Monday, November 12, 2012

MMOnday Madness: SWTOR F2P, Elder Scrolls Online, dead internet tales, and more!

Still chillin', didn't watch any movies this weekend, hardly got any gaming in either (a short run in Gears of War with a friend who is a bit behind the times; and the Saturday evening AD&D 1E retro game, about which I'll talk more another day) and other than that my kid is rapidly polymorphing from a baby into a sprinting, climbing, insatiably curious little daredevil. Marcus is learning new stuff every day, his favorite thing his hanging with dad and doing stuff, and so like 90% of my weekends are spent trying to keep up with him. Whew!

Still, eventually he goes to sleep and then dad gets a little game time in. So this weekend in the MMO world I noticed the following fun bits:

First, Star Wars: The Old Republic is going free to play Thursday the 15th. This is a good thing, I guess! There's going to be a cash shop (and a positive overview on it can be found at the Imperial Intelligence report). It sounds like the cash shop is taking a few hints from the Mass Effect 3 supply pack shop, which gives you mixed random bundles of loot, and the cost goes up proportionate to how many uncommons or rares you are guaranteed. Although I am eternally annoyed at the ME3 shop because I dislike the randomness, it still lets you buy them with in-game currency, so I tolerate it and enjoy the "surprise package" nature of it. I wonder if SWTOR will let you buy random packs with in-game currency...?

Either way, I plan to resume playing SWTOR on Thursday. I didn't really want to stop playing the game, if only because I'd like to see how the spiritual KOTOR 3 successor concludes in some of the storylines. For me, SWTOR was a great single-player game with multi-player options and a monthly fee. If I'd been able to wrap up a storyline or two in a month or three at the most, I'd have been content. As it is, I've got a long way to go. Hopefully I can find a speeder bike or something in-game soon, because running around Coruscant was getting very, very tiring.

On other news, Bethesda's looming Elder Scrolls Online now has some detailed videos on its development available for viewing. I have to say, it looks pretty nice, and I'm kind of excited to see it. I imagine someone who's been drinking from the MMO kool-aid for far longer than I might be a bit jaded at ESO, but as I only occasionally drink deep from said kool-aid (i.e. this last six weeks or so with Rift), I think I'll be ready to check it out when it arrives next year...hopefully.

Sunday night the internet went down and forced my wife and I to consider the realm of single-player offline gaming again. It's always amusing when this happens (amusing being pirated by "annoying and painful" in this case) because you get to see what games do and don't work when the internet dies. Some choice bits I noticed, when trying out games linked to Steam, Origin and others:

Steam's Offline Mode: it worked this time; it hasn't always in the past. However, a number of games still wouldn't work, namely those which still required another agency to authenticate activation (Fallout 3 thanks to GFWL and Max Payne 3 thanks to Rockstar's Online Pass, I guess). However, all the other Bethesda title which were Steam-only without another authenticator worked fine (Skyrim, Fallout New Vegas, Hunted: The Demon's Forge, Wolfenstein, Rage and Doom 3 BFG Edition). Thanks Bethesda, you get a gold star!

Origin: For some reason I have Kingdoms of Amalur linked through Origin (must have been a sale). As such it, along with all other Origin-linked titles freak out when you can't log on online, removing access to DLC and also preventing you from starting save games that depend on said DLC. This remains bizarre and concerning as always, and is one of the reaons I will continue to only use Origin in those cases where I absolutely have no choice.

GFWL: as usual if you don't have internet access GFWL has a heart attack and limits or shuts off access to titles and saves linked to this "service."

All the Cool DRM-Free Games on Gamersgate and GOG: Of course, pretty much any game that I purchase through, say, GOG and Gamersgate with DRM-free or one-time activation requirements worked just fine.

Ubisoft: I recently gave up on Ubisoft and deleted everything related to it on my PC, chiefly under the expectation that I lack the fortitude and determination necessary to plow through three Assassin's Creed II games to get the story to the point where I can see AC III, which in turn is getting reviews that suggest it's probably a bit weaker than I was expecting, not to mention I don't look forward to watching Ubisoft spend the next two years milking this iteration of the franchise. I like the AC storyline, plan to buy the books instead.

Luckily, the internet was back up this morning. Disaster averted! Just in time for Rift: Storm Legion to hit...tomorrow!

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