This morning is an absolute paradox. For some reason I am more exhausted than normal, even though I went to bed last night at roughly 9:30 rather than my usual midnight timeframe. I am convinced that my body has a sweet spot of 5-6 hours of sleep, and anything over or under causes me to turn into a slug. I am hoping that as I digest this coffee that its sweet sweet caffeine lifts me out of this slump.
Hazy Shade of Neverwinter
Last night I really had nothing much going on, and do not have any real grouping options in Rift until tomorrow night, so with all the recent buzz surrounding it I figured I would fire up Neverwinter. Quite honestly I had not even booted the game since the day it released to the public, and had not actually played the game since before that. The game is “fun enough”, but for me at least it has lacked whatever spark makes me want to log in and play it.
I had left the game just long enough for the control scheme to feel awkward, but after a few minutes I was back acclimatized. Unfortunately it is not the kind of game you can play with a cat draped across your chest, or at least not play it successfully. As a result I didn’t last all that long in the title, before wandering off into something else. I have been trying to figure out exactly why this game is so lackluster to me, but others are loving it and consuming it completely.
Subscription is not a Barrier
I think I finally landed upon a nugget of thought. A subscription fee for an MMO has never been a barrier, or something that honestly gave me pause. Sure it did, when I first started playing these titles back with Everquest… but now that I am used to paying to play it is just one of those things I have come to expect from online gaming. For a whole segment of the gaming world, the subscription and box fees are real barriers to getting into the game and enjoying it.
As a result I am maybe somewhat falsely comparing Neverwinter to what has now become “premium” subscription games, or even “buy the box” titles. The real competitors with Neverwinter are the completely free games like Runes of Magic, that you can sign up on a website, download the client and never actually be forced to buy anything. When you narrow the scope down to only paying attention to the “absolutely free” games… it becomes super impressive.
No Egregious Pay Walls
What Neverwinter seems to give the player for nothing, is an extremely fluid experience with well crafted storyline, relatively solid classes, and no egregious pay walls restricting your field of play. You can get in and do essentially everything there is to do right now without obstacles standing in your way. Basically the game has taken a completely different approach to the free to play genre, in that it gives you a carrot instead of a stick. Namely that all of the options seem to give you something quicker, better or shinier for your coin rather than locking you out of functionalities.
I think this is the aspect of the game I have been missing all along when I played it or attempted to review it. I still do not think free to play is the “one true payment model”, but I think what Neverwinter is doing is a more equitable model than we have seen to date. The only problem is, the game introduces large swaths of “pay to win”, which is a concept that western audiences have claimed they do not want. But this is exactly what Neverwinter seems to be delivering, the ability to purchase astral diamonds and get nice gear in the process.
To Infinity Steppes and Beyond
As I said earlier, I really did not spend a lot of time last night in Neverwinter. I had a cat that was trying to “aggressively snuggle” and quite honestly the game just leaves me nonplussed overall. I logged back into familiar and happy Rift to work a bit on the Steppes of Infinity. Earlier in the weekend I had unlocked the daily quest content in Ashora, which is good for at least 10 plat per day for some really easy questing. I had hoped to do the same out in the Steppes for maybe an easy 20+ plat per day.
The quest chain overall was far harder to solo than the one in Ashora, and involved a relatively difficult boss fight. I truly do mean a boss, because it uses all the same kind of tactics that the bosses do in dungeons. While this was nowhere near the difficulty of the Gatekeeper fight in The Secret World, I feel like it would definitely give a similar “right of passage” feel for Rift, based on the level 60 boss encounters I have experiences in dungeons. The quest chain as a whole sets the player up for what to expect from later game content in general.
All this while I am struggling to stay awake, because after the weekend we had I was just exhausted all day yesterday. Before I gave in to sleep however, I was able to finish out gathering the 300 plat for my 130% speed mount. I wound up getting the Grey Ursin, because of the non-armored varieties I felt that was the nicest. Above is a quick picture I snapped before finally falling asleep of me on the new mount. Unfortunately I mostly purchased the mount for the overall mount speed boost… and am likely to never ride it. I like my Hellbug, White Tiger and Flaming Horse far too much to ride the angry looking bear.
Needing to wrap up once again, as I am out of coffee and need to consider moving onwards to work. I will be in training all day which will be the opposite of fun. I hope you all have an amazing day out there. I am going to work on not falling asleep in a boring training presentation.