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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Minecraft 1.4 – Live

To avoid any chance of the following: “OMG!  THE WORLD IS CRAAAZY!  WHAT IS GOING ON?! What do you MEAN my world save is CORRUPTED?!”

Be sure to take off any mods you have on, generally done so by replacing the minecraft.jar file where you got it from when you had to install the mod in the first place.  Do this BEFORE you load up any world saves if you are running mods, or you risk losing all the hard work you put into it.  (This is about mods, mind you. Not texture packs, those are fine no matter what, though new textures may be invisible and cause chunk error-like glitches on the spaces they take up.)

Now that that’s out of the way, they added mostly behind-the-scenes stuff to set the way for Achievement like things and stats. Which will be nifty to know how many blocks we destroy and what not while mining. Wonder if it will keep track of how many times a Creeper KO’d us…

The full list of changes is here at Notch’s blog, along with the addition of a tamable wolf pet/pack (depending on how many you tame at once).  Hopefully your time trying to figure out how to tame one will go as… I’ll say “humorously” as when the Misses tried taming a few.  While typing this I have heard “Oh, it’s a PUPPY!” about five times, random cursing to the skies as to why the taming process wasn’t working, then got slapped when I suggested she left click the wolf while carrying a bit of bacon. 

Apparently wolves do not like treats punched into their foreheads. 

If you thought night time glowy spiders looked unsettling… just tick off a wolf.  She’s got it tamed now, but the process was quite entertaining to watch.

“I need a bone?  I don’t have any bo… oh I left some in my base.” 

“Ok, I got the bones and now I’ll try to…  To…  They despawned :(”

 “Left click one?  Wouldn’t that… they are biting me!

Minecraft Monday: Cha-Cha-Changes!

Oy, has it been a week and a half on the Minecraft front.  Well, not precisely a week and a half, it’s only been a week, but I was implying that it’s been a long… well you know what I mean ^_^  Anyhoo!  Let’s see what’s changed.

First, the main world me and the Misses have been tinkerin on might actually go down for good in a week or two.  Because of this the admin added a lot of random mods to the game just to see how they work, and so far, I’ve had a good time with them.  The flying vehicle mod is fun, and caused accidental hilarity when I raised a look-out tower and the entire stone street that I did not know was  connected to it.  Good times. 

The admin also added a mod called MCMMO or something close to that, which makes the game similar to an MMO.  (I know, you just cannot hide from that genre anywhere anymore :P) But the changes I noticed were pretty good.  For example, you start out as normal, but the more you mine the higher the chance you’ll get extra drops.  You can even use a special ability and it can blow up additional blocks, growing in number the higher your skill is.

Of course that is fine and dandy, but I just hads-tuh check out the odd skill at the bottom.  Acrobatics.  I flashed back to every awesome video game MMO I ever though up and thought how cool it would be to jump from really high and land like a vampire from Underworld.  500 foot drop? Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  I’ll just keep on-a walkin’ like a bad arse, thanks. 

This lead me to leap off the nearest high structure I could.  Results?

Minecraft Co-op: MCMMO Acrobatics Grinding

That is to be expected, I suppose.  Well, time to tinker!  That mod also adds the ability to change your spawn point.  So what did I do?  Put it up at the tallest point nearby so I can jump off the side.  Remember that phallic-looking pool a few Minecraft Monday’s ago?

Minecraft Co-op: Phallic Pool Village Revisited

Same village, though a little updated, and a slightly higher view than prior.  I spent a lot of hours mindlessly imitating a Lemming and, well, here’s the tally for my efforts.

Minecraft MMO: Spider Approved

Is that an impressive assortment?  Pitiful amounts of Unarmed, almost nothing in the rest, and over 250 in Acrobatics.  Amazing.  Even Nosey Spider agrees.  To date the longest I have gone without dying was three jumps in a row, and I pulled that off back at like 150ish, so I should start landing four in a row soon.  Either way, it was a nifty way to spend a day or so.  I’d recommend those mods to any willing to give it a go!  (MCMMO and the vehicle one, that I don’t know the name of. Sowwie.)

Another server bud made his own to replace our current one, and we’ve done quite a bit.  Mostly just flattening out land, which is kinda boring >.>  But I did sneak in some time to get some mining/base finding of my own in.  Found this place not too far from spawn, but far enough for now.  (Can always make another base later on.) 

Minecraft Co-op: The Cave is a LIE!

As snow does not fall and ‘regrow’ snow patches I made sure to make a sign stating that no torches be used.  I’d like to keep the snow and ice where they be, thank ye’ kindly.

