Mac's Blog I just say what comes into my head…

15May/090

ISP Police

First of all before I start ranting, i only know what i have read on the net about all of this, so i may be spouting utter rubbish. However im going to start spouting anyway...

Im sure you have been reading the recent articles scattered around the net about the Film/Music bigwigs telling ISPs that they need to disconnect their users if they catch them doing P2P downloading, and im finding it a bit silly.

The big wigs are all scared because too many people are basically stealing their products online using Peer 2 Peer software, which is completely understandable, however as they cant find a good way to stop this happening it looks like they are turning to the ISPs and making them do the leg work for them. Now this wouldnt be too bad if there was some incentive for the ISPs to do this, so they can make their money back from disconnecting problem users or if the big wigs invested some money to help the firms update their connections etc. However they dont seem to be doing squat except for constantly telling everyone that they are losing money.

Now i understand it costs money to make this music and things, and they are people with jobs who need to get paid at the end of the day but most of the income gets distributed amongst the fat cats of the relevent industry, which means the people who are making the films/music probably dont lose out on that much money from all this downloading. Now i could be wrong, and im sure there are alot of artists who have lost out money down to people stealing their music, but did they really deserve ALL that money in the first place? Now if someone went from making £1,000,000 from a single then only made £900,000 due to masses of people downloading, is that really such a massive loss? To people like you and me £100,000 is loads of money and could afford a small house, but to people who are already making a mint from it all then its not that much really.

Most of the artists who dont make as much from music and films etc really need the income, but chances are there wont be that many people sharing or downloading their product as they are not as mainstream. So looking at it from this angle its only really the MASSIVELY overpaid artists and studios who lose out a sizable amount, and its not going to make or break them really.

So after reading the above if it is almost all correct then you can see the situation as the following...

Bigwigs are wanting ISPs to save them £1,000,000's in lost sales by making them lose £1,000,000's in customers.

So does that seem right? not really... and this problem hasn't suddenly appeared overnight, its been around for decades, since VCRs were used to copy tapes and the like, so they are always going to have losses due to people copying and stealing their stuff, its the same with people who get burgled every day, and shops that have shoplifters steal from them.

Anyway i think im going off topic and just ranting for the sake of it, but i dont see why they should automatically assume that ISPs should pick up the torch, which will no doubt cost them alot of money in lost sales and increased hardware costs to improve the way they track users online...

On a more gaming related note, im currently re-playing Mass Effect with Mez as well as Fallout 3 with Jode. After talking to Arnie for a while i thought Bioware should re-release a slightly updated version of Baldurs Gate on the DS, it would fit perfectly and they had an unreleased PSX version which shows that the hardware could handle it fine. Screen may be a bit of a squeeze with all the text but they could easily find some way round that... Also if they used the DS wifi for allowing mutliplayer on it they would be onto a winner. The R/D into it and development changes would be a small snip for the amount of income they would make from the sales, as they already have the content and storyline etc, so most of the content is done and just needs porting... get on it Bioware... and give Dragon Age multiplayer while you are there...

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13Apr/090

PS3… The horror…

I haven't bothered updating for a while, mainly because im lazy. Anyway i wanted to rant about the PS3 a bit while im a bit bored...

Its like we have taken a step back in the way consoles work. Their main selling point is that you just put your game in and play it, no hassle, no upgrades to hardware. Only time you cant play your game is when your console is either dead or you are drunk and cant work out where the game goes in... or maybe you have run out of power...

The other day after getting a sudden urge to play Oblivion again i went out and got the new GOTY edition with the expansion, although only places that had it cheap had it on PS3. As we have a PS3 at home i thought it would be fine, so i hand over my 20 pounds and trott off home eager to play.

Like a scene from an Shaun of the dead i unwrapped the game hit the Ps3 on put the game in, then went to the toilet. When i come back its telling me that i cant play the game because it needs to install some stuff to the PS3... WHY???

As it wasnt my PS3 i had to tiptoe round the data on the hard drive and delete some random game files that were still lying around such as MGS @ 4gb in size, and many other installs. Now i looked up for a technical reason as to why the PS3 has to install games instead of just running them. As from a simplistic overview of the system, its comparable to the Xbox 360 in power and has a BluRay drive which should mean it can read more data faster, or how are you going to watch your fancy pants movies?

