Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Taking a break

I've hit the wall with MMOs. I bought a PS3 and I've been playing FF13 along with Pokemon on my Nintendo DS. I don't feel like blogging about those games. I'm not sure why, maybe it is because they are personal since they are all single player. I'm watching StarCraft 2 very closely so I'll probably blog about that once I get to play. Until then peace out.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I would love to post but I hurt my hand. I can barely hold my mouse much less type... already cramping. More to come next week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Found one... 45 minutes from here on at a Best Buy on the Delta near Sacramento Ca. They have it on hold for me for 2 hours.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Winning isn't everything

With every game or sport where your opponent is just one other person there is always an equal number of winners as there are losers. Your odds of winning are just as good as your odds of losing, and those odds are equal to your opponents.

In say the game of Scrabble there can be up to four people playing and only one winner. That means your odds of winning are 25% but your odds of losing are 75%, thus it is more likely you will lose than win. If winning games were the major driving factor in playing them wouldn’t a game with odds in your favor be more appropriate? Now sure you could have a much larger vocabulary than your 3 opponents so that gives you an advantage, but then why are they playing? If they know they are going to lose due to an intellectual superiority difference why bother ever sitting down to play?

The reason is that simply winning the game shouldn’t be what makes the game fun. A term often used in war and political circles is that “the end does not justify the means”. You shouldn’t have to make sacrifices to fun simply to win; when the game stops being fun then it is time to quit in my opinion.

I don’t like blaming things on age or generation but I think people are being brought up to believe that everyone is a winner, and that isn’t the case. Everyone can’t win, there can only ever be 1 winner for a given game, bracket, or race. What needs to be emphasized is that participating should be fun, and that enjoyment should be your primary goal. Winning is fun, but like we’ve established there are always more losers than winners so you can’t count on always winning.

I ran track in High School. I was by no means a fast runner; I was slow by comparison to my team mates. I think I may have gotten a 2nd once in 3 years of running track but I doubt I even did that well. Why would I continue to do running events at track meets if I knew I was going to lose? Simple, I enjoyed it. I liked the feeling after each run; I liked how my body felt. Most of my friends that I hung out with in High School ran track with me so I got to socialize with them. Sure there was always the pipe dream that maybe I could win an event, but I knew it would take something more than I was willing to give to do it. I was bad at a sport and I continued to do it because it was fun.

The same applies to me and Chess. I love Chess but I never get to play and as such I’m not very good. Even if I did play more often I probably wouldn’t improve that much. I like the game and will play anyone even knowing I may lose. I just like the thought and strategy that goes into playing it.

Sure someone could read this and think; hey you’re a big loser just quit. That isn’t the point. The point is that participation should be fun. We as a society should teach people that not everyone can win but you should always try and you should enjoy the process and experience of participating. Winners get trophies, money, or maybe just bragging rights but if you were playing for the true enjoyment of the game that shouldn’t affect your self esteem. At the most it should drive you to try harder and beat them next time and if you can’t beat them remember, there are always more losers than winners so play to have fun.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Losing is fun

I typically avoid metaphors or analogies but I think this is going to have to be another one of those exceptions. The reason is this revelation about video games came from doing something completely unrelated to video games, so rather than manipulate that into video game relevance I’m going to speak straight and then apply the parts that fit later.

On Sunday I got ride in my friends race car at some off road races. I ride with him a lot, but it is still just as fun as the first time. When I was in High School I built a truck to race off road and I did that until I was 21. I ended up rolling the truck and going to the hospital and I just didn’t have the money to put it back together at the time. I love racing, and it got me thinking.

Any sport or game where you compete against someone there is always a winner and a loser. The more people that participate the more losers you invariably have, because there can only ever be one winner and an indefinite amount of losers. We lost this weekend, but I still had just as much fun as when we win.

My favorite race of all time was one I didn’t even win. I was 19 years old racing against guys that were 10-15 years older than me and had helped me build my race truck. For the first 6 laps of the race I was in 2nd place with less than a car length between myself and the truck in first place. The truck in 3rd place was on my bumper and the truck in 4th place was on his. We did this in the dirt, off jumps, for 6 laps straight and going into the 7th lap I made a mistake. I dropped back to 3rd place and continued to follow the crowd. Everyone was going high, low, trying everything we knew to get around one another and you simply couldn’t pass unless someone made a mistake. I finished that race with a 3rd place and to this day it was the most fun I’ve ever had in a race car or race truck.

