Tag Archives: expansion

Rift: Game Is In Great Shape, Announcement Coming (+ Gaming Stock Commentary)

In response to player concerns today about the future of Rift, community manager Ocho had this to say in the forums:

“So let’s get to some facts:

  • The RIFT Dev team is the largest Dev team I’ve ever worked with in almost a decade of working on triple A MMOs.
  • The team has grown over the last year and a half, and hiring for the team continues.
  • Population in RIFT is strong, lots of people play RIFT and lots of new people continue to start to play RIFT.
  • Profits from RIFT are certainly reinvested in RIFT. AA took 0 devs from RIFT. None, nada, zilch.
  • RIFT is in zero danger. We’re really excited about the future, right now is a great time to be playing or working on RIFT. …
  • We’re not only reusing old content, we’re also developing new content. Keep your eyes out over the next couple weeks, we might be announcing something.”

– Ocho

This is great news, since this kitty has also been a little worried.

This week I capped my rogue alt, and I continue close to picking up a few pieces of raid gear earned for my main by weeklies and dailies instead of raiding. I’m also enjoying the creative and quirky nightmare saga story.

The second act released yesterday. The return of old classic characters doesn’t bring much life to them (so far), and we mostly see them as generic quest-advancers. The third act of the saga also supposedly forces you to do a lot of PvP and NTE dungeons.

I disagree with this design, even if it’s to justify the epic weapon you can theoretically get when it’s all over. There are two main types of players:

  • Players for whom this is just same-old grinding to pad out the saga.
  • Players for whom this is horrible and will spend an entire weekend trying to queue for PUG DPS and beat five dungeons, or queuing PvP and hating Trion the entire time.

Just doesn’t seem like a winning scheme to me.


Video Game Stocks


Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft (MSFT) both had solid earnings reports this week, so hopefully these will be long term for my paltry little portfolio, and I can ease up on my nine-month quest (right before the stock market goes off a cliff, possibly.)

How can Microsoft compete with Apple and Google? By uniting your PC in an ecosystem with your other devices and monetizing by applying what they’ve learned from Free-To-Play video games. I plan to buy a Lumia soon. My Samsung tablet completely fails to recognize my Windows 7 PC.

You’ll also be able to stream XBOX to PC with Windows 10, or stream console-quality games to your PC without an XBOX using the cloud, which Microsoft demonstrated yesterday.

If you need any more good news for Microsoft, China announced this week that it will now allow game consoles to be sold in China after a 15 year ban. This is probably more better for Sony and Nintendo.

My third tech pick is still Equinix (EQIX), a cloud pipeline and data center owner. They are allied with Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, which I hope will eventually win against Amazon’s huge cloud. Who wants to trust Amazon with their entire corporate business and security if the other choice is the Microsoft on your PCs?

I also still hold AT&T (T), which is now FCC-approved to merge with DirectTV, with an expectation of leveraging their scale to produce their own competitive over-the-top video streaming service like everyone else.

Nvidia’s (NVDA) stock continues to head into the abyss with PCs and chips, although the stock is super tempting as it dips below $20. The future of virtual reality in video games and in general might see Nvidia as a big player.

As TAGN reported, Blizzard (ATVI) announces results next week on 8/4, followed by an announcement of a new expansion a few days later on 8/6. Interesting.

In the last two quarters, Blizzard reported strong results and the stock popped. Both times I sold and took small profits. The stock might pop again, but right now Wall Street seems to be in a mood to sell any stocks after their results hit print.

Especially if a stock ran up into its earnings announcement.

I would not be betting on Blizzard’s stock to be higher the day after it reports. If ATVI sells off hard, it might be a buying opportunity, especially if the Wall Street boys aren’t completely up to speed with the expansion deal.

Also, if Blizzard is announcing their expansion earlier than normal at Gamescom, then maybe they are saving something even bigger for Blizzcon in November?


Weekly Wyrm: The Weather Outside Is Frightful

guild wars 2 class changeIt’s a warm 82 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix in the first week of March. Summer is coming soon–the season to crank up the air conditioning, close down the blinds, and play games in the half-light.

Summer is winter in the desert. Instead of freezing, we blister.

A few days ago, Angry Joe posted an interview video on the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. Colin Johansen mentioned major class and advancement restructuring–a Mastery system.

Colin also mentioned the Hunter profession being able to swap to Druid spec or back again, as well as to others if/when more specializations are added to the game.

Suddenly the Guild Wars 2 buy-to-play game is a lot more interesting than Elder Scrolls, which seems more flexible in theory but just doesn’t click with me. Too much flexibility means generic, overlapping, and useless skills, a criticism often mentioned in Rift.

My druid is probably my favorite class in World of Warcraft, although my WoW characters have always seemed limited compared to Rift. I never wanted to stick with just one.

Maybe this class-swapping will be the answer, and I can put a hunter/druid on my very short list of dedicated, lifetime-favorite characters. So speaking of World of Warcraft.


Return To Hearthstone


For now, I’ve returned to Hearthstone on Android. This was released just this last December, and thanks to my new 8″ Tab 4, I’m good to go. The game runs smoothly and beautifully, and is just barely sharp enough and large enough to read the text and enjoy the experience.

I can play Hearthstone in bed, on the toilet, in the kitchen, or even standing on my head. Really only in bed, since I’m way behind the curve on legendary cards, and it’s easier for the poor kitty to take it in the tail while lying down.

