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I'm going to be blunt: I am so bored with all the MMORPG's out there right now. There just isn't anything unique, eye-catching or mesmerizing in any of these games currently. So looking to the horizon, we have Warhammer Online coming out next month - with a preview weekend just passing. From what I gather, since I didn't get to play, it looks to be interesting but I'd never get to find out unless I play it. Sort of a WoW meets Dark Age of Camelot, with decent PvP. The problem with these games however, is that even though the PvP is ‘decent', there usually is never anything worthwhile about it. Risk versus reward.
So with that, I am signed up for open beta, starting on September 7th. You can check it out from FilePlanet and get signed up if you have the exclusive FilePlanet account like all the cool kids do. So now I get to wait an excruciatingly painful 13 days before I can test this out. I'll probably be sobbing like a bitch before I'm even through with the game, but it's for the best.
I'm curious to hear from people who played this last weekend. Was it what you expected? Did the PvP make you cream? Was there anything remotely exciting about the "Keep Warfare"?
Let me know here.
Also, it appears Asheron's Call is making their 100th patch. That's rather remarkable, considering how hardly anyone plays the game anymore. However, this content seems like it could make it pretty fun. I may have to reactivate and check it out.
Age of Conan Dead
A few guildes and I went to Age of Conan after release, but soon thereafter we all found ourselves quitting. I suppose that me playing a new game would normally be considered "post worthy", but the game was so lacking that I guess I just didn't think it necessary. As I said, I left pretty soon after starting only reaching like lvl 60 or so.
What sucks is that I can't even tell you what I didn't like about the game. We were on Deathwhisper which was where all the old AC:Darktide pvp guilds were going, so it should have been a great time for all. But there was just something... missing. I had some fun, but overall it just felt "blah".
There was certainly a lack of end game content from what I heard, but I never got to it. We had a guild town and were doing all that, but it just seemed... meh. I dunno and that's really all I've come up with after some moderate pondering on it. I don't know what it was missing, but there was just something missing.
Today I read that last Friday the CEO of Funcom sold almost 20% of his shares in his own company. That's rarely a good sign. Add on to that the fact that Funcom reported the worst quarterly losses in the company's history due to AoC... well, that just about caps it.
I'd heard that they were losing something like 1000 subscriptions a day, but now I hear that they went from 800k to start down to 415k within the first 60 days of release.
Whatever I felt was missing, it appears that a lot of others felt the same. That really sucks because we could really use a good game to revitalize the MMO industry.
Joe and I have joined up a couple of other guildies back in Asheron's Call on Darktide. Everyone in that game is ridiculously high level now with the cap being 275. We're just macroing our way up to a competitive level before I make any judgements, but I have to say that it is good to be back in my favorite MMORPG regardless of how different it is from back in "the day".
You Can't Go Back
As some of you may know, I used to be quite the avid Q-Zar (lasertag) player. I've won my share of national titles and was one of the more competitive players. I have been to a ton of tournaments from 1994-1999 and have played countless thousands of games. However, since all my local Q-Zars closed, my ability to play was obviously drastically reduced. I'd tracked down one of my old Q-Zar buddies on MySpace (that thing is actually worth a damn some days) and he told me about an upcoming tournament asking if I wanted to go. A chance to relive past glory? Sure, why not.
Well, it had been 5 years since I'd even seen a Q-Zar pack and 9 years since I played even remotely what would be considered "frequently". Even so, I was pretty decent in the past and was hoping that simple muscle memory would at least have me playing at a semi-competitive level.
So, this past weekend was the tournament in Tampa and I must say it was just outstanding to see some of the old players still around from "back in my day" about a decade ago. There were a lot less people/teams than back in the prime of the game, but still 6 US teams and 1 from Ireland... not bad I guess.
