Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Week in an MMO Life: Slow Progress

I guess fishing isn't a bad analogy for how I have been playing MMOs
'Slow Progress' could be the title for pretty much all my 'A Week in an MMO Life' posts since I started this blog, except for the few times I haven't made any progress at all.

So I guess it's appropriate that I accomplished one of those achievements that rewards slow steady activity, Learning from the Best.  My hunter, Kanter, has been fishing since I was using it to feed my bear back when that was a requirement.  I had finished the Nat Pagle quest back in Vanilla when it was required for maximum level fishing.  I thought about getting the 'Salty' title, but collecting the coins in the Dalaran fountain were too much even for me.  When the Angler reputation appeared in Pandaria, it didn't take me long to get to Exalted, but at that point I was still a long way away from being Best Friends with Nat Pagle and I decided I would rather do other things.

However in Warlords of Draenor, I could gradually get Lunkers while catching fish that I used to sell when some of the level 100 food wasn't available on my server.  I knew I was starting to get close so it wasn't a huge surprise when it finally happened about a week ago.  Now there is decision about what to do with the coins.  I will probably get Nat's Drinking Hat which is a decent upgrade to the Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat I am currently using, though I like maximizing the number of Enormous fish I catch by using the +200 fishing lures while the hat gives you +150 fishing.

I also finished the quests in Spires of Arak with my mage so she'll eventually be able to get the Salvage yard when she gets her third small plot at level 100.  She's over half way through level 97 now, so with a few more quests she'll be able to finish her quest to level 100 in Nagrand.  The main purpose there is to upgrade Kanter's gun with her Engineering.  That would be three max level characters and I might be tempted to level my druid and warrior who already have garrisons at that point to get the Quintessential Quintet achievement and have access to max level profession characters for everything except for Inscription.

I still haven't done the raids required to finish the third chapter of the Legendary Ring Questline.  Doing LFR is really unappealing to me, but since I was able to get it done for Chapter 2, I will probably eventually do it for 3 as well.  Once my Mage, Kantrina, hits 100, it'll be time for me to evaluate how else I can avoid doing LFR, but still play WoW.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Remembering Computer Gaming World

Demo disks from CGW
One of the nice things about having a blog (or a diary), is the ability to go back and know exactly when something or someone entered or left you life.  One of the things we did over Christmas break was clean out our old CDs and floppy disks and I found the demo CDs that were included in my subscription to Computer Gaming World (CGW) from about 2002 to 2006.  In the days of very cheap old games from Good Old Games and other sites it didn't make sense to keep them, but it did make me nostalgic for the many years where I would look forward to getting a copy in the mail.

A TI 99/4a I bought in high school was my first computer and I probably got it when it first came out in 1981.  At the time, it was the first 16-bit home computer that was available and well ahead of the Commodore, Atari, and Apple computers that were it's main competitors.  Being more advanced didn't really help if people wouldn't pay for it and it was discontinued after two years.  However, for learning programming, word processing and some light gaming, it served me well until I bought my first IBM compatible computer (a 386) probably around 1989.  I was never good at picking the popular choice as I also had a Mattel Intellivision when Atari ruled the video game space.

While I was in college I had a friend from high school who had an Apple computer and I would visit his house and play computer games (mainly RPGs) with him.  I also remember visiting my brother a little later and playing Warlords and F19 Stealth Fighter with him (I'm guessing it was 1989).  Around that time I found CGW and was amazed to be able to read a magazine totally about Computer games.

I always liked statistics and I remember being fascinated by the listing of best games that they would calculate based on a mail in survey they received from their subscribers.  Later it changed to an online survey and then they dropped it all together.  I also remember the Scorpia articles where she would provide hints to questions asked by her readers, which is difficult to imagine is this again of instant internet answers.

I probably subscribe the the magazine for 16 years between 1990 and 2006 when it shut down and it existed about 9 years before I started subscribing to it.  I would sometimes look at PC Gamer (which started 12 years after CGW), but I loved CGW with its focus on technology and strategy besides the hype associated with whatever was the next big thing.  I kept all the issues for many years, reducing to one per year at some point and finally getting rid of them all a few years ago.  There used to be a CGW Museum that had many of the old issues, but it isn't currently online, so I can't look at those old issues there.

In this Internet age, with all the sources of games news online, I don't need a computer game magazine and I'm not sure how PC Gamer still exists, but, almost 10 years after it stopped existing, I still have fond memories of reading each issue cover to cover when it arrived.

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Gaming 2015



Happy 2016!  Yes, I'm already 2 weeks behind, but better late than never.

