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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at, write for, run and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Cryptic is smarter than you think.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday February 10 2010 at 10:26AM
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With the recent announcement of the Champions Online expansion going freebie, we have had to witness bloggers/forum posters everywhere exclaim "We have won!"

It is my theory that "winning" all depends on the opinion of the winner, and is also pretty dependent on if the "other side" has lost anything. Let's look at the stakes: access to a new "expansion" (the definition varies) for the MMORPG "Champions Online." Now let's look at the price: the usual 50 bucks or so that the expansion might have cost.

Fans screamed that it was silly at best to ask for their money. The game was not even completed and was buggy (although I have to admit that my month of playing it was incredibly fun and mostly bug-free) and to ask for more money for an expansion that represented little content added onto a buggy incomplete game was downright insulting. In fact, most of these type of outcries came from blogs/posts of fans that have been playing the game since launch.

So what was Cryptic to do?

Simple...hand out this "tiny bit of content" for free. Now..I am not even sure of when the release date is, or how long the content will last the average high-level player of the game. I had my time in the game and will probably return again. But I can tell you this with some accuracy: you, the fans of the game and the ones who cried foul, will continue to play this game and the expansion for at the least the next 4 months. While that is a guess, I will be that it is a safe guess.

That means that over the next 4 months they will get another 60 bucks from you. Not including, of course, any cash-shop type purchases you might make. Also, add on players that will return to the game for a month or two in order to check the expansion out. I even know a few people that have expressed concern for returning now so that they might be the right level by the time it comes out.

Add all that up, and you will see how smart it is to give out expansions for free.

Right now I am sitting, typing this blog after a long dog walk. I am waiting impatiently for the new free "Alchemy" expansion to be released for Mabinogi. I will log in and explore all the new content, I will check out and purchase the new cash-shop services/items and I will have a damn fine time doing it. It is a brilliant business model, something Nexon has attested to.

And while many subscription model lovers would think that I am getting "raked over the coals" while being "nickeled and dimed to death" while also having "one pulled over on me", I say that if you are happy about the news that Cryptic is releasing the content for free and will play that free content that you are actually doing the same thing. Nexon gets my cash, and Cryptic gets yours.

The goal for Cryptic, or any other developer, is firstly to get your money. Let's be honest. Good intentions in art mean nothing if no one consumes it and if you cannot survive while making it. Cryptic, while possibly losing money on an expansion that indeed contained little content, will still get not only your 15 bucks a month but the 15 dollars a month for returning (and reinvigorated) players as well as people that pick it up thanks to your confessions that Cryptic is now "smarter and respects their player-base more." You will do the PR work for them.

But c'mon...this is normal practice for business. This should be normal practice for business. This is how business and consumers become smarter..they make mistakes and they learn. Ask SOE about learning, with it's up-and-coming MMO's and hundreds of thousands of paying customers. Ask Blizzard about their ability to have one of the largest NA paying player-bases for one of the games with the least depth out there. Ask Aventurine about their ability to give "hard core" players a place to call home, despite the fact that their hard-core experience is really equal to an FPS.

The customers playing those games, and Cryptics customers, are part of an exchange that has gone on for thousands of years. A give and a take...a learning process for everyone involved.

So yeh, you might have won something. But that does not mean Cryptic has lost anything.

And, by the and I would have paid for that expansion anyway. No one can resist the allure of shiny new pixels.


Off to work...are you?

Posted by beauturkey Saturday February 6 2010 at 9:55AM
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Oggy Oggy Oggy!

No, that's not me silly.


Here it is, 9:30 AM and I've already been up for about 3 hours. I have walked the dogs, fed all the animals and fixed myself some breakfast. Leala has decided to sleep late, so I am keeping pretty quiet.

I really enjoy this little job I have, working in this pet store. It's not glamorous at all and the money isn't anything much, but I constantly help people there and I constantly learn new things from customers and from the books I borrow off of the shelves. I have learned to never trust only one source, but to go to many many sources to gain a general knowledge about something. In the world of pets/animals, there is opinion and there is science, and sometimes opinion passed off as science.

But I won't be at this job forever. Not only has my asthma become almost dangerously worse there, but I have to be honest with myself and say that I tend to move on from job to job anyway. I have done it my whole life, with very few constants remaining at home. Here they are, though:

1) Writing: I write almost every day, which is something I am proud of. I don't know very many bloggers that write a blog ever week, much less every day. I do not pretend that I am the best at it, but I know that my chops are slowly getting better just out of repetition.

