Archive for June 2010

Confessions of an EVE Noob

June 30, 2010

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I haven’t put too much time into EVE yet. According to Raptr it’s only been 5 hours, so I’m not going to comment on my overall view of the game obviously. I am however going to mention a few things that I like, and a few things that I dislike.

First off the game is as beautiful as ever, though I’m not sure whether I like the graphics of EVE or Star Trek Online better. Obviously I love the SIZE of the EVE space compared to STO and it’s instanced bits, though I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune when I have a four hour flight sometime down the line.

I like that they have a tutorial now (the last time I played, shortly after it came out, it didn’t). I’d prefer it if the tutorial were scripted and instanced, just so I they could make sure everything happened as it should, and the tutorial could react to unexpected things, like losing your ship on the third military career mission. I was left sitting there wondering what to do. Do I fly back to the base? Can I come back for my stuff? I figured it out, but it would have been nice for the game to tell me.

The reason I died, and a major problem with my own way of thinking, was that I was too close to my enemies. I knew guns in EVE had optimal ranges, so I checked them out. ~15km for my guns. I figured that meant that 15km was good, and anything closer was better, like a handgun. That is not the case though. Apparently when they say 15km for optimal range, you better be at 15km or as close to that as you can get! Once I found this out and bought a ship upgrade I was nearly unstoppable for the rest of the military career tutorial.

The music is another thing I wanted to mention. I don’t normally notice music in games, and I don’t normally like anything techno-ish. That said, I LOVE the EVE Online combat music. As soon as I warped into an area I needed to clear of pirates the music kicked on and I was blasted with music that got my heart pumping, even if the actual action wasn’t all that fast paced or exciting.

I’ve applied to EVE University, but apparently the interview que is 7-10 days, so it’s going to be a while before I can comment on that. In the meantime I plan to finish the tutorials, figure out EVEMon, and figure out what I need to do to eventually fly something that shoots out drones or fighter jets or something like that. I want to look like an ant hill just exploded when I attack something.

For race I picked the Amarr, simply because they seemed the coolest. Their crazy strict society and willingness to make everyone their slaves appealed to me, even if in game I’ll probably just be avoiding fights and running for a long time.

EVE Online: Tyrannis. Damn You Steam!

June 28, 2010

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Steam is having a crazy sale today only. Sure they’ve been having a nice summer sale, but this goes far and beyound what I’ve seen anywhere else. For instance I just purchased EVE Online: Tyrannis edition for $1.99. That includes the full game, expansion and a full month of game time.

I’ve been thinking about picking up EVE and really trying to push into it for a while. To do so I’ll need to join a Corporation (most likely the newb one, University (I think it’s called)), and put in some social networking time in order to really get into what makes EVE Online so enjoyable.

I just wanted to let everyone know about this amazing sale. They have other games for sale like this, but if you’ve ever wanted to play EVE Online now is the time to try it. I’ll be sure to post my opinions on it as they come in. I’m a little busy this weekend, but I plan to at least make my character and get him started on some training…once I figure out what I want to do with him.

Magic: The Gathering of Nerds

June 26, 2010

I am a huge nerd. That is pretty much apparent due to the fact that I write a blog about video games, and I have almost no understanding of sports that involve balls. As such I used to love Magic: The Gathering in it’s card game form. Correction: I loved collecting the cards and making the deck, but I didn’t really know anyone who would play with me, so it was a rare treat that I actually got to play it.

In the last few years we’ve seen a few Magic the Gathering PC and console games. Some of them were fun, but not really Magic: The Gathering, while others stayed very true to the core of the game. Those generally stayed TOO true, forcing you to buy booster packs of random, digital cards. This usually turned me off of the game pretty quick. Sure, I could find a few people to play with, but it handled poorly, it was always outdated, and it was expensive.

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I picked up the new Magic: The Gathering game demo on Steam yesterday. I haven’t bought the official game yet (waiting for payday) but I’ve played the demo for four or five hours so far.

Apparently you pick a famous (for Magic) deck instead of building it, and you can then do Campaign mode, Co-Op Campaign Mode (Including from the same computer!) and Online games. The animation is slick and fluid (you can turn off the effects if you want to) and it really handles like a dream.

Best of all you don’t buy boosters. They have one expansion out on Steam and you can buy it for $4.99, but it just gets you “up to date” with the physical game, and adds some new decks and effects. It is perfectly viable not to get it though and just keep playing with the base game.

