Games, Rants, and other things, not involving unicorn horns.

Hey all, long time no visit.

I figure if any of you are like I am. You just check a site every day or every few days for new content, and if there isn’t any, you just check it out later.

So in that case, long time no chats. But it hasn’t been empty for me mind you. I’ve been playing some good software, and other stuffs as well.

Hmm, some thoughts.

Elemental: War of Magic, I think with the upcoming changes and the new direction with the game, it’s starting to draw my interest back towards it again. That’s a good sign, cause I haven’t even touched the game in months. Didn’t feel like being a guinea pig for an incomplete game, in the sense that it was going to change significantly over and over again. But that said, it’s a game I own. And they can fix stuff, and I’ll get the benefits. Because it’s Stardock. They may of put out a game that was WOEFULLY, incomplete, and devoid of what I expected to be there. But.. it’s getting a new life. And that’s a good thing. Stardock put’s up, where others just shut up and shuffle onto new games, or projects or selling themselves out to make a buck. Now if we can just get them to … you know add some fantasy in the vein of the cool game type it’s supposedly modeled after (Masters of Magic). That would make me really happy.

Fallout: New Vegas. I played that game for about 35 hours. And there is a LOT more to do. But I realized as I was playing it, that the pay off’s for accomplishing tasks wasn’t really worth my effort at times. There were some bugs, and in other cases, it just felt empty. Saved the lives and livelihoods of quite a few people, share croppers, and some others. Found a source of radiation and took care of it. But what did I get out of that? Jack Friggin’ Shit. Nothing from the people who’s lives I made viable.

And if you’ve noticed my opinions in other games. Getting a payout that is rewarding is important to my gameplay whether it’s at the end of the game or a damn quest. Hell I could of totally screwed those damn sharecroppers and helped some people trapped, instead I left them trapped and to die. (People I knew vs people I hadn’t met.) And the reward was a notch on my quests list.

Bah.. frakkers.

Okay so that’s why I stopped playing that game for now. Will get back to it when I’m less salty about them teasing rewards, only to put their panties back on. But whatever.

Hmmm…

Oh that brings me to some other stuff.

One, I’ve picked up the Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition. And just can’t bring myself to play it right now. Cause the team that I would enjoy playing most is just an orc team. Which I was already playing in the Dark Elf Edition. And the other teams just don’t have that solid bashing style and fun, while being as resistant. I may try dwarves, but they move so damn slow. And don’t have any gronks.

I’ll play it later.

Alien Swarm, played it for a while, had fun. Finished a campaign and realized that was all there was to it. Fun but ultimately unfulfilling. Good for a free game.

And that brings me to the changes by The Slumlords of the Coast.

They decided in their ultimate wisdom to release a stinking pile of shit that doesn’t work right away. I’m referring to their idiotic attempt to control the way their customer’s play the damn game. That’s cause they killed the current Character Builder and put it all online.

And the one online, sucks. And I don’t care about their attempts to avoid piracy and to make money. I don’t give a shit. They just seem to make the absolutely worst fucking decisions when it comes to the products they offer. And I don’t cuss very often on my blog. But those guys are fucking idiots and the moron who approved that online only bullshit while keeping us waiting for 3 months for updates, can go fuck off.

I’ve known for a long time that Wizards of the Coast suck when it comes to the digital realm. They have no fucking clue and won’t spend their money to get it done right. Always fucking shit up. Hell they fucked up pdf’s. (Cause you know, the security measures of watermarking worked exactly as designed, and they were able to sue the pirates as a result.) So, them fucking this up is pretty much par for the norm. When will they realize that they could literally create a true evolution of the game and embrace modern times. But no, they think they can offer bullshit and we’ll just keep paying.

I love 4th edition. But it is a beast from a logistical stand point. And having a tool that helps keep all the important pieces in front of you with out having to reprint, and reprint, and reprint the character over and over again. Is.. well modern. But no these fucktards, think it’s all good to just take their ball back home with them, and leave those who’ve used the tool exactly as presented to play their game. I have much more vitriol on this subject as it is. The only saving grace is that I really love this system. I do. It’s smart, simple and let’s me focus on DMing, with some minor groundwork on the monsters, for minor customizations. All good and ready to go. So that the story is the key focus.

