RIFT Hoarder’s Edition

hoarders-fb-200x200RIFT has been on my backburner for a while now and may well continue to stay there. I’ve just gotten a little burned out on it and have other, more pressing (and interesting) game goals elsewhere. But it’s also hard to stop logging in at least once a day to pick up my free daily gift and to send my minions out on a rampage.

That’s started to create a problem for my inventory, actually. The artifacts I already have and all of the crafting mats get thrown onto the auction house on a weekly basis, bringing in a nice stream of near-effortless revenue. When I get up to around 1200 plat, I buy some REX, spend the credits, and start the cycle anew.

But where the problem lies is in the sheer volume of housing items (and dimensions) that my minion army is bringing back. Whereas in some MMOs a housing item is a semi-rare treasure, in RIFT with minions it’s a tidal wave of stuff. I keep separating it into three piles: stuff I want to use, stuff I can sell for a decent profit on the AH, and stuff that’s just vendor trash. Gradually, that first pile grows and grows and grows, even with only a daily injection of minion missions.

This is like #firstMMOworldproblems, I know. Not only are my bags bursting, but I have a TON of stuff in housing escrow that needs placing. What I need to do is to go into housing and place all the things, a project which would probably take an hour or more. And I keep putting that off because I’m not really playing RIFT (and hence, not really needing the housing).

So I’ve become a hoarder. Maybe I need an intervention.

10 solo RPGs that I wish I had time to play

crpgTime is such a precious and rare commodity these days. Free time, that is. Apart from my brief stints at the Rasperry Pi (which is cool as all get out), I’m not doing any retro gaming. Any free gaming time I get needs to go into MMOs, because I want to stay on top of stuff (and there’s SO much that I’d love to be playing). But that also means that I’m missing out on some solo RPGs that I wish I could play but lack the 60-80 hours apiece to tackle. Here are ten off the top of my head:

  1. Chrono Trigger: Now that the original is on my Pi, I have fanciful dreams of playing all the way through it like I did back in high school. My iPad version keeps crashing, alas.
  2. Final Fantasy III/VI: A SNES classic I never played (outside of the first hour), it would be a good notch on my belt to beat it.
  3. Wasteland 2: One of my most-anticipated games of last year… and I haven’t even bought it yet. Heard mixed-to-good things about it, so it’s still on my radar.
  4. The Witcher: Played but never beat it. I like the morality choices and detailed game world, but I’m less thrilled with the combat.
  5. Witcher 2: I have it, never even loaded it up yet. Has good word-of-mouth from friends.
  6. Dragon Age: Inquisition: Well, there was that ONE night I played it, so that justified dropping $60 on it. I’m sure I’ll like it… but it’s not an MMO. And that’s weird but it keeps me from getting super-invested in it (also, I’m not as in love with the DA universe as some).
  7. Fallout 2: Another “would love to go back and replay all of the way through” projects.
  8. Ultima 6/8: Ultima 7 was interesting enough that I would like to try out at least one more of the series (since, y’know, I have them all on my GOG account).
  9. Sunless Sea: Boy howdy, that looks neat and weird. It’s on my to-get list.
  10. Darkest Dungeon: I have it, I played it (one session), and I enjoyed it. Need to do more with it.

SWTOR: In which I miss my class storyline

min1“That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time…”

That’s what went through my mind when I bumped into the former minister of imperial intelligence on Rishi. It’d been a couple of years since I’d finished up my agent storyline for the core game — and I’d forgotten that Shadow of Revan threw in a mission unique to each class. A bone, really, but it’s the first official continuation of the storyline that I started way back in December 2011.

min2In this case, it was bumping back into my old boss, who is “retired” and keeping a low profile. Of course, he’s still up to his usual ways — secrecy, manipulation, covert sneakiness. I was so overjoyed to see him and have this mini-reunion that I was like, “Sure, I’ll do whatever you want!” Team player, that’s me.

The mission is pretty low-key, but kind of interesting even so. As part of the old storyline coda, he wants to rescue Shara, the former Watcher Two, who’s been frozen and kidnapped by pirates or somesuch. So while the minister goes off to negotiate a deal to buy the carbonite units, I’m running around Rishi slicing into terminals, fighting off pirates, and listening to the ongoing negotiations.

Being the “muscle” that’s giving weight to the minister’s efforts was an interesting exercise. As a story, I enjoyed it, although I was disappointed that I didn’t even get a special instance or anything. I’m glad that we rescued Shara — she got really messed up, psychologically, from the events of the IA storyline, and the minister wants to deprogram her conditioning and give her a chance to live her own life. I can get behind that.

Of course, I can’t get behind the minister lying to me and not completely trusting me. At the end of the mission I was reminded of how much I don’t really like the guy even though I do like him. Complex feelings for an NPC, that’s a sign of good storytelling on BioWare’s part. I snarked off to the minister and offered to come take Shara away if she didn’t want to be deprogrammed, but she declined.

I understand why creating additional class-specific missions is expensive and time-consuming, and why BioWare would prefer to create content that everyone can experience (and I’m NOT complaining about the expansion storyline thus far). But I missed it and I was glad to get a taste, at least. If just for a moment. I’d love to have that again.

The Secret World, why you so big?

gamesizeOK, this has been bugging me for a while now: Why is The Secret World’s client so dang big?

Look at that up there — it’s nearly twice the size of SWTOR and the rest of my current roster. I mean, LOTRO? That’s five expansions, right there, and still under 20 gig. SWTOR has (or had) the world record for biggest voice recording project in a video game, and still it clocks in at well under 30 gigs. But TSW is a Godzilla of a client, stomping around at 44.5 gigs.

