Personal Inventory

January 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 11 Comments
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Inventory space is a kind of mini-game. It’s designed as a hurdle, a challenge to be overcome in most games. Managing the room you have available with items that come in through drops, deciding what to pick-up, discard, salvage, or sell is a choice designers want you to make. Some people like this, some people don’t. I’m a fan of Bathesda type games where it’s based mostly on weight. You can drop less valuable but heavier items and take back light but profitable items to a merchant.

In Guild Wars 2 it’s based mostly on space. You start with a 20 slot bag, and can start adding 8 slot bags almost immediately by picking up a crafting profession. This adds up to about 52 inventory spaces with little to no cost.

Right now I’m at 88 inventory spaces. I decided early on that the 15 slot bags were the optimal cost to space ratio. They cost about 50 silver to make compared to the 2 gold for 18 slot bags and 10 gold for 20 slot bags. You have to admit that an 8 gold difference for 2 inventory spaces is…. quite a mark-up. I wasn’t about to pay the difference between 15 and 18 either, especially when 80 slots is more than enough space for just about anything you’ll be doing in Guild Wars 2. I can bring along salvage kits, food buffs, my magic find set, gathering tools, cash shop items, and more while still having more than enough room for items I pick up.

There are plenty of reasons you don’t need the 18 or 20 slot bags. You can salvage materials that stack together, throw items up on the auction house, deposit collectibles from anywhere, bring out a cash shop bank or merchant NPC, and drop by any number of in game merchants or heart vendors to sell your inventory.

You don’t need to waste ten to 40 gold on 5 to 20 inventory spaces. Especially when Arenanet is rather generous with a lot of the storage it gives you, particularly with collectible items. Or when it gives out 20 slot bags as it did during The Lost Shores event.

However, I have bought 7 bank panels. This arguably changes my perspective quite a bit compared to other people. I bought them cheap and early while gems were still at a premium for gold in that first month. This gives me 210 more inventory slots than anyone who still has the one panel. It feels luxurious. I’ve got a panel for runes and sigils, one for dungeon tokens, one holding future gear for alts I’m leveling, one for my legendary materials, and more.

Personally I think that 600 gems on bank panels is far more cost effective than the 400 gems for bag slots and won’t be spending a single copper on those. The added cost of finding a bag to put in the slot when I’m already comfortable with amount of space I get with four 15 slot bags just isn’t worth it.

All that being said I did end up buying one 18 slot invisible bag. I needed an invisible bag and I’m sitting on over 150 gold, it was a luxury I didn’t need but I went for it anyway. So now I can deposit all collectibles and keep my mini-pets with me. It was a complete waste of 1.5 gold but I think I’ll be able to live with myself.

The Asura Dance

May 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, video | 16 Comments
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A recently posted video on youtube showcases what appears to be the dance emote for female asura.

Not much to say other than it’s pretty awesome, watch the ears.

The Skyrim Problems

January 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Posted in rpg | 25 Comments
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Fact or Fiction?

Skyrim is a fantastic game capable of sustaining hundreds of hours of content. After playing 200 hours of it though I have a couple of complaints.

The lighting. What the hell. I can’t tell you how often I change my camera view and suddenly become blinded by the shifting subtleties of light and darkness. It throws my eyeballs for a loop. Every time it happens I have to wait for my pupils to readjust to what I’m looking at. It’s frustrating.

Maybe it’s my graphics settings or some technical problem but I’ve tried a few different things and nothing has worked. A lot of things in Skyrim are strangely lit if you ask me, and I don’t find it pleasant.

My next problem will come as no surprise to anyone. The user interface. What a piece of crap this is. How much money did they spend on this truly fantastic game and then they end up hiring some amateurs to do the UI? I don’t even know where to start.

Wasted space on the screen for one. Or menus that need to be scrolled to when they could just be front and center on screen at all times. If you’re carrying 200 pounds of goods, you’ve got a lot of items to scroll through, why isn’t there an easier way of finding stuff? It’s clearly designed to work for consoles but I wonder how much money PC gamers put into Bathesdas coffers and all we get is this tragedy of game design.

A lot of people will tell you the mod community will take care of it, but I don’t use mods, and frankly I shouldn’t have to. I paid fifty bucks for one of the best games on the planet right now, it should have a workable interface.

Bugs. I have 8 miscellaneous quests left to complete and they’re all bugs. I have about 30 pounds of quest item weight to carry around and it’s all from bugs. This is actually pretty typical of a Bathesda game but considering it’s the same thing in every Bathesda game you’d think they’d get a better handle on it.

I’m still not getting souls from some dragons. This has been a bit of a pain in unlocking some of the shouts. I guess this falls under the ‘bugs’ category but as it’s a major part of the game I felt it required further examination.

And really that is it for me. It’s a wonderful game. I know some people would like me to be outraged that they have reduced the RPG elements to bare bones, and made everything easier and less traditional but considering the amount of fun I’ve had I can’t get on board with that. This game is just too much fun.

