Category Archives: AOC

Why so Much Emphasis?

After reading a number of early morning blog posts left over in my RSS reader from yesterday, I found myself wondering: Why do gamers put so much emphasis in what we and others are playing. Especially others. Why do we even care? Every day I read a post from one or more authors that includes some sort of semi derogatory remark condoning a group of players simply because of how they choose to spend their time. Or, to be more precise, where they choose to spend their time.

There are those who have made up their minds that everyone who plays a free to play game must be a certain ‘class’ of gamer. How dare they actually enjoy ‘the grind’ that comes with a lot of these games. Don’t they know that in the long run they’ll pay more for their “free” game then some people will pay for their monthly subscription?! Then there are the WoW gamers. Don’t even get me started on these people. I have heard everything from how close minded they are to how stupid they must be, simply because of where they choose to spend their time. It’s as though we as gamers have moved into certain categories and stereotypes not based on who we are, but because of where we play.You ask a fellow blogger their game of choice and suddenly your opinion of them shifts slightly.

So I ask again – why does this aspect of a person even matter. Why are we so keen to judge someone based on a persons decision to spend their free time where they wish. I have even heard people go so far as to say they do not like a particular person because they play certain games that they are not fond of. Really? Are we so shallow that we are now making character judgements based on video games?

I simply don’t understand it.

In my opinion it doesn’t matter where you play, so long as you have fun. In fact voicing my opinion about any other ‘type’ of gamer is a moot point because when it comes to how others are spending their time – my opinion doesn’t matter! It’s their time, their money, and what I think of the matter is completely irrelevant. I refuse to classify a person based on whether they’re playing EQ2, EQ, VG, LotRo, WoW, WAR, DDO, Darkfall, Wizard101, Runes of Magic, EVE, Alganon, Fallen Earth, Lineage II, Allods, Champions, STO, Free Realms, Aion, FFXIV, SWG, Guild Wars, AoC, or any other game.

Go play, and enjoy. Don’t like it? Move on and find something you DO enjoy. It’s a game. They’re supposed to be fun. There are SO many games out there and despite what others would say about them all cloning one another there are always unique factors to each and every game – you may be surprised at what you end up playing and enjoying. I implore gamers to make their own decisions about what they like and don’t like, and refuse to be classified into a category of gamer simply because of where they spend their time.

WTB Some Time

I love my job, I really do. Being able to write about something I enjoy as well as something I’m passionate about is a great gift that I try to make sure I’m aware of constantly. On my web site, I write for me and I love talking about my adventures, thoughts, friends and anything else that happens to cross my mind. The only time any of this is difficult is when it all seems to happen at once. These days there are so many games out there, that I simply don’t have enough time to play everything I want. It’s a shame, because I’d really love to.

EQ2 is my ‘steady’ game even though I’m barely playing it these days (it’s due to being crunch week and no other reason) it’s the comfort game that I know inside and out, and I like that comfort factor. However. It’s not the only game I want to play and certainly not the only game I am playing.

I’ve been having an incredible urge to continue playing EQ, which I have waded in and out of for quite some time now. Problem is I don’t enjoy playing EQ alone (where as in EQ2 I have no problem wandering around on my own) and it’s difficult for me to make friends (especially when I waver to and from games). I have my 81 necromancer that I’m considering leveling a little, she’s fairly close to level 82. I’ve always wanted to hit “end game” in everquest, and with the expansion NOT raising the level cap in November, it may very well be a possibility.

Vanguard is another one of those “if I only had more time” games. I seem to be in a rut with my blood mage, and I’m slowly running out of areas where I can just dip in for an hour or two before calling it quits and feel as though I have gotten anything acomplished.

Last month I won a free copy of Age of Conan, I think I found the time to play once during the month that came with the game, and then it sat neglected. For some reason it just does not appeal to me as much as I wish it had. It may be because I’m not really a melee person, and it felt uncomfortable. Either way, it’s one of those “I wish I had more time” games – along with many others.

Lord of the rings online – I really enjoy this game, a lot. It’s familiar, it’s beautiful. I want to continue playing but for now my account lays dormant because once again the greedy time monster has taken all of my time away, and I just don’t have any to spare or to warent spending a monthly subscription for it.

