Monday, February 11, 2008

Chapter 2: The Same Old Same Old

Ah, Covent Garden Station. You've changed a bit. Well that's certainly nice. Too bad you can't make up for the entire game. Oh well. Everything can't be perfect, but you can at least try to improve it. Apparently Flagship Studios didn't get the memo.

Anyways, I continued to press onward, this time assuring myself that I would complete all quests that were presented to my character at any given time. This means those lovely kill enemy x, fed ex, and grind quests would fill up most of my time. But, hey, if you really want to get the full experience, then you have to try out what is being offered to you. So I make my first turn to the Kingsway Sewers to complete the menial quests set before me and, wouldn't you know it, that's when it hit me. The lovely loading screen of death. Ah, such fond memories I had of thee back in alpha. I'm glad to see you made it to the finished product old chum!

I waited a full six minutes before I decided that it was time to run the melody of ctrl + alt + delete, just to make sure that it just wasn't "lag."

Ah, well, we can try that again, shall we? So I spin up the client once more and go through the same portal once again, this time crossing my fingers. Success! This time the client decided to work like a finished product and loaded the other area. One must really wonder, however, how such problems still exist when Flagship Studios keeps claiming to have "fixed the bugs."

Anyways, after completing said menial quests, I decided to pursue the main quest story line. I was teeming with excitement; now I was about to get some real action with our old pal Shulgoth, who was victim to many runs in alpha/beta (I hear he's still quite popular today). However, on my way to meet my old friend, I happened to come across the little leaper doggie guys. As an Engineer, my long ranged rifle made short work of them, most particularly when they provided perfect practice when they jumped into the air and I simply side-stepped away. However, I was surprised to learn that this little fellows had developed the wonderful ability to levitate after death!

And now the Amazing Swamini will perform his levitation act after his death!

Yes, it seemed that leaper enemies that I killed when they were airborne seemed to drop down to an invisible wall that was a few feet off the ground. It was a magical feat, one which I decided to take a moment to ponder and reflect on and wonder why in the world the game even allows rag dolls to do such thing. But then I remembered I probably was doing something productive when I was at work when others clearly weren't. Oh well. What a big surprise.

Speaking of floating corpses, this might also bring up a good time to mention how flying enemies are just as reluctant to not actually drop to the ground when they are killed as well. Of course for them they seem more keen in just freezing the last animation they were performing before they met their untimely end.

Hey, we're just going to hang up here for a while if that's cool with you.

Yes, it seems like as if enemies have a knack of just sitting in the middle of the air once they are dead. What a lovely habit. What's even more interesting is that I can't remember a single time in alpha, or beta, when something like this happened. So I lied when I said I haven't seen anything new. Flagship Studios, in their finite attempt to fix things, seemed to had the wanton feeling to add a few more bugs in the mix to throw us off.

But hey, those aren't the only things enemies can do. No sir, they seem to also be inclined to actually do nothing at all at times. Yep, it looks like a few that were molded out of the sulfur forgot to pick up their brains on the way out of the hell that they spawned from.

I took down both Vortex Goliaths from this distance while they did nothing but stand around.

While for some players they might find it enjoyable that all they have to do is sit in front of an enemy and press the fire button, I find it rather insulting. If I wanted a one-clicker game, I'd play Solitaire, and that came with the computer for free. However, I paid $60 for a game in which I was expecting content and developer effort to that of the equivalent of what the industry's standard is. I mean, unless, of course, Flagship Studios was trying to set an all-time low to break the mold of the standard and take it down a few notches. I suppose that would make sense as to why they do what they do.

For instance, let's take a time to examine the reflections of this game. Now, for some bizarre reason, the streets are tore up, cars are blown up, and the landscape is littered with hot spots sprouting out of buildings and the ground, yet, magically, all of these windows on buildings seem to be quite intact. So I happened to take a gander of what reflection these windows might have to offer, only to find myself staring at a phony backdrop reflection image that mirrors off on all windows. The only problem? It doesn't actually reflect the image behind you. As a matter of fact, if you look at one window to your left and then one to your right, they will show the very same image. There isn't any actual reflection at all; it's just something to pull a blanket over your face to think you're looking at something fancy when you're looking at something you'd find in a pre-1999 game.

While it appears I am standing in front of the same window, I'm actually standing in front of the window on the left in the picture on the left and standing in front of the window on the right in the picture to the right--both of which "reflect" the same image.

But people probably don't even take the time to even reflect on their surroundings when they're probably too busy trying to find the last gathering item needed for a quest. At first these quests seemed easy enough, especially when the enemies that dropped the said items needed were plenty in supply. However, as I have a fear that it will become a recurring theme in quests, the last x of y items always seems to be the hardest to spawn from the enemy, even if you've killed about 30 of them. As a matter of fact, the tickers I was supposed to take from downed Imp Troopers from Piccadilly Circus were no where to be found, mostly because there weren't any Imp Troopers in Piccadilly Circus to begin with. However, there was a hellgate, which I reluctantly stepped through and found my lovely slew of Imp Troopers. As such, after cleaning out the place, I found myself with 9 of the 10 items needed, but now with zero Imp Troopers left. Well, what a predicament I found myself to be in. So I descended into Hell in the hopeful attempt to find Imp Troopers there but with no such luck. Ten minutes later I arise back to the staging area of the hellgate, but nothing had respawned. So I decided to return to Piccadilly Circus and clear out the place there, also hopeful for Imp Trooper respawns. No such luck. Another ten minutes pass by and I return into the hellgate, where I found a few dozen respawned Imp Troopers. So I rubbed my hands together greedily, slew them all, and not a single one dropped a ticker.

30 minutes into searching for one more damn ticker and I'm still turning up empty.

So instead of just getting frustrated and dropping the quest, I decided to pursue the matter. Hell, if waiting a half hour didn't cure the problem, then I'm sure just logging out and logging back in would. So I did exactly that. And so here I was, once again, back in Charring Cross Station. Out I went onto Piccadilly Approach and then to Piccadilly Circus. Surprise surprise! No Imp Troopers in Piccadilly Circus. However, there still was a hellgate, and down I went into it. And after I had decimated the whole place of all Imp Troopers, there still wasn't a ticker to be found.

Now I was pissed.

So I storm out of the hellgate, deciding that I'll just recall back, drop the quest, and then try and do something rude to the NPC that gave me the quest, only to find that as soon as I stepped through the portal, there was an Imp Trooper staring me down. I immediately shot him in the face just for the sport and the trouble he had caused me and, wouldn't you know it, the bastard drops a ticker. I sighed heavily, picked up the item, and was glad the client didn't crash in the process.

So back I went to Charring Cross Station, slowly regulating my breathing, telling myself that it's just a game and that it's not worth getting worked up over, but you know what? It just kills me when this sort of garbage is presented to you in a product that you spend your hard-earned money on. I bought this game to have fun, not to get frustrated over some discrepancy that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Hell, I get that at my job, and I get paid for being unhappy. In Hellgate all I get is some quest text that laughs at me and a half hour of wasted time for one quest. Oh well. Maybe things will lighten up next time.


Sometimes Hellgate players just need a hug--and sharper player textures.

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