There’s been lots of changes going on in my gaming life recently…
World of Warcraft
Mists of Pandaria has been out for for a while now and while I remain really positive about much of what Blizzard have done with this expansion there remains one aspect that I’m not so excited about: The daily quest grind.
As I have mentioned previously, I levelled two toons to 90 (Priest & Hunter) and have completed the quest lines in Jade Forest, Valley of the Four Winds, Krasarang Wilds & Kun-Lai Summit. I’ve done maybe a third of Townlong Steppes and have yet to start of Dreadwastes or Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
I’ve run through the first round of LFR a few times and while it’s beautiful it was also more than a little face-roll. Sure, I should probably have gone in search of a PUG and run 10/25 normal but I was at the point where I found that my motivation to log in had simply run out. Rather than completely destroy any enjoyment I still had for WoW I decided it was best if I simply took another break from it. Doubtless I’ll end up activating my account again in the future (I usually do) but for now, WoW is on hold.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Back in the middle of last year Bioware announced that they were going to be taking ToR down the “fremium” route: Free to Play with an optional Pay to Play component.
I’d played in one of the beta weekends before ToR was released and had found it to be quite playable. My only criticism when I played on that occasion was that it felt more like a single-player game with the MMO bit kinda bolted on to be trendy. Based on this, I didn’t buy it when it released though I know a lot of people that did.
My dissatisfaction with WoW coincided with the release of ToR F2P so I created myself an account and started playing. I created a Sith Inquisitor (I’d played one in the beta so decided to stick with what I know) and got to about level 10 where I decided that I was enjoying the levelling experience sufficiently to subscribe for a month (a subscription removes the XP reduction, lets you train mounts earlier, removes the currency cap and gives you more storage, all things I was starting to need). As I found over the following few weeks, there’s good and bad about ToR.
The game plays fairly well, it’s pretty slick and looks good. The companion system is a really nice as it means you can take on mobs higher than you should probably be able to alone. I found making money to be insanely easy; people will pay, what I consider to be, ridiculous sums of credits for low-mid level items. For example; I looted a level 40 purple item that I was able to turn around and sell for about 500k credits. I don’t know if there’s twinking in ToR like there is in WoW, but that just seemed to be like a crazy amount of money to pay for a levelling item.
The crafting system is pretty decent, I really like the idea of sending your companions off to make things for you leaving you free to continue questing, however I find the gathering of raw materials to be a little tedious. Sure, your companions do the actual gathering but when all you need to craft something is one item and your companion keeps bringing back another it gets a little frustrating. At least in WoW if I needed Ghost Iron I knew I could run to the Greenstone Quarry in Jade Forest and dig up a few stacks in 5 minutes.
My biggest problem with ToR though was that the galaxy doesn’t really feel alive. At one stage I found myself playing through the entirety of one planet (Quesh, I think) without even seeing another player! Part of this problem is self-inflicted; I started my Inquisitor on the realm where my WoW guildies had been playing, unfortunately most of them had either quit ToR by the time I started or had moved to other servers. For now, like WoW, my ToR account is inactive and I think that if/when I return I’ll have to start over on another server with people I know. One of my real life friends has found a good guild on EU so I’d guess I’d go there (although they’re Alliance and I rather enjoy playing Sith).
I’ve played a couple of the older Hitman games and really enjoyed them so, when my wife bought me this for christmas, I was pretty excited to try this one out (she knows what I like!) I know that Absolution has had some very mixed reviews but I really enjoyed it:
The graphics are excellent and actually gave my (newish) video card (GTX 680) a bit of a work out. With all the settings cranked to the max I was still able to get frame rate that was just about playable and with them ever so slightly wound down I found I was able to achieve around 50fps in the most crowded of scenes and still have something that looked amazing. The game engine boasts that it can handle scenes with hundreds of people moving around at any given time and it certainly lives up to that claim. The scenes in Chinatown feel alive and really challenge you complete your objectives without being spotted.
I really liked the “story” of the game and it was very cinematic and with a few nice twists. I’ve started over again on the “hard” mode difficulty now and can definitely see that (like Crysis 2) this is a game I’ll probably return to time and again.
The Power of 3
Farcry 3 has been out for a while now and has had some excellent reviews. It looks stunning and sounds like it has an interesting story to go along with the visuals so all told it should be pretty interesting to check it out. I enjoyed Farcry 2 (I got it free with a video card a few years ago) so if history is any indicator I’ll probably enjoy this one as well.
I never played the original Crysis (I doubt the PC I had when it was released would have been able to handle it!) and I only really played Crysis 2 by accident (I won a copy in a competition). However, I really love Crysis 2, it’s one of my favorite games and I’ve played through it from start to finish several times.
All the screenshots and gameplay videos I’ve seen of Crysis 3 have looked amazing and it was the main reason that I replaced my video cards (SLI’d GTX260s) with my new beast of a card. It’s due to be released in about a month and is certainly something I’d be willing to buy(it’s been on my Amazon wishlist for quite a while)
So, what am I playing now? Well, for the moment, I’m back playing EVE. I find EVE to be a fairly relaxing game where, even if I only have an hour to play, I can log in and blow some shit up.
For now, I’m still living in high-security space though I keep considering venturing out into the wide open galaxy of null. The biggest challenge with this is that I’d need to find myself a corporation that fits my play style (ie; I don’t, currently, initiate PVP) which seems to be a rather daunting prospect given that there’s so much suspicion between players in null (This goes both ways; corps want to keep spies out and players don’t want a corp that’s going to take advantage of them.) – I’ve considered training into heavy interdictors (Probably a Phobos as I really like the look of Gallente ships) so that if I do join a low sec corporation I have something to offer, but this is a way down my skill plan at the moment.
Currently, I’ve got my two accounts flying Ravens with pretty decent support skills. I’ve adjusted my skill plans for both accounts to focus pretty much exclusively on combat for the foreseeable future since this tends to be what I do most. I should be able to switch to a pair of Caldari Navy Ravens within the next week which should bring my mission times down even more and increase my hourly income. Since being back (just over two weeks) I’ve made enough ISK to PLEX one of my accounts so I need to continue to fine-tune my strategies to maximise this.
I’ve been messing around in EVEMon with how I’d spec out a third account as a pure trader/industrialist. I’m setting myself the restriction that I don’t want to spend any more money on the game so that if I do start a third account it needs to totally self sufficient – ie; making at least enough ISK to pay for itself with PLEX and ideally finance my combat characters too.
I’m hoping that I’ll remember to blog a little more often this year. Even though I don’t think many people read what I write I still enjoy writing it. I’ve got a few ventures in mind for EVE which I’d like to try out and write about how I get on so I’ll have to think about that over the coming weeks/months.