Archive for September, 2009

h1

I’m not the type to talk about this stuff…

September 26, 2009

I think the title says a lot here.  I like this blog to be about games, my musings on games, and perhaps…. sometimes…. very rarely…. my outlook on life.  I’m not the type of person who likes to get preachy with others.  But tonight I was dealt this really odd blow.  A blow that is slowly affecting me, but simultaneously not affecting me.  Yes, it’s that confusing.

So, let me start off by saying that I don’t come from a huge town.  Pittsburgh is really my adopted home — my college home.  But I come from a small town in Pennsylvania called Pottsville, PA.  Some of you may know it thanks to Yuenging Beer…. “America’s Oldest Brewery.”

Pottsville, due to it’s small town nature, isn’t on top of things like a larger city is.  Being gay in Pottsville is a big deal.  My former priest was gay, and he almost lost many members of my church’s congregation because he was simply a gay priest.  Of course, people ended up coming to their senses, but that didn’t ease some of the animosity that he suffered from other priests in the area.  And when holy men are getting into the act of disliking one of their own, you can only imagine what some of the rest of the town gets like.

Well, tonight one of my own friends… my old best friend, to be exact… betrayed my trust.  I got a message from him saying, “Sorry, I was bet 50 bucks to write that on your Facebook wall.  You can just delete it.  I don’t mean any harm.”

I logged in to find he had written “FAG!!!” right on my wall.

Sticks and stones right?  Just a harmless little insult, right?  Yeah, that’s how I felt for about 3 hours.  I went out, I had some fun with friends, and then I came back to find that same word right on my computer screen where I had left it.  I began to really think about it, and that’s when I started just feeling uneasy.

I trusted this guy for more than 10 years.  He was my best friend.  He was the first guy to ever, EVER, know that I was transgendered.  That’s not knowledge I entrusted to him lightly at the time.  He knew even before my parents knew.  I think that says a lot.

You guys want to know why he did it?  He did it because someone dared him to write it for 50 bucks.  He pretty much threw away 10 years of our relationship for 50 stinking dollars.

I was told by many, many people to expect this.  I was told by so many individuals that there would be people in my life who would do things to hurt me.  I expected this, to be quite honest.  But, just not from someone like that.  Not from him.

It saddens me… it really does.  I would never do that to someone, ever.  Ever.  Yet, someone has seen fit to do that to me.  It’s one thing when the Aion community does it.  They don’t have a “face” to be exact.  But when your former best friend does it to you… it takes on a whole new light.

h1

People make me LOL

September 25, 2009
...we hope you will enjoy the show!

...we hope you will enjoy the show!

So I just read what might possibly be one of the most misinformed comments I’ve read in a while. It ranks up there with all of the comments that tell me I’m making wicked mad dough from “selling out” and “being bribed” by developers.

So, on a Beatles: Rock Band review, someone had the audacity/idiocy to state that The Beatles are “a tired old band who would never survive today” and that their music “failed to influence any music in today’s generation.” (Search for MushroomStamp on that link, if you want to see the hilariousness.)

Like I said. People make me LOL.

h1

Ok, you have no excuse to NOT get PlanetSide

September 22, 2009
MMOs for 5 bucks! SWEET!

MMOs for 5 bucks! SWEET!

So this week is MMO week for Direct2Drive’s anniversary, and they’re offering a selection of games for five bucks.  Now, normally I wouldn’t devote a post to this, but one title kinda stuck out at me on the list (aside from Age of Conan, of course.  Speaking of which, you should buy that if you have 5 bucks.  It’s not an amazing MMO, but it’s damn well worth 5 bucks.  I’d make a mention about EVE being 5 bucks too, but you probably jumped on that like a rabid wolverine.)

You should spend the 5 dollars and pick up PlanetSide.  No, I’m not joking.

PlanetSide is one of the games that has been trucking along quietly in the background for years now.  Not too many websites cover it, there’s not that many updates anymore, and it kinda gets boring after months of gameplay, but if you ever want an amazing game to jump into quickly and enjoy from day 1, then you want PlanetSide.  No questions asked.

For those not in the know, PlanetSide is the first (and pretty much only) MMOFPS.  The game sports multiple continents that can hold 100 players from each of it’s three factions, meaning you get to have 300 person battlefields.  There’s ground vehicles, air vehicles, hot dropping (first game to introduce a orbital drop as part of the action), mechs, battle armor, hacking, command abilities and more.  The action of PlanetSide has the tendency to quickly escalate into feverish firefight fits of action, where you don’t even know who’s shooting you from where.  All you know is that the sky is full of lead, and if you stick your head up it will probably be blown off.

Some of my best stories come from PlanetSide, and I wasn’t even a high level character.  Leveling in PlanetSide (yes, killing people gets you experience) means nothing more than more certification points that you can spend on gun licenses and implant slots for specialized abilities.  There’s no money in the game, just need to be certified for a gun (or vehicle) to use it (or drive it.)

The graphics, even for being a couple years old, still hold up just because the game will drive your computer nuts during intense firefights.  If the graphics were any better, you wouldn’t be enjoying the 200 person sieges.  You’d be watching a slideshow that ends in your character’s painful death.  But, lucky for you, that’s not the case.  Plus, even the smaller skirmishes are something to write home about, because the battlefield is persistent.  Capturing bases gets your side special benefits for battles on that continent, and capturing a continent means that you get to warp to the next continent in the line.  Every week, the map resets to neutral, and it’s once again a furious land grab.

The point of PlanetSide is to just have fun.  It’s like Battlefield 2 meets Team Fortress 2 meets World of Warcraft, except no endgame.  No raids.  No grinding.  Just having fun from day one.  That’s why I recommend this game to you, my readers.

For five bucks, it’s a steal, and now you have no excuse to not get it.  The monthly fee… well… that’s a bit iffy, but if you really enjoy the game, you’ll find the 15 bucks a month is well spent.  Plus, you can always cancel if you don’t want it past the initial month.  But, for five bucks, you have to try it.  Seriously.

h1

OH GOD IT BURNS

September 20, 2009

1689 people say no you don't!

1689 people say no you don't!

GRAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! *has flashbacks to World of Warcraft*

(Yes, I’m playing Aion.  Yes, I don’t find Aion innovative, and sometimes I find it downright boring, but I can’t say anything about the game if I don’t play it.  Maybe it gets better, who knows unless you play it yourself and find out!)

h1

I don’t want to drink the Aion Kool-Aid

September 11, 2009

aionscreen

Recently many of my blogging brethren have talking about Aion, the new title from NCsoft.  Even the commenters on Massively have been saying the game has stunning gameplay, immersive storytelling, bountiful PvP.  Honestly, I don’t see it.  I really don’t.  All I see is a pretty game that has World of Warcraft and Lineage II shoved into it.

That last sentence probably offended some people in the audience, so let me clarify — YOUR GRINDING YOURSELF RETARDED.  CAN YOU HEAR ME?  DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?

Ok, ok, so offensive jokes and nasty tones aside, Aion‘s not that bad.  It’s just not that good, and that’s where my problem lies.  I’m afraid too many people are booting the game up, staring at the graphics (which are gorgeous, btw, don’t get me wrong) and immediately heaping all sorts of praise upon the game simply because it has some glitter and glam.  I’m one of those people who insists that graphics never make the game, and I’d like to keep those thoughts alive.

Before I go any further, let me say what I like about the game so everyone here knows I’m not just an insane Aion hater.  I like the graphics, they are very pretty and the CryEngine stands out wonderfully.  The customization options on the game are really great, and I feel like I have my own personal daeva, not a simple “choose what avatar may or may not represent you” list.  Also, third, the dialogue in the quest and NPC speech boxes.  This game has lots of writing and the translations are not half-assed.  Major props to the localization teams because they deserve them.  The storyline, for the most part when it’s presented, is interesting.

So, with all of the nice things now said, let’s go to the not so nice things.  Be prepared to grind yourself retarded on this game.  The experience does come slowly, and the quests, while they have great writing, just don’t provide that much incentive.  Take, for example, one of the Elyos starting missions.  You have to destroy these little furry creatures that are ripping apart this guy’s farm.  Why are they ripping apart his farm?  Who knows, they just are.  Now you get to deal with it.  Kill 5 of them and that will make it all better.  For all of this good lore and nice writing, sometimes the incentive just isn’t provided, and that sucks.

It makes things feel grindier when other games use this formula and can escape it.  Champions Online does this nicely via evidence collection, doing favors for public officials, or just stopping bad guys from doing something bad.  Why do I have to take out 10 of these prison guys?  Well because they just broke out of prison and they’re destroying local property.  Why do I have to take 5 pieces of rubble off of citizens in this hotel?  Because rubble KILLS PEOPLE.  So… Aion… Why should I kill 5 of these creatures to save this guy’s farm?  How about because he’s growing food for the local village?  How about because these furry animals are being driven insane by an Asmodian plot to destroy the Elyos food supplies?  How about that?  Just give me something.

Furthermore, at low levels, the game relies heavily on the auto-attack and doesn’t let you get through battles easily.  Even by my 10th level, battles were still being sustained for a while and just not going anywhere.  Granted I was playing a warrior, so my attack power wasn’t the best, but battles dragged.  Even when I was using my abilities, their cooldowns were so long I’d use them once per battle.  This slowly begins to change later, but it doesn’t do it as quick as you’d like it to.

So, my final beef — my biggest beef — comes from grouping with my roommate.  He’s a mage, I’m a warrior.  Together, we finally solved that whole issue of “slow battles.”  We started wailing through content left and right, destroying enemies while barely taking damage.  And even together, for all of our awesome, it still took us 4 hours to get to level 10 and reach our ascension.  Afterwards, what changed?  Nothing, really.  Now we had wings and we went back to doing the exact same crap we were just doing.

Now picture doing all of the stuff we did alone.  By yourself.  Without the benefit of the damage boost from the mage or the taunts from the warrior.  It would be painful… and, trust us, we killed lots of mobs to get to where we were with very little questing fun.

I guess that’s my problem with Aion.  It’s slow.  It’s Lineage.  You can see it pretty clearly in the design.  It’s Lineage II with World of Warcraft sprinkled atop.  It’s not new, it’s not amazing.  It’s the same old stuff we’ve been getting, just with a shiny coating and half-assed flight.  Oh, I guess it’s also worth mentioning that flight is not the game changer I thought it would be.  You get to fly for a minute at start (this goes up later when you get better pairs of wings) and you can use flight potions to stay up in the air.  They wanted to make flight tactical, but in doing so they killed it for PvE use.  Also, many areas disallow flight, so it kinda negates out the whole idea of flying combat to change up the game.

In short, this isn’t a bad game.  It’s just not the amazing superawesome engine that people are making it out to be.  Just like Champions Online isn’t the superdevil people were making that out to be.  Perhaps this is because I’m not in the Abyss yet, where Aion‘s focus lies, but I just don’t see this shocking change coming to the game.  It’s just nothing new here.  At least Champions brings some innovation to the table.

(Also, before the fanboi whining starts that Aion‘s innovation lies in the “new” PvPvE content in the Abyss, let me point you to the fallen Matrix Online, which included raid bosses in PvP areas.  Whoops.)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.