Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Updates shmupdates...

Dreadfully sorry there's been a lack of posting both here and over at ITG.  It's the holidays which means lots of family stuff happening.  My condo is possibly about to sell on top of all the festivities.  And thus my lady and I are off trying to find a new place as well.  I'm also hunting for new jobs now that I've got he Masters degree in hand... that's not an easy task either.  It's been a crazy hectic few weeks.

I'm still playing LotRO when I can, though not as much as I wish I could.  I've stalled on Dragon Age too.  Quality gaming time is just not on my list of things right now, and no sir... I don't like it.  Just when one part of life settles down, another picks up.  Still the condo selling is a good thing, and hopefully everything will go through there.  That's the only thing tying me still to my old life and my ex, and I can't wait to be fully rid of both. 

That's all I got for now.  If you want more frequent Bill updates, just find me on Facebook as username JoBildo.  Cheers, you lot.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

LotRO: The Road Goes Ever On

I bought the Mines of Moria expansion for $10 yesterday, and I started downloading the most recent client so I can maybe/possibly get into the game this weekend.  I say maybe because I need $30 for a 3-month subscription so I can get Siege of Mirkwood for free.  That's $10 a month, and I'm pretty sure I'd actually be playing it for that long in my spare time, but I need to make sure I have the $30 to toss toward it first.  Stupid first half of each month always has that niggle mortgage payment to deal with, hence my hesitation.

But I'm really quite stoked to get back in, as you can see over at ITG! I've got a level 38 Champion to use, but I also really want to play a Warden.  Apparently they've revamped the elf and human starting areas, so I'll probably start off with that before acclimating myself with my old Champion again.  That's a feat I'm not sure I can accomplish really.  It's been since August of 2007 that I last played the Champion.  How long is too long to go back to a character?  Will I have any clue what I'm doing?  How much has the class changed, and how will I know where I need to go to quest?  I guess I'll find out.

I hear the entire leveling curve from 1-40 has been decreased, much like what WoW did with 1-60, in order to help new players and alts catch up to the end-game content.  So I'm sure even if I did have to or decide to play a new character it wouldn't be long before I was out of the early stuff and into the Lone-Lands and Evendim where I last remember playing. 

I'll be posting a sort of re-review of the game over ITG! once I've had some decent time to get reacquainted with LotRO and all that's chaned in the two years I've been absent.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Borderlands First Impressions

I managed to snag Borderlands for the PC over the weekend, and I have to say I'm just as impressed as I thought I would be.  This hybrid of games is something I can't believe hasn't been done until now.  Like Genda over at ITG! states, it's got a certain something that makes it just plain ol' fun.

The things I noticed at first that I didn't like were that even with the hardcore aiming in place (as opposed to dice rolls determining if you hit an enemy or not) the accuracy of certain guns means you can still miss an enemy who's just standing there even if you're trained right on his torso.  But in my short time playing it, I got a much better gun and this little annoyance went away.  Also, enemies have that weird "twitch" when you hit them with a bullet which doesn't give the best feedback for shooting someone in the stomach.  It's not very believable, but then neither is hitting them with ten bullets before they fall down.  It's a videogame with a cartoon art style... I shouldn't be so picky.

But the world seems huge, the quests varied, and the gameplay and RPG elements are going to make for a very addictive game.  I'm gonna roll solo for now, but once I feel comfortable with the mechanics, look for me as JoBildo on Steam.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Tattoos and Other Thinguses (Thingi?)

Last night was a pretty good time.  Get home, kiss fiancee, hug dogs... run out to Akron and get tattoo, end night by eating Lebanese food at Aladdin's Eatery.  Of course now I have a funny circular bald-patch on my chest where the new tattoo is.  I think I might have to become one of those shorn (or at least trimmed) chaps so that this tattoo can shine in all it's glory.  I was going to do it on my shoulder, but as I'm not sure what I want the eventual sleeve on that arm to be, I decided on the chest instead.  What is it?  So glad you asked! It's a jack-o-lantern with Jack Skellington's face carved into it.  I wish I'd had the forethought to take a picture of it, but I didn't get home until 10:30 and then had to run back out to the store to get lotion for the damn thing to help it heal.

