Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Where I'm At With New World

New World Aeternum

 After reading Massively OPs article, Massively Overthinking: The New World Aeternum debacle, I wrote a long comment I wanted to capture on my blog as well.  It really captures where I am at with the whole situation and I'd prefer to spend no more energy on the topic for now.

As one of the louder New World fanboys who was devastated by this turn of events I have come around to this take on the situation: they screwed up communication but this is actually the right step for the game.

Out of all the MMORPGs I’ve played (which is practically all of them in the last 30 years) New World is one of the few that I feel makes sense on console. It’s action combat system fits consoles and that action combat extends to the rest of the game where you spend a lot of time involved with the game world and not a bunch of time with UIs like many MMOs.

So I think console was the right direction and having cross play and shared servers between PC and console was the right move. Also since AGS has shown a higher-than-normal focus towards MMORPGs (regardless of this recent genre twisting) and is working on other MMOs then I want them improving the base line tech for future games.

I also think there is some good content coming. The lawless PvP zone, raid, cross server arenas (my key item), sharding (assumed larger server sizes), and gear score increase to 725. All things the community has been begging for. Did they hit everything the community wanted? No, but that is still a fair shake of items.

The only issue with it is the wait time and AGS needs to improve their speed of delivery. I am hoping with the console transition done they go full bore on content delivery. I really think the game has a second wind coming and we’ll be talking about it at it’s 10 year mark similar to how we’ve seen GW2 and ESO both ascend post initial declines.

With that said they absolutely cannot f-up communication like this again. I was a huge “trust but verify” player before this and now I’m “zero trust”.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Screenshot Monday: Mountain Temple in New World

 I was out and about in New World's Ebonscale Reach zone when I caught a chance to grab a screenshot of one of the temple's on the nearby mountain top.  Regardless of all the doom around New World right now it never fails to disappoint in the visuals.

A screenshot of a mountain temple in the game New World's Ebonscale Reach zone

 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Once Human: I'm Addicted

heart Once Human

 I love Once Human and cannot get enough of the current demo even though I know all of my progress is for nothing when the demo closes down in a few days.  I'm hooked!  Some more screenshots and commentary from this morning's adventure.  

 One new thing I unlocked was gardening which includes in-ground gardens, raised garden beds, and a composting system.  The composting system was key because I also learned that all the food I cooked has now gone spoiled.  Apparently you need to build a refrigerator and place the food there to keep it fresh (or craft dried foods that last longer before spoiling).  I was able to turn 100+ spoiled food into compost which any gardener knows is "black gold" for plants.  Adding the compost to my growing plants let them grow faster.

 Continuing with the theme of the game dripping out surprises I met a new character in the story quest named T-Man who had a television as a head.  That is on point for a game where many characters have various real world objects as an appendage.

 I also got quite a surprise with what I thought was a routine "go and get this item" quest when after interacting with the "item" I ended up teleporting into a rift zone of some sort.  I had to battle tangled giant roots before I faced off with a big boss.  This was honestly the first challenging fight I've encountered in the game.  I ended up having to cheese it a bit by standing behind a rock that it couldn't figure out away to attack me behind.  

 As noted in my other post they need to make the enemies smarter so their difficulty can shine through.  Other than cheesing behind the rock the fight was really cool and full of mechanics.

A screenshot from the game Once Human showing T-Man
T-Man my good friend; what's on tonight?

A screenshot from the game Once Human
I probably shouldn't have touched this.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Teleported to a rift zone of some sort.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
A new deviation.  This one goes out and collects ore for me. Note it get's bonuses from me having a radio playing music in my base as well as being next to a furnace giving it warmth.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Gardening in real life is one of my favorite hobbies alongside gaming so I LOVE being able to garden in games as well!


 


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Once Human is a multiplayer survival game with a Stranger Things vibe

Once Human

 With the dark days of New World upon us and Elder Scrolls Online not cutting it I was on the search for newer games to give a try.  I had caught bits and pieces of Once Human in various places, but did not realize it was so close to release.  To my surprise there was a demo available.  One download later I was in and enjoying a new game!  Hours later I think I'm hooked!

