PLAY SWTOR FOR FREEThere are always a lot of things you could potentially ride in video games. Star Wars: The Old Republic is no exception. There are lots of different speeder styles. There are tauntauns. There are various animals on specific planets. There are really big player characters if you’re a smaller sort. So the developers have turned to the forums with a simple question: what do you want to ride around on?

The point of the thread is not to serve as a preview of what mounts will be added to the game, but to offer suggestions about what players would like to see. Obviously, the suggestions should be limited to the creatures and vehicles actually present in the game. So jump on into the thread if you have something new and exciting that you just can’t wait to ride around the game.


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PLAY STAR TREK ONLINE FOR FREEIf you’ve spent any time with Star Trek Online fans, then you’ll know that there’s a widespread appreciation for the game’s deep and consistent storytelling. This is almost single-handedly thanks to Christine “Kestrel” Thompson, who has been the head writer for the title for seven years.

Sadly, Thompson announced last Friday that she was leaving her position and Cryptic Studios: “After eight years at Cryptic and almost seven years as the writer of Star Trek Online, it’s time to turn over my tricorder and move on to other worlds and new stories. It has been an honor and a privilege to write for a universe this deep and amazing and to be a part of the STO community. Thank you so much for the chance to be a part of your universe.”

Thompson did not say where she’s headed but did promise that she’d continue to play the game.


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You Tell Me: Is Elder Scrolls Online Must-Play, Should-Play, or Pass?

Simply put, I disliked the UI, I didn’t like the feel of the combat, and the experience seemed disconnected from other players. It was the worst first impression of an MMORPG that I had since Age of Wushu, and that’s really saying something. It turns out that a lot of others players had the same initial reaction to ESO.

For context, I didn’t play Skyrim or any of the Elder Scrolls games, so I have neither an attachment nor an opinion on the IP.

Over the past 2 years I have been extremely selective about which games I play, because:

I’ve been disappointed with a lot of the games in MMORPG space since 2008
My free time is limited – my job as a digital product manager has kept me busy in RL
I tend to stick with games I enjoy and find challenging. Over the past year the game that has kept me most entertained has been World of Tanks (WoT), because it is a high skill-cap PVP game, and Guild Wars 2 (GW2)
I don’t want to waste my time on games that I don’t think are going to stick, for me or the community. I’ve found that it’s useless to be the last person on the island (e.g. with WAR), when most of your guildees and friends have moved on. Therefore, I have passed on a lot of recent games, e.g. PlanetSide 2, Defiance, Neverwinter, Final Fantasy XIV, etc.

I played WildStar Beta a bit, leveling a Medic, Warrior, and Stalker to about level 6-7, to get a feel for the basic game and combat mechanics, and I had a solid impression of that game. So based on my (limited) Beta experiences, my plan has been to pass on ESO and play WildStar.

There was a recent post on Massively that made me wonder whether that plan makes sense:

As I have found playing both ESO and Wildstar up to level 12 now:

Wildstar is animation-savvy and artistically appealing, so the game makes a strong first impression… then, for people like me, the shine wears off within hours and the actual gameplay becomes a chore. With ESO, its struggle to both maintain and diverge from an Elder Scrolls formula, along with its animations (and the awful tutorial zone) makes a very weak impression out of the gate, but once you get to the main game world, you discover 50 new interesting things every hour and they never stop coming, and the world starts to feel alive and even bountiful

Wildstar delivers a great first impression but falters. ESO stumbles first and excels second.

I keep hearing on social media that Cyrodil RVR/PVP is fantastic, and the build customization for characters is really high. So you tell me, is ESO a must-play game, should-play, or a game I should pass on, given what you know about my preferences: love PVP, PVE is fun only if it’s meaningfully challenging.

P.S. When I took a break from WoT in November, my WN8 rating for my last 1000 battles was at 2349 – literally 1 point under the “Unicum” threshold, which represents the cream of the crop statistically.

Over the past 2 months I’ve been averaging a WN8 rating of 2600+, and my account WN8 rating is closing in on 2000. It’s satisfying to know I can play at a Unicum level without ever having used premium ammo (aka gold ammo).

