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1:26 PM on 07.24.2012

Tales in New Eden: A detour for no good reason

Today wasn't a good day for me in the Blue Republic. I logged in tonight to find we are now at war with a corp called Born 2 Kill. Well.... shit. We need to fight someone other than reds now. So I joined a fleet to go to war and it turns out they wanted anything better than what I had. That included a cruiser. So I jumped out of fleet and shot off to find someone selling a Caracal for 7 mil. "I'm used to them" I tohught. I took one out on a PvP roam back with PC Gamer and lost that pretty quickly in a fight.
So once I got it. I needed to fit it. Figured I'd go for some tier 1 gear as I know getting nice things will only end up being destroyed. Problem was that my route was blockaded by a large number of Born 2 Kill members and I have no weapons on my shiny cruiser. So I took a detour! 15 jumps to get round. That worked.
I faced a new issue. I was missing some parts of my fitting. So off I went to Jita to shop. Passing through I saw a little Merlin frigate. Didn't touch me on the way through. But once I was fitted I thought I could take him. I'm in the bigger ship with more guns. It's going to be a pushover. My ship is shield tanked and I can warp scramble him so he can't leave...................

I warped in and I thought. "A 1vs1 will be glorious." I got straight to aiming and shooting. Problem was that he was already on me and quickly scrammed and webbed me so not only am I unable to leave. I was moving really slow (I knew a bigger afterburner would have worked but didn't have/buy one). Next problem was that my missiles were hitting the Merlin but doing piss-poor damage, which baffled me. The git must've been boosting his own shield from damage like crazy. Lastly he got on me so quick with his blasters they just bit through my ship and within a minute of trying to run back to the warp gate, my shields were gone and I knew the ship would be lost...

Luckily I remembered to insure it and got 5 mil back from a 7 mil purchase. The equipment I fitted was mostly tier 1 so it was likely free from drops or got the lot for half a mil. So I learnt from my mistakes.

1. Don't go off to fight in a war on your own.
2. Always pay for tier 2.
3. A stasis web would have been a lot more useful to keep the merlin away from me.

Above is the current status of the war. The B2K corp has lost a lot of money picking a fight with Blue Republic. Even better is that when you fight Blue Rep. Red Fed become an ally. So soon they can join the war and their current 39 losses to our 4 may spiral out of control once a bigger corp wades in. They've lost 3.7 billion isk already. So that's something to smile about.   read

2:49 PM on 07.19.2012

Tales of New Eden: Return of the PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!

Like the title says, I'm back in and balls deep this time. I went for the Power of 2 deal. So I got me another character on the go who is a full blown industrialist. She is mining and making shit already. Best news is that this new character ain't far from my main character now.
For I have joined the Blue Republic in the fight against the Red Federation in the never ending war (from 2006(?))! But on my first night I forgot that you need to sort out quitting the last corp I was in. So 24 hours later I was a blue and tonight instead of hauling shit to my new home. I jumped in my Super Merlin and joined the fleet to do battle. The only problem was that I have been drinking a little vodka to forget that I'm on-call (pain in the arse) this weekend.

Now I was a little bit worried about my Merlin. It is a shield tank with a some close range blasters with a web and a armour repairer as backup. I was worried that splitting it a little bit would cause an issue of sorts or I am wasting it on more useful low slots. Turned out things went well for me for once.

Once the fleet mobilised. We ventured out and got into a fight of 30 vs 30. This was the first time I was in a what felt like a large scale battle. It was fucking brilliant. I was weaving between ships shooting at them and doing some good damage to them. Luckily my shield tank is a little overkill with some rigs to boost my shield health and add a lot of EM resistance with my invulnerability field. I took a lot of damage and got only as low as my shield. Not once was my shield eaten up. Once we finished off the red's cruiser, in which I contributed a massive 7% of the damage given to him. We took off back to safer ground where more blues were joining the fight. We bolstered up to 40 odd pilots. But me slowly getting drunk and chatting to a friend on Steam ended up with me being extremely lost. I joined up again 5 - 10 minutes later I managed to find them in the middle of nowhere. Where we eventually took to the fight once again.

