In Which I Acknowledge and Apologize
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 5:14 pm
About a month ago, I wrote a post about Milo that, by happenstance, discussed a lawsuit in Brad Wardell’s past.  At the time, it didn’t catch fire.  Simply put, no one cared.  I


The Gamer Press Woke Up, Decried Gamergate, Then Went Back To Sleep
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 8:10 pm
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article shaming the press for basically ignoring GamerGate.  I was not alone, with Frank Cifaldi being one notable example who made literally


Darek Smart predicted PlanetSide’s future… in 2003!
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 2:38 pm
Stumbled upon this glorious quote by Derek Smart over the then-recent news about Sovereign’s demise in 2003: “Now, who didn’t see that coming? They’d better tell EB quick.  Can’t wait for the Planetside cancelation announcement – assuming they don’t pull … Continue reading


The Revanites’ Ascendance
Posted by Bwblog | Star Wars: The Old Republic [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 2:52 pm
FROM: The Shroud TO: All Assets (Level 25 Encoding Active) SUBJECT: The Order of Revan


Starflight: Intergalactic nostalgia trip
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 12:00 pm
(This is part of my journey playing through Starflight. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.) I may have yammered on a while back about the importance that Starflight held in my life back in the 80s.  … Continue reading


Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7
Posted by WordPress.com News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 1:08 pm
10 of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.


Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7
Posted by WordPress.com News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 1:08 pm
10 of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.


Final Fantasy X: Initial Impressions
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 10:24 am

I'm playing the Final Fantasy X HD Remaster on my Vita and I'm loving it.  The remaster is also available on PS3 or you can grab the original game on PS2.  Final Fantasy X is such a great game in the series.  It's another leap forward in console generations since it's the first Final Fantasy game on PS2.  I always knew that Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X were some of my favorites and this playthrough of Final Fantasy X is reaffirming that.

The setting is a technologically repressed world where a giant monster called Sin runs rampant.  Sin kills and destroys for no apparently reason.  An entire religion had been built around Sin and it's effects.  One of the outcomes of the religion is a group known as Summoners.  They can call on powerful mystical creatures known as Aeons to help them.  Summoners must journey throughout the world on a pilgrimage to gather all the Aeons.  Once they have done so, they can conduct a final summoning to banish Sin for a number of years.

The main characters of the story are a Summoner, Yuna, and the guardians that travel with her on her pilgrimage.  Tidus is the player controlled character, but all of the characters play a major role and are very fleshed out.

I think this Final Fantasy game has some of the most unique characters in the series.  There's a great variety to them.  Wakka is a religious technophobe with a love of Blitzball, the worldwide sport.  Lulu is a thoughtful black mage who was going to marry Wakka's younger brother before he was killed.  Kimari is an outcast from a race known as the Ronso and has been Yuna's guardian since she was a child.  Rikku is a thief from a group of people who ignore the religious teachings and work with machines.  And Auron, a mysterious figure from both Yuna and Tidus' past.  He has already completed a pilgrimage and has reappeared to help again.


Not to mention Yuna and Tidus.  Yuna is the most interesting character.  Her father was a summoner who completed the final summoning and died in the process, but managed to banish Sin for a time.  She is driven to follow in his footsteps and finds a lot of strength and courage along the way.  Tidus is surprisingly flat compared to the other characters, but it's probably so that you, as the player, can pour some of yourself into him.  He's a Blitzball player from an unkown place who was abandoned by his father at a young age.  Everything beyond that is basically Tidus just trying to figure out how this world works in comparison to his own.


The story and characters are really the stars of the show here.  With the leap forward from the PSX era to the PS2 era the developer was finally able to get characters to feel like humans.  They're all realistically proportioned, well animated, and are fully voiced.  Not to mention the graphics are so much better than the PSX era games.  Finally, our characters don't look blocky or misproportioned.

This is one of the first RPGs with a lot of voice acting.  Occasionally, you may run into an NPC with one line of dialogue that isn't important and they won't be voice acted.  But all the main characters and re-occurring side characters are voiced at all times.  The voice acting alone gives Final Fantasy X a different feel compared to every other game in the series.  Up until now, all of the emotion and inflection from characters has been done in our heads via text that we read.  Now the characters add emotion and variety on their own.

To it's credit, it usually succeeds.  There are a few cringeworthy lines and situations, but for the most part the voice acting works well.

And that's just one of the huge differences between console generations.  The other immediately noticeable change is the 3D world.  The 2D hand-painted backgrounds of the PSX era are gone and in their place is a 3D rendered world to explore.

The world is tied together by a beautifully crafted soundtrack.  In my opinion, this is the best overall soundtrack in any Final Fantasy game.  It perfectly compliments the world and adds a sense of depth to it.  While some individual tracks from other Final Fantasy games are better, there is no better soundtrack when taken as a whole.

