Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blizzard's Masterpiece?

Spinks, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote a comment on her own story that I found quite interesting:

I think this could well be Blizzard’s masterpiece. So blown away by what I have seen so far. There are slower parts (like wandering through Valley of the Four Winds) but the payoff, when it comes, is amazing.

Could she be right?  Could Mists of Pandaria be Blizzard's apex?  Could these furry, funny, meditating pandas be the absolute zenith of WoW?

I think she's spot-on.

So far, Mists of Pandaria is scratching all the right places.  It's the perfect balm for my recent MMO hurts.  It's funny yet poignant.  It's action-packed yet contemplative.  The player crashes onto the shores of Pandaria amid violence and hate, but while traversing the land the beautiful tapestry Pandaren cultural unfurls before you.  Yes, there are kill-fetch quests.  Yes, you have to collect oranges and guts.  This is World of Warcraft after all.

But then there are other moments.  Moments like meeting the Jade Dragon.  Moments like listening to the lore lesson on the Wandering Isle.  Simple moments where NPCs meet and greet you.  It's the simple things, really, that affect you the most.

Is MoP Blizzard's masterstroke?  The greatest of all their expansions?

My inclination, right now, is to 'yes.'  And I can't wait to find out what lays in store for me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sex with Stegosaurs: TOR's 1.4 and MoP Impressions

Taking a page right out of the Blizzard playbook, Bioware has timed the release of their huge new patch, Terrrrroorrrr Frooooom Beeyyyyoooond!, against the release of the Mists of Pandaria.  Of course if you ask them if this was intentional, they will likely deny it (with a wink and a nudge), but I, for one, appreciate this type of aggressive stance.  I think we could all accuse Bioware of being too passive in the past, casually taking it on the chin as Blizzard and other MMO developers released patches and updates alongside TOR's new offerings.  Good on ya, Bioware.

So, what's in 1.4?  In just a couple of hours (edit: it's live now!), you'll be able to experience a new operation on the far-flung planet of Asation.  The Gree need help against the Dread Masters; those jerks apparently opened an ancient hypergate and are intent on letting some low-rent Cthulu wanna-be devour the whole galaxy.  Those Dread Masters are assholes.  Dulfy's got a guide for the new bosses.  I expect me and my guild will be checking out Terrroorrr Frooooom Beyyooooonnnnd pretty soon!  In operations, you'll also be able to trade loot back and forth, so hooray for that!  And sell back items for their commendation price in case you bought the wrong thing, too!  Double hooray!  All the way across the game, man!

Also in this new patch is the oft-promised ability to match-to-chest and hide the headgear on your companions.  Finally, I won't have to stare at my love interest as she professes her undying devotion through a respirator, nor will my Corso look like he stole all his clothing from the Clown Trooper store.  Hooray!

Shadows are getting a buff in 1.4 as well.  No, not Consular Shadows, you silly.  Actual shadows.  From light sources.  Call me picky, but the shadows always bothered the shit out of me.  They were blocky and jagged and horrible looking.  Bioware introduced new tech into the game to smooth out the shadow edges; I'll call this new tech "ShadowBlaster 9000."  So, ShadowBlaster 9000 makes it all smooth and pretty, but I'm concerned about the load it'll put on my video card.  I'll have a more complete look at ShadowBlaster 9000 technology once I see it in action on my home PC.

And last, but not least ... we get to make stupid faces.  That's right!  SWTOR is launching a completely weird and random thing!  We can now put our characters faces in different moods like Stunned, Eager, Hurt, or Surprise Butt Sex.  Gotta be honest ... I sorta love this.  It's out of left field and totally weird.  Like, they never even talked about this before the 1.4 hullabaloo.  Nary a mention of making funny faces like you're pooping or having sex with a stegosaur.  It's unknown if these facial expressions carry over to the cutscenes, but please baby Yoda on a pogo stick MAKE IT HAPPEN.

