Posted in Fallen Earth

Fallen Earth: Knives of the apocalypse

After a crazy busy month in which I’ve only been able to give Fallen Earth the passing time of day, I’ve managed to enjoy some lengthier play sessions in the wasteland.

And yeah, I’m STILL at Midway. I keep thinking I’m done there, and then I find more quests and have some more crafting to do and need to scavenge mats for said crafting… it feels like it never ends. There’s like seven (I think) starter towns, and by gum, I’m going to do them all.

It’s all still a re-learning process in which I keep making stupid errors or find myself flummoxed until I figure out the answer. For example, the other day I wanted to trade up my starter fireman axe for a pair of swanky skinning knives. I’m not melee, but I like having that backup in case I want to save on ammo or run out. But the second I started fighting with my knives, I realized I was doing practically no damage to mobs.

I nearly died before I could change over to my rifle and get some breathing room. After that came some evaluation — what’s going on here? What I didn’t realize is that all of the starter gear (which is fairly decent) has incredibly low stat requirements. The knives, on the other hand, required some investment into the melee skill to be effective. Some AP spent there, and bingo, I’ve got workable dual knives.

One factor that’s really upped my interest level is the fact that I finally found a great clan. It’s perfect for me — chatty, supportive, and not so big that you get lost in the crowd. They’ve been tolerating my silly questions, and we’ve enjoyed getting to know each other as newfound friends. Our clan leader even said that Fallen Earth was her very first MMORPG, which is probably not something most people could lay claim to.

Posted in Elder Scrolls Online

ESO: Rift wrap-up

This is apropos of nothing, but I think Elder Scrolls Online is the MMO where I see the most guild recruit messages, period. Some MMOs? It’s almost impossible to find a guild. Here, you’re stumbling over them left and right — and you can join multiple guilds, if you desire. It always makes the game feel like it’s hopping.

Anywhodiddle, after a month spent slowly but surely working my way through The Rift, I finally finished up the zone. It was fine-to-good, I’d say. Generally lovely outdoor scenery, but too many quests that were obsessed with the “Worm Cult” that, to my knowledge, never once did anything with a worm. That’s disappointing. If there was a time to summon giant Tremors-like worms, this would be it.

But as I said, it was not a waste from a tourist perspective. I liked poking around the various delves, above and beyond for skyshards and bosses, even if all I was usually rewarded with was eye candy.

Such as this poor sap that got suckered into the worst job ever and then died doing it, leaving his skeleton to keep up the task.

In any case, it’s on to Western Skyrim. That’s a zone I’ve partially done before, but not to completion. I will probably pick up the other Greymoor DLC pack so that I can experience the full storyline, but maybe not until the new year.

Posted in Gaming Goals

Syp’s gaming goals for December 2021

November 2021 in review

  • Can’t believe that we’re already turning into the final month of the year, but here we are! Overall, it was a solid (if not overly exciting) month of steady gaming.
  • The MMO I spent the most time on this month was Lord of the Rings Online on the Treebeard server. My Minstrel rocketed up to near-50 while chewing through all but the last handful of zones in Shadows of Angmar. Lots of questing and deeding — perhaps too much, if we’re being honest, because I started to lose some steam for it by the end of the month.
  • It took me a whole month, but I got through Elder Scrolls Online’s The Rift zone and then transitioned into adventuring through Western Skyrim. It was always a good time, playing this, it’s just that I didn’t put in as much as I was hoping.
  • And while I was extremely pleased to get Fallen Earth back, I only had time to do all of the quests in a single starter town (Midway) while doing some other stuff, like crafting a horse, to set up my character.
  • I wrapped up a Wildermyth campaign, which was pretty darn cool!

