Gaming goals for may

First one: make this post about quantifiable goals and more bullet-pointy than the last one.

Elder Scrolls Online

ESO_logo-blackReviewing april’s goals

  • level my main to 30 – done. She’s 35 right now
  • craft an armor/weapon set – still to do
  • figure out a way to skill my Dragon Knight – not done
  • level the Dragon Knight to 15 – not done

Goals for may

  • level my main to 50. Yes, that’s a stretch- but i feel i could do it if i concentrate on it- would be nice to reach 50 before the veteran ranks go the way of the dodo.

Other games

April’s goals

Not quantifiable, but i haven’t reached any of these. I didn’t play Black Desert and/or The Secret World. Instead, i resubbed to EVE Online and dabbled in Lord of the Rings Online.

Goals for may

EVE Online

  • keep at it!
  • finish the career agent missions

Battleborn, Stellaris, Overwatch

  • no real goals but to actually play each of them

Our guild

Reviewing april’s goals

  • have a guild meeting – done.
  • tackle another dungeon or two – done.
  • have a social event (crafter’s market) – still open.
  • short and middle term strategies for homepage and growth – possibly done.

I feel we’ve overachieved here. Last month, i was worried that my absence damaged the community a bit- this was either totally unfounded or has been corrected during the month of april. We’re now in peak times regarding activity- we visit Cyrodiil regularly, we’ll level characters together in the Daggerfall Covenant, we continue to do dungeons from time to time and a member stepped up to invite us into Imperial City.

Goals for may

  • have a guild meeting
  • begin levelling our DC characters
  • continue in Cyrodiil
  • tackle a dungeon or two
  • write a “How to get involved” post on the forums

Blog & Meta

April’s goals

  • seperate Real Life  and gaming stuff – not done. In fact, i’m back to the “normal” blog layout with whole posts on the home page.
  • write more China posts. No, i don’t think this’ll happen. Somehow i feel MMORPG, RL and movie/book blogging don’t mix very well
  • Still need to look more into Anook
  • Still need to get better at commenting

Goals for may

  • have a bigger range in content length. Everything i write is about 1000 words long. I need to be able to keep it short, as well, making the blog more fun and easy to read and maybe get more posts up
  • figure out how i want the site to look and feel. Work on the navigation.
  • provide “deeper” content. I can’t really do guides, because i’m inexperienced, but i’d like to try and offer more value.

Tamriel together – experiencing ESO in a dedicated group

We’ll start our “level together” series in our guild soon. Right now, we’re in the “prologue” part where we’ll play alone until we reach Daggerfall. From there, we’ll make an effort to play together. However, when i thought about ways to do this, normal questing left me with an uneasy feeling. If we were to do all the quests together, there’d be logistics involved- what questlines to follow, what decisions to make and always noting and telling others where we are in the questing process. And overlevelling content would soon begin to be a problem, as well. In the end, i put together a different plan.

Questing

We’ll concentrate on the following types of quests:

  • Main Story Quests
  • Quests that grant skillpoints
  • Mages guild quests
  • Fighters Guild Quests
  • Undaunted Quests

Open World

Instead of questing, we’ll give things in the open world priority, with the added advantage that everything in this category is actually easier/faster when it is done in a group. Most of these things are also marked on the map and for the items that aren’t, i’ve got some addons installed.

Before we decided to found a guild in Elder Scrolls Online, we had already met a few times to play together. At that time, there were four of us and we did everything together- mainly because none of us was actually playing Elder Scrolls Online by themselves (that was something that just happened after our meet-ups) and so the quests were still new to us and also, because my research didn’t show many guides/topics on how ESO could be played in a small or full dedicated group. Now, with some knowledge of the game, i actually think ESO provides plenty of content for small or full dedicated groups- maybe even more than other contemporary MMORPGs. So here’s what you can do as a small or full dedicated group in Elder Scrolls Online and how we’re planning to progress through the zones in our group(s).

  • Delves – Each map contains 6 delves and there’s a skyshard and a boss in each of them. I guess this will become the thread we’ll follow throughout a zone, hopping between Delves, World Bosses, Points-of-Interest and Dolmen. Normally, Delves can be done solo, but it’ll be faster when done in a group. Delves also count towards the Meta-Achievement of zone explorer.
  • Group Bosses – There are 6 group bosses in each zone- you can solo them, but they do get difficult from time to time.
  • Landmarks – These are marked as “eyes” on the map and often, there’s not much to do there, but they are beautiful places, sometimes contain a nice story element and give some xp. They also count towards the meta-achievement of zone explorer. I thinke there are usually five of them in a zone.
  • Dolmen / Anchor – I tried to do an anchor by myself yesterday and it didn’t end well. Anchors are group content- and as such, they’ll be more fun and more rewarding being done in a group. There seem to be three Dolmens in levelling zones.
  • Public Dungeons – Each zone contains one public dungeon- they’re similar to delves but are bigger. We’ll do them when we see them on the map, as the last PvE content in any given zone or to get some progress before doing the zone’s instanced group dungeon.
  • Skyshards – Last but not least, before leaving a zone, we’ll make sure to uncover all skyshards- to get the associated skill points.

Dungeons

In every zone, there’s an instanced group dungeon that can be done in a group of four. I don’t know yet how we’ll approach these, it depends on how many of us are logged in and playing together in a session. We are enough to build two groups, but that’s assuming everyone will log in. My plan is to do them unscaled when we meet the level requirements.

Helpful Addons

While i don’t like using addons much (i much prefer exploring/solving riddles when i’m by myself), in this case it’s advisable, as “exploring”- or “searching for something” is actually a boring thing to do in a group.

  • QuestMap – shows quests on the map and provides filtering options such as “skill point” or “Cadwells silver/gold”
  • Destinations – shows the other locations on the map
  • Skyshards – shows skyshards on the map

With all these, you should know where to go at any point.

Conclusion

My hope is that this system will allow us to make progress in the game by doing the content mentioned above, while not levelling too fast or too slow for any given zone. Logistics-wise, this will be easy: all players who miss out a week or two or want to catch up to us later have to do is reach about the same level as the group (+/- 3). Doing things this way also allows each player to play these characters outside of that group without being afraid to lose touch. While crafting and questing of course do give experience, it’s not necessary that we’re all exactly on the same level at all times, even without level scaling.

A trade for profit

In EVE Online, i’m still- and will likely continue to be for a while- doing career agent missions. Having finished the Industry career agent missions, i’m in the process of doing business missions. For one of those, i needed to get hold of a tracking computer. The agents generally don’t care if you produce these items yourself or simply buy them off the market. After thinking about it for a bit, i chose to buy it- because to produce it, i’d need to get ore, reprocess it, get a blueprint for the tracking computer and manufacture it in a station. Each of these steps leads to some losses- of time, materials and money.

