Have LotRO will travel…

21 06 2011

American  performance artist Jordan Long plans to ship himself across the US in a crate with only  Lord of the Rings Online as company.

Avid Lord of the Rings Online player and performance artist; Jordan Long is taking his theories about in-game communities and their benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to new levels.

Long has shipped himself from his home in Bald Knob, Arkansas to a final destination in Oregon locked in a crate with nothing but his computer and his LOTRO companions along for the ride. 

According to Long, the purpose of his most recent “art” project is to study “trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and claims that he has found that many who are confined to their homes due to such trauma tend to find their escape in the form of online games such as LotRO where they can ‘enter and exit whenever they choose, be whoever they want to be and feel like functioning members of society again.'”

Good thing he isn’t playing WOW or people would want to know the gear score of his crate….

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Retro RPGs

3 11 2010
baldurs gate

baldurs gate

I love RPGs, always have really, since the first time I ever sat round a table and played my first game of D&D through to the present day.

Recently I have been a little underwhelmed though; the current crop of RPGs for the PC, Xbox 360 etc are pretty good but they just seem to lack something.

It isn’t that they are bad games, far from it but somewhere amidst the amazing graphics, cinematic sound, famous voice actors etc  they seem to have lost some of that traditional RPG element that I love.

That is why I have gone back to playing classic RPGs that whilst nowhere near as polished as the current crop of games just seem to be a little nearer the mark.

In particular I have been playing the ever so awesome Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Baldur’s Gate 1 &2 and the original Fallout.

For me these 5  games encompass pretty much everything that I want in a RPG.

I love the sheer immersion that takes place when playing one of these older story driven RPGs sure I enjoy having a massive sandbox world to track around (the map in Oblivion is 16 square miles!) but nothing beats a riveting story that drives you to continue and keeps you focused.

I sometimes think that with some of the current sandbox games that it is too easy to be overwhelmed with the sheer volume of different things you can run off and do and that the main campaigns/storylines can get overlooked.

I also miss the fully turn based combat systems like you saw in Fallout, it is reminiscent of my hours spent with pen, paper and dice and just has a charm about it that is sometimes lacking these days.

Maybe I am just getting old and turning into one of those people who goes on about how everything was better back in the day but as much as I really enjoy modern games -trust me I do- the old classics just seem to be more fun somehow.

neverwinter nights 1 &2 /baldurs gate

rattle on about how these feel more dungeon and dragonesque then the current big rpgs where you trot around by yourself for days at a time





Heavy Rain

14 10 2010

I don’t normally review games and you will be pleased to hear that I haven’t deviated from that.

Luckily I have found a review that sums up exactly how I felt about Heavy Rain; unsurprisingly it is from a fellow countryman of mine the estimable, vitriolic Ben “Yatzhee” Crenshaw the angsty gentleman behind Zero Punctuation.

Here it is, enjoy:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1528-Heavy-Rain





Help Needed…

29 09 2010

My name is Tom and I am a gameaholic…

Unfortunately there isn’t really a 12 step program out there for video game addicts and even if there was I don’t think that I would be admitting to myself that I have a problem so thats step one buggered before we even start!

I do think it is possible that I do spend a bit too much time playing games though which is a start I guess. I came to this startling realisation yesterday although those who know me well will be chortling to themselves saying some realisation that is.

I realised that I spent my lunch break yesterday animatedly talking with a colleague and fellow addict about my strategy for championship manager; for those of you not familiar with champ man it is a variety of online crack that lets you pretend that you are the manager of a football team (I refuse to ever call football soccer)

That’s right it’s a game that lets you pretend you are involved in a game, but I love it! I have since I first laid eyes on it back in the heady days of Championship Manager 2 which I struggled to get going on my mighty 486.

Since then I have owned every version of the game that has been released even though by my own admission they are more or less exactly the same, but thats not the point, I need the up to date information and the realistic transfer prices etc etc.

I love championship manager so much that I have been working on my current file for 147 hours. That is just a few hours shy of two whole premiership seasons!!! The kicker is it’s not my only file I have another file with 50 odd hours.

Where have I found the time to play nearly 200 hours of a football management simulator since the new season began??

It doesn’t stop there either, if I was addicted to just one game it would be bad enough but it’s every game, well except the shit ones obviously! During my 200 hour footballing marathon I have also completed Halo Wars, replayed my way through half of GTA IV and clocked up about 20 hours on Soul Calibre.

I could understand if I was unemployed, single or worked as a games reviewer but I am none of those things. I have a girlfriend and work a 40 hour+ week as some form of emarketing bitch (even I can’t really quantify what I do)

It’s not solely video games either, my girlfriend will readily atest to the fact that when I’m not playing video games I want to play other games; scrabble, backgammon, cribbage, monopoly, risk, warhammer or d&d. It quite literally does not matter what it happens to be I am addicted to playing games.

I still don’t think I have a problem though 😉





My WOW wishlist

17 05 2010

I love games, it doesn’t hugely matter what type of game, I have played or would play more or less any type of game what so ever.

However due to being a great big geek of a certain age and disposition I have always had a soft spot in my heart for D&D style RPG, be it table top, text based scroller, Baldur’s Gate style PC fun or more recently MMORPGs.

As a result it  was more or less inevitable that I would end up falling into the life consuming black hole that is World of Warcraft, I first played about 4 years ago  now and needless to say I was impressed, there was a sheer sense of scale that I hadn’t come across before in a video game.

Times change and things move on, I grew dissillusioned with WOW and set out n search of other MMOs to pit my skills against.

