Just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the blessings of a wonderful holiday to you and your family. The whole family is at Chez Grouchy for the holidays and it always makes me less, um, grouchy. I hope it has the same effect on you and yours.
See you in a couple of days! Be safe if you are traveling and even if you aren’t.
Well, technically I suppose I did resubscribe. But technically I didn’t. Huh? you say?
SOE is running a free holiday for Vanguard and has reopened all accounts which had been closed for at least 60 days. That would include me. So I’m going to give it a little run.
My first impression is that it looks a lot like I remember it. While it runs better than it used to, it still doesn’t run great. I haven’t seen another player yet. The quest system/NPC communication still seems stilted by today’s standards. I’m not blown away, but I’m still going to give it a look.
This is a subject that has been hashed and rehashed in the MMO blog world and on game message boards everywhere. I started thinking about this again recently when Scott over at Broken Toys has restarted the conversation with his “PVP Done Right” post recently. In this post, he lined out some of the outlines of what he think are the design imperatives that make PVP work.
I wanted to address this too, but from the point of view of one gamer. For background, I come from a total PVE playstyle. My first MMO was Everquest, and I never played on a PVP server there. So I’m not a PVP-first kind of guy. I am playing EVE now, but I’ve been able to mostly avoid conflict while I’m trying to build a bankroll. I’m also beta testing WAR. So as you can see, I’m definitely not PVP-averse.
Here is what I’d like to see from a user’s perspective (as opposed to a designer’s perspective) in my PVP;
This week, SOE released the third update to Vanguard since it’s shaky initial release early this year. In Game Update 3, Vanguard finally gets both raid content (Ancient Port Warehouse,) and it’s raiding tools. During the last 10+ months, a lot of players that have stuck with Vanguard have been anticipating this time, and a lot of players are on the sideline waiting to make a decision on whether to jump (back) into the game or not.
This really looks like a tipping point for Vanguard on two fronts.
I’m finding that for me, it is.
When I was winding down my Everquest career, I turned to a new server (Stromm) and was the 2nd person on the server to master jewelcrafting. In order to do so, I had to spend a lot of time in the bazaar, and I had to be successful at it. If you have ever played EQ and tradeskilled there you know that JC was (is) expensive. There is no way to get to the top of the food chain without money. On old servers, that meant twinking. On a new server like Stromm was, that meant speculating and leading the market. I only got that character to the low 30’s. I even had to farm out a lot of the enchanting that I needed to higher level players so I could raise my skills. The point here is that after being in a raiding guild, killing all kinds of mobs and bosses, I found myself sitting most of the time making jewelry and money as a result of that. Those elements extended my playtime in the game by about a year.
Fast forward to WoW. Again, I’ve been in a raiding guild and leveled a few characters. When the expansion came out, our guild blew up. That happened to a lot of raiding guilds, and is the subject for another day. I still play WoW very casually, but I still log in every day and speculate on the Auction House and sell some of the wonderful high-margin items in the game for cash. I may some day play like I did before, but for now the player economy has once again prolonged my stay with a game.
As I posted yesterday, the new expansion to EVE is out and Branyanu and I have it on our gaming rigs at home. Now that we’ve had a couple of days to play I’ve got a few observations about the upgrade.
First, my initial impressions were incorrect. Not the artistic impressions, the game is stunning. The performance of the game has suffered quite a bit. While that may be understandable on my older machine, Branyanu’s rig is only months old and while not totally state-of-the-art is a powerhouse compared to the machines we have built in the past. Please understand that the problems we had were with the optional graphic upgrade within Trinity.
I just started playing EVE again this week. I say again, as this is the 4th time I took a run at it and the first time I have gone past the 14-day free trial. Yesterday, CCP released the latest expansion/upgrade to EVE, Trinity. This patch contained a significant graphic engine upgrade, and as the game has always looked good I would now say it looks spectacular in places. The highest-level graphics are available to you in an optional additional download. It’s the old beauty/performance trade-off. The game runs pretty well on my old gaming rig even with the higher settings, so we aren’t talking Vanguard system requirements here.
Here’s the rub; If you downloaded this upgrade to the update before 0400 GMT, the installer may have done a nasty little thing to your machine. Now this isn’t something you can’t recover from, but I would imagine that there are quite a few people playing the game without the technical savvy to do so. On the official site, there is this warning;