Thursday, May 31, 2012

Status Update

If anyone has been checking regularly, you will know that I've been pretty quiet for the past couple weeks.  This is due to the fact that I'm a teacher, and this time of year is incredibly busy for me as I wrap up the last of grades, exams, etc. all leading up to graduation.  I thought it would be good to stop in just long enough to give everyone an update and let you all know that I'm still here.

As for MMO activity, I haven't had a ton of time to play, but when I have, I find myself, more often than not, continuing to level my two characters in TERA.  I started with an archer, but I've recently found a lot of enjoyment with a warrior.  Both are around level 40 now, and my first priority this summer with the extra time I'll have will be to get both these characters to 60.  I still maintain that TERA is an amazing game with graphics that continually impress me and combat that is a load of fun. 

Not only that, but I really feel like TERA is making me a better player.  I was feeling a bit nostalgic the other evening and decided I wanted to play WoW some.  I really haven't been playing much WoW since there isn't really anything I'm interested in doing there at the moment.  I am excited about the new x-pac, and I'm sure I'll be back playing hot and heavy once that drops, but for now I have a hard time building up much enthusiasm for it.  Anyway, I decided I would do a LFR run of the first four bosses in Dragon Soul, since I could still use a shoulder upgrade on my warrior.

The first thing I noticed was that the combat was not nearly as inter-active as I had gotten used to in TERA.  Obviously, I didn't have to worry about my target since WoW has targetting.  Also, I noticed that the mobs in WoW don't move very much at all as a general rule.  In TERA, everything moves . . . a lot.  The second thing I noticed was that my rotation was a bit tighter resulting in a DPS increase in general.  I was really surprised at the difference since I felt like I was playing much like I always had, but I think TERA has forced me to play with more focus while keeping up with more things at the same time.  I can remember lots of times playing WoW without actually ever looking at the center of the screen, but now I was able to watch meters and warnings while also keeping an eye on the boss we were fighting.  Overall, I ended up 1st on the damage meters with the next closest over 8k dps lower.  I can only conclude that TERA has helped me to become a better player in general.

I'm sure I'll be posting more frequently once summer comes.  Until then, have fun in whatever game you choose to play.

Monday, May 21, 2012

[TERA] Cultist's Refuge

Upon hitting the upper 30's level, my archer was granted access to the Cultist's Refuge, the 3rd instance dungeon in TERA.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from a place called "the Cultist's Refuge," but what I found was not what I expect.  Again, I was amazed by the scenery that has been produced for this game.  I have simply never seen better rendered environments and NPCs in any other game I've played.

The dungeon started at the entrance portal; no shimmering, little, blue oval here.

Once inside, I was amazed by the buildings themselves and how everything was so clear and precise in the way it was rendered.  Even the lighting and shadows were dynamic, and I simply had to stop and take in the view for a few moments before continuing on into the dungeon.  (Please ignore the stupid orange leopard onsie I'm wearing.  It seems that TERA insists on dressing me like a fruit-loop instead of a warrior.)

That view was pretty impressive, and I was really excited about going into this dungeon; I was hoping the bosses would be as equally impressive as the setting.  I wasn't to be disappointed . . .

This was the first boss we encountered.  A huge monster of some sort wielding two impressive, glowing swords.  During the encounter, he also summoned in a variety of other large, imposing beings at intervals.  All-in-all, this was a good, hard encounter and lots of fun.

This was the second boss encounter.  When we first entered the room, we were met by a seemingly harmless woman, but as we approached, she began to grow substantially until she became the sorceress/witch shown here.  I don't remember her being a particularly hard fight, and we moved through without much of an issue.

The most impressive by far was the last boss of the dungeon, a huge machine of some sort with tentacles ending in dragon heads of all things.  This was definitely an original boss; I don't think I've ever seen anything like this in any game I've ever played.  The novelty of the boss quickly wore off as we started fighting, and we all realized this boss was tougher than any that had come before.  In fact, we lost our tank at one point during the fight, but with some good play and a quick resurrection scroll we were able to complete the fight without a wipe.

I enjoyed this dungeon so much, I ran it twice.  This is a rarity for me in a leveling dungeon, because I usually only want to do them one time through to see them and complete the quests, but i really just didn't feel like I was able to take it all in the first time through.

