The game astounds. I have not been so addicted to a game since Asheron's Call. I am a fiend in need of a fix; the game cannot simply cease to fulfill me. All the naysayers, all the forum fallers, all the negative nancy's cannot simply take their heads out of their asses long enough to see what the game really is:
A real PvP game.
This is what we've been waiting for ladies and gentlemen. We've been calling for - pining for - a game like this for years. It's out. It's rough. It's fucking with my mind. Guild politics, full loot, first person shooter twitch style combat, world domination and small group combat - this game has it all. The game has its share of problems, but these can be overcome. Ultima Online wasn't perfect on its release. This game has been out for a month and they have addressed a number of issues people have been complaining about. Next on their list is, hopefully, a fix or preventative measure for the influx of cheaters. A measure is sort of in place already, seeing as copies are limited and once banned, you'll be hard pressed to get another.
I am a propaganda whore, but hear me out. This game requires skills. You need to manage your stamina. Watch your health, your surroundings. Make sure you know where your allies are. You need tactics. This isn't a "rush in blindly with uber gear on you which makes sure you don't die" kind of game. This is a "fuck you in the ass with a rake" kind of game where you need to watch yourself. You never know when your allies will be your enemies. The enemy of your enemy isn't always your friend.
It's a harsh world. A good world. A world full of PvP and self-policing politics. Farming spots need to be watched and protected. Borders of your town need to be manned and guarded in case people come. Your towns are never safe. Do yourselves a favor. Try to buy the fucking game.
Don't wait for a NA server; it may never happen. Besides, you can always transfer a character. If you can't, then at least you'll have knowledge of the game. Knowing is half the battle!
So Darkfall is out.
If you didn't have the pleasure of going through the fiasco that was pre-ordering, or the wonderful launch with servers down 75% of the time, be thankful.
Although it had a rough start, Darkfall is a pretty fuckin' sweet game. Within the first 30 minutes of my play time I got flagged as a criminal and pk'd. Good shit. After a few hours and a lot of swearing, I got used to the UI and started to wreck shit. I also found out all the big PK guilds are playing. First I noticed was LoD, though I believe I saw Blood/KoC as well as the Mercs & IMAGE. I had the pleasure of killing some werewolf looking mother fuckers in IMAGE, before getting plowed by the rest of their guys of course.
The graphics are decent. Models not so much, but environment graphics are pretty sweet. Watching shadows move along a cliff against the sunset in the distance... then those shadows coming to kill you shortly after, is a pretty awesome thing.
Things I have learned over the course of the last day or two I've been playing:
- This is not a solo game. It is for guild versus guild pvp nearly exclusively.
I'm looking forward to playing this game as it has huge potential... I just hope that in the next few months they go in the right direction. Learn from others' mistakes!
If you have any questions, ask them here.
My Recent Xbox Gaming
For those of you who estalk me on TrueAchievements, you know what I've been playing recently. However, for those of you not obssessed with me, I figure I'd give a quick rundown of what I've been playing and what I think of them.
Fallout 3 - This is a post-apocalyptic RPG. You literally start the game being born and then quickly grow up to find yourself in a world that has been ravaged by nuclear war. The world is just massive so there's plenty to explore. That also means a lot of running which sucks, but once you've been somewhere you can fast travel back to it in a flash which is nice. There are tons of things to do both on the main quest line and on plenty of side quests. This was my first complete game as far as achievements go. Very fun.
Burnout Paradise - Racing game that came out a while back (early '08), but I'm just now getting around to playing it. It's a good game with several different things to do aside from just race - Road Rage, Marked Man, Showtime wreck, etc. very enjoyable.
Gears of War 2 - Great FPS game. Solid graphics and good storyline make this a two thumbs up from me. Joe and I played this co-op from start to finish and we just had a blast. There's very little in gaming that is quite as satisfying as having two people lay into a mob with their chainsaw bayonettes. Messy, but quality entertainment.
