Diversity in regional design: Spring

I really love spring in “real life”. When the sun starts to feel warm on your skin again. The snow is melting (if there had been some). The first birds are chirping again in the morning (as opposed to the cooing of pigeons). The trees and first flowers are starting to bloom. It’s just something I can’t get enough looking at.

In MMOs, you usually find a wide variety of regions all with different looks and feels: The desert, the jungle, grassland and so on. Of course, regions with snow or regions with lots of sun near a beach exist as well. But are there any regions that depict spring?

In Rift, the only one that came to my mind is Tempest Bay.

spring_rift_tempest bay

The rest of the city mainly consists of buildings and water – it’s basically a little island far away from the other regions in the game. But of course, I may forget some region at the moment.

Guild Wars 2 was equally difficult. Maybe the Grove or Caledon Forest. They’re not really spring-like, but they feature vibrant colours in the pinkish-spectrum.

spring_guild wars 2_caledon forest

It is a tiny bit disappointing to not see more spring regions. You could have them with snow in some areas, melting in others. Some flowers looking through the snow and all that. I would certainly love to see it. :)

Class names and expectations

Trove Candy BiomeI was just baking some bread while listening to a Trove stream (this one, to be precise) when the streamer was asked if Trove was going to add a healing class any time soon. I thought: Oooh, I would love that! But the streamer’s reply surprised me. “Yes, the candy barbarian will be somewhat of a healing class” (quoted by memory here). Candy barbarian… A healer. When I had heard that class’s name, I imagined a pastel coloured slightly pinkish guy running through cotton balls with an equally pastel coloured axe. Never once did I think that this guy could heal. I also always thought of “him” as a guy, even though my own character, Paeroka, is female and will always be female no matter which class I activate.

Back to the classes – I do have certain expectations towards classes. When I see a game (MMOs and RPGs mostly) I always look at what the classes are called. When they have “mage”, “warrior”, “hunter” and “priest”, I close the website almost immediately. No, thank you. If you can’t even have enough imagination to a) have more than those standard classes or b) at least give them more imaginative names, I can already assume that the game itself won’t offer anything new or intriguing either. Maybe I won’t do the game justice then, but that’s the thing about expectations.

Rift_Warrior fighting

Her build is a pretty standard warrior build: Run in, watch enemies die.

Of course, Rift is falling into that category. The main callings are named “warrior”, “mage”, “rogue” and “cleric”. But Rift advertised having souls and those do have unfamiliar names. My cleric can choose three our of ten callings: Sentinel, inquisitor, justicar, oracle, defiler, cabalist, purifier, warden, shaman and druid. Druid can call faeries to assist in combat, by the way. Purifier is a healing soul. So they clearly fit my expectations. But here comes to downside of having all those nice and imaginative names: I can never remember which soul is which. Justicar or inquisitor – which one was the tank soul?

GW2_Mesmer_Illusions

For those who don’t know, the mesmer in Guild Wars 2 can create clones of itself.

What I’m trying to say here is that a class’s name should ideally give you some kind of an idea what it is about but not be as bland and boring as “warrior”. Or at least, a game should offer more classes to choose from with some “better” names. Warhammer Online comes to my mind (though they had it easy seeing how it was an already established IP): Black orc, Disciple of Khaine, Zealot on the one hand and Engineer, Shaman and Swordmaster on the other. Guild Wars 2 has pretty generic class names mostly (warrior, elementalist, necromancer), but at least, they have more than standard 4 classes and add the mesmer which is a class name I haven’t seen anywhere else yet.

Long story short: Candy Barbarian will be a healer. Okay. I’m still looking forward to trying that class – I love healers, after all!

Trove Robo Raptor mount

Trove_Robo raptor mount 1Sometimes, I can’t believe my luck. I had a look at the dev trackers I’m following earlier today (for Guild Wars 2, Trove and Rift) and saw this post where Ocho explains that the Robo Raptor mount in Trove is an exclusive giveaway item they are handing out to streamers in order to help promote them.

I had a look at who was streaming Trove a bit after that. The first streamer with the most viewers was one of those with loud music going on (usually not the gaming soundtrack) and I can’t stand that. Music in the background is fine. But I watch streams to see the game and hear about it or at the very least, hear what the streamer has to say. The second one I clicked on was Sirregular. Exactly the kind of streamer I prefer. The music can barely be heard. ;)

Trove_Robo raptor mount 2Anyway, he gave away two Robo Raptors today (he has a few more codes, in case you’re looking for Trove streamers where you can win that mount) and guess who won the second code? Yes, ME! I don’t know how much I’ve already won that was Trion-related. Probably too much for my own good.
I jumped right into the game to have a look at this mount. It’s so cute! Probably a perfect fit for when I’m playing my dracolyte (I was too excited to take screenshots, so I didn’t switch my class from knight to dracolyte now).

