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Showing posts from September, 2007

Digitally Courting Boredom

There's not been too many updates lately. I'm afraid that being simultaneously subscribed to City of Heroes and EverQuest 2 has resulted in a deadlock where I realize that I'm done with either. I could say I'm simply bored with them, but when you're a dedicated computer gamer, you begin to realize the fundamental reasons behind the boredom. Oh well, I can least spin a few yarns while I'm complaining about it.

With EverQuest 2, I've simply exhausted the activities the game has to offer... which is remarkable because it is a truly massive amount. Yet, I have spent most of my time by myself, and there's no quicker way to exhaust the activities in a massively multiplayer game than playing solo. Most recently, I shifted my focus to finding groups, and discovered that they can be found with a little effort. I had hoped to find salvation from the monotony there. Unfortunately, what I discovered was worse.
Had Bruxx blinked, he might have missed it. A mo…

The Heroic Conspiracy of Paragon City

The Hellion, a gang member empowered with magical tattoos that imbued him with infernal demon fire, had been apparently attempting to wrest a purse from the somewhat feeble-looking grandmother all day. They stood in broad daylight on city streets as they engaged in their impromptu tug-o-war over this piece of aged leather with some replaceable knickknacks inside of it. In any other city, this would seem to be a woman bravely (if foolishly) opposing an evil-doer much bigger and nastier than she was. In Paragon City, the City of Heroes, this was something else entirely.

It is a simple, unspoken arrangement between the villains of Paragon City and the citizens. If a member of a villainous group wishes to get into a fight with one of the thousands of costumed superheroes heroes of this city, they need to be caught committing a crime. For this, it would often necessitate inconveniencing a citizen of Paragon City, whose cooperation would be rewarded with not being harmed and possibly b…

Betwixt: A Mindbending Contimplation Of Boredom

On days like today, I have a hard time figuring out what game I want to play. Lets face it: if I haven't played anything, there's nothing to write about. Instead, I might spend quite a bit of time like this: betwixt.

Wiser men than me understand the idea that contentment is self-generated. It's an aspiration of mine to one day have the sheer force of will required to find contentment in any situation. However, for now, I just want a good game to play and am coming up lacking.

EverQuest 2, the game I'm currently subscribed to, definitely has its merits. It always gives you something to do. You can really develop your character, their appearance, even the place they live. There's even an ample population of players to get involved with.

So, considering it seems to have all its bases covered, why is it I just can't seem to get meaningfully involved with EverQuest 2? The simple answer, the one that many rational beings on this planet would probably accept s…

The Rat Trap

Despite herself, the serving maid at the Servant's Lure tavern was flustered, and stood fanning her beet-red face in pleased surprise. True, she had heard that Swashbucklers were debonair scoundrels who had a knack to dazzle unsuspecting ladies with a sly grin and unexpected comment. However, in her fantasies, she had always pictured some rugged human privateer or maybe even a dashing half-elf fencer. Never did she expect to be expertly flattered when delivering ale to the table of a mangy ratonga thief. She was so surprised that she forgot to slap him before retreating.

Grinning to himself, Bruxx ground his teeth in the traditional laughter of his people. Ratonga were often maligned as filthy, honorless creatures, little better than the common vermin these rat-man bore a resemblance towards. However, these sons and daughters of Bristlebane, the god of mischief, enjoyed a good joke when given the opportunity. The prejudices of some of the citizens of Qeynos offered many suc…

Trotmobile Blues

When I woke up on the beach a few days ago, even though I'm in my late teens, it was as though I had just been born. I guess Amnesia has that effect on people. I had somehow washed up on the beach after the shipwreck. What was the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes? A beautiful girl... collecting herbs for her sick mother... she just happened to be a singer, and single. The whole thing has been just a bit too perfect - I wonder if I'm still unconscious on the beach, dreaming?

