Posted in 7 Days to Die, Black Desert Online, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: Training Expert, Camp NaNo Writing, and Dat Funk

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I did, indeed, reach my goal of Skilled 1 Trainer in BDO last night. This gave me a new title, Training Expert, which I wear proudly.

I just wish it would give more female T4s when breeding, though. I’ve had absolutely no luck in breeding a single T4 female in four tries, and the horse breeding calculator says I should have over 50% chance at it given the levels I raised my horses to. It was right about getting T3 females… so either it’s just RNG hating me this weekend or something’s not quite right with the calculator.

So far, all my T4s look very much the same, too, which is a little disappointing. My painted T3 female remains my prettiest horse, so I think I’m going to hold on to her for cosmetic riding reasons. Maybe even try pushing her to level 30 before I breed her. Just don’t know if I have the patience to wait for all that, though. XD

Dat Funk

blah I don’t usually write about myself in terms of feelings and RL issues because folks have enough of that already. But over the weekend, I’ve been in a funk… that I have absolutely no reason or right to be.

Overall, things are going well for me. Work is fine, home life is fine, I have lots of great games to play and people to play them with, I just got my tax return money back (so money is fine), I’ve been working on re-writing Dreigiau and trying to stay inspired – I have no excuse for being in a funk.

I have, however, not been feeling so well as of last week. I’ve just felt the need to sleep and sleep and sleep, and have been dealing with flushed face and sometimes nasty night headaches. It eventually led me to just feeling unmotivated, unenergized, and restless over the weekend.

If you know anything about creative folks, one of the worst feelings is being restless… because it leads to all sorts of discontent and bummed-outness.

For example, I just wasn’t interested in any games I’ve been playing lately. I mean, I set my horses on auto-loop this weekend, but I had no desire to actually play BDO. I didn’t game at all on Saturday, but I had the itch to try something world-buildy or sandboxy… I just didn’t know what. I looked at my list of Steam games for inspiration, but nothing appealed to me. I resisted the temptation to buy something new (Stardew Valley was in my thoughts) on the restless whim because I already have enough games as it is.

I did end up playing some FFXIV on Sunday, mostly just finishing the Crystal Tower trio for the weekly. My monk is almost at level 53, which is something that should excite me a little bit. Just not feeling it. My zombie hunting troupe did sit down with a little 7D2D late last night, which did get my focus for a bit.

I’m actually feeling a little bit better this morning physically (though I’m still dragging and sleepy). So I’m hoping this will pass.

It probably doesn’t help that this is technically week two of Camp NaNoWriMo and I’ve been burning creative juices and inspiration hard to get this writing done. When I’m expelling more creativity than I can absorb, it often leads me to feeling burned out, so this could be part of it.

Camp NaNoWriMo

camp_nano_logoWeek two is traditionally the hardest week for writers in any sort of NaNoWriMo. You’ve gotten past that new story smell, have made those initial introductions to people, places, things and ideas in your fictional world, and now the burden of actually doing stuff with them is upon your shoulders.

For me, the challenge is re-writing a story I started writing in 2001-2002 without looking back at the source material. Even though I’ve edited the original story several times since “completing” it, my memory is pretty fuzzy as to what all I actually did write. This could be a good (or a bad) thing.

Overall, I don’t feel like I’m parroting the original story at all. Everything I’ve written has been from scratch and, though it makes reference to the original plot and structure, flows very differently. I like what I’ve done so far, but I worry that other people might not.

I finally got up the courage to show Syn the first 6 chapters this weekend, and she seemed okay with it. She tends to not like when I alter things too much, so I’m using her reactions to get a feel for how other people might respond to it.

I am at the point of trying to start writing a journey that needs to happen in the story, but doing so with logic and reason behind it. Then figuring out what all needs to happen along the way. Don’t believe it when people tell you the fantasy journey trope is an easy one to write! Nope. In my experience, it’s always been one of the most difficult ones, though rewarding if you do it well.

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Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: Cherry Tree in my House!

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So while I’ve been training my horses in BDO, I’ve also been foraging for cherry tree seeds that you can farm and earn rewards during the current Cherry Blossom Event. Yet another little event that gives not just a housing item, but a cosmetic item! Nice, BDO!

