Author Archive

Banned from TERA … for life!

27 September 2013 | 11 Comments » | Mike

I’ve been a gaming journalist, albeit a rather unknown journalist, for some years now mainly covering MMO games and spending much of my time playing them. In that time I’ve never received a ban, a temp ban or so much as a warning since I tend to follow the rules of the land.

However it seems En Masse is quick to label me a rule-breaker and has taken it upon itself to ban the very account they gave me for free, a Collector’s Edition account at that, for what seems like a completely ridiculous reason.

I haven’t played TERA since I wrote my review for it over a year ago, however, when they announced their LevelUp promotion where you can get a instant level 58 character I decided to log into my old account and create a new character.

I figured it’s been some time since the launch, the game has changed and I’ll go check out the endgame content since I only got to level 41 in my review. I then checked my account a few days later to find out it’s been banned. WTF?

To understand why I was banned we have to go back about a week ago. Continue Reading

Why Planetside 2 is failing

17 January 2013 | 11 Comments » | Mike

I’m a big fan of Planetside 2, but months after its release it’s clear the game is not the blockbuster hit many thought it would be. First-person-shooters are arguably the biggest selling games out there, so you would think a MMOFPS like Planetside 2 would do pretty well, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead of growing, PS2 has been losing players from the get-go.

Without a doubt the main reason why the game is failing remains frame-rate. An upcoming update later this year will be addressing this issue to make the game run better for those on mid to low-end PCs and boost the frame-rate to about 60 frames-per-second.

The second reason is the simple fact that there are absolutely no tutorials explaining anything in the game. Considering the amount of info displayed on the interface, it can be very overwhelming for new players causing many to quit without giving the game a real chance.

For those able to get past the first two issues, they’re then confronted with the fact that there are more players piloting vehicles than on the ground. Over the last few weeks its not been unusual for me to see only a handful of players running around as opposed to dozens and dozens of tanks and airships. It seems 3 out of 4 base take-overs involve only tanks and airships with just enough infantry units to stand at the hold points. This is further compounded for me as I tend to play the sniper class exclusively so when there’s only vehicles in a battle, I can’t do anything.

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Planetside 2 Review

26 November 2012 | 6 Comments » | Mike

When Planetside 2 launched last week, like many MMO launches, it was a bumpy one with the majority of players unable to log into the servers for hours, myself included. However by the end of the day the bugs were fixed and I was ready to deploy, I just didn’t know I would be deployed straight into a warzone.

My first life was unfortunately a short one being killed within 5 seconds of deployment and my second life wasn’t much longer. For some reason SOE thought the best way to teach players how the game works was to put them directly into a active combat zone. After a few more respawns and a few more deaths I got the basics of what was going on and managed to get to a safe area where I could finally figure out what the hell I was doing. The controls are very similar to any other FPS you might have played, but the UI is very overwhelming with lots of icons all over the screen. I couldn’t tell if the icons were pointing out allies or enemies so I had a few incidences of friendly-fire in the beginning, but soon figured things out.

After about an hour of examining the classes, item shop, upgrades, the map and everything else, I got a pretty good feel for the game and was on my way.

For those wondering why I skipped character creation it’s because there is none. You’re character is covered in armor, which can be customized in-game via the item shop and unlocks, so there’s really no reason to have a character creation.

Planetside 2 is pretty much exactly what you would think it is. Take any FPS game, increase the map size 100 time, add a few thousands players and make it persistent and that pretty much sums up the game. Outposts and command centers are scattered around the map allowing factions to control them and gain resources from them, although this system seems to be flawed.

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Guild Wars 2 World vs World Review

29 October 2012 | 1 Comment » | Mike

Having hit the level cap almost two weeks ago, my focus, aside from the on-going Mad King Halloween event, has been World vs World. I touched upon it a bit in my Guild Wars 2 review, but it really deserves it’s own review since it’s a completely separate system then PvE. So here we are.

As I stated in that review, my currently relationship with WvsW is a love/hate one. It solves a lot of problems other MMORPGs have with RvR, but doesn’t get in quite right and makes a few errors itself.

I’m going to start off by talking about map size as I feel everything is in some way influence by it. The World vs World area is split into four deceivingly large maps and while they feel and appear to be large at first, they’re actually very small and the source of many of WvsW woes.

Currently the primary, and really only successful tactic, is to form massive armies to attack structures around the map and while this type of tactic is expected, it ends up being the only tactic used. I’ve tried soloing or running with smaller groups, but they don’t last long; you’ll run into a massive army after taking a camp or two and will be forced to retreat. The problem is that maps are so small, these zerg armies are able to go after small bands of players while on their way to larger structures. There’s no decision to be made whether or not to take a camp as it’s only a few seconds off the path and players that separate can quickly regroup with the zerg in a few mins.

If you expand the size of the maps, these zerg armies will be forced to break into smaller groups to go after small hold points or bands of players. Creating a greater variety of combat other than massive scale.

Moving on, lets discuss towers, forts and castles. Towers require small armies to take over, while castles are the crem della crem of massive PvP combat, with forts being somewhere in the middle. Sound good, right? Well the problem again comes from the small map size. While towers should be objectives taken by smaller groups of armies, it ends up being large scale combat most of the time. The problem is that 2-3 defenders can successfully hold off a group of 10-15 attackers fairly easily to give enough time for reinforcements to arrive. So what ends up happening is people get discouraged, join the zerg, then attack the tower. The problem again stems for small map sizes. While a group of 10 attackers might eventually overwhelm the defenders, they can’t take over the structure in the speed required to avoid reinforcements.

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Guild Wars 2: Ding Level 80 PvE Review

17 October 2012 | 5 Comments » | Mike

From the moment World vs World was announced my interest in Guild Wars 2 PvE dropped to zero. During the beta’s I spent maybe 30 minutes to an hour in PvE, just to try it out, which didn’t impress me, and the rest of my time in WvW. However due to the massive WvW queue times after launch I was basically forced into PvE. At first I was a bit upset, but assumed the queue times would diminish after a few days or perhaps weeks, but almost two months after launch, I still find myself sitting in the WvsW queues.

I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly on PvP, as a new dad, I just don’t have the time to sit in queue for 1-2 hrs, then spend another 1-2 in WvsW. So my attention turned to PvE, which not only grew on me surprisingly quickly, but is probably the best PvE I’ve every played in a MMORPG.

To understand where I’m coming from, let me give you some background; I hate questing, can’t stand it. I hate running to NPC quest hubs and having to run back; I hate the mindless quest grind; I hate that everything is marked on the map and there’s absolutely no challenge, exploring or surprises. I also hate that quests hubs turn MMORPG into linear games, which they were never meant to be. While I’m not saying Guild Wars 2 solves all that, I am saying that is how horrible the last decade of PvE games have been.

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Top Eve Online killer has caused $37k in damages to other players

24 September 2012 | No Comments » | Mike

One of the things that makes Eve Online unique is that it’s one of the few MMORPGs where players can actually destroy other players items, in this case ships.

According to the most notorious killer in the Eve universe has caused more than 2 trillion ISK in damages to other players. To put that into perspective, you can buy 20 billion ISK for about $370, according to one of the many Eve ISK sites I found. Which means that this one player has caused about $37,000 in damages and loses to other players.  Mind you this doesn’t include items obtained or stolen during these attacks, only the actual value of the ships destroyed.

If you count the top five killers, they’ve caused more than $127,000 in damage to other players. That is no small sum of money.


Making Gold in Guild Wars 2

20 September 2012 | 8 Comments » | Mike

I’ve played a lot of MMORPGs over the years and one thing has always been consistent, I’ve always been poor.  Most of the time it was because I didn’t want to spend the time grinding to make money, I never crafted and I’ve only slightly dabbled in auction houses.  Guild Wars 2 however makes it so easy to make money that for the first time ever, I consider myself in the upper-class.

I went into GW2 with the same mindset as every other MMORPG and after 2 weeks I was poor, with only 90 silver to my name at level 41. That day I crafted my way to level 43 which dropped me to about 60 silver and that’s when it happened. I said to myself, ‘I’m done with being poor’ and turned straight to the auction house to see how I could make some coin. Up until this point I’ve used the auction house sparingly to buy some mats and a few pieces of armor and weapons, but this time my goal was different. Continue Reading

Guild Wars 2 WvW Wishlist

31 August 2012 | 7 Comments » | Mike

World vs World in Guild Wars 2 is good, probably the best PvP system of any MMORPG in the last 5 years, but it’s certainly not perfect. Think of it as the common merry-go-round system where objective points are flipped between factions, but on a much larger scale and between three factions.

While the Guild Wars 2 system is quite a bit more complex than other PvP systems, the basic gameplay mechanisms are the same. Go to a hold point, take it over and move on. What I’d like to see is a little more sand added to the box, so below I’ve outlined my wish list for Guild Wars 2 World vs World.

  • Guild controlled hold points – Instead of everything being controlled by factions, think of what would happen if individual guilds held the points instead. There would be more incentive for guilds to hold and control points if they received the rewards themselves. There would be more guild vs guild competition, even between friendly factions, to hold or take over new points. Guilds would also fight a lot harder to defend and hold their own points as opposed to players who might not care enough to defend a faction point because, hey, someone else will go defend it.
  • Quick travel – Having to run back all the way to where you were each time you die is more than annoying, it’s a game killer and I can’t stand it. The penalty for death should not be wasted time. If you die, players should be able to respawn at the closet keep, with the only exception being if you died in a keep, then the next closest one. So you still have to run back to where you were, just not all the way from the beginning.
  • Looting – Yes looting. There still needs to be a penalty for death and I think one randomly equipped item should be dropped when a player dies. There can be 2-3 safe slots so you can protect your most valuable items, but everything else should be free game.
  • Breakable gear – All gear should eventually break. This would create a huge demand for crafted weapons and armor and yet another additional penalty for dying.
  • Mounts – While I can understand the reason for not having them, I’d still love to see mounts someday make it to GW2 and WvW.

The ball is in your court ArenaNet :)