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Showing posts from May, 2008

Eve online: Paranoia

"Would anyone like to salvage the loot from my mission? There's a lot of it." Mission salvaging is a lucrative but tedious pastime. Perhaps this was a genuine helping hand offer to give a newbie a chance to get a look at some ph4t lwt. Then again this was EVE on-line. Every conceivable interaction with other players carries the risk of being scammed, usually resulting in an untimely death along with the loss of your prized possessions. The fact that the offerer had a negative security status close to the lowest limit allowable in the system we were in didn't inspire confidence either. I thought about it. My salvaging ship (a destroyer) was worth about 1 million isk including fittings but the insurance would recoup about 750k. Allowing for a new insurance premium and a possible replacement clone if I got podded my maximum exposure was about 500k isk. On the other hand the salvage from a higher level mission was likely to be worth millions. What the hell. I decid

MMORPGs are history.

Edit. This post was meant to be tongue in cheek but Khan of the Battered Shield recently linked to it in a serious piece about the future of MMOs . Now I am worried that folk may come and read this, miss the joke and think that I am a complete idiot. If you do read what follows please take it in the spirit of humour in which it was intended. My real feelings about the future of MMOs are a bit more complicated. I am going to write a new post about this and will link to it here when finished. Recently I have made a few posts on this blog along with comments to other blogs along the lines of " MMORPGS are a passing fad". I could point to evidence that WOW has become so dominant that no new MMORPG has a chance. I could point to the many bloggers who are expressing boredom with their current MMO. I could show the very clear trend that the time constant for gamers to get bored with each new game is falling. I could point out that the huge demands that MMOs make on their player

Eve Online: First blood

It turns out there is a silver lining to the sad story of Marb Pelico's unfortunate demise in Amamake a couple of nights ago. I was pretty pissed off with myself for being there in the first place. A quick Google search will reveal Amamake to be a prime spot for pirates hoping to gank noobs making their first foray into low security space. I was pissed off with myself for going in there with a full load of cargo. I only lost about 1 million worth of stuff but I should have known better than to bring anything in at all. I was pissed off with myself for going back ratting in the same system after I had been lucky to escape from pirate in the same spot only a few minutes earlier. I was particularly pissed off at my panic during the battle itself. I don't think I got a single shot off at my attackers. I was really pissed off that I froze and allowed myself to be podded. I had read all about the importance of anticipating when your ship is going to blow and being ready t

Podded

Marb woke with a throbbing headache. He felt sticky. A glutinous goo prevented Marb from opening his eyes but he could still hear. In the background an irritating synth-voice droned on about insurance contracts and exclusion clauses. Gradually he remembered. He had just checked in for clone imprinting. "The Sensible Precaution" the brochures advertised. "Completely Painless" they said. The bastards hadn't mentioned that his head would feel like exploding when he woke. Wait a minute. They had explained the process in some detail. "The subject remains awake throughout" they said. Why was he asleep? Why was he naked and covered in slime? Something must have gone wrong. "The bastards! I'll sue them for every penny they've got" Marb thought. "There is no way I should be waking up covered in medical goo unless they screwed up or.... ... unless.... .....I am not the real Marb Pelico." Realisation dawned: "I have

Hardcore Players Need not Apply

It seems EVE is pulling a very brave move with the forthcoming introduction of faction warfare to the game. They are effectively banning hardcore players from joining in the fun. Hardcore EVE players indulge in Alliance scale warfare in lawless zero-zero space but members of alliances will be excluded from faction warfare . This has sparked much choice comment on the blogs and fora but but the decision is justified in a well thought out developer blog entry . There is some technical justification for the block but it seems it is mainly a deliberate design choice. The blog cites role play reasons: the block is required to fit in with the game lore. Also and perhaps more significantly they don't want this new form of pvp endgame to pollute the hard core alliance war end game and nor do they want the hard core alliance end game to pollute this new game. It sounds to me as if CCP want zero-zero alliance warfare to remain the pvp endgame for hardcore players and are introducing fact