Not too long after that I found an abandoned Trotmobile, one of those walking cars that are popular these days. The people of this land have a real artistic flair for invention. I've seen all sorts of incredible arm attachments for trot mobiles - swords, shields, claws, clubs, buzz-saws, cannons, flame throwers - completely modular and attachable to either side of the torso. The legs, back, windshield, and grill were also replaceable. It was a real thing of a beauty, the way one can have…

The Education of the Beast

The kobold, a primordial dog-like humanoid beast of fur and anger, sat patiently at its desk listening to the droning of the lecturer. The walls of the expansive lecture hall were lined with books. The desks on the raised floor in front of the lecturer's podium were completely filled with fellow magic users in training. The kobold sat near the back, briefly wondering why it was wasting its time here before being mentally reminded that this was the only way it was going to pass remedial magic studies.

"...central to the point of magical exploration is the concept of alteration of mental state on behalf of the practitioner and, as appropriate, the subject of manipulation. Central to Rimfizron's Theory of perspective..."

The lecturer was an erudite, a member of a race of dark-grey-skinned but physically frail high men known both for their towering intellect and the resulting arrogance. He was wearing a fine grey adventurer's robe and gesturing with his wand as h…

Heart of the Inferno

The bounty hunter sniffed the air. The smell of fine sifted rock was hardly surprising considering that, not long ago, the access into the depths of the mine had been deliberately collapsed. However, there was something off... the smell of the restless dead. He tightened the straps on his armor and drew a club suitable for smashing bone. It was time to put the dead to rest.

He did not have to advance far from the wooden entrance to the mine before he spotted his quarry. Skeletons, moving in obscene defiance to the lack of flesh on their bones, their bows at the ready, empty eye sockets searching for the living. Had some Necromancer decided to claim the abandoned mine for his own, or were these manifestations of restless spirits? Such a difference mattered not for a seeker of gold.

Freshly recasting his protective wards, he launched into battle. No sooner did his club fracture the hollow skull of the first skeleton did his presence become known. More appeared, including dead kn…

A New Beginning

I removed the abrasive metal cap with the hem of my T-shirt and took a swig from my beer. Thomas Kemper - I've always been a teetotaler at heart. I had just finished removing my other Blog entries, saving them in draft form in case I ever got around to editing them, but most of them would get the axe. But how to explain the method to my madness? It would probably be best to demonstrate...

Another Two Worlds

Apparently, in some major decision-making factory of my fractured mind, I believed I actually had enough time to purchase a third game. Now I've EQ2, Vanguard, and Two Worlds on my gaming to-do list. At least this one isn't a massively multiplayer game.

First impressions of Two Worlds are that this is an Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion clone. It's really more like 25% Oblivion, 25% Diablo, and 50% Gothic. What follows is my review of Two Worlds based on my single player experiences in the demo and retail version.

Two Worlds delivers a poor first impression. The combat seems very simplistic with only a single combat animation per type of weapon. The interface feels awkward. The balance feels like it's not there due to things like brewing potions that permanently increase your prime attributes. The frame rate is quite choppy on anything but a relatively cutting-edge video card (though it is playable at a low frame rate). There's a hackneyed feel to the script thanks to…

The best MMORPG that never was the best MMORPG

On my first day of re-evaluating the current state of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes I have to say that I'm disappointed... but for the worst possible reason. If Vanguard was a bad game, that'd be fine, it's time to move on. Unfortunately, Vanguard is a good game that I'm not allowed to play due to technical problems I'm having.

Why do I have the audacity to suggest Vanguard is a good game? Because Vanguard does a number of things extremely right that most MMORPGs either lack the vision or the talent to pull off:
An alive feeling MMORPG world. This is brought about by the sum of its parts: A far off clipping plane, good looking weather, "chunks" instead of "zones" producing a more seamless-feeling world, player-owned ships anchored in the river, player tradesmen performing work out in the open, player diplomats influencing people in the streets, and many other things. Player skill matters. Most MMORPGs' balance is one of persistence: It's …