I was going to post this yesterday but life has a way of taking over sometimes. For the same reason I didn't log into Ryzom (let alone anything else, work included) yesterday. Oh well, hopefully I will be able to catch up on both some work and some Atys exploration tonight.
Below are some features I noticed about that game being a total nub. Not really a review and certainly not comprehensive or a guide to playing the game, but I hope it is useful to anyone thinking about trying the game.
First day in Atys: Silan
After creating a character, you arrive in the newb area - Silan. After playing a few hours in this area and getting a few skills up to the mid-teens in level, I got a hang of the basic game mechanics but still had a pretty vague idea about the game's story.
What I mean by that is that while the background and premise of the story is fairly well presented along with the details of your race's background and character, I'm still not entirely sure why little Fortuente my Trickster-King-Monkey-looking Tryker is in Silan in the first place and why he is supposed to be here.
Also, races in Ryzom are called Homins. So far it seems like they almost function the way a class might in a class-based MMORPG, but not really. They are the only way to really differentiate your character (aside from typical hair, face, etc.) as any homin can learn any skill, but as far as I can see so far this mainly comes down to the starting area after leaving Silan.
Ryzom is a skill-based system - there are four main trees: Combat, Magic, Crafting and Harvesting. There are "levels" in each skill but the levels only exist to unlock training points - you get 10 for each level. You then use the training points to buy new Actions (things you can do related to the skill) or Upgrades (upgrades to Actions or stats like Strength).
I'm still sorting the system out for myself, but I would say that is it in a nutshell. I'm enjoying their modular action system. Every action in the game, whether it is attacking, crafting, etc. is a actually a set of commands (called a Stanza) that can be customized - this is where buying Actions and Upgrades comes into play as they form the building blocks. If you are familiar with Vanguard, it is almost identical to the system used to create custom Bard songs. But applied to everything. Pretty awesome.
And those four main skill sets I mentioned are completely equal to each other, in terms of gameplay. Or at least that is how it seems so far. While I am not sure as a level 100 Harvest / level 20 Combat I will be able to take on the same foes a level 100 Combat person could, I have the feeling I would not have too difficult a time still making my way through a part of the world with them in it. This might be a misconception of mine, we'll see.
At any rate, the system appears to be set up so that while each skill set has it's differences they are at the end of the day make for at least more or less equal characters. I feel like I am wrong about this, also, but it also appears so far as their might be nothing but time holding one back from attaining high levels in all the skills. I'm still not sure how that works, though.
of Harvesting and Dieing
So if you read the caption above, you'll see that Fortuente the Tryker is suffering from res sickness after dieing and I mention it was to - harvesting? If you are wondering, no I did not get aggro or ganked while I was harvesting a resource - I died from harvesting the resource.
Harvesting in Ryzom is a whole different ball of wax than any other MMO I have yet to experience. It is treated basically the same as hunting mobs. You can either find nodes that randomly pop up and before fading away around the landscape or use the Prospecting skill to look bring them out of the ground manually.
When harvesting a node, it has a range of stats (which I still haven't completely figured out yet) that all interact with your Harvesting Action (i.e. the skills and modifiers within the stanza you created). One of these is the health of a node, which determines how much you can extract from it, another is - I'm not sure what it is called - but it measures the volatility of a node. If you are harvesting and this stat reaches zero the node will erupt, spewing toxic gas or somesuch stuff that will deplete the health your character over time.
And it is damage over time, as your character continues to harvest after the eruption until the node's timer runs out. I experienced my first death because I wasn't paying attention and let my health go to zero. Oops!
There is penalty for dieing, and out of all the death penalties I've run across it is the one I am personally most comfortable with - the xp deficit system. That is, if you die you do not lose experience but rather have a certain amount that you must earn before you are able to advance in levels again.
One last thing before I end this post with a "Too Be Continued:" Crafting. So far it appears almost identical to crafting in Star Wars Galaxies. I'm sure they have their differences, but the similarities were such that at a basic level I found them almost identical.
A big difference, of course, is that crafting is also subject to the modular action system, so you can customize your items generally from that stage. But there is also a stage where you are able to craft your items with whatever appropriate material you have on-hand, which in turn creates items with varying strengths and weaknesses. Crafting in Ryzom is looking very promising indeed.
