Friday, December 9, 2011

Having fun, taking names.

I've been doing the Volume 3 book 3 chapters of Lotro lately, they were ok soloing adventure type stuff. I kind of miss forced grouping though. There's no motivation to even get a small group of my friends, who I have already made, together to do anything really. I am enjoying Fire Emblem still, although I do see Anton's point that it is very much like a trial and error puzzle, I don't mind that. I'm doing it on hard mode, where I have to reload all the time cuz people keep getting killed unless I'm super careful. And I agree with Anton that Rune Factory is grindy, but its also very relaxing so I like that, and I'm incredibly patient so I don't mind the slow going. (Although the relationships should have had more stuff programmed in along the way).

My family has warned me not to get any Wii games so I may be in for a haul this Christmas. We'll see what happens. I got Rune Factory last year and played it all year round. I also got Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and only played that for like 3 days. I'm still trying to get into Monster Hunter but the inability to save easily until the end of missions makes it unfriendly to my family life where I sometimes have to drop everything  immediately due to some "emergency" or other. With Lotro at least it saves some progress if I drop everything and shut it down. Anyways, MMO's are kind of not very family friendly for that reason IMO.

I tried out DCUniverse On;line in pvp mode and got ganked to death. Then I tried it in PVE mode and it was ok. But, the combat, while fun for a bit, gets just as boring as any MMO's combat pretty quickly. And the plot of the game is very very methodical, so I wasn't really hooked. Can't wait to play some Icewind Dale 2 with my family over Christmas break, given the time to do so.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Trying out things

Hi All,

Lately I've been trying a lot of games. I'm still downloading DCUniverse Online. It takes forever. I am trying out City of Heroes with my siblings and wife. It still has a fun groove to it, but I think I liked the old intro more. I tried Lego Universe and Puzzle Pirates. Puzzle Pirates is cute and a nice source of free puzzle games. Lego Universe is good looking, works well, well, executed, polished, and.... not very much fun. I think this is why they just announced that they are going out of business. In spite of being an adult, I like to create things. But Lego Universe is mostly about dodging things and whacking monsters, not building creatively, as far as I could tell. Oh yes, and doing quests, World of Warcraft style.

I've read in the news that Star Trek Online may not make it to FTP launch as they are laying people off as we speak. And sorry Lotro fans, I haven't explored the new content of Isengard yet but you can be sure I'll get some nice screenshots up when I do. Instead I've been doing a once a week group that is level 12 right now.. gonna be a while before we do anything that's new for me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

News News News!

City of Heroes Freedom is now LIVE!
Lord of the Rings Isengard is now LIVE!
Non-violent MMO glitch is now LIVE!

Ever feel spoiled for choice? I do.

--Please continue on down to read Anton's great article about League of Legends new Arathi Basin type map. :)

First Look at League of Legends: Dominion

Now that League of Legends offers a shorter, 20-minute mode, I will need at LEAST 5 hours to play every night.

The map:

The Crystal Scar consists of 5 capture the flag points. The map is circular, with the 5 capture points positioned where the tips of a star would touch the edge of the circle. The bottom-right and bottom-left capture points are located very near to each of the two 5-man teams' respawn/starting base.


Starting out, teams capture the two capture points on their side, and also compete for first capture of the top-most point. They can split into two groups, 1 or 2 should go to the bottom-most point and defend that position, then the other 3-4 should rush to the top of the map and try to get the point there first. One player should grab the other point on the way.

From this point, it is a matter of working your way clockwise and counter-clockwise towards adjacent capture points from the ones you control. Focus on defense and push minions, kind of like normal tower protection in Summoner's Rift and Twisted Treeline.

The goal is to degrade the 500 hit points of the enemy's crystal, which will count down slowly if you have 3 capture points or more.

There are no neutral monsters, but minions spawn from your controlled capture points. Capture points have towers that will attack enemies, but will stop if the tower starts getting neutralized.

Also, there are power-up spaces for speed boosts and healing.

Many items are not sold that you are used to.

Mana regenerates quickly, xp and gold increment very quickly in this map.


I played 5 games, and was not greeted well by people who'd been playing for 2 days before I got a chance to try. Somehow they already expect you to know what's going on. The 3rd game, I joined friends, and it went great, but we got matched with harder opponents and lost the 5th game. It's a fast-paced, hyper-charged version of the game where you can hit max level 18 in 10-15 minutes. Just be sure to go to bed at night.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Portal 1 free through the 20th on Steam

Go get Portal on Steam for free, one of the best, most concise gaming experiences of all time, through the 20th of Sept. 2011.

