Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nanbo's Never Winter Experience Level 10 - 20

Last time I visited Neverwinter I gave the game an outstanding 4/5 rating based on a first FUN 10 level experience. That can be found here:

I pressed on to level 20 and have a few score changing elements that popped up. Will Neverwinter fall or rise on my score table? Read on to find out!
Here are my notes in chronological order and some in game screen shots:

"PVP 1-10 is pretty good. Allot better and organized than the mess that is RIFT.
I had a good group and we win some and lose some." - PvP is not to bad. It is not outstanding either. But it has you doing core elements quickly. No running across battle fields, waiting for buffs, spending time trying to organize 20 men zerg. It basically is you and your team in tight hall ways running to flags or other objective areas. Encounters are set and may the best man win. There is level scaling. So my first level 10 pvp experience I was popped up to level 19 to be competitive (but without level 19 sklls). I was at a bit of a skill disadvantage to other REAL level 19 people, but that did not stop me from doing all that was to be done. Dying, killing, objectives. Unlike RIFT (where my team/server ALWAYS WINS pvp) I was winning some battles, losing some. It felt balanced. But the drawback was that it was very dry and lack luster. And sometimes you just knew (as a cleric) you were going to die against another higher damage class.

"Level 10 opened up a new combat system using TAB." - This is interesting because around level 10 I was getting that "this combat is getting rather repetitive" feel. Then poof! You hit that level 10 and a new combat option opens. It is like a battle stance. You press tab and, for my cleric, my weapon turned a glowing blue and all spells are superenhanced powerful with two new attacks. The trade off is that these attacks consume energy. A new bar is permanently on screen now as a half circle that floats by your character. Each time you hit an enemy with regular attacks, the bar fills up slowly, and then you can use it to super charge the attacks. That is the key word, it is a super CHARGED like bar of attack. Kind of a nice mix up and makes timing and placing shots strategic during boss fights. I do wish there was a way to put the bar down at the bottom or top as a flat bar. It is VERY Annoying as a floating half circle that follows the character and blocks the screen. If some one knows how to change that, feel free to post below.
(Staying warm in winter...Wait, actually it is not snowing out, or winter...)

"There is a pretty cool equipment guide NPC. He tells you what quest will give you a better upgrade to what you currently
And there is an "equivilant" button that opens the auction house and searches for an upgrade just like it on the 
market. Nice!" - 
Finding your armor piece has been super streamlined and easy to do if you want to go shopping. There is an armor guide in town that compares your current pieces to other pieces that are better via Quest reward or Auction House search. Pretty nice feature! I have sold some items for diamonds (the auction house currency) already. I am not a fan of the multiple currency system through. Typical PWE / CRYPTIC economic touch.

"Prayer system gives rewards. 1 time per hour." - Direcyly out of the pages of Star Trek Online, PWI, Forsaken World, and all other titles in this company conversion... the "reasons" to stay logged in through passive boosts. Or AFK boosts. 1 time per hour you get to pray which gives currency, item and exp rewards. This also gives you something to do in town at the local shrine. You have to be in a holy zone to click the button at the top shaped like a sun, to pray. It only takes a second to do and you can buy shrines to take with you and use any where. Feel like praying in the dungeon? Sure! Go for it...Oddly, I have not seen a portable campfire purchase...They must want you to only use the ones they built in game... another "Tera had it better" feature...

"Level 15 and I look like level 1 still... I have changed armor allot but no big difference in looks." - Speaking of armor. I just hit level 15 and I do not look any different despit all the armor I have been getting, changing, etc... I Also notice people around me do not look all that great either. This is like in RIFT where looking some what decent will NOT happen until end game-ish. Kind of dissapointing. Another "Star Trek Online has WAY more look features, why did CRYPTIC not use the resources Star Trek HAS????"

"Scheme is getting repetitive. Enter building, fight orc looking guy. Although I am only 3 places out from the noob area so there is still allot to discover. Not really a turn off, just with a little more "interactive". - Level 1 - 10 was a blast! It was like Indiana Jones running away from that giant rolling rock! It was gripping, evolving, tense, and FUN! Then you get eased into the core mechanics of the mmorpg. Damn. Kind of a let down. But, for a themepark mmorpg, it is nice to be slid in and introduced to the core at such a nice and fun pace. Once you are in, it will be the same routine through out the levels 1 - 20. Broken down village side, battle mobs every step down some path. Enter a building, take out boss. Flooded with rewards and level ups. Rinse and repeat. There are allot of events, and open menu hop into PvP, or dunjon finder. It is pretty active at times and helps change the rhythm allot. I will say this. There are times the story will pick up and get interesting and change some of the combat routine. For example, there was a quest I did where I had to escort a possessed girl to the end of a dungeon. Seems normal, except when her possessions gets out of control she is like a mini boss you have to "tame" by beating her down. She destorys enemies in the way and hurts you pretty bad. Keeps you on your toes. Get add of flavor to the mix. But all and all, by level 20, you will know what events to sign up for, and what to expect in the outter villages.
There are times I am taken by surprise. This game is dark and has allot of scary elements to it that made me jump. So I guess in summary: Starts out epic and super themed - slides into routine mmo territory - keeps it lively enough with peppered in elements. Being an action based instanced combat mmorpg. They have so much potential. Allot just feels lazy in many places.
(I know that glow bro. We may be ugly character models, but the world is a glow with beauty)

"I take back what I said in levels 1-10 about not needing a mount. I need a mount. These maps are getting bigger!" -Some maps are getting bigger and having a faster moving speed would be nice. Mostly though, it is for moving around the castle and putting things in my bank etc... helps out. Level 20 gives you 4 tokens to purchase a free mount.

