Posts Tagged ‘MMORPG’

***Update:  Before we get into this post, I just saw this, very obvious reason, why ArenaNet is awesome.  See how they pay tribute to a fallen gamer.***

The long-anticipated time is almost upon us.  Guild Wars 2 has a release date, August 28th, and we are now one day into the last beta event before we get the goods.  I didn’t get a chance to play it yesterday, but now it’s Saturday morning, the house is quiet, the air is still…almost like the morning right before a huge battle…and I’m downloading the update!  Sorry, that’s not a critique on Arenanet, I’m glad it’s a lot of files, that means a lot of content to explore.  I was just trying to build up drama and all that.  Don’t mind me, I haven’t finished my coffee for the morning.  I’ve already participated in one beta and I was blown away.  Despite the bugs and problems that needed work, the game looked and felt so good.  If you were a fan of the original and you haven’t picked up your pre-order then you are simply crazy.  If you like RPGs, MMOs or online games at all you should at least be checking this out.  Find someone that owns it, get over to their house this weekend and demand they show you!  Trust me, from someone that got in on the first one late in the game, you do not want to miss out on playing this game from the moment it’s available.

All right, files are downloaded, logged in and getting into character creation.  This process is so much more complex than it was in the original game.  Not only do you get to choose the typical height, weight, hair and eyes, body type, and all the basics, they have added levels of detail to these that is just staggering.  In face details, you can change the eyes, everything from eyebrow placement, to iris size, to width.  You can change the nose in every dimension as well as that of the mouth, ears and chin.  Back when they started talking about the character creation they said this game would decrease the chances of meeting another character that looks just like yours and they were right.  Then you dye your armor, and move on to the next page of creation.

Sylvari Ranger Guild Wars 2
Click to Enlarge

I chose a ranger, so the next parts of creation deal with the class features.  As a pet my initial choices are Moa Bird, Stalker (feline creature), and a fern hound.  I’d like to see more choices, or, honestly, see them go the route the first game did and have you go find your first pet, but I am choosing the stalker.  Beggars can’t be choosers…well in this case I get to choose, but you know what I mean.  Then it’s onto backgrounds, these determine how your story goes I believe, we’ll see when things get rolling.  I chose ferocity for my character’s first background trait.  For the next trait they ask what quest your character dreamed of, I’m going with The Green Knight, it seems to hint at perseverance and fortitude.  Next it asks me what is the most important of Ventari’s teachings.  In the game Ventari is one of the fictional characters from the original game, a wise old centaur…I’m going with “Act with wisdom, but act.”  Finally it asks me when my character was born.  Sylvari are born from a being called The Pale Tree.  The time of day your Sylvari was born in determines their nature, and the ‘court’ they belong to among this culture.  I am liking Cycle of Night, secretive and cautious, and independent.

***Tiny bit of spoiler alert***

As I think I covered in the last beta discussion, Guild Wars 2 handles introduction to the game in a much different way than it’s predecessor, or really any other RPG’s that I have seen.  After your character creation, and watching the little cinematic, which was great by the way, you pop right into a living world full of people talking, sounds, sights, and immersion.  You are asked, by someone close, to come over for a chat, and away you go.  There’s no tutorial level, no floaty question marks or exclamation points, and no quest boxes asking you to accept or decline.  You listen to the story the speaker gives you and if you want to do it you go do it, if not, you don’t.  The first person you talk to, if you respond to the summons is Caithe, from the introductory movies.  I chose to follow this first path in my character’s story, going off to find some poison in the woods, but first, we had to fight some hounds.  That done we moved on, and finally came to the scene of the trouble.  Once there a small cinematic played, and a massive, tree-like dragon, pulled itself out of the forest floor, and it was time to have some fun.

Shadow of the Dragon
Click to enlarge

What you are seeing there is a quick cap I took of the dragon after it came out of the ground.  This is actually the second one I took, in my haste to get a good shot and then get into the fight.  That thing is simply huge, much larger of scale than anything we saw in Guild Wars.  There were a lot of people around, not even a single person actually in my party!  Just people who were close enough to see the fight start and come running to help out.  It was a challenge, fun, and wow, the imagery.  I’m a big one for graphics, between that and sound, that’s all you have to immerse yourself into a video game.  Your other senses are useless in this type of experience, so I’ve never understood why people claim that graphics aren’t important.  Sure, story is too, but something can have the most amazing story, and be crap to look at.  If I want story there are hundreds of books in my library to read, I want the full package when I play a game.

