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Fallout: New Vegas DLC Detailed in Press Release

May 3, 2011

Planning on Getting Fallout: New Vegas? You may want to wait a while for the definitive Game of the Year version, as Bethesda has announced three DLC packs for the game, which will be made available over the course of the next three months.

The three packs, dubbed Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road will not only give the Courier of New Vegas some new adventures; it’ll also flesh out the finale of the game by introducing Ulysses, the courier who wouldn’t take the job you took, and his reasons for doing so.

Seeing as the full press release has tons more spoilers than what I just mentioned above, I’ll just leave this link here, and a copy of the main body of the press release after the cut.

Read more…

A Star Trek Online Status Update

May 2, 2011

This will be a short post, but hopefully an insightful one.

I think the first thing I noticed when I began playing Star Trek Online was that everything felt faithfully recreated, from the ship interiors to the sound of phaser fire. It’s actually quite cool how that plays out.

One thing I was interested in seeing however was how ship combat worked, and while I’m still getting the hang of it, I can imagine that a lumbering behemoth of a ship would necessarily be difficult to maneuver, and while it is easy to play ship combat skirmishes, you still get that feeling of, “WTH, I’m PILOTING A SPACESHIP!”  The only thing that really keeps me from feeling 100% ecstatic about ship combat is that it makes me dizzy sometimes, so I have to take a break.

That said, I have a Joined Trill by the name of Victor in-game, and the name of my ship? Well… it’s as if I acted like the good Doctor from Voyager and gave myself an otherwise bland name, but yeah… it’s the USS Victorian.

I’ve signed up with a super-nice casual fleet by the name of The 3rd Fleet, and if I pass their screening, I should have more fun talking to people from around the world.

Expect more thoughts on the game real soon.

If Stillwater Enters Fluidic Space, is He Still Stillwater?

May 1, 2011

In trying to come up with a worthwhile title for this post, I’d basically exhausted my mind thinking of a title that did not have overt references to this particular science fiction franchise.

I think using my name in reference to a portion of the canonical space in that universe fits the idea of an unorthodox title.

What’s this all about, you say?

Well, I still have a sub to Rift, and I was thinking of cancelling the sub and not letting it renew since it’s a three-monther, so I was trying to find a game with a sub that I could enjoy casually as an alternative to playing Final Fantasy XIV.

I had settled on two possibilities before bed: heading to the stars courtesy of Star Trek Online, or going dystopian with the help of Fallen Earth. While I had played Fallen Earth previously, my connection issues with the game made it rather unplayable and turned me off from purchasing the game this round. As such, Star Trek Online became the de facto winner in my mind for “next MMO to try” when I got out of bed.

I’m currently downloading a patch for the game, but I’ve settled on a course of action that should be quite interesting.

If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that my favorite Star Trek series has to be Voyager, and it’s not because of Jeri Ryan playing Seven of Nine. It was because I thought Captain Janeway was an awesome Captain who upheld the ideals of the Federation in the most trying of circumstances, and because Robert Picardo was an excellent Emergency Medical Hologram.

Well, because of this, I’ve decided to take the long road and play a Science Officer who uses a Science-based ship, working my way to get the equivalent of the Voyager spacecraft and eventually retrofitting said Voyager-class spacecraft into its final form by the end of the series.

As members of the game community come up with new, exciting stories on the Foundry, I’ll also be taking a look at them and hopefully reviewing them for you.  That said, I’m in no rush and, so long as I have FFXIV and STO to keep me company, it should be an interesting couple of weeks here over at Games and Geekery Headquarters.

There’s just one thing though.

What the heck do I name my first ship? SUGGESTIONS MOST WELCOME!

A Statement on the Gaming Community, or the Chun Li-Bison Dichotomy

April 27, 2011

Elementalistly took to writing what I consider to be a spirited discourse on why the MMO community is beginning to disappoint him, and while I understand his sentiments, I cannot say I completely agree with him.

While I won’t try to refute all his points (another writer, Nightwreath of Massively Multiverse, seems to have done that ahead of anyone else), I do wish to point out something I’ve noticed about the gaming community at large.