And speaking of stegosaurs, and dinosaurs in general, let's take a gander at Mists of Pandaria!  Gonna be honest with ya'll ... MoP feels and plays a shit-ton better than Cataclysm.  Adventuring to a new land, seeing new people, and facing a race that neither hates nor loves us is pretty damn awesome.  We are the interlopers in their land, and while they are tolerating us (for now) and healing our wounds, they will not abide our conflict and abhor our war-like nature.  The zones look astoundingly good.  The NPCs feel right, and I've already been introduced to my new favorite NPC of all time, the love-struck hozen  named Riko.

You can feel a 'but' coming, cant' you?

BUT ...

Don't shit yourself.  It's still just World of Warcraft.  It looks great ... for a game nearly eight years old.  It's fun in the 'Oh, I remember how to do this' way, not the new and innovative way.  This expansion feels like a love letter to Wrath of the Lich King, with a very open, welcoming starting zone that really sucks you into the story.  Story you have to read.  In quest panes.  /sigh

Look, MoP is definitely a MASSIVE improvement of Crapaclysm.  No shit, this is the most fun I've had playing Warcraft since I first stepped foot on Northrend.  It definitely rekindles the love and excitement of playing World of Warcraft (for me)!  Problem is ... how long will this love last?  How soon will it devolve into a morose been-there, done-that epiphany?  I don't honestly know.  For now though, I'm having a blast.  I hope it stays that way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pandamonium!

Hey, it's the least interesting blog post title ever!  Lookie thar, I made a pun on the panda expansion!  Hardy har!  No, but seriously, panda-land dropped today.  It's another WoW expansion.  I expect it'll be a lot like other expansions; fun for a while, but dragging to a slow halt later on.  It'll also feature some raids that are lackluster and twitchy, some really poor character models, horrid draw distance, and laughably bad storylines.

So why do I play it?

I really, honestly don't know.  It's just fun.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Your Fifty-Second Assignment: Targeter, Targeteer, and ... Targetess?

By the Emperor's balls, your brother is annoying.

I know, Kaliyo.  He's so smug.

... and sorta handsome.  He's got good cheekbones, Agent.

Do you want to be pushed out of an airlock?

I'm just saying, Agent.  A girl gets lonely.


Lock and load, agents!  Targeter's back in action.  The last few weeks have been eventful in TOR; server consolidations, legacy changes, adaptive gear, and patch 1.4 hit the PTS!  So there's a lot to talk about, but ... forget that.  That stuff is boring to me and you know all about it already.  Let's talk about what REALLY has me excited.

12 CHARACTER SLOTS.

Yes, that's right.  Targeter the agent already had his nemesis in the galaxy hoppin' rogue Targeteer, scourge of the stars and ladies' hearts.  Now, he's going to be joined by an all-new cast member ... Targetess, cyborg femme fatale.

With this latest mini-patch, Bioware went ahead and updated our character slots due to the recent server consolidation.  By increasing the number to twelve (or more, if you had more than twelve characters consolidating on one server), the boys and girls in Austin have essentially given me the ability to make another agent.  A laaaaady agent.  A laaaaady operative agent no less!  In all honesty, this is great news for me.  I'd like to think that I took my time on my very first playthrough to 50 with Targeter, but I'd be a lying sack of shit.  I was so enamored with the game that I went on a banzai leveling blitz, blasting through level after level just to experience more of the story.  And therein lies the rub; the faster I leveled to get more story, the less time I actually spent appreciating said story.


Targetess changes all that.

For right now, she's a cyborg.  That may change.  The lure of the sons and daughters of Csilla is almost too much to resist and I can already feel myself caving.  I know that she will definitely be an operative though ... I've wanted to try out this stealth mechanic thing for a while.  And it's going to be pure bliss to experience the best story in TOR all over again from a more sinister angle.  Now, I say that I'm going 'dark' ... but we all know that I'll wind up as Light V and as pure as the driven snow.  But if that happens, well, I can always make another agent!  He'll be Targeted, evil agent extraordinaire, villain of the spaceways, enemy of all that is good and pure and stupid.

