July 17, 2009

Sims 3...

Let me be frank: My name is Tivy and I’m a Sim-aholic.

I had the original Sims and played it on a PC that couldn’t render more than one person at a time without significant lag. Forget having a two story house. I had more Sims get fired because they were upstairs when their car for work came because by the time they managed to make it down and out the door, the car had left.

After I had designed a gazillion single-story homes, my homicidal streak came out. I placed my lonely Sims into rooms and then removed the door, just so I could see how long it took before they died. When one Sim got sick from the hamster and then died, I turned it into a Thunderdome cage-match to the death. Who would win? The hamster that wasn’t fed or the Sim who was quickly becoming bored with being trapped in a windowless, door-less room and could no longer resist pulling out the fluffball for entertainment?

Sims, back then, were not long-suffering.

So time passed and I bought new PC’s and Lo! The Sims 2 arrived, taking me to college, vacation splendour and beyond! I could now have small families before the rendering became ridiculous and these Sims could go out to the bar or party with their peeps! I could breed pets! I could throw pottery! I could watch and giggle as irritating neighbours showed up to my house and stupidly tried to get to the birthday cake on my Cow-Plant’s tongue.

These Sims could WooHoo in hot-tubs and in changing rooms, or they could become vampires, werewolves or carry alien babies to term. These Sims could mimic real life so closely that it could bring me to tears. (Don’t mock. I’m sensitive.) These Sims were personal friends to Gods, could call the Grim Reaper up and ask for favours, or drink elixirs to extend their lives.

But I digress.

So there I was, wandering into EB Games on release day, slapping down the cash. And there I was, installing Sims 3 on my wonderful PC, built by my Azzy and full of super graphic card and RAM goodness. And I launched it and started making my Sim and was all thrilled with the customization…

And then my computer crashed.

Certain that it was me, that I must have been trying to do too much too quickly, I tried again, willing my brain to slow down and…

It crashed again.

My world was crumbling around me! How could my Sims betray me like this? And it was no minor grievance; it was an out and out bitter betrayal. I felt just like Sim Smelty felt when Sim Pikkle slapped her across the face and made her cry. What had I done to deserve such a fate?

Nothing. But Azzy made me reformat my hard drive anyway.

By the time I reinstalled everything that wasn’t a game (yes – real life had to take precedence) and sat on my hands and pretended to read a book to distract myself from the endless (should be read as 2 days) of suffering, I finally got things to work.

And these Sims could be beautiful.

I have had Sims 3 since the day it arrived in stores and I still do not have one of them fully educated, nor have I even dared to allow them the happiness of a Simmish partner. Why? Because they’re all living in mansions by the ocean in a world where the sun always shines. Their trees sway in the breeze. Their lawns are perpetually mowed. And they have characteristics other Sims have never had.

My master thief is a bit of a kleptomaniac and frequently steals signposts to prove it. My musician leads an orchestra and designs soundtracks for movies and the Sim music she makes is genuinely enchanting. My artist has taken a side path and has decided to turn to writing but has a Zen garden in her back yard and a collection of butterflies that is second to none. My scientist is still trying to figure out how to get a seed from an Omni Plant, but she goes out and whispers to garden in loving tones to her plants to strive for excellence.

They are intricate and moody and fascinating and while I don’t really get why seeds are lying around everywhere, I am consuming these Sims in tiny bites to make sure they last. But those bites… lay on my tongue and I savour them for hours. Even now, having just turned my mind to the Sim seashore, with the tide in perpetual motion, I find myself looking off in the distance relaxing.

But where there is a pro, there is a con.

The customization improvements are wonderful and the different professions are good, but after investing hours in a Sim, I don’t like her losing all her skills just because I’ve checked in on her neighbour. The architecture improvements are exceptional and I am surprised at how elaborate I’ve been able to make their homes, but these Sims still have their “path” and I hate watching them follow it.

I don’t like the simultaneous aging and have turned it off.
The collections are interesting but I don’t understand the point of them. The new wants and promises are neat, although they can be a little too cyclical. We can walk them work themselves, but then why does their car still come?

We cannot actually enter the town buildings and we can’t swim in the ocean, but we still explore the mausoleum and can swim in the pools. And I’m not sure I’m happy with the fact that if I don’t take a class in something first, I can’t learn it. I like that the time-spans for some things are more realistic, like eating, but things like bathing still can take forever and a day.

So, there it is: evidence in black and white that I’m a Libra. It’s good. It’s bad. I can’t make up my mind.

But these Sims are beautiful and live in a place I wish I could live some days.

For whatever it was worth,
<3 Tivy

June 19, 2009

Questions

Hi guys - Sorry I've been MIA, but I got a contract position so I'm not as available as before.

Can you guys answer these questions for me? Please be serious in your reply, otherwise I'll have to exclude them from the survey results and I really don't want to do that. If you would email the answers to me at tivy@technowizards.net, I'd appreciate it.

