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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Minecraft 1.8: Thoughts on the Hunger Meter n’ Food

I’ve been tinkering with the 1.8 patch for a few days now and gotten quite used to the current setup.  It took some getting used to and I had a few knee-jerk reactions, so I kept playing as the game is quite fun, but also to allow me enough time to build up some info to figure out just what I think about the new-fangled hunger bar.

The Good

I like how it refills your health over time.  It adds subtle strategy to the game, as it does not refresh fast enough to survive a beating, but at the same time it takes a lot of minor “oh crap!” moments off the table.  (And while that may sound minor to the bolder adventurers out there, try lighting an never-ending cavern.  When you get to a fork with three or more entrances at once on different vertical locations, lemme know if you don’t fear a “Ssss…” ’round every turn. Did I mention the Creeper explosion does a lot more damage now?)  It provides a helpful boost without being heavy-handed.  If you mess up, the game will curb it for you naturally.  Misjudge a jump and lose a few hearts?  Break a sword in the middle of a fight with a spider?  Swear you didn’t think the water was that deep? Keep the hunger meter full and those aren’t even minor bumps in the road.

The Not So Good

The problem with the hunger meter is that it is quite demanding, especially on new maps.  The Misses and I started out new save like a week or so ago, knowing full well 1.9 will likely change it all and we’ll have to start fresh again.  Just setting up a base takes time, but now to juggle a hunger bar on top of that is pretty harsh for a fresh new landscape.  Sometimes it can take the entire first day to harvest enough wood and find a space to make camp, let alone the hunger costs associated with it.  In the end we built a sturdy base and ignored the hunger all together.  We would harvest some crops but not eat them as why fill the entire hunger bar when only a full bar would help anyway?  We’d jump into a mineshaft and respawn with a hull health and hunger and hoof it back to base just to avoid the annoyance in the first place.

My main concern is that for ten icons, only five actually matter:  the first two and the last three.  The middle ones are just filler and a waste of space.  If you have more than two hearts not filled, you no longer regain hp.  If you have three or less you cannot sprint.  The ‘middle’ five are pointless and only serve to stretch out the time it takes to lose health from being hungry.  Why not allow half a bar to regen your health (10-6), 5 and 4 do nothing as they currently do not, and the last three stay as is with the ‘no running’ rule in place.  This would be a lot more useful, especially with the change to how animals will stay dead unless you breed them in 1.9 or 1.10. (And to breed them takes, of all things, more food!)

…The Rage

The Hardcore mode/option just compounds this further.  I try to play all games as if it were hardcore.  The ‘rules’ are simple: Do not die.  (Bioshock did a doozy on my mental state because of this unspoken rule, I tell you what ^_^)  If I wanted to play hardcore mode that resets your world save every time you die, how would that even work?  If you kill animals they don’t come back, so going on a rampage will help you at first but hurt you in the end.  Grow wheat?  That takes *days* to get started and ends up with you staring at the same four walls, hoping for a crop to pop to eat before you starve and get dangerously close to death at all times.  Eating mushroom stew is about the only option I can think of, and you’d have to be extremely lucky to find any to make a snack out of to begin with, let alone the first day.

I know Notch is actually adding a ‘mushroom biome’ or ‘dirt biome’ in 1.9, but that does not help out right now.  Not to mention the combat upgrades are not in right now, and the xp we get isn’t doing anything but being dropped and picked up by someone else.  I am sure these new abilities will help out a great deal, but again, we do not have these right now, making starting experiences in a foreign landscape a huge step up in difficulty than in the past.  We were given new challenges without the proper tools to combat them, and while I appreciate the constant updates, I think they should have just lumped 1.8 and 1.9 together.

Zee Future

Notch made a comment on his blog that they plan on pretty much finishing the game in the next twenty days.  From October 18th and on they only wish to bug fix, polish, and optimize to make sure the game is spotless before the release a month later.  After that they go back into adding new stuff, but they want “to make sure the release will be as good as possible.”

WoW 4.3: Rockin’ Nozdormu Picture (Or Is It Murozond?)

A massive slew of info and pictures outta MMO Champion today.  One in particular I focused on was a shot of an actual, updated Dragon-form model of Nozdormu and the less-than-curious and more-than-obvious similarly shaped Murozond. (As I already touched on this a few posts ago, Murozond = Evil Nozdormu.  Or, more accurately, “already existant in the future, Evil Nozdormu.”)  But as visuals go a lot further than words alone, here are the two snappies to prove it.

