bookmark_borderGuild Wars 2: Megaserver vs Role Play

I want to start with this excellent quote that sums up how I feel about the new megaserver updates in Guild Wars 2. It prompted me to discuss my thoughts, especially where I see it affecting friends who love to RP in game.

If you love to run in a huge zerg, waypointing from event to event to autoattack something you can’t clearly see, at single-figure fps rates, for thirty seconds before clicking “Loot All” and moving on to rinse and repeat, all the while chortling at sexual innuendo and scatological puns then this is probably the best update GW2 has ever had.

If you’re anyone other than a leveller who hates to solo or a dedicated zerger with an adolescent sense of humor, however, there’s not much good to say about any of it.

Source: Inventory Full: Megaserver – The Verdict : GW2

quagganI admit that I haven’t logged in a whole lot to Guild Wars 2 since April’s big update. I took care of my clothing and dye the first day. Counted the pieces of town clothing that got turned into tonics. Requested a refund from Anet for the tonics, which took over a week to process (though I got it eventually). Checked the inactives in my guild. (It’s not helpful for it to continue to state “Unknown” for everyone who hasn’t logged in before the patch, btw. The idea was I needed to know how long “Unknown” was to clear the roster if needed.)

Megaserver Thoughts

Despite not spending a whole bunch of time in game, I’ve been keeping my eye on the whole Megaserver update situation. From what I hear, especially from the community-minded role play folks I know, this has not been a good move.

Sure, you see more people when you log in. Everywhere. Mostly people you have never seen before and don’t know a thing about. Given the megaserver thing, it’s likely you’ll hardly see the same folks repeatedly in the future.

I’m sure this is a good thing when you’re running around trying to do areas that were seldomly visited. But the first thing I noticed was that just about every map I entered took a whole lot longer to load. Used to be just Lion’s Arch (and it was my bad for leaving characters there when I knew the load time). Now, nowhere seems safe from load times, especially now that Lion’s Arch is no longer a central hub.

Role Play Troubles

They would if they could.

Things are especially bad for role players who just want to have their fun in an RP safe environment. I haven’t RPed much in game (I’ve done my share of Tumblr RP, attending events and fiction writing), but the leader of the one RP guild I am a member of has expressed her woes about RP events being griefed, even when they’re in out of the way locations. Her story isn’t an isolated instance, and it’s really awful to read.

There’s a whole thread about the obliteration of server community, and the effect this is having on role play in particular. No longer can these players enjoy the game the way they always have. Some are starting to get frustrated and move to more RP friendly games.

An answer from Anet? Not much. To guild up. That they’re working on tweaking how the server sorts players.

But this sort of thing should have already been working as they claimed before the megaservers rolled out. Folks who are testing the situation and reporting back show that it is not. Sometimes, people in the same party aren’t even sorted into the same server with each other anymore! Something’s just not right here!

Come on Anet!

The RPers are generally players who are dedicated to your game and your lore (despite all you’ve done to degrade that lore in the Living Story). The good ones hang around and make the world more lively, creating their own stories and characters to color your backdrop with interactions for other players. They essentially create their own content for each other, which can help retain players without any time or extra effort from you. They’re also folks who are willing to plop down gems for cute fluff items in the store simply because it looks good or fits a character theme.

You may think they’re a small and unassuming part of the population (and they may be), but it would be a more hollow world should they all up and leave because of this megaserver issue. I hope things get resolved for them soon. As much as I’ve been a Guild Wars supporter, I have to admit, this is a real shame. 🙁

bookmark_borderArcheAge and my Thoughts on Founders Packs

Update: See my first impressions of ArcheAge Beta Event 3 here!


archeageopenbetaI haven’t been following the progress on ArcheAge until just recently. It seems to be a sandboxy themepark blend that just released its founders packs last night. From what I’ve seen and read, this is a game I’d be interested in trying out — far more than ESO or WildStar. It looks graphically amazing, has tons of promised features, and will be free to play at launch. While it does have some open PVP elements, as long as that’s balanced and not a total gankfest, the game has my interest.

What doesn’t have my interest? The cost of their founders packs.

Thoughts on Founders Packs

I’m on the fence about founders packs. I understand their purpose — to secure some Kickstarter-like funding during alpha and beta while “rewarding” the most interested players with early access to a game. At least, I think that’s what it’s supposed to be about.

