Saturday, August 12, 2006

I just recently finished all the missions/quests in the Ruins of Silan for The Saga of Ryzom (SoR). I figured since I was enjoying myself, that I should subscribe, at least for one month. You don't pay for SoR, you simply pay the $14.99 US a month to play. 15 bucks isn't a lot to see what the "true game" is like, as the newbie island isn't a true representation of the game.

Man ... let me say this first: It's fucking HARD.

I tried continuing on with my newbie island mission reward gear, and got my ass quickly handed to me. But I also found the mobs aren't leveled for the area at all. There are major variations on mob level all within a small area. I found yubos, and other herbivores mostly to be lvls 1-10 (the mobs in SoR are /conned by lvl ranges, not exact lvl), and the carnivores to be mostly 20-30 or 30-40. There were some 10-20 ones, but they travel in packs with the 30-40 ones.

Now, I don't have a problem with packs of carnivores, as it's more realistic for creatures to do that, and the whole predator/prey cycle of SoR mobs is cool. But the problem I do have is that the aggro sticks with you for so long, that if I accidentally aggro the 30-40 mob, I'm effectively dead. No chance I'm going to survive. No possibility to run away, as the speed boost last 10 secs, and they can easily catch you after that. No way I can kill it, unless it's the only thing I fight, and I'm at full health, with my Self Heal recharged.

I've died to the "pack leader" mobs a number of times now. It just pisses me off, cause they are almost impossible to avoid, as they patrol the roads, and range all over the place, cause of the predator/prey cycle. It wouldn't be so bad if I had some other way to heal myself, even if it was potions with a delay between uses. But the Self Heal Life ability is every /2 minutes/. So, it's not that useful at all.

So, okay, ignoring all that. I died. Big deal, right? With SoR's "coma slowly leading to death and XP debt" system, I can ask for a rezz and some nice soul may come and heal me, sparing me the XP debt. But the problem is, there's no one around. Not for miles. I did a /who in my region, and there was about 12 people. The region is fucking massive for this number of people. I ran around for over a half hour and found no one. All the people seem to be in the main city. The only people I found were two Trykers in the bar building, and after reading my chat window later on cause I didn't notice it at the time, it looks like they were cybering or something.

Excerpt:
Himiko is excited by Nikopol.
Nikopol loves Himiko.
Nikopol knows what he wants, and it happens to be Himiko.
Nikopol mentally undresses Himiko.
Himiko acts with dignity, regardless of the situation.

These two were standing in the corner of the bar, almost up against each other. Also, the fact that Tryker look like little kids from some anime, disturbs me a little.

Another thing about SoR that I found annoying: Now that I'm on the mainland, and trying to solo (cause there's such a low server population, and I like it better), I've found I have to use specific types of gear, otherwise I've gimped myself. I can't use my Medium armour and dual wield, or even use my sword and shield. To be at all effective, I have to use Heavy armour, a 2-handed weapon, and purchase a bunch of jewelry to up my resistances and HPs. Now, the 20-30 carnivore mobs are a couple easy swings to kill, but the "pack leader" ones still kick my ass.

The whole idea of SoR is with the classless system, you can be anything you want to be. That's not true exactly. You have more options with a single character, but for each option, you are pigeon-holed. Meleers must use a 2-handed weapon and heavy armour. Mages must use light armour/no armour (i.e.. naked) and magic amplifiers. Crafters and Harvesters aren't a part of combat at all, so what they use is immaterial.

I was hoping to make a character that could be agile, wield 2 weapons, and possibly toss some spells around. Like a jack-of-all-trades. He wouldn't be great at any one of those things (taking damage, dealing melee damage, casting spells), but I could do any number of things. Sadly, that's an impossibility in SoR. I can be a Mage, or a straight up stereotypical Fighter (heavy armour, big weapon). Lots of choice there.

I did get to see some of the spell effects, and man .... they are sweeeeeeet. I can see if you had a big group of people, that your framerate would go down the toilet though.

Little irks about SoR:
- There are waaaaay too many NPCs wandering around the city, all with names you can't turn off, so your screen gets cluttered with overlapping, unreadable names.

- The names of people overlap, and become unreadable. Even if you select someone, it won't move the position of their name (up higher) so you can see it better.

- There are multiple NPC vendors, and they all have different inventories. There's no point to this, as it simply causes you to run between them, checking for different things, and wasting precious time.

- There are no chairs, tables, or any other kind of furniture in any of the NPC houses. I think the odd city leader has a desk, maybe. Just big round rooms with a single NPC standing in it.

- The population of the mainland is sooo small, that it forces you to either:
1) wait around to see if more people show up to group,
2) try and solo, most likely doing very poorly and having lots of downtime,
3) craft in town (boring),
4) harvest in the wilderness, hoping to avoid the insta-death "pack leader" mobs (boring again), or
5) RP/chat.
Since I don't really find 3 or 4 fun, and I'll be damned if I wait to group (1), I'm left with: soloing or RP/chatting. Since RP/chatting isn't something I'm going to pay $15/month for, all I have is soloing. And like I said before, it's not very easy at all.

I think I'll just fiddle with SoR for the remainder of my month (I already canceled my subscription) and see if it gets any better. But I doubt it will. I'd like to see some other areas though, as I like exploring.

---

So now SoR and WoW are no more for me. I even tried CoH again the other day, using a 14 day trial code from my CoV box. I ended up uninstalling it within 30 minutes. There's nothing there anymore. It's not fun like it used to be. I've just screwed around with WoW recently for something to do. Sad, isn't it? My one co-worker is almost as bored as me. He and I were debating having a race to see how fast we could level our WoW characters before our subscriptions run out. At least he has Shogun: Total War to keep him occupied. Too bad I'm not an RTS/strategy games fan.

I think I'm back to playing the odd MP game of FEAR, fiddling with Oblivion (it has it's moments), and surfing the web for fun. Maybe I can start watching TV again. I've got full cable for the price of the basic package, cause the installation guy didn't want to go back up on the roof in the rain, so there might actually be something good I can watch. Like something on the Space channel, History channel or Discovery. Perhaps I'll go to the store and buy some FPS games for something interesting. I still haven't played Far Cry, Call of Duty 1 or 2, and a couple other ones. Only thing is I tend to finish them in the span of /days/ so they won't keep me busy for long.

I really need a good SP RPG game to come out. Where the hell are you Neverwinter Nights 2?

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