Thursday, July 16, 2009

Still up working

Yah, I know it's 1:03.

Is this [an example of] why they make $37.45 million a month, or is this *because* they make $37.45 million a month?

Already starting on an iPhone app for the CU.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I forgot how much of a pain...

...Working on a Civic is if you have big hands.

Gotta give it to the asians, they're freakn efficient. I *love*
efficiency... so the utilization of space in the engine compartment is one of the things that really set them apart in making cars.

However, this comes at a price.

If you have hands over a size "S", you're gonna have fits trying to fit your hamhocks down in the cracks and crannies between hoses, lines and filters, cause they're designed for someone with *teeny* hands to be able to manuever.

So a little backstory... Jill sometimes has a hard time seeing at night, and civics have the 1) lowest candle power stock bulbs ever & 2) have the most constrictive LOS for their headlights because of the lowprofile and low hoodbrow. So I bought her two sets of the SilverStar Ultra Xtravisions.. 300% the candle power of the stock bulbs, white-white light instead of amber, and supposedly a 10 ft side-lighting extension... hopefully to keep her safer. So I thought it'd be just like replacing the bulbs in the escape... pull two caps, badda bing, badda bang, we're done.


I had to end up pulling the wheel-well back so I could wiggle my hand in the headlight cavity and change the driver's side completely blind. Big time PITA since Honda secures all of their lights with dual hinge clips; which are hard to take off even when you can see the dang things. The Passenger side wasn't as bad, cause I had more room to work from the top because I didn't have the battery in the way (the only problem I ran into was the starter was still warm... ouchies).

Anyways... love a Honda, some of the best cars out there. Hate working on them with decent sized hands.

For anyone interested in if the Silverstar's make a difference.. We're gonna go test driving in a second, then I may post pictures of the Civic vs. Escape from the front (I've got stock amber-lights).


EDIT: No Pics tonight, I just got done adjusting them and it's 10:20. They do make a difference... I dunno if it's as prominent of a difference as I was hoping for (although on bright they are BRIGHT) but it is a difference. The biggest thing is in the FOV, it's about 10-15ft further on each side of the road, instead of being narrow with the Stock lights. I'll try and post some front pics maybe tommorrow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

World of WarhammerCraft?

I dunno.

What are my biggest complaints about WAR?
  • 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
  • Bugs
Biggest Pro's to Warhammer:
  • Scenarios & RvRing to level
  • Experience from RvR
  • Public Quests (the concept)
  • Armor Dying System
  • 'Sieging' (concept)

While the same in number, to me and about 700K-750K others, the cons have far outweighed the pros. Why do I mention this? Queue the entrance of the 800lb gorilla...

I believe that Microsoft does it best; the whole absorption, stealing and executing technique.. but Blizzard is a damn close second. Call it stealing, call it 'borrowing', call it good business decisions...either way; they didn't become the 800lb Gorilla that they are for no reason.

Since Warhammer's Debut, World of Warcraft is about to roll out their 2nd large patch, and guess what they're including:
  • 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)
So with this, what does WoW Already Offer:
  • 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

Warcraft Cons:
  • 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

So, why not run to Warcraft after 3.2? Well... I dunno; I might. But it's World of Warcraft. It's almost become, for people who haven't been one of it's mindless minions, a 'love to hate' relationship. It's been dubbed the Fischer Price of MMO's, despite having arguably more math and available data than Warhammer (and it's formulas work too). It's Gozer the Gozerian, the destroyer of Worlds (coupled with ToA, Warcraft killed Dark Age of Camelot). It's the Voltron of Online Gaming.... it assimilates the collective positive ideas of the MMORPG community and developers; sucks it into it's greedy web, and some how spits out a more polished version. It's the bane of MMO existences just because it's the MMO by which all others are now compared. It sucks, cause it's the Walmart of MMORPGS.. it moves in on the block, puts all the mom & pops out of business, and just destroys everything in it's path. It offers what everyone else does, but does it cleaner, easier and 'better' than the others.

If you can jump your personal hate-hurdle... then really, WoW's the metric by which others are compared cause it's the "best".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Current State of MMO's

It's a sad state really.

Right now I'm at a kind of awkward point in MMO's and gaming in general. I'm, for all intents and purposes, addicted to the MMO genre because of persistant advancements, rewards and penalties and social interactions... however, right now the MMO genre is one of the most constrictive gaming genre's available; with only a few select offerings to choose from which all generally share a common theme (fantasy).

While there are a couple of up and coming titles (Aion & Star Wars: The Old Republic) to look forward to, I'm tryring to be more realistic about future titles due to the lessons learned from Warhammer. Hype does not equal a great game, in fact, it probably hurts the title more than it helps. So... while I am looking forward to Aion (Asian MMO that's be available in Asian markets for a year, so the U.S. will be getting a 'polished' game), I need something to play right now.

