Archive for the MMO Category

Extra Life Gaming Marathon

Posted in Gaming, Gaming News, MMO, MMORPG, PC with tags , , , , , , , , , on 07/21/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

Hello there RiftWatchers fans!

I would like to let you all know that we here at RiftWatchers will be participating in the Extra Life Gaming Marathon this year. What it is is 24 Hours Straight of playing Video Games in order to raise money for local Children’s Hospitals all throughout the US. Most of us here have participated in the past in one form or another, but this year we are all coming together under Team Vagary.TV, which is our parent website.

I personally have set up a page with a goal of raising $500. While this seems like a fairly high goal, I have no doubt in my mind that the awesome community that we have surround the RW site, can help break that goal. Nothing would make me more happy than to have to actually RAISE the goal amount, because of everyone’s generosity to give to a great cause.

Many of us know someone, or maybe even have a family member, who was a very sick child. Whether it be something as serious as Cancer, Infantile Glaucoma (In the case of one of my best friend’s son, and the reason that I’m so passionate about the issue), or even a bad bout of the flu, Children’s Hospitals throughout our country usually have to help foot the bill, as care can get extremely expensive. The money raised in this charity drive goes to help all of those kids get the treatment that they need, without having to worry about running the parents, or the hospital itself, into financial ruin.

If you’re willing, please donate whatever you wish at the link below. The suggested amount is $24 ($1 per hour), but you can give more or less. Any amount you can spare is greatly appreciated, and goes to an amazing cause. And if you care to know, all donations are 100% Tax Deductable.

Go Here to donate or even get involved yourself. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you in advance for your help and financial support.

Jeremy

P.S. If you do decide to get involved yourself, feel free to join us on Team Vagary if you don’t have a team of your own to go to.

Nothing is as Good as Your First

Posted in Blogging, Everquest, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , , , , , on 01/16/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

No, that’s not some reference to sex. I’m talking about that first true MMO love. Everyone in the MMO world came into it because of one game. Most of us end up playing that game for years, finally getting tired of it and try to move on to the next big thing. The problem is, that next MMO never really feels the same as the first. In fact, it just can’t quench that thirst like the first game could. So we move on and try another…and another…and another, eventually becoming MMO nomads.

I know I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Ever since I gave up Everquest about two years ago, I’ve been game hopping. Free to play, pay to play, or somewhere in the middle, it just doesn’t matter. I’ve never truly felt as satisfied as I did in EQ. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of games have come close, but it seems the more games I try, the less I’m able to actually stick with them on a consistent basis. All of my pondering on this subject came to a head today when some weird synapse in my brain shot off, and told me it would be a good idea to resubscribe to EQ.

That’s right. I took the plunge. I went crawling back to my ex with my tail between my legs. Or at least it felt that way. As I was downloading the latest patches, I was sort of regretting the decision. I couldn’t believe I’d done something that I had sworn off such a long time ago. That feeling was thrown quickly by the wayside, though, when that oh-so-familiar loading screen music started playing. Anyone who’s played EQ knows what I’m talking about. That tune is like a seductive mistress whispering poison into her victims’ ear. What a sweet melody it is.

I found myself in the throes of passi…err…battle for hours. What a triumphant return it was. Friends came out of the woodwork and welcomed me with open arms. We spent a great amount of time catching up and sharing stories…something that has NEVER happened to me in any other game I’ve played. I would be lucky to have even one person that I’ve met in WoW treat me with this kind of reception. This all goes back to my post from earlier this week about the dieing aspect of community and camaraderie in games. I’ve never had such meaningful friendships form in any other MMO. In EQ we relied on each other for day to day survival; there was no soloing to the level cap. I have to admit, the reception felt good…really good.  I literally had people sending me tells until I logged off for the evening.

