Short story time.

•September 14, 2008 • 3 Comments

So I know its been ages since I posted last but you can’t say I didn’t warn you. I have been rather busy with the whole “real-life” thing and its been a real pain in the neck. Anyhow, here is the short story that I wrote for the Warhammer beta, some months ago. I guess I was happy with how it came out. It was fun to write at least. It never earned my way into the beta so it must of not been that good.

The Orange Lights of Altdorf

The milky, orange lights of day were making their last stand against the coming night outside of the gates of Altdorf. They cut graceful swaths across the sky before gradually fading away into grays and purples. Somewhere, off in the distance, a black bird called out to its fellows before taking flight. For a moment, Jonas closed his eyes and forgot about the bubbling, seething mass of Greenskins poised over the hills, just outside of his sight.

He imagined himself back in the fields of Averheim, long before its destruction at the hands of the monstrous Gorbad Ironclaw. Ironclaw had come thundering down from the mountains with a fury unlike any of the War Bosses before him. He led his minions like a green wave over house, home and city. No questions, no surrender and no survivors. Jonas fled to Altdorf when the Greenskins swept over his home, claiming the lives of his sons Keen and Graev, along with his darling Isabel.

He was ripped from his revelry by the calling of loud voices.

“Lord Durmstroff hereby calls the council to order. All members are ordered to report to the command post!”

Jonas took one last look out into the thick, coming night before turning to leave. For a fleeting moment he thought he could see the orange glow of a thousand fires roaring in the distance.

* * *

The light from dozens of torches danced across faded gray stone, polished long ago from constant running water and encroaching fungus. The sewers of Altdorf were a far worse place than Jonas could have ever imagined.

His party marched in silence, the soft movement of water and the distant, lonely drips were their only company. Occasionally a deep rumble could be heard from overhead as an Orcish boulder came crashing from the heavens.

The Greenskins had begun their siege of Altdorf that evening, pushing down trees and lighting up the country side for miles around with their war fires. The rock lobbers came with the night, intermittently spitting their flaming contents into the sky. Nearly half the shots missed completely and more than a few either hurled the wrong direction or somehow exploded without ever leaving the platforms. The rest came screaming into Altdorf, smashing against the walls or crashing into the crumbling mass of homes and buildings. Lord Durmstroff expected the siege to last no more than a few days. It wouldn’t take long for the Orcs to grow weary of the siege and begin storming the city themselves, whether or not the defenses had fallen. The Orcs had never been known for their patience.

Lord Durmstroff had also been informed that the Orcs, having just finished raiding a large Dwarven outpost, had acquired a large store of explosives and black powder. Normally, one would not have to bat an eye lash at Orcs having powder. If by some chance, they learned how to properly harness the power of black powder, they would most certainly blow themselves up before using it to any effect. This time had been different.

As if empowered by some force greater than themselves, the Orcs had been laying siege and attacking with a cunning, tactical ruthlessness that was wholly unlike anything ever seen. Not only were they picking their battles rather wisely but they had learned how to convert their siege equipment to hurl large bombs, to devastating effect. No one was totally sure where the Orcs had gathered their newfound capabilities, but Durmstroff was determined to put an end to it.

Jonas and a dozen other men had been assigned to move through the sewers of Altdorf and emerge on the far west side of the city. There, they were to circle around, gain access to the Orcs powder supplies and set it ablaze. Durmstroff had been very clear about the gravity of the mission as he stood in front of the potential volunteers.

“Make no mistake, this mission has a very low chance of survival — but without the destruction of the black powder, they will be camping within the walls of Altdorf by this time next week.” Volunteers had come quickly after that. Most of the men slowly made their way to the front to sign as a few others skulked out of the back, hanging their heads low.

Jonas knew why they had all chosen this duty. They were all men that had lost something. They all shared a brotherhood of loss and that had brought them all here, in the face of inevitable doom. Despite this grim reality, Jonas found himself thinking about bread.

