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Monday, October 31, 2011

One is a Lonely Number




So I bought a new home the other day. It’s not much to look at, but has a great view and a decent size lot. It sits atop a small hill with two trees and is overlooking a quaint little town with a pond, gazebo and waterfall. The inside is sparsely furnished with a bench, a bed, a couple rugs, a dresser and a chair or two. Warmth and relaxation can be found next to one of the fireplaces located each room and the soft, soothing sounds of gentle music that play through out the place. So it’s not much, but it’s mine, well as long as I pay the upkeep it’s mine. However as nice and peaceful this may sound, the house has one major draw back to it. When I am home I often find myself feeling quite lonely.

So after a long day of adventuring and assisting the citizens of Middle Earth with various problems, I was happy to come galloping down the road and see my home. Putting the horse up for the night, I went inside, started a fire and sat down on my chair. Well that’s it really nothing much to do and if not for the music playing in the background the deafening silence would have driven me mad. After several minutes of looking around and finding nothing to really do, I decided that maybe I should take this opportunity and take a walk around town. Just maybe I would stop in and meet some of my neighbors.



The walk was pleasant enough as the town itself is rather pretty and peaceful, but I quickly found out that all of my neighbors were either not home or had been evicted for failure to pay the upkeep on their houses. Undeterred I headed into the center of town were I met a musical Troupe playing next to a fountain (They weren’t very talkative as they were busy playing their instruments.), A couple of shop keeps and a random citizen or two. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they were not the biggest conversationalist and seemed actually surprised themselves to see another person.



So after a few moments of aimlessly meandering around town I headed back to my own house up on the hill. As I rounded the corner to the street I lived on, I glimpsed someone riding hard towards me. Frantically I tried to raise my hand and bellow forth a cheerful greeting to my newly met neighbor, but to my dismay they paid me little mind and road on past with a stern look of urgent and pressing business. I considered briefly of giving chase and making myself known, but quickly laid that thought aside as I didn’t want them to think of me as a crazy person this early in our new relationship. 



With a disappointing sigh I went back into my new home and sat down in front of the fireplace. I wondered if I should give it another go tomorrow, just maybe there will be more people out and about. Maybe I could hang out by the store; surely someone would come by sooner or later. Nah unfortunately I myself had pressing business myself tomorrow. You see there have been some recent reports of Orcs being spotted in the low-lands and I still hadn’t collected enough Warg tails for that lady at the Forsaken Inn. Nope, unfortunately it appears that tomorrow will be quite the busy day for me and I won’t get much of a chance to go about town. Such a shame really, this would be such a nice place to live if it wasn’t so damn lonely.   


Monday, October 24, 2011

In Case You Forgot - Battlefield 3 Releases Tomorrow



High flying jets and earth shaking tanks are available tomorrow in the much anticipated game Battlefield 3. I must say this game looks great and from what I have played in the Beta it is shaping up to be one of the best shooter/military simulators they have ever made.

Pre-order prices appear to be $60 on Origin, but if you don't like digital copies (raises hand) then it will be available in many retailers. See you on the battlefield.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Really??? LOL

Ok I cant decide which one of these videos is more comical. I still cant believe what I am seeing.



Thanks Blizzard for providing me a moment of pure entertainment. I want desperately to write something much more profound, but my mind just can't do it at the moment. From the creative minds that brought you the Lich King and Deathwing, we now present to you, Po the Kung Fu Panda. 

The average age of WoW players just decreased by about 10 years.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Value of a Games Graphics



Value of a Games Graphics
As technology advances our hobby of choice is looking better and better with each new title released. Companies are spending a lot of resources and time on crafting visually stunning and immersive worlds. Two games in particular that I am very much looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic and Battlefield 3 appear to be taking great care in designing the graphical boxes we play in, but the approach each is undergoing are quite different and present a completely different end result.


