Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto

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Of course GW2 has great support for parties, but they just don’t feel as necessary as they do in other MMOs, because your interests are always aligned with all other nearby players anyway. When someone kills a monster, not just that player’s party but everyone who was seriously involved in the fight gets 100% of the XP and loot for the kill. When an event is happening in the world – when the bandits are terrorizing a village – everyone in the area has the same motivation, and when the event ends, everyone gets rewarded.

Above is an excerpt from the recently launched Guild Wars 2 blog. Just wanted to take a moment and note that this new social system reminds me of the Public Quests found in Warhammer Online…except that everyone wins.

Celestial Dreams

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Dreams do come true, in World of Warcraft, thanks to the recent addition of the Celestial Steed flying mount.  Celestial Steed? A new flying mount? Your probably asking what I did to obtain such a elusive piece of the heavens. Well, I can tell you that I did not:

  • Complete an epic quest
  • Slay a 1000 Murlocs
  • Or, visit the Galactic Temple high above Darkshore (surely you’ve been there!)

No, dear readers,  I simply paid $25 for this amazing downloadable addition — I love you Blizzard! –. I honestly think that the starry night sky shines brighter; that the very heavens gleam in approval of my new epic flying mount. Eat your heart out haters!

My horse from the Twisting Nether, Josie.

Still there? Good. I have a confession to make, I really didn’t spend $25 on a virtual horse. Why? Well…

  • $25 is almost as much as paying for a 2 month subscription.
  • You could buy 2 1/2 Pandaren Monks for the price of one girly-looking horse named Sparkle Fairy.

While I understand the want/need for downloadable content (money!), I just cannot bring myself to spend $25 for a virtual horse. For those of you who have, shame on you! You are supporting a practice that developers do not need to get used to. So quit it! NOW! You don’t need Sparkle Fairy. At all. So move along. NOW!

Story Corner – Greensburg

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Welcome to the first edition of Story Corner. Each and every Tuesday you will find a new work of fiction. Some weeks will feature continuations while others will feature all new works of art. If you have a small work of fiction you’d like posted, please feel free to contact JBG in the comments below.

Before we get started this week, I’d like to introduce our first piece, Greensburg. Written in a time long ago (possibly high school), this detective story begins with a hint of ugliness to it. Read on dear readers and feel free to leave some feedback.

.: Greensburg :.

The gasoline pumps have flowed like water, ever since Joey Boca and his boys rolled into town. Greensburg was a dot on the map, an oasis in the great Mohave Desert; a mere rest stop for weary tourists on their way to the Grand Canyon and other glorified holes in the ground. Off historic Highway 56, this blink-of-an-eye town rested. Flashfloods, lightning storms, and other natural disasters Greensburg had weathered. The day Joey Boca had arrived though,  he had brought a disaster that had taken over many major cities, the mob. Quickly the local police had been paid off and the church minister soon after. The town was infested and rotting with blood money. The stench somehow managed to drift all the way to the California coast, right into my office in San Francisco. I was sitting there at my desk when a dame with red hair entered in unannounced.

“Your secretary said you weren’t busy, mind if I sit down?”

For a dame of such bad looks she sure had moxy asking to sit down in front of me. Being a ladies man though, I motioned with my hand for her to sit.

“How may I help you Miss?”

“Honeysuckle, Mrs. Honeysuckle.”

The more I looked at her the more I could imagine how many times she had been hit with the ugly stick.

“So Mrs. Honeysuckle, how may I help you?”

She sat there trying to look pretty, batting those lash-less eyes at me. I felt sorry for her…but then I also felt sorry for dogs on leashes.

“I need help sir, its about my husband Foster Martino.”

Martino? I thought her last name was Honeysuckle! Things were starting to smell rotten, and I didn’t think it was her breath either.

“What’s wrong with your husband?”

“Nothings wrong, I’m just concerned with the people he hangs out with.”

That mole on her right cheek was really starting to get to me. A plastic surgeon would have a field day with this one.

Trying to focus, I replied, “What type of people?”

She leaned in real close-like and whispered through her crooked teeth, “I think he is apart of the mob.”

The mob huh, this wasn’t making sense at all. Guys in the mob usually pick better-looking dames than this. My interest intrigued, I decided to help her out.

“I think I’ll help you out. What is it you want me to do?”

“Go and snoop around Greensburg and find out what Foster has his hands in. I won’t stay married to a man of crime!”

