One feature I would want in GW2 from WoW

wow archaeology collections overviewThere is one feature that I would truly love to see in Guild Wars 2: Archaeology from World of Warcraft.

Let me explain first what archaeology is, for those of you who may not be familiar with World of Warcraft and its professions. Thankfully, I even still had a 10 day free trial of the last expansion of World of Warcraft, so I could actually reactivate my account for free to show you these nice screenshots! All for you, my non-WoW-connoisseurs!

So, archaeology is one of the secondary professions in World of Warcraft. You can have up to two primary ones (e.g. tailoring, enchanting, armorsmithing – the usual), but your character can learn all available secondary professions (first aid, fishing, cooking and archaeology). The short version is: You go hunt for pieces of lore all around the maps and have a chance to get some nice rewards like mounts (well, they do exist in WoW, after all :p), mini pets, nice-looking weapons and so on.

wow archaeology surveying toolWhen you have learned the profession, you see several available dig sites on the map. You have to go to such a dig site and click your archaeology skill. In the game, your character puts up a surveying tool and you need to look at the direction it is facing towards as well as the colour of the little blinking light. Move into the direction the tool is showing. If the light is blinking in red, then you are far away from a relic and know you can walk quite a bit – it could also be further left or right of where the tool is facing. If it is yellow, you are in medium range. If it is green, you are only a few metres away from the relic. Once you are within range and use your skill, the relic shows up. You can collect several relics at each dig site before you need to move to another one. Every relic belongs to one collection. It counts up based on the rarity of the relic (see screenshot above). Once you achieved a certain amount, you can “hand in” the collection and then start all over again. Every time you complete a collection, you get something. It’s random, but you can see what you will get as soon as you start a new collection.

wow archaeology collections

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Posted in Fluff, Game Design, Guild Wars 2

Kessex Hills in Kryta

It has been too long since I made the last post for my Guild Wars 2 screenshot gallery. In the meantime, ArenaNet finally let us use the first person view! Additionally, we can now also glide in Tyria. I did not use the gliding too often for these screenshots, but not having to type “/sleep” whenever I wanted to take a screenshot saved a lot of time! It also meant I could walk around in first person view and just hit the print-button on my keyboard. Last but not least, I could also finally take nice scenery screenshots in the water which simply was not possible before!

So, a few words about Kessex Hills before I show you the gallery: Kessex Hills is located south of Queensdale and it is the second map human characters get to (unless they choose to switch to a different race’s maps) and is best for levels 15 to 25. Story-wise, the map looks different now than after the game had launched. Scarlet’s Tower of Nightmares had been built and destroyed in between.

Altogether, if I may add my own opinion, I am not a huge fan of the map. That’s not to say that the designers didn’t do a great job, because they certainly did! I just generally don’t really like the areas that are inhabited by centaurs. The heavy wooden constructions and wooden poles and sticks etc. are a bit boring to look at, though.

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Posted in Guild Wars 2, GW2 Screenshot Gallery, Kryta, Screenshots

Project: Wildstar Housing

I did it! I managed to get my second character to level 14 which is where you unlock your housing plot. In case you’re now sitting there in front of your monitor pondering the amount of effort it needs to get to 14 – don’t bother. It’s fast. I’m just slow. ;)

My Rift housing project has been put on hiatus for the time being. This is mostly due to lacking the items I actually want. If you can’t get regular dishes except for once a year during a special holiday, it’s just very discouraging. In this case, I wanted to build a second shower with a shower head and the dishes are the perfect items. But I would have to take it away in one dimension and rebuild it in the second as I’m lacking dishes. So… yeah. It’s a tiny thing, but annoyed me, so I decided to have a more thorough look at Wildstar’s housing first. Since I really like the concept of having a little “oasis”, I figured this would be a nice theme for my little one’s housing plot.

The general system of placing items is very similar to the one in Rift. You can freely place items, rotate them, scale them and so on. You can also just place “whole items” in there or try to build things yourself. I read a post some time ago where they were talking about which of the bigger houses is best to build a second floor in. That sounded very similar to what I had done in my first dimension in Rift!

