A New Year’s Thought

There’s an hour and thirty five minutes left till the new year in the Philippines, and I had one thought in my mind.

It’s nice to spend time fragging people (or trying to frag people) in Team Fortress 2 with my cousin, even though we aren’t playing in the same room. Somehow, the familial connection combined with the rush of seeing someone’s head explode combines to make the season a most joyous occasion.

Happy New Year to all of you! May 2011 prove to be a good time for gaming and being with friends old and new. 🙂

Exceptions to the Rule

There is so much that can be said about this next bit of internet weirdness, but I suppose Syp sums up my reaction to the posted situation rather well with a facepalm.

In a nutshell, a WoW Player goes permanently deaf, and support from his guild deteriorates rather swiftly as the guild leader asks if the player can still use Vent. Player cannot use vent because he can’t hear, argument breaks out between him and GL, and player is kicked from the guild and put on ignore.

While I can understand why a rule exists for having a VOIP service as a prerequisite to raid, I would have thought there’d be outstanding exceptions to such a rule. It brings back the idea of the “spirit of the law” versus the “letter of the law.”

Following the letter of the law is all well and good, but if one doesn’t make concessions to the intended spirit to which a law was made, if there is no compassion for your fellow man in your judgment, then the law itself is as oppressive as a tyrant’s rule… or something to that effect.

I’m glad, at least, that the player has received words of support from people so that he doesn’t feel so down. Not everyone in WoW is a jerk, and this is certainly a good reminder of it.

What is Final Fantasy Type-0?

Over on Siliconera is an article about a trademark for something called Final Fantasy Type-0 (zero).

The speculation over at Siliconera is the FF Type-0 might be the prelude to some big announcement, seeing as this one has both the trademark registration and a logo, whereas Square Enix usually just registers stuff.

Anyway, I have no idea what this could be, but I’m hoping it’s not a mobile game or a prequel to the prequel of Final Fantasy VII or a sequel to XIII.

Feel free to leave your own ideas on what this could be in the comments. As for me, I’m hoping it’s a Typing of the Dead inspired RPG made by the Eidos side of Square Enix… just to make it all interesting.

Something’s Keeping Me From Recommending Rift

Anyone who has seen me online or on the games I play knows that I have an absurd tendency to be fickle in the games I play. If a game cannot sustain my interest, it becomes difficult for me to write about over a long period of time.

It is slowly dawning on me that Rift may potentially be one of those games.

Now, the game is very technically sound (which to me may mean that Perpetuum has a competitor for smoothest MMO launch ever), rifts are engaging set pieces of battle, the idea behind the lore of two opposing factions working against each other to fulfill a similar objective is endearing. The problem is that the game as a whole does not appear to be drawing me in.

Here are my concerns, in the short time I’ve played the game:

1. Too many options (can we even call it options?) in Souls

Simply put, every soul looks viable at the beginning, but in having a three-soul combo of powered up lower-tier talents… does that make you viable as a player in PVE or PVP against someone who’s chosen two souls and specced accordingly?

2. Not enough Quest variety

I know that not every game can give you tasks to complete that will be altogether different from one another. The thing is, there’s got to be an effort to make the quests varied in what you’re supposed to do. I have yet to see that effort in Rift’s questing system.

3. The Path

As it stands, there is a path you must follow to get to the capital cities of the factions, with the quests giving you most of the appropriate experience necessary to level up. The problem is that, coupled with the lack of quest variety, this path will be very boring if you want to make a new character.

4. An X Factor?

Every MMO out there has something that makes it stand out. Whether it’s the crafting system or the public quests or the full loot PVP or the insane quest variety, just about every MMO has an X Factor to make it unique.

Rift, for me, feels generic, like a hodgepodge of different games combined to make something technically superior to other MMOs but without the soul (pardon the pun) to make it come alive.


What does this mean for Rift in my eyes? Well, it’s simple: I’ll still play it when it comes out, but I have to find something really gripping and powerful in the game to let me recommend it to other people.

Rift still has time to refine itself even further, and I’m looking forward to the changes. I just hope that X Factor thing comes out sooner rather than later.

December – Willpower = Monetary Losses, Many Games, and Lots of Love

December was a rather tumultuous month for me for a variety of reasons. In addition to school, I was looking for a new job and was constantly rebudgeting my money to compensate for a lack of willpower due to various personal events happening in my life.

For once, I gave a digital gift through Stargrace’s Secret Santa. I bought a copy of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and I’m hoping MMO Gamer Chick, the fine blogger who received my gift, enjoys the numerous hours of immeasurable terror it brings.

