January’s retro mmo of the month

Hard to believe we are already halfway through the first month in 2020 and one of my resolutions for the year, in addition to playing mmos and updating this retro game blog with more regularity, is to try out a diverse number of games in the new year, starting with DDO.

I was thinking of starting with Dark Age of Camelot, now that the game is free to play and since I had spent a good deal of the latter portion of the summer months in the last year, ever since wow Classic dropped, alternating between that game and the DAOC freeshard Phoenix, but after also dabbling with pen and paper D&D campaigns, I itched to come back to DDO.

Anyone at all familiar with retro mmo games will realize right off the bat, especially if they ever played this 13, nearly 14-year-old game that it isn’t for everyone. If older graphics and game engines bug you, and if instanced dungeons are not your cup of tea then I am afraid that DDO is not the game for you.

However, there is no doubt that it is a unique game and the developers continue to add new content and adventure packs including the new “Keep on the Borderlands” adventure pack based on the classic D&D module. In the coming months I hope to advance enough in DDO and to try out their adventure packs having fun reacquainting myself with the game, even though it probably has a lower player base compared to a game like Classic wow or a more modern mmo.

I am excited to roll a few characters including a Warforged, which has always been one of my favorite races in the Eberron campaign setting for D&D. Already I managed to easily invite myself to the “Lost Boys” guild on the Khyber server. I love that the DDO servers are named after Eberron towns and territories.

According to the 4th edition supplement “Ebberon’s players guide” by Noonan, Marmel and Schwalb, “Khyber is a realm of nightmare. Demons that stalked Eberron 1,000 generations ago lie imprisoned within its depths, and beings of madness slither through its twisted passageways.” In short, I dig the Eberron campaing setting, but for those who don’t appreciate its mix of steampunk and magic aesthetic, DDO’s VIP package also offers entry into the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft, for those players who want to experience the game’s older expansions and adventure packages. I may extend DDO as the retro mmo into February, or come back to it at a later date this year. So far my retro gaming and blogging calendar looks like this:

  • January: DDO
  • February: Dark Age of Camelot (Endless Conquest)
  • March: Return to Classic wow

April: ? Open to suggestions, though I am thinking Neverwinter. I know Neverwinter isn’t as retro as something like Everquest or even DAOC, but it has been out long enough (2011?) to fit into that description, at least as far as my retro mmo gaming criteria is concerned.

Youtuber Voodu Spyce has a good first look series of vids on update 44 for DDO “Keep on the Borderlands” Check them out.

 

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Can casual players progress in Wow classic??

Can a casual mmo playing approximately 10 hours a week enjoy and progress in Classic Wow? Youtuber Tips Out investigates. I will have more to say on this topic soon, for now enjoy the video.

 

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wow classic drops August 27

So the interwebs are buzzing after the announcement that classic wow will officially drop from Blizzard on Aug. 27 although rumors have been substantiated that there has been some pre beta activities of select content creators prior to the official release.

Players with active accounts will be able to opt in to beta invites starting tomorrow (May 15) and this can be done by going to https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/wowclassic.  

Personally, I have been having a lot of fun lately practicing on the K3 server along with my all hunter guild members. Though I got invited to this guild a while back while I was messing around with my hunter and I only got as high as level 16 because I was not playing for a long time, this past couple of weeks have been the perfect time to play on K3 in between my trying out the Dark Age of Camelot Phoenix free shard on my free time.

What makes wow classic (or vanilla) so great is that, unlike retail, I find it to be a more social experience and this was proven to me again this week when I resumed my messing around with my toons which include the main orc hunter, an undead warrior and even a hunter from the other faction, which was mainly there because I like playing dwarves.

Not only were guildmates always willing to give advice through chat or the official discord channel, but some were there to help me level and to get me some gear or even lead me to undiscovered locations, even though a large majority were already 60s and I was a low level noob. The best part is I know most will roll a toon once classic goes live, probably on a world pvp server, though that is still being discussed.

If you want more information about Blizzard’s announcement of the release and the beta for wow classic, you can check out YouTuber Esfand’s analysis of the upcoming launch of the legacy servers. He also included some never before seen classic wow beta footage. He did a great job so enjoy. See you all in classic Azeroth this summer!

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When is wow classic dropping?

Your guess is as good as ours, but I think Youtuber Tips Out has a good vid focusing on this topic. He writes classic wow guides and has fresh some periodic game content. He addresses and surmises when we should expect to receive news about wow classic and when (if?) the alpha or beta for the game is coming. It’s all speculation of course but at least it’s a guess based on some research and uses precedent. So take a quick look.

 

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Back in old Azeroth after a long hiatus

wow classic game screen

Back adventuring in wow classic once again

I was away from PC gaming, specifically retro mmos for 18 months due to RL issues, and then after I came back mid 2018 I had to quit again. I bought a new laptop to replace the one which crash and burned over a year ago, only for Windows to crash and the OS to fail less than a week after I purchased it. I later found out it was a Windows 10 issue and I was not the only one experiencing these frustrating and technical issues.

Luckily after I diagnosed the issue, I finally made the time after the holidays to get it repaired and presto, back into Windows and back into Old Azeroth.

All told I was gone a total of 24 months the equivalent of two whole years!

A lot has happened since. For one thing as anyone reading this post now in early 2019, BfA dropped in retail during the summer and Blizz announced at Blizz con that Wow classic is definitely a thing, so either the devs finally caved in to the negative press they were receiving from the online community to their stubborn refusal to give the fans what they wanted (Remember the whole,, you really don’t want that fiasco? or maybe more realistically and probably more likely is that Blizz/Activision realized how much more money they could make by opening up classic vanilla servers. Maybe it was a combination of both. Regardless, as retro mmo gamer, I was more than happy like a lot of you out there to hear the announcement.