TERA continues to hold my interest with amazing graphics, fun combat, and well thought-out areas and dungeons.  If you haven't tried TERA because of all the scantily-dressed hoopla, then I truly think you are missing out.  I am trying to put together a post that discusses that subject in more depth, but for now, I highly recommend that folks at least give TERA a chance before writing it off completely.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Diablo III Impressions

Now that I've played Diablo III for a bit, I thought I would put down my initial impressions of the game.  I will start by saying that I haven't experienced any of the frustration that many other folk have experienced.  I played DIII for the first time around 4:00am on Tuesday morning, and it worked well, installing without hesitation and logging me in immediately.  I played some more last night, again with no problems whatsoever.

I decided to create a Demon Hunter for my first character.  I don't really have a good justification for this choice other than that's the one that appealed to me more when I made the decision.


1.  Voice-overs - Ever since SWTOR, I think quests should be voiced rather than simply read.  This adds so much more realism to the game, so I'm glad to see that Blizzard went with full voice-over in this game.  So far, the voices are pretty good and believable for the character being portrayed.

2.  Simplicity - So far everything I've done has been fully explained with tooltip pop-ups, and I've had an easy time with the learning curve.  I'm sure there will be more complexity as the skill progression develops, but this is definitely an easy game to pick up and start playing, even for someone who hasn't spent much time with the Diablo series.

3.  Stays True to its Roots - This game is very reminiscent of DII and even DI.  Obviously Blizzard went with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality as they made this game.  It holds true to what Diablo has always been,  a great dungeon-crawler.  I felt right at home in this game having played extensively in the first two.

4.  Gothic - DIII also stays true to the dark, gothic feel that was established through the first two.  So far, I've not been through much of the game, but I especially enjoyed the set-up of the old cathedral with its decidedly gothic decorations along with corpses and smeared blood.  All-in-all, appropriately chilling.


1.  Not Enough Newness - While Blizzard did stay true to their roots with this game, I'm not sure they've provided enough of a difference from DII for this to be a truly awe-inspiring experience.  It is a solid game so far, but it is so much like DII that it could almost be an expansion of that game.

2.  Graphics - They are good.  Everything runs extremely smoothly, but with the incredibly detailed rendering of other games on the market right now, the graphics presented in this game just don't stack up.  The environments so far have been pretty well portrayed, but the character models, especially monsters have not been very impressive to me thus far.  Maybe when I get to a point later in the game with larger, more intricate monsters I'll feel differently.

3.  Not Enough "WOW" Factor - Don't get me wrong, I think DIII is a solid game, but I simply haven't had that point where I do in most "great" games where I sit back and think, "wow, that was awesome."  The play overall has been more like "meh, not bad."

Overall, I think Blizzard has offered a solid game that stays true to the past games.  So far, nothing extraordinary about the game.  It is fun, but I'm not sure how long I'll stay with it, especially with so many other games out to catch my attention.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A New Day

At 3:30 this morning I decided I just couldn't sleep.  So, I get up and shuffle to my computer to mess around on some game or another until the alarm goes off for work.  I sit there for a few minutes trying to decide what I want to do with my time, and I have already clicked on the icon for TERA when it dawns on me . . . Diablo III drops today!

Now, why wasn't I already thinking about this?  I played both Diablo I and II extensively.  I've always enjoyed Blizzard's products, but for some reason, I'm just not that stoked about DIII.

Maybe it is all the focus on the real-money auction house instead of the game itself.  The AH is a feature I really can't see myself using.  I don't have any illusions about being able to work the AH for profit, and I'm not really interested in spending much of my real money for gear, etc.

Maybe it has just been awhile since I've played any Diablo type game, and I'm not really remembering the fun I had with them.

Maybe I simply have too much on my plate already with WoW and TERA both going strong.

I'm not sure what my reasons are for not being excited about the release of DIII, but I'm still going to try it.  In fact, it's downloading right now.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Working on the Chain

As I've been playing TERA Online, I've found quite a few things that I really like about the game.  As I got my character up over level 20, I found another feature of the game that I think is really neat in a lot of ways.

