Sunday, January 20, 2013

Meh. (TL;DR)

I need to let out a little rant. Nothing specific, and I don't think against any one thing, just to feel like I'm talking to someone.

Because I am alone. I am antisocial. I have problems that make me antisocial. I desire change but lack energy and resources to make the change. I don't even know what target to set for it.

When I go outside, among.. you know, regular people, I'll be fine at first. Check that my hair isn't messed up before leaving the car and walking into the store. Don't waste time, just grab a cart and start picking out groceries or whatever. Everything seems alright so far; I feel like I'm there with a purpose and not diddling around. I don't look people in the face. I hardly look above shoulder level. -Okay, that's because I'm just shy, right? -But then I notice it.

I start walking around faster. I avoid people more. I'm suddenly rushing. Hurry up and get your things, hit the register and GTFO already. I'm getting a headache. I put my sunglasses on indoors so people can't really look me in the eyes, but I can stare wherever. No one can see thru my polarized glasses (Pro-tip: actually, they can).

Finish paying and walk out. Start rushing towards the car. Almost running. Why? I don't know why. I feel so pent up. I pack things in and finally sit down in the driver's seat, just sitting in the lot, and I feel like I just finished running a marathon. I'm not THAT out of shape and didn't do any heavy lifting. The fuck is wrong with me?? I don't start feeling better until I'm back on the road and heading home.

This is what it's like to have a social disorder. Putting it in text takes a lot of emphasis out of it, so you have to imagine how it feels. It's adrenaline, the bad kind of adrenaline rush, slowly pumping up higher and higher, while doing something mundane. When I have to go to two stores in a single trip, I'm literally exhausted by the time I get home. Again, not THAT out of shape, and no heavy lifting. Just walking around with a shopping cart, safe neighborhoods, able to easily afford my usual foodstuffs (so I'm not fretting about "will I be able to afford gas this week if I buy fresh fruit?"), so there shouldn't be any pressure. I'm not grotesque and I'm not walking around thinking I'm smelly. I know people aren't staring at me. There's no external sources of pressure, and still this happens.

It's not even a rush. There's no good feeling until I'm on my way home, then once I'm home I suddenly relax and the adrenaline breaks. There is no high, there is no "oh my GOD I just survived the store!" feeling, just mental exhaustion. I'd had legit adrenaline rushes before in everyday lift; avoiding accidents (caused by others) because my driving is awesome, putting out a fire at work (like a boss), and it's very different.

I don't think counseling alone would even fix this. There's likely a medication for it, but two things are wrong with that. One, my healthcare plan (from work) would only cover enough psychiatrist visits (because you have to be diagnosed before they'll assign you the prescriptions, then monitor you on it so you don't get worse accidentally) to last for probably 2-3 visits. Because visits like that are expensive as hell, and the plan only covers a little. Psychiatric health is insanely expensive (it shouldn't be, it should be easy and affordable and this is the root of many problems in the US). Two, my body has strange reactions and over-reactions to most medications, even OTC's. You know how Benadryl pills make some people sleepy? I take one and I'm out like a light. Give me Ibuprofen and my body may feel better but I'll get a bad headache. Give me the mildest antibiotic and my guts take over a month to work right again. But pass me some Naproxin and it works great. Pass the Mucinex and I'm high. A single Sudafed gives me heart palpitations, and I'm actually pretty heart-healthy (low blood pressure, low cholesterol). When my monthly cycle changes hormone amounts the difference in me is like night and day (from "okay" to "i hate everything, no one cares and death sounds fine").

To summarize those last few lines, drugs of all types affect me strangely and unpredictably. To that unpredictability add a powerful drug that affects mood and has it's own known cadre of strong side-effects. You can imagine that unless I got super-lucky on it, and the initial dosage, I would go through a time of sheer hell until it got tuned right for me. (I'm no expert but I've talked with psych teachers (Doctors) while I was in college, I know about the difficulty it takes in getting things "set right" for an individual patient, because there's no ruler that applies to everyone in psych regards. Everyone is different, behaves different, reacts different, and sometimes "attuning" the meds to a patient is 100 times more stressful than the initial problem ever was.)

Imagine being a patient in that regard, going through an even rougher patch than normal, waiting to find that "magical combination" of dosage and medication type that works for you. Now imagine that plus being hard-up to afford the doctor's visits to keep tabs on your health, to change the meds "quickly" when they aren't working or making things worse. (I saw "quickly" because often a patient needs to be weened off of meds like that, just stopping cold-turkey can be extremely dangerous.)
It's a nightmare scenario, and one that happens too often to people.

