It hasn't been that long but a lot has happened since last entry so I needed to share.
In the "too many games to play" category, I'm still behind the 8 ball. I finished Torchlight, which was pretty satisfying. It really doesn't end, as there is an "endless dungeon" with level scaled mobs, but the main plot is over so I had no desire to continue.
It was pretty awesome, though the difficulty once I hit the last few levels jumped astronomically and everything seemed to be able to 1-3 shot me. It was rather frustrating. I had to go "super cheese mode" and spam my AoE fireball arrow ability to just nuke everything. Lots of the time I did it from range when I couldn't even see the enemies cause of the fog of war.
The last boss fight was ridiculous as well. He took me a good 5-10 mins to beat, and I died at least a dozen times before I found a kind of cheap way to beat him. And then it was still a slog. Pretty cool boss though.
After finishing Torchlight I've moved on to Dragon Age, and for the most part I've been good, but lately I've been slipping again. Shattered Horizon had a free update and now there are 4 more maps (8 total). The new maps are awesome. I especially like the giant destroyed satellite dish and the huge mass driver. Both are epic. One new map is cool, but causes a lot of performance issues with people due to the lighting effects. Hopefully they find a way to optimize it.
Shattered Horizon has become an awesome filler game now, as it's easier to find a populated server, and rounds don't take that long. Plus, it's not nade/tube spam like CoD4, or effing chopper/airstrike spam. I hate that. A lot more tactics and skill in SH compared to CoD4.
I was thinking about getting Bayonetta for my 360, but I've decided against it, mostly due to financial reasons. I've been spending too much on gaming, and I need to reign it in a little. Aliens vs. Predator for PC is another game I was thinking about getting for the SP. But I might just try and pir8 it from a torrent instead. I know, I know ... it's bad. :(
As for Dragon Age, I've got a ways into it, but not as far as I'd hoped after the amount of time I've played. I think I'm just shy of 60 hrs and it doesn't feel like I'm anywhere near the end. Perhaps it's because I die a lot when fights go bad, especially on the Hard setting, so I end up playing the same thing over multiple times until I beat it. It's a total throwback to old school games, but I like that. New games are so fucking easy it's not fun, and they are over so quickly (I'm looking at YOU, CoD: MW series) that they aren't worth the effort. Even in a good game like Borderlands it got stupid easy near the end I was headshotting/insta-killing the enemies it became retarded.
Gimme old school games like X-COM: UFO Defense any day. You always felt like you were in danger and could lose your entire squad at any time in X-COM. That's what made it great. The actual fear of losing/dying. New games don't have that at all. Bioshock is a prime example, as the enemies don't even regain their health when you die, so all you do is rez in the chamber, run back and finish them off. Stupid ...
Anyways, DAO is really feeling like a mini-MMO to me, so it's pretty cool. I just wish it was MP like NWN2, so that I could duo with Inferno or something. The gameplay is effing sweet, and I love a lot of the abilities in it. I wish that DnD 3.5 was more like DAO, cause then I could see playing it more. Sadly, DnD 3.5 is pretty broken, IMO. More on that later.
So, now I'm trying to finish DAO, but it seems I can never find the urge to play it, as I know it's going to take me a few hours at least. And I always start playing games way too late in the evening so I don't want to stay up that late when I work in the morning. Thus, rounds of SH or internet surfing usually occur.
I have an unopened copy of Mass Effect 2 for my XBox 360 sitting on my TV stand too. I used XMas gift cards to get it, so I'm not worried about playing it yet. But, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 drops today and after watching the vids of it, Kofi and I are stoked. It looks like an awesome replacement for our old teamups in Battlefield 2142. Hopefully, this time with far less server issues and login problems.
Oh ... jesus. I totally forgot about all the MMO stuff, and the games with my guildies from Aion. Next section.
So, after Aion has left almost everyone from War Seekers down, and we're all looking for new games to play in the meantime (ie. while we wait for Star Wars: The Old Republic :P), we've been posting about stuff on our forums. This has led to people getting pulled in many different directions. Namely, me.
First, my one guildie mentioned Global Agenda. It's an FPS like game that mixes Team Fortress and Tribes with a sub fee part called Conquest. It's alliances (made of a bunch of agencies/guilds) at war with other alliances. And they take control of areas of the planet that are a hex map. It's kind of hard to summarize quickly, but suffice to say, it's like EVE PvP but in an FPS, and without the insane death penalty. Really cool sounding. Some players have said it's not ready for a sub fee (it's free right now while the devs tweak it), and it gets repetitive. But I'd kinda like another FPS, as I'm a BOOM! Headshot! nut, and I love games that are hop on and play. Also, it would be hella cool to team up with the guildies playing it.