The only reason i could find seemed to be relating to the way the drive reads in the data. Rather than reading lots of small chunks of data it apparently reads LARGE chunks of data from a section at a time, so if you want to load up a 500kb texture it would take a while due to it reading it as a part of a much larger chunk. So due to this reason they dump all the commonly used data on the hard drive, which can read it all as and when it needs it rather than relying on the disc to give it the data a month after you request it.

After removing a load of rubbish i was able to install the 4gb of data so i could play the damn game. On the Xbox all i would need to do is turn it on put the disc in and play... Although saying that every person with an Xbox i know has had it red ring multiple times and some of them are on their 3rd xbox... and i havent heard of many PS3s breaking down yet, but thats probably because they never use the damn Lazer...

Anyway rant over...

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30Dec/080

Fable 2… Oh dear Peter… What have you done…

Well after getting Fable 2 for us all to play over the christmas holidays we managed to sit down yesterday and give it a whizz.

Now ive played Fable 1, and although i didnt think it was the slice of fried gold that Peter Molyneux (Hereafter refered to as Peter) told us it would be an preached about, i still liked it quite alot. It felt like Zelda and Neverwinter Nights had a love child, and although it was a bit dull in some areas it was an entertaining game as a whole.

I was expecting Fable 2 to be just as charming and fun to play as Fable 1 but with better graphics and hopefully a slightly better storyline with some more fun stuff splashed throughout... I hadn't read/heard any of Peters preaching about this game, although Jode and Mez told me that he said it was going to be the best thing he had ever made and was going to revolutionize the way games were designed and how people played RPG games...

Now so far although im going to rant alot, i dont want to make out like i dislike the game, im finding it great fun and would recommend it to anyone to play. Although that doesn't mean the game is as good as it could or should have been. Now let me begin my rant about what has made me want to walk into Peters offices, scream, then leave a pile of poo on his desk.

The Menu/UI

Right im no UI designer, but i can always appreciate a good and easy to use UI in games. Neverwinter Nights 1 i thought had a brilliant UI system and UI the way you could use the radial menu. I also like WoWs UI and the way things flow... As this is a console game i understand it cant be as easy as you will be using a controller not a keyboard and mouse, but it feels sooooo painful whenever i have to do anything relating to any menu.
If i want to select an item to use i have to load up the menu, then select item, then scroll down to it, then use it. Doesnt sound too hard, but as the menus can be a bit laggy and there are points where you may want to use more than just 1 pie or drink, it keeps throwing you back to the main screen, i can kind of understand it so you can see your HP being altered but its a pain.
Now the main problem i have with the UI is the damn Minimap... THE WHOLE POINT OF A MINI MAP IS THAT IT CAN BE PUT ON THE MAIN SCREEN GIVING YOU AN INDICATION OF THE CURRENT AREA... IF YOU HAVE TO GO TO A MENU EVERY TIME YOU WANT TO SEE THE MAP... ITS NOT A MINI MAP... ITS JUST A MAP... So why bother???
It's all well and good running around following the yellow fart trail of the all seeing and all knowing quest guider (i like to think its Peter running ahead of us sprinking golden breadcrumbs for us), but when you want to go somewhere else off the path you are constantly having to load the menu to try and work out where you are and where you have to go... it just feels a bit of a waste of time and hard to work out where to go.

The Jobs

Now dont get me wrong, i like the fact there are jobs, and i quite enjoyed some of them... although the ones that require fast reactions such as woodcutting and blacksmithing are bobbins. This isnt due to the mechanics, or the reqards, it is due to the sporadic white dot that zips around the screen juddering everywhere, we also seem to have a small amount of lag frequently, so it could just be us. However the juddering paired with the lag means its a game of chance, you have to press the button ahead of time and pray that its next judder puts it into the green area. There are so many times where we have hit it spot on and it just misses and we go from a chain of 8 to 1 again... Apart from this they are quite good although I wish there was some other way to make money... like adventuring... god forbid you would kill a bandit and find some gold on his persons, it appears that anyone with any intelligence stashes their gold in the ground... unlucky for them your dog can smell lots of special buried items, we have currently had him sniff out Condoms, Coins, Potions... who would use a condom they dug up from the middle of a forest?

