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Liddokun's Gaming Rave

This is my personal blog. I write about practically almost anything and everything but my favorite topic is about games, society and culture as well as technology and science.

Author: Liddokun

What I think could make Final Fantasy XIV better

Posted by Liddokun Friday November 5 2010 at 4:14PM
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According to this news article Square-Enix CEO Yoichi Wada admits the game is unsatisfactory but yet according to him the game didn't fail and most of the satisfied customers are old FFXI players. IMHO, FF14 isn't a bad game, a few major tweaks would make the game turn around. Here are a few things that I think would really make the game much more enjoyable. I'm sorry but if I were the CEO of Square Enix I'd be more interested in getting new players into the game than just satisfy old players. New blood = growth which translates to more profit. Sure keeping your existing playerbase satisfied is important but if you forgo the growth of your audiences this only leads to being stagnant.

Interface - The biggest gripe in FF14 is the archaic and outdated user interface. They try to re-create the menu driven feel of FF11 but seriously... FF11 was developed back in 2001 and.. this is 2010 ... crappy menu driven interface is soo overly outdated and atrociously difficult to use even if the game was designed for console in mind. Make the user interface simple to use without too much confusing menus. Most of the time I can't ever remember which menu leads to which. Make use of color ful icons, people tends to remember better if it's something nice and colorful instead of bland text menu.

Combat - The combat feels slow, as if your characters are trudging on sludge. The pacing and feel of the combat just feels wrong. I know they're trying to recreate the ATB (active time battle) system on an MMO but if youre battle feels too slow and boring it will put your players to sleep rather than the player getting excited and enjoying the encounter. I suggest increasing the pace of the combat or tightening up combat. Add some sort of ATB bar to show that it's your turn to attack or at least some sort of action queue it would help so much. What would make combat more interesting? Maybe add some sort of in-combat reactive events like they do in God of War that allows you to counter attack, evade or block or something depending on your job.

Crafting - The crafting is an atrocity in game crafting design. Synthesis can be enjoyable but seriously, they should at least show sort of log that shows you what items you have discovered how to make and the ingredients to make them. I'm all about wanting players to discover recipe for themselves but requiring a real life notepad to write down all game crafting information is just ridiculous.

World map - Okay this world map is a piece of crap. Seriously, Square Enix need lessons on how to properly design world maps, go take a look at how Blizzard does it. At least put in some info like important point of interest and area name in order to pique player interests into exploring more of the world. If your world map is a bland piece of atrocity players would not feel the need to explore.

Quest log/tracker - I don't know about you but i love a good quest trackers/log. In every new MMO that I have played, the first tthing I take a look at was the quest log and the quest tracker. A well designed  quest log/tracker gives me the impression that the developers cared a lot about their game.  While the default FF14 quest tracker is functional maybe they can jazz it up a bit like maybe..i dunno..add more information on what kind of quest that you have just picked up... is it a storyline quest? A guild leve? .. Maybe add the ability to link quest to chat so you can tell people that you need help with a certain quest.

Why I am unimpressed by the iPad

Posted by Liddokun Friday January 29 2010 at 2:14PM
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Well the "Apple Tablet" PC has finally been revealed as the "iPad". So far the it is an unimpressive piece of overpriced device. People has put so much hype and anticipation on it that we are all disappointed. Heck not only are we, the consumer masses disappointed, even leaders from major technological companies like Nintendo and Microsoft have negative things to say about it. Apple made several critical mistakes on the iPad's design. What I will tell you is what the iPad doesn't have when it should have been a standard feature. First of all, the lack of digital camera. I mean if the iphone has a camera, surely a $499 ($829 for all the bells and whistles) device should have at least a 3 Megapixel camera. Second, there's no video output, worst the screen does not support widescreen but instead you're fixed to a 4:3 screen resolution (1024 x 768) so all widescreen movies you have purchased from the itunes store can only be viewed as 4:3 standard. Third, just like the iphone/ipod touch, the iPad does not allow multitasking. That means you've pretty much stick to running 1 application at a time. And fourth, the device does not have a USB port so you can't plug any USB compatible devices to it. Steve Jobs claims the iPad is the perfect device for reading books and magazines. Yes there maybe some truth to that, i mean with a vibrant 9 inch color screen, it is gonna be perfect for reading a digital magazine in color. Unfortunately the iBookstore is more expensive than the Kindle bookstores (the sample book being shown on the demo has a price tag of $14.99 while the same digital version of the book in Amazon's kindle bookstore is being sold for $9.99). Not to mention, who in their right mind would pay $499 just to read magazines. iPad is also being touted as a gaming platform. Unfortunately without an actual physical buttons a lot have to rely on the virtual controller. Yes I have tried it with some games. While the virtual keyboard/controller and touch screen works well with some games it is inconcievably uncomfortable to use with others. That alone kinda put a limit on iPad as a serious contender as a mobile gaming device. Another issue would be the price point of the games. If developers were to make games for the iPad they would have to sell it at a higher price point than the games being sold at the Apple apps store. And it's very hard to compete with games that are being sold for between $1-5 bucks which puts it at a competitive disadvantage.

