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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

Spouse Aggro #74: Raiding breakfast, Runes of Magic!

Posted by beauturkey Thursday April 30 2009 at 8:46PM
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Spouse Aggro #74


Thu, 30 Apr 2009 20:06:00 GMT [download/play]

"Breakfast Raiding and Runes of Magic!"

The Highlights from show 74!

1) Beau and Leala welcome you to one of their favorite, and quieter, breakfast places. It's on main street. While it does get annoying when the after-church crowd shows up with their pent up loud kids, the place has good donuts. We talk about raiding and some of the issues Leala has been facing lately. (Hint: Crawl is a noob! hehe)

2) Then, sit in with Riknas from the Free 2 Play podcast, Troy from Travels with Troy, Shawn from Massively and someone's mother as they play Runes of Magic live. Instead of doing a typical edit (since we were all over the place,) I pushed all sorts of clips together to see how they sound. Funny? Yes, if you recognize how a bunch of dudes joke around!

Look! Music? Of course. You will recognize all the small clips of songs, but our main theme this week was from Imogen Heap, and her song was called "Hide and Seek." Cool stuff.


Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

 Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

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 The Turkeys

D.I.Y. Project: Making your own dual-boxing station.

Posted by beauturkey Monday April 27 2009 at 5:56PM
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This sounds much simpler than it is, and it will take at least an afternoon. Here are the items you will need:

1) One pack of Trolli Brand Gummi Bears.

2) One cup, glass or swig of Kool Aid. (It has a third less sugar that most sodas, according to sources.)

3) A desk that will hold at least two monitors.

4) Two monitors.

5) Two PC's.

6) All the crap that plugs into the PC's.

First step: Find the desk that you want to replace with your new wicked Nerd Epicenter of DOOM. In this case, it would be my old desk with my older (we have a newer one that I can't touch) PC on it. Stats of said PC:

AMD Athlon 64 Processor

2 gigs cheap ram.

GForce 7900 GS Graphics card.

Audigy sound card.

Some speakers.

desk1

Second Step: Clear off all the junk. Unplug everything. Put the dogs outside so they don't get tangled up in cords, and eat a few Gummi Bears. (Pronounced GOO MEE.)

desk2

Third step: Clear out the old spot and vacuum. Take time to marvel at the sheer amount of dust that has gathered on the floor and even on the walls. Take a break and enjoy some Kool Aid.

desk3

Fourth Step: Set all the old PC stuff (and some of the new) on an old futon that you have had for years that you now currently keep in your office in case you need to lay down suddenly because of a bad gaming session. Also set some lizard vitamins, toilet paper, and cords on the futon.

desk4

Fifth Step: Set the new desk (an old oak thing that weighs a ton) where the old one went, possibly in a new direction. I decided to face towards the window, so that the light does not reflect on my screen and if I need better lighting for vidcasts it will be on my face instead of the back of my head. Set older old PC on the floor. Bear in mind that it has the following stats, and that your brother gave it to you because he was just going to throw it away:

AMD Athlon XP, 1144 MHZ. (That's right, MHZ.)

2 Gigs cheap ram.

Audigy soundcard.

NVidia GeForce FX 5700 Ultra graphics card.

Some cheap speakers.

desk5

Sixth Step: Plug everything in, and load up Final Fantasy 11 on one PC and Wizard 101 on the other. Keep in mind that my intention is not to run two games mostly, but to run all my messengers and internet windows on one and the game I am playing on the other. I hate having to minimize or played in windowed mode all the time just to answer mesages or to check emails.

The OLD old PC actually runs a lot of games just fine. FFXI runs at full, all my freebie games do too. So, I might try out some actual dual-boxing for fun. Also, this will help a TON with my bank alts and trading stuff to them. (Before I had to run into the other room, hit "trade" then run back a few more times to the other PC.)

desk6

Don't skimp on the Trolli Brand Gummi Bears during this experiment, nor the Kool Aid. You need to stay hydrated and hyped up or you just might lose it halfway, only to get yelled at by your wife for "creating a HUGE freaking mess."

Enjoy. If you see two of me running around, you know why.

