Let’s talk about ArcheAge

So. I love me some video games. Not quite as much as I love books, but there’s a lot to be said for strapping on some armor that barely covers your lady bits and not really anything important and running out to kick some goblin/orc/whatever ass.

Fantasy games are my cup of tea. Although I can usually be persuaded to try out other genres of games, I rarely stay with them for long, preferring to get my elf back on. There’s one notable exception to this rule, but we’ll discuss that later.

I’ve worked in the game industry, so I feel for what game designers, publishers, etc go through to put a game on the market and that not everything goes as smoothly as originally planned. The best laid plans of mice and men, as you well know.

And now to the point!

The most recent offering on the market in fantasy gaming is ArcheAge. It is originally an Asian game being produced and distributed in the US by Trion. Trion made news when they first opened by going with the ballsy move of having three games in simultaneous production with no games out earning money. It didn’t totally pay off for them, but it did give us Rift, which doesn’t suck and is a fun way to spend some time. It had a few really great game innovations that I hope to see become standard features in future games.

Now, distributing and producing someone else’s game comes with a few caveats, one of which is usually that you don’t have a ton of control over content etc.

Unfortunately, I think that this is going to end up being a black eye for Trion.

Why?

Cause the game is fucking frustrating as all get out. This is a fairly significant statement from me, because as with movies, my usual rating criteria for anything is “Does it entertain me?” and if the answer is yes, we’re golden. The problem that I have, is that while yes the game does entertain me, it also presents enough roadblocks to my game play and enjoyment that I basically want to claw someone’s eyes out.

The Good:

We’ll start with the positives. I like the graphics. They’re pretty and not everything is brown, which is a pretty big deal.

The character creation is okay. It isn’t terrifically involved to the point where it takes me a good half hour plus to make my character, but it’s detailed enough to make me happy.

I like the way they’ve done the classes. You get the four main fantasy categories and from there you can customize your class as you wish as you level up and gain points to spend. It makes for a bit of variety and you get to feel like you have a little more control over what your character is throwing around.

The mounts. Love them! They’re adorbs and your first one is for frees as part of a quest (if you don’t skip the quest like some folks *coughmecough* did).

Chris Evans’ biceps in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. No, this has nothing to do with the game, but they really should be mentioned at every possible opportunity, because Chris Evans. Seriously.

I don’t hate the questing system. It’s pretty standard. Go kill these things that are causing problems, etc etc etc. We’re on rails as opposed to being sandboxy, which is just fine for me. It isn’t one of the things that I get irked about.

Crafting! I love crafting and harvesting and all things related to. It’s fun to create. The system is involved enough to not be totally dull, but it isn’t like, say, Aion or Final Fantasy XIV pre-relaunch. Or even really post relaunch for that matter.

Free to play. There once was a time when I was all about paying a monthly sub for a game. No problem at all. Provided that said game held my attention and provided what I considered fair value for my money. As more and more games come out, I can’t afford subs for all of the ones that I am interested in playing, nor are they really producing a game that I feel deserves a $15 a month commitment from me. So free to play is a big selling point. And if I like something about the game enough to spend some money on it, woohoo.

The Bad:

The free to play model being used. I know, I just said that free to play was a good thing. And it is. Provided that the model isn’t too restrictive and doesn’t give me the impression that I am being forced to give them money that I am not prepared to shell out. Unfortunately, that is exactly the feeling that I have about this game. For several reasons.

1) Labor points – Actions cost labor points. Harvesting costs labor points. Crafting costs labor points. Opening and identifying loot costs labor points (or it did in beta, I haven’t been able to get in long enough to see if this still applies without patron status). Without purchasing patron status, one earns a total of five labor points every 10 minutes of game play. That is, you must be logged in to the game in order to get labor points. Harvesting an iron node, costs 10 labor points. If the rare spawn special node appears after your initial iron gather, that’s another 20 labor points. 30 points total. 60 minutes of game time in order to get some iron. Don’t even get me started on the costs for crafting things. Even as part of a quest, crafting costs a significant number of labor points.

2) Harvesting/Crafting – As previously mentioned, these things cost labor points. One the one hand, that isn’t a terrible thing, if you spend a few hours questing and whatever, you have enough labor points to do at least some harvesting. Sort of. Crafting on the other hand. I did a quest wherein I had to craft a pair of gloves. It required 100 labor points. I couldn’t complete the quest until I was ready to move to the next quest hub. Frustrating.

