The Good and The Bad of Player Made Dungeons #EQ2 #EverQuest2

Even though there has been a significant decrease in the number of EQ2 posts I make, I do still find myself logging in once or twice a week like some poor addict. It’s hard to go cold turkey when you’ve spent practically every day for the last 7 years playing. So it was that I found myself staring at the dungeon maker tool that came out with Age of Discovery. I had yet to explore my way through any dungeons at all, and a friend suggested that I take a peek at theirs, so I did. Here are some very basic opinions about the new tool, starting with the bad points. Keep in mind these are personal to me and my experiences, and you may not have these issues.

  • If you crash and are in a dungeon alone, you get kicked out and have to start over, without any rewards, no matter how far into the dungeon you were.
  • There’s no indication at all whether a dungeon is made for solo play or group play unless the publisher mentions it in the title
  • Some classes are significantly ‘better’ than other classes if you choose to solo. I was unable to complete this group dungeon as a level 50 guardian, but I did manage to solo it as a level 50 healer (remember, you do these in a pre-created character template, not your own character for now)
  • If you’re a defiler there’s a very annoying bug with your crystallized essence spell. Your inventory will be absolutely full of the items unless you remove the spell before you use the character template
  • What you actually DO with the dungeon marks you receive at the end is confusing. I would like to see vendors set up some place for everything you can purchase instead of the confusing maze of station cash sections. I saw gear you can purchase but it’s in no order at all and very annoying to search for in the station marketplace. You can also purchase dungeon bits, this was a little less difficult to figure out.
  • Pathing and pulling. Unless you’re in a group and are able to handle large encounters, or you are VERY careful about pulling, you’ll probably always end up with entire room pulls. The pathing and agro radius of mobs in dungeons is very poorly done.

Those were my major issues. Had I done the dungeon with a group I may have felt a little different, but I feel that there should be a way for dungeon creators to ‘rank’ them as either solo play or group play. As an adventurer you should assume all dungeons are made for groups unless it is specified in the title by the creator. The mobs are not technically meant to be solo friendly. I suppose this makes sense, as dungeons have been group content in the past, but AoD needs to add solo content as well as group content. Now for the good points.

  • Creativity. This specific dungeon I chose to do was great, they had a large selection of player-written books filled with their own stories scattered throughout. I took the time to read them all, and it was just amazing to see the amount of thought put into a creation like this. The dungeon maker decides what mobs will say, and can develop a theme accordingly. I loved it. Of course anyone who reads this site will already know that I’ve been a long time advocate of user generated content.
  • Fun. It was a lot of fun because I had no idea what I was going to be up against. In one section of this specific dungeon the encounter I reached consisted of enchanters who mesmerized and stunned me. I had been making my way along easily enough but this encounter was not friendly for a priest template at all. I died after defeating a few of them. I love not knowing what is going to happen next.
  • I think the idea behind the dungeon marks is a great idea. I love that you can not only purchase gear with them, but purchase other bits for your own dungeons.
  • Promoting group play. I think if you’re playing with a steady group of friends player made dungeons are fantastic. It’s an evening of doing something new, in a zone none of you have been to before. It’s a new dungeon every day, which is nice because you (the developer) help stave off the “we’ve been there before” feeling that players get after they’ve run the same dungeon a million times.

Overall I feel that the player made dungeons are an amazing concept but still have a lot of glitches and bugs that need to be worked out. A lot of how you may ‘feel’ about them also depends on the creator, I saw a lot of dungeons simply titled “solo token grind” which doesn’t leave me feeling that they’ve invested any creativity into them at all. BUT. You do always have the choice to simply not go there.

I’d love to see a LFG tool that also involved the player-made dungeons (to my knowledge EQ2 doesn’t employ a feature like this yet). It would pick a random dungeon, and since you’re using a template it doesn’t matter who gets put together for a group. I think it would be a great way to promote the dungeons randomly without players selecting one, and a fantastic way to promote a grouping feature since it technically does not matter what anyone has for gear or what they play as a class. They can simply select one of the templates.

Have you been using the dungeon maker at all? What are your thoughts about it? What would you like to see changed/added/fixed in the future? Let me know in comments! As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Taking Care of my Bruises – Wurm Online (Day 1) #WurmOnline

Ouch! That hurt! Ouch! That Hurt!

That was my introduction to Wurm Online, once I had completed the tutorial. I’ve been meaning to play Wurm for a really long time but hadn’t actually gotten around to it until.. well, tonight. I’m a huge fan of games where I don’t have to spend all of my time attacking things and being violent. I enjoy creating items to use, exploration, and puzzles. I love taking in views, doing quests and everything else. That’s not to say I don’t also enjoy a good hack and slash filled evening, but I just don’t like how ALL of my time is dedicated towards that while playing. That’s why games like A Tale in the Desert and Wurm Online really appeal to me. Sure, they’ll never be your AAA title, but they’ll always have a niche market.

Once I had learned about different types of terrain, collected some peat, dug in a cave, hacked down a tree and collected logs in order to make a mallet (failed the creation twice, the game took pity on me and gave me the materials for my third attempt) I was plopped down in the middle of a village with a backpack of goods and sent on my way. To do what exactly? I’ve got no idea, I haven’t decided that far ahead yet. I decided to explore and found myself falling down mountain sides before too long. That’s where I got the bruises pictured above from.

