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Archive for September, 2011

An open letter about installing games

Dear developers,

I am currently one of your best customers. I’m bored with my current main MMO and I’m open-minded about trying out other games. In short, I am receptive to whatever kind of online crack  you are selling and as such, I expect you to do your best to hook me in.

So when I go to your site to download the trial or the game itself, I expect it to be the smoothest experience ever. Easy to access, easy to install and easy to get in. This is the point where you are supposed to put the hooks in me and I want, demand even, that my gaming experience be flawless.

But for some mysterious reasons, I have seen some of you fail horribly at that simple test. In the past few days I’ve been plagued by game downloaders not working, buggy patchers and outright game bugs.

Just to make it clear, my experience of your game is not playing the actual game but rather I have memories of scouring forums for shred of information on how to solve simple issues that prevent me from playing.

How long do you think it takes before I say, eff this!, and move on? I can tell you right now that I am not playing DDO because I simply could not finish downloading the game. Oh but don’t worry, this is not the only game I had to fight.

I do a pretty simple check when I want to install a game. I go to your website and check to see if my system and graphic card is supported. If you say it is then I expect to hit download, then install and then be playing your game. If it’s not working for any reason that’s on you and I will take my money elsewhere.

I hope my letter gets the message across. If I have to fight your buggy install to play a game, chances are I will not play it at all. Please remember this when you sit around a table wondering why your subscriptions numbers are so low.

Kindly,

The monkey

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So WoW is truly winding down for me right now. SwTor is less than three months away and I find my desire to log in WoW fading quickly. I still enjoy playing with Eff and raiding with them but for the days in between I’m a bit at a loss. Logging in to level an alt or do achievements just seem so incredibly pointless right now.

So in the meantime, I’m looking for some MMO to tide me over, something I havent tried before or maybe something I gave a quick try before but gave up. Earlier last week I did try Rift again for shit and giggles and it was great going at first. Until the game screwed up my files and had me redownload the whole thing… twice… so Rift is out.

I’m currently considering giving maybe DDO another go or maybe work some more Lotro but I’d be willing to try out some ideas you may have. A few rules though. The game has to be out, no betas and it has to be playable and not riddled with bugs.

Looking forward to your suggestions.

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I am not going to do this review like I normally do them as a list of likes and dislikes but rather I want to talk about its theme, so let’s get rid of the basic stuff first.

Is it good? Yes, absolutely! Great? Oh yes! Do I recommend buying it? Yes I do.

Okay, for those not in the loop, Gears of War is a 3rd person shooter about humans fighting a loosing war on some far off planet. While being a very solid game in itself, Gears of War distinguish itself by two elements, first of all its active cover system which I love and second, it’s gritty universe and the tone of its storytelling. As a whole, the game feels very much like playing an old war movie where the heroes are holed down trying to survive against all odds.

Thematic gaming

There’s a theme to GoW3 and to an extent the series and whether you will enjoy or hate the game will rest a lot on whether or not you get aboard with it. Gears of War is not Halo where you are the lone hero saving humanity all by itself. Here, you are a soldier amongst many, albeit a great soldier, and you’re doing your best to survive and help out however you can. The tone is a lot more down to earth than what we are used to.

Then there’s the theme through this game of war and its effect. That even in victory, war will leave you and the world devastated. Sera, the planet on which the action takes place, is very much a post apocalyptic world due to the constant warfare. In the name of victory, horrible things have been done and you are faced everywhere with the consequences of war. Gears of War doesn’t try to sell you that war is fun like most shooters do. It shows you that ultimately, it leaves nothing but destruction and broken people.

So while you character is nothing but badassery on a level approaching Chuck Norris, in the end the game is all about showing you war consequences. Whether or not you will enjoy this game depends a lot on if you’re open to something different. On whether you can enjoy a game with an actual theme and message. It’s weird to say this about a shooter but when you get down to it, GoW actually tries to make you think for a moment about the actual consequences of blowing everything up without much regard for the consequences.

The list

The monkey loved:
-Great action, fun fights
-Nice storytelling that doesn’t overdo everything.
-Multiplayer: very well done!

The monkey was disappointed with:
-The end fight. I was expecting more of the grand finale and the boss was actually pretty easy.

I plan on redoing the entire series back to back soon to get a feeling on how it plays as a trilogy. I’ll keep you posted about this.

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FF14, a year later…

FF14 will be celebrating its first year in a few days on september 30th. A few months back, I jumped on the FF14 ship out of pure nostalgia and love for the Final Fantasy series. Like many, I’ve grown up with these games and my current passion for MMOs and even gaming in general is certainly linked in some way to the old games on the Nes and Snes.

Sadly, it did not go as planned and I quickly went from loving FF14 to hating it in the space of a few days. The launch was so bad and the game so broken that for the first three months of its life FF14 was actually completely free to play. A new director for the game was hired, promess were made to fix the game and since then I’ve been looking from afar to see how the game would progress.

So what happened in the end? Well, FF14 is still alive despite being still in disaster recovery mode. The game has it devoted fans but for the most part the situation is not rosy with the director still swearing up and down they’ll get their shit fixed. However, it would be unfair to say nothing has been done… in fact a lot has… but I guess there’s simply too much to fix in there. You can read this review from a devoted fan who did a good job at trying to review the game in an honest way.

For my part I think it’s sad to see a great franchise butchered once more. Final Fantasy as a series is the poster boy for over explotation and cashing in on a name in the gaming world.  The series does have it moment of brilliance even today but for the most part they keep remaking the classic games and milking them for all their worth. Square Enix knows that if they slap Final Fantasy on something they’re going to make money and they’re not afraid to abuse this fact.

If anything, the life of the Final Fantasy series should be a warning about what happens when you milk a series for all it’s worth. Sure the company is still making money but for us, the fans, it’s disheartening to see a series that marked our childhood descend ever further into mediocrity.

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The old republic launch date

Well I was partly right!

You may remember I predicted november the 20th as Old republic launch date, it turns out I was right on the day but wrong on the month.

Star Wars the old republic will launch on December 20th in North America and the 22nd in Europe.

Happy holidays people!

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Quick virus alert

Hey!

a quick post to let you know a fellow named Jiniminy tried posting on this blog with a link that led to a page containing script with a virus. I always check new commenters Urls to see where they come from and as soon as I checked this one in the moderation email I got I was slammed with a virus that forced a system restore.

Of course the comment won’t be appearing here but if you guys see the fellow post on your blogs stay the eff away.

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I’ve been twisting and turning about this post for the past day and in the end I just can’t decide so I’m going to ask all of you for your ideas and input on this. Basically, I’m wondering if we’re better off with the current progression model where every patch you have to start grinding anew or the old vanilla system.

Old System (aka Vanilla/BC)

Level –> prepare for endgame –> raid 1 –> raid 2 –> raid 3–> etc..

Pros: You don’t repeat content you’ve already completed. Once you’re done with a step you are truly done with it.
Cons: Hard for new players to catch up with the veterans which made recruiting for endgame guilds hell and generated a whole meta game of member poaching  and watching other guilds recruitment boards.

New system (Cataclysm)

Level –> prepare for endgame –> raid 1 –> prepare for endgame –> raid 2 –> prepare for endgame –> raid 3 etc.. Every time a patch is released you have to redo the preparation steps.

Pros: Allow new players to catch up in content.
Cons: Repeat content you have already completed, voids part of the progress done in previous tier.

So… which is better? Of course you could argue the better system would be the one where you don’t repeat content but players still have a way to catch up but apparently, that’s impossible without having the veterans have to redo old content (read heroics) along with the new crop of players.

Thoughts? Ideas?

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