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Is That So?

Here's where I, Penelopae, blog about all things gaming. From text-based MUDs to the latest graphic adventures, I'm open to playing all games equally and without bias. Why don't you join me?

Author: penelopae

What is Your Gamer Sign? – Part 1

Posted by penelopae Monday July 30 2012 at 7:31PM
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People look to their astrological signs for all kinds of advice, from daily horoscopes to what compatible sign is most likely to produce the love of their life. Are you creative and sensitive? You must be a Pisces! Generous and protective? That’s a Leo for you. Practical yet pessimistic? You’re a Capricorn for sure. Right? Riiiiight.

 
However, sometimes a blind hog really does find its lost acorns. If you’re looking to roll up a new character, try this handy, 2-part guide to help you choose a profession for it. The classes are based on what's available in Achaea, an Iron Realms MUD. Worst case scenario is that you totally hate it and have to re-roll. Just because you’ve always played a white knight doesn’t mean you can’t have a go at being a court jester or even a master of the occult. And who knows, you might even like it!
 
The Alchemist (March 21 – April 19)
  • Your adventurous, energetic spirit makes you perfect for the alchemy class. The newest of the classes in Achaea, your affinity for pioneering new planes, quick wit, and confident nature will take you far in the business aspect of the class, selling off minerals, filling vials with tonics and potions, and even restoring life to those who fall in combat or just the misfortune of misadventure. However, you should be careful that your quick-tempered, impulsive nature and lack of patience don’t sacrifice all your hard work, as daredevil attempts could be seen as foolhardy to those around you.
 
The Elementalist (April 20 – May 20)
  • Despite the fact that you can sometimes be a little possessive and greedy, your patience and dependability are just what’s required for being at one with the elements. Your determination means you’ll never stop growing in Achaea, whether you’re a magi or a sylvan. This class is accepted across every city without bias, from the Sylvan house in Eleusis to the magi who hold membership in the Warlocks of Ashtan. Stay focused on your own accomplishments and avoid being resentful of others when they try riding the coattails of your successes. Everyone needs a minion or two!
The Shamanic Artist (May 21 – June 20)
  • You are one of the most adaptable classes in Achaea, able to fit in with any crowd. One of the few creatures who can claim true neutral alignment, your witty repertoire of intelligent facts, eloquent compliments, and snappy comebacks make you as adept in conversation as you are skilled at your class abilities. Use your cunning nature to your own advantage when selling off your services with all things related to runes and totems. Whether you choose to join the Spiritwalkers of Hashan or the Cyrenian Rogues there’s a place for you in Achaea.
The Holy Grail (June 21 – July 22)
  • Priests and paladins are the backbone of Shallam, the City of Light, where forces of good are often charged with the job of defending their home. Your panache for making emotional attachments will cause you to fight with all available abilities to you as you ward off the forces of evil which could include citizens of Mhaldor, a malevolent city or Ashtan, where the citizens wait for the day when Oblivion will turn everything into nothing. Whether you’re a white knight of a Paladin or a holy Priest ready to heal your fallen comrades, this is the perfect class for those who enjoy battle and playing for Team Good.
The Telepath (July 23 – August 22)
  • Monks in Achaea are characterized by their powers of telepathy, and your creative, broad-minded nature makes you the perfect person to take up the role. Whether you’re using your powers of ingenuity to keep your fellow adventurers safe or prefer to act out your pompous, patronizing side to interfere in politics and run an organization your own way, you’re faithful to your cause regardless of its nature. Be careful though, with great mental powers comes great responsibility and your enthusiasm is contagious. Don’t hatch out your new plan unless you’re sure you can handle your loyal minions, erm, fan club members as well.
The Tree Hugger (August 23 – September 22)
  • Druids are worriers and it’s no different in Achaea. Will someone exterminate the forests today? Will a group of evil adventurers, their minds tainted from breathing in the red fog that plagues their island home, set out to destroy precious plants necessary for concocting elixirs and salves used for healing? Should you hug the willow tree, the ash tree, or the redwood tree? While deep down you’re really modest, some people mistake your shyness for arrogance and miss out on getting to know your intellectual, analytical side. Try not to be too overcritical and harsh towards them. After all, not everyone can live up to the perfectionist standards you set for your own self!
Stick around for Part 2 of this article to be posted later this week!
 
Textually yours,

Penelopae

RL Fireworks versus IC Firepower

Posted by penelopae Monday July 2 2012 at 11:12PM
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Typically on the 4th of July I do the same thing, year after year. Shut down the laptop, charge up my cellphone, and pretend to be checking in with work while keeping tabs on my favorite video games while enduring several hours of boring family banter at the grandparents’ house.
 
