Shamus Plays: WoW #15: The Final Quest

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 2, 2011

Filed under: Column 100 comments

And so the tale ends.

I do not have another series lined up. Right now the plan is to return to Stolen Pixels. No date is set on that just yet.

This is actually a pretty meager time for MMO games. Consider:

DC Universe Online

DC Universe is the diet cola of the online world right now. Nothing offensive about it, but it’s thin and insubstantial. To its credit, the writing is up to normal comic book standards. Which is to say, a bit dumb, but not brain-meltingly idiotic.

Champions Online

Champions Online went free-to-play, but the transition was executed in true Cryptic fashion: With much fanfare and little skill, showing almost no understanding of how to hook people and entice them to pay. I returned to the game to discover that I couldn’t log in with any of my old characters. Because they had custom power sets, they were “gold” characters. I had to downgrade them to silver before I could use them. This downgrade is done before login. It just lists the archetypes and you have to pick one without knowing how they work, what energy builder you’ll be using, what block power, what travel power, etc. I had no sense of what sort of changes I was in for. These characters were all made with specific themes and concepts in mind, and there was no point in downgrading them if it was just going to ruin them. Fine, I thought, I’ll roll a new character and get to know these power sets before trying the downgrade. Except, the game only gives you two character slots, and I had eight characters. I would need to delete seven of my characters before I could even open the builder, just to play around and see how it worked.

I realize the point of a game going F2P is not to give the game away for free, but to simply get revenue in a different way. But this was absurd. I couldn’t even get past the login screen. The goal is to get people hooked, and then tempt them with baubles. If you’re asking for money at the front door, then you didn’t make the game free to play. You just made it a pain in the ass to pay for. I never even got in to play the game.

“Oh, they just rolled it out. There’s bound to be some bumps in the system.”

That’s the Cryptic way. Make a messy, ill-conceived system, fix half of it, and then drive it into the ground. You could give Cryptic a shipment of gold bars, and their first thought would be to make doorstops out of them. Only, they would make them too light to actually hold open a door. And they would paint the outside with ugly latex paint. And the website to order the doorstops would be horrible and confusing to use. And when nobody wanted their solid gold mafunctioning ugly doorstops, they would blame the bad economy.

I suppose I could just create a brand new account so I could experiment with the builder, but I think I already endured more hassle than the game is worth.

Star Trek Online


City of Heroes

This game is still $15 a month, while lot of games are coming in at $10 a month. The fact that this seven-year old game is still charging premium prices while the one year old Champions is free-to-play says a lot about the relative quality of these titles.

I loved this game. But I just don’t think the game has a lot of potential of a Let’s Play. Or at least, I’m not feeling it. If I signed up, it would be to play for the sake of playing. Not a bad reason to re-sub, but I should probably be focusing my time elsewhere. I have a lot on my plate right now, and taking on an MMO just to have fun would be… irresponsible.

The Future

The Old Republic, Tera, Guild Wars 2. Lots of cool titles coming up. It will be interesting to see where things go this year.


From The Archives:

100 thoughts on “Shamus Plays: WoW #15: The Final Quest

  1. Eathanu says:

    I’m glad at least you understand how stupid and ill-concieved the switch to F2P was for Champions. I made a post on their forums a week or so before the change and got nothing but “yeah we had this discussion months ago you idiot” and people defending the system. There was, I think, one person in about three pages who seemed to get the point (the point being they were not offering a free-to-play game so much as they were offering a headache) and it really dropped my opinion of my “fellow” gamers a few points. But yeah, seeing you hate on how Dryptic handled it made me feel better.

    1. Michael says:

      At least they did finally change it so you could create two “silver” characters regardless of your “gold” characters (at least I think it’s regardless, I’m not positive). The end result was a display of how badly the archetype system cripples character development.

      1. Cyanide says:

        Yes, it’s strange; in the latest patch or so it seems the Gold character I created in the demo last year went from taking up one of my character slots to getting placed in a third one. Not sure that would work for you as well, but if you’ve still got Champions installed, might just be interesting to see.