1. For a person to be well-rounded, what traits should that person have or display? Please be specific.

2. If you were not limited by money or opportunity, what profession (or professions) would you pursue and why?

3. You notice a woman having difficulty putting a large, apparently heavy, box in her car. What do you consider before offering her assistance?

4. Describe the physical characteristics of the woman you chose to help in #3. Please include a description of her age, height, weight, race or any other characteristic you wish.

5. Assume now that those characteristics were somehow an illusion. For example, if you envisioned a little, old, pleasant, grandmotherly woman, the actual woman is a pimply-faced, overweight, teenager with a scowl. What do you consider before helping this person?

6. A rash of vandalism has started in your neighbourhood, largely consisting of what appears to be spray paint signatures defacing both public and private property. The authorities have dismissed the concerns raised during public council meetings and some of the members of the community are tired of paying for the graffiti removal. A vigilante group forms. Do you join them, oppose them, ignore them or do something else? Why?

7. You are home alone one evening and hear a noise outside. The noise repeats, followed by raised voices in an argument. When you look, you see a teenaged boy yelling at a woman who is on the ground, as he holds her down with his foot. What, if anything, do you do?

June 11, 2009

hmm

Y'all are lame. Just sayin'.

Love,
Soon to be an expat - Pikkle

May 30, 2009

Champions Online 360

Well, it looks like Champs Online 360 is due out in the fall. Don't believe me? Follow this link. If it is linked with the computer-versions, who knows that Champs Online I'll get. Maybe I can get both if accounts can be linked? Oh, there's too many choice!

May 28, 2009

Socialite or Grumpy Old Man?

Need to be charming may be in your head (from MSNBC news this morning)
Socialites and curmudgeons not only have different party demeanors, they may also have different brain structures, a new study suggests.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30943206/from/ET/

****************************************

Evidence! It's biological to be a curmudgeon! Yay for the two misanthropes! You're not really freaks of nature after all! (Well, maybe we need to set up a committee for Smelt...)

Less than three - Tivy

May 25, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

First let me just say, "welcome back, Pikky." How's Fallout? I keep threatening to buy the game...but then I would have to find time to play it. And that's the freakin problem.

What I am playing is Free Realms. WTF and OMG. This game is so addictive. Each time I log on, I have to really try to figure out what my "gaming goals" are for each session. For example, I bought a new kitty. He's a very nice kitty my, Baron Von Amigo. However, he requires a fair amount of upkeep. So I have to make sure I have plenty of food, vitamins, shampoo, conditioner etc...which I have to buy with earned currency, i.e., gold.

I think, so far, the best way to get gold is to do the fighting mini-games (or mini-instances) and quests. Not a problem. But then the crafting mini-games are so much fun but they don't pay a lot of gold. So, I have to compartmentalize my time. I'll start out doing a couple few quests, then allow myself to get pulled into the time-suck that is the harvesting game, or the blacksmithing game or now the effin trading card game. That one really makes me feel like a geek. By the way, Tivy, what sort of deck do you have? I might have some cards to trade with you.

I bought the $5 a month membership and put the $10 in for a 1000 SC. I don't foresee myself buying more SC (unless I go "booster pack" crazy) in the near future so $5 for this much addictive goodness is a bargain.

Between this and WoW, I'm MMO satisfied until Champions Online comes out in September.

May 22, 2009

Where Have All The Pikkles Gone?

Wow, I haven't been here in forever. I haven't been around in forever, it seems. I guess when you're killing a billions pigeons (GTA IV), super-running from the law (Mirror's Edge), collecting them all (Pokemon), playing trivia (1 vs. 100 Beta), singing your heart out (Lips), doin' it with my wife and husbands while killing badguys (Fable II), and surviving a nuclear holocaust (Fallout 3), you don't really have time to do much else.

Maybe I'll be around this weekend though.

May 20, 2009

Working on my game



May 14, 2009

This is Seriously Awesome

Geeks, number junkies, Wikipedia addicts and fact whores rejoice! Your church has arrived...almost.

Tropico 3

I don't know if you guys ever played, but I loved the original Tropico game. You were El Presidente of a Carribean nation during the height of the Cold War, and you had to create a bustling economy. It was just so much fun! Well, they announced Tropico 3 to be released in September. (2 was a huge flop) From what I hear this one will be better. Here's hoping!

May 12, 2009

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe...




But MOM! I don't want a Pooh Bear! I want a BOOBIE!

Fable II DLC - See The Future

Well, after being disappointed with Knothole Island, I didn't have incredibly high hopes for See The Future - in fact, I wasn't even going to buy it! But I heard some good things about it from previews, and the pricetag wasn't too high, so I decided to pay for it. Jeez was I having fun! It's been a while since I've been into Fable, and I played it for quite a few hours today. The new costumes made me giggle and I had a good time with them. I haven't even gotten to the Colisseum yet! Anyway, I just wanted to recommend it to you guys. It's pretty fun; check it out.

May 11, 2009

Game shopping!


Well, I bought some new games the other day which should be arriving today or tomorrow. Fallout 3 and Mirrors Edge for the 360 and Pokemon Pearl and New Super Mario Bros. for my (also new) DSi. Exciting, exciting! I dropped a pretty penny (that I don't really have) but I wanted something new. Everything has just seemed so stale lately. I'm most excited for Fallout. I've heard some really good things about it!

You guys bought any new games lately?

May 9, 2009

You guys simply must go see this

May 8, 2009

Urban Planning

Superheros need open space too. Get yourself a virtual plaque in a virtual park with a beta key bonus! Check out the details here.

May 7, 2009

ZOMG!

Work is kicking my ass! End of post. Hopefully more substantial posting soon.

May 6, 2009

May 4, 2009

Can I get an AMEN?!

Having recently been dispossessed of my job due to big business malfunction, I was offered outplacement services as part of the reorganization severance package. Making use of those has been both educational and off-putting. On one hand, it's great to have people review your resume and critique your cover letters. On the other... well, I've been asked to tailor the content to use "testimonial" language and that doesn't not come naturally to my mouth... er fingers.

Despite living six years in the Bible Belt, and despite seeing several of the Super Pastors (clergy heading up giant churches, whose congregations exceed 10,000) giving their sermons, the lingo falls out of my mouth rather like a half-chewed grape that I didn't know had a squishy, mouldy spot on it. Maybe I have self-confidence issues that I'm unaware of, but one thing I know for sure is that I'm smart, adaptable and do really solid work. Isn't it enough to say that?

Outplacement services say no. Instead, they want me to use this as my intro/objective:

An IT professional with a diversified background in project and team management, known for resourcefulness and innovation, while simultaneously providing impeccable services and analysis. Recognized for professionalism, building strong team relationships and the ability to revise existing processes and create new ones that emphasize efficiency and accuracy specifically tailored to each individual environment. Awarded for outstanding IT performance by colleagues and clients. Acknowledged as a subject matter expert in several software suites, I bring my unique blend of people skills as well as my ability to see the big picture without losing sight of the details.

I'm completely at a loss. Sentence fragments abound and run-on without mercy. Am I writing in first person or third? And, why the hell do I have to put all that self-aggrandizing talk in there? It pretty well grosses me out and disgustingly, it continues like that for two full pages.

Am I wrong thinking this is over the top? Why can't people just communicate anymore?

May 3, 2009

Calling all Meglomaniacs

And you know who you are...check out this latest Champions Online video. Magical sorcery goodness with a dash of minion summoning.

May 1, 2009

Betty's rolling over in her grave, I expect.



The Blue Star costume from Runes of Magic.

(Betty Frieden is who I'm referencing. I would have said Gloria, but Ms. Steinem is still alive and well, as far as I'm aware.)

Swine Flu

Dear Hysterical Media,

I am sick of hearing about the Swine flu, okay? I am sick of hearing you create a panic. I will go out in public, and I will not wear a mask that makes me look like a fool. How many people have died from this Swine flu? A dozen? Three dozen? Guess what? ANNUALLY, 36,000 people die of regular influenza in the UNITED STATES ALONE each year! Yes, 36,000. Yet we don't make a big deal about that. 

If you are in good health and take care of yourself, you'll be fine. Okay? Please stop with the hysterics. You're causing a panic by talking about it every 10 minutes, and by splashing it on the front page of every major paper. Yes, be careful. But you should always be careful! So stop with this swine flu, and let me worry about the only important thing in life: Gaming.

April 30, 2009

So Far to Go Still

I've been pretty happy with Runes of Magic. This game isn't necessarily going to set the MMO world alight with innovation, but it's free(ish) and engaging. All told, I probably average around 10 hours a week of play time. That's been enough to get my Warrior/Priest to level 20/15. My female Warrior/Priest that is.

Why is the gender distinction important? Well good question. Being a girl in real life, I must admit, that the gender of my virtual "self" doesn't matter a whole hill o' beans to me. I would say that I play male and female toons in equal measure. I don't care if my toon has boobs or not. I would also say that I generally don't play MMOs for any sort of intense social interactions or social agendas (e.g., finding a real life mate), which would lead me playing a specific gender. Let me preface this by saying, I have friends who will only play certain genders but that is generally because they like the looks of the toon more than having other "agendas." Whatever. Play what you want and what you like. End of story.

I got to tell you though, Runes has got me embarressed to, as a woman, play a woman toon. This is my, "OMG! WTF!" post to Runes of Magic.

So I got my first set of blue armor pants the other day. My little Warrior/Priest was looking a bit peasant- like in the drab sort of brown gear that you get at lower levels. I was pretty excited to don this statalicious new armor. But seriously? No wait a minute...seriously? C'mon! Who's maladjusted wet-dream came up with the assless chaps?

The mutated wolves are attacking the farm, you say? Well hold on, let me go get my assless chaps because nothing says "fierce" like two ass cheeks hangin in the wind.

Oh say, is there a draft in here or is it just my assless armor!!

The front view is even better. Notice the super nice 80's style ho boots, which was also an upgrade from my last, more modest, armor. Granted Tivy and I were seriously amused at first but now, the more I have to look at this, the more uncomfortable this really is. Why does my character have to be almost naked? Or conversly, why do I have to pay to use the Aggregator to make myself more comfortable?

If you're going to put the female toons in crap like this, why don't we see the male toons in banana hammocks? No, I'm serious. Oh don't even start with the, "don't be so uptight," arguments. Or the, "what's wrong with showing a little ass?" bullshit. I am not a prude. I generally am amused by the "slight" differences in armor in the various games I've played. It is not a perfect, MMO world. I know this. We all know where conventional wisdom thinks the money is who the games are MOSTLY geared toward. As a girl gamer, I may not be happy with this, but I generally don't get my panties in a twist neither. But can we just back up the Neanderthal bus just a bit?

Girls do play these games. We do make money. We do spend our disposable income on entertainment such as this, and after an annoying day at the fucking office I wanna come home and play a goddamn game where I don't have to feel like a second class citizen! Seriously. And I suppose WoW hasn't been much better, but at least they give the ladies some decent armor.

/sigh.

Luminosity!



Neat little brain training site: Luminosity.

April 28, 2009

The Ass

FreeRealms Live?

Smelt and Sony both state it's going live today. I suppose we can't get anything more concrete than that! Puppy Pirates! ACTIVATE!

April 27, 2009

Fun with RoM












Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.











Hey you little freak. Mama's here for the loots! I said give me your loots!

Walt, why won't you look at me. I...love you.

April 26, 2009

Trying out a survey about game preferences.

This used to be a survey but now it's gone.

April 25, 2009

Stupid Controllers

Anybody else hate when you REALLY want to play a video game, but you can't, for the life of you, remember where you last put your controller?!

Goshdarnit, where is this stupid thing?

April 24, 2009

Check out this Vid, Superhero Fans.

Okay this video gives some crystal clear views of the graphics, when watched in HD. Check out the ice sled travel power. Purty cool.

Champions Online Release

July 14th? That's what they said, here. Get ready for some hawt super hero action.

April 23, 2009

The Guild WretchedFury now accepting...

...mature non-irritating, totally cool and incredibly skilled players who may get to instance/raid with us but if you do and we kill all the bosses you may or may not get loots and will ultimately recieve minimal recognition.

PS if you are actually a member of a guild called, "WretchedFury" I apologize because I totally just made up that name.

Ah guilds...
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."
-- Charles Dickens

Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up. However, that would be a really short post so let me elaborate. Guild drama and/or politics. It's a fact, Jack. Any long term MMO player will undoubtedly have some experience with guilds small or large and the ensuing drama associated with them. Guilds are living entities full of angst, ritual, belief, joy, ambition etc...they are indeed, human. Therefore they are both good and evil. You should be prepared for equal amounts of each.

Here's the deal. Things seem to be getting pretty serious with me and Runes of Magic - as in I may want to stick with it for a few months. So Tivy and I have been thinking about joining a guild. Yes. Just thinking about it.

My lack of guild-joining action (in so much, I have not put one single ounce of effort into it) was exacerbated by a recent vent chat with some friends; to protect their identities, let's call them: MonChiChi, Fanilow, and Jane.

MonChiChi, Fanilow and I were officers in a WoW guild for a couple of years - we shall call it, GuildX. In fact, MonChiChi is still the Guild Manager (GM). Jane is GM of another guild, which she started because she felt that her previous guild was treating newbies unfairly. What an ogre. Sadly a big ol' dose of guild drama ensued, for reasons we won't discuss here, and Jane's guild appears to be mounting a mini-coup. All for utterly childish reasons, in my opinion. I suggested a mass /gkick but she, being more level-headed than me, opted for a "cooling-down" period. Whateves. I still say boot their asses.

But really that whole episode, which is tragically common, brought on a frantic PM session with Fanilow about our own post-traumatic stress issues with GuildX. Indeed, Fanilow got so worked up she's contemplating a retreat at a Zen monastary to chant and get in touch with her inner peace. To make her feel better, I'm sending her this. Yeah. Anyhoo... Here's what we agree on: (1)Being in GuildX was mostly fun, (2) we met some excellent people; (3) we got a lot of help and generally had good if not great experiences.

However as you can see from the discussion above, being officers of a guild has some downfalls. Beyond the fact that people forget that you too are human and a gamer, you become judge, jury, babysitter etc... There are higher expectations of you because you are an officer and in some regards this is justified. I'm just saying that you should be prepared to lose some of the ability to disappear into a game and all that may mean...unless you make a secret toon or "Alt". I tried that then I remembered seeing some chatter in a guild I was in previously, about that being an "ultimate betrayal" and "OMG how could she make an Alt and keep it secret" blah, blah, spew, spew. Then I figured, in my case, it might go down like this:
"I can't believe 'Trickyfish' is really Smelt. I bet she's leveling up to join Guild 'SuperRaidHappySunshine' and we'll be short a healer for our raids and God knows we can't afford that because this guild generally sucks already. You know she shouldn't be an officer if she puts her alt in that other guild. I should be running this guild. Let's tell everyone to just /ignore Smelt even if she is an awesome healer."
Okay, I added that last bit in. Yes, this may have been rampant paranoia but I never really played my secret Alt, and I kinda liked that little gnome rogue.

Oh and if you are an inherent people-pleaser don't become a guild officer, as there is simply no way to please everyone and/or meet everyone's expectations. In the end, the resulting Machiavellian exploits, perceived or real, may become too much for any sane person.

So this is where I'm at, contemplating joining a guild after moving on from GuildX. Am I ready to deal with all the good AND the bad that comes with guilds? Am I able to simply be part of a guild and not get sucked into the politics of one? Dunno, but this is my blog and I write what I want!

April 20, 2009

Swing, Baby!

Check out this tasty new Champions Online video.

I have to say, I'm most excited about the art direction in this game. As Tivy would say, "I'm a graphics snob." I like to think of it as an essential element to fantasy immersion. Anyway, the cel-shading and comic book style is appealing to thine eyes. Oh and being able to create your own nemesis is ultra cool. So many possibilities for nemeses...

Women and Gaming

Here's the link for the chicks in gaming podcast. I haven't seen it yet, but the topic seemed pertinent to us geeks.


PS: My mind map picture of the week:



PPS: YAY to the restorer of Monkey Island!


April 18, 2009

Beta Keys for Free Realms

Go here and go soon.

Non-Gaming Related Rant

I swear to god, for some reason this man is the only man capable of announcing anything (other than hockey) for television in this country. Can we PLEASE train some more people, so I don't have to see his face everytime I turn on Canadian TV!?

In more gaming related news, I've been keeping a close eye on this site more and more lately. It's very informative and interesting. You should check it out!

April 17, 2009

I Think it's Finally Over

Well apparently my credit card (the one I pay for all my gaming subscriptions with) has been compromised. So my bank sent me a new one. The bummer part is that you have to go and make sure all the accounts that automatically debit that card are updated. Well I forgot to update my Age of Conan account so I got the "your account is frozen" message. You know... I'm good with that.

When I heard of all the updates and improvements, I resubbed and logged back in hoping that there was enough there. Some old spark, if you will. Not so much. Yep. Although I never say never, I think I'm finally over AoC. I suppose I'm a little sad, but I've moved on.

Oh don't get me wrong and for those who love the game (omg who am I kidding there's only the four of us reading this blog) it's still a good MMO. Indeed if I had an unlimited gaming budget, OR if it had been as this "polished" when it was first released, I would still be happily plugging away within the game. My Dark Templar would be level capped and I'd be eagerly awaiting the new patch with all it's yummy contents. Problem is that it wasn't, and I moved on to Warhammer and Runes of Magic. Warhammer kicks ass for the PvP and RoM is turning out to be a fun little game who's price tag is right up my financial alley (ahem...free). Plus there's so many exciting new games coming out I just would rather wait and enjoy the two I'm in now.

So I bid you adieu, Age of Conan. I applaud your innovative combat style and fantastically rendered world. I wish you all the best.

April 16, 2009

Mind Map

April 15, 2009

Once You Go Asian...

April 14, 2009

The Lonliness of MMOs: More Emo from Smelt

I've got MMO Attention Deficit Disorder (MMOAADD). How did I get this way? For over 2 years, I was in a monogamous MMO relationship. World of Warcraft held the key to my gaming heart. We had an amicable breakup, me and WoW. I agreed to go my own way and well, WoW has a million other players to keep it warm at night. But sometimes I miss WoW. I miss it's warm and fuzzy virtual comfort. But I think most of all, I miss my friends.

It's true that we still "hang out," we blog together, have regular chats over ventrilo, email and generally bug one another through whatever means possible. In fact, Rune and Pikky are still playing WoW, and the married in RL couple Tivy and Azzy are exploring Star Wars Galaxies together all over again. I suppose I'm the only one that's in this gaming fugue. Since letting my subscription lapse in Wow, I've played Age of Conan, Everquest 2, Warhammer, City of Heros, The Sims, Starcraft, various Xbox games and now...Runes of Magic.

What am I looking for? Well that's a good question. In terms of the MMOs, all the above listed games are at a minimum quite decent. In fact some of them have elements that are in my opinion, outstanding. But then, where they shine in one area they lack in another. Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on all these games? If you can afford it, maybe it's okay to have multiple subscriptions to multiple games? Am I just looking for the next WoW?

Honestly I think the answer is, "yes." I want the game to have the overall polish and be just as engaging and I want to be just as hooked as I was over 2 years ago. More than that, I want my friends to be just as hooked. I want to share the excitement and wonder and all the other possible gaming goodness with my little community. Yes, I know. It's a lot to ask for, but not impossible.

Make new friends in new games, you say? Meh. I suppose that would be the logical response if community means so much to me. However, behind the virtual avatars they are actually real people who live in real worlds and have real personalities. These are the people I click with and sometimes that is real hard to find. Beyond this central gaming fascination, we bond in other ways. Not so easy to replace if you know what I mean.

I suppose I will continue to wander around and try every new MMO that comes out - except Darkfall because that just seemed too hard-core for my crew. As of this writing, Tivy and I are playing Runes of Magic. I have to admit I was skeptical of "free" games, but this game is purty fun. I have level 11 warrior/priest. The game mechanics are very similiar to other MMOs so there's really no surprises. Right now I'm into seeing how many diamonds I can accumulate without actually putting any real life moolah into the game. We'll see how long that lasts. I'll update in future posts.

Beyond that, here are the next great hopes that will draw us all back to the same fold:
  • Champions Online - Pikky is looking forward to this so I'll try it too, because I miss playing with my crotchety friend. I didn't really like City of Heros but the super hero genre definitely has an appeal.
  • Star Wars The Old Republic - Azzy and myself are absolutely peeing ourselves over Star Wars Old Republic. I'm hoping that will be the next "big" game.
  • Free Realms - Pirate puppies. Enough said.
  • Aion - screenshots are stunningly gorgeous.
  • Star Trek Online - obviously a ways from release date, but I'm interested.

April 13, 2009

Mind Map This

April 11, 2009

April 9, 2009

New World Order

So the T3's made me sleepy last night, so I went to bed and I dreamed of the new gaming world order.  While I certainly don't have the details worked out, I think my sub-conscious brain fell onto something.

 The idea is that we’d change the structure of gaming completely.

First, the game is presided over by nine judges – Tivy, Azzy, Smelty, Runey & Pikkle plus 4 other people we decide we generally agree with.  Whatever we say goes.   In the case that we disagree, if we get 5 of us to vote the same way, then that decision passes.  Really, it’s more of a virtual government than anything else. 

Secondly, you will have to change your understanding of an MMO today.  In this game, everyone who wants to play applies for the privilege to do so.  We treat it like applying to college.  The people interested in playing have to give us a reason to want to play with them.  If they don’t, we reject them.  If they do, then we invite them in.

We’d insist on an environment of respect.  Any evidence of disrespect can result in a boot and a termination of their membership.  We are not going for sheer numbers of people.  We are going for a quality environment and breadth of awesomeness previously unseen in a game.

 

If someone makes it past the application process, they can have their characters look and do whatever they want.  If they want to be half dragonfly, half ogre, that’s their prerogative.  They can choose any of the pre-designed races or they can pay to customize their look to be whatever they want.  (This does not allow becoming demi-gods in game-play, just in appearance.)

 The game mechanics go something like this (where melee is the example):

Standard Melee

Advanced Melee

Custom Melee

Bash 1-4

(4 ranks)

Sweep 1-4

(requires 8 pts in Standard Melee)

The super kablooie

(requires 4 pts in advanced melee)

Smack 1-4

(4 ranks)

Skewer  1-4

(requires 8 pts in Standard Melee)

The Ka-Pow!

(requires 4 pts in adv. melee)

Crush 1-4

(4 ranks)

Charge 1-4

(requires 8 pts in standard melee)

The Wicka-wichaw!

(requires 4 pts in adv. melee)

 

Now, say you want to be a warrior priest (simple one).  You’d have to split your points across the warrior skills and the priest skills.  If you want to be a rogue-priest-mage-tank (like Azzy), then fine.  You have to split your XP across all four areas.  In some respects, people who stay one class will have the benefit, because they are the ones who will be able to get up to the Super Kablooie levels.  On the other hand, they won’t be able to heal themselves (or others) at all, so playing solo might be harder for them.

Azzy brought up a good question:  What if an applicant gets in but his/her friends don’t make the cut?  Well, we can implement a recommendation system so that if Pikkle, a long-standing member of our community, vouches for someone, we allow that person a trial membership.  If Smelt vouches for them, we simply lose the recommendation in the mail and say, “What are you talking about?  I’ve never heard of that person.”

Anyway, I know it’s different than what we’re used to.  I know it’s much more exclusive than what we’re used to also,  but the point is, people become interested in what they think they’re missing, so we’d have people begging to come play with us.  It will also give us control of our environment so that we don’t have to suffer true fools at all, much less gladly.  It’s changing the entire schema of gaming because the goal is not to make money, but to make us happy. 

Let me know what you think.    

April 7, 2009

My Milkshake Brings all...

...the geeks to YouTube.

So the hype meter just went DEFCON 1 with Funcom's latest MMO teaser, The Secret World. This game has been in development for...let's see...180 years. Okay maybe not that long. Anyhoo, I'm sure the release is still several months away, so I'm not gonna go all apeshit over this. Let's see if Funcom fixes AoC first, shall we?

Bitter? Maybe.

April 6, 2009

Is That a Lightsaber in Your Pocket or you Just Happy to See Me?

One of the upcoming games that has us all geeked out about is Star Wars: The Old Republic. Well BioWare (rock on Mass Effect!) just updated their developer's blog to reveal some more tasty tidbits. Check it out. Or not. But don't come crying to me when you're the last to find out that Bounty Hunters are going to be available to one faction only. Can you guess which one? Yeah like, duh.

In fact, there is no class common to both factions. That's right, kiddies. So unless you're an altoholic choose wisely young Padawan...or whatever the sith equivelent is (ok I'm NOT that much of a nerd). Oh and quests are going to be faction specific. I believe the exact phrasing is, "unique content for both sides was the only way to go—if a Player went all the way through the game playing a Jedi and then playing a Sith, he wouldn’t experience even one repeated piece of story content."

Interesting.

It's here!

EA Games has pics of Sims 3 out on their site.  Painting on the ocean?!?!  How will Sim Pikkle pick on Sim Smelt?  Find out on a PC near you!

April 5, 2009

Neopets

I used to absolutely LOVE these stupid little things. I used to try to get all the books and work the shops to undercut yet make a profit.. And constantlly check for deals in other shops. God. Anybody else have a neopets experience?

Pirate Puppy FTW!

Okay the whole free to play (F2P) thing for MMOs is getting a lot more interesting particularly with the recent release of Runes of Magic. I've only spent about 4 hours in Runes so I can't really give an in-depth opinion on it, as of yet. However, I can say that those four hours didn't suck. The problem is that I'm currently distracted by Age of Conan again but that's another post.

Oh, back to the F2P thing...another game that I'm sort of excited about is Free Realms. Okay yes. It's is ultra-cartoonish and geared towards the younger crowd but look - it's a freakin pirate puppy! I will admit I am a virtual pet-whore. Case in point, Fable 2. Remember when you are given the choice at the end to bring back everyone who's been unjustly killed or bring back your dog? Yep, I picked the dog. I'm not proud of it, but it's out there now. I picked my dog!

However beyond the pet stuff, Free Realms actually looks purty cool. I'll definitely be checking out this game. Once slated for an April 09 release date, its in beta now so release should be forthcoming.

April 4, 2009

The Lonliness of MMOs

Part 1: The Group

What's the point of massively multiplayer online games or what we geeks affectionately call MMOs? No, I'm serious. Why would I choose World of Warcraft over a single player game such as Fallout or Oblivion? Rationally the answer must include, "to interact with other people."

For the sake of argument, we can loosely define "interact" to mean a myriad of things. I'm sure that somebody out there might say that in all their years of playing MMOs they have not engaged in one single in-game conversation with another player. Well that's quite a feat, and somewhat sad. However, let's broaden the scope to say observing and/or playing in the same space as other people partaking in MMO activies - good, bad, ugly - is a form of social "interaction." One could not sit on a park bench and simply say because they do not talk to passerby's that they are not part of that reality.

So let's all make the leap and say we play MMOs because we want to be part of some community. But what happens when you find a community you really like such as a guild, a team, or a small group of friends and then that community disbands? Well, it kinda sucks.

As you may have noticed this little ol' blog is a collaborative effort by those I consider my "community." These are the closest friends I have made in online gaming. These are the folks that I can honestly say in the most glowing way possible...they don't bug me. Let me introduce them to you:

First we have, Tivara A.K.A "The Boss of Us." You think I'm kidding. That's your first mistake. Her /pimphand is strong. We have learned long ago that nobody puts Tivy in a corner! But that's okay because she's a solid gamer with an infectious laugh, and when we were doing serious group runs in Burning Crusade, she didn't wipe us THAT often.

Azrakiel is Tivy's RL hubby and the resident theorycrafting nerd. Shhh, don't tell him, but when he goes off on how spell A isn't as good as Spell B because stats X and Y don't stack and blah, blah, blah...well, I kinda tune out on him. I just want to kill shit. You know what I mean? But the thing about Azzy is that he'll give you the gold in his pack if you ask him. A serious stand-up type of guy. Although, he does have a deep fascination for the dark side and half-naked demon chicks. Let's not dwell on that.

