Tag Archives: Beta

Two beta keys for Trove – Giveaway!

UPDATE: The Giveaway is now closed. Winners will be chosen and contacted in a bit!
Congratulations, The Mystical Mesmer and Donald McLeod Jr!

I don’t even remember how many alpha and beta keys I have managed to get for Trove so far. In some cases, I did not even want to get one but did so anyway. Of course, I always shared them with friends and family. But now has come the time where I’ve run out of friends and family who still want a beta key. Or at least, nobody reacted when I had asked on Twitter. So I decided to come here to my blog and ask: Would you like a beta key?

Trove

I currently have TWO keys to give away. The procedure is pretty simple. Leave a comment here saying that you would want that beta key. Leave a valid email address, so I can send it to you (as always, enter said email address into the “email” field, do not add it to the comment field as that one is public!).

This giveaway will stay open for 24 hours. If more than two people have replied saying they want a beta key, we will roll for the winners. If there is less than that – well, congrats to you then. ;) If nobody (or only one person) wants a beta key after 24 hours, I’ll probably try reddit or some other public space and dump them there. :p

And in case you don’t want to wait for 24 hours or don’t mind spending money, especially for charity, there is currently a Humble Flash Bundle that lets you pay what you want and will give you, among other stuff, a Trove beta key!

Also, Trove will be free to play! So once you are in the beta, you are in the game and playing it as if it was released already. There will not be another wipe. Everything is here to stay.

Trove: Second Impressions Review

Back in alpha, I already wrote about my first impressions. Now that Trove is in beta, I figured I should do another impressions piece. As always, I rather call it “impressions review” than “alpha review” or “beta review”, because it is subjective and may not cover the whole game (see shadow arenas below, for example).

First things first, in case you are interested and would like to play the game yourself: It is in closed beta now, meaning you can’t just sign up and play. It will, however, be free to play when it releases. At the moment, you need a key. Trion Worlds, the game’s developer, has given away quite a few keys during their Trove livestreams (usually on Friday evenings, Europe time). You can also keep an eye on the Trove subreddit where you can find people linking to key giveaways. Or if you don’t mind spending money, you can buy anything (even the $5 pack of credits) to get beta access (see the last paragraph in this news piece).

The lava fields biome with the neon city biome in the background

The lava fields biome with the neon city biome in the background

A few things have been changed since alpha (and the time I made my first post). For one, there are no more home worlds. A home world was your personal instanced area where you could build in peace. Instead, clubs have a club world now where members can build (if the club’s leader gives you the proper rank with the permissions to build). You still have your cornerstone which is a piece of land in the open world which basically travels with you. Whenever you’re out adventuring and see a sign with a question mark on it, you can click it and your cornerstone appears. Whatever you build on this cornerstone will be saved and appear whenever you place your cornerstone again. However, building on it is not a peaceful activity. You are in the open world and hostile mobs will come in (or sometimes even spawn next to you) and attack you. The cornerstone is also rather small. You can build high and dig low on it, but you can’t make it any wider.

The cellar I digged below my cornerstone (the checkered place is the ground floor of my cornerstone).

The cellar I digged below my cornerstone (the checkered place is the ground floor of my cornerstone).

The club worlds also start small but you can expand them. Of course, with a lot of members, you will also need all this space if everybody is to have a small piece of land for themselves. You can join up to five clubs (and represent one of them at any given time, just like you do in Guild Wars 2), so there is nothing stopping you from creating a club for yourself which will give you so much space, you probably won’t even notice the lack of a home world. ;)

Bookahnerk and I have a club that we share with his cousin (the infamous cousin by now… ^^) and another friend. We have put everything in there that we need, so that we hardly ever use the main hub of the game anymore. But more about our club world later – there is an unpleasant experience here waiting to be told.

Robots can no longer be found in the ice areas. They have instead gotten their own biome. I love the look of that one and think it was a great decision to take them out and give them their own place! As soon as those are available for the club world, I want one of them. Sadly, not every biome can be built in club worlds yet.

But enough about the things that have changed. Because maybe, just maybe, you are here to hear my opinion about the game. In short: I love it! Simple as that. I find myself playing the game even though I’m tired from work. There’s so many things I can do. They have added gardening and a lot of people think it’s dull to go into the adventuring world, find the peaceful biomes where the sunflowers grow, jump around on those sunflowers and gather the lightbulbs you need in order to grow stuff in your own garden. I, on the other hand, really enjoy doing that. True, it doesn’t need much brain or concentration to do so, but that’s perfect after work. I usually am too tired to do things where I need to concentrate and make sure my character doesn’t die (like in Guild Wars 2’s combat – or Trove’s, for that matter…). Doing something peaceful is what I enjoy most and since I can also grow plants and (decorative) flowers in our club world then, it’s also something useful. It is a bit like fishing in Rift where I may not be able to do anything useful with that skill itself, but I do fish up dimension items once in a while that I can then place in my dimensions (or sell for gold to buy other items).

