Summer Boredom

Summer is around the corner and I’m already feeling a dwindling interest in MMORPGs. I’ve been feeling it for a while now but I do find the odd glimmer of amusement by still playing here and there. Admittedly, it’s more fun playing with someone else… so why is everything now available to solo players?

For WoW, I’ve been mainly raiding or running old heroic instances hoping for a rare mount/pet to drop. I did have some fun a few weeks back when I started a Warlock and was working my way through the revamped content. It seems I’ve done the Worgen and Goblin starter areas then motivation has died off. My motivation for the Warlock was catching up to the LBO who is into Westfall and really enjoying the storyline. Unfortunately, he’s put that aside for quite some time now with his focus mostly being on playing Minecraft with a kid from up the street.

I can’t bring myself to play a new character for a number of reasons. I’ve been through it, whether the content is new or not, I’ve killed enough murlocs, gnolls, pigmen and stuff in my time playing WoW. It doesn’t bring me any satisfaction or joy. I know the way there and I know I can do it but there is no motivation to do so. I think that’s a de-motivator – I know I can easily do it so I don’t feel a need to do so.

I haven’t played much of anything outside of WoW. A little bit of Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2 – Chaos Rising (yeah, that’s a mouthful) but I haven’t gotten too far into it yet. I think I’m about four or five missions in. I just unlocked my Terminator armor, which I love. I admit I like the single player of this game but don’t like the multiplayer or custom game options. I miss the base/unit building from the first DoW. I found it much more enjoyable. I especially enjoyed Conquest-type modes that showed up late in the DoW series.

I’ll end up playing some more of that single player.

I had Portal (the first one) gifted to me. I didn’t realize how short it was. Definitely fun, but short. I’m reluctant to pick up Portal 2 because it seems short as well, though not as short as the first one (which takes a couple of hours at worst).

I poked around Steam a little last night and downloaded the demo for Dungeons. It looked like a Dungeon Keeper type of game but it wasn’t quite as customizable as that. The dungeons appear to be predefined, though you can have minions make some changes for you. It didn’t do anything for me so I uninstalled.

I eyeballed Two Worlds 2 but without a demo I don’t know that I’ll try it.

I do still have several games to complete: Dragon Age 1, Divinity 2, Overlord 1 and Overlord 2. Maybe I’ll work on those some.

Still, none of those scratch the itch that is wanting a shared, challenging and memorable experience with friends.

Divinity II and Single Player Games…

I picked this up almost a month ago and I’ve barely had any time to play it. So far I think I sunk maybe four hours into it, five at the most. And I lost almost two of those hours.

How?

Save games.

MMOs really spoil you as far as the whole “Save Game” thing goes. That’s right, I played for almost two hours without saving the game, then died only to discover the last autosave was about 1.5 hours ago.

The Ogre took over and I stopped there for a week or two. Come to think of it, I believe that was a bit of a turn off for me in DA:O. I lost some progress because I forgot to save the game – that might have taken the wind out of my sails.

I came back to it on the weekend where I managed to squeeze in about an hour or two, replaying some of the content I had done, but also deviating a bit and focusing on a different direction.

Single player game Devs listen up – make autosave options more obvious and allow for timed autosaves that don’t overwrite.

Overall, the game is fun. It plays like a console game for sure. Very click to attack, make chains (though it doesn’t really track these), use potions much like you did in Diablo, can dodge spells and other twitch base combat mechanics. The controls are quite simple and not overly complicated. If you’ve played a FPS type game it should be easy for you.

The combat animations seem decent and somewhat cumulative or at least there seems to be some build up or randomness to them – it’s not just Fred and Barney taking turns beating each other over the head. The graphics are quite decent too and it doesn’t seem to make a lot of use of bloom effects.

It feels like an Elder Scrolls game only with less loading and hitching. In fact, there weren’t a lot of loading screens outside of the cinematics and dialogs – where I can’t help but feel there are too many loads.

