I have a confession to make ... ok two.
First, I have actually been following the development of Darkfall for a just little while now (no, I am not an '04er), even though the sundry cries of "vaporware!" still ring throughout the mmorpg landscape. I don't care, if it comes out I'll try it and if it doesn't, I'll just keep on with LOTRO and maybe take up Vanguard again (whatever other problems VG has, it definitely has my favorite crafting system).
My other confession is not really a confession, but a declaration: I love being a explorer/resource-gatherer.
What I mean is, the biggest treat for me in an mmorpg setting is exploration. The large, seamless world is what hooked me on WoW, without a doubt. I mean, you can run across an entire continent then swim out into the ocean and keep going until you die of exposure - that was, by far, the source of WoW-crackness for me. Resource-gathering is practically a corollary to exploration and has grown as a habit for me over the various MMOs I have played.
But perhaps as a tangent to my love of exploration and gathering, I also quite like crafting in games, especially in online games for the economic aspect of selling your wares or services. And for some reason I am one of those people who find it a more fulfilling activity than pvp or (gasp! retch!) raiding. Though of course I appreciate both of those activities because they provide the economic stimulus for said wares and services.
I am thinking about all of this because of a post made on Forumfall that has me thinking about crafting in Darkfall. Perhaps it was just a troll - or maybe not. But it got me thinking about as someone else mentioned resource gathering in Star Wars Galaxies - putting down thumpers and collecting hides. Good, good times, but alas so brief for me (I got in then left just before the NGE hit).
When looking around, typical to Aventurine's lackluster public relations, there wasn't much on the subject, though all does not appear to be so bleak. I also came across some burgeoning crafting communities like Darkfall Merchants Association.
Interestingly, I never got into mining in EVE. Maybe that would have helped keep my attention longer?
First in on the New Year thread! Oh, wait ...
So I hope everyone has enjoyed their holiday celebrations, whether that be time spent with family or time spent completing Festivult quests (hopefully both!).
Personally, I have been continuing on my Team Fortress 2 compulsion, racking up more hours in that game then I have since the beginning of the year. Yet still I am only ranked in the 40's on Newbs - lol, it's no surprise as a lot of genuinely good players call Newbs their home and I still don't play that much.
The only other game I have been playing with any frequency is ... Vanguard! That's right - I am about two weeks into the free gametime for veterans and simply loving the changes Sigil-SOE has made to the game, specifically the Isle Dawn.
Honestly, I think if there were some sort of contest for most improved noob starter area in an MMORPG, DDO would win hands-down with Module 8. However, Vanguard's Isle of Dawn is a solid and well-designed starting area for such a massive and complex game. From the moment I stepped into the game, the experience flowed perfectly and before I knew it I was a level five adventurer and well on my way to the same rank in diplomacy.
Which I love. It seems like I heard a lot of people disparaging the diplomacy mini-game back when Vanguard first came out, and I can't understand why. I mean, sure, some people won't like it - that's just life. But so far I have had a tremendous blast with it. And the fact that you can use your diplomatic skills to create zone-wide buffs for yourself and other players is the icing on the cake.
I am also quite fond at this point of Vanguard's crafting system. Like diplomacy, it is a viable and fleshed-out alternative to adventuring (i.e. questing and killing). So far, I find it by far the most interesting and engaging crafting experience I have had in an MMORPG.
Of course, Vanguard being Vanguard there are still some ... issues. So far I have tried out a Raki Ranger and a Thestran Bard. I almost fell through the world with the Ranger; when I was swimming up onto land in the noob swamp and swam through and under the island. But I didn't fall through, thankfully I was righted and popped out on top. The most annoying bug I've noticed so far is that frequently I have melee weapons disappear out of both characters' hands. I think they are still equipped, but who knows?
All in all though, like a lovable alcoholic or a dim-witted but kind-hearted supervisor, Vanguard has reached the point where its strengths shine through its deficiencies. I might even subscribe if I can find a good guild to play with.
One last thing: THERE IS A HUGE SALE AT STEAM. Steam is having a new-year sale until tomorrow (Jan. 2) with some pretty massive price-cuts on certain games. Some standouts I noticed (regular price in parenthesis):
Bioshock: $4.99 ($19.99)
Portal: $4.99 ($19.99)
Warhammer 40K Dawn of War Complete Pack: $29.99 ($59.98)
Mount and Blade: $14.99 ($29.99)
ID Software Super Pack: $34.99 ($69.99)
Silent Hill 4: $24.99 ($49.99)
Those are just a few of the titles that jumped out at me. There are more extremely good deals and numerous OK deals. So while the sale on top-tier titles that normally go for $50 like Left 4 Dead, Spore, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and Fallout 3 are not extreme deals, you can still save yourself $12 or $13 by buying them through Steam today or tomorrow.
You probably aren't wondering what my personal favorite deal is, but I'll tell you anyway: Doom 2 for $.99 - I couldn't not get this piece of PC gaming history for less than a buck.
Well, if you haven't heard by now you better get your ass over to Steam and take a look: verily Hell hath frozen over and Valve has announced that several more top-tier Electronic Arts titles will be coming to Steam. Among these games are the MMORPG Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, the much-maligned Spore and the upcoming titles Red Alert 3 and Mirror's Edge (to which I fist-stabbed the air and was like "YES!"). Some EA titles like Mass Effect and Crysis have already been available on Steam for some time now.
The real question which I think is on everyone's mind right now is will the Steam version of Spore have the infamous SecuROM included in it? So far, there is no mention of it on the sales page, however that isn't necessarily indicative of the reality.
Both the Crysis and Crysis Warhead Steam versions have SecuROM. Grand Theft Auto IV has it. There are probably more, but I can't be assed right now to look them up. In the past Bioshock had it, but now doesn't. I'm not sure if the Steam version of Mass Effect ever had it, but it doesn't now at least. And the Steam version of Fallout 3 has never had it.
So I expect that the status of SecuR(ootkit)OM on Steam's Spore will be confirmed in short order. Owing that my newish computer is already infected with the SecuROM virus (Neverwinter Nights 2 - thanks a whole lot Atari, you bastards) I am tempted to try it out and see if I can find it in the download. But probably not, I have a bunch to do and not all of it involves the following:
Vanguard is, right now as I type this, giving away a free month-and-a-half of playtime to former subscribers. That is right - from December 17 until January 31 the accounts of former subscribers have been re-activated. I was never really able to get into Vanguard, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for it owing to the sheer scope and ambition of the world. So a free month should be enough to install the 17-gigabyte behemoth on my hard drive.
Tabula Rasa has the rank stench of death hovering about it, but technically it is still alive and I have still have a couple free codes to give out. Why not join CJ McFee, Voyd and me and get yourself a free code so you too can emerge from Foreas with the aroma of a morgue clinging to you?
Can you believe I still have yet to get WotLK? I know, I thought WoW was all addictive and stuff. But here I am, barely able to fathom myself logging back into that crack-fest. But you know I will eventually. And now that Blizzard has introduced paid gender changes, I no longer have to live as a GIRL.
And finally for today, Steam's weekend special: Stalker: Shadows of Chernobyl for $4.99. Yes, you read that right, it isn't a typo - Stalker SoC for only $4.99. So if you don't already have this classic you better fire up Steam and get it!