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Fleppie Blog

The Big 7

May 23 The Big 7!

Last week was the week of the big 7.

Why? Two things 7 happened. First off I passed 7000 on my live gamer points.

My profile

Also my game-collection has now exceeded the 700 mark. Absurd? Maybe. Proud of it? Yes! All originals and a result of 5+ years of collecting games. So I am pretty proud of the fact that I now have 700 of em. I still enjoy all of them whenever I can, though most of my free time is spent in World of Warcraft.

I finally finished my new epic armorset

armorsets

Though the last one look more menacing I think.

Well that's about it for this blog. Not very interesting, I know, but the next one will be a bit more interesting, promise. I am just proud of the big 7.

two different characters, two different methods

Hi world!

Got some time on my hands so here I am blogging. Another one about videogames, just beause I have had some time and am playing a bit. So I am into collecting games. Some might say that I am addicted to collecting games. But if I ever reach a senior citizen status, I'll have stuff to do. So alot most people ask me why the hell I collect so many games. Well here is one of the answers: Experiences. Much like any other things in life, you experience stuff that will stimulate your reflexes, thoughts and emotions.

Now I have been playing World of Warcraft for a while now and I would like to explain these experiences through two characters of mine. In order to keep the flow of the story I'l explain the specific WoW-terms to non-Wowwers in yellow. So, on to the comparison.



So in the left corner we have my rogue: Subpar who specialises in sneaking around and launching surprise attacks. And in the right corner we have Regalia, a defensive warrior that is best used in conjunction with some kind of healer to tackle the more elite monsters in World of Warcraft, because she can soak up a lot of damage.
If you tackle single monsters, the game is more or less straightforward, but the strategy kicks in when confronted with multiple mobs.


To take a particular example: During a certain quest a captive troll asks you to get the key from the high priestess in the cave nearby. (why my warrior can't hack up the lock, or why my rogue can't use a lockpick on the key is beyond me but hey, it's a game) So you head into the cave to be confronted by a priestes with 2 bodyguards. That's 3 monsters, so blindly rushing in would mean certain death.
This is where the character-differences dictate how you handle this encounter. I encountered this quest with both my warrior and my rogue.


First, from the warriros perspective:
Regalia readies a shield and makes sure a healing potion is within reach. She charges in to get some rage (rage is generated by attacks and damage and rage is "used" to power most of the warriors abilities) After charging in she switches to defensive stance (lessens damage taken, but also damage output) and uses shield block (blocks 5 attacks) several times to lessen the damage taken. Slowly but surely she takes down the bodyguards, but when focusing on the priestes she needs to chug down the health potion to keep from dying and uses the ability shield wall. (blocks 75% of damge from all attacks for 5 seconds) After about 1.30 minutes she can loot the key from the fallen priestess, but has to sit down and eat a bit to recover from the fight. Afterwards she needs to fight her way back out of the cave due to new evil trolls that have shown up.

Same situation, different character.
Subpar is stealthed and watches the priestess with her two bodyguards make their rounds. He makes sure he is at full health and as they pass he saps 1 guard. (sap renders 1 monster unconscious for about 1 minute) The priestess and the other guard don't notice this and keep moving. (don't ask, it makes sense when you play) Sub jumps in from behind and uses cheap shot to immobolise the priestes. He then shifts his attention to the other bodyguard that has noticed him and is making his way to him. He blinds the guard, causing him to walk around confused for 10 seconds. He shifts his attention back to the Priestess who has just recovered from the cheap shot and he uses an attack that causes the Priestess to take extra damage for the next 10 attacks, and follows this up with a sinister strike. With eviscerate as the finishing move, the Priestess goes down and he can loot the key. (Most of the rogues attack add combo points to the monster you are attacking to a maximum of 5. At any time you have a combo point on a certain target you can use finishers that consume the combo points and add more damage/effect per combo point) At that moment the blinded bodyguard recovers and comes rushing towards him. Using the vanish ability he disappears in front of the bodyguards in a puff of smoke and goes into stealth mode. After standing and looking at the spot where subpar vanished for a second, the guard proceeds to finish his rounds as Subpar sticks to the shadows and sneaks out the cave to rescue the captured troll.


As you can see the two different characters handle the same situation quite differently. Which is why I have so many characters, they all provide a different experience. Which is why I own so many games......

Look mom, i can fly.

It has been quite a while since I posted about World of Warcraft. I am still forking over my 12 euros a month and am still playing it on and off. My last blog about WoW was whenI finally got myself a epic mount.

