It’s ArcheAge Time! My Vegan Farming Plan

The Head Start for ArcheAge started yesterday but I’m just today sitting in the queue to login for the first time.  I’m looking forward to hopping in and exploring this world again.  When I played in the beginning of Alpha, I had a great time. I played just enough to know that it was a game that really held my interest, and I decided to stop playing so I didn’t burnout before it launched for real. So here we are!  It’s the beginning of my new life in ArcheAge, and this time I have a plan.

I am going to make the game an experiment for me.  I want to play ArcheAge as a vegan, with my character’s actions mirroring my own desires in real life.  My plan is to be a farmer who uses no animal products, farming up crops & logs and trees and such to sell on the market and skill up.  If I own chickens, cows, goats, or other animals – they will be rescue animals from other farms and I will not use their products.  I will feed them and care for them only.  If I have to milk them or whatnot in order for them to stay happy (not sure about game mechanics), I will find a use for the milk that goes back into rescuing more animals.  I plan to only eat or cook materials that are 100% vegan.  And in questing, unless it’s absolutely required I am going to try to avoid killing animals (I’m not sure that’s even possible to be honest, so that might be the optional part of this experiment).

I think it will be fun to put limitations on myself and see if I can make this happen. If nothing else, it’s a  fun persona for my character that gives me some RP ability and some good stories for the blog.

Right now, I’m concerned because I’m not sure there will be land for me to start farming — so we’ll have to see when that becomes a reality.  I will be blogging about my ArcheAge experiment, so stay tuned for more!

I Refuse to Believe that MMOs are Dead

(First off, an apology.  I have basically all but disappeared over here, but life + work + other projects have come into play, and good ol’ CuppyVille has to sit aside while more important things come first.)

When we last spoke, I was pretty enamored with WildStar.  I even made some kind of proclamation on Twitter that it was definitely going to be my “main MMO” for months, and I canceled my WoW subscription for the first time in months.  But to be fair, by all accounts it should have been my main MMO.  I loved the world, the art style, my character, the combat, the housing, the crafting — literally everything about the game.  It had the polish that I love, a fresh fantasy/sci-fi hybrid feel that I was enjoying, some humorous elements, and ticked all the boxes on my mental checklist of “things I love about MMOs”.  I liked my Esper and I thought she was adorable and fun to play. I had a guild of likeminded people that I was playing with (fellow bloggers & feminists too) that should have kept me firmly solidified in the game.  But I got to level 16 and then just didn’t want to play anymore.

I’m not the only one who has talked about this.  That Angry Dwarf mentioned that he believes MMOs are habit-forming, and that once you break the habit they’re really hard to get into.  I think this hits right at home for me.  When I’m logging in nightly, I’m enjoying myself.  But if I miss a day or two because of real life, I lose my desire to log in and play.  And once the desire is gone, it’s really hard to rekindle the inspiration I need to log in and make any progress on my character.

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Liore offered up similar sentiments over on her blog.  She was super into WildStar and she’s always been a staunch supporter of a variety of MMOs, but she too has lost her desire to play the game.  She’s even gone so far as to declare MMOs as dead (which she clarified in the comments — she meant they’re dead to HER) and is no longer going to be playing them at all.  How has the industry gotten to this point where we have MMO community influencers such as Liore saying that they don’t even want to play MMOs at all anymore?

It’s gotten to be a joke with my friends — how long will Cuppy actually play any given MMO for?  An hour?  A day?  Maybe a week?  In that time, I’ll be tweeting and taking videos and making screenshot albums and joining guilds and writing about the game at length.  Completely immersed for the moment, but then I’m unable to stick with them.  For awhile I’ve been declaring that as some fault of my own, and sometimes I think my friends assume it is a trait that only I possess.  But if you read the comments on those articles, if you read Twitter, it’s not just me.  Sadly, I feel relieved about this because I’m glad to know that I’m not someone who is a “bad gamer” who has ADD who just can’t stick with something.  I mean, look at my gaming history.  I played EverQuest so hardcore for YEARS that I basically flunked out of my first semester of college while raiding with one of the top guilds in the world.  My love for these games (and blogging about them) is what lead me to transplant myself to California from Minnesota so I could spend the rest of my life working on them.  I ran one of the leading server forum communities back in the day for my EverQuest server.  I created fanart, fan fiction (yeah, yeah), videos, podcasts, went to fan conventions.  I moved onto WoW and gave that game a steady four years of my life as well, raiding throughout vanilla and TBC and flying across the country to meet up with my guildmates.  Clearly I possess the capability to devote myself to a game and stick with it, but why have the last few years been so full of malaise?

