It's been a long while since the story section last had any attention. A while back, I gave up on the idea of ever finishing my Star Wars stories, so instead have typed out a rough outline as to what may have happened during the rest of the saga. I've also expanded the names & characters section with images where possible.
Did some work behind the scenes of the game blog page so that the game filters now work much better.
A couple of months back I found loads of old notes about all the old Epic Space Marine games we played, starting from back when I was in high school. I thought it would be a good idea to type them all up as best I could, and upload them all. While I was at it, I also converted the Epic-S and 40K battle reports from their PDF state to HTML, and they can be found on the Warhammer 40K page.
This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.
It's been longer than usual since this page saw any attention, but that does not mean I've not been playing any games. In fact, I've been diving into quite the selection.
Up first was strange puzzler Sokobond. In this game, you have to move atoms around the level in order to try and get them to all bond together in the right sequence. Sounds simple enough, but trust me it wasn't. Now I quite enjoy puzzle games, as they give what's left of my tiny little brain a bit of exercise, but this one wore me down. I didn't play it in massive bouts either, but rather played it for fifteen minutes or so here and there over the course of a few weeks. Though I swept through at least half of the game fairly quickly, it soon reached the point where it was a grind to get passed each level, and whether I would even complete a level in a session became unlikely. Eventually, I reached a selection of levels, all over on the right side of the table for some reason, that I just couldn't be bothered to spend any more time on, and hunted for the solutions online. I know, I cheated, but I would never have gotten through it otherwise, as I was ready to call it quits.
What am I doing here?
You even learn things at the end of each level, not that I was paying attention
As far as I could get unaided
Though I've been working on finishing a couple of other games these last few weeks, the vast majority of my time has been spent playing games that don't really have an end. Up first, I dived into Marvel Heroes for the first time along with Scoob, as we're both fans of Marvel and it seemed wrong that we hadn't tried it before.
You're allowed to pick your first hero without paying, so I unlocked Psylocke as she's one of my favourite X-Men. Still pissed off they made her a villain in the last movie, but oh well. Alongside Scoob's Wolverine I got chopping and slashing villains left and right, and we went through the first chapter and started the second.
Still a little bit unsure of my thoughts on this game. It's a pretty standard isometric button masher like Torchlight or Diablo, but I think I'd rather play this than those other games because of the theme and characters. I also like how you can try all the heroes up to level 10 before deciding which ones to buy. However, as its only servers are in the U.S. the performance is a little laggy, and the fact that loads of other players are running around make it a bit chaotic at times, adding to the button mashy mayhem. It's a shame they don't make European servers, or even better have developed it as a standalone type game with online and LAN options.
I don't think Scoob is really bothered about carrying on. But I might come back to it at another time. Maybe.
Getting ready to chop
Kicking some villain butt
Arrgh, bright light!
Scrappin with some Venom symbiotes
In a surprising turn of events, I've also spent a lot of time exploring new, and re-exploring old, MMORPGs these last few weeks.
Up first was The Old Republic. I didn't play this that much a year ago because I only really wanted to play the class quests, but was being made to play a lot of grind quests in order to stay levelled. Recently I read on a forum somewhere that it might now be possible to level up doing only those quests, while adding in one or two other quests here and there to keep the levels up. So I thought I'd give it a try.
I quickly found out that what I'd read was not true. On my Jedi Kreethen's third planet, Taris, I needed to go up 5 levels to match the level of the next quest but I only went up 3. From then on it became about how far I could go until the enemies were too strong for me to take out. Honestly, I got a lot further than I thought I would, getting through Taris, Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine, before finally reaching a quest on Alderaan that was too high level. As all the enemies were 6-7 levels higher, and kept resisting or dodging my attacks, there was no way I could win. Oh well.
Still, I haven't minded playing it this time, even though every planet's class quest was essentially the same: find an ill Jedi, beat them into submission, then cure them, so maybe I'm a bit more open to the MMO style of gameplay at the minute.
Yet, there were some things that annoyed the hell out of me. For instance, quite early on the game gives you a massive ship which you can fly around the galaxy in, but you need to be level 20 to learn how to ride a tiny speeder. How does that make sense? Also, if I used my mouse to turn and move the camera, rather than turn using the keyboard, the camera would very often leap around all over the place in a very hyperactive way, especially when in combat. Pain in the ass. There was also a hell of a lot of running around involved, especially before I had my speeder. I know I was skipping a lot of grind quests, but this felt worse than the old Star Trek Online exploration missions at times.
Probably the biggest bug I had wasn't to do with the game at all, but the launcher. A few times when logging in, the launcher would take ages re-organizing the game data and verifying, a known bug with the BitRaider distribution platform which the game uses. It's somehow tied to multi-core processors, but guess what: every computer these days has a multicore processor. How that has not been fixed yet is beyond me. Apparently there is a way to remove BitRaider and download the game another way, but it doesn't seem worth it unless I feel motivated to go back to it later.
Need a lift soldier?
The invisible speeder
Is my Jedi gonna get to visit a strip club?
They're not gonna make my task any easier are they?
Naughty Qyzen! Get off the furniture!