THE FAT SYSTEM

I like the idea that when you eat crap you become fat, it happens in real life so why not in the game. However it is EXTREEEEEEEEEEMELY badly implemented and designed and is a major frustration when playing a game where you are supposed to enjoy playing the role of your character.
You get fat in this game by digesting pretty much anything that isnt a potion... water...apples...pie (well of course pie). When i say you get fat i dont mean you eat a pie and you have a stat somewhere that goes up and you never need to worry, i mean you basically go from being a normal person to an obese person in 2 pies or a couple of bottles of water.
This wouldn't be too bad if there was some way to remove the excess fat, however the only way i have found is to eat celery that only restocks every night and even then you only get one or two pieces. Surely it should factor in when you are cutting logs, or blacksmithing or doing some strenious exercise such as fighting that you are losing weight. However nothing seems to shift it apart from the wonderful celery, so im pretty sure that every person to play this game so far has ended up with a fat character.

The Gormless Character

The character never seems to have any emotion, he always seems to have a gormless expression on his face, he reminds me of what i thought Lennie Small would have looked like. A beefy gormless guy with an uneasy smile slapped on his face, and thats pretty much how your character looks during every situation. Also its only a minor thing, but when you are woodcutting or blacksmithing, hes just staring off into space, hes not looking at the wood or the metal hes bashing, he just seems spaced out 24/7. Considering there is sooooo much interaction between characters and emotes in the game the characters face never seems to live up to the standard you would expect.

The game is basically Fable 1 with a face lift, its a great game but has ALOT of annoying little things that wouldnt have taken too long to change (Well maybe the minimap would have taken a while to have a fully implement a live one), but hey when you preach this much about a game like Peter has and make out like you are making the best thing since sliced bread you are going to have to make sure the foundations are solid before you start putting on the fancy stuff, and it feels like alot of the underlying parts to this game are lacking... oh well im sure Peter's next escapde will give me more stuff to rant about... WHERE IS DUNGEON KEEPER 3 AND A NEW MULTIPLAYER BLACK AND WHITE MY GOOD MAN!

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3Nov/080

Red Alert 3 & Fallout 3

Well this weekend Mez had bought Fallout 3 for the Xbox and Jode had bought Red Alert 3 for the PC, he was even kind enough to pick me up a copy so we could try out the coop mode on it.

Right i will start off with Red Alert 3, at least that way we can end on a happy note :)

So we both had out Red Alert 3 copies installed, loaded the game up, looked nice and pretty on the menu. Ok the art direction is a little different with this game but it looked good, so i went to update as the game was pretty trying to get me to login to some EA online thing. Logged in and couldnt get the patch for some reason, so i had to manually go find the 1.2 patch on EAs site, once i had that installed it decided it would download the 1.3 patch for me... Jode at this point was up to date too and it was happy days... time to acctually test the game out.

Now i wasnt sure about how graphically demanding it would be so to start with i made sure that i only had medium graphics on, we finally figured out how to start a coop match and we were off. First match for China or whoever Mr Zulu is in charge of, and i was faced with what looked like a playstation game. The first in game scene was it scanning over the enemies statues in town and there were some BADLY done trees with what looked like christmas lights on. Oh god it looked bad... very bad... the textures were dull, the trees and buildings looked WAY to odd, like they shouldnt be there. The troops may as well be 5 red pixels... ok ok as Jode said to me when i started ranting about the graphics, they took it a new direction and went for a more cartoony and vibrant sort of feel. Going a different direction with artwork is NO excuse for bad artwork though, the units just looked terrible. At this point i wanted to make sure it wasnt just my graphics, so i whacked everything up to full...

