Guild Wars 2 Epic Rap

October 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, video | 1 Comment
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I am unfamiliar with Verse Academy but this is a good track and video.

Tuesday, August 28th

June 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, video | 16 Comments
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When it’s ready. Those are the persistent words of Arenanet. Superfans are pretty tired of hearing them. Thankfully, for the time being we won’t have to hear them anymore. Guild Wars 2 launches on Tuesday, August 28th.

Nearly 3 years of blogging about a game that hasn’t been released yet. It seems hard to comprehend. Of course I’ll be in 3 days early, having pre-purchased the digital deluxe edition.

The next beta weekend has also been announced as July 20th through 22nd.

Top 7 Events In The Guild Wars 2 Beta

June 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 19 Comments
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There are going to be a lot of events in Guild Wars 2 but so far we’ve only been able to play through 7 zones. I’ve seen a lot of really cool events so I thought I’d pick some out.

One thing I noticed however is that a lot of cool events are tied together. Instead of picking 3 events from the same chain, I’m going to limit myself to one event from each zone.

And hey, let me know if there’s an event you think I am clearly missing or wrong about.

In no particular order.


Hail Cthulhu!

There are some epic events in Queensdale to be sure, but you can’t top the excitement of the Godslost Swamp meta-event. The best one of these is clearly the Shadow Behemoth.

What I like is the complexity. Dodging massive AoEs while kiting Underworld monsters, getting rid of the portals while watching for the beasts tendrils to dip into the murky swamp water. Then waiting to pummel the things face. It’s a fun mix of dexterity and panic.

Few make it through their first time alive.

Kessex Hills

I didn’t write this list to just go around naming the most gigantic and epic events however, and there are plenty of events that just have a nice surprise or good writing.

I was wandering through the south of Kessex one day and I saw an event marker on my map. I headed to it trying to avoid aggro, and having not seen the NPC, glanced at the map a second time, only to fall into a deep hole.

And that is how I discovered Kari, a small girl who fell down a well. You are her Lassie, and have to protect her on the way back. It’s not a big spectacular boss fight, but it starts cleverly and is more pluasible than just about any traditional quest I’ve ever completed.

Wayfarer Foothills

There are a couple of contenders in every zone, but the final event in the meta-event The Frozen Maw is pretty wicked. The lead up to it is unimpressive, being no more than some closely packed and highly chaotic fights.

When the final event kicks off things go from heated clashes with the NPCs to “Oh my god, I’m going to die, somebody help me! Is that a $#%^ing tornado!?”

Snowden Drifts

A Largos in action trying to assasinate a kodan leader.

I’ve talked a bit about my favourite event in Snowden Drifts before. It’s our first introduction to a new race, the Largos.

It’s not much more than a single fight. A Largos comes out of nowhere to attack the kodan Claw. It’s your job to kill him instead. But considering I’ve never seen the Largos in any previous incarnation of the Guild Wars universe and his mysterious disappearance after you defeat him, makes this one of my favourite events.

Plains of Ashford

I think my favourite event in Ashford was the event inside the jumping puzzle. Without spoiling anything, it was a long hard slog to get to and interesting in the details surrounding it once you finally get there.

It’s almost a reward for finally making it that far in the puzzle and overcoming all the obstacles. What’s really wonderful about it is that it isn’t even the end of the puzzle, just another step.

Diessa Plateau

My favourite event in the middle of Diessa isn’t particularly impressive. A cattle ranch is under attack by harpies, you drive them off while protecting the cows. The part that makes it interesting is what happens afterward.

You get to fire the cattlepult.

It’s just as it sounds. A catapult that fires cattle. Before you do though, make sure to bet on it. You’ve got about 33% chance of doubling your money.

Gendarran Fields

What’s more fun as a kid than going off on an adventure? That’s the basis for my favourite event in Gendarran, just outside Applenook Hamlet.

Approaching a group of children sets off some sarcastic remarks, and after takling to one of the children, they run off in search of treasure. But you won’t be their only protector along the way, you make a new friend too.

It’s a definite callback to the goonies and a true representation of all our childhood dreams.

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.

