Tag Archives: Rift

Missing Artifact: Sense Of Accomplishment

Rift Comment

Tonight I was researching a return to Rift. Right away I would want to spend $35 to buy the new Ascended Soul pack, which only contains one soul I want for my mage.

So that’s one skill tree for $35. Trion hasn’t ever broken up the packs, since that would be less moneys.

Speaking of money, I noticed you can also buy artifacts now in Rift. Just click a button and spend your store credits for spin-the-wheel to get an artifact you’re missing. What a deal.

What I’m missing is any desire to hunt artifacts ever again, which has been one of my main activities and enjoyments, and the main reason to have a patron account.

I’m also missing any interest in returning to Rift, which looks like it’s going the same way as LotRO, just throwing shiny things out and trying to hook a few fish. And forcing players to use the cash shop (source of the comment in the image) for things that previously didn’t need a cash shop.

It’s nice they are finally doing something about the poor game engine performance, which sort of doomed them from day one, and made their advertised challenge to WoW into a non-starter. WoW actually looked and ran better at higher FPS than Rift’s lowest settings on my old computer.

This week I’m playing some Saint’s Row 2, but it’s really hard to look at. Last night I played a mini-game where I prostituted myself in the public restroom, getting guys off for money. That’s a new one.

I really like the hispanic voice-over of Rebecca Sanabria for the main character in Saint’s Row 2. I like the respect system. And of course, the playable female main character. F**k you, Rockstar.

I just wish Saint’s Row 2 wasn’t the Morrowind of the Saint’s Row games. While the production values were gorgeous with The Third and IV, the franchise sort of lost its soul. Who wanted an alien invasion and outer space?

Unlike Rift, Saint’s Row was a legitimate rival and contender against the thousand pound gorilla in the genre – the GTA franchise.  Like Rift, questionable creative design leadership squandered the opportunity.


Gaming Stocks


Today I took a 12% profit in Blizzard’s stock with the U.S. stock market perilously close to a record high, and companies reporting dismal results to start off earnings season. I plan to buy Sony at an opportune moment between now and E3, and buy back into Blizzard as soon as it sells off significantly, for any reason.

The GAMR ETF is basically soaring, but so are overall markets, so that doesn’t mean so much. The volume seems to be picking up. When the U.S. market swoons again, I might look into a GAMR long term position, especially if I miss a big up move in Blizzard.

That seems unlikely (which, along with the overall irrationally exuberant market, is the other half of my urge to take profits), but it’s really hard to say how well Blizzard is doing in Asia.

This last quarter was supposedly a stronger, more upbeat quarter in Asia than the one previously. I say “supposedly” because you can’t trust the Chinese government, who just happens to have a huge stake in its own stock market.

Anyway, Blizzard could easily surprise on an Asia basis, and probably will since the kitty is almost always wrong to sell stocks. I don’t really care at the moment. I’m really, really tired. For a few nights, I just want to play a game.

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Weekly Wyrm: Trion Livestream, Devilian Etc.

Devilian Screenshot

This week I finished part one of Life is Strange, got halfway through Act 2 of Diablo 3, went from level 35 to 55 in Guild Wars 2, and played some Devilian Beta.

I’m not motivated to advance past level 30 in Devilian. The beta characters will be wiped before launch, which is expected by the end of the year. So I focused on watching the Friday official livestream.

Drewcifer (producer for Devilian NA/EU) mentioned not wanting to launch against Star Wars, and also implied a reluctance to go against all the current big releases this month in November.

Since Star Wars ep. 7 is December 18, and Battlefront is this coming week on the heels of Fallout 4 and Black Ops, this kitty guesses Devilian in 3-4 weeks after Thanksgiving.

Drewcifer said a new super-momentous producer letter will be released in the coming days, to be discussed next Friday on the next livestream. So I’d guess we get a release date.

Trion also mentioned some new team members on Devilian. I’ve started working on a newbie guide, but I’m just trying to learn the game myself at this point. So we’ll see.

Anyone can supposedly join the beta this weekend by buying the $20 starter pack.

Victoria Voss said if you’re interested in streaming Devilian, please contact them via the forums, and they will help you get set up.

Drewcifer said there was nothing they can do about the gender-locked classes, which is the most criticized feature at this point. The devs said there is no chance of doing opposite genders for each class, but they mentioned a possibility of adding variations of classes with the opposite gender.

More classes are coming to Devilian in the coming months, which is more than Elder Scrolls Online can say 18 months after launch. One new class was previewed recently, and it’s a great addition to the female selection.

The two current female options are cute and cuter, so the bad girl theme is a really good idea, as is melee. For the sake of the game, a wizard or ranger type for the guys seems even better.


Rift


In the Rift livestream, the devs mentioned they are bringing the Sparkle Quest back, along with Rift patch 3.5, which will include Fae Yule. Last year’s Sparkle Quest was a weekly where you did all sorts of Rift content, and you could get a random piece of tier gear.