As it turns out, there was no need for that filler blog post earlier. I could have just waited a bit… ;)

If you want one for yourself, go watch this site. Quite a few streamers put it in their headline if they have a giveaway.

My gaming update

Day no. 6 and I already need to add a “filler post”. I had planned to post about my dimension in Rift tonight, but due to a horrible back ache, I cannot spend any lengthy amount of time typing.

So instead, I’ll just tell you what I’ve been up to lately in terms of gaming.

GW2_warrior_candy cornGuild Wars 2 had been on the back burner ever since they made a break from releasing new content. Without the constant living story updates, I just realized that – apart from said story – Guild Wars 2 currently isn’t offering me what I want from MMOs. Now with the release of the new map, this may change again. I am also trying to avoid any spoilers about the story as I haven’t played it through yet. I’m still mainly playing my warrior with my thief as a close second. I am trying to level my elementalist and after that, the necromancer, as those are the two professions I don’t have at level 80 yet, but I’m not sure I can do it. I find both of those professions lacking in fun when it comes to combat. Maybe I just haven’t found the right builds yet. Anyway, my goal is to play through the “living story” story before I get any spoilers.

Rift_Monster in townRift has released its expansion and with that (and the CE I had bought), I could finally boost my cleric to level 60. When I had started playing Rift when it became free to play, I had switched from cleric to warrior because I didn’t like cleric anymore – only to realize I actually like cleric a lot more once my warrior hit 60. Now that both of them are 60 (well, my cleric is 61 now), I’m wondering if maybe mage would be a better choice… thankfully, the game only has four callings. ;)

Trove_club world castleTrove is a cute side game that I’m mostly playing when I don’t want to play either Rift or Guild Wars 2. They just released a new patch (and went into open beta yesterday!) and released a new crafting profession. After gardening, you can now also delve into ring-crafting. I don’t really have any goals there other than wanting to have the crafting profession at max level. Just because I can. :p I am waiting for them to release the candy barbarian, though. No idea what that will play like, but it sounds like fun! It will also come with the candy biome and I’m pretty sure this one will be very bright and colourful.

Last but not least, I own a ton of games that I bought at some point but never played or hardly played. But let’s not even go there… ;)

Trove Open Beta has started!

I’ve been rather busy today with meetings, heated discussions – you know, the usual. So, I am not in the mood to do the blog post I had thought about today. I also cannot write anything about the latest Guild Wars 2 patch that went live yesterday, because I haven’t played much yet. I think I should play a bit more before I start ranting about it. What I can say already is that I really enjoyed listening to the music and that I was positively surprised to see that we get a new map and that apparently, this new map features some interesting group-related content. As I said, I haven’t played much, but it did look a whole lot more than I imagined “dynamic events” in the open world when they first started talking about them before release.

Instead, I will use today’s post for Trove: The game went into open beta today! With yesterday’s patch, a few changes were introduced. Before, you got cubits once a day for logging in. Cubits is the free, non-real-life-money account-bound (you can’t use it to pay other players for materials etc.) currency with which you can buy mounts, pets and other nice things in the shop. I guess this was to be expected. With it being free to play and in open beta, you could theoretically have created a zillion accounts to log on and receive those daily cubits. Even though they are bound and cannot be transferred to another account, the items you can buy for cubits aren’t always account-bound. To make up for it, you can earn more cubits every day by playing the game. Not such a bad deal, I think.

Trove_Club World

You can find the latest patch notes here on the official forums.

If you just started playing Trove or are about to start playing, you may want some more information and help about the game. There is an official wiki, but I don’t know how active players are on there. There is also the subreddit where you won’t get any official support, but you can probably read about the latest changes there, suggestions, questions and so on. It hasn’t been as active since Trion released the official forums, but it still is really busy. Last but not least, as just mentioned and linked to above, there is the official forum (and the Dev Tracker). Of course, you can also ask me questions, but I’m not sure I can always answer them. I’ll try, though!

Trove isn’t just a game you play. Trove is also a game that lets you create… build things in-game, but also build dungeons, design items for everybody to wear and so on. Check out this subreddit for Trove creations.

And now, go play. Have fun. And remember: Dracolyte is the best class anyway. There is absolutely no need to ever try any of the others. They’re just boring and can’t compare. Seriously. Yes. ;)

Hello there, do I know you?