For his family, the end of the week was always a time for baking. Jonas and his sons would gather up the grain they had harvested and haul the sacks to town. They would load up the mule at first light and head out through the woods. They would return before nightfall at a sprint, following the smell of baking bread all the way through the door. Isabel was often still behind the house pulling loaves of bread out of the stone oven and sitting them in baskets. Smiling at him over the top of the oven, she would wipe the sweat from her brow with one finger and brush her hair out of her face. At night, they would sit outside under the stars in silence, listening to the world as it slept.

***

They reached the western sewer grate after several long hours of traveling. A soft breeze blew through the rusty bars and judging by the sky, they had several hours before morning. They pried two of the bars apart and slipped through one at a time, dropping down into the water and making their way ashore. Drying themselves off as best they could, they readied their weapons and headed out into the night.

They circled around through the forest, passing a few houses and farm land that had been burnt to a cinder. The forest would often flash with light as flaming boulders shot skyward. Eventually the trees started disappearing, making way for ruined stumps and vast clearings of smoldering ruin. As they crested the last rise, they stopped.

The valley below them looked as if the earth was on fire. Thousands of campfires blazed and a sea of bodies could be seen writhing around them. The Greenskins had formed an army unlike anything he could have possibly imagined. The long, deep calls of horns and the thunderous beatings of war drums could be heard. Banners of red, green and orange all waved from the backs of numerous siege engines. Thousands of voices roared and called into the night. Apparently the Greenskins had gotten bored with the siege sooner than expected and were already organizing for invasion. Wasting no time, they began their entry

The black powder supplies were almost exactly where the scouts had reported them to be. They had been piled high in large barrels near the back of the war host, laid carelessly next to mountains of butchered farm animals and raw meat. Nearby, several large giants could be seen curled up and sleeping, along with tiny goblins that scurried around, grabbing what they could.

Using the landscape, they crawled on their stomachs down the hill towards the camp. Jonas was shaking with anticipation as he reached their target. The powder barrels were larger than a man and decorated with strange runes that looked as if they were painted in blood. The nearby mountain of rotting animals made his stomach churn and for a moment he believed he would retch. He could hear the faint skittering of feet close by but when he turned, was only greeted by darkness.

The last few men were arriving when it happened. Horns began bellowing all around them, ringing into the night with deep calls that made Jonas’ hair stand on end. They increased in frequency and the sounds of commotion could be heard.

With no time to waste, they began pulling out fuses and slipping them into the barrels. Taking deep breaths to try and calm his shaking hands, Jonas began carefully tying the fuses together in bundles, and connecting them to the bases.

“YAHH,” screeched a tiny voice suddenly. Standing near one side of the supply pile, stood a small, naked, green goblin, no larger than a dog. He stood paralyzed, holding a small piece of meat in one hand and staring wide eyed in fright.

“’Umiez…,” he squeaked. “’Umiez? Der’ be ‘Umiez here!” Having come to his senses and settled on a course of action, the goblin screamed in terror and began sprinting off towards the camp. Bringing his gun forward, Jonas took a moment to steady himself and track the fleeing Greenskin. Holding his breath, he gently squeezed the trigger.

The shot rang out louder than he would have expected, given the surrounding commotion. It struck the goblin in the neck, tossing him forward onto the ground. They all froze in silence, listening for any disturbances. After a long moment, they begin to hear voices and the sounds of thousands of moving feet. Bright orange fire light began growing in the surrounding country side, nearing their position.

Rushing back to their work, they began working as quickly as they could. They finished their tasks and were lighting the fuses as bright torch light fell upon them. Behind, Orcs had begun pouring through the bushes, quickly approaching the supplies. Judging by the sound of the drums and the increasing horn blasts, the time had come for the Orcs to begin their advance. They had come for their supplies.

Lifting themselves off of the ground, they began sprinting back up the hill. Taking a last glance down at the burning fuses, Jonas stooped low and followed. They were almost half way up the hill when the commotion began. The Orcs, possessing a keen sense of smell, hadn’t been fooled by their hasty retreat and were beginning to charge up the hill en masse, faces twisted in unimaginable anger. Jonas could hear the thunder of armored feet quickly approaching, shaking the ground behind them. Goblin arrows began whizzing down from the sky, burying themselves into the backs and shoulders of the men in front of him. The men screamed as they fell, clutching at their wounds as vile squig poison quickly took hold and set their insides on fire.