Let's talk battle and progression.  The battle system finally moved away from the ATB system that has been in place since Final Fantasy IV.  That's six games in a row with essentially the same turn-order mechanic.  In Final Fantasy X we have returned to a purely turn-based system.  There are no timers running and turn order is clearly displayed on the right side of the screen.  Personally, I love this.  It gives me plenty of time to think about what I want to do and execute the best action.  No need to feel rushed or pressured.  It also means that, if I know what to do, battles can go very quickly because I don't have to wait for an ATB gauge to fill.  I don't know why they stayed away from turn-based combat for so long.


While only three party members are active in battle they can be switched at any time.  It's great to be able to leave your white mage out of battle until you need her, swap her in for a couple turns to heal everyone up, and then replace her with another damage dealer.

In the last few games I felt like I had a core team that I would always take into battle.  Some characters got a ton of play time from me and some basically got left out.  In Final Fantasy X it truly feels like your party is working together.  Each member of the party can help in every battle.  Why not have everyone contribute?  It makes a lot more sense than sending a few characters into battle while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs... I'm looking at you Final Fantasy VI through IX.

Battles give points which upgrade sphere levels.  Sphere levels are a little weird at first.  They're basically movements points on a giant progression board called the Sphere Grid.  You can choose where to move around the Sphere Grid and which nodes to activate.  Every activated node gives an increase in stats or unlocks a new ability.


It's interesting.  It's unique.  I don't really like it.  While you are given the "freedom" to move around as you see fit, there is really only one correct path for each character (except Kimari, he's weird).  Each character starts in a different area of the Sphere Grid and they are basically forced along an optimal path for much of the game.  It really comes down to being an overly complicated way to level up.  It's a cool idea, but I think it falls a little flat.

While I don't have much negativity about the game, I should mention the linearity.  I didn't remember from my original play through but Final Fantasy X is very linear.  Paths twist and turn but generally there is a single corridor that you're ushered down.  There's no open world map to explore.  You're kind of railroaded to the next plot point.  At least there are towns along the way to break up the linear corridor feeling to the game.  And there are still side activities like Blitzball and other mini games.  But while playing through the main story it's basically one path to follow.

All of this being said, I think that Final Fantasy X is the perfect game for a newcomer to the Final Fantasy series.  This is where I always recommend that new players start.  It's not too hard, it has a lot of modern gaming conveniences, it's fully voice acted, has relatable characters, and you won't get lost along the way.  Since it's available on PS2, PS3, and Vita it's also very accessible.  If someone asks you where to start, point them at Final Fantasy X.

This has been much more extensive than my previous initial impression posts.  Currently I'm about 6 hours into the game but Final Fantasy X just has so much to talk about.  I'll definitely write a wrap up when I'm finished, but I may do a few one off posts in between.  We'll see.  For now, I'm just going to play and keep enjoying the game.


LOTRO: You always take us to the nicest places
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 October 2014, 9:00 am
Well.   Here we are: the Dead Marshes.  Thanks, Frodo, for encouraging me to get out of that dank, dusty Shire paradise and go to all of these wonderful places.  I would not have had the opportunity to combat foot rot … Continue reading


The World of Warcraft zone name generator
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 October 2014, 12:00 pm
For kicks, I broke down some of the generic fantasy mishmash zone names in WoW into a chart so that they could be rearranged to make even MORE generic fantasy mishmash zone names.  Blizzard, you may pay me for this … Continue reading


Battle Bards Episode 37: At the Market Fair
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 9:00 am
Pack  your coin purse, for the Battle Bards are off to the market!  In this episode, we’ll examine music not only from MMO marketplaces, but tracks that inspire the feeling and atmosphere of bustling towns, harbors with ships being unloaded, … Continue reading


The Secret Adventures: Bach to the future (Savage Coast #1)
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 12:00 pm
(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!) Dear John (side mission) We’re in it now!  Our second mission zone in the game: Savage Coast.  SC is a shift from Kingsmouth, away from a … Continue reading


It is a good day… to game
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 9:00 am
As a gamer, I’m pretty psyched about today.  First up on the docket is RIFT: Nightmare Tide, which should be launching after some downtime this afternoon.  Our guild was properly buzzing about it, especially those who have been sitting comfortably … Continue reading


Starflight: Intergalactic nostalgia trip
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 12:00 pm
(This is part of my journey playing through Starflight. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.) I may have yammered on a while back about the importance that Starflight held in my life back in the 80s.  … Continue reading


Rome – City Assaults are Difficult
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 12:00 pm
We formed up again on Friday night for another round of Roman mayhem.  We had done a couple weeks of river crossing battles and it seemed like time to try something new.  I opted not to form the game up so somebody else could decide which skirmish scenario we were going to try.  Loghound was […]


