Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aion: Oh, what a shiny empty game

From the title, you can probably guess that my time with Aion is over. My sub still has a few days left, but even with the current double XP weekends, I can't get motivated to play. I'll login, look at some stuff on the Broker, check my active quests (or lack thereof), check LFG, and then logout.

At the point my Chanter is at, there's little/no solo quests available. What ones there are give minimal XP, and only contribute to about 1/4 of a level. Solo grinding 3/4ths of a level (~ 29.5 MILLION XP! at level 37) is not something I want to do. What does that leave me?

Group grinding in elite areas, over and over. Until I hit level 40 that is, so that I can grind in the Steel Rake instance /over and over again/. Which, by the way, is a 4-6 hour long instance. Ugh ...

After doing Fire Temple about a dozen times, I'd had enough of it. We must have killed the one mini-boss Rotan 10 times and he dropped no gear at all. Most times there wasn't even kinah. That's just crappy game design. At least for a Western audience.

Another issue with Aion is that my levelling has never been constant, nor have I kept up with guildies. So the ones I did match up with in FT, all out levelled me, or quit playing. So I've been stuck in a seeming level void in the guild, with either 40+'s doing Steel Rake (the core guildies, as I call them) and some low 30's and below (alts and new recruits). There are some near close guildies, who will probably catch me with the Double XP weekends, but we are missing the one key component of the group: a Tank. It seems that no one wants to play a Templar anymore. Our highest level Temp, one of the core guildies, stopped playing his Temp and switched to a Spiritmaster (mostly to play with his gf). The other Temps either have quit/disappeared, or are never online when I am. There is a complete lack of Temps in my level range, so even if we got guildies in a group, we're still PuG-ing for a Tank. And since Tanks are a key component in group content, winding up with a bad one (high chance when PuG-ing) can become a horrible experience.

Another major gripe I have with Aion is the PvP is crap, overall. I know I've talked about some of the great PvP on my blog already, but that was before, when the server was more populated, and I was still in the honeymoon phase. After seeing some more fort fights, and especially upper Abyss forts, I've decided that they are garbage. There's simply no reason to PvP in the Abyss. You're better off killing guard NPCs in the Abyss for your Abyss Points (AP) to get gear. And when people hit high rank, they stop going to the Abyss since one death will cost them tons of AP. It's a pretty stupid mechanic, really. In WAR there was no penalty for dying in PvP, so people PvPed all the time. In Aion, the Abyss has pretty much become a ghost town, as everyone is PvEing, or you see groups of 40-50's ganking solo 30's fighting Abyss mobs.

Rifting has become the same thing. All I see are over 40's rifting into Beluslan and Morheim and killing low levels PvEing. It's stupid. I'm okay with the occasional gank, mind you. But when all the bored 40+ players have nothing better to do but gank lower level players over and over, there's something wrong. WAR was much better for PVP in this regard, as PvE areas were safe, but the RvR lakes were tiered so higher tier'd players couldn't gank you. Plus WAR's system of bolstering lower level players to within 3 levels of the tier cap made running into a higher level opponent in the RvR lakes not an instant death.

Also, Aion is missing the PvP from level 1 that WAR has, as well as instanced battlegrounds (ala WoW and WAR) so that you can break up the monotony. All there is to do is grind crappy PvE over and over. Rifting isn't always viable (as it's random) and fort fights are only during scheduled times, as well as only random forts go vulnerable during these times. Many days nothing goes vulnerable. At least in WAR you could try for a fort at any time of day, as long as you had the manpower.

Aion also lacks real benefits to taking forts. The victors get some kinah every day, IIRC, as well as AP and medals to get Abyss gear. Your side gets access to the fort instance, really only good for some AP and XP (drops suck), and a minor reduction in NPC vendor costs. In WAR, your side got all kinds of bonuses for locking down a tier, as well as lots of XP/Renown/Influence for taking a fort. You could get a gold bag from the fort take, giving great gear, or max out your influence to get awesome influence gear. More Renown also led to Renown pts for abilites. There were /rewards/, unlike Aion's weird "let's PvP for some stupid reason, cause it's actually less rewards than just PvEing instead." /facepalm

I dunno, maybe I'm just bitter that Aion was touted as some great PvP game and has wound up as a crappy, grindy PvE game. I can simply look at a lot of my guildies overall kills, and most of them haven't broken 100. We had a Cleric who hadn't got any kills in 37 levels until we formed a guild group to fight off some rifting Elyos. That's pathetic. I have 400+ kills in 37 levels in comparison, and I haven't killed anyone in almost a month. I think I had the Mauler achievement in WAR (kill 100 players in PvP) by level 10.

Simply put, Aion's PvP is shit. There's the odd glimmer of fun in a sea of mediocrity. Kinda like EVE's PvP.

I'm really going to miss my guildies, as they were the reason I stuck with Aion so long. But it's only the core guildies that have really stuck with the game, everyone else has quit. War Seekers has become a guild of all new people (low levels) or displaced people from other guilds. It's not quite the same. I've had fun with some of the new people (on my alt) but I doubt they will stick around for long. The 35+ game is the make it or break it part of Aion. If you can adjust to the grind and enjoy it, you stick around. If you're like everyone else and want your games to be FUN, then you find something else to play.

So long Aion. If you get your shit together and decide to become less grind, more PvP gimme a call. But I doubt you'll do that. Korean developers and all. *points at Lineage 2*

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey, just felt like posting something about Aion again. Especially since my server went down and I really wanted to hit level 30. Also, I had some interesting experiences this weekend and felt like sharing them.


Fortress Fights

I've been able to get in on a few fort fights so far, and even though they are pretty laggy, they have been lots of fun. The best was when our fort was under attack, and the Elyos (our enemies) had managed to break down the door and start attacking the fort lord NPC. Our guild leader, who was leading our alliance (raid group), got us to take one of the artifacts around the fort and activated it. It gave all the Asmodians (our side) a buff that absorbed 5000 damage for 15 mins. We were able to rush back into the fort and drive out the Elyos easily.

Then it seemed to be small skirmishes for the artifacts for about 30-40 mins. And of course, when we got all cocky and figured they'd given up, a Balaur Dreadgion came in. The Balaur are the NPC faction in the PvPvE of Aion. They attack who's in the lead, so we became the targets. The Dreadgion is a spaceship of sorts that looks like a Dragon and teleports mass amounts of lvl 40 Elite Balaur footsoldiers down to the fort to attack it. They aren't the usual AI either, and expertly took out our healers, and anyone low on HP. They took the fort back from us.

It sucked, but was an interesting fight nonetheless, as no one on the server had to deal with the Dreadgion before.

Today, although I missed it, we lost our other fort to the zerg guild on the Elyos side. The Asmos put up a good fight, but ultimately, we didn't have the manpower.


Rifting PvP

There are rifts (portals) that pop up every so often in the Asmo and Elyos PvE areas. These lead one way (Asmo -> Elyos, or vice versa) and allow one side to raid the other's PvE zone. We had some Elyos come in through a rift today and harass us in my levelling area. My guildie Setz and I were trying to grind out some XP, and got caught in a Elyos attack. He went down, but with the help of a couple Clerics, I took out the 3 Elyos that killed him.

After recouping and tossing some group invites to random people in the area, we rolled out and took the fight to the Elyos. Setz and I found them again, and lead the charge. There were some deaths, as the Elyos were greater in number than us, but the call went out over the region chat, and suddenly we had lots of allies. It was about even on both sides, but we forced them back and ran them down and killed them all.

But they had a group kisk (rez stone) set up in the area, so we ran into them again. We took out the same ones again, on our way back. Finally we saw them coming out of one spot, and I saw the kisk. I ran in and beat the hell outta it, only stopping to heal myself a little. I managed to destroy the kisk, and we mopped up the Elyos left.

The best part was that since I killed the 3 initial Elyos, they seemed to /really hate me/. I found I was being pulled out of the pack of us almost all the time, and many times I had more than one of them beating on me. At one point in the beginning fights, I had 5 of them trying to kill me, but since I was healing and getting heals from a Cleric in our group, I was fine. They literally beat on me for like 2 mins straight. Until they realized they should kill my companions, and then it was a done deal.

