Monday, May 14, 2007

Updates Lacking

Well it seems that like all good things my gaming blog is going to come to an end. I have way too much to do which prevents me from making even the smallest of updates. Real-life issues compiled with projects and problems are preventing me from maintaining it regularly. I know that may sound silly but I haven't had time to play games or review them, nor have I had the money. I simply can't afford to get a Wii or a DS or the games for them. Maybe eventually I will start blogging again but for now I must bid my few readers a fond farewell. Stay in touch! My website and e-mail are always open. Well the website isn't open just yet but I am working on it.

Anyway, good journey!
Mr. Gone Mail Me, My Website

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Television Review? Heroes!

Okay, I have to deviate. I am a little... miffed... to put it lightly. I have been following Heroes, nothing against the story, I love the show. I just don't like how similar it is to the book I have been working on. If I publish my story some of my ideas have been plucked right out of my brain and thrust onto television. Damnit. Just thought I'd share that. Anger Out.

Anyway, so I have been working on a novel of sorts since I was in high school. I have started the damn thing over twice so far because of how the story ended up. The core story line and characters have not changed since its inception. Damn it all to hell my ideas are going to be branded as 'no longer original'. That angers me again, anger out.

Hardware Review: Creative Labs Zen Vision:M

Screen: 9 of 10
Colors, millions of colors. The screen of the Vision:M (henceforth called V:M) is very impressive in the way of colors and resolution. The only flaw I have found is that I would rather have a larger screen.

Sound: 10 of 10
Check your MP3s before you transfer them, I've found several of them that have really crappy recording quality (some of my older rips). The sound is so clear on this device you can hear every little error in ripping/compressing. Definitely the main focus of an MP3 player is sound quality and the V:M does a flawless job.

Portability: 6 of 10
I would say the weight and the size of the V:M is on par with its other 30+ gig cousins such as the iPod. Truth be known I would like something more portable but I went mid-range portability because I wanted more space. I would have given the iPod of the same size category a similar score though. Nothing against the player itself, it is light and relatively small just not that great for working out.

Battery: 10 of 10
I've clocked mine at 14 hours of playtime (constant running). But by that time the battery completely dies. That's good life span for the battery. I don't play mine full blast though, mostly the opposite and I don't do video that often ether.

Ease of Use: 4 of 10
a.) Hardware Interface 4 of 10
The slider control is a bit of a tough thing to get used to at first but once you turn of the incessant clicking and adjust sensitivity it actually is just as intuitive as the iPod dial.

b.) Software 8 of 10
The only thing I have against the easy-to-use software included is that the whole software suite is just a bunch of separate programs. I'd like to see one software program instead of a jumble of utilities. Playlist creation and manipulation doesn't allow you to just add a directory, you have to actually choose the MP3 files themselves. That can get tedious if you're like me and you sort everything under its own folder. Other than that the software is good. The CD Ripping software is quite quick and efficient!

Overall: Worth the buy, I'd do it again. I may give a few of these out to my favorite relatives for Christmas.

Game Review: Harvest Moon - Magical Melody

Platform: GameCube
Graphics: 5 of 10
The graphics are basically chibi anime. For those of you who don't know what that means just search for the word 'chibi' on google. They are well drawn for annoyingly friendly/happy sprites.

Sound: 2 of 10
Dear god make the music stop, oh my lord the same sounds over and over again. The sounds are good but they get very repetitive.

Gameplay: 5 of 10
There is a lot of Micro-managing to do in this game, so much that it takes away from gameplay. However, if you're not into the whole 'manage everything' mentality you can pull away from it and focus on individual goals. I, for instance, like to work on getting my tools upgraded and getting a wife. Time, also, goes by way too fast. Every few seconds ends up being 10 minutes, which limits what you can do every day.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 4 of 10
While the game can be engrossing like others of the Sim-Life genre it somewhat takes away the fun of gaming by making the game feel like work at times.

Update or Non-Update?

Not much has gone on in regards to Neverwinter Nights 2. Yeah that's it.

Okay, let me expand that. I haven't had time to work on the module much because of real-life issues. Things are cascading downward and I am responsible for quite a broad scope of.. things.. at work and at home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Official Announcement

Official Announcement

So I announced my module on the NWN2 forums. Unfortunately my wife got hurt yesterday so my building time is going to be cut a bit. I am currently looking for scripters or code snippets to assist with the development of the mod. I'd also take some textures if anyone has any Planescape-esque textures I could use while building my city.

Monday, April 23, 2007

NWN2 Building Journal #1: Being Creative

Module - The Necromancer's Tomb

Step 1: Make a Plan
I'm from the old school of Dungeons and Dragons, when elf and dwarf were the classes you chose not the races. I am dating myself here I know but the point is this; I have an archive of preserved maps hand-drawn on graph paper. So here I go, a 32x32 multi-level dungeon. For this stage I pulled out some of my most well-planned maps and quests and started puzzling them together to produce a mega-module suitable for Neverwinter Nights 2.

Step 2: Digitize
No problem, start drawing out the map. I used the crypt tileset for this one because it suits the story-line. This step is fun, I was able to lay out my rooms with no problems what-so-ever!

Step 3: Populating
Well here is the stand-still. I have to populate every room so it doesn't look like the same old drab tileset at every turn. I've got my initial hallway done and the following room together but I am running across my main problem: Detail. I can't just throw things together, it has to be perfect. If I make a row of coffins they have to line up on all sides (down to the .1 on the coordinates). So making one room of coffins and other items can take me forever depending on the detail required.

Step 4: Scripting
So I've already dealt with the scripting a bit, I have to say that even though I have worked with C and Visual Basic a little I am still a little confused at the scripting. I think I have conversations down but now comes the hard part, all those funky little effects I want? Well I have to figure out how to program them.