As Jonas crested the top of the hill, a sharp pain exploded in his thigh and he toppled onto the ground. More men collapsed behind him, turning and firing their pistols into the approaching hoard. With an earth-shattering crash, the sky behind them erupted into bright yellow and orange light. The barrels exploded in clusters, shaking the ground and cascading into a crescendo that lit up the country side for leagues.

Over the chaos, Jonas could make out the bright, clear call of Altdorf bells, ringing throughout the city, calling the army to war. Durmstroff had planned on attacking at first light and was undoubtedly sending his forces charging out of the city. With the distraction provided and the Orcish powder effectively neutralized, he had a decisive advantage. Jonas prayed to Sigmar that he would bless this day.

As the Orcs fell upon him and the poison pumped towards his heart, Jonas collapsed onto his back, casting his gaze towards the heavens. The sky was a dark purple and the stars were shining bright that night. Jonas could see the faint light of the sun creeping its way into the sky, forever chasing the moon. He felt the soft grass and the cool earth under his head.

Above him, he could see his two sons smiling and gently calling his name. They had just charged into his bedroom and were trying to catch him sleeping. Isabel lay beside him, grinning and pretending not to notice. The moment Jonas had been waiting on for two years had finally come. He smiled and opened his arms to them, embracing their warm, orange light.

What have I been up to lately?

•June 3, 2008 • 2 Comments

Bah Weep Granah Weep Nini Bong!

Universal greeting.

So I am not so good at updating this blog but that’s alright. My gaming life hasn’t been all that active lately so its not like I have a tremendous amount of interesting things to write about. This grim fact aside, I do play some interesting games and I am want to let the world know about them.

Garry’s Mod

For close followers of the Half-Life world, Garry’s Mod is fairly old news. For those of you who are not close followers, Garry’s Mod is a sandbox style mod for Half Life 2. It enables you to take any model, level, monster AI or object in HL2, put it in a space, add custom physics to it and interact with it. For instance, you could use the mysterious G-Man, a bath tub model and a few tires, add a dash of physics, and watch him ride to his death, smiling the whole way.

At first glance, I believed this mod to be interesting but have very limited use for someone like myself. For someone that had a more serious mind for crafting and creating things, this could be a useful tool. Where I truly became a fan of Garry’s Mod was in the multiplayer arena.

People, along with the Source SDK level designing system, were able to create entire worlds and game types within their personal Garry’s Mod servers. From all of my surfing around, I have found some amazing things. Things range from Zombie Survival games where survivors must survival against zombie invasions, to modes where you build your own robot and battle with others, to 2d Mario style jumping games, ACTUAL real-time strategy games using half-life models.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmutrzJmaF4&feature=related

http://revver.com/video/877251/mario-boxes-gameplay-video-1/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u6jy_Qfw9I

Some neat videos for you to check out. Lots more where that came from. Just search youtube for Garry’s Mod stuff and you’d be AMAZED what people can create.

Other than that,  not a whole lot going on. I haven’t been following Warhammer to much lately. With small trickles of news and many months left until release, I have reached a point where I refuse to work myself into a frenzy over it just yet.

As for the Warhammer beta, that monumental, mysterious being that refuses to let die-hard fans in, I have submitted a short story in my attempts to secure a beta spot. So far, no word BUT I will keep sending it and trying. If nothing comes of it soon, I will post it here on my blog for people to read, if they so choose.

For any other Warhammer related information that you may require, I highly suggestion you bookmark and visit Keen and Graev’s site. Tons of interesting information and neat podcasts there.

Until next time.

 

So, apparently, I am not dead?

•May 16, 2008 • 4 Comments

Hello gentlemen.

So it has been ages since I last posted. Between work keep me busy and frankly, not having to much to talk about, I haven’t felt the need to post. Looking around news for today, I figure it was high time I made another attempt.

A few things are on the agenda for this post. Firstly, taking center stage, is the upcoming, sure-to-be masterpiece by one of my all time favorite gaming companies, Valve!

