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Archive for April, 2012

Articles

First Impressions of Guild Wars 2 Beta and TERA Online

So I’ve played a couple of hours of both the Guild Wars 2 beta and TERA Online. These games in particular should be compared to eachother instead of other (mmo)rpg’s due to the combat system. These games both aim for the action-rpg feeling in an mmorpg setting. This means that you have to actually dodge enemies and attacks that are coming your way instead of mitigating it with numbers (Though those still play a big part as well).

Guild Wars 2

Let’s start with the game I played first: Guild Wars 2. First of all, the servers were having some real login issues as I tried to play, resulting in mostly just not being able to get into the game. But eventually I managed to get in and create a character. Figured I’d play a Norn Engineer as that sounded like an interesting class judging from it’s description. The character creator is what you’d expect from one these days in (mmo)rpg’s, but it makes for a real good first impression due to the style and look of the menus.

I got in-game and played a couple of hours and did a bunch of quests. The quests are told in a separate dialog which I think works out well, but it may get old rather quick. Other than that; there were a bunch of ‘dynamic quests’ to do and one that stood out to me was where you had to talk to statues to solve riddles, followed by picking up eggs to bring to nests.. This shows both the good and bad of the quests, the riddles were fun and made me think of Lord of the Rings Online which uses those too, but much more elaborately. The bad obviously being mindlessly running to an item on the ground, pressing “f” and running back to press f again at the nest, rinse and repeat 20 times.

Then let’s get to the meat of it and the part that really matters: the combat. The combat didn’t really do that much for me, I was mostly pressing the auto attack button (1) and sitting there, occasionally hitting 2  and 3 for skills. There was hardly any real dodging or any signs of active combat. Neither did the enemies really do anything different from all the other mmo’s out there; they ran up to you and started wailing on you, even resulting in you getting mobbed by a group and quickly dying.

There’s 2 more things I want to mention in this and that is that the servers didn’t seem in great condition and that there was definitely lag and that may have affected that first impression for me. The other point being that the performance of the game was.. really quite horrible for what it looks like on my machine. I was getting 20-25 fps most of the time  on low settings (only textures high) and that simply won’t do. It’s still a beta, I know this, but performance needs to be a lot better. My friend had no performance issues at all though, so maybe it’s an nvidia/ati optimization thing.

TERA Online

Tera is one of those games that I heard about ages ago and that looked really promising, the combat looked really dynamic and action-oriented. But the game was only in Korean and there was hardly any news on it coming to the west at that time. But it’s here now and some friends recommended it to me saying that it’s really good and we talked about it and I decided I’d trust their judgement and gave it a shot too.

First thing I noticed is that it runs smooth as could be, the client download was at my maximum speed (GW2’s was slow) and I could log in without issue. So I picked a server and created my characters, the character creation again was pretty standard with it’s options, but compared to GW2, it’s definitely less polished. But I created a couple of characters of various races to reserve the names and set off my journey. It starts you off in a separate tutorial section in which you have a higher level character and it explains you how to do everything.

The movement is definitely not standard as you use your mouse to look around and you actually have a crosshair on screen. When you press one of the button to bring up part of the UI, it’ll switch over to another mode so you can use your mouse to click/use things on the UI such as items, etc. I really like how the minimap works in this, you can easily toggle it off/on and you can make it show the NPC/monsters you need on it. It’s a great idea to make it that easy as you can click it directly from the questlog that’s displayed on screen by default. No need to go through several menus as in other games!

Right right… enough, let’s talk combat. The combat in this actually feels great, I played both a melee and a ranged class and both are a ton of fun to play. The combat feels incredibly dynamic as you have to actually dodge out of the way of the enemy’s attacks and every enemy has their own “charge” attack which is more powerful. I have to say that thus far the enemies haven’t been that tough, but you can already tell that it’s going to be great at later levels and dungeons.

That said, TERA is a lot more traditional in it’s approach to quests and the world design and a lot more….asian. Basically there’s been paths leading to settlements with monsters on/around them which are for killquests. But the thing is; That’s totally okay as it’s fun to kill and strafe around enemies and there even is a bunch of PvP going on already which keeps you on your toes, even in low-level areas.

