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Author Archives: Rakuno

A new home for the blog

For a while now I’ve been pondering about moving the blog to a self-host. You see, WordPress.com is great as far as free blogging goes. But for me it got to a point where its limitations became… well, too limiting. And if I am going to pay for features I might go all the way. Which is exactly what I did.

You can find the new home for the blog at: shardsofimagination.com

This version of the blog will remain though, just in case something goes horribly wrong and I need a place to fall back to. *knocks on wood*

If anyone has any problem accessing the new place, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post, sending an e-mail to rakuno (at) <insert-name-of-this-little-blog-of-doom-here>.com or by sending me a message via Twitter to Rakuno_SoI.

For now I just hope to see you in the new site. :)

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Notices

 

[Guild Wars 2] When altitis strikes…

Since I began playing MMORPGs I pretty much embraced my altitis. After all, what is the harm in having 1, 2 or a dozen more characters? They all provide different ways of experiencing the game world, after all.

With Guild Wars 2 however I was determined to limit myself to only the 5 initial character slots. It was enough to have one of each race and by playing the betas I knew which classes I really wanted to play. That worked for a while.

My slippery into altitis began innocently enough when I decided to make an unplanned character. A charr elementalist. Elementalists are fun. Charr are fun. It is a perfect combination!  It wouldn’t hurt to have just one more character and I could see another personal story. Surely, nothing bad could come out of it, right? If only I knew how many characters I would create after that…

Later on I decided to make another charr, a warrior this time. That one was because… well, the beta corrupted me and I was feeling no other race was cutting it as far as aesthetics go. It wasn’t for lack of trying either. Rakuno’s first version was of a warrior but the beta also corrupted me in that area and made me feel a Rakuno asura could not be anything but a thief. My other attempt was with my first sylvari, post-beta, but he didn’t exactly feel right either. So I came to  the conclusion that I had to make a charr warrior or I would never be happy with it. The only problem is I still wanted to have a sylvari in some form so I decided that I would eventually remake him as a mesmer.

I made my charr warrior, loved playing him and then went back to my playing other characters for a while since they needed some love too. Then I decided it was time to remake that sylvari warrior into a mesmer. That is when I made a terrible mistake. I looked at the sylvari cultural armor but didn’t like any of the light armor set looks on a sylvari male. The tier 1 heavy armor male set for sylvari though looks pretty cool. Only problem is that the only other heavy armor using class are guardians and I was already planning making a human guardian.

After talking with a friend who has a high level guardian (and made guardians look awesome in my eyes), he somehow convinced me to make two guardians. I made the human guardian I was planning and remade my sylvari into a guardian too. The class turned out to be one of the most fun in the game. Also, in case anyone is wondering by my wording, yes, I am still unsure if it was a good idea. I love my human guardian. But I have to level the sylvari one a bit more to make sure I can live with two. In any case, I really want that cultural armor set!

Anyway, now that left me with having to choose what race to make my mesmer. After much debating I just decided to follow Paeroka’s suggestion and made him an asura. The class is much more fun than I was expecting but the race just hasn’t been working for me, for some reason. Specially because I made the mistake of looking at the cultural armor sets again and didn’t like the light armor versions for the asura. The heavy sets though look pretty cool and made me want to make an asura warrior!

Now my dilemma is remaking my asura mesmer into another warrior, then remake my human necromancer as a mesmer (since his first incarnation in EQ2 was a coercer, so it sort of fits) and make a norn necromancer because… Hey, their cultural light armor sets looks awesome!

I really have no idea of what to do. Although I will most probably follow with that plan anyway…

With that in mind the only way I can finish this post is with these words: Someone help me! My altitis is out of control!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Guild Wars 2, MMORPG

 

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[Guild Wars 2] Random Thought: What would happen if…

… the elder dragons won?

Let’s assume that the elder dragons were actually unbeatable by any “lesser beings” and end up destroying everything in their path. So, what would happen? Would they then try to fight each other until there was only one? Or would they just shake hands, pat each other on the back, say “Good work!” and then go back to sleep?