We entered the fight once more. This battle was more confusing as we had a different fleet commander and I wasn't aware who he was talking about when making primary. So I shot at people blindly but unfortunately my guns are shit at range. I gotta get close. So I may have got on killmails with just adding webbing to a victim. But once I leant what was going on. I helped mop up and help finish any last reds. We won this battle for sure. Unfortunately I missed out on looting any space wrecks. But a great thing happened. A red federation salvager came along to try and get some of the loot too. But didn't realise we hadn't left. He was an easy target to 40+ Blues.

We took off to ready up and get ourselves ready for my last battle. I heard about an old Blue player that joined the reds recently. The Blues wanted him dead. We got into the fight once more. Problem was that I warped in with the larger ships. So I was 20 - 30km away from everyone else. I had to burn in. But once I was in and had learnt from the previous fight. I was pew pewing away. I took some hits but still nothing did much against me. I was concentrating on ruining the other frigates day by webbing and shooting them down once they had slowed. I think it went well. I even got a few mil of tech 2 gear dropped by some of the reds. That will be handy for my cruisers and destroyers. :)

So what have I learnt today? PvP is great when in a corp that is in a perpetual war. Also that I learnt some new fleet coms skills and drinking and procrastinating can lead to being a lone pup in a sea of red.
I'll get more detailed battle reports. But at the moment. I've drunk too much to not remember the grand details of the battle.
I think I'm going to fit in nicely with the Blue Republic. :)   read

1:45 PM on 03.29.2012

Tales in New Eden: Cutting my teeth in PvP

Back again from the world of Eve Online. But the corp has been organising who wants to do what to try and get us organised into groups and I have opted for PvP. Because seeing ships fight and die is great! With this, we had started performing PvP roams to learn the ropes and to try and get some kills under the corp banner.

So we did our first roam in destroyers. It was more of a training exercise really. I took my Cormorant, a Caldari destroyer that seems to be good with Hybrid Railguns. I also fitted it with some shield tanking along with a rocket launcher and auto-cannon to protect myself even better at close range if there's anything giving me grief. Once we all showed up and I accidentally locked a teammate as a target. We were told the rules and how things work. So we set off for low-sec with aims to screw over some lone pilot in the badlands.
We followed orders to a decent degree. We had a guy trying to catch up nearly bring the enemy to us. But luckily we got away and finally we reached 0.0 space.
Iíve been to low-sec before when I joined a pirate gang for a short while before getting Eve out of my system but I learnt that low-sec isnít much different to high-sec in terms of how the world works. But 0.0 had things Iíve never seen before like warp bubbles. A member of the fleet was explaining what these were to us but as he was doing so. A cruiser showed up. Launched drones and commenced blasting at us. The good news I was far away. The bad news was his ship was moving further away from the rest of us and manage to wipe 2 of us out. So we made a hasty retreat back into high-sec and called it a night.

Earlier this week. We set off for another excursion in larger ships. Cruisers and Battleships. This trip was a little more ill-fated. We were taking the same route back into 0.0 as we did before but this time we were spotted by an enemy ship. Our scout went on ahead to check out the next warpgate and things were bad. There was a gate camp out for us. We made a break for it and we starting jumping to planets to give ourselves some room. We were being followed, we saw more people were piling in. Soon enough a few enemy ships warped not far from us and managed to warp scramble both myself and another pilot. We were stuck to just fight and survive. I panicked and fired at my aggressor with all I had and turn on my defenses. It was no good. My weapons were shit compared to his shields and soon enough more and more poured in. We were done for and soon enough my ship had blown up.
We ran back with our tails in our legs again but we came back for more. I had to go to a smaller ship. We went back another way and this was a bigger success. We reached 0.0 and went deeper within. Problem was that we hit a warpgate and our scout managed to warp into a gate camp and got destroyed. We were trying to figure out what to do when another ship warped to the gate. He took one glance at us and went straight into the fight. Tanking up and taking out another one of us. We could do nothing to hurt him. We ran, he mocked us. We just ran back again and gave up.