 Once Human is a looter shooter survival crafting builder sandbox massively online game with a theme that is hard to explain.  Players play as a "mayfly" that has some connection to some alternate realm (maybe time travel?) and go around the world fighting sci-fi zombie-like creatures.  Simpler: it's a multiplayer survival game with a Stranger Things vibe.

A screenshot of a player created in Once Human
The character creator offers a lot of options; heart face tattoos included!

 The introduction to the game walks the player through some background about being a mayfly and having access to what are called deviations.  Deviations are best compared to Pokemon.  When a player encounters one you have a % chance of capturing it.  Once captured players can stick it in their backpack containment unit and use it in combat (though later on there are some that I've found that are more general purpose; like a balloon animal dog that generates balloons for crafting).

A screenshot showing a deviation from the game Once Human
The starting deviation

 Along with the deviations the player also gets access to an arsenal of modern day weapons and armor.  My favorite weapon set up far has been using a crossbow for ranged fights and a machete and shotgun for up close and personal encounters.  Of course all the weapon and armor can be crafted, upgraded, and eventually recycled.

 The tutorial progresses through the survival game staples: build a camp, chop down trees, break up rocks, and do a little starter crafting.  The tutorial then culminates in a big boss fight and when I say big I mean BIG.  A giant shadow creature with what looks like an embedded cell phone tower attacks the tutorial base with waves of creatures.  The base has functional defense systems that start mowing down the creatures while the player takes on the big boss.  Thematically amazing but mechanically easy.

 

A screenshot from the game Once Human showing a big tower boss
The tutorial boss is a giant tower creature!

 Past the tutorial the player is left to venture the world.  The game has a clever journey system that sets out a series of tasks that help the player learn the game.  It also gives step by step instructions on how to complete each step.  For example; "train this skill", then open this menu and press K, then do this specific action.  It is a simple idea and well done.  I found myself using it regularly to find things to do.

 There is also a story quest to follow which takes the player around the world.  I didn't want to go too far into the story since this was a demo period.  So far the story was nothing amazing but so far has been fully voice acted which is nice and each segment doesn't overstay it's welcome.

 Like other survival games one of the main objectives is to build a base and upgrade it so once I was past the initial story quest I got busy chopping down trees, breaking up rocks, and collecting material.  I started my base at the top of a hill but soon realized that limited expansion.  Fortunately the game makes it easy to move your entire base; just open up the build mode, press Z, and plop it down anywhere you want.  I ended up selecting a nice and flat roadside location.

 I got to crafting all the various crafting work benches and followed the various journey steps to unlock different aspects of crafting and upgrading.  One of the neat items that can be built is a containment vessel for the deviations that are collected through your journeys.  Once contained they seem to do various things.  One deviation which was literally a balloon animal dog that once in the unit started generating balloons as a crafting material.  Another deviation was an electric eel (which I got from fishing) that can supplement my base's power supply (I don't have electricity generation yet).

 

A screenshot from Once Human showing crafting work stations
Crafting and refining work stations

 My upgrade spree brought to me the garage option which caught me by surprise as I did not realize the game has vehicles.  A little digging around  I found a quest I needed to complete to get my starting motorcycle and voila there was a motorcycle in my garage in my base!

 Riding around on the motorcycle I ended up at the game's first dungeon.  This was a single boss fight, but it featured some cool mechanics including at one point picking up the minigun that the boss was holding. There are other temporarily usable items that enemies drop in the rest of the game as well.

A screenshot showing a player using the minigun in Once Human on the first rift boss
A satisfying brrrrrt!  Giving back to the boss with it's own weapon!

 There are also some bosses scattered across the open world as well and right when I didn't think the game had any more surprises I ran into a mutant bus creature that you can jump inside and catch a ridge to it's next destination.  I have no idea the purpose of this thing but it was pretty cool to run into.

A screenshot from the game Once Human showing the motorcylce and mutant bus monster
Vrrrrrroooommmm! (and the mutant bus)

 And that is really what I liked most about Once Human.  It surprised me around every corner.  Whether it was the mutant bus, getting my motorcycle, finding out I could relocate my entire base in one step, or the time my base was invaded because I started up a stardust converter thingy the game just keeps dripping interesting things into the players path.

 Will that drip drip drip last across the entire game?  Based on the demo I can't answer that but so far several hours in the drips haven't stopped and have kept me going.  I honestly can't say how cool I found the mutant bus thing (it also had a chest to loot inside).  I've not had a new game hook me like this since New World's preview beta.