You can change the ground and the sky according to your needs and you can choose a house to build on there. Since Tenedra is still so small, she couldn’t get the bigger houses yet. I chose the cozy exile house for the time being. I like its interior, so it’s perfect for me now. Then I placed a single palm and two enhancements. One gives me a crafting area and the other gives me relic items to mine every day. Relics is what I need for my crafting profession. Other than that, it’s a huge empty land waiting for me to fill it with life. :D

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Posted in Housing, Other, Wildstar

Sunken – First Impressions Review

Sunken Start ScreenIn general, I really despise permadeath in games and stay away from games where I am forced to play with this feature. With my playtime being limited due to my job and other stuff I also want to do in my free time, it just seems so frustrating having to start all over again because I made one single mistake. There is no way I would ever play a game with permadeath. And while I love action RPGs, I never even considered playing in “hardcore” mode which usually means permadeath for your character. Having to run all over the zones again? No way!

And yet here I am: in “Sunken“. Sunken is made by a very small developer team consisting of only two people. Now, to be honest, “permadeath” isn’t 100 % permanent here. Yes, your character dies and you have to start at the beginning again. Your levels, your items together with your inventory and your learned recipes are gone upon death. But when you die, you get to keep your unlocked abilities, so there is some sort of progression, after all.

This of course means that your character will be stronger than before. You get a wider choice of abilities or upgrades to your already known abilities. Since there is no character customization at all, you won’t really feel like you just lost your character. But you cannot customize the look of your character, so he (yes, you can only play with a male character) always looks exactly the same. So it actually feels a bit like “respawning”. But since you lost all your possessions, it comes with a hefty price! So it’s in between permadeath and death-then-respawn as you know from MMOs. Since there are no options to change the look of your character, this also means that I am not that attached to my character and don’t really care when he dies. On the other hand, from a storytelling aspect, this isn’t good either. I would like to feel more connected to my character. I would at least hope that there would be some sort of customization later on like choosing a hair style or hair colour (granted he ever does get hair).

In order to learn new abilities, you will have to unlock them first. It’s a multiple-steps process: You first need to drop the recipe book for an ability. You can learn that recipe by right-clicking the recipe book. Then you need to find a crafting station (an anvil). So far – and really, I didn’t get far when it comes to the maps – I found them right before the entrance to the next level. You need to get there first, obviously, then you can craft the recipe when you’ve also got the materials for it. The recipe then disappears from your list of known recipes. Use the item you crafted to unlock the ability permanently. Once unlocked, the next dropped recipe book for the same ability will give you the unlock for the higher tier of that ability. But if you die before you reach the end of the level, then that recipe book and all learned recipes are lost. Only the crafted and unlocked ability itself counts.

The game also has a story which unfolds not via quests but through books which you can find on the different floors of the maps. Those books aren’t drops. They are quite big books standing around. Yes, this means you have to read a lot… or wait for the voice-over to read it to you. I usually read much faster myself, though. There is also background music which has an eerie tone to it and fits quite nicely to the whole atmosphere and the graphics. But over time, I imagine the music could get a bit boring, unless it changes when you get to different maps in the game… did I already mention I didn’t get far yet? ;)

If you are like me and lack the skills needed to orientate yourself, then you will feel just as lost as I did. In the beginning there was a point where I did not even notice that I had run back towards the beginning of the level instead of progressing further to the next one. There are no maps or minimaps here, no compass for orientation either. When you die, you start at the very beginning of level 1 again, though. So sooner or later, you will most certainly recognize at least level 1. :p Also, when you log back into the game, you start at the beginning of a map with respawned mobs. Come to think of it, this is actually quite nice. For one, it lets you grind some more experience (although I am not certain whether mobs scale with your level) and maybe you even find a nice recipe book. And if you ever do get lost, that’s how you find the beginning again. :p Each level is identical, meaning that level 1 will always look the same. But the mobs you encounter will be random. Some structures can be destroyed, but so far, I did not find any use for it other than that it looks nice.

