Feeling Alive

I was reading Hunter's entry on his first impressions of the GW2 beta and he commented on how "Cities feel more alive than SWTOR.." I want to understand that; most capital cities are seen mostly as a hub for people to meet up but doesn't do very much more. You don't go because you want to, but because you have to.

I'm going to brainstorm on some reasons to make a city feel more alive because currently in more mmo's imho is for:

- skill trainers & crafting trainers; possibly making them have special skills/recipes/discounts at certain times

- capital city leaders; normally infrequently used, even at high levels

- pvp npcs that teleport you to the battlegrounds

- show off your gear/mounts

- banks and auction houses; probably 95% of the reason why you're there

So what other activities can make a player want to go a city and make it feel more alive?

- public quests built into the city; similar to WAR's system, Mythic had quests and public questing areas (arena) built into the city. Making them accessible at all levels is sometimes hard, possibly making it a daily activity with fluff rewards can work here

- a relatively cheap money sink via mini game/luck-based game. I know WoW had the bejewelled game built into the fast travel, this could be implemented into future mmos as well but only installed in the city instead, kind of like WoW's Darkmoon Faire, but year round within the city.

- I believe a 'more alive' feel for the city was partially b/c of your personal story area in GW2. If only there was a way to be able to affect more of the city and see an actual effect; now that would be engaging.

- more puzzles, easter eggs and special achievements for exploring the city. From the looks of GW2, the city looks huge; there ought to be many different places to explore for background lore.

- guild housing; GW2 takes care of personal housing via the personal story instanced area, but guild housing would be a nice touch too, preferably farther away; what benefits would guild housing be? Possibly fast travel to dungeons, other cities, or pvp areas.



Looks pretty sick! What class do you think will be your main?
I'm thinking probably the barbarian.. or the pure magic class.


Quiet Contemplation

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Apparently its the Diablo 3 beta stress test weekend; I personally didn't bother to participate as it is a 11gig (?) download and that would take forever in my house. I heard it doesn't blow your mind in the innovation department though.. sad after a decade of waiting.

Looking to hopefully upgrade my pc case this week to help with overheating issues. I've just been testing out a new MTG deck I built by playing a 1vs1 battle against other decks. Its probably best if i test them against my gf's deck as hers are better built ;)



I thought it was interesting on how my friend texted me the other day to tell me that he got into WoW for the umpteenth time. I was like "again?" How many times will we get dragged into (in particular) the same mmo? Doesn't it get boring? Don't we remember the reason why we left in the first (second/third/etc) place?

I've gone back to WoW myself only once. And that was because it was *ahem* 'free'. But it was exactly how it was X amt of years ago and I promptly quit for the same reasons as before.

This article is more about the creative ways companies lure you (back) to their game. For Blizzard, if you re-sign up for WoW for a 12mth sub, they will level one of your characters to 80 and you'll get a 'free' copy of Diablo 3. Now a free copy of D3 sounds great.. but thats 100$ you're shelling out for a free game. If you count that you're getting 2 games for 100$, yes you're getting a discount.. but not much of one.

I do like companies that lure you with nostalgia by giving you older games with the game you purchase. Say (for example) on Steam, you pre-purchase Heroes of Might and Magic 6, you may get while you wait, a copy of Heroes 5 to tide you over and thank you for the pre-purchasing. Its no more expensive than buying it normally or from somewhere else, but you get the perk of an additional game. 

I recently got an email from SWTOR about how there is a free week (or two) that you can re-install the game, and as long as you have an account, can just play for free without entering any credit card information. Now, had money been an issue for me, this would be a great way to get me to play again and get (for EA's sake) hooked again. That wasn't the case, so I chose not to participate. Having free full game access without the hassle of re-entering credit card information is a new initiative that I think is positive.

I find that bribing me back with in-game items or xp-boosts aren't particularly effective. For those with a high need for instant gratification, I guess it is effective but it can neer be too overpowering to upset the current active playerbase. 