 

A screenshot of the map inside the game Once Human
Even the map is well done and thought out.

 There is still work needed to make the game better.  I found the PvE way too easy and from reading other testers comments the content was harder in past beta tests but then simplified. At no point in the demo, even fighting these towering bosses, did I feel at risk.  I also took on the "recommend bringing friends" dungeons with ease as a solo player.  Don't get me wrong, I like to play solo, but this is too easy.

 Weapon balance also needs a pass.  I was excited to get my first guns, a shotgun and an SMG, only to find out they were far less powerful than the crossbow I got in the tutorial.  Balance between weapons is a key progression for survival games so if unlocking and crafting new weapons just leaves me wanting to use my old weapon then the progression can fall flat.  With that said I barely scratched weapon crafting in the demo so this may not be an issue later on.

 Building your base also has some quirks.  I kept getting an error about being too close to a stronghold but only when trying to place a specific triangle wall piece.  Placing a square wall worked fine.  Also sometimes structures don't snap together and it's not clear why.   I had to give up building a fence around my base.  Also when placing your territory it does not indicate to you in anyway what part of that land is not buildable.  I only found out after placing my base down that I couldn't build on the nice flat road area.

A base in the game Once Human
My roadside base after a few hours of effort.

 Performance was good but could be better.  I did play on the highest settings (AMD 5800x3D CPU / Radeon 7900XT GPU) and average FPS was 233.  Boss fights though dipped to low FPS and from time to time I would get a freeze or stutter.

 Visually the game looks great and I really enjoy the apocalyptic world feel and exploring ruined buildings.  The game has a sixth sense ability where when you press Q it highlights objects in the world you can interact with.  This was a nice feature saving a lot of time going bucket to box to can to see what could be picked up.

 Over all I was really impressed with the game.  Everything I mentioned was all done in a shared game world inhabited by other players that were also building bases next to me and we passed each other going here and there.  The game launches in July and since New World's next update is not until October I can see myself giving this one a spin.

 Some more screenshots:

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The crafting survival game staple: your first camp

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Base #1 on a hill; it didn't work out

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Don't forget your gas to fuel up your motorcycle

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Oh crap!  My base is under attack!

A screenshot from the game Once Human
My stardust converter thingy on the roof is what is attracting the enemy!

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The Journey system not only teaches the game but also rewards the player.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
My balloon animal dog deviation.  It makes balloons (literally).

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The map is very useful and it will give you directions via the roads in game to reach marked destinations.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The first rift (aka dungeon) entrance.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Gotta catch em all!  A chance to catch a deviation at the end of the first dungeon.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
A peaceful evening at home.  I really need to get electricity going and some lights!


 

 


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Sorry ESO, it's not you

ESO

 With some downtime from New World I've been out trying some other games.  Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) was one I dabbled with and I shared some thoughts here.  The game didn't hook me though and so here are some thoughts as I walk away from my fledgling Templar.

 The foremost driving factor was the combat.  It just isn't acceptable for my tastes when I've played games like New World where combat is far smoother.  It is annoying having to overthink your combat.  Canceling animations, weaving light attacks in, etc.  These are just not things I care to take on.  It doesn't help as well that the bulk of content doesn't require knowing how to do those things so the only way you learn about them is reading about them online and watching videos on how to do it.

 Second I just didn't like the disconnected world.  It felt like Starfield.  Run a little and load screen.  Run a little further; load the next room.  Sure there are bigger zones but I never got a sense of "world".

 Next I didn't dig the UI and as much as I love UI mods being supported I just didn't have the energy (or time) to dig into what was all available.  I've waffled on UI mods over the years.  Back after World of Warcraft I couldn't envision not having UI mods in an MMORPG but more recently playing New World where I spend very little time looking at the UI I enjoy how a minimal UI keeps me in the world.  Staying focused on the world, and not a UI, has become my new preference.

 Last of all I don't think ESO looks all that good.  I don't consider myself a graphics snob but ESO is dated compared to newer games.  I did not get to newer content in ESO so I am sure it gets better visually with the newer content.

