Social Itch

Playing a lot of EVE when I get MMO time in. DoTA2 when I only have an hour and nothing is going on in the wormhole. I’m feeling a themepark itch, and it’s coming at me in a weird way. My eyes keep falling on Rift, which is a game I always enjoyed, but I just never got into. I think that was for a number of different reasons. If I recall, I was busy in a bunch of different games at the time, and it fell in when I was still happily engrossed in WAR. The biggest remembrance I have of the game, is that it was like my on-again, off-again, nostalgic affair with EQ2. A lot of the things I like there, I like in Rift (thanks Hartsman!). This gaming version of a casual glance I gave it wasn’t enough to cause me to set down roots and grow any social connection.

The social connection is really what keeps me in games long term. I’ve been playing EVE for longer than I ever have in the past, primarily because I’m in an alliance of people I really enjoying hanging out with. So, beyond just the fun pew-pew I get when we jihad enemy holes, or the carebear riches (that are a bit less rich of late) from phat sleeper loots, I just enjoy the people, and I’ve made connections that keep me coming back. So, a dalliance with Rift is tempting to me right now, but also worrisome.

I don’t want to jump into Rift, with expectations of fun and enjoyment, then find my ideas squandered on the solo-wonder of playing by myself. Conversely, I don’t want to start playing it and have it pull away from my EVE time. Basically, I want it all, and I want it now. I may have to accept that my reality does not allow for the gaming that I want when it comes to MMOs. Life is telling me to suck it up, jump into Dust514, and enjoy mowing down people and LAVs with my heavy machine gun.

Humorously enough, I said this about the game when I tried it over a year ago:

What they seek in their MMO is maybe some social interaction, and mindless gameplay. Chugging through rifts and quests with little planning or forethought in it. Quickly jumping into the game and just doing.

So maybe that’s what I’m looking for now. Or maybe I’m just wanting a change of scenery and I don’t really know what I want. Or maybe I just want to PLAY MORE VIDEO GAMES. NO REALLY, ANY VIDEO GAME WILL DO!

Anyway, any Corps forming up in Dust514 want a 30 year old, poor reflexes man to join them. I have a headset and mic!

Soooo….

Did you play in the Diablo 3 open beta this weekend?

Yes? You did? Along with every other anxious fan-boy (myself included!)?

Well great! It was fun wasn’t it? I know I enjoyed my time, it’s a great franchise.

While you’re thinking of the game, I’d like to point you to something you may not have been aware of. Path of Exile. It’s like Diablo 2 with a dash of the FFX sphere grid-thingie. Lots of fun, and a cool little caveat. F2P. Technically still in beta, but you can pay $10 to get a permanent spot in the beta’s and the equivalent shop “points”. I like to think of it as a $10 game, much like I did with Tribes: Ascend.

It’s good fun. Think of how much Blizzard removed in terms of personal class customization from the Diablo franchise, and then reverse the concept, and that’s how many options you have in PoE. Seriously, look at the skill tree. It’s ridiculous.

Musical Interlude

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I am sitting in the buliding for the college of computing at our local university right now. In my lap (well hands now) my phone is streaming a drum and bass channel for me to listen to. I’m killing time because the suggested 45 minute lead time was a serve over estimate.

But while I’m sitting here, enjoying some REALLY good electronic music, I can’t help but remember some thoughts I had rattling in my skull as sleep dragged me into its playground of unconscious hallucinations. My last gaming of the night for me was spent in Wipeout HD. I remembered thinking of how strong an asset to the game the music is, and how unique that is in the industry.

Yes, there are some games where the score will forever be inscribed into the gamer collective consciousness (I’m looking..at you FFVII “fanfare”), but the large majority of games audio fades to, at best, a dim and whispy memory. Leaving no lasting impression on the player emotionally.

What will it take to have that change in games? Is it something that can even be applied across all genres of games? To take the thought through the capitalistic lense: is music in games at the state it currently is because, as consumers, we just don’t care/value/want it?

