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About
I'm WeasleX(tm) and I've been a gamer since I was 5 years old. I remember writing code from PC magazines my dad had, I think the first one I completed was one modeled after the board game battleship. Since then I've been a gamer, from PC (mostly) to console's, I've been addicted to video games.

I build some games using RM2K3, and I have a custom built PC rig I've built myself. Thus, I think it's safe to say that for right now, I'm a PC gaming fan. Even if I own an Xbox360, and a PS3, the PC has remained my number one gaming device.

So that's me in a nutshell, besides the facts that I like long walks by the beach, getting caught in the rain, I'm not into vodka, I'm into champagne. lol
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WeasleX
11:00 PM on 09.15.2014

Liegh Alexander may be the most respected woman in the industry, she writes for Kotaku, Los Angles Times, Kill Screen Game Pro, to name a few. I think it's safe to say that she's been with the industry for awhile. Still, her latest Blog on Gamasutra made me sit down and think for a bit. I'm a tad disturbed by the message behind it.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php 

I'm writing this because as of late, there seems to be some... concerns going on with gaming. It's no longer, just for fun, or a pleasant passtime. Lately, we've had some issues with the gaming industry as a whole. The issues seems to be a revolution of sorts, of regarding women and how they are dipicted in gaming... but it goes far beyond that, and I think I have to post this to simply get this off my chest before I can move on.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE!

This has spiraled out of hand as of late with death threats lashing out and nerd rage in it's most elegant pureist form of hate spew in all directions, with no end in sight. We can say, that it's a vocal minority, and that justifies that quite well. However, does that mean we can't have a normal discussion regarding this issue? Do we need to be petty to mearly dismiss the others point of veiw completely? I understand this is a tad touchy subject, it's hard to say one thing, without another group trying to ram the point home. 

Maybe I'm just skirting the topic, but I fear that if I list my point of view, I may be unvalidating what I really want to talk about, which is, about respect for an individuals point of view. I think that's a more important conversation to have.

THE ISSUE AT HAND

In a sence, it's about respect, that may seem vague though, still, that is the core of it. Can we treat people how we want to treat ourselves on the internet regarless of gender, religion, occupation, race, or even point of view? Or do we simply restrict this to respecting those purely in the real world, and on the internet, let these evils surface? Basically, and quite bluntly, do we all need to be giant Lan Line Aholes?

My nerd rage, has usually been regarding developers, or a particular game, or defending/attacking a certain issue with the industry regarding a sales platform. (Example, Day one DLC.) My topics were never as important regarding anything beyond gun violence and against assigning blame on the gaming industry. I've had heated debates, but none beyond, nor as important as the discussion as this. Let's not beat around the bush, how women are depicted in video games is a HUGE topic. Though, we can't have a discussion, if all we focus on are negative aspects. What Liegh Alexander did is list several sites that showed examples of feral nerd rage. Though I think she failed to point out that what we need are less lists, we need less finger pointing. Lets face it, this has gotten out of hand on both sides.

I, personally, can't stand any of it, I find that if you don't agree with someone, can't we agree to disagree, and move on? Or, can't you have a respectful disscussion rather than posting hate from the highest tower? You don't need to harass people to get your point across, and it makes your argument that much more less valid because of it. I've mostly, just avoided it, tried to plug it out and focus on the games. That's what I've thought was always more poignant.

If someone wants to change how games are story writen, can't we have better writing instead of going for an easy out? Though, I digress, because I've always believed that if your a good writer, you don't need the easy outs. You can do without the, save the princess quests, the hero's a macho man. On the other hand, I still believe in free speech, and the right to be able to write what ever you wanted to make. I may not like the creation, I may not even play it, but I have that right too. There, maybe I took both sides, but I still didn't alienate one group over the other, I didn't trash talk, I didn't call out, I didn't harass.

My whole point is, if you want your point of veiw to be respected, it's going to be give and take. You have to respect other individuals regardless of if they're right in front of you or a million miles away. That way, they can respect you too, they may still not agree with you, but I don't think that's as important. Your not going to change hearts and minds on an issue this strong, and nerd raging the issue just makes it worse.

Maybe if we listened to the other side a bit more, maybe if we respected everyones opinion besides our own, maybe, just maybe the internet would be a better place. That's my two cents though, which is worth just that, two cents.