This is THE BEST iteration of Magic: The Gathering I have ever played, aside from the actual physical game. Sure, you don’t collect cards and use strategy to build a deck (so far anyway) but you get some great decks to play with and for how cheap it is, you really can’t go wrong.

Once payday hits I’ll be switching between Transformers: War for Cybertron and playing Magic with my wife in Co-Op Campaign Mode. I suggest at least trying the demo, even if you don’t know what Magic: The Gathering is.

OnLive: Apply Directly to the Laptop

June 26, 2010

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I added my name to the waiting list for the free Founders Year of OnLive not expecting to get in, but when I woke up this morning there was a nice little gift in my email. I am now a founding member of OnLive, and as such I have a free year of the service.

For those that don’t know it works like this: You still purchase all of the games you want at full price, except you HAVE to buy them through OnLive. This means that at some point they will be unplayable (not a real problem, they guarantee the game for a few years, and then if might go away. But if I honestly love a game that much, I’ll just ebay it in five years if I want to play again. It also means that you have to be connected to the internet in order to play the game.

Anyone who knows me or has followed this blog knows that I hate DRM, and especially stupid DRM that forces you to be always on the internet (a-la Ubisoft). So why am I ok with this service? Well to understand that I need to post the spec’s of my laptop.

This is my laptop. For those unwilling to check that site for the specs they are as follows:

Intel Pentium M 720. 2ghz

Ram: 1GB

Graphics Processor: Intel GMA 900 Dynamic Video Memory Technology 3.0.    Video Memory: 128mb

That is the important stuff. Anybody that knows anything about computers knows that this laptop is old and useless. I can’t even START World of Warcraft because it doesn’t have the capability to handle 3D. Not only that but it literally struggles just opening folders at this point. Websites load faster than the web browser itself, and even old 2D games like Diablo are unplayable due to the jittery way I have to play.

I basically keep this laptop around for when my, or my wife’s, computer explodes and we need something to surf the internet on. It is also used for bathroom entertainment, if you catch my meaning.

So after I messed around with OnLive on my main computer I decided to try it on my Laptop just to see if it was viable.I installed it and discovered that you can’t use it over WiFi, which I  guess kind of figures, so I plugged the laptop in and loaded up Assassins Creed II.

It didn’t look as good as I remember on the 360 (it could just be a bad PC port) but it ran decently. Not perfectly smooth, but considering the program barely runs and my computer is below specs CPU wise, it did a stellar job. More importantly it may be enough for get me to buy my games through OnLive from now on (if they get them).

It ran pretty well on my main PC as well. Again, not perfectly smooth but smooth enough that I rarely noticed. Add to that the fact that my internet is REALLY unstable and cuts out often, and the service really impressed me.

If you can get into the free founders year I suggest trying it out. They have “Demos” of all the games on their service, which is a free 30 minutes of play time on the game. That’s what I’ve been messing around with, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

An excuse. Don’t believe a word I say.

June 20, 2010

Well I’m back after E3. By ‘back’ I mean I never left I just wasn’t posting. With the Blogosphere and in general the entire internet spamming E3 news constantly I decided to take a leave of absence until E3 was said and done and I had something else to talk about.

Let’s get to the first piece of news, something from E3…wait…dang. Well here it is anyway:

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Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online! I don’t want to get too excited but I’ve wanted this since WAY before they announced the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning MMO. I’ve always thought the 40k universe was one of the more in depth, rich, and deep space settings and I would prefer it (if done well) to Star Wars or Star Trek.

Some people are already complaining that it looks too colorful! These are the same people that complained that the Diablo III trailer looked like unicorn farts. It seems the only way to make a game dark enough for them is to turn off the monitor. I see the art design as a sign of hope. It looks good, and it means that its graphics might age slower than those of, say, Age of Conan. That game is already beginning to show it’s age, and while it still looks good, it is nowhere near the technical marvel it was in the MMO space at the time.

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Haters gonna hate!

I finally finished all three seasons of The Original Series the other day! I went right to Netflix to start in on Season 1, Episode 1 of The Next Generation only to find out that it is not available for streaming. In fact none of the Next Generation is available. I couldn’t find it anywhere (legal and in good quality at least) so I’m kind of stuck. I don’t have the money to pay for them all, and my Netflix que is packed and I don’t want to spend the next eight years with my que full of seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. If anyone knows of a place to stream it, throw me a link in the comments or in email.

I did decide to watch all the Star Trek movies involving the original crew. Luckily Netflix had all of those movies for streaming except one. The first one. I skipped it for now and I watched both The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock. Both of them were really enjoyable, and it was great to see Khans return. It really surprised me that they never actually saw each other until the end, at least not in person, but I liked it.