Somewhere between 20-22, I received a quest to head back to the main city and talk to a trainer there about glyphs.  I was not aware before this point that there were glyphs in this game, but since I've played WoW extensively, I was able to determine what glyphs probably were.  Sure enough, they were glyphs that a player can add to his skills to increase their potency in some way.  After spending about an hour looking at the different glyphs and finally deciding how best to spend my glyph points in assigning them, I settled on a few I felt would be beneficial.

It was as I was assigning glyphs that I started realizing there was another part of using skills that I had not really understood up until this point:  Skill Chains.  I knew that skills could be chained together so that using one activates an on-screen prompt to use the next, but I didn't really realize how this system worked until I was spending time on my skills due to glyphing.  Now, I realized that I could chain all of my skills one to another so that I would have an unbroken chain through a rotation once that rotation was started.  I started setting up these skill chains, and after a couple hours of killing mobs to fine-tune it, I think I'm finally where I want to be (at least until I level to the point where I add another skill or two that I want to work in).  I actually set up two different chains:  a ranged chain and a melee chain.  I use the ranged chain most of the time to start fights and then use the melee chain when the mob starts to close with me to attack.  With these two chains set up, I can pretty much handle any normal fight by only pressing one or both of the two mouse buttons and the spacebar.  I start my ranged chain with the left mouse button and then hit the spacebar for each new skill as it is displayed through the chaining.  When the mob gets close, I hit the right mouse button to initiate my melee chain, and after that, again, I only need press the spacebar to cycle through the different skills.

The page for chaining skills is set up pretty well (as the picture above shows), and it was easy to set up the full rotation through my skill progression.

Some may think that only hitting a few buttons would be boring in the long run, but I haven't really found it so.  For one thing, I have to be constantly diligent of the movement of whatever I'm fighting.  Mobs in this game tend to rush and jump about, and I need to be sure I'm initiating the right chain at the right time.  Also, I have to keep a steady eye on my MP levels.  If my mana drops too low, I have to break the skill chain and start using Rapid Fire or normal attacks to build it back up.  And, there is always the fact that some fights just aren't "normal" fights, so I have to be ready to adjust on the fly.  This has really been the part of combat in TERA that I have loved.  You must pay attention and be ready to adjust on a moment's notice; otherwise, you will quickly find yourself staring at a gray death screen.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

[Elder Scrolls] Newest Info.

Game Informer magazine came out with a lot of basic information about the upcoming Elder Scrolls MMO (I found an easy to read list over at, and after looking over some of the details, there were a few that stood out to me.

The game is fully voice acted

After playing SWTOR and experiencing how questing can be with full voice acting, this excites me.  I really am having a harder and harder time with the "wall o' text" quests in WoW, Rift, TERA, etc.

Visually it looks like other Hero Engine MMOs like SWTOR
The general art style is kind of like RIFT or Everquest 2

These two statements bothered me just a bit; not because of the statements they were making but the fact that this game could so easily be compared to other MMO's already on the market.  This may not be a good thing when the current state of many MMO players is in essence "give me something new!"

You can't be a werewolf or vampire

Well, there goes all the fun I had of living in caves during the day then sneaking into towns and drinking the blood of some unsuspecting, sleeping villager . . . boo!

There most likely won't be dragons

This almost seems like a step backward.  Skyrim had dragons, and they were pretty awesome.  I can remember in Morrowind and Oblivion folks crying out for dragons.  Skyrim gave them to us; now they are taking them back?

Sneaking will be in the game, but how it is implemented is undecided

This could be really good or really bad depending on how it is implemented.  If it is implemented like it is in some of the stealth games out there - Hitman, Thief, etc. - then it could be really good.  If, instead, they implement it like they have stealth for rogues in WoW, it will be pretty much useless except for a couple attacks that gain more power.  I would love to see a fully implemented stealth system with light and shadow being a factor.  I would even love to see alternate ways of doing quests based on stealth instead of fighting, but I really doubt they will put that much into this aspect of the game.

There will be no player housing

Why not??  Seriously, why not?  I really think Bethesda will be giving up on a virtual gold mine by not implementing some type of player housing.  Since Oblivion, this has been one of the big pulls in the Elder Scroll series.  If you've read then you know how I feel about player housing.  My views have not changed . . . I WANT PLAYER HOUSING!!

"It needs to be comfortable for people who are coming in from a typical massively multiplayer game that has the same control mechanisms, but it also has to appeal to Skyrim players."