 I do want to note that it was exciting to think about the large amount of content ESO offers; both PvP or PvE.  I really was hopeful it would hook me as it would have given me a good amount of stuff to chew on.  Alas it was not to be and I realize it's me, not ESO, that is really the cause of the mismatch.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

#savenewworld

 

Scot Lane game director of New World Aeternum saying sorry
#savenewworld

 Here is where I think New World needs to start in order to #savenewworld after the disastrous fall out from their "big announcement".

  1. Release an honest apology to the community and admit it was wrong to hype the announcement up
  2. Provide a roadmap for 2025 as soon as possible
  3. Ensure all PC owners of either the base game or base game + expansion get upgraded.

 At no point can AGS say "can't talk about that right now" without causing more backlash.  It simply isn't acceptable that anything is being held back.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Dark Days for New World

Note: after the New World debacle with Summer Game Fest and IGN Live this past weekend I could muster no words to describe how disappointing the it all was.  It is now Monday and I've had time to dwell on the situation so here is an attempt at some words.

New World is DEAD

 If you tell your players to wait 8 months for a "big announcement" and after the wait the players walk away from your "big announcement" not understanding what genre your game is in or whether you are wiping their characters then you fucked up.  

 If your "big announcement" then says "wait four more months" after you had your players wait eight months then that is a year since your players got any meaningful update which is fucked up.  

 If all that the "big announcement" you hyped up for those eight months was just "the game is coming to consoles" with no other big updates then you lied to your players which is also fucked up.

 Amazon Game Studios... you fucked up.

 Let's take a step back to a post I made about the ill-timed community update for May 2024 in which the community lead and a developer were shown with a heavy dose of censored discussion. It was meant to poke fun at the "big announcement" they couldn't talk about yet.  It was a blatant tease and pissed off a lot of the community.  

 At the time of the video I commented:

 They better have a banger of an update for June otherwise this video will likely be forever held up as the moment "remember when New World died?"

 After that video however I still supported the team.  I even made a long post about how I had faith in New World and why I thought others should as well.  That was a mistake.  My trust in this development team is gone.  We can, and will, look back at that May video update and point at it as the moment New World died.

 It is so upsetting how they handled this announcement and there was no reason they had to handle it this way.  

 First and foremost; there was NO REASON for secrecy.  There was nothing of substance in this update to require it being hidden from players; especially after the minuscule number of changes were data mined months ago.  To prove the point further in the latest minor patch (which came BEFORE the "big announcement") they dropped a relatively major technology update by adding sharding to the game.

 Sharding is one of the biggest new technology things in the entire set of changes and just gets dumped in a minor patch.  How hard would it have been to record a video telling us "hey shards are coming!".  It didn't need to wait for the announcement and if one of the biggest tech changes didn't need to wait then why did the rest of it?

 I can't overstate how obvious it was what was coming.  We knew about the name change to New World Aeternum, the free for all PvP zone, the gear score increase to 725, and it was abundantly clear that the game was coming to consoles.

 I can understand having to keep the console news under wraps, but the rest of the stuff? What on earth were they thinking!?  All of these items would have made good fodder for video updates over the last several months.  Instead we got starved with a promise of "something big" in June.

 Was there no one at AGS that previewed this announcement and said "we have no new information; current players are going to be pissed"?  Was there no one that identified that maybe they shouldn't be hyping this up?  Did no one think maybe some better wording in the follow on videos and IGN Live interview were needed... just a simple "hey if you are a console gamer and wondering what New World is here is what the game is"... instead of leading everyone on like the follow on update was going to give us a bunch of juicy information?

 Let me predict something for you: they have a bunch of pre-canned dev updates that the video clips from the larger update came from and they are going to release them over the next few weeks.  They will put "note: recorded before announcement" subtext in the videos because none of the videos will address the community anger.  I will be SHOCKED if they address the monumental miss in any way.

 What is the end result of all of this?  AGS lost the trust of the current playerbase and has earned every aspect of backlash that will result.  Including when console release does not go as expected.  New World is approaching three years old before it lands on consoles.  What console gamer is going to want to pick up an old game, at a full game price tag, that has Overwhelmingly Negative reviews on Steam.  

 AGS could not have fucked up this situation any worse.  Dark days ahead for New World.

