Fantasy

My thougths on Final Fantasy XIV patch 1.20

Although Patch 1.20 continues the tradition so far of bringing big changes to current gameplay plus additions, it is probably the easiest so far to digest. It might be due to me being a perma-noobie and most of the changes being things that I can actually experience or doesn’t make me conjecture about how it will turn down the road. In any case, this might be a shorter one than usual.

The usual caveat that my character is still pretty low level so I am limiting my commentary to changes I can actually experience by myself.

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Revisiting Lineage 2

Lumilie posing for a screenshotI have the weirdest love-hate relationship with MMORPGs. It is always the same thing. Everything feels perfect, exciting at  the start. Sure there are a few annoyances here and there but there are so many things to do!

Then the annoyances start to pile up, the new shiny game effect starts to wear off and the hatred starts to sink in. Why am I still playing this game? Why am I wasting time and money on something so unfun when those both could be spent on better single player games or other more fulfilling hobbies?

Some time off from the game or event makes me starting to appreciate the game again, the hatred starts to fade and it is back to business as usual. This is a cycle that keeps repeating itself with a game many times until I am so worn out of this that it is time to actually quit.

Of all the MMORPGs I played so far the one I got the most extreme version of these feelings was certainly Lineage 2. Without going on a rant about everything that was wrong while I played it, I will just say it was the game where I experienced first-hand the worst parts of MMORPGs. By that I mean rampant botting and scamming, bullies PKing people who couldn’t defend themselves, illegal RMT basically destroying a game economy and some of the most illogical, idiotic, game mechanics that would make sense only in the twisted mind of some crazy game developer.

Keep in mind this was years ago, in a different time altogether. To give some perspective this was when “The Burning Crusade” was still the latest expansion for World of Warcraft, any Aion information you could get would be in fan sites who would translate stuff from korean sources and before the Kamael race was introduce to Lineage 2. As any MMORPG goes, it changed vastly since then.

Still, you might be asking. If the game was that horrible back then why did I keep playing it? Well, there were a few reasons. First I still find that it has some interesting mechanic concepts. Mainly in terms of classes as each race has their own unique classes that fit with the race’s lore. For instance, Dark Elf classes are all geared towards offense/dark arts, Light Elf classes goes more for defense/light magic, Orc classes more towards physical prowess/mysticism, Dwarven classes being the only ones who could craft anything/better at resource gathering and of course humans having the usual jack-off all trades/middle of the road classes that due to that end up ruling the world.

It is as pretty cool concept though nowadays I am not  sure it works so well for a MMORPG. It is already hard enough to balance a MMORPG with the traditional holy trinity of tank/damage dealer/healer. Making some of those classes biased towards certain things based on their race makes it even more trickier. For a single player game it might actually be something fun for the player that adds replay value.

There is also the  fact that the game was top of the line in terms of MMORPG graphics back then. It still looks pretty good considering all  the time since its release.

Lastly, but not least important, I was lucky to get into a clan with a bunch of good people. The kind of people that would stick with you no matter how tough things were, always willing to help out in any way they could. In a game as brutal as Lineage 2 was back then, this was a blessing.

These factors often made me nostalgic about the game from time to time. Occasionally I would even take their offer to check the game again when they offered some game play days for former subscribers. For the most part though I was pretty much done with the game. The bad parts had scarred me for life. So much that even when the game converted to a free to play model I still ignored it.

For some reason though I decided to give it another look now. I don’t know exactly why. My best guess would be the latest “Choose My Adventure” series at Massively that covered Lineage 2. In a way it felt like the guy was talking about a completely different game. Another reason is probably because I seem to be in the mood to try new game experiences since I am downloading DC Universe Online right now, a game I pretty much ignored so far. Yes, I already played Lineage 2 so it doesn’t count as exactly new but so many things changed since I quit the game that it can just count as that. It is also has enough of its own unique stuff to set it apart from all the World of Warcraft clones that has been plaguing the MMORPG landscape for some years now. So that is another plus on Lineage 2’s favor.

With all that said, is Lineage 2 worth playing now that it is free to play? Or should people just run away for their lives? Honestly, I can’t give an in-depth analysis of the game right now. I wasn’t able to play much so far and due to certain circumstances (which I will be getting at by the end of the post) it will take me another week before I can give a more informed opinion. By then I might even not bother with the game again. So just consider this a first impression of Lineage 2 post free-to-play conversion. If I keep playing the game and find some interesting stuff to talk about I might make further posts. For now this will be the only one about it.

Another caveat is that this is all from the point of view of a carebear player, i.e. someone who avoids PvP like the plague. For those who enjoy PvP, specially open PvP in the style of  Lineage 2 then I am sorry but there isn’t anything I can tell about that side of the game.

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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.

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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!

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Thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV class reforms preview and Letter from the Producer Live II

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.

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