Friday, October 10, 2008

So Uh...

I actually moved over to HERE awhile back. Update links, feeds and donations...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Moving?

Not to be mistaken with Mooing... but I'm considering moving over to WordPress here.

Why?

Well, I like the designs they have available by default. Yeah, if I got up off my ass and fiddled with the design here I could probably mock up something similar but I don't really have time to fiddle with sorting out the XML, styles and widgets. And that still doesn't change the fact that I also like the tools Wordpress has for managing the blog, posts, categories, etc. I also like the editing/writing tools better over at WordPress.

Hmmm.... the more I think about it, the more I think I'll re-located. I'll have to double check the EULA and stuff.

CoW in Open Beta

You can find Casualties of WAR on Chrace for Order side and Crag Mere for Destruction side.

Servers are available now, though I'm not sure if it is just for people that were in the Preview Weekend.

I'll be online sometime tonight... /cry

Friday, August 29, 2008

You Know You're Excited For WAR When...

1. You feel a nigh-uncontrollable urge to shout WAAAAAAGH! at people that are pestering you or angering you.

2. You see someone walking under a red EXIT sign and reach for a weapon.

3. You flip open a nearby notebook to see if there are any new entries.

4. You think of a scenario queue when standing in line to buy something.

5. You wake up your spouse because you're dreaming you're RVRing.

6. You see construction workers working on something and consider joining the public quest.

I'll let any readers out there with ideas fill in some more...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You Don't Mess With The...

... wife's Facebook status.

Yesterday when I was settling in for my EQ2 play time, I noticed the wife was logged into my account on the computer and had left her Facebook page open. Those that know me, know I'm not a fan of Facebook (that's an understatement). Being the pest that I am*, I switched her status from "is on vacation for a week, yay!" to "is in rehab recovering from a serious drug addiction."

She saw it this morning and said I was fired. I suspect she will retaliate with logging into my MSN and changing the status message there to something about cross dressing or something.


*If you didn't know by now, I am a pest.. never tell me what bugs you because I'll do it... over and over... and over... and over again... then when you ask me to stop, I will... for five seconds.


Xuic is now level 13, closing on 14th fast. I got sidetrack harvesting while I was questing and harvested up about 20 'rares'. Yeah, I still have it**, but it sounds like they upped the rare drop rate as well... meh.

** I was notorious with my set play group during The Return to EQ2 Attempt 3 where I was constantly getting rares from harvesting while the others were less than successful. Of course, I did end up sharing as a means of getting them to forgive me from constantly sending them tells when ever I got a rare.

Who was telling me rares were rare? Phhfffbbt!

I had 9 bronze, 3 yarrow, 1 copper, 3 lapis lazulis and about 4 loams in one session which lasted maybe 3 hours and wasn't focused on harvesting. I was questing and running around Gorowyn trying to figure it out. Weird place, neat design, very unfriendly for people so I wasn't surprised it was empty.

I also joined Revelry and Honor, which might ring a few bells for people.

Gnomes is sneaky...

A Pat On the Back...

... is really nice sometimes. Here's a snippet of an email from my boss at work.

We also need to decide if this is something that you will look after or (another guy) will. As much as I’d like to clone you and have five or six (Smaken Dahed)s on the team, that technology isn’t perfected yet and it’s unlikely we’d get budget for it even if it was.


Bracketed and bold text is a placeholder to protect the innocent or the guilty (in my case).

It's a compliment, though somewhat creepy... I couldn't imagine five or six more of me around.

At one point I was constantly getting praise and it sounded sort of fake after awhile, you know? I do know I'm awesome (you knew that was coming) but there is only so much praise and worship one person can take (before they reach divinity).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Get Off the Pot...

...as in "Shit or get off the pot". Did you expect something classy? Wrong place for that.

The WAR Preview weekend gave me some insight to which class I'll play on release. At this point in time I'm torn between three of them. Current contenders are the Black Ork or the Chosen on Destruction side and the Battle Priest on Order's side.

The catch is, I might throw those picks out if a certain gaming buddy decides he's going to play WAR and go with a complimenting partner class. In short, I'm waiting for him to shit or get off the pot.

He seems to be leaning towards the Archmage at the moment. He liked the Sorceress and Chosen, but found them too limited or one-sided for his liking. The were effectively the inverse; one was solid and takes a beating in melee with no real ranged ability while the other does loads of damage from afar but next to none up close and can't take a whole lot of damage.

Fair enough.

The Archmage is middle of the road. He appears to get medium armor, can do a little melee damage, some ranged damage and heals. It's got a little more use and desirability.

With that in mind, I'll probably take a look at the Sword Master (High Elf Tank) and, maybe, the Dwarf Ironbreaker.

The other alternative is to keep on playing a Battle Priest so we can drive our enemies nuts with our nigh-invulnerability (healing ourselves and each other haha).

Hmm. There's a thought. That will teach me to think of what I'm writing while I'm writing it.

Now if only he'd decide whether he's playing or not.


Oh, if any random readers are playing EQ2 on Guk server, I'm on there playing around with a Gnome Necromancer named Xuic. Feel free to send me a tell if you're on and I'll likely wonder who the heck you are and why are you talking to me. :)

How's that for being inviting?

Xuic is only around level 8 or 9 and currently in Timorous Deep. I figured I might as well get some use out of the expansion and the credit they gave me... which might not have worked right because it says the next billing is on the 18th of September.

Grrr...

Postage and Bankers...

We often heckle a certain gaming friend about the hours of bankers. It always seems like they're fewer of them available during lunch then other times of day. The reason we bug him is that the lunch hour tends to be when most employed people get a chance to do banking without interfering with their job. (Of course, I'm writing this during business hours... heh.. bad me) So if you go to the bank to do something requiring human contact, there is usually only one or two people at the wickets available for the 20-30 people in line.

He'll argue that bankers need to eat too and we'll always counter it with, "Yeah, so set up the lunch break schedule to have people off at 11am and 1pm for their lunch break." (I await a posting from Ken)

Now, Banks seem to have gotten a clue so they're open a little later - at least my branch is.

So what does this have to do with post? Well, it seems post offices aren't open very long during the week which makes it difficult to get to the one near my house which apparently has my Stargate: SG-1 Season 10 DVD collection.

I'm extra annoyed by this because the apparently delivered during the day* and the Postperson either forgot to put a pick-up slip or it got misplaced because I didn't see any sign of one.

I only discovered it was there when I went online and checked the tracking number. Argh..

*So this gets me ranting about day time deliveries of items that require someone to sign for them. Much like bankers taking their lunch break at lunch time when that's when most people try to do their banking, it just doesn't make sense to do parcel delivery that requires a signature when most people are going to be at work.

I think it is time that Canada Post stepped forward into this century and realized that most people aren't at home during the week day so they should offer later shifts for package delivery.

Notice I said "offer". I say this because some people are home during the day, work from home, have shift work, are stay at home moms/dads or what ever. With the way information is passed around, it shouldn't be difficult to ask that your shipment, requiring a signature, comes in the evening (after 7pm) or day time when you ask for something to be delivered so that someone will be around to actually sign for the thing.

Analyze the service you're providing and change the way you provide it as the needs of the people you're providing it for change.

(The wife is off work this week so she's going to go get it. With my luck, they'll ask her for the delivery slip and not release the package to her. Argh...)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WAR: Good and Bad

Okay, I played a fair bit of the Preview Weekend and messed around with most of the classes available. By no means is this a complete review since I haven't played a whole lot, but I did play enough to get several characters (and I mean several) out of the newbie areas and get a feel for where they were going. Did I get into the second tier of content? No, but I got close to it with several classes.

Here are a number of things I noted...

GOOD:
Public Quests - these are neat though I seem to always roll really low even when I finish in first place, which actually seems to be easier to do than I'd expect.

Models - the models are pretty good. The seem to have more polygons than WoW does and they suit the IP well.

Textures - model textures were pretty good. As were the armor texturing.

World Design - the world design was good, from what I experienced. I didn't get stuck anywhere I couldn't get out of and, believe me, I tried. The world also flows well into each area and the quests sort of push you in the necessary direction. You won't get lost or not know where to go with the way this game is designed.

Instance RVR - very neat. I like how they introduce this really early. I'm not sure if there are any balance issues or not, but the one shot I gave this Destruction (my side) absolutely creamed the Order side. I looked at the results and I was sitting pretty with 28 kills while the other side's best had just over 10. Most of my side had over 20.

Classes - I like how some of the class mechanics vary. A Black Orc plays differently from a Chosen but I did get the impression there were other classes which paired off easily.

Grouping - The Holy Trinity of a group is not required and getting into a group or adding people to a group is quite easy. I liked being able to do the Empire PQ with just me (a Battle Priest) and three Bright Wizards (it was hectic for healing but fun!).

Combat - solo combat had about the right pace, though grouping seemed to make things go faster. Champion level creatures were a good pace for killing.


BAD:
Models - a couple of the models with cloth had clipping and overlapping issues. I believe long hair also was an issue.

Character Variance - it wasn't easy to tell one character from another. A big part of this is due to lack of customization in the character creation. The other part that really doesn't help is gear. It seems the gear upgrades are less obvious. The initial jump has something, but after that, it seems most armor in that 'tier' looks the same. *I'd be forgiving about this since it means less work for player PCs to render so it suits the PVP/RVR/PQs for performance. Dye seems to be one way of separating your character, but most of the colors aren't all that impressive and they seem to have the same availability for each race. I strongly suggest they create color palettes for each race with some of the overlapping ones being the more expensive (hey, make people pay to conform to guild colors). Costs are also tiered so certain colors are more expensive - I get this concept, but I don't like it, especially when you're already so limited.

Performance - bad. I'm pretty disappointed with the performance of the game given the system I have. It is more than capable of running VG at the higher settings and EQ2 at the Extreme Quality setting. WoW... well, full blown. Some of this can be attributed to the large number of people on screen at most times - it's a zoo, really. I also noticed some degradation overtime so I suspect a resource leak somewhere. I also experienced a crash.

Bugs - there were a number of bugs. One involved the quest helper markers (icons over the NPCs heads) getting stuck in a mode which was annoying. Another had to do with a PQ in the Greenskin area where you're supposed to collect barrels - I picked up one and couldn't seem to pick up others. One involved creatures running away from you after you engage them then they come back - I don't know if it is intentional or not, but it was annoying because it's not like they were low on health or anything.

Textures - world textures seem a little weak. The ground and rocks seem a little bland in most of the areas I saw. Some were well suited to the area but others were just too common. Where are the shaders?

World Design - while a lot of people like that quests and the world ushers you into one direction while I like choice. Give me two or more paths to take. Heck, each class has three mastery paths, why not make quest lines for each one that emphasize that path?

Classes - I noticed the Disciple of Khaine and Battle Priest had identical gameplay which was somewhat disappointing. The Bright Wizard and Sorceress seem that way as well. I believe the Engineer and Magus are very similar as well. I think these are the only few pairings like that, but I'd have to see more.

Responsiveness - not so good. Somewhat understandable when over crowded, but when you're playing at 6am and there are very few people around, things (inventory, NPCs, abilities...) should react a little better.

PVE - there didn't seem to be a lot of PVE stuff early on. While that isn't entirely a true statement, that is a feeling you'll get because the PVE content you're doing is tied to some of the RVR elements you'll face. In other words, if you're an ork you'll be fighting a lot of dwarves and if you're a dwarf, you'll be fighting a lot of orks/goblins. It's almost like playing a FPS with computer controlled bots... same sort of gameplay, only it is easier because the bots aren't too bright.



In short, it is a decent game and I will end up playing it on release, though I suspect it won't hold my interesting for much more than a month or two. You never know, maybe the community ties will make it more enjoyable.

I have to agree with the nay-sayers in that it really isn't a "super-awesome, omg drop what you're playing now and play it instead" type game, but it is decent.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Thing That Would Make Me Happy...

... is if EverQuest 2 did away with the tiers of crafted goods. Namely the armor, weapons and jewelry. Keep the food, furniture, bags, potions, skills/spells and the last two professions they added.

Really, that's what irks me about that game. I loathe the fact that you can craft or buy crafted gear that is better than most drops.

It drives me absolutely nuts.

If it is something my character can wear (armor, weapon or jewelry) then I want it to be a reward that comes from the Adventuring Sphere. The Crafting Sphere should reward you with crafty stuff, not adventuring stuff.

Yes I'm complaining about EQ2 because I was fiddling with it last night. I got thinking about what really bugs me about the game. The above is one of the things I came up with. The other thing was that they need more large and non-linear dungeons throughout all the level tiers (yeah, I heard of the expansion coming up).

Back to my bitching about crafting...

I find it funny because Vanguard appeared to understand this with the Diplomacy Sphere. Diplomacy rewards were generally aimed at the Diplomacy Sphere; more cards, clothing or status items that helped out and so forth. But they blew it with the Crafting Sphere. Oh they got the whole creating furniture, mount gear, housing, boats and other items right, but then they dipped into the Adventuring Sphere's pool.

Worst thing you can do in my opinion. It reduces the value of quested or dropped goods.

Future MMO developers out there... listen to me. Don't do it... don't you dare... I'll be forced to track you down and hoof you in the berries.

Are We...

... too caught up in our own self importance to properly label things simply because we think we're awesome enough to hold back the mythical MMO game title of "next generation"?

I'm not saying what is or isn't next generation as far as MMOs go. I'm just saying we seem to have increased the size of the measuring stick for MMOs being "next generation" than we have in all other game types.. or real life for that matter.

Let's look at the definition of "generation"

gen·er·a·tion
Pronunciation:
\ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən\
Function:
noun
Date:
14th century

1 a: a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor b: a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously c: a group of individuals having contemporaneously a status (as that of students in a school) which each one holds only for a limited period d: a type or class of objects usually developed from an earlier type "first of the…new generation of powerful supersonic fighters — Kenneth Koyen"

2 a: the action or process of producing offspring : procreation b: the process of coming or bringing into being c: origination by a generating process : production; especially : formation of a geometric figure by motion of another

3: the average span of time between the birth of parents and that of their offspring


Do I need to define "next"?

We'll use 1:d for what applies to MMOs since, out of all the MMOs, only AoC is supposed to have procreation in it.

a type or class of objects usually developed from an earlier type


It's really that simple. Why do we have to make it so complicated and make the phrase "next generation" seem like some sort of holy artifact that no MMO developer can achieve?

I think we're wrong and it doesn't take a lot of neurons firing to see that most of what is coming out is next generation simply because it literally is the next generation. I suppose, technically speaking, that means when a game is released it stops being "next gen" and the ones that aren't yet release become "next gen". And then the ones after that...

If we were to measure the next generation of humans like people measure MMO generations, well, we'd all be the "caveman generation" because we look similar enough, act similar enough, have similar requirements and ultimately have the same insides. Sure we walk upright and have figured out more things than Human 1.0 did, but we're still humans.

I think people are mistaking "next gen" with "not in the MMO genre anymore". As long as you're looking at something that falls under the MMO genre you're going to find similarities with other games in that genre because... well, that's why they're in that genre. Duh.


Why is being "next gen" so important? And why does it require our stamp of approval to be considered "next gen"?

Stop getting so caught up in that damn phrase.

It's next gen simply because it has most of what was in the previous generation but has also added a few things. You don't need to reinvent the genre to be true "next gen" because that means it's a new genre, not a next generation of an existing genre.

So do you like the game or not? And why?

I'm off to work on my next child, I'm aiming for it to have two heads and four arms because then it will definitely be "next gen".