Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Ach, I'm a weak willed sort, eh? A month after the NGE and I'm still in there. I guess I played Ranger despite it's shortcomings and general borked-ness, so why think any different about SWG now?

It was borked before, it's borked now. Life's like that.

Am I having 'fun'? Hmm. Well, depends what you mean by fun. My main toons have all, by and large, been abandoned to look after themselves recently and I've been a) hanging out in a cantina as a blue haired female bothan entertainer, b) grinding my "respec scum" (feel the lurv) jedi up from being a bloke with a pistol to being a bloke with a rifle. Just being cussed and not making his saber till 'later' and c) stooging about TC and trying to get some sense of direction with what am doing there.

Some of the more 'positive' reviews (they're out there, you just have to look really hard to find them) suggest that theres enough content to keep you going for 'months'.

I think they're basing this on the NGE's promise of 150 new quests, but I started a totally fresh toon recently, rattled through to lvl 20 in the space of just a few hours on the Legacy quests and expect another hard days play will see me in the 30's.

I'm gated at the moment as, after yesterdays awesome publish, one of the profession quests they apparently fixed is, on my server, blocked by a bunch of random spawning NPC bases that've blocked access to the waypoint I need to go to to finish the quest sequence.

So, I take my toon and head up to kashyyyk. He'll be able to do some of the lower level stuff there, plus hunting and looting brings the credits in... ah! All the NPC's in the wroshyyr tree are under the floor or down on the ground, some in or beid artwork. Like, oh foo...

Y'know, maybe it will take months to finish anything

It's Shimtastic

Yonks ago I made a short, attractive female toon on one of the Euro servers to see if what I was suspecting on my main (male) entertainer toon was true, that only the pretty 'girls' got tips and the guys can go AFK for all anyone cares. Well, all I can say is that not once did any of my male toons get a 750k tip 'just for chatting', as well as gifts of costumes, odd loot items, and so on.

One other eye opener was just what asshats guys can be! There's my wee dancer, grinding her way thru poplock or whatever, and this eejit comes in and stands with his face in her chest. Much hilarity from his buds, lots of random obsceneities from the chest diver. I tried suggesting to him that he back off, I even moved away, but the eejit was still in there. Now, I could drop a harrassment report, or given the language he was using a community standards complaint, but instead I sent a tell to the loudest of his buddies. "Hehe, don't tell him, but I'm actually a 400lb truck driver from Iowa..."

Instant and expected response, matey shouts to all the gathered throng "He's a SHIM!!!!" I added the lot of them to iggy after that, but it was worth it to see matey try telling his pals that 'he'd known all along it was a guy' and then get ribbed for being ghey.

I think the word they really needed was 'tosser'.

ANYHOW, shimdom beckoned again when I heard about an all bothan entertainer troop on one of the old 'ranger rich' servers. So, there I am, jigging away with my blue hair, red fur and white tights on. Geezer wanders in, straight off starts giving me 'dogs abuse'. I had a quick worked, he got miffed that the dancer in front of him was a bloke behind the screen and he got himself in a right 2+8.

Kinda weird tho, he thought it was okay to eye up a short llama/dog like creature and to make all manner of lewd comments, but only thought there was something wrong when *I* turn out to be a bloke??

There's some deep rooted issues going on in that boys head, lol.

And they call it...
Puppy Love...


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The escape pods are this way, sir..

Oh My!

A fortnight after NGE hit and the boards are still full of flames, snipers, trolls and the usual fanboi/hater slugfests.

Thing is, it's not just the official forums that are like this (despite some heavy policing off and on by the mods) but the games press review sites, Amazon product reviews, the MMO scene, geeks sites and blogs almost all have something to say. And sadly for SWG it rarely seems to be "Hey, these new changes are cool".

I think that, if you were a completely new player to the game, had managed to get into the game without looking at the official or any other boards and were able to approach it from a position that doens't bring with it any existing baggage in terms of expectations, then it's going to be a fairly average to good MMO with a few glitches, but hey, what online game doesn't have those....

On the other hand, if you were an established player and your favourite profession has gone, the skillsets that helped make "your adventure" really feel like it was YOURS and not the same one that that other guy in the same armour, with the same rifle and doing the same quest was having.

