NaNoWriMo...2 months late

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I've been thinking for some time now about doing the NaNoWriMo challenge. As you probably know I had my final exams at the time when everyone else was undertaking it. Now after a good long holiday I'm thinking for having my own little NaNoWriMo challenge in January. I feel pretty determined, but as many have said it gets prettyterrible after the first two weeks.

My aim is to write around 50,000 words which will consist of Part 1 of my planned novel. Some of my long time readers will remember when I challenged myself to do 500 words a day, but that only lasted a few weeks before I grew frustrated. This time I intend to do two major things:

Have a good plan: I'm going to spend the next few days trying to get a really good understanding of where I want the novel to go, what I want to happen, and who I want the characters to be.

Stay motivated: This is kind of what I'm looking forward to. The way I plan to stay motivated is to create a unique soundtrack that will be exciting when I'm writing action stuff, and more soothing for the slower, story-focused stuff. I will probably watch a couple of my favorite action movies and animes to keep the ideas and concepts coming. I'm also going to take inspiration from characters from Baldur's Gate such as Minsc, because he basically defines what I want my characters to be like.

Your oppotunity to powerlevel with Chappo (+ video)

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Hey guys, sorry I haven't made a post in a while, the past week or so has been pretty hectic, and my Gran who had been sick for a long time passed away on Christmas day. So instead of giving you that long opinion post on WoW I'll just post up this short video I made.



Also, importantly, if anyone is interested in trying out WoW I would love to do another recruit-a-friend thing. I'm getting a bit frustrated with my alliance/US server combo. If you like the idea of some insane powerleveling to 60 then just leave a comment and we can do it together. Mind you, I will be playing probably an Undead warrior on an Oceanic server. If Horde/Oceanic sounds good to you then what are you waiting for?

Go see it

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If you are thinking about going to see the movie Avatar in 3D, take it from me; its epic. In every sense of the word. Go see it.

The tragic story of my (WoW) life...thus far

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I have been almost pushing myself to make this post for a while now, but haven't made the time until now. There is a lot I want to talk about so this might be a fairly long post.

The main reason that I resubscribed to WoW is because I found out a good friend of mine had played it in the past. I had made a joke of him playing it all year (Not actually knowing that he did) at school asking him about WoW and how much raiding he had done over the weekend. He denied the whole year and it wasn't until after school had finished did he admit to playing. We started talking about the game and we discovered we had a very similar interest: twinking. It wasn’t long before we decided we should do some dual twinkage.


But he couldn't just resub on his old account because it had gotten hacked, just like mine had. We could have tried to get everything back from Blizzard but in the end we decided it would be fun to level new characters with the Recruit a Friend triple experience. He rolled a mage and I chose a warrior. Now this is where it gets slightly confusing. I am a horde guy, I have nearly always played horde and wanted to continue doing so. However as I said before, both my friend and I are majorly into twinking and he had a good guild up his sleeve that would fund our characters. (Its also hard to earn enough gold as you level to train up when you are leveling so fast.) This guild was on Durotan: a US server and part of a battlegroup which houses nearly all the 19 twinks in WoW whereas the other battlegroups have fairly dead twinking communities. Ultimately this means consistently high pings which is a bit of a nightmare in battlegrounds, which in my mind, defeats the purpose fo rolling twinks in the first place.


So despite all that both he and I rolled alliance characters on the Durotan server, fast forward two weeks and things are pretty different. Despite our original thoughts we have been able to fund our twinks quite well. We were able to be run through stockades a couple of times when we were a fairly low level. This rocketed our levels up, but also supplied us with a lot of much needed gold. Feet of the Lynx dropped as well which sells on the AH for over 250g which allowed us to pocket a lot of cash. Ultimately we used this gold to get both our twinks up to 150 engineering. From the looks of it, we won’t need the help of the twinking guild which was the reason why we rolled alliance/US. It doesn’t help that I grouped with some of them and they were all pretty much elitist jerks.

Anywhoozles, our characters are sitting at 55 now, and after running a couple of BGs I've noticed that I am at a severe disadvantage because of the ping. It is extremely irritating to hit charge and run at a target but end end up a few kilometres behind the guy, or better yet, just charge in the opposite direction of one of your enemies. (Which happens in the video below)
Right now I am thinking of fully twinking out my 19 hunter (Including all the new BoA gear) and leaving him with probably 1000g before transfering my warrior over to an oceanic server. Now I'm a bit annoyed that I'm stuck with an alliance character on a server which hits me constantly over the head with the lag bat.


I think I'll stop here, this post has just updated you to where I'm at, I'll follow this post tomorrow or some day in the future with one detailed my actual thoughts and opinion on the game and its new features (Such as the 3.3 LFG system). But for now I'll just leave you with the video that I made for my youtube channel. Enjoy :P


There's no easy way to break this

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I bought the WoW battlechest a few days ago. Yup. Just a week ago I had no intention of trying out WoW again after 2 years of abstinence, but somehow I got lured in. A good friend of mine just resubscribed to the game and he offered to recruit me and level together with triple experience. As it happens we are both PvP nuts, and both planning on making 19 twinks. (I had 4 horde twinks on my old account) I took my computer over to his house for afew days and we played a fair bit and what suprised me so much was how easy Blizzard had made the game, I mean mounts at level 20?? The triple experience was incredible and we both hit 32 yesterday. I'm playing a fury warrior (soon to be arms) while my friend is rolling a frost mage.