One day, our corp will manage a kill. But the last few weeks were not that day. Maybe Iíll do the next roam in a frigate. It will certainly be a cheaper night out.   read

4:18 PM on 03.27.2012

Disappointment: There's story in my racer!? (spoilers if you give a shit)

I have finally got round to finishing Need for Speed: The Run just yesterday. So I was going to make an article about my disappointment on Twisted Metal, but donít want some disgruntled fan hunting me down in a fucking ice cream van.

But The Run is a take on the across the US sort of street race and instead of being just you gunning it for a shit tonne of hours going across the US as fast as possible. Where it could do some epic single runs through the game if the hardware could possibly handle the constant loading of new world whilst you drive. Oh no no no. This one wants to follow the story of a bloke called Jack. Jack starts off in a shit tonne of trouble where he is going to get crushed in a car. But this kicks off a quick time event and the success is where you drive out...
But after that Ďsuccessí you got told thereís a race going on and you go grab a car and off on your driving adventure of sorts.

So the game is broken up with overtake challenges (sound plausible). Battle challenges (ok... so you just pull over when you are overtaken?) and Checkpoint challenges where it says MAKE UP TIME and have to see no other drivers and get through the stage. They also throw in the odd challenge where you have to overtake these characters and win so itís the same as the first type of challenge. It sometimes starts where they will ram or damage your car somehow and fuck off but that makes no fucking difference to the handling because the cars handle pretty inconsistent from what I played. Also some of the characters you beat will show up again for no reason as to why I think of apart from the last guy where I didnít get to beat him as my car was fucked up.
Where the illusion of a big race is broken due to there being no reason why they bloody say you need to reach X position by Y location. But you canít get ahead of that in anyway because of how the game works. You just have to gain X positions to move on. Itís making peopleís dream summer of doing an illegal street race across a country feel binary and dull. I want to accidentally run a dude down in a my ill-gotten Ford Mustang and make the split second decision to just keep going and hope the car isnít completely fucked to make it to the end.

The last race though takes the piss in terms of how a racing game cannot be cinematic and a racer at the same time as it shows how clearly it doesnít care if you are good at racing. The race is 9 miles long and at one point you get separated pretty badly. When you re-join the race to the finish. The other guy is just a little ahead of you. So you go back to the race and if you get close enough. He will boost the fuck away. But donít worry, you will see both of you together at the next bend and then itís just a drag race for the last straight. Itís the only way you are challenged.

The Run shouldíve been a game where you can just concentrate on hammering through a massive race driving 50-100 mile stretches overtaking so many before hitting a checkpoint. We couldíve left out the Frostbyte engine. We donít need that to make a good racing game by making flashy effects and a terrible story. I want to be just straight up racing like a nutter across a tonne of ground finding the quickest way. The fastest way across the country. Not a linear story you will hate. I want to be speeding speeding past the desert bus and have to keep pumped on speed to not fall asleep at the wheel but start wigging out thinking spacebats are sweeping down at you. That would be fantastic.

Right Iím off to offer my script to EA to RETAKE NFS THE RUN! It will have the graphics of Outrun and the questionable ethics of Saints Row.   read

8:45 AM on 03.06.2012

Tales in New Eden: Moral dilemma

Itís been a long while since I told the story of my fast loss of a new Retriever in a sketchy part of space. But things have improved for me. I am currently working off my debt from receiving a Drake from the corp. I agreed to mine/ aquire the materials needed so Iíve spent a few hours playing other games whilst mining like a bastard.

I noticed when I made one trip out to the rocks there was another mining ship. He had heavy drones circling his ship. There was also another ship hanging around. That ship was a pirate pecking at the guyís ship. I was thinking I should leave them to it as I have got lots to sort myself out with. But I then thought: I could help out with my little drones. So I changed my path to give chase. Problem is that my ship is slow as fuck so during my time of flying towards the pirate to get in range with my drones to save the day. I did even consider taking the spoils of the mining ship by attacking as well. But figured better of it as I am fairly sure my light drones would get smashed and only having one more in reserve if another is blown up. So I kept to the plan to help the fellow. It took a while to get into the fight.

