Oct 17, 2010

Top 5 Things I'd .... oh wait.

Sitting here on my desk I have a geeky little notepad I use for XIV gaming notes as well as a place to jot ideas for blog entries. One page details a list of the top five things I'd like to see changed in the game, and being that I think I can write a "things to change" list without spilling Hateraid all over my keyboard I thought it was a good idea. I've been staring at this list hardcore for two weeks now trying to will myself to stop making cider vinegar long enough to sit down and write it out and today I finally managed to do so. So here we go!

1) Retainers/Wards and their general crappiness. Great idea really, but let's talk about execution-

A. The Markets have been a hot topic since the game's release, and today's maintenance was the first step in making this feature better suited to the needs of the players. With that step we saw the introduction of a one-click targeting system, making it easier to access a retainer's list of wares. We also saw a renaming of the wards combined with a reduced-tax system aimed to promote a more organized distribution of goods, therefore making it easier for players to find the items they seek.

For our next step, we plan on introducing additional features to make navigating the Markets even easier. These include the implementation of a search feature that will not only help players locate items in a Market district, but then display an icon next to the retainers who have those items, reducing the hassle of having to look through the inventories of retainers who may not have what a player seeks.

Ok ok yes I've patched the game. Next one then.

2) The slowness of synthing. I remember the long days of slowly, one item at a time, telling your crystal what to add to the recipe in Final Fantasy XI. I remember searching hopelessly through my inventory for that damned selbina milk for the fiftieth time that night. Why, so many years later, am I fumbling with the same slow system that makes it a chore to craft multiple items?

Q. What kind of changes are planned for synthesis?
A. The late-November patch will see adjustments to the required ranks and difficulty levels of various existing recipes, ensuring that players will have a better chance to successfully create items when reaching the optimal skill level.

For the mid-December update, we will be adding several new recipes, including ones for crafting new gear. In addition, we will be introducing a new feature that will allow players to select recipes from a list of recently crafted items and recipes learned through levequests, and set all of the appropriate ingredients with the touch of a single button, thus making repeated synthesis of a single item a snap!

Well played, SE, well played.

3) Inventory sort! For the love of Nophica and her cute little angry plants, why can't I sort my inventory?! So much nerd rage-

–Inventory Sort Feature
The late-November version update will include the addition of a feature that will allow players to sort their inventories.

Oh, err ... ok. Sweet then.

4) The chat window, the ways the chat window drive me insane. I want to be able to filter the spam better, I understand the initial limits of multibyte characters but I'm speaking English here can I please type more? While we're at it -

Log Window and Chat
New tabs will be added to the log window
Players will be able to open multiple log windows
Controller functionality will be added to the log window
Players will be able to use Ctrl+R to send instant replies to /tells
Players will be able to change chat modes via menu options
The Home and End keys will now function in the chat log
For players typing multi-byte characters, starting a new message with "/" will automatically switch the typeset to single byte
Players will be able to adjust the font color for various chat modes
Adjustments will be made to the transparency of the log window when unfocused

God damn it!

5) Can I get to keep one please? Just one? Ok. How about targeting? I can't count the amount of rage heard on vent over the crappy targeting system. Can I please easily target my party members to, you know, heal them when they're about to die? I'm not trying to heal that Miq'ote a hundred yalms away. No, I swear I didn't mean to target that damned nanny, but she was standing in the imp I was trying to target and polearms are unwieldy things I can't be blamed for -

Adjustments will be made to target priority when using the Tab key to cycle through nearby targets
When targeting a party member, a target mark will now appear next to the target's name in the party member list
Players will be able to target party members via the party member list


Alright. Alright, SE, point made. Post my blog ideas in a timely manner or have them flat out ruined. I'll be going back to that pile of maiden carp that needs grilling now.

Sep 30, 2010

The day that shall live in infamy. (In my house, at least)

Sometime last year, around E3 I'm guessing, I was sitting at home alone while my boyfriend (and gaming partner, who I happen to have met in Final Fantasy XI six years ago) was off playing Left 4 Dead at a friend's house. I found myself futzing around online and saw an article title somewhere that said simply "Final Fantasy XIV Announced".

Bwwwaaaah? My self said and clicked the link. I hadn't even gotten XIII yet and they were already on to XIV?