        Also, in unrelated news, some of the people on the Twentymine Minecraft server have formed a group in Champions (cleverly titled “Twentyminers”), now that it’s gone F2P. If anyone’s around that wants to try haphazardly stumbling through Champions, and wants other people to haphazardly stumble with them, might want to give our group a look.

      2. Sumanai says:

        This is in late, but I can confirm that I could make a new “Silver” character despite having several (six, I think) “Gold” characters. But I tried it last week, so I don’t know how late Cryptic made that update.

        But yeah, no options with Powers (except Travel)? A marvelous idea.

  2. HeroOfHyla says:

    Well there’s always Final Fantasy XIV. It started pretty badly, but it’s improved tremendously since then. It’s not perfect, but it’s enjoyable. I think what puts a lot of people off of it is that it doesn’t play a whole lot like other MMOs. It’s much more story driven. The “massively multiplayer” parts feel more like breaks in the main quest.

    1. Matt K says:

      All I’ve heard is that the interface was awful. Then again, from what I recall there’s currently no monthly fee.

      1. Volatar says:

        Really? When did that happen? It started with a monthly fee…

        1. HeroOfHyla says:

          They’ve reorganized the whole dev team, bringing back a lot of people from Final Fantasy XI. They’re not charging a monthly fee right now, because they’re trying to keep as much player base as possible while they fix up the game.

          And the interface was only really awful during the beta, and that was because it was all handled server-side.

    2. Nyaz says:

      Really? From what I’ve heard it’s a slow, annnoying grindfest. (I have no first-hand experience myself, though)

  3. Josh R says:

    Original guild wars?
    there must be enough to take from that for an amusing let’s play

    1. Duncan says:

      Seconded! There’s a lot of nonsensical stuff in GW1

    2. Halfling says:

      Yeah original Guild Wars would probably make a passable Lets Play.

    3. Matt K says:

      Plus it cost you nothing but your time and not to difficult to solo.

      1. Volatar says:

        Shamus’s time is actually worth quite a lot.

        1. Matt K says:

          Fair enough. What I meant was it’s easy to jump in and look around without having to deal with the monthly fee on top of that (i.e if it doesn’t end up working out as a series then at least he doesn’t have to pay a monthly fee on top of the time he spent).

  4. Robyrt says:

    Each of these Let’s Play series is better than the one before. I have high hopes for a return sometime this year :)

  5. Meredith says:

    Poor Norman. Good to see him finally turn against the stupid. It really must be awful to live in an MMO.

    I have no suggestions for what you should play next, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the resulting LP.

  6. Desgardes says:

    Sadly, I did not guess correctly. Close, but not quite. I think acronix got it right, though. But, still, I hope he gets that 5-man raid. He’s earned it. And, as I’m sure Shamus was suggesting, perhaps all humanoidish enemies were former pcs, fed up with the other people.

  7. Jarenth says:

    I’ll take you to a nice spot where I like to go skiing.”

    As the adage goes: the worst lies are the ones made entirely out of truth.

    Also, has Norman’s last name (Lightbringer) been revealed somewhere before? And does this mean he is related to that other famous Lightbringer in Warcraft lore, or did you just think up the name to justify that joke at the end?

    Thanks for writing this series, Shamus. Sad to see it end, but I guess the story has run its course. Waiting to see what your next project will be.

    1. Shamus says:

      Total mistake. His mother was named “Lady Lightgiver”. But I confused it with “Lightbringer” of WoW lore for this entry.


      1. Jarenth says:

        In defense of your subconscious, going from ‘Lightbringer’ to ‘Blightbringer’ does flow better. So I can see why it’d get confused.

        Lousy subconsciouses, never paying attention.

      2. X2-Eliah says:

        Didn’t he start out as “Dethbringerr” in the initial strips?

        1. Piflik says:

          I’d say Dethbringerr was his cool sounding alias, while Lightgiver his hes real last name…

        2. Shamus says:

          His Warlock name was “Dethbringerr”. His family name was “Lightgiver”. His mother was “Lady Lighgiver”. Then at the end I intended to have him change his name to “Blightgiver”, but instead confused him with “Lightbringer” and named him “Blightbringer”.

