Sunday, 30 August 2009

What is the best looking MMO?

I can't claim anything exciting on this, but I'm going to plump for Guild Wars.  Is it the best looking?  Well, it's the best looking I have played, and it was graphically different from all of the other MMOs before it.

Walking outside in Ascalon, in the first instance area was the first time I actually lost myself in the game.  The green grass, waving in the wind.  The creatures - both animal and monster - roaming the fields.  The bull next to the water-pool!  And that waterfall!  While walking, you could be followed by carefree Gwen just skipping along and playing on her flute.  There has been nothing like Guild Wars opening zone in the other games I've played since.  And since I couldn't spend enough time away from my beloved WoW, it stayed as second fiddle, and I only ever got one character to level 20 and out of that first campaign...  I think I spent too much time looking at the flowers than playing the game ;)

Oddly enough (bearing in mind that my 'home' MMO is Ultima Online with it's primitive but very, very useful sandbox-see-all design) I've now settled in World of Warcraft.  Not for its graphics (which I always thought of as cartoonish, and don't get me started on the ugly, ugly avatars) but because I'm playing with a friend to stay in contact with them now they've moved to America.

But I've found that the graphical 'style' of Warcraft gradually has its wicked way with you.  You get used to the awful mustaches and broad-brushstroke fields, and start feeling part of it.  I think WoW's contribution to 'best looking' is more like 'most varied' - because all places look so different, and have a unique flavour from zone to zone, it's easier to be taken in.

But if I want to go and sit by a waterfall and grin stupidly at a Waterfall, I'll visit Guild Wars again.

(And if anyone mentions the Charr chucking a rock out of the sky and destroying that beautiful waterfall?  Well la-la-la, I'm not listening to you.)

Sunday, 8 February 2009

UO Journal for: 08-02-2009

Taken from a meeting at Castle British, Sunday 8 February 2009, 19:30

Casca: We have taken an important first step my friends
Casca: Henceforth, let us continue down this path
Casca: Which will assuredly lead us to victory!
Casca: The first battle has been won, congratulations to all of you!
Casca: To celebrate this momentous event
Casca: I invite you all to a Royal Ball!

October Stehlen: ...
Iljian: *blinks*
Syrana Jarm: *looks down on her dress*
Floria Tenne: Hmmm.....
Attorok: *frowns*

Casca: To be held next Sunday, the 15th, at 8 oclock, here at Castle British
Casca: Come in all your finery and the highest of spirits!
Casca: I hope to see you all here

Nathaniel Hawk: *Mumbles*
Nathaniel Hawk: There's something fishy here..
Bladius Dart: I agree with the old git in the hat.

Casca: About the dresscode
Casca: Of course you should dress appropriately for a Royal Ball
Casca: Any other questions?
Casca: We will strike another blow against the enemy soon
Casca: But first we celebrate this victory!
Casca: Any more questions?

Syrana Jarm: Well Im all for a good dance, but I dont think we achieved such an outstanding victory...

Casca: If there are no more questions I will be on my way again

Flame: *stares in disbelief at Casca*

Casca: Until then my friends!

*Casca leaves*

Fauna Riboflavin: Expect the unexpected, Muldran
Muldran Skully: Nobody expects... dancing.

Kendra: Why doe he only congratulate us for one victory?
Kendra: Before he started sitting in that throne, we've been keeping the kingdome from falling
Attorok: And this... excuse for a king is doing a dance for just one fight!

Muldran Skully: I wonder what she'd have to say about this, Flame.
Stewan Seagull: Hmm.. Id think she likes balls too
Flame: she recommended us to watch Casca very closely

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Casca's Speech

Europa turned out in force to heckle welcome our new dark overlord - Casca seems to have crowned himself King in absence of anyone else stepping forward to take the job. Of course, after the entire council was slain, there was little choice...

There were a few calls for poor, stoned Jordan to be resurrected, but he's sleeping peacefully under the Haven sea.

I wonder if Casca's being influenced by something else... It wouldn't be the first time...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Okay, so I may have popped my MMO cherry on Ultima Online (and the less people that imagine me in that position the better) but I can honestly say I'm now full time on World of Warcraft. Yes, it's four years after the game has launched that I've joined in, but why would I do such a thing?

I think your first MMO is where the heart is. UO was fantastic for what it represents. A total 'world' before Second Life; you have houses, junk, knickknacks and personality roleplay, where because you can see all around you and 'the world seems wide' you can play at telling stories. That's where I think UO's early success was; it was a complete board for people to be able to interact and tell stories, while playing the game. Quite honestly for me, I was never very good at the game. Oh, I could check an energy bolt around as Muldran, and could work out puzzles with the rest of them - but play the actual game? Oh no, I much preferred the story telling, interacting with people, and collecting books for my library.

Playing as an EM - helping write stories, direct events, and be 'part of the lore' - was fantastic for me. I could involve people with bigger things; show more of what's going on, and try to encourage people to 'play the game the way I did'. Oh yes, I ran the occasional PvP event, and dived into Felucca, but I was never very comfortable there. Should I have been? No, because myself and other players like me weren't. But hell, I tried my best in play styles I was unfamiliar with to have a go, and see what we could do. And I think, on the whole, people enjoyed it. After the EM part ended for me, I began to lose interest - not because of my lack of powers, but because I think I'd gone as far as I could with UO; I'd played along with the story, I'd *run* the story , and that was that.

Recent Live Events that are bringing the Ultima Lore back in are fine; they're the type of things I love. There's STORY in the game again - it's just a shame that a lot of people who enjoyed story-play have moved on. I have the Muldran account still, and the old mage wanders in and out to look in on things, but I can't *play* there any more, which is a great pity. I'll definitely turn up and listen in with the EM events - I like interacting with people! - but I think that's as far as I can go now; apart from sorting out the Library books of course!

So - why WoW? Well, I needed a game to play with a friend who moved to America; we both play on the EU servers, since he isn't a twitch player. It's a great way to 'keep up' and still do things. We tried with Guild Wars, but it lacked something. And what WoW has is what UO is only now getting - story based quests. Or is that quest based stories?

When I play things, I want to be intrigued. I want to find out 'more', I want to see what's going on behind the scenes, why the world is the way it is - and what's more, what can I do to shape this. (Yes, even if it's been shaped by 11 million others who have been playing longer than me, but hey!) WoW's story chains and quest chains are a great way to dip in to stories, and find out more about the World. With UO, people had to make it happen, and with the lack of people, less of it was going on.

That's something I don't see in WoW - even on an 'RP' server, I don't see people just 'letting stories happen' around them like they did in UO. In UO, you could wander into Trinsic, stand by the guards there, and start talking, and people would join in. In WoW, the only time I've seen that happen in the six months or so I've been playing is during the zombie invasion; when people tried to help out at the Cathedral.

Is it because people have moved on in the game again? Have I missed the story players? I'm not missing that at the moment, as my friend and I are enjoying finding each new place, new quest, new story. And yes, with the two of us, I doubt we're going to be raiding any time soon (we've created a guild 'for our own use' rather than to have people in it. Hey, we need somewhere to store all this stuff!)

Although in the last two weeks, I've been able to persuade my partner to play - and he's actually started enjoying it (and the recruit-a-friend XP bonus means that the alts that my friend and I have will help bring him up to our mains - so we can all play our ideal set of characters at a higher level.)

Wowed as a progression through MMOs - a bit odd, I know, but I'm here now!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

New EMs!

Just spotted that there's new EMs on Europa. Congratulations you two, and I hope you have a great time running, plotting and playing!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Elendrik Notes

I've just found out that I left several pages on the Googlepages server while updating my account.  These pages relate to a couple of events I participated in (and ran!) back when the EM programme was up and running in UO.

I was one of the fortunate EMs who got a chance to actually 'tie up' their storyline - and my RPC Commander of the Royal Guard is still buried in a cavern under New Haven on the Europa server.  Perhaps people will be able to dig him up in the future ;)

Anyway - enjoy the chat logs!