It appears to be tied to this educational promotion:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lotro failed to launch in China due to CDC's ineptitude

I try to report relevant news here and make insightful comments on it. So, sorry citizens of the "people's republic" of China. No Lotro for you.

"In September 2006, CDC Games licensed the exclusive rights to distribute, in China, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO), a MMORPG based upon the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For the past several years, CDC Games has experienced significant delays in the continued development and launch of this game. Since initially licensing this game, CDC Games has invested approximately $10.0 million in licensing, development and other costs related to it, including a $4.0 million initial non-refundable license fee."

After all that investment, they failed to launch the product. A product somebody else had made and their only real job was to translate it into Chinese. I'm surprised anybody gives money to them anymore. I feel bad for the Chinese consumers, who's only real quality MMO on offer is WoW. This is not only a huge loss for Turbine monetarily and a setback for MMO companies in penetrating the Chinese market, but its also a good example of how outsourcing doesn't always work. In fact more and more people are insourcing instead of outsourcing since outsourcing often produces poorer quality due to communication difficulties and control/qa problems.


Monday, September 12, 2011

New way to get Adobe products!

Just got a new tablet pc, so I needed software. By checking, I noticed a new pay feature...You can now pay monthly. Even where I work, other artists were not aware so I'm sharing the discovery.

The monthly payment lets you subscribe to Adobe products. Any of their collections or individual pieces of software can be paid for monthly. If you commit to a year's subscription, the fee is about 30% less than a single month.

I will be using Flash primarily, and Photoshop, with Illustrator occasionally. So I subscribed for 1 year to the Web Premium edition for $95/month vs the $1800 it would have cost to buy.

I get the latest version, CS 5.5 and after a year I may just purchase CS 6 when it comes out. This was a great way to spread out the spending, especially since I also just bought the pc.

If I ever needed to use After Effects for a project, I could subscribe for a month or 2. I'm really excited about the new subscription offer.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

STO going FTP!

This December maybe I will be going where everyone else in the blogosphere has gone before. Star Trek Online is going Free to Play, which means I will definitely be trying it out. Anton's adventures in the game have of course already perked my interest but I also need to mention that while I was bed ridden for a week or two last Winter with an auto-immune illness called Guillien Berre' syndrome, I watched all of the Next Generation seasons :) (as well as Xmen the animated series)

My wife and I are now big Star Trek fans, and will be possibly making some small donations of time and money to this game soon. I am chomping at the bit for City of Heroes to come out. Can't wait!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yes, I am still playing video games..

And no, I'm not dead yet!

Sorry for the dearth of blog posts. I haven't really had much to blog about lately. I've tried a number of free MMO's, none of which was worth writing about. I have tried to solo in Champions Online since I can't get two computers working so that at the least my wife can join me but the classes I choose (mind and glacier) just aren't so great at soloing. And when you are out of stars(you lose a star every time you die and it affects your ability ot do damage and take damage), it starts to feel like a hopeless cause. I need to get our home computer fixed so that the universe will be right again.

I am really enjoying Rune Factory Frontier. It launched in winter of 2009 and is a fun little game which has a marriage, dungeon and farming system as well as fishing, forging, cooking, and more. It has festivals, lumberjacking, mining, etc.. Very similar to harvest moon. Just more dungeon stuff added in. And more mysterious events, so its a little less peaceful.

I am also really enjoying Fire Emblem. I just borrowed the new Fire Emblem for the Wii from my dad (Radiant Dawn) which continues the story. More on that later. I'm really looking forward to trying out the following MMOs: City of Heroes free to play, and Dragon's Nest sometimes in August (I don't play beta's anymore so I'm waiting for official launches...)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Aaaand back to Neverwinter Nights...

With summer arrived, some old friends urged me to come back to play Neverwinter Nights with them. So I did. And now I'm hooked just like I was 2 years ago.

I have slept little this week. I might just have to limit myself a little better next week! But it's been so fuun...

I stopped playing League of Legends to fit this in. I was killing my team at the higher levels anyways by not being quite as skilled as most people who get that far. It's probably better that way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City of Heroes is going Free to Play!