OH DEAR, its the same, ok maybe the sea looked slighly less like bathwater that had been sat out for 3 weeks, but everything just looked saturated and bland. This was the least of my problems, one of the next missions was to create a base, defend it and destroy enemy statues. So i go ahead and make my base, then i made a unit full of the elite troops i had on offer, shinobi... tank busters... those tengu things, the tanks that destory other tanks... I thought it would be easy, i also had some units sat round guarding the base.
Here is where Red Alert 3 really *shined*. I sent my awesome squad off towards a simple enemy structure, then came some tanks... well no worries i thought... ive got troops for any task. Oh how wrong i was, my units all stopped moving as soon as i targetted the tank apart from one or two tanks up front who just kinda wheeled their way towards the enemy, im not sure if they were trying to melee their way through the tanks, but it was embarassing. The other units just stood there watching as my main tank division just rolled towards the enemy getting chunks blown out of them, then when the enemy had destroyed my anti tank vehicles they turned to my other useless troops, luckily 1 troop had the brains to attack the enemy back when they opened fire, however the rest were not as lucky and just stood there to die. Unfortunatly this happened in the base defenses too, enemies would shoot at my troops and they would not fire back unless i specifically told them to, and it would only work properly if ALL troops were of the same type, mixed batilions just had a picnic when engaging the enemy. I tried swapping tactics, i even tried to find some waypoint system to set them to patrol or something, but nothing seemed to work.

Ultimatly RA3 feels like a rushed RTS game with flimsy AI and bad design, on the plus side it has some really crazy units available, like massive 3 legged samurai robots and crazy transformers, but regardless of how you dress up your units, they will still have the combined intelligence of a dead gopher...

Now fallout 3... here is a gem... its like you have just gone down to the shops and you find £20 on the floor. Now i didnt really care too much about the game a few months ago, i knew it was being released and had heard it was going to be good, but after playing stalker for a few hours and not enjoying the whole *open world FPS stoyline explorer* thing, although i think it was mainly down to the text based interactions with NPCs and there was sooooo damn much of it that i just didnt bother reading the missions and ran off towards a waypoint and didnt know what to do.
ANYWAY fallout 3 came into the house friday night, but we waited till saturday morning to play it. The game started off as us being born into the world and designing our character. Then your dad teaches you to walk, and you wander round a bit as a baby, then you grown older and have a party, then older again... anyway you keep getting older until you have finished the tutorial and you come of age and it all goes a bit pear shaped for you.
Then you are thrust out into the post apocalyptic wasteland of DC... and what a damn fine wasteland it is...

First thing we did was turn on the radio, if you are in a post apocalyptic world and you are scared for your life, whats the first thing you do? Yes, tune into the radio and hear your president filling your head with propaganda! Oh he is the man... "Hello Amercia, this is your president John Henry Eden". There is sooo much i would love to go into but there are enough *real* reviews online that explain better, so i will just skim over the game as a whole.

Graphics are superb, the way the ground looks barren and rocky to the way the towns and abandoned settlements look rundown and like they have been surviving by the skin of their teeth in that harsh world. The VATS system is one of the best inventions ever in FPS/RPG games, you just stop time, lock onto a part of the enemy (or friends) body, and it will tell you what the chances of hitting it are, then you just open fire in a cinematic bloodfest.

The storyline is acctually enthralling unlike most other mediocre RPGs these days, usually open world games dilute the main storyline a bit because of the amoutn of quests and alternative storylines available, but this game keeps reminding you of the main storyline, be it the man on the radio updating listeners of your progress in the world, or people in town telling you about how they know things about you and your father. It just does it all so well, and you just find yourself wanting to help people in the world or nuke small areas for some reason.

All in all its a brilliant game, we are only about 10 hours in so there is alot for us still to do, but things are heating up and we have managed to scavenge some pretty decent armour.

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15Oct/080

Games I Would Like To See

As ive been fairly bored and demotivated recently i have been thinking about some games I would like to see that are definatly within the realm of possibility.

Dungeon Keeper 3

Dungeon keeper 2 had a brilliant concept and was great fun to play, single or multiplayer. It didnt quite feel like a god game, nor did it feel like an RTS, and finally it didnt fit into the FPS category. It was the hexagon shape when all you had was square, circles and triangle holes.
A third one could build on the unique gameplay elements giving more control in first person mode, and giving a bit more flexibility in the building department, to be honest not much needs to change. I dont want another NWN 2 where they change the game just for the sake of it. I would want to keep the same feel but look a bit prettier.

This also lead me on to think about the DK elements working in a Sci-Fi setting, it would be a mix between starcraft and natural selection. It would be able to take place on planets instead of dungeons and replace the random demons with WH40k style space marine units that are competing for the planets. I guess this is where Tiberium would have sat if EA hadn't canned the game.

