Friday, September 30, 2005

A post... on Azgalor of course

Just bored and after a long night of BG fun.... I had to post. Thursday night / Friday mornings are my power game time. 555 HKs and I think 11 Arathi Basin wins. Should be enough for rank 6 this coming week :) WIN!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Taozu = Tactics .... a WoW video

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder.
This post contained a video of a fight against Taozu who I battled in World of Warcraft. Later Taozu switched to the Horde and we have begun fighting together instead of against each other.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The last video card you will ever need...

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post originally linked to an article at Gamergod.com (now defunct) about video cards. No copies of this article exist.

I hath been challenged...

Seems my rousing of the Azgalor WoW.com forum has produced a brave knight that wishes to challenge me. His name... Mav.

Who?

Exactly what I was thinking.

Hopefully he is man enough to come here and set it up. We will see.

Hoping for rank 6...

But I'm not to optimistic that I will get it. Not that I had a bad week in WoW, but just because I didn't get to play during the weekend battleground holiday that "increases" honor gained in battlegrounds. Sadly the increase is HUGE... nearly 1,000+ extra honor in an Arathi Basin win. Sorry I do not have the real number with me at the moment because I'm at work.

It pretty much slaps you in the face for playing during the week in the battlegrounds. Players can dedicate one or two days to all day battleground runs and get just as much honor as I do in five days of trying. This means the players that already have too much time to play can do their MC, BWL, ZG, and Onixyia raids during the week and still catch up on the PvP ranks on the weekend.

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However that skill is mute when it is displayed against weekend warrior pick up groups.
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Blizzard brought this about to bring more people into battlegrounds and it has. Problem is it has attracted the arranged PvP groups that completely utterly destroy a pick up group in literally ten minutes or less. They have pretty much moved weekend dungeon raids into organized battleground raids. This has proven that there is at least some skill to PvP in WoW. The skill lies in organization and communication within a group. However that skill is mute when it is displayed against weekend warrior pick up groups.

In turn this pretty much kills the battlegrounds for the casual crowd. PvP ranks are UNACHIEVABLE by most, if not all casual gamers. You will get to rank 5 and hit a literal wall. Even though I spend 90% of my in game time in the battlegrounds I have not made a rank in weeks. With Arathi Basin out now gaining 60,000 or even 100,000 honor will not get you anywhere at rank 5 or higher. That is just unacceptable in my book.

I won't pretend to understand how the ranks work. All I know is that before battlegrounds people with 2,000-4,000 HKs were rank 8+. People gained 4 ranks a week with 20,000 honor. I gained ranks 1 and 2 in my first week... then rank 3 and 4 in my second week... and then rank 5 the next week and never broke 10,000 honor. I saw rank 5-8's all over the place. Then I went on summer vacation and came back as rank 4 (from rank decay) AFTER battlegrounds was released. I have not been able to make it past rank 5... I am at a wall and I am gaining 40-70,000 CP a week... which obviously is not enough. I see a handful of rank 5-8's and usually I see mainly rank 1-3's.

Blizzard has stated they are looking at how it works... honestly I feel its been broken since battlegrounds with some sort of change being put in that wasn't mentioned.

Of course I need to offer some sort of fix... and honestly this is what I believe. Make ranks 1-9 easier to achieve. Don't make them super competetive... leave that for ranks 10+. 1-9 gives you a full set of blue PvP gear... which IMO you deserve if you put hard work in every week. Right now you have to be in battlegrounds 5-6 hours a day to compete past 5... which I hope was not Blizzards intention. If it was... these PvP rewards better become equivelant to MC or better gear. However this is just minor... not fleshed out... Blizzard needs to do something.

Friday, September 23, 2005

How to stop this crap


From a previous blog post...- Battleground match-ups are now either Arranged Team or Random Team. Random Team consists of players who joined single; Arranged Team consists of a group of players who queued together. Arranged Team players may only be able to play against other Arranged Team players, likewise with Random Team players who can only play against other Random Team players.

Perfect! Hopefully everyone would get a clue and go with the random groups because fighting stacked groups is only fun for full guild groups... otherwise it blows and is just free honor. Blizzard needs to think of crap like this BEFORE releasing stuff... it is time to stop serving things up on a silver platter for the hardcore players.
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Its like letting NFL teams play highschoolers to claim the Lombardi trophy.
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This scenario kills BGs every night. Normally they are logged in from 3 PM until 5-6 AM the next morning. They have nothing better to do than WoW PvP and that is how the ranks system is built. They sit on Ventrillo all day long and do nothing else.

Yes they are good... damn good. Do I want to fight them? Yes if I could get a good guild group of my own, but I can't. These no-lifes should not be allowed to fight PUGs. Its like letting NFL teams play highschoolers to claim the Lombardi trophy. It is dumb!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Irth Online beta preview up @ Gamergod.com

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post originally linked to an article about Irth Online at Gamergod.com (now defunct). No copies of the article exist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

WoW PvP changes... rumors

Don't ask where these came from... and no they are not official.

- Grand Marshal no longer awards the purchase of weapons at rank 14, but only access to the Grand Marshal's Armory. The GM's Armory has a selection of weapons, armor etc. which can be purchased from special Insignias that drop from all players of the opposing faction, and other various honor tokens rewarded from battleground victories. Each item in the armory costs a certain number of Insignias/tokens. Players who reach Grand Marshal may still have access to the Armory even after losing GM rank. The selection of items within the Armory will change all the time.

- Honor from players outside of battlegrounds has been increased significantly. Players outside of battlegrounds now drop Insignia’s which can be used to purchase special items.

- The Battle Standard awarded through the PvP honor system can once again be used outside of battlegrounds.

- Honor from players inside of battlegrounds has been altered. Players who are higher rank, or from a higher ranked guild now are worth much more honor, and award additional bonus honor for a battleground win.

- The "diminishing returns" from killing players inside and outside of battlegrounds has been altered slightly.

- Cross-server battlegrounds have been introduced.

- Battleground match-ups are now either Arranged Team or Random Team. Random Team consists of players who joined single; Arranged Team consists of a group of players who queued together. Arranged Team players may only be able to play against other Arranged Team players, likewise with Random Team players who can only play against other Random Team players.

- The Guild Honor Ladder has been introduced, which ranks guilds on servers based upon honor rankings. The highest ranked guild on the server will find special rewards available to them (such as a reduced repair cost, savings on taxi services etc.), as well as their tabard displayed on all battleground entrances and outside the Knight's Quarters.

- The honor rewards for Warsong Gultch, Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley have been altered slightly.

WoW's black plague

The lands of Azeroth have been infected! Originally the message boards lit up with posts about some plague spreading accross the land and killing untold thousands of players. Wannabe heros raced accross the land in search of cures. What was causing all this death?

A bug. Just your run of the mill "Oops missed this on Test Center" bug. This quote from Shacknews sums it up best. "Blizzard adds in a new instance, Zul'Gurub. Inside is the god of blood, Hakkar. Well, when you fight him he has a debuff called Corrputed Blood. It does like 250-350 damage to players and affects nearby players. The amazing thing is SOME PLAYERS have brought this disease (and it is a disease) back to the towns, outside of the instance. It starts spreading amongst the general population including npcs, who can out generate the damage. Some servers have gotten so bad that you can't go into the major cities without getting the plague (and anyone less than like level 50 nearly immediately die).

GM's even tried quarantining players in certain areas, but the players kept escaping the quarantine and infect other players."

Here is a short flash put together by WoWaids.YTMND.com that IMO describes it best.Click at your own risk!

But WTF? This was actually something exciting to drown out the boringly repetitive gameplay of WoW. Like everyone else I truly believed this was a LIVE EVENT... something Blizzard promised to be part of WoW. Sadly it was not the case.

I wish Blizzard was quicker on their feet and would of offered a quest of some sort to cure the disease... making a bug into an actual event. This is the sort of development I want to see from Blizzard... from any MMO developer... PLEASE.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Nintendogs... the gift of game

To say I was nervous when I purchased a Nintendo DS and Nintendogs for my girlfriend’s birthday would be an understatement. My girlfriend doesn’t play video games at every chance she gets like I do. She has played Mario Kart: Double Dash a half dozen times with me and can make cute little faces imitating Kirby. Some limited PC gaming with her siblings many years ago playing the original Warcraft ends her experience with gaming.

I kept the receipt and made sure not to open any of the packaging. I had no idea if this gift was going to be a hit or flop. Luckily it wasn’t the latter and she absolutely loves the gift. So much so she is going to be getting the newest Kirby game, Kirby Canvas Curse. She absolutely loves her Nintendog and treats it almost as though it was real… because honestly that is how good the game is.

The innovation packed into Nintendogs is amazing. Every unique feature of the Nintendo DS is put to good use. The wireless capability allows you to connect to other DS owners without any sort of leash… err… cable. The touch screen is used for petting your puppy and performing various tasks. The microphone is really the centerpiece of the game allowing you to train your dog to respond to voice commands. Teaching your first puppy its name is quite an experience for even the most seasoned gamer.

The game is very intuitive and so easily picked up that I found myself just letting her plug away. I didn’t need to explain anything as I had feared. I didn’t underestimate her ability to pick up the game and learn it, but with many hardcore gaming years under my belt I knew that even the simplest children’s games could require an innate amount of knowledge to get started in. A prime example is the bubble blower toy in game. The operation is so simple it almost made me laugh. Blow into the microphone and bubbles appear on the screen. She didn’t need a pop up menu to tell her how to do this… she just did it. It was common sense!

This sort of technology has been a long time coming. The gaming market is growing stale with sequels being the dominate factor. Feature lists are now the “innovation” instead of the technology. Nintendo has reversed this trend in their hardware. The hardware is the innovation and games that capitalize on it are innovative. I still remember articles detailing how Madden ’05 had innovative features and I can’t help but letting a small part inside of me roll on the floor laughing.

Innovation invites new gamers into the market. Games like Nintendogs focus on fun and can easily win over a new gamer. These gamers are very likely to branch out into other games that intrigue them such as my girlfriends fancy with Kirby. The key for Nintendo is to keep these gamers attracted to Nintendo products. That isn’t hard to do considering the direction most of the industry is heading.

The Nintendo DS is an inspiring piece of hardware that really has endless possibilities and Nintendogs is becoming its flagship. It is more than just cute puppies and virtual dog shows. It very much is a game.

My first /. hit

My first /. (Slashdot) hit.

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Consolidated post and applied labels.

More on the Revolution controller

Just to follow up on my last entry about the Revolution controller.

It is definately a mixed bag across the internet in regards to the Revolution controller. These seem to be the big complaints...

1. Not enough buttons or control sticks.
-Turning motion into input reduces the need for buttons and analog sticks. Current games use too many buttons as it is making you fumble over the controller. Simple = good.

2. How do they expect you to play .
-The popular fillers have been Madden, FPS's, and so forth. First off these people need to get out of their shell and realize there is more than one way to play a game. People need to stop thinking about how they couldn't play their current games with the new controller. Its new! Give developers time to develop their flagship games for the controller and you will see NEW ways to play your games.

3. All it is good for will be Duck Hunt 2.0
-Wrong... it means playing old game types in a new way. The market and various genre of games have become alarmingly stale the past few years. It has been more about sequels than originality. Any game on the Revolution is going to be a new experience for a while... it will be inventing new ways to play games. All because of the controller.

4. It is meant for Japanese gamers who like sword swinging and knick knack games.
-Sorry... this thing was built to be fun. If fun is limited to Japan... I may be moving there. People are sadly taking the tech demos as real games... believing the controller only works for the applications it was shown in. With developers there will come FULL GAMES built around this controller. Give it time people and let the developers do their jobs.

Heartless_ out.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Nintendo... Revolution controller

The article first appeared on 1up.com and has been linked everywhere. This picture is honestly to god the best one of the new controller. For anyone living under a rock the past few days... yes... this really is the controller.


Am I impressed? Hell yes. With all the secrecy surrounding the controller I was horribly worried we might wind up with a Nintendo Stink Bomb equivelant to the Virtual Boy.

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I was horribly worried we might wind up with a Nintendo Stink Bomb equivelant to the Virtual Boy.
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Nintendo wasn't kidding when they said it would be a simple controller. It is best decribed as a remote controller. Two face buttons, a D-pad, and a trigger on the bottom. Simplicity IMO is greater than the current trend of Xbox and PS3 to put more buttons in the hands of the gamer. The main function of the new controller is in the sensors placed on your TV set that determine location and motion of the controller. You can read the article for more details.

My feelings towards it are good. I am particulary curious to get this thing and its attachment for an FPS game. I'm actually looking forward to the next generation consoles now.

However, my concern is that change will scare developers away. This is a sad fact of the industry. The "suits" know that cool sells... and cool is the same ole washed up crap that we had during the last generation of consoles. We can only hope enough gamers like myself see through the crap and grab the revolution.

Ninetendo has sold at least one... to ME. Now vote with your wallet.

EDIT: Video for the controller has been released.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Worthless EQ II video...

Got me why I clicked download on this one.

Random groups of bad ass looking monsters in randomly placed areas of the world getting smacked down by random EQ II players. Hmmm... such inovation there from the EQ II dev team! I think I fell asleep during the video... or maybe it was just so uneventful that I forgot to remember what happened.

EQ II... such good graphics and voice acting put to waste.

Not to mention the credits are a year long and make the download an extra 20MB... blah.

I am going to get a hold of these people just to tell them how much they suck. Stay tuned for the results of that!

Replies to my Stun article

Going to consolidate some thread links for you for replies to my Stun article.

VN Boards WoW General Board post
WoW.com Azgalor Realm Forum
WoW.com PvP Discussion Forum post

And here is by far the best reply out of all the boards... from VN WoW general board... owning up Rogue whiners.

"If I understand the argument correctly, a Rogue "needs" all those stuns in order to kill "some" classes. I hear a Warrior can "own" a Rogue with Overpower if a Rogue so much as THINKS about using his Evasion skill. I hear that, due to armor and hit points, a Warrior has to be stunned if a Rogue is to have a chance.

With Frost Nova, Blink, Polymorph and Mana Shield, a Rogue needs stuns to kill a Mage. Maybe I'm getting too simplistic here, but do Rogues want to be able to easily defeat every other class? Or do they want to be "balanced"?

There's a simple mathematical FACT that most PvP freaks seem to forget: for every VICTOR there must be a VANQUISHED. What's the matter? You don't want to take your turn as the vanquished? That's just stupid. You already have a way to pick and choose your battles. You already have a way to escape a bad situation. A Chance at escape is all anyone should ask for, and you have it.

If Blizzard decided to re-work the class to where you LOST much of your stun ability but GAINED in other areas to compensate, would you still play a Rogue? Or is it strictly the "gank factor" you crave? I just wish some developer would get past the "mezz-stun" combat model and make it so every class has a chance to win or escape a fight.

If the Rogue Class didn't exist, then WoW would be pretty close to that and we'd be griping about Polymorph. Unfortunately, I think we're seeing how different it is to balance PvE abilities with PvP abilities. I still don't like to be frozen and unable to respond when I'm playing a game. If that's anyone's idea of fun, then you are made of sturdier stuff than I am." -
Rethyl

Giving credit where credit is due... great post. Wish I could claim credit for it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And it happens... WoW honor data lost

The day after the 1.7 patch and Blizzard is sorry to inform everyone that all honor data for the last 24 hours has been lost.

"There was an issue during the Honor tally process which resulted in incorrect collection of Honor points. While we have addressed the issue so that Honor will properly calculate in the future, we regret to inform you that the PvP Honor data which did not calculate for the last 24 hours since the end of Tuesday’s maintenance cannot be recovered." - Blizzard

Good or bad? Well no one likes losing anything. It is good for me in the fact that a lot of people hit AB hard and heavy gaining A LOT of honor. So now I will not have to gain as much to hopefully compete this week. Unfortunately that 24 hour period is about the only time I will get to log in during prime time bonus experience this week.

We will have to wait and see what Blizzard does about this.

MO2 - Stun

Stun
stun (st n)
tr.v. stunned, stun•ning, stuns
1. To daze or render senseless, by or as if by a blow.
2. To overwhelm or daze with a loud noise.
3. To stupefy, as with the emotional impact of an experience; astound.
n.
A blow or shock that stupefies.

Now that is how it is defined in the dictionary. How is it defined by an MMO gamer such as myself? A few words come to mind… gay… lame… retarded… and I probably could think of a lot more.

The essence of stun in any form in any MMO makes me sick to my stomach, but when it is thrown into a MMO’s Player vs. Player (PvP) system it makes me downright mad. Any ability designed to completely prevent you from playing your character is just bullshit. Slow, root, and other movement afflicting skills are great because you still have the option to fight back in some form or another.

It boggles me how any MMO developers building a game that is meant to be FUN can add a game mechanic that allows one player to completely prevent their enemy from fighting back. Where is the skill? There isn’t. Simple fact… if your enemy can’t fight back because you pressed the STUN button and killed them… you DON’T have skill.

Stun has been around since the beginning. Ultima Online had it in the form of paralyze. Everquest had it. Countless MUDs before both of them had it. Dark Ages of Camelot was the first “second generation” MMO to abuse it and every MMO up until now seems to be using it. World of Warcraft is the new flavor that seems to rejoice in letting a select few classes have mind boggling amounts of stun.

WoW being my current game… stuns have become a daily annoyance. Rogues, paladins, warriors, hunters, mages, Tauren, and any engineer have a form of stun. There is diminishing returns built into the system, but a stun is still a stun. The initial stuns last plenty long for a rogue to kill you and a paladins stun lasts long enough for the paladin’s friends to trounce you. Mage, hunter, warrior, and engineer stuns are short and uneventful.

However, they INTERUPT your current action. I can understand this being part of a classes abilities, but giving it to engineers and Taurens as a racial ability? WTF. It’s bad enough the most overplayed classes in WoW, rogues and paladins, spam stuns everywhere on the battlefield, but having engineering slowly become the must have trade skill profession for PvP… blah.

Stun when it is used as an interrupting ability and not a game stopping ability can work. WoW warriors intercept stun is an agreeable use of stun. It lasts for merely a split second and is as described… an intercept. WoW rogue stuns are unbearable and have driven me to log out more than once. Classes get some items that break stuns, but the stuns can be reapplied so quickly that it is worthless. Blizzard needs to realize diminishing returns are not working properly for stuns and fix them the same way they fixed slow effects such as frost shock and frost nova. The fix… after three stuns you become immune to stuns for approximately five minutes.

Stuns plain suck. They were reason for outcry in Dark Ages of Camelot and are creeping into the bullshit category in WoW. Let's hope the next generation gets a clue.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Everquest 2... the SOE effect

What is this SOE effect you ask? Its the pattern that SOE has shown us for their two largest MMO's to date... Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) and Everquest II (EQ2). Basically... release the game and fix it later.

SWG recently underwent major changes to the combat system and Jedi system. These are two essential systems that any Star Wars MMO should have in a final working condition the day of launch. Combat should be something any MMO has figured out at launch.

I have combat system bolded for a reason. Everquest 2 is suffering a similiar fate... behold Everquest 2's Producer Letter. I quote the letter "Many people will be relearning parts of their characters, getting used to new spell lines and working with altered buffs. That's a lot for us to ask, and we realize that. " Essentially EQ2's combat is being overhauled similiar to what happened when SWG's combat system was overhauled. Also in the letter "We understand that changes of this magnitude, even when many of them are positive, can be disconcerting."

Not only does this show that EQ2 was not ready to come out of beta, but it leads to a disturbing trend amongst SOE MMO's. Complete reworking of CORE game systems is what BETA is for. SOE does not get this and have not gotten this. Both SWG and a very limited EQ2 beta were nothing more than PR events to get players excited about the game. A vocal majority from both games beta testers provided in length reasons why the repsective games were not ready for launch. To steal a quote from Tobolds MMORPG Blog "EQ2 has 400,000 paying beta testers, which were subjected to major "disconcerting" changes from day one" - Tobold.

So the SOE effect is in full force again. I wish people would stop giving SOE their money... send a message that SOEunderstands... $$$.

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send a message that SOE understands... $$$.

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I don't want to completely blow this letter aside... there was one good quote in it. "To sum up these changes: In any MMO, people come for the game, and they stay for their friends and the long-term challenges and rewards present in the world. We're not just in the business of providing an interesting, fun, and challenging world to adventure in. We're equally responsible to ensure that we provide a setting in which our game draws people together as best as it can." - Scott

Drawing people together... Massively Multiplayer... go figure.

World of Warcraft Patch 1.7

Update: 8 Jul, 2007 - Removed post. This will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
Originally, this post contained links to various World of Warcraft patch download websites.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A down week for WoW

Once again I fear that I will be set back in the WoW PvP ranks game. I have strived for Rank 6 for a couple weeks now and I made it 3/4 of the way through rank 5 last week with a few good AV wins and some spare time spent owning Tyrs Hand farmers.

This week however I have had few prime time logins and once again my real world PvP was lagging behind and I have a measly 3,000 contribution points to show for it. So hopefully I can grab some more before I head off to sleep. Work tonight :(

Having no access to EZ mode AV wins blows. Blizzard to please fix this crap on Tuesday.


Pray with me! Blizzard can dooooo it!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A link...

This is all I will post in regards to the human disaster in the wake of Katrina.

Link to the original article.

Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Edited post and included full text transcript of the article below since I believe this is one of the best articles to come out during the ungodly disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State
by Robert Tracinski
It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency—indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

" 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"—the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels—gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails—so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]

There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters—not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.

The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005

[This article is available for reprinting free of charge. For the permission to reprint, write to editor@TIADaily.com. Click here for a shorter version of this article.]

The Intellectual Activist magazine articles on the web: Islam vs. the West, Environmentalism's Big Lie, Man's Best Came With Columbus and Altruism's War on Reality.

TIA Daily articles on the web:An Unnatural Disaster, Anything Less Is Suicide, The Empire of the Pursuit of Happiness, America's War Song, A Real Invasion, The Hinge of the World, Liberty and Union, What Have We Lost?, Martha Stewart, "See How America Grew", Human Achievements Blog and TIA Daily Sample Issue. Recommend these articles It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency—indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

" 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"—the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels—gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails—so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]

There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters—not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.

The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005

[This article is available for reprinting free of charge. For the permission to reprint, write to editor@TIADaily.com. Click here for a shorter version of this article.]

The Intellectual Activist magazine articles on the web: Islam vs. the West, Environmentalism's Big Lie, Man's Best Came With Columbus and Altruism's War on Reality.

TIA Daily articles on the web:An Unnatural Disaster, Anything Less Is Suicide, The Empire of the Pursuit of Happiness, America's War Song, A Real Invasion, The Hinge of the World, Liberty and Union, What Have We Lost?, Martha Stewart, "See How America Grew", Human Achievements Blog and TIA Daily Sample Issue. Recommend these articles to others using the "e-mail this article" link at the bottom of each article.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blizzard's battle plans v2.0 - Commentary

Blizzard announced their plan of action for the next "however long". I would love to fill that "however long" in with an actual time frame, but we all know Blizzard. So without any more BS onto my commentary and highlights.

"BlizzCon is quickly approaching, and we're preparing the lineup of programs, dev chats, and the concert to be held at our inaugural event. I’m very happy to announce that we'll have the first public showing of the expansion for World of Warcraft at BlizzCon. Attendees will be able to view the work that is going into the project and hear some of the eagerly awaited details. To those of you who won’t be able to make it to the show, please keep an eye out for the game magazines that will be hitting newsstands right around BlizzCon, because some of them will feature in-depth articles on the expansion with plenty of information about how World of Warcraft will be evolving."
-From this Gamergod.com interview from an actual face to face interview with a WoW developer, Shawn Carnes, and not a PR campaign release... we know the expansion is due in late 2006. The "in depth articles" is just a fancy term for these magazines to sell copies and its sad to see Blizzard playing along with it. Don't bullshit the community when the community has great sites like Gamergod.com to get the real deal from the developers.

"One feature we’re excited about is the addition of mid-sized raid dungeons. While the epic 40-player encounter is challenging and rewarding, we feel that a mid-sized raid can serve as a dynamic and fun departure from 40-player raids as well as the standard 5-player parties.
-Finally they are listening. People have been complaining about the fact that there is no middle ground. There is hardcore and then non-hardcore. The gap has been growing for months and 15-20 man raids are the ONLY ANSWER to at least closing the gap a bit. Hopefully these will work out for the best and pick up groups will be able to do them reliably like the current 5-15 man dungeons.

"At the top of the list are some major changes to Alterac Valley. We hope players have been enjoying the experience our epic Battleground provides, with its wide variety of goals and tasks. That aspect is something we definitely want to keep in Alterac, but we also want to make it more accessible by lowering the launch requirement from 30 players per side to 20. We also plan to shorten the length of time required to complete a game of Alterac Valley. Some of the changes we’ll be implementing to accomplish this goal are balancing out the terrain, slightly decreasing the landmass, and improving the queue to ensure balanced teams for each game."
-Man I almost feel like they've read my blog and have actually listened. Amazing huh? However it is too little too late. People will be flooding Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley will go the way of Warsong Gulch... a ghost town. Too many people got free AV exalted status and gear along with insanely high PvP ranks for doing nothing. By leaving AV in its current condition for so long it has alienated too many players from caring about battlegrounds.

"Another popular player request has been for us to increase outdoor PvP battles. Prior to the Battlegrounds, the outdoor landscape was fraught with PvP. However, once the Battlegrounds were introduced and NPC dishonorable kills were implemented, outdoor PvP greatly decreased. We want to bring back the hectic action of mass PvP, but with some improvements. One idea on the table is to place a capturable objective in the exterior environment."
-Let me spell it out for them. Double the honor gained outside battlegrounds. Give capturable objectives that can't just be ninja'd by half a dozen rogues. Observer ownage commence.

"Character-Transfer Service. Another feature of the Web site we'll be implementing is fee-based character transfers."
-Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy! I am not thrilled about the "fee-based" part, but finally I may have a chance to jump ship and move with friends that I was seperated from due to the queue problems at launch. This will be mad $$$ for Blizzard. I am only afraid that many small servers may be emptied.

So there it is... flame away.

WoW PvP rankings and what they mean for you!

Update: 5 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 I wrote about World of Warcraft and the original Honor system rankings. No copy of this article was saved.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Heroes of Might and Magic V getting a hint from Blizzard

I present Exhibit A


and Exhibit B.


Gamecloud is running an interview with an Ubisoft rep about upcoming fantasy strategy game, Heroes of Might and Magic V. The article is dribble for all I am concerned. My capacity for Might and Magic died in the 90's before the first real 3D version ever was released.

Pointing this out because of the eye candy and how its artistic style compares to a company oh so well known for "cartoony" graphics, Blizzard and Warcraft. You want to know something though? I LOVE IT! These are kick ass screen shots and I love this sort of artistic style. It remains to this day why Final Fantasy VII and IX are my favorite Final Fantasies.... good cartoony > almost real looking or barbie doll graphics.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I LOVE IT! These are kick ass screen shots" - Heartless_
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fantasy is about fantasy... let us escape the world of five foot nothingness and escape into a world where vibrant color and tall tales parade across our screen on gallant steeds.

+1 for this game.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Xfire checkup

Update: 5 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post originally linked to a Gamergod.com article about Xfire, but Gamergod.com is now defunct.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mouthing Off - Blizzard and Battlegrounds

Mouthing off is a new column I'm going to be starting here. Call it a whine and call the whammmmbulance as I try to argue my way through pure anger.

Today’s Mouthing Off goes out to the wonderful team at Blizzard for producing such a stinky craptastic turd, known as battlegrounds, and force feeding it down the throat of every equal opportunity MMO gamer out there. If it wasn't bad enough that the honor PvP ranking system was falling apart prior to battlegrounds because the "newbs" were getting ganked around every corner Blizzard trumped it by dropping the battlegrounds on us.

Because we all know something like this was not going to happen...
This would never happen in WoW?
...after all there isn't a census this side of the Mississippi that doesn't show two alliance for every horde on the majority of servers. It must of taken some real hardcore internal testing to figure out that 40 vs 9 wasn’t any damn fun. Yet it never dawned on them to limit each side to only allow an EQUAL number of players in?

I quote...
Brilliant


With the next patch Blizzard got the grand idea of giving a “battleground holiday” to attract more people to play in the battlegrounds. HELLO! No amount of extra honor will get anyone to want to zone into a 40 vs. 9 match or wait three hours with their organized raid group for an actual match to compete in! Blizzard giving out more free honor to those who don’t deserve it!

Plus Blizzard deems it wonderfully cool to remove the ability to /afk and leave a battleground. God forbid you may want to give the spot up right away if you are not of any use... or hell why would anyone want to suffer through a match where it is 40 vs. 20? NO ONE wants to!

I can't believe Blizzard has let this run for so long. While people struggle to fight it out in bad Alterac Valley groups... there is players getting 10,000+ honor because they were lucky enough to log into a 40 vs 20 match or wait for a battleground to fill up with skilled players and then /afk out to take their uber l33t raid group to a 40 vs 20 match.

The fact is that Alterac Valley is the only place you can compete for rank anymore and it is blatantly obvious how drastically it skews contribution point totals and a players "contribution" to their realm. For example... my ZERO AV wins and hell of a lot of open world PvP vs. MR NUBSAX's 9+ AV wins and two times my honor.
The AV difference
During that time I saved many players trying to level from PKs, interrupted my sworn enemies from advancing their gold accounts and levels, and actually gave a damn about the world I play my avatar in.

"and actually GAVE A DAMN ABOUT THE WORLD I play" - Heartless_

Blizzard needs to get a clue and close Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch for a complete rework. Allowing players with no right to their PvP rank, honor totals, or gear gained through them is just blowing smoke up the ass of every hard working gamer out there that refuses to submit themselves to constant abuse at the hands of an idea sketched on a cocktail napkin and pushed through internal testing the next day.

I leave you... as I wait...
Waiting...

The new look me

So I decided to change up some of my gear on my Shaman in World of Warcraft. I am going for a non-typical build with a lot of +Attack Power and +Strength gear. All melee baby! Check out the new look me :)

Tanglefoot Shaman Azgalor

Definately not your everyday looking, coat rack as a shoulder piece, shaman.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

God bless everyone affected by the recent hurricane. In hopes of bringing some more light into the storm, how it formed, and why it was so devistating I provide you with Wikipedia's Hurricane Katrina entry.

You can help the victims of this disaster by following any of these links;

Red Cross or 1-800-HELP-NOW
FEMA
Louisiana Homeland Security

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

Horizons - not impressed at all!

Gamergod.com had some Horizon's media accounts floating around and an article for the upcoming dragon ceremony was needed... so never fear... Heartless is here!

Step 1 : Download Horizons.
-No problems here... downloaded while I slept.

Step 2 : Install & Patch Horizons
-Nightmare begins. So it downloaded and the patcher opened up just fine. Installed Microsoft 1.1 .NET Framework. Then it is time to install the game. Took an AFK break and come back to a screen that says "These files must be deleted for Horizons to play correctly." DELETE.

Step 3 : Make an account and play!
-Never going to get to the play part of this experience. Account created with a little tweaking of the ole' address. I live in an apartment and the account form fails to mention it doesn't accept the # sign until AFTER you put all your info in. It rejected me and didn't save any of my info. Repeated without the # and got my account. Tried to launch Horizons... Horizons is not installed on your computer. OH HELL YES IT IS YOU STUPID PROGRAM.

Step 4 : Call customer service.
-Nice guy... not terribly helpful. He tells me to reinstall. However the downloaded program file says there is an installation that already failed and I could not start another one. Customer service walks me through the uninstall and then directs me back to redownload the program.

Step 5 : Politely tell the CS rep that it isn't worth my time
-Informed my CS rep that I would not be downloading the program again. Even after he tried to convince me of the "new patcher" that is only a 34MB download and would then auto download the patch for me.

So there is my Horizons experience. Account canceled withing the first 36 hours.
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