Tuesday, June 16, 2020

City of Physics

City of Heroes players seldom talk about physics, but I think it's an interesting topic. City of Heroes was one of the first games to use PhysX (Physics processing unit,) which led it to having probably the best physics I've ever seen in a MMORPG. Later, when NVIDIA bought PhysX, those features got supported by NVIDIA graphic cards.
Debris, banknotes, leaves in a park, even spent shell casings are all physical objects that can interact both with characters and abilities. Heck, even most shooter games still don't have shell casings as physical objects!

Some "classes" interact with physics more than others. For example, playing a Storm Summoning character is fun cause you get to move a lot of stuff with your wind-based powers. Classes with guns do generate tons of shell casings, and Mercenary Masterminds even have pets that use fireams too. And there is Gravity Control which has damaging abilities based on just throwing garbage at the enemy. But it's garbage with physics!

Unfortunately, when City of Heroes returned, modern hardware didn't really support CoH physics. But City of Heroes Homecoming solved that issue by making it run in "software simulation" mode and since physics run on a separate thread it doesn't even affect performance. I really love those Homecoming devs, it looks like better work than many commercial devs would do.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Game resolutions

My 15-year-old display seems to be dying. It's an old display so it has a 1920x1200 resolution instead of 1920x1080 that is mainstream nowadays. It seems like it's pretty darn hard to find a 16:10 display for a decent price. While buying a new display should be a minor change, the idea of rearranging UIs for another resolution on all my MMORPGs fills me with some kind of irrational dread. I wonder how other people dealt with similar situations, but I don't think I remember anyone writing about that at all.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Everquest new player experience

Unfortunately, the peak of Everquest popularity happened way before the time I got into online gaming. I did try to get into Everquest several times since, but the learning curve always appeared to be to steep. I only recently managed to grasp some basics and play a bit on Project 1999 and that only happened cause P1999 has fewer systems and there was a helpful Discord server, a lot of youtube streamers, and a decent wiki. BTW I feel like those resources are totally classic because they basically emulate having an IRL friend who plays EQ. I sadly never had such a friend.
                                Does that mean I tried to play EQ in 2012?

I finally felt I was ready for some Daybreak's Everquest. I did want to play on a new TLP server, but I could not play due to server issues I wrote about in the last post (and then TAGN made a much better post about the same thing an hour later.) So I went to play on a normal server. Since I wanted to see the whole new Crescent Reach solo experience making a Drakkin character was an obvious choice. And because only the Drakkin (and for some weird reason that I don't really understand bards) can worship Veeshan I wanted to make a religious class and eventually went for a cleric. Sadly, I could not find much lore on Veeshan clergy. But instead of Crescent Reach the game sent me into a tutorial.
                     Everquest is so hardcore even smashing a barrel is risky.

It seems like there are conflicting opinions about the tutorial. Hardcore "nostalgia" players and Bhagpuss seem to hate it, while TAGN has some praise for it. I personally did enjoy the tutorial. I did all non-group quests without mercenaries and it was challenging enough. My character died several times. That's amazing considering that while playing an average modern MMORPG I usually get to mid-to-high levels without dying once. I think the most interesting and challenging part is that mobs are actually mobile, so there were several times when my character got low on hp and mana and sat there to regen just to get murdered by a wandering kobold. The combat itself wasn't that hard and I think the hardest part was trying to get used to the UI. The quests were nothing to write home about and writing was about average. The zones, however, were quite immersive and had an amazing level of detail for a 1999 game. Heck, the spider area was too immersive and probably will give me nightmares. Running through the tutorial took me 6+ hours and got my character to level 10. Now on to see the "real" world!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Server down

So I was going to write about some noob experiences on a new Everquest server, but I just cant.

The launch have had so many issue it felt like any oldschool MMORPG launch, apparently including original Everquest. First I've sat in a queue for like 2 hours, then the servers went down. Then the forums went down. Then everything, including Everquest 2 and DC Universe Online went down.
Then Darkpaw managed to get servers working a short time and everything went down again. After that I quit waiting, but now, almost 20 hours later there are still giant Soviet style queues.
Oh, and also the official Everquest Discord server was invaded by nazi bots for a while. Dreamweaver looked like a darn hero dealing with that all.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Mr Bhagpuss had a nice post about Everquest 2 where he said: "Those instances are still profitable but they're also fun for me right now because they're easy and getting easier every run." I like to think that my approach is quite the opposite and I like a good, challenging fight. After all if you know for sure you are going to win a battle what's the point of having a battle in the first place? But reality is a bit more complicated.

Firstly I think at least half of MMORPGs on the market have bad combat systems. When playing those games I have almost no fun fighting so if I can have extremely fast fights that I can win by mashing a single button I'll gladly take them.

Another issue is that MMORPGs tend to lock "hard" content behind either giant time sinks (killing a challenging foe a hundred times to get access to a slightly more challenging foe is no fun) or behind content for giant groups that's usually knows as "raids." While I like taking on a challenge solo or with a friend or two, I don't really like raids. Not only my skill and effort matter less in a larger group, but I also don't like the social aspects of raiding.

The last reason why I don't often see challenging fights in MMORPGs relates to my completionist attitude. While playing MMORPGs I usually try to do every quest I can, at least on my first character. Since most MMORPGs noticeable increase leveling speed over time so players can "catch up" I usually outlevel content I am playing by at least a couple levels. I guess I could make things harder by fighting naked like some people on forums suggest, but I don't want a challenge that much.

So yeah, while I like difficult fights in theory, I seldom see them.

Also yay! First post!