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Much ado digitally

Three topics today: I got a new monitor, City of Heroes' "Double Experience Weekend" is coming up, and some Cabal Online features. Of course, I elaborated extensively. Of particular value is coverage of the PK system... aside from that, the rest should have been cut. (Honestly, who gives a damn that I got a new monitor but me?)

Suddenly, my eyes are open.

I purchased a new LG L1953S-BF monitor to replace my Viewsonic VA1912W which is starting to burn out. They say you shouldn't judge a monitor on it's 1:5000 contrast ratio, and maybe it's that I've been looking at games through a washed out foggy view for the past few weeks, but this new monitor is easily the crispest looking display I have ever seen. The graphics in just about every one of my games I've been playing lately suddenly look fantastic.

Part of that might be because I opted not to go widescreen this time. Many games (especially the older ones on GameTap) have compatibility issues with that, stretching everything horizontally. I don't think the PC gaming world is as ready for widescreen gaming as some of us hope. Personally, I thought Shutter Glasses were awesome, when you could find a game that would actually work with them right.

I rediscovered my video card would allow my old monitor to be used to extend my desktop, so that's an interesting adventure too.

The old fling redoubles her efforts

City of Heroes works diligently to distract me from my new (and free) Cabal Online passion. They're pulling me into grinding my way to victory at double the rate this upcoming weekend, Friday to Sunday. The last double experience weekend took my Illusion/Storm Controller from 32 to 50 with time to spare.

I've an active subscription and no excuse not to participate. However, having caught me in mid alt-a-holic binge, I'm agonizing over what one hero or villain deserves the star treatment here. Currently, I'm thinking it'll either be a Warshade, a Ninja/(something) Mastermind, or an Assault Rifle/Kinetics Corruptor. Mmm, that Corruptor could be juicy.

Pretty soon, the experience curve is going to be "smoothed" a bit, a permanent change intended to reduce "snagging" on certain levels. [Update: Positron recently answered a Q&A on this.] Their intended means of doing this is to jack up the experience points gained for certain ranges. (12-20 and 32-50 if I remember correctly.) It sort of makes me leery about bothering to level a character above 12 until the adjustment is done. However, Double Experience Weekend is naturally an exception.

Cabalism

The new game euphoria has mostly wore off of Cabal Online, and yet I'm still happily grinding away. That combo system is dynamite.

Food for thought: What style of overblown flashiness suits me most? (Higher resolution videos here)

My alt-a-holicism has wormed its way here as well, but not because of the usual reason of my being unable to enjoy myself. Rather, I'm enjoying myself so much that I want a character that will last. A lot of the skills are shared between the classes, the main advantage seems to be preferred fighting style. I think I prefer to be up close and personal with lots of quick movement, so I'll probably settle on a Blader or Force Blader, the difference being mostly a matter of concentration on melee.

The Player Killing system in this game is another dream of ideal MMORPG-age that has manifest. Holding down shift an activating a hotkey allows you to attack a player anywhere outside of a town. However, as this helpful fellow summarizes, it'll cost you:

Naughty little player killers spend 150 minutes here, in the labyrinth, where they are free to attack eachother all they like.

"1 PK : Cannot use shops for 10 minutes. There is no Honor Point penalty.
(Penalty for PK attempt is in effect starting from 2 PK)

2 PK : Cannot converse with NPCs for 30 minutes. Therefore, it is impossible to use shops, storage, and instructions or proceed with quests.

3 PK : Cannot converse with NPCs for 60 minutes, and other characters can PK you without receiving any penalties.

4 PK : Cannot converse with NPCs for 100 minutes, and have a chance of dropping equipment upon death.

5 PK : Will be confined within a labyrinthine prison for 150 minutes."


I always thought that gankers should spend some time in a virtual clink for getting out of hand, and that's pretty much how it works in Cabal Online. You do have the freedom to whack somebody who gets on your nerves once, but after that it gets expensive. Killing sprees really aren't viable, 5 players and you are out. (In actual practice, 3 PKs and you're begging for jail, as you're now every closet PK's bitch.)

Channel 7 (the "war" channel) and the war zones in all the channels (generally reserved for level 95+ players) are an exception to this - you can kill other players all you like there, and you might actually gain honor points, which are used for higher level crafting and other benefits. They're not afraid of luring sheep there, either, as fighting the monsters on channel 7 will grant honor points.

The whole PvP arrangement is basically one big mackeral across the face and back again for any forum denizen who ever told me that jail and providing incentive to be a sheep would never pan out in an MMORPG. I'm pretty sure Cabal Online bases these mechanics solidly atop the trial and error of the Korean Bang MMORPGs that came before it.

Currently, my main gripe about Cabal Online is that the default background musical selections are often some kind of airport rock opera stuff that soothes more than excites. The good news is that the in-game jukebox player provides a means around that. The bad news is that my collection of music files lacks, as I'm more of a streaming music fan. Short of committing piracy (like everyone else) I think I might try soliciting some online music services, the kind the let me listen to and then pay for single tracks. (Or, if I'm feeling really confident, I can see what I can do in Ableton Live - but being the hack musician who only listens to himself rankles a bit.)

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