2) Exercising: I walk the dogs, do sit-ups and push-ups, and eat well. I try to take care of my body as much as I can because this hobby tends to make you...unhealthy. Sitting at a PC can be rough on the body, and the (sometimes) convenient diet that goes along with it can be just as bad. Also, the dogs must have their exercise.

3) Art: By art I mean "doing something creative." It might be writing a song or a role-play story, or coming up with a poem or drawing a picture. Either way, I am always trying to use the creative juice that seems to be stored in my head. I just don't get how someone can tell me that they never do anything creative, so I am happy that I have the need to express myself that way.

If you notice, though, none of these constants have to do with my "real life" job. I am good at the job and a hard worker, but I could not see myself in retail for that long. My boss has been at the job for 10 years, and she still knows almost nothing about animals. A company that allows people like that to become "the boss" need not be trusted.

My gaming, though, reflects my work life for sure. And some of my "other" life.

I stay with games, but the time is spread out over years and not concentrated into intense 8-month long goals being pursued. I have never cared about virtual loot or virtual glory, so this frees me up to explore the other parts of games that no one seems to notice. You know the parts...the story, the land, the artwork that makes up the game. So my games can be seen as temporary positions for me.

This does not mean that I do not enjoy my visits, or that I will never come back to that position again. In fact, I am intensely loyal to my games, but I maintain a huge list of games that I am loyal to. While some players explore every nuance of their class or of their particular game-world, I explore every nuance of the genre of entertainment. I might pick out systems from SWG to explore one week/s, then will switch to WURM Online. If you want to gain true knowledge about something you are interested in in real life, you read/explore everything you can on the subject. Shouldn't the same be applied if you are interested in MMORPGs?

I have accepted that this means some limitations for me, both in real life and in gaming. Goals either have to be small and achievable in small amounts of time (I organized the books, I finished that quest) or have to spread out over very large amounts of time (I achieved level 30 in Mabinogi, I became certified in animal behavior.)

Also, it means that I give up on ever having pretty "normal" things like a big beautiful house or 3 small children. Honestly, I have never wanted those things anyway (at least to the point that I would pursue them) but it's just so happens that I probably wouldn't be the best father or the best home-owner. I move around too much, I wander too much.

So I am a little envious of those players that can play as though it is their real-life job. They achieve things in game and in real life that I never would. They stay with one company until retirement, they have several of the highest level characters and see all the content a game has to offer. They might get to know the joys of having kids or of having a 30-year mortgage. (That is a joy, right? hehe)

I wouldn't mind being the highest level, or owning three nice cars instead of one. I wouldn't mind being able to conquer mighty dragons or being able to send my child to college and eventually on to a family of his own.

But, I won't achieve certain goals, and I know that. I have had to be honest with myself over the last 10 years or so and ask myself: "What do I want to do?"

The answer?: "Explore."

It's a selfish goal, but what can I do?

Luckily I have an incredible wife that seems to enjoy the same thing, and seems to understand that we both do not want to stop doing what we do, even if that means losing out on some of the normal goals of life.

Oh well, odd blog I guess. But I am off to work. Today I will help adopt out a few cats, clean up poop, give some advice to a new puppy owner and check Twitter/read articles the entire time. Enjoy your day.


Spouse Aggro Cast for Friday, Feb. 5th! (fast and fuwious)

Posted by beauturkey Friday February 5 2010 at 10:43PM
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Download/listen HERE!


Spouse Aggro

Friday Feb. 5th

The show you listen to today is the result of a couple of technical breakdowns. Our normal amazingly complicated recording device (the iPhone) confused us by cutting off our recordings. By the time we got done, we had gone over the same subjects a few times and were a little tired of talking about them.

It's especially hard when the first conversation you had was a really good one.

Anyway, we take 3 questions from Sarc over at Thank you Sarc, not only for the great questions, but for the brilliant formatting that allowed Beau to skip your entire email and get right to the questions. Kiddin.

We are happy to be back to the short episode. Those hour/hour and a half episodes can be terribly boring, at least to us. If I talk that long I will usually resort to connecting too many dots.

The music for today is by Santigold, a cool female singer/rapper type person. Go check her out.


Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

Twitter name: spouseaggro

Skype name: beauturkey


The Turkeys

Aventurine to collaborate with John Tesh for upcoming expansion soundtrack.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday February 4 2010 at 4:59PM
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Denmark, CA: Indie video game developer Aventurine announced plans to collaborate with New Age genius John Tesh on the soundtrack for their upcoming new expansion that goes only under the single code word: "Glitter."