Other than that, not much new to report.  I've been playing the crap out of Torchlight whenever I have the chance, and I should be getting Borderlands this weekend and Dragon Age next week if I'm lucky.  I'm also thinking about dipping toes back into LotRO soon.  I've still got access to a lifetime account, and I'm curious to see how that game's doing on the eve of its second (albeit less in scope than the first) expansion.

I've got a Halloween party at my house this weekend (yours truly will be dressed as Buddy from Elf), so if you're in Medina, Ohio... look me up! 

Cheers folks, and more later if something grabs me by the ghoulies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Talking Games (Too!)

My fellow Casualties Br3ntbr0, Genda, and Oakstout are all over and posting up a fury on Br3nt's new site: I'm Talking Games!  Out of the kindness of their hearts, or perhaps the madness of their psyche, they've invited me along to post there too.  I'm pretty stoked about the new venture, and can't wait to start doing some more writing there. 

TTH and I recently parted ways, so I've got a lot more free time to dabble in more things than just Champions Online now.  I'm anxious to get back to blogging regularly, even if it takes me a little time to get back in the swing of things.  I'll still be posting here when it's something sort of inane or rambling or personal, but for the most part I'll be doing editorial type work over at ITG, using this site and Facebook to cross-promote of course. 

So here's to the new site, Br3nt!  Glad to be a part of it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Torchlight: Or Why I Haven't Posted Since Friday

Travis and Wonder of Runic Games made sure I had my review copy of Torchlight Saturday afternoon.  My goal was to post impressions that day... until I got lost in the game... over the past 5 days.

The game brings back the same feeling of simple gaming goodness that Diablo 1 and 2 did back in the 90s.  The game comes from the shared creative efforts of the team behind the ill-fated Mythos, which itself was comprised of the core members behind Diablo 1 and 2 and Fate.  So it's plain to see why this group of developers decided to make their first game a clear-cut Roguelike or more appropriately (but not derogatory) Diablo-clone. 

Needless to say, since I burned myself out on Diablo 2, I've been searching for that next hack-n-slash fix.  I've played everything from Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, to X-Men and Marvel Ultimate Alliance on consoles to Sacred 1 and 2, Titan Quest, Fate, and so on and so forth on the PC in the past several years.  Nothing really quite gave me the same feeling of "I must keep killing and collecting loot" that the Diablo series once did. 

That is, until Torchlight.

I won't fully review it until I've had more time with all the classes, but really the review will likely end up being me just glowing about it and its extremely low pricepoint for the value you get ($20) for several paragraphs.  Go get it.  From the Torchlight site itself, from Steam, Direct2Drive, Gamers Gate, or any other site that might have it.  I was given a press copy, sure... but I still bought it off Steam too because I want to see these guys get the success they deserve.  Rising from the ashes of Flagship and Mythos to create what's probably the best action-RPG in ages in 11 months' time is no small feat. 

They deserve your money.

More on the actual game and its awesomeness to come.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Torchlight Cometh... this weekend?

I've got my pre-order ready to go on Steam, and the download should be starting on Tuesday as soon as possible.  But the wonderful (ha!) Wonder Russell tells me that review copies should/could/hopefully will be going out today.  They're cramming as much polish as possible, and not the sausage, into the code before they ship it off to the press. 

I'm hoping to write a review for TTH (unless one of my cohorts beats me to the punch), and most assuredly will be writing in-depth impressions and a review here as well.  So if you're following me since my return, do keep an eye out here over the weekend.

EDIT: I think dearest Wonder forgot all about me.  No Torchlight this weekend, but review/impressions etc. coming ASAP once the game launches. 

EDIT 2: Travis Baldree to the rescue!  I should have a review copy of Torchlight downloading in no time flat, and then I'll start in on the main campaign this evening.  I really heart these folks at Runic.  

I hate being broke...

My fiancee and I's puppy needed to have her innards taken out.  We've finally saved enough to get the yearly rec-center passes we want for the winter months.  All done, that's about $350 out of my pay this past period that would normally be spending money or savings.  So what that amounts to is a broke JoBildo with no Borderlands, no money to go see one of the new movies he's aching to watch, and boredom all weekend long. 

The good news is at least I've got plenty of stuff to fill my plate until next payday.  Work, last week of school, and I did manage to snag Torchlight and that drops Tuesday. 

