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My 2 Copper's Worth

Well we're on a website dedicated to MMO's so I'll give you one guess as to what I'll write about. And no it's not mustard.

Author: ivan50265

Meet Joseph Gatt the voice of Lord Scourge in SWTOR

Posted by ivan50265 Tuesday March 20 2012 at 8:57PM
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If you have played the Jedi Knight class you may be familiar with Lord Scourge who is played by actor Joseph Gatt. Joe joined us for what we though would be a short interview on the character he portrayed in SWTOR but then we got talking about mo capping Kratos for the God of War series, his experiences on the set of the motion pictures Thor and the upsoming Star Trek sequel, and also talked about experiences with the late Irvin Kershner as well as some fun talk about Baliwood films. It was a great chat and we hope you enjoy it even though we stray of the Star Wars path. You can listen to the interview here.

Voice of Vette on Old Republic Radio!

Posted by ivan50265 Monday February 27 2012 at 8:50PM
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Actress Catherine Taber, the voice of Vette on Star Wars The Old Republic Online and Queen Amadala on the television series The Clone Wars, sat down with ORR this week to talk about her experiences with recording for SWTOR as well as sharing with us her favorite Star Wars Movie and what Star Wars memorabilia she owns. So check it out at http://wp.me/p1ZkPr-d0

 

Also we need to announce that Old Republic Radio's iTunes feed has changed so feel free to click the link at the bottom of the post to subscribe to the show and leave us a reivew if you have time. We will be drawing for 60 days of free game time every 50 reviews we get until we reach 200 reviews. If you have previously reviewed our show and move your review over you will be entered to win some ORR swag drawn for at the end of March.

 Itunes link

Star Wars Old Republic Radio

Posted by ivan50265 Tuesday November 1 2011 at 2:02PM
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Well hello again MMORPG community.  I know I know it has truly been too long.  Well I have been busy and all with some other projects and realyl haven't had the time to stop by and say hi.  I was thinkng about the first parrt of the series I had started on SWTOR and I got to thinking about it so much I just went ahead and created a podcast about the game.  So I wrtie you today to present to you my newest creation:

 

Star Wars Old Republic Radio

I have never done an MMO podcast before so I am so excited to introduce it to this community the ones who got me started with my great MMO obsession.  the show of course talks about the dev news and all but we also focus alot on the communtiy surrounding the game and include them in broadcasts.  So if you are intereste in SWTOR please click the pic and stop by to give us a listen.  Who knows you might like it.

Star Wars The Old Republic vs Galaxies....another clone war?

Posted by ivan50265 Monday November 22 2010 at 10:13PM
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   Sooner than later Bioware's first attempt at an MMO Star Wars The Old republic will hit shelves to the delight of Star Wars and MMO fans alike. One visit to the forums of the games website will tell you that expectations are high for a Star Wars MMO that delivers an authentic Star Wars experience set in the rich history of the genre. Yet how quickly we forget or choose to ignore the existing Star Wars MMO Sony's Star Wars Galaxies. Granted Galaxies has had a rather sordid history including huge game changes that completely altered the way the game was played with out any announcement followed by a mass exodus of the core audience and web wide ridicule of Sony and the development team. Even with that though Galaxies has marched ever forward to the delight of some and the dismay of others. I originally was going to do a piece on how these games were different, but while doing my research I found that these games share more in common than they do in differences. So let's take a quick look at how the games are different as well as the same.

