The first step to this blog’s Armaggedon….

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.

Yet more thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV post patch 1.9

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….

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Interview with Naoki Yoshida at Zam

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.

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!