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|Wednesday, March 21st, 2012|
|Two sides of the story...
I think most of you know that for many years I helped work and write on the Animania LARP at Project Akon.
During that time things were set up to be an 'epic' story while still allowing the players choices for their characters by continuing to play those same characters the last three years of the larp.
During that time people grew less interested about the overarching plot and more in tune with how their character fit into that plot and how things mattered to that character.
When the game finally wrapped up in the end it didn't really matter what the characters did up until a point then they had to make a final decision and go to the final room for the ending. Some people really liked the ending. Some said it was okay. But ALL of them wanted an epilogue for their character.
As staff on that game, I got to see first-hand how people's reactions were. And I came to the conclusion that if you give players choice they want their voice to matter. The Animania games were criticized as ones that railroaded you to one ending. We were called out on the impression that it didn't matter what the players did, the Animania story would trump that and thus there was no 'player freedom'. We listened to the feedback, we said we would change, we tried to change, but in the end there had to be one ending.
So I understand where the creative writers and staff of Bioware is coming from. They're going through the same issues we went through with Animania. Both games gave the players 'choice' and said your voice matters. And both were railroaded into one ending.
(Side note: I'm still keeping my hope alive that Bioware is doing this as a calculated move and will release the end of the ending in April as DLC.)
The part that I don't like is them being surprised by the negative reaction. Have they not ran a massive game with passionate fans before?
Them being surprised lets me know their pulse was not in tune with the masses. I'm fine if they wanted to write whatever ending they wanted, but they shouldn't be surprised if people don't like it and want to hold you accountable for writing something bad. They backed themselves into a corner when they gave the illusion of 'choice'. We did the same thing in Animania. Sure we were able to change things and adapt things and make things differently...up until the final point in the game...that's when things did have to get railroaded towards the 'ending that would blow your mind'. Which is exactly the same things Bioware has done with ME3, and the reactions of players in both games has been the same. (Not as volatile for Animania, but we only had 50 players not 5 million.)
|Monday, March 19th, 2012|
|My thoughts on the Mass Effect 3 ending
I finally finished Mass Effect 3 last night. And I kinda wish I didn’t. First off I was pissed off at the ending sequence. Not because of the content but because it said I had a choice and there I was looking for dialogue choices to make and not getting any. Looking at things online I have come to realize that you don’t have dialogue you have to go to different locations in the final room in order to make the choice. My bad. (Their bad for not making it a bit more clear, but my bad for being so tired and worn out (like Shepard was after the fight) so I just picked the location that was in front of me.)
With that being said, I can understand why fans are mad. In one article Bioware came out saying they wanted the ending to be ‘polarizing’. I didn’t find it polarizing. I found it filled with bad writing with plot holes that can invalidate both the previous two games as well as most of this game.( ”SpoilersCollapse )
|Monday, February 27th, 2012|
|Reasons why I'm unhappy about ME3 (all EA/Origins related)
Bioware makes good games.
Bioware doesn't publish games, they go through EA. This is a bad decision and I hope in the future Bioware leaves EA. If Bioware left EA I'm pretty sure another company would pick them up in a heartbeat and it would leave EA stranded with mostly sports titles.
Here are the issues.
Mass Effect was a great game. It was on the PC and Xbox. PC versions were then added to Steam.
Mass Effect 2 came out on PC and Xbox. It got an even bigger audience. Game was added to PS3 on new engine.
Here's where EA starts getting involved and being stupid.
ME3 was pulled from Steam, and you have to use Origins for it (EA's version of Steam). Please note that many people who play PC games already play through Steam, they have a good reputation and is a great way to play PC games knowing it's your license for MANY COMPANIES. EA wanted to pull out the middle man and said their the big dog and wanted to do it all themselves. So now you have to have Steam for most PC games, and Origin for EA games. To me it just seems like EA took their ball and went home, and I feel sorry for those that have to play this game on the PC.
Next is the Collector's Edition. Remember how I said that the vast majority of players were on the Xbox with PC second and PS3 last because it came out later. They made the same amount of collectors editions for each of these three groups. Okay, say like there were 100 people and 60 were Xbox and 30 were PC and 10 were PS3...then they made 10 Collectors Editions for each platform. Xbox has the majority that don't get the opportunity to get it, while PS3 can all get it. PC becomes a moot point since what people really want out of the Collector's Edition is the downloadable content, which is still available if you play through Origin. So whoever dreamed up the amount of things to make per platform didn't understand how the previous two games were released or worked with save files people wanted to keep. If you could import your save files between systems, then this wouldn't be an issue. But I won't hold my breath for the day PC, PS3 and Xbox save files are compatible.
Now let's look at the Normal Version vs the Collector's Edition.
Normal has the game.
Collectors has the game, Day 1 DLC, Alternate Squad outfits, weapons pack, Dog for the normandy and other Xbox live goodies. Soundtrack, Comic book, art book, patch, lithograph.
Normal costs $60, and you can pay $10 for the day 1 DLC, you'll probably be able to get the squad outfits for another $10 (I'm guessing $1-2 a character), weapons pack I'll guess for $8, comic books are around $2-3, Soundtracks typically go for $10-$15, Art books for $30-$40, patches for $2-5 and lithograph for $5-$10. For a total of ~$140
If you just wanted the ingame stuff and didn't care for the physical items (which is what made the CE 'Limited') then the total comes to ~$90
CE is $80
I will admit I'm a sucker for soundtracks and art books. And I like getting CEs because of them. But normally you don't get this much 'extra' if you get a collector's edition. So the only reason I think they 'limited' the CE is they were already losing money on it and thus clamped it down.
The smart way of doing things would be have three versions.
1) Normal version
2) Collectors version
3) Limited Edition version
The difference would be normal is normal. Collectors would be normal plus the ingame content, and Limited edition would be Collector's plus the physical stuff.
That's something similar to what NISA did with Disgaea 4 was had the three versions, and the Really limited collector's one did cost a lot more than the previous versions but you got a ton more physical stuff.
There are three things people are up in arms about over this.
1) Origins - we know EA needed a flagship game to bring people to Origin but this seems like bad form as it's the last game in a trilogy.
2) CE - Why make it so limited unless you have stock in Ebay? And why not skew the product so it will match where the sales of previous games were played on? This to me feels like someone who didn't play any of the ME games in the past was the one calling the shots on how to publish ME3. Bad EA, just bad.