But when I look over and see an alpha pricetag of $149.99… I just whistle through my teeth (if I could whistle through my teeth).

Call me cheap, but I’ll drop $10 – $20 on Kickstarters for games that have promise and a passionate team. Just about all my gaming friends have plunked down $15 for the Starbound beta, and some of them have put more time into that game than this year’s biggest MMOs!

I even dropped $50 on the Landmark alpha pack, and that’s not something I regret. It’s been rewarding to watch the game as it evolves over time!

Landmark Founders Packs

That was a different story, however. Landmark offered a $20 option for beta. Even lacking other goodies, it’s an affordable option for someone dedicated to testing, supporting a game, and exploring the game’s secrets. SOE also offered a money-back guarantee if you didn’t like the game. This was the thing that tipped me over from “maybe” to “okay, I’m in.”

But where do gamers draw the line? 

When the cheapest founders packs are $49.99, I have to slowly back away. Sure, you get some in-game cash, a cool glider, 30-day patron status, and a neat title. Maybe all this adds up to something worth $50?

The problem is, I can’t really judge its worth since I’ve not stepped foot in the game and tried it for myself. And if I don’t like it? Is that really a risk I want to take with my money?

Also… Why do they even ask you to sign up for beta if they’re just going to sell seats to it? It’s not like you can compete with the number of founder folks who are promised a spot.

Learning from Betas

This game made me sad.

I’ve learned something important about MMO gaming this year. Actually, I learned it last year, when I put forward support for the Dragon’s Prophet alpha and beta, and walked away burned for time and some cash.

What did I learn? Not every big-name MMO is going to be something I like and need to play. Gone are the days when I rode the hype for the next new MMO, back with the next new MMO title was far more rare than it is now.

I learned that genuinely bad MMOs can exist. Even (and I wince as I say it) MMOs that include dragon capture, dragon riding, scythes and a housing system. How could so many great-sounding features fall so flat? Yes, I’m still sour about Dragon’s Prophet. I wanted it to be wonderful! It… simply was not.

After that burn, I’ve been more careful where I put my dedication and time, especially when it comes to games with paid founders packs, pre-orders and beta. Especially those that won’t be free to play in the end — ESO and WildStar, I’m looking at you!

The best thing ever? Getting to try free betas for the next-best-MMOs like ESO and WildStar. I was sad, but neither game excited me, especially not for a monthly subscription price. And yes, while it was beta and things will change, the overall feel and approach a game uses for storyline, questing, art and atmosphere will likely not change all that much from beta to launch.

Back to these Founders Packs

ArcheAge Founders Pack Options

All this being said, I still don’t know where I stand with the idea of founder packs, especially for future free to play games. I don’t razz folks who really love a game, have the money to support it, and put their money where their mouths are.

On the other hand, what’s the message gamers are sending to companies when they shove $150 at them for the chance to play an unfinished alpha-stage game? It says that this kind of pricing is okay and that gamers will take the risk.

Then there’s the question of how does selling founders packs differ from supporting something on Kickstarter? My answer for that? It differs by about $30 – $35 dollars in this case!

PS: If there was a $19.99 option I would have given it a shot. But this kind of founder pricing makes me worry where the game’s pricing on RMT will be headed at launch.

bookmark_borderDing! FFXIV First Job at Level Cap: Bard!

Zuri as a level 50 Bard in FFXIV.

I’m a slow leveler. Most MMOs that I play, I don’t ever reach level cap (or if I do, they raise level cap and I never re-reach it). Something about FFXIV made me determined to push through to my first level 50 job on my moon kitty, Zuri Nimat. It took me six months to complete, but I finally reached that goal last night with Bard!

Zuri had a somewhat rocky start, which led to the slowness of leveling. I never expected to play FFXIV at all — had no interest in 1.0, and after being beat down by FFXI many years ago, could only imagine the suffering I’d endure in Square’s newest MMO experience.

But I kept hearing how great it was. I saw screens, saw the references to the old FF games, and was feeling the lull where my interest in Guild Wars 2 had begun to wane. At that time, FFXIV was nowhere to be found — they’d stopped selling digital downloads and you couldn’t find it in the store. So, after I decided I was going to give it a try, I had to wait a week or so for when the digital download became available again. I quickly picked it up, and decided to roll Zuri as my first character.

