Category Archives: Perpetuum

Perpetuum Redux

As promised in my prior post, I logged in to Perpetuum again, armed with the new info about controls the a game GM provided for my in the comments.  Let’s take the “new stuff:”

1. There are hotkeys to targeting “R” is primary target and “F” is secondary target (P.s. “U” is unlock, “V” is interact)

I tried using these hotkeys and the R would set an existing locked target as primary, but wouldn’t start locking a selected mob.  Since you only fire at primary targets, I didn’t see the point of even trying to use F.  V was a nice little shortcut to loot containers of mechs I’d killed, but far enough away from the WASD that by the time I found the key to push it, I could have more quickly clicked the interact button on screen, so that’ what I stuck with doing after trying to use the V a few times.  Yes, I could have remapped it, probably to F, but I was already frustrated enough with the game at this stage of my play session (see below) to simply be wanting to dock up and log out, so I didn’t bother.

2. Options > Gameplay > Use Alternate robot control method for strafe turning left and right.

This changed the strafe keys to turn keys.  All well and good, but I want to use my keyboard to both turn AND strafe, not 1 or the other.  I still count this as an extremely poor design decision.  Strafe with Q and E, turn with A and D.  You’ve obviously programmed the functionality in for both turning and strafing, so let me put both capabilities on my keyboard at the same time!  Thanks.

3. With the addition of the big building there are some sort of “roads.”

I saw no changes to the landscape during this play session from my prior ones.  I suppose you could use the buildings for landmarks if you could pan the camera low enough to actually be able to see farther than a couple hundred meters, but since there’s no 1st person view if you pan low it’s hard to get a decent viewing angle when zoomed out, and when zoomed in your own mech blocks the view.  I took a screenshot of the local “terminal/station” and while yes you can see pretty far when trying to move wit hthe camera this low it feels claustrophobic due to the ground filling so much of the screen.  Still… no roads, nothing to really give you a sense of where things are, and if you get too far from the terminal for it to show on your overviewlandmark window then finding the direction you need to go to get back is annoying at best.

I appreciate the GM’s attempt to be helpful, but if the functionality to lock a target after selecting it in the overviewlandmark window doesn’t exist, then say so.  Don’t tell me a shortcut to set primary on an existing locked target.  And there aren’t any roads and the camera angles aren’t conducive to using buildings as landmark, so I’m not sure what the 3rd point was really trying to say.

So anyway….. I logged in and it had been 2 weeks so I had about 20,000 skill pointsextension points to spend.  I put them in to fitting skills and now could not only fit the armor plate, but a weapon upgrade as well that boosted damage and rate of fire.  I took a bounty hunting mission and headed the 3 km out of town to the spawn point for the mobs.  I saw a couple of newbie mobs on the way just as I was leaving the terminal, but the other 4 minutes of the trip out were boring while watching the boring landscape roll by.  The mobs spawned down in a valley and to get down to them one had to go through a series of switchbacks on the far side and work back once down in the bottom.  and of course once the mission was completed, work back up the switchbacks, etc.  All told the extra distance necessitated by this made it more like 4 km of travel each way — about 8 minutes of boring nothingness each way.

A the spawn pojnt the mobs were heavily camped, so it was difficult to get a lock before someone else did and get that 1st shot off to tag it as mine.  I eventually did and got through the 10 mobs I needed for my mission, but it was an exercise in frustration to do so.  These mobs dropped some decent kernels, missile ammo, and even the occasional missile launcher, and since the chatter is that missiles are the superior weapon system in the game right now, it made sense that people’d be going after them.  Add in that mob spawn points are few and far between, and you have the mess I found myself in.  This was why I was getting so frustrated that I didn’t bother to rempa keys as mentioned up above.  I mean c’mon, even SWG had the good grace to spawn a mob location for you when you accepted a mission, not simply send you to an already extant spawn point.  Well it did after everyone complained that their missions were being camped/stolen, anyway.  It worked SO much better after that was changed.

