Archives for February 2006

EVE Online impressions

That's meWell, I’m currently in the middle of a mission in EVE and I’ve got a five-star gate jump to make, so now would be a good time to post some of my impressions of EVE Online.

That’s right. I’m blogging my impressions of EVE as I’m experiencing them. I’m hardcore like that. EVE is hands-off like that. (For now, I hope)

To be honest, I don’t know what to think about EVE yet. The game world is HUGE. I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game with so much real estate. I’m no astronaut, but if I was, I bet this is what space feels like. The game itself seems like it is very complex. The beginner tutorial took me about two hours to finish and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. The gameplay could probably be done without any graphics (TW2002!) but that would be a shame. The game is gorgeous.

Actual game play so far has been a mixed bag. Traveling has been boring, and there’s nothing you can do to make it any better (at least that I know of). You simply select your destination, hit auto-pilot, and you can walk away. I understand that when I start traveling in low security zones that I’ll have to be aware of my surroundings, but for now I simply chart my paths to be as safe as possible. Actual playing is a funny thing — other than the mission I’m currently doing, I’ve just been mining asteroids, which means I am not really doing anything. I warp to an asteroid belt, pick out a couple asteroids and I start mining. It takes me a few minutes to fill up my holds and then I go back to base, drop it off, rinse and repeat. The tutorial showed me how to do missions, but for I’ve mainly concentrated on mining and I’ve racked up a decent amount of ISK (EVE currency). I’ve already bought a new ship and am earning toward another one. It sounds boring, but I’m occupying myself with other things (blogging) while I’m mining. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment and enjoyment, but I can’t explain it. The buttonWife think it’s lame that I say I’m playing a game that I’m not really playing, but I’m liking it so far.

Leveling up is another interesting thing. You don’t gain experience for doing anything. You just pick a skill and you train it. Then after a certain period of time, you gain the next level in that skill. So right now, I’m training for level 4 mining. I started it Saturday night and I should finish training it tonight. Training goes on, even if you’re not playing. I like that idea. It’s the grind without the grindstone.

All that being said, there’s a huge amount I haven’t experienced, but of the little I have, I like it. I’ll keep playing, giving it a couple weeks worth of trying it out. The weird thing is, if my laptop died tomorrow, I wouldn’t have a problem with walking away from EVE. It hasn’t gripped me yet. I’m going to give it some time, but we’ll see.

Currently downloading…

The EVE Online client. Deep down, I’m really hoping it’s a 21st century incarnation of TradeWars 2002, a game I loved to play on my local BBSes. Here’s to hoping!

Update: Why is picking a character name the hardest part of making a new character?

More:: Too tired to update much more. Finished the tutorial (LONG). Game looks amazing — there’s a lot to like, some things that I’m not too sure about, and traveling in this game is not exactly what I thought it would be. I fell asleep on the way home from my last mission. More later…

Halolympics

Flickr is fun, because you find things like this that make you laugh.

Some of the people I play Halo 2 would definitely medal in “CryBabying”. (Zing!)

(Update: After reading AFKGamer’s Flickr post, I decided to setup a Buttonmashing Flickr account so I don’t have to clutter my personal Flickr account with my gaming detritus)

It’s EVE eve!

Okay, that was weak.

I’ve decided to take the EVE Online plunge this weekend. I’m going to download the client sometime tomorrow and then give the game a whirl for the two week trial. I’ve long resisted paying a monthly fee for a game (even though I did it with Neocron), but I’ve already learned to justify it, if I decide to play past the two week freebie. If I buy a game a every couple months, that’s at least fifty bucks I’m dropping on a regular basis. If EVE is as good as I think it might be, it would only be forty bucks every three months, actually saving me money because I’m not buying other games. Yeah, that’s the ticket! EVE Online is a like a computer game coupon! The buttonWife will be so happy with all the money I’ll be saving!

I’m thinking about putting the game on the laptop, since I’ve heard there can be stretches of downtime while you’re doing certain things, so I want to free up the main PC while I’m playing. Then I can work on “The Queue” while I’m playing EVE. That blows my mind, man!