Refer back to my second point above.  It seems from some of these comments that the core of the ES-MMO is going to be much like the core of a lot of other MMO's, nothing revolutionary.  I'm not sure how well this will fly in the current market; back in 2007 when the project was started, it would have been a good way to go about it, but not now.

-There are three player factions:
--Ebonheart Pact: The Nords, Dunmer, and Argoninans
--Aldmeri Dominion: Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajit
--Daggerfall Covenant: Bretons, Redguard, and Orcs

I've thought quite a bit about how MMO's have this tendency to split players into factions based on race.  I don't really understand it.  This is certainly not how the "real" world works.  In fact, I think it would be very hard to find any one complete race where all its members would fall into a single "faction" of any sort.  Why don't MMO developers simply allow players to begin the game without a faction and then to join a faction as they progress?  Why do I have to play an Altmer, Bosmer, or Khajit to be in the Aldmeri Dominion?  Why can't my Redguard decide to be a mercenary who is working for the Aldmeri Dominion because they simply pay better than any other faction?  This I think would be a great way to handle factions.

you don't necessarily pick up a quest to do the following, but if you kill all the necromancers in an undead barrow, a shade you free at the end will reward you.
-However, to help you find these events, various NPCs you talk to will tell you where they are happening and put a marker pointing them on your map, which is obviously totally different than receiving a quest.

I really hope the last statement here was sarcasm; I can't really tell with the short blurb that was included, but this sounds almost exactly like a quest; tell me about what needs doing and point to it on my map.  Now, the fact that I can simply stumble upon these "events" (I guess that's what we can call them since they are certainly NOT quests) is a bit different than what I've seen, so that may be a new wrinkle to this game.

The game uses MMORPG genre standards such as classes, experience points, and other traditional MMORPG progression mechanics, but they try to present it "around the core fantasy presented by traditional Elder Scrolls games" such as traveling around and righting wrongs or seeking riches

Righting wrongs and seeking riches!  Finally, an MMO that lets me do that . . . oh, wait.  Isn't this the goal of, like, all of them?  So, in other words, this statement could read: "The game does everything else the other MMORPG games do in pretty much the same way, but we do it differently by giving you the same goals as the other MMORPG games."

There was a lot more to the list, and you are welcome to read it all for yourself, but a lot of it was about PvP which simply doesn't interest me much at all; however, I understand that it is supposed to resemble PvP in DAoC.  From everything I've read (I've never played that one), this is a good thing.  So, if PvP is your game, then you will probably find something to like about the ES-MMO.

As for me, I'm a bit less excited now.  I have really enjoyed the Elder Scrolls games in the past, and I'm sure I'll give this one a go when it finally releases, but overall, it is really not sounding like much of an Elder Scrolls game at all.  In fact, it is sounding much more like another, dare I say it, WoW-clone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[TERA] Bastion of Lok - My 1st Dungeon

As predicted yesterday, I was able to run my first dungeon in TERA last night.  Actually, I ran it twice, once with a full group at level and again with a mid-30's level warrior who blew through just to finish quests and get loot drops.  Though a bit hectic, I did enjoy the runs through.  It was very interesting to see the differences in running instances in TERA and other games I've played, and it was educational to see how I would have to play my Archer differently with a group compared to solo.

First, a little about the dungeon itself.  The instance is called the Bastion of Lok, and it is a large cave complex where the Devas, a demon race from what I can ascertain, are gathered in an attempt to resurrect their dead god/lord, Lok.  As you enter the dungeon, you are met with a short cut-scene that explains that the inner sanctum of the cave is protected by a door shielded by an elemental.  Thus, your first goal is to kill the elemental boss.

After a mixture of trash pulls, we came to the first boss who constructs in the middle of the room.  This is an impressive dungeon boss.  He is big, and he has a lot of spinning and glowing parts that just add to this sense of awe.  We defeated him easily, opening the door to the inner sanctum.

After several more trash pulls, completing quests along the way, we came to the last boss, which, after fighting for a bit, turned out to be a dual boss encounter.  It started by killing a large monster called a "Blooded Vulcan," and as it got close to death, the leader of the Devas comes to "take care of the issue himself."  This fight, while a bit more complex than the first, was still pretty easy from my point of view.  Granted I'm playing a ranged dps class, so I may have missed some of the intricacies that only the tank or perhaps melee would have seen.

