Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dungeons and Dragons ... level 10's before launch.

Turbine has allowed people who pre-ordered Dungeons and Dragons Online to have an early start. So, it was bound to happen that a player was going to flip on hardcore mode and hit the max level (10) relatively fast. The problem is that such a player has done so; five days before the game has landed on store shelves!

The post on the DDO forums has a lot of points between the casual players and this single hardcore level 10. The level 10 claims he was figuring out if there was a ton of level 10 content to be consumed and he was terribly wrong because there is ZERO level 10 content. The more casual crowd is chanting "Thats what you get for rushing." I don't know which side is more sad in this argument because they are both horribly mistaken about DDO being a viable MMORPG.

Community member Karos says it best on page 4 of the thread...
"Ok, from reading this thread I get the impression that a lot of people feel it is fine for a game like this to end, 'the journey is everything', so to speak. Comparing this game to a non-subscription based rpg is comparing apples to oranges, as this game lives and dies by how many people is can keep playing.

Many people when they play a console rpg play it through slowly and completely, never to look at it again except in nostolgia. Now ask yourself if you would be willing to pay a monthly fee while that game is sitting on the shelf doing nothing. If enough people can honoestly say yes to that question, then this game has a future, but if not it will lose subscribers and with no bottom line it will go the way of AC2, but much quicker.

Endgame content is something every online game must eventually have to keep that subscriber. The form that content takes though can be extremely differentiated but it will all boil down to the same principal. How do you keep people busy and continuing to play after they reach the max level allowed? This question may seem moot, but eventually every player can reach that level if they continue to progress. You may think that someone reaching the end now is a problem, but it is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Right now things are looking good and we can hope for fast new content patches. Let me finish with a different question. If every time you got together with friends for a PnP D&D game and and your DM asked you to roll up new chars and placed you in exactly the same campaign to be played out exactly the same way every single game, how long before you found yourself a new DM?"
That is a very well stated point of view that I have to agree with. The casual gamers out there are going to be hitting 10 within a month or two months time and they are quickly going to come to the same conclusion as the hardcore. The argument that Turbine is going to continuously add content as a viable way to maintain the game is utter bull crap. They've had years to build this games content (remember they already had the engine built) and they can't make more than a few days worth of leveling content?

It is true that the number of levels doesn't matter. Level 10 as max does not have to be a short journey. Turbine proclaimed how their was going to be so many mini step ups as you level that you will have content for months on end before running out of content. Turbine vastly underestimated what amount of content they did have because its not even remotely close to being viable to support this game.

I truly feel sorry for the idiots in that thread posting that Turbine will have a patch out within a few weeks with tons of content. It just doesn't work like that. They will be able to add a couple top end quests at most and that's if they go for quality. They could squeeze out a few more, but they are going to be very unfinished experiences. The majority of early patching will be in fixing technical bugs and game bugs... not content delivery.

Here are the points I dug out of the thread:

1. The content doesn't change. It's the same the first time you play and then is just a repeat. Turbine didn't even bother to have the traps or secret doors change locations.

2. The speed of leveling is not proportionate to the amount of content available. It is being compared to leveling to 20 in WoW, which took casual people about a month to do and the hardcore hitting 20 after a day. Difference being, WoW has different 1-20 content for almost every race.

3. There is ZERO level 10 end game content available. Once you hit level 10 it is a reroll and restart, farm the dungeons you've already completed, or wait for the next content patch which is X number of weeks away.

Final Thoughts

DDO is in trouble and matter of fact so is Turbine.

Update: 1 Sept, 2009 - Edited post, applied label.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


I've come to realize that I just don't have time to do things that I want anymore. I have too many things that need to be done! Fortunately all things that I need to get done are worth more than anything in the end, but still having little to no time to pursue my hobbies is a big downer. But before I get into solutions I will get into what I'm so busy with.

1. I've purchased a house.
2. I've began planning my wedding.
3. I'm preparing to move within the next few months.
4. In a few months I will be out of the active military.
5. I'm beginning research into what school I will attend after I am out of the active military.

Now, I normally like to keep real life out of my blog, but these changes will play greatly into my gaming future and the reason I am about to present some solutions to keep my gaming addiction fed.

Solution 1 - EVE Online. Since I am already playing it and skill training requires minimal interaction I can continue. This is a good idea, but as I begin to spend more time away from my current house I will not have a PC to access the net with for weeks at a time. So EVE Online and MMORPGs in general are going to be tough.

Solution 2 - Finally getting a Nintendo DS as I've been wanting to do. I gave one to my fiance as a birthday present and she absolutely loves it. I have a crack list of games to get: Mario Kart DS, Mario Bros Partners in Time, and soon to be released Metroid Prime Hunters plus the new untitled Mario DS title.

Also I would get a wireless USB adapter to plug into my PC for some online play for Mario Kart DS. Even though I will be without a net connected PC for weeks at a time there should be plenty of titles to keep me busy and any gameboy is king of portability.

Solution 3 - Give up gami.... blah I can't finish typing that. Haha...

Peace out!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Out for the weekend... err my weekend

I'll be gone until Saturday evening which just so happens to be my "weekend". Next month I'll be switching to Sunday and Mondays off instead of Friday and Saturday. Anyways I will be out of town.

My fiance and I have bought a house after much research so I will be up there checking it out. Good luck in all your gaming... whether its World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Battlefield 2, Everquest 2, Star Wars Galaxies, Dark Ages of Camelot, Anarachy Online, Shadowbane, Asherons Call, Dungeons and Dragons Online, etc. Think I named enough?

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post and applied labels.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Guild Wars world champs and thoughts on pro-video gaming

Joystiq has a small blurb up about the Guild Wars world champions. Congrats to team EviL for taking home the prize. The whole thought of gaming for cash and the comments to the article got me thinking. Along with thoughts from the Gaming Steve podcast I have some thoughts that I posted as comments to the Joystiq article.
"Videogames as a sport will not get picked up as mainstream until the various leagues learn to stick to a single game... not many games that change every couple of years.

The MLB doesn't announce next seasons is going to be played as Baseball 2.0. The NFL doesn't go and introduce NFL:The Sequel as next years "game". Profesional sports change very little overtime.

Video gaming professionally needs a constant game. In the US the closest contender we have is Counterstrike. Even then the main star of the circuit is Fatal1ty who jumps to whatever Quake-inspired game is hot.

Pro video gaming is actually a sad commercial interest for the games being played and the technology (gfx cards fo sho) the gamers compete on.

Starcraft is HUGE in Korea and is basically their national "past time". Starcraft is an old game and I doubt you will see the Koreans changing games anytime soon. Sure other games in Korea are competitive, but its basically like comparing the MLB to AAA baseball in the US. It's minor league vs major league.

And until the US video gaming tournaments get out of the commercial aspect of selling the newest and greatest hardware and software, they won't succeed."

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post and applied labels.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Lum (aka Scott Jennings) leaves Mythic Entertainment

Mythic Entertainment, the makers of Dark Ages of Camelot, have lost one of their best today. Lum the Mad (aka Scott Jennings) has parted ways with the company. The old man was seen kicking a jar as he left releasing a magical fairy that will be flying him South by Southwest for an unknown purpose. The blogging scene is full of rumors.

1. Lum the ever vigilant World War II gaming fan could possibly be headed to Cornered Rat software to begin design work on World War II Online.

2. SOE has posted job listings in the southwest for Lead Designer.

3. With the success of his book, MMORPGs for Dummies, it is speculated that he is retiring to Arizona to concentrate his efforts on MMORPGs for Dummies : The Sequel.

4. And finally many have speculated the man really has finally gone crazy.

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, removed broken links, and applied labels.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Brad McQuaid responds to my /. comments

I posted earlier in the week about the Vanguard : SoH preview at IGN.

I also posted the commentary over to the original /. posting that lead me to the previews.

Brad McQuaid responded;
"That it would take the average player, the 'core' gamer as we have described our target audience on our message boards (e.g. the group of players that sit between truly casual and truly hard core) 6-12 months to hit max level doesn't seem unreasonable. The players who have hit 40+ in beta have gone through various tweaks of the exp curve, levled up to varying degrees in the other spheres (crafting, diplomacy), etc. And for the record, we play the game on all sorts of systems, as well as test on different systems, from low end to high.

I did bring in one high end system to show off the game on a 30" monitor with all of the options turned way up (both because it looks great and also so people in the room could see the game from the various places they were sitting). And, yes, it was my system and I do play often on it, with the new Dell 30" monitor that came out -- not sure what your issue is with that unless you are assuming that's all we play the game on (high end systems) which most certainly isn't the case. Also, for what it's worth, the fact that you *can* play the game at a playable framerate at 2560x1600 with all the options turned up on a 3.8 ghz system with a x1900xtx is testament to how optimized the game is.

Obviously to run at a more typical resolution of 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 even, you can do so on a much lower end system. We're also not done optimizing, and by release, systems and graphics cards that are on the high end of things today will be much more reasonable price-wise. So while the game does take advantage of the latest hardware, shader model 2.0, HDR lighting, etc. and not just in closed off 'FPS' areas, but also outdoors where you can see for 4+ km in a truly seamless world, it will not require an 'uber' machine to run. More power than, say, WoW, yes, but nothing crazy or that would make it such that the majority of gamers couldn't or wouldn't enjoy."
Of course I responded;
Well Brad I "will" play your game at "some" point because that is the fair approach? No? I can hate all I want, but you never know I may be terribly mistaken about Vanguard. In all honesty there is even parts (housing, crafting, and mounts with bags) that intrigues me about V:SoH. Maybe it was IGN and Gamespots lackluster previews that set me off? I mean both articles are written obviously fanboi centric with nothing more than "This game is Everquest with better graphics".

I understand the media blitz. I understand the "show off the game" approach to the previews. Doesn't mean I have to like it and blogging about it surely doesn't mean I have to be constructive about it. That is what folks like Darniaq are for.

Personally I would conduct the preview in a totally different way and probably wind up with my rear on the front steps of your office. Not for being rude or unruly, but for asking questions that wouldn't be sufficient for the media blitz that you are conducting for VSoH. Now if you are so inclined and curious as to how such an interview would be conducted you can check Heartless Gamer or e-mail me yourself at heartlessgamer_at_gmail.com or hell if I would be so inclined to be granted an interview through Gamergod.com (now defunct) I may even be at your office someday. All three of which I hold no high hope for aside from blogging about it.... cause I'm cool like that.

Banter aside Brad, I hope your project the best of luck. Do I think its the right direction for such a large title? No. Does my opinion count. Probably not in the grand scheme of things. I'm not Koster and I'm not Lum. I don't make games. Therefore you can dismiss my ranting and go along with your day. It will still make me happy to post my thoughts.
So back to my blog and Gamergod.com (now defunct) I go...

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, corrected spelling, removed broken links, and applied label.

Joining a corporation in EVE Online

Joining a corporation in EVE Online is very similar to applying for a job in real life. Accepting an offer of employment and showing up for the first day is also comparable to its real life counterpart. This is a story of my first day "on the job" in EVE Online as a member of Ars Caelestis corporation (refered to as a "corp" from this point on).

Accepting the Offer

Ethic of Kill Ten Rats vouched for me to be admitted into Ars Caelestis and the AC folks were glad to accept me. It was in a bit of a hurry up as there was a convoy heading out to 0.0 space to deliver folks to the Huzzah federations station.

Now there is thousands of systems in EVE Online and unfortunately 0.0 space is labeled with all sorts of number and letter combinations. I would love to tell you where I journeyed to and from, but alas I cannot. What I can tell you is that I'm located in Catch region... wherever that is! Haha...

With the offer accepted to join I parted ways with any gear I wouldn't be able to carry with me. This was after all going to be a long trip out to the middle of nowhere. After selling off my industrial ship and all its equipment I was left with just my little Tristan frigate. I un-docked and caught up with Ethic a few systems away.

Setting up the Convoy

Now I don't want to pretend like I understand half of what was being done to set up this convoy. I warped to Ethic and we started a few jumps behind the main force. Ethic was able to get us back in line with the others and before long there was 30 of us waiting around in space to journey out to 0.0 space.

Learning the Basics

As we waited around for the convoy to get organized Ethic took me through some of the basics. It was very "real world" like in the fact that Ethic was just handing me gobs of information (in the form of bookmarks) that I would need to survive in the corp's region of space. On top of this there was the briefing that the convoy leader was kind enough to give to all the people joining that explained the basics of such things as aligning stargates, setting targets, adding the correct waypoints, and the basics of combat target calling.

Overall I was very impressed with the leadership. I wish I could pull names out, but just learning the basics was keeping me plenty of busy.

A Safe Journey

The high point of the journey was when one of our scouts called out a 12 ship formation at the next gate over ventrilo, but unfortunately it was only in jest. It did get the blood flowing for me though as I anticipated my first EVE Online PvP encounter. While it would of been fun to get into a battle I know I was ill equipped in a very weak ship.