Dang, these seeds are hard to find, though. And they take a LONG time to cultivate. The bummer is that plants don’t grow unless you’re logged in to the game, but the upside is, I’m in game anyhow racing horses up and down the roads. So, all is well.

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I finally harvested my first tree yesterday and snagged the cherry blossom pot for my house. It’s a nice little splash of color considering I haven’t put a lot into decorating my new place yet. Bad me!

I adore cherry trees IRL, so I’m happy to have one for my in game house. I also love how BDO’s little festivals curl up around content you’re already probably doing (gathering, farming), or encourages you to try things you weren’t doing (gathering, farming). 😉

I’m still immensely enjoying my time in BDO, even though I only just hit level 22 last night with over 100 hours sunk into the game… It’s all good.

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Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: Makin A Splash with More Horse Breeding

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SS Makin A Splash

I’ve been quietly training up my stable of T3 and T2 horses over the weeks in BDO. I’ve found, however, that as low as my skill is, it’s much more lucrative for me to capture a T1 horse and train it to level 10 before selling it off. The reason for this is that I’ve noted that I only gain experience in training when the horse gains a level. T1 horses gain levels much faster than higher tier horses at this point, so taming and selling them off helps me level more.

I’ve gotten to a point where my Tier 3 horses require lots of carrots just to make each level, so I’ve been holding off on riding them hoping that leveling will help speed up the process. Last night I happened to catch a T1 Female – my second ever. At first, I was going to level her and sell her, but then I decided to breed her instead. I’m happy I did!

Not only did it result in another (two) Tier 3 females, but I also bred my first painted/feathered horse, which I named SS Makin A Splash. I’m assuming this is all pretty random, though, since her sister turned out to be a grey similar to the other two T3 females.

I’ve updated my Stables Page to reflect the second family line I’ve bred. This makes me happy because I was trying to stay away from inbreeding if at all possible. Now I just need to get a few males in the mix so I can push on towards T4 horses! 🙂

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Splash’s sister: SS Hypnotized

 

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: Mediah Expansion Trailer

 

This doesn’t even effect me since I’m only level 21, happily training horses and farming. But it still looks really incredible! I do hope we might see one of the new classes, as well. I’m holding back rolling certain characters because none of the existing classes really fit.

Also, this is a MUCH better trailer than their launch/intro trailer. Thank goodness!

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: First Impressions

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I know I’ve heard a few folks comment that they want to see some of my impressions of the game before making a decision about picking it up (I’m honored!). However, all I can offer today are my first impressions. I didn’t play during beta and only had a few hours with the game (mostly learning movement and battle), so my posts are going to be slow and steady, just like my playstyle.

I’ll have a LOT more time with the game tonight and tomorrow, so hopefully I can bring back more impressions as I go along.

Last night, I rolled my Tamer, Aywren Sojourn, on the Orwen server, Calpheon 2 channel. Orwen was the chosen server of fellow bloggers/Twitter folks, and also the chosen RP server of NA. I heard Calpheon 2 was chosen to be the official RP channel as well, so that’s where I settled.

One thing I was most impressed with, even though the servers were at high and the channel was marked as overflowing in population, I never once saw a queue. I was always able to log right in, no matter the time of night! It’s already making a better impression on me than AA did at launch.

Better Than Expected

I’d heard a lot of impressions about the bland voice acting, the lack of story and sub-par questing. So, I went in with very low expectations of these things. While the localization and voice acting won’t win any awards, I’ve played a LOT worse imported MMOs *cough*Dragon’sProphet*cough*.

Sure, it’s lacking the charm and character of big name story-driven games like FFXIV and GW2. But it’s certainly a few leaps up from someone just running Korean through Google translate. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its mistakes…

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But for the amount of text in the game (every creature, every NPC, and every town has background information!), I’ve found it far and in between.

So the story. I can see where people could feel it’s disjointed and confusing.

They pulled the amnesia trope (don’t click, it leads to TV Tropes), where the game alludes to the fact that you used to be someone powerful and important, but you don’t seem to remember it, and neither does anyone else. Therefore, you have a reason to relearn all the knowledge about your world and your abilities.

I guess I can’t knock it because FFXIV did the same thing with their Warrior of Light story. Though, theirs was a bit more complex with a better reason than “just cuz.”