"Did my first dungeon. My role does not feel all that heal like so far. In TERA, the healer role is a healer in a group and just a
healer usually. In solo PvE the healer is a great comabtant. A perfect balance between group and solo role play. In NW, I am
a buff stick, since you cant really target other players all your attacks just sort of do an AOE heal deal. I noticed the 
tank just relied on potions in emergencies, and my first real group skill is just a defense and attack buff...Kind of a let down.
Makes me wanna just role a 
damage dealer since we are all just geared at doing damage. Perhaps this changes later on." - Class roles are super non defined. TERA takes care of this by giving the healer AOE heals that are based on the skill of the healer to target / estimate the direction of the DPS characters and throw down the healing circle. The more powerful are smaller, making targeting and skill based chore durring battles. I mention TERA because, like NEverwinter, you do not tab target members. You can only look at their group profile bar and see they need healing. Targeting them flashes up their stats, but only for a split second before they move out of the way. It is just better to look at their profile and act when needed. 
The difference in Neverwinter is that there are no heals that work "when needed". You'r job is to ALWAYS heal. Every attack spell outside the regular attack has a healing effect. So just attacking the enemy HEALS the party...So you basically do not even need to pay attention to health bars of the party. Just attack as you do and everything is fine. OCCASIONALLY, you see a memeber dipping a little low, so you pull out the "heal" spell, which works very oddly, sometimes it heals AOE like, or some times it target heals. It is quirky and not really all that effective in the end. But a small boost that is a slow Heal over Time, I spam it on those rare occasions. Other wise, I just get close to a friend and cast an ATTACK spell, and make sure both the enemy and the ally are in the range of the attack to hurt the enemy and heal the ally. Most people running low should just really use a potion. This set up also makes all classes focus on combat rather than their specific class role, especially the case of the healer. This makes TERA my favorite priest class game. Priests are great in PvE, and completely change their role in Group content (stand offish, focus on the healing hot bar only). A great balance in comparison to how Neverwinter is trying to juggle this.
Some games, people run TO the priest for special heals, this game, you run AWAY from the priest and get closer to combat knowing the priest attacks heal. This does, on a positive note, focus ALL players on combat and not allot more. This only changes how combat is dealed out. Since I am a cleric, I obviously deal damage at a distance and slide away any time and enemy gets close. This is not true for warrior / tank builds of course. So THOSE class differences exist. Thankfully...
(Skeleton dog attacking test dummy. No reason. They must have had a spare model laying around...)

"I made 1 gold (hard to get) by offering Cyber sex..." - I was joking in Zone chat that I would give pleasure cyber for 1 gold. Some end gamer thought I was funny and he gave me one gold "for making me laugh" he said...BTW, 1 gold can be hard to come by, especially at level 15...

"Just did an amazing foundry quest. It was scary, thrilling, and immersed". - Not much to say, there are ones that give great EXP rewards. The are player made content and it was very well done! They added allot of dark and scary haunting elements to it.

Genuinely frightening. The Secret World never scared me. I found it boring. This game has scary moments that made me jump. One was the idea that a door I passed several timesnow is glowing meaning I have a quest to go in (one thing I like about
this game, it can instance any 
part of the world to continue the story). I go in, and I hear strange noises in a room. As soon as I enter, a witch tucked in a corner uses a pull spell and sucks me over and screeches! I jumped! An ogre bursts out of a 
fence barrier I Did not see...I jumped. Some creepy dude rises from the floor and says "psst Im here"! Creepy dude!" - 
The game uses depth perspective allot to give the illusion there is no one in the hallway stretched out in front of you. They use haunted house like colors and ambiance and sound effects (creaking wood, dripping water, strange voices, vibrant but dark colors). So as soon as you enter a lonely stretch of hallway thinking you are ok and something pops out shrieking! It is frightful! I like how they did this and it is not ALL the time, so when you get used to the "walk in, kill Xmobs" you forget that it is possible to be surprised attacked. So kudos to the design team that put EFFORT into making elements like this.
(You will not be killing 10 rats in this game. You will be escorting possessed girls to their death)

"Allot of gold spamming." - Block them all day, there are 10 more to take up the spot of one. Sad.

"I am not a fan of games that have you greed/need/pass roll on non identified items. How do I know to greed or need if the item just says: "Boots - non Identified". Stupidest idea ever." - This is pretty bad. They want you to spend your coin on identification scrolls. So they wrap up allot of drops as "unidentified". The problem is that if an item drops and is rolled on, how would I know to pass or greed if the stats are inferior to what I am wearing?? We kind of need to see what is inside. Stupid design. They should have done state change scrolls or some other kind of gimmick to push us to spend coin (or none at all!) Leave it to CRYPTIC and PWE to screw up and economy so bad it effects in game mechanics XD.
(This game actually does not have attractive women in it. They are all...meh. And the men all gruffy.)

"Collecting coin is kind of stupid, you have trample over it. It should be magnetized to you. Running ins circles in the attempt to touch coins is silly. Either loot them or have them auto suck to you." - Speaking of money and design fails. Looting coin is the most idiotic feature I have run across. Seriously, they designed looting coin straight from some Play Station one game design. When monsters die, loot flys out landing about 10 steps away from the body in random places... This leads to you running around like a chicken trying to run over the dropped coin. Oddly, the loot that falls out, you have to stand over and press "F" (the loot button) to auto place it in the bag. But coin, you just trample over and it goes in the bag... This is so silly! So many frustrations:
1) it looks silly to have loot fly all over. Especially when it gets stuck in the walls sometimes. It looks even more stupid when players have to runin mini circles to catch all the coins.
2) Spamming F to pick up loot leads to accidental player targeting which brings upa mini menu that turnds the screen black and fades out of game. ANNOYING!
3) Why press F for loot bags but not coin? Why not have coin just automatically FLY to you? (TER WINS again in this department).

"Got my first henchmen. Interesting. Sort of helps, have not tested it out to much. It levels up though. And the last patch 
they are changing the armor upgrades to be non refinable, but exp gainable. So more grinding to be had to upgrade henchies, items, etc.." - 
You eventually get a quest to get a free henchman. Basically a combat pet. You have 3 slots for 3 pets (others purchasable). He can be equipped with some normal armor items that drop. He levels up. It can be a mage, cleric, or tank. Basically, healing pet, tank, or aoe magic. I chose the tank. I hardly notice the difference except one time I took on a little to many mobs and he helped distract a bigger guy while I picked off the adds. They seem smart enough. Not allot of bad things they can really do considering you HAVE to fight every mob you aggro / see in this game so it is not like they accidently aggro things. If you play Star Trek Online, you know CRYPTIC has the AI team mate thing down, so it is not surprising it is here. You can buy others at high prices.
I heard the one cash investment you want to make in this game near end game is a cash store pet that can never die. For 17 dollars you buy this pet that fights and never dies, and you can TRANSFER your current pets stats over to it. That is nice...

