And……… the new system (at work) is up and running. People are getting paid, and everything works. This despite a 100% complete lack of testing of the background office functions, which is where I spend my career. Now, if we had tested, before turning the thing on, I might have been gaming over these months. But, I guess that’s how things go sometimes, deadlines must be met regardless of the stupidity of doing so, for the sake of visible results. How many months did that take ? SIX ? My life is running out before my very eyes.
The past few months see me concerned about the future and health of gaming on the PC. Despite my nearly 100% absence from gaming some things can’t be missed. One was the release of GTA IV. This is a premier and awesome game, which can only be played on consoles. There is no confirmed PC release scheduled, and while this is nothing new for GTA, what’s different is the press going on about what an awesome game this is and yet it has no PC presence.
Did the PC become a second-tier gaming system again ? Part of me looks at that possibility and is horrified. I’ve watched the hobby change from an invitation only dorks group in the 70’s to the talk of the entire world. It’s been fun watching my thing become “THE thing”. And yet, the other part of me is relieved and encouraged; leaving it to the dorks might make the games more enjoyable for a person like me. (Does that make me a dork?).
Sure, MMO’s are (probably) exclusively PC at the moment, but that’s changing soon. These are not traditional PC games anyway, in my mind – these are fat-client network games dependent upon much more than your individual PC.
And so, when I got an email proclaiming “Free Vanguard until 7/31/08”, I went ahead and reloaded the client and started up the game. I’ve been having quite a bit of fun, and have a few impressions as a returning player.
This is an easy game to level in. Holy toledo, is it easy. My druid is at level 15 now, and the last three levels went snap snap snap. I paid very little attention to XP and I have the levels. I contrast this with what I remember from months ago, where one wrong move meant immediate death and a long slow slog was assured to move up. The addition of rest experience has to have helped here.
Somewhere along the way they’ve improved the diplomacy game immensely, from the addition of a large number of diplomacy quests, on up to actually displaying diplo XP. The progression rate is the exact opposite of adventuring. I can grind for an entire night, eagerly awaiting the next level, and it still won’t come. Grind for the entire next night, and now you have your level. Partly this is the result of the difficulty in finding “opponent(s)” who are right at your level, and partly they just made it last longer. Still, it’s not difficult to win a parley.
I think they had to make the parleys easier – they were simply too penalizing, when you lost, at launch. Lose 1 parley and it would wipe out the faction gains of ten. I’m encouraged they managed to tweak that at least, even if the tombstones and punitive death penalty is still in the game.
I’m right in the middle of an epic diplomacy quest relating to poisoned bread, undead, assassins and New Targonor. I think I have to complete four quest lines (I’ve finished one) and something else will happen to tie it all together. Should be interesting finding out.
In any event, I expect to play out the month and may resubscribe.
Believe it or not – at work, I’m again involved in installing another new system. Long absences are apparently going to be a hazard of keeping this blog up, despite my best intentions.