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Leaked founder packs
09 November 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Like ArcheAge was, Black Desert has been on my radar for quite some time. But because of the lack of information and not wanting to put up with a fake SSN and use a VPN to play a Russian/Korean version of the game, I decided not to post about it at all, until the release would come close and I gathered information about the game and if it's worth to actually play it (and from what I've seen, IT IS - will post that later this week).

But first things first... Release date for Black Desert will bea early 2016, so my guess will be April 2016, because of the Korean fiscal end-of-year. With that, the game will become Buy2Play in the West (US and EU) with a cash shop (hope it's mainly cosmetics, mounts and leveling help - no OP gear and such) and there will be an IP block in place so that only US and EU (excluding Turkey & parts of Russia) will play here.

 photo BDO founderpack_zpss90m2rrg.jpg

Then the leaked foudner packs (see screenshot above, pulled by Daium very quickly though)... They're priced 49 and 99 and I gotta say that if these prices will stay, they're not to bad. Most Buy2Play MMOs cost between 45 (GW2) and 60 (ESO) and have a cash shop as well in them. The rewards listed seem pretty good as well, and might also be an indication for the contents of the cash shop.

When looking at the packs as they are listed (and pulled ), I guess the 49 is the better one. I mean, a 30-day horse (Lv 3) vs a permanent horse (Lv 5), an extra character slot and alpha access for 99 might be appealing, but I bet all those things listed can be obtained in the game itself (aside from alpha access). And having learned from ArcheAge and overplayed the alpha and beta, I think I'll just have to pass on Alpha (certainly if it's only a couple of weekends like the one before). On the other hand, the game tickets (Blade and Soul points..? ) might perhaps win me over to buy the 99 package, IF it's indeed worth it and to be used for the cash shop...

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Star Citizen & Shroud of the Avatar are vaporware?
28 June 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Lets take a look at two announced games that have been in early access/(pre-)alpha state for years by now. Both have been funded by Kickstarted for over a year ago already but still there's not even the slightest hint on when the games will be released. Yes, I'm talking about Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar. And sadly I have fallen for the polished lies as well...

First look will be Star Citizen. It is the biggest crowd-funded game ever with over $50M pledged in total already. And where did the money go so far? Well, I'm not really sure to be honest. We have a very small dog-fight game right now available on only 2 maps and one racing map as well. Not to mention all those ships that have been sold (and some have actually been developed), of which most can't be used yet in the forenamed maps.

The promises were good though. Chris Roberts promised an open universe with trade, mining and exploration (much like EVE online), landing on planets with missions and huge cities (like Mass Effect but then bigger and better) and a dogfight mode - and that all in a MMORPG environment. Man I was hyped to the max and bought a small ship and the dogfight access pass (40 total).

So far there's nothing of it all and as Chris already stated that 'as long as we recieve pledging fund we will keep on developing new ship'. I am cool with that, because in a big universe you also need a large number of different ships. But by now I'm starting to get the feeling that the whole ship development thing is what Chris is only doing, without even building the other promised features of the game...

Then Shroud of the Avatar. I realize that it's a sandbox and that it's (according to the game itself) still in pre-alpha state. I am okay with that. But I've pledged for the game in November last year for around 40 and so far I haven't really seen any development. Okay, there are lots of updated coming through Steam for the game and I do get emails with the state of the game and all that's going on behind the scenes, but I STILL DO NOT SEE ANY DIFFERENCE.

And when I look at the game now and the future road laid out for it I'm really starting to wonder. First off, the music score is all played contributed. This forms a problem already because when a dozen players (not sure how many players do contribute for the game) make music for it, you have a dozen different music styles in ste game already. Add to that that for a large number of tracks I've already heard familiar tunes from the MAGIX/Catooh music library, which makes you wonder about the average skill of the 'composers' of the music.

Then the questing. As stated, it's a sandbox MMORPG and so far all the questing I've seen is only the monthly 'walk around for the hat' thing. And only recently I heard that Lord British is planning to add player generated quests to the game. WTF? You're kidding me? You're *THAT* lazy that you won't make the actual quests for the game and let (like your music) take care of it? And I've seen player generated content in MMORPGs before already and I can tell you that most of it is mediocre at best

Not to mention, Lord British has been given $25M from NCWest after a trial for his lay off with the company and still he needs crowdfunding and player donated content for his game..?

I  realize that vaporware is not the right word, but it comes close for me. Both games have promised the heavens of MMORPG gaming and in the time that I've been able to play these games I haven't seen much of it's progress. For Shroud of the Avatar I have already dropped a NEGATIVE review on Steam as warning for others not to buy/pledge this game. Sadly for Star Citizen I can't make such a review so I'm doing it here. It's real sad that made promises are not met and as a gamer (or end consumer in general) you can't really do a thing against it, other than warn others not to fall for it...

