I think most of us are aware of how MMO studios use the most favorable numbers to show how successful their product is (or, more accurately, how successful they want you to think it is).  There’s no set standard, so we’ve seen everything from “subscribers” to “accounts created” to “characters created” to box sales to concurrency records.

But I don’t ever think I’ve seen this, from Perpetuum:

“The Perpetuum team is very glad to announce that in the short month since the game has officially launched, we’ve reached 15.000 months of sold game time.”

I’m assuming that’s 15,000 months with my rebellious imperial measuring, but still — months of sold game time.  That is new.

Syppi the Squirrel

A short Rift vignette:

Toward the end of my play session in Beta 2, I ended up with a curious item that, when used, turned me into a squirrel.  Just like that: Poof, squirrel.  As far as I could tell, there was no rhyme or reason beyond “Hey, it’d be kind of fun to be a squirrel!” behind it, but I took the opportunity and ran with it.

It ended up being a super-long buff (an hour I think?) that would only go away if, as the tooltip said, “You do something a squirrel would not do.”  I guess that includes filing patents or driving a schoolbus without a Class C license.

So after running around super-fast and doing ridiculously cute mid-air jump-rolls, I decided to shadow players like a pet.  I’d just pick a player and scamper along side of them, occasionally saying “chitter!” or “acorn nao!” out loud.  One player tried to shake me off, but most of them put up with me.

I miss being a squirrel.  I need my fix, man!

Squirrel Life: It’s hardcore.

/AFK: Boxing Day Edition

It’s been a nutty weekend for the Syp family, what with traveling and Christmas and two very small kids who were way too overstimulated by the affair.  But now we’re home, and I’m richer by two Star Wars LEGO sets, a Blu-Ray of The Pacific and a zombie origami calendar.

Welcome the return of /AFK, where we take a look at some of the best posts of the previous week!

  • KIASA – Quick Guide to Festival Raids
    “Stage three begins with all those players who have a Lord Jesus copy close-by receiving the Tender Care debuff, at which point those players are instantly killed as they are taken up to heaven to live with Lord Jesus.”
  • Stylish Corpse – Send It To Me
    “In LOTRO, mailing a packet of tissues is going to cost you half a year’s looting pay, mailing armour is going to give you sticker shock, and you can only mail one item at a time.”
  • Kill Ten Rats — Why don’t you want me to play?
    “At the bottom of the form, Just above the submit button, there’s a little bit of text that evaluates how well you’ve filled in the form. It read ‘Very Poor’. I could almost hear the tut and see the look of disapproval.”
  • West Karana — DDO: The Wight at the End of the Tunnel
    “It’s as if Turbine’s quest scripters had come off a weekend binge that included a half dozen Japanese horror movies, stumbled into work on a Monday with their brain cells still crackling, and wrote what they saw when they closed their eyes.”
  • — Saying My Goodbyes to EQ2
    “As a long time veteran player of the game I am absolutely disgusted by the changes that have taken place, and it is very obvious that the game is no longer for me.”

LOTRO: Winter Gear & Christmas Plans

My captain finished up her Yule Festival questing and sided with the richies of the town to get this gorgeous dress.

/checks my manhood… yup, I said “gorgeous dress”.  Guess I will never grow chest hair again.

ANYWAY, if you’re into the cosmetic outfits in LOTRO, the Yule Festival is rife with great pieces — dresses, robes, hats, boots, scarves, cloaks and so on.  I think the winners are definitely the scarves, top hats and this dress.  I dyed the dress and cloak crimson, with the scarf Rivendell Green to make the look to the right there.

I’m still slooooowly poking through Mirkwood content with my captain, and I expect to hit 65 in another week or so.  I really want the elf reputation horse, which means that I have great incentive to quest hard.  Otherwise, there’s not a ton left for her character development — quest through Enedwaith, finish volume 2, start volume 3, round out virtues, maybe gear up a bit more.  For dessert, I may hunt Frodo down, claim the one ring as my own and defeat every other player character in the game until I am the supreme ruler.  With cheese.

That’s okay, because more of my LOTRO attention is turning to my lore-master.  Right now he’s in an epic two-week reputation grind for the Ale Association — I really want that goat.  As you well know, sometimes I get my eye fixated on a big goal that takes a lot of stupid busywork to attain, and somehow I derive enjoyment from that.  In this case, it translates into a two-week schedule of logging in, doing AA quests for an hour while trying to keep my mind off of the fact that I’ve done this for the past eight days.  At least slapping meek dwarves never gets old.

But that goat will be mine.  Oh yes.  And all kind-hearted, beer-drinking dwarves and hobbits will fear my name!

Rift: How many puns can we come up with involving the word “soul”? I’m afraid we will soon find out.

One of the aspects of Rift’s soul system that I wanted to look closer at today are the options that Trion has set up to give players flexibility in their roles.  Let’s take a look at the soul chart that went up on the beta forums this past week:

Sorry it’s so small.  I shrunk it for the Massively guide and forgot to save a bigger version.  Anyway!  Onward and upward!

This was created to be a helpful tip sheet to help players suss out what souls did what, exactly.  The chart divides souls into one of four categories: DPS, Heal, Tank and Enhance (support).  It’s really interesting to see how they’ve divided the roles here.

Warriors are fairly straight-forward, with an almost-equal division between DPS roles (5) and tanking (4).  However, out of the four archetypes, warriors are going to be the most limited in terms of role flexibility — you can only do one of two things, to varying degrees of effectiveness.  That’s just fine for some people, so let’s move on.

The other three archetypes are more striking in that they offer souls in at least three roles.  Clerics have an impressive four DPS roles, three healing ones and one tanking role.  Rogues are mostly DPS (6), but have both an enhance (Bard) and tanking (Riftstalker) role as well.  Likewise, mages majored in DPS (5), but have a couple enhance roles and one healing one.

Combined together, Rift offers 19 DPS souls, 4 healing souls, 6 tanking souls and 3 enhance souls spread across the archetypes.

Once you grasp that you can have up to three souls active at any one time (with varying amounts of soul points invested in each) and multiple saved templates at  your beck and call, the possibilities — and joys! — of this system unfold.

I can indulge in creating a fireball-flinging mage while still creating a healing role if I end up running a dungeon with a group that lacks a healer.

I can make a warrior who tanks with a pet.

I can be that shifty rogue who can splash in a bit of tanking or party buffing.

I can be a healtankdpsadin.

I just really like that the options to experiment and constantly change your builds will be out there.  One of my MMO pet peeves is getting so deep into a character build rut with a high-level toon that you never change what you can do without a major headache.  Here, it’s a daily event.