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Ah, the insights we get when we are can't sleep, don't feel like doing it but we know we must try otherwise we became living zombies. Anyhoo, in a previous post I rambled a lot about why I love decoration in Everquest 2. However as often happens in such endeavors I think my point got lost, even to myself, amidst of all the rambling. It is one of those gut feelings you have but you just don't know how to put it in words or even explain it to your own self. You just know it is the thing that is right to you. I think I finally got it in a more rational way now. So to avoid losing track of what I am trying to say, let's do something different this time and delve directly to the point, shall we?

There have been too things that have been bugging me a lot since I got into decoration in Everquest 2. The first is why I have so much trouble with little details and colors in my decorations while to other decorators it seems as natural as speaking? The second is why I care so much about a game's feature that pretty much the majority of the MMORPG industry and player base doesn't seem to care about, namely a good housing system? I mean, it is pretty much the only reason I am still playing Everquest 2. Everything else is just my silly obsessive side.

...continue reading "Why I decorate in Everquest 2: The return!"

4

I must admit I never saw what the big deal was with Qeynos and Freeport. They always felt to me to be nothing but another piece of generic fantasy. Perhaps it is a question of timing or memories. For one, I never played Everquest 1, so I don't have any clue how those two cities were back then. For another, I didn't start back at the game launch. Since back then the only start option was the Isle of Refuge, where the closest to civilization was a small settlement, those two cities with their high stone walls, lots of houses, with some that you could even get for your character to live, probably felt a lot more impressive. Instead what made me to want to grow roots in the world of Norrath happened due the "Play the Fae" trial. That trial made you begin in the region of the Greater Faydark whose capital, Kelethin, always felt far more fantastical and wondrous than either Freeport or Qeynos ever were. Neriak, who was released around the same time I did the trial, also had  the same qualities to it. And to me those two elements, fantastical and wondrous, are what good fantasy is all about. Even as time went by those cities never really grew on me. Also as game updates went by it seemed more and more that Qeynos and Freeport were becoming irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, becoming more reactionary to the world events than the ones who set those events in motion. Which is kinda sad considering those two cities were meant to be the super potency of Everquest 2's world, Norrath. Perhaps that is why the developers deemed necessary to give a much needed revamp to those two. The first to get the love has been Freeport, whose new looks and content has been released just last week as a free game update to all players.

I must admit I never saw what the big deal was with Qeynos and Freeport. They always felt to me to be nothing but another piece of generic fantasy. Perhaps it is a question of timing or memories. For one, I never played Everquest 1, so I don't have any clue how those two cities were back then. For another, I didn't start back at the game launch. Since back then the only start option was the Isle of Refuge, where the closest to civilization was a small settlement, those two cities with their high stone walls, lots of houses, with some that you could even get for your character to live, probably felt a lot more impressive.

Instead what made me to want to grow roots in the world of Norrath happened due the "Play the Fae" trial. That trial made you begin in the region of the Greater Faydark whose capital, Kelethin, always felt far more fantastical and wondrous than either Freeport or Qeynos ever were. Neriak, who was released around the same time I did the trial, also had  the same qualities to it. And to me those two elements, fantastical and wondrous, are what good fantasy is all about.

Even as time went by those cities never really grew on me. Also as game updates went by it seemed more and more that Qeynos and Freeport were becoming irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, becoming more reactionary to the world events than the ones who set those events in motion. Which is kinda sad considering those two cities were meant to be the super potency of Everquest 2's world, Norrath. Perhaps that is why the developers deemed necessary to give a much needed revamp to those two. The first to get the love has been Freeport, whose new looks and content has been released just last week as a free game update to all players.

...continue reading "My thoughts on Freeport Reborn"

4

Everquest 2 transition to free-to-play has certainly been a controversial issue among its player base. The latest of the controversies has been the invitation former subscribers received to give the game a try again, as a free to play title, only to find out their old characters were locked because they didn't buy a character pack or class unlocker.

Well, according to this post in the official forums by SmokeJumper, the current Executive Producer, at least that issue should be gone.

I will just quote the man himself:

*Every* character that was created before 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am will be grandfathered in without race or class restriction. This means that regardless of your membership level, you will be able to play any character created before 12/6 without paying for race- or class-pack unlocks.

For any player that previously subscribed to EQII Live servers, or as a Gold or Platinum member on EQ2X, we will also refund all the class/race pack purchases made after 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am and before the time of this posting (12/08/2011, 4:30pm) so that no one loses any SC due to this change.

Of course, this doesn’t affect new characters created from now onward. If you are playing at Silver or Free membership levels and want to create a *new* character, you’ll still be subject to the regular membership class and race restrictions.

On a personal note, I am really happy with these news. It means I might be able to save some money once I switch my account to a silver membership as I won't have to pay to unlock my carpenters (or any of my other current characters). I will also be able to resurrect my ogre warlock on my former second account. That is as soon as I can recover my password for it. -_-

It also means less resistance from friends in trying to get them to come back to visit in-game. Mwahahahaha.

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.