Working on my sup-sup check SUPER SUP CHECK HAHAHA. Aside from minor insanity the past day or two, I'm still here.
Having mixed feelings about the questing I'm doing. It's almost like Giant Bomb is a big game I'm playing just to play, accumulating points to do things that are laid out for me to do. The problem is that it's so artificial. I do like having clearly deliniated goals, sometimes, but other times I like being able (or at least not discouraged) from doing other things I enjoy. I think a gaming metaphore is appropriate! (And also will let me rant about something that annoys me).
One of the issues I have is how often a particular game's "achievements" will encourage a particular playstyle to the exclusion of others. It's a subtle thing, because you get bonuses for certain things, such as killing monsters, finding loot, or collecting money. The problem I run into is how often one playstyle gets favored particularly well. The one I see favored most often is the high damage/low defense build, which is admittedly interesting to play, but is not the only option that exists. The problem is that many games include "a variety" of activities for bonuses, but all of those activities are achieved simultaneously by a high damage/low defense sort of build. Think of earning "Finish in less than X minutes" and "Deal X damage in a single shot" and "Finish while taking no damage", without corresponding bonuses like "Take X damage without dying" or "Heal 2,000 damage in a single fight" or whatever else. Combining the fact that a slower route to victory usually gimps you anyway (you necessarily kill things slower, most of the time), and you find that nobody is encouraged to take a slow "let's get there eventually" sort of strategy into any serious gaming situation.
I guess what I'm saying is I want a wider appreciation for the things that make things other than dealing damage and killing things fun.
Went by the library again today. I try to make sure my family doesn't pick up late fees on overdue books.
Still waiting to hear back on my whole grad school thing. It's been at least 24 hours since I last said that.
Still rather bored here, with little to do and nothing going on. I've got a friend who is planning to visit Tuesday, if all goes as planned. I give it a 50% chance of happening, because of all the things that can so easily go wrong.
Been trying out Oblivion more. Still not found a happy spot. Trying to figure it out.
Been messing around in Oblivion. I'm still figuring out what I like and what I don't like about the game. I think the most recent class I made isn't quite what I was looking for, so we'll try again. Eventually, I'm sure I'll get it right -- or I won't, but what's important in a game is that I have fun trying.
Still waiting to hear back from college. Applications can take time to review, especially when the people in charge of reviewing them are busy. That, and it's only been like a month, and I have another three or four months that I can wait that won't make the slightest difference to me. If my time were precious, I'd be having a bigger fit.
I've been doing the sup-check quest, more because I have nothing to do than because I'm that passionate about the website. It's an alright place to hang out, but I doubt I'd visit every day if I didn't have so much time on my hand. I'm annoyed that blogging is a "chaste monk", although I think that's a more accurate description than "Supa Playa". Maybe writing on other's walls should be that, lol.
I wrote a review or two. I saw Ecco was released on Steam, and remembered it from way back in the day. It could be a little frustrating at times, but I remembered it fondly. Maybe that's like when you remember your ex-girl/boyfriends fondly, in spite of how bad things were at the time.
What else have I been up to? Played Guild Wars a little with my younger brother. We did Frostmaw the Kinslayer, and got that out of the way for him. It's a pain-in-the-butt-place, but it's less bad if you have an elementalist taking Ward of Stability. I remembered being really thoroughly annoyed at getting knocked down while trying to use my anti-knock down skill last time, so I took "Don't Trip!" this time too to prevent that. It worked pretty well, compared to how things usually go. Maybe I should write some guides for the site. Why not; what else am I gonna do.
I tried watching my Civ 4 game using Camtasia, just to see how badly it actually went, and discovered that it didn't record right. I got an hour of my desktop, with the mouse cursor moving around and me talking about units and cities that aren't showing up.
I may have a friend visiting from out of town "soon", sometime next week. I'll believe it when I see it, and I half expect she's up to no good. I'm half afraid of that and half hoping for it, but the other half of me expects we'll just hang out like normal and have fun. I'm so bored around here, I'm almost hoping something will happen just to liven things up, but I think trouble can find me too easily as it is.