But I digress, the real reason for this and subsequent future posts will be to document my progress in vanilla wow in anticipation of wow classic dropping in the summer. I am still not sure I want to play in retail even if it’s vanilla. Don’t get me wrong, after all these months I have come to a few realizations. One: I don’t think retail wow is completely jacked up and since I am not a hard core player, I wouldn’t mind playing it. Yet, the game is very buggy and laggy on my computer. I think Blizz has made a serious error in upgrading graphics and system requirements for wow retail. I know the reasons why they did it, given the competitive nature of the mmo market, but honestly, one of the magical things about the game and why I believe added to its popularity since 2004 is the fact that the low settings meant it could be played in a lot of crappy systems and less than stellar machines. The other epiphany I had was that my love and zeal for the mmo genre and games, especially for the retro games like classic wow, Everquest (although I wasn’t around for its heyday in 1999) and DAoC meant that never spent enough time leveling and getting to end game in wow. That is something I plan to remedy now in 2019.

So Old Azeroth runs quite smoothly in my computer, so that’s what I am sticking with for now. Hopefully my old guild on the private vanilla server of my choice will take me back. The adventures of Bonejaws the undead warrior and sonofdurotan, orc warrior resume now. For the Horde!!!

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State of the game: DAoC

Dark Age of Camelot screenshot

the Venerable DAoC courtesy of 2p.com

In their producer’s letter nearly a month ago, the DAoC devs gave detailed summaries for the game’s ongoing development through the summer and also their fall outlook.

Rather than rehash those, the letter from producer John Thornhill can be read here.

Once patch 1.125 has released, the devs say they be shifting development resources towards the Endless Conquest update. To recap: Endless Conquest will provide a way to enjoy Dark Age of Camelot without a subscription cost.

I have mixed feelings about this, on the one hand I am all for more players experiencing the thrills of DAoC and about the possibility of having more people try out the game. On the other hand, I worry about the overall population being impacted on the main Ywain server.

As mentioned in some previous “Grab Bags” (which is a column in which the devs periodically answer questions from players)  this option will now be made available to returning and new accounts rather than just newly created ones. This change does increase the scope of the Endless Conquest update considerably but devs stated they strongly believe it’s the right way forward for Dark Age of Camelot!

Once patch 1.125 is out, the plan is for the devs to continue updating the Endless Conquest page with their new plans and a new list of EC-account restrictions. With these new Endless Conquest plans and the delay to patch 1.125, the devs no longer expect to release the Endless Conquest update in 2018 and are instead targeting the first half of 2019. I guess this means I will be subbing to play DAoC for the balance of 2018, something I don’t mind doing if it means supporting this wonderful gaming experience.

The devs concluded their fall outlook report by stating they be providing content Hot Fix updates throughout the intervening period while they work on the Endless Conquest and there are several events to look forward to too

  • A new Fall Harvest event!
  • DAoC’s 17th Anniversary celebration! (Happy anniversary to our venerable and wonderful mmorpg)
  • The Mournful King and Jack Frost instances!
  • The usual Holiday events
  • Realm Point and Bounty Point bonuses!

Lastly, Thornhill mentioned they also hope to have the new Camelot website ready by this Fall, in the wake of the new forum previously rolled out.

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Retro gaming blog is back after 18+ month hiatus

warchief

Nearly a month ago I logged on to my email only to find an invite to the Battle for Azeroth alpha buried deep within the promotional folder of my inbox. Needless to say I downloaded the game but I was disappointed to learn that my gaming laptop was not up to the graphical standards to run the game properly, so I was unable to participate in alpha.

This was probably a blessing in disguise as I do not see myself rushing out to buy a new computer solely for the purposes of playing wow in the foreseeable future. Further, I have been having a decent amount of fun lately trying out new alts in my favorite vanilla server and gaming with like minded folks who enjoy the classic version of the game as much as I do.

I like to start off with warriors and I even rolled a human in the Alliance just to try a new experience because I am horde almost every time, being the superior faction but I wanted to try a few different quests so playing Alliance as long as it’s not doing pvp is permissible. The only drawback is that there is none of the additional races that came after Burning Crusade, unless you join special servers for that, so no goblins, no blood elves and no pandas. I am OK with that last one.

I have also been busy alternating between vanilla and DDO. Doing lower level quests in hopes of advancing my toons in DDO is great fun, especially when I can join a guild to help me in my way. Before I used to worry about such nonsense as leveling to cap (I think it’s over 25 now) or making the perfect build, but now I just run dungeons in different settings, normal to elite whenever I can and make progress and have fun, because having fun is the name of the game. DDO is a lot more fun than Neverwinter because it makes it easier to group and I love the instanced dungeons, narrations and opportunity to create PUGS or run a dungeon with a hireling. Also DDO feels more like true D&D to me because of its being based on 3.5 rules set whereas Neverwinter is based on 4th edition rules. Not that it matters much since the latter is mostly hack and slash and questing with pvp thrown in for good measure.

There is no PvP in DDO it makes up for it with a fantastic instanced PvE.

I will be reporting back with other gaming projects as well as my progress on both vanilla and DDO and maybe throw in some Neverwinter and DAoC for good measure. DAoC will offer a free to play version with some limitations to try out some different classes and races in the fall, so I plan to take full advantage of that, but until then I will probably sub in August. I don’t really like Uthgard.

See you all out in classic Azeroth,  Eberron, Neverwinter and wherever else I can scratch my itch for classic mmo games.

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