Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sources tell Kotaku that the team working on Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight was warned of its fate today, with almost the entire team expected to be let go after the real-time strategy game ships some time in 2010.
Also said to be affected heavily are Spore and former-Sims studio EA Maxis, social network gaming acquisition Rupture Studios, and Mercenaries and The Saboteur creators Pandemic Studios LA. Those development studios are said to be hit with substantial layoffs, according to a source, with remaining employees relocated to EA headquarters in Los Angeles and Redwood Shores.
EA is rumored to have already laid off staff at Tiburon, Mythic Entertainment and Black Box, reports which the company has yet to confirm.
We've reached out to Electronic Arts to verify these latest details, but have not yet heard back."
This is interesting as EA just finished a purchase of PlayFish [a social gaming company using Facebook and other such sites as a platform] for 300 million.
Hate to say it is a sad day to see Maxis go.
ALL NEW! Star Wars Gangsta Rap: Chronicles
Monday, November 02, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Surfs not up for me on the gWave. And . . . I so so so wanted it to be . . . bitchin’, epic or even Choka, but . . . we’re in the soup here, dudes, dudettes and trans-dudies.
Here is the thing . . . what I thought gWave would be would be something that integrated e-mail, chat and everything thing else you typed online that Google touched. So, all your message board and blog posts and comments to blogs or to that article about global warming that made you so mad you wrote those three pages trying to explain why Sancho24601 is an idiot and then you left those two reviews on Amazon and . . . err . . . anyway, I thought it would be a one stop contextual index/archive for everything you typed to the Internet, but its not. What it is is . . . akward . . . like a teenage boy . . . full of maybe possible potential, but why risk it?
O.K., this is the problem . . . just like when Tina Turner sang on the soundtrack to Mad Max: Beyond Thunder Dome, “We don’t need another silo” (err . . . she sang “hero”, but “silo” works better for my argument). The main trouble with gWave is it is just another silo. It is just another place to log in and . . . lock everyone else out. And that isn’t likely to end with the end of a limited Beta or its indefinite unlimited Beta phase.
The next trouble with gWave is it isn’t googlishous. For things as basic entering text doesn’t feel like blogger or gDocs or gMail or anything else. It’s crude and confusing. You can’t embed an image, but you can embed a video?
There are some groovy things like being able to do a Google search inside the application and then directly link the result you were looking for. Of course, this would be of more use in blogger, gDocs and gMail. It’s nice to be able to see all the folks icons attached to the message. Yet, again . . . would be better in other programs. About the only thing I really loved was the idea of playing social Sudoku.
It’s a wipe out, but we can just recover and wait for another set.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
But then that reminded me of the COOLEST SHOW EVAAAAAH:
Got another beta invite, you bastige?
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
That's right, bitches!
Of course for me . . . the definitive version is The Untouchables . . . man, oh man, oh man, oh snakes . . . what a show! However, I so hate to disparage MoTown and any song with a pedigree that includes Edwin Star, Robert Preston and Ray Charles.
Anyway . . . back to playing this game . . . or not playing it.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The problem was that even buying those TB mounts left me one mount short. I didn't want to drop a lot of money on special mounts, e.g., go back and buy another netherwing for 200G. So, I figured there must be a mount somewhere I missed. And, sure enough, there was. The new ochre UC skellie mount finished it off. I got the achievement, and within seconds, really, the email wth the albino mount showed up in my mailbox. Now, I really like the color but whoever designed them made them look doofy with those big fat feet hanging down. Nonetheless, though I probably like my green Netherwing best, I'll be showing this one off. You don't grind a 50 mount achievement and leave the prize in the garage.
Now when I get that Argent Tourny mount... bwahahahahahaha
Friday, September 25, 2009
Yes, it's Brewfest. I doubt I'll get the Brewfest mount, but I am running the quests for the pets 'n such. You'll note that both Françoise and Fortknight got their special Venomhide dino mount. In this picture, Françoise is modeling it and you'll note right next to her is the Brewfest pet, the pink pachyderm.
Last year there was no pink pachyderm and I think it was probably a response to an anti drinking backlash because you had to be drunk to 'see' the pachyderms for the quest. This year you can get free synthgoggles that will give you the thrills of drunken behavior without actually requiring you to swill any alcoholic libations. I think that's a sign that WoW has caved to the kiddies and families. /cry. Make them go to Club Penguin for crap's sake. Let me drink and kill with virtual abandon here. That's partly what I'm paying for with my subscription.
Anyhow... work calls.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Not about coffee, and there are no favorite grinds. They all suck. But, some have better payoffs than others. So this is my dino baby on day 7; I'm now on day 12 and he's actually bigger. On day 20 he becomes a mount for my rogue, Françoise, and my DK, Fortknight. Ironically, I am having the most fun playing Alterac Valley with my hunter, Tynaqua. I always end up around 4th position for dmg and honor kills. Hunters are so OP. lol.
Meanwhile, Sarah and I decided late one night to run down to Booty Bay and slaughter the town many times over to get our Bloodsail Admiral outfits. Only took about 90 minutes. We think we look cool. If only we could emote a good "arg!" Now we'll have a short grind to regain rep so the neutral cities don't kill us on sight.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
EVE Comes To Consoles As An Online Shooter
CCP have today taken the wraps off Dust 514, a "hybrid MMO/FPS" that not only brings the world of EVE Online to consoles, but somehow ties the game to the PC MMO as well.
Apparently the game will "interact directly" with the PC title, allowing console gamers to manually fight out the battles for planets that are part of the larger MMO conflict.
It will do this by combining FPS and RTS mechanics. The game is being worked on by CCP Shanghai, and there'll be more details announced during CCP's big fan get-together in Reykjavik, Iceland in October.
Are you getting what I'm getting? It's kind of existential in execution. Think about this . . . a game where not all the players are playing the same game . . . or having the same experience. Maybe as you are leveling some or all your "mobs" in an instance are your casual console players playing a game as a first shooter . . .
Think about it. Shirley, this means something!
That's right . . . aliens have better base!!!!!
Also . . . oddly enough . . . universal health care, but they are actually coming to the United States for treatment. It's an odd universe.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Researching the concept of ethics and morality in gaming . . .
It’s an odd jargonistic handshake kind of thing . . .
Is there pre-presence? Is there this . . . discontinuous, but shared history?
. . .
. . .
“New networks of imagination” . . . applause.
. . .
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
So, I have acquired a habit of refusing to ride the given racial mount, on general principles. This means a lot of rep grinding but, wtf, kinda fun to go back into a lvl 30 dungeon as an uber toon and just pwn ur way thru. Although sometimes it makes me sad to see gear drop that would have been really cool to have back when I was a wee toon. So, my under-the-radar rogue, Françoise (after Francois Villon who was not only a poet but a thief), could not be stuck riding that stooooooooopid bird mount that all the BLELFS have to ride. I'm pleased to announce that I have grinded UC rep and hit exalted by lvl 52 and am now astride the truly awesome undead horse.
Yah, it's the fuckin' crater, but I'm outta there. Fortunately, on this alt I couldn't care less about covering all the territory. I just want her to level. I'm hanging out in Azshara and Winterspring cause they're prettier. I might do Silithus cause I have always avoided it in the past and because it has cool CE rep which I think I *DO* want (and lots of thorium).
Mr. Rhodes, I sure hope you show up in game under the radar. I'll play with ya. Hell, I'll level with ya. I have an Alliance paladin that's about lvl 11. I have a 60 pallie Horde side but I have forgotten how to play a pally and they've changed it so much, I thought I'd just learn it again from the bottom up. Plus I was getting sick of the ugliness of cities on the Horde side.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
By the gods . . . I wish we were the 300!
We’re not even a baseball team . . . and neither are they.
Once, my virtual self stood on this ground with 100s before me and 100s at my back. It is an odd thing to face barely double digits on ground that once teemed with friends and foes.
I was here . . . they were here . . . explosions, encounters and excitement!!!
Now . . .this is almost . . . surreal.
Before me is a huge base with just a few defenders . . . and attacking the base . . . just a few. It’s pretty futile really. The built in bonuses of this and that don’t matter when the game devolves from massive to minimum.
Suddenly, the game is oddly personal. I mean, if there are only a dozen of us and a dozen of them . . . eventually you kind of sorta get to know theirs and yorn.
It’s no more about the weight of circumstance, but the circumstances of dueling. You kind of get a sense of that guy will kill me and I will kill that guy. It’s a very personal game now. Unlike WOW, we can talk across factions and . . . we do.
“Where is everybody?”
They are gone . . . to other games . . . greener virtual pastures.
It now feels like the cartoon of the wolf and the sheepdog (It’s a wolf? I thought it was a coyote. Seriously, why would a wolf try to eat a roadrunner? This makes no sense. It’s the Coyote and the Roadrunner, right?).
Yet, the question isn’t “where is everybody”, but “Why are we still here?” I suppose it is because someone has to turn the lights out. Maybe it’s a bit of nowhere else to go. Or is it the contempt of familiarity? Perhaps, it is just the mirror mirror on the wall. We’re just exiles no where near mainstreet. Nah, it's just spite.
All I know is it costs me nothing more than $4.99 a month and my time and there is a place that is dying and where I can still stand and where I can close my eyes and see . .. and recount . . . battles and histories and . . .
I’m running backward along a shore trying to keep an eye on a gnome. I think those baddy bastards over there are Kobolds.I know down the cliff there are Murlocks. Why is it always harvest season in Westmarch? Wait . . . is this Alliance territory? Why would I remember such a thing?
What were Guildenstern’s (or was it Rosencrantz?) last words? “There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time. ”.
P.S. For a list of all the references, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to . . .
Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Or, this kid. His picture is all over the place, including the Scryers' Inn in Shattrath. THis shot is from a tower on an island in Grizzly Hills. Yah, that's right; you recognized it. It's from the Hour of the Worg quest chain. See, ya gotta stop and look around every now and then.
Monday, June 29, 2009
LOL. Another alt, yah, but the thing is... a landscape architect? I love finding these little jokes tucked away in WoW. This one, in case you're interested, is in the garden outside the Ravenholdt castle (home to rogues from both factions, kind of our version of that drood place).
I would also like to point out yet another instance of ... poo. This poo on the snow has no functional value in the game, nor does it make much sense, unless the ogres are now taking doggy dumps in their own yard. I think the guys in the cubicles at Blizzard are getting punchy.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
10 turned into 7. More boys than girls and I’d have preferred the inverses. The headset screeched and screamed. They all headed off in separate directions. The moment you took to help one was the moment you lost the 6 others.
What World of Warcraft got right Free Realms has gotten wrong. Communication in game is specific and strenuous. Local, Group and Whisper are segregated in a way that makes it difficult not only to send, but to read.
Why would any community game not invest the most effort in communication? I asked my young friend from last post why she went back to Club Penguin. Her response was that she could talk to people there. Talking is important to her. I think talking is important to all of us. The designers don’t seem to get that.
I ended my session with the squealers and happily so for all of us. They seemed happy to be let loose. I was happy to not be the guy herding cats (as happy as I’ll be to cash the check). There is something wrong about trying to guide someone’s game experience. It is better to just share tales over a beer . . . so . . . maybe in ten years they can tell me what it meant to them.
. . .
There are mini-games in Free Realms. Last night, all my dreams were based on one of them. I played the mini-game of Penguin Defense for hours. I placed all my defenses and fought off the invaders. Once I won I sought to prefect my defense. At first I could save one fish, but later I was able to save all 15 fish.
Trust me on this . . . the mini-games is the future of MMOGs. First is communication. Second is an efficient time killer. Mini-games kill time with the precisions of a Navy sniper shooting a Somali pirate. Communication is about community, but following that is the need to kill boredom. At least Free Realms does that . . . as the cats scurry about.
. . .
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Hypatie has infected me with pet/mount-itis, a horrible disease in which the infected player obsesses about the acquisition of cool and numerous, preferrably rare, mounts and pets. I spent close to four days (if you totaled the hours) grinding Netherwing faction reputation to get this baby. I picked the green one, not because I like green, but because I've never seen a green one. Everyone picks blue or purple. Yes, I am now grinding another rep. This time it's Orgrimar and Cenarion Expedition. Nothing exotic or rare, but another pet to add to the stable: the brown swift wolf and the CE War Hippogryph.
Now that I'm up on the lore, I'm digging the game even more. Here's a picture of Illidian Stormrage, came to yell at me as part of the Netherwing rep grind. He's a scary bad boy, eh? And now I have so much sympathy for Sylvanas. Man, she really got messed over by Arthas.
Guild life is fun, largely when my fav silly people are on. Otherwise it's a tad annoying with lots of penis comparison disguised as discussions of gear and stats. LOL, jk. sorta. (If the boys read this, which I doubt.) And some of the fun people ARE guys. I'm not THAT gendered. But something does happen when a certain critical mass is online. All the talk turns to comparisons and assertions of expertise. In fact, I have noticed there are occasions where I've turned down a dungeon invite because it is largely comprised of the competitive core.
