Time Capsule 2014

I really liked the format last year and enjoyed coming back to it. So the concept will go on for another year, but with a new name to better reflect what I’m looking to do.

The truth is, this post is a time capsule. I mark this place to show where I was at in my thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, and questions at the beginning of the year. That is what is fun for me. So there are basically three sections below. The first deals with my hopes and desires for the coming year – what I want to accomplish or would like to see come to pass. The second is staking out, in the grand blogging tradition, what games I will return to to try again or just to enjoy again. And the third is my list of burning questions – my musings and ponderings about what 2014 might hold.

The Crypt of Civilization, the world’s most ambitious time capsule, and one of the inspirations of this post.

What I Am Looking Forward To

The Vought F7U Cutless. I’ve played around on the WoWp test server with enough of the high tier aircraft to know that I was made for this plane. Originally the fastest of the tier 10 jets, that has been eclipsed by the new British line. But, unlike its real world counterpart, this plane handles like a dream. I have led a two plane chase column from one end of a high tier map to the other without getting shot down, because of its incredible pitch and roll rates. It also has decent firepower and a great climb rate, making it the perfect ending to a line that already has those traits going for it. I’m finishing up the F4F Wildcat right now, and then its on to the Corsair for a couple of tiers, before transitiong to the F6U Pirate, the only hiccup in the line. It follows a bit too closely to its real world counterpart. And quite frankly, its an odd choice – the line would more logically go through the F2H Banshee, a production aircraft, rather than the Pirate.

In any case, this is probably my first planned foray up the tech tree in WoWp, along with the Messerschmitt line culminating in the severely OP Me 262 mark 3. Because you can’t ignore the OP stuff in the world of PvP. You could also include in this that I am overall looking forward to a growing player base for WoWp.

Elder Scrolls Mania. I got Skyrim for Christmas and have been enjoying it – except for the random murders of important townsfolk that I have no power to stop, which apparently happens at random. And I got to try my hand at the ESO Beta, and while its under NDA, I think it would be okay for me to tell you that I went from being “meh” on it to being very excited for it. I am not excited about a subscription fee, but I honestly don’t see that lasting more than about six months time. How about you?

Playing Old RPG Franchises. I picked up Wizardry 6-8 from Steam over the holidays. I was a Might and Magic fan growing up and just didn’t have the money to follow both series. So I’ve always wanted to go back and try it out, and that is exactly what I intend to do – at the bargain basement price of $2.75, which I could have afforded even back then, had they been on sale that low! Speaking of Might and Magic, UBI continues to develop MMX: Legacy, and I will continue to watch and wait eagerly, thought I have not been ready yet to drop the $30 they want for early access and testing on Steam. I may not be able to contain myself much longer though. Speaking of which, my other holiday Steam purchase was Conquest of Elysium 3, by the same people that created Dominions 3 and most recently just released Dominions 4. It takes more of an RPG flavor than the grand strategic scale of Dominions, but there is no denying the connections between the two. Speaking of which, you can now also get Dom 3 for a mere $20 on Steam. I absolutely guarantee that this game is worth its original asking price of 3x that amount. I can also include the Agarest series on here, as hopefully Ghostlight makes more of them available on Steam. The game got a terrible rap for confusing combat and its supposedly heavy fan service. So far I’ve seen less fan service than your typical Bong movie, and the combat is quite excellent – thought if you jumped the tutorial because the game looked a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics, I can imagine you got your butt handed to you more than once. The game looks the same but the system is very, very different.

I could have included this in my “Return To” section below, but I tend to think of that as more in the realm of MMO’s.

The Return of WoW. I am excited about the possibilities of the new expansion (especially the base/home), and the inclusion of a max level character. I have actually been playing around on my free WoW account some over the holidays. It seems strange to say it in some ways, but I firmly believe that WoW is a better game now than it was when I left it 5 years ago. At this point, unless ESO just absolutely grabs me by the head and won’t let go, I intend to spend a few months in Azeroth towards the end of the year (assuming that is inded when it drops).

Burning Questions for 2014

What Will Come of Wildstar? I’m not sure it can be said loudly or clearly enough, but Wildstar wants to be the WoW killer. From the art style to the considered goals, to the planning of races and classes, the goal can’t be seen as anything other than an attempt to invade the fertile subscription lands that WoW occupies. Maybe its just me, but when I hear ESO talk subs, I think its just a placeholder to recoup costs. When I hear Wildstar say it (perhaps because of the announcement of its version of Plex/Kronos), I think they intend to stick with it. I can’t help but think they will fail. I have no ill will to the game really, though I do think its a major step backwards to limit your race/class combos, so I’m not looking to be right here in the vindictive sense, but I just can’t imagine what it is about this game that will make it a lasting presence on the MMO landscape. On the other hand, I felt the same way about Guild Wars 2…