The blueprint might be worth an investment, though. It’s available for around 100k ISK and in my home station one of those tracking computers goes for 40k – manufacturing one costs me around 10k ISK. As i’m in one of those training stations where pilots start off with their career agent missions, it’s clear that the tracking computer is more expensive here than in Jita. As Jita is only 4 jumps away, i decided to take a look (it’s very possible that i’m able to check Jita prices from the distance, but i haven’t looked into that for now) and fly over. Indeed, the tracking computer was traded for about 9.5k ISK in Jita.

I thought about that for a while and decided that i’ll take the opportunity to try a small trade to gain some profit and see if the computers sell quick enough to be anything else than a money sink. I bought one for myself and 10 to try it out, transported everything over to my home station, finished the mission and put the remaining 10 tracking computers on the market- undercutting the 40k price by 10 ISK. To my surprise and excitement, half of them sold before i logged out an hour later- granting me 200k ISK and thereby already being a profitable trade.

Bear in mind: this is, again, pocket change. Even if i sold all ten, it would be a profit of around 300k ISK. It’s not really one to pursue for very long as i think the demand is limited and the profit is miniscule. But for me, this is a small victory – the first profitable trade.

Monday Quick Notes: All about EVE

Learning lessons

Commitment. It’s about making a choice and sticking to it. When i was still looking for that game, i thought it meant to force myself to play one or two MMOs only, but that’s not what it is about- it’s more about giving a particular game a fair shot both in session length and time spent in game in any given month and allow the game to get me hooked. These days, for the first time since my WoW days, i find myself enjoying the game worlds i play in outside of the respective games.

EVE Online

With EVE, i’m not there yet, but i realize that i’m on my way to becoming attached to EVE. I didn’t play much since i last wrote about it, but i was reading. All those very fun to read articles about the current war and a book about past ones, as well. And i want to get in there. Really, EVE online will be rememberred, far more than, say, SWTOR, because its players shaped the game’s history and one of the few games to be an “MMORPG” from the bottom to the top. I feel that, right now, we’re on the brink of another important phase in the game. I don’t know if World War Bee is still going, if The Imperium has won or lost, but from what i can see, i think it’s very realistic to assume that the Mercenary Coalition isn’t really interested in keeping all that space. So there might be a power vacuum coming to Nullsec, and it will be interesting to see where this is going.

Reading Empires of EVE also introduced me to the idea of a “free port” in Nullsec- basically, there used to be an alliance that opened up its Nullsec space for all EVE pilots and strived to make it a safe place. That’s an interesting idea- imagine being able to carebear around in Nullsec- that would be great. Alas, i don’t think such an alliance still exists.

So what i’m planning with EVE is the following: i’m going to commit. I want to be in there, become whatever small part i am able to be in that (ingame) community. For now, that simply means continuing doing career agent missions, then the Sisters of EVE storyline. When i’m done with that, i think i’ll have an inkling about the game and how i am going to approach it. I know this, however: moreso than Elder Scrolls Online, getting into EVE takes an effort- i can’t really expect it to pull me in in the first two hours of gameplay. I’ll also look into finding a corporation sooner or later, EVE is meant to be played with others, after all.

Elder Scrolls Online

In addition to playing three characters right now- my main, the tank and the Nightblade Leech healer for the guild group, there’s one question on my mind right now regarding ESO: how can i earn more gold? So i’ll try and take a look at the following content:

  • fishing
  • stealing
  • crafting

Possibly the best way to earn some gold is by joining trading guilds- but in all honesty, i’m not a big fan of those. If they were combined with a large social levelling guild that requires no commitment at all (i’m committed to my guild, after all), it would be fine. But the trading guilds i experienced are silent groups of strangers using the guild as auction house only. That’s not even what i’d have in mind when thinking how to create a trading guild, it’s just a band-aid fix to get auction house functionality.

Hero shooters and may

What march was for MMOs and MMO-likes, may might become the same for single-/multiplayer. There are three titles i’m very much looking forward to: Battleborn (may 3rd), Stellaris (may 9th) and Overwatch (may 24th). Well, actually i’m a bit indifferent towards Battleborn- there are three reasons i bought it: i’d like to play one of those hero shooters soon and Battleborn releases earlier than Overwatch. It also offers PvE content, so that’s an advantage. And with Greenmangaming’s always-on 20% discount, i could buy it cheaper than the 50€ standard price.

In Stellaris, i’ll be creating the space empire i’m never going to build in EVE, and i’m really looking forward to see that space 4X game from the developers of Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings.

Overwatch will be the most fitting to my gameplay style of using singleplayer games (or multiplayer lobby titles, for that matter) as a distraction for short sessions and fun gameplay. I’m in the mood to play a shooter right now and Overwatch might just fit the bill. I’m hoping for an arcade feel like the Unreal Tournament games or Quake 3 used to have.

Happy 9th anniversary, Lord of the Rings Online!

Today marks the 9th anniversary for Lord of the Rings Online. I’m not playing that game right now, but it’s always on my harddrive and always updated- and i’m always this close to launching it. I wasn’t there when it launched, i joined in january 2008, if my mail history is any indication. So the game existed for about 9 months before i joined- ha, can’t imagine waiting that long to join a game nowadays. It was also the second MMORPG i played and for years to come, it would be my backup game. In times when many returned to World of Warcraft from whatever new disappointment they tried to replace it with, my home base has always been Lord of the Rings Online.

Unique in many ways

There are two things that have enticed me to return many, many times- there’s the community, for one. It didn’t matter at what time, language or server type you looked. The community of Lord of the Rings Online has always been on the nicer side of things. In Codemaster’s and later when Turbine published it themselves in the EU, german or english servers, US or european, when it was pay-to-play and later when it became free-to-play. 8 years ago or now- the players in Lord of the Rings Online are of a friendly and relaxed type. Considering i mostly left World of Warcraft because Damage meters went from being a fun statistic to evaluation software and because the community became more rough in general, Lord of the Rings had me covered.

Then, there’s the world. When i began playing, the world Tolkien created wasn’t in my “top-list” of fantasy worlds, anymore. In books, i had tasted the gritty to grimdark worlds of George RR Martin and- i think- Joe Abercrombie and preferred their creations, knowing that as far as complexity goes, Tolkien topped both of them. But i still had a love for the Shire, especially, and i liked Middle Earth enough to appreciate the chance to walk around in a virtual version.

