Category Archives: General

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Lowering your ping

Watch the road!

Living in Australia is great, aside of course from having to dodge Kangaroos on the way to work (joke … kind of … I actually nearly hit one the other week, but not in town or on the way to work). Not everything about living Down Under is great however.  Ping for one thing.  The servers in the US are a whole lot of ocean away from here.  Rubber banding is just one of the artefacts that you learn to live with.  You move ahead 100m and the server decides, nope, you didn’t actually do that, and puts you back from whence you came.  Sometimes this can happen several times in a row.  Now I’m a carebear, so it’s a generally annoying thing, but not too critical, but what if I was into PvP?  Now the game becomes pretty much unplayable.  Some games are better than others, but Aion and LOTRO happen to be two games where the effects are felt the most.  So what to do about it?

Just because we play games doesn’t mean we’re technical, some of us are, but many of us aren’t.  There are a gazillion bits of advice that offer various registry setting changes.  There are programs to block all traffic except that associated with your game.  There are hints to do with hardware.  But honestly, I think these make a difference more if you’re geographically close to the game server.  Most of the problems we face here are simply due to the routing of traffic to a far away location, and no amount of registry changing is going to improve that too much (feel free to prove me wrong, I’m not in the technically competent category :P).

In Australia (and presumably other countries also affected), there are services that, for a fee, offer you a significantly lower ping.  You load up their program, choose a server from their list of many (some US based, some EU based) and then simply start your game and off you go.  I tried one out last night out of frustration and it made a huge difference, cutting my in-game ping in half!  In LOTRO it went from over 500ms to around 250ms and I saw pretty much the same change in Aion.  Now the difference this makes in-game is huge, no rubber banding, skills go off when you want them to, etc.  The service makes use of proxy servers and various network tweaks and basically channels your data in a more direct manner to the game server.  Setting it up was dead simple, and most companies I found offered a trial account, you can see the benefits before buying, but until you pay something you get kicked off after half an hour or so.  Enough time to see whether it works or not :)

 

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Filed under Aion, General, LOTRO, MMO

When do you ‘finish’ an MMO?

Even though my husband has just today started playing Fallen Earth again, I am resisting … resisting … resisting.  One of the main purposes for this blog is to reduce my game flitting down to a level where I can feel like I’ve finished a game before I move on to the next one (or at least attempt to do this).  Of course if I find a game hideous I will be moving on regardless, these are games I’m talking about after all and should be enjoyed!  I will allow myself an MMO and a single player game at the same, but NO MORE!  I could save a fortune by only playing already purchased games, but if I’m honest with myself that’s never going to happen.  Even now I’m tempted to buy Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, but will resist (maybe).  Checking my Steam account I have 182 games, and I would guess that about 180 of them have never been finished.  Damn those Christmas package sales.  The point though, is not to dwell on the past, but to improve in the future.

But back to the reason behind the post.  Knowing when you’ve finished a single player game is easy (in most cases), but when do you ‘finish’ an MMO?

For the purposes of this blog I will consider an MMO finished (and allow myself to move on without guilt) when I hit max level.  Apart from any heroic type instances, I will have seen most of what the game has to offer.  I realise that to many people hitting max level means I’m just getting started, but I think it’s a nice discrete point at which I can claim to have ‘technically’ finished the game.    It doesn’t mean that I HAVE to move on, but just that I can.

So for now this (reformed) Butterfly will continue with Aion, and try to hit max level before Guild Wars 2.  I don’t think there’s any possible way to hit it before Secret World is out, so that will be an excellent test of my flitting deceleration :).  Hmmm, finishing Secret World will be a tricky one if there are no levels …..

No Secret World for me unless I hurry :(

 

 

 

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Filed under General, MMO

What’s in a feed

I was rather late to the party with respect to gathering a list of RSS feeds and reading them on a daily basis.  My earliest introduction was peering over the shoulder of a coder many years ago and seeing literally hundreds of unread items in all manner of categories and rolling my eyes (I’m one of those people who like order and a clean inbox).

But for the past year or so, one of my favourite times of the day is lying in bed at night with a cup of tea and my iPad, reading my Google Reader list and Zite (an amazing, free, catch all app for news about anything you might be interested in).  At work I have a slightly different list, fed into Outlook.  My day list is more ‘factual’, it has Kotaku Australia which I absolutely rely on for all the latest and greatest news as well as various other feeds such as Space Sector.  My evening list is mainly blogs (and more specifically MMO blogs), and I love hearing everyone’s thoughts about new games, watching the banter between bloggers and becoming convinced that I must try every game that is being talked about!  If there’s an MMO out there it’s highly likely that I’ve dabbled in it to a lesser or greater extent.

Reading blogs and general RSS feeds brings the world closer and helps me feel like I’m part of a community, even if up to this point I’ve been a largely passive participant.  Before I was fortunate enough to land a job in games I worked for a standard finance type company.  There were a small handful (well, maybe half a handful) of us that played games (vanilla Wow days) and the general consensus around the building was that games were nothing but a waste of time.  I could argue against this until the cows come home but if you’re reading this, then there’s unlikely to be a reason to do so :).  I do think that the climate has changed a lot since then (7 or so years ago), but I still find comfort in gathering all my feeds together and reading the thoughts of like minded people and finishing my day with a smile in the knowledge that I’m not alone.

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Filed under General, MMO

And the purging (blogging) begins ….

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I’m a not so proud butterfly gamer.  Which is ‘what, exactly’ I hear you ask? Apparently (at least according to an ex colleague of mine), it’s the term used for people like myself that flit from game to game to game, never finishing anything, but buying pretty much everything that comes along (ok, so maybe I added that second part).

And I’ll get to them all I swear! That endlessly growing list of Steam games, for sure (and they were all bought on special after all).  All those iPad / iPhone / 3DS / Vita games, not a problem.  All those MMO’s, definately! I love my MMO’s!

I’m like the girl obsessed with shoes, with racks and racks of unworn stilletos, except these days I’m not even adding to my game bookshelves, they’re pretty much all digital.  Of course that could be part of the problem, not seeing them makes it easy to hide them in my mind.

I’m extra lucky too. I work in games, and can therefore claim all my lovely purchases on tax.  But do I? No. Why? Because I’m too embarrassed at the shear number of them.  There’s no way I can justify them all to the tax person, surely.  So I claim some imaginary number of them, a number that I figure would be reasonable.

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  I figure that if I have to reveal all my game purchases, tell the world the games I’m playing and how far I get in them, give my thoughts on them, that I’ll recover my addiction. That way I can become a ‘normal’ MMO blogger and focus solely on a game or three. I need to play all the way through if I’m going to write about them right? That way I’ll also be able to go to work and proudly discuss my latest gaming ventures, including the endings!

I love working in the industry, I love my games, what can I say.

P.S. I’ll just buy one game to start this blog off, no point in looking at games that are already stashed away surely ….

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