Friday, December 22, 2006

Well, let's see what's changed from last post:


I finished Count Zero and I really liked it. Though the last few pages were a bit confusing at first read. Probably cause I was a little tired when I read them. But the book was a very enjoying read. Love the Cyberpunk.


I was lucky and my step-sisters and my step-mom emailed me about what I could get everyone. Since they covered each other, I got a good idea of what to get everyone. Except the kids. They were freaking vague about that, or didn't even mention anything. I'll have to phone my step-mom about it and get some ideas. I did my Xmas shopping this afternoon, and managed to get everyone's gifts. It's all gift cards for stocking stuffers, mainly cause that's what everyone wants.

We're oh-so-exciting, aren't we?


Speaking of Xmas gifts, stupid ass Kofi, my co-worker, got me a gift. Totally by surprise. The idiot. Made me feel like a jerk, since I had no intention of getting him anything. Hell, I've never even given my best friend Inferno anything in the 8 some years I've known him.

Anyway, Kofi likes getting World Cup team jerseys, so he picked me up a Sweden one, as that's my heritage. Gotta say, it's pretty fucking nice. He gave it to me last night, and made me open it (to make sure it fit, and the name was spelled right. He got it personalized. Idiot!). He also gave it to me early cause I lucked out big time and I have 5 nights off for Xmas. Woooo! Needless to say, he wasn't impressed, cause he has to work till the 24th.

But, with my days off I was able to get him a gift too. Mostly out of guilt. Stupid guy. But, I got him something we can both enjoy. Battlefield 2142! I've been stuck on the demo lately. It's much different than FEAR, that's for sure. Much more tactical and such. Vehicles too. I'm not so shit hot with the flying ones though. I let other people fly them and I just man the guns.


I haven't been playing much of NWN 2 lately, mostly cause I've been freaking tired, and there's been lots of Star Trek (Next Gen and Voyager) on TV for some reason. The one channel is playing 4-5 hours of Voyager in the mornings. I caught a few good episodes, plus a really good 2 parter of Next Gen on the other channel.

The one guy I work with (not Kofi, another guy) has been doing the same damn thing as me with NWN 2. We both start playing new characters and then get the itch to try different class/race combo. We're fucking alt-aholics, that's for sure. He's much farther along than me for sure. But I think he starting another character again. Idiot!


I got so fed up with the Xmas music at work that I started disconnecting it every night I was at work. Then I'd just plug it back in before the bosses arrived in the morning. And a few days later, it stopped working. Oooops.

I bet it was broken anyway. Either way, it doesn't matter. I probably won't hear it again until next year. Maybe for a day or two next week, but that's not too bad.


In other news, Nevrax (the makers of Ryzom) has been bought out by Gameforge. Gameforge is some company from Germany that makes browser based games. So I don't know if that bodes well for Ryzom. Though Gameforge is going to keep most of the development team from Nevrax working on the game, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Maybe they can get the old Devs to make some changes to the game, and get it more polished. A few tweaks to the gameplay wouldn't be too bad either. There are a few things that would have to change before I could give it another shot.


I think that's about it. Maybe I'll update this before Xmas if anything good happens. Otherwise, have a safe Xmas. Don't let the evil robot Santa get you this year.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Again, it's been a while. Mostly the same old, same old though.


I luckily didn't get bronchitis from that cold I picked up. Probably cause I phoned in sick to work two days in a row, and had my 2 days off shortly after to recover. Hopefully I don't get sick after Xmas, like I usually do.


I haven't been doing much other than playing the computer (NWN 2, for sure ), and reading. Since work was supposed to be utterly boring the other week, as I was filling in for someone else and not working my usual shift, I decided to bring a book to read. Actually, the other lady told me to bring one. She even gave me an extra day off, but we didn't tell the bosses. It's not like I got paid for it. But it was nice to have the extra day off nonetheless.

Anyway, I brought a book my friend lent me an eon ago. I don't know why I never got to reading it, especially since it's only like 400 pages, so it's not like it would take me very long. The book is "Count Zero" by William Gibson. I'm sure you've heard of his one book, "Neuromancer", and of course his short story "Johnny Mnemonic" which was turned into a movie with Keanu Reeves.

It's standard Gibson fare. Cyberpunk setting, a semi-convoluted plot that keeps you wondering what the real story is, and what's going to happen next. I'm really enjoying it. It's made me think about the Cyberpunk genre and setting a whole lot lately.

I was thinking about the old Cyberpunk tabletop game my friends and I played. It was sooo cool, and my Corp character, "Wolf", was a badass. Cybered up to shit. Even paid the premium price to retain most of his Humanity. He wouldn't be much use to a corp if he was a slathering psychopath, now would he?

It also got me thinking about EVE Online, as EVE is /very/ Cyberpunk, and even more gritty and harsh that most Cyberpunk tends to be. It's just set in a similar world, albeit a few hundred years later. Kofi is playing it again, I still don't know why, so he's been telling me about it a bunch. It has tempted me a few times, but then I go play NWN 2 or Most Wanted and the temptation disappears. MMOs are slowly becoming less attractive to me, the more I play quality single-player games. I keep remembering the tediousness of the grinding in MMOs and how so many of them fall flat compared to what I expect them to be.

I've even had ideas how Cyberpunk could be a really good setting for an MMO, as there's a lot of room for PVP, politics, backstabbing, factions,etc. Plus, the setting is close enough to realism for people to easily understand (compared to Orcs and Elves) yet different enough that they should be able to feel "larger than life" while playing it. I've run over ideas how PVP and PVE could dynamically mix with factions (ie. corporations) and it seems like it could be fairly plausible.

Now the only hurdle is to find some suckers who'll pay me a whack of cash to develop the damn game. Sure .... in my dreams.


Xmas is just around the corner, and I'm fucking whooped for figuring out what to buy people. And I don't even have to get a lot of presents. Just one big gift for my dad, as I got his name in the draw, and stocking stuffers (max $10 worth/ person) for everyone else. You'd think I'd be able to figure out something to get my dad, but noooooooo.

At least my one stepsister and her hubby have told everyone flat out what they want for stuffers. Gift cards for a dept store, so they can buy linens, plates, and stuff. Since they didn't have a wedding with gifts and all. (they eloped, ie. the way it should be )

I sent out an email to my family, listing all the types of gift cards they could get me. I couldn't think of anything concrete they could buy me, as all the stuff I plan to get, or am simply thinking of getting, is easily over $100. I figured they can just give me some cards, and it'll help offset the cost of what I get later on.


Also, the Xmas music at work is driving me /fucking insane/. If I have to hear "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" or fucking "Jingle Bells" version #128 any more I'm going to go Postal. I really need to bug my friend into giving me a ride to the store, so I can get that mp3 player I want. Then I can listen to something that won't make me want to shove an icepick into my eardrum.


And lastly, I just wanted to share with you a picture of my two characters from NWN 2. I'm playing the game with 2 different characters, one of them is fairly new, the other one is almost finished Act 1. I know the game story doesn't really make it possible, but I decided that they are brothers. Or half-brothers, I dunno. Either way, both of them are radically different. One's a Lawful Good Monk, the other is a crazy Chaotic Neutral Fighter, or merc in other words. They're both fun cause they're designed as High-damage Melee types. They're not so high on the HPs, but they both can dish out the pain. The Monk is cool cause the animations are /really nice/, and so he does all kinds of spin kicks and stuff. Plus he has like 3 attacks per round at level 10, and can do a Spin Kick if he hits with one, effectively giving him 4. He dishes it out /fast/.

His brother is a dual weapon fighter, and I'm going to have his specialty be Katanas, as he's a slightly different version of a character I had for NWN 1. He can dish out the damage too, and he has a lot more options than the Monk, especially when it comes to gear, so that'll be nice.

Here's a picture of the two of them. The Monk, Aelandethe is on the left. His brother, Dethandriel, is on the right. I think they both look pretty cool.


That seems about it.
Laters all.
*tips his hat*

Monday, December 4, 2006

I haven't posted here for almost 2 weeks. Ooops.
Not a big deal. There's not too much to tell anyways.


