Friday, 23 December 2016

Celebrating SWTOR's five year anniversary: looking back through rose tinted glasses

Wednesday was Star Wars: the Old Republic's fifth birthday. I don't know what it is, but this year's anniversary felt more tangible to me than ever before. Perhaps it's because five is nearing that invisible barrier that makes an MMO age from mature to old - I don't consider the game 'old' yet, but it's definitely getting closer. Perhaps it's because the introduction of the galactic command system with 5.0 reminded me how we take things we love for granted, yet they are not. Or perhaps it is that the transition of LOTRO to an indie game studio reminded me that MMOs don't live forever. Whatever it is, I enjoyed looking back at the first year I played SWTOR. And now I'm going to expose you to that, too.

Monday, 19 December 2016

LOTRO moving to Standing Stone Games: a fan's perspective

Earlier today, the MMO world was surprised with the news of Lord of the Rings Online moving to a newly founded independent game studio called Standing Stone Games, together with Dungeons & Dragons Online. Daybreak Games will be doing the publishing. Of course, people are already announcing the impending death of LOTRO in various comment threads, inspired by the cancellation of the much anticipated Everquest Next earlier this year by that very company. Truth is, we don't know what Daybreak's role in this exactly is and we're not likely to find out anytime soon either, the way things are done in the game industry. But if Daybreak Games is indeed just distributing LOTRO and will not hold any control over the game's content, this may actually not be a bad change.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Drawing diary: November

These drawing diaries have slowly transformed into nature nerding sessions and I'm totally okay with that. Usually, I keep my blog posts strictly on the topic of gaming, but I've found it's really nice to have a place to talk about my daily, analogue life every now and then (and post photos of pretty things). My Drawing Diaries are best suited for that. I've added the label Nature to the appropriate posts, so you know beforehand you'll not only have to suffer through those drawings, but through my nature fangirling as well.

I've considered removing the "drawing" part of the title, but for now they are a great reminder for me that I actually need to draw stuff.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Spoiler-free Eternal Throne impressions

SWTOR's latest expansion, Knights of the Eternal Throne, is out for one week, so it's about time for a first impression post. I'm staying clear of any story spoilers to make it safe to read for anyone who hasn't played through the Eternal Throne yet, and I'll talk about all aspects of the expansion (including unconventional ones). So here's what I think about, in this order: leveling, the mount bug, crafting, Master Ranos, the galactic command system, Bowdaar's growth, uprisings, facial expressions, veteran mode and, last but not least, the story.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The many salty faces of the Eternal Throne: SWTOR's new facial expressions explored

The patch notes of the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion contained something that piqued my interest:
"Added new engine technology to improve fidelity of facial expressions in conversations and cinematics for all characters across the entire game. This graphical improvement is visible on High Shader setting."
When I played through the expansion, I made sure to look out for improved facial expressions and documented them whenever I could. I apologize in advance for the screenshot heaviness of this article.

Monday, 5 December 2016

WTB Massively Singleplayer Online Game

A friend just pointed me to someone complaining in LOTRO world chat. Okay, so far nothing new. But several people joined in, in a lament of which the irony just hurts.

"Why do we need to do raids and instances for the featured gear box?"

Good question. Why force players to leave the safety of solo play and expose them to something stressful like carrying out strategies, playing skillfully and exercise social interaction? Wouldn't it be awesome if one could just do something relaxing, such as enjoying the beautiful landscape and picking flowers, to get best in slot gear?

Friday, 2 December 2016

Ravalation's 2016 holiday card swap

If you're a long time Ravalation reader, you know I love snail mail. In fact, I had such a great time getting mail from readers and other bloggers and making my own new year's card last year, that I'm doing it again! As always, I'll be drawing the card myself. I haven't settled on the theme yet: might be Rogue One, might be Fantastic Beasts, might be Knights of the Eternal Throne... anything geeky. If you want to mentally prepare for what type of abomination you might be faced with, check out my Drawing diary entries.