Camelot Unchained


I have quite a few VERY fond memories of Dark Ages of Camelot, so naturally when I heard there was a reboot in the making I was quite intrigued.  Although I will admit it wasn’t until VERY recently that I started to get excited about it.  I have tossed in my money and support for the game, so this is a bit of a selfish post in that I want the game to be made, but I think there are some very cool things they’re trying to do.  Granted, we saw with The Secret World, that doing cool things doesn’t always work out so well, but I think it is important that developers keep pushing the envelope.

So far the two biggest things they’ve announced that have just blown my mind are the housing system and stealth system.  Granted, these are both just conceptual at this time as we’re talking about a game that’s 2 years out, but still they have some pretty darn cool ideas.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, a little background on the game itself.  While it is probably not exactly true, I think you can look at this as DAOC with zero PvE content – so purely a 3 realm PvP MMO.  This alone is an interesting concept as you have to deal with growth, leveling, content, as well as keeping it all balanced.

So with that as a backdrop, the concept of housing becomes very interesting.  This smacks of what the housing system in Age of Conan was supposed to be and what you could do in Star Wars Galaxies, in that you could create your own fortress.  But they’ve taken this even one step further and are looking at implementing custom built housing such that you can design whatever you want on that plot of land.  If nothing else, I hope other companies take a page from this idea and give players more ways to customize the physical structure of the house, and not just what’s in it.  Now take that concept, and put it in a purely PvP game- and there are some really cool and fun possibilities there.  On their update section, you can check out a video explaining and showing off this system in more detail.

The other topic they talked about was stealth, which is always a tough one especially in PvP.  Again, in DAOC I was out in RvR quite frequently and I did have a ranger that I camped out with many a time.  So many of the advantages and issues the stealth class has I am quite aware of, but I also RvR’d with a Mage and a Warden, so I was often on the other side of things.  Needless to say, their concept of the Veil (I’m thinking “ring-vision” with Frodo from Lord of the Rings) accomplishes a couple of things.  I provides a way for people to do things in a stealthy way, but presents them with a trade-off and some pain for doing it.  The Veil itself is a living environment, so just like the Nazgul, bad things can find you in the Veil.  And the Veil gets pissed off if there are people too close together – so that will discourage pack stealth hunting.  Then with this system, toss in the concept of a Veil Hunter who actually hunts those who are playing in the Veil, and it just sounds pretty cool.  They do a much better job explaining this all and have a pretty in-depth video posted if you want to check it out.

These are just a couple of the concepts that have intrigued me but ones that are unique and outside of what I’ve seen from other games.  If you’re interested or just want to learn more about the game (and possibly chip in for the effort) head over to their Kickstarter page.  There’s only a few days left and they’re still a bit short of their goal so every pre-order helps!


Waking From my Food Coma


While not 100% the issue of why I’ve been quiet lately, certainly Thanksgiving has been a pretty big part of it.  Probably my favorite food holiday, with people coming over this year, we had to do a little more prep work to get ready for things.  Combine that with a needed time of relaxation and a couple things I’ll get to, I haven’t had the time or desire to write much.

Before I get into what else has been going on, I do have episodes recorded that I still need to get edited for both of my podcasts.  I also will be recording new episodes this week, as well as doing interviews with the developers of both.  So there should be a few new episodes coming out soon :)

One of the biggest issues I’ve been running into lately that I’m really struggling with is my computer is just really not working well at all.  I’m having pretty frequent times of frame rates measured in seconds per frame (even at the lowest quality), which is never a good metric.  Needless to say, I’m actively looking around for decent priced smaller (~15”) laptops if anyone has any good suggestions or recommendations.

I also did get a chance this weekend to check out The Old Republic, and it did exceed my expectations but also confirmed my plan for this game.  I played quite a bit (close to 10 hours I’d say) even with times of horrible performance and hit level 13 before the end of the event as well as checking out a couple other classes.  I really did enjoy the stories and appreciated how different the classes not only played but how their stories varied.  However, for me I’m still in a position that LOTRO is my main game (until April, maybe) and as such will be looking at SWTOR as potential after the New Year single player game.  Looking at it that way will help better curb many of my issues and concerns with the game, while still enjoying it and being in a better place in case Bioware does in fact prove me wrong.

