Friday, March 20, 2009

pick up the pieces of my yesterday-old thrill

I have been searching for this silly thing (and here's a link to a larger version) for eighteen months. It took that long to narrow in enough on the brand name to find it!

Apparently, it was directed by Spike Jonze for Sprite. Somehow, that just adds to the amusement.

(This has nothing to do with SL. Save for I've been talking to folks in SL about the frustration in finding it! Moving on.)

The Magic of Oz gold coin hunt is still going on; FallnAngel Design's Ostara hunt just started. We'll be setting up search parties soon; I'll post links when I can. The Magic of Oz hunt ends on the 22nd of March and is free to play (if you discount the incredible lag); the Falln hunt ends on March 23rd at precisely 3 AM PST (and don't think he's kidding on that; he means it) and is a hunt with ninety-nine eggs to find, all one Linden each.

Though if you don't think paying ninety-nine Linden for outfits you can normally acquire for five to six hundred Linden, and skins you can normally acquire in the 1500 Linden range, is more than fair--well, then by all means, don't come hunting. Because the rules are strict and Azriel is He Who Must Be Obeyed.

In other news, Runes of Magic is now live. Amazingly, while I fully expected it, like WoW and so many other MMORPGs before it, to go pay-for-play it remains free. Runewaker and Frogster are essentially expecting the game to pay for itself by selling a type of currency known as "diamonds" (and its more advanced stage, "rubies"--the cost and return of which, I believe, has not been fully worked out yet), which can be used to buy items in the Cash Shop, as well as make changes to the in-game avatars--things like, changing costume color (both primary and secondary tinting), hair color, skin color, and the like--in addition to making changes to weapons on occasion, and mounts (of which there are now at least three--horses, in various shades, ostriches, which are already termed "Chocobos" in world, and two types of "war tiger").

It is a surprisingly rich and varied world, with significant challenges, and, though some of us still believe they hit release too early, it's fairly functional for such a quick beta process (December 2008 to March 19, 2009). The only severe problem is in the end game, which they are still coding, and the reason it's a problem is they never expected to have avatars at level 50 already. (Some people really went all out testing the beta, fighting everything in sight, including each other.)

But for levels one to thirty, say, the game works, and even with constant questing, upgrading and slaying of monsters, it still takes a month, easy, to reach very high levels--of actual time, not just committing an hour here or there. So they're convinced--and I think they're mostly right--that more people will be ramping up from level one to level thirty, than are concentrating on the more problematic levels forty to fifty.

They'll have time. And I am quite sure they'll get the problem fixed and under control.

And I have to admit, for all the bitching that's gone on in the forums, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the Scout class is perhaps the single most varied and adaptable class in the entire game. Everyone says you have to play Mage/Priest now to be a power hitter, and I vehemently disagree. Scouts are the very essence of trained horse skirmishers without the horse--circling around the battle in the center, primed with various sorts of magical arrow attacks, as well as being able to wields one-handed swords and daggers in melee attacks. While their armor class is low (they can wear leather, and also cloth, if they want to go down that far), they're not intended to be the big brawny berserkers--we have Warriors for that, fully fueled and able to fight enraged. What they do they are excellent at--providing cover fire and staying mostly out of the way, while killing things on the edges and supporting other group kills.

(And, in case anyone thinks I'm showing favoritism for Scouts because of personal bias, my main avatar in Runes is a Priest/Knight--I love the Scout class, and my first post-beta character I pulled together was a Scout, working towards likely Mage, or again Priest--but it's just something I've watched, discussed with people, and observed at a distance.)

Which is where I think all the complaining comes in--people want to play Scouts that are able to take a hit of a level seventy Giant Rune Guardian (no lie, they exist, and they're the size of Texas, if Texas were really, really large, and had gears and a club longer than an Oldsmobile station wagon), and still be able to shoot afterwards.

This is patently psychotic.

I may be overstating the case. And to be fair, most of the vocal group of "Scout Haters" now are saying they shouldn't be "forced" to enter melee at all--that they should be happily sitting on a ridge, picking everything off in the meadow below, then go home for dark ale and the nearest handy wench.

Wait, let me retract that--while Runes is an eighteen-and-over game, there are no actual active bits--everyone has "modesty" layers (the men lack nipples, which I just find surreal, and wear leather loincloths, and the women, in a more bizarre turn, wear white cotton bras and panties), which yes, you do have the option to show to the world if you wish, but--really, now: why?

At any rate, it has an amazing variety of things to kill, places to go, people to meet and quests to complete. More than enough to keep anyone busy...until they get around to fixing the higher levels with something that will slay us all by thinking hard.

Check it out, if you want to. It's a neatly run world, and only a small portion of it is still in fractured English (Runewaker is a Korean gaming company, and Frogster hails from Germany, so the translations get highly amusing at times). I have quite enjoyed my time as a beta tester, and I'm definitely looking forward to what they come up with next in Taborea.


Rhianon Jameson said...

I realize this is one of those "your mileage may vary" sorts of comments, but I was growing old waiting for the thing to update itself every time I tried to log on. Moving from version, say, 1201 to 1218 required 18 complete updates...and not quick ones, either!

Emilly Orr said...

Oh, no, you're not wrong, that's the one thing that still baffles all of us.

Originally, it took me five hours to download the client. That's insane. And the client was still the original package, 1801--which I was updating at that point to 1816.

And client patches and updates load in slow--were it not that the game has its good points, that right there would be the death knell.

So believe me, we all understand your pain. I'm hoping eventually they find faster delivery servers, or are able to package the client better!