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Showing posts from June, 2008

Eve Online: Ruptured

In the end I opted for the solid and reliable Rupture over the fast and deadly Stabber. The "hit and run specialist" Stabber does look like a lot of fun but having been stuck with frigates and destroyers for a long time I wanted to experiment with something beefier for a change. I haven't quite cracked the rupture fit out yet. It has an abundance of low slots which suggest armour tanking (armour tanking modules all require low slots). Yet I struggle to get a decent defence rating from an armour tank. Amour repairers just don't seem to repair as quickly as shield repairers and there are no equivalents of the shield boost amplifier modules which speed up the rate of shield repairers even further. So I return to shield tanking and even though this is limited by the Ruptures lack of mid slots (only 3) I still manage to get a better result than with armour tanking. I doing level 2's to increase my faction standing to the point where I can access a decent level 3 agen

MMORPGs: Tobold invents the PUPDoG

One of Tobold's posts today got me thinking. He proposes an institutionalised system of guild hopping where players automatically join a guild to do a dungeon and then move on to a new guild when they have they are ready for the next dungeon. Tobold wrote this piece with tongue in cheek to highlight the current trend of guild hopping in World of Warcraft, a trend he believes is damaging to the game in the long run. Yet as I read it I realised that I would love just such a system. I like effortlessly casual social interaction. I like multiplayer shooters where you share a few gaming moments with randomly selected players. I even like pugging in mmorpgs. Guilds are great but they do involve effort, effort in game and effort out of game (forums, administration and schedules). I think one of the reasons I enjoyed LOTRO so much was that I had great experiences with pick up groups. Partly this was because the community was bit more mature than WOW and partly this was because the gam

Are MMO's really history?

My recent "MMOs are History" thing ( here and here )was started as a joke but Khan's recent post on the future of MMOs has prompted me to think about this more seriously. The truth is my thoughts and feelings about the future of mmorpgs are quite muddled at the moment. In the first instance I should own up to my own prejudices. I got bored of WOW, I got bored of Guild Wars, I got bored of LOTRO. I didn't just get bored of the predictable fantasy settings or the repetitive gameplay. I got bored of the whole "multiplayer experience". I got bored of grouping and raiding. I got bored of chatting to online friends. I got bored of reading and posting on guild forums. I got bored of trying to fit my life around a game's schedule. I got bored of blogging about my gaming. Even though I am now spending a fair amount of time in EVE I am effectively playing it as a single player game. I know I am missing out on most of what the game has to offer but I just amn

Melmoth's "If Monopoly was an MMO"

Melmoth from Killed in a Smiling Accident is on top form with a terrific piece surmising what might have been if Monopoly had been released in the same condition as many MMOs. My own favourite: The tutorial for new players was confusing and often entirely contradictory, this lead to many early games with players moving anti-clockwise around the board and falling off into space, because that section of the board was still missing. There's lots more. Go read it here

Eve Online: Stabber or Rupture

The trouble with playing a hardcore multiplayer PVP game in solo PVE mode is that you burn up the limited content pretty quickly and then boredom sets it. My PST Thrasher is owning level 2 missions now and the heady fun of tweaking a new build has pretty much dissipated. I need more excitement and it looks like the best way to get it will be to move up a notch to level 3 missions. My dinky destroyer ain't going to cut it in level 3's (a lot of folk use battleships) so I am going to have to upgrade to a cruiser. The question now is: What Minmatar cruiser? The entry level Bellicose isn't very good apparently and the Scythe is a mining/support vehicle. That narrows it down to a Stabber or a Rupture which is really a very interesting choice. The Rupture is a more traditional heavily tanked slow damage dealer. The Stabber is fast and light, optimised for hit and run tactics. Which of these should I get to try level 3 missions in? My first thought is to go for a Stab

Eve online: Thrasher love

The destroyer is an unloved beast in Eve online. Intended mainly as an anti-frigate class they have proven to be easy prey for bigger ships and many folk skip them entirely or consign them to the ignominious role of salvager/loot gatherer, choosing other ships to do the actual fighting. Many folk skip the destroyer, but not me. I have recently started doing level 2 missions. Apparently these are balanced for cruiser class vessels but I have not yet trained cruisers so I am using a Thrasher destroyer and having a lot of fun. The blobs of enemies in these missions have enough DPS to chew up a destroyer very quickly. There are even some nasties with warp scramblers and webbers to prevent you from running away when things get tough. In order to survive I prepare for the missions carefully looking up what to expect and adjusting my ship fit out and strategy accordingly. Its going well so far and I have done about ten missions without losing a ship. I have yet to get the "Human Cattle&

