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.

Monday, September 4, 2006

I've been watching the Firefly series on DVD that my friend lent me, and man .... it's fucking coooooool.

I can't believe that it was ever taken off the air, though I can see how the "big wigs" in charge could pull any show if it's not getting the ratings they think it should. I think I'll have to watch the Serenity movie again, just so I can see how things are. It really sucks that I watched the movie before I saw the show. Oh well ... what's done is done, I guess.

I also don't know what's been with me lately. Video games wise, I mean. I've got the worst case of game ADD imaginable. I can play something for days, thoroughly entertained, then almost instantaneously, I'm bored with it. About the only thing that hasn't bored me, and never seems to even though I've been playing it forever now, is multiplayer FEAR. But with that, I only play for about an hour or so, then I feel like I've got my "fix" for the day. I'm guessing it's my PvP fix, or maybe it's simply my "fix" of a game that actually entertains me.

For the last while I've been hopping from MMO to MMO, playing different singleplayer games, etc. None of them have entertained me for very long. Some have become boring quickly, others have taken a while. But the end result is the same.

I'm thinking that it's cause I haven't found a game that actually can engage me, and keep me playing. Most have such shallow gameplay, and cliched stories that I can't bear to keep playing them. Dungeon Seige II was one of these. It's such a mind numbing game. You simply click and kill stuff. The story isn't that interesting, and the level design is so linear you might as well be playing a side-scrolling game. It was fun for a while when my friend and I co-op'd it, but we both got bored fairly quickly.

Oblivion is cool, and has some awesome graphics and environments. But it's basically a dungeon crawling game. There seems to be little else in it, unless you go with the thieves guild quests. But I haven't been interested in those, as that usually entails simply sneaking around and stealing something. You get seen, you fail the quest. I dunno, it's kinda like the Thief series of games, and those never were all too engaging for me either. In Oblivion, I simply sneak around and sneak attack things with my bow. The odd person sees me, but they usually die quickly enough.

The main quest isn't very interesting, from what I've played with my other character. It's very cliche, and I've heard it doesn't take very much time /at all/. That's not something I like in an RPG. FPSes are usually like this, not RPGs.

As for MMOs, I've come to the conclusion that they've basically become a way for me to waste some time. Not in that they are a time sink, more like "I have nothing better to do, so I'll go play an MMO for a few hours so I'm not bored". All of the ones I've played in the last 6 months or so have been to keep me occupied until I can find something better to do. Right now I'm not playing any of them as I have the Firefly series to watch. But there's only 3 episodes left, and I still have 2 days off still this week. So, what am I gonna do with my spare time on my days off? Probably play an MMO. Why? So I have something to do. It's either that, or sleep. And I can only sleep for so long.

Hopefully, my RL friend will still be working night shifts like me, and have the same days off. At least I can convince him to come over and play some FEAR. We usually get into debates about roleplaying games, or come up with cool new ideas for video games or tabletop campaigns too. It's fun to get the creative juices flowing. My brain's been feeling so "dead" for a while. Coming up with new ideas helps get rid of that.

I think what I really need is a whack load of books to read. Like the rest of the Song of Ice and Fire series, or perhaps some more sci-fi or cyberpunk-ish stuff. Fantasy is good and all, but sci-fi is so much more my style. I like that the characters usually act just like we do, it's just that their lives are "different". Different technology, slightly different problems, but same kind of behaviour. I've never really understood fantasy stuff that much. I can't wrap my head around why people would do the things they do, or even how much different their lives are from ours. Same thing happens to me with my tabletop gaming. My DnD rogue is simply a bunch of stats and abilities to me. I can't see him any other way.

At least I'm kind of lucky I have to work when we usually play. I haven't got to join the group for a couple weeks now, and I won't be able to for a couple more, at least. Hopefully, by the time I'm able to play again, they'll be ready to try GURPS 4th edition out. DnD 3.5 is too fucking "video game like" for my tastes. And I hate class systems /intensely/.

Oh well ... seems I've gone on long enough.