Summer Walkabout: Soul fighting in Blade and Soul

If there’s one game i’d like to put a small focus on besides ESO this summer, it is Blade&Soul. Yesterday marked the release of a new class, the Soul Fighter, so i went ahead and created one, as i imagine it might just be the class i’ve been waiting for, being a “hybrid” of ranged and melee fighting, not too difficult but still interesting to play.

What i’m looking forward to in Blade&Soul:

  • playing the Soul Fighter Class
  • the story
  • the setting
  • the fun gameplay
  • compatibility with the expected summer playstyle: shorter and rarer sessions, the ability to dip in and out of the game quickly

I don’t know if the last thing is really true, i’ve read that the leveling experience is on the lengthy side of things, but i guess i’ll see about that.

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Second first impressions

If anything, not much has changed since i gave my first impressions. I still like the combat and the zone design while still thinking this is just a mainstay MMORPG for those who like the gamey parts of MMOs- it’s not much of a world. As with Aion, right now there’s a tunnel syndrome, as you’re questing from hub to hub. Take all this with a grain of salt, though, as my furthest character is level 11, not able to do much in terms of skill tree building, crafting, dungeon running or anything at all. And just like before, some systems are somewhat difficult to get a hold on.

Breakthrough annoyance

Now i know that we’ll basically keep our Hongmoon weapons (granted to us after the tutorial) the whole time while upgrading them. There’ll also be stages where you need a “breakthrough” to advance that weapon further. Upgrading your weapon works by “enchanting” your weapon with other weapon drops and gems that help in the progress, as well. A breakthrough is, from what i understand, a stage where not any weapon will do- you’ll need to get a special one.

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The first one i do need is a Stalker Bracer- there are two ways to get a hold of it: first, you’ll get some type of stone by questing in Everdusk that you can then use to spin a wheel of fortune. It will drop Stalker items quite often, but you’ll need that special item to advance your hongmoon weapon. I’m sad to say i only got it once and used it to upgrade my weapon, but before i was at the breakthrough stage- which means i need to get a second one. But that doesn’t seem to be so easy, as those stones are now more difficult to come by (i only know of one daily quest that grants them) and even if i collect a few, i still need to get lucky with the drop. The other way would be to simply buy the weapon from the player market, which is possible, but expensive. I’m sure this is due to the fact that the Soul Fighter is the new hotness, but it comes in at around 25 silver right now- and i have 7. Of course, i do have some of the other classes’ needed weapons, but they only sell for a fraction of that.

Meanwhile, i am ready to move on to the next zone, but i think i’ll need to keep an eye back into Everdusk for that breakthrough armor. It’s a strange system with a lot of RNG involved. I guess i could play another character to Everdusk and see if she’s lucky, but that’s off the cards for now.

Server-wise, i went with Windrest this time around. The experience on the german server wasn’t all too interesting (although one has to note the absence of gold sellers), mainly because there were no other people around to fight the first world boss with. While i’m planning to stay solo it’s still nice to be able to find other people when it’s welcome or needed. And as there’s possibly no chance my ESO guildies would take Blade and Soul up, it’s fine to play on an international server.

Somehow, this reminded me of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill
Somehow, this reminded me of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill
Yes, this one.

Soul fighting

Other than that, i’m slowly getting the hang of game and class- and there is huge fun to be had in Blade and Soul. It’s the one game i’ve experienced where your skill in playing determines the outcome of a fight just as much as your character’s level- B&S can get downright difficult, i’ve learned that already on my Force Master who’s sulking in a cave thinking about a strategy to fight some boss.

The Soul Fighter is a very interesting class- i expected it to be able to switch freely between ranged and melee, but that’s not entirely true. Your standard stance is melee, but you can switch over to ranged at any time. After a while, you’ll switch back to melee. The Soul Fighter is a breeze- when ranged, there’s a convenient AoE damage skill that hits quite hard- on the other hand, in the melee stance there’s a gap closer as well as a counterattack and combos enabling the Soul Fighter to do more damage. It’s fun to play, not too difficult yet still interesting to play as a Soul Fighter, as the “player skill ceiling” seems to be a bit higher than, say, of the Destroyer, which is an easy class to understand but doesn’t offer that much in terms of “easy to learn, hard to master”.