Beau Turkey

Interesting Game of the Week: Taikodom

Posted by beauturkey Monday April 27 2009 at 11:02AM
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I love searching for little gems of the MMO world, and I find so many that I wanted to start telling everyone else about them!I want to post a lil blurb about new games I come across, in the hopes that other players try them out and add to the discussion!

I frequent so many sites and get a lot of tips from friends as to what games look good, or what to try. This week I stumbled across a game called "Taikodom." Essentially, it is reminding me of EVE/Jumpgate, complete with dogfights, avatars (walking around in apts/stations will be featured soon, according to dev's) missions and skills.

It looks great, is a tiny download and something about having the tutorial voice-over in a foriegn language soothes me. Check out some of the screenies below:

space5

space4

space2

space3

space1

Mining is done simply by destroying asteroids and looting them. The skills look numerous, and the ships are plenty. I will have to give a better review after some more of the game is implemented, but in the meanwhile it's a great cash shop/free game to try!

Give it a whirl at http://taikodom.com/

Beau Turkey

Blog-Walking, Non-Combat gaming and EQ2's borrowed idea.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday April 23 2009 at 12:16PM
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1) Blog Walking: I blog on a pretty consistent level, although the quality of my blogs can be debated! :) Either way, I am proud of the fact that I have the time (sometimes) and the imagination to keep blogging. I have been at it for years, and through my blogs/vidcasts/podcasts I have met so many cool people ranging from insiders to players. One of the easiest way for me to keep blogging is to make sure I talk about my experience, and not about my research. While I think research is needed for certain kinda of blogs, mine is one of experience, not of information.

fat_american_walking_dog_from_car

One way for me to get my thoughts together for a blog is too simply think about what I want to write, and write it out in my head like a mental rough draft. The perfect time to do this is while walking my dogs. At the minimum, I walk my dogs for an hour each day, sometimes 2. That's a lot of time to either listen to podcasts, music, or to "write" in my head. Also, it's exercise. Exercise has been proven to do more for brain-power than just reading or doing crosswords. And if you exercise or do physical activities that you have not done before, or do them in a different way than normal, your brain can really benefit from the variety. On a blog-walk I am exercising my brain and body as well as getting some work done!

2) Non-Combat Gaming: That's right, I'm a hippy. Just don't call me that to my face in real life. Gaming and real life do not cross when it comes to beliefs and practices. I have released myself from any limitations by allowing myself to level at my pace, to see exploring as a legitimate use of my gaming time, and for enjoying non-combat skills  more than combat.

But let me explain. Non-combat can be anything from socializing to crafting. Non-combat is enjoyed by everyone, and I would go so far as to say that not only does everyone enjoy it, but most enjoy it more than combat. Except for a few types of players like hard-core raiders (that spend most of their time in one area of the game) most players go through non-combat game-play in order to get to the combat. Exploring comes with questing, questing comes along with role-play in many cases (feeling immersed,) role-play is what we are all doing when we play these games. There is no noble or more dignified way to play a video game. There is no "adult gaming" (well, in Second Life there is! hehe) or gaming that is only for kids. Laughing is laughing, no matter who is doing it.

And now more and more games are coming out with more and more ways to spend your time out of combat. Crafting has become a norm, role-play is more popular, and games become more and more immersive. Also, social networking is slowly getting tied into games to allow players to spend hours doing things like hanging out with friends or filling out profiles. Creating a virtual life is the name of the game.

And I love the fact that I can log into many games and spend most of my time avoiding the same old combat that I might see in many games. While I enjoy combat as much as the next gamer, it can become tedious and predictable just like any other part of the game. And if you take most any MMO and add up all the things you can do besides fighting, you will see that fighting is actually a smaller part of most MMO's. Just because a good deal of gamers (if not most) enjoy combat above all, does not mean that they magically arrived at the combat without first going through plenty of non-combat.

I actually read a comment from someone on the Vanguard forums that essentially said that they considered every level below "end-game' (another term I cannot stand) levels to be "low level." In other words, they considered all 40 some-odd levels before the last few to be only training for spending hours upon hours locked within the same dungeon with the same 18 people.

How is it possible that all those levels before, along with all that content before those high levels to be tossed aside as though they didn't exist? Just because a player might go through lower levels faster than higher levels does not mean that all players enjoyed the same speed or that all that content meant nothing. That's the most important content...the stuff that gets you there.

