Archive for July, 2011

If LOTRO comes with Pando required, it won’t be on my hard drive.

July 30, 2011

I was going to give Lord of the Rings Online a try. But, the install wanted me to agree to use some unknown torrent program called Pando Media Booster. Hey, I don’t do torrents. At all! Period! They scare me and I am now reading horror stories from other users who say this thing caused constant uploading. So, sorry LOTRO, I guess you will have to do without me.

Favorite quotes series: Who said this?

July 17, 2011

“Life started because a chemical reaction got lonely.”

Take a guess.

Wrong!

OK, I admit, that one was actually from me.

Guild Wars inventory system problematic

July 8, 2011

My inventory was getting clogged with various “Quest” Items that I have no idea which quest they are needed on. They REALLY needed to have quest items be like most other games where they are not taking up precious inventory slots. This is particularly acute for new players where storage slots are tight. It also appears that certain quest items may be clogging the inventory after the quest they were needed in is done. For example, I also seem to be pickup certain items (bear pelts) as “quest” pieces after the quests.

This gets easier a little later in the game when you can buy a storage chest, but these piles of quest items can really eat into storage space early on.

Guild Wars seems a bit buggy sometimes.

July 7, 2011

I had two quests that wouldn’t update to the next stages last night. One had a missing NPC (Devona, who was to give the reward) and the other wouldn’t acknowledge that I had moved an object (a honeycomb that lured bees) to the required spot and trigger the reward phase.

However, I tried both again today over lunch, and they worked fine.

Strange…

World of Grindcraft (2nd attempt)

July 5, 2011

Ok, I tried it again WoW again on the starter edition and this time took one of the bull guys to level 10 and got to go to another crudely rendered tribal cow-people village. I have decided that there must be a WoW program that generates quests that goes something like this:

1. Put a ! above one of the NPCs that is just standing around anyway (like they all do).
2. If player interacts with the NPC, have it go kill (fill in number) of (fill in blank) for you.
3. Alt: Have some slight odds that player will be asked to carry something to another NPC. NOTE: The player will kill oodles of things along the way and complete the other mass-slaughter quests.
4. Upon completion of the quest, either (A) go back to standing around like NPC statues or (B) offer the player another chance to go kill X number of Y.

A flight on some sort of bird thing to deliver hides to another village was fun. Then I was tasked with flying another load of finished leather good back. So, I had two “fetch” quests in one! It was the only trip where I didn’t kill things along the way. Blizzard will need to fix that ASAP.

I picked skinning and leather work as crafts, since my hours in Bovinia (my name for cow land) consist of killing everything that moves that isn’t lit bright green. As such, I have an endless stock of recently deceased things to skin and make into stuff. As soon as I turn around, these darn critters appear to have respawned and I need to kill them again. And again. And yet again! Die critters! Die!

Oh, though I did once catch a dog for someone. In a novel twist — I didn’t have to kill it (or skin it). I also investigated a missing caravan, but there were lots of things to kill on the way there and back. I got to show off all my fancy attack animations on the trip. These animations consisted of: (A) stand and whack stuff repeatedly with a sword or (B) stand and shoot stuff repeatedly with a bow (later a gun). Sometimes, depending upon the range, I got to do both A and B on the same poor critter (none of which seemed to have any survival instincts).

I figure I have now killed more game than Ernest Hemingway.

Oh, somebody did ask me to join a guild. I ignored them. Any guild that would want me at that level of character was clearly too hard up for me.

Bottom line: Maybe WoW is WOW for veteran players, but to me it is consisting of blocky character models, cheesy graphics, and more grinding than a coffee shop. It is BORING! I keep asking myself, “What is it about THIS that would make me want to shell out $15 a month?”

What is it about WoW that I am clearly not getting? My friends love it. Yet, I just can’t see what the fuss is about. It is becoming really boring.

There, I said it! Heresy! I will try it a bit more to see when the fun stuff starts. Maybe after another thousand dead woodland critters?

