Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh the Holidaze.

What a long week it has been! Since I've come home for the holidays I've been chopping ice, shopping, visiting relatives, and being just sick as a dog. Oh the fun of the holidays.
Unfortunately I have not had nearly as much time for Vanguard as I would have liked. I've created a cute Halfling Bard on Shidreth, haven't gotten him above level 10. I've been having a pretty good time, as everyone else has already stated the world is huge, the skylines are incredible, and diplomacy is neat. I did however remember what turned me off about the game(aside from the bugs). The default UI theme, the widgets, the look and feel of the interface just feels so plastic fantasy, it seriously turns me off from the game. Not to mention the target font is ugly as sin, and in every screen shot it is exactly the same, big, and blocky. So my next big thing is to try out some of the UI mods over at VGInterface. I've had the client crash on me a few times, which is strange because at launch I actually had no problems with client stability, unlike most people.

In other news, for Christmas my Mother was so adept at present getting, she picked me up Call of Duty 4, and Guitar Hero 3. Now I've been having a great time with CoD4, I beat the campaign on Normal, and have now advanced on to Veteran(omg hard), and have had a damn good time of it. Though short, the campaign is high on quality, and wow does it look amazing in HD. GH3 however I've been having my troubles with. Basically watching me play GH3 is sort of like watching a 90 year old taking a typing test, I fail horribly on anything but easy. So I am trying to hone my skills and get to a respectable level before I ever play it in front of anyone. CoD4 multiplayer is a ton of fun, and if anyone reading this is on XBox Live, my username is Chestone. It is very interesting, CoD4 multi-player has added a few common RPG elements, including level based advancement, context based rewards, and even a mild quest system. For example, if you assist in a kill you get 2 exp, while a normal kill is worth 10, and a kill after death is worth 20. Your character can also gain bonus exp from calling in air support when available, your position on your team, and winning games. Big exp bonuses come from completing "Challenges", which are essentially quests with "Get X Kill with X Weapon", or some variation there of. All in all it is a great game, with a a class based system akin to Team Fortress, with the ability, when of appropriate level to create a custom class, and with each level advancement diversify your custom classes weapon selection. All of this talk about the game just has me ready to go, so I will bid you all adieu, have a great holiday!

--
Cheston

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vanguard: Someday I'll be playing you.

Well I had been planning on some hot Vanguarding this evening. But as the patcher says I still have three hours left, it is 9pm EST, and I have a presentation along with a test tomorrow... perhaps not. But hey bonus, there was a patch today, and look what came along just in time for __insert_holiday__!


Hotfix Notes December / 19 / 2007

GAMEPLAY

GENERAL

- All three spheres have been given a 50% experience bonus during the holidays. The bonus experience will last from Wednesday, December 19th at 5:00am PST to Thursday, January 3rd at 5:00am PST. Enjoy!



Well that will certainly make things a little bit more enjoyable in the weeks to come. Also I wanted to ask, where is everyone playing? I'd love to find some friends in game to group up with, start a guild or throw down diplomatically, the possibilities are endless!

--
Cheston

When the teenager inside sheds a tear so sweet.

I was browsing the usual suspects today, and saw Heartless Gamer had posted the Duke Nukem Forever teaser video. Wow did my heart nearly jump out of my chest like a sweet baby alien ready for face munching. Duke 3D was a staple of my early teenage years(for better or for worse), and after all of the press releases(lies) over the years, the entire gaming community(myself included) have all but given up on this piece of classic vapor-ware. But I still have a soft spot for the big man with the dirtiest mouth in gaming. So without further au-do some serious flexin by Duke:



P.S. Love the epic metal soundtrack.

--
Cheston

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Return to Vanguard(Cancelled Account Free Reactivation)

So I was listening to the SOE Official Podcast #27, and somewhere in there was a mention that all Vanguard accounts that have been closed for over 60 days will be reactivated on December 18th, and staying open until January 3rd! Now there wasn't much mention of this on the official forums that I could tell, but I've seen a smidgen of posts here and there. This is very exciting as GU3 has just completed its three phase roll out, including their first raid dungeon entitled "Ancient Port Warehouse". So get ready with this great forum guide if you are of able level.

This is fantastic timing as I will have the Christmas vacation to really pour over the changes that have been made to the game. I have not played the game since release, and at that time it really ran like crap on my Macbook Pro. So I will be looking forward to performance improvements most of all, as I am sure many people will be doing as well. Now if only they could push a free trial out could I get my friends involved, as they are quite weary of becoming involved with such a notorious game. I've always felt Vanguard had the big "P" word(potential), but was squandered by a polarizing figure at the helm, and a schedule that was impossible given the technical problems during beta. Anyways I'll be very excited to see what they have done with the place when I return, and I hope to see you all there!

--
Cheston

Google Ads

You will probably notice some Google text ads around the site right now. I am just playing around with them as I've never really used AdSense before and wanted to give it a shot, so don't expect them to become permanent. I am just Ad-Curious.

--
Cheston

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Well it is official, farewell sweet prince of the Norrath.

It is official now, Scott Hartsman is leaving EQ2/SOE, and he left the community a farewell letter on the forums. As I've said already in a previous post this is really a shame, and quite upsetting for many in the EQ2 community. Scott has certainly lined himself up a nice replacement who goes by the name of Bruce "Froech" Ferguson, who has been involved with the Everquest2 team for quite sometime as a producer. Bruce is the best candidate from within the team and I wish him the best of luck. And good luck to Scott Harstman wherever he may end up. I will by virtue of his reputation surely check whatever he gets involved in.

--
Cheston

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oh my sweet Italian lover.

Well it certainly has been busy around here. Last week I had some serious family matters to attend to back home, then this week is the first week of classes for the Winter quarter at RIT, and once again that sweet mustache has made its way into my heart yet again. Of course I am talking about Super Mario Galaxy.

Super Mario Galaxy


As many have already said, it is easily one of the best in the series. Now I cannot claim to have played every Mario title, I have played the majority of major releases. Galaxy is one of the most entertaining and edge of your seat platformers I've played in a long time. I am currently only 47 stars in which I believe is almost half way, and I cannot wait to get back to it(I've already put in almost ten hours today, which is almost more Mario than I can handle). With Mario jumping from planet to planet on his outer space mission you get the feeling like you are constantly on the edge of falling into oblivion, but fear not, most of the planets have a strikingly high level of gravity and will grab you right as you are sure its over.

As nearly all Mario games are very similar in plot I feel no need to really go over that in any detail what-so-ever, Princess Peach, Bowser, blah, blah, blah. But hey at least Peach sends you 1ups from her prison cell. Now I don't know what kind of country club prison Bowser is running, but the fact that Princess Peach the most highly valued prisoner in Bowser's castle can send unchecked mail to her boyfriend via a bunch of mushroom people seems highly irregular, and makes me seriously doubt Bowser's sincerity to his cause. I think secretly Bowser enjoys the cat and mouse game he and Mario have played out over the years, and without it he would probably be lonely with his castle full of spinning fireball turnstiles, and haunting music.

Anyways Galaxy is a great game, if you own a Wii it is absolutely a must have, and you would be crazy to pass it up if given the opportunity. Also I should mention the Wii as a next-gen system really shines with Galaxy, and really shows what the Wii can do both with their unique control scheme, and graphical capability(it ain't no Bioshock, but it certainly does shine). As a last note, the co-op mode is fantastic and makes the game a heck of a lot more fun, especially with someone to collect star bits, and hold down enemies for you. Well its late here, off to bed with me, much holiday shopping lays ahead of me in the morning.

--
Cheston

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

RoK, The Honeymoon is Over.

I think it happened over the weekend or maybe just earlier this week, but undoubtedly the honeymoon period is over with EQ2's latest expansion Rise of Kunark. Ogre among others are reporting the raid content is too easy, Kendricke claims it is the lack of story. Massively is reporting on both of these stories lending their credibility to the rumors that RoK isn't all it was last week.

This is a trend that occurs with nearly every expansion and it is something I like to think of as the "Laporte curve" based on a well known tech journalist/podcast-overlord Leo Laporte. Leo has this nasty habit of once a product is released lavishing praise upon it regardless of the documented flaws, only to later come back and say it wasn't that great, and give a negative review. This is common amongst tech journalists but Leo is a good example. The time period between when journalists write a positive impression, and later a negative review is the Laporte Curve(this is not really a curve at all, but everything great has a curve associated with it, so why not). And this Laporte curve certainly applies to MMOs. Not weeks ago I was reading rave reviews and gushing first person accounts of how awesome RoK is. So what happened in a week? Well in short people sat down with it, got in depth, and found the flaws, no big deal, it doesn't mean it is a bad expansion. Only after a few months will we really understand the full impact of RoK, but for now it seems we are having a bit of RoK hangover.