So I was thinking about other sports where I lost but still had fun. I love soccer (football) and I have tried to continue playing it ever since getting out of school. I was playing on a Co-ed Indoor team for a few years before I moved to where I am now. Our team’s very first session together we made it to the finals, I didn’t even know everyone’s name but we worked together so well that we dominated the playoffs and made it to the championship game. We lost that game, but it was one of the funniest football games I’ve ever played. After nearly an hour of regular play and two overtimes the game was tied 2-2 so we went to a shoot out. We lost the shoot out 3-2, yet I still remember the game fondly.

Sports, games, races… they are supposed to be fun regardless of winning or losing. Why is it that I can lose at any of these and still have a great time, but in a video game it isn’t fun unless I win. This is actually a rhetorical question because I think I know the answer, but I want to hear you opinions. I can’t fully put it in words yet and that may take a day or two but why is it that I can lose at a sport and still have more fun than winning yet that same feeling doesn’t apply to a video game?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Playstation 3

Last Monday it would have been a no brainer, I'm buying a Playstation 3. Today it isn't so easy.

I know I'm fickle when it comes to gaming, especially console gaming. I have an extremely short attention span when it comes to sitting in front of my TV. I have the extra cash to go buy the PS3 right now. I was looking at the game lists and there are a few games I would like to play, namely Final Fantasy 13. The problem is I'm currently happy with my gaming situation.

I'm enjoying Pokemon and I was looking forward to playing some World of Warcraft tonight because my Warlock is getting higher level dungeons he hasn't done before. I've been watching Battlestar Gallactica while doing both of these and it seems that if I bought a PS3 it would turn into a paper weight faster than... well an actual paper weight.

It would still be a Blu-Ray player though which I'm sure would get use. Granted we don't own any Blu-Ray movies but it seems like now is the time to make the transistion to Blu-Ray.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. I think when I got for my lunch break is when I'll figure it out. If I go south on the Freeway then I'm going to Best Buy, if I go any other direction then it's no Playstation for atleast today.

Fast Update

I was out of town all weekend so I didn’t have time to pre-write much and I have a lot of catch up to do at work this morning. I may have a post this afternoon but I will definitely have one for tomorrow. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes things fun, and I’ll get more into that later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What to blog about?

Anyone have any suggestions? I’m thinking about focusing on game development and design again. I think that area really allows my mind to wander and delve into games and game theory. I’m in Los Angeles for the weekend but I’ll be back and posting by Monday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Going to do it!

About 2 months ago some friends relocated their business from one office strip to another. Being the only one who knows anything about networking and telephones, so I normally do all their IT work for them. I actually like doing it because it is nice having a break from the political BS I deal with at my normal job. We drink beer and eat pizza while I work, I love it.

Well enough of the boring I finally got paid for it. My friend and I actually forgot that he didn’t pay me so the check was sitting in their office for the last month and a half. I had forgotten about this paycheck so everything I had planned to spend it on has since then been paid off or long forgotten.

So what to do with it? Well I’m going to finally buy a Playstation 3 and Final Fantasy 13. I’m going out of town this weekend so I won’t get around to it until Monday or so. I’m really excited to finally have a Blu-Ray player and a console other than my Nintendo Wii.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MMO subscriptions

I did some math yesterday and I’m not sure why. Right now World of Warcraft is still estimated to have about 11 million subscribers. It is also estimated that WoW makes up 62% of the MMO market. I’ve seen these numbers quoted many times on the internet and while we know how reliable internet percentages can be I have no real reason to doubt them, they seem ball park figure accurate.

So at 11,000,000 subscribers and knowing that is 62% that means every 177,419.4 people make up only 1%. Now while this may not seem like a very big revelation at first consider this… most MMOs are only citing at best 300,000 subscribers a month, or 1.7% of the total market.

To make life easy and give everyone the benefit of the doubt let’s pretend it’s an even 2%. At best it would take 14 other MMOs with at least 300,000 subs a month to round out the number to our estimated total which is 17,741,935 people playing MMOs every month. Let’s be honest, the average MMO has far less than 300,000 subs.

What can we take from this? WoW is the exception to the rule of success in the MMO market and not the rule. We don’t know if these numbers can be repeated, I’m sure they can. The thing to take away from this is that a MMO should shoot for 300,000 subscribers, no more.

Don’t try and take on World of Warcraft because you will fail. There is absolutely zero chance to take down the King… for now. As time goes on the King will grow older and weaker and be an easier target but consider this, Blizzard is more than likely going to announce the name of their Prince and heir to these 11 million subscribers this year. So unless you are Blizzard, take your 300k and consider it a victory.

