SWTOR: A Love Story

While playing my Imperial Agent I put my James Bond head on (with a mercenary bent) and so far I’ve bedded two women – or so I assume.
The flirt was on, the screen went black and we were then back at our starting positions to continue the dialogue – the ladies seemed happy enough with my performance.
I don’t want to see any prurient toon-on-toon sex-action but wouldn’t some sort of nice cut-scene be better than a black screen.
How about the standard rocket taking off, a train entering a tunnel, waves crashing on the shore, the mightiest oak in the forest being felled and then a post-coital narc – the game has got a 16 rating after all.
Speaking of which – there seems to be many young children playing this game wittering on about pre-adolescent bollocks.
It’s especially annoying when they’re talking about watching Star Wars on something called a Blue Ray and start calling me an old fart when I tell them that I saw the film in the cinema when it first came out.
It has its advantages though – the servers are fairly quiet during school-time and there’s no fighting over resources or quests.

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I Want To Play WAR

I keep going back to the WAR Bioware forum in the vain hope of finding some little chink of light that will once again awaken my enthusiasm for Warhammer Online.
I then saw a tweet from  @JSchabbing linking this video of RvR in WAR
Ooh I thought – looks like it’s livening up – so off I went to see what was happening.
I logged into my T4 Blorc and noticed mail for me – it was from my old guild mate Jagd saying that he’s quitting and leaving me his gold.
Sorry to see you go Jagd.
Bit of a downer but I checked the War Report and sallied forth unto Caledor – nothing – couldn’t find anyone – not even a little stunty. Undaunted, I flew around the regions chasing red crossed swords on the map and looking for groups until I became daunted.
So I logged onto my T2 Shaman – there were 8 Destro running around like headless chickens up against about 12 Order – I lasted about 15 minutes before I gave up in frustration.

I miss WAR and I want to play it but not in its present state.

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Oh Dear! That Didn’t Go As Planned

SWTOR 1.1 hit the servers a little later than planned with several changes – http://www.swtor.com/patchnotes/1.1.0/rise-rakghouls
As well as bug fixes etc. it gave us a new flashpoint ‘Kaon Under Siege’ and an expansion to the ‘Karagga’s Palace’ Operation.

Anti-aliasing has been enabled to allow the game to chew up even more of your gpu.
The first thing I noticed was that the abilities are no longer greyed out on cooldown – now it’s very difficult to tell when the ability will be available near the end of its cooldown. Might have been better to turn it red while on cooldown.
I also had problems with getting abilities to activate and targetting – I couldn’t tie it down to anything in particular but it was rather annoying.
There have been quite a few changes to PvP – I’m saving myself until I get to level 50 until I dive into that; judging from forum posts it’s rather unbalanced and not worth it at the moment – lots of rage-unsubbing.
Hmm – thought Bioware would have enough knowledge and experience from Mythic to get PvP right – unless they’ve unleashed Carrie Gouskos on it.

I received an email this morning from Bioware to inform me that I can use the “Founder” title as a reward for being one of the first subscribers. Cor!

At the same time Star Trek Online went F2P.
The changes to STO over the past few months have been amazing; the game is a lot more immersive – better graphics and sound effects and best of all the space battles aren’t run on rails.
I’ve got a feeling I might be playing STO more than SWTOR.

Meanwhile back in WAR – Mythic posted the dates for testing the relic thingy
http://herald.warhammeronline.com/warherald/NewsArticle.war?id=1702
Looks like they value the input from the US more than the EU – nothing new there.
Mykiel has finally got round to a new post at Stratics – http://war.stratics.com/?p=406
18 people turned up for the PTS test?

