Category Archives: non-wow

So I Tried Out This Newfangled FFXIV Thing

My character has been REBORN!  (Ahaha.  Do you see what I did there?)

ffxiv_08272015_155311 (2)I have no real idea what I’m doing.  The first thing I really liked was character customization, which allowed me to make a deliciously handsome elven young man, and then I made him an archer because duh.

This is really huntery and I like it a lot.
This is really huntery and I like it a lot.

There was a lot of running around, a lot of “wow this is a huge world”, a lot of throwbacks and references that my inner child who has been playing Final Fantasy for two decades appreciated, and finally I got to kill some things when I was level 4 or 5 or so.  I think the game auto-loots things for you?  That’s pretty neat.

Eventually I got an eyepatch, so alt-universe Althalor can channel his inner Lor’themar.

ffxiv_08282015_123014 (2)I’m still not entirely 100% sure what I’m doing.  I got some sort of Serpent Sting type move (remember when Serpent Sting was a thing?) and I’m doing a lot of kiting.  It’s kind of fun.  You have a sprint button and that saves a lot of time.

Before you ask, I am playing on the “Coerul” server.  I had a LOT of different people from various places begging and wheedling me to play on their server, and because I felt bad turning anyone down in specific in favor of another group of friends, I finally opted to go the neutral route and turn EVERYONE down and roll on some server where I know no one!  Whoo!  I mean, I can always make alts on other servers later, right?

Okay, okay, I did it.

After getting a great deal of encouragement from both Twitter and commenters, and getting a final extra push from the fiance who finally bought me the dang thing:

rocket launcherFinal Fantasy XIV, the new MMO hotness.  It’s downloaded and installed.  I’ve yet to play it, so I don’t have any first impressions yet.  Look for those tomorrow, probably!

To those of you who have played it: what do you think?  Any tips for a newbie?

Good Games That Are Good: Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

This is it.  This is my favorite game of all time.  And I say this when games like Morrowind exist.

Alpha_Centauri_coverSMAC does a lot of things right.  The hard science fiction setting, for example, which contains some of the richest concepts and most masterful writing since Asimov first graced us with his presence.  SMAC is also an updated version of Civilization II, which is already one of the greatest 4X games of all time, so throwing in a rich, unforgettable science fiction setting really just catapulted an already great game even higher on the list of great games.

But here’s how I fell in love with SMAC.

I fell in love with SMAC because one day I built something called a Planet Buster.  I had no idea what it did.  Some kind of nuke, it looked like.  So I shrugged and tossed it on the faction I was currently fighting.  I figured it would set her back a bit.

(It was Miriam, which should surprise exactly no one who has played this game before.)
(It was Miriam, which should surprise exactly no one who has played this game before.)

The next thing I knew the majority of her extensive base was gone.  Replaced by water.

Planet Busters, it turns out, are aptly named, because they destroy the planet.

Planet Busters are also a Big Deal and people get mad at you if you use them.

The Planet is not happy, either, for more than one reason.  Firstly because Planet Busters also cause global warming.  And secondly because Planet is sentient (Uh oh.)

So suddenly, just because of some off-handed decision, I was fighting off multiple factions, fighting off the the native life of the planet itself, desperately trying to keep my base afloat as the ocean slowly continued to rise, and ever reaching towards my end goal, which was to merge with Planet itself and become an immortal transhuman god.

All this, and brilliant technology quotes, too!

That’s when I realized that this was it. I was playing the greatest game that had ever been made, simply because I didn’t see how any other game could replicate what I was feeling. I was experiencing the greatest gaming experience I’d ever be able to have. It was perfection.

To this day I’ve yet to experience something in games that felt like that. No other game has been so tense, has wrapped me up in its story (an honest to god story in a 4X!) so tightly, as Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. Maybe someday I’ll run across a game that can pull it off, and you know, that would be awesome.  But until then, it’s okay, because every time I play SMAC it enthralls me yet again.

And that’s true video game magic right there.

I94hB(You can, and should, buy SMAC on GOG.)

Want to heal a raid from your toilet? There’s an app for that.

Earlier today a phone game called Little Healer made the rounds on Twitter.  This game is exactly what it says on the tin: you are a priest with suspiciously familiar priest spells, and you get to heal a raid through suspiciously familiar raid mechanics.

It’s fun.  And surprisingly difficult.  And, come on, you know it’s a legitimate simulation of healing when one of the reviews says it’s really just an upgraded version of Whack-a-Mole.  (Because come on, that’s what healing is.)

Anyways, you can get it for Apple and Android, and be prepared to pour more time into it than you expect.  Oh, as a final note: there are bugs present, but the developer seems to be actively chasing these down (at least he is on the game’s official subreddit), so hopefully these get fixed soon.

So I’ve Been Playing This Quirky Retro-Style MMO Called Project Gorgon

Project Gorgon is currently in playable alpha, and because why not, I’ve been messing around with it.

I downloaded it intending to mess around for about an hour, but then I ended up playing it for like three hours.  And then playing it again the next day.  And honestly I’ll probably play it again later today, too.

cool afThis is a (primarily) two-person project crafted with a lot of love and the result is a delightful old-school RPG with a big focus on exploration.  Think Elder Scrolls.  Like, think early Elder Scrolls.  Daggerfall but with Morrowind graphics.  Add two cups of some other people running around, a pinch of Everquest, and then a sprinkle of great humor and hat-wearing bugs for spice.  This is what is currently cooking in the Project Gorgon oven.

GOTYAYI’m not exactly sure why I find this game so charming.  I think it’s because it just tosses you out in the world (well, it tosses you in a tutorial cave, but there’s a cheat to bail if you want to)  and gives you no other real direction.  There are quests hidden around, but there are no quest markers of any sort, so you actually have to learn the names of NPCs and what they do and where they are.  The game just revolves around the idea that this is a whole new world for you to explore, and it isn’t gonna hold your hand.  Like I said: old-school Elder Scrolls.