After the glistening light started fading, and began snapping back to reality. I spent quite a few hours in game today and one thing was definitely apparant: the reasons that I had left in the first place were still relevant. The question I have to ask myself over the coming month as my sub winds down is “does the good outweigh the bad.” I can’t lie to myself and say I didn’t have a good time. That would be doing me a disservice. But with Rift coming out in March, and TOR later this year, am I really ready and willing to devote the time and effort it will take to get myself caught up to max level in EQ, and start raiding again in order to make my character truly relevant again gear-wise. These are things I have to think about, but I’m definitely heading to bed with a smile on my face tonight…it was like the almost like the first time all over again…umm…in Everquest that is…

The Growing Problem of Immaturity

Posted in Blogging, Gaming News, LoL, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , , , , , on 01/14/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said how much I LOATHE Official Forums of games. Obi Wan Kenobi put it best when he said “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” He may have been talking about Mos Eisley, but I contend that it carries over to most forum communities. This problem used to be very easy to avoid. Don’t go to the forums and you don’t have to deal with it. Unfortunately we’re now seeing a crossover of this attitude and mentality into our games. Spend 10 minutes reading General Chat on most WoW servers and you’ll see a little of what I mean, but play a competitive PvP game and you’ll experience the worst of the worst.

For those that listen to the MMOVoices Podcast, you know how much I love League of Legends. It’s quickly become one of my favorite games. I love the competitive aspect of the game, the quick matches which feed to the needs of the casual player, and even their cash shop set-up which never forces you to spend a dime. In many ways, Riot has the F2P sub-genre perfected. I usually can’t stop talking up all of the things that Riot gets right! Lately LoL has me frustrated, though.

It’s not the gameplay or any changes that have been made by Riot. It’s the plethora of server issues that hit a couple months ago. No, nothing on Riots end at all. It’s the players. I’m not generalizing all of the players by far. In fact, it’s a small minority. The problem is that it’s that minority that has been ruining the game for me lately. As the game grows — by as much as 3-5x their current player base per month — we’re seeing more of these “un-silent minority” of asshats popping up.

It’s expected that their be tauning and jeering in a PvP game. That is all in good fun. In fact, there usually is some friendly competition and words thrown back and forth, but no one takes it personal. The biggest problem with the game now is those that have a super-elitist attitude and completely belittle and disrespect the other players on the map. It goes beyond normal teasing, to attacks on ones skill, self worth (I’ve seen players telling others to go kill themselves because they aren’t a good player. I cannot imagine the effect this could have on someone that is already contemplating and are trying to use the game as an escape), lifestyle, and sexual orientation, to even threats on peoples lives and well being if they ever see them in a match again.

Riot used to ban accounts for this type of behavior, but as the game grows they can no longer keep up with the shear amount of tickets that are submitted. Because of this, most get put by the wayside and the blatant offenders are not punished for their actions, make the situation even worse. If there’s no consequences, why act respectful? I mean, come on! Why treat other players like they’re human beings? What would be the point in that? I DO WHAT I WANT!!!!!!

Well, not anymore. Yesterday, Riot announced a new system they are putting in place in LoL that will help quell the flood of in-game Trolls and downright immature asshats. The system in question will put together a council of players who have proven themselves to be fair and honest, and who treat other players the way that they should be treated. This council will now look over the tickets and decide if action needs to be taken against the reported offender(s).

I think this is an awesome idea. It’s a system that let’s fellow players decide on if the actions of other players are appropriate and warranted or not. Players will now have to think twice before they speak, or risk losing all of the time and effort they put into a level 30 accounts, because they don’t know how to be respectful to others around them. It’s about time a game company came up with a great system to deal to squelch the flames.

This is one of those innovations that passes the “Genius Test.” Immature behavior and idiocy against other players has been a growing problem for a while now. It causes veteran players to hang up their uniforms, and deters new players from trying or sticking with a game, and is nothing but poison to any games community. I hope that other studios take a page out of Riot’s book and implement systems of their own to alleviate the pain caused by these vile and vicious offenders.

What’s the Deal with Addons?

Posted in Gaming, MMO, MMORPG, Rift with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/11/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

A common topic over at the Rift forums is about the pros and cons of addons. Some people want certain ones in game, and others oppose them. Having played MMOs since EverQuest, I can definitely see the ups and downs of having addons and meters. Here are some of the major ones, and reasons that I feel they could be a blessing or a hindrance in the world of Telara:

Raid Helpers

Back in EverQuest, no one used to share strategies. It was up to the players and their guilds to figure out how to take down a boss mob. At the time, everything was open world and highly contested. There were no instances. If a boss was dead, you’d have to wait anywhere from 24 hours to a week to actually see it spawn again, and most likely the guild that took it down knew its spawn timer and were there waiting for it to rear its ugly head.

With the inception of instances, this practice slowly fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until very recently in EQ that people started giving up their secrets, but not long after raiding became popular in WoW, add-ons such as Deadly Boss Mods and BigWigs started popping up. Now, don’t get me wrong, wiping over and over again trying to get a boss strategy down sucks, but it’s a part of the game, and something I always found extremely fun. Once you finally figured it out, you could feel the sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately for those folks like me, the Raid Addons actually detract from the whole experience by basically holding your hand throughout the entire encounter, telling you move for move what to do.

For those that don’t have the time or the patience to figure out a strategy, or just want to kill the boss and move on to the next big thing, these programs are a God-Send. Seriously, who needs the countless wipes and repair fees when you can have someone else do all of the hard work and just tell you and your guild how it’s done. These mods helped streamline raiding, and made it more accessible to a majority of gamers.

While I fall into the first camp on this and find that these addons detract from the gameplay, most guild require them now and will kick members who do not have it installed and ready at the time of raiding. I’ve gotten used to using these types of mods because of raiding in WoW, but that added extra of figuring it out yourself is something I feel is being lost now-a-days.

 

DPS/Threat Meters

Everyone wants to perform their best, right? Well, that’s what these types of meters were designed for. If you don’t know, DPS stands for Damage Per Second. This is the amount of damage your character can put out over a period of time. If you play a DPS class such as a rogue or mage, this meter is a must have in modern MMOs. What plays in conjunction with this is a threat meter. It tells you how much aggro you’re drawing on the monsters you are facing, making sure that you don’t pull threat off of the tank. Rangers in EverQuest were notorious for out DPSing everyone else and drawing high amounts of threat, often resulting in their death or the complete wipe of the raid party.

That was part of the experience, though. You had to know how to manage your DPS and Threat so that you didn’t die and/or cause everyone else to die. And trust me, your guildmates would help keep you in check (or never let you live down the time you pulled the entire zone of Kael Drakkal on them). Ranger jokes aside, I’m very neutral on these type of addon. It’s a nice perk to have to know that you’re for sure pulling your weight, and also that you’re not going to have the boss giving you a black eye. On the other hand it is just another chance for your guildmates to belittle you if you’re not living up to their expectations, an attitude I wish could be wiped off of the face of MMOs as we know them.

Gear Score

Gear Score addons are the ultimate E-Peen meters. It used to be fun walking through town in an MMO and seeing the higher levels in their awesome gear. It looked cooler and usually had some kind of special effects. It gave you something to strive for. I remember plenty of times setting goals for my character based on seeing someone else in some awesome gear and thinking, “I want to be wearing that some day.” It just added to the adventure. It wasn’t a requirement though.

With Gear Score mods, games have turned from “Oooh, look at the pretty armor” to everyone else judging you on NOT having the armor. Now it’s more like “You’re not allowed to group with me until your addon says you have 10,000,000,000 Gear Score…N00B!” I honestly can’t stand it. People used to help each other get gear. You would go camp a mob for days on end together until everyone else in your group and/or guild got what they needed to move on together. Because of things like Gear Score guilds have become more exclusive instead of inclusive. If you don’t meet the Gear Score requirement, come back when you do. Guilds used to try and take on an encounter regardless of the members gear, and now you can’t raid unless you have the Uber Suit of Uberness +5.

