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Gamer from the Philippines.

Enjoys writing posts about different gaming related things, and enjoys comments from people who read his blog, good or bad (but preferably good).

Xbox 360
Gaming PC.

Happens to have, but does not own:
A Nintendo 64 with one game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Has a twitter: vbarreirojr
Has a Blog of Games and Geekery:

Following (12)  

As originally posted on my personal Games and Geekery blog. :(


It recently came to my attention via twitter that Ascaron, the guys behind Sacred 2: Fallen Angel had filed for bankruptcy and had actually closed its doors a few days ago.

When I originally heard the news about Ascaron's bankruptcy some time ago, it didn't seem like a big deal at the time, mostly because they were still chugging along as if everything was okay, and that things would right themselves in time.

Except, they weren't okay, and some recent posts on their forums reflected this.

A pair of threads on the Sacred 2 Forums, entitled The Current Situation About Sacred 2 and Ascaron R.I.P. had one of the community managers announcing what would be happening to the game: that a different company responsible for the customer support for the game would be taking over, and that those folks originally responsible for making the game awesome were more or less gone as of a few days ago.

It's a sad thing to see a game die a slow death, but there's still one more addon left for the game: one last, great adventure to be had. Hopefully, that also means that Sacred 2 will be remembered by many as an awesome game worthy of praise and admiration for breathing life into the souls of dungeon-crawling, loot-seeking, kobold-slaying adventurers like myself.

I think the music video above explains more or less what I feel in a couple of ways. Obviously, "I want Nobody
but you" refers to my need to acquire a copy of LOTRO at the moment or a game key at least.

Furthermore, the uncontrollable desire I have for the game is much like the guy with loose bowel movements in
the video.To be utterly crass about it, I can't control my desire much like his bowel movements, and the
universe keeps conspiring to take away the means by which I can make everything right in my little gaming
world (reference to Toilet Paper).

Anyway, what's happened since the last post?

I did some more digging and found some information on the Free Trial Assistance Forums. Basically, Turbine
seems to have been having issues with the Trial Account system for a little bit now, and it hasn't been
publicized yet. I think that my inability to purchase the game digitally through their online store is also due to this
issue they're having.

It's annoying to have such bad timing on my part, but there's not much I can do there. What I CAN do, however,
is become even more desperate.

Which is why I was lucky enough to stumble upon The site's author may actually be having a
contest for game keys soon, and therefore, it seems like my final option at the moment. While informing people
of this fact hurts my chances somewhat, it seems like common courtesy to note that he's awesome for putting
out contests at least.

I just hope I can win a key


As of 4:00 am, Philippine time, I've managed to do the unlikely. I found their twitter account, and shot off two
nice messages about the issues with both the online store and the trial account (in 280 characters, no less).
Their response: "We're actively working on the issue right now, sorry for the inconvenience - we'll get you in
the game ASAP!"

Thank Goodness.

NOTE: Used Google Chrome to type this as my Firefox browser doesn't allow converting of videos into embed
tags due to an issue with the NoScript addon. My apologies.

I decided to write this simply because I'm very frustrated right now and I needed to vent out my frustration a little bit.

Have you ever gotten this urge to play a game so badly that there was this utter longing for that specific game. I've felt it many times over the years, whether it was Super Smash Bros. Brawl or Fallout 3, but this is the first time I've ever felt the longing for a game so badly that not being able to play is actually depressing me.

So, a night or two ago, I decided to visit random blogs online in the hopes of finding something new to occupy my mind and I eventually found myself inextricably drawn to a Massively Awesome MMO Newssite (or MAMMON, for short. I decided to check out MAMMON's coverage of Lord of the Rings Online and my interest grew in the game. So much so that two days later, which is today, I decided to go out and pick up a copy of the full game and its expansion just to try it out.

Now, in my country, there's only one store chain that sells original PC games en masse, and it's called Data Blitz. I went there at 10 am, sleepless and hungry for LOTRO action, only to find out that the game was out of stock in the branch I went to. They mentioned a rumor to me that basically states that someone bought ALL the remaining copies of the game from all the stores.

"That's obvioiusly preposterous," I thought. A phone call later to a nearby neighboring branch revealed that it also had no copies in stock. Upon going home, I called up three of their other branches, and each one had nothing to offer me.

Fast forward to earlier this evening. The game was in my head, taunting me to go and find a way.

It was enough to drive me to do something drastic: I went online and applied for a free 10-day trial and the subsequent digital download.

Except, I couldn't.

When I tried to cre­ate the trial account through Fire­fox, it said that an error has occurred. When I tried to create the trial account through IE8, it redi­rected me back to Turbine’s Gen­eral Free Trial Area for LOTRO and DDO… it’s as if the sub­mit but­ton was the wrong link or some­thing.

Fazed, but undeterred, I resorted to the last possible option: buying a digital copy and enduring the horrendously slow download speeds of my connection.

Except, I couldn't, yet again.

I tried using Fire­fox and IE8 to buy the game from the link posted on the LOTRO ad page that comes up prior to load­ing the LOTRO site. Thing is, every time I tried, after submitting the payment infor­ma­tion, it said that it was unable to process the request, that I should ver­ify my infor­ma­tion, and then try again.

The proper term here now, is SIGH...

It's been six hours since I began my attempts to get an online version of the game to no avail. Perhaps the LOTRO site is borked, or maybe I'm just in the wrong region to download the game. I only wish I had an answer, not only to the question of why I can't get a digital copy of the game, but also to the strange, uncontrollable desire to play a game I barely know and whose source material I never fully read.

This isn't going to be a very long blog, mostly because I want to impress upon you folks the value of a really good idea executed with the utmost care.

