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The Repopulation – Hour 1

It’s on sale on Steam for a few more days. Find out more about the game here, or do a Google search you lazy bastards. Here are my very brief first impressions.

  • It’s in alpha. Read it again: ALPHA. Repeat after me: Aaaaalllph-aaaaaa. So stop crying about the bugs, the disconnects, the crashes, the bugs. (And it’s running very stably for me so QQ bitches.) If you don’t want that experience, wait a few months. It’ll be on sale again and it doesn’t launch till Q4 (that’s dev-speak, so I’m guessing May 2016).
  • It’s a sandbox. There’s a basic “here’s how you walk, talk and shoot things” tutorial and then you’re dumped in Mos Eisley one of the two faction starter-cities to sink or swim. However, NPCs are literally spamming your inbox with mission offers and the rest is pretty self-explanatory for anyone with a working braincell. Want to harvest? Find some nodes, swing that axe. Want to fight? Find some mobs, pewpew that pistol.
  • It feels a lot like SWG and the UI elements borrowed all the nastiest, clunkiest, screen-hoggingest crappy bits of the SWG UI (of all the things to copy), but it is most definitely not SWG or UO, so don’t go buying it because someone said it was. It’s ‘inspired by’ — and that’s definitely true. It’s not a clone. Your character may be, but it isn’t.
  • I’m not a huge fan of the graphics or even the art style, but that’s highly subjective. Bodies are reasonably well-proportioned and fairly realistic (moreso than in most games). The buildings in the starter cities are suitably grimy. The outside bits are suitably tree-y and rock-y… But somehow it leaves me cold. I’d almost rather SWG’s cartoonish art than this gritty, realistic and ultimately unpoetic view. So far the landscapes haven’t made me catch my breath, but I haven’t gone far. AND it’s alpha. Always remember alpha.

2015-06-19_00004 2015-06-19_00002

  • The crafting system looks complex. It may still  depend on grinding 1000 craft-foozles to master, but there’s very little way around that in an MMO – at least no fair way. I haven’t really crafted anything but I have chopped down some trees and harvested some flowers and ore. Oddly enough if it reminds me of anything, it’s Anarchy Online, simply because it’s so freaking complex and there are so many recipes and Recipe 1 depends on subcomponents A – M each of which is made by a different crafting profession…
  • However, the game does have a Work Order system, which is the only way you can make genuine crafting interdependence work. I have already sold little bits and pieces to people who needed them for whatever mysterious purpose they needed them for. I’m guessing grinding.
  • I have no idea what combat is like, other than a bit buggy. I pewpew-ed shit with my trusty handgun as needed to reach nodes. I don’t care about combat.

I have a feeling there is a LOT to discover under the surface, especially with harvesting and crafting and perhaps even housing. I will probably carry on discovering, but I doubt it’ll pull me away from SWG or WoW or my main games, not for a while.

SWG – The Master Speaks

I mentioned Raph Koster’s post a few days ago, but as it turns out there are a bunch of them about SWG and I’m still cursing the loss of Google Reader (yes I bloody well hold a grudge, at least in this case). So for my own convenience and that of a couple of other people who keep saying they need to read those posts — and they do, they’re fascinating — here are some links.

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 1

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 2

SWG-tagged posts

That should be enough to get you started.

It’s weird how often Mr. Koster says they didn’t end up with what they wanted for various systems in SWG (especially crafting!), when I and many others still remember it as the best crafting system ever, bar none. Actually to me it was the only real crafting system ever, bar none. All the others were just… bleh. Even EQ2, and I love EQ2 crafting — but it never even remotely compared to SWG crafting. The difference is one of several orders of magnitude in terms of complexity and depth. EQ2 is fun, but it’s whack-a-mole: once you’ve figured it out, you’ll never get anything but pristine (and yes, that was true even in the days when Death By Forge was a possibility).

And this is why SWG worked for crafters and people who wanted to be part of a society and not just someone who ran a ‘toon’ (apologies to all of you who use it, but I hate that term). It’s also why I doubt anyone will ever design another SWG. More’s the pity, but at least we have the Emulator:

I get asked this question all the time. In fact, now that I do consultancy from time to time, it’s not unusual for a company to come to me and say “can you put in crafting like SWG? Our players say it was the best ever!” Usually, they have actually, you know, designed their game already, or even built it. And I have to tell them, “No. You build your game around it, not the other way around.”

In other more fluffy news, I managed a little bit of playtime in between bouts of being sick and feeling sorry for myself. Here’s a pictorial account:

Coronet by night

Coronet by night

Poor Heidegger, can't hold his liquor

Poor Heidegger, can’t hold his liquor

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

SWGeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.2

A couple of people asked for pix, here and on FB, so prepare for full-on (mega-newbie) nostalgia.

My first char (can’t make another until tomorrow) is a crafter, which means she’s going to spend the next 3 days sampling till her lekku fall off. Because no resources = no crafty = no money, and you can put those in whichever order you wish. Currently I’m running artisan survey mission in between sampling because those training NPCs must live in gold-plated mansions in Kadaara when they’re not busy fleecing poor saps just off the space-boat.

Theed!

Theed!

Fambaa baby

Fambaa!

Maulers

Eeeek!

 

 

 

SWGeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

That pile I was talking about last month? It just got bigger.

SWGEmu1

One of my favourite games EVAR and one I miss perhaps even more than I miss Asheron’s Call (which was a wonderful MMO-virgin game nevertheless). I miss it like the spousal unit misses UO or hardcore raiders miss EQ. I followed SWGEmu a number of years ago but time, life and the state of the emulator’s progress back then conspired against me and I never got to try it out.