Bah well... life goes on.  I just needed to bitch about it a bit.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Run to the Border... lands.

I get it.  I give in.  Really.  You don't need to convince me anymore.  Borderlands is apparently what Hellgate: London could have been, and I'm going to trade in some old games this weekend in order to snag it up for the PC.  I'll probably order it off of steam so it can pre-load and be ready for when I decide to be sick that day.  I mean... for when I come down with H1N1 mysteriously. 

So if you want to goof off with JoBildo in Borderlands, add me on Steam (JoBildo is my username).

EDIT: Crap... I forgot I have to pay for that shiny thing I just put on someone's finger.  Borderlands will wait until next weekend I assume.  Thank Jebus for Torchlight.

Scratching that itch...

It's been a long time since I had game-fever.  Perhaps it's my Masters program wearing down, or just the change from summer to fall, but I'm really itching for something new to play.  I hear Borderlands is one hell of a game, Torchlight has action RPG fans (like me) all abuzz for something new to play, and Pete won't stop making me drool over Dragon Age.  But all of these games come out next week or even later.  So what do I do until next Monday/Tuesday when I can get my hands on the first two?

I played a little Left 4 Dead last night.  I usually don't play it online, as I prefer to do split-screen with my friends when they're over at my place.  So I played single-player last night, and while it's fun... it's just not the same as when you have your best mates there screaming and laughing with you.  The new (to me anyway) campaign is a lot of fun though.  Makes me want the sequel more.

I also played a little FATE on my laptop.  A fun Diablo-clone, but missing something I can't quite put my finger on... scratch that.  I know what I'm missing, the Skill Trees.  FATE has everything an action-RPG should have except that.  So I'm leveling, getting new gear, but I don't really care about leveling because I don't get shiny new ways to make things go splat.  This is a problem that Torchlight won't have, but hey... that game's still five days away.

The good news is I have homework and stuff to do for TTH this weekend, as well as plenty of other plans over the next few days.  I should be killing things in Borderlands and Torchlight before I know it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Very bored...

And all I can think about right now is going home, killing zombies in L4d, placing a pre-order for Dragon Age on Steam, and wishing Torchlight was already out. I feel like a teenager at the moment, and it's just one of those "incapable of concentrating on work" kind of days.
No homework due tonight.  No plans.  Just a good solid few hours to sink into a game of my choice.

Global Agenda: Pricing Details Announced

Global Agenda is a bit under the radar still, but everyone I know that has played the game at conventions has come away awestruck and itching to play more.  It's a persistent online MMORPG in shooter form.  The marketing department has been keen enough to advertise this as simply, "There are no elves."  There's a wealth of PvE gameplay, and a purportedly very strong PvP system that involves players fighting for control over territory and resources. 

Global Agenda is due for release in early 2010 and today Hi-Rez Studios announced the pricing model for the game.  Showing their intelligence, players will not be forced to pay a subscription to enjoy the game.  You can play as much as you want just by buying the box, but in order to participate in the PvP and have access to all the game's content, you'll want to pay the $12.99 for a monthly subscription:

Global Agenda (one time purchase - $49.99 MSRP) includes:

  • Creation of up to eight different agent characters
  • Character visual customization
  • Access to all combat weapons and devices
  • Cooperative Player vs. Environment missions against the Commonwealth NPC faction, AI-controlled enemies, and Boss Fights
  • Matchmade Player vs. Player missions with five different game types and over 20 unique maps
  • Character progression through 30 levels
  • Achievement and unlocks system for individual characters
  • Player Inventory for suits, flair, dyes, upgrades, and loot
  • Virtual Reality practice fighting area
  • Vendors and accumulation of in-game currency
  • Text chat with multiple channels
  • Built in voice chat during missions
  • Ability to join an established player-created agency
  • All play is on our single-shard, hosted server environment to ensure convenient and consistent gaming experience.
  • Ability to sign up for one free month of subscription at registration (credit card required, can be cancelled at any time)
Global Agenda: Conquest ($12.99 per month, $11.49/mo for 3 month, $9.99/mo for 6 month) includes:
  • Access to Alliance vs. Alliance (AvA) World Domination gameplay
  • A massive scale campaign between player created agencies and alliances over scarce territory and resources on a persistent world map.
  • Attack and Defend Territories in zones that match your agency's schedule
  • Agency and Alliance Management – Create and maintain persistent player groups and officer ranks
  • Creation and Upgrading of Facilities - Control production and output
  • Base Raids – involving up to 60 players per side; coordinated between 6 different strike teams within linked territory instances
  • Agency Achievement System, Leveling, and Recognition
  • Auction House with bidding and buyouts
  • Mail System
  • Upgrade Text and Voice chat to support multiple channels and strike teams
  • Player Crafting with blueprints
  • Additional character customization options including elite character suits, dye colors, and seasonal flair
  • Ongoing Co-Op content at max character level
  • Ongoing AvA content, multiplayer PvP content, and new social areas
The coolest thing about this setup is that even if you cancel your subscription, you'll still be able to play the game.  Don't have much time to game?  Cancel the sub, keep playing when you can in the free mode, and then resub when you want later.  Sure you won't have access to the crafting and auction and mail, and you'll be missing out on the PvP, but at least you can still get your PvE fix with up to 8 characters.  There are a handful of games I'd love to see some sort of model like this for.  I don't have the money or the desire to play them a lot, but sometimes I wish I could without shelling out $15.  Not only that, but Global Agenda is breaking from the norm with a $13 subscription model.

If this little gem plays as well as my TTH brethren are saying, they just earned my $50 and then some.  Hopefully one of these days I'll get into the beta and give it a whirl, if not... at least I know my $50 won't be wasted should I decide the game's not quite worth subscribing too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Champions Online: C-Store Restocked

Looks like Cryptic's finally put some stuff that's worth buying in the C-Store (their version of microtransactions).  A Ding World has a really good analysis of all the items.  Personally, there are only a few things I can really see myself spending any money on.  The Retcon (respec) seems a bit costly at around $12, and I don't think I need 4 more character slots.  But the costumes?  Yes please.  The beastial cyborg parts, especially the wings, are exactly the kind of things I'd want to use bits and pieces of on a new character.  The Halloween head set is also pretty bitchin' too.  I'd love to make a sort of spook-like hero using the pumpkin or the scarecrow head.

I've not had much time since Saturday to play, but I'm still chugging along at level 18.  I like playing Wolfenstein a lot, but I recently ran out of quests in Millennium City that aren't too high for me, and I've been relegated to Snake Gulch in the Desert.  Most people like that place.  I find it boring and out of character for a superhero MMOG.  It's a little too hokey for my tastes.  But the quests are plentiful and pretty fun.  I'm even working on collecting parts for a robot cowboy pet to tote around with me.

I also downloaded and tried out the Dragon Age Character Creator last night... and I was surprised to see it ran really well on my laptop which only has an onboard nVidia chipset for the GPU.  It's just the creator, I know, but I'm hoping that this means I'll be able to run the final game on my laptop too.  I'd love to be able to take DA:O with me to work for lunch along with Torchlight.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Torchlight Pre-Order on Steam

Thanks to a very helpful reader, I found out that one can pre-order Runic Games' Torchlight on Steam for $17.99.  And thus, it was done.  I've not played the little indie game myself, but going by my experiences with both FATE and Mythos, I'm expecting quite a bit of fun for my less-than-twenty-bucks.  There's going to be an extensive modding toolset released with the game as well, which should help the game remain playable quite a bit until the MMO version comes out eighteen months or so down the road (according to the developers). 

I'm a sucker for a good Roguelike, but they must have randomly generated dungeons.  I loved Titan Quest, but grew bored on subsequent playthroughs because the game always had the same path through.  Torchlight won't have the same issues, thank Jebas.  And with three classes, and the ability to retire one character to give benefits to your next?  I'm sure there'll be a reason to play through the game at least once with each class.  I'll probably start off with the Destroyer, just because I'm a fan of melee classes, followed by the Alchemist after that. 

The game shares some of FATE's features.  Like a pet that accompanies you and can return to town for you, carry items, help in battle, etc.  And of course the fact that the entire game revolves around a single town with one very deep and never-ending dungeon to traverse.  You can really tell that the folks behind Diablo 1 and 2 and FATE are trying to recapture some of the former magic from those games.  While it remains to be seen if Torchlight holds a candle to any of those titles, from the video and screens, I'm pretty optimistic.