On the side of my personal purchases, I had an active sub to World of Warcraft. In addition to this, I bought Mount and Blade and its Warband “expansion.” I spent some money to alleviate some personal depression, but it ended up making me feel worse, so I actually went and purchased even more games to try and forget the guilt I was feeling, and my inability to say no to a good deal sort of killed my budget severely. MMO Gamer Chick, who happened to be my Secret Santa, also gave me her gift, which was a Steam copy of Borderlands, which I’ve played quite a bit.

As Christmas neared though, some unexpected gifts came in. People started giving me money, and I started saving it up, only to realize that I wanted even more games because of some rather intriguing deals and my own lack of Willpower. I purchased Just Cause 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Team Fortress 2 within the past two weeks. I also unsubbed to WoW, and replaced it with a sub to Darkfall in order to make an attempt to resurrect Blackrod LeDouche.

Finally, Longasc from Twitter enticed me to purchase Guild Wars with some healthy talking points on Twitter, and because of some luck on my end and some assistance from Ardua as well, Steam had the Trilogy on sale and the Eye of the North expansion was available on the NCSoft Store for 10 dollars. Total damage: a little over 35 dollars for the full package, once I finish installing the Guild Wars Trilogy.

Right now, I’m not sure if I’m really happy or not, but one thing I do know is that I’m loved, not only by my family, but also by the friends I have here at home and also those of you online who comment on my tweets or read my blog. To all of you, it means a lot.

To all of my friends online, I just want to say thank you, and Merry Christmas. Much love to all of you, and cheers! 😀

Some Christmas Thoughts Courtesy of Willing Willie

In the Philippines, one can say that a person like myself is an anomaly. Case in point: I’m relatively well-off and can afford to buy video games as a luxury item. To be more specific, almost a third of all Filipinos live below the poverty line, but I do not.

There has always been an undercurrent of restlessness in my mind because of that: I know I’m blessed, but I tend to not take advantage of my good fortune as often as would be thought of. Because of this, I try to avoid watching shows that have a tendency to hit close to the heart so that I don’t feel a sense of guilt pervading my everyday life.

I avoided my usual predilection towards watching Philippine variety game shows tonight, and as a result, I’m writing this now to arrange my thoughts in a more orderly manner.

There’s a show called Willing Willie (not the English definition of “willing,” mind you, but a deliberate misspelling of “willing-wili,” an adjective that means “to be amused.”), frontlined by Willie Revillame, which is basically a televised variety show and game show rolled into one whose contestants and participants are part of the lower income brackets.

I normally avoid this show because of my above-mentioned hesitancy towards thinking about my blessings and my state in life. You see, certain segments really tug at the heartstrings because, as an unspoken rule, just about everybody wins in Willing Willie. By simply being there, you get gift packs, and lucky contestants are given money just for participating or performing their talents for the audience. Sometimes, people win because the host simply makes it so (for instance, an old lady gets the chance to participate in an oversized ring-toss game, and Willie will catch the ring in mid-air and place it in a 10,000 peso spike).

How do you make a game where everyone wins amusing? By letting people tell the stories of their lives, and of their situations in life.

The real reason why I wanted to write this today is because the story of this one father really gnawed at my soul. You see, his twin sons (who are nicknamed Pula and Puti, or Red and White) found out that Willing Willie’s future theme for a specific contest segment was to have twins or triplets be part of the contest. They asked to be a part of the show, and their father did everything in his power to make their wish come true.

The twins are actually part of a brood of seven, and the father single-handedly has to raise them, seeing as his wife died some years prior. He can barely afford to buy food for his family, and education for the kids isn’t even an option at this point as they are simply living from day to day, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. He had to beg a clothes seller near his house so they would have good clothes to wear to the show, and probably had to skip making fares as a pedicab driver and goods transporter to get the two to the show.

By the end of the family’s tale, just about everyone was in tears, including myself (hell, I’m tearing up while writing this) and after the kids presented their dance, Willie gave them 20,000 pesos just for participating, to which the father, in tears, thanked Willie and the crew and was happy because his kids didn’t have to sift through trash for Christmas.

I won’t tell you about the outcome of the competition they were in because the competition isn’t the point. In fact, I’m not sure this write-up has a point. I know the money won’t last, and no real change comes as a result of a temporary boost in funds, but there is joy and hope and tears and a respite from pain for some people when they become a part of a show like that, and sometimes, I think Christmas is all about forgetting sadness for a short while.