--
Cheston

(Side Note: Is it just me or does it feel like Massively is turning into the Valleywag of the MMO world?)

P.S.:
To clarify it was not my intention to paint Ogre or Kendricke as anti-RoK, just that we are now coming into the sober realities of the post-RoK game and gripes are popping up which is natural.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hartsman jumps ship?

/rumor_monger on

There is a heated rumor going around the MMO circles about the revered Scott Hartsman(the proclaimed jesus of eq2) has left SOE and headed for parts unknown. As Ogre said in his post, this makes sense in that if one were looking for an opportunity to move on, after shipping a successful product is ideal. Massively is also reporting on this rumor started by the head admin over at EQ2Flames forums in this post.

Now I don't really enjoy commenting on rumors(actually it is kinda fun, especially since I have none of that so-called "integrity"), but it does seem to have some weight to it. Now Hartsman is a stand up guy and in many players minds he has played a major role in rescuing EverQuest2 from mediocrity. Hartsman(aka Gallenite) I remember very well from this years FanFaire for being a straight talker, that really leveled with players. Hartsman always made me feel like he really played the game, that he understood the concerns of the player base and could articulate those concerns very well, and in what must be a first for MMO devs he sees things through the users eyes. While I sincerely hope that this rumor is false for all of use EQ2 players, a part of me does hope that Hartsman can move on to an up and coming title that he can get in on the ground floor of. Whatever his fate I hope that Hartsman stays in the MMO industry for the benefit of all of the players out there. We love ya Scott!

--
Cheston

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sarnak Growing Pains

Well I've managed to get Boourn my Sarnak Brigand up to level 24 the other day. And let me tell you it has been a challenge with all of the downtime the Antonia Bayle server has been experiencing lately. Now I'm not really upset with SOE as it is my understanding the AB along with Nagafen are the two most highly populated servers around, but its still a frustration for me on my vacation.

Anyways downtime is not something I wanted to talk about right now. My primary irritation(and it is most certainly not just me) is that once out of Timorous Deep I get pretty darn lonely. There is a nice flight path from Gorowyn to ButcherBlock Mountains, but really it just isn't the same experience. The transition is bumpy and though there is a nice small quest hub at the landing point, afterwards there is this gap between RoK content and EoF content. EoF introduced a lot of great content, and I really like some of it, but it just doesn't flow well. I felt pulled out of the context and reinserted into a new and slightly confusing world. EQ2 really does feel at least to me as three parts for the new player, Original World, EoF/post, and RoK. They do not blend well together right now, and that is something I fear will not be addressed anytime soon.

--
Cheston

Saturday, November 17, 2007

End Class, Begin RoK

Well finally classes are over for the Fall Quarter at RIT and I've been able to sink my teeth back into Norrath. On release day like many I spent watching the patcher crawl as RoK was being downloaded. Then finally at around six pm I was able to log in and create one of them fancy new Sarnaks. At first I created a Shadowknight which I played up to level 16 or so when I realized that half of the other Sarnaks that I've been seeing around are also SKs. So I rerolled as a Brigand, as people say it is indeed a fun class. My Brigand's name is Boourn and is now level 17 and almost finished with the Mok Rent series of quests. I am having a ton of fun in Timorous Deep, which is incredibly well designed and polished(mmo word of the year!) with a very Warcraft like solo quest progression. Which for me is fun, I enjoy always having a full quest log to plow through and it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing things at a very fast pace. Also the quest rewards are incredibly compared to the old world or even GFay and Darklight. They are keeping new players at a very fast gear replacement rate as opposed to prior newbie zones. I have to say after experiencing TD, I don't think I'll want to start a character in any other zone.

So all in all RoK is a very nice package for the new player or even if you are just re-rolling a new Sarnak. I can't say anything about the higher end instances as I have no characters above level 37, but it seems people are out enjoying it as there were something like 7 instances of Kylong Plains on release night on AB, and I see more people everyday. Well I'm going to head back into Norrath to finish up some quests, if you are on AB and want to friend me, my name is Boourn and right now I'm level 17. See you guys around Kunark!

--
Cheston

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday EQ2!

Well a few days ago EverQuest2 celebrated its third birthday! Its hard to believe it has been so long since the game first hit the shelves. Alas time has a way of getting away from us. Anyways to celebrate there were many a blog post and a cake. Also with the celebration came the drop of the NDA for Rise of Kunark, which is fantastic as I've been avoiding playing the beta, but just wanted a glimpse of what I will be digging into come Tuesday. For some awesome screenshots and other info check out Ogrebear, who has been doing a series of posts about Kunark.

Well I must get back to work, group project due Monday. Oh the stresses of higher education. See you guys in two days.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Two weeks 'til Freedom!

Well it has just been one heck of a couple of weeks. School work is just dominating my life, which at the moment has little room for anything else but eating, and the occasional nap. Good news though, the flash game I am working on for my Digital Media class is almost finished. The game is very simple as it is really an intro to Flash, and basic game design/dev course. The game is based around this comic:

XKCD Comic


It is simple hack and slash action, with a fun premise. I will post it when I'm complete sometime next week.

In MMO news, this article floated around the webernets this week. It is a neat step through the creation of a mob in EverQuest. How things move from concept drawing to finished model. It is really neat how closely the finished product mirrors the drawing. Just some neat insight into the behind the scenes, that I always enjoy.

It seems Weblogs Inc. has finally made the leap into MMO news(WoW Insider doesn't count!) with Massively. Which has so far been pretty darn good, though I did not really enjoy their 24 Hours in Tabula Rasa, as it was more annoying than informative. Though this week they are giving some pretty neat prizes away, such as RoK and Secrets of Faydwer beta keys away and some WoW stuffs, so check it out. Anyways back to work for me. I'll be posting again soon, I hope...

--
Cheston

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enough with The Cake already!

Well last weekend, I finally had enough time to finish up Portal, and what a fantastic ending. It was surprising to me that a game so focused on puzzles could have a solid storyline, and a great soundtrack(specifically referring to the song within the end credits). I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this game was, I cannot wait to get the time to play through the bonus levels, and I simply cannot imagine that the community will not come up with some great maps.

And while the fall quarter at school is ramping up, and I'm swamped with work as usual, my roommate just had to go and purchase Bioshock. Now toward the end of the summer I played a little bit at a friends house, but never really got to the meat of the game(past level two). But now that I've been able to really sit down and play, I've fallen in love with it(that scary kind of love, like you aren't sure if some crazy lunatic isn't going to pop up behind you when the lights are off, that kind of love). I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys spooky first person shooters, and crazy twisted metal golems with spider eyes.

Big Daddy



In other news, yesterday I finally received my official FanFaire 2007 t-shirt, and in my size! When I attended FanFaire over the summer, they did not have my size, and asked me to fill out a form, include my email address, and size. I almost thought they had forgotten about me until three weeks ago when I received an email from SOE telling me that they had received a new shipment, and were going to send it to me. It is a little thing, I know, but it just made me feel good, knowing that I hadn't been left in the dust.

Of course with "The Orange Box", not only was Portal included, but also the revamp of the classic Team Fortress, aptly named Team Fortress2. Oh what fun it is! My friends and I have had a fantastic time blowing each others heads off, over and over again. The graphics are fantastic, and very in the spirit of The Incredibles. Again if you haven't, and you have the means, you should check out "The Orange Box", it is an incredible value. Also my Steam user name is "Chestone", if you see me on send me an invite, I love playing with new people. Well it is now time to finish this paper I've been procrastinating with so badly.

--
Cheston

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things that make you go Oh!(GU #39)

Well this week brought upon the release of GU #39 in EverQuest2(release notes here). And with it comes the ominous "Shard of Fear", which is essentially a small portion of the larger Plane of Fear that we are all so familiar with from EQ1.

SoF


Just looking at this screenshot I get goosebumps. The blood red rain, and the wall of fire, it all brings back such fond memories of my first real raiding experiences. It really makes me wish Chestone was level 70 and actually in a guild, just to experience what looks to be a pretty amazing zone. Alas Chestone will have to wait his turn, as he is only level 35.

