Category Archives: Uncategorized
Fantasy Flight Games has finally released Star Wars Armada. The game that lets you put Star Destroyers against Rebel Cruisers (This summer, because those are in Wave 2, and Wave 1 isn’t even out yet).
Fantasy Flight Games does brilliant, fun, well designed games. The rules are clean, the models are attractive, the systems they are built on are balanced and well thought out. Star Wars Armada is more of the same, and at the same time is STILL a unique, and different game from X-Wing.
Anyway let’s talk about the box. The box is big, heavy and loaded. Containing 10 squadrons of fighters (3 ships in each, 6 TIE-ln squadrons and 4 X-Wing squadrons) a CR90 Corvette, A Nebulon B Frigate, and a Victory class Star Destroyer. None of these are front line starships for any of the combatants, but they each have their own unique role. The models are a bit of a mixed bag. At one end you have the Star Destroyer which is an impressive slab, well shaded and attractive, with lots of detail, and the CR90 which is one of THE iconic ships of the franchise, looking sleek and potent. At the other end the fighters look more like ordinary game tokens and the Frigate’s paint job is… amateurish. There’s a good chance it’s getting re done. None of them are necessarily bad but the fighters and frigate are disappointing, even though they are more than serviceable for gameplay.
The rest of the box is a cornucopia of goodies. A movement tool that looks like it might have started off in the dentists office, enough counters to play any four games I ever played growing up, objectives, ship data cards, damage cards, upgrades, identification cards, and of course the obligatory Range Ruler and Fantasy Flight Proprietary Dice Set.
The ONLY thing I don’t like is the dice set. Look Fantasy Flight, I get it. You can sell dice and make a mint. I own your app already, I’m good. JEBUS am I getting tired of each and every game having a new dice set. I love the games, but man learning to read new dice every time is annoying.
The rest is very high quality thick cardboard, good cardstock and the parts that require assembly (shield counters, speed counters and command counters) fit together fast and intuitively.
I haven’t played a game yet, but you can tell at a glance that it will run longer than X-Wing. Tournaments double the time of a game in the current rules, and I expect things will be frantic in that time frame. I would expect casual games to take 2-3 times as long, especially with the amount of pre-measuring that is allowed. My first impression is this is a fantastic game if you are interested in this scale of combat, and in battles that require development and strategy. Currently it loses a point for some of the models being a bit less than expected, and for the proprietary dice.
So right now my Hard Drive is a bit crowded. I’m going to talk about the major MMOs that I at least have installed, why I have them, and why you should consider them (if you should)
Get ‘em While They Last
These are games that I don’t think will last very long for whatever reason. These may or may not be bad games, but they are endangered for one reason or another.
Lord of the Rings Online
Where to start. Look. LotRO will be on my computer until they shut down the servers. I love the game, I love the community, and I loved many of the devs who have worked at Turbine over the years. But this game is heavily threatened on multiple fronts. First off they are going to lose their license. Right now I don’t think there is anyone as pissed off as Christopher Tolkien is with the licensing structure of his Tolkien estate. So there’s that. The player base continues to erode away under the winds of lackluster patches, no endgame content, buggy systems and overall disappointment. I’ll make the march into Mordor with all the rest, probably through Cirith Ungol, but if this game is going 2 years from now I’ll be surprised and if it’s going 4 years from now I’ll be stunned.
I would recommend playing though. You can see SO much detail and love for the world, and visit SO many famous locales that even if you are only a casual Tolkien fan you owe it to yourself to try it out for a couple months.
Star Wars The Old Republic
SWTOR has followed the development strategy of “Two steps forward, two steps back” ever since launch. It’s a good game, it’s a fun game and the stories should be played through by any fan of the Star Wars expanded universe. That being said the mouse is going to want a mint to extend the license and Bioware probably won’t see the value in doing that based on the money they are making. There’s still plenty of players out there but if the mouse takes his cheese and goes away there won’t be a game, just more disappointed Star Wars fans.
This is another “Log in while it lasts” game. Do you really want to miss the chance to force-choke people or steal an Imperial prototype out from under the nose of a Sith Lord? I didn’t think so.
