Thursday, September 28, 2006

My First Raid... Ever

Now that I'm with a new guild in World of Warcraft I figure it is time to start doing some new things. However, what I thought I would be doing is something different than what I did today. I envisioned myself joining guild PvP groups for grinding faction in the battlegrounds, but today a call went out for a pick-up raid into AQ20.

While AQ20 is by far not an "uber" raid it is actually the first raid instance I've ever stepped foot into outside of doing the Molten Core attunement quest. It was spur of the moment and was a multi-guild effort. Fortunately the raid leaders were all experienced with the content and that means everything in organized raiding.

Some people that read my blog may believe I'm just a mad casual gamer. Well I am, but I know how it is to be a raid or die type player. That is all I did in DAoC. If I wasn't doing Realm vs. Realm then I was off doing a dungeon crawl in Darkness Falls or any number of Shrouded Isles dungeons. I broke that habit shortly before Trials of Atlantis launched and have not looked back since. I'm better for it.

I don't see myself becoming a raider in WoW terms, but when the opportunities arise I will take advantage of them. I plan to report on all them also because I know it can be soothing to read about other people's raids and the ph4t l00tz they obtain. So let us discuss my AQ20 raid today.

The group formed within 30 minutes which I think is pretty good for a pick up raid. We were short on priests (one to be exact), but decided to head out anyways. We had four shamans and a couple of druids to pick up the slack. We didn't have any crazy ideas of clearing the entire dungeon... just the first couple of bosses.

The start was disastrous when a rogue thought he could stealth up towards the first trash pull and aggroed a three pull forcing us to zone out and back in. Once we were ready we pulled the trash and made it to the first boss, Kurinnaxx, just fine. First attempt and he was down.
Kurinnaxx Loot

[Vestments of the Shifting Sands]
Plus some minor quest related loot.
Then we initiated the second boss fight and it went smooth as butter also. It involved seven waves of monsters which we handled very well. We held the last wave so we could regenerate a good bit of mana/health before General Rajaxx came barreling down upon us. Our General Rajaxx strategy proved to be perfect and we didn't suffer a single death.
General Rajaxx Loot

Once again a slew of quest related drops.
[Tablet of Strength of Earth Totem V]
You could imagine my surprise when the tablet dropped. Even more my surprise when I rolled a 95 on the first roll! Of course with my luck 95 is never good enough and the last shaman to roll hit a 97.

After the Rajaxx loot was split the only priest had to leave. Of course that started the flood and the raid ended. It was a good raid and only took a couple hours of my time. This is what raiding should be about, but I can't expect every pick up raid to go so smooth. Even without winning any loot I was happy about spending a couple hours in AQ20. I am quite surprised about the whole situation and I may just be going back sometime soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Another First For ASCN - EVE Online

Found at Kill Ten Rats.
The first Titan has been built and it was Ascendant Frontier that made it happen. It’s a pretty big deal, and an even bigger ship. Way to go ASCN! Ars Caelestis (ArsC) is proud to be a part of it all.

I’ll try to add more details as they are released.

- Ethic
As a former member of ArsC and still an active member of their community I must say I am proud also. Even though I am no longer playing EVE Online I still enjoy keeping up on my old corp. Good luck ASCN!

Old enemies; New friends

A long time ago on the Azgalor server of World of Warcraft there were two enemies. Tanglefoot, Troll Shaman of the Horde, was constantly at battle with Taozu, Human Rogue of the Alliance. Many forum f-bombs were dropped and I even made a teaser video about Taozu (which is now lost to cyberspace).

Well Taozu had a change of heart and is now fighting for the Horde as a rogue. According to him; the Alliance is just a bunch of whining bitches. Well maybe not those exact words, but you get the idea.

Of course now being a proud member of the Horde, he decided to contact me: Supreme Commander of the Horde (don't hate because I can elect myself too cool offices). During our discussion we came to the conclusion that we really aren't too horrible to be around and I believe a new friendship was born. I see a lot of PvP in our future.

