Catching Up

Here’s a little of this and that from around my gaming life that hasn’t made its way to a post of its own.

First of all, you may have noticed the lack of MMO Tourism posts lately. That’s because I’ve hit a couple of discouraging games. First was EverQuest II. Moving around felt somewhat clunky, outmatched only by the painfully slow combat. I’m guessing that, aside from the fact that it came out in 2004 and most RPGs were generally a little slower-paced back then, this is partly a holdover from the first EverQuest which, coming out in 1999, was played primarily by dial-up users, which meant they had to account for a lot of latency. Even in 2004 a significant number of Internet users were on dial-up (I think my family didn’t get broadband until around that time, despite being online since 1995). Combine that with the fact that they were more or less inventing the modern MMORPG as they went along, and I can’t really blame SOE. But to a modern player, coming off of titles like WildStar and Guild Wars 2, it’s really hard to get in to, and I couldn’t really get past that. I hope to give it another go, but my first impressions were not good ones.

I also gave Dungeons and Dragons Online a shot, but for some reason it crashed a lot. I used to have similar problems with Turbine’s other game, Lord of the Rings Online, every now and then, but not nearly this bad. I tried three times to make a character and gave up after it crashed each time before I even got in the world. I’ll have to do some googling to see if there’s some settings that will make it more stable on my setup. Maybe it has to do with my recent Windows 8/SSD upgrade? Or just ATI’s latest crappy drivers?

I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I finally got to read Worlds Collide, the epic Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man crossover comic book miniseries from Archie comics. Sonic and Mega Man have always been my favorite characters since before I can remember, so to have them together in one semi-official story is a dream come true. I love the art style and the overall cleverness of the writing. So many witty references to both games; the writers are clearly big fans of both series. It’s probably the most amazing game-related thing I’ve ever read. I’ve been buying them as compiled graphic novels, so I’m still eagerly waiting for the last arc later this month (no spoilers please!). I highly recommend them for fans of either series. Since I got my hands on the first one I’ve been on kind of a Mega Man kick (I’ve been trying to finally beat the last few levels of Mega Man 10 that I never got through, and my ringtone may or may not be the Proto Man whistle right now…), and this has renewed my sense of frustration that Capcom seems completely uninterested in further developing the series since creator Keiji Inafune left the company in 2010. I have high hopes for his new games, Mighty No. 9 and Azure Striker Gunvolt, apparent spiritual successors to the Mega Man and Mega Man Zero series, respectively, but I’m afraid it’s just not going to be the same. At least we have the comic book for the foreseeable future.

My necromancer in Guild Wars 2 continues to progress nicely. I have a good rotation down for cranking out lots of damage and DOTs using my wand/dagger and staff, and can take down most Veteran mobs without taking much damage, even without popping into death shroud (aka high damage, resource-is-health mode). Unfortunately I’m nearing that critical 25-35 range where most of my alts die, but I don’t see that happening with this one (of course, I’ve said that before). I also can’t decide which zone to do next, as I’ve done all of them at this level range. I wish I could skip over them and do some of the higher level content I haven’t seen yet. I guess that’s what I get for being an altaholic. I’m leaning toward the Charr zone next, since I’ve never played a Charr and I’ve only mapped that zone once.

In other Guild Wars 2 news, the new season of the Living World started last week. I missed out on most of season one (due mostly to the fact that I took my time getting to 80, and by the time I got there I was so behind that I had no idea what was going on or why I should care), so I can’t really judge whether season 2 has improved, but I like what they’re doing with it so far. The dialog and cutscenes are done more the way I would expect from an MMO, using in-game graphics and occasionally textboxes, and not like the personal story cutscenes that yank you out of the game and show the characters awkwardly talking past each other (which you’ve heard me rant about many times if you’ve been reading my ramblings on Guild Wars 2 for long). I really like the living story cast of characters a lot better than the personal story/Destiny’s Edge characters. They’re a lot more colorful and less generic racial stereotypes. I also like that they’re all obvious player classes. I never felt like I knew exactly what class Zojja or Caithe were supposed to be (I guess Eir was a ranger since she had a pet? And they refer to Traherne as a Necromancer, but he uses a greatsword), but the new group (do they get a cool name like Destiny’s Edge? If so I haven’t heard it yet) are comprised of obvious classes with identifiable skills that can be used by players (with the exception of Taimi, who uses her golem to fight). Also, without spoiling too much for those who may not have done it yet, that last boss fight is incredibly annoying. I can’t tell you how many times I got knocked off of that blasted rock, and the Zephyrite lightning jump kept glitching out for me and not landing anywhere near where I put down the target. It was worth it, though, and I’m looking forward to how the plot developers in the next episode.