For those wanting to hit Black Desert and join me I’m playing on the North American realm, Orwen server.

You’ll notice a bunch of channels there as well. We normally hang on Balenos2 but you can switch between channels on the same server.

Name in game is ‘Noisy’. Feel free to hit me up.

I’ve been in the game since Sunday as I purchased the early-early ‘I am very special’ access package. This was in fact my very first time playing an MMO on launch day. I couldn’t get in for the first 20 minutes, so I gave up, went and got a glass of wine, drank that, drank another one, came back and I was in! Bugs have been very few and far between – a small problem with the map, settings not being remembered when reloading, but overall it’s been very smooth sailing.

So down to the game. There is some good stuff here, some very good stuff. For starters, your character is not the hero. You are not a special one to save the world. You wake up with no memory and a little black spirit to help you get it back. There is no story in the game. You can progress in any direction you want. You don’t even have to level much. Yesterday I got involved in cooking and did that for pretty much the whole day. It didn’t level me much at all. So if there’s no story does that mean …?

Yep, it’s a sandbox. A real sandbox. With sand and everything. I’m going to do a post on tips to get started but one thing I will mention now is the fact that completing quests does not give you experience in the traditional sense. You have energy and contribution points. Energy allows you to practice crafting. As you craft it goes down until it needs to be replenished by resting. You can also invest energy in towns, farms, and mines to give you more resources when you gather. Contribution allows you to purchase housing as well as invest in nodes. The nodes connect towns to the resource areas. It is important to remember that you can retrieve contribution points after you have invested them – they are not a permanent investment decision. So feel free to spread them around and see how you go.

Questing raises your energy and contribution points. Questing also gives you skill points which you can spend to unlock combat skills. Experience is mostly gained from killing mobs. So in effect you are leveling three different things, albeit in different ways.

The game is very sophisticated. It has a great deal of depth but the learning curve is not too bad. What can overwhelm you is the sheer number of options that you have. Players can become deer caught in the headlights. The thing to remember is that you are not restricted. You can progress in everything in the game so feel free to proceed in any direction you like. I’m doing gathering, cooking, and exploring the node and trade features. But there is much more than that.

Black Desert has progressed the genre, which is a great thing and about time too. To give an example, let’s have a look at how NPCs work in the game. In traditional MMOs they tend to be rather one dimensional. We are all familiar with an npc standing there with an exclamation mark above its head. NPCs in BDO have many different roles. You have marketplace, trade manager, stable-master, node manager, and many more. All of them can give you quests. They might have special local knowledge which you can obtain by spending energy. You can attempt to steal from NPCs. There is also a conversation mini-game where you can raise or lower their opinion of you. While obviously still being static elements, the important thing is that they don’t feel like static elements in the game. This is just one example of the very many advances that BDO has made.

The game is gorgeous. Unlike other Korean games which tend to look like anime on drugs, the setting is akin to 14th century Italy. Yesterday I went into a swamp area, and it really felt like a swamp. I’m guessing it has a decent toll on computer systems, however. I have a high-end rig and on the top visual settings yesterday I crashed twice. Today I’m going to tone it down one notch and see how it goes.

In summation, I’m so impressed right now. These guys even managed to eliminate gold sellers as there is no direct player trading. So far for me this game is diamonds. I really recommend it. The general launch begins today.

Getting ready for BDO and I successfully reserved my character names.

Screenshot (3)

You will notice that there is a Family name and then a character name. The family name will be present across all of your characters on your account across all servers in North America, in my case.

Think about this for a moment. In one fell swoop BDO has eliminated all inter-guild spying. It will not be possible to roll an alt and infiltrate an enemy guild unless you’re prepared to pay for an entirely new account which you’ll only be able to use anyway for exactly one infiltration.

This is a great development that keeps what happens in-game in the game. It seems that the mechanics of BDO are geared to provide gamers with meaningful choices. I will post more of these as I discover them.

