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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Darkfall: I've been MURDERED! (and what I've learned.)

Posted by beauturkey Sunday January 31 2010 at 10:51AM
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Yep, it finally happened.

Just happily exploring along, minding my own business when AGGHHHH!!! some guy runs up to me and starts hacking me up. His name was red and he looked like he had on full armor. CHOP CHOP SLASH CHOP! and I was down. I didn't even bother attacking back, this guy has has spent a good deal of his time learning how to chop someone up. Good for him.

So, what did I learn by getting murdered (leaving my wife, children and home unattended to, what a bastard!) by some crazed fellow in the middle of nowhere?

For the record, I had been ganked one time before (or was it twice?) last time I subbed to the game. This is the first time I had been murdered this time around. Second time killed, though, being that some kind of skeleton thing killed me a few nights before.

1) DO NOT listen to loud music while playing Darkfall. OK, this should be a given, but I was jamming out to my Pandora station and not listening to the game. If I would have been, I would have heard the guy in the huge heavy shiny armor running around outside of the towns gates that I found.

2) DO NOT make loud noise when you are not wanting to be heard: Again, an obvious. Still, I decided to just go running around having fun, listening to loud music and seeing what I can find. Although I was not wearing heavy armor, my footsteps and jumps had to be heard froma mile away. On a side note, Darkfall can definitely take a lot out of my wrists, being that  I have frequent pain from pretty bad tennis elbow caused by years of drumming, artwork and keyboard use. I have hotkeyed all sorts of actions (Darkfall allows you to re-map a good deal) including a constant crouch position. If I am sneaking around, I will hit the hot key for "auto crouch" and safely, albeit slowly, lurk around. I should have been doing this at the time of my murder.

3) I was not "ganked", I was "murdered": Whatever the "true" definition of ganking is, I decided that it means some kind of un-fair killing, or a killing done to someone for almost no reason. The guy that killed me didn't sneak up to me and kill me, he didn't happen upon a helpless AFK player, and he didn't do anything under-handed or sneaky. He heard me, ran up to me and kicked my butt. I know players that would become very frustrated and tell all their friends "That jerk ganked me!" but it is no different than what I might do in the same situation.

4) Do not carry anything that you cannot afford to lose: Luckily, I had nothing on me but some gathering tools, a few basic weapons, a camp-fire (I am trying to carry a camp-fire with me when I am out in the world so I can take realistic "breaks") a few gold and 200 arrows. He got nothing, and I would bet he left it sitting there.

After all this, I am still not sure how I feel about the PvP in a game like Darkfall, a game that has tried so hard to make such an immersive PvE experience. It's not that the PvP is bad, it's just of the FPS style. It feels out of place, and sometimes pretty silly. It also can look very silly, as in the first time I was attacked by a half-naked man in the dark:

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO. MMORPG.COM DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING OF VIDEOS.

That was my first death, back when I first played the game. In the comments section you can see someone telling me to just "disable shadows, it's easier to see someone that way." Why would I want to?  My trade-off for having a less realistic and immersive game is that I might be able to see an enemy better? Isn't that the easier way out?

That's one of those issues I have, too. The shadows are something you can use to hide, and yet other players can just turn them off. Darkfall is full of contradictions like that...realistic beautiful graphics that allow you the opportunity to "hide", literally, but that can be toggled off by your enemy. PvP that feels like you logged into a game of Halo or Tribes, fast and sometimes goofy.

It's as though there are two games being smushed together by Aventurine, one of immersive PvE in a world filled with danger, and a First Person Shooter complete with instant re-spawn and no consequences for your death.

Still, this is an opportunity to get better at avoiding danger, or at destroying my enemies. I decided that my original goal needs to be fulfilled before I venture too far out into the wilds. I need to raise money, and a good deal of it. The only thing that has done well for me so far has been to gather timber, to turn it into wood and to sell it. It's actually very easy to do this but it does take time. Within a week or slightly less I can raise enough money to train a ton of skills that will help me survive or to craft some better armor so I can withstand the next one.

Until then, when I do venture out, I will not be playing music at top volume!

Beau

My top 5 developers.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday January 30 2010 at 7:56PM
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If you follow me you know how much I love lists. To be honest they help me focus my attention on a subject and help me make my point (I tend to use conversation as performance art!) Even with sometimes missing things that I would have liked to include on the list, I enjoy the way that lists get my point across. I would rather have an incomplete list than a rambling mess any day.

A few blogs ago I talked about my top 7 skill-based games, (it was more like 9) so I decided to go after my top 5 favorite developers. I thought of this before, and we have discussed many of these developers many times on the show and through all sorts of places online, but let's see if I can really make myself (using such strict criteria as "only 5") get my love for these developers across this screen to you.

1) Kingsisle Entertainment: Where did Kingsisle come from? All of a sudden there is this small "kids game" that takes over the scene, and soon gathers 5 million players under it's belt. Despite the game being a "freemium" game, to get to the end you would need to pay a small subscription. It would be safe to say that the majority of the Wizard 101 players pay something, so it would be very safe to say that this little team that could has done it.

It was a joy to visit the grounds of Kingsisle studios for a tour. While I tried hard to get a peak at their new MMO under development, I had no luck. Whatever Kingsisle has under development, you can bet that it will be grand. Their philosophy of easy-to-run and fun-to-play gaming is surely going to spell victory for years to come.

2) Sony Online Entertainment: Ah, SOE. You have been inspiring nerd rage for 10 plus years now, and it has been entertaining. The ironic thing is that if you take the opinions of some players as truth, you would think that SOE does not have around 10 MMO's in it's pocket, and more coming out all the time. It's easy to say that I am a fanboy for two developers, SOE and Nexon. And like Nexon, SOE makes me giddy. Their Station Access feels like a toy box with it's pay-one-price access to all it's games.

While the company has made their share of mistakes, I have always been from the school of thought that says that if you are not making mistakes, you are not trying anything new. MMO's are basically a new genre of entertainment, and SOE has been there most of that time. The entire time they have tried different types of games and new ways of paying for those games, and it works more often than not. And their community commitment is matched by none. If ever someone asks if there are any developers that might be willing to take part in an interview or an appearance on a podcast, I tell them to contact SOE. They simply work with their community. When you look at a company like Blizzard and compare them to SOE, you will see how sad community relations can be in other companies.

3) CCP: CCP and Aventurine are one of my favorites for about the same reason. They both tend to listen to their community quietly while they work their butts off delivering that content that the community wanted. While they always try new things, CCP really seems to be a company that wants to make an EVE Online that their players want to play, instead of a game that might attract some separate group. This has worked out for them, this slow and steady approach to developing, by making not only a solid game but a solid development cycle that can be relied on. As much as I would like to pretend that my enjoyment of a game is not effected by how long a game might be around for, it is very reassuring to know that a developer will continue working on that game for as long as we would like them to.

4) Aventurine: Jokingly referred to as "Nectarine" by me, this team has brought Darkfall out of rumors of vaporware to being a really intriguing game for all types of players. They are slowly making headway in the fight to convince PvE players that their game is more than a PvP riot by releasing amazing free patches that contain tweaks, fixes and added content. They also seem to be OK with being such a niche company, developing such a niche game. It's kind of nice, to see a company actually say "We are big enough, and we are OK with our rate of expansion."

Of course, they would probably want 3 million subs just like anyone. But until then, their feet seem firmly planted on the ground and their ears planted in the direction of their community. While I wish they were more open with interviews and other communications, the proof is in the pudding. At least we know that their sometimes silence is caused by the fact that they are busy working their butts off.

5) Nexon: Leala looked at me after watching Nexon's presentation at GDC Austin and said: "They were the only developers to use the word fun." And she was right. We heard a lot about theories and numbers at the gaming conference, but Nexon was the first that seemed to be actually having fun with the event. And that fun spills over into their games, fun for all by keeping the system specs for their games low and the game-play noob friendly. Mabinogi has become one of my staple favorites and continues to add on skills to learn and places to explore and continues to be one of the deepest games out there.

Nexon is also inspirational in their use of cash shop items. They know how fun it can be to buy fluffy pink items for a few dollars, but they allow you to play their games successfully without them. They have talked about how to figure out where to set your prices, and it's fascinating to hear them speak about their target audiences and how they spend that money. Nexon is hip, young, smart and bright like an Anime cartoon, without being annoying.

There are so many more small development studios out now, coming from out of nowhere to prove something. Some are doing very impressive things, like Fallen Earth creators Icarus studios. And the new developers for Ryzom seem to have their stuff together, but in many of these examples it simply has not been long enough to see what might happen or I do not play their games much (like Cryptic or Turbine.)

Needless to say, we all have our favorite studios. And for many different reasons, too. But these are mine. These studios manufacture more than games to me, they create art that we can exist in, play in, explore and create art in for ourselves.

I hope to see more out of all them for a long, long time.

Beau

Oh EVE and Darkfall Patches!

Posted by beauturkey Thursday January 28 2010 at 7:17PM
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I can see it now.....

"What? I thought you said EVE sucked Beau!"

"What's wrong Beau, had to start lissenin' to Nu Metal???"

Har har, yeh yeh. First of all, my return to EVE has shown me what it has always shown me since I first started my account in July of '05: That the game will hook ya, easily. And anyway, I have never said the game sucked, I have only called it a "sausage party" (which it is, with a 4 or 5 percent female population. If you went to a get-together and there were 100 people and only 5 of them were girls..you would call it a.....) and that the general population of the game likes Nu Metal bands like Godsmack and Tool.

By the way, that's called good-natured-ribbing, something that I assure you the sausage party of CCP knows a lot of. It's worse than a 7th grade locker room I can assure you. (I am going to email them and ask if there will be male strippers at this years Fan Fest.)