Alright, enough about the negatives. Let's look at the positives, the iPad sports a 9 inch color screen. It allows you to play all the digital content you have purchased from the iTunes store. It also allows you to read books and view magazines purchased from the newly opened iBookstore. It has a digital compass and an accelerometer. It supports Wifi connection and internet connectivity via AT&T's network. AT&T charges $30 a month for the data plan but does not require a contract. If  you buy the base model (the $499 one with the 16GB capacity) you have to pay an extra $130 to access AT&T's slow as molasses 3G network. All the higher models already have 3G capacity.

Conclusion. I think Apple banked too much on the success of its Ipod/Iphone line to sell this device. The iPad at it's best is a hard sell. Sure people who never owned an iphone/ipod touch would still buy it for it's novelty, unfortunately for us who has been with Apple since the early iphone/ipod days, the iPad is a major technological let down. Maybe we have pinned our hopes on Apple too highly?

 

Grand Fantasia now accepting beta applicants

Posted by Liddokun Saturday November 7 2009 at 12:20AM
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A long awaited F2P mmorpg called Grand Fantasia is now accepting beta participants. The game is a fantasy based 3D RPG with anime style graphics. The original game is called Dreamy Journey online and is published in the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan markets. The developer of the game is taiwanese developer EasyFun Entertainment. It is now currently being published by Aeria Games for the US market. The game features instanced adventures, PVP battlegrounds (15 vs 15), dueling and multiple class progression paths (beginners starts off as a novice and can choose basic path at level 5 then more paths open up at level 15 and 30. Click here for the beta application page (note: you must have an Aeria Games account which you can sign up for free). The official website is at http://grandfantasia.aeriagames.com There is a terrific game guide for your perusal here.

Venezuela parliament OK on banning video games

Posted by Liddokun Friday November 6 2009 at 3:31PM
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Source [1] [2]

In the nutshell:

Basically the Venezuelan government headed by Hugo Chavez has passed a law banning any violent video games such as those that involves guns, shooting, killing or any kind of violence. Breaking the law can land the poor Venezuelan citizen whose only crime is to seek entertainment 3-5 years in jail. The Venezuelan government justifies this new law supposedly in order to curb the escalating violence in the country. But of course this law is simply using video games as a scapegoat nevermind the real source of Venezuela's problems which is corruption, poverty and lawless elements that is so deeply entrenched in Venezuelan society. Sure blame the games that is making the children bad. Well what can I say, this is pretty idiotic in a country ran by a tyrant /despot.

 

Downloadable Content and You

Posted by Liddokun Friday November 6 2009 at 2:11PM
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You just bought a really nice game that you think you would enjoy for a few weeks and months to come. Then they announce additional content to your game that for only a few bucks more you'd get a nice shiny castle, a new henchmen, or a suit of armor or two and a couple of magical abilities that you would otherwise never gain while playing the game normally. It seems DLCs (downloadable content) are becoming more pervasive in the gaming industry. Just a few bucks more for that little shiny. Is our gaming industry becoming one which relies on shiny things to sell their game ? I mean there's absolutely nothing wrong with offering a little more content for a few more bucks but selling a game shouldn't rely too much on offering shiny things to it's fans.

 Cartoon source: Penny Arcade

Champions Online: Thoughts on Celestial Power set

Posted by Liddokun Wednesday November 4 2009 at 1:41PM
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I got a chance to play around with the Celestial Power set on my lvl 16 character and I must say the power set is pretty much a very support intensive power. Which basically means it's a power you want to get if you want to play a pure support role character with your friends. First and foremost I'll come out and say that trying to solo with pure Celestial Powers is stupid. The developers themselves said it that the power set is pure support. There's just not enough DPS in it to kill villain (and above) packs, in fact you'd probably get severely hurt soloing henchmen packs with pure Celestial powers. Don't even bother trying to solo a single super villain because you'll just get trashed. What the Celestial power excels at is as party support. Many of the celestial powers have some sort of healing factor attached to it (the powers act differently depending on what you are targetting). If you are targetting friends and allies it becomes a healing/buff power while it becomes a damaging/debuffnig power when you are targetting enemies. You also gain energy by healing your friends and allies. Soloing with Celestial powers is viable if you take up another primary damaging power set while using the celestial powers as secondary/backup powers as this makes your character more balanced and soloable but being party support is where this power set  shines the brightest.

