Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pictures!!! Pre-Moria Fun and Games

Click on the pictures to see bigger versions :)

Rumples rides into the night

Neat how they care so much about the little details in their decor huh?


DirectX10 + Thorin's Hall

Ice Cave with geysers

Rantost island in Evendim

Imlad Balcorth in Angmar

Telanghara glamour shot, I shoulda won that beauty contest darn it!

Riding into the unkowns of Eregion from Giant Valley near the Misty Mountains

The Black Pool... dum da dum! (+4 dread)

All right.. I'm going! I'm going, don't get your panties in a twist!

On second thought.. I just remembered something else I need to do...

Thallian at Weathertop

Thallian with Antonea (Anton's champ)

Scolding a naughty, naughty dwarf

Can't touch this! ... don't touch me!

c c c Can you say... c c c Cold

Marching into Shadow... with your friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The library at Tham Mirdain

So Last night was instance night for the "Hand of Smack" (That's my kin) and after I helped my brother get his first legendary and I my first on rumples, we needed to level it but the kin needed my help with 8.1 so I helped them and took an epic pic of us on the bridge into Angmar. Then two other kinmates, Reiszor and Thrali wanted to run the new three man instances so I went with them down to the library and let me say this, I think I prefer three man more than 6 ;). There is no margin for error though, but there's a great margin for personal excellence. If you are freaking awesome it really shows in a three man, whereas in a 6 or 12 or 24 man.. you start to get drowned out ina sea of endless stats until you feel like a cog in a wheel. But on a three man team, its just you and your buds trying to survive, and they have done some interesting things with the bosses. The first boss we downed the first time. He's an orc with a bad temper who says funny stuff as you're coming in. He wasn't so hard, except you have to react to the stuff he says cuz hes gonna hit you different moves. This keeps it from being totally tank and spank, but its still pretty easy. The loots were lots of exp tokens for weapons (I can see this place being a popular farm location) and some purple pants.

Second boss: We died four or five times and the only reason we lived was because he didnt stun me for ten seconds the final time.

The second boss is a neat looking orc captain with 6 pale folk minions. The thing is, he send them in in waves of three before he bothers to get involved himself. The other thing is, the waves coem faster than its humanly possible to kill them, unless you are a 60 champ, so you end up with 4 or 3 of them and the boss in no time flat. Its a dps race on that hand, but then there's the fact that they each apply a deadly poison to people which does 500 damage a second and only hunters can remove poison, of which we had none, so the minstrel (me) was doing a healing race, which quickly gets me covered in sharp teethed little pale folk. If he stuns the minstrel you're pretty much toast because that poison is unforgiving. I recommend using the quick heal, even though its inefficient, cuz the pale folk don't like it when you heal and they interrupt the longer one. Once the pale folk are down, don't drop your guard cuz he will still stun/sunder armor/and do other crazy stuff. One heck of a boss.
His chest had a very nice medium armor hat for me to use at lvl 52, when I get there, and a bunch of these other treasure thingies that I think are for using to enhance legendaries.

Third boss: This guy's room you pas through a few times and its filled with crows, and its scary cuz you know that many crows could kill anyone. Fortunately, he only throws them at you in groups of 4... (Only 4 :P) along with himself. Occasionally he does a kind of dust in the eyes thing and some other dirty tricks, (He's an uruk-hai, he never went to fighting ettiquette school) And then he calls in more and more birds. We had a champ so we usually got the birds dead before the next wave, they are not as hardy as pale folk. He is an easy tank n spank once you live through the bird waves. There are four I think. Keeping your own tank alive though before that, and the healer, is no joke. I can see this guy being done with a captain healing though since there are adds to kill. Lots of versatility and I have to reacquaint myself with my legendary moves and cool downs and song of the hopeful heart. All in all a lot of fun. I will include screen shots I've been collecting next post.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kindle 2.0... kindling some ideas

In case you are confused about what a Kindle is, it is Amazon's sole foray into making digital devices that has actually suceeded in any measure. It is a digital book reader. It has wifi and can download books via that for a fee. I am unsure how much it weighs but the original one I have seen isnt very thick and the next one is supposed to be thinner. We'll see.

So I had a thought. What if school systems actually bought into the kindle system in big numbers? This might be the next big thing to drive university book stores mad. Cuz books on Kindle only cost 10 bucks usually, from what I hear. Anyways I'd love one of these for travel but its out of my budget... Santa, are you listening?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Truly Unique Gear

Ok I'll have to wait till next post to get to the Skill discussion. Anyways, I had this idea a long time ago that if you really wanted to have unique gear, and fun crafting the two could go together. Why not.. design your own sword! I mean use various available 3D assets and build one. Like in Spore! Only with Swords and Armor and so on. Yes this would take development time. Yes it would set you apart from the competition, and yes it would be worth it!

Kind of like how City of Heroes and Chronicles of Spellborn let you decide how you'll look from the get go? Well not exactly, but sorta. You start with generic crap. The point of the game isnt to get the same raiding gear as everyone else though. The point is to find components (blades, pectoral pieces, etc..) that you can use to make unique special items that YOU made. You get to put your capsella/construx/lego set together and make them. And once you build them, your character gets proficiency at using them, or they gain levels of their own, or whatever. What do you think?

Now, I wish to clarify what I was saying my last post about gear based progression. I dont think we've yet seen any game with no levels and only gear progression. Wouldnt it be interesting?
I'd try it out at least. D&D is kinda this way, since its weak on levelling and high on exploring and finding new goodies. Still there are levels in there. Maybe we(the average joe) need levels of some kind, be they skill levels with the gear, or character levels in general. Hmmm

Progress for Progress' Sake


So a lot has been made over the various leveling schemes that different games employ. Pete, of Dragonchasers recently wrote an article that sparked my thought processes.. (thanks Pete) About this subject. Why do we like to level so much?

Well really if you think about it, we have a built in desire to create. So leveling is one way of making creating your character and fleshing out who he/she is. Naturally it needs to be in the background to adventuring because nobody wants their only reason to log in to be to get the experience bar to move. There's only so much satisfaction a progress bar can provide and when its done, you have to ask yourself, what have I really accomplished? Well a lot really, but much of it is unseen by others. There's no way they could know that I two manned some crazy troll with my bro for half an hour or whatever, and that's fine. In this way things are more realistic. I have lots and lots of personal accomplishments and that's the way they will stay for the most part. At least as far as this life is concerned. You and anyone can only know so much about people and we seldom get to know much of the histories. We could always do things the good old fashioned way (no, I'm not talking about titles) by asking them questions and getting to know them.

