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.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Rank 6!

Finally hit rank 6 in WoW tonight. Tanglefoot is now a Stone Guard. My new goal is Rank 7, but I doubt Arathi Basin will still be going strong in a few weeks. Without Arathi Basin I will have literally no access to a decent, quick, and fun battleground :( We will see what happens!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Movie Review: A History of Violence

What a movie! I am fully aware that a lot of critics have a joking response to this movie. IMHO, this movie is full of comedy that sticks oddly in your throat. It is uncomfortable in the way that it makes you want to watch it. It drags you in and throws you around.

In essence the story is of a small town man, Tom Stalls (Viggo Mortensen), who when faced by a pair of murderous robbers in his coffee shop performs in a way that lends the viewer to believe there is something else behind this man. To tell you more would be to ruin the movie.

Some people will not understand the ending... the purpose... or why it ends where it ends. Honestly, I don't see why it ended where it did. The story felt cut off... at a point where I was really drawn into the movies core. That core is Tom's family and how it dealt with the situation at hand.

Like Stephen Kings masterpiece, The Shining, it is about the degradation of the family under extraordinary circumstances that interests me. The movie version of The Shining failed to deliver on the family aspect, but the book does not fail.

In a strange way I caught myself thinking back to The Shining and how A History of Violence sort of completed the family aspect. How do families respond when their entire world is flipped upside down? Sadly A History of Violence will leave you sitting on that thought, but it goes a long ways to answer some of it with graphic scenes all around.

The violence is graphic, in a way where that makes you feel for the characters and what is happening. Eerily, it compels you to watch. This movie has actors that filled the parts they were cast in. Not one stands out from another. All are believable.

A History of Violence is an outstanding movie for those that care to watch it. If you want cheap thrills then I am sorry... Stealth has already flopped a month ago.
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