Thursday 28 February 2013

Arriving at a New Adventure: Port Illfalo

Part of the journals from Wizardry Online! You can view the rest here!

After a week's voyage through favourable weather we arrived Illfalo Port today and were greeted by an elf warrioress named Alesche. She managed to give us the basic orientation of the bustling town before Mr. Caanon decided to go off exploring on his own while Thanam and I met with the local adventurer's guild to register for dungeon permits. Apparently it's become so dangerous out there that people need official papers to go adventuring anywhere!

Since that was going to take some time to process I decided to visit the local shops and was absolutely appalled at the ridiculous amounts of gold that were needed here. Even basic commodities like camp kits or rent prices at the inn were staggeringly high. I'm beginning to think we should have brought more coin in the first place! Sometime during my wanderings Thanam also vanished to look around I suppose. Some people just can't stand window shopping.

It's ok, I was enthralled by the number of people of all varying races speaking strange languages - especially these cute little halfling things. I'm not even sure what they're called... "Porkies"? There was a bard at the Heroes Square singing a wonderful song about a dragon who I listened to for awhile then outside the local temple I saw a sign board that had a tally of the number of souls lost recently. I shudder at the thought of becoming just another mark on that board.

At least the main portion of town is well patrolled by tough-looking and well armed guards - certainly feels safer with them around. I later found Mr. Caanon and Thanam both at the tavern afterwards, sharing more than a few drinks with the locals. Everyone certainly seemed happy. Hopefully we could keep it that way.

Some of the locals!


A Touch of Wizardry

After hearing about this free MMO on Tobold's blog, I figured I'd try it out for myself to find just how "bad" it can really be. This was obviously a mistake because after hearing the fantastic login music I was hooked, and what was meant to be a short experiment is kinda growing into something I have to make a journal for. As usual possible spoilers ahead! :P

Without further ado: Wizardry Online.

I've also decided to start up a Cartography Project for the dungeons in the game. Please follow this link to get to the maps!

Having received reports of mana being drained in another far off continent, I suspected the possibility of another elder dragon awakening. Due to the guild still needing me here though I sent three of my trusted allies to investigate on my behalf, bearing the old Shiercoin banner (Shircoin due to game limit) I once used a long time ago. These were Caanon, a giant of a man proficient in close combat, Thanam a quiet elven thief, and my apprentice Selenka - who I hear has once again been lax in her sword play and instead is pursuing the arts of magic once more. Wish she'd make up her mind. Anyway, I've instructed them to keep me up to date with any and all events there incase I need to intervene personally.

1.   Arriving at a New Adventure: Port Illfalo
2.   Bounty Hunting in the Caligrase Sewers
3.   Deadly Streets: Kaoka Parrej Ruins
4.   Wizards of Deltis Keep
5.   Trials at the Golden Dragon Ruins
6.   Haunting Chikor Castle
7.   Entrance to the Aria Reservoir
8.   Aria Reservoir: the Core of Evil
9.   Training to face Oblivion
10. Watching the Wall of Death
11. Dangerous Assistance
12. Old Sewers: New Trials
13. Lost Souls
14. Ghost Town

Wednesday 27 February 2013

One hot board game! :)

I got Operation Flashpoint: Fire Rescue around two weeks ago and have now played it almost as many times as my other cooperative game, Arkham Horror. It is a lot of fun, goes pretty quick (in comparison to Arkham) and obviously my playing group (which includes my grandparents!) really like it. The premise is simple: there's a house on fire and your team has to control the flame while getting people out. Sounds easy, and on the novice level it really is - especially with more people. The less players in this one the harder it is - that's what I've found anyway.

A typical game lasts from 30 minutes (2 players) to 2 hours (6 players) and it also is pretty quick (10 mins) to setup from the box (as opposed to Arkham's 25+ with all the cards and tokens). Veteran level starts seeing the fire being -very- annoying though and more so with heroic as the odds that the flame gets extra "turns" increases exponentially. If you like co-op dice rolling stuff then I highly recommend it! :)

Score after re-review: Two dangerous materials out of five.

