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Black Desert's Pay2Win cash shop
19 February 2016
Posted in MMORPGs

I'm so glad I've had my refund for Black Desert online. Where I thought the game would become Free2Play within a year instead of Pay2Win, I was wrong on all accounts as the video below shows...

One of the promises of Daum Games was that the cash shop would only include COSMETIC and CONVENIENCE items and NO PAY2WIN items. Well, the current CBT2 where the cash shop is revealed shows other wise. Okay, there are only cosmetic items and convenience items in it, but two very imporant things are shown though...

1. The cash shop is extremely expensive. I mean, seriously, $32 or 32 (again a 1:1 conversion $: while it should be 1:11 right now) for a full set of cosmetic costumes? That while the base game itself costs $30/30, making the cosmetic items even more expensive than the game itself )
2. Costumes DO HAVE stats that give you an advantage over others. That means that the game DOES become Pay2Win, even with the slight advantage that a whole set gives.

With Daum Games already breaking their promise NOT to include Pay2Win into the game I can only imagine how long it'll take before players turn away from this game and it'll become Free2Play with a massive Pay2Win cash shop, like other regions where the game is Free2Play already has. I fear that with a cash shop like this Black Desert might become 'Free2Play' even before the end of the year, breaking all previous records of Subscription/Buy2Play to Free2Play games immediately...

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Black Desert refunded
03 February 2016
Posted in MMORPGs

Okay, this might come as a surprise for you, but I've requested a refund for Black Desert and actually recieved it. But (much like with Lineage II), it did take some effort to get it. Daum Games rejected my support request for it initially, pointing to their 14-day refund policy. But with Daum Games being a Dutch company and me being a Dutch citizen, there are a couple of extra regulations they need to keep in mind because now Dutch law also applies to their sale of the pre-order. One of the regulations is that they need to informe me AFTER the sale that I have 14 days to cancel the pre-order, and not doing so (which Daum indeed neglected), gives me a 12 month cencelation period

But the legal stuff aside, let me explain WHY I decided to ask a refund...

Though I think Black Desert is a kick-ass game, I feel that my time for playing MORPGs is almost over. After the whole thing with Lineage II and before that a lot of others (Echo of Soul comes to mind) and having Elder Scrolls online installed right now, I find the MMORPGs lackinga lot these days. And yeah, it's once again that I think MMORPGs feel pretty generic and lack innovation. Though Black Desert is rather innovative, a lot of the gameplay is prett mych single player, which I also covered in that lacking innovation post back in 2012.

Then there's the problem that I lack concentration to play MMORPGs (or games in general) lately, or am just too fatigued to play them at all (more on this later this month). And while I have around 65 games installed right now on my PC, I'm not really playing a lot of them, or play them very much. And that too makes me feel that my purchase for Black Desert is an actual waste of money...

But, as I've said a couple of times before... Black Desert has some awesome features that I think are very much worth to play it. Most importantly are the crafting system as well as the PvP build around the resource nodes. If you're (like me) a lover of both gathering/crafting and meaningful PvP, then Black Desert certainly is your game and worth to give a try.

Last but not least I'd like to mention that I think that Black Desert will become a Free2Play game somewhere around this time next year. Though the game is trying to keep it's servers running from the cash shop (which is no where near Pay2Win at the moment), after the initial (box)sales of the game, the cash shop might not be enough to keep the money roling in. Unlike Elder Scrolls online, Black Desert has no expansion DLCs that will keep the game going. So down the road Black Desert needs to make some money, and a more agressive cash shop or Free2Play (most likely both) are the viable options...

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Find me a game!
13 January 2016
Posted in MMORPGs

So, L2Classic is the biggest failure of 2016 already with bots and RMTers flooding the server and GMs not doing their jobs. So it's time for me to look for a new game to play and here's the list of things I'm looking for...

1. I must have the feeling of accomplishment when I get something and not get things handed down on a silver platter. This does not initially mean 'grind' but I don't want to hit maximum level in a couple of weeks and I don't want to get my characters gear easily, but instead I have to work for it.
2. The game MUST HAVE crafting and I prefer deep crafting where materials need to be processed and combined into new materials before you can actually use them. I know this is also somewhat linked to the above requirement
3. OPEN WORLD! I'm not looking for a game where you have lots of instances (dungeons). The game is allowed to have multiple instances of the world where you're free to hope from one to the other to meet the people you party with, but that's as far as instancing goes (though I rather not have this at all...)
4. No forced PvP and no battlegrounds/arenas. And by this already the fixed faction MMOs are a no-go. I want to determine WHEN I want to PvP, and I don't want to be forced into PvP because I see someone from an other faction. Forced PvP in certain areas (like high level resources) are okay, and with that, I'd like my PvP to have meaning in general...
5. Good story/lore that's part of the game. With this I don't mind a 'themepark' game like Lord of the Rings online or a more loose sandbox like Lineage II, as long as the story/lore is an integrated part of the game that I play. I don't want a background story that's not used at all (like a lot of those cheap MMOs have)
6. Class progression. Though this is a fuzzy one, I want to see my character grow in skills. I don't mind if the game has no pre-defined classless or fixed ones, as long as I see some progression in the class while playing it I'm okay.
7. Free2Play or Buy2Play, but certainly no subscription because Black Desert online is around the corner. Also, no Pay2Win cash shop in the game...