Freelancer 2

Now freelancer was one of those games that was under the radar. It took everything that was good about space exploration and dog fighting and mixed them together with a big pot with a hint of factions and smuggling, as well as a big dollop of equipment management.
Now i know we have had a few random space games like X2/3 and Lone Wolf or whatever it was, but none of these games had multiplayer like Freelancer, that was where this game shined. The single player experience was fun, but the multiplayer was brilliant, having 40 or so people zipping around trying to do trade runs and death runs into unexplored pirate sectors made it shine.
I think there is definatly a gap in the market for something like this but it would NEED the multiplayer element, as it would lose 90% of its replayability without the thought of coop and sandbox mmo style gameplay.

NWN 2.5/3

Yeah i know, i know... I should move on in life instead of acting like the crazy stalker who sits there at night using my NWN2 box as a voodoo doll and laughing at screenshots saying "people look like they are smeared in butter". That aside NWN still seems to be quite popular, and quite possibly more popular than that AWESOME SEQUEL they released. So why not do what the gamers acctually wanted... NWN but with a slight face lift and possibly some improvements to the toolkit.
I think that NWN has been the best multiplayer experience ive had, i would rather play a *DECENT* NWN server for free with 50 fun and civil players than pay to play WoW with XXXXXXXXXX amount of random numpties.
They NEED to keep the tiled interiors and exteriors, they made game servers generic so anyone could connect, without any stupid downloads that you have to find from a microfilm pickup from some random guy in russia.
Add some more spells to the game (i.e STICKS TO SNAKES... HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR IT), and also add in some additional support for saving variables to characters on the server without needing random items to store it all (not that its a bad way tbh).

Battlefield 3

Right boyos, get your military getup on and lets see how we can improve BF further. Vehicles are currently pretty solid, 2142 seemed to take the piss a bit with the handling and speed of some vehicles, and it felt laggy and slugish at times.
They could do with having some way of letting vehicles to store other vehicles, other games have done this before, and they were doing it years ago. Even if its just a way for people to drive jeeps onto boats or have a chopper that can pick up vehicles and dump them somewhere else. I think BFVietnam had one of these features, and although you have aircraft carriers that let you put planes on it doesnt really give you lots of freedom with vehicles.
It may also be worthwhile thinking outside the box, such as putting some sort of dynamic levels in, so depending on certain strategic objectives the level could physically change. So buildings fall down and block off areas so air support needs to transport troops to certain areas, areas flood so you cant drive there or need to swim.
One thing i would LOVE to see would be grappling hooks, sounds mad and a bit out of character as far as the game goes, but how awesome would it be to hook onto a chopper flying over or onto a vehicle whizzing by, i dont know if it would work, but im just putting it out there. The Codename Eagle (Think thats the name) had something like that where you could drive really fast off a cliff and grab onto a rope hanging from blimps as they flew around.

Kingping 2

Was it the violence, or the harsh language, or even the wobby skin textures... I mean Soldier of Fortune took the gore that kingpin had an multiplied it tenfold, many other games have got bad language, worse than kingpin. I dont know if there are many other wobbly skin texture games.
Either way Kingpin combined them all in an elegant and well laid out manner, the way you could influence other NPCs by doing good or bad responses, and even hiring bodyguards, back in the day this was quite refreshing. If they brought the same principles from the first game forward and put a facelift on the graphics i think it would be a masterpiece. It felt more like one mans story of revenge than a FPS game, alot like Max Payne felt like a film where you played the main role rather than a 3rd person shooter game.
They should keep the larger amount of spoken dialogs and keep the simple conversation system with good and bad remarks, they could even put a small amount of factions in so you could join other gangs and do things for them while you progress the story forward, they would need to give the game a similar feel of the ghettos and the industry areas though, or i think it would lose its feel if you made it current day, alot like if Bioshock wasnt set in an underground forgotten city it wouldnt have been as good.

There are lots more but i think ive waffled enough for now, i would also like to bring up a fun new game we invented in the office the other day Cockney Rhyming Code, for the rhyming slang substitute in some random codey like reference. I also had an in depth conversation with Jaber about the difficulties of going to the toilet but only having a beeday in there. Being sick in this instance would cause the most carnage in the bathroom...

