Category Archives: News and Updates
Ok, I have some serious catching up to do, as I haven’t done an official one of these in a while, mostly because of the complaints I was receiving for doing something I’ve been doing since this site’s inception. Let’s get the old, OLD stuff out of the way, quickly.
- Episode 39: SMITE
I love SMITE, even if I don’t get to play it all that often. I fully understand why someone wouldn’t like it, if they’re more used to something like DOTA 2 or League of Legends. HOWEVER, I do have words for the insipid behavior and attitudes of the MOBA crowd but that rant will be rekindled in time.
- Episode 40: Age of Conan
While I respect what Funcom was trying to do here, and though I did find the shield defense system interesting for a point-and-click system, I didn’t really have my interest held. I’m honestly quite glad I didn’t buy this game when it was new, or I would have been right back with Argent Exodus and looking shamefully upon the abandoned title on our hard drive, wondering exactly why we left WoW for it in the first place. I deleted this as soon as the video was over.
- Episode 41: Hawken
It’s a fun “play for a while” but I fully get why people don’t dig the aesthetic. It’s really, REALLY depressing. I’m glad that the MWO vs. Hawken crowd seems to have died off though, with both sides understanding that their games aren’t even remotely similar beyond the mech-combat angle.
- Sidequest: World of Warplanes
Did you hear about this game called War Thunder? I’m not sure of you heard of it considering it was pretty hard to miss with nearly every comment on all three platforms I posted this video on telling me about it. Again, this boils down to the ever baffling aspect of internet communities: Call someone out for comparing one title to another, IMMEDIATELY compare one title to another when no comparison was made. Sweet lord, make up your minds. I’ve played and messed with War Thunder a bit, and while I’ll admit it’s got a lot more going for it, the fervor is seriously putting me off on looking at it right now.
Ok, now on to the more involved discussion of more relative and spoken about titles…
For those of you not in the know, I am rather enthralled by Age of Wushu. If you haven’t seen the review yet, feel free to check it out and see just how crazy the game can get. If you were or are convinced to give the game a shot, I have some codes to provide for you from Snail Games themselves. While I do have a LOT of codes to provide, they are in limited supply, so get them while you can.
In order to obtain these codes, fill out the following questions and send them to my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will reply with your code, and instructions on how redeem them. These codes are for the “Searing Viper Gift Pack” so if you’ve redeemed any sort of giveaway codes from Age of Wushu before, you may not be able to use these codes. Fair Warning.
- Character Name in Age of Wushu
- Server in Age of Wushu
- School or intended School in Age of Wushu
- Are you interesting in joining the MMO Grinder guild?
While your answers to these questions will not effect whether or not I will grant you the codes, it’s really so I can be sure you are capable of paying attention to directions, as this game and the code redemption process isn’t exactly forgiving to those who aren’t. Again, to recieve your code, please send the question answers to email@example.com and use the subject “WUSHU” so I know why you are emailing me. (This also applies to those who would, for whatever reason, get sent to my spam filter. I will reply to you with the instructions and the content of the pack, as well as the code. These codes only work ONCE so if you try mailing me for several codes on only one of your characters, you’re SOL.
Guild info for Age of Wushu is as follows:
- Server: BlackTortoise
- Guild Name: Grindstone
- Guild Leader: Xanthier (Me)
- Vice Leaders: Maolai and DoctorKen
You can apply to the guild via the Guild Administrator NPC in many towns and schools. Keep in mind you might need to be a certain level before the game will let you join. Hope to see you in game! (When I get a chance to play, that is.)
Ever since my April Fool’s video I’ve been getting a lot of requests, be in here, on Twitter, or wherever to actually do a full episode FRSRS on this game… and… well. Yeah. While I’m perfectly capable of doing just that, as it fits all the criteria is hell of a lot more of an MMO than a lot of the fare I review on this show, the reason I don’t is simply because… You know exactly what this game is like. You watched the video? You saw an ad or a trailer somewhere? Yes. It’s exactly what you think it is.
Still it seems that’s not entirely good enough, so in its stead, I’ll go into a bit more depth about the game and how I feel about, this time without the backhanded compliments and snarky subtext.
Hoo boy. Geez… you just never know how things are going to turn out, do ya?
I was originally going to do this as an OWU, but I have far delayed this beyond being able to call this an Off-Week. However, as much as I DON’T want to reopen this can of worms, I will address a few of the most common criticisms of what I’d said.
