Sunday, March 30, 2014

No other game does the things AoC does well

Two things happened today: I tried The Elder Scrolls Online early access and Game Director for Age of Conan spoke the truth and got scolded for it.

Let's begin with Nusquam post:

Today, 08:47
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Originally Posted by twinklez3 View Post
Tell me why, as someone who paid to play this game for 4 years, why I should resub and give you more money when there are other games which release far more frequent content updates for 15 dollars per month.
Because no other game does the things AoC does well?

I mean, it's not a difficult question to answer. If "generic game that releases more content updates" is equivalent in your mind to what AoC has to offer then you would switch games.

AoC is a unique experience in the MMO space and that is why it has a dedicated, loyal customer base.

Playing ESO for the first time it became painfully evident that it's not Age of Conan (which it's not supposed to be), but also...well, it doesn't really measure up to Age of Conan. To others ESO has nice graphics, rich lore, voice overs in quests, interesting combat system and diverse classes, but for me graphics don't really matter, I couldn't find it in myself to give a poop about elves and voice overs in boring quests aren't helping things. To top it off the combat brings nothing new to the table and it's pretty much a point & click experience with occasional blocking and a dodge. While I was pumped for ESO exactly how I was hyped for AOC it was AOC that really glued me to the monitor while ESO felt more like "I have to give it a fair shake, I paid GOOD MONEY FOR THIS". Money well wasted I suppose :X Needless to say I am re-subed to AOC and crawled back to Fury server with a tail between my legs. 

To give credit where credit is due ESO had a smooth launch for me, the experience was bug free and the game seems polished. A well made product...just not for me. Since this was the only game on the horizon that had any potential as my AOC successor it is pretty clear that I am here to stay. AOC has it's painfully evident shortcomings... but then again.. No other game does the things AoC does well. Truer words were never spoken.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ignorance is bliss

AOC and ESO for me have one thing in common: I knew about them for some time, but got interested with them few weeks before launch. Ignorance is bliss, it really is. I remember obsessing about Age of Conan few days before the game going live and I am going through same thing with Elder Scrolls Online. Don't get me wrong, I love the excitement, the camaraderie and the potential that new AAA title brings to MMO genre as a whole. I remember when AOC was in the shops (as far as I remember there was no DLC option back then, it was 2008 after all :X) and I actually had to make a call to check if AOC box was on the shelves was. JOY! I ran to the shop straight from my office, tearing through crowd like a fat kid chasing down an ice cream truck. Of course when I came to the game shop i'st shelves were groaning with abundance of AOC boxes, but I was so full of glee that I couldn't have walked to the shop even if I tried, I had to run. Priceless nerd moment :X The fact that I am in my thirties now apparently doesn't stop me obsessing about whether I should pick blacksmithing or not. For me nothing has changed. 
All this positive buzz about ESO makes me realize how AOC became a dried up husk that I am leaving behind. I have squeezed every bit of juice out of Age of Conan and it seems like it is just a time for me to move on. To be honest I was less than ecstatic about AOC for quite a while now, but it really took something different in MMO space to make me consider changing my game of choice. I mean I did pass up on Rift, GW2 and other after all. The pvp nerd in me is picky.

Well at least some people try to stay competitive in the field of nerdom:

Zark Cromhout Haha imagine how I feel after the beta weekend, nothing is worth doing anymore

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Which alliance?

Since the launch of ESO, at least for me, is only 8 days away I have started thinking what I will pick & choose in my new MMO journey. As you know I will stick to my one character philosophy and all other usual choices will carry over to ESO: my character will be human, male and blond. The race came naturally to me: The Imperials. This is the closest thing to Aquilonians and the racial passives are ok for the purpose of assassination/pvp builds.  Of course they are races better suited for assassin/rogue types , but when I have to pick between getting my character "right" or "optimal" I will go for "right" feeling.
However this time around I am faced with yet another choice: which alliance should I be in? I have went through Elder Scrolls Lore youtube crash course (really well done series BTW) so a have a basic idea about the world, races and alliances themselves. Here is what I have gathered so far:

ALDMERI DOMINION - easiest decision in "what not to pick" category. There is not a single thing that I would enjoy about this alliance. High Elves, in general, can suck it (yes, very mature of me, but I have never been fond of elves in any genre), wood elves are pretty much the same (minus the cannibalism? that's unexpected :X) and KHAJIIT are a race for furries. No need to go any deeper.

EBONHEART PACT - I am very much afraid that this is where are all "cool kids" will hang out. Nords are badass, that is sure. Dark Elves? Well, I can stomach that more than their high born cousins (and sometimes Dark Elves are good, right?).  Now for Aegonians? This is a kind of race that I would enjoy butchering more than haing out with.

DAGGERFALL COVENANT - for now this is my pick. Since all this taking sides turned into figuring out which alliance pisses me off the least, Daggerfall is a prime candidate with 2 of it's races being pretty much human (Bretons have a trace of elven blood). Orcs are acceptable, you guys can tank for me. All that plus Breton assassin is just OP in the trailer.