After finishing the first run, the one with the full party of five at the appropriate level, I sat back to reflect on the experience.

My Reflections

I decided first that I enjoyed the overall dungeon experience in TERA.  While there were some real differences between it and the dungeon experience in WoW, there were enough similarities that I didn't feel uncomfortable with stepping in for the first time.  I thought that both bosses were large and imposing, and I like those qualities in dungeon bosses; I want to feel like I'm killing the big baddies.  The trash pulls were pretty chaotic to begin.  I'm so ingrained in the culture created over the years in WoW where focus firing is of utmost importance that it took me a bit to adjust to simply attacking.  I still tried to stay on one target at a time, but with the amount of movement involved for most of the mobs, I can honestly say that it was hard to do consistently.

I was not overly impressed with the visuals throughout the dungeon.  With the beautiful and varied landscapes presented in the "outside" world, I was really expecting something special in the first dungeon a player encounters.  However, the constant cave walls with scant decorations were not exactly impressive.  The room with the final boss was a bit better with an elaborate throne area along one wall, but that wasn't really enough to redeem the dungeon as a whole.

Moving around constantly during boss fights was interesting.  I've played a hunter in WoW, and I can remember a lot of fights where I could simply stand in one spot and hit the same 2-3 buttons in rotation.  This was not the case with either of the bosses in BoL.  Both bosses moved frequently and violently, jumping and/or charging toward and away from players.  This required constant diligence on my part to stay in range and to stay away from the damage dealing abilities.  I really liked this dynamic during the fights.

I can't wait to try the next dungeon.  I hope the visuals are more appealing.  And, of course, I always like the loot drops from dungeon bosses.  During my two runs, I was able to get a blue quality bow and gloves which really added to my current gear set.

Monday, May 7, 2012

TERA - Initial Impressions

Over the weekend, I found myself browsing around in our local video game store while my son was picking out an XBox game to buy with a gift card he'd been given as a gift.  As I was looking around, I saw several posters, advertisements, etc. about TERA Online.  Now, I have read some stuff about TERA, so I wasn't completely clueless about the game, but up until I saw it in the shop, I hadn't really considered it as an option for me.

So, call it an impulse buy, general boredom, or what-have-you, I decided to take the plunge and buy TERA to try it out.  I figured with the 30-days of play that came with the purchase of the game, I was only out the $40 for the box if it was totally horrible and I never played again.

Installation went easily enough, and after an hour or so of installing, patching, setting up an account, etc. I was creating my first character.  I played through the weekend, and now I have a level 21 Archer waiting for me when I get home this evening.  From my two full days of play (minus Saturday evening when I was raiding DS on WoW), I took away some positives and negatives about TERA.


1.  Graphics - This game looks AMAZING!!  I really love the art, and everything is rendered to a wonderful degree.  I literally found myself just sitting and looking at a panoramic vista from the top of a hill several times.  The visuals do have the "dream" quality I've come to expect from asian anime type art, but I've always liked that style, so I'm really finding it appealing.  The first Pegasus ride I took from the starter island over to the mainland was especially nice as I got to enjoy the scenery while flying.

2.  Combat - I had read a little about the combat in TERA and how it was "live action."  I didn't really know what that meant until I started playing.  From the very beginning, the combat feels good.  I enjoyed the fact that I had to keep moving so I wouldn't get hit, and I enjoyed having to make sure several enemies were lined up together to use certain AoE type attacks.  I'm playing an Archer, and so far, I'm really enjoying the combination of long-range and short-range fighting techniques used in tandem.  I don't think the combat is vastly different than other MMO's I've played; you still have to press buttons that go on cool-down in a rotation, but the fact that there is no auto-attack and no lock-targeting make you think a bit more about what it is you are doing.  Even regular trash fights while questing have a bit of an "epic" feel to them.

3.  Crafting - So far, I've not done a ton of crafting; I think my highest skill is somewhere around 60 right now, but the way in which the crafting is done is pretty good.  It is simple to understand, and everyone can do everything, no picking only certain crafts to pursue.  However, so far, I've not started training all of them because they are quite expensive in both materials that must be farmed and in coins to buy the reagents that are needed to complete any pattern.  At the same time, it is also complex enough, with pieces coming from several different sources, that it was enjoyable.

