A Secret Land of Contrast

This was the first weekend in a long time were I wasn’t busy both days, it really is amazing how much gaming you can get done when you have no plans and can sit in that big ole recliner an entire day with your hand glued to the mouse. It is really relaxing but no matter what i have that nagging sense of guilt that I should be doing regular people things like cleaning or social interaction, if any one has tips on how to bury that urge it would be appreciated.

I always have fun playing TSW and get a great sense of achievement after completing a zone as they are quite extensive and with my slow plodding pace these large areas take forever. I have finally made it to the last area which I really couldn’t wait to explore. New quests, new characters but mostly it is just nice to have different atmosphere to be enthralled by and what a great zone this first one is.

-Picture Spam Ahoy>

The Nom Nom News

Just call it the nom nom news, and yes it is hard to believe sometimes but there is a whole world of games out there that aren’t of the mmo genre and weirdly enough some of them look quite good. Anyway here’s what I am currently looking forward to

Sleeping Dogs

An open world GTA style detective beat em up set in crazy Hong Kong. It looks like an iteration of the earlier GTA’s as well and not the bloated mess the recent adaptations became. For me though it isn’t just about how massive and sprawling your world is it is how well i get immersed in the environment, it’s characters and my own protagonist. It has just been released as well and completely few over my radar but I might just pick it up in the coming weeks to give it a go.

Remember Me

This looks like a cross between deus Ex and Uncharted which I am not sure if I am ok with yet. The world seems to have an interesting story and vibe to it and not only is the protagonist a kick ass Female but the use of the primary mechanic and guiding game principle seem rather interesting, I can see some serious puzzle like challenge being involved during later missions. Unlike Deus Ex there doesn’t seem to be as extensive a range of options as to how you navigate the world and mission areas, Deus Ex had a lot of variation to take into account various playstyles this just looks to be an uncharted wall climbing piece along the one true route. However still probably a definite play.

Simcity World

I love simcity and this looks to have some nice social elements to it without being completely Zyngafied, and the the buildings are purty

Playstation Allstars: Battle Royale

What can I really say to this, It is a blatant rip-off of Super Smash brothers but I am completely ok with that. Super Smash brothers was an amazing little game and I remeber haavign a lot of fun with it while growing u at my friends place, while it is quite casual compared to your general fighting game playing it was always fun and great for a group.. its nice to have a few titles that are inclusive and a little less serious then must kill stuff.

America, Y So Bad

And in case you hadn’t heard Americans Hate failure or so says Don Daglow. At the Eu GDC that has just been and gone he had a quite inflammatory panel called “5 Things About American Online Gamers thaat Surprised European developers”, the best overview article I saw about it was over at The Escapist but there are plenty of more around the place. At a first glance hearing it is quite easy to pass this over as some cynical developer that had a terrible game the Western market didn’t like but there are some strong resounding truths to his talk.  Firstly this is just a huge generalisation but it is hard to ignore that the overwhelming majority of gamers would not pic games wherein failure is high. I honestly don’t think it is just Americans either but something that generally encompasses the western markets.

This is plainly obvious in childcare and sometimes I am loath to create another bunch of monsters. The style of parenting and communication we have to use now is rather babying, when someone does something wrong we are supposed to say what to do instead of what not to do and transition  to a different activity… We can never ever use No, as it is now apparently a bad word. The worst though is that we can’t ostracize out children.. I’m not talking dumping kids in a corner or cupboard but that nobody can feel left out which means everyone child regardless of actions must get a reward if you are giving them out. Rewards have to be all encompassing..  everyone is special.

Even in all of our paperwork, child observations and programming we  cannot put down a single negative point about a child’s development or behaviour, it is just working on the positives and letting the negatives fester. This laise fair style of child raising is very prevalent now through schools and parenting and it all ends up making spoilt, demanding brats that lack limitations, empathy and self control. Failure is a good thing, it corrects behaviour and encourages thinking, modeling and problem solving. this model just creates someone with a sense of entitlement, and with everything being handed on a silver platter it is no wonder many can not stand failure, the immediacy of grabbing attention is also important to note but that’s not just a problem for games.

