Hallowen in two different worlds

The Pumpkin!

Actually it should have been in three different worlds. However there hasn’t been any news so far of a Halloween event on Fallen Earth. My guess is that they are still with their hands full with the influx of players due to the switch to free to play.

Which two worlds will be covered then? It will be Everquest 2’s Norrath where it is pretty much old hat to me now and Final Fantasy XIV’s Eorzea where not only it is the first time for me but for the game too I think.

Currently they are my main poison as far as MMORPGs go therefore that is the reason I am only making a post about them. And not covering other games which I technically still play… like… Lord of the Rings Online. >_>

Anyway, read on if you are curious to see what was new on this year’s Everquest 2 “Nights of the Dead” or about Final Fantasy XIV’s “All Saint’s Wake”.

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What happens when you mix two good things together

Megaman was one of those game series I grew up with and loved to death. Granted I was never good to finish any of the games. Still it has a special place in my heart. So special that it can still bring a smile to my face just thinking of the games or hearing some of the theme music.

Perhaps it is because of that I found the following video more charming than funny. Don’t get me wrong it is funny. But the nostalgia feeling that it brings me is much stronger than the laughs. 🙂

Anyway, this is what would happen if one of Megaman’s enemies had a portal gun that the blue bomber could acquire.

Plot Twists! (Plus a lot of punching)

Yesterday I was whining about the end of Final Fantasy XIV free-to-play (which was never intended to begin with, to be fair). It annoyed me because I have been in a no-MMORPG mood lately and felt forced to play to make sure I would still want to subscribed. Well, after playing the game today I am glad for it. I haven’t had this much fun with Final Fantasy XIV since the game was released when everything was still new and shiny. Before getting into the why though let me just add a side note.

Before that announcement Yoshi-P wrote a developer’s letter where he goes pretty much on what he thinks the nature of a modern MMORPG is and what are his plans for the future of Final Fantasy XIV. It is an interesting read and for those who are curious you can read it by yourself here. Now, I said this before and will say again. Even if I don’t agree with the final product, Yoshi-P will have my respect for  what he is trying to do. This letter cemented that feeling even more.

He is the type of person who knows what he wants, knows how to communicate it and apparently knows how to listen to what others are saying too. Also, big kudos for Square-Enix to be keeping up with their promise of keeping the channels of communication as open as humanly possible. For those who play american MMORPGs and speak english fluently this may not seem as a big deal. But as someone who played a korean MMORPG it is very easy to have the feeling that your suggestions and complaints aren’t being heard, even if that may not true. The team of Final Fantasy XIV is japanese and I doubt most, if not all of them, don’t speak english fluently. So there is a lot of translation work being done both ways to keep players and developers in touch with each other. Once again, big kudos to everyone keeping those communication lines open! 🙂

Alright. With that said, on with the show….

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End of free to play and a roadmap for Final Fantasy XIV

Gee… This month is really becoming a bad month for me to be in an isolationist mood. First Final Fantasy XIV had a major patch, then Fallen Earth goes Free to Play plus a few other significant patches before that. Now it is back to Final Fantasy XIV again shaking my MMORPG world.

Anyway, as announced in the Lodestone, the official Final Fantasy XIV community site, Final Fantasy XIV will end it is free to play period between late November and somewhere in December of this year. They also released the roadmap for next year, which they are calling Final Fantasy XIV 2.0. The concept artwork and planned features (player housing!) looks cool. However those things are like dreams. They are perfect as that but you only find out they are really worth it when they are transformed into reality. And reality is much more complex.

The release of the PS3 was also announced. It will be between October and December of 2012 with a second free trial being offered by then.

What all this means to me is that I will have to find a way to break out of my isolationist mood and start digging deep into Final Fantasy XIV. I want to make sure that by the time they start billing for the game I know if I want to stick around for the long haul or not.

Urgh… Some times life really can be a pain. Even with simple things like games.

Fallen Earth and the free post-apocalypse

The Spiked Chopper

I don’t know what is up with MMORPGs going through huge changes when or events while I am in a isolationist mood. At least that seems to be the case with the ones I keep tabs on anyway. This time it was Fallen Earth going free-to-play last Wednesday. This was something announced a few months ago shortly after Icarus, the company that develops Fallen Earth, being bought by Gamers First. Apparently the transition went pretty smoothly and the channels today seemed to be more busy than usual. There was some lag on this morning but I am not sure if this was because of my connection being wonky as it has been problematic lately or the influx of new players. It became normal later though when I logged in for the above screenshot.

Unlike other titles I’ve seem going from a pure subscription model to a hybrid free-to-play/subscription model, Fallen Earth might be the first where I don’t have any mixed feelings about the change. Probably because of how they setup the different subscription tiers.

