Posts Tagged ‘problem’

The Dungeon Master: The Seal of Shan-To-Kor

2 November 2011 | No Comments » | Randy Denosha

The Dungeon Master returns with a look at a second starting instances. This time venturing into The Seal of Shan-To-Kor, a level 3-5 pack inside Turbine’s ever-growing Dungeons and Dragons Online.

The Seal of Shan-To-Kor consists of just four adventures, which is a bit less than normal in the Turbine’s product. Three of the four are follow up dungeons, so the player completes one dungeon and can go through the rest of the adventures in order. The final instance is a disappointment relative to the rest. It plays like a throwaway side quest. One that can be skipped and still earn the final rewards.

Speaking of, those end rewards consist of a nice rune arm for the Artificer, a nice bracer for tanking characters, a sweet docent for the Warforged or the pet of the Artificer and several other items. Continue Reading

The Dungeon Master: The Barbarian Class

21 October 2011 | No Comments » | Randy Denosha

This time in The Dungeon Master column we are going to rage our way into the depths of the barbarian class from the game Dungeons and Dragons Online.

So let us get into it, shall we?

For everyone that wants to begin a Barbarian, they have to keep some things in mind. One is your weapon; it doesn’t matter if the player is an half-Orc, a Human or a Warforged, the player will be using two-handed weapons. Any generic “just-found-it” two-handed weapon will do.

Now the half-Orc does loan itself the best for making a barbarian, but making it a Warforged or Human is not that bad of an idea either. Warforged do get some enhancements that boosts the usage with two-handed weapons and the extra feat the player gets when they are a Human can open up some nice possibilities with feats.
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Global Agenda: Dome 49 is Going Down

18 April 2011 | 1 Comment » | Ronix

As you may know, Global Agenda has recently received a content update and also became fully free-to-play. This sort of transition from one business model to another can be a challenging process for most games. However, the guys at HiRez already have shown that they are not afraid to take risks and modify their game to match a new direction they have chosen. Plus, the structure of Global Agenda itself, with its lobby-type system and instance-based gameplay has somewhat eased this process.

It was slightly disappointing to see that, despite the injection of fresh blood from new players rushing in to check out the free-to-play update, the queue waiting times still remained relatively long. You would think with more people queuing for matches, the system would allocate teams faster. But, sadly, that is not the case. This seems to be an issue from the developer’s side, and I hope they address this problem in the near future.

The update brought a couple of new maps, a new dome defense raid, as well as class tree changes. Going by the official patch notes and my own merc experiences, the developers’ aim was to balance out certain deadlock scenarios that occurred during matches and put a bump in the otherwise fairly stream-lined gameplay. An example of this would be the changes done to the Medic’s Paingun. Originally, with the -50% speed debuff from the weapon, a good assault and medic combo could pretty much tear up any target they laid their hungry eyes upon. With the new patch, the speed debuff is only 30%, but the target also receives -20% less healing. This gives your victim an actual chance to escape and, at the same time, grants the Paingun additional utility. Yes, I say that having a Medic as my main. Still, it is way too early to tell how the revised specializations will affect gameplay in the long-term, so let’s just wait and see how things pan out.

The new Dome Defense Raid, or DDR as some like to call it (not to be confused with Dance Dance Revolution), is probably the most exciting addition to the game. Not only does it give us cool targets to pew-pew at, but it also adds a layer of immersion to the setting of Global Agenda. With the introduction of the new raid, Dome City no longer seems to be just a glorified lobby. When you see it being invaded, you can’t help but feel that it is an actual place of habitat, set in the middle of a desert and surrounded by enemies.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Then a video must be worth a few thousand at least, and that’s why I’m including a video of a Dome Defense Raid I did with a random group of fellow agents. Watch us badly screw-up, get blown to pieces, and my robo trying to get a better look at the action, instead of minding his nest.

Click through to watch.

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Jane McGonigal on the Colbert Report: Let’s Spend More Time Gaming

4 February 2011 | 5 Comments » | pixiestixy

I gave you all a bit of a preview last night of game developer Jane McGonigal’s appearance on the Colbert Report, and I have to say that she did deliver.

Take a look at what McGonigal has to say about common gaming misconceptions, the influence of women on gaming, and why “gaming is the most productive thing we can do.”

Further in to the interview, she describes how she things the world should go from spending 3 billion hours a week gaming to 21 billion by increasing the number of gamers in the world from 500 million to 3 billion. She argues that games can be harnessed as a social tool to effect positive change in the real world and tackle problems such as cancer, poverty and climate change.

Pretty optimistic, but I like her way of thinking. If you’re interested in learning more, check out McGonigal’s book or even her game Evoke, which she also mentions in the interview below.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jane McGonigal
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Sequels for MMORPGs = Death

30 April 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

A few months ago, last Dec 2007, Eve Online underwent a huge update with their Trinity expansion. This free expansion not only added new features, ships and items, but was also a complete graphical update to keep up with the next generation of MMOs. Eve Online as far as I know is the first MMO to completely revamp their current game instead of creating a sequel which not only keeps all your current members, but creates enough of a buzz much like a sequel to boost membership numbers.

