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As Seen on TV

Simply want to talk about games, in a neutral light, the pros, the cons, and of course toss in my own personal opinion, right or wrong doesn't matter, because I don't see it as such.

Author: WolfClaws

Shadowrun Cliffhanger

Posted by WolfClaws Tuesday August 7 2012 at 11:51AM
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Have we not gone over this already?  Yes, and no.  We have and have not. 

 

Shadowrun.  It is on consoles, tabletop, and now for the computer/tablets.  Before I spoke of Harebrained Schemes and their Shadowrun Returns.  Which is a 2D single player game.  The concept looks great and I will be playing it next year.

 

But I am here to talk about another iteration of Shadowrun.  Shadowrun Online.

Shadowrun Online is a 3/4 view 3D tactical game.  Much in the way of Fallout Tactics, this game provides a lot of options, and story, or so it would seem.  As no one has played this game, it is hard to tell.  But Cliffjumper Productions have provided a few videos, a couple of which, are pre-alpha gameplay footage.

They started up a Kickstarter campaign.  It is located here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1964352341/shadowrun-online

They have an ambitious goal of $500,000, but only have a week to go.  Right now they are at $255,000ish and without  another $245,000 they will not be funded, which means all their hard work alright is going to be a bust.  Unfortunately, I think it will be a blow for a potentially cool looking game.

The videos are on the Kickstarter page as well.  I believe the game has great potential, and as with other kickstarter programs, you get some real life and virtual rewards for donating to make this project a reality.

 

Just came in to speak my peace on this.  Stop by, make your own decision.  I know I donated a good amount of cash, but I think it is for a great cause.

 

Harebrained Schemes or Legit?

Posted by WolfClaws Friday April 20 2012 at 10:40AM
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Well, it has been some time since I produced anything here.  I thought it worth mentioning about a Kickstarter I found recently.  It is called Shadowrun Returns.

 

Kickstarter

This is a site that allows folks to fund different projects through donations.

http://www.kickstarter.com/

If you have not heard of this, you should check it out. Perhaps fund a project or create one of your own.  Essentially the project starting works like this... you create a project, and you set a goal.  You have X number of days to complete your goal.  If you meet it, you get the money.  If you dont...You dont get squat and the money is returned to the investors.

Why is all of this important?

 

The Creator

Jordan Weisman.  The creator and one of the designers of Shadowrun. He was also the founder of FASA and several other companies you may or may not have heard of. FASA Interactive (Mechwarrior series), Smith and TInker, WizKids.  He also worked with Microsoft (for which he apologized for that Shadowrun game that people hate) and obtained some licenses from them.

This all tends to get a little hazy, and several questions arise, but I will save that for another day. 

In a nutshell, he has the Shadowrun license again and he plans on creating a Shadowrun MMO.  Actually, from my research it will be two SR games.

I am a little scheptical on this whole matter from Weisman's track record of founding and selling off his companies only to start over again and the cycle continues.

 

The Dream

In my previous posts I have gone on and on and on about what it would take to make a successful game.  Naturally, in the last four years, no one  has listened.  Maybe one day my ideas will be idolized in some museum stating how wise and brilliant I was.  But back to the real world before I start buying lottery tickets.

Shadowrun Returns.  2D turn based game that takes place in 4 realities.  Taken from the Kickstarter page found here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1613260297/shadowrun-returns?ref=card

  • Street Samurai see a threat assessment overlay of the environment that notes enemy appraisals, options for cover, potential weapons, and statistics for drawn weapons.
  • Combat Mages see magical auras, granting them the ability to locate magical items, identify spells being prepared, and find the intersections of magic lay lines where they can recharge their power.
  • Hackers/Deckers see the digital control circuitry that allows them to manipulate the physical world via the digital one.
  • Shaman see the “true world” that lies in the astral plane, distinguishing the true nature of people, plants, creatures, and magical objects while buildings and other “dead” objects appear as mere shadows.
It will also have the following Race/Classes :

Races: human, elf, dwarf, ork and troll. You can't do Shadowrun without them.

Roles: Street Samurai, Mage, Shaman, Rigger, Decker. Perhaps after the game comes out, we can add more.

Plus there will be a level editor that will be made available to everyone.  You can share missions, even your characters and NPCs with your friends. 

When I heard this, I figured it would be a facebook thing.  Which is an immediate turn-off.  But there is more.

The game will be available on the PC, iOS to include the iPad.

How serious are the fans?  Shadowrun Returns goal was $400,000.  In 28 hours of starting off Kickstarter, they met and exceeded their goal.  They are currently at $1.2 million.  Wow.

Rewards for Backers

Backers is a term for those who donate to the creative project.  Founders usually include some sort of incentive to backers for donating money.  This project is no different.  Some things are pretty cool and other things are standard.  An example is :

For $10,000 you get:

Previous rewards + Mike Mulvihill, who led Shadowrun game development at FASA Corp., will COME TO YOUR TOWN TO RUN A TABLETOP GAME OF SHADOWRUN FOR YOU AND FIVE OF YOUR FRIENDS. (He'll even buy some snacks.)

Only 3 of these awards were made possible and all 3 were "purchased".

One of the rewards sends you a physical boxed set with the game.  That pushes me away from my facebook game speculation.

Other rewards include a Platinum DocWagon card, a T-shirt and a USB Dogtag set.

 

The key thing to remember if you want to donate, is that you are donating.  Whatever you get, is just a bonus.

 

Mysterious

Right now, the donation thing, you really do not have a clue as to whether or not this is serious.  Just a few videos shot and posted on the webpage of Harebrained Schemes http://harebrained-schemes.com/shadowrun/ and that is pretty much it. 

