Sunday, August 30, 2009

Evony Spoof Ads

Remember that post I wrote about how Evony was abusing breasts in their online ads? Well apparently their ads were getting them so much publicity, that PopCap decided to steal their design. Interestingly enough the ads were to market their game Planets vs. Zombies. Have a look.




I couldn't have designed a better a spoof ad myself. I think these are hilarious and it's about time someone made fun of these Evony idiots. I may as well throw in there that Plant vs. Zombies is actually a very entertaining game for $20.

It's a tower defense style game where you plant various types of destructive garden plants to destroy zombies attempting to break into your suburban home. Sounds ridiculous? It is... but it's also tons of fun to play and the zombie themselves are too funny. There is even a Michael Jackson zombie straight out of Thriller, and when he comes so does any army of thriller dancing zombies.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Orange County Choppas


Orange County is a Warhammer guild, that plays the Choppa class exclusively. I ran into these guys while playing some scenario games with Gruggy (my level 24 Choppa). Watching a group of 5 orange colored Choppas rip through the enemy ranks at lightning speed was truly awesome to watch. Sure they would die every now and then, but not before dealing out some serious damage.

I decided to run around the scenario match with them. As we chopped down entire parties of the enemy, it dawned on me that a group of pure melee DPS players could get along just fine without a healer. Sure healers are nice, but these guy were putting out so much area affect DPS that nothing lived long enough to dish out any serious retaliation.

After the match I messaged the guild leader to find out if they were interested in taking on another Choppa. I was then sent to go read the guild website to familiarize myself with the rules and requirements. It all looked pretty good to me so I told them I was interested and that I could abide by their rules. They signed me up real quick and in no time, I was hauling my orange orc off to battle.

The killing was good. We torn off into RvR combat with a thirst for blood and our thirsts were quenched. Our group of six Orange County Choppas, plus two from a friendly guild, went careening into enemy lines. Our enemies dropped like flies. Massive area affect abilities took down four, five, and even six targets at a time. There weren't any targets called or shouts for heals, just a simple "get those guys over there". And we got them.

I think this is what I have been looking for in Warhammer. A bunch of orcs who like to chop first and ask questions later. Stay tuned for more Choppa news.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The SyncMaster!

As a blog that revolves around gaming and everything related to gaming, I have to write a post about my new Samsung SyncMaster 2233rz 22inch gaming monitor. As a computer enthusiast, I have never used anything that even comes close to matching the performance of this beautiful piece of hardware.

My previous monitor was a 22inch widescreen view sonic LCD. With a response time of 5ms and a good contrast ratio, this was not a bad gaming monitor by any standards. So why upgrade to another monitor of the exact same dimensions? Because the SyncMaster can operate at 120hz refresh rate as opposed to any previous LCD's 60hz refresh rate.

Now as I have recently discovered that not all gamers are aware of how refresh rates impact gameplay or the general viewing experience. The refresh rate is the number of times a second that a display redraws data. This is not the same as your frame rate. Your average movie plays at around 24 frames per second (fps), but each frame is illuminated two or three times before the next frame appears. The amount of times the screen is illuminated per second is your refresh rate.

Many hardcore gamers still use older CRT monitor because of their ability to refresh at around 120hz (120 times per second). LCDs, only until very recently, have always displayed at an average of 60hz. This isn't really a problem for normal media, such as videos, because they generally play at frame rate between 24 and 30 frames per second. However, games can have a frame rate that is only limited by your computer's hardware. Thus many enthusiast gamers can achieve frame rates over 100 per second.

Playing a game at a frame rate of over 100 per second on a 60hz LCD cuts out many of the frames your computer is rendering. This often causes an effect called screen tearing, where two frames overlap each other. The Vertical Sync option found in most games, limits your frame rate to 60 fps to avoid this effect.

Playing a game that renders at over 100 frames per second while using a monitor with a 120hz refresh rate, allows the player to see up to 120 frames per second. This creates a much, much more fluid experience and even offers a distinct advantage to people playing fast paced games such as first person shooters.

While playing Call of Duty 4, I was able to take in my soundings at a much more detailed level. When quickly spinning my view around, I noticed a player hiding in the foliage who I probably would have missed if I were using a 60hz monitor. Playing games like Eve Online also resulted in a very fluid feeling while orbiting my camera around the spaceship. The general viewing experience of the operating system has less flickering and causes significantly less eye strain.

The last main perk of using a 120hz refresh rate monitor is that it allows you to use some of the more advanced 3d gaming hardware. While alternating frames, a 120hz monitor can still display a separate image for each eye at 60hz. This will allow you to game in 3d at an acceptable frame rate. Although I haven't dropped $200 for Nvidia's 3d kit, it is definitely something I have been thinking about. Now if only CCP would support 3D viewing in Eve Online my decision would be so much easier :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

War Stories: Eve Online - Days of Beta

It was 2003 and I had landed myself an Eve Online beta account. I had always dreamed of being able to play a space sim game with this kind of scope and ruthlessness. Playing Escape Velocity used to whittle away the hours, taking over every planet in the galaxy. Eve was my MMO evolution of this title and I was excited to cause some real havoc.

I was flying a frigate, Executioner class, and was saving up to buy a cruiser. Making money was a bit different back then. The player based economy was still in the works and ships were not cheap. Bear in mind, there were only around sixty different ships back then, so a cruiser was a very powerful ship.

After killing rats and trading goods between regions for god knows how long, I decided that I really needed to get some blood on my hands. I grabbed a couple of buddies, and we all set out to find ourselves someone to kill. None of us have ever used any electronic warfare equipment before, so we read the item descriptions and plugged in some warp scramblers on our flimsy frigates. The use of warp scramblers was all theoretical to us, and we were eager to see if they worked.

I can't remember if the scanner was a game feature in the beta, but we were so newb that we hunted by jumping to different asteroid belts looking for a kill. Eventually we come across a lone Bestower. The whale like cargo ship had parked itself next to some fat asteroids, and was using a single mining laser to slowly fill its cargo hold. I had jumped in by myself and not wanting to scare my target I flew away from him, pretend to be scouting asteroids.

You have to remember that this was beta, and it wasn't too farfetched to find players who had no idea what they were doing. I struck up a conversation with him in local, asking him about his ship and how much money he made mining out here. In the mean time I had another chat window up with my pirate buddies and I told them to warp in one at a time so that we didn't look too suspicious.

I realize that in today's Eve things would have been much different. Any pirate gang who knew what they were doing would have had a tackler pin down the target and then get their buddies to warp in on their location. Either Eve beta didn't support this yet or we just didn't know what we were doing (probably the latter).