The first night, I rolled her on some random server because that was the only one that was still taking new players. I created her as a Conjurer because I do enjoy healing and helping people, but also because I heard the DPS classes had a much longer waiting time for instances.

I don’t think I reached level 10 with her that first time, but I ended up re-rolling her on the Gilgamesh server, since I liked that name better (who doesn’t love Gilgamesh?), and I heard it was the official Reddit server. I did get this version of Zuri past level 10, and was posting about it on my GW2 Tumblr when a couple of GW2 friends contacted me. They told me to join them over on the Midgardsormr server where they had a guild.

So I re-rolled Zuri for the third time (no free server transfers yet), and started her on her path on Midgardsormr. I continued to make my way in levels to unlock White Mage, but that’s where I stalled out for a few months. A couple of things happened about this time: Syn picked up FFXIV, and we rolled new characters together, and I started chickening out on the idea of progressing in story dungeons as a healer.

I wasn’t a bad healer. I didn’t dislike the class. But I’m a nervous dungeon runner, and being the White Mage was not helping the anxiety. I did various holiday events with Zuri, but mostly put her to the side until I finally came to grips with the idea that I was going to class change to Bard.

Good choice. Once I put my mind to leveling Archer seriously, I was able to grind through to unlock Bard and pick up where I left off in the main story with the White Mage job. Took a whole weekend to do, but that was the turning point for this character. Once I tried a dungeon as Bard, I felt like I’d found a good class fit for me. I’m traditionally a melee DPS (my alt is a Dragoon), but I’ve come to enjoy Bard just as much now.

So, the rest is pretty much history.

I still have a ton to do in this game — earning my Relic +1 armor, finishing the main scenario, picking up the quests that follow main scenario, my first Hildebrants, and eventually my relic weapon. Not to mention leveling all those other classes I want to try and working on crafting!

With a second character floating around mid level 48, I’ll be adding Dragoon to this list pretty soon, too!

Zuri Nimat Progression Gallery

bookmark_borderWhat FFXIV Gives to Softcore Gamers: Chocobo Companions

Chocobos are one of Final Fantasy’s iconic creatures, beloved for being mounts and companions within games throughout the FF series. In Final Fantasy XIV, this legacy continues as you can earn your own chocobo mount at level 20. This, of course, makes travelling much faster and easier.

Chocobo companion barding.

You’re Not Alone

While there are a number of other cosmetic mounts you can earn once you unlock the chocobo mount, your first chocobo is special. It’s the only mount that you can train as a companion at level 30. And I do mean train, as in the chocobo fights with you, levels with you and even learns skills from trees!

This means that as long as you have a stash of greens in your inventory, even when you’re soloing around on a casual night, you never have to fight those battles alone. Choose to make your chocobo DPS, tank or healer — whatever compliments your character’s solo needs, and you’ll always have a party of two to get the job done. With the wonderful 2.2 update, you can now ride your chocobo even when you have him summoned as a battle companion, making it super convenient to level and party with him!

For me, the healing chocobo is invaluable. There’s so much content that I’d have a whole lot more trouble doing without the chocobo regen and cures. I love the idea of checking in on my chocobo’s levels, even though it’s far slower than my own leveling. The only issue I have with this system right now is that there’s no refund on chocobo skill points if you decide you need to change them (which I need on my main character).

Chocobo Customization

Your companion is also fairly customizable. Not only do you choose his skill set, but you name him (and can rename him). FFXIV also awards different types of barding, some as holiday themed rewards, allowing you to dress him up in a style to match your character. Once you reach rank 10 with your chocobo, you can also earn special barding styles.

Overall, this system gives players a leveling companion that supports a chosen playstyle and helps soloists and casual players along in leveling open world content. Of course, the chocobo is totally optional, but I personally don’t know what I’d do without mine!

Zuri and her chocobo, Namingway.

bookmark_borderWhat FFXIV Gives to Softcore Gamers: Beast Tribe Quests

Look at me! Epically making my way through the storyline!

In a previous post I discussed reasons why I shouldn’t be playing FFXIV, being the softcore gamer that I am. Obviously, somewhere along the line, the good within the game has outweighed the bad for me, because I keep logging in and haven’t lost my desire to make progress.

In this series, I want to highlight some features or mechanics that I feel FFXIV provides to more casual and softcore gamers. This post concentrates on the Beast Tribe Quests and my thoughts on why these are a good addition to end game options.

