Astellia, as launch nears…

Astellia will be launching soon. There’s a timer counting down on their pre-order page.  They just announced that you can play for $10 a month rather than buying it if you want.

I liked my time in Astellia’s closed betas. It is a really pretty game. The official website says that it is a “classical MMORPG” that hearkens back to the good old days of the genre. I think they might be looking to cash in on the nostalgia that seems pervasive among MMO players. Or perhaps they mean that it is an old school Asian-style game. I’d buy that, I think.

(Seriously, though, how cute was my CBT2 character?! TOO cute!)

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I had some performance issues with it, fixed by turning down my graphics, and we all know how people feel about that sort of thing. But let’s say that other people have beefier rigs and it runs fine for them. That still leaves the larger problem that there’s nothing especially remarkable about it. And this is where it might run into trouble.

I wasn’t going to say it, but I have been thinking it for quite a while now, so I might as well put it out there: I fear that Astellia is going to go the way of Bless. And that would be a damn shame, because it is a solid offering in the Asian subgenre, and they really do seem to be trying to adapt it to Western sensibilities. I am just not sure that people are going to lay down $40+ for a pre-order on this game* when they could buy Black Desert, an established buy-to-play game with a healthy population, for $10, or $5 on sale, or for free when they run those “start a trial, achieve something, get the game” events. If Astellia doesn’t come hard out of the gates, I don’t think it will be able to overcome The Meh Factor.

I want Astellia to exceed all expectations. It is a cool game with some neat, if not truly unique, features, and it is so very pretty. I am just afraid it is too expensive and coming out at the wrong time (a month after WoW Classic) to get the audience they need to not bellyflop onto the pavement.

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Fall is coming. It’s right over there —>

Cider and pumpkins have appeared in my local Walmart. The back-to-school stuff is on its way out and sweaters are on the way in. It was 43F/6C when I got up this morning. Time to pour yourself a pumpkin spice latte and get into your cold-weather MMO groove.

I want to expand on one of my tweets from last night

 

I am disappointed about the cancellation of Peria Chronicles.

As you may recall, Peria Chronicles was one of two games I was tentatively looking forward to. I guess I can play Mabinogi to fill that void.

With Nexon canceling a game I was looking forward to and offloading another that I play, I am not getting warm fuzzies about their plans for the PC MMO space.

I might buy into Archeage Unchained. 

Two reasons:

  1. It is supposed to be buy-to-play and less pay-to-win than the current retail version. Whether that turns out to be 100% true, I do want to encourage that idea.
  2. I have only dabbled in Archeage a tiny bit a couple of times, so a fresh start seems like a great time to jump in.

I don’t have a lot of experience with Gamigo, but it doesn’t have a great reputation. Nonetheless, I do appreciate them stepping in to save what they could of Trion’s stable of games. Some people have pointed to the closing of Atlas Reactor as some kind of proof that they aren’t to be trusted, but I get the impression that it was an odd duck that was going to be hard to save. I am willing to give them a shot on this one. I hope they do something similar for Rift.

My resistance to WoW Classic is waning.

I wasn’t going to do it. I’m just not the WoW-type, I said. But maybe I am.

I want to jump on the bandwagon while it is still a bandwagon. I last played WoW in 2005, so it will be relatively familiar, and I’d like to join a guild and see what it is like to play without a newborn and the influence of my late ex-husband.

Sad Bean and the MMO

CW: depression, mental illness

I have been told that I overshare about my mental struggles online. I just feel like not talking about them makes them seem like some unspeakable thing that should only be mentioned in whispers, and that doesn’t seem to do much to combat the stigma. Being open about things is a way I can take action to bring mental illness out of the shadows where it can be talked about without shame. That said, if reading about depression is likely to cause you any kind of anxiety or discomfort, I am going to write a second, less personal post that I will link to right here so that you can move on.

******

sad bean

Hi. My name is Mia, and I am depressed.

That is to say that I have what the alphabet soup coalition calls MDD, or major depressive disorder, for which I am mightily medicated. Right now, the meds don’t seem to be helping very much, which is distressing on its own because every time I think I’ve found something that is going to work to get me stable and productive in the long term, I eventually have some kind of depressive episode that blows that theory all to heck.

What does this have to do with MMOs? Lots of depressed people play games, you might say. This is true. I just thought I would take a moment to talk about the relationship between gaming and depression for me. Everyone is different, and everyone’s difficulties manifest in different ways, so I am only speaking for my own experience here.

The first phase when I am approaching a depressive episode, but I am not down in the abyss yet, is the escapist phase. This is when I use games to escape my own mental state and my inability to negotiate the world when I am in decline. In its more mild form, this is similar to using games as a vacation from the grind of real life. In its more severe form, it is similar to the way people lose jobs and flunk out of school, using games as a distraction that lets them avoid real life.