Left 4 Dead - My wife and I were in Best Buy one day and I asked her to pick out a game she would enjoy that we could play local co-op. She picked a zombie killing FPS. Have I mentioned I love her? Anyhow, the game is very well done. Some special mobs along with the standard horde of zombies make for some very challenging encounters. Shooting zombies in the face is just good fun for the whole family.
Saints Row 2 - I borrowed Saints Row from a friend this summer and really enjoyed the hell out of it, so I was looking forward to this sequel. I was not disappointed. This game is more GTA than GTA, if you know what I mean. I enjoyed GTA4, but SR2 activities are more fun and plentiful. Not to mention that the co-op is also excellent.
Rock Band 2 - The sequel to the game that got me to buy the Xbox 360. What a fantastic party game. Drinking and gaming never went so well together. I can't play everything on expert guitar and hell there's even a song that (aggrivatingly) I can't even play on Hard (fuck you Visions!), but there's so much downloadable content that everyone is bound to find many songs they enjoy playing. Strangely, my personal favorite has turned out to be Boston's More Than a Feeling. For some reason, I just really get into that song when playing it. Overall: great game, A++, would buy again.
Star Wars: The Force Unleased - Anyone who knows how my gaming mindset and of this game knows that this is right up my alley. An evil jedi going on a rampage - that's some sweet goodness right there. The game seemed a little short, but it's playability was high enough to let me get past that.
Geometry Wars Evolvedē - This is a made-for-Xbox-Live game that is just outstanding. If I have 5 minutes to kill, this is what I'm throwing in the console. They've turned the "simple shooter" concept on it's head with great graphics, up tempo music and very fast action. I wish I was better at it because it is overly fun to play. Very much worth the $10 (800 MS points).
Joe recently sent me some games he hasn't played in a while, so I'll be playing some older games for a bit until I finish all them. On the agenda : Bioshock, Assassin's creed, Mass Effect and a few others. Kudos to Joe for sending me the goodies to borrow... thanks man.
Top 25 albums of 2008
Here it is in all its glory, the Top 25 albums of 2008. The disclaimer to this post is that this is purely my opinion, but any of you who know me, know I will take it as unadulterated fact. I am Joe, and I'm right about this shit. :)
1. Misery Index - Traitors
2. Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery/Unblessing the Purity
3. Warrel Dane - Praises to the War Machine
4. Metallica - Death Magnetic
5. Facebreaker - Dead, Rotten, and Hungry
6. Gama Bomb - Citizen Brain
7. Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God
9. Exmortus - In Hatred's Flame
9. Poisonblack - A Dead Heavy Day
10. Protest The Hero - Fortress
11. Testament - The Formation of Damnation
12. Miseration - Your Demons ~ Their Angels
13. Whitechapel - This is Exile
14. Warbringer - War Without End
15. Motorhead - Motorizer
16. Illdisposed - The Prestige
17. Death Angel - Killing Season
18. Eluveitie - Slania
19. Destinity - The Inside
20. Cryptopsy - The Unspoken King
21. Lair of the Minotaur - War Metal Battle Master
22. Origin - Antithesis
23. Opeth - Watershed
24. Rotten Sound - Cycles
25. Scar Symmetry - Holographic Universe Scar Symmetry is one of those great bands that can combine traditional Death Metal growls with excellent clean singing. Their previous effort "Pitch Black Progress" had me riveted for months. I cannot say the same about this album, but that doesn't mean that "Holographic Universe" isn't a good album, far from it, it's a great record. I think this is yet another album that would have been higher on my list provided I could have spent more time with it during the year.
Cradle of Filth - Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder - Another album that deserves more listens, I'd say that this album offhand is way better than Thornography.
Daylight Dies - Lost to the Living - Doomy, depressing, Death Metal ftw!
Dismember - Dismember - Dismember is fucking BACK, with a vengeance.
The Faceless - Planetary Duality - The Faceless are on of my favorite tech-death bands out there. This album delivers in that department, it also delivers in the "robot" vocals department...which is...strange.