I've been reading JFreemans blog again and, frankly, I'm stunned that the guy who was such a big part of the Skara Brae Rangers, was so against the idea of WoW style level progression and who was so PRO a skill based system that gives breadth and depth to player characterisation should be so keen to be associated with the gang that have gone out of their way to throw so much of the game away 'because it'll make it simpler to code and manage'. Sheesh, on that basis, let's go back to playing Pong.

Likewise, he seems at times to be saying that Raph Koster was the best thing since sliced bread, that the enforced socialisation that Raph saw as being so important was part of what made SWG unique even though the implementation of the idea was flaky and then goes on to say that it's the removal of the Raph from the game that's making it 'fun' and (if I hear another dev use this, I'll scream) "Cool".

Sure, it was a PitA of epic proportions to have to go get a buff from a doc, then find an ent and get a mind buff and then have to wait for a shuttle to get up to Dath and go toe to toe with rancors or NS. But all that time was, if you had a slightly wider notion of 'fun' than just going clickyclickyfightfight, actually time well spent. it's when you got to find out about new content form other players, got tips from the old hands about how to do this task or that mission, got TALKING to folk and making friends.

And it's the friends that I'm missing now. My pals list seems to have dwindled down to having two folk online from 40-60 of a weekend evening. Most of the people I got to know thru the game have taken to the escape pods and are heading off elsewhere. The new players, well, they're maybe playing a different game to the one I know.

Still, I guess it's 'fast combat and fun and exciting' so that's cool, eh?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Finally I got a Ranger with a hat!

Okay, this was an ongoing injoke on the SWG Ranger forums. We didn't need traps that worked, camps that repelled critters super ninja concealment skills, we just wanted a fricking HAT!

Something cool, maybe a fedora...

Well, finally got me a Ranger with a hat. City of Heroes. Yup, The Lost Ranger has gone all Crocodile Dundee on the denizens of Paragon City. Watch out bad guys, I've got a longbow and some sticky web traps...

Sad. Isn't it? ;)

Where Do You Go To My Lovely

Kinda weird that one of the first things I've found myself mulling over when thinking about "what goes into a good MMO" was the question of what happens to your toon when it 'dies'.

This was sparked off by Nate's - The Disappeared

Okay, we're all familiar with the idea that sometimes, because you made a dumb decision, or as you put it "That chuffing great monster lag warped and ate my head... where WERE you guys???", and we end up either on a corpse run or magically reincarnated in the hospital.

What if death in games was permanent? Would we be so prepared to take on the improbable? I guess there has to be some sort of mechanism to allow the player back ingame or they are going to take their membership elsewhere. Fair enough, but I do think there should be consequences to choices and that the corpse run or a spell in the sick bay is the games way of telling you that

b) That was a really, really stupid thing to do...
c) Look, you are part of a TEAM, start playing like one.

What if...

Your character has a limited number of lives and, with each death, that count goes down and their artwork is modified to show they have wounds, scars and are getting older?

Managing to avoid death for a period ingame, say a week so that the weekend warriors have time to 'recharge' then you start to gain lives back. On the other hand, you go mental over the weekend, die more than n times, well, PermaDeath beckons.

Give the player enough prompts so that they know what they are getting themselves into. Maybe the spectre of the Grim Reaper coming closer and closer and just telling them "Oi, muppet, die another n times and you are all mine..."?

What happens when PermaDeath hits, as surely it must do one day? Where do you go to? Back to the character creation screen to be reincarnated as your toons long lost brother who has a fixed amount of time to make the ultimate corpse run? Pick up the remains of ther dead kin and 'inherit' their worldy goods? Or does your toon wander off into some spirit realm where they can see the world and intereact with a limited number of items but can only communicate with 'believers'.

In a SW world they might become a blue glowy. Able to pass on information from beyond... That and maybe do a bit of table rapping in the cantina to freak the afk dancers out, lol.

Hmm. That's got me wondering about the idea of a 'belief' system in MMO's...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sneak sneak sneak BOOM

So it looks like SWG Rangers will be able to place traps that will damage anything that's normally attackable. Much w00tage in camp.