4.  Leveling - I feel like the speed for leveling is pretty good so far.  I didn't fly through the first 10 levels like I do in WoW, but at the same time, I didn't feel like there was ever a time when the leveling was dragging.  I found that I remained in a questing area or hub about as long as I would expect, and in each one, the quests ramped up in difficulty as I played.  All of this felt right to me, and thus the leveling experience as a whole, at least through the first 20 levels, has been very smooth.


1.  Character Models - As anyone who keeps up with MMO's knows, there has been quite a stir across the internet about some of the character models used in TERA.  Accusations have ranged from "cheap and tawdry" all the way to "pedophilia," and I would agree that the character models are a bit over the top.  As I was starting the game and trying to make my first character, I went through all of the races and classes to see what was offered.  As I was going through, I literally laughed at several of the character models just because of the ridiculousness of them.  For instance:

This is the High Elf Sorceress model.  Obviously, there is an emphasis on showing skin here with cleavage all the way to the belly-button and a slit in the skirt up to her hip.  While I'm not necessarily offended by this, I certainly don't prefer it in my video games.   A second example (and this one really made me laugh):

This is the Castanic Archer.  As I scrolled through the different races and classes, I already had an idea I wanted to play an Archer to begin, so I was looking at this class especially.  I had already been thinking that the armor was wholly inappropriate for any actual combat, but when I saw this guy in his purple leopard print onesie I knew this was the character for me!  I mean if I'm trying to hide in the woods and underbrush and fire my bow from safety, I'm sure purple leopard would be the perfect camoflague.  I had to show this one to my wife because I simply couldn't believe it was for real.

Ultimately, the character models are not what I would choose; however, I noticed that once I got into the game I really didn't even pay attention to that anymore.  So, while this is a negative, it is not one that will make me quit playing.

2.  Chat - I really thought I had seen the worst of in-game chat while playing WoW, but I was soooo wrong.  The chat channel in the newbie area alone is full of cursing, arguing, trolling, and every other type of unsavory communication imaginable.  It did get a little better after moving to the main continent, but even there, I started wondering how anyone was getting any playing done with all of the inane comments.  The up-side of this is my conviction that with the number of total ass-hats on the chat in TERA, Barrens is finally safe!

**As a side-note, because there is a "newbie" island where everyone starts and levels for the first 11 levels, gold-spammers are essentially non-existent after you leave the starter area.  They don't seem to want to spend the time leveling for 11 levels just to be banned shortly after hitting the mainland.  Whether this was intended or not by the developers, it is a pretty nice set-up.

3.  Quests - I had read before playing TERA that the quests were pretty generic with no good story-line through them.  I would agree with this; however, I'm not sure it is any worse than other MMO's I've played.  I've never been one to pore over quest texts, and the same holds true here.  There is a story that goes through the quests I've been through thus far - it seems that they are all leading up to the first dungeon, Bastion of Lok, that becomes available at level 20.  There are still the pre-requisite "FED-EX" quests, the "kill 10" quests, and the "go talk to that guy" quests that all MMO's seem to have in spades.  There have also been a couple escort type quests which have been especially annoying because invariably the npc being escorted walks like an old woman with two bad hips.  I've never seen an npc moving so slowly!


Overall, I would say my experience with TERA has been positive.  Positive enough to continue playing after the first 30 days?  I'm not sure yet.  I am really looking forward to trying my first dungeon now that I'm level 21.  Last night, I saw that I had the required gear score to enter the dungeon, but by then I was out of time for the evening.  I hope to find a good group to run it this evening though grouping can be a bit of a chore it seems since there is essentially only one tanking class, the Lancer.

If you have played TERA, what are you impressions?  Do you think it is worth a subscription?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Elder Scrolls . . . MMO?

So, it seems the big news for many fans of RPG video games is the official announcement of an Elder Scrolls MMO.  So far the reactions I've read have been mixed between those who love the universe and MMO's and want to see the two joined together and those who love Elder Scrolls but think any game in MMO form ruins it.  I am firmly in the first camp.  I have played through large sections of three of the Elder Scrolls games:

My first experience with the Elder Scrolls universe, and I absolutely loved it!  Sure, there were too many cliff racers and the graphics were a bit blocky (though awesome for when it was released), but I absolutely loved the open world and all of the options.