I'll be installing this little diddy on my laptop for sure... you know, for downtime at work.  Or just to play constantly as my work goes by the wayside.  Either or.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Speaking of Torchlight...

Reading the FAQ for the game, it's really pretty striking how similar it sounds to FATE. Which souldn't be shocking at all, considering the staff has one Travis Baldree on it... the man behind FATE, a pretty damn awesome and kid-friendly Diablo clone from a few years back.

If Torchlight winds up nothing more than a more mature FATE, I'll be pleased.

I want Torchlight, Borderlands, and Dragon Age...

But there's a problem. They all come out around the same time, and more importantly, they all cost money I won't likely have. Oh, and they're not out for 2 and 3 more weeks still respectively. It's been a long time since I can remember really looking forward to a game's launch. I fell for Champions Online only after launch set in and I was able to stop playing just for guides and the like at TTH. I wanted it, but I wasn't screaming with the glee of a 12 year old child for it like I am these games.

Torchlight is from Runic Games, the studio that rose from the ashes of Mythos when Flagship went under. It's a fairly straightforward Roguelike, but if it's anything like Mythos it's likely going to be a ton of fun, and at $20 why wouldn't I give the small crew at Runic Games my money? It launches as a single-player game first, and later as an MMOG. I want to see them realize what was their dream with Mythos, so I'll be downloading it from Steam on day one.

Borderlands is another action-RPG of sorts, but with a heavy focus on FPS mechanics. Not like Fallout 3 or Hellgate, this game relies on player skills to hit the enemies, not dice rolls. Headshots and all the other staples of the genre are in, but so is a massive open world, 4-player action, tons of missions and side quests, and a buttload of randomized gear. It looks to me like the kind of game I wish Hellgate would have been. The fact that it looks like a cartoon version of Beyond Thunderdome or the Road Warrior only makes me squeal more.

Then of course there's going to be Bioware's Dragon Age. The spiritual successor to the now legendary Baldur's Gate series is all the info I need to know about this game. Though Pete's been trying to spoil it for me, I'm avoiding as much info as possible. Apparently it plays a lot like a medieval Mass Effect, and that's good enough for me. I miss the lovingly crafted CRPGs of old, and if this does anything to bring me back to that era I'll be happy.

So in any case... does anyone have about $140 I can borrow?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New TTH Articles and CO Stuff

New article over at TTH today. Check it out, if you like to see me ramble. It's all about Min-Maxing vs. Conceptual Builds in Champions Online. Basically, it takes me about 750 words to say, "Whatever you want to do." My buddy Mattlow also wrote a nice article about What Was Missing At Launch in CO. Very valid points, all of them, and probably sums up my current issues with the game quite nicely.

One of the things Matt touches on is that there seems like a lack of missions at times in CO. In reality, there are probably just enough (which is not exactly thrilling) to get you through the leveling content. But it's easy to miss missions as you go about the game. Hell, 4 years later and I still can find new quests in WoW that I'd never done before. So LordDamax of the CO community went ahead and build the Crime Computer 2.0. It's not perfect, but really does help you uncover missions around your level you might be missing, so use it wisely!

Last night I got to test out my new power that I was given at level 17. I can't remember its exact name, and for some reason the CO site doesn't have the Might powers listed. But basically I'll call it "Big Ol' Power-Clap of Doom". I almost feel like I should make Wolfenstein's stature bigger because of this. Dude now does a sort of Incredible Hulk like move where he claps forcefully and sends a shockwave out around him. This AoE attack not only does a decent bit of damage, but stuns every target in the area. I follow this up with Iron Lariat (a big chain that I twirl around like a lasso above my head) and I can pretty much take out half or more of the health of all henchmen around me. Villains and Master Villains are another story, but for henchman this combo is re-donkulous. I imagine that the stuns could be very helpful in PvP too. I'll have to test it out. This one power certainly makes me feel a bit more heroic than before, that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekend Update

Well a lot happened this weekend in JoBildo-ville. For one, yours truly is now engaged. That's right, call me crazy (for I likely am), but back in the beginning of the summer I met the most amazing woman and against her better judgment she fell in love with this dork. December of next year, I'll be Mr. Murphy again... wait, I don't think I get how the last name thing works. In any case, she said yes when I proposed to her in a pumpkin patch over a warty pumpkin and now she's set to live with a nerd by her side the rest of her days. Brave girl. On a serious note, I never thought I could feel this way about anyone. Especially after what happened to me with the she-devil I was attached to before. But if I've learned anything in my short life, it's never to turn away a good thing out of fear. I'm one lucky bastard, and I can't wait to see what our future holds.