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8Oct/080

So… WAR…

So after Jode/Beldri/Fox were going on about WAR all those many months ago i decided to give it a try and see if i was right about it being a WoW copy...

Now before i go any further i have only gotten 2 characters to the tier 2 mark, so i havent done any high end stuff. I also still dont know what im doing with some crafting things. With that stuff in mind i will commence with the good the bad and the ugly, well as far as WAR is concerned.

The Good

Public quests

Now these things here are something that other MMOs should take onboard. Its basically an area of the world where everyone works together to achieve goals, be it killing X amount of X creature, or examining X items or even assasinating X person. Now it may not sound that much fun, but when you have a decent amount of people in the area and you are all getting to the last minute of the chapter with 5 more eggs to find ontop of a mountain in the middle of nowhere it gets quite exciting. Once everyone has chipped in and completed the 3 chapters of that public quest, a rewards chest appears that everyone rolls for, now its all automated so none of that need/greed rolls that people exploit. It just works out whos put in the most work, and gives them a roll bonus, giving them more chance to win something, quite good fun and you get influence that will allow you to get other items from NPCs.

PvP Leveling

WHY OH WHY cant other MMOs do this? WoW is nice for PvP when you dont do it often, but after you have done AB or AV for the 3rd time you start to wonder why you are spending time running into battle, dying and then having to spend a few mins running all over the map again to get killed to get a piddly amount of reputation and badges... WAR takes PvP a step further and gives 3 PvP scenarios per tier, although im not sure if there are other PvP types later. So far ive visted about 4 out of the 6 available PvP scenarios and ive possibly spent more time leveling from PvP than i have out in the open world, well on one of my characters.

Its not that being out in the open world is not fun, as it is, and the random wars that occur are great fun in open PvP, but in scenario PvP you can keep repeating quests, items drop from players occasionally (not their items but random drops), its like being in a battlefield all the time, which is what WAR is about i guess.

World Map Quest Locations

The world map itself feels clunky and unhelpful, however the quest part of it seems great! it tells me where my quests are (roughly) and will tell me a summary of what im doing. Genius for mapping out where to go to make best use of your time.

The Bad

Cheap WoW Ripoff in SOOOO many ways

Forgetting the whole warcraft may have ripped off warhammer years ago or whatever, when you first log into WAR you could be tricked into thinking you were in WoW. The UI is pretty much the same, and i mean LOOKS THE SAME and is positioned the same to begin with. There is the obvious similarity between WoWs art style and WARs, i mean the elf lands have towers that look like they could have been taken from the blood elf lands, and the dwarf areas and just ironforge, however once you get out of the starting areas it starts to get a bit more unique and different. The models for the players look a bit more detailed than WoWs and the game has a *slighly* more adult feel to it, but at the end of the day its impossible to look at WAR without remembering WoW.

Battle System Is Flaky

Now this is one of the more important points... When i first started playing, Jode and myself were running round the orc areas on our little RP-PVP server (we thought there would be fewer idiots on there), and we came across a dwarf healer who was only 1 level above us. He came to attack and we both tried to fight back, although heres where the problem occured.

The game was a tiny bit laggy anyway, but whenever we were using our skills it wasnt seeming to hit the dwarf and we were not using up energy, although the animations were being played. We chased him around for ages trying to hit him and whenever we did land a hit he just healed back up and was unstoppable... We then decided to run away and he gave chase using some flame wreath style move, and he ended up killing both of us AND a hunter who joined us mid battle. After another attempt the ONLY way we could kill him was if he stood still and we wailed on our skills, and that just feels wrong. At least in most other MMOs when i click my skill it will either tell me that they are out of range or i dont have energy or something, it wont just play as if everything went well but nothing acctually happens. This just makes battling feel a bit ropey and there have been times where im mashing all my skills in PvP to find out none of them were even cast on the enemy, or i cast a heal and it never acctually went off. This is something they SERIOUSLY need to address in the up and coming patches, as its hard enough to heal yourself never mind other people that the game decideds not to cast upon.