Anyways, it’s probably not to everyone’s style, but I just find it to be a really charming game so far, even if I have no idea what I’m doing!  Go check it out if it looks like your kind of thing.

Good Games That Are Good: Endless Legend

I’ve had this game sitting around for a while (like some 300-odd other games on Steam), but I didn’t actually install it until a few days ago.  You see, I was feeling a 4X scratch that needed to be itched, and since everything I’ve heard about Endless Legend has been overwhelmingly positive, I decided to try it out.

It’s only been a few days and I’m already confident that this is probably the best 4X since Civ IV.

urlEndless Legend is vaguely set in the same universe that Endless Space was.  The main difference is that Endless Legend gives us more of a fantasy spin on what is still probably ultimately science fiction, where Endless Space was planted pretty firmly on the spaceships side of that scale.  In addition, many of the gaming mechanics and aspects of the UI are similar, so if you’re familiar with Endless Space, jumping into Endless Legend is pretty easy.

But Endless Legend definitely improves upon and refines what Endless Space did, and the result is a game that is actually one of the best in the genre, rather than being a pretty good attempt.

As a ground-based 4X (as opposed to a space-based one) , this plays very similarly to, say, Civilization.  But it really shines in flavor lore and also in battles that you can actually run yourself!  It’s like a tactical mini-game in the midst of your big strategy game.

endless legendAnd yes, that delicious flavor lore.  Endless Legend takes a page from RPGs here, offering a variety of quests (including a main quest for each race) as well as hero units that gain experience and have their own talent trees.  I always appreciate a strategy game with good “other-worldly” lore, since so often you either get history (think Civ and most Grand Strategy games) or you’re just expected to go in and kill the bad guy without thinking much about the why (Warcraft before III, basically.)

Also in one of these quests you’re a robot, so that’s cool.

I AM A ROBOTAnyways, if you’ve ever enjoyed a Civ game, I recommend looking into Endless Legend.  It’s a lot of fun so far and overall a very smooth and polished gaming experience.

Windows 10 And Oh Yeah The Expac Is Gonna Be Announced Soon

Couple things to talk about today.  First:

SMOOTH SAILING WITH WINDOWS 10 (SO FAR):

So today my Windows 7 partition (cause I’m a nerd who dual-boots with Linux) decided to update to Windows 10.  The update itself took about an hour and after some initial awkwardness where my screen resolution wasn’t being properly recognized, everything seems to be working fine and dandy.  I did have to disable my custom Firefox theme for now because it’s not playing nice with the minimize/maximize/close buttons, but I imagine that’s something that will get fixed in a future Firefox version.

So anyways, everything else seems to be working A-OK, including the important things like Steam and Battle.net.  I figured I’d let you all know because some people on Twitter told me they were concerned about the upgrade and I have to say that it went pretty smoothly.  The entire updating process took about an hour, though, so have a book or Nintendo 3DS to hand while you wait.

THE NEW EXPANSION WILL BE ANNOUNCED AUGUST 6:

So sayeth the Mighty Blues from On High.  What’s it gonna be?  Council of Glades?  Something completely different?  New races?  Classes?  Revamps?  Eight more days until we find out!

GET HYPE.

Summer Games Done Quick

Speedrunning fascinates me because it’s all about people who are way better at video games than I am.  I mean, I love video games and I’ve been playing them for about three decades, but I’m pretty sure I suck at them.  I’m also very slow at them.

tumblr_nj0qd90z4o1tbalkeo1_500

So watching some of my favorite games get absolutely demolished in no time at all is just really fascinating and magical to me.

Enter Games Done Quick, which happens twice a year and gives donation money to charity!  If you’re not watching it yet, well, it just started about an hour and a half ago and it’s happening right here.  (Yoshi’s Island is getting destroyed right now, a game which I maintain is the greatest 2D platformer of all time). So if speedruns are your thing, come and check it out.  Even if speedruns aren’t your thing, check it out anyway.  Here’s the schedule so you can find a game you want to watch and then tune in at the right time– the schedule is super nifty and it should automatically match itself up to your time zone.

Gotta go fast!

Good Games That Are Good: Starcraft Brood War

This game

Starcraft 2015-06-19 13-29-58-14

Is very, very, very

Starcraft 2015-06-20 15-21-29-69

important to me

StarCraft 2015-06-21 13-02-38-44

I stumbled across Starcraft not long after it first came out – this would have been, oh, 1999 or 2000 or so.  I was like sixteen years old.  This game rocked my entire world.  It was basically all I played for like the next three years.  Disregard high school, acquire the greatest RTS game ever made.  I got my first “real” computer as a high school graduation gift in 2002 and that summer Starcraft was all I did because now I could use my own computer and run this gorram game like 14 hours a day.

And that’s exactly what I did.

So that summer after I graduated was absolutely amazing.  I had a summer job and I did it and then came home and played this stupid game.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours poured into it.  I loved it; I memorized every detail; I knew all about the lore and the characters but most importantly the mechanics.  I wrote (horrific) fanfic and dreamed of going to South Korea someday so I could watch those proto-eSports celebs work their magic.

it is timeIt’s very difficult to explain what, exactly, was so magical about this game.  Was it the fact that all three races, despite being so different from each other in playstyle, were all perfectly balanced?  Was it the atmosphere?  The music?  All of the above?  I’m going to go with all of the above.

I’ll tell you what, though.  I reinstalled this the other day and now I’m replaying it in all its pixelly glory on my huge new widescreen monitor.  It scratches the itch where Starcraft 2 doesn’t quite do it.

This is, without a doubt, one of my all time favorites and I think it always will be.