Which was this one:


You were able to get these mounts in (normal)WoW, but I got one when the expansion pack: The Burning Crusade was released. Why? Because you get your hands on gold much easier in the expansion pack and these babies cost a LOT of gold.

Normal mounts increase your travel speed with 60% and the epic ones increase your speed to 100%. But, the expansion pack also introduced new flying mounts. And I got one a couple of months ago. Was ecstatic as ever, but never had the time to post a pic. So here are a couple!


So this is a normal flying mount. There are epic flying mounts in the form of a dragon and a kind of flying mantaray. You know I want one! They fly 360% faster and normal flying mounts fly 60% faster than waking speed. But the gold cost is even steeper and on top of that, you have to finish a certain chain of quests and have an exalted reputation with a certain faction in the game, which translates to lots and lotsof quests and money offerings and above all loads and loads of time. But I aint in a rush, so I'll get there.....someday.

Oh by the way, this is how my level 70 looks nowadays:



Full PvP set with some maces I bought in the auction house. For the Horde!

Games & Philosophy

Hi all!

Things are cooling down a bit, so nowI have more time and also energy to blog a bit. I have been forming some ideas in my head lately, but just haven't had the time to write this stuff down.

So this blog is about gaming & philosophy. While playing games I always find myself trying to relate them to life in general. So this time I have been replaying Gears of War.I got the game when it came out, played all the way through to the end on casual mode, then shelved it and moved on to some random role playing game, which probably was Final Fantasy 12 at the time. I looked at my achievement points and noticed thatI only had 180/1250 for Gears of War and decided to replay it. Yes, I have been swallowed up by the whole achievement thingy too. A year ago it would have been inconceivable to me to by a First Person Shooter on anything else then a Pc, but I got the Orange Box for my 360 first and am going to get it for the PC at a later date. Why? Achievements! And the fact that I have been getting random "blue screens of death" lately on my pc. It's related to my videocard and some random hardware in my pc, but that's as much asI know. And I haven't changed any hadware at all in my pc, so that makes it twice as weird as my pc hasbeen functioning perfectly for the last two years. The joys of PC gaming: the best graphics for the price of the most troubleshooting.


Now me playing all the way through some basic "shoot everything" game is pretty rare. I am generally more into the medieval swords & spells genre andI like my games to stimulate me either through story or strategy. Or in some rare cases, horror. I don't like horror-games or movies, but some of them really pull it off well. Games like Resident Evil, Eternal Darkness, Clive barker's Undying, or in movies: The exorcism of Emmily Rose tickle your primal senses just enough to be enjoyable. AS a contrast, though I own most of the Silent Hill games, I haven't played them because those are just a little bit too disturbing for me to play. But if you get the first one, you have to get the sequels too right? Or is that my obsessive compulsive collectors disorder? :P

Before moving on to the meat of this blog, I'd like to note a blog by some guy on gamespot.com who noticed the same differences between Gears of War and Final Fantasy 12. (can't find that specific blog at the moment) They say that art imitates life (or is it the other way around?) and this is so true for this game. Gears of War ciming from America's Epic and FFXII being from Square-Enix, it's interesting to see the lead cahracters being he way they are. They say that art imitates life.....

How is that for art imitating life?

So in Gears of War need to make proper use of cover in order to survive. This mechanic reminded me of how most of us tackle life. Most of the time you'll stay in your comfort zone (cover) take a couple of shots at the issue you are dealing with and go right back into your comfort zone (cover). So I thought it interesting that Gears uses this same mechanic. When you have dealt with thefirefight (issue) at hand, you move on to the next firefight (issue) And occasinally a big boss (issue) pops up and you really have to work to get past this Boss. (big issue) But in hindsight, the Boss/Issue wasn't that hard at all. And shoud you ever come across this same boss/issue again, you would have that much of a problem tackling it, making you much more efficient at it.

Another interesting mechanic, your teammates. They seem pretty useless because they can't even take 1 enemy down. (though they are with 3 of em) But they do distract the enemy making it possible for you to flank them. So although they seem pretty useless, it's handy to help them back up when they are down so you have a better chance of making it through the firefight at hand. NowI am sure you feel the same way about some colleague or rival company, but just remember that in the end they are usefull after all. Even if it should be for some selfish goal. (which it shouldn't, because that is a big problem these days. But that's a topic for another blog

And my last point for this blog: In every game you seem to have to safe the world. (which does get way too predictable after a while) but in essence you are providing a (huge) service to mankind. So how does that relate to life in general? No matter what your job is, you are most definitely providing a service to other human beings. Try to remember that the next time you do your job. (this is especially for the people of certain warehouses from where I live)Come to think of it, you know what store-clerks are (genuinely) friendly to me here whereI live? The store-clerks of most game-stores here. Actually of all game-stores in the neighbourhood. One even waved to me as I was just passing in front of his store the other day.

