Monday, 17 October 2011

What to play, what to play?

Like most of the bloggers I regularly read the last few months have seen something of a lull. The year started with Cataclysm which lured most of us back for a look. Rift was fun for a bit then palled. Since then it's been awfully quiet in MMOland.

Over the last couple of months I've played WoW, Eve, Titan Quest, Diablo 2 and Everquest 2.

I invested £9 in a month of WoW in anticipation of the LFR. I actually thought it was coming sooner than it really is. It seems unlikely it will be here before mid-November now as it's on the Public Test Realm and there's still a lot of work to be done.

So I pootled around with other characters, mostly doing PvE with the LFD system. I leveled a Warlock to 40. I liked the Goblin starter area, it has a lot of charm. Even so my tolerance for Kill Ten Rats quests is at an all time low. Even though the quests are now miles more varied and interesting than before I get fed up very quickly, I was struggling to stay interested till level 15 (which is achieved in a ludicrously short time). I think that's me, not WoW. After a decade of excessive MMO questing I'm just about quested out for this lifetime.

The low level dungeons were great fun and the queue time was incredibly short. We're talking 2-5 minutes wait as a dps. I played with a level 1-40, a level 35-44, 80-82 and a level 85 and in each case dps wait is really low. So much better than Rift where it was possible to queue for 5 hours without a group happening.

I tried tanking and burned out after about a dozen. The problem was that many in the WoW community are very rigid about how things should be done. My view is that if I'm tanking, I'm driving the bus and other people should just follow me. Unfortunately this seems to be everyone else's view too so you get shouted at for going the wrong way after picking Option B of two equally valid options. I followed up my game experiences by reading the forums and it's clear that tanks are expected to be "thick-skinned" and that screaming at the tank is normal, in much the same way that one might curse a jam jar lid that is reluctant to come off. OK, fair enough, I don't want to be anyone's jam jar lid. Dps on the other hand is more laid back than ever and the game actually plays like Diablo 2. Race to the monsters, unload with everything, grab what sparkles, race to the next lot. Occasionally the train falls off the track but while it's on the rails it's a lot of fun.

Unfortunately it becomes less fun at higher levels. The higher you go the more stressed people are, the more particular the monsters are. "Did you stand there to kill me, no no no, sorry, I absolutely refuse to be killed unless you stand 2 inches to your left." I did a ZulGurub with my 85 Death Knight and people were most put out they couldn't votekick me. I played just about every boss wrong and it didn't matter until the last one where we wiped after I didn't realise you have to stand under some domes. We got him at the second attempt though. It was a little unpleasant to feel my dps was terrible. Apparently 14k dps is borderline these days and I was doing 7k. Oddly the standards players impose have no relation to whether they are winning or losing. One shotting every boss is not enough these days, people expect specific metrics.

So that's WoW. I may have another month at some point next year when short of interesting games, sadly it's very low on my ranking of fun games (and not really more fun for me than EQ2 or Lotro, it's just the very short wait times for LFD make it a solid option).

Eve I play in a very passive way. I really like the routine of training skills and doing PI and market orders. Occasionally I'll have a burst of pvp enthusiasm. The issue I have with Eve pvp is that I'll inevitably get ordered to fly a ship I haven't trained and people will get pissy about low participation. It's annoying to be bollocked for not showing up in a Zealot when I can't fly a Zealot (nor can half the corp). Still Eve is a great second game as you feel like you're progressing along nicely even when you're not really playing it.

EQ2 has liberalised its gathering via a new AA tree. Historically rares really have been rare, there's now a AA skill you can take that gives +1% chance per harvest to find one. One per cent more when previously you were at 0.001% (or that's what it felt like) is awesome and I've been hoovering up resources to level up my stable of crafters. This I found surprisingly addictive. I probably did about 150 levels of crafter in September across several characters. There's also a LFD system imminent which I'm looking forward to trying after my WoW month runs out.