I've gotten Hells to lvl 74 and am realizing she's pretty fucking powerful, even solo. They must have buffed up the 'locks when I wasn't looking. Tynaqua hit 80, but she's an alt and always scrounging for good gear. I'm guessing she'll have to go the PVP route. =sigh= JBR, you can now, finally, dual spec! And I have a second spec for Fortknight that is frost-tank. I haven't yet had the chance to run with it, but I'm kinda looking forward to it.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
I’ve dabbled, but not dedicated much time to any game the last year that couldn’t be utterly consumed and ultimately consigned to personal and not computer memory. I re-explored my first MMOG experience and then moved on to a few other game experiences, but . . . they all seem like low toner Xerox copies of better games and better days regardless of better graphics.
Day one in Free Realms and I’m co-habituating the world with a freshly minted 11 year old girl. She’s impatient. The game is very graphically rich and for all its generous efforts to make it easy it isn’t always. At times it is it feels like the moment in a T.V. game show when the audience is inaudibly screaming suggestions.
Now, I’m hours behind her, though years ahead. Late night and a laptop and dawn came before my young friend knew, but still without a care. She had run the realm and dipped her toe in whatever allowed a toe to be dipped and even dodged school, but . . .
I’m trying to learn the game, but she’s not all that interested in my learning . . . or her own. She’s mostly run circles around the realm, but has hardly leveled any of her “jobs”. However, she’s a convenient cheat for me.
Travel is done by running or teleporting, but you can’t teleport to any of the hubs unless you’ve visited the hub unless you happen t have a party member who is someplace. Then you can ‘port to them. So, her explorations saved me a lot of my own which we all know will not reward me in the long run.
Anyway, I’m trying to play with my young friend and we’ve run a few of this and that. There are instances and there are races and games and all of it can be shared. You can play chess and checkers and other things with other folks. There is an virtual card game where you can try to build a deck and compete and apparently there is a physical counterpart where you can build a non-virtual deck.
Suddenly, my young friend goes offline on my friends list in Free realms. I have to find her on gTalk. She informs me she got bored and went back to Club Penguin
That was the most important lesion of day one for me. A game is a game is a game and graphics don’t’ make it any greater. I’ve often raced her on Club Penguin on the snow sleds and I can race her in Free Realms on the go-karts, but . . . Club Penguin for its lack of graphics isn’t really less fun. Maybe its even more fun.
The amazing thing for me is something I can’t express to anyone who isn’t a momentarily modern gamer. To play a game that is about 75% to 85% as graphically interesting as the first generation of World of Warcraft simply through the browser . . . no ten or twenty discs . . . no Tuesday updates . . . just . . . through the browser is an awe inspiring thing that is nothing less than what my young friend expects.
The difference in awe and expectations makes me wonder what she is experiencing. She says she loves it and wants to keep playing and has already spent over $20 real dollars on dress-up, but . . . she’s still wandering off to Club Penguin.
Free Realms is hardly free. I’m assuming for a child the free version is like giving them their first taste of crack for free or only letting them have only samples at the ice cream shop (I’m not advocating giving children crack - only criminals and liberals).
Free Realms is cynically designed to give the user a taste and entice. If you aren’t a member there are places you can’t go and there are things you can’t do and stuff you can’t buy. Also, you level harder and slower. Best to ask mom and dad for the $4.99 a month and then the credit card for the “Station Cash”. Kids, remember to memorize the three digit security code on the back of the card.
There was a time when games were for boys. Now, they all seem to be for girls and metrosexual males. It’s a lot about dress up and such. I bought cowboy boots for $250 station cash. When you do the math that it cost $20 American money for the $2000 station cash then you realize I paid . . errr . . . $10 u.s. for $1000 sc . . . so . . . $1 u.s. for . . . $100 sc . . . wait . . . I paid $2.50 real money for virtual cowboy boots that I apparently wear in the masculine style of over the boot so you can’t see them? What was I thinking?
In Free Realms you can’t be killed or kill. The only thing you can do is kill time and credit. You can have multiple jobs. You can play or PLAY!!!! It’s a bit of WOW Light with a next generation MMOG style that caters to just keeping folks engaged and online and a bit of Vegas. It’ll cost you to play, but if you’re smart you can at least make the cost worth it to you.