Recent Reading

Several hourss on plane during the last week afforded me some time to read three books by three authors I do not normally read. First off "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. I can't shake the notion that I have read Gaiman before but I cannot remember what or when. In any case "Neverwhere" (author's preferred text adapted from radio screenplay) is an enjoyable enough yarn. It paints a picture of a seedy under city of London, home to those who have "fallen through the cracks". London Below reminds me vaguely of Mieville's New Crobuzon but Gaiman's novel is far more lightweight than the Perdido street sequence. Gaiman's lighthearted take on fantasy might best be compared to the work of Terry Pratchett or Douglass Adams but Gaiman's writing does not reach the same heights of sidesplitting humour or piercing satire as either Pratchett or Adams. Enjoyable but far from classic stuff. Next up is "Sword Song" by Bernard Cornwell. Ir

EVE has all the best stories

While World of Warcraft bloggers struggle to write something interesting about their 99th visit to Karazhan Eve writers are spoiled for choice. The massive fraud schemes, the epic fleet battles and the many life or death struggles that make up a typical day in EVE all feed the writers craft. How is it then that despite all this I have been relatively silent about my first few weeks in EVE? I guess it is mainly because I am a new player in an old game. Anything I could write about the newbie experience has been written before. I am also aware of my own ignorance of the game. Eve is a complex game with many layers. I think I have figured out how some things work but often enough I have had to revise my opinion as I discover some new way of doing things. It is not that there is a shortage of things to document. This week CCP released details of a forthcoming expansion that will introduce faction warfare. From what I can make out this will offer a form of organised PVP for those that

Uhhhh...Not much to report.

Blog has been quiet this last week partly because I was in Denmark on a work trip and partly because I find myself at a bit of a gaming loose end. I have finished Crysis and no other single player game catches my fancy at the moment. I logged into LOTRO briefly. Turbine have added a lot of new content (including a whole new area) since I left but I could not drag up the motivation to sample it. I think I am just am bored of the whole swords and sorcery mmo format to be honest. Age of Conan is getting a bit of buzz on the blogosphere but I have no interest in it. On a side note I have to complement Turbine on LOTROs new and improved quest log. It is a thing of beauty and really makes an adventurer's life easy. The quest sharing feature in particular deserves a mention - not only can you easily see who else has your quest you can also share pre-requisite quests with your group to allow every body to cath up with the quest arc. Superb. I am not yet bored with EVE although I do get

Eve: Running the Gauntlet

They were waiting in Rancer. I come out of the star-gate and my overview fills with the red markings of pirates. For some reason my display is messed. I cannot get out of map mode to see what is happening. I cannot see but I can hear the chaos of a battlefield around me. "Do not fly what you cannot afford to lose" Funny how I remember the first commandment of EVE just after I pop out into a gate camp. The 10 million isk worth of goods in my cargo hold represent almost everything I own. Mustn't panic. I have a few cloaked seconds to plan a course of action. The Vigil I am flying is fast and agile. I have fitted a warp core stabiliser and microwarp drive. Perhaps I can fly out of danger before they pin me down. 10 milllion isk is a drop in the ocean to an established player. If they are in this for the money perhaps they won't bother with small fry like me. I cannot get out of map mode but I can turn on the filter to check for pod kills in the last hour. Ran

Zoso's Week in the Life of an MMO addict

For an entertaining read head over to Killed in a Smiling Accident and read Zoso's fictionalised account of a week in the life of an MMO addict. At least I think it is fictionalised but his timing does coincide rather well with the beta of Age of Conan so you never know.. Zoso's main protagonist starts a new free for all PVP game. He gets his kicks from "pwning noobs" (most of whom are called Arragwwwn) and posting vitriolic comments to the forums about carebears. I guess I fall into the carebear category because I have neither the stomach nor the talent for serious pvp. Yet one of the things I really like about EVE is the free for all PVP aspect of the game. It adds a whiff of danger to everything you do. I have yet to make it into the lawless 0.0 zones but even in more secure zones people get ganked . I have no doubt that EVE has players just like Zoso's protagonist - certainly they make it as far as the rookie help channel. I have to chuckle at questions

Hard Disk Full: What to uninstall?