Who makes this now? Daybreak? Who is that? Oh. Does anyone work for them? Ouch. This one will last longer than the rest but… Don’t invest a lot of time into it.
Notice how there’s a lot of big IPs involved? Yeah this thing has been a massive disappointment. I just patched it and while that was downloading I lost interest in actually playing.
I Should Log in More
World of tanks
WoT is offering a lot of bonuses right now so I actually am logging in every day. I should probably play more though. This is just a fun game to drop in and pew pew. If you like it and especially if you have people to play with it’s worth the time.
League of Legends
This is another game that I can log into for 20 minutes, play a game or two, or drop 6 hours on in a binge. It’s a fun game if you invest the time into it but my GOD is the community shit.
World of Warcraft
Not logging in a whole lot. The games in a great place, and it’ll be in a great place without me. The problem with this run through isn’t that the game isn’t fun. It is. The problem is that you can do everything you want to do pretty fast and just don’t feel like you have to do a lot more unless you put in the time on alts.
The Secret World
Every time there’s a story I get excited, patch, and try to remember my login. This game has SO much potential but whenever I play it feels janky and like there’s no plan for most of the fights. The story is fun, even better than SWTOR in a lot of ways but the gameplay feels poor by comparison.
Star Trek Online
Another one of those “It’s worth logging in to take the tour” games, STO sets the bar low and revels in fan service, acceptable, if mediocre-to-average gameplay and capitalizing on a community that wants to make the game MUCH better with its robust fleet and foundry systems. It would be nice to see more developer driven content, and there is some neat stuff on the horizon. I spend a fair amount of time in the Alpha quadrant these days, albeit not as much as I probably should.
Unsubbed right now, maybe even for good, although I doubt it. I just don’t ever feel like I’ve done anything when I log out.
The Time Sink
Final Fantasy XIV
FFXIV has become the time sink that EvE would be if I could get anything done these days. I always have made progress in something and now that I’ve set some goals for myself I’m actually enjoying working through all the stuff I want to get done. The game is a blast to play, visually stunning, the score is fantastic and the sound effects… the score is stunning! The community is great with far more helpful people than dickheads even if the dickheads retain the ability to be incredibly annoying from time to time.
So that’s what’s on my menu right now. How about you guys?
What do Hannibal, and Robert E. Lee have in common?
They were also very unlikely to ever win.
Hannibal and Lee won famous, shattering victories. They won seminal battles and frequently dictated the course of entire campaigns if not wars with impunity for extended periods of time. They dominated the battlefield, imposing their will on the enemy. Yet they lost.
There were operational reasons they lost, Hannibal had no ability to breach the walls of Rome, or to besiege it. Lee never had the resources to force a major decision. But that wasn’t the extent of it.
They didn’t have the ability to string victories together to break the will of the enemy to fight like Scipio Africanus, or Grant and to carry through on their battlefield victories to conclude their wars.
Hannibal entered Italy and proceeded to destroy every army the Romans could scrape together time after time. To the point where the Romans more or less sat behind their walls and ignored the armies as much as possible. Hannibal could win all the battles he wanted but he couldn’t break Rome’s will.
Lee won victories just as devastating but he lacked the capability to string these victories together. On occasion he simply left the field and failed to seek a final decision, settling for driving back the Federal armies, but he never could turn A victory into victory for his “country”.
The US has won nearly every battle in the Vietnam War, and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet at the end of our contribution to the Vietnam war the North Vietnamese overran the south at about the same speed as they could drive through it. Iraq is as stable as a 3 year old doing cocaine and it’s an open question whether the current regime in Afghanistan could hold a PTA meeting let alone the determined Taliban offensive that is in the offing. We are a great nation for winning battles but we have forgotten that you have to win the war. We assume that if you score enough points time will run out and you can dump the gatorade and go hit the showers.
To win you have to set your goal and work backwards. Hannibal knew he had to take Rome but once his siege train was lost in the Alps he never reconstructed it (and it might not have done any good against Rome’s walls) and Rome is a rather hard city to besiege. Lee never could make the assault on Washington DC or destroy a Federal Army enough to let him inflict serious damage on the North to force a decision, instead scoring victories then letting the Union lick its wounds until the next time. America hasn’t set a goal since wrapping up the show on the U.S.S. Missouri and since then we have spent a lot of time accomplishing very little.
