Saturday, January 21, 2012

Picked up SWTOR and played a bunch yesterday. Fun stuff, they polished it up from the Beta. Made a smuggler/scoundrel up to level 11 and then had to stop due to bleeding eye syndrome. I'm on the same server, name is Dolf. I send most of you in game mails.

I can understand how the control scheme might be killing you enron - its been around for ages, but if you havent played a bunch of games like that, it's probably gonna feel very off.

PRO-TIP: num-lock key makes your guy auto-move forward until you hit it again or one of the wasd keys. So for long runs/travel, just hit numlock and then steer with the mouse and right mouse button. (This worked in WoW too)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

| Pro Tipage

I forget my name. Its not one of my typical monikers. I will let you know as soon as I log in next.

Re: Pro Tip I: I have used the right click mouse pointer combo, to some success. I'm still experimenting with that one, hoping I can get used to it. I'm still spastic that way. I have not tried the right/left click and point yet. I'll give that a whirl.

Re: Pro Tip II: Yeah, the frenetic came when I got myself surrounded by 5-6 AI plus AI robot and proceeded to get my ass handed to me on several occasions. In trying to run out of the combat, I get off key, and frenetic ensues as I try to survive. More my panic + key binding than the combat itself was frenetic.

Re: Pro Tip III: I though it might be the Windows key the first two times, but the next one I didn't even have my hand on the keyboard, only my mouse. Besides I moved the commands over to the right side of the keyboard. This one is the most perplexing issues. Will research.


| What's your name, little boy?

Tell us your character name (and class) and we can help!

If any of us MMO vets are on I'm sure everyone would be willing to help out with pro tipz, interface issues, key bindings, etc.

I should be on tonight and am itching to get these flashpoints and group heroics off my quest log! I even have a 4 person recommended heroics - c'mon Action Team, everyone log on at once so I don't have to group with any strangers! Although, so far, everyone I have met seems pretty nice.

I dinged 15 today, btw. Leveling is totally like old school WoW, in so far as it seems to be much slower than current WoW. Seems weird.

PRO TIP: Have you tried using your mouse for all movement and facing, while using your Q/E buttons for sidestepping? If you hold both mouse buttons down you will move forward and as you move the mouse, your direction will follow the mouse. I most often use both mouse buttons, Q/E for sidestepping, and S for backing up. (I think. It has become such second nature to me, I question my ability to describe it here...)

PRO TIP II: MOST combat in MMO's shouldn't be as frenetic as you describe (PvP aside). Most combats in MMO's are about the rotation of abilities, targeting bad guys, and figuring out which abilities have synergy with one another, etc. MOST of the time you can just stand there and press the attack buttons, not the movement buttons.

PRO TIP III: You might be hitting the Windows key during your button-mashing which will drop you to the desktop. It is in the worst place possible for playing a WASD game, ever.


Okay, I have played SWTOR for several hours over the past few days and I am not going to lie, I am more than a little frustrated. I am really trying to get over the hump, but struggle with the typical MMORPG 3rd person issue that really presents a problem for me... Movement and limitations to mouse/key binding combinations.

I am an odd duck when it comes to key bindings. I can not use WASD to save my life. I end up all over the keys, especially at stressful combat points, and lose my place a lot. Hence the reason I still type with my eyes regularly on the keyboard. Well, most of the time that is fine and the key bindings can be adjusted to work with my style, but with SWTOR moving the mouse moves the camera POV, not the character's orientation. Using the keys ends up being a button mashing horror show and usually ends with me side stepping for 100 yards, trying to crab out of combat, while being pelt with laser blast, totally disoriented. I will try again tonight or tomorrow and being optimistic. I hope I didn't burn $75 needlessly.

Also, SWTOR really likes to dump me to my desktop periodically while the game is still running. This usually ends badly with me shot dead while waiting for the 3D engine to reinitialize the scene. I have never had this issue before in other games and I haven't figured out if their is a fix. Maybe it is a bug that EA hasn't sussed out yet...

The final straw last night was when I tried to chat with eLzar. I could look him up, add him as a friend, type a whisper, only to find, I cannot send the comment. Why? Well and don't seem to work in the chat window. Maybe I'm dumb. I'll have to look for solutions on that as well.

I didn't play Tuesday, was rocking' some tabletop action. I was on last night from like 9-10, so it sounds like we all played, just not simultaneously.

Earthdawn! Character creation Tuesday at eight or so. Be there if you kaer!*

* A kaer is an underground shelter people have hidden in for the 400 years of the Scourge**

** The Scourge was the period when the magic level rose to dangerously high levels, allowing the Horrors*** to lay waste to the Earth.

