Archive for the Gaming Category

Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Posted in Gaming, Mass Effect with tags , , , on 03/17/2012 by Jeremy (Jmo)

For the past week or so, I’ve had to almost ignore the internet. Since about the day after Mass Effect 3 was released, all I kept hearing was the controversy over how “Bad” the ending was. Having not beat the game myself, I didn’t want anything ruined for me. Mass Effect is a series that has grown close to my heart, and seeing the ending for myself –spoiler free– was something I couldn’t wait to accomplish.

Tonight, after 45 hours of gameplay and completing every single quest and side quest in the game, as well as achieving 100% Galactic Readyness, I finished the story. For me (and to quote my twitter comment), the ending was a bittersweet ending to an epic story line, which as far as gaming goes ranks in my top 5 easily. Bioware has successfully crafted one of the most spectacular stories in recent history, and should be praised for their accomplishment.

Instead, all that I’ve been reading online are whiners, naysayers, and trolls who didn’t get the ending that they wanted, and now think they have the right to DEMAND a new ending. Hopefully, Bioware is smart enough to see past the “unsilent minority” and keep the integrity of Mass Effect intact. Afterall, it is BIOWARE’S story to tell. They wrote and made possible all three entries into the Mass Effect series. That gives the the right to make any creative choices that they choose. The ending to the game was sad, and even unexpected at parts, but it was not “bad”. Far from it.

Demanding that Bioware create a new ending (with all of the writing, coding, voice over work, and production that goes with it), is nothing short of childish.

If your favorite author decided on an ending to their newest book that you did not like, would you demand that the book be rewritten to suit your needs? NO.

If a movie you had been waiting to see for a long time ended in a way that you didn’t feel fit the film correctly, would you demand that the ending be refilmed? NO!

So what gives these jilted gamers the idea that since they don’t like the fact that Mass Effect didn’t end the way they envision, that they can demand a new ending to trilogy?

It really speaks a lot of where our society is heading when people feel so entitled that they can just demand whatever they want and get it. I really hope that Bioware keeps their integrity on this issue and doesn’t change a thing. And to those that still feel the need to huff and puff:

*SPOILER ALERT*

Shepard dies to save everyone. That’s it. You need to stop raging and come to terms with how the writers over at Bioware decided to tell their story. As happens a multitude of times over the years in different works of art, the protagonist that we’ve grown to love sacrifices himself (or herself) for the livelihood of everyone that he (or she) has sworn to protect. The ending was extremely heart-wrenching. We’ve lost a character we’ve grown to love, and I still feel a bit of sadness over that.

To me, that just makes the story that much more grandiose. My Shepard did exactly what was necessary to save the galaxy, just as Shepard would have. There are no surprises there for me. I know that I would have loved to see Shepard and Liara’s babies running around after the final battle, with them living happily ever after on a beach somewhere.

But in real life that doesn’t happen. War is gruesome, and doesn’t always end on a high note for everyone. It’s that realism that I feel that Bioware was really able to portray in the ending sequences of ME3. And honestly, looking back at the trilogy as a whole, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not saying it’s ok to dislike the way it ends, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to say that the ending is “bad and needs to be rewritten” is nothing short of poor taste and lack of maturity.

My hat’s off to Bioware and friends for putting together one of the best series of the past decade, and yes, ending it in an amazingly epic and graceful way.

**I’m always open to mature and thought out discussion. If you troll, I will delete your comment. You’ve been informed ahead of time.**

Extra Life Gaming Marathon

Posted in Gaming, Gaming News, MMO, MMORPG, PC with tags , , , , , , , , , on 07/21/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

Hello there RiftWatchers fans!

I would like to let you all know that we here at RiftWatchers will be participating in the Extra Life Gaming Marathon this year. What it is is 24 Hours Straight of playing Video Games in order to raise money for local Children’s Hospitals all throughout the US. Most of us here have participated in the past in one form or another, but this year we are all coming together under Team Vagary.TV, which is our parent website.

I personally have set up a page with a goal of raising $500. While this seems like a fairly high goal, I have no doubt in my mind that the awesome community that we have surround the RW site, can help break that goal. Nothing would make me more happy than to have to actually RAISE the goal amount, because of everyone’s generosity to give to a great cause.