The Skyrim Idiosyncrasies

November 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Posted in rpg | 17 Comments
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Valthiem Towers

It’s the little things in Skyrim that make it special. That make all Bathesda type games sepcial. They’ve created the illusion of their own functioning world, and all the hiccups that come with that.

I was sneaking around a tower of a keep. This keep stretched from one tower to another across a river for no discernible reason. I had lured the guards away, killed them outside the range of their friends and snuck inside. Immediately I found a chest, and crouched my way over to open it. Opening it set off a trap I hadn’t noticed but because I was hunched over, the falling mace swung over my head and into the wall. I was surprised but unharmed.

And that’s exactly the type of thing I love to find in Skyrim.

Another example might be what I found while wandering around in the wilderness. I was somewhere near Swindler’s Den, due south, and lovingly lost when I came across some rocks sticking out of the ground. These weren’t on my map, but looked to be a ruin of some type. I approached and discovered a mini-puzzle. A small well-like structure with a gate over it was protecting a treasure chest. Nearby 3 stones with 3 sides stood by, and a 4th stone with an activation device. Turn the stones so that they faced the right direction in the right combination and the gate would open. Fun.

Not a quest, not an important part of the game or even marked on the map. Just a fun thing to do.

Also located within sight of necromancers at work.

I was reading my friend Heatha’s blog and noticed she seems to play the game in a similar manner. She leaves all the primary quests until the very end, taking great note of the books, and paying attention to the details. I too read a lot of the books, but not all, and discovered the same book she takes note of. A choose your own adventure style book. In Skyrim. Awesome.

Unlike Heatha I’ll do some of the main quests to get rolling and then stop midway. Already I’m reaping the benefits of this with learning a new and interesting shout. I’ve got 3 now and I’m still learning to use them in combat.

It’s the idiosyncrasies of the world Bathesda makes. I can discover a person in distress, tell them the way is clear to escape, and if I’m lying, or wrong, they’ll run off to their doom. I can loot their body after they’ve been killed or just murder them myself. Or I can leave them there or by the light of my own altruism truly clear the way for them allowing them to escape.

Skyrim. It’s what most MMOs want to be. An alive experience where anything can happen. I can kill a dragon one day and be taken out by a sabercat the next. It’s just too bad I can’t do this with friends.

Portal Too

November 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Posted in rpg | 12 Comments
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Here are the test results: You are a horrible person. I'm serious, that's what it says: A horrible person. We weren't even testing for that.

Yes. I have played Portal 2 too! It was fun.

I think the most improved aspect even when the first Portal was a triumph, a huge success, was the writing. The original Portal was snappy, funny, interesting, and tightly written. Portal 2 is no slouch in this area and turned up the dial to 11. There are few game franchises that can claim to be truly funny, and this is one of them.

That said one of the few problems with Portal 2 I had was that it sort of drags on at some point. The tests after recovering from the big fall just got excessive. I was getting tired of it. I think perhaps there were too many puzzles of a similar type.

Then again maybe I was just blasting through the game too fast, and taken in smaller doses I wouldn’t have had any thoughts about it dragging on.

The new mechanics certainly make things all that much more interesting, and keep the game fresh for much longer than just a rehashed Portal would have done. I’m glad they didn’t rest on their laurels in this department and certainly the best parts of the game involved Aperture Science’s other inventions. I found them to be simple yet innovative.

All that being said I hope that Portal 3, if there is one, moves beyond test chambers. I think we’ve seen enough of that haven’t we? I don’t think you could tell a compelling story about Chell being stuck in yet another series of death traps.

I haven’t had a chance to check out the multiplayer aspects yet, and maybe I’ll post about that when I do, but I don’t need to check that out to declare how good this game is. It’s a great sequel to a great game and I certainly hope there will be a third.

Amalur In Estimation

November 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Posted in rpg | 14 Comments
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I’ve been semi following the work of 38 studios for years now. The team of talent behind the copernicus project and Kingdoms of Amalur is impressive. Todd McFarlane, R.A. Salvatore, Ken Rolston of Elder Scrolls fame and others are working on an RPG and an MMO.

At first I salivated at that kind of lineup, but when the first trailers came out for KoA I kind of soured. I wasn’t particularly blown away. It was a let down and my interest definitely took a nose dive. It just looked like a low budget attempt at an RPG.

I still think it looks generic in some ways, if mostly beautiful. However I saw the two trailers released last week and the game slowly started to claw their way back up in estimation.

I don’t think it’s so much that anything has changed, but I’m starting to feel like I’m getting a handle on what the game is going for. My anticipation for the game hasn’t skyrocketed. Right now it’s at a steady even pace where I’m sure I’ll play the game but I’ll probably wait for a sale on steam.

The RPG comes out February 7th apparently. Far sooner than I expected. And hey, Claudia Black.

Saw This On Reddit

December 20, 2010 at 8:55 am | Posted in mmorpg | 11 Comments
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Just something I thought was amusing. It’s kind of misleading of course. I’m not a fan of games that you can straight up buy your way to the top in. On the other hand I sympathize with people who don’t have the time to devote their body and soul to gaming.

