Weekly Encore: #Blaugust V Edition

mvsblaugust1

#ICYMI

08/30 The Rise and Fall of Blaugustus Caesar

08/29 Forget EverQuest Next: I want EverQuest Again.

08/28 Seems like Ice-based attacks are super effective against Murfs. #ALS #Blaugust

08/27 3DS: Bravely Default sequel, Bravely Second, finally shows up to the party.

08/27 Every Transistor screenshot I took on my Playstation 4.

08/26 The new Civilization game is going Beyond Expectations.

08/25 My deep breath is over because Doctor Who is back!

Watching/Playing/Listening/Reading

Doctor Who has been awesome thus far. I really enjoyed the first two episodes of the season, and more and more I am beginning to think Capaldi is dreamy (damn accent). I also finally managed to see The Muppets Most Wanted (great) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (good). Exciting stuff!

Now that The Last of Us is done, I’ve had time to play other stuff again. I recently picked up Azure Striker GUNVOLT, a Megaman-like on the 3DS. It is solid enough thus far, but definitely not anywhere near Shovel Knight. I’ve also been working on finishing Flower, a game that I enjoy but not enough to play it in anything but short bursts. For my trip next month, I am going to work on The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

I had something planned for the ‘listening’ spot here, but Electro’s theme song and Ty Burrell’s song in The Muppets: Most Wanted made me forget what. That’s why you get those two songs instead!

Ride in my #Blogysphere #Blaugustphere

There were plenty of good posts this week, but my entire highlight is going to The Random Hero’s history lesson on Tabula Rasa.

I didn’t play the final product, though I considered doing so. To be honest, I had been pretty hyped for Tabula Rasa when Garriot and Long first discussed it. Unlike other MMOs announced at the time, Tabula Rasa was going to have instanced housing for everyone, a simple but developed system of roles, and the ability to instantly teleport to any of your friends. In a lot of ways, the game they had originally envisioned was before its time; it just needed action combat and active dodging, and it could be a Playstation 4 MMO tomorrow.

The Random Hero does a really good job detailing the game’s features and a lot of its history. Though Tabula Rasa was a critical failure, I think it is very important to remember older MMORPGs. The genre tends to do a really good job of building upon itself, so it’s worthwhile to look at its failures.

Top 5 Things I Posted in Blaugust

Instead of quoting folks, I thought I’d point out a few articles I really enjoyed writing, along with a few thoughts on them.

5. Kicking & Sharing: Hive Jump (plus a short Q&A) The Hive Jump kickstarter happens to still be live and in need of your support to reach its funding goal. The project needs $15,000 in five days to be successful, which will be tough, but I still believe the game is worth it.

4. Forget EverQuest Next: I want EverQuest Again This post ended up getting a lot of comments, which was great. I’m still a little mixed on the final results of it though. Originally, I had wanted to write a post about creating a true sequel to EverQuest and how I might do that with some modern conveniences thrown in. After SOE Fanfaire, however, I really needed to get a few thoughts about EQN off my chest. The end result is a post encompassing both which … mostly works.

3. Seems like Ice-based attacks are super effective against Murfs #ALS #Blaugust & I Drank This: An Aloe Vera Drink with Mango! These two tied simply because they are two examples of seeing my face, my reactions, etc. Also, me being tortured.

2. “I don’t want to lose at this game”, said the boy with the crush. I am including this one as a well-hidden update (I know you aren’t reading this) that things are going really well with her. We still haven’t had an official first date, but I am meeting family now and we talk everyday. Plus, THE HUGS!

1. It’s #Blaugust, Baby: EMBRACE THE WIERD Not Top 5 Blaugust Posts list would be complete without the one that launched a thousand thirty other ships! It also gives me a chance to thank Belghast one more time for the holiday, while still pointing out that he misspelled ‘weird’ on Twitter for the millionth time.