"Allot of repetitive looking boss encounters. I like the ambiance of most dungeons so far, just a huge let down it started off super gloss, turned a bit shallow, and died a repetitive meh fest. SOOO much potential, so little effort. But all in all, it is a SUPER great casual fix! I was getting a bit cumbered in RIFT, a little irritated at other games, and come here to unwind." - At the end of a few hours I feel the reptitveness now. The entire first 10 level experience is dead. The bosses basically all look the same as puffy muscle orcs. I did see one rat boss thing. The cut scenes are all the same, boss name, and they point at you like "bring it!" A little dissapointing. It just feels, as you are moving along the beautiful inner dungeons, hopping across the main map parts, that there was something just missing. Something that could make this EPIC! Something that just required a LITTLE effor. A little nudge. It feels like they just gave up, went easy road half way in and decided to just let the foundry fill the void. I have not gone out to some other lands yet, and I HOPE they change things. But as I push into 20. I log in knowing what to expect and what things will be like.
(Scary, creepy, especially when they jump out at you. Insert slender man and I would pee my pants)

"Hit 20, interested in guilds but not Crafting". - 20 opens up a free mount and we are well along the skill tree. There are a secondary role skill tree build and I placed my first 3 points but saving the others waiting for it to open up. So far it hasnt and I am hesitant to put points where I Should not. No big deal as my spell tree is moving along quiet well.

" Feels REALLY dumbed down and rinsed out as far as D and D goes." - There are SOOO many reasons why this does not feel at all like Dungeons and Dragons. I played the table top. I used to read the books. I played every title that came out. This game has ZERO feel to the series. In all honostly, it feels like Star Trek Online dressed up as a Fantasy game. The only thing Dungeons and Dragons has to do is the legal use of the license to use the name Dungeons and Dragons. Such a HUGE let down. But I knew this when it was first announced the game was in development by Cryptic. It should have rested in Turbines hands as DnD title to their branch. Keep things closer to roots, and in the family. But no. We got a watered down Star Trek Online (STO actually has deeper RPG mechanics).

"Community is sadly not all that. Most chat is troll. Some help. Guild invites are random. I found a decent guild but they are 
very panicky, and prefer I speak to them first before invite... All strange player behavior but not surprising coming from the 
PWE base of gamers (cringe).
This is for sure not the more kick backed strategic thinking crowd in RIFT. This game is very BELLS AND WHISTLES built. 
And instant rewards. And the players in this game cater to this attitude (in general...). So it was a little odd settling in." -
Out of the 5 guild invites I had, most people were very hestitant to add you. In RIFT, we have a small "yeah I am interested" and you are invited! I was once in the top raiding guild in RIFT just by saying "can I join?". And it works. We use ts3, guild events, website, all that. All user friendly on a single invite. In this game, it is like everyone mist trusts everyone. I have to meet first through a mail invitation, then interview on mumble, then a dungeon run... WHAT? I can solo this game to end game. Get showered in gold all alone. I am not here to play in some grand strategic mmorpg. In fact RIFT has more events in the open that require very good leadership and direction, so I understand the mistrust of bad players there. But in this game...wha...??? I don't get it other than the typical fanbase of PWE is very drama, carebare, etc... I have done my years in PWI, FW, and STO to know ... that crowd....of course I speak generally and will meet a good guild soon...I hope. The server seems to be only 1 that exists. It is the international one and all languages are present.

After playing so many dungeons (walled in small spaces). And doing ORc killing event (small arena ring like area). And questing in the area for my level (openish world, but linear). I have to say it feels wierd. I know I am playing in a linear non open world.
And I Get that repetitive claustrophobic feel (like in Vindictus) some times that makes me want to stop and hop into my open wormd mmorpg (RIFT at the moment). But then the quest lands do a VERY good job at hiding the linear effect. And the moment you think you are headed for a wall or panic moment, there is a mob to steer you away.
Allot of instanced areas and other things to keep your focus. This game is a focus master. Dragons nest sort of had a way to do taht by sending mobs down your alley with a few forks in the road. Never Winter has a very tru leveled terrain that makes you feel you are in your open world mmorpg at times. It is a very fine balance and well done. The lighting and colors are very well chosen
I LOVED the first 10 levels. It was a very cool experience. It is SLIGHTLY wanning, and a little repetitveness, peppered in with cheap gimmicks to get you playing (praying every 60 min, timed events) are there...and they work. It is an engaging game that makes you glued to the keyboard and the in game events. They mastered what STar Trek is about and super speed it into a fantasy sword game.
Star Trek had these events and what not, but at a very slow and casual pace in game to do them. This game hyper intensifies these elements. Allot was familiar for me after Star Trek. New players will find it very rewarding. I do want to continue. Try out crafting. See what the game has to offer. Explore some new lands, see some new stories. I did notice the effort in story telling really dropped.
They left 1 paragraph most to read. They kept voice scripts, but the worst is the cut scenes and animations which dropped to nothing but a 
slight zoom out... so allot of the level 1-10 deflates and you are settled in the systamitc "log in do this" seat. A big let down. 
Perhaps later on this changes.
(What has 2 thumbs, hit level 20 and got a free mount? THIS GUY!)

I give this game a A SOLID 3.5/5 as of level 20. Yes it dropped half a score. I want to drop it further, but the game is rewarding me enough, and managed to keep me gripped to the keyboard enough to be "entertained" so far. I am very curious as to what the other lands hold and what the progress will turn out like. So it stays a 3.5 instead of a 3. To bad, I wanted to keep it a 4 and move out to a 4.5. But the lack of effort and just "let it slide" sort of design in game is what keeps it from being out standing.

This could change as I go on to levels 20-30. See you then!