Still, I did manage to finish the mission, and after I climbed back out of the valley and got back to the outbuildings around the terminal I remembered to take a screenshot of my “Yagel.”  4 weapon hardpoints as opposed to the Arkhe only having 2, but not much else to distinguish it from any other lowbie robot that I saw.  In the background you can see the ground overlay that tells you where you can’t go becuz it’s too steep.  The multi-legged robots can traverse up to 51 degrees, iirc, while the 2-legged mechs are limited to 48% or something like that.  Didn’t sound like much of a difference when I read the specs, and that actually kind of annoyed me — I like the idea that the mechs are big weapon platforms while the light robots are scouts and able to spider-climb up cliffs and such, thus using the ground to their advantage to make up for their lighter armor.  And who knows?  Maybe as the game develops that’s how it will be in practice, but for now. . . I saw a couple of “Assault robots” but if I wanted to buy one of my own I’d need a lot more money ground out than I’m willing to give time to this game.  I never saw a mech, nor even saw one for sale.

Sad to say, this game still doesn’t impress me.  I wish it did.  I *really* want to like it.  Big stompy robots in an EVE-type universe?  My 1st thought upon hearing that was “Hook me up!!!!!!!!!”  But the implementation just doesn’t “have it” for me.  Lock times are too long, locking ranges are too short, especially given the lock time.  (As an aside, I took the “reduce lock time” skill, but still had a 12.5 second lock time, so apparently it’s bugged/not working.)  Movement is too slow and too limited by the terrain.  There aren’t enough mobs populated, and pve missions use existing spawn points rather than creating their own, so you’re fighting to finish your mission due to all easily accessible spawn points being camped by kernel/weapon loot hunters.  Overall the game simply feels too restricted and unpolished for me to give it a thumbs up.

And the 3rd post in a row about Perpetuum is here.

I’ve read a few other blogs mentioning this game, and after Stargrace mentioned it the other day and I commented that I’d like to check it out she kindly sent me an early access key.

And so, I downloaded it and jumped right in.  It does a little bit of basic tutorial when you log in — enough so you can move around, and that’s where the 1st glaring design flaw jumped out at me.  It uses WASD movement (good!) but uses A and D to strafe, not turn (bad!).  It wants you to use the “press right mouse and turn it” method of turning, which is fine, but I still wanted to be able to use the keyboard to turn also.  I went in to the keymaps and. . . . . .no option.  At all.  If you wanna turn, you’re using the mouse.  I don’t mind using the mouse for turning when I’m just out running around, but in combat when it’s easy to exaggerate your hand movement I find I have finer control with the keyboard, but this game doesn’t give me that option.  As it was, I’m so used to strafing with Q and E that I remapped the strafe to them anyway, and A and D don’t do anything at all for me.

So anyway, I’m going through the tutorial and it has me go get in to some combat.  Again all well and good, except well…. lag.  Not bad lag, but enough that trying to click on something to select is doesn’t work very well for me.  And I rubberbanded around a lot too.  Not far for distance, but enough to make the game feel herky-jerky and to be annoying.  Still, it does show you how to bring up an EVE-like overview so that you can select things in there too, and that helps.  But there are no shortcuts in there for targeting either.  Can’t double-click or ctrl-click it.  You gotta either right-click and select “Lock Target” or find the “landmark information” window and after you select a target, then in that info window you have the option to click a button and tell it to lock there.  The overview I don’t mind — I play EVE, after all.  But the inability to target and LOCK from the overview is another glaring design flaw.

Did I mention that locking takes 12.5 seconds?  Talk about WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too long.  There’s a skill to reduce it, and apparently later robots/mechs have shorter base lock times too, but even so, I don’t think it can go lower than about 8 seconds in the best mech and fully trained to level 10 on that skill, which is still way too long, IMO, and therefore IMO this is another design flaw.

So anyway, there I am in combat, and I’m wondering “How many hp do I have?  Am I in any danger here?”  Turns out, there is a display for that, but it’s OFF BY DEFAULT.  Sure, it’s onyl 1 click to turn it on once you know where it is, and then it persists forever, but… it should a) always be on anyway, and b) there is no b, becuz it should always be on.  Radar/Minimap?  Off by default.  The “landmark window” (overview” actually has direction and distance indicators, but you don’t know that when you turn it on — you have to pull it wider to be able to see them.