What are Beast Tribe Quests?

These little guys want my help and they’re not afraid to lay on the flattery to get it!

In FFXIV, the beastman tribes are races of creatures who are often at odds with the player character races. Some of these are hostile and outright attack you, while others can be reasoned with and even become allies. The most dangerous thing about beastmen is when they summon their primals, which they worship as gods. However, even within hostile beastmen tribes, there appear to be those whom seek help from the players for one reason or another. That’s where the Beast Tribe Quests come in.

These are repeatable daily quests that are fairly short in nature. I can generally sit down and finish all 6 allowed dailies in less than 45 minutes. They tend to be quirky, and often teach the player a bit about that tribe’s culture. Completing the quests awards you with reputation, experience, ventures and (most importantly) Tomestones of Mythology.

Before you groan at the idea of faction-based dailies, let me note that not only are these quests quick to finish, but they have random elements within them. First, the game assigns you random quests per day, so you never know which one you’re going to get. Some of those quests also provide random placement of objectives, so you can’t just memorize locations of all quests to get them done. This helps you feel like there’s a variety to choose from. If that’s not enough, with patch 2.2, there are now 4 different beastman tribes that offer quests, so if you get bored of one race, you can work on quests for another as a change of scenery.


Eventually, you can earn stuff from the faction vendors, including special mounts. But that’s not what makes these quests so awesome for softcore gamers.

What Beast Tribe Quests Give to Softcore Gamers

Since you can’t start the Beast Tribe Quests until you’re level 41, these are aimed at a pre and post endgame player. The important thing is that they give Tomestones of Mythology, which you can exchange for high level armor.

First Tomestone Get!

Now. Beast Tribe Quests are capped to 6 per day. So this means that at 5 Tomestones per quest, you can make a total of 210 Tomestones per week from the lowest level daily quests alone. As you unlock reputation, the advanced quests give more, but not a ton more. For some, this may be very, very slow going. For me, a person who stresses out at the thought of spending endgame running dungeon after dungeon… and who doesn’t have time to do that kind of running even if I wanted to… this is a fantastic option!

In fact, I got quite excited when I realized that with time and dedication, I could earn my ilvl 90 armor as a solo player. Of course, this will take much longer than it would take someone who doesn’t mind running dungeons. I think it’s a fair trade-off considering the non-difficulty of the Beast Tribe Quests as they stand.

So is this the idea way to get this done? No. I’m just pleased the option is there for players like me who are dungeon-shy. It gives me a long-term goal and I don’t mind waiting for my rewards.

bookmark_borderSaying Farewell to Second Life


Almost ten years ago, in July 2004, I first stumbled into the virtual world of Second Life. This article isn’t going to be a story of massive life transformation due to a new virtual frontier, however. My time in Second Life has been very casual and rather on-and-off.

My Second Life History

Back then, new residents got to choose their last names. So I created my avatar, Aywren Sojourner, and learned to fly. I visited many astounding resident-created places (still have the bookmarks and many still exist!), but also ran into the real-money-transaction walls that kept me from enjoying the world as a poor college student.

Those were days before flexis and sculpties and long, long before mesh. So while it was revolutionary for its time, the graphics struggled to impress. Even if you subscribed to the game with a decent stipend, you’d have to pay out the nose in real life cash to have the smallest 512 plot… should you find one.

512 got you a lot less back then, too as there were no 1-prim sculpts like you see today. So, all in all, if you weren’t able to plunk down the cash as a resident, you were more of a visitor to other people’s lands than someone who could build their own. I’m not much of an online socialite, so once I understood that sandboxes were the extent of my creative locations, I drifted away from Second Life for a while.

A Return to Second Life

The strangest thing brought me back to Second Life: breedable pets. Some people might groan at the thought of laggy horse farms, and I understand that pain. But about three and a half years ago, when I discovered a video of Precious Dragons queen flight, I knew there was something moving through the virtual world that I finally wanted to be a part of.


I jumped back into Second Life the fall of 2010, headfirst into the world of breedable pets. Fascinated by all the working bits that made up these pets, I began blogging about them. For a while, I was hired to organize and keep the wiki for Precious Dragons, my first ever in-world job for $L. I did that with much excitement, earning some cash that allowed me to indulge land rental and pet ownership.

