Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodbye Letter to First Love

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. The sun was bright upon my face from the noon day sky as the gentle calling of an unseen bird filled my ears and the sweet smell of blossoming flowers washed over me with every breath. I was young and eager then, willing to take on anything I came across, but I was also naïve and ill-prepared for the journey ahead. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, thought I had a handle on things, but you taught me that I was wrong. It seems like a lifetime has passed between us although it has only been but a handful of years.

              Right from the beginning, you have been both my savior and my villainess. For every helping hand you have given me, you have denied me help just as much. The trials and Tribulations I have endured alone are equal to the ones I have conquered with you as my guide. The journey of my life is etched across your face, both the scars and the healing. I would not be the man I am today without you, could not have grown like I have without you or learned as much as I have without you.

            I have become wiser in so many things and learned much the hard way. I have been a leader of many and with their help completed incredible tasks and achieved great goals. However no matter how high I have climbed, you have always been there to humble me and remind me that I am just one man. The scars on my body are proof enough of the hard lessons I have had to learn along the way.

Through it all I have always marveled at your beauty and have done everything I can to protect you and keep those that would from destroying you. Although you have never asked for my help, I have tried my best to defend you in your times of need and you have in return blessed me with so much. But the one thing that neither of us can do is stop time and Even though you are much more scarred than I am, I believe that I have weathered the ordeals less than you.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am tired and I am struggling daily to continue this fight. I will always treasure you more than you’ll ever know and I long for the days of old, but I am afraid my time with you is drawing to a close. I am planning a new journey, one that will take me far from you and I don’t know at this time if I will ever be able to return. So in the event that we never meet again I just wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed our time together and hope that you do well in the future.

Man, I just can’t get over the fact that this is goodbye. There are so many fond memories that I have of my time with you, so many things that still bring a smile to my face... Hey you remember that time in Stormwind when my friends and I ran through the streets in our underwear making train sounds? Kind of embarrassing today, but we were plastered when we did it after having that big party. I can’t even remember all of the heroic battles that are in the past. Hyjal, Blackrock Mountain, Zul Gurub, Karazhan, and so many others I cant name them all.

Well I've rambled on quite long enough and I don't believe I have expressed just how much I owe you. I guess that's it then huh, words can never express what is in our hearts or the real gratitude we feel. I guess all that is left for me to do is wish you well Azeroth. I am moving on to other things and am hanging up my sword and shield. Who Knows maybe someday I may return, but I get the feeling this is it. If we don't see each other again it's been real.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Deep Space 9 and Panzers

Hello again readers and thanks for coming back around. In this post I will write about some of the more interesting things I have experienced in my gaming world in recent times. I will make this a regular entry on the blog and try to inform you guys on the better experiences from the games I play.

Star Trek Online

Haven't been doing a whole lot in this game lately, its another casualty of my tank warfare rampage. However I did enjoy stopping by Deep Space 9 while making my way around Cardassian space. One of the allures of STO is the ability to visit locations made famous by the movies and TV shows. Also have been playing some of the Featured Episodes and still impressed with how much better they are compared to standard quests.

World of Tanks
Surprisingly enough this game has engrossed me to addictive levels. I recently entered the TIer 5 range and am getting introduced on a regular basis what real tanks can do to me. Most of my matches have me paired up with heavy tanks in the 6-8 tiers. I am really surprised at the draw leveling up has in this game as the desire to get that next higher level of tank really draws you in. Also the new tank company war system was introduced allowing player groups (clans) to battle for a war torn map of Europe. Unless you have been able to reach the upper level tiers there isn't really any reason to apply to a clan as there is no level restriction so everyone fighting is in tier 8 goodies. I suppose this is W.O.T.'s version of endgame content. I look forward to trying it out in the future as I plug along to my goal of my very own Tiger tank.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Much Does Cost Influence Expectations and Enjoyment

           So today I was discussing with a friend how good of a game World of Tanks has turned out to be. This conversation carried over into how it was also free to play and that got me thinking a bit. Recently I decided to purchase some gold currency for the game, but the game is primarily centered on the F2P format (Excellently done I might add) and does not require any form of payment to enjoy almost all aspects of the game.  I have always been curious about this game and have wanted to check it out for some time, so as soon as it was released I jumped right in and tried it out. I mean after all what’s there to lose right? The question is how excited would I have been to try the game if there was something to risk? Would my view differ if my real life money were on the line in purchasing an unknown quality game?