It didnít take long to kill the pirate once I managed to reach the damn ship and got to mine what I needed. I started a private chat with the guy thanked me for helping him out. He also wondered why his drones werenít working for him and I simply told him straight about it. He was thankful for that too.
That was my one good turn in the world of Eve Online. Hopefully the dude doesnít gank me in the future.

I might try and keep up my goings on in New Eden. Might get something more interesting to type about. The corp Iím in seems to be getting the attention of undesirables so probably going to get into some fights if Iím lucky.   read

3:04 PM on 02.20.2012

I'm watching you play...

Nearly a month ago, I was on call and my girlfriend came over for the weekend. So we were trying to figure out what we can do. She wondered what the new free Onlive box I had was all about so I demonstrated it to her (she is a gamer so she liked the idea of it). So I showed her all the games that I have access to in the Playpass bundle and she noticed a game she likes to see. It wasn't Red Faction: Guerilla. Not Lego Batman.

She liked the looks of Saw: The Game. Fucking Saw. She hits the A button on the controller and away we went to start playing that game. The start of the game has a quick time event. An event that isn't very well explained. The dude dies in a pretty instant way of getting his head crushed. I try and the same occurred. Finally I mashed the controller like an absolute bastard. That worked.

So we got playing. The game is not too bad if it was shorter and tried to vary it up a bit and removed combat because it's complete shit (be more like Amnesia damn it). But what was interesting is that people kept spectating whilst we played and were cheering and jeering depending how things went at times like surviving a trap room that has some one else on the line or punching said person after they survived. Like usually some one might watch for like a minute and get bored but some people were watching for like 20-30 minutes at a time and it was always someone different every time. It's a lot more often. It did make me think: Do people like watching people play shit games? Have you ever played a bad game and people just like to sit and watch you play? Is it just that people like to see someone else go through a crappy game.
My supporting evidence is that people never watch me play a game I have fun on like Darksiders, Just Cause 2 or Pro Evo.

I think my girlfriend proved this even further when she decided to play a dumb horse game as she likes horses but even she thought that game was shit. People liked to see her play that on my account. It probably doesn't help that it got me friends requests...   read

2:40 PM on 02.10.2012

Training: To be the best (of bronze league)

Once upon a time in the year 2010. There was a game called Starcraft 2. I pre-ordered it for my aging gaming laptop and so started my journey into the world of Zergs, Protoss and human assholes.
My flatmate and college friend was well versed in the ways of Starcraft 2 because of the beta but he didn't pre-order in time. So I kindly gave him a time code card that came with and my installation DVDs and off we went!

At first I gave the multiplayer a try and was surprised by the way the multiplayer was structured, compared to the original where by the time I started the only ones remaining were the good and the pro that pummelled newcomers in a matter of minutes.
But SC2 was different it asked what race I wanted to play and practically said "We want to see how good you are. Have a few matches against people." It seemed nice, comforting to know that I can show what I am worth and be put with people of similar skills to breed some actual competition.
Now this is where the game got smart on me. Despite me winning most of my games. It still put me in the bronze league. I asked my friend about this and he explained it's all about how well you use what you know and APMs and such. This gave us an idea. We will play really dumb in the five 2vs2 games to see what league we will join, we were aiming for bronze so we could try to dominate the league. We decided to be protoss and just spam zealots at one base until they crumble. We thought it would never work. Surely people will defend their bases and destroy us. How wrong we were.
The first match was won in a matter of minutes. Getting zealots churning out was easy. Simply harvesting minerals and building more gateways and pylons just did the trick. We overran the opposition.
I went downstairs to my friend and burst out laughing. We wanted to let this tactic roll and see where it led us. The next 4 matches weren't as straight forward. So we built more gateways practically outside people's bases. We got determined. We got ambitious. We got into silver league.