Additional Stuff: Lighting
Well my original concept for lighting isn't working well. I had orginally wanted a sort of will-o-wisp type creature to wander the hallways. I have to create a skin for that. I would like to call it a Living Spell (courtesy of Eberron) I think a living dancing lights spell would be fantastic.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Progress Report

Another eaten post. This blog site is starting to piss me off, I may indeed keep my website.

Neverwinter Nights 2 has a very robust toolset, I have to watch myself due to the fact that I seem to be engrossed. My module-turned-campaign has grown from a small dungeon to a multi-level 32x32 dungeon that will be attached to a city reminiscent of sigil from Planescape.

If you don't know what Planescape is go online and buy Planescape: Torment for $5 in a bargain bin. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Next Project: Neverwinter Nights 2

So here it goes, the bug hit me. I'm creating a Neverwinter Nights 2 module. The module, I hope, will morph into a series of modules which I would more comfortably call a 'campaign' than anything. I plan on including personalities from my gaming past, present, and of all things future.

I've found a few good tutorials but do any of my readers (I'm not sure of the exact amount) have suggestions as to tutorials or good sites to visit?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Touting the Wii

Bloomberg Article

This rather interesting article puts into play the serious error that most game publishers have fallen prey to. Underestimation, while Nintendo has practiced less-than-friendly procedures regarding third party publishers in the past they seem to have learned from their past mistakes and become more publisher-friendly. The behind the scenes problems ranged from requiring developers to buy their cartridges exclusively and dismissing CD Media for the old cartridge-style games.

Nintendo, however, still lacks a few things that make other companies successful. The first is online gaming. Microsoft currently holds the market on this one with X-Box Live. Sony explored the area as well and they are currently working on a solution for the PS3. The Wii is plagued with issues regarding online content, if Nintendo could polish that up they would definitely be the top dog of the game market. The second problem is power, how long before the novelty of the Wii wears off? Who knows for sure. There is no doubt that the PS3 and the 360 are more powerful than the Wii but they are so expensive that in my opinion they are not worth the buy. I still have yet to play any of the three systems though I do want to buy a Wii. By the time I get to it the price will have dropped significantly. I still haven't purchased a DS ether.

Publishers are now starting to play catch up and I am thankful for that, Nintendo is the pioneer of the genre. They revived the game industry, I'd like to see them in charge for the simple reason that the games they produce are FUN, not just graphical masterpeices with crap gameplay.

Interesting Turn of Events

I had thought I canceled my original website The Sanitarium Network was canceled at my request but apparently it wasn't. So I will be working on that again in time and possibly transferring everything back to it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

A first person shooter fantasy RPG? Wow that's a tall order, but I must say Dark Messiah of Might and Magic pulls it off without a hitch. While not as Gritty and Dark-natured as Doom 3 it does come close. What hits me is how seamless things are when you move from each 'class' to another so-to-speak. I'll explain that under the Gameplay section. Another good game, there have been several hits recently. That is quite a rarity.

Graphics: 8 of 10
For a FPS game Dark Messiah does very well at portraying graphics and phsyics for that matter. The textures on medium are very impressive, if I turn them up unfortunately my computer will explode. I hate to say it but I am too poor to upgrade! lol!

Sound: 9 of 10
The sound is only repetitive when you have a mob (mobile unit for you non-MUD going types) chasing after you or looking for you when they can't find you. The sounds are very organic and fluid, down to your kick hitting an enemy in the gut.

Gameplay: 10 of 10
Here's where I am impressed. Your options for character customization are UNLIMITED, you can be one class or all classes at once because of the open skill point system they use. Right now I am leaning toward a stealth/magic hybrid. The phsyics are definitely a plus seeing as it was built on the same engine as Half-Life 2, you'll recognize the menus if you've played it. Your fighting abilities depend on what you spend your skill points on. I have made it like a Thief: The Dark Project clone gameplay-wise. But you can go direct combat, magic, or stealth if you like to specialize. The story so far is intriguing, the person whom you think is on your side may not be, but they may be, then there's the ever-present 'voice in your head' that just keeps making witty but racy commentary. It's amusing to say the least. Combat is open-ended also, you can hit people with objects, kick them or push them off of platforms, push or kick them into obstacles or spikes or even just fight them outright or backstab them. If you're really into magic you can burn or freeze someone. I like the effect fire has on the textures, when you burn someone they become singed to match your hit.

Multiplayer: Untested

Replayability: 8 of 10
Whereas the story will always be the same, I am the kind of person that likes to go back and try the game out as something else, who knows I may have had more fun going 100% stealth or combat instead of making a hybrid. Definitely a wise choice for a pick-up game if you're into FPS, Fantasy, or Just kicking someone's ass.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Going back to my gaming roots.

So I reinstalled Warcraft 3, Diablo 2, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Oblivion (Which is my favorite game of all time), and a few other games. It's kinda fun, you rarely think about pulling out those old games and playing a few minutes here and there but I must admit I'm quite taken with Oblivion yet again.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

What's not to like about Command and Conquer 3, it keeps you busy! Definitely a good buy if you like strategy gaming. I have played through a large part of the GDI campaign and I feel like I am ready to review the game, so here goes!

Graphics: 9 of 10
Sound: 8 of 10
Gameplay: 10 of 10
Multiplayer: Unrated, Untested
Replayability: 8 of 10
Overall 9 of 10

Graphics - The graphics for command and conquer are good of the type of genre it's in. Here's why I think that you don't need the super-hot-major graphical quality in games like this. If the game looked like oblivion, for instance, that would mean that it would have top of the line graphics, sure, but look at how much you have going on the screen at once. You have several groups of units on both or all three sides depending on what part of the campaign you're on. That would cause MAJOR lag. On that same note I am a graphics whore and you just can't get that perfect look for me unless it is oblivion.

