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Because it that time/day of the year when the world turns in to a great soppy mess, all heart-laden and mushy; developers start injecting some of this Hallmark day into games the world over. And Trion‘s RIFT: Stom Legion is no exception.
A hotfix applied to RIFT introduces Festival of Mariel-Taun, a celebration of love in Telara. I wrote a bit about their Valentines offerings last year, which I never committed to the blog as it was used for a submission for a job. However, it was suitable gooey with references to their in-game marriage system, purchasable in-game wedding attire, rings, the lot. This year there seems to be little deviation from the stomach-churningly sweet Valentines tie-ins, replete with love-based epidemic, take a look at this straight from the patch notes:
- Telarans everywhere are being smitten by the Love Bug, a completely harmless disease resulting in such symptoms as ‘butterflies in the tummy’.
- Those suffering from this joyful affliction are infectious, capable of transmitting the Love Bug to up to three additional Telarans.
- Just in time for the celebration, a new Dimension Item merchant has set up shop in Tempest Bay selling wedding-themed décor! This merchant is a permanent addition and its appearance – and items – are not limited to the duration of the Festival.
- You can remove the Love Bug effect from yourself by right-clicking the effect. While you have it, you cannot receive it again.
- After infecting 3 people with the Love Bug, you are immune to re-infection for an hour.
- The Love Bug will begin spreading among the player-base sometime on Thursday, February 14th in local server time, initially by the use of mysterious love letters sent to a random selection of active characters. Check your in-game mail to see if you have a delivery!
- For Newsletter subscribers, also check your newsletters for a code to obtain a selection of the new Wedding-themed Dimension items!
An in-game ‘disease’ is nothing new to MMO’s, though calling it the Love Bug does want to make me throw up a little, so at least they’re breaking ground with in-game diseases making people feel sick in meatspace, thanks Trion. You may notice that there’s also a really heavy emphasis on providing more useless, expensive items with which to bedeck your personal dimension just in case you’d always wanted to set up your own real-life wedding pavilion and could never afford to, but now you can in Rift! So that’s something I suppose. In slightly more useful Valentines related news, from Feb 13th to Feb 17th all editions of RIFT are on sale for 25% off which can be purchased here. Meaning if you’ve been wanting to try it out, buy it for someone else or upgrade from RIFT Lite, now is a great time to do it.
Other less loved up items in the hoxfix, along with the full patch notes, can be found here on their forums.
So, now it’s time for Round 2, Part Deux, The Sequel… Well actually, just the continuation of my MMO round-up for the coming year. You may have already read Part 1, if you haven’t what are you doing here, trying to skip to then end? It doesn’t work like that. Go read the first bit, read about awesome games, then come back here and read about more awesome games. If you already did your duty with the first instalment, let’s get on with the goodness.
A great many of my friends are in to RPGs, whether they be tabletop or video games but in recent years, possibly due to what I call the ‘World of Warcraft Effect’, more people have been taking interest in what MMOs are out there and if there are any that suit their gaming styles and more importantly, the spec of their computer. Accessibility has been key to the success of things like WoW, in both learning-curve and owning a PC or laptop that will run the game without having to spend a fortune on top-of-the-line equipment. Let’s forget subscription and Free-to-Play for a while, because I genuinely don’t think that it’s as an important factor as everyone makes it out to be when it comes down to finding a game we really like the look and sound of. If we like it, we can afford it and it’s worth it, we’ll pay for it, it’s pretty simple.
The world of MMOs in 2013 is lining up to be pretty varied with it’s offerings, but let’s take a look at some of my main ‘ones to watch. Take a look at my picks after the jump:
The Roguelike, as a genre has been around for years with many games placed in it’s ranks, but 2012 has seen a resurgence of rogue-like traits in some of what have turned out to be some of the most popular games of the year. When I say ‘unforgiving’ it may sound a little odd, as quite a lot of games can be unforgiving in many different ways. I mean, Bayonetta (2010) was pretty unforgiving towards two of my Xbox controllers (the X and A buttons are dead) and my fiancée’s thumbs didn’t fair too well either. Quicktime events are hardly a good or fair example of the level of cruelty games mechanics are potentially capable of, because they’re reactionary button-mashing with little skill involved other than trying not to blink in case you miss one. It seems to me that in 2012 developers realised that Quicktime events made people frustrated and pushed a detachment from game they wanted people to play, they realised that if they wanted to make things truly difficult they had to make people care a bit more. Level randomization, permanent death and a slightly sadistic and repetitive nature; are some of the big driving elements of many of last years unlikely hits.
