I just made you say “underwear”

I swear, I think NCsoft created this latest Lineage II promotion solely to be the most mock-worthy event in the universe.  And now I’m going to give it more press, because I simply can’t not mock it.  It begs for it, it does.

Ladies and gentlemen…

Banner_underwearWhere… where do I begin.  I have so, so many questions.  Such as, is underwear in Lineage II a major feature in the game?  Has no one in this universe ever heard of boxers or sports bras?  How does underwear “reveal your true power” unless “power” is some weird slang for seductiveness?  Why include a (cropped) picture of a kid on here AT ALL?  Does that guy have an eight-pack?  Why are these people standing around in their undies as a group?  What does that conversation sound like?  If you have camo underwear, how does that help you hide?  How does this all help the MMO industry not look like it’s solely catering to extremely randy and immature perverts?

Seriously, that kid’s head and presence is freaking me out.

From the desciption: “Lineage II presents the secret to firming up your defenses, giving you the speed boost you need, and enhancing your attributes! Choose from one of five unique and sexy styles of Adenian Underwear—then augment your choice with Adenian Underwear Life Stones!”

OK, more questions.  Who do we pummel for the horrible puns in this sentence?  How does underwear enhance “attributes” unless we’re not talking about stats?  “Augment your choice with stones”?  Are you insulting your character’s avatars by saying that they obviously need to compensate for something?

“The chance of acquiring a special skill when augmenting your underwear is three times greater than normal augmenting.”

Well, OBVIOUSLY this is the case.

Space invaders

privateerOn the most recent Massively Speaking, we fielded a question from a guy who was asking for recommendations of a space MMO that wasn’t PvP-centric like EVE (or, y’know, wasn’t EVE period) but had many of those features: exploration, creation, trading, ship upgrading, and so on.  He ruled out Star Trek Online, and that pretty much left us with our thumbs in our pockets.

The thing is, I would kill for an MMO like that.  I’ve been wanting one for years.  Spaceflight and Privateer were favorites of mine growing up, although even then I recognized that the space sim was not the most popular genre with gamers or the video game industry.  But there was something special about exploration, carving yourself out a niche in the wild frontier of space, landing on planets, and having the freedom to pursue stories, build up wealth, or go on the attack.

In a weird way, I kind of want Fallen Earth in space.  I’d love a rich crafting system, interesting quests, and a world (universe) that was constantly interesting to journey in.  Landing on and exploring planets is a huge must, too.

Maybe it’s that fantasy that scifi fans often have: of being your own captain, raising yourself up by your bootstraps and making something of yourself in the world.

A lot of folks have latched onto Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous as potential saviors in this regard.  I retain my skepticism about Kickstarter projects, but hey, if these actually become a thing, it might scratch that very itch.  There’s also Vendetta Online and Galaxy On Fire – Alliances that are working on mobile MMOs.

Whatever comes to be, I’d especially love it if the creators injected a lot of personality into the ships, races, and worlds.  STO had a good feel to it while EVE always seemed cold and distant.  It wouldn’t have to be uber-stylized, but an attempt to create a place that was interesting and cohesive enough to be compelling is important.

Anyway, I’ll chalk this up to wishes and horses.  It’d be great to get off a planet and go into space some day, especially if PvE is the focus of it all.

RIFT image dump

So this might be the last time you hear me talk about RIFT for a while.  A couple weeks ago I decided that I was at the point where I was ready to give the game another break after spending eight or so months in it.  No big drama here, no huge fallout, just wasn’t feeling it lately and wanted to pare down my “currently playing” selections so I could get more time in with LOTRO, TSW, and GW2.

To commemorate my past year in the game, here are some of my favorite screenshots:

r1 r2 r3 r4 r6 r7 r8 r9 r10 r11 r12 r13 r14

The Secret World: Quirky Qombat

chainsawIt’s a sad irony that as I’m getting into some of the most gripping questing of The Secret World, I’m also getting into some of the most difficult combat situations.  Not that TSW has ever been easy from Blue Mountain on, but now in Transylvania it gets downright tough.

I suppose that’s the drawback of the make-your-own-class double-edged sword.  The relative freedom to create a unique build comes with the distinct possibility that your build won’t be up to snuff.  I’d hate to be the developers who have to balance content based on such a wide range of potential builds.  My gut feeling is that they went a tad overboard by making it tougher rather than easier.  It definitely doesn’t feel as balanced as, say, how RIFT does it.