Diablo 2

I bought Diablo 2 over the weekend, not because I've never played it but because I didn't have a CD Key. I've actually played Diablo 2 longer than nearly anyone. You see I was in the closed beta with a thousand other people before the game was released. I had a closed Beta CD at one point that has since been destroyed... not my fault I'm still upset about it.

So there are three reasons I bought Diablo 2 again, this will be my 4th time buying it. The first reason is I want to have every Blizzard game tied to my Battle.net account in case they show favortism for Beta selections based on how many Blizzard products you own. If I was Blizzard I would reward the loyal.

The second is everyone says vote with your wallet. Well I love Blizzard's games and I am a huge fan of how they make them. I may only play Diablo 2 one or two times more but I want Blizzard to know I support them and buying their games is the only way I can really show that.

The final reason and easily the most important. My name is in the credits. I wanted to take some screen shots and rub it in my friends faces. So now on my Facebook account they will find 3 screen shots of the Diablo 2 credits. One at the start of the credits, one that shows The Ring of a Thousand and one with my name circled.

Pokémon update

I’m about 5 hours into Pokémon Soul Silver. The game plays exactly like it did 10 years ago, which is a good thing. I’m having a blast so far. I started the game with a Totodile (water type) named Never and he evolved into Croconaw at level 18. Never is now sitting at level 21 and is doing well.

About 45 minutes into the game I found a sheep looking Pokémon, it looked funny so I decided to make it my back up Pokémon. It turns out that Pokémon was a Marcep which is an electric type Pokémon, very strong against grass type which is what the 2nd Gym is. My Marcep named McSheepen evolved to a Flaaffy at level 16 and is now sitting at level 20. He single handedly beat the 2nd Gym.

At the start of the game you are given an egg. My egg hatched into a Togepi who I named Omelet. I am trying to level him up just because right now but I’ve never cared for Togepis. He doesn’t have very reliable attacks and I just don’t like the look of him. I know I need a 3rd Pokémon just to cement in my chances no matter what I get thrown up against so I suppose Omelet will do until I find something better.

So far I’m having a blast with Pokémon. I have my kids helping me do battles by telling them which color button to push. I doubt I’m gonna catch them all, but I’m hoping to at least get all the badges.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I choose you NEVER!

I picked up Pokemon Soul Silver yesterday for my Nintendo DS. I use to love Pokemon games on my old Game Boy and they are some of the best RPGs you can find, which is sad in a way. I hadn’t even considered getting a game for my DS because I haven’t bought anything for it since I was in Kuwait on my way home from Iraq. That was until Keen mentioned it. It seemed like the perfect time to expand my DS collection.

I’m heading to Los Angeles this weekend for a family emergency but that should give me a solid amount of time to play. I’m looking forward to spending time with my little Poke’ trainer Epiny and his Pokemon Never.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life is interesting…

Not too long ago I went out to teach someone how to install and commission a satellite for some remote monitoring equipment we use. This was about the same time California was getting dumped on with rain storms but we were lucky enough to not have rain on the day of the install. Everyone makes fun of California for over reacting when it rains here, and it’s true we do. However consider this; we don’t have the infrastructure to support more than an inch of rain at any given time. It happens maybe once or twice a year so it’s just not fiscally wise to build anything with heavy rain in mind, so when we do get that one or two days of heavy rain a year everything suffers.

I say that because the satellite we installed was on the top of what is often called a green belt. It is sort of a no man’s land between two backyards. There was a fence to open it and it was 30 feet wide or so. I drove my truck up the hill in four wheel drive then my friend followed me who I was training in his box Van. The Van got stuck. He tried a total of two times and I tried once but it wouldn’t go up the hill. We tried pushing it with the truck and still nothing.
The grass was soft and muddy, so we loaded everything into my truck and I made it up the hill.

We more or less gave this area a lawn job, but I didn’t think much of it because I thought my company owned it. In 6 months time grass would grow back over and no one would notice. The problem, we didn’t own it. Apparently it was private property and no one told us in advance. Now I have a meeting about it and my boss, his boss, another boss… lots of bosses are calling us telling us we shouldn’t have done it. Well you know what, hind sight is 20/20. Sitting here looking back we shouldn’t have done it, but at the time it seemed like the right decision. They are telling us we should have just packed up and gone home, on a perfectly sunny day, and done the install another day.

I’m not worried about losing my job over this I just don’t like making mistakes, any kind. I feel bad about it but I don’t feel we deserve the kind of brow beating myself and my co-worker have been getting all day. Guess what, my company can easily afford to fix this. Fix it and leave me alone.

