The Daily Post: Carefree (in MMOs)

WordPress.com has a daily prompt consisting of one word to give you an idea what to blog about. I will definitely not do this daily, but I do take a look at the prompts regularly. Today’s daily prompt word is “Carefree“. When I hear this word, I immediately get some mental images and I thought it’s a good thing to try to find appropriate game screenshots to show you what kinds of images this word triggers.

GW2_Carefree gliding Rata Sum

In reality, I am afraid of heights and would never ever do something as gliding. But in games – and in theory, when I imagine doing something like this – it’s just an amazing feeling. Oh, and the view is great most of the time as well. Well, unless you’re gliding through the Maguuma jungle with all the fights going on. Rata Sum, however, is perfect!

Rift_Carefree on a mountainI seem to have a thing for heights here, apparently. :p But what I really love doing in Rift is just climbing on mountains! The best part is that each continent is one map of its own meaning that I can go from one zone to another with no loading screen. Here I am standing between Moonshade Highlands and Silverwood.

Rift Dimension building project: Tempest Island III

Rift Tempest Island DimensionI just realized that the last time I showed my Tempest Island dimension was almost one year ago.

I did not add too much to the main rooms on the lower floor of the house. The kitchen got a little kitten and some more bottles, mugs and the like. The stove got some control “knobs”. The backside of the stairs, which is supposed to be my storage area, hasn’t gotten anything new. I did add a table to the living-room corner, though. It should be a comfortable and cozy atmosphere where you can sit down and read a book after being outside trying to save the world all day. On the terrace, I changed the position of the chairs, so everybody eating out there can look at the ocean. Because really, if you had a house like that, would you really want to sit there and stare at the wooden walls of the house? I also added more food and more plates. It did take me a long time to get my hands on more plates, actually. They belong to a special kit which can only be bought during a special holiday (I think it was Rift’s anniversary holiday). I don’t think I will ever understand why such basic things such as dinner plates are so rare in this game.

I had thought about adding walls and more rooms upstairs but I wasn’t really sure what to do with those rooms then. I imagine my little dwarf lady living in that house and having friends over regularly. So maybe one guest room would be nice. Other than that, she still has the corner with her bed. Instead of several little rooms, I decided to give this part some functionality. My dwarf is rational enough for that. :p So, you now find target dummies up there which you can actually interact with to test new builds or just practice your skill rotation and/or new macros. There is also a target dummy that you can use to practice healing. I also like using the dummies to see whether my cooldown addon is tracking the correct spells. I also added several weapon racks. Hey, she is a dwarf, after all! You’ve got to live that stereotype to the fullest! And I placed some chairs, a little table, beer mugs etc., so my dwarf can have visitors and friends watch and give her feedback on her fighting skills or practice a bit themselves. Again, functionality paired with comfort. :p

The outside of the house has always scared me and still does scare me. It’s so huge and I still have no idea how to properly fill it! I decided to place a few trees and stones and leave the rest of the island blank. She is slowly expanding her realm, but it will grow over time whenever I get an idea. One big addition is the crafting corner. Again, I decided to combine functionality with looks. ;) Trion added crafting stations for dimensions, so I gathered my platinum and bought some of those. Since you can get into your (or your alts’, your friends’ or your guild mates’) dimension whenever you want, it is very convenient to have something like that.

Rift Bogling NPC
It talks!

I mentioned the kitten above. This is another thing that Trion added at some point: Stationary NPCs. They do move around a little bit with some animations as well, but only in a very limited area/circle. It makes sense, though. We can add basically anything to the dimensions and there would be a ton of clipping issues if the NPCs tried to wander along. The kitten on the beer keg would “walk” in the air if her area of movement would be any bigger than it is. But this way, she actually stays on the keg at all times. I decided to also add a “caretaker” kind of NPC for Meffanda, a little Bogling. He has his own fishing boat now and a little hut right next to the house with the crafting stations. We’ll see if maybe he will also get a little garden to grow some vegetables or something like that. He does look like the kind who would do that and who would enjoy having some vegetables together with the fish he caught.