As soon as I put on a pack, it felt like old times with the exception of one thing. I couldn't just beat people's asses like I could before. I mean, realistically, I shouldn't have after having taken that much time off, but still... being a weak player hurt the ole ego. My memory of being a cornerstone of virtually any team I played with was as fresh as ever, and yet here I was playing like someone who barely had a clue.
As it turns out, my team was the fourth best one there out of seven. I did fine against people that were not great, but the elite players just bashed through me. Man, that sucked. I guess when they say you can't go back, they mean it... at least, without at least getting back into some practice first. ;)
*goes to buy some Q-Zar packs to start playing "tree-Zar" with Lee in the yard*
I get linked shit all the time and I must say that very rarely do I genuinely laugh aloud at them. However, Joe forwarded me something the other day that I damn near fell out of my chair laughing at. It's very focused toward people with some IT knowledge, so if that describes you, then you will get a kick out of the video on this page:
So I got into this whole Age of Conan hype back in beta and I was really excited to try a new game. I downloaded the huge client, installed and patched, but then found out my computer wasn't able to handle it. It took me precisely 5 minutes to load into the "create a new character" screen - only to find out that it was going to stutter worse than an anxious geek on prom night.
Luckily, my friend also got into the beta, so I vicariously played through him on his Shit-Stomp Computer 2008™. So he made his character, got into the game and behold! My first disappointment was nigh! The graphics were horrible - and the fact they require a computer of Jesus-like proportions to run the game, I was expecting it to look like a fucking work of art. Alas, we'll continue.
After magically being saved from drowning, we took our quest forward into a jungle. We start by seeing a babe tied up for gods know why, but hey I won't complain. We rescue her, fly through this jungle and get to a town. The combat system was pretty cool, in the fact you can react to how someone is attacking or blocking against you, but overall nothing that special. When we got to town, we decided to stop because, fuck, WoW was treating us nicer than this whore of a game.
So that was my first impression.
Fast-forward to this weekend, I have a bad-ass rig now and also bought the retail version of the game to try it out one more time with a bunch of friends. I made myself a character on their server (which was a hassle in itself, with server populations being incredibly high) and set out to begin. Those assholes got to level 40-50 over the last week because they got the "early start" version of the game. So I'm left behind to fend for myself. No big deal right? If they got to 40-50 in a week, I shouldn't be too far behind.
Here is my level 10 Conqueror in all his manly, fox tattoo sportin' glory.
Graphics are all on "High". I'd hate to see it on low.
I gotta tell you, I was pretty bored leveling this guy up. I am told once I get off the "newbie island" I'll be much happier, but fuck me running this is just as bad as WoW.
I'll let you know if I change my tune anytime soon. I am going to give it another shot, but will be making a caster this time.
Anyone else have similar first impressions?
Death Tolls and Merry-Go-Rounds
Things have been pretty crazy in my life for the past couple of weeks. To be honest, things have been pretty crazy around the world. Lots of good things and then you've got some downright terrible things. Particularly the cyclone / earthquake / ninja death cloud that they've got going on in the Far East. Can you believe the death toll is already up to 51,000 people? They've got so many corpses in Burma that the army quit hauling them off. They say the decaying cadavers are actually poisoning the water supply of small villages claiming more lives.
Some good things are floating around the news though. Chicago got named the U.S. city of the year by a prestigious magazine. In other news London got named the Global City of the year by some shitty rag. Jack Thompson was found guilty on 21 counts of legal asshattery which is both good and bad. Good because it's another pompous let's blame everyone but the parents moral crusader getting a hefty dose of first amendment foot to ass. Bad because he's was in many eyes the leading man for pro video game censorship and with him moving out of the picture we run the risk of someone competent filling his shoes.
I've done some terrible things in video games. I've dismembered, decapitated, and disemboweled. I've murdered, pillaged, maimed, and razed. I've burnt, stabbed, shot, bit, eaten, skinned, and bludgeoned. I've committed genocide, regicide, suicide, and homicide. By my estimates I've killed billions of people; thousands of those have easily been on a one on one, player versus player capacity. Yet throughout all of the killing and violence the first gun I ever fired in anger was put in my hands by the same government that's trying to tell me video games are ruining America's youth.