Then a couple of no-go's for me, which is more the genre it's set in...
1. Sci-Fi, even though I'm a HUGE SF fan, for MMOs I still have to find a good one so I pass for it...
2. Horror - it's mostly blood & gore and ...meh... Real horror should be watched on TV and then even in the form of a psychological thriller
3. Full drop PvP. Call me a carebear, but I don't see the fun in dropping the stuff you worked so hard for and some shithead griever then takes from you. A small chance of dropping items upon death is okay though.
4. ACTIVE STAFF. I've seen too many gameswith an abundent amount of goldsellers and bots and I DON'T WANT THAT IN A GAME (or at least as minimum as possible...)

Similar to what I'm looking for and have already played:
The Secret World - The mechanics of the skill wheel are awesome and there's a lot of very well done quests. Sadly it's more horror than conspiracy theory and I can't stand the zombies anymore
EVE online - I like it a lot. Skill system is awesome, though it now will take me weeks to get a new skill on my characters (by which time BDO might be released already). Also it's a subscription game and if I REALLY do my best and mine my ass off, I might play for free, but IMO that's too much effort...
Perpetuum - Much like EVE online, but then with robots on the ground. I do own the game already and might give it an other try...
ArcheAge - Gotta mention it... I liked the game a lot during alpha, but as it is now and the somewhat forced subscription to use land (and with that gathering/crafting) is a big no-no.
Lineage II - Last on the list. Love the game until the Goddess of Destruction release, after that it went downhill fast for me. And as I started, the new L2Classic is what I'm looking for, but the RMT/botting is such a problem that I'm giiving up on it.

Sooo... Any advice on a MMORPG that I might like is welcome!

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CBT1 is over
22 December 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I'm kinda sad that this morning at 7 the CBT1 week was over. I would have loved to play some more and learn more about the game, but a week is a week

I think the most important thing I've learned during this event are the game mechanics when it comes to crafting. And while I didn't really make anything useful (aside from a couple of fishing rods), the exprience of the how & what has been very valuable!

During the CBT1 I've also played two classes for a bit. Well, the tamer class I played as 'main' during the week (reached only level 16) and the wizard class I gave a short try up to level 8. And while tamer seems to be fun, I think wizard will be more my class. That while I generally don't like mage classes
And now I'm talking about classes... Take good heed what skills you learn. The game pops up with lots of skills you can get, but examine them before picking one. because of the key-combos the game uses, it's handy to see which combo you need for it AND how much mana it uses to activate.

In general, I've had a blast the last week. Eventhough I played only 48 hours total, I've had one of the best MMO gaming experiences so far!

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At lot of mechanics at work
17 December 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I remember when starting to play EVE online and being overwhelmed by the number of game mechanics at work there. And so far, EVE online has been the only game that overwhelmed by the sheer number of game mechanics thrown at you at the start of the game. By now I've played Black Desert for 12 hours or so and I feel that I'm only starting to see the surface of all the mechanics at work in the game. Though not as overwhelming as what EVE online throws at you, there's a lot of things to learn the moment you set foot in the game.

For starters, there are about a dozen XP bars running on your character. A lot are there for the different kind of crafting, but there are also 4 XP bars on the UI showing your characters main progress. Though not overly difficult, they are linked to a lot of other stuff in the game that you need to keep track of. Two are prety generic - Character level XP and Skill level XP. The other two however are more important...

Energy points (3rd bar) are used for all crafting and gathering your character does and they regenerate with 1 point every 3 minutes. Energy points are not used as intesively as ArcheAge's (I do have to name the abomination here) crafting points. Oh yes, at times you wish you had more Energy points, but you can do with the small amount you have (39 at my current level 11).

