Thursday, May 16, 2013

With School out til August, its time to start back adding a few posts.  I've kept up with my game play as I could and want to talk about a few patches that have been released for various games.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
 We're currently at patch 2.1a which means we have the Rise of the Hutt Cartel in place, and the Cathar, Dye Packs, and Character Customization vendor operational.  These additions are great, though some of the fundamental flaws in the game are yet to be addressed, especially those created by the Cartel Market.

One of these flaws are the +41 stat Color Crystals that were introduced.  With a level restriction of 10 on them it lets players power through content, and while I will say I enjoy the boost in health from having (2) +41 Endurance crystals equipped, I'm finding that I manage to progress well beyond the level range of a quest.  For example, I'll have a lvl 33 character on lvl 37 missions, unable to defeat the final boss, and will have blown through all the side missions available.  This is partly my fault for not picking up all the "Bonus" missions that pop up, but the easy I cut through mobs makes the grind even grindier if that's a word.....

Ultima Online
 Publish 81 is out, and nothing has really changed for me, while it is possible to create new suits, taking advantage of the revamp of armor and weapons, my old gear I've spent years acquiring and crafting suits me and my play style just fine.  At the end of the day hardly any of the new content is doing anything for me.

Speaking of new content, should the developers be overhauling the "Legacy" Dungeons?  You know the one's tied to the Virtues: Despise, Destard, Shame, Covetous, Hythloth, and Deciet.  I'm not so sure.  Now bear with me, it's a long shot but if they every do find a way to make this game relevant in the MMO world again, which it is only in terms of nostalgia,  and attract new players where are they going to cut their teeth at?  All the dungeons we, long time players, used to hone our skills, build our toons, and pad that initially empty bank box are being slowly but surely overhauled. 

I have a theory, and I'm not expecting it to be confirmed, but I have a feeling with the down sizing, EA is pointing UO in the direction of maintenance mode.  No aspersions for new players are on the corporate horizons, and no investment to obtain them.  Let's do the math....

  1. Overhaul of Dungeons to add difficulty to them
  2. Overhaul of Weapon and Armor Systems
  3. Migration to Cloud Servers which automatically scale to demand
  4. For the first time I can recall a Major Crusade against in game Bugs.
  5. EA's Phone Support does not Cover Ultima Online  
I'm not all doom and gloom, I'm perfectly willing to accept the future of the game if I'm right or wrong, but with the small development team, and the major changes and directions that have been going on the past year its not hard to have thoughts like this creep in.

This title will probably get the worst "Update" review which is sad since 2 months ago I was raving about this game..

The folks over at Red5 are making the same mistake almost every other MMO that separates PvP and PvE into separate spheres does.  They are letting balancing one side dictate balancing on both ends.  The end result so far is some of the Battleframes becoming practically worthless in PvE, and yes I'm talking about the Tier II Recon frames.  Simplicity in house should never, ever, jeopardize quality and this new direction does this and so much more.

Recon fans weren't the only one's hit, most the battleframes were designed and lost some of their best or most beloved abilities.  Add in more diverse and intelligent AI on the enemies, as well as completely revamped thumping and it feels like a completely different game.  It went from one that felt close to being ready for the next BETA phase to a game that honestly should still be in early beta cycles. 

It wasn't only battleframes themselves that were shipped off the intuitive course, but so was frame progression, and crafting.  Now both feel clumsy, un-intuitive, and frustrating, especially since the resources for crafting have changed so much from earlier.  Progression now requires medals earned in addition to XP, which grinds progression down to a slow painful grindfest.   Red5, you guys are better than this, please go un-fuck yourselves.


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