Nozdormu

Murozond

Anyone else note the resemblance?  (Is that racist to dragons?  Dragonism, or something?)

Now, at first glance I thought that Murozond was merely a negative swap of Nozdorumu’s original colors which would be cool yet incredibly lazy on the graphics department.  For the record, if you DO invert colors it comes out pretty close XD  They did tweak a few things here an there, like his eyes stay blue and the tail and chest actually get brighter instead of lighter.  I still think they at the very least wanted to mimic the Inverted Nozdormu look, but what I found to be way, WAY cooler is an Inverted Murozond!  Check this image out!

WoW 4.3: Murozond Inverted

I’m a huge fan of the albino drake mount, but I would TOTALLY ride a mount that looks like this until the end of time.  Doesn’t he look wicked?

Minecraft Monday: Item Repair, Strength, Speed, and Invisibility Potions!

Between company and finally getting the Misses to try out 1.8 with the creepy Enderman we lost track of time yesterday.  But I has news and tweets and all that stuff!  Plus I have plans on doing a guide post or two later on in the week about a revamped mining strategy I just found, as well as a mushroom ‘farming’ technique!

Minecraft News

That autumn air is just about here, and I am curious to see if the first frost or 1.9 is going to drop first.  My bet is on 1.9 as there is tons and tons of new content just pouring into that mode.  In fact, SO much content I am kinda wondering what took them so long to come out with 1.8 in the first place.  There are quite a wide variety of mobs being added to the Nether.  The Nether version of a slime looks pretty trippy as every time it jumps it kinda morphs into a blocky slinky and you can see each ‘row’ of it’s body fall back down onto itself like someone catching a pile of books.

Further adding reason to get into the Nether is each mob can drop new items that can either be combined into bars of gold (kudos on increasing the ways to get that!) and even uber epic weapons.  To get builders interested in the scary zone they are even adding nifty new stairs and fences made from the Netherrack Ruins!  Crazy stuff XD

  • Just today even a bunch of news has been released.  The Bethesda lawsuit about using the word “Scrolls” in a game against Team Mojang is going to court (“Weee! :D“).
  • An ironic and possibly unconscious jab back against Bethesda is a new Item Repair feature in 1.9 that works very similar to how you do it in Fallout 3 (a Bethesda title haha).  Combine two broken/used items and get a single item with more uses than the two previously used ones. (source)
  • There will be yet another Beta 1.9 Pre-Release release this week.  “Yeah, it’s a Beta of a Beta :D
  • Jeb mentioned this will likely not be in 1.9, but offers a glimpse of what they are thinking about in the future:

Jeb also mentioned that potions will not be in 1.9 because the Brewing system will not be made in time, though Notch pipped up and added he was not in favor of the proposed idea in the first place.  You can see a glass bottle or vial in the screen shot above.  So the art of it is in at least.

1.9 is shaping up very quickly, keep your eyes peeled for another pre-release on the horizon, folks!  And mind your step in that new Nether.  It’ll be a doozy!

Minecraft Beta 1.9 Pre-Release: Animal Breedin’!

Was just about to hop off for the night when I caught a glimpse of this tweet and a pic from Notch talking about the new animal breeding mechanic he is adding in patch 1.9.

They won’t stop breeding!!! http://imgur.com/qt1Ad?full

-Notch

I think we’ve all been there at one point or another.

He later went on to say how the breeding mechanic actually works.  It seems it is just like feeding pet wolves!  Just hold out some food, feed one and they get those same floating hearts that wolves do.  Then feed another animal to get them to enter that state as well and queue the Barry White.

In a way I’m kinda glad Notch is from Sweden and not New Zealand.  As multiplying with sheep isn’t limited to just sheep there.  Or southern United States.  Either way, glad to see the breeding mechanic is finally getting some… (giggle)  Lovin’.

“Half as Long, Twice as Bright” – Infamous 2 Review, Spoiler Free

Week or so ago I played the bejesus out of Infamous 2. Namely because I’d only have it for a week and of that week I could only really play it for maybe three days because the Misses STILL has not picked up a controller to even try the first game.

