I think we will look back on 2019 as the Year of the Rise of the Player.
- There were several things that happened in the world of video games this year. In no particular order, and without links since they are easy to google:
- The Failed announcement of Diablo: Immortals as a mobile game at Blizzcon. The jeerz from the crowd was loud and emphatic.
- The failure of the Anthem release and the player outcry that followed.
- The continuing slip of World of Warcraft from the top of the stack of games folks want to play.
- The announcement of ArcheAge Unchained as a separate but equal pay once to play release in response to the overwhelming panning of ArcheAge as “Pay to Win”.
- The universal dislike for Loot Boxes, both by the players and by governments around the world who have called these out for what they are, gambling which is made available to minors. While some countries do not classify these as technically “Gambling” due to a technicality in the wording of the laws, most folks see the hidden, and very small odds, real monetary costs, and designed in addictive nature of these schemes as predatory on the players who have large amounts to purchase the games or pay subscriptions for the games.
Youtube, Twitch, Reddit, Twitter and other venues are full of reactions by commentator / players who voice their repeated loud analysis of these and other issues in the gaming industry.
I think modern MMOs are missing an interesting opportunity, and the ones trying it are getting it wrong. We should be able to build teams / parties from the other characters in our own account.
Guild Wars May Have Invented This
Guild Wars 1 or just Guild Wars added a feature near the end of it’s popular life called Mercenary Heroes. See my previous post here. The idea was to allow other characters from your account to play along side you as party members. This was incredibly useful. You needed a party to play at all times since GW is an instance based game. And it was a money making opportunity too since you needed to purchase Mercenary Slots. There was a trick too that you could play. There are two kinds of characters in GW – PVE and PVP. And PVP characters are always level 20 – max level. So the trick is to buy your Merc Slots, then create a PVP character, assign it to a Merc, then Delete the Character. Your Merc remains. Then Rinse & Repeat to build a whole squad of characters of the classes you wanted. Necros and Ritualists are especially useful in your Merc list since there are some powerful Necro skills and Ritualists do powerful heals as well as damage. The Elite Necro Skill Discord does powerful damage and of course the Necro raises every mob you kill into another member of your army. Ritualists cause conditions, which empowers Discord. Anyway, you get the idea.
Why is this interesting?
Let’s take a couple of examples: ArcheAge and Final Fantasy XIV.
I recently looked back at a game I spent a little time with a long time ago – ArcheAge. A long time ago I tried it out, created a character, spent a few hours and dropped it. I don’t remember why I dumped it so quickly. I didn’t even have enough interest at that time to review it here on this blog, so I can’t find out when I did this. But things have changed and I’m spending more time there now.
If you are looking for an “old school” but beautiful MMO with some modern features and good graphics, a wonderful open world to explore and some interesting challenges, ArcheAge may be interesting.
It had been a while since I’d played Tera. They have made some changes. I noticed that they added Popo Brawlers, so I made one. My friend joined me and we were playing together as Elin Brawlers, which aren’t new. We were both around 20 when we came back in and we noticed several changes, many of which made the game less fun.
We had some fashion coupons left from ages ago, so we were able to wear pretty nice looking costumes.
I use Google Calendar and one of the things that I do all the time is track package shipments that I’ve ordered. Keeping bookmarks in a browser is a pain. Each time you add a tracking link to the book marks, it goes at the end of the list rather than the beginning, so it becomes very long, and finding it is more difficult when the list becomes very long over the years.
So now I use Google Calendar. For each shipment, I add an “All Day” event to the day when the shipment is supposed to arrive. It turns out that each Calendar entry can have a description with a link. So I find this an easy way to have the tracking link close at hand is to add a description link to the calendar entry.
To use the entry, as above, just click on the calendar entry, which then displays the description with the link and a click on that brings up the tracking page.
The problem you may run into however, is that the link field may not be long enough to hold the entire tracking URL. In my case it was cut off at a place where the shipping website gave an error. But I was able to edit the link back to just before a slash so that the website showed the tracking correctly.
I hope you find this useful. I’ll be using this method to save tracking links from now on.
