I haven’t been writing all that much, and that’s mainly due to not playing much of anything lately. But things are coming around and I’m getting settled at my new job and getting into a better routine with our newborn, so I should be getting back into more of a schedule. But it shouldn’t be a surprise what main games are occupying my time and plans for the future.
I’ve been in and out of LOTRO lately, but more trying to keep things somewhat organized and not doing a whole lot out purely due to time constraints, that are loosening up. I’ve toyed with the idea of dusting off my Captain but I think there’s still more then enough work to do on my Warden to keep me busy. She’s not in that bad of a position, but I need to go grab a few virtues to adjust to the whole Agility switch. I also think I’m going to start playing in the new instances to see what all I can do in there to challenge myself – I’ve heard rumors of Warden’s soloing the new 6-man, so that’s something I’m going to toy with.
Sadly I really haven’t been able to get in much of The Secret World and I’m really looking forward to the new content with Issue 6. I always enjoy that world once I’m in it, but the concentration requirements have been a bit of an issue for me. I’m still feeling pretty good about my Blades/Blood build but I think I’m going to probably check out the Assault Rifle and see if I can make a Warden-like build in TSW. I’m really excited to get further into Translyvania as everyone talks about how much harder that area is and I’m curious to see how that all plays out.
My main play time though has been with Football Manager 2013, mainly because I can run it almost as a background game. I ended up having a bit of a philosophy shift and started over a new game as my previous one I had cheated just way too much and it really wasn’t much fun due to the lack of a challenge. And by cheating, I mean re-loading if I don’t get a result I like. I started again with Everton and have reduced my “cheating” to long-term injuries (over a month) and transfers. I know the purists will say that I’m not truly playing the game but I really enjoy the player development side of it, and the other option of “starting over” is quite daunting. I just started my second season on this save and am enjoying it MUCH more then previous games as I pay much more attention to each game. My first season saw quite a bit of turnover as I really prefer younger players and Everton has a bunch of older (yet still valuable) players. I ended up selling Jelavic,, Gibson and Heitinga along with a couple others and a ton of loans for a infusion of over 51 million pounds. I ended up spending that on 3 players initially – striker Ademilson from Brazil, fullback Mattia De Sciglio, and center back Ryan Shawcross as some of my other targets weren’t available or were too expensive in this new patch. I then went out in January and was able to bring in Clint Dempsey on the last day of the window and Moi Gomez to strengthen my midfield. My moves and my youngsters really preformed quite well as I was able to reach the finals of the FA Cup (losing to Manchester United) and 3rd in the Premier League. The biggest disappointment was getting knocked out in the 3rd round of the League cup, but the fans got over that after a bit.
Coming into season 2, I have an amazing wave of youth from our development system so I really don’t have too many holes to fill. The RNG was very generous with me as I brought in 5 players rated 4 stars (maximum is 5) or higher that should be fun to see how they develop. I parted with Mirallas, Naismith and Gueye which brought in quite a nice sum of money. I brought in a couple of youngsters and then on the last day of the window I saw that Michael Bradley was available so I grabbed him to see how he would work paired up with Jack Rodwell (yes, I modded the initial DB to keep him on Everton instead of the crappy move to Manchester City) to control the middle of the field. My start has been a little rocky with an opening day loss followed by a dull draw, but I did win my 3rd game and am now getting into the teeth of Champions League group play, so it will start to get VERY interesting.
I still enjoy FM13 but I’m really starting to get the itch to get back to my characters stuck in MMO-land and as such I’m sure they’ll get some more attention, which will bring more writing from me as well.
This has been a pretty eventful holiday break for me with both a newborn and lots of family in town. I won’t bore folks with the details, but needless to say I haven’t had too much time for normal gaming, but I did want to catch up on a few things and let folks know that I’m still around and what I plan to do this year.
My gaming time has pretty much revolved around three titles, so I’ll start with the highlights from them as they’ll all be top items going forward.
In LOTRO, I pretty much have been logging in to do my Hytbold dailies and very little else. I’m almost done rebuilding as I’m down to the regional horses and after that I’ll probably do some instances if I can work them into my schedule somehow. I didn’t do the festival this year partly do to timing and scheduling but also I really wasn’t happy with the changes and the way the war-steed cosmetics were handled. Yes, I’ve heard it really wasn’t that bad but with all the other grinds out there it just really didn’t seem worth it to me. I’m really hoping Rowan’s second comment about Mounted Combat is more correct then his first as it is much easier to find data to support a money grab then a serious long term system, and I want to be proven wrong here. I won’t dwell on it, but that’s certainly in the back of my mind as this game goes forward and will become more evident when (if) we get an expansion this year.
