Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lotro Book 7 details revealed!

Here is the Lotro patch notes:

Let me sum up highlights in a nutshell and one disappointment.

Starting with the bad news, the 12 man raid is just one boss and therefore, im not interested, sorry turbine. And neither will most people be for very long. You had enough time to make another rift so this was a let down.

Now for the good news. They have REBUILT! I say, rebuilt the newbie experience in Ered Luin aaaaand they have polished the Shire and Bree Land as well! This is great news for all new players and old ones who would like to do it again with a rune-keeper or warden but cant stand to do the same old things again.

They are adding a new area, Lothlorien's golden wood and more east of Lothlorien. This is very good news and they are adding polish to Lorien to make it feel how it should, one of the coolest places on Middle Earth. Anyways, they are also rebalancing the exp curve and dps and mobs and changing in harm's way and a bunch of other significant changes to how the game works so, have fun reading the notes. Oh did I forget to mention they are giving all players a self resing ability (with a long cool down) though it will be disabled in pvp and in dungeons.

Friday, February 27, 2009

And in other news...

go Homer!

wow this guy is tough

Hopefully Sony does not die soon...

Thallian's Favorites, City of Heroes!

Ok first of all I have to admit that City of Heroes was probably my first real MMO other than Runescape so, I'm a bit biased in favor of it, even though I only played it for two to three months.
It really is a fun game though, if you are new and don't mind grinding or slightly rough death penalties or certain other things. Without ado here's my top ten:

1. Fast and Fun Grouping! City Of Heroes was far and away the best game to date that I have found for finding groups and getting new members to you and getting to where the fun is, all the time. Everything in the game lends itself to this better than the more archaic Everquest/WoW formula of "figure it out on your own and make all means of teleporting people to your party more difficult than they need to be" Individuals don't need assistance to teleport others and it costs nothing other than power, which regens really fast.

2. Dynamic Group Sizes! Dynamic Group Dungeons! City of Heroes was sheer genius, actually its just common sense applied by people who love fun instead of who love to make stuff easy to make. You can have as many people as you want in your group! or as few, and you can still run dungeons! And the dungeons change based on how many and what the average level is too. Genius. Usually this amounts to a moderately to highly challenging instance with good to great exp rewards and neat boss drops. Why hasn't this been done? Many claim in a more loot based world its difficult to get right but we've already seen that that is bull. I personally think its just cuz nobody wants to bother. They are too comfortable with their previous system and are "stuck on the rails" of their old ways, so to speak. Learn from City of Heroes, don't just let it be the only one people, plz.

3. Really cool missions/dungeons/task forces etc.. Some of the dungeons and missions are very very unique and took a lot of thought and are not just killing trash mobs and yadda yadda, they have timers, they have some tactics, and strategies you have to implement, and story line, there's lots ot love here. Doing them over a second time isn't always da bomb, but some ARE fun to play over and over again.

4. Unique character builds Not only can you make a character right from the get go that is unique looking, you can make them have unique, almost entirely unique in abilities, thanks to the primary, secondary and choose your own adventure power set system, plus the abiltiy to tie different weights to it via slots every other level. This was customizing genius in a can. This makes the point system of WoW look like a Diablo 2 cop-out.. oh wait, it is. Well it makes Lotro's system look pretty weak also, and most other games too. Why not choose your own powers as you would in Morrowind or other such games? I see no problem.

5. Cool areas and ambience -- Some might argue with me on this one, bu I thought the areas were really neat. Yes they were a little heavy on the run down cityscape, some were just gone-to-seed industrial areas, others were more up to date sections. Well the game is about a City of Heroes right? So why not. still the change of pace of Perez Park and the Hollows and the Pier and stuff and islands was neat and cool, as was the fact that there's a vile secret sewer system under the city connecting the zones and more crap to explore than you can do in the amount of time I was playing. (Not to mention Alien invaded areas and such) I loved the public transit systems and a number of other nice touches, as well as the waves of guys who attacked in the hazard zones.

