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586  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: So I just played TERA... with screenshots on: November 04, 2011, 07:44:35 PM
Nice screenshots.  What are your PC specs, Tenchi?

Despite Korean MMOs being botty and often grindfests, I am incredibly interested in playing this game.  The game is gorgeous looking and the RTS gameplay looks really fun.  I wonder why the game is taking so long to come out to America though.

btw, that divine portal, iirc, is a launching pad that takes you to other zones (like those slingshot things in ME2 =P).  They have an air taxi like wow that takes you to the portal which teleports you to the new area... i believe.

Thanks! My PC is pretty modest by today's standards. Quad Core 2.4Ghz, 6 GB DDR2 RAM, ATI 5750 with 1GB DDR2 RAM. I'm running with everything turned to max (I think) and I had zero hiccups. The game does have that annoying hi-res texture pop-in whenever you enter a new area. I don't know if the world is seamless, cause I'm pretty sure the starter area is zoned.

Yeah I read up on the content. The Awakenings patch this month added several more dungeons with a hard mode. It looks like there's a fair bit of 5 man dungeon play, but no large scale PVE stuff outside of their PVP Battlegrounds. The server vs server stuff looks pretty nutty with that floating continent being fought over.
587  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: So I just played TERA... with screenshots on: November 04, 2011, 07:37:09 PM
The costumes and gore got the game a M rating according to the official forums. Unlike most Korean mmos there is barely a grind and that is actually one of the reasons it didn't do that well in Korea. They blew through the levels and there was barely any endgame content. It was also one of the reasons the NA/EU launch was delayed. Have you tried any ranged classes with the controller?  I heard controllers work great for melee, ranged not so much.

Nah, I didn't have time to since I just finished the client install this morning when I got home from work (26 GB). Navigating the menus has been tough without the patch and alot of our western orientation for buttons is backwards. It does look like I can create multiple characters, so I'll check out the ranged and caster classes when I have some more time.
588  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / So I just played TERA... with screenshots. ***Bandwidth Intensive*** on: November 04, 2011, 11:18:54 AM
So, this week curiosity got the better of me (and a complete dearth of community play invites) and I got a hold of a Korean retail account for TERA. The game is slated for a NA/EU release in Spring 2012, and with so many high profile MMORPGs coming out before the end of the year, I figured now was a good time to check the game out to see if all the hype was really founded. Mind you, I don't understand Hangul, but there's a billion guides and screenshots from the now defunct english language beta patch. Anyway, my experience thus far in pictures...

This is my Castanic Female Warrior - the Unreal Engine really shows off these character models.

She has a range of standing animations, all of which is extremely fluid, even down to her finger articulation. Definitely motion capped.

Nothing like a nice tail, without, you know... the tail. As you can see, warriors are dual wielders.

Real Action Combat - and this is me playing with my 360 USB controller - it works, even navigating menus (right stick is the mouse pointer).

No skimping on the blood splatter. Wonder how the ESRB is going to handle this...

Some of the ruins found in the starter area. The attention to detail is amazing.

My fairy starter friend - I'm assuming its some kind of noob guide.

Some kind of divine portal. Though you can't see it by the screenshot, the entire thing is constantly moving, catching the sunlight on the metal and jewels embedded in the rings, it's breathtaking.

This massive tree/space ruin is in the middle of the starting island. Again, the entire fragmented core is constantly moving - orbiting the tree itself. The scope is massive.

Upon getting closer to the tree, I find that it's some kind of massive temple.

Here is a view from the top steps of this central temple overlooking the island, which is suspended in mid-air above a crater of waterfalls. Yes, those waterfalls in the back by the broken ships is actually moving. Get close to the edge and you can see and hear them spray into the void.