Diablo 2 and Titan Quest I've played in order to fend off my Diablo 3 angst. I stopped playing D2 for a bit as they're resetting the Ladder on 25th October and a new Ladder season is quite exciting. Titan Quest is a very fun and very Diablo 2-like game set in Ancient Greece. It's actually a little difficult. There are 3 difficulty settings and I'm on the easiest and getting absolutely mauled at about level 5. I've rolled up a different class however and that's probably the best way forward. I had a brief dip into multiplayer and the first mob I met utterly murdered my level 1 character, I think I'll stick to single player for the time being.

So that's it for me for now. The next few weeks hold WoW, TitanQuest and Eve. That's a 2004 game, a 2006 game and a 2003 game. Let's hope there's some gems in all the exciting unreleased games we're currently reading hype for.

Otherwise I'll probably be reduced to Facebook.


  1. Very interesting that you liked dpsing in LFDs in WoW. I think that's the most boring and later annoying activity of all. Healing can be very interesting, albeit thankless, and tanking is full of action, but becomes stale, because it's always the same with every group 1-84. But dpsing is the worst, in my experience.

    And if you don't like the people you tank for, just quit after the next boss (to avoid the penalty).

  2. I'm currently literary loving Titan Quest. Normal difficulty, level 16 so far. I don't find it hard, to be honest. I am sporting a warrior-hunter combo and it's a blast. Some bosses can be nasty but using the ranged damage I rarely get stuck.

    This game is impressive, it's so sad the developers "disbanded". It's worth every cent.

    Did you get the expansion and the unofficial patch too?

  3. @ Nils ah ok good to hear. Obviously there must be people enjoying tanking and healing, I'm possibly unusually affected by angry comments from team mates.

    Bailing is an option I guess but I got used to sticking with my groups in the days when bailing really hurt people's experience.

    As for dpsing being boring it's only boring for me when the game is slow and no one pulls slowly these days.

    @ Loque yes I've started a ranged guy now. I got Titan Quest and the Expansion for £6.66 on a Steam special offer. I don't know if it came with an unofficial patch I'll have a look for that.

  4. @ Stabs

    Unofficial patch:

    Arial font:

    Large font (yay!)

  5. I played Hunter-Storm in TQ, and I killed almost everything before it got to even bother me. Bosses I could usually kite. It started out a little slow, but the Hunter's ranged damage without mana cost is killer, and the Storm weapon enchants were icing on the cake.

    Then again, I'm not a fan of melee. Perhaps I lucked into a powerful niche in TQ because it happened to be the niche I usually look for; ranged nonmagic.

  6. @ Teh

    Hunter-Storm looks fun... Hmmm. Can I start a fresh toon and play it in Epic mode? Or do new toons always need to run Normal first.

  7. "it's clear that tanks are expected to be "thick-skinned" and that screaming at the tank is normal"
    How times have changed. I remember when tanks were usually group lead and could kick unruly members. Maybe it's karma from too many years of us being jerks to the lowly DPS. :)

  8. I have to admit, besides spending time on making Diablo 3 speculation lists (btw stabs I'm interested what you think of those 51 tips), I have actually started playing other games on my IPhone. Those are the only things it seems that I have time to play, and I am currently enjoying "The Quest". Fun RPG with a lot of customization through enchanting of gear.

  9. On queue time for Rift, it's been cross-shards (servers)for a couple of weeks now and this gets the queue time to almost nil. The LFG tool does a good job and you can get in under 2 min usually, when its not instant.

  10. I know this is a long shot but if anyone still maintains this website and plays Titan Quest, do you still have the huge font on your computer?

    I've never played Titan Quest until now, 2013 and I have to say I love this game but only just got into it and the font is terrible, it's sooooooo small. I need a bigger font. Pleasssse someone save me! lol

    If by the off chance anyone sees this, please email me the large font file here: - Thank you so much to anyone who still has a working link to it or can send it to me via email :)

  11. Hi Kevin!

    May I suggest to switch to Path Of Exile? It's better than Titan Quest in many ways and it's free. Download the client and you're done. Very well done, give it a try.