The 4th bar is Contribution Points. This one is a bit odd and needs close attention. XP for it is gained through quests (kinda odd for a sandbox game), but comes in very small amounts. Usage of contribution is somethingto keep an eye on because it's used for housing. And it's the housing where things become interesting... You need it for extra storage (in a town ), can make different work spaces of it or just a residence (you can have 5 across the world). The work spaces need to be manned (bought, much like slaves IMO) by workers who can then craft the stuff you need (and thus save Evergy points, not to mention the work spaces are more efficient than you).

Then there is territory control for guilds. No clue yet on that, because creating a guild costs 80K silvers (or 100K when upgrading the free clan). But as single player you can make routes from node to node (working on that at the moment) by doing quests (again, it's a sandbox FFS!). From a movie I've seen these routes are needed to get stuff from a gathering spot back to your houses. Sadly though, I was busy on those routes, but the server went down for maintenance

IN all, 12 hours down the road and there's still so much to learn of the game. It has so many things you can do that it's overwhelming (and fun!). And from the looks of it I think that Black Desert will be my main MMORPG when it's released...

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I have a CBT1 key
11 December 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

OMG some games are so popular that getting a free (closed beta) key for is close to impossible. had a couple of keys (3x 1.000 keys) to give away the last few days, but they were gone in no-time and each and every time I was too late (even after 15 minutes ;;)). In the last CBT key give-away thread on someone linked to an otehr site giving away 2500 keys (gone already as well so not linking it anymore) and there I was lucky and got one.

But one thing really bugs me... Those people staling the keys are actually selling them on eBay (and prolly other sites as well) for around $15. This is illegal activity according to the eBay guidelines and I am keeping an eye out to report them all - death to bots!

And then there are also asses like kadespyson (handle on taking a dozen keys at once. He's not sharing them from the looks of it and (most likely) will be selling them as well.

I know Black Desert is the next coming of Jesus, but man the way keys are handled on sites and the (illegal) trade of them really makes me wonder how badly things can go. On the other side, the (illegal) trade of CBT keys also shows how popular the game already is and how badly people are willing to play it...

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Wildstar F2P - still kinda ...meh...
10 December 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I know I've written that Wildstar is somewhat okay, and I think it still is. But the points of concern I pointed out back then (replay value as most important one) are still valid I think...

With Wildstar having gone Free2Play, and my account being 'veteran status' I figured to give it an other try. Well, truth been told, graphics are still fun, and same for the humor used in the game. But there's something missing for me, and by that I don't mean lots of players running around (which I expected for the game being F2P now). It's rather that one X-factor that's missing for me, or perhaps the way too eacy 'kid holding hand' feeling the game overall gives.

I made a new character to give the game a new go (and also because I had no clue what I was doing with my old one ), and the content was litterally the same as I've already played before. Even with it being over 18 months ago, I remembered precicely what to do - yups zero replay value there Okay, I could make a character for the 'other side', but after having played one character there, the replay value for that side would be zero again. And though it's Free2Play, I do want to feel some sense to make a new character, other than just a new class...

And then the MMO feeling, or rather lack of it... Yeah, still the same shit on a different day and different game. Wildstar is yet an other MMORPG where you play SOLO till the end and from that moment on it becomes a HUB game where you'll be on waiting lists for raids (not 100% sure, but up to 20 it's fully a solo project so far). And if I wanted to play a solo game where I could team up on higher (capped?) levels, I'd much rather install Lord of the Rings online again (lifetime subscription) or even take a subscription to World of Warcraft...

In general I think Wildstar once again fails to provide and even as Free2Play the server is pretty empty. I honestly fear that this game won't be around for too long unless something REALLY WEIRD happens and hordes of new players start to play it. On the other side, it's a free World of Warcraft clone so why not play it (if you're into that kind of MMO - I'm clearly not...)

[UPDATE] When uninstalling Wildstar, I saw that it also installed the crapware Akamai NetSession Interface on my PC. I did not give permission for this piece of shit to be installed on my system and it's one more reason NOT TO PLAY Wildstar. Akamai is known to eat a lot of (background) internet bandwidth because it keeps streaming the game to other players who still need to download it

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Echo of Soul is kinda okay
09 December 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Echo of Soul is a game that has recieved a lot of hate and because of that I never really gave it a try. That was until only recently when I figured to give it a try (or rather because I was looking for a 'replacement MMORPG' for Lineage II ). By now I've played Echo of Soul for 7 days and I think I'm ready to give a verdict on the game's PvE side.

First off, Echo of Soul is developed my Nvius, which hold a lot of developerd from the original Lineage (not sure if it's I or II) team and it's published by Aeria games. And it's the publisher that I have problems with. One of my old accounts (from the time I played Shaya) has been banned and I did spend some money on the cash shop back then. With the first unban request they told me that accounts are automatically banned after a certain amount of time, and because my original account is banned again, I've made a new one and have decided not to spend a single penny on the game!

