Daily Archives: October 27, 2009

Veteran rewards?

As a follow on to my post from yesterday (Price announcements) there was some more info released on the Age Of Conan veteran rewards found over here – AoC weblink.  This got me thinking, is this something I’d support in a game I currently play, i.e. LOTRO?  Now for me, I’ve been here since day 1 so I have nothing to lose and everything to gain from it but in looking at the rewards there are some interesting “fluff” items that would be cool to have I think.  I’m not a fan of the horse routes and that kind of stuff, but cosmetic items and pets could be fun.  So, I’ve added a new poll – what’re your thoughts on veteran rewards?

What would DAOC look like in DX10?

Ok, so this is totally off topic but I just spent a good bit of time checking this blog out and am almost tempted to go download DAOC again 😉  Basically they’ve re-created various parts of DAOC in the Crysis gaming engine and it just looks gorgeous!  The shots of the frontiers bring back lots of goof RvR memories!

I really hope someone else can figure out how to do PvP in a way that is as fun as it was in DAOC.  Not only was it fun, but it actually meant something.  You could get skills and abilities from it that were usable in PvE and bonuses for keeps/relics applied to PvE as well.  I spent many an early morning trying to rally with my fellow Hibernians trying to keep our precious relics 🙂

Anyway, enough rambling – if you played DAOC at all, I highly suggest you check out this blog.

New Dev Diary – Mirkwood Regions

Another new dev diary is up (Full article) so make sure you check it out.  Lots of good story info and also ties our role in this area to the rest of the LOTR written world.  I’ll admit I initially thought this was a bit of a stretch, but this diary does make it a good connection, for me at least.  This is from Vastin (new name for me, or maybe I’m just forgetting) and walks through some of the design differences between Mirkwood and Lorien, which points to lots of fun in Mirkwood 😉

Some good insight into their thought process (which seems to be a common thread in these diaries no matter who’s putting them out) lets us know that they’re VERY concerned about the land rush with Mirkwood launches and are trying to make that as smooth as possible.  Also they’re looking into different kinds of quest formats (as the previous Massively article points out in the instances) which is always a good thing.

It was also nice to see them talking about some of the issues they’ve run into as I think that really helps folks understand why what we all consider “easy things to implement” aren’t always so easy.  I wouldn’t have thought of the issues they brought up with a straight-forward storyline, but once it is explained I can totally see how you could end up with multiple developers doing the same thing in different areas, which would be bad for us the players :).

Definitely a good read, but I’ll admit nothing terribly earth shattering from a news standpoint.  This diary is more of an insight on how this region is being developed and the back-story behind it.

New Siege of Mirkwood Tour

So Massively.com posted about their tour of Mirkwood with “Rowan” and for me in addition to pretty screen-shots (there have also been lots of other sites linking to the new shots) I at least did pick up some new info.

  • Screen-shot showing the area map (link)
  • Background story – we’re on the front lines helping the elves re-take the forest
  • Info on the new mechanics of the instances (more on this below, as I thought this was really cool)
  • Skirmishes – nothing really new here although they did toss out different names for the soldiers – Archer and Herbalist which my guess is they map into the DPS and Healer path mentioned in the dev diary.
  • Skirmish marks – finally some info on the rewards! (more below)
  • Legendary relic slot – nothing new here
  • Combat more responsive as it is not gated by auto-attacks.
  • Mounts – nothing terribly new that we didn’t already know, although I’m so looking forward to being able to vendor things while mounted!

Ok, so for me the 2 big parts of this post were the instances and the skirmish marks.

With Mirkwood we’re getting 5 new instances and Rowan took the Massively crew through 2 of them.  What I liked most was the thought process and the new concepts being brought to these instances.  Now I’m not saying these are brand new to the MMO world, but they’re new to LOTRO 🙂  The first instance mentioned was the Sword Hall of Dol Goldur is an arena style instance.  While that sounds cool enough, there are torches in the room that control the difficulty in what appears to be how many bosses you fight at the same time.  Also notice the part about a chest for each boss, and one for completing hard mode – which I think is getting to the new drop system they’ve talked about.

