Alt-friendly MMOs and longer-term engagement


In a recent post UltrViolet talks about taking a break from FFXIV, one reason for this being the game’s relative alt-unfriendliness:

Normally, in games I really like (such as FFXIV), when I reach the end of a character’s journey, I turn to an alt and level a new character. But I don’t think that Final Fantasy XIV is very alt-friendly. Having all jobs available to every character means you never need to make an alt character to experience different types of gameplay.

For me the point that I sympathise with greatly is that my likelihood to stay playing a game longer-term, or to come back regularly, is influenced strongly by whether it’s fun to play alts or not. Fun is of course a very subjective term here, but a game that makes playing alts repetitive (by having a lack of content) is not going to keep me engaged as…

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Games We Discussed in 2013


This month we’re celebrating Virtual Bastion’s 5-year anniversary by sharing our favorite memories of the site, blogging, gaming, and our online friendships. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane!

Although Hatm0nster, The Duck, and I formed “United We Game” with a singular goal in mind — to help small game bloggers reach a wider audiences — our primary focus was (and will always be) on video games. We’ve each incorporated games and gaming into our lives in different ways, and as part of establishing not only UWG’s identity but also our own individual personas, many of our early posts consisted of personal anecdotes about the games we had played, the games we had loved, and sometimes, the games we didn’t like. These articles didn’t necessarily spotlight the games we were actually playing in 2013 or releases from the year. Sure, we each had our own 2013 favorites…

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Year of the RPG: Baldur’s Gate


So… even though Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn is often considered the better game between the two, I decided to play the original game, in the same way that I came across an advertisement for Dragon Age: Inquisition before I played Dragon Age: Origins, and decided to start the series at the beginning.

We all know how that story ends.

And boy, does Baldur’s Gate feel like a 2D Dragon Age. This isn’t surprising, as it was made by the talented folks from BioWare. Needless to say, I’m so excited, you guys.

But I digress.

We’re already into our fourth game for Year of the RPG, and it’s been a wild ride! But we’re safely back in third-person viewership (or at least not-first person), and operating under fairly familiar rules. And by that, I mean the rules of Dungeon and Dragons as presented by BioWare…

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DDO: Mad Tea Party

Bio Break

Mad Tea Party is another fantastic Ravenloft quest that shows off much of Dungeons and Dragons Online’s strengths: its storytelling chops, quest choices, non-standard settings, humorous writing, cool places to explore, and devilish puzzles. It was another one of those evenings where I didn’t care that much that the quest was going long because I was totally involved in it.

This one has an odd setup: A local lady is throwing a tea party and has invited the town’s baron to attend. The twist is that the two are fundamentally enemies (she is pro-Stahd, he anti-Stahd) but both are pretty awful human beings. As the quest and party progresses, you get the choice to betray one, the other, or both. I’m the harbinger of chaos and doom, so I decided to bring down the whole shebang.

I think that objectively, the lady is the worse of the two. She’s a…

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The Only Old School Point And Click Video Game That You Need To Play



Sol705 is a hilarious graphic adventure that brings back all the good stuff from the ’90s point and click classics with a -slightly- modern touch! Because nostalgia is not what it used to be!

Join a group of eccentric friends looking to sneak out from duty and spend all their free time at their own secret extraterrestrial research club.

Making contact with an alien race? Easy. Getting a date with one of their classmates, well… let just call it a top priority at the club’s hidden agenda!

Can’t wait to get your hands on this game? Good news: there’s a demo waiting for you! An introductory chapter that offers about 60 minutes of full-voiced gameplay (subtitled up to 6 other languages) where you’ll get to take an amazing tour around some of what Sol705 has to offer.

The story will unfold during the 70’s, over the…

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If we could bring MMOs back to life, what would it be like?

Bio Break

Since my head is stuck in MMO news, gaming, and discussion for a part of my day, I have been known to conjure up hypotheticals to keep me amused. After all, the news is often so weird and unexpected that my daydreams might one day happen — you never know!

One of those I’ve been pondering lately is what would happen, exactly, if a studio brought back online a rather popular long-deceased MMORPG. Say, City of Heroes or Star Wars Galaxies. Just out of the blue, “Hey guys, we’ll be reactivating the game next week, officially. See you then!”

While those two titles are almost certainly forever lost to us, it’s not the craziest of questions. We have seen dead MMOs revived (such as Asheron’s Call 2 coming back for a short run, or Shadowbane in other territories, or Hellgate: London). It all depends on whether the code is still…

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Maze of the Storm Witch

Dyson's Dodecahedron

Maze of the Storm Witch Maze of the Storm Witch

Cut into the foggy clefts of the Steaming Mountains, the Maze of the Storm Witch must be navigated (or the whole mountain climbed over) in order to reach the Pale Divide. Unnatural mists fill these passages, obscuring the already confusing twists and turns.

The maze is also specifically designed to prevent the most common method of exploring such a space – if an adventurer uses the “left hand rule” (or even the “right hand rule”) they will not find the way through, but will instead eventually find themselves back at the entrance instead.

That is, if the storm witch’s blindsighted grimlocks don’t get you first.

This map was specifically drawn to show how a 3D structure can easily break the “left hand rule” for navigating a maze. It was also originally called the Labyrinth of the Storm Witch, but regardless of every dictionary disagreeing with…

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