Will ArcheAge Be Arriving in 2014? Its been out for a year over in Korea. Its in testing with players over in RU as we speak. Yet we have nothing more than a basic placeholder site and zero information about release dates or just about anything else with regards to a timeline here. I submitted a question for the Game On Podcast (about the PR machine) and Victor Barreiro seems to think that Hartman was encouraging, but I was disappointed with the overall lack of response, not just on my question but on the game overall. One the one hand, the game is ready – just translation issues remain. On the other hand, we can’t give any further information or dates or even a range of dates. If we can’t give a range of dates even on a PR buildup, I have to think the game is really far off. Any yet I can’t imagine that if all that is remaining is the final stage of localization, that it would be on hold for another full year. The bottom line here is that this is my next big game that I have great hopes for, and the sooner it gets here, whether that be to fulfill my expectations or dash them, the better I will be.

How Will WarThunder’s Gound Game Hold Up Against World of Tanks? WarThunder’s vision is ambitious. Put planes and tanks together on the same battlefield. I can’t think that this will be easy to implement or balance, let along do those two things while making it fun to play. So I’m curious to see how it plays out. WarThunder and WoWp are different enough that they draw their own individual crowds, but there is something about the ground game that will be interesting to watch play out. Maybe just because Wargaming has more to lose than Gaijin does. Then again, WoT is the WoW of the military battleground world. Their position is going to be tough enough to assail without the added design complications that Gaijin is imposing on itself.

Return To…

I’ve pondered this one a lot over the past few weeks. Initial thoughts included Age of Conan, Dark Age of Camelot, or Neverwinter Nights. But NWN still doesn’t have a class that really drives me to want to play the game. Conan I got as far as downloaded and taking my old character out for a test drive, but an hour later I was done. So done. Dark Age is an old title, but with the coming of Camelot Unchained, I thought it might be fun to play for a bit and do a compare contrast as the year brings more information. Still, it is dated and we may still be a ways from Camelot Unchained. Plus, as a divided market now intends – it is still a subscription game, and that means there is a barrier to entry there that other options don’t have.

In the end, I thought about what I wanted out of the experience. I said to myself that these will be long term, but part time efforts. I have main, “every night” kind of games, but I want games I can “marathon” in – play one or two nights a week, draw the experience out for a year and really enjoy it and not feel like I have to log in every night to keep the world turning. With that in mind, I settled in on two:

EVE Online. On a whim, because I loved the idea and what was inside, and boosted by Wilhelm‘s glowing review of it, I placed the EVE Second Decade Collector’s Edition on my Christmas Wish List. I honestly didn’t think I would get it, but…what the hell, it was Christmas, right? Well my parents spoiled me, and I absolutely love it. The Rifter looks great on my desk, and I’m super excited about the board game, which looks like fun. And the soundtrack and history book are absolutely worth the price alone. And the game itself is perfect for the drop in/drop out mentality now that I think about it. I’ve always been desperate to fill time in EVE – but the long time EVE players like Kirith Kodachi and even Wilhelm, don’t seem to be people who play it every day. Maybe my pacing has just been off. If nothing else, I always enjoy just flying in space. While there is a subscription barrier here as well, but I think its worth it given my past experience with the game.

SWTOR. I have decided after long consideration to hit the reset button on SWTOR. I never did get past the starter planets on the side of the Republic. I would love to see the other half of the galaxy. And the idea of just following the storyline, and filling in the blanks with the minigame, ducking the sometimes irritating side missions – which also cuts down on the overly long leveling cycle, particularly towards the end. And, free to play, very good if I’m burning my two sub limit on ESO and EVE.

I don’t like that SWTOR under-reached for their Galactic Starfighter expansion, I think it was dumb and yet another let down, on top of being blatant plagiarism. But while I think that, I’m more interested in blogging about my experience in the game, than spending more time shredding them for the move. In other words, it sucks for the MMO world but it benefits me, so I’m gonna roll with it.

2013 Crystal Ball Review

So I pondered what I was going to do last January about predictions. I decided that instead I would look at what I was looking forward to the most and least, and ask some questions that could only be answered a year later. That way I could come back a year later “with some wisdom and hindsight and laugh and make obscene hand gestures at myself for how dumb or idealistic I was.” It worked out way better than I could have thought. If you are still missing the point here, think of it this way. I buried a time capsule for my future self with a bunch of questions about the coming year, and now I get to reflect and pontificate on them. It is glorious.

So in the “looking forward to” section I had a couple of entries:

Hearing More About ArcheAge Online and Possible Release Dates

Sadly, we haven’t really heard anything more. An enterprising EU team (of Germans if I understand correctly) from Impact Community have made and kept up to date a skill calculator for the game in English, which is fantastic. You can use it here to build your class from the 120 possible combinations. Keep in mind that even if you have the same combination of skill trees as me, your picks will be different. For the curious, I plan on utilizing Devotion (healing), Finesse (Rogue-ish abilities), and Necromancy (pretty self-explanatory…). Which is the class known as…wait for it…the Writer.