3) Houses/Farms – I like houses. I am crap at decorating them, because I have like zero artistic ability when it comes to any sort of visual. Even my stick figures are sad. I’m okay with this. My house ends up looking a little like an antique shop with crap crammed in every available corner and no real rhyme or reason. But I still like to have the house and I still like to make stuff to cram into my corners. I also like (as mentioned before) harvesting. Having my own little farm and getting to plant things/have livestock, gives me a happy little tingle in my crafting place. So, it would seem that this really ought to go in the good category, right?

Well it would. Except for one little, tiny, annoying ass detail. You can’t own any sort of property unless you purchase patron status, which starts out at $15 a month. So, no house. No farm. Which then follows, no crafting in the cookery area with anything that can’t be grown on the public farms, which are severely limited. Which also means, no quest completion for any quest requiring you craft with ingredients not zoned in the public farm areas. Yes, I ran into this special little hell in beta and lemme tell ya, I was pissed. Like, I had to turn the game off and go read to get my happy back.

4) Queues – I get it. You don’t want to stand up a hundred servers at launch, only to have to consolidate in a month or so when people get bored and wander back to whatever other games they cycle through. That’s fine. But when you have people who can’t play your game without sitting in a queue for six hours (no shit on this, sometimes it takes this long), your game is really not going to do well.

Not only do you have to sit in the queue to play, you have to sit in the queue to create a character. Which means if you create a character on a server, after having been in queue for three hours, and it turns out that it is not the server that your significant other is playing on, you must then go to the correct server and sit in the queue for another three or four or eight hours just to CREATE A GODDAMN CHARACTER. And since you only have two (without paying for more, of course) you’re kind of fucked if he decides to move. Because in order to delete the character on the wrong server to free up that space? You guessed it. You sit in the fucking queue.

Which leads us to my ultimate rage.

5) Patron status – Basically you pay a sub to play the game. Which is fine. Believe me, I understand. It’s a business and ultimately they need to make money so that people stay employed and they can keep making games. I support this all over the place. My current favorite game, which also happens to be free to play, has hit on a model that has gained well more than $1000 out of us in the past year. Which, doing the math, is quite a bit more than they’d have gotten if we’d been paying a $15 a month sub. Even for both of us.

Patron status gets you: the ability to own property. You can have that house and that farm. If you can find land that wasn’t bought up during the head start and is being held for ransom by those folks who are charging stupid amounts of in game money for it. (Please note, that my SO caved and bought patron status, because he wanted the full game experience. He has discovered, on his server, that there is still property available, but you have to go out into the boonies to find it.) But then, there are assholes in every game. But, lemme just say, if I’m paying you money in your free to play game for something and I can’t get it? You need to give me back my gorram money. In an actual fucking hurry.

Patron status gets you: more labor points. You earn at twice the rate while online AND you can even earn labor points when you’re offline at a rate of five points every 10 minutes. That’s not a bad deal. Cause you’re gonna need that extra labor to build that house. But is this really worth $15 a month? Fuck. No. Especially when the biggest reason (property ownership) for having patron status is not happening cause of a bunch of douche canoe fuck shovels. Oh and there’s nothing in the works to solve this problem. So basically, it’s “Yeah, we know you’ve paid us x number of dollars, but too fucking bad”. That doesn’t really bode well for my relationship with this game. Just saying.

And on to my number one beef with Patron status.

Patron status gets you: the ability to bypass the queue and log directly into game.

So with the current status of the queues (and let’s not forget that I can’t create, delete, or play a character on any server without waiting for three, four, or six hours in a queue) I cannot play the game. Because after six hours of waiting in a fucking queue, you can bet your sassy little hinie that I have found myself something else to occupy my time. Like another game. That doesn’t force me to buy a $15 sub to play a free to fucking play game.

This feature especially makes me feel like I am being forced to pay money to play a game that advertises as free to play. A game that advertises as one of its biggest selling points, the crafting and housing systems. That you cannot experience or experience fully, without giving them money.

No matter how much I like aspects of this, I cannot and will not give them a fucking penny of my money, simply because I feel like they are trying to force me to spend. Rather than give me a game to play and then give me some really attractive things that I WANT to throw my money at them for, they are essentially charging a monthly fee to play a game that they’ve advertised as not having a monthly fee.

Nope.

Just no.