Another fun way would be to include (gasp) unique accomplishments in an MMO game. Instead of cookie cutter stuff, you could make up unique stuff randomly. Some randomly made stuff would have atrociously funny names. (Skull cap of the beaver, grocery bag of the long fingered knave, anyone?) Devs always complain that the time to make such things is long and hard but what if you just mixed and matched with the resources you already have? Sure some things would look bad, and you might have to add a few things to help them blend, but I'm sure you could make random stuff that makes people feel like one in a million instead of one that's the same as a million others.

Anyways to continue and finish my leveling diatribe, I think that leveling should stay in some games, but others should try new things. Pure gear progression might be fine as long as its not a slow crawl. Other kinds of gear progression like the legendary items in Lotro have added, where it gains levels or proficiency. As far as level caps I don't see why in the world there need to be any, just balance it with an exponential curve. Then there's the whole "time invested" versus "skill" issue which I plan on discussing next time. This is Thallian wishing you all a happy Yule (Lotro) or Winters Eve or whatever its called in World of Warcraft with its goblin run holiday system ;) Buon Natale a tutti quanti!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Anton's Weekly Sketch: Proper Dragons

Proper Dragons

*Click to see full size

Friday, December 5, 2008

Going on a trip? Try a National Scenic Byway!

Here's a neat section of Wikipedia I found that must be shared. I have been on a few of these routes and they are indeed worth traveling by.

If you ever decide to go on a road trip instead of zipping over everything in a pressurized tube, I urge you to stop and smell the roses now and then, and visit the many great national parks we have.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A better mega man 9 review

Here is a better Mega man 9 review than the one I gave. This guy makes me want to try it again.. and win this time!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Board Game Art

And here's a sample of art for the board game I told you I made two weekends ago. You play as a Hero Token on a board with 8 locations to visit, travel spaces to the locations and discover whether they be the dungeons of monsters or the abodes of master warriors who can teach you abilities to help you fight the monsters. More on this later.

Anton's Weekly Sketch

I finally took the time to make Thallian and I some Display Pictures more suited for our blog. Here they are below, you'll be seeing these a lot from now on:



I'm also going to start posting some sketchbook art every week, normally I think I'll put it up on Friday, but you get it early this week.

Anton's Weekly Sketch

*Click image to see full size

Monday, December 1, 2008

Info too useful to keep to myself - Moria Dungeons

Here's some info I dug up on the forums while bored at work:

I found out where the new 6 man dungeons, 3 man dungeons and 12 man are

the 3 man ones are in Mirobel (Eregion, Southwest side of the zone)

"They drop from 2 other 6 man instances in Moria. You have 6 hard mode instances, 4 dropping barter coins for set items and the others dropping the barter coins for non-set items (with radiance).

Level 54-56: Forgotten Treasury in the Silvertine Lodes

1. Level 58-60: Grand Stair in Redhorn Lodes
2. Level 60: 16th Hall in the southern Redhorn Lodes
3. Level 60: Fil Gashan in the Flaming Deeps
4. Level 60: Forges of Khazad-Dhum in the Flaming Deeps
5. Level 60: Skumfil in the Foundations of Stone
6. Level 60: Dark Delvings in the Foundations of Stone

The last 6 all have a hard mode to them, that when completed drop a barter coin for radiance gear. 4 of them are for the raid set, while the other 2 are for non-raid set radiance gear. I'd assume, then, that the last 2 raid set items drop from the watcher so...

7. Vile Maw in The Waterworks (12 man)

Have fun ;) "

Apparently there is a way to do some on hard mode versus normal mode too. Similar to WoW's heroic mode I imagine, though not quite as insane maybe. -Thallian

Mines of Moria... the outside version

Well I suppose its time I gave a review of Mines of Moria but so far I'm still outside the dungeonosity and cavernousness.

First of all I want to say that I don't like to burn through content. I savor it. Slowly and delicately, I try to appreciate all the work that went into it. So far I am really liking the changes made throughout the game, not just in the new areas. I'm enjoying the Hollin and Eregion area a lot. Most of it is soloable or duoable. In fact, taking more is overkill, though always fun. It is a pretty laid back region for that matter, hardly any elites. Doing the Volume 2 Book 1 has been pretty fun. Its probably the best made book yet that I've tried. and the expedition quests and the way the area changes as you accomplish things, that's something good too. Really I like the little lizards who hiss and flare their neck thingy like the Australian ones, it gives you a sense of being in a new place. And the change in flora is also nice, and the music has improved which is always a plus. As far as the new classes are concerned I have only tried the Warden in beta. I'll leave the Rune Keeper to someone else since I already have Rumples, my minstrel. The lower game has filled up with Wardens but RuneKeepers are still quite rare that I've seen.

We'll have to see. Maybe Anton will co-roll a warden and his wife a rune-keeper eh? We'll see if he can get his spare laptop fixed.

Oh lastly, I have been inside the mines through a cute little instance where you play Nafti or something like that and you talk to the Dwarf king, Durin and then you do some other other stuff and escort the king to show off his mithril deposits and get a big friendly surprise... The key is to sit there and watch, not to run to his aid. I did that the first time. Big mistake. I guess Turbine never read A man for All Seasons, which states that in British law "Silence (or inaction) implies acceptance. (and complicity)" :P

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Don't forget that other Holiday

There's a holiday that comes once a year, sometime between Halloween and Christmas. It's a special time where we all come together as a family and look at ads to decide where to shop on Friday.

Shopping centers don't remind us of Thanksgiving because the only thing they can sell you for it is a Turkey.

It's up to you to be grateful for everything you have!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dexter says it all..

This comment by Dexter Tiberius here
pretty much sums up my feelings about things. I like how he compares PvP(RVR) in Warhammer to chocolate. I like it, I even love it sometimes, but I can't stand it for very long as it quickly raises my insulin levels so I have to just have a little every now and then.

Dexter Tiberius: 2:20 PM

Bought Lotro at launch, felt a distinct lack of pvp, left it for warhammer when it came out. After a month of warhammer, i realised (for me at least) pvp was like really nice chocolate, nice to have once in a while, but you get tired of it really fast. Especially when everyone's in a scenario and too busy to chat, makes the game seem really empty =/. I did have some really good times in warhammer, but with the current state of the servers, and really empty public quests( xp in scenarios are too good, plus since you get xp AND renown for renown gear, no one does PQs very often =( I decided to try MoM. So far i'm liking the new classes XD hopefully will reach 50 by the end of december so i can enter moria.

-thanks Dexter

I know return you to your regularly scheduled monster slaughtering and 2GB downloads.

Monday, November 17, 2008

An unexpected Surprise...

So sometimes I suddenly get creative...

This last weekend I had an idea for a board game I wanted to make.

So I did.

On Friday night I drew game pieces and a gameboard and invented most of the rules, and the next night I got it to the point that I could play it with my wife. After a little talk with Thallian, we are planning to make it into a simple computer game. Hopefully this is not a premature announcement, but the game is actually quite simple and will be a good warmup for our bigger game project.