As I continued to make small talk with the Bestower pilot, I instructed my buddies to make indirect approaches toward the ship. We all thought he would get spooked and fly out before we got within range of him, but he seemed to be pretty caught up in the conversation. As the range dwindled, my buddies and I started laughing hysterically. The combination of the adrenaline leading up to our first real engagement, and the fact that this guy had no idea what was coming to him was just a bit too much to handle.

Luckily I was able to calm myself enough to give the order to activate our warp jammers when we finally got in range. Sure enough the jamming field appeared, and we took that as a sign that it was working. Our frigates shifted into a tighter orbiting formation and we opened fire. My Executioner's lasers tore into the side of the Bestower. None of us even knew if we had enough fire power to take this thing down, but sure enough his shields started dropping. Not too fast, but fast enough. My heart was pounding, I had no idea if he had backup waiting for him or if the space police were going to pop up and blow me away.

I glanced back at the local chat and noticed that the Bestower pilot was screaming for help. When he realized it wasn't coming, he began throwing ever curse word in existence at us. This guys was pissed, and rightfully so. As I had learned in our little conversation leading up to the engagement, it had taken him two months of mining in a frigate to save up enough money to buy this ship. And our little ragtag group of frigates was about to turn all that work into space wreckage.

After enduring just about every curse word, and treat known to mankind, his Bestower's hull blew apart in an explosion bigger than anything I had seen. The whole screen turned a bluish white and then slowly faded back into the darkness of space. Only his wreckage remained.. and an escape pod witch quickly warped away. Whoops, we had completely forgot about destroying the escape pod. Oh well, at least we got the ship.

We loaded up ever module that had survived the explosion, along with some missiles and what we could carry from his ore. The payout was much larger that any rat kill I had ever gotten. My buddies and I parted ways, not wanting to stick around to find out if our Bestower friend was going to make good on his threats, and come to annihilate us in his cruiser.

When the session ended and I logged off, I reminisced about the fight and about the implications of a virtual universe where there was so much time and effort is at stake with each kill. We had just robbed someone of two months worth of work and had made him really pissed. The griefer in me was basking in these thoughts, while the gamer in me was contemplating how amazingly real the fight felt. Putting everything on the line just for a single kill was truly an eye opening experience.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Baby Sitting Zombie Killer

No this is not the title of an upcoming zombie film.. although if it was I would probably go see it. The title of this post refers to my early morning experience with some Left 4 Dead gaming.

Being newly unemployed, I now have my mornings free to do whatever I want, and this morning seemed like a good time to kill zombies. I don't know why, maybe I thought it was like fishing and that perhaps zombies were also more bitey in the early hours.

I hopped into an advanced difficulty game. I like advanced difficulty because it's not too easy, but it's easy enough to get by if you have a straggler, or two... or three in my case. Awesome, I got teamed up with three teenage boys. Go figure, anyone of a reasonable maturity level is working so I get stuck with the only teenage guys who are awake at 8am, and naturally they all suffer from A.D.D.

Whatever, some of the best gamers are prepubescent boys. They may have the attention span of a common house fly but they also have the reflexes of a mongoose on crack. Having thrown out the notion of getting any rewarding conversation from this gaming session, I proceeded to try and keep my teammates focused.

This was a huge failure. Within the first 2 minutes of gameplay, "KidRock" was miles ahead of the pack getting eaten by zombies and yelling over the mic to come save him. "Medic" was still in the start location, apparently trying to decide between taking the shotgun or the uzi, and "HealMe" was hiding in a closet..

Professional zombie killers, I think not. Let the baby sitting begin.. After completing the first stage I had actually become quite adept at running around the map like a maniac saving my teammates, who, for the life of them, couldn't understand the concept of teamwork. On the rare occasion that we were able to regroup, I was constantly getting shot by friendly fire.

Left 4 Dead is one of the few first person shooters where you cannot turn off friendly fire. So basically, you just have to hope that your teammates are not stupid enough to shoot you. Obviously this was not the case. I began counting how much damage the zombies were inflicting upon me and comparing it to the damage inflicted by friendly fire incidents. My teammates were clearly winning this contest..

As we struggled through each level, the complete lack of common sense in my teammates became more and more evident. You know that rule "look both ways before crossing the street". Well it's dually important when it's a Zombie filled street! The zombies didn't even need to follow the sound of gun shots. My teammates backed right into them, time after time. It was like they were incapable of acknowledging that the world on either side of their screen even existed, but only what lay straight ahead them. The flanking maneuver was invented for these kind of people..

After watching my teammates pull off some of the dumbest tactical decisions of all time (This includes Keanu Reaves jumping out of an airplane without a parachute in Point Break), it really got me thinking about the legitimacy of stupid movies. You know those horror movies were the bimbo blond decides to solo investigate the noise coming from the dark basement that's suspiciously familiar to the sound of a zombie chewing flesh... Well these are the guys who would do that. No longer can I argue that people are not that stupid. Thank you early morning gaming for you have lessened my faith in humanity even further.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inglorious Basterds - Tarantino's Latest Concotion

I don't love Quentin Tarantino, but I always expect his films to be very interesting even if they don't match up to Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. Inglorious Basterds definitely falls into the category of interesting. You know.. I will go as far to say that it's actually a good movie, but I'm not sure I would watch it a second time.

The previews certainly made it look like the film was going to turn into one long blood bath. I mean, what would you expect with Tarantino directing a film about a group of Jewish-American soldiers terrorizing the Third Reich in Nazi-occupied France. Surprisingly the film was somewhat slow paced. It had its action scenes but they were not the focus of the film. Again Tarantino has the film loaded with his sit-down dialogue scenes, where the characters are literally sitting at a table and talking for about fifteen minutes.

The opening scene lasted at least ten to fifteen minutes with nothing but dialogue, however it was very well done and suspenseful. It was a great opener to the film, and although it was slow paced it escalated to the point where you were ready to see some action.

However, the action came in small doses and before you know it, it's another fifteen minute sit-down scene. Tarantino's characters and dialogue are still very well done, but after fifteen minutes it begins to lack substance. There were whole segments of dialogue that I felt could have been cut all together just to keep things moving.

The problem with the dialogue scenes were that they lacked events. Pulp Fiction was riddled with traumatic events mid conversation. When Pumpkin and Honey Bunny pull out guns and decide to rob a diner it sparks one of the more interesting dialogue scenes in the movie. When Vincent is chatting with a gun on their hostage in the back of the car, they hit a bump and blow his brains out. Don't expect any of this while watching Inglorious Basterds. It's like Tarantino is trying to recreate his recipe for good dialogue scenes but is leaving out a key ingredient and cooking it for too long.

