Blog Archives

Response to Ten Ton Hammer: The Anti-Ganking Guide for PI

It seems to be a trend for some gaming websites now to hire folks to write articles about PvP in MMO games. Disturbingly though, recent articles (that don’t deserve links) purport to be guides to ganking, which is in my mind a really disgusting pastime. It’s useless to pretend it doesn’t exist though, and worse to whine about it, so this post won’t do either. Instead, I mean to make a guide to help people interested in Planetary Interaction in EVE avoid ganking.

It’s a long one, read all my tips and tricks after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry

Science Fiction. Largely Unexplored?

Science Fiction is quite possible one of my favorite genres of games.  Don’t get me wrong, I love casting a large fireball or wielding a giant sword as much as the next elf. The industry seems to be flooded with the magical environments of fantasy though.  This isn’t bad, but it is making the sci-fi guy in me really crave a nice blaster, droid, and spaceship system.

I never played Star Wars Galaxies.  By the time I decided that pay to play systems were not the devil, SWG had already hit its peak and, according to the masses, been destroyed by Sony.  I also missed out on the era of Anarchy Online.  Once it went free to play, I tried it out for about five minutes.  I then had to go flush my eyes with water in hopes to alleviate the pain caused by the jagged polygon graphics.  EVE online is probably the best sci-fi based game I have played to date.  Although once I finished the tutorial and the industry quest line, I became lost in the vast area of space and large skill training times.

I’m curious why sci-fi has had such a hard time making a break out into the MMO industry.  What is it about the genre that causes most game developers to aim towards making a fantasy game rather than something in the far reaches of space? Is it the enormity of universe rather than just making one world? Or maybe its a class balanced system that forces them to rethink the Caster, Warrior, Rogue norm.    Sure we have titles like Star Trek Online and Global Agenda.  Global Agenda feels more like an expansive fps to me than an MMO.  STO is… well lets just say I’ve never really cared for Star Trek because I myself prefer the Star Wars universe.  (Its the phasers.  I cant stand beam oriented weapons even if they are scientifically more realistic).

Where are the games that allow us to explore far off solar systems, engage in combat (space ship and ground forces alike) and craft the very vessels we leave a planet with?  Has no one thought of the idea of having space to explore but the need to build your ship in order to see the content?  Perhaps players are just not willing to work for such experiences.  I for one would love to start out on a planet working months to create a vessel that allowed me to visit space and neighboring worlds.  The reward would be better than a surprise peach cobbler after a fantastic steak dinner. MMmm cobbler.

Maybe game companies see the dollar value of the fantasy genre and feel that it is a safer investment than sci-fi.  I think if a company put in the time to create an MMO that had you playing a character rather than just a ship, they could tap a seriously saturated fantasy market by providing  something the MMO world is desperately lacking.  There may be options out there that I have just not seen.  STO seems to have a mix of ground content with space content, but the story is set in a world that has a particular fan base and all the connotations (good or bad) that come with it.

Why do companies make great single player sci-fi games on a regular basis, but can’t seem to get it right or create something new for MMOs?  I’m befuddled by it.  Sci-Fi can be just as imaginative as any fantasy game.

Just give me one sci-fi game that creates an experience that isn’t pigeon holed into one element of the genre.  I don’t want to just fly in space.  I want to land and take on new worlds with groups of explorers.  I want to be able to colonize a space station or make a new space port on a distant planet.  Perhaps my desires are too specific and too large to realistically create.

What elements do you want to see in a Sci-fi MMO?  Why do you think this side of the industry is largely ignored by companies?  Id love to hear your thoughts on what would make you rethink playing an orc and wielding a staff.  Frankly for me, none of the games advertising this so far have come close to creating a world that has made me consider retiring from a life of fantasy.  How about you?

PS: Thanks again to Stargrace for letting me contribute to The Nomadic Gamer.  I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts and experiences with you all.

And as always,

Thanks for reading.


Finding a Balance in Gaming

Playing video games was never something I thought about as a full time job, even when it became my full time job. It was still always fun and while I did have to start looking at things slightly different (as in, I had to pay more attention to things like zone names and mechanics) it was still never really a job to me.

Until I started running out of time to simply do what I wanted, and needed to concentrate on specific games, for specific things. Then it hit home, I would have to actually budget my game time, and figure out a schedule in order to accomplish thing I needed to do.

At any one time over a two month period (because work publishes their magazine once every two months) I play between 6-20 games. Six of those games are my ‘typical’ games that I write about on a steady basis. Those games are EverQuest II, EverQuest, Vanguard, Wizard101, Fallen Earth, and Aion. I have very little ‘wiggle room’ when it comes to those games because they’re what I play to supply a salary, and while I do have creative leeway (I can chose what aspect of those games I’m writing about) it’s very important that I am involved as much as I can possibly be.

All work and no fun makes for a very boring life, so of course I have other games that I play. These games fluctuate depending on my mood and my interests, and that’s where the whole ‘Nomadic Gamer’ idea came from. Right now the games include EVE, and Lord of the Rings Online, as well as a little Allods, and Runes of Magic. Then there are my non-MMO games (which I do still try to find time to play) like Torchlight, Dragon Age, Sims3, and console games like Darksiders and White Knight Chronicles. I rarely ever manage to finish a game before moving on to something new, and since I’ve only played games for the last seven years it’s all pretty new to me. My brothers were the ones growing up with the nintendo and playstation and all that stuff.

There’s other interests I have that I need to allot time towards as well. Things like photography, reading, writing, being a guide, you know the basics. Coming up with a schedule for gaming is not something that I find very fun but something that I need to do out of necessity. The down side to all of this is that my schedule involves me gaming during day time hours and while there are lots of European friends around for me to talk with, it means that in order to hang out with the majority of my friends I need to also game during the evening hours (which is when I’d typically like to take a break from gaming altogether and go get something else done).

This year marks my 2nd year working for Beckett, and I have JUST finally found the balance for me. It has been a long time coming. Some times I would grow very frustrated and I wasn’t sure if I could do it all. Of course it takes barely a gentle breeze to upset that balance but hey at least it’s there!

How do others who play multiple games work on their own balance? Do you use a schedule or simply go where ever the games take you? Are you perhaps one who subscribes to games via lifetime subscriptions so you’re not hassled with a monthly sub and the guilt that may come from not getting in enough hours? Let me know in comments!

Thank you, and happy gaming!