• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Sunday, November 27, 2011

May the Tweets be with you...

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It's been a bit of a mixed weekend. My kids have both been ill, so my leisure time has been severely curtailed (they are slowly recovering now, not sure I am!). I did however manage to find some time to play The Old Republic during this weekend's massive stress test in which anyone who had applied to test the game was finally invited onboard.

Despite a few minor niggles the stress test seems to have gone off very well, with the vast majority very happy with their test experiences. Considering there were hundreds of thousands of testers and most of the servers were showing as full for most of the weekend, I found there to be almost zero lag and had a blast. Even when I had to play on a West Coast US server due to the queues the game ran as smooth as butter.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting to grips with a Naga

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In preparation for the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic I recently decided to go ahead and get myself a new mouse. Based on the recommendations of some friends I plumped for the Razer Naga Epic, the wireless version of Razer's MMO gaming mouse. It's quite a big step change for me, as I've been using a simple Microsoft Intellimouse for years now, so I've gone from 5 buttons to 17!


I plumped for the Epic version for a couple of reasons. First of all I like the idea of a wireless mouse with a high sampling rate. My old mouse was wireless and I'm not sure I could go back to the drag of a wired mouse (though the Naga Epic can be used wired as well in case of battery emergencies!). Secondly, the Naga Epic comes with three magnetic interchangeable side panels of different sizes. I have big hands and find some mice a little small to fit comfortably.

So, how have I found the move to a dedicated gaming mouse?
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Friday, November 18, 2011

My SWTOR Beta Review

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I've been quietly playing the Star Wars The Old Republic beta for some time now. At last, with the drop of the NDA announced on Friday I'm able to give you my detailed thoughts. I've been making busy making notes and recording my thoughts and experiences in preparation for this day, so now I get the chance to let you all know what I think.

Those of you who are regular readers will know where I am coming from with regards to SWTOR, but as a quick refresher for those who don't know, I'm an 12 year MMO veteran having started playing the original Everquest back when it was launched. Since then I've played all the major western MMOs. I am a huge fan of Bioware RPGs, especially the Baldurs Gate, Mass Effect and original Knights of the Old Republic series.

I am not a particularly huge Star Wars fan. I have a soft spot for the original trilogy, but really cannot stand the prequel trilogy and most of what has come since. I have been looking forwards to SWTOR for a long time however, and pre-ordered my Collector's Edition on the day that pre-orders were first announced. So, my feelings on the game are obviously coloured by all of those aspects. Having said all that I am going to be as objective and judgemental as I can be with regards to his review.

This is going to be a long and detailed review, but bear in mind that I was playing a game in beta, and many of the things I'm going to talk about (certainly the smaller details) may change for launch. Many things changed with the most recent build on Thursday. Also, I'm not a min-maxer and not interested in statistics and theorycrafting. This review will contain impressions but not detailed run downs on abilities and skills. I should also note that I only got a character up to level 25 during my time in the test, so my impressions should only be taken as accounting for the first 25 levels of the game.

I've already written a lot about SWTOR. It's obviously the game I have been anticipating the most for quite some time, so I began the game with high expectations. Read on to find out if I was disappointed, surprised or happy with what I found. This is going to be a long and detailed review, so strap yourself in, it could get messy...
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SWTOR NDA Lifted!

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As of now the NDA covering Star Wars The Old Republic has been lifted. I'll have my massive beta review up sometime over the weekend. In the meantime I'm sure there will be lots of coverage on all the usual fansites.

In other (perhaps less exciting) news regarding the game Darth Hater have a preview of the new PVP zone, Outlaw's Den. It's an open world area with special vendors, rewards and dueling areas for organised guild vs guild PvP action!

Bioware also released a video preview of a new Flashpoint called Bringing Down the Hammer. You can check the embed below.


Update: Bioware have also released the first official information about the much-rumoured Legacy system! A busy day indeed! Read on for the quote.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Farewell EQ2, it's been a blast!

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As I predicted last month, my time in EQ2 has drawn to a close, and I logged out for the last time this evening. I've had an on-off-and-on-again relationship with the game over the last 7 years, but my last year in the game has left me both impressed with the progress made during my absence, and fearful for the future of the game as it moves to a free-to-play model in the shadow of SWTOR.

So, farewell then EQ2. One of the best MMOs out there, with a thriving and generally friendly community. I wish you well.

I'd also like to thank Acolytes of Valor for making the last year so enjoyable. Hopefully I'll see some of you again in new lands.

For my part I'll be spending the next few weeks continuing to beta test before the launch of The Old Republic.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

EQ2 FTP & iG UD!

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So, Everquest 2 is going completely free-to-play on all servers. This brings some mixed feelings for me.

First of all it means I will be able to afford (financially at least, if not time-wise) to continue to play EQ2 alongside SWTOR. However, if I am understanding the FAQs and information correctly I will not be able to use the mythical weapon and fabled armour I have obtained unless I pay a subscription. That is going to be very frustrating.

Whilst the trend towards AAA games going free-to-play continues, and with good reason (LoTRO, AoC and DCUO all made huge gains in user numbers and revenue when they switched), I am a little nervous at what might happen to the excellent community on the Antonia Bayle server. The LoTRO community suffered when the change to FTP was made, and I hope the same doesn't happen here.

I guess SOE are doing this to try and combat some of the subscribers they will lose when TOR launches, so I can understand why. Based on previous SOE moves to the free-to-play system however I am not confident it will offer the best experience, or even good value for money. SOE tend to be very stingy with what features are included gratis in their free-to-play games.

Time will tell, but even the move to FTP will not stop me spending the vast majority of my time wielding blasters and lightsabers rather than swords and spells.

In other news, I have updated my Star Wars: The Old Republic iGoogle theme so that it looks better with iGoogle's recent redesign. Why Google keep redesigning their interfaces so that user-created themes keep breaking I don't know. I wish they wouldn't, it's annoying!

Anyway, you can grab the updated there here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beta-toets* Weer

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*Afrikaans for Beta Testing again.

I'm back from my week in South Africa and boy is there a lot to catch up on! I'm going to try and catch up on all my emails and the latest news later, but after the flight and little sleep I'll probably end up just sleeping for the weekend.

South Africa was an incredible experience. I only managed to scratch the surface but it is one of the most schizophrenic places I have ever been too. Cape Town and Jo'burg might as well be in different countries. The people were uniformly friendly and welcoming, and the scenery nothing short of spectacular! I will definitely be returning if I get the chance.

 

On the gaming front the exciting news is that I've been invited to beta test another game (the full test, not a weekend test). I won't be breaking the NDA of course, but will make lots of notes so I can get my review up when it eventually drops.

As a celebration I've changed the look of the site once again. Hope you like it!
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Friday, November 04, 2011

Travels and travails

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A quick update this week, mainly to let everyone know that there won't be any blog posts for a while as I'm travelling to South Africa with work this weekend. I'm looking forwards to it as it's one place I've never been before.

On the SWTOR front Bioware have begun Phase 3 of the pre-release guild program; Deployment. This means they will shortly be allocating guilds that qualify to the server types that they have chosen. They also revealed that the following server types will be available at launch: PvE, PvP, RP-PvE, and RP-PvP.

Finally, Bioware have released the Imperial Agent progression video as this weeks Friday Update. Check the embed below.


Edit: Additionally Bioware have released details of the Early Access program. Those who pre-order could get into the game up to 5 days early!