Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 into 2006

Happy New Years!



As we leave 2005 I wish the best to all of you for 2006. Look for a wrap up of 2005 sometime this week. Enjoy!

Xbox 360 outsold by Gamecube in Japan?

According to this report from Nintendojo the Xbox 360 can pretty much be wrapped up as a complete failure in Japan. It is failing to outsell the Gamecube and this is not because of lacking supplies. Japan has a massive excess of Xbox 360's. Me thinks that Microsoft's marketing campaign to drive hype by shortchanging supply only works in the American market... go figure.

Here is a cut and paste of the top selling consoles and games from Japan from the linked article.

    Hardware
  1. DS - 597,628

  2. PSP - 161,332

  3. PS2 - 97,475

  4. GCN - 36,646

  5. GBASP - 35,764

  6. GBM - 19,261

  7. Xbox360 - 5,674

  8. GBA - 906

  9. Xbox - 141


    Software
  1. PS2 - Kingdom Hearts II, Square Enix - 727,591

  2. DS - Animal Crossing: Wild World, Nintendo - 416,132

  3. DS - Mario Kart DS, Nintendo - 302,742

  4. PS2 - Naruto: Narultimate Hero 3, Bandai - 216,966

  5. DS - Pokemon Mysterious Dungeon: Blue Rescue Force, Pokemon - 157,786

  6. GBA - Pokemon Mysterious Dungeon: Red Rescue Force, Pokemon - 156,430

  7. DS - Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop!, Bandai - 156,181

  8. PS2 - Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence, Konami - 103,894

  9. GCN - Mario Party 7, Nintendo - 100,130

  10. DS - DS Training For Adults: Work Your Brain , Nintendo - 93,240

Goldeneye Source HL2 Mod

One of my all time favorite multi-player games was Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64. Many of my high school days were lost to the pure joy that was Goldeneye 007 multi-player! It seems the game has left a mark on quite a few other people as well. So much of mark that they have made a Half Life 2 Mod to recreate the Goldeneye experience.

Goldeneye Source is a multi-player (with limited single player) mod for Half Life 2. It features many faithful recreations from the original Nintendo 64 version. There is plenty of servers out there running the mod and the action in game is intense.

So step back in time with me a bit and indulge into a bit of gaming nostalgia. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Template Is Here

I hope everyone enjoys the new template. I am still working out the bugs and would appreciate feedback from anyone having problems.

Known Bug List:
-[Fixed]To read comments you must click on Post Comment. Working to make # Comments clickable.
-[Fixed]While using IE, the columns of text overwrite each other.
-[Fixed]If your resolution is set below 1024x768, the background picture interferes with reading the text. --> Even though the problem is fixed, it is strongly recommended to view this site at 1024x768 resolution.

Update: 8 Jul, 2007 - Edited post and applied label.

New World of Warcraft race speculation... Draenei

Gaming Steve seems to have "the" scoop on the new Alliance race for World of Warcraft. Unfortunately it is also the most plausible and dare I say most boring race possible... the Draenei.

Gaming Steve quotes a leaked Computer Gaming Magazine scan;
"*Alliance players will enjoy playing as Draenei, and the new Blood Elf race gives the Horde faction its first exercise in what humans perceive as sex appeal (even though those Troll females are pretty cute)."
Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Removed broken links and pictures. Applied label.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm an e-celebrity... featured at GU Comics

It seems my /. article about how MTV is offering better gaming TV than G4 is the center of a GU Comic. The comic features "a guy at Gamergod" which just so happens to be me.

To be kind I stopped in on their forums and offered my opinion on some things their posters seemed to be missing. Here is my post...
"I think most of the people hating on MTV here have not honestly seen any of their gaming shows. It is heads and tales above anything G4 produces. Most obviously because there is more money being spent on production, but a few key areas they hit make gamers watch... and we're not just talking teenagers.

1. If they don't have the content they don't have a show for it. G4 thinks just because its part of gaming they need to have a show on it. I think that speaks for itself.

2. They produce quality over quantity. G4 is exactly the opposite because they are still trying to fill in all that time between Man Show reruns and infomercials.

3. They focus on gamers of ALL variety. MTV is well known for selling sex to teenagers, but oddly enough when it comes to gaming they sell it without believing their audience is a bunch of teenage boys. Find one thing on G4 that isn't trying to sell their programming to a bunch of teenage boys.

The great thing about MTV is you can grab a TV guide and watch what you want. You can TIVO quality shows without having to worry if your TIVOing another rerun off of G4.

To each his own."
Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Updated post and applied labels. Removed link to now defunct Gamergod.com article.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Slashdot - MTV making better gaming TV than G4TV?

My article from GamerGod.com (now defunct, removed link), MTV making better gaming TV than G4TV?, is featured on Slashdot this afternoon.

Enjoy!

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Removed broken link and applied label.
Unfortunately, no copy of this article exists.

I hath returned!

The week long raid concluded with the following pile of loot:

Star Wars Episode 3 DVD
War of the Worlds DVD

Books:







Two heavy duty frying pans. Afterall, working on that oh-so-important cooking skill!

Long sleeved Green Bay Packers shirt with +5 Fanboi enchant!

Air Force plaque with medallion and US flag stamp.

Mini-nativity set.

Update: 25 July, 2008 - Edited post and applied labels.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gone the 20th - 26th... Wisconsin here I come!

I will be home for the holidays so I hope everyone has a good holiday season!

Update: 8 Nov, 2006 - Removed broken links, consolidated post, and applied labels.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Reposted Book Review : Smart Bomb


Title: Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution
Authors: Heather Chaplin, Aaron Ruby
Genre: Gaming
Publisher: Algonquin Books (October 12, 2006)
Quick-Hit Thought: Great read for those interested.

I'm just a gamer. I don't develop games. I have no grand dreams of magically breaking into the industry. However, there are many developers in the industry who have done just that. This is a review of the book, Smartbomb : The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Video game Revolution. This is a review from the side of a gamer, of a book about the rock star developers that make my world go.

At the heart of Smartbomb is a collection of stories about the rock star developers of the video game industry. The pacing of the book is defined by the first developer we meet, Cliff Blezinski. "CliffyB", as he is known around the offices at Epic Games, is known for his once flashy pimp-like attire, back when he burst onto the scene with the Unreal and Unreal Tournament series.

CliffyB is a recurring character in the book. He is considered to be one of the last home-grown programmers who has truly broken into the industry. In a day where developers arrive with college degrees built upon game development, CliffyB is a throwback to such legends as Will Wright of The Sims fame and John Carmack of Doom fame. Wright and Carmack don't have game design degrees, but they have some of the most influential video games in history under their belts. They developed games, because there was no other outlet for their creative talents.

However, CliffyB has gone from flashy pimp to laid back front man for Epic. There is a tantalizing connection where we see him at the same parties and conferences as Wright and Carmack. While CliffyB catches the audience's eyes with a new dazzling hair color, Will Wright drops a bomb as he displays his latest effort known, Spore. Wright's presentation ends in a standing ovation. Smartbomb shows us where these visionaries came from.

The husband-and-wife team of Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby connect many dots amongst a varied background of gaming history. Reading through the book will have you hitting Google for more information on such subjects as the Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT, and the Stupid Fun Club. Their writing style has a dramatic flare that drives the book, and readers will find themselves wanting to know more about the topics covered.

While there are many eye-opening insights into several facets of the gaming industry, there are also several reproductions of well known gaming history tidbits, such as Nolan Bushnell and the early days of Atari. For the seasoned video game historian, this is all information covered in other books, such as Steven Kent's "The Ultimate History of Video Games'', and Dean Takahashi’s "Opening the Xbox: Inside Microsoft's Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution.''

However, there are enough new connections and flavors amongst the entwined stories that the reiteration of information is not overwhelming. Also, being a relatively newer book in a growing industry, it serves as a great starting point for the new-age video game historian. The driving point, the reader will know more about gaming and where gaming is headed after reading this book.

It is very interesting that most of the gaming scene was covered. At one point, you're in the “gaming room” of an Anarchy Online addict before you are whisked away to the sweltering hotel basement in Dallas, where the latest Cyberathlete Professional League tournament is underway.

Smartbomb drags you into the rock star life of the game development industry and then firmly plants you back with the core of the industry: the gamers themselves.
Update: 7 Nov, 2006 - Reposted from old Heartless Gamer Reviews section and applied labels.

Update: 2 Apr, 2007 - Edited labels and article.

Update: 28 July, 2008 - Added info section.

Update: 15 Dec, 2009 - Reposted to new Heartless_ Gamer Reviews.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What I learned building my new PC so far...

Here is what I've learned so far building my new PC.

First issue was that the damn BIOS wouldn't recognize the hard drive. Well I stopped here thinking it was pointless to go any further without troubleshooting this down. Long story short...