So if any of you buttonMashers have any tips/comments/suggestions (like “RUN! Don’t download this game!”) let me know. If you’re looking for someone to game with, drop me a line and I’ll look you up once I get in the game. I’m looking forward to it.

Kids don’t get to watch eye gougings anymore

Buttonmashing.com reader Bobster, always the helpful tipster, sent me a link to an article at Reason.com entitled Blood, Guts, and Entertainment: A sanguine take on sanguinary diversions. A great read, as most Reason articles are. The writer, Justin Pete, is reviewing the book Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment in which the author argues, “that violent entertainment is good, indeed necessary—a way to sublimate the vestigial primal urges left over from our hunter-gatherer days” and “our popular culture may be saturated with synthetic gore, but at least we don’t spend our leisure time watching real people have their eyes put out, their limbs pulverized, their sex organs amputated and their flesh torn to pieces with red-hot pincers.” Interesting claims, to say the least. While I don’t necessarily agree that we have “primal urges” to “sublimate,” I do think exploring violence in our culture (especially in the past) is a starting point to refute the hand wringing that goes on now. It seems that a lot of people decrying violence in the media ignore history, much to their convenience.

Justin sites example after example from the book of violence in past entertainment, in order to dispel the myth that “things were so much better (simpler, purer, cleaner, take your pick) before.” The idea that movies like Natural Born Killers couldn’t have been made in 1939 (the year of The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind) is simply a fallacy:

Such a simplistic worldview conveniently forgets that 1939 also brought such films as Death Rides the Range, Six-Gun Rhythm, and The Man They Could Not Hang, advertised with the tagline, “Boris Karloff dares you to see this holocaust of horror!”

But, in the end, the conclusion that violence in the media is not directly responsible for violence of the partakers is never breached in the book. It’s a shame. We’ve said it here before, but no one seems to listen. Just because we enjoy violence in our games (or movies or books) doesn’t mean we wish to participate in it. Being entertained is enough for us. But, as Justin says

… the tweaking [Schechter] delivers to the world’s Chicken Littles —those like Gov. Blagojevich, who writes on safegamesillinois.org that “when kids play, they should play like children, not like gangland assassins”—is overdue. If violent entertainment is anything, it is a mirror held up to a violent culture. Eliminating these cultural reflections won’t do anything to alter the master image.

So now what?

I haven’t devoted as much time to games recently as I have to finishing Resident Evil 4. Before I started playing RE4, I wasn’t playing anything with any regularity. I played some Guild Wars when I got the chance, maybe a game of Mario Kart DS or Animal Crossing Wild World, but other than that, I wasn’t too commited to anything.

Finishing up RE4 has renewed my desire to game again and now I’m not sure what’s up next. Playing through RE4 has piqued my interest in the Resident Evil universe, so I may play some of the older RE games. I started playing the REmake of the first game for the Gamecube, but never really made it that far. I know most of the older games are flawed in their controls, so that may be hard to overcome, having been spoiled with the over-the-shoulder camera and controls of RE4. Nevertheless, I’d really like to see more of these character’s pasts and get more of the back story. I still say Capcom should capitalize on the success of RE4 and repackage all the Gamecube editions of the series in one mega-pack. Throw in a couple sweet collectibles and I’d be all over it.

I’ve also got “The Queue” to work on. I really should get back to Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. The list is long and I should give it some attention. But it’s probably not going to happen.

It’s not going to happen, because I’m strongly considering giving EVE-Online a try. The guys over at Kill Ten Rats, one of my daily reads, are always posting excellent EVE bits and pieces and I’m very intrigued. I almost bought EVE-Online last year when I was looking for a new MMORPG to play. I ended up with Neocron instead of EVE (which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing). Neocron was fun but eventually fizzled out. It didn’t exactly put Massive in MMORPG, which always bothered me. EVE looks much deeper (maybe it’s too deep) and a lot more vibrant. From the looks of it, the crafting system is complex and confusing. Just the way I like it. A good crafting system is one of my basic needs, so this may be the clincher. I loved Neocron’s crafting system (the best I’ve experienced) and EVE’s looks much better. So there’s a good possibility I may download the client and give the 14-day free trial a go. I will still have to grapple with the monthly fee, but that’s something that can be worked out.