This was a big mistake for us as we were over our heads. My friend wasn't good enough to carry me into winning matches. It broke us down. We tried more matches using different tactics and that didn't work either. Whoever we were pitted against were better prepared and possibly used comms better than shouting up and down the stairs.

I still play SC2. Not that often as the changes that have been made and the skill of the players are definitely a lot higher than I can get now. But I have taken to League of Legends really well! But that's another story (well a shit story to be honest).   read

4:16 PM on 12.28.2011

Resolutions: Fuck off Steam and your sales!

Well 2011 had no gaming resolutions as I knew itíd be a crap year. I did foolishly believe I could drop below 14 stone. Back then I was about 15 and a half. Now I am closing in on 16 stone but I have been hitting the gym at least 3 times a week in the last month. But 2012 will be different. I will challenge myself over this new year.

My first resolution of the year will be to try and review a game in each quarter of the year. More if itís possible but start with one every three months. The main reason being was that I enjoyed reviewing games when I was younger, in the college years. I had the time to play them. I just had a Gamecube and a shit PC. Times were simple back then. Now I write a paragraph. Think itís utter bollocks and delete the file and never start over. I think trying to write about small games will help. Also any tips and info any reviewers have will be welcome too... Unfortunately America is a long way for me to go to give blowjobs. ;)

My 2nd will be to play more Starcraft 2. I used to play until the end of last year where I was managing to reach the silver league. But since then I am getting battered by every bronze league player that is coming in, mainly because I took a 6 month hiatus. I have already took some steps towards this. I have a spanky new Razer Starcraft 2 Spectre mouse and Marauder keyboard, it handily flashes alerts at me during matches (so far itís helped me notice whatís happening). Plus I have been playing about 5 games a week so far. All losses but I am learning from mistakes and soon one day. Only the gold league players will be left and eventually I will drag one down to my level and win!

My final resolution is to hammer through my backlog of games and stop looking at the Steam sales. Every Steam sale week has given me up to 20 games in a week that I will end up buying on impulse. Like I bought Serious Sam 3 because it was half price along with the Serious Sam Indie games as they look fun to have a go as well! What have I become! Does all my disposable income have to go on games! It could be befitting myself with money towards a new house. Even a new car! But it just goes on Steam sales! But once I stem the tide of buying things. Hopefully the number of games I will be still playing will drop too.

But thatís it. I think Iíve set myself enough gaming resolutions that I believe I can complete before the end of next year. Hopefully I'll get back on track with losing weight as well.   read

2:56 PM on 12.01.2011

Tales from Skyrim: I think I have won the game!

Want to hear a Skyrim story? You want a story about dragons? Well itís got none!.. Wait! Come back! It has something just as good!

It all started when I eventually reached Whiterun and decided to join the Companions. I swung my mace at Varkisí face to show him I mean business and he gave me some little jobs to begin with. All was good in the world of making money and killing dudes.
But eventually I took a trip out with one of the Companion guys to find a shard of hogarth or what not. I wasnít really paying attention at the time, except he said it was my trial. We met up at a cave and started to explore the place. We were encountering folk called the Silver Hand. At the time I believed they were some kind of bandit group.
It was when I got locked in a little cave and saw my Companion buddy surrounded by a bunch of those guys. Some threats were made to my new best friend and then he turned into a motherfucking werewolf! He started slashing them folk down and ran them off. He came back eventually as a human again and had a so what attitude about me finding out the most awesome thing about him. We carried on and found the thingymabob after some more slaughtering of this Silver Hand group now I know they are the enemy of werewolves. I did good. Unfortunately when I got back with the goods they just praised my service and said I am in their group. That was all I got from the event. I was real gutted.