This time will not be a weekly that turns all players magically into insane hamsters. You can only do it once for a tier 3 piece. You’ll be able to choose if you want DPS/heal or tank gear. It’s still random between those two types. No weapons this time. Only armor and accessories.

Patch 3.5 will also bring upgrades to PvP gears, PvP convenience improvements, and a button on the crafting panel that lets you jump directly to the correct component to buy in the store. Now that’s some seasonal joy!

Also, all mounts can now be made amphibious, but they still need to be unlocked. The devs went to great efforts to do this, and they need fat paychecks for their NorCal rent. Trion is also hiring, but they apparently need lots of senior and director people.


Personal



This week I was also reading and uploading new versions of my books to stamp out typos. It’s depressing that I made so many mistakes in my final attempt to be perfect. The editor has been flogged.

At least two succubus-focused reviewers may be looking at my books soon, so I’m also marketing more towards the succubus theme at this point. I’m advertising for that on a super-secret bad girl blog.

It’s secret, but I have 750 followers on that blog. How does that happen? Believe it or not, video games are not the most popular online topic.

Today I tried to make sushi. I made the rolls ok, but the rice tasted horrible. I’m still burping up that fake crab leg crud. The sweet potato roll was more promising. I’ll try to do better next time, senpai.

Happy Friday, and happy gaming.


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?


Rift Update 3.3 Today: A Casual Bonanza (And Some Stock Market Commentary)

Last week I jumped back into Rift, and I’ve had a good time running dungeons and doing warfronts. I earned the Arch General title for PvP last weekend almost too easily. The old rank 50 is probably trivial these days.

Rift’s 3.3 patch launched today and nose-dived into a crash though. The servers have been down for hours. The silver lining is a 50% compensation bonus to XP, PA, Favor, and Prestige through Sunday.

I’ve never used the word “bonanza” before, but I’m super impressed by this update. Trion is even focusing more on characters and story, bringing that all-important focus to both the new storyline and the new Tarken Instant Adventures.

Cosmologist Mann even has a wonderfully written backstory woven into the update notes! Here are the high points of the update:

  1. New Nightmare Saga storyline starts (new chapters are planned bi-weekly.)
  2. New planar crafting with new crafting rifts.
  3. New featured instant adventures in Tarken Glacier.
  4. New daily rewards and partner-finder for Chronicles, just like for dungeons and warfronts.
  5. New PvP equipment bringing PvPers, like crafters, closer to T2 raid gear.
  6. New shared bank vault.
  7. New awesome dimension stuff (haven’t looked at this yet).
  8. More wardrobe stuff.
  9. Easy-mode tiers for raids.
  10. L60 boosts are now in the store, no need to buy a pack.
  11. Mysterious Travelers have begun appearing throughout Telara. Where did they come from? What do they want? Only time will tell. (A new expansion coming?)
  12. Lots of other stuff.

Full patch notes here.

Trion is clearly favoring casual players with this Rift update (unless the story is brutal and requires grouping, extreme soloing, or raiding, a kick to the face that’s still possible).

Trion is also living up to their mission statement before Nightmare Tide launched: of providing legitimate ways of advancement (almost to parity with raiders, at least close) for all play styles.

I hope it works for them, because it’s the ideal in this kitty’s opinion. While the Rift population seems a little thin, the morale around town is relatively good on the surface. Maybe the kids are off playing Hearthstone and Trove.

If you haven’t played Rift in quite a while, this week might be a good time to jump back in for the XP bonus. I just hope it stacks with my subscription bonus.

There is also a deal to get free patron time by logging in this weekend, but I’m not sure how that works.


Personal – Video Game Stocks


In the last couple weeks during the China crash and Greece fiasco, I bought back into gaming stocks with Electronic Arts, and that has already paid off very well.

I also bought Microsoft on speculation at the breakout from the bottom of the most recent three-month pullback, which started last April after a big jump on good results from Microsoft’s growing cloud business.

Microsoft is really risky, but Sony just plain crashed due to reasons related to debt and borrowing. I can’t get back into Sony. News can’t get worse right now for Microsoft, so maybe it will be better from here.

Why didn’t I get back into ATVI (Blizzard)? I might if it breaks out of its normal plateau pattern. I believe in Blizzard, but the problem is also its debt combined with stagnant revenues. It has a huge amount more debt than EA (due to the Vivendi deal I assume.)

I’m trying to nibble into a position in FXI Hong Kong during the China market collapse right now, which puts me into Tencent, which is a Blizzard investor. I think I said I’d never do Tencent or EA, so I’m officially a hypocrite supporting the evil F2P/cash shop empires in video games.

While I’m skeptical of EA’s sports franchises, in a climate of increasing game company competition combined with ease of entry, I have to like the lock on Star Wars and those sports.

According to Dow Jones Newswire, EA hired Jade Raymond from Ubisoft last week. She’s supposedly helping to develop a Star Wars game that’s different from Battlefront due out in November, as well as leading a team to create a new IP.