The Awesomeness that is Dragon Age: Origins

Posted by Liddokun Tuesday November 3 2009 at 11:13PM
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It's been 6 hours now and I just can't put down Dragon Age: Origins. This game is freaking awesome. If you're an RPG fan and you don't have this game, then I will tell you that you are missing out on something wonderful. Bioware has outdid themselves and gave us something spectacular. I have no complaints about his game aside from the default controls that does feel a bit awkward but since every control is customizable you can make the controls whatever you want (WASD, Dirctional key or Click to move). I made mine to mimic a standard MMORPG controls (because I like it that way). If you have bought the pre-order collector's edition then it includes several FREE DLC (downloadable content) such as The Stone Prisoner and Warden's Keep otherwise you will have to purchase them. The Warden's Keep cost 560 bioware points or around $7 bucks and give you additional dungeons, storyline and the ownership of a pretty cool keep and The Stone Prisoner DLC cost around $15 dollars (I believe). I can already see Dragon Age: Origins winning the RPG Game of the Year 2009 or 2010. I won't spoil the storyline for you but the story is plain epic and when I go thru it the first time I was literally gripping the edge of my seat. Also the game has great replayability if only to see all 6 origin storylines as each is different (depending on your race and class).

Champions Online: Thoughts on Blood Moon Rising event

Posted by Liddokun Monday November 2 2009 at 1:10PM
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Just completed the rescue of all 13 heroes in the Blood Moon event and defeated Takofanes. The whole thing took around 2 days to complete (approximately around 8 hours with a lvl 30+ team and because we're lucky). I heard Takofanes is a bitch to find with a 6 hour spawn timer and randomly spawns in one of the 3 spawn spots in the Millenium city map. The quest starts in Millenium city and there's no quest starter, you simply go to the public quest spot and defeat the undead hero which ranges between level 15 (the easiest) up to lvl 27 (the hardest) and recieves a quest (as long as you have done at least some damage or killed some minion zombie). Also each hero is not made the same (they represent roughly the different archetype) and some are tougher than the others. I think the most we died to was about 8 times to Vanguard (because he is an archer/DPS and has insane AOE/Big ass nuke that does around 1500+ dmg a hit / 200+ if you block in time), the others are easier. Shadowboxer has insane evade as he is a martial arts fighter. After we finished the last rescue, what do you know, Takofanes spawned just 100 yards from us. After gathering an army of around maybe 30-50 heroes we pounded Tako to the dust (hey everybody free takos!) and got awarded some perks and a mini-Takofane action figurine (really cute!). Completing all 13 hero rescues also awards you with a set of zombie costumes unlock and the Celestial Power set (gives you a headstart on your celestial powered hero).

My thoughts on the Blood Moon Rising event:

I think the event was done very well. I enjoyed the public quest event although the dungeons are a bit repetitive (most of the dungeons have the same theme, mob composition just different layout). Basically run thru the maze, kill zombies, and beat the crap out of the demon that is holding the soul of the hero. I think if you're high enough you should be able to solo the instance. The problem is getting the quest to the hero (which is only awarded if you are present upon it's defeat on the world) but good thing is the quest is sharable with your teammates.

My only complaint is the hunter versus werewolves world PVP event. People with drone pets are exploiting the hell out of the event. Supposedly everyone is changed into a hunter/werewolf with equal abilities and it doesn't matter what level you are. But some cheaters have found a little exploit to help them win. Apparently your pet powers are NOT stripped away if you summon your pet before you change into a hunter/werewolf and you retain your healing drone or munition pet which CAN attack other people or heal them giving your team an unfair advantage. I reported this bug to the GM support and to Daeke on twitter. I can't stand the muthafucking cheaters.

In the Takofanes fight you don't actually fight Takofanes himself but you can actually see him sitting on his throne. He is targetable and is a level 40 cosmic level boss. What you fight is his general called a Takarian Lord which died in less than 2 minutes to the heroes beating on him. I suspect Cryptic might be reserving the real Takofanes fight as an instanced dungeon or world raid. It's kinda somewhat  anti-climactic actually.