So hindsight is 20/20. The problem is management like to pretend that they would have made the same decision prior to the incident.

StarCraft 2

I’m currently subscribed to StarCraftLegacy on You Tube. They are posting about 2-3 matches a week and as a huge fan of StarCraft I’ve been watching them. I have noticed a few things from the videos though.

First off the game looks to play a lot like the original StarCraft, which is good. Real Time Strategies didn’t need much improvement over what we were using 10 years ago. The overall way we handle units and the majority of the controls were spot on and perfected during Warcraft Orcs vs Humans. I’m excited about that. There seem to be some small and good improvements but all of this is based on only watching the replays.

The second thing I noticed is the attack animations. One of my friends has been complaining about it on Steam for 2 weeks and I hadn’t paid much heed to it until these past few days. If you watch any of the matches closely you will some a lot of the units have very plain combat animations. For instance watching the Terrain unit the “Thor” attack in the matches was very disappointing. It basically stood there and gun fire just streaked from it. It had no recoil motion or change in stance when it shot. The Siege Tanks from SC1 had more combat animation.

This is just a small compliant, but I want it noted before I play the game or it goes live. Over all the graphics look good and the game looks fun. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and try it out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Shopping List

My goal is to try and pickup Diablo 2 by the end of the weekend. I just need to find time to get to Best Buy... or maybe Game Stop. The problem with Game Stop is the same reason I don't like to go into comic stores anymore. The people who work their know so much about their product it is almost intimidating. It feels as though they look down on me for not liking what they like when they try and strike up a casual conversation.

I've also been considering getting a steering wheel and pedals for the PC. I love racing games but they are so much more fun with a good wheel and pedal. I haven't ever really tried to play racing games on a PC but I know it would be unbearable with just a keyboard.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Wall, again

I'm still hitting the wall. I'm trying to convince myself Dungeons and Dragons Online is fun enough to keep me entertained but it isn't. I don't even want to say the game isn't fun, because it actually is I'm just not invested in it.

I logged into Aion tonight because a friend told me it was bonus EXP. I managed to hit 20 on my Templar but again the wall jumped up in front of me... not to mention failing to obtain a quest item 4 times because it took to long for my wings to open due to lag.

On the bright side I found my CD Key to Galactic Civilization and that is installing as I type this. That is good for one night a month of entertainment... maybe more. I almost bought X-Com UFO Defense off Steam tonight too, it was only 4.99, if not for Galactic Civ I would have.

This is the time I usually start painting my miniutres again but that doesn't even seem appealing. Right now really is a sad time for PC gamers, there isn't alot to play outside of the FPS market.

Would you?

All these questions pertain to World of Warcraft and Blizzard.

Would you pay money to start any class/character at level 55?

Would you pay money to have an epic mount?

Would you pay money to have bonus exp?

Would you pay money to never have to enchant gear again?

Would you pay money to be max level with full epics?

Now on Facebook

Lets see how this works out.

Search Epiny Burvelle or you can join Sprites are Fun

Redid some stuff

Under Tobold's advice I'm setting up a Faux Internet background to keep my personal information off my blog and other gaming sites. I know I can't stop it 100% but atleast making it harder gives me peace of mind.

Not being obligated to play

Void brought up a good point yesterday. With Dungeons and Dragons Online I don’t feel obligated to play… well sort of. It is a MMO and I still have that mindset that I must focus on only one MMO to make significant progress or I’m just a n00b. I’m trying to get out of that mindset though.

This week I have ran a World of Warcraft random Wrath Instance 3 nights straight in order to get the emblems. Since I am only running one instance a night I am not using up all of my rested experience, so I get the illusion of making a lot of progress on my character for a limited amount of time and effort. WoW feels rewarding; which is good because the game also feels boring to me so I need the ‘ carrot’ to outweigh the distain of playing the game.

Why play at all still? That is easy, I feel obligated too for two reasons. First is I’m not stupid, I know I’m going to go back to WoW at some point and I’m going to wish I had played during this off period to get EXP and emblems. It is like when I did dailies religiously during The Burning Crusade, I hated it with every ounce of my being but I understood the necessity of it. The second is I’m still paying $15 a month for WoW. It is a waste of money to not play. The nice thing is I don’t actually hate playing WoW, I’m just bored with it because of its age and my lack of overall progress.

