Archive for September, 2008

Beating the Mursaat, part 1

September 29, 2008 1 comment

So far ranger Wolf had avoided too much confontation with the Mursaat, since their Spectral Agony skill did some severe damage. But there is a remedy for this, which can be obtained from a seer deep into the area of the Iron Mines of Moladune. 

Hi Mr Seer, any infusion available?

Hi Mr Seer, any infusion available?

The team worked their way through a number of Stone Summit dwarves, Tundra Giants, some Mountain Trolls and a few Griffons. Further ahead of the path close to the seer location (which was all the way at the other end of the zone, of course…) there were also some more spectral creatures to deal with in the form of Azure Shadows. A bit monkey like and sometimes appearing right out of nowhere.

Finally getting to the seer’s location the fellow told Wolf’s posse that he was of a race that had fought the Mursaat for a long time. It seems though that the prophecies had told that Wolf was the guy to help get rid of those Mursaat once and for all, so he would help the team. The seer’s race had some protection for the devastating agony power of the Mursaat, which they could help with to apply to the team’s armor.

There was only a tiny little creature to kill for that…

The creature was a somewhat large octopus-like floating thing called Eidolon. Taking care of Eidolon was no big trouble and the seer infused the team’s armor.

So now was the time to test the infused armor and see if it worked and try to complete the actual main objective of the mission – kill the Shining Blade traitor Markis and his posse.

A slightly different path was reachable from the seer location, with some White Mantle and Mursaat. A few Mursaat would normally be a bad thing to encounter, but now witht he infused armor it worked just fine and the Mursaat were no more difficult than other level 24 enemies (and their level 28 bosses).

Wolf’s gang followed the road south, ignoring some White Mantle/Mursaat constellations which were not on the direct path. This turned out to be good for the bonus part of the mission. A Shining Blade scout further down along the path provided that, which was to kill a Mursaat boss before he escaped though a portal. The boss and his posse spawned nearby, right where I had parked Wolf’s team when going to talk to the scout!

The defeat of Markis

The defeat of Markis

Stopping the boss was reasonably easy and the bonus was obtained. Wolf’s team continued south only to find them back at the start of the mission and no Markis… Backtracking the steps and looking at the areas with enemies which the group had passed, it turned out that Markis was quite near the location of the seer…

A few Jade Armor elementals spawned when attacking Markis, but overall it was quite manageble. And so the another deed was added to Wolf’s increasing list of Things To Do As A Hero.

Categories: Guild Wars

Business model clarified a bit for Chronicles of Spellborn

September 29, 2008 3 comments

At The Chronicles of Spellborn website there is an announcement clarifying what the “free” option of the game is. I think that was certainly necessary. Personally I was not sure if the business model would be different or the same for Acclaim and for Frogster, the perception was certainly that it would be some kind of “free-to-play” game under the Acclaim banner.

The reality is however that Spellborn will have a free trial, but instead of limiting in time as many other MMOs they are limiting it in space – there is one zone which is free to play in. This is a bit similar to what Saga of Ryzom has been doing. This will be the same regardless of whether it is published by Acclaim or Frogster.

Not limiting it in time is a good choice I think, at least given that this zone may provide a reasonable taste of what the game will be like. Fast levelers and people with a lot of play time might not be that happy with this way of limiting the free trial, but for me it is a welcome option.

Where is the Nintendo of the MMOs?

September 28, 2008 4 comments

A recent release of a big MMORPG title from Mythic has caused a lot of discussions and arguments for and against the game as such, as well as the state of MMO games in general. This has also led to a number of blog entries again on the topic of innovation vs evolution and what gamers really want.

Purely by chance I stumbled upon a blog called Lost Garden which covers areas of art and game design. I was looking for some entirely different than this topic (but still game related) when a google link led me to this blog.

Here I found some quite interstring articles from a few years back: One article on Nindento’s approach to innovation as a profitable strategy. This certainly leads to the question, do we have any companies in the MMO space that tries to have the same strategy as Nintendo? I cannot really think of any, but with the long development cycles of many of these games it is perhaps harder to tell. 

The interesting part here is how the matter of innovation ties in with the lifecycle of a game genre and it fits very well I think with what we see in disucssions and releases for Diku-style MMORPGs today.