What the link lead to was a video. Sweet, I thought, bouncing a bit in my seat as the strains of Uematsu music started. I saw some pretty landscapes, some striking vistas, some oddly familiar hulking thing with an ax ... wait a minute, was that ...? No that couldn't ... wait what the fuck! That was a uh ...

My jaw positively hit the floor as my eyes tried to convince my brain that I was in fact seeing what appeared to be Galka and Elvaan and holycrap even a taru in stunning modern graphics doing something epic.

I watched, I admit with lame fangirl tears in my eyes, until the video faded to a close and the title appeared on the screen:

Final Fantasy XIV

I squeed. But no, they weren't done with me yet. A split second later, with a flourish of sound appeared below the logo:


I can't describe my reaction because it's a haze but if it were possible for a girl to scream, stare gape eyed in wonder and fall into a dead faint all at the same time I would have done so. For six years things had been whispered my house, "What if ... they remade XI? Gave it a graphics update?" Such nonsense, I answered. Square-Enix is perfectly content with dominating the Japanese MMO market with XI. They haven't the time or interest. And yet here was the spiritual successor to my favorite online game of all time, teased in that short little video on my screen.

I never thought September 22nd 2010 would ever come. I was convinced that a myriad of horrible things would surely keep me from playing. My house would explode, a Tsunami would wipe out Japan, something would happen. Yet it came, I had the game in my greedy hands and for the past week I and my once doubtful group of friends have been having the time of our lives.

Today marks the start date for everyone who waited for the standard edition. Today the gates of Eorzea truely open. And like Vana'diel before it, it promises to be my happy home for many years.

Jan 4, 2010

How can I get that kind of holiday package?

It's been a quiet few weeks on the EQ2 front. Those SoE folks must have the best holiday vacation package I've ever seen, or perhaps it's just that compaired to the "Congratulations! You get to work until 8:30pm on Christmas Eve and then be back at 8am on December 26th, Enjoy the Holidays!" that I got it just seems that way. With the developers, Lore Dwarf and others enjoying their free time and holiday bonuses there's been no new official news since the 24th.

The Child's Play Baby Panda is still available until January 17th apparently and if you haven't snatched one yet you should. Frostfell ends on the 7th (so stock pile those frozen furniture pieces to resale in six months!) And of course we do have city festivals to keep us entertained!

I was expecting more than just merchants, but I'm pleased with the new clothing and event though Meleah would rather decorate her home with "acquired" Fae wings than with their craftsmanship she did snatch up one of the lovely desks as well as a new mirror for her bedroom.

I'm hoping for Freeport or Neriak next month, the surprise of seeing what's offered at each new festival for the next few months will be fun.

On a personal note, I still can't pick a darn guild! I need to though since my play partner's interest in a game is directly proportional to how many people he has to play with. He pretty much never logs on unless I'm playing. Everything I find seems to fit either what I want ICly or OOCly, but nothing has yet hit both. My most recent experiences with guilds probably gives me a bit of terror in just choosing one as well.

Dec 22, 2009

Sentinel's Fate Screenshots

I don't know as much about Odus as I'd like, lore wise. It's somewhere that my lowbie high elf self never set foot in in EQ1 and until recently I haven't had any personal interest in Erudites in EQ2. I'm guessing though, that err ... this place didn't use to float?

EQ2 Wire has several more, all that display some really pretty 3.0 shader work. Archive of Ik, MMO-Info and also each have a few more exclusives. I'm impressed with the setting, it seems more varied than what I've seen of other expansion areas as my lowbie little level 42 self. I'm also intregied by the sky and the location of Luclin in it around the Sundered Frontier. People have commented that the sky looks weird in the screenshots and movies we've seen. My theory, given how huge Luclin looks here is that the Sundered Frontier is even higher above Norrath than the Kingdom of Sky zones. I'm seeing upper atmosphere in that sky.

I'm starting to get excited for Sentinel's Fate, even though I haven't even come close to smudging what's in the game already.

Mar 26, 2009

Toeing the Line

Is it just my blog roll that's a bit quiet, a bit dismayed, a bit angry? Even Syp is feeling it and he's suppose to be the light to my shadow! It may just be tunnel vision or one of those things where you notice something once and so you start seeing it everywhere but there is more negativity floating around the blogsphere and forums that I can remember seeing in a long while. And a was Vangaurd: SoH player from beta to four months after launch. I know a negative community when I see one.