I however don’t feel obligated to play Dungeons and Dragons Online. The game is free, so if I don’t play I don’t lose out on anything. I doubt I’m going to play DDO for an extended period of time so I’m not worried about falling behind and since the game is free I don’t feel the fiscal pull to play. DDO is more of a filler between subscription based MMOs, don’t get me wrong though I wouldn’t have a problem making DDO my full time MMO if it turns out to interest me enough.

Not being obligated to play has made DDO that much more relaxing. I can walk away from a half finished quest to do something and for some reason it doesn’t bother me. In WoW it was always, after I’m done with this. DDO is freeing in a way and it isn’t per say anything Turbine programmed in, it is the way of thinking of the gamer. I look forward to playing, but as soon as I hit a boring spot I do something else until I’m ready to tackle it. It is very liberating.

Right now I look forward to playing DDO but I don’t see myself playing it in another month. I hope I’m wrong though, I want to love DDO but there is just so much confusion early on in the game it is hard. You can tell DDO was built around the idea that experienced Pen and Paper D&D fans would be playing it. The problem is I only played P&P D&D once and I had to have help on every decision because I didn’t understand the game. Dungeons and Dragons biggest down fall is that it is over complicated due to its focused target marketing of existing D&D fans.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dungeons and Dragon Update

Quick update. Sorry for the lack of posts I’ve been in San Jose teaching people to install Satellite Dishes for a remote monitoring system we use.

I’m level 2 Rank 2 in Dungeons and Dragons Online. From what I gather there are some 5 or 6 ranks per level, like mini levels and 20 over all levels in the game. So compared to other MMOs I think I’m around a level 8-15 range depending on what MMO you compare it too.

I’m playing a Female Human Bard named Epiny Burvelle who is focused on Crowd Control songs, healing, and her weapon of choice is duel Rapiers. The combat is very fun, screw that it is the most fun low level MMO combat EVER. The end, check please, it’s that good.

The sad thing is it is very simple, left mouse button is your primary attack. You get a few abilities that are on cool down that can be mapped to your hot bar; they don’t cost anything to use just cool down timer. You get ‘feats’ which seems to be what defines your class. As a Bard my feats are so far all songs and I only have 2 songs so far. Feats have a set number of uses per day I think or until you rest at a ritual stone or something. I don’t honestly know the name and I think googling this stuff right now would take away from the genuine love of the game. The two songs I have so far can either do an Area Effect Mesmerize or I can do a group buff song. I also have a heal spell which uses mana. There is a defensive stance that allows you to block and dodge but I don’t use that much.

So at level 2.2 I have 1 primary attack, 2 offensive abilities on cool down with no other cost, 2 ‘feats’ that can be used up to 3 times per day/rest and 1 spell that uses mana. That is a total of 6 abilities ranging from constant spamable to only a limited amount of times per game day. The combat so far is hectic and I’m sure I look like a total n00b circle strafing NPCs while I whack at them but it really is refreshingly fun and engaging. This is the type of combat a Sci-Fi MMO should use.

All and all DDO is a good game with at the very least note worthy features. Every person who considers themselves a well rounded MMO gamer should try this game, if nothing else to get a feel for the combat and how the Dungeon Master works.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dungeons and Dragons Online

You know I had hit a wall lately on what to play. I had tried nearly every MMO I have subscribed to in the last 5 years and none of them seemed to interest me. Rather than spend money on another MMO that I may potentially not like I decided to focus on some free trials. The two finalists were EVE and Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO). DDO won.

When I got home from work I immediately began down loading and installing DDO. It took roughly 1 ½ hours from start to finish before I was able to login, which was perfect because my gaming time doesn’t start until after my children go to bed. Dungeons and Dragons has always been about player’s freedoms. I wanted to create a character I really wanted to play with and not just a min/maxed class that would get groups easy and fit some predefined holy trinity group make up. Thus I created Epiny Burvelle the Female Human Bard who focused on controlling enemies and buffing allies.

The character creation was par for the course. You had 4 races that were free to pick from and 2 that you could pay to play as. I choose a free one. You could pick from numerous hairstyles, noses, mouths, eyes, etc. There weren’t sliders but enough options to make a distinct and personal character. The graphics weren’t amazing considering the game runs on DirectX 10 but they were decent, probably average for the current MMO out.

Once the game starts you are given your first quest which in turn acts as a tutorial for the game. I actually think the entire first city is just one big tutorial but seeing as I’m not out of it yet I can’t say for sure. After picking my weapon, I choose a Rapier, and learning how to use it I set off to my first dungeon. This is after all Dungeons and Dragons, I would expect there to be a lot of Dungeons.