I don’t know though,in the end the publishers are also to blame for often pandering to the lowest common denominator, sure we have our outliers like demon souls, meatboy and such but on the whole it is the easy mode games that get the most players and attention, this is especially true in the mmo scene. TSW is a good example of that as I have read numerous reviews that got scored badly becasue the combat system didn’t have some dummies 101 guide, Deck Building isn’t spelled out for you, the sabotage mission were too hard, and the amount of comments that the Mobs are too hard (looking at you Blue Mountains) are mind boggling, when in reality all it requires you to do is stop and actually think about how and what your doing.

Ok so I’ll leave it at that and with a link of the absolute perfect TSW Review, that spells out the systems well and why TSW is such a joy to play and why challenge = good.. I stopped watching Good Game a while back for some reason but I might have too keep checking up on it.. so Spread da word

Oh and One more video

I cant Hold my ownn child” omg ahahahahahaha

TSW Issue #2

Link for those wanting to see it for themselves on the Secret World News page

It has only been a little over a month since release now and from the looks of it Funcom may just be the powerhouse with updates like trion.. Hopefully. It is quite obvious the release is still working to plan with these scheduled releases and most of the content contained, the new missions we’re being treated with were probably either finished or nearly completed upon release so after a few more months have passed we may see the quality and speed of these issues. But what the hell I succumbed to the lure of the lifetime…Don’t fail me Funcom or I will burn you all to ashes, with words, terrible terrible words.

The one part I am very impressed about is the addition of a barber with Ockam’s Razor and a Plastic surgeon with the Modern Prometheus. This was one of the main critiques thrown around on release by many on the forums and I have to admit with the real world setting the lack of options seems more stifling in character creation then it should. Even I am mildly chuffed at the apparently wide range of options that are incoming.. new heads and DOUBLING the hair options, maybe even some nice long haired options. For them to get this out quickly, even though it probably wasn’t on the top of their to do pile on release says great things about them, listening to the fickle masses shows you listen and care, and can be a great thing… just don’t listen to the whiners, or o.p nerf crowd, or the dungeon crowd, or the pvpérs, or those fluffy Rp peeps… actually forget what I said about listening to us. Also in case you weren’t aware the, or reading the plastic surgeon Dr Anton Aldini will be voiced by Peter Stormare.. yep that guy.. Awesome!

I am also looking forward to seeing the continuation of the story in Kingsmouth, and exploring deeper into it’s dark mysterious path that every character seems to elude to without knowing what it means. I always thought that Henry Hawthorne had a few skeletors (Thank you Edgar for that one) in the closet, not just his own but a deeper understanding of the founding fathers of Kingsmouth. Norse mythology is also going to play a bigg part in the Solomon Islands past and future.. Did you know that the smurfs are from Norse mythology (Thank you Danny) so it all kinda wraps together nicely then
BOOOOOOOOOOM….Rrrrrreeeennnennennnennnnn

who knows now how the auxiliary weapons will fit into our current playstyles and an eight skill mysteriously emerges at the same time.

Also one other post I thought I would plug given the chance, PvP grind Statistics.. thank god for people on the internet with too much time on their hands and nothing important to do getting us the information we didn’t even know we wanted. But by god dam… Seriously.. Makes me glad I am taking my time and haven’t bothered rushing to the end.

Picture Proud

Ok so this is more of a fluff post, but don’t let that put you off because as they say “A picture is worth a thousand words”… or whatever other justification is needed.
I have completed the Scorched sands area now and here is a little round up of Pics.

Also since I have shared my love of all things Tera and that is slowly flittering away, here are some of my screenies displaying my favourite zones

Link Dead Radio

Welcome back for more interwebz browsing and stuff you should probably see, and couldn’t be bothered looking for.. adorable kitties not included

TSW

  • Sketch A Day Tumblr thingy– Great Drawings capturing a lot of the charm TSW has, and there very amusing. I Love all these sooo much…. Seriously look at at.. LOOK AT IT!!!!
  • Error Quest is on my blogroll but if you haven’t checked it out yet Caroline has some great and funny Comics
  • More TSW Comics – These have a rough and weird style but amusing in it’s own way
  • Some short stories by AlexanderTF on the TSW forums, check through the post list for the few he has done already. He is an obvious newbie writer whose writing is very rough not to mention a herd of grammar and spelling mistakes (I’m not a grammar nazi I swear) but they definitely have some potential.. maybe.
  • And there are so many mods available with an entire tab on the forums dedicated to them and they don’t get as much attention as they should. I see a lot of people asking about getting a dungeon finder when there is a decent mod doing it already