Sound - I love the sounds in C&C, but you know as well as I do there are only so many types of sound you can throw into an explosion. This may just be me but half an hour of explosions and rifle fire can really get on your nerves. However, the sound was done very well.

Gameplay - They have really done well in the past with Command and Conquer, I never expected the gameplay to suck. For those who don't do strategy very often it will be very challenging trying to balance units and keep several squads going at once, not to mention trying to balance the damage types available. However, they do a very good job at showing you what's good for what during the course of the campaign. I would suggest running through the campaigns before you do multiplayer because of the fact that it gives you tips, hints and strategy help as you progress. The gameplay is fast-paced and keeps you thinking. I will say though that the AI isn't 100% top notch but it does challenge you by attacking from multiple sides at once, etc. Damned good job!

Multiplayer - Haven't had a chance to do multiplayer yet, I may be able to this weekend, we'll see!

Replayability - Definitely a good game to keep around, you never know when you'll want to throw up a skirmish game and kick some computer, or human ass.

Overall - A good buy, if you haven't gotten it yet, get it. The only real problem I have encountered is the movies are out of sync sometimes. I don't care about the movies though, you can listen to the basic briefs after quitting out of the movies and you won't miss much. The acting is a little overdone though.

Yay for me!

I am now Microsoft Sharepoint Certified!

What does that mean? I can make pages in sharepoint on the intarwebnets.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Command and Conquer 3

So I have Command and Conquer 3, good deal. I haven't had a chance to play much more than the tutorial so I can't really comment yet, look forward to more on this little jewel soon!

Guild Wars Review

So a friend of mine was nice enough to let me use his Guild Wars account to test the game out. My general view is that it is a very interesting game.

Graphics: 8 of 10
Sound: 6 of 10
Gameplay: 5 of 10
Lag Factor: 4 of 10
Replayability: Unrated

Graphics: The landscapes and graphics for Guild Wars are very nice, I have to say it beats World of Warcraft so far. The only reason why I didn't give it a higher score is because of the 'Toon' factor. Everything looks a bit cartoony to me and some of the movements are less-than-fluid character and spellwise.

Sound: I wasn't really impressed with the sound, the only reason it got such a low score is that it's all been done and unfortunately in the gaming world the same old same old doesn't get the high score. The sound isn't bad per se but the music is less-than-desireable compared to the full scores that are World of Warcraft tracks.

Gameplay: Okay, here's the deciding factor. The classes, whereas they are apparently well rounded are confusing. It took me a while to figure out how to reposition skills and balance my mana usage. I have yet to get used to the difference in play, when you click on something you move toward it and the same goes for using skills, when you target an enemy and use a skill you run toward the enemy. I like that. This score may change as I play along but for now it is a little difficult adjusting. That's more my fault than anything but it doesn influence my scoring. Another thing that I am still dealing with is instance-based gameplay. You are basically playing a single-player game on a massive scale with Guild Wars. This has its own ups and downs depending on the player. You won't find someone randomly out there killing mobs for loot but you also won't have anyone out there to help you ether.

Lag Factor: Well here's the thing about having huge player hubs. LAG. When in a city or non-instanced area you WILL experience Ironforge-level lag. The rest of the game is instance-based which causes NO lag at all.

Replayability: Unknown, I've only gotten to level 5, then I deleted the character and started over. The classes are the main factor in this, you can have a primary class and a secondary class. Your secondary abilities do not include the 'special ability' granted by that class. Read the website for more on that.

Overall: 5 of 10
I am still playing to test Guild Wars but so far it isn't bad but I don't know if I am willing to drop money into it yet.

Reverting to Starcraft

So this weekend I ended up playing Starcraft: Broodwars and Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne with my old lan party buddies. To say the least we have not lost our skills and it seems that I have even improved on Warcraft 3 yet I haven't played a strategy game for more than 10 minutes excluding of course Supreme Commander.

Starcraft was quite the game in its day and to this day it remains one of the best games out there, and whats better is it can run on almost any system to date. We even got it running on a 486 machine on time (we were bored).

Starcraft Strategy: I played as Terran first because everyone knows the best way to defeat a computer is to control a bottleneck that they can't cross. Keep in mind that I am not the best Starcraft player out there, we usually play against the computer AI. Keep in mind it is always a good thing to keep a squad of units that can attack land and air in your base and always remember to surround your perimeter with air and/or land defense depending on the map.

Terran Strategy:
The optimum Terran strategy is to wall off the entrance to your base with Supply Depots and put bunkers behind that with a few SCV's dedicated to repairs. This prevents all but ranged and flying units from hurting you too much. You may also want to park a few seige tanks at the entrance to give you that extra range and power. It gives you a bit of control over what you do. However, make sure you build up to the point that you have shuttles so you can get yourself out. Remember to surround your base with turrets and have a squad of goliaths ready to take out any stragglers.
Things to watch out for:
Seige Tanks - These Little bastards can take down your depots quickly, make sure you have some wraiths or battlecruisers ready to counter any seige attacks. You can also alternate two marines and two ghosts in the bunkers to help with this.
Zerglings - Zerglings are so small they can squeeze between your supply depots and get to the squishy little SCV's. Make sure you have an empty bunker away from the action to stuff your repair SCV's into.
Flying Units - Anything above the ground can cross into your base unhindered unless you pepper your area with turrets and keep a ground/air combat squad to defend yourself.
Reavers - Big AoE booms are bad for your supply depots and SCV's so watch for these scarab-carrying bastards.