Many of us know someone, or maybe even have a family member, who was a very sick child. Whether it be something as serious as Cancer, Infantile Glaucoma (In the case of one of my best friend’s son, and the reason that I’m so passionate about the issue), or even a bad bout of the flu, Children’s Hospitals throughout our country usually have to help foot the bill, as care can get extremely expensive. The money raised in this charity drive goes to help all of those kids get the treatment that they need, without having to worry about running the parents, or the hospital itself, into financial ruin.

If you’re willing, please donate whatever you wish at the link below. The suggested amount is $24 ($1 per hour), but you can give more or less. Any amount you can spare is greatly appreciated, and goes to an amazing cause. And if you care to know, all donations are 100% Tax Deductable.

Go Here to donate or even get involved yourself. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you in advance for your help and financial support.

Jeremy

P.S. If you do decide to get involved yourself, feel free to join us on Team Vagary if you don’t have a team of your own to go to.

What’s the Deal with Addons?

Posted in Gaming, MMO, MMORPG, Rift with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/11/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

A common topic over at the Rift forums is about the pros and cons of addons. Some people want certain ones in game, and others oppose them. Having played MMOs since EverQuest, I can definitely see the ups and downs of having addons and meters. Here are some of the major ones, and reasons that I feel they could be a blessing or a hindrance in the world of Telara:

Raid Helpers

Back in EverQuest, no one used to share strategies. It was up to the players and their guilds to figure out how to take down a boss mob. At the time, everything was open world and highly contested. There were no instances. If a boss was dead, you’d have to wait anywhere from 24 hours to a week to actually see it spawn again, and most likely the guild that took it down knew its spawn timer and were there waiting for it to rear its ugly head.

With the inception of instances, this practice slowly fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until very recently in EQ that people started giving up their secrets, but not long after raiding became popular in WoW, add-ons such as Deadly Boss Mods and BigWigs started popping up. Now, don’t get me wrong, wiping over and over again trying to get a boss strategy down sucks, but it’s a part of the game, and something I always found extremely fun. Once you finally figured it out, you could feel the sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately for those folks like me, the Raid Addons actually detract from the whole experience by basically holding your hand throughout the entire encounter, telling you move for move what to do.

For those that don’t have the time or the patience to figure out a strategy, or just want to kill the boss and move on to the next big thing, these programs are a God-Send. Seriously, who needs the countless wipes and repair fees when you can have someone else do all of the hard work and just tell you and your guild how it’s done. These mods helped streamline raiding, and made it more accessible to a majority of gamers.

While I fall into the first camp on this and find that these addons detract from the gameplay, most guild require them now and will kick members who do not have it installed and ready at the time of raiding. I’ve gotten used to using these types of mods because of raiding in WoW, but that added extra of figuring it out yourself is something I feel is being lost now-a-days.

 

DPS/Threat Meters

Everyone wants to perform their best, right? Well, that’s what these types of meters were designed for. If you don’t know, DPS stands for Damage Per Second. This is the amount of damage your character can put out over a period of time. If you play a DPS class such as a rogue or mage, this meter is a must have in modern MMOs. What plays in conjunction with this is a threat meter. It tells you how much aggro you’re drawing on the monsters you are facing, making sure that you don’t pull threat off of the tank. Rangers in EverQuest were notorious for out DPSing everyone else and drawing high amounts of threat, often resulting in their death or the complete wipe of the raid party.

That was part of the experience, though. You had to know how to manage your DPS and Threat so that you didn’t die and/or cause everyone else to die. And trust me, your guildmates would help keep you in check (or never let you live down the time you pulled the entire zone of Kael Drakkal on them). Ranger jokes aside, I’m very neutral on these type of addon. It’s a nice perk to have to know that you’re for sure pulling your weight, and also that you’re not going to have the boss giving you a black eye. On the other hand it is just another chance for your guildmates to belittle you if you’re not living up to their expectations, an attitude I wish could be wiped off of the face of MMOs as we know them.

Gear Score

Gear Score addons are the ultimate E-Peen meters. It used to be fun walking through town in an MMO and seeing the higher levels in their awesome gear. It looked cooler and usually had some kind of special effects. It gave you something to strive for. I remember plenty of times setting goals for my character based on seeing someone else in some awesome gear and thinking, “I want to be wearing that some day.” It just added to the adventure. It wasn’t a requirement though.