Anyhow, you’ve got this black spirit buddy following you around, who has somehow attuned to you, which makes you special (though the spirit doesn’t say why). The spirit seems to know enough to walk you through a tutorial, but not enough to tell you what the lowdown is in this world.

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It speaks in a childlike way, being a strange spirit, which I saw as a tone choice on purpose and not bad translation. It’s even quite amusing sometimes, but I could see how it could be confusing.

I’m going out on a limb to hope that the story is disjointed and vague on purpose, because it’s following the story of you, who knows nothing, and must unfold as your character grows in knowledge. It’s befuddling because you’d be confused in this situation. And I think that’s just fine considering I’m as new to this world as my character is.

Well, just as long as the story does unfold later. I’m patient about this.

Quests are standard fare so far. Voice acting is also pretty standard hit-and-miss, but not the worst I’ve ever seen. Though, those goblins sounding like little children creep me out.

Things I Like So Far

Overall, I actually have a pretty positive outlook for this game.

I really like the knowledge system! 

Every NPC you meet has a background story that you learn when you speak to them for the first time. Every creature you fight has similar information.

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One thing I thought was neat was the fact that when you first attack an enemy, you have no knowledge of them, therefore, you can’t see their HP bar in battle! As you fight more of the same kind of enemy, you gain knowledge until you level that knowledge up and then you can see things such as an HP bar!

I don’t know why, but that’s a neat touch, and it doesn’t feel at all tedious. It gives me a reason to want to beat things up because I feel like I’m leveling up in my knowledge of the world, which is more important to me than just normal XP.

You also can’t strike up major conversations with NPCs until you’ve increased your knowledge of other NPCs in the area (talked to them), so I’m really curious what conversations are locked away and who else I need to meet!

This world is huge!

I mean, even the tutorial area just feels really really expansive. Like there’s so much to discover… and the game keeps nudging you to do just that.

Not to mention how beautiful the world is in general. I could really get lost in this game and not even care. It’s an explorer’s dream.

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Quest Auto-Run

One neat feature is the quest auto-run. Because the world is so large, and it’s so easy to get lost, the game will guide you to the next quest point if you click the auto-run option. I’d like to stress that this is an option, so if you want to find things on your own, that’s fine too. For those who want a hint or just don’t want to spend time hunting stuff down, the auto-run feature will take you where you want to go.

Screen Shot Love

When you choose to hide the UI (Ctrl + U), the game automatically goes into this nice screenshot mode with lovely depth of field effects and blurred background. If you happen to go AFK, when you come back, you’ll notice that the game has gone into a screensaver mode – similar to FFXIV’s idle camera feature – which gives you different shots of the area around you and your character with the depth of field effect on.

This game is so pretty and it takes screens so nicely!

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That RTS Feeling 

I haven’t gotten far enough to understand the whole node/worker system yet. All I know is that you unlock nodes by talking to NPCs, and that connects cities and nodes together for future gathering and trade. The overworld map has a very RTS feel to it, which is something that excites me. I want to learn all about how this stuff works!

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AFK and Alts Are Encouraged

I haven’t rolled an alt yet, but I can already see from the logout screen that the game heavily encourages them.

I also haven’t gotten to the point where AFK has been encouraged, but I have seen where the game will minimize itself by default rather than close down instantly. This is due to the fact that AFK activity is encouraged.

One example is fishing. I’ve heard if you set yourself up with a pole and cast anywhere, your character will continue to just fish without the need for you to reel anything in. This means you can just AFK fish, do something else, like play another MMO, then come back in an hour to reap your rewards. All that time, you earn skill points and money!

Of course, you can only fish for so long before you need to replace your pole, but still, this further supports my hope to make this game a side MMO. I’m already downloading it on my laptop for those AFK activities while I run content in FFXIV on my main machine.

Dat Combat

A lot of folks will say combat is fun in BDO. For me, I think it’s pretty good, but really a recipe for me to just start button mashing all over the place. I mean, the black spirit tried to teach me combos and tactics and stuff. But the moment I see an enemy, that flies out of my head and the only things I remember is to press W+RightMouseButton or W+LeftMouseButton.