First off, I 'm currently getting over a nasty head cold that hit me the other day. I went to work and I shouldn't have, but my co-workers would've been /royally screwed/ if I hadn't, so I toughed it out for one night. I called in sick last night to let myself get better. I'm soooo glad I did, otherwise I bet my cold would've turned into a bronchial or sinus infection, like it usually does. It's still lingering so I'm not out of the woods yet. *crosses fingers*


I played a bunch of San Andreas the last couple days, and I have unlocked the last city in the game. Some of the missions I had to do to unlock it were ridiculously hard. There was one swimming mission where you have to stay underwater otherwise the guys in the boats cap you. But the keyboard+mouse combo doesn't seem to work properly for swimming, so I kept either floating to the surface, or drowning. Fucking annoying.

Other than that, it's been lots of fun. Though I bet I'll finish it before I know it, and then I'll have no real reason to play anymore. I can't be bothered to play to find all the hidden stuff, to get a 100% completion rate. Looking for gang tags on buildings for hours on end isn't my idea of fun. Nor is diving underwater to find all the clams.

Once I finish the main missions, I'll probably just stop playing the game altogether. I've already got a lot of fun out of it, no need to bleed it dry.


After I finish San Andreas I'll probably go back to finish some more of Most Wanted. I've had fun playing it, but it's fairly linear so I seem to get bored with it quickly. Though it is quite good if I'm looking for some fun in less than 30 mins.


As for NWN 2, I've been playing around with different characters, and trying them in the tutorial and first part of the game. I got a little frustrated with my Warlock and his NPCs, when I tried to do some of the quests in the city of Neverwinter. The thief alley part was hard enough, but then I have to take on an army of thieves in a warehouse. With them sneak attacking my party all the time, I'm getting cut to ribbons. The Warlock is good when there is a limited amount of enemies, but when I had to fight around 10-12 of them, he got swamped. His Eldritch Blast is only single target (possibly 2 if the Chain effect hits) and it's 4d6. The thieves make their saving throws or something, and so they take less damage. Or something ... I dunno. There's simply too many of them to fight.

Thus, I've tried some more melee orientated characters so that I can have the NPCs be the "squishies", and I can be up front. The Monk I've made is rather good, and his Flurry of Blows (one extra attack / round) mode is very useful. Plus, his Moon Elf high dexterity has helped his armour class a lot. I think right now he has the highest AC of all the party. But that's also cause I gave him all the +AC items I could.

I think I'll see how he plays out some more. He's not bad in melee, and he's different than my Warlock RP-wise. The warlock is Chaotic Good (leaning to Chaotic Neutral) and the monk is Lawful Good. It's fun to play the opposite alignment for a change. Most times I play the selfish, money grubbing mercenary, or the simply outright evil guy. Plus it's interesting to see the effects on different situations, and the overall effect on the NPC teammates. I think I've already got a better rating with the dwarf fighter than my Warlock does.


Ryzom's future get's decided on the 5th, so we'll see what happens there. One former employee (fired a long time ago due to layoffs/budget cuts) is trying to collect donations from the players to bid to purchase the game content and engine. In an effort to make the game open source.

It's a bold move, and one that I'd personally like to see succeed if no one actually buys the game from Nevrax, but I think it's ultimately futile. The guy doesn't have the people, nor the resources to work with the code, and no one will be able to host the game, except for a few friends/guildies. So it'll be the same as if the game was closed.

My money is on the game closing for good. It doesn't have a name that attracts attention, nor does it have a lot of current subscribers, so any company looking to buy it will most likely be very hesitant to keep it running. They'd most likely just purchase the game resources and use them to develop their own MMO instead. Start fresh instead of starting with all the negative stuff that bogged down Ryzom in the first place.


I can't think of what else there is, other than the fact that Smallville was a repeat (again!) and I hope Heroes is good tonight. Oh yeah ... I saw an interesting show on the Discovery Channel called "Mythbusters". They played like 3 episodes back to back. It's 5 people who try and prove/disprove a bunch of movie, TV and urban myths.

The episodes I saw had them testing to see if you could cut one sword in half with another one (you couldn't), if an ejector seat in a car was plausible (it was), if you could jump a huge distance in a car and keep going, a la Dukes of Hazzard (you could jump, but the landing was killer and invariably the car was fucked), and a whack of other myths. It was actually pretty cool. The two main guys are big special effects wizards for Hollywood so they build all kinds of weird contraptions.


That's about it. Now I'm off to sleep so I won't be too out of it for work tonight.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It seems Nevrax's bankruptcy issues haven't gone away. In fact they got worse. The company has gone into receivership.

Basically, they're looking to be bought by another company, who will then decide what to do with the game. I'm betting they just take the game engine and sell it, or sell off the server hardware or something. The new buyers might try and change Ryzom to attract more customers, but in the end it'll just end up like Horizons. No one will be playing and they'll still have assloads of problems.

It's too bad. Ryzom had a nice take on an MMO, even though it had some major shortcomings. Even if they changed the game a lot, I doubt I'd ever play it again. It was cool at first cause things were different, but after a while it really sank in that the game was exceedingly low on content. Grinding mobs is not content. And I don't care how much an RPer tirades about RPing being content, I still don't believe an MMO should get away with not having quests, dungeons, raids, player cities, or what have you. If it's a sandbox, give us some freaking tools, don't just plop us in the sand with nothing to work with.


I've been playing a lot of NWN 2. I even fiddled with the toolset some more. It's waaaay more complex compared to the first NWN toolset, at least when it comes to terrain. It took me quite a while, and some reading up on the lengthy help page to figure out how to simply alter the terrain. After I fool around with it some more, I should be able to create at least a half-assed area. In the old version I could make a town in around 15 minutes. Now just the landscape could take /hours/.

The NPC henchmen in NWN2 are quite interesting as well. They keep fighting with each other and insulting one another. So far, the dwarf fighter is the only one I can really stand. At least he's straight up and seems to have my back. The other henchmen don't seem like they could be the most trustworthy. Plus, they all want me to do things aside from my main objective. The tiefling chick is really becoming an annoyance. She's getting a little to "uppity" for my tastes. Especially considering that I saved her ass in the beginning and gave her equipment as she had nothing to use.

I'm also finding that I need to play my character more Chaotic. I've been playing as the fairly good guy and that's okay, as my alignment is Chaotic Good. But I've been doing things too Lawful, and if I slip to Neutral Good I won't be able to level up as a Warlock any further. Sooooo .... I started demanding money from people, taking bribes, breaking the law, etc. I think my alignment is a little more secure now. I don't know what the NPC henchmen are feeling, but I do know the one sorcerer chick doesn't like me at all. It doesn't matter anyway, as my Warlock is far better as a caster than her, and I don't need two casters. With the max party of 4 I really could use a Cleric instead of my current Druid. She's pretty useless ATM. Except for the Call Lightning spell. That one rocks.


Hmmmm .... as for other news, Heroes and Smallville were both good this week. Heroes was much better of course, but Smallville was good too.

My tabletop group has started our GURPS Vikings game, and I think we're slowly winning the non-GURPS players over. The system is very math heavy, and there's rules for everything, but it's soooooo diverse. You can make whatever character you want, and it's much more realistic than DnD for example. Plus, our GURPS games always focus more on the RP than the combat. Combat in GURPS is /always/ dangerous, so fighting isn't necessarily the best option.

Our session on Sunday was really fun. Hopefully we can get together semi-regularly this winter. Over the summer it's been iffy at best.

Can't think of anything else.
Till next time.
*signing off*

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Been a while since I posted, but there's not all that much to tell.


First off, I'm currently engrossed in Neverwinter Nights 2. At first I really didn't like the game, as it's a lot less polished than the first NWN. The interface is fairly ugly, the icons for items and spells suck ass, and the camera can be a bitch at times.

BUT ...

There's sooooo many more variables for roleplaying in the original campaign (OC) compared to NWN 1. You can have more than 1 NPC henchman, they talk about stuff when cutscenes happen, you can have conversations with them, and you have to gain favour with them to advance their stories. I've already had problems with the crazy dwarf fighter guy, as he's always looking to fight people and bust some heads. Not kill everyone, just beat the crap outta them. He's still Neutral Good, mind you. And the tiefling rogue chick seems to be catty about the female elf druid who just recently joined the party. Sometimes it's hard to balance who to please.

There's also so many dialog options, much moreso than the in NWN 1, that you can actually RP your alignment a lot better. There's all the Bluff, Intimidate, Lie options, etc. I think I'm going to have some problems if my alignment shifts at all, since my Warlock character has to be Chaotic and/or Evil.