Inside looks nice, but I think I’ll have to take a shot on the Misses PC to get a nice panoramic fer ya’s. Now to email it over to me… there we go.

Minecraft Co-Op: Below the Frozen Ground

Just a bit of a nook under the frozen land above. Thought it looked nice. No idea what I’m doing with it in terms of actual usage, but I got a spot set out to mine to at least keep the work a-flowin’. Actually the entrance is in view now. It’s just hidden hee hee hee I think that’s one of my favorite aspects to Minecraft. Finding spots to hide things.

Yes, I know I’m odd. I said odd, not old.  That’s the Miss’s adjective, not mine.  (Expecting a slap after she investigates my giggle in three… two… )

Developer Appreciation Week: Game Arts and Nippon Ichi Software

Today we conclude our celebration of Developer Appreciation Week with a double up of thanks, as the Misses wanted to thank Game Arts for their superb work on Grandia II, while I wanted to thank Nippon Ichi Software for their excellent Disgaea series.

Of course the Misses left early today so I do not exactly know what she wanted to thank Game Arts for, and as Grandia is more of a ‘her thing’ than mine, I’mma have to think back to the game and see what I can do ^_^

Grandia 2 featured an interesting range in its cast, and it held within itself quite a journey that adventure games seem to lack currently.  It also had a great deal of voice actors I recall from the Metal Gear Solid series, and it was always nifty to hear the characters interact when I could visualize them as the MGS guys battling it out.

The fighting system in place was fairly advanced, quite similar to Final Fantasy XII, which came out over six years later.  Quite a feat.  Madam preferred to rush right in and give a more micromanagement feel, while I preferred to tell the AI how to fight before hand and just sit back and watch like an RTS.  It was one of the few games I have played that I could not wait for the story and movie bits to end so I could “get back to the killing” right away as it was such a unique experience.

The Misses did mention she wanted to thank the company for such a good storyline and that it was the sole reason she went and bought a used Dreamcast, so that she could play one of her favorite games again.  From the Misses to you, Game Arts.  Thank-you.

As for me, I wanted to thank Nippon Ichi for Disgaea(s).  The humor involved in the game continually catches me off guard, from penguins spouting “dood!” to pirates randomly jumping onto the field of battle.  It was the first tactical role-playing game I have tried, and it was a blast.  I even went and got one of the fairly rare strategy guides off eBay, and man is that thang’ thick.

The graphics are light, while the game mechanics are dense.  Not too hard to pass, but in most cases they are as hard as you wish to make them.  Chaining attacks in a certain order to maximize damage and debuffs, leveling up a specific character repeatedly, or attaching them to a new one to absorb some of their skills to mix and match utility, to the randomness of Item Worlds and its rainbow of colored tiles on the ground.  Is it best to throw your fastest unit to the end of the level to reach the boss faster, or to kill everything in sight?  Should you steal all the great loot on the mobs, or toss a few on top of one another to make them grow stronger for better xp?  Many options on a visually simple battlefield allows the player to tackle each situation in their own way, a great idea by the devs that was executed wonderfully.

So let us give a “Deep Fried Goodness!” salute to Game Arts, and a resounding “Dood!” to Nippon Ichi Software!

ECTmmo Reblogging: Its Called Reblogging, Right?

This morning, Kaozz posted a virtual high-five on my idea of using beds as floor tile in Minecraft in my comment section!  This of course lead me to her blog, and I was inspired to respond to her question of “What drives you nuts with groups? Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?” at the end of her most recent post.

This (of course) lead to a some 500 word reply, and for some reason it didn’t take.  Too long, most likely.  -Edit- Was’s fault after all!  Crisis diverted! -Edit- Or maybe it went through?  I’m not familiar with Blogger.  Heck, I’m barely familiar with WordPress :D 

But in response to her question:  Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?

Constantly.  Whenever I queued DPS I rarely had issue, maybe a tank had terrible threat generation now and then, but I had ways around that depending on my class.  (Pull out the blueberry on my lock for a shield and life drain the bejesus out of the mob, or  blink, frozen nova, sheep, ice block, invis as a mage, Feign Death at the first sign of a wipe on my hunter, etc.)  Healers generally were ok, unless they were partnered up with another jerk in the group, usually a tank.  They’d still heal, but it was a pain to get through the full run with them spouting constantly as they knew they could reque instantly while we DPS could not.