It is a good day… to game
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 9:00 am
As a gamer, I’m pretty psyched about today.  First up on the docket is RIFT: Nightmare Tide, which should be launching after some downtime this afternoon.  Our guild was properly buzzing about it, especially those who have been sitting comfortably … Continue reading


Bethesda Behind the Scenes – The Evil Within’s Chainsawing Sadist
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 10:09 am
For this week’s “The Creatures Within”, Adam Sessler sits down with Shinji Mikami and concept artist Ikumi Nakamura to discuss The Evil Within‘s chainsaw-wielding manaic, The Sadist. Revisit the experiences of Adam Sessler exploring The Evil Within — including last week’s look at The Keeper — by visiting our YouTube channel, or watching the whole […]


A New My Sites Section
Posted by WordPress.com News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 1:10 am
Managing your sites just became faster and easier.


Death threats are not a good idea
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 3:38 am
This week the gaming news are full of yet another death threat story. Only this time it was a man who received the threat, Gabe Newell. And the threat wasn't made anonymously, but by a game developer unhappy with a technical flaw on the Steam page of his recently released game. Now Gabe could have called the police, as death threats are illegal in many jurisdictions, being a form of coercion. Instead he pulled out the ban hammer and kicked the game in question from Steam. The dev quit and I'd guess his career is finished. But apart from being a funny story about human stupidity, I think this is an opportunity to discuss the frequent use of death threats in gaming, especially on Twitter.

Death threats are illegal, especially so if what is threatened is a mass killing, like a plane bombing or a school massacre. So why did gamers divert John Smedley's plane with a bomb threat, and prevent Anita Sarkeesian to speak at a school by threatening a massacre? Don't they know that is both illegal and unethical? The answer is probably that they think their grievances justify unethical behavior and they don't think anything can happen to them because they made those threats anonymously.

Many people think they have a constitutional right to anonymous free speech. Guess what? Death threats aren't covered by that! If the so-called speech is criminal in itself, the first amendment doesn't protect it. No judge would consider a threat to bomb a plane or to massacre poeople to be "free speech". Which means that the only protection somebody who makes such a threat online has is technical in nature. The person making the threat counts on law enforcement not being technically able to find out who is behind that Twitter sock puppet account.

There are only two possibilities in this case: Either they are right, or they are wrong. If they are wrong, and law enforcement can trace such death threats back, some people will get a nasty surprise when the police rings at their door. What worries me is what happens if they are right. As I said, anonymous death threats are not a right anybody has. So if too many of those happen on Twitter and law enforcement gets frustrated, everybody's right to anonymity on Twitter might get threatened. Under pressure from law enforcement, Twitter might well be forced to change the rules, either openly demanding verified accounts or secretly adding better IP tracing. And if that happens we will have the idiots who made death threats about gaming issues to thank for.
Tobold's Blog




Cone Abilities Bug Partially Fixed

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

Hi folks, We wanted to let you know that we patched out a fix that addresses the issues you have been experiencing with cone abilities not casting towards the correct direction (e.g. Kassadin's E, Darius' E, Annie's W, Nidalee's E). However, there is still one case that isn't fixed, were if you quick cast the ability right on top of your character's position the ability might not fire at the correct location. We know that this sucks, but we decided to go with a partial fix that addresses most of the issues, while we're working on getting a full fix with 4.19. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.



Three quick GG reads
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 3:21 pm
Chris Kluwe, who continues to be one of my favorite people in the universe, has a very vitriol-laced take on the situation: Thus, when I see an article titled “Gamers


Game On for Extra Life
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 2:39 pm
This Saturday (October 25th) marks the 6th annual Extra Life gaming marathon for charity. Each year, gamers all over the world unite for a 24 hour period (or whatever they may choose) to support and donate to children’s hospitals to help sick kids. We have long supported the event, but this year’s we’ve created our […]


Should Guilds Have Levels?
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 1:00 pm
According to Blizzard the answer to that question is no, guilds should not have levels. We got guild levels as part of the Cataclysm expansion, 25 of them, along with perks to go with those levels.  Those levels were not easy to acquire back then.  During Cataclysm our guild only managed to get to level […]


ArcheAge - Getting Started Guide Part 2
Posted by Mystic Worlds [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 12:15 pm
Link to Part 1 Here are other questions I see new players ask on a regular basis or things I learned the hard way. Public Regal Stations Some crafting recipes require regal workstations. Typically, these workstations are crafted by players specializing in that profession and placed in their homes. Each faction has one set of public regal workstations available to the general population. For the West Faction, public Regal Workstations are located in Wardton, Solzreed. You’ll see a cluster of houses together with workstations on the porch and some inside. Those are regal workstations you can use.


The Secret Adventures: Bach to the future (Savage Coast #1)
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 12:00 pm
(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!) Dear John (side mission) We’re in it now!  Our second mission zone in the game: Savage Coast.  SC is a shift from Kingsmouth, away from a … Continue reading


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