And onto that, I'm loving the Warlock. I made one for the tabletop DnD game my friends and I were playing, but he was only lvl 3 so he seemed very weak AND very "Johnny one-spell". The NWN 2 version has some of the Invocations, but others are modified and/or missing, but overall the game version is actually way better. If resting was actually enforced as it is in tabletop, no one would bother playing a sorcerer or a mage in NWN2. Especially at the low levels, you'd run out of spells in no time. My warlock just keeps standing there spamming Eldritch Blast, while the dwarf fucking butchers the enemies. The thief is pretty piss-poor for melee, as you have to control her to get the sneak attacks, and the druid is useless IMO. But the Warlock has some great Invocations, and they last for 24 game hours too. Stuff like +4 Dex/+4 Tumble, +CHA bonus to all saves, and the kicker:

Flee the Scene
- +1 attack/round, +50% movement speed, +1 to hit, and +1 AC to EVERYONE in your party for 60 SECONDS (10 rounds) !!

And when it wears off, just cast it again. Fucking ridiculous, I know.

Anyway, it's been pretty fun, and the graphics are very nice. A little sluggish, but nice. I haven't had time to fiddle with the toolset much, so I can't really talk about that. Though it is more like an SDK (software development kit) than like the easy to use tileset one with NWN 1.


I also picked up the full version of GTA San Andreas, as I was working off a cracked copy, and I lost it when I had to format and re-install. Thing that sucks though is it's vers. 2 of the game, so my old savegames are incompatible with it. I have to start all over again. I could get the copied DVD from my friend again, as it wouldn't be much of a problem, but I think I'll redo it anyway. Now I know how the game works, and I can up my skills a bit more before jumping too far into the missions. It took me a long time in the old savegames to get my Driving skill to a decent level. Now I can boost it up early on and just breeze through the missions.


Speaking of driving, I picked up a copy of Need For Speed: Most Wanted as well, cause Kofi has it. It's pretty cool, and the police chases are fucking exhilarating. It sucks that you have to unlock stuff by beating the better "Blacklist" street racers, but it does work to give the game a level of progression.

It's pretty fun, though I haven't played it all that much as NWN 2 has me pretty occupied.


I also saw some /very cool/ screenshots and a video of the new graphics for EVE Online. Their new ship models and texturing are fucking nice. Plus all the things they are planning for their incremental updates named "Kali", look very nice, and add some of the things that the game's been missing. The first addition is called "Revelations I" and should be out soon. The one thing that looked nice off the bat was they are nerfing what was called "Insta-bookmarks", as they are a major source of lag in the game.

Essentially, the Insta is a bookmark placed /behind/ or /inside/ a stargate or station so that when someone has to "Warp within 15km" (the closest distance allowed), they appear right on top of the gate/station and can dock or warp instantaneously. Now, the lag comes from the database calls required for the Instas. Plus, some assholes were copying bookmarks during fleet engagements just so they could lag out the node, and make the fight unplayable for both sides. CCP (the makers of EVE) are going to wipe all the bookmarks near gates, stations and other celestial objects (moons, stars) I believe, and put a hard cap on how many bookmarks a player can have.

It all sounds good to me, as they are replacing this with the option to "Warp to 0km" for both gates and stations. Now players will be able to get around much more easily and safely, and won't have to worry about either spending inordinate amounts of time making their own Instas, or paying millions of ISK (credits) for a set of them for one region.

On top of that, CCP is adding hidden stuff in every system (I believe it's every system) for players to find and explore. Hidden asteroid fields, secret NPC pirate bases, etc. And some of them will be linked, so you might find one pirate base that leads to another, which in turn leads to another. And it's all going to be random. The secret stuff will change every so often, so you never know what might be out there.

It finally gives people a good reason to go exploring. Love it.

They are also adding the ability to salvage from wrecked ships, which will yield components that can be made into regular modules, or used to reverse engineer Tech 2 items. Hopefully, their Reverse Engineering (or Invention or whatever it's called) will allow people to get a hold of Tech 2 stuff for cheaper, as it's currently some of the most ridiculously expensive shit.

Kofi is playing it again, but I think that's because the Burning Crusade isn't out yet. I know once it's released he'll be WoWing it up to the max again, and he'll probably keep trying to get me to play. Guess it's understandable, really. WoW was his first MMO, so obviously he's got a lot of attachment to it. SWG was like that for me at the beginning. I still remember some of the fun my guildies and I had on planets like Dathomir and Endor. EVentually the game went downhill, and the people I knew left, but for a while it was a great game. I guess I liked the sandbox nature of it all, and the exploration. Player cities were probably the biggest thing for me, but they didn't turn out as good as they could have been.


I guess it's back to the games for me. Now, I just have to decide which one.....

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Well, it didn't take very long for me to re-install XP and get everything updated. My main machine has all the programs re-installed on it as well. I only re-installed the games I've been currently playing, as some of the games on the machine before I hadn't played in months.

Anyway, now I've found I have no games to play anymore again. Oblivion was pissing me off with it's stupid levelling/difficulty scheme. My Paladin-type warrior was about lvl 12 or so, so when I went to start doing the main quest in Kvatch (a city), I ended up having to fight 8 or so creatures. And not like simple demons or something. There were lots of fire-tossing Fire Atronachs (sp?) and a whack of Clannfears. Suffice to say it wasn't very fucking easy. Then one of the other parts of the quest make you team with an NPC to open the castle gate. He was somewhat holding his own, until that is, we stepped outside the tunnels ....

And into about 9 enemies. He dropped like a sack of potatoes. And I was stuck trying to fight creatures that must have a near immunity to normal weapons. With all the magic weapons being limited use ones, I kept using up all the charges and getting raped. After a couple /hours/ of attempting this one quest over and over, I simply looked up the cheats online. At that point I was done with the stupid system, and I simply wanted to see how the story unfolded/ended.

Luckily I did cheat, as once the gate is open and you go fight in the castle, I had to fight a Daedroth. Think giant crocodile man. Yeah ... fucking ridiculously strong and lots of HPs. I also just checked and all the oblivion creatures, which you seem to fight all the time in the main quest, have Reflect Damage. So they cause about 15-20% of the melee damage you inflict back on yourself. No wonder I was getting my ass kicked. I also had very limited Healing, Potions and Scrolls (at least useful ones) cause all the magical stuff costs tons of coin.

It seems like if you go "straight up fighter type", like I did, you're fucked. You /must/ have some magical damage stuff to even influence some of the enemies. I did have a couple weak Destruction spells, but doing 5 pts of Fire to enemies that have 200 HPs is kinda slow. And without increasing your Intelligence, your Mana stays the same. But all the better spells cost more Mana. It basically makes Mages the only ones who can use all the spells above beginner ones.

Anyway, so I cheated. I don't really care, as the character I /was/ having the most fun playing was customized to level the slowest. All his Primary skills were things devoted to combat, and he only used 3. So he was level 2 after about /20 hrs of play/. I'm also glad I cheated, as one of the main quests (at least an optional bit, tied to the main quest) has you doing the /same damn thing, 7 different times/. I'm not lying. You have to go to the other cities and get them to send you help. But they all have their own problems. Or more precisely, they all have the same problem. They're all being besieged by Oblivion gates. So you have to go into the gate, fight your way to a tower and get to the top, grab a stone, and it closes the gate. The only thing different is the layout of the Oblivion map. But they are random, so you could actually do the same map 7 times. Though the odds would be quite small.

This actually took me the longest out of the main quest. All 10 hours of it. That's right. I played the game for 20 hours before I even did the main quest. And once the main quest is done, there's no real incentive to do all the small side ones. It's so freaking epic, that a "help me my son is missing" type quest is fucking beneath you. It's much like Freelancer's main story. You end up with so much stuff by the end, that all that's left seems hollow in comparison.

And what's worse, you could do the main quest right off the bat. People have, and finished it in record time, as well as they've finished winding up at level 5. Doesn't really make sense, especially compared to Morrowind, where you had to be a certain level to advance the main quest, giving people a reason to do the side quests. As well, in Morrowind, there was parts of the world that were dangerous from the beginning. Not dungeons initially crawling with rats and Mudcrabs, then later on littered with Vampires and Dread Zombies. There's no consistency, no sense of accomplishment when everything gets tougher with you. You wind up getting jumped my Trolls on the roadways, instead of regular bandits with their cheap weapons/armour.