After playing many hours in Morrowind, I bought Oblivion immediately when it hit the shelves, and I enjoyed it as well.  Now, player housing had been added and the graphics were much better, but the story and gameplay were just not quite as intriguing as Morrowind.  Still it was a great game, and I really enjoyed it (I mean, I could become a vampire!  How could I not enjoy it?)

And of course, the latest installment, Skyrim.  Again, I purchased this one as soon as I was able . . . in this case a pre-release purchase through Steam, and as soon as I could I started playing.  Skyrim really brought together the good from each of the titles that came before it, and I thought (and continue to think) that it was a great game.

Now, I find out that Bethesda is not only thinking of releasing an Elder Scrolls MMO, but that it is already in the works . . . I love it!

I've read some complaints about how there is no way that an MMO can capture the same remarkable single-person experience that has been the hallmark of the Elder Scrolls series; however, I remember thinking the same thing before World of Warcraft first came out.  After having played all of the Warcraft games before it, I couldn't imagine an MMO that would work in that universe, but work it has.  So, I will definitely hold judgement this time on what is possible until I've read more about this project.

But, for now . . . Status: Hopefully Optimistic

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Children's Week

As anyone who plays WoW should know, Children's Week is back up and running.  This is one of the annual week-long events that take place throughout the year, but this one is not intended to celebrate a major holiday.  Instead, this one seems to be more of a "feel good" event . . . with MINI-PETS!!

I have to admit . . . I'm a WoW mini-pet collector.  I love the little varmints, and I have been actively collecting them ever since the change that allowed me to have multitudes of them without taking up my precious bag/bank spaces.  So, with my addiction in full gear last night, I started the arduous process of finishing the Children's Week "fed-ex" quests so I could finally get the last two pets I had been missing from this event.

I was actually a bit intrigued by the "vanilla" quest line, since I recently switched my main character from Horde to Alliance.  I had never done the Children's Week quests (or any of the annual events) with an Alliance toon, and I actually got to see some stuff that I had not seen in the game before last night.

First, Westfall has changed.  Yes, I know many of the old areas changed with Cataclysm, but I wasn't really prepared for all the new buildings and fortifications around Sentinel Hill.  Back when the level cap was only 60, I remember spending many hours in and around Sentinel Hill looking for the always elusive "VC run".  Now, that fledgling waypoint has become almost a full-blown town.

Second, I never knew that a path to Old Ironforge had been opened below the throne room in Ironforge.  It was a neat experience to go down into the bowels of the city to find a diamond statue of Bronzebeard.  I've always been a sucker for hidden areas in games, books, movies, etc. and while I know this area is accessible to any Alliance character, it felt like I was finding a secret area.

Unfortunately, the Shattrath City quests were the same as I remembered from doing them in previous years, but they didn't seem to take me too long to complete (except trying to find a good way into Exodar . . . man, that place is remote), and before long I had the two pets I needed to complete the "Children's Week Collection" and bring my personal collection up to 173 pets.

Without further ado:

Whiskers the Rat!


Legs the, um, Swampwalker thingie??

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Blogger's Initiative

FINALLY!!  I started this blog several years ago, but only posted a couple times, then recently I gave it another go with the focus on MMO games.  Unfortunately, I didn't know how to get folks to come over and read what I wrote, and I can only read my own stuff so many times.  So, long story short, my blog was again dying.  In fact, this is my first post since back in February.

Now, I read from Syp over at Bio Break (a regular read of mine) about the New Blogger Initiative!  This is exactly the thing I had been looking for to possibly get my name on the map.  So, a big thanks to those who are supporting this idea with a special call-out in my mind to the West Karana blog.  Tipa, if you read this, I want you to know that you are the reason I started reading gaming blogs and the reason that I started playing Wizards101 for a time.  So, thanks for all the blog posts and the inspiration.  (Fan-boy moment over!)

Hopefully, the stuff I write here will be high enough in quality and content that people will continue to read it.  Here's hoping for the best!

P.S.  - If you have the time, check out some of the older posts I've written with the link below.