Protoss Strategy:
I usually go with the Zealot/Dragoon method when I go with protoss. Fully upgraded Zealots are a force to be reckoned with. Remember to do all armor/weapon/shield upgrades and the speed boost. Always keep some Zealots and Dragoons ready at your base for defense and augment them with a battery and a few cannons as well. After I send in the Zealots and Dragoons I usually have a squad of Reavers air lifted in via a shuttle. I drop them in the enemy's production area and quickly take out all of their harvesters. Remember that Reavers cannot attack air! And you have to build scarabs to make them work, so don't forget to queue scarabs.
Things to watch out for:
Flying Units - Zealots are defenseless unless you have a few dragoons in the squad to help them with flying contraptions. Your Zealots will be picked off easily without some sort of help in this area.

Zerg Strategy:
Okay, I don't play zerg often but here's what I do. I usually go straight for Guardians/Mutalisks and keep a squad of Hydralisks on hand for base defense. At my entrance I keep sunken/spore colonies along with a few Lurkers scattered behind the colonies to add some extra power to defense.
Things to watch out for:
Flying Units - Guardians CANNOT attack air, only ground so they are vulnerable to all of the air-only attackers (Devourers for Zerg, Valkeries for Terran, Corsairs for Protoss). Make sure to keep some defenders with them, usually a squad or three of Mutalisks will make short work of any offending air traffic. Beware of Battlecruisers though, those bastards can take a beating.

General Things
One general thing to watch out for are Templars. Those fuckers are way overpowered, Psychic Storm is a bitch, Feedback sucks and Mind Control is not fun. PS is an AoE attack that damages all units, even those that are buried. FB is like Mana Burn in wow, it does damage based on how much energy you have stored, this can screw your battlecrusers. MC, as described below, gives you control of the target unit.

Protoss Note: Dark Archons are your friend, you can mind control an enemy harvester and get a whole new, or even all three races. If you're playing with friends have them send a basic builder into your base so you can take it over.

Warcraft 3 requires a little more from a computer but it is no less fun. I remember the days of playing Warcraft 2 endlessly. I would recommend to anyone that they pick up these two titles produced by the publisher that made everyone's favorite MMORPG World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft: Game Over

So it's official, I've stopped subscription to world of warcraft for both myself and my wife. So what does life after WoW offer? Well I have also finished the first two chapters of my book. Unfortunately I had to scrap the first 13 chapters I had because I didn't like the way things turned out.

Life after WoW will definitely be interesting. What do I sink my time into now? How about life itself.

Back and still pretty.

So I took a trip to NC this weekend starting thursday so I haven't been able to drop a post but expect a few soon.

Guild Wars
Command and Conquer 3
Reverting to Starcraft
World of Warcraft: Game Over

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Off Topic: Comptuers

I had an interesting vision of future computers when I was young. I envisioned a small box with less components that did more. My original idea was to have a 'motherboard' and 'processor' combonation that had less components lying around. Computers of the past were bulky and cumbersome to say the least. Things have gotten smaller and smaller over the years so here is my question:

"Why can't everything be controlled by the processor?"

You could theoretically have a 'dumb board' that acts as the receptical for a processor that does it all. It functions as a graphics card, sound card, and everything else. You insert one of these little numbers into a motherboard and it becomes true 'central brain' of the machine. It would make upgrades easier for one. Instead of picking up a motherboard, sound card, ram, video card, processor, etc. You buy a new processor and you're done. You could have your graphics and normal memory upgradable on the mainboard and be done with it. You need more processing power? Replace the chip, upgrade the ram.

I for one hate having to purchase a new motherboard, ram, processor, graphics card and everything else when I want to upgrade my computer to the newest standard.

Now for those who need the 'latest and greatest' without upgrading everything, go with the traditional method. I've been using the same machine for years on end and it plays world of warcraft just fine. It plays most games just fine. The components I need to upgrade are the processor and the video card, maybe the ram to DDR2.

I guess it's just a pipe dream but it would be nice to have one thing to upgrade on a PC instead of several components.

In repsonse...

My computer ate my post. Damnit, lets try this again.

The Question: Can a MMORPG player migrate successfully to RTS?

The Answer: A strong resounding yes.

Think of an RTS like playing a mage in wow. Both are a bit of a juggling act. The one mistake most first-time RTS players make is to focus on one thing and forget everything else. Building your base up is usually what you stop on. Remember that you have more to manage than just point and shoot. You have to worry about defense, offense, and base management all the same time.

If you can play one game you can play another, the question is just how well? I had a larger, more in depth post but as I said above, it got eaten.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

The wait is OVER! The game I have been waiting for is now out and I only await the funds to purchase said game. I can't wait to do a review, this game is way overdue. The 'tiberium' genre of Command and Conquer hasn't been visited in what? Six or Seven years? I don't remember. Look forward to a review of the game if you haven't purchased it for yourself already.

A different perspective?

So I was thinking last night, that's right everyone run for cover! I came to an impasse. I really like playing WoW but it's interfering with my other projects. I still have a Dungeons and Dragons world to work on and get published. I have a book I need to get cracking on and a ton of other things.

So the problem is, when does World of Warcraft cut into my life too much? When is too much enough and enough not nearly as much as you'd want it to be? I have come to realize that my World of Warcraft habits are becoming steadily unhealthy for me. So what do you do to wean yourself from the beast? Simple, just have the willpower to put it down and say enough is enough. That's no problem for me but how many people out there don't have that kind of willpower?

Smokers, drinkers, drug addicts, MMORPG players? Everyone has their vice, the same could be the same about people that eat too much or sleep too much or obsess about the cleanliness of their home and surroundings. The best thing to do is look toward your peers and family members for support.

Everyone knows the signs of someone who can't get their 'fix', the irritability, the anger. I haven't gotten that far, I doubt I ever would but I realize that my other endeavors are suffering. I'd like to get published before I'm old and gray.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl

I am not even going to bother rating this game. It's amusing for a while but the first cutscene shows the game's age. It is several years in the making and because of that it is just piss-poor. I know that you can't always have perfect models with smooth movements and on-time voice acting but it's just blatantly obvious that they didn't even try to marry the two up. I thought we had left those days behind with the sega and the super nintendo.