- “You hated this game, so you were unfair to it!”
Oh. This WAS me being fair. Those who attended my stream, or hell, even read what I’d written on this very site a few times know just how much I really despise TERA. Regardless I could have been much MUCH harsher to this game, but I reeled back every time I felt something was unquestionably my distaste and not being an objective representation of the game. I personally find the combat to be painfully overrated, the graphics to be “pretty for the sake of pretty”, lacking completely in immersion and substance. I’m not just including this because of a certain commenter that seems to have at least backed off from trying to infiltrate my filters, as it was a fairly common observation. However, I can’t help but wonder… had I not openly stated my distaste for this game, would everyone still think I was being unfair, and taking every standard observation and critique as a damnation of this game?
- “Playing an Elin doesn’t make me a pedo!”
I never said it did. This was probably the moment that most baffling got taken out of context. This whole part was a mere observation of the most common criticism of TERA, as well as addressing the controversy behind it. I fully understand there are players of the game, usually female players, who like the Elin because they are a “cute and girly” race that still can kick ass with giant axes and swords. It’s a fun juxtaposition, and no different from the players of WoW who wanted to play as Female Gnomes for the same reason. However, there’s another audience out there who aren’t interested in them for that. There’s a reason they’re wearing bikini bottom thongs in Korea, and despite why YOU play an Elin, there are many MANY others playing them for an entirely different reason. Those crying censorship over them being placed in (very short) shorts I can’t help but feel shouldn’t concern themselves with their avatar’s crotch, “fashion faux-pas” or not. Trust me, most of those in an uproar were NOT concerned about the “fashion choice”. Also the last sentence of the rant was meant for those people, not for people who roll Elin in general. They’re the ones trying to excuse their behavior with logic detours, like “But they’re really thousands of years old!” That does not make an avatar designed to look like an 8 year old OK to dress up in revealing clothing, and no amount of stupid arguments I have received, or have yet to receive, will convince me otherwise. I will not budge on this stance. As I said to one comment on this site mocking me for this purely opinionated observation, “I’m objective to the games. Pedos can fuck right off.”
- “Quest translation was fun, not bad!”
Story time. Does anyone remember US anime publisher “ADV Films”, original rights holder to Evangelion, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, Martian Successor Nadesico, Generator Gawl and many more? Well they got a LOT of shit for “playing around” with translations, in some cases the English Dub was so far from the Subtitled track that they were almost literally two different stories. Entire SCENES would have their meaning changed. I remember specifically in Gawl when two female characters were talking about the main characters, the Japanese track was a fairly innocuous conversation about crushes, while the English Dub had them speculating if the main character was gay. This was pretty common in early ADV stuff, dropping in purely American references that wouldn’t make contextual sense in the universe of the show, or adding in lines that were never there. What ADV saw as spicing up the dialogue and “having fun”, a lot more anime fans took as being disrespectful to the original content. When you have characters in space making references to an old McDonalds slogan it not only rips you out of the universe, it completely dates it, a joke that will be killed by time. I feel EnMasse is doing this exact thing with TERA. How can you respect a story that doesn’t respect itself? This is a pretty common thing in Free-to-Plays, to be honest, especially with Korean Grinders. LUNA Online was notorious for it, but what story did it have? TERA obviously has a story, with cutscenes abound, (even if the Vekas thing is horrendously stupid) but when your game seems to not give a shit about something that’s obviously there, it comes across as being just as disrespectful as those old ADV translations. If it’s your lore, like Blizzard (notorious for references abound), fine, do whatever you want. But it’s not EnMasse’s story. It’s Bluehole’s.
- “The game isn’t grindy at all!”
Again, I think this is some out of context observations being translated incorrectly, but I feel this game is a SLOG, not a grind. When I think grind, it’s when I’m out of quests and am forced to walk around killing monsters in order to reach a new level. When I think slog, it’s when the quests themselves feel like you’re grinding, and TERA has NO imagination on what it’s doing. It’s the most basic quest types in MMOs. you kill, you collect, you travel. NOTHING interesting happens during any of these moments. Other MMOs might try to break up the monotony, changing up what you do mid-quest, having an event occur while you’re playing, but TERA keeps things at the basic formula and does nothing to change it, relying solely on the combat to carry it along… when you don’t think the combat is the best thing ever, it’s NOT fun to play. With only a level 60 cap, I don’t see why people think this game has fast progression. I even crowdsourced the question to Twitter, believing maybe I was being unfair, but a lot more people felt the game just drags on. The 20-30 minute opening tutorial followed by an even longer and insultingly simple Newbie Island is NOT a good way to start out the game. I think the game would been loads better if they cut down the time of both areas, or removed one of them altogether. (Yes, I know the tutorial is skippable later, but being forced to enter it initially, only being able to skip it by logging out and in shows they really wanted people to play it.) In any case, it’s a poorly paced game and could seriously benefit from some early game streamlining.