 

 

 

Left 4 Dead

There hasn’t been a game that I have been this excited about in a hot minute. I am excited about WAR and was excited about AoC (once upon a time), but WAR aside, Left 4 Dead has me fiending to crack some zombie skulls.

If you happen to have no idea what I am talking about, here is some info!

 

Description

An upcoming multiplayer co-operative survival horror FPS game by Turtle Rock Studios which is, as of January 10, 2008, part of Valve Corporation.
The game has been built using Valve’s Source engine and will be available on PC and Xbox 360. Certain Affinity is responsible for the Xbox 360 version
of the game. Left 4 Dead puts four human playable or AI controlled survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of the Infected. Regular Infected
are controlled by the game AI, while human players can control up to four mutated Boss Infected with special abilities. The goal of Left 4 Dead for the
Survivors is to help each other make it through a level to safety. Infected players must cooperate to stop them.
 
The expected release date for Left 4 Dead is Q3 in 2008. The game was first revealed in the Christmas 2006 publication of PC Gamer UK with a six-page
article describing a playthrough at Valve’s headquarters. The game was first playable at the Showdown 2007 LAN in San Jose and at QuakeCon 2007.
A teaser for the game can be viewed in The Orange Box. If the main menu is kept on long enough it switches to a trailer first of the different aspects of
The Orange Box, then a short teaser for Left 4 Dead is shown.

 

So needless to say, this is exciting. Interactive 28 Days Later? YES PLZ!! If you want even more info on this game, go here to the gaming community forum I belong to. 

Why such excitement for this game? To be honest, its made by VALVE!!. Personally, I consider valve one of the few gaming companies that make everything they touch, solid gold. Portal, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress and others are on their list of creations. They’re a wonderful company that clearly has a good bead on polish and fun factor. If they live up to their standard of quality with Left 4 Dead, its going to be epic. Hopefully, along with some of my guild mates and  interested gamers in between Keen’s blog and my own, we can get some good Survivors vs Zombie action!

 

Age of Conan is coming!

….oh i’m sorry. I fell asleep on that one. Nevermind.

(Trolling my own blog?)

 Warhammers Long Term Fate? 

 

 Ok. Firstly, I know it is silly to speculate about the long term fate of a game that has yet to even be released. Secondly, I am aware of all differences between the various MMOs and I know that one is not the other. Why not speculate though???

I read this article in the fantastic blog of The Green Skin.

The article caught my attention because it deals with a very important aspect of MMOs, which is future expansions and content. It hinges around a quote from Josh Drescher about WAR having a 5 years of content available upon release.

 

Regardless of all the technical mumbo jumbo, what I find interesting is that Josh mentions a level cap increase in the same sentence as “expansion.” This has me concerned because World of Warcraft follows the +10 level cap per expansion model, and it’s probably my least favorite feature of the game. It’s a horribly uninventive and totally lazy way to give people new content for the game. Oh, and it also has the unpleasant side effect of introducing “MUDflation.”

He goes on to talk about the term MUDflation and I believe he is absolutely spot on. MUDflation is when a MMO introduces an expansion that inflates it with new content but renders old content obsolete. This, naturally, really referes to WoW.

When The Burning Crusade was released, I was lucky enough to slip into the beta for it. Within 3 hours of playing in the beginning Outland area, I had replaced over half of my purple raid gear with green quest gear. I unsubscribed within the next day. All of my hard work, all of my raiding and all of the painstaking grinding it took to get close to the top of my little ant hill, has becoming totally useless  and I was back at square one with green junk again? No thanks.

I pray to Jeebus that WAR gets more inventive with their expansion content. When they release expansions, I can only hope that they have the foresight to recognize peoples anger over the WoW expansion model. TBC revealed WoW as the total treadmill grind fest it was. Before TBC, it was still a treadmill but very few people noticed! The horrible reality came bursting into the light with their expansion…and its just going to keep happening.

Why has this become a standard? Why release an expansion that a few new areas and just raises the level cap? It is lazy designing and a brilliant money trap. It resets all of the people that buy the expansions back to the beginning so they are then forced to spend even more time, climbing to the top.

The Greenskin poses this question:

Why must games focus more on vertical expansion rather than horizontal?

This is what game developers need to be asking themselves.