This is about to change. Well, in 2 or 3 days when my pooey internet allows me to update.

I’m not even going to mention the NGE and the CU and if you don’t know those acronyms you’re much better off, trust me.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I’m really excited about this. My workload is pretty heavy right now but I may have to make time (i.e. lose sleep) for this one.

A propos nothing, it’s the game I was playing just before I got caught up in the Warhammer hype and started this blog. That was back in 2007-2008. Man, that was a long time ago, and despite all the changes they’d brought to the game it still had something unique going for it. Can’t wait for that update to finish…

Auction Houses: Pandering to those who hate crafting

This. Elder Game’s The Case Against Auction Houses.

But I mean, what are you gonna do, not have an auction house in a modern MMO?

Sure! There’s no reason every MMO should have an auction house. Lots of MMOs implement it unthinkingly, because they believe it’s a mandatory back-of-the-box feature. Few MMO developers take the time to think about the ramifications of the feature.

I’ve got a lot to say on the subject myself, as a self-professed crafter before anything else in MMOs, but having ignored most of my work over the weekend I’m now forced to actually do some in order to pay the bills. Bah humbug.

Also: I miss SWG. The whole crafter/merchant/harvester thing did sort of turn into a second (and sometimes third) job, but it was the most fulfilling crafting and selling in any MMO, evar.

TSW – Crafting basics

Crafting is… weird, in TSW, but actually quite useful and apparently built for the long term. No huge guide here because it’s actually not that complicated.

– The above-mentioned “Moose” has a kind of crafting mission found on the table near him, to disassemble a shotgun and make a weapon with the parts.

– The Raven’s Knock (Madame Roget’s place) also offers a crafting mission which enables you to learn how to make glyphs (gear add-ons – think WoW’s enchantments). Sadly you can only make a Chaos focus I think, but I could be wrong.

Here are the Basics According to Ysh:

i. Disassembly and learning shapes

You can disassemble most items you outgrow or loot, and I would recommend it. To disassemble an item, open the crafting interface (Y) and drag the item in question from your inventory to the “Item” part of the crafting window. This has two results:

– It will break down the item into its base parts and return crafting ingredients

– It will also show you the “shape” of the item in the assembly window.

The second part is worth knowing, because to MAKE items you have to place crafting ingredients in the assembly window to form the correct “shape” (i.e. recipe) for the item. If you want to make a Shotgun or a Belt but have no idea what shape you need to use, drag a similar item to the disassembly slot and make note of the resulting shape without actually disassembling it. Drag it back out to your inventory and Bob’s your recipe uncle.

ii. Obtaining actual crafting materials

You can disassemble items to get mats and you can loot them. The draug in Kingsmouth seem to drop a fair number of runes, for instance, whereas I’ve never had a rune from disassembly yet (just the ‘elements’ – fire, water, dust and metal).

As far as I’ve seen, disassembly only returns “base” materials, but that may likely change later in the game. Most crafted items require base materials to be refined into more usable stuff before you can craft with them. Qualities are, but don’t quote me: Base –> Imperfect –> Normal –> Sacred –> Pure. QL3 weapons can be made with Imperfect stuff, so it won’t be too hard to find what you need.

Materials can be improved by refining them in the crafting window: pop them in the assembly area and you’ll get 1 material of the next quality level for every 5 you put in. So 5 base [whatevers] make 1 imperfect, 5 imperfects will make 1 normal, and so on. My guess is it’s designed to suck down a whole lot of resources, which is mudflation-prevention in action. It works.

iii. Making something

Yesterday I decided to use one of my QL3 weapon kits I got to see if I could improve on my Blood magic focus. Knowing I’d need metal to make it (all weapons seem to need metal) and knowing I’d need 7 bits of Imperfect metal to make my focus, I collected 35 base metals and refined those down to 7. Then I dragged my QL3 Weapon Crafting Toolkit (I think it’s a mission reward) into the Tool section of the crafting window, added my 7 imperfect metals in the required shape, and hey presto.

It’s not THAT much better that what I’ve got, but I can improve it with glyphs until I can afford the Council of Venice one / get one from a mission or drop / or get one from Polaris. Every little helps.

And finally, the biggest crafting tip of all

I can’t swear to it but I think Scopique passed this one on to me:

To add stacked crafting resources to the crafting interface without having to laboriously split them up by hand (THE single most nerdrage inducing thing about TSW crafting), left-click to pick up the stack from your inventory then right-click in each square you need in the crafting interface. And suddenly crafting isn’t so much of a nightmare.

LOTRO – One more wafer-thin alt!

There’s a reason the spousal unit’s superhero name would be “Mr. Methodical” — or, if he were a villain, probably something like “OCD Boy”. He is utterly incapable of doing anything casually, and this includes gaming.

Which means, if he starts crafting, that he can’t help but want to make one of everything even if 99% of everything is crap. This takes up a lot of his gaming time, as you can imagine.

When I talked him into playing LOTRO with me a couple of months ago, we swore up and down that he wouldn’t have to craft if he didn’t want to, yadda yadda yadda. He crafted. Now he doesn’t dare log in because he knows there are piles of unsorted crafting all-sorts waiting for him — and, being Mr Methodical, he’s also incapable of just ignoring said piles and playing like they don’t exist.

The long and short of this is, I now have official permission to make more alts. Because, you know, someone has to craft all the stuff we use. Really, that’s the only reason. Nothing to do with making a pile more alts and starting some more crafters. Nothing at all.

Stop laughing, you there at the back.

~

Random pic below — Captain Ysharros checking out the canyon approaches to Angmar on her spiffy new Harvestmath Festival mount. The horse looks keener about it than she does (can’t blame her).

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