Category Archives: General

World of Warcraft – Gone and back again!

I have a love and hate relationship with World of Warcraft. Twice I’ve quit and returned to the world of Azeroth. First time I quit was in Cataclysm, out of boredom of grinding dailies but not having much else to do. I was not raiding actively back then, and logging in and out for a few heroics and dailies, especially with a few close friends having quit, stopped being fun. More than a year later, I got back in the game, when Mist of Pandaria released two years ago, due to a promise of a fun expansion. And it was! I loved that expansion, but had to quit last year due to work stress and declining health.

I kept away from world of warcraft after that until now, but the latest expansion Warlords of Draenor and my friends enticed me in coming back. I renewed my subscription and I played the game, pretty much all of last week. While there are many things in this expansion that deserve to be praised, the mini-game in garrison with followers and sending them on missions is very well done. It is very reminiscent of the follower game-play from Star Wars – The Old Republic MMO, when it had released, but unfortunately it didn’t do as well as I had initially hoped.

My initial post, when I started blogging, had listed my paladin and priest as my primary characters. But Mists of Pandaria changed that. I created a Monk character, and loved playing Windwalker monk and occasionally healing throughout the expansion, replacing both of the previous characters as my primary character. I’ve already leveled Rollingpin to level 100 and looking forward to raiding with the guild this week.

Having learned from my previous wow experiences, my goal this time around, is to not spent all of my time playing the game. I’ve experienced burn out, which ruins the game for me. Also, after having quit wow twice, I’ve realized that when I’m playing WoW, I focus on it completely, and I ignore all of my other hobbies and even forget to play other games. My to-play list on steam has grown immensely, since most of the last year, has also gone in playing Diablo – another one of Blizzard’s addictive games. This time, however, the goal is to take WoW in strides, having fun playing the expansion and raiding, while enjoying all the other hobbies. With the new flexible raiding feature, I’ve been told that the game now makes it easy to join and leave a raid group anytime, so I’m hoping that it will not stress me out by conforming to raid times and preparation day after day.

Here’s to another exciting expansion…

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Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt

Last week at E3, CD Projekt Red revealed the game play trailer for the final installment in the Witcher series, Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt and I was completely stoked. The following video gives a sneak peek of the massive world of Witcher 3 and dynamic combat against various monsters that we can encounter during the game.

The game boasts of a vast completely open world, one much bigger than the previous game Witcher 2 : Assassin’s of Kings, with no loading screens for a smooth experience.  The game also promises a great non-linear RPG experience with over 100 hours of game play, half of which are devoted to the main quest, which is supposed to be a continuation from Witcher 2.

Geralt still uses his twin blades, along with his alchemy potions, oil and other armor and blade enhancements, which players of previous games would be familiar with. There are some revisions in combat skills trees, and magic signs will also have two modes, one for single target and another for continuous casting to create an area of effect spell.

One major change is that, potions can now be consumed and then later activated during combat. This is a vast improvement over Witcher 2, where you had to consume potions before combat, and then hope that you will encounter enemies before the potion effects run out.

The screenshots of the game look absolutely fantastic and the environment feels alive and immersive.

With a massive open world and the improvements to the game from the previous two games, Witcher 3 boasts to trump Skyrim, and if you have played Skyrim you know what a feat that would be to accomplish. With its immersive open world world that is supposed to be 20% larger than Skyrim, beautiful sweeping landscapes and over 100 hours of game play, the game promises to deliver a fantastic solo adventure.

The game doesn’t come out for another year, but it is definitely a game to watch for.

 

Images sourced from: http://www.pcgamer.com and http://www.edge-online.com

Diablo 3 failure to launch!

Last night marked the launch of Diablo 3, Blizzard’s long-awaited game and the gaming community has been abuzz with various “Error 37” posts – some funny and some full of rage. However, they all point to the same fact, that many people haven’t been able to play the game yet, that they’ve been waiting for a long time for. To top that, the servers have been down for maintenance multiple times today. This does not bode well for Blizzard, since they should have been better prepared to deal with the user traffic based on the number of pre-ordered copies and feedback of Open Beta weekend. This is evident from the scores of 0-3 that the game has been getting on various game boards, mainly because people haven’t been able to log in or be able to play uninterrupted for a while.

In contrast, SC2 had a much smoother launch, primarily because you did not have to connected to Battle.net for single player campaign. This makes me wonder why do you have to be connected to Battle.net for playing the single player ? If I do need social features like join a server to play a multiplayer campaign, interact with real id friends, use the online auction house etc, I can selectively choose to log in.  I guess this was widely discussed when Blizzard had announced that the game will require to be connected to battle.net at all times.

The delay in the launch is not surprising, since usually launch of a much awaited game is expected to have servers full for the first few days, but is a little disappointing that many fans of the franchise are still unable to play. I am a fan of Diablo 2, having played it many times until now and my experiences with the Beta were great and I have been looking forward to playing the game myself. However, given the number of issues especially with logging in, I think I’m going to continue to play Skyrim at least until the weekend, when the servers would be up more often. Until then I will have to stop reading the forums to prevent myself from reading spoilers.

Elder Scrolls Online Announcement.

After hearing numerous rumors over the past few weeks, Bethesda finally announced their plans for an MMO based on their Elder Scrolls series. I’ve spent my last few weeks avidly playing their latest installment Skyrim, so this official announcement is a great news indeed. The fact that we have to wait for another year before we see the MMO; not so much.