If you can't tell, my love for TOR has been rekindled in a big way.  I loved my agent.  I loved my smuggler.  And the idea that I don't have to delete one of my characters to make space for another agent makes my shorts tight.

Also, this will be a big couple of weeks for gaming/movie-watching/general laziness around the house.  The Avengers Blu Ray releases Tuesday, as does Mists of Paaaaaaaandaaariaaaa.  Not gonna lie, I'm gonna go get me some Panda action.  Also, Torchlight 2 just released yesterday and it is seriously WTF GOOD.  Like, DAYUM WTF GOOD.  I'll post a more in-depth review next week once I spend a little more time in the game ogling its lush landscapes and whimsical characters.

I'll probably post some more about the 1.4 PTS stuff, the consolidations, etc etc, but I just wanted ya'll to know ...


I'm back, baby.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Titans of Industry Say Goodbye

Don’t be dismayed by goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

~ Richard Bach

Farewell, Drs. Zeschuk and Muzyka.  So ends an era in gaming.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Douchecanoes and You!

You all know him.  He's that guy.  The guy that incessantly bitches and moans.  He hates everything, and anything you like doesn't compare to a certain thing he likes and therefore is crap.  Yeah, that guy.  We all have known that guy at one point in our gaming lives; hell, some of ya'll may even think I'm that guy.  I'll be honest; I've not always been in love with the direction that Bioware has taken TOR and I've been very vocal about it.  I've rubbed more than a few of you the wrong way with my hate-filled diatribes and lengthy rants.  But you must realize, that this all originates from my once fanatical, now cautiously optimistic love of this game.  Guys, I love this game.  Like, in illegal ways.  I'm not talking about that type of guy (mainly because I'm that guy and let's not talk about my foibles, dammit!).  I'm talking about another type of guy.

He's the guy that only shows up because his friends play the game.  He's the guy that really doesn't like the game that much.  He'd much rather be playing something else.  And he lets you know about it all the time.  He insists on informing you that the only reason he is here is because his friends are.  He bitches and moans about every bit of information, good or bad.  He constantly compares his current game to a game he liked in the past.  A game that 'got it,'a game he identifies with, and a game he apparently refuses to play anymore because his friends aren't there.  And so this guy, angry, desperate, and bitter, turns to bashing the game he's currently playing.  Yeah, that guy.

That guy's an asshole.  I've known a few of those guys in my time, and I'm betting you know at least one of them right now.  The Old Republic seems to be to rife with these type of assclowns right now; the "told ya so lol f2p" queeftards that live to shit on your parade.  So how do you deal with those type of guys?  How do you keep them from bringing you down with their churlish, derpy statements about SWTOR?  Other than the obvious option of burying them in the backyard with a bullet embedded in the brainpan, there are a few things you can do to help irritate or eliminate these douchecanoes.  There are certain techniques you can employ to nullify their trollish attacks.  Let's explore a few!

"TORtanic is a failure!"

The most unsophisticated type of attack is to assault the game as a failure or use the term 'TORtanic.'  Yeah, like we've not heard that before, moron.  The best possible thing you can do is fight fire with fire by either insulting their masculinity (Hey, limpdick!  Go play Hello Kitty Online!), their mother (Your mom's a WHOREtanic!), or just put them on ignore.  I'd go for option three, but I'll be honest ... I sorta love the term whoretanic.  I just made that up and it's BRILLIANT.
"This game is dead!  LOLOLOL"

Clearly not, Einstein.  After all, you're online aren't you?  And so am I because I am the unwitting target of your nonsensical text diarrhea.  A few defenses for this are; listing in detail every reason you think the game is, in fact, not dead, posting a huge diatribe about how this particular idiot's opinion is invalid because of his gear, or putting him on ignore.  I'd advise option three, although an in-depth breakdown of his character's gearing mistakes could be fun.
"Guild Wars 2 is superior in every conceivable way!"