          And yes, this is a ridiculous mess that could have been done much better.

  8. Stephen says:

    I would be interested to see a Let’s Play take on the new City of Heroes Praetoria arcs you get with Going Rogue.

    1. krellen says:

      I think it would pretty much have to be a Crusader run. The rest of the paths just aren’t stupid enough (the Crusader arc is really, really dumb, though.) I suppose you could run the Power arc with a Booster Gold idea, too. Imperial City Power really works for that. Neutropolis Power is quite a bit more off-the-tracks, though (which could make for a good story as well, with the sudden gear-change between IC and Neu).

      1. krellen says:

        Actually, a really good Shamus Plays could probably be made out of a well-meaning freedom fighter – starts with the Wardens, decides (s)he wants to take a more direct fight once they get to Imperial City, and then just the mind-boggling reverse of what the Wardens want and what the Crusaders want can come into play as the character explores what this really means.

        But everyone – and I mean everyone – should play through Imperial City’s Power arc at least once. It’s the best thing in any MMO I’ve ever seen (it’s slightly cooler if you’ve done Nova Praetoria’s Power arc first).

  9. Andreva says:

    What about Rift? Coming out March 1st, the beta is fun, reviews are generally positive.

    1. Darthricardo says:

      Yeah, I was just about to mention it. It’s the kind of game that seems all too familiar and archetypal in an almost Dragon-Age type way, but still, looks pretty interesting so far.

      1. Rift would be a good one. Even people who love it (like me) accept that it’s really not any tremendously new. However, it’s somehow taken lots of pieces of stuff we’ve played, and, shockingly, made it fun again!

        Also, it has a ton of lore, some really cool visuals, and a few extremely bizarre moments.

    2. Mephane says:

      Yeah, I am in Rift open beta and decided to preorder. In terms of gameplay basics, it feels like WoW, i.e. classic target, cast spells, loot corpse gameplay, with all the standard handling, hotbars, key binds etc. functionality. (Really coming from WoW the only things you need to learn about the UI is the stuff about features WoW does not have at all). I consider this a good point, because all MMOs so far who tried to be different for the sake of it just ended up being worse in those aspects.

      The class system is very refreshing – you just choose a general path (Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, Mage) and then build your character in the game by aquiring different “souls” (i.e. talent trees) that give you abilities. It allows for highly specialized as well as hybrid characters abd generally feels very polished. Actually, it’s the most polished beta I have every experienced so far.

    3. Klay F. says:

      *this post intended as a joke*

      First what I can tell from the trailers for Rift and from their oh-so-subtle tag line, “We aren’t in Azeroth anymore” should be appended with “because our world is called Shmazeroth”…completely different.

  10. mneme says:

    LOL. “You have the worst filing system in the world.” Heh, heh, heh.

    Echoes of Girl Genius there.

  11. Ian says:

    Champions Online pissed me off when I tried it out. While I could somewhat understand limiting free players to archetypes (though being unable to use a core part of the game certainly isn’t making me reach for my credit card any faster), their implementation is buggy.

    I don’t know if this bug still occurs, but it did for me. If you try to pick any of the “premium” archetypes (wait, so not only do I not get to make my character mine, but I also have to pay to unlock prefabs? Wha?) it will let you. There is no text on the screen indicating that these archetypes are premium, nor are they grayed out. Instead, the game lets you go through the entire character creation process before throwing a box that says something along the lines of, “Failed to create character.” Does it let you go back and change the archetype? No, it dumps you back to the main menu and lets you fume for five minutes about how Cryptic just stole an hour of your life from you. Naturally, the two premium archetypes are the coolest looking ones in there, at least to me, so I naturally drawn to them.

    So, not only do I start the game off with a mixture of disappointment (not only can I not fine-tune my hero, but I can’t even pick the archetype that I want — the one that the game initially let me choose) and aggravation, since I wasted a bunch of time fine-tuning a character only to have the game flip me the bird and delete everything that I worked on. Not a good way to get started, that’s for sure.