I actually held this back because I didn't think I should post this. So, if you agree or disagree, thats fine. I also know that some of this is slowly not becoming an issue, though it's still quite prevalent.

STEAM SELLS: SHOVEL-WARE

When I say, Shovel-Ware, I mean crap games from the 80's, RPG Maker games that have little right to be sold let alone be on Steam, games that don't deserve a place on Steam, (hidden object games, games that are more art pieces than game are prime examples.) and games so old they no longer work but recently are being sold on Steam.

Long sentence structure, I do apologize, still, the fact remains that there are thousands of these titles clogging up Steam. Though, I will admit, SOME of these games are good, Sometimes Always Monsters, Starbound (Which I was surprised with), Gary's Mod, to name a few were very fun. I'm going after all the others that make up the majority of crap we're seeing on Steam right now though.

RPG MAKER

There are a mere handful of titles that I would consider buying, most, I wouldn't give the time of day. Why? It's because most of these titles are bland, look and play the same and there are far better titles I can download for free on RMN right now. (http://rpgmaker.net/) You can find five good titles faster than you could buy one right now at RMN. I'm not advertising that site, I just need to post it to prove my point. Free is free and these people have more passion for their work and are far more creative than the dreg we're seeing on Steam. Knowledge is power people, let's use it for once.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't sell your work, but unless you have full rights to use the music, and art assets, don't bother, just don't. Even then, don't sell your work if your a novice. It'll look the same as everyone else's project, it won't stand out, it won't sell. VX in particular has graphical issues in that all the projects look the same, no matter how well your skills are.

Titles that don't fit

Take a look on the new releases right now, Trainy Town, Mountain, Dance Wall Remix, Tranz Trouble, ect. COME ON, this isn't Desura, we expect some amount of quality control when it comes to titles being released to Steam. These games just don't fit well with what was normally submitted to Steam. I'm sure some of these are okay, I list Mountain because it's not really a game, there isn't an objective that I can perceive. (And don't give me that crap about me not understanding that game, TELL ME WHY IT"S A GAME! WHAT OBJECTIVE IS THERE!?)

These titles fit desura, or a mobile platform, maybe Steam is trying to sell more mobile games, thats fine, but don't shove it in new releases then, put it in a special area where it doesn't clog up the New Release section.

Titles released from the 80's 90's 00's ect.

These titles have the audacity of being released in the new release section. The whole point of the New Release Section on Steam is that it's for NEW RELEASES! Not for titles that have been drug up from the darkest pits of abandoned ware only to see the light of day once again on Steam.









I think it's time we have a good long talk about the gaming industry's problems as a whole and the worst pitfalls it's given consumers over the past few years. Let's agree right now, that this isn't a direct attack on any one publisher or developer, although, I will be using some as an example. Some of these publishers/developers have been doing these things (listed below) more than others, but who's screwing who more isn't the point of this blog. What is the point is that the gaming industry has been doing more and more things to try and bilk money out of consumers. Don't get me wrong, I believe that Developers and Publishers should get full pay for full work, but beyond that is a bit shady.

Preorders

South Park put it best when promoting the Stick of Truth. "You know what you get from preorders? A big fat dick in your face." Your basically paying money for something that isn't finished yet. Without reviews, you can not know if the game you've just paid for is any good and are giving full faith to the developers skills that the game will be an enjoyable one. Preorders often entice the consumer to buy with preorder exclusives that usually get released 3 to 6 months after the game is released. Now... Usually exclusive (in this case) means that it won't get released unless you buy the preorder, but this is rarely the case as Developers will sell these AFTER the hype has died down in 3 to 6 months.

I'd say Preorders had a purpose a long time ago, when SNES JRPG giants such as Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Ogre Battle, Breath of Fire, ect. Were released and it was hard to get a copy from the first shipment unless you preordered. Ogre Battle, alone was impossible to find after it's initial release. Now, they're used to trick consumers into buying something that has yet to be finished and properly reviewed. The only way Preorders are acceptable, is that you were going to buy the game at launch, and you really wanted the cosmetic treat that the Dev's were 'exclusively' going to give out 3 months before anyone else.