Ugh, this post totally degraded into a rant. Anyhow, all we're waiting on for closed beta for WTFGTA is the server. The staff and I are primed to go and will go live the day we get our box set up. Stay tuned for more wacky fun!
Here I go again...
Another day, another MMO. Except this time, I am geniunely excited. I've been hearing about Age of Conan for a long long time now, and mostly in the context of PvP, which is really the only reason it's been in the back of my mind for so long. Not since the days of Asheron's Call has a true FFA PvP environment been available to those of us who choose to play MMOs.
It remains to be seen whether or not the game will live up to its promises. This is FunCom after all, anyone else remember the launch of Anarchy Online? I sure as fuck do, I seem to vividly remember that game inadvertantly formatting people's hard drives. How's that for "bonus content"? I will say that AoC thus far has been quite enjoyable.
I managed to snag myself a Collector's Edition of the game since I preordered many moons ago. It is easily the nicest Collector's Edition game I've run across and some really bad ass packaging to go along with it. Some of the bonus items are a ring that gives a 2% XP bonus to whoever wears it, which is nice for those of us that have jobs and lives. I also got a nifty Mammoth Mount thingy, which is good if you don't want to run slowly, though how a huge fucking wooly mammoth is faster than some dude on foot I'll never know. I also got a cape that allows me to get free drinks in all the taverns in the game. Now, I have no fucking idea why this matters in the game, BUT, could someone PLEASE send me one of these for real life? Thanks.
Now even though I paid for the early access, I've not been able to play much. Saturday was a ridiculous time on the Riverboat for a buddy's bachelor party so you know. I really began playing yesterday when I had recovered from a massive hangover. I didn't play too long, but I am a whopping level 11. I chose the play a Herald of Xotli because being a mage with a really big fucking sword appeals to me quite a bit.
First things first, this game is hard. No more coddling you WoW kiddies. I've died no less than 20 times to monsters. It could be that it's because I need to L2PLAY but wtfever, I am just going to say that the game is hard to make myself look like more of a man! The combat in this game is very interesting, it's a constant button mashing affair. There is no autoattack (hooray!). Basically you start out with three types of attacks (left, overhead, right). You have to hit the corresponding number to attack in that direction, if you're not hitting a button you're standing there getting your ass kicked (trust me, I know) so you better get to hitting some fucking buttons! The cool thing is, the monsters kind of tell you where to hit them, they have little shield icons on each of the 3 sides. The side where they have the least icons is the one you should be attacking (yet another lesson learned the hard way, I thought it was telling me to hit there, I am stupid). The shield icons will change throughout the fight so you're constantly switching tactics and it is super fucking cool, or at the very least novel.
I have no idea if this is how it works in PvP because, as is typical, people usually wait until I have like 5 health left to kill me in the face. Which means that I never get to see if there are any nifty little icons telling me exactly where I need to stick the pointy end of my sword. I just die, I suspect that me dying will take up the majority of my AoC career, just like it did in AC. Should be a fun time to see my little tombstones scattered throughout Hyboria.
A little about my class. It seems as though there are a lot of us in the world, which kind of pisses me off because I like to play those rare classes that no one else does. Again though, a mage with a sword, how can I pass it up. We are the very definition of paper tigers. We wear cloth armor and carry a big sword. The "mage" aspect of the class thus far has been...minimal. That means I am basically charging into combat with a loin cloth and a large, sharp sword. Now if I was the dude at the other end, I would probably run from the naked guy with the sword, but that's just me. I could also hope against hope that maybe he'd slice his own face off during his charge. Anyhow, charging into battle is fun and everything, and I do just fine one on one, but add a couple more enemies and I am F'd in the A. I am sure that eventually I will figure out the proper tactics for taking on this kind of challenge (of which there are MANY), but for right now I'll stick with dying a horrible death. On the bright side, I can turn into a fucking DEMON. Yeah, you heard me right, a fucking demon! Usually I use said demon form to take on larger groups of enemies, but there is a 2 minute cooldown on the spell, so that makes my levelling rate quite slow. It really could just be that once again I need to learn how to play, and it could also be that I sux at low levels and get much more awesome later (far more likely, mainly because I rule).
