Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Player Housing

I want player housing! I want it in SW:ToR, and horror of horrors, I want it in WoW. I know that many consider this no more than "waste of time fluff," but honestly, why else do I play games except to waste time. I want to be able to create my own domain and set it up the way I want. I want to have to collect items for my home from drops, or I want to be able to craft those items through a laborious yet rewarding crafting system . . . or both. I want to be able to place stuff in my home where I want it and make the place uniquely mine. I want housing!
I have always wondered why this isn't a priority for WoW and now also for SW:ToR, but I guess when you have over a million players (many more in WoW's case) without it, do you really need to fix what doesn't seem to be broken? But, I love housing.
I've played a few games with player housing, and every time, I find myself spending a lot of my in-game time on decorating and redecorating my home, not to mention the time I spend acquiring the items I use in this decoration. One game I've played with pretty decent player housing is Wizard101. This is very much a "kid-centered" game. At best, I can say that the combat is "cute;" the characters are "fun," and even the housing is not the end-all of how housing should be. However, even here, I have spent hours setting up my house to my liking.
Of course I had to choose the "Death" house as the perfect abode for my Necromancer, and I have worked hard to acquire all the requisite skulls, tombstones, and skeletons to make it appropriately "death-y." It is amazing how often I have repeated content, something that I'm not usually very keen on, simply to get a purely cosmetic drop for my home. Having a house motivated me to play this game long beyond the point when I would have quit otherwise. Even now, when I no longer have an active account and have no desire to reopen one, I still pop in occasionally to check out my house and bask in my decorating abilities.
Of course, anyone who has played Skyrim has had some experience with player housing as well. Yes, I'm aware that one can't really place items as he would want within the house since leaving and returning or logging out and back into the game must produce a high level seismic activity with the fault-line directly under my home, thus depositing all of my well-placed items into a heap of so much rubbish in the middle of the floor; however, I still enjoy having a place to call my own.
In fact, I've gone so far as to buy a couple different homes in Skyrim, and I use them both. I spend so much time moving things around, storing them in containers within my home, and organizing to my heart's content. I'm not even very picky about how player housing is implemented . . . as long as I can have a place to call my own and I can decorate it as I would like, then . . . then, I'll be happy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rift Trial

Now that Rift has gone Free-to-Try for the first 20 levels, I thought that I would give it a shot. I've read a lot about it, and while I know that it has been heralded as "the best of the WoW clones," I wanted to see for myself exactly what it was all about.
So, after the hour it took to download and patch the game (which was quite a bit shorter than the time it has taken to do the same with WoW and SW:ToR in the past), I started creating my first character.
For some reason, I felt like going with a female character. I am male, and I almost always play male characters in any game, but for some reason, the male models just didn't appeal to me at all, so I went with a female instead. I did like the fact that there were more customization options than in WoW. I like for my characters to look the way I want them to, and Rift seems to provide more of that than WoW.
After getting my character created and entering into the game, I took a few minutes to adjust the graphics to the Ultra setting and set up a few key-bindings. All of this was easy to find and adjust, though there were several menu options that I just wasn't sure what they were for; hopefully, I will find that out as I keep playing. I was immediately hit by how similar the play was to WoW. As soon as my character was "created" (or reborn as the story goes), I was staring at a quest giver with a bright icon over his head to tell me he was there.
I sometimes miss the days when you actually had to talk to all the NPC's in a room to find any available quests, but I understand the attraction to a more stream-lined game play. I do have to say that the icon used to denote quest givers is much more visible than in SW:ToR . . . in fact, I almost missed a quest in Hoth yesterday because the little yellow triangle didn't show up well against the plain white background.
Upon accepting my first quest (and several more after that), I realized how much I have been enjoying the dialogue-laden quest givers in SW:ToR, and how much I did NOT miss the "read this short blurb and try to figure out what you are doing" approach of WoW and now apparently, Rift.
Simply stated, this is not nearly as fun or immersive as being able to dialogue with the NPC's. I even made the comment to my wife that SW:ToR may have spoiled me as far as the way I believe games should go about presenting quests.
The next thing I noticed as I started into the game was the armor I began to pick up from drops and quest rewards. Being a female character, I was expecting to have some armor that was a bit more revealing than I was used to on a male character, that's just the way these fantasy worlds work; however, even as a male, I was a bit appalled when I equipped a pair of "pants" that dropped for me only to find that they were basicly panties. I forgot to take a screen shot of the actual panties my character was wearing, but this sampling of outfits from should give some idea:
I was honestly thinking to myself, "I hope my wife doesn't look at the screen; that would be embarrassing." I mean, I'm sure some 12 year old boys might find that appealing, but as a middle-aged man, it just made me uncomfortable for my character (male or female) to be dressed in such a manner.
Moving on from the armor, I completed a few quests and leveled up a few times. I have to say that I do like the soul-tree format. The skills that are "turned on" in the roots of the tree are a neat idea, and while I generally like doing research and finding out the "best" spec for my desired play-style, the fact that the game suggested what talents I should take based on my preference of style was pretty helpful, since I didn't want to take the time to do a lot of research for a game I'm only test-driving.
All in all, I would say my first experience with Rift was a mediocre one. It feels very much like WoW reskinned, and while there are some neat little differences, for the most part I don't see myself paying for another subscription game when I can just play WoW and get the same experience. I haven't faced any actual rifts or run any dungeons, etc. so I am holding out on a final judgment until I've seen some of that content, since the rifts, in particular, are really the "selling point" for the game, but for now, I'm not all that impressed.