Early Access

Another thing plaguing the industry, Early Access. Which is okay if you want to support the developer, BUT IS NOT OKAY FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT. Why, because the game isn't finished, it may never be finished, and it bypasses the fact that it may be crap by simply stating, that it's not finished yet. Reviewers find it impossible to review Early Access because, if a game isn't completed, it can't be reviewed properly unless it's in a final form. The main problem is that it's possible to never complete a title in Early Access, there is no 'end date'. The developers can take as much time as they need, apparently, (and I just looked this one up) infinity is a very long time.†

The game 'Towns' is a prime example of what can go wrong if you never finish a product and you've already paid for it. The game is no longer being developed, those that bought the game are left with an unfinished mess which they wasted money on. Early Access is a way for Developers to gain quick cash during development, that's all it is. Do yourself a favor and wait for it to release.

MMO Beta Cash Shops

Personal favorite one, I really hate this. If your MMO isn't finished than why is there a cash shop? ITS NOT FINISHED YET, DONT FUDGING CHARGE PEOPLE UNTIL IT IS! At that point, if you have a cash shop open, then it's no longer beta. Think of it as a temporary exclusive, early access game. These TEEAG's, as I like to call them, (not really) allow a select number of individuals to play their game before release. It's not beta, don't call it beta, not when your charging people in a cash shop.

My problem is with the latest culprit of this crime, Star Citizen. I have no problem with the game itself, but sololy with pre-kickstarter reward alpha. If you have a cash shop, and you have 50 million dollars that you've already acquired, and you still need more cash, than get a damn publisher. If you have a publisher already, and you have 50 million in start up cash, than you don't need more money, because the publisher will give you what you need at that point.

Publishers! YES, I SAID PUBLISHERS!!!

Day one DLC, always online DRM, dumbing down graphics for a PC version so the console version looks better, ect. The list goes on, these are mearly a few things Publishers do to screw the consumer to gain either security, or money. I can't stand it, and fortunately few of us put up with it. The fight with Publishers (Notably EA) and consumers has been waging since they directly screw with the consumer, where as the one's I've listed before are indirect and are optional to the consumer.

DLC in general is grievously atrocious in that it forces consumers to pay installments for the full game. You could argue that the developers just didn't have enough time and added these late. That's all well and fine, but then why didn't they charge me one lump some instead of dolling it out over 5 to 15 installments over the course of a year? What ever happened to the classic expansion pack where you got everything in one pack, they charged $20 to $30 for, and everyone was happy? Now it's in 5 to 15 installments and they charge anywhere from $10 to $30 per DLC. Pain in my A$$!

DONE

I've merely scratched the surface of why all of these are bad for the consumer, but fortunately, most, are optional. Which means we have the power to make them stop if we just don't buy into the Early Access, Preorders, or the MMO Beta Cash Shops. We just don't give in, we wait, we be patient until the game is released, and reviews published. Granted, I don't demand or even expect any or all to do this, as this is simply my two cents, which is what it's worth, two cents.








Looking up some things on the internet can be scary, and seeing so called 'Christian' forums are a bit of a fright for me. Now, don't get me wrong, religious beliefs are a great thing in this world, and I'm for freedom of speech and freedom of thought. With that said... I don't think some of these people have a clue what they are arguing about. They rant about this violent video game, and that violent video game, ranting on and on and on... Yet, I doubt they've picked up a controller, or a keyboard and had a throw down with any of the titles they seem to rant about.

ADULT OR NOT ADULT! THAT, IS THE QUESTION!

These people don't know that some games were made for adults in mind.

Would I let my child play Mass Effect 1? NO, he's under age and it does have nudity, he's too young for it.

Would I let my teen play it? Yes, he's old enough to comprehend what he's playing.

Does that make me a bad parent/person? NO! In fact, it makes me a responsible one for actually getting involved with my kids life.

It's like every media out there ever, yet we, like people with Alzheimer's seem to instantly forget that with movie's, books, ect. there's subjects that are appropriate for young people, and adults alike. An adult shouldn't have to be subjected to watching Sesame Street, a child shouldn't be forced to sit through Freddie Kruger. That's just the way it is, as an adult, I tend to enjoy a good sci fi game, or an action packed thriller like Bioshock, or Far Cry. Though a child should not play them till they are older, that's why we have the ESRB rating system. It's on the box, in plain English, maybe we should use it more often! RAWR!!!