Any thoughts on solutions? Ideas on different ways to accomplish or construct a “good” expansion? What is required for an expansion to be successful?

Until next time…

And now for something entirely different…

•April 25, 2008 • 1 Comment

Hello again my faithful readers (all 2 of you.)

It has been a few days since I have posted anything and for that, I am sorry. Work (my prime time posting environment) has been the cause of much toil and trouble lately. I come to work so I can post on my blog. How dare they make me run around and do stuff!

In order to provide a broader perspective for my blog, I am going to try to mix things up a little. I would hate to get into a rut of talking about nothing but the same few games, over and over. Anyhow…Onwards, into the breach!

 

Now, I am by no means an anthropologist or archaeologist but I thought this story was staggering in its amount of awesomeness. Following is the mind blowing part of the article for me that really put things in perspective.

“Dated at around 9,500BC, these stones are 5,500 years older than the first cities of Mesopotamia, and 7,000 years older than Stonehenge.

Never mind wheels or writing, the people who erected them did not even have pottery or domesticated wheat. They lived in villages. But they were hunters, not farmers.”

9500BC? Wtf? Before people learned how to farm? That’s crazy old. That’s John McCain old (71). This is a truly amazing find for Archeology. Something so old that stretches so far back into the early fabric of our civilization must be a wondrous thing to see. It makes you wonder what else is out there, laying in the dust that gives an even bigger glimpse into our past. 

Now for some MMO philosophy:

 

In the MMO universe, labels are prevalent and for some, a source of much annoyance. “Noob, griefer, Pker,” and “spammer” are just a few but these are all symptomatic of a two greater labels, Hardcore and Casual.

Now this article was very interesting for me because, being a fan of MMO’s, the dynamics interest me. Furthermore, I consider myself somewhat of a moderate in the Hardcore/Casual player spectrum. I am usually a laid back player with few specific goals in mind at any given time. I like to go with the flow of the game and do things as they come to me. While this is the usual case, when in the company of certain people, I can easily spurn myself forward with a hardcore, newfound dedication.

I am in agreement with the author’s classification of hardcore and casual players. A quote:

“As I see it, Casual and Hardcore are both a state of mind, and depend very much on how you approach the game. I would argue that it’s your play style, your approach to the game, and not your play time, that makes you Casual or Hardcore.”

This is an interesting thing for MMO fans to consider. What makes someone hardcore? Can you do hardcore things but remain a casual player?

Before I wrap up talking about this article, I have another quote from the comments section that really hits the nail on the head:

“Seriously, the distinction comes solely from those who consider themselves “hardcore”. These folks look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t exhibit their own dedication (at any level) to the same venue. If you fumble the raid, you don’t know your class or didn’t prep properly — you’re a noob. If you’re asking questions which they themselves have studied with the intensity of an 80 year old librarian, you’re an idiot.

Casual players probably don’t consider themselves casual. They probably don’t consider themselves anything at all, except someone who’s doing something they enjoy.”

This couldn’t be more correct.  Hardcore players are the ones that have started and continued the cycle of noob hate and elitist player communities that are slowly choking many communities of life.

 

This talk of hardcore and casual leads me into this last article:

Taught to Play?

In this article the author talks about what its like for communities within an MMO enviroment to spring up and foster other, newer players into the world. For instance, in EVE Online, a difficult and challenging MMO to say the least, Guilds have sprung up within the game that exist for the sole purpose of teaching other players how the game works. During my short 14-day experience with EVE Online, I joined one of these Guilds and was very, very surprised at the amount of help and attention I recieved. People would talk to me as long as I wanted about the game, the mechanics, the quest or ships. They would readily give me assistance or help me earn money.

This idea is something that is missing within newer MMO’s today. The idea of helping other, newer players out is such a rare experience. When  did everyone get so single minded and focused on their own goals. While not try to foster a community yourself by helping others that you meet? Great things can get started by helping people. I met Keen through this very process. In LotRO, he was a new player in the Ettenmoors that popped in, said hello and began asking questions. It turned into a nice freindship.

  • What has happened that has made this such a rare occurance? How has the dynamic changed?