    1. acronix says:

      This bug was solved quite recently, along with the other “big bugs”, like the one that made the costume creator crash at random when changin options.

      One thing they haven`t (and don`t plan to, for what I can tell) fixed is the unskippable stupid cutscenes and the overly long interior misions that feel made by the schizofrenic child of a Baalor and a Mamut.

    2. Jarenth says:

      Wait, that’s what was happening? Man, that explains a lot. I kept trying and trying for over an hour to get my guy going, conviced it must have been some sort of naming error that was causing it to fail.

      Good times.

      1. Michael says:

        Nah, when it’s a naming error it will tell you that you can’t name a character… whatever. Though I would like to know how the name “Firestorm” contains a restricted word…

        1. Aulayan says:

          It’s the name of a copywrited character by DC.

          1. Michael says:


  12. Fawkes says:

    I look forward to more Stolen Pixels, may as well get that out of the way early.

    Champions Online, oh poor sad Champions Online. I had a similar experience to other posters, a decent stroll in the forums pretty much leads you to discover that you’re nothing but a free-loading hippie who doesn’t even deserve the game and should take whatever scrap of bone they give you.

    But Hey, It’s Free.

    It ended up being one of the first in a few meager blog posts I’ve started making purely from the insanity of it.

    The patch just yesterday however fixed the Premium Archetype issue; you can no longer choose it and go through Creation only to be kicked out I mean, not the fact you have to pay to be gimped. Well, considering the Savage is the only Archetype with Regen, it’s slightly less gimped than every other class.

    You can also click when creating a character on “Show Power Advancement” or something along those lines and see the powers you’ll get. Also, they changed it so old Subscribers can now make two Silver characters, (May be a bug, they seemed to imply they just wanted to let us play one, not two.) If they have Less than eight characters. So you only have to delete One or Two of your hard-earned characters you’ll never see again if you decide to re-sub later!

    I’m still liking Champions as far as it goes, it’s a free character creator. I’m just liking it in spite of Cryptic, and I’d never consider paying for anything from the shop. It’s not worth it as a Silver Member. Now a Lifetime Sub, that’s pretty much the only Subscription worth it.

    This was way too long, I apologize, just far too disappointed in Cryptic’s handling of this.

    1. acronix says:

      Pretty much was about to say this, but Fawkes covered everything. Champions Online “free” version is just what their demo/trial should have been.

    2. Michael says:

      On the lifetime sub, I got into that mode of thinking earlier tonight, and on reflection, I’m really not sure if it makes any kind of sense.

      I think the lifetime sub is identical to the gold sub, just without monthly fees. But, what I can’t figure out is why I was thinking it was actually better than paying monthly. (This is in regard to CO, not STO).

      1. Fawkes says:

        The reason is better is simply because the switch from Gold to Silver is horrible. You basically have three options to go with here. You can play for free, and dabble in the C-Store, you can pay a Monthly fee, and dabble in the C-Store, or you can pay a one-time fee, and dabble in the C-Store.

        Note the one thing that never changes. Dabbling in the C-Store. Even with the 400 Credit Stipend Gold and Lifetime members get you’re going to end up paying for things on *top* of your Monthly Subscription. In fact most of the C-Store is dedicated to stuff you’d only want to *buy* as a Gold member. Retcons tokens are useless to you, and half the costume sets are, if not useless (no reason you can’t be a fire wielding mecha), defeated by the limited Archetype sets.

        At that point it makes a lot more sense to either play for free (And just make new accounts to try out new characters due to Slot limits), or buy all in and never have to worry about popping back to Silver or having to pay for the fee and that awesome costume you want.

        I don’t actually think it’s worth paying for the lifetime, but it’s really a much better deal than the monthly fee. Which of course is likely the point. Champions didn’t go Free to Play as acronix said, they just made a better Demo. They still want Subscriptions, not dabblers.

  13. Lanthanide says:

    The simplest thing Cryptic could’ve done to fix your specific problem is so brain-bendingly obvious that it makes me cringe that they didn’t implement it: if you’re on a free account and restricted to use 2 Silver characters only, then don’t count any existing Gold characters against the Silver character limit. I mean, DUH.