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Guild Wars 2 was a fantastic game. The art was beautiful, I liked the combat, and it was innovative.  I made it to level 25 and quit.  Lord of the Rings Online was always intriguing and had some systems that I truly admired (music, costumes, horses) but I couldn’t stick with it.  SWTOR wasn’t that great of a game, but I cared a lot about my Bounty Hunter’s story up until the day I didn’t.  FFXIV was AWESOME, but once I realized that I’d end up running out of quests when I want to do a second/third job, I felt exhausted with the idea of grinding and gave up before even finishing my first job.  ESO was a decent game with interesting stories, but I didn’t make it to max level there either. ArcheAge was a ton of fun in alpha (and I’m still planning on playing it) but one day I just decided I couldn’t keep playing it if I was going to have to re-do my progress when the game goes live. I have played EverQuest II off and on since launch and my highest character EVER is level 45.  RIFT never held onto me, even though it too was a good game.  Aion, TSW, Neverwinter, I’ve played them all and stuck with none of them.  You get my point.

But millions of people still play WoW.  New players who stumble across these games still love them.  I’m a numbers girl and I refuse to believe that MMOs are dead when millions of people across the world are enjoying them.  Is it possible that those of us who’ve been around since the beginning are just exhausted with the same game mechanics and can’t commit to something because everything is so derivative and we’ve already done it?  Wilhelm talks about how he’s having great fun in WoW right now because that’s where his friends & family are.  Is the MMO scene just too fragmented now, and since everyone is playing something different we’ve lost that sense of community with our real life friends?  Check out the r/MMORPG subreddit — it’s filled with people looking for a new MMO to play because they’re bored with the one they’re playing, and 90% of the people will be looking for a new MMO again within a month.  This is a rampant feeling, so how do we solve it?

I actually think the MMO world is very fragmented.  “MMO players” are lumped together into one bucket, but everyone actually wants radically different things out of their games.  Some people want choice, and sandboxes, and want to be able to change the world and leave a mark on it.  Some players want PvP and are passionate about it, but of those — only some want hardcore PvP where death matters and the others want to be able to casually dabble into PvP without too much negative consequence…and of those, some only want open world PvP and others want arena combat.  Some players want a life-encompassing immersive experience that commands hours per day, while others want to jump into a game ‘casually’ and make meaningful progress.  Some players want housing and farming, but only some of them want it instanced, private, and safe while others want it to non-instanced and take up physical space in the world.  Some players want to raid, and some of those want to raid with friends but others have no friends and want to easily connect with other people in-game and still accomplish end-game content.  Some players care about costumes, and pets, and collecting things.  Some care about achievements, and some completely hate them.  Some people read the story, love the lore, and even roleplay — while other players click through quests as fast as possible.  The list goes on and on.

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All of this boils down to the fact that no game, no matter how good it is, will appeal to all MMO players.  I read people like Tobold and Keen (both of which I respect quite a bit for their opinions) making sweeping statements like “choice should matter” that don’t really read as opinion pieces but instead as broad generalizations that are completely false as they pertain to my gaming style.  The fact of the matter is, that some people’s MMO preferences are in exact odds with each other.  One game can’t necessarily accomplish both.  And WoW is still a titan because it tries (and has succeeded) at mostly being everything to everyone.  Sure it misses here and there, but overall — it’s a game that rewards you for how you choose to play.  Other games are trying to copy that method, but without the budget and the longevity that Blizzard has been afforded, they’re unlikely to hit the mark on the nose.

