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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ...

FUCKING AWESOME!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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