    1. Stormkitten says:

      I’m really disappointed it went live like this, because this is one of the main things I mentioned in beta. They have since fixed it so that if you have seven Gold characters and one slot free, you can make a Silver character. Unfortunately, the damage is done.

      1. Fawkes says:

        That’s pretty much the long and short of it. The damage is done. This was their big chance to really grab people back, both those who have played before, like Shamus, and those who haven’t. It stands for the lack of Archetypes as well. They promise that eventually they’ll have more Archetypes, though notably I’ve missed any comment that they’ll be free Archetypes. The problem is in a month, two months, when they’ve released them, all the people will have moved on or forgotten. This was their chance, they apparently decided to take it slow.

  14. Brandon says:

    You could always do a short take on DDO. It’s free and apparently keeping some players interested. I’d be curious to know if it’s worth looking into.

    1. Amarsir says:

      I’ve been curious about getting around to DDO for the first time since the beta and would love to have someone check it out for me. So I second the nomination of Shamus for that role.

      1. krellen says:

        I played DDO a couple years ago, I think right after it went free. I certainly wouldn’t give it “best combat of any MMO” (even at the time) and has the same problem all DnD video games do (way too much combat for way too little reward), but it wasn’t as stupid as CO. I put it about on par with LotRO.

        1. evileeyore says:

          I’m playing DDo with my eye open for “the dumb”… and the only thing that keeps striking me over and over again are the “basement” and “warehouse” quests which are all huge sprawling affairs the size of multiple city blocks…

  15. I second the recommendation that you give RIFT a try.

    I played a bit in the beta. The quests text reads like it was written by a 14 year old doing her first fanfic. WAAAAAY overblown, grandiose nonsense.

    Might be worth a few laughs?


  16. Lord_Viruscide says:

    Shamus you could try World of Tanks. Its a fun PvP and Team base mmo. and its free. and it just entered open beta.

    Okay its not talky talky, Bring me the heads of XYZ.But i would like to hear your thoughts on it.

    and yeah more Stolen Pixels will be great.

    1. thebigJ_A says:

      I’m playing this now. It’s fun, but I can’t see Shamus making a series about it.

      Unless I’m misinformed and Shamus is an expert on ’30-’50s era tanks? I mean, I know I could go on at length about how the Pzkpw II Luchs should be much faster and there’s no way a Hetzer could penetrate the frontal armor of a KV-3 from 400 yards… But would anyone want to read it??

  17. Mumbles says:

    whhhyyy did you say guild wars 2. you’re digging a grave for both of us.

    1. Zak McKracken says:

      Here’s hoping you actually do Guild Wars 2!
      Until now, every MMPORKCHOPS (or whatever the current term is) had some property that kept me from even trying them out. Guild wars was a close contender, though, and GW 2 might juuuust do it … so I’ll be delighted to see you dissect it for me :)

      1. Mumbles says:

        Don’t say that! JOSH COULD BE LISTENING. You don’t understand, man. He loves Guild Wars. He loves it too much.

    2. Josh says:


      1. Desgardes says:

        According to the schoolyard taunt, this means you are honorbound to marry it. Can you accept that?

        1. Kristin says:

          No he can’t. GW2 is already married to ME, therefore it would be bigamy.

          1. Josh says:

            Stop lying! Guild Wars 2 would never go out with you!

            1. Desgardes says:

              It was an arranged thing, but if you hurry, you can prove that you have its heart. Find a steed, and ride. Ride!! Hire the caterers to put peanut butter in the oysters, and steal GW2 away in the confusing outbreak of allergic reactions.

          2. Veloxyll says:

            There’s nothing concrete declaring that Ascalon can only be married to one person.

            1. Desgardes says:

              But the asphalt declarations hurt just as much.

  18. Greg says:

    I’d be interested in your take on the model that CO is using with its F2P. I’ve heard it argued that rather than models like DDO, where players are drawn in and spend money in the ingame shop, the point of the CO F2P model is to draw players in and tempt them to get subscriptions.