Though the chick-movie "Pretty Woman" was not for me they definitely nailed this quote:

"Stores aren't nice to people, they are nice to credit cards"

It's a capitalist world after all.

Games, games, games.

Hi World!

Haven't seen you in a while, miss me?Tongue outBeen busy, busy and really busy. But things been slowing down a bit (thank God) soI got more time to do these crazy blog things.

As the title already gives away, this entry will be about games. It is almost holiday season, which means that game-publishers are going crazy with the releases. Soo many good games coming out as of lately.I am sure you haven't missed Halo 3's launch. Everybody on my friends list was playing that damn game on launch day. it was crazy.

Friends List

As for me, I haven't bought it yet and am fully resisting the hype. While everybody is playing part 3, I am still finishing up on part 1. This 6 year old game is still really good. Very nice controls, interesting story, nice graphics. After this, part 2, then eventually part 3.

So we got some crazy amounts af games getting released and the PS3 is finally getting up to steam. Drake's fortune, Ratchet & Clank, Heavenly Sword. (which isn't as good as the hype wants you to believe I think) And to all who are complaining about the game-less first year of the PS3, the 360 had the same first-year problems. So just be patient. It is just getting up to steam.

What baffles me is the evolution of games, specifically downloadable games.I don't have a ps3 yet, but if you have an xbox 360 and a Wii, you could get your gaming fix with just both of their downloadable services. They have a weekly release schedule and the games they release could keep you entertained well beyond that week. For less money that full games on the store-shelves. Great stuff. The Ps3 also has a downloadable service, which also has great games if I may believe the reviews.

There's 2 marks I reached as of last month. Number 1, I now own 650 games! Proud of it, no matter how nerdy it sounds. That's hours and hours of digital entertainment right there. IfI at one time may be jobless, I know what to do. And also, I made it past the 5000 achievement points. Although I know that these points are nothing but a digital penis it's still pretty satisfying.

Gamercard

By the way, Team Fortress 2 rocks! Funny, Exciting gameplay, teamwork and a distinct stylized approach. And ofcourse crazy gameplay! Me likes. I think my last game-related purchase this year will be Guitar Hero 3. Played the demo and it got me excited again.

A good ending for a great game year!

I got a couple of topicsI wanted to blog on, but didn't have time to, so I'll see you soon.

Fleppie, out.

Epix!

Epix!

So it's been a while ago since I was trying to give myself a boost and motivate me into getting that coveted level 70 for my main WoW character. And even though it didn't quite happen, I am still happy I had a week off to do whatever the hell I wanted. I only reached level 64 and broke 65 yesterday evening. I have had a lot of fun though, so who cares. I'll get to 70, in my own tempo. But I did get some new stuff. Yesterday-evening, or early morning I should say, I finally got myself an epic mount in WoW. Not only do they move faster, they look cool too. :) Who dares flee from the Tauren and her epic mounts?

Lok Tar Ogar, For the Horde! Gotta post em, I worked hard for them.

War Kodo

Frostwolf Howler

Character forming through gaming

Character forming through gaming

I think I already did this once, but I feel the need to do so again. So here goes. 

Games have always had negative media attention for a long time now. But I would like to focus on the positive aspects of gaming. The parts that I feel help me through life so far, so it goes a bit beyond improved hand-eye coordination.  

English
Not being a native english speaker, playing lots and lots of roleplaying games has taught me to understand english on a above average level when compared to my friends of the same generation.  

Skill-building
Games have also taught me that in order to get good at something, you need to take your time and get to know it's inner workings. If it's a roleplaying game, you need to make your characters stronger in anticipation of that one hard fight. If it's a racing game, you need to get to know how the cars handle and memorise the tracks. If it's a fighting game, you need to get to know the moves and combos of your character and how to counter the moves and combos of your opponent. You need to try stuff out, analayse, try it again, get better at the timing, the anticipation, at "feeling" the game. Same goes for life. If you think you can't do beter at work/hobby/sport, you can. It just takes time, dedication, practice and a good amount of healthy reasoning.......skill-building. If you fail the first time....The old and cliche saying: If you fail the first time, try try again. In the old days you would get stuck trying to do this one boss for days at a time. The first time he/she seems impossible. The second time, you start to see holes in their defense or a weakness to a certain attack. Then when you understand what you need to do, you still need to get over the mental blockade. Meaning, you need to learn to stay calm and focus on the task at hand. A great lesson if any. After you beat the boss about 3 times, you will be able to do it almost automatically any time you play the game again.  