To sum up, I am not playing these games to escape from my real life, most of the time. (A point I have made before.) I am playing these games to ask what I might do if I had been whisked away to some fantasy world. And just like in real life, I enjoy all the mundane little things like dog-walking and gardening, just like I enjoy the exciting parts of life. But if you spend enough time killing orcs, that too will just become boring.

3) EQ2's borrowed idea: I just read an article about EQ2 and the recent addition of writable in-game books. Fantastic stuff, and I can attest to how fun it is to have this option in a game. The social game called There has featured books for years, possibly 5 or 6. I have used them to write poetry and short stories and then I would hand them out to friends or random players. I love the fact that a "normal" MMO has this, which is great for role-players. Imagine receiving a "diary" from a dead friend, only to read it for clues to his death!

We used to use these books for clue games, or for passing on information. Clubs in There (guilds basically) could have all their rules written down, to be accessed in game by the player. Congrats EQ2!

Beau Turkey

Mabinogi: Friendly to disabled players?

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday April 22 2009 at 2:00PM
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Mabinogi does a lot of things really well, from character development to actual game-play. It is a game of choices that allows for all types of gamers to come together to play in their own way.

But I wonder how a disabled gamer or a gamer with limited time (for a number of reasons) might fare in the world of Mabinogi?

Before I get started, be sure to check out http://www.ablegamers.com/ for game reviews, articles and networking for all types of gamers. I would like to say that even though I am not disabled, I find this conversation fascinating. Do games do enough for the disabled? Or is it a question that many of the developers never even think of?

Next time you are playing your favorite game, ask yourself how you might play if you had an issue that limited your play..how would you play it? But on to Mabinogi. Let's look at some of the features that I think should be looked for, and how Mabinogi might be used to tackle those issues:

1) Color Blind: I am not as familiar with this issue, but I know that some games (WAR) actually have setups possible for color-blind users. Mabinogi, as far as I know, has no "setting" for that, but I would like research this one more to find out how the game does with color blind players. Branching out from this could be sight-impaired players, from players with very poor eyesight to players with NO eye sight (yes, that is an actual subject I have seen come up in this discussion. Think about it..it's a legitimate question in many ways!)

2) Deaf/Hard of Hearing: We tend to forget how much of our gaming relies upon sound. There are many audio triggers that tell us that something is going to happen. While Mabinogi has these, the game really gives many visual cues as to when something might happen. When you are fighting a mob, for example, you can see the fighting position it will use in a thought bubble over it's head. You can counter that position with a move of your own, also shown in a thought bubble over your head. Also, it's good to see that all NPC interactions have text (voice acting would be nice, too) and can be navigated using a small book that indexes certain subjects to talk about. The cut scenes use sub-titles, too, and you can get a good idea of the lore from these missions/npc interactions/cut scenes.

3) Limited control issues: I looked at this from the viewpoint of someone that might only have the use of one hand,  or of someone with chronic pain from anything from tennis elbow to arthritis. It is more common than you think, and if you play games for years like me (along with painting and drumming, which doesn't help) you will more than likely suffer from some kind of discomfort due to over-use of your wrists. There are many gamers that can only literally use one hand, or only a few digits on those hands. In any of these cases, the less mouse clicks and manipulations of the mouse, the better. Camera control is often an issue, and Mabinogi allows for the player to simply push the cursor to the edge of the screen to move the camera, or to zoom in and out. I love this feature and have grown so used to it that I wish other games had it.

Also, the game can be controlled entirely with one hand and very few clicks. I can right click on a monster, tell my pet to attack it and click on it again to attack it myself (or choose attack in the right click menu.) There are also options for auto-attack/manual attack, and shortcuts accessible from the keyboard or from clicking with the mouse. Everything is laid out in a classic Windows style menu, and is very easy to navigate.

Chatting is the only issue, and I wish that the pop-up keyboard (used to block a key-logger from getting your information) that you sign in with could be accessed in game, for chatting and sending messages. That would be brilliant. I am sure, however, that there are programs out there that allow players to do this already.