With that passionate exclamation, she went running out of my office, faking a cry no doubt. At least she had some class not wanting to be married to a mobster. That still did not excuse her bad looks though. With my jalopy humming along, I started my journey towards this haven of crime, Greensburg.

More to come next week!

Friday Sing Along!

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Phew. What a long crazy week! As the countdown to summer approaches, I don’t know about you, but spring fever is hitting hardcore. Others around the world must be feeling this as well (even though its not spring everywhere). Below you will find a collection of odds and ends from through out the week. So sing along with JBG…

it's a world of laughter, a world or tears its a world of hopes, its a world of fear theres so much that we share that its time we're aware its a small world after all...

1. Number 1 on our countdown is a delightful story of a little boy with rage issues. You see, his parents took his keyboard away as a disciplinary measure. So, the kid bludgeons his dad with a sledgehammer while he is sleeping. Mom, scared stupid, gives the 14 year old his keyboard back. The kid takes the keyboard and plunges right back into playing games (which is why his keyboard was taken away in the first place). Scary. – For the full story click here.

its a small world after all its a small world after all its a small world after all its a small, small world!

2. Number 2 in the news of the weird this week, a Wii Fit accident leads to sexual addiction. Don’t believe me? Click on over here then for more. If you dare…

There is just one moon and one golden sun And a smile means friendship to everyone. Though the mountains divide And the oceans are wide It's a small small world (repeat chorus)

3. Finally, number 3 on our countdown is a bit of a cheat. The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced a curfew for young gamers this week. For more on this click here or here.

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all

And to answer the person who searched for “why am i paying $15 a month to be harassed by wow players”…I truly don’t know. 🙂

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small small world.

Song stuck in your head? Too bad.

Until next week. Good bye! Adios! Ciao!

Curfew

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South Korea: Known for housing some of the worst video game addicts in the world. Home of news reports regarding parental neglect/ infant death due to the parents being addicted to a popular MMO.

Earlier this week, the war against gaming addiction heated up when the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced a new curfew for online games (as reported in The Korea Herald). The ministry is attempting to shoulder the personal responsibility some of its citizens lack. Baby deaths due to obsessive gaming are to be a thing of the past.

Under the ministries new ban, young players will have options to choose between three six hour black-out times. Lame titles such as Maple Story and Mabinogi are being targeted in addition to 17 other titles.

Could this be the end of South Korea as we know it? For a nation that sits on the verge of nuclear annihilation from its northern neighbor, I can understand its citizens wanting an escape. With a mandatory sentence — service! — in the nations military, I think it is only fair to let the young waste their time away. Perhaps the children should even be allowed to play for free?

Desperation

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A good quote from a USA Today article on the US deficit:

Bowles (Erskine) has been in touch with Microsoft‘s Steve Ballmer about creating a deficit-reduction video game that would enable anyone with a computer to take a stab at balancing the budget, much like the 1994 commission did.

Updated for 2010, Kerrey says, such a game could “go viral.”

*Oh yes, the video games will save us and show us the way.

*No sarcasm intended.

Cold Nostalgia

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Bouncing off a topic Syp @ Bio Break wrote on today, I want to take a moment and dive into what I believe is one of the reasons people still play World of Warcraft, nostalgia.

Personally, I have played WoW off and on since its inception in 2004. Sometime after graduating college and getting married, I put down the game for what I thought was the last time. My friends and I went on to play other MMO’s (Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, etc.) and always talked about the glory days in Azeroth. Our nostalgia was not just rooted in WoW but in the Warcraft RTS series as well. Hours upon hours spent playing online in high school only helped cement memories in time.

Last year I did the unthinkable though when my friends and I dove back into the lands of Azeroth. What had started out as a series of conversations about the good old days, soon manifested itself into us playing again. The past, the memories of days gone by, had pulled us back into the behemoths claws. This all didn’t last long though, as I soon grew bored in zones I had slogged through before.

Going back to Syp’s post, what will pull gamers back to World of Warcraft for the great Cataclysm? Will it be new specs? New character classes? Hardly. I believe cold hard nostalgia will be the drawing factor. Here is the thing though, nostalgia only lasts for so long. Soon reality sets in and people see things for what they are now, and not what they used to be.

The great cataclysm awaits…yawn.

And so the Pocket Legends begin…

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Over at Massively.com, they have a great write up on Pocket Legends, an MMMG (Mobile Massively Multiplayer Game) for the iDevice.

Pocket Legends is a Mobile Massively Multiplayer Game available for the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices. It is a 3d online role-playing game where you can join thousands of players from around the world. Play with your friends and make new friends online. Cooperate to undertake wild adventures in endless dungeon campaigns!