The comments seem to reflect both these viewpoints.

R U Mad Bro?!

Future Weapons Today

November 4, 2010 at 12:00 am | Posted in rpg | 2 Comments
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I Prefer Milsurp Review

I’m a bit of a weapons collector. I collect all the common weapons except maybe 12 gauge shotguns. I was keeping one or two around, but when I got the lever action, I realized that altogether I was keeping 4 shotguns.

I ditched the Caravan, Single, and Sawed-Off, and have yet to even try the lever action. I think mainly I stay away from using shotguns anyway, since they always seem to take longer to kill something. Probably all the reloading.

I’ve got a Hunting Revolver, .357, 9mm, 10mm, That Gun, Silenced .22, and a .44 Magnum for hand guns. Not including energy weapons or SubMachine Guns of course. Why do I keep them all around? Hell if I know.

I like the Hunting Revolver, it’s got a scope. I find the scope is more accurate than VATS in most situations. The .357 is powerful but reloading is a pain. The That Gun and .22 have pretty rapid fire but do low damage. I mostly keep the .22 around in case I need to do some serious sneaking. The 9mm and 10mm are a nice bridge between power and reloading so I use them a lot more often, but I don’t have much ammo for the .44 yet.

As for rifles and SMGs, I’ve got the 10mm and 9mm of course, a Varmit Rifle with scope, Hunting Rifle with scope, and a Service rifle. None of the advanced carbines yet, nor any unique or sniper rifles. I’m sure some people are thinking “why is he carrying around the Varmit, he may as well have a BB gun with him” but to that I say the scope makes it halfway decent.

Why don’t I ditch handguns in favour of automatic or energy weapons? I’m crazy.

Speaking of energy weapons, I now have a Laser Pistol, Plasma Pistol, Laser Rifle, Plasma Rifle, and a Laser RCW. My energy weapons skill isn’t very high yet, guns are taking a priority, but eventually their high tech allure will draw me in.

It’s always a pleasure to see somebody vaporize into ash. Uhm. I guess that doesn’t actually work as a sentence.

As far as Heavy weapons and explosives go, I haven’t got much. Just the Incinerator and a Grenade Rifle for heavy weapons. The Incinerator seems to be the only thing that works to get Giant Radscorpions off my ass, and don’t get me started on how to deal with Deathclaws. Frag grenades and mines, Pulse grenades and mines, a few sticks of dynamite just in case, and that’s all I’ve got.

I don’t carry melee weapons around, nor any kind of rare weapons like Detonators or Plastic. Pretty standard run and gun really. I keep all these guns in my inventory and switch between them often. Why is that when I could simplify my life by specializing in a few good weapons?

I could ditch virtually every handgun, the Varmit and Hunting Rifle, the energy pistols, dynamite, the shotgun, and still have all the weaponry I could conceive of needing in the wastes. Not to mention the weight it would free up.

For some reason it just doesn’t seem like it would be any fun.

I guess that’s why I’m the baddest hombre in the Mojave Wasteland.

Variety is the spice of life

Top Ten Canadian Video Games

September 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Posted in rpg | 2 Comments
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Mating rituals aside...

The CBC put up a list of the, well, it’s in the title folks, and I was a little perplexed by a few things.

For those who rarely think of anything existing outside their country, the cbc is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and yes, we do make video games. Quite a few. What with Electronic Arts and studios from every other major game company.

Perhaps part of the problem I have with the list, and with all lists, is that there is a definite prejudice towards more recent games.

There are only 3 games pre-1998. Only one from the 80s. Kind of neglecting 20 years of video game history to focus on the last 12 aren’t we? Oh sure, I can’t name any Canadian games in the 80s, but surely someone writing an article should be able to come up with something.

Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe there aren’t amazingly well designed games from the 70s and 80s at all, let alone Canadian ones.

I personally don’t ascribe to the thought that old games mean bad games.

Some of the choices confuse me as well. NHL 94 is #4 on this list because what? It’s hockey and Canadians play hockey and haha that’s hilarious? NHL 94, IIRC, wasn’t all that different from NHL 93, it just happened to be the first NHL game produced in Canada.

I have terrible memories of “ice hockey” for the Atari. There is no such god damned thing.

Two of the big criteria for being on the list appear to be whether they were hits and made a lot of money, and whether they won magazine or online game of the year awards. Not really what I’d go by.

Other than that the list is great! I might have added KOTOR to the list, but couldn’t be happier about Mass Effect 2.

Bathesda At PAX

September 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Posted in rpg | Comments Off on Bathesda At PAX
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What happens in Vegas, is destroyed by nuclear fallout.

So I was reading through some things and came across some of the booth shots that Bathesda posted at their blog.

I don’t have much to say other than, that is a really good booth. I wonder what it cost.

I’m not really interested in Brink,or RAGE, but maybe I should start looking into Hunted?

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