6. Usefulness of archetypes -- All archetypes are useful, but seldom is any particular one absolutely essential, sometimes tankers or defenders were needed but really, you can get by without them if you are careful, and bubble up properly, it just takes longer.

7. Badges are fun! -- OK well, it was a cute idea to put badges into the game and this was the first time anyone had done such a thing and Blizzard ignored it but Turbine learned from it at least and then later Blizzard copied it and lo and behold people like to collect all the Pokemon, err badges...

8. Colors! Flashy Powers! Boom, bam bang! - I just loved the look and feel of being powerful and knocking people senseless, it comes with the territory in a superhero game but I love it regardless.

9. Flight, super speed, super jump - This game had the best ways to get around yet implemented in ANY MMO. I yearned for super speed in WoW and Lotro and WAR more times than I can count. Super Jump was great for us explorer types, as was flight, though much too slow unless you enhanced it.

9.5 Targeting of destinations -- every game needs this, Ok well at least they should consider it. If you pick a destination or quest, City of Heroes gives you a pointer in 3D space to where you need to go to do that. Soooo handy

10. Champions Online -- Thankfully, the same company who made City of Heroes is coming out with a better one and instead of naming it City of Heroes 2, it is Champions Online. I will definitely be trying it out.

Nice one

Funny story from the news here:


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Every Gamer Should Do This!

OK all you windows users out there. Yes I know there are some Mac users, you guys stop heckling me and go play with your ipods! Anyways, windows users, listen up!

Did you know windows 'rots' over time? You have to maintain your PC to speed it up. Plz do the following to help it run faster:

go to here:

this will do a disk defragmentation

and run it then go to here:

this will do a disk cleanup and a registry realignment (just like your car needs its alignment fixed, your computer does too)

Then go here and run this:

which will take a while. It will scan for viruses and spyware AND it will scan for open ports(something most anti viruses don't bother to do) And it will do its best to quarantine or get rid of them.

I did this and found viruses that McAfee didn't find that had been there for months. I highly recommend it. My computer at work has greatly sped up too. AND it doesn't install anything on your machine that runs and slows it down. In this regard its better than any antivirus on the market.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thallian's Favorites: World of Walkcraft (errr Warcraft)

1. Gameplay: Actually the gameplay turned me off at first but once I got.. shall we say addicted? to the ambiance of the game and exploring it, the gameplay grew on me. It has the usual auto targeting and fighting mostly stupid AI's, though Merlocs and certian others display some limited tactics, like netting you and then fighting from range.

2. Fighting+Animations: As far as the fighting experience, World of Warcraft is often touted as having the tightest, fastest, most fun fighting experience in MMO's because of its animations and so on. I'll admit they did a good job on most, though the night elf one are a bit too elongated (though still fast) and all are repetitive and look like you have some kind of back issues cuz you never bend in any new way (maybe I'm asking too much here for 2004).

Still, the fighting is fast if you are a rogue, though not so much if you're a resto druid unless you are in cat form, and even less fast if you are a prot warrior or a holy priest. Definitely very fun for the dps classes in the game, I loved my NE hunter and my undead rogue, and my troll mage etc... Shamans are very fun to play if you make them into a whirlwind of self healing death you can rule the lvl 20-30 bracket.

3. Battlegrounds: These were kind of an evolution of the Guild Wars arenas and were definitely a good thing for the genre, in my opinion. They can be too much of a good thing for your game, as evidenced by WAR of course, if everyone goes into the battleground and nobody shows up to play outside. But anyways, I loved Warsong in the lower level brackets, though I despised it at max level because it was all about having raiding gear and running an invincible druid with the flag at that point. I loved Arathi Basin the best, definitely very fun and lots of different points to contend, camp or distract others. Plus it had a time limit which was very much lacking in some of the other ones (Warsong and AV)

4. Exploring: Wow gave exp for exploring! This was new, and the way the map unfurled when you found new points of interest was fantastic. Plus when you found new things, they usually looked neat, and were worth checking out a little, you might find a new dungeon or quest or cave or something. Who knows.