 

To best illustrate how these games are similar let's break down the key features of The Old Republic. Bioware hopes to entice players by allowing them to join the epic struggle between the forces of the Republic and the Sith Empire. Players can choose either side and have eight different character classes that they can play. The most popular will most likely be the force wielders like the Jedi Knight and the Sith Warrior. For those who are more inclined towards heavy weapons and armor there is the bounty hunter or the trooper. If a more behind the scenes approach is for you then you can always play the smuggler or the imperial spy. So basically what we're looking at here is an overabundance of cloak wearing, force using, light saber swatters trying to kill each other while a bunch of armor wearing heavy weapon toting bad asses try to kill them and all of the above being cheap shotted by the smuggler and spy. The Old Republic also offers the thrill of space combat for players to experience in true Star Wars fashion and the promise of player housing as well. Sounds good and you couldn't blame any Star Wars fan from being excited to play this game....but hold on a minute. Does not Star Wars Galaxies offer the same things? Epic Galactic conflict..check. Over abundance of lightsaber swatting force wielders.. check. Armored bad asses trying to kill the lightsaber swatters...check. Smugglers and spies killing from the shadows...check. Maybe galaxies is missing space combat...nope it has that to. Player housing...roger that.

 

So as you can see on paper these games share a lot in common. Which in all honesty I find to be very interesting. Think about this for as moment when Star Wars The Old Republic Launches there will be two MMOs on the market whose features on paper are almost identical with a Star Wars setting complete with iconic music sound effects and locations. To the outside eye this could seem rather redundant and one would wonder why Lucasarts would allow two MMOs under their name looking so similar to compete with one another. Maybe its because of Galaxies age or lackluster history, but if that was the case why not just let Sony develop a new Star Wars MMO? This is where the differences through few become so very important.

 

The way I see it Galaxies and The Old Republic differ in two areas; setting and story. Setting has been a big issue with Galaxies. It seems like it is trying to bring you the best of the movies at the expense of continuity. Star Wars Galaxies is set in between Episode 4 and 5 of the original trilogy the Jedi are all but extinct and if one is seen they are kill ed on sight. Originally there were no Jedi in Galaxies, but when they introduced them they changed the landscape of the game. There are now Jedi everywhere in a time period where there are supposed to be very few. Galaxies also launched as a sandbox so there really wasn't a whole lot of storyline there. Down the road when they launched the New Game Enhancements they tried to inject some story lines but it still seem to be disjointed with some story lines ending leaving you to wonder where to go next. The Old Republic on the other hand gets the luxury of using a setting that is talked about in books and games and is no where in the moves. This gives the developers a freedom to use any planets from the movies as well as planets from early lore as they are not constrained by events that happened in the movies. They were even smart enough to set it far enough away from their own games to keep themselves from becoming hand tied. The Old Republic also promises a very deep story for player to experience complete with dialogue choice that can affect the way the story unfolds to your character. A good story in an MMO is great for giving a player a sense of direction and helps keep one from having too much involuntary downtime.

 

When all is said and done I have to ask if there will be enough room for two different yet awfully similar Star Wars MMO's. Will one spell the doom for the other or will there be enough of an interested audience in both for them to happily coexist. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

 

And that's my 2 copper for this week.  Will see you next week for part 2 in the series.  You feedback in welcome below.

Until Next Time,

Ivan

Just A Quick Update.

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday November 21 2010 at 11:35PM
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Hello all.  Its good to be writing on this blog again, and I offer my apologies for being away for so long.  I get easily distracted and I was with podcasts and the like.  I have been keeping up with this site and decided it was time to ressurect my blog.  So I thought I would give you all a little sneak peek at what I will be writing about in the upcoming weeks.  I realize a failure I had when writing this blog in the past in that I always wrote what I wanted to tlak about as opposed to what you wanted to read about so to restart my blog I thought I would write about upcoming games we all seem to be interested in.  So look for my first in a three part series on Star Wars The Old Republic this week.  I look forward to reading your feedback in the future and as always if you have any suggestions on what I should write about feel free to drop me a line. 

 

Until Next Time,

 

Ivan

Talking Console MMO's with Stradden

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday January 10 2010 at 9:50PM
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Recently I had the opportunity to jaw it up with Jon Wood this website's editor about console mmo's.  First and foremost I would like to thank John for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about the topic and have to say I came away learning more than a few things.  For those of you who are interested I have include a link at the end of this post.  The interview is the first thirty minutes of the show and if you are at all curious about the topic this might be something that you'll want to check out.  I intend to spend the next few posts writing about tpic discussed in our brief conversation in greater detail including profiling the games we talked about. 