Then I spotted an “Aged Fat Clipwalking” in the distance. I believe that’s a type of horse. I armed myself with an iron sword and – completely failed at attacking it. You would think that the first thing I’d want to do in my non-violent game would be to plant a tree or see about fishing for food, but nope, my little avatar tried to hack and slash her way into a meal. I tried to kill some wolves that I saw first, but they were all already dead and I was unable to do anything with their corpses. So I decided to rest up against a tree, mend my poor wounds, and leave the horse for another time.

I’m excited about exploring, and perhaps even setting up a little place of my own in the future. I know a few friends of mine who are playing and hopefully I can join up with them eventually. If I can find my way to them, we’ll just have to see. More posts coming about my attempts at building things when I am not leaning against a tree half dead (hence the cloudy red vision posted above).

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Post-Christmas.. Post. #SWTOR #Christmas

My Operative managed to obtain her first space ship last night as I sailed into level 17. This means I also earned a second companion, one I can send out on crafting missions without having to sacrifice my safety. I actually enjoy crafting in SWTOR, even though it’s not very hands on and can take a lot of time if you haven’t earned standing with your crew members.

Santa was very good to me this year. I got a new video card, a Radeon HD 6950, which replaces the two crossfired 4850’s that I was using. There was nothing technically wrong with the cards, I’ve been able to game just fine – but they were INCREDIBLY loud. It felt like a jet was flying overhead any time I started up a game. This new card is a dream, silent, and powerful. I used to use Nvidia cards, but one year I burned through three of them so I switched over and haven’t looked back. I moved all of the settings up to high quality and it runs very well.

I’m still playing WoW despite the lack of posts lately. I’m doing the Twilight dungeons, and this week I won three pieces of gear from the LFRaid tool on my shaman. She had not won a single thing before now, so I’m quite pleased. I have been taking a small break from leveling up the druid, I was a bit burnt out after getting her to level 70. I’m sure I’ll get back to leveling her once the holidays have calmed down.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, filled with lots of loved ones. As always, happy gaming. No matter where you find yourself.


Trion Joins the Ranks of Compromised Databases #Rift


It seems that these emails are becoming the norm, compromised databases in games that we all know and love. Trion sent this out last night with a promise of 3 days of free game play, and a ‘moneyags’ purse’ which increases the amount of coin looted by 10% as long as you update your password and security questions. I have a little piece of mind since I have no credit card on file with Trion, I’ve used paypal for all of my transactions. While paypal is not immune to being hacked, I do feel a little more ‘secure’ with them, because there are far larger fish in that sea than little ‘ol me. Still, it’s a bit uncomfortable to know that personal information is in someone else’ hands, someone who was never intended to have it. When we fill out this information about ourselves to these game companies we trust them to keep it safe.

I always wonder what the purpose of someone gaining access to this information is. Do they actually do anything with the data they’ve obtained or is it just a show of ‘hey look what I can do’ and to put some fear into companies and their subscribers.

While I personally don’t think this is any reason to run from the hills screaming (after all, it’s not the first time this has happened) I’m sure there will be plenty of cries of outrage. I hope everyone gets their personal information changed without any hassle and things go smooth from here on out.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Exploring Cybertech Crafting #SWTOR

There has been a lack of blog posts lately, I know. It’s that time of year when everyone is busy with their holiday cheer – and me? I’ve been playing SWTOR. In fact I’ve surprised myself with how much I enjoy the game. I didn’t follow it through development at all, I had no idea what any of the classes were, how crafting worked, or any other details. My Imperial Agent is now level 11, and I’m done with Hutta (but I’m still there at the moment, farming crafting supplies). I ended up choosing Cybertech and the two ‘harvesting’ skills that are suggested to go with it, scavenging and underworld trading. Guild mates have chosen a few of the other craft categories, and we are trying to round things out as much as possible. Crafting is.. weird. Your character doesn’t technically craft, your companion does. In fact even though you can train your crew skills at level 1, you can’t open the crafting window until you have a companion. Your companion goes away on these crafting missions (leaving you with a moment of peace, alone for once) and returns with supplies – or without. Crafting  missions cost a bit of coin, consider it a fuel cost. The more your companion likes you, the higher chance they’ll come back with something useful. So far my companion is not that fond of me. Our personalities don’t mesh at all and she frowns at a lot of the choices I make in conversations with NPC. I know you can gift them items to increase your standing with them, but that costs money and I don’t really see the need at this moment.

Cybertech creates items like droid armor, earpieces, grenades, armoring, and mods. So far I’ve made a few mods, and one of the final items I received before leaving Hutta was a new weapon with four mod slots. I quickly headed over to the machine used to mod pieces, and made use of the crafted items I had been making.

While I have technically been playing SWTOR as a ‘single player’ game, I do belong to a guild with a handful of friends and I fully believe that it is up to the players to decide whether they play the game single player or otherwise. I’ve grouped up for some of my more difficult quests, and I expect as I level up I’ll continue to do so. When I don’t want to play with others I have the option to remain solo, which I’ll admit, is quite refreshing.

I’m looking forward to starting my class quests, and moving on from Hutta. While the zone was good at introducing me to the world, it’s also very dismal and brown. I could use a change of scenery.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!