I’ve had all kinds of warm und fuzzy feelings when i saw the ring symbol as quest marker above NPCs heads, or venturing into the old forest in those early days when it had no map and was a dangerous place to adventure in. I can’t tell you how many times i got lost in that forest. The Shire, of course, beat everything. On my first character, an elf, i travelled to the Shire as soon as i got the quest to go to Bree. I didn’t know better, or maybe it wasn’t possible to use quick travel at that time, so i walked there- and it was epic. Seeing the Shire, of course, made it all worth to me, and soon i found myself listening to an audio play of Lord of the Rings again.

This was taken much later, though
This was taken much later, though

Whenever i return, hear the first ingame sounds, do the first few quests, i simply love being there. Lotro is one of the most open MMORPG themepark worlds out there and it is a joy to explore, and take your time to see everything and craft a bit. It was a bit more comfy when Bree was still the social hub, which i guess moved on with all these expansions released for Lotro.

It’s hard to put the finger on what makes Lotro so different compared to its contemporaries- it is quite easy to solo nowadays, it offers a skill tree selection very similar to what World of Warcraft had before Blizzard found that too complicated, it has a quest marker and it’s quite difficult to get a group running for lower level dungeons (it’s possible, though), but if i were to look somewhere, i’d look into the world design- it’s big, open and full of detail. If you love wandering virtual worlds, this game is a great way to spend your time.

We’re not done

I never “left” Lotro, i believe i never will. Instead, somehow i still maintain the hope of seeing all the zones one day. I bought a level 95 character, thinking i’d take her around the world, but it was confusing- as those bought maxlevel characters always are. I guess the difficult part is that now, in Elder Scrolls Online, i find many things quite similar to my experience in Lotro- the detail, the love for the lore, the world-design, but Lord of the Rings Online will always take a special place in my MMORPG heart. I do hope it will make another 9 years or more, because i know one thing: as long as i can, i’ll return and visit middle earth from time to time.

How could ESO improve trading?

Elder Scrolls Online has employed a unique way of doing player trading. As we all know, there are no global auction houses. What’s more is that materials used in crafting have no or quite low value when selling them to NPCs. Instead, there are trading guilds, guild merchants and merchants in Cyrodiil. Here’s a statement from Nick Konkle:

You don’t necessarily want to do a global auction house for a game with one giant server because that generally leads to all the best gear being available at very, very cheap prices, a lot of times that can trivialize the game. You cannot have a healthy economy when there are no restrictions on getting the best stuff in the game.

I’ve read another statement somewhere that the way ESO does player trading is the closest they can get to simulating regional pricing for goods in a game where fast travel is a thing.

I respect both of these explanations and find it quite refreshing that a developer leaves out a “standard feature” of MMORPGs in favour of game design. However, this approach isn’t working out for me- and possibly a few other players out there, if i were to assume i’m not the only one having some trouble in using either chat or trading guilds as market places.

As i’m also playing EVE these days, i began to think about ways Elder Scrolls Online could add public market places into the game without breaking aforementioned guidelines.

Add a guild finder

I think ZOS has plans to introduce a guild finder in the game. While it’s not too difficult to find guilds who are advertising on the official forums etc., having an ingame interface would make things easier. After seeing EVE’s corp search tool, i’d wish for ESO’s to be more elaborate. In my opinion, there’s a few key factors when looking for a good fit and i think all of this should be considered when designing the guild finder:

  • Play time. Either give a few options to enter your average weekly time you spend in the game or give the option to enter time of day for your activities.
  • Gameplay focus: Questing, Dungeons, Raiding, Crafting, Trade, Thieving, Fishing, Roleplaying and PvP are already in game, with “killing” coming soon. Provide checkboxes to select the content you’re interested in.
  • Target Group: Hardcore, Casual, Social, 18+, family-friendly and more
  • Language

 

EVE's corp search is great.
EVE’s corp search is great.

When you present the results, be sure to add ways to join that guild- provide a button to text with a recruitment officer and/or a simple “apply” button with an optional text message just like they already have with friend requests.

Create regional markets

The market places / merchants would need to be located in the game world. No fancy interface, just a house in a city- let’s say one per zone. I’d also prefer it if the prices weren’t scannable by addons which could be making it easy for players to figure out where to buy/sell stuff.

Taxes

To get regionally different prices, there needs to be a way to control these prices. As you can’t rely on players to do that themselves, as you can indeed fast travel through the world, there’d need to be taxes. Luckily, Elder Scrolls Online already has something that denotes the origin of the item: the crafting motifs. So they could put different taxes on items in different regions.

Let’s say you craft an armor in breton style but want to sell it in Auridon- you could do that, but it would be heavily taxed because the Bretons aren’t even in the same alliance. I think Auridon is also Altmer territory while Grahtwood is Bosmer- you could set taxes accordingly. They’d be lower than the Breton style taxes, but still different.

Of course, there are additional styles that might not be as easy to locate in the geography of Tamriel. I don’t know enough about them to make suggestions, but i’m sure one could figure out a way.

Limit trade

Of course, you’d be able to buy on each market you visit, but selling would be restricted in some ways – otherwise, players would simply teleport around Tamriel to avoid mentioned taxes. I could think of two ways to do that:

  • limit selling for one character/account to one location. If you sell stuff on the Daggerfall market, you can’t sell anything in Wayrest, for instance.
  • limit selling by taxes, again- raise taxes for each location an account wants to sell stuff in and make it hurt, at least when the number of markets per account reach 3

Of course, one thing would happen: we’d have trade hubs in Elder Scrolls Online. But this still wouldn’t be a global market as there’d be incentives to sell in other regions (to pay lower crafting style taxes or get higher profits) and it would actually be believable.

Market Halls with player shops / guild traders

While i can understand that ZOS doesn’t want to litter the landscape with guild traders/merchants, i think there are too few of them right now to make them really interesting. It’s a nice feature, of course, if you are a member of a successful trading guild, but it’s a bit of a hassle to find one of these. If they’re not willing or able to develop easily available player trading for individuals through NPCs, they could create “market halls” in cities where a guild or individuals could open shops. Let’s say you have a building and room in there for 20 merchants- add some costs (without making them absurdly high) and allow guilds or individuals to open a shop for, say, 60 minutes. The merchant they hired will then sell their stuff for 60 minutes before the contract needs to be renewed. You could also raise the costs for each successive hire and differentiate between locations.

Create a variety of different trading guilds

ZOS could also create more than one NPC trading guild- let’s say 10 or even more. Each account has to join one and can only buy/sell stuff in this NPC guild (well, and in player guilds, obviously).

Armchair much?

Yes 🙂 But there are two things that do bother me with trade in ESO right now: first, to be able to trade, you have to find and join trading guilds. That’s an active part you have to play and you have to do this outside of the game. The second one is that one-to-many player trade isn’t part of the game system design but part of the guild system design. I get that in Elder Scrolls Lore, guilds are important, but there has to be a merchant/trading guild somewhere in the lore.

