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