Feeling Hungry For World of Darkness

World of Darkness

I hope World of Darkness vampires sparkle in the sunlight, just like in Twilight.

I don’t know much about World of Darkness other than it involves vampires, politics, political vampires and a very loyal, slightly scary fanbase. It’s also, as far as I can gather, nothing like Twilight .

Far too many years ago, when I still a teenager, I remember being quite intrigued by the whole World of Darkness setting even though I understood little of it. All I knew was that it made vampires cool (in a dark and Machiavellian way) and was often enjoyed by Ann Rice fans and Goths alike. In fact, I had the pleasure of meeting some Vampire The Masquerade roleplayers when I was about 17 and they left quite an impression on me. Even to this day I still have a fuzzy memory of pale bosoms, fake blood and some melodramatic banter.

Since then, I dabbled a bit more in the World of Darkness mythology and thoroughly enjoyed the single player RPGs and even had a strange love/hate relationship with Kindred: the Embraced, the low budget TV show based on it. It was no Forever Knight but then things could match the cheesy, vampire glory that it offered. And yes, I’m well aware I spent far too much time watching late-night re-runs whilsy I at university in the early 2000s.

Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that even though I still don’t really understand what World of Darkness is actually all about (the TV show taught me nothing), I’m very much intrigued about the upcoming MMO based on it. Partly because of the lore and setting and partly because it’s being made by CCP, the folks behind EVE Online.

Although CCP went through a rough patch last year with their whole cash store fiasco (and seem to be constantly laying off staff), I still believe in them as a developer and their ability to create games that are… different. Love it or hate it, EVE (and all the Mittani related scandals that come with it) is certainly unique in the MMORPG world and truly the only real sandbox success story we’ve seen in it. I honestly hope that WoD will follow in the footsteps of EVE and be another strong sandbox offering.

The signs are looking pretty good too. For instance, CCP recently confirmed that the game will not only feature player elected leaders of real life cities but also a partial permadeath mechanic. Permanent death, now that’s brave. No doubt this type of full-blown sandbox game will put off a lot of people but personally I’m really excited to see a game trying some new approaches to the industry.

Plus, World of Darkness is going to have something that’s always kinda put me off from getting into EVE: a clean slate. Launch day is going to see a brand new world, unspoilt and uncharted, ready to be explored and pioneered. No big guilds occupying all the territory, no existing wars for dominance, no experienced hardcore players ready and waiting to wipe the floor with every newb who logs on. It’s going to be an open sandbox world for the taking with everyone starting at the same level on an equal footing and with no advantages. That’s exciting.

Are you looking forward to the World of Darkness MMO as much as I am?


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How much time have you wasted on alts?

Goblin Warlock

Another alt bites the dust.

Today I rolled another three alts in WoW. Alts of alts, in fact. Yep, I deleted my level 15 Warlock Goblin alt and started a Warlock Blood Elf alt-alt. I also deleted my Worgen Rogue alt and started a Goblin Rogue alt-alt. Finally, I also created a new Warrior who’s an alt of a level 15 Warrior I have who’s an alt of a level 67 Warrior I deleted who was an alt of my level 85 Warrior main. And if you followed any of that then you surely deserve a place in Mensa.

I’m actually starting to think I have a problem. I had this weird moment this afternoon when I was playing through the Blood Elf starting area for, oh I don’t know, the 100th time, and had a flashback to a vivid memory from about two years ago. In it, I recalled playing the exact same class through the exact same starting area. Two years ago. I’m starting to feel like I’m either stuck in some sort of warped MMO Groundhog Day or my attention span is that of a hyperactive four year old chimpanzee.

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Are You Ashamed Of Playing MMOs?