As an aside we also did play another round of Arkham Horror, this time against the King in Yellow. We just couldn't seal the gates with his extra power and after 6 hours were not lucky enough to defeat Hastur in combat, even with a shotgun-wielding, blessed nun. :p

Melting Moments

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

The vision of that woman appeared to me again, telling me of a challenge that awaited me at the Trash Coast. Not sure why I listen to her, or why I'm seeing her to begin with but I just feel compelled to do so. The area is devoid of vehicles and home to large colonies of spiderants, scythids, and purple lobsters as well as a small bandit camp. Travelling on foot is so much more dangerous with all the burrowing scum but I eventually reach the "challenge" the woman spoke of.

A Rakk Hive. Funny to think that all these giant birds live in a giant four eyed bovine. I took great delight in slaughtering it and taking another artifact piece from it. Decided to complete my other tasks here before leaving too, including slaying a scythid boss bug called Bleeder, rescuing Earl's best friend Skrappy (which turned out to be a skag) and luring spiderants onto the bandit base.

With that done I returned to Dr. Tannis and gave her the next piece. She informed me that the final one was with the bandit lord Baron Flynt. First I needed to rescue her claptrap from Old Haven to open the gate. This turned out to be much easier this time around since I had found an autopistol that fired corrosive ammunition. The Crimson Lance soldiers were literally melting before me, and it wasn't long before I not only saved Patricia's claptrap but also saved another damaged one I came across.

I turned them into these.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Sherrif of the Wastes

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Back in New Haven I picked up more jobs, one from the bus driver/gun smuggler Marcus who is upset the bandits aren't purchasing his wares! Well, I decided to help him since Taylor's "reward" for me was just a crate full of murderers. Mayor Helena wants me to go remove him now too since he poses a threat to the town, as well as a fella named One-Eyed Jack who seems to be the reason Marcus' goods aren't moving anywhere. Taylor was only a little more dangerous than his brother, having a stronger gang, stronger gun, and emplaced turrets to defend him but I still put an explosive round in his face.

As for One-Eyed Jack, he didn't see me coming when I ran him over with my vehicle for an instant kill. I followed this up by heading over to Treachers Landing to collect some freshly dynamited fish and to sink three bandit barges there before checking into a new arena in the Rust Commons East that I had missed, run by the brother of the other arena owner.

Or maybe it's the same guy.

I was expecting spiderants or scythids to be his "pets" but it turns out each round was filled with psychos and bandits. After three rounds I had killed so many of them that he no longer wanted my participation in his ring. I had half a mind to shoot the man but if he manages to lock those scum up somehow he must be doing something right.

Monday 25 February 2013

A Lance of Crimson

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Since I was nearby, I decided to investigate smoke signals coming from the nearby settlement of Old Haven. What I found wasn't pretty. It was a trap set by the Crimson Lance (the local military) to lure and eliminate the bandit scum in the area and from the number of bodies it was very effective. Still, I had to shut these signals off incase some hapless non-bandit wandered in (as rare as they are) and as expected these well armed and armored soldiers were much more dangerous than the crazies outside.

Like this, just more red and less Japanese.

None of my weapons had an easy time getting past their armor so it was a case of accuracy for headshots or spraying and praying half the time. Worse still, their numbers seemed limitless! After many close calls I managed to disable all the smoke stacks though then hurriedly made my escape with a backpack FULL of loot. Seriously the profits in this region are insanely high, especially compared to the cold forests nearer the zone.

Anyway, nearby I met the bandit Taylor Kobb who lowered the bridges for Tannis. In exchange he wants me to ice his brother Jaynis who controls a nearby town. After fighting the Crimson Lance this is a cake walk and after clearing the town of all hostiles and a side trip to eliminate the scythid Slither whom the religious nutjobs were worshiping, I return to New Haven to collect my reward from Taylor's contact there.

Sunday 24 February 2013

How to deal with Scum

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

On my quest to get the artifact back I drove through the middle of nowhere, burning some scriptures the bandits were preaching on the way. I prefer psychos over zealots any day. Eventually I reached Krom's Canyon, fighting past some pretty tough defenses at it's mouth. Took a slight detour once inside to raid their food stores and kill another wanted felon called Reaver first before going after Krom himself.

