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FFXIV: New Jobs Video

March 19, 2012

I know, I know, Final Fantasy XIV should be all rights be dead and buried.  The game is an utter and complete failure on so many levels.  Yet, Square-Enix is intent to try and make a decent game out of it.  Will it succeed?  I for one seriously doubt it, but only time will tell.

They are doing one thing right however.  By playing towards the nostalgia of its formerly loyal Final Fantasy XI playerbase, they are attempting to entice more and more players to give the game a chance.  This video released a few days ago proves that there is still a bit left in that cave to mine.  Showing the 5 new “jobs” of White Mage, Black Mage, Monk, Warrior, Dragoon and Paladin in their new “job specific gear” (hell we all know its just Artifact Gear).  Take a gander at the coolness that could have been something better if Square-Enix had listened to its players and actually took their time in developing their game instead of pushing it out in a disaster of a state.

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Tera: CBT2 Live Stream!

February 25, 2012

I will be doing my best to livestream Tera this weekend from 6pm-10pm PST.  Come join me on my Twitch.tv channel for the fun.

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Tera: CBT1 LiveStream….

February 12, 2012

Just a heads up.  This weekend marks the first official North American Closed Beta Test for Tera.  I will be live streaming some gameplay over the weekend so stop on over to my TwitchTV channel and ask any questions you may have.

Unfortunately the test only allows you to make one character per active beta test server which means that only two classes will be shown.  I have chosen Human Ranger and High Elf Mystic.  Both ranged classes, but very different, as Mystic is a pseudo healer/buffer/support class with pets.  Think FFXI Summoner cross with a less complex WoW Hunter.

I plan on streaming more things in the future as my new computer should be able to handle it.

 

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WoW: Winter Veil Updated!

December 15, 2011

As you can find from Wowhead’s new guide to the 2011 Feast of the Winter Veil, a few things have changed in our beloved Christmas holiday Warcraft event.

The biggest change is to the former Abominable and beloved Metzen the Reindeer quests.  Where in years past you had to fight like a dog to just get the claim on the Greench to get your Snowman suit, that is no longer the case.  The once one time quest is now a daily quest and combined with the saving of Metzen.  So head on out to Alterac Valley, but make sure you bring your friends.  The changes to the Greench have made him much meaner.

He is now a level 85 elite with that hits fairly decently on a Protection Paladin.  While soloable by a tank correctly using personal cooldowns, he is definitely no longer a pushover.  Thankfully you do not actually have to be grouped up to kill him.  Learning from early mistakes, Blizzard has seen fit to “drop” the item required to complete the daily quest on the ground near the “Christmas Cave” after he is dispatched.

You may be saying to yourself, why do the daily at all?  In the past the quest was only there as a way to get the Snowman Kit in order to complete the Winter Veil meta-achievement.  It still does that, but the quest actually rewards you with a Stolen Present for you to keep as well.  The present can contain the new Lumpy (of coal) pet, anything sold in the Dalaran Toy Shop as well as any of the old yearly exclusive gifts.  That’s right, if you do not have a BB gun, or a Clockwork Rocket Bot, or a Mini Zep Controller you can get them from the bag.  The Clockwork Rocket Bot gives you the Feat of Strength for the 2007 pet, but the other exclusive gifts do not.

Good luck and go grab those achievements and that one Feat of Strength if you were like me and didn’t have it.

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Diablo 3: Real Cash Auction?

August 1, 2011

There will be an option to use real money to buy items on auction from other players in Diablo 3’s auction house.   According to an article over at Joystiq.com, Blizzard has said that there will be some limitations to the offering.  Most notably it will NOT work like paypal and you will have to decide on accepting the auction payments whether or not you want the cash or keep the money inside of battle.net.

There are a lot of issues to be said about this type of real money system in a game.  This goes far past the RMT that is already involved in some MMOs.  With the basics of those other games are you buying and selling in game currency for real money.  This system allows you to use dollars, pounds, yen, pesos, etc. to buy and sell items directly.  There is a middle man however.  In order to obtain the money you earn through sales, you will have to immediately choose to have the money sent to you, minus a fee from the third party that Blizzard has contracted in your country.

What do you think of this?  Personally, I find it a disturbing start to a possible trend to monetize these games more and more.  While, I find all RMT activities a bane on the existence of MMOs and games in general, I think this is just another step to trying to curb the gold farmers that will backfire in Blizzard’s face.

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FFXIV: Firefall Faire=Sunbreeze Festival?

July 20, 2011

The producers over at Square-Enix released a little information about Eorzea’s version of the Sunbreeze Festival event that became so popular over the years in Final Fantasy XIV.  This year we get real bikinis for the girls and a new name, “Firefall Faire”.  Hell, if you go out looking for the pictures of the “Galka” is even wearing a bikini.  I guess that man-bra is needed for them.