TL:DR

There are some cool things about the game, and I pretty much enjoy it. However, I will not be spending my time or my money on it, because they’ve put in place some douchey fucking policies that make it a waste of my time and a rip off in the bargain.

I’ll save my money on this and find somewhere better to spend it. Like at Starbucks.

Ready to Wed – Cindi Madsen

Happy Tuesday darlings!

After my unseemly wallowing in unemployment, I am getting back into the swing of things with a new book review! The lovely folks at Entangled Publishing offered me a chance to review Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen. And as always, I lept at the chance. Not only is Cindi a lovely person, I enjoy her writing, so it’s always a pleasure.

In a nutshell:

Dakota Hallifax is 100% type A. (Having those tendencies myself, I appreciate this.) So being a wedding planner is readytowedpretty much the perfect occupation for her. But how do you plan the biggest wedding of your career when your wedding just crashed and burned with a no-show groom?

Just when Dakota is sure that her life is a total mess, her childhood best friend Brendan West moves back to town. He helps her pick up the pieces.

The Good:

There’s a lot that I loved about this book. I’m a total sucker for happily ever afters, and this book has an awesome one. No, I won’t tell you what it is.

Beyond that, I like Dakota. I can relate to being something of a control freak and can sympathize with her mother issues. I also like the fact that in spite of the utter blow of having her fiance stand her up at their wedding (mental note: do not get married on a cruise, because awkward if it doesn’t work), she doesn’t completely fall apart.

True, I wanted to slap her when she actually considered giving the jerk another chance, but really, who can blame her? Been there, done that.

Then there’s Brendan. Who doesn’t love a genuinely nice guy? Especially one who swoops in with a nice broad set of shoulders just when you need them? It doesn’t hurt that he’s a hottie and wears suits to work ;)

Jillian, Dakota’s catering bestie, is awesome. She’s all snarky and no nonsense. She’s the kind of friend that everyone needs at least one of. Completely supportive in every way, but doesn’t pull punches or sugarcoat things.

I also love her color coding system for bride moods. It’s kind of awesome and I may just steal it for my personal mood ring.

The Bad:

There’s that whole getting stood up at the altar thing, that’s bound to give any girl (or guy!) nightmares about getting married. Just breathe through it and keep reading! It works out.

Overall:

This is a great read. It hits you in all the feels and I admit to getting a tad weepy there at the end. I hope to see Jillian’s story at some point in the future.

Where you can buy:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Playing a new game!

Wildstar just released. Think Firefly with cute bunny eared critters and such.

A full review will probably find its way here in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I thought I’d entertain the four people who read this with a couple of actual text message conversations spawned by my time in Wildstar thus far.

Oh and *puts on braggy pants* my buddy Stargrace is the CM for the game. Yeah, that’s right. Be envious!

WARNING!!! Contains profanity. Cause I get irksome.

***

me: Trying to get to Thayd. But these guys are needy f*ckers and keep adding more tasks to my list.

They’re all like, well since you’re there…

And I’m like omg get your own damn eggs!

A: lol

me: And they’re all, come on. It’s a couple of flower petals. What could go wrong?

And I’m like omg fine. But after this shwarma. And then the flower’s guardian spirit jumps my ass.

And I’m like f*ck shwarma. You bitches owe me lobster.

A: lmao

me: And then they’re all, oooh look! You leveled. And I’m like goddamn right bitches. Cause you had me killing every living thing on the f*cking planet. What kind of hippie treehuggers are you?!?!?

Space monkeys.

Terrifying space monkeys. Killed me.

A: lmao

me: Oh sure. Laugh it up.

You weren’t covered in space monkey poop.

***

If you’re getting the notion that my tribulations provide endless amusement… You’d be right. Now, pardon me, while I go deal some serious revenge killing on some pixilated space monkeys.

Reason #3256 that I sometimes don’t sleep at night…

First off, a little background information.

I love cats. Animals in general, but I prefer cats. So when this sweet, pitiful looking black kitty showed up on my bedroom porch one day wanting some noms, naturally, I started to feed her all the noms. She desperately wants to be an inside kitty (and who could blame her??) but I can’t take her in because I have too many pets as it is. But I continue to feed her and provide her a safe place to hang her tail. She also has this talent for breaking in to the house. Somehow, this tiny black kitty gets both paws around the sliding door and pulls that sucker open enough for her to squeeze in. Because of this (and because she’s black) I call her Felicia Hardy. Give yourself 10 points if you get the reference.