3) Day 1 DLC - If they had not done Zaheed in ME2, then I think I'd be able to give them a pass on this one, but the fact they did it then is why I can't give them a pass here. To release a new character and mission on Day 1, and make it cost $10...which is half the cost of the CE that you already limited just shows to me they don't care about the fans. They already know people are addicted to the story and want to play how it ends. But there are also people who want this unique character in their party. Imagine if Legion was DLC only and came out on Day 1 of ME2. That's what this feels like. The Prothean is not Zaheed, it's more like Legion and even though I didn't use him in my party much. I loved the story of having him there. ME3 dev team said they're getting back into story on this one...so why make the most interesting story a pay to play thing?
In the end I could forgive them if they made the CE more available, or at least made a digital copy FOR ALL PLATFORMS. Or if they'd made the CE around $100 they'd probably not have this big of an outcry because that seems like a more equitable price for it given all the stuff in the CE. And then people who had to pay for the Day 1 stuff wouldn't feel as shafted by EA because it would feel like the CE people already put in their $10 for that in the price of the CE.
This weekend I got to try out the beta test of TERA. Yes, the game has been out in Korea for over a year now, but from what I'm hearing this is more to 'tune' the game for a Western audience. They'll run a beta test for a weekend, collect feedback, make patch based on feedback, rinse and repeat until launch on April 28/May 1.
I'd actually been looking at this game for over a year when I first stumbled upon it through YouTube looking for feline MMO characters. And saw the Ellin. I like the fact it's a fae-ish type race where they all have animal ears and whatnot, but the race is too loli for me. (I'll probably still make one just because, but it won't be a main for me.)
Reading through the lore and history of the world, I found it interesting and I liked how each race was well developed with their own history that was tied into the world's. And I really liked the way the Castanic's looked and their attitude about things so I decided I would play them.
The other thing that immediately caught my eye was the Warrior class. I like swords. If I had to pick a weapon for a fantasy character, I'd pick a sword. In WoW I had my Rogue use swords, my Warrior used swords, my Paladin used swords. So this Warrior class in Tera uses two swords! Also, they're light armor to have mobility so they're called an Evasion Tank. In my mind it screamed what the Ninja tank was in FFXI. However in TERA this is done by using abilities and moving out of the way while in FFXI it was by making sure your spell (ability) was still active. Both of them punish the party if they get hit because they take more to get healed. But the Ninja tank in FFXI could hold a monster in one place to let the party pound on it, while the Warrior in TERA has to stay moving around.
So I started out with a Castanic Warrior. It was a lot of fun. I was able to run around, could tell when a big move was coming up and use the evasion roll ability to get out of the way. It was a lot of action and some people compared it to Devil May Cry.
The downside to Warrior is because they get hurt when they take a hit unlike the Lancer (shield and spear) and are harder to use than a Lancer, most people will prefer the Lancer as the tank of choice for instance runs. I was already seeing this in chat where people would be looking for a tank for a party to be GTG and then see the same person 5 min later shouting for a Lancer then the party will be GTG. Warriors have a bad reputation in KTERA (Korean Tera) that they can't tank and that's carried over here already.
Next I went to Mystic to try it out. It reminded me a lot of Summoner from reading about it. And it was a lot harder to kill things at first until I got the pet that could hold aggro. But even then it still took longer to kill mobs (the tank pet does no noticeable damage and Mystic is the lowest damage dealing class at these levels). The plus was when I got my first two AoE spells and could let the tank pet attack the big creature of the group while I AoEed down the minions. (yes, there are two types of normal monsters in TERA, big guys bigger than you and a big guy surrounded by a bunch of little guys...think of the little guys as Minions from DnD 4th Ed, don't take much to kill but can be deadly in a large group if you ignore them). This is where my warrior had some issues because if I could circle strafe the group I didn't get hit, but if I let them surround me then I had to jump out of there and it was harder to try to take out these small groups with the Warrior than it was for the Mystic.
During the 'Boss of Newbie Island' fight you got to see what a boss encounter would be like. They even provided an NPC Priest to assist/heal for the fight. My Warrior got hit a few times as sometimes I'd use my Evasion Roll too soon and then get hit when trying to avoid the follow up attack, but I had no issues. I liked how I could tell an icon over the mob's head when it was changing aggro targets and if you had aggro there was an orange circle under you. (I did lose it once after getting healed a bit from the priest.) For the Mystic that fight was a lot harder. The Priest could do more DD than my Mystic but I wasn't controlling him. The tank pet did keep aggro pretty well I only had to kite the boss 3 times.
After beating that boss you leave newbie island and go to the main city. This is where I started learning about crafting. To get materials you can gather the resources or buy them from the shop OR you can buy books to teach you to extract materials from gear (i.e. you disenchant a piece of gear into one of the materials) and since gear drops quite regularly it's now a decision of keep the gear to disenchant into mats, or sell it.) They also have 'enchanted gear' but that is beyond what I did for the weekend of playing.
I also decided to try out two of the other classes that interested me. Sorcerer and Archer. When you create a class the game ranks them with a 1-5 star difficulty. Warrior is the only 5 star. Mystic and Lancer are the 4 stars. Sorcerer and Archer are the 2 stars with the rest (Slayer, Berserker, Priest) being 3 stars. So these two ranged DD classes are viewed as the easiest to play. And they were.
I started with Sorcerer and oh my gosh, things died so fast. Single monsters or groups, it didn't matter, they all went poof. It really felt like an easy mode.
Then with Archer it was also pretty easy. Had some issues with groups until I got an attack that targeted 5 monsters instead of one, and then even easier when I got a 'slow trap' to lay in the path. Another thing I like about this game is for all classes when your cursor is on someone/monster next to the target it gives you a distance of how far you are so you can know which attacks are in range. Very huge help.
After playing 'easy mode' with both of them I moved back to Warrior to end the weekend. Warrior is a lot harder than the two ranged DD jobs, but I found it to be more fun. Maybe 'cause I like swords.
In the second area after you leave the main city monsters will start attacking you if you get too close to them. This did plague me as a Warrior a few times as I was dodge fighting one thing and got into the aggro of another. But now I know and can try to get better. I did find soloing if I want to be lazy and take some hits that helps, but doesn't teach how to dodge most/all attacks like Warriors are supposed to.
