Drunder: The EQ 2 Prison Server

Of interest this week is a rather stunning announcement that Everquest 2 will be opening a Prison Server called Drunder in a week.   This means they have contemplated and planned this for some time.

…players who are caught breaking our rules and disrupting EQ2 live server gameplay will be flagged for this server, and no others — ever. Characters on these accounts will be copied to Drunder (the “prison server”) and can never leave or transfer to another server.
This is a server our Customer Service Game Masters have requested over the years in order to manage disruptive players. They will determine who goes there.

They’ve Made a List and Checked It Twice
The Game Masters would indeed know who the troublemakers are. They may have banned and unbanned the same people over and over for years. Argued with them on forums.  Found them to be guilty of cheating in many ways.

Cells are Ready, Tin Cups are Extra

I wish I knew more of the technical side of things, some days (most days not).  They prepared a server and expect a particular load/population.  Hand Picked!  

They will have already flagged the accounts for themselves, right? It is just a matter of notifying players.

Why make them pay?  Say they have marked for themselves a portion of the population they want to transfer over.  Once it is all official and the server is open, you just move all the ruffians over there, the entire account (s).  Poof gone from live servers for good no matter what.  No GM has to ever deal with them again.   You let the account holder know their people are incarcerated and if they ever want to see them again, jingle some money their way.  Only the hardcore will go for it right?

Those things aside, I think it is interesting that they call this “a little experiment”.   You know what that means.

All the very worst players, tossed together.  Very excited at first to have made the cut!  They can do what ever they want, noone to stop them muhahahahaha!  Prey on the weak! Prey on the weak some more!

While the players are up to their usual foul deeds, the company can learn a lot from them, right?  They’re now a microcosm and can be observed to see how they do what they do.

Why Would Anyone Pay To Play Here?

Perhaps they’re attached to their characters just like the rest of us.
Maybe they’ve played since the game went live and they love the world.
Could it be they think they know the game better than anyone?  Now they have free reign to play it the way they want to.
Maybe they want to be part of a Grand Experiment.

Good Luck to everyone!

Running Through The Tanaan Jungle

Slinking, actually.  The announcement of the Legion expansion has me working on my characters to not just level them but to try to get their iLevels up.

For my main character, I’m mostly enjoying the Shipyard once again.  I got a Battleship this week called Spellweaver.  I love the name.  Almost as much as that of my Destroyer Yrel’s Command.   In order to keep my ships running, apparently I need to head to the Tanaan Jungle.

Tanaan is supposed to be like the Timeless Isle but it doesn’t have that feel at all.  There are these cute little sparkly treasure boxes all over Timeless Isle.  There are treasures in Tanaan, but not many that I found.  It seemed most were guarded by multiple Horde.  Luckily there were quite a few people around.  I like that because they distract some of the groups away from me.  Is Meatshields the word I’m looking for?

Tanaan Jungle is dark, very Horde-like with the green gassy water you find in Horde areas.  What is that stuff?  The monolithic buildings sprawl everywhere.  I wasn’t in a jungle like area tonight, that’s for certain.  I have by no means covered the entire area so it may lighten up elsewhere.

I managed to do only one quest, killing 25 Iron Horde.  You wouldn’t think it would take long but they are largely grouped up.  A few are those rotten guys who yank you over to them with a big chain when you’re trying to lure them over your way.   All too often they pull you into a wandering pack of five or so.

I’ll see how I do on the dailies using the guides at Wowhead and Icy Veins.   I am no fan of dailies, but I need my Oil, and the next ship I’m eligible for is a Submarine.

From Gamasutra: 10 Seminal Game Postmortems Every Developer Should Read

I’m not a developer of course but I’ve always enjoyed reading about how games are designed and built.   I read through the article on System Shock II.  Playing through the game you would never guess the development woes because it is such an intense game.  You don’t care what the AI is capable of as long as it doesn’t kill you on the spot.  I’ll be reading all of these then hitting the older archives.

Presented by Alex Waro from Gamasutra’s “postmortem archives” developers talk about what went right and what went wrong as they worked on classic games.

Covered titles:

Warren Spector on Deus Ex

Jonathan Chey on System Shock 2

Erich Schaefer on Diablo II

Tom Leonard on Thief The Dark Project

Ray Muzyka on Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Jason Regier on Myth: The Fallen Lords

Brandon Reinhart on Unreal Tournament

Matt Pritchard on Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Brian Upton on Rainbox Six

Peter Molyneux on Black & White

Fallout Shelter: Death in the Wasteland

My Vault is getting huge and I’m up to 66 Dwellers out of a possible 200 I can have.  
Early on, I wasn’t attached to any of my little Dwellers, but now I have favorites that I know by name.  I’m highly protective of all of them, and grab new Dwellers who show up at the Vault door and quickly drag them in to safety.
There are some new creatures which can show up in your Vault that look like mutated gophers.  They might be just a bit tougher than Rad Roaches.
An uglier upright form of these showed up at the Vault door one day.  They blasted the fully enforced door down like it was paper, and blew past my two reliable door defenders (no Raiders ever get past them to the second or third room).  Gleefully they went through each room and got as far as the third level !!!!! Before my Dwellers took them out.  As many as four Dwellers died in the attack, something that hasn’t happened in ages.
I’m glad I give armor and a weapon to each Dweller as soon as they arrive.  No Dweller is without defense, but many haven’t been trained in Strength and Endurance, if they’re in rooms where Agility or Intelligence is important.  I had just moved my “best” people up to the top rooms the day before the big raid. Good thing.  I’m going to work to get everyone in tougher shape if the attackers are going to be tougher.
I sent three of my best Dwellers out yesterday morning and I usually will bring them back home before day’s end.  (sniff) I forgot about them till about midnight when I was settling in to sleep.  Only one died, and another was close this morning.  A good Overseer watches out for their Dwellers, tsk.

Elder Scrolls Online

I’ve been enjoying screenshots from varying blogs of scenes from Elder Scrolls Online and have been considering giving it a try.

I played only in beta, and within a few months of release there were so many systems that were incomplete or broken. At that point, they should have been doing only minor tweaks…

Now that they’re “free” but with an additional “box” purchase, I looked to see what the price is. Yikes, $59.99.     I like the idea of paying an upfront price, then paying for expansions, but I think that is way too pricey, and hoped it was like the Secret World at $30.

Yikes. If a high portion of the player base loved the game as Elder Scrolls in general are loved, I’d go for it, but there’s just too much dissatisfaction.  Oh well, luckily I have plenty of access to Tamriel via Skyrim, Oblivion and Morrowind.

Game Hopping

Star Wars Galaxies

I’ve moved all of my crafting characters to Corellia (half were on Naboo just for a change of venue).  I’ve made some progress with my Chef.  The names of the foods and the variety of attributes they can affect is a blast.

My fighting characters feel like they’re treading water.  I’m thinking I need to get better weapons (a faster rifle!!!! agh!!!!) and just send them out there to grind that xp.

My plan to “listen” to General Chat to get to know the denizens of the Galaxy has resulted in me being grossed out this week, and I am not easy, I would have thought nearly impossible to offend.  Yo, people.  This has had me paying attention to Trade chat/General Chat in other games and the level of conversation isn’t to be rated “sparkling” anywhere.  I will just mention that my first night on Landroval, LOTRO RP Server extraordinaire, the long conversation was about farts.  Call me intrigued?   Back to ignoring Trade/General/World Chats for the most part.

Lord of the Rings Online

I am playing my new Landroval character a little each evening.  I’ve decided to use author Jack Vance’s character names for my Landroval characters.  It makes it all just that much more fun.

The day night cycle is really noticeable in this game, making explorations of goblin ruins just that bit more challenging.

Music in this game is the most beautiful anywhere, except Galaxies.  Just stunning music everywhere you go.

Guild Wars 2

I went ahead and grabbed Armorsmith (my character had been standing in front of the trainer, lo these many weeks/months.)  Despite picking up everything I’ve come across I had no tin and could make nothing.

One of her Warrior skills causes her to move and spin, must be careful when fighting near ledges.  I’ve decided to do every quest and exploration in the area before moving on.

World of Warcraft

I’m just doing Follower missions and Shipyard quests with my main character and am sending my Warlock out to work her way through Draenor.  I like my Mage second best of these characters but she just isn’t tough enough.  I wish they hadn’t taken Evocation away.

Pillars of Eternity

I started a new Ranger character.  She made it through the opening area a bit more gracefully than my original Warrior.  She is positioned with her companions in the Ruins of Cilant Lis.

Fallout 3

I headed to Super Duper Mart one day and the game froze up, oops. An omen.  I noticed that my Bat wielding combat was not effective against the creatures in open areas and I’ll have to use VATS and a pistol.  I have to be proficient at that before going in is excuse 101.

My plan was to do it yesterday afternoon while I was all fresh, but I got caught up making medium homes and Blap something or other with my Galaxies chef and nope.

Star Wars Galaxies Quest: Rigged Race?

A Friday freebie from an old notebook of mine.  Later in the game you could write and sell quests to other players.  My long time secret ambition to do quest writing produced a fair few quests that I sold cheap and which had pretty nice rewards.  I fancied calling my “agency” which gave out quests Lost Souls Inc.  You filled out a form to create the quest which is why it is formatted as it is.

Rigged Race
My name is Rat Ratsby, an operative with Lost Souls Inc.  I hear you’re looking for adventure and some credits to fill your pockets.
Here’s the deal: we think that the Mos Espa race course has been “tampered with”.  Someone is herding dangerous beasts into the raceway to change the outcome of races there.
Go to Mos Espa, talk to the Race Droid, and run that race as fast as you can.  If there are “interruptions” in the course, we need to know about it right away.  Report back to me when you’ve completed the track.
Race the Mos Espa Track
Return to Rat with your report.
Rewards:  2800 xp, 3000 credits

World of Warcraft: Legion

I didn’t know that Legion refers to a group of demons, did you?  I skim along in my religion as I do in most things.  Just passing through!

It seemed like a good idea to spend some time reading posts and forums about the new Blizzard Expansion today, and I am, as always with a game I love to play, excited.  It’s about time Elves were featured, they’re not the aloof, we scorn all but ourselves elves found in other games.  They take selfies!

 Not being a Lore Junkie, but being an Elf Friend, I’ll enjoy getting more of their back story.

While many seem to have an attitude that says Show me why I should stay, Show me why I shouldn’t leave, Show me why I should pay you, my thought is, when will it be available? When can I play?  This time around I should have at least 5 max level characters to send to the Broken Isles, all my favorite classes.

When a game I play brings out new content, I always wish for a new class to try out, a new area to explore, and a raised level cap.  Five is puny, truthfully, but ten is great.  I want new and interesting additions to the crafting system (we didn’t get that last time and nothing has been said this time).  I wish for a good story, and I want surprises.  As an avid dungeon fan in World of Warcraft, lots of five person dungeons…give me TEN! (There may be 9 incoming which is not bad at all).

Right on the Legion site there is a beta opt-in option.  I was thinking I wouldn’t do it again so as not to ruin the story and experience, but plink!  I hit it immediately.  Last year I spent all summer playing in Draenor and I didn’t want to play anything else at all.  The people playing in the beta were a really good crowd, smart, knowledgeable, helpful.  Sort of like the ideal server population you’d like to find someday.  It was an excellent beta experience.  Crossing fingers, see you there!

Feedly and Blaugust

At the suggestion of noone in particular I tried Feedly again.  Slick as anything.  I just had to pay attention because they kept suddenly sticking things in “uncategorized” or “mmo” and I was compelled to go back and drag blogs into the Gaming category.  As I’m reading along I can’t help intoning Feedly in honor of The Little Shop of Horrors.

My entire blogroll is now on Feedly and all of the Blaugusters are there for easy updates.

I read through every blog on the Blaugust list and was impressed by the many distinctive voices.  Varied writing styles and topics, including one which made me cry, are a great find. Reading about games pleases me, even if I don’t play the particular title.   I saw just one Vlog, but the guy has style.