Retweeting Myself

Previously on Murf Versus:

08/24 Weekly Encore: #Blaugust IV Edition

08/17 Weekly Encore: #Blaugust III Edition

08/10 Weekly Encore: #Blaugust II Edition

08/03 Weekly Encore: #Blaugust I Edition

07/27 Weekly Encore: “Tumble Me This” Edition

07/20 Weekly Encore: “Too Long” Edition

07/13 Weekly Encore: “Rolling thunder and unparalleled brilliance” Edition

07/05 Weekly Encore: “Oh, no” Edition

The Rise and Fall of Blaugustus Caesar

Considering tomorrow’s post will be a recap, today is the real end to an era: Blaugust is over. I think it has been a really fun run. Not only have I added plenty of awesome new blogs to my Feedly, but my Twitter has grown as well. The outburst of community far outweighs anything any of us could have written. I look forward to writing alongside, in response to, and because of you all! #blugs (blogger hugs) all around.

What did I learn? Well, mostly that I talk too much. Having something ready to go each and every day wasn’t an issue for me though I think quality suffered some. I was a lot less patient and some ideas didn’t get developed as much or in the way I wanted.

I also learned that I don’t care for writing THAT much, if only because it begins to cut into my time to read and do more community-specific things. The entire hobby devolved a bit too much into a grand balancing act, resulting in a lot of broken plates. It’s nice to know I can do these things in bursts and not go crazy, but a month-long spring is a bit much.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in Blaugust or read me because of Blaugust or was read by me because of Blaugust. I’d certainly like to thank Belghast for … well, everything. You managed to throw a lot of very different bloggers in a room, commanding them to write like this was one of those cliche 1950’s Dance Marathons. And it worked! I don’t know what was your muse, but it certainly seems like an inspired idea. Though, I am saddened that had to scrap Murftember, a month long blogging holiday where everyone writes really long, run on sentences with big words and little substance. Oh well! ;)

As for what’s next, well, this blog has a birthday next month. September 10th if we want to be exact. Nearly a year ago, I restarted my attempts to maintain and run an okay blog, and here we are now: mostly maintained and definitely okay … ish.

There will be plenty of content though I plan on being out of town for the majority of the month. The first week, I am visiting friends in North Carolina to meet their first child. After, I’ll be spending time with some friends in good ole Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. When I finally get back home again, I’ll be hitting the road with my job’s inventory team, going from one store to the next for the rest of the month.

I hope to have some things queued up here, but don’t get too alarmed if I disappear in spurts. No idea if Belgast remembers or not, but we had an idea to continue Blaugust into September though unofficially. I have enough content left that I may be able to make that goal but we will see. I may have to invent a special mobile-only version of my posting style to keep up.

Until then folks, happy writing and congratulations on a Blaugust well done!

#Blaugust, #Community, #Blugs

Forget EverQuest Next: I want EverQuest Again.

This year’s SOE Live has come and gone. Good riddance. Though largely due to unrealistic expectations, no other SOE Live has let me down this much. Even Blizzard’s announcement of the announcement of the announcement seemed more entertaining and more revealing of its next big release, despite being a pretty dull non-reveal in its own right.

Like so many of us, I wanted to know more about EverQuest Next. The long quiet since the initial hype drummed up by last year’s SOE Live has been hard to bear. For the most part, my interest has been rendered so passive as to ultimately be considered a non-interest. The interim has given me a chance to return to my senses, reconsider what SOE has actually put on the table with EQN and not the parts I have wishfully ignored, and mostly move on.

First things first. I am not looking to do a big recap since several others have done better others (and in a much more timely manner). For a very optimistic view that actually cares about EverQuests shown at SOE Live that don’t have Next as their last name, Bhagpuss has you covered. Scree had a day one response as well, and it echoed my sentiments almost exactly. Finally, Eri did a really good job of covering the EQN specifics of the conference in a fairly comprehensive post over at Healing the Masses. I recommend reading all three.

EverQuest Next isn’t for you. EverQuest Next is for a new generation.