So combat is action-based and has a lot of keyboard+mouse combo pressing. It reminds me a lot of Dragon’s Prophet… but because so few have actually played that game, let me liken it a bit more to something like Neverwinter. No tab targeting, you use your mouse to target an enemy, then let loose the fury of button mashing, which often satisfyingly destroys multiple enemies at once.

Other Thoughts

Last night, I wasn’t even trying to level, and I still hit level 10. Granted, they did host a bonus EX event during some of the time I was playing. But, still, I felt I was moving along at a pretty good pace. I already saw some people in chat asking for level 40+ leveling groups, which is mind boggling.

Guilds sure seem to like to declare war on each other. Like… constantly.

The vigor points system doesn’t seem anywhere as bad as ArcheAge’s labor points. Heck, I couldn’t even fish in AA without using up labor. Here, it seems that you can set workers to mine or do things like AFK fishing without spending vigor… which I like. I noticed that you can unlock knowledge at one NPC by spending vigor, but other than that, I haven’t seen myself spending them yet. Of course, I haven’t hit the sandboxy stuff yet, either.

So… I think that’s about it for my first impressions. I’ll have more for you tomorrow once I’ve put some hours into the game tonight!

If you’re on Orwen, please send me a friend invite! 😀

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: My Expectations… Or, Rather, Lack Of

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Tonight I will get my first experience playing BDO. I didn’t play in betas on purpose. I have only watched a few videos about the game, and that’s mostly out of curiosity for things like horse taming, buying houses, tips for starting, and hiring workers. I’ve also read a few collective reviews from bloggers and MMO sites. So, while I’m slowly getting more excited for the game’s launch, I wanted to talk about my lack of expectations for BDO.

What I Don’t Expect

It’s funny that I’d buy into a game that I have low expectations for. Usually, story and questing are the highlights of the games I play. But, honestly, I pay a sub to FFXIV because it weaves a good story and hits a lot of the right buttons for me with content and community. I also have a whole slew of single player games that offer a good story experience. So, I honestly don’t need another MMO that rivals my interest in story.

From everything I’ve read about BDO, I have very low expectations for:

  • Localization
  • Main Story
  • Quest Story
  • Voice Acting

Looking back at my time in ArcheAge… I wasn’t there for the story. What was there didn’t make a whole lot of sense and wasn’t the best writing I’ve ever experienced in an MMO. The story didn’t even carry a player to level cap as it stopped at about level 25, and that was that.

I didn’t play AA for the story, though, so I could accept that. I was there for the world and the sandbox experience, which is what BDO tempts me with as well.

I also know that the game will have:

  • An overpriced cash shop
  • Mob grinding
  • Free for all PVP

I don’t plan on buying stuff from the cash shop unless I really, really find value in something. For example, I don’t have a desire for a cash shop mount because one of my goals is to tame my own horses. I didn’t even buy the higher tier pre-order because I didn’t want them handing me a horse. True story! XD Time will tell if I feel the game deserves extra money from me over the price of the box.

Mob grinding doesn’t bother me because… if anything… this reminds me of an oldskool MMO. In fact, a LOT of things hint back to games like UO. Being my first MMO, this only serves to interest me more. Run around to gain stamina skill? Ride a donkey to earn riding skill? Yes, please!

The PVP aspect? Well, I’m not thrilled about it. But I hope the whole karma system will keep people in check. In fact, if I never level past the point where I can be targeted for PVP, I’m totally okay with that. I don’t care one bit about reaching level cap.

What I Hope For

So, if I’m not playing for the story, why am I interested in BDO? Because I have high hopes for all the other sandbox elements in the game.

I’m going to play BDO for the environment. The world. And, from what I hear, it has quite a world to explore.

I love the idea of the knowledge system. I love the idea of taming horses, fishing, building boats, hiring workers, and the fact that rolling alts is a good thing in this game. I want to own a house. I want to mine and forage and explore and build skills. The fact that it’s more like an oldskool UO game wrapped in pretty new graphics is something that draws me in.

The fact that it’s B2P with no sub is also a big help, since I balk at the idea of paying another sub alongside of FFXIV. How well it meets my sandbox expectations will effect whether I adopt BDO as my side sandbox game.

Are you playing or planning on playing BDO? What kind of expectations do you have of it, if so?