There are no traditional forums, or media outlets, screenshots of the game, concept art, nothing.  This game is so tight under wraps that nothing has been released yet.  Even though the game is not funded, they must be something somewhere.

They did include a chart, that was interesting though.

 

Again, it is on their website.  It seems they will have "Kick-ass" music.  And the level editor will have lipstick.  Not my words, theirs.

Still, I wish they had more information to release than just, we are wanting to fund the game and a forum to talk on.

There are websites that are dedicated to Shadowrun, and this project is talked about on it.

 

Harebrained Schemes or Legit?

I have to make a decision, as will you.  With all the facts you can dig up, is this real or a scam? 

For myself, I am giving them the benefit of a doubt.  I truely enjoy the Shadowrun Universe and hopefully the game will be worthwhile and who knows, if it revitalizes the IP, then my money is well spent.  I did donate, and it was not for $5.  I dontated a significant amount.  So good luck and please feel free to comment on this entry and others.

 

See you in the shadows, chummer.

New Development Trends in Games

Posted by WolfClaws Tuesday September 27 2011 at 11:25AM
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Has anyone noticed in the verbal and written interviews companies are giving in the last 6 months or so with games in development that the "Company Line" for when is the release date has been "When it is done"?  

 

 

A simple question really.  When is your game being released?  

 

Several games that were released in the last 7 years have been the same thing.  The game gets released and it is an incomplete project with the plans to update in the future.  As I stated in my blog entry found here http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/WolfClaws/052008/1685_Unfinished-Games-Gone-Gold . Some games, never make it.  Vanguard SoH is a victim of this.  All the bugs led to the masses leaving.  Other games have this problem as well.

 

But when Blizzard was releasing Starcraft II, well the answer they gave was "When it is done."  Now say what you will about the juggernaut Blizzard, but even the original WoW team said "It will be done when it is done".  Now Diablo III is up and that is the line given.  Do I believe them?  Oh yes.

 

Another company that prides itself on quality product...Bioware.  Big titles such as Mass Effect and the Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic... it is done when it is done has been the line for a couple of years.  These guys have EA breathing down their necks, not to mention Lucasarts for release dates.  Right now, they feel the game is darn close to completion.

 

While watching XPlay on G4TV, they like to interview game companies and developers to give the latest news in the multi billion dollar industry, Several companies are saying the same thing now. So it makes me wonder.  

 

Is the unstoppable force of a MMO that isnt even out yet having game companies rethink how they are doing business?  Could it be changing since the time of Ultima Online when MMO games that were released were "finished products"?  What made UO and EQ great is that new patches helped tweak a few things, and updates pushed out to increase landmass and quests, not rewrite code.  WoW did this as well (hate all you want, but they accomplished a great feat).  

 

Hopefully The Old Republic will make it.  Hopefully it will be a hit for the years to come.  Diablo III will sell a lot of copies, but will it still be played 10 after its release like its younger brother?  Only time will tell.  But if it does, the industry might change, for the better.

ShadowRun : Collecting Artifacts

Posted by WolfClaws Thursday October 2 2008 at 10:48AM
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As the 4th entry for this whole "I had a Dream" thing... I plan on talking about items and collections and how they will affect the characters.  And yeah, while it wasn't a "dream" per se, I couldn't sleep and could only think about this stuff. 

In the housing peice I did, I talked about how the bed and fridge would increase your health and "mind" regen for lack of  better terms...

Here I'll go deeper in how that will work. 

Why do players like to collect thigs?  Seems all trivial at first glance.  EQ2 had collections of sorts, but really didn't do much other than giving you a special move against certain things.  Which was cool.
Star Wars Galaxies put in collections (a lot of them) and gave xp and items.  Mostly it was kill X and find Y and collect Z, but it was a cool start.
Warhammer has collections in the form of their codex thing, and is much more difficult to fill up, as it needs you to do different things, and nets you xp and a new title some of the time.

Why do players like that though?  Well, while I am not a "loot whore" by nature, I think it is cool, as it shows that player is actually progressing.  While they are obtaining levels, yes, showing little "mini dings" as it were while they are working to level up, it shows a sense of accomplishment.. "Oooh I just killed 100 wolves" or "Ahhh, I clicked on myself 1000 times."  Just stuff that... doesn't really mean much since you are doing it anyways, but it helps and gives that "I'm the man and I'm doing well" feeling.

What is the point of Collections? 
I just went over the why players like it... now let's give it purpose. 

In this MMO of ShadowRun that exists only in my mind, items collected would have purpose.  There wouldn't be junk loot, as all that you collect will matter.  If a mob is used an Ares Predator, he may drop that Predator, and it may or may not be damaged.  It might or might not have ammo in it.  He may have ammo on him, or a credstick, or maybe you rip out his cybereyes (graphic yes,,, but come on, he won't need em anymore) using certain skills of course.  And for each item obtained, NPC killed, location wandered into, or even skills used, etc you will go towards a certain... collection.  Once collections are completed for that stage, they may yeild a special item.

This item will not make you superman, but it can be placed in your home (provided you haven't exceeded your allowed "space". 

Examples of what collection items can do when place in your home:
Give new hair styles
New colors and jewelry
Dance moves
Emotes
Fame/Infamy (just in the context of how NPCs react to you)

Basically it will give the "cool factor" stuff.  You can manage them, store them, use em however you see fit.  None of them will affect gameplay.  Only because, why?  Collections are done automatically, and those who strive to do them as hard as they can will get rewarded, and the more collections you obtain, the better the rewards.