How to get your free character slot voucher

I’ve read that players will get a free character slot with the release of the Soul Fighter but had some trouble in finding out how to get it- it’s simple, but i guess i expected it to get applied automatically when logging in or something. So, all you have to do to claim your free character slot is to get in game, open the ingame store and purchase the character slot voucher for 0 NC coin.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Quick Notes: Hew’s Bane, EQ Next & Wildstar

Hew’s Bane and Abah’s Landing

Yesterday’s guild evening began shortly after the news of Everquest Next’s cancellation broke, and i’m happy to report that we’ve been four players with two “regulars” missing- one sick, the other one surely on some other task, otherwise i know she would have been there. So my fears didn’t come true and we’re not out of our rhythm. The entry into the Thieves Guild DLC proved to be so exciting that i didn’t think of taking screenshots, so i can’t do a “Travel Log” yet. But as someone who hasn’t stolen one thing since it became illegal in Elder Scrolls Online and someone who avoids playing rogue-type characters at all costs, i can tell you it was huge fun. Sneaking into houses and stealing stuff in Elder Scrolls Online reminds me very much at The Secret World’s sabotage missions- only, it’s better, because your steps make sounds people can hear and i feel the reactions of the NPCs are more…realistic, somewhat. In the few sabotage missions i did in TSW i felt as if i was trying to avoid MMO mechanics- aggro range, for instance. In ESO, it feels much more like sneaking around. There’s also always the price at the end and, of course, whatever you care to steal on your way.

Great that you'll earn a costume by completing the first quest
Great that you’ll earn a costume by completing the first quest

Of course, being four people doing these missions, we were often seen and we haven’t managed to do even one mission without killing someone, but it was fun anyway and i’m happy to see this DLC being one i’ll be eager to play as soon as i’ll return from china.

I’ll probably write more about that, but i’d like to take a quick stab at why i think ESO will still be my number one MMO come april, regardless of how i feel about BDO: it’s because of me. I tried to cover that in my earlier post– if i were the same person i was four or five years ago, it would be Black Desert all the way. And i can understand the many, many positive impressions people have- i’m the same. But despite it offering almost everything, there’s something missing that i’m still finding in ESO- i guess it is about “connection”, or attachement. In ESO, i feel a connection to my character and the world and i miss that in Black Desert. Maybe that will change, maybe i should pay more attention to that black spirit thing, but right now, this is how i feel. I can still see BDO playing a huge role in my game rotation this year.

Everquest Next’s cancellation & Wildstar layoffs

I’m going to be brief here, because two months ago, when Ironweakness and i were planning our continuation of the Dual Wielding-thing, we set up two topics: negativity in the MMORPG community and the second one, to be posted on tuesday, about the future of the genre. Obviously, the cancellation of Everquest Next and the layoffs at Carbine will make an impression in that post. Suffice to say, i wasn’t really surprised, we kind of expected exactly the cancellation of the game to be the next thing we heard about it, as the silence before was deafening. So, remember my old blog, Party Business? I fired it up with the coming reveal of EQ Next, and i started it up with the intention to topically cover my search for a new MMO home i expected to find either in EQ Next, the Repopulation or ArcheAge. Great. One is now cancelled, the second one needs to move to a new engine and the third one was killed by its publisher and developer.

Gallows

For the Carbine layoffs, i feel sorry for the people affected and do hope they’ll find new jobs soon. But it’s also not really unexpected. The revenue numbers weren’t very good, even shortly after the transition to f2p and they’ll probably go down from there. I really kind of expect Wildstar to be the next big shutdown, maybe even as soon as this year. I think one reason for why it hasn’t already happened is that NC Soft knows full well that its popularity suffered under the closures of Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes. They don’t want to shut this one down, but in the end, they will. But this is just my guess.

So the genre? Commenters on Massively Overpowered seem to think it’s entering its grimdark times now. I both agree and (strongly) disagree- more on that on tuesday.

The Division

I can’t tell you much about that one yet- as said, i had a quiet week and have only reached my base of operations. I like it, but i was shocked to see that my pc doesn’t seem to fulfill the requirements. I can play, but i have to turn down the graphics by quite some degree. I’m not used to that- my pc is four years old and i started to notice that i just can’t put everything on “highest” since about a year or so, but having to put it on “low to medium” hurts. Still, it’s fun and oviously great to launch up and play a mission or two. It will also be the game i’ll be looking forward to see when i buy a new PC.

Personal notes and plans

For me, the following games are of interest right now:

  • Elder Scrolls Online
  • Black Desert Online
  • The Division
  • The Secret World
  • Blade & Soul

ESO will be the constant, Black Desert Online will be the “second choice”, everything else will be launched when the mood strikes me. Tomorrow evening, i plan to run a dungeon in ESO and i invited guild members to be there if they’d like to do one, as well.

Then there’s the now so timely post in the Dual Wielding edition on tuesday, and that will be it for march, gaming-wise, as we’ll be leaving for china on tuesday. From there, i might be able to post something (i think wordpress.com is blocked there, but not homepages run on the blogging software), but i doubt it will be gaming stuff.