Thinking about it, improving player trade could be bolstered up to become a stand-alone DLC.

Why i am excited for Dark Brotherhood

Yesterday the first news regarding the Dark Brotherhood DLC for Elder Scrolls Online were published, and i’m pretty excited for the changes as well as the content that come with it. I’m nowhere near to needing new content, however, after seeing what the previous PvE-centric DLC looked like, i’m pretty sure this one’s going to be a blast, too. But it’s not only the content i’m looking forward to.

Crafting Bags

Inventory management is a big part of Elder Scrolls Online, and it is by design, at least to some extent. As the developers told us, we don’t have to hoard everything- we can and should sell our stuff, to NPCs or players alike. The trading system of Elder Scrolls Online is unique in a way that seems almost old-school, as there are no auction halls, global or regional, so if you want to profit from trade, you’ll have to be part of a trading guild. There are two points of view i have on this: first, i like it, because on the surface, this system fosters socializing- you need to join other players actively to be able to trade. The downside, however, is that you have to join other players actively if you want to trade with them. That’s like having mandatory dungeon runs without a group finder tool- it’s just a hassle. However, the trading system of ESO is not today’s topic- and there’ll come a solution with the DLC.

Now, where did i put this?
Now, where did i put this?

The crafting bags for subscribers. They’ll be endless and hold crafting materials- great! I can see inventory problems simply going away with that addition alone- although it is entirely possible that one simply keeps other trash in the inventory. We’ll see, but as it stands, they’re already the reason for me to be and remain subbed to Elder Scrolls Online, because the moment i heard they’ll be coming, i subscribed, as i knew i would do that whenever they’ll drop. Until then, there’s no need for me to buy DLC and i accumulate some crowns for the ingame shop to spend on fluff. As for the crafting bags- if they’re account-wide, i’m game.

The downside, however, is two-fold. It will allow us to keep all the mats. If you think about it, normally, the need to prioritize would be a good thing- if there was a good trading system. Interdependancy is a good system to have in your MMO, and making players prioritize on which mats to keep and which to sell could improve the ingame player market.

The other one is that maybe, guild banks are in for a rough time then. Right now, our small guild bank holds 180 different stacks of items already, and it has only been open for a week. Clearly, we aren’t talking about generosity alone- putting stuff in the guild bank is one way of easing your own inventory stress. When the crafting bags come, it might take a more deliberate will of sharing stuff with others to fill the guild bank. Thinking about it, that’s not a bad thing at all.

Removal of Veteran Ranks

I’m actually kind of sad. I’ve bought the game at release and played it for a month or two. I returned for a short time when it went buy-to-play. I haven’t played much and didn’t fall in love with the game until i discovered Laeloria. But that one took me in- of course this isn’t the only reason for me liking the game so much, but it is the reason for why i feel a strange “connection” with the Daedra Azura and might make her symbol part of our guild’s heraldry. However, my main character is level 34 right now and i don’t expect her to reach her 50s before Dark Brotherhood hits, so i’ll probably never see Veteran Ranks in action.

Here's Nuria in 2014.
Here’s Nuria in 2014.

It will be interesting to see how progression works, then, and how it’ll be different. As far as i know, champion points are the new veteran ranks, so it might just be that there’ll not be much of a difference- although i believe the CPs to be better suited as they come quicker.

Character slots

I don’t need them- i’ve deleted some of my characters and stand at 3 characters now, possibly 5 in the close future. But Elder Scrolls Online has so many different ways to build your character- at the most basic view, you can create all classes with a magicka or stamina focus. Doing that would put you to occupy all currently available character slots. You could also play every class in every role- then, you’d need 12 slots. There are lots of ways to build your characters and, in my opinion, despite being a linear affair (though with all the DLC it isn’t so bad anymore), there’s lots of replay value in the game.

So i really like the addition of character slots to the crown store.

The actual DLC

Oh yes, there’s a DLC involved, too. After seeing how great being a thief works in the game and how much fun it is, this might be the first time i’m excited about being able to sneak around and eliminate targets in the game. While i haven’t seen much of the Thieves Guild yet, i can already see that playing the DLC is a change of pace and very interesting gameplay. Also, Isarii likes it- and when it comes to MMO design, i have a high regard of his opinion since he wrote that great post about shooting ourselves in the foot by joining multigaming guilds. While forming an opinion on his alone wouldn’t make sense, i think reading about his enjoyment adds in nicely with my own impressions.

Azura statue in Laeloria
Azura statue in Laeloria

So here i am, looking forward to sneaky content. Who would have thought? But by now, nothing’s surprising me anymore- i wouldn’t have thought to find MMO homes in Elder Scrolls Online (2 years old) and EVE online (ancient), and yet, here i am.

Information about the next DLC

This might sound strange regarding the paragraph above, but i actually look forward to when we can file both Thieves Guild and The Dark Brotherhood into the “released” folder, because i am highly curious about what’s to come. I do hope for non-combat content and/or improvements to trade (no global auction house, though) or maybe even a new class, i don’t know and i have no idea. But i’m sure i’ll play it.

Travel Log: Cyrodiil fun

Yesterday evening marked the beginning of our guild-activity series. The poll decided that we’ll go with Cyrodiil PvE first- that means going in there, unlocking skyshards, finish delves and dolmen, explore places and so on. Questing might be part of it, but it’s a sidenote. As we aren’t into PvP, we’ll begin in Aldmeri Dominion territory and simply hope for the best. The best being no enemy players around, all the more as we couldn’t join the non-veteran campaign due to one of us being in their veteran ranks. I’d have thought they get scaled down, but apparently, this campaign is for <50 players, stat.

Suspense is other people

Of course, there’s still tension. After all, enemy players can be anywhere in the landscape, in delves and as you are able to see dolmen/anchors from far away, there’s enemies to be expected. First of all, i’ve got to say that i love this. I wouldn’t want it all the time, but when traveling through Cyrodiil (or mining in a 0.4 sec system in EVE), i’m always on the lookout for others and there are things to be considered as soon as you see enemy players.

So it happened when we met others- a small group of maybe two or three players in one of the delves we ventured in- the Pothole Caverns. I couldn’t make out how many there were, because they went into stealth as soon as they saw us. And that’s when it became really interesting- this group was in a delve, after all, so it was entirely possible that they didn’t want to seek out fights, but so aren’t we and we still fight enemy players when we see them (we don’t hunt them, though). They could also be hiding and sneaking around to attack us. We were hidden by that time, as well, and i don’t know enough about the stealth mechanics in pvp to know how we’d be able to see them. I sneaked around a bit, then i decided to come out of my cover- maybe lure the enemies into attacking us.