So anyway, there's some food for thought. I can't afford to "fix" myself, at least not yet. Maybe soon, I got to look over my plan options and put in for changes when it'll allow me, but I don't even know how helpful that'll be, yet. I don't even know if 6 months down the line, I'll be as willing then to get help as I am right now. I've long held the stance that "If I'm on medication that changes my moods and personal perceptions, I'm not really me," but I can't keep living as "me-right now" anymore. This is self-destructive in a very quiet sense of the word. I have no social life, no social ties, and feel worse in the loneliness it creates. The worse I feel, the more anti-social I become because I feel like I drag down the people around me. I have to break this cycle.

I was originally going to rant less about this, and a little more about how I feel like my life has no meaning. How I feel like I'm accomplishing nothing. Not even a cog in the machine. And how at the same time I don't see any goals worthwhile. I don't know what I want to do. There's some things I'd like to do, but I'd never make a living doing them, and there's not enough time or energy for both things. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe all this is rooted in the same problems in my head. The fruit of some untreated and unrecognized ailment. But that's where I draw blanks, and the story ends.

So please, if you're a friend, a real friend... When I drift away, don't let go. When I start pushing, keep clinging. When I get nasty, remember that maybe I'm just thinking it'll hurt you less to push you away instead of dragging you down with my mood. When I'm in a dark mood, remember to treat it like it's a normal woman with PMS, only lasting weeks. And when I'm in a good mood, take full advantage of it because I never know how long it'll last. I've lost more friends to these things. Drifting away from them and losing them because they couldn't be around me when in a dark mood. I've also held on to other friends because they had problems akin to mine, and I wouldn't let go because I knew exactly how it felt. They've never said it, just like I've never said it. I can't say it, it's like I suddenly can't talk, but I need those friends who do cling, and I'd be lost without them.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I See What You Did There

So today started off normal. I got up, eventually ate some breakfast. Some cereal.

And I'm sitting there, nomming my foods, just glancing over the box, when this catches my eye.

More whole grain, than any other ingredient. Noticing the "*", and being the analytically minded person I am, I started turning the box all around until I spotted this.

It's just a statement that restates what most of us already know about ingredient labeling. Ingredients are labeled in order based on the amount in the food. Okay, so General Mill's Chex cereal has Whole Grain as the main ingredient. This is pretty much a given for Chex cereals. So at first I'm like, "okay, no big deal, they're just making sure people see that on the front of the box instead of relying on them to turn to the ingredients listing."
(By the way, I recommend always checking the ingredients on everything you buy. Always.)

But then I looked at this again, and in a new light. They're not just making sure people can see the main ingredient from the front. Look again at the first and second images. At a distance, the word "ingredient*" is hard to even spot. Close up, it's still very small compared to all the rest of the text. And when you look at the area where they explain the footnote "*", it's not only on a small side, but it's in even smaller text.

General Mills is not selling on the premise that their food uses whole grains as the main ingredients (which, by the way, can mean even less than 50%, so long as there's more "whole grain rice" compared to "regular rice").

General Mills is selling on the unclaimed premise that their cereal has "more whole grains than any other," cereal.

That's shady, GM. That's shady.
If it wasn't so damn tasty, I would boycott.
And I totally see what you did there.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tired of the same

As the title states, I am getting so tired of doing the same thing. I have ideas that are poking at the interior of my skull, trying to get out. Why can't I get my ass motivated and put some to work? Why is this hard? It shouldn't be hard. I want to do something, like that webcomic idea I had, but every time (the few times) I kick myself hard enough to go and get the pencil and paper... I flop. Inspiration abandons me on the spot, any skill goes out the window, and my imagination has a coma. And then this cycle repeats itself. I give up, inspiration creeps back, I go "omigod I'm gonna start something this time!" , I try, I flop.

It would figure, it seems my muse is an Anonymous /b/astard.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I need to get my own place.

Then, THEN I can start in on this art stuff without feeling useless. Then maybe I can get that webcomic idea moving along past a brainstorm.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Idea? -for a story.

I'm not certain it's been done in the way and style I'm imagining it, but how many short stories have been done in the persona of an alien being analyzing humans, in the same style that humans analyze unknown species of animals?

I haven't read any thing like that personally (not even on 365 Tomorrows, but it may still be on there). The idea just jumped into my brain. A "mad scientist" scene where the scientist endeavors to reveal all the mystery about the unknown life-form in the cell. The scientist does not particularly care for the mental state of the specimen, only the physical, because the scientist does not realize the specimen has mental feelings and mental health that acts upon said specimen.