The lack of news was a result of Trion finding its balance I think. Scott Hartsman leaving and then returning as the new head honcho bodes well for the company, but despite his protests to the contrary, I’m sure those waves within the company had a push-back effect on the game. I still hope for a 2014 launch, and I am of course signed up for Beta. I simply can’t wait to get my hands on this title, and I’m all but begging for more information. So if you are out there…pretty please.

Expanding My Tier 10 Garage

And expand I did. I collected all the tanks I originally set out to, except for the IS-7. The arrival of the Chinese line and the pressing needs of my previous clan for certain tier 10 tanks caused a shift in that final drive. Right now I am sitting about 50k from the Object 140, 150k from the IS-7, and 225k from the E-100. However, with Warplanes occupying almost all my PvP time these days, I’m just not sure how active I’m going to be over that way. We will see. I have to think that, in part, getting kicked to the curb by my former clan is at least part of my decline in tanks interest. I can say for sure that while I still enjoy the game, I am done with Clan Wars for the forseeable future.

Nostalgia: Vanguard

Here we come to the first bust of the year. I was really really looking forward to getting into Vanguard. I love the setting, and I love my character. I loved playing the game. I even went out and bought a card for a month’s sub. But the progression is just too damn slow. Its a snail’s pace and that is really discouraging. And beyond that, I died. A lot. Against even level or +1 content. Which forced me into lower level quests, which then lowered my progression that much more. My only hope now is that the max level character program is successful in EQ2 and is ported over to Vanguard. That’s a setting where I really don’t care what quests I’m doing, I just want to roam the world and explore. And I can’t do that with a 20 something character that keeps getting his ass handed to him by random wolves. And I’m a healer to boot.

Battlefield 3

This game really, really wound down for me this year. I still have a buddy who is hardcore into 4 right now, but I just can’t bring myself to it. I put the game on my Christmas list so I’m sure I will get in some time come the new year, but…the verve is gone, as I predicted. I think it was probably back around summer time when I last logged in, but I can’t remember for sure.

Star Trek Online

I finally got my Ambassador class! That was indeed the anniversary ship. I played my new Romulan to level 10, and then couldn’t decided which way to go. Most of the KDF content is unknown to me, but my gaming buddy I was leveling with wanted to go STO. So I did what anyone with indecision does…nothing. I quit playing. I come back occassionally and am always pleasently surprised with how good the game is. I play a storyline mission or two, and that satisfies me. And then of course, if there is a fun ship up for grabs or a new story to tackle, I’m in as well. But day to day play I am out. If I could find an active, friendly fleet that wasn’t comprised of 300 jerks, that would help, but other than starting my own fleet, which would be a pain to play catchup with at this point, I just don’t think I can find something that is a good fit for me.

And then there was my second category – questions I asked myself about the coming year. This is the best part. Are you ready?

Will the small indy developed sandboxes of Dawntide and Project Gorgon be revived?

No and yes, in that order. Dawntide lost funding and sometime last month or so, the website shut down completely. That one stings. Dawntide was *the* sandbox title in my book. It had lots of great things going for it, and I’m very discontent that the doors have closed for good. Project Gorgon, on the other hand, continues to poke and prod its way into development, which is about the best the team can hope for, given that its sort of a nights and weekends project while they put food on the table from elsewhere. If you’d like to log in and play around, feedback is appreciated. Just be aware that if the game warns you about something, its not kidding around. Turning yourself into a cow is a real possibility if you aren’t careful. And by cow, I mean cow. Literally.

Will some unexpected MMO suck me in this year, much as STO did last year?

Yep. TERA did that for me pretty hard. It wins the award here. I’m still playing and still having fun. You know why? Its the only MMO I can think of where I could turn off the UI and still play it. It wins the award for funnest combat and immersion in that sense. To a lesser extend, I enjoyed UWO, which has left the hands of NetMarble and ended up with…uh…OGPLanet. No, I have no idea who that is either. There is a good chance I go back and play that some more in the near future.

There are three others I played that did not suck me in though. The Old Republic was there when I needed an emotional crutch, and by all rights that should have launched me right back into the game. But the bad storylines for my main character were oppressive, and the content I was working through for a second time with my Sorcerer was boring. Which left me with an itch to go through on the light side as a Jedi. But I’m so sick of Tython that I was physically ill trying to play through it for what has to be the dozenth time. Until they allow character transfers and I can bring over my level 11 from another server (you know, before they announced that whole Legacy thing. Thanks again for that, jerkwards at Bioware), I’m not headed back.

I had a similar problem in The Secret World, where trying to get through the starting area for the umpteenth time just wore me out. If I can ever push through that starting map, I’ll be golden though, because there is nothing about the game I don’t like.