Maybe in some of these future MMO’s (AoC and WAR) people who feel the same way can band together and form one of these commnities. A friendly community where being a newplayer is ok.

That sounds nice to me.

Age of Conan Mounts, Activision-Blizzard and Massage Pants! Its a good day to be alive.

•April 18, 2008 • 2 Comments

Herro gentlemen,

So i’ve got a few more things to talk about for your collective consumptions. I have become a rather large fan of posting a few interesting news articles a day, as I see them. Even though I have no personal stories to serenade you with, maybe people will begin to see my site as a place to find interesting news and the occasional funny picture.

First order of business. Age of Conan Mounts.

  • Mounted combat seems like such an obvious gameplay mechanic, but it’s completely underused in MMOs. Storming into an enemy group, dispersing bad guys with devastating mount attacks and coordinating all of that with the six-way player combat is a breath of fresh air. It’s Funcom’s way of sticking two fingers up at those who say MMO’s don’t require any skill to play.

Its nice to see someone finally tapping into the mounted combat area. I have always wondered why none of these fantasy MMOs had mounted combat but no one has dared experiment with it. This looks like its going to be one more nice feature of Age of Conan that will give it some nice stay power.

I have also been reading a lot of critical comments about Age of Conans marketing lately. To some, it seems as if there are selling their game out as rapidly as possible, trying to make as much money as they can before its released and bombs on the market. I am not completely sure if I believe this. Part of me understands, giving an important chunk of their game to www.Gamespot.comfor the PvP event, and letting THEM run the show is suspect. Oh well.  Mounted combat looks cool, AoC looks cool and hopefully i’ll know just HOW cool it all is very soon.

EU gives Activision-Blizzard a big thumbs up.

 

Lets all take one long, collective look at that picture. That pretty much sums up all of my thoughts. So the European Union ruled, in their current hearings, that Activision-Blizzard is not a monopoly because they have other significant competition, namely Electronic Arts and the big console developers, so its ok. I don’t know about this.

A monopoly is basically when one company has a commanding rule over the surrounding market. In videos games, its not so much that any one company has a rule over the market, its more a case of several companies having a commanding rule. Does that mean EA or AB isn’t a monopoly? I don’t think so. I think we are beginning to see the beginning of something very terrible. Activision and EA both, are buying up everything in site that has any sort of value. Along with the giants of Sony and Microsoft, things are going to get very bad soon. All it will take is one more big buy out or one more merger before the full realization of what is happening sets in on  us. In my opinion, the EU should have taken some sort of preemptive action against AB in their region because, while maybe not a complete monopoly yet, it is pretty damn close.

 

Its About Time, Massage Pants are here.

 

This could be an amazing invention or a terrible , painful death trap.

For the past few minutes, while I was fixing some tea for myself in the break room at work, I have been imagining myself sitting around the office in a pair of sleek massage pants.

At first, the image was something of bliss. I saw myself quietly typing away on my computer while the gentle buzz of my sweet undergarments massaged me into a slumber. I would tilt my chair back and take a refreshing nap, then wake up and dance with swans across Sugar Plum Lake.

The image then morphed into something far more terrible. Pants like these, while brilliant, were far to risky to be wrapping around some of the more important parts of my body. I saw myself slipping the pants on, flipping the switch and crying out in pain as the pants squeezed and vibrated. I imaged myself crawling around the office, the pants bellowing smoke and wailing as they crushed my future generations into oblivion.

Can you imagine having these on when something goes wrong? Would you reallyput your trust in some strange piece of Chinese massage equipment when its very purpose was to massage…that area?

Hell naw.

Some random MMO philosophy

•April 17, 2008 • 4 Comments

Due to a distinct lack of events happening in my personal gaming life, I’m going to try to create this post to be one with a split focus. I ran across a few interesting articles this morning while I was surfing Virgin Worlds and I figured I would discuss them. As with most things on this blog, I plan to give my personal opinion so if you feel the need to flame, please do.

Why We Solo in MMOs. 

This was an interesting article for me to read because varying play styles in MMOs have always fascinated me. The author of this article is someone who values soloing in MMOs and tries to explain why he plays this way.