Anyway, I took the game up on the 5 day return to hang out with the MMO Voices crew. Well, I actually started a new 14 day trial before I HAD to check on my main account. So I have been spending some evenings hanging out with 'Voicers, mainly with my friend Lea that has like, 67 accounts. (I will bet that a third of all the population of EVE is made up of multiple accounts. Still, they get good numbers.)

Last time I was involved I had trained covert ops but snagged a Hawk for fun. My favorite battle-worn Raven sat in a station, waiting for missions. Last time I quit was out of boredom from being attacked by a corp made up of 16 year olds (literally) so this time around I would be sure to avoid anyone with a name that didn't start with capitalization.

So why does EVE work when it does? For me, it doesn't have anything to do with numbers or combat or anything really that is within the game at all. It has to do with the images in my head,  the daydreams of sneaky covert ops missions and something like what someone asked about on the forums the other day: "If I want to be like a Han Solo type guy, can I?"

That sentence sums up EVE brilliantly.

The I get home from work to find Jay Jay the Wonder Biscuit telling me that the new Darkfall patch is up and patchin'. Beautiful! Of course, my friend Lea had to show off by purchasing the 6 month package thingy, but it'll be nice to have someone I know that can play when I do. (Jay Jay is British and a snobby PvP'er.) The funniest thing is that she asked me on Twitter: "Can't I just make any race and run her to where you are?"

I literally laughed out loud. I lol'ed.

But then I thought for a moment and told her "Screw it, let's do it!" Again, such a simple thing that sums up why games like Darkfall getcha' good. It's because even finding each other is an adventure, and can be an entire evening of play. Even just finding out what you want to do can be an evening of planning, and completing those tasks, those simple tasks, can be fun.

Granted, you might have to deal with some real buttheads. (Yes, buttheads. Think about it. A butthead would be a pretty bad person.) But they quickly become just another form of mob, and Darkfall does an amazing job of allowing you to literally hide away from those you want to be hidden from.

The other night I had my first "What the Hell is that coming?" moment when I heard a few mounted footfalls coming my way. Needless to say, I hid quicker than a guinea pig. As I sat there up lobbed up two enemies on two weird looking mounts. It was really dark, so I just sat there as they paused and continued on their way. It was thrilling. Darkfall is filled with moments like that because while your death is just a pause and a possible run back to your body, the anticipation is what gets you.

In an real-life example, we used to play hide and seek when we were kids. Now look, we were like 12 or so so we had to man it up a bit. We would run and hide in the pitch black and in the woods and if you were found you became a zombie essentially and had to find someone else to "get". I ran and hid under some leaves, and I mean covered myself in some leaves (bugs and all) and stayed there for probably 20 minutes while, slowly, my friends were picked off one by one. The guy that was "it" walked by several times, I could hear him breathing heavy in the night and the leaves crunching under his feet. My heart was jumping out of my chest!

That's kinda' how Darkfall and EVE can make you feel.

Beau

Mabinogi EU Open Beta announcement!

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday January 27 2010 at 2:13PM
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I just received my press packet today, and boy am I excited! Now our crazy friends across the pond will be able to enjoy Mabinogi like I have. This time, though, they can talk about the game obsessively instead of me! You have to give this game a chance, and once you get used to the graphics they become quite charming.

The game is filled with more skill-based goodness than pretty much any game out there now, and they are always adding content/skills to learn. I'm happy that my EU friends can play it too.

Here is the official press release:

"NEXON Europe the publisher behind popular online games MapleStory and Combat Arms, today announces the launch of their latest release for a brand new MMORPG, Mabinogi.

Following its successful debut in North America, European players can now look forward to experiencing a brand new fantasy life for themselves. This free-to-play game based on Celtic and Welsh mythology embraces key MMO features and offers a robust, universe where people can experience all facets of fantasy life from fighting to farming. Along with content updates and exclusive events this enchanting game lets you experience another world as you embark on your journey through a magical land.

After completion of the recent closed beta test, fans and newbies alike can now enjoy the latest storyline edition to the game. The Generation 2: Paladin update brings new episodes, quests and unique Paladin skills. By becoming a Paladin, players can boost their character attributes once a day for a certain time period. Hard-core Mabinogi fans and new players should keep an eye out for this content, as this is an update not to be missed!

To celebrate the open beta launch and content updates Mabinogi Europe is also announcing a number of exciting in-game events, allowing players to immerse themselves in this new found land. Starting from today users can look out for the Pet Adoption event, where exclusive virtual pets will be offered as rewards to players that complete a request from the NPC Duncan at Tirchonail. Following this an Attendance Reward event and screen shot contest will be launched and users can expect to receive prizes for their participation on both.

If that wasn’t enough to tempt you in then perhaps this is, as In February Mabinogi will also be setting the mood for love with a celebration of Valentine’s Day. Romance is definitely on the cards this month as players will be able to receive chocolates from NPC’s and also share these with one another. As well as this heartfelt gesture, players will also be invited to join the Boss-mob video competition where users can get involved by uploading videos of their character in a bid to win a prize.

And finally, players can maintain their character without reset or wipeout right through the open beta and continuing through the official launch – coming soon.

Mabinogi just got busy, so come and try out the fun along with your European friends!

To find out more about the game and to take part in the events visit http://mabinogi.nexoneu.com

Plus if you want to receive updates and exclusive offers why not become a Facebook fan www.facebook.com/MabinogiEurope or follow the Mabinogi Europe Twitter www.twitter.com/mabinogi_eu

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Here are some beautiful pieces of art-work from the game as well:

Enjoy!

Beau

My top 7 skill-based games.

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday January 26 2010 at 10:38AM
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The more games I play, the more tired I become of class-based games. Of course, I fault no one for enjoying a class or for enjoying playing a role in a group, but I am just not really one of those people. I say a lot of things regularly, and one of my favorites is "I would rather be weak and unique than powerful and a clone."

Now, let's be honest. Even within the most skill-based games in existence there are still boundaries and limits on what you can do. And even within a game that has many, many skills to learn it is still very possible to be a carbon copy of someone else. No game has the ability to let us be literally anything we wish, but some are getting close. Also it is important to note that even within games that have seemingly limitless bounds for character creation, players still find a way to create templates for "MAX DPS" or for perfect healing.

Still, I am love with any game that allows me to do what I want.

So I want to talk about some of my favorite games that play like this, and why I like them. Before we start, though, I want to post a disclaimer: DO NOT MENTION THE NGE AND SWG. I HAVE ERECTED AN ANTI-NGE FORCE-FIELD ON THIS POST. I PLAYED IT BEFORE AND AFTER THE NGE, AND THE PRE GAME WAS A BUGGY PRETTY FUN GAME THAT HAS BECOME, AFTER THE NGE, A LESS BUGGY REALLY COOL GAME. IF YOU WANT TO BRING UP THAT TIRED SUBJECT, WRITE YOUR OWN BLOG.


1) Ryzom: Ahhhh, good ole' Ryzom. There's just something about this game that breeds the most loyal fan-base ever. This game has been through more owners than a thrift store couch, and yet some of the players have continued to pay that sub the entire time. While I think that achieving max-level in any of the grand skill trees (combat, magic, crafting or gathering) is an absolute grindy nightmare, the Lore, the setting and the people make this game incredible. So, pick out a speciality and settle in for a long time. Just be happy that when you do master a skill that you might have hundreds more to choose from.

2) EVE Online: People seem to confuse my calling of the EVE community a "sausage party" with criticism of the game. The game itself is magnificent, and a roller coaster ride of discovery, learning and action. This game is a perfect example of how such a varied skill game can be pin-pointed to the point of perfection by some players, but don't let that stop you from trying to make your character as unique as possible. I have only a 10 million SP character after 5 years, and that should show you how off and on I am with this game. But while many might bemoan the fact that some skills were learned and never used, thus becoming "wasted skill points", I say that those points just make my character unique.

3) Mabinogi: This game is the perfect example of players allowing their distaste for less-than-perfect graphics get in the way of an amazing skill system. Essentially you gain skill points as you level, and can add those points to whatever skill you want. As you hit the higher levels/age and run into a wall of SP earning, you can re-birth your character as a child, thus earning skill points faster and easier again. Right now my character has something like 35 skills learned, and many more to go. I am eager to see where this game goes, because right now it can only be up. It's a complicated, intense and very unique game wrapped in charming yet Anime-ish graphics.

4) Anarchy Online: I have maintained a free account for AO for quite a while, and have been meaning to get back into it. Ironically, this games graphics do set me off a bit, but then I log in and see all the choices I have as a character. With the recent sightings of the new graphics update, this game will probably be around longer than almost any of them.

5) WURM Online: I have been yelping about WURM for weeks now, and can only tell you that you need to go try it. In case I didn't make myself clear, there is combat in this game. The animations are not really...well, animations at all, but the games environments still look good. Even with the free server being capped at level 20 for each skill, this leaves so much for you to do it can be over whelming. Download the game, log in and wander a bit. Try and build something and soon you will be hooked. Just watch out for wolves!

6) Free Realms: This is basically a skill based game, when you look at it right. With so many jobs to level, your character can be a conglomeration of skills that would make any expert cry. Cooking? You got it. Mining? Yep. How about racing? Mmhmm. Free Realms often does not get the credit it deserves because it is touted as a "kids game." If Free Realms and it's advanced character creation is a kids game, then that makes games like LotRO, EQ2 and WoW the stuff of embryos.

7) Darkfall: I have recently returned to this game to find not only a deeper, more complex game that before but to find the ability to literally do what I want and to go where I want. I meet players that have crafted a trading company for themselves, a anti-PK guild or that just wander like myself. With a few coins you can learn almost anything, and you skill up these skills by just doing them. If I swim, I get better at swimming. If I fight, I get better at fighting. It's beautifully simple and a blast to play. Don't let some kind of worry or fear for "hard-core PvP" stop you from playing this game. Trust me, it's no big deal.

