The adventures continue…

I’m still here and I’m still playing. About a week ago my Vanguard subscription expired and I was wondering what to do. PlanetSide had been in the back of my skull jumping up and down for some attention so I figured I’d play that for a while. Maybe it’s just because Xebek from AoJ moved back into that game. Or at least that may be why the latent interest in the game came forward again.

In any event I was sitting around on 9th of April with no real games to play and a whole week more of vacation time. Choices where slim, either I got myself a life or I needed to find something to suppress the real world with quickly. Initially I considered getting a SOE Station Access subscription. It would grant me access to both PlanetSide and Vanguard (and all the other SOE games I have previously played). But with the new prices it is double that of a normal subscription. And I can’t really see myself playing any of the other games enough to justify that, even if it is small change we are talking about.

But as chance would have it I downloaded the PlanetSide Reserves client so I wouldn’t have to install from my original CDs and then patch all the way to the current build. Just playing around while considering the subscription I installed and fired up PlanetSide and logged in… For whatever reason it accepted my credentials and gave me one free month?!?!? So Station Access idea scrapped. PlanetSide is on for the next month for free!

One of the things I like about simple twitch games like PlanetSide is that the game is you are your own opponent. Sure in this game there are maybe 200 people trying to kill you. But most of the time it’s your own damned fault if you die. You are not good enough and you should work on that. That is very different to MMORPGs where your progress is measured in skill level and cash. And usually it just takes time and patience to get both. Something it is hard for me to compete in unless I want to start cheating. Sure your actual skill in twitch games gets better as you play more. But just spending 100 hours in the game does not mean you are better than someone who spend 50. It’s all about you! Unfortunately I suffer from chronic bad timing. I’ll sit around with nothing happening around my. Then when I decide to move it will be the exact time someone comes around a corner, with a shotgun out, and I’ll run directly into them… Usually that leads me to having a kill/death ratio around 1:3 or 1:4. So I’m happy when I can do one that is around 1:1.

One of the interesting things about PlanetSide is that the game mechanics are changes quite often. Sure the core game is still the same. But a lot of changes and additions are introduced. Last time I went back was when they introduced the Battle Frame Robotics (BFRs). Of course I left soon after having actually gotten the certification to use them because I didn’t like driving them. But lately they added some further advancements for engineers.

The new engineering types are quite interesting. So far I have been playing as Assault Engineer. It’s quite tricky because the main benefits of it is you can build cloaking devices and gun turrets in the field. The cloaking devices double as ammo dispensers when charged. Both are hard to place on useful positions tho. Neither can be placed in enemy spheres of influence (SOI – an area around buildings and bases). And most fights happen in those really. It was quite useful when we where defending in a game of Rabbit Hunting tho. Since rabbits can’t go into SOIs either. Hopefully I’ll get a Battle Rank more soon so I can get Fortification Engineering too.

Of course some things never change. Since the first time I played the game was supposed to add things like Outfit base ownership. They added outfit points a long time ago to allow outfits to buy things for themselves. But so far there is nothing to spend it on. Just now they are considering it again as stated in the latest Developer Uplink post.

After a couple of days of PlanetSide I am starting to remember why I stopped playing it the last two times tho. The primary reason is, as often seems the case in MMOs, that teamwork is not a great deal of the mindset of the player-base. Literally I have been standing looking at a vehicle facility looking at over 20 people pull out one-seater. The fun thing is that this was just after the commanders of the battle told everyone to travel together to get to somewhere ASAP. Of the few who did pull out something that someone else could be in one picked up a mate while the two or three others simply took off alone… Guess we are not big on car-pooling here.

Of course in most MMOs you really want to join a guild (or outfit as they are called in PS). But it is always a hassle finding a good one that actually includes new members in anything. Most of my experiences is either you get more or less ignored, no matter how active you try to be, or you get included because there are nobody else around. The latter case meaning we are undermanned and don’t really do much as a guild anyway. I suppose I’ll have to give it a try sooner rather than later. Not something I am looking too much forward to tho. Disappointment always looms right around the corner.

Also some of the weapons annoy me. Especially just last night I was in the caves and I must say that especially one really gets on my nerves. I am presuming it is the Phoenix from the New Conglomerate (since those where who we where fighting). Sure indirect fire is part of the game. But constantly having AMS’es and my Avenger guns taken out by rockets from people who around a corner got really frustrating. Especially since we have no chance of getting to them with even indirect tank shells (they go over stuff. But not around corners). But then I always get the feeling that the Terran Republic is either underpowered or just not generally filled with players who are not exactly of the best quality. I suppose I personally pull the empire towards the latter.

In other news:
Of course on the Vanguard side things are changing too. And obviously just after I stopped playing they figured it would be a good time to start developing one of the changes I have been a strong supporter for. I am not sure if anyone else seriously pushed for it on VGTact (the official Vanguard Diplomacy forums) but I doubt it was directly based on my comments. No matter how it came along they have finally decided that 5-9 cards in a play deck simply isn’t enough for any real game-play. So coming soon it seems they greatly increases the numbers of cards a diplomat is going to be using.

This, of course, annoys me a great deal. The nerve of them to go with MY suggestions after I left! Hehe. Well I can’t say it will make me spend cash on the game again. But maybe I’ll have to spend one of my ten buddy keys to try out the new system once it’s in. Shouldn’t take a lot of time to make a character and try it out. I am not really sure it changes much tho. Each parley is just going to take longer and the progression curve in diplomacy hasn’t been changed much. Well they made the first bit a little quicker it seems. But the change stops about where my character is at now. So it won’t mean much for my main.

New betas are coming up too. The Chronicles of Spellborn should be right around the corner. Seems I didn’t get into the last phase of the closed one. But open beta is already overdue. So I suppose it can’t be long now. Age of Conan should be accepting first batch soon too. I’m feeling confident there. Only around 100.000 people signed up and I didn’t add any additional reason to select me. So I’ll be in for sure! 😉

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