However, is this announcement a surprise ? No. Well, the rumors were a hint themselves, but Skyrim’s radiant engine that generates infinite quests based on your quest choices and outcomes was already a positive step towards the possibility of an MMO. Also, it is hard to believe that with such a rich universe and history, Bethesda had not come up with an MMO for Elder Scrolls. So when they had acquired rights to a fallout MMO, my first reaction was “Wuh ? What about Elder Scrolls ?”.

Which bring me to my next question. Since Bethesda has acquired rights for Fallout MMO does this mean we are going to see two MMOs from the same company ? Not that I’m complaining, Bethesda has done great work in both, but having two MMOs competing against each other may not be a good thing for Bethesda in the long run. I guess I am going to be watching future announcements regarding these two franchises more closely.

However, I am eager to see an MMO with the radiant engine. Skyrim discussions with friends already indicate a lot of differences in quests and gameplay. It will be interesting to see people getting different side quests while leveling, unlike other MMOs which have the same old ‘Kill X of Y” quests and making leveling multiple characters a chore rather than a fun experience.  Star Wars: The Old Republic had made some improvements in the leveling experience with a variety of side quest and a class quest, but I realized very soon, that leveling a new character only gave a different class story line, but the side quests remained the same and became a chore very soon. So, if Bethesda uses the radiant engine to generate side quests and daily quests, it is going to make it much more fun.

Looks like Bethesda is on its way to riches. Anyone know the stock ticker for Bethesda ? Maybe its time to buy some ..

The official announcement on Forbes.com:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/03/bethesda-announces-elder-scrolls-online-mmo-coming-in-2013/

Best compliment ever.

“Finally, I don’t have to play against Alannah in HuttBall”

Friday was a real good day for PvP. A friend of mine and I were playing PvP for hours as republic and our team was consistently winning every match in a row. One such match was HuttBall, where my friend and I were generally annoying the opposing team and kept them busy near their base, while our ball handler carried the ball undisturbed to the finish line. After we won the match, we re-queued for another warzone. We joined Alderaan warzone immediately afterwards and someone said the above words. It made my day! Thank you kind stranger. Hope I didn’t annoy you too much. No hard feelings!

WoW Come Back ?

Am I going to be one of those who could not escape the clutches of world of warcraft ?

I unsubscribed from WoW almost a year ago, after I was unimpressed by cataclysm expansion. Due to a vacation which coincided with the release of the expansion, I could not get my character to level 85 in time for the raid groups to be decided, making it very difficult to find raid spots in the guild. At the beginning of the expansion, with the newly added guild bonuses during raids and guild achievements, pugs were hardly taking off and even then it meant wiping for hours only to finally give up without any success. So, finally I bid goodbye to all my friends and guild mates – some of whom I had come to know very well, and quit.

After spending a few days contemplating on my decision and replying to emails and chats requesting me to come back, I soon realized that this was the best thing that I had done in a while. I had so much free time on my hands again that I could do a lot of things that I had planned for over year but hadn’t gotten around to just because I was busy playing world of warcraft. I could finish the pile of books in my bookshelf which had been gathering dust since the day they had been bought. I could play and actually finish some of the games that I had been buying during Steam sales (I’ve got to learn some self-restraint during Steam sales!). I also got back to writing as a hobby and on a whim, participated in the National Novel Writing Month the goal of which is to complete 50K words in the month of November averaging about 1667 words per day. I was stoked when I actually finished NaNoWriMo with 65K words. It was an amazing feeling and even though till date my novel stands incomplete, I can say that I am a budding author and a novelist, something that wouldn’t have been possible if I were still busy running around in circles around the town of Orgrimmar in WoW and checking the auction house for the umpteenth time. When the year 2011 finally came to a close, I could actually say that I had “accomplished” something in my personal life.

So why am I now contemplating going back to world of warcraft ? Because I miss interacting with my friends and playing with them. While the game had become slightly mundane and I wasn’t doing much towards the end of it, I still saw (online of course) friends who are are in distant parts of the country. These were good times and it has been months since I have talked with some of them. They also in turn have mentioned and contacted me saying that they would like to have me back, if not for hardcore raiding and regular game time hours, but instead just for casual gaming. This is the only appeal the game has for me now, being able to play with friends and have a good time. The story and gameplay became unimpressive with Blizzard resurrecting old vanilla bosses and dungeons and I am tired of raiding regularly which added more stress to an already stressful job.

I hadn’t washed my hands off of MMOs when I quit wow, so I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic when it released. it is an excellent game and the questing is done very well as compared to WoW. It is not as good as Dragon Age quest line, but as an  MMO it is very well done and is quite engrossing. however, the game lacks in end game content and PvP is sub par, especially without any deserter penalty in place, people leave the group as soon as the opposing team scores even in Hutt Ball. There are times when the scoreboard shows 16 allies throughout a game which has a max of 8 players and  lasts 15 minutes in total. Also, with no friends interested in playing the game, since they are still quite occupied with wow,  I might unsubscribe from the game very soon after my current character – a Jedi knight – gets to level 50.

What I still need to decide is, should I re-subscribe to wow even after quitting the game has helped me accomplish so much ?