5. 5 man dungeons: I loved almost all of the five man dungeons. They were challenging and fun but not impossible (except the last few on rare occasion with certain party makeups) Rarely did you have to even check to see if someone was a thief/moron/non-comp etc.. You just ran the dungeon. If they stole stuff you added them to your blacklist and went on with life having possibly wasted three hours, but its OK you still had fun and got rep and other stuff. Its all good.

6. 10 man dungeons: These required your guild or a more competent leader to rally the random friends and folks, but they were still good fun. Stealing was more disliked as it affected more people over more time, but it rarely happened since you usually hand picked people to run with you. I really enjoyed LBRS, UBRS, and my brothers really liked Karazhan as well went that came out. The only problem with 10 man dungeons in my opinion is that the game needs more of them and less 25 man junk.

7. Occasional World PVP skirmishes: I played on a pvp server and so we would have .. encounters with the scum sucking horde, or on my horde server with the self righteous alliance who are really a bunch of opportunistic creeps as well. These were usually fun and good natured chases through the brush and mob herds that resulted in one or several people ending up dead. I did enjoy it when we really outsmarted them again and again and again, with stealth or other means, and it was fun to predict that they would cry and call their fatty guildies and then trick them into doing stupid things, like jump off cliffs or follow you into bad places, or just charge five of them with only two on your side and take two or three down while they stand there stunned before they retaliate. (I did that with my warlock, though I admit I did 'fear' one of them.) Sadly world pvp in general against quest hubs has been pointless (but still fun) in WoW and WAR. I expect something different in Darkfall but perhaps I expect amiss.

8. Swimming! Why don't more games let you go underwater? WoW even has a couple of underwater sections in its dungeons, especially Black Fathom Deeps.

9. Flying! Not many other games let you see the scenery from way up high but WoW does just that. This is nice and provides relaxing down time views. At the same time, I'd like to be able to get off sometimes, or just swift travel, but oh well, you get what they make for you. Enough said.

10. Ambiance: Maybe I should have made this number one. WoW has ambiance. Creepy places feel creepy, Night Elf places feel naturally beautiful and magical, Gnommish places feel ridiculously complicated and mechanical, Dwarven places feel solid, orc places feel starkly barbarian human places feel medieval but still full of adventure around every corner, The battle cries are great, the emotes are funny and sometimes crude, the characterization is unparalleled, and there are very few warps in the game other than hearthstones and warlock ports so 'immersion' seldom breaks.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thallian's Favorites: Top ten Wii games to play with others

Here are (not necessarily my favorite single player ones) but my favorite multiplayer Wii games in order. (Disclosure: I do not own smash bros for Wii so its not on the list, it probably would be)

1. Mario Kart Wii -- Hands down the best Wii game so far for playing over the internet. (Well that I've played, haven't tried Medal of Honor or those games yet) All multiplayer games should have the same option at the very least. Nintendo is currently in the stage of enlightenment out of the dark ages of the Gamecube though and they still are draggin' their feet on online stuff.. anyways Mario Kart is awesome and this edition is not sub-par. Only Downside is that you cant go more than two player online though you can do 4 player offline.. and you are still restricted to one or two player for the grand prix mode.

2. Wario Ware -- this is multi player? You picked this for number two? Bear with me.. The true multiplayer mode is only accessible if you unlock it. That said this has been a great party game, especially the lifeline party mode and it is 5 player so it breaks the usual "4 players are the max because we said so" rule. Also the bomb and other modes add fun, and it has multi player dart throwing if you're really bored.