Finally, something to be excited about! One of my favorite old games is going free to play. OK, now that I think about it, this may be exciting for me, but for those who haven't played the game yet, it is less so. Still, Once it does go free-to-play this fall, you (the reader) should try it out. Here's some reasons why:

City of Heroes pioneered:

Auto-Scaling dungeons,
Free form archetypes with chained progression,
Having a primary and secondary archetype,
Travel that isn't SLOW,
Grouping that is fun all the time for everyone involved,
Quick recovery from death in teams, (Most people have a res move they can use)
Sidekicking (raising a friend temporarily to your level, and the opposite, lower your friend to one level above you too)
and more!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Addicted to League of Legends!

For the last month, I've been specializing in playing Lux in League of Legends. I recommend the game to anyone who likes a real challenge and a fast-paced game with a high-fantasy feel. You have to like PvP. I never tried PvP in WoW and I might have liked that based on what I've found in League of Legends.

About the game:

League of Legends is a PvP 5v5 game that has a similar look to Warcraft 3 (it originated as a Warcraft 3 mod, in fact). But you only play one character instead of building structures and recruiting dozens/hundreds of characters.

Each team defends a base. There are three roads you can take to get to the other team's base, and each road has turrets that must be destroyed to move forward.

During a game, which lasts about 40-60 minutes, you "lane" with another player on either the top or bottom road, leveling up your character fighting enemy minions while trying to score hits on opposing players from the other team in an attempt to slow their leveling.

After a certain level is obtained, each team starts to group up and ambush players from the other team, enabling them an advantage with which they can take out more of the enemy turrets until they get near enough to destroy the enemy base.

Along the way, you also earn gold for buying items to enhance your character. And you can go into the in-between places between the roads to find neutral monsters that grant temporary bonuses to your strength.

I have played about 65 matches in the last 6-8 weeks. It's a heart-pounding game that always leaves me wanting another match.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And in Other news

In other news, I've really been playing Champions Online's early plotline and enjoying it. I've also been playing Lotro and did the Moria chapters with my captain Tordekel (some of them) solo and it is definitely nice to not wait for a group but it is a different experience solo and definitely not as much fun in certain ways. Still, while I think more options are alwyas better, I think groups should get better rewards as they do in DnDOnline.

As a side note, have you noticed the flood of free to play games lately? Two self styled "adult" ones just went Free to Play (Age of Conan and APB Cops and Robbers MMO) and Aion just launched a Free Trial program as well as Rift. I was tempted to try out the Aion and Rift ones, but... I dunno if I can handle another fantasy MMO right now. Maybe later. (Of course there will be better MMO's competing for my attention later ...:)) Now world of tanks, that's one I gotta try soon, I almost downloaded it this morning.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two more to look out for (maybe)

Marvel Universe Online (could be fun!) Is back in development and coming out sometime.. soon-"tm". Partricualrly intersting was this interview with the guy writing the story, Brian Bendis. I'll sum up for you if you don't want to read it:

The game will be Free to Play, it will be aimed at adults, not kids, and it will be female friendly. (Hopefully I can get my wife to play, if it's good) It will allow you to play your favorite marvel characters.. I hope it lets you make your own also though. Yes I know, I'm counter-cultural. And Maybe they will section off all the wolverines into their own instances to keep them from meeting or something.. lol (I doubt it.)

Second, in open beta today is Wakfu, a turn based strategy MMO with Square helping but mainly pproduced by Ankama games I believe. something I am definitely going to try since I liked the concept behind Dofus but it was too shallow of strategy for me to really enjoy.

Lastly..I'm having a housewarming party in our new home tomorrow. Cooking lots of yummy Filipino food tonight. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lots of "Free" dom in MMO's these days

There's been a lot of free MMO's launching these days. Some that might have slipped under the radar by accident, others perhaps justifiably unnoticed. I haven't tried them so I don't know.

But here are some intriguing looking new releases for those of you with the time to examine the fruits of other's labors:

1. Mythos just went live in Europe and is open to US residents as well. This is defintely a game Keen and Graev should check out, as well as other Diablo fans, like my brothers.

2. World of Tanks launched not too long ago and looks loaded with panzer blasting goodness. I really ought to try it. I loved black and white Sands of Fire on the old Macintoshes and this has to be better ... right?