I was a big fan of Guild Wars, and really liked the "Jump in and get to it" way the game worked. I started all the way back on the World Preview Event, which I played just because it was free and I had a few hours on a Sunday following a trip; I stayed on until the server shut down and was thoroughly addicted. I did the beta weekends after that, and since the game has launched I bought the collector's edition for each game and have logged over 5,000 hours (admittedly, some of that was playing the AFK rings, also known as nine rings).
I'm excited about GW2 if only because "It's more Guild Wars!". I'm concerned because the game seems to be departing from the original on so many other points that I worry it won't keep the solid gameplay elements I liked from the original. I don't like "all the new races", not because I don't like new races but because there's so many new ones and so few of the old ones. The only old race is the Charr, and although I don't want to play with it myself (ignoring gameplay mechanics at this time) I'm glad to see it as an option and look forward to playing with people who play them.
I don't like the Asura much. I really dislike the Norn. I'm charmed by the Sylvari, and because of the original game I'm partial to humans. Most of the races had some representatives in Eye of the North, so you know who and what they are. The Asura are ass holes, the Norn are vikings and idiots, and the Charr are sheep who will listen to whatever their leaders tell them (seriously). The reason these races were included in GWEN was so players would be familiar with them.
However, what happened to all the cool races that were in the first few games? Why can't I play a centaur? I could feel their bitter, angry vibe well. Or be a Forgotten, a sort of snake person with arms, who figured prominently in the desert and acted as guardians in various places. Why can't I be a Tengu, who even had a henchmen (Talon Silverwing) in Factions? The Tengu were stoic and honorable, while the humans they were opposed to had a tendency to be greedy. These are missed opportunities that I hope will be available in expansions, if not at the start. I'm particularly interested in the Forgotten, since in Nightfall their primary job ceased to exist. What have they been doing since then? Did their race find another torch to pick up?
Mechanically, I worry that the game will stray too far from the original game's fun. I like being able to go back and redo anything; I was pleased with Nightfall's branching and semi-individualized story line mainly because you could go back and play the parts you missed due to choices you made. I'm concerned that GW2 won't really have that option for us.
I'm also unhappy with the weapon/skill design. I wouldn't mind weapons that come with a set of skills if we could then customize them a bit. Ripping skills out and putting them back in would be fun.
I've been working on getting my Super Sup Check title, because I have little else to do. I downloaded a computer video making program; I actually downloaded two of them, and the first one wouldn't both pick up my mic and record sound from the game at the same time because my "Stereo Mix" kept resetting itself to 22% volume, and I couldn't get it to stay higher. I finally gave up on it and am trying out a different recording program now. The freeware program (that wouldn't work for me) was CamStudio, and the free-trial program that costs money eventually is Camtasia. Camtasia is nice, but not free :/.
I tried making a Civ 4 video, but it was a bit of a disaster. I might try watching it to see where I can make improvements in my presentation skills; it was a completely unplanned, poorly executed, spontaneous thing, but when you're doing something for personal edification rather than for money it's nice to have a baseline from which to measure yourself. We'll call this failure that baseline. It's probably not as bad as I think it is, but my best laid plans went awry, as those often do, and I found myself Chariot rushing a dude with spearmen and phalanxes (which are a special unit with a bonus vs. chariots).
I had a recent review featured on the website, although I'm embarrassed I overlooked the star functions. I guess we live and learn and eventually forget what happened but remember the lessons we learn. I had my review of Alien Swarm featured; it just kinda flowed once I started writing. It was an easy review to write because the game was so simple and straightforward.
Still chewing on Mount & Blade. Having nothing else to do besides play video games isn't completely terrible, and beats the pants off having nothing to do at all. I've been so bored I've even been watching TV (Mostly The Universe on the History channel, which I find stimulating and more entertaining than I'd like to admit). The "Sex in Space" episode had interesting bits of research listed in it, mostly related to complications involving breeding and development in space (there might have been something else in there too).