Boss Trophies
So you fight your way through the mission and you are lucky enough that you loot a boss that has a gold plated predator.  What do you do with it?  Well, you can do a couple of things.  First off... equip it.  Show it off, have the ooh ahh factor go in and even though it has great damage, you aren't trained to use a pistol.  So what now?
Easy, you put it up as a trophy in your home.  And you find that you get a small bonus to a particular skill.  Something that does enhance your combat abilities.  Nothing outstandly huge of course, but it will help.

The other boss drops some body armor that is an antique, and you may get bonuses to resist a type of damage... again, nothing large, but every little bit will help. 

Some items can be used to give you the ability to modify certain weapons.  Remember that gold plated Predator?  Well not only does it give you increased accuracy with one handed weapons, it gives you the chance to modify a single weapon to give it a gold plated appearance. 

Choose carefully Runner.

Eventually, you will have a giant home that you hang your guns at, and have enough space to fit a herd of elephants, but until then, you will need to pick and choose what you have on display in your home as your "space" is limited.  Some items will require more space than others, and collection items won't have as much impact, but will have some so you will have the chance to customize your looks and everyone who sees you will know that you worked hard.

Also, story arc items will grant you abilities to do certain things.  And will upgrade as you complete different arcs. 

Rolling for loot
A thing of the past chummer.  How? Well by having each corpse drop something for each team member.  And only that person will see what they got, and while it may or may not be suitable for him, he will then have the option to trade it to someone else in a quick fashion by doing the drag and drop in the chat box and all the item's stats are shown when clicked.... Then the group member says "yeah I want it", then you can either do the trade, or right click the item and do a quick trade in the group where it passes the item to your teammate, and he will get a popup stating the item (with link) and a yes, no, ignore feature.

More will come, but I must go for now.  This is a VERY touchy subject and I get it...it is all a work in progress as this has never been made into a MMO before :D

 

 

ShadowRun : Sleeping in the Shadows

Posted by WolfClaws Monday September 29 2008 at 8:05AM
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Yeah, it's me again. I believe this is my 3rd blog posting on ShadowRun MMO.

No, it is not in development, but I sure do want it to be. For some reason, though, I have not been able to sleep some nights. Even clearing my head I have these... thoughts, these ideas. And it stays there until I write it down. What better place to do it, than here!

In my previous postings I talked about the classes, and missions and all that. This will be a several parter...

Now I will talk about, what will bring gamers back to the game AFTER they log off.
Doesn't matter if it is their 1st time or 100th time... what will bring gamers back?

Now, granted, some of these features have been done in some games already, but the way they are used.... is a winning combo. Pay attention MMO Publishers.

Housing
Ahhh, yes... the mighting housing issue. First, why do we, as gamers, want housing? Is it to find a comfortable bed to sleep on? Grab something out of the fridge late at night? A place to keep the rain off of us?

Of course not!

We do not care about the mundane stuff, we want the house to show off our decoration skills, a place to put our war trophies up and brag about things. It can be a secure location to invite some friends over. Or a rally point before a big raid.
But this has all been done before... the funny thing is... games today are NOT giving us war trophies, or homes we can decorate or even show off to others easily. What is the point of having a home if people cannot find it? What is the point of having a home if I cannot put my stuffed head on the wall?

Keep those flamethrowers at bay folks... but Star Wars Galaxies had it right when they put in the housing system. Anything in your inventory could be dropped and put anywhere... now in any position. Armor, weapons, trophies, cool stuff, whatever, and you could decorate your home however you wanted IF you wanted to take the time to do it. Or you could have your buddy come in and decorate for you. Then you showed it off.. great stuff. This system reminded me of Ultima Online but with far more creative execution.

Ok, so ShadowRun, do I plan on putting trophies on my wall? You would if there were a crapload of items in game that matched SWG's system. Everything from weapons, trophy weapons, totems, decks (the hacking kind) head of beasts, or legs, or tails, teeth from dragons... This way you could design your quarters as you see fit.

Are we talking instanced housing?
Unfortunatly, yes. Why? Because while most people don't mind navigating through the streets of Seattle... trying to find real estate for 50,000 people who call that server home.. would be crazy. You would needs to build apartment buildings, Go up the elevator, head down the hall to the right, and make sure you don't lose your key... it's a little too tedius.
Let's try this. Depending on which city you are based in, it will be instanced.. nothing to be done about that. Instead of being down.. think of this. You can own one pad in each city.. if you are "legal" there. Legal being a loose term.

What the hell??!! You talk of instanced housing, which is bad enough, but now multiple houses??? What is wrong with you man!

I know. Hear me out. They would have to build this thing from the ground up. Duh. But, think about searching the internet... you hop on Google.com or Yahoo.com to run a search using the right tags. Heck you can do that here with the blogs. Now imagine you set up your home in Seattle and you are allowed to create tags for your pad. So you use "trophy, decoration, museum, party, decker" and now your pad is associated with those terms AND your characters's handle.

Now someone only needs to head to the nearest terminal in that city and plug in Museum for the search word, and a whole listing of places come up for them. If you have an "open house" anyone who is not banned from your home, will just come on in and look around. See your view, if any, and when they want to leave, either walk out the door or use the terminal in the home and find another home to visit. Simple on paper right? LOL.

Ok, so I can make a home, decorate it, but what is the point? I am not an interior decorator.
Simple. We make housing worthwhile to have, from a gameplay aspect.

You know how food and drinks raise up your regeneration in other popular games?
Well here your home would do that. Check this out.