Bah, I still have 15 minutes until this thing starts.

Non-sequitur

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Dust514!

LoL is still amazing.

EQ2 has me gripped tightly. WTF happened to Freeport?

Wipeout is the best damn racing franchise of all time, supported by stellar music. You don’t think so? You’re wrong.

Work IT is on a rampage, all posts for near future will be done either from my phone, or the rare preplaned one from home. Do not expect the latter.

My vacation is getting close. Feeling senioritis in the work place.

Dogs can be a pain in the ass.

Virtual worlds need greater prominence in the MMO genre.

I have a taste of highly connected digital life with my Android at times, and it leaves me craving more.

Linking and image posting with this WordPress app is more trouble than its worth.

Random picture of daughter attached (but not placed!) for cuteness factor.

Coins in the machine

This is a great read.

Redirected to you here, from Lum, who also linked to a blog I’ve read before, that had an interesting take on it (read: one that I disagree with). In fact, Eric at EG seems to have many viewpoints, that I, as a gamer, disagree with fundamentally. It’s interesting to see someone who works in the industry, to hold such a consistently different opinion from my own.

I’ll leave it at that, because there’s a whole long philosophy/outlook/design perspective that could probably come out of this, that would be long and boring. I’ll just seriously suggest you follow the links for an amusing time.

Every day play

As a gamer, and an MMO enthusiast, I try to play a video game (an MMO if possible) every day, for at least half an hour. This is beyond games on my cell phone like Words with Friends, or Angry Birds, both of which are great games, but not what I consider “serious endeavors” in gaming time. There are days where this goals isn’t always possible, or where I have to sacrifice else-where to fit the time in. Thursdays are a good example of days where it’s more difficult for me to play around in my hobby.

Every-other Thursday my wife and I along with a small group of friends goes to a restaurant and play a hosted trivia. The Thursdays in between trivia, we have those same friends over for dinner and small-group faith discussions. Typically by the time that everything is said and done on either night, we’re not home and settled until 10:00pm or later,  which leaves precious little time for anything to be done after if I want to actually spend any time talking to my wife, watch a program together, or read a book in bed. Last night went particularly long, but I really wanted to get some Rift-time in, which I despaired of being able to do when I saw that the queue was an hour wait at 10-ish EST. I threw myself into the wait, and went to hang with the wife and watch some TV.

Around 11:45 or so, my wife went to bed, and I went back to check on the computer. There was my character select, and the temptation to just play for a short while was too much to resist. So, I sat down, jumped into the world of Telara, and got my Warrior to level 17 from a fresh 15, in just over an hour. My head hit the pillow at 1 am, and rose up from said pillow 5 hours later. 5 hours isn’t a lot of sleep for me, as I usually get about 7, to 7 and a half, and I’m feeling the difference, but I’ve also functioned off of FAR less (read: zero).

So here, I am, typing this post, while chugging down a Lo-carb Monster Energy drink, and eating some peanuts, and wondering, do other gamers play every day? What sacrifices do they make to do so? Do they consider it a worthwhile trade-of (as I do)? Habits of gamers vary I’m sure, but I don’t think I’m alone

(Some) non-topical topics

I had a decent weekend. Wife’s birthday saw  us with friends at a new-to-us sushi place, where we were loud. People were throwing evil-eyes at us. Screw them, I enjoyed my hot sake, edamame, and spicy tuna. My mother-in-law was kind enough to let our daughter spend the night at her place so we could entertain and enjoy ourselves. After dinner, said friends came over, and had a few drinks while playing some really amusing games. One game, called Pass the Popcorn, had my wife at grabbing my shoulder and shaking my arm like a rag-doll while screaming, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuckity-fuck fuck! FUCK!”. I heard my shirt tear.