Last of the trifecta was LotRO. The summer home of my little group, once we all got stable internet again, it seemed like a good idea. I certainly had fun, and all three of us are fans of the IP. But between the crappy and buggy launcher that caused at least one of us problems *every week* when we logged in, and the fact that our healer was soloing the content while I as tank and our DPS person followed along behind them (Guitar Power in LotRO is OP!), it got old after awhile. So I played with the group, and enjoyed it, but it was far from sucking me in.

Will we finally see some information on Titan or Everquest 3?

Well, Titan, no, not really. But Everquest 3, or Everquest Next as we now know it, was all the rage. And my personal opinion was…meh. Basically, from what I have seen…its not Everquest. In fact, if you had given me the pictures and watermarked it with Blizzard or Titan, I wouldn’t have even batted an eyelash at the deception. So…looks like I’ll be passing on that one.

Is there any chance of me logging into TOR in 2013?

Yes, but it took the death of a friend to bring me to it. Think about that for a moment. That’s how strong the emotional rejection of a game that has failed you can be.

And don’t even get me started about that failure of an expansion….

Will Wildstar be the unmitigated failure I think it will be?

To its credit, Wildstar seems to be building steam as it goes along. I am still singularly unimpressed by what I see and read, and completely turned off by the graphics. The final nail in the coffin was learning that races and classes will be limited. Welcome back to MMO’s, a la 2004. Good job guys.


So there ya go, that was my Crystal Ball for 2013. Its been a bit of a wild ride. I’m looking forward to what 2014 has in store, and I have more questions and answers to go to. But I’ll leave those for another post.

The Reward Prophet and the 700 Club Blues

So I posted a while back speculating on what the WoWp reward planes were that I was desperately trying to get to 700 battles to ensure that I got them.

Well, Wargaming finally took the wraps off and revealed what those planes were. Oh, and they, incidentally, also revealed that you didn’t need 700 battles to receive them if you were an Alpha tester. Because your original battles count was not included (as I suspected) and because we had been so long in the testing process. Thanks for the head’s up WG! Seriously though, I can’t really complain. I’ve enjoyed the 800+ battles I’m at now immensely and that has accumulated XP for my starting pilots for launch, as well as helping me learn the game, so I’m fine with it.

And the planes? Well I was hit and miss.

Open Beta Reward Plane

First up was the ground attack plane. I picked the Pegas, thinking it would be the Open Beta reward since it was so low tier and that there is no way they would sell a tier 1 premium. And I was right, the Pegas it is!

WG has made some changes though. They added ordinance and beefed the planes HP a bit, and moved it to tier 2. Its a pretty versatile plane if you put rockets on it, and a nice fun change of pace in the lower tiers. Fun, different, not OP. Thumbs up Wargaming!

Closed Beta Reward Plane

Next up would be either a US or German plane. Turns out I was way off base here. The P-11C is being given as a code for live events in Russia. And Wargaming introduced a slew of US premium planes in their last update – the prototypes for the Wildcat, The Corsair, and two from the Hawk line. But the reward plane was none of those. Its the quirky and fun tier 5 XP-77. I never thought a tier 5 would pop for this, but in retrospect it makes sense – the reward tank for WoT was a tier 5 US. And the XP is a great fit – it was a prototype plane that was scrapped, and with premiums for the usual lines in place, its the odd duck out. I have played a couple of battles with it on the test server and its an interesting plane to dink around with. If anything its a little underpowered at the tier. But it looks funky and can hold its own at altitude since it does pack a bigger punch than the usual machinegun armed US planes (the XP has a hub mounted 20 on it which packs a nice accurate punch). Again, thumbs up for a nice plane for the CB testers.

Alpha Reward Plane

And then we got to the mothership announcement. I had expected the tier two carrier plane, but again, its a code for live events – this time for those in Germany like Gamescom. Last time I threw out the heavy fighter, thinking they would need a premium there for training and the line’s popularity. And they did. I just didn’t know they had two premiums lined up. In the next patch, the tier 4 Bf-110C6 dropped – the 110 classic, but with a giant 37mm cannon underslung on the fuselage. When it release I thought that might be one of the rewards – since it is a heavy, but unlike the rest of the line, can’t carry ordinance because of the gun. But I was wrong, Wargaming saved the best for last.

The Me 210. That beast of a heavy fighter with excellent rear guns, the ability to carry bombs, and serious forward firepower. Seriously, I love it. Particularly as someone who enjoyed the heavies but had no intention of climbing the line at launch, its a great change of pace. And again, not OP and quirky – the regular production 410 is a tier 6 heavy, so nobody can feel jilted – if it was an aircraft they wanted, there is an avenue to get an even better version through regular play.

And ultimately, that’s what reward planes are about – fun and quirky pieces you can show off a year or two from now and have people go “kewl” and ohh and ahh over.

And Wargaming, though prone to fails, also has some nice touches. The reward planes are one, but the second one was even better – if you didn’t make the 700 club, but had at least 100 battles played over the course of testing, then you got a special camouflage for your aircraft. So even those players who put a little bit of time in got something nice and unique as a result.