I dunno. I'm just ranting. But it does irk me a little, as it seems they "dumbed down" the game for the XBox audience. I don't care if they want to port a game to multiple systems. Just don't change the mechanics of the game for all the users, just so it's easier (or more accessible) to some of them.


Onto other news:

Heroes has been fucking great. I watched the last episode the other night, and I'm amazed at how the writers keep bringing up new stuff. You seem to find out something new and interesting every episode. And it's not something that's seen coming from a mile away either.

I also watched the recent episode of Smallville the other day too, and after watching Heroes, my love for Smallville is waning. I hate to say it, but they have been getting a little too campy in the last few episodes. Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow is a cool character though, and I'm glad they added him in this season. But the last episode had Bow-Wow in it. Fucking Bow-Wow.

Ugh ...


So back on the original topic, before I got sidetracked with my Oblivion rant.

I've found myself short on games again. At least, for the last week or so. I can't make myself play Call of Duty any further, as the bugs have drove me insane, and have rendered some of my savegames unable to finish. I lied the game at first, but over the span of the British missions, it's become more of a James Bond/Super Spy/Return to Castle Wolfenstein type of game than a war game. There's missions where you have to single-handedly wipe out a dam /full of Nazis/ to get to the bottom and lay some explosives. Then ... you have to go back up to the top, killing another shitload of Nazis. It's stupid, and completely unrealistic for a WWII game.

I was thinking about getting Call of Duty 2, but with my turnoff for the first one, I doubt I will.

I've been playing FEAR as per usual, but it seems like there's fewer people playing now, and the Friendly-Fire on servers are normally empty. Plus, during my playtimes, there's barely any servers with a decent ping for me to play on. They're all in Europe or some dumb place.

I've played a few rounds of Zombie Mod for Counterstrike: Source, but without my friend Kofi, or his buddies, it gets pretty dull quick.

I've played the odd bit of CoX, but as before, it's not all that engaging. Even though the combat is fairly fun, the repetitive nature of the missions is totally boring.


Speaking of an MMO, this brings me to my next topic:

I watched a video of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, the MMO being developed by two guys from the old EQ, Jeff Butler and Brad McQuaid. Now I never played EQ, and I can barely stand EQ2, so I don't really hold these guys in high regard, as some people might.

Now, in the video they give you a basic tour of the gameworld and talk about how things work, and some of their features. One of the biggest things you'll notice, right off the bat, is that both of them (Brad moreso than Jeff) sound like they're either half-asleep, or stoned. Brad's voice is like that really dull professor in Ferris Bueller's Day off (played by Ben Stein). You know the one ... "Bueller...Bueller....Bueller.....Bueller...."

You get the idea.

So, these guys give you a truly epic (-ly boring) tour of the game, and tell you about all it's wonderful (-ly dull) features. There are some cool aspects of it, but after taking one look at the combat video, there's /no fucking way/ I could ever get into it. It's more boring than EQ2 was when I played the trial. Killing what looked like one skeleton warrior took like over a minute for a /group/. There's no way that's fun.

Also in the video they seemed to be trying to convince you (the viewer) that the game is more solo and team friendly, and doesn't require large raid groups and tons of time. It almost seemed like they were desperate to prove themselves. They must be seeing more of the negative word of mouth on the Net that I've seen for quite some time. People just don't want the old school EQ days back. They want the "feeling of the old school EQ days", but they don't want the exact same thing over again. Even people I know that played EQ, or still play it, don't want the same thing. Jeff and Brad just don't seem to be moving forward in their thinking. More like sideways. They're taking all the ideas that they liked in EQ and improving them. But not really changing anything.

MMOs, and games in general, need to evolve, or they risk being left behind. All of the numerous people I know who played WoW (except for a couple) have quit. What does that say? The Burning Crusade might bring some of them back for a short while, but from what I've heard/read, it's simply more of the /exact same things/ from 1-60 in WoW, just repeated for another 10 levels, and some smaller raids added in. Still raids, with the same endless requirements to play countless times for a single epic drop, just less people.

WoW and the EQ clones are going to suffer a bust soon, IMO. It's like the economy here, where I live. Oil is huge, and the demand for workers has given the economy a huge boost. Thus, everything is getting more expensive. But the growth can't continue like this, there has to be a levelling off, or even a fall. The same thing is going to happen to MMOs. The ones that keep doing the EQ copy are going to fail, and the new ones, with fresh ideas will flourish. Now I don't think all of the EQ ones will fail, nor all of the non-standard ones will boom, but it will be more of a general trend. I do think that MMOs will have a drop in overall subscriptions across the board, as a lot of people, for whom WoW was their first MMO, will realize in short order that MMOs are simply timesinks. Plain and simple. These people will long for their fucking lives back, and quit MMOs entirely. Online gaming will still be big, but until MMOs can move from the "time invested = character power" to some other method, regular people will abstain. I can't count how many people I've read about who've quit MMOs (WoW especially) cause it was requiring too much time, and they had RL responsibilities to take care of.

Okay .... these last couple of paragraphs are probably completely confusing, but I'm sure you can get my general point.


Back to how I'm short on games:

I need to get the San Andreas DVD from my friend Inferno again, as it was deleted with the re-install of XP. I might just buy it, as it's a good game, and I want to support Rockstar for their hard work. I've played ~25 hrs of San Andreas and I'm still not done. Not many other games can boast that.

I also tried the demo for Need For Speed: Most Wanted, as Kofi was talking about it (he has the full game). It's actually pretty fun, and tremendously thrilling, especially when you've got 7-8 cop cars after you, trying to take you off the road. There's even a slowmo ability that helps when getting away from the cops, as well as a Nitrous booster in your car. I tend to use the nitrous moreso than the slowmo. It helps you get that extra distance from the cops in hard situations.

Anyway, Most Wanted is only 20 bucks so I'll probably get it, as I'm sure I'll get my money's worth out of it.

I'm torn if I want to get Dark Messiah or not. It's got some great reviews, and some really bad reviews. Usually the game reviewers are near to each other. For this game it's night and day. Plus, I heard that it can be buggy, and after my experiences with Call of Duty, I'm very wary of playing possibly buggy games.

Also, I'm thinking about getting Neverwinter Nights 2, as I have the first one, and the two expansions. I liked the first one, mostly the Shadows of Undrentide expansion, so I figured the second game should be a no-brainer. But there was the 5/10 review on, which later got pulled, that cast some doubts. But unlike Dark Messiah, the rest of the reviewers seem to give NWN 2 a very good grade. Tycho from Penny Arcade said it did run slow, on his beast of a machine too, so that might be an issue. It would be cool to play it multiplayer online though. I doubt it would run on my second machine, I'd most likely need another copy, and my friend Inferno can't run it on his own PC, so my ability to play it with him is almost nonexistent. We played the first game, and the expansions cooperatively, so I was hoping to recapture that enjoyment with the second game.

Perhaps I could find people online to play it with, with set days to play on, etc. I doubt any of them would want to set their schedule around mine, so there's little hope there too.



Okay, I think that's enough. I've been typing for like an hour or something stupid, and I should be going off to bed.

The Rev.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fuck ...

I got a virus the other day, and it /supremely/ fucked over my system. Idiot I am trying to download cd-key generators without antivirus running.

Soooo ... after fucking around for 2 days trying /everything/ I could imagine to get rid of the damn thing (or things, there might have been more than 1), I eventually had to go with a format and re-install of XP. I'm pretty sure they infected all the main Windows executables, like services.exe and stuff. Plus, they were spamming emails (or attempting to) so much my ISP blocked my IP from sending any more. Luckily I just turned off the cable modem and turned it back on, letting it grab a new one.

It'll take some time to get the main machine back up to snuff, so until then, I'm coming at you live via the shitbox one. It's not really a shitbox. But when you're used to top of the line, the older ones seem a little too slow.

Better get back to it. I got a lot of work to do.

So, until next time.
The Rev.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Okay. There's a few things I need to talk about. Let's start with the most interesting.


I had heard about emulators for WoW before. Kofi's RL friend told me about it over TS one time. I didn't think it was anything a "normal user" could run. And I half expected it to require fucking up the client program some, to make it connect to the proper server, etc.

Well ... it's actually pretty damn simple.

The vast majority of the time it took to setup was from DLing the one maps file, and the 1.8.4 full patch for the client. It seems the emulator I tried doesn't work with client versions past 1.8.xx, so I had to revert my client and re-patch. Anyway, the server files are massively small and I was able to run both the server and client on my machine at the same time.