Warhammer: I've never been so wishy-washy about a game; ever. Really, I think Warhammer has fallen flat on it's face, but I think that it's that I *want to believe* that mythic can turn things around and make the game into the hype that everyone believed in. BUT; Warhammer has a completely broken end game. We were sold on a PvP/RvR-centric game, but we were given a PvE centric game, with pisspoor PvE, mediocre RvR and poor PvP. The end-game of Warhammer is broken; Tier 4 in no way conveys the RvR aspect that the game is built around, and it's in fact the FIRST question on WAR's exit survey, so even Mythic partially acknowledges their failure. PvE is utterly broken and boring; being one of the worst PvE implementations to date... $140 million development budget,3.5 years and you copy and pasted environments? I've been thru T1 / T2 almost the same number of times as there are classes now... T3 starts to show the signs of a broken game, and I quit my T4 DoK after being in Tier 4 for just a week. Also, from an MMO perspective, the game play is extremely linear and constrictive... the 'tier' system almost forces you into specific areas and a very specific PvE progression (and RvR)... then when you get to T4 RvR, you find out its just a bunch of Circle-Jerk keep taking that both sides mutually agree to in order to farm Renown. If you happen to get in a City siege, the CULMINATION of the T4 evens, you forced to PvE (yeah...) in order to capture your opposing realms city. PvE is the climax of the RvR/PvP progression...

Age of Conan: I'm kind of stuck at this game. Age of Conan is probably the best looking MMO out there, the graphics are simply amazing. Having said that, I'm not really sure that there's a whole lot more to this game, other than being the first DX10 (even though it didn't / doesnt really work) MMO. The combat system is innovative, at first... but after a while, it gets to be slightly annoying, and casting is a joke. I speed leveled a Demonologist to 12 during the 7 day trial (and a ranger to 9); the PvE was mildly interesting, there was no PvP at that level, but there wasn't anything aside from the graphics that was hugely interesting. Hell, there arent even trainers in the game; when you level, you're automatically given the abilities appropriate for that level. Feat Trees are similar to the way that WoW's talent trees work. Subs currently - about 100,000.

Lord of the Rings Online: Love - Hate relationship with this game. I think, that with a bunch of friends, LotRO has some merit; but by yourself and knowing no one, the game kind of sucks. The best qualities of Lotro is that it's combat system 'feels' like Dark Age's combat system; there's positionals, reactionals and a non-stupid taunt & aggro system, different stances and class focuses. The PvE in the game is very epic, it's got nice (but very niche) graphics and a very snappy engine. However, the PvP (if you can call it that) isn't that great. In fact, what happens is that the player assumes the role of the bad guys (monsters) and fights the Freeps (free peoples; other players) in a designated area, over keeps and area control. While, yes, it is PvP.. it just doesn't feel the same. I'm playing the 10 day free trial; and it's fun, feels like DAoC, but without the epic RvR. I've done some PvMP (Player vs. Monster Player)... and it's not terrible, they've made improvements since I tried LotRO over 2 years ago, but i still dunno. Lotro's sub numbers are currently sitting about 650,000... according to a couple different sources.

World of Warcraft: Another love-hate relationship, and it's the 800lb gorilla in the room. For PvE, honestly love or hate it, no one has done it any better. Warcraft was developed on a purely PvP centric point of view; so that was their primary focus for the games sunrise development lifecycle. With PvP gaining popularity, WoW is trying to shift to a more PvP focused server-set.. but its hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I love WoW's PvE; which is odd.. each dungeon and instance is unique, loot drops are garunteed, and bosses offer unique PvE experiences that are more than spank-and-tanks; even raiding 'can' be fun (when done correctly). PvP wise... WoW battlegrounds, to me, aren't all that bad; but it's the twinks and premades that can make them suck, but thats only because i've never been in a full group premade, nor been a twink. WoW has more world PvP, on PvP servers, than WAR has seen outside of RvR lakes. BUT: WoW PvP is laregly pointless... it's purely 'carrot' driven in terms of gear. PvP grants you no extra abilities and no realm-wide reward. Also, WoW is very daunting... PvEing to level 80, despite the leveling changes, is still quite a task.. and gearing post lvl-80 isn't an easy feat as well. Also, WoW and LotRO both put the 'Multiplayer' in MMORPG; they *require* larger groups of people, require you to be socially interactive, and require you to make friends in order to further your character... which is a potential turnoff.

EVE: Not interested. While this is the most inovative of the options, I just can't get 'attached' to a spaceship. The offline training irks me aswell... whats the point of logging in, if you can do most of your character progression while training offline; then buy your ISK from a Chinese farmer and go buy a ship? The social interactions are one of EVE's 'lures', but I've got one job already, thank you... I don't need to, literally _work for_ and online organization in an MMO as a spy, and report on forum interworkings, getting promoted in my target organization and then working to leak intel to my 'employeers'. I've got enough on my plate as it is.

There's others that I probably should mention: Dark Age of Camelot, Lineage II, Guild Wars... but; these currently have more Cons to me than pros, so it's not worth detailing them out.

While I was writing this post; I think I mentally hit the nail on the head. I'm trying to play MMORPG's (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games - FYI) with a very narrow mindset of 'what works for 1/2/3/4 people'... but truth be told; thats not what an MMO *is*; and its counter productive to think so. Looking at DAoC; the 'golden years' were spent with the SK's, a guild of 15 or so stable members that romped in Pve and PvP together constantly, talked in forums, and ran small man etc. DAoC may have been slightly more 'small man' friendly; but really the best times I can remember are: Barrows Bridge groups, Keltoi ant room groups, Trees group... thats where I met most of the people I still remember from DAoC. So maybe I need to start getting a little more social in the games I'm playing, start forming groups, joining guilds (some of the most fun in WAR was with Ruin) and actually \contributing/ to them.

So maybe.. its that I'm doing it wrong, and need to L2Play.

EDIT: Well its not LotRO - trial is going to be up soon, and I just don't *want* to log into it.