3. Smarty Pants -- I know, you're saying, what's that?! Never heard of it1!!1!! Well its a great game that's what, and its like trivial pursuit, only new and has fun fresh questions and some dancing around to boot. Try it with your fam, you'll love it. The girls will like it. Its a win-win situation. The picture is of a victory dance and your rating on it. :P

4. Raving Rabbids -- 1,2,3 etc.. they are pretty much all similar. If you have to pick one I'd say go for the second one, and if you just can't get enough get the first or third one. Short little mini games with lots of sick humor or silliness.

5. Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party (with the wii extra stuff turned off) -- yes if you turn off the wii stuff its better, and yes this is exactly the same as DDR on PS2 then, prolly, but its still fun. And my little sister loves to use it to exercise, and I like to use it for parties sometimes. 4 pads are a must. Fortunately the first one can use the old universal pads

6. Mario Strikers -- Also a sort of hit and miss game. The elastic AI is too fierce, but playing against other people is a blast and this game has online capabilities, which are tricky to get working, but do work. Again, Nintendo is afraid of the Internet so, they need therapy.. 4 player games like this are awesome.

7. Super Swing Golf 1+ 2 -- if you like golf, and I do, these are fun. The second one is more forgiving but the campaign mode isn't quite as fun. Still they did add polish so... I dunno which to recommend really. They both support 4 player turn based play though.

8. Wii play--tanks and shooting, provide endless minutes of fun. Seriously though there is a lot of fun in cow racing and such with someone else.

9. Naruto Clash of Ninja Wii -- its fun to smash buttons sometimes, this fulfils that urge, though if you really know what you're doing you'll prolly do better. I like some things about this but the little cut scenes get annoying, fortunately you can turn them off.

10. Excite Truck -- OK this one could easily be on top except that its only two player. Best car smashing and racing game to come out in a while. Stunts are fun and crushing enemy cars in high speed is great.

p.s. If you're thinking of getting Monkey Ball, get the gamecube one, the second one + first one, instead of the Wii one. and then use it in your wii. Its better, trust me. the Wii one sucks compared to those two.

Games I neeeed to try: Boom Blox (by Steven Spielberg) and Blast Works are supposed to be good. Doctor Mario for Wiiware IS good. There's also Geometry Wars, Smash bros, Rock Band, Guitar Hero (both of these to are expensive), and High School Musical, Boogie for you Karaoke fans. Lastly there's Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games which I only hear good things about from friends, and Mario Party 8. I own Mario Party 8 but its so boring I have yet to finish a single game of it. Oh and Trauma Center:New Blood has two player co-op and I liked the first trauma center until it got impossible unless you could perfectly do some stupid diagram all the time, so this might be good.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thallian's favorites starting with WAR

Seven Favorites: Warhammer Online (tm)
Since Syp challenged us to do it I figure its a good idea to be positive too
  1. Favorite Zone:Troll Country... fill an area with mindless bloodthirsty beasties who are soo stupid that they'll east or hit anything including each other, what's not to love?
  2. Favorite Race: Dwarf, both them and their machines are powered by alcoholic beverages, not to mention they are smelly, grumpy and short so they have more to prove.
  3. Favorite Class: Iron breaker, tough to kill, massive dps, why doesn't everyone play one or a archmage/runepriest?
  4. Favorite Feature:the ability to taunt in pvp and "guard" your friends. Also the pvp focus of the game is great too.
  5. Favorite Skill:Knockback. You can't heal a knockback, you can heal and negate almost everything else. PLus its fun to mess with people and be messed with instead of the usual humdrum combat. (See knockdown, magnet, lion pet, etc.) I like moving other players around against their will for a little bit, too much would be CC but a little is fine. I hate CC in pvp. Always a bad development idea.
  6. Favorite Scenario: Mourkain Temple, yes it does get a little old but there's enough here to do that it stays fun and usually its just a giant mosh in the middle with no boring breaks.
  7. Favorite Live Event:... Never successfully found one, but I hear they were great!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Volume 2, Book 2, first half