It feels weird having been lured into playing WoW in such a short time, and I kind of feel bad because I was looking forward to playing Allods Online a lot and making videos. I am still planning on doing that, but I doubt I will have time to play the CB2 or OB, however I will definitely start a character at launch. Lastly, not sure whether I mentioned this earlier but I also bought COD4 last week when it was sitting at 30 USD, been playing that a fair bit, and boy is it fun. Mainstream casual gaming times ahead. :P

Gigantic hunking post: Allods Online

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I'm going down south with my Dad for 5 days from tomorrow so I thought I would do a relatively detailed post on Allods Online. Keen recently did a great post about the game which covers a lot of things, so hopefully I'm not going to go over too many things. So for the first time ever I am going to structure my post. *suspenseful ooohing* Here we go...

Graphics
Its pretty much the first thing most people notice/comment on. With a budget of 12 million dollars it appears that they have put a lot of time and effort into making Allods one of the best looking MMOs around (Certainly the best looking F2P MMO I have played) I do, however, feel that some of the zones feel very large and thus the textures and surroundings began to wear on me. This likely will be fixed after Closed Beta finishes and the developers speed up combat and/or experience gain, thus making it easier to progress through the zones.

Trees

Sound
Not much to say here. In the tutorial you are treated to some pretty nice voice-over work which was nice to hear seing as it has come from a Russian background. The music is fine but I expect to end up providing my own soundtrack fairly quickly. :) Combat sounds to me were fairly annoying, with much of it seemingly sounding disconnected. How can I say this...the combat sounds didn't make it sound like an actual fight, rather then a chain of whooshes and clangs. (Well that made a whole lot of sense.) Overall it certainly isn't a big issue and won't really be effecting the way I play my MMOs.

This has no relevance to anything expressed in the post...

...it was just a happy moment

Classes
Was going to do a section on the combat, but its hard to comment seeing as the developers have messed around with it just for the beta and it looks like every thing is going to be sped up a notch come release. There is a nice variety in classes so far, however I'm not sure how an Orc Scout is going to differ in contrast to a Human Scout. I have tried out a whole bunch of classes so far, but haven't really settled on a single one. (However, I am definitely going to roll an Orc-Something) It doesn't make it easier when Youtube videos come out showing a warrior absolutely destroying everything in PvP, while the forums are alive with how strong Wardens/Mages/Psiconists/Chuck Norris-s are, and the two completely conflict. In the end, I'll shut it all out and play the class that most appeals to me. At this point in time it looks like I'm going to be settling on an Orc Scout, keeping in line with my love of the ranged dps.

And suddenly the giant blueberry exploded!

Stuff
Its good to see free MMos taking a major step up, hopefully this forces AAA developers with their $15/month MMOs to really begin thinking about why people are actually paying to play their game. The game itself certainly looks very polished, and plays very well. Not a huge amount has been released in terms of information in regards to the endgame, but PvP looks to be very high on the list with all sorts of space ship wars and the like. Class balance is an issue that will inevitably come up as classes are nerfed into oblivion while others remain stuck in a quagmire of fail. Or even worse, OP classes get boosted into oblivion while wimpish classes get smacked in the teef with a big old nerf bat.

Lastly, I didn't mention the cash shop because it hasn't been implemented yet, so nobody knows what is going to be in it and how big a role it will play. However, the developer shave apparantly said that it will not give paying players advantages over anyone, instead being fluff items such as xp pots, mounts, fancy dress, not combat pets etc. So it will be interesting to see how that develops.


Looking into the sunset and contemplating what would happen if Pinocchio said "My nose is about to grow." (Think about it)

Well this old structured thing didn't go too badly, might try it out again some time! Once again I am planning on making a bunch of videos tracking my progress through the game as I did with Runes of Magic. If you would be interested in watching those videos then just subscribe on my Youtube channel which only costs $19.45 (AUD) and you will never look back. :)


Disclaimer: you may look back
Disclaimer #2: you may not have to pay $19.45 (AUD)...but you do

Exciting and engaging post title

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Finally finished school. Now have 2+ months of FREEDOM (Conditions apply) May be time to get something that resembles a tan. :P So yesterday I finished downloading Allods Online and had time to make this video:



Pretty fun game and amazingly nice graphics for a free MMO so looking forward to release!
My computer slightly broke a few weeks ago, so I reformated it (Unfortunately lost a tonne of Photoshop files + pictures + word files + everything) + installed Windows 7. Everything is about 6x faster as a result so downloading big game clients is a joy. (For now at least)
Will be posting about the usual stuff at the usual irregular times from now on. :)

Gotta love PC gamers

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Last exam on Tuesday: the end is near!

"Sit back and smell the [MW2 fireworks]"

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Epic fail post title there but anywho. Just sitting here. Hanging. Waiting for the massive spam of MW2 hate/fanbois going crazy over the internet. This is going to be good. Let me just say something; I suck at FPS, and pretty much always have. I've always found it far too compeditive, with the good veteran players having a merry old time pwning people new to the game. (But I don't play that much!) I'll start playing FPS seriously when they develop a skill matching system that actually works. Right now I'll stick to my 15 minutes of COD2 a day for now, while sitting back and watching the marvelous MW2 fireworks. And now I have a Math exam. :D

Youtube partneship and some more AFK

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Just yesterday I received this + an email from Youtube saying I was able to apply for a partnership. There are benefits with going with it such as a ridiculously small amount of money coming in, and that my videos actually legally belong to me. At the moment I am thinking of waiting until I start playing Allods, then take them up on their offer. Mum, I'm moving up in the world!

