On Tuesday, I talked about how the overall presentation of WildStar devoured me whole, convincing me of the powerful playground the game is. Today, in this second part of Live from Nexus, I want to talk about what makes the gameplay of WildStar so strong, and why you should give this MMORPG a go.
When I first wrote about WildStar approximately two month ago, I described the game as a fairly standard MMORPG packed in beautiful graphics. After surviving the Headstart (which went better than expected. Big up, Carbine!), I have come before you to revise my opinion. In this and the next post on Thursday, I’ll be reporting live from Nexus why WildStar is more than your run-off-the-mill endgame treadmill and why you should bother checking it out. Today, I want to tell you about what made me change my mind from a more aesthetical point-of-view, while Thursday’s post will dive deeper into the different convincing gameplay elements.
If you’re like me and spend a whole lot of time on the Internet, the term “net neutrality” should not be new to you. If it is, I suggest the video above for a quick summary of its meaning and a discussion of its implications. Once you’re up to speed, let me tell you why you should care about net neutrality.
As it is right now, the Internet treats all data equally: no matter if you’re watching videos on YouTube or read posts of your favorite small-time bloggers, both kinds of data will get to you in the same time. However, once ISP’s get the right to treat data differently, this could very well change. We might end up with an Internet in which ISP’s ask additional fees to use popular services like Netflix or Spotify, while small content creators become part of the “slow-lane” Internet, having a harder time to reach an audience.
You see why this should bother you, no matter if you just enjoy a good movie night with your favorite streaming site or are a content creator like my fellow bloggers and I. If you live in Europe, you don’t have to worry just yet: Brussels voted for net neutrality in early April. If you live in the States, however, let the FCC know how you feel about this and fight for net neutrality.
My mind works in strange ways. Yesterday, while waiting for the washing machine to finish and browsing my favorite gaming sites, I was reminded of the fact that Trion is bringing ArcheAge to the west. This makes my tingle with joy, especially knowing that the company is offering different “Founder packs” to get into the alpha. I’m all about getting into a game earlier than the unwashed masses, so I went and checked them out. Alpha access…the thought of that made me wild. Would I already be knees-deep in ArcheAge this weekend? Would I already see what all the fuss is about, sailing my own ship and tending my own farm?
I would…had I spent €140.
Yes, I literally talk to you about this year’s Newbie Blogger Initiative. No need to write much, just click on the Play-button below and hear why you should join!
POSSIBLY SPOILERS FOR AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 AHEAD!
Hey, remember back in high school when you had to hand in assignments for your literature class? You know, the ones requiring you to write your own short story, following the “rules of writing” you had been discussing in class for the last three weeks? And remember how you would get your short story back, with a remark of the teacher saying: “good overall story, but a piss-poor ending that made me angry enough to shout at strangers in the street”?
No? That never happened to you? Well, it might have happened to the writers of The Amazing Spider-Man back in 2012. Not in their literature class, but after hearing the opinions the audience had about The Amazing Spider-Man, director Mark Webb probably realized his writers needed some more time to up their skills and let them go. Had the new writers for the screenplay handed their work over to a literature teacher, he had probably told them that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a grandiose ending full of possibilities for sequels, but still had asked them to re-write the script. Why? Because the first eighty percent of it are boring, uninspired and just awkward.
Adult life is time-devouring. I said that several times on this blog, but reality keeps reminding me of this harsh fact. When one-third of your day is filled with a job, the other third with sleeping, you need quite some impressive micro-managing skills to get all the other things done. One of these other things is probably gaming. Sooner or later, however, you’ll notice that you have only an hour or two a day to truly devote to that. That is, if you don’t want too much wife / husband / girlfriend / boyfriend / bootycall aggro or really want to do the dishes today (psh, like you will). Then again, your still-in-university or in-between-jobs friends are way ahead of you, so you want to at least do some catching up. What to do, what to do?
Well, dear reader, it’s time for a compact lesson in gaming time micro-management, inspired by a cool post written by the Godmother (who should just call herself the Mistress of Garrisons by now). Where she gives you tips for a bucket list, I want to help you guys out with three easy tips to optimize your game time!
1. Know your goals
Wanna hit 90 with that alt in World of Warcraft, or do you want to make some progress during the beta weekend of WildStar? Different goals require different methods and different time amounts. Creating goals gives you something to work towards to, including a sense of completion once you reach one. Give yourself clear goals for the week, and see that you work on those.
2. Know your time budget
On a good weekday, I have about two hours worth of consecutive gaming time. This means that I can plan my goals around that, making sure to not reach for the unreachable. Try to track your average daily time budget, and adjust your goals to fit them. Your rare minutes of gaming time will feel less worth if you try to achieve too much in too less time.
3. Get SMART
In the business world, companies like to formulate their goals SMART: specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic and time-related. When creating your goals based on your wishes and available time, run them through these five letters and see if they have all five components. A goal which can’t be measured doesn’t provide a clear finish line, while a goal that is not ambitious enough will not feel rewarding. The SMART-formula is not the alpha and omega, but it is a good foundation for creating strong goals.
Limitations are meant to challenge you, and the lack of gaming time as an adult just tests your time management skills. Yeah, you won’t be able to raid 8 hours a day like back when you were a teenager, but then again…do you really wanna go back to that if it means having acne all over again and being the nerd of the class?
Wait, one of those two never actually changed…
Complexity is one of the most discussed topics in MMO country, and with good reason: in an age filled with simple, mass-pleasing click-games like Candy Crush Saga and Farmville (does anyone still play that?), we “true” gamers desire games that cannot be immediately understood by our grandmas and little brothers. We want titles that take time to ease in to, that have us browse the Internet in search of the perfect “build”, force us to take a crash course in Excel to make that spreadsheet and make us talk with abbreviations like “DPS”. We want to get lost in the numbers, we want to be made dizzy by the possibilities…we long for complexity.
We? Well, to be honest, I don’t.
Syl and Murf have been at it, both writing excellent pieces on the topic of the abscence of democracy in game design and voting with your wallet. Both articles take different angles, but are essentially about the same thing: the amount of say gamers have in the development process of the games they play. Because I have the urge to add my opinion to the discussion, let me throw in my two cents when it comes to the relevance of the “vox gameri”, or the voice of the gamers (Pig Latin ftw!)
I will never complain about having friends. Really, I like the luxury of having a bunch of people I can call up whenever I want to, to do whatever we like to. I like that their interests, hobbies, hopes and dreams overlap with mine, and that they can stand me even on my worst days. The thing I don’t like about friends is that, sooner or later, you’ll have to sort them into different “circles” because some just don’t play well with each other. I’m not talking about friends that hate each other for some reason. What I’m talking about are friends from one side of your life who just don’t get the friends from the other side. The one side is in this case your “regular” social side (school, college, work), while the other side, your “true” side, is the geeky, nerdy, gaming side. While some of these friends will overlap, a large part will not, leaving you to divide your precious free time between the two camps.
But what can you do about it? We are all many-faceted personalities, and our choice of friends reflect that. I just need people who I can talk to about a rough day in the office, but I also need someone to geek out with when a new trailer for Days of Futures Past hits the net. I need people to get drunk with in the city, but I also need fellows to binge-game an entire weekend, living on nothing but pizza and the fading health of my body. I need diversity when it comes to my friends, so I will have to live with splitting my time between them.
It’s one of those social challenges we all have, but that are actually not problems at all. Some people just don’t get along well, but they all get along with you. Ain’t that just what counts?
So, readers, how do you cope with your gaming friends versus the rest of your social connections? Do you hop around between different circles, or do you drink your Friday pints with the same people you raid with twice a week? Let me know in the comments!