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No Passion For SWTOR

While off work last week I played a lot of SWTOR  and it dawned on me that I’m really not all that fussed about the SW worlds.
I played WAR with many years of GW gaming behind me and I really felt a part of the Warhammer world but I found the SW films all presentation and no substance – typical US tat – and, consequently, I didn’t get into the SW universe.
I started out following the storylines but I’ve begun to spacebar the dialogue, especially the non-class quests; I don’t feel particularly involved in the class quests and it all seems a little shallow – maybe it was a mistake starting several alts.
I’ve got a Jedi Knight and a Bounty Hunter at level 30+ and an Imperial Trooper and Sith Inquisitor both level 10+
I’ll keep plugging away at it though and see if I can break through the ennui barrier.
Where are all the augments? Is no one doing slicing as a craft?

WAR 1.4.5 hit the PTS last week with the return of the fortresses and the new relic thingy http://herald.warhammeronline.com/warherald/NewsArticle.war?id=1695
with a feedback thread here Dev Discussion – 1.4.5 PTS – Feedback it doesn’t seem like many players turned up to the test.

Wrath of Heroes started its Beta 4 session last weekend – giving away 1500 beta keys; I bet people were queuing overnight to get hold of them. It doesn’t seem to be making much of an impression on the gaming world and judging by the Facebook comments interest is beginning to wane.

There have been various rumours about Dark Millenium being cancelled by THQ to which THQ responded with typical management waffle –  “no decisions have been made” about Dark Millenium; doesn’t look good.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

I believe I mentioned that I would like to spend less time at work and more time gaming – this weekend I ended up with a slipped disk. Ouch!

SWTOR still consumes my waking, and now pain-filled, hours and I’m still with the Bounty Hunter/Mercenary.

I was having a lot of problems with the game eating my RAM – Windows usually takes up 2.5GB of ram on idle (6GB DDR3 fitted with i7 950 CPU) and my video card has 1.5GB (GTX480). Several times SWTOR has maxed out both ram resulting in the game regularly freezing/stuttering which only stopped when I dropped the graphics to Low (I would have thought I should be able to run on the High graphic setting no problem).
So I borrowed 12GB of ram and tried it again – SWTOR now runs at about 5GB ram and 750MB GPU ram with graphic settings on High.
It may be that the Nvidia/Windows settings need tweaking but still that’s one hungry game.
I’ve also been having problems with the left mouse button stopping working – usually during fights – but I haven’t narrowed that one down yet.

It seems that common courtesy is in short supply judging by the number of players who ninja the resources/quest points while you’re busy taking out the enemies guarding said resources/quest points – Bastards.
It can get rather busy sometimes with several players trying to complete the same quest which leads to some interesting chat from people who don’t seem to understand what an MMO is. Still, I’m sure it will all settle down in a few weeks time when the 30 days freetime is up and people start to drift off.

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Dark Millenium News

This was posted on the Farseer forum –

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5839558#post5839558

It doesn’t mention why this chap should have access to inside information and could be a load of bollocks but it seems genuine.

Game Design Notes:

  • Relic is lending a very small hand in the overall development of dmo. Winking, a chinese based developer is also on board. They helped with Spacemarine as well.
  • Vigil is doing 90% of the work. Most of the shared work load is art, and animation.
  • Spacemarine is built on the same engine as darksiders (and darksiders 2 respectively)
  • Dmo is using the same engine, with gameplay (at least combat) akin to Spacemarine.
  • Contrary to what I was told, the art style is NOT like Spacemarine, rather the whole game is more like darksiders (1 & 2), very stylized. The videos released at the last E3 are fairly accurate to the current state of the art style. Less realistic.
  • Revision to what I was told by the rep, is that Spring 2012 is unlikely… maybe for more announcements on the game’s progress. Though a Darsiders 2 release in spring is likely, Vigil is working on both.

