Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Highly Opinionated” (!)

Justin (Syp) of Bio Break, writer extraordinaire and one of my favorite bloggers, also writes the LotRO column (The Road to Mordor) for Massively, site extraordinaire and one of my favorite MMO sites. Now, I always appreciate a mention and a link…

“The Pix’led Life — A highly opinionated blog, although that’s certainly not a bad thing!”


I read that and laughed so hard, my wife asked me what was wrong!

Then I went back and read some of my recent posts…and he’s not wrong. Hmmm, looks like I need a bit of attitude adjustment; I’m turning into a cranky ol’ gamer without realizing it!

Champions Online Free to Play…

Free To Try....meh.

I can’t say I’m entirely suprised.

I also can’t say I’m terribly interested. I got the email in my Inbox this morning, chuckled because Champions Online going Free To Try is actually happening a lot later than I expected, and promptly deleted the email. The chances of me re-installing the game are pretty slim; it didn’t have much to offer me when I first tried it, and from what I’ve seen from the occasional news update, it doesn’t have a whole lot new.

This is one case where I don’t think going the “DDO route” is going to pay off. I subbed to CO when it launched, buying a 6 month subscription entirely for the chance to try Star Trek Online during the beta. I didn’t make it 6 days in the game before I lost all interest.

The one thing I have to wonder – what does this mean for Star Trek Online?

Did I Miss Something?

Two quick screenshots today, from recent adventures in gathering the Grey Host.

What the...?

What is THAT? What the heck is that??!?!!

Did I miss something my first time through the North Downs? Where did that gateway come from? Needless to say, it caught me by surprise, and stumbling across it was a really nice moment! I guess I need to start looking up a bit more.


Before I could even get over my shock, Turbine hits me with Tham Umdur! All I could do was say, “whoa…”.

Maybe it was residual awe from what’s right outside (see above), but this area hit me full-on with two fists crammed full of pure Cool. Nearly blinded by Sheer Awesomeness!

A whole village built into a cave? Are you kidding me?? It was so atmospheric, so captivating for some reason, that I stayed around and explored the entire area even after finishing off the quest objectives. If that’s not an indication of great visual design, I don’t want to know what is.

This is the reason LotRO continues to hold my (nearly) full attention, how it keeps pulling me back in. Little surprises and not-so-little details and utterly gorgeous design.

Bravo, Turbine! Bravo!


On the Way Out

Just as we’re preparing to leave for the weekend (family camping trip), I noticed this little announcement from BioWare. Space Combat in The Old Republic!

Not much to say about this, except that it’s not wholly unexpected. And at the same time, it’s great to have it confirmed as a feature at launch. I always thought it ludicrous that SWG launched without space combat. In a lot of ways, space dogfights are more a part of the Star Wars experience than almost anything. Except maybe lightsabers. If you think about it, nearly all of the biggest, most dramatic moments in the movies center around space combat. And lightsabers.

So I guess we get to have both! Cheers BioWare!

Let’s Get Some Perspective

We’re preparing for the annual family camping trip here at home, so not a lot of time for anything else. Also, not a lot of time this weekend, for obvious reasons. I worked my way a bit deeper into Mirkwood, visiting the Haunted Inn. And I drooled over the dev diary and screenshots released this week for Enedwaith. If I could be more excited, I would be. And I’d be pretty useless.

However, a couple of items that I feel are worth discussing:

  • Final Fantasy – This was my first taste (two, actually) with perspective this week. One, Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Edition was on sale on Steam, for $5. Even though it’s normally $10, at $5 it seemed like a no-brainer. At first glance.

    Considering I’m a sucker for story, and continuity, I generally try to play serialized games in the order in which they are released. Even if the early entries are less than sterling examples of games, I generally try to suffer through. For example, I’ve been playing through the original F.E.A.R games; one, because I’ve always been interested and when they originally came out my machine couldn’t handle them (and I had no time), and, two, because I’m very interested in the upcoming F.3.A.R. (F.E.A.R. 3). The original game and expansion have proven to be great shooter experiences, but I’ve heard that F.E.A.R 2 is a lacking successor.

    What does F.E.A.R have to do with Final Fantasy? Nothing. Final Fantasy XI with Final Fantasy XIV? Very little. Even with little continuity or connection between version eleven and the upcoming fourteen, I came very close to purchasing FFXI. One click away; I had it in my cart and everything.

    Then I realized that I had little interest in grinding my way through FFXI. My interest in FFXI stems purely from seeing Final Fantasy XIV; it’s a pretty game and one that I will probably check out. I do, however, recognize that it probably has a shelf-life of about 3 months (max) on my hard drive. Still, I’d been planning on checking it out. It’s very pretty, and any game that purports to make crafting a viable class choice is good in my book.

    Until now. At this point, I’m not so sure. The minimum system requirements seem reasonable, but for a game that boasts such impressive graphics, the minimums aren’t going to cut it for most players. The recommended specs for XIV stink of another “Age of Conan” debacle. Square Enix needs a serious dose of perspective here; the recommended system is not what your typical gamer has, and represents a seriously unreasonable investment. Not good, folks, and certainly not the way to attract a sizable customer base.

  • Instance Scaling in LotRO – I’ve liked this idea since it was first announced, primarily because of the accessibility it represents. One, it makes it that much easier for me to play through certain content with my alts. Two, it means that I can visit (or revisit) certain parts of the story again and be rewarded for it. The mention of new rewards for higher-level players particularly intrigues me.

  • Kingdoms of Amalur – 38 Studios announced their single-player RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Not only am I interested in this game on its own merits, but also because it would seem to be the precursor to Project Copernicus, the MMO currently in development. I haven’t bought into their hype so far (though I’m generally a sucker for good hype), because they haven’t had anything to show. Though I am interested because I’m a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore. And, to a slightly lesser degree, Todd McFarlane. And Ken Rolston (designer of Oblivion). Talk about a dream team. Just about the only person on the team I’m not truly excited about is Curt Schilling, though I dig that he’s making the whole thing happen. Almost single-handedly.

    The site for Reckoning has  some nice information on the game. The screenshots are gorgeous, and look exactly like what I would expect from Todd McFarlane. I also, surprisingly, loved the audio on the site; clicking the Mute button on sites like this is usually the very first thing I do, but I found myself listening closely, and I left it on. Great stuff.

    There’s also a really nice cinematic trailer, and though I don’t expect the game to look like the trailer, I’m hoping that the combat plays out close to what they show. Definitely action-oriented. I could have done without the huge hammer, though. That’s just silly.