 

So in short I would say that GW2 has a lot more polish to it, but TERA beats it in the fun-factor. But we’ll have to see how TERA fares the test of time, but it’s looking awfully sunny with the servers already being incredibly full and there being queues.

 

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Buying my first sword

As you may know about me, one of my interests has always been swords and the cultures in which they used. As such my movie collection contains a large amount of movie set in the past in which swordplay forms a large part.

Lately I’ve been really thinking about getting a sword (that’s actually not a new thing at all) and getting taught medieval fencing based on the surviving manuscripts from masters such as Talhoffer. I’m about to take the first time at least by buying a sword.

The sword I’ve picked was not my first pick, but that one’s not available right now and the blacksmith will inform me when he’s making more so I can order them.  One of my criteria for a sword is that it has to be ‘real’, there are so many swords that are poorly smithed and are not designed for real (or any) use. They’ll simply break and that’s outright dangerous. So I picked a sword which is known to be very durable and this one is said to be for sure.

There’s some examples of weak swords in the following video:

It’s pretty funny that if you want a decent sword, you seemingly really have to look into the manufacturers to see who makes decent blades, and all the manufacturers have quite different reputations. Some are really good in certain fittings, sharpening etc. They’ll also respond to criticism from the customers and will actively improve, you can find examples of this around the web, several on sword buyers guide.

So what sword did I end up picking? It’s Darksword Armory’s 11th century-based viking sword.

And here’s a video of this sword in comparison:

Articles

Poll regarding Let’s Introduces

I’ve not done any Let’s Introduces in a while and I have a bunch of games that I find cool, but not LP-worthy or.. that simply wouldn’t be good as LP’s. So I’m wondering if I should make Let’s Introduces more often. Let me know what you guys think, and I’ll take that into consideration. :)

For those wondering what Let’s Introduces are; You can see examples such as Super Meat Boy, Civilization 5 and Dwarf Fortress. Essentially they are introductions to a game where I’ll record a set to show the basics of it, but where I won’t complete the game. Good to show off indie games for example, or games that a LP just wouldn’t suit.

Do you want to see more Let's Introduces?

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Quotes

What ingredients make the strongest leash in existence?

The sound a cat makes when it moves; a woman's beard; the roots of a mountain; the sinews of a bear; the breath of a fish; and a bird's spittle.

Snorri Sturluson

I loved to find this line in one of the old Norse myths I’m reading about. Most of it is quite serious and clearly shines through what qualities people should aspire to attain. However, there are funny moments and this was one of them thus far.

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It’s getting to that point again…

Too many games to play, not enough time. Even when I boil my list down to games I absolutely ‘must’ play. It’s quite frustrating that I’m not getting around to playing those games. The same goes for the let’s plays, I’ve not recorded anything in 2-3 weeks now due to festivals and concerts and other things keeping me busy. It’s also not helped by some recent releases on GOG, such as Legend of Grimrock and Theme Hospital which I totally adore.

Currently I’ve played an hour and a half or so of Legend of Grimrock and just reached the third floor, which means I’m at a crossroads now pretty much. I can choose to not continue and record the game, but considering how that’s been going I’m not sure how realistic that currently is. I’ll probably be busy with Mass Effect 3 for a good while still, I’ve recorded 6.5 hours currently split over 3 sets. That should also start going up sometime soon probably.

I’ve also spent a little more time with To The Moon, that delightful indie game that simply grabs you with it’s story and humor. If you like a good story-based game, then you should give it a shot. You can download the game for free and play for an hour(trial). That should give you a good idea of the game, it’s also one I wish I would’ve loved to record, but I simply feel I’m too far in to do it justice at this point. I cannot stress you enough to go give this game a shot though!

Some of the other games that I really want to (let’s) play are among the following: Baldur’s Gate 1-2, Little Big Adventure 1-2, Mount & Blade Warband – Brytenwalda, Shogun 2 Total War and Hard Reset. Other than those I want to play more Red Orchestra 2 and Skyrim too, but those don’t have a real ‘campaign’ for me to go through at this point so I could mark them as ‘complete’ in my book.