Also, the film could have used another action scene. The whole movie is about this group of soldiers who brutalize Nazi's but you don't ever see them actually take out a Nazi patrol. You only ever see the aftermath or a second long clip of them shooting some guards. I felt a bit mislead by the previews, hoping to see at least one good, drawn out action scene.

That being said there are definitely some scenes in this film that make it worth seeing. Taratino's mixture of violence and humor are perfectly executed and you soon find yourself feeling guilty for laughing at a scene riddled with brutality. All in all, I'm glad I saw it, but I don't feel like I could sit though those slow dialogue scenes a second time around.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to Get More People Playing Eve

I've been thinking about this subject for a long time now. It's apparent that CCP is also putting a lot of time into this issue. I see Eve ads popping up everywhere these days. Some of their more recent patches are supposed to make the intro game experience more inviting by getting players into corps right from the start.

Their ads are doing a great job. Just recently a good friend of mine saw the butterfly effect trailer and decided to give the game a try. He played for about an hour, got overwhelmed and left. I would be willing to bet this is a similar experience for the majority of people who give the game a try. The whole "fast introduction to corps" is CCPs attempt at a quick fix and frankly I don't think it's going to change a thing.

If CCP wants more people to get into Eve I believe they should redesign the entire introductory experience of the game. From the start players are current subjected to an incredibly boring tutorial. I don't think I've ever actually completed the entire tutoria. As exciting as it is to shoot drones with a newbie ship, I've never been able to sit through all of it. It's long, it's monotones, and it doesn't even give players a glimpse of what the game truly has to offer.

Here is my idea for revamping the introductory experience.

When a player enters the game they should be in a single instanced mission. Rather than flying the newbie ship, they would be in one of their race's cruisers. For example a Gallente player would be flying a thorax. The ship would be fitted with a very standard pvp loadout. A full rack of close range weapons, a webber, a warp scrambler, an afterburner, and a basic armor/shield repair system. Before you freak out about newbies getting a free cruiser, rest assured that they will not keep the cruiser or their cruiser skills once the tutorial is over.

So the new player is flying around in this instanced part of space but they are not alone. It is explained to them that they are fighting with a mercenary group to repel the invading forces of whatever faction their race is at war with (Caldari in the Gallente's case). With them is a small fleet of their races ships. 5 other cruisers, about ten frigates, three battles ships, as well as a couple logistics ships here and there. They would all be flying in formation (see my formation blog). This would allow the player to look around and see a lot of the different ships right from the start.

The tutorial box would be gone an instead a window would pop up with your NPC squad leader talking. The face would be animated and it would have audio for the voice along with text. This would make new players feel less like they have to read a manual to start playing the game. The squad leader would explain the basics of the flight interface, allowing the player to test out some of the maneuvers, like orbiting, approaching, locking, etc. We wouldn't worry about explaining the market at this point in the game.

The various ship modules would be explained along with some of the basics of combat. This should be quick and only skim the surface of each subject. Player's attention spans are much shorter these days and we want them to stay interested. The first couple minutes of gameplay are the most critical moments.

After the basics are covered the player would be instructed to jump into a large battle with their fleet. This wouldn't be a fleet jump as the purpose would be to explain the mechanics of warping. When the player has successfully warped into battle they would see a full size fleet engagement in front of them (All NPC ships of course). In this battle there would be approximately 40 battle ships, a dreadnaught and carrier on each side, along with hundreds of smaller ships. The visual of this massive battle should be a breathtaking sight for any new player. Again there will be heavy use of formations so that it doesn't look like a giant blob.

The player would then be instructed to engage a cruiser squadron. He/she would also have several wingmen to back them up. This would be the first time the player blows up an enemy ship. During the combat, players would get to use all of their modules including the webber and scrambler, which would be explained by the squad leader. The tutorial would also provide an instance of engaging a frigate squadron. During this engagement the player would take damage and learn how to use their repair module.

After the player has completed all the basic combat tutorials a HAC squadron would descend on him/her. Their squad would be webbed and scrammed, and the player would watch as their wingmen are blown to pieces. Then they would be destroyed. This would teach new players about death and resurrection, as the next stage of the tutorial would have them wake up in a station. At this point the player has lost all of their cruiser skills and is basically starting off with all the assets that any new player is given. It would be explained that their jump clone was a cheap model and than their skills had not be saved.

The tutorial would continue on with station stuff, and market info.

At the end of the experience the player should have a firsthand idea of what the game can be like. Then they would be set lose to join a corp or do whatever they wish. Also the tutorial section can be skipped at any time. If CCP were to implement this introductory experience I believe that we would see a significant increase in the player base.

Also it would make missions much more interesting if they had these tutorial elements, like wingmen, dreadnaught size ships, formations, and scripted action sequences (like a dreadnaught exploding in the distance). After all it seems a bit silly that an agent would hire a single pilot to destroy an entire enemy fleet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Warhammer Online - MMO Battles at an FPS Pace

I logged into Warhammer for a couple hours yesterday to test out the new patch. Throughout the entire session, I didn’t do a single quest, or spend a lot of time traveling, and I still got two levels, some sweet loot, and bunch of new friends.

Upon entering the world I immediately joined a scenario queue. Within 30 seconds I was prepping for battle against the forces of destruction (Literally.. they’re called “Destruction”). The battle got intense real fast. I was casting a heal spell every other second. Constantly switching targets, and timing my cool downs perfectly, I was able to breathe life back into our team.

The side of Order hit the 500 point mark well before the scenario time ran down. I looked at the clock. Ten minutes?! I had only been playing for ten minutes and I had already logged in, found a battle, played a key role in bringing us to victory, scored some loot, and put some impressive notches on my experience bar.

And this was just for starters. Next I went to test out the map updates from the new patch. The new map updates in WAR allow players to pinpoint areas where combat occurs at more refined level. I popped open the map and sure enough it was littered with combat icons telling me where players we fighting and how many of them there were. I made for a smaller eight person battle in the RVR battlegrounds, no more than a minute away.

Again, I quickly found myself immersed in intense PVP combat. Reinforcements from both sides began to pile in, sometimes flanking us from behind. Before I knew it, I was right in the middle of a massive engagement. Players we dying left and right, I was spamming heals like a madman, and the loot drops were filling the screen. There was even one point where I had to roll on five different items than had all dropped in a two second period.

By the end of it all, my bags were full, my experience points were plentiful, and my index finger was sore. This sure didn’t feel like your average MMORPG experience. It felt more like a fantasy action game with enough instant action to satisfy an FPS gamer. No waiting in line, no preparation time, just get in and fight.

