Play Hard

dancepartyI haven’t written recently on what I’ve been playing, mostly because I’ve been scattered all over the map in terms of gaming in August, and because I don’t like to write about my gameplay unless there’s something interesting to report.  The following isn’t terribly interesting, but it is an update, so feel free to ignore and skip on by.

DDO

I’m in a bit of a holding pattern with DDO, since the “re-launch” of DDO:EU is in less than a week and a half (Sept 1 for subscribers, a week later for the rest of the world).  I’ve heard nothing but good things about the improved features and performance of the new version of the game, and am looking forward to poking around the DDO store as well.

That said, I did get in the game last night and ran a couple dungeons with a pick-up group.  I actually fear PUGs in DDO less than most games, since it’s pretty standard to be in one, and the community is small enough that you can get a reputation quickly for being either an idiot, clueless or a combination of the two.  As we waited on a 6th member of the team, we broke out into an impromptu dance party (as evidenced in the picture there).  This is notable only because DDO has, by far, the worst dancing animations of any MMO I’ve ever seen, and that is saying something.  Because it’s well known that our chicken-jerk flailings is so terrible, many folks can’t restrain themselves from unleashing it on the public.

My bard, Fiddyment, is level 8, so I feel like I’m making progress.  I’m only 560/1750 for the 32-point unlock, so that’s not coming for quite some time, and that means I’m going to put a hold on alts until then.  Alas.  Good thing I like my little halfling machine-gun crossbow user!

I will say this: I am not bored with the game, and don’t see myself becoming such for a very long time.  When I’m in the mood to run group dungeons, DDO is my preference of choice — it’s always interesting, the different group makeups change the dynamics of each run, and I think I prefer getting all my loot from chests than mobs.  It’s kind of a psychological thing, but I’m always wondering what the next chest might hold, and I’ve never done that for a dead mob.

If you’re thinking of checking out DDO in September, a word of advice: you have to devote yourself to getting to know the game.  This is not a great game upon first impressions, and it takes a bit to understand it, get into the groove, and progress enough so that your options really open up.  Devote a couple weeks to it without getting easily frustrated, and you might just see how it grows on you.

Champions Online

Wasn’t really planning on going into the open beta, but I’m still trying to figure out what’s up with my lackluster framerate.  I had a bit of fun making Mr. Pebbles, a nightmarish clown-thing, but his whole experience so far has been hidden by the advanced graphics option screen.

Magic Online

Following GenCon, I got bit by the “must go back and try out Magic again” bug pretty hard.  I re-downloaded the client, confirmed that pauper games (all commons — i.e., cheap cards) are thriving, and was pleased to see the interface improved somewhat from a year or so ago.  I haven’t actually played a match yet; the bulk of my time is spent shopping around for every black commons I don’t already have — I like to run black mono decks for simplicity and fun, and I know that an all-rats deck is in my near future.

5 thoughts on “Play Hard

  1. hey syp just thought i’d let ya know I’m in the champions beta as well and i have a pretty damn fast computer but i was having some pretty slow framerate issues myself. If you go to the options screen and click the video tab you can then click on a small button to show advanced graphic options. The beta by default has a ton of options on that not only make the graphics of the game kinda ugly in my opinion but also hog resources. turn off things like post processing effects and small particle effects and it will drastically increase framerates. I also kicked anti- aliasing off cause it makes everything blurry instead of sharp and crisp.

    The nice thing is if you highlight any graphic option with your mouse this game does tell you exactly what that option does and wether or not you will see increased performance from turning it off.

  2. Huh, I may actually get back into MTGO for the pauper format as well. I thought I never would, but I’ve been playing a few MTG games with my son, and it’s been fun.

  3. Syp plays Magic Online? That’s enough to get me back into it. I haven’t stepped back in since Time Spiral. I wonder if I can get my old kamigawa cards back….

  4. On Champions and framerate performance:

    I mentioned on Twitter that I wasn’t having troubles with my GTX 260 in Champions, but then I thought hmm, maybe I’m doing okay but it could be better?

    So I took a good look at it on my gf’s machine and her’s seemed to be performing slightly better than mine on a lesser card (she has an 8800 GT). Especially with the shadows, she has them cranked all the way up.

    Partially why it’s running okay for me is early on I turned the shadows way down because visually they weren’t working for me in this game. Checking now, that’s also a big change in FPS.

    Part of this I suspect is that it’s a DX9 game and mine is a DX10.1 card. The shader model features on the card could still be used, but they would have to code them directly (some games do, for instance Valve’s HL2 / Source games, Unreal Tournament 3, etc.).

    The shorter answer: They could support these cards better.

    Dropping shadows down helps, visually I prefer that with this game anyway, but your mileage may vary.

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