    I see how it could work. I was dissapointed to find that I was limited to archetypes when I got my free account, but I played on anyway and really have enjoyed the game quite a lot despite it. I’m told the archetypes are gimped in terms of power, but I find the difficulty pleasing, I’ve only hit one mission I couldn’t find a way to complete so far and I’ve seen paid players complaining that the game is too easy in the chat. The point is that despite the limitations I’m having fun and I can imagine how it might be more fun to make my own character, selecting custom powers, in order to have a hero exactly as I would imagine them. Right now I can’t see myself paying for a subscription based MMO (I never saw the percentage in paying for a game each months instead of just buying a new game each month) but I can see how the model might work.

    That being said the main selling point of a superhero MMO is the customisability of the heroes. It does seem odd to try to tempt people into a game without using the main selling point and then trying to get them to upgrade later. I wonder if they’ve have done better making half of the powers paid player only. Or the higher levelled areas of the game. The thing is while both of these changes would make me enjoy the free version a lot more, I think I’d be less likely to consider a paid account in either case.

    As a player I hate the decision to limit free players to archetypes, but as a marketting decision I’m not sure how good it is. What’s your take?

    1. Electron Blue says:

      uh I’m not really qualified to talk on this
      because it TOTALLY WORKED on me
      I tried the f2p yesterday, got the subscription today.

      1. Greg says:

        That makes you supremely qualified, a living example of it working :D
        Shamus’ experience sounds like an example of it not working.
        And mine is of one who refuses to pay twice for anything :P
        I wonder how typical each experience is?

      2. Zukhramm says:

        I’m almost considering doing the same. Need to play the game a bit further to see if I tink I’ll stick with it though.

  19. Another_Scott says:

    Awwww, I was hoping that Norman would do some good by pretending he was from the Burning Legion (or whatever those demons were called) and bring everyone together to combat his potential threat. Gobstab mentioned that a couple of times how all it would take is one guy to mess it all up, I took it as a hint that Norman might pick up on to do some good by being evil.

    Instead his tale ended with a whimper instead of a bang… At least it was a funny whimper though.

    1. Rothschild says:

      Actually, it would have been really interesting if Norman tried that but then it still failed. As in the people of WOW’s bizarre mental condition prevented them from effectively banning together to take on a common enemy and instead were defeated, in one last crushing blow to the psyche of the already quite broken Norman “Deathbringerr” Lightgiver.

      He destroys the entire world trying to save them. There’s your bang.

  20. Adam says:

    So the overwhelming stupidity of WoW damned a man to hell.
    Well, if he didn’t have to play through the lvl 20 content, I guess he got off easy.

    1. MichaelG says:

      He never had to wander the old Barrens, killing ridiculous numbers of critters and reading the Chuck Norris jokes. He got off easy!

  21. Your heart didn’t seem to be in this as much. Ah well, I was hoping for longer, but understand.

    Wish you well on whatever project you do next.

  22. Rifts was interesting, though the pigeon bellied raven to start the video off with was a bit on the down side.

    So, chase a guy, who opens up a rift to summon something that he ends up killing?

    1. Galad says:

      wow, I know my pc has a pretty weak video card, only 64 or 96 MBs of VRAM but this was ridiculous. While the video was still buffering both sound and picture would “stutter” almost every second. When I finally thought of pausing to let it buffer fully…well, it was still far from good looking, solely because of the weak video card..Sheesh, the industry these days..Graphics obsession much? =\

  23. Gandaug says:

    “Norman, you don’t understand. The power to be evil has been inside of you all along.”


    Best Let’s Play so far!

    1. PurePareidolia says:

      I love it when that line is applied to practically anything like this. Gets me every time.

  24. Sledge says:

    Isn’t there a Lego MMO? Surely a game like that would lend itself well to a lets play?

    1. MichaelG says:

      Seconded! I’ve wanted to see more than screen shots of that one for awhile.