/disappointed glare

As I don’t want her to see any of the huge spoilers from the first game that will likely come up in the second, that meant I had to play the game around her schedule.  (I’m not going to ask her to leave just so I can beat the game, you big thilly’s.  And it’s not like I actually suggested that… or anything ^_^;) My main goal was to beat the game as fast as possible.  That meant no side missions, no real sight-seeing, just meat-n-potatoes story mission grind.  On Normal, to boot.  I’m not watering down the experience solely to get at the ending and playing on Easy.

This is pretty grueling on the game’s end, actually.  I had to catapult through the game without any delays while still sticking around things like TV ads giving off potential background on upcoming characters and all that.  I only picked up blast shards as I came upon them and the only side missions I did were the Good ones to unlock abilities.  That meant no extra XP to spend on other abilities, potentially leading to “this would be so much easier if I just had x Ability but I can’t spend an extra hour to unlock that…” situations.  The biggest negative going for the game was that I was in a rush, making every cheap death or repeated cut scene all the more infuriating, and on top of that I had to randomly turn off the game depending on when the Misses was doing stuff in ear shot and all that.

Annnd?

End result?  Though staggered and grinding gameplay sessions they were, the game passed with extremely high marks.  The funny thing is my grindy storyline mission marathon is eerily similar to the time I played the original game.  I did not have a console of my own at the time and needed to do another speed-run and while I knew about it via the demo, I had to hit the ground running as I had no idea how long it would sprawl.  That game also was very enjoyable even though it had the constant “must go faster” mentally nipping at the heels of my gaming experience.

Upon loading up the game you have the option to start fresh or load up a previous save from the first game, which swings you in a slight direction of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on your actions in that save of the original.  Just as last time I opted to go the Good route on my first and potentially only attempt.

Pretty much instantly you come upon a certain boss and have to fight them.  The sequence just getting to and away from the boss is handled pretty well with the ground shaking and wooden boards rippling about like someone playing an antique piano looked fantastic.  The graphics seemed to get a hefty overhaul since the last game and they looked really sharp and crisp.  I got a smaller and definitely old TV but it looked great to me.  I don’t know about the bigger 1080 resolution brothers and sisters in gaming, but I can vouch for my screen being adequate for the experience.

While other reviewers seemed to suggest you get the crud kicked outta ya, I disagree.  You take down the boss and just before making your escape it just appears and apparently drains you as you shoot lighting into their crater’d face.  It does not appear that you are being drained at all, and while they do have some leeway as this is supposed to be rather comic booky, it is the usual Metroid setup where you had uber abilities and gadgets and all that, but now you gotta start over.  Luckily for us, this isn’t a complete loss but rather a ‘weakened state’ so you can still glide and shoot.  Still need to earn shooting rockets and all that, but the game offers so much along the way you hardly miss anything ‘lost’.

Next thing you know you are whisked away to New Orleans Marais and a whole new set of sights.  Seeing the center square all aglow in neon lights at night is a really pretty sight, and shows just how well the engine has been improved upon since the first game.  Ironically I think the lightning itself was dumbed down in this version.  The first one seemed more sparky and jagged when you fired a long shot. This one looks more like there are 50 different lightning images in the game and they just spam one after another, frame-by-frame, and while you can tell it is lightning, I feel like I actually fired off bursts of electricity in the first game while not so much here.  This isn’t bad, but just something I felt.  And yes, I tried all the lightning versions…

…As there are a LOT of new twists on the original abilities to be had.  Long range, short-range, fast firing or slower but stronger, all there.  The bread-and-butter lightning ability is kinda boring compared to the other stuff available though, at least right out of the gates.  It took me like five to eight shots to kill each guy at the very start of a game on Normal.  Head shots seemed to speed it up, but those aren’t very easy to get.  So if ten guys appear you are looking at 40-70 button presses if you never miss once.  Luckily you ‘level up’ pretty fast and start unlocking better versions and my ol’ fav.: grenades.  These too, along with almost every other ability in this game, have different versions depending on your good or evil status.

Melee also got completely reworked, and for the better.  Even after upgrading melee in the first game it was more of an after-thought and it never really did much damage, especially at the end of the game when it was near completely useless.  Melee in this version is very powerful, a few hits to fill up a meter and you can launch a special attack that can pretty much one-shot most enemies even if they had full health.  It provides a great alternative to mindlessly zapping away those tough targets for ten minutes.