Taking a look at some past sequels, Asheron’s Call 2, Everquest 2 and Lineage 2, none of these sequels were able to match their predecessor’s in terms of members. Not only that, but if you combined the numbers from both games after a year, they were less than the original game at its peak.

So why can’t MMORPG sequels succeed?

Starting over – After playing an MMORPG for 2 years, do you really want to start over in what basically is the same game with updated graphics? Regaining your levels and items, finding a new guild and friends to quest with? From the numbers it doesn’t look like many do and they end up sticking with the original.

It’s basically the same game – Making a sequal for a MMO is not like making a sequel to Halo. Many, many things must remain the same. Races, maps, towns, ect. Sure there will be new areas, new features, possibly a new race or two a maybe a new skill system, but for the most part your playing the same game with updated graphics.

Dying game – When a sequel to a game comes out, it basically feels like the original game is on its way out. For those members that stay with the original, it feels like your the old man at the bar and eventually you’ll stop going there.

New games – Once a sequel comes out many gamers do not want to make the switch for reasons stated above. They also know that eventually there going to have to move on as the original game begins to die. So if they’re going to have to start over, why not start over with a brand new game with brand new stories and atmosphere.

Not only do subscription numbers plummet after a sequel, but you have to put in the cost of creating the sequel. It will be interesting to see if GuildWars 2 follows in suit with the games mentioned above.

Going back to Eve Online, I think the studio was fully aware of the track records for MMOs sequels when it decided to do a complete update to the current game instead of making a sequel. I’m sure all Eve Online players also prefer this method especially since the expansion was free. Way to go Eve!

A Look at Microsoft and MMOs: 3-0 Cancels

23 April 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Many of you may not know it, but Microsoft has actually had their hands in quite a few MMORPG projects within the past few years. No stranger to the videogame marketplace in general, it only seemed to make sense that one of the largest providers of consoles and games would also begin to dabble in the increasingly profitable (for some!) MMO business. However, after attempting to take on three separate projects over the last five years one was sold off, and the other two were killed off and left what could only be described as a very shallow grave. I am, of course, speaking of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Mythica, and Marvel Universe Online.

Announced back in 2002 Mythica was Microsoft’s first attempt at making an MMORPG. It was actually quite a neat sounding game at that. Based on the legends and lore of Norse mythology your character would actually be a “demi god” that was able to wipe out multiple enemies at once. Something that still hasn’t been done today. Unfortunately, just over a year in development, Microsoft was sued by Mythic Entertainment due to the name, Mythica, being to close to Mythics own name. Worries that the consumer would get confused were the primary reasons for the lawsuit. Then on May 25th of 2004, Microsoft officially canceled the title citing a competitive MMORPG environment as the main cause, although rumours still swirl today that the lawsuit was what actually cause Microsoft to call the game quits.

Microsoft’s other fantasy MMO, Vanguard, was not to be killed off but rather sold off. Beginning development in 2002, Sigil Entertainment and Microsoft entered into a partnership that had Sigil developing the game with Microsoft publishing/owning the rights to the game. However, due to Brad McQuaid’s inability to show Microsoft what they wanted on the original timeline provided they eventually began bickering about the project. Then in May 2006, Sigil acquired the name back from Microsoft, much to Microsoft’s joy, and proceeded to work on the game in their own manner  securing a publishing agreement with SOE instead of Microsoft. In the end, however, not even SOE would continue funding the game and as such it was released in a “beta” stage that has forever cursed the game to oblivion.

Finally, we have Marvel Universe Online. Perhaps Microsoft’s most ambitious MMO project to date and yet still it could not be escape it’s inevitable cancellation date. Announced back in 2005, Marvel and Microsoft, in association with Cryptic Studios (devs behind the famous City of Heroes MMO),  began work on the “next gen” super hero Marvel MMORPG. Stating that the game would cover over 60 years worth of marvel comics it really comes as little surprise that the game was canceled in less than 3 years. At this point Microsoft was already creating quite a reputation for its MMO business and after a year with no new information people already began development of this project. Like Mythica, in 2008, Microsoft canceled the project due to “an inability to compete with the current MMO marketplace.” Today most of the same work done on the Marvel MMO can be found in Champions Online, Cryptics newest super hero MMORPG.

So that pretty much wraps up Microsoft’s MMO history. They also helped in operating the Asheron’s Call games, of which one was canceled, but beyond that there really isn’t anything more to add. It’s actually quite odd that Microsoft has given up on every MMO they have personally pursued. Especially considering that every MMO seems to have been given up on as a result of Microsoft not having enough faith in the franchise for it to be successful. Sounds like somebody might need to start talking to a counselor…

User Generated MMOs… When?