It’s really sad to me that they are spending so much time and effort doing all these events and not nearly as much trying to fix this game.

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SWTOR: Collector’s Edition Revealed! (Updated)

July 19, 2011

Too much for too little?

And oh what a collector’s edition it is!  There is a lot to be had in this package.

  • Exclusive Gentle Giant Darth Malgus statue
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic game discs in collectible metal case
  • The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural annotated by Satele Shan
  • Old Republic galaxy map
  • Custom Security Authentication Key (i.e. Authenticator)
  • Exclusive Music of Star Wars: The Old Republic CD
  • High-Quality Collector’s Edition Box

With In game items listed as:

  • Flare Gun: Fire flares into the air
  • Training Droid: Hovers at your side for combat assistance
  • HoloDancer: Project your own holographic dancer
  • HoloCam: Keep visual records of in-game adventures
  • STAP: Sleek and unique in-game vehicle
  • Exclusive Mouse Droid: Spun-ky droid to join your adventures
  • Exclusive Collector’s Edition Store: Unique in-game vendor with a dynamic assortment of items

All of this can be yours for $220 dollars US.  (Update: The 220$ price was the conversion into US Dollars from the Euro price of 150.  It has been confirmed that the box will retail for 150$ in the US as well.  Making the North American box price a whopping 70$ cheaper than the European version.)  This just rings completely as a cash grab to me.  I have played this game in both the first and second testing phases and had every intention of picking it up and possibly picking up the Collector’s Edition.  For no other reason but to get my hands on the Original Soundtrack that is included.  However, that is now not only not a possibility for me financially, but I am now extremely wary of how the game is going to be handled as a whole.

The game already has a number of game design flaws, that if nurtured could be fixed give time.  I mean there is no game (no not even Rift although people like to say it) that launched a perfect game out of the box.  Hell, Final Fantasy XI took over  a year of Japanese retail before it was fit for a worldwide release.  World of Warcraft had a horrible launch and look at it now.  That being said, there is a lot of reasons to be extremely wary about Star Wars: The Old Republic just based on the in game items listed in this collector’s edition package.

The Training Droid and HoloCam items are the ones that stick in my craw.  These are both very different items, but they both reek of how the microtransaction shop will be handled for this game.  EA is notorious for trying to milk every drop of money out of its playerbase and this just sits with me the wrong way.  The Training Droid sounds like an in game item that functions somewhat like a companion.  This may not be a hugely bad thing, as most classes get their companions between levels 6 and 10.  So we can discount that one somewhat.  Yet it leads to my belief that we will eventually see companions being able to be purchased through the cash shop.  This goes beyond the cosmetic and “fun” and in a subscription based game model it is out of bounds in my mind.

The HoloCam itself sounds cool.  An in game way to record your gameplay.  So instead of loading up that fraps application you “bought” you are given the opportunity to use an ingame tool (not unlike those mac wow users.  Not quite sure why we havent ever seen the ability to record go to PC users in WoW but thats another conversation all together.)  So this HoloCam would seem that it is another cash shop “item”.  This time not a “power” issue but one that expands the functionality of the game’s client to include recording.  This is not something totally out of the realm of paying for.  However, with Rift doing its best to include screenshot and video recording capabilities embedded within its default client and WoW having this function at least available on some platforms out of the box, it would just be another sign that we are going to be getting an incomplete client for our money and having to pay for each separate feature we have become accustomed to getting within the package.

Overall, the CE itself gives a lot of good stuff, but the pricepoint is $120+ too high.  The physical items are all “cheap” to make and the ingame items do not live up to a standard to where they are worth an extra C-note.  Hell, the CE for Uncharted 3 holds a very similar selection of physical items and a few interesting in game ones and is a much cheaper CE to buy this holiday season.

Lastly, while this box goes up for preorders on July 21st, we can safely begin to assume that the game itself is set for what I expect to be a late September/Early October release date.  Putting it smack dab in the middle of a WoW content cycle and beating Tera to the punch by several months.  Both of which are good news for the games prospects.  Now if only they could make the game actually look good graphically they’d win over a lot more people.

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WoW: Swift(y) Situation

July 19, 2011

I honestly do not have any real opinion on the subject.  The video itself seemed extremely shady on both sides.  Mostly because it did not actually allow for us to see a timeline of events, nor did it show the actual server going down.  Just him saying the words “guys we dont want to crash the server” (or something to that effect) and him in game getting notice that he was banned.  We, the people who are commenting here, have no idea what Blizzard’s investigation shows.  I for one can say, that if Bashiok is to be held to his word (which I am less and less inclined to do but am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt), the GM that actually used the banhammer in game did so without following the correct protocol.  Watching the video at least, we are lead to believe that there was some sort of streamed live event, the servers went down, he logged back in and was banned on the spot.  We as outside observers do not know if this is the case.  We are not even privy to the exact thing he was original banned for.  We do NOT have all the information.