Race To World First

Being the first out of 10 million people to achieve something is nothing to sneeze at

Last year I watched a fascinating documentary called Race to World’s First which followed the struggles of an American World of Warcraft guild called Blood Legion in their attempts to becoming, surprise, surprise, the world’s first guild to down raid bosses in WoW. I don’t know the exact details of how the rankings work but, essentially, you get scored on how quickly you progress through the raid system, all in attempt to be the first guild in the world to take down new bosses as they are made available. I guess it’s like a high level macro game that makes the raid component of WoW far more competitive, all with the top guilds in the world battling for that special number one position.

The documentary is very good and I’d definitely recommend shelling out the three bucks it costs to watch it as it not only offers a real insight into the types of people that get sucked into this ultra competitive sub-world of WoW raiding but it shows a lot of the human side to it all. Just like some of the best documentaries out there, it doesn’t labour too much on the mechanics of the game but instead takes a detailed look at the people who play it and how it affects their lives.

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Oh my… A Game of Thrones MMO

Sean Bean. Available for all fantasy based roles that involve a lot of brooding.

Sean Bean. Available for all fantasy based roles that involve a lot of brooding.

Well, colour me pleasantly surprised. A few days ago, via Rock, Paper Shotgun, I found out that developer Bigpoint are releasing a free-2-play MMO based on the Game of Thrones IP. I’m actually feeling surprisingly giddy about it.

Of course, it’s still early days and there’s absolutely no information on the official web site about the game but then that’s to be expected considering it likely won’t be out for another three years. Still, one can dream. Here’s hoping it’s less WoW-like and a little more EVE-like, focusing on political intrigue, deception and general backstabbery rather than leveling up and quest grinding. Fingers crossed for a sandbox type model too but, hell, that’s unlikely, so I’d just settle for something a little different from the norm.

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When Money Is The Biggest Motivator

Motivation is finishing the raid before your wife yells at you to get to bed

Motivation is finishing the raid before your wife yells at you to get to bed

It’s been proven that money is a poor motivator. Wait, let me caveat that. When it comes to motivating people into doing mindless, repetitive, physical tasks, money works perfectly well. Give someone more cash for every rock they shift or hamburger they flip and, lo and behold, they shift more rocks and flip more burgers. But when it comes to intelligent, cognitive and creative tasks, money is utterly worthless at a motivator. Once someone has enough cash to live decently (and reach the final stage in the hierarchy of Maslow’s needs if you want to get all brain sciency about it), then they look for other factors to motivate them, namely things like autonomy, mastery and purpose. This is why companies like Google give their employees a ‘free’ day each week to do with as they please and why the team at Bethesda made practically a whole new, better version of Skyrim when given a free week to do so as they wished after it launched.

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I’m Just Too Damn Weak Willed

Rift Warrior

"By the power of Grayskull....I HAVE THE POWER!"

So I cracked and resubscribed to RIFT. For three months. This is something I never do (I always pay monthly) but they offered me some cosmetic veteran rewards upfront if I did. I also bought some add-on upgrade thingy for £5 because it came with a rideable spider. And all of this is exactly why I hate the concept behind free-2-play subscriptions and cash shops. I’m just too damn weak willed to resist them.

Well, actually I have some other concerns towards F2P but my fundamental problem is that I can’t stop myself from buying stuff. Even though I’m not really not all that bad at controlling my purchasing urges in real life, when it comes to virtual goods for my favourite MMOs I’m just far too much a consumerist for my own good. The constant reminders, the little nudges, the appeals to my oh-so-not-inconsiderable vanity – I crack under the pressure. I’d buy these virtual cash shops dry given half the opportunity.

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Returning To RIFT

Rift Angel

I'm starting to wonder why I ever stopped playing RIFT

I’ve been playing RIFT again for just over a week now, ever since Trion launched the 1.7 patch which makes it free to play up to level 20. A great idea, in my opinion and very, very welcome. I rolled four new alts on a new server and am enjoying the game thoroughly. Chances are I’ll probably resubscribe for another month or two soon. I gotta say, I really like the free-2-try model as it combines the huge benefit that free-2-play brings of being able to play a game before you fork out any cash, combined with the discreet monthly subscription model – no cash shops, no wallet nudges.

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