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I play a lot of MMO’s. If not in quantity, then variety. I’ve played Star Trek Online, World of Warcraft and a host of others not mentioned in this blog or in passing conversation.

I don’t mention them because they all do several things the same. Theme Park mmo’s are like that. Much the same with little changes here and there.

I made a run at various games a year or two ago. My objective was to find a group of people to play with, the bigger the better. I hung out with a guild of over two-thousand members at one point, learning that while this did provide some of what I wanted it didn’t meet other needs and so through this year I came to the objective to find two specific things. 1) a game that would let me play how I wanted to play (harder than you might think) and 2) A smaller but higher-quality group of people.

I’ve met both those goals with Elite: Dangerous and it still continues to be a solid game I can just log into and enjoy. I took a serious run at DCUO (which I’ll talk about later) and a couple of other games only to discover a firmly entrenched player base that felt it necessary to tell me how to play the game.

Coming down the road is a community supported, community built resurrection of City of Heroes under the name City of Titans. I was sad to see CoH go and the more I read into the saga the more confusing and weird it felt. City of Titans goes into Beta mid 2016 and releases this winter and I’m stoked. I’ll be covering it here in much detail and sure to link places you can see it streamed and recorded.

That the community has achieved much in rebuilding our beloved game after these last few years is quite remarkable. I can’t wait to see it released upon the world for all to enjoy!

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Elite Dangerous: Horizons – Dune Buggies in Space!

I wasn’t sold on Horizons when I first heard about it. I’m looking forward to fighting torrential storms and blinding blizzards when landing on planets. The airless moons they give you now just don’t compel me. I found more than a few people who found that hard to grasp.

That being said what was a pretty game got a lot prettier. Few things compare to staring across a rocky expanse at the star as it’s rising over the horizon, to throwing your buggy over a crater wall and bouncing along in low-gravity as you chase down sensor phantoms.

Just watch those landings.

Elite Dangerous: Horizons

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Battlefield 4: Why am I dead again?

I was hanging with Katie of katieplays.com who sometimes streams her antics via Twitch and some of her friends when Battlefield 4 went on sale. 18 bucks for Premium and I had all the hot content and priority queueing. Between this and another blog I was (and still am) reading, September went rather quickly.

Battlefield and it’s kin, amuse me for the strategy and the action. Like a digital football. But I’m an MMO player, I like progression and advancement. BF4 provides an excellent instant-action venue for it’s gameplay. There’s always a server up you can join, “shoot some dudes” and have a pretty good time. And yes, there’s a level system, there’s a progression of unlocks as you move through the game. But aircraft are something of a joke and too often you get a map dominated by some excellently skilled players in helicopters. But for what it provides I would easily recommend BF4 for anyone looking for a modern combat experience. This isn’t a refined simulation, on the contrary it’s quite arcade-like.

That being said, I got about two weeks into BF4 when someone brought up Planetside 2. Planetside 2 brings just about everything BF4 brings but it’s persistent. You can spend hours fighting over a tower or a hillside as the sides fighting ebb and flow trying to seize territory. In BF, we’re talking about matches. Lose the round? Oh, well better luck next time. Planetside will have you taking and losing and retaking structures in the ever present war. If the fighting here is too intense or too quiet you can redeploy to another region for more war. Or if you’re feeling like flying around the map and look at the scenery, you can retreat away from the front lines to putter about.

Planetside 2 is made by Day Break Games (or at least supported by them). Also in their lineup is H1Z1 which is on my docket for October. I’m enjoying the roam and scavenge survivalism. It’s something I like about Fallout and i’m eagerly awaiting Fallout 4 in November. H1Z1 has it’s moments of brilliance. Radios you can loot, let you join a global voice chat. Make a compass to get general direction with crafting. Some usual crafty stuff. There’s a character wipe tomorrow morning so I’m likely to spend some hours Wednesday learning my way through the world.

I’m planning a play of H1Z1 for Halloween. A LAN party if I can get the volunteers, a streamed solo session if I can’t. I’ll link here when I have better information.

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ESO, done? Neverwinter, next!

I finished the main plot in Elder Scrolls Online. Not really dramatic or thriller stuff but certainly interesting from a game perspective.

Neverwinter is next and I have what sounds like a good week or two ahead of me just, to finish leveling and plot.  On top of a list of other objectives for collecting hench-persons and bags there’s a plethora of user-created content that has my eye.

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The heat wave has passed and my computer is once again reasonable to use during the day.  I’ve cycled into maintenance tasks in Minecraft.  I’ve reached the crux of the mods I’m working with and i’m up to farming beans (magic beans) to hybridize and build out my supply of Thaumcraft Essentia.

I spent several days hanging out with Katie of katilimade.com where we talked about Pathfinder, WoW and EVE Online.

I suspect we’ll have more coverage ideas on this blog in the nearing future.  I’m planning a brief jaunt into Neverwinter with dropping some money and playing some content.  I haven’t topped level cap there yet.  I topped ESO and completed the first-run plot, so I’m story-complete as far as I’m concerned.  Though I’ve toyed with the notion of running the other faction stories just to see how they compare.

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Saga of Ryzom: The Long Game

Hello Everybody,

I’m here today to talk to you about my further ventures in MMO-space. Latest up is Saga of Ryzom, a french mmo launched back in 2004. It features a robust modular skill system where you can adjust the balancing cost vs power on your abilities. You don’t select a class and instead use the skills you want to be good at, focusing on what you want to do and not what you need to do.

There’s no end-game, in the usual sense. You have the freedom to go and do as you wish, to explore a world with an ecology. I’ve seen creatures migrate in herds, I’ve seen family pods out of their regions and predators preying. It’s free to play and worth looking into if you like the open nature of Minecraft but want a bit more structure and a multiplayer experience.