Still there were other things in the patch aside from new zones. One thing I noticed last night as I was tearing it up in Crushbone Keep, was that they had finally separated out buffs and debuffs out into their own windows. This is certainly a welcome change as it sort of annoyed me for awhile. There were many other changes in the patch, guild banks, and all sorts of things that I havn't really gotten to play with yet, see the patch notes for official details. Well back to work for me, I have to have this form working and a whole bunch of other things by five this afternoon, later everyone.

P.S. Over at MMOQuests there is a great write up of their first time in the zone. I also stole the screenshot from there, just wanted to give credit.

--
Chestone

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Metaplace Scripting

I think I'm a serious nerd, last night I had a dream about writing scripts for a Metaplace game and thinking "Wow this is so great!". The game/service hasn't even come out yet and I'm already dreaming of writing code! I'm way too excited about this. Sean Riley, lead programmer at Areae for Metaplace has made a pretty insightful blog post about their goals and philosophy of scripting in MetaScript. It is a must read for any would-be Metaplace coders, and gives great insight into what we can look forward to in creating our mini virtual worlds.

I have to say as a Python junkie, I am a little saddened that they didn't go the py route, or even Ruby, but Lua isn't so bad. I did a little work with Lua in some Warcraft mods I wrote and it was alright, so I am still pretty jazzed about the whole thing. And really I shouldn't be surprised the game industry as a whole has been Lua crazy and for good reason.

--
Cheston

Portal? Yeah its amazing!

Wow, if you havn't already picked up "The Orange Box" from Valve, just do it, there are so many reasons. The biggest in my mind is the short but incredibly fun puzzle game Portal. Though I'd love to go into excruciating detail, I really want to get back to playing the game right now. So let this video suffice.



BTW, there is cake.

--
Cheston

Wait, which instance are you in?

I have to complain about the seriously irritating problem in EQ2, where you are grouped with other members and when you enter a city not via physically walking into the zone(aka recalling, instance zoning, like houses) and if the city exists in multiple instances your group has a roll of the dice to see if it is broken up or not, without any pop-up dialog to choose which the user would like to enter. This has happened to me and my groups many times where I'm in Neriak instance one and they are in Neriak instance two after recalling or zoning from our houses back out to the city. While entering a city via just walking in you are given a dialog to choose. This is very frustrating and though you can deal with it, you shouldn't have to. Meeting up with other players in town shouldn't be this frustrating especially if you are already in a group. If you are in a group I'd like to think that the game would intelligently place you both in the same instance as that would probably be a good idea and is a pretty reasonable expectation on the part of the user.

/rant_off

--
Cheston

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Legends of Norrath, I weep for what could have been.

Now this isn't about an overpowered card combo, or a rule misstep, it is that the biggest problem as I see it with Legends of Norrath(The recently released in-game card game from SOE) is that I can't play it! Well I should be more specific, I have to jump through hoops to play what should be a universally accessible card game.
There are two ways to play LoN:

  • While inside of EverQuest or EverQuest2 you can launch the LoN client software and play from within the game.

  • From stand alone client software that must be installed and run on a Windows PC



Now this probably covers 90% of those who wish to play LoN, but I am in the minority here. I'm a mac user. And its safe to say that SOE will never release a mac client(especially after their half attempt at EQ mac development). So what you are cutting out the mac users, oh well. Well really it is much more than that, you are cutting anyone who doesn't have admin on their machine(aka the working public), this is a serious chunk of folks who on their lunch break or downtime might play a game or two. Oh and those "linux" users out there, whoever they are...(internet sarcasm, I run linux on a few boxes).

This is a problem, both for SOE and for the potential users, what oh what could solve this catastrophe? Well in today's day and age we have this thing called "Internet" and the "Web" oh and "Standards complaint browsers"(the last one sort of). And with all of that fancy "Web 2.0" out there, why can't we just use a little bit of that black magic and have a web client for Legends of Norrath? I sincerely wish they would, I understand with the web comes a whole load of issues that are a pain in the neck, but SOE would seriously open up their possible customers by doing this, and in turn please me. Well I can just BootCamp it up to play, but really who wants to reboot their computer just to play a card game? Especially if you are just a casual player. So please SOE, just think about it, besides its what all of the cool kids are doing, web clients that is.

--
Cheston

Thursday, October 4, 2007

RoK Box Art, Shard of Fear, what news!

Well it has been quite a busy week in the EQ2 world(aka Norrath). With the new box art for their all in one retail box, and the GU39 going live to test, including the Shard of Fear!

First the box art:
eq2 retail box art


What can I say? Bad fucking ass! As a huge Dark Elf fan I can say that I almost wish I waited to pick up the box, I just love it. Though I think it is an interesting departure from their previous "all in one" box art which generally focused on the latest expansion(i.e. Echos of Faydwer, Kingdom of Sky). But this is an all in one box(meaning all expansions are included with the game), so it is a lot less about the latest expansion and more about the entire game itself, so I don't see a big issue with it, all in all good job SOE.

What can you really say about the Shard of Fear, except it looks amazing from these screens(Oh and these too!). All in all, I think the zone in context is pretty amazing(keeping in mind it is supposed to be a mini Plane of Fear from EQ1). The flesh colored dragon definetly looks a little weak, though I like the direction they are going with the decaying flesh thing(maybe draco got a skin graft?), it is something I really hope will change before release as I can just hear the bitching from the haters now. Shard of Fear(soon to be abbreviated to SoF) is a persistent instance just like Emerald Halls and Unrest currently, and will be a single level 70 group zone. And though it seems the Amygedons went on a diet, I am still pleased with how they look even if they had to downsize the temple a bit along the way. All of this just gets me more excited about EQ2 and its direction. I just hope that once the nostalgia trip is over we can expect some more original content in the far future, not to say I'm upset with the direction, I just hope it doesn't become a crutch.

Well back to school work again, it seems as if I'll never get to 70 before the expansion. Maybe someday...

--
Cheston

Monday, October 1, 2007

Unplugged

Well I wrote a post a few days ago about my Halo 3 binging, but unfortunately Blogger lost that post and I don't really feel the need to rehash a weeks old excitement for a game that is so overexposed I think it is almost to the point of irony. Never the less, my review(the digested digest version), it wraps up the series well, nothing exciting, extremely well polished(industry buzz word of the year!), and a lot of fun for any fps fan.

halo3


Other than Halo, I've been busy with midterms, projects, weddings(not mine, thank god), parties, and sleeplessness. I've been trying to get in some good ol' EQ2 time in, but those times have been few and far between. And with "The Orange Box" being released so soon I doubt I'll have a whole lot of time to return to Norrath at least until this weekend. Oh and god forbid I not mention that Phantom Hourglass is also being released this week! I am pretty sure that the gaming industry is making a final Coup de grĂ¢ce on gamer's social lives everywhere.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New Themes!

I will be playing around with themes for the next few days, I am really undecided right now. The old one was too tight feeling and this leaves a bit of excess white space to the right and cramps the left Anyways the point is, these times they are a changing and with it will come a new theme so keep and eye out and maybe recommend one or two. Thanks for your patience. =)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hook, Line and Sinker..

Well I have to commend SOE for successfully suckering me into a full subscription to EQ2. Earlier this summer SOE offered two free months, including all three expansions, and all three adventure packs.

EQ2 ad

And at the time being in a post-LOTRO MMO slump I figured I'd take the plunge and re-check out EQ2. I was pleasantly surprised with a lot of things, including a good ol' helping of nostalgia. I need not repeat the advances of EQ2 since its launch(Ten Ton Hammer does a great job here), there were a few "wow!" moments, but quite a few "oooo!"'s. And now I've got a level 30 Wizard with a pretty nice house and a snazzy new 24% mount(thanks to a Legends of Norrath booster dropping in a newbie zone) and I'm having a lot of fun exploring the world. The one thing I find a double edged sword is that there is so much content at every level I feel as if I'm constantly missing out on something. But I don't want to get into a real review just yet.

Well anyways Sunday rolled around and I had completely forgotten that my EQ2 free loading was over, and so at around 10am in the middle of zoning no less I was booted and not allowed to enter the game from the character selection screen. This drove me nuts, until I exited the game entirely and it yelled about not being a subscriber, so after a few thoughts about my meager funds I decided to go with it and am still having as much fun now(if not more) than I did when I fired up the client in July. So kudos to SOE marketing, you've got one more customer(actually two, I was able to convince my very anti EQ roommate to join me after showing off to him the new hotness that is EQ2).