On the lookout
On the lookout

Nothing happened. Still, can’t be sure, right? So the next thing i considered was that they were waiting for us to get engaged in a fight with the mobs around- so i started a fight. Again, we were not attacked. We relaxed a bit, but when it came to the delve boss, i became cautious once again- they could be lurking out there, waiting for us to clear the way and then “steal” the bossfight from under our feet. But they weren’t. I don’t know where they went, but we never fought them- at least not in this place.

After some time, we travelled to Vlastarus for a skyshard. Vlastarus is in Aldmeri Dominion territory, if the map is in its initial state. Yesterday, it was at the border to the Daggerfall Covenant, so all kinds of stuff happened- there were DC guards and three enemy players. This time, we got into a fight. While we were first just looking at one enemy and still considering whether and how to attack them, they took their chances when a guard attacked us. And there were some friend, as well. It was a very interesting, not too short fight with some players and npcs- and it was a lot of fun. Made even sweeter by our victory.

When we went to tackle an anchor, i advised our group to avoid standing too close to each other, because i didn’t want enemy players to hit all of us with one AoE attack. Surprisingly, nothing pvp-related happened there, though.

Then, we called it a night. But “calling it a night” in Cyrodiil means trying something new and exciting. So we decided to attack a mine owned by the Covenant close to one of our castles or towers- to teleport to the southwest and then use the wayshrine to get out of Cyrodiil. This was a very difficult fight. I’m not sure if we would have been able to defeat the NPCs- probably not, but it would have been a close call, but they weren’t alone, as some players came by to defend the mine. Then it was over quickly.

Cyrodiil fun

This suspense- or tension, coupled with the open and vast zone design of Cyrodiil, really good loot, resource nodes and so on, are what i love about Cyrodiil. Of course, it wouldn’t have been half as much fun without the company, so there’s that. The funny thing is, the way the players in our guild are, we’re new to many of the things we do together. Many of us play Elder Scrolls Online because they like the IP. They played solo mostly and kept to themselves. So while we have veteran rank players in our midst, many of them haven’t seen a dungeon from the inside, and Cyrodiil, with its pvp nature? It’s new to all of us. So we’re basically noobs, but we’re having some great times together.

 

Monday Quick Notes: Dual Wielding LFG, new chars in Elder Scrolls Online

Dual Wielding LFG edition

This was so much fun. I love writing in coop-mode with Ironweakness, so having three others join us made this whole thing even more fun. Of course, reading my own entry now feels as if i…overshot a bit. The others kept their posts shorter and more on point, while my mind wandered- as it tends to do. I feel like i still didn’t mention everything this topic has to offer so maybe there’ll be follow-ups.

I really hope we’ll do that again- maybe with others, the same people or even simply more, but we’ll see. This exercise alone made me think about the possibilities of multi-blogger sites and/or a Discord channel for bloggers. This connection to others is what makes blogging so great at times- and it’s one reason for me not to blog in my native tongue.

I actually tried to find german bloggers writing in german, but all i found were quite old entries. This is strange, though, because i think germany is the biggest MMO market in europe. The only “private blogger” i know of is a new guildie, but i haven’t given up yet. So if you’re reading this and maintain a german mmo blog, tell me about it in the comments, please.

Elder Scrolls Online

Tempest Island

We formed a guild group for a random dungeon again. Thankfully it didn’t take the dungeon finder tool 40 minutes to get it started and we were lucky to find us in Tempest Island, the group dungeon of Malabal Tor- so actually not one of the more sophisticated. I wasn’t tanking this time, so things went a lot better than in our first run. We were still having some trouble and i really have to improve my skills in dungeon-delving, because more often than not, it was me lying in the dirt.

Nuria needed a drink after this.
Nuria needed a drink after this.

Tempest Island centers around the Maomer once again trying to summon storms and bring chaos into Aldmeri Dominion lands. The dungeon design in ESO is impressive- they’re vast, many times contain indoor areas as well as the outdoors, and they’re atmospherically dense. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them.

It became clear, however, that i need to look into my Templar build- something’s not working there. I’ll probably develop Nuria into a full-blown Magicka Templar.

More characters

I have quite a few characters in the pipeline:

  • Nightblade Blood Mage / Leech Healer – i love the idea of leech healing. Or healing by doing damage- it’s the ultimate dps/heal hybrid. I need one for our guild’s leveling group in the Daggerfall Covenant and i’ll probably create another one for me
  • Dragon Knight Tank – i don’t like tanking, but if we’re going to do dungeons in our guild, i’d like to be able to provide us with a tank
  • another Templar – depending on how i change Nuria

In the end, i’d like to have one character for each armor class, be able to tank, dps and heal, do all the crafts and have lots of combat variety (stamina/magicka/melee/ranged etc.). I still have the goal of getting the Dragon Knight to 15 this month- it’s not too late to achieve that. Other than that, my DC Nightblade needs to go to level 8 in the next two weeks.

The Guild

Weekly update here, as i’ve seen there’s some interest. Granted, i don’t do the topic of guild management much justice by always making it part of my Monday’s posts only, and i’d like to do more, but not as much has changed regarding our current goals compare to what wrote last time.

What’s changing, though, is that activity is picking up within the guild. We were joined by three new people in april, with all three looking to be very good fits. I’m especially happy that we were joined by Everskies, who even picked up blogging again. Our planned activities of doing Cyrodiil PvE achievements and leveling characters in DC will start in the next couple of weeks, attendance of events and of simply “being online” at night is rising and we now also have secured access to the guild bank- which means, even if we seperate ways with “inactives”, we’ll be more than 10 accounts in the guild.

So, it’s an exciting time- the guild project is picking up steam and getting shaped now.

Dual Wielding LFG edition: fostering communities

Dual Wielding: LFG Editionsometimes a topic is just too big for a couple of bloggers on their own. That’s when we send out the call, and see who steps up to help us with the challenge. This week, in a special LFG edition of Dual Wielding, we’ve put together a four person team to tackle the question, “what can developers do to foster community”?

Make sure to read the other posts, too:

Intro

Let me just state how happy i am about the LFG special edition of the coop blogging post. Thank you so much to Wolfyseyes and Syl for joining Ironweakness and me today. I’m sure it’s going to be fun!

So how did it get started? By a Twitter discussion between Ironweakness, Wolfyseyes and Syl about “confusing” design decisions in Black Desert Online or Tree of Savior, for instance. It’s actually quite difficult to get one Tweet that shows it all, but here’s where one big question showed up.