Friday, June 07, 2024

New World Aeternum

 Today is the BIG day for New World announcements.  We got a minor leak about the console release when New World Aeternum (note the name is not just New World) showed up on the Playstation store (it was then promptly removed).  We all assumed a console release was pending so nothing shocking here.  We will get the rest of the update at 5p EDT today!  Set your timers!

New World Aeternum showing up on the Playstation Store


Thursday, June 06, 2024

Bottom Fishing in The Angler

A bottom fished trout in the game call of the wild the angler
Bottom fished up a trout!

 My recent vacation got me jazzed about fishing (caught my personal best shark while surf fishing and my son caught his personal best largemouth bass) so I wanted to check back into Call of the Wild: The Angler.  What I found was a new fishing method, bottom fishing, and a much improved experience over all.

 Back when Angler launched it featured just basic fishing methods: float fishing or cast/retrieve.  At some point they added a new method for bottom fishing so I jumped in the tutorial and gave it a whirl.  Fortunately the game provides all the basics to get started.

a screenshot from the game call of the wild the angler
A big ole' pike!

 First I want to note that I found it a little odd that they added specific rods to the game for bottom fishing when in real life the average fisherman will use their current rod/reel for any method (bottom, casting, etc).  Ideally they'd of let us fish with any equipment for bottom fishing and just had bonuses for gear that was more tailored for bottom fishing.

 I set out and grabbed a spot to bottom fish and it worked exactly as I would have expected.  Cast, wait, and catch fish.  I did try some areas with moving water and the weight does move with the water which if you watched closely could fool you to think a fish was nibbling.  However, since I had sound on for nibbles/strikes I knew when I did or did not have a fish on.

 I finished the bottom fishing quests and moved on to fish some more areas of Golden Ridge Reserve (I don't have any of the other maps they've added).  Along the way I found some much improved aspects of the game from my last adventure.

 The biggest quality of life change was to make jigging or twitching baits into a "hold the button" instead of having to shake or repeatedly move your mouse to emulate the action.  This makes it 100% more reliable to perform the specific action without wearing out your wrist/mouse.  Ideally they'd change it to be button press on/off instead of holding the button the entire time.

a screenshot from the game call of the wild the angler
Gold!

 The next noticeable change was to progression.  Leveling XP was much more smooth and gear in the tackle shop had a much more obvious path to take.  I still had top end gear from the last time I played from the old system but I can see how the new system will be more rewarding for players moving through it.

  The map also seems improved with better icons and the ability to set/record a ton of custom way points.  This was really nice to track the type and level of fish being caught in areas as I tried to fish up a diamond (which I did not).

 Lastly; multiplayer worked!  I joined and left online matches with ease.  It was cool to see a feed of other player catches scrolling past and to be able to jump in a boat and zip by to say hi.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Pax Dei Sets Early Access Date: June 18th

 Pax Dei is entering early access on June 18th.  This is not a good sign for the game.


 First, I want to be clear that I am NOT against early access.  I have and will continue to be a believer that games developed alongside players playing the game ultimately do better.  So I think the developer's intents are in the right place for Pax Dei.

 Why I don't think early access for Pax Dei is a good sign is because a major aspect of the game, combat, is in a state that is not enjoyable.  What is left behind is the same gather/craft/build any other number of games do better.  Pax Dei's promise was a persistent online world that offered the buildcraft alongside engaging MMO-style combat encounters.

 There is no doubt that that the developers know combat needs a ton of work so going into early access with a shell of a game has to be a known risk to them.  That spells financial problems pushing them to early access.  I hope I am wrong about that but reading between the lines that is what I see.

 Ultimate question: will I play early access? No.  The game just wasn't there yet to be worth playing based on the last alpha.  If the combat system was better then it'd be a much better game.  As it stands; a week after early access launch the hardcore players will have their mega castles built and then what? 

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

MEGA SERVERS coming to New World? PvP shards!?

 Are mega servers coming to New World?  Possibly!  In a surprise set of patch notes for 5.0.2 New World is introducing shards.


Also hiding in the update was the mention of a dedicated shard for PvP.  It sounds like you can flag for PvP in any of the shards, but there will be a shard marked for PvP so that ideally PvP players can find each other.