The Cartoon Look

It started with World of Warcraft and continues today in many games. The concept of throttled back graphics to make a game more accessible is not uncommon. Blizzard purposefully lowered the graphics on their game so that they could grab a larger audience and the game came out looking more like a cartoon than real life. SW:TOR appears to be headed in the exact same direction as the game has more of a look and feel one gets when watching the Cartoon Network than say living the real life of a Jedi Knight.

When looking at graphics we must also break it down to back drops and interactive pieces. A mountain side in the distance is not the same as a tree that a player runs past. Trees and other movable objects in games are often limited in the detail or interaction they are capable of. Often times these items are not very animated by developers for the same purpose of creating a less burdensome system.  So if developers are willing to lesson the graphical reality of their environments, the question begs to be asked. Just how important are graphics to the overall enjoyment of a game?



Realism vs. Playability

The Battlefield series of games, like most shooters, has always tried maintained a high level of graphical detail. Giving the player a feeling of realism is very important to a game in this genre, as they are often done in the first person setting. Battlefield 3 is stunningly beautiful and boasts some of the most interactive environments available in games. Each map in BF3 is completely destructible and looks as if it were real. Buildings can have holes blown out in them or they can be completely demolished. Other objects like trees, cars or fences are real looking and also completely manipulative. Watching a tank explode in a large ball of fire and flying shrapnel adds to a player’s enjoyment upon scoring the kill. If that same tank merely turned black and stopped working, the impact of the kill would be lessoned dramatically.

 Details like paint on the wall, grass growing in cracks and windows broken out add to the detail of the environment and enhance a persons feeling of realism. However with each addition to the graphical overlay the system required to run the game increases, thus shutting out some potential customers. Game developers are always attempting to find the right balance between realism and playability.




Value of Graphics

It would be improper to say a game with lesser graphics can not be successful or entertaining. Some people love Minecraft, a game with graphics that are sub-par to today’s standards. But for the majority of games, a well designed and graphically beautiful environment is very important if not essential for a games desirability and immersion. Some game developers have decided to give their customers a choice in which level of detail they want like in Lord of the Rings Online which now offers a choice between a high quality game client and a lesser toned down version.  

When we look at MMORPG games in particular, the look of the game world can be very important to the overall enjoyment of the game. When we spend large amounts of time in a virtual world we want it to be as inviting and enjoyable as possible and often the way a world looks can be very important to fulfilling this need. World of Warcraft was by no accounts breathtakingly beautiful, but what it was able to capture was players imaginations. If the game was released with lesser graphics, a player may not be as enraptured with it as they could be and may be turned off by the break in immersion they may suffer.



Pixilated Love Fest

Any way you look at it a games graphical appearance is often important to how much we enjoy the game. Some games are able to get away with less than stellar graphics, but they must provide a gaming experience that is both entertaining and has an element of game play that surpasses its graphical short comings.
 
For me a games quality of graphics can play a significant role in my ability to enjoy a game, but it is not always required. If a game is able to provide a fun and entertaining experience with out the need for high powered pixels than I am just as likely to try it out. Just don’t expect me to be wowed by a game trailer if it doesn’t look good.
 I am curious to hear what others think on the subject and see how they value a games graphics in their decision to both buy and play a game.  

Turbine Warns of Potental Account Hacking

Earlier this week there some buzz going around that the Lord of the Rings Forum account information had been hacked. The forums were indeed taken off line for some time and earlier today I received this email from Turbine.

Greetings,


Turbine is concerned that a third-party recently may have attempted to access forum account information. There is no indication at this time that your account was modified or compromised. For your protection we suggest you change the password to a unique, hard to guess password not associated with any other sites or services. If you changed your password after October 11th, then you can disregard this message.


To change your password, please follow these steps:
  1. Go tohttps://myaccount.turbine.com/ and click on "Forgot your password?" You may also click this in the game launcher.

