Sunday, November 29, 2009

Legend of Neil, Season 2, Ep. 7 -- A Date With Destiny

Legend of Neil, Season 2, Ep. 7 -- A Date With Destiny

I just really want to support a wonderful Internet show. Watch, comment, digg it up, especially if you like it. This is the season finale, but feel free to explore the rest of this really funny irreverent show.

A Casual Social Hardcore Perspective or Walking the Tightrope

On Thursday, Steam sold Batman Arkham Asylum at a 50% discount. Realizing the opportunity, (and with my wife's permission >_<) I bought the game for a mere $25.

I must say, this game is everything I heard it was. It's genuinely fun, never feels like you're slogging through it, there's enough variety of what you're doing that as it cycles through it, you always feel fresh, and it is full of details.

Exploring, gathering, fighting, stealth, puzzle solving, and tracking. You're always doing something new. You go into a new area, and you immediately need to sneak, neutralize the armed guards, brawl the punk push overs, find some Riddler clues, climb a building, find a secret entrance, and follow the tobacco/fingerprints.

Batman himself is a badass, and you don't need to have the detailed combo controls of a fighter to get him to do cool things. You have Attack, Counter, Stun, Quick Batarang, Quick Batclaw, beyond that you have unlocked moves, and some stealth take downs.

There's a part in the game, a Challenge Mode, that let's you try beating up a series of baddies, and at the end you get your grand total. To get higher scores, you need to get long uninterrupted chains of attacks, until you have an insanely high multiplier, and flawlessly do ground take downs on your foes (as it scores the highest point return). I've managed to near 20,000 points, putting me in the 45,000th place. I checked the top 100. Their scores are in the billions. I'm wondering if they had to of cheated to get that score, and why if the cheat is gone, they didn't reset the leaderboards.

I know I'll never get into the top 100, but I do know that I can beat 20,000, I just need to do better. This is where I'm very much into the challenge. Despite the fact that most of the game the baddies are pushovers, and I never worry about death (though I have died, mostly to Bane), and play it pretty casually. I've always been this way with games, doing the casual and the hardcore.

But there's more to it than that, and some games don't let you play both. In Tetris, you can start with a higher speed, you'll still need to clear as many lines as it would take you to get to this level, before you move on, but you'll start faster (and therefore harder).

I'm really happy with Batman, and I'm glad I bought it. It's a very good game.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


PVD got me thinking about how things have changed, in both MMOs and off-line games, and I have some things I'm thankful for that I think every game or MMO should do:

1. Free Preview

Recently I was on Steam and tried out a few demos, it only took time to download these demos, and once I had them I was able to get a taste of what the games were like.

Thanks to the free preview I learned that Gyromancer is not a game for me, that L4D2 is hella hard, and I need to practice more on L4D(1) before I decide I'm awesome enough for 2. But I also discovered a game that will be joining my collection soon: Zombie Shooter 2.

Free Previews allow the consumer to more appropriately find the game that they want, and in the case of Zombie Shooter 2, allows me to give a smaller indi game, a chance.

2. Expansions

There are plenty of games out there that we love, and we play through once. We might re-play it, to relive some moments in a story (in the case of RPGs or Adventure games). An expansion would allow us to have more of the same (which quite honestly, would cut back on the 5 million Megaman games out there).

Essentially, in the model of Megaman in particular, is that you would add more bosses, and more Wily Castles. When you finally come up with something different enough (sliding, rush, power armor), that you would make a sequel for it.

3. My Avatar is better than me

I first saw this in Kotor, and again in Wow. Let's take a game like God of War, and I can dodge on my own, but, Kratoes, in all his bad-assery, also avoids getting hit on his own. I press to block but on his own he deflects attacks. I want more of this in games.

4. Any Race, any Class

D&D 4e, finally allows this to happen, and though you can be any class/race combination, it's not always ideal. In the end, it's about player choice, and restricting that in a game that's not all voice over, just feels silly.

5. Voice choices

Dragon Age Character Creator, allowed me to select my character's voice, and EQ2 also let's you do that. From an "RP" stand point it allows added immersion for your character.

6. Downloadable games

As time goes on, my desire for cheap, good games that are just a download away increases. I recently downloaded the new Excitebike for Wii, and I'm looking forward to playing through Zomebie Shooter 2. I got my wife Mario 64 as well. Having the choice to download old favorites is great for me, and is honestly something I've wanted to have legally for a long time.

Now if only they'd get more of the backlog collection onto the DSi library so that I could play Super Mario Bros. 3 on it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Costumes Added to Champions Online, for FREE!

New costume pieces were added, check them out. Also on that page is a list of costumes that you can now add GLOW to. Glow can make or break some outfits, so going back to a tailor to add glow might be a must.

I counted about 23 costumes or so, most of it for the back of your hero. Things like weapons, mantles, guitars and some cool head pieces.