As for me – I will begin the game with a whopping six premium aircraft, the reward planes plus my preorder (XFL-1), the 15th anniversary byplany (I-15bis DM), and the earned with tokens F-2A1 Buffalo, ranging from tiers 2, 3, and 5. And my greedy nature is already trying to decide what tier 4 premium I want to use some gold on at lunch. What? I have to fill in the gap, right?

One week til launch. See you in the air!

A Very Late 2012 Predictions Review

It dawned on my today that I never reviewed my 2012 predictions.  Probably because I decided not to do them for 2013, and promptly hid from myself the fact that I had done them last year.   But what the heck, after yesterday’s deep trip down memory lane, something light is called for.


1) FunCom will be FunCom…they will release a conceptually brilliant game long before it is ready, and oblivious to whether or not they have enabled their target audience to consume it


Well, The Secret World was clearly made for a certain target audience, and I would certainly consider the genre-bending TSW a conceptually brilliant game.  And they released it before it was ready.  None of this is surprising, and this counts as mostly a hit.  But…I think they did a great job prepping us for what kind of game it was and how it was going to play out.   This is a niche game and that was pretty clear in all counts, from the setting itself to the way characters were built, to the investigation and puzzle quests you encountered early on.  The only real headscratcher is why it wasn’t F2P to begin with –  I guess they needed a cash influx.  And I’m surprised they have not embraced more of the successful F2P options from other games – TSW would be the perfect game to introduce something like STO’s lockboxes or TOR’s cartel packs into.  But maybe scoring the latest pair of hotpants for your virtual Barbie doll is the most lucrative way to go.  How should I know?


2) Guild Wars will ship to much acclaim and joy, and find its niche…and then promptly fall off the radar, as people complete is PvE campaign in the course of a week and are left with nothing but hardcore PvP or the next $50 box drop.


Yes and no…GW2 apparently anticipated this and has made moves to put some emphasis and elbow grease into their dungeon system.  The end result seems to have pleased some people.  I’m not sure how big of a slice of the PvP pie its taking though.   I can’t imagine its all that much, or games like Darkfall and Camelot Unchained (or Defiance and PlanetSide 2 for that matter) would probably be crying and shaking their fists.  Still, I gotta call this one a miss.  There is plenty of PvE space to explore and the game is reasonably healthy – not to mention it is arguably a bigger success than its predecessor.


3) World of Warplanes Beta will come winging our way at some point during the year.  My guess is that it will not be nearly the success that World of Tanks has been.  Primarily because the inclusion of joystick support indicates that the basic keyboard controls are going to be awkward, and lets face it, that’s what most people use.  Again..that whole “know your target audience” mentality.


I actually have been in WoW since Alpha – it just took me awhile to find the invitation in my spam box.  :-p  And we are still under NDA, so I can’t tell you anything about this prediction really.


In other, completely unrelated news, I am considering downloading War Thunder.


ETA:  The NDA was actually dropped a few days ago and I missed it.   So I can be less subtle now – World of Warplanes is a mess.  It can’t decide if it wants to be an arcade shooter or a flight sim, and the parts of the World of Tanks model that were “adopted” in are problematic as well.   End result – people who came for arcade are frustrated, people who came for a flight sim are bored, and people who came from WoT are quickly in over their head.  Sign up and give it a try for yourself, but for my two cents, its a crash and burn.

ETA AGAIN: Turns out, they manage to fix World of Warplanes at the 11th hour, and I freaking love it. Who knew?


4) Dawntide may not survive another year.

It didn’t.  The website is still up but the game is all but dead.  Its a shame too, it was a very well designed sandbox.  I would have loved to live in it a while.

5) Sony will find a new flagship.  They have to, right?  I’m shocked that Everquest 3  took so long to get off the ground, even in whispered rumor form.  To be the advance they want it to be will require a full development cycle, which means we are looking at another 4 years probably before it hits.  So part B is this: I fully expect Sony to pick up distribution rights to ArchAge Online.  They have shown no qualms about bringing other people’s developments into their fold (Vanguard, Pirates of the Burning Sea).  Pairing this with a PlanetSide 2 launch would mean fresh blood in the Sci Fi and Fantasy domains.  That’s not to say that ArchAge comes out way in 2012, but I think it will find a home in this time period (call that part C if you will).

ArcheAge found its home with Trion – a good move and I think AA and Trion both will profit from it (and word is it will hit this year).  Sony let PotBS go, and seems to be relying solely on PS2 as its flagship game these days.  Star Wars – The Clone Wars Adventures (“the other Star Wars MMO”) got a quiet makeover while nobody was looking, and now it really is an MMO instead of just being an ambulated amalgam of minigames.  Much to my son’s chagrin, when he started a new trooper character and had to quickly learn how to shoot his way through droids, follow maps and quest points, and do all this if he wanted to get to some of those minigames that he knows and loves.  Quite honestly, I wonder now if EQ3 will ever see the light of day.   Call me a doubter at this point.  But don’t call that a prediction.  Please?

