Category Archives: Gaming

Cleaning My Plate

Sometimes, I love working on Sundays. Just because no one bothers me, and I get to finish what I need to finish earlier than usual. So, today, I had 3 hours of nothing to do. That left me with a lot of time to surf the net, visit and read random blogs, and learn something new. And I did learn something new today. I found out that I have too much things on my plate, and that I might be suffering from adult ADD because of it.

Early this year, I trimmed down my hobbies so I could focus on some. I stopped streaming movies and anime from Netflix, and also minimized the time I put into gaming. But, sometimes, I still feel being overwhelmed by my hobbies. When I’m stuck in a game, I pick up and play my guitar. When I can’t play a hard lick on my guitar, I pick up a book to read. When I get bored with the book, then I go back to gaming. So, I usually end up accomplishing nothing. That’s why I need to clean my plate.

From what I read this morning (I forgot which blog, sorry), when cleaning your plate, you start out by leaving only five things on it. Right now, these are the things that I have on my plate:

  • Music
  • Guitar
  • Photography
  • Gaming
  • Blogging
  • Books
  • Comics
  • Work
  • School (I will go back this Fall)
  • Stalking my exes and crushes on Facebook
  • Porn

If I lick it clean, and prioritize it, it will end up looking like this:

  1. Gaming (will replace with School this coming Fall)
  2. Work
  3. Photography
  4. Music
  5. Blogging

For now, I’m just going to stick with these things. It was hard for me to let some of my hobbies go. Especially the books and comics. I wanted to let go of gaming instead. But, while not that productive, it relieves me of stress better than reading. I will let it go once I start with school though. Because it will be a very unwelcome distraction to my studies.

So, there, my plate is cleaned. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it this way. Also, If I ever manage to manage the contents of my plate, I’ll probably add one more thing in it and bring reading books back into the fold.

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Guild Wars 2: WvWvW Impressions

If you’re wondering why my blog has been so scarce with updates this past week, it is because I picked up a lot of overtime at work. I mean, a lot of overtime. Last week, I did 72 hours of work in just 6 days. This week, 40 hours in just 3 days. Now, that may sound I’m worked to death. But, no, not really. It wasn’t that bad at all, and I’m not that tired. Plus, amidst all that work madness, I was able to steal some time to participate in Guild Wars 2’s first beta weekend.

Guild Wars 2, for sometime now, I’ve been debating with myself if I should get this game or not. Because, for me, playing MMORPG is a huge time suck. Once I start playing one, it immediately eclipses my other hobbies. So, I’m afraid that if I get Guild Wars 2, my photography will wither and die. But obviously, and unfortunately, the lesser man in me capitulated and pre-purchased the game so I could participate on the beta event.

Now, there were only two reasons why I’ve decided to pick up Guild Wars 2: 1) No monthly fee; and 2) The “World vs. World vs. World” player vs. player feature.

The no monthly fee is pretty much self-explanatory. But the World vs. World vs. World (or WvWvW) has gotten me curios since ArenaNet announced it. So, as a MMO gamer with a taste for player vs. player, I just have to check it out.

But, the problem was, I had no idea how to get to the WvWvW. After I rolled a Charr Engineer and played the quick intro to my story, I was pretty much left running around the starting area doing events (which were quick and fun). There were no NPC I could ask or any info I could read to help me join the WvWvW. Luckily, my old guild (Gaiscioch) had info on their site on how to get there.

Once I found my way to the WvWvW area, I got lost once again. The place is just huge. Even bigger than WAR’s RvR lakes. So, I was just running around the place, clueless of what to do, stumbling upon enemy players, and dying in their hands. It was very messy, and I almost gave up.

Then, I found my old guild mates (hundreds of them, really) running around the area, razing castles, kicking ass and taking names. Once I joined up with them, the game started to become more clear, more fun. It really reminded me of my days when I was playing WAR with them, when we were taking every keep and castle, owning everything.

The combat is very fun, yet chaotic. First, there are no healers in this game. Everyone can heal themselves and everyone can resurrect the dead. I don’t have to wait to be healed anymore. Also, I don’t have to worry about killing the enemy healer first. Sieging a castle also takes a long time. But, in this game, unlinke in WAR, you can also take down castle walls and not just doors. WvWvW also pits three different servers against each another. I haven’t seen it in beta. But it’s inevitable that the 3 armies will cross each other and fight. That would be epic.

Unfortunately, with my hectic schedule, I wasn’t able to spend more time with Guild Wars 2. But with what little time I spent with it, in its WvWvW and some world events, I had a blast. So, I guess it’s time for me to resume playing Guild Wars 1 and get that points for my Hall of Monuments.