*** The Horrors are monsters from the depths of Astral Soace who prey on the fear, hatred, or flesh of Namegivers****.

**** Sentient beings are called Namegivers because they have the ability to name places, things, and other living things, increasing their magical potential.

See, Earthdawn jokes can be funny!
Ha ha! For a second I thought it was a map of a dungeon in SWTOR.

I've been logging in kinda late. As in around midnight. Been playing way too late. Come the weekend, I'll be logged in the whole day... err, I mean I should be on normal people time.

| SWTOR is dead, long live SWTOR

Where is everybody? I haven't seen any of my "friends" log in in some time... or they just created new characters and switched servers on me....

I just dinged 14 and finally see some abilities that speak to my tanking-ness, FYI. Patience, Theride-san.

And here is a network diagram that was sent to me at work when I asked my 'technical contact' in a group I HAVE to work with for detailed information regarding their VPN configuration:

This is one of the most awe inspiring pieces of garbage I have ever set my eyes on. And no, this is not a joke, and no Wylie didn't actually draw this. The dude who sent me this is the worst ever. Ever. EVER. All he does is make things more difficult for the world and filibuster meetings that are urgent and require his teams action.

My favorite part is the red dot. It serves no function at all, but there it is.

Shoot me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More SWTOR to drive everyone else off the blog.

I got that WoW crackhead twitch with this game as soon as I found out I could craft lightsabers aaaand everyone gets a spaceship. It's basically a flying house/bank/instance. There's even talk of implementing guild capital ships (star destroyers!). I still don't know what I'm doing. Did level up past the newbie area and chose the Jedi shadow (thief?). Did it mostly to get the double lightsaber.

Of course the day I found out about this, their servers are down for an update. Talk about kicking a junkie in the face.

| Wiz-War

I have very fond memories of Wiz-War, because it the first game Aeryk explained to me at the first con we attended with those class of '93 dudes. I remember sitting in the hotel room and Aeryk showing me the Democratic Monster . I think id probably rather bust out that copy han buy the new one - love the crappy but charming art.
Ya, I'll probably buy it this week and get to play it Friday! I heard that there's a big patch due this week  or "very soon" that should address some of the apparent early problems, but who knows. I think when I was a smuggler I had some kind of "threat" power, but I don't remember what my role was even supposed to be. Oh, I think it was a threat reduction skill actually, so that felt very WoW, but when playing Solo, not point in losing threat. ANYWAYS, ya, I'll probably buy it for Friday.

The rules are out for the new Wiz War! I don't remember if it was Jon/Paul that was always pushing it, or JP era group, but I remember the little box and that it was random but fun. New one looks cool - don't think I'll buy it, but would definitely jump at the chance to try it out. Does anyone remember og-wiz war? Is it basically the same, sans the nicer components?

| SWTOR: A Non-Comprehensive Review Up to Level 13

Not even a review, really, just some points of interest. And really, who is the intended audience here? Enron and Ryan will never play it, Mike and Johnny will never read it, and everyone else is already dabbling in it!

- The dialog trees are a mixed bag. I like that they add to the interest of the quests, and makes for more of a 'buy-in' to the quests (something that WoW lacks after playing it for 8 years...), but it has already become occasionally tiresome. At least in WoW I can read the quests fairly quickly and get moving, in SWTOR I 'have' to sit through it all, even if the dialog is boring. Sure I can space bar through it, but then I would be missing a lot of the story. I like having options of things to say, and I like feeling like I am driving some of the quests through my conversation decisions, and I particularly liked the feel of the dialog in the single instance jon and I ran - it really felt like we were a part of the story and it was fun to watch unfold.

- The world looks pretty nice and there are some touches that I appreciate. In the starting world there is a gigantic downed spaceship that is part of the horizon line that is no part of the story, but it's cool to see that it's there. Coruscant feels like a nice blend of Star Wars and Blade Runner and I am enjoying looking around the stuff that frames the levels, rather than the stuff I am actually walking through. (if that makes any sense. the stuff that is in the distance makes the place look way cooler than the corridors that I am running down).

- As much as I hated the first three SW movies, I really did like to see how the history shaped the look and world of epIV-VI, how republic troopers evolved to stormtroopers as governments rose and fell, etc. Its neat to see it happening through the quests and whatnot in SWTOR too. The republic trying to keep itself together, insurrectionists, separatists, and intrigue pulling it apart and watching how it tries to hold on tighter and lose sight of it's way while being mindful of the sith empire and it's influence, etc.

- The game of course misses the polish (not Polish) mark when compared to WoW. WoW is fluid and makes more sense in a lot of ways where SWTOR just doesn't, yet. I know its new, and I'm a n00b, but WoW just feels better all around.