"We got the Tesh, what can we say?" said Aventurine owner/head developer Tico Torres. "He's going to be a perfect fit for our new player experience, which we announced recently." Tico spoke proudly about the new up-and-coming changes to the new player experience for their hardcore PvP MMORPG called Darkfall.

"As we’ve mentioned before we’re happy to see an ever-increasing number of new players entering the game and we’re also about to introduce several initiatives and special offers to further increase these numbers." Tico continued, beaming. "We’re introducing a new feature possibly as soon as the next patch which provides optional protection against player attacks to brand new players. This functionality is very limited and only lasts a few hours but it should be enough to allow someone logging into Darkfall for the first time to learn to control his character and to get his bearings while still having proper access to the live game. "

Some of those features include a special "Welcome Basket" that can be claimed by any new account holder upon entering the game for the first time. Inside the basket the 19 year old man would find a battle-axe, some incense and a blank journal to keep track of his exploits. Also, the new player will find himself welcomed home by the sound of glittering silver trumpets every time he logs in.

The changes are not without controversy, however, as the official forums for the game hosted post after post of poorly worded threats and entire paragraphs that warned, in detail, of what we think is death. Or disco, we can't tell.

We reached The Tesh for comment, on break from his whirl-wind 50 city/2 year "Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em" world tour:


While the exact date of release for this new expansion is not known, many fan-sties are estimating it's arrival some time in the spring.
















(No, I don't think Darkfall is turning into a Candyland. I just thought this was funny.)

Is SWG housing the bestest ever in the entire world EVER??

Posted by beauturkey Thursday February 4 2010 at 12:36AM
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OK, maybe not the best. But still, I bet I got a few NGE ragers to at least read this blog!

It's so cool to see the new updates arrive in my email every so often, but to be honest I never got that far in SWG levels. I explored a lot, flew in my space-ship a lot and played house a lot. Yep, house. As in "Where should I put this space couch hunny?" I played years ago before the NGE and after. The difference? It runs better now, has more options (even with taking away what it did) and still looks pretty darn good.

I happily downloaded the update and logged in to find all my confusing stuff, still sitting there confusingly. Just like in my re-visit to EVE, I had to make some goals fast or my wandering mind would get distracted by some other icon on my desk-top.

OK. Housing. Yes. I need to find a place to plop down a house. While we're talking about that, how many MMO's have housing that allows you to just walk up and put a house down? I mean, Vanguard has it's plots...Darkfall has theirs. WURM Online let's you put 'em where-ever you feel like, Anarchy is instanced, WoW doesn't have any, LotRo is instanced, EQ2 is instanced, I haven't seen much on Mortal's yet....hmmmm...oh yeh UO had open everything...

So I flew around on my space bike (I just want to be corrected here) until I found a sweet spot that sat underneath the shadows of some beautiful waterfalls right outside of Theed. Ah, Theed. Home of snobbish Jedi's that NEVER answer me as I go "Excuse me, how do I get my hot-bar back? Hey MAN!"

Cool thing is, the housing is cheap. Space dirt cheap. And HUGE, too. I had three houses in my inventory so I quickly unpacked the largest and set it down next a group of other houses. A space community, I guess they were.

And I just went nuts. First of all, I /claimed everything I could, from cool posters to neat looking display cabinets. I got awesome plushie dolls. I mean, LOOK AT THIS:

I have a good deal of money on this character, 100's of millions i believe, so I am going to spend it all on space ships and housing items. And you know that I have never once played a game that allows you to look at anything, absolutely ANYTHING in your inventory just so that you can pull it out as a real-world representation of how COOL YOU ARE. I mean, I thought to myself: "Hey man, a BIG JET ENGINE WOULD LOOK COOL HERE."

OK, let's see...hey cool look I have one in my inventory:

So let's see what happens when I just take it out....and...HOLY CRAP:

For the record, yes I knew that this would happen. I just performed a little skit for you to illustrate how neat it is to be able to do this. To be honest, I don't even WANT a jet engine thing in my living room. THAT type of item would go into the basement, stupid.

For all of the drama that many think happened around SWG ( didn't. The players ran off to play WoW, just like with every other MMO in the entire country at that time.)  the game still survives and holds more cool features than most MMOs that might be a quarter of it's age.