But now they just made it more difficult for me as a DM, since they won’t be posting their characters up on our private forums for me to look over and make sure the math is right, and that everything is accurate. (By the way the new CB 2.0 already is still fucked even on math, like you know not adding the enhancement of the item to an attack as an implement.) This shit makes me want to do things that are not rational. Quite simple as that. Because you know what. They aren’t like Stardock. I have NO faith in this company fixing things, or doing it right. Because they have a history of fucking it up. Hell take a look at their Magic the Gathering online presentation. Set’s that are subpar, and not customizable. Because they want you to play THEIR way. Not the way you’ve been doing it all along.

Whomever is in charge over there, at the top is fucking this shit up. And this isn’t some simple nerdrage. I’m tired of shitty dribbles by this Company. But on that note. I’m gonna let it go, and hope that someone wakes them up. Because when a company is done without passion, without a personal appreciation for the product, you get what we get. Decisions that have nothing to do with the betterment for the customer. You get idiotic decisions presented, and then people get let go. And the vicious cycle begin’s anew. And the douche bags at the top, report to their corporate master, who keep the perpetual machine of fuckings coming along.

And you’ve got to know this up front. I LOVE this new edition of D&D. Because they also embraced that it’s a brand new millenium. And now some dickwad thinks it’s alright to go back to 1983 tech. Without making sure everything works right. Fuck that. But now that my rant on this subject for now is done.

I’ll leave you with the knowledge that in life, we get what we need. And we don’t always like what we get, and it maybe a lesson directly for us, or for others. But we needed it for whatever reason. Be it betterment in life, or to avoid fucking up like The Slumlords of the Coast/Hasbro. Or to inspire us to adapt the game mechanics into a homebrew that’ll really let the players just get in and have a blast.

But anyhow. Be safe out there everyone, and have a great day, wonderful week, and a great year. I’ll see you in my next posts.. which I’ll try to do more frequently, as things are starting to become more balanced, now that some ennui is dealt with.

Posted in D&D, Elemental: War of Magic, Games, General Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Words I throttle you with words..

Hey Everyone,

Sorry for being incommunicado of late. Game season has taken hold and it often refuses to relent.

Let’s see. Gamma World. Civilization 5. And now Fallout: New Vegas.

Oh and working out and staying healthy.

So, let’s start this off with an Elemental note.

So.. did you hear that Elemental hired the guy who created that fantastic Civ 4 Mod, called Fall from Heaven. Yeah, now that is some great news. Why you ask?

Well, let’s see.. someone with a grand vision and passion, while making 0 money on it. Came up with something they were in love with. So double that bad boy up and stick in a guy who’s got project skills, and a strong fantasy vision. That’s a very good thing.

See I really like Frogboy. He’s a man of his word. And they’ll go out of their way to make up for their disaster of a game they put out called Elemental: War of Magic. And it was a disaster. As I’ve written about in the past. (And it’s not just cause they didn’t use the tropes and coverings on the skeleton of the game, that are familiar to everyone.)

So, now they’ve got a visionary on the team. And that’s going to be very important, to the overall identity of Elemental. Though I do find myself wondering if Elemental is an extremely damaged brand or if it will need a new identity to really make up for the failure it represented. (As expressed by the guys over at Penny Arcade.) And really, I know they’ll make the game something good down the road. Just have to wait for it is all. My guess is irony will bring a great game to us in February.

So… that’s my thoughts on Elemental right now. (In truth, I would love to give them an idea where they can turn it into a real game. But I’m willing to see if what they put together long term is something I’m willing to be interested in.)

So … now..

Gamma World.

Okay this game is full of win. It uses the 4th edition mechanical structure. And then adds some zany aspects to an alternate universe reality. And it can be incredibly funny and entertaining. Though this is much deadlier than the standardized version of 4th edition. As the PC’s could be one shot by some of their normal opponents. Which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. As it’s easy to just get right back into another character in the next encounter.