I have a love/hate relationship with WAR and I'm sad to say that aside from the IP it isn't anything Mythic has done that's kept me playing. It's been my friends, my guild and it's stellar, awesome roleplay and the great Phoenix Throne community that kept me going. The problem comes around when those same friends start to feel the "blahs" that so many other seem to be feeling. 

I think WAR has a lot going for it, it has a lot of potential. It feels to me though, as if it's standing on the edge of a pin and Mythic's actions over the coming months will push it one way or the other. 1.2 was the polar oposite of a miracle patch. There were a lot of little things that were good, I loved all the map updates, the easy PQs, the rallying cry system. I even like Conquest, when it works right. But they continue to break one thing for every two they fix and give half fixes to deep issues like server population.

I think Mythic is stuck in a situation that is going to get worse before it gets better. My complaint from the start of the game is that there isn't enough to do. The PvE can be fun, but it by far not the best I've ever played and the lock out timers on dungeons plus the limited amount of dungeons mean that even if you happen to focus on PvE there isn't enough to make up 10 hours a week of game play. I had hoped, six months after launch that they would have had the core of the game nailed. Back in October I was thinking of all the fun things that could have been added and improved upon by now, but instead I'm still playing RvR lakes and scenerios. Just in a different sort of broken state than they were at launch. 

I realize that I am not WARs target demographic, and so the things that would make me want to stick with the game are not likely to come around soon, if ever. I'd love to have things like guild housing, casual clothes, more expansion and diversification of trophies and the ToK, I'd kill for the other four cities to explore. But after six months I can't even /sit or /walk. I am a fluff lover. No one system, no one type of play is enough to keep me interested for 25+ hours every week. 

I can have a lot of fun playing Left 4 Dead on XBox Live. And Left 4 Dead does zombie slaying four player action -well-. But I can only explode heads for an hour or two before I get bored. The exact same thing is true of WAR. I play MMOs for their diversity, for the multiple things that I can have fun doing depending on my mood while hanging out with my friends and roleplaying. WAR lacks the diversity, it has always lacked the diversity and Mythic's inablity to fix what's wrong without breaking more things, to own up to the core problems with the game means that I doubt I'll be seeing any diversity for another six months if ever. 

It's example time. EVE is a PvP centric game but it is not solely a PvP game. Yet no matter what you're doing in EVE, you're likely interacting with the core PvP in one way or another. Either you're carefully cloaking through a low sec system trying to avoid gankers while you search for a wreck to salvage, you're praying that you can fill your hauler with ore before someone finds you or you're just safe back in the station producing items used by the PvPers. EVE holds PvP at the center of it's game with a myriad of others things to do that brush you up against the player versus player action. It offers both focused fighting for playeres who are very interested in it and a fun challenge of avoiding and a huge list of other things to do for those who aren't, or who just aren't in the mood at the time. It's a balance of risk vs. reward.

WAR sets it's core on an on and off switch. You're in the lakes, or you're not. You're qued for scenerios, or you're not. And if you're not, then you're probably not logged in because you're waiting on your three day lock out timers. 

So what am I doing in WAR? My current main character sits at 40/24. My previous main character is a WE, and that pretty much sums that up. I run the odd scenerio, I do ORvR when it looks like Order is making an organized push and destro is of course always in need of healers. I struggle through fort defenses and the pee soup lag and ten second Khaine's Embrace casts to do my part for my team. I log on to run dungeons with my friends a few times a week. Are the horrible drop rates and backwards arse ward system making the dungeon play less fun that it could be? Heck yes. But I'm still here, hoping that the game gets better. But how long can you really wait? Vanguard told me four months, and WARs already got two months on that. I'm not sure what my new number is :( 

Mar 19, 2009

Tradeskill Addons that Rock my Socks

I love crafting. I even loved crafting before 1.2 made it cool and everyone and their mother became a cultivator. It's not the most in deapth or fun crafting I've ever seen, but I really do love the recipe-less system and the experimentation that goes along with it. So, two crafting addons that I couldn't live without and you shouldn't have to either.

For quite a while I used a cultivation addon called PlantMe. It hasn't been updated in a while and 1.2 pretty much killed it on my PC at least so when I went looking for another one I was a bit scared. The default cultivation interface is clunky to say the least. It's impossible to do anything else while you babysit four little windows that need your constant attention and since the activty isn't particularly engaging or fun, it feels like work. Luckily I found this little gem which I actually like alot more than my old PlantMe.