By some measures, it can be said that there is a significantly larger number of gamers now as compared to during gaming’s infancy. Comparatively speaking, the number of people playing MMORPGs during the Everquest I era were far fewer when placed against the era of World of Warcraft’s dominance. Couple that with the fact that console gaming is a significantly larger enterprise now when compared to gaming on personal computers, and you have the stirrings of a large console gaming base that could potentially spill onto or share commonalities with the fanbase of MMORPG games.

That said, there is one thing that made me think when I read Elementalistly’s post, and that had something to do with what I call the Chun Li -Bison Dichotomy.

During the latter half of Street Fighter: The Movie, we are introduced to Raul Julia’s famous conversation with Ming-na, set as a confrontation between M. Bison and Chun Li:

Chun-Li: It was twenty years ago. You hadn’t promoted yourself to general yet. You were just a petty drug lord. You and your gang of murderers gathered your small ounce of courage to raid across the border for food, weapons, slave labor…my father was the village magistrate. A simple man with a simple code: justice. He gathered the few people that he could to stand against you. You and your bullies were driven back by farmers with pitchforks! My father saved his village at the cost of his own life. You had him shot as you ran away! A hero… at a thousand paces.

M. Bison: I’m sorry… I don’t remember any of it.

Chun-Li: You don’t remember?!

M. Bison: For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me… it was Tuesday.

The Chun Li-Bison dichotomy is the term I use for the situation wherein two entities have a disconnect over the perceived value of a particular event.  The analogy holds firm in the face of two masses of gamers, and this is where the main discussion point begins.
I feel that Elementalistly fails to take into account not only the overlaps between the console and PC gaming communities, but also the inherent perceived value individual players have over what makes a game worthwhile to spend time on.

My awkward reference to a game being “worthwhile to spend time on” is written specifically to avoid confusion and to necessitate a thought process with the reader. One person will find a game is worthwhile to spend time on because of a variety of factors that will potentially differ from the next person. In my personal case, a game is worthwhile to spend time on if it provides me with an experience that I can lose myself in temporarily, regardless of whether I “finish” the game or complete my objective or not. For another person, a game may be worthwhile to spend time on because it allows for decidedly short-term bursts of entertainment or amusement.  For yet another, a game is worthwhile to spend time on because of the achievements and recognition one can get from mastering it.

The MMO community at large has changed from the time of Ultima Online. The Community is no longer a few thousand strong but is, instead, a society of millions connected by different games. To say that the MMO community is disappointing seems to presuppose that everyone places the same value on a game one holds dear when compared to other available games, when most games are, as Elementalistly would put it, damn fine games.

If a game has provided a person with what he needs and values most in his leisure, then that should be enough, and few should remain disappointed if they have enjoyed their time, found their personal tastes to be more attuned towards something else, and moved on. If a person has found a game wanting and moved on, respecting that others may find a game more to their liking than he, then is he not an upstanding member of the gaming community at large for being mature enough to cut ties cleanly without blaming someone for purchasing something that ultimately did not agree with him, regardless of how much or how little time he spent playing the game?

It is only when one sounds the death knell of hostile criticism and negativity upon leaving that I become concerned for the well-being of a community. With that point, I must say, if we took negativity from all comers as a sign of the impending doom of the things we love, then what are we truly left with other than disconcerting emotions and an utterly useless Street Fighter: The Movie analogy?

Delaying Final Fantasy XIV Extended Look Part 3 due to Patch Day

April 26, 2011

I was supposed to put up a third installment of the Final Fantasy XIV Extended Look today, but it seems Square Enix had other plans for me.

The development team for Final Fantasy XIV finished their scheduled maintenance a few hours ago with the implementation of an incremental patch known as Patch 1.17a.

According to the information posted on the Lodestone, this patch adds new sidequests and a new means of acquiring rewards and skill points for players. Known as the Guild Tasks Board, the system will apparently allow players to perform missions for the guilds of Eorzea. Finding the required items and turning them into the proper NPC will yield rewards and skill points for the active class at the time when the task is completed.

In addition to some bug fixes and system tweaks, the patch also includes a stylistic element, providing a 3-D visual notice when one is in a group with four or more members.