1. Configure single SATA HD into a JBOD RAID setup via RAID controller setup.
2. Set CDROM to be first boot device.
3. Use mobo setup CD to create a SATA RAID driver disk.
4. Install Windows and press F6 to install additional drivers.
5. Install SATA RAID driver.
6. Windows now recognizes the drive for the install!

Two hours to figure those simple steps out. Had a friend from that lives in England that is a tech rep by day and he did all the research for me. Great guy! I looked at the same FAQ and troubleshooting guides he did and I would have never came up with the same solution.

Next problem... and current problem (didn't fix because I had to come to work).

Net connection works fine without a router.

Connection doesn't work with router.

Lots of crap going on here... will have to dig into it.

Update: 8 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and applied labels.

Friday, December 16, 2005

MO5 - The SOE effect... part II... MMORPG madness

Mouthing Off 5

If you play Everquest 2 currently, I would quit. Why? Because the SOE effect is going full tilt and the ole’ captain over at SOE, John Smedley, has lost the lock to his spigot: err, mouth. Read the clown’s: err John Smedley’s new interview over at Gamespot.

To quote the clown:
"One thing that I love about our company is that there is no 'quit' in this company. It's about making sure that we have pride in what we do. People within the company feel so much pride in this game that they want it to beat the crap out of World of Warcraft. That's something we feel very passionate about. We know we are capable of making the best stuff out there, and I'm proud to say that with the changes we're making in Galaxies, I think we're headed in the right direction."

They love your company so much that the Star Wars Galaxies team has lost numerous leads, developers, and technicians?

They are so dedicated that they somehow are going to rebuild a 2.5 year old game into a World of Warcraft killer? You can “want to beat the crap out of World of Warcraft”, but I would think it a bit silly to actually believe you can. It is said though, confidence is a key to success.

Enough about Star Wars Galaxies, let us get back to Everquest 2. As I have previously defined the SOE effect I will connect some dots. In April ’05 Star Wars Galaxies underwent the Combat Upgrade to mixed reviews and a slight murmur in the crowd. Players stayed and lived with the changes because it was not GAME ALTERING or DRAMATIC. Fast forward to November and the BOMBSHELL known as the NGE was dropped inside a two week period.

The numbers are not in or they are very closely guarded, but the word around the Internet is that the NGE has killed Star Wars Galaxies. Actually, effectively killed would be a better statement. No amount of marketing or positive PR spin will sway a large group of new players to pick up Star Wars Galaxies sans a complete re-launch under a new name.

Now, back to Everquest 2. EQ2 already had a major revision to it's combat system and class balance. Once again, there are some murmurs in the player base about the changes. People are still playing though. However, what will happen when SOE decides that the game isn’t Everquesty enough?

Smedley claimed that their sandbox approach didn’t work with Star Wars because it wasn’t Star Warsy enough. Everquest 2 isn’t a sandbox game, but it’s no Everquest either. SOE so far has swayed from making a better Everquest all the way to making change after change to open the game up towards what I like to call “the World of Warcraft player”. Not just casual gamers, but gamers that like to solo MORE than group. Obviously World of Warcraft has found A LOT of gamers that fit this mold.

If SOE is so CONFIDENT that they can turn Star Wars Galaxies into a World of Warcraft killer then what do you think they will believe they can do with Everquest 2, which is still rumored to be short of pulling a profit due to high development costs. Is Everquest 2 in for a major shake up because it somehow doesn’t fit the mold that SOE believes it should?

If 300,000+ accounts at SWG’s peak wasn't good enough then what is the threshold for Everquest 2 before SOE mandates it be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up? Did SOE learn with Everquest 2 that sequels don’t work in the MMO market and did that scare away the idea of a Star Wars Galaxies 2 implementing their new features? I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like the SOE effect is getting worse.

With SOE’s parent company, Sony, already hurting in the public relations department with the DRM fiasco, will they be willing to take any more negative press as the story of the Star Wars Galaxies NGE debacle starts crossing into the New York Times?

Everquest 2 players: get while the getting is good. Don't say "It will never happen", because it already has. As much as you may hate the idea, you can't deny the obvious trend that SOE has set. How many more games do they need to kill to prove it?

Update: 3 May, 2009 - Edited post and applied labels.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nintendo Revolution... new possibilities explored

I was reading this article over at CNN Money and it dawned on me: the Nintendo Revolution, and the way the controller works, will reinvent the way we play games. This is the perfect chance for Nintendo to produce sequels in the series we already love without summoning that sick feeling of sequelitis. Star Fox, Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and other classic Nintendo series will have new, exciting games to play on the Nintendo Revolution.

Unlike other sequels, where the control schemes are unlikely to change from game to game, Nintendo Revolution sequels will have an exciting new twist. The new control mechanism is exactly what sequels need. Cross platform games such as the Madden series will most likely use the "old" controller style for their Revolution ports (Nintendo has stated there will be some sort of "classic" styled controller that ships with the revolution).

This is a chance for enterprising developers to revitalize some of their boring and "dead due to sequels" titles. Series like Tomb Raider, that have become the laughing stock of sequelitis, could potentially be brought back to life. Even if the game isn't perfect; playing it with a Revolution controller may bring back just enough interest to revitalize the series. This could sway more developers to publish exclusively for Nintendo. Developers love to use their big name properties to move boxes.

The Nintendo Revolution looks better everyday.
Update: 6 Apr, 2007 - Updated labels and edited post.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Newegg and Mwave shipments arriving today

It's like Christmas a whole lot earlier for me. My packages from Newegg and Mwave are in the local and "out for delivery" as of 35 minutes ago! Now the question is if and or when my Windows XP disk arrives that I bought of eBay. Second guessing myself and should of just bought Windows XP from Newegg.

I can't wait to get this beast of a PC up and running!

Mwave arrived early this morning and my eVGA 7800 GTX is in hand. Now waiting on Newegg!

UPS has arrived with all the packages. Had to come back to drop the motherboard off since he forgot it the first time! Now I am waiting on my eBay OEM copy of Windows XP Pro... damn knew I should of got the Windows XP Pro from Newegg for a few extra bucks. Oh well... I wait!

Update: 8 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and applied labels.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tookie Williams execution

I'm not getting into this whole debate, but I found a quote in this CNN article that gave me a quick giggle.
"Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who visited with Williams, said Schwarzenegger decided 'to choose revenge over redemption and to use Tookie Williams as a trophy in the flawed system.'

'To kill him is a way of making politicians look tough,' Jackson said. 'It does not make it right. It does not make any of us safer. It does not make any of us more secure.' "
My question to Jackson... isn't Arnold Schwarzenegger the epitomy of tough? Here is some proof for everyone.

Would you tangle with these guns?


What about these bad boys?


The only person looking tough in this whole situation is Tookie Williams himself as he sat on the table waiting for his trip up or down.

Monday, December 12, 2005

All my PC parts are on order...

Everything is on order for my new PC and should be here in 2-3 days. I received a great deal on the video card!

MWave.com had a little save $25 on your next purchase of $50 or more deal going on. So I bought a $1.49 cable and then bought the video card next to save $25. Shipping was about $4 more than NewEgg, but that is still $19.50 saved... not to mention NewEgg was Zero Balance on the video card I wanted. Oh and MWave was $5 cheaper initially on the card.

Now I'm so fricking nervous about getting the stuff... not so sure about MWave shipping, but we'll see. NewEgg I'm sure will get the stuff here.

Then it just leaves me to screw it up once the stuff is here.

Update: 8 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and applied labels.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Movie Review: Chronicles of Narnia

Here is my Chronicles of Narnia review for your viewing pleasure.

Not having read the books I went into this movie with an open mind. I understood the mindset that this was geared towards children and it was obvious from the onset. However, this did not impact the pleasure of watching this movie at all. I think back to some of the greatest fantasy ever. The Hobbit, which later spawned the Lord of the Rings, was written as a children’s book. Even when Tolkien began the LotR saga he was gearing it towards a children’s story.

There is something about the child’s mind that inspires true fantasy. As I watched the movie I immediately understood why the youngest child of the group, Lucy, was the first one into the world of Narnia. Narnia is a place you do not seek out; it happens when you are the least expecting.

Let's get back to the fact that this movie is geared towards children. This leads to some awkward scenes where the young actors fail to really carry the weight their roles required, but overall the movie was excellent. Looking at the roles I will give my thoughts on each.

Lucy - The youngest of the group she quickly sets herself apart in terms of acting. She carries many awkward scenes and that is a lot to say considering her young age. Her first initial interaction with the faun character of Mr. Tummus is by far one of the best of the movie.

Edmund - Really the only character in the movie with any sort of character development he definitely fits the role. He evolves and over the movie I believe he grows indefinitely on the audience.

Susan - The A-typical older sister attitude. The sad part about her role is that she seems to be there mainly to fill in holes in various scenes. There never seems to be a connection built between her and her younger sister which was disappointing.