Your place, whether it be a squatters nest that you get when you start out, or if you are a corporate man, a nice small efficiency, you will be allowed only a little bit of "room" to place things inside. These simple things like a bed and a fridge, shelves, will have a certain "value" that the home cannot go beyond.

This value would have a Roleplay reasoning of "in a squatters den if you have too much stuff, someone will surely come to take it, so best not to tempt fate" Or "your corporate sponsors only allow you to decorate your home so much, to better represent your role with the company. Earn their respect to be assigned to larger quarters and hopefully one with a better view."

That was established.

The bed would provide your mental regeneration and the fridge your health regeneration.. Nothing crazy, of course. Other trophies and items placed in your home would also give you other benefits, again, no large numbers or powerful abilities, but some nice to haves. And who knows, maybe even make Feng Shui a prominent factor in enhancing these increases slightly... something fun.

Remember when I brought up the thing about having a place each city? Well your increases will only happen when you in that city's influence area... So if you are visiting the elves in England, you won't get any benefits from your homes in America.

All games have some kind of crazy money sink system in place... The way rent would work if you choose to rent, will be monthly. You would be responsible to come up with rent and could pay 3 months out, 12 months out etc.. and this would be real life months. Your place also wouldn't go away with all your things deleted if you don't pay your rent, but others will not be able to enter, and neither will you until you pay your back rent. And you lose your benefits.

Another option would be buying a home... much more expensive, but less Nuyen in the way of monthly payments for utilities and condo fees (if you bought a condo).

Which brings me to the items... The items in your home would give you certain bonuses of course, but also certain abilities... But, I think I will make that another entry. I had a LOT to think about last night.
 

ShadowRun: Cut the Drek Chummer

Posted by WolfClaws Thursday September 25 2008 at 11:57AM
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A while ago I had created an entry about ShadowRun being a MMO and the possibilities for it.  That can be found here http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/WolfClaws/052008/1687_ShadowRun-nuff-said-chummer .

Now I am back.  Gonna post a little bit about me staying up for a few hours last night brainstorming some more on this concept.

Am I afraid someone will rip me off and get started on the game?  Meh, if they do, I am sure I'll get royalties or at least an invite to the beta heh.  Besides, for the greater good, the more I talk about it, hopefully the more I will inspire someone to push it forward.  I would do it myself, but I don't have the millions of dollars to develop this game... and I truely believe, I could make it all up in the first month.  Ok, maybe 2 months heh.

So, I was thinking about the Archtypes, the classes.  I was also thinking, how will all this be put together.  How will the level design work, xp, Nuyen.. ?

Well right off of the bat, Fixxers and Mr Johnsons would be more than likely NPCs.

Why? Well, they don't really have a combat role, and they don't really do much than support the Runners in moving hot items, or aquiring items like fake SINs and weaponry, information... 
Mr Johnsons because they provide the Runners with the missions.  Pure and simple.  They are usually powerful beings, or represent a powerful being, have a ton of wired and magical bodyguards.  So these guys would be support NPCs.

I am trying to keep the spirit of ShadowRun alive in this "wannabe" MMO.
Now what about the classes?
Well, Street Samurai, Shaman, Mages (all types), Detective, etc are all combat oriented.  They would be part of the standard shoot em up, blast em to hell kinda classes.  Pretty easy.

The problem children will be the Decker and the Rigger.  Both provide direct support and there is a ton of lore for each.  The question would is, "How to implement  them in an way that is true to what they are in game?" 


Well, at first (in my previous blog entry) I thought the Rigger would be an NPC class.  Or be held off until later expansions... but last night I had the answer.  The rigger would be needed to reach certain missions... but would be able to be contracted out via NPC so groups wouldn't be felt left out or absolutely need a certain class.  But you wouldn't get the same support from them.

Anyways, you fly in, or wheel in thanks to your local Rigger, and she sets up camp in a "command" center setup that allows her to use her drones right there with the other Runners.  They don't go up with the runners with their "meat" instead they are flying up or driving up and around with their drone.  The drone will have different upgrades and weaponry and if the drone gets blown up, the rigger sends in another drone, but the drone has default weapons (in case too many drones get blown up) and either sets it up on the fly or have it preload with the upgrades and weapons.  This will be his money sink... but should be able to salvage his wrecks and the other equipment in the mission.

The Decker will be a different story...
I am still not sure how to incorporate this in a team aspect to interact with others.  Because the Matrix has to be a huge part since there is an enormous sub-culture that lives in the Matrix in the ShadowRun world.

I want to give it the proper respect as it deserves but it is like a whole new game within a game.  And Deckers are normally lone wolves providing deck support to Runners.

How will the world be, missions be?
Good question...
Well, I was thinking of it being a mix between missions in "dungeons" as the primary way of doing things.  This will allow for Decker support in the future, and of course the Rigger support.  So part Dungeons and Dragons Online with the specialized and customized missions maps... lots of work I know.   Then probably something like WAR or AoC in the open environment... maybe including something similiar to the PQs in WAR or whatnot.

PVP?
No idea.  Since ShadowRun it would be based on teamwork and  not individualism.  Well, aside from the Decker, but he is still working towards a teambased goal.

Now there will be different factions.  You will have major corporations making their power plays.  Maybe not all of em will be in play at the start but definately 2 or 3 of them,,, then the ability to be "snatched" into the new ones at huge cost.  Not only will there be Corp Runners who are well financed and have stock weapons and technology that is the specialty of that Corp, there will be the actual Runners who are living in the shadows... those that bound to any master and lay their loyalties who whomever is paying the most Nuyen.