So, if a game is more complicated- does it foster its ingame community to become closer? And what are other ways of encouraging social behaviour in MMORPGs? Forced grouping and the trinity would be more intentional ways to get players to interact with each others. In the course of this discussion, it became clear that this is quite a complex topic- so we chose it for this month’s Dual Wielding and asked Wolfy and Syl to join us.

Intentional vs. coincidental

In that discussion, there’s an interesting point in differentiating ways to foster community in intentional and coincidental design choices- is a good community in games like Black Desert Online and Tree of Savior a byproduct of the complexity of the game? Is offering or forcing your players to do group content and role management working as a pillar for community building? Is there anything game developers can do to improve their ingame communities? Let’s take a look at examples first.

No negative interaction

Guild Wars 2 employs a “no griefing” approach- in GW2, there’s almost nothing another player can do to lower your enjoyment of the game. When you meet others, you won’t sigh or hope you’ll make it first to the resource node, because everything regarding ingame progress is there just for you. You get as much experience, loot, resources when being in a group as if you were alone. Of course, that makes grouping beneficial, as you can kill mobs faster, tackle more difficult encounters and so on.

gw031

Does it work, though? I’d say no. To be sure, GW2’s community is more on the friendly side of things, but the interaction outside of WvW, sPvP and maybe world bosses is very limited. Yes, you play with others, but they might just as well be displaced with NPCs. Sure, you could say hello and get to talk to others, but the on-the-fly grouping makes pick up groups come and go so quickly that there’s actually no need. The Guild Wars 2 game design is one of the best examples of “alone together” design- i mean, that’s better than being solo all the time, but it’s not meaningful interaction.

Another example of this way of game design would be Rift, where PUGs happen organically all the time- when closing Rifts, preventing Invasions, doing Instant Adventures and so on.

With both examples, i think a good way to improve on that design might be to make the content more difficult or meaningful.

Forced Grouping

As seen in Final Fantasy XIV, for example. In FFXIV, you’ll come to a point where the main story questline asks you to do group content- and that’s putting it nicely. As progress in terms of game features is tied to your progress in the main story, you have no choice. You’ll have to do group content to be able to trade your goods, get a mount and open many more options in the game. And the first time it asks you to dungeon delve? It’s not one, but three dungeons.

ffxiv_duty

Again, Final Fantasy XIV is an example of a very nice and friendly community, but i don’t think the forced grouping really helps in fostering it outside of guilds, possibly. For those, the forced grouping coupled with level scaling is a boon, as there’s always someone you can help, content you can do together and get to know each others. For players outside of guilds, this presents a challenge- on one hand, you have to go find a group in that dreaded LFG tool. On the other hand, but this is of more importance to casual players like me, you are stopped in your progress with a wall of “dedicated game time” in front of you. These three dungeons have been the reason for cancelling my sub/not playing the game two of three times- because i’d need to set the time aside and make sure that i wouldn’t be interrupted while in the dungeon. In the one case where it didn’t lead to me unsubbing, it took me two weeks to get through these three dungeons.

Socialising, though? Didn’t happen- it was a PUG, after all, and the pick-up groups for forced grouped content are basically the same as the pugs for optional dungeons in WoW, for example. There was a higher percentage of players saying “hello”, but that was it.

Another example could be Elder Scrolls Online. Now, there you aren’t forced into doing group PvE content, but for trade, you have to join trading guilds. I’m member of one with over 300 members- the chat is more silent than the guild chat of our small guild where 3-5 people are online in the evenings.

So no, in my opinion forced grouping doesn’t work.

Complex gaming mechanics

I’ll use Black Desert Online, EVE online and Fallen Earth as examples here. Black Desert Online has the reputation of not introducing players very well into the features of the game. Exploration is a big part of BDO, as well, and other players telling you where to find a horse to tame or certain plants and whatever are a thing there. EVE Online has the infamous learning curve. And Fallen Earth, while unfortunately being almost forgotten, was a Sandpark before Sandparks became a thing. These three games have one thing in common, albeit to varying degrees: you are actually dependant on out-of-game resources and help from others inside the game.

2016-03-04_1490972650

It’s been a few days since i last played BDO, so i won’t comment on its community. EVE and Fallen Earth, though? In my opinion, those are the games with the best communities out there. Sure, especially EVE has lots of shadow in its light, too, but it’s here where things like EVE University exists. EVE and Fallen Earth offer a newbie help channel that’s actually helpful and maintained by friendly players.

As EVE is one of my two current games, i can tell you that when you begin to dive a bit deeper into the EVE community, it’s almost like a parallel universe. I could easily double my MMO related feed reading if i were to follow all those EVE blogs out there. Of those 98 game-specific podcasts listed by Justin on Massively Overpowered, 13 are EVE podcasts, World of Warcraft has 15.

EVE has one thing up on the other two, though: interdependancy and different means to interact with other players.

The odd ones

There are two games with great communities i haven’t mentioned above, because it’s more difficult to pin down the reasons for why these games have such great communities- Lord of the Rings Online and The Secret World. But thinking about it now, there is a connection: out-of-game engagement and assets. As with BDO and EVE, these games are not self-contained. Lotro makes use of one of the biggest IPs we have in the gaming world and The Secret World…well, it makes use of conspiracy theories as well as lots and lots of modern tale storytelling like Zombies, Vampires and other themes that have a connection to the real world.

The other thing here is- and maybe that is tied to the out-of-game resources, that they’re both very roleplaying friendly.

What fosters a good community?

I think fostering and maintaining a good community is not about removing or creating obstacles within the game- it is about providing more than “just” a game, invoke emotions in the player base and feel them connected to the game, its world and its players. It is about creating the opportunity to have meaningful interaction with these elements both within and outside of the game.

Make it more than a game

The games don’t carry themselves- they need to be accompanied by out-of-game resources and interactions. For interactions, as i haven’t touched on them above, a developer needs to employ a very open conversation channel with all of their players- offer popular builds on your website, introduce guilds and talk about planned features and what you’re working on as well as your intentions in changes to the game. Hold community meet-ups. Know your bloggers. Stay- or get- in touch.

tales_of_tamriel

If the game in question is set in a widely known IP, they are halfway there, but even then, developers need to offer resources outside of the game or encourage players to create them- for instance with a design philosophy of “systems over features” (that can make a post on its own). In my experience, if a game offers a connection to the “real world”, either by links to IPs of books, movies, real world legends or even other games (as is the case with WoW and FFXIV), when it is able to make use of connections between the game and real-world experiences of players, it has a leg up in terms of building community.