6)  Titan will lose its codename and we will began to get some information on it.  Quite frankly, my belief is that if you’ve been holding it in your backpocket for over four years, without even giving a hint of what it is, its just as likely rotten eggs as it is a hit.   But I’ll be curious to see what’s been rattling around in the heads of Blizzard and whether or not this is the time to unveil it.

Everything I said about Titan above is what leads me to believe that EQ3 is in the same boat.  The drivel of information is tiny, and both those games have been in development for over a full cycle now.  Entire MMO’s have been conceived, incubated, and birthed in the time that we’ve been waiting for information about these two.  That can’t mean good things, because as I’ve learned over the last few years – if its ready to talk about it, companies will trip over themselves doing so.  And if its not, they will do and say anything to put a sheen over the fact that its ugly as sin or broken as a wagon with square wheels.

Most/Least Anticipated and Biggest Fail.

WildStar still looks terrible – but it didn’t launch in 2012.  And it turned out what became my biggest anticipation became my biggest fail – and its one I haven’t said one peep about.  Mechwarrior Online is terrible.  The game will be good one day, like, a year from now.  But they took money and made promises, and its going to be a long time before they deliver.   And they did a great job getting lots of people to part with their money by promising all sorts of grand things, like launching 8 months ago (the game is still in beta) and giving us tons of mechs (I think they might be up to their original twelve now).   And the game itself?  The UI is so bad  – or rather so nonexistent and uninformative, that you might as well be doing freeform roleplaying  on your neared RPG forums.   You will have no idea what’s wrong, how much armor you have left, why you missed, what your heat level will change by, and where anyone is.   And good luck communicating with your teammates.   Oi.

And Guild Wars 2?   Well, I have no real beef with it.  But I also just can’t seem to get into it.  It bores me.  And I hate that I have to go running back to the capital city every couple of levels for a new storyline quest.   And the races, outside of humans, are fugly and awkward to watch.  Okay, so maybe I have a few things against it, but overall its a good game.  Its just not my cup of tea right now.

Anyway, there is your 1300+ word wall of text for today.   Enjoy.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll have some screenshots to balance it out!

2012 Predictions

I thought this would be easy.  At least it has been in past years, but this year I’m a little stumped.  More specifically, I’m stumped about what to make predictions *about*.   It seems obvious what will and will not happen this year.


1) FunCom will be FunCom…they will release a conceptually brilliant game long before it is ready, and oblivious to whether or not they have enabled their target audience to consume it (think system requirements re: AoC at its launch).


2) Guild Wars will ship to much acclaim and joy, and find its niche…and then promptly fall off the radar, as people complete is PvE campaign in the course of a week and are left with nothing but hardcore PvP or the next $50 box drop.


3) World of Warplanes Beta will come winging our way at some point during the year.  My guess is that it will not be nearly the success that World of Tanks has been.  Primarily because the inclusion of joystick support indicates that the basic keyboard controls are going to be awkward, and lets face it, that’s what most people use.  Again..that whole “know your target audience” mentality.


And then there is stuff that is less obvious.  And that is the stuff that I will really judge myself on predicting, because its a little tougher.


1) Dawntide may not survive another year.  After previously announcing plans for a launch and unveiling payment plans, Dawntide had to do a quick E-brake 180 when they lost funding.  They reaquired funding almost immidiately, and promised an updated release date within three weeks time.  Two months later, the big news was instead that the whole world was coming down for a complete redesign/regraphic-ing (is that a word?).  That smacks of desperation or fear, one of the two.  One of the GM’s in the forum is on record as saying he believes a new launch will come late in the year, perhaps around August, but there is simply no  good way to tell at this point.

On the other hand,  I could be wrong.  The redesign of the world could indicate an influx of funding allowing them to modernize and fully realize the game.  And in this case, I truly hope I’m wrong.  The innovations present in the game are wonderful, and I’d like to see it make some inroads.


2) Sony will find a new flagship.  They have to, right?  I’m shocked that Everquest 3  took so long to get off the ground, even in whispered rumor form.  To be the advance they want it to be will require a full development cycle, which means we are looking at another 4 years probably before it hits.  So part B is this: I fully expect Sony to pick up distribution rights to ArchAge Online.  They have shown no qualms about bringing other people’s developments into their fold (Vanguard, Pirates of the Burning Sea).  Pairing this with a PlanetSide 2 launch would mean fresh blood in the Sci Fi and Fantasy domains.  That’s not to say that ArchAge comes out way in 2012, but I think it will find a home in this time period (call that part C if you will)


3)  Titan will lose its codename and we will began to get some information on it.  Quite frankly, my belief is that if you’ve been holding it in your backpocket for over four years, without even giving a hint of what it is, its just as likely rotten eggs as it is a hit.   But I’ll be curious to see what’s been rattling around in the heads of Blizzard and whether or not this is the time to unveil it.