It has been decided, so it is said, so it is done.

Black Desert online it is. I played the latest beta and I really like it. I’m not going to make the mistake of saying that THIS GAME IS THE ONE IT WILL CHANGE MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!

However, I think it looks neat. It also looks really sandboxy, a lot more sandboxy than you realize. A lot of commentators have missed this.

Draw a line. Put ArcheAge on the left. Now put Life is Feudal on the right. Now stick Black Desert in the middle. That’s where I think it sits.

For those of you contemplating its imminent release, (this weekend if you have the platinum package), here are a few useful links for you to get started:

1-60 levelling guide.

Google doc with a lot of neat stuff on it.

More awesome start guides.

I’m gonna be a ranger:

My gaming friend, Wassabi, has four rules for avoiding an MMO.

Rule 1. Stay away from the hype train.

The amount of MMOs in the past that have been hype train collateral damage are too many to mention. Invariably they disappoint, but they disappoint the hype train fanatics so much that they turn full circle from being the game’s biggest proponents to becoming its most ardent opponents.

Rule 2. Avoid Korean MMOs.

Korean MMOs are different from Western MMOs as they are geared to a different audience. Things that go well for a Korean population might not be such a good idea with a Western audience. A good example of this was ArcheAge’s expansion that raised the level cap five levels requiring a brutal xp grind. I imagine Koreans love this because they have no life. It didn’t go down too well with the Western playerbase, ie most of them quit.

Rule 3. Forget RNG gear progression.

Advancing in gear with the use of a random number generator is a roller-coaster ride of pure masochism. The highs are incredibly high but somehow they do not make up for the soul-crushing lows.

Rule 4. No Alpha or Beta.

Back in the day if you had an invite to test the alpha version of WoW’s next expansion you were a god in the eyes of your fellow gamers. Now you are merely a pawn and most of the time you have to pay for the privilege of doing the company’s work for them.

So there you have it. Those are the four rules on what to avoid in an MMO.

By the way, Black Desert hits all four of these criteria so based on that you should stay far away from that game.

I’ve just downloaded Black Desert and I’m going to be trying out their beta.

Do as I say, people. Do as I say not as I do. I thought you would have learned by now.

I got back in touch with my old ArcheAge group the other day. They were pleased to hear from me. The poor dears are still struggling on at their server in a loyal attempt to keep things going before server mergers happen in a few weeks time.

The GM is Wasabi and he is the only gamer that I’ve played with that I’ve met in real life. This is because he is a top gamer and guy and we also live in the same city. That helps I suppose. Anyway, I rang him up the other day.

“Dude, it’s Noisy.”

“Noisy. When you coming back?”

“I’m ready. What are we playing?”

Crickets.

That’s the problem in a nutshell right there. Wasabi is trying to talk me into going back to EVE which I played for a heartbeat many moons ago, but I’m not so sure. So we’re trying to find a game. Isn’t it just a little bit sad that it’s difficult to do this? You’d think with all the games out there that this would be easy, but maybe that’s what makes it so hard.

Anyway, we need help. We’ve got some good gamers and we’re looking for a game. Any suggestions? (Please don’t say Dark age of Camelot. It looks awful.)

Let’s face it, Zoe Quinn, the woman who sprung #GamerGate to life is flat out crazy. Which probably means that the sex was pretty good. Considering she used to take her clothes off for money, (known in the game as ‘stripping’), I’m sure she knows how to have a rollicking good time.

Unfortunately, her best known roll in the sack resulted in her tango partner revealing all to the world and it quickly spun out of control. In an attempt to retake control and spin the narrative, (misogyny!), Quinn began legal proceedings against the man.

Those proceedings have now been dropped. You would think that she’d do it quietly, but ex-strippers don’t do anything quietly. I have gone through her 3000 word diatribe so that you don’t have to, and I can summarize a few glorious points here:

“… I’ve been measured and silent and obedient for so, so, so long, but if I’m going to write about denied humanity it needs to be like this …”

Ahahahahahaha! You’re kidding right? Crazy like a harpy more like it.

