Daily Archives: November 18, 2011

Speaking of “Pants on Head” Bizarre, Vanguard is Getting New Content

I just saw this over at Massively, which sort of fits in with Tuesday’s post, SOE’s Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is slated to get some genuine new content.

The post on the Vanguard forums lists out:

  • Overland Raid bosses
  • New Dungeon – City of Brass:  Massive progressive dungeon with thirteen bosses and new rewards for players that can survive long enough to obtain them
  • Removal of Corpse recovery
  • This will aid in making the leveling process more enjoyable as well as remove the frustration that can be encountered from suffering a death penalty
  • Experience curve decreased – Experience has been modified to make leveling a new character a bit easier
  • Increase in loot drop rates
  • “Golden Path” – Riftways instructing players to ideal leveling areas with new rewards for all levels

So Vanguard has gone from “no devs, no fixes” to “okay, we’ll patch some broken stuff” to “okay, let’s get some new content together for you!” in the last year.  Amazing.

And the City of Brass… one of my favorite Forgotten Realms locations in TorilMUD… I wonder what it will look like in Vanguard?

Plus the experience curve tweak sounds like they might have plans… maybe free to play plans… for the game after all.  So count me wrong on that.

Is it too late to start this week over?

After Talking About SWTOR (mostly) Obliquely This Week, The NDA Drops

If I had just waited another day or so, I could have been more direct.  The Announcement:

Folks,

As of now, the non disclosure portion of our Game Testing Agreement is officially lifted. While all players must still accept the Game Testing Agreement, from this point on testers may now freely talk about their experiences this past weekend in the game, as well as post screenshots and gameplay videos of their testing experiences. We encourage you to come join us on the official Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Forums to share your experiences!

The Star Wars: The Old Republic community site will have a copy of this message on the forums and it will also appear in the Patcher. Players may not talk about nor reprint posts from our testing forums as they are still fully covered by the confidentiality portions of our Game Testing Agreement. And all players who want to participate in the upcoming Beta Test Weekends still have to accept all terms of the Game Testing Agreement. So, other than that, free feel to talk about and share your experiences in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

My thanks go out to everyone who has beta tested and continues to beta test the game. It has been with your help and feedback that Star Wars: The Old Republic is where it is today. We really appreciate your efforts.

May the Force be with you!

Greg Zeschuk
VP, Electronic Arts, BioWare Austin, General Manager

Of course, now that so many people have treated my opinion on a single, slim aspect of the game as “pants on head” bizarre, I am not sure anybody cares what I think of the rest of the game.   But I am sure there are a lot of other people out there anxious to fill the gap.

Blaster Time - Three down and I am barely scratched

And I could always take Monday’s post, fill it with screenshots from SWTOR, change the bit about patching and server queues, and I would have another post all set.  That was my plan all along.

Edit: Oh, hey, look, Rohan is already on the job over at Blessing of Kings!

Making Our Way to Meridian

Here we are at the end of the week and I am finally done talking about Sony, Star Wars, and Free to Play conversions.  It is time for the Rift update, a game that has no intention of going free to play.  Good for them.

And I do not really have that much to report.

We seem to have an issue getting all of us online and in-game at the same time.

Saturday night rolled around and there were just four of us again.  This time Jollyreaper was in and Earl was nowhere to be seen.

We decided to do some rift stalking for a bit in hopes of Earl showing up late and to help bring Jolly up to speed with the group.

But in the randomness of the game, there was no big death rift invasion like we faced last week.  There was the usual fire rift or two.

Beast of Flame Defeated!

And there were footholds were scattered about and there were wardstones to be retaken, but it was not the same as the sort of unified event that hit Freemarch last week.

Kill the blue thing!

So while we advanced our guild quest a little bit, we ended up clearing out most of the stuff in the vicinity.

Guild quest - We're already level 2

We went back to Kelari Refuge and picked up the quest path where we Jollyreaper left off last time we were on.  This turned out to be a good thing, as some people in the group missed a couple of the quests along the way.

