Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time flies

Oh dear.

I had almost forgotten that I used to blog. It's funny, considering the fact that I have been inbetween jobs for the past year or so, with all the time in the world to do as I please.

Except not. I have learned that searching for full time employment is a job in itself, with pretty little time for anything else over the Internet. And after a full day seeking, writing and communicating I'm too wasted to write anything at all.

What has come to pass in the gaming for the poor old Bullcopra, you may ask?

First of all, Three Stooges still ride strong, currently through the new and updating Pandarian scenarios with an occasional LFR in the mix. To be honest, it is pretty boring but I continue only because of the company. Which makes the boring a kind of fun.

World of Tanks is my main poison at the moment, working in a new clan again. Now this one seems to be 'the one' for me, even though my performance on the field is about the same as the current, updated bots can deliver. Poor at best, but I'm determined to make them better.

Games on and off: Borderlands 2, the second playthrough, one part at a time.

What I have been really enjoying as of late (for the last two-three weeks or so) is Vanguard. Yes, I know it is closing in June and I know it is more or less abandoned by players. The reason is the fact that my youngest son has gotten into it and we are exploring the game together. Whereas my previous experience with Vanguard was very boring, over challenging and stuff, I can say that the game is really made for small groups and playing with friends.

Where does Vanguard shine, still? The crafting system is the best there is, I do not find Everquest II's frantic system as intriguing as Vanguards slower paced one. There is no other MMO with a fishing system as involving as the one in Vanguard, too bad the rewards are so bad and merely cosmetic. And do not make me start about the factions and diplomacy: the diplomacy minigame is unrivalled and most probably will never be worked into a MMO again.

I have come to the conclusion that Vanguard came out too early and due to the bugs and bugged start it just never got the opportunity to grow the way it should have. It was ahead of its time in several ways and the computer requirements were off the charts back then.

Sad to say, but Vanguard is like one of our beloved Irish Wolfhounds: they shine brightest and look best just before they move over the rainbow bridge.

As I am happily in the Elder Scrolls Online's Beta group, I see some hope in the MMO scene. However, the experience has taught me that the majority of the players in ESO have been dumbed down so badly that they cannot succeed in the most basic exploration or investigation quest in the game without asking for directions. There should be a warning in the game's launcher that some brain activity required.

Anyhow, anxiously waiting for the next beta spree. ESO isn't quite up to Skyrim's experience, but quite close. Close enough to keep me occupied.


Monday, September 17, 2012

WoW is ruined: Three still ride on

Yes, it's a provocative title. However, that is how it feels right now, as the Three Dunces/Stooges are clearing one Cataclysm 5-man instace at a time, one shotting the bosses which we spent several sessions to overcome with our first team.

Blackrock: Cleared in two sessions, with several wipes due several issues. Explanations, explanations, but in the end it felt less of a challenge than with the first team.

Throne of Tides: cleared with couple of wipes in two sessions only because the final boss event bugged. Our general thoughts were along the lines that the game is broken or we are just that awesome, clearing the place with our trio at just adequate level. Well, tankadin and rogue were at the proper level, healer-shammy one below. In the first team it was a pain to go through the instance at the proper level.

Stonecore: Whereas we struggled with different parts of this dungeon with the first team, we just blasted through it with the second. Granted, the team was just on level 83, right after the MoP patch, but it just felt wrong in the sense that our gear is not up to date. My shammy still has stuff of level 78 on him, so every gear drop with int/spi is an upgrade. And I mean every!

So we are playing, enjoying the giggles and amazing the update on the game client. The new one really blew some new light into the cinders and seems to be working as intended. Also the changes to talents and shammy play are a source of constant wonder, so there is still a lot to do. WoW is definitely getting more simple by the patch. I'm waiting for the five button combat, which is bound to be just around the corner, right after MoP burnout fall of subscribers...

I'm just wondering am I going to go for the Mists with my brothers... But I'm just wondering.

The Three will ride on. With less deaths and gore than before, but still riding on!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Long, dark teatime of the soul

It has been a while since I blogged. Feels pretty awkward, to be honest. But in all honesty's sake, I have to write again.

For I have been bitten.

I thought it would not happen. In fact, I fought pretty hard to find all the negatives and did not let myself go easily. But some things just happen, they are bound to happen. No amount of planning, cunning or deviations can help it.

Even though I have next to sold my soul - again - I still have this nagging feeling, this fear. What if it fails, what if this is all but the rush which has taken me time and again and forced me to do silly things in hopes it would get better eventually. And it hasn't.

This time I took my time. I tried to bend it, break it, even abandon it. And boy, did it try it's best to do the same.

But in the end, after two almost failures, after three periods of improvement and expansion, I swallowed it all: hook, sinker and line. 

The Secret World.

I still have gripes with the button mashing combat system. I still haven't got the grasp of the huge amount of abilities, and to be honest, the ability wheel makes my head spin. And do not start with the clunky animations: realistic modern day genre could use more fluid motion capture animations.