“… You need to see unsanitized, reckless honesty just as much as I need to write it …”

Translation – she’s about to lie her ass off.

“… I’m writing this and examining it as I go through the fog of someone with PTSD …”

This really is a gross insult to people with actual PTSD, like returning soldiers for example.

“… I don’t know if the tears are out of frustration of having sunk a year and a half into this awful system for seemingly less than nothing, or if it’s out of relief …”

Oh please, you spoke at the fucking UN for chrissake, with that other fucking fraud, Sarkeesian.

“… My ex, who we’ll call Creep Throat because seeing his name makes a knot of anxiety rise in my throat, will be notified soon that the charges were dropped, but not why …”

I’m pretty sure he knows why – they were baseless charges, you psychopathic bitch.

“… I’m sure he’ll launch another salvo of flat out lies and spun truths …”

No, no, baby – we’re pretty sure you’re going to do that.

Then there’s a whole lot of blather, (at one point I think she’s trying to blame dropping the case on the fact that police murder non-whites, but that’s so far out there I just can’t be sure), but finally we get to this:

“… Going to court is like rolling the dice, the precedent you established isn’t up to you, and I didn’t want to risk becoming a tool in the next Creep Throat’s arsenal if we lost …”

And this:

“… You probably know that judges and juries can be biased and hold backward views and assumptions …”

Translation: I did not have a case, there was no case, the court would have ruled against me, and I only like going to court if I can guarantee that the judges will be biased for me.

“… The courts do not favor a lot of women simply for being who they are …”

The horror! You mean, you don’t just win because you’re a chick? Where’s the fairness in that??

“… Even beyond that, you have to be well behaved and silent about the proceedings, or risk pissing off the judge and giving the defense attorneys ammo to work with …”

What, so acting like a crazy bitch in court could hurt your ‘case’? That’s obscene, man.

“… I believe in standing up for sex workers and people living with mental health concerns …”

You don’t say?

“… and I don’t know what would have happened if I had kept my mouth shut when I was targeted two years ago …”

Yes, you do. You wouldn’t have spun this out into an entire career.

“… The spin is even more successful in these cases, because of how disconnected judges, lawyers, police, and juries often are from the internet …”

Fancy that. The law doesn’t consider all your internet ravings to be evidence. Who whouldda thought it?

“… What good does any of this do for anyone? It’s been almost two years now, and I desperately want to move on with my life …”

No, you don’t. You’ll spin this for as long as you possibly can.

“… I’ve done a lot of healing, a lot of building what I feel like are more workable pushes to improve the lives of people being abused online, and a lot of self-improvement. I’m getting to a place where I’m kind of ok …”

Could have fooled me. You still seem bat-shit crazy.

“… I have less energy to do casework at Crash, less energy to meet with tech partners to tell them how to do better and the ways they’re fucking up …”

Would you be upset if you didn’t have Zoe Quinn around more often telling you how you’re fucking up your job of which she knows next to nothing? No? I didn’t think so.

“… less energy to make my goofy video games about feelings and farts …”

This post, man, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

“… I’m tired of being afraid of being honest. I’m tired of watching people hand out “just go to the police they’ll protect you” while I silently scream and bite my tongue, because I know the advice-giver is giving horrible, ignorant advice …”

Terrible advice because how do you go to the police when they know that you’re just making shit up? As for tired of being honest, whoa boy.

“… if someone decides to go to the cops about their abuser they should be doing it with a more informed and prepared plan than I ever did …”

Must make up stuff better next time …

“… The least I can do to make that right is to be honest and open with the world …”

She sure does use the word honest a lot, doesn’t she? Now I wonder why that is …

“… And again, sorry if I’ve put my foot in my mouth through any of this unedited brain dump …”

No, no, Zoe. It’s been awesome. Thank you.

 

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