If I recall my lore correctly, there are evidences they already destroyed the world once (or came close to it). So I am guessing it would be the second option. But it certainly would be interesting if they were all competing for territory/food/whatever their motive is. It would be even more cool if we could actually take a seat and see some of them fighting each other!

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Guild Wars 2

 

Status update! (for the blog and some personal ones)

After much brooding in my hidden lair, I think it is time to get back to blog posting.

So here are some things that have been going on my mind as well as some stuff I’ve been up to.
If it seems there is a lot of uncertainty in this post it is because… there is. I blame it on my chronicle indecisiveness. Anyhoo, let’s get started with…

Plans for the blog

One of the things I’ve been thinking the most is what I want to do with the blog, both from a technical point of view and from a content one. Mostly from a technical point of view.

See, I love WordPress. It is a pretty good piece of software. It is even better that there is a company that provides a free service with that software. The drawback though is that WordPress.com severely limits what we can do without paying.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not demanding them to change anything or complaining that they are trying to earn a living out of this. However I’ve been thinking, if i am going to pay for stuff I might as well go all the way and pay for a server hosting somewhere else where I can install/modify all the stuff I want. So that is something I have been seriously considering for a while.

If I finally make a final decision about it I will make a post about it with more details. For now just be warned that the blog might eventually have a home somewhere else. With all the benefits and consequences of such a move.

What is the content again?

Originally the plan for this blog was to write about MMORPGs, anime and anything else I felt strongly enough about. Although that hasn’t formally changed, the content of the blog has been mainly about MMORPGs. There are some good reasons for that. It is simply that for me it is easier to write about MMORPGs as there is always something unique, something I experienced that I can talk about. With something more passive like a book, anime or even a single player game I find it a lot harder to write about without feeling like people would be better served elsewhere, in a bigger site, with more professional reviews (and better writers).

The bad part about it is that I started to feel like… hmmm… how can I say this? I kinda started to feel like I’ve cornered myself into writing about MMORPGs. Even what exactly I wrote about started to bug me. As I said, I just hate writing the same thing someone else already did (and did better!).

I know it is silly and I should just write whatever makes me happy. It is my blog after all. A hobby that I do just for fun.

And that is more or less what I intent to do. Just stop worrying so much about silly things and write whatever is in my mind. In practice it probably won’t change much. But if you ever see a post about some crazy japanese show in a genre you never heard about…. you will know the reason. :)

Ze games!

Between all the brooding I’ve been doing, I’ve been playing games too! Surprisingly enough I was able to restrain myself on Steam’s Christmas Sale (although I did give more gifts through there so I guess it is wash). Between all the games bought, given and received as gifts I found some surprisingly enjoyable games. They aren’t really any hidden gems as much as games I ignored before for a reason or another.

Among those, the most prominent ones are Terraria and… The Sims 3.

Let me start with Terraria. If I had to describe it in very few words it would be: imagine if Minecraft and the  Zelda series had a 2d side-scrolling lovechild and you have Terraria. The game is actually a lot more than that, but you can see the influences of both of those games on it.

Then there is The Sims 3. One might (rightfully so) scratch their heads and wonder why I was so surprised to enjoy this game. Well, the on both previous games I got bored of it very quickly because all I saw was micro-managing some virtual twerps who couldn’t do anything by themselves. Although a lot of the game is still about it on the Sims 3, I also found out that it is pretty fun coming up with meta-goals (like transform key people in town into vampires) and try to execute them.

Another difference is that back in the Sims 1 and 2 I wasn’t all interested into house decoration in games. Nowadays I am, it is one of my creative fixes. On the Sims 3 I am finding it to be very challenging to make a house that is functional, creative and aesthetically pleasing. It also has made me much more appreciative of the works of professional architects and designers.

What still annoys me is that despite all the evolution of the series the rest of the town is still pretty nonchalant about your actions. For instance, turning a significant part of the population into vampires don’t seem to have as much impact as one would expect.

Exploring the land of the Penguin

In more personal notes, I’ve been trying to go back to Linux. I’ve already used it as my main system years ago (early 2000’s I think?) but end up returning to Windows because of games. From time to time I still checked it just to see the changes but never made a big effort to go back. Now with Windows 8, an OS that I couldn’t find less appealing, and Steam for Linux I am find it more appealing to go back to the land of the penguin. There is just something about Linux that makes me much happier than Windows does.

More about that in a future post. Maybe. >_> <_<

Is that all?

I think those are all the things that have been on my mind since late November until now. Well, all the things that makes sense to write on this blog. There are more personal stuff that have been on my mind and I am leaving out as this is not the place nor the time for it.

For now let’s see where this blog will go this year!

EDIT: Oh, yeah forgot something! If anyone has any request, suggestions, comments or critique about the blog, this is probably the best time to do it!

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Notices

 

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2012 for this blog in review… according to WordPress!

Seems like Worpress did some data compilation for this blog and even made it into a snazzy report. Since they also included an easy button to share it with you, I thought it might be of some amusement to other people besides me. :)

Ok. From this point on it is all WordPress words!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Everything Else

 

My favorite things about games

December is here and so is another challenge from Ambermist of Tastes Like Battlechicken. Sadly, it is also probably the last monthly one she will be ensuing due to other commitments. If anyone else picks it up I will do try to rise up to the challenge too. In any case, here is my thanks to Ambermist for these. They have been fun and a good exercise for the good ol’ brain cells. :)

Anyhoo, this month the challenge are a few questions but all about the same theme: Our favorite things on games. I will just copy the questions she gave about it for organization’s sake and because it makes it easier to write it in a more coherent way.

What are your favorite things about gaming in general, or about your favorite game specifically?

I guess my favorite things about gaming in general would be, in no specific order, exploration and story.

Despite my love for exploring places in game I don’t think I am the typical explorer type. At least not the way I think the typical explorer type is. In my definition they are the type to throw caution to the wind and just go some place because it is there. If there is danger in the way they will just deal with it somehow. I also imagine they are the type to pay a lot of attention to details, to the point of being able to paint a place they’ve seem while blindfolded.

Myself, I would define as more of a cowardly looter type of explorer. What I mean by that is that I like to explore but only after I feel confident enough that the risks to do so are manageable. I don’t mind a few deaths or defeats in the process but I also don’t like to do something if I believe the odds are near impossible or if it would cause too much hurdle. As for the looter, I guess my main motivation to explore, at least dungeons and such, is more to see what kind of cool stuff is in there. I won’t leave any corner or creak unturned until I am sure I got all the cool loot in a place. I guess that was ingrained on me by my early years of JRPG where it was common to go inside someone’s house, break all their vases and search their drawers for any kind of loot!

Some times I act more like a typical explorer though. My best memories of Morrowind (one of my favorite games of all time too!) were about stumbling into some cave entrance, abandoned temple or something similar. Then just entering to see what was inside. A lot of times I had to make a speedy retreat. But there were some cool times where I found some quest, some notes telling the story of what happened there or just some interesting decoration where I would imagine what the place was used for.

Because of that habit one of my favorite Morrowind mods was one that was conceptually simple, yet cleverly implemented, a chalk mod. That mod allowed you to put symbols or even write a message (in a kind of clunky way given the limitations) on walls or floor. With that mod I would mark places I had already explored, places I couldn’t bother to enter at the time but should come back later or even make signs inside dungeons so I wouldn’t get lost. Simple in concept, yet useful and very immersive! :)

As for story… I am pretty happy either with linear or multi-branching, full of decision-making stories. In both cases what is important to me is that the story and the gameplay don’t be at odds. For instance, if I know I am close to a boss fight, making my way carefully to a good position to start the fight in then a cutscene happens where my character for some stupid reason goes out in the open to have a chat with the boss and stays there after the scene is over then I will be very annoyed. It also annoys me when the character says something in some cutscene, like “Killing is bad!” then does something that completely contradicts it during gameplay, e.g. he says “killing is bad” yet murders every goon in the way without blinking.