I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work in The Secret World. Certainly the End of Days ARG event really sparked my interest and I’m really excited for this game going forward. I’m still pretty early in the game and am just working my way through the Scorched Desert, but every time I log on I keep thinking I need to make more time for this game! There seems to be lots of positives coming from the community and twitter about checking this game out with the subscription changes and I really think Funcom has done this change very well. Would it have been better to go this route from the start, possibly, but I don’t think anyone expected their CEO to be accused of insider trading when the game launched. The game was profitable while they had the subscription model, and I think making this transition will push them even further into the black. Remember, they had already scaled back their staff prior to putting out 3 months of content updates in a row. I’m expecting big things from Funcom and this game and while I don’t expect huge numbers I do think it will be quite a successful game.
For me the big distinction between LOTRO and TSW really comes down to how they’ve handled communications with their player base. I won’t hammer LOTRO too much, but even the mounted combat issue we’ve heard two completely different answers from Rowan about it. As for TSW, sure they’ve made mistakes, but they’ve also been VERY upfront about what’s going on and how they’re trying to fix things. Some might argue that they dropped the sub change on us without notice, but what would you have done with that notice? I mean they didn’t change the game it self one bit, they just changed how future DLC will be monetized in the game. The store and what’s in it were always there and they’ve had a good track record for providing new content. The other aspect I really commend them on is how they’ve handled the Lifetime members. Personally I never had an issue as I looked at it as getting the content included (like I should) and some extra points to buy cosmetics with. However, many people were not happy about it and voiced their opinions and actually provided some good ideas and suggestions. Based on requests, they’ve added the following (link for the source):
- Veteran reward system
- DLC Price guarantee for Subscribers and Lifetime members. The monthly DLC will never cost more then your monthly allotment of points, period. If they do release something that’s more, they will knock down the price for people.
- There will be a DLC auto-buy feature for those who want to use it.
All in all, great changes and an incredibly active and constructive thread from both the players and the Funcom team. I just don’t see that kind of interaction and transparency coming from Turbine, and while I’m sure there are other companies out there doing it, I haven’t been personally involved or impacted by them.
As for my third vice, it is Football Manager 2013 and those following me on Raptr have probably noticed that’s quite a constant game I’m playing. Not only do I really enjoy that game, but since it has a pause button I can easily let it run and not worrying about where my character was standing or anything like that. I’m currently in my third season with Everton and finding things going pretty smoothly so far. I did cheat a bit with the editor and moved Jack Rodwell back to Everton as I’d like to see what he can do as opposed to rotting on the Man City bench. I have very much over-achieved my first two years, more do to other teams failing then me doing well as United crumbled down the stretch to gift me the Premiere title my first year, and somehow all the strong teams lost to someone else in my run to the Champions League title in my second year. This third year has had its ups and downs, but I’m halfway through and looking pretty strong.
As we move into 2013 I will most likely be playing these 3 quite a bit as well as Mechwarrior Online. The only reason I’m not playing Mechwarrior is due to it still being in beta and just not wanting to burn out or waste too much time building up in there only to see it wiped. However, it is quite a fun game that I know I’ll be playing when it launches. Outside of that, I don’t see too many upcoming titles that are “must plays” for me, but hopefully that will change.
As for my plans for the year, I will still be writing and looking to keep things moving here as well as possibly doing more videos and/or a podcast. Both of those will heavily depend on what I end up doing, but certainly potentially in the cards. My coverage will probably mimic my playing time and start to shift more towards TSW and away from LOTRO, but that too may change based on how things all play out.
As I wrap up this post, I’ll toss two questions out to folks:
- Any game titles I should be looking out for and following?
- Any suggestions, complaints, requests, etc. for me going forward?
I just wanted to share a couple of sales for folks are these are two games I’m really enjoying.
The Secret World is 50% off this weekend at only $24.99 from this link off the main Funcom page. A pretty decent deal for a game that’s really hitting its stride with its third update since launch releasing earlier this week.