I also happened to put all the creatures in the book into the Adventure Tool: Monster Builder program, that we use for 4th edition D&D.

And then made power cards for all the powers from the origins. And then I found myself at Kinko’s printing them off and character sheets, and card sleeves, and new d20’s.

And then I realized fully what it represents to me.

The 4th edition architecture for the mechanics are extremely portable and easy to adapt to ANY genre. Super Heroes, and say Battletech, or horror, or Modern, or hard Sci-Fi, etcetera.

And that is what excites me about it. Anything that creates some fun and is easily playable. While being effectively compatible with each other. While also then being easily familiar to the players is a good thing. No spending days learning a new system. Just a little bit of the variables and voila. Fun.

Now for those who already are familiar with this idea, many would say Rifts, or Gurps. And while I like those systems. They aren’t elegant and fun. 4th edition is elegant in it’s structure, and reducing extra workloads for the DM’s. And that is what is quite important to me, in an RPG.

Genre, and setting are merely the tapestry that is laid over the skeleton. To give it flesh and sinew, that will draw your players into a good time.

So.. Gamma World is a nice diversion from the typical 4th edition D&D session. Which is a great setting to get your hands on.

Now.. some folks have complained about the collectible cards that DM’s and players can buy to enhance their gameplay. And the only argument that actually belongs at all in that conversation is the price point. $4 for 8 cards is bull shit. Who was the moron who came up with that great idea? Cause to you sir or madam, suck. No niche game just starting out should have such an expensive cost point. $3 for 10 I would of been fine with, and realistically 15 for $2.50 is where they belong in the cost point chart. But the $3 for 10 is where it goes, right now it should be $2 for 8. It actually pisses me off as a customer. And that shows you that a customer who just bought the damn game is aggravated. Well you know, that’s a poor business decision. Simple as that. That and the commons in the booster packs are too common. Which leads to purely lost sales from people who would of spent money on the product.

Hence the idea of a Free To Play system that is currently becoming all the rage. Because you reduce the price points down to an easily affordable level and you get more sales across the board. Seriously.. how do these companies not learn from their tangential environment.

Hence games like oh.. I don’t know.. Lord of the Rings Online, DOUBLING their money, after having gone to free to play. Let that sink in. Take a look at DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online), it’s fully sustainable now that it’s free.

Wizards could learn from this field. Right now.. they are failing in figuring out how to monetize their games in this modern world.

… okay enough about poor business models for fun games.

Let’s look at.. Civ 5.

I’ve not played it since the last time I won. And that’s because I’m still pissed about the lack of an ending that pays off. The game itself is great. Really, top notch, lots of fun. And I see myself looking at the game thinking, WHEN will someone listen and get us a REAL Fantasy version of Civilization?

Which leads me to think that some days, I wish I had a real voice or outlet somewhere that would turn my ideas into the goldmine that they are. One of these days I’ll get that chance.

But back to Civ 5. Great game. Absolutely shitty ending. There is no excuse for that type of ending, in a triple A game. Simply none. The end of a game should be a review of key moments during gameplay. Flashback to big battles, or starts of wars, or ending of wars, great stories, and new things that were key to winning. But Civ 5, felt like a great game that just gives out at the end. Like hey we ran out of money, and couldn’t afford the tech to track what happens in the game to give you an overview of how awesome you were or how close you came to losing.

But I’m gonna let it go for now.

And onwards to the new game that has grabbed my cerebral cortex and won’t let go.

Fallout: New Vegas.

Alright, I avoided all the hype about this game for the last whatever length of time. And since I’ve played all the real incarnations of this game from it’s inception, I wasn’t going to avoid another full blown new game.

So, I got a little worried at first when I saw Obsidian was the developer of this one. See Obsidian is a good company that releases tons of bugs along with their games, due to whatever their philosophy is there. See I know they’ve got good stories most of the time. And usually their technical knowledge is strong, and they can present you a good game most of the time. But usually, along the way, you have to put up with some heinous bugs. Stuff that just doesn’t make sense, crashes, or quick saves that only ever remember the first quick save you do, when you start the game up again.

