TSW: Access Denied

•August 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Back to game hopping again I see. I got my main lvl capped in Rift and a couple of alts to 30-40ish before the patron status from Raptr reward expired. After that, I haven’t logged in at all. Now that everyone’s summer holidays are over I have a lot less hours to spend on random things of my liking. The cooking/cleaning up/dishes/laundry/looking for misplaced items that are needed the next day/groceries etc are taking over as higher priority. If I had a bit more time I could start raiding again, but I don’t have the time to commit to it nor the guild that would be able to do any progress. The current guild my main is in just lost a bunch of it’s core players so there isn’t many active 60’s left.

I thought I’d check out how The Secret World is doing these days. I realized I haven’t made a post about it at all, even though I bought the lifetime membership when it was released and played for quite a while, should do that. Anyways, a friend said he is playing it from the beginning so I thought I’d give it a go too, at least there is some new content and not just new hats to show. TSW wasn’t agreeing to my plans, after a couple days of attempts and random fix suggestions I’m still only able to log in with the old character. I could play with that, but what I wanted at this point was to create a new character and start the missions from the beginning, in a new dimension and the last faction I haven’t played yet; the Dragons.

So, let’s see what happened so far…

I logged in the old character to start with. She was placed in Agartha, and the client seemed to be working ok. I thought I’d go on an easy nightmare run to see how things felt after a break, and joined a pug group. The dungeon instance never loaded; the loading screen froze and the progress bar didn’t move at all. Next I created a new character, sorted out the looks and name, and after that… frozen loading screen. Didn’t even get to the first cinematic.

After this I gave up, and waited a couple of weeks before trying again.  I still couldn’t log in the newly created character so I deleted it. Logging in with the old character worked again, just once froze on entering New York, but after booting the game (and running Data repair to be sure) NY loaded up ok.

I created another new one, on different dimension and the Dragons as I wanted. I saw the first couple of cinematics and played through the introduction, even got to walk a bit around in the first quest to the hotel room. After that I was supposed to enter Seoul, and at this point the loading froze again. I tested it a few times, and in between logged in the old char to verify that she was still able to enter Agartha, NY and also Polaris NM without any trouble. I also tested the game on a desktop pc, and the same exact issue occurred on that too.

Access Denied

Slightly frustrated already, I made a ticket to Funcom with details and dxdiag log attached. The first response came quick and suggested a GUI reset (delete GUI folder, restart and run data repair). Doing that had no effect on the issue. I tested creating yet another new character, and couldn’t even do that anymore, the loading halted straight after clicking Create.

Next step from Funcom was that they moved all my characters to Agartha. It helped, but only for Agartha. When I tried to move the old char to NY, problem occurred once again. The new char was still in the middle of the first introduction quest and wasn’t supposed to be in Agartha yet, but trying to go back to Seoul to see if I can get the story line back on track wasn’t possible. At this point Funcom suggested Data repair again (been there done that) and turning off all antivirus programs. I even did a full wipe and re-downloaded the whole client. None of this had any effect.

Next, Funcom wanted to see the logs; client, patcher and crash log. I sent the files from the laptop, except it didn’t have a crash log. The desktop had all three logs in the installation folder. The client log had tons of error lines. My favourite was “ERROR: Control – CommandQueue size below 1, this should never happen, programming error!” I didn’t get any comments about the logs.

Next, Funcom asked to get a log from Hijackthis. At this point the investigation took a break for over a week for rl reasons. After receiving the log files they wanted me to shut down Sparkleshare and antivirus. I did shut down Sparkle and Steam, but left the antivirus running. At this point a miracle happened! I was able to create a new character and play through the introduction. It even loaded Seoul and I got my first quest to go to Agartha. Do you guess what happened when I tried to go there? Yep, no progress bar on loading screen. Jesus this game is making it hard to play. Also none of the old chars succeeded to log in at all.

Next steps were switching lightning details to zero and some Windows compatibility settings I couldn’t find from Win 8 at all. When I told them that, the response was that compatibility is “likely unrelated.” Come on guys, admit you’re just guessing.

After this they asked for another Hijackthis log, which didn’t seem to reveal anything new.