4 April 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

There is a lot to be said for user generated content these days. It has basically become the king of the internet, actually. People generally like to create their own stuff, and see their ideas come to life (as long as it’s not too hard to achieve). So why are MMOs still so reluctant to give us the same freedom that websites like MySpace or Facebook have, or games like Unreal Tournament and Oblivion allow?

One of the main ideas behind the MMORPG is to have a persistent world. A world where players can interact with other players and the world will generally react back to them as well, typically through quest lines. For example, if you kill x boss you will then restore y king back to power, or some such nonsense like that. The world will progress through you. An interesting concept, but one not without its own flaws.  One of the flaws being that this does not allow for any sort of user generated content. My character can complete quests on behalf of NPCs, however he can’t make his own quest. He can live through the pre-set storyline, but he can’t forge his own story. An interesting problem…

Of course, that’s not to say nobody has tried. Today you can log onto Second Life and proceed to make all sorts of things (as illustrated by the castle above). However, Second Life also doesn’t really have a story line. You can make things but they really have no affect on the world because Second Life isn’t really a world, not in the same sense that WoW is. Another example is the Saga of Ryzom, while it doesn’t exist anymore, the game once provided a content update that allowed for users to create their own stories and scenarios. Unfortunately, I never took the time to test it out, but it is definitely something that sounded interesting.

MMORPGs are much like the internet was 10 years ago. The provide a function, and are generally liked by a good deal of people. However, they aren’t mainstream yet. The World of Warcraft is a huge game, but it could be bigger. As people slowly move toward more and more user generated content websites they are going to start looking for that same functionality within other parts of their lives, including MMORPGs. While it may sound like a challenge now, it’s gotta happen eventually. Nothing escapes consumer apathy. If you give people the tools to make their own toys, you’ll be much more popular because of it.

Bring on the user-generated MMORPGs.

MMOCrunch's Top Five Classes EVAR!

28 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Before I begin with my list allow me, if you will, to explain that I am basing this entirely off the “cool” factor of the class. Any actual functionality or usability isn’t really taken into account. Not that we wouldn’t want to judge them based on that, but really, with the amount of changes that occurs in any given MMORPG these days, the same class today probably won’t be the same class tomorrow, ya know? So. . . ya. Enjoy!

Coming in at number 5: The Necromancer! As seen in Everquest, Everquest 2, Guild Wars, Diablo 2, etc. The Necromancer has always been one of the coolest classes to be introduced to any game, let alone an MMORPG. The ability to raise the dead and command them to slaughter and maim your enemies has thrilled millions for at least a decade in what can only be dozens of MMORPGs. Given it’s indescribable cool-factor I think it’s safe to say that it deserves our number 5 spot.

Coming in at number 4: The Paladin! As seen in Everquest 1/2, World of Warcraft, etc. Despite being almost the exact opposite of what the Necromancer is, the Paladin still holds it’s weight in “cool”. Being a badass warrior of light has plenty of perks that one can only dream of. Despite all this though, if you take away the magic, the name, and the mystique, they still wear some of the coolest armor ever designed. Seriously. . . what is it about Paladin’s and awesome-ly designed protective wear?

Coming in at number 3: The Rogue/Assassin! As seen in almost every MMORPG out there. The Rogue/Assassin is probably one of the most under-represented classes across the board. Developers usually neglect giving their clothing any sort of “flair” due to them being mostly invisible. Nobody really wants to be seen as a Rogue/Assassin anyways right? Despite being accessory handicapped the Rogue/Assassin makes up for it by having some of the coolest skills in the game. One needs only look as far as the “Backstab” or “Assassinate” skill to know how devilishly cool this class is.

Coming in at number 2: The Druid! As seen in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, World of Warcraft, etc. The Druid is, by far, one of the coolest classes. Not because of their inherent hippy-like nature (haha I’m punny!) either. The main reason why Druid’s are so f-ing cool is because, most of the time, they can shape-shift into some badass creatures for the sole purpose of mauling their enemies. Who wants to shapeshift into a Were-Bear? That’s right. . . everybody does. Aside from that their easy-on-the-eyes nature motif for clothing doesn’t hurt either.

NUMBER ONE: The Priest/Cleric! Seriously, this class doesn’t get major “cool” points for their style, or their skills. No, no, no. This class gets our number 1 spot for one reason. They keep us the hell alive, and anybody who helps keep me alive is not only my best friend ever, but also very cool. So the next time you are out wandering around the MMO of your choice and you see a random Priest/Cleric happen by remember to stop, and admire how cool that guy must be, afterall, if has hasn’t saved your own ass today he has probably saved somebody elses.

So that’s it. Those are our top 5 classes. Of course, we have not put in any classes for games that have not yet been released. As much as I wanted to add a couple Age of Conan or Warhammer Online classes I felt that it just wouldn’t be fair to the already released games. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this! I’d love to hear what your favorite class is!