Since she’s a stray, she isn’t fixed, and this is on my list of things to do someday when I have a new job and munnies. And since she’s a stray, she’s sort of… free with her charms. Because I feed her and she feels safe on my porch, she had a litter of really adorable little kittens there.

So today’s story. At 3:30 this morning, my lovely, gorgeous, feline soul mate was having snuggle time. Cause why should I sleep when he needs snuggles? He’d finally fallen asleep on my chest and I was about to fall asleep, when he went all alert and focused on the door. This means that we have been invaded. Cat burgled, if you will. So I haul my sleepy and as yet unrested self out of bed and go over to shoo furballs out and close the door.

I do a kitten count and everyone (including Mom) is accounted for. Thinking my duty is done, I congratulate myself and start to get back into bed.

Evidently I missed a cat. Felicia’s clone from an earlier batch of kittens (the one I couldn’t find a home for and now hangs out with Mom on the porch) has, unbeknownst to me, also slipped into the house with the kittens. Only he didn’t haul his buns out when the rest of them did. No, instead, he waited until I got back into bed and threw himself at the sliding door with all his might.

I hear a THUMP and scrambling of claws against glass as he tried to phase through the door to the outside.

Since he is not Kitty Pryde, this didn’t really end well for him and he dashed under the bed to huddle and rock.

So I haul my sleepy and STILL unrested self out of bed again to open the door. Except, because I am still standing near the door, he won’t come out from under the bed. However, if I leave the door, all five kittens come tumbling through the door to explore. I have to allow this necessary evil in order to get angry cat outside.

So I pretend that I don’t exist and move out of the line of site and he practically teleports out the door, sort of like me when I see a spider. I have to say it was impressive.

Once again, I shoo the kittens out of the house and do ANOTHER head count.

Unfortunately, while I have managed to successfully turn back the Mongol horde, I am now awake and there’s no sleep happening.

Trapped kitty looked a little like this:

petsemetary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only plastered to the door.

I feel bad for laughing, but damn it was funny.

Why is Horror Important?–Part One

aspoonfulofsnarky:

I love me some horror stories and this is a great post about why!!

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sebastian Dooris

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sebastian Dooris

Horror is probably one of my favorite genres and always has been. When I was a teen, we didn’t have YA. We had Dean Koontz, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker. My parents were thrilled I was reading. I wonder how they would’ve felt had they known what I was reading. Yet, growing up, I couldn’t get enough scary books or horror movies and not much has changed.

Even now, when life is stressful, out of control, or I’ve had a day that’s simply served me my own tail-end on a platter, what’s my favorite outlet? A good scary movie. Not slasher flicks, but horror; terrifying, well-thought stories. In a way, I find this strange, since I dedicate most of my waking hours to making other laugh, empowering them, teaching them and encouraging them.

So why, of all things, would…

View original 1,626 more words

Perfection Challenged Excerpt – Jade Kerrion

I’m always all about the success of writers. More books is always good! To that end, the lovely and talented Jade Kerrion is releasing Perfection Challenged, the fourth book in her Double Helix series.

Below is an excerpt from the novel :) Enjoy!!

“The best of the four books…the perfect ending to an amazing series.”

Enjoy an excerpt from Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to Jade Kerrion’s multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series. If you’ve never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep reading for a special offer on the six-time award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed.

Perfection Challenged

“I have to get back to work,” Danyael said, adjusting the crutch under his left arm.

Alex Saunders, director-general of the Mutant Affairs Council, frowned. “Did Abd-al not explain to you the dangers of pushing your body too hard, especially given your situation?”

Danyael shrugged. “Live or die, the bills have to get paid, and gene therapy is expensive.”

“That’s what I’ve come to talk to you about.” Alex gestured at the lounge area tucked in a corner of the hospital suite. “Will you sit?”

Since Alex had been kind enough to open with politeness instead of threats, Danyael complied. Alex waited until Danyael claimed the armchair before lowering himself onto the couch. “We’ve been monitoring you, Danyael. I’m sure you know that. You’re one of the world’s most powerful alpha empaths, and you don’t have the luxury of privacy.”

Danyael said nothing.