Unfortunately, Blizzard and Bashiok specifically have lost their ability to manage their own community.  They have lost their touch and have lost their ability to do any good P.R. spinwork.  They realized too late that this player that their GM team had banned was an “internet celebrity” and Player sponsored by one of their key merchandising partners.  This is the most unfortunate thing.

Whether or not the ban of Swifty (and friends) was appropriate or not, we are left with very clear idea that Blizzard fucked up and did so multiple times during this fiasco.  We now have the distinct feeling that 1) they may have not followed their own internal protocols on how to handle player bans/investigations 2) that they can and will be swayed by a large amount of forum outpouring and Youtube hype and 3) that they will bend over backward for their Sponsor/Partners.

While 0-3 of these things may actually be true, we are left with the feeling that they all are.  The saddest fact that has come out of this mess is that we are left now with Bashiok and when you add all of this to all of the rest of the recent messes, we are left with a community that has very little respect for him.  He has gone from a community manager who people listened to and grudgingly respected to someone who just seems like a little informed brat.  The forums lately have become a festival of gripes over this or over that.  This is not the first time this has happened, it is just the first time that the CMs seem to be doing nothing but fueling the fire.

In my opinion, Bashiok should take a much needed break away from the forums and let someone else take over his role for a while.  We could use some new blood feeding us the WoW news everyday.  Both the good and the bad are there to be had everyday, but we could all stand to lose a lot of the thread deletions, this thread already exists, and other random junk that is fast making the CMs sound and feel like just a bunch of bullies and the userbase feel less and less heard.

In the end, the entire situation with Swifty just comes off as sketchy to me.  We do not know the entire situation from either point of view.  If he did what he is rumored to have been a part of.  Even if it was not something that he was a completely willing participant in, he should have been banned and kept being banned.  I realize he is a WoW celebrity, but the reality is, celebrity should NOT protect you from doing stupid crap and getting away with it.  We have had entirely too much of that in the past.  The sad fact of the world of MMOs however is that there is no jail, there is no court system where you are fined, or put to community service.  If there were, he probably would have been fined 100k gold and sent to the Molten Front to do 30 day of hard dailies (oh wait…)

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Blade & Soul: WTF?

May 2, 2011

Leave it NCSoft to bring us another Korean made MMO that gives us WTF moment after WTF moment.  The simple fact of the matter is that I have been looking at this MMO since I was playing Aion.  It is one of the many new “Action Combat” based MMOs that will be released in the next 12 months.  The overall concept of the game seems to be completely based in the old asian mythology.  Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon the MMO.

The graphics are pretty damn nice looking and the overall look and feel of the game is pretty awesome.  Right down to the combat animations.  Taking a look at the video of the massive group PvP shows many of these animations.  The two biggest things you will notice are that there seem to be no lag whatsoever in the large group combat.  A pretty amazing feat considering the number of players that are on screen.

The second has to be the gliding.  Which is the true WTF moment.  This type of gameplay just seems far too gimmicky for words.  I had been looking forward to checking out this game until I saw it.

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Rift’s Disaster?!

April 17, 2011

Yes, I have been playing Rift for the past 30 days.  My account was set to expire this morning.  The climax of the River of Souls event was to be the make or break for me to re-subscribe or to let my account lapse.  So let me take a few moments and discuss the event as a whole.

Phase One: The Joke

The first phase of this event was pretty much a ridiculous excuse to add another set of currency and daily quests.  Sure, this has pretty much become a staple for MMO events, thanks much to World of Warcraft’s handling of most of their world events.  However, the major difference here is that in WoW or FFXI or even Warhammer we were given a number of activities ranging from completing a few dailies, killing some newly spawned event only monsters, to completing some random task such as collecting easter eggs, spelling our name with letters or just plain going into a dungeon and defeating a special event only encounter.

With Rift, we were relegated to participating in content that was “new” yet it was still the same old thing.  During phase 1 of the encounter we were given several new Rift types.  While in and of themselves they were interesting, but they got old fast.  The real meat of the phase was already the basic routine of playing the game.  What we got was a zone that normally received invasions of Water and Life, we got some Death invasions mixed in.  In the zones such as Stillmoor, Gloamwood and Scarwood Reach where death invasions were already the norm, we got nothing but the status quo. Read the rest of this entry »