What incentives are effective to pulling you back to a particular game?


The Second-to-Last Straw

I give up! You win. I'll never play console-ports again.

Last night I came to the (sad) conclusion that whenever it comes to pc games that you'll (see: me) always encounter weird problems that you'll rarely have if you just bought it for a console instead. Sure, it'll play better, have better graphics and integration.. but the convenience of knowing it will work is starting to become a big factor.

Take Skyrim for example; when I first blogged about it, I was trying to decide whether I should get it for the pc or 360. I had at the end chosen the 360 because I knew that there would be no problems at all. I did have the very rare crash which had me very paranoid causing me to save every 5 minutes. In my defense though, you can do alot in 5 minutes. 

Then you try it on the pc with the first obstacle of installation; it was like jumping through hoops and it took forever (7hours), unlike the 5ish minutes of installing it to the harddrive of the 360. Almost like day and night, playing the game with a mouse/keyboard configuration was much more convenient and accurate. Hot keys for weapons, spells and potions made combat much easier. Then came the familiar gray screen of death; sometimes coming after a meer 30 minutes of gameplay.. othertimes after 2 hours. I saved even more frequently but gave up last night. Trying to go to safe mode crashed my pc. Deleting registries and reinstalling drivers didn't work.

So I then tried to play some Mass Effect 3, because it worked without ever a glitch, right? WRONG.
Somewhere between the new dlc and all the deletion of registries, updating my drivers, I lost the PhysX driver.. which I prevented the game from loading. I found and reinstalled it from the internet but no luck. Maybe re-incarnation is real and I was a bad bad hacker in my last life and in this life i'm meant to suffer with unending pc issues.

I'll probably try to get a new video card (got mine second-hand from my cousin)and see whether that fixes everything. But it makes me realize how much effort I put into gaming and how it could be better invested into other areas like personal fitness or photography. I've decided (at this point) that from now on, if there is a game that is both on the pc and consoles, ill get the console version. 

Maybe board games... they don't crash.


Heroes 6 on Sale

Heroes 6 may not have been necessarily mind-blowing, but its still very polished and I like a few new implementations.
Its currently on sale on Steam this weekend for only 24.99 (50% off). 
Alot of improvements, graphics-wise, customizable heroes and set items. The worst thing is being required to be online to play it and the VERY hard campaign mode.


Happy Friday

You made it; its finally Friday.
Kickback and Relax!

Notice how the shadows don't mimic the person..

Hope everyone has a good weekend!


The Adventure Continues!

I must have passed this spot countless times on the 360 and never noticed this huuuge mudcrab corpse. Crazy!

Love this game!



What does Easter mean to you?

I've seen alot of zombie Jesus cracks, free long weekends, bunnies, chocolate, and excuses to get drunk. Its an important weekend for believers and also one where we have to ignore alot of tasteless humor.

Lets be a bit more respectful.

Anyways; while cruising on Kotaku, I watched this amazing Skyrim music vid

I looked at Lindsey's Zelda vid as well and then kept watching her list; very talented and violinist and dancer atleast.


Mass Effect 3: DLC Coming Soon

After 7 hours of installing.. playing Skyrim on my pc is totally worth it.

So Mass Effect 3 is doing a rather good job at keeping players playing their game by providing weekly incentives to play multiplayer, whether it be by providing extra experience, chances to buy special gear packs. Very mmo-ish. Love it. They need to do this more with non-mmo games.
So while alot of people hated the ending (it wasn't 'that bad' people) and the day one DLC, they are making it up with a free dlc next week.

Ooo interesting races to play.. and Krogan Vanguard? Yes please!

Think Day 1 DLC is evil though?
A senior producer at Gearbox (Borderlands), doesn't think so.
I guessss thats one way to put it.

I may not like day 1 dlc, but with screenshots like this... it'll ensure I get Borderlands 2 on day 1 ;)


Skyrim Shirt

In the mood to play some Skyrim..