With Gear Score mods, games have turned from “Oooh, look at the pretty armor” to everyone else judging you on NOT having the armor. Now it’s more like “You’re not allowed to group with me until your addon says you have 10,000,000,000 Gear Score…N00B!” I honestly can’t stand it. People used to help each other get gear. You would go camp a mob for days on end together until everyone else in your group and/or guild got what they needed to move on together. Because of things like Gear Score guilds have become more exclusive instead of inclusive. If you don’t meet the Gear Score requirement, come back when you do. Guilds used to try and take on an encounter regardless of the members gear, and now you can’t raid unless you have the Uber Suit of Uberness +5.

If you can’t tell, this is the only addon that I loathe. I really feel that Gear Score has completely changed the face of the end game of MMOs. Grouping and Raiding is supposed to be about fun, exploration, and adventure, not about what level of gear you have. Am I saying that someone wearing starter rags should be dragged along on an end-game raid? Not by a long shot, but if someone has been working their character and trying their hardest, and is a good player, they should not be held back by an arbitrary number. A lot of times (and especially back in EQ) skill outweighs the level of gear you’re wearing. I really hope the Developers over at Trion keep this type of mod out of Rift.

Games like Peggle and Bejeweled

Game addons are the orginal addons. In fact, not a lot of people knew this, but if you typed /gems in EverQuest you got a Columns style game to play while you were waiting or meditating. This evolved further in WoW with Peggle and Bejeweled being added as free mods. Other spawned from this as well, such as TriviaBot that could get an entire Raid Force involved when recovering from a wipe.

The only downside to these in my eyes is the message “Healer01 has beaten their high score in Bejeweled,” during a raid or a dungeon. Usually this happens right as everyone is dieing. Bad healer, bad!

Auction House

Love it or hate it, auction house mods are some of the most popular. In game they allow you to keep track of your servers market, usually with up to date prices. If you’re an auction house junkie, or aspiring entrepreneur, these addons are for you. In fact, these are the first type of addons to make their way to smart phones so that players could keep up on their auctions while on the go. While some companies such as Icarus Studios don’t charge any extra to use the Fallen Earth App (outside of the $1.99 to buy it), businesses such as Blizzard choose to charge an extra $3-$5 per month to have access to the Auction House features.

This is another type of app that I’m neutral on. I’ve never been a big Auction House player. I don’t like to spend my time in game — or my time away from game when it comes to the apps — standing in one spot and cancelling and resubmitting auctions just so I can buy and resell things for a profit. I’d rather go out and earn my money the old fashioned way, but killing lots of evil creatures and stealing their bowels…er…*ahem*

I know that these are not the only Addons that we see in games today, but they are definitely the most widely used. Love them or hate them, they have become way too popular to ignore. While there are some that I hope see an untimely death, there are others that help enhance gameplay in ways that we didn’t think possible 10 years ago. That’s enough of my ramblings on the subject though. What do you all think? Do you enjoy Addons in games, or should they get put by the wayside? Which Addons do you love, and which do you hate? And which would you do away with if you could?

 

Daily Blog Challenge

Posted in DDO, Gaming, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , , , , , , on 01/09/2011 by Jeremy (Jmo)

Hey everybody! It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated on my personal blog. For those that have been checking back, I apologize for not writing on here as much as I would have liked. For some reason, I always feel like I have a lot to say and then just never really know how to put it on a page. This week, though, I hope that all changes. My good friends and fellow hosts of the MMOVoices Podcast, Cindy and Gavin, decided to go through with a Daily Blog Challenge. What this is is that every day at 1:00pm CST for the next week, everyone involved will write a blog post about whatever is on their mind at the time. Anything will do, and then you just need to post it to Twitter to show the others that you made your post. I’m sure plenty of heckling will be thrown in for those that don’t. So today, I figured I’d talk a bit about my return to DDO.

DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) was a game that I had originally  played during beta and when it first launched. Unfortunately, it quickly lost its luster with me. Something about it just didn’t set right at the beginning, and another part of me just couldn’t leave Everquest. My good friend Andrew played it from launch, but even having a friend there couldn’t keep me around. I came back about two years later to try again, and found myself in the same place I was the first time, this time unable to really leave WoW. I wanted to like DDO, I really did. But for some reason I just couldn’t. To this day I still don’t know why I couldn’t get into it, or what it was about the game that couldn’t hook me. I just couldn’t bring myself to want to give $15 per month to play another game.

Then last year Turbine pulled a fast one. DDO went free to play. Again, I gave it a shot. Again, I stopped playing after a couple of days. We even had a MMOVoices static group that was playing DDO and I was having a blast, but for some reason I never really clicked on the icon again after the group dissipated. For some reason that all changed in these past two weeks.