Soo We enter the great delving, and I explore, and then I stop exploring it for about half a month cuz I'm helping people and I wanna level up so I don't get creamed. Now I'm lvl 52 and back I go (several months later) I start book 2 up again and its mostly running around, One part you are looking for some forgotten libraries, andother you look for a trace of Zigilburk, the Mithril Axe. Theres a lot of looking around to do. I like the North and South areas a lot. The Great Delving is ok but its very much... geographically confusing, the north and south areas are less so, more straightforward and still full of danger and excitement. I hated goblin town for example because its so many layers and so convoluted and of course, no real point to being in there through most of it, thers only a few quests. But Moria isnt like that, there are goat routes, and I found a stunning vista here and there, one being when you go north and find the gap in the mountain out where Gandalf fought the Balrog. There's a dead Balrog on the map and he's huge. (For that matter there's a dead Balrog in the game but the mobs in that zone are lvl 59- 60 sooo I didn't risk it. I like the buggy areas too they remind me of the bugs and their lairs in WoW. Anyways theres lots to see and lots of things trying to kill you for distrubing them so what are you waiting for? I'll post my review of the final chapter of Book 2 when I get there.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Wii game I will definitely be checking out

The Conduit: see preview:

make sure you watch the youtube video

Games are Questions

When you're in the heat of battle, you always have a goal, and it's usually pretty clear what you're trying to do. The question is, "how."

I recently read a review on a book that was recommended to me. The review said that the book failed to present the reader with thought-provoking questions, and instead hit you over the head with a preachy allegory.

I have noticed this phenomenon in myself...The best stories I hear inspire me to want to create my own versions of those stories. I think this is not because the story I am hearing is bad, I think it's because it excited me enough to spur me into thinking of my own ideas about that story.

How does this apply to games? My point here is that at the base of all rewards we can receive in an MMO, the greatest reward is receiving questions to which we feel impassioned to find our own answers to.

The reason learning new skills in an MMO is fun, is because we now start to imagine the possibilities of using those skills in our next battle.

The reason a good boss fight is fun is because the tides of the battle can change at any moment, and we are required to ask ourselves in that moment, how we can best react to the situation.

In order to make a game completely engaging, it may help us to consider what questions we are asking the players. The questions need to be engaging, and they need to continually build upon each other. Continuing the analogy, if I were to ask you some simple 2nd grade math questions over and over, after exploring all the possible questions, we would have exhausted our interest in exploring further. The questions need to build up and up, and they need to get us thinking. After you log out of a good MMO, you may find yourself thinking all the next day how you can up your DPS or Heals, and start forming a plan in your mind. Then you go back the next day and start to work on it...Along the way, there are things that try to slow you down, presenting more questions...How do I overcome these? Can I do it?

The next time you get a new piece of end-game gear, check yourself to see if you're closely observing your stats, seeking any possible increases. That increase in stats is your means of exploring your new item. You may also show your item to your friends. You are curious about how they will react.

All in the name of fun. I hope this article got you thinking, too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Catro (Cats of teh Rings is Online)

Don't know why but I felt like sharing these cats I've been collecting from the forums. If you hate lolcats turn back now or forever hold your piece!

wahahahah hope you enjoyed that ;)

Games need to be Projects, not just vehicles for game companies

I just read an absolutely fantastic article here from Gamasutra entitled: Opinion-How Can We Reshape the Game Industry

Read it, love it, spread the word. Maybe somebody will try it. Maybe someday we will have unique games coming out instead of sequels and safe bets. Make sure you buy your unique games that do come out and vote for cool, unique and new with your dollars instead of supporting the tried and true (and tired) old franchises. If consumers refuse to change all we'll be playing in 10 years is Mario Kart, Tomb Raider, and Grand Theft Auto (or Auto Homicide 10 as I will affectionately call it) I dunno why people like to eat the same stuff all the time I think its like McDonald's founding principle though, if people know what they are going to get, they like that.

However in Hollywood, you can have creativity AND people can know they're gonna get something good, because they recognize director's and actor's names and they can read reviews and know. Therefore I say this IS doable and feasible. What say ye?