I'll show you the game art when I have it all scanned in.


Friday, November 14, 2008


On Tuesday night, WoW had a huge server outage. I couldn't get on my main server all night...

For a little while, there were only 20 or so servers up. During this time a lot of people created characters on those 20 servers. I happened to have a level 3 priest on one of them, so I joined in.

The next thing I knew, people were spamming general chat in Elwynn Forest with talk of a "Hogger Raid." Hogger is a level 11 Elite boss in a public area of the Forest.

Curious, I moved in the direction of Hogger. As I approached, I saw more and more level 1's gathering...

We finally found hogger, but not until at least 25 level 1 characters had joined our mob. We engaged. it took a little while to down him, but the 25 needle-point wounds finally left Hogger in the mulched grassy forest floor.

"Hogger Down!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bigger Death Knight Dilemma

So one of my friends is playing his Death Knight character right now, and he confirms one of my fears about this class...One of the first quests is "Slay 10 villagers and 10 peasants" or something along that line...

So one of the things I've always liked about MMO is you can customize your character's appearance, class, and basically play how you want from a huge assortment of choices. Here, they've given me one new class and they expect me to play it, but it happens to be one of the most evil classes yet introduced.

I play a Holy Paladin, typically, so you can guess where I'm going with this. Anybody else wish Blizzard could have given more than one new class so we didn't feel obliged to play a new "Dark Side" character?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Me being lazy...

I know I could just look up for myself what's coming out soon and what's popular by searching the internet, but...

I'm curious what everybody is playing right now...I'm obviously playing a lot of World of Warcraft, and I'm excited about Thursday's release of Wrath of the Lich King...

What is everybody else playing now? and what are you gearing up to play next? (include when upcoming games are being released!) Post a comment!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Death Knight Dilemma

Lich King's coming out next week!

I'm worried about Death Knights. They're going to invade the game. Besides being new, they will start at level 55. I don't really want to play a Death Knight, but if I'm going to play an alt, I'd much rather start at level 55 than level 1.

So here's my proposal...I'd like for Blizzard to make it so that ANY new character is given the option of starting at level 55 (as long as you already have a level 70 character). That way, the world won't be flooded with this new class running around everywhere, and leveling up other alts won't be such a repetitive process.

What do you guys think?

(Maybe if this idea gets spread all over the blogosphere and Blizzard's forums, it might reach Blizzard's ears, so if you like it, spread it)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New instancing (dungeon) system for Lotro

So THIS is really interesting to me. They are learning from other games and adding clustered instances to Lotro similar to Scarlet Monastery or Sunwell or Naxxrammus or whatever where you have progression between the clusters. They are also planning on gating the raid encounter so you have to complete the progression. If the progression isn't made impossible for mere mortals then I'm fine with this. If it near impossible except for the leet then I'm not so ok with it. I really didn't like the ridiculously hard attunement system (see Naxxrammus again) and I really did like the key system where you get a Bind on Pickup key from defeating the end boss. You could even have a key from the boss of each one to the next so you cannot skip and you'd have to Learn to Play(tm). Hopefully Lotro wont devolve into some gear based power grind like WoW though.

On the other hand, I hate to say it, but I'm bored of this system. Its a good system, but I'm bored of it. Whine(tm). :P The task force system of City of Heroes and the mission systems of some games push us to break out of the norm and do new things. I like this. I will definitely be supporting Cryptic in Champions Online for at least a couple months. Especially if its as revolutionary as City of Heroes was when it came out.

Nevertheless, this is a marked improvement from how Lotro's instances worked previously, and the three man instance sound particularly good at adding variety. Well have to see how it all plays out. The Rift was very well made so I have some reason to hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Legendary Weapons, the rundown

So a fellow named PyroBurn has posted a very thorough guide on Legendary Weapons in Lotro. Seriously Lore masters who want to be like Gandalf need a sword one too, but it shouldn't be too hard for them to patch that in later, since they already built legendary swords for burglars and champions and hunters and so on. Here's the guide:

Some short thoughts on Angry Anonymousity

So cnn wrote an article about how people are lashing out from behind a cloak of anonymity. This is not a new or amazing topic so I'm not gonna belabor the point. I'm just gonna say that there's a good reason I do not allow anonymous posts on my blog, cuz I don't want to encourage people who think that they can say mean and hurtful things to vent or to use expletives because they believe it strengthens their position*. Or that believe that anger == strength. It takes a lot more strength to control your anger, than to just give in to it. This country and world have too many people who are slaves to their passions already. Bridle your passions and use the freedom and reason which make us men/women instead of animals.**

*(Note to anyone who will listen: it not only doesn't strengthen your position, it shows weakness of character.)

**This goes for in game too, You will have more fun and deep satisfaction helping others grow and overcoming enemies than you will being angry and selfish. PVP+PVE with heart, not with rancor or greed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paradigm changes to the Ettenmoors

When I first started reading this I thought, meh, prolly just gonna be more of the same, but when I finished reading it I was like "woah, this could actually make it a contender if it works" Especially how Monster Players are now going to be equal to Free Peoples one-on-one. And also that they get to lvl to 60 even if they don't buy the expansion is a relief to hear. Anyways read it, mi raccomando (I recommend):

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lotro's expansion vs. WoW's Expansion... ready,.. get set.... fight!!!

So in a very short amount of time two games that I'm very familiar with are going to have their expansions come out!

Which is better? What is better in which? and Which has more witches! (It being Halloween week and all) Well being the (ahem) unbiased and forthcoming reporter that I am. (don't believe it for a second) I went and did some quick research and the new Lake Wintergrasp area has been spun up to sound pretty cool, just like everything else Blizzard spins up to the media. I mean, they've got scaling buffs to the side that's losing, vehicles you can ride and assault. I certainly have some qualms with some things they say in this article though, like: "With so much resting on the zone -- it's Blizzard's first attempt at a non-instanced Battleground and completely PvP-centric zone with PvP-centric quests -- it simply can't fail." Oh yes, yes it can. "To have a broken Battleground is one thing, but to have a zone that nobody is interested in would be a major disaster." No, no it wouldn't. See Azeroth nowadays. Especially the hard to reach areas like Desolace, Feralas, Silithus etc.. Well the short and fat of this though is that WoW is doing something to address its dearth of World PVP that it had promised since launch and hadn't yet delivered. It is probably a good thing, though very slow in coming.

Item #1 Who's PVP area is better? I will place my bets on.... WoW's! at least after they get rid of the bugs and everything. (*see bottom for correction)Lotro has left their Ettenmoors untouched too long. I still enjoy romping there but if nothing ever changes it gets stale. And people improve on what you have. Will this get me to go back to WoW? No chance in this freezing Jihad. (props to Tobold for the term) Anyways I have WAR for my quickie pvp fix so we're good to go.