Class related notes:

  • Races broadly put into forces of “Order” and “Disorder” similar to 40K World-wide campaigns.
  • The “spacemarine” is a class, with a chaos counterpart.
  • Tactical, heavy, assault as specialties.
  • Each class starts as something familiar, and through progression changes.Ie. Scout to Marine
  • Other classes include: psyker, techpriest, and assassin
  • The assassin starts as a guardsman-esque character.
  • Chaos have similar counterparts, cultist themed.
  • Instead of an assassin, think demon host.
  • Orks are with Chaos (disorder), Eldar are with the Imperium of man (order)
  • Ork class rundown: Nob, mekboy, runt herda, mad dok
  • Eldar class rundown: Scorpion, Avenger, Warlock, Reaper
  • Expect Tau & Dark Eldar later, likely an expansion, though dark eldar npcs will be present on release, as well as Necron, and Tyranids. (Interesting idea, going for the ‘faceless’ races as NPCs, though I suspect you won’t be getting quests from the Swarmlord!)
  • 60 character levels.

Gameplay related notes:

  • A crashed space hulk will be one of the zones.
  • Another zone will take place on an Imperial Cruiser, and Chaos Cruiser.
  • Expect several instanced missions much like WoW, as well as open world.
  • It will include instanced & open world pvp.
  • Players will be able to dual weild things like pistols and melee weapons… yes that means two chain swords.
  • The featured chapter is Black Templars. (As evidenced by the banner art)
  • The featured chaos god is Khorne, at least for playable
  • Word Bearers will also take a major role in the Playable chaos faction
  • Nurgle & Fabius Bile will have a big Chaos NPC presence. (I suspect not Nurgle himself, but perhaps Typhus?)
  • Possible shooter/RPG mode controls, like StarTrek Online.
  • Third person action, plays like Gears of War/Space Marine mixed together for shooting.
    Melee is more like Space Marine/Darksiders, with the target lock on.
    Blocking melee attacks is a maybe, sheilds may be NPC only.
  • NPC creatures vary from: Necromunda like humans, Chaos Cultists, Dark Eldar; from Grotesques to Warriors, Chaos Daemons and beasts, Orks, Grots, Guardsmen, defected Guardsmen, most of the minor Demons, Dreadnoughts, Tyranid Warriors, Genestealers and more.
  • Forgeworld things may be present. Thunderhawk, terrain sets, Aquila landers, FW-esque equipment on vehicles.
  • Environments range from snowy mountains, to the innards of a crashed space hulk… from cities destroyed, and orkified, to ancient eldar cities, overgrown with nids… from ancient battlefields, littered with the carcases of Titans and tanks, to a hive city, nostalgic with necromunda…. from the halls of Imperial Cruisers, to tge desecrated throne rooms of Chaos.
  • Everything is large, beefy, and sticks to 40k very well. People already invested in the background and game will progress at a snails pace, as we will be distracted by everything.
  • Left mouse uses the weapon in your character’s left hand, Right mouse uses the weapon in your character’s right hand. Rather cool mechanic.
  • All abilities have a cooldown… No spamminh your “3” key like most MMOs. This will likely annoy WoW diehards. This pleases me.
  • Melee combos – dual weilding gives new moves
  • There is sprinting.
  • “Guilds” will be present.
  • Team/party/squad size is 5
  • “Raid” size is 50… subject to change.
  • Ranged weapons have infinite ammo, but there is reloading, overheating, venting, and reloading.
  • Weapons rarely get to take full advantage of their range when inside… lots of cover and turning corners, it’s very dynamic.
  • Hero classes are possible, unlocked once you get a character high enoigh level.Hero classes will begin at higher level…
    • Imperium: Grey Knight
    • Chaos: Chaos Sorcerer
    • Ork: ‘Ard boy or Weird boy
    • Eldar: Farseer
  • Likely 40.

A player progressing as a marine will do so as follows:

Lv. 0: an adept, think a marine wearing just carapace armor.
Lv. 10: more or less a scout.
Lv. 20: equipped like the marine character in th sm codex… forgot his name.
Lv. 30: a standard marine
Lv. 40 honor guard or Sergeant, some decoration
Lv. 50 sternguard, maybe captain.
Lv. 60 artificer armor, iron halos, the whole sha-bang.

Grey knight fits in fairly well at around 40.

