On Gaming

If you know even a little about me, or have read 0ddness for any length of time, you will know that I am a bit of a Gamer. For the most part, I play online games, and if you fall into the afore-mentioned "Know Me A Little" category, you will know that I am an avid World of Warcraft (WoW) player.

Now, WoW is almost ten years old, and for the most part, I have been playing WoW the entire, time. I've had several months off here and there, mainly from suffering burnout or boredom, only to miss playing and to carry on going again.

I am currently going through one of those phases, and have been trying to find something else to play. Thankfully, I have a Steam account, and have started poking around on Twitch.tv to see what's what in the world of gaming.

Usually, I only have two or three games installed on my laptop - usually that's all that can hold my attention, or I stick with one (usually WoW) and play that constantly. Including WoW, I currently have NINE games installed, plus another four on my Steam account I own but haven't installed. Then there is Origin, which has another three games on it. I've not even looked at the free games available on there!

For me, that's unheard of.

The biggest problem is that I know what I like. So often, I will start an online game, and my first thought is "It's not WoW..." which I know is stupid, because if I am playing something else, it usually means I'm bored of WoW, which means I want something different...

I know, I never said I was normal.

So, I've been keeping an open mind, and trying other games, just to see what's what. Oh yes, and the other issue - I'm not wanting to part with cash for something that I will probably not like - so I've been going through Steam looking for the different Free-to-Play (F2P) games.

I know, I never said I was normal.

So, I decided that, for a change, I'd blog it, and review a few of the games I've been bashing around on. These are NOT exhaustive, I do NOT cover all aspects of the games, and as usual, these are my own opinions, and I'm not getting anything out of them. I know a few of you (assuming I still have readers) are gamers and looking for something different every now and then, so figured you might be interested.

I am also fully aware that none of these are "new" games, and that they have probably been reviewed to death elsewhere. But they are new to me. If that makes sense.



Rift is one of the F2P games I've started with, and despite having several people tell me "Oh, I played that, it was awful" I've stuck with it. Especially as most people that have told me it was awful gave it about three nano-seconds of play time. I can't take peoples personal reviews seriously if they play one character/class, and only play for the first few levels.

So, I downloaded it (it's huuuuge by the way, you might be better off setting off the download/install/patch at bedtime) and gave it a whirl...

First off, it's quite similar to WoW - but then, I think a lot of MMORPG-type games are similar to one another, because A) The formula for WoW obviously works, and B) There are so many ways you can reinvent the wheel. The graphics are quite pretty - more realistic than WoW, but not up there with games like Guild Wars.

The game itself is very good - I've been playing on and off pretty much when I've had free time (aside from the fortnight I was sick as a dog) and am loving it. I've levelled one character up to 30-something, and another to the mid-teens. According to Steam, I've logged 60 hours of play time.

Because I enjoyed it, I threw a few quid at it too. It IS a free game, but you can buy credits to buy different things in the in-game store, but it isn't a Pay-to-Win game - they maintain that you don't need to pay ANYTHING and can still be as effective as someone that has thrown a metric shit-ton of money at the game. Credits can buy outfits, mounts, additional space, extra character slots - various things that don't really affect gameplay. I bought some credits to acknowledge that it's a good game, that I appreciate it's free, and because I "needed" a mount and more storage space.

Like most MMOs, it plays in the same sort of way... Go here, kill X of these, collect Y of that, talk to this fellow... Like I said, they aren't reinventing the wheel here.

My final point - and this is something that WoW seems to lack on occasion - is that the community is friendly, helpful and generally approachable. If you ask a question in WoW, for the most part you will get a hammering from the trolls that play. In Rift if you ask a question - and because I'm a newbie, it's likely a silly question - you actually get help and guidance. It's quite refreshing if I am honest.

The developers, Trion, keep the game updated, appear to be adding new content quite regularly, have a decent customer service presence, and regularly release patches, hotfixes and minor repairs if something goes pearshaped. They also release expansions every now and then.

And remember, this is a F2P game.. WoW is £8.99 a month, plus you have to buy the expansions when they are released - usually for something like £30.

All in all, if you are looking for an MMO but aren't sure what you want to play, I really do recommend trying Rift. But try it properly - don't give it an hour and then delete it. Play through, read the quests, explore, chat to people. It is well worth it I think.



I DO love me some Dungeons & Dragons. My real passion before Bethy died was playing D&D, but after losing her, I don't know, something inside me broke, and I found it hard to play and run games. Every now and then, I have a burst of creativity and think of scenarios and situations for games, or I think of an entire plot line or even a story of some kind which I start to write.

But then I lose interest for some reason and struggle to keep going on and on. I hate it with a burning hate, because I LOVE D&D, but don't think you can force something, because it then becomes a chore.

D&D computer games are quite good, but never quite manage it. I loved the Baulders Gate & Neverwinter Nights series of games, but Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) was a pretty naff game. So imagine my surprise when browsing Steam, I came across a game called Neverwinter - the name of a city in the Forgotten Realms setting of D&D with lots of history and back story.

I was very much "Ooooooh" when I saw it, even more so when I realised I was in the F2P section! A free D&D game. I had a check, made sure it was NOT a rebranded, renamed, rechurned-out version of DDO, and gave it a whirl.

Again, if you're going to install it, do it at bedtime - it takes a while.

Now, in as much as WoW and Rift are true MMOs where you run around a world and run into other players, Neverwinter seems slightly different in that a lot of areas you go to do quests seem to be just for you (and, I assume, your group if you have one).