By the way, ESRB, it's tougher than it is for a movie rating. I can get killing, swearing, heavy drinking in a PG-13 movie, but I get slapped with a mature rating if it's in a video game. For those less informed than most, here's a link to ESRB, read it, learn it, use it.
http://www.esrb.org/index-js.jsp

WHEN I WAS HIS AGE...

Dinosaurs roamed the earth, and you had to walk, bare foot, uphill, barefoot both ways in a blizzard, for miles, I get it. Pong was probably the rage for you, but times have changed, video games aren't just a child's toy anymore, in fact the average age of a 'gamer' is in their 30's. We're voting age, (HINT HINT REPUBLICANS/DEMOCRATS), we grew up with the Atari, or Nintendo and have graduated into something more. Just like every media form before and after, we need something for just us, we need something age appropriate for us.

WELL, ITS INTERACTIVE, SO THAT MAKES IT DANGEROUS.

I am sick and tired of every politician, evangelist, NRA, Nass Car Fan, ect. making this argument. You know what else is interactive, a gun, and last time I checked, games haven't been built to kill a person. I'm not a finger pointer, but it would seem to me, guns have been blamed for more deaths than that of a video game. Google a picture of someone that was once alive, and then shot dead. Google may just crash because of the volume of pictures. Seriously though, more people have died in Chicago in shooting related instance's than those serving in Afghanistan or Iraq combined in ONE YEAR ALONE, thats a statistic you can take to the bank. (I wish I was making this one up too...)

Yet, NRA claims guns don't kill people... People killed people. I'm pretty sure a gun freaking helped!!! These same people blame it on games, drugs, gangs, violence in society, everyone but themselves... Yet, gun violence keeps increasing as well as gun sales. Kinda makes you wonder who the NRA represents, certainly not gun manufacturers. (sarcasm) No, I'm not saying ban guns, but maybe, we need to grow up and start some down to earth, sensible gun control laws on a Federal level for once.

I'm getting off point though: The fact is, a video game is a form of media that is, in fact interactive. So are many other things in life, that doesn't mean we will instantly imitate what we see or do in a video game. Sim City is about planing and developing a city, that doesn't mean I'm going to instantly start becoming a city planner. GTA is about... well, it's one giant sandbox style game where you can do anything, most of it, very illegal, that doesn't mean I became a criminal overnight because I started playing it.

ART FORM SHAMART FORM!

Apparently, video games have become more and more of an art form, one that should be respected, but seldom are. Some are grotesque but make you ask very hard, yet important questions. Super Columbine Massacre RPG!!! Is actually a real game, that asks the user to take the roll of two killers at Columbine. It's based off of an actual event, and it was the first time gamers were apart of any form of important conversation. It makes you uncomfortable, but on purpose, while playing it. SCMRPG, was never meant to be entertaining, but since it was a video game, we tend to think that, as a rule, it should be. Yet, SCMRPG never was, nor was that it's intended purpose, it made you think, as you were taking the roll of a killer. Some of it made me very sad to play, because I knew this actually happened for real.

This game is, a good example of an art form seen in a video game, no where does it say you have to like it, but it's art none the less. There are other games out there that are similar in form, in that they have a message to say while playing it. Some are very interesting, some, I feel uncomfortable, playing, yet all are an art form in their own right and I have respect for a developer who has the monkey's to do something like this.

Yet, because it's a video game, because it's interactive, many who are outside the walls of 'gamers' see it as anything but pure utter crap. †Ignorant interpretation, is still interpretation of an art form. I only feel pity for those who can't understand this form of art, and have found myself lacking in patients in dealing with them. I simply, walk away, you can hate a game with a message, but at least play the damn game to try and understand that message instead of, flat out, calling it crap. Your point would have more meaning, and many would at least, validate your argument because you played it. A good example of what I'm trying to say: Saying Michelangelo's David is pure pornography, without actually seeing it.

POINT!?! YA HAVE ONE?

Point is, you can't blame any form of media for making a person violent, media is of itself, not inherently dangerous. Sadly, because there are many who don't, or won't except video games as a media norm, will always want to see it's demise. Those who are ignorant or are intolerable to any media form, will always exist, I can't nor will I even try to persuade them to change their ways, I just don't have the energy to waste my time on that.