Peter - As the designated "hero" for the story he is a very lateral character. He fits the role well, but the role leads nowhere. Like Susan, Peter suffers from being a filler character. In the opening scenes of war stricken Britain a connection begins to form with his younger brother Edmund, but by the end of the movie it is relegated to weak and quick scenes of bonding.

However, the movie is a sum of its parts and together they make for one hell of a kick ass ride. Pardon the language if there are young ones around. Outside of the four children the movie is filled with a host of computer generated characters that range from talking beavers to half-man/half-horse centaurs.

On the note of the special effects it is noticeable in some areas that Sony Imageworks is no Weta Workshop or ILM. We are still in the transition period for major motion pictures using large amounts of special effects and if Narnia is any sign its getting better by the movie.

The special effects and complete CG characters never fail the movie. The prominent character of Aslan, a Jesus inspired lion voiced by Liam Nisan, is a joy the entire movie. The comical duo of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver are a wonder to behold. I loved the imagination put into the various creatures and it makes me want to learn about each and everyone of them.

Comparisons to the Lord of the Rings trilogy were apparent before Narnia hit theaters. I’m glad to report that Narnia is nowhere near as dark or moody as Peter Jackson’s films. Again this is akin to the fact it was a Disney production developed from stories meant for children. As the scenes lift from winters blight to spring bliss the mood never strays far from the scenery.

The other disagreement point of the movie before release was the religious overtone of C.S. Lewis’s work. This is left up to interpretation during the movie. To some it has overtones into their religion while to others it is simply Narnia. It by far does not disappoint those faithful to the books from what I’ve read.

Overall the movie is like its final battle scene. It starts with a triumphant roar and as it nears its collision point it silences itself into a single heartbeat that explodes into the rage of battle. The dark points of the movie pound to a dramatic turning point, but silence into the light and magic of Narnia. It is then preserved and there is enough magic left for both adults and children alike.

Update: 7 Nov, 2006 - Reposted from old Heartless Gamer Reviews section and applied labels.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My new PC final build.... comments

Update: 8 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This originally was a post detailing all the parts I was ordering to build my new PC. Unfortunately most of the links are bad and it was easier to remove the post than to edit it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

World of Warcraft Patch 1.8.4 - When will Blizzard learn?

World of Warcraft patch 1.8.4 official notes.
* Battles must now last at least ten minutes after the start of the battle in order for the losing team to receive a Mark of Honor.
If anyone has tracked my writing about the battlegrounds and how the uber 24/7 hardcore gamers DOMINATE them then you will know exactly what is wrong with this knee jerk change.

The uber l33t teams go through BG matches in an average of 5-7 minutes when they face pick up groups. This means that the pick up groups just /afk out of the BG once they see their opponent. This creates a cycle of new people joining the BG as its getting destroyed by the uber l33t team.

When Blizzard announced that you got at least 1 honor mark for sticking the match out a lot of people started staying for the match and ACTUALLY FIGHTING for a few honorable kills before the BG was destroyed.

Now we're back to square one. The pick up players are going to receive no rewards for putting in the same time as the uber l33ts. This is getting retarded and Blizzard is screwing the BGs even more.

Monday, December 05, 2005

World of Warcraft - Warriors, Taunt, PvP

Originally, I slated this article to be a review of nearly all of the Warrior skills, talents, and the rage system. However, it was definitely apparent that the Warrior class is a sum of its parts and that debating the power of each part was an ineffective way to present my view on the balance of Warriors in WoW PvP.

Warriors are the tanks of World of Warcraft. They are the best damage absorption class in game. To the delight of most warriors, they are also quite capable of producing large amounts of damage. Offensively built and equipped warriors are a force to be reckoned with, and while defensive warriors will not achieve stellar damage numbers, they make up for it in sheer hit points, defense, and the melee advantage in regards to stats.

What is the melee advantage of stats? Basically, it is the simple fact that WoW melee classes benefit much more from each stat point when compared to the caster/hybrid classes. Casters essentially only gain benefits from one stat: intelligence. Melee classes derive an excess of benefits from every stat other than intelligence. Since stats in WoW are determined via gear, it makes sense that the essential melee class, the warrior, would derive the greatest benefit for gear. In essence, a warrior is more about the gear they wear than the skills, abilities, and talents they use.

Warriors are the melee class in World of Warcraft and are completely dependent on the gear they wear. When it is removed, their class skills do not pick up where their gear leaves off. The power of their skills, abilities, and talents are directly defined by the warriors’ gear. Almost every other class in WoW receives enhancements in their skills from the gear they wear, but are not dependent on it.

You take away the gear from a rogue, mage, or priest, and they are not completely destroyed. A warrior is not so fortunate. This concept is hard to grasp, but fortunately there has been a great video made that demonstrates the point. It focuses on the Rogue class, but it shows very well the concept of how classes other than warriors are carried by their skills and not their gear. The gear enhances these classes, truly making them better, but the foundation of the class is not the gear.

This is a departure from what I feel is good balance. Warriors that strive towards better gear are becoming terrors on the battlefield. Their skills scale upwards with their gear in a fashion that is greater than the rest of WoW classes. Over time, gear is only going to get better, and in essence, balance is at stake.

Warriors would have fared better if their PvP prowess was defined from their skills. I will use a clear example of what was missed for warriors. The taunt skill allows warriors to direct targets towards themselves to hopefully save fellow group members. However, in PvP it does nothing. This is a key skill that could have helped define warriors in PvP. However, it does not, and warriors are left chasing towards more power and damage through gear.

I will even go a step further and say that taunt would have defined warriors in PvP, if it worked to clear an enemy’s target box. A simple delay of 3-5 seconds before the enemy could re-acquire the removed target would have given warriors a defined roll in PvP. This in no way would of pigeon-holed all warriors into being taunt machines in PvP and nothing else. Warriors would still have the same choices they have now, but they would have had a much more obvious role in PvP, outside of being the person with the most hit points, armor, and damage.

Sadly, due to the lack of a defining role in PvP, warriors are delegated into just doing more damage and charging head-first into the enemy. While this is what many warriors may wish to do, there is a piece of that tank title that is lost when warriors are unable to get targets off of their support classes. Blizzard seems more than content to simply increase the power of gear with each and every patch/expansion, therefore further propelling warriors into a *must do more damage* mold. There were opportunities missed to make warriors less gear-dependent and offer the ability for every warrior to have a more clear and concise role in PvP.

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post originally linked to a Gamergod.com (now defunct) article that I wrote about World of Warcraft warriors and their effects on PvP. Unfortunately no copies of the article were saved.
Update: 9 Feb, 2007 - Article has been saved from an old post on WarcraftRealms.com. I will edit it sometime in the future.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Chrismas list!

Books -

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
The Wheel of Time - The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time - Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan

iPod Nano

Stainless steel frying pan
New slippers

No video games... I hate games as presents! I always make it clear that I will do all my game purchasing on my OWN!

Whats on your list?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Naked man jumps to death... recieves parking ticket!

I don't stray from gaming too often... err well I don't try anyways, but its 5 AM in the morning and this just cracked me up. Partly because I've had friends that visited DC and got in a good bit of trouble over parking tickets. This story from the Washington Post is just odd.

Cut and pasted for your enjoyment.
"A naked man darted from a sport-utility vehicle into a downtown Washington office building at lunchtime yesterday and then jumped to his death from the eighth floor, officials said.

The man double-parked in the 1000 block of 15th Street NW about noon, bolted from his still-running gray Jeep Cherokee, dashed past a crowd on the street and ran into the lobby of an office building, witnesses said.

Police were still trying to identify the man yesterday and to determine why he jumped. Witnesses also were trying to sort out what happened. The man had no apparent connection to the building, according to people who work there.

"He didn't even have shoes on," said James Crouch, who was working as a temporary security guard at the building. Sitting behind the security desk, Crouch first saw the man from the waist up and thought "maybe he was a rather strange jogger. But then I stood up and saw the rest of him."

The man told Crouch that he was "handicapped," asked him for 50 cents to make a phone call and then spoke incoherently, mumbling something about his father, Crouch said.

Then the man ran to an elevator. Minutes later, he emerged from a stairwell on the eighth floor. The fire alarm had been set off, presumably by the man, and the office doors on that floor were open as people began to file out, witnesses said.

The man pushed his way into one of the offices, where he said "excuse me" several times while charging toward a window, witnesses said. He smashed the glass and jumped through the window, falling onto a parapet between two buildings. Some downtown workers saw him fall.

D.C. firefighters and emergency medical service personnel arrived at the scene, and police quickly cordoned off the block.

Workers in the eighth-floor office said they had not seen the man before and did not believe that he had ties to the offices there. They didn't hear anything he said other than "excuse me," a witness said.

Before it became apparent what was taking place, the city's parking enforcers reacted to the abandoned SUV, which had leather seats, Maryland plates and no sign of clothing inside. They slapped a ticket on the windshield."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pepsi Online

Good read over at Virgin Worlds.

Best part is the picture! No game, other than World of Warcraft, could illustrate the point better!

Monday, November 28, 2005

How To : The key to the World of Warcraft Auction House

This is a cut'n'paste of my response on Tobold's MMORPG blog about the World of Warcraft auction house. Find the article here.

Controlling the market is key. I have the items I watch and I will buyout and low sellers and undercutters. Then I will repost at my price. I usually can bully out the undercutters because they are usually aren't dedicated AH watchers. They got some cash and that's all they cared about.

My keys to AH riches while still playing the game are as follows...

1. Pick your poison and stick with it. Don't switch back and forth between multiple items unless you really want to waste hours in the AH. If you are a disenchanter... stick with it. If you are a miner... stick with it.

2. Own the market every login. Take the few minutes to buyout every undercutter. This is tough at first because you probably will take losses on some purchases, but you are ensuring your future market.

Don't be afraid the mail people if they constantly undercut you. Don't be mad at them! Explain to them that you would like to purchase at a set price and see if they will stop using the AH. It is MORE profitable for them to sell lower to you because they are NOT losing money on AH fees.

3. Don't flood the market.
You have bank space... SO USE IT! If you find the market empty and a demand for your goods you will have the "stock" in the bank to fill up the market... and usually you can charge a bit extra.

30 minutes a day can make you 100 gold a week easily and I've proven it time and again. Just the question of what to buy/sell... I'll let you figure that part out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

After T-day update!

I am back home from Texas and all my T-day happenings and here is the update of what happened while I was gone. Lets begin:

What sort of gaming did I get done in Texas? Not much that is for sure. The CZee, AT&T gaming/net cafe, was poorly managed and I will write up; Mouthing Off 5 - Piss poor net cafes

Whats in my gaming future?

1. Battlefield 2 : Special Forces - Initial impressions are good, but I'll have to dig into the expansion, so expect a better impressions post on this $30 expansion to an already good game.

2. Call of Duty 2 - I was getting good before I left for Texas and I hope to return to prominence. Sadly, I can't dedicate the time I wish I could. I also plan to knock out some more of the single-player campaign.

3. Counter Strike : Source - Renewed interest to get some CSS in, but not too much.

4. The Hidden - A half life 2 MOD that my boys at MWHQ.net are playing, so we shall play and we shall gank some newbs.

5. Day of Defeat : Source - Not only Call of Duty 2, but DoD : Source! I paid for it so mine as well get at least 50 hours of gaming out of it.

Update: 12 May, 2009 - Edited post, removed broken links, and applied labels.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Texas

I'm in the big state of Texas from the 14th until the 24th and I just so happen to have found some internet access.

During my down time away from training I am reading the book Smartbomb, a very good read for any gamer, and I'll have a review when I get back to normalville.

Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and applied labels.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Poll shows Star Wars Galaxies NGE plans not popular

Star Wars Galaxies NGE seems to be taking a beating not only on the message boards, but in random internet polls. Discount the validity of such polls and pass it off as just "whiners who haven't tried it yet", but there is a lot of people talking.

People are sick of changing with no promise that when and if things get better in Star Wars Galaxies that they won't just up and change it again. No amount of bribing or promising from the Star Wars Galaxies development team can sell this vocal crowd.

It is human nature to despise change and Broken Toys has a good discussion why.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Smedley spins the Star Wars Galaxies NGE

Next Gen has an article/interview up with SOE head honcho, John Smedley. (bad link, removed)
" 'We got a lot of feedback about what was wrong and what wasn't. We saw early on that people weren't satisfied with the combat, so we decided to try something pretty radical.' "
Hold on here... the MULTIPLE complaints from BETA TESTERS didn't give you a clue before you launched the game? Chalk one up for not caring about the feedback from beta testers. Another reason professional beta testers should be used to initially test an MMO. If you are paying them I would sure as hell hope you were listening to them.
"The original design of the game was very much influenced by the Richard Garriot (Ultima Online) and Brad McQuaid (early EverQuest) schools of MMOG design. That is to say that the very best experiences in the game would come from massive time investment, trial and error and endurance of hardship. The rewards that come from that are significant but highly exclusive."
I was around on day one and early on they were staying as far away from the EQ model as possible and stealing only the skill idea from UO. Massive time investment, trial and error and endurance of hardship... three keys to avoiding making EQ2 (oops).
"Along those lines, it was incredibly difficult to become a Jedi. In fact, the mechanism for which it is accomplished (which was secret for a long time) is that a character has to master five specific professions (out of more than 20), and those professions were selected for that character secretly by the game at the moment of creation. The player never knew which specific five would unlock the Jedi path. It was an incredible time sink, to say the least."
Bad decision to have Jedi in the game as playable in the first place. You don't decide to place the game in the "old" movie timeline and then destroy the immersion with a thousand Jedi running around. Jedi should of always been NPC only... or even better... special event characters. The new "force sensitive" class is going to be overplayed... welcome to Star Wars Jedi Online!
" 'It's mixed. It's very positive [feedback] from the people who are actually playing it. And we also have the expected push back from the people who haven't actually logged in to try it," says Smedley. "Once people get in there, it's overwhelmingly positive. It's the "the sky is falling" crowd on the forums that's still going to take some converting. I understand that. These are big changes.' "
Maybe... just maybe... people are sick of you redesigning the game they've invested so much time into. Not to say these changes aren't needed, but not understanding why that vocal minority is RIGHTFULLY pissed is a sure shot to alienate even more players.
"There's a quote about the original design of Galaxies that says it was too much like living the life of Uncle Owen (the moisture farmer) and not enough like the life of Luke or Han Solo. We want to deliver more of the heroic Star Wars experience."
Actually early on Star Wars Galaxies was all about being Stormtrooper #245 or a moisture farmer. Not everyone wanted to be a hero... they wanted to live among heros. Sadly most players want to "change the world" when they are playing an MMO. Unfortunately this is not possible and making classes that stand out in the movies detracts from the immersion factor. Not everyone in Star Wars is a bounty hunter or Jedi, but in Star Wars Galaxies NGE it will be quite the opposite.

My suggestion for Digg

Digg.com is a great tool. It takes control of the news and puts it in the hands of the users. Everything on the site is controlled by the users. Submissions only make the front page through the repeated "digging" of the user base. Comments on storues are moderated and sorted by the voting of other users.

The problem is that many features of Digg are lost on the new Digg users. Many only use the site for quick links to news articles or spam the submission queue with every story they find. This is fine because of the very nature of Digg, but so much can be done to educate the many new users and make it a better site!

My suggestion comes from and is inspired by countless video games. The idea of a "newbie tutorial" that must be completed before a users sign up is complete and their account is activated.

The tutorial would walk the new user through the following...
  • What items to look for in a story before submitting it. Is the story recent? Is the story related to the category it is being submitted under? Is the link direct to the source or is it through another website? Many other questions could be asked of course.
  • Next it would walk users through the actual "digging" for stories. It would need to explain how to look past the front page and get into the many submissions and explain how stories get to the front page.
  • Finally the tutorial would walk the new user through how to moderate and rate comments. This is by far the most overlooked area of Digg currently. The tutorial would provide examples of good and bad comments and the user would have the chance to rate each comment in order to receive an activated account.
This tutorial could also be available for anyone that has signed up within the last 6 months; which has been Digg's greatest period of growth. I understand that not every Digg user comments, submits, or even "diggs". A lot probably come just for the quick links, but an account is not required to do this. If they sign up for an account they should understand how to use the site. Lack of knowledge or lack of initiative... a tutorial would help.

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Updated post and applied labels.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Star Wars Galaxies NGE video

OK back to gaming for a bit. There is this video floating around showing off some of the new combat in Star Wars Galaxies New Gamer Experience. What I gained from the video.

1. Collision detection does not exist for projectiles.
2. You can not dodge incoming fire as it tracks directly to you after being fired.
3. Click... click... click... my wrist is hurting already.
4. "Hide behind the boxes kid"... ROFL... and get shot over and over. The illusion of using your surroundings is almost there.

Conclusion

People jumped way off the deep end when they got their hands on this thing at AGC and heard the rumors. Hype is a bad thing that is starting to kill this announcement. I still feel its what the game needs, but they need to refine it more.

I could possibly have all these systems wrong with no hands on experience, but I like to stir the pot.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Gone for the weekend... Clemson football!

No gaming for me this weekend because I will be out of town heading off to the Clemson football game. Not sure who they are playing, but it is where my woman went to college so I promised her I would go. Maybe someday I'll drag her to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay WI for a Packers game!

But do not fear I am leaving you with plenty of reading to get done. Carnival of Gamers #8 has made its stop at Aeropause, but sadly I failed (more like forgot) to submit my article for publish. Would have been a re-posting of my MMO beta article.

Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Applied labels.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The rebuild of Star Wars Galaxies

Initially I caught onto the fact that Star Wars Galaxies was planning a MAJOR rebuild of their game via Kill Ten Rats. F13.net also has a good discussion going on.

The quote that really caught my attention...

"Basically they went through, ripped out 80% of the classes, left in the following: Force Sensitive, Bounty Hunter, Officer, Smuggler, Commando, Spy, Trader (all the tradeskills - 4 base sets now - Domestics, Structures, Munitions, Engineering), Medic and Entertainer. Here’s the deal. Right click shoots - you have to aim. Left click fires off a special ability.

No more auto attack.
No more hotkey combat.

Once collision detection goes in, this will probably be the game I play. There’s actual skill involved now. You can run from people and they can’t just autohit you."
It seems that they are merging the concepts of Planetside with SWG which is something many people have called since SWG was in beta. Star Wars combat has always been about the lasers and SWG was quickly pushing the EQ formula into Star Wars.

All these MAJOR changes come on the heels of their first combat revamp... which I doomcast on message boards well before it ever hit. These new changes are what I consdier a REVAMP. They are truly migrating the game to simpler, yet more skill based combat system.

Do I think these changes are going to save the game?

Possibly, but I'm not going to Vegas anytime soon to drop my life savings on it. It will hopefully be 6+ months before we see the changes. Otherwise they will be rushed, buggy, and do more harm than good.


These are good changes for the game! However, the number of complete rebuilds of entire game systems for SWG has destroyed all faith in SOE developers that I may possibly of had left. Sorry Raph.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blizzcon info regarding World of Warcraft battlegrounds

Link to the article.

My comments.
Following the success of the "lunchtime battleground," Warsong Gulch, which featured a PVP standard, Capture the Flag, Blizzard looked at using another PVP staple, single-elimination Deathmatch play. The battleground, Gurubashi Catacombs, was to be located beneath the Gurubashi Arena, in pens where dangeous animals were once kept.
But the 5 versus 5 single elimination match invariably turned into melee classes killing spellcasters immediately, which was great fun for the melee classes, but absolutely no fun for the casters: "Of course you're going to kill the guy in the dress."
The issue could not be resolved, the designers felt, without a fundemental class revision that would make every class equally able to survive an attack by any other class.
The battleground was scrapped, but group duels might be made a feature of the game independent of battlegrounds at some point in the future instead.
- Admitting your game is broken is the first step to recovery.

Learning from the mistakes of their past, Blizzard has plans for future and present battlegrounds:

* They are lookin at a variety of ways to get battlegrounds to the critical mass needed to start a battleground more easily.
- Maybe start by preventing the uber groups from rolling pick up groups as previously mentioned here.
* They are looking into ways that, when possible, the game will automatically match up opponents more evenly.
- Sorry ranks don’t determine how good a player is and its more an indicator of how much time they spend in game. Until they fix the ranks this is a mute point.
* They will attempt to even out the honor gained per hour in each of the battlegrounds, so that people will choose a battleground based on what they enjoy, rather on where they will get the most honor.
- Won’t work until the uber groups aren’t allowed to roll the pick up groups.
* Battlegrounds will begin to have some sort of impact on the world outside of the zone.
- Great! It’s about time the battlegrounds meant something other than just free honor to the uber groups. Now we all get to reap the rewards of the uber groups... maybe. Not sure if this blends well with the idea of cross server battlegrounds... or if they have scrapped that all together.
* More improvements to the queueing system will be coming.
- Really? Like what… listening to the continuous complaints against uber groups farming pick up groups?
* Groups will automatically form when players enter a battleground.
- Great… possibly a hint that they are removing the “join as group” button? We could only hope so!

* Siege weapons are currently not being worked on, since they couldn't be made cool enough, but will be worked on again in the future.
- Believe it when we see it.
* General PVP changes will be coming later, with announcements to follow.
- Has me interested because PvP needs a lot of "general" changes.

* And in the 1.9 patch, multiple battleground queues can be joined at once time, and those who /AFK out early will be assessed a penalty on their times for the next queues.
- About damn time! This has only been requested and has only made complete sense since battlegrounds were introduced.

It seems Blizzard spent more time finding out that Alterac Valley was a bad idea than they did developing Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. In the end the World of Warcraft PvP crowd is given a time investment system that Blizzard is failing miserably to change or unfortunately may be unwilling to change.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My first digg.com front page submission!

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post linked to my first Digg.com front page submission. There has been a few more since then.

Diablo 3 as an MMO?

I found this interesting post out on the Internet.

From the post:
Chris Hartgraves from WasteLandsGaming.com, former employee of Blizzard Entertainment, has sent us word that Diablo 3 will be aired at Blizzcon.

From what we've heard Diablo 3 is going to be an MMO, as massive as World of Warcraft, with the concept of Hell invading Heaven. One rumor going around with Diablo 3 is that there will be Guild Housing included. The game is said to be looking brilliant and will be showcased at Blizzcon as their big surprise.
This would be an excellent change of events for anyone looking for the next great MMO. Honestly, Blizzard has the key to a great franchise that focuses on some fast and furious hack'n'slash. I have some other thoughts I'll be typing up at a later time, but busy business to handle right now.

Update: 14 Oct, 2007 - Edited post and corrected labels.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Call of Duty 2 Is Here

All is well in the house that Heartless built! Call of Duty 2 is officially installed and I have begun my quest to kill kill kill!

I can't run the game on very high settings, but I am getting by on what I have. I am not sure what affect it is having on gameplay, but I do notice that things seem a bit off when playing multiplayer matches. Unfortunately, I am not sure if its graphical, me, or lag.

Update: 14 Oct, 2007 - Edited post and corrected labels.

How to save World of Warcraft battlegrounds – An in depth look into how less is more.

What would you consider the top three problems with the current battleground system in World of Warcraft? To me they are the following…
1. Arranged groups vs. pick up groups result in unfair matches.
2. No sense of accomplishment gained from a battleground win and nothing lost for losing one.
3. Repeating battlegrounds non-stop is required for PvP ranks.
An Easy Fix

Arranged group vs. pick up groups is a clear and easy fix in my eyes. Divide the queues up into two different categories.

Arranged group queue – Only pre-arranged groups that have a full group for the battleground size would be allowed into this queue.

Random queue – Only solo players would be allowed into this queue.

This division of queues would allow for an equal chance for solo and group players to play with equally prepared opponents. Along with the other proposals I am about to present this will go a long ways to making battlegrounds more enjoyable for everyone.

The two downfalls to this division are that a) arranged teams may have to wait much longer for matches and b) arranged teams could abuse the system and throw matches. The first downfall I am not concerned about because these players can join the random queue. A monitoring tool to tell when there is an arranged team ready for a match would be a good addition.

The second downfall would require Blizzard to monitor matches. Any arranged match that ends within the first XX minutes (determined by Blizzard for each battleground) would be flagged for review. The players involved should also be flagged. This is cheating and already occurs with the current system. Like all cheating Blizzard would need to enforce their policies against cheating.

Now this brings up the point that this change would hurt those players who want to play together. I have thought about this for a while and I will discuss it later.

Making Battlegrounds Special

The speed at which the current battlegrounds are repeated directly leads to most players becoming *burnt out* on them. However, players keep going back because it is the only way to gain contribution points on a competitive scale. Open world PvP contribution points can’t compete with the bonus honor gained in battlegrounds.

Previously I had suggested increasing the honor gained from open world PvP by three fold. I now realize that it was too simple a fix that just would not work. The fix for open world PvP directly involves the title of this article… less is more.

Less battlegrounds means more open world PvP, but how do we get the players back out into the open world?

Close the battlegrounds

What!? Close the battlegrounds and only open them for short periods of time. This is a three fold fix for three separate issues.

First off it would increase interest in each of the battlegrounds once again. If only Warsong Gulch is open then players are going to actually play in Warsong Gulch. It no longer has to compete against the more efficient Arathi Basin or Alterac Valley. This would allow Blizzard to increase the rewards for winning a battleground while still offering a slight reward to those losing.

Secondly it brings back open world PvP as a large proponent of everyone’s contribution points. It puts the war back into the landscape. The lore, world, and art all depict grand battles raging across the lands, but when is the last time you saw that battle taking place? Outside of random encounters between opposite factions and gankers on the PvP servers there is no longer a battle taking place.

What happened to town raids? What happened to organized groups fighting around the end game instances and zones? Why create PvP inspired holiday events (like the stink bombs in Southshore for Hallow’s End) in the open world if the battlegrounds are always open offering much better honor.

Lastly it allows gamers that want to maintain a PvP rank while still enjoying PvE aspects of the game to do so. They can plan ahead on what nights they wish to PvP and what nights they want to PvE. They don’t have to stress about always being involved in battlegrounds to compete. A huge gap will no longer develop because you can’t log in during prime time to constantly run battlegrounds. PvE and PvP don't need to be exclusive

Another point is that guild groups and groups that play together could return to the open world PvP scene. Some of the best experiences I’ve had and that I’ve read about were from group PvP that occurred shortly after the initial honor patch. Groups tended to stay spread out across the world. Of course there was the TM/SS back and forth zerg, but the honor gained was very diluted by the simple fact that too many people damaged each target. Small five man group PvP in the higher level zones was the true source for fun, excitement, and honor.

A pleasant side effect of this is the idea of more open world PvP objectives (castle sieges, tower attacks, etc.). Something Blizzard has talked about, but has not produced. As long as the honor gained from the objectives is not overwhelming and not highly repeatable in short periods of time they would be a huge hit.

How It Would Work

Take the concept of the battleground holiday and mix it up a bit. During Friday – Sunday every week only ONE battleground would be open during certain hours. Not 24/7 during this time, but lets say every hour a new queue opens up. After the match you must wait until the next hourly queue to play again. That time is easily adjusted through testing and the specific battleground being opened. The three battlegrounds would then rotate on a weekly basis.

This allows players to do other things on more of a schedule rather than waiting around for the queue to let them into a match. It currently clogs the main cities with many bored players who are just waiting for battlegrounds to open.

A hurdle that would have to be overcome would be the population imbalance. My proposed system would mean that possibly some would not get to play because not enough battlegrounds would be opened.

This could be solved by what I believe Blizzard is already planning, cross server battlegrounds. Pulling people from multiple servers would create a much larger pool for players to be pulled from. Combine it with my proposal and I honestly believe you come out with a much better battleground experience.

Another possible fix that would reward the teams that win would be by opening a new battleground that pits them against players left in the queue, but that is less feasible because of the aforementioned population imbalances.

In the End

Something has to change. That is painfully obvious. People burn out or don’t even approach battlegrounds because of the fact that they are too fast paced and are dominated by those that spend more time in them in arranged groups.

My proposal goes a long way to please all types of gamers and is aimed at making battlegrounds exciting again. It is time to make them something that you want to go play in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Raph Koster blog

Raph Koster has started blogging. Great to see what he is up to!

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Updated post and applied labels.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

WoW.com PvP forum

My post, The Arathi Basin Cycle of Azgalor, has been picked up by another poster who improved upon the fix on the World of Warcraft official PvP discussion forum.

Well I am still banned, but I do have a response to hopefully get posted there through a friend.
"Casual players whine to much, the system is fine as is. If you are in a pug try and come up with a strategy to win, if you cant thats not blizzards fault that a organized team can beat you. Get over it and move on to the next game."
No. The hardcore players whine louder when casual gamers suggest making the in game system FAIR to casual playstyles. The current system is not fair. It is not equal. It is hardcore or go home.

This change does absolutely nothing to the game other than give an EQUAL chance to casual gamers to play the game the way we want. Do hardcore gamers uderstand that? No, because they believe casual gamers MUST play the game THEIR way. Afterall the hardcore gamers play more and therefore know whats better... right?

Dividing BG queue into Arranged Team or Random Team does not hurt the hardcore at all. It prevents the hardcore from farming UNFAIR battleground fights. The arranged groups have an EQUAL choice whether to play fair matches against other arranged teams or go solo into the random queue. That is balance and it is fair to everyone involved.

Currently the casual gamer that does not want (or lacks the time) to form an arranged team SPEND HOURS waiting for a single match where they can compete. Switching to an arranged or random queue system gives these gamers an EQUAL chance that DOES NOT EXIST currently.

The biggest problem with the honor system is the fact you compete against your own realm. So fighting a long match specifically hurts you because there is someone out there doing it faster. This is a whole topic in itself. Simply put... fighting fair matches that are challenging is counterproductive to advancing because they take more time for the same reward. This creates backstabbing and /afk players. In the end its a CYCLE which I wrote about in my article.
"While you are at it. Lets go ahead and remove guilds from the game too. If we can't team up with our guild because you people cry then whats the use of having guilds in the game anyway."
Wrong. My suggestion lets you group with your guild and fight like minded people. Honestly that is better for guilds.

The sad fact is that the PvP rank system isn't about quality. It is about speed and quantity.

That is why organized guilds that were Alterac Valley farmers absolutely hate the AV changes now. It is no longer productive because the fights are more balanced and are no longer 20 minute free honor farms.

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Edited post, applied labels, and removed broken link.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Trolls Get Shafted

World of Warcraft and Blizzard must truly despise Trolls. It is bad enough Trolls, my race of choice, has arguably had the worst set of racial abilities in the game but now Trolls get slapped in the face by Hallow's End masks that do not fit.

It is painfully obvious that the masks don't work on Troll models. Would it have killed Blizzard to make sure the masks displayed properly on all races? Seriously!?

Update: 14 Oct, 2007 - Edited post and corrected labels.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Final Fantasy III coming to Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS is finally getting a Final Fantasy title! It is a remake of Final Fantasy 3 which was never released in the US. The game is coming with an upgraded graphics engine which looks eerily similar to the Gamecube's only Final Fantasy title, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.

Gamersdaily has some great side by side screen shots from the original NES game and the new DS version.

Update: 14 Oct, 2007 - Edited post and corrected labels.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Banned from WoW forums...

Well the Azgalor narcs got me, but it was expected.

Blizzard banning for posting pictures lifted from magazines already in circulation!

Boy must be tough enforcing a policy when you give the damn pictures to official gaming magazines :) Guess I was a bit early... oh well.

Fake or Real? World of Warcraft Expansion Screenshots!

The World of Warcraft rumor mill is running full steam today as leaked pictures have hit the net. Blood Elves will be the Horde's new playable race.

Link Removed

My Thoughts

Blah. If its true, it wouldn't surprise me. It smells like Blizzard and you know what they say. Blood Elves would not make me, but should we really expect a surprise from Blizzard?

The last picture titled, "Portal at 'The Black Morass' (Orc world?)", has me quite curious!

Update: 8 Jul, 2007 - Edited post, removed broken links, and applied labels.

So...

My MO4 article has been posted accross the world wide web to many different sites. It seems some faithful Vanguard:SoH fans read the /. blurb and cross linked the article into the Vanguard official forums. Here is the link.

It was only a matter of time before it happened and I'm glad it did. It actually turns out to be a better discussion on the subject than most, if not all, the other floating turds that I've found on the net regarding my article.

Here is my reply to most of the points discussed.
"I bite... you've made me come here, register, and post. I want to start out by saying "You are not the list of beta tests you've been in." more or less to quote a great movie.

I see a lot of misconceptions about me in this article. I don't care about Vanguard... I care about MMORPGs. Vanguard is one, but I am not interested in playing it. If you think I am love with WoW... well I've criticized them plenty.

WoW simply reminded me of why I play games... to have fun. Almost as much fun as playing games... is sharing my opinion about them, their processes, and the communites surrounding them. Sue me... I'm a net and gaming junkie and I'm here to have fun.

Now onto the replies here. It is my firm belief that (regardless if its just community managers doing the sorting of beta applications) that small beta test phases are best done by profesional software and game testing companies. They work in the single player market and have proven for years to be effective in the gaming and software industry. The whole process of phone interviews and the like just grabbed me as way too much of a fake facade trying to show they are *testing* their game.

I give them props for going to the community first and foremost, but that needs to be left to the later stages of beta where the game is more nailed down.

Then you move onto stress testing with your general audience using it for free marketing of the game. Right now... these early beta alpha whatevers are marketing ploys and hence where I am coming from."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Updates for 18 Oct 2005

The first update is that I reached Honor Rank 7 (Blood Guard) in World of Warcraft on my Shaman. I had 63,000 contribution points last week! That means new gear: [Blood Guard's Mail Walkers] & [Blood Guard's Mail Grips].

Also, my article on Overcomplicated Beta sign ups has been picked up by Slashdot! Great to always see my word getting out.

Welcome /. readers!

Update: 14 Oct, 2007 - Edited post and corrected labels.

My BF2 morning!

Update: 7 October, 2009 - Removed post. It was only a picture of a winning score from a round of Battlefield 2.

Required reading... "Betas should be about testing"

Darniaq has a great blog post up about how beta testing needs to be about testing and how the industry has strayed. From the article;
"However, this can't be the only part of the beta testing. There needs to be a good back end reporting system too. Forums do not cut it. They may work for a few hundred testers, of which maybe 75% of them would read the forums and 50% actually post. However, when the game starts stress testing the servers, the players will generate much more noise than actual signal on the forums. Most of this noise will be rehashing long standing bugs or incomplete features, requiring even other testers to skim posts so much they may miss something relevant."


Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and applied labels.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Now I'm an eBay gold seller...

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post contained a picture of a conversation where someone in World of Warcraft accused me of being an eBay Gold Seller.

MO4 discussion links and other updates

Update: 9 May, 2009 - Removed post. This will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
Originally, this post contained links to various reactions to my MO4 article.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

MO4 - Overcomplicated Beta sign ups

Two days and two MOs? You're damn straight.

So what brings us to the topic of beta sign ups? Vanguard's recent announcement of their beta 1! Does everyone see me jumping for joy? My past thoughts on Vanguard:SoH.

Lets start out by pointing out what they did correct with this beta phase. First off they are offering it to community members and not a general sign up for everyone with a net connection. That is the correct way to reward your community. Hopefully they don't just pick Joe Schmoes that signed up just to apply for beta, but I doubt it. Well... that ends the good.

The bad? Where to begin. I guess with what "grinds my gears" the worst. Over complicating the process and giving false hope. Here is a perfect example.
"How will you go about selecting participants?

Once you have submitted your application, your name will be added to a list of potential participants. Each week, we will add the needed number of people from that list. Sometimes, they will be chosen based on our specific needs for testing (for example, we might need more testers that play during a particular time of day) and sometimes, names will be chosen pretty much at random."
So now every new beta application is going to be over stating what hours they play or the person submitting it will try to *guess* the *magic combination* of inputs to produce the highest % chance of getting into beta. Congratulations Sigil; you just flooded your beta application pool with a bunch of false information.

But why even have such a process in the first place? If they honestly think they are going to get any sort of actual *testing* (I use the term loosely) from an over-hyped MMORPG community… they obviously failed basic MMORPG sociology. I could link hundreds of beta leaks and broken NDA contracts, but what would be the point?

What you need to know is the fact that betas are infiltrated by those that want sneak peaks at the game. Definitely not by those that truly wish to test the product. Internal testers and paid testers have proved for years to be able to produce very finished products in the single player market. Apply this to the MMORPG market please! I understand some smaller companies would be unable to fund such testing, but this is Sigil and last time I checked they weren’t short on funds.

Sigil is using this beta as a promotion which is a sad fact. Not only that, but they are overcomplicating the process stealing valuable resources from the game itself. How much work is it to review countless beta applications? I have no solid numbers, but there is no way they can convince me that it doesn’t take away from the game development.

The idea of NDAs is also hard for me to understand. World of Warcraft had no problem without one. Blizzard proved exactly what betas are for… a free pass to view the game. This created a knowledgeable community inside and outside of beta. WoW beta only suffered from too much interest, but Blizzard did a remarkable job of eventually getting 500,000 testers online.

Skip the bullshit Sigil and get to stress testing. Nail down game play, get the game launch ready, and hit the stress test hard. Sigil will be balancing this game as any other MMORPG… over time! If you get the game into a state where it is playable, has a sense of balance, and technically stable… you have a beta. Take all the time it takes to review beta applications and put into reviewing and organizing bug reports.

This isn't about me getting into beta at all, because honestly I have no interest in Vanguard. This is about developers wasting time, resources, and energy on overly complicated beta processes. Make it about the damn game already.

Responses to MO3

MO3

World of Warcraft board warriors unite! Enjoy! Here are some highlights...
"If its on the internet, it must be true.
Its really that no one gives a $!@% about your blog, nor do they want to read it.
You want to make a post about something, post here.
BTW, make a name for yourself in PvP before you comment on how good it is or how much it sucks.
5 minutes in AB doesnt make you a professor on the subject." - Bigbear
"Well, everyone in upper pvp ranks keeps up with each other, that how they knew Razor would get high, they keep pushing till boodah gets it, then mags and tanaki, they take time off so they don't pass each other up, dunno.

Not entering av had a positive outcome on that lol, oh well, there are so many things wrong, I don't care anymore." - Enmity

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Time misconception between hardcore and casual gamers...

Lifted from a World of Warcraft .com PvP Forum thread (bad link, removed).
"The problem is there is a misconception here. hardcore and casual player have 0 to do with time invested.

Lets say bob the hardcore decides to get to the top rank. He plays 12 hours a day doing nothing but pvp for 2 months and gets it. Time invested= approximately 720 hours.

Joe the casual decides he wants to go for the top rank, he unfortunately can only play 4 hours a day. He does this for a year. Time invested aprroximately= 2190 hours.

Now the problem is obviously hardcore players invest LESS time to get to the top ranks. Its not that casual players dont play enough, its that there is no option for someone who plays 4-6 hours a day every day (which isnt even that casualy) to have a chance in their entire lifetime to make the top rank because of the way the system works- aka the ladder system.

I am not even going to go into how retarded the ladder system is because it is based solely on hks/honor which means dps classes are the top contenders. Classes arent balanced against each other 1v1 for pvp but somehow they are considered balanced against each other to be competeing in the same ladder." - Spiraldancer

Blizzard never fails to tease!

So, rampant speculation about World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion is all over the net, but then a Blizzard poster has to go and drop this little tidbit on us.
"We're going to be showcasing the starting area of a race. We won't be revealing all our secrets. ;)"- Caydiem
On a side note... anyone notice how fast any thread a Blizzard employee posts in gets to 10+ pages?

My videos @ Google video!

World of Warcraft Videos

I gank...
-Made this video in my mid 40's. Also marks the first time I met my friend Omegalegend (Tauren Warrior).

Die Another Day
-Made the day before I recorded most of the "I gank..." video. This was good practice in how to edit videos via Windows Movie Maker.

A day in the life of Tanglefoot
-Recorded this video out of boredom after an early morning run through EPL.

Counter Strike Source Videos

Two of the Greatest Things Ever
-My pride and joy :) Enjoy!

Battlefield 2 Video

Lets Go
-Just practice with the BF2 recorder.

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Applied labels and updated post.

Friday, October 14, 2005

MO3 - The Arathi Basin Cycle of Azgalor

Here is how the cycle works.

1. Alliance/Horde uber guilds form uber 15 man raid with nothing but their highest PvP ranks.

2. Said group owns Arathi Basin 2000 resources to 0 within 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Group leaves and within five minutes they have another Arathi Basin match.

How is this possible?

It is very simple actually. Most players leave a battleground the second they see these hardcore groups enter and then re-queue themselves for a new one. Well this fuels the cycle because now everyone in line is being thrown into the battleground that everyone else is quitting. So quickly the entire line, regardless of how long they were waiting gets into a one sided Arathi Basin slaughter. The cycle repeats and there is so many new people in line that once the uber group is done with the slaughter they simply re-queue and are instantly back where they started.

On top of this since people are cycling through the battleground the uber group can easily get a new battleground because there is no one with an extended waiting period in line… so the uber group is escorted to the front of the line.

Increase the number of uber groups employing the tactic and you have a cycle that moves so fast that a pick up vs. pick up is impossible. Add to this the fact that most uber groups will NOT FIGHT EACH OTHER and the problem is multiplied. Two uber groups rarely, if ever, will fight each other. The time involved is not worth the reward. They don’t care about skill… they care about winning as fast as possible because in the end that gives them more honor for PvP rank.

How to avoid it.

Get lucky enough to get into a battleground that is out of the cycle… one that is pick up group vs. pick up group. These matches last longer and since the lines refresh so fast due to the cycling in and out of the slaughters another pick up vs. pick up match is almost guaranteed after your match is done. However, get stuck on the other side of the cycle and it will be a miracle you get into a non-slaughter match.

Same principle applies as the uber groups also. Your pick up group leaves after a battle and everyone elses queue time is short because of the cycling you jump in right in front of line instead of the people that have been waiting forever for a fair match, but keep getting cycled.

How to fix it.

Simple. One set of battlegrounds for “Arranged Groups” and one set of battlegrounds for “Random”. Like I’ve said before its like letting pro football teams play high school teams to claim the Lombardi Trophy. It isn’t even remotely a measure of anyone’s skill.

In conclusion…

I will be told to “cry more newb”, “go whine on your blog”, and various other comments from the uber crowed. These are the people that get WoW served to them on a silver platter. These are the ones who are whining about 1.8 changes to give casual gamers more chances at loot. These are the ones who day in and day out do nothing but ruin the game for those that have other obligations in their life.

Blizzard doesn’t owe casual gamers anything. Blizzard doesn’t owe hardcore gamers anything. They owe the players of World of Warcraft a fair and balanced experience. Developing their systems in such a way where it heavily favors one play style over another is obscene.

MO1 - Blizzard and Battlegrounds
MO2 - Stun

Thursday, October 13, 2005

WoW expansion speculation

Well the internet chat wires are full of rumors of what two new races World of Warcraft will have in their upcoming expansion. Just a couple things I wanted to say... without fueling the fire to a specific race.

1. The new races don't need to "balance" out Alliance vs Horde. Horde does not need to get a "pretty" race to balance out NEs. The Horde does not need to get a "short" race to even out Gnomes. The Alliance does not need a "big" race to even out Taurens. This is the sort of thinking that lead to cookie cutter racial traits instead of varied and unique traits.
"They still haven't even told us if the races are specifically aligned with one side." - Heartless_
2. Goblins could be a new race. They still haven't even told us if the races are specifically aligned with one side. I'd like you to find anywhere where they said they have! Goblins could very well be a new race that BOTH sides got to play. Goblins would then be neutral and could attack both sides. However they could ally themselves with one side to visit their cities, but to become friendly with both Alliance and Horde would be a very difficult task! We could essentially wind up with TWO new races like this!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I almost fainted when I logged in this morning...

Almost 3/4 of rank 6 gained with a BELOW average week for myself. I ranked high at 263 overall, but felt I had a two day string of really bad Arathi Basin groups. Well I am now 1/4 away from getting my goal of rank 7! A little less Battlefield 2 and Day of Defeat:Source and I may just have made it to rank 7!

Grats to Blizzard for listening!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

WoW Patch 1.8 - Blizzard gets a clue?

Link to the World of Warcraft 1.8 patch notes.

To start off I just want to say that I am surprised by this patch. I don't get to play tuesdays because the servers are down for weekly maintenance during my play time... so I really don't do anything with WoW unless there is a patch going live. Well 1.8 blind sided me and now that I am at work... I am catching up on the patch notes. But enough of my boring life... onto the commentary.

Disturbance at the Great Trees and The Stirring of the Silithid... or as I like to call them... epic loot for the casual crowd. No long raid instances! The dragons should offer the chance for pick up raids to hopefully beat them into the ground. The new content in Silithus basically breaks down into grind for epic items. Will have to see how it pans out though.

Next we have "The mechanics of most instant melee attacks have been modified to improve item balance." Probably the most controversial of the patch changes... but it really doesn't need to be. Most epic weapons are now better than their blue cousins. Fix that was needed... even though I hate loot being > player skill. You were near the top end with easier to get blue items... but now those are slightly nerfed. Oh well.

My favorite patch note... "The percentage of players that may reach ranks 6 through 14 has been increased." Finally!

Then there is... "Alterac Valley has received an overhaul", but I doubt this will pull people out of Arathi Basin. Most people only grind the FOTM battleground because of the epic rewards for exalted and revered reputation. Which just got easier... "Each Battleground has an individual turn-in quest associated with its related victory/loss condition. Upon completion of a Battleground, the winning side will be awarded three Marks of Honor while the losing side will be awarded one Mark of Honor. Three Marks of Honor may be turned in to the associated questgiver for Honor Points and faction increase. Should players complete this turn-in quest, they will find that the bonus Honor Points for completion are twice that of normal turn-in conditions (individual)." Hopefully it does make it easier and maybe gets some more battlegrounds open.

Bug fix that has been around forever for my shaman class... "Ghost Wolf - Will now correctly have its cast time reduced by Nature's Swiftness."

Leatherworking got A LOT of new items... so maybe it is a good thing I held onto it. However I don't have skinning anymore so probably be stuck in the auction house for materials.

"Latency upon entering crowded areas, such as Ironforge and Orgrimmar, should be substantially reduced." I am skeptical at best on this... we will see when I log on tommorow.

Farmers = OWNED. "Tyr's Hand now has the proper outdoor elite monster respawn time.
Hearthglen now has the proper outdoor elite respawn time."
Never could figure out why these places spawned every couple seconds resulting in the perfect gold farming spots.

Overall it seems Blizzard is making some good moves. I must say that I am surprised and I will continue to play :) This is exactly what I needed to stay interested!

On Game Worlds - bojoism blog

Technorati.com is becoming my new favorite website to waste time on. I've spent a good chunk of time just searching millions of blogs around the net for my favorite topics: MMORPGs and gaming!

So tonight I found a blog post about MMORPG game worlds. (Removed broken link to original article.)

A little preview;
"The simple truth is that this genre is stagnant. In my opinion it will ultimately take complex variations of A.I. to generate and run a world dynamic enough that the 2,000 “heros” on a server aren’t the only things that make the world seem truly alive. NPC interaction should be just as important as player interaction, although players should have priority on how earth shattering their decisions are in relation to the world, since they are after all the heros.";
And my response:

Stagnant is very true!

I wouldn’t say WoW is innovative in anyway at all. It is simpler, more attainable, and straight forward. That is a better description for their removal of so many tedius things that plague other MMORPGs. Sadly at level 60 that world changes and WoW is EXACTLY the same as any other MMORPG with a grind.

Here is my firm belief on SWG. It needed to have the economy of EVE online and the action of an FPS. Add in exciting space combat that EVE lacks and you have a killer game. If you try real hard you could play both and imagine they are a *single* game.

Static worlds is another downfall of WoW. So much potential with the recent plague that hit and Blizzard failed to provide anything fun to do with it. They could of created quests for cures or quests to escort doctors from far away lands. Sadly Blizzard doesn’t develop like that and I seriously doubt live events will ever occur in WoW like promised. And if live events do occur they will be relatively canned experiences.

A good MMORPG needs to be about the business as much as it is about the game. If the business model fails then the game will also. If the game fails then so does the business. However, good business practices can keep crappy games a float for a little bit. SWG is a perfect example of a brand name supporting an MMORPG. Getting a license for hot brand names is good business.

Play what you enjoy. I am pissed at myself for being so addicted to WoW and that I just can’t shake it. I end up logging out in anger more than anything. I play on my alts a lot which is pretty fun, but I have no drive since I have a 60 Shaman already.

On a side note; the best thing about blogs is they let us play with those “perfect MMO” ideas with like minded people."

Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Removed broken link, edited post, and applied labels.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My BF2 video @ Google videos!

Checking around the net and did a search for "BF2" on Google Videos. Here is my result.

I had submitted this video a long time ago (See original post here) and for some reason I was never able to see it or get it to show on a video search. Even the link that google provided for the video did not work! So I wrote Google's free video hosting service as a broken tool.

Lo' and behold... it works. Will have to see why it took forever to display via Google Video and possibly use it for more uploads.

Required Reading: Chrono Trigger

EatMyBomb, a blog I found through Technorati, has a great article up about the SNES RPG, Chrono Trigger. It is one of my all time favorite games!

Link to the article.

From the article;
"The most ingenious part of the game is the combat system. Chrono Trigger uses an Active Time Battle system. It’s a great combination of Turn Based and Real Time combat giving you both detail and fast paced excitement. Each combatant has a time bar that must fill before they can carry out an action. Higher levels and speed upgrades allow your time bar to fill faster, while magics like Haste and Slow can temporarily change its pace. The combat keeps you on your toes. If you spend too much time deciding what to do, your enemy’s time bar will fill and they’ll get another attack. Once your time bar is full you can attack, use items, or use tech which can be magic or special moves. There are also combo moves called double techs and triple techs which two or three characters can use together. You acquire these combos when certain characters spend enough time together in combat. This adds extra replayability to the game if you want to acquire all of the combos between all the players. The tech animations are exciting to watch, but never slow the action down like they do in some of the Final Fantasy games."

Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and applied labels.
Update: 7 Jul, 2008 - Edited label.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

TotalBF2.com discussion thread

TotalBF2.com thread on my 1.03 commentary post. Enjoy!

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Updated post and applied labels.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Battlefield 2 Patch 1.3

So what is so good about this patch? Well it fixes a lot of things... and by fix I mean changes that were needed! First and foremost the requirements for each rank have been reduced SIGNIFICANTLY! I logged in and after a few kills I was awarded three new ranks.

This allowed me to finally unlock some more weapons instead of the pansy medic weapon I had already unlocked. I can't tell you how insanely unbalanced the ranks were... it would of taken me years of gaming to get the rank that I have with the 1.03 patch. A very good change indeed!

Next you won't be running anyone over by just touching them with vehicles anymore. You actually have to hit them full force! This is great considering how ultimately lame it had been to get killed anytime a vehicle so much as grazed you.

Commanders no longer get teamkills for artillery strikes. Good for pick up games, but probably will be abused in organized matches. It still kills your own team, but no punishment.

Many improvements to the in-game server browser. Still pissed off that the server browser was released in such a crappy condition. Also the patch broke the Xfire and other server programs ability to launch into a server. There is a fix... here.

Various other changes in the patch also and the addition of a new map, Wake Island. It is a remake of the BF1942 classic map and is the first map I ever played any BF game on :) Sadly the new version seems to be getting mixed reviews. I have yet to play it much.

Overall I am happy with the patch, but still have some requests for *changes* to make the game even better.

1. Vehicle vs Infantry kills should only give the driver/shooter one point for the kill. I am sick and tired of matches where the gold/silver are just tank/aircraft whores.

2. Sniper rifles still feel horribly inaccurate 50% of the time and still are extremely weak. A shot to the chest or head area should = death.

3. Increase accuracy of support machine guns. Bullets should drop off at a shorter distance to prevent long range sniping.

4. Tanks should be easier to destroy... fewer AT rockets required.

5. Map balance... give infantry more damn places to hide so we stop getting raped by the vehicle whores.
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