Not to mention the cool role-play disc item thingy I received upon logging in, the one that allows me to make my own missions to give to people (think Ryzom's Ring, 'cept spacier) or the briefly above mentioned appearance slot that has surely spelled doom for my space pocketbook. Not to mention (on top of that) the space stuff, the incredible space ships that allow GROUPS OF PLAYERS to fight together, in real twitchy time...(something that STO could not even get right) and the killer new Civil War thingy going on right now (think the American Civil War 'cept with laser guns and robots that killed me twice already. Jerks.)

Point being that SWG seems to be doing better than most MMOs. Take advantage of it or not. Hold a grudge against the game for something you think the developers did wrong. Whatever, more room for me and my soon-to-be droid army.


Is 5 days enough for an EVE return?

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday February 2 2010 at 7:32AM
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I finally gave in to the offer waiting in my email for the past month: "Return to EVE for 5 days!" I knew it didn't sound like much, but almost every time I had returned I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the game was coming along. This time was no different.

I logged into my 5 year old account. The first thing I wanted to do was to check a look at the new planet animations/textures. I sat and watched clouds form into swirling masses, and watched twinkling light on a few surfaces. It was very, very impressive. I had to take inventory of all the stuff I had from before and where it all was, and soon realized that not only had I spent/given away most of my 100's of millions last time, but some of the items I had spent the money on either no longer interested me or were somewhere wayyy off into 0.0 space.

Last time I was active in the game, I became the member of a very nice new-ish corp. We went ratting together and made plans to all learn covert ops together. Soon, though, we were declared on by some corp that had spies (yes, spies) in our little guild. To be honest, it was rather fun with all the drama, the rooting-out of the spies and all that. We pointed fingers, questioned motives. For some reason they didn't even suspect me. Although I had done nothing, I felt a little hurt? Why couldn't I be a suspect too?

Soon enough the war took it's annoying toll on me. Everywhere I went some kid in a frigate followed me, calling me names in local. It wasn't role-play, and it wasn't funny. It was just annoying, typical young man insults...questioning my sexuality, questioning my abilities as a pilot. I would have tolerated so much more if they had at least played the role better, insulting my school of study or my ships paint job.

So, I quit. I gave away a bunch of cash and bought a bunch of useless items. Thousands of ammo piles and every type of add-on filled my screen. I knew the first priority would be to insure the ships I wanted to use, and to start figuring out what I wanted to do. I knew that the new exploration abilities sounded nice, and that I needed to buy the Covert Ops ship that I trained for over the last few returns.

If you now hit F-12 you are brought to a tutorial screen, and soon I would be learning the basics of probing/scanning/exploring. I gotta' say, the new tutorials and the new player experience is so, so, so much better than when I first played those years ago. I have never thought that hiding information from a player, or making a player learn the very basics of your game somehow makes your game better or more complex. In fact, if a player logs into your game and gets stuck, they more than likely will not try to "figure it out for themselves." They will minimize, go to their browser and look it up.You might as well tell them what they need to know, in game.

EVE gives you the basics, but in a way that does not just hand it to you. The new player experience makes you work through the lessons with an agent, and it feels informative without being boring, and quick without feeling rushed. I would love to be a new player now, I can see the game really grabbing you thanks in part to this much improved new player experience.

So, after learning exploration (the basics) and realizing that I had a lot of money spread out in a lot of useless stuff (how many damn cruise missles do I need exactly?) I am going to have to make a decision. I have a day.

Will I re-sub?

I don't know, but it has nothing to do with EVE. It has to do mostly with time and a little with finances. While it is easy enough to maintain a couple subscriptions to a couple of games, when you get into 4 or 6 games it not only becomes hairy but a waste of time because you simply cannot play them all enough within that month to make it worth your while.

I have Darkfall right now, the Mortal Online BETA, Vanguard, WURM Online and now Star Wars Galaxies.

I'll give it one more day before I make my decision. Still, I can always return. And I will bet you that when I do that the game will have become even better. EVE seems to do that every time.


Some thoughts on this Vanguard Anniversary!

Posted by beauturkey Monday February 1 2010 at 12:08PM
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Ah, Vanguard. What a long strange trip it's been.

Thanks to Vanguard, I have discovered a new way of playing, a new of looking at games actually. I have always played a little bit differently, but Vanguard brought my playing to an entirely different level. I think it was a combination of perfect timing and finding a game that was attempting to do something different.

Despite any "controversy" over where the game was supposed to go and where the game went, the game still is. While there have been many changes good and bad to the game, players tend to forget that you can pretty much play any game in almost any way you want, including Vanguard. Each game out there does have it's physical boundaries that your character cannot cross, but other than that these games of ours have a lot of choices that many players tend to ignore.

