Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Computer Time

Here's the preliminary specs on the new machine I'm building.

Intel Core i7 975 3.33GHz (8MB Cache) Quad Core Processor
Liquid Cooling system
Dual 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 SLI video cards
12 GB DDR3 1333MHz Tri Channel memory
2TB RAID 0 hard drives
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium sound card

I'm going to get a few disc drives, too, probably a 6x Blu-Ray and a standard 24x DVD burner.

Now playing: The Limousines - Very Busy People (Album Version)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


While I wait for YouTube to upload my video, I guess I’ll write a little bit about my experiences in Aion thus far.  I’ll say this right off the bat:  Taking everything into consideration — Content, Playability, Learning Curve, Graphics, Sound, Combat Mechanics, Community, etc — WoW is superior.  That’s coming from someone who really wants this game to be better, because he would enjoy seeing something take WoW down a notch.  That’s the only WoW vs. The Other MMO that you will read in this post. 

Okay, the video is ready.  Now, this is just a little 30 second sample of what the combat looks like from a Templar’s point of view.  The Templar is one of two branches of the Warrior class — the other being Gladiator.  As you might imagine, the Templar is the tank of the game, while the Gladiator is melee DPS and off-tank.  The thing you will probably notice best of all from this sample is that there are a lot of different abilities to choose from while in combat.  You will see that I always have a button to press, and this makes grinding just a little more tolerable than having to press the same two buttons over and over again.  Mostly everything is cool-down based, though a few of my abilities use mana.  The mana cost is next to nothing, however.  I have never been below 80% mana after fighting, no longer how long it’s been.  Now for the video:

If you’re wondering, the song playing there as I was recording that is “You Can Run, But We’ll Find You” by Matchbox Romance.

I really won’t get into a full-fledged review here, mostly because I’d like to play it a bit longer before I have a final opinion on the matter.  Right now, as with any game, there are things that I really like and there are things that I think need to be fixed.  A quick example of things that I really like:  The combat system, the lore, the gathering system, the graphics (especially in regards to the animations on skills/abilities), and the design (especially on the gear), wings, the ability to customize the look of your gear (from level 30 onwards).  A quick example of things that I really don’t like:  The rift system, the fact there are no dungeons for levels 1–24, the fact that there are no dungeons for level 29, the aether extraction system, the professions leveling system, the fact that my favorite ability was a world drop that I had to spend vast amounts of my in-game currency to buy from the auction house. 

I look forward to playing through a bit more of this game.  The goal right now is to hit level 30, so that I can see what the next level of wings looks like and what the dungeons from that point forward look like.  I’m still confused to hell why you are locked out of the first dungeon in the game after level 28 and can’t enter another one until level 30.  That’s really…stupid.  We’ll see how it goes. 


Now playing: Band Of Skulls - Friends

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reasons why October is my favorite month:

  1. Halloween
  2. It's close enough to the holiday season (Yay!), but it's not yet the holiday season (Whew!).
  3. It's not too hot, and it's not too cold (usually).
  4. All the good computer games come out around this time.
  5. Grass cutting season is over.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Hey, this isn't FailBlog!

True, but I have my own fail image to share.  I saw this at Wal-Mart this evening.  I don’t know why I found it surprising…I mean, it’s Wal-Mart. 


Now playing: Flogging Molly - The Story So Far

When you're driving a new car, it takes a lot of rain to make it necessary to use those windshield wipers at first, because the rain just beads up and rolls off a new windshield. I was noticing this today as I was driving to work, and it very much looked like warp drive from Star Wars. So I was imagining I was in the Millenium Falcon traveling at the speed of light this morning. It's the little things that keep me entertained. Also, leave it to me to not be pissed that it rained only a few days after getting a new car, like most normal, whiny people would do.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bloody fucking hell, people, quit clogging my news headlines with how Kate doesn't want Jon at the twins birthday party for more than two hours. Do you people want to know WHY the world is stupid and everyone is uninformed? BECAUSE YOU PUBLISH THIS SHIT THAT NO ONE SHOULD EVEN GIVE A RAT'S ASS ABOUT.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Finally, Something Worth Reporting

I just read what is quite possibly the greatest piece of journalism I have read in decades. This reporter did a study on how different dictionaries define certain sexual words, and the following paragraph is an excerpt of it. This is a nationally published news article.

Thus, you can't fuck someone in the ass with a dildo, according to the current edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, and Webster's New World Dictionary. The whore in Portnoy's Complaint "who fucks the curtain with her bare twat" can't do that, according to American Heritage, Webster's New World, Random House, or Encarta. Lesbians can't fuck each other at all, according to Webster's New World and Encarta (though if they use a strap-on, Encarta becomes OK with it). Fucking a woman's breasts is only possible according to Merriam-Webster. Finger-fucking and fist-fucking are impossible according to Webster's New World, Random House, and American Heritage; Merriam allows it, but only if it's vaginal and not anal. Only the OED, whose entry for the word I edited, defines fuck to encompass sexual acts beyond "sexual intercourse." The new edition of my book The F-Word goes into even more detail about the possibilities.

Golden. Click here for the full article.

The Makings of a Bad Game

Seriously, what the fuck?  Am I missing something here? 

Either I just installed and played the most horrible construction of a game ever to take up space on my hard drive, or I just decided to start a new game too late in the evening on a Sunday night and really wasn’t in the correct mind-set to play it.  Or perhaps WoW really HAS ruined all fantasy-based games for me, and I will never be able to play another one ever again.

Either way, tonight I gave Risen a play test.  Do not consider this a proper review of the game, because I’ve only logged about two hours (at the most) into it so far.  Hardly enough time to get to know a fantasy-based RPG.  That being said, however, what the HELL is this? 

First off, the game starts out with you washing up on a island.  Gee, I’ve never seen THAT happen before.  My biggest complaint is that everything seems so imbalanced.  Right from the very first bird I beat to death with a stick, the game actually seems too hard.  It doesn’t make sense to me that with the very first thing I meet on the beach, one hit from my tree-branch club takes off only a sliver of its health, yet it hits me once and half my hitpoints are gone.  And that never changes.  It’s been like that the entire way through the game. 

I’m probably just being impatient with the whole thing.  We’ll see. 

Now playing: Institute - Information Age

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Work In Progress

The new story I’m writing is coming along okay.  I took about a week and a half break from it, because I wasn’t getting anywhere.  But I opened it up today and did some work on it, and I think I’ve got my direction now.  I’m going through what I’ve already written and making improvements to it, as I do several times in the course of writing a story.  I’m going to post an excerpt of it here, for those who might be curious about it.  Enjoy. 

Prologue – The Disenchanted Warrior and The Imprisoned Intellect


Ryder opened his eyes, and then immediately squeezed them tightly shut again.  The room was spinning.  He had expected that, but he didn’t expect how quickly his stomach would start to perform nauseating back-flips in his gut as a result of the double vision and the feeling as though gravity had ceased to exist, giving the sensation he was about to fall off the planet in a strange reverse tail-spin.  He swallowed hard and nearly gagged, slapping a hand over his mouth and then running it down over his chin and neck as the feeling momentarily eased.  He had no idea how much he had drank the night before…hell, he didn’t even know if that HAD been the night before.  How long had he slept?  What day was it again?  But of course, he knew what day it was.  And no matter how much alcohol he forced into his system last night, he knew he wouldn’t have been able to make himself pass out so hard that he’d sleep the entire day away.  No, that just wouldn’t happen.  No matter how much he wanted to forget what THIS day stood for, no matter how badly he wanted to just skip it and never think about it again, he knew that a certain part of him (a part he disliked rather strongly) would certainly not let him miss it.  It was the day.  The day it happened.   

He dared to open his eyes again.  The room was still spinning, albeit not as quickly as before.  He didn’t feel sudden urges to vomit all over himself as he looked around, and that was an improvement.  Through the double vision, he could tell he was in his own room, though he had no recollection of coming home or getting into bed.  He felt beside him and found he was the only one in bed.  He hadn’t brought anyone home, either.  This didn’t bother him very much, not as much as it may bother other, more normal and adjusted single twenty-eight year old men.  No, he wasn’t troubled by that at all.  His thoughts were all on the day, and nothing more.  He slid out of bed and stood up, and then immediately fell to one knee.  It wasn’t the hangover this time though.  His mind was clearing up just fine, and his vision and nausea were steadily improving.  But that just meant that he could more clearly think about the day and what it meant.  That fucking day.  It came faster every year, it seemed.  He walked over to his dresser and picked up the only picture frame sitting on its top.  He stared at it for a very long time, only staring, breathing slowly with an expressionless face.  God, it had been nine years, to the day of course, but still the images were so clear in his mind.  So very vivid.  It was as though it was happening all over again, right before his eyes. 

He had been nineteen years old then.  Even though his memories of that day hadn’t faded one bit, as if they refused to age within his mind and stayed cryogenically frozen in his gray matter, nineteen seemed so long ago.  Seemed so young.  Only six months prior, he had reached that magic age of eighteen.  He had become a man, which was immediately followed by the Crusaders Trial.  Oh how he had looked forward to the trial.  He worked so hard and practiced so much, and his father had been there every step of the way, helped him in any way he could, and had been so very proud of him.  Although his father was a very quiet and reserved man, he could see it in those blue eyes.  Those clear, sharp blue eyes that looked as though they could see right through you.  He looked into them and he saw nothing but joy.  And when Ryder had completed the trial without making so much as a single mistake, those eyes were the first thing he saw after he was finished.  He’s quite sure that day had been the happiest day of his life.  A year later he had nothing but the highest ambitions.  When he was nineteen wanted to be the best.  He wanted to do it all.

Most importantly, he wanted to keep his father proud.

On that rainy night in the spring of his nineteenth year, he was in his room studying.  The subject was archeology.  He remembered that very well, and he wondered if that had anything to do with where he would eventually find himself.  But, the thought was quickly expelled from his mind.  The memory continued on its own accord, playing before his eyes like a movie that couldn’t be paused or stopped.  It was late, and he was beginning to nod off at his desk.  His candle was burned down nearly all the way, and was flickering as if to warn of its impending demise.  He probably dozed off for two minutes, maybe even three, and was jarred back to reality by a dull thud downstairs.  He leaned back in his chair and stretched, then stood up and grabbed the empty goblet to his right.  He had about another hour of studying to do, so another glass of juice would serve him well.  Plus he needed to stretch his legs.  The candle created animated shadows on his walls, and he watched them dismissively has he crossed the room towards the door.  Lightning flashed outside, but the storm wasn’t close yet.  He didn’t hear the low rumble of thunder for another four full seconds.  He was at the top of the stairs when it reached his ears. 

There was a fire burning in the fireplace in the den.  He could hear the dry wood cracking.  He saw a shadow move across the wall in the hallway, originating from the den, and he assumed his father was still awake possibly reading a book or simply stoking the fire.  It didn’t occur to him to find this strange, even though he knew his father always went to bed rather early in the evening and even though he distinctly remembered him saying ‘good night’ to him earlier.  But it was a damp night, and it would be best to keep the fire burning until morning.  This was all the explanation he needed to give himself.  He turned and walked into the den, and was greeted by his father’s striking and penetrating blue eyes.  They were open wide in shock.  His head was severed through the neck, and was nailed to the wall with a large, rusty spike.  Blood oozed from the nail hole, running down his face in two places so that it appeared those eyes were crying blood.  There was a puddle of blood on the floor where the head was hanging, and a trail of blood running down the wall.  It looked oddly discolored in the firelight, almost orange.  And it seemed to glow.  But all Ryder saw were those eyes.  Those eyes he knew so well.  He stared into his fathers eyes aware of little else, even the decapitated body of his father lying only a few feet to his right.  The empty goblet slipped from his grasp, hitting the floor with a metallic clang.  That clang snapped him out of his trance, and he began to scream. 

The screaming didn’t stop until he passed out from shock several moments later.

Now playing: Goo Goo Dolls - Full Forever

Saw I-V

It’s that time of year — Halloween, I mean — and I like watching horror movies during this time of year.  I guess I just like getting into the whole festive mood of the season.  Probably the same reason I typically only drink large amounts of alcohol on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  In any case, over the last 24 hours (between Friday night and Saturday night), I watched all of the Saw movies (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).  I haven’t watched any of them in their entirety before, so this was something new for me.  I tend to put off watching movies for a long time. 

In any case, contrary to the types of movies these are, there are things here to like.  First of all, John Jigsaw Kramer is a killer like no other.  I user killer in it’s truest sense, no matter what kind of semantics you try to throw into it.  I like his style, and I would have the opinion that if none of his subjects died that I would actually like what he does.  He does end up teaching some pretty important and valuable lessons in these people’s lives.  That is a positive aspect to the stories.  Also, the traps are fascinating to watch and try to figure out before you fully understand what is going on.  I particularly liked the rooms in the 5th movie, and the irony of it all was very fitting. 

It’s strange the mentality these types of movies put you into.  While watching each one, I never grew overly attached to any of the characters at any point in time, because I knew about 99% of the time they would either end up dead or end up working with Jigsaw. 

I enjoyed watching the transformation these movies went through from the first to the fifth.  The first movie is probably the one that stands out the most in terms of being different from all the others.  The fancy traps weren’t the gimmick.  It channels movies such as Se7en or The Bone Collector.  It was probably the best one in regards to a solid story that kept you guessing, kept you entertained, and piqued your interest.  The rest aren’t bad, but you can tell more emphasis is put onto the traps and the gore, rather than creating a good suspenseful story. 

All in all, I like the fact that these movies have become sort of an annual tradition for Halloween.  It’s something to look forward to and adds to the festive mood of the year.  I hope they go on for several more years. 

Now playing: Cake - Short Skirt / Long Jacket

Friday, October 02, 2009

Your Guide to MMOs - Part 2

First, a list of the most popular existing MMORPG games in the world.  This data is probably close to 6–9 months old, but it’s very difficult to gather the numbers in recent-up-to-the-minute format.  These are sorted and categorized by the “number of subscribers”, which I tend to agree as being the best indicator of the popularity of an MMO.  However, I’m not going to list the number of subscribers because the most “reliable” source I could find was actually in a linear graph form, and I can’t even tell what the numbers are.  I can make out the order though, and they make sense to me. 

  1. World of Warcraft

  2. Runescape

  3. Lineage/Lineage 2

  4. Final Fantasy XI

  5. Dofus (I’ll admit, I’ve never even heard of this game.)

  6. EVE Online

  7. Lord of the Rings Online

  8. Dark Age of Camelot

  9. Everquest/Everquest 2

  10. Ultima Online

I also learned that Age of Conan got up to 1 million subscribers in it’s first three months.  And then it died.  Completely.  I guess the game didn’t improve from the time I played it.  Sad.  I loved the world.  Also, I think that perhaps a few new ones are missing that might have made the list.  Not sure though, but you get the idea here. 

Now, it’s also important to mention that only two of the games in this list are newer than WoW:  Dofus and LOTR Online. 

And I can’t take it anymore…what the FUCK is Dofus?  Let’s just have a google at it and…OH GOD MY EYES!  THEY BURN!  Okay then.  Now I know.  Dofus is an interactive cartoon.  Now I’m scarred for life.  Wonderful. 

Moving on.  Looking at the list, I agree with the number of subscribers in WoW.  I’ve reviewed/seen/played the other games in that list, and it’s my opinion that WoW is certainly the best in terms of just about everything — gameplay, graphics, etc.  Most importantly, though, I think it’s the development team that keeps the game where it’s at.  The content changes constantly.  Not yearly.  Not monthly.  All the time.  Sometimes, I think the game actually moves too fast.  But it keeps people interested and it keeps them playing.  Obviously. 

Now, I do have a more recent list with some of the newer MMOs listed.  I’ll list these as honorable mentions:

  1. Warhammer Online

  2. City of Heroes / City of Villains

Next, I took a look at a full list of MMOs and found ones released either this year or within the past year.  Here is a list of games that potentially could make the top ten list in another six months to a year and are in no particular order:

  1. Pirates of the Burning Sea

  2. Age of Conan (I already mentioned this as probably being dead, but it’s relatively new so I’ll list it here.)

  3. Runes of Magic

  4. The Chronicles of Spellborn

  5. Champions Online

  6. Aion

And finally, it’s time for the list of MMOs that are not released yet, which I think have the potential for being popular.  Again, these are in no particular order. 

