Saturday, August 25, 2007

Looking at the Eye

One of the key factors to a game is replay value. Granted, this is crucial in keeping players attached to the game. So it comes as no surprise when a game needs variety in order to support its replay value. In order to keep the game dynamic, something has to change. In the realm of FPS, the replay value is in the random people you meet. In my case, it's the challenges of going up against enemies who are either better or worse than me.

Guild Wars is one of those games that had some decent replay value, in which there are ways in order to enjoy the game without doing the same thing repeatedly, otherwise known as grinding. However, there are some activities that cannot be done without grinding. And there are numerous changes to the way the game work in that it is no longer "fun" for me to run around gathering interesting items. It's not possible to do some of the things alone anymore. My fun was ruined and I was turned away.

When two new chapters to Guild Wars were released, I purchased them immediately. Granted, this added something more to the entire game so that I don't have to play the same thing repeatedly. Yet there remains something that is needed in order to keep players in the game. It needed something to keep those players occupied. So the developers of the game, ArenaNet, added the area that was missing from the original release of Nightfall -- the Domain of Anguish. Sadly, the only way to enter is to beat the game first. Also of note is that there's nothing much else to add to the entire game.

Eventually the fabled Hard Mode became a reality and some changes were made to the way people accrue points to certain titles for Nightfall. Also changed was how some Titles work. The new titles that were introduced along with Hard Mode gave me something new to do... but it grew old quickly. Having been through all of the missions in all three chapters, I know how they work. What drove me away was the fact that some missions require the survival of characters, one of which would take point and rush straight into the battle. This lead to either rushing alongside with this character or leaving that character for dead, thus ending the mission prematurely. There is no control over this and there is no way to keep the character from rushing to its death. It frustrated me to no end and I went into haitus.

ArenaNet made the announcement that their first (and perhaps last and only expansion) to the Guild Wars game, Eye of the North, will be released on August 31, 2007. This completely blindsided many people who were expecting the expansion to be released during the 2007 holiday season (which would put the game around October or November). A Pre-Release pack was sent out to retailers and the pre-order component of the expansion was made available on their in-game online store. People bought it.

So as of now, for this weekend only, those who have made their pre-order are exploring the new areas. They are combatting monsters, participating in small games, exploring, and viewing what will become their monument to their own character. I am one of them. It is something new. And it is something to do. But sadly, all of this, all of the things that I have earned will be locked away for a week. It is only a week but it is understandable that things earned in a preview event should be locked away temporarily.

The world is vast... and it only felt that what I have done thus far only scratched the tip of this giant iceberg that I'm on. And assuming that the map that I have seen is correct, then what I am about to find out is that I'll be able to travel and explore an area that I have remembered so well yet never set foot on. How will this affect my time with Battlefield 2142? Honestly, I don't know. But after trying so hard to earn a particular badge, it is a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mission: Possible

This Titan will destruct in 5 seconds. Well, if only it was as simple as that. I do find that it's not a matter of luck but a matter of whether a Titan is lightly defended. If any, a Titan that is lightly defended is ripe for certain awards. One of them is the Titan Destruction Achievement badge. The highest award rank for this requires the destruction of 3 Titan Consoles and a Titan Core, a feat that is more about whether there are greedy teammates than about getting inside.

The problem with Titan-related awards is how the Titan ship was designed. Granted, there are some small and cramped corridors throughout the entire ship. But this invites the notion of people who do nothing but sit in that corner. They do nothing but throw grenades, lay explosives, and resupply themselves. It's akin to the legitimate form of stat-padding, a method by which is against DICE/EA's rules and regulations.

I have tried to sit back and catch these Titan attackers in action. Sadly, it's too much sitting around and not enough action. And I'm often itching for some action. But that's digressing a bit.

With another hurdle out of the way, the next step is to determine the method of getting 30 kills in a round aboard the enemy Titan. I get the feeling this is something I will have a hard time in getting.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Time Was Right

For a while, the Gold Armor Service Badge had been an award that I had already qualified but never bothered to hunt down 35 victims. So for the night, I had the grand opportunity to play with some old friends who had been playing other games. I have mentioned to them that I was like the lonely little kid sitting in the dark corner of the room. But it was their company that brought out the best in me, shooting up a storm and laying waste to every infantry wanderers who crossed my path. The map was Cerbere Landing. I was on the assaulting PAC team with my buddies. After capturing a few flags, I later found out that there's an important piece of equipment that is left unused by the team: the battle walker. So after a quick death, I spawned back at the base and took it for a joyride. I also started my count after each kill. It was then that things seem to be going smoothly at first. There were plenty of tickets left so there's room for more kills and opportunities.

About on the 3rd or 4th run in the walker, I went straight to one of the control point and started shooting at anything that I can recognize as enemy. One by one they fall until I get that nice little message on the screen. I have succeeded in getting 35 kills with armor in a single round. It is not difficult to achieve but it does take some decent effort and perhaps some luck as well. Most of the awards that I have gone after were achieved when the situation was right and ripe. In this case, I was fortunate that the opposing team weren't very adaptive in getting me out of my walker.

But it did not stop there. Even after one additional death that I came back with a battle walker to lay waste to the enemies. The round ended and I took one final screenshot that displayed a summary of my achievements during the round. Mission accomplished. Another award is done and I move on to the next. Does it mean that I step out of armor for good? Nope. There is one final armor-based award that I need to get. But I can now take my time in getting it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Peace of Mind

It goes without saying that some things are better left earned the slow and old fashion way. It's part of the reason why I did not go on Titan servers to earn several of the awards. Some people believe that it's easier to get them in Titan. That much is obvious, as Titan maps and servers do not have a defined time limit nor do they have a predefined number of tickets (aka lives) for players. This enables people to potentially get 100 kills in a single round, even though I exaggerate that example by a good sum. Some awards are more easily achievable than on Titan... but that's not how I would like to get them.

My standings on getting many achievements through Conquest continues on and it nearly got me that one award that I have been trying to achieve (see here). Sadly, I was short by just 2 points and I was denied of getting it. I was so close but it just eluded me. But I was not to be denied a second chance.

Today, on a random server, I joined a friend and took up the Commander role. Both sides are fairly evenly matched. As the round went on, I took a look at how high my score is. Slowly but surely, it was getting up to that point. In a single round, I must have a Commander score of 45 in order to get the award. And at the rate the game was going, it seem like I'll be able to make it. Just when it seems like all is going to be lost as one of my squads pointlessly went to the enemy Titan, I took one quick glance and see my score is at 45, the amount I need.

One of the hardest journey is over and once again, I look forward to determining what award is next. I am one step closer to my final goal.