Next request, and so far the latest since I gave up around midnight last night, was to update Nvidia drivers. The dgdiag log states that the laptop is running with drivers dated in June, and the latest ones are from July 1st. I checked the Nvidia Geforce experience tool and there it says the laptop has the latest drivers from July 1st, 320.49. To be sure I tested re-installing and re-checking updates, no effect on the issue. Still no idea why dxdiag thinks the drivers are from June though, maybe I’ll see if unistalling and re-installing them will destroy the laptop or what happens.

Now, the most amusing moment of last night though… the game was tested on another desktop. Patched the client and tried to log in with another account – same freezing problem. Deleted custom UI folder, did a data repair, set video settings to default and then back to better and logged in using the dx11 executable from the installation folder.

It worked. It fokkin’ worked.

While watching this to happen I also found out I can’t write on TSW forums. I’ve been paying and playing before, I took the lifetime membership, and you’re not even bothering to allow me on forums? Naturally, the account that was able to log in the second desktop, is also allowed to post on forums. I was so confused already that I didn’t even try logging the other pc with my own account, I just gave up and went to sleep.

Next time I find myself some time to waste on this I’ll try if I can log on from that desktop too, if it really is the laptop that is the problem… but then again, the second desktop didn’t work for me either, why would this one work.

I told Funcom about this and mentioned I’ll continue testing next on that pc with my account. Their overly excited response was full of joy as if the problem had been solved.

Let us know the results of further testing, have a great one!

Requesting more hours in the day cycle

•July 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

So many games, so little time. I’m still enjoying Rift (main is lvl 57 now, 3 more to go and then to get gear ready for testing how the raiding feels), but the Steam sale brought quite a lot of stuff on the waiting list. I got some old ones (Tomb Raider collection, a couple of Fallouts) and some new  ones (Skyrim, Borderlands 2) ready to be installed.

Turns out it was a good time to get some games for the children from Steam too (Plants vs Zombies, a couple of Worms, Angry Birds Space, and a few new ones I haven’t played myself yet at all). You might remember the toasted Xbox 360 from one month back? And the used one I bought for replacement? Yeah, that one. It’s now toasted too. Not an E74 but a specially promising unknown hardware failure instead. Oh boy. Maybe it’s time to give up on that brand and start using the PS3 that we also have.

On the news side, Neverwinter is getting an expansion, maybe I’ll return to that at some point when the Rift addiction allows it. And for those who haven’t tried out Defiance yet, there is now a trial you can take, but it has a time limit so plan ahead when to start.

Your credit card is looking for a place to hide

•July 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

There is still a week left. Don’t say I didn’t warn, the Steam Summersale is bad for your credit limit. So many things, so little time.

I bought some flowers vs undead action, maggot combat, city construction and a few other games for children. Getting bored of xbox live games going missing all the time (it’s showing only trial when logging in another user than the one who bought it, this is the third time it’s done the same), so at least we have some variety on the pc for them too.

Didn’t buy anything for myself yet but got Tomb Raider collection and Borderlands 2 as a gift 🙂 If only I had time to play them, I’m still hooked in Rifting, and better use that 40% xp bonus while I still have patron status on.

Haven’t spent that much time playing since the weather has been so nice outside, we went to the beach three times this weekend with my daughter 🙂 Even for a non-holiday person like me this summer has been great. Enjoy it while you can!

Torchlight free on gog.com

•June 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Get it from gog.com campaign.

Gone Riftin’ (grouphugging things to death)

•June 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Every free hour of last week I managed to find was spent wandering around Telara. The questing in Rift is so smooth and the zone events create an entertaining break to it every now and then, that I could easily spend hours doing that. Oops, I think I just did that. I just saw what Raptr counted for my weekly hours and it wasn’t even on all the time. To sleep or to play, the parent dilemma.

If I had a holiday – which I don’t have this year due to switching job – I know what I’d spend my nights with. Thenagain, holiday or not, my daughter will be awake around 7-8 am anyway. I’ve completely fallen for Rift again. I enjoy the questing, even the boring ones because the environment is so live. Or me dead, because I didn’t see the high level elite walking out from the rift behind me.