Want to access the market, swap modules around on your robot, or turn in a mission?  You have to “enter” your terminal.  But nothing tells you that.  I just happened to notice the “Enter” button in the middle of my toolbar on top and wondered what I did, so I clicked it.  The 6th tutorial or so has you go use a teleporter, find and enter another terminal, then come back, but it’s not until then that anything mentions that “Entering a Terminal” is the same as “going home” or “docking your ship” or whatever.

You start in a “noob ship” like in EVE, and apparently also as in EVE if you are ever blown up and don’t have any other ship, one of them will be provided to you.  The 5th tutorial gives a slightly upgraded version as a reward, and then the 10th tutorial mission gives you the 1st “real” combat robot.  I didn’t know it would do that, so I’d been saving up to buy one, and was about 3/4 of the way there when I got to the 10th mission and got one for free instead.  That was a nice surprise.  and yeah, as in EVE, you have fitting skills, so I couldn’t fully fit the thing.  But still… 4 guns instead of 2 is quite ice, even with reduced hp since I can’t fit the armor plate.  I still have 770 hp vs 907 with the plate, so it’s not a huge difference, and with mobs dying faster, it works out.

Still…. after the tutorials, you’ve got no idea what to do.  There are missions you can run from your terminal, but the payouts are fairly low.  You can wander the countryside looking for npc mechs that you can kill and loot for kernels that you can research to learn recipes (or sell for lotsa cash).  But that’s really it.  Nothing indicates where the “harder” areas are, it’s easy to get lost, mobs are actually rather sparsely populated once you get about 2 km from the terminal and….. there just doesn’t feel like there’s anything to it.

So I made a 2nd “agent” and focused it on the mining and industry stuff.  Except that I already used the 40,000 “extension points” (skills) I got at account creation on my combat character, so he’s got his base stuff and that’s it.  I got in-game and told it I wanted to do the industry tutorial.  Turns out it’s more or less the same as the 6th combat tutorial mission, except that it has you mine a completely useless noob-only rock that you can’t sell or refine.  I looked and the stuff I would need to buy to be able to actually mine something useful was out of reach without doing some combat, and I didn’t really want to on a non-combat character.

So that was it for my playing so far.  I actually logged about 10 hours on the combat character over 2 play sessions, and just a few minutes on the miner today.

Overall, I’d say it’s got potential, but it needs more time.  You get 1 extension point per minute, and there’s no way to change that.  As much as people complain about EVE’s learning skills, they at least do serve a purpose in speeding up you training.  This game needs something to boost that.  I do like that it accrues points to your account and once you have “enough” you can go spend them on what you feel you need, rather than choosing a skill and devoting all points to it.  Perpetuum’s system lets you change you mind, at least.  The graphics are pretty, but it seemed to me that the night/day cycle leaned to the night.  IMO it should lean to the day, not even equal time, but 2/3 – 3/4 day to only 1/4 – 1/3 night.  At night it’s so dark you can’t see much of anything except the red crosses that signify mobs and the general shape of the land.  Targeting/locking needs to be simplified.  Speeds need to be boosted too.  When a mission sends you 2.5-3km out of the terminal and you’re only traveling 50km/hr, it’s a long hike to get out there.

Also… there are no roads.  Just random buildings plopped down near the terminals, and then wilderness.  Nothing guides you in any direction.  You can’t say “follow that road over there to the next zone” or anything like that — you’re pretty much lost all the time.  The minimap is decent, but the big map is pretty useless.  It can give you an idea of the direction you need to go, but it doesn’t show terrain, so heading the right direction won’t necessarily get you where you want to go.  So you spend a lot of time lost, and there’s no “hearthstone” type abillity, so if you get lost and log out in frustration, guess where you’re gonna be if you log in again.

Anyway, this is long, so I’ll wrap up.  I’m not really impressed.  It does have some appealing things, and so I’ll try to play it more over the next month to see if once it officially launches and has more people it grows on me, but for now…. I won’t be extending past the 1st month.