Turns out it was pretty easy to kill him, I just sniped him from far far away before he could hit me. In fact getting to him to retrieve the artifact was more challenging (and it wasn't really). Upon returning to Dr. Tannis she found the pieces fit like a puzzle. She also told me where I might be able to find the next piece to it, and had made a bargain with some criminal scum to lower the drawbridges on the East side of the Rust Commons.

More tasks had opened up too, so I figured I'd do those on the way - investigating more heathens and taking plant samples from spiderant infested zones. The car really is the best weapon against them as it makes a satisfying splat when you run them over. Only two instances where this wasn't true, one where there were simply too many spiderants to crush - leaving me on foot to fight my way out and another where I rammed a giant boss spiderant. Fortunately it was so badly hurt, that I still managed to finish it off lying on my back.

Don't try running over it with your car!

Thursday 21 February 2013

What's up DAHL?

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

With things quiet now at New Haven I pushed on into the Rust Commons zone which is so large it is actually split up into two maps. Not far into it I'm attacked by yet another giant fire breathing rakk, this one more dangerous than the last since it liked to strafe low (the previous one stayed high) but this also meant I could target him with my rockets and in short order he was gibbed into tiny pieces.

Deeper in, at another dig site I met the researcher Patricia Tannis who seems to be going crazy from loneliness. Like me, she is looking for "the vault" and seems to have proof that it can only be opened every 200 years (which happens to be soon). I also learn from her that a the large DAHL corporation had previously been looking into this too, with their cheap workforce of convicts. They gave up and left all the scum in this region which explains why there are so many nut jobs around.

Anyway, Dr. Tannis sends me to fetch an artifact she had left with Crazy Earl for safekeeping. Leaving anything for safekeeping with someone whose first name is "crazy" doesn't sound wise to me, but I go to his scrapyard anyway and after killing him some bandits and skags and bribing him with lots of booze he informs me that artifact he was "holding on to" was taken by a bandit named Krom.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Things Great and Small

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After jury rigging some generators around town I decided to head to a nearby cave named the "Tetanus Warrens" to handle the local bandits in the region. More of those yucky bug things were in the way and in the cave itself was a new type of bug - spiderants. Like the skags all their armor is up front leaving them weak to flanking maneouvers.

Anyway my main target here was the midget boss King Wee Wee. LOL. He certainly packs a punch with his alien sceptre and could take a lot of hits for a little fella though. Once he was taking a dirt nap I returned to town with a whole bunch of crystals I gathered there to turn in another quest when Scooter asked me to go back to check on TK Baha back near Fyrestone.

Having re-established their fast travel network (controlled teleportation anomalies, very impressive) getting back was easy, and I found the blind cripple inside his house, hanging upside down from a ceiling fan with blood pouring out of him. Seems some psychos finally got to the silly hermit. Before returning to report my findings though there was something else I had to hunt here - a giant firebreathing rakk! It took awhile but the mounted machine gun on my vehicle eventually put the critter down.

Those hours of dino-beatdown finally paid off :P

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Ghosts and Monster Trucks

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Descended into an archaeological dig today, after eliminating more bandits top side and found a new and scary type of mutant. Actually they are so otherworldly I think they really are aliens. These ghostly "guardians" were quite scary to behold, and pretty tough to put down since they had some form of protective aura. Fortunately they only had close range blades to attack with giving me enough time to work out that their weakness was lightning. Without their shields they went down pretty quick.

Not as scary as this Guardian though (for the wrong reasons)!

After defeating them and turning in the now unguarded artifact for reward it was time to go face Mad Mel, who I encountered in a large circular domed arena. As the remainder of his mounted gang poured in to fight I shot them to pieces until Mad Mel himself, driving an armored truck appeared. Took awhile to penetrate that armor but eventually even he exploded into a firey ball of death, and it wasn't long before his remaining crew met a similar fate.