Another great part was that they were all higher level than me, some also being higher Abyss rank than me. Yet we dropped them. Setz mentioned that the one Gladiator they had was bad, since he had 5-6 levels on Setz, yet Setz was still beating the hell outta him.

It was a great battle overall, and I really enjoyed the PvP. It was also great that our side was working as a team, even though we didn't know each other at all. Realm pride is always good to see.



Sky Temple:

I got to run a couple of them today, and they were fun.

First off, we had a higher level guildie, Dis, run us through an attunement quest so we could all go do the Fire Temple instance later on. Dis is a Chanter like me, yet he did pretty good at tanking the Elites in the instance.

We had to get 3 keys from 3 bosses in 3 different instances. All the instances were floating platforms, with tons of mobs on them. Luckily, our other high lvl guildies gave us the exact way to go, more or less. We had 1 wipe in total, and it was the really tricky part, so it wasn't that bad.

The uneven levels of the group made XP kinda off for everyone though. Dis got almost nothing. I was the next highest level, and I got a lot of good XP. Over 1/3rd a level. The other people got either low XP, or almost nothing. It was weird.

The instances were cool looking, and the elite mobs were hella tough. More than once we were all scared shitless. +4 level Elites and all. But we triumphed and got our keys for Fire Temple.

I was pretty much a healer for the whole thing, as Dis had to tank and heal himself. I healed the Glad in our group, and helped DPS if we had only 1 mob. It was cool, but it got pretty tiring after a while. I have 1 heal so it was a lot of the same button mashing.

Fire Temple:

I got invited to run this by our highest level guildies. They roll as a group all the time, so it was a little daunting to go with them, especially since they've run FT so many times, and I'm a total noob at it.

I knew that with their 6-7+ lvls on me I would get little to no XP, but I wanted to see the instance and finish up a quest there that would give me 630,000+ XP and a new chest piece.

OMFG! What a nightmare of a run it was. The guys said it was their worst run EVER.

We died so many times it was sick. We got adds and shit all the time. I got 1 shotted by 2 bosses cause the guys forgot about the AoEs when the boss' health is low. Shit like that. And it took us like 1hr and 40 mins. Normally these guys do it in less than 30. Yeah ... we sucked.

We basically chalked it up to mass fatigue on everyone's part, and bad luck. I really hope it wasn't me. I only kinda figured out how I should fight in FT about 2/3rd through. Since I was a healer in Sky Temple, I tended to fall back on that role. But with our Cleric there I should have been up front DPSing, especially since my attacks all debuff the mobs. It would have helped kill things faster. I changed to that approach later on, and it worked better, but still had to back up heal in bad situations. I talked with my one guildie War, who I think is one of the coolest people in the guild, after the instance and he told me my 2nd approach was better. He said most Chanters only heal in "shit hits the fan" situations. Next time I'll do that.

The worst part of the whole thing is all the deaths I had ended up costing me a TON of kinah to reverse. I lost a whack of XP straight up, but to recover the rest I had to pay over 70,000 kinah. I had already spent a whack today on expanding my warehouse space (bank space) and training up my Harvesting skill to Rank 3 (allows your skill to go above 199, to a max of 299). Hopefully, I can make a ton of kinah before I hit 31 so I can afford all my skillbooks. Otherwise I'm gonna be screwed.

Was still fun to do a run with the guys and get some guildie bonding in. I even learned to blame our problems on Septera, our one guildie. Apparently, he's blamed for everything. :P


All in all, it was a very eventful weekend of Aion. Makes me wish I could have more weekends off from work. Damnit!

Until next time,
The Rev.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Again, neglect. I'm sorry, yadda yadda. On with the show!


MMO Land


I stopped playing this entirely. Doing scenarios over and over with the idiots on Iron Rock was too much. It got boring and annoying all too quickly. My home server of Phoenix Throne is dead, pretty much. Tier 3 is a ghosttown, and the only people you do see are ones grinding like mad to hit T4. Bleh ...

Doubt I'll ever go back to WAR, but it was fun for a while. I'm betting there will be server merges in the near future anyways, as the game is dying.


Same as last time. Haven't reactivated and I don't really see a reason why. Perhaps when I'm out of games and bored out of my mind I might go back for a while.


This is my new MMO home. Yes, the problems from last post are still there, but I finally got to see the Abyss and it's great. PvEing with the threat of getting ganked is hella fun, especially since once you're hit by an enemy player, if you die, there's no death penalty (unlike PvE deaths). You will lose some Abyss Points (and possibly a Rank if you're just over), but it's easily regained by a few kills or even some mob grinding in the Abyss.

The Grind™ is definitely still there, and it's worse later on in levels. But since I played City of Heroes and Star Wars Galaxies, I'm kinda used to it. Not being able to level every day is perfectly fine with me (compared to many of the ex-WoWers). It just makes dinging that next level all the more sweeter.

I've found myself a home as well with some ex-WAR players from Phoenix Throne. I'm now a member of the War Seekers. I wasn't sure on this at first, as my experiences with most MMOs have been solo or in very small guilds. But it's been a nice change, and listening to some of the stupid comments in guild chat/Ventrilo is great. Sometimes I just sit in the Vent channel and listen to the chat while grinding solo. Helps me not feel so alone, like I did when I played WoW.

Also, I made a friend of one of my fellow ex-WAR players back in the Aion Closed Beta. She and I duoed a bit over a beta weekend, and kept in contact a little since then. I suggested I might join the Seekers, as running solo in the Abyss is just asking to get ganked. All of a sudden she joined them before I even did, and said I should. She's referred to me as her "good friend" and "buddy", though I really don't know her that well. Seems kinda strange, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. It's nice to have people to chat with in an MMO again.

One funny thing about the Seekers is that there are a ton of super tall people in it. I'm the tallest at 6'7", but one guy is 6'6", another is 6'5", and there are like 5 other people who are over 6ft. It's crazy. Makes me think we need to have a RL guild meetup (would never happen but would be cool) and freak the hell out of people as a gang of crazy tall folk. It'd be awesome.


Other Games

Well, Kofi's PC died so we're stuck in our Dawn of War 2 campaign. It really sucks since we've only got 1 mission left. Not sure what we'll play when that's over though.

Inferno and I have played a little of NWN2 since last time, but we're still not done. We've hit level 16 (my Bard is 15 cause of a racial level), so we're getting close to the cap of 20. We had one awesome setback so far, which I totally knew was coming having played the game before. We ran into the Red Dragon in the mountains and tried to kill her. It went not so well at all. I think we got her down to 80% of her Hitpoints before we all died. Mostly from her Fire Breath. I told Inferno that we just need some Fire Immunity spells cast on us and we could probably kill her easily.

Inferno and I have also got our buddies into playing a game I got off of Xbox Live Arcade. It's called Castle Crashers and it's a cheap button masher/RPG sidescroller game. It's campy and silly as hell, but it's loads of fun. It's been a nice way to spend tabletop nights when the whole group can't be there, so we can still hang out. Left4Dead has been fun too, but it's only 2 player on the same screen.

I bought and finished Batman: Arkham Asylum a while back too. That was a fun game, but it got a bit over the top a few times in fights, and the Detective mode is definitely something that should have been tweaked. You end up playing the entire game in it, so it's like you're constantly walking around with X-Ray Vision. Seemed a little silly, and it also makes everything shaded blue so you don't see the cool lighting and textures. They should have made it a non-combat mode or tweaked it somehow to be less effective.

Unfortunately, I also picked up the DLC for Fallout 3 a while back too. It lets you level up past 20, and continue the story, but so far I've barely fiddled with it. Sadly, I think it's going to be something I just wasted money on. Maybe when I'm bored I can come back to it, but with the fall/winter lineup of games coming out, plus Aion, I doubt I'll be back to this in a while.

I pretty much gave up on the Witcher. It's not my style, even though it's an RPG. It's too unfocused as an RPG, and not that interesting, really. The darker tones is cool, but Geralt isn't an interesting character and compared to something like NWN2, the characters are really dull.

I have gone back to the Sims 3 now, mostly cause of Inferno playing it again. Seeing what he's done and wanting to try some new stuff out made me boot it back up. I really dig some of the new stuff you can do, and I think I'm having more fun with the new character I made, than the version of me I started with. Still, it gets pretty boring after a while and once you fulfill their lifetime wishes it seems like there's not much point. Maybe playing the next generation of the family would be interesting, I dunno.