Anyway, I’m rambling and I’m not sure where I’m going with this — other than to say that I think Liore, the Angry Dwarf, myself, and all the other frustrated and bored MMO players out there haven’t found the game we’re looking for because it either doesn’t exist yet, or it already existed years ago and feels archaic at this point. Just because these MMOs keep launching doesn’t mean we will like them — but we try them because “dammit, we’re MMO players” and they seem like they have everything we’re looking for.  But they don’t, they’re missing potentially small-yet-important elements of what makes an MMO stick with us.  I don’t want to say I’m done with MMOs forever because I have loved before and know I am capable of loving again. But I do need to start being more careful about how I’m spending my money, because buying every MMO on the market isn’t a viable strategy for me anymore.  Just because it looks good and people say it’s good, doesn’t mean I’ll think it’s good.  I am better off tackling my 200+ game Steam backlog than buying boxes of new games I won’t enjoy for longer than a week or two.

Moving on from ArcheAge….for now!

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Sometimes, you just have to know yourself and know your limits.  I played ArcheAge up to level 18, farmed a bit, quested a lot, tried out a few class skill trees, and I know that 100% without a doubt I want to play this game in live.  It’s the kind of game that I could see myself getting burnt out on.  The questing isn’t grindy, but the farming and crafting aspects of the game are deep and engaging enough that I am not sure I’d be down to do it twice.  That might seem backwards, but I know that I don’t like to replay content more than once.  ArcheAge is the kind of game that I will devote myself to fulltime when it’s live, and I want to wait. I’ll pop in here and there I’m sure, but for now I can say that without a doubt I will be playing this game when it launches and that’s good enough for me.

I know that I’ll be playing WildStar when it launches and I don’t have anything else to play right now…so I’ve been hopping into Guild Wars 2.  I am playing my little Charrdian and love to get lost in the story and the beautiful game environment.  My goal is to get to a max level character in GW2 sometime in my life, so that’s what I’ll be working on until WildStar.  🙂

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A Few ArcheAge Screenshots

I streamed ArcheAge last night for a couple hours, so if you’d like to watch my stream feel free to click here.  The most notable event was me getting my Glider for the first time!  Gliders are pretty neat, they basically let you ‘fly’ for short distances without being a 24/7 flying mount, and it’s pretty fun to dive off cliffs while using it.  There all all sorts of advanced levels of gliders which I presume increase the speed and change the appearance, but it seems that those have to be crafted or bought.

Other than that, I harvested my first few crops and tried cooking for the first time.  My baby chicken is now a full-grown hen, but in order to get eggs from her (for a cooking recipe) I need to feed her barley, which I am currently growing.  If you can’t tell how much of a timesink this game will be, that should be a decent indication. 🙂  Finally, I am level 14 now which I consider to be pretty fast progress considering I’ve been faffing around quite a bit and not at all speed leveling.

I’m heading out today for a job interview (yay!) but I wanted to leave everyone with some screenshots before I go!

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ArcheAge Founders Packs are Live (But They’re Not Cheap)

Though it was leaked early on Massively (so it isn’t a huge surprise), Trion released their Founders Packs for ArcheAge today on their online store.  The prices and rewards vary, but you can see the full list below of everything you get.  Keep in mind that ArcheAge is a free-to-play game with a subscription option, so these Founders Packs most closely resemble the ones that Sony Online did for Landmark this year.  More thoughts below the image….

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Some players are seriously upset about this, claiming that the prices are too high and Trion are cash-gouging and that having to buy your way into alpha is unfair especially when the game has been live in another country for a year already.  Personally, I don’t have any issues with it.  Clearly an alpha means that the game isn’t ready for primetime yet — isn’t ready to hold the swarms of players who want to get in the game.  They can either continue by being selective themselves and choosing streamers, fansite operators, and community influencers, or they can make it completely random (letting in many people who will make very little contribution both in-game or out), or they can do this.  Doing it this way means that people who are really interested in playing the game and testing it and submitting bugs & feedback will do so, and Trion makes some advance money out of this which helps continue to fund development on the title that isn’t making money yet.