The Dungeon starts out with a voice over, and after doing 3 now I think it’s standard that they have one. The voice over is sort of cool because it gives you the feeling that there is a Dungeon Master telling the story and interacting with you like when you played the Pen and Paper version. It made me smile just to know that Turbine had tried to stay true to the D&D roots.

The combat is very fun. It is much faster paced already then WoW or WAR is at maxed level, though I think it is probably just me swinging frantically. The left mouse key acts as your attack button, so like a FPS style game you wade in and attack things with 1 button. You do have abilities though; I started out with 3 abilities, 2 songs and a spell. The songs shared the same resource or cool down, I’m not entirely sure how they work yet and the spell used a mana bar. I had a buff song, a mesmerize song, and a heal spell. The combat reminded me a lot of Never Winter Nights but then again it has been ages since I’ve played that game. The combat is straight forward and fun, I think that is going to be a major draw to me. In all honestly it felt like a single player game the way the User Interface worked. It wasn’t bad it was just different. I’m so use to all my multiplayer games acting one way I never considered playing a MMO using single player FPS-hybrid controls. They worked and they worked well.

It isn’t all cotton candy and gumballs though. The game is overwhelming. Like anything related to Dungeons and Dragons there is a lot of depth to it and it is overwhelming when you first start to play. I could definitely see a new MMO player being turned off from this game in the first 30 minutes. I’m willing to learn about this game though because it is the first time I have been genuinely looking forward to playing a MMO since WAR first launched.

I also realized something while playing. I was trying to be a blogger who played video games. That isn’t who I am. I’m a gamer who happens to blog. Writing is an outlet for my gaming, not the reason for it. I think I lost sight there recently. Thanks to the few of you who hung with me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Perfect Storm?

If bugs weren’t an issue and amount of people weren’t playing a specific MMO what would you play? What I’m saying is that the game ran smoothly and the perfect amounts of people played, both factions, side’s realms, what have you were balanced; the perfect storm for a MMO if you will. You can’t change any game mechanics though, the game is what it is, and it just runs perfect.

Personally I think I would pick Warhammer Online. I loved the class mechanics in that game and how the PvP was suppose to work. Sure it didn’t pan out but I’m going to side with Mythic on this one, a lot of their ideas were good. The problem is that they never factored in how their players would react to certain game features. The PvE was really fun too, just very buggy. Public Quests were an excellent way for fast EXP and gear and got you in a battle instantly. If Mythic had been able to stop the destruction of their bugs earlier in the games life and planned out ways to balance the realms better I know for a fact I would still be playing WAR. The problem is the realms are still unbalanced and the game still has serious technical issues.

Second place is a hard one for me. I’m inclined to say Age of Conan but I didn’t play the game long enough to really get a feel for if the great content was there. AoC’s first 20 levels was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a MMO and by far the best tutorial. I just didn’t get a chance to find out if it could have been great because of the amount of technical bugs at launch.

I think I’m going to have to go with EVE. The thing is I’ve never played EVE, I just love the idea of EVE. Well okay I played EVE’s trial one time and couldn’t understand how the game worked. I got lost, and getting lost in space is rather overwhelming. Given my current lull in gaming I’ve been thinking about EVE a lot more. I have seen more and more press about it and it feels like the game is starting to pick up a lot of well earned attention given its length of time running.

I’m also considering Dungeons and Dragons Online, which admittedly I know NOTHING about. I will let you know tomorrow what I download and try.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tough Week

This week is going to be tough. Not only am I having a major down turn in my gaming desire but I'm going to at different site to work for the rest of the week. If I manage to keep up with blogging I will be very pleased with myself.

What to do...

I have never played a Massively Multiplayer Game by myself. It’s a sad staggering realization I came to last night. I’m very introspective and I have been trying to figure out why I really loved certain MMOs and played them for so long, or even started playing to being with.

In EverQuest a really good friend got the game and I played on his account for a month before getting my own. I played with him and his brother for awhile then they each slowly quit until I was left by myself; however by this time I was in a high end raiding guild with new ‘virtual friends’ playing 8-12 hours a day 6 days a week.

I took a small break from EQ to play Dark Age of Camelot at launch with some friends from EQ and I did the same with EverQuest 2 with the same people. I always ended up returning to EQ though because it was home and I had a huge guild to fall back on and raid with. I tried a handful of other MMOs with a small group of friends as time went on but nothing ever changed, EverQuest was always my home.