What I always find fascinating is that you can hardly ever find bathrooms in MMOs. Where are the showers? The toilets? So I took a look at other people’s dimensions – at least those who also added homes like I did. Several had bathtubs added, but I only found two with added toilets. I have a little outhouse in one of my other dimensions, but nothing like that here yet. I added a little building and placed a closed door in front for now. You can only guess that this is supposed to be a toilet, though. I’ll have to think about this building a bit more and how to build the actual toilet. Of course, there are no premade toilets here (as a side note: There is a toilet in Wildstar which you can buy for your housing plot!), so I will have to build one myself combining other items. I do have a shower, though! I am just not too happy with its look yet, but I’ll work on that.

I have less than 500 items placed so far. 1000 is the current maximum, but I can upgrade it to 2000 (with platinum, thankfully! :p). So there is still a lot of room for improvement, quite literally. :)

Paeroka’s Ponderings: Bored-out instead of Burnout?

Paeroka's Ponderings featured image for columnExcuse the bad pun up there, but something got me thinking… In a conversation about GW2’s content drought, somebody wrote (I don’t have a link, so I’ll paraphrase here out of my memory): MMOs aren’t meant to be played exclusively. They are made to play with breaks in between.

But when I started my first MMO, World of Warcraft, I don’t think anybody would have said that. In fact, it was the contrary. When you left for a month or two and then came back, you certainly had to find either a different raid group or try to catch up somehow as the others were ahead of you in the fights and working on the next raid boss or bosses and you had to learn the mechanics of the fight or even worse, they outgeared you. I heard a lot of people say “I would love to try World of Warcraft, but I don’t have that much time to play.” To be honest, I don’t think I heard people say that about Rift or Guild Wars 2 lately.

Saying “I need to take a break from WoW, I’m burned out” was also something I regularly saw back in those days. Even I felt like that, although I never was in any big raiding group. I was part of a Saturday evening raid which consisted mostly of people with their alts and a handful of people with their mains (me included). It was a rather casual laid-back raid. Then I joined a Sunday Karazhan raid group which was originally made to “just enjoy the content”, but we soon noticed that the raid leader had actually wanted to speed-run through the raid. Which wasn’t possible, because the tank and the healer (yours truly) were neither experienced nor geared for it and he had known that in advance as we had asked if that would be okay with him and he had been happy to take us (as usual, the lack of tanks and healers probably left him with no choice). It started to feel like work and having your weekend evenings booked with raids was just too much for me.

But maybe this mentality has shifted in the meantime. I cannot speak for World of Warcraft as I haven’t actively followed this game in a long time. So I will take Rift as my example instead. I left Rift for a couple of weeks as I had lost interest in the game and returned when I felt like picking it up again. I stay far away from raids in all my MMOs, so that part is out of the equation for me anyway. I know that Trion is adding new raid content every now and then and I know that my guild is doing raids. But it just doesn’t seem to be as it was back in WoW. I hardly ever see them talk in guild chat about needing this or that piece of equipment. It also doesn’t seem to be a problem if somebody disappears for a month and then returns. Maybe it’s because they are even more laid back than my Saturday WoW raid was, but maybe Rift is also just “slower” and you don’t feel left behind that fast.

Looking at Guild Wars 2 and at the original statement, it seems to back this up. True, Guild Wars 2 has been adding raid content. So if you do like raids, your content drought isn’t as strong as everybody else’s. But even with raids, it doesn’t feel like you need to catch up. One big reason for this is that Guild Wars 2 is not gear-dependent. So you do not get outgeared by others if you take a break.

GW2 Shrug emote

Maybe MMOs in general have changed to not require you to play all of the time. Or it is related to the game’s payment model. After all, with no mandatory monthly fee attached to GW2 or Rift, there is no need to get you to keep playing and paying. I guess it just becomes a problem if you get too bored with it and then never return, no matter what gets added to the game. In my case, I got too bored with Rift, but I did return, because as much as I dislike the world and its lore sometimes, I just love too much about this game (mostly the way the world looks – other than the Nightmare region – and the dimensions, of course). The same goes with Guild Wars 2. Even though I am currently very bored and don’t care about the content I haven’t experienced (like the raids), I know I will return to the game and actively play it again.