      1. Enno says:

        Thirded! I have heard great things about the LEGO MMO. Their marketing has managed to stay entirely under the radar, but it sounds as if the game is actually good.

  25. Mazinja says:

    I really wonder if it would have KILLED the CO people to have followed a FTP option like LOTRO has. For those not in the know, LOTRO has three options: the people that have only played the game for free, the people that have paid SOMETHING once, and those that are subscribers (and then there are the Lifers, who get even more bennies).

    Even the lowest level of FTP in LOTRO lets you see a lot of the game. A lot of the beginning, at the very least! But if you pay for anything (like, say, unlocking one of the classes), this itself unlocks a lot more things on your account. If you are a subscriber, you have no limitations. If you paid for a lifetime, you get free points to buy stuff online every month or so.

    So, me, who played CO for roughly a year, would find myself with the absolute distaste of completely wrecking a character I got all the way to 40, or of deleting some characters so I could make way for a character that flies in the face of the absolute liberty of power choice that the game boasted about in the beginning.

    So… no. I’m just playing WoW again. Cataclysm brought and changed enough things to keep me interested and paying again. And if I get bored, I’d be interested in getting Going Rogue and playing CoH again.

    1. wootage says:

      Actually, even if you subscribe to LOTRO and pay the full fee, you still have to pay to unlock content such as quests, stable destinations, etc. They just give you 500 item store points a month with which to do your unlocks, and that doesn’t pay for everything.

      That’s pretty much why I don’t play LOTRO anymore. I shelled out the full monthly fee and found that I was still under the thumb of the F2P model, and that’s just not acceptable to me.

      1. Lise says:

        Huh? When you subscribe, you have access to -everything.- When you stop, you go back to not subscribing. I’m not sure how that’s not acceptable, or what you’re misunderstanding, but the above isn’t accurate; just sayin’ . You didn’t have to unlock anything…

        (Or do you mean you have to _play the game_ to progress to new areas and that’s not acceptable?! Everyone has to do that.)

  26. Octorok says:

    I really am sad to see this end. I was enjoying it, but I found it (at times) slightly less humorous, if better written, than previous entries.

    But nonetheless, I’m a WoWer myself and I’m sad to see it end in such a rushed fashion. It’s not that the ending wasn’t well done, it was as well written as that ending was always going to be, but I felt that t was all moving too fast. You had this subtle change in his outlook, with the occasional big drop, and then here, in one entry, it just sort of happens.

    I was hoping that Gobstab would be up to his Machiavellian tricks, twisting Norman’s words about and just influencing him to evil acts (like killing the man who was accused of murdering the pig), but here it was just more – “You really ought to be evil.” “Well, I dunno about that…” “Just be evil, you want to.” “Okay, let’s attack Stormwind.”

    I get that you wanted to round it all up, but I feel that this could have done with either one more entry, or more polish. Either way, it’s perfectly possible that I’m just sad to wave goodbye to devious little Gobstab.

    And on the topic of MMOs – I can’t really be sure which would actually make a fun LP. I’m very, very interested in The Old Republic, but I’m not so sure you could turn into the same mind-boggling WTF of the silly MMO logic of the existing MMOs. From a dramatic standpoint, you could probably write about TOR, but since it actually has dialogue you couldn’t have those brilliant conversations that are one of the key points of the series, and it’s likely going to be rather poor source material for jokes.

    Still, good luck in the future. I am extremely interested in seeing Shamus Plays continue.

    1. Pickly says:

      I could imagine shamus looking up some dialogue beforehand, and picking the sillier options to run with through the sort of let’s play he tends to do. (Of course, I might be understanding the story system completely wrong.)

      1. Octorok says:

        I don’t really know, given that the game is unreleased, but I doubt that it will have the outright humour that WoW or LotRO have, or the confusion of Champions Online.

        It’s Bioware. I think that they’re going for a serious feel with this. It doesn’t have to be “dark” or “edgy”, and maybe companions will have some funny dialogue, but not enough to warrant a full series. It’s like I said – it’s not that you couldn’t write a great story about TOR. It just wouldn’t be so funny.