Imagine an older, grizzled, hard-working scientist who has spent his whole life working on the cure for cancer. He's determined to find it. He has many mice and rats to experiment on, and he keeps them physically healthy because their physical health can greatly alter any results. What if the mice and rats were completely free-thinking, like a human is or like in a Disney cartoon, but the scientist has absolutely no way of cataloging these mental states of mind. They are simply "understood" to not exist in the specimens. Now, instead of mice and rats, put regular human beings in that category. The scientist is still a scientist, but he does not look, think, speak, or understand anything like or about the specimen except for what he can physically measure and chart. The specimen's shouts and yells are just squeaking. He (the scientist) does not see crying, just watery eyes that are probably caused by the air being too dry, or a common irritant. He doesn't see humans caring for each other out of love, he sees pack mentality as an evolutionary measure to overcome the odds of nature, or specific mating rituals that help ensure the survival of their young. ... Kinda sounds like hell, don't it. I want to write this from the perspective of the "alien" scientist, I just don't want to be cryptomnesic and write something that's already been done.

Inspiration, you cruel unoriginal bitch.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It Strikes

Inspiration! Finally, my imagination is waking back up, and I'm coming up with more ideas, more plots, more characters...

Okay, not all of them have been "good" ideas, but since I've been through a "mental block desert" of much of my "usual" imagination, this is still a good thing.

Flood gates are opening, now I just need to get these ideas to text or paper before they fizzle out in my mind.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Well, things have been too quiet here for too long, and I'm aching to write things again.

I think I'll start with background stories/profiles for my Role-Playing characters, again. Usually I do these things in my head, because once I put them down something changes, then there's second thoughts, then third thoughts, etc.

I really wish I had any artistic talent for realism sketching. I can see the images in my head, but my hands will not put it to paper. And when you're thinking up something original, that's creation-death right there. A picture is worth over a thousand words, after all is said and done.

The coming months will see if this plan some to fruition or not; if I'm not working, then I'm usually sleeping, getting ready for work, or playing DCU Online (A.K.A. my latest drug of choice). I can't believe I was having such DC-nic-fits during the downtime between playing Beta and playing Live. Sony dug their claws in deep with me, that's for sure; and like most online games I really enjoy from the start, I'm praying the creators don't screw it up. Sony almost "ruined" Star Wars Galaxies, and they've made a (failing?) WoW cookie-cutter MMORPG before, and some of their business practices aren't (shall we say?) user friendly. I really want to give this game all my "gamer's hope," but I always think back to Warhammer Online (WAR not 40k), and how EA knee'd Mythic in the gut and basically sank the game at the aft instead of the stern. (It's still a fun game to play.. for about 3/4 of the leveling process, then it loses a lot of it's fun and grinds harder than Superman hand-milling all the grain for Ethiopia.) Gamer "politics" made a huge dent in that game's enjoyability, as they normally do with most MMORPG's.

Anyways, before I ramble on too terribly much... Watch this space, because maybe, coming soon-ish, possibly, there might be something maybe good.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lets post something interesting, as if someone was reading this...

Yeah, I know, not many people read this. Less comment. I get whiny in it at times. Meh. Snu.

So, here's something a little interesting. How much of today's "popular" fiction, that is the fictional stories, scripts, plots, game ideas, and ideas in general, start off with a dream? I mean a real dream. Fell asleep and saw images in your head, dream.

I can honestly say, about 50% of the things I come up with are from my remembered dreams. I'm sure there's other dreams equally good that I don't recall, but they're locked in my subconscious somewhere, being accessed but not directly. Quietly influencing my likes and conscious imaginings. At least I really hope I have more dreams, I'll be seriously depressed if I know I hardly dream at all.

But, I'm really curious about this subject. We extol and praise creators of fictional stories and likewise for having amazing imaginations, for putting it all together, but how much of that was brought to life without a conscious effort? I'm not saying that makes the creations any less works of art, I'm just really pondering. How much do dreams affect our everything?

For example, H. P. Lovecraft's work (notably the Cthulhu mythos) was largely influenced directly by his night terrors. Bad dreams that he didn't wake up from as clearly as many others do. These things he dreamed, that he imagined without meaning to, later on became a great work of horror stories. These stories went on to inspire others, sometimes even into "starhood." These stars of today's horror creation (stories, movies, etc.), drew inspiration from a man's stories, which drew inspiration from his bad dreams. All this, all these ideas, all this fandom, from a series of dreams.

Lovecraft's example is surely not the first, definitely not the last, and scarcely the only one. I hope to someday follow this example. As such, I'm starting a dream log. It will be on a different blog (probably my old LiveJournal account), where I'll post every detail I can remember from my dreams, when I remember them. I've long wanted to write more fiction based on my (night) dreams, nightmares, and daydreams, and it's about time I started doing something about that.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reinvoking the Gaming Spirit

So lately I've just been hit by the major urge to game, even more! I've been playing Aion more lately (as I wait for the next round of beta tests on City of Heroes - more on that later), and actually enjoying it without feeling a grind or stressed over repetition. I canceled my subscription for Warhammer Online, as I wasn't playing it anymore and the people I rejoined to play along with weren't really available much anymore, so there went the play time. I still play City of Heroes, and one of the newest powersets to come out for playing is really exciting, a "Wanted" style version of wielding dual pistols. Complete with cheesy (and shiny!) effects. Now before I'm tagged as a hypocrite (because I hated Wanted, although that may have just been because of Angelina Jolie), let me state that the movie was put into a "realistic" setting, with all the physics-breaking nonsense gun-play. City of Heroes/Villains is intentionally supposed to be housing cheesy, unreal, laws-of-physics breaking, just-about-anything-goes type stuff. "Curve the bullet!" works in that setting, not in the movie's.

But just when you thought I had enough as I vest my free time into 2 separate MMO's (I'm neglecting Guild Wars, but it has no sub fee so whatever), I'm starting to debate over whether to get a Playstation 3, or an Xbox 360. I have friends voicing their opinions on both sides of the arguement. Blu-ray versus more co-op, stability vs. slightly better graphics, Cheaper to upgrade hard-drive vs. more co-op. Well.. it's just easier to highlight the pro's and con's of each here::

Playstation 3
  1. Blu-ray player
  2. It has Demon's Souls, Infamous, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, and the better version of Silent Hill: Homecoming
  3. Free network
  4. Internet ready right out of the box
  5. Easy and cheap to upgrade hard drive
  6. It has the better controllers
  7. I have friends also with a PS3
  8. It makes me want to try MSG4 and Siren: Blood Curse
Xbox 360
  1. High-def (but not Blu-ray, still top graphics though)
  2. Cheap network with more people on it (more co-op)
  3. It has Crackdown, un-bugged Bayonetta, Saints Row, Dead Rising, maybe Gears of War 2.
  4. I seem to have more friends who play on XBL than PS3
  5. More co-op.
It's 8 to 5, technically, but the extra co-op makes for a larger point in itself. Thus, I am stuck. The other games I'm interested in are available on either platform so they're not part of the equation. I could afford both but it would be a shame because I know in the end one system will get more play than the other, instead of being a 50/50 split.

It... It's a really tough decision. I might end up getting both the way it's looking. Hopefully if I do that, I'll be able to keep the usage near-even. Even amid the MMO playing on the computer. Wow I'll have a lot to play...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How much talent makes an artist?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic with that title. I'm serious; when do people get titled as an "artist" instead of just billed as a hobbyist?
If it's based on the about of time spent working at said art, then I'm a hobbyist, since I only get to it rarely these days.
If it's based on the amount of said art pumped out, then I'm surely below even hobbyist levels.
If it's based on quality over quantity, then who's judging the quality? The internet?? Almost all "artists" seem to be very critical of their own work (and I know I surely am), but since art is usually turned out for some sort of commercial appeal (I.E. so you don't starve), then how can that label even be justly given out?
If it's based on the level of thought behind said art, the amount of imagination before the physical representation exists, then I hope I'm at the "artist" level of this... because I'd hate to think that I'm just crazy.

I have all these ideas in my head, my imagination spills over with colors and visuals, things I can decorate in my mind that will never be able to see paper, because who else could make them but me, but I don't have the talent to bring them to life. I've tried though. I've tried to explain them in endless details,
but words can't paint a full picture. I've tried to draw them, to doodle them, but all I get are stick figures and abstract shapes; hard lines when soft curves are required. I've even imagined new tunes without words, but because I can only play an instrument with one hand (no I'm not missing a hand, I just can't coordinate with both at the same time like that), anything I play is very monotonous and bland, childlike. I wouldn't even call it childlike, since I've heard little children play better music than I could ever manage. I love to sing, but my voice is such crap (bronchitis, asthma, and no vocal coaching whatsoever) that people who hear me tend to wince. I only sing nicely when I sing too soft to hear above a whisper.

So what can I do when creativity strikes up a wildfire inside of me? I can't draw well, I can't play well, and I can't sing well. I've tried (VERY) amateur painting before, and while it's fun it's not what I tried to do or be. When I draw/paint anything, I keep trying to make things look realistic (Realism), but what comes out is never even close, so you get
Surrealism instead. That's a terrible way to describe surrealist art, as a realist who sucked at drawing, but that's one of the few things I seem to do right.

So, without further ado, here is July Cornfield

The clips on the side were part of my sophisticated home-made (read: cheap) hanging system to keep the fabric taunt and straight. It consisted of 6 medium binder clips, plastic straws, craft wire, and whatever thin rope I had around at the time, to make the red cotton/denim fabric stay straight while the acrylic paint dried.

And yes, that is a sun AND moon in the same sky. If you never seen that happen then you haven't looked up enough. I chose the red denim for two reasons. 1, it reminded me of sunset, and 2, it was the largest fabric piece I had around and I initially was just doodling with cheap paint.

Now, before I fall asleep at my keyboard, here's a quick setting. It's dusk in the middle of July. The corn is knee high and you decide to take a break from playing within it, and sit back in the dirt. Looking up between the rows of stalks, you can see the sun setting and the moon starting to rise. The stratus clouds over head are scattered in a slight breeze, and the sky itself has just started to take on the colors of dusk. If it were darker out, the corn stalks would look like giant green hands trying to grab you, but it's still much to bright out to be afraid of them, and they're still much too small once you stand up. Once the sun goes down, you're going to chase fireflies...

Also, I hope my Moto Droid took a good enough picture (although I had to edit for size) for you to make out the details.

Monday, October 12, 2009

More Art for Aion, now with 75% less whine! (Sacramentum legion emblem)

EDIT: Dammit, no. You can't take my image without permission. No, you can't use it for your guild, I made it for my own. Have some decency. I appreciate that you like it but please, I spent all my free time on this for my Legion. I'd be willing to share my source material for you to make your own, but this beauty is my own, my current pride and joy.

Well, I toiled all week long, but at last I made something finished for my Aion legion. The shield was taken out from earlier versions, because at the lower image sizes seen actually in-game the details (that looked bitchin' at high resolution) were a blur. Blur is bad. Blurring is very bad. Simplicity is the winner. So I simplified. Swords over shields. Took out some of the little frills that were originally in the image. Fixed all the little blotches of error. Simplified the colors and made a prominent focal point (the silver sword).

Just imagine this on a dark/black background. It sticks out even more then. Want a little help?
Now imagine it smaller...

That's about how it'll look in game at a glance. Does it catch your eye? Creative or Constructive Criticism is welcomed.

Please do NOT steal my artwork.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Art for Aion

Well, I promise my artwork would be showcased here, so here it starts. And it starts with an art project for Aion, where once a Legion advances high enough in rank, the legion (guild) emblem can be customized. I.E., not a pick from the given choices. An image you make/take, and upload. So without further ado...

This was my first "finale", but the road to it was tough. I started with the Elf "wings" icon/wallpaper from Warhammer Online, altered the colors until I could clearly extract the wings from the background, remove the object sandwiched between the wings, then use The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) 2.6.2 to essentially light-box over the wings to get a good trace. I then added extra lines to "complete" the wings as close to whole as possible, but only worked on one half of the set. The other half was a simple copy & flip away. They remind me of a sparrow's wings in a way, with no clear boundary between primaries and secondaries...

Anyway, the wings outlined and the reference image thrown away, coloration was done with a gradient tool and a lot of toying around with the options. Gradients in GIMP aren't too flexible. Eventually I got what you see in the background here, but with white outlines. I painted over them later to ease them into the image better. Things were going to get "loud" enough as it stood.

The shield came next, and I started with the icon for the Aion character class of Templar, which is the penultimate tank class. The image came to me as a black & white PNG. Fuzzy select and gradient fill once again came to my rescue, but not easily. The golden/raised areas and the firey/depressed areas would not be filled with gradient in the same image without leaving lines between the two area types. I had to do each of the areas as separate images, then copy the top one over with transparent gaps, on top of the lower/red gradient. The finished shield didn't come out as well as I wanted, but since the image was to be scaled down anyway, I figured it was good.

But I wasn't done yet. I wanted more added on to this monster.
Came then the Ranger class icon, which consists of a dagger/sword plus bow. I thought it would go nice with the shield and wings. But look at how 'loud' and busy the image is now! I was originally also going to put something in reminiscent of spell casters or priests, but there's no room! That's okay, I thought, the Legion is named "Sacramentum" which means "Oath (of soldiers)". Swords and shields and bows were more mindful of that, right? The ranger icon came to me differently than the Templar icon. It was also in black & white, but the quality was much poorer. I had to manually sharpen the image bit by bit, then go in with the path tool to even out the lines and gaps, and erase parts that would be too tiny to see at the ultimate resolution. The dagger/sword part came out okay with the special gradient used there, maybe it could have used more or less "frivolous-ness". The bow, however, came out for the worse. I played with the gradient, determined to have another color on that image that didn't blend with the rest, but green just came out too dark!

I'll have to work on another one, one where the green bow portion is perhaps moved around a bit? Or removed completely. Or perhaps just colored like the sword/dagger. It's that or I use the "Gladiator icon" for more effect. We'll see, but this has been enough work for one night.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What happened to Warhammer? (Answering Agga)

Well, since I can't comment on my own damned blog (*glares at Blogger*), here's an answer to the only comment I've ever received.

Warhammer Online just died a slow painful death for me. Everything has degenerated since the last patch in particular, and everything is all "QQ!" and "RVR!". No one plays PVE anymore except to flip zones. Phoenix Throne server (order side) has been a ghost town. Tier 4 is too much work for a game, and that won't work for me. (Pun not intended).

Mythic just killed the game and any of the high hopes I had for it. Which is a shame, because I loved the mythos and environment there. But it's still an incomplete game, and more work than it's worth. I'm sad to say it, but I think I may be done with it. I loved playing with the whole gang there, but way too damn much QQ and work and "hurry up and wait!" to enjoy the end game. And the end game is what would keep me onboard in the long haul. The same reason is why I hardly play City of Heroes anymore. Too much work for a casual gamer. Work I'm paying to do. That shit won't fly.

I'm currently addicted to Aion, and so far it's living up to its "New Shiny!"-high in my eyes. It's new, it's different, and most importantly it's fun! I haven't officially quit WAR yet, but I'm probably going to go inactive enough that I might as well have.

So Agga, I hope you stick around with the old gang still. Whether or not you get into Aion or something else. The Vent's still open, I've been keeping up with posting all that info on the guildlaunch forum, although they recently changed the URL to it and I don't know if you got the PM there.

So, let this also be an open invitation. If you play Aion and play Elyos on Israphel (US/Eastern) server, Sacramentum is recruiting. Forum application and Ventrilo are both encouraged and required for legion membership. Agga, even if you never pick up the game you're definately invited to join with us anyway.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Secondary Shiny - Guild Wars

So I've been caught up in yet another MMORPG, only this one has the extra benefit of NO subscription fees! That's right, a well done MMO that only costs you one flat fee for the game itself. No wonder it meets and/or beats Warcraft's standards of business success.

It's your standard MMORPG, skill-based (the more levels you get the more points to spend on skills), only more "minimized", but not really in a bad way at all. How it works is like this: All the towns and outposts and cities, etc., are where teh actual players congregate in. There are different districts for each community center to save on lag when they're full up. You can't fight enemies or have duels or be attacked or attack at all in these posts. You're there to meet up, gather, talk to NPC's, get quests, etc. It's when you go out into the exporable areas that things get different. You have your own little instance of the exporable area. It exists as long as you are out there and not in a town. All the enemies you've taken down while out there, basically reset once you go into a town/outpost/etc. You can take along party members, but first you need to get with them in a town, make up the party there, with friends or fill in members with NPC allies that will fight alongside you (big bonus for you loners, because the NPC's actually have competent AI, and a party of 4 with you and 3 NPCs can still take down a powerful target). Your standard choices are usually a tank, healer, and DPS classes. You can choose which NPCs you recruit into your party for the explorable areas, so if you play a healer, you can pick all other classes. Or pick the other healer and just be lazy. Etc. This mixing up makes the game very interesting. Makes playing solo a possibility, for most things.

There is a PvP element, and it's handled in the games many arenas. You can either go up against other parties with your friends vs. their friends, go up against an enemy with parties full of NPC's, or go up against a rival with a party of heroes. Heroes are special NPC Henchmen, like the NPC allies mentioned earlier, only you can pick-&-choose what skills their merits lay in.
You can also compete guild against guild, with the same types of battles. Your parties, whatever they consist of, can be in capture the flag games, obliteration (kill count) games, capture the flag stand (which is a variation of inverted capture the flag - you put your flag in a defensive stand and try to keep it there while the other party tries to do the same). Etc. It's not free-form PvP, it's not Realm-vs-Realm like in Warhammer Online (they copyrighted that term, by the way. So, trademark, registered, copyright, etc, Mythic/EA games).