New Game: Perpetuum!

Yesterday, Stargrace asked me if I’d heard of Perpetuum and if I’d like to try it and write about it.  I said that I hadn’t but I’m willing to write about anything.  And then I said, “Um, what is it?”

Perpetuum, Stargrace told me, is a scifi mmo that’s a little like Mechwarrior.

Count me in.

I think that I’ve said before how much I love old games, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I enjoyed the old Mechwarrior and Mechwarrior 2 games.  Of course, it’s been 15 years or so since I played those, so this was more about what I remembered than what actually was.  I loaded up the game and this is what I’ve found so far.

The first thing you’re presented with is character appearance.  I’m very picky about my character appearance, and the more options you give me, the happier I am.  This is the most controllable character creation I’ve seen since Aion.  It was great!  The problem is that the characters are ugly.  Try and I might, I couldn’t make a pretty toon.  This isn’t as dire as I thought it could be, though.  Once I made my toon, I haven’t seen him since.

Stargrace tells me that the devs have said they think the toons are ugly too and are going to work on that, so that’s a problem that I expect will go away.

After the appearance set up, then you pick the corporation you work for (basically, it’s Americas, EU/Russia, or um.. China, I think? I don’t remember which the third was now), then your are of expertise (politics, war, or r&d.)  After that you pick your location and specializations.  All of this was very much like how I remember the mechwarrior games to be.  It’s interesting because I’m used to trying to build toons for efficiency in mmo’s.  Because this is such a foreign game setup to me, I tried to set up the way I would have set up in mechwarrior.  No idea how intelligent a move that was, but it might work out ok.

Having set up my toon, I logged in.  I was on a bit of a time crunch, so I didn’t do anything except the first tutorial, but I really liked the UI.  Everything that I wanted to do was intuitive, from moving and resizing things to the basic controls, and that’s always a bonus in my book.  One of the reasons I keep on with eq2 is that the controls and UI are so familiar to me.  Learning a new control system can be fun, but it just slows down my immersion into the game.

So, this evening, I’m going to be trying Perpetuum some more, and will report more of my thoughts over the next few days, but so far, Stargrace is right, this has a very strong feeling of Mechwarrior, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Exploring Nia


Thanks to Scopique I had my interest piqued about Perpetuum a few weeks ago, but I didn’t give it very much more thought until the tail end of their open beta. I decided with early access happening just two days away I’d avoid playing the beta at all. One of the main factors for my decision was the price tag, you really can’t go wrong with 37 days of game play for $10 – no box or game to purchase, just the monthly fee.

The game itself is sci-fi, mech to be more specific. You may have heard it’s like EVE but on a planet, which is very true. The UI is composed of a lot of windows and screens and various boxes that can all be re-sized and moved around to your liking. There are various paths you can chose to go down (much like EVE) like PvP, PvE, and invention / production. I’ve only spent a few hours in game so far, doing tutorials, but it’s been fun.

The learning curve is quite steep so I have been taking my time with the tutorial. It took me three attempts to finally ‘get’ EVE after all, and I expect this will be much the same, especially since the genre is not one I’m typically comfortable in.

I’ve decided to go along a crafting rout (for lack of better term) for my first attempt. I’ve done the tutorials for mining which requires me to head out with my little Arkhe (the beginner uh.. mech? I was given) and extract metals from the ground. What I do with those metals after I’ve extracted them I don’t have the faintest idea. I’m sure it will come with time. The game is pretty, and unique to me. I like that you earn your EP (basically training points) while off line, and put those towards skills. There is no queue for skills, and while the UI may seem very EVE-esc, the similarities stop.

Avatar Creations also did a great job with their promotions, as yesterday numerous bloggers were given free early access codes to use and give out. Since I had already purchased access I gave away the codes on twitter and other Nomadic Gamer writers. Creating a buzz is never a bad thing.

Ok so I haven’t delved into enough of the game to come to a good conclusion on it, but I AM having fun exploring something new, and I’m looking forward to posting future screen shots and articles on my progress here. For now, it’s back to the tutorial about terminals.

Happy gaming!