So knowing that.. I started playing the game at 2:05am. And went to bed around 11:30am or so. And found I was having genuine fun. And that the story was compelling and the world was fun and dark and scary, but not so oppresively bleak that I felt like just giving up.. (the atmosphere in Fallout 3 was just exactly what it’s supposed to be.. Seattle like.. totally depressing.)

So I’ve been playing and having a LOT of fun. I’m especially enjoying the greater stories going on, with the conflict between the two big dogs on the block.

So far, the game is a blast. Though one thing I’ve found that is annoying.. crafting ammo should be much easier. But it’s not. Which just ends up frustrating me in all honesty. Even when I get the level up, I find that I don’t have some primer or other bullshit and it’s like? Really? Where is this mystical primer that it requires? No one is dropping it anywhere. So WTF?

Beyond that failing of logic, which feels very Obsidian like. I’m still digging the game quite a bit. Just finally made my way up to New Vegas, after having been doing the southern quadrant and a bit to the east along the way up there.

Though so far, my one favorite moment was when I saw a predator talking about something so I fired where I figured it’s head was.. and critted and killed it. And was like.. Whoa. Then saw it wasn’t a real predator, but something else, was like.. Dang.. but funny!

Though that leads me to another complaint about the series in general. Heads popping off cleanly all the time. I’ve either got some surgical fucking shooting going on to only blow my opponents necks and heads up.. or the game just thinks it’s funny.

Like I shoot a guy in the eye, repeatedly, and suddenly it crit’s and POP head goes flying in the air. And I’m like.. look out.. and Whoa.. I didn’t know the head explodes cleanly from the neck if you shoot someone repeatedly in the eye.

But.. whatever.

I’m not letting it diminish my enjoyment, and I am enjoying the heck out of the game. Though it’s funny I’m like Yay.. I’ve got 5k bottle caps.. then I stopped up at the Gun Runners, and they want to sell me stuff for like 3-4K.. and I’m just like.. uhm whoa.. will just have to kill some guys with the guns I want. But then in those games I’m super frugal. Very rarely do I spend money on stuff there, just in case something awesome comes up.

Anyway’s.. the game is a LOT of fun. And I can recommend it. Right now I would give it an 4 out of 5. And something that is worth owning.

Now that rating scale again is a hard bell curve style. 3 being average, and 2.5-3.5 being the normal deviation but a 4 is something special and worth owning, a 5 is usually reserved for awesomesauce. 2 is something that just doesn’t meet the requirements for owning or seeing more than once.

Dragon Age was a 4.5 out of 5. Elemental, right now.. having left the glow of past games go by.. and getting some time and letting it settle in. And I can’t give it a real score.. cause it feels like a 1.5-2. But that if they just put some fantasy in that game and turn it on for it being fun, that it could be just that. A good game. And I know it needs some time in the kitchen to fix properly. Kinda like someone brought it out from the kitchen to early, and didn’t realize it until it was too late, but the customer is in a good mood since they are talking with their friends, and the delay is alright, because it gives them more time to be in each other’s presence. But that’s a bit of a stretch. Just hope they pull it together and make it awesome.

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Wading through time and monsters.

So of late I’ve been in busy mode with games and life.

Played Civilization 5. And really like the game. It’s a LOT of fun. This to me is how the series should progress. (Though I must confess, I keep wanting a Fantasy Civilization game dammit. When will someone really make one.) The only thing I’ve found I dislike for Civ 5 is the ending. It’s so anticlimactic that it almost ruins the game play.

Kinda goes like this. Hours of gameplay, trying hard to outwit the enemy and hope they don’t expand too much and throw their hundred units all at you at once. You survive, and win by a Culture win.

Game over.

That’s it. No cool progress of what you did during the ages, no discussion about how cool you were, or how close the game was. It’s.. here’s some numbers. Fuck you, game over.

It’s so quickly over that it’s jarring. All that effort and they couldn’t even give you the common courtesy of a reach around. Seriously?