            Without a doubt the fact World of Tanks is free played a major role on my decision to try the game. If I were forced to pay 50-60 dollars for the software and another 10-15 dollars for a subscription, I doubt I would have given it a try so soon. In fact the fact it was free to play was probably the only reason I tried it out when I did. So it goes without saying that although the game had my interest from the start, there wasn’t enough of it to garner me paying to play. I needed to try it before I bought it.

            The next question is a little more complex and is not so easy to answer. I wanted to know if a games financial burden augments a person’s expectation and overall rating of a game. In other words let’s say you really enjoy a game and only had to pay 5 bucks for it. Then after playing it for a while you find it entertaining, but overall bug filled and that it doesn’t have much replay value. That 5 bucks would still seem like a good investment, now let’s say you paid 60 bucks for it; would you still be okay with bugs and lack luster game play? Probably not, my guess is you would be seething with rage at the wasted money and the only thing from keeping you from lighting the disk on fire would be that 60 buck investment.

            So if you end up playing a game that is free, would it then be reasonable to assume that your expectations before playing the game would also be lower? Would this then garner a better impression of the game from you? When I first got World of Tanks I was impressed with the overall game play and balancing mechanics in place. I was also impressed with the graphics and overlooked some of the bugs like water and grass going through my tank. I was most impressed that this well designed game was free. If I had to pay for the title at the beginning I might not have been so impressed.

            Think of all the games that have started out as a pay model with subscription and gone to the free to play system. Games that in the past had received bad reviews and have only been able to garner low player populations. Once they changed their format to free they often are revitalized and become money makers instead of losers. Did these games get any better? To some extent I’m sure they did, but it can’t be by that much.

            I do believe our expectations and overall satisfaction with a title is definitely influenced by our monetary investment. World of Tanks does not suffer from poor game play or bad design concepts, however it is very light on content at the moment and unless you enjoy running match after match the game itself will quickly become boring to you. If I had to pay a large sum of money for it I might become angry at the lack of content to be played.


            With several years of hype and anticipation behind it, Star Wars The Old Republic is certainly one of the most anticipated games of 2011. BioWare has stated the game will have an initial purchase price with a monthly subscription model. My expectations of the game are very high and believe it will be a high quality title.


            I will be playing this game from day one and will be happy to pay whatever reasonable price BioWare requests, but what if it sucks? My disappointment will be huge as compared to a free game like W.O.T. and my desire to continue paying will be effected. If BioWare were to release SWTOR as a Free to Play game how much disappointment would I have then if the game were to suck?

             I can guess that to some extent I would not be as disappointed and would be more forgiving of the overall product. I would like to believe that either way I could be objectionable in rating a game regardless of cost, but the truth of the matter is if you expect me to pay top dollar for a title you better make sure it is done when you release it.   

Monday, May 23, 2011

Paying the Premium


            I decided to do something that I have never done before in a game, well sort of. Although I have paid a subscription to games before on a monthly basis, I have never made a extra purchase or paid for any kind of premium service.

             This week I went ahead and purchased some gold in World of Tanks. My two reasons I decided to do this were 1. I am really enjoying the game and will support something I am enjoying and believe in. 2. I wanted to see the differences between a free account and a premium account. I chose to buy 3000 Gold for 14.95 which is basically the same price as 1 month of game time for subscription games like World of Warcraft and Star Trek Online.

            The very first thing I did was to convert all my unused experience on lower level tanks into free experience, which will allow me to use that XP on future tanks. The second thing I did was to purchase a premium account for 1 day. The cost of the Premium account was 250 gold while the XP transfer cost me 1 gold for every 25 XP I converted. In the end I spent a total of 729 gold and I am left with 2,271 gold.

Premium Account

            For buying a premium account I received a 50 percent increase in XP and Money received per match. I also receive the ability to form a platoon with my friends to fight together and some other lesser benefits. While playing with the premium account I did notice a difference in both XP and Money gains from match to match, enough so that I could see a true benefit of playing this game with a premium account. Game play is basically the same without any direct benefits or assistance to aid me in my crappy shooting skills. This is how I would prefer to play the game as I side more with skill at playing than game assistance.