3. Ether Saga Odyssey launched yesterday in our country (USA). It looks to be an MMO with pet capture, growth and ..release? (I just added that last one to see if you were paying attention) Basically a Pokemon type MMO. Could be very fun. Or not, depends on the grind level inherent in this decidedly cutesy Chibi style MMO. Here's a link to the site which has a trailer

4. Lastly, Dragon's Nest. An action (and by that I mean it probably doesn't have you clicking on icons and waiting for your character to do things like WoW/Lotro) MMO with super simple plot and super simple purpose, to be fun. Here's a screenshot of a guy witha  sword that looks like a bat fighting scary ladies with big claws, just for fun:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Magicka on Sale!

Get it now, just a few hours left. Half off in promotion of the new Magicka:Vietnam Downloadable content. I just bought a 4-pack of copies to deal out to friends for just $15. There's also the full pack that includes the game, the Vietnam DLC, and the Wizard's Survival Pack, for just $8. I'll be playing this game some more with some friends! Go to to get it

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another vote for Magicka

Anton pointed me towards Magicka so I tried it and I am very impressed. Apparently it uses the same technology I was using to make our game, XNA creation studio. at 10 bucks, its worth checking out for anyone. Plenty of humor and creative spell casting with many combinations of elements. It gets an A for the day in my book.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Finally, somebody is getting the picture

Torchlight 2 is launching with no subscription fee. Finally somebody has figured out that while you might make more money for a month or two, you'll get a lot more customers (including me) if you don't put hurdles in the way for your audience. I really like the Pay for Content and then Own it Model that DnDOnline uses. Lotro uses the more questionable one which is "pay for content and stat increases..." not as cool, but still better than: pay 15 bucks a month whether you want to play or not, and constantly ask yourself, "Is this really worth my money? Is this money really worth worrying about? Can I play enough of this to get my money's worth and not get in trouble with my spouse?" I can't wait for Guild Wars 2. Definitely going to try it out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thumbs up, Thumbs down

I tried two AA Free MMO's this last week, EverQuest 2 and Champions Online

My feeling are mixed about each of them. They are bpth worth checking out for any of your fans of MMO's out there. It only takes a couple hours for Champions and less than an hour for Everquest.

Some of my feelings (this is not a review, just impressions) about EverQuest 2 are that it sure has a ton of types of crafting nodes, the quests are kinda neat, they show you what you can do in the game, and the zone I picked was very pretty. (plus) Nothing even got close to killing me so the challenge wasn't really there. (minus) And the combat isn't that hard with the caster I got. (minus) I wonder if its different for other classes. (?) I do think its interesting that it downloads content dynamically (big plus) and the quest tracker system made sure I never got lost wondering where to do things. (plus and minus) Overall it feels like a lot of chores to me though so I passed on it.

In regards to Champions Online, it feels less intricate than EverQuest and less well executed than City of Heroes at this point in its life, however, it is FUN (at least for me) However it wasn't fun for me when I tried in October (minus) so I think choosing a tank and making sure the graphics settings were set low enough to prevent lag might have had something to do with it this time. (plus)  It is a simple beat-em-up game with quests you find by exploring and some that have no obvious exclamation marks (plus) I loved the ability to pick up almost anything around me, including ambulances, giant rocks, etc.. and throw it at the enemy or at anyone(plus) Character creation is cosmetically kind of close to city of heroes level, but not quite there (plus) but if you aren't paying for your account, you have to take a preset character build which is a plus or minus depending on your personal preference. I am going to try and get my wife and some other friends interested in this one, since I can tell that playing in groups is where its at later.

Friday, February 25, 2011

15% off all MMO's at Direct2Drive

This is purely informational for my wonderful readers. I am not getting any kickbacks for it. I noticed this in the news: Direct2Drvie is having a 15% off sale on all MMO's sold there. Sale ends Monday. Enjoy ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Run, Forrest, run!

Here's something you may not know about me. I'm a runner. But not like the athlete kind. I'm more like this guy here. I was in 7th grade Cross Country the very year Forrest Gump came out. Do you know what that's like? "Run, Forrest, run!" was shouted at me repeatedly every time I ran past the school grounds. Funny enough, jogging to the bus stop now, I was even treated to the same phrase once as I went by a park in Salt Lake just 2-3 months ago. It's probably one of those same 7th graders, who never quite grew out of it.