And shinies! Ohh the shinies! I couldn’t imagine levelling without crafting too, and it is rather impossible for me to walk past a gathering node. In rift, besides the crafting shineys, there’s also the artifacts and other collecting items like books. This means double the amount of shineys everywhere. It changes the way you look at everything around you while running around; was that a shiney behind that rock or just sunshine glimmering? – Just realized, maybe this is why I don’t mind having a 60% mount still, slower speed gives me more time to look for shinies 🙂 Although it is a bit embarrassing to have the starting mount still as level 45, but meh, just 5 more levels till next speed rank, no point buying the 90% now which I could have had since level 25, rather get the 110% one since I already have the cash for it.

So what has FTP brought so far? Queues, like really, queues (see what Kitty Kitty Boom Boom said). I took the Raptr reward and currently on the free month of it, so I have patron status. That means the biggest queue I have seen sofar was 7, which took approximately one minute to get through. If the queues are still there 2+ weeks later when my free month ends, do I need to subscribe just to get online to play? Or relocate on another server, again.

The other benefit from being patron is buffs; there’s a daily recharging buff for xp, money drops, reputation gain and pvp stuff. For a 5k quest completion xp you get around 1k bonus, for a 10k completion around 3k bonus. The first 30 levels were fast, maybe a bit too fast since the quests were going green by the time I got to them, even though I was avoiding IA for this paticular reason and only doing dungeons once to get the quests done. Now, I got sent from Droughtlands to Shimmersand, quests were yellow/orange and I actully have to watch out while running through mobs. I queued for instant adventure to see if I could try to level up 1-2 levels from that, and got teleported to Stillmoor, in an area where all the mobs were 48-49, in a raid with only one other player. Needless to say that wasn’t a success.

Other than that, subscription gives loyalty points, cash to use in the shop to buy things instead of using game currency on them and also buying things you can’t get with game currency (such as the SL souls). There is also a daily and weekly reward which seems to contain mostly artifacts.

Sidenote about cleric build: ritualist is fun! It’s a fine build to solo with, but also fun in group runs where you have a tank pulling one mob, you can pull (literally gather the mobs around the original one) the rest of them and then start spamming massive aoe. Click-click-BOOM! Click-click-BOOM! And then there is a pile of corpses. Gotta love it. Might be the first time in Rift I’m actually enjoying playing dps cleric slightly more than healer. And I don’t mind the fact that queueing for dungeons with all three roles healer/support/dps I end up mostly support or even dps, only once as healer sofar. I’ve gone with the old warden/sentinel/puri build that I used two years ago, I’ll look more into it when the time comes.

Other events recently: overcooked Xbox. To celebrate it’s 6th anniversary, our 360 decided to throw an E74. I’d say that’s what you get from having 30 degrees outside and kids starting their summer holiday by playing when there is no adults at home, but thenagain that is a very common error with these machines. Since the guarantee was gone years ago, the console was opened and cleaned. Couldn’t even really try the overheating fix, since after turning it back on it took just a moment before it shut down again. Toasted. So I went and found another one via facebook. Otherwise fine but this one doesn’t have hdmi, so the picture quality is not very good. It’s fine as long as you aren’t sitting too close to tv, and we aren’t using it for anything else than kids games anyway.

And Netflix. We started the free month trial to be able to watch House of Cards (addictive!), and then noticed there were so many movies to watch. I had no idea there were so many sci-fi movies from the past few years I had missed. Our 4-yr-old has already learned how to use it: to turn on TV and PS3, log in as dad (since Netflix is signing in from his account), start the Netflix app and go to kids side, and watch movies, cartoons and tv-series. At least I don’t have to buy yet another dvd of Shaun the Sheep right away.

Game-hopping

•June 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I admit, I’m a game-hopper. The longest time I’ve spent in the same game and community were in World of Warcraft release time. After that I’ve tested nearly all new mmo releases. I also end up in a new guild sooner or later, because the ones I’ve been in haven’t been active enough to stay in other games. Either the core players quit soon and the guild doesn’t survive that, or it doesn’t become active enough for end game.

So, the latest hopping around I’ve done is happening between Defiance, Neverwinter and Rift. Defiance is kinda nice, I rarely play shooters like that (Global Agenda was the one that kept me going for the longest time), but it hasn’t gotten me really hooked at any point. The TV serie was ok, but for example Fringe was a lot better. I’m not really able to pinpoint what exactly it’s missing, but just like the game, I don’t mind being without it.