Still, every now and then, I need to rant, I need to get it out of my system. Instead of going out and 'killing everyone' because I played a 'violent video game' I, instead, rant on a pointless blog, because that how I, as a person who enjoys video games, deals with issues that bug me. That's just my two cents though, which is worth just that, two cents.








DISCLAIMER

Granted, I don't normally do reviews, but since everyone else is doing one of FF14 A Realm Reborn, I thought I'd try my best to take a crack at this, seeing as I've played this game and actually like it. I say, actually like it, because, it surprised me. I am not the kind of person to like Final Fantasy games, the last one I liked was FF6, AKA FF3 in America. I've played them all, for better or for worse, and hated most. The only reason I waste my hard earned money on them at all is mostly for nostalgia, and I usually wait till they drop in price to $10 in a bargain bin. ANYWAY~ Disclaimer is now done, on with the review.

GAMEPLAY
8 out of 10

Most MMO's are a remake of World of Warcraft, with no thought of trying to be new or innovative, if it's an MMO chance's are, your playing a rehash of WoW. FF14 does not stray from this, it's a very, 'in the box thinking,' typical MMO. With that said, however, it's more of a polished version of your typical MMO. Everything from combat to questing is done to your standard MMO, it's everything you've seen before, there's nothing new. Yet, I can't help but give the gameplay an 8 out of 10, for one reason, it's well polished.

Quests are old school, but are completed at a much faster pace. The standard, gather, mob kill, escort, and delivery are all there, however, it's done fast and done right. You don't have to kill 100 boars for 5 stupid livers. Instead, if it say's you need to collect 6 livers, then kill 6, and then your off to the next quest. Re-spawns are fast, so you don't need to wait for mobs to drop. This fast paced questing, is just better, in my opinion. Apart from WoW, I seem to get gratification faster, finish a quest fast, on to the next, done, next, done, next. Honestly, this fast paced style should be added in every MMO.

Mob's react similar to WoW as well, with a twist or two. For one, if the mob is aggressive, it will not attack you unless it's facing you. Even if that mob is 20 times your level, it still can't attack you unless it faces you. This is probably the single most NEW thing I've seen in an MMO actually do, and FF14 serves this up well. The second twist is, that if a mob is doing a huge attack, it'll indicate that by showing a red square/circle on where the attack will land. This give's you a chance to dodge the attack if your fast enough. Though, this isn't new, it's been done before in GW2. Still, it's nice to see that FF14 is trying to mix up the combat a bit.

Finally, you have a FATE system similar to Warhammer, this actually helps you level faster, though, to get gear, you will still want to quest. Thus, if you feel you're being left behind in the level market, run a few FATES and you'll be back in the game. Again, this system is nothing new, but FATE's appear more frequently, and if your too high a level for one, you can be synched down if you want.

GRAPHICS
8 out of 10

The graphics are just pure unfiltered AWESOME. I don't have many issues with the graphics save for that they reuse the textures a wee bit too much. Though, so does every MMO in existence, so I won't begrudge them too much. What I would have liked to see, is more graphic settings, instead of the basic ones they have. I have a higher end machine, and I'd rather just pick the settings, rather than have some automated system pick them. I'm annoyed by this because I usually switch everything to high/ultra high, and now... I have to trust that this automated system can figure that out, which, in the best of cases, usually puts performance ahead of graphics. (Of which, my set up can do both, if given the chance.)

SOUND
7 out of 10

My only main issue with FF14, was sound, which seems like an odd thing to complain about, but hear me out. In FF14 there are cut scenes which are well done graphically, however, they have limited voice acting. Now, I don't mind if you decide to add voice acting in the game, but FF14 is a good example of how this is done wrong. Some cut scenes have voice acting, and it's well and good, but for the majority, it's non-existent. In some case's you have one cut scene with voice acting, and 10 similar cut scene's without. Such, annoy's the crap out of me, and I would have liked to see them fleshed out more.

Now, I don't know about the Japanese version, if they are or are not fully fleshed out, I can not say for sure. However, if they are fully fleshed out, and the North American/euro isn't, I can only say that you can't do one group while leaving out the next. This is the one, and only thing, that really could use another coat of polish.