             I did notice that my garage looks different from a regular account (See Picture Above) as it is much larger and tactical looking with maps and such on the walls, but basically it has the same function as far as I can tell. As for the cost options on a monthly account they are:

1 day(24 Hours) - 250 Gold

3 days(72 Hours) - 650 Gold

1 week(7 Days) - 1250 Gold

1 Month(30 Days) - 2500 Gold

This seems reasonable as a 1 month subscription is around $14 dollars which is about the same as other subscription games.

 Left Over Gold

             I honestly have no idea what I will do with the left over gold. Some of my options include purchasing premium tanks or premium ammo (Which I am told is better) or I could continue to buy a premium account. For now I think I'll just hold onto it and purchase more premium account time whenever I need a slight boost to my level gains.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My tank got some bad fuel from the Lag station

                    Well World of tanks released its latest update  v6.4 and ever since the server has been hit or miss with terrible lag. In some matches my tank seems to lurch uncontrollably and my shots are shooting where tanks used to be. Others act and play as normal with minimal problems. As indicated in this forum post I am not the only one wxpiriencing problems and the complaining in game is getting worse. I have grown to really like this game and am hoping they can find a solution to this problem soon.

Oh and by the way the new map Mountain Pass, as seen above, is very nice indeed. W.O.T. has some excellent maps.

Atari To Divest Cryptic Studios

               As Reported at Gamasutra, Atari is planning to unload Champions Online and Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios in an attept to "stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games." This can't be good news for fans of Champions or Star Trek Online, although they have stated the games will continue to operate as usual. Obviously if Cryptic was making money this move would not be taking place.

             Wish Stone has made a comment on the offical STO forums indicating thier plans for business as usual, "Right now I have no further details other than what has been mentioned elsewhere. Support for Champions Online and Star Trek Online will be continuing as normal, our staff is working hard on their projects (and the folks from the Champions team deserve an extra cheer for their new stuff by the way) and there are no planned changes to the way any of our games and projects will operate."

             As a present player of STO I can only look upon this news unfavorably. If Atari has already marked Cryptic for the proverbial axe, just how much money are they going to invest in expanding and updating the game? My guess is not much and more than likely Cryptic can expect to see thier budget shrink. Wether STO or Champions survives is anyones guess, but this is deffinately not good news for fans of Cryptic games.

Monday, May 16, 2011

BioWare is Doing Customer Interaction the Right way

Game makers like any other product or service provider has an inherit interest in creating and maintaining, good relations with their customer base. In the world of MMORPG games this is especially true because they are able to generate revenue via monthly payments and or item store transactions.

            Star Wars: The Old Republic has got to be one of the most anticipated and followed games in quite some time. Already there is a vibrant and engaging community built around it and it would appear there already is a very large player base that can’t wait to get their hands on this title. For over 2 years now BioWare has been slowly releasing details about their little project and have milked the hype of this IP for all its worth.   

            Since their website went live over two years ago, BioWare has been feeding little pieces of information, enticing us with tidbits about the game and little views of the awesomeness to come. Most game companies will do this, especially when it comes with such an anticipated IP like Star Wars. However the ability to maintain everyone’s interest and excitement is difficult to do, especially over a two year span, but BioWare has done an excellent job of including the community and giving potential players a feeling that they are already apart of something.

            Keep in mind that this game has yet to enter a Beta testing phase and already BioWare has created a portal where one can create a Guild and start recruiting. Potential players are able to browse guilds and match them to their preferred guild type to include PVP or PVE, hardcore or casual and roll playing among other choices. Guilds can even go live the day the game is released by meeting some minor requirements. In a lot of ways BioWare is working more with guilds than other games have ever done.

            Now consider the fact that they have already allowed quite a lot of people to play portions of this game including opening it up to the public to try. Most games will not even let their game footage be seen before Open Beta starts. Also they have been very open with community fan sites even inviting them to their headquarters for some one-on-one time with the game and the developers. lastly they recently posted on the official forums in an effort to gauge public interest in a meet and greet during E3. Excuse me??? open invitation for the public to meet you??
           Whether it happens or not it is very impressive even to offer this kind of access. It might all be a cleverly constructed PR campaign, but it truly doesn't matter, this kind of interaction and forethought shows that at some level BioWare is really concerned about this game and those who might play it. Bravo BioWare.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

World of Tanks Tank Screenshots

I thought I'd share some of the tanks I have been able to use so far in playing this game. I am still having a blast playing this game and am really enjoying the ability to play a handfull of quick matches and not have to devot large chunks of time to playing. Once they had some more content to this game (Including some talked about PVE content) this will be a solid and enjoyable game for the long haul.

Click on any picture below to see a larger image of them. Oh and one other thing there is alot of maps, no i'm not kidding alot and they are for the most part well designed and nice looking.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Game Design Influences Optimization Needs

There is an ongoing discussion in the Blogging community over the world of optimizing oneself in order to be better at a game and Raiding. The discussion revolves around the value of optimizing your abilities with cookie cutter specs and such. Here are some of the blogs talking about this subject. Some have written multiple posts on the subject.

Now with all that being said I tend to look at the discussion from a different angle. While at its core, I don’t have a problem with a player wanting to be the best that they can be or using available tools to achieve that goal. My problem starts when game design requires a player in order to play even the most basic of raiding content.
            Taking World of Warcraft as an example the devs decided to create content designed for those who want a challenge, heroic Difficulty or hard modes. The problem with a game like WoW is that most of the raiding requires a certain level of gear in order to actively participate. By instituting gear checks for your raiding content, you develop a community that uses this as a judging tool for acceptance into a raid. The game design of World of Warcraft encourages Elitist mentality among its player base because it requires those players to be the best simply to complete the content they made.
            There should be a noticeable difference between regular raiding and hard modes. Now in WoW there is a noticeable difference, the problem is the lower level raiding is hard as well, just not as hard and it also requires a certain level of gear (optimization) to even be able to play. The average player will never complete raiding content in World of Warcraft unless they institute an Optimization plan or they have friends willing to carry them. In Blizzards defense I do believe they have made some changes, like harder raiding and gear checks on behalf of their player’s requests, but the very design of their game has created a level of elitist thinking not seen in any other game.
As I have stated before, I have given up on raiding in WoW and this system is only one more reason why I have made that decision. I like playing to the best of my ability and don’t mind using tools to further that cause, however I don’t need it to feel like work. I am playing a game after all and I want to be able to decide how to enjoy the game without set requirements.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

World of Tanks First impressions

A few things I have noticed after a day of playing the game.

The game seems pretty much clear of bugs and glitches which I must say is a welcome relief.

Controls are relatively easy to pick up and are not that complicated. You move using the w, s, a, d keys and operate your turret with the mouse.

Graphics look pretty good, terrain is interesting and seems well designed for tank combat. The tanks themselves look good.

I have only seen about 4 maps so far and am looking forward to more in future.

The game is centered around pvp combat in organized matches that are a mix of players from different levels. looks like its 15 vs 15 combat and each team contains a mix of tanks from the three different trees.

There are 3 tank trees to research (Level) centered around the Soviets, German and Americans.
You can research and then upgrade different parts to your tank including, turret, gun, engine, tracks and so forth.

The game uses gold and regular currency to upgrade your tanks.

The option is there to purchase a Premium account. There also appears to be the ability to purchase the Premium account for in game currency possibly making the games higher level free to play as well.

Most importantly I am having fun right now and am enjoying the apparently good community that plays this game.

Monday, May 2, 2011

World of Tanks Trial

In an effort to explore the broader world of online computer gaming I will be trying out some popular titles in the F2P and Broiwser format. I have decided to give World of Tanks a try first as it looks rather interesting.

What it is:

World of Tanks is a F2P World War II Tank MMO that allows you to control and wage combat in multiple diofferent tanks. I tried to get into the Beta for this game, but was unable to. I am going to give it a try and will report back here as to my expirience in the game. If you want to check it out yourself, please click HERE.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Howdy Keyboard Required

Hello all you key tapping, mouse ramming, trackball spinning video game playing wazoos.
I'd like to take an minute to give you all a little of my back ground.
I have played some type of interactive, electron interfaced mechanically controlled time waster for 30+ years. i have most endured myself to strategy and puzzle games. If it were not for the nagging of certain other humans, I would have never taken the plunge into MMORPG. to those that contributed, Curse you to Hell!!!
That being said, I now find myself in the position of playing those more than my old school side scrolling shoot em up style games. To be honest, I don't miss them much but have not given them up either.
I have a limited taste in building PC's. sadly, with the advent of scada drives and USB interconnectivity, the skill is now lost. its all plug and play in my humble opinion.
I would like to lift my hats off to Armatus for allowing me to tickle the keys a little with him and maybe even entertain a few of you that read the blog.
If you have any questions or would like me to research something, leave a note, comment or email.
lets get back to Gaming!
"life is what happens when your not playing WOW".....