I won’t pretend to speak for everyone, but I know in my own experience, I fully expected EverQuest II to be a sequel to EverQuest I in more than just name and setting/characters. It wasn’t. EverQuest II was a completely different beast that broke away from a lot of what I enjoyed about the original game for both better and for worse. The game has since gone through a lot of major changes to bring it more in like both with EverQuest but also all the other MMOs that helped deny EQII’s chance at maintaining the line of succession as Ruler of All MMOdom. Let’s remind ourselves that EQII and World of Warcraft both released in the latter half of 2004, separated by only a few months, with both being heavily featured in magazines ((relics of a bygone era where ink on paper was more important than fonts on screens)).

EverQuest Next will similarly be an attempt on SOE’s part to reboot their darling for a modern audience. It’ll be even further removed from both EverQuest and EverQuest II, and will prove without a doubt that the EverQuest franchise has no core elements outside its lore. That’ll be both for better and for worse, just like it was for EQII.

That new generation will actually be a NEW GENERATION.

EQN definitely has a ways to go before it is released. Maybe SOE Live’s tease last year was too soon or not open enough about how far along the game was or something easily misconstrued by hungry MMO fans like myself. Either way, it is not 100% obvious that they don’t have anything to show off. They also reiterated over and over the important of Landmark important beyond the “Here’s a chance for fans to build cool things and content that we might find uses for in our other game.” I won’t say that I felt let on intentionally by SOE, but I certainly allowed myself to be let on by the vagueries.

EverQuest Next may not be for me.

Guild Wars 2 proved to me that I love the Holy Trinity and I want more of it, not less, including the crazy-specific roles and off-roles of the original EverQuest (puller, anyone?). WildStar proved to me that very active combat is fun … for about thirty levels. EverQuest Next will feature a much more open system, role-wise, that won’t necessitate a trinity, plus it will most definitely be the active, aim and dodge, kind of gameplay.

And I don’t think I want that. I can always be proven wrong, but SOE’s track record post-Star Wars Galaxies hasn’t exactly been one that can prove me anything. Seeing EverQuest Next look even flashier than current MMORPGs bothers me a lot. Animations and fluidity matter more to me than having my entire screen light up. I won’t care that my Basic Mace Swing connects and explodes into a seizure-inducing light show after the fiftieth time I have pressed the button, but I will care if my animations look dated in two years, the spell effects make combat hard to follow, and having more emotive characters with armor/clothing gear styles gets cut to add another split second of visual flair to some random fire spell.

Furthermore, is anyone seriously excited for the destructive environment stuff? It’d be awesome tech for PvP content, at least for modeling better damage models for sieges, but the whole “ice the ground and spin through it” thing looks great but sounds terrible. There are too many questions to have a firm opinion on the matter, but I don’t see it working. At all.

EverQuest Next could still be something I play.

The hype has subsided, which is likely a good thing since it’ll mean that if the AI and Storybricks stuff works, then EverQuest Next will definitely exceed my expectations. Really, if this year’s SOE Live committed one sin too many it was not teasing us with some more tangible aspects to their intentions to make emergent gameplay their primary kind of gameplay. I think we are all pretty interested in that, as it’ll likely be the one thing EverQuest Next really does innovate for the entire genre.

Other areas that have my interest are the game’s focus more on horizontal progression and having an open class customization system. While I have concerns about roles, I am always happy to see Shadowknights, Paladins, and Bards running around in any place that looks vaguely like Norrath.

Forget EverQuest Next: I want EverQuest Again.

The more I think about it though, the more I do want a sequel to the original EverQuest. I want a Shovel Knight-equivalent game for classic MMORPGs. That perfect blend of old-school gameplay with modern, more friendly mechanics that makes Shovel Knight work would do wonders for an EverQuest game. I know, I know! It won’t sell like hotcakes, but I am tired of MMOs with marketing budgets more bloated than the cost to make many of my favorite games in the last five years.

I really want to camp and grind with strangers again. I can say that sort of thing because my mom doesn’t read this blog and she wouldn’t construe that as an intense cry for help pertaining to my sex life. Or something.

#EverQuestNext, #SOE, #WishfulThinking