Graphics: 1 Shitty
Sound: 1 Shitty
Gameplay: 4 Somewhat amusing at first but it pans out like every other FPS
Uninstall: Within 30 minutes.

I will give them a few things, the physics are good and the concept is right on but it didn't hold my interest at all.

Time to lay down WoW?

I never thought I'd say this but I think I'm finally winding down from my spiral of World of Warcraft addiction. I will admit that I am a graphics whore but that isn't everything for me. In this case I am just tired of seeing WoW. It's a sudden thing.

While I have tried out other games, numerous uncountable amounts of games, only WoW has held my attention this long. It seems I am starting the nail-biting wait for Warhammer Online sooner than I had thought. The problem being that if I don't have an addiction to feed what the hell am I going to do with myself?

So, anyone for a game of tennis? I guess I could catch up on my photography hobby.

In all seriousness I am the kind of person that likes to see loose ends fixed. Recoding Azeroth for instance is not an impossible job. Regardless of what 'everyone' or 'the masses' thinks I would rather see them fix Azeroth so you can fly around there with no problems. I would rather see Blizzard take the initiative to upgrade the engine for WoW and introduce more 3D graphics instead of flat tree branches and leaves. WoW has been my companion toward oblivion for quite a long time now, I am going to miss it if I do decide to suspend my subscription.

Lets all cross our fingers for World of Warcraft 2: War on Azeroth.
Call that a prediction that will mirror massive server-to-server scale PvP action.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Racial Differences

I ran across an Interesting Article that reminds me of what I spoke of a few posts back. It seems I am not the only one that has put two and two together. Go figure, who would have thought that 'evil' orcs dance like Hammer and 'evil' trolls speak in a jamaican accent?

Nothing amiss here!

I was going to post something deep and meaningful later but it got ruined. Maybe later I will talk about racial abilities and how I think night elves got screwed.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Okay so now my shaman hit level 30 and I have to say I am quite pleased with what I recieved. I finally have the almighty shaman insta-rez and what seems to be a second recall that has only a 15 minute cooldown. Now I came into this knowing that Shaman is a utility class but it seems to me they are a little too versitile. I have totems that spit fireballs, reduce damage, cure poisons, kill polymorph and other harmful effects, give everyone extra damage, enhance everyone's resistance to damage. That's just scratching the surface. Originally Blizzard stated that the Shaman was the most balanced class and they wanted to mirror every class around that 'power level'. I can name quite a few classes that are severely lacking.

My friend has a level 54 paladin that we've both decked out in the best equipment and specced out for damage and sustainability. The only thing his paladin has going for him is the fact that it's really, really hard to kill him. Every class has their weaknesses and after playing a Shaman for so long I realize why people used to complain. The Shaman has a very diverse array of abilties. This gives the illusion of being overpowered, especially when you put a good player behind the keys of one.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Something Different

I've started playing Dungeons and Dragons again, now I know what you're thinking, 'oh god one of those.' Well that isn't nessicarily the case, it's opinions like that which have sent my fellow gamers 'underground' so-to-speak. I call them closet gamers and even though we joke about it, it seems that Pen&Paper gamers are the subject of ridicule even among the gamers of our time. Not sure why, it's just a game. So what if some moron years and years back decided he wanted a quick way out when he was comitting a horrid crime, that doesn't mean all of us are wack-jobs.

What about the people who pose as the oposite sex on MMO games? I really think those guys are worse. Anyway I'm having quite a bit of fun with it and I've even purchased a few more books, which brings me to today's subject: Publishing a campaign setting or module.

I am have a campaign setting in the works, it is currently in the writing stage and once I refine it I will begin the play testing stage. After that I am lost, I could publish it electronically? Do any of my readers have a suggestion as to a direction to travel once I have tested and balanced it?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Showing signs of age?

World of Warcraft in its time was the game and in most aspects it still is. However, it is apparent from flat sprites (old school term) and effects that WOW is showing how old it is. When you run by a tree and the branches hanging close to the ground are just 2d sprites instead of 3d limbs and even though you are being beat down by a mob it makes you pause and think 'man, that's really crappy.'

I will admit though it does lend to allowing people with lower end PC's play the game without having to upgrade. A friend of mine, we're going to call him pretty mouth for identity's sake had a similar revelation. In his home he had two PC's one for internet usage and miscellaneous things and the other for playing EQ2. He and his wife both played EQ2 so they had to swap and then I introduced him to World of Warcraft. With a video card that was laying around my house and another stick of ram occupying the same space we got him up and running on World of Warcraft.

Another friend of mine switched from EQ2 to World of Warcraft and in passing his wife made a comment that gave me pause. "Wow, the graphics are a lot better than that eternal quest thing you play all the time."

To your average individual the cartoony sprites and blur effect makes for a more colorful and welcoming game. (That may be why there are more alliance than horde, a mental difference between gamers regardless of age that is based upon bright shiny colors and good vs. evil.) However, if you go to a top-down view of your character you will notice that your ice barrier or other effects are flat 2d pictures. That just doesn't sit well with me. Everquest 2 is annoying in my opinion because of the debt system and other issues that I don't agree with but that isn't the point. The graphics aren't bad, some of it looks a bit clunky and forced but for the most part they have the right idea, hell they were one of the first 3d pioneers into the MMORPG category.

World of Warcraft needs an overhaul. I would like to see Blizzard breathe a little life into the game for a change instead of just releasing something to appease the hardcore masses. Fix it, make it look better.

