Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It’s one of those nights where I really need to go to sleep, but I’m too wired to do so.  I don’t particularly want to start any kind of project this late at night, so that leaves me to just sit here and ramble to my blog. 

Today I made an observation about people, which I don’t do very often.  (Misanthropy, remember?)  That is, most people you know have something to say to you, whether you know it or not.  They aren’t saying it for any number of reasons — they don’t want to bother you, they don’t think you’ll understand, they are afraid to tell you, they don’t think it’s important, etc.

With that in mind, I would like to say to anyone out there who knows me, if you have something you’d like to say to me, why don’t you?  Consider this your prompt, if you were looking for one. 

Now I think I will go put in a DVD of some sort.

Now playing: The XX - Crystalised

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Moment of Stupid Observation

You know how anytime you see an advertisement for some new prescription drug, they always tell you all the possible bad things that could inherently happen to you if you use the product?  Could you imagine what it would be like if everyone had to do that? 

Oreo cookies!  Milk’s favorite cookie!  May cause heart disease, cavities, gingavitis, high cholesterol, diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity, sugar rushes, hot flashes, aching tongues, morsels of cookie stuck in your teeth, nausea, pregnancy, or AIDS. 

Now playing: Tool - Eulogy

I have a few minutes before lunch, so I thought I would comment on Mortal Online's launch.  First of all, I tried to get excited about the game.  But I couldn't.  I would like to find another quality MMO in that kind of a setting, but I'm just not seeing it here. 

Most importantly though, their website still states that they are releasing the game in "March 2010".  Well, it's March 29th, and it's Monday.  Since 99% of the world releases their games on Tuesday, either they're going to release this game tomorrow or they LIE! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just Cause 2

I went back and forth on this game for a few days — I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money on it.  But last night I wasn’t in the mood to play FE at first, and I sure as hell didn’t want to play WoW, and Metro 2033 crashed on me again.  So that sort of made up my mind. 

I’m glad I decided to get it. 

This game is very reminicient of Batman:  AA, with the use of the grappling hook and all that.  Basically it’s AA with guns.  The controls are a bit more clunky than AA, but the enjoyment and action is just as good.  Instead of a bat cape to cushion my falls, I have a parachute. 

So yeah, it’s a good game.  The stunts you get to pull off are pretty cool and make you feel like a badass.  I would highly recommend the game for any action/adventure game fans. 

JustCause2 2010-03-28 02-30-37-17
Ooh, pretty.

JustCause2 2010-03-28 02-39-54-74
Making things explode is the stable of any adventure game.

JustCause2 2010-03-28 02-41-26-76
The over-the-shoulder view is very well done.

JustCause2 2010-03-28 02-44-43-91
You definitely might want to skip this game if you have a thing about heights.

JustCause2 2010-03-28 02-50-08-34
Another enemy base left in ruins. 

Now playing: The Takeover UK - Ah La La

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let's Take a Trip into Fucked-Up Land!

Ok.  First let me warn you.  This music video is FUCKED UP.  Watch it at your own risk.

Now, I actually didn’t start this post out with the intention of showing you a completely fucked up music video.  I’ve been a fan of The Bravery for a couple of years now, since I discovered them back in 2007.  That’s when I first heard Believe, and it was a completely inspiring and amazing song.  After that, I got the entire album, The Sun and the Moon and also got their first self-titled studio album.  They also released a “complete” version of The Sun and the Moon in 2008 that contained “sun” and “moon” versions of all the songs. 

All of this was good stuff.  Some of their songs actually made me think of Snow Patrol, though not because of the sound but because of the content.  Some of these songs were very inspirational or sweet.  Some of them were love songs.  For the Ocean comes to mind when I think of this, which was featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. 

In 2009, they released a new album titled Stir the Blood, and the first single Slow Poison is pretty good.  The second single, which is the song in the above music video, is called Hatefuck.  After hearing it, I new I had to get the album.  I mean, these guys just wrote a song about fucking someone because you hate them.   Obviously, I needed to hear the rest of the album to see what other issues they have.  Heh. 

So anyway, the whole purpose of this post was to talk about how fascinated I was about a song called Hatefuck.  Incidentally, the song is retitled to “Hateful” for the mainstream.  Gee, I wonder why? 

In any case, my fascination with the content of the song has been totally overwritten by my utterly morbid fascination with the music video.  I mean, Christ in a cartoon, she carves a mangina into his crotch there at the end, and a bunch of plastic mermaids swim up it. 

I guess I wouldn’t be so surprised about this if it didn’t seem like such a departure from their previous work. 

No.  I take that back.  Mermaids swimming into a mangina would have disturbed me regardless of their reputation.

Now playing: The Bravery - Hatefuck

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Game Reviews

I started a page:

I’ll still be writing about games in the ‘ol blog, this is just a simplified and more organized version. 

Now playing: Mute Math - Stall Out

Fucking Hell!

If there’s any major reason why the PC Gaming industry is losing to consoles (and honestly, I have no idea where either stand in regards to sales, I’m just venting for my own purposes here), it’s probably due to how freaking unstable PC games are.  Seriously, can someone release a game that actually works without being patched 50 times? 

And do you know what’s worse than a crashing PC game?  A crashing PC game with a checkpoint save system.  FML. 


Ok.  Anyway.  I was just playing Metro 2033 for about 45 minutes (before it FUCKING CRASHED, if you couldn’t have assumed that by now), and I’m not exactly sure what I think about this game yet.  Of course, the crashing isn’t helping it’s standing either, but I’ll see about updating my video drivers.  Assuming, you know, they still don’t melt video cards.  Whee. 

At first glance, the graphics in this game confuse the hell out of me.  I mean, look at this shit:

Metro2033 2010-03-22 18-34-12-86

What is this, a Tim Burton movie?  What I’m thinking though, now that I’ve gotten past the introductory chapter, is that the “outside world” is designed like this to make it feel foreign.  It’s supposed to be completely inhabitable up on the surface (you have to wear a gas mask when you go outside), so I guess that makes sense.  Things look a lot better underground:

Metro2033 2010-03-22 18-41-33-21

I’m actually pretty impressed with the modeling of the humans, because usually that is the WORST part.  This, naturally, is because I know what a human is supposed to look like and it’s a pretty big challenge to make that jump in total realism.  I do not, however, know what a three-foot tall slobbering cave-goblin mutant is supposed to look like, so as long as it doesn’t look like I’m shooting Elmo I’ll think it’s pretty damn well done.  (And let’s face it, I wouldn’t complain a bit if I were shooting Elmo in the face, either.)

I’m noticing there appear to be a lot of “scripted” events in the game.  This is both good and bad.  The good is that it gives you that “Hey, I survived!  Cool!” feel to it.  The bad part about it is that it gives it a bit of an arcade-ish feel to it.  I’m still on the fence about this too — I’ll have to experience a few more of them before I decide if they’re good or bad for the game.  But generally, they are a lot of fun, and that’s the most important thing.  The first of these was being locked in a room with five ventilation shafts (one on the  ceiling, four on the walls).  Mutants were trying to break into the room using these five openings, and you had to make sure they didn’t get in.  Lots of swinging the camera around from opening to opening to see where they were coming from next.  Hectic and entertaining: 

Metro2033 2010-03-22 18-43-06-77

The next one was a hand-car race down a tunnel with hordes of mutants in hot pursuit.  And old, old, old idea, but oh-so-fun every time you see it rehashed and reincarnated: 

Metro2033 2010-03-25 19-25-03-50

My game crashed shortly after this, and sort of killed my desire to play any more of it right this minute.  I’m sure I’ll continue at some point, however, so expect an update about my thoughts in the near future.  In the meantime, here are a few more screenshots of random cool stuff.

Metro2033 2010-03-22 18-40-57-62
Hey!  Why didn’t I get a cool backlit entrance?

Metro2033 2010-03-22 18-45-29-78
Secretly, it’s actually The Joker that’s killing people.

Metro2033 2010-03-25 19-12-46-83
“Yes, this hat is made of rat.  You gotta problem with that?”

Metro2033 2010-03-25 19-14-12-17
Heil!  Oh wait…this is Russia…

Metro2033 2010-03-25 19-23-08-89
No, I don’t want a hug!

Metro2033 2010-03-25 19-24-34-99
Excuse me, I believe that’s MY knife stuck in your face.

Metro2033 2010-03-25 19-33-30-95
I like how you can see all of the NPC’s gear hanging off of him.

Now playing: Goo Goo Dolls - Name

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fallen Earth for Dummies

Fallen Earth is a game with a steep learning curve if you try and compare it to other MMORPG games such as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, or even Aion. Anyone loading the game up for the first time might find themselves a bit overwhelmed and even intimidated by the sheer scope of it, especially if you’re nothing more than a casual gamer. And let’s be honest here, if you’re a casual gamer, chances are you’re not going to like FE anyway. This isn’t an attempt to turn people away from the game, however, but an introduction to a simple guide I’ve put together for anyone thinking about trying it. (And you really should, even if it’s just the free 9 day trial.) I’ve read quite a few guides, but none of them really summarized everything in a way a casual gamer would be interested in reading. I know my audience, and they have short attention spans. So, I shall attempt to keep you interested.

First, there are a few things you should be aware of at the highest level:

1. There are no classes or races. You’re just a human, and that’s it. The appearance of your human (actually, you’re a clone, but let’s not argue semantics here) is completely customizable, of course, as you would find in any other RPG game. If you want to play a dainty-ass little gnome or some mega-sexy beastly creature, fantasy RPGs are that way à

2. You determine how you play your character by spending your “Advancement Points” (AP). The easiest way for me to explain these is to put them in WoW’s terms. If you take your talent points, your glyphs, your points in leveling weapons skills, your points in leveling all your professions, and you add them all up, that’s basically FE’s AP system. You accrue AP by leveling (It’s a bar that sits along-side your experience bar. When the bar fills up, DING!, you get 2 AP), and also from doing quests which give AP as a completion reward along with XP and currency. You will have a LOT of AP. Currently, there’re over 1000 to be had by the time you get to max level, and you are assigning each point yourself wherever you want to assign them. You have complete control over how you play your character.

3. Now that you understand AP, there’s a caveat: Currently, there is no way to “respec” in the game. Once you assign your AP, that’s it. Forever. (Until they patch in a way to respec.) So, you’re going to want to make sure you research things and figure out how you want to spec/play your toon BEFORE you start putting points in random places. Plan your spec here:

4. There are many, many different ways to play the game. I will briefly describe the most common so that maybe it will help you decide if the game interests you or not.
a. Melee – You hit stuff with clubs, cut people up with swords, etc
b. Pistols – Go Gunslinger on people’s asses. Yes, you can dual wield them.
c. Rifles – Snipe people’s asses from afar.
d. Mutant – Make yourself into some kind of hideous badass with magical abilities.

Combinations of the above are possible, too. A, B, or C with Mutagens on the side as support is the most popular. And don’t worry; there are specs for tanking and healing too, if you’re into that sort of thing. There are also ways to spec that are totally support oriented, meaning you basically do nothing but buff your teammates.

5. The game is HEAVILY focused on crafting. You will spend a majority of your time in the game exploring and scavenging. I find it fun, you may not.

Did I scare you away yet? No? Okay then, let’s continue. Now that I’ve gone over the basics, let’s take it to the next level and discuss spending your AP. The most important thing to remember here is that Stats cost 5 AP to increment 1 point, while Skills and Mutations cost 1 AP to increment 1 point. This is very important.

Now things get a little complicated. Let’s cover Stats first – the 5 AP big boys. Increasing your stats naturally give you passive benefits just like any normal RPG. For example, if you increase your Strength, you can carry more loot before you become encumbered. Stuff like that. I don’t feel I need to describe what each stat does from this general point of view. You get the idea. Just read the tooltip and you’ll understand it. More importantly, however, increasing each stat also increases the max level of your Skill, Mutations, and Tradeskills. This is incredibly important. Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you want to craft a new sword. You open up your Tradeskill window, you go to Weaponry, and you see that you have a recipe for a nice new sword that is an upgrade for you. The recipe states you need to have your Weaponry skill at 40. You are currently at 30. So, you start crafting shitty knives to level up. You get up to 35, but then the next knife you craft doesn’t level you up. What the fucken?? You open up your skills, and you see that currently, your max skill in Weaponry is 35. You need it to be at least 40, obviously. You can do this by increasing one of the stats that are linked to that Tradeskill. In this example, Intelligence and Perception are linked to Weaponry (2x 75% and 2x 25% respectively). So, you throw the appropriate number of AP into Intelligence, raising your Weaponry to a max level of 40. Now you are 35/40. You craft 5 more shitty knives and you’re at 40/40. Now you can make your shiny new sword.


So, I think you can see where this is going. Next are your Skills, which determine how you play your character. You’ve got things that make you harder to kill: Armor Use, Dodge. These are tank skills, but in this game just about everyone puts at least some of their AP here. You’ve got Athletics to make you more agile. There’s First Aid if you want to be a healer. There’re Group Tactics and Social if you want to play a support monkey. And then there’re Melee, Pistols, and Rifles to satisfy whichever style you want to play. As I stated, you increase the MAX level of these by increasing the appropriate Stat. Then, you increase YOUR ACTUAL LEVEL by spending AP. Make sense? Okie.
Now there are the Mutations. These will modify your character with “magical” abilities. If you’re playing a big ‘ol mutant, obviously you’ll be spending a lot of AP here. There’s a LOT of cool stuff here, and it’s a shame that you can’t experiment with them all on the same character. If you’re going with a main spec in Melee, Pistols, or Rifles with Mutagens as support, pick two of them and only two. And again, Stats increase the Max level of these, and then you spend AP to increase your level. Same as Skills.

Lastly, Tradeskills. This is the crafting portion of the game, which is a big, big portion. Currently, I’m playing a character that is focusing entirely on crafting. The max level of all your tradeskills is based on a base number 11 plus twice the number of 75% of your Intelligence and 25% of your Perception. So, if you want to max out your crafting, you’ll be maxing out those two Stats. Simple. Then, you level your Tradeskills not by spending AP as in Skills and Mutations, but by…crafting things. Duh. There are exceptions, of course. Geology is leveled by going out and finding nodes of metal and mining them. Stuff like that. There are also recipes to level Geology too, so you have many options to raise your skills.

I’ve now given you all the information you need to know in order to get started. I do have a few final pieces of advice:

1. Do the extended tutorial. You get a free horse.

2. Craft the first craftable horse ASAP. It’s vastly superior to that free horsefeed hog.

3. Everything can be found out there in the world or crafted yourself. You don’t have to buy anything. You just gotta look for it, you lazy bastard.

4. Pay at-fucking-tention to what you’re crafting. A lot of things create 5x or 10x the item with one recipe, so don’t make 5 of them (AKA 25 or 50 of them) when you only need 2. (Yes I’ve done this.)

5. Sector Banks are located in every city. Barter Banks are located in every MAJOR city. You can use both. Lots of space = win. And trust me, you’ll need it.

6. What you or your horse can carry is not just limited to how many open inventory slots you have, but also by weight. Make sure you keep an eye on both. There’s nothing more annoying than being in the middle of asscrack nowhere and running out of space when you still have 10x of Whateverthefucks to kill and loot.

Now, it is completely viable to level all the way to the cap by simply questing on your own and crafting all your loot. That’s precisely what I’m doing right now. There ARE group quests out there, so the opportunity to team up with friends (or complete strangers with candy) is also encouraged. As it should be, considering this is a freaking MMO.

The last thing I will mention: PvP and the Factions. I’m putting them together because they go hand-in-hand. Sort of. One third of Fallen Earth’s world is PvP area. PvP is pretty unique in this game, as you don’t just go in there and kill the first player you come across. You actually work towards increasing your rep with the factions you choose to align yourself with, and obviously kill anyone in your way. Increasing your rep with your factions gives you added perks of course, including additional recipes (called Knowledge) and access to rare materials for crafting. I’m not going to get into the minute intricacies, because quite honestly I haven’t had much exposure to it yet. It’ll be a long time before you get to that point – at least level 15, I’m thinking, or whenever you decide to step into Sector 2.

Before I get into any of that, I’m simply playing the game and getting my bearings. I suggest anyone new to the game does the same.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I’m still on Fallen Earth.  There are other games I want to play that are currently piling up in an unsightly mess on my hard drive, but I can’t seem to pry myself away from this one. 

On that topic, here’s a new screenshot.

The game has its moments of prettiness, as you can see.  Also, here’s some rather humorous things that I’ve come across. 



Both of those images are just pure win.

Now playing: Taproot - Birthday

Friday, March 19, 2010

Delays, Delays

So, that whole fiasco with my car is almost, but not yet, over.  After 4 months, I got it back.  Great.  I have to take it back in to get some rubber moulding installed (I think I've mentioned this already), but that's not too big of a deal.  However, I'm not satisfied with the car (the rear sounds looser than it should be for a brand new car with <3000 miles on it), so I'm going to tell them to look at it and see if they can find the cause of the knocking. 

Also, I think I mentioned that I bought a PS3, because I want to play Dante's Inferno and Heavy Rain.  (And God of War 3, actually.)  I bought it from Dell, because I have an account there and they have good service.  I buy Alienware computers, which are now part of Dell, and I've always been very happy with them.  Well, my estimated delivery date on the PS3 is May 25th.  WTF?  I ordered it a month ago, thereabouts.  Seems like everything I do these days has a 4 month waiting period.  Go figure.  

Ka is a Wheel

And so is the reputation for factions in Fallen Earth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mortal Online

Wow.  I haven't seen this much hate in a while, except maybe on the WoW forums when anyone is talking about a class that isn't their own.  (I could laugh at those people all day.)

So let me summarize things here a bit.  Mortal Online is an MMO that is currently being developed by Star Vault.  I guess the official launch of the game is supposed to be this month, and it has a whole shitload of fan boys up in arms about it.  I guess they're claiming it's not going to be ready.

Someone answer me this:  What MMO has ever been ready at its release? 

It's a rhetorical question.  The answer is NONE. 

I'm trying to figure out if most people just don't understand MMOs, or if they are simply unable to comprehend the fact that there are really two types of video games:  MMOs and not MMOs. 

Here's the point I'm trying to make here.  When you buy a not-MMO, you play it, you beat it, and you put it on your shelf.  Sometimes you play it again.  Sometimes you get some DLC to extend the life of the game.  But that's about it, and after you play it, replay it, and play the DLCs, you're done. 

MMOs are completely different.  They're meant to continue giving long after you bought the game.  And really, I'm not merely talking about content here, though that is a large part of the process.  I'm talking about fixing things that need to be fixed, adding features that need to be added, and enhancing things that need to be enchanced.  I believe that this should be considered part of the process of crafting a successful MMO, and this is why a lot of very intelligent people live by the rule that they wait at least ONE YEAR before they play any new MMO.  It's a smart rule to live by.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say here is...well what I'm NOT trying to say is that these people are wrong for thinking the game isn't ready.  It's an MMO.  Of course it's not ready.  But that's to be expected.  As long as they work to improve the game over time to make it the best it can be, then it will have a chance to succeed.  WoW is the perfect example of this.  If you compare Day 1 to Day Now, you will barely recognize the game, really. 

ANYway, Mortal Online looks like it's meant to be a spiritual successor to Ultima Online.  Given what I've seen, I probably won't play it, because I can get the same experience in Dragon Age, Oblivion, or The Witcher without having to pay a monthly fee (or having to deal with whiny fan boys complaining about how the game isn't finished yet). 


I started crafting my first ATV before I logged out of FE last night.  It's a 4 hour, 30 minute timer.  It'll be done when I get home, obviously, so I'm pretty excited to check it out tonight.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Choosing My Build

Before I decided to just throw some APs wherever I wanted, I needed to do some research into the talent builds of Fallen Earth.  I am a melee player at heart, and that is probably what I’m going to be playing in this game as well.  But, for the first time since Guild Wars, I’m not going with a full out tank first.  The main reason for this is because I want to be very dependent on crafting.  I can’t do that will a full tanking spec, because tanks have no need for the two stats that are needed to be a crafter:  Intelligence and Perception. 

So, I’m going with a “Crafting/Melee/Defense” build.  It’s a full crafting build with a focus on melee combat, high defense, and strong hit points.  I’m also going with Healing and Ranges Offensive mutations.  I’m not sure if I would be able to “tank” with this build or not, but it’s not like it matters anyway.  This game has no raids and no end game content. 

The problem that I’m having right now is that I’m horribly squishy.  I want to keep my crafting skill level on par with what I want to craft, and it’s trickly because it means I’m not putting many points into Armor use or Dodge.  So, basically, I’m getting crushed when I’m fighting something even just one level above me.  I put a few points into these two attributes before I logged for the night (5 into each), so we’ll see if that helps me any the next time I play. 

Now playing: Finger Eleven - Walking In My Shoes

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fallen Earth

Frontend 2010-03-14 20-12-08-44

This screenshot pretty much sums up the game for me as of this writing.  Just riding through the wilderness and exploring the world, as desolate as it may be. 

Okay, first, what is it?  Fallen Earth is a post-apocalyptic MMO with a huge focus on crafting.  That’s a very generalized overview.  A bit deeper, however, and you have this game that is not completely combat oriented, and is actually very, very complex. 

Now, make no mistake — this game is NOT for everyone.  I will say that if you are a casual gamer, you will MOST LIKELY not like this game.  It’s very time consuming, and it requires a lot of patience.  But if you’re willing to give it time and appreciate it for what it is, you’ll come to love it. 

First, let’s go over what I don’t like about this game.  To start with, it’s VERY complex.  This is both good and bad.  It’s good because I like complex.  I like having to think before I place that advancement point or choose a skill.  I like having to do a bit of research before I figure out how to craft a certain item or find an ingredient I need.  And in this game, where the main focus is NOT on combat, it works.  But, sometimes it’s just TOO complex.  It’s borderline intimidating.  Next, you can’t respec yet, although they are working on a way for you to do so.  So once you assign your advancement points, that’s the way they are.  Forever.  Good God that’s horrible.  And finally, why the fuck do I get stuck on every little dinky ass tree branch and railroad post in the fucking game!?  Argh!  Fix your clipping, dammit!

That’s about all I have to complain about.  The rest is pure enjoyment, but again, let me say that this type of game IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.  Let me explain to you the type of gamer you will have to be to like this game.  I will do this by explaining why I like the game. 

It is incredibly open ended.  You’re going to have no idea what you’re supposed to do, and you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself.  You will have to examine every little thing that you find, because you will most likely need it later.  Spider leg?  Keep it.  Weak antiseptic?  Keep it.  Tainted water?  Keep it.  Bruised green pepper?  You bet your ass you’ll need that later.  Almost EVERYTHING can be used to make something else, which contributes to the fact that this game is 95% crafting.  You will make your own gear.  You will make your own weapons.  You will make your own food.  You will make the ammo for your weapons.  Hell, you’ll make your own HORSE!  And everything that you need to make these things can be found out in the world.  In a garbage pile.  In a mining node.  In a plant node.  On something you just killed.  By skinning something you just killed.  It’s all out there. 

And if the item is useless…guess what?  The tooltip tells you so!  “A useless broken claw.”  Things are labeled VERY well.  And they make sense.  Hm, I need cotton.  Where do I get it?  Oh look, a plant called “Cotton Plant”.  Maybe I should pick it! 

The bottom line is, a majority of your time is spend riding around the world, exploring, scavenging, and then organizing what you found so you can make things.  That is relevent to my interests. 

We’ll see how long it holds it. 

Now playing: Linkin Park - The Little Things Give You Away

Monday, March 08, 2010

There’s a project I need to work on.  It’s going to be a major pain in the ass, but it must be done.

Now playing: Hot Hot Heat - This Town

Saturday, March 06, 2010

First Impressions of STALKER Shadow of Pripyat

The first term that comes to mind is “open-ended”.  Maybe even a little TOO open ended.  But hey, some people really like that.  It’s impossible for me to not compare this game to Fallout 3 right from the start, because the two games are so very similar:  They are both set in a post-apocalyptic future, where the world is now full of the effects of severe radiation.  Both are shooters with many aspects of RPG. 

So, I find that I must try and quell a lot of these comparisons, because Fallout 3 is such a great and polished game.  STALKER is not polished.  This game feels very rough around the edges.

And surprisingly, this sort of works in its favor a bit.  A lot of people, expecially hard core RPG lovers who want to customize every facet of their experience, will relish how BARE this game is.  And by bare, I mean that you really don’t get much in terms of help, or guidance, or anything like that.  The minimap is atrocious.  The backpack looks like something out of a 1995 dungeon crawler.  The large scale map is a confusing set of gridlines and white circles.  All of this leads to one thing:  If you want to play the game, you have to figure things out for youself.  And some people will love that.  Admittedly, I sort of like it myself. 

