Ah, the insights we get when we are can't sleep, don't feel like doing it but we know we must try otherwise we became living zombies. Anyhoo, in a previous post I rambled a lot about why I love decoration in Everquest 2. However as often happens in such endeavors I think my point got lost, even to myself, amidst of all the rambling. It is one of those gut feelings you have but you just don't know how to put it in words or even explain it to your own self. You just know it is the thing that is right to you. I think I finally got it in a more rational way now. So to avoid losing track of what I am trying to say, let's do something different this time and delve directly to the point, shall we?
There have been too things that have been bugging me a lot since I got into decoration in Everquest 2. The first is why I have so much trouble with little details and colors in my decorations while to other decorators it seems as natural as speaking? The second is why I care so much about a game's feature that pretty much the majority of the MMORPG industry and player base doesn't seem to care about, namely a good housing system? I mean, it is pretty much the only reason I am still playing Everquest 2. Everything else is just my silly obsessive side.
...continue reading "Why I decorate in Everquest 2: The return!"
I must admit I never saw what the big deal was with Qeynos and Freeport. They always felt to me to be nothing but another piece of generic fantasy. Perhaps it is a question of timing or memories. For one, I never played Everquest 1, so I don't have any clue how those two cities were back then. For another, I didn't start back at the game launch. Since back then the only start option was the Isle of Refuge, where the closest to civilization was a small settlement, those two cities with their high stone walls, lots of houses, with some that you could even get for your character to live, probably felt a lot more impressive.
Instead what made me to want to grow roots in the world of Norrath happened due the "Play the Fae" trial. That trial made you begin in the region of the Greater Faydark whose capital, Kelethin, always felt far more fantastical and wondrous than either Freeport or Qeynos ever were. Neriak, who was released around the same time I did the trial, also had the same qualities to it. And to me those two elements, fantastical and wondrous, are what good fantasy is all about.
Even as time went by those cities never really grew on me. Also as game updates went by it seemed more and more that Qeynos and Freeport were becoming irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, becoming more reactionary to the world events than the ones who set those events in motion. Which is kinda sad considering those two cities were meant to be the super potency of Everquest 2's world, Norrath. Perhaps that is why the developers deemed necessary to give a much needed revamp to those two. The first to get the love has been Freeport, whose new looks and content has been released just last week as a free game update to all players.
...continue reading "My thoughts on Freeport Reborn"
Everquest 2 transition to free-to-play has certainly been a controversial issue among its player base. The latest of the controversies has been the invitation former subscribers received to give the game a try again, as a free to play title, only to find out their old characters were locked because they didn't buy a character pack or class unlocker.
Well, according to this post in the official forums by SmokeJumper, the current Executive Producer, at least that issue should be gone.
I will just quote the man himself:
*Every* character that was created before 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am will be grandfathered in without race or class restriction. This means that regardless of your membership level, you will be able to play any character created before 12/6 without paying for race- or class-pack unlocks.
For any player that previously subscribed to EQII Live servers, or as a Gold or Platinum member on EQ2X, we will also refund all the class/race pack purchases made after 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am and before the time of this posting (12/08/2011, 4:30pm) so that no one loses any SC due to this change.
Of course, this doesn’t affect new characters created from now onward. If you are playing at Silver or Free membership levels and want to create a *new* character, you’ll still be subject to the regular membership class and race restrictions.
On a personal note, I am really happy with these news. It means I might be able to save some money once I switch my account to a silver membership as I won't have to pay to unlock my carpenters (or any of my other current characters). I will also be able to resurrect my ogre warlock on my former second account. That is as soon as I can recover my password for it. -_-
It also means less resistance from friends in trying to get them to come back to visit in-game. Mwahahahaha.
I am pretty sure a lot of the friends I made in Everquest 2 have been puzzled by my love of house decoration. That or they started thinking it was a good time to back away slowly when I started talking about it. In fact, I even agree to a certain extent that it is pretty sad that nowadays that is my main reason to play Everquest 2. Not so much for my passion for house decoration in a MMORPG, of all places, but because I just don't enjoy the rest of the game as much. Worse I have yet to find another MMORPG with a more engaging gameplay and house decoration. My hopes right now are on Final Fantasy XIV for that but that seems to be far away in the future...
Anyway, why I love it so much in Everquest 2? To put it simply creativity. If that is so why am I not trying to scratch my creativity itch in another more fulfilling field like... say, writing or painting or something along those lines? Well.... That I don't know either. I guess this blog does scratch my itch for writing though. I am not sure what kind of itch decoration in a MMORPG scratches.
The next question someone might ask would probably be, why aren't you doing that in a game whose main purpose is dealing with virtual houses, like The Sims for example. This one is easy. In a MMORPG I am building and decorating a house for nothing but my own amusement. In a game like The Sims I would have to build to please a virtual twerp so they don't get sad. In fact I would be spending more time worrying micro-managing the actions of said virtual twerp so he can get as close to happiness a virtual person can get than about building cool stuff. At least in a MMORPG my biggest worries are with the space I have to work with and the item count.
Of course, none of those answers really, well, answer anything. So I guess we have to dig deeper to see where it all began, what makes it so fun, why more MMORPGs should have decent house systems and why Santa Claus wear red instead of say... purple. Ok, I admit one of those topics won't be actually covered on this post. But all the others will!
...continue reading "Why I love house decoration in Everquest 2"
Seems like there were a couple of news around Final Fantasy XIV while I wasn't looking. The first one is a preview about the class revisions that should be coming with patch 1.20. You can find it here. As usual for these kind of things, anything in that post can change before the actual patch hits the game and people can post feedback about it on the official forums.