Don't judge a book by it's cover
Just because you are good at a certain type of game, doesn't mean that your good at any game of that genre. You could be awesome at Quake, but suck at Unreal Tournament or Halo. You could be godlike at Final Fantasy, but suck at Grandia or Jade Empire. You could rock at Project Gotham Racing, but suck at Burnout. Don't judge a book by it's cover. First try them out, because every game(-franchise) is unique. Just because one game (person) of a certain type (race) is like that, it doesn't mean they all are.  

Console Wars?

As long as there have been consoles, there have been console wars. There have always been at least two companies trying to get the bigger share of the market. And right there at the frontlines are the fanboys of the companies, ready to bite off the throats of the fanboys of the opposite company. And with internet, they have been spiralling out of control, befouling every message board there is with their fanboyism.  

I believe Magneto would call these people: pawns. 

Now I don't understand the driving force behind these fanboys, nor do I have the desire to do so, or shall I pretend that I do. My feeling is that they are probably compensating for a lack of something else in their lives. But as all 3 consoles have been launched in North America & Japan, the fanboyism is starting to take up steam, with rumors and semi-facts belittering the message boards & news sites. 

When somehow it was leaked that the new Metal Gear Solid would also be released for the Xbox360, it stirred up the hive, particulalry in the xbox360 camp. But if one fanboy camp gets roused, the other must naturally defend. So it was on and off speculation all weekend. Fun for me as I can laugh at them, but the one thing I don't get is this:

Wasn't Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance also released on the Xbox? And isn't Metal Gear still associated with the Playstation? (Notice i said Playstation, not Sony :P) Wasn't there that Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for the Gamecube? (awesome game by the way) GTA is also associated with the PS2, although it got released on the xbox & pc as well. Halo and Rallisport were also released on the pc, yet they are still associated with the xbox. Most hits on the xbox got ported to the pc anyways, if you have a good analog joypad on your pc, you are good to go. 

Riled up over nothing if you ask me. But then again, like I said, I don't understand them, nor do I pretend to. So go on now, and get all emotional about some software on some platform. 

I myself am gonna lose myself in yet another game-experience.

End of the Year/Backwards Compatibility

End of the year!! Well amost. So what's up in the gaming world? Alot! Most great games get released during this period. The Nintendo Wii has launched to great succes (as most consoles do) and i am broke as hell. 

I was hoping to break the magic 600 this year, but it's not going to happen. I just bought Fahrenheit, or Indigo Prophecy if you are from North America and it may as well be my last purchase this year. 

Stuff I would like start off next year with: Completing my N64 collection with Diddy kong Racing, Mario Tennis & Super Smash Bros. Get the 360 games I would really like to play but don't have the time/money for right now: Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Viva Piñata & Rainbow Six. And keep with the collecting by getting Need for speed Most Wanted & Carbon, Project Gotham Racing 3, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat & Burnout Revenge. 

I would also like to get Prey for the 360. In choosing the shooter Prey for the 360, it will be the first time I have favored a console above a pc for a shooter. Why? Well because I mostly play those shooters for the single player experience and I can get some nice achievement points with that :) And I don't have to settle for lesser graphics as well, at least not much less, because the pc always wins on the resolution part. The DS and GBA are churning up more hit-games then I have time/money to keep up with, so I'll go slowly with those. If I get Tekken: Dark Ressurection, Killzone: Liberation, Socom. The GTA's & the Metal Gear series, I will pretty much have the hits for the PSP. Maybe Socom as well.  I would really like to get my hands on the last 4 zeldas to complete my collection: 

  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
  • The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past/Four Swords
  • The Legend of Zelda: The  Minish cap 

There is so much I would like for the ps2, so I won't even start. 

For the next year I hope they will release Starcraft: Ghost for the Next-Gen platforms & Okami for the Wii, just because that game has Wii written all over it if you ask me. 

And now to get to the reason for my post. Every end of the year you see several end-of-year awards come by. So I have made a end-of-the year award for myself, namely the backwards compatibiity awards. As I think no site/magazine has this covered.  

So here comes the top 3 for backwards compatibility 

Spot # 3:
The Xbox 360. Lagging way behind is the Xbox 360 with about 30% backwards compatibility support. But what is worse than less then 100% backwards compatibility support? (hell make that less then 50%!) Having flawed backwards compatibility support. A lot of games run at a noticibly lesser framerate and look a lot worse than on the original xbox. And you either have to print out that damn list from the xbox site or just put your game into the xbox to figure out which games work or not. Weird games like the Barbie games work on your new 360, but hits like Panzer Dragoon Orta still don't work. No clear logic to be found. 