The trip was long, but with all the stopping and aligning required you stay quite busy. There is still plenty of time to chat away in various chat channels so it was a rather enjoyable experience. Without friends though I could see myself getting bored on future trips.

Moving On

From here on out it is just more skill training for me. There is really nothing I can do in 0.0 space, but I now have a jump clone installed for future quick traveling. The next goal is to get back up into empire (0.5 - 1.0 security space) to continue learning the game along with raking in cash.

The future looks bright for me in EVE Online!

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, corrected spelling, removed broken links, and applied labels.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Vanguard preview @ IGN

Vanguard : Saga of Heroes is in a media blitz and IGN has a review up and I have it in my crosshairs. It has me more than disapointed... it has me downright angry. Angry because of the setback this pile of steaming crap will be on the MMORPG market.

Read the preview for Vanguard here.

Lets start with the stand out comment of the article; "The actual game mechanics should be familiar to anyone who's dabbled in MMOs in the past few years."

- Holy fizzle... Vanguard really is Everquest 2.0 (not to be mistaken with Everquest 2 from SOE). Read that quote again. Translated to human speak the previewers impression was "This is Everquest with better graphics."

Something about housing that caught my eye; "Once you start racking up a lot of dough, you'll eventually have the resources to build your own house and you can create a list of specific people who are allowed to enter it. Housing is not instanced, but the world has tons of open space for staking your claim."

- OK I'm going to calm down a little bit because they are the first MMO really since UO to attempt this in the fantasy setting. This does have potential.

Next on the chopping block is this beauty of a quote; "(Right now, the plan is to have a level cap of 50 at launch. With the current content balance, one beta tester took over four months, playing twelve hours a day, seven days a week, to reach that point.)"

This of course is followed up by this dandy; "That's primarily why McQuaid has a 30" Dell LCD powered by a Radeon X1900 XTX -- because they like to play."

- We already knew this game was made for the hardcore and I'm over that fact. What really hits hard is Brad's PC setup. Way to keep it real Brad. For bloomin' sakes... you would think they may want to test/play this game on a system THAT MORE THAN 10% OF THE GAMERS OUT THERE OWN OR COULD EVEN AFFORD!!! Just my opinion of course.

There is another preview up at Gamespot which I'll digest later, but for now I am pissed off so no need to bite off more than I can chew.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Half Life 2 Singleplayer = Complete

Well I've finished the singleplayer campaign for Half Life 2 all while AFK mining to glory in EVE Online!

I'll work on a review later in the week or early next week. I can't believe I didn't play this before now. It is an insane experience. The story is great and the end left me doing a "WTF" turnaround.

9.5/10 only lost .5 for no pr0n.

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, corrected spelling, removed broken links, and applied labels.
I ended up NOT writing a review for HL2.

The Outage

My internet has been connected to an "outage" for the past six days. Outage is highlighted because that is the word Comcast used to describe my problems. Last week Friday my problems began. The online light on my surfboard modem was a blinky-blink-blinking from time to time. Websites loaded slow or not at all.

IPConfig showed a connection and trace routes ran fine... err when or if they ran. My games like EVE Online, World of Warcraft, Battlefield 2, Guild Wars, and so forth just would not stay connected if they managed to get connected at all.

So it was about a six day "outage" of non-reliable connectivity. You would think since I called on the first day of the problems and followed up two other times during that period I would be entitled to some form of a discount this month.

I spoke with a customer service rep today at Comcast about just such a topic.

The agent was able to confirm my account was no longer connected to an "outage", but only after refusing to believe I correctly power cycled my modem. Three calls this week confirming I was still connected to the "outage" and three different agents walked me through turning the power on and off my modem. BTW there is NOT ONE, BUT TWO automated messages before you can even talk to an agent that describe in detail that most common problems can be solved by power cycling your modem!

The fact that this outage was days old wasn't really that frustrating to me, but the fact that they knew I was connected to an outage and failed to contact me with any information regarding it is frustrating. If their system could identify that my connection was part of the affected area then how damn hard is it to auto-generate an e-mail to tell me or call me based on the fact I reported the issue?

Of course I was denied my refund and I asked to speak to a supervisor. But when I spoke to one, no luck. To add insult to the "outage" the manager ensured the technician walked me through power cycling, checking PC drivers were installed, running IPconfig, running a trace route, and making sure my modem was pinged. Then I told them the technician could see I was connected to an "outage" as soon as I called.

Now the supervisor was respectable, but seemed to be reading off the "How to be annoying and repeat everything the technician did" checklist. Long story short... I was denied any form of reimbursement because a) I do not have a small business contract and b) it was not an outage of more than 14 days.

The major things I took away from this.

1. Never once did Comcast e-mail, call, or snail mail me to inform me that my connection would be connected to an outage for an extended period of time.

2. If you're calling Comcast support chances are its well beyond power cycling the modem, but the Comcast agent will never believe you're actually capable of power cycling it without their step by step guidance.

3. Asking for a refund for services not received is like a trip to the dentist. Your hesitant before you even get there and you probably have a headache when you leave.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Difference between Everquest and Ultima Online players

For many MMORPG veterans the first MMORPG they played was either Everquest or Ultima Online. Now obviously these were not the only games on the market, but they held the lion’s share of players and are also recognizable icons of the early days of truly massive graphical MMORPGs.

There is a difference between the player mentality between both Everquest and Ultima Online. Not only in the way they play, but in also how they talk about MMORPGs.


Everquest gamers in general always talk about what "their guild" did back in the glory days of Everquest. It is about "them" slaying the dragon and about how "they" used to camp dungeons.

Everquest was a grouping enforced game. You played to group. You grouped to play. There were classes that could solo, but in general you did not solo. Any "I did this" statements are usually followed by "because my group/guild did that."

Weak players banded together and formed guilds. This team effort usually strengthened weaker players, but didn't always make them better players. A weaker player could survive because of the team. This isn't to say Everquest lacked stronger players, but stronger players went off and made their own guilds and groups.

Ultima Online

Ultima Online players usually state what "I" did. "I" used to own a castle. "I" was a tamer with five of "my own" white wyrms. "I" was a dread lord.

These players still refer to most of their accomplishments as "I" accomplishments. "I" owned a house in the "city that we built". While the group provided a goal overall it was still the individual that defined their life. What "I" did defined "my" experience in game.

Weak players in Ultima Online were weeded out relatively quickly. If "you" couldn't cut it "you" were pretty much inclined to stay in the safety of the NPC guarded towns. Weak players either quit or became better players.

The middle ground didn't really exist in Ultima Online until the release of Trammel in the Renaissance expansion. Trammel was the "safe" mirror of the world where no harm could be done against another player. Weaker players found a home here, but just like Everquest they no longer had to become better players to experience the game.

Weak players eventually did form guilds and build towns, but in general there was a group of stronger players that held the guilds together. There is a small sect of Ultima Online players that do talk about what "they" did together as a guild. These are the players that built towns together and most likely defended these towns as Anti-PKs. This was more a creation of player actions than game design.

So where does this difference lead us to?

I don’t want to say which game is better. Everquest and Ultima Online were two different games with two different play styles. The debate about which was/is better will never end.

What we can look at is what has happened since the early days of these games. World of Warcraft is the new “must play” game and Everquest 2 is quietly gaining steam. Both games follow in the Everquest mold (which is truly the Diku-inspired model of years gone by). A dozen other MMORPGs have launched and a few others have closed down since then.

Most (if not all) have followed the Everquest mold more than the Ultima Online model. It seems that the teamwork approach is an integral part of the Massive Multiplayer aspect of MMORPG.

However, as we are starting to see with World of Warcraft there still is a strong player base that demands solo friendly “I” content. These players are still looking for the friendly world where they can enjoy the “I” content along with the “team” content.

I conclude that players like to play together with friends. They enjoy having things to do with friends, but when friends are unavailable they want something they can do alone. Accomplishments are both defined by what “I” did and what “we” did. The future of MMORPGs is a careful melding of Everquest and Ultima Online play styles.

Friday, February 10, 2006

EVE Online Update

I have subscribed to EVE Online after my 14 day trial. What won me over was potential. Potential for being a great game later on. Currently the game is boring as I log in only to set new skills to train. I am bored with the missions that the agents task me with.

What I want to get into is some combat. Both PvP and EVE Online's PvE known as "rat" hunting. Rats are NPC pirates that are worth a pretty penny to gun down. Grouping with a few friends and jumping into a pirate nest is a sure fire way to have some fun and come out with a profit.

Even though my skills are lacking currently I can still learn. I've applied through Ethic of Kill Ten Rats to be part of Ars Calestis corporation. So hopefully I am picked up.

I am more than willing to work hard for any corporation that needs me as long as I know they have my back in a dog fight. AC seems to be a newer corporation, but that does not bother me. It will be nice to be growing up as the corp grows stronger and stronger.

I am also working on a 14 day trial review for EVE Online for Gamergod.com (now defunct) so look for that within a week or two.

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, removed broken link, and applied label.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Newb Cabbage and the Basatard Sword of Slaying

Via Xfire

Heartless: omg you play WoW
DookeeDookee: yes
DookeeDookee: and I like it
Heartless: newb
DookeeDookee: don't hate
Heartless: so what server/level/class?
DookeeDookee: I'm level 10
Heartless: mega-newb
DookeeDookee: Alliance Destromath
DookeeDookee: Gnome Warlock
Heartless: O M F G mega-newbage
DookeeDookee: did someone have a bad day?
Heartless: no just bored. almost time for work.
Heartless: you know I have to keep the hoes in line
DookeeDookee: just because you had a bad day; don't take it out on me.
Heartless: newb
DookeeDookee: so
Heartless: Alliance = 10 newb pts
Heartless: Gnome = 100 newb pts
Heartless: Warlock = +1 respect
DookeeDookee: whats an infernal?
Heartless: dude your newbage stinks like cabbage... newb cabbage

[Bastard Sword of Slaying]

It's 3:41 in the afternoon and I've already answered the door once today to let the pest control guy in. I work night shift so this is my primetime for sleeping. The banging on the door is not going to stop until I open it so I head down the stairs with my [Bastard Sword of Slaying].

I open the door to a quivering young man of no more than 16. "Ummm hey... yeah... ummm do you ummm... want to umm... help me be the... top of ummmm... of my class?". Flashes of red dance inside my head, but I hold the void. "All you have to do is ummm... buy a magazine... ummm and I ummm... get points."

"No thanks. I don't need any magazines." Still holding strong.

"Ummm I have cup holders." he says as he flips through his little flip book. I notice its entitled How to Sell Things.

"No thanks. You can try my neighbors." I can feel my inner rage releasing.

"Aww man... come on..." was all that escaped as his body slumped and his head flopped lifelessly on the cold pavement of my driveway. The strike had been swift and deadly. The [Bastard Sword of Slaying] had performed its duty. Closing my door I returned to my bed and to the Land of Dreams.

It was 4:14 the next time I awakened to the cat calls of a female outside my window. My roomate, Nitro, was outside talking to the buxom beauty. Nay; he was engaged in mental battle. Then like whispers on the wind I heard her utter the words "...buy a magazine...".

Rage is a thing of beauty that no woman can match. The rush and eventual release is nothing a pen to paper can describe. A feeling that must be lived to be understood. It was all a blur from this point on. Red flashes and the feel of my [Bastard Sword of Slaying] fluttered in my mind, but no solid sequence of events could be convened. There was two bodies in the driveway now.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Half Life 2 - Singleplayer

After setting some skills to train and hauling a load of veldspar back to station in EVE Online I decided to boot up the single player campaign in Half Life 2. I originally never bothered with it simply because I bought the game for Counterstrike Source and other Steam apps.

I am glad I waited until now because I have a kick ass computer to run it on. The game is simply amazing. The puzzles are unique and are definite exercises on the brain. There is usually just enough information presented to figure out each one without making them too easy or frustratingly hard.

The story line is great even for those unfamiliar with the events of the original Half Life. The real joy so far has been the interaction with pretty much anything in the surrounding areas.

Having played a bit of Half Life 2 Deathmatch and Lost Coast I am aware of many of the weapons I will get to play with later. The standard crowbar is king and the grav gun is its slave. I can't wait to get the grav gun in game and can't wait to see some of the puzzles it is used in.

Now if I am really feeling in the Single Player mood I may just crack away at the Call of Duty 2 SP experience.

Monday, February 06, 2006

OId School : Space Invaders

HINT: Look at the belly.

Also the superbowl sucked... Seahawks should of beaten the Steelers! Not to mention the commercials were a borefest.

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Applied labels.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

EVE Online, not playing is better than playing

Right now in EVE Online I have nothing important to do other than log in and set my skills to train. Running NPC missions has gotten stale. Exploring new space has gotten boring. Chatting in game has been nice, but I really have no clue what most people are talking about.

I have the ship I am going to be taking into battle. I have a bank account with 4.5 million ISK in it. The only thing lacking right now are the skills to do what I want and a corporation to join to put my skills to use.

EVE Online for all its awards and praise is a pretty shallow game if you aren't into the PvP, trading, or political game. Sadly the game does little to direct you in a feasible direction. Most corporations have steep application requirements. On top of this if you don't follow some sort of EVE players guide your first character is a toss away.

Luckily I have followed a good guide and my first character should last. I also hopefully have a corporation lined up once I am out of the free trial period. All that is left is getting the skills to outfit my ship to perform the basic PvP function of "tackling". Tackling is equivalent to being the "crowd control" class in other MMORPGs.

A "tacklers" job is to do nothing but keep a target from escaping from or moving freely around the battlefield. It is an important role I am ready to fufill, but waiting is killing me. I am playing EVE Online for the rush of war and the potential of politics.

So right now not playing EVE is a hell of a lot more fun than actually playing it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

0.3 and beyond!

I came to a realization today in EVE Online that I created my character wrong. I followed this Arsclan guide. While this is a great guide it omits one very important step in the character building process

After the first three selections in building your skills you are prompted with Advanced Command, Starship Captain, and another one I forgot the name of. The guide stops with Command being your last choice which is the third choice. It does not mention what to pick at the 4th selection. Applying my common sense I chose Advanced Command as my 4th selection because the guide says to pick command last. I needed to take Starship Captain!

Well that has now set me back about 5 days worth of skill training just to get my Racial Frigate up to level 4 and Starship Command up to level 3. I instead have a leadership skill at level 3 which I will not be using anytime soon.

While this is not terrible or end of the world type stuff... it is still a setback of time I could spend training my learning skills higher. I could just get my learning skills higher, but I want a better ship sooner than later. Within a couple days I should have a much larger and better ship.


I also ventured into 0.3 (low security) space today for the first time. I ran a quick drop off mission for a few thousand ISK and the six jumps were uneventful. While in 0.3 I decided to do some mining to see what sort of possibly better ore I could find.

During my quick mining stop I was attacked by a pirate. It was taking me down, but I was able to do a good bit of damage to it. Unfortunately if I had stuck around I would of lost. It was a much larger ship than mine, but I held my own. Luckily I had just filled my cargo hold full of ore and was able to warp away in time. I didn't make much more than a single mission would of netted me, but it was fun and a learning experience.

Now I really need to get frisky and venture out into some 0.0 space!

Why should I help open the AQ gates in World of Warcraft?

I found this thread over at Gamergod.com (now defunct, removed link) that asks "Why should casual gamers help hardcore raiders open the gates of AQ?"

From the post;
"As a casual gamer, I and many friends wonder.. Why should I help? Why bust my cute butt helping to just open more raids? There was a good article about this in the New York Times of all places, the fact is and im hoping the developers see it, is that to most casual gamers, which do make up the majority of most every mmo focusing on only raid content isnt going to make the fanbase happy."
Darniaq provides some insight into a reason why casual players might;
"In a way, it's an example of how everyone's just a cog in the great machinery of Life, or in this case, a player society. If everyone does their little bit, they all can benefit. If some people rely on others to get it done, due to complacency or laziness, well, we see that in real life too so there's no surprise there.

This unlocks access to more raiding, but it's also part of the Lore for the expansion, which comes equipped with something for everyone. Sometimes I feel people can get so focused on an incremental event they forget the larger story it's a part of. Not that this would make me partake of this uber grindfest of course. It's just academically interesting to see what sorts of people are a part of it and what sorts are not."
But I find Darniaq's reason pretty weak. I can read lore on a webpage instead of wasting my valuable in game time grinding foolishly on a quest that will never help me outside of a few reputation points and I can play the expansion whether I help with this quest or not.

So I repeat what the article says... why help the hardcore catasses with a quest that only benefits them in the end? This should hopefully be a stick in the side of Blizzard to finally step up and recognize that the gap between hardcore and casual is nearing the point of no return.

The Burning Crusade expansion may start to close this gap, but it is going to consist of finite content. Will Blizzard catch up before the casual MAJORITY is level 70 or will Blizzard just let the gap keep on growing with new catass dungeon after catass dungeon?

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, corrected spelling, removed broken links, and applied label.