Neverwinter seems to be falling to the same category. The characters are too much alike when it comes to skills and visuals. The game style feels pretty limited, there’s so few skills you can equip to use at the same time it doesn’t leave much room for variety. The targeting system is making healing slightly impossible; having a group of players and all their companions running around and having to actually los target the player you want to heal is a tricky combo. Questing is very straight-forward, pick up shinies or kill stuff. Foundry quests bring a difference to questing, but I doubt it is enough to make the game a success. And it’s not a secret I hate all the ptw things, if it’s a ftp game, I’m not going to spend rl money on enchants or respecs etc.

I mentioned earlier I downloaded Rift again, and seems it still has something the other games are missing. I played the first map through on a cleric and mage and both were still fun. Rift might be the one for a while again, if the ftp works out. The change happens on June 12th, read more here: http://www.riftgame.com/en/promo/freetoplay.php. And if you’d want to get more character slots and bag space on a new account, there’s a reward option in Raptr: start with the free client and track in hours on Raptr, you’ll get the game for free. Read more here: http://raptr.com/game/Rift/rewards/rift-storm-legion.

As a sidenote, I changed job and the summer has seriously kicked in, so there’s plenty of rl things keeping me afk. Somewhere between all the swimming and bbq and chillin’ outside, there’s always time for one more lvl 🙂

Headshot!

•April 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

DefianceSo, Defiance. I decided to buy it, 50€ spent and no subscription, might aswell check it out while waiting for NW.

After the first session I felt disappointed; did I just spend money on this? I’m soloing the game just like playing Halo alone, riding around with vehicles I hate driving and killing stuff, mostly humanoids and alien bugs. It doesn’t feel like a multiplayer game, I could have been alone in the game and offline without any difference. Nobody talks in chat, ever, nor uses voice comms. I didn’t see the need of grouping, but soloing got boring very soon.

Next day I brought the husband with me. And it got better. He seemed to feel just as confused about the game as I did to start with, but after a while we got the hang of it. Duoing the missions made them  more interesting, we can plan attacks together, use a bait&sniper combo or meatwall&healer combo. We took part in the zone events which are a bit like the ones in Rift; hostile aliens suddenly spawning in a marked spot on the map – plan of action is to go to the red area, kill everything and get rewards. Right now the amount of players that pop in for the zone events is enough to make the encounter too easy, just spam shoot everything till they die and that’s it. Still nice change to run into them. There is also lots of smaller events happening everywhere, you just get an alert on screen that someone nearby could use your help. You can ignore it or go kill the mobs and get some xp and drops. There is also lots of repeatable quests, like timed races with the vehicles and hotspots, which can for example spawn mobs endlessly in a small area you have to stay in and kill as many as you can, before they get you. I tried one in the first evening to see what the heck it was; I scored just over 600, and the top score for that spot was just over 4 mil 😀

I’ve got my level (EGO in this game) to 200 and have so far unlocked one co-op map. We did it a few times and it was fun, but desperately need more options. I googled the requirements and found hints that progressing in story line missions are needed for unlocking more of them too, not just the level. Co-op feels very much like Global Agenda, team of four players gets together by group finder tool and teleports into the instance. Everyone can go full on dps, no roles needed really. The hp recovery is so quick, that dodging the worst attacks is enough. And if you die, you can self ress once and after that your team mates can ress. If they don’t have the time for it due to combat interrupting, you can release at a spot which usually isn’t very far back.

PVP as you know ain’t my cup of tea so I’ll most likely avoid that mostly, we tested one shadow war and that was enough of it.

Graphics are decent quality, but I miss being able to pan around the camera view and take screenshots, only way for screenies is frapsing or just saving the shot with paint one by one. That and the controls are result of the game being made for consoles too, I can see that this is probably very playable on them, but I just prefer mouse and keyboard controlling.

So, not very much depth in the content, straight forward open world shooting action. It’s an ok way to spend an hour or two in the evening for fun, but I can’t see myself committing to this more than that. Right now it feels just like Halo. Let’s see how it feels after watching some of the series.