Mini-Review: Titan Quest

I spent some time with the demo version of Diablo III…err that is Titan Quest over this past weekend. Since I haven’t finished the game, and haven’t even explored the multiplayer aspects or the map making tools available in the full game, I don’t want to give a definitive review but I thought I’d throw my first impressions out there for anyone that’s interested.
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EvE TV, a primer for game TV?

When I first started watching soccer, football for the rest of the world, I had no clue about the rules or the nuances of the game. I started out catching BBC America’s weekly recap/preview show and eventually started watching full English Premier League matches on what’s now the Fox Soccer Channel. The thing I liked most about the match commentators is that they didn’t feel a need to talk down to their audience. They would show the offsides, with a yellow line on the field, and sometimes give you a “obviously offsides”, or “close call” type comment but they just assumed that if you were watching you understood. The same with penalties, the most you’d usually get was something like “obvious penalty but I’m not sure it warrants a card” and it was left up to the viewer to decide what the actual infraction was.

As I said, I knew nothing about the rules of the game so you’d think that this kind of coverage would have been frustrating but in reality it allowed me to learn the subtlties of the game much faster. I had to watch what was happening, think about what the commentator said and try and relate the two to figure out what was going on. This kept me much more engaged in the match and I started to see plays developing. As a result I now find soccer much more entertaining than, say, American football.

This weekend I found myself experiencing that same engagement watching people play a video game that I have very little interest in actually playing myself, EvE Online. This weekend, and again next weekend, CCP is running a series of in-game PvP matches and they’re streaming live coverage of them over the web via a service they’re calling EveTV.

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MMO Crafting and Me

The recent articles by each of the three members of the MMO Round Table, Moorgard, Nerfbat and Aggro Me, got me thinking about my experiences with crafting in MMO’s.

As anyone that knows me can tell you I’ve never been a huge fan of crafting in most MMO’s. EQ1 crafting was so tedious that I’d find myself nodding off after only 5 minutes. WoW wasn’t that much more exciting but at least I didn’t risk carpal tunnel from all the clicking and dragging. At launch the actual act of crafting in EQ2 was entertaining but having to spend hours doing sub-combines to make the components that you could then use for the final object you wanted to make was annoying to say the least. About the only system that I was able to tolerate for any length of time was the one in DAoC and that was only because I just had to have my components, go to the proper crafting station and click on the button to start it. I could then walk away and do something else while the crafting process completed. If I didn’t have anything else I wanted to do though it was boring as heck watching that little bar fill up.

The recent changes to EQ2’s crafting system have actually made that system entertaining for me, I have a couple of characters that have a higher tradeskill level than adventure level even, so thinking about the new system and reading those posts got me thinking about a perfect – for me – crafting system.

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