A quiet week

This week should have been big- really big. The Elder Scrolls’ Thieves Guild DLC launched, The Division launched and it is only week 2 of Black Desert Online. So there were three games i really like that needed my attention. And then…i decided to let it all pass me by.

It was a voluntary decision only in parts. I had planned a nice and fun guild activity for sunday evening and was looking forward to playing ESO with our small-but-still-growing community, when i woke up on sunday morning only to vomit six times in a row. I don’t know why i did, maybe i ate something icky, but i know it knocked me out. The rest of the day went by in a blur, i basically slept the whole day, got sick a few more times, tried to read some stories to our son and subsequently fell asleep doing that. At one point i managed to get up and post a message on the guild’s forum that i couldn’t make it- a message of two sentences, which is very unusual for me, and went back to bed. While i did get better on monday, i still didn’t feel too well and chose to go to bed early. This continued throughout the week- i did take a look at The Division but i’ve only managed to get to the base of operations by now. In this hugely exciting week i chose to take a break from gaming, and get good night’s sleep and rest. Today, on friday, i feel good. Just in time- tonight we’ll be taking a look at Hew’s Bane in Elder Scrolls Online. If someone turns up, that is.

The Guilt

One thing that has been a constant throughout the several attempts at creating and starting a guild up is that i love scheduled activities. When i log into a game, i’m usually not a very group-friendly player, because i need a few days to be in the right state of mind and in the right environment to set aside a fixed amount of time for being in a game. I love socializing in MMOs, but i do it in an “organized” manner by submitting an idea to the guild, setting a date and time, plan a bit and then make it happen. Usually, these events are received very positively by other guild members and frankly, i think they are what holds such a community together. The problem is this: in almost all cases, i’m the only one organizing these events and this fact leads to me feeling a lot of pressure. I’ll try and set these things up weekly/biweekly, but when something happens and i can’t make it, there’s a lot of silence. And when i need to cancel something, i feel like it sends a message to the other guildmembers, namely that “this isn’t important”. While it is true that i don’t really care if three, four or eight people turn up for a night of gaming, when people receive that message, it will at some point happen that no one turns up- or only one other person. Often, i haven’t been able to “bounce back” after such an event.

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So that’s what worries me right now- that, after i got sick just before the last two events – on the first occasion, i did turn up but had to shorten it quite a bit, tonight only few people will turn up. With our family going to China for two weeks on tuesday, this low attendance event might be followed by two weeks of silence. I’ll have to see how to pick things up again when i’m back. Or maybe i’m wrong, as i can also totally see 4-6 people logging on tonight. We’ll have to wait and see tonight.

After returning from China, i set up a dungeon running night- and that’s a strange one for me, because usually i plan these nights for all levels and all numbers of participants- and i can’t do that with dungeons, because the group size is four. But with the new grouping tools Elder Scrolls Online now supports, i think it is time to start the dungeon-delving.

Other than that, things are going great in the community- we took two recruits in as members and recruited two more players into our ranks- we are now just one player short of the guild bank. In terms of speed and amount of growth, it is turning out just as we hoped it would, which is nice.

Monday quick notes: what does a Black Desert look like, anyway?

Black Desert Online

Anticipation for BDO rose to an all-time high for me this week. Granted, almost everything i read that also contained an opinion was mixed, to say the least, and i didn’t participate long enough in the beta to form an opinion on my own. What got me was the impression that here’s a game you can actually play in many different ways. Beginning with the different “currencies” and skills up to the fact that the only thing granting leveling xp will be the mobs- suddenly i saw myself riding off into a world to explore on my own. And i think this will have to be it, as the developer-created content seems quite thin. But i have another game for that and i was actually really looking forward to beginning my journey in BDO.

So i did- i wish i could tell you more, but at this point, i’m trying to make sense of all the game’s offerings myself. I followed the questline as long as it took to leave Olvia behind, but still feel i missed something back there because i haven’t gained even one contribution point while the quests there seem to have dried up. This leaves three possibilities: either i haven’t found all the quests, the quests in the next town count toward Olvia, as well or it is highly recommended to run multiple characters through Olvia. Right now, i need contribution points for two things: connecting nodes and buying a house, although i’ll put that last part off a bit until i know what i need the house for.

Introducing Nuria Mersault, Witch. I chose something different than this smile- unfortunately, now she's running around with her eyes closed.
Introducing Nuria Mersault, Witch. I chose something different than this smile- unfortunately, now she’s running around with her eyes closed.

