Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Neverwinter Online: Official Sexiest Creature

Not what anyone expected (probably not even the designers). Why?

Because there is no saving throw.
If you look at him when he dances (they're all male) you're stuffed.

[Added to the Gallery.]

Friday, 25 May 2018

Neverwinter Online: Finding a +6 Item

 Not that I've played tabletop D&D in a while...
 
 But I think that would still be the case.

[Added to the Gallery]

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Neverwinter Online: Arcane Reservoir Challenge

For those who want quests that aren't in the game. :P

It's been awhile since I made a challenge post, but I thought I'd do one for the Sharandar Weekly in Neverwinter Online. Most people fly through it these days (myself included), literally just running past everything to murder the boss and leave. Well, if you want to mix things up here's the task for you:

Get all four of the NPC Reservoir Guards to the final room.
 
This is the finish line.

Note that they will vanish when you hit the boss cut scene but that's fine, if all four of them made it there alive you win. As your gear score improves you also might want to add a few extra options like:

Complete the quest solo
Complete the quest in under 3 minutes


Shouldn't be that tough and if at first you don't succeed, don't worry too much since you'll probably be doing this quest every week at some point. :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Neverwinter Online: How to avoid fall damage

An easy tip for those new to the game...

Physics does not apply. 

MMO Design: Enemies should be like Plants

If we're farming we may as well be gardening.

I hate weeds. If left alone they grow and expand and become a lot tougher to remove. It does feel better removing a huge cluster than a single tiny sprig though. Now imagine if we translate that into MMOs. Lots of spawn points on the map but they all start out as weak critters with little loot. Much like there are different types of weed, these don't need to all be the same type though.

Areas that are frequently farmed or tended will spawn more of those weak critters again. Those less frequented will have mobs "grow" into stronger versions. Maybe a lizard becomes a small dinosaur or a spider becomes a bigger spider, and the loot becomes better. Maybe you can't get dragon scales until a lizard evolves that far.

Obviously the map design and available travel modes will play a big part in this setup. On a flat plain with teleporters equally spaced out among the spawns it's likely the player population will simply murder everything fast enough so that nothing will ever "grow" (though the "growth" stages only need to be a matter of minutes in between). In maps like in Guildwars 2 that has secret zones, jumping puzzles, bridges and gates that are only open when set conditions are met, this system might be better as it will force people to venture out and/or to return to zones already done in search of "big game".

Do you think such a system would be good in your (or any) MMO?

[Added to the Design Folder.]

Sunday, 20 May 2018

NWO: Siege of Neverwinter Voucher Tutorial

Avoid dragons, draw out the infantry.

As this event is on again I thought I'd put a quick post down for those who don't yet know the best method to farm those stronghold vouchers that drop from all enemies on this map. You will need a quiet, low-pop channel and as much free time as you can throw at it for best results.

Killing everything is a good start, but the respawn rate is kinda slow for the usual spawns which is why you want to look out for the non-dragon heroic encounters that pop up. All of these spawn a flood of infantry farm targets, and will keep doing so until the event is finished. That's right, the idea is to never kill any of the end generals or destroy the catapults. Ideally for the catapults, damage each of them without breaking any. If you do it right the spawning guards will chase you across the back end of the map making your farming even easier.

Also, if you are only after vouchers, avoid the dragon encounters as they eat up a lot of time and have no adds that drop them. Most importantly, don't get angry at people that finish the events you are trying to farm. They've been trained the whole game to do so, and have a daily that requires them to finish 2 of them. Regardless of what they are doing, just kill the infantry and if your channel gets too crowded, or has double dragons, its time to move on to the next quiet instance. :)

[Added to Tutorials.]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Gallery: How to beat Zhaitan

[Part of the Gallery.]

It's been a while since I did this in game so it might have changed by now, but my general recollection of it went as follows...

The lesser dragons are more of a challenge.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Gallery: Powerslide

[Part of my new gallery!]

Whee I did it! I forced myself to draw something! Very rough but oh well, I'll need some work to get back to where I was and then more again to actually improve. :)

It's the most OP move in that game.

Gallery Works

Just a place where I can store all my masterpieces doodling (*cough*). :P

Official Sexiest Creature (29 May 2018)
Questionable Payment (28 May 2018)
Blacklake Burning (26 May 2018)
Finding a +6 Item (25 May 2018)
How to avoid Fall damage (22 May 2018)
How to beat Zhaitan (19 May 2018)
Powerslide (16 May 2018)

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Overlord 2

Because one was definitely not enough!

While this game plays much like the original with a story that's just as good, you as a new overlord have access to a few new features such as mounts, ships and siege weapons for and powered by your colorful minions. You need them too as your main enemies - an Empire who seem inspired by Rome make for decent adversaries.

New locales for your minions to trash!

The individual soldiers are no match for you but when assembled in formation even your horde of minions will suffer heavy losses if you don't proceed tactically. And that's what most of this game is, tactical puzzles with a very funny twist. There were some parts that did stump me for awhile (especially some boss fights) but usually a little looking around is all it takes to find the answer.