Also, for those of you (like me) anxiously awaiting the release of Football Manager 2013 we now have not only the release date (November 2nd) but also a couple of deals you can take advantage of. If you head over to one of the main story sites there’s a link to their distributer which they do get a bit of a kick-back for, and since I enjoy the site I’m more then happy to support them. They also are offering a coupon code that gives you 10% off an already reduced price. And finally, if you pre-order you can play the beta version of FM2013 2 weeks before launch! All saved games will carry over from the beta to the release client so you won’t lose any progress, but you will not be able to play network games. The math and discount codes seem a bit off for US customers (I believe the store is UK based) but it still is a pretty good deal at $37.99. Check out the link above for all the details and goodies, and they’ve updated the post a few times as questions have come in.
As many of you have probably noticed (it has been pretty darn obvious) I’ve been over-run by a series of real life circumstances. I’ve at least resolved two of those issues, although one resolution has created another potential issue.
First off, I’ve temporarily resolved an issue I’ve been having with my job. It isn’t a permanent one, but certainly much better then where I was previously. I won’t bore folks with details, if you care to find out feel free to contact me in private.
One side benefit of my job resolution was the purchase of a new gaming machine! After looking around and getting some nice helpful feedback from Twitter, I decided on an Asus laptop. I was a little time constrained so I couldn’t do as much online shopping as I would’ve liked but I think I got a pretty robust machine for around my budget of $1100. Again, if anyone’s curious I’m more then happy to chat more about it. After I’ve gone through and set up my machine (still a work in progress) I’ve been checking out various games and it is quite exciting to see games as they were actually built and not on the super low crappy graphics. As an example, one game I’m in beta for literally killed (forced shutdown) my previous laptop and I tried it briefly on mostly high level graphics to happily see it cruise right along. I’m really excited to play various games now that I can actually start to enjoy more of the visuals of the game and not just the mechanics (I’m looking at you LOTRO and TSW). I spent a good deal of last night just wandering around various zones checking things out
The downside of this post is that I still don’t have as much gaming time as I’d like and as such am still leaning towards single player games. However, the new experience I have with an actual real graphics card is pretty darn exciting and might really drive me to get back into MMOs again. I’m still playing TSW and will probably have a post up here soon as I have some thoughts on their various issues of late as I still REALLY enjoy that game and hope it can survive. As for LOTRO, I will also have another post up with regards to my take on things going forward, but to summarize I’m excited for Mounted Combat and for the upcoming story but very little else of Rohan is exciting me. In addition to those 2 posts, I’m also in the midst of writing up a couple of long overdue hardware reviews for some of the new MadCatz products – their MMO7 Mouse, the newly released Strike 7 Keyboard, and the FREQ 5 Headset.
As for what I’m actually playing, if you follow me on Raptr or Steam you’ve seen I’m mainly playing Football Manager 2012 (FM12) and Pro Cycling Manager 2012 (PCM12). They’re more or less the same kind of game but with different sports I’m actually getting back into PCM12 since the new laptop really handles it very well and the scenery of the races is just amazing. I enjoy not having the game stutter every few seconds and it really makes it important when you’re trying to launch that final sprint at just the right time. For anyone who’s interested in or has watched bike races, I highly recommend PCM as it is an enjoyable and potentially detailed experience. As for FM12 I’m quite addicted and have worked through a few different saves mainly using Everton as my team but I’ve dabbled a bit with Manchester City as they just signed one of my favorite players Jack Rodwell and I wanted to get a feel for them prior to the launch of the new game.
Speaking of the new game, I’m pretty impressed with what they’re doing with FM13 as many sports franchises more or less roll out the same game with just an updated set of players. From the various videos and postings I’ve seen, FM13 is essentially expanding and improving pretty much every system in the game. Not that FM12 was a bad game at all, but holy cow does FM13 provide all sorts of new toys to play with as well as options for those who don’t want to dive that far into the weeds. Of everything projected to launch this fall/winter, FM13 is certainly tops on my list! If you want a good summary of what’s new, check out this section of the FM Story site for more information and video diaries of the new features.
I’m slowly getting out of my funk, and hope to not only be gaming more but also writing more about it. I’m also kicking around ideas for a podcast of some sort, with the possibility of doing a video cast, but either way it would be more of a general gaming show and not one focused on any one game in particular.
Stay tuned for more updates…
I just wanted to put up a quick post to let folks know what’s been going on with me lately. Things are a little chaotic for me IRL and as such my gaming habits have changed quite a bit. For the most part I’ve been playing single-player games that have the benefit of a pause button such that I can deal with interruptions without a fear of dying So this post will just be a quick summary of what’s going on and hopefully soon I’ll get back to my MMOs of choice!