In the most and least categories:

My most anticipated game is…I don’t have one.  Honestly, I don’t.  I’d say Secret World, but I’m pretty sure its gonna flop like a drunk noob off the high dive platform.  I’m honestly not excited about anything that is to come this year.  So, I guess the challenge is to see what does finally get me excited.

My least anticipated game is…Guild Wars 2.  I’m glad that everyone is nuts over it, but I honestly do not see the draw.  The art direction in the first one and from what I’ve seen in this one, is ugly to my eye.  Guild Wars is honestly the only game I’ve quit playing because I wanted to claw my eyeballs out just looking at the screen.  Does that make me weird?  You bet it does.

The game everyone is excited about that will actually be horrible…that’s gotta be WildStar.  It looks like Champions Online’s graphically impaired World of Warcraft wannabe offspring.  Reminds me a bit of Alganon, which, as we all know, had great success in the MMO world.

Dual of the mini Mecha MMO’s.  Which will win my affection:  Hawken or Mechwarrior Online?  Personally I’m leaning Mechwarrior myself, but the decision to continue a timeline that was already beyond salvage is humorous.  And I could see it being neither.  When I think mecha I think strategic.  I do not think super-action fest.  Which is what both of these games seem like they may be, at first blush.  Which means that the dark horse alternate candidate in this race may actually be the wildly-innacurately name Gratuitous Tank Battles.  Which is actually Gratuitous Mecha Battles…that also happen to have some Tanks in them.   Seriously…are we that desperate to cash in on the World of Tanks fanbase?

New Years Predictions 2011

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and do this now instead of waiting a week!  And because its an easier and shorter post to write than my impressions of Rift Beta (the short version: its a lot of fun).    So without further ado…

Five Predictions…

1.  We will finally get some news about the World of Darkness MMO from CCP /White Wolf.  I know we already got an announcement and a teaser trailer.  But let’s face it, we all knew it was coming anyway.  I mean some real news.  Like a website that shows us more than this.  This may be a safe bet, but remember that the only official word was that it would be absolutely not be before 2012.  That sounds alot to me like they are shooting for 2012 but aren’t sure they will make it.  But I can see the point, so lets add a part B  to this that reinforces my point – we won’t see a beta for this in 2011.

2.   2011 will show a decline in the number of WoW subscriptions.  Short easy, and to the point.  We might ask how we can track this, but I think it will actually be news that will get talked about.  I guess we’ll see.

3.  Star Wars: The Old Republic will launch in April.  There are alot of people divided on this – some say May, some in particular May 25th, for its significant (both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi released on that date), but I can’t see then losing two months of profits in the financial year.  This has clearly been a large investment, and they have been quick to promise investors a return.  Maxmium return will need maximum time, especially since that first month is usually free in MMO’s. Release in April and you get steady profits all year long.

4.  Vanguard will go F2P.  Okay, this is more of a hope than a prediction.  I have unfinished business in the world of Vanguard, and their version of the Druid is still hands down my favorite class to play of all time (though I’ve been able to recreate it to some degree in Rift, more on that later).  I think that the addition of DCUO to the Station lineup will probably help make this possible.

5.  Cryptic Studios will finally reveal what this is.  Because its copyright 2007, and it makes me itch.

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Bonus Thoughts…

Most Anticipated Release:  This is honestly a straight up tie between TOR and Rift.  I think both games bring some really need things to the  table.  And I have a hunch I will be buying collector’s editions for both of them.

My Least Anticipated Release:  DCUO.  In part because its being treated more as a console release.  Which is probably not a bad thing for its success.  But I enjoyed  Champions and HoX both, and I’m not a big fan of the IP (always been a Marvel guy myself).  Not sure this will be a huge hit, but I think it will be a nice niche game (which is what we need alot more of – just not at $15 a month each…)

My Most Desired Beta:  TOR.  I’m already in Rift, obviously,  so it falls to TOR, which is pretty much the one Beta I’m not in that I want to be in.

My Most Desired Industry Change:  Speaking of $15 a month subs…its time for a change.  The truth is, I can drop about $30 a month on games.  And I’m cheap, but lets say I’m average.  That means I can afford 2 games a month.  There are more than 2 good games a month out there.   And there has to be something between F2P and $15 a month.  I thought maybe APB was headed in the right direction with the ability to buy hours.  There are a lot of games I’d love to play once or twice a month, but I just don’t have time to commit to.  I wouldn’t mind paying $5 for a pack of hours.  EQ2’s passport plan is similar, but its on and then its gone.  The big thing here is that alot of us get hooked on games for a few months and then drift to something else.  Letting us do a small buy in puts you on the map for those hooked in times, and keep us around after they are gone. 