Now I realize this sounds like you would lose some of the MMO social experience during this type of gameplay, however this was not the case. While fighting, I received several compliments for my quick heals and soon found myself invited to a scenario group. Running through the battles with this interesting hodgepodge of characters turned into a very rewarding experience, for both for my money bags and my friends list.

All in all Warhammer is becoming a much more appealing game than I had initially thought it would be. The instant action game mechanics are finally refined enough in latest patch to offer gamers an immersive action experience right from the start. It took a little while to find my stride, but now that I have it, I can see WAR being something I will enjoy even if I can only spare twenty minutes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

EVE Online - Home Worlds

This post is my entry into CK's planetary control blogging contest. Here are the rules.
The goal is to write an article on planetary control and how that would be implemented in EVE. Your article needs to cover what features, game mechanic, game design you would like to see implemented if (or when) planetary control/exploration/exploitation becomes available in EVE.

You're required to write a two-part article. The first part needs to be a fiction piece that tells a story based on the feature (or game mechanic, game design, etc...) that you would like to see implemented, while the second part would be the actual description of how that would work in game. Each part of your article needs to be a minimum of 300 words (600 word minimum for the whole article).

I'll be judging the entries and will pick the 5 best articles, amongst which I will randomly choose the winner. This lucky blogger will get to interview a CCP Dev during a podcast with yours truly! Details on the podcast will be provided to the winner prior to the show's recording.

Attack on The Home World

Admiral Choi stood gazing out of Eurus Station’s massive holo-window. He knew the window was nothing more than a holographic image and would have much preferred to gaze out of a real window. Alas, the lockdown could not be released until the planet side conflict was resolved. “Resolved was one way to put it,” he thought.

No more than 300 kilometers away, Choi could see the Goon’s fleet waiting silently in the stillness of space. A single titan stood out among the mass of ships, its golden surface glistening in the star light. The Avatar was such a beautiful ship. He shuddered to think about the sheer destructive force the magnificent vessel possessed. "Goons, those bloodthirsty bastards" Choi thought. They didn't even need the planet, it just happened to lay in the path of their damn masquerade. At least he was safe inside of Eurus.

Eurus, like many stations, had a heavy shield defending its perimeter which had to be weakened before any attackers could inflict physical damage. The Goon fleet had more than enough firepower to take down just about any station’s shield, but Eurus was the latest design in orbital stations. The shield was generated from the planet’s surface within a deep underground facility. Planetary defense systems guarded this facility from incoming orbital fire, literally disintegrating any projectiles on a collision course. The time it took projectiles fly from an orbiting firing position gave targeting computers enough time to lock on and neutralize incoming fire.

completely orginal artwork...

So in effect the Goon fleet couldn’t do anything directly to Eurus. They did, however, bring an invasion force large enough to destroy the planet side defenses along with his shield generator. As Choi switched his gaze down to the planet’s surface, he could see explosions in the upper atmosphere. Right now his frigate and cruiser squadrons were flying their guts out to repel the invading force. Unlike the larger fleet ships, cruisers and frigates could engage in atmospheric flight.

When ships got close enough to the planet’s surface the orbital defense structures didn’t have enough time to repel incoming fire. “At least our defenses can shoot at the bastards,” Choi thought as another bright blue explosion went off.

He thought about the colonies on the planet’s surface. Five years, millions of people, and hundreds of billions of isk had been put into making this world what it was today. They had given so much to this planet and it had given so much back to them. Their entire fleet was manufactured from resources they gathered from this planet. It had provided a secure shelter to them through two separate wars. “It’s not just a world, it’s my world” Choi thought. This was his home, his alliance’s home, the sustenance of the fleet.

Choi turned to his first officer. “Prepare my Deimos, I’m going down there”...

Planetary Control: How It Works and Why We Want It.

In order for planetary control to function, there would need to be many habitable planets throughout the galaxy outside of empire space. Each habitable planet would have the potential to be even more profitable than even the highest yielding moon mining operations. However, most corporations who inhabit a planet should only need to occupy one. Why? Because it will not make sense to divide resources among two different planets as the economy for a single planet would grow exponentially with the amount of resources a corporation puts into it.

Such corporations would hit technology milestones faster by focusing all their resources into one planet. For example, two planets that achieve a tier 3 production level would each generate 100 million isk per week for a total of 200 million isk per week. However, one planet that achieves a tier 6 production level would still generate 200 million isk per week but for a much lower investment.

Having corporations focus all their resources into one planet will further enforce the notion of having a home planet.

So How Do We Control Planets?

Each planet would be divided up into about 50 different colonizable territories (think Risk). Each of these territories would produce a subset of materials such as moon ores, veldspar, or even food and water. To colonize one of these territories a player must drop a colony pod into the specific region of the planet. Colony Pods would count as ships and must be carried in carriers, motherships, or Rorquals (Orcas will not have enough ship bay capacity). They would also be extremely expensive (say 7 billion isk?). Once landed, a colony pod would acquire control of its territory and begin producing resources.

Each colonized territory would require food and other basic trade commodities like medical supplies to survive. The territories that produce food and water (agricultural territories) will have the capacity to not only sustain themselves, but to produce excess resources at higher production levels that could either be traded or used to maintain other colonies. If a planet is managed correctly it will eventually become self sufficient.

Colony Production Levels.

Colonies will progress in production levels. This, however, will not be a time dependent level progression but rather a money dependant progression. Each colony could be upgraded by deploying an additional production facility to the colony. Production facilities would be player-made structures that retail between 200 million and 2 billion isk a piece.

Each production facility would cater to different types of territories. For example, a veldspar mining facility would be deployed to a veldspar rich territory while a hydroponics facility would be deployed to an agricultural territory. Each additional facility would multiply the base production rate of that territory by 100%. To facilitate a realistic growth rate, only one additional production facility could be deployed every 24 hours. The maximum quantity allowed to each territory would be determined by its geographic size.

This is financial incentive to continually upgrade one territory all the way rather than starting a second territory for another 7 billion isk Colony Pod.

Special Territories.

All territories have the option to be dedicated to non-production related endeavors. One of these special territories would be a Transportation Hub.

Transportation Hubs would allow all of the planet's territories to move their goods to the Hub and then transport them via space elevator to a geosynchronous orbiting space station. This station would function just like any other station, but would allow players to pick up all territorial resources gathered from the planet's surface.

However, the unique thing about this station is that its shield would be generated by the Transportation Hub territory on the planet's surface (imagine the death star in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi). This, in effect, would create a station that could not be eliminated unless the Transportation Hub territory is destroyed. This would be a great staging place for planetary fleets and reinforcements.

