Alts? I have no alts! All my characters are my main!

Or so I usually say. In practice there is always a character I end up playing more than the others or who earned a special place in my heart.

So, on this week’s challenge, posed by the lovely Ambermist of “Tastes Like Battle Chicken”, it is exactly to talk about those characters. Which I will do with the utmost joy. Because characters are like our own children. Give us an excuse to talk about them and we’ll do it all day!

In my case it will be two of the characters that have a very special place in my heart. They are probably the ones I spent the most time playing on and growing with during my MMORPG career. If you can call playing MMORPGs for years a career that is.

Also, I apologize for the lack of screenshots. This is a post that screams “Fill me up with screenshots!” but I found out I have no good screenshots of Rakuno to post. Alas, I find myself still having to do my little EQ2 protest so I can’t even log in to take a decent screenshot of my beloved character.

Anyhoo, in order of creation here are my “mains”:

Read moreAlts? I have no alts! All my characters are my main!

Joining the anti-region lock in EQ2 protest

Recently SOE announced they had made a partnership with a company called ProSiebenSat.1 to manage most of SOE  MMORPGs in Europe. This would including customer support, marketing, etc. All find and good except for one detail…. Part of the  deal is is that european players would be region-locked to play on european servers only. While US players would only be able to play in US servers. Exceptions would be made  for european players who already have characters in US servers. Those would be “grandfathered in”. There is a FAQ about the whole deal for those interested over in the Everquest 2’s forums.

If that by itself wasn’t bad enough there has been accusations of ProSiebenSat.1 posting personal information about their customers in forums, like real life names and billing.

Not convinced yet that this is a really bad idea? Well, Feldon of EQ2 Wire wrote 20 reasons of why this is a really bad move. He also has been covering the whole thing as they happen. Worth keeping tabs on his site for interested on it.

And as to be expected by anyone with a modicum of sense, there has been a huge outrage from this change as evidenced by the (at this time) 100+ pages of forum posts in the official Everquest 2’s forum.

My position on this whole thing is this: I am a brazilian playing on the US servers. I decided to cancel my gold subscription and boycott every SOE game until they revert the decision of region-locking the game. Granted, I was already planning to downgrade my account to silver status eventually. The difference is that there were certain  things I wanted to get done before that and I still planned to stick around just to enjoy the decoration part of the game. I was even warming up to the idea of buying stuff from Station Cash as a silver player. With this turn of events however  I not only won’t do any of that anymore but will also be adding SOE to my black list of companies to not have any dealings with in the future.

There are a few reasons for this. The first is that I can feel the pain of people being angry about this turn of events since living in Brazil I have being region locked out of enjoying  a few online services, MMORPGs or buying digital versions of games. Examples would be Pandora, Hulu, Vindictus, most games in the Direct 2 Drive catalog in their early  days plus a few others. In all these cases it sucked badly. Now imagine suffering that but after having invested years of your life and a good chunk of money on it, building relationships with other people across the world then suddenly all rules changing.

The second is that I always believed that the beauty of the internet is how it can easily ignore physical barriers to bring people from different parts of the world together. Having contact from people from different parts of the world was something that enriched my life in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Any attempt of artificially separating people goes against that. This is one such case and I can’t in good conscience support it either directly or indirectly.

Lastly, and this may seem silly to a lot of you, is that the only reason I even care about Everquest 2 is due to their good house decoration system and the community that  was built around it. Some of the best  decorators in the game are in euro servers. With this change I just won’t be able to visit their in-game houses anymore to appreciate their work since I would be in the wrong side of the globe.

I really hope they change their mind about this. In the mean time I will be spending the time I would be playing Everquest 2 in other pastures and keeping an eye on how they handle this situation. If they do come with a good solution to this mess then I will go back to playing Everquest 2.

Grab-bag of gaming news around the net

There has been some gaming news that got my attention in the last few days. Since I don’t think everybody here is as neurotic as I am in keeping up with these kind of news I thought it might be interesting to point out to a few of them.