The same blog also explored the game genre life cycle in more depth in a series of articles as well. It is well worth a read I think. I think it also tells a lot what to expect from future titles from some game companies.

Categories: MMO Games

The sorrow wolf

September 28, 2008 Comments off

After completing the path to Ascension, my ranger Wolf got advised that he should talk to a dragon prophet in the mountains, named Glint.

Chatting with Glint

Chatting with Glint

Dragons probably do not want to be bothered by every person ascending, so it was not just a matter of knocking on the door or give Glint a ring. No, instead Wolf’s team had to fight through a number of groups of various creatures, including 6 different Dragon Facets, all in differently coloured crystal cave areas. Some of them had certain environmental effects in place, like slower movement or some amount of health degeneration. Considering that the dragons home was rumored to be contained in single grain of salt, it was quite roomy though.

It was pretty straightforward business for a hero though and it was completyed without much trouble. This was also the point were the max group size increased to the regular size of 8. This took much longer to reach than in Nightfall or Factions.

Glint seemed to be in a reasonably good mood, after all she delivered some doomsday:ish information, based on the Flameseeker Prophecies. But also that Wolf seemed to be a quite cool guy (stating the obvious…) that could make a difference.

The White Mantle seemed to worship a race of magical creatures called the Mursaat. These fellows turns out to be guys who like to float around a bit above ground in a golden outfit. They have a quite devastating attack (which Wolf got some first hand experience of…) and can thus be very tough to fight. But there was a way to get some protection from those attacks. Thus on the agenda Wolf got “get protection first”.

But even before that, it was time to save some of the Shining Blade buddies which had been captured by the White Mantle (and the Mursaat). It turns out that they have been taken to an ice cave area – Ice Caves of Sorrow. It also seems that the Stone Summit dwarves consider this area theirs and they are attacking the White Mantle and the Mursaat in the area.

Right, so where is that cave entrance now?

Right, so where is that cave entrance now?

Turns also out that the phrase “the enemy of my enenmy is my friend” does not hold true when it comes to dwarves. The shorter fellows were only too happy to pick a fight with Wolf’s team when being approached.

In fact, the dwarves were using some nifty catapults to shoot big deadly stuff on the White Mantle – or anyone else who happened to be in  the wrong spot at the wrong time.

It was a pretty nice area to play through and not particularly difficult once you figured out what to do. But getting to that point took a number of attempts though and Wolf’s team had a number of defeats before completing the task of recusing and escorting Evinna of the Shining Blade to the ship that took the group out of harms way.

Next time I will probably try to complete the bonus task as well (rescuing a certain dwarf), but for now I was happy to have completed the mission and learning that it is not just about brute force fighting, but fighting smart.

On the ice ship to safety

On the ice ship to safety

Is it just me, or aren’t most NPC dwarves in Guild Wars kind of creepy looking?

Categories: Guild Wars

Selling free trials

September 27, 2008 Comments off

Today I visited the local Mediamarkt store. When I passed by the PC games section I noticed that there were an unusual amount of NCSoft game boxes on the shelves. There has always been plenty of Guold Wars boxes and from time to time a few City of Heroes/Villains boxes. But now there were significantly more boxes.

I noticed that a number of the boxes only cost 19 SEK (rougly 2 Euro, or 3 USD) and there were a number of them, including for Lineage II and City of Heroes/Villains. The text on the box also said “valid for 14 days play”.

I.e. NCSoft is selling boxes for the free trial of some of their games. This might actually be a smart move to get more people to try out their games. They get it exposed to more people than those already into MMOs and downloading game clients. For those that do not want to spend long time on downloading the client they can also buy a disk with it for a small fee.

And with more shelf space it might also draw more attention to their games as a whole. With these boxes added to the regular boxes the NCSoft section was close to the Blizzard section in size in the store.

The Ascended Wolf

September 21, 2008 3 comments

The Wolf Has Ascended. Or so I think anyway, having completed the trials in the Crystal Desert and defeated myself. My ranger has been on his path to become ar Real Hero together with his gang (M.O.X., Dunkoro and Sousuke) and some added henchmen.

