The Weekend Gamer
Thoughts on gaming culture, living among non-gamers, and growing up in the nintendo generation

Jan
19

Progress Report

I wish I had much more progress to report since I haven’t updated you guys in while. Sorry about that. Unfortunately I have not had a chance to even load up Warhammer this entire week. I had a lot of work to do when I did have free time and then my PC’s power supply fried. Anyway, Spazter is sitting nicely at 35. He might stay there a bit, but I think I am ready to head into some scenarios for this weekend. I decided to jump on my Bright Wizard, Cagel, last weekend.

Cagel is a level 11 Bright Wizard who is having way too much fun in Tier 1 oRvR and scenarios. It may be that I have a case of ding-nitis which has evolved into a minor case of alt-itist, but that’s not stopping me from having fun! I managed to fill up his influence bar in Empire and have moved on to Elf to cap there. I don’t think that I’ll be able to cap it before I hit 12, but here’s for trying!

Chatter

Just because I haven’t had a chance to load up the game this week yet doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening to the community. There is talk about fortresses and wards and basically a lot going on in the warhammer community. Warhammer hit 1 Million Characters this week according to Waralytics — Gratz! A big thank you to Snafzg from The Greenskin for the WAR: The Age of Blogging mention on his site. The Greenskin is one of my favorite Warhammer Blogs and I feel lucky to get an honorable mention! Welcome to all the new readers! Also, voting for the 2008 Greeny Awards has opened up. Make sure to head on over and put in your votes (You only have until tonight)!

First things up: Fortress Siege Caps. It seems that while Mythic is fighting the war against server lag and fortress siege crashes, they’ve decided to institute a player cap for fortress sieges. Basically this is an elaborate band-aid that covers up the problem until they are able to fix it. The good thing is, it seems to be working because there have been a ton of fortress sieges lately and only one server has managed to crash since those fixes.

Wards. Way back ago in Oct, when people were just hitting 40 and getting into the end-game, There was a grab bag introducing the Wards System in Warhammer Online. Basically, in order to play the end game effectively you are required to acquire a set of gear with wards on them. The better the ward, the more successful you will be in the end-came epic battles. Jeff from Warhammer at least seems to really, really, really love Ward Gear (at least that is the way he comes off in Paul’s Video Blog). However, the community doesn’t seem to like the idea so far. I honestly do not yet have an opinion just yet other than it seems like a bad idea. I haven’t been able to find a Bastion Stair group yet, and the other places to get the gear are lvl 40 dungeons and oRvR. It will be interesting to see where things go on this topic.

WAR! What is good for?

No not absolutely nothing! There is a lot of conversation this week on how to make war’s RvR better. One idea I read earlier today from Regis suggests adding in warcamps as take-able objectives. I actually think that would be really cool and would like to see how it pans out. Another way to do the same thing is, once the zone has flipped, a PQ opens up in the enemy’s warcamp that counts towards flipping the next zone. Regis points out a post by Arbitrary along the same lines of adding in some villages to the oRvR areas. Another really cool idea that I think would be fun to try out. Both ideas are pointing at, hey give us something to plunder, burn, loot, and destroy. Syp joined in and gave his reactions to this stating that he can envision even more:

Arbitrary’s idea has a lot of merit, especially if you expand that idea to include not just little villages, but anything that you can (a) deface, (b) burn, (c) loot and (d) manipulate. What if you captured a BO and then everyone would immediately go on a frantic easter egg hunt looking for little clickies that could give you random loot? Or the longer you held a BO, the bigger a “defense bonus” would appear in your inventory when it finally fell? What if you could tear down the walls of a building, or put fire to the roof, or plant a flag for every guild that took the BO that time around? What if BOs gave you tools that you could wield in oRvR elsewhere — summonable NPC guards, siege equipment, ladders, one-shot abilities, maybe even a two-minute buff that would show all of the enemy forces on your map? What if by capturing a BO, you’d extend the respawn timer on killed enemy players in the zone by 15 seconds, to slow them down? The possibilities really are endless.
That brings me to my next topic:

It’s Paul’s Birthday and We Get a Present

Paul Barnett made a post on his video blog the other day which included some good news from the code team (Jeff and Colin). First off, they are implementing a new zone control system that basically equates to: If you capture the Objectives you will flip zone, or at least will be really close. They’ve also been hard at work on the crashing issues and seems that is working very well. All this seems to be heading our way in Patch 1.11. Might this little change in the way zones are flipped provide all the incentive to defend that is needed? Here is the video:

Wrap Up

It certainly will be fun watching where things go for us in the next couple of patches. Mark Jacobs ensure us that he has something coming soon and Paul’s video definitely wets my appetite for the upcoming patch. I still have several Buddy Keys available if anyone is interested just email at ctiggerf@gmail.com with your servername and side choice. Come to find out they are only really 7 days for free (but you don’t get charged until 30 days are up). Here is some additional reading for this week:

Traitors? Never.
Dev Diary
A Short Guide to Roleplaying
Experience Enhancements
Grab Bag #7
Favorite Places in Game
PC Gamer’s Warhammer Guide
MMO History being erased? (I actually played Threshold for probably 4 years)
Accept the RvR Only Challenge


Until Next Time.
Get your WAAAAGH On!
-cfalzone

Jan
15

Hope you’ve made good headway on your pile of shame (games you haven’t yet finished), because things are going to start getting back to normal very quickly. Two quick reminders in case you missed them this week:

The first is that Fallout 3’s first round of DLC, titled Operation:Anchorage, will be released (for the PC and 360, no word yet on the PS3) on January 27th. “Anchorage has players entering a virtual reality simulation in which they must help liberate the city of Anchorage, Alaska from Chinese invaders. The episode contains new items and characters and will take an estimated 4-5 hours to complete. The price for the Xbox 360 and PC versions will cost 800 Microsoft Points ($10).”