I know I am missing something from this list, but this is also comprised of games that I play frequently. It's easy to see that the skill-based fan has plenty to do in today's market, and that skill based games are growing in popularity. The end goal of most gaming (I would hope) is to allow the player to do what they want. In the end, wouldn't you rather be unique than powerful? A needle in a haystack instead of a cookie?

Maybe it's it's just me.

Beau

A bit of news for Spellborn lovers!

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday January 26 2010 at 2:10AM
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A pretty small tid-bit, but it is something. This is from the official forums:

Hello Players,

Here is an update regarding Spellborn from our CEO.

The rumors are true! Spellborn Version Two is on the way. The developer has released the new version in Japan, and based on the success of that launch and the fine tuning of the game, we will keep you informed as to when we shall launch the English version of the game. When we do, we will be inviting registered players of the old version, who have valid email addresses on file, to become our beta players. In the meantime, why not check out some of our other great free games at www.acclaim.com? Hope to see you ingame! -- Howard Marks, CEO of Acclaim Games, Inc.

Thanks,
Acclaim Staff


I believe that the Japanese version is the same as the one we can play now, save for the addition of a cash shop. One player noted that from what he could tell, the cash shop items were pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. There were, however, certain armors for sale that were in the Japanese version that actually gave some stats. This has not been confirmed and frankly I don't care if they sold a card of God-Mode. I just want the game to go on, to be updated and to be alive.

Spellborn was one of those games that I literally dreamed of, falling in love with it's art-style and atmosphere. When it started to have issues I wondered if it would be able to survive. While it has been completely free in it's current condition, it does need some help. Looks like we might get it!

It;s just so odd to see such a great game falter in the way that I did, and I wonder why it did. Some think it was because the game was too linear, and others think that the simplicity of the quests did it in. In all truth I think it was the fact that the game was a little too unique for it's own good. There is also something to the theory that most players don't like the choice to look how they want, and would rather look silly in armor that is known to be powerful rather than to look how they want because armor stats meant nothing.

Oh well, we'll see. I certainly don't want the hard work of the original developer team to disappear. Maybe finding the right payment model (cash shop based) will be just what the game needs. I am a huge fan of the cash shop, so this is good news to me. I am also a fan of sticking it to players that somehow think that cash shop items should not have some effect on the game world or on combat. The cries of "real life financial advantage" have been bogus since subscriptions were ever included in the list of things that are needed to play. If selling gear in the cash shop scares off those type of forum whiners, good by me.

I just wish the game didn't have to go through all this before it got to this point.

Beau

Darkfall: Exploring is getting me places.

Posted by beauturkey Monday January 25 2010 at 1:21PM
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If I see somewhere I think is cool looking, I want to be able to go there without much restriction. Darkfall is allowing me to do this, leaving annoying invisible boundaries or ridiculous level restrictions out of the game. While I might run into a dangerous critter that would stomp me in a second, it's easy enough to sneak around and to (seemingly) avoid detection. Still, you're not sure what the creature is or how powerful it is until you attack it so you need to tread carefully or be ready to run. I like this aspect of the game, and I love the fact that I have to use my gut instinct to avoid death as much as my skill.

As I have been traveling, I have been binding myself to whatever town I come across. This isn't as much of an issue right now and especially not as much of an issue as in other MMO's where stepping foot in the wrong area will send you right back to your proper place in the funnel. In Darkfall, even if I wind up in a town that is normally surrounded by really scary meanies, I can survive. Recently in one town I was visiting (the towns are pretty dull, though, with a few NPC's that stand there and maybe a handful of players) I saw the mountains in the distance and told myself that I meant to go there.

Sure enough it was just a matter of climbing up the path and the side of the mountain (Darkfall does allow you, pretty unrealistically, to  climb practically straight up a slope) and soon I had crossed the mountain and down the other side. Within no time I had found a player city (judging by the house names) and decided that it might not be the best idea to stick around somewhere that might house pissy players. I headed out but made a note to get a house one day.

Then I came across a familiar looking batch of root things, something that looked like it fell out of Ryzom. This was a nice tough, but again I headed out being that usually these places are brimming with meanies.

What I am enjoying about Darkfall is that fact that, while the systems are definitely limited, the number of systems to play around with are enough to keep you very busy. I am slowly becoming good enough at woodcraft to make a raft (50 more "levels" to go) but can now make campfires, something I want to try out in the wilderness pretty badly.

I can see how someone could just run to a website to get all the information about the game that they could, but at the very least I think a player should wait until they come across that system or want to explore that system before they look it up. And if you do need to find out, why not ask a player?

I have not been attacked once, but a few times by accident. I have joined a group a couple times but to be honest this game is so nicely suited for solo play (contrary to popular belief) that I am loving just exploring, surviving and working my way through the world.

What towns will I find next? What monsters will I attack? I wonder when I will start being dangerously close to the enemy faction players? These are questions that living in a virtual world should ask, I think, mysterious questions that can be answered slowly in game. I don't care about being the best PvP'er or the richest player, only about being the guy that gets the most out of this game.

Anyway, I'm off to play some more EVE as well, being that it is now the Game of the Site for MMOvoices.ning.com. I will be splitting my time between that game, Darkfall, WURM and a host of F2P's over the next month or so. Wish me luck, and if you see me in game say hello.

Or kill me. One or the other.

Beau

Spouse Aggro for Sunday Jan. 24th! The WHINY EPISODE!

Posted by beauturkey Sunday January 24 2010 at 6:55PM
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We talk about lot's of on today's show! Most of it....whining.

Download/Listen HERE!

We talk about the announcement of a new documentary about raiding called...wait for it...the Raid Movie. The makers of the film haven't actually made anything but are asking for your money anyway.

We whine about STO and how we think it might not do very well.

Then we talk about about this wacko raiding couple that, instead of sitting down with a good movie or with a book, want to sit down with their 8 YEAR OLD to raid 3 nights a week, sending him down an early path of stress, extra fatty foods and a lack of D-3.

We chat about how Beau is playing WURM and Darkfall, and about how incredible they both are. If you consider yourself an MMO fan and haven't played either, you are mean and probably fart in public a lot.

Here is the music from todays show:

The beginning/ending song is by Adele, and the song is called "Hometown Glory" and Beau has a crush on her. It's alright, though, since Leala agreed a little too strongly that Australian accents are sexay.

The cheesy metal is a Godsmack song called "I Stand Alone" which is probably one of the cheesiest metal songs out there, along with one of the cheesiest metal videos out there. If you notice, the singer gets a tattoo of The Rock on his hand at the beginning.

The good metal song is, of course, by Slayer. Duh.

The squirrel that Bettie was barking at was actually a dog outside of the fence. The trashy people next door do not keep their dogs locked up.

Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

Twitter name: spouseaggro

Skype name: beauturkey

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The Turkeys

The Immersion Project and Darkfall.

Posted by beauturkey Friday January 22 2010 at 2:05PM
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The original Immersion rules can be found here.

I decided a long time ago that Darkfall would be a great game for the Immersion Project, a role-playish type of project in which I limit my access to information in order to make myself feel more connected to the world. When I say role-play, I am not just talking about "How art thou?" and not talking about playing a character other than me, but playing my character as though he was me. Or at least a person with my level of intelligence, slightly below average looks and ways of doing things.


Pretty!

 

In other words, "what would I do in this avatars position" instead of "what would it be like to BE this superhero of a person?" I am not acting as something else, but seeing if I can react to the game as though I might if I were in the game world.

One of the fastest ways to do this is to get rid of, or minimize the use of, the in-game map. The in-game map is magically filled in for you, and your direction is never in question. With Vanguard, for example, I printed out three huge blank maps of the three continents and marked them using a real life pen. When I traveled to Fan Faire, I even had other players mark on the map where something might have been. In the end, I have a set of maps with scrawling all over them..a real life in-game map!


Look at all that phat newbie loot! I actually love the piles.

So I need to find the highest quality blank map of Agon that I can. And it needs the least amount of info on it as possible. Any suggestions would be awesome!

Next, I need to decide which of the original Immersion Rules really are needed anymore. While a game like WURM online keeps track of and considers food in your actual performance, a game like Darkfall can be played without ever using food. It helps things I have noticed, but keeping track of it would be a little distracting. While it would be more realistic to mark down and time when I need to eat, that kind of numbers-keeping is actually the opposite of what I am trying to do. So out with worrying about food until I can find a better replacement system.

Travel is easy enough. I can get a mount eventually or hoof it. My project right now is to build a raft and to go sailing, but I will be removing any ability to instant-travel (teleport) back to my bind point. I like the idea of instant travel, especially when I am out in the middle of nowhere and scared to death, but that is the perfect time to force myself to try and make it home.


Yes, "The Rape." Remember, most players do not use such names.

The weather is nice in Darkfall, but I am not sure if there are rainstorms or snowstorms, anything that might cause my character to be hurt or to be slowed. I will time the day and night cycles to see how long is realistic to travel before resting. I will learn to make camp-fires and try to use one every so often, to represent rest. Also, the lighting and campfires in this game are awesome.

I will skip the perma-death rule, again. I tried it once in Vanguard and I lost the best main of my life!

I need to figure out a trade route besides the official one. I will look into the official one, of course, but many have told me that it is borked right now. Also, it happens at the games pace so I could not do it at mine. In Vanguard my character made arrows and harvested for money, and that might just be this mains job too. I need to figure out if all brokers/auction house type systems are all connected to one another even though it might break my heart. I want to see local ones only, to force or to allow players to travel with their goods to make money.

There is more, I am sure. But for now this covers some basics. I need a real-life blank map, to get rid of the compass on the screen (something that I might or might not be able to do, haven't checked yet) and to work towards a boat.

In the meanwhile I am slapping some arrows in my pack along with some food and slowly working my way farther out into the world. When I stumble upon a pocket of monsters, I am reminded of Oblivion or Fallout 3 in the way that you can easily get yourself killed while exploring. There's a real sense of danger to the game that will add some spice to the Immersion Project!