Augury Rock entrance area

Augury Rock entrance area

The hero stuff has required Wolf to Ascend, which takes place in Augury Rock; a big cliff in the Crystal Desert area. In order to gain entrance one has to complete three trials, each trial given by a ghost hero guarding the entrance. 

The first trial Wolf attempted was in the Dunes of Despair. In this area Mr Ghost wanted some help with overthrowing an evil Ghost who had placed himself in a place of power. To his aid to defend the place he has a bunch of The Forgotten, which seems to be a race of snake-like (cobra style) people, combined with some animated armor and weapons fighting by their side.

And to add some extra spice, Mr Evil Ghost had some big Sand Wurms placed at strategic locations to hurl big chunks of rock at any nearby enemies.

It turned out that fighting the way to Mr Evil Ghost and even defeating him was not the big problem; that worked fine directly. No, after that our own ghost wanted some peace for a ritual. However, there might still be some enemies around, so he said that the gang should cover his butt for 10 minutes.

This turned out to be easier said than done. Defeating the first few waves of enemies (Forgotten) worked fine, but then a Sand Wurm appeared some distance away and started hurling rocks. Initially I decided to stay near the ghost in case any more enemies would appear. None appeared though, so after a while I decided to take a shot at the Wurm. But, while the team was fighting the wurm some new Forgotten appeared and attacked Mr Ghost! Rushing back to defend him, it was a bit too late and the mission failed.

Next round the gang stayed close to Mr Ghost and ignored the wurm. The following spawn was dealt with ok, but then new spawns appeared with a boss and also another wurm appeared in the other side of the area and also started hurling rocks and then a third… The combination of the three wurms and the boss group was a bit too much and the team was defeated.

Third attempt, the gang rushed to kill the first wurm as soon as the first spawns were dealt with, then back to the ghost. After that the new spawns and the boss group appeared and with one less wurm to deal with, this worked out much easier. After that the second and third wurm was dispatched. Back to Mr Ghost. Now there was not much time left, but there were a few mobs just hanging around nearby. After some waiting time the gang decided to attack them, which was close to the time limit and the mission was successful before the last enemy group was killed. Yay!

Read more…

Categories: Guild Wars

Playing my music

September 21, 2008 Comments off

I recently discovered by pure chance a neat little game, which I have played a bit lately: Audio-surf.  It is kind of a racing game where you have to pick up coloured blocks in combinations. The race tracks are created from music scores you select yourself. There is a bunch of different ships you can race with, each with different charcteristics, as well as differences in the racing track itself. Quite enjoyable.

It is probably old news for some, but I have no background or tradition of playing games on PCs (as in Wintel computers) other than MMOs, so I am pretty clueless to much what goes on in terms of PC gaming outside the MMOsphere. 

Anyway, neat game and good fun!

Categories: Uncategorized

Funny flamethrower

September 20, 2008 Comments off

The Stargate Worlds website has a nice video podcast where they talk about the flamethrower weapon they intend to introduce in the game. Excellent to see that they put some humour  into it 😉

Categories: Stargate Worlds

The Chronicles of Spellborn finally has a release date

September 20, 2008 1 comment

It seems that the folks at Spellborn now decided that it is time to release their game, The Chronicles of Spellborn. The release date is set to November 27th. 

This is what they have agreed with the European publisher, Frogster. It seems that the aim is to have the same date for those on the other side of the Atlantic as well, but they need still to sort that out with Acclaim.

Release dates are slippery when it comes to MMORPGs, but I think there is a good chance that they will keep this date. It is only a bit more than 2 months away and they have not thrown around release date that much before. 

If the game turns out to be pretty good I do not think it will be a big hit right from the start. Rather I think this might be the kind of game that may grow slowly, a bit on the side from the big hyped games. Perhaps a bit like EVEs growth. Which I think it quite fine, a nice alternative to big media and hyped releases of other games.

New computer in place

September 19, 2008 Comments off

Finally after a long wait my new computer has arrived and I am in the progress of setting up selected pieces of my old environment. Selected pieces, since there is always some junk that I cannot be bothered to transfer to the new machine from the backups made.

Step by step this means I am getting back into doing stuff in a more ergonomic position, larger screen and better hardware under the hood than my laptop. Good times.

Categories: Uncategorized