16 December, 2008

Survivors, lol.

And this is why we haven't got a chance in hell. Barricades coming down, zombies waltzing in, and what's important in Shearbank? You're on my turf, you're not the boss of me. My room, my rules! Sometimes I wish sending messages over general chat or the transmitter didn't spend action points, then something like this happens and I remember it's one way people who suck at the game wind up in the street. Then again, I'm lying in the street too.

23 November, 2008

The beginning of the end for Urban Dead

A few weeks ago I sent my other survivor away on vacation from his home South Blythville because nothing had happened at Marven Mall since I'd rejoined the game. I took him to a bad suburb on bad information and he died there. I'd never really tried the zombie life, and I had about 1100 unspent XP, so bought some zombie skills and roamed around for a while. It was fun, but when someone revived me I decided it was time to go home.

While I was gone, the RRF brought down the mall, and as I write this they are finishing off the neighborhood.

There are about 80 of them.

In Dowdney Mall, someone had painted an overconfident boast that there were 400 of us and only 60 of them. Two days later the mall fell.

I think Malton may be falling once and for all. Many people don't realize that hundreds of apparently groupless ferals are actually in at least three well organized groups, and a lot of them genuinely dislike survivors. This wasn't a problem when it made for a fair fight, but lately it's starting to look like a problem.

Building ruining & ransacking were a big setback for us, and the newly increased need for hospitals, though I approve of it in theory, seems to have tipped the balance. Before this, things would tip in one direction or another, but these changes were unique because they've shortened the length of encounters. It's now impossible to prevent a takeover if the zeds approach a stronghold correctly - even if they don't have death cultists working for them, which they generally do. The most we can manage is to flee from one set of buildings to another and rely on the fact that they don't quite have the numbers to occupy every TRP at once.

The balance is once again 60-40. The last few times that happened we had an important advantage: It was more fun to play a survivor. Being in a permanent cycle of retreat and recovery takes a lot of that away. No AP for joking around, no radio fun, no sense of permanent residence and having neighbors, no patrols or hunting PKers or rescuing people.

There must be something we can do, but I'm drawing a blank. Now that I know I like being a zombie, the idea of zombies taking over an entire district or more doesn't bother me, but if they take over the whole town there will be no game to play.

23 September, 2008

I'm playing Second Life.

What the fuck?

I seriously cannot be trusted alone with technology.

This game has the least responsive control I've seen since pre-QuakeWorld multiplayer Quake over dialup. That's not an exaggeration. It takes one or two seconds for your avatar to respond to anything.

Why would you play this when you can play Runescape?

21 September, 2008


It's 2008, please teach me how to play an MMO.

And yes, the game really is called Angels Online.

Anything That Moves: Nostalgia Edition

I'm playing Dofus. Hey, remember this? No, not Dofus; clicking the edge of your screen then when your little guy gets there the game switches to another screen. I guess I must have missed it, because I'm still playing this game even though it crashed while I was browsing the help screen.
It might be that the music reminds me of Secret of Mana, apart from the fact that (surprise!) it doesn't loop correctly. It's the flutes playing in harmony and that synth that sounds like a choir of robots.
I made a friend. Ever notice how the first friend you make in a new MMO always has the same personality? Sometimes I think it's one of my parents keeping an eye on me. Here's my new best friend in Dofus. I am pretty sure he just ripped me off. That's ok, what are friends for.
So I'm some kind of a rogue. Peep those welfare epics. Got my Skeletor hat, got some Wolverine arm warmers, gtg. It follows that I get to set traps all over the place. These dumb sheep won't know what hit them. Pointless creatures! All they do is chew grass until something kills them.

It seems the free game is limited to 20 levels and a little island that floats in the sky above the rest of the world. Considering you can level to 1000 in this game that isn't much, and the real game is $7 a month, so either they're doing something right or they're just crazy. Some of the YouTube videos for this game make it look a tiny bit impressive, so I might stick with this for a while and see how it goes even if I'm kind of scarred from being scammed by my only friend for some level 2 sheep gore.

Here's a picture of me murdering the last of those motherfuckers using only my innate cunning and a deep knowledge of the shadow arts. This is the last time I post more than one screenshot in an article because Blogger makes it unbelievably painful. Maybe it's time I claw my way out of this sinkhole and force-feed myself a refresher course in html. Do they still use html?

Postscript: Woah, it's Courier. Not every day you see someone ranting about MMOs in 12 pt Courier, I guess. Enjoy.

What's with installers?

