Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In a Galaxy Far Far Away.. you can earn 12x XP.


So right now, through some indefinite amount of time described only as "the fall" Bioware/EA is giving you 12x XP rewards for any story mission you complete. That's right - that's not a typo. TWELVE TIMES. It's pretty remarkable. It's turned on automatically for subscribers, (which I now am, for the time being), but you can buy an item to turn it off if you like.  The interesting thing is, I actually found myself at a conundrum as to whether or not I would leave it on or not. Here's why.

I've been back in Star Wars the Old Republic for just barely a few weeks. I've hit level 24, and am really enjoying playing. I've been doing the story mission and the side mission, feel like I'm levelling at a decent rate, and queuing for flashpoints when I am appropriate level. I even picked up a few heroic pugs here and there. (There's a visual if you take the sentence out of context!)

So in short - I'm having a pretty good time with the game just as it is. I certainly don't feel a rush to get to the end game. For me, for MMO's, the journey is always far more important to me than the destination, as once I reach it it almost certainly means I'll just be moving on to another MMO that I can level in again. So, I had just about convinced myself to turn it off and continue to play the game as it was originally intended.  Until.. last night.

I queued up for the Athiss flashpoint while I was playing. And up until now, for the flashpoints I've done, my average wait time has been around 25 to 35 minutes. Not great, but not undoable. At least you can plan around it. Last night, after sitting in the queue for an hour, I unqueued, as by then I had to go. That was early in the evening, so I tried again when I got on late. Again, an hour in the queue, and I unqueued. And it occurs to me.. no one's doing these low level story flashpoints. Why would they? Right now, it's far more efficient to level up doing story missions than flashpoints. I also noticed a sharp drop in heroic LFG call outs last night - though that may have just been happenstance.

But if there is one fundamental truth you can count on when it comes to MMO's, it is that the vast majority of your player population will follow the most efficient route they can to the end game - especially if that route is well publicized. Regardless of what you personally may desire, the truth is, what the player population is doing has an effect on your gameplay - whether you want it to or not.

So I decided to get on board. Though I enjoy doing flashpoints, I dropped my quests for all of them and my heroics last night, and found the next waypoint on my story mission and set out. I'll do the story missions, and the occasional side quest when it suits me, and level the way they've set out for me to level. When and if I get to the end game, I'll worry about gearing up and learning to play my character in instanced content then. Most of the guides only give rotations for end-game ability setups anyway, so there you go.

So here we go! Expect to be inundated with more screenshots as Kaytte, our tough as nails heart of gold smuggler traverses the galaxy in search of fortune and riches. And occasionally delivering the odd sandwich here or there to some person in need.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Neverwinter Nights


I know I know.. but when a title works, you don't throw it out just because it's cheesy! And for the last three weeks, that's pretty much where I've been spending my nights.  So I thought I might spend a little time talking about what's great and what's not so great with Cryptic's free to play MMO on the console.

Friday, April 10, 2015

XBox On!


When your blog rate is about one every six months or so, you're going to begin every blog with "So it's been awhile since I blogged last.."  and this one is no exception. Mostly I blame work - 2015 so far has had an epic work schedule over at Robot. And I'm still husband and father so I like to have at least a bit of family time, and of course, I'm still gaming. So between work, family, and gaming, there's precious free time for blogging. And in truth, I just haven't been feeling it. And when you don't feel it, you can't write it.

But more than a few of my twitter friends have been chastising me of late about putting something to paper, and even my son was all "Dad.. write something."  And that more than anything has motivated me to open up blogger again. Plus.. I'm feeling it. At least for now.

Monday, November 10, 2014

WoD Launch Day - Revel in the Chaos!


World of Warcraft's next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, launches in four days. It's a fantastic time to be playing the game right now, and it's clear the developers have doubled down on this expansion, and are working as hard if not harder than ever to bring new life to this venerable franchise. Launch day can be an extraordinarily chaotic time in any game - whether it be for the initial launch of the game, or for a much anticipated expansion. And many players will absolutely bemoan the chaos that ensues. Spawn areas will be camped and crowded, servers will be up and down, there may even be queues to log in. Quests will break, players will lag, and instances will lock that shouldn't be locking. Yes, for many people, it will be for them the worst experience ever, and if you read the forums during this time, nothing less than the sky has split open and the ground has trembled and hell in Azeroth has descended upon them.  But for me - well for me, I absolutely love this time. I find the chaos magnificent, and there no better time for an MMO.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gearing up your freshly boosted 90 - Patch 6.0x



So it's not often I write blogs that are so time sensitive, but this one definitely is. But it occurred to me that I've actually done pretty well (with just a little bit of luck) at getting my freshly boosted mage to a decent gear level in just a very short amount of time, so I thought I'd share. But all of this information is relevant really only until Warlords of Draenor drops in a little less than two weeks, so I apologize if you're reading this in like 2015.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Letter to My Son


Hey Bud.

So it's been almost five weeks now, and while you're settling in quite comfortably in your new domain, I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that when I come home and say "Hey Family!" only three of the four of us are there. It's a time of transition for all of us, and so I thought I'd take a moment, at you set about to embark upon the great adventures that await you, to reflect a moment upon the virtual adventures we've shared.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear Past Me - Spot On

In November of 2010, almost four years ago, I wrote a post describing what I thought at the time was the inevitable future of MMO's.  The original post was taken down when I changed blogging sites, but digging through my writing archives, I managed to find it. It was written back in a time where I actually wrote all of my stuff offline, and then published it online - crazy, right? This week, we learned that Blizzard has canceled their most ambitious MMO project to date - Titan. There's been quite a bit of press this week speculating that this move marks the end of the MMO as we know it. I don't necessarily disagree.  I won't say the MMO is dead, by any means - but the nature of it, is changing. You need look no further than Destiny to see where the genre is headed.

And looking back at the post I wrote four years ago, I think I got pretty close.  What do you think? Here's the original post, unedited.