So what AM I playing? Well, my current play list includes EverQuest II, Vanguard (barely), Free Realms (barely), World of Warcraft (please don’t shoot me, it’s easy to dive into for an hour and feel like I actually acomplished something), Wizard 101, Aion Beta, and some DDO.  I want to be able to devote more time to EVE, but that learning curve is so far over my head I may as well actually be playing from another planet. I’ve been having fun in Aion, but again – not enough time to play everything I want to play, and to get work done as well as real life things (plus I can’t actually sit at my desk for too long before I start to get sore from health issues).

While I am excited that there are so many games out there (don’t even get me started on console games and finding time to play those too!) there are certainly moments where I wish the selection were smaller. Am I the only one?

Getting Back Into It

After a good while of being sick, things are finally starting to look a little brighter. No, we haven’t quite figured out what I have yet, but I’m keeping down food and water this week which is more then I could say last week. After being on an IV for two days (not fun) I had a CT scan, endoscopy, as well as an ultrasound. Everything major was ruled out, and so the next step is to have an upper gi xray and see a few specialists to see what’s going on. It’s nice to be feeling almost human again at any rate.

A lot has been going on since I stopped writing, even though it’s only been a week. I’ve been keeping up to date on twitter and google reader (must have my daily feed fix!) and following along as much as I can.

In a bit of good news last night, I managed to win a copy of Age of Conan from MMORPG.com which also comes with a free month of gameplay. You may remember that I tried the game on a trial account for a little while but that I didn’t feel the game pull me in so to speak, so I didn’t bother purchasing it or continuing a subscription once my trial had run out. Free on the other hand is another matter. Plus having an entire month to play rather then just a week or two is a nice bonus. I don’t imagine I’ll be hoping in game right away, but once things calm down and I’m feeling even more like my old self we’ll see how things go. I mentioned at the time that I didn’t dislike the game, but that I just couldn’t find the one ‘thing’ that would keep me there. That doesn’t mean I’m not willing to give it another try.

In EQ2 my little guild has been working away while I’ve been sick. Ultann managed to hit level 80 on his armorer, and finished off his tradeskill epic. Him and Kasul have been attending raids with a few alliance guilds we’ve met up with. Both of them have gotten some pretty nice gear from WoE, and I’m happy for them. Wpus has been leveling up a berserker but he’s hit the 70-80 stage which is always very slow especially if you’ve already done that grind once or twice before. It’s where everything turns into a quest grind, and good dungeons like SoS or PoA are in low supply. Hopefully he’ll be able to make it through.

Our small guild also managed to hit level 51, granting us three more amenity, I wasn’t around for this victory but I did notice that we now sport a portal to member housing, and a training dummy chest. The tiki bar pictured above is a small section of our guild hall.

Speaking of member housing, I now have some 20+ player written books in my library for the Norrathian Museum I created. I check the broker every day and as long as the books are resonably priced (1p or below) I tend to pick up any that I don’t already have. Some times I am very dissapointed (a page or two written and nothing more) other times I have been surprised at the stories that others have written. Ideally I want a LOT more books, but Kithicor is a slow server when it comes to these sort of things (understandably) and it’s been like prying teeth. I’ve even sent out random blank notebooks to players in the hopes that they’ll send a story back to me in return. In most cases this seems to work, but not always.

I think most of us are eagerly awaiting SOE’s implementation of the station cash server transfers so that we can move to Antonia Bayle, where I have a level 30 guild waiting (not as grand as the level 50 but we’ll get there) and a lot of friends. It will be nice to team up with Calreth and Malfi and Cuppy (and whomever else is over there) for some dungeon runs and just good ‘ol fun. I won’t be able to move all of my characters over right away, but I can start with a few of them at least and we’ll see how it goes.

Aside from that things have been quiet – something I’m hoping to change as time goes on. I’d like to finally reach 200aa on at least one of my characters, there are numerous quests and instances I’d like to complete, and it’s just a matter of letting myself heal (three weeks of very little food or drink will wear a person down) and slowly getting back into the groove of things.

I am still subscribed to WoW as well, since it runs easily on my laptop for those days I just can’t sit at the PC (sighs, speaking of which missed the Aion beta weekend last week) and will probably continue to play on the Ravenholdt server. We’ll see how that goes. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, and has a great time gaming (or doing whatever it is you’re doing). Again, a HUGE thank you for everyones support as I go through these health issues, it really has meant the world to me and has kept me pushing forward when all I really wanted to do was give up. I am exceptionally lucky to know such a wonderful bunch of people.

Level 10 (almost) – More Impressions

On the advice of a few comments from my previous post about initial AoC impressions, I decided to remake a character on the Rp-PvP server (thanks for the suggestion) and I also remade as a Stygian Herald of Xotli. I love helpful comments where the people commenting don’t rip into me for not instantly loving their game but offer me useful and helpful suggestions that may make the game (or trial of it) a little more enjoyable if I’m on the fence. Everyone has their opinion, and everyone is entitled to it – but if you’re going to act rude and insult me as a gamer for having a different opinion and play style, it’s the wrong way to get me playing a game. As a side note, telling me what sort of gamer I am and judging me based on this web site is also the wrong way to go about things. This site is a small glimpse into my play style, thoughts, and opinions. There’s plenty more that doesn’t get mentioned here or that you simply don’t see unless you’re gaming beside me. Sorry for the rant!

Onward!

The beginning was much the same. Find myself on a beach, free a maiden (if she can be called that) dangling from some bonds, lead her to Tortage and then speak with Turach to free myself of my bonds. Head to the Thirsty Dog, and begin the quest line there. Off for a boat ride to an island after speak with some npc and meander around slaying crocodiles and panthers while I search for another npc. The story is quite interesting – or at least it was once I got past the parts that I’d already played through with the first character. 

I do enjoy the combat – but I’m also used to 7 years of playing a caster or healer. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy melee combat on some small level but it’s certainly not my favorite. The way AoC combat swivels (I’m unsure of how else to describe it) is great. I also LOVE the music. It’s scary and as the snow falls outside today and it’s dark and dreary, I felt immersed in the game. It was nice to hear new music, that I hadn’t already heard before. 

The Herald of Xotli is interesting, it can take on the form of creatures and gets some spells along with melee, which suits me just fine. One bug with this class (and it’s a small bug but it’s one none the less) that bothers me every time is that as you shift from your monster form (which only lasts a number of seconds) back to your regular form – your character goes bald. 

Now, I know this is just a graphic glitch and each time you enter or leave an instance it fixes itself (until you use your monster form again) and I apologize if it’s silly – but – I don’t enjoy being a bald character. 

I continued to work through the quest line – and noticed that trial accounts are indeed flagged with one channel. I think this was a poor option, how am I able to judge what a server is like if I can’t even see regular conversation. Instead we have a trial channel – and of course the main discussion for the majority of the day was WoW vs. AoC. It (understandably) went downhill from there. 

Eventually, I managed to level most of the way to 10 – after becoming a minion subject of Mithrelle and bringing her some eyeballs, a lotus flower, and a trinket to prove myself and then heading to another instance to deal with a slave trader. The zones look very nice, I still haven’t gotten the grasp of climbing yet, but that will come. I only had one quest left and  my quest was flagged as level 10. It told me to visit a trainer. Except I wasn’t level 10 yet. I figured, no problem. I’ll go back to the lava instance and kill some things there to gain the last 25% or so I needed. Except since I wasn’t on the quest, the instance wasn’t an option. Nor was the boat that headed to the island near the beginning. The only creatures I could find were level 5 and barely granted me any experience at all. A few panthers, some scorpion, a few men who dotted the hill side. I must be missing something to get that final level. I figured it was as good a place as any to stop for now, so that’s where I stand.

I’m not a blood and guts type of gal. I do enjoy PvP, I do enjoy questing, and yes all those little sides that AoC doesn’t provide (or doesn’t provide right now – ie: crafting) typically make or break a game for me – simply because I have the time to play and devote to all of these other little facets. Much like WAR when I played, I don’t want to spend all of my time doing one thing. I don’t want to just pvp all of the time or just quest all of the time (typically they are linked on a pvp server). This is why the games I do play end up holding me. It’s the option of other things for me to do in game – and not just what someone else thinks I should do, but what I personally feel like doing which is never the same as what everyone else wants to do and that’s a GOOD thing because diversity in games and gaming style help make games what they are today. 

That’s right, I said it. I don’t like the same games as other people and they don’t like the same games I like, and THAT IS OK! It doesn’t make them bad people, or me. It simply makes us different. I wish more people would stop trying to argue why they think their game rocks and other games suck – when some times all it comes down to is a simple matter of opinion and no wrong or right answer. 

I still have a few more days on my trial, and I do plan on playing more. I don’t hate the game, I don’t even dislike it. To take the quote of Dlanger in his comments: 

” If you’re looking for something innovative and different, you won’t find it in AoC. But if you enjoy the lore of Conan at all, or are interested in seeing new places and killing new beasts, then AoC provides plenty of that.”

It won’t draw me away from the games I’m playing as my ‘main’ games (EQ2 / LotRO) but it certainly is fun to give it a try and see first hand what others are talking about.

First Impressions – Age of Conan

I decided to go ahead with the 7-day trial of Age of Conan from MMORPG.com because it came with three free items and I had no idea how long it would be available. Since the game is pretty cheap ($20) if I liked it I could pick it up, and if I didn’t, well. Nothing lost and at least I could say I’ve played it. I haven’t played long enough to make any solid opinions quite yet, but here’s what I think thus far.

First of all, even with the new video card, it took a lot of tweaking to get it looking good at all. Everything was very jagged and looked very one dimensional to start. I couldn’t figure out what it was because a lot of people I know had ranted and raved about the amazing graphics. Perhaps they meant the gore looked good – and that’s not what draws me into a game, so that won’t want to keep me playing. After fiddling around I nudged some settings and have it playing at a relatively good quality. At least it doesn’t look quite so jagged (and no, I don’t have DX10 on my PC, just my laptop). 

I enjoyed the character customization. I like the idea of being able to add scars to a character, after all for the most part these are adventurers. Why would they have flawless skin. Or hey even if they’re a crafter why not be allowed to add soot to their cheek or dust speckles or any other number of little ‘quirks’ that define a character as yours. These add to the story of the character, and they’re a huge part of how players can ‘connect’ to their character. For example, my Ellithia pictured above has bear scars all along her upper right side. How did they get there, what was she doing? So many stories I could come up with for them, from the obvious to the outrageous. I love things like this. 

Questing is – still questing. Except at least it’s (sort of) multiple choice in your responses. It’s nice to (almost) think I have a say in the answers, even if they all lead towards the exact same end goal. I think that the quest journal and markers on the map are the new ‘standard’ for questing, with directions pointing players in the right place, clearly labeled. I’m not sure if this is optional or not, but I enjoy the markers. It’s the same method I’ve seen in WAR, and LotRO. EQ2 has this to a lesser degree, you can’t see markers until you approach the proper area. 

Right now I’m a level 6 Aquilonian Priest of Mitra. I just freed a slave girl and helped her escape to the City of Tortage. Turach helped free me of my slave bonds, and I’m working on a destiny line – s0lo. I enjoy being able to have the option of doing things solo if that’s how I’m playing. It puts me in my own instanced version of the city – AT NIGHT. Sounds like I should make a coffee table book. “Tortage – At NIGHT.” Now, I realize that the opening to a game is hardly basis to decide whether or not the game is a keeper since everyone knows those are the crutial times to try to get players to instantly fall in love with your game, but by this point I’ve at least seen what I like – and what I don’t like. 

What I haven’t seen yet is why this game is any different then any other game out there – aside from the blood and gore (and breasts). I don’t know if I expect to see that by level 6 or not, maybe I’m asking too much. Keep in mind I still know relatively little about the game. I DO enjoy combat a great deal, I like the way I actually feel involved in the fight, dodging and swiviling around, pivoting and all the rest. It looks (and feels) like combat, and I do enjoy that. 

Those are my impressions over all – with so many other games out there that I’m already playing, I doubt this will make it to the line up – but I’m still having a relatively good time with it, and I’m glad I decided to try it out.