Multiplayer
10 out of 10

Instead of forcing a 20 man raid, or a 5 man instance, FF14 does something better than every MMO I've played. It doesn't force you to do them. Sure, there's a story attached to this game, but the instance's and raids, are more of a side quest than the main dish of the story. In fact, you could solo the whole story without being forced to join a group. If every MMO did this, I think I'd enjoy MMO's more than I have through the years. Mostly because, I avoid 20 man raids, (since there isn't enough gear to go around for everyone, and gathering up a 20 man group is like pulling teeth sometimes.) Now, I can enjoy the story, without dreading when I won't be able to play through it.

OVERALL SCORE
8.5 out of 10

PROS

Everyone will give this game a 9 or a 10, honestly, I'm going for the 8.5. Mostly because it does the old concepts, there's nothing new here. However, FF14 does old MMO concepts, but does them the way THEY SHOULD BE DONE. They reward the player, instead of punishing him/her. Questing is fast paced, leveling done equally fast, inventory management is less of a pain, porting from one area to the next allows the game to be played faster. Just overall, a better WoW by far, and well polished by many standards. Accompany that with great graphics, in depth story, and a great multiplayer experience, you've got yourself a hit MMO.

CONS

Does everything your MMO does, still not complaining about this too much, though, I kinda wish we had a new concept or two thrown at us.

Stability is still an issue, the game is down for maintenance every day to every other day.

Endgame will be ready in a patch, thus, no endgame thus far.

Voice Acting could have been a lot better.








Dominions

It's an old school turn based strategy game with a small but intense fan base, and chances are, you've never even heard of it. It's called Dominions, designed by Illwinter. Though the series has been around for awhile, the reason I'm bringing up Dominions now, is because the latest game, Dominions IV has just been pre-released in a beta form on Desura. The last game, Dominions 3, was published in 2006 by Shrapnel games, who's famous for the Space Empires series. Probably another game you've never heard of.†In any event, the release of Dominions IV was a bit of a shock to the fan base of Dominions. We only were informed by Illwinter at the†beginning†of August. Even those close to the Illwinter staff had no clue of it's inception. Everyone was under the impression that the Dominions series was dead and gone forever, fortunately, this is not so.

The game takes place with mythology, unit's are designed with that in mind. You have Minotaur's, Cyclops, dragons, ect. Each nation is unique, and fields many unique units and spells that you can cast. You start off by designing a pretender god, and your goal is to trump other pretenders and become a true god. You can do this in various ways, with priests, using Thrones of Ascension, spells, or the most common, Military to conquer other territories. If it sounds too simple, that's because I'm simplifying it. It's a bit more complex than just, take over territory with overwhelming force, or just Ascend x number of thrones. There's magic spells to research, items to forge and equip on your generals, a vast tree of spells to cast, military units to be recruited, and priests to be used as Prophets.

Let's not forget the vast different military units there are in this game. Some are just hulks, like Elephant Riders, they take a lot of resources to build, but are worth it. The Elephant Riders trample over everything in their path... However, this comes with a cost of it's own, if they get low in moral, they become frightened and stampede in the opposite direction... Towards your own units... and squish them to get away from the battle. There's Spider Cavalry, which uses web's to freeze enemy units, the troops on the spiders have spears to stab opponents while the spiders use their fangs, it's a double threat. Yet again, there's a downside, most spider riders use light armor, so... the rider usually dies, BUT the spider usually still survives and is trained to kill your enemy's even after the rider is dead. (COOL HUH!?!)

There are many other unit's like this, such as the C'tis faction, which has a mix of light and heavy units. Since the faction is Lizards, all their units look like walking lizards. †With the C'tis Faction, they have Death, Nature, and some Astral as their main source of magic. They have chariots but the bulk of the military is in Infantry which are effective at what they do, and are quick to build, for the most part.†This is a good example of different race's built in the game.

Chances are, this is the best turn based strategy game, you've never heard of, and the downside is the graphics, which... are still done in old school pixels. Let's also not forget that Dominions IV is still in BETA, sooo... every update with probably kill any saves you have. Still, the game is addicting as hell, and I'd play it any day over the number of high end RTS games we have now.

LINK ON DESURA BELOW
http://www.desura.com/games/dominions-4-thrones-of-ascensions