--
Cheston

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

EVE sips the Cider

Well Cuppy already wrote about it(I swear she is first to everything), but EVE Online the golden boy of PvP and Sci-Fi will be playable on the Mac(OSX) and Linux platforms by years end. This is fantastic news for us Mac gamers, no longer will we have to pay the reboot tax to get our mine on. I am really interested to see how things go as far as performance, as CCP is using Transgaming's Cider portability engine to essentially fake a port. While I won't say this is a bad thing I am concerned about the performance hit the user will take as a result, because there will be some, there just has to be given how the technology works.

Press Release

I am also concerned because earlier this year EA at this years WWDC(Apple Developer Conference) announced that they would be bringing a few of their popular titles to the Mac using Transgaming's technology. Then months later nothing, and finally recently EA admitted to dropping the whole thing. Now this could have been due to cost, sales predictions, and any number of things but one of those questions asked must be, was the technology to blame? Can Cider scale to handle these kind of intense games? Looking at Transgaming's list of games already using Cider technology, it is slim at best. So while this provides no conclusive evidence it is something to consider when looking at this news. And while CCP has been good at customer relations and I don't think that they would release a piece of junk, I worry about these things as someone who has had generally poor experiences with translation technologies and Transgaming in general. I don't want to "hate on" Transgaming, they do a lot of great work for a crowd that is consistently under served, but I can't ignore my past experiences.

--
Cheston

Quizification

Everyone's doing it, so here is my score


NerdTests.com says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!


I have to say though, the programming section is horribly outdated. None my age has that I know has ever programmed in Fortran, or Ada and rarely Basic. Come on! What about Ruby, Python, and Java!? Hello! I guess I deserve my nerd score. =(

--
Cheston

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The 800 lb. Gorilla with a neck beard in the room.(aka are bloggers press?)

Darren over at Commonsense Gamer posed this question to the audience, and I thought I would throw in "my two cents"(where did this expression come from!? evidently here). So the question "Are bloggers press?", to me there isn't a yes or no answer to this, the one word answer is "sometimes". I think a better question might be, "are bloggers acting as press?", this implies that bloggers are not press to begin with but adopt that mentality, and exist as a subset of the whole of bloggers. To me there are tiers in the blogging world:

Tier 1: Professional Blogger!

What a job title! "Professional Blogger" is essentially a synonym for Internet Journalist, these are generally trained(none said well trained) writers who generally work for major outlets such as Engadget, and blog at a generally frequent pace, with a high quality of content and high level of trust by their readers.

Tier 2: The "Underground" Blogger

These bloggers are generally less well known, but are still influential within their given community/industry, they lack the "well formed-ness" if I might put it that way of the average journalist, have a varying post frequency, but still contain valuable content to their target audience, and are considered a trusted source by their readership. These would include bloggers such as Kos at DailyKos, f13 and even the lovable Grimwell. These bloggers are mixed bag of full time enthusiasts and people in industry.

Tier 3: The "Really?" Blogger

These are the bloggers of whom you wonder "how the heck does this person get so many hits?". These bloggers have little to no professional manner but still manage to drive an absurd amount of traffic to their site. They are influential but usually because they are well connected, and can break a story. Their content is not always trust worthy, but because of the blogger's credibility they maintain a level of trust with their readership. This tier includes the well known Perez Hilton and Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report.

Tier 4: The Refreshers

This should be nicknamed "The Echo Chamber", as 85% of their content stems from or is a direct copy of another's work, including news aggregators like the good people at EQ2-Daily, news/opinion blogs such as this and many other sites. These bloggers for the most part are news junkies and live from the crack pipe that is their RSS reader(my preferred "piece"), which they check throughout the day so they have something to post about later. They are amateur journalists who are passionate about their given niche, and generally blog "for the fun of it!". Their posts are a mix of news/opinion, personal experience, and links to Youtube videos (come on! how could I not link to "Chocolate Rain"?).

Tier 5: The "You wouldn't believe what happened today!" Blogger

These bloggers use their blogs more as personal diaries than the rest, occasionally giving their opinion on personally interested topics, and news, they make up the bulk of the blogging community as a whole and see their blog as a personal outlet to the world, which is a great personal exercise but really lack any serious manner in their posts. In this category there exist such as web-celeb iJustine and half of my graduating class.

Now we have this hierarchy, but still not talked about the "press" and bloggers as journalists. Now in my opinion I believe tier one, and two are most certainly that, Internet Journalists, tier three is more of a case by case basis as many can hardly be considered journalists but do control a lot of eyeballs on the net and therefore command some level of respect in industry. Tier four however are amateur, but this isn't a bad thing, these bloggers make up the base of many communities and provide a human touch to the often detached professionals. They are biased, they are flawed, they are not always fantastic writers, but that is why people read them, because we want to be a part of a community, whatever that subject it may be. Tier four is quite possibly one of the most important tiers, as they create for no other purpose other than it is something they are passionate about.

So in closing, I think that blogging as it has been said before is a new medium, it is like a news letter with live comments(I have to say comments are a huuuge part of why blogs are successful, and I could write an article just about how important comments are, but I digress). These tiers discussed before are not just "press" in the normal sense, they are using their blogs to conform to the norms of "press" as we have known it and many are doing a good job of it, so good that I rarely read magazines much anymore(I am not saying magazines are becoming irrelevant), because I can get my media reviews online, and I can get real opinion online. Anyways it is getting late and I've been going on far too long, until next time "Rock over London, Rock on Chicago..."

--
Cheston

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My god... its filled with bobbleheads....

I find it hard to believe that somehow I missed out on this.


It is called "cutemode" in EverQuest2 and it makes every PC and NPC alike have a huuuuge head!(Invader Zim reference! "my head is not big!") It really freaked me out last night after someone mentioned it in general chat and I typed the command "/cutemode" and all of a sudden I was in the land of bobbleheads. This was a really cute addition to the game that made me laugh hysterically. I am probably the last one to the party on this one but I still felt the need to post about it for those that might not be in the know.

In other news, as you can tell I am still playing EQ2, I just created a Dark Elf Inquisitor, named Nasteratu(the name of my original EQ main) on AB and am having a great time so far(only level 10 so take this for what it is worth). I bought my self a little shanty and decorated it to the nines(more like the ones) and am looking forward to joining a guild and healing the day away. I just found it too lonely as a Wizard and really kind of missed the excitement of healing. That is about it for now, off to Norrath yet again.

--
Cheston

Friday, August 31, 2007

Twas the best of times. twas the worst of times.

Things have been so crazy lately, I'm on my way out of Saratoga and on my way back one final time to Rochester and the RI of T. I am very nervous and anxious about this being my last quarter of being a college student, but I'll do my damnedest to make the best of it. Anyways on to games!

bigdaddy


So my friend Jeff bought Bioshock last week and wow was it a whole lot better than I'd imagined. While I've only played four or five hours of the game so far, I've been impressed primarily by the graphics. Just wow, I'm amazed how just incredible the elemental effects(i.e. water, fire, etc...) are, Jeff started the game up and had no idea that he was actually controlling the character, he honestly believed we were still in a cut scene, it looked that good. But this is no one trick pony, the game setting and story add so much to the game. While most first person shooters are set in some post-industrial apocalypse, things are set in the 1950's with all of the period costumes and architecture, it really makes the game all the more creepy. The game play and combat systems are nothing new but that is not to say they are deficient in any way, in fact a lot of the powers are a ton of fun. So far I'm really loving it, it is up in the top 10 FPS games I've played.

Other than Bioshock, I've been playing a bit of EQ2, my Wizard, Chestone is level 26 and having fun questing around ButcherBlock Mountains. I've been having a lot of fun just exploring the world and the game, getting to understand which boat goes where and how travel works. I've almost made enough for the cheapest horse but it says I require a guild to be able to purchase at such a low level, we'll see about that as I'm looking to join a guild right now. Also I started playing LoN the other night and have found it pretty enjoyable. I'm a veteran of the CCG scene, having played everything from Magic:TG, and Overpower to the WoW CCG and Legend of the Five Rings, and a few others in there(like every Star Wars CCG). Anyways I enjoyed it, but I've never really been one to pay for cards only accessible online, so I am not entirely sure I buy into the whole thing. Now I don't know if it is better than old school EverQuest /gems(does anyone have an screenshot of this game?), but it is certainly a worthy waste of in game time.