In the meanwhile, go over to Syn's blog and buy the game. Click on the link in the corner of his blog and he gets a chunk of the change. I believe in rewarding the bloggers and community members that hand out attention to games like Darkfall, (while not getting paid) and he has been yelping about this game longer than anyone I know.

(by the way, thanks to Jay Jay the Wonder Biscuit for helping me get my game. He ruleth.)

See ya on the seas!

Beau

An update on the Fallen Earth silliness. (with instructions)

Posted by beauturkey Friday January 22 2010 at 2:02PM
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To make sure everyone is clear on what I am talking about, I am refering to the "Return to Fallen Earth for 10 days" thing.

You know, you get an email that asks you to check out the game again, free, for 10 days. LotRO is doing one right now. The problem with this was that in the email there was no mention of "you need to have an account that has been inactive for 60 days or you will not get the free 10 days.Here, look at the email and you can see for yourself. IN fact, it is surprisingly void of much information at all! (The email was dated in my inbox which is based on Central Time as Jan 21st 12:18 PM.)

I have been back and forth with the customer service department, and soon after my first few contacts they put a forum post up on the forum, explaining the promotion. I know, I know...they should have had this information IN THE ORIGINAL EMAIL. (The forum post was posted at 6:56 PM the same day. Not sure what time zone.)

After all this, they have indeed activated my original beta account with the non-existent characters for 10 days. My account that was last played probably over a month ago (before the release of the graphics upgrade) will not be re-activated.They shared the same email.

While I appreciate the promotion, I am hoping that they realize their mistake and don't do it again. While I will probably re-sub soon (I review and play  A LOT of games, I cannot stay subbed to all of them all the time) I would have returned even sooner if they stuck by what their email said.

Still, the game rules. The game is a blast and do not let this appear as some kind of slap at their customer service. The company seems to be on top of stuff pretty much always. It would just be nice to see them stick by what they have said, though.

Here is the last email I sent them: (a lil whiny? Yeh.)

From: Spouse Aggro [mailto:spouseaggro@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2010 10:34 AM
To: -----------@fallenearth.com
Subject: No play now button.

I have already discussed this with some of your customer service reps, and they have told me that (although it never said it in the email) that this only effects accounts that have not been active for more than 60 days.

I have mentioned it in my blog, and already have received many messages from players that noticed the same thing. It is also being discussed on many forums.

While I think that your game is fantastic and would gladly pay for another month (as a writer, I do not maintain subs for all my games all the time) the fact of the matter is that you send out an email promising one thing, while back-peddling with a post on the forums after it was starting to get attention.

Do not allow those players to return, I understand. But all I wanted to read was that a mistake had been made. That's what people have grown to expect from you guys.

Or not, it doesn't detract from your fantastic game.

Anyway, I appreciate the offer to look into it, and if you would still like to you can. My sign in name was ---------, and also -----------------------. Both were connected to one email , ------------------@----------.com, and thus the confusing email was sent. Of course,  how was I supposed to know which sign in your were sending it to?

For your reference, here is Turbines "return to LotRO" information page:

http://www.lotro.com/news/377-welcomeback

As you can see, they plainly put all the information out there. You did not. They might serve as an example to you.

Anyway, thank you for your offer but if you need to look it up to verify that I cannot participate, go for it. I still appreciate your offer for help.

Have a good day.

Beau Turkey

And their response: ( I do not post full emails to my other email address, the one I use for community contacts. Even if I hated a company with all the passion of a millions suns, I do not give out one-on-one emails from community reps or developers. Still, they wanted me to pass this part along:)

“If Fallen Earth fans have difficulty accessing the ten free days of gameplay offered in the email promotion on January 21 and feel that they are eligible to receive game time, they should contact customer support at support@fallenearth.com.”

So, there ya go.

Not a big deal, really, but still very interesting in seeing how a smaller company deals with customer service and plain ole' mistakes. Honestly, I have never had much of an issue with MMO customer service, and this is a good sign that the tradition continues.

Still, I want my damn 10 days!!! :)

Beau


OK, OK Darkfall, I get it. You're "hardcore."

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday January 20 2010 at 2:34PM
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I get it, man. Stop waving that stick around, the rest of the people here are getting a little nervous.

Sorry everyone...let me take Darkfall to the back room. We need to have a little talk.

*walks to the back room, closes the door after Darkfall walks in*

OK man, look. I am "down" with your hardcore-ness. I get it. You're like, mid-tempo metal sung by guys with gravelly voices. You're like, scary and stuff. I mean, look...you have blood spatters EVERYWHERE, the SOUNDS of blood spatters if I so much as start to pick my nose, and players running around that warn me of "scaring me back to my kiddy games" while they run around with names like "GayTard420". I get it.

But c'mon, man. Look at me. I know, alright?

I know.

That's right, if there is one person that knows what you are really trying to do, it's me. You don't have to keep up the act with me. I'm not "worried" about getting killed, I am not stressed in any way, shape or form about killing more players before they kill me. In fact, I could completely ignore all the PvP in Darkfall and be completely happy.

So yeh, I know what you are doing.

Look, Second Life has it's perverts that pay their bills. They allow those group-love funnies to run around with huge glowing boobs so that they can afford to allow the rest of the players to build amazing things.

World of Warcraft has it's raiders. You know, those odd people that play literally as much as they work, and probably harder than they work. While they are not the bulk of the player-base, WoW allows the rest of the players to think that raiding is...you know, what you do.

And you...Darkfall you have your "hardcore PvP'ers." You know who I am talking about. Guys like this:

Of course, there's nothing wrong with these guys. They are cheesy, sure. They like bands like Tool and Godsmack, but someone has to. They fuel the fire for your game and actually have a Helluva lot of fun, I bet. But while those guys are off conquering the Kraken and attacking each other, there are many players like me that are enjoying your PvE content.

Yes, Darkfall..PvE. Don't play stupid. I know you have been working hard to add some pretty cool stuff to yourself. Don't worry, man, no one will notice as long as you bundle it with some PvP changes, no matter how small.

I mean, your shadows are cool. Yeh, other games have great shadows, and occasionally yours can glitch out a bit, but they are just really cool. Since I know that I don't have a huge name over my head advertising to the world my information, I can walk through shadows and actually be hidden. Yeh, I know other players can turn em off, but many of them don't. Hell just the other day I stayed hidden and watched two other players kill goblins. They talked in local (I turn off your other chat tabs. Sorry, Darkfall, your chat is silly at best and useless at it's worst) and it was kind of thrilling to be spying on two strangers as they killed things. I actually learned a bit, too, watching how they did it.

And while your crafting doesn't seem to be very complex at all, just look at the boats and other items you can make with it! I mean, damn...the loading screen showed off the wide variety of boats and ships that can be crafted and I was blown away. Reminded me of some kind of fantasy EVE.

And while I was "pwned" several times when I last tried you out, this time around things are so much easier. First of all, I know to ignore someone that is trying to get me to hit them back. Also, I know how to fight a bit, and how to run even better. And you know what? I've given up worrying about how annoying it is to be attacked in the middle of something. I'm cool with it. I mean, if I were to stumble across some dork chopping wood, I would probably attack him too! It's fun!

So yeh, I haven't yet reached any higher than I did last time I played you, but already I can tell a difference. Granted, my familiarity with the game is helping smooth my entry, but things seem to be smoother too. The quests seem to be flowing and even fun. The monsters are a blast to fight as their arrows whiz past my head. And I'm actually excited to make things, things like a campfire that might warm me (and cause me to be dangerously bright at night) while I'm out adventuring.

So look man, you don't fool me. I know that games don't just happen. They take hard work and creative talent. Even some of the worst games are made by some pretty damn creative people, and as an artist I respect that. I know that you are staffed by like, at least a dozen great artists. They have created a beautiful world, dark and harsh in some areas I have seen and downright beautiful in others I have seen.

So yeh, maybe as I play you for the rest of the month's re-sub I will get into the PvP a bit. Maybe I will kill a few players and be killed by a few players. Who knows, maybe I will join a clan and go conquering?

But until then, I know your secret. Don't worry, I won't say a word.

Beau

How to be a super famous podcaster.

Posted by beauturkey Sunday January 17 2010 at 10:18PM
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The Turkey household is lucky enough to know a lot of cool people. And, every once in a while, we get to see what might be the beginning of the greatest podcast in the history of mankind.

And if not, we at least get to see many of our friends have it a go..to try their hands at taking their hobby to another level.

As a quick back-story, I want to tell you that me and Leala have been doing this podcasting/blogging thing for many years now (actually I have kept a blog for many years before, as a drummer) and we have become pretty good at it. Now, when I say pretty good I do not mean as in pretty good recording quality or as in pretty good delivery. I mean pretty good as in pretty damn close to exactly how WE WANT IT.

So, for any aspiring podcasters, I wanted to give a few tips that might help.

1) Do not worry about audio quality, and let's be REAL honest here, OK? You are recording a voice or voices. It's not hard, and you do not need to spend a lot of money. Get a decent mic for 50-100 bucks. Get Audacity. Don't be one of these audiophiles that worries more about perfect sound quality than actually sounding like you are having fun. Me and Leala record using her iPhone. We can take it anywhere, it records good enough to hear everything very clearly and it is what we are: LIVE. We are not going to sit down behind pop-screens with massive headphones going "check...check...sshh..sshh..sshh..chhhhecckk..chhecck.." In other words, worry about perfect tone after you actually figure out your show.

2) Don't get too gimicky with your show. Wanna' have a panel? Cool. Wanna' have a panel that will each take turns to pull a random subject out of a hat, each member taking 5 minutes to be followed by responses in turn? Give me break. The idea with a podcast is to let others into your conversation, not into your cluster***k. Don't go out and get a guy with a "radio voice" to make an intro that sounds like some morning show out of L.A. That's been done, and been done lots. Cheese is your enemy. Do not play cheesy metal because you think it'll show how you have "attitude" and remember that you won't impress anyone with being FAKE. Be yourself.