Before I get to the meat of it though let me do some bragging. Since I was subscribed before the game going Free To Play I got that bike in the screenshot, the Spiked Chopper (insert “Born to be Wild” music here) as a reward. Plus a few other benefits. Now the cool thing about the bike is it is insanely better in terms of fuel efficiency than the bike I crafted a while ago. It also has more storage which for a crafter like me is pretty important as I need every space I can get to store my materials. Specially when out in the wild scavenging said materials. So I think I might be using it for quite a while. 🙂

Alright. Enough bragging, on with the show…

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A peek at where indie games are made

It is usually said that every great rock band starts in a garage. For video-game companies I always thought the equivalent was a basement or a dark-lit bedroom. According to Ars Technica it is a lot more varied than that in the case of indies. None of the indie companies there are in a basement or dark-lit bedroom (the ones that fit that category are well lighted!) but still very interesting. It is also interesting to see the things all of them have in common despite of the different team sizes or location. 🙂

For those interested on it, you can give it a look here:

Where the world’s best indie games get made

P.S.: I am reorganizing the categories here. I decided this might be a good time to do it before there are so many posts that it gets hard to organize. Right now I made a few new categories and moved the relevant ones to become subcategories. I also changed the categories of some of the rambling posts to fit better with the new structure. Right now the idea is for the “Everything Else” category to be short posts, usually with links, that don’t fit anywhere else. Also for my attempts at humor. Ramblings will continue to be for all those really long ramblings that don’t fit any of the other categories. Dunno how long that will work though. I might end up getting confused in the future and post a parody of the Odyssey on Ramblings or post a critical analysis of why the sky is blue at Everything Else. But we’ll see.

Not too sure about the categories look in the side-bar right now either. I will be tweaking that in the next few days though until I get something I like. Or that I can at least live with. Whichever comes first.

EDIT: Ops! Forgot to give a title to this post. Fixed now!

My Little Chocobo

Casimir on a rented chocoboI have been in an isolationist mood recently which means not playing MMORPGs. Still last week there was a humongous patch for Final Fantasy XIV which, among other things, introduced chocobos as mounts. Because of that I decided to log in quickly last week just to check it out. I was holding on making a post until I took some screenshots and tested a few other things out. Given my mood though it seemed a better idea to write this post now before the patch becomes old(er) news.

Despite the title of this post I do not have a chocobo to call my own yet. It is just a reference to the system’s nickname back when it was announced. That and it amuses the hell out of me. Anyway, right now there are two ways of getting a chocobo mount. The first one is by renting a temporary chocobo. The second one is by joining one of the Grand Companies, earning their marks and buying it from them. My only option right now is renting so that is  what I got to test.

Rented chocobos are…. pretty slow actually. That was probably my biggest disappointment. It might just have been my impression but it really didn’t feel like it was run much faster than my own two feet. Probably just an impression from the animation since it looked like the poor chocobo was running in slow motion. Another thing that I found disappointed was the price. It seemed a little expensive for my perma-noobie pockets even more so considering that there is a 10 minutes limit or that the chocobo goes back to the stable the moment you unmount. Again, might be a question of wrong perception.

By contrast the permanent chocobos I could observe were pretty fast. They could easily make me eat dust while I was running around on the  rented chocobo. Also they don’t have a time limit and you can summon and unsummon them at will according to the patch notes. No clue how easy or hard it is to acquire one yet. As I mentioned before you need to be in one of the Grand Companies for it and my level is too low for it right now.  In both cases you can’t fight while mounted on a chocobo. Something about the animations being a complicated point if I recall correctly….

What I did like though was… well, it is a chocobo! As a mount! It even had the traditional chocobo theme music as you ride it. I will admit that is something that just someone who enjoyed a Final Fantasy game will understand. For someone who never did all I can say is to give it a try.

Another thing that this patch changed were the crafting recipes as well as some materials. I didn’t give a try yet but I plan to do it next time I get in the mood to play Final Fantasy XIV. I am looking forward to it because it looks I can finally craft appropriate gear for my own levels. Also hopefully being able to move from my current potato sack outfit to something with some actual color on it.

I also found interesting that Yoshi-P considers the patch as a halfway mark to make the game into a true Final Fantasy game. I don’t know what is Square-Enix’s definition of a Final Fantasy game is these days but there are definitely a lot of things this patch brought that makes me think of a Final Fantasy game.

Besides that there is a ton of stuff this patch brought that honestly I can’t comment on right now. I just lack the game knowledge to say how it changed things or if something new it brought is interesting. If anyone is looking for a more in-depth look at the patch (or anything Final Fantasy XI/XIV related) I will just point you to the Mog Log, a column by Eliot Lefebvre at Massively. Unlike me he actually plays the game in a constant basis and has actual knowledge about the game.