As it stands right now I have like 5 million points to spend on attributes, but I haven't done it. Except for 50 in Casting Concentration and like 25 in run speed (if only I could spec the Run skill!). I am horribly frightened of fucking up my character because quite frankly I just don't have the time I used to to play these games so I'd prefer to go through the levelling process only once. If anyone has any hints or tips or whatever, feel free to post them in the new and improved Forums.
All in all, even though my time has been limited, I am really enjoying myself. Joy of Villainy has made its home on the Deathwhisper server, feel free to look us up, it won't be hard to find me at any rate. Just follow my tombstones.
Thankfully the forums have returned to service. Enjoy.
So... The World Didn't End
As of April 19th, I am officially off the market. Several of my close friends and I were all expecting the Earth to open up and unleash the four horsemen of the apocalypse. As it turns out, I guess my wedding wasn't the shock to the fabric of the universe I oringially theorized. A small hit to the ego, but considering that it turned out to be the quintesential traditional wedding we wanted to have, I suppose I'll get past my ego brusing.
My new bride and I went to the Sandals Grande on the beautiful island of St. Lucia for our honeymoon. I have had some fine weeks in my life, let me tell you, but they were all eclipsed by this experience. The resort is on a peninsula between the Atlatic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Fucking phenominal weather, great people, warm water, tons of shit to do and plenty of places to do nothing. And like all Sandals resorts... no kids. The perfect honeymoon.
Anyhow, I won't bore you further with the details of all that. I'm basically in "Please let Age of Conan not suck" mode. It comes out on May 20th and I plan to pounce on it.
I'm aware that the forums are still down and that they're basically the lifeline of the site with our lack of front page posting. I'm pretty sure Ryan's life has been totally turned upside down with all the server crash/move shit, but I'm hopeful that he'll get it taken care of ASAP. *crosses fingers*
As you may or may not have noticed, we've had a few issues that started last week and partially continue to this day. Last Wednesday our host's hardware took a huge shit and they ended up with two corrupted harddrives somehow. This happens 3 weeks short of the planned migration to another server in a totally different location, so I just told Ryan to get me a place to host the frontpage and email and worry about the forums later. Obviously, a few of ViolentDave's posts are missing pictures because the most recent copy of the site I have didn't have them, so hopefully he can toss them back online at some point.
Long and short of it is that the forums will be down until the new server is online in a couple of weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Best Tag EVAR
I have long been proud to have WTFMAN as my car tag. It gets many raised eyebrows and questions from both co-workers and police officers regarding its meaning. Good stuff. Joe's tag isn't terrible either after having taken Ally's and my suggestion to get GG NEWB. However, we have both been horribly trumped by the greatest tag of all time :
Don't know how he got that tag as one would think that would immediately throw up some red flags... but that fucking owns.
The Real Developers
Well I am alive but I haven't posted too much lately because, well, let's face it - UO Divinity is filled with players like you and I so there's nothing to rant about. I could go on about WoW, but I feel dirty because I'm pretty sure it would be the worst case of beating a dead horse in history.
I would like to take this time to commend the WTFGTA team and make everyone realize the importance of work like this. This is a large part of the future of gaming, in my opinion. With the advent of Xbox Live, Sony's Home service, and the rampant ability to modify things like GTA on the PC, the possibilities are endless. Some of the best gems you will ever find come out of this sort of development. It's amazing what people can accomplish without publishers looming overhead and demands to make 100 million bucks on a game. At times I feel the community has a better grasp than the developers, and when the community becomes the developers you get things like WTFGTA.