Now, for its strengths — at least those that I’ve seen so far in just a few hours of game play: 

The best thing is the atmosphere.  Here is where I notice the most significant difference from Fallout 3.  To me, Fallout 3 is more of an adventure game.  Sure, there are some gross and disgusting creatures.  Sure, there are some places that are dark and spooky.  But it’s really nothing compared to the atmosphere created in STALKER.  Walking through a dark cave is an exercise in not peeing your pants.  Mutants jump out at you all over the place, and what adds most to their creepiness is that you hear them loud and clear before you’re able to see them.  And you don’t know which direction they’re coming from.  Also, being out in the open countryside in the middle of the night with your dinky ass flashlight is just a beatifully rendered destruction of your nerves. 

I will continue playing this game — at least until either my PS3 comes or I get Metro 2033.  There’s a hell of a lot of games demanding my attention right now. 

Oh, and here are a couple of screenshots for STALKER.  Enjoy. 

XrEngine 2010-03-06 01-26-09-04
The open areas look a bit bland and empty.  I guess the emptiness is to be expected, considering this is supposed to be a nuclear wasteland.  But the trees look crappy and the colors suck.  Not nearly as impressive as indoor areas. 

XrEngine 2010-03-06 01-30-06-24
I was out in the middle of the countryside, and suddenly alarms start going off.  Lights start flashing.  A big, booming voice in the distance announcing that I need to find cover…NOW.  I’m like, “WTF?”.  So I do as it instructed, and soon every square inch of the countryside is engulfed in some kind of red, fiery apocaplypse.  This is just another example of the atmosphere of the game.  I can’t explain how cool this felt — being holed up in an abandoned warehouse while the firestorm raged outside. 

XrEngine 2010-03-06 01-38-56-14
Fellow STALKERS are actually scattered about in impressive numbers.  The human population is definitely a lot larger than what I was used to seeing in Fallout 3.

XrEngine 2010-03-06 01-39-49-16

XrEngine 2010-03-06 01-55-56-52

XrEngine 2010-03-06 02-12-06-00
This thing scared the fucking hell out of me.  See the circle of light created by my flashlight?  That’s all I see.  The dark you see around it?  That’s the rest of my screen — utter and complete darkness.  Now imagine that thing jumping out of that darkness into my dinky beam of light.  Yeah.  Atmosphere.  It’s a wonderful, panties soiling thing.


Now playing: Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye

Friday, March 05, 2010

This is an interesting time of year.  The holidays are over, and all of those games that either weren't finished by Christmas or just "weren't BIG enough" are starting to be released.  It's this time of year where you'll find a lot of really decent and good games to play. 

Obviously, the biggest of these was released back in February:  Bioshock 2.  Totally lived up to its expectations and is an incredibly good game.  Mass Effect 2 was there also.  I'm sorry, but I'm meh on the ME franchise.  I do not question the quality of the games, though.  It just bores me. 

I tend to want to focus more on the smaller releases at this time of year, because I enjoy getting surprised by games in a positive way, rather than in a negative way.  For example:  Modern Warfare 2.  Totally overhyped.  Everyone wanted it.  And it was meh.  I hate that.  

Now, the first smaller release that I focused on was Aliens vs. Predator.  I played through the entire Colonial Marine campaign and loved it.  It was bascially like I was thrown into the middle of the movie Aliens.  Lovely.  King Arthur was an interesting surprise as well.  I was not expecting an RTS game to incorporate so many RPG elements into itself. 

In any case, there are a few more games on the horizon which could prove to be entertaining.  Namely:  the new STALKER game and Metro 2033.  Both of them are basically ripoffs of the Fallout franchise, in that they are shooters in a post-apocalyptic world.  However, both of them try to be slid more towards the horror end of the spectrum, instead of the more adventuring/questing form of Fallout.

Still, they could prove to be interesting.  I've already purchased and installed STALKER, so we'll be giving that one a go first.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

But how will I get everything done?

The massive 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile may have changed the entire Earth's rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet, a NASA scientist said Monday.
The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 milliseconds, according to research scientist Richard Gross at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

No wonder we can't get back to the moon or land on Mars. 

Low Tech Gaming

I find it fascinating how low tech games are becoming MORE popular as time goes on, instead of the other way around.  For the most part, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, since the simplicity of browser based games appeal to a wider variety of people.  It's not just "gamers" who play these games, since they are so easy to get a grip on without a lot of the complication or huge learning curve.  At the same time, even the "gamers" play them because they  And that's what we do.  We play games.  I think a smaller part of it is that most of these browser based games are designed to really not take up too much of your time.  A lot of them only give you a limited number of turns or energy per day before you have to stop and come back tomorrow to continue.  It's actually a good system for people with addictive personalities, and it's a smart way for the developer of the game to ensure that while even the most casual person will be able to play it, none of them will be able to resist coming back day after day.