A small corner of my garden in our club world.

A small corner of my garden in our club world.

In case you are wondering what you can do in Trove other than gardening: Killing things, collecting items for stats or looks, gathering items (for building and crafting) and building things.

You can go adventuring, killing mobs in the open world, but there are also “dungeons” which are places in that world where harder mobs spawn. And then there are shadow arenas which I haven’t been at yet. They are like dungeons, but with harder mobs and better loot. ;) You can go hunt items and forge them in the hope of getting better or more useful stats. At the same time, Trove has a feature that lets you choose a skin for the look while equipping another item for its stats. That feature is free of charge, by the way! So, collecting skins is also part of the game. You can choose one of the available classes: knight and gunslinger are free. You need to buy the neon ninja, fae trickster and dracolyte with in-game currency or real money, depending on your preference (candy barbarian will be the next class, but hasn’t been released yet). You can level a class to level 20. If you want a change, though, you can just click on the class changer and switch. One character, every class. As easy as that. And if you want to change the look of your character, there’s a feature for that as well. You can change the hair style, hair and eye colour, gender (which is basically just different hair styles, I think) for no cost at all.

A dungeon in the Neon City biome.

A dungeon in the Neon City biome.

Then there’s the collecting part of the game: Collect building blocks and items that you need in order to change the look of the building blocks you have collected. For example, when you collect any yellowish building blocks in the open world, you get “Primal Yellow” blocks. If you want a “Yellow Glass” block, you first need to find the recipe and when you have that and have the yellow glass blocks unlocked, you need three primal yellow and one formicite ore (also found in the open world) to create three yellow glass blocks. You can also build different items to place in your club world or cornerstone like a chair, a table or an arctic commando gnome.

If you have been reading my blog posts for some time, you probably know that I am hardly a person who only sees the white or the black side of things. There are too many shades and colours for that. In Trove’s case, as much fun as the game is, there are also negative things and there is a lot of work left to do for the developers! The game is in beta, so I am quite lenient when it comes to bugs and missing features, but I still don’t think that they shouldn’t be mentioned, because they are currently part of the game and who knows if they can get rid of them all (I hope so, but I’ve seen too many games who nourished their bugs for too long… (*coughwarhammeronlinecough*)

It is actually kind of funny. The alpha was really stable, I did not notice any glaring bugs most of the time. The beta is the opposite at times. I’ve seen and experienced so many crashes, unsynching with the world (thankfully, a restart fixes that and restarting the client and logging back in only takes a few seconds), invisible mobs hitting you. Characters were rolled back, too. All of that started with the beta. The crashing has constantly decreased over the last few weeks and I think they fixed the rollbacks now. But it was a bit disappointing to experience these issues when none of them were present in that extent during alpha. I don’t know why that is… maybe they just let in too many players and it was stressing the servers too much. Either way, I still have confidence that they can fix all those bugs and make the game as enjoyable as it was in alpha. I guess there is a reason they squished in the beta before releasing, right? ;)

Another issue is a lot more annoying! Our club world had been carefully planned and designed – well, one of the biomes, at least – by bookahnerk and he had built an awesome castle in there. Within the safe walls of one of its towers, we had placed all our crafting stations. Then we decided to expand the club world and added a few more biomes. What we did not know: Everything built within 40 to 50 blocks from the border of where the new biome will be placed will get destroyed. The tower got hit and disappeared and with it all the items we had placed there. When something like this happens, the items don’t get put anywhere, they are just gone. So, we had to go and farm all the materials to get back those items which cost me the play time of two days (not a lot for “hardcore gamers” but it was for me).

However, as said above, it’s the beta. I put in my feedback and now have to hope that they will at least warn players that this is happening before they try to add a new biome. We are warned and will not build anything close to the borders that we may want to expand at some point in the future anymore.

Other than that, there are a few more things that I wish they would add, change or make more comfortable. The chat, for example. You only get one chat window for all channels. No resizing or moving the window anywhere. What I do love, though, is that you can read – and write in – all club chats that you are a member of at the same time and not just the one you are currently representing. Why doesn’t Guild Wars 2 have something like this?