Other classes progress similarly.

Misc. Notes

  • Tech priest are very, very pure adeptus mechamicus themed…Backpacks with a robot arm.
  • A cover system is implemented.Waist high cover and standing cover.
  • Cross platform is very possible.
  • Shooting mechanics will have aim assist
  • Similarly, melee attacks will lock on.
  • Abilities work similar to Warhammer Online. A common resource, then each class has a unique resource used with abilities.
  • Weapons inxrease in “coolness” as far as progression is concerned.
  • A lv. 1 autogun may be it’s familiar form in necromunda and early IG… by lv 60, sone autoguns look cool enough for inquisitors to be using, lathered in fancy trim, aquilas, etc.
  • Same goes for other weapons…. think Call of Duty, as you unlock the various weapon upgrades, you guns start looking cooler.

Each class has 3 specialties.

  • Marine: Tactical, Devastator, Assault
  • Assassin/guardsman: the major assassin type, callidus, vindicare, eversor (however you spell it)
  • The Marine is by far the most flushed out.
  • most abilities are still very WIP.
  • Jump packs- not sure how they’ll work
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A Psychopath In SWTOR

I recently read Jon Ronson’s The Psycopath Test after attending UnCon 2011 where he gave a talk on the subject; I can highly recommend it – it’s interesting and entertaining but also slightly disturbing.

I mention this because last weekend I was levelling up my Jedi Knight when I came to an area where there were too many people all running around trying to do the same quest. Rather than hang around for them to finish and read their inane chatter I jumped onto my Bounty Hunter.
As I was levelling up and taking out more and more people it began to dawn on me that I was actually enjoying being a really evil darkside mofo.
It also began to dawn on me that this might be an indication that there is a psychopath hidden inside, biding his time, waiting to get out.

There is a psychopathy check-list drawn up by Robert Hare (the main subject of The Psychopath Test) which, when administered by a qualified clinician, gives an indication of whether a person can be diagnosed as a psychopath or not.
I don’t consider myself qualified to use this check-list correctly and it would be very dangerous to take this seriously (especially for my future well-being) but my alter-ego seems to score very highly in the Factor 1: Personality “Aggressive narcissism” category.

Still, it’s only pretend, isn’t it?
There’s probably a study been made by a Zachary Hosenbugler of the Maydup University somewhere in the US that proves we’re all psychos.

Do you choose your responses based on the Dark/Light side awards or do you ignore them and respond as you think appropriate?

Have a look at this – it made my day – Pingu: The Thing

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WAR – Just The Same Old Bollocks

MMORPG published an interview with James Casey – shame he can’t be arsed to talk to the playerbase directly – Interview – there’s no indication of when it took place.

Bear in mind that Mythic find it very convenient to talk about Warhammer Online as a catch all, they can then talk about WAR and WOH in the same breath. This makes it look as though all the work on WOH also applies to WAR – this is a load of shite as we all know.

So what does James tell us apart from the same old “there are things to come”

He passively absorbs feedback via the forums and blogs – the Bioware and Warhammer Alliance forums must make for difficult reading nowadays and just how many WAR bloggers are there left?
Mythic continue to look at the subscription model to see how it will benefit both Mythic and the players – just how long can Mythic continue to gouge it’s subscribers to support WOH and how long will the players put up with it.
What can we look forward to in 2012 – 1.4.5 with Govrod Caverns, Relics and Fortresses, T7 armour and the return of Ironclad and things he can’t tell us about.
So it’s all just the reintroduction of old features with the addition of the Relic mechanic and a bit of cosmetic fluff.
I seem to remember Sylvania (Vampire Counts) was once hinted at but seems to have disappeared and what about the bleedin’ WAR website?

So it’s just the same old guff they’ve been feeding us with all through 2011.