And lastly, I've been playing more Call of Duty 4 lately. Mostly to give me that adrenaline PvP fix since WAR is gone, and also cause it's something I can boot up whenever and play for a half hour. I like that. Works as a stress reliever as well.


Aside note:

I mentioned Zon last time and DOTA, and how I don't play with them. Well now apparently, Kofi doesn't either. Zon and the guys have moved from DOTA to Heroes of Newearth (HON), which is basically an actual developed version of DOTA, rather than a Warcraft 3 mod. Kofi said he doesn't like it very much at all, and the graphics give him eyestrain. Zon is annoyed, of course, but with Kofi's PC out of commission for the time being, he really can't complain.

I've thought about mentioning Aion to Kofi, but I'm not sure about him as he has this silly "no playing online games with peeps I don't know" policy. I don't know how well he'd fit in with the Seekers, as we're mostly older folks, and he's still in his early 20s. I dunno, might tell him about it, probably won't though.



Season 2 of True Blood is over, and it was pretty cool. Kinda ended a bit weak, but overall was entertaining. Watched the 3rd season premiere of Big Bang Theory and wasn't all too impressed, actually. There's a few more episodes I need to watch, but so far I'm not feeling it this season. And apparently there's 3 episodes of Smallville I need to watch too. But it's getting hard to watch Smallville now. Lex Luthor was a much better villain than Doomsday was, and the show seems to be in a bit of a rut. We'll see how it pans out though.



Well, summer hiatus is over and we're back. Though we've only been able to have one session so far as it's near the end of the campaign and we've decided to only continue if everyone can make it. The one session was cool, and the guys really seemed to like their new magical items they all found. I tailored each one to the players, so that they could get the most use out of them. Random items is cool sometimes, but since my game is low magic, random just doesn't work.

I've been pushing to start Inferno's Cyberpunk game, as I really want to play again, and I had an better idea for a character than the one I mentioned last time. I took my initial character and tweaked him to be a bit more gritty, and suit the game better.

My new character is from another culture (we've dubbed them the War culture until we come up with a name) and was a security officer for a wealthy clan on the War homeworld. I haven't nailed down the details yet, but the story I'm thinking of going with is that there was an assassination attempt on his clan leaders and he was caught in the firefight that ensued. Many of the clan leaders were killed and he witnessed horrific things in the firefight. He also lost his eyes in the fight and had to have them replaced with cybernetic eyes. But they are the low grade ones so his eyes look like a Terminators (the endoskeleton's eyes).

He also developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the the ordeal and had to have therapy to deal with it. He's been unable to properly cope and began retreating into Virtual Reality (VR) to escape. It's developed into an addiction. He eventually became so addicted he stole money from his clan to pay for it. He was found out and he fled to the Cyber planet to hide. Now he works odd jobs to make money to get the next VR program to get his fix. He has to watch out for his old employers though, as they are trying to track him down (he has the Enemy disadvantage).

It's been cool developing his PTSD in GURPS. I gave him Post Combat Shakes, so he has to make a Fright Check after combat, with a penalty if it was really extreme. Flashbacks, so he get distracted in stressful situations, but still knows what he is seeing isn't real. And Nightmares are self explanatory. He should be a cool character to play, as I get to futz around being the crazy one in the group for once.


That's about it for now. Until next time.

The Rev.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sorry, I've been neglecting this again. For some reason I can't keep up with my updates. But I guess this way I at least always have something new to talk about.

On with the show then!


MMO Land


Well, since last time WAR has been kind of a back and forth thing for me. Since I've been really casual playing it, and mostly sticking to scenarios, it's been hard to play on my server. Now that I hit T3, scenarios will sometimes not pop at all for over and hour. And since the PvE is mind numbingly dull to me now, I just sit around. Well, needless to say, after I stand around doing nothing for a while, I just end up logging out instead.

It sucks, cause PT is actually a great server, especially since almost everyone has decent names and the "l33t sp33k" is almost nonexistent. But the activity, especially on Destruction side, has diminished quite a bit. Mostly because of Aion and general frustration, but I will mention that later.

So, after hearing about the populations of other servers, I rolled a Choppa on Iron Rock instead to get my bit of MMO PvP. The scenarios are almost non-stop on IR, but the community is horried. I'm not too concerned though, as WAR has become a side thing now. I play it like I would an FPS, an hour here or there, and that's it. Really should un-sub though, as the little I play isn't worth the $15 USD I have to pay. But then again, it's a drop in the bucket compared to other things I spend money on, like eating out at work.

Mythic seems to be getting better about balancing, and bug fixing, but the recent patch apparently created a whack of bugs where it was supposed to improve performance. Lawl. Hopefully they get it fixed, cause they tweaked the end game and forts so they aren't as bad anymore. Not that I have seen either, but they at least sound more appealing now.


I cancelled my sub since last time. I finally got my Orca and almost completely fitted her (aside from rigs), but I didn't use her for anything. I just completely lost all desire to play after I got her. I figured I needed another goal to strive for, so I thought a Tech 2 Battleship, or Marauder, would be a good choice. Since the Paladin (Amarr version) is one of the best I thought of getting one, until I looked at how much it cost. Just the ship is over 1 BILLION credits! It would take me over 50 hrs of mission running to afford to just buy the ship, let alone the fittings. That doesn't seem too bad, until you look at the gametime card values.

In EVE, it's legal to trade a gametime card (GTC) to another player (in game) for credits. There are actually in-game items that represent the GTCs, so normal trade can occur. You can put them on the market and everything. A GTC only costs about $35 USD and I can get 600 million credits for one, or more. So less than 2 hrs of work nets me what would take me probably 30+ hrs of missioning in game (I can make about 20 million credits/hr). Seems like the balance is way off. I could pick up an hour or two of overtime at work and pay for the ship instead of grinding it out in-game over what would probably be more than a couple weeks of playing? Where's the incentive to play then?

Seeing that and realizing that all the time I spend in-game could be more efficiently used by working a little bit of overtime instead, made me un-sub. If my time is better spent not playing the game, then there's no reason to pay the sub.

Also, I just recently read about some console FPS that CCP is making that will be the ground combat part of EVE. Taking over some enemy's planet will have to be done via people in the console game. Sounds stupid, IMO. Obviously CCP has no idea what the FPS console crowd is like. They are almost the polar opposite of EVE players. EVE players tend to be 25-28, intelligent, and make good money, where console players are usually immature, vulgar, teenagers and frat boys. There's not going to be much to unite the two groups to work together.

They really need to make it a PC game as well, to at least get the regular EVE players to play it as well. I mean, they already have a PC that can play EVE, so they should be able to play the FPS, right?


I have been able to play 5 weekend Closed Beta events for Aion, since I got the pre-order just after the last entry. All I gotta say is, I'm still not 100% sure.

  • Runs perfectly, unlike WAR.
  • Anime style is not that bad, and the graphics are amazing.
  • Combat is visceral, and abilities have awesome effects.
  • There is an actual death penalty, though small. Makes people play smarter which I like.
  • Character customization is good.
  • There is a PvP focus, moreso than PvE.
  • Flying is cool, especially learning to glide to evade/catch enemies.

  • GRIND. I can feel the grind already and I don't like it. At least WAR has all kinds of advancement so I can do different things to forget the grind. Aion's PvE is grindy, even at low levels.
  • Portals. I originally saw this as a plus, but after seeing how even a few lvls difference works in PvP, I hate this. Someone 3+ lvls above you will almost always kill you, no matter what. It's not even close. At least WAR's bolster buffs in RvR areas make it more balanced, and there disparate levels aren't as problematic.
  • Character customization is good, but you can't /really/ make a completely different character. They are all still mildly close to anime style. I like the brutality of the Orcs and Goblins in WAR. There's no way to make an Aion character look anything near like them.
  • After 5 weekends, I still didn't get to see the Abyss or the PvP in it, so I'm going in blind. Don't like that at all, especially since it will take me a month of playing at least to get to 25, I'm guessing.
  • Very low amount of gear variation, it seems. There seems to be a pattern to the gear progression that is exceedingly boring. NPC gear -> white dropped gear -> green gear = 2 lvl higher NPC gear -> repeat. So you would basically go from named white gear to green and back from each level. And the minor variations on the stats in the stuff sucks. +5 to parry or +5 to block? When your Block and Parry are like 600+, 5 more pts is stupid low.
  • Quests are exceedingly BORING. Moreso than WoW's cause at least in WoW there were so many you didn't see the same thing over and over.
So I dunno about Aion. I think it's going to be a game where I see how the first month of release goes, maybe the 2nd month. But if it gets to be like the Beta where the high lvl enemy players just camp our levelling zones cause they're bored from hitting the cap in 2 weeks, I won't play.