 I hope you take the time to listen to the show.

Until Next Time,

Ivan

Oh yeah here's the link as promised.

Jon Wood Interview

To Console or not to Console

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday December 20 2009 at 10:39PM
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   For the relaunch of my blog I thought I would start off with the basic argument of whether or not to bring MMO's to the consoles. I know this has been talked to death and I myself have even posted on the subject before, but since I'm focusing in the area I find it only reasonable to start here. For many of us the idea of MMO's launching on the consoles fills us with dread of dumbed down games and immature communities, yet the developers don't seem to be listening. Why? Well let's talk about it the good and the bad and get it all out on the table.
 

The Good
  

Well I think the best place to start is the customer base. Let's be honest the two big reasons will be people and money. It's what motivates business. For the MMO developer the math is pretty simple. VG Chartz estimates around 64.1 million PS3 and Xbox 360's sold worldwide and that is a big number. Couple that with the ability of the consoles to run higher end games only sweetens the deal. Now I'm not saying that all 64.1 million owners don't play MMO's on the PC because simple reality says they do, but there is that population that prefers the console to the computer. Whether it be that the console is preferred from an economic standpoint as it is cheaper to buy a console now than it is to upgrade a rig with more RAM and a high end graphics card, or maybe they are like some of my friends who work on computers all day and would rather sit back on the recliner and pick up a controller rather than a keyboard or mouse. The simple reality is they exist and the MMO market cannot reach them, yet. When you add customers to the market you add demand which in turn could allow for more MMO's to be produced as well as games with larger player bases which could translate into a win win for the MMO fan.
  

Another factor that comes into play when discussing the good of bringing the MMO to the consoles is that 2 of the 3 current gen consoles have the potential to run a MMO that was built for the PC. A quick look at the system specs for the 360 and PS3 will quickly confirm that fact to the average PC gamer. Will the PC look better of course, but the simple truth is the consoles are catching up to the average PC in gaming capabilities. Sure console gamers don’t get all the bells and whistles that the PC gamer enjoys today, but the consoles are also much cheaper than your average gaming rig as well. Also the consoles come with built in voice chat so that they can seamlessly go text free when it come to chatting, and the PS3 and Xbox 360 have broadband and an online community who like playing online. 
  

   Lastly the good of MMO's going to consoles comes in the way of innovation. For developers to make an MMO that appeals to both the PC and console fan base they will have to figure out how to engage both audiences in their games. What I have learned from my experience with games is when there is a question usually an innovation follows. We've already seen it start. Look at Champions Online for instance. Although it is a PC only game the control systems in place seem to make it possible to play on either a standard keyboard and mouse configuration or a more controller driven control scheme. Not only do I think it we will see innovations in controls, but also in the type of MMO made. Look at APD or The Agency both of these games are being developed with both audiences in mind and offering a more action oriented 3rd person shooter experience as opposed to the standard run and macro MMO we've all become accustomed to. Innovations in the way we play MMO's as well as what type of MMO we play also increases the chance of wider audiences as well for both PC and consoles gamers.
 

The Bad


   The biggest con I think of when it comes to the console MMO is the limited life span of the consoles itself. Both Sony and Microsoft have confirmed that they are committed to a 10 year life cycle of their current platform giving the MMO developer about a good 6 to 7 years of life given they launch in 2010 before the launch of the new generation of consoles. So eventually a developer could be caught between a rock and a hard place either trying to recode for a new system or losing player base to a new system. This could hinder development on the PC side of things and that would definitely hurt both audiences. Another issue would be that when the next gen comes out you looking at supporting the old system, the new system, and the PC. That's going to have to cost a pretty penny to pull off. 
  