My impressions thus far are mixed. Visually, the game is stunning. Unreal Engine 3 + crazy Korean character design/art make a blissful mix. There's a bit of screen tearing in the really open areas, but noting V-Sync can't fix. The lighting effects are jaw dropping. Character animation is very fluid as well. Gameplay wise, it seems to follow the WoW formula for questing, though there's some really nice voice acted cutscenes in the game using the graphics engine. It was pretty easy to follow what to do for quests (mob kill ratio, icons, etc.) One nice aspect of quests is that it actually puts a quest marker next to your targets HP bars, so you know that these are the mobs you need to kill for this quest. The UI is pretty utilitarian. The minimap is completely moveable, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to resize or close it. Character equipment and skills are pretty much standard fare. There's side by side comparison between gear in inventory and gear that's equipped by using a single mouse over (shows you the calculated differences as well). So far, we have a very pretty game that's obviously taken a page out of the WoW questing playbook, but is pretty polished overall. The real joy of my experience had to be the combat. Starting out fresh the only abilities I had were a single basic attack combo and a forward flip that i'm assuming is a dodge. You also have a standard jump button as well. Playing with the controller, it was really like playing any other combo-based action game - even with the servers being located on the other side of the world, I noticed barely a hint of latency - it was like playing Monster Hunter at home. At first I just kept jamming on the combo button till stuff fell over, but then realized the enemies give you pretty big visual clues as to when they're rearing up attacks. When I started going after the higher level stuff, I found standing around hitting one button got me dead really quickly - so I started actually doding attacks, using my flip move to avoid some of the bigger charge moves - trying to maneuver to a blind spot where I could wail away at stuff. The entire process just felt great. The combat felt really natural for an action game, even with latency. Anyway, hopefully I can find an english guild before too long and check out some of the other content (once I figure out how to get off the island lol).

Anyway, right now, i'm VERY excited to see this game launch here. It emulates most of the concepts from WoW, but the combat is really where this game is going to capture its audience. It's fast, bloody good fun - and I can't remember the last time I actually felt an MMO was "fun."

589  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria on: November 03, 2011, 03:44:38 PM

Gah Dade! I almost choked on my soda laughing when I saw this. Hilarious!
590  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria on: October 28, 2011, 01:43:19 AM
BC was the bomb indeed! While I liked WotLK, it just went downhill from there. The pussifying of Magtheridon was the beginning of the end. I still think Kael' Thas was the coolest raid encounter ever. I miss you Draenor /tear
591  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria on: October 26, 2011, 10:45:40 AM
Gosh, this should have been the first expansion. Granted, I dig the art style, it fits very well with the graphics engine, but its hard to be really excited about it. Don't get me wrong, I think it would be refreshing to explore a new continent that hasn't really been exploited in Warcraft lore. I haven't played WoW seriously since WotLK, but this seems to be a step back in the thrill department. I'm not sure I buy the "catering to Asian audiences" bit, cause honestly, this can be seen as tremendously stereotypical to that ethnicity. Yeah, I know - Pandarans were asked for YEARS ago, but their own expansion?

My guess is that they're trying to cater to the younger crowd since their original demographic is aging and have bigger, more interesting games on the horizon. I really hope this new continent is as large, if not larger than Burning Crusade's was. Since the fundamental reboot of the original world in Cataclysm was pretty much a dud (critically, not commercially), they've really got to try something new, and this is about as far as a departure as you can get from how the game's themes were going. I'm sure it'll sell like Christmas crack in Times Square for the Warcraft Nation, but meh...
592  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy Type 0 on: October 26, 2011, 10:30:36 AM
Here's the intro video, all 10 minutes of it.

593  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!? on: October 21, 2011, 09:45:04 AM
I'm going to have to agree with Parn on this one, you really can't make an accurate comparison since both situations are vastly different. Also, the FF name doesn't hold as much weight as it once did, FFXIV was really the capstone to a franchise that was struggling with fans and industry alike. FFXIII sold very well, but was critically panned to the point where they're using FFXIII-2 as a springboard to save face over the major complaints with the first game. GW2 has an uphill climb because it's going to be a very different game than GW1, and not alot of people had much knowledge or interest in the game due to its predecessor.

SE's challenge is going to be transmuting an albatross into a swan. The cat is out of the bag, and while the PS3 market is untapped, the game is fucking kryptonite to potential subscribers. All the progress they've made with the game so far isn't going to convince the vast majority of players who have heard nothing but horror stories of its launch. Them announcing 2.0 with an emphasis of it being a NEW game was probably the smartest PR move they can do right now. If they can deliver on their documented outline and actually "rebrand" the game, people will flock to it. Most of the people who bought the game at launch are pretty stoked about 2.0, and that's a tough crowd to woo after being burned so badly.