Nanbo's Rift Experience Levels 45-50

*CONFETI* Level 50 woo hoo! Ok, I will calm down... but seriously, it was a "continue or quit" moment in there. Most people I have added to my friends list that I encountered in my early levels are no longer playing after around 35ish. Some still hung up in the 40's, and others barely getting into 50's. Me? I played about 4 hours a day taking weekends off. I was able to hit 50 finally. Feel free to look at my past RIFT experiences:
45 - 50: You are about to read it:
(I am being pooped out)
What I do is keep note pad open in ALT-TAB and take screen shots as I play. So in chronological order of my progression here are my original notes with a little clarification as to what they are referring to.
"PvP is pure fail: very one sided (we always win). Not at all "fun". But easy xp so I join the get in do whatever 3 times a day or more"- I mentioned I was getting into the swing of PvP in my level 30ish. For two reasons. I wanted exp and wanted to have a fair and balanced look at PvP. I was noticing my team never loses. To this day I have about 50 or so wins and maybe 3 or 4 losses. I feel bad for the other team. It is just easy victory after easy victory. I will admit, my first runs are total noob. I am a great healer. I started off as a healer, but I made a second class fighter to get through PvE faster. In PvP my fighter is not really that strong. More of a support DPS (as in dungeons, I either am primary healer or support dps). So, I switch to healer in PvP, problem with that, is that some matches, most people do not protect me and I end up dying allot.... and my biggest laziness (purely my fault), is that after each match, you are thrown back in the PvE land EXACTLY where you left off...Now, here is the problem. If I was a fighter in PvE - enter healer in PvP, and shot back out close to a mob in PvE after the match as a healer, I get ganked by mobs. I need to not be close to a mob or in a safe place before entering PvP (I wait in a queue). This happened so many times I just gave up going heal in PvP, and stuck to my weak fighter. My team still wins, I get the exp. Easy up. 
  You can get EXP bonus 7 matches a day in PvP, instead of 4K exp, you get a fat chunck of 9K exp, only if you win. So if you lose the round will not count as one of your 7 tries. A cool feature. Level 49-50 that helped me move the xp bar about 5 places up. But that is the new standard. SPAM PvP, not because you necissarily like it, but it will be handy as a exp bonus. PvE content is constantly there, as well as repeatable quests so it was not a REPLACEMENT of exp, but just a sort of different way to get exp. Sometimes I prefered fast in teh face action for 9K exp instead of running across some barren wasteland to the next npc. But again, PvP is hugely disorganized, massively one sided and unbalanced. But you will have a few surprise rounds.
(Have you ever been so mad you blew up a harpies nest?)
"Warrior armor is my upgrade from here on out. But I cannot equip it. All others I vend and have no stat increase for me. This is horrible design and falls back on my pigeon hole fact. IT works for the game. I am not gimped, but I also am not armor progressing as often as I would like."  This is complicated. So in my older experience I mentioned that despite the marketing of the "multiple class choice" you are pigeon holed into specific roles as is expressed in dungeons and armor selection. Dungeons consist of the Holy Trinity with eveyr one else along for the free ride (exaggerating), and armor rewards always fall into 4 specific categories. Magic int - Rouge dex- Warrior hp- Fighter st.  That means if you are a druid, Cabalist, is just a fancy name to associate to cool cast animations, spell variety, but in the end you are squeezing your butt into a pair of magic caster pants, regardless of build. This became VERY evident for me. I wanted a set of Healer armor (Magic) for my healer class. For my fighter class, I only had about 2 real magic based spells, I built the rest in physical damage (best attacks) I wanted HP, and armor upgrades. 2 things are wrong :
 1) You do not have armor slots. You cannot swap out armor from one slot to the other based on class choice. THERE ARE MACROS TO DO THIS that you have to program in. But the trick is with macros, they are not physical slots, they are just automated commands. So, that means you have to chug around different armor pieces in your bag and program them to be macro'd. I did not like this as bag space is precious for me and ....EVEN IF THIS WORKED: 
2) I cannot equip the armor of choice because it is not my class. This makes no sense to me. I can, as a cleric healer, make sub dps classes and a tank class (We have 1 tank, 3 heal, and about 3 dps builds). HOWEVER, each armor reward (the 4 mentioned above) I can chose ALL of the armor EXCEPT 1! WARRIOR stat based! I do not understand, how come 3/4 classes are available except the one??? because of this, all my armor upgrades and weapons are those that benefit my healer (magic) and work just decent enough to give out PvE fighter build. All my gear is usually farmed from a dungeon (I am all blue) with a few green quest exceptions. EVERY quest reward I get has an upgrade armor piece to replace for my fighter. MY healer is fine from the dungeon stuff...but my fighter desperatly could use those armor and hp buffs in the warrior armor pool...because of this, I pass up and sell all armor I get as a quest reward and drop. I have been selling all armor since level 25 respectively. Nothing they offer is good. I find this a HUGE let down and kills the excitement to turn in quests. 
  I must emphasize (because I can hear the trolls responding already), that this does not mean I "failed" in armor. I have all the best pieces from the dungeons my level (not currently at 50), and the rest is just vender fodder (normal for dungeon farmers), HOWEVER the second build that is a fighter and needs fighter gear, is stuck in the magic realm and not allowed to change his suit. In comparison with other games...This is a fail design. Other games have physical slots to equip your other class choice with. Why did they not do this?? 
  In conclusion, it is ok, it is not game breaking, just heart breaking.
(Cross server dungeon and pvp finder is good)

"The gold ratio. Mount and costs like wow vanilla" - Why did I say this? Because in vanilla wow, having 50 gold meant you were AMAZING! Silver and copper were scrounged up like mad. SELL ALL THE SCRAPS was the moto. To entice people to make great economic decisions, they would have level tiered mounts to buy at prices targeted at your gold making range. For example. A typical player that collects, sells all scraps, does a few dungeons, sells decently on the market will have about 20 gold to 30 gold at level 25. Guess what. You have 2 choices: 1) Buy a mount for 25 gold and part with everything you saved for (but hey, it is not like there is allot else to buy). Save it for level 40 mount at 50 gold (about double the amount that will come naturally) or do a quest line that is hard to get a free mount....oh the choices! That is RIFT. GOLD Is hard to come by. I am level 50 and have about 200. Think about that, Close to end game and only 200 gold. There were times I was afraid I would not be able to pay for transporting! Seriously, early 30's, I was running a bit low. What saved me? NOT dying allot, and farming the hell out of dungeons in the level 30 range. Quests give you some. etc...but Gold is not as easy to come by and those mount and other purchase decisions can cut into your stash. All in all this economy made me think of vanilla wow, that is all. 
(Game glitch, no gun...)
"My clerc DPS feels like a star ship. SHIELDS UP!": After a recent patch that made us clercs a bit nerfed, I noticed I was relying on my shield spells (about 4 kinds). There were moments, managing spell timers, buffs, spell types, and shields in battles...I could not help but be reminded of my button pressing frenzy in Star Trek Online. I throw shields up and go at it! In PvP it is especially funny to see people running around throwing shields up as we engage in battle. It started to feel less human and more machine...
(Invasion gank. No fun)
"Level 50 finally! I get a new skill system to play with" - No idea what it does other than buffs n stuff. You will have to wait for my 50-60 experience :)

(Level 50 opens up a while new can of woop ass!)