I'll have it blue
Twonking some elite droid
Why does every Star Wars game end up on Tatooine at some point?
This thing was supposed to be an almost-invisible shadow. Hmmmm.
Can't visit Tatooine without killing some Tusken Raiders
Meeting my match on Alderaan
After giving Star Wars another go it was only fair to give Star Trek the same treatment, and I reinstalled STO. Initially, I had no intention of playing this again at all, as I was only interested in seeing what they had changed when they redesigned the galaxy map. As it turns out, I was very disappointed with the map, as it's still not all in one piece, though it is vastly improved over the original sector blocks.
What got me sticking around for a while was finding out that they had added a bunch of new missions for players who were 50+. A huge problem with this game when I played it last was the lack of content when they raised the level cap from 50 to 60, but with the new missions I was hoping things had changed.
It always takes me a while when I come back to this game to get my head around things, as it is quite different to other MMORPGs. It didn't help that in these intervening months they had completely changed the skill trees and I had to learn what was going on with that to get Macan and his crew back into action. In addition, something strange had also happened to several of my ships, and their appearances had been reset. Gone were their cool dark blue patterns to be replaced by the dull, plain Federation standard. Bums.
Once I was up to speed I was off to the Delta Quadrant and plugging away at the missions. This time, I was able to go through all of the Delta missions, and the Iconian missions, and was able to hit level 60. I think a good chunk of that also came from doing daily quests, red alerts, and other rep quests as I was trying to get some better gear and extra traits. Without those extra missions, I think I would have probably stalled around level 57 or 58.
The game is mostly still the same, that being a huge buggy mess. And it's such a shame, because if this was completely fixed it would be a decent game. In just a couple of weeks play I had my away team officers getting stuck on terrain, lots of server timeouts, graphics bugs, and quests failing to continue or complete. The ground combat is still shockingly bad, and a complete janky pile of crap. But space combat is really interesting, even if I still don't know what's fully happening.
At times when playing it, I was wondering whether to subscribe for a month and then work towards getting a better ship, but overall I don't really think it's worth much more of my time. Also, a lot of the new ships look pretty crap, and not very Trek-like at all. Some seem to be from the future, some from different timelines altogether, and some are from other species that just seem weird mixed in with the classic Federation, Klingon or Romulan ships I'm used to. And I really wouldn't want to spend good money on any of those.
Seriously? They haven't fixed this shit yet?
Evil Changeling doing some Dhalsim shit
Another evil Changeling trying to grope Karynna's boobs
The Kaloris gets hit with some proton beam thing
Macan and Vaadwaur villain strut their funky stuff
There's some serious Alien stuff going on right now
Hanging out with the Voyager crew
A huge three-way scrap breaks out
Kinda nippy in here
Can't be all that elite if Macan can punch it into submission
This guy stands on his chair to give me orders
Now, now, ladies. Settle down.
Yay, we're awesome. Kinda.
This happens way too often
Giving T'Ket a bit of a shock
Nog is still tiny it seems, though not as tiny as Jade.
This Klingon has stolen Yoda's hover chair
Anyone up for some basketball?
This is not how you carry a wounded ally
Not one to be outdone, the Scoob has also been delving back into the world of MMORPGs. He's even been playing WoW again after many years away from it. As a lot would have to change for me to play that waste of time and money again, and he had no real interest in playing Star Wars or Star Trek again, we needed a new MMO we could both have a bash at so we could play along together.
We decided to go with Tera, a Korean MMO that went free to play a couple of years back, that I had mostly heard good things about.
When I was looking at good race/class combos for this game, a lot of people recommended going for the child-like (and creepy as fuck I might add) elin characters, as most think they are slightly harder to hit in PvP. While we thought it unlikely we would ever do PvP in this game, it was nevertheless in the back of my mind when I made my character. I ended up with a human, as they have some PvP skills that the other races don't have. I also bucked my usual trend and went with a woman instead of a man, just in case being smaller did have some benefit in PvP. And let's face it - I was never going to be an elin.
And so I entered the world as mystic Gaia Light, named after one of my Amazon Blood Bowl players. Scoob created Kharnragnar, a human berserker, mainly because he wanted to swing a massive axe around.
We're quite new at this one, so haven't puzzled it all out yet. There are few things that really annoy us, especially the dual minimaps that do different things, rather than slapping them all on one like in most MMOs. This also contributes to another problem - I find the UI quite cluttered, especially during combat. Things just pop up all over the place, and it's annoying.
Other than that, it seems quite alright so far. And the free-to-play model of this game is insane. It doesn't look like you really have to pay for anything, with subscribers just getting more EXP and reputation, and having it easier to move around the world. Seems like a good deal to me.
Shortly after beginning our adventure
Scoob going for the big twonk
I swear my character runs like an aerobics instructor
Getting serious WoW flashbacks up here
Hmm, the Teletubbies seem to be in this game
Unleashing some lovely magics on our enemies
Some characters, like this, look really cool. Shame about the creepy kid-things.
Scoob does his best Garen impression
Fighting our first instance boss
This is no time to be practising your dance moves