So Blizzard just announced a new expansion at PAX East a few days ago, entitled Blackrock Mountain. I skipped the first two Xpacks/Adventure things (Goblins vs. Gnomes and Naxxramas), but Blackrock Mountain has always been my favorite place in WoW, and I spent a lot of good times farming the Spire and Depths.

This might be my first pre-order of a game in quite a while. We’ll see. I’m reminded that I promised to buy Diablo 3 since Blizzard made both genders of each class, but I still haven’t. Anyway, if you haven’t tried Hearthstone on Android, it’s worth a look on a compatible device.

It’s hard to feel like you’re progressing and not just wasting tons of time playing Hearthstone, but it’s a lot of fun in those odd moments, or if you really go hardcore. That’s about it for this week. Thanks for reading.


Elf In Real Life: One Week Until The Nightmare

waiting catRift:Nightmare Tide is supposed to release in one week. I haven’t been playing Rift much except for helping newbies in the forums.

Today was my first day back in the stock market, and I made a $12 profit while the market plunged again.

$12 is like a free hamburger in a hurricane, but it’s still a $1.50 raise on my crappy day job. I haven’t gotten an annual raise–no rank and file in my office has–for over 5 years.

I wish I could go out and harvest artifacts in the neighborhood and sell them on EBay. Maybe if I lived in Greece or Ireland and wanted to engage in criminal archaeological activity.

Everything looks bad except for oil prices, which Citigroup is declaring to be a 1 trillion stimulus. Meanwhile, the headline on CNN.com right now says “brace yourselves for financial crash.”

Ironically, anecdotes say that by the time the headlines of major news outlets are declaring a financial crash, the worst is already over. Maybe CNN is saying this on purpose, trying reverse psychology. Or maybe they’re looking to drive prices further down so they can buy.

Important money people are going on CNBC this week, like the CEO of Blackstone, and saying whatever it takes to help their own interests. It’s like a mini-game trying to guess the ulterior motives of everything the people say on CNBC.

I look at the expressions of the nervous-looking Wall Street guys and imagine them wearing burly beards, with the terrified caption “We dug too deep!”

How deep is Trion still dicking with Nightmare Tide? I’d guess it’s still a bit creaky, but we can pray it’s playable. They have one more week to tie on some flippers and send this girl off the deep end.


Rift: Expansion Packages = Level To 60

loyalty rift imageTrion posted their Rift: Nightmare Tide expansion packages today, causing some stir with some of the offerings, including an instant auto-level to 60 for the two most expensive packages.

Some are saying the 60 won’t be available separately, but that’s naive.

Storm Legion is an albatross. The higher level terrain is gorgeous, and there are some good stories and things happening, but the leveling experience is average, and at worst just boring. I really like Rift, and even I didn’t make it through on the first try. This makes it a big stick in the profit river.

The game does proverbially “open up” at Storm Legion level cap, though.

According to reports, the auto-level brought a lot of players back to WoW for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor, and I agree it’s the right move for the health of Rift. Of course there are unfortunate side effects whenever leveling is negated as an achievement.

The expansion packs also include new gear slots for earrings, which appear to make them must-haves for everyone. That situation is unclear. Rift clearly needs a win, and they are playing it risky.


Back To Rift: Personal Journey


I hit 60 last weekend, and already re-subscribed to Rift, so I’ll be blogging Rift for the next six months.

My loyalty boost for patron status put me over a tier (shown in the image above), so there was confetti flying all over my screen, and my bags were flooded with nutty purple gifts, including a flaming owl that’s perfect for my pyromancer.

I finished four or five Expert Dungeons on Monday. I’d like to get as many achievements as I can out of the 60 dungeons while they are still being run, as well as boost my gear somewhat. Storm Legion was difficult at the beginning with mediocre gear.

I’m having a good time. Rift demonstrates at every turn its creativity, its brilliant engineering. I also capped a few crafts. Potions are stronger in Rift than in other MMOs, so my Apothecary has a big effect on my survival. I never use potions except in Rift.

I also participated in the amazing Volan event in Ashora, which was like fighting Godzilla in the open world. I also ran across the in-game lore for the Budgie mounts. An explorer explains they are a rare species from a discovered “pocket plane” of air.

An RP purist has to wonder why the name “Budgie”, and not “Freakish Big Featherpecker” or something. Ok, I admit they look cute, and this sort of creativity is a hallmark of Rift’s style.

Last night I did an unstable artifact event, where you go crazy for a half an hour hunting artifacts in a random zone. It’s like an insane Easter Egg hunt, with collectible artifacts spawning in the hundreds.

My daily artifact tracking potion (a patron perk) was immediately put to use. I filled my bags with artifacts in fifteen minutes in Ashora. When Trion announced unstable artifacts, I thought they were overdoing it, but the activity was actually fun (at least with tracking).

The Rift forums also aren’t logging me out every day like LotRO, so it’s easier to connect with the community and feel welcome. If you’re reading this and haven’t tried Rift, I’d highly recommend trying it. Here’s a refer-a-friend code, although I’m not sure if it gives perks to the referred person anymore.

Leonore’s Referral Code

You don’t have to be on the same shard as me or anything, but if you show up on Faeblight as a new player and mention Kitty Kitty, I’d be happy to make you some nice bags or donate some plat.

And thanks to those who have already given me some of my favorite perks by using the referrals. That’s all for now. Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing.