Leave whatever comments you'd like... gonna review the poll this weekend and go with whatever everyone else says.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Leave whatever comments you'd like... gonna review the poll this weekend and go with whatever everyone else says.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures @ the Midnight release party; but the Gamestop off of Barrett is going all out for this thing. They're going to have snacks and drinks, demo's of the game on like, 22 different TV's, a rock band tournament going and they're going to (after 10pm when the other stores close) setup an airsoft field & game rotation in the parking lot for everyone waiting.
The last midnight release I went to was in Cartersville and about 70 people had preordered GTA:3 at that point... according to the dude @ Gamestop, they've already preordered about 470 copies of Modern Warfare 2... so this should be quite crowded.
Anyways... so talking about games / gamers; there's this cool, charitable deal that I've found out about, called Raid for the Cure and Azeroth United. AZU is just a basic charitable thing... donate a couple of bucks, and you feel good about something and a Game-Related site is giving a 25% discount. Raid for the Cure is pretty cool though... $10 and you reserve a raid spot with a dedicated group of 10 people who will run you thru a raid dungeon and let just the donatee's roll on loot. Additional $5 and you can 'bet' on how long it will take a particular group/run (of the 10 man and donatee's) to clear the dungeon.. closest person wins the non-spoken for items on the raid.. without having to go. It's a win-win for everyone involved... donate $10 or more and the Susan G. Komen charity 'wins', and then you 'win' for having a garanteed raid spot + loot.
I think it's just cool, and good for the gaming industry as a whole, to see gamers being socially concious. I think there's a negative / immature light painted on the gaming industry.. on MMO gamers specifically cause it's seen much the same as D&D is.. sort of a group of outcast / social misfits; despite the fact that the gaming industry has overtaken the film industry in terms of revenue. Doing charitable events and casting gamers and developers in a more friendly and "acceptable" light will only help to further the development and acceptance of the industry among mainstream media. Something interesting though, is that Blizzard is dedicated to their conciensous gamers as well... vowing to match the charitable contributions of the community to both causes (AZU is for 'Child's Play').
Anyways.. back to working.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
- 1 (or 2) Large Sugarfree redbulls everyday ($3.50 per can)
- Someday's add in a Redline 7hr Energy Shot ($3.29 per thing)
- Sometimes tack on a Redline regular ($2.99 on sale!)
- Then there's the pot of Coffee at night (negligible.. except for creamer)
- Oh.. and starbucks double Venti White Chocolate Mochas. ($4.29 per)
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Wake up 1hr late - Sucks
Forget to Shave - Works a real stickler for this, I'll have to shave at work
Get in my Car - weak Battery
Get to work, check in with Boss then go to Kroger to buy Shaving stuff
Come out - Battery is dead.
Get jumped off, drive to O'Riely and buy a new battery
Work till 6:30 Straight on CARD ACT resolutions and compliance
Get Home, work till 12:30 on CARD ACt Compliance
Come in, unscheduled, and work till 2pm on this compliance BS
Go Home, work on the compliance crap
Work on Compliance
Notice Battery is a little Weak again
Work Late cause of a --Freak-- server failure
Continue the discussions we've had over the past 3 months about buying a new car
-Figure it's time to.
Car won't start - Jump off
Car starts @ Lunch - But Electrical system acts funny
- I figure it's the alternator at this point
Get Home - Dogs have been sick; have to give baths x2
Raining and I can't cut my grass
Car doesn't start - jumped off with Jills car
Car makes it to work - Have to charge the battery
-Boss jumps me off and follows me to O'Riley
Spend all day in Meetings getting 'blessed out' over our apparent incompentancy
- Over the CARD ACT compliance, which I've worked... at this point 7 day straight
Go pick up battery - Find a car online to go look at and Drive to Roswell
Guy won't budge on his car, I won't on mine... leave and go to Carmax to think it over
Call the guy back and Agree on a Price
Call back 5 minutes later, otw there, he says someone just put a $100 deposit on it...Tough Luck
Go home in Defeat
Car Dead - Jill Jumps me off
Drive to work, get half way and realize I forgot laptop for presentation - Turn around
Car Dies in the middle of the road 1mi. from house.. in a turn across traffic.