Pre-Purchase Details

March 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 47 Comments
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You know I didn’t actually buy any of the collector’s editions for Guild Wars. I didn’t think the custom emotes, the art book or the music was really worth it. Just not things I would enjoy over a long period of time.

That said I was very open to buying the Guild Wars 2 collector’s edition until today.

Pre orders start April 10th.

All pre-orders

Beta access
3 day head start
Hero’s band

Digital Deluxe $80

Summon Mistfire Wolf Elite Skill
Rytlock Miniature
Golem Banker
Chalice of Glory
Tome of Influence

Collector’s Edition $150

10-inch figurine of Rytlock
112 page Making of Guild Wars 2 book
Custom Art Frame
Art Portfolio and Five Art Prints
Best of Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack CD

I was really hoping for some character slots, or bank slots, or something that was useful over the long term. Books and art and one time use consumables don’t interest me at all. And maybe I still would have gotten it, if it wasn’t $150.

As with SWTOR it’s fine if you like the stuff they’re throwing in, but I’m not interested.

The digital deluxe version is slightly more intriguing but I’m still thinking it over. I didn’t end up getting the DD for SWTOR but I’ve been enjoying the game and haven’t regretted it at all. If that is anything to go by then maybe I shouldn’t get the DD.

But I’ll go ahead and explain why I’m personally (seriously, my own personal reasons) not impressed.

The soundtrack. Considering I’ll be listening to the in game music enough that I’m already sick of it, having a copy on hand doesn’t seem worth it. I’m sure many will never get sick of the music but I will.

Art prints and frame. I am a big fan of the art, every time I change my desktop or need an image for a blog post I go straight to Guild Wars 2 art. I’m over familiar with it and don’t particularly need it on my walls cluttering up my spiderman poster space.

Making of Guild Wars 2 book. I’ve been keeping track, thanks.

10-inch Rytlock. I’m just getting way too old for that sort of thing. I’m sure it looks fantastic and a lot of people would love it.

Tome of Influence. I have to wonder how much influence this grants and how useful it is. A one time use is a definite mark against it. If it’s a low amount of influence I’m sure it will help guilds when groups of people use it, but it’s nothing a few days of regular play in other guilds wouldn’t fix.

Chalice of Glory. Again, a one time use consumable to increase PvP glory only gives you a small headstart. I suppose it depends on how long it lasts and how much of an increase. Practically meaningless if you don’t PvP much.

Golem Banker. This would be fantastic if it wasn’t a one time use. 5 days? Really?

Rytlock miniature. Some people squee over miniatures, I mildly grin and move along. Making a choice to spend an extra 90 bucks or even 20 for the digital deluxe shouldn’t hinge on a single miniature.

Mistfire Wolf Elite skill. This to me is one of the few things I’m interested in. I really want it.

Hero’s band. At first this sounds great, and then you look at the stats. This is a very low level item that most characters would outgrow quickly. I can’t say by what level but I suppose you could trade around to all your low levels. Or I would hope so. Thankfully this is for anyone who preorders.

Beta Access. Again this is for anyone who pre-orders. Which means there are going to be craploads of people in beta events post April 10th.

3 day headstart. Yeah I guess I’d want in on this.

And that is my assessment of the collector’s edition items. I hated the SWTOR CE so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s just not worth it to me personally. Even buying the digital deluxe is questionable at this point, however I think I’m probably going to end up with it.

The Skyrim Statistics

January 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Posted in rpg | 4 Comments
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Statistically speaking he's there are too many horns here.

I finally got around to doing the main story in Skyrim and although I have thoroughly and unabashedly enjoyed this game, it was a little underwhelming.

I played through much of the game on adept difficulty, turning it to expert a couple of weeks ago. After reaching level 50 much of the game becomes quite easy and this didn’t change when I upped the challenge. Expert was a barely discernible change from adept.

The end too wasn’t particularly different or awe inspiring. The last fight is simply a repetition of something I ended up doing through the majority of the game. I was hoping for something new and exciting. At least it wasn’t like the end of Fallout 3.

Aside from that though I thought it might be interesting to go over some of the statistics Skyrim keeps track of.

For instance I spent 328 days as a werewolf. Mostly because I was too lazy to go get the cure. Once I became infected with Sanguinare Vampiris I decided enough was enough and only spent 2 days as a night walker.