4) Limited time: When I say limited time, I am talking about players that might have chronic pain issues or issues that prevent them from playing for hours and hours like average gamers do. Luckily, Mabinogi moves as fast or as slow as you want it to. Also, being that it is Free to Play, there is none of the "urgency/deadlines" that many pay-to-play games have. You can also buy potions and items that will speed along the process of leveling or items that will at least make the time you can spend in game much more productive. It is ironic that many pay-to-play games (that already charge you per month, no matter how much or little you play) mostly don't feature cash-shops that will allow you to buy items that will allow you to gain more experience or to be more effective in many ways.

These are only some small points that I can think of, and I am always looking at games to see how a disabled player might play them. Think about it: how would someone play a game that required constant camera movement? How would a player chat if they had limited use of their hands?

I know that within my lifetime there will be actual "virtual reality" so that many of these issues will be forgotten. One day, we will look back at our limited access for all and laugh, thinking things like "You mean you actually displayed images on a screen, and not directly into your eyes? HAHA!" We are not there yet, so in the mean-time, games need to be aware of the millions of potential players that they could be cutting out of their game by not providing a few simple tools.

Beau Turkey

 

“The contents of this post do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com and its management.”

Gamers head explodes after becoming bored with boredom.

Posted by beauturkey Monday April 20 2009 at 10:15AM
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ILLINOIS  - A 22 year old man was found dead earlier Saturday morning after neighbors hear a loud popping sound followed by a great rush of air. On the scene officials found the man still sitting at his computer with at least 2 inches of snack debris around his feet, his computer still on and the 350 GB hard-drive filled with a random assortment of MMORPGs, popular video games frequented by boys 12-23 and girls 25-47.

Further investigation showed that the boy had died of a sudden mind-blowing experience in which the boy realized that he not only had grown bored by the gaming that had taken over his life, but had no alternative but to be bored with the thoughts of boredom. He had wallpapered his walls with printed images of popular MMORPGs, and all of them having cryptic one-word phrases like "MEH" and "FAIL" scribbled across them.

The CDC has become more concerned in recent years over similar deaths, stating that "..today's young men and older women face a gruesome, boring death if they do not learn to cope with their feelings of boredom. We have begun to see a rise in this kind of behavior, usually triggered by a combination of playing these games for years straight while visiting such websites as www.imboredalready.com or www.meaningfulpvp.org." The CDC website has posted some tips for parents of this children (and adults that still live at home) to recognize the signs of an individual suffering with MMO fatigue.

The gaming industry has begun to use very creative measures to insure that players don't grow bored with games as quickly. One popular MMORPG called "Dragonsbane: The Glistening" has capped their Frames Per Second (the smallest unit of E-Peen) at 3 so that players wait longer to see what happens. Another major release by Inebria Studios has not even been named yet, for fear that players will grow bored with the organization of letters or the font.

Here are a few of the tips from the CDC website for helping combat gaming boredom:

1) Only allow 3 screen-shots to be viewed for each upcoming release.

2) No viewing of websites that have forums, or that allow any contact between gamers.

3) Only allow play sessions of any game to last a maximum of 15 minutes.

4) Do not allow games to leave "short-cuts" on the desktop of the afflicted gamer as this would allow a bored gamer to easily spend hours hovering over the icons with his/her mouse without actually playing any of the games.

5) Unplug the PC if ever the gamer brings home any boxes marked "Clearance" or with a price of 4.99 or under. At that point, the gamer has begun to reach desperation.

For more tips and guidelines to a healthy gaming life-style, visit www.cdc.gov/meh.

 

 

“The contents of this post do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com and its management.”

 

 

 

The WAR Tourists are leaving Darkfall, perfect time to try it!

Posted by beauturkey Thursday April 16 2009 at 2:12AM
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They came from WoW to WAR, and before WoW they came from any number of games (that are only mentioned for MMO cred, if they were indeed old enough to play something before WoW.)

You can already see the posts coming:

a) "This game actually sucks."

b) "I realize now that this game isn't the second coming."

c) "This game consists of good ideas poorly executed."

They will blame their boredom on the game, of course, instead of the fact that they not only obsessed over the game, but over every detail about the game before it came out.

Also, they will not recognize the pattern that goes like this:

a) Say "There's a new game in development, it looks like it might have meaningful PVP."

b) Collect screen-shots, make forum posts discussing possible game-play mechanics.

c) Write blogs about the upcoming game, and how it might fulfill something that has been missing from their gaming life (which is what WoW actually did, but they would save the "Hey, I returned to WoW" posts for later.)

d) Play the game obsessively when it comes out, write about it, form guilds, play it so much that the entirety of the game has been exposed (if not conquered) within a few months.

e) Get bored, blame the game, and move onto the next one that isn't WoW, because WoW is for wussies (but play it in secret.)

Whenever those players leave, the game will see it's true "hardcore" base. The term should be reserved not for those that play a certain style game in a certain style of play, but for those subscribers that stick with a game through thick and thin, ups and downs, waves of bored players looking for that next (non-WoW) thrill, because WoW is for wussies.

Now, if I could only BUY the game and get in.

I'll give it a few more weeks...the signs are there, but a lot of these players hold on until no one is looking. Hurry up, guys, I wanna' play without finding myself a victim of your boredom ("Hey! Someone new logged on! KILL THEM!")

Beau

Gaming, health and disabled gamers.

Posted by beauturkey Friday April 10 2009 at 10:32AM
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I had actually planned on writing a blog basically telling of a day in my life and what I normally do. It's interesting how much a gamer like myself (that is also an artist, drummer, husband and lover of animals) thinks about games and how much of his life revolves around games.

A lot of us wake up and think about the games we play, or we go to sleep thinking about them. I have had gaming dreams, and had suffered from "gaming hangovers"...you know: tired, much like a drinking hangover minus the headache. It's a wonderful hobby that really grips your imagination and won't let go, especially when you factor in building a character that you might draw or write about.

But my original idea was to show how health needs to be considered when playing these games. I will show you one of my typical days, but first let me tell you that some basic facts. I am 34 years old, 135 pounds, in good shape, strong for my size, have asthma, poor eyesight, and some really bad tennis elbow from 22 years of drums and 10 years on the internet and games.

A typical day (bearing in mind I work about 30 hours a week with a variable schedule, so I am aware that many gamers work 40-60 hours a week):

1) Wake up at 7am. Fix coffee, breakfast.

2) Walk the dogs for an hour/30 minutes.

3) Work, or clean the house depending on days off.

4) In the afternoon I walk the dogs for another hour/30 minutes.

5) Go to bed around 10:30-11:00 PM.

Within those gaps I fit my gaming, but generally do not spend more than an hour to three hours playing. I cannot post or blog as much as I would like, being that I can get pretty bad migraines due to bad eyes and the need for some new glasses.

We all need to make sure that our gaming is fitting into our schedules, without effecting our health. I know that life can be cut shorter due to simply not getting enough basic exercise.  Bear in mind, though, that new research shows that even just 3 days of 30 minutes of exercise a week can make a hell of a difference.

In other words, get out of the house more often.

But let's switch the subject, sort of. I am now talking about disabled gamers that might not have any choice as to their mobility, or to their choices for leaving the house. To me, that makes it all the more important that if you are a "normal" healthy individual, you make sure to take care of yourself as well as you can. Don't take it for granted.

Massively recently linked to a great lil film that shows the camera focusing on game developers after they were asked if they thought about how disabled players play video games. Many of them said yes, and many said no. It is a little alarming that anyone would say "no" being that that would mean that they never had thought about it. At all.

 

I'm no developer, but a varied player-base seems to be what every developer would want. The more varied, the richer the experience for everyone, and it seems as though many developers hadn't thought about it enough. But we have to also look at the hardware manufacturers, the joystick makers or the mouse designers. I have seen some devices that allow head movement to push the cursor around, or voice command that would free up the usual means of control.

Some games like WAR have added features for color blind users, for example, but some of the simplest add ons could help a lot, as well. Here are some that I have thought about/noticed:

1) Click to move: The more I use this, the more I love it. I can basically click on a mini-map or on the ground to move to that location. Many of the F2P games use this and many are now adding in a choice for click to move or the "normal" Western WASD movement. Clicking those keys so many times can add up to a lot of pain to someone with limited ability in their hands.