It took some looking to find a list of all the Admin commands, but once that was done, my Paladin was decked out in full Lightforge gear, galloping away on his Epic charger. It was pretty easy.

There are some serious bugs with the server though. Some of the mobs I saw didn't move around at all (ones in the area where the Green Dragon spawns), and the instances don't seem to work at all. They load, but there's nothing in them. I don't know if I'm missing a certain file or what, or if they never work with this client. It seems that /all/ the enemy spawns work, even if they shouldn't (ie. single spawn quest mobs). So I found odd mobs in places they shouldn't be.

There are some very handy commands though, like /turbo, /godmode, and /go. The last one TPs you to wherever you type. Like /go Ironforge. I just had fun running around exploring. Looks like I can use it when I'm bored and go see the sights I missed before. But this time I don't have to pay for it, nor do I have to endure the pain of leveling to the appropriate level before going.

It did give me ideas on how you could almost use it as almost a GMed game for your friends. Invite some people over to LAN it up, or simply connect over the Net. One person can have Admin rights and generate spawns with the built in commands and such. They couldn't talk as the creatures, but it'd still might be cool. It looks like some of the other emulators might be better though. One boasts being compatible with 1.11, and others say they have the new expansion areas opened.

Interesting stuff ... but I'll probably just use it to see those areas I missed. Fulfill the explorer in me.


Along similar lines, I watched a few videos on Google about a guy named Dopefish from WoW. He made a bunch of vids about "wallwalking" and the places you could get with it and liberal use of the Noggenfogger drink. Him and a friend made it into /tons/ of places you shouldn't be able to. Things like on top of Zeppelins, floating through walls to end up in front of Warchief Thrall, or any of the other Leader NPCs. Crossing the Great Sea on horse by speeding up and using waterwalking. He showed all the new areas for the expansion, and showed the current stuff (like AQ, Deathwing Lair, etc.) way before they were active.

Not only did he show some cool stuff, but his editing and choices for music were good too. He threw in some of the CGI Warcraft movies into his movie.

It was all cool stuff. Some of the movies were about 45 mins, but using Google made it easy to watch.


Nevrax decided to limit their "unlimited trial" to maximum level 21 in the 4 skill trees. Now 21 levels does sound pretty high. But not when the first 10 can be done in less than a half hour. A person who has at least some idea what they are doing can hit the cap in all skills in a day or two. They can't even continue with the missions on the newbie island, as many of them require you to be over level 30.

There have been mixed feelings on this by the existing players. Some of the "newer-ish" players have said that they weren't ready to subscribe until they had hit the mid 20's to 30s in their skills, as it showed them how higher lvl skills had access to abilities that made some tasks (like Harvesting) /much easier/. Some of the vets are all like, "Well ... 21 lvls is lots to get to know the game. Just subscribe and play the game." I don't think they quite understand that the game is quite hard to grasp, and a lot of new people might not quite like it at first. I didn't particularly like the game the first time I tried it, and I think I hit lvl 30+ in melee and magic in a few days. Had I been limited, I probably would have simply uninstalled the game and not looked back.

It's similar to EVE in a way. EVE's 14 day trial is nowhere near long enough for people to get to know the game in any detail. Most people play, and only see the tedious aspects, thus they don't choose to subscribe. EVE is only doing better cause of SWG "demise" and the fact that there are very few Sci-Fi games for the SWG Refugees to flock to.

Anyway, I think Nevrax is shooting itself in the foot on this one. They're putting out more ads for the game and the Ring, but I don't think that's going to give them that many more players. The Ring is still missing a few very key features and thus people aren't bothering to even use it. They might be fiddling with it, but hosted scenarios are almost nonexistent.

I'm not even playing the trial now anyway. I don't think I've even logged in other than to send an in-game mail to a former CoX player I know. Hopefully he find what he's looking for in Ryzom.


I played a CounterStrike: Source mod the other day, cause Kofi was bugging me to try it. I'm not sure of it's actual name, but we call it "Zombie mod". It has custom maps and player models (for the zombies). The round starts out with everyone being Humans (ie. Counter-terrorists). After like a minute or 30 seconds, 1 player at random is turned into a zombie. The zombies have a faster running speed, stupid amounts of hit points, nightvision, a fish-eye point of view and a knife. If they hit someone with their knife attack, that person turns into a zombie.

The point of the game is for the Humans to kill all the zombies (or stay alive till the round ends), or the Zombies to turn all the humans in to zombies too. There's no respawning, and you have to buy your weapons at the beginning like normal CS. In the first bit, before anyone becomes a zombie, the humans can shoot objects in the game to make blockades or get on top of defensible positions.

For example, Kofi and I would shoot the one pop machine over and shoot it so it would end up beside an overturned truck. We'd then use it to get on top of the truck, and then shoot it away so that the zombies couldn't use it. The zombies had to boost each other up to get on the truck, but when they get shot, if they take too much damage they go backwards.

There are a few maps, and all of them have good spots to keep away from the zombies. But all it takes is one guy getting clipped with the zombie knife and Bam!, the whole thing falls apart. Kofi and I had a few hilarious moments when we'd be shooting some zombies trying to get on the truck and we'd turn to see 20 more zombies streaming our way. Even though it's just a game and stuff, we were still both like, "Oh shit!"

We had a few other funny moments with Zombie mod. but for the most part, we stick to rounds of FEAR. Mainly cause it's easier to find people playing it.


I watched the entire first season of Deadwood this week. I watched most of it in one day for Pete's sake! Kofi lent it to me and was totally surprised when I gave it back to him the other day. He laughed at me when I said I watched most of it on my one night off.

Anyway, it's a /really good show/. Very gritty, very realistic, and most of all /filled to the FUCKING BRIM with cursing/. The one character, Al Swearingen (note his name), is a fountain of cursing. He swears more than I did when I RPed my one CoX character. He even uses the uber-offensive "C-word". You know ... the one you /never/ say to woman lest you want her to kick you in the balls.

The show started out with a lot of the characters being unsure about each other's intentions and such. It's evolved, and they seem to be making friendships and alliances against each other. For a western, there is an obvious lack of a lot of gunfights. Perhaps that's why most of the US people don't like it. It's received top awards from the critics, but that's cause the critics are usually more interested in "thought evoking" shows than the fucking dullard shit the majority of the US stations put out.

If you haven't seen Deadwood yet, go watch it. You won't be disappointed.


I'm trying to think if I've missed anything, but it doesn't seem so. Now let's see if this damn thing loses my post or not.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

After reading some more on the Ryzom forums, I'm not too sure I even want to play the trial anymore. It's not like it's costing me anything, but apparently, Nevrax still isn't out of bankruptcy hearings yet. It's some kind of investor thing where Nevrax has to show that they are "on the road to making profits". Apparently, they're not making any now or something.

I'm not sure I even want to bother playing my character at all, since I never know if they will suddenly have to shut the servers down or something. Then all that time will simply be wasted. Half the time I'm just chatting with people and answering questions to help the newbies out anyway.

Hmm ... I really want a good RPG game to come out soon. I think Dark Messiah and Neverwinter Nights 2 are both out this month, but I could be wrong. It seems everything is being delayed recently. MMOs in particular. I know I said before that MMOs aren't really for me, but there's something there that keeps drawing me in. Perhaps it's the massive nature of the gameworlds, and the plethora of exploring that comes with it. Or maybe it's that I'm actually more of a social gamer than I think I am. It's definitely not the combat, nor the amount of hours required to advance your character, that's for sure. Both of those are pretty mindless IMO.

If an MMO could combine FPS twitch combat and RPG stats, it might work. I recently read a person's comment on the same idea. His thought was that the player aims the shots, but the character's stats and equipment determine the damage, etc. He also said character stats could affect things like the steadiness of the targeting reticule, like when a player shoots a bow. If his character's stats aren't great, he might be too weak to pull the bow back effectively, so his aim wavers (something the player has to compensate for) and his range might be far less. A little like Oblivion, but in an MMO setting.

It makes me think of Spellborn, as it's coming out sometime this winter (betting Jan-Mar next year). But I'm not sure if the developers have the money, nor the know-how to get around lag/ping problems and twitch combat. And their design for PvP battles for areas might become nothing more than lag-fests, similar to Planetside. But, who knows .... maybe they'll pull it off.

