Who’s on First and Why?

•December 7, 2008 • 2 Comments

Back in the day, Everquest was the hot game on the market. I can’t recall all the times I would hear people in electronic stores talking about their new addiction that was slowly being known as Ever Crack. I resisted for a very long time, feeling that if I wanted to play a game on line, why should I shell out a monthly fee when a majority of multiplayer games, like Quake 2 and the new Unreal tournament, came with free online play.

I finally, like all of us, got talked into playing EQ by peer pressure. The lure to simulate a session of dungeon and dragons with many of my college friends through on line play across various states, to bring back the luster of the old days was just too good to true and I just had to give it a try. Besides, the guy that ended up talking me into it was a high level jedi and knew how to work the mind trick to his advantage. I played for about 2 or 3 yrs. I really can’t tell you the correct number because I was spending all my time trying to level up my barbarian shaman and didn’t keep track of the time I was spending. First mistake when buying into the whole MMO atmosphere, never forget how much time your spending away from real life, but that’s another discussion.

But for me, Everquest was the “IT” MMO game. I’m sure others talk about how great Asheron’s Call was or Ultima online, but as far as advertising in stores, magazines and word of mouth, Sony’s Everquest was getting all the hype and promotion. Sony was on top of the MMO world and continued that trend by releasing expansion after expansion. Adding new content on a regular bases to keep the consumer spending and happy. Sure, a lot of stuff had to be fixed because the expansions themselves would either break the game or the game got broke after someone exploited a piece of code to their advantage and developers would have to fix the issues, but at least Sony was trying to get stuff out to the paying customer on a yearly bases.

SoE was on top of the world. No one could touch their subscription numbers, they were the it company. They added a few more games to their stables, like Planet Side to sweet’n the monthly charge. All an effort to keep the customer happy and subscribing to that monthly fee.

Then the inevitable happened. While SoE was developing their next step forward in MMO’s another company slipped in the door and took the spotlight away. SoE made the fatal mistake of assuming that MMO customers will stay loyal no matter what comes out on the market even if your doing your best to turn out the next exciting product. I was that interested in EQ2 but not fully committed to the concept of future proofing, as it came to be called. But, I had a good, wealthy friend friend purchased and then shipped the game to me, so there was no excuse for me not to give it a try, especially after having been a loyal EQ player for so long. But to their own fault, SoE made the game too graphical and hardware dependent. Players, who had spent years playing EQ, just were not ready to spend up to $2,000.00 upgrading their computers just to play a re-envisioned version of EQ.

So one has to ask, if Sony hadn’t made EQ2 so graphical heavy, would they still be on top of the MMO industry? I honestly don’t know and this is why.

Recently, I’ve become bored as many others have, with WAR. So, I’m probably going to give it up, but I just don’t want to rely on WoW for all my online entertainment. I considered giving EQ2 another shot at some of my hard earned dineros. But when I ventured out to pick up the newest expansion, The Shadow Odyssey, I couldn’t find a copy. I searched, Wal-Mart, 2 different Target stores and Circuit City, nothing EQ2 related was to be found. There were plenty of Age of Conan, WAR, LOTRO and even some Tabula Rasa copies, but nothing, unless you count the EQ Anniversary box, on EQ2. But here is the strange thing and why I think the stores are very bias.

Every store had a Wrath of the Lich King display. If they didn’t have a display, they had tons of game copies and monthly game cards. The idea came to mind that either Blizzard is pay graft to get their product displayed heavily in stores or the market has already decided who the king is and it’s WoW. Whether tons of people are playing EQ2 or not, shouldn’t that game be available and readily at hand for any consumer to purchase without having to be bombarded with Blizzard’s Lich King?

I finally found a copy at Best Buy, but even there, they had a huge display set up for Lich King, but no display or massive shelf space for the EQ2 expansion, and it was just released as well. So, apparently the market has spoken. Even if your not a gamer, the public recognizes WoW as the winner of the MMO wars. Second I would have to say a tie between Lotro and WAR, followed by AoC then the dead Tabula Rasa. EQ2 is far behind in market recognition and considering that SoE was the big dog several years back, with EQ being top of brand recognition, it’s a pretty sad state. So what happened? Did Blizzard just throw a war chest of money at the marketers and say, “We want everyone to know who we are, we don’t care the cost.” Or is EQ2 that bad of a product that players just can’t find a place for it in their MMO hearts anymore?