Player vs Player

    Dedicated PvP Shard: Each area has a single Shard for PvP to ensure fair play.
    PvP Flagging: Players flagged for PvP in non-PvP Shards can transfer to the PvP Shard.

 This is an exciting turn of events outside of whatever big announcement we are going to get this Friday.  This shard approach should lay the groundwork to get rid of the server concept and move the game towards a mega server model where we all just jump into the single server and get doled out to "shards".  This is the way to go these days with online games; the single server idea is dead!

 Excited to give the changes a try in the limited zones that will have sharding to start.



Monday, June 03, 2024

May 2024 In Review

May has come and gone.  Here is a look back (late delivery due to vacation).

The Blog

 I still owe a larger post about my findings with "spam" abuse of my GA4 (Google Analytics) tags that made me realize most of my traffic tracked to my blog was not real.  With that said let me present two numbers for blog traffic in May.

 First; the Blogger provided number (last 30 days graph / May count over the top)

 Second; my much filtered Google Analytics number.

 Those pictures tell two very different stories.  16k+ visits according to Blogger but only 875 per Google Analytics after I apply traffic source filters to get rid of spammers abusing GA4 tags.

 So May saw between 875 and 16,000+ visits to the blog. I'll pretend the latter is correct because... reasons.

 In other metrics:

  • Posts:
    • Target: 15 (at least one per week day; except vacation)
    • Posted:17
    • Difference: +2
      • Woohoo!  Back on track this Month
  •  Search Trends
    • "best battlefield game", "best battlefield", "best battlefield games" blew up this month directing folks to my post: Best Battlefield!?
    • New World dominates the rest of the search queries across Bing and Google.  This month the champ was "new world roadmap 2024" which makes sense as May was the original timeframe for the 2024 roadmap to be provided (that has now been pushed to June 7th for the big news)

What I Played

 New World continues as my main game.  I spent a lot of time in 3v3 arenas (100+ wins this season).  With vacation I won't be able to make top 10 though on the leaderboard but hoping my main playing partner makes it in (he has a shot at #1).

 I also spent some time in Jedi: Fallen Order.  I really like the visuals and Star Wars story of the game, but the "on rails" corridor levels totally ruin the feeling.  That is why I am looking forward to Star Wars: Outlaws to give me an open world experience.

 Fallout fever died off as I gave up Fallout 3 (the game is too dated at this point for my tastes) and I didn't bother to grab Fallout 4/76/NV/whatever.

 I was accepted to the Combat Champions playtest but didn't get a chance to play due to vacation.

Years Ago

1 Year Ago

 In May 2023 we got the first news of Amazon Game Studios (developers of my beloved New World) were starting working on a Lord of the Rings MMO.  In kind we began digging New World's grave.

5 Years Ago

 May 2019 I was looking at Magic the Gathering and reminiscing about the guild I helped run for a while: Casualties of War!

10 Years Ago

 In May of 2014 I was running around Guild Wars 2 and decided to document where traits could be obtained.  How much that game has changed!

15 Years Ago

  May of 2009 was a busy month on the blog and in retrospect some important things happened.

 20 19 Years Ago

 Technically I have 20 named years on my sidebar, but mathematically 2005 is only 19 years ago.

 In May of 2005 I started a blog so I had that going for me :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Why I have faith in New World

Darth Vader Faith

  I get a lot of crap for being a proud supporter of New World.  I don't think the game is perfect, but it doesn't take me long playing around with other games to remind me why I have faith in New World.

 I recently played the Pax Dei wilderness alpha and shared my thoughts.  I was not impressed and the game has a ways to go.  What was most shocking was how rudimentary the combat was.  Having insight to even the earliest of New World's testing periods the combat in New World was never anywhere near as basic as Pax Dei's offering so far.  Point goes to New World.

 Even more recently I've played Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) again for the first time in a decade and it didn't take me long to remember how floaty (and clunky) the combat is in that game.  Ironically ten or so years ago when ESO first launched I was not sold that an MMO could provide action combat and ESO was my poster child as to why.

 I can say all these years later that I was wrong about action combat in MMOs.  Action combat is New World's best selling point and while its got some growing pains right now with it's recent changes to the underlying scripting it is literal leaps and bounds better than ESO combat.  The ESO combat isn't so bad I don't want to keep playing but every fight I wish I was playing New World.