Krisiun - Southern Storm - Fast, brutal, satanic, from Brazil, and awesome.
Meshuggah - Obzen - Easily Meshuggah's best album since Chaosphere, I just couldn't get into it as much as lots of other people did. Perhaps this type of Metal has passed me by...
Soilent Green - Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction - Groovy, brutal, long song names, from New Orleans, lead singer of Goatwhore, crazy time changes, fucking awesome.
Kataklysm - Prevail - These guys were so over-the-top fucking awesome live that I really hated to not have this album on my Top 25. Bottom line is that this album is a good, solid death metal record, but it is nowhere close to "In The Arms of Devestation".
Deicide - 'Till Death Do Us Part - THIS is what you choose to follow your best album in over a decade? Fuck You.
All That Remains - Overcome - What the FUCK happened here? "The Fall of Ideals" was an awesome album, this sounds like you planted your instruments firmly up your asses, ran up and down a flight of stairs, put it to tape, and called it a day.
Children of Bodom - Blooddrunk - Just. Fucking. Stop. You're disgracing yourselves.
Guns 'N Roses - Chinese Democracy - I think Slash should sue Axl for royaLLY fucking up the Guns N Roses name. I waited 15 years for this? Really? Fuck You!
Slipknot - All Hope is Gone - I don't know how it is possible that the same band wrote the first 4 songs of this album and the rest of it, because it goes straight to hell in a fiery handbasket after "Dead Memories" Try harder guys.
Shit I wish I had discovered a lot sooner:
Volbeat - Rock The Rebel/Metal the Devil - Holy shit! What happens when you mix The Misfits, Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Life of Agony together? You get Volbeat. Fucking AWESOME.
The Absence - Riders of the Plague - Blackened Thrashy Melodic Death Metal that is flat fucking awesome. All fans of Metal should own this album, great shit.
Sentenced - The Cold White Light - This whole Genre of Metal was completely lost to me before I discovered Katatonia a few years ago. After hearing this album I plan to go back and purchase Sentenced's entire catalog.
Novembre - The Blue - See above, more melancholy Metal for you here, though the vocals are a bit more harsh. Great shit though! Would listen again! A++++++++!!!!
Overall 2008 was a really excellent year for Metal, especially for me as I discovered a shitload of new bands. The one thing I will say, is that no album on this list is better than 2007's top pick The Black Dahlia Murder's "Nocturnal".
I am an Achievement Whore
Hi. My name is Nighthawk and I'm an achievement whore.
For those of you who don't know, achievements on Xbox is an award you receive for doing something specific in a game. Be it things you would do anyhow like kill however many enemies to things you'd never think to do like collect every hidden item in the game. Most games you buy in the store have achievements that have values that add up to 1000 gamer points (AKA 1000G) - Xbox Live games generally total 200G.
I've always been something of a completionist, but these achievements have gotten me to really take it to another level. I even have a spreadsheet to track what I need to be shooting for, I research the best ways to get an achievement and I always have them in mind while I'm playing. I get frustrated at games that you have to have skill beyond what I possess to get a lot of the achievements (like Guitar Hero III) and I especially get pissy when an achievement is buggy (like the Saints Row 2 all missions Co-op one).
Basically, this concept has really satisfied both my gaming habit, my desire to research things and my OCD. Of course, it drives people around me a little crazy, but hey... that's the price of being around me I guess.
I have been a gamer basically my whole life. I've always loved board games, sports and video games. I very distinctly remember the first time I saw a video game. I was about 7 years old and at an ice skating rink when I saw a Space Invaders game - I was in love immediately. When the Atari 2600 came out, I couldn't beg my parents enough for one. Eventually I also bought an Atari 5200, an NES and a Sega Genesis.
In there somewhere I also had a couple of computers: an Apple IIc and my beloved Amiga. They could play games, but compared to the consoles they were only passingly fair. Consoles had better, faster, crisper and more plentiful games.