Combine it all together, and you get a nice (not great but not horrible) MMO that has no continued cost. I purchased the Trilogy pack myself, that was $50 USD. The Individual games alone run $20-30 USD, which isn't bad, and I recommend Nightfall if you're only interested in one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Shiny - Aion (MMORPG)

I just found my new, pretty, precious, shiny thing.. And it's Aion. In case you live in a cave like I do most of the year, Aion is predicted to be the next BIG MMO to hit the game-o-sphere. It features a 50 level usual MMO practice, BUT with a "new" thing to the field - the chain system combat abilities. Also, a flight system that all characters get upon reaching level 10 (easy to do, no grinding there).

Now, when I first heard that NCsoft was making another MMO that focused on PVP, I as skeptical. NCsoft has City of Heroes (and City of Villains), and the PVP in that/those games just sucks. It's not even "pew pew pew I WIN" it's basically dominated by just a couple of classtypes, with little reward for actually succeeding in PVP. For a heroes vs. villains comic-book-y game, I was ashamed. The PVE was fine and all, I loved to pretend to be a hero and go rescueing and defeating bad guys, or be a villain and tear shit up... Until I felt like I was grinding at a snail's pace through the levels. Then my zealousness toned down quite a bit.

Needless to re-say, when Aion was first announced, I was very, VERY skeptical. PVP in most MMO's usually turned into 3 second battles, or zerg-fests. (Zerg-fests can be fun if they fluctuate from side to side, such as the Realm-vs-Realm battles in WARhammer Online could be like; however, Zerg-fests turn into moral-crunching menaces when there's no fluctuation. There's no fun in always winning, in always losing. It turns into stagnation.)

Anyway, I was very surprised when I stumbled into PVP in Aion. It started with a requested duel against another of my race (Elyos in this example), and I soon discovered something. Certain classes definately had an advantage, but these were not 3 second fights! These were battles that took some skill, as certain chain attacks worked better depending on the situation. It wasn't just about who struck first, who could jam the keys fast enough to defeat the other before they could even register an attack. It was about prediction, and a little preparation. Certain chain combos worked better against certain class types, worse against others. It's a dynamically new combat system in the world of MMORPG's.

As if that wasn't enough to draw me in, the art is BEAUTIFUL! The CryEngine is able to render the graphics at such a lower CPU cost that most other MMO engines could hope to achieve for the same quality. It's so lovely, the graphics alone could make me want to pay for this game..

I'm gushing over this game, and it hasn't even gone live yet! It's got an anime-ish look and feel to it, but with Christian religion-mythology-like undertones in the basic plotline; these are 2 things that are normally turn-off's for me, but for once I'm able to look past that and onto the high quality/low cost graphics, and the inventive combat system that makes fighting, PVE or PVP, feel epic. I almost want to say it's like having a Mortal Kombat MMO, with all the moves you can chain together for certain effects, but saying just that would give a horribly wrong impression.

If my words are not enough to draw you in, I ask you to wait until the game goes live (scheduled September 22, 2009), and try out a trial account once they're available. I know that trials will be available eventually, probably soon after release. Even if you have to be sent a trial ticket from a registered member, contact me when the time comes and I promise that I can try to help you. I'm very sure that I will be playing this game when it goes live, and even before then (prepurchases FTW!), and knowing NCsoft, trial accounts are a given - they bring in the business.

Until then, happy gaming!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Attempts At Humor - Weeaboo's

Let me start this off by saying, anime and manga (and their adult counterpart "hentai") can be fun, entertaining forms of media. For Americans in the U.S. like me, it's an imported culture, still relatively fresh on the scene, and somewhat misunderstood at times. This makes the anime & manga culture a popular attractant to young people. The parents don't understand what it is, or why it's so appealing (exception here for the usually high amounts of nudity and sex and violence in many hentai's). -And for the most part, I'm pretty cool with this. Like most things I have something to gripe or laugh about, it's more about the people who go nuts over it, than the thing itself.