Planetary Defense Territories will be another type of special territory. These territories would provide all adjacent territories with ballistic defense and ground defense drones. The ballistic defense feature would provide protected territories with defense from orbiting ship weaponry. The defense system would intercept all projectiles and missiles with its own laser systems and energy sinks. The ground defense feature would provide all adjacent territories with a 64 player defending army limit for Dust 514 players (explained in next section).

Planetary Invasion. (revised with the announcement of Dust 514)

Planetary Invasion would function much like a game of Risk. Territories can either be neutralized or captured. In order to capture a territory Eve players must rely on Dust 514 players to use their marine squads to go in and capture key strategic points. To open up a territory for Dust 514 players, an Eve ship must land an Invasion Pod into the desired territory. Once this happens Dust 514 players will be able to enter the battlefield. Each Invasion Pod launched into a territory will allow for an additional 8 players to join the ground fight on the side of the invading force.

Territories would have a set of strategic points each with an array of automated defense systems. These systems could include anything from walls, to sentry guns, and even automated drones. The more developed a territory greater the defensive system would be. This would make the job of 514 players playing the offensive role much more difficult. Not to mention the possibility of other Dust players on the defensive side.

Dust players could be contracted to capture territories. Most alliances should want to capture territories so that they can instantly reap the benefits of a prebuilt infrastructure. If there is 50 billion isk invested in a territory it makes much more sense to capture it than destroy it.

If a territory was not defended by a Planetary Defense Territory, ships within a 50km attack range would be able to bombard and destroy territorial colonies. This would not allow the attackers to capture the territories, but rather destroy billions of isk of infrastructure, greatly weakening the controlling corporation's resource generation. This also provides Eve players with a planetary attack option that does not rely on Dust 514 players.

If a territory was defended by a Planetary Defense Territory, frigate and cruiser class ships would be able to enter the planet's atmosphere and destroy or defend the defensive territories. These ships would also be able to engage each other in atmospheric combat without the risk of being shot by orbiting ships incapable of atmospheric flight. This is an alternative to being completely dependant on Dust 514 players.

Why Eve Needs Planetary Control.

As Eve continues to expand its horizons, Planetary Control is continuously brought up as an interesting potential feature. Not only is it a realistic idea in a universe controlled by resources and industry, but it would provide alliances with a much needed sense of home world systems. No longer would a large space station be the sole defining factor in a corporation's home. Instead, a living thriving planet would produces alliance-size profits in a single, manageable system.

Dust 514 - The Coolest Game Symbiosis EVER!

This looks absolutely amazing. Yeah it seems like some Eve fans are a bit scared by the idea of having to rely on the consol guys to get the job done, but what they are failing to realize is the awesomeness of this acomplishment. This is perhaps the first massive integration of two different gaming worlds into one. Whew, I need to go fan myself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crap.. I’m a healer!

Who would have thought? For as long as I can remember my sole purpose in fantasy games was to bash things with large blunt weapons. I’m not supposed to be the guy in robes with the staff who bandages the wounded warriors. It’s so lame.. or so I thought.

After playing round after round of scenario matches in Warhammer Online, and being constantly pummeled by the teams with the talented healers, I decided to give the Rune Priest a try. Yeah they are fat little dwarfs but they are supposed to be some of the best healers in the game and if I’m going the healer route I may as well go all out.

After jumping in and getting Megabeard (Bigbeard was already taken) up to level 9, I started to really get a feel for the role of the healer. Standing behind the main force in the battlefield and picking targets to keep alive is not as easy as it would seem. It’s a much more engaging role than that of the common warrior. Sometimes I have to choose who lives and who dies as I cannot heal everyone at once and in this respect the healer has much more command on the battlefield than any other class.

No longer do I feel like my presence on the battlefield is a mere damage statistic. As the healer I have swayed the battle in our favor. Sometimes focus healing on someone keeps them alive long enough to wreak havoc in the enemy ranks or hold out until reinforcements can arrive.

Knowing when to run and when to face the enemy has been a fun experience as well. If played correctly the Rune Priest can tank a lot of damage. Some classes I am able to tank indefinitely while witling down their health with my small assortment of burning spells.

I am winning many more scenario battles than when I played the Choppa and even the battles we lose I am still getting decent experience points for all the healing. I am far less dependent on gear than warrior classes, and everyone wants you in their group when doing public quests. This is great for someone who is pretty much exclusively into the pick up group (PUG) play style.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

District 9 Mecha Madness

Not only is District 9 a damn good science fiction film, its got the best mecha action I have seen in any film to date (anime included). As I left the theater my heart was racing, my stomach churning, and my mind provoked. This movie broke so many rules and got away with it in the most miraculous way.

Using a hand held documentary style camera for most of the filming, District 9 wastes no time painting the picture of an alien landing unlike anything you have ever seen on the big screen. Everything seems to be out of whack right from the start. The giant alien mother ship floats over the city bellow, but its not Washington DC this time around. It's Johannesburg?... And instead of these creatures coming down to rain superiority over the rest of mankind, they appear to be fairly primitive and lacking in superior intelligence.

On top of this, the protagonist is an incredibly dis-likable character. It's not that he's innately evil, but rather he is stupid, shallow, a coward, completely self centered, and very uncharismatic. But he's realistic and it provides the audience with a constant reference to the lesser man's choices during this chaotic adventure.

But don't let that discourage you. Not everything was quite what it seemed and soon the I was submerged in a story of corporate greed, poverty stricken society, and some really awesome action sequences.

The special effects in this film are top notch. The action is frighteningly real, and there is no shortage of gory visuals. On top of that there is some alien weaponry that provides for one of the coolest mecha action sequences EVER. Remember the half life 2 gravity gun and how fun it was to rip bathroom fixtures off the walls and shoot them at the oncoming enemy? Think of that but instead of bathroom fixtures it's a pig... I kid you not.

This movie is worth watching for the action alone but it's only a fraction of what this film offers. By the time you leave the theater you will be hating humanity, wanting a mecha, and hoping that there is a sequel in the works.

The only knock I can give this film, is that it uses the hand held effect too much and it made me and other audience members a bit nauseous.

Friday, August 14, 2009

WOW - My (second) Initial Impression

Got my WOW on for the first time in about 4 years last night. After jumping into the game as troll hunter my initial reaction was that I remember the game looking a lot better. It was like watching an old movie that you remember looking really awesome but upon revisiting it you realize that it’s pretty cheesy by today’s standards. Oh well, the engine runs quickly and it supports my new monitor’s 120hz refresh rate. The lack of in game anti-aliasing support is somewhat disappointing, but not a game killer.