The only thing that Willing Willie does to trump Christmas, I think, is that the joy-giving is somewhat sustainable on a six-day-a-week basis, with advertising revenue and whatnot.

In any event, don’t worry. This isn’t the Christmas post. Just a sharing of thoughts. Cheers.

Music Geekery: Boyz II Men Releasing J-Pop Cover Album

Japanator recently came out with an article I would have normally read, liked, but not written about, but then I decided to follow the breadcrumbs, so to speak, and found myself salivating over this upcoming album.

The RnB group Boyz II Men will release a new album filled with English covers to J-Pop songs on December 22, entitled Covered – Winter – and will feature two songs that I absolutely love.

The first is Utada Hikaru’s First Love, which was on my high school and college playlists for a rather long time. The second song I’m excited for is a rendition of the English cover of Itoshi no Ellie/Ellie, My Love, which I’ve written about previously.

I’m hoping to find out more about this cover album once it’s been released. Hopefully there’ll be reviews for the songs on the net.

Bringing Back Blackrod: Your Opinions Wanted

I only recently told my cousin that I wrote a blog entry about his adventures in Fallout New Vegas as Blackrod LeDouche. He was rather ecstatic at the fact people enjoyed the write-up, so he’s been asking me recently about making the continuing adventures of Blackrod LeDouche a reality.

I was rather hesitant to give him access to my Steam game library, and seeing as we never really made a hard save of the original Blackrod LeDouche character information on my system (making it extremely difficult to remake the facial features that made him a Luis Guzman lookalike), I told him I’d look into it and suggested other games we could try.

In a nutshell, I’d love to hear your opinions on a game we could use to resurrect Blackrod LeDouche as part of a multiverse character setup. I was thinking we could make a Fallout 3 character (named Blackrod LeDouche) or an Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion character (named Sir Blackshaft of Doucheley) or even a Darkfall character (named Blackrod Ledouche). For the most part, going the Darkfall route might be a fun bonding activity, what with maintaining an MMO account on my cousin’s behalf using my money, and the FFA PVP scenario acts as the perfect place to do the sort of rampant idiocy that Blackrod is wont to do.

On my end, I observe how he plays the game, and make stories we can all enjoy reading just for the hell of it.

Anyway, if you have ideas on a game we can use to bring back Blackrod, I’d love to hear it.


On Sex With Hookers and the Context of Real and Gaming Life

I’m in a lot of pain right now due to my wrist hurting, but I really wanted to write this post, so I’m just going to endure the pain for the next thirty or so minutes while I type. Apologies if the message gets kind of jumbled up during the moments when I stop typing.]

Yesterday afternoon, I had sex with a hooker.

I will not tell you if this is a gaming reference or a real one, but obviously one is preferable to the other given the proper context. Suffice it to say, each of your individual contexts might differ depending on your mindset, strength of will, gender, and feelings towards the issue of paying for sex.

You might feel elation at having paid for sex. Or guilt. Or despair. When you’re playing games, such an act has few repercussions, except perhaps in the manner in which your character develops in an RPG. When you’re in the real-world, however, the feeling you had when experimenting during a game may have magnified itself because you’re actually there, and you feel every bit of it.

Translate this into other actions, such as shooting a gun, stabbing someone, or stealing. When it is done in the real world, there is a distinct change in the air, as if somehow, the quantum mechanics surrounding the realm of human emotion had changed. Every act we do is inextricably connected to other people, and this may change the lives of others in a distinct, yet unknowable way.

In games, on the other hand, the damage to the fabric of reality is mitigated by the way programmers have decided to deal with your action. You can escape from cops by running to a safe house, which automagically (YES AUTOMAGICALLY)  lessens your wanted rating. You can alter one person’s life, but that person knows no one else but you and therefore directly influences no one else regarding the evil you’ve committed. Hell, you can die, lose your belongings, and just come back as if nothing happened.

The one thing that redeems the nature of doing stupid things in the real world, however, is that you can find ways to redeem yourself for the stupid things you’ve done, but only by working hard at changing your life for the better.  In games, the ability to turn your karmic “reality” into a quantifiable number that can be altered is far too simple, and no amount of programming knowledge will ever quite get it right.

So yes, you can have sex with a hooker in either the gaming or real world, but if you really want to change from being a lonely sex-starved individual with a twisted, addled conscience, the real work begins after you’ve screwed up if you did it for real.


You can choose not to do stupid things in the real world or gaming world to begin with, and work with a decided difficulty adjustment to your life. Think of it as the Hell Mode of living on Earth.