No, I’M Slim Shady

Posted By on May 08, 2014 | 4 comments

Wildstar has been available for pre-order for a while now, and release (and head start – because it’s totally a race AMIRITE) are coming up in just under a month. And while I still haven’t put in my pre-order, it’s pretty clear that I will be playing the game upon release and should probably get on that. I mean, they’re giving you a rocket-house. And an extra bag because it’s more fun to restrict the inventory space of normals arbitrarily. And the head start, which is actually sort of nice because it means you can start playing on a weekend instead of the typically awkward Tuesday release date. These are all actually incentives that are useful to me!

But, as the post title suggests, there’s one bonus that’s on offer that I probably won’t take advantage of – and that’s the ability to reserve your name ahead of time. They still haven’t actually said how this is going to work (other than that it will be available May 13 – 23), but it will be interesting to see whether you have to pick a server to go along with your name choice, or whether your name will somehow be reserved across the entire game. If it’s the latter, then I can see this being a bigger selling point. And I can absolutely see the appeal for things like Guild names.

I know there are some people (probably a lot) that carry a particular name from game to game, but I’m not really one of them. There are a few names that I have reused over the years, but inevitably, I end up picking my name at the very end of character creation. Not because it isn’t important – in fact, it can totally make or break a character for me!-  but because I never feel like I can properly name someone until I know who they are. And I can’t possibly know that until I’ve gone through the rest of character creation. And even when I’ve already been playing a game for a while and could tell you with pretty strong certainty what race/feature/gender combination I am going to pick, I wouldn’t be able to pick a name until I’m looking at the finished product.

Am I weird in this? I can reuse things like a gamer tag because it isn’t tied to a character (and is sort of intentionally not name-like), but the name “Ellyndrial”? I don’t think I’ll ever really be able to use that again. It just has too much history, and that specific character means something specific in my internal pantheon. It works okay for some of the more minor characters that I’ve had – but usually those are characters that I really was interested in playing out, but never quite made it.

What about you guys? Do you reuse names from game to game? When do you retire a character for good?



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Space Boobs and Magic

Space Boobs and Magic

Posted By on Jan 17, 2014 | 2 comments

I’m going to try and keep this relatively quick this morning, since I’m getting ready for a weekend playing Magic in Sacramento. It’s another GP, like the one that I went to in Oakland over the summer. We will once again be playing Limited (Sealed on Saturday, Draft on Sunday), and this time it is Theros! That means Gods and Enchantments and everything else. This time around, we are also much deeper into the format, so that should be interesting. I will take some pictures and report back next week!

In other news, I am sure most people have heard by now, but part of this week’s Wildstar Beta patch was a reduction in bust size for three of the eight races (sepcifically, both Human races and the Aurin). I’m sure that it has caused great sperging about the downfall of society in some corners of the internet, but honestly, I think it’s a good thing! If nothing else, it shows that Carbine is willing to respond to reasonable criticisms, which is a good precedent to set. They’ve even hinted at the possibility of adding more in-depth body sliders at some point after release, but given that we are probably only a few months out, it’s possible that this is all they felt they had time for.

Character creation still isn’t perfect. One of my biggest issues is that the poses in the character creation screens are still very much “break my back showing off my glorious chest and booty assets”. Which is unfortunate, because as soon as you see those models in-game (and with some armor), things start to get somewhat better. There is still a lot of stupid running, but one thing at a time, I guess.

In any event, I’m hoping that this is a good omen for the future. And I’m also hoping that the more of these sorts of dust-ups that occur with new games, the more likely it is that developers will start to actively think about it before having to be yelled at by the public. Seems like a long-shot, I know, but a person can dream.

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Wild(star) New Business Models!

Posted By on Aug 20, 2013 |

I failed again at promoting the podcast, so let’s all assume that this counts. When you’re done reading here, if you haven’t already, go check out this week’s Cat Context podcast, in which we talked about EQ Next, and probably some other stuff that I can’t remember. We’re recording again this weekend, and then the following week we will do something live from PAX! Please leave us comments, ratings, and whatever other kind of feedback you want.

So, yesterday, Wildstar finally announced what sort of payment scheme it would be using when it eventually goes live (sometime next spring, which was neatly hidden in the same announcement), and it appears to a not-entirely-unique take on the “standard” subscription model. That is to say, it will require an active subscription to play each month, but you can pay for that subscription in one of two ways – first, you know, with actual money (and hooray for this!); and then secondly, with a tradeable in-game currency called C.R.E.D.D. (I will endeavor to never actually put the periods in that, again). CREDD can be purchased from their online store for the equivalent of a month’s subscription, traded around in-game (probably primarily for game money), and eventually be redeemed back in the store for a month’s worth of subscription.

As I am understanding it, this is exactly the same thing that EVE currently – and really the only part of that game that holds any interest for me. It’s also pretty similar to what Rift has done with their REX currency (although Rift has the whole free-to-play aspect, and a subscription doesn’t really get you very much). And if this is the case, then queue the Macklemore music:

This is fucking awesome…

I’ve definitely talked before about my preference for subscription models over F2P – I’m not going to go back over it here – but suffice to say that I have a pretty strong preference for paying one price and getting access to all the content. It obviously remains to be seen just how hard it will be to earn enough Ollars to buy a CREDD, but I think it’s a really smart move. Besides the fact that it means a more predictable, steady stream of income for Carbine/NCSoft, it means that people are actually going to be encouraged to play the game, since they are paying for it. And, if they want to be able to keep playing it? They have to play the game. I’m not even sure if this is able to be said enough, because the fastest way to kill an MMO is to have a bunch of players signed up, but not actually having them signed in and actively playing.

CREDD-style subscriptions (well, really just subscriptions in general) are awesome because you know that everyone who is playing is actually contributing to your well-being as a company. As a player, you know the same thing, which lends some level of investment in both the game AND your fellow players. Accounts are that much less disposable, and your actions in-game matter that much more. CREDD means that it’s that much easier to pool some resources and help a friend out through a rough financial patch, or to gift a friend a month or two of subscription. It also means that, if you want, you can dedicate yourself to in-game economical fun-times and be able to play mostly for free. Or, if you’re like me, just buy a CREDD here and there with your extra in-game cash and get a “free” subscription month every so often. Theoretically, it limits the need for sketchy gold-farming operations to exist, because it gives a more legitimate path to convert RL-cash into CREDD into in-game cash. (Note: this is not a practice that I love, but when it basically happens anyway, it might as well be done in the open.)

All-in-all, this is a positive announcement for me. I’m already cautiously optimistic about my ability to enjoy Wildstar – moreso than I am about, say, Everquest Next – so this just adds to that. I’d been feeling somewhat resigned to the fact that I’d have to start participating in more F2P games over the next year (and I probably still will), but I hope that this catches on, because I think there are a lot of benefits that come with actually having a paying customer base.

Too bad we’re also waiting another six months or so.

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