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?