I am Bob Grayknight . . . for now.
Next week . . . 10 pre-teens and me and Free Realms . . . what could go wrong?
. . .
BTW . . . in game image and video capture.
BTWW . . . yes, I will have a survey. No, I won't show it to you.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For some weird reason, perhaps attributable to a bit of withdrawal from Geo Martin's book series, I went looking for Kindle2 versions of Warcraft lore novels. I think these are graphic novels, maybe not. Found many. Decided to start easy (and cheaply) and downloaded Rise of the Horde. Figured I'd learn more about Thrall and the history of the Orcs and Horde, etc. etc.
I've only read about 20% of the book, but already I find myself getting real pleasure from connecting the backstory with the game. It feels weird and, let me dare to say this, it makes the locations and events in the game seem considerably more 'real' to me as a player in their midst. This makes play more enjoyable for me. BGO (blinding glimpse of the obvious), I suppose, but not for the POWER of context, rather for the PLEASURE of it, that is, the pleasure of "knowing things," of being an Azerothian citizen-insider who knows what's going on.
Then I got to wondering about MMO play generally. I mean, hey, wasn't this stuff called MMORPG? It was back when I first got into it in 2005. I mean, it was supposed to be like taking D&D tabletop games online. Where did the RPG go? Is it just too hard to integrate story with play mechanics sufficiently well to satisfy a variety of player types?
I tried LOTRO (Lord of the Rings online), and it was beautiful visually, and had the same level of satifaction as playing with paper dolls. WoW's own Burning Crusade really sucked in large part, imho, because it made so little sense; it was just 'stuff to do.' But I have to say that Wrath of the Lich King has been a considerable improvement, mostly due to the cut scenes and phased play. (Although, good god, Arthas is showing up way too often on tasks that seem rather beneath him, eh? This is a snap of a rooftop fight in which Arthas, the Lich King, drops in to mock the failure of his minion. Shouldn't he be busy elsewhere?
Now it's highly possible I have no fucking idea what I'm talking about. Before WoW my RPG experiences were all in ye olde timey MOO/MUD/MUSH/MUCK worlds, which were often worlds that could be modified by competent players (OOP programmable, or rather, tweakable). And in those worlds, all was text, so story (or more often, "premise") and item/object descriptions were very important. Actions were rather limited.
My 15 year old daughter plays RPGs in online communities where there is NO real game mechanic, just interactive, collaborative, storytelling RP. These communities preset their culture and offer a sort of starter lore, and thereby create some boundaries and constraints on player imagination. But within that bounded space players wield a significant amount of freedom to create narratives, characters, events, and settings. She also plays Warcraft, so she knows both sorts of networked world making and play, and based on time spent, I would she prefers to play on the "RP boards." Yes, RP boards...these communities rely on browser-based forums and webpages (e.g., Yahoo groups or MS groups) to hold their worlds and stories.
I'll probably think about this more as I read and play more. Just wanted to jot this note before I lost the initial thoughts.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Yah, I just found out that the chopper is not BOP (Bind on Pickup) for engineers. Yeah baby, I can haz chopper! Well, Tigan can make it for me for only a butt load of mats AND about 15,000G. (ZOMG where mai gonna get dat kinda coin?). So glad I didn't sell all those titansteel bars, eternals, and artic furs. At least I have most of the other mats. [In the snap, that's Tigan driving and me in the sidecar.]
But this game does do that. Currently I consider myself to be on a bazillion quests, each with its own cool payoff. Well, I have made some progress. I did get the awesome Kalu'ak Fishing Pole and the penguin pet for being exalted with that faction. I did get the awesome war bear when my guild took out all three kings on the Alliance side; I blogged about that earlier.
In this regard it's a very clever world, not just a game, that Blizz has created. There is so much to do, so many things to go for, I just don't get bored playing. Now some of my guildies, well, about all they do is dungeons/instances or PVP. That would bore me very quickly. I guess to each his own. Interestingly, I'm NOT all about having the best thing or having something FIRST, and fortunately, Warcraft doesn't paint me into that sort of game corner. If they did, I'd have been long gone.
So now I've been "away" from the game for several days and I'm dying to jump in and get clear on what I need to do next, first, etc for my latest obsessions. =choppah= More later; gotta play.