I'm off to get packing, once I settle down I'll get back into the swing of things.

--
Cheston

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

News Redux

Well I've been really sick and generally unpleasant the past week and a half, so rather than research a new topic and post real content I'll just put in my two cents in on the events of the past week that I've missed out on.


  1. All the rage, of course is Bioshock


  2. I played the demo on the 360, it was fun, good, but not great. Nothing new feature wise, good shooter with a neat story and setting. Though some people seem to be jaded on all of buzz surrounding this super hyped game.

  3. Pay for Play Betas


  4. This has been coming for awhile now and I'm honestly not surprised. Other companies(i.e. Blizz and others) have been giving away keys to FilePlanet subscribers for years and that is essentially the same thing. It is sad that such an important part of the game development cycle has been turned into a marketing tool, but it has, and alpha is the new beta. But on the plus side, the game Hellgate:London looks awesome, though really isn't worth the price of the figurine.

  5. Legends of Norrath!


  6. With all of the hype and coverage of this mini-game you'd think it was the second coming. But its not, its an in-game CCG. Seriously people, it is fun and all but do we really need a write up on every single MMO blog? I am starting to think I'm the only person that isn't really excited about this.

  7. Vanguard - Game Update #2


  8. This looks to be the "getting up to speed" update, and it looks good, I wish I had an active VG subscription to check it out, alas I do not so I cannot speak directly to these changes. But after reading over the notes I'm really excited for what is to come with Vanguard, because deep down I'm a Vanboi, and I really want this game to succeed.


  9. SOE no longer publishing Gods and Heroes


  10. This is not surprising to me, the game does not look impressive and I have little faith it will really create a sustainable community/playerbase, now maybe I'm completely wrong but I just don't see much of a future for this game. It has some cute new concepts but just doesn't seem ready for the MMO public.


I don't think I missed anything, if so leave it in the comments. I finally got the chance to check out Stardust over the weekend and it was great, I really enjoyed it, very cute but a the same time fun for everyone, really reminded me of the Princess Bride. Anyways so that is it, I'll be back to posting in no time, I have a few good rants I can't wait to finish up.

--
Cheston

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sour on the End Game, sounds like it.

In my daily routine I scope out the blogs and news aggregators and came across this gem of angst. Now I know that I'm not exactly the first person to get a little ticked off about this article(here, and here). But I just have to have a little say in this as an ex-hardcore raider. As Julie pointed out, it(raiding) is all about the people. Well it is mostly, but its also about the loot, and the feeling of achievement.

When I think back to my EQ days, I have very fond memories of raiding the old Planes(Hate, Fear(oh how well I know you), and Sky), NToV, Ssra, etc... I rarely ever felt regret in having spent the time in the dungeons and preparing for them(i.e. grinding exp w/ guildies). And really let me say that grinding isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, again with grinding as with raiding it is all about the people. My EQ experience left me with a positive impression of end game guilds, as did my DAoC experience but to a lesser extent. WoW on the other hand has seriously soured me to end game guilds as the guilds that I've raided MC, BWL, ZG, etc... were not nearly of the same caliber, both socially and with regard to in game skill. Again it is all about the people, it wasn't the game that got me ticked off at the end of the day, it was the people.

It goes without saying that Jeff Vogel either hasn't really played at the high end, or he has been soured to the end game by a bad guild experience or several. I fully admit that things such as loot disputes, and general guild drama contribute to some of the bad experiences(in fact drama is the reason I quit EQ to begin with), but these experiences are far overshadowed by the fun times I've had with people half way around the world, people that have had an impact on me and that I've had an impact on. I've been invited numerous times to visit guild members at their homes and taken a few up on this, and I've shared many very personal experiences with other gamers who I still talk to this day. And when I left the game, yes in fact people did wonder where I went and cared about my situation. Of course they moved on though, like any relationship or organization when one member is lost the others cope and move on. That shouldn't be seen as an uncaring move as Jeff seems to believe, but is the natural progression of social organizations. I was not simply a puzzle piece to be replaced, neither were the other members who left the game, but in a guild of 60+ people losing one member no matter how critical is usually not cause to fold the whole team.

So in short I'm very disappointed that Jeff Vogel would make such callous remarks about high end gamers. Yes there are bad apples, and with the advent of WoW and its 9 million subs, of course the number of jerks and terrible guilds will increase but that is no reason to write off the entire end game. Which to me is really the meat of the game, where you actually slay the dragons and participate in the epic battles, and along the way meet some great and not so great people. I for one do not regret my time at the high end and often wish I could make a return. And Jeff's assumption that high end gamers are those stereotypical gamers in their Mother's basement is so incredibly wrong I can't even imagine where this guy gets his information. I've played with everyone from house wives to business executives and everyone in between, with people from down the block to people around the world, so please Jeff stop reading the major media headlines and if you are going to comment on a large and very important part of the player base try it before you knock it.

--
Cheston

P.S. I apologize for the lack of posting, but I've been under the weather and havn't really had the energy.

Friday, August 10, 2007

FanFaire Recap!

Yes, its true, though limited I did make an FanFaire appearance!
Proof:


I have to say I only attended for one day, and half a day at that(curse you Vegas hangovers). But I was impressed, there was a much larger crowd than I was anticipating, and the setup SOE had was pretty snazzy, especially for the cost of admission which wasn't all that much for the event and panel list. So I only attended a few panels, they were held in very tiny rooms with chairs for about thirty people. It was a very personal experience, unlike DefCon whose talks were given in huge lecture rooms fit to hold hundreds. I wasn't able to hang around as much as I wanted to, mostly because of the hangover, but I chilled out in the vendor/game/etc.. area for a bit and wrote blog posts meeting a few people along the way.
The crowd was certainly a mix bag, spanning all ages and professions, with a few costumed folks running around. The panels though were great, very informative, and the speakers were very open to answering any questions. I really enjoyed the level of detail some of the questions received it really gave me an idea of how things happen behind the scenes and the relationship different departments have with each other. All in all, coming out of FanFaire I have a very positive view of SOE and their upcoming releases and cannot wait until next year(hopefully it will not conflict with DefCon as it did this year) where I will be able to attend without having to split my time, because although I did get quite a lot out of FanFaire, I feel like I really missed out on some good times and good people.

P.S. Sorry Cuppy for not getting in touch, my phone battery died the second day in Vegas and I forgot my charger at home(note to all travelers, don't leave your charger behind it will plague you throughout your vacation) .

--
Cheston

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New SOE MMO?

Seriously all gaming companies, we have so much news to filter through right now and I know I'm feeling overloaded. What with FanFaire and Blizzcon having just concluded there is just so much time in the day to rummage through the line of tabs I have open in FireFox.

Anyways, in my rummaging I came across an announcement from SOE about an upcoming MMO. Now I couldn't believe it when I first saw the story, with The Agency and Pirates of the Burning Sea(though not developed by SOE they are still pushing it) on the horizon along with the upcoming EQ and EQ2 expansions, not to mention the overhaul that is being done on Vanguard it seems a little like SOE is overextending themselves with so much in development. But after reading the announcement I believe that this is a move in a different direction not directly aimed at their current demographic. Ramayan 3392 A.D., looks to me like SOE is taking aim at the emerging tech-wonder India and attempting to tap that market and establish itself before any other firm. Maybe I'm completely wrong, but this makes more sense to me as they did not announce this at FanFaire as it is not really aimed at its current customer base. I am really interested in how this will turn out if I am correct as it is quite a risk to open up to a new market like this. Anyways if you have any other opinions I'd love to hear them so drop a comment.

--
Cheston

YAFFP(Yet Another FanFaire Post): Vanguard

Note: This was after my limited appearance at this years FanFaire, just some notes I took and thoughts after the "Game Design" panel for Vanguard. I have to say I am really excited about all of the new developments in VG. Anyways I'll post my FF recap tomorrow, so as not to inundate you guys with posts.