Last night, like every other red-blooded American, I was watching the super-bowl (mostly). All I wanted was for the Packer’s to lose, good commercials, and maybe a decent half-time show. I failed to receive any of that. The Steelers lost despite a commendable second-half recovery, the best commercial was a Pepsi Max commercial of some blonde getting hit in the head with a pop-can, and the half-time show was god-awful bad  as it was plagued by technical issues (why in the world didn’t a couple of the 100s of white-jump suit wearing extras sneak extra mic’s on stage, or maybe the crew standing under the platform?), all covered with a terrible impersonation of Axel Rose by a shim wearing a sparkly approximation of football pads. But the food was good.

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Razer competition

A while back I made a post about computer peripherals and how it relates to gaming. Well, sure enough, one of the biggest gaming hardware developers is having a promotion. They’re giving away a whole slew of their stuff to one person, as well as a concurrent running competition that awards different levels of items. The prices on their stuff is ridiculous, I don’t know if I could ever justifying a Razer-brand anything at this point in my life, but the chance to get something for free is pretty aces. So, if you feel like it, go here, and enter.

Yes, that link takes you to my page, which gets me points for the competition part, but hey, I pointed it out to you didn’t I? No, I don’t expect I’ll win anything. But, a free gmail account and you really have nothing to lose except paying attention to your temporary address.

I kind of have to at this point

Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial MMO  rock, you’re just now hearing about the RealID fiasco that Blizzard announced. It’s become big enough, and wide-spread enough, that I can’t really ignore it now (that’s blogger code for: “it’s an easy topic to write about”).

I don’t play WoW, but I did. I do play Blizzard games, and have put Starcraft 2 on pre-order. Now, even I, a person who knows how this plan is going to work, has mulled over the prospect of canceling said pre-order because of this. It’s a monumentally bad idea, despite what some say (“Hey guys, it’s all good. Ohhh….yeah, that’s my address. About that…”).

Particularly telling in all this is the rather rapid development and shift in proposed policy of the rule as it applies to Blizzard itself. No longer will THEIR names be displayed, despite previous sentiments (post 16) expressed otherwise. Poor Mr. Whipple, you served as an object lesson for Blizzard. I feel for the guy, I really do. He bore the brunt of the ire of the community of 11 million players. Of particular note, is the hypocrisy in a statement made by a Blizzard phone rep named Josh (who wisely withheld his last name) that employees “cannot risk having their personal lives compromised by in-game issues.”. But players? Ahhh who gives a crap!?

Privacy is a concern for many, many people. Obviously, I’m not overly concerned, I’ve chosen to put myself out there as a blogger. I know what my relative exposure is and am comfortable with it. The massive market and player base that Blizzard has is a level so vastly outside of what I have now as to be nigh unfathomable. I would never want to take shred any illusion of privacy that may remain in my life. Besides, do you really want an ex-guildie with a 4-ton jack bar showing up at your house?

Edit: I wanted to at least relay the information about who exactly is getting into bed with this whole deal. Michael Zimmer, founder of Facebook, is in agreement with Blizzard to create compatability across his social networking site, and this game. Michael Zimmer, who thinks that if you don’t behave, share, or act in the same way across all areas of your life, you have no integrity. I’m convinced this guys a nutter.

The truth about competency

Over the weekend, a guildmate of mine sent me a link to this video. Besides the hosts obvious talent at engaging the viewer, and his head start at making himself sound more knowledgeable by virtue of his British accent, it is a really well put together piece. The crux of the seven-minute piece is the result of a study on individual ability, and the same individuals perception of said ability. I don’t know if the study is real, fake, made up for this, or what, but the concept is sound. I can say this with assurance based on my vast array of anecdotal evidence. Do I need to put an emoticon here to show the sarcasm, or have you all started to be able to discern that by this point in my writership?

This concept of perceived ability being vastly different from real ability in those who are in actuality incompetent, can be extended to almost any activity you partake in. Whether it’s on a forum, where having a discussion with someone, and you just dissect each point with carefully worded and researched counter arguments. Or perhaps discussions of someone’s in-game skill. Of course, this is a particularly appropriate topic given the nature of this blog, and the concept that I am going to focus on.

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