In gaming, I spent a lot of time with Champions Online this weekend. I'm desperately trying to get ahead in this game, as I'm eager to see what the Nemesis system holds, but it's a surprisingly slow crawl through the teens. Not a grind, but since it's the first time I've done these quests it feels like it's taking longer than it should... a clear indicator in my head that I've played too much WoW and expect to know the location and route to finishing every quests. Champions is the first MMOG I've played since my brief foray into Lich King at the beginning of the year.

I did do one fairly ridiculous and therefore awesome quest in the course of my leveling spurt. I don't have pics (I'm sorry, but I just got back into blogging and I'm still re-learning the tricks!), so feel free to stop reading if you need shinies to entertain your eyeballs.


Foxbat is a rather comedic villain in the Champions Online universe. Dude's main weapon is a gun that shoots ping-pong balls at high speeds. He's prone to bouts of inane rambling (like me!) and one of his official powers on the Champions Online website is listed simply as "Awesomeness". He's probably the coolest villain in the game, to be honest and I hope the quest I did surrounding him yesterday isn't the last time I see him. His awesomeness is that great. True story.


Foxbat apparently took over an entire news studio in Millennium city, presumably so that the arrogant and crazy bastard could put himself on TV. I had to fight off a bunch of his henchman outside, which were a mix of robots that did things like shout disco music at my face or mesmerize me with a video-camera that stroked my ego and made me pose heroically, and also some snotty teenagers with foam fingers and Foxbat t-shirts that called themselves Fanboys. Like I said... ridiculous.


Once inside the studio I was treated to a cutscene of Foxbat holding a Ron Burgundy-alike hostage. Ron's doppleganger even said something along the lines of "How dare you do this to me! I have many leatherbound books and my condo smells of rich mahogony!" I had to take out a bunch more henchmen on my way through the studio, while saving the rest of Ron's news-team in the process. Brick, Champ, Veronica, and Brian Fantana were all there with appropriate pseudonyms.

Once I made it to the soundstage, I beat the ever-loving crap out of Foxbat who got a few good shots in on me himself... I think he actually dropped a cartoon One-Ton weight on my head at one point and shot me with cream pies from his gun. But he fell in the end, and I saved the day. That quest was easily the most ridiculous thing I've done in an MMOG, and also probably one of the more memorable.

Champions Online is a pretty decent game, all things considered. The combat is a ton of fun. The PvP is a hectic blast, and the missions are really pretty entertaining, and run the gamut from the typical kill quests to the more unique scripted encounters like the one I've just described. I'm loving my first hero, and wish I could make another, but I've got a guide to write up for TTH that requires me to reach level 25 and begin the Nemesis stuff.

Currently, Wolfenstein is my main character. He's currently spec'd out with mostly Supernatural powers, and some Strength. Though I think I'll probably retcon to something else when the Celestial powerset drops in November. I love the way that Cryptic's set up the Celestial powers as having dual functions. Check out my latest article at TTH to see what I mean. I'll use some of the healing/support powers from that set, and probably something like Claws or another Martial Arts set for more direct damage dealing skills since I have most of my stats in Dexterity which is the key component of a lot of Martial Arts skills.

Anyway, that's it for now. Brutal Legend comes out today. If I had $60 I would pick it up tonight. The demo was just that hilarious/awesome/badass. If you're a fan of things Metal or of Tenacious D, or just of good games with a lot of character (Tim Schaefer's a creative genius) I would highly suggest picking it up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Odd feeling...

Maybe it was the bug in yesterday's patch that made there be 300+ players per instance layer, or maybe it was the dozen quests I successfully completed because mobs are less of a pain in the ass, or maybe it was changing my powers with a free retcon... but I really feel like playing Champions Online right now.

I liked smashing things with my fists instead of balls of shadow-fire. I want to go home, log in, and do more smashy-smashy.