And while I’ve grown to appreciate the open class system, I think I’d gladly trade it in for traditional classes if the content was slightly easier.  Combat feels like a major speedbump that slows us down from getting to the good stuff — progressing quests, hearing new stories, doing the cool investigation missions.  Again, maybe that’s intentional; maybe the devs realize that without a way to pace players, they’d shoot through this content far, far faster than the devs could craft new missions.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a little tired of, y’know, dying all the time, so I’ve started to trade up my DPS gear for health gear.  An extra 2,000 hit points can keep me in the fight a lot longer, especially with a handful of protective and healing skills.  Right now I’m shotgun/blades/chainsaw and it’s working well for me.  I’ve got five attacks, two heals, and a damage booster, all of which feels well-rounded.

My current long-term goal is to finally finish a deck and collect a special outfit.  It’s going to take a while, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to.

I’m definitely looking forward to Issue #6 — trains, time travel, whips, and shades of Indiana Jones is all pretty intriguing.  And I still have a little over two zones to complete in Transylvania, so I’m pacing myself a little so that there’s always something left to do.  I don’t think I’ll ever be rolling an alt in TSW — there doesn’t seem to be as much of an incentive to do so, since you can rebuild any build you like, factions are largely cosmetic, and the progression through quests and zones is identical.

I think we have the promise of a new area, Tokyo, on the horizon, although with Funcom’s situation as of late, it’s hard to say when we’ll ever be seeing it.

Me and Suppafly, a love story

In London in The Secret World there’s a little machine that has the power to CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  It’s the Soulmate 2501 Beta, and its sole purpose is to hook you up with another player.

Obviously, my character is lacking that romantic contact in her life, what with being up to her elbows in entrails on a daily basis, so I took the test.

soul1 soul2 soul3 soul4 soul5Huzzah!  I am no longer alone — for me and Suppafly will sail off into the sunset of happiness.  This, my friends, is what true love is.

Black Dragons

As I tune up my captain in LOTRO, I’ve been working on assembling a few new outfits to give her the cool factor she deserves.  Here’s one I’m particularly proud of:

outfitThe shoulders are from Rohan, and I really like how sleek they are.  The cape was a happy addition — I got that from a quest reward in Dunland when I went back to do some virtues there.  I’m actually not that keen on capes usually, but this one I just love.

Everything is dyed black to bring out the accent colors.  I haven’t really settled on a head item for this — or decided if it’s even necessary.

Too Long; Didn’t Listen episode 54 is up!

tldlsquareLove is a funny thing and not just contained to February 14th.  Dodge and Syp reveal their true love for… MMOs.  Between them is nothing but a black chasm of hatred, however.  Today’s agenda is to talk about the love and hate relating to MMOs.  Let’s just hope the latter doesn’t win out!

Two topics in 30 minutes or your next podcast is free. You know you would listen to all this if it just wasn’t so… long!

Listen to episode 54 here!

LOTRO: A lightning tour of Middle-earth

mapWas it just two days ago that I said I was going to start working on shoring up the 20-or-so virtues I needed on my Captain?  My, my, a lot has happened since then.  I really overestimated how long this would all take, as I’ve shot from rank 1 of Zeal to rank 13 while picking up two other virtues I’ve needed in that span of time.  It helped that I had made *some* progress on these virtues when I was leveling, and it really helped that I’m so overleveled for most of these regions that I can slaughter and travel with impunity.

There’s been a great side benefit of all of this: I’m going on a lightning tour of all these zones I haven’t seen in ages.  Oh hey Forochel, still being awesome in the far north?  Still taunting me with those groovy mammoth mounts?  Cool, cool.  Oh hey Angmar, still the ugliest place in the world?  Sky still inexplicably red with weird artifacts streaking across them?  Mhm.  Oh hey Mirkwood, I kind of miss hanging out in your semi-gothic neck of the woods.

It’s really so different when you return to these places as a high-level character.  It’s like being treated to god mode, or like returning to your high school 20 years later.  Everything that seemed so intimidating and challenging at the time is now smaller and almost quaint.  It’s also blissful being able to travel around without having to worry about aggroing mobs every ten steps.  I even saw places I’d never seen before, like the elite giant-infested towns of the Misty Mountains.

The tour also made me realize just how huge this game’s become.  It’s an enormous world, with 34 zones and counting, and it’s spread all over the map now.  It’s hard to remember what it was like when we were cooped up in just a pocket of Eriador.  I wasn’t there at the time, but the first steps through the Misty Mountains via Moria must’ve been like the jailer opening the door and allowing the inmates to finally see what else is out there.

There’s a lot of criticism, valid and stupid, levied against LOTRO these days, but I have to say that there’s something really special about the growth of this game world and the adherence to the books.  It feels more real and tangible than many other MMOs I’ve played, a place with a sense of history and culture.  I’m kind of glad I’ve gone on this virtue-or-bust tour to be reminded of the larger world, not just the little section I’ve been fiddling around in for the past half-year.