The buddy system is an interesting new feature the helps new players get in the game and get caught up with everything. Basically, my friend sent me a WOW trial invite. By creating my account from his email invite it linked our accounts through the buddy system. Now when we play together our experience gained is tripled. We both hit level 13 last night in 2-3 hours and that’s including slacking off time and relearning the game.

Is this a good thing? Yes I like leveling fast but it’s pretty clear that the game was not designed for this speed of leveling. With the experience gains tripled our levels soon outgrew our wallets, and I found myself unable to buy even half of the skills that were becoming available to me. It also didn’t make sense to do every quest because we leveled so fast they became obsolete before getting to all of them. It’s kind of like sampling a bit of each area and then moving on. For someone like me, who hates grinding through quests, this wasn’t a horrible thing.

The new interface options are nice. It’s no longer necessary to download extra spell hot bar mods as it’s all included now. An interesting mod that my friend was using was allowing him to see the area of operation for each quest. This is exactly like the feature that is built into Warhammer Online. Again it makes questing faster but at what cost? You no longer have to read any of the quests to get directions as you essentially have a built in GPS navigator to tell you where to go. Even though it sometimes took a while to find the area one needed to go, it felt rewarding upon finding it. This is no longer.

I still haven’t tried the PVP leveling. I intend to give it a go during our next session. I know that you cannot exclusively level through PVP as there are low level quests that give you essential class skills, such as pet taming for the hunter. So low level questing is still a necessary task.

After the session ended I sat back and decided if it was a fun experience. Talking to my friend who I haven’t spoken with in a while was a fun experience. Some of the questing was a little fun, while others felt a bit too grindy. It’s all too early to decide if WOW is fun to play or if it’s just a good medium for being social. One thing I do know is that I’m looking forward to the next gaming session.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Boobs - Can We Abuse The Ultimate Advertising Weapon?

See how it's the ultimate advertising weapon? All I had to do was put boobs in the title and you're already reading the blog post. Ok it's no mystery as to why boobs advertise well. Guys like them, we associate boobs with the product, now we want the product. Simple enough.

In games it's a huge selling point. When your market consists of a lot of young guy who aren't getting laid (typical gamer) it makes tons of sense to put attractive big breasted women on the product cover. I have no problems with this.. as long as it has something to do with the game.

Age of Conan used the half naked assassin girl in most of their advertising and sure enough you can play as a half naked assassin girl in the game.

Ever Quest had the half naked sorceress on the front of all their boxes and sure enough there were scantily clad sorceress women in the game.

Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball... 3 pairs of anime size boobs on the game box. If you bought that game hoping to see tits then you were in luck. The game was all about boobs with occasional game of beach volleyball thrown in. Didn't they win an award for their advancements of virtual boobie physics? I could have sworn they did..

Anyway, so when I saw the ads for Evony online I assumed the game was about staring at a half naked woman who said things like "come play my lord". One of their ads is literally a picture of breasts.. I'm sorry but what kind of game are you peddling here? And why am I getting these advertisements on legitimate gaming sites, shouldn't these be reserved for adult sites?

Well apparently Evony is an MMORTS that resembles games like Sid Meier's Civilization... and there are no tits or sexy women of any kind! This is a case of false advertising if I ever saw one.

One of the ads shows a barely dressed woman who is at least clothed in medieval style clothing (barely covering her of course) which kind of resembles the era that the game takes place. But then in another ad she is just wearing some short brown dress which is clearly a modern piece of clothing. And the ad that's boobs has them covered up with a bra that I know they didn't have back in medieval times. These guys are not only falsely advertising the game but their doing a lazy job of it!

It's like putting boobs on the cover of a bean curd carton. Double-u tee ef?!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just Say No to WOW

WOW is a drug. I didn't break my World of Warcraft CDs because I hate the game. I broke them because the game is so damn addictive and soul consuming that I never wanted to go back.

But now Blizzard's 3.2 patch offers leveling through PVP? So in theory I don't have to run quest after quest after quest, or kill a thousand boars in the woods.. I can just go kill other players and get experience and items? We shall see. I have finally caved in and am going to test it out. With a 10 day free trial and a good friend who is more than willing hold my hand and whisper Blizzard propaganda in my ear, nothing can stop me!

Before heading out to work I clicked on the buddy invite link and got the installer setup and ready. It's kind of weird seeing the Blizzard interface after being away for so long. Everything is polished to the max. The install client had more art direction and polish than most games I play. And what's this.. I don't even have to download the entire game. The client downloads the content as I need it so I can just jump in and start playing. These guys are good..

But they have their work cut out for them. I am a weathered gamer. I have killed more forest boars than I care to remember, I have spent days farming for items and mounts, and I have suffered through the worst of guild drama. These things are like poison to me and if I get too strong a dose it's game over.

Let the game begin!

I would like to link everyone to an amazing post by Darren from the Common Sense Gamer and the podcast "Shut Up. We're Talking". His Post addresses the current state of MMO gaming and he was kind enough to link me in there as well!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eve Bans Gold Farmers.. Pirates Lose

First off I just want to thank you guys for the awesome comments on the last thread. It's good to know philosophical banter work's on a game blog.

So CCP has been cracking down on gold farmers hardcore. Players have been complaining about the macro miners in Eve almost since day one and they are finally getting their way. I'm not entirely sure how CCP is catching them all but with their advanced stat tracking it would probably be easy enough to tell if someone was macro mining based on their lack of system jumping, excessive play time, only flying mining ships, etc.

Players are claiming systems that were once hot zones for macro miners are now vacant and the belts are plentiful. I would love to see a statistic on just how many players were banned in this macro mining massacre.

The interesting side effect of banning all the macro miners is that the market is no longer flooded with cheap minerals. This is great for the industrial players as they can now sell minerals for a much higher price. With the jump in mineral prices many of the larger corps have taken time off from the pew pew to do some massive mining ops.

However with the massive jump in mineral prices, everything else gets a price bump. Ships, modules, rigs, are all jumping up in price again. It will be interesting to see if this sets eve back.. Will players want to risk PVP less now that their ships cost so much?

The industrialist in me likes the banning of macro miners. It means more money if I choose to go into the mining business. The Fighter in me doesn't like the change as now its even more risky to do PVP. Perhaps this is the flaw in current risk vs reward setup as it hardly pays to pirate.