PS - I promise in time that my posts will be less like long Facebook status updates.

WAR-torn between superheroes and slayers...

So I played WAR for a bit last night, and I really did enjoy being back in the world. I missed the art style and the general atmosphere... but something struck me as off. After the past couple months of Champions Online, I really have trouble getting back into the old style of MMO combat and travel.

In Champions it's so easy to get around, right from level 5, that I don't know if I have it in me to raise a character to level 20 in WAR for a mount. And it's not like the zones are very huge in WAR, or that there's a lot of back and forth travelling. I mean, it's as easy to get around in WAR as it is in WoW. But nothing quite matches super-jumping over mountains or from group of mobs to group of mobs.

I ended up playing Champions for an hour or two last night even though I wanted my fantasy fix more, simply because Champions is more fast-paced, more visceral, and more exciting for PvE. I'm only in my teens still in the game though, and I'm anxious to see what the Nemesis system is all about, but I've got about 10 more levels to climb through. Luckily the quests and locations in CO are far more interesting than City of Heroes, and the pace of leveling far more swift.

My lady is gone from Sunday to Monday this weekend, and in that time I'm itching to do some major leveling of Wolfenstein... my bestial/superstrength white werewolf superhero. See? That's why I like Champions despite its faults. I can't say that sentence about any other game.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Call to WAR?

I keep feeling an urge to log into Warhammer Online again for the first time in ages. The Slayer class, a personal favorite of the universe, came late in my love affair with the game and I never got a chance to play it as I ended up pulling out of MMO-gaming for a while. And now as the holiday months get nearer, I find myself longing for a fantasy game to log into.

I'm hoping to get an hour or two to try out the Slayer tonight, and with patch 1.3.2 on the way to change a lot of the elements of WAR, I'm curious to see if the game can recapture me the way it did around this time last year.

TTH: Reviewing Responsibly

I just published a new editorial on Ten Ton Hammer called "Reviewing Responsibly". Basically, I question whether or not it's a good idea for critics to be publishing final verdicts on MMOGs so close to the day of launch. The practice is done solely for pageviews and advertising dollars, which could be just as easily grabbed with a "Launch Day Impressions" article, minus the final score.

The argument could be posited that if you're going to review a game, you should review it as it is sold to the public, but I can't help but make the case that an MMOG is not your ordinary piece of software entertainment and shouldn't be treated like just another offline game. MMOGs are living and changing worlds (for the most part) that undergo a lot of changes and fluctuations, and are far too large and meandering to spend five hours in and then just assign a score based on the tutorial levels.

The review system in general for videogames, this 7-10 score bullcrap we see dominating the magazines and internet media outlets, is garbage as it is. But it's even more nonsensical when applied to an MMOG. Impressions first, review later, and subsequent re-reviews down the line as the game changes. That's how reviews for online worlds should be handled in my book.

In fact, I think it might be time for me to revisit a few old haunts for my own re-reviewing. Too bad Auto Assault is still dead... I'm in the mood for four-wheeled carnage.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boosted by Scary

Scarybooster's mini-profile on yours truly has been posted over at his site. If you ever wanted to know the secret origins of my name, or why I'm back here writing sweet nothings into your eye-holes again, that's a good place to find out.

Thanks for the kind words, Scary, but I'm still not going to give you my lucky charms.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back from the Gutter

Hi. I'm back. Go tell your friends.

It's been a long time off for JoBildo, but as we near the most excellent of gaming seasons, I feel an urge to get back to blogging and sharing my disjointed thoughts with anyone who cares to read them. Maybe it's just that my life is settling back down, and that the broken pieces it was shattered into at the beginning of the year are glued back together, but whatever it is... I find myself missing the ritual of blogging and therefore I'm going to subject you all to the inner-trappings of my brain goo again.

I apologize in advance.

What have I been doing lately? Well, Scarybooster will let you know that soon enough, but most recently I've been playing a lot of Champions Online and Batman: Arkham Asylum, and I'm itching to try my hand in WAR again as 1.3.2 hits the live servers. And it's the time of year that tons of excellent games hit store shelves, so I'm sure I'll be doing a lot of dabbling in Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, Brutal Legend, and all of that too. In just a few short weeks I'll be graduating with my Masters in IT too, which should net me a lot of spare time to dig back into my once and future hobby.