If I walk under a tree I don't want to watch the limbs go flat I want to see a full gnarled tree limb hanging menacingly down low to the ground. When I walk through the fields of westfall I want to see stalks bending and waving out of my way. When the wind blows I want to see the grass move. I want Oblivion-esque graphics in a World of Warcraft setting. Hell I'd pay for another set of software to install (not a higher monthly fee.)

This is an issue debated and frought with opinions that vary like snowflakes but what are your thoughts?

Playing a Shaman

I'm not a definitive shaman expert so if anyone has any other suggestions I'm open to commentary and changes.

I previously had a problem with totems, so many totems, so many buttons! What to drop when to drop it and why waste the mana? Well totems are a big part of a shaman's repertoire. Your totems are part of your class even if you don't sink talent points into them. The first thing you need to do is pick your most used totems. For me it is Stoneskin, Mana Spring and Searing in that order. Remember, alternately you can assign these all button clicks if you're a number pusher instead of a clicker.

One thing to keep in mind if you're playing an enhancement/resto shaman (request from a reader) is that you are a tank and you are going to be taking damage and trying to hold aggro. Use Frost Shock as much as possible because it causes high threat and keeps mobs slowed (if they can be). You may want to use healing totems instead of mana totems depending on your preference. Use your totems in every fight where you think you will be tanking against a hard mob or multiple mobs. Also remember that if your searing totem is too close to some mobs it will attack regardless if they are in combat or not. Also, remember that lesser healing wave has a shorter casting time and Stoneclaw (I think that's what it is) can pull mobs off of you if you don't have too much aggro this will give you a chance to pop a big heal on yourself.

Name: Totems
Purpose: One click totem dropper!
Description: Drop your favorite totems with one button
/castsequence reset=24 Stoneskin Totem, Mana Spring Totem, Searing Totem

Name: Weapons
Purpose: One click weapon buffing.
Description: Cast your weapon-based spell depending on which way you click.
/cast [button:2] Frostbrand Weapon; [modifier:shift] Flametongue Weapon; Rockbiter Weapon

Name: Shocks
Purpose: Cast all your shocks off of one button.
Description: Instead of hunting for buttons you can just click or button press with a series of keys.
/cast [button:2] Earth Shock; [modifier:shift] Flame Shock; Frost Shock

Monday, March 5, 2007

Shamanistic Goodness.

Alright so I got my Shaman to level 29 at some point last week. I will get to updating the side bar some time. I am happy with my desision not to respec and just to go for an enhancement/restoration hybrid. I am at least going to go until I get all the nessicary points in dual wielding. Running a shaman is fun because of the diversity you get.

Anyway I have noticed that after playing a level 70 mage that is able to blow through quests like candy I've been a bit spoiled. I am so used to turning in 5-8 quests each run out that I can't seem to get into my groove with my lower-level characters. Hopefully I will get out of my rut and keep playing but is it just me or has anyone else had that problem?

Since I have been putting my time into other games I haven't been playing World of Warcraft much and I think that's a good thing. Everyone needs to walk away from things for a bit every now and again.

Let us speak of games. (Part 2)

2.) Supreme Commander
Finally, the sequel (that isn't a sequel) finally comes to light. The original game, Total Annihilation kept myself and my friends busy for hours on end and as far as I can tell it would do the same if we didn’t all have lives now.

Humanity has broken into three factions, each wants to claim supremacy and as such the war between them has been raging almost non-stop. That may be why they call it the ‘infinite war’.

Graphics (1-10) – 10
I have to say I am impressed with the graphics of Supreme Commander, don’t be fooled by the initial view, zoom in and see what I’m talking about. The closer you get the more you can see and the better the detail.

Sound (1-10) – 6
While the sounds are sufficient and varied there are a few sounds that are repeated over and over again that get a bit annoying. However, how many sounds can you really cram into a strategy game anyway?

Gameplay (1-10) – 10
The interface is different to say the least. You don’t get a minimap as far as I have seen. You can zoom way out and see the entire map instead of having a mini-map. The AI is stellar, what the game may lack for some it definitely makes up in AI. You have to actually work to defeat them. They plan, attack, regroup and set their next plan into action without you knowing that they had a backup contingency in the mix. Before you know it you’re being bombed.

Overall: 10
Definitely a keeper, I could just be biased. One thing I am going to try soon is dual monitor support. From what I gather you can display a map and all on a secondary screen.

Multiplayer - Yes, I didn't get a chance to test it though.

Let us speak of games.

I've discovered two games recently that I am quite happy with. Both are blasts from my past and although I don't feel like digging through the archive I think I mentioned both of their predecessors.

1.) UFO: Afterlight
The original X-Com series was and still is one of my favorite strings of games. I will say that Terror from the Deep was a bit of a turd but it was still fun to play. The UFO series has lived up to the lofty but humble beginnings of the X-Com series. I started off playing UFO: Aftermath, then UFO: Aftershock and now UFO: Afterlight. I will say that they have all been quite inventive up to this poing and UFO: Afterlight does not disappoint.

The mars colony started by the Laputians of earth has been out of contact with earth for over fifty years. Of course some have given up hope and others have continued on. During a routine dig one of the colonists is slain by a strange ‘Mech’ of unknown origin. As the story goes on the colonists are suddenly faced with some sort of ‘gate’ that opens up and the aliens that immerge from it. The reticulans (grey aliens) that have helped you are now your allies in a battle for survival.

Graphics (1-10) – 8
The graphics are good, very smooth and detailed. When you change your gun it changes in the small model’s hands, when you change your suit your suit changes. Each person has their own skin so aside from the fact that everyone is a different color you can still tell everyone apart. Of course since this game perspective tends to prevent you from going too graphics heavy there is a lot going on all at once.