    2. Galad says:

      you raise an interesting point about the way the series ended..Personally, I found the “the power was within you” cheesy cliche line hilarious..As well as, of course, the overly humoristic and light-hearted tone of the series as a whole, but especially in the last episode..Imho, if Shamus has went for a “darker” ending or a more .. “heavy” one .. this series would’ve lost its charm to an extent..

  27. Kdansky says:

    You know, there is a third option, which I have accidentally discovered when I went abroad for a while and cancelled WoW “temporarily”. Which is: Don’t waste your time with MMOs. They are worse enjoyment than other (better) games, because they explicitly waste your time with boring crap.

    Play Magicka, Super Meat Boy, Lara Croft ATGOL (required: a second player), Metro 2033 and BlazBlu instead. Or Starcraft 2. Or read a book.

    I loved Norman’s story though.

    1. thebigJ_A says:

      For Magicka you kind of require 3 other players.

      From the Quicklook on Giantbomb yesterday it looks awesome, though. Curse my lack of pc-gaming friends!

  28. Avilan says:

    If you have time on your hands you should play Baldur’s Gate II.

  29. Chris says:

    Regarding MMOs, Pirates of the Burning Seas went F2P fairly recently I believe. It plays a bit like Eve online, only more user friendly (from what I’ve seen so far). Brilliant character customization too, and unlike WoW it seperates cosmetic appearance from gear, similar to how LotRO does. Might be worth a look?

  30. David V.S. says:

    Ah, Stalvan…

    That quest line was surely a tier above those around it. I was actually inspired to write a draft of an elaborated version of the story — my first and only computer game fan-fiction.

  31. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Geeze, people.. Why keep recommending that Shamus play games that you think are horrible? “Peee-YEW! Here! Smell this!”

  32. wererogue says:

    I’m curious as to why STO is “meh” – are you just not into Star Trek, or did you try the game and weren’t drawn in?

  33. Steve C says:

    The sad thing is that the Stalvan questline was improved significantly over what it was before Cataclysm. It was completely rewritten in quest objectives, locations, and plot. The only thing that remained was the name “Stalvan” and the basic history (girl, no love, murder).

    Which makes me wonder why? Why rewrite the whole thing and keep the name? Stalvan had his own legend. (The old legend was that he moved around a lot but lived immediately next door to the people mildly interested in him. +girl, no love, murder etc) This is a new legend about someone else. Basically they bolted on a turd from the old quest into the new quest and made the whole thing stink for no reason. Even so, 20x better than it used to be.

  34. thebigJ_A says:

    Chalk me up as another who wouldn’t mind seeing Rift.

  35. Skyy_High says:

    And me as another who’d like to see some of GW’s stuff skewered….but I said that after the last Let’s Play ended, too.

  36. Galad says:

    I find it really funny how you write almost a full page about why you didn’t like Champs online going F2P the way it did and about Star Trek online you only write “meh” – do you dislike the latter that much? Do you simply know little of it, but what little you know, you don’t like? :)

  37. Lise says:

    About Champions Online’s F2P: It’s worse than you think. If you downconvert your “gold” character to “silver” it’s a one time thing and you can’t convert it back, even if you subscribe again. There’s no way to make freeform characters except by subscribing. You can’t buy or unlock a few things as a ‘silver’ ever and prices are 2-3x, and in a few cases 10x, more than Lotro’s are.

    Also, and this amused me to no end, silver members can’t post on their forums, so they have a “F2P Q&A” forum that only subscribers can post in. Before F2P launch former subscribers and trials _could_ post anywhere, so they actively closed off the forums. There are lots of other problems, but it’s amazing how much they’re shooting themselves in the foot – especially, as you mentioned, there were the Turbine games to look at and copy.

    Also, suggestion for let’s play: ever checked out DDO? It’s very unique and different than most MMOs, and the potential for bad P&P references and puns and roleplaying with the npcs is huge. The P&P feel is there, especially if you play as a rogue. There’s also a module/quest set DM voiceovered by Gary Gygax, which is neat but also the nerdiest thing I’ve ever heard.

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