 What I do see as an advantage that ESO (or Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft, etc) have on New World is content.  ESO has a lot of content and comes out with new content chunks at a good pace.  New World has not been able to generate content at a pace that meets player expectations and some of the content, such as seasonal events, has been lackluster.  However, the games I mention didn't magically get content overnight. New World can get there with more content; they just need to figure out how to speed up the delivery.

 So whether its stepping back into old games like ESO or playing new shiny games like Pax Dei; I can see clear advantages for New World against its peers.  This gives me faith that there is a future for New World that is obfuscated by folks that can't look past the steam charts for concurrent players.  New World just needs to clean up the recent combat bugs introduced by the combat code rewrite (slayer script) and get cracking on new content.  Frankly; I find the general lack of faith in New World to be disturbing.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Upcoming Games I'm NO LONGER Interested In

 To go with yesterday's post about upcoming games I'm interested in I wanted to share some that I've lost interest in.

Pax Dei


 The Wilderness Alpha did not impress.  I hate to let an alpha test sway my opinion but its not clear much is going to change as the game barrels towards early access.  It may be one to come back in a year or so; we'll see.

Wayfinder

 I like the plan to move Wayfinder to offline singleplayer with some online co-op.  However, that just isn't something I want to play.

Crowfall

 Yes, I was still following and hoping we'd see a resurrection of Crowfall.  Despite its flaws I did really enjoy my time in the game.  Still some outside hope it'll come back but I am going to stop checking and wait for that news to make it to me.

Camelot Unchained

 Another one I am going to stop checking on and wait for the news to make it my way.

Riot MMO

 Relationship ended with Riot MMO.  Relationship started with the Ghost MMO project over at Fantastic Pixel Castle.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Upcoming Games I'm Interested In

 Just a quick check in on games I am paying attention to and some summaries with links to more info if you are interested.

Ashes of Creation

ashes of creation

 Ashes of Creation is an upcoming open-world fantasy MMORPG with a massive 1200 km² world called Verra. It features a dynamic node system where player actions shape the development of civilizations, from humble villages to vast metropolises. The game blends PvE and PvP elements, with open-world dungeons, professions like fishing, and intense castle sieges in PvP zones like international waters.[2][4]

Citations:
[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEVU8EZ6QaU
[2] https://ashes101.com/worldofverra
[3] https://forums.ashesofcreation.com/discussion/44414/the-new-player-guide
[4] https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Gameplay
[5] https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Alpha-1

Light No Fire

light no fire

 Light No Fire is an upcoming open-world survival fantasy game from Hello Games, set on a procedurally generated planet the size of Earth. Players can explore vast landscapes, climb any mountain, sail oceans, and fly on dragons[1][4]. Character creation allows customizing species like rabbits or wolves[1]. It features multiplayer, allowing players to build persistent communities together or go solo[1][4]. While focused on exploration and building, combat is also expected to play a role[1][4]. The intriguing title "Light No Fire" hints at the game's mysterious lore and potential dangers lurking in the shadows[4].

Citations:
[1] https://blog.electronicfirst.com/8-things-we-know-about-light-no-fire/
[2] https://twitter.com/lightnofire?lang=en
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhLOQs_-BBo
[4] https://gamingbolt.com/light-no-fire-what-we-know-so-far
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uug_ckBLcyI

Ghost MMO

ghost mmo

 The Ghost MMO is an upcoming fantasy MMORPG being developed by Fantastic Pixel Castle, a new studio founded by veteran developers like Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (World of Warcraft, League of Legends MMO). It takes place in a shattered world of floating "shards" containing different biomes and environments to explore. The game features a unique shard system - private "Blue Shards" for you and friends to play survival/base-building, and public "Red Shards" for a more traditional MMO experience. With a focus on community, heroic characters, and alt-friendly gameplay with dozens of classes, Ghost aims to modernize the MMO genre while retaining classic RPG combat and social worlds.[1][2][3][4]

Citations:
[1] https://outof.games/news/6746-ghost-a-new-mmorpg-from-ex-wow-and-riot-mmo-devs-fantastic-pixel-castle-studio-announced/
[2] https://esports.gg/news/gaming/ghost-mmo-reveal/
[3] https://fextralife.com/former-wow-and-lol-designer-is-creating-a-new-fantasy-mmo-ghost-heres-why-you-should-be-excited/
[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMRULKzoTNk
[5] https://www.ign.com/articles/greg-ghostcrawler-street-returns-with-new-mmo-codenamed-ghost