The landscapes are for the most part varied, but the last section lacks personality.  You have the bright and neon-y city, the hurricane wrecked area, and an industrial area.  The starting area is pretty much the entire first came meshed into one area (parks, bright lights, houses, etc.), the hurricane area is a nice change as water is damaging-to-deadly depending on depth, pardon the alliteration.  Most of the homes only have a few feet of a roof sticking out of the water and tarps or spray paint adorn many of those.  (Including one hilarious easter egg.) The industrial district has a lot of buildings and things to jump off of and all that, but it just doesn’t feel as cool as the other two in my opinion.  Not that it is bad, merely that it is just not as good as the previous two.

Note: They promoted the idea of powersliding up pipes and sideways at least years E3.  But that was total false advertising.  They presented it like you could do this with a power on ALL pipe-climbing sections, when in actuality only a VERY LIMITED amount of those suckers exist, and I never even found a sideways one.  There is a trophy you can get for using 50 of these launchers and I had to hop on the same one repeatedly just to get it.  Shenanigans!

The story of InFamous 2 is not as earth-shattering as the first, and minus one quick message over the radio they never really reveal anything that happened in the first game.  They mention people and you can tell there was some bad blood or history between the people mentioned, but they never actually say anything.  This was a surprise to me, but I think it was a great decision.  If people pick up this game they don’t exactly know what happened in the first, allowing them to go back to it and purchase that game as well ^_^  The story is deeply connected to your actions, though, and this combo is a biggie.

Moral Dilemma

I have a whole other post in mind on this issue alone because I really like where the entire market is headed, but there are still some flaws that need to be cleared up.  To stay on topic about this game alone, while your decisions dictate the outcome of the game, it still feels kinda shallow.  I do not want to knock the game at all, it really is awesome and I fully recommend this one to anyone out there with working thumbs, but if I see room for improvement I’m going to call it out.  In this case, the ‘Good or Bad choices’ need some polishing.

For starters, there are only about three or at most five times in the entire game where you have an option on a mission.  The biggest Pro of this is that each option plays completely different from the other.  The flip-side is that no matter your decision, the story will progress like nothing really happened.  It equates to having to go to work at a car dealership and being able to decide to take a motorcycle or a Volkswagen to attend a meeting at the office.  Both vehicles feel different, you even take different routes entirely, but you will still arrive at the same destination.

Compounding this is the biggest whopper in the room, and something it shares with the original: Nno matter what those decisions are previously, at the very end of the game you are given an option.  Depending on how what you choose, your alignment will completely shift to that options side.  With just one option near the finish line, the entire game’s worth of decisions are wiped clean, much like when gameshows offer ten points per question, but then put up a million for the final round.  What is the point of being in the lead if one question wrong wipes out all your hard work?

Also, and this ties into the other post I have planned, developers have a disdain for evil decisions.  The short of it is, if you are going to offer two or more options for something, do not condone the ‘good’ and chastise the ‘bad’.  Keep it even.  At least, let important characters commend the good, and let the Red Shirts clamor against the bad.  That way the bad player can at least kill off those guys, as after a while it just gets annoying >.>  It’s like the reward of playing ‘good’ is a solid ending, while the reward of playing ‘bad’ is simply being able to play ‘bad’ in the first place. The first game balanced it a lot better in that regard.

Yay For Telligble Voice Actors!

And the voice acting is waaaay better this time around!  In the original InFamous, the main character started out gritty as his neutral voice and became slightly easier to understand the more Good he was while fully venturing down “WHYUTRYIN2KEELMEH?!” a la The Dark Knight Interrogation scene if you went Bad.  In InFamous 2 his voice never changes and is always easy to understand.  They also went in and added personality to everyone, adding a nice light-hearted tone this time around with everyone adding a wise crack now and then for some pretty decent laughs.

Yay or Nay?

Definitely a Yay.  I ended up beating the game on Normal as Good, then going back and beating it on Hard as Bad.  Of course the game did not give me credit for doing so, so I lost out on a trophy that I worked hard for and that bothered me quite a bit.  In the end I beat the game twice (once I hard, trophy be darned), got all 305 blast shards, all the dead drops, and conquered all the areas on the map in three days.  I was rushing myself, but even if I played relaxed I could easily do it in under a week as the quality of gameplay was rather engaging and addictive. The only downside of it is as soon as I did this, the game lost all replayability.  I simply had nothing left to do XD

Now, this could have been combatted and possibly solved by actually hopping online and doing player-made missions or making a few of my own, but getting the ps3 online is quite the hassle for me and it only got worse when the network went down for two months or so.  If my net on the console was as solid as the PC I would have dabbled with it, but I just wanted to see where the story went anyway.