Oh Christ, not this asshole.  AMG GERD WERZ.  Look, I'm sure Guild Wars 2 is a great game!  Looks great!  Heard it plays great!  Great art direction!  Cool!  Go play it then, fucknut.  Why are you in SWTOR to begin with?!  Go play as a tree-person, or a midget, or some sort of Klingon war yak or whatever the fuck a Charr is then.  Seriously.  Possible methods of attack: remind him that Arenanet sucks balls and Guild Wars was an abortion, suggest that he likes to play a console or something, or put him on ignore.  Option three is probably the best, but making fun of him for being a console gamer is fun too.  Unless it's Xbox 360, cuz that system rocks.
"I had fun with TOR but it's really not my cup of tea.  I may come back for the free to play conversion though."

Oh yeah?  You can stick a  ... oh wait.  No, this is perfectly reasonable.  Don't ignore this person.

 

If you follow these easy steps (especially my suggested options), you too can enjoy your TOR experience to the max.   

TO THE MAX!



(Addendum: This post is in response to a coworker of mine who spent the better part of three days complaining to me that folks on TOR were getting him down and making him not want to play.  To which I responded, "Are you having fun?  Then why are paying attention to them?"  For three straight days.  Hey dude, this post is about you.  Get your own enjoyment out of the game instead of letting others dictate it for you.  Ignore the haters.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sentinels and Shaman and Ghostcrawlers, oh my!

Over the weekend, I fired up my little Jedi Sentinel.  He's a Twi'lek with no respect for his fellow sentient beings.  This attitude problem is only heightened by his brand new armor, which makes him look like a TOTAL OHMAHGAWD FUCKING BADASS.  Thanks for fixing the helmet bug for Twi'lek, Bioware!  It also doesn't help that he's the first SWTOR character that I'm actively going dark side on.  This just in: dark side Jedi are jackwagons.  Seriously, he goes out of his way to make sure everyone knows he's a tremendous douche.  I'm thoroughly enjoying the Sentinel playstyle though, as it mostly consists of "FORCE LEAP WTF DAMAGE."  Really, they should just rename the talent trees to "Ripping Faces Off, OMG, and Jackhole Hero."

Also over the weekend, I actually logged into WoW.  I even stayed on for like 20 minutes!  It was impressive.  I'm really just biding my time till Pandas show up because, UGH DEATHWING.  Has there ever been a more listless expansion villain?  His end raid is horrible and bland.  He just flaps around like some ignoramus while we slaughter his minions.  And then he's all like, "I'm Deathwing, the destroyer of worlds!"  And you're all like, "Nice of you to show up to the party, dumbass."  Then you crawl on his back and make fun of his wardrobe and then he melts and Thrall steals your killing blow.  The end.  It also doesn't help that there are approximately 12 players on your server at any given moment.  How we don't have more 'OMG WOW IZ DIEING' posts is beyond me.  Goodness knows that those popped up when SWTOR's population dipped.

Continuing with WoW, Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street continues his legacy of misunderstanding everything about his own playerbase.  In his latest twitter explosion, aka 'missive on how he's cooler than you', a fellow shaman player posed this:

Shamans feel very gutted to me by removal of traditional totems- numbers ok, but just feels like a lot of junky CDs now.

Which is, to be fair, a completely honest description of the class.  Ghostcrawler replies:
Junky CDs > junky buffs?

Oh, screw you Ghostcrawler.  You even PLAY a shaman and you don't get shaman!  The totems are what defined us.  Jesus, how did you ever get to be lead designer?

And speaking of lead designers, I have terrible news.  It looks like everyone's favorite game designer, Daniel Erickson, may be looking for a new job.  He was the heart and soul of SWTOR and championed story above everything else.  It appears as though he is either currently unemployed or will be let go shortly, if his LinkedIn page is any indication.  If he is cut loose from Bioware/EA, then it will be a very, very sad day.  Of all the designers, I think Daniel 'got it.'  He was truly invested in the story and the players.  I want to believe that this isn't real and he's still with the SWTOR staff.  If it becomes confirmed, I'll post about it.  Until then, I'm holding out hope.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This Actually Happened.