The majority of my single player gaming has revolved around 2 sports games, which I must admit have grabbed my attention more then I expected. The first game is Football Manager 2012 (available on Steam) which I’ve talked about before and I’m still really enjoying. I’m still primarily just managing Everton and my last save I ended up pretty much winning everything in my fifth year after some pretty close calls. One of the things I enjoy most about this game isn’t so much the actual games themselves but the player management and dealings. After a while, once you build a successful team it can become a little boring from that aspect and I usually end up restarting. With the start of the actual real life Premier League this past weekend I decided to start another game off with Everton as I get the most enjoyment out of those first couple of seasons. While some aspects aren’t 100% accurate every once in a while a story from the current news occurs in a VERY similar manner to what happened in one of my games which I always find pretty cool. I think I’m going to have some very hard decisions when FM13 is released as one of my favorite players (Jack Rodwell) is now playing for Manchester City. For whatever reason I just don’t find playing the bigger clubs as intriguing, but we shall see when it is launched.
The other single player game I’ve really gotten very deep into is Pro Cycling Manager 2012 (another one available on Steam) as the combination of the Tour de France and the Olympics have gotten me following cycling more then I have in a long while. Unlike soccer, I really know VERY little about the workings of professional cycling so there’s been a pretty steep learning curve on that aspect. Because of that I’m actually finding this game pretty darn challenging to actually do well in. I’ve started with a custom team revolving around the 3 big names from Team Sky (Wiggins, Froome, and Cavendish) as well as Phinney and TJ VanGarden from the US and a host of other Brits and Yanks to fill out my squad. But despite all the big names I have, I find it really hard to consistently do well – which of course is what drives me to continue to play the game! I’ve restarted probably at least 6 times as each time I get a certain way in and then realize some part of the game that I didn’t even know existed, or realized that the way I was racing was totally wrong.
Both of these games have similarities in the ability to micro-manage training and individual progression but with PCM you have much more control over the actual outcome of each event. The actual games in FM are much more like traditional simulations where you set things up and just let the computer figure out the outcome. Where PCM you have much more control over all aspects of the race, or at least you can choose to control those if you want. You can run it in more of a sim mode, but I like to actually do the races. Of all the career games I’ve played, these 2 seem to be amongst the best when it comes to individual and team progression. They’re not the most graphically or aesthetically pleasing (go play an EA game for pretty graphics) but the depth of these games is pretty amazing.
As for MMOs, I’m still “playing” both LOTRO and The Secret World. TSW probably has more draw for me right now, but I haven’t been playing that much as I really want to be able to take time and dive deep into that game. I’ve been VERY impressed with how well they’ve been able to not only maintain things but continue to push out new content. Even though the press is hammering them, I think TSW is one of those rare games that might have a larger community 6 months after launch then the first month of launch.
As for LOTRO, I really haven’t done much of anything in Middle-Earth lately. And that even includes the Rohan beta, which yes I am a part of but really haven’t done a whole lot of. I really want to be excited for Rohan and mounted combat but for some reason I’m just not. And maybe (I’m hoping) it is just because of everything else that’s going on such that once that’s resolved I’ll get back into a better grove. I haven’t seen anything that I haven’t liked as the region is absolutely gorgeous and everything I wanted Rohan to look like. Mounted combat is actually better then I had expected, although probably slightly worse then the Mount and Blade series (which I realize is a pretty darn high bar). I’m actually quite impressed that Turbine pushed back the launch date for Rohan as that’s something I’ve ripped them quite a bit for in the past with the various updates and expansions.
To wrap things up, I’m still gaming and hopefully should be back into MMOs here soon and am still quite available via email, skype, and twitter for those who want to chat or carry on via other means.
One last thing I want to toss out is that I am planning to support CSTM in their Child’s Play fundraiser this year and am looking for ideas of how my time could be used. The concept they’re introducing this year is to auction off people’s time such that the winner would get something, for instance Pineleaf has offered to run skirmishes with the winner (assuming server issues can be resolved). So I’m certainly open to run skirmishes or instances as can be arranged on Silverlode or just have a general skype/vent chat session to talk about the various classes I play or even other games if folks want. I may even try to convince a certain suicidal Minstrel to see if we can arrange for a “let’s see how much we can pull” session if someone’s interested in that kind of chaos Anyone else have any ideas or suggestions?