Item #2 that WoW is adding is dungeons with two sizes, 10 man and 25 man! amazing! genius! Never been done before. Anyways, sarcasm aside. WoW is doign something to address their elitist problem and I'm glad of that. What is Lotro up to on this front? some 3 man + some 5 man + 1 12 man dungeon? Sounds neat. Gathering tons of people !=(does not equal) fun. Playing with your friends no matter how numerous or how few they are does equal fun. I'll still miss City of Heroes but I prefer Lotro over Wow on this one.

Item #3 10 more levels of content! I think WoW will do a better job making quests solo able initially, and Lotro will do a better job in the look and feel and ambiance and group dynamic. They are adding more of the same types of zones, only with lots of snow and an underground goblin city I think, to WoW. In Lotro they are adding two above ground zones, the top of a mountain accessible only by and endless stair, and 8 new underground zones of Moria. Are these more of the same? Well, they could be but they are giving the monsters new a corruption AI's and environmental awareness, plus there will be many places that are pitch dark except for a light you bring with you. Is it just a grind? That depends on your sense of adventure. If you view that as a grind, then all MMO's created to this date are just a grind of numbers and aren't you really starting over with every one that you buy? I personally enjoy the adventure and the journey far more than being "uber powerful". Being uber powerful gets boring real fast.

Item #4 Which has more witches! WoW does of course! Lotro doesn't have any! Although if it was a comparison with WAR, WAR would win hands down. (the scantily clad obnoxious kind)

Item #5 Which is introducing cooler classes? Ooooooooo toughie. I'm gonna let my readers decide. What do you guys think? Is the deathknight da bomb or the Rune Keeper and the Warden? 2 is better than one right? Not necessarily. Here's the scoop for the uninitiated. The Death Knight gets to start at lvl 55 right off the bat. Second, the Death Knight can tank, almost as well as a Warrior. A Warden can tank almost as well as a Guardian also, they do it though dodging and blocks with their special warden shield though instead of massive mitigation. Third, the Death Knight can dps, a Warden can also dps, as can a Rune Keeper! (Rune Keepers can flip to healing but they cannot do both at the same time very well and they have to build up to one or the other) Lastly, Arthas was a death knight! Who wouldn't want to play a gnome death knight? Cmon! They oughta offer a leper gnome one. Sheesh :D Well that's about all I know. If you wanna add more please do.

--addendum Lotro will have Legendary Weapons. These weapons level up with your character. What is possibly more interesting is that you can kind of "disenchant" other Legendaries you find or your old Legendary if you want to use a new one and then use the components to enhance the one you choose. This should give equipment more life and resist "Mudflation" so to speak.

*it was just announced that Lotro will have changes to the Ettenmoors in Moria. Some of these will add more, smaller capturable objectives, and others will make taking keeps a little harder. The last major change is the addition of a third faction in the Moors (a nuetral one from beneath) and multiple entry points to the Moors.

A Nickel for my thoughts? Ok how bout a penny? :P

Boooooo! Hope you are well and enjoying Halloween and the corn mazes. There seems to be tons of them in California lately. Its a great place to go with a special someone and get lost. Anyways, I've had a lot of thought lately reading all the MMO blogs in the blogosphere as best I can and one of the posts that really piqued my interest was a small question Zubon asked: "Are we excited for expansions? Why?"

Really simple right? And his main point was that why cant we just have more content I think, without, you know, the level grind and losing all our gear progression and all meaning to our rep grinds and everything else. Now, granted some games do expansions like this pretty well and often but most of the big name ones seem to believe they need to raise the level cap and so on.

Anyways, I personally think it all depends on where your focus lies. Is the trip or the destination your focus? I enjoy WAR for example, not the grind to 40 at which there is nothing waiting, but I enjoy the journey in scenarios. (Yes I do enjoy them) And I don't enjoy Open RVR solo, with no guild helping me on the servers where I am not in Casualties, and trying to find some action which will immediately get me killed. If a keep is under attack by the enemy side, once I get to it, the attackers aren't about to let me near the keep to get inside and defend it. If it is under attack by my side, Its a better enticement but I still have hesitation to go because they may be inside and somehow the gate with its wolverine regeneration powers has repaired itself so that I can't get in to help.

I see no good reason other than that the game was rushed in development by EA, why there are no secret tunnels usable by the defending party, or why low level Scenario based RVR cannot occur. None at all. And where is my hand-holding tutorial that helps me figure out this whole keep siege thing is fun in the first place and super rewarding? (I'm not saying I personally need this but I usually have a good gauge as to what a new player would like) This is why you need a keep siege scenario early Mythic. (see Tier 1) I also do not see any reason why terrain cannot be destructible (and don't give me that "it's too hard" crap please, Worms 3D did it ages ago just fine.) Or shallow tunnel digging,(under the edge of a wall) or building siege weapons anywhere you please instead of on contrived platforms alla Lord of the Realms 2 or any other such rts game :)

The REAL reason of course is that the designers of WAR had no vision of anything nifty or new OR they just didn't have time yet. Because really what we've got now isn't even as good as PVMP in Lotro and that was created as an afterthought, albeit it has been polished some since. And yes, they did add gates and battering rams and little siege weapon plop platforms but where are my Orc-apults? and where are my alternate methods to get in? and where is the reason to do so? I'm not mad at you Mythic, I'm just trying to help you be better. Is that so wrong? Ouch ouch!, OK I'll stop!

Alright, this post is too long and is just about WAR so far. Lemme talk about Lotro vs. Wow's expansion in another post. I shall hereafter conclude my thoughts about WAR.

All I'm saying is WAR has fun scenarios, I'm just not enamored with the game. My brothers think they are more fun than Wow's bg's. Personally I think they are almost identical anyways, just more constant killing cuz it takes longer to kill. I like the ones people like the most, but I also like Phoenix Gate and a few others. I'm glad they won't nerf them because I'd like to level just to see the content later. The only reason I care about levels at all is as a content access mechanism, otherwise I could stay at lvl 1 and be happy happy the rest of my life if I could access all content (Big time explorer here) , and compete in pvp. Someone beating me just cuz they've spent so much more time in the game is stupid. They should be given more options maybe but not more power, especially after the "level cap" Otherwise we end up with gear based pvp just like Wow, just like Ultima, just like Nodeka and Runescape and so on. Yes that mirrors old DnD too and possibly table top WAR (though that might be more based on strategy which is good) but is it the best way? /e proceeding to work on next post about expansions :)

Friday, October 24, 2008


Friends are the reason I still play WAR, or any MMO at all. Family and friends. And Ryan Shwayder recently wrote his thoughts on this in a nice article here.

I have to say I am impressed with Casualties of War, and I haven't even really played WITH them yet, just talked to them in guild chat :P Very nice group of people. I shall endeavor to finally play with some at some point in time. But they aren't what's keeping me subscribed to WAR.