The second bit of news is the second "Letter from the Producer Live" which is pretty much ye olde webcast from the developers but with a fancy title. You can find it here. The video itself is in japanese without any subtitles. However there is an english translation in the form of text in the same posting.
Both give some interesting preview of what should be coming to the game in the near and long term. A lot of it made me pretty excited too as there are some cool additions being added and more much-needed changes to the game. I won't be commenting on every and each item as it would take a gigantic post for it. I will just do so with the ones I found more interesting.
I will most likely do a hand-on post about all these topics as soon as the patches come. For now, my thoughts about what we know so far.
...continue reading "Thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV class reforms preview and Letter from the Producer Live II"
By now I think anyone interested already knows about this. On early December Everquest 2 will switch to a full free to play model. If you are a current subscriber and wishes to continue subscribing, then nothing changes to you. The only ones affected will be people on Livegamer and EQ2X. The Livegamer servers will be gone with Vox being merged with Nagafen and Bazaar being merged with Freeport. For EQ2X it only affects people with platinum subscription as it will be going away.
For more information they made a handy-dandy FAQ about the whole deal that you can find here.
To me this is great news. I've stopped caring about the game a long time ago. The only thing I still truely care about it is the decoration aspect and the friends I made there. Both that I should be able to still enjoy if I decide to let my subscription expire. And if I feel the need to I can just subscribe for a period of time again.
In fact you can blame the lack of more substantial updates on this blog on decoration. I've been working on an overdue decoration project for a friend lately and started remodeling my guild hall. The decoration for my friend I am not sure I will post pictures of it here. It is not my house although I don't think the owner would mind one bit. Hell, it is quite possible she will even post pictures of it on the Homeshow forums herself... But my guild hall I will definitely post screenshots of it once it is done. It is a place very dear to my heart and it was only possible to get through a lot of grinding and a big help from some friends.
There is an interview with Marie Croall, the current lead designer for Fallen Earth at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
You can find it here.
It is pretty interesting as she goes on how she got involved with the game's development, the switch to free to play, how things have been working for the team and the game so far, etc.
In another note, I will try to make a real post about Fallen Earth... as soon as possible. So far all my posts about the game have been things that could honestly be found elsewhere. That kinda makes this blog a little pointless plus it wasn't why I made it. Also Fallen Earth is one of the games I like right now and it deserves some recording of my misadventures there. Before that though I do need to get some other stuff out of the way first.
So many games, so little time and energy. /sigh
After playing Final Fantasy XIV for quite a bit I found my initial impressions about patch 1.9 changes to be inaccurate. Fortunately it wasn't inaccurate in a bad way, quite the contrary. I am finding myself getting more and more hooked into the game.
Before getting into all that though, allow me a side note (which is getting too common in my posts....):
Massively is doing a "Choose My Adventure" series with Final Fantasy XIV. If you don't what that means, it is like a "Let's Play" where instead of just reading about a players experiences as he/she plays through the game, the readers can vote on what should the player should do before the next post. So if you are curious how Final Fantasy XIV is from the eyes of a newbie starting on the game now, you can start reading it here.
Well, ok, technically that is not the start, it is already the 3rd post with this particular author. The first one was to choose the game (which turned out to be Final Fantasy XIV) and the second was to choose the gender, race and starting town for the character. The post I linked is him actually starting to play the game. :p
Alright, with that done, back to my own experiences with the game....
...continue reading "Yet more thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV post patch 1.9"
Yep. Another interview with Naoki Yoshida, aka Yoshi-p, aka the current producer/director for Final Fantasy XIV.
You can find it here.
Apparently he has been in Square Enix's North American HQ recently for a small meeting with the local media. So there you have the explanation for two interviews in such a small interval of time.
On this one he goes into a few more details about stuff that will be coming on patch 2.0. In particular, it cleared some doubts I had about the Free Companies. As I guessed they will be pretty much like guilds in other MMORPGs and thankfully there will be no restrictions to who can join them. Well, no restrictions besides whichever the Free Companies leaders decide to impose that is.
The other thing is about the change from the seamless world we have now to one separated by zones. This is something that I am honestly a bit apprehensive as I hate zoning. Nothing kicks me out of being immersed in a game's world than zoning. Now there are a few cases I can live with zoning. For example, when there is an instanced dungeon. In this case the benefits outweigh any immersion breaking. Or when there is a separation between exterior and interior environments like in the Elder Scrolls games. In those games the interiors are pretty detailed so again it outweighs the bad parts. There are also cases where I will still not like it but will grow a skin thick enough to live with it if the gameplay/content is interesting enough. That was the case with Everquest 2 since a lot of the zones felt interesting and there were some gameplay ideas I found interesting. Zoning was a small price to pay for it even if I hate it every time the freaking loading screen shows up.
Anyway, I can understand the reasons for the change. Eorzea, Final Fantasy XIV's world, does certainly look repetitive, lacking some interesting landmarks. Zoning should help with that. Hopefully it should also make it easier for the developers to make new content. Easier to make new content means more new content being produced. Yoshi-P also said in the interview the zoning will be similar to Final Fantasy XI. I never played it so my guess is that it is similar to Everquest 2 which in that case it is something I can live with.
All in all though, I am still pretty confident about Final Fantasy XIV's future. Like I said before the team has been very transparent with their plans for the game, what they are working on and when those changes will come. So far all that has resulted in changes for the better. I don't see any of that changing in the near future. Plus they are still giving players two months and another patch before asking players to decide if they want to pay the subscription fee or not. To me that should be plenty of time to decide if I want to stick for the long haul or not.
As the title says, Massively did an interview with Naoki Yoshida, aka Yoshi-P, aka the current producer for Final Fantasy XIV.
There are some interesting stuff there like what is his goals with the future Job system, why they decided to start ending the current free trial in two months, etc.
You can find it here: