12.23.07
UO Divinity 2.0
As some of you are aware, I have been keeping my eyes on the Divinity UO server for the past few months. I am one of the admins, although I am sadly mostly absent due to RL craziness - however, I have nothing but love for the server and the rest of the staff. The server is also supported directly by the people who made the platform for all privately run UO servers - RunUO. What I wouldn't have given to have that sort of backing for IPY I can't even begin to express. Coding support is more critical than I care to go into.

Anyhow, with that being said, if you are already a member of the RunUO forums you may already know... the UO Divinity 2.0 re-launch is coming on December 26th. Yes, that is a short 5 days from now. As you can tell from one of the threads in our forum, it's already gotten quite a few people's interest, so if you're looking to relive (or live for the first time) the pre-UOR/T2A era UO experience... now is the time.

The RunUO team is giving away two APPLE IPOD TOUCH devices to lucky participants of the launch week. All you need to do is play the game as much as possible for the first 7 days of launch and two lucky winners will be selected at random. Well, since we're jointly backing Divinity, I can't have the RunUO guys have all the run giving away shit - so WTFMan.com is upping the ante. We will be giving away an XBox 360 elite to a random player of Divinity following the same guidelines that the other giveaway is.

Oh... so now I have your attention huh? "How do I play?" you might be asking. Easy.

Divinity 2.0 is completely free to play and joining the launch could not be any easier. All you need to do is take a moment to download Ultima Online from one of these locations:

http://games.mirrors.tds.net/pub/ea-games/uo/
http://www.uogaddict.com/uodownload/
http://www.fileplanet.com/promotions/uomondainslegacy/

Install UO from one of those links (again for free) and patch your client by running uopatch.exe in the Ultima Online directory (don't patch past 5.0.9.1). Once you've done that go ahead and close the client.

At this point all you need to do is install Razor (The RunUO Team's version of UO Assist) from this location http://www.runuo.com/razor/download.php after which you simply select UO Gamers: Divinity in the drop down and you?re off to the races.

A comprehensive join us guide is located on Divinity's awesome new website that which has just recently been redesigned: http://www.uodivinity.com/join_us/ that will walk you through this step by step with pictures. Their website is http://www.uodivinity.com if you would like to read up on the shard.

I hope you all have a great time there. You never know when some black robed prick is going to drop by and say hi...

Discuss

- Nighthawk


12.07.07
Oh, yes. Oh, gods yes.

So I'm back.

And it feels so good!

There seems to be a miniature revival on AC: Darktide. Lots of people to fight, lots of old faces coming back. I am looking forward to this! We'll see how long this lasts. Feel free to come join me.

Discuss

- cr0ss


11.22.07
On the road to Damascus.

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." -Acts 9 Verses 15-16

For many of us who enjoy killing people in a way that is acceptable to modern society there has been a noticable lack as of late in the gaming community. The last game to come out that was a purebread slaughterfest was Hitman Bloodmoney in 2006 which, as all the non-fans don't know, was an insanely awesome game. But where oh where have we had to turn since then? The only other games where you can sneak up behind someone and slice their throat or fight 20 enemies face to face was Tenchu... and they ran out of good ideas about 5 years ago. For all of our fruitless searching it turns out that we were looking in the wrong place..... and time.

The Holy Lands, where murderers ran the streets and everyone felt that their own cause was just and all other's must be scourged from the earth

That's right ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about Assassin's Creed. I was skeptical at first, as the game that was suposed to be the very first PS3 game to come out it started to seem more and more like vaporware and I started to think "There must be something seriously fucked with this game to take this long after the scheduled release to come out. Then...... I got it and all was well. My roomate and I split it, 30 bucks each, and I figured since it was his TV and his PS3 I wouldn't argue about him playing it first. After 2 hours of watching him knife civilians in the streets of Acre I was completely hooked.

Before I start to explain the gameplay allow me to assure you at all of the graphics in the videos and screenshots is actual game footage...... let that sink in for a minute...... This game has the single most fluid play and control system I have ever encountered, scaling a 50 foot wall is as easy as walking down the street, which is just as easy as knifing a guard and killing everyone within a 10 block radius. The kill sequences are simply amazing, easy to perform and fantastically gory and brutal with the amazing graphics to back them up. Also Assassin's Creed offers you a Grand Theft Auto type environment, where you can take on many otional side missions and freely roam the era of the crusades, with combat from horse back, helping citizens in distress(or not) collecting banners all over the map, killing knight templars and many many other things.

I'd rate this game at a solid 10 and would venture to say that it's almost worth it to buy a new console just to play it. All in all I would say that this game will soon make it into the top 10 games of all time.

Assassin's Creed Trailer

Discuss

- Neverborn


11.06.07
What a pity.

So in the midst of all this Grand Theft Auto: Multiplayer drama and Darkfall: Vaporware fun, I needed a fun game to play with all my newly found free time. Apparently Iím a masochist as there is no worse punishment than playing World of Warcraft again. Now donít get me wrong, I can enjoy the game from time to time, as I am right now, but itís kind of like light beer. Yeah you can drink it, and sure you feel like a woman while you do so, but itís still beer and youíll be drunk soon enough. Anyway, the point being, go fuck yourself, Blizzard.

Itís come to my attention that we, the ďmal-adjustedĒ generation of gamers coming from Ultima Online and Asheronís Call, basically the pinnacles of Player Versus Player interaction, are a huge minority. Iíve known we were small in number, but I just never realized how small when you compare our craziness to the players of, say, World of Warcraft. Iíve read so many forum posts on how changes to PvP should be made, how Blizzard should stop (and I quote) ďsucking dicks for loose change and bring back world PvPĒ, how they should add a variation of Guild versus Guild combat or get rid of honor or wipe the arena system and re-code it so that warlocks always win.

This kind of shit just makes me realize that 90% (read: a mock up of bullshit percentages) of the people who play World of Warcraft for the PvP have never really played good MMORPG style PvP like us.

That makes me sad.

We have our glory days, the times where we felt we had the most fun, the most intense fights or moments, but for those masses who are playing games like World of Warcraft or Everquest 2 Ė hell even Star Wars: Galaxies Ė the only glory days theyíll be reminiscing are of these.

Take a look at this quote from the PvP forums of WoW:

Quote: ďDoes anyone pvp for fun anymore?Ē
Reply: ďYeah, in TF2 and CSĒ.
Counter-Reply: ďYou all suck dicks.Ē

Classy.

This isnít another ďlets get a new PvP game going!Ē post, this is more along the lines of a ďWow, I feel sorry for the new generation of gamers and their lack of awesome PvPĒ post. Sadly, this is going to be the new generation that sets the bar on all future games to come. This is why all the new games coming out are also not set on amazing PvP. Look at Warhammer Ė PvP in basically the exact stance as WoW Battlegrounds with a twist. How about Tabula Rasa? In this game, PvP was an afterthought with only minor guild versus guild combat Ė who knows with what rewards.

When it comes down to it, PvP just isnít what it used to be. Itís no longer ďIn your face, flee in fear bitches!Ē kind of PvP, its now more along the lines of ďShall we dabble into the taboo arts of Player Versus Player combat today, Charles?Ē kind of PvP.

Welcome to the new age of shit. $50 at the door, please.

Discuss

- cr0ss


10.24.07
Top Ten Games of All Time - Number 5

Monkey Island Series

Iíve read some top ten lists in the past and some obscure and silly game has made it into the top ten that Iíve never heard of or played for 5 minutes and quit. One of those games that I know for a fact that some guy in the group played it when it was in its heyday and bitched until someone finally said, ďFuck itĒ and put it on there. The Monkey Island series is probably going to be that game in this list, I could be wrong, but hear me out. The first few iterations of the Monkey Island series came out when adventure games were all the rage. Lucusarts was pumping these games out like my cat pisses on my clean laundry. Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Sam and Max were some others just to name a few.

All had their good points but I always felt the Monkey Island stood apart from those games and many other games of its time. The music, graphics, story, and production value of this series has always been of the highest quality. The series followed the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate trying to make his bones as a swashbuckler in various different Caribbean locals. You found yourself often in silly and strange situations giving you the empathetic impression that maybe Guybrush, despite all his faults, might be the only sane guy in the damn game. You wonder if maybe Guybrushís goal is a little misguided because the fame and stories surrounding piracy are often greatly exaggerated and wrong. For example you spend a good chunk of the first chapter in the first game questing for the secret treasure of Booty Island, which later turns out to be a t-shirt.

Could this series hold up now? Yes and no. I can still go back and have a good laugh at the all the games but the first two are very limited with its VGA graphics. If you were to pick up the game now and had no exposure to series I would recommend picking up the third and fourth one. You might not get every single inside joke but youíll still have a great time playing. A bit off topic but if your looking for an adventure game along the same caliber you can try the newest Sam and Max series which is utilizing the ďepisodicĒ format for release. Theyíre relatively small downloads and easy to find online.

Why did this make number 5 on my top ten list? Itís a little hard to say to be honest. Iíve played every game in this series from start to finish and enjoyed it thoroughly. Each game utilized technology of its time and increased the quality and never lost sight of the atmosphere and story. Itís not a lot of crazy action so you adrenaline junkies wonít like this. Its one of those kick back, interact, laugh, and enjoy types of games. Rumor has it thereís a Monkey Island 5 slated for years and years into the future. I wouldnít hold your breath though, adventure games are few and far between nowadays.

Discuss

- Violent Dave


09.08.07
A light at the end of the tunnel

So here we are waiting for a game to come out that is worthy of the title "fun" getting more and more agitated as we are forced to try more and more horrible games in hope that one of them will actually be good.

For most of us here at Wtfman PvP is our main concern in a game, nothing beats the thrill of the kill and the grief that results but since DAoC went downhill we've been twisting in the wind. At this point in time we have WoW("MMOs for newbies" guidebook), UO(OSI servers are carebear and freeshards don't seem to last long), Darkfall(vaporware), Warhammer(WoW+1), AC(Dead), DAoC(Dead) and many other games that cater to carebears. So we search, wait and hope that some compant somewhere will take a risk and put out a game that is geared more towards our genre.

Age of Conan is now in beta and after long years of hoping for a good MMORPG that may actually be playable I think this may be the one. With gaming overviews riddled with UO refrences and interviews with dev's explaining that PvP will be a VERy large part of the game I've had very high hopes. Still I've been keeping my expectations relatively low as many games that have come out recently(WoW included) have said that PvP will be a part of their games and all have failed to deliver.

Early this morning(3pm) a good friend of mine who has been avidly keeping me up to date on the game sent me a link to the first PvP video release from the game. The quality of the video is shitty and taken by someone holding a camera in front of the monitor but I couldn't help but let my expectations rise as I watched.

AoC PvP Video

Official AoC Website

I encourage anyone looking for PvP in the near future to check this out, maybe try to get into the beta and keep us informed. All in all, my interest in this game is peaked, it seems to offer everything that I and those of my guildmates/friends that I've discussed it with want in a game.

Discuss

- Neverborn


09.05.07
Top Ten Games of All Time - Number 6

The Worms Series

I remember late summer nights playing this game until the radio station I was listening to went off the air and I could barely keep my eyes open. Very rarely can a single player game capture my interest enough to play it over and over again. The worms series has that unique staying power and maximum replay value. For those of you that have been living under a rock for the better part of a decade, Worms is a turn basedÖChrist I donít even know what genre it falls into. You start off with a team of worms against up to three other teams. Each worm takes its turn attempting to use various different weapons and the environment to kill one another.

Using the wind, power, and angle you try to hit each other with various comically deadly weapons like exploding sheep, battle axes, holy hand grenades, and tons of other crap you could only dream up during a bad acid trip. The lighthearted charm makes this game universally appealing to all age groups and sexes. A lot of what happens is based on skill but there is always that chaos factor of luck that helps level the playing field. Normally I absolutely hate anything based on luck but youíre laughing too hard at the absurdity of what just happened to care.

I canít tell you how many times victory has been snatched from my grasp from a silly mine spawn or awkward grenade bounce. This game also lets you play hot seat with a few of your friends so it is an extremely social game. Many times while hosting parties with an abundance of alcohol my guests would drag me to my computer, male and female alike, to boot up Worms.

From a single player aspect it has always had quite a bit to offer. Every game in the series has the option to run through a single player campaign or partake in training minigames to hone your skills. With the latest installment of the Worms series it made the transition into 3D. When most 2D games attempt this they fall flat on their faces yet I found that despite the minor change in game dynamics inherent in the 3D switch, the game managed to hang on to itís fun factor and charm. When it went 3D the skill required to play went up enough to hurt its universal appeal but aside from that I found it to be a great game.

Many hours were spent in this game both single player and multiplayer. I find myself not playing to win but rather to have fun. Iíll forgo a sure shot or something I could do to seal victory just to attempt something more nefarious and entertaining. This game has held my interest over the years and even with its remarkable age, the cartoony graphics are still appealing and I love to play. Pick up Worms Armageddon or Worms 4 (the 3D version) for PC at the ďusual placesĒ and you wonít be disappointed.

Discuss and hit me with a sheep

- Violent Dave


09.05.07
WTFGTA Launching on Saturday

Or at least itís the deadline Iím setting for myself to really start pushing this thing. Iím going to have to change a lot of this stuff while weíre live on the fly because Iíve got most of you playing the game without providing much feedback. Most of you have chosen a profession that works and stuck with it because you hear there are problems elsewhere. This doesnít do me much good for fixing it because I donít know what you guys consider broke and I also canít fix it if Iíve got no one playing that profession. The road will be a bit harder. Iíve actually beefed up one of the benefits for being one of the professions but none of you have found it because it fell under one of those professions that one really wanted to play.

Whoever discovers how to use this profession properly is going to be quite a formidable player. But, I digress, no big deal. Saturday, Saturday, Saturday! You have to buy the whole seat but youíll only need the eeeeeeeeeeeedge! (best monster truck voiceover guy impression as I could muster) Not a whole lot is going to change besides less downtime during the evening hour. A lot of people have asked me if there will be a wipe when we launch. There will be some changes on launch day but it will not effect most of you. The following will happen:

-All unnatural admin generated items and content will be removed. (Vehicle spawns, large sums of money I gave to players to test specific things)

-All businesses will be cleared of ownership.

-All players placed in faction positions for testing will be removed excluding the police chief (Itíd be stupid. To do away with all the cops at launch).

-All unnatural stats will be reduced to par.

Iím pretty just wiping any damage I personally might have done to upset the balance of things. I learned a lot about the balance thanks to these players and I appreciate their time and effort during beta. Before beta you will see (hopefully):

-A higher death cost

-Radar blips for criminals with high wanted levels (IE, if you murder someone the police will be able to track you until your wanted level reduces to a decent level. Petty crimes will not set this off. Dozens of petty crimes will.)

-Insta-jail for killing someone in the spawn area. Weíll call that area of the map trammel.

Things recently changed/added:

-There are now two levels of criminal organization. Gangs and families. Each with different benefits and abilities.

-The acceptance of jobs for each of these should be working properly

-Colored names

-Some other vehicle spawns

-Police operating procedures.

-A new admin

Thereís a lot slated for the future. Weíre seeing some very high numbers in the evening which is great but we have plenty of room for more. Last night I looked and we were pulling in more folks then the three biggest RP servers out there which was quite nice. We keep going up in the rankings at game-monitor.com thanks to your votes and having people on the server. Keep coming guys, its getting better everyday.

Discuss and Complain

- Violent Dave


08.28.07
People who play multiplayer games like they're single player

FUCK YOU

Discuss

- Neverborn
08.23.07
WTFMan GTA RPG Server is now live

I never really planned on most of this; if youíve been following my GTA experience at all you would probably know I really stumbled into this whole situation. I went from instigator of GTA2 mayhem, to Vice City resident with Tarzan, to San Andreas gang leader, to banned ass motherfucker, and now Iím a server creator and admin. All of this in the span of about a week or two. Thanks to Ryan weíve got some kick ass hosting set up on a virtually lag free North American server.

I had it raining cars yesterday in an attempt to stress test a little bit and everything was running fine. The multiplayer client still has a few quirks and issues with some people; however thatís completely out of my hands and in no way a reflection of the server. Weíre going to be setting up an RPG style environment because there are a million deathmatch servers out there. Theyíre a blast but they get old real fast.

On my server youíll be able to level up, take jobs, own houses, start gangs, and most importantly fight with purpose. Iím going to warn everyone though; this is going to be a rough ass town. You see a lot of common rules around most of the RP servers and I think a lot of them are over used and abused by admins. Iím going to take a more unique approach to administrating; Iíll be acting more like a game master in the sense that Iím only really there to move things along.

Thereís police in the game for a reason. And if the police get out of hand: Thereís guns in the game for a reason. Iíve asked Nighthawk to set up a forum for us where I can put all of the information regarding what to do in the game such as how to pick up jobs, earn money, buy guns, find locations, etc. Weíre currently running on a very well coded RPG game mode for San Andreas Multi-theft Auto and Iíve begin picking it apart to see how the thing ticks. Iíve already started to add some improvements to the scripts but I havenít had more then 2 hours with it.

If youíd like to help, all I really need right now from you guys is your participation and telling people about us. Get the word out. The server can only be great if we get people showing up and getting involved. Thatís step one. IM your friends, email your old UO buddies, put it in your sig on some forums, post it out there on your blog, or whatever else youíve got to do. Iím sure a lot of you have questions about the server on how itís going to work from an RP standpoint but hold them off until we get that forum set up and Iíll post everything you should need.

The server is propagating in the internet server list in the mutli-theft auto lobby so just look for ďWTFMan GTA ServerĒ or something to that regard. Itís a little up and down and some wonky things are going to happen because weíre in beta testing right now so donít be surprised if a jumbo jet falls on you or you see a skydiving clown. Log in, get your game on, and let me know how everything works for you?

Discuss and Vote

- Violent Dave


08.22.07
So you want to kill some people eh?

Iíve gotten a surprising amount of emails regarding my last post. We fielded a lot of numbers and our gang swelled into pretty much an army. The server we played on, this apparently, was against some unspoken rule. The entire crew ended up getting banned because we werenít allowed to organize ourselves. We were right in the middle of forcing a monopoly on the arms trade when we all lost connection to the server, without warning, with ban messages gracing our screens. As some of you know, we did our best to fight the ban because we were in fact roleplaying. We had even run what we were doing by an admin prior to proceeding, yet we still got hit with the ban hammer.

What it had appeared to be was a bad case of poor staffing. With other servers out there a few of us began hopping around playtesting the other RP servers to see where I could forward everyone to. Thatís why if you have emailed me, or asked me for the server information, I havenít responded. I donít know the answers to your questions and Iím not about to endorse something I havenít thoroughly tried. Poking around the other RP servers we had a very similar experience with each one, crappy admins.

Now, while in vent and speaking with our people, Iíve always been very adamant about respecting the rules of the server but much to my dismay, rules donít apply to the admins. Weíve tried servers where weíve been kicked for fighting back, banned for stealing cars, kicked for killing an admins player character, and other such nonsense. Doing a little research on the servers weíve played on, most of them have 20-30 admins on staff. With the server populations it means about 1 in every 4 people you encounter had admin powers.

Scoping out the accepted applications on some of the servers it would appear the average age of these admins are 13-16. This has been extremely frustrating to me because I have so much fun with the game and for the most part the other players on the server, but the corrupt game staffs just ruin everything they touch. Youíve got admins that are gun-ho killing everything in site then kicking you for DMing (a.k.a. deathmatching, or killing without an RP purpose) when you fight back. Then you have the other side of the house, admins that are crazy RPers and will ban you for slipping out of character or swearing. If Iím a hardened criminal, I donít think Iím going to get shot at and yell, ďOh fiddlesticks!Ē

But please, donít let what Iím saying jade you on this game. This game and the RP game mode on the multiplayer servers is just to fun to throw my hands up and give up on. As you can tell by the pictures in this post, this game is way too much fun to quit. Weíre still seeking alternate servers and until now I havenít really been including to many people for fear that all the aforementioned problems would make people want to play the game and when we finally found a home we wouldnít have anyone to play with.

I think Iíve been wrong though to not include as many people in this search as possible. We only found problems with some of these servers when we logged in as a group. In the thread attached to this post Iíve included our Ventrilo info. Hop in there and talk Tarzan, me, or anyone else in the Fromunda crew and ask them how you can get hooked up with the gang. Anyone in there should be able to help troubleshoot any problems you might have and get your character set up so you have the right last name so youíre associated with our crew.

The only other alternative to finding a good server is starting our own, which after last night Iím seriously looking into. The RPG game mode and various different scripts for the servers are out there and from what Iíve seen pretty easily implemented and understandable. Iíve located a host that specializes in setting up GTA:SA multiplayer servers and theyíd be able to put it together for us with minimal technical experience on my part. This would help me concentrate solely on administrating the server and coding up new scripts. Iíve seen some scripts out there that can do some pretty amazing things like draw out territory lines on the map so gangs can have specified turf, scripts that allow you to set up player shops to sell guns and services, scripts that allow organized illegal street racing, and things of that nature.

I wouldnít be able to do this alone though, I would need your help to spread the word about the server to get players on board and I would need your donations. Check out the thread and let me know your thoughts and get my vent info. Sorry for the long post.

Discuss and Vote

- Violent Dave


08.17.07
Getting Violent On the Streets of GTA

On a whim looking for some fun network games to play I pulled out my old GTA 2 CD. GTA 2 was designed entirely with single player in mind and you can tell by the many problems had a real rough time running over a network multiplayer. Even on the systems of today the game lags horribly. Some friends and I played a few rounds and I thought it was the end of it, until after some digging we had discovered Vice City had a multiplayer mod and servers up. The servers out could handle 200 different players at a time but yielded maybe 20-30 max.

I chalked this up as another bust until we learned that San Andreas also had a multiplayer mod and these servers were pulling numbers well into the hundreds. Jumping onto one of these servers was crazy yet plagued with a degree of problems. As lovingly stated in the forums and on the front page here in the last post by cr0ss, once video games hit the mainstream the intelligence level of the players dropped substantially. I had a lot of fun but not at the expense of getting punched in the face 500 times by my own teammates (gang) at the spawn point before they figured out I wasnít taking damage.

Still, I had a real good time but I knew stupidity would wear this pretty thin. The servers themselves are all different. Each is usually running a different mod or style of play, none of which requires any extra downloading. We hopped on one that is modded especially well. Itís set up as an RPG environment modeled after the Godfather video game in which the downtown area is divided up amongst the various different mafia families. All the families and their leaders are comprised of the players themselves and usually there are around 120 people on at any given time.

On the server you can do a lot of things including level you character, purchase licenses to drive various different vehicles, buy or rent safehouses, pick up a job as an arms dealer, drug dealer, hitman, taxi driver, cop (yes you can jail and arrest people) or whatever else you want to do to make some cash. The families own businesses and headquarter buildings. Weíve started a gang and weíve got a vent server set up. My first time on the server I went out and took out a loan so I could get your basic license. We headed off to a more remote portion of town looking for some trouble and came across an arms deal going down between two guys. Dumping off the other three guys in the car we unloaded on them just as a cop was showing up on the scene.

This complicated things severely, knowing we were in trouble we unloaded on the cop too. Apparently one of the arms dealers had scrambled away in the fray and grabbed up a car. The three of them with MP5ís nearly cut the squad and half and the cop was getting hit hard when that second guy pulled up and yelled for the cop to get in. Practically diving in the window of the car he pulled away in a hurry. Knowing that this place was going to get real heavy for unloading on that cop we jumped back in our car and made for the highway fast.

We got a decent distance away but we got caught in a chase with another squad that had been called to the scene. He slammed us into a rail and jumped out unloading his revolver into our car. I hauled ass out of the car; I had no weapons tried beating his ass. Unfortunately for me I had taken to many rounds in the last spat and caught an ill timed right cross from my friend which dropped me. They ended up all arrested and in jail. Weíre a bit more serious now taking on some more organized endeavors. Weíre going to be cruising around looking for a safehouse tonight. Weíre fielding more numbers then most of the families and weíre all under the same last name so people know not to mess with us. Out of respect for the RPing community weíve toned down the senseless violence and worked a bit to put a bit more meaning to our bloodshed, but weíre still shedding it nonetheless.

If anyone is interested in joining up with us and running the streets of San Andreas, click on my name below and weíll help you get situated in game. The more the merrier, I say, lets run this fucking town.

Discuss and Destroy

- Violent Dave


08.17.07
Top Ten Games of all Time - Number 7

Oblivion

Some of you might be noticing a pattern here. I like games that are open ended, have plenty of action, and plenty of story. When I put it that way, it sounds like itíd be real easy to make a game I really enjoy. With all the crap they have out there now it evidently it isnít as easy as you might think. I canít start talking about Elder Scrolls: Obvlivion without first taking a step back to Morrowind. Back before I went into the military I was very poor, tax season hand yielded a nice sum of money for me and it was the only opportunity I had to splurge on something other then extra bacon at Dennyís.

I went over to my local video game retailer and purchased an Xbox and two games, Morrowind and Tony Hawk 3. I had grabbed Morrowind because I had seen a good friend of mine playing it all the time and was extremely intrigued. I hooked up the Xbox and fired up Morrowind. I hated it instantly. Iím not all that sure why I hated it, it was just one of those things. I moved on to playing the crap out of Tony Hawk, partially because I liked it but mostly because it was the only game I had that I liked.

Eventually I found myself landing 1 million+ point moves (no joke) and pissing off all my friends in a game of HORSE so I picked up Morrowind again. I trudged through the lower levels and found that I really enjoyed the game. Zip to many hours later and I hated it again. Once your character hits a certain point, you can take on pretty much anything and I might as well had god mode on. Quests had been reduced to go here, get this, bring it here, and repeat. Nothing could stand between me and the goal so I was basically running errands for pixel people. Donít get me wrong, I played the shit out of that game, but to this day I canít even look at the cover without feeling bored.

Oblivion took all the great things about Morrowind and expanded on that. The graphics are spectacular, the world is simply beautiful. Even if you hate the game you have to admire the love and creativity that it must have took to create something of that magnitude while maintaining a ton of uniqueness. The game had implemented a level curve to the game, the loot in the game was based on your level. You could find some really great swag but you never found some sort of Jesus sword that would let you smite everything from now until end game.

They eliminated the ďgo forĒ missions and all of the quests were very unique. I cannot tell you how much fun I had doing the Dark Brotherhood and Theives Guild quests. The Dark Brotherhood was an assassin for hire guild. The game provided many ways to kill off your targets from poisoning their food to dropping something on their head. The quests were very unique, I found myself doing everything from sneaking on board a pirate ship in a crate to kill the captain to getting locked in a house full of people murder mystery mansion style and having to kill them all without being ousted as the assassin. The Theives Guild was equally fun but in many other ways.

All of this was actually just side missions you could do; there was a main plot that helped shape the world around you. Not so much to the degree of Fable, but completing certain portions of the main quest would change an environment. There are still portions of this game I have not played, I barely touched the Mage Guild and there are many areas I have yet to explore. One of the reasons I really loved this game and the last was how I could go out and do whatever I wanted. In Morrowind I collected drug paraphernalia and manufactured through alchemy the most powerful speed potions I could from the drugs. In Oblivion I wanted to purchase all the Real Estate and collect all the Daedric armor helmets for display because they looked like big metal tribal masks.

This made my top ten list because it was such a well put together game. I had fun from beginning to end and I was constantly challenged. This game shows to me that Bethesda, the creators of the Elder Scroll series, can learn from there mistakes and constantly hone their talents to create a better and better product for their customers. This is extremely rare nowadays with software developers so Iím going sink my teeth into the games produced by them. On a side note, Bethesda picked up the development of Fallout 3 from the now defunct Interplay.

Discuss and Deny

- Violent Dave


08.11.07
The Degradation of Intelligence

So I was just playing some games online, getting extremely irritated due to the fact that people are morons. In a team game environment, with the luck of a random draw, you will get thrown together with the most idiotic people every time. This goes without fail.

Why is this? Why is it in every game nowadays, in this case I was playing Guild Wars, there are a huge majority of moronic players who always think they are doing the correct thing? They never feel they are doing bad, oh no. They always, 100% of the time, feel like it's someone elses fault even if the rest of the team all agrees that player "X" is the cause of the teams downfall. Stupidity in online gaming is running rampant these days, and it's all because of the influx of fresh blood.

These newbies are coming in to games where they really don't have to think too much and because of this are not actually being challenged. I thought the purpose of competetive gaming was to bring on challenges, both great and trivial. With games like World of Warcraft and Everquest, the challenge for competetive PvP really isn't there. It's all about number crunching to those people, and in twitch skill like games (i.e. Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, hell just about all FPS and some RTS games) these players fail dramatically. Guild Wars isn't even all that twitchy, all it takes is a bit of patience and understand of counter-balancing, yet a good 80% of the population that plays it are horrible at it.

This isn't me saying "Oh shit, I'm so great at these games everyone else sucks." Though that is true, this is about much more than that. Why aren't more games out there challenging the players on more levels than just number crunching? Where is the 'skill' involved? Why don't we go back to the games where we actually have to have some measure of competence to get far in them?

The general online gamer population is full of idiotic people lately. Come on game companies, change this. Scared to make a good, challenging game because of a possible loss in revenue? You rich fucks should call it quits.

Discuss

- cr0ss


08.09.07
Top Ten Games of All Time - Number 8

Fallout Series

As I'm sure most of you know from my previous posts here I'm quite a fan of the Fallout series. I actually picked up Fallout many years after it had already been released. Prior to being in the military I was quite poor and I didn't have much of gaming PC. My wife had gone out with one of my friends looking for some cheap gift ideas for me for my birthday. She came back with Fallout 1 and Fallout 2, which she yanked out of a bargain bin at some electronics store for five dollars a pop.

To me, Fallout is the poster child for gameplay over graphics. This game, years old, still managed to play better then 90% of the games I was playing at my friends houses. Fallout combines RPG elements with turn based combat. If you think turn based combat is lame or slow and boring, you are horribly mistaken. In Fallout you involve yourself in many different subplots and storylines to complete your main quest. In Fallout 1 you were looking for a simple water purification chip to save the people in your shelter. You ended up getting very tangled in with the outside world and end up having a greater impact than you could have predicted in the beginning.

The second one started off equally as simple, you were looking for some sort of device that was spoken about in a propaganda film from the vault (bomb shelter) manufacturers that was said to create communities after ďthe war was overĒ. Aside from the plot and combat one of the things I thought really shined about this game was the skills, stats, and perks you could receive. This leveling system is now mirrored in many games you see today and is lauded as the first game to integrate such a system. Even right after the game ended you wonder to yourself how differently things would have gone if you had chosen a different set of skills.

In my game I worked mostly with submachine guns and influenced people with my dialog. One of my favorite tricks in the game, when I wanted to kill a group of people, was to stand behind the toughest guy in the group and unload a full clip into him. Since I was coming from behind, surprising him, and using the entire ammo clip 90% of the time I cut him clean in half. During combat you could aim at specific body parts as well. As your skill went up with that particular weapon you grew more accurate hitting harder targets. Center mass was always the highest but sometimes its just fun shooting a guys legs off first or blowing his balls off.

Fallout 3 is coming soon and I would recommend you play the previous ones, not for continuation of the story, but just to get you nice and psyched up for the new one. I may have hopped on this band wagon nearly half a decade after it passed but let that be a testament to how much of a quality game this is.

Discuss

- Violent Dave


08.08.07
Status Quo

I have to tell ya, I am quite sick of all the games that have been coming out lately. I am sure many of you feel the same way, I have no doubt. The fact that every day some big-shots at A Major Game Company get to decide the Ďyayí or Ďnayí on each game idea that comes to them based on how much cash they think itíll make them has me wanting to send them a big bag of shit to their doorstep. Because, well, thatís essentially what theyíre giving us every time they release that new title of theirs.

Take a look at the few most recent MMORPGs to come out the last couple of years. We have:

Everquest II Carebear bullshit that almost did PvP right, but oh waitóitís SoE.
World of Warcraft This is supposed to be World of Warcraft. What happened to that? Oh yeah, battlegrounds was the worst idea ever.
Vanguard This piece of shit has so much potential but Sigil fucked up production and now itís in SoEís hands. Good-bye, Vanguard.
City of Heroes/Villains. Crap.
EVE Online Could have been good. Great concept, great ideas, horrible marketing and implementation. Not to mention it takes a year to do anything worthwhile.
Guild Wars Does this shit even count?
Lord of the Rings Online Holy god damn donít get me started on those gay hobbits.

There we have it ó the Ďmajorí games to come out in the last 3 years or so. Does anyone see a horrible pattern here? I do: the games all suck. Little do the majority of players know that theyíre getting a huge one crammed up their dick-garage while they continually pay for the shiny pixels they so adore.

How hard is it to get into the game industry, break some balls and get a decent game made? Anyone know? E-mail me, post on the forums here, help me out. I am going to get this ball rolling.

Discuss

- cr0ss


07.21.07
Top Ten Games of All Time - Number 9

Deus Ex Series

I can tell you right now that there is going to be a good chunk of you that have never even heard of this series. Deus Ex comes in two parts, the first one ďDeus ExĒ and the second one Deus Ex: Invisible War. The original came out way back in 2000 and won many game of the year awards. The game is commonly classified as a cyberpunk first person shooter slash role playing game. Honestly, thinking back this is the first really good blend of the two genres that Iíve seen in a game.

The game also boasted great graphics, wonderful sound, superior voice action, and a killer plot. The game itself was completely open ended in how you approached problems and supported many styles of play. There were vast subplots in the game that these play styles greatly affected. The game is so open ended it even supports multiple endings for the main story line. I remember one of the many big decisions in the game came about one third of the way through.

You worked for a government organization attempting to stop citizen terrorists from hijacking vaccine for a plague that was ravishing the world. As the plot slowly unfolds you get dumped into city after city where there is so much pain and suffering caused by this plague. The ďterroristsĒ youíre hunting down start to look more and more like people just trying to survive. You brother, who previously worked for the same organization, ended up flipping to the terrorists and you were tasked with hunting him down.

The game forced you to choose between your family and your job. Decisions like these were left up to the player while the big story unfolded around you. You could blast away everyone and upgrade your cybernetic implants with strength to carry bigger weapons or eye implants to install a HUD in your head. You could be sneaky and put skill towards hacking sentry guns to mow down guards and hack bank machines for cash.

The second series came around and introduced a beautiful graphics and physics engine. Tranquilizing guards with a dart gun and throwing them off roofs to distract guards below was not only laugh out loud amusing but handy. Cramming bodies youíre trying to hide in kitchen cabinets and dumpsters became fun again. The plot for the second one actually got quite a bit more complex then the first. Anyone even slightly interested in conspiracy theories would swoon at the chance to play these games.

Iíd highly recommend this game to everyone unless you hate a good story, open ended game play, and canít stand having a good time. I chose this game as number nine because itís so full of memorable moments and not in the way you might think. Everyoneís stories in this game will be different. I can tell you how I accidentally screwed up placing a proximity mine and blew my own legs off during a mission (literally, the damage you take is relative to body parts). I can amusingly recall my first attempt at being sneaky, which involved a can of mace, 14 stab wounds for a poor guard with what appeared to be no vital organs, and a whole lot of screaming. I remember running out of ammo during and having to crush a guy with a couch.

This game series has a 3rd installment in the works right now but is not looking like itíll be out anytime soon. You can find Invisible War for Xbox and PS2 but I would recommend picking it up on a more powerful machine so you can really appreciate the graphics. The second one on the Xbox was plagued by some very lengthy load times so if youíre as impatient as me, get it for the PC.

Your stories will all be different in this game. Thatís what makes Deus Ex so great.

Discuss

- Violent Dave


07.26.07
God Help Me...

Here we go again...

Discuss

- Nighthawk


07.21.07
Top Ten Games of All Time - Number 10

Iíve decided to do a 10 part series on what I think would be the top ten video games of all time. I know thereís a lot of lists like this out there and some of you might not agree whole hardily with what I have to say about each game but this is why this is my list and not yours. Youíll find that thereís a certain type of game I like and quite a few popular genres that I steer clear of for the most part. Honestly, that has a lot to do with my tastes and not really the quality of the game.

For eight of the ten games I have chosen Iíve cited the entire series. There are a lot of game series out there that jump from publisher to publisher and get ruined but the ones I have chosen, for the most part, have remained with the original creators or captured the concept of the series. When you have a series like that, it is very hard to choose just one so I didnít bother. Anyhow, on with the list. Be sure to chime in with your thoughts as well.

Number 10

Grand Theft Auto Series

You know, GTA has caught a lot of flak from the media and gamers alike. The media for obvious reasons and the gamers for saying the game style have run its course. What a lot of people fail to realize though is that a lot of people are worn out by this type of game largely because they played the shit out of it. Grand Theft Auto hit the scene 10 years ago with its first edition and went pretty much unnoticed by everyone. There were no protests at Walmart and no church group was burning instruction guides.

The game didnít really hit the mainstream until the third edition became available for PS2. Console systems are frequently plagued by straightforward games that bee line you to the ending but GTA took a completely different route. Lauded for its innovation in free form gameplay it was simultaneously cursed for the exact same thing. Personally Iíve followed this game since GTA2 and have been frequently impressed.

The series has made better use of hardware specifications and pushed the genre forward with new features on every new addition to the series. Even at the most aggravating moments of the game you still found yourself coming back because you could usually work around the part pissing you off. Or at least club old ladies to death to feel better about being pissed.

Iíve spent many hours wandering Liberty City, Vice City, San Andreas, and everything before and in between. Iím sure Iíll be visiting any other city created by the fine folks over at Rockstar. I chose this game as my number ten for many reasons: the sheer number of hours I spent in this game having fun, the free form gameplay, the ability to cause senseless mayhem whenever I pleased, and the realistic environment. Anyone can make a game based in fantasy or sci-fi but it takes a lot of skill to pull off a believable environment. Ask any major author and they'll tell you getting the setting of the story right can make or break the whole book.

Discuss

- Violent Dave


07.09.07
Fallout

War, war never changes. Iíve never been real attracted to books, movies, or shows that have given life a sunny outlook. In the real world the good guys donít always win and youíve got every media market flooded with this type of story. I like stories that are dark, find comedy in despair, have closure, and end the life of the main character. Death is the ultimate closure. Donít get me wrong, Iím not some emo kid nor is my life all that bad where I need some strange cheering up from someone elseís tragedy. There are a lot of good stories out there where the good guy wins and I enjoy it.

The Fallout series captures a lot of what I love in a story. Itís not a boy meet girl tale. Thereís no guarantee that this will end well. In neither Fallout game were you anyone of real significance. And it seemed, no matter what the outcome, no matter how victorious you are in your endeavor, your impact in this world would be minimal at best. The terrible world you live in dwarfs your accomplishments. Itís like winning the Special Olympics, even if you win, youíre still retarded.

But to you, personally, it meant something. Your efforts gave value to this and you donít even care if anyone else takes notice. Fallout isnít really science fiction; itís more of an alternate reality. The whole series is a big ďWhat if?Ē What if all the 1950ís paranoia of nuclear fallout was validated in one swift apocalyptic moment? What if civilization as we know it ended? What the hell would we do?

The game concept hits pretty close to home because mankind was very close to creating this world. Pepper in many references to actual places and events and you have yourself a great setting. Somehow the game managed to be amazingly funny to. Itís always that unexpected humor that makes me laugh the hardest. One of my favorite authors Chuck Palahniuk wrote a book called Survivor. In one of the chapters the main characters case worker had died from mixing bleach and ammonia in an attempt to clean the soot off the chimney walls.

He had spent many years with her. The main character came home, found his case worker dead and made himself a raspberry daiquiri before calling the police. When questioned by the police they had asked him, ďWhy did you make a raspberry daiquiri prior to calling?Ē He responded, ďBecause Iím out of strawberries.Ē

Fallout is chuck full of dark comedy. With all the drugs, human trafficking, gang wars, murder, death, and despair you still manage to find yourself laughing. In both games I turned out to be a real bastard. When you go bad in Fallout, you have to go real bad. Youíll find yourself killing children that were kind enough to give you food because they witnessed you doing something appalling and you canít afford anyone to find out, youíll find yourself killing church-goers because you need the cash in the collections box, getting hookers addicted to drugs, and murdering innocents.

The sad part is, with how open ended this game is, you really wonder if the horrible things youíve done were necessary or were done because youíre really a horrible person. Iíd recommend to everyone to play the first two games and pick up Fallout Tactics as well. On top of such a great story it has amazing gameplay. The combat never gets old and is always fun. The story is engrossing and as deep as you want it to get. Character building and multiple endings/time lines leads to a big replay value.

Fallout 3 is coming next year so you better get ready, the end is near. War, war never changes.

Discuss

- Violent Dave


07.03.07
NH in Vanguard

I didn't last long in EVE. I could see that the potential for the game down the line with what appeared to be solid pvp on both solo and massive group levels, but the newbie phase was just boring. Most games give you a sense of advancement because you are actively causing your character to gain skills and levels. It gives you a sense of purpose so you're not just grinding on crap just for money. Well, EVE has passive advancement which is spiffy if you want to start up an account and not play until a few weeks later, but if you want to actually play... *yawn*. The grouping system was just being implimented (after the game has been out for 4 years?!) and it made doing stuff with my fiance pointless which was a real downer since we obviously enjoy playing together. And the only thing you can do really is pirate killing missions over and over hundreds of times just to get money and faction which was mindnumbing.

I started playing a GTA game I hadn't played before (San Andreas) and resigned myself to not playing an online game again for a little while. My fiance suggested we try Vanguard although we'd heard some bad things about it. "It has a free for all server... the least we can do is murder". Can't help but love her.

We bought download copies of the game and went through the painful process of downloading and patching the game. It really was a long and drawn out ordeal, but eventually we were playing. My first impression was "this is just a WoW knockoff with worse graphics", but I decided to give it a chance. I will say that there are some features of the game that does set it apart from WoW in a good way.

First, the free-for-all server is just a sheer joy. Makes me feel like I'm back on Darktide in Asheron's Call (and we've all seen me go on and on about that experience). The diplomacy, crafting, gathering and questing is all very intuitive and seems to be pretty in depth. There are a few UI modifications out there that improves on the already decently editable default UI. Grouping is highly beneficial - to the point if you help another person gather a node even if you don't have that gathering skill, the result is increased. Stuff like that shows that they were at least trying to bring something new to the table while including some worthwhile stuff from previous MMOs.

As I mentioned, the graphics are nothing special, if not a little remedial. The client isn't the most stable thing I've ever seen and it requires a decent machine to run the game, but overall I'm enjoying it so far. Hope it lasts...

Discuss

- Nighthawk