Along with this he also gave me an invite to his guild Extinct. I have been on the lookout for a guild for some time. Since I usually call the lamers as I see them, I have not won many friends on Azgalor.

Anyways, Extinct accepted me and I believe I will enjoy my new home. I miss having people to play WoW with and hopefully I will find plenty of people in Extinct that share my same enthusiasm for PvP.

Friday, September 22, 2006

So I Met an MMORPG Player in Class Today

I haven't really announced it on the blog that I have gone back to school for the fall semester. If you ever met me in real life you would think that I am not a day over 18. Fact is I am approaching 25 and am just starting technical college. I am often confused as just another "kid out of high school", but that does not bother me. Anyways this is all besides the point. I am in school and go to class everyday.

Today we had a lab to do. A simple lab: install Windows 98 SE on our hard drives. While doing the lab I started talking with the older female that was sitting next to me. We ended up talking about routers while we waited for Win 98 to install. She didn't know how to secure her wireless so I told her about a story involving my roommate and how our old neighbor found out he was piggybacking for free on their wireless access. Long story short she said "As long as it doesn't effect my games."

Being the self asserted genius that I am I put some clues together. What game or type of game could be so important that you wouldn't want it to be affected? MMORPGs... duh! What is the most popular MMORPG out right now? World of Warcraft... duh!

This doesn't mean everyone I meet that talks about video games or gaming is automatically thrown in the WoW category, but for this particular instance it was my best logical guess. So I said bluntly... "You play World of Warcraft." Not a question... a statement. Of course I was correct.

Turns out she is also playing in a couple of beta tests. Specifically Lord of the Rings Online and Vanguard:SoH. And here is the meat of this post:
Me: So how's Vanguard?
Her: Sucks. Can't even kill level 1's and the graphics run like crap (she has a moderate gaming rig, but still relatively new). Death penalty is stupid.
Me: I agree.
*senseless jabber occurs about Brad McQuaid*
Me: So how is LotRO?
Her: Great. It's beautiful and runs really well.
Me: I saw a video and I think the game looks boring... combat is slow and unimaginative.
Her: You have to try it because the combat is very fun.
Now these aren't exact quotes, but it gives the jest of what she was saying. On one hand it gave me some insight into LotRO which I was surprised to hear was going so well. I just lack faith in Turbine after Asheron's Call 2. Of course the other side is Vanguard and I must say she confirmed what I've been bitching about all along.

So overall it was a productive lab even if it took me a bit longer to install Win 98 than I had planned.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mind Control in World of Warcraft PvP

Me: Oh look that priest is casting a spell.
(Priest is casting Mind Control)
Me: Oh I better interrupt that.
(You interrupt with Earth Shock)
*fighting occurs*
Me: Oh look the priest is casting again.
(Priest is casting Mind Control)
(You can't cast Earth Shock yet.)
(You can't cast Earth Shock yet.)
(You can't cast Earth Shock yet.)
(You can't cast Earth Shock yet.)
(You can't cast Earth Shock yet.)
(You can't cast Earth Shock yet.)
Me: Oh shit... there is a cliff next to this Lumber Mill in the Arathi Basin battleground.
{You take a lot of falling damage.)
(You are dead.)
Alliance has taken the Lumber Mill.
Alliance has won Arathi Basin.

Mind Control is still allowed in PvP... that's another one for the "What the fuck were they smoking when they came up with this?" file.

Update: 10 Nov, 2006 - Applied labels.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vanguard : Watch how boring our game really is!

Ten Ton Hammer has a set of four Vanguard:SoH beta videos up for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately for Brad and friends they are just four more reasons not to play Vanguard.

Comments
  • The animations are stiff and repetitive. They do not look dynamic or fluid at all.
  • Whack. Whack. Whack. Nothing stellar at all found in the combat portions. Actually the combat looked quite boring and repetitive.
  • Did that big bad wolf just run through solid stone? Yep it did. Next generation graphics... same old problems.
  • Can the camera be any more jerky? It is commendable that they shot in game footage instead of a developer hacked ride by of the game world, but god damn is the camera really that laggy in the game? Were the graphical settings turned up a little bit high?
  • Hello I am "insert NPC name here" and my legs don't work. Once again this is supposedly a next generation MMORPG, but the NPC's still don't move and still need little indicators over their head to get the players attention. After playing with Everquest II's voice acting I was quite surprised by its effectiveness. Even if I just want to skip through the bullshit and get to the quest/merchant/etc. it was still nice that an NPC would beckon for me to come over and talk.
  • Did I mention how BORING combat looked? Just checking.
  • The one thing that I did like was the UI that was in a couple of the videos where they were fighting in the desert. It looked clean and manageable. It was hard to tell what everything did, but it seemed like there was a good and solid base to play the game.
Vanguard:SoH is going to fall flat on it's face. An MMORPG just can't afford to launch with next generation graphics when the majority of gamer's computers are still last generation. World of Warcraft hit on the fact that a lot of potential gamers just don't have souped up gaming rigs. Next generation graphics require bigger budgets and the choice to go with better graphics means you are sacrificing a good 3/4 of your potential customers. No I don't have numbers to back that 3/4 up, but the WoW vs. EQ2 has been more than enough evidence to convince me.

I truly feel sorry for Brad and friends... I truly do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Welcome to the new Heartless Gamer

I finally got around to cleaning up my blog template and switching over to the new Blogger Beta. It offers easy to use template tools that have allowed me to customize my template without having to rewrite the whole thing myself; which is great!

One of the biggest new features is: labels. I am in the process of retro-updating all old posts to include a label. Hopefully, this will help visitors find older posts on my blog about certain topics with the simple click of a label.

The template is not exactly what I want yet, but its a good start. I will slowly be adding to it with little tweaks here and there. If you see anything acting funny just let me know in the comments.

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That Gaming Itch: Call of Juarez MP Demo


That Gaming Itch

Every once and a while I get an itch for some type of game, in some sort of setting, that I don't always see in the spot light. For a while now, I've been wanting to play a good western-themed shooter. There are a couple Half Life 2 mods floating around that have been working on the idea, but none of them have produced a playable mod yet.

The other night I was surfing for gaming news, and I came across a multiplayer demo for Call of Juarez. It is a soon to be released western-themed shooter from Techland and Ubisoft. Without hesitation, I decided to satisfy my gaming itch.

Pros and Cons

I am going to break this down into a Pros and Cons list, as it will be the easiest way to review this game's multiplayer demo.

Pros
  • The setting feels authentic. The two available maps felt like towns right out of a good spaghetti Western.
  • The concepts behind the game modes make sense with the western setting. One map is centered around the Outlaws robbing the bank and the Lawmen defending, while the second map is just a straight up timed team death match (TDM).
  • Graphics are up to snuff. Nothing to complain about. I didn't have a single issue related to graphics and I ran the game on max settings.
  • When zooming in with a weapon you lose focus with everything except what you are zoomed in upon. A unique twist I haven't seen before.
  • Not a single crash to desktop for the entire time I played.
Cons
  • Due to the unbalanced nature of the weapons in game, the two classes, Six Shooter and Rifleman, didn't really provide enough variety.
  • Piggybacking on the first con: the rifle is the most effective weapon in game. It can be fired as fast as the trigger is pulled and does two times the damage of the Six Shooter's pistols.
  • The in-game server browser is trash. It makes Battlefield 2's server browser look like a golden nugget. The update and refresh buttons rarely worked and the game froze several times while at the server select screen.
  • The game suffers from several connection issues. I can't remember ever actually quitting a server. Every game I was forced off by connection issues, or a flat out server crash.
  • The Outlaws are Native Americans (Indians) and the Lawmen are White Men. Hmmmm... anyone crying injustice yet? Racist? Got me, but when I think Outlaw in the old west I'm thinking of Billy the Kid, not Chief Tonka.
Conclusion

In the end, the demo was fun overall when I was able to connect to a server not having connection problems. The action was quick and refreshing. Unfortunately, this game didn't make enough use of it's western theme. Besides the idea of shooting it out in an old mining town as an Outlaw or Lawman, there isn't much else that puts the western in Call of Juarez. Maybe I was looking for horses, trains, or Mexicans. Maybe just something other than White Man vs. Indian. I really don't know, but Call of Juarez just didn't deliver anything that screams "must play".

If you are interested in a western themed FPS, then Call of Juarez can satisfy you for a few minutes. I make no guarantees that the server browser or connection issues will be fixed, but I can't imagine them giving up on the title before some major holes are plugged. Call of Juarez is just another FPS that fails to innovate or impress.

Friday, September 08, 2006

3 Words to Describe BF 2142

1. Buggy as in it crashes a lot and there is several connection issues. Graphically I haven't had many slow ups even when settings are cranked. Of course I always could play BF2 at MAX settings just fine.

2. Confusing as in WTF am I supposed to do? No one on my team communicates. The objectives are poorly laid out for Titan mode. EA needs to take away score keeping and focus on rewarding you for completed objectives. Giving scores for kills just turns the game into a whoever can kill more people wins even if that means fucking my teammates over.

3. Fun so far. I have some good "OH shit did I just knife that dude as he got out of his mech" moments and a few "OMFG that dude isn't on my damn team and I let him cap the silo right next to me!" moments.

More to come when I get some more solid and connected games.

Update: 9 May, 2009 - Edited post.

Beta Crazy! NeverWinterNights 2 MP Beta

Hi everyone,

Congratulations! If you are receiving this email it means you have been selected to participate in our Neverwinter Nights 2 Multiplayer Beta Test! This is just a pre-emptive email so that I can get started getting you guys and gals access to our private forums in preparation for the commencement of the beta test which should be sometime next week. I will be sending a follow up email soon once the build is ready for download. This beta test is under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which means you CAN NOT discuss the game outside of our private community forums at http://www.ataricommunity.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=445.

To gain access to the private Neverwinter Nights 2 Multiplayer Beta Test Forums, please follow the instructions outlined below:

- If you DO NOT already have an Atari Community Forums account, please go to www.ataricommunity.com and register an account. Once you have created your account, reply to this email and give me your username so that I can add you into the private forums.

- If you already DO have an Atari Community Forums account, simply reply to this email and I will give you access to the private forums.

Please Note: Only send ONE email. It will take some time to get through all of the access requests, and your patience is appreciated.

Gear up that Gnome, dust off that +1 Dagger, and welcome once again to the Neverwinter Nights 2 Multiplayer Beta Test! I hope to hear from you soon! :)

Betatest Administrator
Atari, Inc.

Note: No gnomes were harmed in the making of this email.

Battlefield 2142 Beta Here I Come!

I received my BF 2142 beta key a little bit ago thanks to Fileplanet's 10,000 beta keys for anyone with an account. This means any Fileplanet account, not just paying subscribers.
TIP: If you get to the application screen and there is no SUBMIT button you need to disable ALL of your firewalls. FilePlanet has always had that problem and I doubt they will ever fix it.

Come back for some thoughts and impressions later tonight when I get the game downloaded and installed. I am weary of any non-Fileplanet downloads at the moment, as there are several beta client versions floating around.

Update: 5 May, 2009 - Edited post and updated labels.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's getting messy around here!

I've decided to go ahead and start cleaning up some of my posts over the last year or so. I will be deleting a bunch of meaningless posts full of broken links. Also I will try to clean up spelling mistakes and grammar issues in a lot of older posts. I figure the sooner I start the faster I will catch up to my current posts and from then on I can hopefully keep it clean.

This is all in preparation for the Blogspot changes that Google is testing in beta right now. Once those go live I will be redoing the sites layout as well as going back and putting all my posts into categories! I'm open to any other suggestions as well; just leave a comment.
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