I also played a bit of Guild Wars last night; I did Iron Mines of Moladune on Hard Mode, finally. I take forever to get around to doing things if there's not a deadline -- "eventually" means "before I die or forget", which is likely anywhere from a year to five years from now. I even have my Tyrian Explorer title sitting at 99.2% done, with the other .8% waiting for when I vanquish wherever. I'll be sad when the servers finally shut down.
Watched the Civ V video on the website and realized I tend to like complicated games where a lot happens, and so I was thinking I'd try putting together some "How to play this game" sorts of videos for the website to help people get through some of the mess that there is. I felt awful hearing the guys talking about how obfuscated the game was, whether it was really intended to be that way or not. So I'll be doing that, eventually.
I've been playing Mount and Blade recently. It is somewhere between bad and great; the things it does well it does quite well, and there's a lot of content to chew on.
Recently got a notice that I hadn't been rating games in my reviews the way I thought I had; I had overlooked the star feature on most of them from the look of it. I'm hoping to figure out how to fix that. I certainly don't want to pull a good game's ratings down with a good review and a 0-star rating.
I'm surprised that I enjoy writing reviews; it's probably good practice for something. One of the things I used to pride myself on was boiling down my thoughts to a concentrated teaspoon of syrup, but my years in English (especially in grade school) taught me that three watered down pages with half a page of content gets a better grade than half a page with a full page of content. It's harder to unlearn than it is to learn, but I'm good at forgetting so I'm sure I can handle it.
In other news, I got my application to grad school done, paid for, and submitted, complete with professor recommendations. It turns out that when your appearance stands out and you can't shut up, your professors not only notice you but like you. I liked pretty much all the professors at NC State for one reason or another, even the one who appears to hate the students (he doesn't cut you any slack). Yes, even that one that I got mad at and walked out of class on.
Here is hoping things go as planned, and nothing else too bad happens along the way.
I tried applying at a Piggly Wiggly, just because I need some money and they had a "Now Hiring" sign up. When I got in and requested an application, they told me they were not hiring right now. On one hand, I'm too skilled and useful to really work for them anyway, but on the other hand what the heck is going on when you can't even find work at a grocery store?
Anyway, my application is officially being considered for grad school. I expect to get in; the director of graduate admissions basically told me I'd get in if I applied, but he did it using the weasely language that covers his ass if something goes wrong.
Saw Dark Spore gameplay video, but my family was aggervating me while I was trying to watch it so I'll go back and see it later when they go to bed. I think it looks alright; I liked Sacred, but didn't like Diablo II much. That sort of game tends to be hit-and-miss with me.
Between our dog being sick and applying to grad school, I still have a lot of time for gaming. I'm now hoping/planning to find a semi-permanent position at Piggly Wiggly, down the road, so I'm not broke. Money helps grease all the wheels in life, when applied correctly, but can't be a substitute for doing something for yourself.
Hoping that everything works out in the long run for me; in the short run it's not been going as planned. As long as I eat every day (usually multiple times a day), it will be difficult to complain too much.
I've played a number of games lately: Alien Swarm, Transformice (a flash game), and a few other, smaller game demos on Steam.
I'm surprised by Steam. When I originally looked at the service, I thought it offered me nothing, because I strongly prefer to buy things in a store. I get a social experience in doing so, usually talking to another game enthusiast who is able to basically advertise products for free. I also like being able to browse, and I further like having a physical disk which I can hold onto in a library of my own for years (I still play old games like Lords of Magic once in a blue moon).
The thing I forgot about Steam was that I only use it when I want to. I can buy games super-cheap when they're on sale, which happens often enough to let it start on start up. As much as I like the in-store experience, when I can pick up a game for as little as 25% of the normal cost, it's difficult not to use an online service.