  1. DC Universe Online

  2. Star Trek Online

  3. Final Fantasy XIV

  4. Alganon

  5. The Old Republic

  6. Guild Wars 2

So there you go, something to chew on for the next few months.  One thing that I feel should be taken into consideration, however, is this:  Game developers are realizing there’s a really big market out there for MMO games, and you’re going to see more of them than you ever have before.  Also, the life-span of your typical MMO is in most cases considerably longer than your average computer game.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll play through a shooter or an action game once.  Maybe twice.  Very few have I played over and over.  MMOs are different, because they basically never end and you just keep playing them.  For these reasons, the market is only going to continue to get more crowded.  Because of that, I don’t think you will ever see any one MMO game reach the number of subscribers that WoW has reached.  The market will simply be too saturated to allow this. 

Now playing: - Winamp *** 3386. Elliott Smith - L.A.

Writing a PC Game Review

Typically, when I write about a game in this blog, it’s rather simplistic.  “THIS GAME ROCKS!”  Stuff like that.  I’d like to see how good I would be at writing a full-fledged review of a game, the likes of which you would see online at places like GameSpot, or in magazines such as PC Gamer.  In order to do that, however, I first need to make a mental list of all the points that I should cover in such a review, so that is what I’m going to do in this post.  All of the below points I have construed through reading reviews and doing some research online.

  1. The first thing I would need to do would be to list the game’s title, developer, genre, and release date.  This will accomplish two things:  First, it will let the reader immediately know what game they’re reading about.  They can then skip over the post if they don’t like the game, or know to keep reading if they’re interested.  Secondly, if the reader is interested and wants to try them game out, they have the information they need to do so right at the beginning of the article. 

  2. Next, details on the game play.  How does the game play?  What is the interface like?  How are the controls?  How is the screen laid out?  How smart is the AI, both friendly and hostile?  What’s the inventory system like? 

  3. Describe the plot.  How does it start?  Describe the antagonists and the protagonists.  Can you play on more than one side?  What’s the goal? 

  4. Describe the quality of the graphics, sound effects, music, voice acting, and other aesthetic nuances.

  5. Describe the “saved game” system (auto-save, checkpoint save, etc), the customization features, and the ease of their uses. 

  6. If multi-player exists, focus on that for part of the article for a while too. 

Naturally, with good writing comes one important thing:  the power of observation.  Don’t just say, “The AI sucked.”  Say, “The AI sucked because they consistently were stuck running into walls and had other such pathfinding issues.  This really hampered my enjoyment of the game play.”  That’s much more descriptive and explains your conclusions to your reader.  It seems like common sense, but it’s often details that are left out, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience writing to an audience.

So there we go.  I just wrote myself a nice little guide on writing a review.  I’ll put it to use soon. 


Now playing: Fall Out Boy - (Coffee's For Closers)


Woot, offline blogging.

Now playing: Three Days Grace - Bully

Your Guide to MMOs

Chances are, when someone mentions an MMO you're going to think World of Warcraft. And you should, given that WoW is the pole sitter. I have played other MMOs, and WoW does deserve to be there, even though it has its share of problems. What I don't like, however, is how too many people feel that it's the ONLY game of it's kind that is worth playing. That's simply not true. The problem is, of course, that any game of this kind demands a lot of your time and therefore is never really viable to play more than one. This, I think, is why WoW has lasted as long as it has. It's not the gameplay. It's not the story. It's not the graphics. It's because it was the most popular and because most people have time to play only one MMO, it remains the most popular, because we don't have time to play anything else. I have proof in numbers to back up this claim. If you look at any "ratings" or "hype" meters on any gaming websites, WoW is rated/hyped lower than most other popular MMO games out there. That includes Everquest 2, Lineage 2, Warhammer Online, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Ultima Online, Champions Online, and Eve Online.

The highest rated MMO right now is Lord of the Rings Online. The highest hyped MMO right now (meaning it's still in development) is The Old Republic.

But WoW has 11 million subscribers because that's where everyone's friends are playing.

(Get to the point, PD.)

Okay, okay. The point is, I'm currently working on creating a guide to all the current and upcoming MMO games. I'm doing this because no one else is, and I like knowing what I have to look forward to.


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...