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.
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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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"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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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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A screenshot of RIFT as, right now, it really is the only game I'm playing for free
I’m not a fan of free-to-play. Never have been, it’s unlikely I ever will be and, to be perfectly honest, my mind boggles as to why it’s so popular. OK, I get the money aspect of subscriptions but let’s be realistic here, it’s not as if F2P really is free. You still pay one way or another, probably the same amount as a sub eventually, quite likely even more. I mean, even before I could play a game like Everquest 2 or Age of Conan I’d have to shell out for the race and class that I prefer. And then more for broker access. And more for bank slots. And character slots. And bigger quest journals…
F2P also comes with all the headaches and distractions of having opportunities to buy extra items shoved in your face constantly and the driving motivation of developers ambiguously twisted. Give me an old fashioned, straight up subscription over F2P any day. Even if you only played two hours a week, it’s still great value, so much to the point that I think anyone who doubts it probably needs to re-evaluate their concept of value for money. Even playing only a single measly hour a week, you’d be hard pushed to find activities that were cheaper than $3.75 an hour. I guess you could go for a walk in the park… but make sure you don’t stop for a coffee on the way.
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The incredulous, exuberant, marvellous paradigm of multi-role perfectionism - the RIFT cleric
One of the reasons that I’m not a fan of the Advanced Class system in SW:TOR is because it fills you with hesitation and regret. Having invested four or five hours into your character, you’re suddenly forced to make a huge decision that’s going to impact your playstyle forever more based only upon a tiny Codex entry and a brief glance at skill trees. Furthermore, you sometimes have to pick between giving up any chance of tanking or healing and become a full on DPS only class. The Jedi Sentinel/Sith Marauder and Gunslinger/Sniper are the examples in question. Just why, oh why, would anyone gimp themselves to such a degree?
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No ever goes for the bright pink lightsabers
I always knew I was going to get SW:TOR, right from the moment it was announced, but it wasn’t until the subject was being discussed in the the comments of my last post that I started to ask myself exactly what I was expecting from it. To have fun, for sure, but what else? To be honest, I’d never given it much thought.
My decision to pre-order SW:TOR was a no-brainer really. It’s a MMO, it’s Star Wars, it’s BioWare. Duh. The founders of the company themselves could’ve gone on camera and viciously insulted my mother and I still would’ve pre-ordered the game (although I might have grumbled a little about it). Lack of slander aside though, it was also never a secret that the game was anything other than a ‘WoW clone’ (kinda unfair to call it that really but you know what I mean) so at least from that perspective I expected a pretty generic themepark MMO, similar in gameplay and design to most of the mainstream MMOs released in the last few years. Plus, I expected polish ’cause it had BioWare and buckets of money behind it.
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