Now, when I queue as a tank, completely different story.  (And this part answers the “What drives you nuts in groups?” half of the question) I might be able to list off a handful of good things that happened to me while tanking, but I could go on for ages about the bad.  DPS that don’t wait for healers to have full mana or buff, rogues trying to sneak ahead but run over fire and aggro entire rooms or wings, hunters misdirecting to me if someone was taking too long, DPS refusing to CC, DPS pulling instead of me, DPS popping cooldowns AND trinkets just to top the charts, people needing gear they cannot even use. 

Mobs who constantly stun, disarm, drop aggro and attack whatever they want, when they want.  (Hard enough to keep aggro, why does Blizz need to constantly punish the tank?  Can’t they stun ranged more often, for example?) DKs who death grip and Boomkins/other DPS that can knockback and do so without doing so to keep the healer safe in the process/moving them closer to me. DKs using Army.  Hunters trying to tame mobs during the friggin’ pull without alerting anyone in the party, or asking, then complaining when aggro is pulled off from random AoE.

It wasn’t too uncommon to go from one bad group to the next, add in higher frequency of terri-bad players at low levels and the random popping of Halls of Reflection or Forge of Souls(murder on a warrior tank.  Possible, but I’d rather avoid the place >.>) If it wasn’t for my friends needing tokens and the amount of gold I got per run, I would not have done it as long as I did.

Though, that was a bit of a rant, so I’ll add a dollop of positivity to it:  My favorite thing to do in Wrath dungeons was to rocket boot down the ramp leading to Anub’Arak, then pop my cloak to coast down at a super speed and pull the boss on landing ^_^  Oh!  And after finally getting decent gear, rocket booting down the long hallway towards the dude who flies on a blue dragon in Utgarde Pinnacle.  That always felt awesome, like that one scene in 300 when the guys in the back supported and propelled the guys in front forward, in the process pushing the enemies back.

…and randomly spinning Anub’ around to see if he would one-shot my cousin if he wasn’t paying attention.  Hee hee hee.  Of course he was the healer, but that is certainly one lively way to learn how to time your tanking cooldowns ^_^

Developer Appreciation Week: Tim Schafer

After recently pouncing my way though the epic world of Brutal Legend, thanking Tim Schafer and all of the people at Double Fine Productions is far from a stretch of the imagination.  I was unaware of Tim’s previous work, while I knew of the games he worked on, I did not know he was involved or who he was until Brutal came out.  And that is a bit of a double-edged lightning axe of metal, as now I know of this guy’s awesome history, but I also know I was unaware of it for so long.

Every aspect of Brutal is meticulously crafted and sculpted into place.  The characters, their hilarious dialog and the sheer amount of it is staggering.  Talk to any part of your continually growing army before a mission and they will have at least two different things to say or ask, which your character will respond with.  Every mission.  Every unit.  Some of the same type of units tend to repeat (per mission), but usually it’s the Razor Girls and there are like six of them, and they look lazy anyway.  It took one sassy pants’d lady to free you all from a Pleasure Palace?  Lollygaggers.  No pun intended.

Driving around the game shows the massively varying settings from rolling green hills, dry deserts, hellfire skies, arctic tundra, and haunted areas.  Each area is distinct, and each more impressive than the last.  You could not cram more atmosphere into each area if you used a pneumatic vice powered by Ormagoden himself.  The heavy metal themed zones do not look out of place at all, each provoking a “wow” even after repeated visits.

The different armies in the game are equally abstract and you can effortlessly tell their history and background from just looking at them.  Again the dialog between your army and the one of three leaders you are playing is beyond excellent.  It won’t win awards for drama, but it definitely should for comedy.

I know I focused on Brutal here, but as that is the only thing I have played of Tim’s first hand, it is all I can rightfully claim to be a great work.  I am assuming this was far from a fluke based on his following and the reviews of his previous games, and I fully intend on playing the constantly promoted by critics: Psychonauts.  Plus, the guy told off Bobby Kotick.  If that isn’t heavy metal, I don’t know what is.

Raise a sign of the horns during a metal solo for Tim Schafer and Double Fine!  Great job, guys.  Keep up the excellent work!

Developer Appreciation Week: Paul Barnett

Last year, Scarybooster came up with the awesomely stellar idea of thanking those whom we gamers should praise the most: our game’s developers.  How often do we belittle their work due to minor imperfections from an otherwise great game?  The human mind seems to grab onto the negative much tighter than the positive and Scary wondered what better way to thank the devs other than… well… thanking them?  These doods put in a great deal of work, sacrificed time with their family and possibly health in order to get their products out the door on time, and all too commonly we cite the tiny cracks that make up an otherwise flawless presentation.

Today I thank Paul Barnett and the rest of the Mythic Entertainment crew.