Also have my final secondary school exams over the next three weeks so I'll probably trolling your blogs for a while but not posting on mine. :D

Your thought-prevoking nerd-thought for the day

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The other day a couple of friends and I were discussing gaming and, as seemingly always, WoW was brought into the conversation. These friends were the social, sporty type of people that just cannot understand us nerdy gamers and I was asked to explain what WoW was and why so many people play it. Slightly joking I said that you basically get to play a corpse, or a troll, or a cow that walks on two hoofs, and you get to run around putting on armor and dancing naked with elves, and with content like that who wouldn't want to play? But it made me think; how do you get people that are not interested in games excited about them?

-
Me in a long lost draft for a post.

Photoshopping: New Signature

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Haven't posted a photoshop job for a while now, so here we are. Knocked this up fairly quickly to use as my signature for the Allods Online forums.

Original:

Signature:

Microtransactions gone wrong

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I was having a look at the rather depressing Runes of Magic forums the other day when I came across this thread. It is fairly substantial and quite complicated so I will try and summarize. This thread has over 12000 views, and all over one topic; a single player's weapon. To make a long story short this player has the best weapon in the game by a long, long way, and it is impossible that he should have gained the weapon without spending a lot of money at the cash shop. People have done calculations and have come up with a minimum of 300000 diamonds (3000 dias/99.99 euros while not on sale) needed to craft the weapon. Further calculations estimate that the weapon cost over 10000 euros, making the player who owns it one rich little kid, or one really sad older person.

An investigation is taking place at this moment as the GMs look into how exactly he was able to do this. This is perhaps the most extreme case I have heard of where microtransactions go wrong. One person in the thread said that he fought the player in an arena and was one-shotted for 30k dmg. To put this into perspective, a good tank has roughly 15k health. (Give or take) To me, this is unacceptable, and it highlights many players' greatest fear. In no circumstance should a player be able to one shot the best tanks in the game even after spending a fortune on the cash shop.

Unfair disadvantages abound in MMOs which allow microtransactions. Sure, most of the shops have the standard special mounts/potions/costumes/pets/teleportation or whatever, but many also have items that can give a player an advantage over others. In this extreme case it is clear that some people will do anything to be the best at a game, anything to get an advantage over the other players. It is up to the developers to ensure that this situation does not happen, as eventually it will kill the game as the PvP is pointless, and the end-game is constructed for those who either play for 70% of the day, or spend significant amounts of money in the cash shop.

Copying is the best form of flattery?

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Someone on the Allods Online linked me to this video. Its quite funny to see something so flagrantly cloned, and I guess it saved the creative team coming up with a unique fight of them own. But really, who could blame them, seriously, with the price of choreographing virtual fights as high as they are these days...

1/2 Done

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Gday guys, well I'm halfway through my final exams. I've just finished my Mocks and now have two and a bit weeks before my final exams.
I haven't been playing any games really, I've been trolling the Allods Online forums a little and getting pretty excited about the game. There hasn't really been a great deal of information released on it but as the Russian Open Beta started today I'm looking forward to an influx of great screenshots and videos.
So time to go outside now :P
Really looking forward to getting into some gaming for the nest 2 weeks or so :)

I promise I'm going to do some study!

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I just wanted to link this as many people have mentioned the game Evony in particular for its specific advertising style, and its good for a chuckle and a /facepalm

Play WoW for free!

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It appears that there is a general movement towards making free MMOs which at the very least look extremely similar to World of Warcraft, and it makes perfect sense. I make videos on Youtube about various free MMOs, and one thing I have come across is a general hatred of WoW for no apparent reason. Runes of Magic is, in many ways, similar to WoW; it looks quite similar visually, the combat is fairly similar, the end game focus is on raiding, it doesn't have great PvP, and every thing is pretty much dependent on your gear, and what do you know? RoM is pretty popular. It makes sense really, people dislike WoW because they have to pay for it, why do that when you can play RoM which is pretty much the same except its FREE!? (Hurrah for massive generalizations :P)
I mentioned a game called Allods Online a while back and the more videos I watch on it the more I think 'this is going to be another WoW and get a pretty big following.' Free MMOs are considered to be the lowest of the low; always generic, always with a massive grind, and always with people who spend a fortune in micro-transactions and PWN everybody else. But with Allods Online and RoM it is clear that the savvy developers are figuring out that all they need to make is a game similar to WoW and they'll rake in the profits/players. The free MMO market appears to be moving away from its traditional asian roots and following western designs. (Also could be why so many people love/hate Aoin as they associate 'Asian MMO' with 'free MMO' and therefore cruddy.) Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is 'is this a good thing?'

I'm in two minds, because I believe that if AAA MMOs are going to charge us 15 bucks a month they had better be offering an experience of the very best quality. There should be a big difference between the P2P MMOs and the F2P MMOs if developers expect us to pay and play. Therefore, the better free MMOs get, even if they are cloning WoW, the more pressure P2P MMOs will be under to improve their game and give the best value possible.
On the other hand, 'free' MMOs (At least in Guild Wars fashion) are possibly the way of the future and it doesn't do anyone any favors if they uphold their reputation of simply cloning other popular MMOs, and having very little originality.