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WildStar PVP Video: Esper “Melee Mage” in PVP Drop 2

In this video, I provide an update to my “Melee Mage” Esper PVP build for the PVP Drop 2 patch. I’m glad to report that the build is performing well :)

I discuss the patch changes, adjustments to my build, Esper lifesteal mechanics, and last but not least the *fantastic* news from MuffinMan about proposed changes to the PVP gear system:

Gear Gaps:

The gear gaps are being closed. The intent is to make it so skilled players in blues will still be competitive with players in Tier 2 sets (1800’s). We will be making following changes:

The PvP blue set will be boosted to the current Tier 1 set
The Tier 2 set will remain the same
The Tier 1 set will be boosted to bridge the gap between blues and Tier 2.
This change is targeted to be pushed out in the next few weeks.
Making Tier 2 Gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds:

I would also like to make Tier 2 pvp gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds. This is another change that will require approval and again, I will provide updates when I am able.

Carbine’s proposed changes are almost identical to what I recommended in my recent blog post about the endgame PVP system.

I am so psyched that they are going with a solution that makes PVP more skill-based, and still supports gear progression for those who want it.

MuffinMan also said that healing will get increased:

Healing in PvP:

Adjustments are being made internally to increase the effectiveness of healing in PvP. This change will need a balance pass and testing so I can’t provide an ETA at this time.

While I agree with Carbine that healing was too strong pre-Drop 2 – combat sometimes boiled down to no one dying until healers went OOM – it was overnerfed in Drop 2, so it make sense that healing will be re-adjusted.

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Explore Your Private Corner Of The Trove World With New Cornerstones Feature

Exploring the near limitless world of Trove can be an exhausting task but if your feet have grown tired and your sword arm weary, what better way kick back and relax than having your own little personal corner of Trove with the new Cornerstones update? The team at Trion Worlds today published a new developer blog post highlighting the many exciting elements of the Cornerstones update, introducing the first truly customizable environment areas of Trove.

Your own personal Cornerstone awaits as a 16×16 home base that can be placed on any unclaimed pot of land shown via yellow signposts surrounded by dark patches of land. Once you’ve selected your Cornerstone plot you’ll be treated to a cozy starter home kit including all the basics needed to have a safe corner of Trove to relax. Initially players will be treated to a Class Changer device, Rejuvenation Station and Adventurer’s Crafting Bench, allowing players to switch classes, refill flasks and construct powerful tools.

If you grow tired of your chosen location you’re free to move your Cornerstone at any time with the E key. Simply move your blocky abode to a new area and claim a new Cornerstone before placing your block-like construction in its new home. The Cornerstones also act as a new spawn point should you find yourself at the wrong end of a bloody battle.


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LEGO: Minifigures Online Begins Anew

Funcom today announced the highly anticipated release of LEGO: Minifigures Online on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and select Android devices under the new revenue buy-to-play revenue model following the lackluster response to the subscription-based approach the first time round. Fully supporting cross-platform play Funcom’s LEGO: Minifigures Online gives players the opportunity to share their passion of LEGO with thousands of players from all corners of the globe.

Those that had already sampled the wonders of LEGO: Minifigures Online with the initial PC release can expect an exciting bevy of new features and gameplay additions including new events, improved cinematics, higher quality voice acting and a more immersive story experience.

Accompanying the announcement is a brand new launch trailer highlighting the cross-platform elements of the game alongside the more popular additions and improvements.


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D&D Night: Entrance to the Tomb of the Ghast Queen

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I’m the newest DM attempting to fumble her players through an adventure. I’ve never DM’d before, and I’ve always wanted to. I decided to go with an already-created adventure (I’m not quite ready for campaign level stuff yet) and so I searched around online until I found The Tomb of the Ghast Queen. This post does include spoilers to the adventure, so if this is something you’re currently playing or want to play in the future you may want to skip on by.

Our first session was spent creating characters. Right now our group is only two plus myself as DM. Not a huge problem, I decided to play an NPC alongside, I’m pretty flexible and I believe that the rules are more of a guideline than absolutes. Myndi, the halfling rogue, and Borrik, the dwarf warlock, soon emerged. It was time to adventure in the second session.

The story began easily enough. Borrik was known as the chef aboard a ship of pirates. The captain, crew, and his pet goldfish were all brutally murdered. He was spared, but heartbroken about his beloved pet. He decided to make a pact with an entity who gave him magical abilities in exchange for his loyalty. The entity also revived his goldfish in the form of a clockwork goldfish, which Borrik carries around with him in a small glass orb attached to his belt. He’s often seen talking to his little companion, and when his ship finally docked, dead crew aboard still, he disembarked into a sea of people that were in some sort of altercation on the docks. Guards were everywhere, and he had no idea what was going on. He got swept up in the incident, and taken away to jail for treason.