I've heard the games difficulty jumps in the 20s. So I can't speak to that yet, as I'm just between 12-15 for my two main ones, but all in all I think this is a fun game that has a different feel from other MMOs while keeping a lot of the same MMO elements.
|Monday, January 30th, 2012|
|End of an Gaming Era
I got to thinking about this today as a pit in my stomach was forming thinking of how bad EA is messing up the ME3 release by putting Origin in the way, coupling with the talk of how I've lost all faith in Square-Enix.
Growing up I played many video games, but some of the ones I enjoyed most were made by Activision. Pitfall, River Raid, etc. They kinda disappeared but I had good memories of them, until their feud with Rock Band after they picked up the Guitar Hero license. I didn't like it and lost a lot of respect for them, so much so that I haven't picked up any Activision games since.
Then there's SE. I've been a big supporter of theirs since FF1 back in the 80s. I played some of the FF games on ROMs at college because they weren't brought over here. I even imported some of their games early just because I couldn't wait. And I was one of those people that supported and played 7 years of their MMO, FFXI. I couldn't stand FFXIII, I gave FFXIV a good chance and supported it for many months. But you have to admit that FFXIV failed to deliver and was a game in forever beta. The shining part of their stuff was their silly little facebook game. And then they announced at the end of February they were cancelling that. I guess that felt like the last straw for me, and in my mind I've canceled them. They aren't putting out games that draw me in.
And now there's EA. I remember the days of Madden. Or SSX Tricky or other EA properties that were just 'fun'. EA was known as the 'sports' game maker. They had their niche and were really good at it. I really tried to get into Dragon Age, and I really liked the story, just the system and gameplay brought it down for me in the end. But I will say I still love the Mass Effect franchise, and am really excited about the new game. But there are two things which give me pause.
The first being the setting up of Origin. This is EA's version of Steam. Except instead of something for all companies to use, it's only EA. Right now the interface is clunky and still buggy. To entice people to use it they've put the best pre-order items only available through Game Stop or Origins. And all sorts of great goodies are in the Collectors Edition.
I attempted to pre-order the collectors edition through Game Stop, but they were all sold out. Amazon is also all sold out. So I went to Origin to pre-order, and I got a message saying they took my order and gave me an order number, but the anticipated ship date is 'null'. Which makes me think they are also sold out and just didn't update their website to say so. And of course I haven't been able to search for any helpful information as the links they tell me to follow all don't work. So I'm starting to wonder if I'm either going to be charged and get nothing, or if they'll drop my pre-order at the last minute.
That leads to my other gripe. Mass Effect was on the Xbox 360/PC. They put the feature in where you could import your save and it would affect things in Mass Effect 2. That was awesome! Then after Mass Effect 2 came out they released ME1 and ME2 for the PS3. So now with ME3 it will be on all three, 360/PC/PS3. Here's the issue in my mind. Most people who started playing the game played it on 360. I don't know the ratios of collectors editions between the three platforms, but even if it was 10/5/1 I think that would not be enough on the Xbox 360 as that is the #1 platform people used to play the game. Also, by now adding multiplayer element to the game it forces friends to all get it on the same system. Meaning more people will pick up 360 version than any other version! So EA made a major blunder when they underestimated how many people loved this series/game and on what platform they played it on. And it's not like people can change platforms due to the fact the save files won't move over and you can't play online with your friends that way.
And it's this type of oversight that bugs me. I'm fully expecting to play ME3 and enjoy it to death, but the way EA has managed this could be a black eye on the company in my mind. And if so then that really will be an end of an era of all the game companies that were 'the' game companies when I was growing up. And if so...viva Indy Gamers!
|Monday, January 23rd, 2012|
|Year of the Dragon Update
Today is the first day of the year of the dragon.
doesn't feel that different to me. Although I guess I should be sad that we just left the year of the rabbit, which is my year.
But that's not what I'm here to type about. I'm here to blog, 'rar'!Football
I've been doing very good at picking the winners for the NFL playoffs. But very bad at the teams I want to win winning. ; ;
And I'm very disappointed with a Giants/Patriots super bowl. I feel like I've already seen this one. In 2008 maybe. And they already played once this year with the Giants winning. (Patriots haven't lost a game since they lost to the Giants.) And the Giants have a reputation of a 'giant killer' team.
I'd normally be going for the Giants because of the underdog status, but at the same time this is the first 9 win team to make a super bowl. And if this trend continues I think it leaves a black mark on the NFL regular season saying you don't have to be the best team in the league, you just have to be the best team in Dec/Jan. And if that's the case then why is the NFL wanting to expand to 18 games?!? So they can have an 8 and 10 team win the Super Bowl because it got hot late in the year?
So I'm not going to really root for either team 'cause I kinda hope they both lose, but I think the Giants are going to win.Video Games
I can honestly say I'm happy that Diablo III has been pushed back. I was not looking forward to Mass Effect 3 and Diablo III coming out the same week. And then I just learned that Hyperdimentional Neptunia mk2 comes out that week as well. >< Although looking at HNmk2 it doesn't draw me as much as the first did. I'm sure it's improved and just as fun, but it can wait until after ME3.
Speaking of ME3...even though it's on all platforms now, the Xbox version is still king. For one major reason...importing of save files. I went to go look for an Xbox collectors edition and couldn't find one. I had to go to EA (Origins) to order one. But it makes since that most people will want to continue their version of Shepard and you can only do that if you get it for the console you started it on.
Soul Calibur V snuck up on me. It comes out next week, and it wasn't even on my radar at all. Looking at it, I'm not sure what to think. I'm happy this is a storyline that has kept advancing over the years. But they did take out my favorite character who'd been in there since the first game, Taki. Sure, they added her apprentice, but I'm thinking it won't be the same. I still would like the game, but it's not one I want to jump up and down and 'have' to get right when it comes out.
I looked at the preorders for SC5 and even those seemed lack luster. Best Buy got you a character from one of the other games in their universe (that I'd never heard of) and Gamestop got you an Ivy bobblehead. Ivy...bobblehead...yeah. No interest.
I saw a poster for Tales of Graces and was excited since I hadn't heard of the next Tales game coming over here. Then I looked and it said 12/31/2012...which means they didn't really have a date.