Fortunately good things come to those who wait. Over time I did more work and eventually SkŲr gave me a special request. We went to a hidden cave near the Companions hold and I saw a werewolf. He said I should recognise the huntress lady. I donít know how, considering she usually looked like a woman. But he liked to talk about how they want to become the beast and that it shouldnít be hidden and really talking up this business of being a werewolf. He cuts her arm and asks me to drink her blood. Naturally I accept as itís the right thing to do and suddenly I change.
Next thing I see is myself as a werewolf. I spin round and see Lydia. She has been following me for a while and was starting to do my nut in. I instantly slash her up into ribbons and see that I can feed from her corpse. So I do just that. The screen goes dark again and I eventually awake in a forest wearing nothing but my loin cloth and epic beard. The huntress stands in front of me. She tells me what we need to do is to clear out a stronghold of Silver Hand and that SkŲr has already charged in. So instantly I change to a werewolf and rush my way towards the place ripping the throats out of my enemy. The huntress and I get in.
We make short work of the folk who want us dead. But I eventually meet a big guy nicknamed: The Skinner. I realise I shouldíve kept feeding on folk. I change back into my human form. Armed only with my beard, it was not enough to survive from his big axe.

I tried again and this time I learnt from my mistakes. I kill the guy and learn that SkŲr was already killed by the bastards. I take his armour as itís better than mine, itís what he wouldíve wanted. But it gets better, a day or so later I get a message. It says that with Lydia being killed, I will be compensated 300 gold. An added bonus is that I killed Lydia in Whiterun and no one kicked up a fuss. So I practically got away with murder and got paid for it.

The moral of the story is that werewolves are cool and not even the Nords gave a shit about Lydia!   read

1:11 PM on 11.17.2011

Zelda Week: Ooooh yeah! (or one's history of Zelda)

This has been a pretty good year for Zelda games. We had Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. Which doesnít just pretty up the original N64 title by replacing all the textures and improving the graphics as a whole. It also gave the Master Quest, which I will vouch to complete in 3D! All due to my old Gamecube memory card dying.
Then there was the free release of the 4 Swords Adventures. Modified to use both DS screens. A nice little coop/ competitive game putting up to 4 links to go through dungeons, solve puzzles, grabbing more rupees than the other guys and stabbing bad dudes.
Finally thereís the nearly released everywhere Skyward Sword. Bringing Zelda back to the Wii and finally making use of the Wii-motion Plus to fight baddies more realistically with the sword rather than using the Wii's original waggle physics, I'm looking at you Twilight Princess!

Iím a fan of the Zelda titles. I see all of the games as new adventures and it just brings out the young me when I played Zelda first on the Game Boy with Linkís Awakening. Exploring the world, seeing the strange sights back on Koholint Island. When I saw the references to Mario and thinking it was odd and then realising itís really a freaking dream world! That was madness!
I then played Link to the Past on the SNES and that really stumped me as a kid with itís puzzles and the concept of light and dark worlds, which for a SNES game worked really well. Being able to switch between the two worlds in certain ways to solve puzzles and get items really got me thinking at times. Although it brought my most aggravating boss from the Game Boy game along to haunt me. You see the first GB Zelda boss and the 3rd SNES Zelda Boss are the same boss! Just fuck off pushing me from your platform and gaining your health to full whilst I suffer defeat from running out of hearts!
The N64 Zeldas were next and got them for both Christmasí they were set to release on. Ocarina of Time had the idea of using two different time zones to help him save the world. I always found that seeing Link change from child to adult was a little bit eeyrie. This was the first Zelda game where I would always find new little sights to see and interesting things to do outside of adventuring like spending a whole afternoon fishing for the big catch when you are a kid and then finding even bigger fishies as an adult. That was so good. I loved fishing when I was fed up trying to figure out what I was meant to do in a dungeon, that felt good to me.
Majoraís Mask on the other hand terrified me. Having those 3 days to do anything all the time put a stress on me as a kid like nothing else at the time I didnít know life is constantly like that at the time. It probably taught me to start worrying about important deadlines. But with that, it didnít appeal to me as much. Mostly because of the parallel universe thing using a lot of similar characters. Along with the frustrating time mechanic as I kept forgetting to deposit money and I kept forgetting how to do tasks in the right order. Even with the guide that I bought for pound with another game (weird Game deals) I just had a hard time with it. My girlfriend keeps telling me to play it to get her through the 3rd dungeon but I refuse out of sheer annoyance.
After that I still got the Zelda games but started to fall behind due to getting them when I could rather than on christmas.