The Ugly

General look of the game

Right well thats not really fair... as it looks ok, but it runs like a slugh with salt on it. I play it on minimal settings on a laptop with 2x 7900 GTX cards and a 2.5Ghz Turion and 2GB Ram. Now ok im not expecting jaw dropping FPS and settings but it would be nice if the game looked a little better and ran a little smoother. WoW is roughly 3 years old now, and it gets away with average graphics because of its art style, however WAR is a NEW game, has only just come out, yet it looks like games did about 4 years ago, which would be fine if it played like games 4 years old do on newer systems. I can run UT3 on full settings without any worries, with this on low end settings it sometimes stutters around, especially in PvP. I think they should try to optimise the game alot more over the next few months, WoW is a bit sketchy on my machine, but only when i run it in top end settings with all my addons on.

THE AMOUNT OF BUGS

Christ its pretty much a beta game they released early, ive had random bugs such as text from PvP ground staying on my screen after battles, UIs that wont dissapear, falling through floors, being unable to hit people hitting me, public quests that dont dissapear after i leave the area, skills that appear active even though they are not. I mean when i first started i wanted to follow Jode (/follow) as i was lazy and he knew the way, however when i right clicked on him, follow was grayed out. Tried it on many people, always grayed out, yet if i type /follow it works fine. Same sort of thing with dancing, ive tried to dance with some people just for a laugh, and it tells me "You refuse to dance"... WHAT... I JUST TOLD HIM TO DANCE! It just feels ropey and unfinished in alot of areas, which are not too great when you are competing with the MAIN MMO these days, and its about to release an expansion.

Crafting

Crafting just feels badly put together. It is nice how they have given it a twist so you dont know what you are making, you just plonk stuff together and hope for the best, but there are 2 trades that are pretty much useless. The only decent gathering skill i found was scavenging, as it meant i was able to get vast amounts of crap and sell them. It just feels broken and pointless making talismans or potions. Also it has a great tendancy to bug out when you fail a recipie but want to try again, so you have to reset your crafting screen and start again... im glad someone tried something new, but crafting can be implemented simply and made to be complex, but this just seems complex without any real gain.

Ultimatly it feels like a Cheap WoW Clone, which takes some of the good MMO concepts out there and tries to add some new features, some well some poorly. They should seriously look into doing some chat improvements, such as adding shift click items into chat and clicking on peoples names lets you PM them, rather than having to manually type a tell to someone every time. Its all the little things that make other MMOs bareable past the first few months that the game seems to be missing at the moment. Dont get me wrong the PvP makes up for alot of this, but these seemingly simple problems could be overcome fairly quickly if they wanted to, and would make the game run ALOT smoother for players.

Although im enjoying the game more than i expected, its pretty much just me playing at the moment but i dont mind it too much as i can PvP or join an open party at any time, whereas on WoW it just feels like a grind from log in to log out. Anyway there is an update on it incase anyone is interested!

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11Sep/080

Pokemon Battle Revolution…

With the new Pokemon Wii title around the corner i was wondering if it was worth buying.

After a debate about previous Pokemon titles with Flec it was decided that Battle Revolution cant be worse than the fabled Pokemon Colliseum, that game was a train wreck. The only fun part to that game was when you pressed the power button and turned the console off.

This makes me wonder, is it possible to make a decent Pokemon game that ISNT on a hand held system.... I believe it is, as they have a winning forumla for games. If they just stick to it but make it a bit bigger and better for the consoles opposed to making it more limited in gameplay and slower in progress.

Im hoping that they will implement a DECENT online play system with this, as i wasnt too impressed with D/P online capabilities.

Anyway i dont think i will be buying it, although the new Trauma Center game on the Wii with coop is looking mighty buyable.

Non Handheld Pokemon Games - Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me

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9Sep/080

Nintendo + Online Play = Crap?

Any of you who have a Wii should have already gone out and bought Super Smash Brothers. Im sure like myself you were stoked to find out there would be online multiplayer. I had previously been playing Mario Kart online before i got SSB and ok i didnt like the friend system much, it sounds like way too much work to just play with someone you know, but hey it functioned well enough for me and Jen to play together online with it.

Then I went to play SSB online... i thought there was some options missing or something, as i could only do random games by myself and it took like 10 minutes to find 1 other person who wanted to play. Now in my eyes this is a stupid move, as with the options of Xbox live and the PS3 network, which let you just do the whole multiplayer thing without thinking about it too much. Nintendos implementation is more like trying to find a UT game online when you dont have an internet connection, its piss poor.