To save time, or something, while Shaiya was installing, I figured why not download Dofus and Cronous while it's going. Between them they are about 3/4 the size of the Shaiya installer and I thought it might all complete around the same time, so that I can conveniently start hating one as soon as I'm finished hating the other.

The Shaiya install took forever. Cronous and Dofus both finished downloading in the meantime and I felt a little silly because they must have slowed the install process some, right? No, they didn't. Shaiya actually spent more time installing after they finished than while they were going. My connection isn't even that fast.

These had better be really really awesome, not just everyday f2p grindfest awesome.

See this thread at mmorpg.com for a hint at the motive for this new wave of self-torment.

26 June, 2008


Remember the first time you joined a Quake 2 server, and people were jumping around fighting with blasters cause they didn't know the weapon spawns yet, and you thought to yourself HOLY SHIT, IT'S JUST LIKE BEING IN STAR WARS, and for a long time it was. You found the weapons, and you got to know the maps so well you could tell which elevator someone had activated just from what it sounded like all the way across the map. You could make that one jump to the super health every time, and your enemies always died in the water.

Years later you went back for a taste of the old goodness, and you joined some server that was cycling through every map in the single player game. Once again, no one could find the weapons, and everyone was fighting with blasters, and it didn't feel like Star Wars at all.

Yesterday I tracked down a copy of Giants: Citizen Kabuto, knowing that if it ran in Vista at all my disappointment and shattered fond memories would be at least as severe as the example above or any other "hey, remember how great xyz was?" sort of experience. If it ran in Vista at all. I should also mention I was concerned the game might not run under Vista.

Giants: Citizen Kabuto still feels like fucking Star Wars. The game has aged so beautifully that to this day it boasts some of the most hair-raising, intense single player firefights in any game. Playing it today, I remembered why I long ago lost interest in single player action fare: As a rule, fighting robots sucks because they are carefully engineered to lose for your satisfaction. It's supposed to be something more, but it almost never is - especially now that players who want challenge and tough competition always rush straight into the multiplayer. The single player audience doesn't care about that, and today you regularly see glowing reviews that mention a game's single player campaign as though it were an afterthought.

PROS:  Suspendisse diam est, rhoncus eu, pellentesque eu, luctus sed, nulla.
CONS:  Weak single player campaign.
FINAL SCORE:  97% - A classic!

Giants takes vertical level designs, populates them with too many enemies, allows them the same situational awareness, mobility, and desire to cooperate with one another that you would want if you were in their position, and then provides them with relentlessness and firepower. I'm not sure I've ever been chases as far or fired upon from as great a distance, even in a multiplayer game. It gives you truly dangerous enemies who are actually worth fighting, it gives you ways to avoid them when necessary, and best of all it provides you with satisfying maneuverability and firepower. All of this with humor and excellent sound effects, and it still runs flawlessly. I haven't had this much fun in a while.

23 June, 2008

Idle Hands Sink Ships, Part I

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Colder Still

Last week I played Rohan Online: Blood Feud, and last night I slogged through a bit of Requiem: Bloodymare. These are not good games. I have a soft spot for eastern fare, although most of it is frankly trash, but these two games are really pretty awful.

Rohan has a bit of charm to the character designs and music, and the sound effects aren't too bad. Since I consider sound effects second only to variety in importance when judging the quality of a game, I can almost recommend it. For a while. It's fun for a day or two, until you reach the inevitable point at which you find yourself whacking at the same monster over and over again for that .1% of a level. In Rohan this happens at about level 15.

Requiem is a different story altogether. Apart from not being a HORROR MMORPG, but merely a very bloody fantasy MMORPG, its major crime is making the /shout command a premium feature in its F2P scheme. Pay the optional $8 or $15 and not only do you get more xp, smaller death penalties, and other things whose default settings should be something developers arrive at in the interests of making their game challenging and thrilling; for that small amount of money you have access to a feature that comes free in every other Korean game ever made, a feature which has always benefitted others more than the person using it.

Imagine my embarrassment learning of this clever plan only days after declaring Rohan the most backwards game I had ever played.

In my depression I went back to RF Online for a moment. We'll talk about that later. I actually love RF Online and wish I hadn't hit a brick wall at level 34. But it's time to hop on my return flight and play some shitty American games again.

Thit's week's shitty American MMOs are Starport: Galactic Empires" and the ever-maligned Dark and Light. I say shitty primarily to shield myself from criticism. The truth of it is that thus far I've found D&L to be a charming and stable game which happens to control and draw about as smoothly as Runescape did five years ago.

Son of a bitch, now I'm playing Runescape.

Right now, I am playing Runescape.

Fuck you, Internet. Fuck you.

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