I’d rate InFamous 2 a “Buy” when it was first released, and if it ever gets a price reduction, or if you are a fan of the online stuff you can do, I’d bump that up to a “Must Buy.”

They are coming out with a vampire based stand-alone DLC much like what Undead Nightmare for Red Dead Redemption.  That should be out in just about a month from now.

Minecraft 1.9 Pre-Release Available! Talk of the Adventure Patch 1.10, and a New Friendly Snow Biome Mob!

Well color me all sorts of surprised.  I thought it would be weeks before another update, and already Team Mojang has released Minecraft Beta 1.9 Pre-Release as well as mentioned there will be another patch before November, 1.10!

We’ll do a 1.9 pre-release today, and a full release after feedback. More Adventure Mode content will come in 1.10, we’re splitting it up! (source)

Shortly after, lead programmer o’ Minecraft Jeb posted the link!

Minecraft Beta 1.9 prerelease can be found here, http://assets.minecraft.net/1_9-pre/minecraft.jar (server jar also available) (source)

According to Notch, they are doing another push to get the content out before November, but hearing about splitting the content into yet another patch is surprising.  NPC Villages will have villagers in 1.9, but they won’t do much. (source) Also, possibly the goofiest of news, Notch revealed a new mob, the Snow Golem!

Currently it has been stated that the mobs will be friendly and craftable by the player! (I’m predicting the recipe to be three blocks of snow, two sticks, and some coal ^_^) Currently they will follow you around, spreading snow where ever they go, but will melt in warmer biomes.  They also can throw snowballs, but since snowballs do not actually do any damage, it just annoys other hostile mobs and becomes a bit of a ranged meat shield.  Perhaps we can heal them with snowballs like how we can heal wolves with food?

On the more daring Adventuring side of things, Jeb has been hard at work adding more stuffs to The Nether!  Two new hostile mobs are on the way for that zone, with one being a re-texture attempt.  Add in the new bridges or ruins or whatever they are that he added just the other day and the Nether is finally getting some life back into it!

Two other random tidbits I found were that Endermen are apparently no longer going to be able to move blocks. (source)  If they still can in the future, it will be extremely limited.   Also, the mushroom cow I posted a link to yesterday is going to be called a “Mooshroom.”  Ha!

So that’s all we know for now, but sheesh!  This is just the Pre-release and it’s like four hours old!  Can’t wait to see what they add before it becomes an official Adventure patch XD

WoW 4.3: “End Time” Anagram Isn’t Too Hard

You might have caught the ginormous update on MMO-Champion yesterday, and it was a doozy.  First off, the Diablo 3 beta has kicked off, so that’s awesome.  Secondly, they laid out all the new five mans, that is what they will be about and likely bosses and all that.

Something that caught my attention back in BC was that no one could figure out who this nasty time-altering dragons were.  Bronze dragons who just *know* everything and when it will happen had no idea how or where these Infinite Dragonflight dudes were coming from.  Suspicious.  In Dragonblight you even have a quest to help out your future self in killing some of these which culminates in revealing the leader of the bad guys are….

Nozdormu suddenly appears instead.  How odd, your future self says, that he would appear instead of the big-bad in charge of them all.  Also curious is how often ol’ Noz has been AWOL since Burning Crusade…

But then right in the first new five-man named “End Time” they state that “…the maniacal figure blocking Nozdormu’s vision will be revealed at the Bronze Dragonshrine. None of the Dragon Aspects could have predicted what entity would have such power to interrupt the sight of the Timeless One… the ability to create a new and infinite dragonflight.”  Then to seal the deal we get this impossible anagram: “Only by destroying a mysterious dragon known as Murozond will you give Azeroth’s protectors the opportunity to avoid the potential outcome to which your eyes bear witness.”

Nozdormu. Murozond.  Happen to notice all those letters are present, buddeh’.

I know they state this is only one potential outcome… but those dragons already DO exist.  We’ve been fighting them for like four years now at least, in-game time for over a decade.  Their existence is not probable, but definite.  This will lead to a whole bunch of questions that you much approach fourth-dimensionally, but in the short of it: Noz will go bad, in time.  Quasi-intentional pun.

There’s a whole lot to read, but that detail caught my eye.  Reminds me of when someone noticed one of the vendors near the new Void Storage was named Warpweaver Hashom which is a cheeky anagram for “A WoW Rehash/Revamp.”

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