Friday, August 20, 2010

Wow ... it's been a long time since I posted last. And there's been a lot to talk about. Here goes:

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Gaming drought has come and gone, and come and gone again since last time. I've played a lot of games since then and am currently back to somewhat of a drought, but not quite.

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Here's an update on what I mentioned last post. I'm going to go point form for easier reading.
  • Bad Company 2: Pretty much abandoned this game, as I have no desire to gain the unlocks and the players in general are fucking morons. Inferno and I teamed up a little but he died, a LOT. I don't think he was getting to into it, but he was also experiencing a lot of lag from his wireless connection. Maybe when he gets his hardline installed we'll spark BC2 back up.
  • Shattered Horizon is DEAD. There is never more than 10-15 people playing SH any time I've logged in. And usually I get 2 rounds before people start leaving. Maybe once the hard copies come out in Europe there will be more people.
  • Red Dead Redemption: War and I got one ONE NIGHT of MP out of RDR. The MP is so utterly simplified compared to the SP that it's pathetic. It becomes either Deathmatch style games or grinding gang hideouts in co-op OVER AND OVER. Totally a let down. The SP was top notch, just the MP was boring.
  • GTA4 DLC: Bought and played through both The Lost and Damned, and The Ballad of Gay Tony. TBOGT was much better, IMO. TLAD was good for gunfights, but the story and characters were so generic it was super dull. TBOGT was more over the top and the characters were very believable. I never did any of the extra stuff in either cause it wasn't too interesting. Plot missions almost entirely.
  • Lord of the Rings Online: I haven't played this in months, probably from shortly after last post. I never got into my Captain, even after giving him a somewhat solid go. Mostly due to the fact that I was bored and lonely in LotRO. I didn't see Inferno at all, and no one from War Seekers was interested. There's barely any people in the lower zones, and even region chat is near dead unless you're in Bree. Also the upcoming F2P changes to LotRO have put me off putting in any time, for fear it will be all for nothing later on.
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In new games I DLed a pirated copy of Starcraft 2, just so I could see the story and watch the cool cinematics. But to my dismay, there are only 4 cinematics, and I saw all but 1 before the game was even out. They use in-game cinematics more than anything, and they aren't anywhere near as interesting. Also the plot is thin, and not all that interesting.

Overall, I'd never purchase SC2, especially since it plays almost EXACTLY as SC1 which came out 12 years ago. And I was never interesting in SC1 that much when it came out, so SC2 doesn't do anything for me either. Dawn of War 1 and 2 are far better RTS games, IMO. World in Conflict is another RTS/RTT game that blows the standard SC RTS formula out of the water, IMO. Base building and resource gathering is fucking stupid timesinks. The fighting should be all I'm worried about, not boring, slow gameplay from 12 years ago.

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I also picked up a bunch of XBox Live! Arcade games for my 360, and have played a bunch of them. The best one by far is Monday Night Combat. Kind of a 3rd person shooter mix of Team Fortress 2, DOTA and any tower defense game. It's really fun. And the humour in it is great. It's kind of like BloodBowl in it's delivery as well. Awesome fun. The online MP is lots of fun, but I'm not too sure it's worth the XBox Live! monthly cost at all. I might get a Live! gamecard to add some time to my account, but I doubt I'm ever going to subscribe to Live! Gold ever again, especially since I have to phone Microsoft to cancel the recurring subscription now. Used to be able to click an option on the Live! account page, but that's been disabled for all but US players. Fucking stupid.

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In guild news, we're all split up now and it sucks.

A few people are in EQ2 now. I tried to play the trial again (for like the 5th time) but the game is SO BAD I just can't make myself play for more than a couple hours. The GFX are terrible, the animations are FUCKING BRUTAL, and the landscapes are utterly devoid of life, IMO. It's one of the worst MMOs I've ever played and I have no idea how people defend it. Sure, it probably has a lot of content, but the core gameplay and visuals are terrible. If they reskinned EQ2 and redid all the animations it would probably be really good. But it seems SOE developed the game engine first, the quests second, and the art and animations dead last. I always thought that LotRO animations were kinda bad, but EQ2 is so bad it makes LotRO seem like a dream.

War and Bel are still plugging away in Aion, which has the new 2.0 update apparently. Bel is saying it's like a new game, but since I got so burned by the game at the start and the utter grind in the higher levels, I'm totally not interested. Maybe if I have some gaming drought in the future and want to waste 15 bucks to see how it is, I'll resub. Also, there were major server mergers so now there are like 4-5 servers instead of 12 or something. Elyos are dominant on all but 1 so there's major QQ all around now. /facepalm @ NCSoft

A few people, not sure how many, are back in WAR, but I think they aren't that active. WAR doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and there's like 4 servers now, so the population is almost nil. My Chosen was cool and all, but the game wasn't near what I wanted, especially looking back at it now, and I bet it's still as buggy/laggy as hell.

Most of the guild is waiting on Guild Wars 2 and The Old Republic, still. Since both are due sometime next year (possibly 2012, IMO), there's little reason to get hyped, at least as I see it. Aion burned us all so bad, we've become cynical towards MMOs for the most part.

War and I both tried out All Points Bulletin, and while we sung it's praises at the beginning, the rose coloured glasses soon came off and we found out how fucking repetitive it got. No one but 1 guildie picked it up, and now in recent news RealTime Worlds, the developer of APB, is going bankrupt, after wasting near $100 million on APB. It's going to be the new Tabula Rasa/SWG NGE MMO fiasco that everyone will point to and say, "Whatever you do, don't do what they did." Seriously bad news, especially since that $100 million could have been used to make so many good games otherwise.

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And lastly in gaming news, I've started playing Champions Online. It was really a shot in the dark, since I had only heard bad things about CO, especially compared to City of Heroes. But since War and his wife were playing, I figured I'd try the demo on Steam and give it a shot. I have to say I've been happily surprised at CO and can actually see playing it for a decent amount of time. Sure I've been in CO long enough to see the flaws people have talked about, but the base game is sound, IMO.
  • Combat is thoroughly enjoyable, sometimes completely awesome at times.
  • YOU CAN THROW CARS! Yes! Finally a Superhero MMO that lets me do what I've always wanted since Freedom Force.
  • The graphics are top notch, especially compared to CoH, and the graphic novel look I was so hesitant about back when CO came out actually works very well, IMO.
  • The character creation is epic, better than CoH and STO, I think.
  • The open frameworks for characters mean no classes like CoH, which is something I ADORE, and takes me back to my SWG days.
  • The community is for the most part really awesome, and chats a bunch in /zone so I always have the semblance of people around me, a nice change from the loneliness of LotRO.
  • There are PvP instances, joinable from anywhere, and one of them has ZOMBIES! Yes!
  • And the levelling speed is much better than CoH, so I'm not grinding like hell just to get a level, even in the early teens. I think CO can be an MMO where I actually hit the level cap for once, something I haven't done since I hit the skill cap in SWG back in 2003!
All in all, CO has been a nice change of pace in MMOs for me, and kind of a throwback to my fun days in CoH, minus the bad stuff like grinding. If I could find a cool RP guild to join in CO I'd be set. War and his wife don't play anymore, I think, so there's no War Seekers to join up with. But since the CO community is rather good natured, I'm sure I could meet some cool people to RP with.

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As for Farscape, I watched all of it, including the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries finale. It's become my favourite sci-fi show ever now. Crichton is by far my favourite character. He's so awesome. And Aeryn (Claudia Black) is so DAMN HOT it hurts. *droooool*

In other TV, most of my shows are over for the season, but True Blood is on. And it's getting good again, aside from the fallback to soft core porny scenes recently. Aside from that, the plot is getting really interesting. And Eric is by far my favourite character in True Blood. Viking Vampire from Sweden? Hell yes!

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In tabletop, we had 1 intro session of Nihil's game, in which he got VERY annoyed with the one guy, and that's it. Pretty much no gaming in over 3 months. It fucking sucks.

I've done a bunch of work on my Mass Effect game, basically writing out the entire plot of the campaign and fleshing out the details of the first mission.

I've also picked up the Mutants and Masterminds books, based on the d20 system. Mostly because of Champions, and I've watched all my superhero movies over the last couple months. Though it's like DnD 3.5, it's different enough that I like it, especially for something like a Superhero game. I'm going to run it as a filler game, if I ever can, so that we have a fallback option if our main game is out for a night. Since it's d20, it's super easy to play and familiar enough for everyone that playing should be a painless affair.

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And I haven't been keeping up with my reading, AT ALL. It sucks, but with all the games I've been playing and my odd schedule at work now, I just haven't had the time to get into them. Maybe in a month or so when things settle down.

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That's it for now. See you next time!

The Rev.

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