3) Don't make huge plans. Don't be one of those kids in college that has the bands website, t-shirts and stickers made up without having songs written. Let's see if you can just actually record and loosely edit something (and figure out hosting without having to ask everyone) before you hire a web designer. Get a show or 4 out first, THEN conquer the world.

4) The golden rule: DO WHAT YOU WANT. Don't try to find a niche. Do not listen to other podcasts to try to copy. For Christs Sake, if you cannot be confident enough in your own ideas to put out a show that might contain nothing more than you (and maybe others)  discussing video games, then do not even go on with this project. Understand that you are doing this because you DO have an ego, you think your opinions have value, and you think others will want to hear it.

5) Do not worry about making money. Stop right now if you are worried about download numbers. Do not try to work Google ads, or to try to find free space on your blog to stick AD AFTER AD AFTER AD. If you want to find a sponsor, cool. If you want to find 6 sponsors that have almost nothing to do with your show because you want to make 412 dollars a month, then GIVE UP NOW. You are not going to make any money at this, at least not for a while. You might get some free game accounts, some swag, free access to places that would normally cost you, and will get the best pay by meeting really really cool people that make you go "I wish I was that f*****g COOL." You will not do this as a living, unless you become fake. Howard Stern is not really an a**hole, and Rush Limbaugh is not really conservative (he gets messed up on prescription drugs and likes lot's of loose women.)

Go get Skype for live calls, and buy a decent Skype recorder.

Now listen, forget everything I just said. Stop your plans. Stop thinking about a website and completely forget about "..how many downloads represent a good amount?" Stop thinking about a logo, or a website or hosting a forum or about getting really cool developer interviews.

Done? Forgot all that? Sitting down?

OK. Grab the recorder, open the laptop, plug in the mic or press the red button.

Now, just talk for one hour. Talk about whatever you want. But for f***s sake talk about SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. TALK ABOUT IT FOR AN HOUR. NO, NOT 30 MINUTES!!!! TALK. IF YOU CANNOT TALK FOR AN HOUR ABOUT SOMETHING YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT, YOU HAVEN'T ANYTHING TO SAY. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS MUCH PASSION FOR SOMETHING, THEN YOU NEED TO HUSH AND GO TO SLEEP.

OK, now listen back to what you just recorded. Grab a beer, a smoke, your headphones or maybe your husband. Now sit back and listen to it and see how it feels.

Now, if you are embarrassed or feel stupid, stop right now. Put this silly little project out of your head and just keep moving on. Don't worry, most people don't get to this point until after doing it for 2 or 5 years.

BUT don't be surprised that, if you recorded for an hour like I said and talked about something you actually are in love with, that you find yourself enjoying your own voice and even find yourself forgetting that you even said half of that stuff. In fact, while you recorded you might have just blacked out in a slobbering fit of mic-pops and voice distortions.

After you are done listening, put it away and go away for a day or two.

Come back and re-record for an hour. Don't listen to the first recording before this second recording, you want to semi-forget what you said or might have thought sounded bad. Then listen back to this one and see how it sounds. If yo find yourself enjoying this very very very simple yet very very unglamorous process, write a few notes (just a FEW...damn don't make 24 topics!!!!) and go for it again, ALONE.

Now, you are ready. As long as you did not feel overly silly during this time.

Record a show, go find some copyright free music (there are sites that provide this for podcasters) and stick some of the song at the front and the rest at the end. Give the show a title, and slap it on it's Libsyn account (no, I am not going to explain it. If you want to do this, you will Google it and figure it out) and tell every single person you ever could. Tell your customers, your co-workers, your mom and dad. Tell that dude at the laundry, or that ticket-taker at the club where you saw your ex-boyfriends band.

But, DO NOT LISTEN TO THEIR OPINION. Don't ask them what they thought. Just be that weird girl that asked them to listen to her weird recording about video games.

Then, keep going.

After a while, you will be super famous.

Or, you will be like me and Leala...known enough in this small community. Able to gain access to some cool people and some cool places...occasionally scoring some free s**t. And very proud to say that your hobby is a creative process as well, that you don't just sit back and plug in to someone elses art all the time, you make your own. You will meet incredible people all over the world. You will travel occasionally for this hobby. You will dream big dreams of games that you want to see, and get to witness some people making those games, and maybe one day you might be able to have a part in making these games.

And you might make people smile, or think.

Just get to it, have fun. And put away the f*****g mixing board.

Beau

Fantasies are not real, collaboration is.

Posted by beauturkey Friday January 15 2010 at 9:54PM
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I have been totally addicted to WURM Online, this great independent game that pits you (and your friends if you want) against the elements. Essentially, you find an area you want to build on and do so, hoping that you don't interfere with someone elses creation or plans. It's a large enough virtual space so that this rarely happens, and really it's only a matter of asking.

Our group from MMOvoices found a nice spot and settled in quickly. I immediately started to plan the lay-out of the place (but have had to change it here and there) and it was awesome to see some of the site members fall into roles that seemed to reflect their personalities.

Alik Steel, for example, is the resident "old schooler." I'll be honest and say that we do not know each other as well as we could, but he is the type of person that makes quite an impression with his gruff exterior and old-school gamer ethics. He's a work-horse, it seems, gathering ore from the mine and wood from the trees, and investigating farming. It just seems to fit him.

The first female member logged in and joked about cooking and running the kitchen. Sure enough, she ran off, killed a pheasant and returned by saying "Pheasant and eggs for breakfast, boys!" I've not known Lea for as long as I would like, but her bubbly personality came through her actions.

I have slowly become the infrastructure guy, not quite a leader but trying to keep all projects tied together. The fence will be finished soon, to me a very important step. With the fence comes security, and I have taken on the call of "Soon her waters shall be secure!"

In a way, the game feels like what you might go through if you and a bunch of friends were indeed stuck in the woods together, complete with moments of 4am grumpiness. We are all trying to remind each other to keep the forge fire lit, and trying to keep each others spirits up.

In short, the game is a cool way to see how gaming together truly brings out the most distinct characteristics of someone.

And maybe this kind of game-play is what I have been missing: collaborative game-play that binds people together. I almost always solo in my gaming, but maybe I have just been playing the wrong games. In most games, combat is the main drive, and combat is repetitive and gets you generally nothing but more of the same. In a game where the players are working towards a goal, things change. Every step closer to the goal changes the situation, every new situation brings new lessons and allows more areas of the players personalities to shine.

As an artist, I have always had this love/hate relationship with gaming. You spend hours upon hours playing a game, without ever creating anything. It's like watching the same movie over and over...repetitious entertainment with no outcome but time spent away.

Games' like Second Life were always entertaining, but soon the sheen wore off because I would be, seemingly, the only one that wanted to do something creative.

Maybe this little social network I have created (260 members now, and more are always invited!) is the key? This group of eccentric individuals that don't mind trying something new, something creative. Something real.

After all, a fantasy isn't real, no matter how strong the fantasy. Collaboration or creative goals shared by a group is real, though. The experience is real. The fun had is real, and sometimes you just might make something together, something that has never been created before. For that short time that the thing exists within the hugeness of the Internet, it is totally unique. It is burned onto some hard-disk somewhere, and might even remain for years. It's yours and your friends, a result of your collaboration and efforts together.

I might, after this Game of the Site passes, take the equivalent of a months sub and get some land in Second Life. I wonder what we could create together? It would be interesting to see if my horrible experiences in Second Life might be put behind me with a collaboration.

Until then, I will be working on my fence. The wolves are howling, and we need our waters to be secure.

Beau

This is as close to my ideal MMO as I have ever been.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday January 14 2010 at 7:44PM
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OK, that title is a bold statement, so let me define what I mean by it.

Several episodes ago, me and Leala talked about our ideal MMO's, and how we would make them. She had the idea to make a Buffy the Vampire Slayer MMO, one that would allow for cool skills (magic back-up from your out-of-group friends! Cool idea!) and already had a built in fun factor. My idea was essentially a survival MMO, one that drops you off in the middle of a beautiful forest, pitting you against the elements. You would have to use your wits and guesswork to gather food and to survive.

Lately I have been piecing together a killer MMO using current games, but that was in blog form only.

We need to go back and re-visit our dream MMO, though, on the show. I will talk about it on the next show, probably. Because my recent time in WURM Online has shown me that my dream MMO is probably right around the corner. Notice that the title is not "THE IDEAL MMO"...meaning that there are still some things I would like to change, to tweak, to make it ultimate.

The game essentially does what I described in my dream MMO, it drops you off in the middle of...somewhere...and you have to figure out everything yourself. But, the game is lacking in some areas, just like any other game. Let me cover a couple things that I would like to tweak:

1) The death system: While the game gets closer to the goal than most games, it would still be nice if death was not so easy to overcome. Basically, if you get killed, you re-spawn back to a location and might have to go back to your corpse to gather the items off of it. While this is an independent game, I would like to see such innovative developers give death a little more thought. But, the system of food/starving is pretty neat. While you never will die from hunger, stamina regeneration will drop so low that you will be hard-pressed to do a lot. For me, I would like to see the rare occasion of death (as it is rare in this game) treated as major injuries, possibly followed with time to get "better" or healed by someone elses skills? This has got to be one of the hardest things to make in your game, the system of dying.

2) The graphics: Well, this is a minor thing. But still, graphics can make or break a game. Luckily, the games environments actually look really nice. Especially at night, you will find yourself excited over recognizing the layout of the land, how pretty the sky is and the joy of seeing a campfire through the trees. The actual characters, though, are not much more than a stiff dummy-looking guys (or girls? come to think of it, I haven't seen any females!) that have hardly any animations. It would be amazing to see this game rendered in even a slightly nicer engine. I can see why they go this low-end, though, as it helps the game run on many different PC's and is cheaper than most engines. Also, it runs in Java.

