Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shin Megami Tensei: A glimpse

Arm-thingy makes me cool

Anytime you hear a MMORPG is free to play, you are almost guaranteed for it to be from average to utter crap. However I must say Aeria Games has made a pretty decent game here. For one I've yet to play a MMORPG with combat this active and just plain old fun. With it behaving more like an action game then a RPG, you constantly have to pay attention to what enemy your facing and what attacks you've been using. If the enemy is about to rush you, instead of hoping your 20% dodge kicks in you can activate a defensive mode. This lets you block the attack and then counter if your quick enough. This is me preparing the counter in the Virtual Training Room. The pink tells me it's working!

Watch as I defend...with my sword..over here...wait...what?!

I guess pictures of me fighting a strange turkey with an onion on its head is a good point to actually talk about Shin Megami Tensei, or MegaTen for short. The MegaTen series is about what happened when some goofy scientists started playing with teleportation. As any game fan knows this is a TERRIBLE idea! Surprisingly, demons suddenly turned up. Of course there is a number of people that can fight the demons, they’re called Demon Busters. What would have been an epic struggle between demons and humans goes to the sidelines as nuclear war breaks out. Most of the planet is eradicated with the few human survivors fighting against themselves AND the demons.

All is not lost however. A huge flood comes to kill the majority of the demons in Tokyo. Humanity finally decides to stop fighting each other and band together. Things are looking hopeful. Then that’s when the plot line of this game occurs. Yes, a plot line. Be shocked and stunned.

Help also comes along in the ability to make contracts with demons. You make a contract with a demon and they help you. Think Warlock pets from World of Warcraft except you can pick almost any demon you come across, as long as you’re at a high enough level. Once you find the perfect demon for you, all you do is start up a conversation with them. Some respond well to simple greetings others to threats or taunts. The whole concept to me is very entertaining. Here is a picture of someone I came across with an “Angel” demon..


While the graphics are actually pretty decent, music exactly what you expect from a JRPG, not all is perfect in this little world just riddled with demon goodness. For one your character moves ungodly slow. With each area being pretty large it takes quite a while to get to places. If there is some type of movement increase later in the game that would just be swell. Also if your playing full screen and you alt+tab out expect the game to crash on you when you attempt to get back to playing.

The UI itself is cluttered, even though the tutorial explains where everything is at I wish there was faster access without having to make new key binds. I would love to see a better mini-map system as well. The current one is just an empty radar with a few dots on it. While it's functional I just would like a more detailed one like the one World of Warcraft uses.

For some reason I wager this guy is tough as nails...probably the eye patch

So far Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine is looking to be solid MMO. As a fan of the series this game spawns from I'm pleased as a fan of both the story and the game play. I can only hope it escapes from the drudgery that most MMORPGs serve as you progress through the game. I'll keep you posted. I'll also give you toast...buttery...delicious...toast...

Your own personal Leeroy Jenkins

Occasionally I get afflicted with gargantuan amounts of laziness and rather you write than myself. That or I'm curious of your opinions on certain subject matters and leave the floor up to you. Either way, I propose if you dare to share some of the moments when you've "Noob'ed" it up. Some error that while hilarious was also disastrous! To get the ball going I'll share one of my MANY adventures that dubbed me Barney Fife at one point.

I was on my rogue one day playing World of Warcraft. My guild had got together to kill Onyxia, who was at the time a pretty big thing. So we're all lined up, talking over Ventrillo and preparing to rip her a new one. I was on the Even side, so I'm suppose to go left while half the raid goes right, and the main tank charges straight through.

I however "slipped" a finger while talked to someone next to me explaining what was about to happen * I was showing off...but soon I would be failing at showing off =(*. So as my fingers betrayed me I ran right into the whelps and didn't stop. So the eggs pop, whelps pop all around me....

And the raid wiped. Big time. No one was ready for whelps or even expecting it at a very easy part of the fight. Needless to say my friend was laughing quite a bit at my mistake. Anyway *cough* we proceeded to recover from the wipe and killed her. Though the guild is now fully disbanded now, we still chat together on our old forums. I'm still dubbed "Barney Fife" for this and many other incidents.

