Category Archives: Uncategorized

For the Love of the Game: Final Fantasy

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.

Ain’t no Drama Like Trailer Park Drama

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.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

League of Laughs… Again

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!

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

NaNoWriMo

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.

Some Days it Doesn’t Pay to Get Out of Bed

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.

Competition Matters

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.

If you see me coming better step aside

If you see me coming better step aside

A lot of men didn't and a lot of men died.

A lot of men didn’t and a lot of men died.

I've got one fist of Iron, the other one's steel

I’ve got one fist of Iron, the other one’s steel

I've got one fist of Iron, the other one's steel

I’ve got one fist of Iron, the other one’s steel

And if the right one doesn't get you

And if the right one doesn’t get you

 

That left one will!

That left one will!

Fly dangerous.  Score Kills.  TAKE THIS DRAMA LLAMA OFF MY HANDS.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

 

 

 

 

Blasting some dust off

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.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

I Want You to Want Me!

Mord FiddleJan 23, 8:33 pm

Well, now you’re just ignoring me. ;) Why do you believe people should be forced out of highsec?

I haven’t been ignoring you Mord.  I’ve been puzzling out a proper, non-flippant answer.  The short version is:  I don’t want to force people to do anything.  This is EvE.  I want them to move of their own accord, for reasons that make sense to them at the time.

I write a blog so you get the long version for free –

I think it’s fantastic that there’s people who stop travelling out when the sec status starts looking yellow.  They turn around and scamper back.  They find their rut and they travel it doing the things they like for as long as they want.  It’s fantastic.  They are enjoying the game their way.

The problem is they are likely engaging in single-player EvE.  It may actually be a small group, but they are not really doing much to create content for the greater community, and they aren’t terribly likely to stick around according to CCP’s metrics.  CCP has stated repeatedly that players are far more likely to stick around if they are engaging with other players socially.  Usually this means a corp/alliance.  I think there’s two reasons for this.  A player who works with other players is more willing to share in risks, and a player who is confronted with adversity is far more likely to recognize the scope of them, and overcome them either by getting advice before the adversity and mitigating their risk or by having a support network that can soften the blow with recovery efforts.

Let’s zoom out a stage.

Many, if not most, highsec-only players believe that they are, or at least should be, totally safe as long as they are playing in highsec, and not doing anything aggressive towards another player.  They think that their sole responsibility for self-preservation is to keep themselves out of 0.4 and lower sec status systems.  They do not think to protect themselves from people willing to lose a ship to destroy what they are flying.  When they do lose a ship to people willing to make that effort they blame it not on themselves for failing to protect themselves, but on the gankers, and not in such a way as to give them credit.  They do not recognize that self-preservation is forever and always their own responsibility and that a reliance on CONCORD and other players forbearance is a fickle means of protecting ones hard-earned isk.

This is not to say that gankers are all wonderful people that shit rainbows.  Some of them are bullies, some of them are jerks, some of them are people playing the game their own way.  Just like the miners.  The difference is in how they define their way, and how they understand the game.

Now if a miner belongs to a corp that does have a support they can still lose their shit, but they aren’t likely to leave the game.  As long as the corp supports them.  I have lost some EMBARRASSING ships.  However I had corpmates who supported me.  I had a community I belonged to, and who helped me see the scope of things and how unimportant one miserable Drake was.

Eventually that community led me to branch out.  To see PvP not as an evil practice to be avoided, but a fun and challenging (but hopefully not too challenging) focus of the game.  I want people to see as many reasons as possible to leave highsec, and I want highsec to be as limited as possible in pursuit of that goal.  Not every player is going to get involved in blowing up other players spaceships.  At least not directly.  However, at some point in his EvE career, every player needs to realize that pvp is the foundation of the game, and can happen to anyone at any time.  The players least likely to understand this are the highsec carebears who never venture beyond 0.5 for fear of encountering… well… EvE.

I want production to be more practical and useful in low/null to make the decision on where to manufacture goods to actually involve a choice other than “Safest area with the most available slots = win for me!”

I want resources to be more accessible and valuable in low/null to create an economic push so that veld isn’t always a “top 3″ mineral when it comes to value.

I want low/null to have useful and unique mechanics that make them more fun and enjoyable.

Some of these already exist.  The last one especially has quite a few options, but there still isn’t enough to drive the great hordes out of highsec empire.  Having unique resources that cannot be collected in highsec space helps.  Having unique gameplay opportunities, like wormholes, or FW, helps.  Having organizations that help even the newest players capitalize on the opportunities to be found below 0.4 helps.  Look at Goons and TEST.  They can and will take players still in awe at the power of their reaper, slap them in a rifter and throw them to a system with a name like VFK.  They will bring them in, teach them to play and understand the game, and give them an opportunity to grow.  Sure they can be an embarrassment to the community, but they also contribute to the community.  Look at the rage being spouted by highsec carebears almost every day over at minerbumping.com and you will see just how “noble” the pvp-averse carebears can be.