The other instance they talk about is the Dungeons of Dol Guldur which introduces some fun sounding mechanics for the guard behavior.  Basically you’re trying to free the prisoners without being caught – there is a jail cell that they can throw you in for a “really long time” which doesn’t sound appealing at all.  The set-up of the rooms you need to clear is completely random, so each door you open could be a prisoner in need of rescue or something unpleasant.  Also there are patrols which are following randomized paths (unlike the FG sentries) which you’ll have to dodge as well.  We are given a little bone here as we can apparently use poppy seed barrels to put the roamers to sleep ;).  And at the end, the final boss fight you actually are helped out by all the prisoners you free!  So it certainly seems like there’s a nice reward for freeing them, but not something that’s mandatory once you figure out the boss (although I’m sure there will be a deed or quest for freeing the prisoners).

Skirmish marks are tokens that you can barter with for what appears to be a pretty wide variety of items.  I’m guessing that this is the methodology in which you “level” up your solider and give them new, better traits, but also allows for ways to boost your character as well.  The article mentions “weapons, armor, consumables (food/potions, etc), cosmetic items (hopefully new ones), rep items (very cool) and much more.”  So it seems like a good mix of “fluff” rewards but also looks like another path of item upgrades as well.  Now we have no idea how good this stuff is or how expensive they’ll be but the idea is quite promising.  I especially like the idea of tying it to rep as it gives us another way to get reputation if we so choose to.  The fact that skirmishes (and the marks) will start at 30 to me sounds like a potentially awesome way to equip your character as you level!

For me, I’m really excited about the new instances as it sounds like they’re continuing what they did with the new Book 8 instances and making them just as much puzzles as zergs.  And the skirmish rewards sound pretty sweet as well!

Check out the full article over here at Massively.

Interesting price announcements for MMOs

So I was going through my normal morning news and stumbled upon a couple of tidbits today.

First up, Age of Conan has announced a new pricing plan for multi-month subscriptions.  For 3 month plans they’re offering a 20% discount, 6-month yields a 30% discount, and 12 month results in a whopping 45% discount.  In addition, these months will apply immediately towards the new “veteran points” system they’re releasing.  They didn’t go into too much detail, but it seems like if you’ve subscribed for 6 months already and switch to a year plan, you’ll have 18 months worth of veteran points (more details on what those points can be used for was mentioned will be released later).  Full article is here.

I’m not real sure what it means for Funcom and AoC but I don’t think it is a good thing – it would appear that people are leaving the game and they’re trying to do whatever they can to entice folks to stick around and pay up-front.  If I were playing AoC (it didn’t grab me enough to dump LOTRO and I’m trying to limit myself to one MMO sub) I’ll admit it would be hard to pass up on the multi-month for the discount you get but I certainly would be on the look-out for something else down the line as this could be the white flag of surrender.

Now the non-sky is falling thought is that they’re just trying to bring their cash-flow a little more up-front in the same way that LOTRO is with their Siege of Mirkwood expansion pricing.  I haven’t been following AoC too closely so maybe it is doing just as well as LOTRO and they just want to bring a little more cash up front to help out with some near term development tasks they want to ramp up or something.

Either way, if you’re a Conan player I would certainly check out the new options as a way to save some cash.

Now the other piece of news comes from Global Agenda, which is an up-coming Sci-fi MMO first person shooter.  Again, this is another one that I’m not following too closely but I found it interesting as it seems like they’re offering an MMO-lite version for just the regular game box price, but then a subscription model on top of that if you want a more typical MMO experience.  Here’s the article over on MMORPG.com.

I think this is a pretty smart move for an FPS as some folks will just want to play a regular shooter, but it opens the game up for more epic style battles if folks want that and are willing to pay for it.  Plus the subscription does offer the growth options that one would expect from an MMO.  Now, I think the tricky part is how an FPS twitch based game will work as an MMO considering lag – I mean I have enough issues sometimes with LOTRO when I’m on a bad connection, I can’t imagine something like an FPS!  Especially when you consider most FPS players expect a pretty high level graphics engine and smooth gameplay.

Overall, I like the fact that gaming companies are trying to change things up a bit – it is not just the $15/month subscription offerings we’ve seen in the past.  I can only hope that more will follow turbine’s lead and offer lifetime subscriptions (I’m talking to you Bioware for The Old Republic).