If you can’t tell, this is the only addon that I loathe. I really feel that Gear Score has completely changed the face of the end game of MMOs. Grouping and Raiding is supposed to be about fun, exploration, and adventure, not about what level of gear you have. Am I saying that someone wearing starter rags should be dragged along on an end-game raid? Not by a long shot, but if someone has been working their character and trying their hardest, and is a good player, they should not be held back by an arbitrary number. A lot of times (and especially back in EQ) skill outweighs the level of gear you’re wearing. I really hope the Developers over at Trion keep this type of mod out of Rift.

Games like Peggle and Bejeweled

Game addons are the orginal addons. In fact, not a lot of people knew this, but if you typed /gems in EverQuest you got a Columns style game to play while you were waiting or meditating. This evolved further in WoW with Peggle and Bejeweled being added as free mods. Other spawned from this as well, such as TriviaBot that could get an entire Raid Force involved when recovering from a wipe.

The only downside to these in my eyes is the message “Healer01 has beaten their high score in Bejeweled,” during a raid or a dungeon. Usually this happens right as everyone is dieing. Bad healer, bad!

Auction House

Love it or hate it, auction house mods are some of the most popular. In game they allow you to keep track of your servers market, usually with up to date prices. If you’re an auction house junkie, or aspiring entrepreneur, these addons are for you. In fact, these are the first type of addons to make their way to smart phones so that players could keep up on their auctions while on the go. While some companies such as Icarus Studios don’t charge any extra to use the Fallen Earth App (outside of the $1.99 to buy it), businesses such as Blizzard choose to charge an extra $3-$5 per month to have access to the Auction House features.

This is another type of app that I’m neutral on. I’ve never been a big Auction House player. I don’t like to spend my time in game — or my time away from game when it comes to the apps — standing in one spot and cancelling and resubmitting auctions just so I can buy and resell things for a profit. I’d rather go out and earn my money the old fashioned way, but killing lots of evil creatures and stealing their bowels…er…*ahem*

I know that these are not the only Addons that we see in games today, but they are definitely the most widely used. Love them or hate them, they have become way too popular to ignore. While there are some that I hope see an untimely death, there are others that help enhance gameplay in ways that we didn’t think possible 10 years ago. That’s enough of my ramblings on the subject though. What do you all think? Do you enjoy Addons in games, or should they get put by the wayside? Which Addons do you love, and which do you hate? And which would you do away with if you could?

 

Writing on Gaming

Posted in Blogging, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , , , on 01/10/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

Sometimes there’s just so much to write about I don’t know where to begin, or what topic to choose. This is my biggest problem when it comes to blogging. When I first started “Jmo’s Gaming Blog,” writing every day or two was something I didn’t have a lot of trouble doing. As time went on, though, I feel I started reading way too far into the “topics of the day” and really started writing less frequently. This started becoming a real hindrance for me. I love writing and I feel like I let myself down each day when I didn’t post something. As time went on though, I became more numb to the feeling. It took me by surprise after yesterdays post that it had actually been almost a whole year since I had updated my personal blog.

Now, I have been writing at MMOVoices and Vagary.tv, but I really feel like I failed by letting my own blog disappear into the nether. For that, I apologize to those that used to read this site regularly, and to myself for becoming so complacent. I feel that I really did a disservice to myself as a writer by not keeping up on a regular blogging schedule of sorts. I really have to thank Cindy and Gavin for helping set me back in the right direction with this week long “Blogging Bender.” It has really given me the desire to force myself to write on a schedule again, which is something I hope to keep up from this point forward.

