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.


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.


Just no.


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.


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.

GW2, the honeymoon may be over…

No matter how great the inital rush of euphoria at a new relationship is, there comes that time when you want to rip off the other person’s arms and shove em where the sun doesn’t shine.

The same is true of MMOs.

Or really any game. But I’m talking about an MMO so shush up and listen.

Don’t get me wrong, GW2. I still love you. We can still have good times. But I will never forget the night of hell you put me through.

Before I describe the horrific betrayal that I’ve suffered at the hands of my new MMO love, let me give you a little background on me.

I’m clumsy. Not just funny ha-ha, bump into things clumsy. I mean like I trip over nothing in my bare feet, walk into walls, and fall off anything even remotely removed from plumb with the ground (and often fall when things are plumb with the ground).

This actually translates to my in-game self. I fall off stuff right and left. Auto-follow is the bane of my existence, because I will always fall and die or get stuck and die.

So from this information, you should be able to extrapolate that I don’t do a lot of jumping about. It’s just not a healthy passtime.

Back to the game. In EQ2, a game which I used to dearly love, there was the “Worst. Quest. Ever!” tm. It was for Hoo’luh’s hat. Hoo’luh was an owl critter and really sorta cute. Except that he lived on this little cliff thing that was only accessible by a series of jumps executed across chains and platforms.

Yeah. Anyone who sees where this is going, raise your hand. You get a cookie. Everyone else? Just keep reading.

It took me days, DAYS, to get to the goddamned owl to get my hat. And at the end of it all? THE HAT WAS FRELLING UGLY!!!

Fast forward to 2012.

As aforementioned GW2 has this amazing map that tells you where all the points of interest, vistas, skill challenges, etc are located. I love it. Even as I hate that I know that they are there because I must get them all. I still love it.

So I’m on my pretty little human mesmer, running about with A’s norn engineer (she’s adorable, btw, but not as cute as my character, cause I am colour coordinated). We’re in the 15-25 human zone, Kessex Hills Diessa Plateau I think it’s called, and cruising along full tilt.

Then we hit a brick wall of total, utter, rage inducing, JUMPING SUCKITUDE.

Clearly the MMO gods heard my cries of pain and rage back in the jumping owl days and decided that it was funny and my tears sustained them. Because we spent the next THREE DAMN HOURS trying to negotiate the jumping challenges to get the skill point and vista for the area we were in.

To add insult to injury, cause you know, it wasn’t bad enough I had to jump in slippers and a skirt where just ANY OLD BODY could look up and see my knickers (which are also tastefully colour coordinated, thankyouverymuch), we were also attacked left and right by ghosts with pet dogs.


GW2 and I had our first fight that evening. We almost broke up. And by that I mean, I almost performed a ritual sacrifice of the laptop to the gods in order to cool their anger at me and to allow me to play again, unhindered by jumping puzzles.

Fortunately, my sailory cursing either amused or irritated someone so much that A and I were finally able to finish the challenge.

Yeah, we hauled ass away from there right after that.

My love affair with GW2 continues. But I still wake up in a cold sweat from time to time wanting to slap the person who thought that was a funny thing to put in. I hope his wife pees in his cheerios, cause that would be a funny thing too.

More Guild Wars 2 Squeeing

I promised that there would be more squeeing over the awesome that is Guild Wars 2. And I am nothing if not a woman of my word.

For anyone who has my same issues with video game characters needing to be pretty, I will tell you right now, THEY SO ARE! Except for the Charr. I’m sorry, my precious kitty-people, but you’re just not pretty. It’s okay, I like you anyway.

The rest of the races provide more than adequate opportunity to make a pleasing character. Yay! And the clothes are pretty. Yes, this is important. Possibly not as important as gameplay, but darn close and thus worthy of mention.

Okay. Now to the nitty gritty.


This covers a wide range of features and that’s good, because I am not really sure where to classify the mega awesome of what I want to talk about right here. It could be UI, it could just be that someone read my mind. Either way.

A little background first. I am a crafter. I love crafting. It’s probably something to do with being able to do stuff in game that I just can’t quite grasp in my real life. Not that I can’t cook, I’m a darn good cook. But stuff like making jewelry or clothing (although that is on my list of things to learn) or magic items that are groovy and smack critters, is somewhat beyond me.

Even if I didn’t craft, I’m a compulsive harvester. If I can pick it up, I do. (Which, on a side note, is another evil thing that the game does to toy with me. There are sparkling items to pick up on the ground, like garden hoes, rocks, pieces of driftwood… They don’t serve any purpose. None. But they sparkle and I have to pick them up anyway. I put them right back down again, but damnit I have to pick them up.) As a compulsive harvester, as you can imagine, I run into space issues.

NO MORE! That’s right. The days of my space issues are long gone, baby. GW2 has given me virtually unlimited harvesting storage. Oh and that stuff that you get that’s junk? Most of it can be broken down into its base components and also stored in the infinite panel of storagey goodness. SQUEE.

What the hell are you babbling about, you say.

Sorry. There’s a very cool window, accessed at any crafting station, for collectibles. All of your harvested, broken down, or whatever tradeskill goodies live in this window. All you have to do is click the “deposit all collectibles” option from the drop down in your inventory. And then poof. They all go to magic storage land.

It gets so much better, though.

Not only can you store crafting items there to keep your bag space free, you can also craft with materials directly from the collectible storage.

Yeah, that’s right. You don’t have to take it out and put it back in your bag. The crafting table knows your materials are there and pulls directly. You hear that sound? That’s the sound of a blissful sigh.

You can also mail items and sell/buy from the auction house directly from your bag. It’s like a bag of holding on steroids. Best. Thing. Ever.


As if the inventory thing with crafting wasn’t awesome enough, the crafting system itself rocks.

No more hunting for recipes all over the world and stocking up so you can grind to the end of a tier. There are certain recipes you get automagically as you gain skill points. The rest? You get to experiment with your components to create them. (Yes, there are some you can buy from karma vendors, and I got a nifty apple pie recipe that way, but you don’t have to buy the bulk of your recipes which keeps you from being perpetually broke, like I usually am.)

As an artificer, I can make wands, staves, focuses, etc. It’s kind of nifty. I get all the base components and then I get inscriptions. Those are the doohickies that add the fun stats. Like healing power, power, vitality, whatever. I pop everything into the little experiment boxes and WHOOSH. Brand new recipe, several skill points, and me all giddy cause I found something new (to me, at any rate).

It’s interactive without being annoying. It takes the grind and frustration out of crafting and makes it more fun than it has been in ages.

I could go on, and I will a bit later. Next time, I’ll rave about the account wide access stuff and why it’s amazing!

In which I squee over Guild Wars 2

I didn’t really play Guild Wars.  I glanced it over, poked at it a bit, and ultimately decided I had other games to play.

So naturally, I wasn’t feverishly awaiting the arrival of Guild Wars 2.  I figured it would be more of the same and I’ve been happily getting my angel on over in Aion now that it is free to play (more on Aion later).

I picked up GW2 for A on Friday night.  He was interested and it had been a rough week.  A new game is exactly what was needed.

The evening went a lot like this:

Me (crafting in Aion and knitting): 145! The comedy of crafting whilst crafting is not lost on me.

A: It’s finished downloading!

Me: Yay!

A (making a character): Let’s see, Norn.

Me: No, not that hair, it’s awful.

A: Do you want to make a character?

Me: Nope, just watching.  No, not that tattoo, it’s not pretty.

A: Do you want to do this?

Me: No, it’s your game, you enjoy.  Her clothes clash with her tattoo, you should change one or the other.

A: …

Me: What? She clashes!

A: Do you want to make a character?

Me: No, I’m just watching.  Oh god no. Not the monacle! It makes her look like a borg.

A: …

A plays happily for a while, while I continue to craft and knit and watch GW2 over his shoulder.  The first character was an engineer.  A class I enjoyed in Warhammer.  They also have public quests, something else I enjoyed in Warhammer, which have been implemented in a more spontaneous fashion (and thus more fun).