And I never really got to interact with the PT people from WAR either, aside from one weekend, so I don't know if that will really affect my sticking with Aion at all.

I guess the "new MMO smell" part has worn off now, and I see it for what it is.


Other Games

Dawn of War 2 co-op with Kofi has been a blast. He finally picked it up cause they had a sale on Steam. Inferno also got it. Kofi and I played a whack of missions over the span of 3-4 nights, and are a ways through the game. It's been tons of fun to play, and the loot you get is really cool. I'm loving the RPG aspects of the game. The story is really cool so far too.

Overall the game is just very well done. I can't believe how good it is. Inferno has been playing it a lot on his nights off (graveyard shifts ATM), and he's been getting different stuff than us. Plus he uses the sniper guy and Kofi and I never use him. Also, Kofi and I have done so well that we have got more deployments per day so we've done more in fewer of the game's storyline days than Inferno.

It's been a great co-op game to play. Inferno and I are continuing our NWN2 co-op game, and after seeing my Evocation Sorcerer play out, I've switched him out for a Bard instead. I have a character levelling/equipping module, so making a new character of equal level and gear is easy. The Sorcerer wasn't very good at doing anything but tossing some damage spells around, which at higher level isn't all that great. Plus, with the aggro mechanics of NWN2, he invariably gets attacked by like 3-4 enemies and dies cause of his minimal AC and HPs.

The Bard, on the other hand, is super useful in our party, especially with his Inspirational buffs. He can boost the party's AC, damage and to hit rolls, healing, skills, or disrupt enemy spellcasters. He also has debuffs for enemies, invisibility, haste, confusion and a whack of cool spells. And the best is his super high Use Magic Device, so he can use magical items meant for specific races/alignments, etc. Or cast spells from scrolls, wands, etc. He's awesome.

Plus, I love the swashbucking voice I gave him. When Inferno is dicking around talking to NPCs or something, trying to figure out what we should do, I use the quick voice commands to say things like "Yes", "No", "That's a bad idea", or whatnot. I know Inferno gets a kick out of it sometimes.

My friend lent me her PS2 after watching me play some Aion, mainly cause I think she wanted to see if I would like some of her Japanese RPG games. I played the one game a little when she was over a couple times, but I really couldn't get into it. The other ones weren't for me either. I find the dialogue just plain bad, and the whole plot leaves me wanting. For the most part her PS2 just sat there untouched. I gave it back to her a week ago or so.

Comparing her JRPG games to Western RPGs just shows how terrible they are. Maybe it's the translations, I dunno. But listening to Khelgar and Grobnar in NWN2 is a hell of a lot more entertaining than any of the dialogue in her JRPGs. She's played Mass Effect too, so I don't know why she likes the JRPGs. Must be the art style, since she's an anime fan and she draws anime style art.

Haven't really touched Sims 3 at all since last time. I dunno what it is about it, but it hasn't quite drawn me in like Sims 2. Even though there's a lot more you can do with Sims 3.

I watched Reign of Fire last night, so I wanted to boot up Fallout 3 and play it again with an evil, melee focused character. But after getting through the intro Vault part, I had little desire to play. The melee part of Fallout seems off, as most of the attacks don't feel like they are actually doing anything. The sounds don't sync up well, the other character doesn't react properly and it generally feels fake, moreso than the gun fights. The only time the melee part works is in VATS when you hit someone and they die, cause then their corpse has ragdoll physics applied and they move accordingly.

We'll see though, I might still dick around with Fallout 3 a little, or I might boot up my old savegame and go see what other stuff I can find in the Wastes.

As for the Witcher, I played some more of it, but it's still not pulling me in. The quests are very poorly laid out, they have minimal information so sometimes you have no idea how to complete them (ie. you have to beat someone in a drinking game to get them to talk, or show them a specific item, but neither are easy dialogue choices), and the items in the game are completely disinteresting. I have no care about what I loot from bodies cause it's invariably crap, and for some reason I can't carry more than a couple weapons at a time, even to sell them.

I dunno, I started looking at a walkthrough to play the Witcher and was almost following it verbatim. That's never a good sign that I'll keep playing a game. Usually I just learn the cheats and skip through to see the story so I can never play the game again. Except the Witcher won't work that way.


Aside note about Games

I mentioned last entry how I got Warcraft 3 and the expansion to play the Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) mod with Kofi and his friends. I also mentioned how I didn't like it. Well, the one day Kofi and I were using the Ventrilo server his friends and him use, so we could talk while playing Dawn of War 2 co-op. Kofi's buddy, who I shall now refer to as Zon, came on and hopped into the channel we were in (seperate so we wouldn't disturb the others) to chat with us. He asked what we were doing, and then proceeded to give me shit about only playing DOTA with them a couple times. I pretty much ignored him, also cause we were in the middle of a game, and I couldn't hear him properly.

I think he is pissed, as I won't play DOTA with them. But what he doesn't realize is he's a huge asshole sometimes, and is super conceited as well, and I just don't want to deal with people like that. The one game we played of DOTA, at the end you can see how many "clicks per second" everyone has. He tried, albeit sarcastically, to not say I suck cause my CPS was really low. He said the better players have higher CPS, of course cause his is the highest. What a fucker. He only one tried to help me out, but for the most part gave me shit for being a poor player. Wow ... I've played the game twice and you expect me to be good already? Fuck off.

Also, I don't really like playing DOTA as Real Time Strategy games are pretty low on my list of favourite genres. I actually figured out a list of genres and rated them from my most to least favourites:
  1. FPS
  2. RPG
  3. MMO
  4. Arcade (Mario, GTA, Assassin's Creed)
  5. Racing
  6. Turn Based Strategy (X-COM, Master of Orion 2)
  7. Real Time Tactical (Dawn of War 2, World In Conflict)
  8. Simulation
  9. Real Time Strategy
  10. Adventure
  11. Casual / Indie
  12. Family
  13. Sports
Hell, I dunno what category something like Tetris falls under, but I'd play that over an RTS anytime. RTSes are simply who can click faster and who's memorized the build trees. It's not strategy at all. Chess is strategy. Chess where you have like 2 secs to move your piece is closer to what RTS games are.

And this brings me to Starcraft 2. After seeing the gameplay vids and stuff, I have zero interest in actually playing the game. It looks like the same thing that came out in 1998(!), just with improved graphics. I'd just like to see the cutscences and CGI bits. The actual gameplay doesn't excite me at all. Rehashing gameplay from 11 years ago is pretty weaksauce, especially for a studio like Blizzard with their insane profits. Even FPSes have got a lot better in 11 years, with cover mechanics, slow-mo, better storytelling, shooting through walls, destructible terrain, etc. RTS games are the same shit that's been out since Red Alert 1!



I've been watching a lot of TV since last time. I watched all of Better off Ted, a sitcom about a manager in a big corporation. It's actually pretty decent, not laugh out loud good, but entertaining.

I watched all of Legend of the Seeker season 1 as well. It's based off the Terry Goodkind novels, and is a fucking good show, amazingly. I figured it would end up being kinda meh, but they did an awesome job on costumes, sets, etc. And it's filmed in New Zealand so the outdoor shots are wicked. Sam Raimi, director of Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Spider Man 1-3, is directing this as well, as he did Xena back in the day. He's doing an awesome job. Can't recommend the show enough. Even women will like it as the love interest part is very well done. And guys love drooling over Brigit Regan, who plays the female lead Kahlen Amnell (sp?). She's HAWT. *drool*

I've also got to watch True Blood season 2 now that it's started back up. So fucking good, and I'm loving Eric Northman. Big Viking vampire? Hells yeah. Plus he's a Swedish actor so props for the motherland.



