Yeah, its a little late in coming. And arguably not worth it, since we are very soon for April showers in this year. But it also occurred to me this post format is a good way to catch everyone up on what I’m playing and where I’m at in it. And when times are turbulent…well, its a good memory keeper for myself.
What’s Coming Up?
Doodling around in Dreadnought.
I just discovered this gem a week ago. I had read about it and had interest back when it was only on the PS4. But I’m not a console gamer anymore (I still have a PS2, does that count?) and I didn’t keep track of the PC release progress. In any case, the game has hit Open Beta. I played for a couple of days, enough to know I was hooked, before buying their generous $5 welcome package. That included two weeks of premium time, a tier two (there are five tiers total) premium dreadnought, and some customization options for my ships and avatar. There are also $15 and $60 buy-ins for those who have not yet been burned by paying for beta development. But $5 seemed about right for me for the time being.
The gameplay is similar to World of Warships, or the now defunct Cloud Pirates, which I enjoyed, but with more options (missiles, pulses, secondary batteries, warp jumps, etc). It clicks and is interesting in a way that title have not been for me. One of the reasons is the lore of the game. Each time a map pops up and is loading, you get a bit of information on the location’s history and some hints as to why you might be duking it out over this location. And the locales are beautiful – some are planetside, skimming above the waves and around islands. Others are in space around giant structures, or near orbit, with the planet’s surface glinting down below.
And while the game has a Z axis (up and down) its not nearly as intimidating as it is in other games, like Star Conflict. Which is good, because I’m not Ender Wiggin!
Final Fantasy XIV.
When I tried it last time, I stalled out big time. But I did want to like the game, and others told me it might take more than one attempt to really get it. So armed with that information, and a desire to have a fantasy MMO of some sort running, I….tried lots of other MMO’s.
In the last month I’ve put time into Elder Scrolls, Black Desert, and Everquest II. None of them quite fit. Elder Scrolls is good, maybe in general the best designed MMO I’ve seen since Rift’s release, but the extremely limited character development is chafing me at every turn. I went back to BDO and was overwhelmed again by all the systems and options, coupled with gameplay that really doesn’t vary all that much from class to class, if you are simply doing PvE adventuring. Everquest was a mess. I spent several nights cleaning out my bags and toolbar on my level 95 necro. When I finally went to adventure, I got my ass kicked repeatedly by single mobs. My tank pet was dying before I could heal him. So that got old quick.
Long story short, I decided to heed the advice and try FFXIV again. I had used an old alt email for the free trial last time. This time was my final push though, so I started the trial on my actual email, going for broke. And its great. My primary issue was XP gain and the pace of the game. I don’t know if I missed it before or what, but preferred servers are giving double XP under level 60, and that was just the ticket. I am leveling and pacing comfortably through the content. And I do seem to have a button or two more to push which is also great. To drive home the point, I played half the hours I did last time, and I am 50% higher on levels in that time.
So I think I will be rolling along another month. It also fits some bills with character options, subsystems that are not overwhelming, and just a hint of that nostalgia (oh man, when the FF them plays in the background…)
What’s Going Down?
Shroud of the Avatar
I didn’t back it and I haven’t followed it. But the launch information got me hyper excited. Launching with four modes – including limited online and entirely offline play, is something I have been hoping for, for any MMO really, for a long time.
If they have success with this and pull it off, it will be a great change for the genre. When Wurm Online started to sell with the ability to host your own server, it was a revelation for me. Why not allow everyone to do that? And if you can do that, why not bring back old games?
Think about it! It could be a new generation of emulation, much like when the old NES and Sega emulators hit so long ago. Would you pay a few bucks a la GoG.com for a copy of your favorite, now defunct (or classic or vanilla version) MMO if you could play it the way SotA or Wurm Online is offering? Particularly if some of WO’s options are included – basically, console commands for customizing the server or your character.
In any case, I will have to buy in and try SotA, for no reason other than these novel options, and the hope that other games will pick up on it and offer it as well.
This game may pull me offline for a bit. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I like the developer, I like the subject matter, and I like the format. Basically, I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to reasonably emulate tabletop Battletech on the computer, and I think we may finally have it.
Thanks for reading along. I hope to update on Fridays going forward from here, with maybe an extra post on Wednesdays from time to time. And thanks to all of you who are still writing after all these years! I never tire of reading your thoughts and hearing of your adventures.