I went to install something today and my PC said no. Three years worth of gaming has filled my 250Gb hard drive up to the very brim. A quick scan with Spacemonger confirmed that 90% of the disk was filled with games. I decided to be moderately ruthless and un-install any game I haven't played in over a year. Some folk have a strong sentimental attachment to their save games as this terrific piece by Lara Crigger in Gamers with Jobs testifies. There was time when I felt the same way. I was so proud to have completed Doom / Descent / Half Life that I religiously copied my save games from one PC to the next each time I upgraded. Now however I seem to have outgrown that. There are too many games and just too little time. The truth is that even when I do go back to an older game I generally start over from the beginning. Unless I seriously think I am going to use them again the save games are going too. By the way I am using the excellent Revo Uninstaller to do the actually cle

EVE, a Freudian Slip?

Re reading my last post about suscribing to EVE I was surrised to see that I had inadvertently slipped the word "tedious" in after the first sentence. I have corrected it now but it read: My 21 day EVE free trial has ended and I have bought a further 30 day subscription. tedious. I hadn't intended to imply that the game was boring but that is what is looks like I was saying. Oops.

EVE: I am a believer

My 21 day EVE free trial has ended and I have bought a further 30 day subscription. I don't really expect to get heavily involved in the game but EVE is a game that cannot be ignored. It is almost like I had to subscribe. I have only scratched the surface but already I realise that EVE makes other MMOs look, well, just silly. I mentioned that I had lost my way a bit in the game after unexpectedly achieving all the goals I set for myself early on the the free trial. The sandbox nature of EVE means that you need to set your own goals and without goals the game can seem very tedious. I have already established Marb Pelico as a frigate/destroyer flying vagabond who eke's out a meagre living from his fleet of flying rust buckets. I think I will now work him up towards level 2 and higher missions which probably means upgrading to a cruiser with consequent cash and training requirements. At the moment most of Marb's cash comes from salvaging which is mind numbingly boring. I wo

Crysis: Things I wish I knew the first time I played

It took me a while to figure out the capabilities of Crysis' nano-suit and weapons and this limited my play style somewhat on my first run through. Now playing through on Delta Mode (hard) I have adopted a stealthy play style and I find the following nuggets of info very handy: (in no particular order): 0. Patch the game before you play. Version 1.2 seems more stable and is easier. 0.5 Don't sacrifice playable frame rates for visual effects. Jerky framerates will seriously hamper your enjoyment of the game. Go for a setting that gives you around 30FPS and stick with it. 1. In stealth mode when you move you use energy very quickly and when you run out of energy you de-stealth. Crawl or crouch to move more slowly and reduce the rate of energy consumption. 2. When you run out of energy in stealth mode you switch to armour mode BUT you still have no armour because you are our of energy. 3. When you shoot in stealth mode you deplete all of your energy, de-stealth and switch t

Crysis on delta mode

One of the side benefits of the trend towards shorter more intense games is that it is relatively easy to play through a title more than once, trying out different difficulty settings and options. I often find that the second play through is more enjoyable than the first. I am more comfortable with the controls and game mechanics plus I tend to be a bit more creative in my second play through. I also try to play at a harder difficulty setting the second time around in order to maintain the challenge. So it was with Crysis. Having finished the game on Normal setting I started again on the hardest setting (delta mode). Crytek don't just adjust the difficulty level in delta mode, they make some other cool adjustments to the game as well. For instance the enemies now speak in Korean rather than English, grenades no longer advertise their presence and you can no longer magically man the machine gun of a vehicle while steering it (presumably with your toes. The enemy ai seems somewhat

Crysis Over

Just finished Crysis. I enjoyed it. Many commentators have said that the game is just a remake of Far Cry but I found it very different. Crysis feels to me like a much more traditional game. It feels like an old school shooter with a big alien boss at the end. It actually reminds me a lot of Unreal 2 but it has resonances of even older games like DOOM and Duke Nukem 3D. Crysis is a lot easier than Far Cry (on default settings anyway). This is partly because they included quick save ( embarassed pause ) but mainly because you get a uber magic suit from the very start of the game. This suit gives you a self recharging shield, self recharging health and has speed, strength and stealth modes as well. The reduced difficulty level isn't a bad thing in my opinion. I rate Far Cry one of the greatest shooters ever but I didn't get to appreciate it properly till my second (or third) run through because I was struggling with the difficulty on my first attempt. I can't really c