Create and maintain interdependancy of players

Self-sufficiency is nice and all, but if it is offered, even as a hard-to-reach goal (like leveling all crafting professions in FFXIV), nowadays players will try to achieve it. It’s easier than to try and make connections to other players. Picture interdependancy as the “system” version of the “feature” forced grouping. It’s easy to do in crafting- just don’t let anyone craft everything by themselves (ideally not even by making use of alternative characters) to “enforce” player trading- but don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be. Also, let things break to maintain this interdependancy. Or allow certain crafters to repair stuff / create repair tools.

It can be done in PvE, too, if we think about Entertainers in Star Wars Galaxies who were able to remove debuffs from players in cantinas. The trinity is not enough, combat-wise, there have to be more roles on offer- like debuffing enemies, buffing players, support roles and so on. Another thing to note: being grouped up with other players should always be beneficial.

There should be an inherent need for having other players around and it should span more than the odd dungeon or world boss.

Allow interaction on different levels

Most of us have noticed that MMORPG players have changed. There isn’t a big influx of young gamers into the genre- they play specialized games, and the genre fans have been getting older. That means having less time to play and less will to dedicate huge chunks of time to gaming. I think many of us are still in this genre for the other players we can meet and interact with, but at the same time, we are less willing and able to put lots of time into this.

One of my favourite articles (really, go read it) introduced the idea of asynchronuous interaction- it is what makes Twitter, Facebook and E-Mail work so great- all of them enable their users to communicate even when the other one isn’t there. MMORPGs haven’t toyed much with that idea, though. For most of the things we can do together, we’d both need to be online (auction houses being the excemption).

Trading is the obvious one here- i can offer something for sale while you’re offline and you can buy it when you log in. But this is faceless interaction; it is needed for the general community of a game, but it doesn’t offer the individual the satisfaction of doing something with others. There is one feature, however, that makes this possible: housing. If i can own a housing plot and allow others to help me build it, we can create something together even if we’re not online at the same time. I think this could be expanded- for example by allowing us to create contracts or quests in game for PvE or crafting content. Now, these systems often end up being exploited, but that’s not my problem today 😉

And then….let it scale up. Offer something for two players to do together while they’re both online, or not. Offer the same for groups of 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 players and you have a solid base for building communities of all sizes.

Have a vision and make it last

This one is hard to grasp, but i think if we’re looking into the examples i mentioned above, they all have in common that the games in question have a vision. They want to offer something special and they stick to their guns. Be it TSW’s creepyness, Lotro’s world-creation, FFXIV’s compelling themeparking, EVE’s cutthroat philosophy and so on. Even World of Warcraft with all its changes has stuck to one vision: creating and maintaining an accessible MMORPG.

internet_spaceships

Others have changed focus, hunting for new/more players instead of keeping their current customers happy or miscommunicated their vision before launch. Some of them do well, money-wise, some don’t. Some still have good communities, but really, would you say that the Star Wars community isn’t capable of doing much more than what happens around SWTOR? Yeah, me neither.

Whodoesit?

What game does it best? In my opinion, even before returning to it, i’d say and would have said EVE Online. They have the fanfest, blogging events, the whole ingame economy is player-based, even the lore and history is. EVE started in the game and was only that. But players were enabled to take ingame events and such to the outside. We’re talking about a game with concurrency numbers in the 30-40k area, but the community has created so many assets, from tools, to websites, blogs, videos, even books and history, that EVE is much more than just the game now.Ingame, there are huge advantages to flying in a fleet without debuffs, xp bonus or some other “artificial” benefit, but because of the game’s inherent systems.

EVE: drowning in space

My everchanging priorities, goals and ways to achieve those goals in EVE are testament to the complexity of the game in question. As you can imagine, i’m still trying to figure it all out.

Mining attempt

Yesterday i decided to sell off all my mined ore- it’s more profit than reprocessing and i can get the later materials cheaper if i simply buy them whenever i want to produce something. Since the ore hangar of my mining frigate wasn’t full, i decided to take it for another spin (quite literally) in an asteroid belt. Mining in EVE is what i’d call relaxing- mostly, it’s just your mining ship orbiting an asteroid. When you have a mining frigate with an ore hangar, but still only use one mining laser of the second-lowest quality, it can take some time to fill it up.

But i can’t just go out and mine without weapons. While possibly every other player who wanted to could blow me up in an instant, there’s always NPC pirates to be considered- they turn up in the asteroid fields from time to time. In the regions i’m mining in, they’re not really dangerous, but without weapons, i couldn’t fight them off. I guess there might be ways to fit my ship so it would effectively take no damage from those, but i’m not there yet. In fact, ship fitting is a rabbit hole i haven’t even glanced into beyond the obvious (i don’t need a wiki to understand what a cargohold expansion does). My mistake: i didn’t check ammo. So when those npc pirates came, i quickly ran out and had to leave the asteroid belt, travelled to a space station where prices were high and earned about 750,000 ISK. Yay me!

Standings

As i need to be in good standing with someone to get player-owned-structures or manufacturing in general to a profitable activity, i looked for an agent from the npc faction i have the best standing with and found one. Doing that involved returning to my “home”, changing ships, and travel to that agent and begin missions. It was then when i understood people calling those missions a grind. The rewards for completing a mission were around 50k ISK and 25 “loyalty points” – i had to look what they’re for. Turns out that every NPC faction does not only track your standing with it but also those loyalty points, usable in the corresponding loyalty store of the corporation. Looking at one, i saw the cheapest item going for almost 400 loyalty points (and some ISK)…so, about 15 missions just to get the cheapest item. I decided, again, that i need to take a step back.

Career agents

EVE is like a big sea of possibilities and ways to get there. I’ve established that the old tutorials are gone, but what i was doing before my mining trip was actually the next best step- doing missions for the career agents. Those are the ones that pay well. I’ve also learned that now, skill books are mainly sold on the market – last time i played you were able to get the most basic ones from missions- and while i think that is still the case to an extent, it’s not many you’ll get there. I think skill books can also drop from npc pirates, but i don’t know that yet. So i bought a few skill books off the regional market- they are seeded in by CCP in “school” stations, so prices are ok, i guess, although it’s possible players sell them for less in Jita. So that’s where i am right now, doing career agent missions- i’ll do them all to get some ISK, free ships, equipment and some skill books.

Opportunities

Opportunities are the new tutorial in EVE online. They’re achievements, basically, fulfilled by the most basic actions like traveling from system to system, docking or even chatting with people. I had a look at my opportunities map and saw that one of them asked me to use the corp recruitment interface. There, i could look for player corporations of interest to me. I checked the activities i’m most interested in (mining, manufacturing, trading) and took a look around. See, names matter to me in MMORPGs, they are a first hint at how the player(s) behind the characters or guilds tick. EVE corporations seem to have terrible names- well, they might fit into the dystopian universe of the game, but i found them terrible. There were a few corporations, however, that seemed kind of interesting.

