Out of Order week…

Due to the four day weekend I am guessing that Friday I will forget to do a update of my blogs, so I am doing it now.

Mhari and I are doing okay. Her meds hit her a little strangely this week, but that might be due to her shifting it one day earlier to try and have a better apatite for Thursday when we plan to go out to Claim Jumper for a big meal.

I’m doing okay with work-stress this week, but more due to the shortness of the workweek and the length of the ‘weekend’ with the holiday. All hasn’t been good, but it hasn’t been that bad, either. Work is… busy, busy, busy with no real end in sight. So all the more reason to enjoy a long weekend.

Tabula Rasa: Yup, all it took to get me to actually activate my account is for them to announce that they are going to shut the whole thing down come Feb 28, 2009. And NCSoft announced a real, real nice ‘severance package’ for the players that had paid accounts prior to the closure announcement. PLUS the game is going to be free to play starting Jan 10, 2009.

So, I activated my account and played it for the first time since the close of Beta. It looks a LOT better, graphically… the starting missions are a LOT better defined and refined. But in playing the ‘tank’ side of the character advancement tree, I encountered EXACTLY the things that I disliked about the game in beta.

Mostly what I don’t like is that this game takes a very, very military and squad-based angle on the game play. To progress in the second set of 5-10 levels you almost NEED to have at least one ‘buddy’ or a full squad to deal with some of the areas and instances that you are sent to.

Now, understand that I KNOW that almost any MMO takes this path, after all, they ARE -multiplayer- games. MMO’s expect you to be able to find at least one other person doing the same missions as you are and for you to team up. Or go back out and grind levels a while before turning back and tackling that same mission. This is a GIVEN of MMOs.

So more this is running into one of my pet peeves with almost any MMO that forces people into the multiplayer behavior early. Hell, Everquest Online Adventures did that starting with the 5th level quest everyone had to take in the newbie areas. You’d always find someone asking for help with the mission. It just can NOT be done solo without being 3 levels beyond the level it’s given to you at. And you can’t really progress properly, equipment-wise and story-wise without completing that one ‘group’ mission.

So, this pointed out to me why I had not activated the game when it went live…

So, I put it down for a couple of days and came back to it. This time, using the ‘Clone’ feature, where I had saved a copy of my character prior to making the ‘tankish’ path decision, and chose the OTHER path you can take, taking the first step over to the Support classes.

This made a BIG difference. So far the missions are the same, but as my skills allow me to be constantly buffing myself and healing myself and my armor just as a part of taking out the enemy, it’s a LOT less frustrating. Those ‘team’ requiring missions are still out there, but doing the ‘grinding’ to be able to do them solo doesn’t FEEL as grindy. And knowing what’s coming up next some helps me not make the ‘mistakes’ I made the first time figuring out things. I’m taking it slower, doing a single mission at a time and not clustering the missions, and generally doing better. Also ‘feels’ like a better fit for my play-style, too.

I plan to play this game until it shuts down if it doesn’t start to frustrate me TOO much. I just feel it does deserve it’s due. But I am NOT keen on the Military structure of the game, so even if it was going to be going onwards rather than shutting down at the end of Feb, I would likely not stick with it long-term. But it is a change from other things.

City of Heroes: Still there. Still playing. Still having fun. Just not playing it as hard. Not focusing on it above all else. But I’m looking forward for when Issue 13 goes live. But more because my group are going to use it as an excuse to start a villain team on Protector on Fridays. We’ll use Leveling Pacts so that those that can’t play as often are in a pact with someone that can. And everyone will be paired in this manner with SOMEONE, so that we all progress at basically the same speed. I expect the group to be made up of a lot of Pain Domination Masterminds or Dominators and a lot of Shield Brutes. But we will see. We might try to make it a ‘Theme Team’. We’ll see.

I did finish that book I was reading… but I am going to save my review for Friday if I write a blog. Or for next week’s blog. As I wrote before, I’m playing Final Fantasy III (also known as Final Fantasy SIX in Japan) on my Nintendo DS. Almost done with 26 hours played according to the save game data.

That’s if for me. Might write more on Friday… might not. Thanks for reading!

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