Well I just got out of the Vanguard "Game Design" panel, it was very interesting. There are a ton of updates coming with regard to diplomacy that frankly make me want to reinstall. They are introducing diplomacy bosses who have incredibly long dialogs going up to 50 lines, the first diplomacy boss Eldor will have a huge loot table and be repeatable which will be interesting. There are many other diplo bosses in the works as well.
One thing I found particularly interesting is "Animacy" the future feature that will allow players to resurrect recently killed NPCs and engage in diplomacy with them. This sounds incredibly bad ass and the crowd seemed impressed, also mentioned is the possibility of newbies to follow around other groups and perform Animacy on their recently killed mobs, it will be interesting to see how they handle this and what possibilities it will present.

A quest designer went through basically the anatomy of a quest, and how from start to finish quests are designed, using the Unicorn mount quest as an example. This was quite interesting to see, but not wholly surprising in any way.

One of the reward(loot) creators was also demoing some new tier 5 weapons with new tints and other cool stuff. There were some awesome new items and armor sets that will be introduced in future updates, including a new direction w/ armor including "warcrafty" like pauldrens, though they don't get too nuts as WoW has.

I have to say if this game continues to improve as it has I can easily see switching as soon as I can get a beastly machine to play it on. What I see as a large part of the problem is that there is a lot of legacy material that the devs are working with, often the original designer no longer works there and they are having to deal with their problems and their design. I can see this being a huge problem for the first year for VG, and as EQ2 has seen, can plauge them in the future. But once this hurdle is mostly cleared I can see VG becoming a real feature complete, straight up awesome game. And I for one can't wait for it.

--
Cheston

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

FanFaire Post: Anatomy of an Update

Note: This post was written right after attending the "Anatomy of and Update" Panel at FanFaire 2007. I'll have a FanFaire recap soon(I know I'm late but you are already I'm sure inundated with "FanFaire Recap" posts, so check mine out later.

So I finally got to FanFaire after much delay, hit up the "Anatomy of an Update" EQ2 panel. Which was quite good, Scott Hartsman is just as nice and personable as people have said. The panel overall was informative and really gave an in detail idea of how the update cycle works and how the fallout is handled bugwise. The panel rooms are much smaller than I thought, though it does give the participants a very close/personal feeling. I tried to get into the "EQ2: Into the Future" panel but it was packed, fortunetly though they will be breaking the panel into three 45 minute sessions for those that could not attend the previous. So I am looking forward to that along with a VG panel on game design, after that though it seems like it is already over! I have to say I really wish FanFaire were a bit longer, as it is only two days and DefCon is three. I have to say though they content of the panels seems pretty impressive, and I wish I had the chance to just do FanFaire instead of having to split my time between the two.

One cool thing that came out of the "Anatomy of an Update" panel was the revelation that there will most likely be another zone added before RoK is released(I missed the RoK panel and for that I am quite sad). Which is great, Scott and the group also gave insight into how these zones are created and I was surprised as the words "quality of the content" came up, it really gave me the feeling that quality was paramount, if a particular zone did not meet the benchmarks it is scrapped and either dumped or redone entirely. This kind of embodies the new EQ2 attitude, where broken content doesn't make it, adopting Blizzard's "when its ready" stance on content(though I can't say they are even close to perfection with regard to that statement(especially with regard to high end raid bosses)).

Also the panel talked a bit about the new and for coming "persistent instances" and how they work in terms of saving an instance and players being booted from instances. Basically the big thing is that players in a raid can be spread out amongst physical boxes and if one box goes down only those players will be booted and the players on the other box will remain in the instance. Also with that the instance is hard saved every time a "noteable mob" is killed, which means if a crash occurs you will most likely have to re-clear trash, which isn't the end of the world except if you are currently engaging a boss and the whole thing blows up, that wouldn't be a fun night. But still it is a decent system for such a complex environment, I have yet to have any real experience in these new zones so I can't comment from personal experience about it but I can assume raid leaders can force a save, or that before you leave the zone it saves the current progress.

Anyways great talk, time to go walk around!

--
Cheston

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Vegastastic!

Just got into Vegas airport and am waiting on some friends to arrive playing "spot the hacker/gamer" and it is pretty entertaining, there was an emo band on the flight with me, though they had right to be emo, it was coach and we were packed in like sardines, AND the movie was Spiderman 3 which I really didn't care for much at all(especially on these tiny ~12" screens that I believe were from the era of The Macarana. Anyways enough of that my friends are here, see you all at Fan Faire!

--
Cheston

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pushing GUs Like Weights

Now I hate being an echo chamber of a blog but I felt since I now play EverQuest2 that I should make a post and have my say. So GU 37 was released, here are the official notes, with commentary here, here, and here. Now I'm not going to go on about this because I'm new to the game and frankly a lot of issues addressed in this update don't overly concern me as a newbie. Though one thing I have to say the new furniture is fabulous, I just love it(check out pictures here, since I don't much like deeplinking).

One thing I am concerned about is vendor buyback and its effect on overall game immersion. It really seems to me that the ability to buy back the last ten items you sold to ANY vendor is a little ridiculous. Say I sold to Johnny McFriendly and we are good buddies, I have a positive faction with his people then sure I can see him selling me back things I might not have wanted to sell because we are buddies. Now if I were say selling to the Shady Swashbuckler(nostalgia kick!) and he is a unscrupulous character with whom I had rather poor relations, now I wouldn't expect him to sell me anything back at anything but an increased cost. The idea that this guy would hold my items and sell them back to me at the price that I purchased them seems ridiculous to me. Of course this is another move toward convenience over immersion, and another "Warcraft's done it" feature. This is fine and all as I'm sure I'll use the system and enjoy it, but I felt the need to get out a little bitching about immersion.

Anyways, time to go enjoy some GU37 goodness.


Edit: I didn't realize this at the time of writing but EQ2 has added in a "smart loot" system that frankly blows my mind. The mob intelligently drops epic/fabled loots based upon the inventory of the raid members. I had no idea this was going into the game and am dumbfounded that none has as far as I know introduced this system. A great discussion is going on over at FoH, so check it out.
--
Cheston

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Only days away is SOE's annual Fan Faire and I've pretty much settled on trying to attend both Defcon and Fan Faire, which will certainly be difficult but I'll see if I can't make it work, as I'd really like to attend talks at both events and I just can't settle for recaps or powerpoint slides. Anyways I'm getting in Thursday afternoon and staying until Monday so if anyone is around drop a comment and maybe we'll run into each other. Anyways I have much business to attend to(EQ2), see ya at Fan Faire!(I'll make a post before I leave as I've been meaning to.

--
Cheston

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MMBio

Now there are a lot of MMO bloggers out there and while I always enjoy their content I find myself often asking "how much does this person really play mmos?", what experience do they have really playing? And so I offer up my MMO resume, you know just so I can have some street cred in this crowded space. Following are the games I've played, the characters I played and the time which I spent with the game, and a little bit of background.


-EverQuest(1999 - 2002)
Main Character:
Name: Nasteratu Mortir
Server: Brell Serilis
Level/Race/Class: 65 Dark Elf Necromancer
Guilds: Skyre Draneth, Legion of Heroes, and some DE RP guild way back when
Time Played: 165+ days

I was introduced to EQ by my best friend who got me hooked, as soon as we started playing I started spending very late nights at his place just screwing around on his High Elf Pally, exploring and figuring things out(man when we found out about Lay on Hands we were blown away!). Eventually I created a character on his account and once my Mother realized what was going on, for my birthday she bought me a Voodoo3 graphics card and a copy of EQ(this might have been one of the happiest moments of my adolescent life) and first thing I created a Dark Elf Necro named Nasteratu(because they wouldn't let me have Nosferatu, those damn name police). Nasteratu has many tales to tell but in short I leveled him up to max level with a friend sometimes playing and eventually got into raiding and that was the end of my social life for a year or so. I started EQ a couple months after release and didn't quit until Planes of Power came out(when I started college pretty much). My guild, Legion of Heroes was the third top guild on the server and had a great time raiding the planes, NTOV, Ssra, etc.. This character and time were some of my favorite and most nostalgic moments in gaming. Anyway enough of the golden oldies, I played other games after all.

-Dark Age of Camelot(2001(release) - 2003)
Main Character:
Name: Boourn
Server: Gawaine
Level/Race/Class: 50 Norse Healer
Guilds: Yggdrasil, and some other I can't remember
Time Played: Not sure, probably like 30 days or so.

Created Boourn in response to a friend who created "Boourns" a Troll Skald, had several other chars on Daoc but this is the character that made it the farthest, once reaching 50 I did a lot of RvR with my guild and had a great time of it, did a lot of Darkness Falls runs when we could. Really quit when I went to college and only played casual for a few months before canceling soon after the release of Shrouded Isles.

