Thursday, 14 April 2011

A mixture of gaming things and a loss of freedom

The last week or so have been a rather mixed bag on the gaming front for me. I’ve done a few dungeons in RIFT and started levelling a Mage, both of which have been good fun. I’ve also had a go on the free trial for Darkfall, which was uhm, interesting… and I’ve been playing Minecraft on the new Kill Frenzy private server, which has been epic.
So firstly, RIFT… For now I have completely given up with open-world PvP at level 50. There’s nothing organised and when we tried to prompt some, unfortunately no enemy guild would gather up to fight us, even when KF was standing outside the enemy capital city shouting challenges... There is of course the opportunity to roam around ganking people, but meh there’s no goal to it other than griefing, which aint my thing. I am dabbling a little with the warfronts (scenarios) and they’re fine, but no different to any other game really and as I’ve said many times before, I’m not that interested in instanced PvP.
Whenever I’ve had some reliable online time and a group of guildies available, I have been doing the expert mode dungeons. The dungeons in RIFT are great and with very few exceptions are well paced, balanced, visually impressive and atmospheric. I’ve not done much in the way of the raid or expert Rifts yet, but am looking forward to that. When logged in to RIFT but not doing dungeons, I’ve been levelling my mage. I played a Mage in beta quite a bit and was sorely tempted by one at launch, though for various reasons (mainly Riftstalker) I went with the Rogue. No regrets there, the Rogue is thoroughly entertaining, but the Mage is great fun too. I couldn’t list what’s changed, but it feels like its seen some good tweaking since beta. It’s early days for my Mage and I’m only using 2 different roles at the moment:
Chloro is pretty good healer with its healing primarily linked to the damage it does. Elementalist is a pet based DPS soul and Warlock is the usual heal draining nuker. This has combined to give me an un-killable pet, reasonable damage and has made levelling even more of a breeze than normal. I plan on playing Chloro in dungeons as much as possible.
I’ve mostly been using this for PvP in warfronts. Stormcaller is, as the name suggests, themed around lightning and the power of storms. It is a heavy AoE, nuking soul of awesome. I really like this one, lots and lots of ZAAAAAAAP! That said, I don’t think its quite as powerful as Pyromancer, but it has lightning graphics so it automatically wins. The third soul I’ve yet to decide upon, may just opt for the PvP soul.
So pretty much status quo for me in RIFT, the PvP remains very average, but I am enjoying the PvE enough to be more than happy with my subs fee for the foreseeable future (got a 3 month sub).
Now what about Darkfall then? Hmmmm. I must admit I have only played it very briefly and have barely scratched the surface, but a few things instantly stand out. Firstly, the graphics are not up to scratch for a modern MMO, in fact they’re fairly poor. Not so bad they’re deal breaking, but dated and a distraction. The game makes you spend a lot of time looking at your character’s back (which takes up too much of the screen), so it’s a real shame that they look so crap. Still graphics are not the be all and end all, as Minecraft demonstrates with the utmost finesse, more on that later.
The next big issue with Darkfall is the control system. It’s terrible. One of those systems where a right click turns the mouse cursor on for clicking round the UI, yeah one of those lol. I’ve not looked too hard, but I’ve not yet found how you mouselook without turning your character, obviously it must be possible because otherwise that would be completely retarded… On top of that, movement feels clunky, cheap and a bit rubbish.
Oh and then there was a lame player killing attempt on me within the first 10 minutes that was so dumb it was comedy. For your first hour on a new character you are immune to attacks from other players, which is cool and all, but it doesn’t stop a fully geared up dude following me around spamming attacks waiting for the time to run out. It also didn’t stop me just logging out a few minutes before the timer ran out to go make some dinner, which I did with a warm glow knowing I had wasted a retard’s time for 45 minutes as he had followed me around the entire time like a moronic angry puppy. Twat.
Yet despite these things giving an pretty poor first impression, the game has intrigued me a little bit. I did like the way the mobs behaved, their AI wasn’t exactly revolutionary, but they certainly take a bit more effort to kill than in other MMOs. They were also aggressive from much father away, their line of sight seeming to actually be far more than the usual 2 metres…
The thing is though, whilst I say I am intrigued by it and I genuinely am, I’m not hugely tempted to log in and play the free trial further. Which puzzles me somewhat… I do like the idea of the game, the old school concept is exactly my sort of thing and normally I can live with bad graphics in return for gameplay, but something isn’t clicking here. I’ve got another week or so left on this trial, but I just can’t be arsed. Hmmm that probably works quite well as a summary: “I can’t be arsed with Darkfall”.
Finally, Minecraft. Oh Minecraft, how I love thee.
Like most people I’ve been playing the game single player for ages and it’s beyond brilliant. Now however we have a Kill Frenzy private server running and it has been proper epic fun. I had started digging out a mine shaft below my home when I burst through into a series of caverns, which isn’t that unusual, however these ones have proven to be absolutely monstrous in scale and complexity. We’ve had groups of us exploring the caves and battling loads of monsters, it’s proving to be an epic task. Every time we think we’ve got the place lit up and stopped the monsters spawning, a bloody Creeper appears and we discover another series of tunnels and caverns. Quite a few of us have on numerous occasions got horribly lost and needed rescuing… It’s going to take a long time to get it all explored, let alone marked up and made safe.  Awesome. Pure, undiluted, awesome.
And this has made absolutely clear another of the big things I am missing in modern MMOs: exploring. Proper exploring, not the guide me by the hand through point A, B, C quest chaining that the post WoW generation has brought us. I mean proper, wild world, where any direction can bring you something new to look at, fight or harvest and without zone boundaries after 5 minutes in one direction. Quests in MMOs were a good idea, but its gone too far. PvE wise now the quest is everything and all freedom of thought is not encouraged. You WILL kill 10 rats HERE and then you WILL kill 10 sheep THERE!
I’m not entirely sure what the solution is, because clearly the games that offer more freedom do not get the financial backing they need. Wurm Online, Darkfall, etc are comparatively low budget niche games and presentation wise are a million miles away from the WoW and RIFTs of the gaming world. The fact that all the big funding goes to the latter types says everything about what’s considered a safe investment. Surely though a safe compromise is possible? Minecraft MMO?