While I don’t need a mini map to travel through the world, I would love to have a compass. I find myself losing any sense of direction quite often and then need to open the map to see where I am and where I wanted to head. Having a compass would make this much easier. Of course, having a sense of orientation would be helpful, too. :p

Those are just two rather small things. Apart from fixing the bugs and performance issues, I’m quite certain there is a lot more that others would say have to be added to the game. However, altogether, the game is playable (especially now that there are no rollbacks anymore) and if you can get a beta key for free, that’s a whole lot of fun that you’re not paying for. ;)

Wildstar: First Impressions

Wildstar Beta Linya EngineerCarbine Studios lifted the NDA for Wildstar some days ago, so I can finally share my impressions about this game. This also includes screenshots with watermarks, so this is what you’ll see here. I have tried to include new ones which I took after they removed the watermarks, because the watermark is indeed very ugly. ;) But in quite a few of the screenshots (see the gallery at the end of this post), you can see the watermarks showing a number or my name. I’m sorry about that. Just ignore them! They’re also not of any special quality, etc. since the watermark made them looking good obsolete and I didn’t think I would get to actually show them to others. ;)

First things first, I would have loved to dedicate much more time to this game, but I couldn’t for various reasons. Also, a standard disclaimer: This is not a review and this is not going to be objective! It is about my “first impressions” of the game.

The TL;DR version is as follows: I really like the game. The music is awesome. The world is full of humour that made me smile and chuckle several times. The housing looks solid and like something I could be interested in for a long time. But, it comes with a monthly sub and since my RL job just gave me a great opportunity, I won’t have the time to be playing Guild Wars 2, Rift and Wildstar and thus, the one that costs the most is the one I won’t be playing.

Now for the longer version. When I first got into the closed beta, I actually wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. I had seen the videos that Carbine had published and had really liked the humour. I had read a bit about the game and while it looked “cute” (as in: comics graphics) and I loved the humour, it still did not seem like a game I would want to play on a regular basis. The longer I played in the beta, the more that changed. Now, when I say “the longer I played”, I do not mean that I got to any high levels. If you know how I play my MMOs, you know that I can spend hours online without gaining a single XP point. This is just how I am. So no, my characters did not get far and you need to keep this in mind, because while I think I can write down my impressions, they are, of course, limited to the bits I have seen.

The character creation was quite solid, but also mildly disappointing. While there are lots of options for your chin, nose, eyes, etc. there is no option to change your body height or size. If you are interested in Wildstar, you have probably read about that point before. It even led to Carbine reducing the breast size of the female characters, but they still all have an hourglass figure. And don’t worry, the breasts can still be seen without applying a magnifying glass! ;) I don’t mind the female body shapes per se, but I do mind not having a choice. This choice could be either being able to change the body shape a bit or having alternative races which feature a different body shape. In Wildstar’s case, this means Chua or male characters, as all the female characters have the hourglass figure.

Before I started playing, I had a look at the available races and while I prefered the story of the Exiles, I thought I’d actually want to play a Chua. The Chua are a “genderless race“, whatever that means. I had imagined it to mean that they are like asura (more in Guild Wars 1 than Guild Wars 2) where neither the “typical male” or “typical female” stereotypes apply (you know, breasts, beards, that sort of thing…). But apparently, Carbine meant “Lord of the Rings dwarves” where all Chua look more male than female (still no breasts, but lots of beards). I love the first, but not the latter. So, while I still liked the look of the Chua I created, I can’t think of him as being female.

My personal favourites are the Mordesh. They remind me a bit of the Undead from World of Warcraft or the Xadaganians from Allods Online. Unfortunately, while I like the Mordesh, I chose mine to be an engineer and I did not like that class. But more about this later.

One big thing was the housing. I only got to try it out during an earlier beta phase. I’m not going to get into any details here, because they made some changes and the points I would have criticized aren’t there anymore. Housing looks solid now and if you’re into this kind of thing, I’m pretty sure you will have fun! One great thing is that you do not just have a plot and place a house on there. You can get something out of it like buffs or rested XP. If you still prefer checking out housing before you buy the game for its housing, you can already find several videos (for example, here and here).

What I did not enjoy much was the questing and the combat. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that this game also requires you to move and dodge. But the telegraph system always made me try to position myself according to the pixel bars in front of my character and I did not really pay attention to any of the combat animations. I only paid attention to where the bars on the floor were facing. Part of that was also because I did not like the engineer class much. I would have imagined it to be a very agile and mobile class, but compared to others I had tried, it seemed sluggish. I tried out the medic and enjoyed that one a lot more. The medic can both be a healer or a DPS class. It depends on which skills you are using, which stats you’re wearing with your equipment and so on. I liked the skills system, by the way. It reminded me a bit of Guild Wars 1 where you unlocked skills and then chose which ones you take with you to combat. The higher in level you get, the more skills you’re allowed to take with you to combat up to a total of 8 skills.