December 2021 gaming goals

  • I think I’m more or less on track for getting most of Shadows of Angmar done in LOTRO, including the epic story, but I’m not 100% sure I’ll finish it by the end of the year. That said, I’m going to try while hitting level 50 and wrapping up some much-needed class deeds. I’m also going to be doing some side work leveling up my Captain on Landroval, see if I can start getting her closer to Gundabad. Currently she’s in the middle of Minas Morgul.
  • Western Skyrim is in my sights in Elder Scrolls Online — continuing with this Nord theme! — and getting that single zone done is my minimum for the month.
  • I want to move on to a second starter city in Fallen Earth and complete it as well.
  • Apart from that, I’m chewing on some other possibilities for the month, including SWTOR, RIFT, or maaaaybe WoW Classic depending on what happens with Blizzard. There aren’t any other big end-of-year releases that I deem a “must play,” so I think I’m going to cruise into 2022 more or less as I am now.
Posted in Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO: The Angmar wall of doom

One thing you definitely realize when you go back through LOTRO’s Shadows of Angmar content is how incredibly uneven the zones are. It’s not terrible, mind you, but they do vary wildly in what they offer. Evendim, for example, had scads and scads of quests (being a post-launch zone added to fill out a level range), while Trollshaws offers only a handful. Trollshaws questing is so meager, in fact, that you’ll probably have to go with some of the dailies just to make it through the deed.

But hey, at least it is a GORGEOUS zone even still today. I love the autumnal vibe.

Misty Mountains is strange in that there are relatively few slayer deeds — just four! — but a whole ton of explorer ones. I usually love explorer deeds, but in this zone it meant an extended excursion in Goblin-town, which is my least favorite cavern space ever. At least there are some very helpful maps online to get you through the two deeds in a timely fashion.

Then I came upon — dun dun DUNNNN — Angmar. Now, up until this point on my Treebeard journey, I’ve been pretty dedicated to deeding my way up to the meta deed of every zone. But I just don’t think I can do it with Angmar. I did the questing deed, but I could feel my energy and enthusiasm sapping pretty quickly afterward. I didn’t want to spend over a week grinding mobs and trying to find vista points in this hard-to-navigate space.

The good news is that I really didn’t *need* to for any advancement. I was already level 47 and still had a few other zones from which to pick (Forochel, Wildwood, Evendim). I didn’t need any more LOTRO points (heck, I just bought two more wardrobe expansions to increase my account-wide cosmetic slots to 300), and I certainly didn’t need a ton more virtue XP. So I feel that it’s OK to skip Angmar, maybe leaving it there for some easy deeding in the future when I’m vastly overleveled.

It’s just a wall of a zone that usually breaks me, and I’m not going to let it this time.

Posted in RIFT

Is there a tiny shred of hope for RIFT after all?

The last time I wrote about RIFT, it was to say a mental goodbye to a game that I figured was on its very last legs, being run by a company that was no longer promoting it or developing for it. But since then, two things of note have happened:

First, the game didn’t shut down as a lot of us were expecting. I mean, it still may. But after the layoffs this past spring and Gamigo shuttering Defiance, we all figured that was it. Yet it didn’t happen — it’s still running.

Second, in a recent investor report by Gamigo parent company MGI, an announcement was made about RIFT having “a first great update” in the first quarter of 2022. This raised ALL the eyebrows, not just because no further details were given, but because RIFT was mentioned at all and in a positive way. So now we have a ton of questions, such as

  • Is Gamigo smarting from its loss of ArcheAge and investing more into its other MMOs?
  • What does this update contain?
  • Who’s actually developing it, as they laid off pretty much all of the devs (to my knowledge)?

One YouTuber speculated that this may even be a fresh start server or scenario for the game, although I can’t quite make this work in my head. If RIFT was to get an actual fresh start, it’d need to be with a new company and an established dev team.

But hey, new content is new content… and a very tiny sliver of hope where none was to be found previously. I’m not going to make much of it, other than keeping an eye on it and wishing RIFT the best. I’d love to one day come back to the game, but that’s only going to happen if I sense that there’s an actual future in it.

Posted in WildStar

6 reasons why it’s high time WildStar was resurrected

I don’t know if you realize this, but this weekend marks a sad anniversary for some of us in the MMORPG community — it’s the third anniversary since WildStar was shut down by NCsoft. This happened back on November 28, 2018, and a lot of us are still feeling the aftershocks of this even three years later.