I used Raptor to confirm what I played in 2015 (based on what I had recorded in January).
  • World of Warcraft - 371 hours
  • Minecraft - 27 hours
  • Don't Starve Together - 7 hours
  • Guild Wars 2 - 3 hours (14 hours recorded)
  • Games with more than 1 but less than 5 hours
    • Banished
    • Diablo III
    • Bastion
    • Civilization V

Yes, not a lot of gaming outside of World of Warcraft, but it is probably even less than it looks like.  I reduced the Guild Wars 2 time because I'm pretty sure most of that time was spent installing and upgrading the game over a couple of nights.  Some of that Minecraft time was one of my daughters playing with my her friends, but generally I think it's pretty accurate.

In World of Warcraft, I generally spent between 30 minutes and an hour most days doing my garrison tasks and the rest was primarily leveling my five level 90 or above toons.  With the advent of the WoW Token, most of my time playing was free, so I don't think 45 minutes a day was bad to let me play free for the rest of the time.  It is quite possible I spent more time in the Garrison than every other place combined in 2015, but that is part of being a casual player who wants to use tokens.  I was still able to make some progress.

The Minecraft and Don't Starve Together time was primarily time spend playing with my daughter.  It'll be interesting to see if this grows as two of my daughters are now old enough to want to play computer games, but not so old that it is not cool to play with their father.

I enjoyed all four of the games I played less than 5 hours, but was never able to get into any of them much.  I just played the Diablo III trial and I am still hoping to find it for $10 or $20 with the expansion, but that might not happen.  Bastion and Banished were both Steam sale purchases that I enjoyed but never played much.  I bought the complete Civilization V also on a Steam Sale (I had the original game for quite a while), but I only played one game of it and I'm not even sure I completed that game.

I posted on this blog 21 times in 2015, a little less than twice a month and significant less than the 28 times I did in 2014.  I would like to get back to posting most weeks.  On a positive note, I kept up with reading my blog roll in 2015 and even commented a little more with some incentive from Blaugust.  Besides posting once a week, I'd like to comment at least once a week as well.  I enjoy the game/mmo blogging community but I'm not a full part of it unless at least some of the communication is two ways.

I wish you all a Happy, Prosperous and Fun 2016!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Not everyone likes the Garrison, but it is good for Christmas decorations!

I hope everyone has had a very Merry Christmas!

My main Christmas MMO activity has been to gather the Christmas decorations for the Garrison.  It is a pretty painless daily activity to add the four Winter Vale dailies to get the Garrison decorations and a toy and now there are only the Savage Gifts for a chance for a Yeti mount.

I also leveled my mage, Kantrina, to 96 so she can start doing the Spires quests.  I'd like to finish the quests so she can get the Salvage yard and then I'll see how long it takes me to get to level 98 to move on.  I'm waiting to upgrade Kanter's gun until I can get her to level 100 so I can use her Engineering.  I certainly hope I can do this before too long (not that I really need it for what I'm doing).

Kanter has been gathering Elemental Runes through regular and naval missions and for Chapter 3 in the Legendary Ring quest line.  I should start running the Blackrock Foundry wings.  I'm over two-thirds of the way through the 900 required stones, but I can't seem to ever dedicate the time to it.

On other games, one of my daughters received her own Minecraft account for Christmas and we now have a Minecraft Realm so she can play with me, her sister, or her friends.  Now that the price went down to $7.99 a month with an automatic renewal I thought it was worth it, particularly since I'm hoping it is a way she can keep in touch with her cousin who lives far away and I don't really trust the shared servers.

Later this week will begin the new year.  I know I haven't been as active in gaming or in this blog but it'll still be interesting (to me) to summarize what I've done both in gaming and in blogging next week.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

There is No End Game


Often when people talk about MMOs, they mentioned that, to them, the end game is the game (well they often leave often the 'to them' part of that).  I have always enjoyed questing and leveling and have known that they are not speaking for me.

One reaction to this attitude has been to remove leveling from the game and make everything accessible to everyone.  I can understand this works for some people but it doesn't work well for me.  I like the experience of gaining skills and becoming more and more powerful over time.

My middle daughter is now interested in Dungeons and Dragons (she will be getting the starter set for Christmas, don't tell her!).  In Dungeons and Dragons, leveling slows down a lot and the idea of becoming max level is not something most people consider.  I was wondering if someone could make an MMO like that for people like me.

When World of Warcraft came out, the idea of having 'rested experience' so people who played less was an innovation.  Over time, people have become so focused on the end game that this is nothing but a slight speed bump, only slowing the 'end game' people from getting to the end game with each subsequent expansion by a minimal amount.  What if a company made an MMO where you couldn't ever get to the End Game?

My thought is that you would put a hard limit where you couldn't exceed 1 level a week.  You would start the game with some number levels, let's say 50, and by the time 50 weeks have gone, you would have content for the next 25 levels and at that point you'd have regular 6 month expansion cycle.