I settled on Lord of the rings online by Turbine, I was very pleased with LOTRO and have been an avid player ever since I first set foot in the Shire.

 For starters the game is stunning and I don’t just mean for an MMO it is stunning compared to more or less any game out there that you care to mention! The story is also very well done and the whole game does feel plot driven, no mean feat considering that the game runs parallel to the story of the fellowship and other than crossing paths with the members occasionally runs completely separately.

The only problem with LOTRO is that it doesn’t have that same sense of  scale that WOW has and I’m not talking about the size of the world map. WOW has always felt sort of limitless and like there is always something that you haven’t quite managed to do yet.

LOTRO has lost that for me a little bit, some of  the end game content has been a little bit weak and the new expansion, Siege of Mirkwood, didn’t really add to the game in the same way that Mines of Moria did.

So I went back to WOW after a 2.5 year hiatus. A LOT has changed for starters Wrath of the Lich King has been launched and we are very rapidly approaching the launch of Cataclysm, the third expansion pack.

Backstory over.

I was day dreaming on Saturday about ways in which I would try and improve WOW if I could and I actually hit upon a few ideas that I thought were actually quite feasible and would add just that little bit extra to the game, the glace cherry on top of the already delicious cake if you will.

LOTRO players might notice a theme here so I am going  to come out and say it these are ideas that are implemented in LOTRO, they aren’t unique to there but I do feel that Turbine have implemented them particularly well.

So here in no particular order is my WOW wishlist:

1. Player houses.

A simple idea and some might say a extraneous one but there is something about having your own piece of in game real estate that just adds to the overall sense of immersion.

Imagine having your tree house in Un Goro crater or a mud hut to call your own in the Barrens! Also It needn’t just be a status symbol for you to decorate and show off, you could have additional storage that you could purchase and your own little mailbox right at your front door (I’m blatantly stealing at this point!)

This is saying nothing of guild halls, imagine if you will a starter guild with some drafty two room hall in Brill, it’s humble but for you and the guys its home, contrast this with the mini-fortress on the outskirts of Orgrimmar owned by a mighty raiding guild, the walls are festooned with trophies from their countless victories and a sense of pride and strength eminates from the very building itself filling all who enter it with a sense of awe.

2. An outfit system.

If you are a player on an RPG server or just someone who likes to have a bit of a backstory and make themselves that bit different what would be better than a change of outfit.

Maybe you have some comfortable “town clothes” you want to wear after a hard days questing, perhaps you love the stats on your armour but hate how it looks?

Well what if you were to have separate tabs on your character viewer, your main tab would have the armour and equipment that you are actively using and gaining stats from, the other tabs could have items dropped onto them that would simply display; are you a mage that always wanted to run around in full plate looking like a warrior go for it, you will still be squishy and dead but you will certainly look badass!

I know this is purely for the sake of vanity but it isn’t as if this would be a first look at the whole collection of vanity pets out there that not only do people go nuts for but they pay RL money to get em. Blizzard could so much money off of this it would be nuts, we are talking fat stacks of paper just for giving people imaginary clothes.

3. Legendary Weapons.

In LOTRO there is a class of weapon that makes everything else look like a blunt fruit knife by comparison, Legendary Weapons.

Basically these are a better class of wepaon that becomes available to you late on in the game, they have a variety of different sockets – nothing new there, they can be enchanted – again no great shakes but they gain xp .

The more you use them and the more badass mothers you take down the more xp your weapon of choice gains and as we all know points make prizes, when you reach certain levels of xp you can add points to the various stats on your item.

There are even two types of NPC just to support legendary weapons; lets say you find a new legenday axe, you need to identify it before you can use it, so off you trot to an expert and find out that this particular axe has x,y,z stats, don’t like these stats? Well in that case pop next door to his buddy and melt the axe down, on melting it down you will end up various relics, gems and runes that made the axe what it was that you can either slot into other weapons or combine together to make even more powerful relics etc.

Personally I don’t like how frequently legenday weapons drop in LOTRO but I can see it working in WOW, imagine being able to have a completely customisable sword or axe or staff that would grow with you, we aren’t talking some all conquering death bringer but it would certainly be a damn damn fine weapon.

Maybe it would be a class of weapon that would only be available at end game and would add yet another face to what is available to do whilst waiting for the next expansion to come out, maybe they would be PvP only and you would get the relics etc by looting the corpses of your HKs, to my mind there are a whole range of possibilities.

Well that is it, I’m spent, I’m all wished out.

Feel free to suggest your own ideas or tear mine into shreds, healthy discussion makes the world go round after all 😉





If it aint broken why fix it?…..Oh wait it is broken, oh well fuck it.

26 04 2010

YAY!

Unfortunately you can’t hear the huge amount of sarcasm dripping from that otherwise happy outburst.

If you could you might be asking who pissed in my cornflakes today; well let me tell you who – Microsoft.

I have often moaned on and on to anyone that will listen (or who is unlucky enough to be in earshot) about the failings of Outlook 2007 when it comes to facilitating good  clean functional HTML design for emails.

I had up until hoped that the forthcoming Outlook 2010 would change this, I wasn’t expecting the world, merely that they would fix the things that were broken and make my life easier.

Well of course that hope has been dashed, completely and utterly. I was trawling the net this morning and came across this little article citing the ever reliable chaps at Campaign Monitor.

It seems that Microsoft are taking the “fuck you buddy” approach to fixing the issues in 2007, in short they aren’t.

Not only does this serious kill my buzz but it also acts as a case of middle finger up to the Email Standards Project and thousands of other frustrated designers worldwide.

The good news is though it won’t be any worse… well gee thanks for that!








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