Again, boilerplate disclaimer applies whenever we talk about WildStar: This wasn’t a perfect game. I know that. Carbine was a bit of a mess. I know that too. But it was a game that I loved dearly and miss quite a lot.

While I suppose there are only so many of these “boo hoo I’m sad my game is gone” posts that can be written before there’s nothing else to say on the subject and my readers are annoyed that I keep bringing it up, I want to go beyond a residual regret to lay out a quick case for why it’s actually a great time to bring back this MMO.

1. It’s a solid product that’s generating zero revenue for NCsoft. Even if you’re not going to commit to forming a development team to continue expanding a game, it’s not too difficult to hire a few people to maintain some servers and keep it in maintenance mode while you rake in some extra cash.

2. NCsoft would generate a nice amount of publicity and goodwill by bringing the game back — or handing it off to the community or another developer to handle. Again, WildStar is doing nothing for the company right now. A free shot of PR isn’t a bad thing.

3. MMO players are starving for good releases. Just look at how popular New World’s proven to be this year as the first really big launch we’ve had on the level of WildStar and Guild Wars 2. And with so many disaffected WoW and Blizzard players out there, WildStar’s colorful world and ex-Blizzard developer design might hit the spot.

4. WildStar’s built up some solid word-of-mouth recommendations in the past few years, creating more interest in a potential future community of players. Sometimes games — like TV shows or movies — need some time to find their footing and audience.

5. People can’t stop talking about WildStar. It’s weird, because it HAS been three years. There’s been no peep from NCsoft on this property. But as one observer noted on Twitter:

6. In 2021, we certainly see that MMO players are very open to titles being brought back from the dead as official games (Fallen Earth), emulators (City of Heroes), or legacy versions (WoW Classic). Players aren’t just looking forward for their entertainment — they’re looking back in time as well.

So what do you think? Is it high time that WildStar defies its own death and emerges back into the MMO space?

Posted in Fallen Earth

Fallen Earth: Crafting crafty horses

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving! Have I told you that I’m thankful for YOU for reading all of my weird ramblings? Thanks for letting me be a part of your day, because I enjoy putting these posts out there for entertainment and maybe a little bit of information.

I’m also thankful that in 2021, we have Fallen Earth back. I won’t lie — time has been so limited this month and my attention so drawn to LOTRO that I haven’t been able to really dive deep into this game as I want to. But I am happy that I can jump in a few times a week to saddle up, explore the wasteland, and work on quests and crafting.

Speaking of saddles, one of my early goals for this character was to upgrade her transportation. Initially, the game gives you an “Old Nag” horse that’s pretty awful, all things considered. It has low stamina (fuel), and when that runs out, your horse isn’t useful for much.

While a lot of other people like to put themselves through hell trying to create an ATV or motorcycle, I agree with the camp that says “horses are better.” Sure, you get them in all fantasy MMOs, but they absolutely rock in Fallen Earth. Not only do they fit the western motif very well, but they’re relatively easy to make better versions — and cheap to feed and operate. I “crafted” a horse and then upgraded it to a riding horse with much better stamina and — yay — a larger inventory. I love being able to load the beast up with extra ammo and other stuff I don’t want counted against my inventory weight.

And there’s the world-famous Fallen Earth sunset. It’s worth waiting for just the right angle of the setting sun to grab that screenshot.

Posted in Elder Scrolls Online

ESO: Nightmares and dreamscapes

Despite having my aspirations of werewolfdom dashed, my fun continued apace as I adventured more through The Rift in Elder Scrolls Online. My meandering, lackadaisical pace has meant that this zone’s taken longer than I anticipated (tilting my head toward LOTRO to take the blame for this), but it’s about come to an end.

Playing ESO always feels like I’m reading a book of short stories. You never quite know what you’re in for when you accept certain quest arcs, and I enjoy being pleasantly surprised when I make one assumption and the quest goes a different direction.