Having cleared the road I then continued into New Haven, where I finally meet Scooter - the guy who gives me all my rides, and mayor Helena Pierce. It looks like Dr. Zed has moved shop to here too and I don't blame him. At least there are other people here, unlike in Fyrestone which now has a population count of zero, unless you count the Claptrap.

Monday 18 February 2013

The Fall of Zhaitan

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

After my prolonged absence from Tyria due to other games and my old PC not letting it run anymore, I finally returned there to finish off the elder dragon Zhaitan. DL, Thaldir and I warped out to the Anchorage Waypoint and we got lucky in that the pact forces had secured (sort of) the entrance to Arah. After sprinting past some angry undead we were joined by two random warriors to accomplish this mission. At first Zhaitan's powers were really holding us back in the form of people having to go afk and difficulty all being put in the same dungeon instance.

Zhaitan uses Meta-gaming to slow us down! :P

Once we got through there it became a case of repairing an airship with the reunited Destiny's Edge, because that's obviously the best use of a pact commander and his resources. Surprisingly the guardians of the airship bits were actually the most dangerous in the entire mission, the champion lich who acts as the first boss being the worst of the lot. Fortunately DL managed to pick us up during that encounter because the new dungeon mechanic (no more res-rushing) really would have been a pain against him.

Seemed to just get easier after that though, fighting monkeys, slimes, giants, and various other undead until finally we went up into the clouds to join other airships to battle a whole flight of dragons. Well, we assume they were fighting anyway as we blasted three of the winged beasts to hell. Some very beautiful scenic stuff up there too. When Zhaitan finally decided to show up he was very awesome but not very dangerous at all, meeting his defeat through cannon fire. I wanted to pursue him down into Orr and hack him up but everyone else just decided to celebrate. *shrug*

The victory party back at Fort Trinity was very nice with some familiar faces in the crowd, and I got a Pact Spear to commemorate the triumph - that being the only functional weapon that had better stats than what I already had. For me the final song, a lyrical version of the Grove theme, was the best reward though, and I stayed at the celebration to listen to its entirety. I usually complain about GW2 music with themes from Mabi, UO, Uncharted Waters and hell, even Wizardry Online being more memorable but for this piece - they got it just right. ^_^

Edit: The Skalds of the Internet also have their version of the song - Fear not this Night. (Laraplays, Taylor, Malukah/Malufenix)

Sunday 17 February 2013

Auto Duel

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

With Sledge out of the picture I'm cleared to exit to the next area but before doing so I finish up the tasks here, including retrieving some smokes, removing skulls from another bandit camp and blowing up the main pipeline at the mining facility. Hah, should have done that first as it probably would have killed Sledge outright! Anywho, with this zone finished up I drove out to the great desert expanse of the Dahl Headlands where I learn that the bandits are rallying behind a new boss named "Mad Mel".

His Wanted Poster - Probably

Also, the bandits now have rides of their own which makes driving around the expanse more interesting with vehicle to vehicle combat. It doesn't really stop me from freeing a captive at their gas station though, nor from doing the other "side" missions in the area most of which involve fuel and transportation - turning pumps on for the good guys and destroying tanks of the bad guys and also clearing out a race track of yucky beetle things and putting down an overgrown skag.

It did get interesting when a group of Mad Mel's car bandits wrecked my car though, leaving me to fight four of them on foot. Fortunately I'm a really good shot with my sniper rifle and the explosive rounds easily tore them to pieces. Did not like the long hike that followed after though.

Friday 15 February 2013

Hammer Time

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Decided to do a few more tasks before chasing Sledge himself, including cleaning an old wind generator of rakk poop using rockets, collecting a dismantled combat rifle from a mountain side shanty, and participating in an arena contest against numerous skags. After winning the 3rd round the proprietor was kinda annoyed at my survival rate and kicked me out since he actually wanted the Skags to win!