I will do a longer post on my thoughts for SWTOR but I’m not going to focus on it too much as many are covering it much better then me.


Thinking Secret World Might Become my #2 MMO


I’ve been following this game for a while, and I have to say they’ve been doing a great job of giving me enough information to be curious and not too much that I’m oversaturated.  Granted, I have NO CLUE when this game will actually hit, but I’m seriously thinking this could be my next 2nd MMO, after LOTRO of course.  And depending on how it pans out, I could see it moving into that #1 slot for me personally.

Currently I’m off and on playing Rift as my #2, but I really haven’t had enough time to give it a fair shot.  I’m glad I did get the 6-month sub up front as I don’t feel that same sort of pressure to play and I do hop on periodically when I feel the itch to pop into Telara.  But for some reason, I just haven’t latched on to something with Rift and I’m not sure if I just haven’t played it long enough to get into it or if there’s something lacking for me.

I’ll also admit that I’m really not a Guild Wars fan and that’s not a fair assessment of the game, but it hasn’t been able to grab me.  Maybe GW2 will, but for now it really isn’t on my radar other then paying attention to others who are following it.

The other big game everyone (including me) has been talking about is of course The Old Republic.  I am excited for this game, but I’m not expecting anything more then a Star Wars themed Dragon Age.  And don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing at all, I will buy it and enjoy it, but I just don’t see it keeping me involved long term.  I do hope I’m wrong on this assessment but the more and more I see of it, the less I’m seeing co-op KOTOR.  Although I’m sure there will be chances to play with friends, I’m not sure there’s enough there for me to do that I couldn’t experience just playing solo and chatting on vent.

Which brings me back to the Secret World and there are 2 big things that are grabbing me:

  1. It is set in the current day real world
  2. Its lore is based on all the conspiracy theories, an MMO version of Dan Brown’s novels combined with Indiana Jones and Stargate.

Ok, point 2 might be stretching it a bit but for some reason I really enjoy that kind of stuff where people take another path to try and explain the un-explainable.  I was quite bummed when the Stargate MMO never got off the ground, and this could be that idea on a MUCH grander scale.  And of course, they could go horribly wrong with the story or implementation, but there’s quite a bit of substance there to work with.  Oh, and did I mention there are Zombies?

The other aspect that’s grabbing me for Secret World is the character creation and origin stories they’ve talked about.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be spending LOTS of time just trying out different combinations to see what happens before I finally decide on what I really want to do.

Maybe its just the unknown that’s attracting me, but this last Dev Interview on the World and Setting really got me pumped.  Take a look below if you haven’t seen it, and I’ll hit on my favorite points below the video.


  • The different areas look very cool and diverse
  • Combining mummies, zombies, vampires, etc. all into one realm
  • Not everything is “bad” – you can cut deals with various typically bad things like vampires.
  • Focus on story and social aspects
  • Kinda cool travel system, although not unique it is a cool way of explaining how you warp around the planet
  • Instances, raids, and PvP all look pretty slick
  • SO MANY options for attacking and defense its quite staggering
  • And that last scene so reminded me of the Shark attacking the plane viral video from last week ;)

What do you guys think, are you excited for Secret World, or not enough to knock one of the other big guys off their perch?


Star Wars: The Old Republic Pre-Order Dilemma


<Update> Thanks to @DragonTamerBrat for this press-release confirming the September beta weekends.  They’re still vague on the release date though just saying they’re targeting a Holiday 2011 release.  This still doesn’t sway me totally, but is nice to see confirmation of some of the rumors. <Update>

I’m sure you’ve all at least heard that pre-orders are open for SW:TOR and I’m also guessing many already have pre-ordered.  I also wanted to point out Syp’s post breaking down all the pre-order goodies as it really helped me figure out and understand what’s there.  And it was nice to find that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get some of them ;)

Now this comes at an interesting time as I’ve been trying to figure out how I feel about this game.  I’ve really cut back on how much I follow this game from the high-point when I was reading every official post and TOR fansites as well as all the podcasts in addition to writing about the game to now just getting my SW:TOR fix from the other bloggers that I follow.  Part of this was just purely being hyped-out and not being able to handle that much about a game that was so far out in terms of a release.  I also was soured by some of the revelations that TOR wasn’t going to be as game-changing as it was hyped to be.  For a long time, I was actually seriously planning on not playing this game at all based on that and some of my other issues with Bioware.