Boy did I own pets, too. From cats to dragons to horses to dogs to bunnies and birds… you name it. At one time or another, I owned at least one pet from every major breedable developer out there. I blogged the breedable news. I attended breedable events. I talked with developers and team media specialists. It was a good time with good community and lots of excitement.

I saw some really crazy things in my time — like one of the first Koi Meeroo selling for over $600 in real life cash. Yes, I’m serious… a virtual pet made of pixels. Some people got waaaay too into this stuff.

Winding Down

aywren-300x225Things have come a long way in Second Life. Mesh has been introduced, and the quality of creations in world is now astounding. I’ve been to live music shows with friends where you’re seriously attending a concert with a real musician on the other side. There’s a community for just about everything you could be interested in (for better or worse).

And while I was never in need of anything after I started selling my breedables, advertising space on the blog, and carefully rationing stipends and land rentals, I feel as if my time in the world is coming to a close. You know those symptoms: you’re not logging in, you’ve sold or inventoried most of your pets, you don’t really feel the need to decorate your Linden home.

While breedable pets are still going strong and the developers are still amazing and wonderful folks in both technology and art, I just haven’t felt the lure of pets the way I used to. The passion of keeping my blog isn’t there anymore — I’m mostly quoting out official sites and in-world notifications to report the news. Even though there’s still interest in advertising on my blog, I can tell when it’s time to step away and say farewell.

Easter is a big time for breedables, and one of my advertisers still has a month left that they paid for. So between now and June, I’m going to uphold my end and blog as I always have. But in-world, I’ve already picked up all my stuff and relinquished my nice little house next to the waterside. My pets are tucked away… always there should I want to come back. And I’m sure to stop in when friends want to listen to a concert or play a game of Greedy Greedy.

For now, this is farewell to Second Life… (until something really cool pops up that draws me back in again).

bookmark_borderFour Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Like Final Fantasy XIV (Even Though I Do)


I’ve been playing FFXIV for about six months now. Strangely, I haven’t blogged about it here, mostly because those little posts tend to go on my Tumblr instead. The truth is, this is the longest I’ve lasted on a subscription based game that didn’t allow me to buy a lifetime membership. That says a lot considering there are so many reasons why I shouldn’t like FFXIV… even though I do and I’m hooked on it right now.

Anti-Squeenix Sentiments

The first reason is totally personal bias. Syn and I have been quite angry at Square for the last 6-7 years or so, mostly due to their poor business choices and game design. Seriously, how many times are you going re-release our beloved FFIV and muddle up the translation/plot (milking the series for all it’s not worth)? Then releasing unneeded and badly-written sequels (FFIV The After) for even more money… I’ve seen better fanfiction online!

What happened to the Square I loved?

As a gamer growing up with Squaresoft during my young and impressionable years, Final Fantasy was once a series that could do no wrong. The last real console FF I enjoyed was FFIX. Everything from there just seemed a muddled mess of kiddie J-Pop and non-fantasy to the point I couldn’t recognize it as Final Fantasy anymore.

Apologies to those who enjoyed those games, but give me the classics. I pretty much vowed to stop buying anything Squeenix produced after that point. So the fact that I bought and subscribed to FFXIV is nothing short of a miracle.

Perhaps, though, with games like Bravely Default, we’ll see a change in the company’s approach. I’d love to see them return to their roots… which is something I feel FFXIV does in many ways. FFXIV may not have the best FF story out there, but it certainly has a FF feel I’ve been missing in console games for the past ten years. And that was the first thing that hooked me and kept me playing.

Trinity Gameplay and No Build Variation

blackmageSome people love trinity gameplay. Some people hate it. I’m not really in one camp or another.

I’ll admit, though, I’ve gotten used to games (GW2, LOTRO, Secret World, ESO, etc) that either abolish or downplay the trinity style compared to more oldskool MMOs. In fact, trinity seems outdated when you look at what many new games are trying to accomplish with wide open build possibilities.

So for FFXIV to come along with a very strict trinity and really no variation in skills or playstyles, it’s surprising how many people have taken to it. Sure, you can go back an level up all those other classes on one character. Some class skills overlap once you get your jobs. But overall, most people of the same class will have the same skills on their bar as everyone else. There’s not much (if any) build variety… yet… I still enjoy it and I think that a strict trinity works well with the classic Final Fantasy classes.