Second, myself and 2 other guildies caught Allods Online through Keen and Graev's blog and were following it, as I mentioned last post. All seemed well up until the last stage of the Closed Beta. The company added a debuff upon death that stacks up to 4 times, and cripples your ability to fight even with 1 debuff. Then they made it last 50 MINUTES! at level 40, and is only removable with a Cash Shop (CS) item, Perfume, or by paying a lot of gold to an NPC. Also, the debuff applies during PvP. And Perfume gives you a huge HP buff. So they made it MANDATORY for PvP and most likely PvE.
THEN .... (WTF? there's MORE????) the publishers made the CS prices INSANE! Like 20 bucks for a bag that is 6 slots bigger. And $1.35 per hour of Perfume! Not to mention 6000 dollars for a max level rune for your gear. People went RABID.
Allods has lost all the following it had, and even though the publisher is talking about changing the CS prices this week, most people won't play it on principle now. Plus, the next patch coming from the Russian developers pushes the death debuff up to 2 HOURS at level 40.
Third, we all discussed Star Trek Online at length, and most people decided it just wasn't something they were interested in. A few people picked it up, but I don't think they are still playing. Especially since Cryptic/Atari decided to try and pull a fast one on their subscribers.
They put the game up for 10 bucks off on the Atari site, plus added an ADDITIONAL 60 DAYS of playtime. Current players were OUTRAGED, as the game hasn't even hit it's first 30 and new buyers could get the game plus 90 days for less. Then Cryptic (or Atari, we really don't know) decided to try and cover the whole thing up by removing all posts to it, and changing their site. The people who did buy the game aren't getting the additional 60 days and CS reps tell them they are basically SOL. WTF? Cryptic/Atari have seemingly pulled an NGE, but with customer service instead. It's really going to hurt STO and their bottom line.
People think they did this as fiscal year end is at the end of the month, and they want to look good. Sadly, this will most likely have the exact opposite effect and almost kill STO.
And Last, after a bit of talking, myself and 2 of my guildies are giving Guild Wars a try. Though I think they are going to be a lot more hardcore than me, as I just don't have the time for GW, and I doubt I could keep up with their levelling pace anyways.
About the tabletop gaming, we've been playing Inferno's Cyberpunk game, using the GURPS system, for a few sessions now. I think it's been at least 5-6 as I've spent points and still have almost 19. But then I've been at every session and everyone else has missed at least one session.
The game has been cool, but our one gaming buddy is playing his random/impulsive self again and just getting into gunfights cause he's bored. It has REALLY annoyed the entire group so far, and the rest of us have discussed it at length. But it's cause he is really only familiar with the usual junior/high school DnD gaming sessions of, "There's bad guys. You kill them and take their stuff." He's not that into the mystery plot of the Cyberpunk game, and can't seem to keep his RPing in-line with his character. ie. he does things his character would most definitely NOT do.
Other than that, the game's been fun, and a very nice change of pace from standard fantasy trope. It seems the core 4 of us, Inferno, myself, Blake and Nihil (our other buddy), are all fed up with fantasy gaming in general and want to try out some new stuff. Nihil is thinking about GMing a fantasy/mystery game, similar to the Dresden Files novels. It would be kind of an urban fantasy game, with the PCs all being a part of a government agency, similar to the BPRD in Hellboy.
He hasn't specified anything though, but I'd really like to get a chance to play it. Nihil is really good at GMing, it's just he always runs out of steam/has RL issues/thinks he's doing it wrong, so games get abandoned. Hopefully, he can keep things going so we can try it a little. At least for a 6-10 session mini-campaign. I think I've been the only person in our group to GM consecutively for several months. My Warhammer fantasy game in GURPS was really fun, and the guys did seem to enjoy themselves a lot. Kinda makes me proud that one of our best gaming campaigns in recent years has been mine.
Blake has also expressed a desire to finish off our old Brightstone DnD 3.5 game, just to get some completion to the game. It was left off at a bad point so it would be nice to end it properly. And I really don't care about losing my characters anymore, so the next part which is supposedly a really deadly trap infested dungeon is fine by me.
Blake also wants to run a mini-campaign in a swashbuckling, pirate DnD gameworld. He was thinking about limiting the allowed material to the core 3 books too, so that we can avoid all the powergaming and "rules creep". He also thought of a Rifts style game, using the GURPS or BRP systems, would be cool too. Since Blake is a really good GM, and has had YEARS of GMing experience, I'm up for anything he runs. He's expressed interest in GMing a lot of different games, actually. Probably cause he's used to GMing a lot.
Another thing I've got on my agenda is more Warhammer 40k books. I picked up another 2 omnibuses, so I've got something like 3500 pages left to read again. I still haven't touched 2 of the omnis from the first batch.
As for TV, I've got about 3 episodes of Smallville to watch still, and Legend of the Seeker and Big Bang Theory when they air. Also, I picked up the full series of Black Lagoon, an anime I DLed a few years back and liked, so I'm working my way through that too.