We've taking a summer hiatus for a while, as Blake is gone for work and his character is pretty integral to the party. Also, cause I think we could finish the module if he wasn't here and that's unfair to him.

Inferno was thinking about running a Cyberpunk game, using GURPS 4th Edition, in our shared Space gameworld. I've made a character already, after watching TRON the other night. I tried to make a character no one has played before, but it's hard to come up with differing character concepts for Cyberpunk. There really only are a few different types. Our buddy was thinking of an idea as well, but his sounds cooler than mine. His was a guy who is an actual alien species, living on the Tech homeworld. There are a couple alien species in the shared gamespace but we haven't written any specifics for them. I think he could easily be a genetic bioroid instead, just with a weird appearance. Like an aquatic looking humanoid for a mostly water covered planet. Something weird like that.

My guy in comparison is normal. Just a teenager who's brilliant, but gets himself into trouble cause of his habits. He can hack computers, write software, build gadgets, etc. but is a chickenshit when it comes to combat. He's more of the support character, with a little side of innocence so the whole group doesn't feel like a collection of down and out cynical lone wolfs like it usually ends up.

We'll see how gaming goes later on when Blake is back. Cause once my campaign module is done, I'm not GMing for a while. It's been far too long since I got to play a /good game/. I've only got to play f-ing DnD for the last 3 years, gimme a chance to play some GURPS, and not be the GM.


That seems to be all of it. Take care folks, and see you in a month or so I guess.

The Rev.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wow ... sorry about forgetting to post here in a few months. Always seem to get distracted when I want to type something up.

That said, we've got a lot to talk about, so on with it.


MMO Land


Okay, I've played a lot since last post, and it's been lots of fun. I ended up rolling Destruction on the Phoenix Throne RP server (PT), and transferring my Order characters to the core server they set as the other option. I have never touched my Order guys since though, as I have no patience for Core server asshattery. Realistically, I should have just transferred my Order guys to PT so I could play with my friend. But I really wanted to be the underdog side on PT, so I went Destro. And lo and behold, Destro all of a sudden became the big side and started wiping the floor with Order. I think cause a few of my old server's guilds re-rolled, and that the Destro players on PT already were better players overall for having been the underdogs for so long.

Anyways, I tried the other classes and really fell in love with the Greenskins (orcs and goblins), mostly cause of the ridiculous quests and such. Plus, they have good classes overall, something that the High Elves don't. My main Order chars were both High Elf classes and were really gimpy. After a lot of alting around to figure out what I wanted to play, I started really going with my Goblin Shaman (healer/DPS). I like the class, but unfortunately, if I wasn't soloing, I was expected to be healing all the time, and I find that /utterly boring/. And being focused on by the enemies isn't something I enjoy.

So eventually, I end up playing a Chosen (Chaos tank). Strangely enough, it's been the class I've totally fell in love with, but was one I had absolutely no interest in playing before. After looking into the class mechanics and abilities, I found it was almost the mirror of my Elven Swordmaster, but with a different class mechanic. Both are good as anti-magic tanks. But the Chosen's auras are a hell of a lot better, and way easier to use, than the Swordmaster's Balance mechanic.

After playing a lot of T1 RvR with my Chosen, I was sold. I'm almost into T3 with him, and it's been a blast. I definitely love being hard to kill, and fucking with the Order backlines. The auras are great cause they help my teammates but also fuck up the enemy. My aura that drops resistances is great, cause it makes any of my teammates attacks that do elemental/spiritual/corporeal damage to be almost unresistable. I've found that the Order players don't pick up on it right away, but after a while they realize that I'm a major threat and start to focus on trying to kill me. It also helps that I'm better than average at playing my class, so when we play Order noobs, we take them to the cleaners. I've had more than a few scenarios where I don't die /at all/. And get in the top 3 for kills and damage, as a /tank class/ with a /sword and shield/. I don't even use a 2hander. It's fucked up.

All in all, my Chosen is a blast to play. And he looks pretty badass too. Really enjoy it.

There seems to be one problem though. All my alt-ing and casual play with my characters means I level pretty slow, and I'm still a hell of a ways away from max level and end game. I'm sure if I added up all the time I've played, across all my characters, I'd be at max level already.

But there's another problem: The end game SUCKS.

I've watched videos of WAR's endgame city seiges, and they are fucking retarded. Especially for a game designed around MASSIVE PvP battles. The city seiges work this way: Once one side has taken the Tier 4 zones required, they can assault the enemy's fortresses. Forts are like the regular RvR Keeps, only bigger. Major problem is the lag that is inevitable when there's all the people required to take a fort.

Okay, say the forts go down. Now the players can attack the enemy's city. Which ends up being an instanced Public Quest (PQ) that has both sides fighting in it. WTF? :S

Yes, you heard me right. The end game in a PvP game is contested PvE with the opposing side. Of course you can kill the enemy players, but if they complete the PQ you lose the instance. If enough of the instances are won by the attackers, the city is considered "sacked" and the defenders lose access to some of the PvE instances in it. Wait ... WTF???

Again, makes no sense.

And the stupidest part of the city instances is that they are only 48 vs. 48, and yet they still lag to shit, and quite frequently crash, so the attackers get kicked back out of the city. Plus, the attackers only have 2 hrs to sack the city before it resets and they have to take the forts again. Totally retarded.

So basically, with the end game being completely borked at this point, I've been in no real rush to get there. For the most part, I only play my characters a little, usually trying to get into as many scenarios as possible to level. It's much more interesting than PvE or RvR at this point. PQs are cool for the lewts, as they are quite often better than the RvR gear I could get at the same point. But if I get max influence in the RvR lakes, I can get really nice gear. Problem is it requires me to be almost max level for the tier, with a renown rank (PvP level) of almost the same. I managed to get all the Tier 1 rewards for my Chosen, but that was because Tier 1 (T1) RvR is the best. Limited crowd control, all open field combat, and no Keeps to lag things out.

Another problem with the higher tier RvR is that people tend to roll in MASS zergs, so it's laggy as hell, and not much of a fight at all. You're either steamrolling the enemy, or being steamrolled yourself. And the steamrollees tend to stop fighting and go elsewhere to PvE or capture Battlefield Objectives (BOs) to get renown points and avoid the zergs.

It's silly. I'm much more inclined to play small scale battles or scenarios (instanced 12 vs. 12), cause it's more interesting, and my contribution to the fight is appreciable. In a zerg, if you take me out there's no way of noticing I'm not there. And steamrolling people is no fun. I'd much rather be the underdog.

So what does all this mean?

It means I'll probably keep playing WAR casually on my Chosen, doing scenarios and whatnot until I hit max rank, and then maybe re-roll or quit. It's seems to be the same with every MMO I've played. I can never hit max level cause I usually get bored of the game by then.

We'll see how WAR pans out though. If the new Land of the Dead expansion is good it might actually make me keep playing. But there's another MMO that has caught my attention as of late that could change that.

And with that I'll segway into talking about ...


Aion is a PvP focused MMO from NCSoft, the makers of Lineage 2 and others. They are a Korean company, so obviously, Aion has the total anime feel to it.

Since this post looks like it's going to get lengthy /already/, I'm going to pre-empt myself and start making things brief.

