Returning to Guild Wars 2

guildwars2racesandclass1920x1080-BI admit, after a few weeks of playing Guild Wars 2 at launch, I kind of got bored with it. The gameplay was great, for the most part, but there were some mild annoyances that just made it get… overly repetitive or disjointed. By the time I hit level 53 and found once more that though the Personal Story quest gave a sense of urgency of getting to the next part of it, the game told me I had to first gain another 2 levels before I was the level needed for the next leg of the journey. And it told me both by giving me a little red level requirement by the mission tracker on my HUD, and by handing my ass to me royally seven times before I gave up and decided I had to do as it said. But by then I was burnt out, most of my guild mates were rarely ever on, and when they were on they were 20 levels higher than me and too busy to help me catch up. I just got tired of soloing, and you can read my previous entries about why I don’t do PUGs. So I just stopped playing.

Going back now almost a year or so since I put the game aside, and there’s some nice changes. I remember why I loved the game, and some of those little annoyances have been addressed nicely, though some issues still persist. 

2014-07-12_00001-croppedOne new feature I am loving is the wardrobe collection feature. I am an MMO clothes whore, I admit; I love having different outfits, and love being able to make my character look however I want rather than being stuck with a look I hate just because the stats are what I need. The one thing I don’t like about the new wardrobe collections is that in order to change the appearance, you have to spend transmogrification shards, and those come as extremely rare rewards or are purchased in the gem store. I admit, I understand why they did this; as a F2P MMO, they need to make a steady income somehow, and gems can be bought with either real money or in-game gold; doesn’t mean I have to like it.

2014-06-20_00011The new Journal changes are also greatly appreciated; I missed out on playing the living world story when it first happened, and being able to go back and replay what I missed is awesome. I just hope it turns out to be better written than a lot of the Personal Story quests that take players to max level. I dunno, maybe I expect too much of writers these days? I find myself similarly disappointed with many TV shows and movies that are pretty popular, too. Perhaps I just have too high a standard? I dunno. There were some great parts to the Personal Story that I loved, but other parts just seemed half-assed, and there’s a couple moments where I just don’t understand what’s going on. Like why did one NPC offer me condolences on Tibalt? I don’t recall anything telling me he’d died permanently. If he is, I’ll be pissed; as silly as his character was, he was one of my favorite parts of the personal story.

2014-07-12_00002-StorageThere’s still things I’d like to see improved; the crafting storage, for one. There’s many items that are craftable which are either crafting materials themselves, or can be used as either consumables or as crafting materials in other recipes. These items don’t have any space in the crafting collections storage, though, and I’d like to see that changed. I think they should have their own collection storage, though I’d insist that players have to manually right-click to deposit these items. I don’t want to craft a food item that I decide to use as a consumable rather than just as a crafting material, jsut to have the system automatically dump it into the collections when I deposit all collectibles.

And one thing I never really liked was that there’s not really any places to buy or find most crafting recipes; they are pretty much just found by discovery, unless you use a third-party database outside the game. I don’t mind discovery, but I’m not a fan of when it’s mandatory, and I’m also not a fan of it being mandatory with so many crafting materials either taking up basic inventory/bank space or gathering nodes being as sparse as they are. I want to see either gathering node spawns doubled in number and/or frequency of respawn rate (this will allow me to be using crafting materials up more often and not having half-finished parts of things taking up my inventory spaces as much), or I want more space for storing items that are both consumables and crafting materials.

The one thing I’m still looking for is a decent guild that matches my playstyle, though even describing what my playstyle is can be kind of hard for me. At the least, I’m looking for a PvE guild that likes to RP, explore, gather, craft, and do story missions. If you can suggest a good GW2 guild for me, please do; I don’t know id what server world I’m on matters still, but if it does, i’m on Fort Aspenwood as when the game first launched it was planned to be an RP server.

No Man’s Sky – The only sandbox I could love

Okay, I will be up-front: I am not a fan of sandbox games.

Don’t get me wrong; I think they are amazing games. Minecraft blew my mind, and I love the idea of SOE’s Landmark. They let people do things we could only dream of. They’re better than Lego, in many ways. (I know, probably sacrilege to say that, but it’s true.) But honestly, even Lego was never really my thing. To me, sandbox games like this are like being a sculptor or a painter; you’re given a blank canvas and allowed to create. But I’ve always been more like an engineer than a painter. I like taking bits and pieces that already exist, given a problem to solve, then find new and interesting ways to solve the problem. I guess that’s why gameplay design fascinates me so much.

No Man’s Sky, though, is a sandbox I can get behind. It’s not so much like Mincraft where you’re given a bunch of things and told, “make something cool;” the game literally is players being given a whole galaxy and told, “go see what’s out there.” That would be a dream come true for me. Even though each player starts off on their own unique planet alone, the fact that the planet itself is relatively unexplored fills me with a sense of adventure, and knowing that getting a ship made spaceworthy then flying off into the vast unknown is only the first step of a greater journey of exploration just… -sigh- I’d be in heaven. It’s a Star Trek fan’s dream.