Spot # 2:
The PS3. With about 98% of the Playstation 2 AND Playstation 1 games covered, it comes in a close 2nd. It has some graphical issues here and there, but the games that play, play well, no framerate nonsense as far as I can believe the forums. That's alot of games. And good games at that. 

Spot #1:
This is shared by the Nintendo Wii & the Gameboyplayer/Gameboy Advance. The Nintendo Wii plays ALL gamecube games, not just some, or some with graphical and framereate issues...ALL of em, exactly as you would play them on the gamecube. Put in the disc & play, as consoles should be, not having to research wether the game works on the console or not. When my Wii arrived, I unplugged my Gamecube and put the Wii in it's place. I had to put my Xbox360 on top of my old Xbox, that just looks plain ugly and it shouldn't have to be. Same goes for the gameboy advance/gameboyplayer would play all gameboy color and original gameboy games. That is a couple of years worth of games, awesome job. Though Nintendo broke with that traditon with the gameboy micro and the Nintendo DS, which doesn't play the older games, just gameboy advance games. So that is my little list, on to a better gaming year, can't wait! 

Most wanted list for next year: 

PC: Spore/Unreal Tournament 2007/The Burning Crusade!
Wii: Metroid Prime: Corruption
PS2: God of War 2
Xbox360: Halo 3 (prolly not going to happen)
Nintendo DS: the first game for the Wii to effectively use the DS/ Final Fantasy (the crystal cronicles equivalent)
PSP: Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters

Happy holidays!

Geometry Wars

So I bought myself a Xbox 360. And the most interesting game I have played on it, is the downloadable game called Geometry Wars. (apart from the other 3 games I own, excluding Zuma & Bejeweled) 

After playing it for a while, the next question came to mind: What acid-tripping masochistic genius came up with this game?? 

Geometry Wars

As you can see from the screenshot, the screen is filled with brightly colored enemies tht all have their own characteristics and explode in a  fireworks display when shot. Some even take multiple shots to take down and emit even more fiery sparks. Now take into account that this game throws more enemies a you then the old school days of Gradius and R-type and you soon find yourself squinting to see where you are at exactly. Just awesome. It captures the simple gameplay of back in the day when all you had to do is evade and shoot everything that moves. And the storyline was always: You and your advanced spaceship are earth's last hope for survival. (which were 9 out of 10 games back then) Geometry Wars literally throws hundreds of enemies at you per second......mercilessly. It's one of those games that will get you cussing out loud1 stick moves,

1 stick fires and there is just 1 button to release the mandatory smartbomb. The thing I like is that it not only captures the easy to learn, hard to master gameplay (in this case near impossible) but also captures the social challenges we used to set up for each other back in the day. Because you would *get* the gameplay pretty quick, you would set up mini-challenges. Stuff like: try playing with 1 hand. (If Yasser reads this, remember when I kicked your ass 1 handed with Streetfighter 2?:P )But since those challenges can't be checked electronically (for now) it has challenges like reaching 100.000 points without dying, or collecting 9 lives, or reach 10x multiplier. The spirit of yesteryearThe leaderboards (high score rankins that are kept online) are the score challenges from the early days, though at this point I am glad to reach 200.000 points, while the top scorer ranks in at 1.0000.000+ Gives you a challenge to live up to and the realisation that it is possible. Back then all you had to do in a game is score as high as you can, so that soon became the main challenge. Nowadays, it's different, sometimes better, sometimes not, but such throwbacks to old fashioned gameplay, done well, are very refreshing. 

My tips:

evade and shoot backward.
only shoot forward to blast a hole to escape when surrounded
the green enemies are the most annoying, shoot in a circle-form to circumvent their evading pattern
don't aim, spray. choose a direction to shoot in and move to cover the area
the name of the game is evasion, not shooting.
stay in the middle, gives you room to maneuver. 

The Xbox 360 is pretty cool. Nice integration of I-net gaming in the form of xboxlive. I hate micro-transactions though, every damn digital content costs money, don't fall for the hype.  And when using internet multiplayer, pc or console, **** are still a dime a dozen. But those 2 that are cool will probably stay on your friends list for a long time. Thank god for an ignore button. ps: this game is copied from a general blogpost and thus written for a broad audience. No I didn't think you lived under a rock, or was stupid dor anything .

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