- The roles are a little less well defined, ie DPS/HEALZ/TANKZ all seem to be blended. Again, I'm a n00b, but as a 'tank' I thought there would be more abilities to reflect that role, yet nothing I have in my repertoire mentions anything about 'holding threat' - everything I do just shoots stuff for DPS. Maybe that will evolve, or maybe Troopers are just not supposed to be tanks - leave that to the Jedi? Also, Jon's healer has 1 healing ability. Maybe that's all you need in SWTOR?

- I like the companions role as both an additional role/skillset/class to your own and as the primary means for crafting stuff. I also like trying to earn his respect though dialog options that I KNOW he will like.

- The light/dark side points I thought were sort of obvious decisions in the dialog trees, and began to think they were kind of lame until one quest actually made me wish I had chosen the dark points option because it was actually 'the right thing to do'. I was acting on behalf of a group that was called "the True Republic" or something, and had to steal some documents that implicated a senator in something. I got caught with my hand in the kitty, and the senator's lackey told me that he would be willing to swap some junk documents with the ones I was stealing to protect the Republic (and the senators actions, which were explained to me as the necessary evil). Because I'm a Trooper Republic fanboi, I agreed. Later, when I turned in the papers I think I could have admitted to what I did, and still implicate the senator (which was the Dark Side choice) or pass the papers off as authentic (Light Side). Seemed there was an actual dilemma in which option to choose! I chose the Light side, and was pissed with my choice (lost rep with my companion as well) and then REALLY wanted to go back and make the Dark Side choice, points be damned, but it was too late.

Anyway, enough about that - play it!
Yeah. Wedding planning is rough. You will definitely have a new appreciation for other people's weddings after this. Good luck man! And feel free to contact any of us old hands if you need help (who will then refer you to our wives).

Yep, we'll make another stop in LA next month. We're going to try and leave the kid with the grandparents and sneak off to Disneyland or something. Since she still won't take a bottle, not sure how likely that plan is to actually occur, but it's a nice thought!
Might pick up the Tek Warz MMO this weekend and join you guys for some fun. Video games cost too much money (compared to board games) g-dammit. Never realized how time consuming wedding planning is, holy balls. It just never ends, does it? I would be so down to elope if we hadn't already paid deposits.

You gonna be in town Feb Jorn? I saw another e-vite to meet the baby! We met the baby at our Earthdawn game! The Eric/Aaron duel screen setup was pretty hilarious, and how whenever eric would speak, I'd see Aarons face real big, hahah. That was fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Since even in WoW I didn't pay attention to my skills and their proper use, I don't think I'm qualified to offer any insight.

There is a viseral feeling about swinging a lightsaber though. Granted, I'm still in the newb area so all I get is a jedi whiffle bat. I'm just button mashing right now. But I think I like running up and hitting things. Made a smuggler, but the finding cover and shooting hasn't grabbed me yet.

I was curious, so I made a sith imperial agent. I honestly don't think I can play that faction. You have to be a dick aaaaall the time if you want to raise your dark side points. I don't think I have it in me.
You can press spacebar to skip through dialogue, so once you've done a mission, you can skip that shit quick.

I think I'm in sort of a paladin role -- so some fighting, some healing. Definitely should be focusing on the healing more in the boss fight. The rest of the time, I'm probably better off serving up mortar fine and assault cannon salvos (in this flashpoint at least).

I'll probably be on most nights since the wife is usually feeding the baby from like, 9 PM - midnight.

Need to hook up my other keyboard to this computer -- this wireless one has these teeny chiclet keys, impossible to use the function keys efficiently.

Pro tip -- turn shadows off in your graphic settings if you haven't already! It increased my fps IMMENSELY.

| Not the WoWing kind of tank

I'm supposedly the tanking kind of trooper, though without any threat meter, it's tough to know if I was tanking correctly? Not to mention I am totally unsure about the cycle of abilities I should be using (sounds like the same for the, er, healer I was running with) means that I didn't seem to be holding threat and I died in the instance pretty quickly.

I THINK that if it is designed similarly to WoW, then Jon should be healing me exclusively, with some healz for our AI companions that do DPS, and I should be trying to a) keep the boss' attention b) keep the bosses DPS and armor reduced so that our DPS can hurt it.

I think we can take that jerk down next time, yo.

Also, the instance is interesting insofar as it has LOTS of dialog but I can see it getting old if you run it more than twice. I'm sure there is some skip dialog method for later runs when you have already been through 2+ times. Unless, there is no loot or reason to run it more than once?