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Tree of Live - Survival / Builder done right
09 June 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Truth be told, I'm totally no fan of survival games. Games list MineCraft, RUST and other so-called survival games are a gankers paradise because of their full-loot PvP. I to like the building part of those games, but only because of the PvP done so wrong I really hate them.

Tree of Life is 'yet am other' survival game, but this it's developer (Odd One Games) has done things right. While there is PvP (well, PKing) in the game, OOG has taken a different approach on it. Instead of the full loot upon death that's pretty common in the genre, Tree of Life only had this option available for players who are red (i.e. criminal stats after theft or PK). If you're in 'normal standing' (yellow) you'll only drop 1 random item from your inventory (and I was lucky enough to drop all my money one ).

Then the building of stuff. Tree of Life takes it big. And when I say big, I really mean BIG! You start with only a couple of twigs, 2 bread (150 feed), a bandage and a box of 20 matches when you strand on the isle. From there on it's up to you to survive and build stuff and you'd best start with hitting trees. These are the main resource for wood (duhuh ^^) and drop apples as well (which you can eat, though they give more feed when you've grilled them).

Along the way you'll increase your skills, both combat and crafting. And there are a lot of skills in the game! I've counted around 30 of them and I haven't even started on at least 10 of them. Good thing with the skills is that one skill needs to be at a certain level before you can build something to get started on an other one (or you just use a facility someone else had build already).

 photo 2015-06-08_00001_zps4t1syq9x.jpg

Night time is a time to lay low for us mortals because the undead (zombies and skeletons) will rise. When you've just stranded on the isle, the main advice is RUN! They hit hard and you can't have so many hits. For my by now I hunt them because of the money and rotten flesh they drop. Though nasty, I need the rotten flesh as fertilizer for agricultural purposes (you can also grill it and it's edible).

One warning though... Tree of Life is still in early access on Steam. Though I decided never to buy an early access game again, this one peeked my interest after having watched a stream on Twitch and I gotta say, the game is already pretty complete. And if OOG a game like this in early access, I'm wondering what else they'll add to the game later on...

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Wildstar going Free2Play - anyone surprised?
29 May 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Finally, Carabine has decided about the future of WildStar. Subscriptions were declining and there were a lot of reports of all servers being ghost towns. And personally I thought the game was very shallow and most certainly not worth the monthly subscription. I figured the game would become a Buy2Play game (much like Elder Scrolls online did), at which time I might pick it up.

Free2Play, is that a good or bad thing? As we know, most games that went from subscription to Free2Play have become hits in their own accord. Where in previous days the monthly subscription was not worth the monthly payment and the publisher was loosing money, the transition to Free2Play saved the game. The best example for this is Lord of the Rings online that's been Free2Play for a couple of years already and doing pretty good.

Sadly I can't be as positive about WildStar going Free2Play. It might be good for the population of the game and would allow Carabine (and NCWest as publisher) finally to make money of it, but it's the publisher that's the problem. Having played a lot of games published by NCWest already (Lineage Ii as the major one, but also Aion), I know how they work. NCWest doesn't give a fuck about their LEGIT players, as long as the cashflow from the game is steady or growing and 'players' are buying from the cash shop there's no problem.
Well, no problem for NCWest. The LEGIT players on the other hand do have a problem. Just look at Lineage II. Ever since it went Free2Play back in 2011, the bot fest has gone from bad to worse and the amount of goldselling done on the server is outrageous, which in turn kills the game's economy as well. Even the statues that were in the game back in the days showing the top 10 'players' (which were actually bots - no player can be in party 23 hours a day just to name one statue) have been removed to cover up the lack of NCWest's authority in their games (read: ban bots, which the GMs hardly do).
I'm so afraid that WildStar will go down the road of Linege II and Aion when being Free2Play...

Then the transision from subscription to Free2Play. There's a FAQ on it and it's clear that if you subscribe now (WHY? the game still sucks as much as it did at release) you will get some goodies. Stuff that might be come available in the game's cash shop later on most likely anyway (I've seen this happen with Lineage II before, so why bother to get a subscription for those goodies?).

There's also a part on boxed purchasers (being me, I have a digital deluxe box ) and how it'll be converted after the game. And that's the part where things are getting clouded. What do they exactly mean? Will I get some kind of veteran perks (like in TERA and GameForge's Aion) despite not having subscribed for the last 3-4 months before it goes Free2Play or will I get screwed over and become 'yet an other free player'?

 photo Screenshot 2015-05-29 09.08.11_zpsdk4hueyg.png

Anyhow, I would consider playing WildStar from time to time when it'd go Buy2Play, but now that it's going Free2Play I'm not gonna play it at all. And I would advise you the same because of all the problems (bots & rmt) that NCWest creates in their Free2Play games. It's sad though that yet an other game will be ruined by it's publisher...