So re-add me to your blogrolls, put me back in your feedburner, and drink a beer in my honor if that's your sort of thing.

It's good to be home.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Superman: Red Son

I'm not always playing a ton of games these days, but I am reading a lot of comics, and one I just picked up deserves a little write up and recommendation for your reading library. Superman: Red Son is penned by WANTED's very own Mark Millar and tells the story of an alternate universe where Superman's flying baby spaceship didn't land in the farm country of Smallville, but in the middle of the Ukraine under Stalin-controlled USSR.

Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and even Batman make some surprise appearances in this one. Jimmy Olsen is a CIA Agent, Lois is married to the world's smartest man (Luthor), and Eisenhower relies heavily on Lex's brain the whole series. I can't recommend it enough, basically. As a standalone novel, this is one I'd love to see made into a movie one day. I just doubt that will ever happen.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Red Faction: Guerrilla - Enjoying the Destruction

So, I know I've been quiet these past few months. And now I'm here on Blogger again. But you all know why. Life's been a busy crazy ride for a while now, and it's only starting to calm down. I won't bore you with too many details, but I am indeed finding myself head over heels in love with a beautiful girl who drooled on me one random night in her sleep. I'm still working at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I'm 4 months out from finishing my Masters in Information Systems. I'm the Art Director for a soon-to-be launched geek interest site. I'm reading a crap-ton of comics from Ground Zero in Strongsville, Ohio. I'm still doing comics and other art for Ten Ton Hammer. And I'm still playing games whenever I actually can squeeze some time in with one.

That's probably why you're here at all reading my blog, so then you'd probably like to know what it is I've been playing. Ladies and Gentlemen... let me detail the beauty of Red Faction: Guerrilla. I'm not playing any MMOGs at the moment, as I await Champions Online. I've been dabbling in Left 4 Dead, Rock Band 2, and The Orange Box a bit. That is until I took a leap of faith based on a game-store clerk's opinion and purchased Red Faction.

How do I put this game's enjoyment into words? Let's put it this way: when I sleep I dream of either naked ladies or destroying buildings with my sledgehammer. Or Don Knots. But let's not get into that last one.

I was tempted to get Prototype instead just because the thought of ninja-kicking a helicopter seemed too enticing to pass up, but I am very pleased I went with what the store's peon suggested. RF:G is a third-person open-world shooter that has you playing the role of a mining colonist on Mars who gets caught up in a struggle for the control of the planet's terraformed landmass. You see, virtually everything on Mars is controlled by the giant conglomerate militaristic corporation called the Earth Defense Force. When you arrive on the surface, you just want to make a living and enjoy your life... but your brother's a member of Red Faction a Che Guevara-like movement to free the people of Mars from the EDF. When he's killed for apparently no reason at all, that's when you get pissed and take up his mantle as liberator.

The game then folds out with a series of missions and random occurrences and miscellaneous goals that basically have you destroying every building erected by EDF, and killing lots and lots of the little military bastards. As you break down the walls of their strongholds, the colonists begin to rally behind you, and soon you find yourself with an army of people helping you revolt against the EDF. There are guns, mines, hammers, arc welders, bazookas... it's everything a boy could want to destroy things with. You can drive trucks, pilot space-ships, and in general lay havok to everything you see with anything you see. I once took an entire building out just by hammering the crap out of its support beams. The satisfying rumble of the controller and the screen made me smile as I walked away from the debris.

It's just a very fun game, and comes highly recommended if you're looking for a strong action game to add to your Xbox (or PS3) library that's not GTA IV. It's out on the PC in August if you feel like waiting. Multiplayer's a blast both locally with an ingenius pass-the-controller type game mode, and online with a host of different game modes for competitive play.

4 Bildos out of 5. Ha!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coming back to Blogger...

Hey folks!

Not sure how many of you still check this site... ever. But I've closed down the hosted Wordpress blog, because I simply didn't see a reason to keep paying for something I used to seldomly. But I'm re-opening this place, and hopefully will have some news to churn out every now and again.

Life's still crazy-hectic, and I'm not even really playing all that much these days, but I am watching and wishing I had the time. And there's plenty of commentary in the ol' noggin left. So, if you catch wind of this blog post... thanks for not forgetting about my old blog.