There are, I am sure, many things I would love to fix. But this game is the reason that I play MMO's, a game that fires my imagination. This game is almost a perfect representation of my Immersion Rules. Now, let's say that in some magic world I can own a game like this, or buy it from the owners...what would I do with it?

Well, when you log in you would find yourself in the middle of the woods, at night. You would have a very few basic tutorials pop up to show how to open inventory and all that, and inside you would find a few basic tools.

The key thing here is how to show you what "to do" next without being obvious. I would probably go with a similar system that the game uses now, a system of highlighting all objects that can be interacted with, but I would make it more subtle.

The only chat that would work would be a local one, and a shout channel. No tells or global channels. I have to say that WURM benefits greatly from having it's help channel, and it's local chat works in a "realistic" way, fading out when you are not around others, but I would like to take away this ability to magically send your thoughts into others minds.

For help, there could be a "clue" system that might help by highlighting useful objects that are next to use, or maybe a sort of petition that would grant you access to a GM in the form of some kind of helpful creature.

Essentially, you might wander around doing the same thing that you would do in real life, yelling for others. Once you met someone, you could build a camp together or find some food. WURM does food pretty well, but I would like to see it become the crippling system that it could be!

When you log out, you would sleep, and depending on where you slept you would get bonuses or minuses. If you logged out in a pile of leaves, you might wake up cold and achy and get a minus to your stats. If you slept in a warm bed next to a fire, then you would wake up in a much better state of mind.

WURM is just such a perfect base for my perfect MMO as I described it. It is a survival game, but on top of that I would love to see what I call the "mysterious orb" events. Let's say you are busy working on building the morning camp-fire when you look up and see a mysterious orb in the sky! Over the next few days (or even weeks) it grows in size and changes color...what could it be?

Live events do not need to be filled with non-stop action. They could be these small changes to the Lore, or events that were only hinted at but that felt as though something huge went on. If that mysterious orb came and went, leaving only a great crater, the players would be fascinated.

That's what I am looking for in my MMO: discovery and mystery. WURM has a lot of this, but if I had my way, the game would be turned into something even more mysterious, something a little darker, more deadly, too.

In the meanwhile, I will continue to play and to daydream. Maybe I can make my OWN MMO?

Beau

Where Second Life fails, WURM Online works.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday January 13 2010 at 10:39AM
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I have enjoyed Second Life on and off for years now, (over 5) but I have to be honest in saying that it has mostly been off. Every time I get excited about some new project in the world, something comes along to destroy it.

The idea behind Second Life is a very cool one, but it doesn't work half the time: allow the players to build whatever they want. You can make your own games, homes, stores...whatever you can think of. I used to spend hours just tweaking some texture in a vehicle or making little pieces of digital art to show off. Now, I haven't played for a good chunk of time in near a year, otherwise just logging in for a few hours here and there. And despite recent changes to the game, there is always that one element that messes it all up.


Yep, that's Second Life for you.

If you allow everyone freedom to build what they want, 90 percent of it will be trash.

This is not some attempt at me trying to impress my "tastes" on others. Any long term player of Second Life knows exactly what I am talking about. In a world where a house can be nothing more than 5 squares arranged together, and in a world that allows textures to be anything, the few beautiful and amazing builds are sitting right next to hideous dance floors and shopping malls. Frankly, the game is embarrassing a lot of the time. And it's really sad, being that there is such creativity in the game. Granted, players can escape to private islands and sims, but that takes money. You end up with pockets of cool people with money to spend surrounded by mostly perverts with a few dollars.

Speaking of perverts, I will bet you a hundred buckaroos that Second Life is kept afloat only because of the perverts. You know the ones..the leather-wearing 40-sumthin's that want you to have a threesome with them....in game. They work hard on obtaining the latest "sex position ball" so that they can pretend that they are having sex with other 40-sumthin's while chessy industrial music plays in the background. And oh yeh, they all pretend to be vampires. But that group of player, the pervert, not only makes up most players in SL I will bet, but spend the most money.

I will bet you that LL owes everything to these people that are willing to pay big bucks to own a sim that allows for non-stop virtual sex. Remember, this is a world that had major issues for a long time with players making CHILD avatars for others to have sex with. Play acting rape? It's in there, too.

So, needless to say, I am always disappointed when I log into Second Life. Not only is it too expensive if you want to own anything, but there is no guarantee that the guy next to you won't use HIS land to just build a giant pink house with a dance floor on top.

I want to build something with others, but something that feels as though it is part of the world. Give us freedom, but make all of us in the game be restricted by some rules. Hell, Second Life would benefit from, at least, allowing certain textures in certain sims, to keep everyone's creations at least a little in line with each other. While the idea in Second Life is to allow total freedom, look at how that worked out for the quality of work on MySpace!

WURM Online, a game that pits players against the environment, does what Second Life never will (unless players pay a good deal of money to someone else, with no guarantee of rules) and keeps all the textures the same. Yet, you can get very creative in your lay out, in the size of your place, and in what you do for a "living." It's more of a game than Second Life, which is what I like.


WURM Online.

While I think Second Life succeeds at being what it set out to be (a big glob of ugly freedom, allowing players to grief each other with texture warfare almost anywhere) I would rather have some limitations on the players.

If LL would only completely restrict some things, in only some areas, they could have entire communities sprout up that follow certain themes, and new players would stop being discouraged because of lack of funds or because they were pushed out by a neighbor that builds a giant wall with a picture of John Stamos on it. And yes, I am aware of the restrictions for "PG" areas, or whatever they are now calling it. I am also aware that within the guidelines of "Safe for Work," players can still offend you. Well, not offend you, but literally surround you with their creations.

I am enjoying WURM for the reasons that I wanted to enjoy SL. I want to collaborate with people, and build something. I like community. But allowing players to have absolute freedom is a sure-fire way to get exactly what Second Life has, which is players that log in only to check their store-fronts once in a while, and perverts that stay logged in to build giant boobs.

Right now, for example, me and some members of www.mmovoices.ning.com are building a little settlement. We are trying to figure out who will do the farming, the metal work. We are all stumbling through the forest, learning as we go. We are sharing information. Me and my friend Alik killed a wolf that had been pestering us for a long time.

We do have creative freedom, but we are not going to be able to build a giant wall with any texture next to our neighbors if they bother us. While there can be griefing in the game, it can be fixed pretty easily. The chat can be nutty at times, but you can walk away and the words of those bad players disappear.

I love the fact that everyones build, no matter how bad their lay-out or building, at least looks like it falls into line with the world. While the game is definitely not a graphics powerhouse, and in fact looks really dated, it works because of the consistency.

That's exactly what is lacking in SL: consistency.

So try out WURM if you have found yourself disappointed at Second Life. They are different "games," for sure..but the basic ideas are the same. Where you might have been frustrated at Second Life because of annoying players, you will find yourself loving the fact that those players, at the very least, have to use the same textures you do in WURM Online.

Beau

The key to happiness.

Posted by beauturkey Monday January 11 2010 at 6:40PM
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I stumbled upon a cool documentary on some channel the other day, and it was really really good. Essentially, it talked about Happiness, it's scientific basis, and it's benefits.

Now, I'm all into pretty much anything, but worrying about if I am happy is never one of those things that I think on. I know I am happy, very very happy, and have always been that way. The world just seems too much like a huge rainbow sandbox of exploration for me to be unhappy. But, I have to admit that even I started to grow a little more morbid over the last few years. Supposedly it is an age thing.

So, I actually wondered what this documentary would claim the key to happiness is. Would it be fit mind? Fit body?

In the end, all of the scientific data said that social connections, social interactions, are the key to happiness.

I have to say that this made me smile. This was as much one of those amazing Oprah A-HA! moments (yes, I just used "Oprah" in my blog for the first time. I think it was the first.) as when reading "Accept life as meaningless, and live life as art." Sounds silly, hippy-ish or hokey, but it's true. Social interactions are what we are all about, it's how we came to be what we are. We are a social creature, it's in our blood...our genes.

In fact, watch someone having an argument next time you are in game. Watch them argue with a guildie about loot or about status. Now, here's how it would typically go:

Player 1) Hey man, I think I should have that loot!

Player 2) Nah, I deserve it..after all, I can wear it!

Player 1) Don't be a jerk! You already got like 4 items!

Player 2) Yeh but what's fair is fair...

And it might go on in that way for quite a while. But think for a second on how much this give-and-take is an integral part of not only conversations, but arguing as well. Even enemies do this. One side says something and pauses...the other side responds and then pauses..when it gets down to it, they are actually basing a good deal of what they say off of the other side.

In other words, even enemies listen to each other.

Now imagine if that same guild argument happened, almost. Imagine one side ignoring the other.

Player 1) Hey man, I think I should have that loot!

Player 2) Alright everyone, on to the next room!

Player 1) Hey! Listen, I want that loot, that would be better...

Player 3) This is so fun. Thanks for taking me guys!

And on the game goes, all players essentially ignoring Player 1. He would eventually leave, quit the guild or just become a hermit in game. So much of what he does and wants to do depends on others, especially in a situation like his.

Remember as a kid, when you first heard about "reverse psychology"? My mom told me that I was upset at a girl, not because she broke up with me and I truly loved her, but because the responses she gave me were being taken away. Our give-and-take was over. Correspondence was dead. Isn't it amazing when you consider how much of our social interactions are very, very dependant on the responses of others? Even when we are angry and want to be "left alone," we do not mean anything like being truly left alone. In fact, "Leave me alone!" is often a request for attention.

How much of our MMORPG hobby is dependant on other players? While most of the discussion tends to lean towards "how many you need in a group", that is too literal. I have not met a single game yet that cannot be played through while alone, in some fashion.