-World of Warcraft(2004(release) - 2007)
Name: Nasteratu
Server: Lothar
Level/Race/Class: 70 Night Elf Priest
Guilds: Disciples of the Equinox, Blessing
Played Time: 40 days+

Nasteratu was my first character in WoW, created on release day and played for almost a year with some friends. Started a casual guild with friends which eventually devolved into an alts guild and after hitting 60 lost interest in the Priest class.

Name: Chomsky
Server: Gurubashi(PvP)
Level/Race/Class: 60 Tauren Druid
Guilds: Nullified, Fire Monkeys, Veto, Atrocity
Played Time: 60 days+

Chomsky, I started on a whim with two friends, they both rogues could stealth and we wanted a healer that could come along on stealth missions. Chomsky quickly evolved into my main and became my primary raiding character after joining a raiding guild. Having raided Molten Core, Black Wing Lair, Zul'Gurub,and AQ(20&40) I quit Chomsky a few weeks after Naxx was released, mostly because of guild drama and lack of interest in the server community.

And of course the latest MMO I'm seriously getting into(I removed the minor games because of time and space reasons, and really who wants to hear about my level 15 characters in City of Heroes anyways?) is EverQuest2.
Name: Chestone
Level/Race/Class: 18 Dark Elf Wizard
Guilds: None(yet!)
Played Time: A day at most.

Having a great time so far, looking for a guild to join up with, and I have to admit I have slacked on the posts mostly because of EQ2, playing around with different classes and what not. Anyways here is my MMO rap sheet, hope you enjoyed it.

--
Cheston

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fan Faire!

I have always wanted to attend a SOE's FanFaire ever since I was an EQ junkie, and I might actually have the chance this year. The thing is, I'm going to be in town for a conference(Defcon) on the exact same weekend, this presents a serious dilemma for me, as FanFaire is appealing but Defcon is a yearly event for myself and a bunch of college friends from RIT. The thing that would really seal the deal is if I had someone to hang out with or at least meet up with at FanFaire, so if any of my legions of readers are attending maybe we could have a drink or whatever, so leave a comment if you are attending, and hopefully I'll see you there.

--
Cheston

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm back and slightly more blue.

So as I stated in the previous post I've started playing EverQuest2 and so far I've been loving it, but I am not ready to render judgment just yet as it has only been a day or two, but I am having a great time. I have a level 10 Dark Elf Wizard named "Chestone" on Antonia Bayle and a level 11 Dark Elf Brigand on Nagafen(PvP). I should say I am not a huge PvP kinda guy and normally wouldn't think of rolling on the notorious Nagafen, but my roommate is one of those die-hard PvP folks and has a 70 necromancer on the server and wants to play together, so I figured I'd be risky and check out the action.

Now on Nagafen you have the grace period of levels 1-10 to stay PvP free, once you hit 10 you are free game to the opposing faction. Now during the morning hours there didn't seem to be any PvPers out in Darklight Woods, but as we moved into prime time(the 7 - 11pm block) the numbers grew to the point where questing was just a hassle. So right now I'm a bit torn, I think I will spend more time on AB than Nag right now, but who knows. Also I'm not really getting into the Wizard so I think I might re-roll. Anyone have any good suggestions?

--
Cheston

Friday, July 20, 2007

And now for something completely different....

I forgot in my recent last post the great offer SOE is having w/ regards to EQ2. If you have a station account and were at one time subscribed to Vanguard:SOH and EQ2, you might have received an email in the past day or two that offers you two free months of EQ2 w/ all expansion packs and adventure packs included. This is a pretty nice deal though I am confused why they are offering to people that have sub'd to EQ2 and VG, maybe they are trying to let us all know they still publish complete games. Anyways it is a pretty good deal, especially for someone such as myself who have been lost in the ether of the MMO world. For more details check out the discussion at FOH.

I am thinking of rolling a character on the Antonia Bayle server as that is where the action and friends seem to be, I'll post more information as I go.

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Cheston

What a week!

This week has been absolutely crazy, first was the trip to Rochester, then when I got back home the Internets were out for two days and then a big test in my XML class. So again come the apologies for the lack of posting.

But I come bearing good news! I have finally installed Vista and am currently patching EQ2! So finally I can see what all the fuss is about, now this patching will take another half-hour so I figured I'd make a post and scour the Internets for news and the like. In sadder news I believe I am going to leave LOTRO for the time being, I just can't get excited about the game anymore, the epic quest is incredibly fun but the rest just seem uninspired and run of the mill.

In other news, MMOpinionated will have a new home soon, in the next month I am going to migrate all of my posts to a privately hosted site, which I will post a link to when I am near complete. Blogger is great but it really makes me feel amateurish and just isn't what I want it to be yet.

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Cheston

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gone fishin!

I've been out of town for a few days and will be back home tomorrow, I have a few posts already written so keep an eye out!

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Cheston

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hot New Blog Alert!

A new blog came around my way a few days ago, Eyes Like Ours. The articles are a bit long, but the writing is great, I really like the layout, and the content is generally solid, so check it out(or add it to your RSS reader as I did) if you haven't.

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Cheston

Incomng Cuppy Effect

It seems that the uber MMO blog CuppyTalk linked to us here at MMOpinionated, which I'm sure will provide a plethora of traffic and hopefully new readers. Thanks for the link love Cuppy! Keep up the good work!

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Cheston

LOST

No, I'm not going to ramble on about smoke monsters, and "others". I am lost in the MMO world, I have no game I am seriously into. I'm still trying to set off that spark with LOTRO, the game is great don't get me wrong. It is beautiful, cute, and pretty fun, but I just can't get into it. I'm sure other gamers are the same way where you feel that spark when playing a game for the first time, where you stay up until four in the morning playing and just don't want to stop. Now I used to feel this spark with the release of almost every MMO years ago, and now a days it seems I wade through the sea of MMOs and just can't muster at least one all nighter. And as an old break up line once said "you can't force love baby", and that is certainly true for games. No matter how pretty or how much content there exists in the game sometimes it just doesn't ignite that gamer fuel that we all use to power through those late night raids and get that next level.

Of course I mentioned LOTRO, but I've been in this MMO lull since I really fell out of love with WoW. I've gone back to EQ, SWG, EVE, and others that just havn't done it for me, now part of the reason I think going back to old games just doesn't do it for me, is that I am a social gamer. I love to chat it up with friends and the guild but all of my friends have moved on from these older games, and it seems the only people I know playing MMOs anymore are the WoW devotees and a few out there in EQ2 land. Really friends make the game so much easier, just for chatting, grouping, etc... I really find it tough to play a game where I have no friends. So why not go back to WoW? Well because boyfriend is a hardcore WoW player and so I know what the bleeding edge raid game consists of and frankly it doesn't look all that appealing to me, neither does their PvP, or constantly farming mats. Also really I just don't know how much more of that world I can take right now. I'm currently in a couple of closed betas right now which are pretty fun but not as we say in the software world "feature complete" meaning they are lacking several components that will be in the finished product, and these are pretty big components. And really the beta has a deadline and the fun can't last all that long, so why try and stick around for a character wipe when I'm really not sucked in yet. Now as a note I'd love to get into EQ2, but unfortunately I am having technical issues, that could only be resolved by an upgrade from XP to Vista. Who knows maybe I'll make the jump, I am just worried that I will end up disappointed after having put in all that time to upgrade.

Of course I am waiting on a few new games coming out, namely Age of Conan:Hyborian Adventures, and Warhammer Online:Age of Reckoning. But in the interim I have no idea what I am going to do with myself when I've got that gaming itch, especially during the summer where I actually have free time. Anyways please let me know what you guys out on that interweb think? What are you playing? and should I be playing it?

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Cheston

Saturday, June 30, 2007

So many MMOs on the horizon

It seems like every hot up and coming game is in closed beta right now, this is certainly a great time to be an mmo junkie. Though with all of these great games in beta that means you'll be fervently checking your inbox every time a new batch of invites goes out, and then crying yourself to sleep when you don't see that pretty little "Welcome to Such-and-Such MMO!" subject line staring you in the face. So here is a recap of what is currently in closed beta(links to the application provided).