You guys have any suggestions? Any experiences with EVE? Anything else I should try out?

Resident Evil 4, case closed.

I have defeated Lord Saddler once again. Just like last time, he was much easier than that son of a jackal Krauser. So how does the pro difficulty compare to the normal level? Was it twice as hard?

Not really. Even though I died over a hundred times more than the first time through, it wasn’t that much harder. It took me about 3 hours longer this time through, but I took my time and looked for all the treasures. I killed about a hundred more bad guys, but I was more efficient, increasing my hit rate to 74%. I also finished “Assignment Ada” and I’ve now unlocked all the weapons goodies. I don’t have the million pesetas to buy the infinite rocket launcher or the Chicago Typewriter, but I did acquire the hand cannon and it packs quite the punch.

Resident Evil 4 easily stands heads and shoulders above 99% of the games of this generation of consoles. Even though I feel it lost a little of its spookiness and tension once the action moved onto the island, the game still has atmosphere and suspense. I can’t say enough about it. I’m glad I went through it a second time. A must play.

Making babies and the level 60 grind

Only the unbeliever could find the parallels. Observe.

As usual, sex shows us that it is more then the meaning of life, it is also a playbook for creating content.

Phat loot = babies. I totally agree.

He’s back…

Adam (render) is back with a new blog! Render was definitely one of my favorite blogs and I’m glad to see he’s back at it. He’s been doing stuff for Gamers With Jobs, which has been top notch, but I’m looking forward to reading what else he has to say.

Welcome back, Adam!

Prepare for your death, Leon!

Jack Krauser
Yeah, so that’s the idle threat Jack Krauser sends your way when you finally confront him for the last piece of the gate key leading to Ashley. Like I said before, I knew the Krauser battle was going to be tough, I just had no idea how tough it was going to be. After eighty-nine attempts, I can assure you that he is very tough. Well, I should rephrase that. If you don’t know his weakness, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I found that out for about the first eighty tries or so, last night. He was taking ten rounds from my Broken Butterfly and not even breaking a sweat.

When I beat Krauser the first time, I used the TMP with about 200 rounds and just shot at his exposed feet (when he shields his body with his mutated arm/wing, his feet are vunerable). It took me about five tries on the normal difficulty. Since I’m going through this play without the TMP I needed a different approach.

I had ten rounds in the Broken Butterfly and three hand grenades. I’d either dodge his attack and blast him with a couple rounds or get him exposed with a grenade and then blast a round or two when he was dazed. I could get eight or nine of the .45 rounds to connect and he didn’t even seem fazed. I’d unload a clip of the Blacktail and a couple headshots with the rifle and he wasn’t going down. I was getting desperate and it was getting late. I went and looked for “hints” because I coudn’t get this far to give up. A quick google search revealed that the knife (THE KNIFE?!) is very effective against Krauser on Pro difficuty. Again, the knife? I was incredulous but willing to try anything at this point. So I gave it a whirl. He came in on me, I blasted him with the Broken Butterfly and when he went down on one knee, I started hacking away with the knife. I made three or four good slashes when he started to get up. I figured I’d keep slashing, just to see what happened and I must have been in a good spot because I could keep slashing at his feet. It took eight or ten slashes but he went down. Finally! I grabbed the pieces to open the gate and made my way out before the tower blew up. I had beaten Krauser. It felt good.

I’m still a little miffed that the guy can take eight rounds of the Colt .45 to the face and shrug it off, but a few gashes with a knife and he goes down like a paper bag. That just isn’t right. But down he went, and I’m moving on. The end is in sight and I am looking forward to victory over Lord Saddler.