I've never run a full Marathon, though I ran on the Cross Country team from 7th-12th grade. But most of my running these days is just to get from place to place. My daily routine to get to work involves running 1 1/2 miles to the bus, riding 30 minutes to Salt Lake City, then running another 1/2 mile to my work. I get rides home, most of the time, though.

That's 2 miles a day for me, 5 days a week. Most people think I'm crazy if I mention that. Especially when I add that it's in jeans, wearing a backpack containing a bible, a lunch bag, gloves/hat/scarf/umbrella for unexpected weather, a laptop computer, and other knick-knacks.

When running in near zero-degree weather one day, my father-in-law said "Maybe you're not such a wimp after all." Gotta love in-laws.

In High School, my friends always tried to slow me down in the hallways (outdoor hallways at my school, not the crowded indoor kind). But somewhere growing up, it pervaded my mind that walking is slow. Maybe it was my parents, who started me jogging with them when I was 5. Maybe it was video games, where character can run forever without slowing down (and if they don't, it's the most aggravating experience to move from area to area). Maybe it's just my inner desire to be different. Most likely it's all of that and more.

Why is it so weird to run everywhere? I ask myself this all the time. For me, it's totally normal. For me, this is how I stay in shape. This is why I eat anything I want all the time and have never had a diet. People in Kenya do it all the time. Why is our culture so lazy?

What I get out of running everywhere all the time is more than just a free-for-all diet. There's a definite sense of self-sufficiency that is imbued in me from being able to get from place to place without a vehicle. It's empowering. A friend last week asked me to come see his new office, 2 miles from where I work. I didn't have a car, but no worries. I just ran the 2 miles each way to see him. It wasn't even a big deal. The biggest problem was all the stop lights I had to sit through at every street corner. They delayed my arrival almost as much as the actual travel time did.

Why else can I not stop myself running? Well, I literally move 3 times as fast running as I do walking. Once you've grown accustomed to that pace, it's impossible to walk and wait that long to get places on foot. Only if I'm chatting with a friend, or if I'm just feeling really tired.

I once passed a college classmate in the halls on our way to the same place and stopped to chat a bit, and he commented on my pace. He too is an animator like me, and he said he prefers to take his time getting places so he can enjoy the scenery.

But he doesn't know...There's more to experiencing outdoors than looking at it. You can feel the wind much better when you move. You can feel your own body working, every part, to make your legs crank you along and arms pumping you forward...You get a better sense of depth of a place when you move through it quickly. The trees and branches 20 feet ahead come sprawling at you. Moving through an environment lets you see it in a more interesting way. After all, I'm an animator. Let the painters look at every detail. I want to see it move.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Brief Respite

Sorry for the lack in postage. I have been over my head with work, the kind that pays the bills. I had no weekend last weekend due to an emergency. Hopefully it will get worked through and things will be fine. (Knock on wood, crosses fingers) We've made a lot of progress though and the dust is clearing now thanks to a lot of heroic efforts. I am VERY glad to have a weekend this time around though. My wife and I did Bruinen Ford skirmish for the first time a couple days ago and she really enjoyed it, even though we got creamed the first time. I going to play Total Annihilation now on GameRanger with some friends from work. Will prolly play Dungeon Seige next week, and I hope I get Anton in on the action for an hour too. The more the merrier ;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cataclysm Screenshots

Okay! I finally fulfilled my promise. Screenshots of my goblin, Ozari. I must say, I was very impressed with the goblin starting zones. It's a story-based portion of the game, where you begin as the most popular goblin in Kezan--Your supporters want you to become the prince/princess of Kezan. But too late for that! Enter Deathwing, and the rest is a long escape/survival story, with support from the Orcs of the Horde. I wound up in Orgrimmar around level 11, quite attached to my new character, who is now at level 17.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Want to play DCUO

I want to buy DCUO... but I can't, at least not yet. I want to play WoW with Anton and Stone, but I can't. We just put in a bid for a home and will be bidding on others shortly in all likelihood. We are looking to move to the southern Silicon Valley someplace. Once I get moved and housing payments stabilize my spending power should increase. (crosses fingers) And yes, once my birthday rolls around I'm ninja-ing back my Wii and you can expect a review on Monster hunter Tri, Rune Factory Frontier, and a backlog of other games...

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Play more games.

Stop being so organized and getting stuff done.

Spend less time cleaning the house and more time being lazy and goofing off.

Eat more snacks and treats.

Gain a few pounds.

Play more games.