The creators of Guild Wars 2 apparently have taken to Reddit concerning the issue of account bans.  There was a great hue and cry from the GW2 playerbase over 'unjust' bans, so the ANet Community Team opened a thread to address these.  It seemed pretty simple; if you got banned, you could ask why.  The caveat was that the ANet team would post EXACTLY why you got banned.

Then you get gems like this, from a player named Bixx.

[–]ArenaNetSupportTeam[S] 791 points ago
The name's fine. The chat? No so much: Bixx: Get out of here you gag faggot
[–]YesButConsiderThis 295 points ago
Holy shit that was amazing.
[–]esoterikk 36 points ago
Haha agreed.

And NeurologicalDisorder ...

[–]NeurologicalDisorder 126 points ago
i would LOVE to re-read what 'Neurologic' was banned for. after that suspension's over i'mma drop some money into gems for more bankspace, because i had bank issued at bloody level 8 already :P
[–]ArenaNetSupportTeam[S] 618 points ago
Name: OK Chat: Not ok -- Neurologic: "the worm IS fucking hard if you're a fucking mentalpatient no we fucking dont you can take a keep with 5 people if you're not a fucking dickhead"
[–]Kinbensha 323 points ago
I loving this thread so hard right now.

I don't know if this is the best thing ever or the worst thing ever.  But it's definitely a thing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Few and Far Between


Notice that I'm posting more irregularly?  Yeah, me too.  It's hard to write new posts about SWTOR because frankly, there's really nothing to write about.  Austin Peckinpaugh wrote a dev blog yesterday about PVP changes for 1.4.  I don't really PVP with any frequency to care.  Looks like some buffs and nerfs that could potentially affect some classes I don't play.  Hooray.

I could write about my recent foray into Explosive Conflict with my Republic friends in Vanguard of Norrath, but that's boring too.  It's a five boss operation that seemed rushed and sloppily put together.  It features a quasi-Twin Emperors boss set ripped straight from Ahn Quiraj, some tank bosses that were sorta interesting, a puzzle boss/minesweeper game that's more annoying than fun, and a final boss that played like a retarded version of Heigan and Mimiron's bastard love child.  I wasn't remotely impressed.  Eternity Vault grabbed me by the balls and let me know this was the new paradigm for raiding.  Karagga's Palace was dingy and remote; a true outpost of evil.  Denova is ... a planet full of Trandoshans who are annoying.  Um.  Ok.  Oh, and there are some Imperials there are who are general assholes.  K.  Got it.  Oh, and I guess it's a forest planet, so, like, that's cool.  And there's a video at the end that sorta teases the 'big bad' in the next operation.

Right.

So, what's left to post about SWTOR?  Uh, F2P is still coming.  No date yet.  Teeerrrrroooorrr Frooooom Beyyyyyoooooond is still coming, theoretically.  Maybe even this month, but hey Bioware only promised us this content so I don't expect them to actually deliver it.  Heh.  What else ... no word on HK-51, and the less we hear about him, the more likely he'll be cash shop fodder.  Makeb too.  And we who actually subscribe will probably have to pay extra for them, cuz hey it's not like we're goin' anywhere right!

The only really exciting thing going on right is the start of the football season (both types!).  I love watching football and soccer, so let's talk about that!

I've been a Minnesota Vikings fan since I was 7.  I was watching the NFL over at my friend Sammy's house in Arizona when I was a wee lad.  The state had just landed the Arizona Cardinals and the NFL was very, very big.  Actually, to be fair, in Arizona football was big, period.  High school games between Peoria High (my hometown) and Cactus High drew thousands of people.  So, being football crazy, landing a real NFL team made the entire state euphoric.  So there I was, watching the Vikings and the Packers play on TV, and I decided on the spot that the Vikings helmets were cool and they were my team.  Fast forward 26 years, and I've had a quarter of a century to wallow in Super Bowl-less misery.  Anyways, the Vikings will suck this year.  Coach is horrible.  QB is mediocre.  We have the best running back in football and don't know what the fuck to do with him.  Damn.

