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Showing posts from August, 2007

Charting an expedition to Telon

As my last Blog entry can attest, I'm not feeling hooked on EQ2. I've actually been waffling between alts, further unsettling my vibe there. It's probably not a fault of the game itself so much as the standards of a guy who has been playing MMORPGs as long as I have. Long enough to inflict interesting forms of brain damage. For example, I suspect that if I look long enough, I can probably a way to enjoy EQ2. However, considering I'm not right now, I was vulnerable to the following temptation:

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes has completed its server merges this week.

Now, while I always believed Vanguard had promise, the fact of the matter is that the game was released several months too early for most people to enjoy it. I enjoyed it, maybe because I'm a game-loving weirdo, but I stopped playing it. The reason was mostly because I'm a fickle gamer, but I outlined three things that should be done to get me to try out Vanguard again. With the server merge, Vangua…

Discovering the Venues of Norrath

In retrospect and to Grimwell and Gallente's credit, I realized that some favorable revision has taken place when it comes to my bonechillingly inflated pet peeve in regards to having to sit around and wait for spawns of common monsters in order to complete a quest. For example, once I was required to take down 15 animated scarecrows in Thundering Steppes, and now I think that same quest is down to 5. So, while the problem is not solved, the EQ2 team has demonstrated a willingness to quell that issue once and for all.

Today, I find myself frustrated and dispossessed, but this isn't EQ2's fault so much as blow over from real life sources of frustration. So it is that I'm more surly than usual when confronted with a quest log and wondering, "What next?" My goal is to purge myself of the Qeynos and Freeport poison. While heavy revisions have occurred to each, both cities' masochistic quests have been as tenacious as roaches versus the valiant efforts to…

Cleaning the Cobwebs Off My Quest Journal

Another excellent class resource that covered the basis of game burnout was this Gamasutra article which was, interestingly enough, loosely based on Raph Koster's Theory of Fun. Starting with the theory that the fun in games comes from learning, it was an easy logical jump how this related to each aspect of the interface, and by the end of the article it's easy to see how learning how to make Mario jump effectively carries a certain pleasure of learning.

The simplicity of this article causes me to suspect it's not all-inclusive. If learning new skills alone was a fantastically satisfying experience, we'd be pounding down the doors of schools as if learning Trigonometry the slow and easy way was the meaning of life. Instead, it seems we rush though school in order to reap the rewards of hopefully better employment. The author of the Gamasutra article himself admits, as a point of vital importance, that what he describes is Alchemy, a precursor to true Chemistry, b…

Return to Norrath

My school schedule has not proved quite as time-intensive as I was worried it was, so I decided to return to EverQuest 2. It's been about an eight month absence since I last played the game. I actually had several hundred megabytes worth of patching to do after reinstalling the Echoes of Faydwer release. Yowsa, the rest of SOE's troupe of MMORPG developers should take lessons from these guys: EQ2's development team is content producing maniacs!

A crappy-quality video of the upcoming "Legends of Norrath: Oathbound" expansion enhancement.

Most recently on the table is apparently a game-within-a-game being developed for EQ and EQ2 called "Legends of Norrath: Oathbound." This is, interestingly enough, an electronic collectable card game that is built into the two games. Through playing EQ1 and EQ2, you can earn cards that you can play Oathbound with. Currently, Oathbound is in beta, with everybody able to access the control panel for the game but only …

Mangled Old Entry Says

I'm currently playing the hell out of BioShock. It's so good when a hyped game actually lives up to the hype for a change. (Of course, it's even better when the game isn't hyped at all and you're totally floored with what you found.)

Pure G.O.L.D. - Oblivion Plugin Develpment

It's a bit too-little-too-late to the Oblivion mod party. However, I have been doing some plugin development of my own, and decided it might make for an interesting Blog entry if I post up a list of the kind of stuff I've done.

Geldon's Oblivion Late Development

Description
===========
The goal of this Plugin is address what I considered to be issues with the original design. As a first person RPG, an experience, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion performs quite well. However, As a game, as something you play, I've found that there's a number of tweaks and improvements that could be made to improve the overall thrust.

A secondary goal is to attempt to keep the game relatively "pure" that I'm making not adding any additional content. Thus, this plugin only modifies existing Oblivion assets, and will be compatible with any plugin that is developed to add to the existing game instead of making similar adjustments.

======================
PROBLEMS SOLVED:
===…

BioShock Runner Ups

As somebody who's been Bracing for BioShock for over a month (not to mention watching it for over a year) I'm totally stoked that the game is almost here.

Stoked enough to desperately seek something to do in the interim. To these ends, I've recently completed three games that are reasonable runners up to a BioShock-like games: System Shock 2, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Shivering Isles Expansion), and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

[Edit: I probably had something to say about that, but it's not in this post?]