I am not sure yet whether all mobs drop aggro after a while and how that works. Some did not follow me all the way back to the entrance of the level while others did chase me until there. It may also be that “special” mobs (with names or elite mobs) chase you all the way down the hall while normal mobs won’t. Thankfully, my regeneration rate was high enough to survive the battle that followed. But yeah, here’s a warning: If you get low on health and don’t have health potions anymore, you may have to run and hope your health bar regenerates in the meantime.

Last but not least, at the end of a level, you will encounter a boss. This is on an extra map, so you can’t run away or hide. The first boss was no problem while the second one caused my first death in this game. I had run out of healing potions before I had learned the mechanics of the boss. To be honest, I am still not 100 % sure I understood them. But I’m willing to give it another try… once I actually get to the end of level 2, that is. Yes, you may laugh now. Loud and long. I am a n00b. :p

But as you may be able to infer here, I actually quite enjoy this game so far! The regular price is $9.99€ and it’s in Steam Early Access. The price was certainly cheap enough for me to risk getting another early access game and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. Sometimes, it feels a bit fiddly, though. I once accidentally dropped a stack of materials on the ground instead of putting them into the crafting window (it lands on the floor as a loot bag, so no harm done!). And I quite often misclick when trying to pick up loot bags. Other than that, it seemed to run smoothly.

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Posted in First Impression Review, Indie developer, Other Games

The future of The Repopulation

Rather exciting news appeared while I was sleeping: The Repopulation will come back*! The developers (Above and Beyond Technologies) decided to leave the Hero Engine behind and port the game to the Unreal Engine.

Screenshot of the scenery in the new tutorial of The Repopulation

“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. While many of our assets will convert over easily to Unreal Engine, the game’s code will need to be rewritten from scratch.”

Of course, this means the game will not get released any time soon. On the contrary, development will take quite a bit longer than we had anticipated. But that’s just how it is and I think overall, the decision may be for the better. With the Unreal Engine, they are no longer dependent on the Hero Cloud services. You can read more about their anticipated advantages of porting in the original article. For me, the most interesting bit is the “improved harvesting system”. Although they also said something about “graphical upgrades” and “eye candy”. I already thought the game was very pretty (see screenshot above), so I am very curious to see the what exactly will look better or different, at least.

Back in November when the problems first emerged, they started working on “Fragmented“, an online 1st person/3rd person shooter with RPG elements, as they now announced. I am not a huge fan of the shooter genre. There are two main reasons for this: for my personal taste, some of them focus too much on violence and on showing that violence (I highly praise Team Fortress 2 with its rubber duckies instead of blood, for example) and then there is my really bad motion sickness for anything with 1st person view. So, being able to play with 3rd person view is great news! The camera is still very close to the character, so I probably won’t be able to play it excessively. Not a bad thing either, though. ;) Healthy amounts of gaming time is much better for me anyway. However, this is a side project to help fund The Repopulation, to give us something to play while we wait and both games will share assets. Additionally, those of us who already own The Repopulation will get Fragmented for free!

“Players are expected to create their own goals in game though. This could include raising a stable of pets, building cities, killing, crafting, or competing with other humans for domination of the new planet.”

This is the part that really got me interested! Fragmented will not be about killing and violence and nothing else.  Instead, I can also help build a city or focus on crafting and pets. So far, I am not really sure how exactly this will work, but I guess I will see soon enough!

Altogether, I am very positive about what they have announced now and I hope they will succeed. My thumbs are pressed and I hope we will get to see Fragmented very soon (it sounds like parts will be available in February already) and the next alpha version of The Repopulation in a few months (I admit, I have no idea how long development would probably take in this case and how soon is realistic here).

*Follow this link to read what had happened and what had forced the developers to pause the current development. Massively also tried to summarize the situation back at that point.

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Posted in Indie developer, Other Games, The Repopulation
"Nerdy Bookahs" is a blog written by Paeroka and bookahnerk. We started it back in March 2011 and usually write about MMOs. Find out more about us here.
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