After I got back from Iraq I found out all my friends were now playing World of Warcraft, so I started. Since then we, as a group, have tried Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Aion but we always go back to WoW.

Now I’m at the point where I am bored with WoW but they all still play it. I’m trying to find another MMO but it feels like such a daunting task to start a new MMO from scratch all alone. I’ve tried all the older ones I have characters on and none of them panned out.

So I need to find a MMO I can play for myself. The thing is I wish I had never played WoW because it feels like the perfect MMO to come into all alone from scratch. All the other MMOs I’ve looked into have such small tight knit communities it is intimidating to try and breach. WoW just feels more approachable which is why I’m still running 1 or 2 groups a night on my Warlock.

Soul searching time that is if you can call MMO shopping soul searching. I’m probably going to go to Best Buy today and just randomly pick something up off the shelf. If I don’t see anything amazing I’m going to just download Dungeons and Dragons tonight.

StarCraft 1

I installed and played 1 round of StarCraft last night on Big Game Hunters, I choose random and drew Protoss.

The game was fun but I'm really bad. I didn't remember any hotkeys but worse then that I didn't even remember where things were located on the screen. I would recomend anyone who use to play SC to pick it up and refresh your RTS skills prior to playing StarCraft 2.

Also on an unrelated note I saw HouseHold Hacker on YouTube was playing Dungeons and Dragons online. It looked decent enough to atleast install tonight.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

EverQuest 2

After almost 5 years I'm going back to EQ2. I don't know why I've waited so long until now. I loved EQ1 and I loved EQ2 while I played it. 14 Day Trial installed.


So that was a weird bust. Sony has a trial that sort of streams the game to you, virtually no download. The screen had alot of shadowy black spots on it that prevented it from being playable.

What little I did see made me think I'm just not ready for any MMO right now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Built a new desk today, cost a lot more and took 4 trips to Home Depot to complete. After all that work I still don't know what to play.

I've logged into Warhammer Online and done 2 Scenarios on a 21 Choppa and a 32 Black Orc. Well actually I only started them, after about 2 minutes I was so bored I had to just quit. (PS The game runs just as bad as it did last June)

I have done 3 dungeons on my 74 Warlock in World of Warcraft, very bleh. I'm just tired of WoW, plan old fashion burn out.

I've logged into Aion only to just log back out. I don't want to quest and the groups at level 19 just aren't... I don't know fun. I like my Templar, I just don't like that I have to solo on her.

I don't want to spend money on another game because I know I'll just burn out. I was going to install Galactic Civilization 2 but I can't find Disc 1. I was tempted to play a Sci-Fi Space Shooter but I couldn't find anything on Steam.

It's depressing. I don't know what to play. I hit this "lull" once in awhile, the last one I had was last fall but I haven't hit one THIS bad in nearly 2 years. So if anyone reads this and has a recommendation for something cheap, different, and fun let me know. I would prefer something SciFi.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Do I really like MMOs?

I can't tell if I like MMOs or if I just think I do. I can't find one that keeps me playing for more than a few weeks anymore. The problem is any other game I've tried has about the same time frame before I get bored with it.

It's frustrating. I use to be able to count on a MMO for 6-12 months of gaming entertainment easy. Now I'm happy to get a month out of it.

World of Warcraft pets are Cubic Zirconium

In World of Warcraft you can buy pets that serve no purpose other than following you around. Most can be earned in the game by completing various quests or participating in any one of the many holiday events Blizzard hosts every year. The pets in WoW are no more than accessories for your character and in some ways could be considered status symbols, be it a small one.

Which leads to the next step, if pets are Cubic Zirconium then that would make your mounts Diamond Earrings? Mounts are the fastest means to travel in World of Warcraft and once you obtain a 330% speed increase mount there is no more room to improve upon, though the 100% is far more common. Why then do players spend so much time and effort trying to obtain rare and hard to get mounts? Simple, they are status symbols.

Just as in real life every video game has certain items that are so rare or difficult to obtain that simply owning it sets you apart from everyone else in the room, just like those over priced earrings sold in Beverly Hills, California. What’s the point though? Well that’s easy, it makes us feel good. My wife enjoys bragging about the jewelry I buy her even if she personally doesn’t care for it, it’s all about status symbols. Most guys in college refer to it as ‘peacocking’ by doing something to set them apart or above the competition much like a peacock’s feathers do for him.