Lastly the Devs have once again done another one of those livestream chat session thingies and this one was actually quite interesting, touching on a lot of nice points as well as PvP. Here’s a rundown anyway

  • Build diversity
  • Admitting it is kind of broken in a sense. Where unaware it would even be popular for pvp and weren’t ready for the PvP masses.
  • Importance of Tactics in Fusang
  • Shambala PvP map in reserve… 2 side faction vs faction, was being held back at release becasue of a couple of reasons
  • Pet Classes.. technical challenge
  • Fight Club

GW2

  • FUZZY QUAGAN – I don’t say and/or write this very often but OMG SQUEEEEE

Lastly an adorable comic series called Can I Play GW2, it is a rather old little forum post but if you haven’t seen them yet they are a must read and here’s my favourites

Secret Art of Quest Spamming and Cash Shop

Of course I was going to be busy  during this special Secret World questing bonanza weekend. I had quite a few things to get done as well as meeting friends so I crammed all that into Saturday, to have one amazingly full Sunday.

The goal of course was to complete 30 missions from sunup to sundown which for me is quite the undertaking. I am definitely not the type of person that is used to speed leveling, I usually just float around wherever the mood takes me. I am sure some people had already planned the path of least resistance in terms of quickest missions and best linking between them but that seems like to much work and ultimately would kill the enjoyment of it. I decided to spend most of the day in Kingsmouth as I figured the easier monsters would take less time, plus it would be nice to go back and see that all encompassing fog again.

napping

damn Orochi and their napping guns

Exploratory Adventures

While exploring around in the old zone once again I seemed to come across a lot more of the elite and rare mobs, it was kind of a waste though as I just plowed through them without experiencing their mechanics. I might make more of an effort considering this then to just properly explore a zone after finishing up the missions, see the sights and smell the roses, or so they say. Another thing I came across was some different monster types having a good ole biffo, it was a Smurf (Draug) and one of those hulk like things and it was a very close fight. This fluff stuff really is great to see and adds a special something to the game environment, Jeromai had an earlier article about the believability of mobs detailing how much he adored the lovely life cycle of the Draug, in rift I loved how the different elemental factions would attack each other in rift as it makes the world feel alive. These idle animations and mechanics may seem trivial but these little details enrich the environment and really do flesh out a world. They make it seem more real because why should all the mobs wanting to take a piece out of me be friends, was there a special meeting I missed in those other worlds.

I finished up most of the main mission quests in Kingsmouth once again but it was actually quite enjoyable. Because I wasn’t as concerned with build optimisation and, well dying, I took the time to play around with my build a little more, changing up the actives and passives. I thought after this I must have been close to the 30 and was actually surprised how quickly it went by with being over-leved and skipping past the story and dialogue. I then made my into savage coast to round up questing towards my goal as well as getting the story pieces recorded. I think I have about 3/4 of the zone recorded now, copying it onto the electronic page is going to take forever though. Unfortunately it came to my attention that my mouse shows up in the video ( I know, such a noob), I found one that was really bad but there must be a few hours of footage now, so if you see any bad video or editing let me know. One good thing from all this was that I earnt a lot more sp and ap so I have started working on that hindering build now, and have even invested a few points in the shotty. The elite skill “Demolition, Man” in the advanced assault tree sounds epic for aoe hindering but I have no idea how well it will work. But that’s what’s fun in the end, working stuff out for yourself and being pleased with yourself if it turns out and laughing at your miserable failures.

The Big Quest Bang

I feel this event was a really amazing idea from Funcom, in terms of inviting and establishing new players as well as encouraging the current players to experience old content. With the usual “come try us” weekends there is really not much incentive to immerse further than a starting area or a couple hours, having a goal to work towards is great and don’t get me started on offering freebies. Thirty missions is a great goal for the newbie as it is a fair amount of content from the first zone which should be enough to get people hooked on the main draws of TSW, that is the story and atmosphere.