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Elite: Dangerous and my journey through space

With much surprise this morning I was met with an announcement from the Frontier Delevelopment Community Manager announcing that this current and last pre-launch Iteration would not wipe characters or progress between now and December 16th when the game launches. That means I count the hours between me and the game later tonight, where I’ll spend untold hours staring at the blackness of space.

If that wasn’t bad enough I have devoted twitter-friends practically begging me to play FFXIV with them and two Gameboy games demanding my attention. Hey, Pokemon don’t catch themselves!

It never rains but it pours.

CMDR Johann Vorga, signing off.

Elite: Dangerous

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Elite: Dangerous vs Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Oy. This winter is going to be rough. With FFXIV:ARR catching my attention and E:D going into release on December 16 i’m going to be very busy.

You know me and so it should be no surprise that I’m not going into wild detail about FFXIV, but let’s call it “A good hybridization of many ideas” or what a friend of mine calls “What Everquest 2 should have been.”

FFXIV is a standard Theme-Park MMO with fantasy elements. In this arena you have a varied class-system where any character can have all classes. You swap weapons and presto you’re a new class. Many abilities and powers carry over into alternate classes for a mix of powers.

All of this is wrapped in modern graphics and a more deliberate pacing compared to some MMO’s which necessitate mashing keys as fast as you can to pull off rotations and combos akin to arcade fighting games.

If you’re a MMO player, and you know if you are or not, you should give it a look. FFXIV is well done and nicely polished. It’s already replaced WoW as my go-to for raid/dungeon/kill some time killing virtual monsters.

..later I’ll talk about things I like here vs other places. Maybe I’ll post some pictures. We shall see.

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Elite: Dangerous (-ly exciting)

I was into the beta approximately two weeks early from their July 29th release. It had been a while since I was in the cockpit of anything and even longer since I was doing so in space. There are some things you can’t forget easily. How to navigate an asteroid field is not one of them.

That being said I had a blast and I firmly cemented my desire for a joystick that arrived a week later: CH Products Combatstick

It’s more joystick than I’ve ever owned and I like it enough it could easily be the last joystick I ever own. Flying soon turned into an occasion of adjusting keybinds to accommodate quality control layout but I was able to turn my “I don’t know what I’m doing” into “Once more into the Breach!”

I can’t stress how excited I am for Elite: Dangerous, the potential and the quality of design. At present you can slip into full online play, limited group play or solo play with ease. The only difference being how many live humans you encounter in your travels. While EVE was a tactical game of space empires, Elite is showing to be a game of space piloting. I only hit the side of the station 4 or 5 times during my first day of full beta. Since then I’ve had a lot of close scrapes as I perfect my rapid departure technique and lost two ships to unpleasant collisions.

Elite has baked in a fair amount of forgiveness. If you lose your initial ship you have two options: a) The same ship again for a fee including all installed components or b) the newbie/Free ship all over again. For your first few days/hours this “Free Sidewinder” is easier replaced than repaired. I rather pride myself on keeping a ship operating as long as possible but even I gave in to Insurance fraud when repairs were too expensive.

You’ll likely hear more about this as time passes and updates release with more content for digestion. I’m not doing much else these days aside from prepping for the next D&D launch later this week.

If you choose to play look me up under CMDR Johann Vorga, I’ll be cruising the spaceways looking for wanted villains and loose cargo in need of a home.

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Elite: Dangerous(-ly fun)

I bought into the beta over a month ago on faith. I’d played Elite back in the wire-frame and low-res days of early computing. It was hard. 200 credits and starting out in space staring at a space station your first hurdle was to figure out how to dock without killing yourself. This was harder than it sounds.

Flash forward some 30-odd years and here’s the original developer under a new name, having built other games in the meantime, envisioning a return to Elite as Elite: Dangerous. Citing their original build of procedural content but small enough to fit on a floppy disk. Flash forward to Terabyte Hard Drives and HD monitors the new incarnation of this game is quite awesome. Following my beta investment I was watching various videos from people involved in their “Premium Beta” antics with docking, hunting pirates and hiding among asteroids. I was enamored with this one video where a player was using voice controls via Voice Attack to adjust power settings to enhance evasion and strafing runs as the need came. Another was in a npc dogfight defending a carrier under harassment by enemies, this player took some opportune damage that cracked his cockpit. Instantly a timer appears “Atmosphere depletion in 10 minutes” and starts counting. Said player lines up for Hyperspace jump and hops out to the nearest station for repairs. The whole time I’m watching with tensed nerves, this could be his death.

As of last week they opened the doors for normal Beta purchasers and I was able to play with a limited list of combat scenarios. The full game will give you a full sandboxian universe to crawl around in but for now I have several combat missions to practice against so that when the gates open we’re got some flight experience under our belts. I’d have appreciated a docking simulator as I’m sure that will kill more people on Day One than anything else.

That being said, I’m having fun. It’s very beautiful, well rendered and laid out. I’m horribly out of practice for dogfighting from my Wing Commander 2 days, but I’m picking it up quick. I ordered a CH Combatstick as the controls all but mandate a real joystick.

If you join Elite, I would love to see you and fly with you. It’s coming with what’s loosely described as three venues of interaction. Single Player, Multiplayer with Friends and Full Multiplayer.

Not quite as tactical and much more deeply sandbox simulator than EVE, if you liked one you might very well like the other and it’s hands-on approach to ship control. I’m about as excited for this game as I have been for anything and when I have a chance to delve into the docking and long-range flight on July 29th you’ll hear about it later that week for sure.

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