Community reaction can be found here MMORPG Article

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I Snogged My Companion

My Jedi Knight’s female companion had been showing increased affection for some while now and during a quiet moment in the spaceship she asked why Jedi can’t have fun.
As I saw it I could answer the question in 3 ways –
Meh
Flirt
Kiss
I chose the latter expecting a polite rebuff but – the clench was on.
So where is it all going to end?
Will we settle down and raise lots of little evil Jedi?
Will she run off with a Wookie?
Will she die in a heart wrenching way?
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment.

I now have this hideous vision of thousands of solitary gamers power levelling a Jedi Knight to get to this point – possibly disrobing their companion for added effect – weapon in hand.
/shudder

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2011 – What A Shite Year That Was

If I were to put 2011 on a graph it would look like a ski jump.

In February my wife’s mother died – in March my dad died – in between those two my dog died and this week my wife’s cat died; not to mention the rabbit being killed by a fox.

On the gaming side – I finally removed my Warhammer Online blinkers, briefly played Space Marine, toured Skyrim and started the SWTOR saga.

Warhammer Online – Mythic put a few more nails in the WAR coffin.
To try to reignite interest in WAR Mythic invited several bloggers to an update meeting then slapped an NDA on them. What was the point? All they got to tell us was more “good things round the corner” bollocks.
They also published a photo of all those, supposedly, working on Warhammer Online but neglected to tell us that the vast majority were working on a side project called – Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes – a little disingenuous methinks.
So WAR was left to flounder while Mythic developed a play4free game for their EA overlords; they also took to the stage to slag-off MMOs and tell us how boring WAR is.
WAR now has minimum development and very little support – while Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot get a nice polish – not really acceptable for a premium price MMO.
The final nail, for me, was James Casey telling us that he couldn’t get the reintroduction of the Forts online this year because his test server was faulty!
They really must be on the bones of their arses or they just can’t be arsed either way they’ve made a complete arse of a game that a ready-made and loyal Warhammer following had a lot of hopes for.

Space Marine – A bit of a disappointing console port.
THQ captured the feel and atmosphere of the 40k universe but it was over all too soon. Shooting multiple orcs with exploding shells felt good but got a little repetitive with no way of escaping the standard corridor-run storyline. I was hoping for an expansion with a new story but it wasn’t to be – not this year anyhow.

Skyrim – The long-awaited sequel to Oblivion.
The game that spawned a thousand arrow to the knee jokes >–()–> and YouTube mod videos.
I’m still playing this but taking down dragons is getting to be a bit of a bind now. The stories are well crafted and I can’t get enough of the underground/dungeon type crawls. It’ll be quite some time before I get everywhere in Skyrim and by then there’ll be an expansion to keep me going – a mod to get rid of the bratty-yank kid voices would be nice too.

SWTOR – The long-awaited MMO from Bioware.
Star Wars has a ready-made following (like WAR) and it would take an act of gross incompetence to make a failure of this game.
The launch was fairly painless and has settled down nicely. There are some excellent innovations especially around the companion/crafting mechanic and, despite being a bit simplistic, the space battles are a nice diversion.
It all feels slick and very well produced and I’m sure it will be a great success – as long as they keep Carrie Gouskos away from it.

So what’s in  store for 2012 –

Legend Of Grimrock – I have many fond memories of playing the Dungeon Master and Wizardry series and I’m really looking forward to this dungeon crawl. There’s even going to be an option to automap – no more graph paper – I’ve still got my original DM maps somewhere.

Dark Millenium – Not a great deal of information on this 40k based MMO from THQ. It’s due for release in 2013 but I would expect beta testing to start sometime in 2012.

In the meantime I’ll be immersing myself in the Star Wars saga and continuing with Skyrim, I may even get around to a few of the many Steam games I bought in the December sales – my son is recommending Metro 2033.

My New Year resolution is to spend less time at work and more time playing games and my New Year wish is for Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning to be bought out by an independent and given the love it deserves.

See you in 2012

Posted in Dark Millenium, General, Grimrock, Skyrim, Space Marine, SWTOR, WAR, Wrath of Heroes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments