Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’


Dragon Age: DLC

February 2, 2010

After yesterday’s post I went off and straight away went back on what I’d said. I booted up my Dragon Age game, started in on Orzammar and then went back to Camp to put some money into Bioware points and to buy Soldier’s Peak and Return to Ostagar. I reasoned it’d give me a nice break from doing the Dwarf bits all in one go. And that I’d buy them anyway, little chunks of content that sounded kind of fun both for around £4 (one was less, one more, but still!).

Now, I’ve never bought DLC before. It’s totally new to me. The nearest I’ve got has been expansions for MMOs, and the additional £5 I pay for Mirkwood to get the extra characters, the shared storage etc etc, but that was on top of the Mirkwood expansion for us, so felt a bit different. I know the Rock, Paper, Shotgun podcast once guessed that Shale was included in the new box for Dragon Age: Origins to get newbies like me to understand what DLC was/is. So we became accustomed to putting in a code and getting some new content, and weren’t scared of it.

First, the good news, getting the Bioware points and purchasing the DLC was really straightforward and worked well. I think I waited under 10 mins for both DLCs to download, and that’s mostly because I was downloading a ton of other stuff at the same time. So I started off with a good feeling about it. Each package had a little write-up to give you an idea what content it included, so I read through those as it downloaded.

And then, rebooted my client and went off to Ostagar, the newest and shiniest of the Dragon Age DLC. I’m not going to say too much about the storyline contained within, it’s still new and I don’t want to spoil anyone. But, I will say it didn’t take long and I think it should have been included in the main game. Was it worth the money? It cost around the same as going to see a film at my local cinema at that time of day. It took around as long. But, I didn’t feel as entertained, perhaps. Instead, I felt like I was seeing withheld content, kept back to make a bit of extra cash. I’m not ranting and raving about it, I understand economic pressures and wanting to extend the cash-making of a game for as long as possible. But, and perhaps because this was my first real experience with paying for DLC, I was really disappointed.

I bought Soldier’s Peak at the same time as Return to Ostagar, but I haven’t actually played through it yet. At least from the brief overview it sounds a little less integral to the storyline, so I don’t expect to feel like it was withheld quite so much. And I guess I won’t expect it to last more than a couple of hours, based on previous and ever-learning experience.

I’m fairly new to playing through single-player games, and I haven’t properly played one in years. I accept that things change, and that I’m kind of used to paying monthly fees for MMOs (pre-LotRO’s lifetime lifeline for me!), but I’m not sure I’ll be buying any more Dragon Age DLCs unless they go on special offer sometime. I’ll get the expansion – it promises a decent chunk of gameplay, new characters etc, although I will be watching the price and maybe holding off and not getting it straight away. I guess I understand more why people wait for ‘Game of the Year’ editions also.

I know £3-£5 isn’t a lot of money, but it’s a hell of a lot more than I usually spend on entertainment in a week, even in a couple of weeks (I live a sheltered and very cheap life). I accept my comments are based on my own sense of disappointment and that for many people £3 for 2h is a good proposition. And that this is the way forward for games to extend their life while giving players some extra content and breathing a bit of life into the game.

But hey, a blog post, eh!! Next time, I’ll focus on a more positive angle to my gaming life.


Quickie (another update)

December 30, 2009

I will really return to the blog soon, just stuff keeps getting in the way. Expect talk about the new Dol Guldur instances, daily quests, alts, Bioware and SW:TOR, and Dragon Age.

So here’s what I’ve been doing over the holiday break:

1. Finished Dragon Age as human mage. Satisfying, but started over again immediately as Dalish rogue. Unsure whether to go dual-wield or archer, any thoughts/recommendations accepted!

2. Run Sammath Gul (6-man) numerous times, both with additional healing help and as main healer. I had my faith in my skills both damaged and then restored by fine-tuning of tactics. Who knew? Tactics can help ;p

3. Have similarly become more comfortable with Sword-Halls and Warg-Pens (3-mans) on hard-mode. Next, to conquer the dungeons! Have done it once, failed hard-mode, no spoilers please – we’re working on it!

4. I finished Dragon Age. Worth nothing as previously finished games can be listed!!! Ultima 6, Diablo II, Final Fantasy X and X-2. I think that’s it. Seriously. I have attention issues ;p

5. Worked on my minstrel alt, after leaving her at 60 for a year. It’s been frustrating, hard, and annoying. But am determined not to let her languish again. That being said, the thought of a radiance grind is fearful, and her deeds (while good enough for Rift runs) are woeful. Expect lots of emo about her in the future. I’m not one of the world’s natural alt-ers.

6. Saw Sherlock Holmes in cinema. Great little romp, gave me more ideas for Steampunk Ars Magica char I need to work on before I join a friend’s campaign. Scary, never used the system before and wonder if my idea will even work.


Tackling a Boss Monster

November 4, 2009

So, I decided to make a stab at tackling my Feed Reader today, in some of my spare time. I’m greatly enjoying reading everyone’s blog posts, even though I’m hideously behind with things. Haven’t finished it yet, but here’s some of the things that caught my attention:

  • Blizzard to start selling in-game cosmetic pets for $10 a pop. I’ve been playing the refer-a-friend time with Spinks of late. We’re at level 40 now and my first month is over. Might sub another month to get to 60 when the R-A-F bonus runs out. But I hate microtransations, so I’m feeling a bit more ambivalent today than I was yesterday.
  • Free Realms transforms into Fee Realms at level 5 in more microtransation news. Don’t mind this one so much as you get to dabble free, and apparently the costs are fairly small.
  • The new Siege of Mirkwood trailer is up and available and deals with the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur – the lack of a name stems from licensing issues, according to Zubon.
  • KIASA name Torchlight Diablo 2.5 in reviewlet I’m totally in agreement with.
  • Tom Chick over at Fidgit enters into a bit of a spat with Bioware over the extra storage in the $7 DLC and accuses the company of nickel-and-diming. Bioware replies.
  • The Wii is dead, long live the… ?
  • Green Armadillo takes a look at the marketing and pricing of the Siege of Mirkwood and the extension of the pre-order deals and deadline. It’s an interesting take and cites some other things to read on the subject, which I greatly enjoyed. Not sure it’s a cover up, since it seems blindingly obvious they’re taking money for what was once free to players in content updates… but valid points, nonetheless. 

More as I catch up further tomorrow!


I Can’t Frakkin’ Believe it’s Over

March 31, 2009

I fought against watching the new Battlestar Galactica for too long. I couldn’t get my head around a female Starbuck (and yes, I’m old enough that Dirk Benedict was cute to me!). And I just couldn’t be bothered with a show I didn’t feel had any legs.

Let’s just say I thanked all the friends who bullied me into watching the miniseries and then the subsequent seasons of the show. It’s hard to put into words just how powerful BSG became. Both in terms of discussing the human condition within the confines of sci-fi, but also the writing, the acting, the incredible talent that put it all together and made us care about these characters. It overtook Babylon 5 for me as my favourite ‘space’ show, and it nudges at other shows I love (like Lost, Life on Mars, and many many more).

And it’s over and done with (aside from Caprica and the TV movie ‘The Plan’).

It’s good to see the Sci-Fi Channel (or is that SyFy now?) combine my love for BSG with my love for gaming by suggesting on their gaming blog (Fidgit) a list of games to help you get over the loss of Battlestar Galactica. I particularly like the inclusion of Phoenix Wright as a sim to let you replicate Lee Adama’s blazing but brief legal career.

Or you can hope that Bear McCreary’s super-cool, top-secret video game project is a BSG one (he was the composer on BSG, btw!). Kotaku did, but have taken down the story since this morning – bad me for not blogging it straight away.

Me, I’ll be using the extra time each week to blog, to game, and to try and play some Mass Effect before Mass Effect 2 is launched!



February 19, 2009

Firstly, I’d like to say that me and Spinks were discussing some of this on instant messenger yesterday, so no, I’m not nicking her ideas!!

We’ve been discussing all kinds of things, from MMO inertia to the tribal nature of MMO players. But mostly on my mind yesterday and today has been the suggestions I’d make to the games I play and don’t play.

World of  Warcraft

You can’t help it if you’re mega-successful and that causes some bad feeling amongst other ‘tribes’ of players. Keep on as usual, please your players. And make a new server where I can start at level 50 and I might give Burning Crusade and Lich King a shot. It’d give me 10 levels to learn a class and gather up some cash and then I could try all your ‘revolutionary’ new content. Otherwise, I’m too lazy to do the levelling curve, however horizontal it is. And I don’t necessarily want to mix with really experienced players either.

Lord of the Rings Online

Argh. Release Book 7 content. Please. Really. It may be my fault for playing too fast, but I want to see Lothlorien and Moria desperately needs the planned raid. Keep putting in solo and 3-man instances – we love them for their casual nature. But don’t forget we want to see cool bosses. Also, reduce the  lockout timer on The Watcher to maybe 4 days, put in a token system and nuke Captain daggers from the legendary drops (and any other assorted weapons people don’t want). Don’t tie in new raids to full new gear-sets, the grind of the Moria instances has become annoying, though it was enjoyable to start with. Fix the damn exploits. I’m so sick of hearing someone boasting about taking out a semi-hard boss in 5 mins and knowing they exploited to do so. I don’t like being judgmental, so take away the opportunity! That’s all though, I love you really!

Warhammer Online

You have an excellent opportunity to acquire and retain some new players with the introduction of the Slayers and Choppas. Utilise it and monitor servers, allow transfers from low population ones and let’s hope the fortress system will one day be fun and intuitive. Stop over-hyping features, people get bored of it and you get the ‘cry wolf’ syndrome attributed. Also, adopt the latest Tabula Rasa device and name some drops after your influential community types. I want something of Syp‘s and he never got a Valentine’s card, which frankly SUCKS since he does more for the community than many out there. Though he’d never say it. But it’d be very easy for named items to be adopted, even if it was part of an event. Of all the games I know about, I think WAR is best-placed to put in some named items, so I’m suggesting it here.


Theatre stuff

February 1, 2009

Am in London for a couple of nights, packed saturday full of theatre. Derek Jacobi makes an amazing Malvolio. There are still #10 tickets to see Jude Law in Hamlet in August.

And Oliver! made me smile. It’s hard to hear ‘Consider Yourself’ without smiling I found. Also they had a t-shirt saing ”d Do Anything’. Well dodgy. I liked the ‘Fagin’s Gang’ one, but also didn’t buy it.. I might, eventually. Poor dog was only in it a bit, and each time ran straight across the stage. Burn Gorman rocked and enjoyed being booed (ha ha, from Torchwood viewers perhaps?).

Theatre is good. It’s real and buzzing and however tired, it picks me up. Miss gaming, naturally. And London is as noisy as ever.


Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow

January 28, 2009

Warhammer Online probably didn’t have the exactly launch Mythic wanted, I think we can agree on that.

First of all, they had to delay four highly anticipated classes and two cities before the game launched. Which means they had to shoehorn in a clunky and not-as-tested Fortress capture 2/3 mechanism before you could attack a City. Which no-one understood. And which makes no sense story-wise.

First of all, it was too easy to attack a City, and then too hard.

Firstly, too many servers were opened – and then there were server transfers, clones, merges, all sorts of things to try and get server figures sensible and what was needed for a bubbling PvP (RvR) game.

Mythic, though,  are unbelievably responsive and very in-touch with the fan community, despite (and perhaps because of) Mark Jacobs’  hatred for official boards. But they’ve also been extremely lucky to have a dedicated community, built on the back of both Dark Age of Camelot, and the cache of being in the vanguard of support. They have been very lucky to  have Warhammer Alliance set up to take up some of the official forums strain (and it probably hasn’t done badly for the site’s owners, either).

And even luckier to have dedicated bloggers such as Syp and Snafzg who have more or less powered the revitalization of the WAR blogosphere by coming up with this January’s Age of Blogging Initiative. At a time when buzz about the game was at an all-time low, a new generation of blogs have cropped up – most of which have had promising starts. And it hasn’t taken long for Paul Barnett to sit up, take notice and support what was obviously an ingenious idea. 

Paul Barnett and Josh Drescher, the ‘big names’, who got us all fired up with their promotional videos before launch, have continued to fire-fight across the fanbase, with cool announcements, snippets across their blogs and twitter, etc etc – all verging on viral marketing and trading in on their personalities and the buzz they’re able to accumulate. It’s a great tactic, all devs should be interested in their fan communities on such a level. But in a way we’re lured in again to the hype machine.

We like viral marketing, clues, little things being sent out to real people from big developers. That’s why viral marketing works. Because it gives us that connection, and I heartily applaud it (that’s as someone who used to work on the outskirts of viral marketing campaigns).

But I do wonder a bit,  is it all the same as the ‘bears, bears, bears’ video that promised us we wouldn’t have to go out and re-kill things for quests that we’d already killed. I don’t want to be caught up in hype again only to have my hopes dashed. I feel wearier about any buzz to do with Warhammer Online than I did a year ago, when I was thick with excitement about the game and what it might mean to me. Now I almost dread tomorrow’s announcement. I really do. And the Valentine’s event. I want it to be everything it promises. But I wanted that this time last year also, and have seen things batter away at my relentless enthusiasm.

And yet I’ll still read the announcement and pick it apart, and listen and read commentary on it from the people out there in the fan community that I respect (and I hope they know who they are), but will it revive Warhammer for more than the short-term?

Time will tell.

The big announcement  means a lot to Mythic, don’t mistake that. People who signed up for 6 months have till May on their subscriptions. I know, cos that’s me!

Which means coincidentally that end of Jan/early Feb would catch the 3-month sub people. Good time for an announcement.  But things have to improve in the game and to attract enough subscribers to not need too many more server transfers/merges. And the changes have to mean more than people coming back for a month to try the new class and then buggering off again.

I want to be impressed. I really do.

(but tomorrow I might tell you how I’m doing in LotRO!)