About Aion:
  1. Already had been out in Korea for almost a year, so it's got a lot of the bugs out. (WAR by comparison is buggy as hell sometimes)
  2. No PvP off the bat like WAR. Must be level 25 to enter the Abyss, a massive PvP zone.
  3. Runs /perfectly/ with 100+ people on screen at once. Minimal lag.
  4. You can go through portals to the enemy's PvE zones and gank them. Portals are on a timer, and retaliation is very likely. This is an iffy for me, as trying to level while getting ganked is ghey to the max. Depending on the death penalty for this, I'm not sure if it's good or bad.
  5. Uses the Crytek engine (as in the engine used in Crysis), so the graphics are VERY impressive
  6. Has the anime style to it, so I'm not as impressed as I would normally be (anime is not really my thing)
  7. BUT ... the character customization is far beyond any other MMO (except maybe CoX), and one can actually make characters that aren't as metrosexual as they usually are in Asian games
  8. There's flying in the game. But it's on a timer (which you can buff) and only in certain zones. The Abyss allows flying everywhere.
  9. There are fortresses like Keeps in WAR that players can take to give buffs to their side/debuffs to the enemy
  10. There is a 3rd PvE faction that will attack either side, and are there to mess with things. Overall a better idea so one sided servers don't happen, ie. WoW and WAR
  11. Combat is slower and a bit more tactical. There are attack chains, and combos, so it's not button mashing.
  12. But needing to rest between fights is there, so some grindiness might be there.
  13. Normally all Asian MMOs are grindy as hell, but NCSoft North America is changing the game to be more Western friendly (WoW-esque) and make quests available to level to max level.
  14. There are a couple instanced dungeons they are going to implement. One is PvE only, the other is like a contested PvE instance. You race to beat the end boss and fight off the other players at the same time.
  15. There are duels so players can practice their PvP skills in downtime.
  16. There are 4 starting class types (mage, rogue, cleric, tank) which branch at lvl 10 to 2 each. 8 classes overall.
  17. Game is in closed beta in NA and will be open beta in Aug, prob released in Sept.
  18. Might be a bit behind the curve for updates, as the Korean's will get the new patches, and NA will have to wait to get them localized.
Overall, it looks like an Asian game I might actually like for once. Lineage 2 was so ghey it hurt. And the macro/bots/farmers were rampant, even in the open beta.

Basically, after discussing it with my fellow WAR players on PT via our forums, I'm going to have a looksee at Aion when it does the open beta. I'm sure at that point I'll know whether or not I'll be into it. Right now it sounds good, but in practice it could not be appealing at all. If WAR doesn't pan out, Aion might be my next MMO. Especially since /a lot/ of my server mates are thinking about dropping WAR for Aion when it comes out. PT might end up like my last server after that.

  1. Haven't played too much since last post. Been training a lot of skills.
  2. Moved to a new mission hub, and even though it's a lot busier, it's a much better location to sell all the lewts I get from missioning.
  3. Training for a capital ship, the Orca. I've surprisingly earned almost all the money I need before the training is done. Something I've never done before. And I need 600+ million to get the Orca and all the mods I need.
  4. Orca might end up being my "mobile base" so I can use it to go exploring Wormholes and other exploration content without having to worry about going back to get a different ship.
  5. Kofi wants to go fight some people in 0.0 space cause I showed him a really cool video of 2 players doing it with new alts. Only thing is we can lose our implants if we get podded, or end up pissing off some /very powerful/ people. Could be exceedingly problematic if we want to join a player corp later, or form our own (war declarations on us).
Mostly, EVE has been a side thing if I get the mood for some sci-fi or casual play. It's great cause I can do missions and chat via MSN and stuff at the same time.


Other games

I've been playing some of the Sims 3 lately too, as well as Dawn of War 2 (mostly vs. the AI in MP). Both are great, but it seems like I have too many games to play at this point and it's impossible to get anywhere with them. Usually most nights consist of me playing one game only, so most games I have only get one night a week at most. Hard to progress, for sure.

I also picked up Warcraft 3 and the Frozen Throne expansion off the Blizzard site just so I could play the DOTA mod with Kofi and his buddies. I've played a little with them and some on my own (vs. the AI), but I'm terrible at it. Mostly cause it's twitchy, like an RTS in a way, and I hate that. Also, you have to memorize the item builds (like build trees in a regular RTS) and I hate that too. Rote memorization and fast reflexes don't equate to strategy to me, at all. World in Conflict was a much better RTS game, IMO. Hence why I've bugged Kofi to get DOW2 so we can co-op the SP part, or even team up vs. the AI on a MP map.

Still haven't played the Witcher since last time. Really need to get back to it. CoD4 has fallen to the wayside, mostly cause it's kind of repetitive after a while. And I've hit rank 55 so there's no more character growth. Inferno has been bugging me to play NWN2 again, mostly cause neither of us play CoD4 anymore and we don't have any other co-op options. He's been playing co-op games with his girlfriend all the time when he's at her place, so I guess he's used to it now.



Fuck. They didn't pick up Terminator for next season, and it ended on a total WTF moment. So it's all up in the air. Sucks. Hopefully they do a mini-movie thing to tie loose ends up or something. Such a shame.

Smallville was really good, and a lot better with the Superman/Doomsday plot lines. Gonna be interesting to see what comes up next season.



Shockingly, especially to me, is that we are /still playing my game/. It's been like months, though probably only 10-11 sessions or so cause of cancellations, but it's been cool. The DnD guy is actually seeming to enjoy the story and RPing. Since his character isn't the best in combat (he's pretty much a "johnny one spell"), he's been really enjoying the out of combat stuff. So are the other guys. And what's awesome is that they haven't even finished the first module of this 3 module series. So if I eventually wanted to run all of it, I could. Pretty sweet.

Though after the first module is done, I would really like to get a chance to play again. Especially something with guns and explosions. Inferno's space marine campaign would really hit the spot. I've been reading a whack of Warhammer 40k novels and now I'm hankering for some space marine combat. Would be extra awesome if we could have chainswords. That would rock. Nothing better than eviscerating your enemies with a chainsword and spraying blood everywhere. *evil grin*


But that's it. Thanks for reading. Hopefully I'll update this sooner, especially since typing this much is a real strain and takes so damn long.

Cheers folks!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Holy fuck, I totally forgot about Fallout 3!

I bought the game even though I had the feeling it was Oblivion with guns. Sadly, it is. But they didn't use the stupid levelling system Oblivion had, and went with a standard "put your skill points where you want" type of system. Basically, they fixed one of the major complaints I had with Oblivion.

The VATS system is great for targeting, though I'm much more accurate than my character, so it was kind of useless to me. Most of the times I used it was when I walked around a corner and wanted to blow the head off of an enemy with my combat shotgun. Otherwise I just used the standard FPS targeting.

The ability to pickpocket an enemy and drop a live grenade to kill them is hilarious when you first do it, but when you find that that's the most efficient use of your ammo it loses it's charm fast. If I threw grenades at the same enemy, it might take 2 or 3, but one in the pocket kills any humanoid enemy instantly.

The lockpicking mini-game is the same stupid shit as Oblivion, though this time if my skill isn't high enough I can't even try. It was one of the easiest mini-games I've ever seen.

The hacking mini-game on the other hand is the most fucking frustrating thing ever. I would have been fine if they had simply required a certain level to hack the computer instead. The mini-game is more a frustration than anything.

The AI is still as stupid as Oblivion, the graphics all have that bump mapped shine to them (which makes everything look like plastic), and the environments get very repetitive after a while.

"Ooooh ... more subways!"
"Another cavern. Yay!"
"Ruined office building. I've never seen this before!"

You get the idea.

The setting is a lot better than Oblivion for sure. The foul language, morally repugnant bits of plot and such make the setting very real. And the open world to explore is super cool. The only problem is when you realize everything you see is the same 3-4 tilesets, in different patterns, there's no real incentive to explore. I basically skipped most of the north half of the map, and a lot of the ruins of Washington, DC. cause I realized it was all the same. And finding more of the same guns and ammo wasn't all too thrilling. At least in Oblivion, there were some cool, unique magical weapons and items you could find. In Fallout, there are some unique guns, but they are just a little bit better than the standard guns.

Also, I managed to hit the level cap of 20 far too easily, and had every weapon I could think of at my disposal. Money became completely trivial, ammo was plentiful, and I had almost all the combat skills (including the sneaky thief and conversation skills) near maximum. There wasn't anything I couldn't do. About the only thing that became a problem was the stupid random enemies that I'd run into while wandering the Wastelands. Because of my level (since they used the same dumbass mechanic from Oblivion) the only enemies that would spawn were mutated grizzly bears. And they don't drop ammo. So they simply became a drain on my ammo supply. The meat they dropped was near worthless. I began to use the fast travel option to get anywhere because it was the only way to avoid the fucking bears.

The story is not bad, but like Oblivion, it's not great either. I did the first part (cause you have to), and then wandered around until I was near max level. Only then did I do the rest of it. I spent about 30 hrs on the intro and wandering around. After I followed the main quest exclusively, it was only another 10 hrs. And the intro is less than an hour, easy. So the main story is just like Oblivion. Over before you know it, if you don't do side stuff.

