Archive for June, 2008

Big Brother is watching you

June 19, 2008 Comments off

Normally I just stick to MMOG related posts here, but this time I felt I had to put in a more political entry.

Yesterday evening the Swedish parliament voted for a law that allows the government to monitor and eavesdrop on all information passing Swedish borders – that can be email, web access, chat, phone – everything that passes through cables.

They do not need any suspicion of crime to do this. And given the nature of the internet even traffic with the originator and the destination in Sweden could possibly pass the borders on its way and thus also be picked up.

Despite that the current government consists of generally liberal parties who have claimed to stand up for invidivual rights, privacy and integrity they have still forced through this law and actively worked for that the individual members of parliament to vote according to the party and government view here.

It only required that 4 members of parliament from the ruling parties to vote against it or abstain to stop this law. Only 2 of them did that.

And to add to this it seems that the department that has been set to perform this task (FRA) has already been doing some of this, without legal support for it – until now. That is not encouraging information, if they have bypassed the law or the intention of the law earlier.

The web site for one of the campaigns against the law is here. It is in Swedish, but have a link that generates a translated page through automatic translation. Which means English-speaking people may understand parts of it…

I am disappointed with the politicians I helped to vote to power today.

Categories: Uncategorized

New page about dominators

June 17, 2008 Comments off

I have added a new page to the blog here where I have started to write a guide about playing dominator in City of Villains. It is not complete yet, but is an attempt to add some other information to the blog site and not just a few character pictures.

Feel free to leave comments.

Categories: MMO Games

Dropped the gallery

June 16, 2008 Comments off

I have decided to drop my character gallery page. It was not really reflecting what I actually played – characters I rarely played was there, while some I do play was not up there at all. The actual content on the page was quite limited.

I will add some other pages later with other themes and more content, but for now the character gallery is removed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Nice feature: Bling Gnome

June 15, 2008 Comments off

It seems even though Dungeon Runners do not get much mention in NCSofts earnings report, they are still moving on and apparently a boxed version of the game is going to be introduced. According to a Kotaku article that NCSoft themselves point to, those who buy the boxed version gets a Bling Gnome.

This is a little creature that picks up the gold the enemies in the game drops for you. In addition, it also eats up trash loot and converts that to gold automatically.

FIrst thought was, great and nice feature. Second thought was – isn’t there something wrong with the design in the first place if a Bling Gnome is needed?

Either way; I think it sounds like a great addon for Dungeon Runners and something I would like to have in some other MMORPG titles as well – yes Age of Conan, World of Warcraft etc, I am looking at you.

Categories: Dungeon Runners

Exploring the past in Cimerora

June 11, 2008 Comments off

Issue 12 of City of Heroes/Villains introduced a new area called Cimerora. While most of the game (as its name implies) contains of city landscape areas, Cimerora is partially an exception. Not only has Mother Nature a more prominent place here, but it is also located at an entirely different spot in the space-time continuum, far away in the past when Romans roamed the land.

To gain access to this area one has to complete a set of missions for the Midnight Squad, a secret group of individuals which has some involvment with the Destiny of the world. Getting the membership card to the club will allow for some travel back to a time whent he latest toga fashion was the talk at the cocktail parties.

All is not well in Cimerora though and the former ruler Imperious has been kicked from his job by a former aide turned nasty, Romulus. Imperious and his people are interested in aid from the mystical far-away travellers (that is – you – supervillain or superhero) and asks you to help set things straight.

Cimerora is a co-op area, which means that heroes and villains can team up together to fight the nasty part of this Roman enclave.

At first thought one might think that oldfashioned Roman soldiers must be not match for superpowered beings. However, it turns out that the Cimerorans are made of The Right Stuff and a rather tough breed. Even super-powered spandex wearers may find it slightly challenging to confront these boys and girls of old.

While Cimerora is a nice area it becomes quickly obvious that there is not a lot of new content in this area. Besides an introductory sightseeing tour the area contains of some repeatable missions obtained from one of officers in the local army under Imperious, fighting various constellations of the Romulus Bad Boys. Then there is a Task/Strike Force that can be obtained from Imperious himself. And that’s it. I would expect more content to appear in later updates though, but to not except a lot of content to play though at this time.

