I have a better idea what the buttons do and everything, I should be in better shape. Here’s hoping I don’t blow myself up making heal potions or something!

-Pid

Appearance in EQ2

February 22, 2010

So I just made Adventure level 20 last night on Pidd and a new tab opened up on my inventory page. Apparently at level 20 you are given a whole new set of item slots that you can fill with appearance gear. This is gear that has no stats associated with it, but your avatar dons this gear in lieu of your normal gear. This way you can look like you are wearing that pink leisure suit, but still have that steel breastplate of frog smiting underneath. (Disclaimer: I really don’t think they have any leisure suit appearance gear.) Apparently I had some reward for buying the expansion pack too so I received a tricked out set of appearance gear too. Sweet! Here is Pidd with his new level 20 undead mage pet guy.

Here is a close up of the garb…sure beats the old gear.

It may be trivial, but coming from an EQ1 vet where every warrior looked identical and every spellcaster looked identical this is a very cool feature. Pid likes!

-Pid

/Ding 16 in EQ2

February 19, 2010

I have been playing EQ2 now for about 3-4 days when I get some time, and I am having some fun. I dinged 16 today and made it to L9 crafter the other night. I’m not sure what I want to spec in in crafting so I haven’t gotten any further with that. I started in Timorous Deep and I think I am in the last area of it before the kick me out aka I max out the experience I can get in this zone. The quests have been decent and the wildlife varied. The mobs seem pretty easy to this point and I’m not sure if that is because I am playing a pet class or if they are just that easy.

Anyway here are a couple if pics that I took in TD that made my list of “neat” moments.

This one I titled “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

EQ2 L14 Necromancer Pidd

And this one I call “Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey eat your hearts out.”

I hope to make the “/Ding” a regular post for me, we’ll see how it goes. Obviously at low levels the rate of advancement will be pretty high, but I hope to settle in to some decent progress on this toon. I really won’t be able to play all that much this weekend so we’ll pick back up on Monday!

-Pid

Back in the Saddle Again with Everquest 2

February 17, 2010

With the release of Sentinel’s Fate, I have officially started my EQ2 subscription yesterday. I had tried the game via a 14 day free trial, and decided it was time to give it an official try. I hope to start making some regular posts now that I am playing an MMO again. Hopefully work and life in general allow for it.

Anyway, I made 2 new characters on the Lucan D’Lere server. The first of my toons is an Arasai Fury that I intend to play as a duo with a friend of mine. He is planning on playing a Shadow Knight so they should be a good tandem. After playing around with the different starting areas I decided Timorous Deep was the way to go. Here is Piddleglum ready to begin his adventures! Yes he is a pixie, but he is an evil pixie so it is cool.

My buddy asked me not to play Piddleglum until he gets the game so I also created a Ratonga Necromancer so that I could play in the interim. I also started him in TD and managed to get him up to Level 10. I hope to make this guy my crafter too once I figure out what I am doing in that regard. I named this guy Pidd.

I’m hoping to make this my main game until TOR finally releases. I will actually be paying for this one so it kind of makes me want to settle into it for a while. So if you find yourself on the Lucan D’lere server I’ll be around.

-Pid

Warhammer 40K at E3

February 4, 2010

So I see that there is a big announcement that THQ is planning on showing off the upcoming Warhammer 40K MMO at this year’s E3. Being a huge fan of the Warhammer Fantasy miniatures game back in the day, I was thrilled when Warhammer Age of Reckoning was announced…and disappointed when it came out. It was fun for 10-12 levels and then…nothing. Anyway, W40K is being released by THQ which has put out a whopping zero MMORPG’s and the game is being developed by Vigil which has developed a whopping 1 game…ever. I realize that THQ continues to make a very good 40K RTS game, but I fail to see how this will translate to a successful MMO. I have very low expectations for this upcoming game, but maybe I will be surprised.

Surprise me THQ/Vigil…please, please surprise me…

-Pid

Image source: games-workshop.com