Tenfold Hate

The Usual Hiatus
January 29, 2009, 9:34 am
Filed under: MMORPGs

I hit that wall I face every couple months where online gaming totally loses its luster and just doesn’t feel very satisfying, so I’ll probably be taking a little breather from posting for a wee bit. Too much snow here.

In the meantime, here’s a really funny video blog from Beau Turkey.

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Men in Tights
January 22, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: Comics, MMORPGs

There’s a lot of speculation about what the new shiny of 2009 will be. Though at best it’ll garnish nothing larger than a niche group of players (if it’s any good–or in fact, more than vaporware) I’m intrigued by Darkfall. Any move away from the gear-based, Barbie dress-up game that all major fantasy MMOs have become has potential in my book–and FFA looting ensures that your character won’t strictly be what he or she wears. I’m certainly willing to forsake somewhat outdated graphics for a change of pace–but I tend to enjoy PvP. Most don’t. And FFA looting has the potential to become very frustrating very fast depending on player culture and maturity levels.

But the big slugfest of the upcoming year will surely be between DC Universe Online and Champions. DCUO will no doubt win out on the sub side since they have the big name license and the big name company behind them. But which will be the better game?

The recently released preview of DCUO fell short in my eyes. The city (presumably Metropolis) seemed too “clean,” the character models didn’t scream “Jim Lee,” and the screen was overpopulated with glowing orbs and floating whirligigs, hearkening back to the power ups and hovering coins of arcade games of yore. I loved Crystal Castles and Double Dragon, but the thing is, I wanna forget I’m playing a video game every so often in an RPG.

Both DCUO and Champions promise an “action-oriented” game too. This is another cool idea that has yet to be executed well. One of them has gotta pull it off, right? But let’s get back to the subject at hand–MMORPGs–and what they’ve been sorely lacking. Story.

Now before you start up, I don’t wanna hear how the Death Knight is really cool and Blizzard really outdid themselves with adding quirky quests and fun twists to WoTLK. Stitches by any other name is still Stitches and I’ve been there, done that, it was fun, but it’s over.

This is where Champions hooks me in. Their Nemesis system allows you to create an archenemy for your hero who plays a significant role in your game play. Now this creates some solid potential for unique storytelling, one that moves away from the cookie cutter quest lines we’ve all been ushered through for the last half decade. You’ll not only be able to customize your character with an even greater breadth than Cryptic gave us in CoH, but you’ll be able to customize your powers and how they look.

The main thing that troubles me with superhero MMOs is that I’ve never found it an adequate fit for existing MMO conventions, like the tank/healer/DPS archetypes or the raid/dungeon crawl-reskinned-as-instanced-evil-scientist’s-underground-lair-crawl. Since those mechanics are so rooted in fantasy tabletop RPGs, they’ve always seemed strangely forced to me in any other genre.

A Great Way to Whittle Away Your Friday…
January 16, 2009, 11:21 am
Filed under: Animals

Totally unrelated to anything in the geek-o-sphere, but my coworker sent me this link to the funniest blog ever. Enjoy the three-day weekend! New president Tuesday. Big week!

My Rune-Keeper Hits 20
January 12, 2009, 10:01 am
Filed under: Lord of the Rings Online

After a night of my brother-in-law and I finishing off some quests in Buckland and running around the Old Forest, we hit twenty on our rune-keeper/warden combo. This was a pretty substantial ding for me since at 20 I get my first “rez” spell–or whatever the LoTRO equivalent is–since technically your character never “dies,” but is simply defeated in battle.

I’ve been going a bit heavier on DPS, reserving my healing for fellowship quests and emergencies. For the most part, it’s been working out well. The more DPS spells you cast in any given battle, the more powerful your attacks become at the loss of your healing capabilities. The same goes in reverse if you’re healing.

I love the flexibility of this class, though I’ve gotten caught with my pants down every so often. I tend to get too cocky and get too far up the DPS “ladder” when I’m taking on a mob that’s above my head. At that point, it’s often too late to work my way down the chain to cook up any substantial healing. And it’s easy to get cocky with the RK–at times I feel like I can take on all of Middle Earth, only to be humbled by a signature mob or a large group of foes.


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Bring It On, Winter Doldrums
January 7, 2009, 11:08 am
Filed under: Film, Gaming

Not much going on with me game-wise since the holidays. Still having a hell of a lot of fun with LoTRO, but merrymaking coupled with post-holiday blues has compromised my MMO time the past few weeks. I’ve never been a fan of those “year-in-review/predictions-for-the-upcoming-year” posts, so I’ll spare you all. Simply put, 2008 was a year of lukewarm games failing to hold my attention. From Mythic and Blizzard to Funcom and SOE, a good part of the year was spent bed hopping from Vanguard to Burning Crusade to Age of Conan to Warhammer.

While none of these games are terrible by any means, it took LoTRO coming waaay out of left field with the MoM expansion to rinse the bad taste out of my mouth.

2008 was not all mediocrity on the MMO front–if only because it spawned the Spouse Aggro podcast. Beau Turkey, who took over the helm at Troy’s Voyages of Vanguard podcast earlier this year, and his wife Leala (who hosts the uber-awesome Epic Dolls podcast) lend a breath of fresh air to the often all-too-whiny, eternally dissatisfied legion of MMO bloggers and podcasters out there.

For me, these guys pull off in their podcasts what Tipa over at West Karana miraculously has pulled off in her blog year after year–that perfect blend of intelligent discussion, humor, and a true affection for RPGs.

Caught two great westerns over the holidays–one old, one new.

The first is John Ford’s Fort Apache. Ford’s work stands the test of time surprisingly well, whereas many other classic Hollywood westerns can come off as a bit to hokey. Henry Fonda. John Wayne. Apaches on the warpath. What more do you need?

The second is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This flick is not your standard western. If you like the slow, poetic style of directors like Terrence Malick and Werner Herzog, you’ll love this one–which plays more like a starstruck stalker flick than a shoot-em-up. Great performances all around.

What am I looking forward to in the first half of 2009? Watchmen.