I just feel like Zelda games can hardly go wrong. They have a formula that holds out every time due to how flexible it can be. It only needs to change a few things per game and boom! Itís a Nintendo great! That can be said with a lot of Nintendo games, but Zelda is my go to fantasy universe that even beats my Elder Scrolls fascination because itís not so intimidating to players to get immersed. Bosses are only behind the big sealed doors with the horns on and you wonít be looking at 5 axes to decide which you would like to use. I just like how every game has itís differences but you know that a lot of the goals are the same. It just brings out the child in me who wants to just play through another story with the guy who wear a ridiculous outfit and saves the world.   read

4:05 PM on 09.14.2011

One man's perceptions of the state of F2P gaming

Free to play games used to get a lot of stick in the olden days, companies would build their virtual empires on MMORPGs that had little story or little reason to go for it. One of the oldest I knew about was Runescape. A game that co-workers loved to scam people out of hard earned virtual items for more fun than turning a profit. Nowadays I always see my girlfriend clicking away at free to play games on Facebook and when co-workers ask me to play a game on there because they need more dudes in their virtual pyramid scheme. I go on about how the game offers no real risk reward as would a game like World of Tanks does (If you do well then you get better tanks faster. Do shit and you lose in game credits). Maybe I donít like the lab rat reward scheme that Facebook CSI offers.

But over the last few years we have had offerings like Quake Live, League of Legends and even Team Fortress 2 becoming free to play was a glorious surprise for those that havenít taken advantage of Steamís numerous sales of the game or just late to the PC party. It helped get a friend of mine back on TF2 after he couldnít log into his Steam account as it was untouched for roughly a year. So we are seeing the free to play market expand with a greater variety of titles. But are they always getting the right formula?
One game I can say is doing well but could do with a change or two is World of Tanks. I have made two accounts on this game and the first was from scratch and not paying a single pound sterling towards the in-game gold that would provide me with boosters and purchasing tanks, if better tanks are available to a fresh player. The problem is that when you are new you have tanks that look like tractors. These tractors with cannons are slow and weak. A well placed shot will destroy you in one go and even a glancing blow can cause enough damage that thereís little you can do before you are put down. This means you have such slow progress, you may just want to quit straight after your first bunch of losses. The second play-through from the start was with a free starting pack provided by a PC games magazine. This gave me a fast strong light tank along with gold and bonus time for double XP and credits. So I managed to get to the same point in the tech tree in about a nights worth of matches. Now I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I know the starter tanks face other lower tier tanks but just having a tank that was a cut above the rest shows that having some perk at the start can take you a long way. Holding it back seems to be the wrong idea as a taste of nice things could help users want to try out using bonuses more often. Dragging you through the mud isnít what people would call fun.
My other gripe about this type of game is how if you get a friend to play. One of you will need to cough up some cash to play together. Itís like you can both go paintballing for free but your friend will be in another forest and there is a bridge to that other forest and it requires you to pay to allow you into that other forest.
World of Tanks isnít the only culprit in forcing you to pay to play with friends. Quake Live also treats you to the same problem. You are forced to Ďgo proí so you and some friends can have a game. I could also just install Quake 3 and find an active server. So you can see the problem that Quake Live faces as itís competitor is itís past that has not left yet.

Donít think Iím going to just shit all over free to play games. I really do enjoy playing World of Tanks to see if I can win a few rounds and ruin some tanks without getting myself killed. I also like Quake Live for itís play anywhere mentality as I managed to get running at my girlfriendís parentís PC without having to fiddle with graphics settings other to make it full screen. Just 5 minutes of downloading and away I go.

There are other games that have gone free to play for the better. Lord of the Rings Online has been made free and itís a boost as I can do the usual run around and grind for an hour whilst watching some TV. Itís fine and I donít have to spend money to do so. Itís like getting that grind fix I like in small doses in WoW but without a monthly cost.