I’d love to see Cryptic license this tech and find a way to incorporate even just the world creation and sharing tech into either Star Trek Online or into a new Star Trek Online 2. I’m not really sure they’d do that, but imagine being able to explore whole new worlds as a Starfleet Officer that would then be permanently available for any other players to come and explore. 

The team at Hello Games is literally revolutionizing the whole gaming industry with the tech they’ve created, and I am very hopeful that they are able to deliver on their promises. They’ve said their game is not an MMO and they don’t plan to have too much in the way of real multiplayer, but I’d love to see this technology brought into the realm of an MMORPG. The possibilities are endless, and I am eagerly awaiting a release date to get my hands on this slice of heaven.

Dreaming of a new Star Wars MMO future

I had a dream the other night of a new kind of Star Wars MMO. I wanna share the ideas from it here. Imagine a new kind of Star Was MMO with:

– higher graphics detail and art style like Guild Wars 2
– action combat like a mix of GW2, DCUO, Wildstar, and/or an improved/tweaked version of STO’s shooter mode
– simple but intuitive space combat for fighters like the videos seen of No Man’s Sky with optional capital ship combat like STO (Okay, I admit I haven’t played many space fighter sim games so any suggestions would be welcome)
– Inventory system similar to GW2
– resource gathering with features like GW2
– simple yet detailed crafting like a cross of GW2 and ESO
– an upgrade system like a cross of Champions Online and SWTOR
– player housing/communities like a mix of Wildstar, Shadowbane, SWG, and Rift
– involved personal stories like GW2 and SWTOR but with more depth, even in character creation
– built in Roleplayer tools like the WoW addon mod Total RP 2 (http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/totalrp2)
– Character appearance options like DCUO & GW2

What do you guys think? Would this make for an interesting Star Wars gaming experience?

Multiplayer Gaming vs. Social Anxieties – Am I losing?

2014-06-16_00046I think I figured out why it’s so hard for me to find a guild in MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games. I don’t deal well with strangers. Okay, I admit – I’m scared of people I don’t know. I’ve been taken advantage of, used, misled, lied to, abused, and mistreated a lot over the years and I’ve realised lately that I’m just terrified of people I don’t know, especially in real life.

It’s something I’m working on, but it’ll take a while. It’s not that other people don’t go through that or that I can’t learn to cope with it and get over it; I just have yet to learn how to do that, and things keep happening or obligations keep getting dumped in my lap that prevent me from doing what I need to do to cope and get over it, so now I just am too scared of people I don’t know and afraid everyone who is nice to me is just putting on a mask.

Add onto that the fact I have Asperger’s Syndrome and my related need for consistency. I can’t handle PUGs (for those not in the know, PUG = Pick Up Group; essentially it’s creating a group or team with random strangers also playing the same game and mission/quest that you are doing) because the people I’m playing with keep changing when I just join PUGs, which makes the gameplay environment I play in constantly different. I need more consistency. I need people I can game with regularly, who’s interactions I know and am used to.

It doesn’t help when so many assholes (like the dipsh*ts I found in the Neverwinter community) make up so much of the player base of these games I love to play. After all the crap I’ve had done to me that I never dealt with, I just have become automatically distrustful of people by default, both face to face and IRL. I’ve stopped playing Neverwinter entirely now because I got too angry at the destructive greed of the community and just feel it’s not worth it to be dealing with jackasses like that; I’ve moved on back to Guild Wars 2 and some Single Player/Co-Op games I never got around to finishing.

2014-06-12_00002Games are a pretty personal experience for me, and co-op is, in a way, a kind of personally intimate thing. I’m sharing with someone something that is a deep, personal passion of mine. If I ask to play a game with you, it means you are really important to me. Gaming together reveals aspects of who we are that we don’t see otherwise; we reveal little subtle truths of ourselves when we game that we all too easily hide elsewhere.

Any of the guilds I’ve been in have been pretty much made up of 95% or more people I don’t know, never met, and have never talked to. I just am very uncomfortable gaming with strangers these days. I need to get to know a person a bit before I can become comfortable gaming with that person. I need to be able to spend time just chatting and getting to know the kind of person they are, before I trust them enough to game with them.

A lot of people game just for the sake of gaming, it doesn’t make any difference to them who they game with as long as the other people play their role properly and aren’t dicks. But I just can’t do that. I need more. Gaming is not just a pastime for me, it’s a passion. People don’t realize how much they let their masks down and reveal their core when they game. I need to game with people I get along with, and can game consistently with. Most people have had friends like that they’ve known for years by the time they are my age; I don’t really have that and I just have no clue where to find it or how to build it.