In EverQuest I wasn’t immune to status symbols; I wore the Crismon Robe of Alendine for many months and proudly flaunted it to anyone who would look. At that it was a very rare drop in the Plane of Fear, we got it off Cazic Thule one of the harder gods at the time. The problem is in most MMOs now your worth is being judged on these status items rather than your merit or skill. Just because I had the Crismon Robe didn’t make me a better Enchanter, I didn’t solo Cazic. It took an entire guild to take him down and that item was given to me based on the guilds opinion of my performance. I had actually very little to do with obtaining it other than to be present.

In the end they are all just frivolous items we get to make ourselves feel better. Yes it feels good to be different and have that rare item. Just make sure you don’t judge your worth or other players worth simply on the size of their diamond earrings.

Culture Shock

WAR is down to 7 servers at the login screen and I can't access 2 of those because they have been retired. I'm trying to transfer my characters off but it isn't looking well. There is NO open server now.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Believe it or not

I'm already done with Aion. There isn't anything wrong with the game, it just doesn't keep me entertained. The game has a high level of polish it just doesn't keep me in it. The vast majority of my time in any MMO is solo'n. I don't solo because I want to, I solo because there aren't people around to group with. I have already exhausted my patience with World of Warcraft so I decided to give Warhammer Online another try. I think this is it's 4th try. I'm downloading the latest update at this very moment. It probably wont be ready until tomorrow.


My Templar is now level 19. I am at the point where I can start doing group quests but I haven't been able to get one. The grinding isn't so bad, I think I found the key. I'm watching Battle Star Galactica on DVD while I play. When I remember how much grinding never bothered me during EverQuest I always seem to forget I was watching TV the entire time. I don't have a TV in my office now so I normally don't watch anything. Luckily I have a second monitor though so I can watch movies when I remember.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Not in a posting mood

My mind is mush, may not post much this week sorry.

Three more months

IGN interview about 40K

3 more months until I get a game to drool over helplessly. True there are alot of good games on the horizon, StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 come to mind; however I love MMOs. Not only do I love MMOs but I'm a HUGE fan of the Warhammer 40k Universe. Sure Blizzard is a great company but lets not be niave, StarCraft and Warcraft were ideas based on Games Workshops IP, and GW does it soooo much better.

If we are talking JUST Lore, nothing beats the Worlds and stories within ANY Games Workshop novel or Codex. They are simply amazing. It will be a hard fought internal battle not to be a drooling fan boy come June when THQ and Vigil Games lets the Astartes out of the bag.

With every new MMO there is always the hope that THIS one will learn from the past mistakes of others. No matter how much doomsaying occurs I know I will atleast TRY out this MMO. I owe that much to Games Workshop. This MMO will either be one of the best ever created or one of the worst. There is going to be so much hype and fanfare that goes along with it I doubt there will be any room for a middle ground. A Sci-Fi MMO can be so easily destroyed because of the complexity of balance with space weapons. Good Luck THQ!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reply: Keen

Response to Keen

I don't think it's the PvPs fault these games suck. I think they are just trying to set themselves apart from WoW. WoW has the PvE market cornered, or at least they appear too. That being said I don't think its fair to blame PvP for the bad MMOs that have come out.

Let’s be honest, MMOs just suck lately. Wait let me rephrase that. We have had over 100 MMOs released in the last 10 years. Let’s just pretend it's 100 for easy math. Not all of those were PvP. In fact PvP centric MMOs seem to be a fad of the last 12-18 months. (EVE being the exception) Of those 100+ MMOs we have less than 8 considered successful and less than 5 that were ground breaking.

EQ, UO, DAoC, EVE, and WoW are the only MMOs talked about when people talk about "new" features. Nearly everything else is a second class citizen.

The bottom line is the VAST majority of MMOs just suck. It's not any one features fault. Developers came into the MMO industry like they did the FPS genre 10 years ago. Doom and Duke Nukem showed you could make money on it so a hundred cheap knock offs showed up for every 1 good game. The trend still continues today with FPS games and it has already begun with MMOs. I think it's time we checked all optimism at the door and expected crap. That doesn't mean accept it though...


South Lake Tahoe was a blast; everyone should go at least once during the winter. Luckily for me I get to go a couple times a year since it's only a couple hours away. I also have relatives that live nearby so we get to see them and go to the less touristy restaurants. My wife, kids and I also got to go to a spot that the locals go to play in the snow. It was nice and we never would have been able to find it if not for my cousin's directions.

That being said I've sort of been out of the gaming loop. Work has been hectic and it probably won’t calm down until tomorrow so I'm not sure if I can get any gaming related material up today.

I'm going to review Go Daddy's Web Site Tonight program this week though and a post or two about Aion.