With that I am DONE talking about TERA. Not planning on a backtrack for a LONG time, and I uninstalled it the minute the review was uploaded. If you like, cool, great, whatever. I’m not stopping you, and you certainly shouldn’t need my approval. However, you want to know how I really feel, it should be pretty obvious by now. There’s also a “secret code” of recommendation I do only on Blistered Thumbs. I wonder if anyone noticed it yet…
So quick news on the MMO front. If you haven’t heard by now, or on my Twitter (either account) it seem MMO Publisher Outspark, hosts of the previously reviewed Project Powder, Fiesta and the recently shut down DarkBlood, have completely shut down, losing and shutting down all of their published titles, like the cutesy World MMO, “Luvinia” a host of other titles, and all of the previously mentioned games, save for Fiesta, who have been picked up to be published by Gamigo. On the plus side to Fiesta players, you don’t have to do anything to move your account over to Gamigo, and all assets and information have been moved over to the new site. Just patch up and you should be back in the land of cel-shaded grinding once more.
This is pretty sad news, as Outspark, while not exactly king of the publishers, had a good foothold in the market, it seemed, and published a lot of memorable titles over the years. The announcement that they lost their flagship Fiesta, was pretty much no different from an announcement of closure, and unfortunately for fans of their titles, that’s exactly what it turned out to be. With the only publisher that actually had a media department keeping me in the loop with their plans, it’s sad to see this one go, whether you saw this coming or not. R.I.P. Outspark. 2007-2013
Also I’ve been keeping my streams up semi-lately, with playthroughs of Portal 2 Community Maps with Phelan “Phelous” Porteous, as well as trying to play more Secret World alongside Chris “Rollo T” Larios. I also tend to show off the next episode I’m working on, provided I don’t feel like recording it instead. (Yes, I’m aware I can get the streamed recordings but I don’t want to do it that way.) As a stream related side-note, the “Chip-In” I have on the bottom to allow people to donate is apparently going away due to the company shutting down. Not sure if I want to replace it or not, as I do have a thing against the ideal of accepting money for what I deem to be nothing, but I won’t refuse the generosity of others… if that makes sense.
So, let’s go quick over “Path of Exile” which… well it held up well. Not nearly as popular or well loved as DDO, but it’s gaining a following of very impressed people. I, again, am not a major fan of the dungeon grinder, but I see the charm in this game. I don’t plan on deleting it, and I’d like to see how it improves later on.
Yes, the next episode is TERA. Yes, I am NOT a fan of TERA, but this isn’t going to be a Maple Story review of ranting… However, like Maple Story, I find things in it that I can enjoy, but the fans tend to render the game’s faults insufferable with their refusal to address them as such. I’m sure I’ll mention it soon enough.
My main concern is that I won’t be able to finish this episode, as I’m heading out of state for a week, from the 17th, to the 24th. Cutting into both this episode and the next. Stupid tiny month. Let’s hope I can get some progress done this week. I’m already off to such a bad start!
So, yeah… got hit with a second wave of flu, seriously cutting into my time. Fantastic. East coast epidemic, for the win.
First up, DDO, which did fairly well, despite the usual infusion of fanboys of the game, who tend to have NO idea how this show works, and accusing me of forgoing basic research, not getting very far, or failing to mention certain paid aspects… Again… I didn’t do the “basic research.” Luckily it was all pretty focused from like, one source, and wasn’t all that bad. Many vets of the game liked it, even some more key players like DDO fansite and podcast runners, and, hell, even someone from Turbine commented on here, so that’s a first. I only feel slightly awful about mentioning the cash shop is a total, nigh unusable mess. (It still is. Sorry.) I’m surprised the episode lasted as long as it did, as I did cut a LOT of things I could have talked about, simply for the sake of brevity. The game is simple to grasp, but tough to fully understand, and I stand by that.