The full patch notes can be found at the link posted above, and I will update the third part of my extended look, namely a feature on the current state of questing in-game, once I’ve investigated the Guild Tasks Board and tried it out for myself.

Nintendo Officially Confirms Successor to the Wii

April 25, 2011

Kotaku reports that Nintendo sent out a release earlier today which confirmed the rumors that the company would be coming out with a new console.

While the new console has no official name yet, the announcement (which you can see the English version of above) states that the new console will be shown at the E3 expo in Los Angeles in June.

Furthermore, the announcement reads, “Sales of the new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012.” This certainly begs the question, “When will it go on sale?” We’ll probably have to wait for E3 to know more, so until then, sit tight!

Image Source: Kotaku

Crafting and Economics: A Final Fantasy XIV Extended Look, Part 2

April 24, 2011

Let me say this to start: Crafting for 30 minutes without stopping can wear me out faster than a 14-hour marathon of general gaming. It is either due to the process of repeated crafting being boring or relaxing, but I have trouble telling which one it is when I manage to slump in my seat.

That said, I would like to begin this installment of my Extended Look at Final Fantasy XIV by talking about crafting and the economics of the game at present.

Final Fantasy XIV’s system is what I’d call an active crafting system rather than a passive one. In active crafting systems, the crafting process does not assure you of success, so you have to be vigilant during the crafting process so as to maintain success throughout the attempt to make something.

While I won’t go into the specifics of the crafting system here, as I just linked a basic crafting guide for you, it can be said that Final Fantasy XIV crafting is a very involving and time-consuming process, not only because each crafting attempt takes time to complete, but also because finding materials with which to complete usable tools, weapons, and armor can be rather daunting.

In the first case, each crafting attempt, whether it is successful or not, gives you skill points that eventually rank up your skill at the given craft. While the skill leveling process is the same for all character types, it’s only in the gathering and crafting classes that failed attempts to acquire a new product can give you some amount of progress. That said, however, it still takes a lot of crafting to get anywhere in this game, unless you use your local levequest allotment to offset the slow nature of the attempts.

Individual crafters are rarely able to produce items relative to their level. To make a spear, for example, you will not only need abilities in crafting the wooden shaft and the spear head (Carpenty and Blacksmithing, respectively). You will also have to procure items that can only be done by people who’ve surpassed that level in a different craft (such as armorcrafting or alchemy), as a higher level item from a seemingly unrelated profession is usually required in order to make the final product.

This ties in somewhat to the economy of Final Fantasy XIV. Whereas most gamers are probably used to auction house systems, Final Fantasy XIV has a bazaar and personal shop system that allows you to hire a retainer who will sell goods on the market for you in addition to selling items on your own personal bazaar. The game is designed to not be a soloist’s affair, because if you want to make something worth using, being in a linkshell (the equivalent of a guild) or rummaging through the packs of other players and their retainers in the Market Wards of capital cities is part of the game.

Recent developments have made the process easier , though still less convenient than what people are used to. You can now search for specific items available in Market Wards and can track down retainers who sell sell it the cheapest, but you’ll still need to go into individual wards to get the item from the retainer. It’s a bit disjointed, to be honest, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle to playing the game.

The thing I like about all this running about and craft grinding though is that for a goal-oriented person like myself, I can actually see myself progress, and I can pace myself according to my own needs or desires. If the crafting is tiring me out but I am so close to leveling up, I can push myself a little harder. If I’ve used a guild hall’s facilities to get a boost to my crafting success rate, then I feel more inclined towards using that time dedicated to improving  a particular trade.

What this does mean, however, is that I have slow progression for any individual trade. On the other hand, I do have a ton of experience now in trying and mastering the synthesis process for different crafts,  as well as an increasing stock of knowledge acquired from referring to recipes for the various tradeskills. That, and I’m far more savvy now in finding bargains than I used to be seven days ago.

In any event, what I deem to be a relaxing and somewhat fulfilling experience can be seen by others as a bit of a pain, but in my opinion, the struggle to maintain your composure on a difficult synthesis attempt coupled with a rousing success gets the adrenaline pumping and brings a smile to my face.

Check back tomorrow for part three of this Extended Look at Final Fantasy XIV!