Its my family of course. One of my brothers loves PVP and he wont play anything else and he loves the idea that he can play team fortress with gear and levels and gain more gear and levels. So be it :)

In other news, I hear that WAR is floating the idea of no-scenario servers. SIGN ME UP! But only if I can convince my friends to come too. Which I can't. Oh well :P Anyone for TA? Mourkain? :D

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


This is why I shop at Fry's, the online deal was better than the in store one though sop I got it. Just bought this for my GF and no, she doesn't read my blog :P. (though I have showed it to her, shes a videophile right now) Anyways it should be a good birthdya present since her old one has ceased to function. The point for you guys is a. shop at Frys and b. help your girlfriends/wives out with technology.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learn Japanese the Fun way - My Japanese Coach, Nintendo DS

Well, I told you I make video games for a living, right? One game I worked on just came out last week "My Japanese Coach" on Nintendo DS, and this one's getting a lot of attention. I got my own copy and started playing it last night.

My role on this project was to draw the "Points of Interest" art, which I spent about half a day on each one of the twenty drawings. You start in Tokyo, so there's a drawing of Tokyo, then you move on from there through twenty sites of Japan over the course of 100 lessons.

Since all I did was spend two weeks making these drawings, I hadn't actually played the game before, and it's surpirsingly fun and effective. I think I played for an hour and a half or so without even realizing it and got through 4 lessons.

Anyways, I recommend this for anyone interested in learning a little bit of Japanese, or a lot if you really want to take the time with the game to study everything out carefully. It has 100 lessons and over 11,000 vocabulary words to learn. Not only that, it's pretty easy to sit and do. I always have trouble keeping papers organized when I'm studying things, but this is paper free. One of the best parts about learning Japanese on the ds is being able to draw the hiragana/kana (Japanese letters) right on the screen and trace them as they come up.

I also did the Point of Interest art for the "My Chinese Coach" game which came out a month ago. I imagine more people who read this blog would want to learn Japanese than Chinese, but it's out there if you are interested.

Here's My Japanese Coach on Amazon:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Retaking Weathertop

So Anton and I "retook" Weathertop on Friday night from some nasty Crabain. If you know much about Lotro you know I'm just joshing around with that sentence. Crabain are birds that normally inhabit weathertop and have nothing to do with the very difficult "retake weathertop" instance that I once duo'd with my brother as a monstrel and a guardian. It took half an hour to kill the super leet troll at the end. :P Anyways, Anton, Reiszor, and I "retook" weathertop our own way, and I shoulda takena screen shot cuz the view was great on my comp but it was a fun evening and it was nice that everyone got at least one level and stuff. We should be ready to do the Great Barrows with these chars soon.

Helping out Candaith the poor lonely ranger is also fun too. That guy needs to make some friends or something. Maybe he just needs to bathe more often.

I forced myself to play some more WAR scenarios this week. They are kinda getting to be like work. And I had fun doing some questing there and helping my bros with lower level pq's on their third alts, while I'm still on my first char. (there is a large disparity in our play time)

Lastly, I got about a half a level in Angmar with my hunter, Telanghara, doing the sword quests, the orc hunting ones, and some of my class quests part-way. The seven swords one is a great way to get a free level. Seven 4000 exp sword turn ins plus an extra 2000 at the begining for finding him and more at the end if you do the instance. (I recommend three or more people, the ghosts in there don't play around)

Anyways ten days till Halloween. What are you guys gonna be this year? I'm prolly gonna dress as something else politically incorrect, like one year I was a hick, and another a chinaman. :P

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

World of Goo, Secret of Mana too, and my 100th post

So umm, this is my 100th post. Already. Wow that was fast. Maybe when I hit my thousandth one we should celebrate. In the meantime you can celebrate by sending my char (Thallian) a gold or a pony, how about a gold pony!

World of Goo looks neat for us creative types. If fishes were wishes I'd have it in my catalog and enough time to play it. Incidentally I played Crystal Chronicles for Wiiware the other day and its still fun. Sheesh I'm sure getting bang for my buck with that one. Lastly, the very best game ever to launch on Super Nintendo is back for all of us to enjoy on Wii: Secret of Mana!

(Ok, Mario Kart is a close contender, but anyways)

..p.s. Street Fighter 2 launches this week also on there, the greatest button mashing, quarter stealing Arcade Game ever other than Golden Axe :P

p.p.s. was only kidding about the pony. Ty all for reading our blog and contributing with comments, and special thanks to Anton for sharing ownership with me. If you do end up sending a pony we'll split it.. or maybe you could send two to prevent animal cruelty. ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Turbine expands, launching a new west coast studio

Turbine has expanded development with a new west coast studio in Redwood City

Ensue thou rumors.

In other news, I can't seem to get to any of the robot bosses in Mega Man 9. Is this cuz I suck or is this game too hard? Prolly the first one, since Anton told me he has downed three of them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to win my Vote for Obama (by Kurt Williamsen)

Here's a great article on the complexities of voting for a president in this country. It always seems to me like a choice between two or three evils. By the way even though I occasionally blog about political or religious things on rare occasion, this is not a political or religious blog. Feel free to give me voting advice in comments though because I just got my absentee ballot. And I encourage everyone to vote and to think outside of just what you've been told to think. Just don't waste too much time on the "who's gonna be the next president" thingy because really, since I live in California, whether I like it or not I'm voting for Obama. I wish we had a popular election instead of an electoral college. Now which state assembly people should I vote for?

Since I broached politics I may as well broach the economy too. Invest in Cash (the under your sofa kind (jk), in a reliable bank is fine), possibly bonds, though those (bonds) are not doing great either. Don't invest in political candidates. :P

And lastly religion, or rather a religious issue: Prop 8. Think about it outside discrimination terms and also include the rights of children to have a father and a mother. Even from a scientific researched standpoint (very secular) this makes sense. Children do better when they have a father and a mother. And that is the weakest argument I could put forth, but the one most people are likely to agree to. The stronger arguments involve the loss of rights of the majority to save the rights of the minority. Do we really want to take away the right to get marry people from all the religions in the US except a small handful which capitulate on this issue? Sheesh.

What was the other No-no issue you should never bring up in the office? Race? I don't have any race issues, but if you have any let me know. I love all people, I just don't always love their actions.

Ok I promise the next ten posts will be about MMO stuff and/or the game we're making. Sorry for the side track to reality. :P

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mines of Moria launches Nov 18th.. oh yeah and I'm in the beta

Mines of Moria (Lotro's expansion) launches to stores Nov 18th. (They announced it officially today) Plus I got a notification that I'm in the closed beta (even though I can't remember if I actually applied, maybe Turbine just likes me) so I downloaded the 8 gig beta client yesterday. I am assuming its 8 gigs of extra info. Anyways since its closed beta I wont be providing much other info. Phooey. Still, will be neat to try out the new classes and such.