What’s the deal? There’s a lot of voice acting, sure, but nowhere near as much as SWTOR (or GW2, for that matter). Maybe it’s that SWTOR uses a lot of automated cutscene tricks whereas each one of TSW’s is hand-directed.

Is it just a much more detailed world? Because the world size is still fairly small, even four major zones (and a few minor ones) later.

Any idea? I’m just always somewhat aghast at this beast of a client size sitting on my hard drive.

City of Heroes and the camping trip

cohRecently I was asking EverQuest players to share some of their memories of the early game and was regaled with several tales of how most of their gameplay involved camping. As EQ vets will be quick to tell you, this wasn’t the mosquito-and-hot dog type of camping, but rather the “plant your butt in one spot while a puller ran out to grab a pack (or a single mob) and bring it back so that you could all collectively beat it up” type of camping.

As I was reading these, I was thinking how much that sounded like the early days of my time in City of Heroes. Rushing through an instance as a group was a sure way to quickly wipe and incur the dreaded XP debt, so instead we’d hang back in a safe room while a trusted tank would zip ahead, round up a bunch of mobs by insulting their mothers, and then lead them back.

So a lot of my time was spent twiddling my thumbs in an otherwise-empty room, breaking out the boombox emote, and anxiously awaiting the time where I could unleash my powers. Sometimes the waiting would be too much, I’d get too impatient, and then I’d commit that cardinal sin of going all alpha strike on the bad guys, getting aggro, and dying. I think everyone couldn’t wait to bust out their powers when the mobs finally arrived.

Maybe that’s not the same kind of camping, but it had that feel to it for me.

It could be cool at times, but often it was visually chaotic. The tank would stack the mobs in a corner, and their and our attacks would all be concentrated in the same place. It would be a bazillion spell effects going off at the time time, creating a visual and audio assault that was pretty much impossible to follow. Most of my attention was focused on the HUD overlay, playing energy management and tabbing between bad guys. I could do it for a while, but after an hour or so I would log out, exhausted from all of the shiny lights and shrieking noises.

There’s stuff I miss about City of Heroes, but also stuff I really do not, and I think that’s to be said about a lot of canceled MMOs.

I do miss the sheer anticipation of even levels, when I’d be treated to a single power point that I could spend on anything I wanted (as long as the power slot was unlocked and I was level-appropriate). Man, was there ever an MMO where a single new skill was such a big treat as it was in City of Heroes? It pained me when I had to “waste” six levels on the two throwaway skills and that one stamina power, because even though it was necessary and pretty much standard, that was a long stretch of no fun new toys.

I think that when I close my eyes at night, sometimes I can still clearly see Generic Confusing Office Layout #1207, Generic Ugly Cave System #811, and Generic Warehouse That Does Not Meet OSHA STandards #45. It’ll never truly be gone as long as we can be partially traumatized by the past.

Marvel Heroes: Black Panther tryouts and Jubilee wishes

pantherI haven’t been talking about Marvel Heroes much lately, not out of a lack of play but because I’m still (gradually) taking Squirrel Girl through hard mode and my daily stories consist of, “Welp, killed more bad guys! Picked up their stuffs! Didn’t think too hard at where she stores six thousand acorns to be able to shoot them non-stop like that!”

I did take a break the other day to try out one of the other heroes sitting on deck in my roster. I was mulling over a small project to bring all of my heroes up to level 10 just to sample each of them, which I may or may not do. In any case, I took Black Panther out for a spin and ended up slightly liking him.

Marvel Heroes is a good primer for the whole Marvel superhero universe, especially when you’re like me and don’t have an intimate knowledge of the comics. The last time I was really reading them was… 1992, maybe? We thought X-Force and X-Men were the bomb, along with the cartoon series.

So I had no idea who Black Panther was, other than the fact that he’s got a movie coming out and he looks a bit like a generic Batman. Turns out he’s some super-serious king of an African tribe and was the first black superhero, so go him.

His starter attack, like many in MH, is very underwhelming — just swiping with his claws and doing such minimal damage that the first enemy I attacked on the Raft took about ten seconds to put down. I nearly quit right then and there, but I’m glad I endured for a few levels, at which point he started accumulating better powers. I guess Black Panther is really into knives, because he has a whole skill line devoted to them. Fan of Knives was a great replacement for a staple attack, sending out a wide cone of slicing death. I also enjoyed using some sort of electric tangle field that would root and damage bad guys in a small radius around me.

I don’t think that I’d stick with Black Panther for any great length of time, but it was worth it to at least take him out for a test drive.

I’m at around 250 Eternity Splinters and am gradually saving up for the 400 splinter price of Gambit. However, my deep wish for a playable character that hasn’t been added yet is Jubilee, mostly because I loved her from the 90s cartoon and think that having a character that goes around shooting fireworks at bad guys would be a visually fun experience.

I went on the forums to see if there was any activity on this front and paged through a few threads where people debated her addition. Turns out that most people are in one of two polar opposite camps: They either really like Jubilee and want her in the game, or they despise her and think she’s an overrated Wolverine sidekick with lame powers.

However, I’m sure that’s the case with a lot of superheroes. Everyone has their preferences about which heroes are cool, which are annoying, which are overrated, and which should never be mentioned again. And of course, it can be up to the movies/comic writers to take an underrated character and bring them back into the spotlight. Even Squirrel Girl now has her own comic!