And let’s be real here, the value is pretty good.  The credits they give you for the Archeum Pack are worth $75 and the game time is worth about $45 based on a $14.99 subscription.  So that’s worth $120 AND you get all those extra perks and alpha and beta access.  As someone who recently paid $80 for the digital Imperial edition of Elder Scrolls Online and got a game that was also buggy and had less content, I think these Founders Packs are fair. But, maybe I’m just a fangirl.

Thoughts?

 

Got My First Farm in ArcheAge

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One thing about ArcheAge that has intrigued me from the beginning is the concept of farming.   There are countless seeds to plant and things to grow, and you will need to grow these things in order to craft and trade and make things for yourself.  You can raise crops and plants but also animals, which I find adorable.  I am a Firran and I’m not sure if other races start out in different areas of the world (I am still learning this game) but for me, I was given my first farm as part of an instructional quest line in Tigerspine Mountains right outside the little town of Anvilton.

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In the screenshot above you can see my little farm, which is a small patch of land protected (and marked) by a scarecrow.  I have four crops here in this soil.  One thing I found interesting is that crops require a certain climate to grow, so you may have to either have multiple farms or grow things in public farms in different areas so that you can grow all the things you need to. Or, you can trade with other players. 🙂  You can buy seeds from vendors for both crops and also you can purchase saplings from vendors as well, which allows you to grow trees (which you can chop down for logs, which are used to build things in carpentry).  There are also certain seeds that you can only buy in particular locations in the world.  Basically, farming is very involved and very much a part of the game’s economy and other systems.  Which is neat!

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Basically, I am enjoying my little ArcheAge farm so far. I’m planting things that will actually help me out and not just satisfy quest requirements, which is great.  I’m loving the animals, and really enjoying the “screenshot mode” which lets you free the camera and get neat images.  In fact, have some more images because animals are CUTE.

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ArcheAge: Why is everything SO adorable?!

The subject line of this post is not a complaint.  I came into ArcheAge not really expecting to be blown away, and ending up realizing that a lot of elements of the game are *exactly* made for me.  But nothing else demonstrates this quite so much as some screenshots of the cuteness.

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The screenshot above is of a Snowlion Cub.  ArcheAge has you pick out which cub you want (white, black, or brown I believe) and then you raise it from a tiny little thing into your full fledged grown companion.  You have to give your baby Snowlion some water, dance with it, clean it, and interact with it.  This process happens quickly but I imagine that other baby pets obtained throughout the game will take more time to grow.  They are so cute with their big eyes and their pointy ears!  I squealed when I saw one, and I was so happy to have my own.  They grow fast though….check out my Snowlion now:

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There are cute things all over too…I really need to take more screenshots.  Here you can see the baby donkeys and baby horses, which you can raise to become mounts and combat fighters as well:

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I need to do a better job of screenshotting things, but it’s difficult to remember while I’m streaming.  If you want to see Day 2 of my ArcheAge journey, complete with some exploration of glider and housing options, head on over here. I’m going to hop back into AA tonight and see what trouble I can get myself into. 🙂

ArcheAge, y’all! In the NA alpha!

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I was fortunate enough to get into the ArcheAge NA Alpha this week, and I downloaded the client yesterday and hopped right in.  I had watched a few streams (namely, Cohh’s) and was more than a little intrigued by the game, so I’m super excited that I have a chance to really dig in and find out more about it by learning!

So far, I’m level 9 and really enjoying it.  I’ve been just doing the standard quests that are pretty much same-ol same-ol compared to other MMOs, but it’s so exciting to know that there is SO MUCH MORE TO DO out there.  Fishing, animal breeding, farming, being a pirate, building a house, building a ship, you name it.  It’s truly a sandbox, and I can’t wait to see all there is.  I did really enjoy the cute little quest cutscene you can see below:

I streamed the game last night and had a really good time doing it.  If you want to receive an email when I start streaming, give me a follow over at my Twitch page.

My full stream is available as well if you want to see the fun. 🙂