For now, my analysis of this patch is…. I am actually excited about Final Fantasy XIV! Well, not enough to break my isolationist mood. But enough to start seriously considering keeping my subscription whenever they start charging it. 🙂

EDIT: Added a screenshot of the rented chocobo.

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon is out!

As the title says, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon has been released.

I must admit this feels kind of surreal after keeping a close eye on news about the game for so long. Not that I ever doubted it would be released eventually, quite the contrary. It is just that after some time a game like this gets a near-mythical quality to it. Kinda like when you are a child and you know one day you will reach adulthood but it still feels very far away. Then suddenly one day you are an adult and needs to go job hunting to pay the bills. The difference is that Frayed Knights release is undisputedly a good thing. While being an (technically speaking, at least) adult is still something I am still debating about.

You can download the demo and/or buy the game here.

My suggestion, give the demo a try at least.

Oh, expect the usual posts about my gaming experiences and thoughts about it at some point. I didn’t create a category for this game for nothing! 🙂

One year of Final Fantasy XIV

Casimir looking out at the stars from Limsa Lomnisa

Time pass so fast…. It seems Final Fantasy XIV’s one year anniversary is close by. Yet it doesn’t feel like that. Of course, it doesn’t help either that I barely played the game during that time period.

Anyway, giving the event it seems like a good time to finally write a bit about my experiences with the game as well as my thoughts about it. Unfortunately there isn’t much of the first and too much of the second. So I will try to balance them as much as possible and try to aim at something coherent. Just in case though I am filling this under ramblings as well.

Alright. With all that said, on with the show!

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Frayed Knights The Skull of S’makh-Daon trailer has been released!

People who read this blog are probably reading the title right now and wondering what this Frayed Knights games is and why the trailer being released is a big deal.

To answer the first question, Frayed Knights is an old school, comedy, indie RPG that has been in development in the last few years by one guy called Jay Barnson aka The Rampant Coyote aka the guy behind Rampant Games.

As for what the big deal is, it means that the game is getting very close to be released.

Ok. I guess none of that says much. So… uh… Let me see what I remember about the game’s premise both from the Rampant Coyote’s blog as well as a from the pilot.

The game happens in ye olde fantasy world. In this world all adventurers worth their salt are part of the Adventurer’s Guild. The Adventurer’s Guild is a very respected group since they provide a series of services for its associates as well as ensuring that people don’t get killed trying to tackle something beyond their capabilities.

Thus enter our party of intrepid heroes… Or heroes to be as the case may be. Or… ok, they are just adventurers. The thing is so far they have not have a very successful carrier, so much they got the nickname of Frayed Knights. At the beginning of the game they are finally getting a chance to prove themselves to earn their membership in the Adventurer’s Guild. That would not only mean more and better opportunities towards fame, glory and money for the party as well as a little more respect from their peers. All  they have to do is to not screw it up….

As for the gameplay itself, it follows the same style as games like Eye of  the Beholder and the Wizardry series. The main difference being that you don’t make your own characters instead you start with already pre-made 4 characters with their own history and personality. For those who like that kind of old school style this part might be a turn-off but from what I played of the pilot version of the game (released ages ago) it works pretty well. Specially so because a great deal of the humor of the game comes from all the bickering between these four people while they are adventuring together.

You do get to customize them to your own tastes through equipment, feats, skill points, etc. just like you would expect in an old school RPG game. So fret not, there is plenty of ways you can develop your party.

Alright, so that is it about the game. Before I give a link for the trailer and where you can find more info about the game, just a note. This is an indie game. That means you will not find the latest graphics with voice acting by a celebrity on this game. What you will find though is plenty of content and game play that you will most likely not find in a mainstream game. At least not anymore and unlikely any time soon.

Ok, so you can find the trailer here, courtesy of You Tube. You might want to set it to 480p to be able to read the character’s dialogue, since that is the main selling point of the game (to me at least! 🙂

You can check news about the game (as well as a lot of well thought articles) on The Tales of the Rampant Coyote.

The game also has an official site, which you can check here. Though according to post at The Tales of the Rampant Coyote it should get an overhaul before the end of the week. So you might want to wait until then.

Lastly, if you are still wondering who is the guy who developed this game and wondering why you should care about this game at all, he gave two interviews about it recently, one at the RPGWatch, and another one for IndieRPGs.com.

That is it for now. Once the game is released you may see me talking about it more. 🙂

P.S.: The more astute of you may have noticed I mentioned a pilot version of the game. There was indeed one, long ago, which the Rampant Coyote did release to the general public. Like the name suggests, it was kinda like a pilot episode for a TV show to see what people’s reaction would be to it. I don’t think it is available anymore and from his blog posts it seems the game has evolved a lot since  then. It will probably have a demo available once it is released though, if so, I will post here to anyone interested.