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An Hour of Grimrock

Early computer role-playing games, like Eye of the Beholder and Pool of Radiance, were difficult for a then 11 year-old like me. They required a lot of strategy and puzzle-solving. In addition, they didn’t feature automaps. In order to navigate the very confusing dungeons, you have to chart your own map on a graphing paper, marking each door, trap and which direction your party is facing.

While it took me forever to finish those games, because I often quit in rage for being stuck on a certain puzzle (there was no online walkthroughs back then), I did enjoy the challenge they presented. So, when I heard about Legends of Grimrock, a new dungeon crawler that pays homage to early CRPGs, I decided to give it a whirl.

Legends of Grimrock is, indeed an old game on a new skin. The mechanics here yells old school. The way your characters move on a grid and the combat is even pseudo turn-based. But they’ve included an automap in this game. However, if you want the challenge of old school RPGs, and if you’ve enough unused graphing paper, you have the option to turn the automap off. You also get to create a whole party –something that you don’t get to do in current games.

I devoted much of the first hour into creating a party, making it perfectly balanced: tanks and bruisers in the front; casters and shooters at the back. So, I haven’t really delved deeper into the dungeons of Grimrock yet. But there were some nice puzzles and fight at the start. I assume this will only get harder as I go deeper. But, man, this game is nostalgic. It’s also very fun.

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The End is the Beginning is the End

The internet went on a rampage a few days after Mass Effect 3‘s release. The culprit: the game’s ending. It was convoluted, filled with plot holes, and didn’t really offer any closure. I, too, was disappointed by it. But, out of respect for other gamers who haven’t finished the game, I held my silence to avoid spoiling the game for them. Now that the game has been out for almost three weeks, it’s time for me to break my silence and throw my two cents in this matter.

I still, however, maintain my stance on giving Mass Effect 3 a high score on my review (see here). As a whole, the game is great. It’s merely the ending that has disappointed me. But I also blame myself for that. I simply expected BioWare to follow The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars trilogies, whereas the final installment of the trilogy gives us epic fights and victorious endings.

Indeed, there were a lot of Return of the King and Return of the Jedi moments in Mass Effect 3. Unusual alliances were formed, old enemies discarding grudges to fight a common enemy, and a small fleet facing an overwhelming force. It was glorious to see the whole Milky Way unite, and it was all possible because of Sheperd –of me. When the whole fleet jumped to the Sol system, I was pretty sure that we’d beat the Reapers, and that we’d go home and rebuild: The Geth and Quarians co-habitting Rannoch; Krogans repopulating Tuchanka; and my Sheperd marrying Ashley.

But the end didn’t turn out as I’ve expected. Instead, I was presented with three choices: Destroy all synthetic life, control all synthetic life, and merge all synthetic and organic life. No matter what you choose, you’ll die and the mass relays in the galaxy will be destroyed. It’s pretty anti-climatic. But that’s all you’ll get. You’ll never find out everyone else’s fate. You’ll never find out if the Krogans, now cured of the genophage, will rise in rebellion. You’ll never find out if the Quarians maintained their relationship with the Geth. Like I said, there’s no closure.

So, like many, I was left scratching my head after I finished Mass Effect 3. The ending just didn’t make any sense at all. I also found it hard to believe that BioWare, for all their efforts of giving us a game in which we get to decide what happens in the world, would end the story like that. I couldn’t grasp the idea that BioWare, who has an impressive track record in regards to writing game stories, would give the Mass Effect trilogy a horrific ending like that.

Then, I remembered Neverwinter Nights 2. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment (using BioWare’s Electron game engine), it’s a game that I thoroughly enjoyed. But, similar to Mass Effect 3, I also hated its ending because it didn’t make sense. But a year later, Obsidian released Mask of the Betrayer, a game expansion to tie all the loose ends in Neverwinter Nights 2. That’s when it occurred to me that the ending in Mass Effect 3 isn’t a bad creative decision. Instead, it’s a vile cash-milking strategy.

Just think about it. The ending left a lot of unanswered questions. What’s the perfect way to answer those questions? Through a DLC. Fans are angry over the ending. What’s the perfect way to appease those fans? Through a DLC. It wouldn’t surprise me if BioWare releases a DLC tomorrow. I’m pretty sure they already have a couple of contents done way before this controversy started. They’re just trying to decide how much it should cost. By the looks of it, a lot of people will pay top dollar for a content that will give us a better ending.

Right now, I’m convinced that Mass Effect 3’s ending isn’t THE ending. But it’s a beginning of another end. If there’s one thing to be angry about BioWare, it’s not because they created a bad ending. But it’s because they’ll charge you for the good ending.

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