To balance this out, CCP should allow pirates to commandeer enemy ships. This is how it could work. There would be a new electronics warfare module that can be activated when a ship has no armor or shields left. When activated it will have a 15 second cycle that gives the players a 25% (percentage variable based on skills and ship sizes) chance to eject the pilot from their ship. Once ejected the pilot can try to flee but cannot redock with the ship for an allotted period of time. Once in low armor a ship can only be hacked by this device once.

This would make pirating much more realistic. In real life pirates take the vessel and then can sell it or use it for themselves. If a team of cruisers goes after a battleship there is now a significant chance of winning a 100 million isk ship.

Monday, August 10, 2009

MMORPGs.. Are They For Me?

Can I survive in an MMORPG? Is there room in the world of MMORPGs for someone who is bored of grinding and stale quest?

I have been thinking about this subject more and more these days. With my recent stints in Warhammer and Age of Conan I can accurately pinpoint the reason that makes me turn the game off and it's the same reason that made me stop playing WOW. It's because these types of games make me feel like a hamster in a wheel, or a rat in a maze.

Here is a world carefully constructed to entertain you. Now follow steps one through ten to achieve the goal we set for you. There shall be rewards along the way to provide you with a sense of accomplishment. A nice new spell, maybe a sword, or fireworks when you level up... I feel like a dog who is given a treat for fetching the ball.

The virtual reward system is allowing producers to get away with game designs that don't have to be fun. The human need for accomplishment is extremely powerful and if a game can create a sense of accomplishment that everyone can experience again and again, then they have a very successful product.

We will never get rid of the reward system in games. Even if its simply the mental reward for completing the game it's still there. But do we have to sacrifice fun, or challenge in favor of accomplishment?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Late Night Gaming Philosophy

Ok so it's the morning but I was up real late playing Warhammer Online and I came to an interesting realization about the nature of most MMORPG games. Which is, they are not challenging in the slightest. They rarely invoke a problem solving mindset where someone has to think quick about how to solve a problem or invent new tactics on the fly. Maybe this is a trend in a lot of computer games these days but MMOs in particular promote "stupid gaming".

This realization came to me after spending several hours in a large group partaking in the RVR missions of Warhammer. Player versus player combat is supposed to inspire seat of the pants thinking. Never once did I see a change in tactics or any players pulling off interesting flanks to outsmart the enemy. Mostly because we were already fighting in the most effective way that the game mechanics allowed for. Get in a large group and focus fire on anything we see.

You can progress in the game without using your brain at all. I could be a level 40 player with all the best gear in the game, but all that it really symbolizes is that I spent a lot of time going through the motions. Warhammer RVR feels more like grinding than player versus player combat. The tactics were the same and there were no surprises from the enemy. Just more mindless hacking and slashing.

One could argue that not needing to think seriously about engagements allows for more socializing while playing. But if that's your argument then the game becomes nothing more than eye candy for a chat client. As a game designer I wouldn't be happy with myself if I had created a game that literally made people use their minds less. We have enough things in society that promote lazy brained people, maybe game designers should think about the morality of their design choices a bit more.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

War Stories: Battlefield 2 - The Glory Days

This is the first of hopefully many War Stories posts in which I shall reminisce about truly awesome moments of gaming. So without further ado (clears throat).

It was the beginning of summer in 2005 and the battlefield 2 demo had just been released. My brother Sam and I had just installed it and were gearing up for our first battle in the game that would soon become my favorite first person shooter of all time. The computers were side by side, I had calibrated my joystick and setup the controls for chopper flight. We jumped into a 64 player server and decided to test out the combat helicopters.

After camping on the helipad for about a minute the chopper spawned and we both jumped in. Me in the pilot seat and Sam in the gunner seat. It was the Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopter. This thing looked mean. Loaded with rapid fire javelin rockets, TV guided missiles and an explosive round machine gun, we set off to see what kind of havoc we could cause.

According to the map, the US forces were trying to take some of the beach head bases and I made for a low altitude approach toward the closest one. I decided to keep the chopper moving fast to avoid fire and we made for a strafing run. On our approach we could see heavy fire fights between the ground forces. Sam opened up fire with the machine gun and began picking off the invading forces. The explosive rounds tore through the infantry as if they we made of paper. The bullets didn't even need to hit the enemy; simply land within 10 feet of them and the splash damage would do the rest. A we took a couple hits from small arms fire on the way over the installation but the Havoc's armor handled it with ease.

3 kills from the first strafe. Not bad.. But the enemy had managed to take the installation and now their ground vehicles had spawned. As I reeled the chopper around we could see an armored transport in the distance. "Sam why don't you give the TV guided missiles a try". I hovered the chopper and looked over at my brothers screen to help align his targeting reticule.

Sam fired the missile and I watched his screen as he guided it toward the tank. The missile picked up speed and his maneuvering took it off course at the last second. There was a large explosion in the distance. A close miss.. no biggie, but the transport was now on the move toward another outpost. Sam took a second shot. This time I watched the missile streak toward the transport from the pilot seat. Bam! The transport went up in a giant explosion and we saw 3 more kills appear on the scoreboard. This - was - awesome!

I dipped the nose of the chopper and we went careening off into the battlefield. This time around the enemy troops turned and ran when they saw us coming. Unfortunately for them they were on a beach with little to no cover and there was a fully armed attack chopper bearing down on them. Sam opened up with the machine gun and made quick work of the infantry while I unleashed a volley of javelin rockets on an unsuspecting dune buggy.

The kills were racking up and the battlefield was getting ugly. The enemy was now moving around the map. The radar showed a large force taking over the construction site outpost. There had to be at least 20 soldiers in the area and we headed over, eager to nab some easy kills.

As the construction site came into view it became apparent that the enemy was holding up in a four story open level building. Although the building hadn't been finished there were several walls in place and the windows were dark. It was hard to see anyone inside. I brought the chopper down to peer inside. A rocket shot out from the dark and missed the cockpit by mere feet. Sam fired into the building and a kill registered. I backed the chopper off but another rocket was fired from a window, and this one was coming right at us. I banked to the left as the rocket whined past.

It was time to test my flying skills. I banked the chopper and and begin orbiting the building always with the nose pointing toward the structure. More rockets we fired at us but the moving chopper was too hard to hit. Sam begin firing inside erratically and the kills began to rack up. Five kills.. ten kills.. Soldiers began the flee from the building only to be gunned down by explosive rounds. I began to fire javelins inside nabbing a couple kills of my own. This "defensive" structure was becoming one big mausoleum. After a while, the enemy fire ceased.. There wasn't anybody left.