So I guess it could be like Pirates of the Burning Sea in that aspect... The actual ShadowRunners would be the Pirates, and the Corps will be part of a Nation... That's a good idea.  None would be enemies unless there would be a bounty on said player or they were working on opposing goals.  That would be part of the competition aspect... Two or more groups of Runners working to achieve their goals while trying to subvert the other group... but not in direct PvP... The Decker could be in play here to try to lock doors, or activate security systems etc...

 What about the Voice Actors? Are they going to be the same cheesy sounding ones in other MMOs?  Hell no.  Like I mentioned in my comment below (since I forgot about this too).  Each voiceactor (one may do multiple voices of course) will be from that region they are portraying themselves to be from.  What that means is that someone from Seatle will be doing the voice over of a NPC who is from Seatle.  If the NPC is from a Native American organization, then they will be a Native American from that appropriate region.  Same if they are from China.  Depending what province they are supposed to be from, that voice actor will be from there (speaking english of course,,, with some Mandaran tossed in heh).

In closing, for now... This was some stuff that was on my mind last night.  I hope you all enjoyed :D

WAR! Good God Ya'll!

Posted by WolfClaws Friday September 12 2008 at 7:40AM
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Warhammer: Age of Reckoning or WAR is a game built, developed and released (or will be) by Mythic Entertainment, formally EAMythic, formally Mythic Entertainment.

The game was built from the ground up with Player vs Player (PvP) interaction in mind.  WAR uses the system of PvP that Dark Age of Camelot used called Realm vs Realm or RvR to put some focus and purpose in the fighting.

The problem some MMOs... Ok, a lot of MMOs is, what is the point of PvP?  Sure PvP is fun, but why do it?  For items?  I have everything.  Gold?  I have 100 million Platinum already.  For Prestige? I am already famous.  So why fight?

For control. 

In DAoC you captured keeps for gold and xp bonuses and if you captured enough of them you could go for the Relic Keeps and take a Relic from one of the other two nations.  This, along with your primary relic gave bonuses to either your physical damage or magical damage.  Then you have to defend... so there would be constant wars with the relics Fluxing back and forth between the hands of the three different nations in the game. 

For WAR, I am not certain what the relic is, if any, but I am certain that something similiar will be had.

I mentioned that PvP was the main focus of this game.  It is.  From level 1 you can go out and PvP for your side.  Yeah, I said Level 1.  Something Mythic learned was that people hung out in level 15 and 25 battlefields for the pvp fun.  Even though they had level 50s running around.
WAR gives this to you.  You run around killing folks (other players) and gain points for your nation.  It is my understanding that you have to be in a certain level range to get these points, to prevent greifing and unfair tactics.

Ok, so the theory for a good PvP game, that has been tried and true. 

Let's talk a bit about the graphics.

WAR's environment is a colorful, but dark.  The character models are large and chunky and exagerated.  This is why people are comparing it to WoW.  It ISN'T WoW!  Nothing like it.  The elves don't have glowing eyes and big floppy ears and dance around like Brittany Spears and Michael Jackson. 

Your Character creation is very... limited.  You get like 5 heads to choose from, a couple of hair styles and a few hair colors and that's it.  You are done.  The armor is limited in visuals as well.  End game, everyone who is the same RvR level or rank will all look the same.  I do hope they change this.

Combat... combat is ... classic MMO style.  Call me crazy or spoiled but I like Age of Conan's combat system better.  This one is simple, autoattack and click buttons 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 now if you are a ranged class, it gets more tricky... 1,2,3,4,shift 1-4... If you are ranged (one thing I like) you cannot attack when someone is up in your face with that ranged weapon, you have to go melee.  As it should be.

Combat animations are clunky at best, and the attacks are... lacking.  The spell effects and animations are horrid as they are missing so much to them.  You use a Ray attack and you see your hands glowing, then a giant damage number appears over the head of the critter you just attacked.  Lots of spells are like this.

The combat is just lacking, it is an old outdated system... sure you get like 40 different attacks and moves, but it is way too much, and as I said, outdated.  They do have a cool feature that allows you to use a special, one of 4 actually that is available the more you fight.  Kind of like an  andrenaline feature.. the more you have filled, the higher tiered ability you can use.

The Lore in this game is bar none phenominal.  The codex is by far the most kickass thing I have ever seen or experienced.  I give huge kudos and props to the developers AND writers with this one.  Everytime you kill a new critter, you gain a new entry, and you see the lore on that creature.  Your quests, monsters, locations, trophies, all have their own lore and pages of info that are easily navigated through.

Quests are ok.  Your standard Fed-Ex missions and kill 10 critters and return... but they have a unique way of showing this on the minimap.  Instead of a dot or icon to where you need to go, they have an outline of an area.  This means that your target is somewhere within those borders.  So you have to do a little bit of looking.  Which is cool.  And there are several quests.  Decent rewards, etc. 
Can you still grind? Sure.
Can you solo, yep.

The coolest part about this game is the little things you can do.  You actually can climb on a catapult and fling yourself on top of a castle wall... I thought it was just a video thing... but it is real and in game.

But the world is small.  And is made smaller since your character is so big.  And by big I mean your footprint on the "world" is fairly large to where one step in this game would be the same as 3 steps in Age of Conan, or 2 steps in WoW.  Your line of sight is also limit as well.  In AoC you could literally a game mile away at least, here, a quarter that.

There are other positives and negatives out there, but I am not writing a book now am I?