For those of us who have hung around since release this event was just clever and devious. It would have brought people back to the older content they may skipped past in the race to “end game”, more importantly though it got people into exploring the cash shop. I had only really taken a very small look so far when I was claiming my beginner items, and it was in no way an extensive look. Now that I have a little change too play with I was delving into every category and pouring over the clothes selection. I have a few things I was really thinking over but since I can only really choose one thing it leaves the others on a tempting wishlist. Having an incentive to browse was an extremely cunning ploy as it takes away that little bit bit of stigma people have towards cash shops and made it inviting, it relieves the fog of war as to what’s for sale as well, and who knows maybe people will come back for a look or even check out new items being added.

Liking most of this… And Sold

Everyone loves customisation, it is my main draw towards mmo’s. With a modern day/real world theme the items feel more tangible and grounded to reality, your character can be as much or as little a reflection of yourself. Personally though I wish it had some better options like funky dresses and tops, not the plain, drab, or ugly stuff currently in game (although they have jeans perfect). Maybe they should enlist the help of any female employees for advice or buy some fashion mags (not the gossip tripe), because fashion doesn’t seem like one of their strong points. I would probably spend some money if there was half decent choices, a puppy would be nice though… hmmmm

After all of these wonderful adventures I only got to try one of the new missions brought in with the new patch, I wasn’t going to do any of the sabotage or investigation missions as they might have taken to much time and gosh darn it I wanted my Funcom points. Carter Unleashed was the one normal type mission I came across first and it was nice to see a character evolving and carter embracing her wild side a little more. The basement area is great and creepy with all the practice dolls on meat hooks and coming to life but I have to admit I had an “oh you Funcom” moment. It wouldn’t be funcom without bugs more so in new content it seems, so after opening the door and then running through a doorway I found myself falling into oblivion. Oh well, I got a nice look at the instances structure and then the /reset sent me back on my merry way.

I'm falling, FAAALLING!!

See you Space Cowboy

Secret Biographies, Changin it up

If you frequent my little blog of horrors you are probably aware I have a penchant for the wonderful story and rich environment of the Secret World. My current pet project, or more to say labour of love is detailing all the character dialogue. It is a pretty hefty project and I actually have most of the Kingsmouth characters dialogue already written down ready to be posted, half of the mission videos are also up on my YouTube.

The thing is I have really been thinking about continuing it on my blog lately though, not because I don’t love it or have the time but because it really seems to create a bit of spam on the blog home. I am realistic and understand most people really don’t give a shit, that’s cool and I honestly understand.

But I have an ingenious plan to continue this lost cause and keep my post spam to a minimum. I am going to start a new blog, with black jack, and hookers. I have no technical know how so starting an actual guide like site would be out of the question, it also costs money and I need that for vodka and chips so once again WordPress it is.

So check out Dialoguing the Masses for all your TSW dialogue needs.. and new rss on the side thingy for it

TSW Dev Forum Post – Working on da PvP

We’ll there you go, Funcom have responded to our pvp concerns in a recent post

Hi guys

Let me just start off by saying sorry, but I’m not posting here to give you much details this time. I just wanted to assure you guys that we do read posts here, and we are working on improving the PvP experience. We have gathered a lot of data, looked at how players behave ingame, and of course continuously reading your feedback.

We know that PvP is a core gameplay element for a lot of you guys, and we will do our best to improve on what’s there now. I believe we have a solid foundation for fantastic PvP in our game, but we can always make it better, and we will.

Snow

This is absolutely great to hear as I am usually quite the PvP connoisseur, from the little experience I have had regarding TSW pvp and posts related to it I truly didn’t want to even bother. Trying out such a terrible implementation would have soured my enthusiastic mood for TSW in general, it is also the reason i haven’t really rushed through content either as PvP isn’t much of an option and I am not the sort of person to bash my head against the gear grind wall that is dungeon diving.

I am still a little sceptically of this response though as going by the current implementation of PvP they really aren’t very good at the fundamentals that make decent battleground PvP or larger scale battles. Health and damage ratios are way off, cc levels are amusing but ultimately annoying, badly designed maps (Stonehenge), and most importantly for me is that healing in pvp is atrocious (tanking skills on the other hand). Fusang is a complete mess, it adds to the above points by promoting zerging through limited objectives and rewarding objective trading.