“But Corelin” I hear you ask “This is a gaming blog. Why are we talking about this stuff?”
Because it’s my damn blog! GET OFF MY LAWN.
And because it’s important in gaming. Sun Tzu famously said “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” I realize quoting him is a bit pompous. You may have read my blog before, it happens. Hannibal, Lee, and every US General since Ike put down his stars has forgotten this lesson. They go into battles prepared to win but not wars.
EvE Online has seen this as well. When I was in CoW our “Planning” was lucky to get 20 people with the right ships/fights in anything like the area we were fighting in. The Russians on the other hand were famous for getting the ever living snot knocked out of them for months then suddenly winning the whole damn war. Goons take meticulous planning to the level of any modern organization to turn their cavalcade of clumsy cohorts into a well-oiled machine. Admittedly a steampunky, lurching, “who knows what that bit” does machine but it gets the job done.
When you are getting into a game you need to set goals, and you need to at least be able to figure out how to reach them. FF XIV has lots to do and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by choices. EvE has an even bigger menu and higher bars to leap to get there. Minecraft is a mind boggling game with nearly infinite possibilities (your world is about the size of Neptune) where you can get lost for days until you realize what you want to do, or just give up.
On the tabletop you are given objectives. You know what you have to do to win you just have to do it. And keep your opponent from doing it. The same rules apply though. Just because you have an objective doesn’t mean you are past step one. You have to define the objective in a way that your force can accomplish it, and hope they can. You have to plan what you will do to overcome your opponents moves and then you have to execute.
Have a plan. Stick to it. And let me know if you want me to write a post on how Lee was a terrible General.
So I’ve played Final Fantasy for a long time. My parents bought me the first one for the NES so long ago they might even have still been married. I was only barely old enough to understand 90% of what was going on and much of the game was simply beyond me. I bought and read the guides, I played the game and eventually beat it. As young as I was this was an incredible accomplishment. Keeping the focus to grind away, figuring out the game systems enough to actually beat the various levels, cutting through thousands of enemies and finally solving the “clues” in the game to bring down Chaos. I still love this game and have re-purchased it several times. The characters are bland, with no lines and no personality as the party is highly variable, and the NPCs are scarcely more developed but the game was fun, with interesting puzzles and challenges and I still love it.
FF XIV Callback: This is the toughest one. A four fiends dungeon might be fun. Warmech Primal fight could be a truly epic battle. Unfortunately by modern standards this game is kind of thin.
The next game I got to play “originally” was FF IV on the SNES. This game was a horse of a different color for sure. The story was far more advanced, with characters who came and went as the story demanded, who had personalities and abilities and motivations that differed from each other. This game included some of the great characters, with Kain, Cecil, Palom, Porom and Tellah all being amazing, the ubiquitous Cid had one of his better appearances and while the ladies weren’t up to their later qualities they were at least interesting characters. This is another game that was very easy to enjoy and that I thoroughly relished beating and playing over again.
FF XIV Callback: This game also should have the next iteration of the Crystal Tower in the Tower of Zot. Seriously squenix. MAKE THIS HAPPEN. And yes I know Demon Wall was already in FF XIV. TOWER OF ZOOOOOOOT!
Final Fantasy VI was the next to grace our chores and it’s my favorite of the series. Goodness what a game. Terra and Locke share a spotlight that has a lot of work to do to cover the best overall cast of any FF game. The real star of the game, though, is Kefka, the kind of guy that gives nihilism a bad name. Kefka takes this game from being a top tier game in a great series to being the defining game in the series. From his appearance to his theme to his mad laugh, Kefka came to personify everything you hated in a villain. Oh and he treated you with such utter contempt. WOW did he piss me off. One of the longest games for me to beat but OHHHHHH so satisfying.
FF XIV Callback: The part of this I’d love to see in XIV would have to be the Phantom Train. Yes I know WoW JUST did a train dungeon. Fuck it. Let’s show these folks how it’s done.