Okay.. that’s the only thing that blemishes Civ 5 in my eyes. Great game beyond that.

Still waiting on Elemental, to get some more legs under it and a stronger identity before I devote more time to that game.

Tried Alien Swarm. Free on Steam. And I’ve got to be honest. A lot of fun. The controls take a bit getting used to. But the game is actually fun. It’s a lot of fun for Free no less!

Played the WoW boardgame this last weekend. Took forever to get everyone up to speed on playing. But once we did it got to be a lot of fun.

Life has been presenting me with some rather intriguing experiences. But that’s life, and it’s an amazing concept. That and a genetic algorithm, that I read about over on Io9. That was very neat.

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What? Me Busy, who said? Well unto thee I say.. verily.

Sorry for the delay in writing, just been very preoccupied of late. That and exercising my butt off at a YMCA is a good thing.

Prepare for some unexpected thoughts.

Okay, not really all that unexpected.

So we all know that I was left very disappointed in Elemental. It failed on way to many fronts. Now, I know it’s a game that once they get a good bit of time to really address it’ll be ready to go and will be a great game to jump right back into. But I’ve got to be honest.. I haven’t done any videos yet for it since my last one. Golden 4.

Because in truth.. with all the changes coming, and things being cleaned up, I don’t want to jump in and learn how to play to only have to go back and yet, once more learn how to play all over again.. and then another patch down the road, makes me do the same thing.

That’s just truth and honesty speaking. And for Elemental, and for all of you, I’m going to just keep doing that.

The truth. I’m in waiting mode for Elemental. Because, they’ve got a lot to do to get that game actually ready. And after pouring tons and tons and tons of time and thought and efforts into helping them come up with something more organic and stronger.. and time after time, it wasn’t really acknowledged. I figure, let’s see what they come up with in a while. Because I’m done putting in my thoughts on the game for a while. I’ve written many dissertations on combat, and unit experience, and leaders, and cities, and the whole damn game. And it just didn’t rock my socks. Like hey, there are tons of great games out there that do aspects of what Elemental was trying to do. And they did it really well but could of always done better. Yet, it was like Elemental settled on mediocrity, and going with as bland a fantasy world as possible. And you know what.. that’s just my opinion. That’s all it is. A frustrated opinion.. but I still have hopes for the game.

But this let’s me segue to a game I got yesterday. Civilization 5.

Okay, I’ve only got a good half hour into the game, and I found myself, just really diving into the game and having a total blast. The world looks beautiful. And I mean beautiful. The one unit per hex thing is a bit off putting, but after a bit.. I’m getting used to it. But the game is really starting to get fun.. Oh and they did a few things that Elemental should of done right on launch. (Not talking about their gorgeous and easy to read and use UI.)

I’m talking about Minor Factions, those are how the minor factions should have been done and actually the way I expected them to be in Elemental. Oh and the home city is able to defend itself without having to garrison troops into it. That’s exactly what should of happened in Elemental. A city has it’s own attack value, and so on, and a ranged attack.

Did I mention the game looks great? I’m looking forward to playing it long term, and it did it right, right out of the gate! (Though the idiotic intro video that you can’t skip unless you go to the preferences files and change it’s value to get the damn thing to stop.. is a bit more aggravating than I realized.)

Though on a note, the game did crash on me a few times already. So on that front it doesn’t beat Elemental. But for the sheer number of cool features in it.. it’s like the game was done right.

So.. grand scheme, I’m really enjoying Civ 5 a lot now. And I would love to see a fantasy version of it already.. to be honest. But I’m not ready to give a score to Civ 5 yet. I’ll do that later. Until then, it’s just a matter of getting in and checking it out more.

Some other notes.. damn today is going to be busy for me.. gotta go work out after work, get breakfast and dinner, and then hit the bank later and be in bed a decent time to wake up and get into a business meeting for an hour 15 minutes, and then enjoy the rest of my night before I have to head back to work. But.. through all of that.. yay! And I hope my friend is feeling better than the other day.