If you’re worried about playing with others in crowded starting areas when the game releases: It now features open tagging. So you can attack a mob that somebody else is already attacking. There is no need to be in a party with them, you will get your experience points, your loot and can even advance in your quest if the mob belonged to one. Speaking of quests, some are pretty standard “kill those mobs over there!”, but some are actually fun and entertaining. I think in general, it’s a nice mix. At least in the lower level regions.

As I mentioned above, I still did not like the quests too much. Instead of stating how many mobs you have to kill, you get a bar that fills up. It may sound like the same, but it’s actually different. A weaker mob does not let you progress as much as killing a stronger mob. So while similar, it still allows for a bit more freedom in choosing which mobs to hunt. What I did not like was the map design and with that, the lack of being able to navigate around easily. I was constantly trying to figure out where to go for each quest (yes, even after reading the quest text!). This was not as bad when I had just accepted two quests and did them. But after going out to explore the region, accepting a few quests here and there and then taking a break of a few days, I found it difficult to get back into the quests.

Another area where I think the game wins is the world design and possible exploration. I also loved all the weird animals. My personal favourite here is the “Jabbit”. As I just wrote, I did go on to explore the maps a bit and the things I found were quite often beautiful and in a few cases, surprising and made me laugh. I will not go into details, because I do not want to put spoilers in here with the exception of the video below. This is a challenge. A challenge is usually something time-limited. Up until that point, I had only had kill challenges. This one is different, though. It does not only show the quirky world, it also is a great example of how the music just fits perfectly to your environment.

The soundtrack in general is amazing. I do hope they will make it available for purchase somehow, because I would love to get my hands on it. As an example and to hear something less silly then the song in the challenge video above, you can listen to the character creation theme here.

In general, I’ve enjoyed my time in the beta, even though it was brief and I was lacking time (and sometimes, motivation). My main caveat is the character design as I would have loved to get more options and not knowing what awaits us at the endgame stage. We do know there will be raids, but I am not a raider. So the question is, how many other things will be available, how much fun it is, etc. At least, the game has lots of “fluff content” as I like to call things like housing and cosmetic items for your character to wear.

But with my lack of free time and two MMOs I’m already playing, this isn’t a question for me. As I said, it wouldn’t make any sense for me to play a game with a monthly fee. So, is this Wildstar’s fault? Only as far as the monthly sub requirement goes. The game itself, however, seems solid to me and I had a good time in the game.

Lotro’s class changes

Lotro FireworksThe NDA for the beta of Helm’s Deep has dropped, so I can now write about my impressions. I had “quit” the game months ago, although “quit” is probably too harsh. I just haven’t played it anymore, but especially with my lifetime account, I always have the option of going back. My warden is not at max level yet and I find it quite hard to get back into playing her, because of the way this class is designed. I had little notes stuck to the bottom of my monitors with the skill combinations. You have three skills, gambit builders, that you use in different combinations and depending on the combination, you can then use a gambit finisher. The good thing is that this feature leaves your hotbar quite empty of skills. Most of the class’s skills are executed by combining the gambit builders.

Anyway, the proposed class changes are quite controversial.So far, you can basically mix and match traits from different trait trees (each class has three) as you like. After the changes, this will not be possible anymore. It will be more like traditional skill trees (think old-school World of Warcraft). What I did in the beta was mostly looking at the new trait trees trying to figure out if I can play the way I’ve played my warden most of the time. I mixed between offensive melee traits and defensive ones. I found that this worked best for me. It took ages killing mobs solo, but I didn’t die either and I could also easily pull several mobs towards me and still survive the fights. Whenever we wanted to do 3 man instances, I could tank them easily.

I’m not saying this isn’t possible anymore, since I didn’t test it. I’m going to comment on the impression I got and that others will probably have as well. For years now, traits and builds worked in a certain way. Our skill bars were crowded (except for the warden, of course). A change was welcome. I loved the idea of not having that many skills anymore. Some aren’t needed or skills are very similar in their effects.

lotro_hobbits_picnicBut what Turbine did instead seems just bad. It’s not about how the classes and their trait trees will work out in the end. That may even be good, who knows? But if the players look at the trees, try to work with them and are appalled and shocked by the changes… then what good does that do? You can say and argue about how great those changes are, if the first reaction is that of “horror”, your chances are that players will just log out and forget about this game. Unfortunately, when you read the discussion about the upcoming expansion, it seems that several players react just with that horror.