Speaking of other things I saw, I saw the FFXIV collector's edition for only $20. >< The game that never got off the ground.
In my mind I 'beat' Skyrim (on the PC) even with still finding some 'bugs'. I have to say that game did live up to all the hype and was a fantastic game and I'm very glad I moved to PC version to play through it. I say I beat the game not just because I finished the main storyline, but I went through and got all the achievements for the game as well.
I do have to agree with others that sneak/arrows was easy mode (so was smithing/enchanting at 100). Because when I tried conjurer mage it just didn't feel as fun. Jon said his 'sneak mage' was having a hard time killing things later on because damage wasn't scaling. So don't know if I'll do any other playthroughs on it, or if it will turn into a putz around game. But for those that haven't played it, I'd say give it a shot, it was a wonderful game.Other
There are other updates. My car hit a deer on Jan 2. But it's back and working again. I'm ahead of previous years in getting ready for Akon larp, but still behind in that the stuff I need to get done for the deadlines of staying ahead isn't happening.
Still playing Cosmic Break and TF2 at random times. (Although bummed out that I wasn't able to get a B.M.O.C. in TF2. I'd rather have that over the treasure hat.)
Still at my job even though the tasks that I do are changing. Been here 13 years (14 in June).
I'd say this next year is looking up with still more changes in store. Won't elaborate on them yet, but I think the people involved know what is going on.
So to everyone else, happy year of the dragon!
|Monday, September 12th, 2011|
Life is busy.
About one month ago was the Ard Boyz tournament. I took 2nd at our store. This qualified me for the next round. I debated about going or not. Logic said don't go. But I asked around and logic got thrown out the window.
I spent a year's budget of 40k stuff in a month and worked on getting a competitive list rather than my 'fun' lists.
I had a night to try out a mini-version of that list three times and learned more about it.
And then put everything on hold. I haven't touched 40k in two weeks due to live stuff going on. 'cause that's what life does. goes on. Between heading down to AFest in Dallas and Gayle visiting from Corpus, things have not moved at all.
At least I have my list, I'm borrowing Rob's carrier so I can take the army up to Omaha, but I still need to put together three vehicles. So I have a feeling this week (Wed night) I'll be putting them together. Packing on Thursday and then heading out on Friday.
As you can tell, I'm very not ready for this tournament. Mindset is not there, figures are not ready. I should've listened to my logic, so hopefully it will be a fun time.
Another thing in the back of my mind was to maybe visit family in Omaha while I was there, but since I'm with a group of people and not a driver um...I don't think that will be happening.
Hopefully I'm not burning myself out of 40k. I don't think that I am, but I do know that after this tournament I need to take a break from new things on it and just use what I have and play for the fun of playing.
|Monday, September 5th, 2011|
Just got back from AFest so here is the obligatory report.
I will say my throat is still a tad sore today so hopefully I'm not sick.
Anyway on to the report.Friday
Get up and make the drive down there. It felt like it took forever. And didn't help when I got into Dallas there was a wreck on 75 South that blocked the left two lanes. Took me about an hour once I was in Dallas to get to the hotel.
Once there I was able to meet up with R2 and Dave pretty quickly. Got my badge and stuff up in the room quickly as well. So that made a good next step. By this time it was quarter to 6 so I rushed down to the dealers room to do a quick look around before they closed at 6. Then I'd come back and we'd figure out dinner.
Well, the dealers room didn't close until 7...so I took my time looking around giving a once-over at each booth. I ran into the Dallas crew down there so I brought them along as we all pondered food for the evening. Once again inertia wasn't our friend. heh. We had 12 people and thus that was fun trying to decide where to go and how to get there. We settled on a local taco place called Sabor. Melissa knew of it and said it was very good. So we walked through spooky tunnel to the DART (light rail) and took it two stops to Arkon (sp) and went to the taco place.
I felt sorry for the owner a little bit. As it was just him and one other guy and here walks in a mass of 12 people. We took up most of the little dining room inside. But the owner was very friendly and his bend over backward attitude went a long way as we didn't mind the wait for the food because we were a very understanding group. And the tacos and chips were very good. Well worth the wait and price (it was pretty cheap for that good of food).
Then we headed back and walked around the con for a bit. I liked the complement I got in the John outfit. Someone said to me wow, look at this guy, he just woke up and said I'm going to be John today and he was. I could not believe the amount of Homestuck cosplay we saw. It was by and large the biggest group. You couldn't walk 5 feet without seeing a troll cosplayer. I saw all of the kids and trolls except for Jade and Feferi. There even was a couple of the Midnight Crew and a Felt. Dave and Vriska were the most numerous followed by Nepeta, Kanaya and Gamezee (there were a lot more Gamezees than I was thinking there would be.) John had a good deal and there were a few Rose (about 5 that I saw). There were only 2 Tavros, 1 Equias and 1 Eridan. This fandom is the new Inuyasha or Naruto. So many...Saturday
Got up and ran around the con for a bit, then went out to lunch with Mark and Jen. Tried a new place and it was okay. With LSU and Oregon football teams in town there were a lot of fans and that made this restaurant full and we waited to be seated and then waited at the table then
waited for food. So my main memory of the place was waiting.
When I got back to the hotel I realized I left my phone in my brother's car. I didn't know what to do to get it back. All of my contact numbers were in there. So pulled out my laptop and checked skype, he was online so I called but didn't get an answer. Assuming that it was the skype on his computer that was on. So then used Google Talk to call my parents to get his number, but they weren't home. So then just shot him an email. Luckily he got the email and through email we worked out a time for him to drop off the phone to me at the hotel. That was a major Thank You to my brother for that.
Then I walked around the con dressed up like Barnaby from Tiger and Bunny. I saw a few other Tiger and Bunny characters and 1 Origami Cyclone. None of us were in power suits though. heh. Bunny (Barnaby) was the costume I got the most complements on. I think it got more than John because there were so many Johns. And there were probably 3 or 4 Barnabys. There was also one Kriem and she looked awesome. So I was pleased with the amount of Tiger and Bunny I saw. (The other complement I got as Bunny was wow, it's a guy dressed as Bunny sweet!)
For dinner that night went to a really good BBQ place on the West End. We walked there and people thought I'd get hot wearing that jacket. But the jacket was fine. Probably because my head was hotter due to the wig. ><
When we got back I got ready for the larp by changing into my Dr. Horrible outfit.