During the 90s, I got a PC and stopped buying console games. The PC had plenty of good games for it and if you wanted to go "hardcore", there was always the local arcade at a mall somewhere. Then came games that could not be played on consoles or in arcades... the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game. My first was Ultima Online, as I'm sure most of you are aware, but I've tried a good majority of MMOs since.
As we have been discussing on the WTFMan Forums, I really believe that since World of Warcraft has brought so many people into MMOs - it has really diluted the player base skilllevel. Not to mention the fact that WoW's success has really made gaming producers come out with games that are designed around the WoW concepts instead of something truely groundbreaking. Vanguard, Age of Conan, Warhammer.... all could have really been something, but fell short.
Without a solid MMO to replace WoW and with no desire to play WoW (even with the new expansion), I have turned to console gaming to fulfill my gaming needs. I got a Wii last year for my birthday from my wife and then we bought an Xbox 360 Elite just before Thankgiving. The Wii was a lot of fun, but the Xbox 360 is just such a great gaming system that is just about all we play. From Rock Band, to GTA4, Saint's Row, etc. I tend to play a game to death (much like I did with MMOs), but I haven't felt wanting at all. Xbox Live play supplies me with all my online gaming needs without me having to be so invested in a character that the ineptitude of other people doesn't drive me crazy.
So, for now, I'm a fulltime console gamer. Darkfall or something else coming down the pike may get me back to MMos, but I'm not holding my breath.
The Pollution of Our Air
So it's time to get back on track. Let's all gather around and look at the current state of shit.
The metaphorical air we breathe is that of video games when it comes to our entertainment. People who read this site almost invariably have played either UO or AC Darktide in one form or another at some point. Those were good times - gamers were certainly more of a niche back then.
We all know that WoW was full of knuckle-dragging mouthbreathers that I wouldn't trust with a potato gun, but I wonder how many people have thought of the far-reaching implications of the phenomena that is WoW.
By now many of you have probably at least tried WAR. Is it enjoyable? On some level I would say yes. I appreciate that they embraced the notion of letting people progress their character level through pvp as well as pve. I like 100% drop rates on quests. I like only have to kill 5 of something instead of 50 all the time like in WoW. I like having my hand held on the minimap showing me in red where my quest objectives are because let's face it, I want to fucking pvp at max level ASAP, and so do you.
Piss-poor targetting system aside, there is something wrong here. Why is it that as a Bright Wizard, I find myself at the front of the offensive line in pvp scenarios? And when I turn around I realize that I *AM* the offensive line while everyone else is huddling off 50 yards behind at the bottom of a hill twiddling their dicks and spinning around in their chairs to see how far their drool will fly. Why is it that whenever people actually DO run up to engage in combat, they never target healers? This is not WoW. People don't die instantly in WAR if they have healing. It's a simple concept that I had assumed most people would figure out.
........How wrong I was.
This led me to become quite frustrated with the game as the rest of my Evil Bastages all outleveled me and capped while I was stuck at lvl 18 because I have too much shit to do in the real world. Now I was forced into playing with cross-eyed little nitwits as I solo-queued for pvp scenarios and quickly realized that leveling would be an uphill battle. Much of my interest was deterred at this point. Sure I can still level, but the game is more entertaining if I have good players to play with.
So I got to thinking, and came to a realization.
WoW has destroyed the golden age of gaming.
That's right. I said it. FUCK YOU. I thought I was safe by avoiding all the 13 year olds on Xbox Live with the thought that I would just play MMO's and the like. This plan was quickly foiled by the rumprangers at Blizzard who produced a game that was so incredibly simple and based on an already popular franchise, that it drew in the most asinine amount of subscribers for an online gaming service that the world has ever seen. It introduced the masses to the world of MMO's. No longer is the landscape populated by people who actually have a clue how to game. And let me clarify what I mean by "having a clue". I'm talking about people who actually take time to look at all of their abilities, the abilities of other character types, and learn the dynamics of the game. Not the people (average person) who just want to be the hero and 1-shot wallop somebody with the Ultimate Dragon Sword of BlueblahblahLookWhatIFoundInTheDungeonsOfZagzabar bullshit.