Positives
Great Lore
Detailed Codex that is easily navigated
It's Warhammer, everyone is messed up in the head here!
Large choice of races on both sides
Minimap quest outlines so you have to think a bit
Couple of inovative classes (Squigherder is very unique)
Built from the ground up for RvR

Negatives
Pisspoor Combat animations
Huge characters
Still a large number of bugs
Missing that large world feel
No real visual character custumization
Standard MMO combat sequence
 

All in all, the game is decent and offers something different to players out there.  DAoC veterans will feel at home with the RvR system, but be put off by the large characters.

The game is still very buggy and missing a lot of balance to it for the different classes.  There will be tweakage, like every MMO out there and people will be upset by it.  But the game is not ready... not completely anyways.

There will be haters and fanboys who will be stating "You don't know what you are talking about!" "Your system sucks!" etc... I had been in beta since March of last year.  So.... shush.  Their testing methods were solid, I will give that to them.  No game have I ever tested have I experienced detailed testing like that.  But it is way too soon.

My system?

Core2 2.66mhz
8800GTX SLI'd
4 GIG RAM DDR2 800
Vista 64-bit

There is more to the system, but who cares about the rest right?

 

My advice...

Get the game if you have it ordered.  Don't cancel.  Give it about 3-6 months before you start up, it might be worthwhile going to.  This way you don't have to deal with the bugs and the exploits and the fixes...

In all honestly, for all the bugs and problems AoC has, I feel AoC has the greatest potential of the two to be the greatest game.

ShadowRun... 'nuff said chummer.

Posted by WolfClaws Wednesday May 14 2008 at 2:37PM
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Symbol of Shadowrun in a Die

 

Ok, I am on a roll with this blog thing.  So I am going to continue with another entry.

This time, I want to talk about ShadowRun.  For those of you who do not know what SR is... Allow me the pleasure  to be the first to enlighten you.

Before I begin, it is NOT the game released last year for Xbox 360 and PC.  That is a great game in it's own right, but it isn't ShadowRun.  Not by a longshot.

SR takes place in the future, about 80 years from now.  Well it does now I think.  The world has been jacked up by natural disasters, Megacorperations forming and countries taking a backseat to politics of Megacorps and nations that were formed within their borders.  What nations?  Well, the Native-Americans finally got some land back, and hold a prominant amount south of Seatle, the Elves have their around near there as well and pretty much own Ireland.  Along with other natural inhabitants.

Elves?  Did I say elves?  Yes.  But never trust and elf.  There was a virus that broke out Virally Induced Toxic Allergy Syndrome or VITAS.  It rewrote the individual's DNA and changed them very painfully into something.  Most became Elves, Orks (yes that is spelled correctly), Dwarves, while some turned into Trolls, fewer into Gouls, and rarer yet Wendigos, and other humanoid monstrousities.  Animals turned into other creatures as well... along with the emergance of Dragons.  Dragons are rare, and few are actually recognized by society as a citizen.  Some are even heads of Corporations and have jobs within, but never deal with a dragon and never turn your eyes from one.

With this happening, there was a Ghost dance conducted by the Native Americans that is rumored and believed to have brought magic into the world and disrupted the non-redman enough for them to reclaim their lands.  With magic came about the mages who bent those forces to their will and those who lived in harmony with their land, be it a forest, swamp, sewer, city or whatever, and these shamans were equally as powerful and rare.  All mages are rare, and if you have a mage as a friend, you are in great shape.

Keep in mind, this is the future.  You have VTOL aircraft, complex weaponry to include hand held railguns, and cybernetics.  Yes, this is where the term Street Samurai came from.  These warriors have so much meat taken out of their body and replaced by the cyberware that they are faster, quicker, stronger and can see and shoot with deadly accuracy.

Cyberware didn't only enhance the physical attributes of the person, but it also enhanced their perception.  Have you ever loved your car so much that you wish you could talk with it?  Well in Shadowrun ,you can.  These people are known as Riggers.  They interface directly with their vehicles, be it an aircraft, unmanned drones, car, van, whatever.  And some powerful weaponry could be attached to these drones.

On the flip side, you had a computer internet like nothing you have ever seen before, where you could actually jack in and see what happens inside.  The Matrix.  And no, nothing to do with the movies, this came before the movies.  Enter the Decker.  The decker is a hacker extrordinaire who prides themselves in breaking into security systems within the Matrix by defeating ICE (Intrusion Countermeasures).  These can be deadly to the Decker, fry their brain, their cyberdeck, or trace the owners of the system to his meat and have a team terminate or capture him on the spot, defenseless while in the Matrix.

Wow, that is a lot of info isn't it?

Where is this coming from?  Well, I got a bug crawling up my butt and ordered a ShadowRun novel, started reading it and ate it up fast.  Then I started to look around for more ShadowRun.  Why?  Duh, because the world is so expansive, and so many different layers of things that could happen.  Deckers hacking through the Matrix, battling deadly computer programs or other Deckers.  Riggers fighting remotely alongside their comrades.  Street Samurai moving with an inhuman quickness and laying waste to anything they want dead or disabled.  Mages shifting their vision to enter the Astral plane highly vulnerable, but able to see what things truely are, and shift themselves back into their bodies and cast spells or conduct rituals of summoning or whatnot...

Oh , but you don't know what a ShadowRunner is do you?  Everyone is issued a System Identification Number or SIN in the future.  There are some individuals that do work that the MegaCorps don't want traced back to them.  Some want to steal information, others to kidnap another company's worker, or you are extracting a worker because they wish to defect, and all sorts of other things.  These Runners do not have a SIN, and live in the shadows waiting for a Mr Johnson (the guy who is paying to have them do the Run) to need some work done.

