Some Updates, Plus Thoughts on AOC Offline Leveling

The actual AOC Offline Character Progression Announcement

Hi folks,

I’m not dead, but I have been feeling down for the past week or so due to some personal things, so I opted to deal with those issues first (or rant about them on twitter or on my personal blog) instead of really updating Games and Geekery like I wanted to do.

That said, I’m feeling a bit better now, especially after using the music of a song and adding my own custom lyrics to it to make a performance piece for one of my classes; it was a good vent, and it’s gotten me interested in learning how to play an instrument so I can compose music for myself.

For those interested in learning about the progress of the campaign story I was writing up, it’s doing well enough, though I haven’t been able to take care of it recently as I have another week of summer classes to go through, along with requirements. I’ll try to send folks the campaign story by next week so you can see what it’s become at present.

As for Everquest 2, I have to take a short hiatus from the game as I went over my budget for last month and need to adjust for the changes, and I haven’t done the mental math in my head yet. I might go back to Everquest 2 sometime in mid or late May once I have a plan set up, and should have more content available for myself to write about here when that happens.

Lastly, I thought to address the news of Age of Conan’s Offline Character Progression option, which I found out about thanks to Pid and Syp. Personally, I feel that as long as it isn’t a required thing that people need to go through in order to see new content, I’m all for it. I have this suspicion though that the Offline Character Progression option is meant to alleviate a lack of new content for older subscribers looking to go through the game with a new character, which might be especially true if people are restarting as the new Khitan people in Rise of the Godslayer and there isn’t a ton of new stuff to do across the entirety of the game. That does not sit well for me, if such was the case, so I’m really hoping I’m wrong.

One last thing: I’m looking for something to do that’s relatively cheap but rewarding as a means of catharsis or stress release that isn’t all about playing video games and writing on blogs.  I was thinking of making music, but I can’t afford to purchase a guitar or synthesizer programs for my computer to make melodies and such with. Anyone have any suggestions or ideas for me? Let me know.

On Replaying Finished Games

Parasite Eve 2 Cover Art

When I was a kid, there was a certain tradition I had during Christmas that I did for around five years straight till the PlayStation 2 came out. On Christmas Eve, I would play a Parasite Eve game from start to finish by Christmas day. For the most part, I played Parasite Eve 2 when that happened, and each victory run through the game would make the game progressively more difficult.

These days, I don’t do that anymore. I seem to not even have the compulsion to finish a game when it gets boring. However, I do miss the days when I’d spend playing the same game over and find myself getting better at playing it or seeing a new monster come up in a different place.

With the advent of MMORPGs though, I have to wonder if I still want to go through the same content, knowing very little of it will change unless I choose a different starting point. Everquest 2 has tons of different places to go through to progress, though going through the older content would be time-consuming and probably not as fun as would be expected. LOTRO doesn’t have that luxury since there’s a certain amount of railroading through specific zones. WoW… well, I don’t feel like talking about WoW as I could never bring myself to really level up a new character past a certain point.

In any event, that brings me to a point of reflection: what makes you replay games? Do you have any traditions associated with it?

Gender Bias

I recently succumbed to the urge of playing through the classic Gabriel Knight adventure games. There are many reasons for this, some of which shall remain unknown for the time being, but having had it recommended by a very close friend was certainly chief among them. It also helped that Tim Curry and Mark Hamill are voice actors in the first game (though it will be strange hearing Curry voice a non-villain). This article isn’t so much about Gabriel Knight as it is about the vendor from which I purchased it though.

Rather than pirating the games I opted instead to acquire them through Good Old Games’ online store. As this was my first time using the site I had to create an account with which to track and download my purchases. So I went through the motions of punching in my pertinent info when I came across something that seemed a little… off. certainly appeals to a large number of demographics now doesn’t it?

“Perhaps they’re from the future,” I thought, “and in this future we failed to homogenize ourselves into a gender neutral species and instead branched off into a myriad of gender distinctions, each one a product of attitude honed to a fine edge along the evolutionary precipice. What a world that would be! So many new peoples to encounter… and hate! Where would we draw our figurative lines in the sand in that faraway time? Already we throw fits over gays and lesbians, what derogatory labels would these futuristic bigots apply to homosexual Breddas or Xippies? Would Jedi from Britain be referred to as Sith (you know, ’cause the accent automatically makes them evil)? And what the hell is a Bad bwai?!”


Well, whatever the case, so long as I can be a Funky Monkey it’s all the same to me.

Introducing the Turbine Bros. *cue Mario Music*


Another big bit of news out on the internet this morning (or evening depending on where you are) is the acquisition of Turbine Inc. by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Found out about it through twitter, strangely enough, as opposed to regular online gaming news media.

What does this mean for Turbine’s games? Why, I have no idea. It could mean a restructuring is in order, or they could infuse the company with oodles of cash to make a new MMO or even a social game, or they could make a video game about two brothers who are trying to save a princess from some nasty anthropomorphic reptiles.

That last one hasn’t been done before, by my reckoning, so if they do try something like that, I’d like royalties for the original concept of the Ultra Turbine Bros. Deluxe.

Also, this entire post? Just an excuse to put the cute picture I found above. Cheers!

On the Everquest 2 Passport

A post by Ysharros on Stylish Corpse alerted me to this new promotion that appears to be going on for currently inactive or unsubscribed Everquest 2 accounts. It’s called the Everquest 2 Passport, and allows certain members of the EQ2 community to purchase three days worth of game time for five dollars.