Saga of the Seven Suns by Kevin Anderson, Book 6 Metal Swarm

A quick look at Kevin Anderson's bio reveals a catalog of "written to order" novels based on well known licenses. Many of these are collaborations and for much of his career he has churned out three books a year. Oh and did I mention that he has been linked with what is (in my opinion) the nuttiest religion on the planet (who's name I won't mention for fear of being sued). I have to admit, that track record doesn't inspire me with confidence but please put any past prejudices you have aside and give Seven Suns a try. The series is absolutely terrific teeming with plots, subplots and a varied tapestry of characters. It is Anderson's own original work and I suspect it is more of a labour of love than many of his "written to order" novels. This is not high science fiction. This is pure space opera and the only science is of the di-lithium crystal variety. Nevertheless it is a great great read.

Gears of War: Co op gaming on a PC

I finished Gears of War on Hardcore mode (not as uber as its sounds - it is actually the medium setting) and I decided to try out some of the multiplayer options. The normal range of player versus player modes is on offer but what immediately caught my eye was co-op mode. Co-op is old hat to console gamers but it is relatively rare in the PC field so I had to give it a go. Co-op mode used to mean playing with a friend in the same room on a split screen. Nowadays Co-op mode allows you to play with some random player on the internet. Gears of war does allow private matches with friends but only for those who pay for a gold subscription to Windows Live. Silver members like me must trust to the public lists to find a partner. Could a random player be trusted to watch my back? Being used to the vast lists of servers that offer themselves for multiplayer games like COD4 and TF2 I was at first disappointed to discover that there were precisely zero9 co-op matches available for me to join.

Is music becoming less important to young people?

OK, I am a bit out on a limb here. This is an area in which I have no qualifications and in truth about which I know very little. However I want to share a question that came to me the other day while I was comparing the lives of my children with my own memories of life at that age. I noticed that music and musicians seem to be less important to my children and their friends than they were to my peers at the same age. It seems that a teenage girl today is more likely to have a poster of a footballer on her bedroom wall than a pop star. This seems to me to be a sea change. Ever since the 1950's music, in particular popular music, has been the defining theme of youth culture. People of all ages have listened to and enjoyed music since prehistoric ties but for anyone who grew up in the second half of the twentieth century music was far far more than just a source of entertainment. My generation and the generations around mine were shaped and defined by the music we listened to. Ho

Peter Hamilton: The Dreaming Void

New releases torture me. I don't buy hardback books because they are too big and awkward to fit into pockets or briefcases. When a new title comes out that I want to read I am forced to wait enviously until the first hardback run has sold out. As if to prolong my agony many publishers then bring out a large format paperback with all the size and cost disadvantages of hardback but without even the attraction of robustness. I generally hold off another six months or so for the small paperback edition which size is more appropriate to my nomadic reading habits. It was an unexpected treat therefore on discovering a new book from one of my favourite authors to realise that I had serendipitously managed to miss the hardback release and there it was sitting on the shelf in paperback, demanding to be bought. " The Dreaming Void " is the start of a new trilogy set 1500 years into the future of Hamilton's previous Commonwealth Saga novels. The plot so far as I have covered i

Terra Nova agrees with MBP

Terra Nova are the "Harvard" of MMORPG blogging so I feel it necessary to gloat that the good folk at TN seem to be coming around to support my statement that " MMORPGS are History ". Yes, Yes I know that Age of Conan has had a very successful launch. I know that anticipation for Warhammer Online is building up to frenzied proportions. I know that there are new child friendly MMO's being launched every day. I admit that I have just renewed my subscription to EVE online. I admit that I have even signed up for a new free to play MMO ( NosTale ) but some day, somehow my prediction will eventually come to pass and MBP will surely be hailed forever more as the visionary who said it first.

Gears of War - Pretty Good Except for the Magic Spacebar.

Looking for a bit of mindless shooting fun I went out and bought myself Gears of War (PC version). When the PC version came out in November 2007 reviews were very positive. The general opinion is that the PC version improves on the very successful Xbox360 version from a year earlier. With just over an hours playing time my first impressions are good. It is a fun fast paced shooter with great graphics and sound. Some commentators have complained about high system requirements but it looks absolutely beautiful and plays perfectly on my aging 7900gtx. I am running at 1600x 1050 with high quality graphics . DX10 is of course unavailable on my setup so perhaps the DX10 functionality is what is causing slowdowns for others. Although it is fast paced Gears is not mindless. On the middle difficulty setting (oddly named - hard core) it takes about half a clip to down even the most basic mob. This is too long to leave yourself exposed to enemy fire. Hiding and shooting from cover is a vita