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

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

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

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

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


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 (?)

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

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

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

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 a bit more editing

Allods Online

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

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...

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.
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