Though none of that annoys me as much as given a false choice. That is the kind of no matter if you choose A or B, the only difference will be, at best, some different lines of dialogue. And the game doesn’t even do much of an effort to hide that.

When story works though, it can be one of the most wonderful game experiences ever. My latest one in that area was “The Walking Dead” by Telltale Games. Not only they do make a good job of making you care about the characters you meet they also made the decisions feel hard and to have heavy consequences. It is the kind where you think “Well, if I chose X back then would character Y be still alive?”. Of course, not all the decisions are life-or-death ones like that but they all feel meaningful.

What keeps you coming back?

I guess it is the same thing that keeps making me reading books. Each game is a new world, a new experience. I also just dislike not seeing the end of story or leaving things unfinished. This last one can be a bit more fuzzy. Sometimes what I felt unfinished can be not getting a character to max level in a MMORPG other times it might bee to see a different ending of a game. Then there are a few games where I just like to play because the gameplay itself is fun. Terraria being the latest example of playing just for the gameplay. :)

What makes you smile?

I think I already answered that one in a indirect way through the other answers. I will just add another point. I really like a game where the rules are just as simple, elegant and full of interesting choices. This is a very hard thing to achieve. From the top of my mind the only games achieved this recently was Civilization V and XCom. Not surprisingly they are both from the same company, Firaxis. Guild Wars 2 gets very close too, which is amazing considering the complexities of MMORPGs. I just don’t say it achieves it completely because there are a few things that confuse me. Although I admit I have yet to really make an effort to deal with that.

I guess Terraria could count too, in terms of interesting choices.

When the bee stings and you’re feeling bad, what is about gaming that makes you smile?

There are a lot of times where I feel weak and unable to change things. In games at least I can feel like I can make a difference. Even if it is just to save a virtual world that will disappear as soon as I turn the computer off, and the emotions the characters display are just scripts read by professional voice actors, it still feels nice.

It also feels nice when I can help someone in a MMORPG. Even if it is just to give some hint, share some information or be there for a dungeon run. I rarely do those things though when I am in a bad mood since when I am like that it is best for me to be alone least I whine every 3 words or end up snapping at someone for no reason. But remembering the good times help to cope with those feelings.

Bonus Challenge: Tell me something awesome that happened to you this year!

That was to see my friends get back together to play Guild Wars 2. I met almost all of them in Everquest 2 but over time they all scattered to other games and it was hard to find one that we all enjoyed. Although recently they have been scattering from Guild Wars 2 (including myself!) for a reason or another, at least with its buy-to-play model, I can always twist their arms ask kindly to do a dungeon run or something like that for old times sake. Something that would be more complicated in subscription-only games or even some so-called “free to play” games.

***

Well, that was it for this challenge! I hope everybody have a wonderful christmas and an even better new year! :)

P.S.: I know that I am not the most prolific blog writer out there but in case anyone has been wondering about my silence lately…. it is just that I haven’t been in the most sociable moods for a while. Hence, haven’t been feeling much like writing or even playing MMORPGs. My mood is a little better now but not by much. So things might be quiet on here for a little while longer. Hopefully not for too long now. :)

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Ambermist's Challenges, Everything Else

 

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[Guild Wars 1 and 2] Giveaway at Nerdy Bookahs

The fine folks at Nerdy Bookahs decided to do something really special for this Christmas season. If you are one of the people who just got into Guild Wars 1 and are trying to get those 30 Hall of Monument points they will be giving away a bunch of stuff that will help out with that.

For those don’t care about it or just want some Guild Wars 2 stuff they will be giving away cool stuff for it too, like mini pets, rare dyes, among other things. :)

For more information, including a list of the all the cool people who donate items for the give away, you can find the announcement post here.

And for the first giveaway just click this link! Good luck to everyone participating and many thanks for the folks at Nerdy Bookahs as well as all the contributors. :)

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Guild Wars 2

 

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