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Gravity support sucks balls
11 April 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I'm not one to complain about customer support departments from Free2Play games. I realize that they are mostly understaffed and thus have a lot to do. But I wonder how capable the customer support of Gravity is.

Last week I tried to logon to my old account there. After a bit of trying I finally logged on. It's been a while that I last logged on there. Next up I wanted to download Ragnarok (wanting to play something old and different for a change) and clicking the download button I had to logon again (silly system I must say) only to be forwarded to my account page to tell me that my account is suspended.

 photo Screenshot 2015-04-11 11.00.39_zpsxxq1hnwp.png

I totally had no idea why so I made a ticket with the support and here's the answer:

We apologize for the inconvenience that you experienced due to this issue. Please be informed that your account was associated to another user that was involved in ill-mannered activities, however, after a thorough investigation, your account has been cleared from the issue. I am pleased to inform you that your account has been released from suspension.

I understand that you wish to change the email address registered on your new WarpPortal account. We may change your email address however, we need the following information to proceed with the review:

Uhm... my account compromised? Well, looking at my Webzen account I saw that the last 3 months half the world had used my account (30+ logons), and it's quite possible that the same happened to my Gravity account. That means that (for both) I changed my password immediately. Good thing that Webzen allows an easy email change on the account page, but Gravity doesn't, so I completed the procedure...

That was the 8th this month and I tried to download Ragnarok immediately. Once again that silly double logon there, and once again I get the account suspension message Clearly that customer support dude didn't do his work. Not to mention, I haven't heard a single thing about the email change and I still have to use my old logon email (which is on a lot of 'known account lists'), but at least the password has changed successfully...

I also emailed customer support again about the non-change of my email address, but still nothing. It looks like Gravity makes no haste to reply or help their customers at all! Good thing that by now I have found Blade & Soul for my MMORPG needs, but I still want to give Ragnarok an other try. If Gravity keeps quiet to me (which I actually expect) I might either make an other account (not that the old account holds anything valuable) or just play on the EU server from an other publisher through Steam...

I have just received an email from Gravity that my tickes has been resolved and closed. I'm not sure what they did, but now I can't logon on either the old or new email address. Too bad, guess it'll be Ragnarok on the EU server through Steam then.

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Blade & Soul
10 April 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I'm no lover of martial arts games. I have tried a lot of them in the past (Mortal Combat series as well as Age of Wushu and other MMORPGs based on martial arts) but so far none could hold my interst. Until now...

I have received an email for a private Blade & Soul server a couple of months ago already but I ignored that one. Earlier this week that same private server also advertised on (which is forbidden there), but I gave it a try anyway. I honestly gotta say that so far I am impressed by the game. I expected a pure beat 'm up kind of game, but it's far from that. Blade & Soul is more an action MMORPG (similar to TERA) with several classes where martial arts is only a fraction of the game. The characters use martial arts more in a way of movement than just as skills.

Above I've added the whole introduction quest up to the point where you'll go into the open world of the game. And speaking about open world... You might have noticed a couple of yellowish circles in front of entrances, right? There you'll enter an other instance of the game's map system (either private or just open world), without loading screens, a system that I have only seen before in Fallen Earth. Though here the use of a SSD drive certainly would help because as you can see, on my side the loading of that new instance does take a little while

Further more, the private server is an emulation project from a couple of Russians. And though I'm not too happy to play on Russian servers, they are doing their best to translate the game to English as best as they can. Yeah, I gotta admit, the grammar of the (automated?) translation of most of the game is horrible, but I can get the drift of the dialogue

There is only one sad thing about the server though... It's using the beta client from the looks of it (the survey I had at the end of the movie above), this while the game has been out for already a couple of years and progressed a lot further. I have tried to get the official Taiwanese client running with a custom English translation, but that was to no avail - after applying the translation patch, GameGuard keeps bugging me that I've altered the game and crashes the game So for now I'm stuck to this private server and I can only hope that a full western translation by either NCSoft or Innova will take place soon...

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Heroes of the Storm
31 March 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I always thought I'm no MOBA player. Reason being is that I tried quite a couple of them in the past. Honorable mentions who tried to pull me into the MOBA genre are Dota 2 (of course), League of Legends (of course once again), War of Angels (PWI title) and a couple more that I don't remember anymore. I always thought that the content was too much of the same in all those games and that leveling your toon just was a grind to the top (like with most MMORPGS).

But you gotta leave it to Blizzard to make a genre that's no fun (for me) and make it fun. Heroes of the Storm is yet an other MOBA on the surface, but it has so much extras underneath the game. For starters, the heroes you can play with are main characters from the Blizzard games (for obvious reasons), and if you have played one or more Blizzard games in the past you can familiarize yourself already with them. Not to mention, you also know somewhat what to expect from your hero if you've play them in the other Blizzard title.