The Search for Spock seemed REALLY out of character, seeing as how Kirk didn’t really believe in a ‘Soul’ and didn’t understand Spocks “mind transfer before death” thing. It seemed like he just went insane and stole a ship with four people (and if Scotty can rig the Enterprise to run with four people in an hour, WTF do the newer ships needs all these people for? More impressive casualty numbers?).

I’ve got more to say on more topics, but I’ll leave those for later blog posts. It feels good to be writing again.

Fallen Earth Cash Shop

June 11, 2010

Fallen Earth unveiled its new Cash Shop. Right now there are only two in game items to buy, and the prices really aren’t too bad. Nothing like a $25 mount, yet anyway.

The first item up for sale is a $10 companion pet. He’s purely non-combat, just like the current in game dog pet, but he looks a bit different and can hold up to four items, making it a bag slot that can die. No bad though, I’d think about getting it if I was still playing Fallen Earth.

Sadly the second item sets a pretty bad precedent in a lot of peoples minds. The Brass Goggles are a level 7ish head item that is actual armor. It’s not just for looks, but actually useful in game. Some people are already raving about the sky falling on Fallen Earth and discussion threads are ripe with people talking about how they are selling useful in game items and how they aren’t going to resub at the next billing cycle.

That’s crap. The Brass Goggles are selling for $5 on the store. Before this they were a special item obtainable only (as far as I know) if you bought one specific copy of Beckett Massive Online Gamer Magazine. The odds that you could find a copy of that now are pretty slim. Not to mention if it was out there for purchase before, all they have done here is allow more people to purchase it.

And let us keep in mind that it’s a level 7 item. That might be useful for a few levels, but you’re really only spending $5 for the look of the item, not it’s use, because you’re going to level out of that pretty quickly. I see no problem with it. However if it IS the start of a bunch of armor and weapons being put up for sale…well let’s just hope it isn’t.

LOTRO Free to Play, World of GODDAMMIT WTF!?!

June 7, 2010

LOTROWolf

Warning! Explicit content contained herein.

I won’t write much about this, but as I’m sure you’ve heard LOTRO is going Free to Play. I’m fine with it. Turbine has done an amazing job with Dungeons and Dragons Online, and while I like LOTRO it’s never held me strong enough to stay subscribed until end game. This will allow me to pay $5 here for a zone, complete that zone in a month or two, and then pay for the next zone, all at my own pace.

Not to mention, I wasn’t subscribed anyway, so I don’t have the right to complain. All those people that WERE subscribed or had lifetime subscriptions, they have a right, but not me. I wasn’t helping keep this game or it’s community g0ing strong and so I can’t really be upset by the thought of being able to justify playing it again, nor can I be angry that it might “ruin the game and bring about the end times of video games!” as so many people seem to be fearing.

LOTRO has another thing going for it with the switch to free. Right now it’s arguably the second best, or maybe lower, subscription MMO on the market. After this it will be the single best free to play game period. They stand to make an amazing amount of money with this as people come running from games like Allods or Florenzia or Wizards 101. Also, to all the lifetime subscription people out there who may be upset, you knew that lifetime didn’t really mean lifetime. Besides, it’s an online game, and those were supposed to be the most dynamic games. Embrace the change.

On to World of Warcraft and some of the things that really PISS me off about the game. I know it’s said that it is the most polished game on it’s kind and that may be true, but that doesn’t mean that it is without flaws and glitches. Glitches like mobs getting stuck in rocks. This has happened to be A LOT the last couple of days.

Another thing that drives me insane is that, for 90% of the game (I.E. until you get into Northrend and get the quest gear) your characters armor looks like total crap. My pally is currently in a blue and gold shirt, black pants, gold shoulderpads, pink belt and silver gloves, with a yellow miners hat on. Who the fuckity fuck thought that this was a good idea?

I can understand having appearance gear. It wasn’t in the game to begin with and they just don’t want to spend the time to implement it (PLEASE DO THIS!) but I can’t imagine the developers sitting back and watching people level up in beta and no saying “You know Mike, everyone looks like ass….maybe we should make them, I don’t know, match a little?”. Then again maybe that happened, and that person was fired.

We all want to progress, and in WoW part of that is the look of your character, but that doesn’t begin to look better until almost end game. Maybe there should be a decent look throughout that steadily gets cooler and cooler as you go, but either always matches, or give us appearance gear, or at LEAST dye’s so we can make it match.