ArenaNET has to get the GW2 name out there and sell the game to the public through media, TV spots, etc. Right now, people still don't know too much about the game, and outside of major conventions, there hasn't been any saturation of press coverage. They need to take a page out of RIFT's playbook. That game came out of nowhere, but it was advertised all over the damn place a month before launch and it sold like mad. They also push specials every month, with free weekends every couple months. They even have an update content schedule that is remarkably fast. I can't really comment about the quality of the game, but the marketing and PR management is fucking brilliant. ArenaNET needs to be aggressive with GW2 marketing and PR or they will fail, no matter how good their game is.

I do have a slight correction though. FFXIV did have a decent showing at retail during its first week of sales (~160K units worldwide) that plummeted RAPIDLY after the first month, and stayed down for a long time. What's surprising is that looking over the sales figure of the game, *if* VGchartz can be believed, the current worldwide total sales are over 500K now, with the strongest showing in NA after launch is having been since the introduction of the instanced raids. If they retain even 20% of that, they'll be on par with XI's current playerbase. From personal perspective, since the announcement of 2.0 I have seen ALOT of players coming back to the game. Time will tell if or when the honeymoon will end, because 13 months is an eternity in this industry.

On another note, a couple of really interesting topics have come up in the official forums that I thought would make a good topic of discussion here.

1) The general consensus is that it's too early to start subs in the game's improving, but still incomplete, state. Some people are suggesting a discounted rate till 2.0. Since Yoshida states the game is halfway where they want it to be, many feel that paying a reduced rate of $6-7 month would be a great way to retain subscribers and improve relations with their disenfranchised players. The other side of the coin is that others are stating going from a reduced rate to a full rate when 2.0 hits is going to create backlash and can delay the completion of their project even further. They believe that the potential increase in subs from a decreased rate wouldn't offset the loss of funds from a full-pay model. Then there are those who think people are cheap and will cry and moan since they've had it free for so long. Thoughts?

2) The general English player base can't stand the effeminate look of the male Mi'qote in the concept art. The popular poll has more masculine felines with manes akin to Rei from Breath of Fire:

or the Thundercats (sans spandex). We know how popular the bishy dudes are for the Japanese, but what are your thoughts?

594  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!? on: October 16, 2011, 02:17:10 AM
There's no way I'm falling in their trap. This image is clearly altered to look amazing and that is SE specialty,

It's a concept mockup and is clearly labelled as such in the source documents.  Though outside of the GUI all of those graphics assets are within the scope of the current engine. If it is Luminous Engine, it could look even better, since it can render photorealistic images.

I personally found FFXI to be as bad as it could get. Everything was hard to do, hard to figure out and took too long when you found out. FFXIV by the looks of it seemed way worse and if by "fixing it" is making it like XI I know I couldn't play a week of it.

Many people would disagree with you there. FFXI for many people was an amazing experience that has only gotten better with time. It's not without it's faults however. I'm sorry yet wasn't your cup of tea. FFXIV's problem is that it tried too hard to be different than XI without actually learning any lessons. Now the game has a community that wants it to be an evolution of XI with more modern concepts like WoW introduced to the genre, and I think most people are ok with that. Of course we now have an outline for evolution but it doesn't mean it's going to ge there. But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and that mockup speaks volumes.

I have my eyes on Guild Wars 2 since it can be played single or multiplayer, looks great, looks much more different than the WoW wannabe. Oh, and the best part, you buy the game and that's it. No subscription.

While GW2 looks great, the game carries all the same hallmarks of modern MMOs which were all influenced by WoW in one way or another. Even WoW took most of its design concepts from other games, it just put them all together in a form that was so polished for the genre that it became the gold standard. Pretty much every MMO out in the last 6 years or so have been solo friendly (another result of the WoW effect), so it's not a bonus, it's an expected feature. Even FFXI is now solo friendly, and XIV has been kinder to the solo player than the group player since launch.

Aside from the Guild Wars phenomenon, there are more P2P games going to F2P because they can't sustain a large enough userbase to warrant subscriptions, being F2P is not a boon. Up until this year, most F2P games were garbage. The vast majority still are cheap Korean grindfests with overpriced cash shops.