Weekly Wyrm ~ Breaking Into The Video Games Biz

No image tonight–just a grim wall of text, followed by a happy ending. And then crying.

Tonight I returned to my personal game project, trying to cope with old code. While inching through code lines, gelatinous cube-like, I watched Trion’s friday Livestream on Twitch, as mentioned on MassivelyOP.

It’s nice to see Brasse at Trion. As a fellow mapmaker, I’ve studied her fine work. Her mention of reviewing all of Trion’s community and forums is a little worrying though since the Rift forums are so nice and perfect.

I wrote up a synopsis as I listened. This, then some stocks and Guild Wars 2.


Synopsis of Game Industry Job Tips From Trion


  • Break into the industry, don’t break into Trion.
  • There are less 20 hours-per-day crunch times these days, so it’s easier to have a real life.
  • On the other hand, there is more money in other industries. Trading money for following your passion.
  • A passionate person needs to temper expectations for effecting change within a big team with lots of ideas that are never realized.
  • System designers must be aces at math, pro at Excel and statistics. Other designers are: narrative designers, content designers.
  • Audio is minimal, mostly outsourced. Try companies that are contract houses for game companies.
  • Designers need to be able to clearly communicate with teams.
  • Engineers (programmers). Need C++, C#.
  • Platform needs Java type skills. Account creations and logins are common with other companies like banks.
  • Game-specific education degrees may not be best, yet. Focus on life learning, keep educating self.
  • For artists, almost rather have a Fine Arts degree, recognition of art, broad understanding.
  • Being passionate about what you do is critical.
  • Be yourself and be honest above all, even about your weaknesses. Don’t be a poser because it shows.
  • Resumes. Don’t make a generic cover letter. Be sure you’re played Trion games and say why you want Trion.
  • You can and should remove old unapplicable things from your resume.
  • List your favorite games, mention the MMOs you’ve played at cap, your achievements, how your gaming has touched you and meant something to you. Show your passion for games.
  • Make games. Show something.
  • Keep clickable links in resumes, don’t remove.
  • Keep your Facebook and social media professional because they will search and find all of your personal dog and family posts and judge you mercilessly. (With all of my personality issues and depression, not to mention kinkiness, this kitty is irrevocably doomed.)
  • Networking and meetups. Talk to the devs at conventions, get to know people over the years.
  • College only isn’t a good resume.
  • Take any job in the industry at first to get experience.

Video Game Stocks


All of the stocks I recommended in a previous post three weeks ago have now reported quarterly earnings results.

Activision/Blizzard (ATVI) reported solid results and raised guidance for the year. Electronic Arts (EA) was also solid, both stocks were up 5-7% this week on those results. Winning, and you’re winning too if you listened to the kitty. At least, you are today.

NVidia (NVDA) disappointed and was down 7% just today. Luckily, as I mentioned in another post, I dumped Nvidia and went Blizzard before that happened.

I think this might still be a good buying opportunity for Nvidia if you’re a contrarian, but it might be dead money for a while. I want to believe Windows 10 can bring PC’s back, and the massive boom in handheld devices will make people want bigger screens and the PC/tablet hybrids, and not just these tablet-to-TV things. I don’t do TVs at all.

Just note the stock market may die in a fire soon. Wait at least three days, if not three weeks until the market breaks up or down from its converging trend lines.

Akamai (AKAM), the content delivery and security company formerly used by Turbine, Sony, and Nintendo, is also solid up 6% in my portfolio, and Limelight Networks (LLNW), my long-odds underdog pick, is up maybe 10%. I’m now holding all of these except Nvidia.

For another suggestion, my largest tech holding is Equinix (EQIX). I think of it as an internet “pipeline” company. They made a bid to buy up a European network/cloud provider this week, sending the stock up more, and Microsoft also announced that they are expanding partnership with EQIX to handle cloud delivery of Microsoft’s Office 365 worldwide for Windows 10.

Amazon (AMZN) is another solid cloud pick, and they own Twitch. It’s up big on strong cloud results, but it has based after profit-taking, and looks to be building momentum again.


Guild Wars 2


They announced the Guardian elite spec. It’s called Dragonhunter, and my first reaction was: NOOOOOoooOOOOOoooOOOO!

My second reaction was: I can re-roll.

This non-calm kitty really feels dragons are in a world beyond trite and over-exploited. I don’t like setting traps, and don’t even use them on my trappy Hunter. I assumed the new trap class (which was known) would go to Rogue. It’s like the GW2 devs went out of their way to make sure I hate this class! Waaaa!

I don’t know what I’m doing now in Guild Wars 2.

So I’m back working on my video game. I re-wrote the UI and created some new graphics in the last few days. I read somewhere that people are doing HTML/CSS/Javascript apps now somehow, so I can do that. Maybe. It’s an educational game, and may involve elves. Or maybe vampires. Systems first.

I’m coping with re-learning my schoolgirl code and learning lessons in why commenting is so important if you let kitties use keyboards.