Super Bowl teams will be New England and Green Bay, with the Patriots lifting the hardware after a long championship drought (by their standards).

(Minnesota Vikings) Targeter's Prediction: 6-10

My college football team isn't much better.  I live in the area known as the 'Bluegrass State.'  Been here for 20 years, so I've become quite attached to the hometown University of Kentucky.  During basketball season, this place is totally ridiculous; we pack 25,000 people into Rupp Arena for the first PRACTICE of the year.  During football season, this might as well be a morgue ... and for good reason.  The UK football team hasn't exactly been what I would call 'relevant' lately.  We still talk with pride about that one win we had against Steve Spurrier after a quarter century of trying.  We've lost to Florida 25 times in a row.  That's a quarter of a century of being beaten by the same team.  People, we play them every year.  In 25 years we haven't beaten them once.  Not one time.  We JUST beat Tennessee last year for the first time in 26 years.  That's right, we had a 25-game losing streak AND a 24-game losing streak.  Against teams we played every.  Single.  Fucking.  Year.  Goddammit.

And so we started off the 2012 campaign by getting pasted by a mediocre Louisville team on national television.  Whoop-dee-doo.

BCS Championship teams will be Alabama vs USC, Saban leading the Crimson Tide to their second straight national championship and third in four years.

(UK Football) Targeter's Prediction: 4-8

The only one of my teams that has any hope of doing ANYTHING this year is my soccer team.  I'm a recent convert to the EPL; I really only started watching soccer in 2008 when I, like most of America, was enthralled with the Women's Olympic soccer team.  I ate that shit up.  Then I watched the World Cup on a lark in 2010.  After that, I was hooked.  I picked up the FOX Soccer channel in 2011 and started the EPL season.  I took about a year to pick a team; I was leaning towards Arsenal but the players were rather selfish, Fulham looked interesting but could be relegated, but ... Tottenham piqued my interest.  Tottenham played smart.  They had dynamic players.  Harry Redknapp was respected, Adebayor was a diva but talented, Scott Parker and Rafael Van de Vaart were real professionals.  I was hooked!

So the Hotspur became my team.  Adebayor came back this year, we picked up Clint Dempsey too!  Rafael left, and that sucked.  Redknapp got sacked ... inexplicably.  And then they picked up Andres Villas-Boas.  Yeah.  Last time we saw him manage a team, he ran Chelsea into the ground.

Whee.

The EPL is looking tough this year; Chelsea is back, City and United are looking potent as always.  Arsenal, if they can get their shit together, can probably finish in the top 4.  My Hotspur will probably finish fifth in the league table, but that's ok.  We're in the Europa league this year and stand a pretty good chance of winning that (which ain't shabby).  If, by luck, we can get into the top 4, then we'll be in the Champions League ... and have a year to gel.  I like our chances.

(Tottenham Hotspur) Targeter's Prediction: 5th in the table, Europa League Champs


We'll get back to a more normal SWTOR posting schedule once SWTOR decides that it wants to put out updates.  Until then, I'll post about some other stuff.  We got MoP coming out soon, and Torchlight 2 just got a release date!  That's good news.  I'll give minor updates on what I'm doing on the Rep side if anything exciting happens too.

Hey, how about we go to Taris for a little hanky panky, yeeeaaaah!
**UPDATE: I was checking my stats for this post (because I'm a ridiculous attention whore who just wants to be loved) and noticed that one of the search terms that brought a random reader here was "old republic jedi sith blowjob."  THE FUCK?  Just thought I'd share that and admonish all you dirty readers for your very dirty thoughts, yeeeaaah baaaaby!**