I discovered 344 locations and cleared 168 dungeons. Or at least, that’s how many I discovered and cleared before I got bored and stopped playing. I’m sure there are more to find but I’m pretty burnt out.

I found over 520k gold, and by the time I had saved the world I had about 170k on my person. I looted around 1900 chests, but god knows how many urns I looked inside of.

I read 361 books in Skyrim. Yes there are that many. Some of them quite long, though I never found anything but volume one of A Dance In Fire, nor many volumes of The Argonian Account. My two favourite short stories. 87 of those books were skill books.

I ate 884 pieces of food. Though I wish there were more recipes and the lack of worthy things to cook certainly puts me off. Perhaps cooking could be incorporated with alchemy in a future game, or somehow made more worthwhile. As it stands I won’t bother with it in the future.

My quests are so bugged that even the statistics are bugged. It says I’ve completed -4 Thieves Guild quests. Minus four. It says I’ve completed 26 Dark Brotherhood quests, but 8 companion quests, and 9 college. Surely there is too much weight being put upon some quest chains over others. And 341 misc objectives? Surely not. Surely.

I am a monster.

I killed 1400 people, almost a thousand sneak attacks, and 500 stabbed in the back. 700 innocent animals lost their lives to me. Although I did kill nearly 750 undead and 350 creatures, that does not absolve me. Also I plucked the wings off 50 insects.

I used over a thousand potions, mostly stolen. It’s too bad that with all those potions I never think to use them before I get into trouble, an ounce of prevention and all that.

I’m probably most proud of my crime statistics though. I mean, I am a one man walking crime tsunami.

I was jailed twice and escaped once, spending a total of 0 days in jail. I mean if you’re good, you learn not to get caught right? And if you get caught, you learn not to stay caught.

These statistics seem like they would have to be pretty inaccurate most of the time. I’m not much of a pickpocketer, having only picked 56 pockets, but somehow I grabbed over 700 items from those pockets.

I picked over 500 locks, stole over 1000 items, murdered 32 people and assaulted 51. I trespassed 53 times and and stole 7 horses.

But I’m not all bad right? Bunnies slaughtered: Zero.

The Skyrim Rigmarole

December 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Posted in rpg | 18 Comments
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I come over the hill to Winterhold. How anybody could live in a constant snowstorm is beyond me. Oh wait, I live in Canada. Nevermind. Winterhold at first glance is less impressive than other cities. Immediately I notice several abandoned and ruined homesteads as I do some recon. And then I hear a familiar sound coming from the skies.

Just another day in Skyrim.

The dragon kills two guards before I can even get it to land on the ground. Once down I make short work of it. My ebony war axe is exquisite and does cold damage. Nothing like dealing death with something you’ve made yourself.

The first thing I do in any town or village is talk to every single person. I don’t care if it’s a child, a servant, or the Jarl, I’m looking for work and will take it where I can find it.

I’m in town on a number of jobs. I have to pick up an item for Riften’s court wizard, talk to a contact about translating an old journal, and I’m interested in joining the Mages College. Before I leave the village for the college I have collected yet more things to do.

I wander up to the college and repeat. Talking to every single man and mer, entering every room, and cautiously avoiding any area that looks like it may become interesting later on. The Midden suspiciously qualifies as one such area, so I look through my to-do list and pick out a random activity.

Because I’m incredibly anal and travel on foot (not horse since you sometimes miss interesting things from horseback) to locations that are generally on the way to my destination, I’ve already visited the spot in question and quickly make my way there.

I do a quick reconnaissance before entering a dungeon, every time, and then while inside, look over almost every burial urn, body, and chest. One reason they say I have the Golden Touch.

I switch between axe and bow, but I’m always sneaking. This is the first skill I completely master in Skyrim, but it won’t be the last.

The details of the dungeon don’t really matter. At some point I’ve avoided traps and tripped others. I’ve made child’s play of one enemy while another with the exact same skills nearly kills me. I’ve discovered one hidden door or chest and probably missed others. The final boss is either challenging or a walk in the park.

By the time I leave I am carrying at least 100 pounds of loot.