  1. FWIW, Fallen Earth had more exploring than most MMOs (see the tower in the distance, go check it out, find a random quest or special gathering nodes), but the PvP is largely instanced. There are open world "conflict towns" where everyone is auto-flagged pvp, but it can be a grief-fest too.

    The quests were actually interesting, and each town felt like it had something to say or reveal. In other words, it wasn't always just kill ten rats because I say so; often it was kill the terror rat to stop the rat raids on our little town. Small difference, but it's especially noticeable over time. Controls tend more toward DDO (left click - left hand attack, right click - right hand attack), and the stat/skill/mutation system allows pretty diverse characters.

    Bottom line, I enjoyed my time in the game, and if I could afford the sub, I'd probably still be playing it.

  2. Been playing a bit of war myself thanks to the free welcome back days and boy its crap. Die constantly within 2 secs, not many people on and only premades in SCs.

    Managed to activate the wrong account so ig ot my rr55 WL.

    Luckily i dont pay anything for the subscription or id been properly pissed at the state of the game.

  3. Next patch is the one that counts Daevas, the supposed nerf of god mode. We'll see...

  4. Thought that cancelled the changes to armor due to the outcry. Hopefully im wrong, logged in on my White Lion and go smushed in 2 secs, thats 8.2k hp on that one.

    Even worse.. a magus (MAGUS) killed me in less then 5 secs.....

    think thats the lowpoint in my career ill have to be honest.

  5. I just resubbed to WAR this morning. Me and my mates couldnt resist after hearing of 1.4.2, even if the patch still isnt live :)

    We are going to play on the lower tiers though, until 1.4.2 comes.

    There are a few games that you really cant stay away from how bad they are, for me those games a SWG and WAR. I think im a sandbox junkie :)

  6. Maladorn - Fallen Earth is one I've considered but I just can't get excited about it enough to try. I'm not a big fan of post-apocalyptic games, not sure why but the whole theme just doesn't inspire me. I got bored of Fallout 3 because of that.

    Tootzi - I will probably resub next month to try the patch out, but not before it's live.

  7. Seems i was somewhat right sadly up, read the patch notes thats on PTS and no mentioning about nerfing DF/WF armors.

    That is as of yet, hopefully it will come.

  8. Ahh noticed they snuck it in, my bad... well it seems they will nerf it.


  9. Boot's,
    If you haven't heard, the new Rift patch looks promising for Rogues. Also they are planning on adding more PvP gameplay! ( ) Tbh i am starting to like Rift more & more after a minor letdown.

    It is atleast better then most other MMO's out there. Dungeons are atleast very challeging and Lowtwo joined a Greenscale Raid yesterday and said it was massive fun!

  10. Hail Bootae!

    Send me your email address mate. I have a request.

    Cheers, T (

  11. Quote - It also didn’t stop me just logging out a few minutes before the timer ran out to go make some dinner, which I did with a warm glow knowing I had wasted a retard’s time for 45 minutes as he had followed me around the entire time like a moronic angry puppy. Twat. - Quote

    I think i pissed my pants there boss


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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.