Why the big deal? Well, since time began we've had a weird restriction on our weapons that means they only affect creatures. And, since time began, Rangers have been asking for traps that'll affect NPC's and, oooh, players please...

SO the devs introduced a new seried of traps just for New Ranger but they were only going to affect 'normally targettable players and NPC's". Great for the PvP and PvNPC birgade but a bit of a puzzler for the critter hitters.

But today Tiggs confirmed that our traps WILL be able to damage EVERYONE. LOL.

Sheesh, i wish they'd get this out for testing.. I want to see how the anger is redirected at the Ranger whose trap does most damage to a herd of nuna...

yah, I'm sick that way!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gorram Rangers

Sorry, got kinda discombobulated for a few days watching Firefly.

Is it just me or could Zoe be a model for the new style ranger in SWG?

Stealthy, close quarters combat, seems to favour a carbine or shotgun, to say nothing of being one of the most mature, level headed, and damned sexy characters in teh programme??

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Group Experiences

Been busy.... levelling toons left right and centre.

More drivel will be posted sooon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's been a hard days night...

Started a new toon on Test Centre to be ready for the new ranger revamp hitting TC before going Live. Except I created this toon more than a year ago as there were rumours then of an upcoming revamp, lol. At least now we've got dev's posting and discussing.

Anyhow, after leaving him for so long with just novice ranger and a little bit of rifles I got into a group to grind some weapons XP, ended up clocking up 1,000,000 rifle XP tab in what felt like a couple of hours but was a bit more. Tho not much.

So, another couple of sessions like that and he's good to go. Just need to figure out what to do with the stack of hide I hauled in.... guess I'll trade it with a tailor or maybe do a HUGE factory run of traps... ;)

My other toom, he's sort of stuck between BH and smuggler with Master Pistols. Eventually I'll figure out what to do with that one, lol.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Could be good, at a pinch

OMFG!!1!1!111one!1!1!!!eleven!1!!!11 teh nu rangorz r teh roxors... and other l33t type bollocks.

Took a couple of hours off last night, went to do some RL socialising. Sometime after midnight I plonked my beer infused carcase in front to the puter, opened the SWG forums and saw I had a couple of PM's.

"What you think then??" Blank look from me...

"Hey, check out the new proposals... whaddaya think" So off to the In Dev forum and there's a HUGE thread discussing the new Ranger proposals. Two years of waiting and we finally get some dev love.

I'll let you, dear reader, decide for yourself what you htink of the changes, but, to all intents and purposes Ranger is no more. The thread should be entitled "We Were Rangers" as most of our working skills are going to migrate down to Scout. We'll be getting new battlefield traps, some sexy stealth skills and the ability to sneak and steal.

Needless to say the community is divided. Even I've got mixed feelings. It's good in parts.
For long enough Ranger HAS been Scout Plus, so that's a sensible move there from the devs, and the stealth/steal thing? Sure, every other MMO has a rogue class, maybe it should be a smuggler thing, dunno.

Mind you, today, I've been thinking how cool it'd be to sneak into Jabba's palace and steal Oona's leotard...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Water Water Everywhere

Back on Tatooine for a few days R&R after flying endless destroy missions in Endor space.

Sitting in the 'tina sharing a caf with some other scruffy nerfherder types I overheard somebody say there's only the one fishing hole on Tat. "Bollocks mate" I heard myself say "there's got to be for or five places to fish on this rock..."

And that's how I found myself scanning the planetary map for anything that looked vaguely blue-ish and then heading over there with my jar o'bugs and a fine fishing pole that our guild crafters had made me a while since.

Easiest one to find was the Imperial Oasis. About 6km west of Mos Espa, its not great for fishing if you're not on the best of terms with the Empire due to the garrison they have right by the waters edge.

Then it was off to the Krayt Graveyard and, sure enough, up in the hills theres a pretty decent sized pond. Just keep an eye open for dragons coming down to drink. They don't seem too keen on sharing their watering hole with others.

South about 7k and there's a small pond nestling in the bottom of a deep, almost volcanic crater.
Some of the locals say it's an old sarlac pit but I reckon they were just ragging on me. Leastwise I never caught anything begger than a minnow there.

