Daily Archives: December 10, 2010

Nostalgia Personified

Or catified, as the case may be.

Fred says, "It Shrank!"

We all go back, or dream of going back, to places where we once enjoyed ourselves.  And often, when we manage it, and things aren’t as enjoyable as we remembered, we grumble about how things have changed.

However, more often than not, we’re the thing that changed.

Trixie and Fred in smaller times

Still, sometimes we can squeeze in and get cozy, even if we stick out a bit.

This post isn’t in reference to anything in particular.  Fred the cat just seemed to get the nostalgia bug at about the same time I did this year, with similar results.

The Agency… I Hear It Will Feature Duke Nukem and Harvey the Rabbit

For fate strums a mournful tune
For those whose campaigns peak too soon

-Stomper (aka Arrowroot of Arrowshirt), Bored of the Rings

The Agency.

Sony Online Entertainment announced this game on June 11th, 2007.

We’ll get back to you when positions are available

In SOE Podcast #19, recorded June 18th, 2007, Brenlo said that they had seen builds of the game for a couple of years at that point.  He also nearly gave a release date then caught himself.  Who knew how prophetic that would be.

People were discussing the subscription model even then.  After all, it sounded like the game was just around the corner.

I happened to be listening to some old podcasts this week that, for no reason I could figure, iTunes felt should be on my iPod.  Amongst them was VirginWorlds Podcast #127 with Brent and Jonathan at SOE Fan Faire in August of 2008 where they were very big on The Agency, though not as excited as they were for DC Universe Online.

It sounded like The Agency was just around the corner.

It felt so close that GameFly let people put it on their game queues in anticipation of it arriving on the PS3.  Then they removed the game from their list and announced that it had been canceled.

For 2009 I started making “The Agency won’t ship this year” one of my standard predictions.  It was a gimme, like Harold Stassen running for president.  People were joking that it would be ready to ship on the PS4.

In 2010 I continued with that prediction, even though SOE announced a 2010 release date for the game.  It was just around the corner.  SOE showed it at E3… again.

But even as I was listening to VirginWorlds Podcast #127 the other day, Massively was posting a story about The Agency being pushed out until late 2011.  All we got for 2010 was a Facebook game, The Agency: Covert Ops.

Were there even games on Facebook back when The Agency was announced?

I’ll give you a preview of my 2011 predictions:  The Agency… it won’t ship in 2011.  But I am a card carrying cynic.

And it isn’t that I am down on the team developing it.  Nobody is saying their job is easy.  I mean, a twitch based shooter as an MMO… and on the PC and PS3 to boot.  No matter what some zombie lovers say, this ain’t easy.

The company though… I suppose it is easy, in hindsight, to say they were premature in announcing the game.

There is an art to knowing when to announce something, when to start building hype.  The long run from announcement to actual ship… whenever that may be… just invites unflattering comparisons.  Look at the games that have been announced, shipped, and had sequels since The Agency was announced.

Blizzard has shipped two expansions since The Agency was announced.

Microsoft fixed (mostly) Windows Vista and renamed it Windows 7 since The Agency was announced.

What do you think?

Is The Agency actually going to make it in 2011?  Will it be worth it if it does?

SOE has talked a good game and shown us some spiffy trailers, but can they get past the PR nightmare of the long wait?

Considering My Path Forward With EQII Extended

I have to decide tomorrow what I should do about EverQuest II Extended.  My 30 days of Station Access expires and I am not really keen to renew it.  I got to poke around in EverQuest and EverQuest II Live, where nostalgia lay.

But I spent most of my time in EverQuest II Extended, which was fun because the world actually has people in it…  people below level 50 who aren’t obviously alts being leveled up.

I had enough fun that EQIIx could very well be my “other” game.  I can generally play two MMOs at a time, swapping between them.

World of Warcraft is obviously going to be one of them, what with the expansion and the instance group reforming yet again in Azeroth.  And while I figured that Lord of the Rings Online would be the secondary game, we did have a good run with it over the summer and I could probably let it rest for a while.  After all, I am a lifetime subscriber, so it will wait.

So I might stick with EQIIx for a while.  But that leads to the subscription options… and there are a few.

Now, of course, there is a downside.  I often have fun with the 1-40 levels.  I have a lot of characters in various games who got to 40 or so, who were then were replaced with a fresh new alt… or with a new game altogether.  So I am uncertain how “sticky” the game will be for me.

That is compounded by the fact that I have yet to bump into anybody I know.  There is no guild of old friends or acquaintances, no pals looking to form any sort of regular group, just a bunch of strangers so far.

Granted, lots of them.

And I am sure many of them are very nice.  And while I have grouped up a few times, I do tend to shy away from guilds that have such low standards that they would actually invite me.  At least sight unseen.

With all that in mind I am going to put up a poll (we all love polls, right?) and ask for opinions.

For those that aren’t up to speed on the various options, here is the membership grid yet again.

The account level matrix

The only thing missing from the grid is Station Access, which gives you a Gold level membership, but also allows you to play other SOE games.   however, it comes at double the price of a Gold membership, so you really had better be playing two or more SOE games if you go that route.  (And I’m not sure if I would get free vampires in EQII Live and EQIIx if I kept Station Access.)