 The Word on the Street podcast, hosted by Scott Johnson and Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, provides monthly insights into the development of Fantastic Pixel Castle's upcoming MMO Ghost, featuring conversations with the team working on various aspects like prototyping, combat design, world-building, and technology.[1]

Citations:
[1] https://www.frogpants.com/street

Combat Champions

combat champions logo

 Combat Champions is a fast-paced, first-person shooter video game where players engage in over-the-top stunts and map-altering destruction while capturing key points and outshooting opponents in corporate arenas turned into game show settings.[1][2] Developed by C77 Entertainment, the game features explosive corporate conflicts televised by the Corporate Mediation Alliance, allowing players to drive the crowd wild with their high-stakes, high-reward performances.[1][2]

Citations:
[1] https://kotaku.com/games/combat-champions
[2] https://www.metacritic.com/game/combat-champions/
[5] https://www.combatchampions.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Day 3,651: Elder Scrolls Online

elder scrolls online logo

 With the downtime in New World until the "big announcement" in June I decided to do some game exploration.  At first it was in my Steam backlog but it wasn't long before that MMO itch crept up on me.  At first it was just wanting to be in an open world so the though was survival/crafter but then the desire for multiplayer and if multiplayer why not massive multiplayer.  So  I made the plunge into Elder Scrolls Online (ESO).

 On day one of my adventure I created my character.  I was immediately annoyed by the fact that "heartlessgamer" as a name is already taken so I had to settle with "heartlessgamerr".  I have a sneaking suspicion when I played at launch that I did so under another account and may have self inflicted this (my current ESO account shows my beta access from 10 years ago but not my release purchase).  I guess this technically means this is really day 3,651 of my ESO adventure.

 Moving past the name I rolled up a Redguard Templar.  I am not one to spend too much time tweaking my appearance but found myself moving a good bit of the sliders available to get an old(er) looking bad ass ready to take on the world.

 I clicked create and set off into the tutorial.

 The quests and characters are all voiced which was nice but it wasn't long into the tutorial where it became click through material the same as most MMO quest and NPC fluff.  I have heard there is some great material from John Cleese in the game so that may change my mind on clicking through this.  The click through also may be related to my experience post-tutorial which I'll talk about in a bit.

 The world navigation involved a lot of segmented world slices separated by doors and minor loading pieces.  This was annoying but I assumed was part of the tutorial.  I expected a more open world experience out of the gate.  Unfortunately the segmented approach followed in to the main game so was off putting to not have a more seamless open world.

 With that said I am a bit lost in the main world.  I have lots of quests but find it hard to figure out what to do and not until late in my first day did I figure out how to see main vs side quests in the UI.  Wandering the world is pretty generic.  Enemies are very easy to defeat and there is no indication of difficulty anywhere that I can find.  My research says that PvE is easy and with "One Tamriel" there is level scaling, but seems like there should still be some challenge to expect.

 I've also gotten a bunch of "oh you should buy X" from players I've run into.  X being some content pack for the game that you have to buy and there is a lot of possible Xs to buy.  The store is a bit overwhelming in ESO.  I am sure it will make more sense as I progress but if a $19.99 box price (even though I got it for free) doesn't give me enough of a good starting experience then I am not likely buying X.

 Lastly I want to touch on combat.  It is the same "floaty" combat that I remember from playing in beta and launch.  I hate to say it but New World combat has spoiled me so it is very, very hard for me to go to older MMOs that have much less fluid combat.  This isn't to say New World's is perfect but it feels so much better than ESO.  Maybe it gets better later on in ESO?  Maybe PvP is better?

 I will keep trudging along in ESO for a bit here, but do have vacation and trips coming up so it may be forgotten depending on New World's big announcement in June.  But if the announcement for New World is just "thing coming later this year" then maybe I'll make it further in ESO.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Monday Screenshots: Into Elder Scrolls Online

 I finished out the tutorial in Elder Scrolls Online and "heartlessgamerr" (grr!!!) is off into the main world.

A screenshot from Elder Scrolls Online