So many companies underestimate the appeal of PvP and the longevity it can bring to an mmo. We are simple folk us PvPérs, build a decent mouse wheel and we will run to eternity. Screw pve content or endless gear grinds, i want to feel the thrill of the chase, the rush when you annihilate the enemy, most importantly though with mmo combat I want to savor these moments not have them so fleeting and far between.

And can we all please agree to keep the whole inflated gear mess out of instanced pvp please. There is absolutely no need, mechanically and in terms of replayability, creating a decent experience is all that is required … seriously it is terrible .. just terrible. There honestly needs to be a developing MMO PvP primer out there somewhere, and no WoW doesn’t count.

Secret Biographies – Helen Bannerman

Solomon Island – Kingsmouth

Sheriff Helen Bannerman

The straight talking sheriff, she know herfolck  well and goes to great lengths to protect them. She loves her town but even she can admit that it hasn’t all been right in Kingsmouth even before the fog rolled in. She isn’t overly bright and doesn’t have amazing detective abilities, she admits as much but she knows this and is comfortable with her role in the matter.

Dialogue

Well. I don’t mind telling you, this makes no damn sense to me. And I hate to be the one drawing a blank on Final Jeopardy.

But right now, folks just need me to look like I’ve got all the answers. the questions, they come later, along with the grieving. Then after a little time, folks’ll lose their hankering for the questions.

Fact is, a few of ém in high places get downright evasive about it. I never do quit it’s a bad habit. I’m just a sheriff after all, not some forensic scientist like on that CSI.

Solomon Island

Thought I had it the worst when the ravens came around, years ago. Was an ugly time for Kingsmouth, not the kind that makes it to the news. The kind we keep inside. Now I see those ravens are all back in town. They with you, or should i be bringing them in for questioning?

If you’re planning on striking out of town, Kingsmouth hospitality dictates I gotta set you right. And I need you to keep this on the down-low but there’s worse out there than our undead problem. Worse than anything that shuffles along on two legs, that’s for sure.

I’m about as pleased as can be that I didn’t catch a better look. Could be the kinda thing that gives a nightmare nightmares. You want to stay in the light, keep out of the trees, out of the fog.

Survivors

We’ve got a few folks left holding out across the island. Well… there was last time I could check, and I’m an optimist. Pays to see the donut not the hole.

Red’s shack at Tolba Bay, the Innsmouth Academy, the Wabanaki Indian grounds – they should still be safe. Could be others like you, that Wolf fella, have set up camp out there. Toasting marshmallows and such. And steer clear of the pumpkin patch, hey? Just a feeling.

Guess you could say I got lucky. Around the time this mess kicked off, I was up at the old lighthouse, checkin’ in on Sam Kreig. Maine’s best-selling export. Oh sure, we do that fancy book-learning’ round these parts too.

Never much cared for horror stories, or the man himself. Wavin’ a rifle around in a dressing-gown, juiced up, heck of a disturbance of the peace. Well, turns out thhat was the last of the peace. “I gotta write this down, Sheriff, this is goddamn manna from heaven,” he says to me when the fog let go. I left him magnuming that opus and high-tailed it back to town.

Tried to bring Ellie frankllin with me, but kingdom coming couldn’t pry her from that mansion. Real monster house in the west island, you can’t miss it. I’d appreciate you letting them know we’re still here, for when they’ve done playing survivalists.

The Secret World

You sure you want to be talkin’ to me about all this stuff? I meann, I’m probably flattered that you think I’m in on it all. Truth is, I’m always the last to be invited to the midnight meetings at Town Hall. Reckon I must be all thumbs when it comes too secret handshakes.

I know this island’s cut from a different cloth, a damn weird cloth. Sure as there’s a difference between being homely and plain stupid. Take it from me, no one round these parts is a dope, not all the time. Everybody knows, or knows someone who knows.

Salem’s got nothin’ on us, we had an episode with torches and pitchforks only.. pff twenty-five years ago now? But my job, I gotta do it wearin’ this police jacket, not a robe and wizards hat.