Sound (1-10) – 5
The sound effects are good but some are louder than others, a little more balance is needed when you’re trying to play early in the morning and you have someone trying to sleep through the next wall. It gets annoying trying to turn the speakers up and down to compensate for a laser blast that is a bit louder and higher pitched than the sound of a rifle going off.

Game play (1-10) - 8
I love the story line; every game further develops the lore of the alternate progression of earth. The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the options. You can set when the game pauses, pans the camera, or gives you alerts. Other than that the game play is great. There is a lot to manage though, so you have to be careful. Your research, production, training, resource gathering and building are done by a limited staff of people. You really have to micro-manage your people. At first the training and people management can be daunting but they provided more than enough documentation to get you started.
The only reason I gave the game play an ‘8’ is because it takes a bit of time to get yourself up and running and figure out the best way to manage your people between missions and building stations.

Overall: 9
Despite a little hurtle to get yourself over and a few problems with overly loud sounds the game is worth the purchase. Support the company, lets hope they keep producing fun games.

Multiplayer - None

Thursday, March 1, 2007

To raid or not to raid...

That is the question. Should I focus on raiding and gaining more power and prestige with my mage or should I work on one of my alts. At this point I have gotten a Draenei shaman up to level 26 from just casual leveling. My wife has been working on her Gnome rogue and a friend of mine has joined us with his Draenei mage.

You know, I have to say that shamans make fairly descent tanks. I had my reservations about sinking my talents into the enhancement tree with my shaman but after working with it my weapon-based attacks mixed with frost shock usually keep the aggro away from everything but a pyroblast crit.

Most people seem to lean toward the enhancement/resto spec. Any thoughts?

Monday, February 26, 2007


This is definitely a good site for Macros if anyone is looking for a more definitive list.

More Macro Goodness.

Got a request, no problem.

How to say, yell, party chat in a macro.

Name: Healing
Purpose: Announce who you're healing.
Description: Perfect for your average or above average healer to announce who is being healed. You can add more things such as class, sex, race, etc but this is just a basic macro.
/cast [help] Greater Heal
/stopmacro [nohelp]
/p Healing %t

Explanations: [help] casts the spell if the person is a friendly target, the second line stops the macro and does not broad cast if [nohelp] the target is not friendly. This prevents spam in party/raid chat. The third line announces that you're casting a healing spell and on who which is what the %t stands for, it announces your target by name.

Of course this can be tailored to different types of spells such as shaman or paladin spells and buffs. Also, as far as I know it has to be keyed into the macro in this particular order. I'm used to throwing lines of code up and having to position them in a certain way though.

Name: Multifunction Healing
Purpose: Heal yourself or another.
Description: This puts an easier way to heal yourself on the board. Instead of worrying about changing your targets hit one key and you cast on yourself. You can also add another modifier in there to target the main tank. You can also use it for different spells as well.
/cast [modifier:alt,target=player] Flash Heal; [modifier:shift,target=joemaintank] Greater Heal; [help] Flash Heal
/p Healing %t

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Now that I have hit 70 and find myself with a bit more time I am focusing on my alts and something I've not used very heavily in the past: Macros. Now at first glance I was impressed but now I am beside-myself-enthusiastic and wondering why I didn't start using them earlier!

Some Examples: (I am writing these off the top of my head so if I make a mistake, sorry!)
-your button clicks such as [button:2] which means the second button on your mouse have to come first. I found that out this morning as I was tweaking scripts.
-Be precise in spelling or your macro won't work, when in doubt just mouseover your old buttons.
-You can use just about any key (save those that are already assigned) as modifiers when casting. Most times I would stick to the ones that don't do anything such as shift, alt, ctrl, etc.
-I don't know if other mouse buttons work but I am going to try that later.
-The left click option for your buttons has to come at the end of the macro. All modifiers to between the right mouse click and the left mouse click.

Name: AE
Purpose: AoE Farming
Description: This wonderful little macro allows me to cast my low level Arcane Explosion with a right click on the button for pulling mobs as I go and then cast my powerful AE when I am ready to kick some ass.
/cast [button:2] Arcane Explosion (Rank 1); Arcane Explosion

Name: Drink/Eat
Purpose: One click yummies!
Description: Saves me four buttons, instead of having to click two different buttons to summon food and another two to eat/drink I have one button for all of it!
/use [nomodifier] Conjured Mountain Spring Water
/use [nomodifier] Conjured Cinnamon Roll
/cast [modifier:shift] Conjure Cinnamon Roll; [modifier:ctrl] Conjure Mountain Spring Water

A little clarification on this one: Your left click causes you to both eat and drink at the same time. The first stack you summon will show as the total on the button. If you're like me you always have two even stacks of both food and water so it pans out just fine. Alternately if you would want to do ether/or you could always make one a left click and the other a right click by separating them as such: (At least I think you can do it this way)

/use [button:2] Conjured Cinnamon Roll; Conjured Mountain Spring Water
/cast [modifier:shift] Conjure Cinnamon Roll; [modifier:ctrl] Conjure Mountain Spring Water

Name: Teleport
Purpose: One click for any destination!
Description: Instead of having buttons for each city on my bar I can have one button with a few mods that can take me to any city I please! (Insert Portal: instead of Teleport: to portal people around and you have another five buttons cleared.)
/cast [button:2] Teleport: Ironforge; [modifier:alt] Teleport: Darnassus; [modifier:shift] Teleport: Stormwind; [modifier:ctrl] Teleport: Exodar; Teleport: Shattrath

I made a few others and I will post them when I get time.

Pimp my ride? WoW!

I finally hit level 70 while gaming casually. Subsequently I have also purchased my flying mount and final skills. Now, I can think of a few reasons why flying mounts are not allowed in Azeroth but I really haven't figured out the 'real' reason why they are not allowing flying pimped-out rides on the other side of outland. Personally, I would feel a bigger sense of achievement if I were allowed to take my new mount out into the world when I am helping my friends with their primes and alts out in the old world. I really see no harm in letting someone use their flying mount out in the open.