Final Fantasy VII is my third favorite. Yes it fell that low. It’s NOT a bad game at all. It’s a great game and it added a lot without betraying the core of Final Fantasy. Cloud is a great hero who stands tall even when his world comes apart at the seams. The rest of the party is a lot of fun, my problem is with Sephiroth. The giant emo bastard just pisses me off the wrong way. It’s like he wants your approval at the same time as he’s stabbing Aeris in the back. He’s not a villain, he’s a bully. He just rubbed me the wrong way and the lack of an awesome hero combined with a villain who didn’t do it for me knocks the game down even though the gameplay, the graphics, the cast, and the story were fantastic.
FF XIV Callback: We just got the gold saucer, maybe not what I’d have picked but certainly a worthy callback for this game.
Final Fantasy VIII was my first real disappointment in the series. From Cloud, who manned up after finding out terrible terrible things about his own life, to Squall who had his greatness handed to him and WHINES about it like a little baby. Yeah he eventually gets his shit together but it finally happens in the most lazy, grudging, and painful way possible. Finishing this game was a godsend. There were good sequences and some of the changes were interesting but my GOD Squall was a whiny bastard. I’ve never rooted for the villains as much as I did in this game.
FF XIV Callback: You know what,I’m good stopping at triple triad. I’m sure there’s some dungeon, some event that I missed but… fuckit I’m good calling it a day.
Final Fantasy IX was a breath of fresh air. It was old school final fantasy, it was young, energetic, filled with laughter and brilliance. It also features the absolute best and bravest hero in the series. Vivi is the MAN. Faced with a lifespan better measured in months than years, racism and hostility, and a rain of bad news sufficient to make Noah look for lumber; he tightens his belt, steps up to the plate and does what needs doing. Zidane is great, Garnet is good, Freya is good, the whole party is fun but Vivi makes the game. There’s no comparison between him and Cloud or Squall or even Cecil. He’s on another level and quickly becomes a beloved character. The gameplay is classic ATB, the summons are fun, and the atmosphere is fantastic. It easily earns it’s spot as the 2nd best game in the series.
FF XIV Callback: This one kind of screams for Hildibrand. I mean they could do something with the Lifa tree, but Hildibrand seems like he’d like “I want to be your canary”.
Final Fantasy X is a really interesting game. There’s a lot to be said positive and negative. It’s a tearjerker for sure, and Tidus is an interesting hero. He might be the only guy in the world who whines MORE than Squall… but Squall is a volunteer special forces soldier whereas Tidus is a sports superstar who finds himself in the middle of the most awful war he could imagine. And then things get worse. The difference is Tidus mans up fast and Squall is still whining. This game had a brilliant cast of people who interacted like you would imagine real people would in these situations, villains you love to hate, a story that drives you to binge-play like mad and and ending that just yanks the rug out from under you.
FF XIV Callback: Can we make it so I can kill Seymour Guado a lot? I mean like a lot. I mean like low level dungeon trash? FINE but Anima HAS to be a Primal fight. And I want to kill Seymour.
FF XII is next. I’m not doing the MMOs. Ugh. What a bland game. You give up a ton of control and eventually figure out the best way to play the battles is to come up with a good script and walk away. Then you do the same for the rest of the game. The story is interesting but not urgent, the characters are bland and I just couldn’t make myself finish it.
FF XIV Callback: Honestly I don’t know. There’s a lot I still don’t know about this game.
FF XIII I did manage to finish. The tutorial on how to do the credits was a nice touch, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. This game suffered by alternating between leading you by the hand and murdering you with bosses whose abilities had suddenly escalated by an order of magnitude. It’s a weird game with a lot of systems I liked but I couldn’t get attached to the characters and the voice acting was just painful to listen to. It really really was.
FF XIV Callback: I loved the huge flying fal’Cie. Running raids through one of these (active or fallen) could be one hell of a lot of fun.
So one of the truths of life is that people fight harder over the littlest shit. My mother was a family practice attorney for a long time and divorces involving well off or rich people were usually bloodless and passionless. When you saw an address listing a trailer or lot number though… Woah baby. Shit is about to go down. She told me about a couple that was going claws out crazy over a $5 pot from Wal-Mart. Keeping two lawyers (being paid 3 figures by the hour) and at times a mediator who cost even more.