I'm going to end it there. Like I said, hopefully tonight I will be able to get in some time in the game and assuming I do I'll pick up in another post where I left off.
So the past week or two I have begun casting about for a new MMORPG to waste my time with. Currently I only play Lord of the Rings Online, and my opportunities to log into that have been few and far between so I am not sure why I am bothering.
I have a lot to do in "real life" (I'm a parent) so I really have little time to play any MMO grind-game. But still I am called back, mostly because of my love of virtual worlds (at least those where you can actually do something) and my desire to defeat the forces of virtual evil (has to be virtual evil since Dick Cheney's security detail would crush me in a second making any thrown pies or rotten fruit a semi-worthless gesture).
So I have been strongly considering Darkfall, partly out of pre-existing curiosity but largely due to Syncaine's writing about it. I have also been on-again/off-again following the development of Fallen Earth, which was just relased yesterday. However, the $50+subscription price tag for both of those games has really put me off.
I'm pretty cheap like that, but more than just cheapness is guiding these feelings. Mainly, I think, it is because of the Warhammer release. Yes, I shelled out almost $60 for that steaming pile. Yes, by the end of open beta I was sick of it and played for maybe a week after only to never pick it up again. That's near-$60 wasted. Completely. To me we are now in fool-me-once territory, considering the disaster that was Age of Conan (which I fortunately missed) and the generally crappy reputation MMORPG as an industry has for technical issues.
Combine this with cookie-cutter gameplay, shallow, story-lite immersion and the fact MMOs have overtaken competitive FPSs as asshat-sinks (who would have thought in 2004 that WoW would become the new CounterStrike?) and I am largely over MMOs in general. Yet still I keep getting called back ...
So at this point I basically won't try anything without a trial, and even then I can be pretty unforgiving. So while I have been looking pretty strongly at Fallen Earth (I still might have to plunk down those 50 bones), I have looked beyond for greener pastures and have come up with ... Saga of Ryzom?
I had wanted to try out Ryzom quite a while ago, but the seemingly-perpetual business problems surrounding it sadly left it a game in limbo for longer than my attention span would allow me to follow it. While it looked like a really good game, it also seemed destined for nothing more than the dustbin of MMORPG history.
Imagine my surprise then hearing people recommending it on forums as an alternative to Fallen Earth. And here I thought it was dead and gone ... but no! As of late May of this year the game has come back under the ownership of Winch Gate Property from that magical island Cyprus.
It is still too early to tell, as I have only one night in, but I have decided to stick with it at least for the next two weeks. Everyone starts with a three-week trial then if you continue you are charged a little more than $10 a month with no buy-in fee. It's a subscription, but not too bad a price overall.
So far the main thing I have noticed is that there is no jumping, whether off cliffs or merely a foot off the ground. This actually bothers me a lot and might normally be a deal-breaker (I know I'm a little crazy like that), but I'll stick through it to see the rest of the game. I've heard it has some of the better crafting in the genre and ... drumroll ... you can actually create your own instances of the game world! I have yet to explore it so I do not yet know the particulars but I logged into the builder for a second, and yes it allows you to place mobs and terrain very reminiscent to the Neverwinter Nights module builder. Pretty damn exciting stuff if you're like me.
The character I am playing is an eponymously-named Tryker Gatherer. Hopefully by the end of today I will have a firm grasp on character progression and the basics of the game. I do know that while I picked the Gatherer package when creating little Fortuente, the sytem allows you to progress in any direction you desire. I have no firm goals at this point, as I do not know the system well enough, but my general plan is to make a gathering-crafter.
So where does that leave LOTRO? Well, I still like it even if I am a bit disenchanted with Turbine (arising from having to deal with their horrendous customer service because of DDO which has about caused me to swear off that game entirely even though it is "free"). I don't know, I recently paid up for my three months in LOTRO so I won't be actually quitting that game soon even if I don't manage to log in overmuch. But if Ryzom is a success with me then LOTRO has to deal with that, Team Fortress 2 and my city-builder addiction. But then, if I wasn't such a die-hard Tolkien fan and Turbine had gone in the phat-lewt direction with the game, I would probably have cut off LOTRO quite a while ago.