   The next problem is the billing system. If an MMO wants to launch on a console as well they will have to fork out a percentage of revenue to the console producer as well since all transactions take place through their respective marketplaces. This again could be an expensive proposition which could cut out some of the more independent MMO developers from launching on the console as well as make the cash shop the most viable option thus leaving us with the question of would the MMO be FTP or would it be a scenario that looks more like a buy the software and then use the cash shop. 
   

   Finally I the biggest con I see is best summed up as genre splitting. This thought came to me when I thought about MMO's that wouldn’t translate well to the consoles and EVE Online came to mind. Could we find that the MMO a console player would like to play and one a PC gamer would enjoy be so different that the genre splits and thus you have MMO's made specifically for either the console or PC which could lead to alienating the other player base, or even denying them an MMO made from one of their most beloved IP's. Could we see flame wars on forums with two populations that just don't get along in the end who knows? 
  

Well I guess that about sums it up for me today. In the end all of these questions will be answered soon as some developer seem to think they have the magic formula of how to attract both player bases. The simple reality is the console MMO is on the way for better of for worse. My hope is for the better and a more populous and expanding genre.
That's My 2 Copper.
Until Next Time,
Ivan

 

 

I'm Back!!!!

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday December 13 2009 at 7:55PM
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  Helo all I have returned.  Many months ago I was eluding in my previous blog posts about a project I was working on and this project is now under way.  What was it you may ask well it centered around a website and a podcast I'll link you to them both below.  My site is focused more on the consoles as I have to admit I like to write about MMOs here and here alone.  I intend to keep this blog going again and with any luck will not suffer any more serious lapses in posting. 

   What I thought I would talk about tonight is the new direction I am going to try and take this blog in.  There are plenty of great authors on here doing the same thing I used to do which was pick a topic MMO related and write about it, and they all do it better than I.  So what I thought I would do is take this blog into a specific direction, but of course leave myself room to throw anything out there too just in case the bug hits.  What I want to focus this blog on is MMOs and the video game consoles.  I've noticed a gap here in that area and thought I would take the time to examine many of the pluses and minuses of MMOs going console and look at how that impacts the MMO community as a whole as well as the console gamer themselves.  I know there are may people on this site who are on both sides of the fence and I thought it would be cool to try and attempt to spur some spirited debate or at least get your juices flowing about the many topics that you may already be familiar with or may not be. 

   I personally am excited about the blogs to come on this topic and hope you are too.  I'll see you all next week with some hopefully thought provoking commentary on this issue.

Until then,

Ivan

Co-Founder -thebigfreaks.com

 Co-Host of The Big Freaking Podcast-  itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast

Beta Burnout

Posted by ivan50265 Monday August 24 2009 at 10:11PM
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   Recently a couple of things happened in my life that I personally never thought I would see happen. 

#1 

  

#2 I gave away a beta invite to an MMO I have been eagerly anticipating.  I am still questioning my decision on the matter but what's done is done and we can't take back the past.  So I thought I'd take a look at why I decided to decline my beta invite and look into my own possible beta burnout.  Enjoy.

 

So I thought the easiest way to look at this would be to break down the symptoms of beta burnout, and explain how they may have contrinuted to my beta burnout. 

Bugs Bug Me

Now I know bugs are ever present in our beloved mmo's.  I alos understand that betas have become glorified PR stunts by developers to help generate the desired hype around their game.  Yet there are still those annoying broken quest lines and system crashes that are part of the beta experience not to mention any other host of problems that could stil ne plauging the game.  There have been good mmo's that I have helpeed test that I did not buy simply because whenever I saw the game the first thing that would enter my mind would be "I wonder if they ever fixed that one bug?" which would quickly lead me to another game I was less familiar with. 

Limited play windows

Another important paert of my possible burnout centers around limited playtime during betas.  Nothing frustrates me more when I'm in a beta for a game and I am at work looking forward to getting home and playing only to find out I missd the window, or that an unexpected xrash had shut down the server for the night.  I of course understand that this is just part of the process and that it is a beta test, but I tend to fall into the trap of I see desktop icon it is a game I can play anytime feeling. No one's fault but my own . 