But what does this have to do with EvE? Well… Lowsec is the trailer park of EvE. There’s nothing great in it, the people might be great people but none of them are changing the world. And when these guys get their sandcastles rustled… Shit goes down. Tempest in a teapot doesn’t begin to describe it. Hurricane in a shotglass. Cat 5 time.
The biggest dramastorm I have ever had to endure involved a lowsec alliance torn apart over some bullshit. We had a nice high rarity moon that we basically held on sufferance of some local heavy hitters with R&K being the final arbiter of injustice. None of us were getting much money, and Aridia is famous mostly for being a desolate hinterland in a game where 90% of lowsec could be used as a dictionary definition of “Desolate Hinterland”. One corp decided they wanted a direct cut rather than just some vague promise of help in the future from money being thrown into the warchest. So they did what politicians have done since time immemorial, they promised this money to everyone over and over and lied about the guy in power. It tore everyone up. Our corp had no doubt about who we backed, but watching the process play out was agony. Over nothing. This wasn’t a system with 20 tech moons. It was one moon. It was some lines over who got credit for what. It was egos and preening and garbage and e-honor. It was a $5 dollar vase that tore up thousands in time and tears.
At its worst lowsec is a screaming redneck family tearing each other apart over stuff you wouldn’t pay a buck for at a yard sale. But it’s not all drama, and it’s not all bad. More on that later. Fly dangerous, score kills.
So I am dipping my toe back in LoL. Partly to play with an old EvE friend, partly to just get some PvP in. I’ve been working up to level 12, playing mostly support, and having a pretty good amount of fun along the way.
But let’s be honest, the community is hilarious. Where EvE has this vibrant community based on helping people engaging them and bringing these diverse groups together, LoL’s is based on trying to get 5 people on the same side to not shit all over each other for 30 minutes PLEASE. Obviously no one cares in games vs. bots, there just isn’t anything really on the line other than some IP/XP, but as soon as pvp shows up, whoah nelly. Shit is getting real son.
Everyone is guilty too. I’m a pretty calm person when it comes to gaming. I don’t get horribly wound up but man the stupid just hurts sometimes. I play support mostly so I’m paired with an ADC (Attack Damage Carry, basically I keep him from getting nuked so he can get all the kills and glory) which requires me to sacrifice my own gold/experience/life to let them stay alive, and get the juicy kills. I’m fine with that. I like winning more than I like my own glory. What I can’t stand is when I set up the perfect kill and some faceroller just whiffs the gank and leaves me holding the bag.
This happens a lot, sometimes it’s my fault too, I’ll be the first to admit it. I will, at times, loose track of my partners cooldowns and initiate a gank when he just has nothing to kill with. Other times he whiffs. My Champion of choice is Blitzcrank. He’s high risk, high reward, requiring lots of skillshots (aimed/dodgeable shots) and getting stuck in to make it work. In any fight I’m exposed. As a somewhat beefy melee range CC specialist I am going to be disrupting the enemy and drawing a lot of fire to give my teammate the chance to finish things off.
When my ADC whiffs it annoys me. A lot. The frustration ratchets up fast, and in my first PvP match I actually chased my ADC out of lane. I stole minion kills and went 1v2 against their ADC / Support team until my ADC wandered off to mid. Again I’m not a NICE guy, but I’m not a jerk.
Anyway I spent the last week working on Sona to give myself a bit of variety. I actually really enjoyed her quite a bit and was looking forward to her in PvP. Then I got trolled. Hard. By Riot when they made Blitzcrank one of the free champions this week. Blitz is a HARD counter to Sona. Like, really hard. So I spent my first game basically trying not to lose and enjoying watching our mid cruise to 11/0/0 followed by a surrender.
I’m having fun, and so far I haven’t gone so far on tilt that I’ve cost us a match although the guy I tend to queue with will tell you I’m still sloppy and tend to get ganked at times.
BTW my username is Corelin Lintu, look me up and watch me fail!
Ok, I’m going to just officially take the month of November off so I can work on my horrible novel for NaNoWriMo. I’ll probably cave in and do a Rubicon post and one concerning the CCP financials that came out a bit ago, but don’t expect much more than that. Fly dangerous etc. etc.