Myndi on the other hand, grew up in the town that Borrik landed at. The land is ruled by the Ghast Queen, formerly known as Queen Esmerelda the III, she gave up her life to rule in immortality, and that’s where things went wrong. She rules over the land with an iron fist, and her guards seek out people to enslave to work in her mines on a daily basis. Myndi happened to be a guild merchant, and a very good one. She always knew which masonry items were worth a lot of money and which were useless. She made her living by buying and selling these items to other people. Sometimes shady people. She made one of the guards that day angry by quoting him a price he didn’t like, and so she was one of the 20 people or so hauled away to work in the mines.

5 years pass, and our potential heroes have been working as slaves in the mine ever since. Stripped of their belongings, they keep mostly to themselves. Borrik notices the blue eyed halfling on a number of occasions, but she’s always looking at the ground and staying out of trouble, which is almost unheard of for her race. One day the guards round up 20 of the slaves and chain them together, leading them outdoors. They make their way out of the mines and up the side of a nearby mountain, then take an elevator shaft down into the dark once more. Everyone is rounded up in a single room, and the guards read from a parchment about a game called ‘The Gauntlet’. The rules are simple. The team that brings together all 4 Hand of the Lich gems, hidden within the tomb, will be granted freedom. The 20 slaves gasp – and as the guards continue reading, they slowly one by one drop off into unconsciousness.

Borrik and Myndi wake up and realize that they’ve been paired into a team. They’re supplied with a backpack, a handful of their personal belongings from when they were arrested, and not much else. Myndi is impatient and wants to begin hunting for the gems right away. Borrik has other ideas, and wonders if the pool of water in the room they woke up in is acid. He decides to take one of the old rusty tools that are laying around scattered on the ground and tosses it into the water, which does absolutely nothing. Myndi thinks Borrik is a bit odd, but imagines it’s not unusual for people in their particular situation.

They continue South even though entrances lead north, east, and west as well as south, and soon notice an archway on the right hand side. Borrik tries to peer around the corner but he doesn’t see anything except a rather large room, a statue on one side, and 5 treasure chests in the middle. He tosses a torch into the room about two feet, and a small click is heard. As he approaches the torch, the floor gives away, but at the last second he is able to jump backwards and avoid falling into a pit. He and Myndi creep along the side of the pit, and he directs Myndi to the statue, indicating that she should examine it while he checks out the chests. Throughout the room he can hear the other slaves exploring, and occasionally a scream breaks out. Myndi notices the statue has a black gem in its outstretched hand, and as she reaches forward a stream of acid hits her directly in the face. She crumple to the ground, her body wracked with spasms. Borrik is a quick thinker and pulls out her healing potion that each slave was given before they began. After a short rest, she is feeling much better. She apologizes, and explains that her skills of finesse must be rusty after so much time in the mine.

Borrik and Myndi walk back to the chests in the center of the room, ignoring the statue. They each select a chest and try to open the lid at the same time. Neither one succeeds, and they realize the chests are locked but not before they fling themselves backwards and into each other, sending one another sprawling. Myndi attempts to disarm them and unlock them with her thieves tools, but she has little luck. Borrik decides he should just wail on one with his club which does absolutely nothing. They spend a few hours working the locks on the chests, and eventually (through sheer luck) manage to open two of them. One contains 1,000 silver and 50 gold, and the other has 3200 copper. Myndi starts to get impatient that they haven’t found a single Hand of the Lich gem yet, and the two agree that it’s high past time they go on their way. They choose to leave through the north east arch, but before they do, Borrik senses something is off about a nearby pillar, and he disables a sleeping spell. Myndi is impressed, and together they leave through the arch. As they do, a heavy scimitar blade comes swinging down, striking each of them across the arm and upper chest. Their wounds bleed quite a bit but don’t seem too deep. They collapse in the corridor and bind their wounds with rags found in their backpacks while they recuperate a bit. Neither one wants to use the healing potions they have left. Down the hallway they can hear the cries and screams of more slaves, but the sounds are fainter, and more spread out. We leave our adventurers there for now, as they rest and reestablish themselves.

(Details: Succeeded in a check vs. detecting the first trap, didn’t manage to disarm it, but did manage to jump backwards in time. Failed discovering the acid trap, and failed in preventing any of the damage. Also failed opening any of the chests, numerous times through numerous methods, eventually succeeded at two of the five. Succeeded in detecting the sleeping spell on the pillar, failed in disarming it, but succeeded in resisting the spell. Failed at detecting the scimitar trap, failed at dodging any damage, no mob encounters in this room..)

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