There! I shared! Your turn!

Friday, December 5, 2008

An EverQuest Experience: My hatred toward huts..

"You got the wrong guy, I didn't kill anyone.."

This is my Beastlord, Ahrimin. As you may have gathered from my previous posts I'm hunting in Blackfeather Roost. Despite my Iskar heritage, my worship of the God of Fear Cazic-Thule, and the sharp pointy thing in my hand...I'm a nice guy. However my sunny disposition didn't sway the Harpies from attacking me for no reason. After defending myself, I was told by a local satyr I should probably destroy all the harpy huts I come across. If I do, he'll somehow give me experience points. Since I do everything other people tell me....I found I suddenly hate huts. Passionately.

"I'm insane with anger!"

So as I reach higher up the cliffs, I find the huts that weird satyr was speaking of. The sight of them drove me apparently into a bloodthirsty madness. I suddenly rushed up to the hut and started bashing it in with my fists. Aside from hurting my hands it had no real effect. These huts must have been made out of...something harder then fists! I had no choice but to use my natural powers of ice. So I prepared to send icy coldness and...cold the hut into dust!

"Why are my feet melting in the glowie?!?!"

It did the trick! My Ice shard ripped the hut apart, revealing more evil harpies! I wondered how they got in there and how they planned on getting out as we battled. It's as if they were as stupid as me. The fight didn't last long, possibly due to the atrophy the harpies have undergone due to being locked in a hut for so long. I spent the rest of the day ripping open the homes of individuals that had sealed themselves in.

In short, it was fun. I'm hoping to get up to 65 soon. However it's a huge pain to get my 63-65 spells as no one really hunts in those areas anymore. Oh well, I'll cope with it somehow. Tomorrow is my first impressions of Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine. So far I can say the game is a blast. Until then!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MMORPG - What it needs (Aka I rant some)

What happened to fun?

It seems games these days, both online and off, stress more over innovation than any type of entertainment. The all important "What have gamers never seen.." syndrome has spread through out the gaming industry to the point where we find ourselves riddled with games bursting with "innovation" but lacking fun. MMORPGs are falling victim to the same scenario.

Phasing. A new "innovation" that Blizzard is using with it's popular MMORPG World of Warcraft. What it does it puts you in a outside instance depending on what quest you are in. For example, lets say your doing a quest that has the undead attacking Ironforge. While you are on the quest you are "phased" to a different Ironforge than everyone who has already done the quest and those who haven't. So you'll be all alone in the city, unless of course someone else is doing the quest and is at that step as well. Now while this is attempting to give you the illusion that your actions can change the game world, it fails miserably and only highlights that your playing a game. So your in the phased version of Ironforge with the undead attacking and buildings on fire yet your the only one that can react to that. Everyone else outside the phased instance including your own party members are wondering why your freaking out with " OMG Look at all the undead!!?!". All the while the trade channels are going on interupting the flow of it all. Atmosphere is one of the biggest drawing points in a RPG. However to suddenly be in a world by yourself while everyone in the trade channels exchanges Chuck Norris jokes will only remind you painfully where you are.

My experiences with phasing have been boring to the point of sheer madness if not frustrating. While the attempt to bring back the epic storyline of the Warcraft RTS series is worth commending, Blizzard comes up far too short. Especially if you slap the thousand " Kill 6 X monsters " quests next to it. Gamers want to FEEL powerful, epic, and to look it as well. Take the success of games such as Gears of War. It is no different than previous FPS except that it makes you feel like you did something cool, or did something legendary. Look at the success of a large chunk of action-oriented games and you'll see the ones that make you the player feel like your awesome will be the winners. Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia, Sonic Unleashed(Sun levels), Gears of War 1/2, and the list could keep on going. MMORPGs need to consider that THIS is what players want.