The irony of going from the industry name for MMO’s to having a small amount of shelf space for one or two copies of their current mmo titles was just shocking. Did Blizzard just pass out a lot of kool aid in department stores on day or is SoE’s EQ2 just that far back in consumer’s minds that they don’t deserve any floor space? Either way, it’s pretty sad for a company that was riding the high not so many years back.

As a side note, I didn’t provide any links to Blizzard or World of Warcraft in this post.

The Fate of War

•December 4, 2008 • 2 Comments

As stated in my previous post, the wanderlust of Warhammer online has pretty much faded, as it has with many others. This normally coincides, with most MMOs, when the 30 day trial subscription expires.

Warhammer online suffers from many things. Some of them could have been fixed, like limiting the number of races, making area’s much smaller so more interaction could be forced between sides or having larger population caps and less servers. The issues many are that the game is lacking in PvE and because of this, they are starting to lack in population. This wouldn’t be a problem if the game had large amounts of PvE content to keep those that are still playing interested, but since a majority of the game content is driving off the RvR side and populations becoming smaller, the game will suffer more I fear.

I have often heard people say that they plan to keep Warhammer to slake their PvP urges and World of Warcraft to satisfy their PvE needs. But the concept of WAR only works when people are actually logged in playing, unlike WoW, which doesn’t have any content that is driven by gamer attendance. If only Mythic had spent more time developing its PvE side instead of forging ahead with all their RvR concepts, the game wouldn’t be suffering such bad losses.

Even now Mythic is urging people to move characters to more populated servers so they can keep the RvR balance in check. They have yet to mention server closings, but that is only a matter of time. With Tabula Rasa already closing it’s doors and Age of Conan not fairing much better, I wonder how long before Mythic will have to either release some awesome PvE content or finding another way to entice players back.

I enjoyed WAR when I was able to play, but now I just can’t seem to muster up the energy to log in and play a scenario, especially when ques are longer than waiting at Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving day. (by the way, that wait is approx. 1 hr 15 minutes) I have limited amounts of time as it is, I don’t want to spend it waiting to get into a scenario or trying to find enough people to do a PQ.

Honestly, I hope Mythic can pull their game up and make a grand go of it, but I’m starting to think putting all your eggs in one RvR basket just isn’t the smart thing to do.

The Fellowship of Good Gamers

•December 2, 2008 • 1 Comment

Finding a good guild to hang my MMO hat has been a favorite topic of mine. You just don’t know what your getting into till you’ve made the fated choice, wondering if everything will be wonderful or if you’ll have to start looking for another place to hang your hat 3 or 4 months down the road.

Lucky for me, I made a great choice when I decided to play Warhammer online.

Casualites of War is by far one of the most helpful and group oriented guilds I have every been a part of. They look after the whole guild, not just the individuals at the top. Their goal is for everyone in the guild to have fun. They plan events that cover all levels of players and they encourage everyone to participate. If you need help questing or doing a PQ, they are more than willing to come help without wondering what’s in it for them. That’s what I call a great guild.

But, alas, my time in Warhammer was to be brief. Work started to take up most of my time and I was unable to keep up with WAR 0r the guild like I had hoped. When I finally got some free time to play, the wanderlust of WAR had faded and I just couldn’t force myself to log in to play. I started spending more time on my Xbox 360, since it only required small amounts of my time rather than tons like MMO’s tend to do.

The days of being in a great guild seemed to be fading from me. But alas, I was saved again. Casualties of War decided to branch out, to be more than just a Warhammer guild. Several of the members had lost interest in WAR as well but wanted to keep the guild alive in other MMO’s, so they decided to become a multi game guild. Lucky for me, they decided to make World of Warcraft there second guild venture. I was already set to keep my WoW account and pick up WOTLK, so this was fantastic news. The only draw back was, they wanted to start over. I was a bit leery of this, since I was all set to take my two 70’s into Northrend, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to be in a guild that I knew from experience would look after it’s membership as a whole not just the upper elite, which previous guilds I had been in tended to do.