It’s odd that I ever really did fall out of practice with how much I enjoy discussing the whole “gaming” world in general. When you think about it, it’s a very interesting and exciting place to be. There’s always something to talk about, and always some new bit of drama hitting the blog-o-sphere. In fact, even on weeks that we as bloggers and podcaster may complain that it’s been “slow on news”, we can always seem to find something to chat about. That’s because our hobby is an ever-changing, ever-evolving one. And no matter where anyone’s views may fall on a certain subject, and even how we may stick away from certain bloggers because of conflicting views, it’s rare that you’ll hear bloggers in our little niche of the internet speak truly ill of each other. It’s one of the few communities that I feel has a mutual respect for each other, even if we don’t always agree.

That’s one of the reasons that I feel MMOVoices actually took off the way it did. When Beau and Leala first started talking about it on Twitter, I was quick to jump aboard. The original plan was for it just to be an experiment in the wake of GAX folding, with maybe 20-30 members max. Now, just under a year and a half old, MMOV is working its way towards 400 members. It sounded like a great idea in the beginning, and it is really refreshing to see how it has grown. This goes back to my original point, and the one thing we all have in common: Gaming.

No matter how we may feel about Free to play, certain studios customer service, or features we’d like to see in the next big MMO, it all comes down to us enjoying a good game. That’s what makes our community stand out above the rest. You don’t find that kind of all around camaraderie in topics like politics or religion. In fact, it’s almost a sad fact that people agree more, or can at least agree to disagree more over such a topic like games, but will kill each other over religion. But this is a blog about gaming, so I won’t even go into my thoughts on that topic. Still, that speaks highly of our hobby.

That’s one of the biggest pulls to keep me writing. The feeling of being important, one of the group, and surrounded by friends at all times is something you can’t find anywhere else. Regardless of what someone may think about how a development studio does business, at the end of the day we’re all gamers. We come from all walks of life, different political and socio-economic backgrounds, but we can all agree on one thing: gaming rocks! Whether we write about gaming on blogs, talk about it on podcasts, or just play the games to have fun or even to escape some of the crappy situations we end up in in our day to day lives, we all embrace the same thing in the end. That is what sets our awesome community apart from all of the crap out there, and is what is my motivation to not only keep writing, but be involved constantly. I hope others feel the same way.

Daily Blog Challenge

Posted in DDO, Gaming, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , , , , , , on 01/09/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

Hey everybody! It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated on my personal blog. For those that have been checking back, I apologize for not writing on here as much as I would have liked. For some reason, I always feel like I have a lot to say and then just never really know how to put it on a page. This week, though, I hope that all changes. My good friends and fellow hosts of the MMOVoices Podcast, Cindy and Gavin, decided to go through with a Daily Blog Challenge. What this is is that every day at 1:00pm CST for the next week, everyone involved will write a blog post about whatever is on their mind at the time. Anything will do, and then you just need to post it to Twitter to show the others that you made your post. I’m sure plenty of heckling will be thrown in for those that don’t. So today, I figured I’d talk a bit about my return to DDO.

DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) was a game that I had originally  played during beta and when it first launched. Unfortunately, it quickly lost its luster with me. Something about it just didn’t set right at the beginning, and another part of me just couldn’t leave Everquest. My good friend Andrew played it from launch, but even having a friend there couldn’t keep me around. I came back about two years later to try again, and found myself in the same place I was the first time, this time unable to really leave WoW. I wanted to like DDO, I really did. But for some reason I just couldn’t. To this day I still don’t know why I couldn’t get into it, or what it was about the game that couldn’t hook me. I just couldn’t bring myself to want to give $15 per month to play another game.

Then last year Turbine pulled a fast one. DDO went free to play. Again, I gave it a shot. Again, I stopped playing after a couple of days. We even had a MMOVoices static group that was playing DDO and I was having a blast, but for some reason I never really clicked on the icon again after the group dissipated. For some reason that all changed in these past two weeks.