No matter if your playing on EverQuest, World of Warcraft, Warhammer, or even table-top Dungeons & Dragons nothing beats feeling like a hero(or anti-hero). Ambiance has to be established for a player to thoroughly enjoy their experience. A story that evolves around the characters, a world that interacts with the players deeper then ever before, and a developer that encourages a player to have fun is what is needed for a great MMO. Have whole cities be destroyed by players if need be if this is what it takes. They can be rebuilt. Until then your logging into a static world that will never change in the slightest. It becomes tedious real quick.

So games will probably keep focusing on innovation. It's the next generation word that is quickly taking over how we view and play our games. While innovation is grand, consider making a game for just the sake of fun. It doesn't matter if the concept has been done to death. As long as it's entertaining that is all that matters.

Winter is coming, so here are some free games!

If your any way as much of a dork as I am, then you know that I read George R.R. Martins "A song of Ice and Fire" series. Grats to you and your fine choice in reading. Anyway, winter IS coming for my quiet little home and I thought I would give out some presents to everyone that bothers reading my stuff. What are these presents?!


In my endless struggle to save my self from boredom without spending a dime, I've come across a treasure trove of free games that you can play online. Also I'm loading up Mabinogi so I'll snatch some pictures and talk about my experiences with the game.

Also, just for giggles, I'm going to do a weird goofy thing in EverQuest and share how it goes. All I'll say it involves an army of gnomes without pants charging a capital city.

So here are the free games!

Sauerbraten - A quake like FPS with free multiplayer. A lot of fun. If you ever wanna play with me I'll most likely be playing in an Insta CTF game under the name Danshir. =)

Mabinogi - A free to play MMORPG with a heavy anime art style. I've not played it yet, but it looks pretty fun.

Perfect World - Another free to play MMORPG with a dose of oriental themes. Plays a lot like World of Warcraft in some regards. The graphics fully turned up are average at times, and great at others. I really dig the water effects.

Dreams of Mirror Online - An interesting MMORPG based upon Chinese mythology. Not played it, but it looks...unique. It's still free =).

City of Heroes Free Trial - A free trial of the comic book geeks nirvana. This game can be worth playing for the sake of the character customization. My greatest achievement is making Captain Planet.

That's sadly all I have for now. As I find more goodies I'll post them up here, even if their not MMORPGs. Anyway I'm off to install Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine. I JUST got the beta invite as I was typing this post. Once I make a character and play I'll post some pictures and give it a review!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A brief video for Mabinogi

So I tracked down a little video from the Mabinogi website for your viewing pleasure(or displeasure)

I'm still waiting on this to download. (I'm also downloading several other files, so bare with me here.) However once I get it up and running I'll post a full preview and hopefully a review. If you want to check this game out yourself go here!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mabinogi - An anime take to the MMORPG genre?

Recently I've come across another free to play MMORPG, Mabinogi. Now while Perfect World International is heavy with its oriental influences, Mabinogi is heavy with its anime/manga influence. The graphics are actually quite nice if you set them all the way up, looking akin to alot of Cel-shaded anime games such as Naruto: The Broken Bond. Soon as I get the game installed I'll post some pictures and talk about the game a bit more in detail.

However its late, so night!

Fansy the Famous Bard

Something I came across the other day that brought a quick chuckle was an old website dedicated to the greatest roleplayer ever to exist. I don't mean the depth of his background or anything really story related. The pure hilarious activities this person performed back in the days of yore of EverQuest are still worth reading, especially if you play/played. So, I present...

Fansy the Famous Bard , GO GO GOOD TEAM!

Wrath of the Lich King, Deathknight, and then..?

So unless something drastic happens during the final fight with Ner'zhul/Arthas/The Lich King, this expansion will tie a lot of loose ends in the series storyline. With many of the villains of the series either slain or dealt with, what would be left? A surprise resurrection from Sargeras?

I'm curious of what YOU think. Where do you think the storyline should go once Wrath concludes? Deathwing is probably what they will shoot for I think, especially introducing the Chamber of the Aspects in this current expansion.