I think the games on Facebook are the biggest indication of just how popular these "low tech" games can be.  I'm not using the term low-tech in a derogatory way, either.  I'm simply pointing out that one of the most important things a gamer looks at is how pretty a game is.  It's all about the graphics.  But these games such as Farmville, etc, sort of prove the point that if you make a game where the gameplay is fun, it really doesn't matter what your platform is.  It can be in a simple internet browser.  

I play these games myself.  They encompass probably a total of 10 to 15 minutes of my time per day, and that's it.  But I play them every day because they are fun.  

The point of this post, actually, now that I've gotten through that bit of a tangent, is to point you towards this "zombie MMO":

The only reason I'm bringing this to your attention is because I have wanted a zombie MMO for YEARS now.  Literally, years.  And now, finally, thanks to how simple it has become to create your own computer game within a simple internet browser, I finally have it.  Low tech or not, at least one exists now.  (Technically, there has been Urban Dead for YEARS, which I have and still do on occasion play.  But it's even lower than low tech.  There's also Zombie Wars on Facebook, but it's just bad.)  Dead Frontier has the MMO elements and also some side-scroller shooting action.  

I still want a real zombie MMO though.  Do you hear me, game devs?

Monday, March 01, 2010

I have my concerns...

...though I admit they are negligible.  

First, I will provide a short description of why I have played World of Warcraft for so long.  In it's simplest form, the enjoyment I get out of the gameplay is being that tough, badass, hard to kill son of a bitch that leads his friends into places filled with more evil than a current session of congress.  Parallel to this, I enjoy fulfilling a role that is unique and different, and also a role that either not many people WANT to fill, or not many people CAN fill.  This last statement is the beginnings of my concerns.  

This post has been triggered by the first glimpse of the stat changes that Blizzard is announcing for their next expansion, Cataclysm.  

First, they are telling me that as I tank, I should expect:
You’ll have as much Stamina as you’re used to, though you may notice your tanking plate has a bit less Stamina than a comparable piece of DPS plate, since we tend to take the gem budget out of your most attractive stat.
So, you're telling me that DPS plate wearers will have more stamina on their gear than I will?  Ok.  I'm one sentence into your expansion and I don't like it already.

Bonus Armor on gear will go down slightly.
So you're giving my DPS counterparts more stamina than me, AND you are giving me less armor?  Ok.  Now I really don't like your expansion.

Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.
While I do like the thought of not having to worry about getting to "the cap" when I level to 85, I do not like the idea of any plate wearing buffoon thinking he can tank something simply because he can go into "that stance".  I would like to believe that by stating "tanking classes", that Blizzard intends to mean a class IN THE PROPER SPEC.  This would suggest that in order for your stance, presence, form, or aura to make you uncrittable, there would have to be some talent deep in the class's tanking tree that makes it so.  

But I have a sneaking suspicion that this will not be the case, and you'll see a bunch of fury warriors and ret paladins slapping on a shield and declaring they're a tank.  (And apparently having more health than a real tank, since the DPS gear is apparently going to contain more stamina than tanking gear.)  

I guess I have to main concerns.  The first is that right now, I thoroughly enjoy someone being able to look at me and go, "Whoa, look at that tank!", because they see my health pool.  It seems that in soon, it will be like, "Oh look, a warrior...I wonder what spec he is?".  But more importantly, just like they did in Wrath, it seems like they are trying to add tanks to the game once again.  You know what?  I like that tanks are usually hard to find, and good ones are even harder to find.  That's one of the main reasons I am one.  It gives me a tremendous sense of fulfillment to satisfy a role that is always and sometimes desperately needed.

They need to stop trying to take that away.  Otherwise, it's game over for me.  I'll leave my job to the bunch of know-nothing wannabes who erroneously think they can do what I do.  That being said, I'm sure the final product won't be anything like that. 

On the other hand, it's been a blast watching the forums explode today.  When they say Cataclysm is going to be the "end of the world as we know it", they meant that in more than one way. 


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...