The video above is a subtitled version of the second of a series of commercials starring LolaTechie, a Philippine grandmother who uses the internet to do things we young'uns normally do, such as SuperPoke people on Facebook or play videogames on the computer. In this case, she;'s playing a fictional videogame which has parallels to CounterStrike. :)

The ad agency behind this were subtle with the promotion for this one, as LolaTechie (or GrandmaTechie in English) has Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts, including her own website.

While the concept isn't new per se, the idea that advertisers are slowly warming up to the idea of a world where the internet can connect everyoine, young and old, warms my heart. I just wish I could convince my grandmother to play Battlefield Heroes with me.

As a gamer from the Philippines, I have a different perspective than most people when it comes to gaming. I come from a country where people who love video games and do their best to purchase their games legitimately have to contend with a lack of official support from various sources and slow connection speeds.

Despite these setbacks, I try to do my very best to go through the hoops needed to get a game I want in the state that I want it in. Sometimes, to get to that particular state that I want a game to be in, I have to live with downloadable content and the troubles that come with trying to get it, from region specificity and support to plain old connection slowness.

Broken Hearted for Broken Steel

When the Broken Steel expansion for Fallout 3 came out on the PC, I was thoroughly excited for it. Here's an expansion I was willing to pay good money for, as it extended the life of a game I liked to play. First things first though: I needed a gamertag and the Games for Windows Live client.

I tried to create a gamertag for myself, only to realize that the Philippines wasn't a selectable country for the gamertag. I thought it was a minor thing at the time, and tried using the nearest country I could think of to my country to suffice for the creation of a gamertag.

After downloading the GFW Live client, I thought it would be easy, except a thought occurred to me: would the patch even work with the international version of the game that I picked up? Slowly, more questions popped into my head about Microsoft Points and if they were region-specific, and if I could use the ones sold here (which appear to be for the Asian region) to purchase a digital copy of Broken Steel from what I assumed to be America.

I made some inquiries on the net and did a bit of digging myself, and found disappointment via the Games for Windows Live forums. According to one of the forum posts there, “If you are from a country that is not on this list, you will not be able to connect to the LIVE services, and we will not be able to provide you with assistance or a workaround.” True enough, that little hint from the gamertag country selection came back to bite me.

It's a good thing Bethesda decided to come out with a boxed version of the expansion, or I'd be thoroughly miffed.

Patches are Sacred: Pray you get them

Regardless of the platform, content patches are nice additions to gameplay that bring extra value to existing games while removing bugs and other things left behind by tired coders at two in the morning.

If you can get them, that is.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, for example is a great game with extra content served up for the PC version in the form of content patches. I recently got back into the game and wanted to try my hand at updating my game and found that, while finding the right patch can be tough at times (multiple versions of release, and different patch versions), what's tougher is making sure the full patch actually gets downloaded.

In Sacred 2's case, the issue here isn't that the patch won't download. Instead, it's making sure that your connection doesn't force the download to time out or prematurely cut off. With a 1 Gigabyte file being downloaded at 340kb/sec, usually less, this also means that you have to watch the computer constantly making a token click to a new page every couple of minutes just to make sure the connection keeps going.

This would be nice if there was a torrent, but sadly, such isn't the case. And download managers? I tried those to no effect, as they botch the file after downloading, making it unusable.

What does it boil down to then? LUCK. Lots of luck.

Apparently, one afternoon I was extremely lucky, as I managed to grab the patch after my 14th failed attempt, with a couple of botched complete downloads. Total time wasted for the bugfixes and extra characters: approximately 10 hours. Still, the game was worth it, and my Temple Guardian is doing fine.

Of course, there are no tried and tested universal solutions for these two problems, other than a one-world region for media and the use of torrents or resumable downloads for patches. Which would be nice, but hard to come by in this day and age.

Till then, I suppose I should either move to a different country and get a faster connection, or just grin and bear it.

My take: a whole lot of grinning, and some bearing as well.
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In my heart, I do not know whether to respect him or hate him.

It's been 22 days since the explosion, and I don't know what to make of the man who destroyed Empire City. He's killed thousands, left people without homes and families, and yet he's doing what he can to make a difference.

I don't understand it. Is he trying to atone for his acts? Was he really the man who set off the bomb? So many questions race through my head, and the only thing I can do is watch him reap the praise and adoration of my fellow man. Do I forgive him for that, or hate him more?

Empire City is a shell of its former self because of Cole MacGrath, and yet, because of that very same man, it feels like a better place than when the bomb stripped us of our dignity. People are helping each other out, and the police and doctors are doing everything they can to keep the city together. Food may be scarce, but people are sharing rather than killing each other for it. Strangest of all, the villain we want to hate is the same man others have grown to love.

I remember when the first airdrops of food came to the Neon District, how he fended off the Reapers and, instead of hoarding the food for himself, kept watch as people scrambled to take what they could. He's restored power to the city after the Reapers destroyed the main substation. He's escorted prisoners for interrogation by the police. He's even rescued hostages from Reapers who had taken over the El train.

His exploits, it seems, have always been fraught with choice. I wonder if he stops every time a man is dying on the street, or if he climbs onto rooftops and rides power lines to avoid seeing our faces. Maybe he wasn't given a choice when he started, I don't know, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that he chooses to be the man he is now.

Does that exonerate him from genocide? I wonder... Did he lose anyone in the blast, or in the ensuing chaos that came from it? Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. I may not be able to look him in the eye without shooting him first.

Perhaps I've been rambling like a man waiting for justice to come. It's been a long three weeks, and while the worst seems to be over, the world has still all but abandoned us. I wonder, will Cole MacGrath abandon us too?

I hate him, I respect him... it's all a blur to me now. If I can forgive him now, maybe I can live with myself for not dying as well. Till the day my end comes, I'll watch him, and pray for him, and maybe, just maybe, I'll offer him my peace while I still can.
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