"I can now join smaller elite dungeons. I am still on level 40 quests and quest lines, so we see the over lapping of 40/50 ish will be the final grind out to 60 with a mix of the spammed pvp and dungeon crawl as usualI have not touched the layer housing, the crafting, or armor purchases (with pvp credits and faction credits)." -  I mentioned in my first noob levels that I skipped PvP. People told me I was lame for doing so because it is "rich". I said, "no, I am leveling fine and have no need for it". Then level 30 hit and I had the need for it. 
  I also said I skipped dungeons for the same reasons. But then I got into dungeons and had allot of fun exploring the different mechanics. Boss fights take skill. You will not stand there and cast spells. You will need to move, time, react or DIE. Probably one of the best tab targeting battles I have ever played. Well done RIFT. New dungeon systems await now as I hit end gameish.
  I also said level 40 is a grind. Level 40 is a well of exp you will hit. It is not as bad as most games. OBviously, I got over it pretty quickly, but it does exist. Proof is the map. Look at the map. More regions dedicated to level 40 than any other. I also noticed no real level 60 areas, they all seem to end at level 50. Meaning level 50 content will give us just enough exp for the last 10 levels??? I guess grinding that out with PvP spamming and PvE is the way it is till end game (EXACTLY HOW I PREDICTED IT IS FROM MY LEVEL 1-10 EXPERIENCE....take that GW2 fans! XD little inside joke if you read my trial GW2 experience). The only changes I for see now are "elite" level dungeons that crank up the difficulty. And other live events that will challenge all levels.
  That said, I there is ALLOT you can skip and still be successful. I skipped housing, crafting, and browsing my purchases with my PvP coins I am earning. I also have not studied the factions to get friendly with to get other items...I think that is also end game stuff I will look into. But it serves as great time sinks for fans that really feel apart of this game. I like that longevity in a game is pre-built in like that as an "extra" and not a necessary thing. 

Community: I play on a French server. PEak time is active. Mid day slow. Never allot of folks for dungeons. Small pvp raids. People generally nice in RIFT though. I like the guild perks. If you enjoy guild establishment, management, and rewards, RIFT has a great set up including a guild skill tree that gives you PvP buffs...
(Can't tell if dead or having sex...)
Game still ugly: I am 10 levels away from end game and I hardly look different than a level 1 noob. I still think this games armor issues need a major rehaul. Give us flare. Something to show off our hard work. I am not asking for glowing light sabers...Just...use the IN GAME environment as the creative design! It is fantasy and steam punk! GET TO WORK TRION! 
(Proof level 40 is engineered as a grind. Look at all that 40 content in relation to the rest)
Conclusion: Last time I said RIFT goes from a 3/5 to a 3.5/5. I look back at yes, some things changes. I am futher enjoying the dungeons and progression. Any time I get into a "I have been on this horse traveling across this land for too long!" I get out of that flow, enter some PvP or Dungeon, and change the focus of my brain. Fully alert, I keep my party alive! Ahh sweet rewards! Cool boss fights! Ok back to questing! 
  PvP mixed eelings. I like the concepts. I like working to push off to regions on the map doing silly things like holding a dragon tooth thing the longest as it slowly kills you...but all in all it is massively unbalanced and lopsided. 
  So far great quest mechanics. I am still pushing into level 60 and I have always done something interesting. Disguising self to sneak into a base. entering fortifications freeing prisoners. There are "kill X" boring momments. But never allot to kill. And those fill in the holes to the cool quests. And ALWAYS seem to be intertwined. That is, if you have to kill 12 bad guys, they just so happen to be the bad guys on the way or in the fortress or hole or something that is cool to do. So it works out in the end and I thank RIFT for that. TERA is a little like that but with bigger grind holes between doing cool things.
  I like my class. I enjoy the trinity and having somewhat of a sense of identity. I heal, people need it and give me compliments for doing it well. I do however have issues with class management and armor etc.. Nothing really changed in that regard as I got to 50. Perhaps this new painare systme thing will change that....
  I enjoy the world. The only other game I played that takes advantage of the topography and the exploring and hopping around the environment that I have played was AION. Saying that, I would welcome limited flying in RIFT like how it is done in AION. That would be great! Nothing that exploits the game, but things that give us a full feel of the largeness of the upper parts of the world. 
  I still think the world is ugly. There is one forst part on the map for level 20 but it is not my faction so I never fully got into it. Saying that. Everything else is jsut interesting enough geologically, but as far as by colors and attractive...not really. Almost all maps are post civilization also. Meaning it is mostly destroyed objects. Like post apocalypse style. Never have I crossed into a zone that felt in it's proper time frame. Everything feels dead and destroyed. Mix in how ugly the armor looks and standard the humans are (where are my sexy women :"( and you have a sort of lack luster feel to the game. Strangely enough that set a sort of "realism" to the game and not cartoon like feel. I enjoy some of the adult themes and violence. But I feel something is holding TRION back. They need to get more bloody, vulgar and EXPLOIT the assets! Stop walking the line! Go and release us fantasy elements, or steam punk elements. All the models in game are either broken castles, magic casting baddies. And then you have steam punk machines littering the structures. What is it going to be??? why flirt with these two and go half assed! RELEASE THE DRAGONS! GIVE US THOSE AIRSHIPS! Do something because it is like a stale biscuit right now. Also, get a catch phrase in there. AION had those funny animal race vendors that did that little laugh:"nyik nyik nyik nyik". Wow has several memmorable npc moments. etc etc..Rift has the potential to add something that get's catchy with players. Just needs the right management.
  One thing I have to give it props for as of now. Is that, although I was mad at the auction house Pay to unlock. Nothing else is. This model seems fair. I just avoid auctioning stuff (damn it I want gold), and I earn it all in it's pvp and pve elements. I am fine with my builds and thus far see no need or feel gimped at all to continue in RIFT. There are a few questionable things such as certain items from the boutique. However: Concernign the auction house, I heard it is possible to do it as a F2Per. I will figure out how to get around that for free later perhaps. Or, I wil give a game a one time purchase that I feel it deserves. I like having that choice. Other games like Runes of Magic, Dragons Prophet, most SONY titles, Star Wars, Conan, Most Aeria games, and almost all PWE games all need a certain cash investment to get "competitive". Competitive to them is a fancy word for not getting group kicked for not having over 1, 000 USD in gems in your armor. RIFT will not do that to you. And I like that. For me, that is the definition of FREE TO PLAY! And in the end. I give cash to people that offer these kind of fair models. 

  So I would have to stick exactly to my ratings. As a new player the experience may be happening to fast and you might have no need to craft, dungeon, etc... and you might be turned off by it's lack of depth in that regard in the early levels. That is why, and other reasons, I gave it a 3/5 for so long. My last review, I gave it a 3.5/5 because it was catching on to me, and I grew to like allot of it's features, especially F2P and was never getting to bored. Although I wished it would give the game love. NOW at 50, so close to 60, I look back and yeah...I like what I did, how I did it. I am still logging in . I have been playing a few other games equally as long...and I have that itch to discover more and get that next mile stone done in RIFT for some reason. It lacks in allot of places. And honestly, with the financial situation TRION has, I am not sure how much love we will be getting. The last patch they used pissed me off....but all in all it is a solid game. I give it, now at 50 a 4/5.
If level 60 is hiding a whole new world of fun, perhaps this will be my perfect F2P 5/5 game. If not, it will stay 4/5. It could also get very lopsided and ruin itself (I can see that happening in some areas, but won't mention what I do not know)...and I will drop lower...But until then, 4/5.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thor Movie Review

My notes in chronological order during the film.

THOR review:

Unlikely group of storm chasers find strange night tornado? Which is actually a birth canal to poop out
Thor I think..

Then zapped into "fantasy world scenes after credits roll". The fantasy scenes are very basic CG. And plastic like props...VERY plastic like props.
Perhaps change of lighting could have solved this?

Lot's and Lot's of face shots and single upper torso shots and cut aways to distract from the...plastic...

Did Thor practice before owning the Hammer? Because as soon as he has it, he does all kinds of advanced moves.

After Thor gets banned from his world for being Thor. He goes to Earth where gets hit by the people in the intro. This includes Natalie Portman, and her friend
who is as brainless as brainless gets. Her dialog consists of "I hope he doesn't need CPR, I soooo don't know how to do CPR" - "Hey look, he's fine, let's go"..- This, I guess
Is to balance Natalie. She is in a plastic like film and to keep her role "serious", they need some one x10 dumber to get a basic act to hook the audience. This is evident when she
does that "look into his eyes at first glance and fall in love" look. We now know there is going to be themes of romance and protection in the future of the remaining time of this film.

Another Hollywood trick that is being used is that "smarter than you" as the next scenes are Natalie in the office at work with her team. Her sidekick friend does not understand Natalie as she
speaks philosophical babel at her computer. So we spend 5 min in scene showing "Natalie smart, computer, big words, others dumber, not understanding." There is an older man in the group, but they want
Natalie to take the lead and she calls boss like commands: "WE are doing this, going here"...The guy sort of seconds guesses, gets put in his place, then sort of stares off to reflect on the logic / confidence of this all...
Just agrees and goes on with it...Ok.

Thor is shirt less in front of the girls in 36 minutes of the film. Natalie gets to tell us she had an Ex boyfriend. Looks like some one going to be playing with Thor's Hammer by the films 50 min. Mark...

Thor eats like he has the munchies. Does being big and muscular mean eating like a pig? His culture throws cups on the grounds. HE comes from a hi sci-fi land filled with magic and sophisticated buildings and technology, but they kept
medieval cultural traits? Is this like Klingons? Was this in the comics? I never read the comics, or is this just a "he is man, so he grunts and farts in public too".

Natalie and team parts with Thor thinking he is "dangerous". He kisses Natalie's hand. Natalie gets all hot and bothered, even takes the time to look back twice...Another Hollywood "fall in love with the bod first. Discover his personality later".
Other than that there was no chemistry or connection between why is she falling for him?? Oh yeah..dem abs!

51 min. In, Natalie in a car picking up Thor is the basis of the film. She hits him Twice, and third time it is successful. She picks him up and drives off alone in the desert together. Where Thor uses modern world language of "are you strange in a good strange or bad strange way?"
Meanwhile, his friends and people are shown on their planet speaking all fantasy middle age like: "Thoust wish shall summon forth thy will"... So I guess the tornado poop Thor
either adapts to the current vernacular at a super rate of speed or...the director thinks you are all mush for brains.

Thor is immortal I believe in the comic. He got hit a few times by car and lives. So when he invades the military camp to take his hammer...There is 0 suspense. Why would we care what the military is going to throw this guy after the first scenes of violence. There is a suspenseful part when he can not take his hammer.
He must of lost his powers so...Now we can think perhaps he can be killed as well?

Natalie portmans script and act is so bad. She sounds like a winy teen. Her facial expressions look like she is taking a poo.The emotional output of this film so far is "Flirt - glossy intellectual discussions - dash of barbarism - flirt valley girl talk - fantasy lore speak - Hierarchy politics - military rank and order conspiracies 

(Natalies "squeezing one out" acting face)

Cars, hammers, etc.. It feels like they are trying to put to many elements in to many themes in one go. Noting that the Earth is a prison planet to store Thor kind of a sub theme not really explained just sort of excepted. The fact Humans history is the only thing to unstuck Thor's hammer in the ground is another question posing deal they could have focused on.
Not these corny one line dialog by the military: "He is some kind of a fitness nut" "Why does all our research not explain this (wait the government was pre researching Thor's homeland?? Do I need to read comics to understand the connection??).
  I would have preferred a movie that flashes back to Thors history on his planet as he struggles to get out of Earth Prison, but makes emotional links during his stay and sacrifices something to save humanity based on emotions...We don't use acting now. We use one liners from bad scripts (that sound like those bad sci fi films of the 50"s) and splash in special effects.
I will give the film this. The special effects are not to abused in the body of the film. It is basic chit chat and real props.
 However, these out of special effects moments are the bad bad acting / Script / plot less events, etc... SIGH.
Gotta love a film that gives men beers at the bar after ordering "Two Boiler makers".