So, I did it. The guild started over on Rexxar, a… well… a PvE server. Man, it hurt to say that. But right now, I’m having more fun these past few days than I have had in the past 2 years of playing WoW. I use to look down on those who had chosen a PvE server over a PvP server, but to be honest, after having experienced both, I am here to say, officially that I prefer the PvE. I mean, after playing WAR and seeing what PvP really is, Blizzard’s so called Real World PvP is, well, pretty lame. The best thing to do is, pick a PvE server and just do Battle grounds if your itching for action. The rest is just pointless.

Players have been saying this for years and now I truly understand, the PvP aspect of WoW was slapped on and ever since, Blizzard has been trying to justify it, reshape it and make it their own. The fact is they have failed terribly in trying to make it work. Battle grounds are ok, but real world PvP just isn’t working. Some might think that being able to gank someone, who’s character is 30 levels lower than theirs is exhilarating, but the fact is, it sucks for the guy or gal getting pounded, especially if they are camped repeatedly. Many a player has quit WoW because of this horrible excuse for PvP.

Anyway, I am happy to have found a fellowship of good gamers.

Go CoWs.

The Area Of Effect!

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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I’ve been away from the mother ship for sometime and have only recently started my slow indoctrination back into the collective of mindless, borg like, MMO players. In my, me time, I only played Wow for short spurts, specifically, when the last content patch came, which introduced all of new and wonderful changes to class talent trees. I did manage, after the patch, to spec out my Protection Warrior using the new tree design (actually, I copied a fellow guildies Prot spec, but he is an awesome tank, and I hate thinking), and I have to say, they gave us out all the loving one company can to a character class.  Sorry Steelrat my friend, they just don’t like rogues.

Protection warriors are the new AoE tanks. This didn’t become very evident to me, due to my limited game play, until last night when I started my stroll through Northrend. I was able to pull 3 or 4 mobs at a time and still had complete and utter control over them without any mess. Starting off my attack rotation with thunderclap, cleave,  and finally stunning them with the new talent, Shockwave.   So far it’s been very effective and efficient.

I was also informed, by a fellow guld member, that pulling 3 or 4 mobs at a time was a pretty low count for a 70 protection warrior, but in my excuse, I don’t have all the nice pretty gear that comes from some raiding instances.  I do have all the gear out of Kara, except for the shield, which would have been nice, since the blue one I still have is pretty lame, but I did managed to get a ring and shoulder pads from ZA in the last few weeks, but since everyone is moving forward, I think my chances of getting great gear are in front of me, not behind at this point.

I am currently deciding if I should level my warrior or Mage first, but either way, I am sure I will be enjoying Northrend way more than I expected.  I did notice that the horde have resumed hostilies, but that was before I found all my new spells and had them properly placed on my hot bar, now I wouldn’t be so certain they would win that fight in a rematch. lol

The Reality Of It All!

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Moving day has arrived.

•June 18, 2008 • 1 Comment

Like Bildo, I’ve moved to a new site.

WWW.oakstout.blogspot.com

Please update your blog rolls.  I’ll try and post a reminder here when I can from time to time.  If WordPress hadn’t gotten all flaky on my I might still be here, but since its been giving me a ton of grief over the last few months, I decided I need to try something different.

If for some reason, WordPress stops being a total ASS, I’ll try and start my blog up back over here.  But in the mean time, please visit my new site.  I know lots of people have been wondering whats up, but now you know.

I hope it doesn’t inconveince anyone by the move.

Fed up!

•May 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with wordpress of late. Images not being able to load, text not showing up correctly and the last straw was last night when one of my posts made it to the feeder, but got lost on the site. Not sure what is going on with the wordpress site, but its been trashed since March, which has pretty much been pissing me off.

So, I’m going to be moving to my blogspot account. So if you have this on a feeder, you might want to change too, http://www.oakstout.blogspot.com. I would make it a link, but all the controls for doing that are missing right now, sorry, but you’ll just have to cut and paste. I’m done with WordPress.

One of these days I’ll throw down some cash and get my own website, but till then, I’ll be blogging on free sites. I’m hoping to have the site, the other site working by this afternoon. Right now I just have a small introduction to myself, so feel free to experience some more poor writing. lol

Again, its http://www.oakstout.blogspot.com

See you all there.

 
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