The Larp was a lot of fun. It only ran for 3 hours, but we just took what the players came up with and ran with it. And there was a lot of fun silliness that was had. Props to Leonardo Leonardo, Marvin the Martian, Kato and the Prinny Squad.
Stayed up talking with people after the larp and snacking on Japanese candy. Sunday
Today I had a plan. I mean my organizing was in full gear. Had people up and out the door by 9:30 to go to Magi Quest. Stopped by a Cafe Brazil on the way for brunch (yes, I do go there every time I stop in Dallas now). Had Mike Morris meet up with us for food since he wasn't at the con and we talked and ate and it was good. I really like the food there.
Then our adventurous five went to Magi Quest. It is similar and different than the KC one. KC one is only on three floors (and the hidden one) but uses both wings of those floors for 7 areas. The Dallas one is on eight floors with just those eight areas. (No hidden areas.) Dallas one also had 'instructions' on how to trigger the dragon fight. KC one you had to decipher that from riddles. (Or kids who'd done it before would tell you.) Dallas had a princess of the forest as the main one you helped. KC has a princess in a castle as the main one you help. Dallas had two more runes than the KC one had.
Dave got tired and we had to carry his wand for him a couple of times so he could use the elevator. We all agreed it was good exercise to go up and down all those stairs though. It was also funny as we'd quick draw each other when we got to an item. R2 beat Dave most of the time on those. (I didn't count me since I was normally up in front and would hit things first.) At one time I thought we were coming up with names for us for this quest as I heard the name Stumbleforth. I think that was going to be R2's but he didn't like it so we ended up naming the quest giver magi in the tree that. He was then Dr. Stumbleforth to us.
I'd say it was a lot of fun and seemed everyone there had fun too. We sang in the stairwell (well, me R2 and Dave did) and just acted goofy.
I had a hard stop that we had to end there at 1:30 so we could be back at the con by 2. And we were able to follow that to the T.
Ran around the con as Izaya on Sunday. And there was not much Durarara!! cosplay all weekend. I only saw Izayas and Shizuos. No Celtys. Not seeing any of the other cast doesn't surprise me that much. But wow, it just feels like this series came and went cosplay wise. Hopefully I'll see some Celtys at AWA.
In the afternoon my throat was starting to feel sore. And I was feeling dehydrated. So I got 1.5L of Pokari Sweat and drank it all. I felt a lot better after that, although there was still a tingling in my throat.
Then at 4:30 we all gathered up and went to this all you can eat sushi place. (well, only certain times were all you can eat, and it was $20 per person.) We had 11 people there and it was a big good time with lots to eat. Had I known even the sake was cheaper I would've got more because I only had one large bottle.
When we got back I watched the latest episode of Tiger and Bunny with some of the people in the room. Then after that talked a bit and then semi crashed out. I was just feeling wiped out and my throat was still bothering me.
I was asked if people could borrow my laptop to watch the last two episodes of Tiger and Bunny so I let them. I was told later that with the way the slow buffering was going on that they got 4 episodes of XMen watched during the buffering times of the one episode of Tiger and Bunny they got watched.Other Randomness
I got a lot of the Mii stuff done by walking around with my 3DS. Met one person 7 times! Never saw them IRL though.
Picked up presents for people. Is it sad that I do most of my present shopping at cons? I've got a few people done for Friendsmas this year.
In the random thoughts after the game we were talked about zombies and ponies and thus it was said next year's larp at AFest should be Zombies vs Ponies and they said I had to play Pinky Pie. I don't know much about that...so guess I need to wiki or watch some of the new My Little Pony stuff.
I spent a lot of money on costumes this year so next year I wanted to cut down. Told R2 that my goal for next year was to not make a single new costume. Except for maybe Medic from TF2, but only if I figured out how to make a Medigun first. Well, wouldn't you know it...there was someone in artist alley that had a prototype Medigun they made and would take commissions to make them. So I put an order in with them to have a Medigun made. They gave me a Medic Bonesaw prop for the order so next year I will be doing TF2 Medic sometime.
|Monday, July 18th, 2011|
|Friday, July 1st, 2011|
|Video Game Update
Okay, this past week I got my first 'Platinum' trophy on the PS3.
The game: Ar Tonelico: Qoga.
I was very surprised I liked this game, but I did enjoy it a lot and in the end the trophies were ones you can easily get by playing the game. Other games (Neptunia, Trinity Universe) will give you half to most by playing through to get things, but then they have the 'hard' ones or 'time consuming' ones that require you to do monotonous stuff over and over and over, and...I'll pass. For these games I'd rather have fun gameplay and a neat story over just doing things to do things. And thus maybe I would get more trophies on games if they were for things I was going to do anyway.
That being said, now that this is done I should start up Zelda...but TF2 jumped in the way. So I think Zelda will wait a little bit.
|Hats off To Fou 2
The Team Fortress 2 bug has hit me again. I think the Meet the Medic and the new items did help with that.
Just as Jon would say in the past when new weapons come out it introduces a new playstyle, the new Medic gun does just that.
The new gun heals at a much faster rate, but you can't overheal or get your teammates above their starting health. Also it's 'Uber' instead of invulnerability or all hits are criticals, just heals even faster (300% faster)
This is best if used with a group to try to keep lots of people healed quickly. While the other two medi-guns are best at focusing on one maybe two people (one for full attention the other for a spot heal) this new one makes you a 'group' healer.
Also it makes it where you feel free to move around more. The gun charges so fast and since it doesn't overheal people once someone is full its time to go look for your next paitent! This running around has helped me find spies that I never would've found before.
The Heavy's and Scouts new guns are also really good. Scout's builds up a charge as you run around, and if people have seen me with scout...I run around a lot. And Heavy's has a fast (too fast) spin up time so you were shooting in almost no time. (This was too good and has since been nerfed...well, they dropped the reduction in spin up time from a 75% reduction to a 40% reduction, so it's not as good as it was, but it is still freakin' awesome!)
Tonight (if I'm not working and can log in) I should finally have gotten enough spare weapons turned into scrap to create my own very first hat! Yes, yes, I know it's not really one I designed, or one that I might wear, but it will be the first one I've made through their crafting system. And yes, I know it's random which of the 80+ hats I'll get...but would I have it any other way? *grin*
I'll try to take a picture of 'My First Hat' after it happens.
|Thursday, June 30th, 2011|
|Pulling the plugs (or at least needing to)
I don't know why I can't seem to cut those cords.