What really got me was the depth of intrigue in the storylines. The way you can find sidequests here and there just by exploring. The way you are ushered onwards by giving winks, nudges and hints which make you WANT to go where the story is taking you. It's not hand holding like in the 300lb behemoth we all know and relate to, it's a 'kind of' freedom of doing what you will and not worry about if it's right or not.

I can already tell you that the power gamer in you will cry each time you find a new side quest along the road, only to notice that you cannot take that one additional because your three side quests are running already. Which one to pause, which one to put on hold?

Like Ardua said in his review, The Secret World is not your regular WoW copy: it's a mature MMO for a thinking player. It will be hard to grasp to the hardened WoW/Rift veteran, because you cannot push through the encounters only by pushing buttons and getting better gear. 

Well, that wasn't completely true. Gearing will be the achilles heel in the game, even though there are no levels.

In the last Beta Weekend all but the investigation quests were open, and there was plenty enough to do in the starter area of Kingsmouth. So much that I barely touched the adjacent area of Savage Coast, and I didn't get the chance to run the first group instance of Poseidon. But the amount of quests, side quests, lore (yeah, shinies!!!) and exploration in those small areas were enough to convince me that there is more beneath the surface of this game.

I won't be placing a pre-order, nor will I be in the launch, but I definitely want to have this game in my active games. It's kind of heavy in it's tone and stories, so I couldn't play more than 2-3 hours in a row (where WoW and Rift I could go on for 5-10 hours at a time).

I will play World of Tanks in the meanwhile. Until the Dark Days return.

C out

Friday, May 4, 2012

Free mount? Count me in!

Allods became 'mature' as a MMO. I mean, it came one year old and because of that they hand out free mounts to all 'established characters'. Which in short means characters who have reached the capital city and have access to the mail box.

Allods itself hasn't changed much. It's still pretty, eye candy, with nice features and very unique feel to the graphics and all. In a way, I could recommend it if you were on WoW but wanted to have something wee bit different to try.

The talent grids have changed and all characters not so up to date will find their skills and talents reset. Which is especially nice when you think of a returning player who had the version 1.04 on as the current version of the game is something liken 3.07...

To my slight frustration the starter area has been revamped to be very, very easy and unchallenging. The first group opponent has been removed and the hard end bosses are... well, meh. Giant meh, to be honest: even my healer type with his basic damage spells was able to kick their hairy behinds without a problem. Maybe they were the first challenge in the starter area, as everything else was so bland. No more monsters attacking you if you were not cautious.

It seems that 1st of May also added some bonuses, as you could get double the stuff from gathering quests compared to normal, which made the Survivors reputation gathering very, very fast and easy.

As I talked about the game with my sons - who played earlier with me - one of them said the main issue of Allods. It's just too similar with more of the same to play as WoW to make any distinction between the two.

We'll see how long I can endure that.

On Champions my daughter pointed out the biggest flaw of that game: all the quests are just beating people up in general. Repetition after repetition. Except for the Action Packs, cartoon story quest chains which can normally be acquired by purchasing them. Now they have obviously opened at least two of them to everyone as they revamped the game a bit, and I sincerely have to say that Whiteout has been the best I have experienced in the game so far. It took me about two hours - solo - to go through the story with it's investigations and interrogations, and I was ready for more as that was up!

I know the action packs have been there all the time, but I have never even wondered what they were about. It would be great to have a balanced team to take on one to see how it would fare then.

The alerts - the new random instances - are more or less dead to me. Go in, kill-kill-kill, loot.

Not fun really. Especially as most of them are populated with low level characters like myself, with too few skills to cover up the whole team. Being a support character without the support skills will eventually be the doom of the team, really.

Anyhow, fare safe!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Team Two to the victory - again

Last weeks news, really. Three brothers took on Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning and - unsurprisingly - conquered them both.

It's getting pretty boring already to be able to go through two instance in one evening, even more so because we have to find ways to get wiped, consciously.

Hecklers, do we really have to pick up the heroics to get any challenge here, huh? Then again, with heroics we know that three appropriate level characters can never dish enough damage to counter the rage. Thus this is vain to even mention.

On another note: the distribution of experience changes considerably after you hit 80. Really. Which is a nice surprise after the fast forward push forward of Northrend before hitting 80. I have only one faction I want to get my shaman to get revered with, and that's the walrus people. Kaluak.

Of course it would be nice to get that pretty Dragonshire mount, but I can't arse myself into doing the stupid flying daily anymore. Of course getting the tabard would be one solution, but I have still the main factions not done and then there is the Guild rep to gain.

Talking of which, it took this long for our miniature guild to hit level 2. Boy it felt good. It was an achievement, really, something to cherish.

That's all for now from the WoW front.

Dark days are coming: are you game already?