In other news I have gotten a harvest horse upgrade for just about every one of mine and my brother's characters because it looks cool and also takes more hits before you fall off. And I got Thallian to rank 9 in Warhammer.. and I got Rumples the Ironbreaker to rank 13 on Praag (OpenRVR) and I helped some friends with the Plaguebearer of the North quest in Lotro which has been made a lot harder.. a freaking army comes after you if you attack her. I'm always in favor of more realistic AI events like this though. If you haven't already tried the assaults quests in Angmar with a trusty group I'd encourage you to do so, they are fun and difficult.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spore has unseated WAR (of all things)

So in a surprising turn of events, Spore has already unseated WAR as the top sold game in the US. I don't need to mention that this is an astonishing turn of events for us who were hoping WAR would rival WoW. Hopefully it continues in second place for a while at least though and garners enough support to make WoW nervous. As a point of reference. WoW was the number 1 selling game (and still sells well) for a long long time after it launched.

In other news, people are whining about something or another (levelling from PVE is slow IMO, dps levels faster than other classes, chat sucks, but has gotten better by a small margin, etc etc) but all in all still enjoying WAR.

I enjoy WAR on my newish pc, but I can't even play it on my older pc's which will run games with better graphics than WAR, there's something goofy going on here... If they really want to sell well they need to make it run good (no CTD's) on old machines. (ones that meet the minimum reqs) Stat!

Monday, October 6, 2008

WAR and Lotro musings

Fun War article:

Fun Lotro articles:

And a Balrog video just to top off the tanks: (must view!)

Lastly, my own rambling commentary:

First of all the Balrog looks freaking awesome. Nuff said, go listen to him tell you how grumpy his bunions have made him from sitting there waiting to be let out.

Second: Mines of Moria is starting to get me excited.

Third: WAR already has me excited to explore it, although there at lots and lots and lots of issues with it, I still love exploring and I love besieging stuff. I just wonder how long WAR will hold its appeal. The T4 content is as yet untested and fallow for the most part, although a group did manage to break through to Altdork on Karak Ten Peaks, they didn't finish the PQ's there (lazy sluggards) and hence didn't get to sack anything. They were defeated by the PVE. How pathetic. They give Destruction a bad name. Hopefully City burnings and churnings will become common soon and then Mythic in the burning death that ensues will come to their senses and change something somewhere.

Naturally they fixed the keep door bug and other easy things right away but they really need to do something in addition because once Destruction owns the whole map, Order will be hard pressed to take it back from a side that is dying for them to try it.

Fourth: Tier 1 Openrvr = broken and wasted content. I hear Tier 2 is better though. I have something to say about this. They really really should have not done it this way. It is important to make an impression fast and you want to play your trump cards quick in an MMO. In all honesty, I think it would have been the best decision for them to have keep sieges, awesome ones, in ALL tiers of content. They may yet fix this, but it has seriously weakened the only thing that many players will see before they quit until they do fix it.

Fifth: Scenarios are great. They may even be too great. I need to get into some Open world RVR soon somewhere before I decide that this game would have been better as a TeamFortress style client with no PVE :P. The PQ's range from "gaming theory success" to "mindless but pleasing solo grind with a long reset" depending on who's around. All in all I'm not sure if I like them and their long term effects or not.

The PVE quests are too much more of the same and you don't level fast enough anymore. They had it right in beta and then slowed it down too much. WoW had more variety. Lotro had more variety. Why can't WAR have more variety? At least there are some caverns and stuff to explore though. I miss WoW's ladder dungeons.

Final rant: Pushing through people. This is dumb. You shouldn't be able to push through the enemy. Nuff said. Fun tip to tanks: Slowly slowly back up and the extra clever ones will keep trying to push through you and wont be able to cuz it keeps resetting. Pushing through friends is fine though.

Final positive thing to end on a positive note: WAR is fun. You should definitely try it. You might even enjoy it. DPS and ironbreakers and black orcs and archmages/shamans ftw.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WAR is free style

Over at "Mystic Worlds" the blogger there put into words something I have been thinking about for a while. Read the article about free style here.

This is an interesting concept. Frankly I have sought freedom at every turn instead of elitism. Vanguard promised it but didn't really quite deliver. Runescape and many other games promised a freedom to do things your way instead of their way but then tricked you into questign becaus ethat was the optimal path for advancement. How does WAR do in this regard? Well its almost fre-style. You can rvr and get gear and exp, you can do scenarios and get teh best exp and ok gear, or you can do Public Quests and get some of the best gear and not so great exp, or you can do quests and get junk gear but decent exp.

Eventually the best gear is supposed to come from RVR which makes me wonder how free style it will remain, since you need people to let you into their group for that. But most people seem willing to group so I'm not worried.

p.s. I am however worried about realm balance (order versus destruction) what do you think? will Destruction be better geared than Order since the best gear comes from RVR and Destruction pwns at rvr so far?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Warhammer's dungeons

Looks like WAR actually has some dungeons though I hear they are smallish. Here's a site with the list and good info:

Can't wait to try one. I luvs me dungeons. :)

On closer investigation you see that all dungeons except three are tied to the city, making the normal dungeon count rather low. However the fact the city changes so much is kinda cool.

Thallian lives!

So I made a char a week ago named Thallian on Averheim and last night, for the first time, I made contact with one of the officers of Casualties so now my sword master is a member of the guild of champions (who like to talk on web pages a lot) :D. Ty to Grimjakk for the invite.

The bologosphere has spoken

For posterity's sake I thought I'd paste the results of our poll of the bloggers about some game creation issues, and also so I can delete the polls.

#1 Which do you prefer most for party creation in a tactical game?

and you said:

Mandated by the developers. Example: Final Fantasy 2
1 (5%)
Totally created by the player. Example: Final Fantasy 1
4 (21%)
Found through lots of various means except for a main character player: Final Fantasy Tactics
6 (31%)
All characters can be created or modeled but each is unique and has his/her own plot line Example: slightly similar to Fire Emblem
4 (21%)
Classes only have one or two skills they can use in a particular way like Chess
0 (0%)
Build expendable units that can go up a few levels like in Advance Wars or Master of Orion 2
4 (21%)

#2 Ideal Party Size in a tactical game

0 (0%)
10 (55%)
7 (38%)
0 (0%)
a freaking army
1 (5%)

#3 For combat in a tactical game you prefer:

5 simple skill options
8 (50%)
1 or 2 simple skill options (chess)
2 (12%)
combo moves (street fighter/mario rpg style)
2 (12%)
attack only but different types of movement, range and visibility alla advance wars
4 (25%)

So I think its safe to say were gonna stick to 4 or 5 member of a party, 5 simple skill options, but the other one was so close I think we may go one way or another on it. :) Ty for all the help ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This begs investigation

I had heard about this game from some of you bloggers out there so I'm downloading it. Its 7 gigs. If its any good I'll let you know. (as if I needed any more drains on my free time now that WAR is out and Mines of Moria is coming :P)

Amazing Video of Wario Land on Wii

Okay, first of all, I hate Wario...I think he's hideous to look at, and I don't like being the bad guy anyways.