First - phone. The only people that call me on my home line are sometimes Dan and sometimes my parents. (because sometimes I forget my cell and thus don't hear it, I need to get better at keeping it with me) So there really is no reason for me to keep a land line. (Was also told I can port my number to googlevoice for a free service.)
Next - TV. I've been debating this one ever since Direct TV dropped G4. At that time it was to drop Direct TV and move to U-Verse. But with the hassles I've had lately with Direct TV and watching my viewing habits, it is not cost effective to pay that much to watch 1-2 hours a week. (We've used the same arguement for MMOs and they cost a lot less than TV service.)
So I really need to drop both of these. Just need to see if I can actually follow through with it this time.
|Monday, April 11th, 2011|
From what I hear Jon is on a roll.
Played him in a game of 40k last night after I got home and his Space Wolves seem more balanced and better than before.
He gained more than he lost by replacing Logan and the Terminators with Speeders and Rune Priests.
That's just one side of the story though. The other is that Aluminum Foil is not what you should make tanks out of and you should try to wear some sort of armor on the battlefield.( Battle Report: Dark Eldar vs Space WolvesCollapse )
|Tuesday, April 5th, 2011|
|250 plus another 250
Still toying around idea about Wargames Con. The 'big event' there is the 2000 point tournament. Normally around here we've been playing 1500. Then at the last tournament I went to at Tabletop the points were set at 1750. So I had to add in 250 more points. For that one I added a squad of Dark Reapers to my Eldar tournament list from 2010 and then padded out the Howling Banshees with 2 extra members. And that list worked really well for me. I kept my 'not in the face' attitude for keeping the jetbikes (my troops) alive and the extra cover fire of the Dark Reapers was a huge help.
So what do I add for the next 250 points?
One consideration is looking at the fact I would need (well, not need, but would be best if) I could have the whole army painted. Taken from their rules:Painting:
All models are expected to be fully assembled and painted to a minimum of a 3 color standard. Paint scoring will be handled by judges, and scored as follows:
Any models not painted to a 3 color minimum standard: Inelligible for Overall Winner*
0-50% painted to good tabletop standard: +12 points
50-100% painted to a good tabletop standard: +12 points
Extraordinary individual models: +1/per (maximum 4 points)
Extraordinary painting for the majority of the army: +1-3 point
* If you have lost or damaged models in transit, speak to the judges prior to the beginning of the tournament, and we will probably waive this restriction.
So I don't 'have' to have them painted, but if they're not all painted then I couldn't get overall winner (which I don't think I'd get anyway). But another thing to think about is that 22% of your overall score for the tournament would come from a painted army. It's a good thing to have done.
Looking at my list I already have most of that done to the three color standard. Finishing them with detail, washing and basing is the main things I'd need to do. Figures I would need to do a lot of work on would be the three new banshees that were added to get to 1750. And then whatever else I add to the army. So here's the two options I'm toying around with in my head.
Option 1) A squad of pathfinders. The nice things about this unit is they are a troop and thus can hold objectives and they are the best when they have cover. And they're snipers, which could add some extra cover fire for my troops and be something the opponent has to take care of because if they don't I'll keep sniping things off. The downside is they have no armor and a good blast or template shot could wipe them out.
Option 2) A squad of Fire Dragons with Exarch with Firepike in a Wave serpent. The first downside to this is I don't have a Fire Dragon Exarch with a Firepike. When I first got Fire Dragons I was so tired of being hit with flamers that I modeled my Exarch with a flamer himself. In retrospec that wasn't a good idea. So I'd need to get another box of Fire Dragons. Also instead of 10 models if I did Pathfinders, this squad would only be 7 models. However one of them would be a vehicle. Speaking of, it would be nice to have another vehicle on the table that has twin linked Bright Lances. And my biggest complaint about the game right now is how many 'metal boxes' are being feilded by everyone. Well, Fire Dragons are best at blowing up 'metal boxes'.
So my options come down to having a troop that can lay down support fire and would either be awesome with cover or dead quickly (that would take me to 1989 points adding 1 Victory Point that I can give up to my opponent). Or an elite squad that could wreck vehicles and give me another vehicle (that would take me to 1999 out of 2000, but add 2 to the number of victory points I could give up).
|Monday, March 7th, 2011|
|Counterstrike (Death to Metal Boxes)
Okay, after talking with Dan about army configurations it got me playing with some lists. Well, more importantly it got me pointing out 'metal box' killer units.
Option 1) 10 Troops in a Raider gives me 8-16 poison shots, 2 Dark Lances and 1 Blaster. That's 8-16 shots at infantry and 3 shots that can harm vehicles/terminators. All for only 220 points.
Option 2) 3 Kabalite Elite in a Venom. This would have 12 poisoned shots from the Venom along with 2 Dark Lances and 1 Blaster. That's comparable to option 1 with better range on the shots from the Venom for only 176 points! And if I wanted to 'upgrade' I could add in another 2 Elite with Blasters to give me 2 Long Range (36") shots and 3 short range (18") shots at Str 8 AP 2. (I'm liking this option.)
Option 3) 9 Reaver Jetbikes. That would cost me 264 and would have 6-12 poison shots and 3 Heat Lance shots, but all only have short range (18"). Best part of this option is the opponent would have to remove 6 bikes before the Heat Lances would be in jeapordy. However, that's easy to do with their 5+ armor.
Option 4) Ravager. This would cost me 125 points. It has three Dark Lances, but no 'lots of anti-troop' shots. Still would be the best bet for popping open tanks.
Option 5) Razorwing Jet. Um...don't sure I like this. Coming in at 175 points it only has 2 Dark Lances, 6 poison shots and 4 missles which are really only good for taking out groups of infintry.
Option 6) Voidraven Bomber. Worse than the jet. At 205 points it would have upgraded 'Void Lances', the four missles and the void bomb. But seems a little high compared to other options I have on here.