Then, heading on the way back to Mos Eisley to pick up my ship, we found another oasis tucked away in a side valley. Probably 3k from town, slightly north east-ish. Looked a popular place, judging by the amount of houses crammed in around it.

Next time I get the chance I'm going to set up a fishing lodge there. Sell some poles, bugs, camps... yeah, nice place to retire to.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pack up your troubles... yada yada

So, new feature "Pack up your house" came in recently. And It Works!!

Just dragged my loot store, a small generic, halfway across Tat to my main centre of operations just outside Mos Espa.

Really simple to do.

From the housing management terminal select "pack up this building", read the dialogue, click OK, see your house vanish from around you.

After a few minutes moonwalking while the database and game engine go "whuh? where'd it go...?" it's time to head to the new location.

If I wanted to I could keep the house stored im my datapad indefinitly, just keep paying the rent as usual. There's an option on the icon in your datapad.

At the new site, select "unpack this house" and you get the normal structure placement screen coming up. I like to get as much front porch as I can so I tinkered about, trying the house onthis slope, that slope and eventually settled for sticking it next to my shop.

Oh, one thing, you can't store a house which has a vendor inside. Or a PA HAll for that matter, which is a pain as I really want to shift mine.

ah well, n/m :)

Smarts, Traps and No Armour

One difference I've noticed when playing double combat elite templates, or from watching others play them, is that we still end up going toe to toe withthe critters, even when we're riflemen with 65m or more range.

Well, if you're wearing top end armour, you've had it sliced and ADK'd, you're not fussed about decay. And you do as much damage up close as youdo from the far end of the field BUT you don't need to run in to loot and harvest.

On the other hand, I have a couple of low to mid end toons who never wear armour, rarely die, hardly ever have wounds and seem to do pretty well against most stuff up to the elites and double gold elite.

Why? Because they use a combination of smarts and traps.

Leading an attack against a pod of creatures with a P-dart or a stink bomb let's you apply a state to the creature and also draw it away from the rest of the pod as it aggores on you, only you and you alone.

You pull back, dragging the critter away from it's pals, hit it with your heaviest attack, immobilise it with a snare or KD shot, hit it again with your heavy and by now the first traps states are wearing off, hit it with another trap. Gives you a moment or three to draw back again and, usually, finish the bleeder off.

Run in, harvest, loot, heal if necessary and move in to start dragging the next one out.

"Rinse, wash and repeat"

Oh, just remember to watch where you are moving back to.... I was grinding on Dant and, yup, backing away from some bols I went straight into a voritor lair. BAD news. Still, nice trip to the cloner, gave me time to get a fresh mug of coffee and take a nature break ;)

So we start with a retirement...

Finally retired the last of my Ranger skills on one of my main toons today.

I've been slowly whittling away at them over the past few weeks, sacrificing the abilty to make camo for a little more offence or defence mods, swapping my big HTFB camps for a little BH skills...

The skill point investment in Ranger has, since CU, made the profession less attractive as a skillset though, in the main, the Rangers you meet in game and on the forums make giving up the ideal of being a Ranger really hard.

Mind you, I've still got at least two other toons with Ranger skills and am working to Master Ranger on one of my TC toons. Hey, one day there will be a revamp, lol, and I don't want to have to start totally from scratch again ;)

What's this all about...

For me, this blog is 'just' an online journal, but I hope that it's entertaining for any misguided souls that manage to wander in here ;)

Ever since the dark old days of D&D (yes, I'm old enough to remember Gigax, Jackson & co) and pen and paper, turn based war games, I've really preferred playing scout/ranger type characters, maybe with the odd rogue sneaking in once in a while.

Nowadays, I play SWG, AO and wandered into EQII briefly under their 'suck it and see' offer of a weeks free play. Mostly I play SWG tho, for all it's quirks and challenges, as I just couldn't get 'into' the other games in the same way. Even after several hours of caffeine and pizza fueled keyboard mashing I was still very much aware of 'the game' whereas I find SWG to be far more immersive and while I'm playing I 'am' my toon...

So, what else.... I enjoy 3d modelling, mostly landscapes, townscapes and structures, hang out on some game related forums and, uhm, well, the rest is just RL crap and we don't need to go there ;)

Travel well,