70 min in, on the fantasy side of the story, they throw around Asgard allot, but we only know it is the home world of the "good guys". And yet we had about 4 Major Graphical representations of it. Getting us to fall in love with it would have been Endor...No one wants Darth Vader to blow up Endor! Why? Because we spent time as a protagonist in it. In this film we spend time watching people
in plastic suits barf out one line dialog. "He was your king. You obey me now." Derp derp a lerp.

For a super human story. We have passed 80 minutes so far of Thor eating breakfast. Drinking beer. Flirting. 1 fist fight. Then it turns to Man of Steel level bad when Thor's friends come to earth in full costume and walk through town.
Just to sum up 80 mins in. We have Natalie's team with Thor Vs. Government. - Thor vs. brother/friend. - Thor's friends vs. Brother friend. - Brother friend and his army vs. military and Natalie's group.
  The politics on Thor's homeland was complicated enough... The typical "land, blow up a little town, and people love this because Thor will punch them all in the chins".
 In fact, horrible scene where a 7-11 is kicked and explodes in fire. EXACTLY like in MAn of Steel. Combat is all the same...
  For the sake of watching films. Let's not critic the "who" the "where" and the "what". Let's just look at the scene by scene execution: Super human comes to earth - Woman involved that makes no sense on a level of "emotion". - Bad guy arrives. Towns blown up.
Over and over again. Same thing, just change actors and props. Remember films that tried Why not get the audience hooked on a believable character the uses real emotions to tell a story? The theme can rest simple, good vs bad. That is ok. And the use of earth and scaring us in our SUVS as we shop at Wal Mart is so lame.

Product placement is massively whored out during the battle scene in the village. EXACTLY like man of steel.
Donutland - USA TODAY - DR Pepper. - 7-11 -

(711 third pass)
(Dr. Pepper)
(USA Today)

Thor: "He has come to kill me. That will destroy this village. But we can get these people to safety"...Whoa!!! WHAT??? At what point did Thor fall in love with humans??? IS this ALL based on Natalie's flirtatious gests as she saw Thor shirtless??? other than that. Thor is portrait as a wreck less rouge who attacks without consideration in the first part of the film.
The entire reason he got banish. At what point did he learn his lesson? Was it when he ate Natalie's home made eggs? Was it when she hit him with a car? Was it when he went drinking with the older guy? Was it when he got attacked by the military?
Plot hole also. His brother half ling thing or whatever, comes to visit him in the government jail disguised as a military agent. So if that guy moves around Earth disguised as agents and uses fake ID and stuff...WTF is going on? why is he sending killer robots now?? He could have had the military re-arrest him. And then sneak in and kill him while he is hadn cuffed (why did he not do it earlier???)
I smell so much poo.

The stupid brainless friend of Natalie's has this wonderful line as a tornado opens up to teleport the killer robot thing: "IS some one else coming?". That is right, because the audience needs EXPLAINED every detail. The brains no longer function through imagery and logical connection.

Then she has this other little line as the city is about to be attacked: "Ok move it people"... wha...why did we just to a pan out zoom in shot of that...was it comical relief? Normally suspense build up is a better choice...I want to punch directors now.

The crew is being shot out of cafe windows. Blown through "main" street by some cheesy robot thing... No blood. Not even a scar..They just help the blasted "limp" away. I find it odd they also use military commands to order their friends around. Like in a zoom out shot of the road before the robot fires, you see no one, you just hear the voice piped in : "Fall back"!
As the space chick shouts to send the team back running before the robot shoots.

Thor does this little speech as he calmly walks up to the robot: "Brother I forgive you, but taking these lives of these people will gain you nothing. So I take mine..". Again, at what point did he come to this conclusion? At what point was it known that the robot is out to kill people??? Just because it blew up an EMPTY store (there is a shot of the store totally empty as a dr pepper sign and products are burned). And the 7-11 had no
people shown (just a parked SUV, GMC to be exact). We see NO DEATHS what so ever. No human is hurt. In fact, you saw Products...LABELS get burned. And THOR is giving his emotional heart felt speech about "people". This is kind of a sick siblimanl message. You hurt our Dr. Pepper! You hurt our Merican culture. DEY TURK UR JOBS! BLURRGGLGG! This movie has sunk and is no longer watchable at the 85 Min. Mark.
 Wasn't the robot after Thor and friends? Not the "people of earth"... that serve no purpose other than to drink soda and drive SUV"s? (GMC to be exact).
I say "mercan" culture also because they are really abusing the settings. They are using heart of American architecture (old style village buildings in wood like in West heritage areas and mid west). It is in the middle of the desert...but there are fake trees everywhere to "speak" to all regions XD.
Gives that "anonymous, yet American" feel to it.

HE gets hit by robot and flies THE SAME DISTANCE AS WHEN HE GETS HIT BY THE CAR IN THE START OF FILM! and only now is he hurt (first wound scene as well). Sad, dramatic music is piped in and slow motion of Natalie running to him...GAG KILL ME NOW!
HE says "it's over" and he DIES (just knocked out...waiting for a magic kiss by Natalie to bring him back). WAIT WHAT??? His friend got the mega blast of the robot and LIVED fine! Thor gets a little bitch slap like the car and "it's over"...I pity all who spent money on this. At this point you are paying for a producer to show you images that mock your intelligence.
This movie is not for kids. So that is not an excuse, unless your kid likes to see Thor half naked, adult themes, complicated space politics, military conspiracy groups, and villages burning to the ground. The themes are not even like "protect your brother". It is just cheap violence and explosions.
So in the teen realm, this could work, but they have video games with better story lines and graphics. IS this an adult realm? Am I the only adult that feels insulted to have my brain mocked at?? Why did this Piece of shit get enough funding to make a sequel???!!
(He is dead. Only his hammer decides to get it up, and brings the spark back in their relationship)

(Hey Natalie, should have gone with this hairy guy. He got a full laser blast to the FACE and blown out of a building and just limps away with no wounds. Real man, you wuss Thor. Considering the relationship between Natalie and Thor is a scene where he takes his shirt off...all this guy has to do is take it off and BAM! Earth BABES!)