So looking at this I might try to make a list with 2 Ravagers, 2 squads of the Elites in the Venoms and one of the troop in the Raider. That comes to 822 points which still allows me almost 700 for the rest of the army. (Still would need an HQ and troop in that 700). But it would give me 12 Dark Lance shots, 3 Blasters, 24 long range poison shots and 8-16 close range poison shots. Just would need to put in some melee and advance troops in the 700 and I think this could be an anti-metal-box army.
|Monday, February 28th, 2011|
Last week I got the last of the Dark Eldar figures put together and thus Saturday got to try them out. Originally I wanted to use them and the other factions I have (Eldar and Demons) but after the first game with them it taught me that I needed to play them more to learn about how they work and what their strengths and weaknesses are. It is true that you can read up about things and envision them in your mind, but it really isn't until you see it in action can you make real judgements.
First off, I built this army/list the same way I started out the other two. Picked stuff I liked worked off that theme and made the army. With Eldar that was Jetbikes. I had a whole army of them. Then after they were picked apart in assault and not able to punch through anything with their guns I've modified and amended that army where Jetbikes are just a part of it and not the focus. This took time and a couple years to get all the parts of the army in place. (minis aren't cheap ; ; )
Then for the Chaos Deamon army I focused on Slanesh, and kept that theme for the army. For this one though I told myself ahead of time that I would only get the 1500 points and no more and just play them for fun no matter if they won or got slaughtered all the time. Which they do tend to lose a lot.
And now with Dark Eldar I focused on Wyches (a mix between the Banshees of the Eldar and the Deamonettes from Slanesh) and still had some Jetbikes, and made sure that almost all the army could use Combat Drugs.
Here is where you can note the theme of all the armies that interest me. Low strength, low toughness, high initiative.
Combine that with Dark Eldar's lack of armor (5+ armor is something most guns ignore) means it's going to need to be a more finess style of game.
Rob was over in the afternoon so I decided to have the Dark Eldar face off against his Tau. One, because he wanted to see how the Dark Eldar played and two, because I wanted to face the Tau because I can't beat them, ever.
So in that game I got to learn that Dark Eldar do have some nice tricks, but they can't stand up in a firefight and guns tear right through them. I didn't get tabled but only had two models left on the table at the end of the game.
Then later that night I played Dan and his space marines. And I fared better, but still was outgunned. I think I need something up front to take the hits before my 'fun' forces get up there. Also I think even though the Duke allows me to Deep Strike my units in it might be better to start with them on the table and get them to the enemy faster to start melee as soon as I can and not wait for when they might show up and then have to wait a turn after that to assault.
I'll probably keep the list the same for a few more games just to see how things play out, but then after that I think the ooo shiny will wear off and then I'll start looking at what I need to do as them to fight against the stuff that our playgroup plays. (Lots of metal boxes, aka tanks.) Also this gives me time to see what I would want to expand on and save up money for them.
I will also say after putting together the figures for this army that Games Workshop did a fantastic job on the models. Also I like that there are parts in each of the different types that can be used on any. Heads in the Hellions, Ravagers, Wyches and Kabalite Warriors are all different but you can use on any. Same with some of the close combat weapons. And thus you can have a whole army of unique poses, unlike a space marine army where they all look the same.
So even though they're squishly like all my armies, and their vehicles are made of aluminum foil I still like them and will want to keep testing them out and getting better with them.
(40k Painting update, 2 months down, score 0/1500)
|Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011|
You know how they say you should read the instructions before doing something. Yeah...I need to get back into that habbit.
Yesterday was a productive day for me. Got all three Dark Eldar Raiders and the Ravager put together.
There are flaws though. 3 of the four vehicles do not have moving rudders. It took me to the last one where I learned the right amount of glue to hold the part around it closed without any of the glue leaking into it. I will interject here that the curved hull of the ship is a little hard to get fully closed at all points. I did a decent job on most of them but the bow and stern have a seam you can see on a couple of them.
When I was putting together the first one a week ago I remember not knowing where the steering mechanism for the rudder went. Then Rob showed me that I missed a step (this is where reading would come in handy). So I went back and put that on. It seemed a little (very) high so I angled it down some to where it would blance out with the other controls. So didn't miss anything there.
After getting most of the second one done then I decided to work on the last Raider and Ravager at the same time. They had the same hull and most of the same parts so I thought it would be fine to work on them together. On the third Raider it started raining a lot so while holding the piece I had just glued I went to the window to see the rain, and as I was there the top part fell off and the cross beam that attached to the main stearing mechanism went down an air vent. Luckily I was able to pull off the grate and rescue it from the air vent. It had some fuzz on it, but was able to attach it.
Now on the Ravager everything went fine...until the end. Just like I knew the rudder stearing mechanizm went on somewhere, there was a cross beam for the gun sponsons that I knew would go on somewhere but I couldn't find where. Looking back at the instructions (which were in front of me all the time) I noticed that just like that piece I had missed a step where it was added. The bad thing was this cross beam went in the same spot as the cross beam piece that the Raider used (the one that fell down) and thus I'd already glued the wrong piece in place! Unable to get it to come apart I broke off the two sides of the beam and then used my plastic cutters to dig a trench in the part that was glued and not coming out. At this time I realized I didn't have a way to drill a hole where it needed to go so I cut off the bottom of the 'T' part of the Ravager cross beam and then set it in there. It fit! But without the pole to steady it, it rocked back and forth and had no stability. So I accepted the loss and then glued the two ends of it to the two gun sponsons on the sides. So now it was stable but now the side sponsons couldn't spin around.
After these were all done I started working on the people to put on the ship. (Gunners/pilots) And that's when I realized that there was a reason the rudder stearing mechanizm was so high...that's where the pilots had was modled to go. So on all four ships his hand is in the air above the controls. Oops.
All in all though they came out really well and I put two extras on each ship.
Raider 1) Two Dark Eldar hanging on weilding daggers.
Raider 2) Two Dark Eldar hanging on weilding spears.
Raider 3) Two Dark Eldar hanging on weilding guns.
Ravager) Two extra gunners, one manning each of the sponsons.
Also by having the Ravager box it gave new rudder and sail options which is nice because all four vehicles each have a different style of sail. So I'm pleased with them even though they could be better (and I will all the rudders and sponsons were able to spin, but live and learn).
And read the instructions fully before starting a project!
|Saturday, February 19th, 2011|
Today was the big/long day at Nakakon.
It started out on the wrong foot...I slept late, then couldn't find parts to costumes (forgot that Shunsui's sandles were broken and couldn't find the Spike wig) and then got out Archer only to find that the tassels on the coat needed to be repaired.