So please leave a comment explaining where you think WoW will go from here. The best theorycraft gets a free cookie.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A EverQuest Experience: Why the %#@& did you succor us?!

I try to post between my reviews, previews, and just idle thoughts of the games we love to become addicted to the point our spouse leaves us with stories of my own personal gaming experience. Well this one happened just a few minutes earlier, so I'm a bit steamed about it still. I was hunting in Blackfeather Roost still, all decked out at 62 with a brand new pet and everything. The day had seemed to be a good one in Norrath, as the Enchanted Harpy blade dropped, a item that focuses your pet spells to be a level higher.

So I suddenly have an even better pet, and getting some great AA experience. The leader of my party, a Beserker, invites a druid to join us. Druid is one of those very quiet players, which is never a good sign. So we proceed further up the roost. After a while we come across a named spawn and a quest mob that the beserker needed.

The druid runs up, aggros them both, then aggros some more harpies. He brings 6 mobs into our camp and wipes almost everyone. I escaped thanks to my brave lil warder and my running like hell. Everyone gets rezzed, and we attempt round 2...

The druid AGAIN runs up, aggros the named and the quest mob, and then SUCCORS us to Butcherblock Mountains. If you are unfamiliar with the spell Succor, it teleports the whole party to a location. Its basic use is as a " Oh Crap " spell to save the whole party from dying. We were not dying at the time, so there was no reason to use this. So here we are in Butcherblock. A good 30 minutes to a hour run back to where we were.

It ruined a great hunting day. I hate that druid now.

So much.

JumpGate Evolution : A closer look

A few eons ago I promised to take a deeper look into JumpGate Evolution. Well the time of prophecy has come! I've gathered as much information as I could about the game, though hopefully I can steal myself a Beta invite so I can give a first hand review. However until that day I have pilfered through forums, gazed at pictures, and read all I could about this very interesting MMOG(Massive Multiplayer Online Game).

JumpGate Evolution is, as you probably guessed already, a Space MMO. Now while the majority of the world is used to MMO games like World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest, and so on JumpGate doesn't play at all like they do. Instead of a turn-based combat system, it will use a more action based twitch combat. So for your attacks hit or miss, if you dodge or not, will depend on your ability rather then how high your offense or defense skills are. This in particular is what attracts me to the game. Most MMO games are kinda bland when it comes to combat, all the you hitting/missing/evading etc is all based upon some number that you have barely any control over gets rather dull.

So while combat is controlled by your fingers and reflexes, there are crafting and trade professions that are controlled by the usual MMO way. However there are no restrictions to these, you can do them all, or none. Also with no restrictions are the " Classes ". While not used in the typical sense, you do have different types of ships. Light to heavy combat ships, mining vessels, and so on. However there is no restrictions to the ships either. If you wanted to be a miner and fly around in a heavy combat frigate, you can.

Hopefully I can get a spot for Beta testing, so I can post how the actual gameplay is. However until then I can only say the game sounds great. Also bare in mind the pictures above were taken from the games alpha stage, so there may be slight changes or major. If you want to look at the huge gallery of pictures or just read more about this game, go to JumpGate Evolution!

Until then, take care!

World of Warcraft - Gear isn't everything

Let the twinks tell you that min/maxing is the only way to play World of Warcraft, or any MMORPG for that matter. Years of playing WoW has shown me that no matter how well geared someone is, the deciding factor in the best DPS, Tanking, healing, and PVP is and forever will be ability.

Back when I was playing World of Warcraft nightly for a few hours if not longer, I played a Hunter and was leveling up in The Burning Crusade zones. I'm level 61, so I'm just now starting to get some decent loot from the boring quests scattered about Outland. I manage to snag a spot into a group to do an instance run into ramparts. We had several 70's with us, one of them a enhancement shaman.

Number 1 in DPS was not the 68 Mage, nor the 70 shaman, nor anyone else but the little 61 hunter and his crossbow. Now I'm not saying the players I was with were bad, but this is just an example of how skill can pull you ahead. While gear is great, it should never be considered the main factor of a character.

Also, Hunters rock.
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