Ok so it is not a kiss that brings him back, but a flash back to his fathers words as he speaks a spell into the hammer: "He shall posses this sword when whomever is deemed worthy". And so the sword...I am sorry, HAMMER! Get's unstuck, and fly's to THOR, bringing him back to life and defeating the robot...Wait...when did he become WORTHY???? By dying?? I am so confused...There was no moral or plot connection...
It is OK, there is a nice zoom up of Natalie's face smiling in joy because he is not dead... His armor magically floats to him and Natalie says "is this how you normally look?" "More or less"..."It's a good look"...Kill me.

This ENTIRE FILM when not on the computer graphic world of Thor, is entirely filmed in the desert...a barren boring ugly desert. The environment MAKES ZERO sense and a bad over all feel. In the start it is Thor vs Ice people...yes, an entire effort and budget was spent on creating a villains Ice world. By men who use Ice powers.
So these transitions into the desert, and tornadoes, and then the Thor's space land, then the Ice kingdom are so contrasting it leaves me feeling EMPTY. The biggest hurting point, that is fact and not my opinion, is that the desert leaves ALLOT of bland borders in each scene. The space between characters and buildings in the background is all dirty sand. Not the desert with cactus or dunes, but ugly back ass end of Los Angeles desert area.
It feels super low budget, but I have seen low budget do better that is what is killing me.

(Thor's Land)
(Earth. The entire location this film is shot in by the way)
(Ice planet...Seems like a great trio to bring together...oh don't think about it. LOOK AN EXPLOSION COOL: BOOOOMMM:)

The main bad guy gets betrayed by the betrayer (half brother thing). And he gets shot once by his magic staff...flys back, then the second zap, he turns into sparks and disappears. No disintegrating. No fade out. No corpse just laying there (like all the others)...nope..he gets a film 101 death of POOF sparks, and cur scene, remove body...WTF am I watching?

The battle between Loki (brother thing) and Thor has a little speech like this: Thor: "This is madness, this is MADNESS!" - Loki: "Is it? Is IT? What made you so soft? Was it that woman on Earth?....IT WAS! Maybe after this I will pay her a visit"...and they fight...Wait...what???? I am pretty sure it was known between the two it was because Loki betrayed the father, took the throne, and banished his friends...It was well established that this ENTIRE WEAK PLOT is woven together
with he theme of vengeance, not love. So, for the final battle to kick off with Loki confused at Thor's intentions, interpreting them to "that woman" is just a reminder that Natalie is this film and makes NO SENSE, as Thor has no scenes of "going soft". If Loki proposed that Thor rule with him, and Thor says "no": THEN I understand "going soft" accusations. But what is this out of context speech about??? IT has no meaning to the context of the film or anything that happened. This is a great example of a
stupid one liner dialog to engage in something as an excuse to execute a scene. It makes is not even passive, it is in your face "oh the audience is a brainless mob just eating popcorn to busy to notice we are using this...So let it run" sort of script writing. Hurts the ears, eyes, brain, buns (cuz I am sitting here).

So this big laser thing is destroying the alien ice world and Thor begins to smash the road/bridge to cut it off as the brother says: "There is nothing you can do!" 3 seconds later "What are you doing? If you destroy the bridge you will never see her again!". Apparently he is trying to pull at the emotional attachments of Thor. The odd thing is. The start of the film, Thor engaged in full battle to both murder the kind of the iceland, and make sure it dies out in the name of his Father's honor. The ice people were nothing but
bad news the entire film and enemy number one. WHY IS THOR concerned now that it is being destroyed by a laser, other than it was his brothers plan and not his????!!! We never see any emotional or plot line that leads to Thor needing to save this planet other than "because he is a good guy hyuk"...even if he is the good guy, we learn that the planet is nothing but evil so WTF really????
  I understand if this was like, a laser about to or in route to destroy earth, because we at least know he wants to bang Natalie...but this entire finally scene is caca stuck to toilet paper.
(Ok, notice the background? Dirty sand looking? that is the backdrop for every single earth scene. This is so odd, especially considering that Green Screens and mass editing is used in every other scene on the other planets. At what point did the directors decide "oh, that back drop, yeah let's leave it...")??!!

As the brothers are exploded into the dimensional space. The father some how comes back to life and saves them all by grabbing on to the boots of Thor. This leaves papa holding Thors boot, Thor holding on to Loki... Now the sacrafice. Will Loki be dropped into the nothing? There is a speech: "I did it father, I did it all for you (killing the bad guys, which, is why loki exists, to be half blue alien and half Asgardien as a secret weapon)
 "no loki, no" is all the father says, and Loki lets go and drops into a tornado. Ok, Problems. So Thor is sent on a mission to start and plans to kill off all the ice people. His father gets pissed sends him to Earth... Then the brother takes over and casts the father aside and yes, actually does do the mission and start the laser to kill off that planet... but both Thor and the father are not protecting it...All on the basis that Thor met Natalie on Earth...WTF really.
Physics, so the hammer can only be wielded by the designated user or it is to heavy to move. The father holds both Thor's leg, the hammer and the brother...righhtttt. And one of them have the strength to pull up...Loki falls in a tornado hole so he obviously is going to be on the second film. God no.

Weird cut back scene as Natalie feels like she has been ditched... the camera zooms out of the sky, space, and just into cosmic dust into Thor's land. So Thor's land is literally closer than the moon according to this cutback scene....

"You"ll be a wise king" says Thor's dad to Thor...How??? Why??? "I have much to learn, I know that now. Some day perhaps, I shall make you proud". He ate, drank, and saved the enemy... WTF is going on??? In fact, the first scene where he is battling the enemy face to face, should have been the LAST scene, and THEN that would have made sense. But since he got banished for doing his job is like whaaaa..

BEST last line: "How is she?" Thor asks the "gatekeeper of portals (tornado's). "She searches for you"...and Thor does gatekeeper know? Did he get a gate up and running? He is disposable, as is shown earlier, a post that can be fired at will...What???
So I guess they just hear the hum of Natalie's vibrator as she "searches for him" there because that would actually makes more sense.