I'm sure most MMO veterans would hate the idea of twitch style combat, or anything to do with making "time invested" not the defining factor for a character's power. That's probably one other thing that pisses me off about MMOs. It doesn't usually matter how good the player is, it's all about how much time they've spent playing. I like things to be more like an FPS. Reflexes make a big difference. But so does tactics, and situational awareness. It doesn't matter how good I am, if I run into a group of 3+ enemy players, I'm usually dead pretty quick. But if I find a good spot to camp from, those same 3 players could be easy pickings for me.

But, to each his own, I guess.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Fuck ...

I typed a HUGE entry just a while ago, and when I hit "Save Changes" it gave me some error, and when I hit "Back", it had wiped what I had wrote.

I don't have the energy to re-write it all. I'll just sum it all up:

  • Checked out the Hellgate: London website and watched some Google video on it. It looks REALLY good, and somewhat MMO-ish, like Guild Wars.
  • Nevrax has opened their new server Cho, but only after they patched the game to remove cross-server trading. It's under review until they settle on a permanent solution, but it is good news for Cho.
  • Cho and Arispotle (original English server) both seem to be quieter than before (when everyone was on Arispotle). Perhaps it's just me, I dunno. It could be bad for the already small playerbase to get spread out more.
  • Had a talk with my RL friend about games and what's coming out. I'll refer to him as Inferno (his FEAR handle) from now on for clarity. We also had a discussion about MMOs and why they don't really seem to suit us. This was because my other RL friend Kofi (his FEAR handle) was on Teamspeak with me earlier, and was doing a raid/instance/I dunno in WoW. We all got to frag it up in FEAR a bit, but Kofi got stomped, and he had to sleep eventually.
  • Watched the WoW meets Southpark episode on Google Videos. It was "meh", IMO. Most of it wasn't all that funny, but then again, Southpark seems to have got worse over time.
  • I've been working overtime the last little bit, so I think I'll get a new game or two. I've got my eyes on X3, Far Cry, Hitman: Blood Money, Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich, and possibly Guild Wars (core game). Some new games are due out soon, but I think I could use another one right now. Call of Duty 1 is annoying me with its bugs, so I might get Call of Duty 2 instead.
  • I also want to get a Soundblaster X-Fi card and some Zalman Surround Sound headphones, as my on-board sound has been giving me grief, and I need better headphones for Inferno to use when he comes over. Right now he uses some old shitty, yellow Walkman ones, so he can have the ones I have now when I get the new ones.
That's about all I wrote before. But this time it's a little easier to read and understand. The other version was like 5 pages. Fucking essay-style.

The Rev.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

I watched the second episode of Heroes this morning (technically, it was the second half of the 2 hr pilot). Anyway, all I gotta say ...


Ahem .. you may go about your business now.
Thank you.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Some interesting stuff to report. So I'll get right down to business.


I got to see the season premiere of Smallville last night. Gotta say, it was a good episode. There were a couple things I didn't think they were going to be able to resolve, but they managed to pull it off. Aside from the few obvious "comic book geek moments", like when they introduced Jimmy Olsen and had him call Clark, "C.K.", it was a good episode.

At first I thought the actor playing Jimmy Olsen was Shawn Ashmore, from Iceman in X-Men fame. But it's actually his twin brother, Aaron. I'm betting they're working that to their advantage. Plus, it doesn't hurt Aaron's career any either.

Seems like they're going to introduce the Green Arrow this season as well. Hopefully he's not too campy, and his outfit isn't retarded. It's some young heart-throb guy, so he's obviously there to reel in the teen girl audience.


The new episode of Heroes is on tonight, and it looks to be interesting. I've gotta say, aside from Smallville, it's the only other show on TV I don't want to miss. Perhaps the new show "Dexter" on Showtime, but I don't get that channel or the other two it's appearing on. Might be kind of interesting to see a show about a CSI guy who is actually a serial killer, but his victims are all serial killers themselves. Sounds warped and confusing, doesn't it? Plus it's got that one guy from Six Feet Under in it, and I really liked that show.

Hopefully it get's picked up, and maybe ends up on some Canadian channels I actually get.


My friend who was interested in running a Space colony insurgency campaign for our tabletop group has expressed interest in getting together with myself and my other friend to work on the gameworld we were using in our other game. We're hoping to use one unified gameworld as the setting for at least 3 different campaigns. The possibilities for crossover and such are endless. Plus we've thought of enough stuff that we could easily run other campaigns in the same setting. Stuff like a Cyberpunk-ish campaign, bounty hunters, pirates, rebels (a la Star Wars), etc.

Hopefully we can get something concrete hammered out so that we can all start working on our respective campaigns. Though I'd really like to get the 4th edition of Gurps Space before I write anything too detailed. I'm betting a lot has changed, and I'll need to re-think some stuff. The 4th edition rules do seem to have eliminated some of the flaws, and streamlined the game (it's fucking rules HEAVY), but I'll still have to take a look.


And in final news, I've been keeping up on The Saga of Ryzom, as I've got that trial account, and I was fiddling with their Ring editor the other day. The editor is very intuitive, but it does seem quite hard to make things link together like I did with Neverwinter Nights. I'm so used to being able to just write a script in C++ to make a complex scene, or simply quickly hammer out some short scripts to make complex dialog options, and have events trigger because of them.

In R2 (the Ring editor), you have to link events, dialogs, timers, area triggers, etc. to get things to work. And I still couldn't get a simple quest to work properly. Perhaps I just need more time to learn the nuances of the editor. Plus it hasn't helped that most times I've tried fiddling with it I'm either: 1) slightly drunk, 2) tired, or 3) both. The fact that the Ring scenarios will give XP crystals (or whatever they are called) or player made items as rewards is cool too. No XP, so there's no way to abuse the system to make lvling effortless. The XP crystals give players an XP rate boost for a short time or something to that effect. So you will gain more XP for a short while, but you still have to go lvl normally. They probably won't stack, and people will be most likely only be able to get 1 crystal from an scenario once. So people won't be able to "farm" them.

But the actual news is that the Ring goes live tomorrow, and that Nevrax is starting a new International server that's in English. Hopefully it's a North American server so the NA players get a boost. Better connections, events hosted at their times, not at Euro times. I can think of a large number of benefits to people playing on the new server, vs. the established English speaking server.
  1. Everyone is about the same level. Grouping should be much easier.
  2. No one is max lvl in crafting (a huge point in Ryzom), so low-lvl crafters can actually sell their wares, and don't have to compete.
  3. People won't already know where all the crafting resources are, so people will have to look for them. They can't just ask the higher ups.
  4. No power-levelling.
  5. No getting given supreme equipment, XP catalyzers (boosts XP rate), or being taken around by established players, thus taking all the fun out of exploring/doing things yourself.
  6. As I said before, better connections and better timed events.
  7. The ability for NA players to shape their server they way they want.
  8. Less of a language barrier, as most players will speak English as a first language (not so, even on the current English speaking server)
  9. Outposts are open for the taking (PvP spots that give high grade crafting materials.
There are some drawbacks, but I don't see them as being anything major. Newbies won't be able to get help from established players if they need it. But then, it'll just make them learn to fend for themselves, as they should anyway. People won't be able to get better equipment as easily, as the new crafters will have to skill up to make stuff. This is more a benefit though, as it'll make crafting even more appealing to people, as everyone will be screaming for items.

The only big drawback is that it'll split the English speaking players up, like they had when the game launched. Back then, they were losing money, so they merged the two english servers. They could be risking it launching a new server, or they could be in okay financial shape so a new server is a good option. I'm sure any future NA players won't dislike having a better connection to the server, etc.

[Add-on:] Okay ... I just checked, and apparently there is the ability to swap items cross-server via the Ring scenarios. This is a very bad thing, IMO. Several people on the forums have said that it can (and probably will) extremely unbalance the economy on the new server. People can make alts on the new server, grind up to get the Outposts, farm them for cats and mats, and ship the stuff back to their own server. It could potentially be from any of the 3 current servers too. So if Ring scenarios continue to allow trading, the new server might just end up a "farming area" for guilds to get easy mats/cats.

Fuck ... and I was getting kinda hyped about it. Hopefully the devs respond to it, otherwise I can see the new server being nothing more than "GOLD RUSH!" at it's launch.


That's all. I'm kinda peeved now. Maybe I should go shoot some people in FEAR to wind down.
"BOOM! Headshot!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I tried the Dark Messiah demo today. It's the next game in the Might and Magic series. I've never played any of them, and I had initially thought it was like Heroes of Might and Magic, but that's a strategy game, and this one is more of a RPG/FPS blend. Like Oblivion in a sense. Thief also came to mind a little.