Anyhow, this tabletop game isn't really printing anything anymore.  Everything is virtual as far as sourcebooks and whatnot, and with MicroSoft trying to maintain a grip on the IP, only to have it slip through their fingers, it made things all that more difficult for this game to thrive like it should.

I have even gone as far as contacting the current owner of the IP about my thoughts on a MMO for ShadowRun.  Haven't heard anything at all back them... Not surprised.

 

Anyhow, what are your thoughts on ShadowRun?

 

Some novels you could read if you are interested.  Most are out of print but still good reads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Shadowrun_books#Novels

Unfinished Games Gone Gold

Posted by WolfClaws Wednesday May 14 2008 at 1:27PM
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I have seen all too often the accepted industry standard of products being labled gold and released that are unfinished in the gaming world.

Well, not just the gaming world, but with Vista as well...

You have games being developed for years, tested, new content added, a whole lot of hype, and then it is labled gold, and BOOM! you have a beta version of the game that you paid $50 for and $15 a month.

This is true for City of Heroes/Villians, Lord of the Rings Online, Everquest II, World of Warcraft, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Star Wars Galaxies (all 5 versions of the game), Hellgate London and a number of games that are too expansive to list here.

Ultima Online did it right.  Was it buggy?  Yeah.  Did it have patches? Yup. Why did they release a MMO completed?  Because back then, if your product wasn't finished, it didn't get released. 

Now, don't get me wrong... there is no way that all bugs can get squashed before release... some you have to do a certain way, dance around like "an egyptian" naked near a campfire using pine wood on a full moon to experience it.  But obvious bugs that some manager goes up and says " I think it is cost effective to release this" screws up the experience for most everyone.

And it isn't just the bean counters causing problems too.  You have those stark raving fans that go absolutely nuts!  "What??!!! the game was delayed?? Again?!!!  WTF! "   Those people drive me insane.  You would think they were the Xbox Live kiddies that are notorious for cursing up a storm with their high pitched voices wondering where mommy is to wash their mouth out with soap... No, these are full grown adults, some are white-collared workers drawing in $50-70k a year.  Whining and crying that makes them indistinguishable from the kids I hear on Xbox Live.

So where do we draw the line?  What is the defining point from which one can safely say, "this game is good enough to release?"  Personally, I think that statement is skewed anyways.  "Good Enough".. That is what  the slacker says who wants to be done with something so they can do something else. He does a half-assed job and expects to be rewarded for it.

Pirates of the Burning Sea is a good example of Developers and Dreams clashing and hurting them more than helping.  Just when the game was finished, done and ready to roll.. They said, let's throw in Avatar combat... Then they said, well we have them running around on the ship fighting,,, let's allow them to walk around port now.  And they kept on adding things to the game, beyond the original design.  This caused them to be set back for a couple of years, but it wasn't yet finished, and they released it as "good enough".  Well it wasn't good enough, as there is only so much you can do in the game. 

Before the fanbois start hitting me... I like PotBS, but can only handle so much at a time.  And the developers already discussed as how they wish they released the game when it was originally done before adding avatar stuff to it.  I am just repeating what they said and agreeing.. It was a mistake.

There was one game that was released, and for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of it, but they basically had to freeze all paid accounts for two or three months because the bugs and server stability was so horrible AFTER it was sold in the stores, they couldn't take the money from the consumer.  Was that Anarchy Online?  Bah, I can't remember.

But speaking of which, AO was SO damn buggy it was horrible.  The promise of the first instanced home was never working, no place to store your goods, bugged AI for pets, and mobs... Funcom had great ideas, but they published a crap product because it was unplayable.  I remember going back though and my fixer being like 150 or something then.  The game had improved.  Now, the game (you can play free if you start a new account....) has improved in stability, playability, but the graphics are so outdated it is like playing Asheron's Call (this game was great but graphics are so horrible by today's standards).  I am told that Anarchy Online will be receiving a huge UI and graphics overhaul later this year.. If happens, I'll be revisiting Rubi-Ka again.

With the unfinished games, should the gamers be compensated for their being true to the game?  Even with all the bugs?  If they are, how should they be rewarded?  Reduced subscriptions?  Should the game even be sold before it is fixed?  Should publishers just allow free downloads of the game, and subscription fees at a reduced price until the game is fixed?  Then when the game is ready and true gold, then freeze the accounts until they get the game from a retailer?  But able to keep their account?

So many questions, and no answers, save one.  It is a sad fact, that even I would do this, if a gamer wants to play a game, they will go out, buy it, endure through the bugs and warping, they will.  Very sad fact and for this reason publishers will not alter how they do business.

AoC, Age of Crap or Age of Coolness?

Posted by WolfClaws Tuesday May 13 2008 at 10:03AM
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Well, the time is near and people are getting anxious.

 

Should I buy AoC?

Should I wait?

Is it crap?

I am here to help answer some questions...

First thing people need to understand.  A Beta is NOT a Demo. 

Funcom did screw the pooch on this game in reguards to the hardware requirements.  Yeah, I said it. 

It is like Vista.  Now I like Vista and no, I am not a fanboi.  I like it a lot, but Microsoft was devious in making the system requirements unrealistic for the current age of computers.  If your computer was not a really nice system, you would experience hiccups or slowdowns or just plain frustraition.

Age of Conan is much like that and more.

Now, all anyone has to call experience with Age of Conan is the beta. Keep in mind folks, that the beta is just that a beta.  Webster defines a beta as "a nearly complete prototype of a product (as software) <released in beta> <the beta version>".   Note the "nearly complete prototype".  And a prototype is "a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction" according to Webster.

