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Showing posts from April, 2009

In which I abandon my profession and join Xfire

I just spotted that my Blogger profile used to claim I was an accountant. I'm not an accountant I am an engineer and I have no idea how that sneaked in there. Apologies for any confusion caused. While we are on the subject of true confessions I have decided to open up my gaming habits to the world by joining Xfire. At first I hesitated because it is a kind of voluntary spyware but then I reasoned that plenty of folk who know more about these things than I do are using it. Xfire probably isn't going to turn around and use the data to empty my bank account or blackmail me. I am fairly impressed so far, its a small download and simple install that doesn't seem to hog much resources. It managed to identify all of the games on my hard drive even some more obscure titles and games buried in my Steam directory. I doubt I will be using the chat functionality much but I am quite looking forward to finally knowing how much time I spend playing various games. I am showing my Xfire min

MMO - Let us grow old and die already

I wrote this in response to a post by Syp from Bio break about implementing Perma Death in an MMO. I like the idea so much I am copying my comment back here: I would like perma-death for another reason. One of the things I like least about MMO’s is that there is no end of game. No matter how many dragons you kill there is always just one more dragon. Perma death would give you that ending even if it wouldn’t necessarily be the nicest way to finish a game. How about making perma death inevitable just like it is in real life. After a certain level players begins to age and get weaker rather than stronger. You can decide yourself whether you want to retire to a tavern to live out your old age in peace or whether to go down in a blaze (literally) of glory fighting dragons to the last. I actually think a mechanic like this would improve the game experience and enhance my enjoyment of the game. The biggest problem with it is that it probably wouldn’t enhance the developers profits becaus

Previous predictions assesed and a bold new prediction.

Edit: This post is less than 2 hours old and I am already questioning my own sanity. To make such a bold prediction about a game I have never played and about which I have only very limited second hand information is surely foolhardy. Nevertheless the deed is done. My gut told me it was so and I wrote it down. I promise to eat humble pie in about a year or so if my prediction turns out to have been laughably incorrect. One of the nice things about having a blog is that you can use it as your own personal soapbox to pontificate on "What is Going to Happen according to me". Of course making a prediction and it coming true are two very different things so I thought I would review some of my own pearls of predictive wisdom to try and assess a personal hit rate. In reverse chronological order: 24 April 2009: Serious Games to Make a Comeback because Casual games lack longevity. Too soon to tell but I seem to be a lone voice on this one. 11 November 2008 Predicting the Gastronomi

Guild Wars - Don't Forget to get Your Free Storage

If you are currently on a break from Guild Wars you may not have paid too much attention to the 4th Birthday hullabaloo but you should still avail of this once off chance to get a free storage upgrade. Free storage is always good but the offer runs out this week so hurry. Details of how to get free storage here . The site is a bit slow but the gist is that you log into your NCsoft account and go to buy an extra storage slot, normal cost €8.99. When prompted you enter the promo coupon FREESTORAGE and voila the price drops to €0.00. While you are at it go have a look at the other game enhancements . Who knows you may be tempted back into the game.

How Simple Business Common Sense will kill Casual Gaming.

Two days ago I wrote a piece surmising that the current casual gaming craze may be coming to an end . Today another " Serious games are dead, Nintendo will rule us all " article gets slashdotted and in a bizarre co-incidence yesterday I had to sit through a business meeting where a potential investor assured us we were all going to be rich if we could only come up with innovations which help competitors ape Nintendo's success with non traditional gamers. (This was a bizarre co-incidence because I didn't think I worked in the games industry). So was my surmising no more than wishful thinking? The business case for casual games seems incontestable. Wii, DS, PopCap have all shown the profits that can be made. Common sense dictates that the potential customer base for casual games is far larger than for serious games. There may only be a hundred million serious gamers on the planet even using the very loose definition of serious gamer as being anyone who ever played a

So is Casual Gaming not So Important after all?

A year ago the runaway successes of Nintendo Wii, DS, PopCap and Flash gaming convinced a lot of people (me included) that the future of gaming would be dominated by casual games. Recently the decline in sales of Nintendo Wii in its home market of Japan has made me reconsider that prediction. Is it possible that casual gaming has shot it's bolt and more meaty games will come back into the spotlight? From a personal point of view I am not too surprised at the sharp fall off in Wii sales in its mature Japanese market. My daughter got one for Christmas and after the initial novelty of Wii sports wore off we quickly came to the realisation that there were very few good games for the Wii. Most of the top selling titles are party games that can be picked up quickly and are fun to play with friends but ultimately they won't hold anybodies attention for too long. Contrast that situation with my gaming PC. Many of the games I play on the PC have a steep learning curve but once you ma

What sort of Text Adventure could you make with modern technology?

After reading Tipa's reminiscences about the days of Zork I did a little experiment to see if my own 21st century kids could still be entertained by something as low tech as an interactive story. I made up a simple adventure (using a location I used to live in for source material) with obstacles to overcome, guardians to be avoided and treasure to be found. I acted as both story teller and game master. The episode was something of a success and convinced me that they might be prepared to try this type of game on a computer. Of course I do remember that those text based adventure games of 1980's could be frustrating exercises. The puzzles were often deeply unfair (you did remember to keep that piece of fluff from the pocket of your dressing gown didn't you?) and the language interpreters were extremely dumb. Almost inevitably a time would come when you were reduced to trying random combinations of nouns and verbs from the games limited vocabulary in an effort to progress.

