Author Archive

Ascent – The Space Game: Interview With James Hicks

6 March 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

louie2I’ve been going gaga over Ascent lately,  so I am super excited to have had the chance to fire a few questions at James Hicks, Galactic Overlord. He is the Lead Programmer and Lead Designer of Fluffy Kitten Studios, so is more than qualified to interpret for Louie, the fluffy  kitten himself. A sandbox space game designed around the actual Milky Way, Ascent allows players to take to the stars and explore, colonize and exploit the resources of the galaxy.

After speaking with him, I have the urge to run out, buy a Unicorn and paint my ship hot pink. So if you see a hot pink Unicorn zipping around this weekend, feel free to say hello!

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Ascent – The Space Game: First Impressions

4 March 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

2015-03-02_00001Last Friday, Ascent – The Space Game hit early access on Steam. A space game modeled on the actual milky way – how cool is that? Trading, exploration, colonization, mining, research… its list of features just goes on and they’re not even done yet. How cool is that, too?? So I sat down to give the game a little try despite being horribly sick with the flu … I’ve only been playing it for a day or two, so there is no way I could write a fully comprehensive review yet, and I’m sure as I play more I’m going to have to come back and say – oh wait! I was wrong when I said [insert statement here]! – but I wanted to toss up  a first impressions because I do so love my space sandbox games.

I’ve blown up a couple of space pirates, ferried around countless colonists, delivered packages, started building a grain farm on a habitable planet, purchased a combat ship, learned how to mine from asteroids, and harvested gases from gas giants. Seems like a fair list of things to talk about, even though I haven’t yet left the starter system.  Continue Reading

Ascent – The Space Game Warps into Early Access

3 March 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

asteroidminingAscent – The Space Game is now available on Steam Early Access! This is a sandbox game with building, trading, exploring, mining, and politics. I am absolutely fascinated by its science-driven features; modeled on the actual Milky Way, Ascent’s universe features over 270 billion stars and a trillion planets to explore and discover! They use scientific modeling to craft the planets, suns, stars, black holes, asteroid fields and moons that populate the universe – and according to their website, exploring every system in their game is not possible within the span of a human life. I have to say – that makes me want to try! :)

This Early Access build features the ability to gain a variety of skills, such as asteroid mining and gas harvesting, and put them to work building up enough wealth to found your first colony on a distant world. With the management of that colony may come more wealth, more problems, and the ability to interact with galactic politics. This feature will allow you access to convince the other leaders to construct massively expensive hypergates to ease travel and trade to your system. Other political and structural improvements are in the works, as well as massive new systems for colonization, combat, and dynamic questing.

Sound exciting? Check out the official webpage for more information, or purchase early access on steam.

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Columbus Nova: White Knight?

19 February 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

For a while now, I’ve been struggling with my response to the Sony Online Entertainment acquisition by Columbus Nova. Hope, fear, worry, curiosity; I have run a wide gamut of emotion! I’m very passionate about my gaming. I already wrote a short blurb about my feeling hopeful; although what I didn’t really go into with much detail is the why. It goes beyond Terry Michaels’ impassioned defense of Daybreak. You see, one of my other passions is the stock market. I love digging into stocks and investments. I can’t help but respond to any change in the company of games I play with fear – but that is simply a fear of change. I react the same way every time a class revamp is announced. Or a balancing pass.

I am in no way attempting to compare the impact of a company acquisition and round of layoffs to a class revamp. It is simply that an acquisition in and of itself is not a harbinger of doom. Neither are layoffs. The gaming industry is very unstable, studios over hire, layoff, hire, layoff; it’s an endlessly repeating cycle. Don’t believe me? Dave Georgeson says just that, with more detail, in a guest post on mmorpg.com. Dave Carey says the same thing, in a post regarding the layoffs and Columbus Nova.

Then I came across a post on the Landmark forums by a poster named Nibbon.  Have you ever settled down to do something, only to find someone else has done it more brilliantly than you ever could? That’s Nibbon. I am sharing the post in its entirety for two reasons. I want to give Nibbon a shout out, because I really enjoyed his post a great deal. And also because he really did put what I’ve been struggling to formulate into words with a greater eloquence than I could have managed. So with his permission to repost, I give you…

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Daybreak’s Commitment to Everquest

12 February 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

The new Daybreak Games Company has been the talk of the town among a significant portion of MMOspace since SoE’s acquisition by Columbus Nova was announced. What does this mean? Where is Everquest headed? Will H1Z1 be the last game released by the games company previously known as SoE? Is this the death knell for Landmark and Everquest Next? That final question has been the most on my mind as I’ve been reacting to the staff layoffs. Dave Georgeson, Linda Carlson, Eric Smith, Jeffrey Butler … a list of people that I’ve come to use as household names in the years I’ve been playing SoE games.

I’d like to think that with the portfolio Columbus Nova possesses, that it will be the force to drive Everquest into the future – that its new face will bring us something new.  Continue Reading

ArcheAge: Secrets of Ayanad Spotlight

12 February 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

DiamondShores_blog_810x300Diamond Shores, the resting place of the legendary Ayanad Library, is no stranger to suffering and war. During the fall of Auroria, a magical catastrophe saturated the area with deadly energy, killing many of its inhabitants and turning large swaths of the region into the brilliant glass for which it is named.

I must admit I did a double take when I saw this. Trion is selling almonds now? Or maybe tuna?

Diamond Shores is a new zone to ArcheAge, and brings a bunch of sweeping changes to the already existing lands of Auroria. Many monsters will have their levels boosted and their drop tables altered to give players new areas to level. The first Obsidian weapons, tiers 1-6, will make their appearance. I’m anticipating another mad housing rush as new plots will be open – and in Diamond Shores there are no taxes aside from those determined systemically around how many plots a player owns!  Continue Reading

Texniteia’s Tale: Foundations

9 February 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

EQNL Marbled MoonriseI am a great fan of the ancient Greeks. They were masters of many things, although here and now I am concerned with two: architecture and wordplay. Ancient Greek, no matter which flavor you prefer, is a fabulous source for names – and so, when I was asked to write a series about my ongoing building in Landmark, I immediately cast my eyes to them once again when seeking a title.  There is a great word: Texnites [tech as in technique – ni as said by knights – tes rhymes with face]. Artificer, craftsman, one skilled in the arts, actor, artist, trickster.  There are those who would transliterate it as technites, but I have always been more fond of the x. As this is my name, and my tale, I shall take Texniteia. This will be a bit different from my usual acerbic whimsy, for I am not only writing about Landmark, but my building within it. Ever want to peek into the head of an artist as they work and look around? Texniteia’s Tale will be the closest I can come to granting such a peek.

But first, a bit about building in Landmark. Continue Reading

Landmark: Of Caves, Combat and Community

4 February 2015 | No Comments » | Pherephassa

screenshot_20150203-15-56-11One of the things that I was delighted to discover upon my return to the land of computers was combat in Landmark. Now I can build stuff and fight monsters! I spent many hours with my husband traveling the lands, exploring, harvesting and killing as we went. We had a lot of fun, and are looking forward to the continued development of Landmark and Everquest: Next.

That said, I find myself logging in to play Everquest 2 instead of Landmark more often than not. If you asked me which game I enjoy more, I will tell you Landmark. Which games looks the best? – Landmark. Which one is more engaging? – Landmark. I spend more time talking about Landmark, thinking about Landmark, and enjoying Landmark. I plot out my Landmark houses, show them off, and spend vast amounts of time looking through architectural and history books for design ideas.

And yet … I play Everquest 2, and other games, far more. Before I go into why, here’s a quick cover of the awesome: Continue Reading