So no.  No I don’t want to force people out of highsec.  I want them to want to move out themselves.  I want them to go out and create content of their own and discover the real awe of EvE.  The ability to drive your storyline wherever you want it, not just Motsu station.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

The Batphone Rings – A Story in Pictures

How I feel when I get a call for help:

Because Bex has Batphoned me more times than the rest of EvE Combined.

Sadly our average response looks rather like:

Quick to a System 35 jumps from where I told you to base!

Fortunately a good part of the time it ends like THIS:

and not as much like this:

Because blue explosions are better when they are bad guys.  Or at least not close friends.   Or at least not your own ship.

I’m using it every time I can

Planning for Failure

Planning requires a lot of skull sweat.  Believe it or not the actions you take in-game, the fleet doctrines, the tactics, the logistical chain that supports you, all of it, requires a lot of planning, not just seeing something neat on the forums.

S I L E N T. kind of mastered one particular sort of bad planning.  They came up with very good plans that they didn’t have the resources to execute.  I have a favorite saying “So many great plans have to be abandoned because they just don’t work.”  It certainly applied to S I L E N T.

Planning is a poorly understood process.  First you have to do a survey of your assets and capabilities.  What you can and can’t do makes up a big part of the process.  An entity with 60 highly skilled veterans with a wide variety of ships has an entirely different toolbox than an alliance with 200 relatively inexperienced pilots.

Second you have to take a serious look at your likely opposition.  It doesn’t have to be a first-rate intel assessment, but you should really know what fleets they like to bring.  A slow, short ranged BS fleet doesn’t make much sense if your opponent flies fast, long range sniper gangs.

Third you have to develop plans that will actually work.  You have to find a combination of things that your guys can do, things that will work against the enemy, and that retain the versatility to work against random pass-through roams.  This can involve HUGE amounts of work, and any mistakes in steps one and two can utterly ruin your planning.  Thinking you can get 10 logis and 40-50 Tier 3 BCs looks great for an alpha fleet.  When you get 6 and 22 it doesn’t work.  At all.

Fourth you have to disseminate the plan to the people who are going to execute it.  Ideally without handing the keys to the kingdom to your opposition.  This is the biggest challenge when it comes to tight-rope walking in EvE leadership.  Your flunkies, erm… minions… PILOTS have to have enough information to execute any plans you come up with fluidly in challenging circumstances, but anything you give out can be leaked.

Fifth you have to constantly be updating all along this chain.  You have to recognize changes in your capabilities and your opponents, update your plans and pass them on, another form of the OODA loop I’ve been harping on lately.  Planning never ends, good entities have people constantly looking at each step in in the process, determining what adjustments need to be made and when to introduce a new doctrine.

Without a good and consistent planning process nothing can get going, and even success can’t be sustained.  Alliances that win sov do it with sustained, skilled drives, alliances that consistently fail miss one of the first 3 steps, alliances that balloon and then collapse tend to either overachieve or not follow the final step.  You don’t have to do everything perfectly, you do have to do it all to some extent.

I’m using it every time I can

Convention This!

Hong WeiLoh at his blog, “Carebears with Claws” had a great post about “fixing” things.  One thing he points out that I really like is that we should base our suggestions on the lore of the game.  Ok.  So… wardecs.  Little skinny.  Well I see all these things about the Yulai Convention.  Oh C’mon.  Yer fuckin with me right?  Nada?

The lore and background of EvE is sadly lacking, I agree with Hong that we need to base suggestions on solid lore, but solid lore for wardecs is fundamentally lacking.  I don’t think we need the full document, but I think some effort by CCP to produce the largely relevant portions would be of immense value to players.  Right now when a war ends you get this

From: CONCORD
Sent: NEVAAAAAAAAAAR

The war between My Awesome Corp and Your Crappy Corp is coming to an end.  My Awesome Corp has retracted the war against Your Awesome Corp. The war will be declared as being over after approximately 24 hours.

The notice starting a wardec has even less.

CCP has thrown a large, heavy, rusty gauntlet on the floor for this summer.  To do wardecs right I think they need to make them make sense from start to finish, complete with working into the lore of the game why CONCORD with its highly punitive DED would just go out and allow corps to start bashing on each other in highsec.  Cassus Belli, bribes, something to start the process, goals, objectives, ways and means of stopping the wardec, all need to be not only presented in in-game mechanics, but as part of the EvE universe that includes trillions of people to go with the hundreds of thousands of capsuleers.

I'm using it every time I can

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