A couple of levels in and A decides it’s time to check out another class/race combo and see how it feels.  This one is an Asura Warrior.  Maybe a Guardian. I wasn’t paying attention to the class.

Me: She looks like a bunny!  (After A changes her face.)  Now she looks like a house elf.  OMG it’s WINKY!

A: I’ll name her Winky.

Me: Yay!  Oh god not that hair!  It’s like a Princess Leia afro.

A: Do you want to make a character?

Me: Nope. Just watching…

Much hilarity ensued as the opening cutscene tells Winky’s story.  I find particular joy in “not MY golems, of course” and A plays this character for a few minutes.  Now it’s time for A to try out a Charr.  These are sort of cat-like critters, which of course, makes them particularly interesting to me.

Me: Why does the kitty have horns?  Did her mom get roofied by an antelope or something?  What the hell?

A: Do you want to make a character?

Me: Nope. Just watching. Carry on.

A fiddles with the character options some more and I pretend to not watch.

Me: Why does the kitty have four ears?

A: Why? Are you jealous?

Me: No, it’s just… Horns and four ears?  The poor kitty is a freak.  OH! Go back to the lynx face. I like that one. And wow, she looks really surprised.  Why do you hate her?

A: …

Me: Why on earth is the poor thing wearing a leisure suit?  Those went out in the 70’s.

A: Do you want to make a character?

Me: Nope, I’m crafting. You go on ahead.

A couple of minutes pass, in which A continues to make character choices that clearly need my assistance.

Me: Why are you making her an earth focused elementalist when you have her dressed in FIRE colours?

A: (sighing and clicking back through the choices) There, is that better?

Me: I suppose, but now she’s all drab and muddy.

A: Now you’re just being an ass. Be quiet and let me play!

Whilst not 100% word for word, this is exactly how the evening progressed.  At some point A made a male ranger, who I swear looks like a guy from a boy band. Possibly Joey Fatone. I’m just saying.

I finally purchased my own copy yesterday morning and proceeded to make properly pretty and coordinating characters. I also discovered the dual evil/awesome of the map. Evil, because they spell out for you how many points of interest, waypoints, vistas (neat panoramic viewpoints in high, sometimes difficult to reach places) there are.  Naturally, I must find each and every one of these things in order to check off the counters. Awesome, because I know where all of these things are located, thanks to the map.

It’s a cruel double-edged sword. I’m compelled to find the points, but at least the game helps me by showing me where to find them. I can live with this. It took about an hour and a half of wandering about with my nose to the map and toggling back and forth so I didn’t walk into a corner like an idiot, but I cleared all of the points in my human’s city.

Other squees include:

Account wide guild membership. This makes me happy. There’s nothing more annoying than having to log in and out of five different characters just to tag them all with the guild name.

You can access your mailbox at anytime without having to be physically standing in front of a mailbox. Thank you!

You can have different weapon/spell focuses and change back and forth between them, giving you different skills to play with. Unlocking these is a matter of use, rather than spending thousands of coins buying your skills and lugging them around so you don’t have to make several trips back and forth. Yay!

My mesmer’s illusionary clones disappear in a cloud of purple butterflies. This is freaking awesome.

I can choose my armour colour scheme at the beginning of the game and that scheme stays with me through my armour upgrades. Yes, I’m a girl. Whatever. The important thing is, I don’t have to sacrifice upgrading something just so that I can still match or be pretty. There are few things as annoying as walking around looking like a box of crayons pooped on me, or looking like I threw together a bunch of hand-me-down pieces of armour without regard to weather or not they belonged together. Squee!

The quest system is fun. Instead of “kill 10 rats”, I get a little bar with several options of tasks to perform for the populace. It fills up as I run around throwing buckets of water on worms, feeding corn, and stomping cows. Or something like that. It’s far less tedious than counting down the kills.

They have different starting areas and experiences for every race and your story questline is influenced by the choices you made during character creation. This. Is. Freaking. Awesome. OMG.

There will be more GW2. Lots more.