At one point you load on hitting a map point to see an in-game cinematic of a bloodied female wearing armor stagger over and collapse in front of you. You load again to get the dialog, which is really short. Load again as you get into another game mode, then shift again for a real cinematic, then load again for more cinematics (in-game) and then load again for a dialog. I might be exaggerating a little, but it certainly seemed somewhat painful.

The voice acting is decent though the animations to the voices seem a little overly active. Sound is good, I don’t pay a lot of attention to sound unless it is really annoying so the fact that I say it is ‘good’ means it fit with the game and didn’t stand out.

I find the dialogs somewhat typical, you get choices but it seems they would lead to the same sort of result, just presenting you with different reactions. I haven’t progressed far enough to find out if any of the tones you set carry forward. One complaint is that they don’t seem to lump more of the NPC dialog text into a panel. You typically get one line of text or sentence then need to click ‘continue’ for the next short bit. In some cases you do this a couple of times. Maybe this is due to translations or something, but it seems out of place to me.

The story so far is decent, laid out in a good manner and you get right into things. They tuck away some of the lore into books which you can find in game and read if you want; they seem pretty short with the largest one I found so far being two pages.

It has a level based mechanic with no real class system, instead it is more skill based so you could pick ‘warrior’ to start and shift it towards a caster type. The skills are categorized like you’d see classes, but you’re not limited to a given branch. Tooltips for attributes give you a sense of what they do while for the skills you can click on them and it will explain what they do in one panel while playing a video of what the ability does in the other panel which is neat. The game seems to have a decent amount of polish like that.

I’d recommend it if you like console-like single player RPG games.

Just be sure to map something to the Quicksave, by default no key is mapped to that.

36 Hour Days Please…

Of course, if we ever moved to a 36 hour day (aside from being odd for the day/night cycle) the expectation would be to spend more of that time working.

But wouldn’t it be nice to have 8 hours sleep, 8 hours of work and 20 hours of other stuff instead of just 8 hours of other stuff?

I’m thinking of this because I’m running out of ‘other’ time to squeeze in game time.

On my gaming plate I have:

1. WoW
2. Divinity II
3. Dragon Age: Origins
4. Mass Effect 2

The “WoW” listing isn’t as simple as just “WoW”, I have a lot of things I feel I need to do in that game. The main thing? Random Heroics every day for my two Emblems of Frost… on two characters. Aside from that I raid somewhere between two and four nights a week. Oh and my son plays. And my sister and brother-in-law are playing. And a long time gaming friend (Frank) is back in the game so I’ve been playing with him as well.

That’s the main thing, WoW is eating a lot of my “game time”.

Don’t mistake me for spending the remaining waking hours of the day playing WoW, no. I spend time with the family, watch TV with the wife, watch cartoons with the boys, do the odd chores, play games with them, etc. Hence my use of “game time”.

I was lucky to have more game time that usual this weekend because my oldest went to visit a friend for most of Saturday and my youngest was helping his mom with stuff. I ended up playing a couple of hours of Divinity II (which I haven’t posted about yet) which was fun.

I’ve all but stalled on Dragon Age: Origins simply because I played through the various beginnings so many times. I got back to it for about one hour, finished Redcliffe and was off to Denerim to find the Ashes but stopped there.

And now Mass Effect 2! I don’t have it yet, but I will order it on Steam when I get home and I’ll be dying to play it as I raid Icecrown Citadel later tonight. I’ll do my best to avoid playing it once I’m done raiding (midnight) because it’ll be downloaded by then.

So, I need more time in a day. Get work done, get more sleep, spend good quality time with the family and still have some time left over for “game time”.

The obvious thing would be to reduce my WoW time and not ‘need’ to run the Random Heroic Daily well, every day possible. The other alternative is to see if I can function off two hours of sleep every night…

Any guesses as to which one I’ll try?