Still like to hope for more class variety in the future…

Forced Dungeons vs. My Fear of Grouping

Okay. Who put the forced grouping dungeons in my main storyline?

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that’s totally not acceptable. I’m a soloist at heart when I’m not playing with close friends. While I enjoy helping people and joining in open world content (I think FATES are one thing that saved this game for me), I’m super shy and have a terrible fear of grouping in PUG situations.

Beating Ifrit in a PUG (I did it!)

I don’t know where that fear developed… perhaps that little YA noob me getting ganked in UO as my first MMO experience… but it holds me back from experiencing dungeon and raid groups in every game I play. At the thought of putting together or joining a group, my heart starts pounding, sometimes my hands shake… and well… it’s just not a fun thing for me. In fact, it got so bad, that after the forced-grouping nightmare that was FFXI, I quit MMOs for many years.

Many newer MMOs are much more solo friendly. You can usually do main storylines without having grouped instances forced upon you. FFXIV is not one of them.

This has taken me time and dedication to overcome. The Duty Finder helps a lot. It puts the groups together for me and saves me from having to fearfully communicate my need to join a dungeon group. It also eases my mind to know that if I totally make a fool of myself, I’ll probably never see any of these people again.

There have been times I’ve put down a character for months because the next thing I had to face was a dungeon. I won’t roll alts in FFXIV not because my main can pretty much do it all, but because I know I’ll have to go through dungeons to progress through my storyline and level up. Every dungeon down is a victory won over my strange PUG fear.

But you know… it’s also teaching me that grouping with strangers isn’t as terrible and scary as I’ve made it out to be. Most the parties I’ve run with (aside from one or two… and those who just want to speed run), have been understanding and willing to explain fight mechanics to new people. I do my best to do my job and discovered that the Bard’s ranged DPS was a good class for me in learning situations.

I’m not sure how I’ll manage endgame things, but so far, my main is level 43 and I’ve survived!

Speaking of Endgame…

Zuri and her chocobo

That’s all anyone seems to talk about in this game. Free Companies. Linkshells. Forums. Where are all the low level and progressing players?

Yes, I did say that I’ve been playing for 6 months and my main is now level 43. I’ve dabbled in other classes, rerolled a few times, done some crafting, took some time away from the game, and many other things that have put me way behind other players. Heck, just the fact that I started playing a month after release put me behind by default.

It’s a bit tough to be that one person who doesn’t have a level 50 in the guilds and linkshells. While everyone is thinking about atma weapons and Levi runs, I’m still pondering my first attempt with story mode Garuda. This makes socializing and grouping with Free Company folks difficult because in many ways, they’re playing a very different game than I am.

I know that it gets that way in certain groups in all games. But this game seems to be the worst I’ve ever seen for funneling people towards end game in a way that those still progressing feel like outsiders in a world of Coil runs and TEX.


Yay for Challenge Logs!

The devs have recently done a good job in expanding content for those who are still leveling, while providing challenges for those who are at end game. With the newest 2.2 patch, I’ve seen more options for leveling and making the much-needed gil than ever.

I love the new Challenge Log and Venture systems! Along with unlocking Beast Tribe Daily quests at level 41, these have really given me new incentive to log into FFXIV every day. I feel that I have so many choices in what to do, none of them under pressure or super difficult, that I’ll be happily leveling my way up to 50 without breaking a sweat.

A few months back, I was reconsidering my subscription to FFXIV, mostly because I felt the game was skewed towards end game too much. I’m glad I stuck with it and have learned to adapt and develop along with the game. I now find it rewarding in so many ways, and look forward to seeing how this FF world grows over time.

Zuri, my main character, Bard

bookmark_borderMy Forecast for H1Z1: Cautiously Optimistic

h1z1Let me start off by saying, I’m a fan of the zombie genre, when it’s done right. I’ve been a follower of Walking Dead for years (comics, show, TellTale Games), and tend to go out of my way to mess around with horror games when I hear good things about them.

That being said, I won’t touch the survival games, such as DayZ and Rust. Not after some of the videos I’ve watch. Those are enough to make me lose a little faith in humanity. To me, they are brutal gank-fests that encourage mindless slaughter and bring out the worst in gamers.