After watching that video, you might be right in thinking that this is a pretty unusual move from THQ and the people at Humble Bundle HQ. Firstly, THQ despite their recent troubles (called losing their CFO and being $50 million in the hole) are considered to be a pretty big publisher pushing triple-A titles, so it’s a bit of a shock to see the usually indie-centric Humble Bundle go mainstream. Secondly, you may have noticed that this particular bundle is only available for Windows and is only redeemable through Steam. It’s kind of hard to miss the giant red banner at the top of the page with a Windows logo and warning of the new requirement, this is another interesting move from the Humble Bundle team, as it’s the first signs of DRM being imposed on a bundle.
Odd new directions aside, it’s still all about helping awesome charities and getting some kick ass games for as much as you want to pay for them. Though obviously you should be paying loads because it’s Child’s Play and the American Red Cross that stand to gain from our infinite thirst for video games, right? However, for the sake of fairness let’s take a look at what you can get for your donations right now:
As it stands right now, for potentially just $1 (but you should be giving more, because it’s for lovely charities) you get: Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor; you also get a selection of soundtracks with the games you purchase. Also right now if you pay over the average donation, which is currently just under $6, you get a copy of Saints Row: The Third, along with it’s soundtrack. So, when it comes down to it the whole bundle is worth almost £92 in total, not including the soundtracks which all in all is a massive bargain even if you pay a fraction of the current total cost to buy, you can give it all to a good cause.
Is there anything better than altruistic gaming at this time of the year? Maybe, but I’m hard pushed to think of a better way for gamers to donate, because it’s doing what we do best and helping others at the same time. Win.
By now you’ll know all about the shiny new content that The Lost Shores update has brought with it the Fractals of the Mist dungeon, the Temple of the Storm PvP map, the introduction of the Consortium and the new Ascended tier items, which have been received with mixed feelings from the player base. But what I want to talk about the weekend event surrounding this new content.
We were promised an event spanning three days the likes of which we’ve never seen before, an experience not to be missed, a bold statement of “A one-time weekend-long event that permanently changes the world in some places”. I was pretty enthused by the talk coming from ArenaNet, they had managed to pull off their week-long Halloween offering relatively successfully last month, what hiccups they had we’re more or less smoothed out in a timely fashion. I had high hopes for what was coming. I made sure that I was free for the evening of the 16th so I could participate and check everything out; my guildmates were all pretty excited about the event too, we started to try and organize groups of us who were interested, which was were the first sign of trouble showed up. Lion’s Arch on our server was full, if you weren’t in the main instance you weren’t getting in any time soon because the entirety of the server population had turned up for the start of event. I stood in Lion’s court for a good hour before the event and found that only two of my guildmates had managed to get through and that my client could only manage showing me a quarter (if that) of the players amassed there. Guild chat was full of people in parties who couldn’t join each other, scattered across at least 3 or 4 different overflows and main Lion’s Arch.
They came from beneath the waves—the karka, a monstrous new species bent on destruction!
Around the advertised start time the Guild Wars Twitter feed suggested that we might want to relocate, for a better view. Queue hundreds of players, most of which were invisible, making their way to the area near where the Consortium have conveniently decided to set up shop. A mass cut-scene surprises us all and gives us our first good glimpse of the new terror we’re tasked to face, the Karka. With the cut-scene over, an event started and several massive Karka appear all around, along with many veteran ‘Young Karka’ in tow; the player-base explodes into action and with it the most horrific lag I have ever experienced in a game. Mobs were teleporting around, I was teleporting, my skills queued and did nothing… It was chaos. One minute I’d be on full health, looking like I was doing pretty well against the tide of armoured crab-beasts, the next I was dead and being revived by some kind soul I couldn’t even see. There was no conceivable way you could keep track of anything or anyone reliably, my computer graphically was fine as it’s relatively well kitted-out, but I could see that others weren’t faring so well with reports coming in of people’s laptops over-heating amongst the ensuing mess. The only thing I or anyone else I know could approximate Phase 1 to was the opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj in World of Warcraft in 2006, it was unmitigated chaos just like this. Eventually amongst trying to turn in samples to a struggling NPC, battling teleporting Karka and dying a lot, the event eventually either succeeded or failed. Whichever outcome you got, the net result seemed to be basically the same, the Karka gets miffed and breaks the lighthouse out of spite and swims or scuttles away… And that’s it. Okay, that’s not strictly true, a couple of what we’ll call scavenger hunt quest’s from a couple of NPC’s (Inspector Ellen Kiel & Miyani) become available and a donation system appears (Again, gathering war supplies for Gates of Ahn’Qiraj anyone?). The “Invasion of Lion’s Arch” leaves me feeling a bit cheated out of an hour of my time so far, it hasn’t felt epic or unmissable, in fact I missed most of it due to an overloaded server.