By this time I had now missed when I needed to leave to go watch the Live Action Mushishi movie in the viewing rooms. /sigh
But I got the Archer costume mended and found the Spike wig so I put Spike on because the boots on that are more comfortable than the Archer boots.
On the way there I decided to treat myself. I'd been craving Manny's for awhile so I stopped by there for lunch before hitting the con. I got lost. For some reason I was thinking that Manny's was south of Crown Center, but it was actually north. So technically I didn't get lost lost, I just didn't know where it was without driving around awhile.
Then I made it to the con. It was neat that while driving up I was able to see cosplayers walking above me through the skywalk. And yes, I went out to eat dressed as Spike. The waitress there was looking at me like she didn't know if the wig was my real hair or not.
After I got in I wandered around the dealers room looking for Rob and Z. After I'd been to everywhere else I finally found them. (Yes, finding stuff is always in the last place you look, just like the wig.) They were the front table as soon as you walk in, but with the crowd I didn't see them until I'd been through everything else and made my way back to the front.
Still nothing really major in the dealers room. I did like the NERV flag that I saw. It could go along with the One Piece flag I have, but I didn't pick it up. There were a lot of One Piece figures out. Small ones too that thus are afordable and look almost as good as the Potrait of Pirates ones.
Also saw a card game that I have a history with...it's called Whack a Catgirl. When I first saw it online it was being developed and I preordered it...and never got it. So that left a bad taste in my mouth. So I saw it here with an expansion, the vendor wasn't the one who designed they game, they were just selling it, so I couldn't complain to them. Instead I debated if I should pick it up or not and give this a second chance. After I looked at it again, I wasn't that fond of the artwork on it, so to me this was a pass.
Saw the guy who ran the Ninja/Samurai/Weapons panels/demos and thanked him for doing those. He does a fabulous job and I hpoe he returns again. He's funny irreverent and knowledgable. And things are more fun when the 'instructor' is up there having fun and making people laugh.
Went to the Hetalia panel. It was more than I expected. The Funimation brand manager was there along with four of the voice actors (Chibitalia, Germany, France and China). That was a blast. It was neat seeing the first takes on things, but I think what I liked best was just the VAs up there and the comradere they had. It reminds me when I went to the Steven Blum panel a few years ago and he called up Vic and Chrispin Freeman just so we could talk to them. They looked like they were having fun and really enjoyed what they did as well as being here. After the panel I saw France in the hall talking one on one with fans. When a VA does something like that they earn a ton of respect from me.
I will say I am not your average Hetalia fan. The majority of people in that room were teenage girls. I am by far not a teenage girl. But I like the series because it pokes fun at history and at nation stereotypes. One of the questions asked to the panel was if after doing this series they started thinking of the characters when real life news events happen. Like the volcano eruption in iceland being caused by something iceland did and all of the European countries had to deal with it. Or having the wikileaks story where America's diary got picked up and England had it.
That panel was so good that I missed out on the others I was going to leave the Hetalia one early from to go to.
Also there was a lot of good cosplay. This is still a small convention, but over the years it has been getting bigger and I'll stay that the cosplay here is just as good as any other convention I've been to. (past year being Akon, AWA and AFest) And I liked that there was no one dominate character. There were a ton of different series and characters running around. I did see two other Spikes (no Faye, Jet or Ed though) and I did see one Archer (whom I'll dress up as tomorrow).
My camera died today so I missed a few picture opportunities until I remembered my phone can take pictures. I'll try to get them all posted on facebook or photobucket or somewhere tomorrow.
All in all this has been a really good con. I love it's location. Anyone from out of town that wants to come to it in 2012 let me know!
|Monday, February 7th, 2011|
Have been asked about going to this convention. I'm undecided. On my list of Cons it's down at Number 5.
5) Midsouth Con
If I did go the biggest draw would be seeing the R2 crew and playing in the larp he's running there. But...I think it would feel rushed. I'd take Friday the 25th off and use that as a driving day. Memphis is only about 8 hours away so similar drive to Dallas. And then the larp is on Saturday afternoon/evening and then drive back on Sunday.
There was also talk about doing the online L5R tabletop game actually in person if we were all there, which would be kinda cool.
In my mind part of me would like to take my Warhammer 40k minis and see if there were tables to get in a game. Just to play against people who look at things differently. I know I wouldn't want to play in a tournament since those take forever and a day or at least would take all day and that would be my entire time at the con. That and I also want to start making use of the carrying case/foam I picked up. However no gaming schedule is up on their site and thus I don't know if/when 40k would happen and also don't know if there would be any open gaming type tables to play on for a pickup game.
Also for the Larp I know next to nothing about it so would not know how in the world to costume for it. I know it's superhero based and thus would want to show up in something other than jeans and a t-shirt for it.
Here I am staring at my Calendar and seeing Feb 2, Groundhog Day. I really don't know why I'm staring at that or what significance it holds.
Chinese New Year was on the third. It's now the Year of the Rabbit, which is my sign, so this should be a good year for me. Last time this came around was 12 years ago back in 1999. At that time everyone was all freaked out about the Y2K bug. Wow, that seems so long ago.
I understand my parents more and more as once you are established you really don't need 'stuff' anymore. There might be some things you want, but nothing you really 'need'. Thus I'm failing at tossing out suggestions to them for my birthday other than gift cards or point cards so I can buy more songs on Rock Band. ><
This weekend I started picking up some other hobbies again. Got out paints and started working on painting Warhammer 40k figures. Spent about an hour getting the metal color on the Soul Grinder done. I then joked at how this started out as grey plastic and then I prime coated it white just to paint it grey again. Although this is a metalic grey and does look better than it just being plastic.
The other thing I had to do was try to match the colors on the Seekers of Slanesh models. You see last year I won an aution for some on Ebay that were already painted and I liked that color scheme (purple mounts, riders with pale white fleshtones and black outfits with purple hair). So I had to figure out how to match that pale white since it wasn't pure white. After some tests I think I got it and it has to do with layering colors. Something I haven't bothered with before.
We'll see what I can get done this weekend as Saturday is already slated as a 40k crafting day in the afternoon followed by friends getting together for my birthday. Then going to celebrate it with family again on Sunday (the actual day). So far on the 1500 point painting challenge I'm still at 0/1500.