Nearby was another task, to collect shock crystals from a cave inhabited by more skags, bandits and these purple crustecean things that have really weak underbellies. The large dogs were still the most problematic, but with a bit of evading and a lot of precision I cleaned the place out and fixed up another Claptrap to boot. With those out of the way I proceeded to the mine complex itself to face Sledge. Sledge and all his bandits I should say, because I had to walk around HEAPS before getting to him.

Oh, it's because we're not friends. No wonder!

I found it funny how all these fools follow a slow dimwit wielding a hammer and a shotgun but whatever. He hit hard but his speed was incredibly lacking meaning for all his durability he wasn't difficult at all. Upon his demise I found an artifact in a nearby container, or part of an artifact according to the girl in my vision. This is followed right away by a warning from some military girl (Commander Steele) that I'm a wanted man and should turn myself and the artifact in. Great, the military is after me again. That didn't take long did it?

Thursday 14 February 2013

Projects and Journals

*Note: As of 1 July 2017, all the below have broken images courtesy of being burned by Photobucket. You can find my new Project and Journal page here.

My little library of "books" regarding my in-game experiences and adventures.
The date beside each is when it was last updated. :)

Nameless (Creative Writing Experiment) [16 June 2017]
Skyrim's Adventure Journal [9 Jun 2017]
Tales at the Bonfire [28 Apr 2017]
Photo Story Folder [10 May 2016]
The Darklands of Arkania [25 Apr 2016]
Odd Jobs of Neverwinter [18 Mar 2016]
Sunset Six [5 Nov 2015]
Sojourn at Entropia [6 Jul 2015]
Ambitious Dynasty [29 Apr 2015]
The End-Times [23 Feb 2015] 
Tales of the Blight [19 Nov 2014]
Revista de la Presidenta [17 Oct 2014]
A Touch of Wizardry [16 Jun 2014]
Sacred: Journey Journal [29 May 2014]
Diary of a Marked One [10 May 2014]
Dead Island Diary [26 Feb 2014]
Explorer of Tyria [20 Oct 2013]
XCOM: Defenders of the Earth [28 Jul 2013]

Here is a repository for some of and my (and my guild mates) creative works online. Really should work on putting more of my stuff out there.

MMO Design Folder
NBI 2015 - Poetry Slam Compilation
The Forge of Winter (Neverwinter Online Foundry creations)
The Golem City (video preview and book by Timothy Andrews)
NBI 2014 - Artists of May
NBI 2014 - Poetry Slam Entry
Ode to Mabinogi [Pic Heavy]
NBI 2013 - Poetry Slam
Wizardry Online: Cartography Project
Recipes to Disaster
Ferghus Commercial (youtube)
Dragonarm Chronicles Chapter 1 (flash)
Tribute to Equilibrium (flash)
Omega Guardian Project (by DL)
Dragonarm Chapter 1 (Neverwinter Nights Module by DL)
Random posts tagged with "Art"

Adventure Journals

My little library of "books" regarding my in-game experiences and adventures.
The date beside each is when it was last updated. :)

Note: This page has been rolled into the Projects and Journals section. Please visit that post by clicking here for an up to date listing!

The End-Times [23 Feb 2015] 
Nameless (Creative Writing Experiment) [18 Feb 2015]
Tales of the Blight [19 Nov 2014]
Revista de la Presidenta [17 Oct 2014]
A Touch of Wizardry [16 Jun 2014]
Sacred: Journey Journal [29 May 2014]
Diary of a Marked One [10 May 2014]
Odd Jobs of Neverwinter [9 Mar 2014]
Dead Island Diary [26 Feb 2014]
The Darklands [4 Jan 2014]
Explorer of Tyria [20 Oct 2013]
XCOM: Defenders of the Earth [28 Jul 2013]
Skyrim's Adventure Journal [15 Jan 2013]

Steroids aren't the Key

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Spoke to an old miner who knew of how to get to Sledge (the bandit was holed up in an abandoned mining complex) and helped him out by clearing out some bandits and a flock of those pterodactyl thingies called "Rakks" (presumably due to the noise they make) at a nearby Windfarm. Unfortunately the mine key I was hoping to find there was absent, having been moved to their hideout in the nearby Arid Hills. I had to crawl through a pipe to reach that area, leaving my ride behind and what I first noticed is it seemed the baddies grew bigger over here - even some of the mutated bandits were near ogre size, though that just made them easier to hit!