Personally, I’m inclined to seeing the value of this offer. For one thing, it’s an alternate means for people to play a game when they don’t have a lot of time or money on their hands. While the better long-term offer might be for a 15 dollar subscription, students like me who are busy with schoolwork and who don’t have a dragon’s hoard might be inclined to take them up on this offer when a free weekend comes up. Another thing I noticed is that it’s the perfect way to entice veterans (which I’m assuming is the intended audience for this sort of thing anyway) to try the new features included in the game .

Of course, my only gripe is that five dollars for three days of consecutive play is not exactly ideal. I would have preferred five dollars for 35 hours of non-consecutive play, but that’s just me.

Lemme know what you think in the comments!

Writing a Campaign is Exciting

Because I’m not able to play Dungeons and Dragons with my friend yet, I decided to  try and write something that could be turned into a campaign for other people to play.

Let me tell you, it’s pretty enjoyable writing ideas and watching them develop into something else. I have a couple of volunteer DM types helping me out with Eberron continuity and fleshing out the story, and my original idea is morphing into something that fits inside the world of Eberron rather well.

That said, I’m meeting my friend tomorrow so we can churn out a true first draft of the story for the campaign, which I’m currently calling “Trial of the Timeless One” just so I have a name to it.  After we have it reviewed by other people, we go on to figuring out how the campaign will look on paper, and I’ll create the necessary flavor documents that can be used by the characters.

Basically, I’m SUPER EXCITED to see something I’ve written morph into something other people can experience. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I’ve always feared rejection, so writing a campaign for a roleplaying game feels like a huge step forward towards getting out of my comfort zone.

Anyway, if this sounds interesting to you, and you have experience playing Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 set in Eberron, I’d like to invite you to be part of the reading group that will first get the gist of the draft. All I ask in exchange is that you keep the story to yourself until we finish developing the actual campaign, and that you provide meaningful questions or input that can further the ideas of the story.

If you’re excited to be a part of it, just comment below and I’ll get back to you.  Cheers!

Dungeons and Dragons Offline

I’ve been away from posting for the past few days due to a couple of developments in my life. The first is that I had summer classes all this week on Media Education. The second is that I met an old friend in class who actually plays a Dungeon Master in the Pen-and-Paper Dungeons and Dragons games for his former students, and invited me to get into PnP Roleplaying.

Within the span of four days, I’ve managed to read up a lot about Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, created a few level one characters for future use, and even bought a book about Eberron, the campaign setting that my friend DMs in. His players are currently level 9 or so, which means he might have to create adventures solely for me, but I don’t mind waiting so much.

In the meantime, I’ve been on a forum reading campaign journals, and posting queries of my own to acquire more information on the various subjects.  The thing is, I found myself feeling very uncomfortable today because of something I posted.

I basically asked for a comparison-contrast of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 and 4.0, as well as a meta-history of the events that occurred leading up to and after the release of D&D4.0. The result of the thread, while informative, was also drawing dangerously close to becoming a flame war because people had strong opinions on subjects related to my original questions (as well as other questions that popped up) and wanted to share them.

I also felt somewhat weird because I was asking for some assistance with setting up a campaign of my own. Basically, my friend and I will figure out most of the mechanics, but I was looking for experienced DMs to assist me in fleshing out the overall premise and story of the campaign. I had some takers, but it still felt weird because I thought I would be shrugged off by other people.

Glad to know there are good people about, at the very least, and I’m hoping the future of my pen-and-paper adventuring will be sunny and bright.

Xtremely Pointless

So I was browsing through Destructoid just before heading off to bed (as I am wont to do) and I stumbled across a little story that had me shaking my head in bewilderment. For those of you who don’t wish to follow that link I’ll save you the trouble. There’s going to be a new XCOM game! And it’s going to be a first-person shooter… Ugh.

Now why is that such a bad thing? I’ve got nothing against FPSes personally, in fact I quite enjoy them from time to time. No, my problem is simply the IP that is being given the FPS treatment. For those of you who aren’t familiar with XCOM (and that is probably a large number of you) I’ll fill you in as to what XCOM is all about.

XCOM started out as an unforgiving strategy game broken up into a macro-scale world management component and a micro-scale squad battle system. The story was something about aliens attacking the Earth so the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit or XCOM has to save the day, blah blah blah. If you couldn’t already tell there was nothing special about its story or setting. What was special was its game play. Now, if you’re interested in what the game was all about feel free to look it up online (the wikipedia entry isn’t half bad) but suffice it to say that the game was very complex, extremely deep, and it had no qualms about kicking your ASS!

Read more

Now I Remember Why I Left WAR…

I’m not giving up on Warhammer Online’s trial just yet, but I’m finding myself in a bit of a situation with the game.

I can’t seem to aim properly or target things as needed.  What this means is that, whenever I’m in a Scenario like Nordenwatch or Talabec Dam, I have BIG trouble. I can aim for one person, then I lose that person in the ensuing mass of people that come to attack me, and I don’t get any kills off because I can’t find my target amongst the chaos and position myself accordingly.

In a nutshell, I don’t know how to be an effective Choppa or Black Orc, and it’s getting to me. Any pointers out there from WAR players? I can’t in good conscience give this game a month of my money if I can’t play the class I want to play properly.

Also, have they resolved the billing issues, or are the multiple charges thing still happening to people, or was that a one-time occurrence on multiple accounts?