The problem with this that I see is that now, regardless of what game is released, we have 20x more people picking up a copy and trying it out and in some horrendously unfortunate cases actually keeping their account active (provided the game is decent), and to people like you and I it feels like there is no escape. The aggrivating thing is, we didn't need this. You and I were perfectly fine with the prospect of games like Darkfall (no longer vaporware, by the way, but again will probably be overrun by pointdexters). Companies still had money to develop. The online gaming industry was thriving without bringing the masses into play.
Now, I know what you're going to say - "BUT RISKZ LOL COMAPNIEEEZ JUST WANT THE MUNNIEZ AND THIS IS HOW THEY GET IT DURRRRR". There is a fine line between making a profit on something to see good margins and pay your employees well with some bonuses, and all-out greed. Sadly, the latter usually wins the day at the corporate offices. So in turn - SHUT. THE FUCK. UP. Next question.
Development shops are keeping these rejects on the hook by constantly giving in to asinine complaints about balance that generally have no credibility whatsoever. CUT THESE PEOPLE OFF. To quote the late George Carlin - whatever happened to the kid who swallows too many marbles doesn't grow up to have kids of his own? This is just like that, except in terms of video games. Let these bitches cry their eyes out and quit if they really want to because they are just terrible at gaming. I feel like the video game arena has become like public college - let's just let everyone in regardless of if they have any business being here. Who the fuck cares? It's college and everyone should be given a shot at success, right? Make it as simply accessible as possible and profit.
If you're a selfish, ignorant moron that thinks shows like Paris Hilton's My New BFF (or whatever the fuck that shit is called) is a good show, then no you do not belong in college. You will be another dropout who is going to be my tenant and pay me rent every month. That's right. Fuckin' pay me. Just read my business card.
....Ok so that is the company but it isn't the real slogan, but FUCK IT THE POINT STILL REMAINS.
Our landscape is littered with people like this and it pollutes our games and in essence the very air we breathe. No matter where I go there is a monstrous influx of these new-age gamers who are just ignorant masses when it really comes down to it. The industry has changed forever, and for someone who's been doing this shit since the days of text-based MUD's like Dragon Realms and Gemstone, it's enough to drive me away completely.
Once upon a time, me and Ron would run around Emain Macha in DAoC and 2v6 people. Remember when games revolved around semblance of ability and you could actually win 2v6? I do.....but just barely.
WAR account cancelled.
After playing this game for nearly the last month or so and trying out all the different class combinations I could, I've come to the conclusion that it suffices for my MMO/PvP needs - for now. Being the masterful PvPer that I am - and yes I am fucking bragging - this game isn't as challenging as I'd have hoped though. There are some serious idiots in this game that probably require intense supervision to maintain their mental stability. I want to thank all the players from WoW for jumping ship and trying out something new, but for fucks sake guys - learn to kill some healers. Right now. Seriously. Alright maybe not 100% serious but come on!
Choosing to switch from Order to Destruction to play with my friends was a hard thing to do. I know not every teenage kid playing this game wants to play the 'evil side', but it sure seems like we received the wide end of the paddle on this one. Try as I might to help these lost souls find a place in this MMO world, it's all in vain. Well, at least I know I am helping out my evil brethren.
I mean seriously, getting results like this...
...and receiving tells like these...
...confirm that I am indeed a powerful force. Again, bragging. Anyway, the other day I set out for Altdorf looking for a challenge (and no, I do not mean the Swiss town). After making a stop to our major keep lord and being severely disappointed in it, I began my journey.
After dodging endless amounts of boredom while running, which required a sincere amount of skill not everyone can behold (seriously I don't think there is any tier 4 content yet), I finally found the Order's keep!
Fuck yo' Keep!
After mouthing off to every NPC I found and hearing echoes of myself, I decided to try and take on one of the little mobs I found. Before I could follow through with my fucking masterful plan, however, I was found by an intense hunting dog who promptly proceeded to eat me.