However! I love this video about his new Wii game:

If only it could have been a cooler pro-er-antagonist, maybe I'd try this one out.
Enjoy that video...You must see it, trust me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

WAR and .. Mega Man 9!!!

Mega Man 9 launches tonight! you must buy! (/e uses mind waves on self to make sure self remembers to buy said game) Seriously though its gotten great ratings and I will post a review once I get my grubby little hands on it.

In Other news. WAR is neat, WAR is fun, WAR is good for everyone.

Ok well, not quite good for everyone. If you like soloing or pve raids stick with Lotro, its more funner. Anyways I love my Ironbreaker, (tanking ftw!) and its the first time I've ever seen tanks be so valuable in pvp which is refreshing. Lastly I really enjoy the things I can do on my own, even with people ganking me left and right.

Do not play solo on an open rvr server btw, your asking for it, unless your as shifty as me.

The archmage is ok, the swordmaster is fun but not as good as the ironbreaker, the bright wizard (I prefer to call the burninator) is awesome, just like the sorceress, and the DoK's are good but not as good as people say. As far as the scenarios go, and the intelligence of one side or the other, it varies a lot. Sometimes Order is stupid and sometimes Destruction is. Just depends. I really like the back and forth mechanic of the archmage and shaman. Still need to try a lot of the classes out of course.

Lastly. Where are the CoW's? Every single time I log on they are nowhere to be found. I went down the list from the web page and added a ton of them and they are all offline all the time when I log in. Sad about that but its ok I shall persevere. Some day I may even be invited into the guild I already belong to on the forum :P

Oh and since my box wont arrive until Thursday from amazon cuz I chose free shipping, yeah... wont be back in war for a little bit. You CoW's out there though, you add Thallian to your friend's list ok? And give me a tell when you see me on! I made a SM on the Order server and a DoK on Thorgrim also named Thallian. Pretty plz.. save me from the lonely ether. lol ;)

Friday, September 19, 2008

I don't post enough here, so here's what I'm up to...

What I'm doing these days:

Storyboarding a game at a game studio.
Art for two home-made independent game project.
Learning to Crochet, Making a stuffed mouse.
Playing Final Fantasy 4 on DS-Recommended.
Playing Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn with my wife-Recommended (One flaw in this game-Fights have too many units, therefore taking up to 2-3 hours for one battle).
Downloaded two games on Wii from Shop Channel...Battle Load Runner-Recommended. Potpourri-Not Recommended.

(I downloaded Battle Load Runner last Saturday when I had 4 friends over to play games. I have a tip: If you ever play a 5-player Virtual Console game, here's how you set it up--You have to access the game from the main Wii menu, and as you click on the game, hold the R button down on one of your gamecube controllers. Then you can select the order of how the game recognizes each wii remote and gamecube controller in a tacky-looking black menu screen...It took me 20 minutes to figure that out with all my friends waiting around, so go try it so you know what to do when you need to. Bomberman '93 is another great 5-player virtual console game.)

Things I want to do but still haven't found time for lately:

Play more Lord of the Rings with Thallian (sorry about that).
Draw a Halloween comic.
Design and make a cool Halloween costume for this year.
Move on to Thallian and my Tactical RPG.

Here's a smile for everybody :)
Spread some cheer today, yourself! (That's my Motivational/Life Improving advice for the day)
And happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Addressing Rune Keeper fears

Straight from the devs' mouths:

for those of you who were worried how a dual class plays out, or lore considerations :)

Armature studio formed

Sorry if this one bores you but I like to keep up on these things.

Retro Studios, the company that built all the Metroid Prime games and knows how to get the most out of the Wii, lost a few of their people after the third one shipped and Apparently they started their own studio which is now backed by EA. Hmm...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

WAR.. news at 11

So personally, I have decided to play WAR some as my pvp game. However, I haven't yet decided to get my own account, I may use my brother's. We're still not sold on whether its worth buying my own account to play with him. My opinion is subject to change, especially if Mythic improves the bugs like my favorite 'target it out of range' when its right in front of me. PQ's need their own remodel. They need a lot of help, especially if your a healer, since healing doesn't count towards victory. I'll just sum up by saying that so far, WAR is much less buggy than Vanguard, but more buggy than any other beta I have ever tried. Bugs aside it has its fun moments, and I already appreciate they took the minimal time and effort to make 3D maps of scenarios for each and every tier of each and every pairing, thus providing a lot of variety. Keen's review has me eager to see the dungeons and also find out how many there really are of those. RVR I haven't yet tried in this game but its prolly similar to the battlegrounds except with siege weapons and maybe some destroyable things like gates and stuff.

The bolt chucker lacks an animation for the dark elves but I hear the other siege weapons are fun to watch work. I have screen shots of the amazing graphical anomalies I have already viewed. I may post them just to give you folks a laugh, like a twisted torso dark elf or one with really really long fingers.

p.s. I enjoyed the disciple of kain and the witch hunter in pvp the most so far. Still need to try the greenskins and some dwarf classes. The stupid white lions are very beefy(takes more hits to kill than they are worth and the trainer cna just summon them right back) so everyone just ignores the pet and kill the user if they can. Still annoying... Umm the stunning environs? I'm spoiled by lotro.. the world isn't very pretty in WAR by comparison(IMO). But its ok. Passable. Like I said way better than Vanguard was at launch and if they fix a few things they should be worth my and everyone's attention in short order. I recommend trying this game after the reviews come out.. but if you hate bugs, wait 6 months. After all, wow launched with plenty of really bad bugs and it still did well. I bet WAR will too. It really feels like EA is forcing them to rush release though. Which is a little sad for gamers, but is just business to the cold blooded execs. WAR will get better over time and I have no fear that it will (barring catastrophic failures) do very well in retail and have enough money backing to improve itself rapidly.

p.p.s. It takes a while for me to develop an itch to play any particular game, be it WoW, Lotro, or now perhaps WAR. Therefore I do not use this as a metric in deciding on how interested in it I am. I do however take into consideration the fun level, and I really have fun in scenarios and rvr, though the pve could be best described as banal. I will probably just play this game when my friends want to and get to lvl 40 easily through killing da enemy :). As for grinding for gear in the end game and scheduled city raids.. I'll pass on that grass. The collision detection works fine (no surprise this is a beginning programming technique after all) I'm of course surprised it has taken online game companies so long to implement this. Can't wait to see Darkfall's physics and system if that game actually launches. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome

Well, Google chrome is out.. if you call being in beta "out". I tried it out. Do I recommend this html interpreting device? Nah. Not yet anyways. It feels and behaves like the stole the source code from safari and Firefox and put them in the blender. That's all. Why didn't they go into a joint operation with Mozilla instead and put their features into Firefox? Cuz they want the Google branding on the product, that's why, and they want to get people to use this with Google android and totally replace Microsith..... with yet another operating system, just a web based one. If its fast and all that then well, what do you guys think? Is this something to get worked up over? I still think Microsith is going to dominate the pc gaming industry. All these open source companies don't seem to give a rip about gaming. Even OpenGL has seemed to stall out in recent years. And gaming is the only really good use for a large personal pc at home. Everything else can be done with a tiny portable device.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spore Release coming up!