It’s not all bad. The food is pretty amazing considering my grandma cooks like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show. And even I admit that it was pretty amusing last year when Uncle Leo’s cigar dropped into the box of fireworks. His single act of carelessness turned what’s normally a 3-hour, snail-paced chorus of “Oooh”s and “Aaah”s into a 4-minute session of chaotic screaming from the grown-ups and excited squealing from the very young kids who enjoyed it immensely.
 
But this year, I have other plans. You see, several of my favorite games are offering perks this week and since the 4th of July always coincides with my vacation from work I have plenty of time to take advantage of benefits in a lot of them. Here are some of the ones I’ll be hitting up this week.
 
  • Battlefield 3 – This is one time when I really love being a premium player. While standard players get double end-match points through 1pm PST on July 4th, when the very real fireworks begin in the game, myself and the other premium Battlefielders get double XP through July 8th at one minute before midnight PST. Booyah!
  • Achaea – Right now the game is celebrating its 600 year games, due to the in-character date reaching Year 600. I really stank at the riddles challenge, but I’m hoping that I have enough credits to buy exclusive real estate. After all that’s where the big money is in all MUDs. And a huge expansion in a rather new area is the basis for a month-long quest. Complete 21 times in the month of July (only once per RL day though) and you’ll get a surprise prize. I LOVE SURPRISES!
  • Outwitters – Okay, this one really has no bonus perks and it’s not even one of my favorite games – yet. But when it launches on July 5th I fully intend to try out the multiplayer strategy game. From what I understand characters can be one of three different races, each with classes and combat specializations specific to each one. One comes free and while I’m not sure that I will purchase the add-ons, get back to me around July 7th or so and ask me then. I may have an entirely different perspective by then!
Regardless of how you spend your 4th of July week, enjoy your games but more importantly – enjoy your family. How do you plan to spend the holiday? And what are your favorite in-game bonuses? Would they make you more likely to play a game you'd avoided before, like MMORPGs or MUDs? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below. And in the meantime, have a safe and happy holiday!

Walking Dead Episode 2 - Me Versus the Zombies

Posted by penelopae Saturday June 30 2012 at 11:04PM
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Psst. I’m about to reveal a spoiler from Episode 1 so if you didn’t get to the end of it, you might want to turn back now...before it’s too late!
 
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Okay, good. You’re still with me! 
 
 
I love zombies, and when AMC came out with the Walking Dead, I happily turned off my phone and computer every week to tune in to the new episode. From the moment Rick first woke up in the hospital to the Season-2 Finale when he revealed that they’re all as good as dead due to being infected with the zombie virus, I’ve never missed an episode. So when Telltale said they were coming out with a Walking Dead game, nobody I knew was more elated than me! And when I took sides with Kenny, and then chose to save Carley at the end of the Episode 1, I totally expected Episode 2 to pick up right where the first had left off. But did it? No!
 
Episode 2 starts out a few months later, and immediately I was faced with an intense decision. There’s a guy caught in a bear trap. Do I use the axe in my hands to get him out, or leave him for zombie fodder? And if I save him, how will I deal with getting enough food to feed? I mean, you have to remember that food’s already scarce as it is – it’s been several months since I saved Carley and all. Unlike Episode 1, this new chapter was making me think. And some of my choices made me feel guilty. Not even my favorite MUDs, where immersion was as close to “real” life as any game has ever been for me, had ever caused me to feel guilt.
 
So after making the decision of whether or not to save the guy in the bear trap (not to mention the other survivor who’s with him) two more survivors show up at the hotel to see if my posse has any gas to spare. These two informed my group about a dairy farm that was protected by electric fences. So now there’s another choice to make – do we go to the dairy farm or stay holed up in the hotel? Every choice I made caused me to pause, wondering what I would do in “real” life…which was silly, because contrary to recent crazies in the news who act like zombies, there’s not really any such thing.
 
 
The way the characters interact in Episode 2 helped immerse me into the game. It made the scenarios more realistic, and I didn’t feel like I was watching a TV show – I felt like I was IN the TV show. Episode 2 introduced new characters that made the ones in Episode 1 look bland in comparison! Because I already knew the basic commands, having pretty much figured them out when playing the initial segment, I think it helped me move along more quickly in this one as well. But just when I thought I had mastered them, Telltale threw a new element into the game, like sneaking along while hiding behind something.
 
There were a few things I had to repeat so that I could progress within the game, but I was having too much fun to care. I haven’t even finished Episode 2, and I’m already thinking ahead and wondering what Episode 3 will present! I’m sure that friends in my other MUDs and MMORPGs will notice my absence when it comes out later this summer.
 
Have you tried the Walking Dead game? What are your favorite zombie games? What is it about those games that makes them your favorites? I’d love to read all your comments!