I also like that in your minion pool you can now bring back your favorite deceased minions, which is important as they do level up and become more effective on the field. It's left up to you if that one level 10 brown is worth 20 other browns as there is still a life force cost to everything. The only negative I have is a small one - in the previous game you could actually be "good". This is not the case here as it becomes a choice between destruction and domination (slavery).

Despite that I still highly recommend this game. It's not essential to have played the first, but you'll probably find it easier if you do. I give Overlord 2 four and a half mistresses out of five. Because you definitely can't have enough of those! :P

Monday, 14 May 2018

Today I Smiled: Eurovision 2018

Another year means another Eurovision! As you all know I'm a bit of a fan of this event, and this year had a combination of nice eye candya douchebag intruder for the UK's entry, a wiggly Australian, a pyromaniac piano vampire, some heavy metal screamers, an opera singer in a cool laser dress, and some peace loving vikings.

Sometimes I think there's a secret "who can burn the stage" contest too.

I quite liked those last two, as well as Greece's song and Albania's Rock entry. Even if you skip all the above, the next three you probably should watch: Moldova's superbly choreographed and humorous number, the actual winning entry from Israel which involves a bit of clucking and eye gymnastics, and my personal favourite this year: Germany's touching "You Let Me Walk Alone".

Last but not least, here's a clip of Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) questioning why Canada isn't a part of Eurovision. :)

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Old TV Reviews: Tyrant

No one is really good.

This story is about the two sons (and their families) of a widely unliked tyrannical president who suddenly dies during a crisis in their homeland of Abuddin. Since leadership passes down the family line it is up to the "good" brother to influence the "bad" one, who gains the top position.


While it took 2 episodes to actually hook me into this violent political drama, I quickly became a fan of this show and was very disappointed when it got cancelled after season 3. Alas it did suffer from a few un-needed characters but it was never shy to kill off people as it saw fit. Worth a watch if you're looking to try something new.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

TV Series: Gunpowder

Zealotry begets Zealotry.

Robert Catesby (Kit Harrington) is a devout Catholic living in a very Protestant England, hiding among people who regularly condone and cheer the brutal executions of those of his faith. Having had enough, he decides to become a terrorist and plots to kill the Protestant King and most of his court.

What could possibly go wrong,eh Fawkes?

While the sets and props are fantastic - especially those beautiful swords, this three episode drama has a minor pacing issue with some scenes being very drawn out then suddenly time skipping ahead to the next. Some lines also felt just a bit wooden, but maybe that's just because of the way they talk.

It's a decent show, especially for those who are not familiar with Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, but if you expect action you will be disappointed. Also, be prepared for some gore. I like that stuff but I know it's not for everyone. I give it 2 executions out of 5.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Vengeance of the lab rats!

Following the events of the Scorch Trials, Thomas and his merry men go on a risky rescue mission right into the heart of the corporation hunting them. A simple story, executed rather well but one you won't be too invested in if you haven't watched the previous two.

I don't even see what you're shooting at dude.

The pacing (except for one small bit), settings, action pieces and effects are great, and acting wise everyone is fine. There are quite a few questions it leaves unanswered though, but as long as you aren't thinking too much - it remains an enjoyable action flick with some really cool camera shots.

Watch again? Maybe. If you liked the previous Maze Runner movies then you should follow through. I give the Death Cure 3 cranks out of 5.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Knights (1993 Movie)

What's worse than vampires and cyborgs? Vampire cyborgs!

Knights is a tale of one woman's revenge on a ruthless group of mystical vampire cyborgs led by Lance Henriksen who is either drooling or spitting while on camera, or is sporting an affectionate pet parrot who has no bearing on the story.

While the plot is ok, it is definitely on the low budget side of the track - making extensive use of fight scenes instead (reusing masked fighters and an obviously younger and more agile double for Kris Kristofferson's character). Fortunately Kathy Long makes a very watchable protagonist, and those old school stunts they do are quite cool / scary when you think about it.

Lots of acrobatic stunts in dangerous environments.

Not one I'd really recommend unless you enjoy B grade films, but strangely I think I would watch it again if given the chance. I give Knights 2 muddy pools out of 5.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

All hail Thanos!

Wow. This is a great film, packed with story and every actor brought their "A" game. As expected, the music, CGI and plot are all top notch too - it had to be to get all the heroes together, and while you don't get too much of anyone everyone does get their chance to shine.

I'm the glue that holds it all together.

There are action pieces a plenty mixed with strong story moments and Thanos himself (the villain) is surprisingly charismatic, which is great as the movie is basically about him. As far as I'm concerned, it was a perfect 5 infinity stones out of 5. I do suggest that you watch a few of the lead up movies though (at least anything with the word Avenger in it, as well as Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok) or you will be very lost.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle

Stupidly missing the mark.

Continuing on from his first adventure, Eggsy and the Kingsmen must team up with their American cousins to counter a new global threat. There are a number of good action sequences here, a few surprises and decent music to boot.

