Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fallen Earth Free Trial

So I decided to give Fallen Earth a shot with their new trial key promotion. I am currently downloading the client, which is taking forever. The 400 some MB installer went quick, but the patcher is taking a long time to download. An hour and a half in and I have only downloaded about 3K files with 41K (or 4.1gb) to go. Any ideas on why it is so slow, perhaps a lot of people downloading it due to the trial? Normally I get about 1MB/sec download here at school, but it is much less with the patcher.

Update: Stopping and starting it a couple of times managed to increase the speed, no longer 3 days to download.

Allods Online

I know I haven't updated much recently, but that's because I doubt you want to hear the exploits from the only game I'm really playing at the moment, Team Fortress 2. The Demoman vs. Soldier update comes out tomorrow and of course, those are my two least played classes. I'll play them to get most of the achievements, but will probably be right back to my usual rotation of pyro, scout, medic, and heavy.

Now back to the titular topic, Allods Online. I had been hearing some good things about it in the blogosphere recently and thought I would finally give it a shot. I finally got a beta key two days ago and went merrily about downloading the game. Since it is in beta, I didn't have to worry about the micro-transaction business model that I despise the implementation of in most current F2P MMOs. After a quick download, maybe 40mins tops, I installed and went to the character creation screen. There was little to no background information on the two sides from what I could see, so I ended up just picking the evil looking side.

From there, there were a bunch of classes that fit into the typical fantasy archetypes, paladins, mages, rogues and the like. Loving to go into battle in full on plate mail, I chose a paladin-esque character and went on to the game, where the disappointment began quickly. The graphics, even though I am not typically a graphics whore, were downright atrocious even maxed out on my system. The visuals were fuzzy and downright low quality. In 2009, even decent looking graphics are commonplace, not the shoddy ones presented in this game.

Quests were almost exactly like World of Warcraft, go to the person with an exclamation point, ignore the wall of quest text presented, and commence killing. Perhaps I'm just spoiled with single-player rpgs and the promise of full voice overs in TOR but it did nothing to draw me into the storyline, whatever it may have been. One particularly bad intro quest saw me firing a cannon til I hit the enemy ship. The only problem was that I had no control over the aim so I had to just keep clicking before it decided to hit it.

That takes us to the combat side of things, a pretty standard affair. I didn't like the lack of an auto-attack, or at least one I couldn't find. You right click on an enemy to lock on and then have to run up to him and spam one to do your basic attack. Combined with some mediocre class abilities, the battles were forgettable at best. The ability cooldown was so fast that I rarely even had to use the basic attack in any of the early battles.

So, from the general tone of this review, you can probably tell that the game was off my hard drive about 3/4 of an hour after installing it. I get a feeling early on about how I'm going like games and I could tell there was no point in going on.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Companions: Why They Should Stay

Keen is frothing at the mouth. The latest TOR interview on GiantBomb is about companion characters and has elicited the responses from the community at large that one comes to expect in these days of gaming. Raging from fans on both sides of the issues about how it ruins the game. Personally, I lean towards of being in support of companion characters.

While there is always the chance that Bioware can horribly mess up the implementation, I feel overall that the idea would add a lot to the game.

1) How many times as a group have you been sitting there waiting for just one class? I know it has happened to me too many times. Being able to pop out a companion character to fill that role and get into the content faster would be an amazing addition.

2) How many times have you grouped with someone who didn't want to group, but was forced to to complete the quest? By allowing them to do it on their own, they aren't forced to do what they don't want to. This improves the quality of the members that actually want to group up.

3) It's been done before. Guild Wars, pet classes in any mmo, and on and on.

4) Companions and storytelling are Bioware's strengths. Why would they forsake that to go with what the other games are doing. They need to do what they do best for the best chance for the game to succeed. Doing what they aren't good at is a clear recipe for failure. Companions provide an anchor to the lore of the story, a chance for the game to recognize your accomplishments. It won't be like many MMOs where your achievements go completely unnoticed.