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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!

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!

...continue reading "Why I love house decoration in Everquest 2"

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!

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!

...continue reading "Saints with Guns"

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.

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.

...continue reading "Thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV class reforms preview and Letter from the Producer Live II"

7

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.

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

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.

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.

...continue reading "Tokusatsu and me"

6

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.

After playing Final Fantasy XIV for quite a bit I found my initial impressions about patch 1.9 changes to be inaccurate. Fortunately it wasn't inaccurate in a bad way, quite the contrary. I am finding myself getting more and more hooked into the game. Before getting into all that though, allow me a side note (which is getting too common in my posts....): Massively is doing a "Choose My Adventure" series with Final Fantasy XIV. If you don't what that means, it is like a "Let's Play" where instead of just reading about a players experiences as he/she plays through the game, the readers can vote on what should the player should do before the next post. So if you are curious how Final Fantasy XIV is from the eyes of a newbie starting on the game now, you can start reading it here. Well, ok, technically that is not the start, it is already the 3rd post with this particular author. The first one was to choose the game (which turned out to be Final Fantasy XIV) and the second was to choose the gender, race and starting town for the character. The post I linked is him actually starting to play the game. :p Alright, with that done, back to my own experiences with the game....

After playing Final Fantasy XIV for quite a bit I found my initial impressions about patch 1.9 changes to be inaccurate. Fortunately it wasn't inaccurate in a bad way, quite the contrary. I am finding myself getting more and more hooked into the game.

Before getting into all that though, allow me a side note (which is getting too common in my posts....):

Massively is doing a "Choose My Adventure" series with Final Fantasy XIV. If you don't what that means, it is like a "Let's Play" where instead of just reading about a players experiences as he/she plays through the game, the readers can vote on what should the player should do before the next post. So if you are curious how Final Fantasy XIV is from the eyes of a newbie starting on the game now, you can start reading it here.

Well, ok, technically that is not the start, it is already the 3rd post with this particular author. The first one was to choose the game (which turned out to be Final Fantasy XIV) and the second was to choose the gender, race and starting town for the character. The post I linked is him actually starting to play the game. :p

Alright, with that done, back to my own experiences with the game....

...continue reading "Yet more thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV post patch 1.9"

Yep. Another interview with Naoki Yoshida, aka Yoshi-p, aka the current producer/director for Final Fantasy XIV.

You can find it here.

Apparently he has been in Square Enix's North American HQ recently for a small meeting with the local media. So there you have the explanation for two interviews in such a small interval of time.

On this one he goes into a few more details about stuff that will be coming on patch 2.0. In particular, it cleared some doubts I had about the Free Companies. As I guessed they will be pretty much like guilds in other MMORPGs and thankfully there will be no restrictions to who can join them. Well, no restrictions besides whichever the Free Companies leaders decide to impose that is.

The other thing is about the change from the seamless world we have now to one separated by zones. This is something that I am honestly a bit apprehensive as I hate zoning. Nothing kicks me out of being immersed in a game's world than zoning. Now there are a few cases I can live with zoning. For example, when there is an instanced dungeon. In this case the benefits outweigh any immersion breaking. Or when there is a separation between exterior and interior environments like in the Elder Scrolls games. In those games the interiors are pretty detailed so again it outweighs the bad parts. There are also cases where I will still not like it but will grow a skin thick enough to live with it if the gameplay/content is interesting enough. That was the case with Everquest 2 since  a lot of the zones felt interesting and there were some gameplay ideas I found interesting. Zoning was a small price to pay for it even if I hate it every time the freaking loading screen shows up.

Anyway, I can understand the reasons for the change. Eorzea, Final Fantasy XIV's world, does certainly look repetitive, lacking some interesting landmarks. Zoning should help with that. Hopefully it should also make it easier for the developers to make new content. Easier to make new content means more new content being produced. Yoshi-P also said in the interview the zoning will be similar to Final Fantasy XI. I never played it so my guess is that it is similar to Everquest 2 which in that case it is something I can live with.

All in all though, I am still pretty confident about Final Fantasy XIV's future. Like I said before the team has been very transparent with their plans for the game, what they are working on and when those changes will come. So far all that has resulted in changes for the better. I don't see any of that changing in the near future. Plus they are still giving players two months and another patch before asking players to decide if they want to pay the subscription fee or not. To me that should be plenty of time to decide if I want to stick for the long haul or not.

As the title says, Massively did an interview with Naoki Yoshida, aka Yoshi-P, aka the current producer for Final Fantasy XIV.

There are some interesting stuff there like what is his goals with the future Job system, why they decided to start ending the current free trial in two months, etc.

You can find it here:

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