An other interesting feature that Heroes of the Storm has added are the maps. Right now there are 7 different maps and each map has it's own game mechanics. These mechanics in the end all come down to the same thing: get a lot of power to bring down your opponent's defences. But it's the way that these mechanics are incorporated that makes them fun to play. Even the Haunted Mines map (video is below) that I thought was no fun to play at start grew on me and kinda has become my favorite map to play on!

The only problem with this game is that it's still in beta. And unless you don't have key from one promotion or an other, you have to buy yourself into the game for 35 for the Founder Pack. And while I had a key it didn't take long for me to decide to grab one of the game's packages. Last weekend the Nexus Bundle was on sale with 68% off for 'only' 40 and honestly, this bundle is a whole lot better than the Founder Pack (*YAY* for having a beta key).

By now I have already played Heroes of the Storm for over 6 hours and it's still growing on me. I think this might be the next big thing that I'll be diving into for online gaming!

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The secret World - a love-hate story
28 March 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

I think The Secret World is one of those unique MMORPGs out there that brings new mechanics to the player but failt to deliver some basic features. It's because of this that I love and hate TSW both with a passion...

The mechanics like the skill wheel where you can make your character virtually unique in the game is one of the features I like the most. I mean how cool can it be that your character is unique in the game? It's unlike most MMORPGs where every character is based on the same class (something TSW doesn't have) and a skill tree makes the difference, but everyone uses the same tree...

An other thing I totally dig about TSW are the puzzles they have put in the game. Most MMORPGs just tell you to kill 10 rats (there we go again ) to level up. And while TSW knows this kind of quest as well, it's not the majority of quest type you get - you're more busy doing puzzles in the game and trying to figure vague hints out than that you run to the place where X marks the spot to do your thing. Okay, that last statement it not totally true in TSW, because a lot of quests actually show the approximate location where your objectives are, but there are also a large number of quests that just tell you have to find a person in a certain place (or even on a map ).

The things that I do hate about TSW though are two things: zombies and progression rate.

Zombies for the simple reason that I don't think they are a horror factor AND that they are way too agile and fast to their original (80s) roots. I mean they almost outrun me and hit like a mule. Then again, TSW is a post-apocalyptic setting and zombies are a possible scenario for it. And I gotta say that the way the zombies are presented in all their variety that FunCom did a pretty good job (but still I don't like zombies...).

Then about progression rate... As stated above, you progress through the skill wheel and that's also where most of your powers come from. It's not like most MMORPGs that better gear gives you most of your power (it does help in TSW though), but it's those 7 active and passive skills that define your powers. And that's just where the problem lies. The further you come on the skill wheel, the more points you need to fuel the new skills (not saying that this is a bad thing!).
The bad thing is that when you're on your main mission, you need to do the sub missions on the map more than once (half a dozen times or more on higher skill levels) to gather enough skill points to fuel the skill wheel and be able to continue on your main mission. And that's what I really hate about TSW - I have to grind the same missions over and over again for my progression, without an alternate way (crafting to name one) to progress.

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Done with PSO2 for now
31 January 2015
Posted in MMORPGs
I really like Phantasy Star online 2, or the whole IP for that matter (which is also one of the reasons I picked up my PSP and PS2 again ), but Phantasy Star online 2 is one I'll wait a bit for.

Reason is the Japanese translation patch that I'm using. Though it's running pretty well (as said before, it covers around 75% of the game), I'm getting quite annoyed by the patch to stop functioning after each PSO2 patch. This means I'd have to reinstall the whole translation patch again after each PSO2 patch

With that translation patch only covering 75% of the game, I'm also starting to miss out on a lot of storyline stuff. A lot of NPCs I'm talking to by now only speak Japanese. And though the objectives in the end might seem clear, it's pretty annoying for me that I have no clue what they're actually telling me.

I think for now I'll just wait till the EU/US version of PSO2 will be available OR until there's a better and more complete translation patch available for the Japanese servers..

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[PSO2] In-game concert
03 January 2015
Posted in MMORPGs
I've played a lot of MMOs over the years, but Phantasy Star online 2 does things very different. Aside from the obvious difference in the action based combat, it also holds some pretty neat events.

On new-year's eve I played the game pretty late and there was a system announce that a concert would be given in a short bit. I was curious and decided to take a peek. To my surprise it was a small concert of 2 songs. The songs were a typical example of Jpop and I honestly have to say that I liked it a lot.

As I started, I've played a lot of MMORPGs already, and so far I haven't seen any that has an in-game concert with quality songs. The only in-game concerts I've seen so far were player created events in Lord of the Rings online, and that was only using the (pretty bad) instrumental versions of songs...

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