I started with Vanguard over 2 years ago just to see how horribly it would run. After all, the game had a reputation (not a truth) for not running at all, period. To this very day, after all the posts, videos and podcasts talking about how playable the game is there are still players that ask me "Doesn't that game run like molasses?"

I tend to ignore what rumors there might be floating around, anyway. In fact, the more bad rumors I hear about a game the more chances that I will play it. (Which explains my trying out of pretty much every game out there.)

My first real character, Rikoo Rakoo, was a small half man/half fox ranger type character and despite not being a fan of furry little critters, he quickly grew into my favorite character. Soon I was role-playing with him and made a set of rules to dictate how I play with him. Then I took over the Voyages of Vanguard podcast and it just kept growing. While I have always maintained many games and sometimes quite a few subs, Vanguard is that one game that I have the most vivid memories with.

First of all, the lands are so large that's it's easy to spend hours exploring, role-playing and traveling.

Then, the Lore is detailed and epic, and can be explained to you while you play a card-style game called "Diplomacy."

Crafting is complex, similar to EQ2's, and harvesting is organic and funner than in most games.

While I enjoy combat, it is never the main drive for me in games. That might explain why it take me so long to level. Combat in Vanguard is fluid and fun but not so challenging that it takes most of your time to get anywhere.

The quests range from kill 10 rats to delivery quests, and your character is nicely pushed through the lands as you level. You really feel as though the world is much larger than you ever thought, and that there are a lot of secrets to look into.

There have been so many changes over the years, from adding class changes to the Trial Island that allows new players to download a smaller client so they can get into the game quickly. Performance has always been good enough, but has become better and better over the last years that I have played.

And on and on. To be honest, I don't have enough time to cover it all in this one post. Just search on this blog ( and you will see how much I have been in love with this game. And to be blunt, I am not sure why. The community, while intelligent and nice to newbies, can also be some of the nastiest batch of nerds on the planet. There has been so much drama surrounding this game and it's changes that I wonder how I ever made 4500 posts on the forums and survived with my sanity. Probably because, deep down, I know that despite everything there are people working very hard to make the game as could as they have the ability to.

You have to have an open mind, some patience and an ease of play to really enjoy Vanguard. If you want a non-stop action/fast paced game, you will be doing yourself a disservice by finding that in Vanguard. I know players like that, players that rushed past all content to get to the high-end raiding. When they finally got there, they became glossy eyed introverts, never leaving a staple few dungeons and groups while thinking that the rest of the game is not important.

Don't do that with Vanguard. Don't even ask about the "end game." Stop worrying about it.

There has been much drama, recently, with the announcement of possible server merges (there are 4 right now) and the closing of the PvP server. (Possibly? I haven't been back on the forums in a while .)

I think what harmed the game was firstly the rumor that it never, ever ran on any system (which is so far from the truth it's surreal) then secondly the fact that it had "high end/end game" stuff to do that was such a challenge and had certain bugs that it drove players crazy.

Essentially, you had a small player-base that pushed to the end only to get stuck within a few dungeons with a few key bugs that made them, ironically, obsessively repeat the process. Instead of saying " I think maybe I should try playing a different way..." they just kept going and going. Also, the existence of the PvP server wasted (in my opinion) valuable resources and money.

Maybe that will all be taken care of, now. The game runs great and looks amazing most of the time, and the trial island is a great excuse to try it out. While I would rather see the game gain 3 million players and 45 servers, it will not happen. While I would like to see all the development team members gain a personal assistant each, and for all their paychecks to grow fatter by several points, the truth is that the game has always been plagued by misinformation and a player-base that commonly thinks that the game should be something it is not or will never be.

So what does the future hold for this fantastic game? I don't know.

What do I hope to see, and want to see? I want to see the game survive, of course. I think it will, because SOE will keep it around almost as long as the community will have it. But I would like to see some new players discover it and maybe some more role-play events or in-game GM events. The game begs for it, begs for exploring and discovery and for grouping with your friends on a boat under the stars and moon. I would like to see more players "play" the game like that.

But we'll see. So go try it out, resubscribe, whatever. Take your time and read the lore. Cut down a tree, try some diplomacy. Turn off the chat. Use your horse or run everywhere. Explore. Role-play.

Vanguard is for that, it's perfect. And I hope it stays around for at least 3 more years for players to explore.