Month: March 2013

Three MMO’s that I watch carefully

neverwinter wildstar teso the elder scrolls online

Every year, a gazillion new MMO’s are released. Well alright, “a gazillion” might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but it’s a fact that the genre grows every year. One of the reasons for that is that the definition of the term “MMO” gets broader and broader. When even SimCity dares to call itself an MMO, we know we’ve gone too far.

Anyway, with all these titles in the making, there are a few that have piqued my interest. That’s not too hard: the right words and a few nice pictures, and you’ve won me as a customer. However, being disappointed by several games in the past, I have become somewhat…cynical. My enthusiasm is dampened, and I watch the hopes of the future with care. Today, I want to share with you the three games that I have laid my critical gaze upon, and tell you why I have so much hope for them, but also why they could fail big time.

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How I stopped worrying and learned to love gaming ADD

Focusing my gaming time on one title has shown me once again how much I suffer of a condition referred to as “gaming ADD”. Just like regular ADD, patients of this affliction suffer from an inability to play one and the same game for a longer time, being distracted by the beauty and “shiny factor” of new titles. To a degree, all gamers know this:  when a new game hits the stores, you want to have it and play with it. However, many of my fellow button-bashers are able to focus on one title for some time, while I’m already knee-deep in another game.

I haven’t been always like this, and for a time, this gaming ADD was driving me mad. However, I learned that it isn’t bad, and that you actually get more out of your gaming life when your attention span is similar to that of a hyperactive dog. This is my story (cue epic intro music).

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Strange Sunday – Ghosts and other spectral affairs

ghost apparition photo

“Ghost” by Joe-Roberts

Ghosts are awesome. If done right, they are scary for several reasons. First of all, they are unnatural and not from this world, which invokes this natural fear of the unknown every human possesses. Next to that, they can appear at any time and anywhere. Sometimes there are portents that herald their appearance, and sometimes they just scare the living bejeezus out of you by just appearing out of nothing. Finally, they come in many shapes. From the creepy manifestations of Poltergeist, to the ruthless black-haired spirit of The Ring, ghosts can look different in every story.

What saddens me though, is that ghosts ar,e most of the tim,e the spirits of deceased persons, stuck in this world to exact their vengeance or to resolve matters. It’s a shame though, considering that there are many other origin stories for the undead. In this week’s Strange Sunday, I want to highlight two sources of fiction who do spectres and apparitions a little bit different, or should I say…a little bit stranger?

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March Gaming, week 2 – majoring in familiar-slaying at Innsmouth Academy

Reading isn’t all that fun. Well okay, I consider it fun, but I know that some of you pretty guys and gals like to look at some pictures from time to time. That’s why this week’s report on my activities in The Secret World will be mostly a visual one. Even though a picture says more than a thousand words, I still have some words to say without any visual aid:

  • I’m still baffled by how immersive the world of TSW is. Everything works so well together to draw you into this creepy and monster-infested version of our world, and I feel like all this atmosphere and style is seriously underrated by fans of the MMO genre. Also, why do I see so much hate for the character design? Next to the fact that so damn many of the characters you meet have blue eyes (really, it’s crazy!), I find the design cool and well done. Maybe I just use another definition of “beautiful”?
  • If you play the game for the first time, make sure to do most missions in Kingsmouth before moving on to the Savage Coast. The lethality of the zones increases in large steps, so if you leave the safety (as far as a town overrun by zombies can be considered safe) of the little fishing village, check if you have some good gear and your weapon skills at level 3. Otherwise, those demons around Daniel Bach will drag you right into Hell.
  • Nope, the Siren’s Song will never leave your head. Sorry.
  • Ever wanted to know what Hogwarts would be like if it was ransacked by a guy with a magic sword, leaving the students dead and their familiars running around in a berserk, bloodthirsty state? Well, you’ll find your answers to this really specific question right in Innsmouth Academy. I really love that hub. All the NPC’s there are fun and cool, and it’s packed with action missions. Slaughtering familiars and sending ghosts of dead teachers back to their grave is a lot of fun, and Hayden Montag is so delightfully awkward.

I won’t have that much time to play next week, but I’ll try to get into a few runs of the Polaris and Hell Raised, just to see how much fun tanking is in TSW. Hope you’ll enjoy the pictures, and if you want to share anything concerning The Secret World, feel free to hit me up in the comments!

Actual Play – Courage Chapter III

courage logo

Wow, it’s been a while since one of these, but the wait’s over: click below for the third chapter of Courage, a solo Exalted chronicle. We’ll meet a Solar in this one, and find out that Courage’s secret are not as secret as he thinks they are. Want to know more? Well, stop reading this and dive into the three-and-a-half pages of RPG goodness. Have fun!

Courage – Chapter 3

Geek Jitsu – that pain

muscle soreness sore fitness health

I hope that by now, I have motivated a few of my readers to get their butts away from their consoles and into the world of health and fitness. I warned you about many different things during your quest to level-up your physical stats, but I forgot one, minor little thing. If you started exercising by now, I want to offer my sincere apologies for not telling you about this downside to fitness. If you’re still a lazy bum, consider yourself scolded and read on, for I will tell you about the horror of…SORE MUSCLES!

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Going camping

team fortress camping engineer guitar

“Camping” by FlopHouser

You might ask yourself a few things. Why did the Pope truly step down from his office? Is there life on Mars? Is Canada really such a nice place to live? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Sadly, I can’t provide you with answers to these questions. However, I can answer that one question you have been asking yourself since a few days: what the heck is that weird logo on the right doing there, stealing space from the most popular posts? Well folks, that logo indicates that I’ll be camping in April, literally. Well, wait, not literally in the sense that I will be outdoors getting myself bitten by insects, but literally in the sense of writing. Would that be literary rather than literally? Questions, questions, questions…

Anyway, as the logo indicates, I will be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo coming April (and probably also in July), which means that I’ll be writing a short story of at least 20.000 words in that month. It’s not much, considering I survived NaNoWriMo 2012 which had me writing more than twice that amount in the same time. The difference with that contest from November is that now I have a blog to vent my writing frustrations, so prepare for an author’s rage next month.

Luckily, my housemates will join me in the writing madness, so I’m looking forward to a month filled with write-ins, writer blocks and really strange plot twists, all crammed into a small house in the Netherlands. We might not be camping outdoors, but if you bring us some tents and fire wood, we can turn our kitchen into a nice, literal (or literary?) campsite!