I'm turning off my computer now for a couple of weeks to study, but boy its going to be fantastic when its all over. See you in a bit!

Some simple card magic

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Sorry that this is not MMO/photoshop related but it was so good I thought I would share it. I used to be a magic fanatic and got fairly good and some basic card stuff, but this guy is really, really impressive.

Tis gone

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Well, after getting the blue screen of death over and over again, my dad took my computer down to be repaired. A week later they sent me my computer back, saying that I can get all my information back, ie all my files, games etc, and all I needed to do was enter my windows xp product key. I spent a good deal of time looking for it but stupidly I had misplaced it, and now I have the disk but not the product key. So it looks like not only have I lost all my games and files, but also I don't even have a proper OP as I'm on a 30 day trial or something right now. Its a huge pain, especially considering all the files I had (WoW, RoM and all my Photoshop stuff) but that's life. Time to go through the trekload of posts from the past week in Google Reader. :P

Do not use Cybelink PowerDirector...

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...unless you like watching a program crash over and over again for no apparent reason while you are trying to finish rendering your nicely edited vid. /rage
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Instead of my (un)usual Photoshop job every weekend, I spent a lot of time making my Youtube page look a little bit better. At first I was having a lot of problems getting the scale right, but after downloading a free template the rest was pretty straightforward.

One poor sonnet would kill it stone dead

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That's the kind of thing you put in when you are thinking of a post title and a movie is playing in the background.
This post is going to be a random splurge, as I know how popular that is on the interwebs, but its my blog and I'm trying to avoid studying.

First things first: I have 4 weeks of school left! Surprisingly I'm not getting a huge amount of work, probably as all our teachers expect us to be studying/revising like crazy, which I'm not doing too much of. During the weeks leading up to my exams though I have committed to removing my computer and preventing myself from even checking my emails. As it is, I waste an insane amount of time on the computer and to get any work done I'm going to have to throw it out for a few weeks. If I get a TER of 80+ (In the top 20% of the year 12s) then I'll be able to get into most graphic design courses around, but my predicted TER mark for the first semester was at 77.5. This is extremely low compared to most people around me as some consider it a disgrace to get below 90. However, my marks for all my subjects have improved and hopefully, with a bit more effort I'll be able to get my desired TER. However, some time in the future the blog and my Youtube page will go quiet for a couple of weeks.


Boring stuff out of the way...I have been playing a fair amount of CoS over the past couple of days. The game kind of reminds me of the mood of LotRO, where sometimes I felt like just wandering around and exploring, content to put leveling aside for some time. As I discover more of the world I'm becoming more interested as the game is both extremely beautiful and wonderfully detailed. It would be nice if there were a few more NPCs in the cities to give it a bit of life as it can be strange walking into a city square and there is only a dozen people standing around in the middle of the day. I'm loving the quests more and more as a couple of times now I have been given a quest which requires me to solve a riddle which actually requires me to read the quest text and think about what to do. However, like I said in my previous post, this area has likely been polished like crazy to reel in potential subscribers. We'll see how it develops.

Lastly the game is now 100% free to play with no cash shop whatsoever, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes for one to be implemented. I heard somewhere that a new company was taking over the game so who knows...perhaps everything is going to change??

Lastly lastly, I have fiddled a bit more on my Youtube picture and hopefully it looks a bit better.

Till we meet again, my friends.

Freetoplaynoob signiture pic

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Well this took me most of my afternoon, just messing around and trying out various things. I plan to use this at the start of every youtube video so it would be great if I could get some feedback on it. Sigh. Now I have to go and spent a couple of hours on modern and ancient history

Time for a change

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If the developers of Guild Wars 2 can make a reasonable profit off selling the game on the same model as the first game then no other developers should be able to get away with charging 15 bucks a month for their game. Let's hope this MMO sets a standard and we begin to see something like $5 as being the max price per month.

CoS initial thoughts

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Well its only been a couple of days since the announcement that CoS would go free to play prematurely, but already I have seen a population explosion. There are plenty of people running around and zone chat is packed with people asking for help/giving advice. Right now it seems that this new influx of players are quite mature and from the small amount I played this morning there is a great sense of adventure and fun.

One qualm I have right now with the combat system is that it allows you (Logically enough) to run around a creature to avoid its attacks. To be able to fight creature after creature however, it seems as though its essential to do this. As a consequence it can get pretty annoying and headache-inducing when the screen is spinning around for 5 minutes at a time. However, I have discovered a way where only minimal movement will cause you to dodge most of the creature's attacks.
I'm not quite sure what the level cap is, but it seems to be at least 50. The quests are interesting and perhaps for the first time ever I found myself actually reading the non-essential quest text. Now that was something for me! The music is really immersive, and for the first time in a long time I turned off my own music just to listen to it, that's a big one as well. It may seem like I'm gushing here, and its probably a bit silly of me. I'm playing the levels that the developer polished up to a mirror, being the initial levels that were designed to reel in potential subscribers, so it will be interesting to see how the game develops when I hit the original pay to play levels.

First Impressions video of CoS

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The thing that others seems uncertain about in this game is the combat; it might not be for everyone, but I found it refreshingly fun, and can't wait to see what bosses and PvP are like. I'll be playing on the non-PvP server with the name "Chappo"(Edit) if you want to jump in together.

CoS goes completely free to play (?)

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Well just days after I said it would be great if CoS was completely free to play I got this email:

"At point, you checked out The Chronicles of Spellborn. Today, as you
read this, Spellborn as it currently exists is now free to play. Keep
in mind that there will be no upgrades and no patches. It has become
in effect, an Action RPG with superior Multiplayer. The only thing it
will cost you to play is the time it takes to download.

So play it. http://www.tcos.com

Now because it is frozen in time, we will be creating events for the
players and we will help support any players that want to make their
own events. And if you have thoughts on how we might make this
version more enjoyable as we wait for the New free to play version,
we are glad to listen."

So after this extremely confusing email, I think I can draw the conclusion that its now completely free to play...I think. :P

I had fun with this one

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Its amazing how creative you can get when you have a trek of an English essay to write. Bonus points to the person who can tell who the guy is.

Chronicles of Spellborn Screenshots

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Downloaded this game yesterday and after playing it a bit today I thought it looked pretty enough to post some screenshots. Its too bad that you can only play for free up to a certain level as the game is a lot of fun and looks great. (Apparently it will become complete free to play sometime during 2010). Enjoy!


Matrix makeover

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As with most of my Photoshop jobs, I kind of start with an idea then experiment and sit back and enjoy it as the project evolves. Originally I had no intention of it being Matrixy, but that's what developed. Before
After
After a bit more editing

Allods Online

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Heard about this game just this morning and after looking around I started to be intrigued by it. It calls itself a 'free AAA MMORPG' where 'fantasy meets space opera'. After watching various videos on youtube you can see that the graphics are extremely similar to WoW, slightly like RoM, but even better. However, the fact that the developers are classifying it as a AAA MMO is intriguing and I'm dying to try it out. At the moment its in closed beta, but when it hits open beta you can bet that we're going to be hearing a lot about this game. Watch the official trailer here.

MMOs kill your brain

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When you compare the most popular games in the top gaming genres you can see a trend emerging. For FPS there is Counter-Strike, for RTS there is Starcraft, and for RPGs there are the old school Baldur's Gate and games like Planescape Torment. Can you see it? All these games either have a lot of skill, depth or both. When we reach the MMO category what do we have...World of Warcraft! So can we categorize the MMO genre as the ultimate n00b genre? To be good at MMOs above all you need time; time to raid, time to farm, time to do whatever mundane tasks you need to do. The top guilds in WoW get there through a good knowledge of the game; its classes and such, as well as being organized and committed. There isn't a huge amount of depth and certainly not much skill involved. (Controversial?)

Its sad to see that MMOs seem only to take off other MMOs rather then get better through analyzing the classic games of the other genres. Imagine if PvP took half the skill a good game of CS:S did. Imagine if quests and NPCs had half the depth of what the classic RPGs had. Imagine if raiding strategies were half as deep and complex as Starcraft strategies. MMOs have become a cliche: grinding to the level cap, then grinding mundane tasks at the cap just to keep up with everyone else, and then gear grinding. Being the leading figure in the genre WoW should take the initiative and begin to take from other genres rather then just continually flattering their own cliche.

Disclaimer: This post was written minutes before Chappo had to go and be baffled by the Archimedian(?) War. It thus might contain some traces of being rushed and ranty.

What I'm up to...

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I haven't been playing many games lately and nothing really solidly at all. Unfortunately all my hopes of the RoM endgame have been dashed with my guild being a major let down. Apparantly I'm in one of the best guilds on my server but they are terrible at communication and have no real organization. I really want to do some of the tougher instances but not enough people are on when I play, so the only solution is to be on all day every day to raid. Its makes it even more frustrating when they don't have a fixed time when they try and raid. So RoM really isn't working out, as the guild is sucking, and the solo end-game is nonexistent.

In other news I have been playing Half Life 2 which I borrowed from a friend, and am having a great time. Unfortunately, all these years of junky MMOs means even the simplest puzzles often take a little while for my feeble brain to solve. :P Nevertheless, its hugely atmospheric, even though I have only played an hour or so.

Lastly, I'm in the closed beta of the long-coming MMOFPS: Huxley and enjoying my time quite a lot. The game looks fantastic and a whoel lot of fun at the moment. The Unreal type PvP is a lot of fun (When I'm not lagging to death) so this looks like the game I'll be playing the most in the near future. I might be breaking an NDA here but I made a first impressions video of Huxley on my youtube channel and in that I breakdown some of the things you can expect in the game.

My baby's first birthday

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Well I'm a bit late but I just realized that this blog has existed for over a year now. It seems forever since I first began writing, and looking back I'm really glad I did. I'm not sure whether my writing now would have been as bad as it was back then if I hadn't done this blog, but I like to think so. :P
Hmm, that's assuming it has improved at all, eheheheheh.
It sure had its ups and downs, and long absences but we made it.
Normally people would go about quoting how many views they've got, and how many comments but I stopped using the counter on my blog a long time ago. So I really have no idea how many people visit this blog, but nevertheless its comforting to talk to empty space and imagine someone is there laughing at all your jokes. *cough* This is getting embarrassing...

Because its nostalgia for me I'm going to go through the ages, talking about how the blog developed and linking embarrassing posts.

June 3rd: My first post. An innocent beginning into the bright harsh world of the internet.
June 7th: My first venture on youtube, and added a short-lived feature of featuring youtube videos on my blog.
June 8th: Myself being an experienced blogger of five days I felt it necessary to impart my knowledge with the inexperienced horde.
June 18th: Realizing my destiny of blogging about games.
July 8th: Talking about WAR, and getting my hopes bloated on hype.
August 3rd: Only about 19 years now...
Sep 7th: It didn't work out. /sigh
Jan 21st: Mm, not bad, lotta brown buddy.
Fed 24th: Discovered the game that would make me a youtube celebrity :D (Yeah right)
March 15th: Still playing it, my record is 6 wins against my brother in just over a half hour. Great game. :P
April 9th: RoM marathon, good times
May 2nd: New record is over 12 million I think.
June 4th: I didn't do that well in those exams, and completely forgot it was my blog's birthday +1 day.

Well that was interesting. I'll see you in another year. :D

Photoshopping...how I missed you

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I had a pretty fun time coming up with this design. Made my own custom brush, put on some radial blur, adjusted colour, added a random texture, added some text, customized text, and was done! It might remind you of Activision, but I didn't realize at the time. :P

Private Server fun

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I'm sick and I have a lot fo work to do...a perfect recipe for messing around. Today I went on some WoW private servers and acted like a 10 year old elitist player. I would overdoing it so much but yet some people still believed I was serious. Its fairly long but it gets better towards the end. (I think) My character's name is Cougher. Enjoy!

/facepalm

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Firewall is on a rampage and now is blocking google, gmail, google reader, as well as preventing me from playing any new online games. Major suckage

Sorry

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Having massive problems with firewall, can't post anything but short posts...trying to fix it :(

The RoM Rollercoaster

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Note: wrote this a couple of weeks ago, and felt that it gave some insight into RoM and thus might as well post now.

Playing a free MMO is kind of like riding a rollercoaster inspired by a yo-yo on speed. Over the past few weeks my experience of RoM has been all over the place, ranging from great moments, to appallingly awful moments, until it ends up pretty depressing at the time of writing. Right now I am sitting in my player house, as I have been for the past 10 hours, doing absolutely nothing for a stupid reason. But lets not get ahead of ourselves...

Right now I am sitting at 45/35, and only 5 levels away from reaching the level cap in a free MMO for the first time, and in any MMO for the second time. Once again, a lot of time was spent grinding out monotonous daily quests in order to level, occasionally sped up by the quick burst of new quests offered as I hit a new level. I did a run of Mystic Altar with some guildmates which is a 45 instance, and that was quite fun, but aside from that most of my time has been taken up just trying to hit the level cap. When I hit 45 on my Scout I moved into the next zone called Ravenfall which has mobs level 46+.

I did a couple of quests before running into an empty zone, got disconnected, and found out I was dead when I logged back in. Death in RoM means a 5% xp debt (5% of the total amount you need to reach the next level) and just one death is extremely annoying. When I logged in the next morning I died twice more due to an elite mob which I hadn't seen and some glitchy healing spells. Not long later after that I died a fourth time, and that's when I decided to level my priest.

Because of the new elite 35/35 abilities the P/S combination has become one of the best healers in the game and I plan to have a go at it. I bought some good gear cheaply off the AH and gave it to my priest and set off on my merry way. As I was trying to get my 20/20 elite ability for my Priest I realized that there was one item that I needed which wasn't on the AH. I asked my guild if any of them had any, and one guys says he can get me one if I help him out. Turns out he had been pking a bit of late and had bad reputation. This means that he was unable to go near cities as the guards would kill him. According to him if I pked a couple of people and got my rep down then we would be able to kill each other and together get our rep back up. (As killing pkers gives you good rep) Unfortunately this didn't work out leaving me with -125 rep with no way to get rid of it other then wait.

Turns out it takes 20 minutes to gain 1 rep point and you also have to be logged on. Great. So that's what I'm doing now, sitting by myself and waiting for my rep to reset. This pk system is truly terrible and I can't understand why anyone would willingly go through this, because it nearly pushed me to quit. I gotta go study now. :P

Funniest. Video. Ever (Watch all of it if you can stomach it, they save the best until last)

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I had a great post (If I do say so myself) all lined up but blogger stuffed up and now I can't even recover my draft. Sadface. So instead I'll give you guys a link to probably the funniest video I have ever seen. Make sure you watch it until the end! Its one of those great videos that you see something new every time you watch it. Brilliant stuff.

Photoshop Sig (WoW version)

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Had an idea for a post for the past week but never found the time to write it up. Instead I'll just post a WoW sig I made up.This was kind of inspired from my 'Blur' poster. As you can see its not that great but hope you still like it :P



That looks painful

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Scouts nerfed again

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Well everyone who plays one knows that the Scout is the weakest class in RoM at the moment and has been ever since the hard nerf they got shortly after release. Our damage is nothing compared to the rogues and mages, we have to spend a fortune on arrows, and we have to upgrade far more abilities to make certain skills decent or even usable at all. (See my previous post, as well as the posts on the RoM Scout forums, where people clearly outline the Scout problems) So the Scout has been broken for some time now, and it has been clearly broken. With the new patch being released today many hoped that Runewaker would get their act together and finally fix the Scout class and nerf the insanely OP mages. Guess what? They didn't.

Turns out Runewaker hates Scouts more then anything and completely overlooked all their faults and decided to nerf them a bit more, with the distances of most of our abilities being shortened. Now, as I have rarely done instances on my travels in RoM I haven't got a clear picture of how useful I actually am, but I'm assuming that when I hit 50 then few groups are actually going to want me. I am starting to think about making my Priest my primary class at least until Runewaker wakes up and does what they should have long ago. Sadface

I'm late...Photoshop Saturday (#Let's not do numbers anymore)

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Well, looking over previous posts I'm beginning to think maybe I should get someone to proofread them before I click 'create post' because of the amount of grammar or spelling mistakes. :P
Anyway, yesterday was Saturday and I forgot to post my Photoshop exploit so here it is. The question is: would you go?

I was showing off to my brother so I did it really quickly, its not for anything specifically so I leave it up to your imaginations. :P

Ability Combinations

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I'm actually beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. For a long time I have felt that that for my scout I have a very linear type of combat. I had three main abilities which I basically spammed until they were dead. If my health dropped too far then I would simply pop a HoT on myself using my priest's ability. And for a long time I thought that this was all there was, and all there ever would be, but today I realized I was living in a bubble.

I feel quite stupid now because all that time I had never really had a close look at the abilities on offer, once or twice I had glanced over them, but never really considered what they did. But today I took the time to have a closer look and what I found really excited me, now I'm beginning to think tactically about what I am going to do with my skills.

Combinations...that is what its all about. I discovered an ability that increases my critical points (Critical points translate to your critical chance) by a certain percentage, but to activate it and keep it going I would have to pay 3 focus points (Like a rogue's energy) every few seconds or so. The ability stops when I run out of focus points. This means I have to closely watch my abilities to make sure I don't run out of focus. In something like a boss fight, however, I also have another ability that could come in handy. This ability increases my focus regeneration rate by 100%. This combination will be pretty powerful in the endgame where I effectively increase my critical chance by a significant amount for little payment.

The second combination I discovered is similar to the one above in many ways. An ability I activate increases my ranged damage by a certain percentage in exchange for paying a certain percentage of my entire health every few seconds. This is even better then the one before because I'm so going to have two abilities that make up for this health loss. The first I already have, and that is the basic Priest HoT, but I am soon going to gain a new elite ability. (Elite abilities are unique to your class combination, and are gained when both classes are at specific levels such as 15/15, 20/20 etc.)This new ability will cause one of my strongest damage dealing abilities to give back life equal to the amount it dealt. Awesome, to say the least.

So with my discovery of these two combinations, my interest in the combat has significantly increased and now I'm looking for even more powerful combos.

WARNING: This post may contain some bizarre and nonsensical elements

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Finished. Done dusted. The End. Exams are over but I begin school again on Monday so... :(
Yesterday while I was minding my own business and not doing any study I chances to hear some eerie music emanating from the study. I go and investigate and behold I find my little brother playing Runescape in all its wonder and glory. With. My. Dad.
Yup, my little brother playing Runescape with my male parental figure. Just thought I would share that as a little insight into my personal life.

But onto what I really want to talk about. If I had to draw a 'fun graph' of my time in RoM it would be like a kid on a trampoline who had drunk far too much red cordial. That is to say, big highs and big lows. And lots and lots of them. The reason for this is that the leveling system in the game is severely stuffed. As you level you will often hit huge leveling walls where you are simply forced to grind out daily quests until you level and more normal quests are made available. It would be alright if this only happened occasionally but, unfortunately, this happens continually in RoM. Almost every level now I get a massive boost as there are plenty of quests to do and the xp comes easy, but before long they all run out and I'm sitting halfway through a level with nothing to do. Then I have to spend the next 5-6 days grinding to the next level before I get another big xp boost.

The reason for this is easily explained: the developers want to make money. By slowing the player down they are encouraging them to buy some xp pots from the shop and hurry it all up. The longer the player plays the game, the greater the chance that they will buy something. However, there is a slight upside to all this; daily quests do give tokens which are essential in the end game. All the top players will tell you that you need to do as many as you possibly can to be prepared for the raiding and such. But while doing this daily quests may give us a benefit in the endgame, personally I would just like to actually reach the endgame before I die from smashing my head against the wall in frustration. Mum is already beginning to complain about the holes.

And in conclusion to this bizarre and convoluted post I leave you with another skull picture!

Photoshop Saturday: Flowery desktop (#4)

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Sorry for lack of posts/excess amount of pictures but exams....
Just an experimental background I made myself while bored :P

Im dying inside

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I'm sorry, but in any balanced game should you see a guy 10 levels below the mobs lvl 2-shotting them? And should that one person be able to 1-shot a toon 14 levels above them? Class balancing in RoM is so obscenely wack its gone from funny to not funny and has been bouncing between mindbogglingly fail to Alt+F4 for some time now. RoM makes WoW's PvP look like class perfection and ti doesn't look like its going to get better any time soon.

Photoshop Saturday: Bit Creepy (#3)

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Aim was to get a skull which had a skin-like texture. Anyway, just finished studying Ancient History and about to write up a practice essay for English Lit...FUN!

Twinking in RoM

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The other day I was running back to a large town in RoM just to see whether I could pick up any more quests when I ran into a big PvP fight. I jumped into the fray and at first only saw one PKer a 31/31 knight/priest, and naturally I thought there would be at least one more PKer running back or skulking around somewhere. About 4-5 other players were attacking this one toon and so I thought we would easily take him down. But the longer we kept hammering on him we began to realize that this guy wasn't just some random trying out PKing for the first time. With around 6 guys whaling on him he would never die. I checked out his gear and lo and behold he had insane gear, gear that I didn't even know was possible at that level. He obviously knew how to play his class as well as he never ran out of mana despite my mana draining shot, and his health kept on being replenished. As he got kill after kill after kill I decided that this really was a waste of time but it really killed me a little inside. You shouldn't be able to be that good.

In WoW I played numerous twinks, and even though I could take down absolutely anyone with ridiculous ease but that didn't stop me from being vulnerable, I could still easily die. With the two class system in RoM this prevents this from happening, and the gear plays an even greater part in your survivability. This guy able to tank and kill 6 other players at least his own level without a doubt spent real dollars to get his toon to that level but it still disappointing that you can be that powerful at that level. The balance between the classes is wildly out of line. Rogues have no competition in PKing for the most part while few can beat a mage in the endgame instances. The Scout used to be one of the top damage dealers but after a major nerf a few months ago, they are probably the lowest. PvP is completely wrecked with stuns playing a huge part, most of the time you will have no real chance to do anything before you die. However, I do still enjoy the game, so I'll keep on playing but when I hit the end game I might change my mind. Hopefully this stuff gets fixed in the near future.

Forget it: its nothing

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Well I fixed it, turns out I didn't have third party cookies enabled which was causing the problem.

Commenting problems

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I seem to be having trouble commenting on various blogs...maybe its just blogger blogs. Has anyone else had this problem and know how to fix it?

Photoshop Saturday (#2) MonsterTruck

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This was just a bit of ridiculous fun.

Warrior Epic Closed Beta

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I mentioned this game a while back but I just got an email saying I got into the closed beta, will play a little bit, if study allows, and see how it goes from there.

Powerleveled by new 'content'

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Despite the fact that I should honestly be doing nothing fun and/or interesting at all at the moment besides studying for the exams I have been playing a tiny amount of RoM. I went through one of those stages where I lacked a lot of motivation to play but funnily enough, now that I have no time to play my interest in the game has shot up. A little while ago I was sitting at 36/26 which I had been at for some time, when I decided to level up my secondary class the Priest. I did this through daily quests which I would collect and complete on my Scout before changing to the Priest and handing it in. This worked out fantastically as there was one daily which everyone does where you need to kill 15 ferrets. Its generally really easy to get a group for this daily and the time it takes to complete it with a couple of people is very small. One time I ran back after just finishing a quest and getting a new one and probably within 1-2 minutes I had finished the quest really without doing anything. However there is the problem of other people going AFK while you kill the ferrets and then handing the quest in without doing anything at all.

So very quickly I was able to get my Priest up to level 30 before the daily quests were contributing less and less. After a couple of days I went back to RoM and tried out my Scout, desperately trying to level him a bit more. Luckily I did have a bunch of quests to do and so was easily able to hit level 37. Then the best thing is the world happened to me. A while ago it was announced that the devs had released a whole bunch of new content for the 30-40 bracket, and just today I was able to experience it first hand. I received a quest where I had to simply run to someone close nearby and I received a very nice amount of xp. Turns out this simple quest turned into an epic chain where all I had to do was run around gathering experience. Obscenely quickly I rushed to 38 before those quests finally run out, but it was incredible to just be powerleveled through that. I mean, its nice to just be able to do nothing and get an insane amount of experience for it, but surely they could have just adjusted the amount of experience needed rather then have added a ton of quests which require no effort and give the world.

Hacks

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Hax man

Photoshop Saturday

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So continuing with the idea I had last week, I'll be trying to post something I did on photoshop every week on Saturday.

Exponential Storytelling

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A friend commented the other day on how hard it must be to get a good storyline going in games. Because, by interaction, the player can change the story and create an alternative ending. This means that the writers then have to create not just one great story to play through but numerous ones. Of course in such games as Call of Duty the developers decided that freedom of choice wasn't going to be a feature of their games so the player can only play through one story. Replayability is a pretty big thing nowadays with players expecting to get a lot out of their games, and if there is only one way to play through the game then the player won't feel much incentive to play.

In my earlier years (It makes me sound much older) I played Neopets, and Neopets had this one game which I think was called Adventure Generator. In this 'game' you were able to write your own 'Choose Your Own Adventure' type story. Other players could read your story and vote on it. Not too surprisingly, the most popular stories were simple 'take care of this obscenely cute neopet' stories which all sounded and ended the same. However, I was not deterred, I went crazy because I loved to write stories at the time and began. Some time later I came out and admired my handiwork. Originally I had planned to make an epic story with a crazily good ending by the time I thought I had achieved that I realized that the person reading it would probably lose interest, because it would be like reading a book; having no impact on the story whatsoever. The truth was that the story would get exponentially more complicated the more decisions you gave the reader. And the same is certainly true for most games.

Gamers praised Crysis for having a sandbox type layout, where you were generally free to complete your mission however way you wish, but that sort of choice is easy. No matter how you kill the guy, you are still killing the guy, giving you no real choice or freedom. So lets encourage those games which give you real options in impacting upon the story. Its incredibly hard to create a great storyline that branches out into equally good resolutions with the player driving the story forward. So for those games that try and fail in this regard lets give them full points for effort, and for those games that succeed, well, give the devs your money and enjoy truly great gaming.

Rhinoxer

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MOAR photoshopping. Main problem with this one was I hadn't picked a great rhino head so it was kind of off balanced on the guy's arm.
 
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