So today was… eventful. In that “May you live in interesting times” way. The plan was to get online early today, help out our more inexperienced members prepare for a major operation, link up one group of my friends with another group, go on a major operation and maybe kill some ships in the process. Ideally bad guys ships but lately that hasn’t happened too much.
What I got was a Category 5 Drama Llama with all the trimmings. First while trying to advise a noob on the fine art of not bringing Caldari ships to an armor fleet I managed to damage his special snowflake feelings. Now I will admit that I normally have all of the tact and diplomacy you would expect of someone who spent five years in a career that specialized in the art of delivering 98 pound packages of high explosives to customers whether they wanted them or not, but when training and advising I can be a very good mentor. This guy decided to flip the fuck out. To wit:
oh im sorry i thought i was paying for my account not you core but ok sinc eyou are paying for my account ill fly the way you want
It’s been well over a year, and quite possibly two since I banned someone from my pub channel. This guy got himself the old heave ho. Having a first-rate temper tantrum is a fantastic way to get on my bad side.
So I was in a foul mood. Had to talk to a few people to see if we could calm other folks who were unamused by those shenanigans, got the fires out in time for the op. Start bringing in the new friends and waddya know, they don’t like the old friends. Well then. Fine we had some hiccups but I get them smoothed over with my patented subtle problem smoother.
After my delicate handling of that situation… my contact proceeds to melt down in comms, then in chat. Fine, some people are red to each other for a reason, I thank them for getting out, getting staged, and taking the time to set up. I figure that’s it. I can’t really blame them, there were a lot of issues and I was happy to skate out on the drama. Then I get a convo/evemail from the guy organizing the whole op. Well shit. Turns out the new guys had someone go around the bend a bit. A tad. A smidgen. Just about… ohhhh…. from here to the center of the galaxy as it turns out. He convo’d the guy running our op. Apparently thought he was the target. Decided to spill the beans and tell him about the ambush. You know. The one he was organizing. Giving him enough information that, if he was actually the bad guys, he could have avoided our attack, or set up an even bigger counter and blown us up.
Not. Cool. I’ll admit I flipped my shit at this point. I probably swore enough to blister paint for a good 30-45 seconds. I told him the guy he was a fucking morong and I got out of their channel, and directed all my corpmates to do the same. Let them know in a general sense what was going on and to just focus on the op and did my best to follow my own advice. I let the higher elements know what was going on and apologized for what happened. We fleeted up and waited. The op was a failure, no ships were lost because no opposition showed up, but we got some sexy screenshots from Fancy Hats flying around.
Fly dangerous. Score Kills. TAKE THIS DRAMA LLAMA OFF MY HANDS.
Sooo after a less than stellar roam a week and some back, we headed out again. Still flying really basic, but fun, T1 cruisers we headed out from Amdonen. Ami used to be gatecamped at least 12 hours a day. It was a great place for a fight. Now it’s mostly empty. Our biggest threat was someone complementing my blog, temporarily inflating my head so much I couldn’t fit through the out gate.
We headed on towards Antem. We didn’t even make it to the system, we could tell from statistics that it wasn’t worth it. Antem used to be another hotbed of action. The loss of Chain of Cha0s in the system really has been a loss to the game. Heading on to Gonditsa we found something in progress. No idea what as there is a 130+ AU warp which gives people time to deagress, and possibly log off safely while our fleet limped in. During our travels we chased a few ships but I’m not a brilliant enough tactician to catch something really effectively. We Ping Ponged a Hawk for a bit, missed an Omen by just a bit too much to pursue, and just decided to move on.
Finally re-arriving in Aridia, our old stomping grounds, we tried to poke DPR and get a fight from him but there wasn’t anything going. We wandered down to Vehan and camped the HUGE gate there and FINALLY got something. A Thorax popped in and the chase was on. Scant seconds later the fleet was close in, guns and drones hammering and shortly a bright blast announced the death of our prey, soon to be followed by the pod and the odd Magnate that was snooping around while shots were flying. Flush with success we warped off to a safe and waited long enough for our timers to go away, then re-entered highsec to dock up.
We had better communication, better numbers, better piloting and were better prepared. Waddya know we scored more kills. Funny how that works out.
‘Till next time. Fly Dangerous.