2) Screen Edge Camera Movement: Basically, this allows you to move the mouse all the way to the edge of the screen to move the camera. Mabinogi has this as an option, and the more I use it the more I love it. I can click on the ground or on the mini-map ( although I don't like the use of maps, saving wrist pain is a priority) and then swerve the camera around by just pushing my cursor to the edge of the screen. When I log into other games and they don't have this option, movement feels sluggish since I have to hold down right click to move the camera. Trust me, all these little movements add up.

3) Sub-Titles during cut scenes, voice acting: While this isn't as common of an option, it doesn't really need to be as much. Most games and their quests/NPC interactions use text as way to give you information, but voice acting is becoming much more common. Again, this is about choices, and I know plenty of hard-of hearing/deaf players that love the sub-titles.

4) Instant Travel (as an option): Once again, I support something that I try not to use. I try to stay "immersed" in my games, and while instant travel might fit into the lore of the game, I find that skipping landscapes is a quicker trail to boredom. But, I completely support the option for players that either can't afford the wrist action, have time constraints, or that need help getting around the world for a myriad of reasons.

5) Built in voice chat: There are plenty of options already for this, from Ventrillo to Skype to Teamspeak. But, many MMO's are now wrapping voice chat up into their game so that you don't have to go to an outside source. WoW, There, Second Life, EQ2 and SWG are just some of the games that now have integrated voice chat (or have for years.) Why is voice chat important? Again, it's about saving the clicks. The less someone has to type/click the better, especially if someone has an issue with chronic pain. Also, the more technology advances, the more immersive features such as voice chat will be the norm.

6) Voice Commands: Something that is probably a few years off, I am sure. Can you imagine being able to say the word "BAG" to open your inventory? Or saying "Mount" to mount your rideable dragon? This wouldn't just be a benefit to those with typing issues/control issues, but would be a great feature for everyone! Imagine if you could pre-record certain "voice macros" like "I call upon my mount HorseFace!" and when you repeat it in game, up pops your mount?  They already use this type of technology with our cell phones (voice dial) so why not with our MMO's?

There are many, many other options that I am sure I am missing. To me, the more varied our player-base the better, and small shortcuts/tools are a good way of encouraging more players to play that normally could not.

I remember running around in There one night (a social MMO) when I came across a woman sitting on a pretty fountain. She was just sitting there, so I introduced myself. After a while we talked (we had a wonderful conversation) and she told me she couldn't walk.  She loved playing There, not only for the social aspects, but for the fact that she could do things like RUN. Running was no longer an option for her in her life, and she really enjoyed doing it even virtually.

The Main points? Take care of yourself. Don't let gaming harm you, if you have a choice. Don't take your body or your health for granted.

And try to remember that the wonderful thing about MMO's is the way it connects people of every color, sex and physical ability like nothing we have seen before. Hopefully more developers will take this into consideration. I, for one, want to meet more people like the woman I met in game that night.

Beau Turkey

Just let me DANCE, man: Audition or STEPS?

Posted by beauturkey Thursday April 9 2009 at 4:54PM
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As a drummer, I love rhythm based games like Guitar Hero (although I found the drums to not be as responsive as I'd like) or Elite Beat Agents.

So, although I had always known about some of the dance based MMO's out there, I never gave them a try. Maybe I felt a little funny playing a "silly dance game" when in fact I was already playing "silly dragon games" and "silly half cow/half man games."

So, I decided to try out two of the ones I had heard the most about, or from companies that I had used before. The game was going to be between Nexons' (the makers of my fav Mabinogi) "Audition" and Cubizones' (I had played Perfect World with them a while ago) offering called "STEPS."  STEPS is, from what I understand, in open beta, but I could be wrong. I hate going to a site and clicking on a link only to be pulled into another site that is nothing but a splash page. Then, you go to the "official site" which leads you to another site for the download.

And with STEPS, a simple registration and download take forever, and in the end came out as useless for me. Needless to say, I did not get a chance to play STEPS. First, I could not get the "catchpa" type thingy to even recognize my attempts. I literally did this like 15 times.

catch3

..and again:

catch2

..and again:

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I got sign in errors time and again as well. No kidding, I tried maybe 15-20 times in the end.