Then the game mechanics... There are a lot of 'Kill 10 rats' quests in the game, but most of the MMORPGs use these, so no problem there. An other kind of quest used a lot is one where you have to collect <X> numbers of items from the field, which is also used for the daily resource gathering quest. And while both quest types are pretty generic, I'm okay with it.
What I do like a bit less is the fact that so far the game has been one huge railroading path. I really hop from one quest zone to the next, pick up quests, complete them and get back to the NPC to cash the quest. It's dull and done over and over again already. With that, there are numerous small maps (look in the movie above) that just don't make sense, while the capital (Ignea) is REALLY HUGE and on one map. I figure the small maps have something to do with game mechanics, but what's the point of placing half a dozen (quest)monsters on a map and the next one is as small and has the same (quest)monsters..?

On the other side, there are some pretty deep mechanics in the game that I really dig. Just look at the end boss in the movie above. It's a real bad-ass monster and the first time it totally wiped the floor with me. Reason is that at that time I didn't realize that the flowers (including the Queen) boosted the boss' stats and thus made it harder for me to kill.
Along with these mechanics, dungeons can be reset and run again. Though it might sound boring, you do need to run dungeons more than once for the (random) gear for your class and so make a full set of it...

An other mechanic I really love are the jewels, though it might be a bit more perfected... There are 7 kind of jewels and you get them at level 1. To let them 'grow' in level, you need to have 2 of the same level and compound them. Up to +5 it's save and from there on you have a chance it'll fail. And of course, the stronger the jewel inlayed in the item, the better the stats are that it gives.
Sadly though, you have 7 different kind of jewels, each for it's own item to be inlayed. This means that they'll take up 7 spaces (if you keep them at level 1) and you have to collect each kind more than once to make stronger ones. Why in God's name did they create a system like this and not just 1 generic jewel that you can inlay in any item and depending on the type of item it'll change the stats it boosts..?

Last but not least something of note... Echo of Soul is only available for Europe/United States. The Korean publisher (Hangames) shut the game down because they're focussing on mobile platforms and the Chinese publisher shut the game down because they didn't want an anti-cheat protection and players left because of botting & cheating. With that in mind I hope that Nvius will keep on developing the game, even while 'Korean grinders' are not so popular. When looking at the servers we have (3 in total), all of them are (very) low populated, and I wonder how profitable this will be for both Aeria games and Nvius...

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Mounted (PvP) combat
24 November 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I've promised some information about Black Desert earlier this month. And while most information is already widely known, I think this one feature is close ot unique to the game: Mounted combat. I know that some MMORPGs out there do offer limited mounted combat (Lineage II, Age of Conan to name 2 that I know), but mostly it's only centered on the mount you're riding at the moment and not the player riding that mount.

Black Desert offers you full mounted combat where the player riding the mount has been taken into account, instead of the mount itself. And with Black Desert being more a medieval MMORPG than a fantasy MMORPG, you'll mainly see humans on horse than on any other creature (I think). I am wondering though how the giant class/race will ride a horse

The video above doesn't need a lot of explanation I think. It's a witch on horseback doing a lot of awesome skills to PvP and I think it's done pretty well (like most of the game). The only thing bothering me here and there is that the side-ways movement of the horse is not as perfect as regular horsebackriding is in the game.

After having watched this video I'm wondering how archers will perform with mounted combat and (more importantly) melee fighters...

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Black Desert pre-orders
18 November 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

The pre-order packs for Black Desert have arrived, and I gotta say that I think the prices are normal, certainly when you think that the game is Buy2Play..

 photo BDO preorder_zpswxp8wdsc.png

Basically, the game will cost only 30 and includes only a few goodies, while for 50 and 100 you'll get a lot of extras. Also worth to note on the screenshot above is that the standard and extra content is the regular 'boxed' price, while the limited content will only be available for the pre-orders...

Whenc omparing the 3 packages, I think that the 50 package is the best one to grab. It'll get you a horse, and a whistle that will call it everywhere (you have to stable it normally and go to that stable to take it out again), the pet of your choice and a weapon skin. The 100 package is bigger, but I think the extra stuff is not really worth the 50 you pay more (25 cash shop currency, one exclusive -pre-order only- armor appearance, extra character slot and a few 'regular' goodies - IMO a close call to 25 cash shop value).

I have taken the 50 package because I think it's the best value compared to the other 2. There are already circulating pictures of the exclusive armor appearance, and honestly, I gotta say that I don't like how it looks.

...and now I have to wait for the CBT2 invite...

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