In a sort of leap-frog quest method, we got up to where Earl left off, then ran on ahead for a bit, scaling a couple of the “better in a group” quest chains.

Getting to the top of this tower... better with a group

We ended up out on another stretch of beach up the coast from Kelari Refuge where we ran into one of the first sets of quests that were not really group friendly.

It wasn’t the huge pain of the New Halas starter quests, and it certainly wasn’t the first quests we had run into that did not do group updates, but it might have been the time that we had a couple of quests as a group that each required individual updates.  We were scooping eggs out of corpses and picking up underwater sparklies and that sort of thing.  Nothing really challenging.

But when quest objectives do not give group updates, you start to wish for a way to track where everybody else in the group stands.  There might be a way to do that in Rift, but I have not figured it out.  Fortunately, we work together on Skype, so we just kept calling out updates until we were all finished.

It sure was pretty out on the coast

The coastal quest hub cleared up, we decided not to get too far ahead of Earl and leave the questing at the next hub, the mine.

Our last goal for the night was to make it to Meridian, which was not much of an effort at all.  As I said previously, Freemarch seems like a big zone to me until I decided to travel across, and then I seem to get there pretty quick.  It is actually an interesting illusion, though it might just be an artifact of my own perception.

And so we quickly found ourselves on the steps of the Defiant capital city.

Welcome to Meridian!

Parked there, we will enjoy the benefit of rested experience, something that seems a bit odd to me.  Why do you only get rested experience if you camp in town?  Quirk of the game I suppose.

Freemarch before us

But now we have access to all that the capital city has to offer.

Now I have to remember to tell the group to patch before Saturday.  This weeks Ember Isle update was about a gigabyte.  And while the patcher is efficient, it only took an hour to download over my slow DSL connection, that is still an hour I would rather be playing.

Torchlight II Delayed – But You Have Other Stuff to Play Anyway, Right?

I haven’t mentioned anything about Torchlight II for ages… not since like August of last year when it totally looked like Runic Games was going to beat Diablo III to market.  I still have this picture even.

Torchlight II - Spring 2011?

Alas, things do not always go as planned, and today there was an update from Travis Bickle Baldree.

“So… where is Torchlight 2? Didn’t you guys say that you were planning to try to release this year?”

Well, yeah. We did – and we made a good run at that. We’ve come to the realization, however, that getting a game of this scope up to the quality and polish level we want to achieve is going to take a little longer; especially since we want to run a small beta before release to ensure that our launch is smooth.

The first Torchlight was released in record time, but it had plenty of issues that a little more development could have resolved. We didn’t have the resources at the time to give Torchlight that treatment. Right at this moment though, we do have those resources for the sequel, and we feel strongly that we should apply them to make this the best game we can make and hopefully one that you’ll enjoy and continue to want to play in the future. We’ve probably had 18 months of full development time on it so far – not excessively long yet, as far as that goes. The amount of time we need to take it the rest of the way is relatively small.

We feel pretty safe in saying that if you enjoyed Torchlight at all, this sequel is superior in every respect. Right now our job is to ensure that the quality level is consistent all the way to the end.

Besides, you’re all playing Skyrim right now anyway, aren’t you? Or Battlefield 3? Or Uncharted 3? Or Saints Row 3? Or Arkham City? Or Skyward Sword? Or Minecraft? Or Modern Warfare 3? Or Dark Souls? Or Assassin’s Creed Revelations?

Those are awesome games. When Torchlight 2 goes live, we want it to be awesome too – all the way through.

My first thought was that it is probably better to get it later and have it be awesome, so long as Runic’s financial situation can support the extended development time.  The general response from those who follow Runic on Twitter seemed to be of the same tone.

The delay is a bit disappointing.  After all, *I* am not playing any of those games. (Not that I lack games.)  But they had a hit on their hands with the original Torchlight.  It would be great for them to come back with a new game that stepped things up a notch on all fronts.

I did promise I wouldn’t over-use that “Spring 2011” picture… too much.

Anyway, another game pushed off to 2012.