In fact, I am the biggest solo'er out there. I rarely, if ever, play with other people in groups. When I do, though, I do realize how much I miss them. I think it's because I am always jumping around from game-to-game, but it is more than likely the fact that I am always a horrible player. I couldn't shoot my way out of a cardboard bag, and I like it that way.

But when I go to the mall or the movies I don't walk up to strangers and ask "Hey, wanna' sit with me?" It's just the fact that watching a movie or shopping is fun when surrounded by humanity. We like having other people around us, we like to hear other people laughing and ordering food. But we aren't having conversations with them, and we aren't doing anything else but being part of their background.

So while many players talk about how much "easier" games have become, and more "solo-friendly", we are never really alone in these games. We are part of the crowd, and the potential to meet someone new is always there.

Happiness is based around social interactions, I agree. I just tend to use the entire internet, my Twitter account and my various websites as my global friends list. I am not worried about how many of those people might be in one particular game, being that I can just bring up any number of messengers to talk to them in an instant.

The world is smaller now, thanks to technology. And social interactions are easier to have. And that makes me very happy.

Beau

Spouse Aggro #97: DRAHma, STO, LOVE beta, lot's of stuff.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday January 9 2010 at 7:29PM
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Download/Listen HERE.

We return after a good time off, and give you a show filled with Guild Drama, STO talk and lot's of gab. Yes, I said that Australia was the armpit/butthole of the world, but that WAS A JOKE.
I'm talking to you. You know who you are. :)

Anyway, enjoy. Our equipment is back to normal so we should be back to normal.

Write us, or send in a segment. Call the phone line and leave a comment:

972-535-8867

Enjoy!

Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

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The Turkeys

I need some help picking out 2 games...

Posted by beauturkey Friday January 8 2010 at 2:58PM
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..I have played everything out there. So, in order for me to have a decent review I am thinking I need to re-visit some older games.

First, a quick back story: I write reviews for www.ablegamers.com, which is a site for disabled gamers. Well, I should say that it is a site that talks about games, has great reviews and interviews, and features the issues that disabled gamers might face playing games. This isn't some fringe group site, but a site that millions visit each month, so I take my role there as a reviewer/writer very seriously. I am trying to become a better writer (I tend to write abstractly, and it can be hard to follow) and writing for such a professional site is really helping to whip me into shape.

I want to get one good review done a week, which will be separate from my ramblings on www.spouseaggro.com, www.mmorpg.com, and www.mmovoices.ning.com, but playing a game for a week is not enough to really give it a good review.

So, I am holding off on my next review, I am writing one this weekend but then waiting two weeks for the next one. I have really enjoyed diving into one game, which is something I rarely do (I skip around several games in a week) and want to use the experience to write better reviews.

During this next two weeks, I will be playing one game alone. BUT, in the middle of that time I will add on another game so that I will always have a game being played AS another is written about.

I just made this sound way more complicated than it is, huh?

Anyway, I need some suggestions. I am pretty tempted to do another trial of DAoC, since I loved the last one so much, but to buy the game maybe? Then the overlap game will be a freebie so that I am never subbing to too many games.

Any suggestions of some odd, older or weird games? Bear in mind I have almost literally played everything you can think of, but some of them were so long ago that it would be fresh for me.

Hmmmmmm...

Beau

I like to play dolls. With Champions Online.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday January 6 2010 at 7:36PM
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I knew right away that my super hero in Champions Online needed to be pretty ordinary. I have had this character of mine, drawing him in comic form for near 20 years now, so I wanted to get him right. I decided, though, that a more modern update would be nice so I made him more like me (instead of an alternate reality me as in the comic. This post explains more.)

So, he would use his powers (he controls the "Checks", a form of energy) to not only protect himself, but to keep away nasty allergens that cause him grief like asthma, runny nose and sneezing. In reality, my asthma is not near the level that it is for some, hospitalizing them or even causing death. I have been lucky to find a good doctor that prescribed some medicine that essentially stops my allergic reactions, thus stopping my asthma.

I have had to get used to wearing a face-mask when I mow the lawn or when I clean out my furry animals at work. (I work at a pet store part time when I am not reviewing video games. Yes, seriously.) So, if the energy shields failed when my hero was sleeping or dazed, the mask would provide a back-up. Like me, he has become something of a germ-o-phobe, and uses enough hand sanitizer to kill a horse. Forget arch enemies, my hero would just like to rid the world of people that lick their fingers to count out money. (Eeeeeww!)

Champions allows me the creative outlet that so many games do not. While I generally enjoy most games, I always get stuck in a rut of playing the same role as everyone else in my class or profession, and I end up losing that feeling of uniqueness that I want in a fantasy world.

I love to write and draw, and Champions makes me feel like I am that teenager again, filling my time with non-stop art. (I do not draw as much anymore, being that I have wrist pain from years of drumming and art, and cannot sit still like I used to.) Champions makes me feel, in a word, giddy.

As you can see, I got most of the outfit right. I need to get the colors to be more accurate, but I am not sure that would work. Also, I need to get some fingerless gloves (the wife would get mad if I cut up my only pair.) The longer hair in game doesn't work very well with certain outfits, but I LOVE the hoodie.


This is an old picture I drew of my hero back in Junior High.

I'll work on it. I have never been someone to dress up, but I couldn't resist! Now, I just need to make a winter outfit for Canada, a summer one for the desert, an underwater one for....

...you get the picture.

Beau

5 Gaming trends that I hope stay in '09

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday January 5 2010 at 7:43PM
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OK, I told myself I would not do one of those "Year in Review" blogs, but screw it. I had to. So, here's the 5 things I want to keep in '09, never to come back out again.

Of course, they'll be back.

1) "Hardcore" PvP: Drop it, it's not a more pure form of entertainment. It doesn't separate the men from the ladies. While PvP can be a fun side activity occasionally and only when you are drunk, it is not something that you would want to be engaged in 24/7 unless you own a bong and a Playstation 3. In MMO's it will never happen, and will never be "hardcore." No game is ever going to make you do what really hardcore PvP would do: die. A real hardcore game would have you avoiding death for as long as possible, not jumping into it with glee because you know that death is just a momentary pause and a short run back to life. You ever see one of those Green Beret guys, or one of those Seal guys? You know, they could kill you with a finger?...yeh, those guys. They are hardcore, because they do not die.

2) Gamers that gripe non-stop about the game that they play: No one cares that the game used to be hard "back in the day" (as though 4 years ago was a lifetime ago)..those times are long gone, thank the almighty Pixel. No one wants to hang out for 2 days waiting for a spawn, or to be forced to play with 24 17 year old nu-metal loving assholes, only to be screamed at over vent to "..learn to play your class!" Speaking of that...

3) "Learn to play your class!": Let it go, weirdo. It's a game. Hell, LIFE doesn't have as many rules as you have made up for this virtual reality. You might want to consider that many gamers do not see reading a step-by-step guide on "How to gain higher DPS" as anything near fun. Remember fun? It's that thing you are supposed to have while visiting these virtual worlds.

4) Loose/Lose: Well, this is a gaming community thing, and I am not talking about those that might have issues spelling for various reasons or for people that hardly speak English. If you are 27 and were born here and suffer from no learning disabilities, you should know the difference.

Screw it, we lost lose. It's gone. It's now loose. /pouroneout

5) Gaming trailers that show a powerful dude fall down from the sky, only to land on one knee while he is looking down so that he can slowly look up with a smirk on his face because he is so powerful that he does not care about the hordes of enemies facing him, while bad metal from a band whose members look up a lot and sound exactly like Tool plays in the background: You know what I mean.

Anyway, there ya go. I'm off to save the world in Champions.

Beau

The evolution of a character.

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday January 5 2010 at 10:10AM
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The closest I have ever come to believing in a "religion" would have to be over the last 20 years as I learned more about actual theories that stated that there were multiple copies of this world existing at one time. These theories have some basis in modern-day science and mathematics, but I do not pursue the exact details for fear of losing all interest.

After all, a religious belief is almost based on the believer giving into faith, and into the unknown. Also, reading about mathematical theories can be boring as Hell. Now, please do not think that this is some lame attempt at a Matrix-like theory of "alternate reality" because it is not. I thought that the Matrix movies were nothing but a lame set of bloated special effect music videos, and the last thing I would want to portray myself as is a fan of those turds.

Still, I just gotta' go with what I think.

check on roof

Essentially, while I fixed toast this morning there were countless to the countless power copies of myself making that same breakfast, perhaps only differing by one single atom within one single part of my body, or within somewhere on the world that that copy existed in. Minus all the theorizing that mathmiticians are doing about it, almost every religion talks about the endless mind of God, and how we could never even begin to conceive of his or her size. Wouldn't "countless" "endless" or "unfathomable" allow some room for every possibility, every reality, out there?

While I do not believe in a single mind that drives all the forces of the universe, I do believe that it is very possible that there are countless "realities" that are basically a sharing of atoms within countless shades of the near-same things.

Back in '94, I drew comics like crazy. I never put much effort into them, often just sketching them to ink later, but I knew that even within the disjointed stories there was a single constant: Mother Grin, her son Cueball, and Check.

ltthwack

According to my take on the theories of multiple realities, Grin was one of the only things in all of the copies of everything that had no copy. I was not trying to portray an angel or God, but just a constant force. Not even a force of good as much as a reverse of evil, an opposing energy that sat on the opposite end of the spectrum from the negative. And within all the realities that she traveled through-out, she had one actual son within one actual reality. He shared her capacity for being completely unique, but the laws of the realities of the world he lived in made it so that he got cancer and died.

She had an adopted son, Check, and that son was a copy of me. Basically, he was what I was but within a reality that allowed for super-powers, monsters and visitations from Mother Grin. She taught Check the use of the ordinary energy-stuff that he called the "Mundane" (most of the names of all the characters came from either Check or Cueball) or the Energy of the In-Between.

check blast

Essentially, most things in all of the universes live in and experience mostly acts of normalcy, of going to work and getting coffee, of buying a house...of being a common worker bee. Only at the extreme ends of the energy spectrum are the Good and the Bad, the Positive and the Negative. But that is not to say that the "in-between" energies had no power, when in fact they had the most power. All of these common activities within all of these common lives within all these realities created a massive amount of energy. Yes, the energy of the boring!