It was their numbers that were proving troublesome, especially since most of them were now also wearing personal shields. Found myself backtracking a bit to resupply my quickly depleting ammo and good thing too, because not much further in I ran into a pair of horrible dogs - one spitting fire and one lightning. I had to sprint back to high ground (in this case, the roof of a house) before unloading pretty much all my reserves into one of them. Shooting them in the mouth really damages the critters it seems. Eventually they fell and after restocking ammo again (which is odd, given how plentiful it is here - I'm still running out) I pushed forward, deeper into bandit territory towards Sledge's safehouse - and collecting dismantled rifle pieces on the way.

Just making yourself a bigger target man.

Ofcourse Sledge himself wasn't there, instead I found a huge steroid abusing freak whose size again did him no favours against headshots so he went down easy, as did his many buddies. I also located another damaged Claptrap bot and after a quick repair job made my way back out of the complex with the mine key in hand. The respawning bandits were very keen on trying to stop me, but they didn't. My shiney new sniper rifle that shoots explosive rounds made sure of that.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Let the Cleansing Begin

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Though Claptrap took a missile to the face and needed repairs, the raiders were beaten back easily enough. I also met what seemed to be the lone inhabitant of the town, Dr. Zed and helped him out by repairing a few local machines and killing a few mutant dogs they call "Skags". In return I got a personal defence shield which. while apparently is common here, is amazing tech for me. I also meet a nearby blind, one legged hermit named TK who I'm surprised is still alive, given his injuries. I helped him too by retrieving his food stolen by the Skags, and then going to a nearby valley to collect flowers, kill the skag that took his leg, and exterminate a small bandit group led by Nine-toes Three-balls.

Says so right here.

The freak was pretty tough, but I put him, his pets, and his mutated bandit minions down like the dogs they lived with. Also encountered a new type of enemy in aggressive flying pterodactyls! Probably mutated vultures, these winged monsters liked to flock together before dive boming me but that made it really easy to clean them out with a full clip from my autorifle. Back at Fyrestone I also defeated another bandit lieutenant who was holding a necessary component to get the vehicle shop working. Once operational, I earned myself an awesome death machine that could crush bandits and dogs alike under its tires or explode them with the mounted rocket launcher!

Using the speed boost I jumped over a small chasm to flank a small bandit outpost that had setup a gate to isolate Fyrestone from the rest of the badlands. With a single button press the gate was opened (for better or worse) and soon it would be time for me to chase down someone called "Sledge" who seemed to be the main bandit boss figure here.

Monday 11 February 2013

Bus to the Badlands

My journal through Borderlands! You can follow the rest of the story here!

My guildie Wro got me this game a long while ago but I've only now gotten around to releasing it from my stockpile. Since the setting to Stalker is similar enough I thought I'd continue the tale here. :)

The next morning an armored bus came into town, driven by one jolly fat and bearded russian (obviously) named Marcus. He was stocking up on supplies before heading out to the Badlands and was willing to take on passengers for a fee. Having grown tried of the miserable cold in this region I took him up on his offer, along with a handful of other wanderers. It was a long drive down from the mountains and well into the night through the mostly empty highway. Apart from the radio music no one really spoke much leaving me to fall asleep. That's when I had a vision of a mysterious woman telling me to find something called "the vault".

I woke up with a start as the bus had hit some animal on the road. Peering outside I noticed that gone were the tall pines and lush forests, replaced by a sea of sand and stone. I suspect Marcus drove through a stationary teleporter anomaly to cover the distance so quickly. Following my dream I told the bus man I would get off at the next stop which happened to be a small delapidated village called Fyrestone. The heat as I disembarked was oppresive, and it took sometime before my eyes grew accustomed to the bright light.

 As I watched the bus drive off I suddenly heard a small funny voice from the otherside of the road saying "See ya next time!". I turned to see a small box on wheels waving at the bus - a robot!