Your Internet Service Provider [ISP] is watching everywhere you go on the internet. They are harvesting that information and selling it to the highest bidder. The easiest way for them to do this is to watch the DNS – Domain Name Service – requests coming from your network. DNS is the Internet Phone Book and every time you visit a website, or play a video or anything – from your phone over WiFi or from your computer, your computer or phone looks up the IP address – a number – based on the Domain Name – a text string. And DNS is the protocol that does this. Normal DNS is completely in the clear. That is, it is not “Encrypted” in any way. Once you reach a website, to purchase something or look at your Facebook page or whatever, almost all sites are “Encrypted” so that nobody can eavesdrop on what you are doing. This all happened a few years ago after folks were sniffing everyone’s Facebook pages in coffee shops and libraries. But I digress.
DNS has only just recently been fixed. And up until now, and until you fix your network, as I outline below, your ISP is sniffing all your DNS requests, because they can. This means they know everyplace you go on the network.
After the Shadowbringers Update, the Summoner and it’s base class Arcanist has some problems related to Solo Leveling.
Pet Attacks are now AOE Attacks
First, at lower levels, the Emerald Carbuncle [blue caster pet] now appears to shoot an AOE which covers quite a large range, and may bring unwanted foes [mobs] to bear on the player. In previous releases, the Carby did a single target attack which did not aggro other mobs. Here is an example of the size of the AOE that the Carby does now.
Apparently, anything hit by the big green area, which is the auto-attack cast by the Carby, is aggro’d on the player. As you can see, two king wespe mobs are now attacking the player. Mobs do not attack the Carby, but only the player. This problem was so severe that I had to dismiss the Carby when doing a Fate at my level to avoid being overwhelmed by aggro’d mobs.
Secondly, the Topaz Carbuncle and the later upgrade to the Titan Egi, were Tank pets, which took aggro from the player. This effect has been removed. The rumor is that the pets are all the same, doing the same attacks with same potency, except for animations. In other words, the differences in pets are now just Eye Candy. I have yet to study this in detail. But it is clear from my testing that the Titan Egi no longer takes aggro. So this is a significant loss for the Solo viability of the Summoner.
But there’s another problem with the Self Heal for Summoner as well.
Just started playing Gunbreaker. The second job quest is pretty challenging. I failed the Duty called “Hired Gunblades”. I decided to level up and get a complete set of Shire gear to upgrade the item level before I try it again.
Working in Palace of the Dead has brought me to Level 61 and I wondered what happened to the stats, if the gear was not upgraded. So here are the stat changes between level 60 > 61 with the same gear. Some is Shire and some is not yet Shire gear.
Notice the number columns to the left are for level 60. Where there is only one column, there was no change. Hum. Not sure what to make of this, but there are changes, obviously.
BTW, Gunbreaker is a blast to play. And Palace of the Dead is a great place to get your rotation down. There have been a lot of Gunbreakers and Dancers in the Palace recently, as you might imagine.
Make you walk in the Light [Dark] of the Crystal.
Here’s the article.
But let’s not ban Spinach. Let’s just have everyone eat more of it. No Shots, just eat your veggies. Seriously though. On the continuum between “a Training Choice” and “Performance Doping” where do we think “Eating Spinach” is? I can get behind classifying shooting up a pharmacological extract of spinach as “Doping”. But choosing to add a common food stuff to your diet? That sounds like a “Training Choice”.
Maybe we need a study of expert athletes where half eat spinach and half don’t. Although I’m not clear on how we could make this one “Double Blind”. You pretty much know if you are eating Spinach and not Kale for example. Just look between your front teeth? Oh.. Cheap shot. And that leaves out the whole question about whether Kale shows an effect. I’m not clear where we could find a “Placebo”. Are we going to draw the line to the left or right of “Eating Red Meat” several times a week? Lots of questions.
From the ROFL department.
I started Shadowbringers today. I changed a character I had to Viera, and created a new Hrothgar. Everybody gets a Fantasia, which can do a race / look change, from a level 50 Main Sequence Quest. Or you can buy the Fantasia on the Mog Station for $10.
I spent a little time leveling the Hrothgar, and playing the Viera. Of course all the jobs have changed a little or a lot, so getting used to Summoner and Scholar on the Viera took a little time.
Then I ran into a snag. The servers completely bogged down about noon PDT – Not surprisingly. Continue Reading