Joining a corp

Now i’m really on the fence of joining other players in EVE, but i don’t know if it’s going to be an international or a german corp. I made contact with one of those corporations who are active in World War Bee and welcoming of newbies- i might join them if the answer i’ll be getting is a positive one. Or i might go with a german high-sec corp. I have to say, though, that a high-sec only corp seems to be…well, quite limited in their activity and ability to grow. I don’t know why; i have no real desire to leave high-sec anytime soon myself, but somehow, i expect corporations of some experience to be active at least in low-sec, as well. Right now, i feel as if i’m drowning in the deep sea that EVE provides, i’m feeling as if i’m making regress instead of progress. Other players might be able to help.

Opportunities only cover very basic actions for now- there are supposed to be opportunities you have to unlock by doing others and they are of some help to a very new player, but most of what is covered there, i know already. And they’re not really helping with finding my way to the shore, take some steps in the direction i want to go.

Certificates

Certificates do that. At least in terms of skill progression. Certificates are collections of skills you have to learn in order to become better able to do some of the stuff. Nothing is holding you back from starting to trade on day one, but it gets easier when you have learned the skill necessary to place buy orders in stations you’re not currently in. To get the “Production Manager” certificate, for instance, you’d have to train the industry, mass production and production efficiency skills to level 3. Certificates are what i am looking at right now to find out which skills to train.

Happy place

So- activity-wise, i’m going with career agent missions for now. To put some roots down, maybe, and get more direct help, i’m thinking about joining a player corporation and as far as skill progression goes, i’m looking at certificates. See how that has changed from wanting to trade, manufacture or mine? Seems i was getting ahead of myself. At some point, though, i’m bound to touch base. It’s an exciting time and i’m enjoying it very much. I had to force myself to stop playing yesterday because it was past midnight when i logged out.

Monday Quick Notes: ESO, EVE and the guild

Elder Scrolls Online

Last week saw me seriously returning to The Elder Scrolls Online in a normal manner- by that i mean questing through Greenshade instead of just doing random things on guild night. And it pulled me right back in with the expertly crafted questing experience. I’ve also made good progress taking Nuria from Level 28 to almost 32 in a week. The birthday cake helped, of course. I could have progressed even further if i would have played on friday night instead of having a guild meeting. The downside is that i’m outleveling Greenshade and maybe even Malabal Tor a bit, seeing that it starts with level 32 and i’m not done with Greenshade by any means. I guess i’ll be 35 by the time i’m ready to move on.

I still need to refocus on Nuria’s crafting abilities, though- she’s deconstructing items and researching traits all the time, but i don’t think she created armor or weaponry since…forever. Crafting in ESO is quite complex- my guess is that, to create something really useful, you would have to create the armor/weapon with a good trait and a good enchantment. Enchanting, however, is one frustrating craft to level, as you usually don’t find that third type of artifact. But i’ll look into doing more crafting with her soon.

Elder Scrolls Online really needs to add downleveling to zones as the game is quite easy by now, anyway, and being of a higher level than the quests you’re doing just adds to that. I continue to be very happy with the game, in fact, i feel it’s a rabbit hole i’m diving into deeper and deeper. Elder Scrolls Online is the first MMORPG since WoW where i want to add something external to my gameplay experience, ranging from podcasts, maybe even books and finally, i want to know more and have found a way to get what i want- the really great Lore series by Shoddycast i discovered via HeadBurro Antfarm. I’ve watched the first two episodes yesterday and learned a lot about Daedra and Aedra.

Jita is quite busy.
Jita is quite busy.

EVE Online

Speaking of crafting- EVE online was a surprise. It wasn’t on my radar at all when news began to heat up about World War Bee. I haven’t played since i wrote last, but i got the additional 30 days for 10€. As i’ve mentioned, for now, i’d like to do some trading, but my first shy steps into this area have been confusing. EVE’s economy is vast- with hundreds or thousands of different items to trade and thousands of places to trade them in. Even with using online resources, i had trouble finding out what and where to trade.

I feel like trade might be one of those things where knowledge of the game’s inherent systems might be a good thing. So i’ll continue to try and have trade as a primary focus (as you don’t need to know how stuff works to buy low and sell high- it’s simply more difficult to find out what to trade where), but will take sideway-looks into other areas like producing stuff (ships, maybe?) and maybe even combat via missions to get a better understanding of the game.

As is usually the case, i find EVE to be utterly impressive. One commenter on Massively Overpowered wrote that EVE is the one game where the devs took the concept of MMOs and ran with it. This is the game that has everything- if only it were a fantasy MMORPG, maybe with a bit more restrictive pvp (not much, though) and a company that doesn’t let their community loose on each others, this would be that game for me. BDO isn’t EVE in Tolkienland, though, so there’s still only EVE being EVE and i haven’t decided yet if my space travels will continue after those 30 days.

thead4

The Guild

On friday, we had our monthly guild meeting. I wasn’t surprised to see poor attendance, with only three people turning up- including myself. On the other hand, i know one had something come up on short notice and one fell asleep (that happens to me from time to time, too), so we could have been five. Still, it’s this i’d like to change- and there’s only one way to do it, in my opinion: positivity. Create and share awesome experiences and our love for the game. Continue to offer stuff and make the guild be and feel alive.

So we talked a bit- i don’t want to get into too much detail, but in the end, this were the results:

  • we ditch Teamspeak and move to Discord as Chat & Voice client
  • we’ll have three guild activities running, all on different rhythms
    • as i said, we need more continuity on guild night, so we chose to vote on the activity we want to tackle first and see it finished before switching to something else. This will occur on a weekly/biweekly basis
    • level characters together- everyone in the guild who’s interested is invited to join us as we level characters together through the game. This will occur when everybody who mentioned an interest has time
    • dungeon nights will probably occure more often than the leveling of characters, we’ll look for groups in our forums and it will happen when/if four people are available/signed up. I’m still thinking about making this another regular event, but honestly, i’m at my limit when doing one thing a week.

That’s mostly it- well, i want to work on the homepage a bit to make it more attractive- the decision on whether to stay with Enjin or move on our own site has been postponed for now.

I’m also happy to say that we grew by one new recruit, bringing our ingame guild to 10 players. Ingame, we are reaching our critical mass now, with 5 of us playing quite regularly the chances that you’ll log in and find yourself the only one being online are slim now, the goal being about 10-15 active players. Yesterday evening, we were four…and i’m still expecting another application soon.

So, all in all, with patience, a focus on positivity and creating good experiences while sharing them in the forums/homepage, i am very confident that our guild will become active and alive some time this year.