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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Why I love house decoration in Everquest 2

I am pretty sure a lot of  the friends I made in Everquest 2 have been puzzled by my love of house decoration. That or they started thinking it was a good time to back away slowly when I started talking about it. In fact, I even agree to a certain extent that it is pretty sad that nowadays that is my main reason to play Everquest 2. Not so much for my passion for house decoration in a MMORPG, of all places, but because I just don’t enjoy the rest of the game as much. Worse I have yet to find another MMORPG with a more engaging gameplay and house decoration. My hopes right now are on Final Fantasy XIV for that but that seems to be far away in the future…

Anyway, why I love it so much in Everquest 2? To put it simply creativity. If that is so why am I not trying to scratch my creativity itch in another more fulfilling field like… say, writing or painting or something along those lines? Well…. That I don’t know either. I guess this blog does scratch my itch for writing though. I am not sure what kind of itch decoration in a MMORPG scratches.

The next question someone might ask would probably be, why aren’t you doing that in a game whose main purpose is dealing with virtual houses, like The Sims for example. This one is easy. In a MMORPG I am building and decorating a  house for nothing but my own amusement. In a game like The Sims I would have to build to please a virtual twerp so they don’t get sad. In fact I would be spending more  time worrying micro-managing the actions of said virtual twerp so he can get as close to happiness a virtual person can get than about building cool stuff. At least in a MMORPG my biggest worries are with the space I have to work with and the item count.

Of course, none of those answers really, well, answer anything. So I guess we have to dig deeper to see where it all began, what makes it so fun, why more MMORPGs should have decent house systems and why Santa Claus wear red instead of say… purple. Ok, I admit one of those topics won’t be actually covered on this post. But all the others  will!

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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Everquest 2, MMORPG

 

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Saints with Guns

I am probably one of the few people on earth who was never much of a fan of Grand Theft Auto games or similar titles. I don’t know why. There is just something on it that doesn’t appeal to me. Even though it should considering I like sand-boxish games. But while reading some previews on Rock, Paper, Shotgun about Saints Row: the Third that game just somewhat grew on me. There was a certain charm about a gangster game that not only doesn’t take itself seriously but also try to go as over the top as it can.

So, in a move of pure impulsiveness and pure boredom I decided to buy it. Why did I do that with a game like Saints Row: The Third where there would be a big chance of me not liking it, thus wasting my money, and not with say….. Skyrim, which is much more my alley, with actual good reviews about it? Well, not buying Skyrim is easy to explain. I know Bethesda will eventually release a special edition with all the DLCs. So I figured I might as well wait and save some money. In the mean time I am pretending really hard that the world is suffering from some kind of mass delusion. They think Skyrim was released! But no! I know the truth! It wasn’t released yet! It will only be released when they make some Game of the Year Edition or something like that containing all the DLCs. Yesss…. I am the only sane person in the world! *adjusts his tin-foil hat*

Ah-hem. Please, pardon that small outburst of sanity. Now, to explain why I bought Saints Row: the Third is a bit more complicated… Part of it, as I explained, is because the previews made the game look really charming somehow. The other part is…. I guess I just wanted a non-fantasy game as most of the games on my pile of “To Play” are fantasy. More than that, a game where I can just run and go cause some mayhem without worrying about the morality of my character, the “seriousness” of the world/story or anything like that. Lastly, it is probably because I wanted to stretch a bit my comfort zone and play a game in a genre that, in the past, I didn’t enjoy.

I must admit though that until I got a chance of actually playing the game I did feel some regret. Thoughts about how much of an idiot I was for wasting money in a game I most certainly wouldn’t like, how I should have spent that money on Skyrim instead if I was going to do something stupid, etc. Fortunately, once I got to start playing the game, all those thoughts quickly vanished and I spent some solid fun hours playing the game.

Since just saying that doesn’t make for an interesting post, let me try to tell you what makes this game so good.

Just one caveat though. I am pretty terrible at these kind of  games. If you think that invalidates all my experiences with the game then feel free to stop reading here. Personally I think it just makes a for a better case for the game. It is already pretty hard to make a game that can please a broad range of people with a straightforward game. To do it in a game with activities as diverse as this one then, I would say, it is near impossible. Yet the people at Volition did it pretty well! My virtual hat is off to them!

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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Other Games, Single Player

 

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A house for a friend

I mentioned recently one of the reasons there hasn’t been more of a substantial post on this blog is because I’ve been doing a house decoration on Everquest 2 for a friend. Well, I am happy to say the house is finally finished!

This house has been a challenge for several reasons. First, doing house commissions is not some I am really comfortable with. I know I take forever to complete a project and I just wouldn’t like to keep someone waiting to enjoy their house. The other reason is that I don’t know how to charge fairly for the work. So I’ve been avoiding that. Yet I couldn’t stop but day dreaming about it from time to time.

Due to some reasons I won’t be getting at here, I got to have a taste of that and offered to do a house for a friend of mine,  Jazabelle. She accepted it and so the saga of building the house began….

Soon enough one of my fears proved true. It was taking a long time to make the house. Part of it was because it took me a few false starts until I got a good base to build on. The other part for it to take so long is that I got into a decorator’s block that lasted for months. Just so you have an idea, I think, the time it took from the day she gave me trustee access to the house to when I finished it, there must have been about 6 months. Perhaps more, perhaps a little less. Mind you, most of those months I didn’t do absolutely anything on the house as I just didn’t have any decent idea for it.

Fortunately Jazabelle was extremely patient throughout the entire project and never complained about anything even when she had a right to do so. Slowly I was able to work through most of my decorator’s block and finally finished it.

Despite all the problems I enjoyed doing this house. It was a good challenge, it turned out well and Jazabelle was happy.

So, after all that, would I do a house commission to any other person? Perhaps, for a friend. If they don’t mind it taking possibly longer than the end of the universe and providing any rare materials that might be used as well as city festival/grotto stuff. :p

For a complete stranger, as a decorator-for-hire? Definitely not. I can’t  guarantee on making a house in a short term. I am still not comfortable charging for a house (Jazabelle’s house was made for free) and I know I won’t be lucky to get a client that will be as patient and supportive as Jazabelle was. Well, maybe one or two clients at most that is like her.

Alright. Now that I got to do my little ramble, I think you want to see the pictures, which you can do after the jump!

EDIT: Part of the pictures are cut off right now… I will fix it as soon as possible!

EDIT #2: Screenshots should be fixed now. Let me know if there are still any issues with it. Also made a simple page for my house decorations. It is a bit light on content right now but hopefully I can fill it up with time.

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Everquest 2, MMORPG

 

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Thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV class reforms preview and Letter from the Producer Live II

Seems like there were a couple of news around Final Fantasy XIV while I wasn’t looking. The first one is a preview about the class revisions that should be coming with patch 1.20. You can find it here.  As usual for these kind of things, anything in that post can change before the actual patch hits the game and people can post feedback about it on the official forums.

The second bit of news is the second “Letter from the Producer Live” which is pretty much ye olde webcast from the developers but with a fancy title. You can find it here. The video itself is in japanese without any subtitles. However there is an english translation in the form of text in the same posting.

Both give some interesting preview of what should be coming to the game in the near and long term. A lot of it made me pretty excited too as there are some cool additions being added and more much-needed changes to the game. I won’t be commenting on every and each item as it would take a gigantic post for it. I will just do so with the ones I found more interesting.

I will most likely do a hand-on post about all these topics as soon as the patches come. For now, my thoughts about what we know so far.

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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Final Fantasy XIV, MMORPG

 

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Breaking news: Everquest 2 going fully free to play

By now I think anyone interested already knows about this. On early December Everquest 2 will switch to a full free to play model. If you are a current subscriber and wishes to continue subscribing, then nothing changes to you. The only ones affected will be people on Livegamer and EQ2X. The Livegamer servers will be gone with Vox being merged with Nagafen and Bazaar being merged with Freeport. For EQ2X it only affects people with platinum subscription as it will be going away.

For more information they made a handy-dandy FAQ about the whole deal that you can find here.

To me this is great news. I’ve stopped caring about the game a long time ago. The only thing I still truely care about it is the decoration aspect and the friends I made there. Both that I should be able to still enjoy if I decide to let my subscription expire. And if I feel the need to I can just subscribe for a period of time again.

In fact you can blame the lack of more substantial updates on this blog on decoration. I’ve been working on an overdue decoration project for a friend lately and started remodeling my guild hall. The decoration for my friend I am not sure I will post pictures of it here. It is not my house although I don’t think the owner would mind one bit. Hell, it is quite possible she will even post pictures of it on the Homeshow forums herself… But my guild hall I will definitely post screenshots of it once it is done. It is a place very dear to my heart and it was only possible to get through a lot of grinding and a big help from some friends.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Everquest 2

 

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A Fallen Earth interview

There is an interview with Marie Croall, the current lead designer for Fallen Earth at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

You can find it here.