Anyway, the game is fucking awesome. It's using the Source engine, from Half-Life 2, so it looks great, and more importantly, the physics are realistic. You can do things like cut a rope to cause a bunch of logs to swing down and crush a foe. Or kick out the supports on a shelf of barrels to make them come crashing down on an enemy.

The fighting is hectic, and quite hard. I found myself in more than one bad situation in the short demo area. You can kick foes, and they get pushed back. This is handy for kicking enemies off cliffs, and into spikes on the walls, etc. I thought it might be a little too handy, as you could just keep kicking foes back, herding them off ledges to their deaths. Not so much. One of the orcs grabbed my foot and threw me backwards. Another one locked swords with my daggers, and I had to fight to beat him off.

The combat animations are very stylish. When you take out a sword, or your dual daggers, you flip them out, twirling them in your hands. Looks really cool. If you beat down an opponent, so that they are prone, you can hold the button and execute a finishing blow, usually involving you plunging your weapon into their chest. Apparently, this is the only way to dispatch undead, otherwise they'll get back up to annoy you some more.

The demo is a whopping 1.38 Gigs in size, so it takes a while to download. And what's worse ... it doesn't take very long to finish. I think I finished it in a matter of 20 mins, if that. There is some replayability, but it's not that great. Luckily for me, I set it up to download while I was sleeping, so no time lost.

It's supposed to come out in October, so it'll be another title to add to my growing list of games I want to play. Plus, I still have a huge amount of San Andreas to finish (haven't left the first city yet), all of Freespace 2 to play, Call of Duty and it's expansion (bugs are pissing me off though), and FEAR keeps me quite busy.


I managed to get a few rounds of FEAR in today with my two RL friends. My one friend had some serious problems with the game though. I don't know why either. His computer is almost the exact same system as mine. (We both built ours from parts) His other friend is downloading FEAR Combat now too, so hopefully we can get him into the mix. I like it better when we're all on the same team though. Cause I feel kinda bad when I keep kicking their asses. It was funny to hear my one friend over Teamspeak. All he kept saying was "Horseshit!". It made me laugh and almost got me killed a couple times.

Speaking of FEAR ... my one RL friend left me a message today of simply "Boom! Headshot!" (fps_Doug's version). It was very apparent why he did. So that he could come over to hang out and play FEAR, as his computer sucks and won't run it. Could be cause I've made him an FPS junkie too. \o/ One day he actually told me about a round of FEAR, kinda like fps_Doug would. I almost pissed myself.

[EDIT: Damn .. forgot to talk about that new show on NBC, called "Heroes". I taped it the other night and watched it today. Gotta say ... it's looking good. I really liked the Japanese guy, Hiro. Probably becuase of all his Star Trek references, and that fact that he is so non-chalant about discovering he has powers. He's like, "I want to boldly go where no man has gone before."

It looks like Smallville will be premiering soon as well. It's usually a week behind up here, so I'm not sure. Hopefully I can pick up Seasons 4 and 5 on DVD and watch the episodes I missed before that. I saw the finale last year, but there was a couple key episodes I'd like to see first. Apparently, my friend hasn't seen most of Season 5, and only about 1/2 of season 4. It's going to take forever to get him caught up.]

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The GW weekend event has been extended until noon on Monday, but I don't think I'll play much more of it. I played for 3 hours today, and it was already getting stale. My co-worker told me he got bored with the core game quite rapidly, and never continued playing it. I can kinda see why. The main quests are cool, and the instanced areas and cutscenes do help make you feel more important than the average MMO character. But between those, you wind up doing the standard quests for people, not "kill X of ", but still mindlessly repetitive stuff nonetheless. And it seems to be the majority of the time you play. The main quests are quick, 30 mins things, or less. The side quests take hours and hours to finish. Not a good balance.

Another gripe is that you don't really have new abilities as you level up. I only added two new abilities in the 8 lvls I played, aside from picking up Elementalist as a secondary profession. And the 2 abilities could have been changed a while ago. I only used 2 spells from Elementalist, the rest of my 6 spells were mostly Death Magic ones from Necromancer. It was fairly easy to get a chain of spells down that made quick work of the enemies. I had to keep watch on my bone minions and stuff, as they slowly die after being created. But other than that, it got to be:
1) Attack mob, signalling NPCs to attack as well (couldn't figure out the key to make them attack first)
2) Fire Rain spell (DoT AoE)
3) Cast either - Cold AoE spell
- Lightning Blast

If my necro minions died, I'd just summon another, provided there was a corpse around. And the odd time I would cast Death Nova on one of them, if they were close to dying, or converting from a fleshy type to a bone type (works like death). Other than that, it wasn't too hard. Most of my deaths were caused by stupid AI decisions from my NPC teammates.

I dunno. Perhaps it would be more fun with an actual team of real people, as you could figure out strategies and stuff. But for the most part, you don't need to. I managed to take down +3-4 lvl mobs with little trouble. Most times I died it was from grabbing all the aggro, or from getting jumped by a wandering group of mobs while fighting another group.

Have to say though. It was a nice distraction for a couple days. Not likely something I could play very often or for too long, but it was a nice change of pace.

Now off to play something truly good .... Like FEAR!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

There's a free preview weekend of the new Guild Wars expansion, Nightfall. It's pretty cool. The setting is very Egyptian in flavour, and my Necromancer/Elementalist character is really fun to play. I just love the bone minions, and shambling horrors I animate. Plus the Death Nova when they die is cool.

My guy: (note the torn out eye )

I've just been playing it with the one Hero NPC and 2 cohort NPCs in my party. /Everyone/ is trying the 2 new classes, so there's no way I'd be able to get in a balanced group. No matter, as the majority of GW players are freaking immature idiots anyway.

I emailed my RL friend about it, so if he ends up trying it and liking what he sees, maybe we can both get the core game (or the expansions, who knows) and play together. It's not like we pay a monthly fee, so we can play it only when we can get together. Kinda like when we played NWN, Ghost Recon and all the other co-op games we've played.

That's all for now.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I made a new trial account for the Saga of Ryzom the other day, cause they're allowing everyone to try out their Ryzom Ring toolset for 2 weeks. I was/am a big fan of the Neverwinter Nights toolset, so I wanted to see how good the Ryzom one was.

It's actually very easy to use, as there's no scripting involved. The conversation trees need to be worked on, as there can only be "yes/no" answers, but it's still quite good. Hopefully this brings in enough players for Nevrax so they can pour some more money into developing the game. Apparently, they've been under "scrutiny" by their investors, so they needed to change things in order to raise/make profits. The game is good, it just need some polish. And a little tweaking.

One thing I noticed was that almost all the female avatars have their chest sizes maxed. It's quite bizarre, especially if their body has been set to slim. Say hello to "Chesty La Rue": (no, that's not the actual character's name )

It's also funny how the Matis female armour usually consists of a thong for the crotch. There's leg armour, but it just doesn't cover the pelvic region very well. Guess they need to be able to pee? All they need to add is the bent forward run of the Dark Elf females from Lineage 2. Then you'd get a nice shot of their snatch.

This time around (as I found myself actually playing again, just for something else to do) I made a Tryker character. It's funny. Like when I played SWG, I'm the short character. My Zabrak in SWG was a whack shorter than most other characters (for some reason), and my RL friend ended up playing a Wookie. In RL I'm a giant, and he's a midget. Irony there, huh?

Anyway, my Tryker is short, but he's actually the tallest I could make him as a Tryker. So he's not that much shorter than a Fyros or a Matis. The Zorai are all tall and thin, so they mostly tower over my guy. I also tried to modify his face to make him a little less "anime looking". See for yourself. The base model is the left, my guy is the right.


In other news, I've been playing San Andreas a /lot/. It's actually quite fun, though I'm finding it hard to raise my Driving skill. My motorcycle skill is maxed already, and I haven't even left the first city (there are 3). But that's cause I used the motorcycle exclusively when I started. The one bike is so crazy fast and maneuverable, it's nuts. San Andreas is actually an interesting game, in the way it's open ended, in a sense. It's kind of like a "sandbox MMO", but without the other players. The city is so freaking big, I get lost a lot. I did cab driver missions just so I could get a feel for the first city. It's nice how you have stats for your guy, and you can skill him up as you like. Though I bet that you end up being maxed in all the skills by the end, as it seems like you use them all as time goes on. If there was a MP version of the game, with the SP parts of gang-wars and claiming territory, it'd be fucking awesome. Either that, or just being able to team up with a friend or two and do some drive-bys. Would be loads of fun.


