Tag Archives: Update

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.

LotRO F2P Corp Bulldozes More UI Rain Forest

Today we received a dev diary on the new character panels for LotRO. Cythryth from LotRO Weekly has also uploaded additional screenshots of updated panels from the Bullroarer test server.

The new character panel is designed such that the stat column on the right visually leads the eye directly to the Enhance Character button. Clever. If you don’t know what enhance character means, it’s a euphemism for Buy Higher Stats. Meanwhile, the new panel breaks my custom interface, if not most or all full custom interface mods for LotRO. Why? It’s a crusade for more store buttons. First the vault panels, then the crafting panels, now the character panel–all re-designed to add more store buttons, and Turbine is shutting modders out in the cold with a kick to the gut, refusing to let us touch these BUY buttons.

We can’t touch any of the panel art since the F2P release because we haven’t received an update, despite many calls for Turbine to release the needed information.

Did I make a mistake thinking that LotRO was something better and nobler than just another commercial exploitation of Tolkien’s IP? Well. Yes. We all want that immersion in a world away from the real one and its ugly aspects. F2P has brought us to this–the LotRO UI taken over by the interest of selling things, ironically the metaphors of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth made manifest.

Some players in the forums are arguing that this doesn’t affect immersion. I argue that it affects game-playing immersion–that is, there is a reality of sitting down and entering a game world, a real-life happy place, that is different and even more important than the immersion offered by the fiction and lore of the game world itself.

The LotRO devs are currently like bulldozers transforming the LotRO UI into a landscape of commercialization, and LotRO UI modders are like handcuffed Loraxes. Go here to join in the discussion.