Gates of Maguuma
Someone on Twitter suggested that those who aren’t actively playing Guild Wars 2 should still log in and unlock the first episode of the Living Story Part II, the “Gates of Maguuma“, before it becomes a for-Gems item. I didn’t even have GW2 installed any longer, having lost interest in it thanks to the convoluted period between the downing of Zaitan and the end of the Living Story Part I. But I like free, so I re-installed the game and holy crap spent the weekend doing the new intro to LSII.
What really turned me off of LSI was the busy work they had us doing. Running around, helping refugees, and then…I got behind. I tried jumping in at various parts of the process, but had no idea what the heck was going on or where I needed to be. Add to that the fact that it intersected other events were going on, like their Super Fun Box schtick, or maybe I’m just lumping it all into an unpalatable memory. At any rate, I didn’t care for LSI, but now I’m kicking myself for not having done it, and I’m really annoyed that there’s no sign that it’ll re-surface for new/players who missed out on it.
LSII, so far, is straight up GW2 story style. They even ditched that letter-boxed talking head crap for in-game conversations (which the cramped camera ruins). This mission takes you out to Dry Top, which is an area near Rata Sum, but I don’t know if it’s a regular area or new or modified for LSII. I really enjoyed it. It has some cool mechanics, and a decent storylette that killed me several times, but which I was ultimately able to send to the mat. Thank gawd I’m a ranged character.
I also figured that, having been away for a while, my gear was probably behind the curve. I’m not a gear-monger; I don’t spend hours grinding rep or whatever to get the top of the line crap. But sure enough, when I checked the exchange, I found a set that was better than what I had at the time, although now my girl looks less like a high plains drifter and more like a lower town stripper.
I also put some time into Divinity this weekend, armed with some knowledge from the hive mind who are also having trouble with some of the free-form questing. I dug up a grave and found some caves. I rescued — and then killed — a lost archaeologist. I handled some smelly panties for what I thought was a slam dunk on this murder mystery, but turned out to be a total and disgusting waste of time.
When running around wondering what to do, the game isn’t all that fun. When you are in that real “adventuring” mode, skulking around unknown areas and engaging in combat and the considerations thereof, it totally rocks.
Because I said I felt bad, I made it a point to jump into Wildstar this weekend for a bit. I spent some time helping the Lopp, the merchant bunnies. To be honest, I don’t remember what the hell I was doing out there, or where “there” is. After spending several hours in GW2 with the story and the NPC interactions, my time in Wildstar seemed woefully uninspiring. Le sigh.
Us Versus Them
Because I wanted to see what it would be like, I jumped into Firefall on Friday to participate in one session of their “Doomsday” event that is ushering in their launch patch on the 14th/15th (yay!). It was pretty cool to see so many players working in concert, because the “Doomsday” army was made up of Red5 staff. Players were scouting out the important areas of the map, and were shouting out when a Red5 employee was seen jetting around the area. The dev incarnations were not easy to take down: I guess there were about 30-40 players in an area, and it took a good 10-15 minutes, maybe, to take them out. It didn’t help that their Chosen incarnations had jump-jets, unlike the AI Chosen. But it was a lot of fun to see all of those players working together like that.
So Pete of Dragonchasers fame mentioned on Twitter that he had received an email from En Masse, operators of TERA, exhorting him to give their new open beta a try. I decided to also give it a try, because why not? The mysteriously named ZMR, I learned, stands for “Zombies, Monsters, and Robots”. It’s a co-op third person “lobby shooter” which pits you, a human, against the titular foes. Zombies…ok, that makes sense. Monsters…sure, but I guess there can be…dinosaurs with lasers involved? And robots, of course, because it would just be unfair to leave out the robots when zombies and monsters are involved. Robots have powerful Union representation like that.
On first blush, there was something about the game that reminded me of that “give the players a palette, and you’ll get nothing but dongs” darling, APB. Although where APB was an open world gang versus cop simulator (with player created dongs), ZMR drops you into a lobby where to attempt to join a game alongside or against other players and are asked to complete a scenario. When the scenario is over (or you die, I guess), you’re back to the lobby. It’s what we get from MechWarrior Online and Hawken and others, so you know what I’m talking about.
I guess as a F2P game it could scratch that instant action itch, when the also-F2P Defiance just has too much indecision hanging about it, but you can tell that ZMR comes from the East because you start out with some weapons, some clothing, and some perks, and then it very quickly devolves into “rentals” where you only get to use a weapon for a week, or a fucking shirt for 6 days. I don’t get that logic. If the places I shopped for clothes came to my house and tried to repossess my clothes, I’d be pretty pissed. And naked. And cold. At least in that scenario there’s no zombies, monsters, or robots. I don’t even own a Roomba.
I can’t decide if I want to give this a continued shot with my Monday Night friends, since we’re always looking for something we can co-op on. I am normally a fan of Western F2P implementations, but this Eastern power-model is just so over the top that it actually gets in the way of enjoying the game.
This weekend my daughter wanted to watch a movie with me, so I fired up Netflix on the living room TV and started Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs 2, which I had not seen. I got about 10 minutes into it when Netflix barfed up a spleen and refused to reconnect.
My wireless router is one floor down, and on the other side of the house, so I’m blaming the crappy “SmartTV” apps and wireless, and my router for this situation. So today I was laying on the couch while my daughter was doing some summer math worksheets that she got for her next-year’s Algebra I class (she takes after me in almost everything except math skills), and it suddenly hit me: What about that Powerline shit? So I told my daughter that her homework could wait: we needed to get to Best Buy because Daddy wants to spend some money.
I got the Netgear Powerline 500 + Wifi, which consists of two devices: a box that you plug into the wall, and into your router/hub with an Ethernet cable, and a box you simply plug into the wall somewhere else in the house. You pair them up, and voila! You get angry because they don’t work right out of the box.
The instructions that come with the device are horribly out of date, or simply aren’t comprehensive enough to matter. Normally I’m pretty fearless about messing around with stuff like this; what’s the worse that can happen? But for some reason, this time I didn’t want to do anything that would require me to factory reset them. Maybe it was because there was a flight of stairs involved. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a concrete way to test if it was working. Eventually, though, I threw caution to the wind, punched it in the mouth, and got both halves to agree to work together.
The “receiving” end of this contraption is stuck in an outlet right behind the TV in the living room, so to test it out I went back to Netflix, fired up the movie where it had left me off, and voila! It worked. I haven’t benchmarked it or anything, so this isn’t a technical review. I was able to watch the movie without incident, which is the entire reason I wanted the thing, and since it works, I declare that “good enough”.