My gaming soul-mate is, Pikkle. Although, he'd probably cringe at that statement. We're the misanthropes of the group, and have difficulty finding people who don't irritate us. He's a crotchety twenty-something dude who'd probably yell at you if you stepped on his virtual lawn. He's also perpetually impatient with just about everything except for his kitty, Storm. I dunno. I'm not even sure if he likes me.

The antithesis of Pikkle and I, is Runex. He is probably the most social of the group; people <3 this fella. Rune and I co-managed a guild together (we all did) but Rune is the GM proper and I, at one point, was his co-GM. I honestly believe that Rune was one of the reasons the guild ballooned to over 200 individuals. If it were just me running the guild, there'd be like 5 of us. Seriously.

So where are we at right now? Let's discuss that in Part 2, which is yet to come.

COH vs. COV

Mind Map ish


This is all I got, yo.

Smelt's Mind Map Photo o' the Week


Artists Timothy Lim and Jean-Luc Pham
and their version of Charlie Brown - Frank Miller style.

April 3, 2009

Mind Map - Day 1

Here's our latest mind map:
Any additions or suggestions?
xxoo Happy Friday!



April 1, 2009

Blogging and Twittering

Isn't that the truth.

March 31, 2009

Baby BANTHA!






He's presently red. :)

Zen and the Art of Being Laid... Off.










(Perverts. Laid OFF.)

So my layoff took affect today. I'm about to go sign my severance agreement. It was a job. I don't really care that much. I can do lots of things, so I'm bound to find something to replace it. (PS: That's the crud I'm saying to myself to make sure I feel better about getting the boot. I'm still in the angry phase.)

I was reading a book about Mind Mapping. The short version - you take notes by drawing and coloring, starting in the center of a landscape page (I find it interesting for a method that is supposed to be breaking the rules that the book specified your mind map had to be landscape.) Regardless, it occurs to me that this might be an interesting way for us to create a sort of MMO landscape of goodness. The book and proponents of this method suggest that this strange ameoba type of brainstorming uses both the left and right sides of the brain equally. The result, they claim, is a more creative solution to whatever you're working on.

I didn't believe it at first, although I will admit that I was drawn to the pretty colors. But I did one of their exercises and it WAS more successful. I was completely surprised.

So... Since we don't have a share version of a mind map (although I'll set Azzy to the task of seeing if we could get it), I propose putting up one picture each day that represents part of the overall map. The center blob will be "The Ideal MMO". I'll commit to combining our efforts into a map each day (since I'm unemployed now and have nothing better to do). The idea would be that over time, we'd be able to identify the components of the perfect game. Who knows? Maybe if we do it the right way, we could actually get game developing houses to listen.

It's not an overnight project. It will be one that will take effort from all of us. Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, my mind map picture of the day is this:

Another Resident Evil?!

That's right folks, Capcom has once again released yet another game in the survival horror series we all know and love (or not). Resident Evil 5 is now out on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. I picked it up for Xbox and have been playing it quite a bit.

First off it plays like RE4, so if you were a fan of that one you will surely enjoy this one. The graphics are definitely improved over RE4. The biggest change is that you now work with a partner this time around (which can be controlled either game AI or a 2nd player). The game's AI is actually pretty good and its shots are damn accurate. Its pretty good at getting items you don't have space for and if it grabs ammo your weapon uses, its good at handing it over to you.

Also, as stated, a 2nd player can control your partner by a number of methods. There is a two-player, split-screen system link. You can also have friends or random players join into your game via Xbox Live or PS3 network.

Onto controls and game play. Once again your character movement is just like Resident Evil 4. They still move and turn like a tank (thank God for quick turn!) and there is still no ability to move and gun even though most RE vets are fine with this. Enemy AI is slightly improved from RE4 but they made some changes to make it a lil harder on you - like armor wearing baddies where you have to shoot at certain spots to even hit them. I didn't really find the bosses all that hard this time though, which was a lil disappointing but I still did enjoy fighting them so it was all good in the end.

As for game length, I probably spent about 7 hours total playing this on my first run through, which is about normal nowadays with these type of games. The unlocks are pretty nice. When you fully upgrade certain starting weapons, you unlock its ultimate version to purchase. Also fully upgrading weapons gives you the ability to purchase infinite ammo for that gun via exchange points at the bonus features menu (these points are earned via playing through the game or Mercenaries mode which is unlocked after beating the game once). There are other unlockables as well but I don't want to give it all away now do I? =p

If you're a fan of the RE series then this game will not disappoint, though people who were not into RE4 may not be into this one so much, but still worth a rent at least. Good gaming all. Runex out. =)

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