First of, the Kelethin City Festival has started over in Everquest 2. That by itself wouldn’t be that interesting considering that City Festivals happen every month. Except that with this we are finally getting Building Blocks themed after the city festival in question. What are Building Blocks? They are exactly what it sounds like, cubes, boards and circles (it looks more like an octagon) that decorators can use to build stuff with and save some much needed item count. It should be appearing on Station Cash too after the festival is over for those who would prefer alternatives to acquire them. Crafted building blocks should be coming with the next Game Update which is scheduled to March if I recall corectly. I just wish there were some triangles in there…. But hey, this is already pretty good considering how long the decorator community has been asking for it and how simple they are, model-wise.

Also, a reminder that the “A Goddess Risen” world event will be ending on February 6th. If you didn’t do it yet you might want to do it now. It is a very short, easy, quest line that will probably appeal to fans of EQ2 lore. It also gives a cool house item, an unique bow and a shield, both that can also be turned into house items.

A few days ago, Good Old Games started selling Thief Gold. For those who don’t know it, it is a classic game which brought a lot of innovations to the FPS genre back in the day. Basically you play a thief (yes, big surprise there) and your mission throughout the levels is to break into places, avoid being detected by guards and steal as much as you can. Nowadays this doesn’t seem like a big deal but back in the days this blew people’s mind. Although the GoG team did an amazing job to get it to run on modern machines it still runs on the monitor resolutions and aspects of its days. Rock, Paper, Shotgun found ways to fix it though so it runs with more modern resolutions and aspect ratios. You can find that fix here.

I admit I didn’t really play Thief besides the first level back in the days. Back then I just saw it as another FPS game, a genre which I despised. Granted it did have a neat premise and gameplay but my hatred for FPS blinded me to its awesomeness. Plus in those days it looked like every frigging game in the future would be a FPS so I was trying to spend whatever time I got in what I believed would be the last non-FPS games ever made. All I can say now is that hindsight is a pain. Anyway, I do intent to rectify that mistake once I get some more time and money.

Speaking of classic games, a while ago there were news that Firaxis would be making their own remake of X-Com. A remake that would be an actual strategy game. Like the original game was. Who woulda think, huh? :p

Anyway, leaving the sarcasm behind, the fine folks at Rock, Paper, Shotgun strike again and they did an interesting interview with Jake Solomon, lead designer of Firaxis’ X-Com remake. It will be in 3 parts and you can find part 1 here. Topics covered are how long the development took so far, the challenges of remaking a game that is, rightfully so, considered a sacred cow to many players and other topics. It is a pretty interesting read for anyone who is looking forward on how that one turns out.

Myself I am cautiously excited about it. Firaxis already proved themselves that they can make a damn good job of reinventing a good game and still making it feel right with Civilization V. So they will probably do another fine job with their version of X-Com.

Hm. That should be all for now. Back to your regularly (non-)scheduled ramblings!

Why I decorate in Everquest 2: The return!

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.

Read moreWhy I decorate in Everquest 2: The return!

My thoughts on Freeport Reborn

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.

Read moreMy thoughts on Freeport Reborn

Characters “Grandfathered” in Everquest 2

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.

Why I love house decoration in Everquest 2

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!

Read moreWhy I love house decoration in Everquest 2

Breaking news: Everquest 2 going fully free to play

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.

Hallowen in two different worlds

The Pumpkin!

Actually it should have been in three different worlds. However there hasn’t been any news so far of a Halloween event on Fallen Earth. My guess is that they are still with their hands full with the influx of players due to the switch to free to play.

Which two worlds will be covered then? It will be Everquest 2’s Norrath where it is pretty much old hat to me now and Final Fantasy XIV’s Eorzea where not only it is the first time for me but for the game too I think.

Currently they are my main poison as far as MMORPGs go therefore that is the reason I am only making a post about them. And not covering other games which I technically still play… like… Lord of the Rings Online. >_>

Anyway, read on if you are curious to see what was new on this year’s Everquest 2 “Nights of the Dead” or about Final Fantasy XIV’s “All Saint’s Wake”.

Read moreHallowen in two different worlds