On top of the great action, the ease of play, and the great interface, Guild Wars 2 has great sound.  All of the effects are great, but in the long term, music is what captures me in a game.  It’s the times where no action is going on, when you are just taking it all in, that the music matters the most.  Running through the initial areas of this game I was so engaged by the music.  So far, great fun.

Stay tuned for more updates all weekend.  I’m going to jump back in and create a different character, throw you some more screenies, and learn more about this game.  Until then, I will leave you with this show, one of my favorites so far.

Sylvari at home
Click to enlarge

Advertisements

Alright, this weekend was the first public beta of Guild Wars 2 for those of us who pre-purchased, or at least put money down on our copies from the local game store.  I sat at work all day, anxious to get out of there, like a kid trying to sleep on Christmas Eve.  Finally, got home, got fed, and got in game with Julie and a friend from work.  Once we finally found a home server we could connect to (it only took a couple tries) we were off and running, building our characters.

Character creation is great, lovely mix if in game graphics and concept art.  The level of detail you can use to make your character is astounding, right down to the spacing of their eyes, width of their mouth and nose, and the shape of their chin.  You set up your body type, physique and height, dye your armor, pick some basic background info and away you go.  Fans of the original game will be blown away with the options and customization.  Unless you just go with the default, you really won’t see too many people that look just like you in this game.

I started out with a norn guardian, putting me in the snow-swept mountains called the Shiverpeaks.  I was instantly reminded of Eye of the North, from Guild Wars 1, where we were first introduced to the giant-like norn.  I was also instantly aware that the feel of this game is totally different.  For those of you used to MMO’s like World of Warcraft, where hundreds of people roam the same area fighting monsters and doing whatever it is they do, you will feel right at home.  For those of us who came up from Guild Wars, it’s a bit of a shock.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just different.  If you are like me, a former GW player, imagine all those maps with monsters, being as populous as one of the major towns.  It’s just strange.

The game is a bit overwhelming.  It is one of the first things I noticed that I would have done differently.  It doesn’t ease you into it.  While the learning curve is low, it can still be a bit chaotic.  There is so much to see and do, so many places to go, the sense of freedom is nice, but a shock if you aren’t used to it or prepared for it.  I caught hints of the craft system, gathering materials, salvaging, and trading.  I found the player auction house fairly quickly, and people already have guilds set up.  There was just a lot to take in, and unlike it’s predecessor, and many other games, there’s no tutorial stage.  You literally hit the ground running.

Despite all of that I did have a good time, and it didn’t take long to get comfortable with the world, and what the game had to offer.  The majority of the discomfort and confusion simply came from it all being new.  As I learned the area, how things worked, and how to find where I needed to be at any given time, I was more at ease.  The skills were sensible, and I was overwhelmed with choice.  The animations looked nice as did the scenery, the characters, and the armor.  The music was great, and the sound effects brought you into the world.  It was visually and audibly up to the standards I expect from a company that put out the best looking MMO years ago (GW if you weren’t sure).

Now, the two beefs I have so far were noticeable right away.  First, the minor one.  The camera needs to be able to zoom out more.  I like to see things up close from time to time, but when I’m trying to fight a battle tactically, or roam and explore the world, I like to see more of it.  My character dominated the screen, and at times I would turn the camera so much that I would get lost with no point of reference unless I went to the map.  The world of Tyria is a beautiful place, and I want to see more of it while I play please.  The second one is major and a lot of people have noticed it.  Me, Julie, and a coworker of mine got in and started playing.  Right away we started looking for each other, even put ourselves in a party, but we couldn’t find each other.  Seems that you are either in the main server, or in the overflow server, and there’s no way to switch between that we could find easily.  I would highly suggest that if people make a party, the game keep them together, whether it push them all to the overflow or whatever.  An MMO is meant to be played with friends, in groups, and they need to make it easier to do just that.

There’s more to write, and hopefully tomorrow I can give you some screenshots and touch on a couple of key features.  For now this is just my initial thoughts on the three hours or so I was able to get in.

Yesterday I opened my email and it was like Christmas, if the gift-giving holiday only came once every three years or so.  In my inbox sat an email I had been waiting for for about that long.  Finally, this weekend, Guild Wars 2’s first public beta!  Any Guild Wars fan knows, we’ve been waiting for this game for a long time.  I don’t begrudge Arenanet for taking their time though.  In this day and age of half-finished games, releases that aren’t complete until they patch it a dozen times, and games that get rushed to market leaving us all wondering ‘what’s the point?’  In this case, I want them to take their time, but along with that reasonable wish I am still chomping at the bit for the release of this game.

For all of you not ‘in the know’ Guild Wars 2 is an MMO style RPG, based on a unique world filled with monsters, magic, and heroes.  Unlike other RPGs the playable races do NOT include dwarves and elves, something that I like a lot, getting away from the cookie-cutter fantasy archetypes.  The story behind the world of Guild Wars is far too extensive to go into here, but rest assured, if miles of text on history, adventure, creature ecology, and just plain flavor text is something you enjoy, Guild Wars has it in spades.  I, myself, love to read history, even if it’s made up history for a made up game, and this one has tons of it.  If you really get into learning about your character, their race, their background, where they come from, who their enemies might be, fears, hopes and dreams, you definitely won’t lack for information.

One of the draws to the original Guild Wars for me were the visuals.  I’m all for great gameplay, balance, ease of use and learning and all of that, but in the end for me a game won’t hold my attention for long if the graphics are terrible.  I have to look at this game for hours, and like many fun games I’ve tried with bad graphics, I can only look at an ugly game for so long before it doesn’t matter how much fun it is.  Guild Wars, and from the looks of the sequel Guild Wars 2, does not disappoint in this department at all.  Brilliant colors, amazing visuals, breathtaking vistas, all draw you into a detailed world where every day brings some new thing you didn’t notice before.  I remember exploring every corner of the original game, not only to get the cartography title, but also to see what little visual gem was tucked away.  These guys hid little shrines, fountains, ruins, and on and on, all over the place.  In most cases they had no story attached to them, no reason for your character to go there, just something cool to stumble on as you roam the world.  So many times I’d come upon some overlook, or view of something, and have to just stop and look, like a tourist out to pictures.  Like that tourist I would take a screenshot, just so I could show Julie later.  This time around I’m excited to re-explore the world, 250 years after the original game, and do it with my wife who will be joining me for this adventure.

Along with visuals comes sound.  Nothing draws me into a game better than great music and effects, especially since I invested in a surround sound headset years ago.  The music for the original game was fantastic, and the sound effects, ambient sound, and general ‘ear candy’ was enough sometimes to make me stop and just listen.  I am confident the sequel will match, or top the original for sound design.

As I mentioned before, this game’s story happens 250 years after the original, and as one would expect in a world filled with magic, and a race so annoyingly intelligent they look down on you from their lofty height of about 2′ 5″.  The Asura is who I mean, and anyone who had the Eye of the North Expansion know who they are.  Anyway, as you can see there, firearms have entered the game.  At first, like many I’m sure, I was a bit put off.  I’m very traditional when it comes to my fantasy, and have always been one that didn’t want technology mixed with my dragons.  As I watched more and more gameplay, and saw more screenshots, I was sold.  It makes sense, first of all, and it’s not so blatant that it looks more like sci-fi than fantasy.  I’m keeping an open mind, and I am sure I will have fun with it.

There are some huge differences between the original game and this one, and the list is of course too long to go into here.  Some of the changes seem odd, but I’m sure once we get into the game and start playing it they will make sense.  The biggest change I saw, and one that I like, is no more devoted healers.  Most people will remember the hours spent trying to find one or two healers for your party, only to have one quit part way through the mission and the other not know what he’s doing.  Well in GW2 every class is going to be able to heal himself and others, and those skill slots will be devoted to healing.  No more snooty monks that think they can do everything on their own, or want to run around killing stuff when they should be in the back keeping everyone alive.

Well, you can obviously read much more information at their site, which I linked to up at the top.  The information released for this game so far is extensive.  I will also be putting a link to the blog on my main menu so you can easily go and find anything you desire there as well.  One last thought to leave you with, before I go, one key gem about this game that I can say enough.  FREE…TO…PLAY!  Best MMO out there in my opinion, yes even better than World of Warcraft, and other than buying the game, you don’t have to pay a dime to play it.  So, hope to see you there, and I’m sure I will have more to say about it in the days and weeks to come.

 

This site uses images and other material that is property of Arenanet, Inc.  © 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Guild Wars Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

All right, in the spirit of getting caught up finally, here, ladies and gentlemen, is your Gamer Lady of March!  Felicia is a fantastic roleplayer, and friend, that I’ve known for a few months now.  I met her on a Neverwinter Nights 2 server awhile back, and have since had great game time, and fun conversations with her.  She’s always amazed me with how much she does in her personal life with school, and still having time to pack in the gaming hours.  An all around, true gamer, having experience on multiple consoles as well as PC games, and a laundry list of game titles under her belt.  Relax guys, she’s taken so don’t flood my email with requests for her number, ain’t gonna happen.  Now, without further ado, here are her thoughts on the world of gaming and being a female in it.  Oh, here and there I will pepper the answers with bracketed explanations of the acronyms.