The second is that Resident Evil 5 will get a demo on Januray 26th, a supposed one week timed exclusive for Xbox Live users. We can assume then that PS3 owners will be able to play on Monday, Feb. 2nd. Not bad!

–WG

Jan
15

Here it is! For those of you who haven’t been following the blog, I work at a church, overseeing all the arts there from music to drama to the visual arts. We’re doing a series right now called Heroes and Villains, which is taking some of the most classic bible stories you heard as a kid and teaching them in a relevant way to adults–kind of a “taking them back from the kids wing” sort of thing!

Last weekend was the story of Caleb and the other spies from Numbers 13 and 14 (a more obscure kids story, I know). Ever since I first loaded Little Big Planet into the disc tray, I wanted to use it in the services one weekend. This was the weekend I had picked for it. It’s my first and only level design so far, and considering that, I’m pretty pleased with it.

I storyboarded out the general flow of the level, and then we captured the footage and audio of me playing through it a couple of days before the services. I then wrote a script and our tech director recorded the voiceovers with two volunteers as they watched the video of the playthrough (there were
many takes, believe me). Finally, we sent it off to our video guy, and he added the animations and music you see at the beginning and end.

I got a ton of positive feedback on Sunday. The pastor who was speaking this last weekend came up right out of this video and began his sermon. I think that it did its job of memorably (and hopefully humorously!) retelling a slightly obscure bible passage so that someone who had never read the story before could feel like they understood the basic background that we were working from. Hope you enjoy.

–WG

Jan
12

Hey, in case you haven’t heard yet, just wanted to let you know that Phillip Kollar, Nick Suttner, and Anthony Gallegos have attached themselves to Eat-Sleep-Game.com, and have started an indie podcast called Rebel FM.  Click the link to subscibe on Itunes.

The 1up show crew is working on something, we don’t know what yet, but you can check them out at talkingorange.com.

–WG

Jan
12

Didn’t do too much gaming this past weekend.  As I said on my twitter, I’ve actually been either watching blu ray movies or using netflix streaming.  I’ve also been fulfilling my end of the Gears of War 2 bargain with my wife.  I finished Twilight, which at some moments was a pretty good read, and at others was like listening to a 7th grade girl tell me what having a boyfriend is like.  I told Rach she owed me a couple of chapters of Gears before I’d pick up the next book.

My Little Big Planet level debuted on Saturday night and Sunday morning–I got a lot of comments about it, and spent the morning explaining to people exactly how I did it.  I think it fulfilled its purpose–that of explaining a story in a visual and creative way.  It was certainly memorable.  I’m waiting for my video guy to post it up on Vimeo, or just send me the file.  Hopefully I can get him to get it to me by tomorrow or Wednesday.

I think I have the hang of Noble difficulty in Civ IV now.  I just don’t like how it favors aggressive action.  I like to win via diplomacy/culture, but I’m too scared of the Chinese, off on the eastern continent (wow, that sounds like a propetic foretelling of President Obama’s foreign policy in the not too distant future).  I’m a couple of hours in to a game, and am confident now that I will emerge victorious, since I’m so far ahead in the technology race.  It’s just a matter of paying off the other cultures so that they fight amongst themselves.

The only other thing that gets me about a game of Civilization is that as you progress through the game, each round has an ever increasing horde of units, workers, and cities to micro manage.  Rounds tick by ever slower, and then if you take a break for a few days, and come back, it sometimes can take you nearly 2o min to get your bearings and remember what was happening.

I’ll have to dive into the expansions next.  Lots of catching up to do while we’re in the Q1 mini slump.  What did you play this weekend?

–WG

Jan
08

It’s much worse than I thought.  This is what happens when you take a day off and don’t look at your computer all day.  As part of the sale of 1up, most of my favorite video games journalism personalities have been let go.  Nick, Phillip, Anthony, Ryan and the rest of the 1up Show crew, Milky, Andrew, and Shane, among others.  1up Show? gone.  1up FM? gone.  1 up yours?  who knows.

In one day my favorite crew of video game journalists were summarily kicked to the curb.  1up will continue, but it was the personalities that made it quality.  My only consolation is knowing that most of these fine folks will find jobs elsewhere in the industry and continue on.  The 1up FM guys were even trying to put up a podcast tonight, dubbed Rebel FM.  Seems like it’ll be a farewell show judging from twitter posts I’m seeing.

And then I’ll just have to suffer through podcast withdrawal, bereft of one of the finest sources of video game journalism there ever was.  RIP 1up Show, 1up FM, and EGM.  You’ll be missed.  My prayers go out to all those who lost their jobs in this economy.  I hope you all land on your feet.  Can’t wait to see what you end up doing next.

Below are some interesting links related to the story:

Sam Kennedy interview

Jeff Green Blog

Stairwell Tribute to the fired 1up crew–lol.

–WG

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