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Then, once I finally got in, I downloaded the client overnight.

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But, upon running the .exe, I got this crash:

error2

This type thing happens when the file gets corrupted or something, so I downloaded it again. Same error. So, needless to say, it looks like STEPS has lost out. I won't be trying it. Perhaps it's NOT in open beta right now? To be honest, I think it is but don't feel the need to have to go digging through a website just to find out if it is. So, I went to the Nexon site and went to grab Audition:

audwebsite

Signed in using my Nexon ID, and within one hour I had downloaded, patched, and logged into the game.

auddownloadstart

I like the rhythm parts of the game, but it is a little confusing right now. I think the game-play is simple enough, but it's a strange MMO that reminds me more of a Gaia (not the 3-d one, but the older browser based one.) I can't figure out how to run the game in either windowed mode or how to increase the resolution, but I suspect that it is ran in the default of 800x600 to keep it in the grasp of younger gamers or gamers without much of a graphics machine.

My dance instructor, Sarah, showed me the ropes.

sarah

It worked, and the game was responsive. I decided to try and conquer my resolution problem before really moving on with the game, but I am not sure I can defeat the res beast without diving into the files in my program files. (SIDENOTE: As I am writing this, I am posting on forums, checking email and eating lunch. I just came across an answer to one of my questions I posted. The answer? No, you cannot change the resolution!) One of the main screens has a chatroom, or a chat window (like the regular ole chat window in most MMO's) as well as links to some of the things you can do.

mainscreen

I REALLY need to customize my character.

Anyway, I jumped into a game with 6 or so dancers and decided to give it a go. I knew my leet dance skillz were not what they should be, but I did OK. The music starts to count off, and the other players gave good advice like "stay calm" and "don't go too fast." Everyone was very nice, and the chat was riddled with the staple Anime-Style phrases like "..." and "o_o". The music was upbeat and a little fast. I figured I had joined a game or a song that was maybe WAY too advanced for me.

groupdance

The object is to push the series of arrow keys before the dot gets to the 4th beat. Essentially, you go something like "up up up down SPACE BAR." While the series of button smashings can be out of time, as long as the space bar is hit on that fourth beat you're good. Interestingly my brain had a harder time with some directional buttons, and sometimes I got confused because of the arrow that preceded the one I was supposed to push next. Hard to explain, but soon enough I would bet you that I could read the series of arrow keys faster and will be able to push them without pause.

I really wanted to compare the other rhythm game, STEPS, to this one. I wanted a face-off. But, I couldn't even get STEPS to download properly, and hard a hard enough time signing up. I am open to the possibility that I missed something which wouldn't surprise me.

In Audition you have the standard avatar, but quickly you can deck them out in all sorts of attire. The cash shop portion of the game seems to be mostly for fashion, and at one point you gain access to a house or apartment. (I couldn't gain access to mine, at least on the map, so I wonder if it comes later or I have to pay for it with real money.)

So far the chat has been very clean and nice, and after playing so many F2P's I am realizing that younger audiences aren't nearly as "naughty" or filled with as many tools as pay games that often have 20 sumthings and up frequenting them. Generally (in my experience with the 40 some odd F2P games I have played) females are much "nicer" and less likely to use curse words than young boys. Of course, I am basing this off of the players declaration of age, names that have birth dates, and the fact that un-capitalized names can sometimes indicate age (sounds strange, but test the theory.)

These are all generalizations, but after 40 something games worth of talking to players, it seems that there are plenty of tweens, teens and even adults playing these games..all at about equal measure. Granted, a lot of the time the player could be lying to me or I could be taking the wrong indication of age away from the meeting.

But a game like Audition is probably frequented mostly with teen girls (that's just a guess) but I have ran across a good deal of male avatars and plenty of adults, too. Point is, these crowds that have a wide variety of players tend to be (again, in my opinion) much much nicer and more open to questions than any crowd I have ever played with.

Go try out Audtion, and if you have played STEPS or get into the game, let me know what I might be doing wrong. According to my evidence, it is in open beta, so I think it wasn't me. And do the tutorials...it takes some getting used to.