So far, there’s one thing that game managed very well: giving the impression of being in a vast world. I began gathering resources and soon found myself with a full inventory- thankfully, there’s a warehouse in Olvia- here’s the thing with that, though: as far as i know, those warehouses store items locally, so i can’t actually access them in the next town. If you take this into account as well as the fact that there’s no fast travel in this game, it’s obvious that at some point down the line, you’ll set up a “home” or base of operations. For me and right now, this is Olvia and i need to figure out how to get more contribution to unlock two nodes- thereby allowing me to sell a “trade material” (that’s basically expensive “junk” you can sell to certain npcs for bigger amounts of silver) at 100% of its value- that would be around 10000 Silver (current balance: 3500 Silver)- without those two nodes, the npc will only pay 30%.

The giant in the background keeps your stuff safe in the warehouse.
The giant in the background keeps your stuff safe in the warehouse.

I haven’t touched crafting yet, because i don’t have any idea how to do it- but gathering is interesting: if you kill a fox, for instance, you have three options: to get fluids from its corpse, to skin it or to get the meat- that’s one mob giving you three options to utilize it for crafting material depending on the tool you equip.

The game itself doesn’t tell you much- or maybe it is slower in telling than i’d like it to be- because i saw there are video tutorials for gathering and crafting, but i haven’t reached the point where the game lets me watch these yet. Grinding mobs is hugely satisfying- although i have to say the respawn rate is quite high right now. Wolves, for instance (they attack) spawn so quick that i can’t even harvest the resources from those i killed before. I’m level 10 now and this game is still a big question mark in my book- but that’s really nice, because now, i’m eager to go back in and explore further. My feeling is that in this game, the player will have to utilize intricate knowledge of the game system to his or her advantage.

As a last note- i haven’t had any troubles playing on a NA-server from europe. Seems to be working fine.

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Elder Scrolls Online

I began questing in Greenshade with Nuria Solstrum and tackled the two guild-quests that sent me there. I got to see the Earth Forge.

I don't like lava zones but i can take one instanced cave. It's very atmospheric.
I don’t like lava zones but i can take one instanced cave. It’s very atmospheric.

I also played a part in a “theater piece” written by Sheogorath, the Daedric prince of Madness. Somehow i think that the content of the play will become true down the line- it was about the three alliances turning against the mages guild because they refuse to pick a side.

All in all, i have to say: with Elder Scrolls Online, Black Desert Online and The Division upcoming, MMO-wise i’m in a very happy place right now. And there’s also The Secret World in my rotation. Since the beginning of the year, it was so easy to simply ignore news coming from all the other titles, i’m not tempted in the slightest. It’s a great place to be in and i expect this to continue throughout this year.

Others

Rocket League’s newest DLC release will be the Batmobile. For 2€, i think i’m in.

Rocket League still takes up about half of my available gaming time, i’m so happy i bought it. Sometimes i play with two friends and that’s when the fun really starts. I’ve paid 13€ and played 100 hours- i think i can put another 2€ in for a cool looking car.

Goals for this week

  • further exploring in Black Desert Online
  • creating that guild with Ironweakness and Aywren in BDO (maybe we’ll start as a clan? A clan is free, a guild costs 100000 Silver) and hope we’ll be joined by more folks
  • continuing my Templar in Elder Scrolls Online, maybe even reaching level 30 (don’t think i will)

Friday Quick Notes

This Blog

I think that i’ve found the right Theme to go with on this blog, so i’m going to start building up the “features” here. Overall, i’d like to:

  • make the Home Page more appealing and more magazine-like. I’ve begun doing this, but right now it seems a bit pointless, of course, as i’ve only published 6 posts for now. With more posts being online, there will come more customization- i’ll simply have to figure it out on the fly
  • publish, publish and publish. I’m not going to import my posts from the old blog- i’ll just leave it as it is and start building up here. Therefore, i’d like to write and publish more to build a solid base of posts.
  • build a character page instead of the current Group Up – page
  • build a separate contact page
  • create a real menu to allow easy navigation through the page
  • venture into different topics: books, movies, tv-series, maybe even life. This site isn’t just about MMORPGs anymore. I’ll see if i can figure out a way for readers to opt in (or out) of certain topics; maybe by providing categorized feeds. Right now, there’s not much happening on that front- while i’m watching and reading something, i’ll have to wait to write something about it.

Gaming

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Elder Scrolls Online

I still need to “finish” Grahtwood. The Quest Achievement is done, now i’ll go and look for Caves, Skyshards and maybe Bosses. Tonight we’ll be heading to Rkindaleft, one of two open-world shared dungeons in Wrothgar.