Imperious’ Task Force is however a quite nice adventure, covering a chapter in the book of Saving The World From Evil. You are not only faced with getting Imperious back on his job, but also to stop some Evil Plots which involves an old villain constellation that has returned before they appeared.

The Task Force is good fun and involves fighting large numbers (100s and 100s) of traitors, evil creatures and evil genius henchmen. I’d definitely recommend doing it.

While one can start the path to become a Midnighter club member as early as level 10, access to Cimerora is not granted until level 35. The Task Force is for levels 35-50 an requires at least 6 team members.

Categories: City of Heroes

Escape from Tortage

June 6, 2008 Comments off

While I did not have Snake Plissken in mind when I started playing in Age of Conan’s starter area, the word escape did stick with me; the six times I press the escape key when I start the game and the story in Tortage and my characters goal to escape from there and get back to the homeland.

So far I have managed to escape twice. Two characters have saved Tortage from the clutches of Strom and Mithrelle and headed back to their home turf. Two more are still stuck in there, struggling with their Destiny.

I much enjoyed the Destiny quests story in Tortage and thought that some of the other quests in the area had at least some decent writing. But still, getting quests like “kill 50 picts”, “kill 20 scorpions and 20 snakes”, “collect 30 croc skins” etc does not quite appeal to me. Taking out some high priest, bandit leader or a group of thugs (no numbers) is ok, but too much counters running in quests is not.

Getting sent back and forth multiple times between areas also gets annoying as well as the small space of the inventory. The added bags I found was too expensive for me to consider and given the amount of “unused loot” littered around in the areas, I am probably not alone here.

Overall though the experience was enjoyable in Tortage, although I am not certain I can go though that more times in the near future. Both times I managed to complete the destiny quest aprt and get out I felt releaved – finally getting out in the real world of Hyboria!

And yet, when I start exploring and picking up quests which each of the escapees I soon got the feelign that I cannot do this anymore – not more fedex or collect/kill X of whatever for whatever reason. And I stop.

Perhaps it is the change from the nice story in Tortage with mostly solo RPG play to a mostly familiar game mechanics of fantasy MMORPGs. Or that I have no specific interest in playing fantasy in general. Compared to the most recent previous fantasy game I played (LOTRO) I think Age of Conan does for the most part a better job.

But right now the spark is not there and this has probably more to do with the way fantasy MMORPGs are in general rather than Age of Conan specifically. I am not going to reactivate my EQ2 account with the Living Legacy campaing either, nor have I any plans to revisit WoW (almost 2 1/2 years since I left). And I am not playing in any fantasy MMORPG betas.

I just end up jumping into City of Villains/Heroes and have a blast for a bit.

Categories: Age of Conan

Devoted to the city

June 2, 2008 Comments off

Today I got my Devoted badge, which is part of the 24 month veteran rewards in City of Heroes/Villains. 2 years is quite along time, more than twice as long as I have spent with any other MMORPG.

I am definitely an explorer type, so why does a game that mostly city outdoor zones and a limited amount of building blocks for the instanced zones (leading to very much deja vu feelings) such an attraction?
Probably because the exploration is not one of the most prominent features in the game – when you are done exploring there are other better developed areas that keeps you there.

The easy and smooth aspect of teaming up is an important factor here. There are not many hurdles to overcome to set up a team to have some fun with and works better than in any other MMORPG I have played.
The character building aspect – both in terms of which powers to choose and what costumes to wear. Building various types of superbeings becomes part fo the fun and improving them. But due to the building block aspect and perhaps because there is not much of end-game as such, reaching the max level is a less important goal. While one may feel a sense of completion when a character reaches the max level, it still feels far from being the end of the game or the start of a new game. And building/rebuilding a character does not stop with the max level.

The combat mechnics works well also. It is fast paced and smooth and generally works the way you want/expect it to – few bits and pieces that you may get annoyed with.

And of course that you have friends playing it.

While a single feature may be considered important I also believe that the answr may be in all those pieces working well together to provide an enjoyable experience for the moment for any leisure player.

Categories: City of Heroes