The second phase is the part where I can’t and don’t play games at all because I struggle with making even simple decisions like what I will play or what I will do once I am logged in. I am not motivated to do anything really, and I don’t enjoy anything either. At that phase, I open the folder on my desktop where I keep all my games, look at them, and close it. I might look again after a few minutes, the way you re-check a refrigerator that you know is empty, but then I wander off and sleep or stare blankly at the TV or sit with a blank piece of paper and a pen in my hand as if I might draw or write.

I don’t draw or write. I just sit there feeling bad about not being able to think of anything to draw or write. I feel a little guilty about not really even wanting to draw or write.

Sooner or later, it fades and I resume being a somewhat normal person. I used to kid myself that the episode that just ended was really the last one, and I’d just be normal from that point on. It turns out that depression tends to come back, especially if your history with it is very, very long. I’ve had depression since I was in elementary school, so it probably isn’t going to magically go away. The meds minimize the frequency, intensity, and duration of episodes, but they still come around at varying levels a few times a year.  I also struggle with a couple of anxiety disorders, but the same medication that keeps me on a more even keel also ameliorates anxiety to some degree. Two birds with one pill. Or three pills, which seems a lot less efficient when I put it that way.

I am currently between phase one and phase two. If you’re the praying type, pray for me. If you’re the playing type, save my place in the queue. I’ll be back.

Eventually.

Worst Blaugust EVAR.

Ok, so it was only my second Blaugust, but things went awry and posting didn’t happen. Oh, well. Shall I try Blogtember? Blogtober? Maybe I will blog for NaNoWriMo.

It’s now the second day of September. Happy Labor Day to my US readers! I have not yet been able to get into Riders of Icarus through Steam since the migration to Valofe. I have now installed the launcher, so we’ll see if I can get into the game directly. (UPDATE: YES! At last! Seems like population may have taken a hit on my server though; I will check again during a more typically busy time.)

My daughter installed 2 mods to my original Skyrim, one to skip the whole Helgen sequence and the other to put dad jokes on the loading screens, but I have never added a mod myself before last week. I have been playing a clean vanilla version of Skyrim (special edition) all this time since purchasing it. I recently decided to add some mods and start a new save, since I had run into a couple of frustrating quest bugs. I am pretty happy with the ones I have added so far– the unofficial patch, one that offers a few options for alternative ways to start (that eventually shunts you into the main story), Immersive NPCs, Tamriel Climate (weather and lighting mod), Wintersun religion mod… And a few others for quality of life and adding additional areas. So, that’s a new thing I have been up to. I might review those at some point, even though it is not at all MMO related.

I have got to get my act together. 😐

TFGIFF

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you crawled across the finish line? I think I made it within a few yards of the finish line; I ended up leaving work early for 2 days in a row. I’ve been missing a lot of time lately, almost all of it unavoidable.

On the other hand, I have almost finished writing an article for Massively OP about Aura Kingdom. I am almost ashamed of how much I have enjoyed playing that game. It is good for when you’re already having a crappy week and you just want to sit down and play a cute game with bright colors and simple gameplay. I am sure the end game is different, but I hardly ever make it to the endgame in anything.  I’ll link that post in another article when it is done and up.

I have reached a point in Skyrim where I have bitten off more than I can chew, so I am taking a little break from that. Sometimes coming into it fresh makes it easier. Or at least I’ll be starting at a lower baseline of frustration. I have a few characters I have started, but jumping between them just confuses me about what I am supposed to be doing.

 

 

 

Mia MIA

I am exhausted and my eyes are burning from too much screen time, mainly at work. Needless to say, this is going to be short. It is not a writing or gaming night.

I have been playing some Aura Kingdoms and Neverwinter this week, as well as collecting my freebies in Riders of Icarus. Otherwise, my job and family are keeping me busy.

Anyway, I am going over there to my bed to write down a few ideas on old fashioned paper before I pass out for the night.

Preliminary Thoughts on Astellia

Having played a little in CBT1 & 2, I think I like Astellia. That said, it doesn’t seem to have any groundbreaking innovations in it. It’s just a solid, if somewhat ordinary, Asian MMORPG.

The performance wasn’t great with the graphics on full-blast on my laptop, but I can tolerate lower quality for better performance. By the time I was done, I had settled on good-enough medium graphics that didn’t trip my machine up.

Astellia seems to be developing a following, but it doesn’t have any over-the-top hype going on at this time.  That is a good sign. It’s another good sign that people are getting in to play, stream, and talk about it without a lot of interference from the company. I just don’t want to see another Bless Online disaster, where hype and unrealistic expectations cause a backlash that utterly kills the game.

I might play it when it is released.