It dances too! :)

It introduced itself as Claptrap and astonished at this advanced technology I followed the little robot towards the town but as we approached we found it under attack by armed bandits. With a sigh I readied my autorifle and switched the safety off. Seems like some things never change.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Stockbroker Wars II

[Part of my Explorer of Tyria Journal]

One thing I dislike in MMORPGS are trading platforms where people can trade stuff to each other for currency remotely (ie. not being logged on, or on the same server etc). "What? But that's a feature!" I hear you exclaim, and yes it's true - all those shiney things we pick up from the floor or steal off dead corpses have to be good for something other than be shiney and collectable. My argument is they shouldn't be there in the first place and that players should instead only be able barter face to face with goods, consumable goods preferably. Herbs for a healing potion for ore to make a sword for example.

Sounds like a pain in the ass doesn't it? However compare it to say, Guildwars 2 where you have the Black Lion Trading post. You can put up anything you want for whatever price and the system will automatically handle searches and best deals for anyone looking for that particular item. Sounds like something that should exist only in space MMO's like EVE Online maybe. Even more, there are sites dedicated to tracking the rise and fall of the markets. Indeed, where previously you had to go delve into dungeons for riches or sell goods or services for coin now you can just leverage supply and demand your way to fortune. Indeed, if you are given some starting gold (in GW2) you could very well become extremely rich without ever levelling or interacting with any other player. Ever.

All these people are actually just playing GW2.

This is great for those who like playing the markets, but to quote one of the GW2 market devs: "Think about the total supply of money". Money is being created out of digital air everytime someone completes a quest, kills a critter (possibly), opens a chest, etc. As time goes on this means the value of money just drops and drops and drops as more of it enters existence. In response to supply and demand, a weapon on the trading post once being sold for 50 gold may now be going for 5000. Makes sense.

Now imagine being a newbie to the game, coming in when things are being sold for those exorbitant prices. The amount of coin dropped from critters, chests and quests haven't increased which means you have to work at an ever increasing pace (or get lucky with a super rare drop to sell) if you ever want to catch up to the status quo again. This actually hurts more if the new guy isn't a market player, because that means he's going to grind himself years into non existence until he either gets everything he requires by himself or enough gold to buy what he needs from the trade post. Ofcourse useful, important stuff isn't in npc stores. :P

Compare this to Ultima Online. There's probably enough gold in circulation there to drown all of Britannia by now, but inflation is not as bad because it is simply harder to find people so sell or buy from, and in my opinion - that's the way it should be. So in summary here are things I'd wish future MMO's try to do in regards to economy:

-less hand-held trading, no automated crap like the GW2 Black Lion Trading post
-controlled amount of gold at any one time
-or no gold at all, barter system only

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Batman is Cthulhu

At least in Gotham anyway. You may argue that Scarecrow or the Joker or any number of the other psychos in the rogues gallery there would hold that title, but then you remember that Bats often beats them down - and really, who wouldn't be afraid of someone that can defeat so many super powered freaks on their own? However underneath all the gadgetry is just a normal guy who is just as susceptible to the usual human failings (like bullets) as everyone else. This whole aspect of the Batman is done so well in the Arkham City game (the successor of Arkham Asylum) which I am just about finished with, just a few more side quests to go, most of which are really cool. The Riddler scavenger hunt is a bit excessive though.

Other than that the art, free roaming, fluid combat system, story, and music are all superb and the number of named criminals that you face is again pretty high though always you can't help but wish you also got to fight or encounter just a few more of them, or teamed up with so and so. Boss fights are also fun, though my favourite one is about half-way through where you have to use all you gadgets and tactics to bring down one guy. I know some people complain that they can't play the way -they- want since Batman doesn't kill, but once you carefully watch those finishing animations you will realize there are fates worse than death.

I'm gonna go right ahead and say that in the next game, if there is one, I would like to face off against Superman and other good guys for whatever plot twist. That would be epic. For now though, regardless of your Batman fanaticism or lack there-of, Arkham City is a great game and if you have a system that can run it and haven't played it yet you should go get it! :)