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.