So the astute, and the fact my clue wasn’t entirely difficult, yes, this upcoming episode (provided I stop being lazy) is going to be on Path of Exile, the Diablo clone I covered over 6 months ago in a Sidequest that nobody watched. It’s nice to know that this game DIDN’T perform a complete 180 when hitting open beta, and most of the mechanics remained the same, only the Skill Web receiving the most tweaking. It might come across as a redundant episode as this was before I decided to make Sidequest a “first impressions only” show, but at least I can actually explain the mechanics besides just mentioning them quickly. That’s a fairly common fear I have with ALL Sidequests I do, really.
Pray I get this one done on time. I still haven’t decided to stop coughing.
…I also got into the Scarlet Blade Alpha… That…. is certainly…. a thing. A thing that apparently ISN’T under NDA… I… I just don’t know…
OWU three days before the next episode deadline? When have I ever made sense.
Major apologies for the lack of content, as despite many things being in the works, nothing’s been executed on account of me (expectedly) getting sick after MAGfest. Never fails. Blame winter, or something.
So the Year-In-Review got WAAAY more of a response than I thought it would. Subjective things will do that, hence why I try to avoid is as best I can.
I wanted to have a lot more things up before the next episode but instead…. I put up this stupid background… that’s something, I guess.
I have one, possibly two games I’d like to look at for Sidequest, and I’m REALLY debating on bothering with one of them. I can only see a shitstorm on the horizon for even thinking about the game, so perhaps I best sticking with my original plan of ignoring nearly all games of its type.. We shall see.
In the pipe and abandoned temporarily are two Backtracks, both scripts finished, one on World of Tanks (which JUST got another major update, so thankful I did procrastinate) and the other on (oh god Jon would you shut up about) The Secret World (already).
Since my parenthesis are not in agreement with this decision, no I will NOT shut up about the Secret World. In fact let me add some quick info and possibly a “super-post” of sorts later on if people feel I should.
If you wish to find me in The Secret World, find me on the following characters and cabals. Remember the server you play on DOES NOT MATTER. Just add me to your friends list and you can contact me when I log on.
Cabal: Novus Ordo Marganars
Cabal: In Marganars We Trust (I’m tempted to change this to “Trust in Marganars” before anyone joins it. Thoughts?)
Cabal: The Marganars Effect
I do NOT mind people finding me or asking me questions in game, just as long as you understand it’s quite possible I might not be able to answer them right away, especially if I’m in a dungeon, or I just neglect to see the tell.
I’m also still running my very unscheduled streams over at twitch.tv/chaosd1 so make sure to check there and on my twitter for when I decided to run games on there. It might be the next episode I’m working on, it might be The Secret World, and it might not be an MMO at all. Also if you wish to monetarily support me in such endeavors (I don’t demand this, but I do often have people ask me.) there is a “Chip-In” widget on my stream page if you feel so inclined/hate money. Otherwise, just stop by and ridicule me like everyone else seems to be doing.
Also the next episode is DDO. So there’s that.
Behold my totally subjective list of the MMOs I’ve reviewed from January to December of this year. In no particular order, I’ll be listing several of the games I’ve reviewed and events of the year, along with arbitrary “awards” that have no meaning other than a reason for me to talk about them more. Remember all games looked at BEFORE January of 2012 will not be counted, so Maple Story is STILL my highest viewed video, and Eden Eternal is still my favorite overall, at least out of the actually F2P games. Let’s get this shitstorm started!
Ok, now that’s I’m gearing up for MAGFest again, I can at least tell everyone right off the bat I most likely won’t have a full MMO Grinder episode for the next due date. But as I said before, I’m not going to neglect any forms of content, and no, an Off-Week Update doesn’t count as “content.”
In past episode news, let’s go over RaiderZ, which actually had a fairly pathetic showing. I guess people only care about games like that when they are brand new. I’ve been hearing a LOT of people tell me that I “forgot” to mention the lag in combat… Well, I “forgot” to mention that because I never experienced it. I do forgot a lot of my audience isn’t from the U.S., and some games, especially action heavy ones, tend to be more unresponsive to those playing overseas. It makes sense, but why one would IMMEDIATELY draw the conclusion that the game itself is laggy baffles me. I never had a problem with it, and I didn’t think it was a big issue. In general I thought the game was fun, and had no idea so many people took issue with it. A few others also blame the lack of attention apparently being paid to Rusty Hearts on the fault of Perfect World focusing it’s efforts on RaiderZ. I… I don’t know, but that does remind me that RH is overdue for a Backtrack.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Read the rest of this entry
Ok, I’ve given it enough time, let’s do this thing.