Something to think about…

2010 Predictions Review

I see others are reviewing their 2010 predictions.  As I said, I totally missed the boat on this last year, but it was a fun exercise.  I recommend to you other peoples predictions ahead of my own.  Nonetheless, here you go.  First up, my five predictions…

Five Predictions…

1.  Despite the obvious interest and backing they could generate, no on will announce work on a Transformers or G.I. Joe MMORPG in the coming year.   Which is probably fine, because if the movies are any indication, their ability to completely trash the IP is unparalleled.

Yeah, this was kinda off the cuff, but its true.  And I was right.  The closest we came to anything was a Transformers shooter.  Yuck.  Give me a cell-shaded 80’s style Transformers MMORPG and I would be a lifetime subber in a heartbeat. 

2.  Bethesda will finally…officially… announce their Elder Scrolls MMO.  Also, this is a hunch, but…it won’t be set in Tamriel.  I know it would make no sense not to use their established IP, but…companies don’t always do the smart thing.

Maybe?  A new Elder Scrolls game is coming – finally.  But the company will not comment on if its an MMO or not.  Which is odd.  If its a single player game – why did it take four years to announce it – five to launch it?  And just what the hell has your online division been doing for the last several years while all this has been going on?  One thing I did for sure get wrong here – this will be set in Tamriel, specifically in Skyrim.  On the flipside, if we have dragons returning, we could be watching for a cataclysm-style reboot (no I won’t capitalize that – they weren’t the first to do that).

3.  SWTOR will not be released in 2010.

Yep.  Back then there was a debate about whether TOR would drop in fall of 2010 or spring of 2011.  We now know it will be spring of 2011, and I feel, we can even confidently narror that down to April of 2011.  This has been a deep investment for Bioware, and by all the Beta accounts, the game is in balancing and polishing time right now.  So there will be no need to delay.  The sooner in their fiscal year BW launches this, the greater their return at the end of the fiscal year.  Anyway, nothing awesome about this one.  When in doubt about an MMO release, err on the side of “later.”

4.  WAR will finally announce what everyone has been waiting for – more races and classes.  I’m betting Wood Elves and Vampire Counts.

No.  WAR continues to believe that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread as is, despite evidence to the contrary.  And what would bring others into the game, is in face keeping people like me out.  Fallen Earth is starting to move in this same direction (“PvP at the expense of everything else”) and its  going to push me out of that game eventually too.

5.  EVE will finally get ambulated.  They won’t have a choice – its time to step up to the plate, or let STO own a patch of the space mmo business that they don’t have a flag already planted on.

No.  It might would have happened if STO had created more of an impact on the market.  Still, for all the banging on STO, its holding its own, and it continues to offer something other MMO’s don’t – periodic, free PvE content updates.  Still EVE is headed this way.  I’m not sure why.  Ambulation makes zero sense lore or game wise, that’s for sure.

So that’s, uh 2.5 out of 5 if you count the Elder Scrolls maybe as half correct. 

As for my Mosts:

My most anticipated release of 2010 was entirely correct.  There really wasn’t any other MMO I was looking for in 2010.  And I did dip into the year long sub so I have played it off and on all year.

My most anticipated failure will take some time to pan out.  I still think Cataclysm is the high water mark for WoW.  And I see some early reports that this might be true.  The hardcore players I know blew through all the content within a week.  And now they are bored and restless, again.  One of them started a new race/class combo – and is halfway to cap already.  One of them is asking me about EQ2X, and the other is giving up his sub in favor of Call of Duty action.  Which is why MMO’s trending toward PvP is insanity.  Why would you want to compete with juggernauts like CoD that can not only whip you ass with numbers, but can put out new games faster than you could ever dream of doing so…

My most anticipated beta didn’t hold.  I have been in the Rift beta – and I’m still trying to figure out if the NDA has been lifted or not – if you have some insight let me know, I’d love to tell you alllll about it – and would love a spot in the Star Wars beta, but those are rare as hens teeth apparently.  And there is no real evidence that the Secret World even *has* a beta yet.  I think maybe Funcom dropped their teaser trailers a weeee bit too early.

My least?

My least anticipated releases held as well.  I really have no interest if there is no RPG element.  Industry dudes:  learn it, love it – or die by it.

My least wanted game death, fortunately did not come to pass.  If anything, it got alot of love this year.  With Pirates of the Burning Sea going free to play, it  got a new lease on life.  I’m ashamed to say I haven’t even gotten a chance to play it yet.  I guess I need to give it some love as well.  Expect a PotBS post or three later this month.  In fact, nothing really got a plug pulled on it this year did it?  Even Alganon managed to chug along despire the hellstorm it went through.

And finally my most watched game of last year was Heroes of Telara, which got a rename as Rift.  And it was indeed my most watched game of 2010.  And I really want to tell you about it.  Alot. 

So in about a week, I’ll lay out 5 new predictions, and a new set of most and least.  We’ll see how 2011 pans out m’kay?