Jon made the comment last night about being out of his comfort zone, and I totally agree with him! I have NO IDEA what most of my own abilities do, let alone what anyone else can do, what the hell crafting is about, what the hell training for specialized mission types is about, or where anything is in the world! It's fun learning it all again but when I get PvP'd, imma totally get pwned.

Go get the physical copy from best bey and then you only need the patch!

Also, somewhere in the blog is the name of our server, it starts with an A and the second word is Pall (I think) and we are on an RP-PVP server (for some reason :) ) - when/if you join right click your general tab, create a custom chat channel, and name it 'actionteam' - it seems to essentially work like a guild chat and we don't need to be in the same zone to use it.

Do it!

Looking forward to joining the Imperials sometime and just being an absolute heartless dick.
My main's a Trooper/Commando (the healing kind of trooper{), Aeryk's a Trooper/Vanguard (the hurting kind of trooper), Pumpkin I believe is planning to be the more hurtful sort of Jedi Consular. I also have a Jedi Knight who's almost level 10 and I fired up a Smuggler as well so I have some flexibility. I like the Smuggler so far... I made the fattest possible Twi'lek, so it's always amusing to see him roll into cover.
What classes did E and D pick? When I did that beta weekend I was a Smuggler. Hans Olo.
Ya, Aeryk and Denis joined. They can comment on whether they like it or not, but Eric and I did an instance last night! It was very straightforward, but fun. (It was a 2-player instance.) The only problem was that we got smoked twice by the final boss. Logging in later I realized that I... uh... might have... forgotten... a little bit... to equip the badass weapon I received upon hitting 10th level. So my damage contribution may not have been so good. Sorry bro!

| games

So, what's the word on Star Wars MMO!? I heard Eric had gotten it right as I was logging off, so any first impressions? Did Dennis follow suit?

A new game I picked up recently and played is the Summoner Wars: Master Set. It's a 2-player game (or 4 if you've got another battle mat), tactical combat using cards instead of minis. The rules are very simple and the combat is basic as can be (d6 for every attack level with 1-2 miss, 3-6 hit) but the crazy variety is in all the different factions and characters. The set I got came with 6 different decks/factions and I think there are 5 or 6 more from various other releases. Every card has rules and conditions that allow you to break the "basic rules" of the game, so it's really fun. Games are like 20-30 minutes long, and so far the different factions feel pretty balanced - I totally don't "get" them all yet, but it's really fun to try different combinations in battle. I'll bring it around next time.

Also picked up PitchCar Mini (and a couple expansions), mostly for when my nieces and nephew visit but also for conventions or whatever. It's fun and way smaller than the full size version. Fun flicky racing! Impulse buying online at 3am is the worst disease ever :(

So, back to Star Wars, I almost bought it yesterday after hearing that Eric got it, but the hard $60 price and super long download I'm anticipating stalled me - what's the word, bird?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I read the Nethermancer's ritual and it sounded like something that happened in one of our games. The caster goes into the nether and talks to his spirit familiar or something. I kind of remember that only because I think the group was being obnoxious about it and giving Mike or whoever it was a hard time!

Tuesdays are fine for me and maybe even better than Wednesdays because at least for the next few months, my days off are spent taking care of wedding/fiancee duties. Tuesdays are my Fridays and I'll have the whole day to sleep and can play until around 11pm. But, anyday can honestly work, so whatevers clever for the masses.
Thanks! I had a good time running it too. There was definitely a lot of "infodumping" because both the system, and the setting, are a little complex at first. But, I think it's one of those games/settings that pays off the more you put into it.

With the steps, the step number is approximately the average of the dice that you roll at that step. (Well, it's higher, but dice being able to explode pushes it up.) So it basically means as you rank up, your rolls improve in a consistent way.

I was wondering if the dice roller didn't just slow things down since we had to work between multiple windows. Probably would be easier just to roll real dice and call it out. We can track initiative on the battle mat too. Also having stuff printed out/written down will obviously save lots of time as well.

I forgot that you work Tuesdays. What about Wednesday nights for everyone? I'm hoping to do short sessions twice a month or so (say, on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month).

(Also, I was thinking about what you said about Myke being a Nethermancer and that sounds plausible -- they have a spell called Experience Death that sounds a little bit like what you remembered.)
Earthdawn was fun! Thanks for running it Jon. Cool to see a big AT turn out for some weird future-tech roleplaying. I liked the system pretty well even though I don't understand some of it. Exploding dice are neat, but the "steps" system felt a little complicated. With a handy chart, it's very easy to see what you need to roll, but I wondered WHY I was rolling these particular dice for this step or the other. I'm sure there must be some master equation behind it all, but it felt a bit random. I'll go through the books and see if it's ever explained. Great setting! I look forward to further adventures in the Earthdawn universe.