Honestly, some of your comments make me think you really don't have much MMO experience.
595  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!? on: October 14, 2011, 12:03:40 PM
I really think its going to be based on how many subs they can manage. I know alot of people have come back with this last patch, but nowhere near the numbers of launch. The timeline looks pretty ambitious to be sure. So far it's a tough sell for folks already due to their previous experiences. I'd be curious to see what their expected turnover rate is, because I can honestly say that most people who have continued to play from launch will probably sub over. The folks who didn't stick with it, even when it was free to play, won't be subbing anytime soon if at all. I'm not really sure everyone who came back for this patch will stick around unless content continues to come fast. I really hope they have a realistic expectation of subscription adoption, cause if its not, all the pretty spreadsheets aren't worth a hill 'o beans.

The plus side is if it really is Luminous Engine they're porting over to, it means the transfer of assets will be extremely scalable for PS3. The question is how much of these assets are new builds. Its easy to build from pre-existing content, but if they're planning all this original art, models, etc. even a 2 year span (Jan '11-Jan'13) is really pushing it on top of revamped mechanics, maps, etc. But who knows, I've heard their new engine is pretty boss and head and shoulders above Crystal Tools. If its a solid toolkit, turning out new assets and generating new ones may not be so time consuming. My biggest concern is them completely revamping their server structure. Don't get me wrong, its needed badly, but that kind of networking is stuff we see in Western MMOs and SE hasn't exactly showed expertise in that field. You can have the best art design, UI and gameplay in the world, but if people have connectivity issues, you're fucked. As it stands, we're still fighting latency.

Another concern/dissappoinment is the return to zone based maps. I find it really hard to believe they still can't accomplish a seamless world with high fidelity in this age. I'm sure they have their reasoning (which may be a limitation of the console) but its still disheartening. Plus, this whole thing is more than a year away. The industry expectation can change dramatically in that time. Granted, we don't really have much in the way of innovation in the new games on the horizon, but as WoW turned the genre on its ear, maybe there's something waiting in the wings that will upset the balance. As it stands, FFXIV 2.0 looks like a realization of what the game should have been at launch. Even if it manages that goal, by modern standards it's already dated by two years. It will be interesting to follow this as it develops.
596  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!? on: October 14, 2011, 10:21:04 AM
I think they're going to be porting this into Luminous Engine, since Crystal Tools was basically a complete flop. If so, that's a complete reworking of the game assets. Also the fact that the entire Pre-Umbral Era won't be playable again, means the current in-game storyline is being removed for 2.0. I have no clue why they would do something like that. I mean, it's interesting, but I have no clue how exactly that's going to work. Its basically saying that its going to be an entirely new game - which if that is the case, they may as well name it something else cause 2.0 isn't going to sway alot of the negative feelings people have about FFXIV. They need a new moniker for sure.
597  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!? on: October 14, 2011, 09:37:24 AM
I totally agree, but business is business. At the very least we have a roadmap that shows up where the money is going to. I for one, am ok with that. The game at its current phase is enjoyable for me. It's not quite where it should be for subs, but I really think its not that far off. I really think they are appealing to the FF faithful for this, but right now the game isn't a total waste for a sub.

Anyway, permit me to oogle once more. It's a graphics concept but HOT DAMN!

I highly suggest you guys check out the .pdf files he's attached at the end of the press release. It's eye-popping.
598  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!? on: October 14, 2011, 04:11:15 AM

Discuss. Flames and flame baiting to a minimum please.
599  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy XIV Journal on: October 10, 2011, 08:46:14 PM
Yup, the game is still in it's free to play mode. A buddy code will get you into the game, and keep you there till they start charging, which probably won't be anytime soon lol.
600  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy XIV Journal on: October 09, 2011, 10:30:52 AM
I dunno, there's alot more input lag with the controller as opposed to the keyboard, which seems to be virtually lagless. Its taking me some time to get used to it. My thoughts are that its slow on purpose so they can introduce haste and multi-hit weaponry at some point. You can now cast spells and use abilities without having to be in active mode too.
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