While I heard a great deal about Dark Age of Camelot from friends who would play it at the local cyber cafe, I never got into it.  (“Pay to play a game?  What?  Who’d be dumb enough to do that?”)  It really wasn’t until Warhammer Online started to appear at expos and on youtube/the interwebs that I got wind of Mythic and their zany cast of creators.  Fairly early on I was hooked on their selling points: emphasis on battling players over mobs and that tanks could actually do more than stand there and absorb damage like a thick log of lamb waiting to be blasted, burnt, and julienned. (Black Orc! Waaaagh!)

Nearly every week Paul Barnett, Josh Drescher, or Jeff Hickman would have a video up about something new and tantalizing about the Warhammer IP coming down the pike, and with each video I grew more interested.  The guys were always relaxed behind the camera, joyous and nonchalant, while still providing helpful information about how their game worked and what they had planned ahead.

The amount of time it took to get all those videos edited, animations to play during the audio, and just rounding people up and giving them a basic script to base their humorous rants about was well worth it in my mind, as if it was not for these funny details and insights, I would not have liked the game as much as I did.  If any one thing dictated why I bought the game at launch, it was because the cast behind the camera, most notably Paul.

Searching for Warhammer Online on youtube will likely net you a video with at least Paul in the image, if not he and someone else, possibly wearing white-rimmed sunglasses similar in style to Charlie in the Chocolate Factory with Mike Teevee.  He is an extraordinarily festive and jolly guy, but he’s got a good brain under that hood of his and there is a definite logic to his madness.

Here’s an interview on Ten Ton Hammer posted back when the game was delayed.  Paul and Josh are explaining the creative process, and Paul just goes on a tangent about what people like, how the nearly unseen minutia dictates the feeling, the aura, of whatever product you own.  You buy a giant tv, but you really enjoy how the remote molds to you hand, for example.  The TV is more important, but that remote sparks something within you and you form an attachment with it. 

Those little ideas are all over in WAR and they really did put out a heck of a game when it arrived.  Many features in it are now being propped up by other game companies all over the place.  Public Quests were arguably the best part of WAR and games like Rift and others on the horizon are tapping into the excitement of the same idea.  The Tome of Knowledge was fairly revolutionary, and while other games support Achievements, none were as detailed as the Tome.  Titles for killing the enemy, the specific class, dying to the specific class, clicking on a rock in the middle of nowhere, clicking on people without any gear on, etc., etc.

While the game is not as popular as they would like, there is still a great deal of good in there.  I might not have paid as much attention to the game if it were not for the crew rooting for the game and radiating awesome in front of the camera in interviews and conventions, and while my time with the game cycles on and off, I am appreciative of having played the game and enjoyed my time with it.

Three “WAAAGH!” ‘s for Paul and the rest of the crew at Mythic Entertainment!

The Secret World: Stuffs Lookin’ Sweet

I’ve been interested in The Secret World for quite a long while now, but I sort of let the game fall off my radar as it was more of a “the game will be out in friggin’ years” sort of thing, and I knew it would not be able to run on any computer I have.  But then I went and read this from Massively and I got all discombobulated again. 

In case you don’t want to read that article above, the short end of it is any one can be anything as there are no classes, it is all based upon where you spent your points (or whatever they are going to call them).  Upfront they said you will be able to customize your outfit based on modern clothing in thousands of different ways, and all equipment will be more akin to implants, so think LotRO or DC Online where you can look however you want to rock your own personal style, while still sporting hefty stat gear.  I like that, and really think Blizz should have done someone like that in WoW by now.

PvP, to those who dabble in that sort of thing, has another spark of interest as of the three revealed at GDC, one battle was 10-vs-10-vs-10, one group from each of the three factions duking it out at the same time in an objective based match.  What I liked about that is it suggests more than the typical Side A vs Side B, which is something I would like to take part in.

The setting is mostly for the PvE peeps.  Think of all the behind-the-scenes and conspiracy-based stories throughout the history of the human race, make it set in modern times, and add a lot of horror-based mobs and you got it.  One very nice twist is the addition of “investigative missions” which is basically a mystery you have to track down the truth of.  These paths go through various locations and, based on what the article said, you might even have to fight to claim it for your faction before someone else does on the opposing sides.  They are considering this an optional way to level up, a sort mystery-thriller version of raiding, and something that makes you use Google to find other hints outside of the game.  While they know some people will make a website with all the starting content’s answers, they want people who do not play to level up as fast as possible to have more options available.

Interested in tackling a dark, secretive past?  Care to see what side you land on with a simple test?  Take The Initiation and see where your loyalties lie.  I’d tell you what side I’m on, but I cain’t

It’s a Secret.



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