So, Grin taught Check the use of these energies, and he would often form them in visible checkered patterns, a perfect representation of the exact balance of good and evil that the Perfect Middle-Ground would have use of. He eventually could force these energies into a solid form, (although sometimes invisible) and could will them to do what he wanted, to go where they wanted, to lift things, to form air-tight bubbles, whatever he wanted. He could slice something in half by making a molecule-thin layer of checks and forcing it forward with the speed of a trillionth of a second.

Like many others, I fantasized about a character that was bullet-proof, but with weaknesses. He had to be careful because he might lose track of the Checks when he slept, meaning that he was as vulnerable as he would be without them, and although he could wrap a indestructible layer of Checks around someone he loved to protect them, he had to learn to avoid suffocating them. Although he later learned to control the Checks that were far away from him, he lost many friends because of evil-doers that wanted to get to him somehow.

hes alive

So, over the years I have had many versions of this character, but essentially every character I have made (unless otherwise stated) has been some copy of this character, of me, that is set within the boundaries of that reality that they live in. Mother Grin visits them all, but still has the softest part of her heart reserved for the deceased Cueball and for Check.

So, I made an approximation of Check during my recent time in Champions. I made a defender back in the City of Heroes days, but Champions has allowed me to really hone in on the true characteristics of Check...his "bubbles" of protection, he ability to force things away from him, and it looks like I might be able to take it further thanks to the awesome character customization.

As I approach level 17, I'm starting to think about what my Nemesis might be like. I knew that like a truly evil person he would not be a smiling, laughing "evil grin" type, but he would be what true evil is like: cold, scary, unknown. I started to mess with a character creator to get some ideas, but then it hit me.

there are others

I would make Mother Grin my nemesis!

While she is never really "good," she is the opposite of "evil". So how would I explain her appearing as a "evil" character? I don't know, yet. But that's what I am enjoying, the going-over of these old comic pages from 15 or more years ago, the creation of more stories, the use of my imagination.Some basic facts about Mother Grin:

1) She is between 7-8 ft tall.

2) She weighs around 34,000 tons. (I've always liked that number.) She doesn't really walk around as much as wills her weight from not crushing the floor she walks on. She is very thin, so the weight comes from her density. She is made of such age and experience that it has made her very dense.

3) I always drew her with tiny, shriveled wings on her back. Not Aion-like over-the-top massive wings, but tiny bony useless wings. I have taken them away in more recent years.

4) Everything about her, due to her age, is a shade of gray. She often looks like a plain, but pretty, older woman that wears pretty normal clothes like a gray dress, a pair or pants...something that semi-blends in the world she visits.

We'll see. While it is very possible that the Nemesis system leaves much to be desired for this little chapter of this character's life, we'll see. I don't look things up out of fear of the unknown, especially in a video game. I hope it works out well.I am really enjoying not only the role-play aspect of all of this, but the literal creative effort to make these characters and their stories.

Who knows? Maybe somewhere they are as real as me?

Beau

There are no harsh death penalties.

Posted by beauturkey Monday January 4 2010 at 3:56AM
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I have been playing the heck out of Champions Online for a review lately, and I have been enjoying it's ease of game-play. I don't mean ease only as in "easy" but in the way that it eases you into fighting, crafting and everything else. Once you get used to it, it's a blast.

But, after "dying" several times, I couldn't figure out what the death penalty was. So, I decided to ask in chat.

Seems as though most players (in that newbie area) weren't even aware of one. But then someone explained that these little stars near your health bar were gained as you avoided death, giving bonuses to combat capabilities. Neat idea, one I had seen used in The Chronicles of Spellborn (that game uses PeP, or personal experience points. Essentially, it pays you to avoid death instead of concentrating on what might happen if you die.)

screenshot_2009-08-29-22-30-46

And recently my wonderful time in Fallen Earth showed me the same weak death penalty, essentially just giving you a small exp de-buff for about 10 minutes after you "die." A "harsh death penalty" game would be EVE or Darkfall, but I argue that those games leave so many easy ways of avoiding any real issues that the death penalty is hardly noticed. In fact, when you are shot all to Hell in EVE and are podded (I said I pvp'ed a lot, not that I was any good at it) you simply wake up in a station with your same clone body, same skills and a wad of cash in your pocket representing an "insurance" pay back. Only a careless act akin to spilling coffee on your keyboard would cause you any real grief: forgetting to buy a proper clone or to buy proper insurance. While you can lose some very valuable ship modules and some very valuable implants on your character, the insurance can, literally, pay you extra cash for dying. Also, if you need extra cash you can simply buy some time-codes and swap them for in-game currency. (Unless that was removed over the last year?)

In Darkfall, another game claiming to be "hardcore", the only real punishment comes from the humiliation of being pwned by a guy named "KillerX420." Death is about as harsh in that game as in an FPS, save for some possible loss of very attainable loot.

And on the opposite end we now have games like Champions that cause you absolutely no grief whatsoever. But, do we really need the grief? After all, these are worlds with warp speed and dragons, so what makes anyone think that death would or should be an issue? Isn't it possible that, in a world with healing magic, that transporting one's soul and items to a neutral spot is a normal occurrence?

Of all people, I have always been a very strong supporter of perma-death, even going so far as to try it out on a few characters.

The problem with perma-death, though, is that no game would be able to do it right unless built with that mechanic in mind from the very beginning. Even then, there would ( I would hope ) be some kind of "passing on" of skills or some goods to another pre-nominated character, which is essentially the same thing as waking up with a less-than-potent clone in EVE. Alright, so what if  a game just made your character actually die? Well, I will guarantee that, as in real life, combat would have to be something either avoided or very, very fast. The game would have to shift the light off of fighting and onto more mundane activities, like solving puzzles (as in Myst Online) or in crafting (as in Fallen Earth.) After all, if the game would completely destroy this beloved character of yours after a random bear attack, then they would have to make those bears either run away when you approached or as rare as a happy WoW blogger.

I always liked the idea of "punishing" your character, but in a way that adds depth to the game. Imagine that after a death in your favorite game that you character must lie in a hospital bed for a decent amount of time (several hours or days or even weeks!) while other players perform "surgery" and really have to "heal" you. In the meanwhile, your alt could be the doctor or you could simply spend your time crying in the corner.

So, maybe it's time to drop the death penalty issue. I can't believe that I am saying this, but if we are going to suspend our dis-belief for an evening of shooting missle's at each other in giant space-ships, then we should maybe get used to the fact that there really isn't much to dying in that world.

Beau

Looks like it's Champions on my plate!

Posted by beauturkey Sunday January 3 2010 at 10:54AM
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Being that I just wrapped up my review for Allods, I must move on to something else. I decided to give Champions another go, being that in the beta and early stages of the game I thought it was pretty rough.

The graphics were hard-running and ugly, and the game-play too reminiscent of City of Heroes.

But, I am pleasantly surprised at this return! I am not going to tell too much, being that I need to save a bunch of it up for my www.ablegamers.com review, but you would think that by now I would have learned to give a game a pretty deep few days of gaming before I pass judgment. Still, the game should grab me within the first few minutes, but I am no ordinary player. I have played everything out there, so it is easier for someone like me to miss details because my vision is a little...calloused.

Has the performance improved? Well, the performance is just odd. I can't really explain it, the frame-rates are fine and even with all the goodies turned up, but it has sluggish performance in areas and rubber-banding issues. There are odd graphical glitches, as well, but I finally settled upon a setting that mostly satisfies (I turned off those silly outlines.)

One thing that strikes me is how easy the game is, being that I amn sailing through levels. Within 2 days of play I am already level 13! I wonder, is this what "normal" gamers feel, levels whipping by all the time? I have to admit that (thanks to having asthma issues and having to take medicine that can potentially give me a migraine) I have not been reading all of the clever quest text as much as I normally would, and that definitely speeds things up.

So, is this what everyone else does...clicking on the accept button just to run to the spot on the map?

I don't know, I don't like the speed. I am slowing down a bit since I am feeling better (many asthma meds increase blood pressure which can easily cause a headache) and I am loving some of the neat little quest stories. Right now I am on a mission to rescue some very familiar sounding comic artists and writers, and will soon get another power!

The game is growing on me more and more, which feels strange. I just hated it so much when I first played it.

Oh well, this is my P2P game for the next month (since I am switching to a one game a month plan for sub games) so I hope it stays as fun as it is now.

In the meanwhile, I am off to smash some bad guys.

Beau

Listen to me guest host on MMOvoices Official podcast number 15!

Posted by beauturkey Saturday January 2 2010 at 4:41PM
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I guest hosted on the official podcast for MMOvoices, a small social network that we here at Spouse Aggro created a while ago. I thought that some of you mmorpg.com readers would like to hear it!

MMOVoices #15
Tue, 29 Dec 2009 08:00:00 GMT [download/play]


Show Notes:
Hosted by Jeremy, Cindy, and Keenan

Welcome everyone to the MMOVoices Podcast, Episode 15!

Topics today include:
- Special Guest Beau Turkey from MMOVoices and Spouse Aggro
- Shout Outs
- What we're playing
- FFXIV
- Allods Online
- WoW and Philosophy
- Site game of the week is...Champions Online
- Beau has an assignment for Alik Steel

Intro music is "Damnation" by Michael Gordon Shapiro (used with permission)
-- You can find his website at http://www.mikemusic.com

Send emails to mmovoices at gmail dot com

Website found at mmovoices.ning.com (Here!)

Twitter Name: mmovoices

Skype names: jmo1337, ashaluna, and synthiviper

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