The initial game client is free (link opens iTunes). Additional dungeon campaigns, gear, and gold are available for a price.

Impressions so far:

I installed Pocket Legends over lunch on my 1st generation iPod Touch. (Yes, despite what the iTunes store has listed, Pocket Legends seems to work fine on a 1st generation iTouch.) The game client updated itself quickly, and I was soon able to create my first character (an archer). Due to time constraints, I was only able to play for a few minutes. My overall impression is that the game plays like Diablo…or a more recent Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game on the DS. Further thoughts to come!

Whore

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Recently, I started reading through the book of Jeremiah. Today I was reading through chapter 3 and was struck by a theme that has been carried over from chapter 2, that of the nation of Israel acting like a whore.

20-22“A long time ago you broke out of the harness.
You shook off all restraints.
You said, ‘I will not serve!’
and off you went,
Visiting every sex-and-religion shrine on the way,
like a common whore.
You were a select vine when I planted you
from completely reliable stock.
And look how you’ve turned out—
a tangle of rancid growth, a poor excuse for a vine.

(Jeremiah 2:20-22a, The Message)

Notice that Israel was whoring themselves out to both physical and spiritual things (“Visiting every sex-and-religion shrine on the way”). This has got me thinking, what things am I prostituting myself to daily? Is it something physical like a hobby? Is it a thought or an idea that is not Biblical (thus not of God)?

Perhaps this is a shock to you, especially if you came to this site looking for video game related material. Trust me, the content is here. One of the other purposes of this site is to stir conversation. So let’s stir the pot!

  • Are you, someone who has been made clean by acceptance in Christ’s death on the cross, whoring yourself out to physical things and thoughts that are not of God? If so, there is no time like the present to make things right.
  • Are you someone who does not know Christ but still feels like you are whoring yourself out to something? Perhaps its time to evaluate what your intaking on a daily basis.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be known as a whore to that which is evil and not of God.

Bryan

*Please note that the word “whore” is used due to the overarching marriage analogy found in the passages.

Top Games You Miss Playing With Your Friends

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Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

SEGA Genesis

Nintendo 64

  • Banjo Kazooie
  • Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Duke Nukem 64
  • Mark Kart 64
  • San Francisco: Rush
  • Super Smash Brothers
  • Turok
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • 007

PC

  • Battlezone
  • Command and Conquer / Red Alert
  • Diablo 1 & 2
  • Drakan
  • Homeworld/ Cataclysm
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
  • Mechwarrior 2
  • Monkey Island Series
  • Myst
  • Sam and Max
  • Starcraft/ Warcraft/ Warcraft II
  • World of Warcraft

Arcade

Any games you miss playing with your friends? Add to the list in the comments below!

The Metroid Mindset

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The trees have finally become green once again, Spring has finally arrived.

The weather in East Texas continues to baffle this Southern California native. In January of this year, we experienced tornadoes. February and March brought along colder weather with snow (at least twice). For some, this may not seem too out of the ordinary. For someone used to 70 degree winters though, tornadoes and snow just don’t make a whole lot of sense. The longer I live here – going on 5 years – the more and more I miss the weather of my youth and the proximity to the coast.

The one game to rule them all...

The other night, I dove into Super Metroid on the Wii (Virtual Console) for the first time in awhile. I had bought the game over a year ago — on a whim — and had quickly decided that it was not what I wanted to play at the time. I don’t know about you, but I have to be in a specific mood and mindset to play through a Metroid game. The tension, loneliness, and endless expanse of corridors have to come at a time when I am seeking a little adventure and exploration. Otherwise, I’d much rather play something that is a little less tense.

My first Metroid game was Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance (GBA). Well that is not true, as a kid I played the original Metroid on the NES. I remember at the time thinking the game was slow and boring — still true! –. For some reason I couldn’t wrap my little head around the game. Perhaps the game design not being as straight forward as a Mario game had something to do with it, who knows. Metroid Fusion though marked my entry into the series. Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Prime followed soon after.

  • Metroid Fusion (GBA) – First Metroid game I ever played and completed.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) – My second experience with the world of Samus Aran.
  • Metroid Prime (GameCube) – First 3D Metroid game. The game did a great job capturing the feel of the older 2D games. For me though, Metroid is meant to be played in 2D and on a handheld.

For years I have read of how Super Metroid is the pinnacle of the Metroid series. Slowly, I am beginning to see why.

Love, dislike, or hate the Metroid series? Tell me about it below.