Miracle Grow Remix takes the bloated cultivation interface and shrinks it down into a little black box, placeable anywhere on your screen. It takes up less screen space than character portrait. 

It gives you little boxes for seed, soil, water and nutriant and allows you to que up each thing before it's needed. PlantMe didn't allow for queing so it still needed to be clicked on whenever a stage of growth was completed. This system, coupled with the brilliant "Repeat Process" button that allows you a one click fill if you have the exact same materials in your bag make cultivation so quick and simple that I can now do it while RvRing. If you're a cultivator, you should have this.

I should give Czarnal at The Homunculus candy for pointing this out to me, seriously. Despite it's lack of spandy name this little baby may be the coolest addon I have, next to Tome Titan. It takes all of those hidden properties of crafting items and puts them in the tool tip. For example, did you know that cultivation soil increases your crital chance % while water increases your special moment chance %? Now you do.

This takes that recipe-less, experimentation thing that I raved about loving above and lays it all out on the table. I've yet to find a crafting material that didn't have new information on it's tooltip and it's really increased my productivity. I just have to wonder ... how does it know?

Mar 14, 2009

Vacation in Altdorf

I'm so terrible about timely news. I was going to post this the day after it happened but my server was beset by "OMG Destro exploits!" drama after the keep lords bugged on us and leaped downstairs. Not willing to "gloat" while people were still hot under the collar I waited until Order took a fortress a few days ago and the lord bugged on -them-. I now do not feel bad.

So a day after Order hit the Inevitable City and I was shocked at the lack of fun of it all Destro dragged themselves out of inactivity and spent six teen hours pushing for Altdorf. And I got to see, for the very first time, what a truelly organized force can do in T4. Organization in ORvR is like the difference between a pick up group and a pre-made in scenerios. It was incredably fun. My warband was a bit of a "swing group", set to bounce between the southern BOs and keeps defending as needed. We managed to keep Order on a total lock down in Reikland for the hour and half the domination timers needed and it was pure fun.

So both forts fell and we got to contest Atldorf. I was ready for my PC to sieze up and die here since the only time I'd been to Altdorf on an alt I could hardly move. But pleasantly, it wasn't that bad. What was bad was  ... it was the same exact damn PQ that we did in the Inevitable City. I couldn't believe it. It was the same burn things/capture BOs/face a lord that no one can kill set up. It was a lot more fun from the offensive side though.

We were also once again beset by the same disconnect and que bugs as before. We started out in relativly balanced numbers but as people d/ced and no one was able to get back in things swung the other way and we ended up being spawn camped. We also weren't able to find these fabled PvE PQs so no one in my instance saw a single bag after all that work.

Needless to say, it all needs work. I was pleased and not too suprised to see that reworking of the city based endgame was mentioned in the State of the Game. It needs several things in my opinion to work better. In spandy list format!

  • Smaller numbers. We only get half of the city to fight in and putting 80+ people there makes it very zergy. It's not really that much bigger than an average scenerio, less numbers would make it more fun ... as is almost always the case in my opinion. Perhaps 24 vs 24. 48 vs 48 is just too many in that small a space
  • Rework the PQ so that it doesn't require superior wards to finish. The whole idea of throwing a lord mob that must be killed into the middle of 48 defenders with little to no way to set up any sort of defense to block them while we beat the NPC down seems silly.  
  • Clear indication of what needs to be done to lock the city. As was the case in ORvR at the start, no one seems to have any idea what needs to be done to lock the zone. From my experience defending it seems very much to lean toward scenerios. Order rocked us in the scenerios with pre-mades and we lost the city. I have no idea why we didn't manage to lock the city ourselves.
  • Make the ques work properly. Both times, defensive and offense, I was in a half empty instance with more than a warband waiting at the city gates wanted to get in and help. Both times I had members of my warband unable to get back into our instance even though count showed that we had empty room.
  • Never remove defenders from the zone. Currently, once the city is locked all defenders remain inside the city until they die. Once they're all dead it's the offenders turn to PvE. While I'd enjoy the chance to roam around Altdorf and do PvE things there should always be at least a section of the city that has better rewards and a constant stream of players wanting to beat the crap out of you. Perhaps set gear should only come from the RvR area of the city while the rest remains for the fun "sack and loot" prize.