In futher news, I made a 14 day trial account for EVE Online just so I could get some screenshots of the one ship, the Cormorant. I'm thinking about using it as the PCs ship in the space game I want to eventually run. It looks badass, and it should work as a hauler/warship hybrid, to be somewhat like Serenity and the Millennium Falcon. Luckily, my friend said it'd be okay to throw some ship gravity in the game (retconning some of the past Marine stuff, or just ignoring the discontinuity). He said we need to use "some" of the super-science stuff for ships, otherwise the game wouldn't be all that interesting. Like, who really wants to worry about escape velocity, reaction mass, zero gravity, free-fall skill rolls, acceleration, energy consumption, etc.? The list goes on. I think we'll just kind of explain it, and leave it in the background. It's not going to be a primarily space combat game anyway, so the ship just becomes a mobile home for the PCs.


I also managed to download the torrent for Descent Freespace 2, as it was made open-source a few years ago. Some people have made mods for it, and they improve the graphics and stuff. I played the first Freespace, so I'm going to try this one out. The first couple missions are pretty cool. The Battleship weapons are badass. Think of a mini-Death Star cannon. Instant ship nuking.

Ooops. Better head off.
Till next time.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

I deleted my character in Ryzom after selling all his stuff and giving the proceeds away to a couple newbies. My account expires on Monday, and I have no desire to play the game anyway. I figured someone might as well get some use out of the money.

It's too bad Ryzom didn't have more of the sci-fi stuff in it. There's the one faction the Karavan, but they are strictly NPCs. You can't use their weapons nor wear their armours. It's too bad, cause the one Dev shot looks /nice/. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to look like this guy?

I think it'd be fucking sweeeet. But then again, I'm much more into Sci-Fi, especially right now for some reason.


It seems like my friends are thinking of trying out GURPS. My one friend even has a lot of different ideas for campaigns we could run. Things like Chthulu, low-magic fantasy, Cyberpunk (yay! \o/), planetary revolt in a space game (more yay! \o/), and for some reason .... Teddy Ruxpin.

The guy is on /crack/. He's made this suggestion before, and the rest of us can't figure out /why/. He gets so excited about it. It's fucking bizarre. Yeah ... /crazy/.

I tried to write some stuff up for my GURPS Serenity/Firefly style game, but I couldn't get it going. Writer's block or something. I think I need to watch some sci-fi stuff, or read some good books to get in the mindset. Otherwise I might just scrap the whole idea. I could use the existing setting my friend and I developed, but I'm not sure if it would work. The tech in it is a little higher than I'd like it to be, and the governments and stuff aren't quite the way I'd envisioned it. Though it would work quite well as we could easily jump from the Marines game, to mine, and over to my friend's planet revolt one without changing much.

I'll have to see. Probably should discuss it with my friends first. And see if my new Viking character is okay if we play the one game. He's kind of min/maxed, so he'll probably mow down anything that would give the other players a half bit of trouble. Kinda like Conan, but /tougher/ and /bigger/.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

My friend gave me a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to play. All I gotta say ... WTF are the characters saying? I can't understand a line of this "homeboy gangsta" crap. GTA 3 was fun, and easy to follow. This doesn't seem to have a real story at all. At least, I can't understand it well enough to follow whatever story there is.

I don't see much point in playing it other than to drive around super fast, and try to avoid the cops. Personally, I rather just have one of the Need for Speed games for that though. At least those titles made the driving part more realistic and more importantly, /fun/. I don't know why my friend is so into it. he said he's been playing it all the time. Seems kinda weird coming from an RTS/Strategy gamer.

[EDIT: Man .. I gotta read over my previous posts before I make new ones. I've ranted about how I hate fantasy RP and DnD 3.5 a bunch of times now. Starting to sound like a broken record. ]

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I've finished watching the Firefly series, including the little bit of extras that they added. It's really depressing to see such a great show with so much potential, and such an interesting and unique setting, get left by the wayside. I still can't believe that FOX aired the series out of order too. That was just idiotic.

Since I started watching the show, I've had the urge to come up with a sci-fi tabletop game along similar lines. It wouldn't be exactly the same, I'd simply use some of the ideas, and make them my own. Things like the mega-planet single star system would be one of the things I'd get rid of first off. It really makes no sense, from a purely scientific point of view.

Hopefully, I can convince my tabletop group to switch from DnD 3.5 to GURPS 4th edition. My friend is going to try and get the rest of them interested by first running a Vikings themed game, so they can learn the rules and such. Perhaps down the road, if we stick with GURPS, I can run my space game. DnD is fucking terrible, IMO. And the 3.5 rules just make it nothing more than a mindless videogame. I play enough of those as it is, thank you very much.

Speaking of games, I got the deluxe edition of the first Call of Duty. I've been playing it on the second hardest difficulty setting (can't remember what it's called), and it's been fucking hard to say the least. But totally enjoyable nonetheless. I can't remember playing a game that made combat feel so hectic and chaotic. It's a very good interpretation of what war /might/ feel like. I say "might" cause until someone is actually involved in it themselves, they can't really have a clue what it's like.

Anyway, despite it's somewhat old graphics, and slightly buggy nature, I've found it a lot of fun. Though I'm into the first British level already, so I don't know how much longer it's going to last. The deluxe edition came with the United Offensive expansion, and I don't know how many levels that has. There's probably no point playing it multiplayer online, as it's so old and the 2nd version has come out, that most likely no one plays it anymore. Once I've finished this one, I'll probably get Call of Duty 2.

I'm not sure why I didn't get either one in the first place, as I remember really enjoying the demo of the first one. It was probably because I had other games at the time, or I wasn't interested in a WWII game at that point.


In other game fronts, the Chronicles of Spellborn /should/ be coming out somewhat soon. They stated they want the game out Q4 2006, so I'm betting it'll be sometime in Nov or Dec. No matter. Most of the MMOs/expansions slated for 2006 have been pushed back anyway. WoW's expansion will most likely be delayed. Funny thing about that actually ...

My work friend asked me if I was going to play the WoW expansion. I kinda looked at him like: I said, "How can I play the expansion when it's going to be /entirely/ for lvl 60 and higher? I don't have a lvl 60 character." He kinda tried to justify it anyway. He still keeps trying to get me to join him on Dark Iron (a PvP realm) so we can raid together. I have /absolutely no interest/ in raiding. I can't see how he doesn't understand that. Eh .. he'll probably quit before the expansion comes out anyway.

Huxley, an MMOFPS, has been pushed back to some time in 2007. God knows when. It'll probably be lag-tastic though. Planetside was horrible too. FPS games just don't work in a large scale type of environment. That's one thing I'm worrying about with Spellborn. It's FPS style controls and targeting, yet it has the skill deck ability thing. Healing could really be a bitch in combat, especially if people and mobs are clustered together. Hopefully, they can get it working right. Or I can see lots of people not sticking with the game past the first month.


Neverwinter Nights 2 is supposed to be out in October, so hopefully that will be another good game to pick up. I really hope the toolset is good, and fairly similar to the original one. I'd hate to have to re-learn all of it again. The campaign will probably be okay, but I'm betting that it won't be stellar. Obsidian's reputation with Knights of the Old Republic 2 isn't that great. It might have had something to do with pressure from Lucasarts, but we'll never know.

The FEAR expansion should be cool, though I bet it'll be fairly short. Most expansions are. Other games I'm keeping on my radar:
  • Hero's Journey (looks promising, and the developer's good history with RP is a nice plus)
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
  • Spore (my RL friend is eagerly awaiting this)
  • Star Trek Legacy
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance
  • Star Trek Online (waaaay off)
  • Tabula Rasa (looks kinda cool, but may end up sucking hardcore. Still on the fence with this one)
  • Hellgate: London (for the co-op and replay possibilities)
  • Bioshock (if it's anything like System Shock 2, I'll be peeing my pants in anticipation)
  • Crysis (still have to play Far Cry, made by the same developers)
Wow .. that's a lot of games. And all I did was look at's News section so I could remember some of them.

Looks like I'll have a lot of cool stuff on my plate in the future. If only some of it was here now.