Finally tried World of Warcraft. Didn’t like it, even for free.

July 3, 2011

Sorry, but I just didn’t like it. The graphics overall looked dated, with character models as blocky as the original Quake by comparison with other modern games. This just painfully looks like a game from about 2004. Even the kiddie MMORPG Wizards 101 LOOKS better to me.

The starting area where I was in WoW (Hoarde Bull creatures) seemed stripped down of details. It was some blocky-looking NPCs who just stood around a blocky looking primitive village. I went to a chieftain who gave me a quest to go talk to somebody else. I moved past blocky looking NPCs to another group of static NPCs. The new guy told me to kill six generic something-or-another.

I went over where other NPCs were standing in a field whacking at groups of these whatever-they-were things. I went over and stood and whacked one a couple of times. No interactions with the NPC beside me or the other two critters he was fighting. I whacked two more. I stood, they stood (until they died), the NPC beside them stood. I looted copper coins from critters (do they eat kid’s piggy banks?) and went to the next NPC who stood whacking at the same generic kill-me-now beastie.

This same non-challenge was repeated three times. It was not a WOW experience in WoW…

It didn’t engage me in the least, other than my pet bird was kind of cute. I went, “C’mon now, for something you want me to PAY TO PLAY, you have to do better than this as the first experiences.”

The character design simply looked left-in-the dust by other modern games. Torchlight looked far better, and I can get it for $2.99 on sale right now on Steam. I asked myself, “Is this why I have an ATI 5970? To render these blocky and poorly-detailed models and structures, stiff animations, and cheesy NPCs who stand around waiting to either give me a quest or to ignore me entirely?”

Oh, and my grandson’s version of the game (also the starter edition) refuses to display water. He can watch fish swimming in the air. If he gets in the water, he can see it. If he gets out, it is back to flying fish time. Apparently this is a known bug with the world’s biggest online game.

If I don’t like the start of a game, I generally don’t like the middle or end either. The one exception was Deus Ex, with a terrible demo for a great game.

It comes down to expectations. If I am being asked to subscribe to something where the yearly cost to play it are $180 (plus the costs of the game and expansion), then I expect “best game ever” on everything. I want to be absolutely blown-away from the opening screen.

I wasn’t. It was generic RPG from the early 2000 era. If I am already bored in five minutes, that doesn’t bode well.

It had a tremendous opening cinematic with the dragon, but then the game itself started. It was a letdown.

Imagine that you have never played WoW. Now, try opening up the free demo as if you knew nothing about it. Does it really seem that good as a newbie player? If you had never played it (but had played other modern games), would it still seem fresh, engaging, and beautiful? Would it just blow you away?

Or, would you kind of wonder what all the fuss was about…

Well, my WoW fanatic friends, that is me. I have no history with the game. No emotional investment. I tried it, went “meh” within a few minutes, and deleted it.

Be honest if you are a WoW lover: my words are like a cold soggy carp slapped across your cheeks (both sides, whap, whap!). I don’t have the thousands of hours and several years of my life tied up in WoW like others in my circle of friends. I approached WoW with high expectations and was, frankly, underwhelmed.

Now, some may argue against judging a blind date on the first few minutes. But, if she arrives drunk, insists on showing you her many tattoos (no matter their locations), displays an epic talent for flatulence, and passes out during the salad course – one may form a bad impression.

But, games (like art) are an individual experience. To each their own. If you find it worth $180 a year, then go for it.

NOTE: My 11 year-old grandson loves the game and would subscribe if he had the bucks (which he doesn’t). I mentioned to him that the cost of the game plus subscription would mean doing without about five other AAA PC game titles over the course of the year. He doesn’t quite get the math, as he figures I should just subscribe and still get the other games. The concept of a “budget” hasn’t taken hold.

UPDATE: My WoW fan friends are insisting I picked a particularly drab area to start and that I need to give it a chance. Since the grandson loves the starter version, I went ahead and let him try my full version of the game on the 30-day trial (which I had never activated).