Monday, September 14, 2009

Stop playing Evony

I had a one-week introduction to Evony and have decided to stop playing it after reading the critics of the game.

Actually, I was repulsed by the game at first because of the obvious use of sexy female models in the advertising when the game had nothing to do with the ads. The ads enticed players with "Come play with me" when no one could so much as get near a playing partner like that. "Save the queen" the ads beckoned, when there was no "queen" to save, let alone a beautiful damsel.

Some friends of mine started playing it, so I decided to try it.

The game is actually quite enjoyable in some ways, but I would recommend that players stick to Civilization or the Age of Empires series. The creators of Evony have lifted some parts of those two games to create their game. But the makers do not have a polished game at all. Their interpretation of English is so bad that some of the descriptions are nearly impossible to understand.

Evony involves developing buildings in a town center (called a "town") and resources in an area called a "city" for some strange reason. The resources are food, wood, stone and iron. The game also has a wider map view where the player can see where his or her town is located in relation to other towns.

By developing soldiers, the player can defend his or her town or attack other towns run by npcs or players. Players can group together to form alliances. In my experiance with the game, players also united several alliances to form larger groups. That was something the creators of the game apparently never counted on, but players do what they want.

A big part of the game is the ability to chat with others, but "world" chat, meaning chat with players on a server, is limited by the number of "speakers" a player has. Beginning players are unaware of the limits until they run out of "speakers." So, players have to join an alliance, because alliance chat is not limited, or obtain coins to replenish the speakers. Of course, coins are obtained by purchasing them with real money.

Critics have pointed out that Evony has a form of gambling that may not be legal in some parts of the US. Each player is awarded a daily metal which launches a random roulette-styled wheel that gives the player a random reward. The rewards are various, but they can be given monetary value in the form of coins, so they can be said to be gambling for real money, even if the value of a coin is very small, around 50 cents American. A metal is worth one coin, so Evony is giving away 50 cents a day to each player to keep the gambling habit going.

But why?

Evony has a peculiar kind of game play. It is addicting, but it is very slow, so players wile away the time by chatting about this and that. As your town is developed, the time to do research and upgrade buildings gets longer and longer. At first, the time is not much of a waste, because development under six minutes can be cut to nothing by free "speedups." But after that, you either wait the time out by chatting or tabbing to another site in your browser or closing the game or buying coins.

Get the picture?

The developers are trying to lure people into playing longer and longer, staying logged on to the server for longer periods of time.

After all the criticism is done, I would like to know if there is any evidence that Evony is doing actual harm to individuals or computers. Some readers of blogs have pointed to malware allegedly introduced through the game, but there is no hard evidence that the game is attempting to download personal information or passwords. Is my World of Warcraft account in jeopardy? I don't know. I have found no actual evidence of harm to my computer or personal information, but meanwhile I am not playing Evony.

Someone with more technical ability than me should do an investigation of Evony to see what it really does. If it does harm, that is huge. If it does no harm, so be it.

Reference: Wikipedia

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rogues and Paladins

I made 68 with my rogue, Alaidaroy, and headed to Borean Tundra. I notice how easy it is to do the quests that are orange to me. Anyone who says to stick to green quests is wrong about that. With WotLK, orange quests are actually very easy, and the experience is appropriately high. Before I left Outland, someone was whispering me to join their quest to do Shadow Labyrinth. I ignored the messages. I find it hard to believe that players are actually doing Shadow Lab, when the experience and challenge is in doing the newest expansion. If you want the achievement, you can always go back and solo it at 80. As a Rogue, I imagine I can go in Shadow Lab and sneak to the final boss, then solo kill it. That is a real challenge.

Some players in my guild wanted to do heroic and regular Drak'Tharon Keep, so I switched to the Paladin to tank them. I have done that instance so many times, that they were actually easy. The guildies got their loot, and everything worked out for the good of the group. I also was able to upgrade my necklace with the badges I picked up. Other upgrades require 40 to 80 badges. That is just too many, requiring hours of repeated heroics.

The process that you have to go through to level and gain reputation to move ahead is actually very long and boring, unless you have an incredible amount of luck and patience. Doing the Sons of Hodir quests gets boring fast, but the shards you are supposed to be able to find are picked up by others before you can get them, and drops on the tokens is sparse at best, so I am relying on a long grind. Everyone has to do the reputation grind to get the best shoulder enchants.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Darkfall considered

I just visited the Darkfall site, and I have to admit the MMO game looks great. It has a "European" feel, of course. The "European" graphics consist of dark lines and shadows, sharp outlines and the surreal or super-real look. Other European products have that look. I would have to try out the gameplay, but the graphics look good.

The idea of being able to build siegeworks is a good idea, partly played out in WAR, but the implementation was simplistic in WAR. I hope developers of Darkfall did better with the implementation.

There is nothing definite on the site about an American release date, except that it is coming. The European release was in February. Based on previous experience, it can be hard for Americans to connect to European games, so I may wait for the release in America. Darkfall does look promising.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Paladins are great!

The Wrath of the Lich King expansion has done a lot of good for Paladins. In fact, everyone wants to create and drive a Paladin in World of Warcraft.

Previously, Paladins were the black sheep of classes in WoW. The Retribution Paladin scarcely had enough total DPS to make it viable for melee damage-dealing, even though it had some good spike damage. The Protection Paladin had some good points for tanking, so it was the only Paladin subclass used in raiding, but it lacked in generating threat and damage. Most preferred the Warrior for tanking because of its superiority in generating threat and damage.

Now, Paladins are wanted by most raiding groups for all subclasses. All Paladins have a single-target taunt, Hand of Reckoning. Retribution Paladins put out a large amount of DPS, outmatched only by Rogues, and they wear plate for good protection. Protection Paladins can spike threat or build sustained threat at will, plus they have added Holy damage output. Holy Paladins are wanted for single-point tank healing, plus they can protect their team with added skills and themselves with weapons and plate.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Entering the Wrath

I decided to get Wrath of the Lich King finally. Blizzard has been busy patching WoW since the launch so the game is once again a whole different world, and I have to take a lot of time to familiarize myself with all the new features. It is going to take a while to get used to the new craft of Inscriptions and Glyphs, for instance. All my mods are updated and it takes time to get the UI to work the way I like it.

I also have ceased my subscription to WAR because I can't pay for two pay-for-play games at once. I find that WAR is much simpler than WoW in many ways. WAR is more of a game that you can get into playing quickly and easily. WoW takes much more time to get used to and learn. You really have to visit web sites and do a lot of research to play WoW well. On the other hand, WAR is easy to get into and just play.