And the biggest kicker is the ending. No matter your choice at the end, you can't continue the game. At least Oblivion let the player keep going, so they could do all the little things they missed. Fallout doesn't have that option at all. Unless you download a 3rd party mod. Ghey ...

Really, if I were to recommend Fallout 3, I'd tell people to borrow it from someone else. Or maybe rent it. Though that doesn't work if you really want to explore a lot. It's not worth it to buy at full price. Maybe when it's on sale.

It's a good game, not great, but it's a lot like Oblivion. And that's not something I look for in a game.


Just double checking this I realized how much I sound like Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation. But maybe that's cause I just watched like 5 of his videos. :P

Monday, March 23, 2009

Again, I've been neglecting this blog, and I am sorry. On with the updates!


MMO Land:


This has been quite a dilemma since last post. The lag/desynch problems I was experiencing persisted, and basically made the game completely unplayable. After a lot of frustration, and every possible fix I could think of, I had to cancel my account. It expired at the beginning of Feb.

It really sucked cause I was enjoying the game a lot, and what's worse is that I was finally catching up to my old gaming buddy who lives in another province. He was playing Destruction side, so we'd be enemies, but I was hoping to fight him sometime.

I even tried sending some emails to my ISP, thinking that their packet shaping system was screwing up the game. They said it wasn't, but I was hesitant to believe them. The thread I started on (the forums I was using as a primary source, as there were no official forums at that point) eventually became one of the top watched threads. There were a lot of other people, especially fellow customers of my ISP, who were experiencing the same issues. We all ended up unsubscribing from WAR due to the lag/desync.

Well, they recently put out a 10 day trial for the game, after the 1.2 patch, and still being curious about the game, I DLed it to check if the problem was still there. And *poof*, it's now gone. There must have been some weird code that didn't like packet shaping or something, cause it runs great, just like it did before the Xmas patches.

So I got to play a little on the trial servers, try out the new Choppa class (the class I wanted to play from the get go, but was cut before launch), see the new improvements, and had a lot of fun. I'm going to reactivate my old account here soon, and start playing again.

My only issue now is that my old server has become very sparsely populated (aside from Tier 4), so I don't know if I want to go back there. Also, the Order side is now dominating in RvR, as the Destro side has lost players. It was the other way around when I was playing. The other RP server apparently has a much higher population, though it too is imbalanced towards the Order side.

I'm torn what to do now. Should I delete my Order chars on Ostermark and roll Destro instead to be the underdog, and be able to chat with my friend as well? Or should I roll Destro on the other server, so I can keep my Order chars on Ostermark, and be the underdog side on a higher pop server? If I roll Destro on the other server, my friend has his Order chars there, so I won't be able to play with him there either. And there's only 2 RP servers. I'm not too sure I could ever handle the stupid names on a Core server. The only one I saw that was stupid, yet a little clever was the Choppa named "GetToThe". Lawlz. :P


Well, EVE has had a major expansion, and has brought a lot of new stuff to the table. There are more exploration sites now (something I dabbled with, but ultimately ignored as the mechanics were mind numbing), wormholes, Sleeper NPCs, Tech 3 ships, and new graphical goodies.

Wormholes are the biggest thing, as they are the main part of the expansion. They lead to unknown space (2500 new systems, to be precise), which have the Sleeper NPCs. The wormhole space systems are the source of all the components for the new Tech 3 ships, as well as routes between parts of the EVE galaxy, and are completely lawless (giving players another place to PvP).

The new scanning mechanics for exploration are /so much better/ it's crazy. The old mechanic was:
  1. Drop a probe to see if something was in the system.
  2. Wait
  3. Get a hit. Drop probes at all the planets, making sure they didn't overlap improperly.
  4. Wait.
  5. Get a hit. Drop a smaller probe near the site to narrow down the location.
  6. Wait.
  7. Repeat from 5. with smaller probes until the site is found.
  8. Warp to the site.
See the biggest problem with the old mechanic was the waiting between steps. And if you didn't have a CovertOps ship, with the best modules and rigs, PLUS all the required skills in Exploration, you had to wait anywhere up to 10 mins. Talk about BORING. Most people who did it before either watched TV or read a book while doing so. It was tedious.

The new mechanic is fast, doesn't require a hell of a lot of skills (kind of a kick in the pants for us highly skilled explorers), and is far more interactive. You have to manually position the probes using trilateration to determine the exact position of the site in 3 dimensions. It's cool, but sometimes a little hard. After some practice it's a lot quicker to find a site. With the new changes and my skills, my scan time has gone from 200+ secs to 5 secs. Talk about fast. I can now find a wormhole in less than 10 mins.

The Sleeper NPCs are a lot different than the usual NPCs in EVE. They are based more on PvP fittings, and tactics than the dumb normal NPCs. See, in most missions, a lone pilot can take on 10+ ships at once, often times multiple larger ships than his own. In a PvP encounter he would be killed almost instantly. And since the focus of EVE is PvP in some fashion, the Devs decided to make the Sleepers different. It also allows people to use PvP fitted ships to fight them, as wormhole space is lawless anyways, so they could end up fighting players at some point. And fitting for PvE and then getting into PvP usually ends in a quick death.

The Sleepers are tough as they tank all kinds of damage equally, will shoot at your drones, can remote repair each other, scramble or webify you and do stupid high damage. They sound more than a little overpowered, and to a certain extent they are, but they are also designed to make people use teamwork to fight them, also useful if they happen to engage in PvP. See how the logic flows?

Well, Kofi has got quite excited about wormholes (WHs) as he sees it as a group activity we can do with his other friend who plays EVE. He really wants us to have something to play together, as that's how he enjoys his gaming the most; playing with RL friends.

There seems to be a snag though, as I found out recently. I've soloed the easier Sleeper sites in my Battlecruiser, and based on the loot and salvage I've got, we'd be better off running level 4 missions in high-security space (where we can't get shot) than doing WH space. I spent over a couple hours finding one WH and doing a couple sites in it (mostly cause I had to fly all over looting the wrecks. Stupid slow battlecruiser >:| ), and I made almost nothing compared to a lvl 4 mission I could have finished in less than an hour. Including looting and salvaging the lvl 4. So, I don't really know if we should bother. Especially since we could either end up trapped in the WH system, forcing us to self-destruct (losing our ships and clones in the process) or get caught in some PvP and die that way. My Battlecruiser is quite expensive, as it's rigged and all, so losing it is not something that will be easy on the wallet.

Overall, I don't know what we should do in EVE. After doing some WH space, I think we should just stick with our status quo for now, which means soloing lvl 4s. And that doesn't work with Kofi's plan to game together at all.

Really, I don't know if I'll stick around with EVE after the next while. I might keep my account training, as the money isn't really a big deal. I have a lot of other things I want to skill up, especially the non-combat stuff. I don't know why, but it could always be useful later on.


Other games:

I DLed a copy of Call of Duty: World at War and Inferno and I got to play it through co-op. That was pretty cool, even though the missions seemed very disjointed, and there wasn't really a plot (other than it was WW2).

Playing CoD again got me itching to play some CoD4, so I bought it from Steam. Since I got it, I've easily played over 28 hrs of it. It's become my new way to blow off some steam if I'm bored. Inferno has also picked up a copy and we play it together a lot. We don't always play on the same team though. We just auto-assign ourselves and see which teams we're on. It's more fun that way. We're good enough sports that we congratulate each other when one of us kills the other.

I also DLed a copy of FEAR 2 and played through the SP campaign. I played on Hard, but aside from a couple really hard parts, the game was too easy. Ammo was overabundant and most of the time I had max health packs. It's only when I got super cocky that I usually died. The gameplay wasn't anywhere near as polished as the original, but that's also cause the 2nd was a cross-platform game.

The story was much cooler in the 2nd one though, and the creepy parts were a lot better. The ending is right fucked up of course, but a little more disturbing that I had anticipated. Overall a good SP game, but weak as hell MP.

Inferno and I haven't touched NWN2 at all in a while, so I don't know if we'll finish it. Once we leave something this long we usually never go back to it. Plus, whenever Inferno has a spare night off, he usually goes over to his girlfriend's place. Not that I blame him, it's just we have little spare time that coincides, so CoD4 is a much easier alternative.

I picked up a copy of the Witcher from Steam as well, and have played the first part of that. I left it alone for quite a while though, so I really can't remember much of the quests and story so far. It's a really cool RPG game, though the sex plots are stupid as hell, and really only pander to the stereotypical sex-starved nerdy guys. But they are still a bit of a turn on. :P

I also want to get Dawn of War 2 from Steam as well, so I can play co-op with Kofi (if I can convince him WHs are not for us in EVE) and possibly play vs. my old gaming buddy who also plays WAR. DoW2 is more of a real-time tactical game mixed with RPG elements than a RTS game, but that's okay with me. I've always disliked the base building parts of RTSes anyways.

I also played Dead Rising some more on my XBox 360 and beat it. It was a lot of fun near the end, and quite hard as well. I'd have to say it was one of the better games I've played for my 360.



I've completely stopped watching Heroes at this point. It's become so fucking stupid. The characters switch alliances so god damn much it's ridiculous. And the show never seems to get anything accomplished until the last 5-10 mins of an episode.

Smallville has been pretty cool, except for the resurgence of Lana, but that's okay as she's effectively been written off the show at this point. They can finally develop the Clark/Lois relationship like they should.

Terminator has been really good as well. It was a little disjointed this season, but has picked up the pace more in recent episodes. I'm really wondering how it's going to work out.

And Battlestar Galactica is finally over. The ending was a little too long IMO, and really was a let down in some parts. There were some great bits, but overall it didn't end with a bang like I thought it would. I actually ended up seeing the 2nd half of the 2hr finale first, and watched the 1st half the next day. But it still didn't make much difference.


In gaming, I've been able to run my GURPS Fantasy Horror game a lot more since last post, and it's been great. I've used some Warhammer Fantasy RPG modules as the basis of the campaign, so the prep work has been minimal. And the group has /really/ got into some roleplaying. There was one session recently where no combat occurred /at all/, and it was still fun. Quite cool. It seems we've got back to more of the gaming style we had in the past.

Unfortunately, Blake's 2nd child was born a couple weeks ago, so he's been unable to play. As well, the one guy is out of town working for the next month or two, so we're down 2 players. Hopefully, we can play at Blake's house and he can still join in. Cause I don't know if the 3 remaining players will work for the campaign.


And that's it. I'm sure there's more to tell, but I can't think of anything, and my hands /really hurt/.

See you all later! o/

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jesus ... I haven't written in here in /ages/. I laughed when I read what I wrote back in Sept. So much has changed since then. Games wise, of course.



The funny thing is I broke down and bought WAR just after that last post, and I'm still playing it. I haven't been playing it like I used to play MMOs. It's usually an hour or two, here or there. Since I started, the game has improved quite a bit, though I seem to have this annoying lag since the last patch, and random desynch issues. Aside from the network issues, the game has been a lot more stable since I started.

They've added a lot of features that I was highly impressed by, but that could be cause the game was pretty buggy before and there was a lot of polish needed. Things added that really should have been there from the beginning, as any AAA title would have.

For the most part, I've stuck around cause the PvE isn't that bad (along the same lines as WoW), the animations are pretty good (aside from a few horrendous ones), and I like PvP in WAR (for the most part).

The PvP is actually fun, and the best part is it's accessible from any level. And the instanced battles ("scenarios"), are available from anywhere in your current zone, provided you haven't outlevelled the zone range. There are the Realm vs. Realm (RvR) lakes where you can PvP over battlefield objectives (BOs) and Keeps. They are meant to be the focus of the game, as they affect the tiers above them, leading to tier 4 which can allow one side to sack the opponent's home city.

It all sounds ridiculously cool in theory, but after actually participating in a Keep siege in Tier 2, I can say I don't see why people do the open RvR stuff at all. It's basically who can bring the bigger zerg, and the Keep fights become a meat grinder as the only way to the 2nd level is up a narrow ramp. The defenders can rain down on the attackers and since there is collision of players, their tanks can stand at the top of the ramp and keep people from getting through. All while running at like < 5 fps. Oh .. did I mention there is the Keep Lord NPC on the 2nd floor too, who's a Lord class NPC. Thus he dishes out stupid DPS and has insane HPs. Yeah ... not all that well designed at all.

The RvR in Tier 1 is the best there is, cause it's only over BOs, and they are simply guarded by a Champion class NPC and some regular mobs. Also, it's all open field, so there is actual room to maneuver and flank the opponents. So much more fun.

At least the scenarios are entertaining, and an easy way to get some XP and PvP in. Basically, I'm using WAR to be a PvE game sometimes, but a mostly to get my PvP fix. I don't play FEAR anymore (cause no one else does), and I don't have any other good games for PvP.

What it comes down to ultimately is that I'll probably play WAR casually (like I am right now) until I hit the level cap (or close to) and then quit. Unless they can give me more incentive to do RvR, or at least make Keep fights interesting and fun, I don't see any reason to do it.


Again, like I called it, I stopped playing EVE since the last post, and have recently got an itch to play it. I re-subbed a while back and kept my skills training, mostly cause they changed how the system works so you can't set a skill to keep training while your account is inactive. I lost a couple months, but that's not a big deal. I've got about 28 million skillpoints, so I'm far ahead of the curve.

I don't know if I'll really get back into EVE at all. It will probably be a side game I play from time to time to do something different. Since the PvE is boring as hell, and the PvP has stupid death penalties I don't see this ever becoming my main MMO.



Smallville has been not bad this season, surprising since Michael Rosenbaum (aka. Lex Luther) left the show. He was one of my favourite characters, and a Superman staple, so seeing how they were going to adjust the show was interesting. Best part though has to be the writing off of Lana Lang. I never liked the actress (she looks like she's still 15, WTF?!) and I always found Lois to be more interesting. Finally, they are developing the Clark-Lois-Superman love triangle.

Hereos has been meh, for the most part. Not sure why I keep watching it. Maybe cause I hope it will get good for a change.

Terminator was good this season as well. Not too much that was new, but I like where they are going. And I have to say, Brian Austin Green plays his role very well. Never thought I'd say that about a former 90210 cast member.


Inferno and I finally beat Act 1 of Neverwinter Nights 2 the other night. I've swapped my character once already cause Rangers suck in NWN2. Now I'm playing a sorcerer and it's far cooler. Mega damage spells FTW! Though I've got to be continuously aware of friendly fire with the difficulty setting we're playing on.

I haven't played anything co-op with Kofi in forever. The only thing we got some co-op with was Left4Dead, and that was a single session. He's played it /a lot/ with his other buddies and really enjoyed it. I played through solo and found it cool, but ultimately, too short. Even co-op play all the way through really doesn't make up for the price of the game. It should have been cheaper, or had more than 4 chapters. I beat all the chapters in about an hour each. 4 hrs of playtime is not work 50 bucks, no matter how you slice it.




It's silly, but our group has devolved into infighting about gaming as of late. Me, Inferno, Blake and our buddy who moved back to town are all for GURPS, and the other 3 guys are really only wanting to play DnD. It's like War of the Gaming Systems.

It's pretty stupid, really. We've played DnD for like 3 years, they should be at least okay with playing some GURPS for a little bit. Basically, I have to run my Horror/Fantasy game for GURPS next cause it's the only game that we can share common ground on. The DnD guys don't really like anything other than fantasy, and the GURPS guys like all kinds of gaming.

Like in my stupid long phone conversation with Blake not too long ago, I said that the DnD guys are so adamant over playing only DnD cause I think it's all they've ever experienced. They've probably only played hack 'n slash DnD in it's varying incarnations over the years so they don't understand where me and the GURPS guys are coming from. We're all more Narrativist gamers, so plot is the primary part of the game. To the DnD guys, it's a game first and foremost, plot is cool, but can be secondary a lot of the time.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out after this. Cause Blake surprised both me and Inferno when he said if they won't play GURPS, we'll play without them. We didn't think he would ever be like that, but I think he's got as fed up as we have with DnD. It's just taken a bit longer to show.


That's it. I'm done. Blake's phonecall in the middle of this post drained me of a lot of my effort to type. Guess I got a lot of my frustrations out while talking to him, so I didn't need to type as much. Plus, it totally threw me off track so I can't remember half of what I was going to post. :P

Later all,
The Rev.