The Best Top Ten List in the World EVER

Gamers with jobs is a site that I wish I could appreciate more. I know the stuff that bubbles up to their front page is a head and shoulders above most of the game writing you find on the web but even though I check the site every day I must hang my head and admit that most of the articles are just too literate and too verbose for me. GWJ is the Times Literary Supplement of games writing and I, to my shame am just a humble tabloid reader. Nevertheless every so often I manage to focus my attention long enough to discover some absolute gem of an article on GWJ and today's piece by Sean Sands is a cracker. It is nothing less that the top ten list to end all top ten lists: A top ten of the numbers between 1 and 10 complete with annotated explations. Enjoy: Simply the Best While I am on the subject of guilty confessions I must admit to having a few other "must read" websites on my daily review list that I never quite manage to actually read, Terra Nova for example and al

Honest Scrap, a bit of belated Memery

I am way overdue on responding to Crimson Starfire's nominating me for an honest scrap award but I will do my best to make up for that tardiness by graciously accepting. Thank you Crimson. As is usual with such things there are rules to be followed: When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on! I fall perilously close to the category of not having seven friends but I w

Guild Wars Dagger farming update. Hit me Several Times please.

I deserve it. After wasting about 8 hours in a futile attempt at farming some decent daggers I decided to follow Melf's suggestion and just buy them. But there was a problem .... The trade channel which had always been so lively when I played Guild Wars a couple of years ago had gone deathly quiet. I went to the spots I remembered being busy before: Lion's Arch, Kamadan and Kaineng Centre. I made sure I was on the English-1 sever that was always the busiest one accessible to European players when I was playing before. Still nothing. I almost gave up trying to buy anything. It seemed that the trade channels were dead. I guessed that a lot of players had moved on from the game. Then I noticed that the drop down box to select your server (why doesn't every mmo have one?) now allows me to select American servers. No longer are European players restricted to European servers. I tried America-1 and sure enough the trade channel started hopping. Within minutes I had bought ceremo

Guild Wars ... I need advice on farming for green weapons?

Nightflower Blossom, my pretty but deadly Guild Wars assassin has reached level 17 and is ready for her first serious set of daggers. There are many ways to get decent weapons in Guild wars but some of them seem to be a lot more painful than others. I guess the easiest route is collectors because the items they trade for are fairly common drops. Sadly Nightflower hasn't progressed far enough through the factions storyline to be able to access any high end collectors so I decided to look for another route. I was pleased to see that some "rare" green daggers can be got as boss drops in Nightfall even though assassins don't really feature in that game. Having finished Nightfall with my Paragon I can pretty much go anywhere in Elona so I assembled a team of henchmen and heroes and set off to farm some daggers. Now after several hours of slavishly killing the same mobs over and over with no sign of the desired green drop I can feel myself slipping into the grip of an obs

Guild Wars: Don't miss your chance to get free extra storage.

Nice to see that Arena net are still adding new content to Guild Wars. Their fourth anniversary will see the release of new PVE and PVP content under the Zaishen Challenge label. From what I can make out there will be some form of daily quests involved. The new Zaishen menagerie seems to be a way to store and swap combat pets. I have never been into pets so I could be reading that wrong. A couple of new rmt items also announced - pet unlocks and storage upgrades. I see rmt items in Guild Wars in a fairly positive light. The no subscription business model gives a huge amount of gaming for a small investment but if NCsoft have no way of getting additional revenues they are bound to lose interest in maintaining the game. Having a steady stream of income from people buying new characters slots and storage upgrades will hopefully entice them to keep the servers up and running smoothly. My only gripe about NCsofts implementation of micropayments is that they aren't really micro at all.

Guild Wars: Meet Nightflower Blossom, beautiful but deadly.

April fool is long gone so I can finally introduce you to the real Nightflower Blossom, now a level 15 Assassin working her way through Factions. I am enjoying the assassin role so far , even with the starter skills you seem to be able to lay down a tonne of damage on single opponent. It is a much more focussed role than either the paragon or the mesmer I have played before. The assasin's role is to pick a target and kill them, everything in the assasins skillbook seems to be geared towards getting in, making the kill and getting away again afterwards (if possible). Things get messy though against more than one opponent. Those same skills that can take someone out so quickly can drain your energy and leave you helpless against your victims buddies. This is not a character to try and get a survivor title methinks. I have already accumulated 28 deaths in 15 levels (most of them on a particularly difficult quest called " Quimangs Last Stand "). The skill bar I am showing ab

Guild Wars: Deadlier than The Male

I would like to introduce you to Nighflower Blossom, level 10 assassin and general deliverer of painful death. Does she not look the very image of cold hearted ruthlessness. Guild Wars April Fools day FTW!

A noob at the Noob Club

Many thanks due to Van Hemlock and co. for inviting me to their Tuesday Noob club for a bit of Guild Wars sparring. Sadly real life intervened to prevent me from contributing to more than a single match but it was fun to indulge in a bit of pvp for my first time in GW. I was lucky enough to be on the winning team for the only match I actually got to play (a 100% pvp record - perhaps I should retire now!). In hindsight it was a fairly imbalanced match because our team had a warrior a paragon (me) and a healing monk while our opponents had a more eclectic mix of Mesmer / Ele and Ranger. I think the combination of heavy armour and healing was always going to give us the win. Our opponents were spamming blindness skills (Signet of Midnight from the VanH's Mesmer and Blinding falsh from the Ele if I recall ) but both warrior and myself had fast recharging condition removal signets so it didn't avail them much. From my very limited experience it would appear that getting the team b