In a time when so many games follow cookie-cutter styles and formats, I encourage anyone to push custom mods. This drives innovation and recently we've seen some cases where the big names like Sony pick up these projects for their online services. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to stick a big rubber dick in Sony's ass then break it off and beat them with the rest of it, but the exposure they can give to people who take on independent projects is motivation in my opinion.
I encourage all of you reading to look into WTFGTA and be reminded that for all the bitching we do, this is an angle that can be taken to get rid of all the bullshit and put in what we really want and have some fun. Yes, fun, you know that thing we play games for but in many cases seems to be elusive in 90% of the online world today?
We're Number 1!
On September 8th 2007 WTFGTA officially opened its doors to the public. About a month prior to that I took my first steps into San Andreas, on WTFGTA, before any of you really knew it. I stood there in my clown suit, which at that time was the beginning skin, with a few friends I had at time and thought to myself, "I'm making a terrible mistake." I was afraid I was about to embark on a phenomenal waste of time. I knew nothing about the coding behind this game; I had a script with over 25,000 lines of code that somehow barely managed to be playable. To top it off I hadn't even played the single player game past the first half of the first mission. I didn't like riding a bike so I shut it off and uninstalled it. Stupid eh?
The whole thing started because I was bored and digging around my old game collection looking for something fun to network and play. I stumbled across GTA2 and fired it up. That quickly lead into Vice City then right into San Andreas. We coasted into an MMORPG styled server and quickly fell in love with it. A week or two into it this was found to be very short lived. All the servers I tried went through a couple hour honeymoon period of fun and then some very game crushing problems came to light. For the most part, all the scripting was fine, but the people involved were just destroying the game.
Some servers had legions of staff members, to the point where 1 in every 4 people you encountered was an administrator. All the positions of authority and power were gobbled up by the staff and I quickly came to the realization that I was always just going to be there to entertain another. My skull bounced off the glass ceiling so many times it was unbearable. Some servers had silly rules established to govern the players such as "Don't fight back.", and "No driving car X." with no coded measures to prevent people from doing so.
I felt like I was just out of reach of a phenomenal game and apparently I was pretty spoiled by the game models established by the Ultima Online freeshards of the past and present (IPY, UO Divinity). Jumping forward again to me standing there in a clown suit, despite my doubts of this ever being a success, I started to think. What can I do here? How can I make a place I would like to play? How do I get there? I dove into the code and started studying and reading everything I could fine. For hours I would read over the script and draw out on graph paper how the code worked and what it did.
I thought about it all day, while I dressed in the morning, while I stared blankly at the television, and every free moment I could drive off. As I'm sure most of you can tell I'm a real stubborn bastard sometimes, well I'm the exact same way when I code. I would lay out a plan with absolutely no regard as to how to do it or if it was possible and I wouldn't stop until I made it happen. Eventually a lot of the critical problems were fleshed out and I started working on the gang code with the idea in mind that I would be able to further the underlying theme of this server, empowering the players.
As I'm standing one day at the newbie spawn point my screen freezes. I attempt to reboot the computer and I can't get it to power on. I was on an open connection to the server for editing purposes at the time so you all knew when my motherboard fried because the whole server came down with it thanks to that open connection. After pulling apart the computer I had to acknowledge the worst, my computer was out of commission and I had nowhere near enough money to get it fixed.
The gang code was put on hold and I continued trying to develop the code to maintain forward progress but it was difficult. I was programming on notepad and passing along untested snippets via IM for debugging and implementations while coaching the debuggers what to test and how to fix problems that were occurring. This went on for around a month until thankfully; the donations accumulated enough to get me back into the game.
A few minor patches later I knew I had to get the gang code out the door. I told my wife to get the hell out of the house for the weekend and I barricaded myself in front of the computer. I drafted a few unlucky players to start doing some grunt work while I grinded out over 7000 lines of code in a weekend. Sunday night rolled around and I collapsed into bed feeling like I had just run a marathon. That following week the patch was released and the first Ganglord's stormed onto the scene taking San Andreas by storm.