Perfect timing from Blizzard… Just when I feared I would have nothing to write about on the 4th day of NaBloPoMo, they sent me an email reminder that the offer of 7 free days of playtime in World of Warcraft is about to expire. I activated my account this morning, patched it and then went to work.

I think it’s great that they give you free days every year or so. It actually did make me return to WoW before. I even bought an expansion just for that. However, usually after the first month or so, I realize: You either pay or you’re out. And that’s when I usually leave again. I still like the game, but it doesn’t offer me anything that other games can’t give me either. Or, at least, they offer me a similar experience without forcing me to pay. I’m not a “freeloader”, in case you’re worried about that. I do give companies some of my hard-earned money. Especially now that my financial situation allows me to spend money on such luxuries as gaming. I am still very clingy, though, and don’t like to feel forced. It’s all about perception here!

Anyway, this doesn’t change the fact that Blizzard offering me 7 free days here and there has had the intended effect in the past. This time, however, I very much doubt I’ll return. Guild Wars 2 is releasing their new patch today which also comes with a new zone and Rift has just released their expansion which I’m slowly playing through. On top of that, Trove is entering open beta and I’m curious to see how the development of the game is coming along and when they will release the candy barbarian. That’s three fine games right there and not one is asking for any money, just so I can even play it.

WOW_Female human

Left: old. Right: new.

But let’s look at World of Warcraft. I don’t know everything that has changed since I’ve last left the game, but upon loading the game, I got quite a shock. I had seen the redesigns of the character models and always thought: That looks nice! But when I saw my own characters, my heart sank a bit. It’s not that they look completely different, but in a lot of cases, something in their expression changed. While I chose this one human face because it has a mixture of naiveté and curiosity, it now just looks… weird. Yes, weird could be it. Maybe a bit skeptical even. Look at the picture and you will probably see what I mean. My dwarf had this pretty shiny orange hair. I loved her friendly expression. The new face frankly just takes away any personality my dwarf has ever had.

Thankfully, I quickly found out that you can re-enable the old character models. For a moment, I thought everything was gone. All those memories… yes, I know I’m not even playing the game anymore, so that doesn’t matter, right? But in a way, it did. Friendships formed in that game and for several years, it just accompanied me through my life. I know a lot has changed since then (both in my life and in the game), but my characters have always still been there whenever I returned.

I am curious what else I will discover in the next… 6 days. But for now, this blog post has actually been cut short as ArenaNet announced that they’ll be giving us the patch soon. This also saves you a lengthy rant today, I think. ;)

I am the “eternal soldier” kind of Guild Wars 2 player

ArenaNet currently offers Guild Wars 2 for 50 % off until November 9 – and to celebrate that (or in order to direct more people to that site, I guess), they added a little quiz: What kind of Guild Wars 2 player are you?

My result was this:

You’re a…

Eternal Soldier

You know what makes me happy?

Smashing castle gates down. Raiding enemy supply camps. Wreaking havoc on the battlefield with a few dozen friends. These are a few of my favorite things.

War is my business – and business is good.

Good, I guess. The thing is that of course, since it’s focusing on the current Guild Wars 2 game, they cannot ask questions about things that aren’t in the game. If I had to guess, I would say they focussed on WvW, sPvP, personal story (or feeling like a hero), open world events and living story? It’s hard to tell. Of course, it’s also light-hearted and not a quiz to be taken too seriously. Still, I do wonder what others – you who is reading my blog post right now, for example – have gotten as a result. :)

GW2 Asura Guardian

The text above is exactly the kind of player I used to be in Warhammer Online. In Guild Wars 2, not so much. Once defending makes sense, I may have a look at it again. Back in WAR, I thought we had bad zergs. Now that I’ve played WvW in Guild Wars 2, I really know what a zerg is. :p

And if I had to classify my gaming type in MMOs, I would say: A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I like to alternate between questing and gathering resources and then crafting/earning gold (mostly through crafting except in GW2 where crafting is a money sink), I like to do dungeons every now and then, I like to play instanced and open world consensual PvP. I like owning a place I can call home and decorating it. I like collecting things like mini pets. I like to play different classes and create a ton of characters. I love exploring the virtual world. I don’t like doing any of the above exclusively for a too long time or delve too much into any one area. I want to be able to switch between all those modes. But there is one thing that I cannot stand at all: Being THE hero. Being one of the heroes is fine, though.

I still wonder if maybe a “What profession suits you?” would have been the better choice to advertise the game’s sale.