 

Launch Day Hangover

This is the straw that boke this camel's back.  Whenever I would beta a game and then buy it I would always find myself on launch weekend finding the experience to be oddly anti-climactic.  By the time I had seen the launch I had played the game to death and rather than enjoying the launch day experience I would find myself on auto pilot grinding through the early levelsof the game in an attemot to either gain back what was wiped from the beta server, or to get to the point intthe game where I left off.  Let alone I would find myself oddly jealous of those who were enjoying the game for the first time at launch as  opposed to spednig the prior 3 months to a year in the beta test. 

  I guess I've got the old beta burnout. My desire to want to experience a launch day again is just bigger than my desire for a sneak peek at a new game now.  It isn;t such a bad thing after all.  I look forward to new MMO's and I am excited about a few new titles on the horizon, but for now at least excited is all I will be.  The idea of walking into a buggy sneak peek to a new mmo just doesn;t have the appeal it used to.  So I'll see you all in game I'll be the newb having fun on launch day. 

 

Until Next Time

Ivan

Taking Time to Laugh (at Ourselves.)

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday July 26 2009 at 7:59PM
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   I've been spending some time catching up on some reaing on the site lately and it seems to me that we as a community take ourselves, our genre, and our selected games quite seriously.  Recently I took a little hiatus from this site and writing in general to work on a project that I have been quite passionate about for some time.  In that time I ran across some fun stuff on the internet that I almost forgot about that being comics and videos that do a really good job of poking fun at mmo's and the people who play them, and I have to admit it was fun to sit back and laugh at how we as players, our genre, and our culture can be ever so slightly twisted into true comedy.  So sit back eith me for a minute or two and let's take a look at those who make fun of the genre and take a minute to laugh at ourselves.

  

  The Guild

   www.youtube.com/watchtheguild

   If you have never seen an episode of The Guild stop reading this now and follow the link above. You back? Ok let's continue. As you by now know the show is a comedy that follows the in-game and real life exploits of a local guild of a yet unknown MMO.  Just about every type of person that plays an mmo today is represented save 'role players' :(.  This show has two seasons archived and no episode exceeds 15 minutes in length so it will not take you long to get caught up on  the goings on.  I found myself oddly relating to a few of the characters while laughing at the fact tht I may have met the inspirations for the other few.  All in all a great watch. 

 

Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth

pc.gamespy.com/articles/578/578734p1.html

pc.gamespy.com/flintlocke-vs-the-horde/

    Truly one of the funniest web comics I have ever read Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth is a very funny look at a particular drawf in WoW and his band of merry friends.  What started off as a parody guide to the game qucikly turned into a regular webcomic about the group, and their misadventures. What the comic does well is make fun of the game itself and if you hav ever played WoW the humor will not escape you.  Althougth the series is over if you're hungry for more you may want to check out the other series Flitlocke vs. The Horde.  You can get to it by following the second link.

Zero punctuation!

www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/9-Tabula-Rasa

www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/138-Age-of-Conan

www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/208-Eve-Online

   Zero Punctuation is the brain child of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw a Vritish fellow who lives in Austrailia.  His show centers around reviewing mainly console gamesn and concoles, but sometimes he reivews MMO's as well.  Yahtzee has a way of saying things that can make almost any game look absolutely ridiculous and at the same time laugh your ass off.  His takes on the MMO genre are well thought and absolutely hilarous.  I reccomend watching the videos in order for maximum effect.  I only wish he'd review more MMO's.  Oh well.

    There are many other excellent examples of parody and humor in our genre, but this is where I will end for now.  I would like to know if you have seen a video or read a comic that makes fun of this genre that you enjoyed as well.  Feel free to comment below and I'll be sure to check it out.  In the end it is good to take a look at ourselves sometimes and laugh it keeps us honest and reminds me at least that we are a fun community who also happens to be passionate about our games. 

 

Until Next Time,

Ivan