 

 

Sanctuary - The First Impression

Posted by Liddokun Thursday October 29 2009 at 6:50PM
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I recently purchased the first season of Sanctuary (starring Amanda Tapping of Stargate SG-1 fame) from the iTunes store. The season only had 13 episodes and priced at $25.87. The series tells of the story of  Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) who operates a secret institution called "Santuary for all". Their purpose is to locate strange beings and creatures in order to help them and give them sanctuary but  also to contain them if they are highly dangerous. Many of their charge comes willingly and lives in the large estate but some highly dangerous creature must first be captured and sedated by their retrieval team which is composed of Dr. Magnus' daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup) and the staffs and associates of the institution. The series deals with themes such as personal freedom for many of these often unslightly creatures/beings which have no way to integrate into normal society.

The first impression I had was, "Hey this series had Amanda Tapping on it so it should be good." After watching 2 more episodes my impression was "Hey, this IS good." As the episodes progressed a lot was revealed piece by piece about Dr. Helen Magnus, her history and the reason why she is doing this. Each episode is somewhat a self contained episode with a "monster of the week" theme. I think once the series has picked up steam they should switch to an over arching storyline because monster of the week can only go so far before getting old. And yes, there's an archnemesis for "Sanctuary for all" a shady organization called Cabal that seems to be intent on doing the same thing as Sanctuary, which is to locate strange beings/creatures and capture them but their purpose instead is to press/enslave these powerful creatures/beings into their service for their own gain. Everyone loves a good nemesis.

Do I recommend this series to anyone? Yes, but watch it with an open mind as there are only a few episodes released (Season 1 only has 13 episodes and Season 2 has 3 out as of this writing). I find this series thoroughly enjoyable with equal amounts of action and mystery.

 

Windows 7 and You: Did you take the OS plunge ?

Posted by Liddokun Wednesday October 28 2009 at 2:10PM
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A couple of days ago I took the plunge the OS plunge. Yup I updated my PC from Windows XP to Windows 7. The updating process was both surprising easy and annoying to the extreme. The surprising easy part, put your disc in the DVD drive and the setup will do the rest. You don't have to lift a single finger as the process automates almost everything. The annoying part ? Well you see Windows 7 don't like Windows XP hence it insist that you do a CLEAN install which is basically delete everything and start from scratch. You old Windows directory is renamed to Windows.Old including everything from your C:\Windows system directory to your C:\Program Files (yes even that!) and Windows 7 setup drops all the content of your old OS life into a single neat directory ready to be deleted, nothing is imported (configurations, email and all). If you are by chance a Vista user then the process of upgrading is quite pleasant, put the DVD in the drive, click install and go watch some TV or movies for the next couple of hours. By the time your movie is finished Windows 7 is ready for you.

 

What I like about Windows 7:

- The user interface is neat. They did a good job on the Aero layout. Unfortunately Aero takes up a lot of your computer's memory and resources so if you are like me who wants a lean mean efficient gaming rig then disable Aero and go with the resource minimal (drab) interface.

- Your Windows 7 comes in a 32 bit and 64 bit versions on 2 separate DVDs. In case you upgraded to a 64 bit PC in the future you can use your copy of the OS without needing to purchase another.

- Supports DirectX 11. Makes games look good.

- Some application runs faster in Windows 7. The OS also detects your full 4GB of RAM in 32 bit mode altho only 3GB can actually be used (this is a 32 bit architecture limitation).

- Boot up in Windows 7 takes a bit longer than XP (I clocked mine at around 30 seconds for full boot up).

- A very configurable and customizable user interface.

- I like the new toolbar which has a feature called pinning. It basically allows you to pin a software into the toolbar like a notepad.

- Plug and play devices installs very easily with Windows 7. If you plug in a PnP device that Windows does not recognize, it searches its online database and downloads the correct device driver software for you. No more needing to search thru the internet like crazy.

- Windows Firewall is now even more configurable than before.

- They phased out Microsoft Outlook and other programs from the basic installation DVD and instead you have to download (for free) the Microsoft Essentials Pack which basically includes several software packages such as the Microsoft Live Mail, Movie Maker, Instant Messanger etc. I consider this a good thing. If you don't want the extra stuff then you don't have to install the pack but it's there if you ever want it. 

 

What I don't like about Windows 7:

- Some very old software can no longer run in Windows 7.

- Some games run much slower in Windows 7 especially if they are not optimized for the OS.

- Many software (especially games) that uses Gameguard no longer functions properly in Windows 7.

- The annoying UAC (User Access Control) is still there but at least now you can tone it down or outright disable it.

 

Conclusion:

I believe the overall reaction to Windows 7 has been overwhelmingly positive. It's a good OS with a good price (I got mine for $50 bucks during the pre-order event) that retails for around $115-$120 for the Premium Home Edition (upgrade edition).

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