Thus I am brought to the issue of "weeaboo." A weeaboo (or childish-Japanophile-done-to-death) is basically someone who has gone head-over-heels over Japanese culture, when they otherwise have no attachments, relations, or etc. with it. These are the people that irk me; I twitch just listening to them talk and reading their words. All I hear is "blah-blah-blah-something-horribly-unknown-but-definitely-sounds-asian-blah-blah." I could go on and on about all the things that irk me, but that's not the point of this post. I want to give everyone a way to indicate the earmarks of a weeaboo.
  1. Constant throwbacks in a conversation to some well known or relatively unknown anime and/or manga series. "Dude, did you see that crane they got parked at the construction site? That thing could squish a Gundam!"
  2. Throwing every last instant of free time into watching anime and reading manga. Nothing else. Nothing. "I really gotta go pee, but Bleach is on in 30 seconds!"
  3. Getting emotionally attached to an anime. I'm not talking about the tears that come after a sorrowful scene, or rolling around on the floor at something watched. I mean people who get so attached to characters or plot lines that they go psycho when they are wronged with them somehow. This can also extend beyond the scope of Japan culture. ("Snape kills Dumbledor!") "GRAAA YOU BITCH! YOU BIIIITCH!!"
  4. How about some non-anime signs? If you were born and raised in the U.S.A., still live there, have never left, and have no family attachments to Japan, yet you will still go a good amount out of your way just to pick up a dozen boxes of Pocky every weekend; you're a weeaboo.
  5. If all your food is sushi or otherwise fish related (there is fish candy, yuck), you might be a weeaboo.
  6. ALL of your porno, every last movie, movie clip, image, porn site link, everything, if all of it is hentai, you're probably a weeaboo.
  7. You learn Japanese in your spare time (not easy for native English speakers), just to better understand your choices of media. You use this acquired talent for nothing else. Then you're a weeaboo.
  8. You dye your hair bizarre colors, A la Anime & Manga characters. Not to be confused with punk and goth (and, ugh, emo movements - later entry on this, I promise).
  9. Your idea of a kinky outfit for women is an undersized japanese school girl uniform.
  10. You actually went to see the Dragon Ball movie.
That's all that I can come up with for the moment. I'm sure there's many more signs of "super annoying japanophilia" (compared to ordinary japanophilia with has only 15% Annoying), but at the moment I seem to be burnt out from just imagining those ten.

You know any more? Leave it in the comments! I can always update this!

A Late Intro(duck)tion.

Recently this blog has found a focus. I finally know what to do with it, and as such I've ruthlessly edited out my whiny diary-type entries, as well as posts where I just rambled on and on and on aimlessly.

What I can promise you now are irregular updates, mild and/or grim attempts at humor*, and whatever crappy art or writing I feel like sharing at the time.

So, while this introduction appears to be only 2 posts late, it's really more like 6, and that's sad. Fortunately I have yet no readers, or at least no one who cares to comment on my past crap, so just pretend I waved my hands like an ancient interstellar buddhist and performed a mental foolery on you.

(* reader will take note that only an attempt is guaranteed and actual humor may not be obtained.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tweet Food

Just discovered Twitterfeed...

I would have thought that a service that updates your Twitter account every time you post a new blog would have been available from the start, but all I found before were third-party vendors that I didn't trust with my Twitter account.

As a second bonus, now you can be thoroughly confused by the Twitter feed off to the side of my blog page, under the music widget. That feed will update about my twitter update about my blog update, next to my blog update.

Now all I need is a Blog service or Twitter service that will post a tweet to this blog as a blog post. Then the cycle can NEVER END! -as long as I make the settings right.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

For Your Enjoyment - Grooveshark

Well, several days ago I discovered Grooveshark, and boy have I been won over.

Not only can you stream any full song from the massive lists there (and believe me, there's a lot), you can build little widgets to post to your blog, website, whatever, with any playlist you can put together. No limit on what kind of songs you can throw in there, as long as it's on Grooveshark, it's available.

Now the "bonus" part. If you have a song (mp3, etc.) that you want to be on that widget, or your personal playlist (for things like... streaming at work?), but what if it's not on the site? Don't fret! You can upload any number of songs from your computer, and in about 24 hours it will be on Grooveshark. However, I did notice some latency between that song's availablility for listening, and its availability to be tossed into playlists and/or put on a widget. This could have just been me, but I also don't know how long that latency was - I tried to get it to work before work and it wouldn't; I tried after work and it went right away. I guess you can chalk this up to demand on the website.

If I was rating Grooveshark, I would still give it 4 stars (out of 5) based on the size of the library, time to upload (24 hours isn't that bad, really, not on a huge site), and "relative ease" in making widgets and getting song information. It was a little "clunky" at first, because I was not used to the layout, but all the little icons give pop-up names telling you what they are, so I may have just been impatient at the time.

Please, enjoy the widget I've plugged into the right side of this blog, and if you don't like the music, go make your own playlist! You don't have to have a user name there to use it, you can make a widget for individual songs (I will be using this part very much), and if you want to save playlists for easy recalling, signing up is free and easy.