People who solo in MMOs and refuse to help or be a part of the group have always been a point of frustration for me. According to Bartles MMO test, I am SKAE (Socializer 73.33%, Killer 60.00%, Achiever 40.00%, Explorer 26.67%). I think this sums up my playing style rather well. I mostly enjoy playing within a community of other people and locking horns/killing other people. I cansolo but usually do so out of necessity. I would much, much rather play with other people because that usually makes the unpleasant parts go quicker and my time more enjoyable. To compare it to a different event, it would be like choosing to have co-workers instead of choosing to always work alone. If I am at work, it would be nice if I had other people around to either talk to or work with. I am a social creature I suppose.

In my opinion, soloing belies a certain mistrust of others. Someone would rather solo, in a world full of others players with similar interest, than risk messing up the private, mental world that they have constructed for themselves. I have known all manner of solo players that range from innocent, noobie players to power gamers that believe other players do nothing but hold them back. I tend to believe that most of soloers fall into that ladder category. This could very well be true. Making a decision by yourself as opposed to making a decision with 6 other people, will always be easier.

It is something interesting for me to think about. Games that are created around a concept of multiple people, playing together, sharing an experience but yet, a lot of people choose to sit on the side line.

What do you think? Why do you solo or not solo?

 

Is endgame merely the beginning?

This is a very serious question for me. The article, while short, has an interesting spin to it. Despite whether or not it is played out or old news, I think it is what truely makes a game great as opposed to merely average. There is an quote i’m going to begin on:

  • “This begs the question: is all game content merely there to help you get to the endgame, at which time the fun truly begins?”

 For a great majority of MMOs, this certainly feels like the case. Great games are ones that make this fun somehow. There is a delicate balance that has to be made here between making something require effort but somehow making that effort fun in its own right. That is where I believe WAR will truly outshine the competition but still not perfect the formula. I can see WAR being chocked full of fun things to do and interesting content at all levels but the truly epic things, the cool gear, the big fights and the city seiges are all high level.

Part of me believes that it is an inescapable part of any MMO and it can never be changed. Leveling is just part of it and its not always going to be the most fun. It’s going to require some work and it may not always be what you wish you were doing but I do believe that games like WAR are heading in the right direction.

  • “Once you’ve reached the heights, is the rest of the game still fun?”

Good question. Normally, probably not but as long as the content is varied enough for all available paths, yes. Once again, WAR may break the mold in a huge way here. They seem to have done away with the idea of “all races meeting together and having the same areas and quest after level 10” stuff. Thank god. It seems so simple but yet no one has done it yet. Cross your fingers guys. WAR could be on their way to tossing out a few unpleasant things that have always haunted MMOs.

What do you think?

Team Fortress 2 Medic Weapons

•April 16, 2008 • 2 Comments

The medic from team fortress was one of the cooler and most unique classes. Valve found someway to make a passive support class a total, game winning, power house that is also fun to play. Now they are upping their ante.

They plan on loading him out with all new weapons, some unlockable through an achievement system and adding a new map/gametype to the mix.

  • The Blutsaugher
For players that earn one third of the 36 new medic achievements, they will be given a new syringe gun. Called “The Blutsaugher,” this new weapon no longer has the ability to score critical hits against an opponent. Instead it will draw health from enemies each time a syringe hits. Especially useful as a weapon to retreat away from the fight while staying alive.
  • The Critzcrieg
Once a medic has earned two thirds of the achievements, they will be granted “The Critzcrieg.” This new medigun uses its ubercharge not for invulnerability, but to give its recipient 100% chance to fire critical ordinance. Medics and the player they are charging need to be careful though, because as much fun as it is to fire critical rockets as fast as you can, the other team will see what you’re up to and try to put a quick stop to your plan.
  • The Ubersaw
For the determined medic that has earned all 36 of the new achievements, they will find themselves the proud owner of “The Ubersaw,” which will take damage done in melee attacks and convert it directly to ubercharge. Four hits with this new weapon will fully charge whatever medigun the medic has equpped.

The possibilities are endless and something like this could get me playing TF2 again. An achievement system where you can unlock weapons and abilities through gameplay would be nice. I’ll keep my eye on this as it develops.