I just noticed Spore is coming out in a week or something.

I've been really interested in trying this game online, I noted a disappointing factor in the product description on Amazon:

"While Spore is a single player game, your creations and other players’ creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play within. Internet Connection Required."

I have the full version creature creator because it's so fun to make creatures, but now I see that when you "play online" you're really just submitting your creations and downloading other peoples' creations from a network.

Bottom line: no player interaction. Is anybody okay with this? It pretty much drops my interest in playing it completely.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anime that I recommend and why

Ok, Oakstout asked me to recommend some anime so I'm gonna try and set a new standard for myself on organization here. the following are anime that I have watched and that I recommend for other to watch and then a description of the series and why I recommend it. Also a pic of the main char just for kicks:

1. Rurouni Kenshin: Rurouni means wanderer. Kenshin is a man with a very bloody past who's trying to repent for what he did as an assassin by trying to save lives for the rest of his life. He uses a reverse blade sword.. something VERY unusual for his time and it does not slay his opponents by default and usually just knocks them senseless. Set in the Meiji era of Japan where swords are illegal to carry. His companions are Kaoru (his love interest) who believes in only using wooden swords, Yahiko (an Oliver twist type character) who is an ex-pickpocket but slowly becomes a good swordsman, and Sanosuke, a street brawler with a good heart and a thick skull. Lots of people die in this anime so don't show it to your little ones till they are at least 13.

2. Full Metal Alchemist: Edward Adlrich and his brother are searching for a way to restore their bodies to normal. After messing with forces they shouldn't have while trying to bring their mom back from the beyond the veil (grave) Edward lost his arm and leg, and his little brother lost his whole body (but not his spirit and his soft heart) Throughout the journey they discover horrible government secrets as well as many things not intended by anyone and there are lots of powers at work in their world. Very touching, visceral, and excellently executed Anime. Definitely see the movie that closes the tv series also. Unlike most anime movies it provides a lot of closure. Also dont show this to small children.

3. Ranma 1/2: Very very funny. Ranma is a boy who has a curse on him that when he gets wet he turns into a girl. He spends lots of time trying to get back to"normal" but he is slowly falling in love with a girl he initially has a very prickly relationship with named Akane. Lots of other characters here that also tranform when wet. Best seasons are seasons 1-3 and season 6. The rest is just passable. If you are very conservative in what you watch at home dont watch this, the Japanese are very non-chalant about showing women's breasts and such on occasion. prolly would be rated R but most episodes are more kid-friendly. Kinda random. The romance is very touching in many places, especially in the 6th season there is the hospital episode. Anyways, I have kinda mixed feelings about recommending this to anyone but if your careful theres a lot of good here.

4. Samurai Champloo: A girl, Fuu is looking for some way to find the Sunflower Samurai who either killed or is her dad, shes not sure. She would like to find her father or avenge his killer that much is certain. She helps two men condemned to die to escape.
These two men.. Mugen and Jin, are excellent sword fighters. The sword fighting in this show is amazing as it approaches realism with just enough fantasy to be more interesting. They almost die a bloody death in almost every episode and I'm not gonna tell you how it ends. Only runs one season. Worth buying if your older, not for kids. (notice a recurring theme here?)

5. Trigun: Vash the stampede is on the loose. Truth be told all he wants though is a box of donuts.. Give the man some slack, coppers. Vash is an alien, they call him a "plant" because he produces energy and has very non-human characteristics. But he can also look like a human and he seems to prefer to. He makes friends with two reporter ladies who are tracking hisdestructive actions (which usually occur defending himself) Wolfwood shows up later and helps him out some with the shooting while he tries to stop his evil twin brother who has no empathy for humans, unlike Vash. P.S. this doesnt take place on earth but takes place on a planet where Earth's survivors have fled.

6. Naruto: Uzumaki Naruto is a kid. Hes an orphan that nobody likes save a couple class friends who don't know his past. The reason nobody likes him is cuz he has a demon sealed up inside him. It cant get out, but its influence can if he lets it. Did I mention hes a ninja in training? this is by far the most entertaining ninja series I have found. It also sets you mind at ease as to the questions of if pirates fought ninjas who would win? In Kenshin or Naruto's world there's no question. Not even a contest. the series starts out juvenile with fun humor but later develops into something gripping and morally challenging. The villain in this one is 'especially' creepy. And the characters are all very fun. Naruto eventually makes rivals and friends but is challenged constantly by people who dont want him to achieve his potential. Still airing in the Shippuden series.

7. Avatar the last airbender: Ang is the last Airbender and the only reasons he's around is cuz he (through the work of fate or what have you) sealed himself in an ice trance for 100 years. His people underwent an ethnic purge and now the fire nation rules most of the world and is slowly taking over the rest. As ang learns to "bend" the other elements to his will, he makes friends and lots and lots of enemies. Very clever and develops well after the first few episodes. Sit this one out, its still rolling on Nickelodeon. Fine for kids. Or adults.

8.Escaflowne: Hitomi finds out her grandmother's pendant comes from a parallel planet called Gaia, a world at war, not onoly that but it makes wishes into reality so she has to be very careful with her wishes as she warps young prince Van to her world and then back. Her adventures with Van are awesome and he learns to pilot an Ispano Guymelef (like a mechwarrior thingie) that can fly and its name is .. you guessed it: Escaflowne. Kids can watch this but its intense.

9. Every movie made by Hayao Miyazaki, Japan's 'Walt Disney'
My favorites: Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the sky(Laputa), Castle of Cagliastro, Spirited Away, Porco Rosso, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and Kiki's Delivery Service
less favorite but still good: My Neighbor Totoro(for kids), Princess Mononoke
Pixar, especially John Lassetter have published and dubbed these for us in English very well so they are extra enjoyable.

Less high quality but still in my favorites: Robotech :P Inuyasha, Ah My goddess (not a porno even though you might think so. Its very innocent and cute)