For example, I thought I was in for a trip through a haunted island when I encountered some strange weather and roaming skeletons (which would’ve been fine, for the record). But this turned into a tale about a bardic song that put everyone here to sleep and woke up a whole bunch of nightmares. The small quest arc concerns itself with finding and performing the song to undo the enchantment. Neat.

Probably one of the most nail-biting moments I’ve had in ESO lately was in a different quest, where, to progress, we had to unlock a door. And to unlock it, a living person had to touch a stone and die. The quest gives you a choice between a female soldier who’s the last of her squad or a captive villager who had fought for the bad guys. I thought, no contest — I’m going to trick the traitor into touching the stone on the pretext that I’m busting him out of there.

But as you escort him to the stone, he starts talking about how he regrets getting wrapped up in all of this and can’t wait to go back home to his daughters. The quest lays this on thick, as the guy keeps going on and on about his kids. By the time he gets near the stone, this is no longer an easy choice, eh? And the quest gives you another chance to change your mind.

I mean, these are NPCs I’ll never see again after this quest and the choice doesn’t ultimately matter in terms of gameplay, but by humanizing both characters and making the player select the sacrifice, it turns into a gut-wrenching decision.

I’ve found that a lot of the world bosses in this zone can be soloed, albeit slowly, which I appreciate when a group can’t be found. Here I am tackling a angry spirit who really needs to simmer down.

Posted in Music, Podcast

Battle Bards Episode 205: Love is in the air

Battle Bards Episode 205: Love is in the air Battle Bards

They might not be the most naturally romantic crew at heart, but the Battle Bards have been known to get, er, swoony when love is professed and crushes confessed. In the spirit of love and romance, Steff, Syl, and Syp explore romantic themes in MMORPG soundtracks to see if they can figure out what the heart really wants! Episode 205 show notes (show page, direct download) Intro (feat. "Lana, the Advisor" from SWTOR, "Origa, Beautiful" from Aion, "Tieve's Theme" from Vindictus, and "Chapel of Love" from EverQuest II) "Endless Affection" from Rohan Online  "Votan Romance" from Defiance "And Love You Shall Find" from FFXIV "Happily Ever After" from FFXI  "Love Story" from RuneScape "Waltz in the Forest" from Aion "Romeo and Juliet" from Mabinogi Which one did we like best? Listener notes from Katriana Jukebox Picks: "FFXIV Remix Medley" by Calico, "Side-Crawler's Dance" from Wonder Boy III (SMS), and "Main Theme" from Square-Enix's Guardians of the Galaxy Outro (feat. "Valentione's Day" FFXIV) Talk to the Battle Bards on Twitter! Follow Battle Bards on iTunes, Stitcher, Player.FM, Google Play, iHeartRadio, and Pocket Casts! This podcast is produced using copyrighted material according to Fair Use practices as stated under Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act.
  1. Battle Bards Episode 205: Love is in the air
  2. Battle Bards Episode 204: New World
  3. Battle Bards Episode 203: The music of mobile MMOs

They might not be the most naturally romantic crew at heart, but the Battle Bards have been known to get, er, swoony when love is professed and crushes confessed. In the spirit of love and romance, Steff, Syl, and Syp explore romantic themes in MMORPG soundtracks to see if they can figure out what the heart really wants!

Episode 205 show notes (show pagedirect download)

  • Intro (feat. “Lana, the Advisor” from SWTOR, “Origa, Beautiful” from Aion, “Tieve’s Theme” from Vindictus, and “Chapel of Love from EverQuest II)
  • “Endless Affection” from Rohan Online 

  • “Votan Romance” from Defiance

  • “And Love You Shall Find” from FFXIV

  • “Happily Ever After” from FFXI 

  • “Love Story” from RuneScape

  • “Waltz in the Forest” from Aion

  • “Romeo and Juliet” from Mabinogi

  • Which one did we like best?

  • Listener notes from Katriana

  • Jukebox Picks: “FFXIV Remix Medley” by Calico, “Side-Crawler’s Dance” from Wonder Boy III (SMS), and “Main Theme” from Square-Enix’s Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Outro (feat. “Valentione’s Day” FFXIV)