Q: What’s your gamertag?

Typically the gamer tag I use is drfelly… That’s my gamer tag on xbox, PS3, Neverwinter Nights 2, etc. I also will sometimes use the gamer tag BipolarPrincess.

Q: Gamer guild/clan affiliation?

Hmm, I think the closest to a guild or clan affiliation I guess would be the original Eilistraeens from the DLB [Dalelands Beyond] server on NWN 2 [Neverwinter Nights 2].

Q: Console or PC?

Since my favorite gaming is MMORPGs [Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games], I have to say PC. However, when it comes to single player games I prefer the PS3. I absolutely love the Assassin’s Creed series and Elder Scrolls.

Q: When did you start gaming?

When I was a kid, I grew up with Nintendo. It wasn’t until high school that I tried my first MMORPG. It was called “Nexus the Kingdom of Winds”. I got really into that game and it made me curious to try new MMORPGs. After Nexus I tried Diablo II, once again I found it to be too much fun. Naturally I jumped through many of the major MMORPGs including World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI Online. I jumped through some pretty bad (in my opinion) ones like Runescape, Dungeons and Dragons Online, etc.

Q: What got you started in the world of gaming?

I spent the summer vacation, before my freshmen year of high school, hanging out on my cousin’s dairy farm in upstate New York. She and I are similar in age so we spent most of our time together. She was really into Nexus TK at the time and convinced me to make a “newb”. It wasn’t long before I found myself lost in the wonderful world of make pretend while also being able to socialize with people all over the country and around the world.

Q: Favorite game?

Currently my favorite game is Neverwinter Nights 2 hands down…. If we’re talking MMORPGs. If we just consider RPGs in general I’m going to have to go with Final Fantasy… I love the Final Fantasy series. My favorite is Final Fantasy IV… that one takes me back to my childhood.

Q: Currently Playing?

Let’s break this down by system. On the PC, it’s Neverwinter Nights 2. In my Nintendo DS is currently Plants vs. Zombies. On my PSP is Final Fantasy Tactics. In my PS3 is currently Skyrim (I just beat Assassin’s Creed Revelations and have moved on to Skyrim). In my Xbox 360, that’s Oblivion. As for my Wii, Zelda Skyward Sword.

Q: Most anticipated future release?

Assassin’s Creed 3… I can’t help how much I love the series.

Q: Build your own or off-the-shelf pc?

My current laptop is off the shelf but I grew up with all of my PCs built specially for me by my Uncle.

Q: Favorite game type?

If the rest of the questionnaire hadn’t answered this question already, I’ll tell you again. It’s RPGs by far.

Q: Do you think there are any issues related to being a female gamer, bias, unwanted attention, etc?

Yes and no. I’ve noticed that in some online roleplaying games, guys nearly wet themselves the moment they realize it’s a girl on the other side of the screen. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but it does get a little ridiculous sometimes. You find that characters that might have normally ignored your character ICly [In Characterly {I know, it’s not a word*}] are now giving your character extra attention. It’s not always bad for the female gamers. I know it’s far easier for me to get free stuff from guys in game then it is for one of my male friends to get free stuff. If you’re a girl gamer and you really don’t want a lot of extra attention, my suggestion is to make your username seem very ambiguous about your gender and maybe even consider creating a guy character. Also, if you think you’re being harassed by another player, do not be afraid to let the server admin know what’s up. You don’t have to deal with it.

*In Characterly or ICly refers to state in which stuff happens in RPGs, when players act as their characters.  In this case DrFelly is referring to a phenomenon we all notice when players realize a female is behind the character.  Where it would normally be IC for a character to ignore one of hers, that character suddenly finds a reason to interact with her own once the player finds out DrFelly is a lady.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, my good friend, and great gamer DrFelly.  If anyone would like to nominate a gamer chick they know for future columns, please email me at magus_taliesin@hotmail.com, drop me a pic if they want one posted, and a brief write-up on why you think they should be Frags and Beer’s gamer lady of the month.  Don’t be shy, eventually I’m going to run out of the ones I know, though for now I would like to showcase the ladies that I game with so hey, for a little while it’s no big deal.  Until next time, have fun.

UPDATE:  Felicia has started a blog and I have to say it’s great.  Wonderful prose, powerful story, and hopefully will help others and her.  Please check it out and give her your support.  Check out The Rollercoaster!