I felt like the devs are putting us into boxes. My warden is either melee DPS, ranged DPS or a tank. But a melee DPS with tanky traits didn’t seem to work anymore. Some skills that you have been using for years now are suddenly locked away in other trait trees. Instead of mixing, e.g., tanky traits with using offensive skills, I now get access to tanky traits and tanky skills with a few offensive skills.I also apologize for not going into detail here, but I can’t access the beta at the moment to check for the skills’ names. ;)

The choice when to use which skills isn’t in the middle of a battle anymore. The choice for using certain skills is now made before you even step into battle. This diversity was what I really loved, together with the ability to choose whichever traits I liked and put them together instead of choosing for a specialization that predetermines which skills you are allowed to use and which ones you aren’t. At least, we’ll get multi-builds. You can make several builds and switch between them when you’re not in combat.

Those changes are drastic and probably a bit too much for the average player to chew on. Only time and more experience will tell if those changes are for the better or not.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch: First Beta Weekend Event Reports

I’ve seen countless people write about their experiences and share screenshots (not always in public places, so I’m not going to be able to link to all of them). If I start linking to them now, how many will be disappointed that I forgot them? Oh well, I’ll risk this and add that if you have written about your experiences or just showed screenshots, please leave a comment with the link here, so I can add it (if you’ve written several ones, I’ll just link to your website instead). :)

The first beta weekend event took place from April 27 to April 29. We were there when the servers went live (an hour earlier than anticipated) and we were there when the servers went offline this morning (EU time). We were also there to witness the death of the legendary white bunny! But let’s leave that for a later time. ;) Bookahnerk has also filmed his gameplay and will edit and upload them to our youtube channel at some point. He spent most of his time doing silly things in WvW, though. My own thoughts will follow later, but you can already take a look at The Lion’s Arch Screenshoty Gallery.

So let’s have a look what others have written about the BWE already:

Lion’s Arch

We’re having connection and performance issues in the beta at the moment… too bad. But that plus me being really tired, I decided to take Paerocharr (guess her race!) for a stroll through Lion’s Arch. Yes, this will be a game where my “print” button will have to suffer. Poor thing.

Don’t expect any long postings from me during this weekend… ;)

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (April 18, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^).

First things first, Nerdy Bookahs now exist in German as well: Meet Nerdige Bookahs. We’ll try to translate as some of our posts into German from now on and maybe even blog in German once in a while (and translate that post to Nerdy Bookahs because the English one will definitely remain our main “project”). Since we’re doing that all in our free time, we’re not sure how well it will work out. But we figured having a separate blog would be a lot better than having two language version in the same blog (and thus, in your RSS feeds ^^). Less scrolling for you, too. ;)

The big thing you can find on the German Bookahs is the translation of the EUFanDay Q&A: part 1 (translated by Paeroka) and part 2 (translated by bookahnerk). So if you want to brush up your German skills (or if you are German and more comfortable reading something in your native language) head over there.

While we’re at it already, I collected the links to most of the EUFanDay-postings (I’m sure I didn’t catch them all but I tried to!): Find them here. This list is sorted by languages. We’ve had British, Greek, Dutch, Polish, French, German, Spanish and Italian people there and all of them wrote something about the event! I just counted and there are 46 links. So you’ll have plenty to read and watch (yes, watch! There’s one video and lots of pictures!).

As GWOnline had asked and we’d wanted one for some time, we made a logo for our blog! If you’re on the wordpress website of our blog, you can see it on the upper right. Or you can just go to our blogroll? and see three different versions. If you want to link to us and want to use a picture, then feel free to use it.

Also, ArenaNet just announced the first beta weekend event for pre-purchasers: April 27 – 29! Details will follow today or tomorrow. So what do you want to see or try out? I know I want to play the mesmer class in structured PvP, so I can directly compare it to the warrior. Then maybe play the warrior for a few levels, so I can compare that class to the mesmer in the beginning. And then I may check out and test the norn starter area because I most likely won’t play a norn at launch, so I won’t spoil the fun for me but I’ll still get to test something. ^^

And if you’re really anxious and can’t wait to test out the different classes, why not spend some time on skill tool websites? Luna Atra has one in several languages (English, French, Polish and Russian are offered at the moment). That’s not the only one, of course. GW2Tools is another and GW2Builds is the third that we have found so far. Choose the one you prefer and dream of your perfect class and build until the beta starts! ;)

We can see that we’re getting closer to launch as I’ve seen more and more people looking for members for their guild. One thing that bookahnerk spotted caught our attention. The unofficial EU RP community thread certainly sounds interesting for European roleplayers. They’re trying to find a server before the game launches, so the interested RPers can create their characters there and roleplay together.