The game would need to have other content where people could explore and do things besides leveling, things like the pet games in World of Warcraft.  Another advantage of this is that there could always be content that would be tough.  If you kept areas with 5 extra levels around, people would always have areas they could explore that would be dangerous.  I imagine a system where mobs about 2 levels above you should pretty much always beat you if you are alone.  Mobs 5 levels above would be pretty much unable to be injured, so even with a group there would be areas that would be very dangerous to explore.

Has any company tried anything like this?  I am guessing this would be a nitch game, but I think most of the MMOs coming out now are.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Week in an MMO Life: Wandering

Not a screenshot from World of Warcraft!
After reading about Heart of Thorns, particularly from Inventory Full and Kill Ten Rats, I decided to go ahead and download Guild Wars 2, particularly since the original game is free.  The download took a VERY long time (I ended up just letting it finish over night) and even after it finished it still had to patch again.  I only played through level 5 so I don't feel like it's enough even for a mini-review, but I don't feel like it's the game for me.  I will try to give it another chance, possibly over the holidays.

My middle daughter and I played Don't Starve Together again and I felt like we made more progress this time.  It is nice because my daughter knows more about what she is doing, so she can be in control and I can help her, particularly by gathering what she needs.  We still died from the hounds when they appeared, but we at least had spears to protect ourselves and have some gardens and clothes in preparation for winter.  We'll see how that goes the next time we play.

I am still playing World of Warcraft, but I haven't been doing much other than basic Garrison activities and auctioning enough to still buy the now more expensive Tokens to keep the game free.  I would expect the cost to keep going up until the expansion arrives when a influx of players will include those who don't want to wait to buy things.  It was hovering around 20,000 gold in the US after the release for several months but is now over 37,000.  In the EU it has always been more expensive and is now at 61,000 gold.

I was able to use the Garrison to gather the stones required for the second part of the Legendary quest.  I need to do two parts of LFR to complete it, but haven't been able to find the time and inclination to do it.  Again, maybe it'll be a holiday thing since I am so close.  It also should be pretty quick to level my Mage to 100 but she has been stuck at 95 for more than a month now because I just don't have the inclination to play.  I may let my subscription lapse in December and just wait until Legion comes out.

Since my last post Blizzcon happened and I'm generally pretty positive about what I have heard about the Legion expansion.  For someone who doesn't care about raiding, it is usually pretty easy to sell things early in an expansion so it should be easier to justify paying for it knowing that the subscription for it will probably be covered by Tokens.  However, the Demon Hunter doesn't appeal to me that much (I'll probably eventually play it like I did the Death Knight primarily to see the starting quests) and I don't even know how I would use the Level 100 character upgrade so there isn't a reason for me to buy it early.  I'll probably just purchase it a week before it comes out so I can be ready.

I really seem to be in a gaming lull.  It'll be interesting to see if something changes that.  All the talk about Fallout 4 has been fun, but, though I have been playing computer RPGs since the original Wizardry, the post-apocalyptic setting has never really appealed to me, so I'll probably wait until I can get it for $10 or so.  My daughters may spark some gaming as well, particularly if something takes off over the holidays.  I played a little Diablo III with my  middle daughter but it didn't seem to appeal to her.  I'll probably go ahead and buy myself a copy assuming it goes on sale for $10 again.  I really enjoyed the first two games, but I still feel it is rather dark to play in front of my daughters so I'd rather play other games where I am more comfortable playing with them, or at least with them watching me. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Week in an MMO Life - Happy Halloween

Halloween at the Garrison
Ever since I completed the prerequisites for flying in World of Warcraft, I haven't been very motivated to play.  I did go ahead and finish the first set of dungeons for the Legendary ring upgrade.  It was generally quiet, though I did get kicked once for forgetting to turn off growl.  I turned it off as soon as I was asked, but was still kicked.  I felt bad about it briefly, but it really didn't hurt to have to take an extra day.  I have started the second set of quests which will require some raids.  We'll see if I get them done or not.

I started doing the daily Halloween quests for the Garrison decorations.  I have the jack-o-lanterns and the pets so far and I figure I'll go ahead and capture the three pets (an undead rat, maggot, and spider) since I'm not sure how available they will be outside the holiday.

WoW tokens have gone up in price significantly, but I still have plenty of gold for them, so I don't mind continuing to subscribe and get a few things done in the game.  I still want to get my mage to level 100 in order to use her Engineering to upgrade Kanter's gun.

With all the talk about Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, I went ahead and downloaded the client since the original game is free.  I started up the game once, but then realized I need to pick a server.  I'd be interested in any suggestions, but I don't plan to play much.  I just want to get a better sense of how it plays.

Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays.  I did like the candy as a child, but I didn't like going up to (relative) strangers houses as a child and don't enjoy doing it with my children either (though it is fun to see their excitement for getting all the candy).  However, I have a vacation coming up next week and I always enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and I know those will be here soon.  In any case, I hope you enjoy your Halloween!