So, when I first heard SOE’s surprise announcement about their new zombie survival game, H1Z1, I instantly wrote it off as yet another place for trolls to congregate online. However, after sleeping on it, reading over Smed’s letter, and reading the comments, I’ve changed my outlook on this game to be cautiously optimistic.

What Changed My Mind?

Aside from it being a F2P sandbox?

I read a number of quotes that caught my attention in the letter and made me pause. Here’s to hoping my interpretation is thinking in the right direction.

We are starting with what I would call “Middle America” – an “anywhere and everywhere” town. The world is massive as you’ve come to expect from our games. Over time we will grow the world until we have our own version of the U.S. after the death and destruction brought on during the H1Z1 epidemic. It will be our own version of America. We’ll have urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly.

Hmm… okay. That sounds pretty cool. I wonder if I could raid my hometown?

First off, it’s a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host (yes there will be multiple servers with very different rule sets).

You have my attention now. Different rule sets? As in a PvE server? I’d be totally on board with trying this out if I didn’t have to worry about getting ganked by bloodthirsty players constantly. I’m really not into playing a game where you literally fear every stranger you meet. But… a building server or PvE server, yes.

To use a simple reference I’m sure everyone interested in this game will get… we want our players to ake Woodbury from The Walking Dead if they want to. Or take over a prison.

Haha… nice use of Walking Dead references. I’m sure that got the point across. I betcha someone builds Terminus. |:D

Our goal here is to provide emergent gameplay that will allow our players to make the world their own the way they want to. One of the best things about H1Z1 being an MMO is the fact that with a lot of people playing, we’re able to see all different kinds of gameplay. If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops… we’re going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete.

Again, another hint that there may be safe servers or a way to play this game without a gankfest ruleset. Yes, please?

I might even be up for a game that has PVP, but entices people to help each other to survive rather kill on sight. Maybe. Just depends on how it goes. I think it’s time to watch this game’s Reddit.

bookmark_borderApril’s Video Game Kickstarter Fever

I guess I’m odd in that spring fever for translates into Kickstarter fever for me. I got my income tax returns back, and while most of it is going to housing repairs, what little I am using “for fun” I’ve put towards supporting the number of really sweet looking indie Kickstarters.

So what am I backing? What are my picks? Read on!


Planets³ is a 3D open-world voxel-based RPG (first person view).

Imagined by video game lovers, Planets³ (pronounced «planetscube») combines the excitement of role playing with the pleasure of construction and the boundless freedom to roam about in a 3D universe. Its intricate plot and outstanding voxel based design offers opportunities for intense action and unlimited creativity. Planets³ has been designed to promote multi-player gameplay, to share the fun with friends.

This Kickstarter was already successfully funded, much to my pleasure. Looking like a 3D Starbound, the team seems to have a lot of great ideas on where they want this game to go. Even though it’s already funded, I’d suggest helping it out on Steam Greenlight and keeping an eye on this game.

Dragon Fin Soup

Grimm Bros is proud to present Dragon Fin Soup.  A Tactical Action RPG with roguelike elements set in a charming, twisted, dark, fairy tale inspired world featuring a 2D top down camera and fluid turn-based movement that allows you to set the pace.

This one is fully funded and only has two days left to go — counting down, jump in if you’re interested! What can I say? I was pulled in by the tactical elements and the blending of a fairy tale world and storyline. This looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Hero Generations

Hero Generations is a quick-playing turn-based strategy game that takes inspiration from rogue-likes, 4X strategy, and independent art games. It has been described as the offspring ofSid Meier’s CivilizationJason Rohrer’s Passageand The Legend of Zelda.

You play a rapidly aging hero that explores a procedurally generated world in search of fame and a mate to settle down with before you die. After your life ends, you continue on adventuring as your child. Depending upon your choices, your child will be either more fit to take on the world, or hobbled by your poor decisions.

As of this moment, this game is 75% funded, and seems like it’s on the path to seeing success. I’m really interested in the blend of gaming concepts and the thought of building up a family line through generations.

Popup Dungeon

Popup Dungeon is a roguelike dungeon crawler for PC, Mac, and Linux that lets players create any weapon, any ability, and any character they can imagine. It’s a papercraft version of an enchanted board game with tactical, turn-based RPG gameplay in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics.

Creation is a key part of Popup Dungeon. Users can create and customize every aspect of their heroes from their look and theme music down to their weapons and abilities. Build your heroes using our extensive library of assets or import your own and make something truly unique.