It is pretty interesting as she goes on how she got involved with the game’s development, the switch to free to play, how things have been working for the team and the game so far, etc.

In another note, I will try to make a real post about Fallen Earth… as soon as possible. So far all my posts about the game have been things that could honestly be found elsewhere. That kinda makes this blog a little pointless plus it wasn’t why I made it. Also Fallen Earth is one of the games I like right now and it deserves some recording of my misadventures there. Before that though I do need to get some other stuff out of the way first.

So many games, so little time and energy. /sigh

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Fallen Earth

 

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Tokusatsu and me

This is a topic that I’ve been thinking for a long time if I should tackle or not here…. Honestly, it is mostly due to a fear of embarrassment. Yet I get this urges to ramble about some of the tokusatsu series I’ve been watching or  watched from time to time. And although there are good forums specifically to discuss it I’ve been feeling to self-conscious to join them. I’ve finally decided to at least make this post about it though. After all there are far worse things to be ashamed of and tokusatsu is certainly not a bad thing. Plus writing it on my blog means I can write giant blocks of text without feeling guilty! Mwahahaha!

*clears throat* Anyway, putting the melodramatic aside, perhaps an explanation of what  this tokusatsu things is might be in order. To put it in simple terms tokusatsu is a live action show with super-hero like types aimed at children. Think Power Rangers and you are not too far off. In fact Power Rangers is not only based, but also use costumes and concepts, from one of the oldest tokusatsu franchises, the Super Sentai. It is much more broad than the team of super-heroes fighting the monster of the week though. For instance, Ultraman and Godzilla also fall under the tokusatsu genre.

Even though it is aimed at children they usually have themes that can be appreciated by adults too with some even having plots more complex that you would expect in a children’s show. There are also a few tokusatsu shows that have been trying to aim at an adult audiences too with some relative success. Garo is probably the poster child for this type of tokusatsu.

Ok. Definitions out of the way, let me ramble on about how I got into tokusatsu, rediscovered it and why I love the genre.

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Everything Else

 

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The first step to this blog’s Armaggedon….

Back during my introductory post for this blog one of the things I said was that I was going to try my best to avoid turning this into a blog where the posts are nothing more than quiz results that nobody cares about or pictures of cute kittens. Ah, well, the flesh is weak, as we say here, even more so when it is late at night and you should be sleeping. So the first (and hopefully the last!) step to this blogs version of Armageddon starts!

This happened while reading another blog where the author did a BrainHex test. It is basically like the Bartle test that classifies you into a set of different groups depending on your playing preferences. The difference is BrainHex has more categories although in the end I think I fall in roughly the same group in both cases.

In any case, on BrainHex my class is that of a Seeker with a Sub-class of Seeker-Achiever.

Here is the description of it:

You like finding strange and wonderful things or finding familiar things as well as collecting anything you can collect or doing everything you possibly can.”

And these are my exceptions to the class:

  • No Fear: You do not enjoy feeling afraid, preferring to feel safe or in control.
  • No Pressure: You dislike being asked to perform under pressure, preferring to take your time so you can make the right decision.
  • No Punishment: You dislike struggling to overcome seemingly impossible challenges, and repeating the same task over and over again.

Which is pretty much right on both in game and in real life. It also explains neatly why RPG is my favorite genre since it is not just enjoying a good story but also a chance to explore the world the story is set in. Good examples of that would be Morrowind, Deus: Ex Human Revolution, Fallout: New Vegas, pretty much any jRPG, etc.

I just disagree about the collecting part though. I really  hate collecting mini-games where they make you go in a goose chase for useless stuff that doesn’t really add anything to the story or the gameplay. Examples? The flags in Assassin’s Creed or the Riddler’s Challenge in Batman: Arkham Asylum (which I heard got even worse in Arkham City *shudders*).

I do like collecting stuff though if it does have some meaningful significance to me. For example, in Fallout: New Vegas (and now in Fallout 3) I really like collecting stuff that are unique that was earned in some quest or that I looted from someone I had to kill. It is kinda like a memento of those moments. Unfortunately neither game has a good support to show of that kind of stuff so I have to rely on mods to do it. And now that I think about it, that all started in Morrowind with house mods…. Hmm….

If you are somehow  curious about the exact numbers I got on the test, here they are:

Seeker: 17
Achiever: 8
Socialiser: 6
Mastermind: 6
Survivor: 1
Daredevil: -2
Conqueror: -2

And if you want to know more about the whole BrainHex deal, you can read all about it here.

As for an actual post that will come as soon as possible.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Everything Else

 

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