“I know you want nothing to do with the council, and I’ve done my best to respect your decision.” Alex looked pained. “When you went to Nelson Harris to schedule the amputation, it was all I could do not to interfere. We both know the council healers could have healed you. In fact, they want to help. You have many friends, whether or not you know it, or care. You’re a fighter, Danyael. I don’t doubt your will to survive, but this…this newest crisis is beyond you. You’ll have enough difficulty finding a donor. Paying for gene therapy—”

“I may not be able to afford gene therapy but I can’t afford the council’s favors either.”

“Danyael, we can help. We want to help.”

He looked away, a bitter smile twisting his lips. “You need stronger psychic shields, Alex. I can sense the lie. What is the trap that you want me to walk into?”

Alex shook his head, the gesture sad and slow. “We need you to bring Galahad in.” He slid a tablet across the coffee table.

Danyael picked up the tablet and perused the article as Alex continued speaking. “You know Senator Sullivan’s daughter, don’t you?”

“Yes, Chloe. We dated briefly when we were at Harvard University.” Danyael’s brow furrowed. “What does Galahad have to do with the senator’s death? The article specifically says that he died of smoke inhalation.”

“John Sullivan was one of Galahad’s genetic donors, and the twenty-fifth of thirty donors to die in the past three years since Zara freed Galahad from Pioneer Labs. We don’t have physical evidence to tie Galahad to any of their deaths—”

“Yet you’ve judged him guilty based on circumstantial evidence.”

Alex winced. “You must understand. We have an obligation to investigate and to keep his surviving donors safe. If he’s guilty, if he is indeed hunting down his donors, you’re the only one of the five remaining donors who can stop him. No one else stands a chance against the epitome of perfection.”

“I’m surprised you think I do.”

“No one else can kill with a touch.”

****

perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him.

Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad?

In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK

PERFECTION UNLEASHED Perfection Unleashed

“Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men.”

Recipient of six literary awards, including First place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner, Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99)

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Things that scare me…

There will be no pictures in this particular post.

Cause while these things scare the bejeesus out of me, I can look at pictures without a panic attack. But some of my online friends cannot.

And screwing with someone’s phobias is mean. Don’t do it.

Anywho. I don’t like bugs and other creepy crawlies. There are exceptions, of course. Lady bugs are adorbs. I rather enjoy pill bugs too, cause they’re cute.

But as a general rule, I have issues with anything that has more than four legs.

The ultimate in creepy, crawly things that will make me scream like a little girl = Spiders. These things aren’t of this earth. I’m absolutely certain they are some sort of alien spy, figuring out our weaknesses and plotting the invasion and ultimate enslavement (read: making us food) of the planet.

I watch that one part of LotR with my hands over my eyes, or I just get up and wander out of the room for a minute.

There’s a reason for this!

When I was nine, we were living in a rural place that just begged for child eating critters to sneak in and nom my limbs in my sleep. There was always something with too many legs hanging around. I coped okay, stomping upon them with extreme prejudice. Until…

My bathroom was all tile and the shower took up a whole wall. Not like a shower/tub combo. A huge open shower, with a little wall to shield it from the rest of the bathroom. It was also slightly sunken, so that I didn’t flood the bathroom every time I showered. Incidentally, it was also pink and this might have something to do with my aversion. Just saying.

I was innocently showering one evening. All lathered up and bubbly. MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS!! And over there, against the far wall, a huge spider decided to take its evening constitutional. In. My. Bathroom.

I usually have a live and let live policy here. I don’t bug the critters, as long as they stay in their area, which is NOT IN THE HOUSE. Once they set multiple legs inside, I have the right to smoosh.

So, of course, I smacked it with a shampoo bottle.

That really should have been the end of things, and I lived happily ever after, blah blah blah.

Yeah no.

The little bastard BURST spewing millions of baby spiders all over the wall and floor. And if that isn’t enough to cause terror in the heart of any child, I don’t know what is. Unless of course it’s Tim Curry crawling out of a freaking drain. But that’s a whole different post.

There I was, huddled in the corner farthest from the nasty spider invaders, screaming like I was being murdered. My grandparents came running in to see who was killing me. My grandfather (obviously a very smart man) took one look at the spiders, did an about face, and hauled ass out of the bathroom, leaving my grandmother to dispose of the eight-legged terrors and calm the screaming child.

I can’t really blame him. I’d have run and left me to die, too.

So there you have it folks. I will scream like nobody’s business over a spider. Fake spiders. Real spiders. Spider pictures. You name it, I need a flamethrower to kill it.

How about you?