  1. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

  2. Ahhh the big guns! This is what I know many out there are looking for to be the so called "WoW killer", possibly because it just looks a whole lot like it but with a greater focus on PvP(when did PvP become so damn critical in MMOs? a whole different discussion). The game just recently went live with their closed beta and of course it is currently under NDA but with the limited screenshots they have offered it certainly looks great and if you are an old Warhammer miniatures player such as myself it certainly brings back a whole lot of memories of those simply bad ass dwarves. The game so far, as most every mmo in beta looks great and I am certainly looking forward to it.
    App

  3. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

  4. Another big up and coming title, Age of Conan is all about the PvP and I know quite a lot of people really looking for this to be their next big addiction. With a more mature aim this title certainly looks like it is going to be a taste of something different(I even saw a screenshot with a full blown boob!). Now I am personally pretty excited about this because it is a new direction in MMOs, when everyone seems to want to copy WoW and its family friendly feel, AoC seems like it is aiming at the die hard PvP audience and looking at a much more "mature"(mature meaning people that are into blood and gore) crowd. Now I don't know a single person in this beta so I have absolutely no thoughts about it, but from all of the teasers and interchatter I can say I am jazzed about this title and can't wait to hear more about it.
    App

  5. Tabula Rasa

  6. Ahhh the great Sci-Fi MMO, a rare and curious bunch are they. TR recently opened up their closed beta to 10k new people and it has certainly garnered its share of attention. For being one of the only major sci-fi titles of the past couple of years this game has quite a lot of hype built around it and for good reason, those clamoring for a GOOD(the operative word being good there) sci-fi mmo have been left in the dust for far too long. TR has a lot of little quirks about it that I'll get into in a later post, but it is safe to say that this is a sure fire hit, for at the very least because it is a good looking sci-fi mmo that doesn't have SOE at the helm.
    App

  7. Fury

  8. This lesser known title is currently in closed beta and focuses heavily on PvP. I've heard comparisons to Guild Wars, with its instanced team combat, look here for a good overview of how the game works. I'm pretty interested in the skill based combat and "rolling your own" class which I am more than a little curious about, the game types are very FPS like, and with mostly instant cast spells and abilities this game is shaping up to be very competitive and will surly turn out the action junkies.
    App

  9. Saga

  10. Now this is a new one, an MMORTS!? Yep! In Saga, you will be able to buy buildings, purchase, troops, etc... All of the usual RTS concepts are there, but this time they exist in a persistent world and you can beat the heck out of your friends and other players. Your troops will be able to gain experience, and gain skills, armor, and all of that over time, if they die you can rez them and the same with your buildings. This is certainly a leap in the genre, and I am pretty excited to see how it goes, though I'm not sure I am personally interested in this experience, it would be fun to check out, I'd have to imagine the world would be simply massive to handle a large number of players, but we'll see as I have no contacts in the beta as it is. To give the game some credibility the Starcraft: BroodWars lead programmer is working on Saga, so we'll see how it turns out, maybe its a sleeper hit, who knows right now.
    App

  11. Sword of the New World

  12. This new fantasy style MMO has had a bit of buzz around it, it is no major title, but it is garnering some attention in the MMO circle. The game is in open beta, so go try it out, I havn't had the chance yet, but am eager to check it out, the artwork is simply beautiful(I am a sucker for that FFXI style art) and other than that it seems rather ordinary, if someone would like to comment on it, please do I'd love to hear more, and as soon as I try it out I'll be sure to let you guys know my impressions.
    App

  13. Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising

  14. This Roman based MMO is pretty interesting, it relies heavily upon Roman/Greek Mythology and is neat in that it employs player controlled squads which you control and can be made up of a set number of classes, you yourself also choose a class and a deity to follow. The deity that you choose also will grant you powers along the way so that you might smote your enemies or something fancy like that. It seems worth checking out at least when open beta hits.
    App


Now that is a list if I've ever seen one! And what a summer it is for MMOs, if this list can't keep you busy until the retail release of "the next big thing"TM then I don't know what will.

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Cheston

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What a week!

Well I just moved into my new place for the remainder of the summer, I've spent a ton of time fixing the place up as it was a total mess when I arrived. Anyways just wanted to let the internet folks know I'm still around and am going to bring some serious content as soon as I can get my desk organized and read all of the articles piling up in my rss reader. Once I get settled I'll really kick this blog into full gear, I have so much to rant about and oh so little time.

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Cheston

Friday, June 22, 2007

Podcasts!

I listen to quite a few podcasts these days, now I don't have time to listen/watch everyones but I try to give each at least one try. Anyways here are a list of the MMO related poscasts I currently listen to.


  1. Shut Up We're Talking

  2. This is a great podcast by Cuppy of Cuppytalk and Darren of The Common Sense Gamer. The twosome generally provide a casual atmosphere for MMOG discussion, covering the latest news and the MMO blogosphere. Most of the time the show tops out at an hour and change, a good listen if you get the chance, both hosts are knowledgeable and have a passionate interest in the MMO genre.

  3. Ringcast

  4. Ringcast is a great LOTRO themed podcast, the hosts are a husband and wife(Brad and Elizibeth). These two chat about the latest news and trends in LOTRO, often going into detail about specific classes/professions/etc.. which can be very informative, it is a much less casual podcast, more about information really than people just chewing the fat which is great, I've learned a great deal from these two and really enjoy their style. If you are LOTRO player/fan or just looking for information check it out.

  5. The Instance

  6. Probably one of the best World of Warcraft podcasts out there, the two hosts, Scott, and Randy cover the spectrum of WoW players. Scott is the lead host and a casual gamer who probably hasn't gotten a character above level 30, but this is nice as it provides a different point of view. Randy the ex-hardcore gamer who generally puts all of the news in context as far as the end game goes. Now I don't listen to this podcast as often as I used to since I quit WoW but it is still worth checking out as the guys usually cover news, rumors, and have a core issue per episode which wraps everything up well. A must listen for any WoW player or even if you don't play it is just a good time.


Those are the podcasts I'm listening to right now, if anyone has a recommendation please leave it in the comments and I'll check it out. Anyways, thanks guys and I'll be sure to post some serious content soon.

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Cheston

Monday, June 18, 2007

MMOs on the Mac

Ahhh the elusive Mac Gamer, a loud, passionate, but small group. Mac isn't exactly the optimum gaming platform right now, things are changing albeit slowly. So as a mac user I'm interested in finding those MMOs out there for my platform, because lets face it Bootcamp is nice, but it isn't fun having to reboot every time I want to load up a game. So I've compiled a list of games that run natively on Mac OSX.

  1. World of Warcraft

  2. No matter what your opinion of Blizzard, they are simply the best when it comes to Mac releases, it is hard to find someone that is more dedicated to the platform. WoW of course doesn't need much introduction so I will leave it at that.

  3. EverQuest For Mac

  4. Another big name in the MMO world, EverQuest is not just a PC game. Though I should add that this isn't the PC version, EQ for the Mac has its own server, so you can't play with your friends on the PC. Also EQ for Mac hasn't been kept current with standard EQ, EQ for the Mac only has four expansions, Ruins of Kunark, Scars of Velious, Shadows of Luclin, and Planes of Power. So don't expect to be getting the full 14 expansions that standard EQ has. Still a fun game, with a good community of members still hanging around.
    (note for those on Intel Macs, EQ for Mac isn't a Universal Binary)

  5. Second Life

  6. Though Second Life isn't your standard MMOG, it is certainly worth mentioning as it does have native Mac support, and is growing at a rapid pace.

  7. Shadowbane

  8. A bit older, Shadowbane has been around a few years, and isn't considered one of the top tier but it is now completely free to download and play.

  9. Lineage

  10. One of the biggest MMOs ever is also for the Mac, now this was primarily popular in Korea, but also had quite the following in the States. With a free trial it is certainly worth checking out.

  11. A Tale In the Desert

  12. I have never really tried ATITD, I've heard people speak highly of it. Leave a comment if you have played this game I'd be interested in hearing about it from a player.

  13. EVE Online

  14. This is a bit premature, but CCP has said that they will have a Mac OSX client out by the end of summer '07, so let us keep our collective fingers crossed. From what I hear on the internets, CCP will be utilizing Transgaming's Cider technology to bring EVE to the Mac.

  15. Vendetta Online

  16. Sporting a nice Mac OSX port along with a Linux port, this space MMO is small but from what I've heard close knit with a good community.


That's all I've come up with right now, if you think I should have included something please leave a comment and I'll be sure to include it. See you next time!

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Cheston