So I got into the Warhammer Online beta via Fileplanet, just to see what the game was all about. Being an avid fan of hating just about every MMO out there, I felt sure I was going to hate this one too. After the severe disappointment that was Age of Conan (Why was that piece of shit hyped so much? Disney could have made a better MMO.) I thought this was going to be another repeat.
After loading into the game, I had to choose either Destruction or Order for my faction. Seeing all the Destruction sides on every single North American server as "full" and the Order side as "Low" or "Medium", the choice was clear. Fuck all of you zerging pussies. There are 3-4 'classes' of each race to choose from. There is a Healer, Tank, Melee DPS and Ranged DPS. Two races don't have tanks, they are the Dark Elves on Destruction and the Empire on Order. I rolled up an Empire - Bright Wizard - and went about seeing what I'd hate about this game.
The leveling via PvE is a lot like World of Warcraft meets Everquest 2. There are 3 different tiers (that I know of so far) of mobs - normal, champion and hero. The higher the tier, the harder the mob of course. The interface is a lot like WoW, hell half the hotkeys are the exact same. The cool thing I like about the PvE in this game is the Public Quests. There is a storyline of sorts for each race, and with this comes public questing to go about the story. There are areas in the world where you go for these PQ's in which you are basically teaming up with everyone else there to accomplish the quest goals. Usually it's a "kill this many mobs before the time runs out" kind of thing. Once completing the quest, there is a reward chest at the end. The game decides who gets the loot out of the chest based on a random roll of 1-1000. Those who helped contribute the most (based on damage and healing done I believe) get a bonus to a roll. To put it into perspective, the person who helped the most gets an automatic +500 on their roll. Now you can still get fucked over and roll like a 100, therefore having a total of 600, and not get shit. Usually there are 4-7 'bags' in the chest, and the top 7 rolls get them.
Now to the PvP. You can essentially queue up the Scenario (Battleground) right when you create your character. You can PvP at level one all the way to max level if you want. Depending on the 'tier' of scenario you're in, it will temporarily level you up to ~75% of the max level (level 8 in the first tier) - giving you the stats of a level 8 player. The max level of the first tier is a level 11. Levels do matter in this game sadly, but thankfully not a huge amount. When you're leveled up temporarily, you do not have the skills/spells of the level 8 however. So at level 1, you go in with your single ability and try to act tough. The damage scales though so you're bound to fuck someone up eventually.
This is my Bright Wizard owning shit up and just hitting Renown Rank 8.
So there are Ranks (levels) and Renown Ranks (realm points, for those of you who played DAoC). The Renown Ranks are used for special passive training, whether it be a bonus to your stats or a bonus to the amount of XP gained in PvP, etc. There is also Renown gear that is probably the best gear in game next to finding loot off peoples corpses. Yeah, there is loot in PvP but it's not a take away kind of thing. Just a random drop from a corpse. Once you hit level 11 you get to 'specialize' into a tier. Each class has 3 tiers. For instance, my Shaman has a tier for healing, one for damage, and one for DoTs/Buffs. Each tier has 15 points to spend into as it were, and you get a total of 25 total points your entire career. Therefore you can get one and a 2/3 tiers specialized or spread them around.
Alright, so I rolled a Destruction healer to play with my friends. Fuck you all.
Overall the game is pretty fun so far. The PvP is simplistic in its format, but pretty diverse for the right classes at the right times. There are not only the Scenarios to play in, there is also World PvP where you capture keeps and key points. Each race has a specific enemy they are against, due to the landmass and areas of their towns/camps. The Empire vs Chaos, the Dwarves vs Greenskins, and the Dark Elves vs High Elves. I am sure there is more to the game other than just this right now, but being low level and all, I can't really make any judgments yet.
Yeah, I'm a badass.
Due to the fact you can level via PvP, get loot (sort of) from PvP and get rewards from PvP, I think this game will hold me over for awhile. Until I start hating this game, I think I'll keep playing it. Or, you know, until Darkfall comes out so I can play a real PvP game.