The round ended and the scoreboard appeared. "Rakanishu" (me) and "The Walrus" (Sam) - 67 kills each. The next highest score on the list was 19. We exchanged glances, cracked our knuckles and geared up for the next round. This was gonna be a good day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gruggy's Bio

Here is Gruggy my level 19 choppa class orc. His interests include chopping, more chopping, and throwing hatchets at people taking long walks on the beach. When he isn't chopping Gruggy spends his free time helping out at the local veterinary clinic... Ok who are we kidding? He is always chopping, and when he's not chopping he is looking for people to chop.

Gruggy's play style is very straight forward. Look for large groups of the enemy and jump straight into the middle of them. His attacks hit multiple targets, so the more bad guys the merrier. The longer he fights the more damage he can dish out. If there is a quality healer helping out, Gruggy often finds himself at the top of the damage chart in scenario battles.

All in all I'm quite liking the simplicity of the choppa. As far as the name "Gruggy" goes I think it compliments his persona. Hell, it's better than my High Elf "LOLgolas"...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Warcraft The Movie..

As if Warcraft Mountain Due wasn't bad enough. So here we go again. I cringe the instant I hear about a video game movie in the works. Correct me if I'm wrong (which I'm not) but there has yet to be a single good film based on a video game.

That's not to say I think they should stop trying and Sam Raimi paired with WoW could actually be something.. maybe. Honestly I can't think of any director more suited for the job. Oh gawd... I just had a terrible image of the WoW geeks in line for the movie and all costumed up. If anyone can pull off a Tauren I will be impressed.

Here's a great little spoof of Sam Raimi's WoW production diary.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Current State of MMOs

With my recent ban from Eve Online, I have been going through MMO withdrawal. To try and satiate my need of the giant virtual world I turned to both Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. I avoided WoW for two reasons. First, because I have played it in the past and the grind fest completely disinterests me, and second, because the PVP element of WoW is just about pointless.

Both AOC and WAR are supposed to focus on the PVP experience. This is how my experience has been thus far.

Upon entering the world of WAR my initial though was, "this looks exactly like WoW". It's almost as if the WAR team was using WoW as a template and then just copying the entire art style and engine feel. The UI, animations, quest setups, and art direction are all disgustingly similar to WoW. The good thing about this, is that I like the art style of WoW so the lack of ingenuity in WAR doesn't hurt it as much as expected.

The PVP element of WAR:

WAR focuses on realm vs realm (RVR) combat and scenario combat. The scenario combat was easy to get into and the aspect of leveling up in PVP was quite appealing. That being said, I found myself in too many battles where our team was doomed to fail from the start. Sometimes we would start with no healers, or the level difference between the two sides was substantial enough to make any strategies on our part useless. For someone who likes to play PVP games where strategy is the most important factor in deciding victories, the combat in WAR was extremely aggravating.

RVR combat was fun... at first. Initially, it was quite a lot of fun to roam around in 30 man groups crushing everything in sight. However, during one of our "campaigns" we were stopped by a lesser force at a seemingly impassable choke point. The final castle that we needed to capture had a single stair case leading up to the boss and capture point. The entire enemy team was camped at the top of the stairs raining down death and destruction to anyone who tried to emerge. 20 players were able to stop a group of 60 plus. There were no other ways up to the second floor and eventually our party disbanded. I heard that this was going to be changed in the next patch but for a game that has been out for almost a year it seems like a pretty big imbalance considering RVR is the main feature of the game.

Next I tried AOC:

After downloading all 16gigs and waiting about 5 minutes for the client to verify that all the game files were intact (it does this every time you start the client) I was ready to go. I created a demonologist and started the game. I heard that the graphics were pretty impressive so I had them cranked to the max. Bad idea... DirectX 10 and max setting had me chugging along at 12 fps. This is with a 295 GTX video card, and 8 gigs of ram...

After reading around on the forums for a while it became apparent that DX10 was just too buggy for AOC. Fine.. I switched the client into DX9 mode and cranked the graphics. Now I was getting 90 fps plus, but there were major artifacts appearing all over the screen. After tweaking with the settings for a while, I discovered that having shadows turned on created this game breaking effect. Reading up on the forums again, it seemed that there was no way around this other than turning off shadows and waiting for them to patch the game.

Being annoyed with the whole situation I continued with the shadows off. The first couple missions were actually quite fun and the voice overs were a nice surprise. The world felt alive, I saw other players running around and questing. Then I entered a series of missions that put me into an instanced state of the world. The world stays the same but all the other players disappear and its a single player game. This continued for several missions, and after a while of playing without seeing any other players I logged off.

I'll give it another try but at the moment WAR is getting the majority of my play time, and I don't much care for it either.. Basically Eve is getting reinstated the second my ban is lifted.

Level Cap Manifesto

Hello my non existent reader base.

So this is supposed to be the post where I tell everyone what this blog is about.. which seems a bit silly as I don't think anyone is reading it yet. Bloggers much more successful than myself have said to start writing your blog with the expectation that your posts will not be read. With that in mind here goes..

I spend a lot of time playing games, thinking about games, wanting to improve games and design my own games. So naturally I should have something interesting to say about them.. right? We shall see.

The title "Level Cap", referring to the maximum level achievable in games, was chosen for its recognition among the gamer population but also because I consider myself to be a very achieved gamer. Now the 13 year old Asian kid who just kicked my ass up and down the last COD4 level might disagree but 13 year old gamers don't count. Their limbs are shorter and therefore it takes less time for the brain to send a signal to the hand telling it to shoot me in the head. Nothing I can do about that.. but please stop using the screen name CrazyAzn!

Hopefully there will be some pretty varied gaming blogs. I play many different types of games from MMO to FPS to RTS to racing games, and so on and so forth. Basically if it's a good game I will play it.

I am going to try and write one post per day. Obviously this may change depending on how much material I have. If I can end up with a solid 20 posts per month I will be happy.

What I'm Playing Now:
Warhammer online - Not crazy about the game but I can't stand WoW and it's filling in for Eve Online (got banned from eve for a couple months.. long story)
Left 4 Dead - Nothing beats shooting zombies with your friends.
Call of Duty 4 - The game isn't revolutionary but it's leading the market in competitive FPS games so I can't avoid it.

Games I Will Buy When Released:
Battlefield 1943 for the PC - Played the hell out of every battlefield title and I wants more!
Left 4 Dead 2 - Same as the first game but now you get a chainsaw... Count me in.
Diablo 3 - Break out the pack of frozen peas and let the click fest begin!
Rage - Postapocalyptic wasteland dune buggy shotgun goodness. What more do you want in life?
Supreme Commander 2 - Once you go supreme commander you can't go StarCraft.
Dirt 2 - My gawd codemasters knows how to make a gorgeous racing game.