Ok, so what does all that mean?  Well, if you were making a shelf to hang up on your wall, and you have a bunch of tools that are needed like a handsaw, a circular saw, sandpaper, some pencils, a drill, screws and nails all over the place... And as you are finishing this single shelf you decide to get a little fancy with it and instead of making it rectangle like everyone elses, you add some curves to it.  Now your neighbor comes in and sees you working on this single shelf and he sees a big mess of saw dust, tools everywhere, lines drawn on the wood, the wood not even cut right.  So he things immediately you don't have a clue what you are doing.

That is a beta.

So you try again.  You use your tools more effectively, there is an even bigger mess because you haven't clean up yet, but your fancy shelf is looking a lot better.  Unfortunately, you still have your old shelf laying around and all the tools, saw dust, and your new shelf looks better, but you haven't sanded it down or anything, so it still looks a little rough.  Your neighbor comes by again and thinks you are either incompetent, or that you have a pretty gnarly shelf.

Age of Conan beta, both the PvP Weekend and Open Beta had the debugging tools and files running at the same time as the client, and there was bloat code that may have been deemed unnecissary and yet remained for whatever reason.  That is expected with a beta.

Whatever bugs and irritations that come with a beta, AoC has HUGE system requirements.  And this is a good example of those with the bigger system will have an advantage over others.  I have helped hundreds of people on the AoC public boards with their systems and sadly a lot of people have computers that are old. I dont mean 2 years old I mean 5 or 6 years old and a DELL or HP... I won't get started on that right now, but I will say,,, Use a computer boutique, don't use the big companies... you will get more for your money if you do.

Was Funcom smart going that route with the heavy system requirements?  Only the future will know.  Is it a good time to upgrade or build a new computer now?  Hell yes.  Prices for parts that came out 2 years ago (what AoC was built around) is dirt cheap.  You could build your own system for $600 that will run AoC pretty well. 

Then comes the question "Why would anyone buy a computer to play a game?"  Ok, well that is something a non gamer would ask, but we all know the answer.  And that leads to a whole other debate.  I ain't going into that now, this is going to be long without it.

I mentioned that players with a better system will have an advantage over others with a lower end system.  It is true and here is why.  Older games you can adjust your viewing distance without taking a huge system hit.  AoC, you do it with a computer not good enough and you will have yourself frustraition beyond belief with the stuttering and video lag and crashes.  Same holds true for particle effects.

I know... "Dude what does that have to do with advantages?"  I will answer, but you PvPer's don't be flaming me for giving out the secrets, but on the Free For All servers (FFA) and border keeps, you can actually see someone running around before they can see you with those settings turned up.  Partical Effects distance?  Same thing.... that Demonologist being cool casting lightning on his mobs, well dude, that lights you up like a Christmas tree for those who have their settings up.

Right or Wrong, Funcom opened that door...

Button mashing people have called AoC.  I say, you haven't played the game.  Autoattacks ARE nice, when you are grinding.. but it is lame.  Especially for those who are killing things afk.  I like the attack sequence in AoC, and will the possible decapitation get old?  Maybe after the millionth time, but you know what? Who Cares.  I mean really, the melee is interesting, very very interesting and no one has done it, and the only one who came close to it was DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) and City of Heroes/Villains.  And an even closer representation would be Elder Scrolls: Oblivion with the attack direction coming from your movement.  This makes it simpler and your combos are not impossible to get off, but you can mess up on em, especially in PvP.

PvP... it is fast.  Very very fast.  Faster than any I have ever seen. I think they need to slow things down a bit, as you tend to kill or die before you realize it.  Now this is group PvP... One on one PvP is a bit more definative, even though the Ranger is still very very powerful.  One on One PvP lasts about 30 seconds, tops, unless you run.

The visuals in this game are over the top, and aside from the beta graphical glitches, I say that this game has outdone itself in that department.  The shadows and lighting techniques really give the world a breath of life.

The "instancing" is one thing that has been in heated debate with AoC.  Let me explain how the "instancing" works.  You take one city, Tortage, and you make 10 exact copies and throw players in each of those copies, and that is instancing.  AoC does this for all their areas.  Now, the lands they explore are "instanced" but it is huge.  And when I say huge, I mean it will take you awhile to run around and explore it all kinda huge.  So yes you have load times, but it is large enough that it won't happen often.  And it is "instanced" and you are free to change to difference instances to meet up with your friends.  And the instance your friends are in are shown on the friends list for your conveinence.  Honestly, it isn't that bad, nor is it noticable.

The grouping of friends... AoC seemed to be pretty sharp on this.  Bascially, after you are shipwrecked, you are alone in a solo instance.  You are in it for about an hour, if that, and you get to level 5 where you enter Tortage and are with other people.  Cool beans, right?  Not exactly.

You now have your Destiny Quest line to follow and this can only be done Solo... Yeah, solo.  And you have to do this quest line which scales to your level, by the way, and depending on your base class can be pretty rough.  But it takes you away from your friends in groupage.

On top of this, but after Tortage is no longer available you are transported to your Race's home city.  So if your guild or friends are not of the same race, you have a small problem.  Oh, I forgot to mention, if you are on a FFA server, you will be alone if no other guildmate is near you, so you are easy pickings for the packs of PKer's out there. 

I do not know if you can go to the other racial cities right off the bat, so to give AoC a fair shake, I cannot answer that.

 

I think I am going to be done for now, but that is a lot of reading and good luck to you if you do choose to play.  I will be in game.

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