The other great thing is that this weekend, for Thanksgiving, they're giving another Free weekend. I can only hope it goes more smoothly than last time, but hey, nothing like playing a hero for a weekend a month it seems. I wonder if they'll do the same thing for X-mas.

Either way, check out the glows, and see you this weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Battle Station

Champions Online has a training room called the Battle Station (check out NET Custa's video). It's pretty much a Danger Room, that you can set up with Enemies that you'd be running into. As you level up the enemies change to fit the type of enemies you'd be fighting at that level.

You pick the type of enemy group you'd be fighting (The Purple Gang, Demons, Irridiates, etc etc), then you choose the difficulty. Easy are for enemies 1 level lower than you, normal is for enemies equal level to you, and hard are for enemies one level higher than you.

Then you choose your team size. This is great if you want to practice with a teammate, or a regular group of guys. It also let's you test your solo ability.

My highest level player has been in the Training room for weeks, as I've been trying different in-style combinations (I mean, powers that fit his character). The one thing I noticed most was that my two favorite defenses are Regeneration and Invulnerability. Further more, don't forget you can pick an offensive and a defensive passive ability.

The Battle Station is an amazing room, and it can really help you decide what's best for your hero.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When would be a good time to try Champions Online again?

Honestly, the game that Champions Online is NOW, almost 3 months after it's launch is much better.

They've been making very positive, constant progress in this game. They're adding more level 40 content (which I've stated is the majority of their player-base aside from those level 1-10). They've added more filler for the content between 20-34 which was reported as being "sparse".

They're newest addition to PVP is alot of fun, and got such a positive response, that more themed pvp will continue to be release in the future.

If you've already bought this game, then a reactivation in mid-February might be a good time to check back in on the game to see what progress they've made.

The biggest reason I knew I wanted a life-time subscription to this game is that progress I saw them make in the couple of weeks of open beta before launch. If they can make so many changes and fixes like that, then I can expect constant progress until they get the game where it needs to be. The best part about MMOs is that the more time that you spend away from it, the more content there is for you to do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why is Tesla so popular?

There are 541 super heroes in Champions online with the name Tesla. I did the search after the 7th time I saw someone named Doctor Tesla.

How is it that this guy is popular enough to be a superhero?

Why do video games make me happy?

The other day I was feeling really depressed. I just wanted to stop feeling so annoyed and angry. So I sat down and played the new Excitebike game for the Wii. After trying to get an S-rank on one of the tracks for about 30 minutes, I finally suceeded. Afterwards I felt really good, and happy. Whatever it was that had made me feel as horrible as I had was gone.

That feeling that made me so happy, was a sense of accomplishment. Like I was able to do something amazing.

So I started to wonder, why was I so depressed, and why does artificial accomplishment (doing something that doesn't really matter), make me feel so good?

For the depression part, I think most everyone would understand. Everyday I do the same thing. I work, I pick up my son from school, I sleep, I eat, I do chores, I help my son with his homework, I play some games if I have time, I write or plan if I have time. When someone I haven't seen in three years asks me what's been happening, ... I really don't have an answer for them. I'm still at the same job, doing the same thing, still having money problems, still paying the same bills, the same credit cards. I haven't accomplished anything. I'm in the progress of doing something, but I haven't gotten there yet.

People want to feel like they've made progress. That's why games like MMOs can become so addictive. They make you feel better. Setting a goal for yourself and accomplishing it can also make you feel better, and in this case, you can do something for yourself. Your real self.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chris Glein

Found this review of Champions Online based on the free weekend.

It's interesting to see alot of the game features broken down as they are now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Champions Online, Database

Called Champedia, the CO database allows you to search for characters, supergroups, powers, or missions.

Missions can be looked up by name, and pretty much just gives a little description, same as when you pick up the mission. It tells you what map to get the mission and what level the mission is for. Good if you want to know what all the missions are on a given map. Though I didn't see post-crisis Desert, Canada, or Millennium City, but I saw the sub maps of alot of those places (caves and buildings etc).

For powers, you can search by tier, or by power source, and it's nice to have on the website.

Characters look up. This is great for a few different things. 1) You can look up by level, experience points, hit points, handle, or of course, character name. At this point you can look into each character's information, from gear, inventory, power choices, completed missions and achievements, and even Rate their Champion.

I looked up how many characters there were in different level brackets, and there's 5,229 level 40 characters, 93243 level 1 characters, 213,347 between 10-19, 57,245 between 20-29, and 18,007 between 30-39. These numbers are instantly off, since the database is live, and players leveling up can quickly leave from one bracket to the next. But that's over 293,000 characters over level 10.

Finally, for the supergroup search. You can look up by group, or by group size (two biggest guilds have 250 members, No More Heroes, and M.A.D). You can sort by level or name, and you can click on each members name to see their character page. If you look up your own supergroup, you can even quit them through the website (it's a "Leave Guild" button), and if you have the privileges, you can change the message of the day from the website as well.

Overall, a good database function, that we can only hope will continue to expand.