Now go DANCE YOUR BUTT OFF!!

Beau Turkey

Spouse Aggro #72 "MMOs for breakfast!."

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday April 8 2009 at 10:01PM
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Spouse Aggro #72
Thu, 9 Apr 2009 02:10:00 GMT [download/play]

MMOs for breakfast!.”

The Highlights from show 72!

Join us for our first recording of our weekly MMO breakfasts! Here’s the topics:

1) Beau is worried that his free to play obsession will lead to saving money and more breakfasts!

2) We define what “WoW tourist” means and why in the hell anyone would want to use such a stupid term.

3) Leala asks Beau why he hates raiding, which is not true. Soon after they get into a slap fight. While eating grits.

Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

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The Turkeys

Why I am extending my F2P month.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday April 4 2009 at 6:54PM
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Let’s get to it, soldiers.

A few podcasts ago I talked about letting my current subs (WoW, LotRO, Station Access) pass on into No-Paysville so I could dive headfirst into the world of F2P games. I had played many of them before, around 30, but knew there were many more coming that threw new and interesting ideas into the mix.

Well, after a month and a half and saving 60 bucks, I have decided to continue playing F2P’s. A few points:

1) These games are truly free, but let’s face it, all the cool stuff is in the cash shops. While I have never come across any cash-shop game that sells the best items only in the cash shop (a myth about F2P’s), I can hardly resist fluff stuff like a bear pet or a new hooded cape.  So despite being free, be prepared to spend something at some point. The good thing about this plan is that you spend what you want, when you want to. And you can always play the game between paychecks.

 

2) So many games coming the pike, so little time. It’s true that many of them are the same combat system, or the same game essentially wrapped in a similar looking semi-Anime or VERY-Anime skin, but that’s true in any genre of entertainment. Look at the “normal” group of North American MMO’s and how many of them players complain about being similar to each other. Keep an eye out in either group, however, and you will find many gems.

3) Many of these games don’t take up as much space on a hard drive as “normal” games. Granted, on a 500 gig or 650 gig hard drive that’s not an issue, but it still is for many people. Vanguard is near 20 gigs…WoW can weigh in at 8 or so? Many of these F2P’s clock in at 2 or 4, which saves more space for other games. Granted, many of them use zoning technology or lower res graphics to knock down the gigatude, but if the game-play is really good, the graphics can be overlooked or accepted.

4) “I collect these games like candy” said a friend on on my blog comments section, and I love that mental picture. Many people would say that that means that they are disposable and cheap, but I look at them more like joy machines. As someone that has the attention span of a 6 year old, I need the ability to jump from game to game, playing for mere minutes to sheer hours and hours all whenever I want. People don’t eat candy with an attitude. Eating candy is something that brings joy and happiness, not non stop whining about class changes.

5) I love to scour sites looking for strange Asian MMOs that are coming out soon. “Husky Express” (insert gay porn joke here) and “Mabinogi Heroes” have me all in a fluster. These type games are being pumped out faster than GigaPets on a hot date, and I want to play them all! Some would say that this is evidence that none of them have the quality of gameplay to hold my attention, but that’s not true. Nothing holds my attention for over a day. I like to adventure some and come back to the game a few days later. These games alleviate the pressure of the SUBSCRIPTION TIME LIMIT that hang over your head normally.

6) SOE will be the North American F2P king soon. With Free Realms coming out, and cash shop type transactions being added to DCUO and the Agency (as well as older games like VG), they seem to be aware of the huge market success that many of these F2P games have had so far. In fact, the Station Access has been a sort of “F2P” access for years now, paying one small sub for access to all of  their games.

If you are the type that has played only a few games in the last few years, and enjoys having a home game that you rarely stray from, then this type of playing might not be for you. Stay in your home game and have a blast. 15 dollars a month subs are STILL a great deal, and the quality of games like Vanguard or LotRO show that the pay-to-play-model is not going away anytime soon.

But if you look at all games as mini versions of alternate realities, and consider yourself an explorer of the imagination (great Disney set-up!) then you might clear off your hard drive and start downloading.

Now, if you don’t mind, I am going to try Requiem: Bloodymare right now. I haven’t given that one a go yet.

Beau Turkey