Jill Jumps me off <3 <3
Drive back home, decide to leave the jumpers connected for a minute to get a little extra charge Drive to work on a wing and a prayer
Take Car to shop - Alternator is DOA; replace it - estimated complete time: 3:45
Jill Calls - Her car is acting funny, signs of a dead battery
-Pulls into an Autozone - has to have battery replaced.
Guy about the black 330i calls back
- will do the drive out price I want, but no trade - tell him Eff off.
Starts Storming - supposed to go to the Braves game @ 7pm
Call about a Mystic Blue 2006 330i w/40K miles - Still available (uber excited)
3:58 - Deltacom Backbone OS3 fails in Atlanta - all branches go offline
Call 11 people on a contact list, mad as hell demanding an answer.
-Service gets rerouted 15 minutes later, branches back up at 4:51
5:00 - Car Still not ready
5:40 - Car ready.. go get it, then guy @ work drives to Braves game
6:30 - Step out of the car into a hurricane - get soak running to the 'Bullpen' (Bar)
7:20 - games starts cause a rain delay - Braves win 9 -1 (something positive!)
Jill's really sick and I feel like an ass for going to the game with her being really sick
Wake up late - get to work 20 minutes late
-(I've been late to work twice in three years; now 2 times in a week)
About 10 a.m. start running a mild fever - getting Jills Resp. Infection I guess
10:30 told I can leave @ 1 cause I'm sick
Call Mystic blue BMW - Sold, Call about another Blue 325 - Sold, they have a 330i black though
1:30 can't leave cause of CARD ACT questions "5 more minutes I promise"
3:41 Leave Work
3:55 Work calls, someone didn't check a report (that I asked 5 times for them to check) - Mass Account changes affected some accounts they didn't want to be changed
- Called back to work to straighten it out
4:00 Tell the guy about the black 330i I'm about to test drive that I've gotta leave
-take his name and number cause I like the car.
4:10 Back at work straightening out someone elses's mess
4:45 Account issues resolved - but now there's 4,046 sealed letters and we need to pick out the 300 bad accounts that don't need to get the letters
- 7 of us start doing it by hand.
9:56 Leave the Credit Union as the last name / envelope is found
- Get in my car and hear a Belt going bad on the way home..
that distinct sqweeeeking sound
Have to work - it's my scheduled Saturday
Take my car to the Shop before work - It's not a Belt, but my Idle pulley
- $165 to replace
Drive to work
Get here and call about the 330i I wanted to test drive yesterday - Sold last night.
Type this blogpost.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Having covered the basics and intro in Part 1, no we move into Aion (the world) and game play impressions. This portion of the review is going to focus on game play controls,UI & client responsiveness/fluidity and then overall mechanics and themes.
First, the controls, especially from a Eastern MMO, are very accommodating to different play-styles Eastern / Asian MMO's typically employ only the click-to-move function, while leaving the WSAD crowd out in the cold. Aion, due to the 'westernization' of the Asian client, allows you to use both methods of controls as well as disable the click to move feature. This is very accommodating to people moving from western MMO's and not forcing them to change their 'tried and true' keybind setups. From looking at the controls page, virtually all actions bars, functions and features were keybindable. The only exception I found was the Camera-Pan function, which was innately bound to middle mouse. I'm hoping this is able to be rebound via patch or a registry-change, however I'm not super hopeful. Despite the camera functionality, the NCSoft team has done a great job at getting a Eastern MMO's control set to match that to which their American and European customers are accustomed to.
Looking over the controls and the basic User interface; the 'stock' package is actually quite adequate. Featuring standard MMO items (horizontal & vertical action bars, minimap, HP/MP/DP indicators). The quest log is a little lacking, as quest objectives aren't clearly defined nor a general direction given on where to find them; however a 'locate' function is in place to help you identify areas of interest; but this is quite buried in the UI itself. An indicator of combat or aggro isn't currently implemented; however, I understand that the UI is written in XML with a decent API, so hopefully we'll see the same degree of addons out for Aion as we have for WoW. As far as the client is concerned, the responsiveness is much better than Warhammer's, giving almost instantaneous response when an action or ability is activated. The only issue I ran into periodically is the Global Cool Down (GCD) acts a little 'funny' when casting. Because the GCD fires after the spell's cool down has started; it sometimes appears that there's a 2nd GCD in place. The games snappiness and fluidity extends beyond the hot-bars to the avatars themselves; with polished animations, fluid rag doll movements and realistic 'idle' effects, the animations far surpass anything that can be found in Warhammer. Combat animations are crisp and dramatic, which is a feature of Eastern MMO's and Anime. With Massive swords, dramatic flips and maneuvers, character's combat stances and actions may not be the most realistic, however they carry the same stylistic animations, motions and gestures that are common to Eastern media.
So far as mechanics go, we haven't seen enough of the math or formulas to determine how items are working behind the scenes, but with community greats such as Death & Taxes, Elitest Jerks and K&G trying Aion out, it shouldn't be long before we start to see the theorycrafting and numbers that make the game work. One thing is for sure though; we're seeing a comeback of our long lost love: the Random Number Generator. Having been absent throughout the development of Warhammer and Champions Online, the RNG is back and in full force; giving combat some randomness that will allow for a more dynamic play style. So far as tackling the customization issues, Aion is going to use Stigma(s) for character customization and Mana/Super/God stones for gear customization. If you're familiar with Warhammer's tactic system, then you'll feel right at home with Aion's stigma system, except that instead of ability enhancements, they're just entirely new abilities. Gear customization is going to be done similar to Warcrafts' Jewelcrafting, where each item has a set number of sockets, and stones fill the socket's voids, allowing you to further develop you characters gear and itemization.
The overall theme of Aion, coupled with the gameplay, feels much more like an older MMO than a new breed of the genre. With a slower leveling pace, only 50 levels and a death penalty, Aion is instating many of the items that MMO's have gotten rid of recently. Aion's leveling experience doesn't appear to be a quick treadmill, instead it appears to be a slow and steady uphill climb, much like DAoC 1.0 and Everquest. With a death penalty in place, it mirrors MMO's of old such as DAoC, EQ and AC; forgoing the 'easy' death penalty we observer in games today such as LotRO and WoW. While it has seemed to grab some of the best features of the older members of the western genre, one item it retains from it's eastern counterparts is it's reliance on money (Kinah) for *everything*. Eastern MMO's typically place a very heavy reliance on cash; and Aion is no exception. From flying to teleporting to simply binding at a new location, the games currency is the end all and be all of furthering your progression. The requirement of cash drives the economies of similar games such as Guild Wars, Lineage and Lineage II that can sometimes see exorbitant prices on desired items as well as increasing the number of bots and gold-sellers in your game. The last thematic item of note that it retains from it's eastern cohorts is it's reliance on grinding. Grinding, or the repeated killing of monsters that yield experience, isn't a new or even negative feature of MMO's, however recent trends in games have gotten away from 'grinding' and more towards a goal-oriented instanced dungeon / quest style of game play Western MMO players are notorious for their short attention spans and inability to repeatedly do menial tasks, while eastern players are know for their ability (and enjoyment) of grinding for levels on end. While there have been some successful Western MMO's that have relied on grinding as a major part of their leveling progression, Dark Age of Camelot being one of them, it will be and item to keep and eye on in the future.
This concludes my very brief portion over these features. There is so much depth to a "good" MMO (and I believe Aion will be a "good" MMO) that it's so hard to cover all of it's features in even a three part review; however take this as a brief explanation of the game from my point of view. The next portion of my review will feature what I think Aion is doing very well at, what I feel could be improved, what I'm leery of going into release and my overall feeling of the game.
Monday, August 17, 2009
So I pre-ordered the CE this weekend, so I could get in the Closed Beta Event 6 (CB6) and get a feel for the game. After 'sitting on it' for a night... we'll kind of recount items, mull over things, and give a Mythbusters-esque "Confirmed / Plausible / Busted".
Aion is a Westernized version of an Eastern-MMO... in other words, it’s an Americanized version of a Chinese MMO. The development cultures differences between Eastern and Western MMO's are as vastly different as the true cultures themselves, but we'll touch on that as we go. Lore-wise... Aion puts its nice, different own personal-stamp on a tried and true fantasy setting; bad guys attack good guys, 1000 year war, peace treaty then chaotic assassination, hell breaks loose, world shatters & civil war ensues. Thats a **very** brief description on the lore.. but it's a nutshell. Lore, typically for me, does add something to the game... it gives quests and objectives meaning, gives your character a purpose and can add a sense of pride (realm/faction pride).
While September 22nd is the US release date, the game has actually been in full blown release-mode for a while in China. This, in my opinion, really works to the advantage of Aion; it allows for more time to "polish" prior to releasing to a Western audience, which typically are more cynical and critical of games and expect more at an initial release (SEE: Warhammer Blogs) than Eastern players. While the Eastern players don't mind muddling through a rougher release, WoW has created such an influx of new blood to the MMO community that doesn't accept the same "thats just how it is" limitations of previous title launches. Western MMO players demand polish, and in my opinion, this is the largest advantage that Aion brings to the Table. It will be immediately patched to version 1.5 or 2.0 (China / Korea) at US release, so Western players will see the imediate results of 8 months worth of Real-World play testing and fixes. This item alone will do more for the release than I believe that NCSoft Realizes.
Moving onto the first immediate item for review are the Graphics. Utilizing the Cry-Engine, NCSoft has issued forth another Competitive advantage... currently there is no other MMO that is as graphics detailed as Aion, save Age of Conan, however Aion does it without the major Graphics limitations and issues. Native AA is implemented in the engine currently, up to 8x AA, and Hardware Supported Bloom effects (via Cryengine) are available as well. From playing the Beta last night while keeping task manager open, the game looks solid from a back-end perspective... no Graphics leak like AoC, and no Memory or Page File leak like WAR. Reflective textures as well as high-detail textures (with sliders! Warhammer - take notes) are in already, and the game runs extremely smoothly for being so graphics intensive. Once more players are on the screen plus when it starts being used on non-SLi rigs is when we'll see whether or not Aion has a graphics bust or win.
Character Customization and Class selection are one of the first things you experience in any MMO, and Aion raises the bar for Customization. Currently there are something to the tune of 1500+ different face / hair / features combinations available to select from, with an additional 1500 available at retail release. Hair Color, Skin Tone and Lip (?) Colors are all done via a palette chooser, making the combination of colors virtually endless. I don’t think enough can be said about their degree of customization, It’s nice to think that there are slim-chances you’re going to see another character who looks EXACTLY like yours. Class Selection is of your typical fantasy variety; DPS/Tank warriors, 2 flavors of healers, 2 kinds of casters and your stealth characters. While the Class offerings are not as robust as the customization options, they still present familiar "faces" for people new to the game; given the descriptions of the classes, you start with a good idea of how the class is going to pan out at level fifty.
This is the conclusion of part I.. part II I'll review more of the gameplay nuances, and go over the various classes in a little more depth. The last part of the posting I'll visting my thoughts on Aion, pros, cons and my concerns that I'd like to see hammered out in the first month.
look for part II tommorrow!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
- Broken End Game RvR
- Broken Balance issues
- Poor PvE (Leveling & End Game)
- Very poor MMO 'feel'
- Feels more like a persistant CS / Third Person shooter
- Scenarios & RvRing to level
- Experience from RvR
- Public Quests (the concept)
- Armor Dying System
- 'Sieging' (concept)
- Battlegrounds(aka scenairos) queuing from anywhere
- XP and Honor from Player Kills and Battleground Victories
- Bonus Honor for 'Fighting on the Flag'
- Battleground timers - 20 minutes
- Battleground with Siegable keep (and seige engines) - 80 Players
- Ability to turn XP off and remain in a specific battleground range
- --Anti-Twinking measures: /xpoff players only queue for other /xpoff player's BG's
- Updated Character Models
- Updated Armor & Weapon Models
- New PvP / Honor Rewards (gear and spell ranks unavailable to others)
- Balanced Classes in PvP & PvE (each side has same offerings)
- Stellar PvE (Leveling and End Game) - Sets the Metric for PvE endgames
- Three total zone walls - **very** MMO / Immersive world feel
- Polished, smooth client
- Largest MMORPG Playerbase (approx 11.4 million players, 2.8 in North America)
- Constant community involvement
- Constant Patching, Hot Fixing and User-suggested enhancements
- End Game, outside of BG's and Open world random PvP, is PvE Based
- Dated, "Cartoony" Graphics
- "Daunting" from a new player perspective (it's a very 'known' world, so you've gotta do your research)
- Massive Community that lends itself towards being Jaded
- Massive non community that loves to bash, rip apart and complain about WoW
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
That all changed with my first Compaq Presario 1100. With a hefty 4.2GB hard drive, armed to the teeth with an Intel integrated 16MB graphics card, 256MB of Ram and a fresh install of Windows ME, I was ready to rock and roll with my United States Post Office refurb I'd snagged for a mere $499, monitor included.
After just a short 6 or 8 weeks, I discovered a lot about hardware and software... realizing that a 16MB graphics processor wasn't enough; I upgraded to my first aftermarket piece of hardware; the nVidia Geforce MX480. This beast had a whopping 64MB of dedicated video RAM with it's own single core graphics processing unit.
After that, the race was on.
Since The PO PC, there has been too many hardware upgrades to describe in detail, or even remember; but there has only been really 2 distinct PC's since the Post Office PC; and all since then I've built myself. Being budget minded; typically I've shopped for 'bargin' parts, catching graphics cards on the backend of their development cycle, going with 1-timing down RAM, year old processor releases... but I've always put together great little machines.
1) "Beast" - Beast was my first self-build project; built at the same time that Carlton built his first real PC. We both went with SLI builds; very cutting edge for the 2002/2003 timeframe. With an AMD Athlon64 2Ghz (ish), 1GB Ram and 2 Geforce 7600GT 256MB's.. Beast was quite the machine for it's time, having lasted me until about a year ago. Sadly, the hardware Beast utilized (AGP / Athlon64) went 'out of style' about a year after I built it, so upgrades were very hard to come by because of parts-availability.
2) "Beasty" - Beasty was the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Beast's demise... a firey demise as his Graphics cards and processor overheated in a blistery inferno. Boasting a nice little Core 2 Duo and 2 512MB 8800GT's (nVidia's hall of Famer) with Vista and 6GB of RAM, Beasty is a formidable little budget gamer. While the 8800GT is 2 series behind, Core 2 Duo's are a little behind the times and DDR2 isn't even close to the cutting edge, it does very well for itself. Can it play Crysis on 'extreme', or Call of Duty 4: MW on gamer? No... can it still play them very well? Yes.
Now.. with the demise of the bike; Beasty is giving way to 'Beastier'. Beastier is going to be roughly the best PC you can buy at the moment, given the current hardware environment. Typically I've built budget PC's; but given the circumstances, I'm going to be building what I want this time:
Intel Core i7 965 (3.33Ghz Quad Core)
Asus P6T Deluxe Motherboard
Tri-SLI'd Geforce GTX285 2GB (3 Graphic Cards)
12GB Mushkin DDR3 1800 Mhz RAM
2 RAID-0 10K RPM HardDrives (600GB total)
LG Dual Layer DVD-R/W drive
LG 6x BluRay player
Asetek Liquid Cooling System
AZZA Solano 1000 case
Corsair 1200W PSU
Vista Ultimate 64... going to run a beta'd Win 7 as soon as I can.
And I don't think I'm going to be building Beastier... I think I'm going to let a custom PC shop build it for me. The price difference is so miniscule that it's worth not having to fool with setting up the OS, the Raid, deal with all the drivers, the custom work on the case, the liquid cooling setup.
So anyways.. I'm getting excited about this build; hoping that I get to place the order for it next week.