My buddy Andrew was in town for Christmas. He and his wife came over to join my wife and I for dinner, and we got to talking about gaming, and particularly DDO. Andrew was still playing the game and is the officer in his guild. He asked me to come back and give it another shot. I figured “why not.” I’m not really playing any MMO steadily right now, in fact the only game I’ve been playing regularly at all has been League of Legends (a post for another day).  So, for the first time in a while, I opened the DDO patcher with optimism. I’m really glad I did.

I first created a sorcerer on Khyber to play with Andrew. I could have picked up my monk, but it had been such a long time since I’d played, I figured it’d be best if I started from scratch. I was actually having fun. And then something else happened. Gavin was mentioning something on Twitter about a “Permadeath” Experiment in DDO. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The flame of my interest in DDO was just starting to light again, and the whole idea of playing with Permadeath rules intrigued me. So, I got the information and rolled a Favored Soul character on Thelanis, to play with the Sublime Permadeath Guild. It’s a guild whose members have to follow a strict set of rules about death. If your character dies, it’s dead forever. The only way around this is if you have a class that can ressurect you with you when you die, and they are actually able to cast it on you right then and there. And if you release from your body, too bad. Delete. That’s it.

Because of this ruleset, I’m back in hook, line and sinker. I haven’t felt this attached to a character in a long, long time. In fact, I haven’t really felt in touch or truly immersed in a character since my original Cleric in Everquest. On top of that, the guild members themselves are awesome. Everyone is friendly and is having a good time together. There are quite a few people who have been in the guild for years now, and have said outright that the Permadeath guild is one of the only things keeping them around. They love the adventure of it, and it almost makes DDO feel like the original Pen and Paper game, where permadeath is a normal way of life.

For the first time with DDO, I look forward to logging into the game. It’s a new feeling for a game that I’ve always wanted to like, but could never find a way to do so. I played Dungeons and Dragons in High School, and this game feels like it should mimic that experience, but with a GUI instead of just your imagination. And now I found the missing link. That one piece of the puzzle that was holding me back. Can I be sure that I’ll stick with the game for the long run? Who knows, but the immediate future is definitely certain.

MMOVoices – MMO Bloggers and Podcasters Rejoice!

Posted in Gaming, Gaming News, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , on 08/09/2009 by Jeremy (Jmo)

For those of you out there familiar with GAX Online, and it’s impending doom at the end of this month, know what an MMO Social Network is. Basically, the MySpace or Facebook of the Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming world. Now the problem with GAX, and one of the main reasons it’s downfall (from what I’ve been told and what I witnessed as I browsed from time to time), was that it wasn’t moderated much, if at all. The posts were strewn with obscenities and flames made very pointedly towards the authors and podcasters. It was not a safe haven for anyone, and environments like that seem to just push people away in the end.

But what if it could be different? What if there was a new “GAX” of sorts that WAS moderated, and EVERYONE’S opinion was appreciated and respected? Well, thanks the MMO Blogger and Podcaster Beau Turkey of the Spouse Aggro Podcast (formerly Voyages of Vanguard), and husband to Leala Turkey (top notch podcaster and former lead host of Epic Dolls),  we now have a new MMO Blogger and Podcaster Social Networking Site. And that site is MMOVoices! I’m proud and excited to be a part of this rapidly growing community. The word went out less than 48 hours ago about the site going live, as nothing more than an experiment at that, and it’s now about to reach 50 members. At this rate, by mid week it should have well over 100 and growing.

I am completely stoked to be a part of this new community, and I strongly urge anyone else out there who fits into the MMO Blogger and/or Podcaster mold, to head on over to http://mmovoices.ning.com and get signed up! You won’t regret it. I look forward to what the future holds for the site, I for one know that I will be starting up another PodCast to go along with the site soon as well. Hopefully with a co-host this time, as Not-A-Cast was weird (talking to a wall and all) =p .

Anyway, for now, Jmo out. See you on the flip side, and hopefully on my friends list at MMOV! (and no, the blog isn’t dead, I swear!)