DONT WORRY THOUGH if you have some poor bastards friends code you can add them to your list and pray that they add you too... did they not think, "OH WAIT, what if someone adds someone else, how will they know?"...

Have we taken a few steps back into the dark age of online gaming where you had to play through some random 3rd party server and the connection was sketchy and then they all left as soon as you were about to win...

I have quite a few friends with Wiis but half of them cant be bothered working out how to do the online thing with it, and the other half never play on it. I find this quite a shame as it has alot of potential as do alot of the games on this platform, but they seem to be nailing themselves in the foot at the moment, which cant be good for a company that is meant to innovate instead of make a shoddier implementation of whats already out there...

I can understand the whole family system and they dont want some kid chatting to the army of Gary Glitters that are playing online games. However just take out communication like they did with Mario Kart, you could still play coop online, but on SSB they make it so you can only do this with friends, who you cant even talk to anyway. It just seems retarded, like going to fight lugia in pokemon realising you are not carrying any pokeballs, then saving after it... not that anyone is that dim... i hope...

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6Aug/080

Coop Gaming… Worthwhile?

After a discussion about Diablo 3 and other up and coming games the other week, I was reminded of some recent games and some future games that are apparently going to be including coop.

We have recently seen Kain & Lynch, Army of Two, Gears of War and Halo (4 player coop > you), however they all seem to share the trend of being a first person shooter game... Ive heard rumours that Mass Effect 2 may contain coop, and it would be GREAT if the next Elder Scrolls game contained Coop...

It would be great for most games to have a coop but it would only be a few hours of fun with most people then you would go back to single player, so is it really worth it for developers to spend the time to add coop?

I would love to play Metal Gear Solid 4 on coop, that would be great fun, or play Oblivion coop, hell even Dead Rising would be made ALOT more of a game with coop added. There are lots of games i can think of that would be made better with Coop, but thinking ahead maybe the time of Coop is coming, with Left 4 Dead, Diablo 3 and other coop games being released... im sure there are more coop games coming just cant remember them at the moment...

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2Aug/080

WAR == WOW???

Ok so as most of you know i like to rant about games that rub me the wrong way... Halo was a great example, i didnt like it so i said so, much to the dismay of my friends who loved it.

Anyway as i havent really ranted about anything for a while, i thought one was in order, linking to a discussion i had the other day at home with Jode/Jen.

If any of you have been watching the <a href="http://www.war-europe.com" target="_BLANK">Warhammer Online</a> (Even the website is named like WoW) screenys and videos as the game was developing you may have thought either of 2 things....

OMG THATS AWESOME

or

OMG THATS WOW

As im sure you guessed i went with the latter, and a good friend of mine came up with the argument that Warhammer was around waaaaay before Warcraft, which is a fair point. However they didnt have an MMO or a game that looked anything like WoW before Blizzard did, which in my eyes means they are the ones who created that art style in an MMO.

Now its not entirely fair for me to say they look identical as there are a few differences in how they look. However any screenshots with dwarves looks like ironforge, and any shots with elves in looks like the blood elf lands. I mean the towers look IDENTICAL, and they even have a train in their dwarf lands like Ironforge...

I mean WoW wasnt anything revolutionary when it first came out, and i ranted about that as i didnt like the style of it (still prefer Lineage 2's graphics), and it seemed to lose alot of the community elements that other MMOS had. However there was one MAJOR thing that made WoW awesome in my eyes... ADDONS. Many people forget that but addons are the best thing since sliced bread, every MMO should allow you to make your own addons. I havent heard anything like this for WAR, but if they brought that in i may be a bit happier about it.

As far as gameplay goes, the only difference i keep hearing is this RvR, however it just sounds like a mix of battleground and open PvP which WoW has had forever and a day.

Ultimatly it looks like a game that should have been out 2 years ago, it looks dated and like WoW, which is the industry leader at the moment. There is no excuse for trying to reinvent the wheel, especially when the current itteration of the wheel is doing the job well. They have the 40k setting that they could have used to blow us all away, but instead they wanted to play it safe, i hope they will come out with 40k, but maybe World of Starcraft will beat them to it, that would make me laugh alot.

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