Life is interesting.. events will present themselves in unexpected situations. (Not Jersey Shore situations..) but.. that being said.. if Expectations lead to suffering, and that’s not always good or bad… then you get life. WE all experience it and time is the only factor of things. But having patience, is a good thing.

Posted in Elemental: War of Magic, Games, Life | 4 Comments

Scrubbing

Of the soul and my environment.

I tell ya, when I make changes, to fix problems. I don’t go half assed. (Segue, hopefully Stardock doesn’t either.)

I’m serious about making changes in my life. I’ve committed to joining a gym, and have gone in and started my 5+ times a week exercising jaunt. Had a free health consultation yesterday. And it was a good experience, I got to learn a bit of the science behind aspects of working out. And what I needed to do to really work out for myself. To make some of the better impacts. I’ve got another consultation with the trainer next week. But I’ll be applying this week what I’ve learned.

Though I’m steadily going through my house, cleaning pretty hard core. So it’s like working out, before going to work out. Which I dig to be honest with you.

There are a lot of things happening in my world. And I’m just trying to make the best of them. Some are harder than others, and that’s to be expected.

I’ll let you in on a secret with me and games. I play them for a while and rock them out and have fun. The easier it is for me to delve into the world and feel apart of it.. the better. Right now, with the considerable changes to Elemental coming down the pipe. It’s got me pushed back. Not really ready to jump on yet. And I’ll be honest, I’m a bit surprised.

I think it’s still something with the non-traditional fantasy choices that were made as part of the base game. I think that’s what’s really bothering me, and hindering my ability to just really jump right back in and making up my “Own” world. I think that design decision on their part, will really come back to haunt them long term, in a sense even more so than the catastrophic release they put out. (Really, I knew something wasn’t right when I started playing and experiencing the very same bugs I had reported in beta, that had gone live. And then to read a mea culpa by Brad later, saying they didn’t know about it “The White Battle Screen”.. well dude.. I reported it with pictures and utilizing dropbox, AND in videos.)

But.. knowing that.. it’s got me just in pause mode for Elemental. The game has potential and I’m waiting to see some of it become realized.

Well off to go work out. The gym opens in 18 minutes.. and I’m really ready to go get really sore!

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The fluttering Raven

Like a subtle susurrus, the underlying thrum of melancholy hovers at the edge. A raven sleek in its glamour, a constant familiar betwixt flight and rest.

I wrote this over on my facebook status line. It is a very accurate phrasing, but also I find it’s something that sort of tastes good saying, (if words spoken could have a flavor).

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Another Firefall thing..

Here’s what I know. From watching the videos of this game so far.

It hit’s all those visceral moments. Beautiful graphics, big mean monsters, it crosses those then with an RPG element, gear, equipment and then indicates that there is a team aspect to it all as well.

That’s like asking me to just jump up for joy. Well truthfully, there are many games that “LOOK” good. But don’t have that thing that pulls me in. Tabula Rasa, looked good. But played like crap. It didn’t feel fun, and really interesting. And to top it off, it just sort of failed to realize what the hell it was supposed to do, for ME the player.

And if you looked at the afteraction reports on that game.. you would find that it makes sense. Because they didn’t know what the hell they were building. They had these ideas, but with the exception of the original language by Lord British.. the game was just an empty shell in my mind.

This game, get’s it. It pulls you in. And gives you a reason… and then when you get to the action at the end.. of the video, that seemed pretty damn good too. So all things considered this is now a game I’m looking forward to.

Now.. if Elemental just get’s it’s act together, and pulls the players in.. and doesn’t let you go… well that’ll be an awesome change of pace. Right now.. Elemental doesn’t do that. I swear some days I wish I could just spend sometime with the developers and try to convince them to put the trappings of fantasy back into the game. And really, really work it out with them. But as far as wishes I’ve got on my plate, if I was left with one.. I’d have to spend it elsewhere.

Well that diverted my mind briefly from thinking about a girl. If there is a way to win a heart, I’m sure it’ll present itself when it needs to be presented.. (sorry random thoughts do this to a guy..)

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