  2. Follow the instructions on how to recover your password. A new password will be sent to this e-mail address.

  3. Once you have received the password reset e-mail, change your password. Please remember to use unique, hard-to guess passwords that are not associated with other online services or sites.
Turbine takes your account security seriously. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at https://support.turbine.com/. You may submit a new inquiry to our Customer Service team, and they will be able to assist you further.


Thank you,


Turbine Support




Looks like it is time to change your passwords.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

WoT Battle of Moscow Special



The next special deal is coming for World of Tanks scheduled for October 14th to October 17th.. This time it is in rememberance of the battle of Moscow. Standard specials are to be had like 50 percent off on select tanks and increased credits for those tanks. Heres the complete list:

  • These tanks will be half price and earn double credits:
    • PzKpfw 38 nA
    • PzKpfw IV
    • PzKpfw VI Tiger (P)
    • VK 3001 (P)
    • T-28
    • KV
    • KV-3
    • IS
  • These premium tanks are also half off:
    • PzKpfw B2 740
    • Matilda
  • 5x XP for the first victory each day (on each of your tanks)
  • Enlarging barracks are half off (150 gold)
  • 100% crew training is half off (100 gold per member)
  • Retraining crew to 100% primary skill will be half off (100 gold)
  • Training a crew bought with a tanks to 100% also half off (100 gold)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 10 Battlefield 3 Beta Issues

If you have been gunning away on the BF3 Beta lately, theres a good chance you have run into some problems. EA has released fixes to the biggest problems people are facing. I have posted the top ten below or you can go the post here.



1. Squad issues: Cannot play with friends within same squad, squads get split up onto opposite teams, etc.
There will be improved squad functionality in the retail game (including but not limited to): the ability to create squads prior to launching into a game, sticking with your squad when joining a game and continuing together through future games (If team balance on the server allows it), inviting friends to a squad and changing squads once in game.


2. Regarding additional Open Beta content and fixes/patches for consoles, including PlayStation 3 issues with chat and party systemsWhile we would like to patch the Open Beta, DICE is currently focusing its available resources on polishing the retail game.


3. Will DICE have enough time to iron out everything by release? Please see General Manager Karl Magnus Troedsson's blog post regarding this question.


4. Can we have ability to change settings/options before deployment into match on PC? The ability to modify your settings via the deploy screen has been added into the retail game.


5. Issues with terrain stability and “falling into the map” on Operation M├ętroThis has been fixed for the beta via a server side update.


6. Kill cam sometimes zooms out too far or outside the map
This has been fixed for the launch of the retail game.


7. A bug that sometimes keeps some players from being able to sprintThis has been fixed for the launch of the retail game.


8. Screen flickering/stuttering. Blue screen remains after respawn. Game locks up after deploying C4 (360) This has been fixed for the launch of the retail game.


9. Downed bodies appear to be dead, but are not
The DICE team has been looking into this issue – which is caused by a combination of incidents in a confined area - and are working hard to address the issue for the launch of the retail game.


10. Why is the hit detection seemingly different from Battlefield: Bad Company 2?
The netcode is one of the many things that we are testing as part of the Open Beta and is not necessarily reflective of the final retail game. The DICE team appreciates and has heard the feedback you’ve provided and is further optimizing online play.

The French are Coming

Overlord released a time table for future releases earlier today and what we can expect from the tank factory. The biggest group to come out by years end is the French group which consists of over 18 tanks. I must admit I didn't relise the french made that many tanks, but apparently Word of Tanks found some to use. To see the full list click the link below.

Overlord

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Diplomacy is Supreme Update



If you read my first post about this particular game then you are aware of the problem I was facing and the diplomacy that was underway to make a difference. Well as you can see things didn't go as well as I hoped for. Lithuania did indeed join myself and Italy in the conflict, but he was late to join in. The plan to cut off Algeria from crossing into Europe ultimately failed because his battleship fleet arrived to late.

I havent given up hope yet and still ma fighting, but with Algeria attacking my Captial I may be on my last leg. Oh well like I said winning and losing in this Supreamcy 1914 is part of it, but to me the real star is the diplomacy.