It’s fascinating to me that even though I keep to a personal rule of thumb (I only pick up things that are worth more than 10x what they weigh) I still get overloaded pretty quickly. Probably because I pick up too many weapons and armour, but if I don’t have anything to sell to the blacksmiths I won’t make much money and we come back to that whole anal thing.

This means that every two dungeons I have to return to town to visit various shopkeepers. At each shopkeeper I have to first purchase things, because by the time I’ve sold them all my stuff, they’re going to be broke. It ends up being a near zero sum game but it keeps me supplied and there is a reason my speechcraft is so high when I don’t work on it outside selling things.

It’s all incredibly pointless but fun to me.

There are of course the things I intend to keep as well. I stop off at home and drop those off in their respective chests. Each chest is organized in a way that probably only makes sense to me.

I have a chest for books and keys. The bookcases provided fill up quite quickly. I could sell the books of course but sometimes I want to read them later and sometimes they only make sense to hang on to since as a professional thief for instance I should hang on to tomes about sneaking.

In Oblivion I preferred the small squat shack outside the Imperial City because it was centrally located and easy to get to. In Skyrim Breezehome is very near the gates to Whiterun and easily purchased. I put my alchemy agents, potions, smithing ingredients, and soul stones in the first cabinet on the left.

I then proceed to the back where I shove armour and weapons. I usually hang on to anything with a rare enchantment that might be useful in a rare situation. Bracers of pickpocketing for instance, since pickpocketing for me isn’t a priority they might be useful if a situation calls for it.

After I’ve lightened my load of any and all extraneous weight, I start looking at my next quests. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Some people are slightly less organized with their loot in Breezehome.

Getting Companions

November 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Posted in mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 14 Comments
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The companions which have an available bio.

Some people don’t like Bioware games. I don’t get it. My guess is the mechanics of the game keeping them from enjoying the usually magnificent story.

Me, I’ve been playing video games for a long damn time. I’ve been exposed to the bare bones of gaming so when I come across a game with a few flaws, I don’t necessarily let it instantly ruin it for me.

Apparently companions are one mechanic a lot of people could do without.

Many don’t appreciate the henchmen or heroes in Guild Wars for example. They think it allows people to play without others. And while it does destroy the PUG community, I can’t say I miss having to group with idiots, trolls, incompetents and malcontents.

I’ve always thought of it as a tool to allow you to play with friends without having to diplomatically decide who will play what class or what role. No one wants to play monk? No problem.

Which brings us to Star Wars: The Old Republic’s companions.

Companions don’t play the same role they do in Guild Wars. They are a huge story element. You quest for them, you get to know them, you romance them, they do your chores, take out the trash and are customizable.

On a mechanics level I think they’re actually more akin to pets. I think they effectively make every class in SWTOR a pet class, which is actually kind of interesting.

I had experience with two companions. Khem Val and Kaliyo.

Khem Val is essentially a tank as demonstrated in the video. My inquisitors pet. I found that because I was playing a Sith, even though I had some ranged attacks I often closed with people early on. That meant that instead of being shielding by my tank I was often right beside him. Kind of annoying. I definitely should have changed tactics but it was my first play-through and I had no idea what I was doing. His personality left something to be desired. Even when I was being evil it was not good enough for this guy. You have to be seriously rotten to impress him. Also I’m not really the type to enjoy a companion who walks around in a loincloth although I’m sure that can be changed later. Because I didn’t like him, I never looked into it.

Kaliyo was a doll. My agent’s pet. I liked her voice, her personality, her look. It was a little more difficult pinning down just where she draws the line with regard to authority and the light/dark side of things but I handled it. She often took the brunt of attacks though I believe we were both focused on range.

Interesting that I’m describing them in terms that might be different than any other game where you’d have something like this, no?

This is the first promotional video from SWTOR in a while that really caught my attention.

In SWTOR companions are more than an impediment to grouping. They’re a pet, a friend, a helpful tool. Yes they sometimes take up a group slot. For better or worse.

No, not at all. I don’t get why people feel they impede the sense of being in an MMO. Then again I don’t get why some people feel the blasters should kill with one shot, and that’s effing ridiculous, so maybe I should just resign myself to not getting why people won’t get over their own baggage and just enjoy the game.

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.

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