I guess this is much better – and healthier – than playing too much and getting “burned out”. And maybe, in the long run, it’s even better for the developers. Because if you leave burned out and stressed, there is a negative feeling towards the game. Leaving because you are bored is a more “indifferent” state and as soon as they add something that sounds interesting, you may want to jump back in with enthusiasm and fun!

Rift Housing: Stone Grove

My newest housing project is “Stone Grove”. I want to build a house up in the trees. I guess I’ll also have to plant a few more trees, as the ones existing in the dimension only look strong on the ground, but get too thin up there.

Anyway, it is currently a mess and I don’t really know how exactly to make it look good and solid and believable. What you can see in the screenshot is not what I want it to look like in the end, of course. I just figured I’d start with a platform in the sky and work my way downwards. So I needed some structures that let me walk up there comfortably. But the platform doesn’t look good either, especially as there are no trees to support the platform anymore that high up. Come to think of it, maybe I should just build everything a bit lower. :p

So, since I felt a bit lost, I went out into the world to see how the Rift designers made structures similar to what I imagine. I could also go have a look at what other dimensioneers are doing, but I always feel a bit like “stealing” their ideas. When I look at what Trion does and how they design the world, I am just adjusting my dimension to the “Rift look”. It feels different. Either way, I did get a few ideas, but soon noticed that everything I like actually has water below or close to it. But for once, I do not want to build my little oasis by the ocean. I still like the look of those structures, though. Below you can see Kelari Refuge on the left and a part of Fort Zarnost on Ember Isle on the right. I actually really adore the look of Ember Isle. Sadly, it seems like a neglected zone since it was added as a sort of “end game” zone for level 50s, but max. level is 65 now.

How bad is the Steam Summer Sale?

For your wallet, of course. :p

I only bought three items: Remember Me and the Ascended Souls for Rift twice. The latter for me and for bookahnerk.

After that, we created new characters to level together. He is playing a mage with the Frostkeeper soul which is a healer. I decided to level a cleric as Runeshaper which is a magic damage dealer… it plays a bit like a fire mage. We both have a mage and a cleric respectively, but the builds in Rift can be quite confusing (for players like us who don’t play regularly, at least), so we thought it’d make sense to start fresh with two low level characters and play them through dungeons to get to know the builds step by step. Only that we found that sometimes, the dungeon queue pops faster when I queue as support instead of damage dealer. In Rift, dungeons can be played with 5 players: Two damage dealers, one tank, one support and one healer. So, I switched to the cleric’s support soul, the Oracle, instead. I never thought I would like that soul, because when I first read about it, it sounded very boring. It’s definitely not and I actually quite enjoy shielding my fellow party members. If only the low level dungeons weren’t as easy as they are. But we hope that this will change later on when we get to higher levels (or veteran dungeons).

Rift Eth Mage and Cleric

Remember Me is the “spiritual predecessor” to Life is Strange from the same company – or at least, I am calling it like that. It is similar, yet very different at the same time. The combat especially – most of all, there is no combat in Life is Strange. :p But on top of that, I also find it tedious in Remember Me and would prefer if the game did not have any combat. As far as I noticed so far, it’s “click, click, click” at the same pace. You can choose whether the second click in this sequence deals damage or heals and you can choose what kind of combat animation the character does. There are different sequences that you can use, but it seems to be this pattern all the time. But there is dodging as well and so far, my “damage-heal-damage” sequence, while kind of boring to click, seems to work perfectly. And the rest of the game is quite good so far, especially the story sounds intriguing and the atmosphere is really nice, so I do not regret the purchase.

Remember Me

Other than that, I have actually kept my wallet closed. There are games I am interested in, but I currently do have a few other games that I actually want to play. So, those games will stay on my wishlist until Winter sale, I guess. ;)