My buddy Andrew was in town for Christmas. He and his wife came over to join my wife and I for dinner, and we got to talking about gaming, and particularly DDO. Andrew was still playing the game and is the officer in his guild. He asked me to come back and give it another shot. I figured “why not.” I’m not really playing any MMO steadily right now, in fact the only game I’ve been playing regularly at all has been League of Legends (a post for another day).  So, for the first time in a while, I opened the DDO patcher with optimism. I’m really glad I did.

I first created a sorcerer on Khyber to play with Andrew. I could have picked up my monk, but it had been such a long time since I’d played, I figured it’d be best if I started from scratch. I was actually having fun. And then something else happened. Gavin was mentioning something on Twitter about a “Permadeath” Experiment in DDO. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The flame of my interest in DDO was just starting to light again, and the whole idea of playing with Permadeath rules intrigued me. So, I got the information and rolled a Favored Soul character on Thelanis, to play with the Sublime Permadeath Guild. It’s a guild whose members have to follow a strict set of rules about death. If your character dies, it’s dead forever. The only way around this is if you have a class that can ressurect you with you when you die, and they are actually able to cast it on you right then and there. And if you release from your body, too bad. Delete. That’s it.

Because of this ruleset, I’m back in hook, line and sinker. I haven’t felt this attached to a character in a long, long time. In fact, I haven’t really felt in touch or truly immersed in a character since my original Cleric in Everquest. On top of that, the guild members themselves are awesome. Everyone is friendly and is having a good time together. There are quite a few people who have been in the guild for years now, and have said outright that the Permadeath guild is one of the only things keeping them around. They love the adventure of it, and it almost makes DDO feel like the original Pen and Paper game, where permadeath is a normal way of life.

For the first time with DDO, I look forward to logging into the game. It’s a new feeling for a game that I’ve always wanted to like, but could never find a way to do so. I played Dungeons and Dragons in High School, and this game feels like it should mimic that experience, but with a GUI instead of just your imagination. And now I found the missing link. That one piece of the puzzle that was holding me back. Can I be sure that I’ll stick with the game for the long run? Who knows, but the immediate future is definitely certain.

MMOVoices Podcast

Posted in Gaming, Gaming News, MMORPG with tags , , on 09/05/2009 by Jeremy (Jmo)

For those that haven’t heard yet and follow my blog, I am one of the hosts of MMOVoices.ning.com ‘s Official Podcast! Head on over to the site to check it out, or look it up on iTunes, then let me know what you think!

MMOVoices – MMO Bloggers and Podcasters Rejoice!

Posted in Gaming, Gaming News, MMO, MMORPG with tags , , , on 08/09/2009 by Jeremy (Jmo)

For those of you out there familiar with GAX Online, and it’s impending doom at the end of this month, know what an MMO Social Network is. Basically, the MySpace or Facebook of the Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming world. Now the problem with GAX, and one of the main reasons it’s downfall (from what I’ve been told and what I witnessed as I browsed from time to time), was that it wasn’t moderated much, if at all. The posts were strewn with obscenities and flames made very pointedly towards the authors and podcasters. It was not a safe haven for anyone, and environments like that seem to just push people away in the end.

But what if it could be different? What if there was a new “GAX” of sorts that WAS moderated, and EVERYONE’S opinion was appreciated and respected? Well, thanks the MMO Blogger and Podcaster Beau Turkey of the Spouse Aggro Podcast (formerly Voyages of Vanguard), and husband to Leala Turkey (top notch podcaster and former lead host of Epic Dolls),  we now have a new MMO Blogger and Podcaster Social Networking Site. And that site is MMOVoices! I’m proud and excited to be a part of this rapidly growing community. The word went out less than 48 hours ago about the site going live, as nothing more than an experiment at that, and it’s now about to reach 50 members. At this rate, by mid week it should have well over 100 and growing.

I am completely stoked to be a part of this new community, and I strongly urge anyone else out there who fits into the MMO Blogger and/or Podcaster mold, to head on over to http://mmovoices.ning.com and get signed up! You won’t regret it. I look forward to what the future holds for the site, I for one know that I will be starting up another PodCast to go along with the site soon as well. Hopefully with a co-host this time, as Not-A-Cast was weird (talking to a wall and all) =p .

Anyway, for now, Jmo out. See you on the flip side, and hopefully on my friends list at MMOV! (and no, the blog isn’t dead, I swear!)