Alas it falls apart somewhat as Juliane Moore's villain is much less effective than her predecessor, there are more than a few useless scenes that advance absolutely nothing (why is Elton John even in this movie?), and the main plot which the protagonists are trying to stop would actually be more beneficial to the entire world if they just did nothing.

Sup, we're just chilling.

That last point would have been easily fixed too had the villain been a mega pharmaceutical company (poisoned meds) instead of a drug cartel (poisoned recreational drugs). Not one I'd watch again and definitely falls short of the original. I give it 2 meat grinders out of 5.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

May 2018 Status

Another month down and this top list just keeps getting longer as I add more ideas and sundry items that I really should get around to... Also I've still mainly been focused on killing my backlog. Priorities right? :P

    End the year with less weight (-1 kg from last month, running total: -1.2 kg)
    Complete NWO: Lost City of Omu (0/2, 1-2 weeks to go)
    +Learn 3 more songs (0/3)
    Draw 12 drawings of anything (0/12)
    +Make a parody comic (planning)
    Make board game 19 prototype (procrastinating)
    Complete web comic chapter 1 (procrastinating)
    Make a simple computer game (procrastinating)
    +Clean out computer games
    +Clean out wardrobe

Backlog Update:

FROM GIFTS
Sims 3
Loki (Abandoned. Mindnumbing.)
Overlord 2
Commandos 2: Men of Courage (Abandoned. Not user friendly at all)
C&C Red Alert (DONE)
C&C Red Alert: Counterstrike (DONE)
C&C Red Alert: The Aftermath (DONE)
C&C Tiberian Sun (DONE)
C&C Tiberian Sun: Firestorm (More of the same)
C&C Red Alert 2 (DONE)
C&C Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge (DONE)
C&C Generals (DONE)
C&C Generals: Zero-Hour (DONE)
Supreme Commander (Abandoned. Too slow)
Dawn of War II (DONE)
Universe at War (Done / Had Enough)
Sins of a Solar Empire (DONE)
Diablo: Reaper of Souls (Doesn't Work)
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Infinite Patching)
+Eador: Masters of the Broken World

GOG FREEBIE PILEUP
OxenFree (DONE)
Grim Fandango Remastered (DONE)
Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire (No. Prefer to retry Free UO)

COMPY CAN'T RUN (but I want to play)
Batman: Arkham Knight
Dying Light
Alien Isolation
Shadow of Mordor
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
+Satellite Reign


I thought I'd just put in some mini reviews with each of those "abandoned" items, most of which I did try my best to play but ultimately just found it not to my liking. The only exception, and the one I'll start with is The Savage Empire.

Ultima in Africa is a bit strange, but I was willing to try it until I heard that Official UO has become free to play. If I'm going to play any Ultima, it's definitely going to be UO and there's no way The Savage Empire was going to stand up to that.

The ARPG diablo clone Loki is up next, and while the game is functional (though very texty) it just dove head first into the realm of mind numbingly boring. Regardless of what on the rails quest you were on, it boiled down to enter new area, kill the hundreds of things in the area (and that's already sneaking past half the map). Rinse and repeat. Just... no.

Eidos' Commandos 2 should have been perfect for me. A bunch of specialists sneaking around in Nazi Germany should be great right? Yes and no. In theory it's good, but lousy voice acting paired with the most unfriendly user interface I've ever come across sent me packing quickly.

Supreme Commander is another RTS game, this one taking place on maps so vast you often needed to zoom out to almost see the whole planet to manage your huge array of forces. With epic music, decent story (from what I played) and nice combat (if you zoomed back in to see it) you might wonder why I gave up on this one, and the answer is simple: build time.

It's a case of hoping your dots overwhelm the enemy dots.

Even compared to the slowest builds in Command and Conquer, this game moves at a glacial pace. Watching two glaciers crash into each other is grand, but waiting for to build your glacier (army) and then getting them to travel across the map was hours of boredom. Ultimately I decided that I simply have more rewarding things to do with my time. :P

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Sins of a Solar Empire

A space opera with zero story.

Three warring factions duke it out in this 4x platform (explore, expand, exploit and exterminate) which almost plays like a very cool board game. The music is fantastic, and a careful balance must be maintained with your resources.

Questions such as "do we build an army of little frigates or just a handful of capital ships?", "What research paths will best serve us now?" And "Do I have enough credits to pay off the pirates?" must be answered!

Some pretty scenery here, but you'll mainly be looking at the HUD!

That last point is a most interesting balancing item as the pirates are well established from the get go and are troublesome to eradicate. Giving them money to attack your enemies makes them pretty handy, as long as you can outbid said enemies trying to do the same to you.

The main issue with the game though is there is zero story outside the broad overview given in the intro. A game is played via scenarios, and for me (non pvper) that doesn't really give much in the way of replayability, so while as a game platform it is pretty great - as a game I can only give it 2 cruisers out of 5 and I can only recommend it for groups of friends who enjoy to PvP RTS against each other.