There are also plans for two additional characters (maybe three): i’d like to try and build a Templar that is mainly DPS, but also somewhat capable of tanking and healing- a true hybrid reminiscient of the gameplay-feeling i had playing a Druid <level 30 in early WoW. This idea was inspired by Xannziee’s post about her favourite character. The other one i’m trying to create is a leech healer, possibly a Nightblade. I’m still trying to figure out the details- do i change things up a bit by laying them in another alliance since grouping between alliances will become easier in Thieves Guild? Or do i go all-in for the Aldmeri Dominion; to be able to enter Cyrodiil at will with my guildies?

The third character will be a Dragonknight- i’m still trying to figure out what kind of build i’d like- the only thing i really know is that i want to have one character in each armor type- light, medium, heavy. I guess my Templar “Battle Priest” / “Cleric” will become Heavy, advisable or not- the Leech Healer / Blood Mage will wear Light Armor and the Dragonknight will come in Medium Armor.

And why would i want more characters? Mostly because of the crafting, to be honest. I think that 2 or 3 crafting professions per character are a good amount for casual players, to avoid crafting slowing me down even more, but also because i’d like to experiment a bit and see what the other classes can do. In the end, i’ll also want to create a Sorcerer, but deciding for a direction there is even harder.

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The Secret World

Speaking of Leech Healers- i’ll build one in TSW, too. I think one of my characters has begun to take that direction anyway, and she’s early in the game. I’ve tried it two more times, but i can’t seem to get into my former main anymore- it’s been so long that i feel lost whenever i log her in. But i’d like to play TSW again, mainly as a solo venture, and i’ve found it frustrating to try and find my way with the main. I’ll take a casual approach here, but i do want TSW to become a regular game i play.

Black-Desert-Online-Logo

Black Desert Online

The CBT2 is underway and i was able to create a character and log into one of the channels and see the very first steps in the game. It’s too early to form an opinion, of course. For now, i was surprised that there are “channels” to choose from- what do i have to do in order to find the friends i’d like to play it with? Do we have to choose one channel or are players able to interact regardless?

Cities: Skylines – Snowfall

The best city-builder out there has just released a new expansion- Snowfall. There’s new weather effects in old map types (rain, fog), there are Trams now and there are “winter zones”. All in all, it looks like a good update and i’ll buy in as soon as i get the urge to build a city again.

Other Media

A quick overview about things i’m watching/reading right now:

  • picked up watching The Walking Dead again- i think we haven’t watched since our son was born, so we’re way back in Season 4 right now. I like it so far, but i’ve found some slower episode in the middle of the season quite boring, actually. I’ll write up more about that when we’ve finished the season.
  • watched Mad Max: Fury Road and actually don’t want to waste too much time on it to write a review- i’d rate it 6/10…maybe. I did like the action…somewhat, but it all seemed a bit shallow for my taste.
  • i’m currently reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and like it very much. Thing is, i don’t get much reading-time in nowadays, especially if it’s a real-paper-book, so it’s slow going. Here’s the blurb: “The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.”
  • i find much more time listening to stuff. I finished listening to The three-body problem by Liu Cixin – it’s chinese sci-fi where humans find out that another civilization is on its way to conquer earth- but it’ll take them 400 years to get here. I’d give this a general 7/10 and a genre-related 9/10, it was interesting to listen to and i’m very much looking forward to listen to The Dark Forest as soon as i can.

A New home

So i did it. After thinking about it for a week, i decided to move away from the easy life on wordpress.com and into the big bad web itself. I have to say it feels good, although i still have no idea what to do with the old blog at partybusiness.wordpress.com. Do i move the content over here- as in importing it here, deleting it there? Do i simply copy it? Or should i go with a fresh start here? I haven’t decided yet. For now, i’ll go with the clean slate- the import functionality doesn’t work in the moment, anyway. It might, tomorrow, but we’ll see. I won’t transfer the blog manually- either it will be a thing of an hour or two or i’ll be fine anyway. Keeping the posts there would be good for externals, i guess- although there aren’t that many inbound links, anyway.

Now the figuring-out part really begins: what to do here and how to do it? I’ll work it out on the go. The only thing i can really tell is: this time, it’s personal. No, i don’t want to tell you how my son behaved when i told him to brush his teeth this morning (he ran away), but i don’t want to simply focus on the MMORPG stuff. I mean, quite often, really, you’ll find that a person who likes x might also like y…that’s the way Amazon’s recommendations work. So chances are we’ll find more common ground than MMORPGs.

So let’s see how this works out. It feels good, anyway, because right now, it’s not too hard to decide what to do with the old content. The longer i would have stayed on the platform, the more difficult it would be to leave it behind (or transfer the content, whatever it will be).