I was very happy with the gang code and it seemed to go over very well. Under the assumption that the Ganglord's would cause a surge in population and then we'd slip back to normal numbers I took a bit of a break from coding. That backwards slip never ended up coming. New patches continued to come out providing one of the most robust cheat detection systems in SAMP claiming over 5600+ souls, profession revamps, and a new breed of law enforcement unlike any other. We continue to provide content and an environment no one else can.
Our forums offer so much content I'm pissed at myself I don't have the time to read everything as I once did. The GTA server itself has seen over 80,000 registered characters. On Feburary 16, 2008, exactly 163 days after launch, WTFGTA reached number 1 in the world out of over 122000 ranked servers across 36 different games. I don't care if this only lasts a moment because right now we've achieved what a very few have. This is an especially large victory for wtfman.com, which is the site responsible for not one but now two world renowned servers.
I've always said we have the best server, now it's nice to have something to point to and prove it. This server's success was the collaboration of a lot of things, in my opinion it has a whole lot to do with the players. Now I'm not going to lie to you, sometimes I really want to kill some of your bastards, but I haven't forgotten that you guys are the bread and butter of this server. You can give yourselves a big round of applause. Another huge factor is the tireless staff I have supporting me, without those guys putting up with me being annoyingly particular with everything, this server wouldn't operate.
Despite what the doomday rumors may say and the best efforts of many to prevent us from succeeding we still continue to move forward. You can rest assured that neither myself, the coding team, or game staff have any plans of stopping or relenting. What you see here is only one of many good things you will see come of this. Thanks everyone!
Death and Dishonor
PVP:Player versus player, or PvP, is competitive interaction within a game between two live participants. This is in contrast to games where players compete against computer controlled opponent, which is similarly referred to as Player versus environment (PvE) or player versus monster (PvM). PvP is a type of combat in MMORPGs, MUDs and other computer role-playing games (CRPGs), pitting one player's 'skill' against another's.
PK: Player killing, or PKing, is non-consensual PvP resulting in a character's death. Some games offer "open PvP" (also sometimes called "world PvP"), where one player can attack another without warning anywhere in the game world. An aggressor attacks an opponent without agreement to any set of rules of engagement or combat.
Gank: verb (Online, MMORPG usage) 1. To kill another player using a group of players 2. To kill another player using any means that places the played to be killed at a substantial disadvantage.
As some of you know, I've recently returned to Asheron's Call with several old JoV members and several more wtfman readers. Now for those of you who remember Darktide and how it was (how we ran it) you know that we took what we wanted when we wanted it with brutal and efficient methods. Apparently somewhere in my absence the sport we called PvP has fallen into the carebear pit of despair with every other modern MMO concept
Recently while Irem (Shai, Veng) and I were chasing someone down on DT, who was 90 levels higher than me and 20 higher then Irem a question was brought up....
"2v1" says the high level, still running
"Always" I reply "Unless I have 3"
"Pussy" he says then insta recalls away
This happens daily, multiple times a day actually; People running away, generally higher level, calling me a pussy because I was smart enough to bring help. Now here's my question: When did PvP become about dueling? If you want to duel play pokemon and summon your little monsters, I'm sure the name "Ashe" or whatever is taken though, so you may have to go with XxXAsheXxX.....carebear.... I even see shit like this in DoTA, a team game, where we take a 5 man in to kill 2 people then push a tower.... people complaining about "5v2"
So what I'd really like to know, what are everyone's thoughts on the direction PvP is heading in. In 5 years do you see everyone playing Hello Kitty Island adventure(WoW) still? In short I'm thoroughly unimpressed with the masses, we here at Wtfman and especially in JoV are pks.... honor pks but still pks, we just don't cheat