The few restrictions I would place would be not allowing someone to fly too far out from shore, put the same fatigue rules out there to prevent people trying to go from continent to continent with their mount. You know some idiot will try it and complain when he falls out of the sky mid-flight during the continent change and looses his body due to fatigue. I would also put up some sort of invisible barrier around places you don't want someone to fly. (Though I can't think of any right now.)

They've already covered the whole 'flying over the oposite faction's city marks you and gets you killed quick' thing. Other than that I can't figure out why, why blizzard can't I use my pimped out ride in Azeroth?

Edit: In hindsight I suppose sloppy terrain mapping and oddball programming would be the real reason. While in the beta I swam my undead warlock from the undead starting area all the way to westfall along the outside of the mountain ranges just to see what would happen. It worked. On the outside are nooks, crannies and trees and shrubbery growing in odd places. I guess they'd have to fix everything in azeroth and they just don't want to spend the man-hours doing it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We're all wearing name tags.

Hello, my name is Mr. Gone and I am a world of warcraft addict.

*chorus of voices* Hello Mr. Gone!

That's how people view those who play MMO-games. Through the years of my life I have witnessed the dawning of a new age, the information age. I am a part of this age and so is everyone else in several overlapping age brackets.

Massive Multiplayer Online Games are part of this age just like television or radio of ages past. I don't watch television regularly and if it weren't for shows like Lost, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica and Jericho I wouldn't even have cable TV I'd just have internet. The television is bogged down with advertisements and reality television and they call our games the tool of the devil. I stand here to say that shows like 'The Flavor of Love' and 'I Love New York' are worse than any MMO game I have ever run across.

Okay well there is Anarchy Online but everyone makes mistakes right?

Monday, January 22, 2007

What I'd like to see from WoW

I have journeyed to Zangarmarsh to begin questing there with my mage. I have completed all but the PvP objective quest for Hellfire Penninsula. I took the time to ride through Zangarmarsh and most of the other zones and I have to say I am very impressed (had to say it again) with the imagination blizzard has put into this. These ecologies are alien and at the same time breathtaking.

The creatures that inhabit these areas are all new and while I would have liked to see an area like Zangarmarsh more teeming with life and the sounds of the wild I like what they have done. However here is what I mean, I think back on to Morrowind and a certain patch released that turned a swamp into a living breathing area. Bugs swarming and chirping, wildlife flying around over my head and scuttling away from my feet as I trudge through the mud and water, that my friends is what I want to see. I want to feel the life of the ecology. It feels so much more organic when you have bugs and fauna making noise around you.

I haven’t started in Jewelcrafting yet but I plan on doing so soon. I went as far as to make my new Draenei shaman a Jewelcrafter and sending her all of my ore/bars (not much) and gems (two banks full) I really have to do some serious mining.

Ode to Transferals and to Burning Crusades.

My stay on Stormrage has been fun, I just hope my sibling and my other friends transfer along with my wife and I but I won’t know until it happens. We transfer in hopes of finding a realm without lag. If we find a dead server we’ll be sorely disappointed but such is the risk we take to transfer. I’m tired of fighting over mobs and attempting to log in over and over only to be kicked off of the server at the last moment. Then kicked off of the server again and again. So verily I say that I am now a proud occupant of Area-52.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

First Impressions

Like most (not all) other World of warcraft players I have been playing the expansion. I got the collector's edition because I couldn't help myself and my wife got the regular expansion. First Impression: Freakin' Sweet.

The starting areas for the new races are very well done, the scenery and music are TOP notch. The abilities in my opinion are fairly balanced and the classes work out just fine. Draenei are not as ugly as I had originally thought they would be, the females (my wife pointed this out as she watched her character's butt wiggle while she walked) are quite cute. The males are... large... but not overly hideous. Blood elves of course are elves. My wife has concluded that the female are 'shexhay'.

Now for Outland. Mmmmm-boy! Greens and blues replacing purples. I never would have thought I'd see the day I'd lay down my Headmaster's Charge and my Robe of the Archmage for, respectively, a green and a blue item. I've done a few of the quests and killed a bunch of mobs. Sold a green sheild for 25g! WOOHOO! lol anyway I like what Blizzard has done as far as introducing more content. As I get time to play (and blog) I'll post more details.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oh how the mighty have fallen!

My guild recently took down Hakkar. And me, being the generous and industrious techno-weenie that I am recorded it and spliced it into a movie! Yay me! Anyway I uploaded it to you-tube this morning and as soon as I get home from work I will post the link on my blog.

Preparation for the Burning Crusade

Well the time is almost upon us and I feel sullied by the fact that I am pondering taking release-date Tuesday off so I can play WoW. I canceled my order for the collector’s edition of the burning crusade and re-ordered the normal version from Best Buy using a pair of very convenient gift cards. I was hoping for the collector’s edition but it hasn’t popped online yet as being available. I’d rather just miss out on the extra $30-$40 and features than be delayed for days or (heaven forbid) weeks. My wife has also opted to go for the regular edition due to the fact that our orders from bumped upwards of $80 per copy for price and shipping. A travesty I say!

Anyway, something hit me recently. My wife has over 1000g and I am up above 600g, we’re both saving for our Epic mounts. (She’s only level 52 right now). My sibling, who will go unnamed, scolded us for ‘wasting’ our money on epic mounts. Jealousy maybe? I think it’s worth the money and by money of course I mean ‘monopoly money’. This cash isn’t real; it isn’t being sucked out of my bank account. Most people cling to their gold as if it was their new born child. It’s a game, the money isn’t real and you’re not really going to spend it on anything else are you? Cripes, grow up.