First off, let’s again reiterate that The Secret World is now subscription-less, but NOT free. Taking the buy to play route has really grabbed the media, and as I said in the review of the game, the biggest hurdle for people was that subscription requirement. Now, with a 30 dollar buy-in (HALF of Guild Wars 2, mind you) you get to experience all available story content, with no restrictions to powers, travel or chat ability. The only paid content will be in the form of Issues, which will go for 5 dollars per content pack, and you have the option to subscribe fer perks, like free monthly items and Funcom points. The same goes for Lifetime subbers.
After the popularity of my SWTOR review consisted of mostly people looking to yell at the free-to-play restrictions, I’ll just let people know right now that a few of them have been lifted. Apparently now all quickbars are available, (despite me never actually reporting on that) meaning you can have 4 without having to pay for them. It also seems the limit on created characters has been lifted SLIGHTLY, and from what I understand it only applies to premium (5 dollar purchase) players anyway. The only other commentary was my saying that voice acting was weak. I am not saying ALL of it was weak, but there was a LOT of weak voice acting. Sorry. There was. Put a random NPC up against ANY NPC in The Secret World and you’ll know exactly what I meant. SWTOR acting is “put on an accent and call it a day.” There’s very little REAL emotion in ANYTHING said. Trust me here. Why would one Twilek on Hutta speak like a redneck and another sound like a stereotypical Canadian? It’s stupid, I’m sorry. The final complaint was on the stories, but sorry, that’s kinda subjective. For every one person who told me the Jedi Knight or Imperial Agent storyline was amazing, there were others telling me how every story was lame and pointless. It’s all opinion there, and while one might feel that some stories are weaker than others, bot everyone is going to answer that question the same. So I didn’t talk about it, because it’s just flame bait.
Overall performance of the review has been positive, certainly better than recent numbers and unquestionably better than the numbers on RaiderZ (which I’ll get into next OWU).
As for a recent title that I did look at, and don’t feel the need to give it a while before reporting on, AirMech, my first Browser-Based I’ve done in a long time. Apparently it’s a “spiritual successor” to a Genesis (Megadrive) game called “Herzog Zwei”. A game that, shockingly, predates all MOBA genres and even the game credited to start the popularity of the RTS genre. And… when it was new, everyone fucking hated it. This is a PRIME example of a game that was “ahead of its time”, a phrase that I feel gets overused for things that were generally crappy, but found a new audience later on, but in this case it’s a deserved use. EGM gave Herzog Zwei some of the most pathetic scores they could give, mostly 4s, a 6 and a 3. This was clearly a game NOT made for the time it was released in. It also apparently gained a cult following in recent years, and is now considered a groundbreaking classic. I decided to share this info with you for one reason. I HATE when I overlook something like this. I was an NES/SNES kid, and due to a twitch of fate and a poor console choice by my father, (He thought Turbo-Grafx 16 had more potential and bought me that when I requested a Genesis), I never got into the Genesis titles outside of a few friends who had the Sonic titles. I just thought it was an interesting tidbit of information, and to know that AirMech isn’t a game blending current market trends, but giving new life to a sadly overlooked innovator.
As for Browser-Based, I’ve decided to be a LOT more lenient in what I choose to review in that spin-off show. For example, I was recently shown “Gameglobe” and despite it hardly qualifying for a full Grinder, or even as an MMO, it’s got a unique enough social aspect that makes me think it might be worth showcasing. Of course some BB games still will prove tough to adapt, especially those with no sort of music or graphic interface.
Final note: Those who’ve been paying attention to my twitter, either account, and if you’re not, just look at the twitter Sidebar on the site, and you’ll see the latest tweets from the @MMO_Grinder account, might have noticed I’ve taken up a bit of livestreaming. Due to (occasional) demand, I was able to get something up in order to stream the games I wish to, be it future Grinder eps, old favorites, or what I enjoy streaming the most, The Secret World. Come by and check it out at Twitch.tv/ChaosD1 and keep an eye on twitter, or the Twitter Sidebar on this site, to see when I go up. You can even check it to see what’s been recorded in the past but be wary that without an active chat it will just sound like I’m talking to myself. I’m PLANNING on doing one tomorrow, so check back and join in when it’s announced. I use it as a Q&A as well as a simple chat, so if you have questions you wanted to ask me live, feel free to stop by.