I enjoy a good dungeon crawl, and the art style is unique. But what really caught my attention was the proposed creation system for those who enjoy customization. It looks like it’ll be amazing — but check out the site for a much better explanation of why!


Armello combines the adventure of role-playing games with the strategy of card and board games!

It’s not just the breathtaking concept art. It’s not just the amazing animation or the lovely looking character design. The concept is intriguing and it looks like a game that’s ready to deliver. This game came out on the Kickstarter scene with the roar of a lion and is quickly becoming a popular pick among backers. I can see a lot of success for this one.

Have you been Kickstarting anything lately? What are your picks?

bookmark_borderFlight Rising: Virtual Pets, Dragon Breeding Game Review

all_plentiful_dragonsI’ve been playing Flight Rising for quite a while, and wanted to eventually write a review about it. However, since registration is limited to certain days and times, I decided to hold off until I knew there was an upcoming registration window opening. And there is!

Flight Rising will be opening a registration window for new users Monday, April 14th starting at 5:00 server time and ending at 5:00 server time on April 15th. 

Okay, with that out of the way, here comes the review.

Dragon Breeding and So Much More!

battleWhat is Flight Rising? I’d be tempted to call it a dragon breeding virtual pet website, but it’s far more than that. Hearkening back to the days of NeoPets, Flight Rising has created a thriving community of dragon lovers, and provides several browser-based games to supplement your shopping sprees.

What all does this site include?

  • Several types of dragons to breed. Their traits and color combinations are genetic, so you can mix and match to develop your dream dragon.
  • Clothing and vanity items for your dragons to wear.
  • Community broken down into Flights (clans), based on element or dragon philosophy. Good for the RP types.
  • Daily gathering for food and rare items. Eventually, I hear there will be crafting.
  • Collect cute familiars and earn their trust for gold and treasures.
  • An auction house for selling items and dragons.
  • A battle coliseum where you can develop a team of dragons that gain levels as they take on monsters in a turn-based RPG environment.
  • Match your dragons against other players in the coliseum as well.
  • A fairground with several types of browser based games that help you earn in-game currency.
  • Monthly contests and festivals for each flight.
  • Battles for flight dominance to earn perks, such as marketplace discounts.

Let’s not forget the wonderful artwork, much of it lovingly created by NeonDragon.

The Flip Side

Zemi, My first dragon

Flight Rising has a lot of wonderful concepts and offers a lot for dragon lovers to enjoy. I list all of the above as positive aspects of the site, but a review wouldn’t be complete without some cons to balance it out. While this has been one of the most enjoyable virtual pet games I’ve played, and I support it whole-heartedly, there are some hitches that will probably not bother a newcomer to the site… and certainly shouldn’t turn you away from trying it out.

Website Woes. Flight Rising is popular. In fact, it is so popular that the developers underestimated the kind of traffic the site would receive. The team has done a great job of ironing out the issues that cause crashes and sluggish response times in the beginning. It’s not unusual to see the site have hiccups, however. And the team continues to keep the site closed to new member registration for concern of website load.

Breeding and Economy Woes. For a game that centers around dragon breeding, even well-traited dragons sell for far, far less than the cost of a breed-change scroll. Don’t expect to make money by selling your dragons on the auction house. It’s sad but true. Games and coliseum are the focus of generating revenue, which tends to miff those of us who came here to breed lovely dragons we hoped would be of value.

Slow Breeding Times and Cooldowns. Depending on the breed of dragon, the time between breeding cycles can vary from 15 to 30-something days. And once your dragons breed, obtaining a random number of eggs (which can be one egg if you’re unlucky), it takes another five days of incubating to hatch the eggs. It’s a pretty steep waiting game that may turn some breeders off.

Real Money Transactions. Flight Rising is free to play, but does include real money transactions in the form of purchasing gems. You can earn these gems (very slowly) or sell at the auction house for gems, but the fastest way to get the rarest breed and trait scrolls is to plunk down real money for it. This has never bothered me, but it might bother some folks.

If any of this sounds exciting to you, why not give it a shot? The registration window is only open one day next week, and it’s hard to tell when the next window will open once this is closed. If it seems like something you’d enjoy, feel free to reference me (Aywren) as your referral and friend me once you get your account running!