It's also different in that the combat system is more hands-on. In WoW & Rift, you push buttons and hotkeys to do a multitude of different things. With Neverwinter, you have fewer abilities, but can move around, dodge, counter-attack and everything else. It makes quite a difference.

While the questing system is very similar - go here, kill this, collect that - it is a LOT more linear than "traditional" MMOs. Don't get me wrong, that's not always a bad thing, but with the previously mentioned games, you can go and wander off elsewhere, have an explore, see what's what, find a different quest hub or whatever. Neverwinter is more a case of going from A to B to C.

However, that said, it IS very D&D. While I was never that sort of Dungeon Master (my players always had free reign to get their heads splattered where-ever they wanted) a lot of D&D scenarios are very much A-to-B-to-C-to-win style.

I confess I've not played Neverwinter for a huge amount of time. Twelve hours racked up so far. And I've only played one character. I've not spent any money on it as yet, but like Rift, you can buy credits and buy other stuff - but I've not looked at any of that yet, so don't know if it's Pay-to-Win.

It is a very pretty game, and the different areas are excellently laid out. The combat system makes a nice change to the multitude of buttons you get in other games, and having to be more alert than you would in others is nice.

But. For me, that is an issue. There are days when I can't even do up my own shoe laces because I'm not sure what I'm doing.

Possibly one of the most interesting aspects of Neverwinter is the fact players can create their own adventures with a tool called The Foundry. Now, I've neither played nor created anything Foundry-based as yet, but talking to other players, it makes a huge difference to the game. If you're bored of A-to-B-to-C, you can enter a Foundry adventure. Effectively, it's a single-stand-alone adventure, sometimes with various parts to it, but it's a break from the norm that sounds very interesting.

Again, if you're looking for an MMO or similar game, it's worth a go. I intend to play more, but if you have concentration issues, then you DO need to be in the right frame of mind.



I confess I've been playing this one for a while, as I've been in the Closed Beta for it, but seeing as my blogging has been, shall we say, a little sporadic, I never really mentioned it.

Hearthstone IS a Warcraft related game, but is a complete break from the above games. Hearthstone is a card game in the WoW setting, but you do NOT need to be a WoW player to enjoy it.

If you've ever seen ANY form of Collectible Card Game (CCG), it's most likely going to have been Magic: The Gathering, Vampire:The Eternal Struggle/Jyhad, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh or similar... I used to play Magic a LOT, I spent a f$ck-ton of money on it when I left college, and even now I have a few boxes of cards. Vampire wasn't bad, but Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh never interested me at all.

So Hearthstone is much like these games. You have a deck of cards, gain power, summon creatures, destroy your enemy... It's brilliant, really really fun. If you have a Battle.net account, I believe it's currently in Open Beta, which means anyone can sign up and play. I think.

Again, it's currently free (I don't know if it will remain free once released) but you can spent money on it by buying Booster Packs of cards, adding them to your starting collection, with a chance of getting rarer, more powerful cards. BUT you don't need to buy the cards.

You can play practise games to get used to it, against different difficulty levels of AI enemies, and you can play one-off games against other human players. Then there are the league/tournament games which is against players that have rebuilt their decks and optimised how they play.

Yes, I lost a lot.

If you like these sort of games, if you enjoy CCGs, it is a good laugh. Obviously, being that it's still in beta, there may be bugs and issues in it, and the final product may be slightly different - plus when the game is released, you will probably have your account reset. I don't know for sure, but you may well end up starting over on release day.


I think for the time being, that will do. I'm also playing other games, but haven't played them enough to form any real opinion on them. Sims3 seems interesting but more like hard work - I played it before and it just seemed like work as opposed to a game. Path of Exile is fun, and very much like a Diablo3 type of game, but I've only sodded around on it for a while. Electronic Super Joy is an 8bit style platform game that is HUGELY frustrating, but has a brilliant techno-style soundtrack. Dragon Age Origins I got for Xmas, and have seen Kellie play it through a few times, so thought I would give it a whirl. Enjoying it quite a bit, but again, needs concentration.

Yesterday, I heard about one game from two different sources that kind of piqued my interest. One was the 0dd Sister. We were talking about Live Roleplaying, her memory recalled things about it because the 0dd Brother In Law had was playing League of Legends (LoL). An hour before that, I was on Twitch, and clicked a video in one category that was actually something different - a League of Legends game.

So, I took the hint, took the plunge, and dived in. I started the download (Huge, Bedtime, etc etc) and eventually got in. I've read several reviews, watched some videos, and have played through some of the tutorials...

It's classed as a "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" or MOBA game (as opposed to "Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game" or MMORPG) and is apparently based off a Warcraft 3 mod called Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) from a few years ago, that appears to have spawned the whole genre of MOBA.

The reviews are all positive, and the game itself does seem very good from what I've played so far - but like I say, it's only the tutorials as yet. It does seem to have quite a steep learning curve, with a massive choice of things to do and to play, but I'm running through the tutorials more than once which helps. No doubt I will slap up another post about it at some point!

If you managed to read through this entire post - which has taken me ages to do thanks to a headache, feeling sick, and finding links for you to click - then well done. Clearly you're as much a nerd as I am!

Until next time.

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One Response to “On Gaming”

GreenCastle said...

True I am! May even revue Tiberium Alliances soon... only been playing it for a year, and thrown wow type money at it.... but it is the only game I play at the moment....