Monday, February 28, 2011

Now What?

Well, I did something I never thought I would do. I cancelled my World of Warcraft account. Not sure why, but I just didn't see the sense in paying for a game that I was only playing maybe twice a month. Sure, I had lots of friends wanting me to hang with them and do stuff, but my heart just wasn't in it. I just couldn't see myself leveling up another 5 levels and then do dungeon after dungeon for gear only to turn around and start raiding for better gear again and again. The mechanic for end game just doesn't rock my boat, flip my pancakes, or launch my rocket anymore.

It bores me to grind, grind and grind some more only to find out that once I'm at the top, if I ever get there, its still not enough. Its just enough of an obstetrical till Blizzard decides to launch another update that includes another area that hasn't been unlocked with more grinding involved. I've done it, and I've done it for 5 years. I think the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Well, its insane for me to stay subscribed to WoW, because its going to be the same old thing.

Wanting to avoid more insanity, I've decided not to jump on the Rift band wagon. I've read about the end game there and its similar if not the same as any other end game. Do dungeons for gear, then do more dungeons, then raid and raid till you get to the penultimate raiding dungeon and defeat the bosses there. Sure, they will have different degrees of dungeons, different sizes of raids and different ways to defeat bosses that will make it different from WoW and other MMO's but not different enough to capture me. Besides, right now is the wrong time to join Rift. They are working out server loads, population caps and every day since head start people have been waiting in line to play with on their guild selected servers. Some guilds I'm sure have had to move because they can't get into the servers they wanted at launch and are scrambling to keep guildies together. Its a mad house but nothing the MMO community didn't expect with a brand new child. So, I'll wait a bit. See things calm down a bit. Wait for the tourist season to subside and then quietly slip in under the radar and play me a little Rift, probably in 2 or 3 months.

Not sure what I will be doing now. I've been playing some Oblivion on the Xbox and its fun. I can probably spend a lot of time there. I've also been invited to play a little Champions online with a few friends. Right now I'm only playing the free 2 play version but who knows, if things pick up I may had back there full time. But for now, I'm MMO-less and it feels good.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Kindle

I have been thinking of picking up a Kindle. I have a vast book collection, mostly Scifi fantasy, which tends to be very heavy when traveling. But as I was reading my current book, Robert Jordan's "The Great Hunt" it occurred to me that one of things you can't get from an e-reader is a visual as to how far you have left in the book.

Looking at my book, I could easily see the thickness and how far I had left till I reached the end. Sure, if I got a Kindle I could do the math. I'm on page 200 of a 350 book, but being able to look at the thickness left on the other side of your thumb is something that you can't get from a Kindle or any other e-reader and I'm not exactly sure I want to give up that visual.

Just a quick observation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How did I get here?

I seem to have become a very angry gamer and blogger. Oh, I've been known to rant from time to time about things that get under my skin, like ex WoW players who think Blizzard is the anti-Christ or crazy people that just lash out and offer comment without actually knowing what they are angry about or whom to focus their anger on. But lately, it seems that all my blogs have been unusually angry. I don't report anything interesting or having anything very interesting to say, I just attack and let the blood fly.

In my last post, I basically asked bloggers who participate in betas to stop pre-judge those games until they are released. I did this without actually forming any kind of theory as to the motivation they have for offering these opinions nor did I even ask them why they do it. I have since come to a conclusion that may explain the need that compels bloggers to chat up betas, specifically MMO betas, so much.

I know the community is hungry for information on the next possible WoW killer and when an MMO looks promising people in beta want to dish on all the info, good or bad. They want to be the ones that find the oasis in the desert and help guide gamers to it. People want to find that next gem in the rough and when its found, they want to be the first on board. The problem is, there have been more lumps of coal than actually gems of late and people are getting very annoyed with this trend. So, I really can't fault bloggers for wanting to find the promise land. How can I when even I'm looking for it.

The future of MMO gaming, as I see it, isn't very bright these days. We have WoW and we have a number of WoW clones. Which is great, if you like WoW, but not if you don't. For the record, I still like WoW, but even I want something new to play. On the horizon we have Rift and SWTOR. Both seem to have promise.

Rift has had several successful beta tests, the community is all a buzz with activity and the release date is very soon. Prognoses looks good that this could hold the attention of some for a few months maybe even longer. The game is different in some aspects to a WoW, but not too different to frighten away gamers. There is positive hope that this might put a good dent in WoWs armor for a while, at least long enough till SWTOR hits shelves in the fall.

By all accounts SWTOR could be a great hit. The IP is very strong and BioWare has been known to put out a few successful titles here and there, the Mass Effect Series comes to mind. A lot of detail has gone into the game, lots of lore and separate quest lines for each of the different characters which will all voice over. Could be very exciting or could be a complete disaster. Long decision quest trees and the long wait for quests to be read out loud to players might turn a lot of people off. Did I mention the game has a Smuggler, Bounty Hunter and Jedi class? So maybe it takes a little longer to get your quest.

In between those titles we have Guild Wars 2 set to be pushed out onto shelves. I've only seen a few things, but it looks like devs have decided to move the game more towards the traditional MMO style this time around, which isn't winning over a lot of loyal GW players. Still, being a free to play model, they shouldn't have any problem getting players to populate servers. Success is pretty much a forgone conclusion. The MMO community will play it, but I'm sure they will be itching to pick up another pay to play game in between visits to GW2.

But to my knowledge, with the exception of a few smaller MMOs that tend to come out every year, most of them either going with a micro transaction model or are some version of a converted Asian MMO's the future of MMO gaming is pretty bleak. I mean, if neither of the above big titles captures the hearts and minds of WoW players, then Blizzard will remain king for another year. I'm not saying thats bad, but even I think its time to move forward and I love WoW.

Again, I understand the need for bloggers to talk about their beta experiences. They want to give hope to the masses that this will be the year of change in the MMO community. that a new champion will emerge from the dust and we will have something exciting to play again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I've often blogged about the pitfalls of hype, especially when it's generated by those participating in betas. How irresponsible it is to express feelings, good or bad, be it through blogs or tweets about a product that clearly isn't ready for mass public consumption hence the title "Beta".

No matter how hard it is to resist, people still insist that telling the world about their experiences while playing an incomplete product is the best way to hype or destroy said product. It's the right thing to do, because we don't want those reading our RSS or twitter feed to misunderstand how this unfinished product has changed our view of gaming one way or the other. It would be a disservice to hold back how we really feel about the 10% of a under development game we've experienced. How the small or big tweaks they've made though the beta process have either wet our appetites or made us lose our collective lunches.

I just don't understand why so many judge something they've never actually played. It's like reviewing a movie when you've only seen the opening credits. Who wants those people to tell them what to buy a ticket for?

True, people go out of their way to explain that these are their feelings and they don't necessarily reflect the views of the community as a whole, but that's just crap. People tweet and blog so others will read their opinions. They want people to share in the experience and those that follow you do it because they empathize with what your feeling and saying. You have influence over others.

So do some of us a favor and stop spoiling the end to our gaming. I know you want to share but do it when your playing an actual released product not a "Beta".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod