Friday, August 31, 2007

Bye-Bye Xfire

I have removed Xfire from all of my computers and my Xfire profile link from this blog.

I will miss one-click server joining for my favorite FPS games. I will miss having a running record of what games I've played and for how long I've played them. However, I won't miss the constant desktop crashes, disconnect messages, and annoying key combinations to make Xfire work.

I will be better off without Xfire.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

PvE in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

I'm going to do something new. I'm going to post more about some games that I am looking forward to. Today, I am going to talk about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) and it's PvE.

WAR, without PvE, is just a mess waiting to happen. Online games, especially MMORPGs, thrive on diversity. The more things there are to do in a game, the more players it attracts. Differences between play styles and players build communities. Community is not built through forcing players into groups. It's been said a thousand times: things get pretty boring when everyone is the same.

WAR needs PvE and it needs PvE players. However, it's not pure PvE players that will make WAR great. It is the PvE player that wants a little bit of RvR every now and then that will be WAR's key demographic. There will be plenty of full-time RvR players in WAR, but I am betting that there will be far more part-timers.

But what is the benefit of all these part-timers? Simple. Sheep. PvP combat is always better when it is wolves vs sheep. When there is only wolves, PvP becomes static. The fights start becoming far too routine with the same wolves endlessly gnawing at each other for a bit of epeen. The non-wolves, finding there is really nothing for them to do, leave. Then the wolves start complaining that there isn't anyone around to fight.

I don't want to categorize all part-time RvR players as sheep, but there will be plenty of them that are not as strong in RvR as others. This creates a great dynamic in the RvR/PvP fighting.

The sheep can form and fight together against smaller packs of wolves, but when the going gets rough they CAN go do something else other than complain and quit. The sheep also provide an interesting change of pace because most often they RvR/PvP only when they are having fun. It is immensely better to be playing against an opponent that is having fun, even if it is in a losing effort.

With the sheep mixing into the wolf pack, it offers a chance for stronger players to help them out. DAoC was great when an entire realm worked together to take keeps or relics. It was very important for the stronger guilds to work and coordinate with the weaker guilds and players to form a cohesive team. Stronger players HAD to help weaker players if they wanted to accomplish the end-game goals of DAoC's RvR.

And that was all possible, because the weaker players weren't forced into RvR/PvP against their will. WAR has the same approach, but is setting the stage for the "sheep" to get more involved in RvR. This is good for WAR.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mythos BETA

A friend of mine sent me a beta access code for Mythos, a soon to launch free Diablo-type game from Flagship Studios. The game was built to test out the online tech for Flagship's first large title, Hellgate: London.

The game is cute and fun. It features hack and slash in it's purest form, but unlike Dungeon Runners (another free to play Diablo Clone), Mythos doesn't try and mock the hack and slash genre.

It is fun when you have a few minutes to kill, but I don't see it replacing anyone's main game anytime soon.

Update: 9 May, 2009 - Removed broken link and updated labels.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ten Things From Vacation

10. A five-month old Doberman puppy that doesn't want to sleep in her crate at the vacation home means you better make room in the bed.

9. Gatlinburg, TN is a 50/50 split of new shiny and 1980's rundown.

8. The mountain roads are not friendly to a "four banger" from Japan carrying far too much stuff.

7. The rabbit can't be left alone for a week, so it's easier to just bring him with than find someone to rabbit-sit.

6. The cat can be left alone for a week and causes no issues.

5. The dog crate is bigger than the car trunk; something that should be noted before you start packing the car. Oddly enough, it eventually did fit.

4. Hill Billy Golf is actually run by real life hill billys.

3. Davy Crocket's mini-golf is far superior to Hill Billy Golf.

2. The first 350 pages of George RR Martin's, A Storm of Swords, is kick ass.

1. While on vacation, claiming to vacate my brain is not a key to my wife's good graces.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm Back

I'm back from vacation. Wrap-up to follow at some point this week, but classes and work start back up Monday.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Burning Crusade

I loaded up World of Warcraft's 10-day trial for their expansion, The Burning Crusade, yesterday. Today, I finished getting all the way to level 61, but a big catch 22 slapped me in the face.

In the trial version of The Burning Crusade players are hard capped from gaining a level past 60. It stops the experience bar at 1 exp to next level. It makes absolutely no sense. Here is a trial for an expansion geared for level 61+ players and the trial doesn't let you level past 60. Retarded.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Work: Day One

Well I have officially finished my first day of work at my new job. All went well. I set up my own Windows 2003 server and domain to play around with as I learn the software I will be configuring and setting up in the future.

Interestingly enough, the guy I work with is a World of Warcraft player. Go figure.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Close To Home

That terrorism thing: its real. I don't want to get into details, but let's just say that I was a wee bit close to this following story: Officials Find Explosives in Car.
Berkeley County Sheriff's department says it has arrested two men for unlawful possession of explosives. According to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s department, deputies closed Highway 176 after finding what they thought were explosives in the trunk of a car at about 6:00 Saturday night.

Agents deployed a robot and pulled what looks like a small bag from the trunk. After multiple agencies arrived on scene-- Charleston County Sheriff's Deputies detonated the suspicious material around 3:45 am.
Fortunately, I sacked out in my hotel last night and studied for my Linux+ certification exam.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Card Game?

John Smedley's big announcement: a virtual collectible card game for Everquest players.
It’s called Legends of Norrath. It’s an MMO Card/Strategy game built directly into both EverQuest and EverQuest 2. It will allow EQ and EQ 2 players to challenge each other, or allow people to play from outside of either game and challenge people who are playing inside. The game itself is literally a part of both clients, and it’s incredibly fun to play. The first set (called Oathbound) has 375 cards. In addition, we have loot cards for each game that have some awesome in-game items, some of which are extremely rare (new mounts for example).
That's it. Nothing more. Just a little side project tacked onto SOE's main franchise.

Friday, August 03, 2007

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King is Official!

World of Warcraft's next expansion has been officially announced.
It's official: The next World of WarCraft expansion is coming; it's called Wrath of the Lich King, and will open up the continent of Northrend to players of level 68 and above. This second expansion will focus on the return of Arthas Menethil, a.k.a. the Lich King, ruler of the Scourge, and one of the most powerful beings in all of Azeroth. This semi-sequel to the saga of Arthas (from WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne) is intended for experienced players with a couple level 70 characters in their pockets.
Breaking down the details a little: there will be a new class, a new continent, and ten new levels.

The new class will be a Hero class, entitled Death Knight. Hero classes are epic character classes that will be gained through a quest at max level (which will be 80). Once gained, a newly created Death Knight will start life at level 60 or 70.

A new continent, Northrend, will also be included with a tentatively scheduled ten new zones. Among these zones will be a new outdoor PvP zone featuring destructible environments and siege weapons. Plus, another battleground will be added. Finishing it off will be classic whack a mole zones for leveling goodness.

Finally, there will be ten new levels bringing the level cap to 80. Along with this the skill cap will be increased to 450.

If I had to describe these changes in one word, it would be mudflation. Its just more of the same. I haven't even touched The Burning Crusade, but from playing the base game for almost three years, I have a pretty good idea how TBC plays. Therefore, I have a pretty good idea of how Wrath of the Lich King will play. Blizzard does not reinvent the wheel. Blizzard makes shiny, stable new wheels and then polishes them to a mirror like sheen.

The most distressing news, is the lack of news about the good old world of Azeroth. Azeroth is quickly becoming a wasteland and nothing more than a speed bump for The Outlands and soon to be new playground; Northrend. I truly wish Blizzard would drop half the planned zones for Northrend and restructure the current zones of Azeroth.

From all accounts, Blizzard learned a great deal from the base game and made the effort to make TBC kick ass. Hopefully, they will do the same for WotLK. However, I strongly caution Blizzard not to apply what they've learned simply to new expansions. Blizzard needs to take that knowledge and revamp the original game, or the WoW community will become even more splintered.

Oh, and Blizzard, I better damn well be able to level past 60 or 70 without buying the damn expansion.