So what is your race/class/alliance? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Your purchase of The Elder Scrolls Online Digital Imperial Edition is complete

No soul shards? If anything that is GOOD. As you can see I jumped on The Elder Scrolls Online bandwagon. I wanted to share my thoughts about it and what is means for my involvement with Age of Conan. For five years now I have been dedicated to one MMO (and my only game of choice at the same time) and I am starting to feel like it is time to move on. It is not because there is anything inherently wrong with AOC, but rather because it won't be anything else in the future. During it's golden era of 2008-2010 AOC has reached it's peak and it's been in decline ever since: content and population wise. We won't ever see another expansion the scale of Khitai or even yearly adventure packs the size of Turan. Recent interview with Funcom CEO makes it perfectly clear: "We think that revenues will still decline until the launch of LEGO, that's our prediction. Now we've done all the restructuring, operating costs will be stable. Revenue in existing games will slowly decline over time, that's the long term trend. It will have bumps, but we don't expect anything major to happen. The strategy is to maximise the revenue we can get and minimise cost. That's the strategy we're using for our online portfolio and we hope to be as innovative as possible with our new projects." For me that screams: we will milk AOC for what it's worth and try not to pump money into it. Granted, that might be smart thing to do when it comes to conducting business, but I am not Funcom shareholder and I don't care about their profit margins. I care about ME (my enjoyment) and what I am seeing is that the company is not willing to give me my money's worth. I won't repeat myself that I don't have any content left to enjoy in AOC, so currently I just log on, do 1-2 minigames with random strangers (which is harder and harder since Fury population is in decline) and log off (usually pissed off). At this stage it is pretty clear I need to move on. Elder Scrolls Online give me that funky 2008 pre-launch feel which AOC had - the air was full of hope and potential and glee. My dabble with ESO might end up like my recent romance with WoW, or it might be full time-never-go-back switch which, quite honestly, I am hoping for. I am sold enough on the idea of ESOsoI have unsubbed from AOC (thankfully FC didn't trick me into getting some kind of 1 year sub deal!) and bought early access. Apart from being modern MMO (everything AOC is not) ESO has quite interesting lore behind it (sadly I never played any Elder Scroll game) and the combat mechanic is far enough from usual point & click. All of this I am pulling out of my ass because I have actually never played the damn game and my experience comes solely from obsessive youtube watching. Still if watching youtube is more engaging than playing Age of Conan for me it means that ESO is worth a shot. It's a little more than a week and I will have my answer. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jian Shi quest in Kara Korum

Back in the T4 raiding saddle

Recently I have lost my T4 raiding drive. PvP changes might have played a role in this: current pvp T3 gear soon enogh will be a match for pve T4 and PvP T4 will be better anyway. But raiding is not all about getting gear for pvp (at least not any more) and I did enjoy it untill, well till I realized there is no way I will be able to complete my gear any time soon. I would say my assassin is fairly advanced in pve gear: T4 chest, hands, shoulder, 2 x rings. So what went wrong? I can raid only once a week. Sitting my ass in front of computer for 3 hours straight is a big commitment. This is why I like pvp so much: you can log in for your quick mini and be in & out under 20 minutes or less. There is no way I could raid more than 1 night per week and weekends are out of the question. This meant that I couldn't do  Entity (needed for tears tokens and weapons) or Cloud farm (also needed for tears and weapons). To add insult to injury Entity raid, it its game design glory, makes melee character absolutely useless and thus the need for having an extra alt char (caster/ranger/healers) geared and ready just for this boss. I was like "fuck it", I have one character and some shitty T4 design won't change that. 
The above mentioned "cloud farming" was also a subject of some pretty heated debate: for years now people with their under geared alts could be invited to Cloud farm and be able to get T4 level weapons and accessories for beating some mediocre bosses (aka being carried through raid by their geared guildies). This resulted in pvp lvl 1 characters swinging one of the most bad ass weapons in game which were, at that time, vastly superior to pvp T3 weapons.

Enter  4.1.7 hotfix for March 5 2014:


The Jade Citadel

  • The entity's corruption has spread out from the depths of the Jade Citadel, player's can now enter his twisted reality from the Hall of Military Eminence
  • Most loot gained from the memory cloud section of the Chamber of Lost Dreams has been redistributed over the following encounters instead: The Zodiac & Emperor Yah Chieng.
Game Director elaborated about this on forums:

CirithGorgor's Avatar


Weapon and Dragon Tear drops from the MC have been moved to the Emperor as new drops (you'll still get the same number of these guaranteed per run).
Rings from the MC have been moved to the Zodiac as new drops (you'll still get the same number of these guaranteed per run).
The chance at the extra weapon from the MC has been moved to the Zodiac as a new drop (you have the same probability as before of receiving an extra weapon drop per run).
A larger number of Phials of Heavenly Knowledge will drop in total from the Memory cloud bosses.

So not only easy mode Cloud farm is the thing of the past, but also I can resume my T4 regular raids and FINALLY be able to complete my armor with dragon tear drops and upgrade my shameful T3 and T2 daggers with their T4 counterparts. I won't get the BEST stuff, but when it comes to PVE I am more than willing to settle for a second best.

I want to complete my T4 gear for the new raid which, hopefully, will be something above T4.
Great changes Funcom!.