The Raid Leader’s Manifesto

Posted in DDO, Everquest, Gaming, Guides, MMO, MMORPG, PC, SWG, SWTOR, WAR, WoW with tags , , , , , on 07/10/2009 by Jeremy (Jmo)

Those who read my blog and know me in game (whether it be WoW, EQ, SWG, or any other world I’ve stepped into), know that I’ve spent much time as a raid leader. And if you didn’t know, you do now! If you know anything about raiding in MMOs, you know it’s hard work, but if you think that just being at the raid is hard, try leading it! I garuntee your stress level would be through the roof. Anything that goes wrong is pinned on the raid leader, regardless of actual fault. For some, being the leader of 25 (72+ when I was leading in EQ) is not an easy task, to others it’s a breeze. It can be game making, or game breaking. In the end it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Clockwork Gamer had this awesome post yesterday about what it means to be a raid leader, and I thought I would share (full article at the link).

The Raid Leader’s Manifesto

I am a raid leader.

Time is my enemy. I recognize that the most important number on any raid is not the mitigation of my tank, the health of my target, or the damage of my raid force – it is time I have left on this raid.

Anything or anyone that interferes with the limited time I have before my raid breaks up is aiding my enemy. Raiders who show up unprepared, raiders who have not read the strategies I’ve written, raiders who do not listen while plans are discussed, raiders who get into conversations during fights, raiders who did not work on their character since the last raid – these are all collaborators I must halt or overcome in order to perform my duties within the time my raid force has alloted me.

As a raid leader, I am impatient. By definition, patience is a virtue that requires time. Time is my enemy. I grow frustrated when the raid is taking too much time. I do not care about dying…I care about dying slowly. I do not care about wipes…I care about recoveries which take too long. I do not care about careful pulls…I care about pulls which hold us up. If I must repeat myself, I am wearied. If I must wait for a recovery, I become irked. If I our raid wipes frequently due to the same mistakes, I grow upset.

When we run out of time, the raid is done. If I have lead my raid well, they will have accomplished something new, performed better, or moved faster than they have in the past. They win when they gain new loot, see new enemies, or learn something different. Any or all of these things are referred to as progression. When my raiders do not progress, I have lost the raid. In order to avoid losing, they must progress…and they must do so within our time constraints.

Whenever I am online, I am either raiding or preparing for a raid.  When I am online between raids, I talk about raiding. I discuss raiding. I ask questions about raiding. I try to get my raiders thinking about raiding. I want my raiders to understand that success in a raid does not start in a raid zone.

Groups are the way to success. Before I ever step foot into a raid dungeon, I know that our raid force’s success has already been largely determined. I realize that the best way to prepare for raids is to prepare raiders and the best way to prepare raiders for raiding lies in groups. I know that we bond in groups. We gear up in groups. We prepare for raids in groups.

Mine is a thankless job. I accept this. I accept that if I am polite and the raid fails, I will be berated. I accept that if I am kind and the raid is slow, I will be judged. I accept that even if the raid is a success, so long as I am not polite, I will be criticized. I accept that when I do well, I will rarely hear it. I accept that when the raid fails, it is my fault.

If I believe I am acting firm, I am being rude. If I ask someone to leave the raid, I am a jerk. If I call out someone on their performance, I am elitist. If I reserve any loot for a critical raid class, I have favorites. If I remain quiet, I am weak. If I chat, I am distracting. No matter what I do, I will never please all of my raid force. No matter what I do, I will always be compared to other raid leaders who do things better than I.

It is irrelevant that the very people who tell me what I am doing wrong as a raid leader are rarely people who have ever been a raid leader. It is irrelevant that the reason a raid failed is due to one person making the same mistakes over and over. It is irrelevant that the target was just too hard for the raid force we brought. Any time we fail the raid and any time I am criticized, the fault is mine.

I take failure personally. Each time we fail, there is something that I could have done differently. I could have explained the strategy differently. I could have benched a different raider. I could have chosen a different target. There is a never a raid which fails which is not my fault. That is the responsibility which is mine as raid leader.

There are no second chances on raids for the leaders. Each raid is a trial. Each raid is a judgement. Each raid is a review. If I perform well, raiders will continue to follow me. If I perform badly, they will stop attending my raids or even seek a new raid force. This is the reality I live with. This is the the only thanks I will ever truly know – that if I do my job well enough, I will be allowed to continue to do my job again in the future.

I am a raid leader.

110% accurate, so you followers out there, remember this the next time something goes wrong on a raid. Don’t be too hard on the guy organizing it all.