Just recently though I’ve had a bit of a change of heart, and it primarily came from watching the leaked Beta footage of the game.  What occurred to me was that TOR for me, feels more like KOTOR 3 with some additional DLC and potential for other awesomeness.  However, once I looked at it that way, I was no longer disappointed about anything as I loved the KOTOR series and could see paying a normal box fee and some time in a subscription that would essentially equal what I would’ve, and did for Dragon Age, paid for a good story based RPG with some added DLC.  Thinking about it that way, I don’t care about any of the other “downfalls” of SW:TOR and can look at it as fun solo RPG, as a worst case with the potential for it to be something more then that.

I’m now firmly back on the excitement train and am upping my investment in following the game as I’m trying to get prepared for when it finally hits.

But that brings me to my current problem in that as excited as I am by this new revelation, new for me at least, I have to decide if I really want to shell out for a pre-order on a game that still has a nebulous release date.  I know there’s speculation about September testing with a “holiday” release date but it just bothers me that they’re looking for people to loan them that money at least 3 months.  Not to mention I’m a little surprised by the $150 price tag for the collector’s edition as it seems a tad on the gouge side of things.  I guess I’m mainly just skeptical that TOR will launch “on-time” and I’m not sure I want to reward the hype machine with my money.

I don’t mind pre-ordering early and have done for just about every time for LOTRO, but I can’t think of a pre-order I’ve done or even one that I’ve seen without a release date.

I’m pretty sure I will be pre-ordering, but I’m more on the fence then I thought I would be and there’s a good chance I hold out for a while until there’s more solid release information.  Part of that is also based on the fact that I have no interest in the box Collector’s edition and don’t see them running out of the Digital one.  Certainly I expect them to stop offering it at some point, but there’s not quite the same cap on those.

What’re you all doing or can you offer any wise (or un-wise for that matter) advice?


Age of Conan Shakes Things Up


Two big announcements from Funcom with regards to its flagship MMO, Age of Conan – it is going Free to Play as well as shifting to Unrated.  You can check out the interview either on PCGamer or check out the announcement on the AoC forums.

Conan had already adopted a bit of a hybrid model with their extended trial such that you could play in the entire starter area for free for as long as you want.  Now many claim this still is the best part of the game and I think the sharp difference between Tortage and the rest of the game will always pose a significant problem for Conan going forward.  According to both the interview and post it seems like they’re pretty much selling anything and everything in the store so the skeptic in me has the concern about the “Pay to Win” idea.  Turbine has flirted with this quite a bit (and many feel have crossed it) but they at least started out much further away from the line then it appears Funcom is.  For me, these seems more like a last ditch effort to see if there is more money they can make off this title as the numbers for AoC have been very low of late.  People who want to try this game have had the opportunity for a long time now (at least a year) and that hasn’t boosted their numbers so I’m not sure that going F2P will benefit those numbers either.  However, this will help get more money from their existing base.  Don’t get me wrong, I like competition and want to see AoC do well but I’m just not sure this will help them as much as they need.  For those curious, check out the comparison between free and premium as well as the FAQ.  One thing that jumped out was that only 4 of the 12 classes are available for free.

The other move that I find actually more interesting is the switch from a Mature rated game to an Unrated game.  To me this seems like a stunt and a way to try and capitalize off the buzz for the upcoming movie.  I’m going to go out on a limb, but the new movie will be rated R, and not whatever the appropriate worse rating is (used to be NC-17) so why does Funcom feel the need to go up another notch?  Are MMO gamers really looking for more gore and sex?  AoC already pushes that line pretty far and it hasn’t really helped them – will going even further into a fringe market really bring extra revenue?  Maybe that will be a pay option ;)

I realize this comes off as a bit of a rant, but I’m just not sure I agree with this direction or that it will be good for the player base.  F2P seems to be the only way Funcom could grab more money from the title but the whole Unrated part just seems unnecessary.

I would be curious what AoC subscribers feel about this as I’m sure they have quite a different take on this then I do.

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