This will lead me to my next gripe. The Ďshoving your wares as soon as possible policyí. The recent Age of Empires Online (AoE Online for short) is my target here. Mainly because as soon as I picked my civilisation I wanted to play as. It shows Ďbuy premiumí straight on the portait of the civ I just created. I kinda dislike being asked straight away in a free game to buy add-ons before I know what a game is like. It is a marketing thing but let me have my fun first. I donít even know what the game is like! Stop shoving that grinning old dude in my face (youíll know him when I see him)! Let me roll over some dudes base with catapults like I did in the times of old AoE. But even with itís slow learning curve. The game doesnít just shove you straight into a fight with other players as that would be a kick in the balls. PvP seems optional but I will need to put more time into the game. So hopefully Iíll be able to give it a full run down later.

So are free to play games going to replace you having to spend 30 - 40 quid to play a full game? Probably not, simply due to a free-to-play gameís pricing scheme. A section of game can cost from 5 to 10 pounds. A season pass of content for AoE Online can cost upward to 80 quid for what would be the usual 30 quid. This payment plan really doesnít seem ideal for the have your cake and eat it type, yíknow the sort that likes to get hold of every piece of content. Pro-tip - donít splash out all at once. Maybe one day a F2P game will get a total price down to something a bit more reasonable for a first release of content in a game. But it's definitely had some very nice tries so far.   read

12:33 PM on 07.19.2011

The XBLAs and the PS... whatever they are games

Destructoid, you want to know what I like to play on my consoles. Well I'll just have to brush the dust off my memory and by that I need to boot up my consoles... Well the Xbox has decided to throw out an update so shall I start with the PSN download games? There's no update on that thing so lets roll with that.

Well here's the problem that I found with PSN download titles. I never felt all that settled on a lot of PSN games. Either because I bought them and moved out then found that without the internet I couldn't say I owned the games, yeah 3 months of looking at crazy Asteroids like title say you can only play the demo until you can prove you own this and not say it on the media bar was pretty annoying. It worked fine when I had internet elsewhere. But the game I enjoyed the most was Pixeljunk Shooter. Now that was a pretty interesting game when I managed to get it. I just loved how you could drain water onto lava monsters and murder them that way or be cruel in 2 player and shoot open a lava flow onto a friend's ship. It also looks like it's the only PSN title I have bothered to play through to completion. But even games I received for free to keep from PSN+ haven't been played through. Probably says something about me really but let's not get into that! I have not only finished it I have wanted to re-play it for 100% completion but I have to start over as my old PS3 died.

As for the Xbox as it's finally working again I immediately saw Geometry Wars 2 in my recently played. Yeah! That! I just loved that game so much I would be at a friends drinking and when they start to crack out the drugs before a night out in the town. I'd still be on the couch playing that, trying to get better at that rather than partaking in being broken down by peer pressure and doing what the 'cool kids do'. But having a few beers and shots in your system does slow my reactions down a tad too much to say I was improving.
I simply liked Geometry Wars 2 because Bizarre saw what they did with their previous version of Geometry Wars. Looked at keeping the original mode as close to the same as they could without making it completely identical but then building extra modes into it to give players new things to try. But it was just a lovely package of new games with the added cherry- Leaderboards! But they weren't just some leaderboards thrown together for the elite. Oh no. It lets you know who is your next friend that has a better high score compared to yours and that brought some massive rivalry against one of my friends until this year was beating me at just one of the games in Geo Wars 2 that he would gloat whenever he could see the scoreboards either at mine or at a friends even when his Xbox died. It made coming back to that game a joy as I can see other friends to beat but some have set a score so high I will need to play the game solidly for a few days to get the skills to beat them.

So that's my favourite games. Haven't really got any on any other console. Tried to think one for the Wii but I could never be fucked with Wiiware. I just like playing old console titles that never got released in the UK. Plus I haven't got more than a few DSIware games and haven't played them enough to make a serious decision yet.

Also going to do my Eve Diary again soon. Things are getting interesting in Eve standards but might not be for me. But will need the time to write that.   read

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