 

Quest : Supply Run

 

Quest: Horror Show

A Secret Story of Death, Dodging and Bag Heaven

I am making my way across Sunny Egypt, meeting (and killing) my way around the population and finding lost knick knacks. Once again i have fallen in love with the great characters, Zahra and her dialogue beautifully enlightens as to the plight of the people, Shani shows the strength and passion and many really do not like the secret societies. Egypt is old, with a rich history that has existed outside of the secret war for aeons and they really don’t take kindly to us barging in and poking around.

There are some great missions here with plenty of puzzles and stealth. The storyline “Black Sun, Red Sand” has you doing some simple puzzles, one of which being a fun deductive based word puzzle involving jumping around the ruins. I also completed my first investigation mission here “The Big Terrible Picture” which is quite fun and very doable with time. I went well except for the last part with the hieroglyphics as I just couldn’t find the right page to figure out the pictures.

One however frustrated me beyond my barrier of tolerance. I was probably under-leveled to do it but it was a sabotage one so I thought it would be ok. It was “Live free, Die Hard” and my god I hate you know Nassir, with every fiber of my being. I died, I died soo many times. I died from consecutive mine hits, I died from mobs, I died from resing on top of mines and mobs. The most frustrating one was killing the final supervisor after death number 8 (yeh I know… Terribad) with a bit of health and turning around onto another mine. My lounge room turned into a *bleep* fest rageathon. It was probably all my fault with a non optimal spec, gear lvl and I was trying to be oh so clever with pathing the AI into mines and killing myself. I eventually made it along to the base of operations, set-up the charges and run off dying once more at the Marya camp thinking they would kill off the train following. So after ressing up once more >< I watched my hard work as the factories exploded in flames, punched the air and yelled F**k you cultists before moving on.

Yippe Ki-Yay

 

It is times like those where I really wish dodge was working better. Many times I would try to dodge away from a charged attack but still have it hit me and It is often very hard to aim and coordinate the dodge to where you want while fighting. Most times I found it far easier to just keep strafe out of any ground based area attacks instead of using a specialist move like dodge that way I can still mash keys as well. I found myself sometimes trying to dodge past mines too like I would obstacles in GW2 but alas, Big.. Badda…. BOOM! It is hard to understand the usefulness of it when all it offers is a more cumbersome way of moving around, well backflips are fun but other that completely useless. It begs the question why even have a decent sized cooldown besides people using it to roll everywhere, which could have been rather amusing. The cooldown in GW2 has its place since it is pretty much an invulnerability key but that makes it strategic, the dodge in TSW however is neither strategic or useful.

From the TSW Forums

It definitely helps to keep moving in combat — it’s a key part of our combat system, and the reason why all of our attacks allow for movement while casting and executing. When I play, I’m always moving, and we’ll definitely make this even more important going forward.

Ragnar

They claim as to the importance of movement during combat yet one of there main movement abilities is no better (often times worse) than just using wasd. It either needs to have some sort of invulnerability, a larger range or some sort of speed buff after cast added… just something.

One other thing bothering me right now is the fact that out of all the quests I have done in scorched sands and rewards gained, I have neither received a new assault rifle or fist. I found my weapons of choice from mob drops but doesn’t that sound a little odd. I might have been quite unlucky in my choice so far but it seems like a really awful mechanic of getting useless items. Sure I can break them all down but then wouldn’t it be easier and less convoluted to just hand me the materials and maybe a weapon kit now and then. Aaahh common sense can be a wonderful thing… Also where da hell are the weapon kits.

I have soo much cluttering my bags at the moment with all these errant weapons, glyph pieces, crafting materials, consumables etc.. I am a terrible hoarder and keep things on a whim in case I might need them later on which is funny since I’m pretty much the opposite of that in real life. I have a whole bag of consumables I have only used once or twice, kits from every lvl, and because I keep trying to upgrade my materials I have some from every grade so far. What makes it really bad though is that I dislike putting items in the bank. However hoarders rejoice as this is where Funcom have us covered, bags are so easy to use and customize aaaaaand you can upgrade space whenever you like. I am up to 120 spaces now and I’ll probably need more. Take note GW2, scrap that silly overused bag mechanic and join the bag revolution.

I Never Knew the Sith visited Egypt