BioShock XBox 360 Demo Impressions

Bottom line: Extremely atmospheric. Seriously, few other FPS even come close to sucking you in like BioShock does. It's not just the great art-deco appearance to everything but also the sound that makes it come alive. Very nice. The demo was so much fun that the half hour it took me to crawl through it went like lightning.

Aside from that, some other things that struck me:
Very Easy, even on "normal" mode. (Hard mode was locked out for the demo.) The weapons were quite potent and made short work of the splicers. Electrobolting them in the water was so effective it was actually kinda cheap. Although, to the game's credit, I did run out of Eve hypos towards the end, and this should be the easiest part of the game (the beginning) so maybe I'd have trouble in the long haul with all my fancy incinerating and electrobolting.Not that scary. It tries, with all the dramatic chords and stuff, but if you can handle the Cyborg Midwives from System Shock 2, then the splicers a…

Downloading...

Looks like the fans (myself included) were right in guessing that the SpikeTV announcement on Sunday was, indeed, a BioShock demo. What many of them didn't expect (myself included) would be that it was for the XBox 360 only.

Currently, I'm very... slowly... downloading it. It's a 6 hour project on a 3000 mb/sec cable modem. It might get longer as more and more people crowd the already flooded XBox360 digital distribution pipe.

The SpikeTV launch Trailer we were waiting for today.

If I have something profound to say about the situation it's only this:

BioShock is a game that PC gaming industry sorely needs. Something which indicates that, no, it's not all a bunch of artless imitations/clones. Yet, to see the demo released for the XBox360 first might indicate that it's too late. Those in the gaming industry, even those who came from a PC development background (Irrational Games - now known as 2K Boston/2K Australia) are putting the priority on developing…

Kill The Grind

Lately, a friend of mine has been trying to get me to play MMORPGs with him. However, he can't seem to bring himself to play them. So far we've been to World of Warcraft and City of Heroes. His main excuse is that "life is more interesting", but I think the problem is that he hates gaming, and it was the grind that taught him to. There's no other single aspect to subtly convince one that games have no aspects of artistic appreciation than the grind.

"The grind" is the boredom that results when a game tries to get you to play it when you're already bored of the game. Roleplaying games are a common culprit, as they possess artifical achievement complexes (e.g. experience points and gold) as rewards to bear with them. However, any game can be a grind if it stretches the content too thin, forcing the player to go through a number of monotonous actions to get to where the fun is. The only insulating layer there is between the grind and you is yo…

Alll-Important Half-Vacation Report

I've been up to a lot on the gaming front lately. I've had a week and a half off and I've a week and a half to go until I'm once again high education's bitch. I've not much of a social life, I tend to spend this time at home gaming. I'm launching into this Blog entry with a little recap.

My GameFly account is getting a minor workout. I've returned GrimGrimoire - it's ultimately just a RTS with a crappy interface. I'm still working on Super Paper Mario, but that's not all I'm doing, or I would have been finished with it three or four days. However, I've spent most of my time on the PC gaming front.

Tabula Rasa beta continues, the latest patch improving it considerably, and (if the current official ETA on the web is correct) it's still awhile until its October release. (I think that's vague enough as to not violate any NDAs.) You no longer be a Founder's Club member to sign up for the beta through Fileplanet.

I pu…

One Man's LOTRO vrs WoW Grudgematch!

By popular demand! (Well, basically, a friend asked me to write up a pro and cons list of each and I figured this would be a good way to communicate my findings.)

World of Warcraft

Pros:
Very, very popular. This is beneficial because there's no real shortage of players to play with (especially later on when you run into everybody's high level characters). Due to fear of losing customers, sweeping changes are unlikely, and this will lead to a very stable unchanging game. Stable with very low system requirements. You can run WoW comfortably on computers made 3 years ago. My computer, a middle-of-the-road configuration, can run this game butter smooth with every single graphical option enabled. Well-balanced and refined gameplay. Blizzard knows how to craft games - frankly, their reputation won't tolerate less.
Cons:
Very, very popular. Problematic due to busy servers, attraction to gold farmers/sellers bothering you when you're trying to play, and finally because Blizzar…

Levine Is Trusting You

Two things bothered me about this video.
GTtv's directing of this clip is such a slashed together chain of video clips and developer interviews that reeks of enough clique to turn my stomach. But, more importantly: (Designer and Irrational CEO) Ken Levine says, with some hesitation, "I trust gamers, and that's the thing - is that I think that a lot of game developers are like, 'I have to manage every single moment of a gameplay experience.' But I think that gamers want to do- the fact that gamers are a part of that gameplay experience is really important and that's what it's all about: to give the players more choices of what they can do in the world, what he does, and how he does it."


This bothers me because, Levine's right, a lot of developers don't trust gamers. They develop crappy, derivative, simple games because they don't trust gamers to know what to do with anything better. Gamers in general, it is these developers belief and/or e…