Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lamentable Shame of no Valentine’s Day in DCUO

Sony Online Entertainment discovered that players hated the previous Valentine’s Day event so much that they decided they needed to entirely remake it. And, because they couldn’t do that in time for this year, they decided it was necessary to ditch it entirely for the days surrounding February 14th in DC Universe Online.

Come along with MMO Anthropology as we talk about how it was celebrated last year – since there’s no way to get footage of the event from this year.

Link, via YouTube and MMO Anthropology

Milestone One (Supplemental): FedEx Tracking

The package has arrived in a city near the repair facility as of today—Leap Day—and since it’s due to be delivered tomorrow, 2012 March 1, I think that means that it’s on schedule.

In other news, I’m actually watching this FedEx tracker like a hawk.

Already one thing went wrong with this process and I don’t want to see it happen a second time.

Although, I feel that the worst possible moment will be upon its return.

First, I’ll let it get there.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Milestone One: Laptop and Box Dropped Off for Shipment

The out-ship box arrived today, furtively, as if sneaking up on my doorstep and laid in wait there for me to check for it. (Or perhaps the delivery happened whist I was in the shower, which is quite possible.)

The moment I discovered it on the stoop, I tore into it ravenously, devoured the instructions, followed them as best I could, and packed up the damaged laptop. I included an unnecessarily long-winded description of the problem on the shipping notes and taped it up.

The trek to the shipping center was arduous and I storm brewed a mighty cauldron of dark clouds overhead with mumbling about rain and thunder. (I drove a car anyway, a rare thing for me by myself but not altogether that epic.)

I prevailed.

I dropped it off at a FedEx drop-ship center and discovered I couldn’t get a receipt for dropping it off… Although I did copy down the number and I know the place I left it. I hope that this doesn’t become the next SNAFU in the repair process.

Meanwhile, I look forward to believing that it’s in DELL’s hands now and that repairs may get underway.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Four Days In and I Haven’t Been Able to Ship My Laptop Out

Surely, the stars have aligned against me. DELL did ship out the box for my laptop to be shipped back on time and according to FedEx it was delivered yesterday at 11am.

However, it never appeared on my doorstep. I even went out to the front office to see if they’d received it there and left my phone number in case the out-ship box appears. I guessed that if anywhere had received the delivery it might be them.

I have triple-checked the address with DELL (possibly quintuple-checked by the number of phone calls I’ve made.)

Today I contacted DELL again to ask them to send the box again. It looks like it’s expected arrival is sometime next week either Monday or Tuesday. Putting me in the dismal position of being without my work system for yet an extra week.

I hope this was a fluke with FedEx. After all it’s just an empty box and wouldn’t require an signature on receipt—if it’s not a fluke, this could be a problem for when my system is returned to me via the same route it went out on.

Just to be clear: I have contacted DELL to re-send the box; I have not contacted FedEx to attempt to locate it (because at this point why?)

I’ll keep everyone updated.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sending my Laptop to Hell in a Handbasket

I just accidentally spilled Mountain Dew all over my expensive Alienware laptop. It’s been a wonderful, amazing laptop, and I’ve owned it less than a year now – fortunately, DELL is going to fix it.

I am sorely tempted to do a better job of wiping it down before sending it to them; but I might as well leave it alone for the moment.

I actually managed to spill the soda on it from the other side of the table because I was trying to keep the open container away from my computers. Of course, there’s a universal law of attraction between expensive equipment and destructive fluids.

Irresistible force no doubt.

As a result: No fun video games for me.

I’m stuck in boring nothing land for a while and I may not even be able to access my most recent work. Fortunately, everything from last week is already backed up and is forwarded through the cloud so I can access it.

I’ll keep this blog updated.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Around Minecraft: A Reckoning

Earlier this week, I had a bout of illness and some severe headaches. With this, usually means that I have to take painkillers and that means opiates. It also means I get a bit loopy. However, I also bought Minecraft, and that meant I had something to distract me.

Needless to say, I spent a while leveling the land.

It’s difficult to give Minecraft justice with screenshots; but here’s some to give you a hint as to the tip of the iceberg of my adventure so far in just three days.

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This is a visitor center.

Every time I move into a new area, find a mine shaft, or crevice to explore, I build one of these atop it. Most of them just contain a crafting table and an oven—some have a bed—but almost all of them have lower basement exits that go into the mine (with doors of course.)

They’re frugal, but cozy, and I expect them to tell the story of the mine shaft below after I’m done with them.

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This is the Undermountain Pass. I dug it in a straight line through a mountainside in order to see where it would go. Worked out pretty well, actually. It even peeked out on one edge into a vast mountain valley lake.

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There’s the lake—those are some odd floating island formations with hovertrees on them out there.

I haven’t explored those yet.

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My newest addition: the swamp visitor’s center.

It’s even got double-tall windows for taking in the view. And, if you look just to the side, you might even see one of my giant mushrooms. I am thinking of building one of my next structures on top of one just because…

Maybe some other time.

And to say adieu, here’s the room with a view.

javaw 2012-02-17 21-11-49-66

Friday, February 17, 2012

Love Rockets and Hallmark in World of Warcraft for Valentine’s Day

The “Love is in the Air Festival” in World of Warcraft has been going on for a few years now. Blizzard has seen fit not to tweak it every much except to allow people to revisit the favorite dungeon instance of Shadowfang Keep for the showdown with the Crown Chemical Co. apothecaries (the villains of this Valentine’s Day festival.) I love Shadowfang as much as the next gamer, but it’s about time they updated the content a little.

Yes, yes, the Valentine’s Day festivities bring us the “Love Rocket” and other odd items, but it’s just not cutting it anymore.

Link, via MMO Anthropology and YouTube.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Darkness II: Screenshots from the Demo

Since I’ve started this mini-trend of posting screenshots from the games that I’ve played, I figured that I’d bring some of the more interesting scenes from a new demo I found on Valve’s Steam service: The Darkness II.

Published by 2K Games and developed by Digital Extremes, the game does a fair job of forming a shooter/horror atmosphere. The voice acting is alright, although sometimes the skulls of the characters feel a bit…off. Although, I was shooting at their skulls more often than admiring them.

I didn’t have the joy of playing the first The Darkness, but from what I understand various critics didn’t like the game very much. So here’s hoping this next incarnation (read: sequel) will do better than the first.

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This unfortunate fellow is the first thing I saw in the demo. He’s apparently an occultist who wants to take the Darkness from from Jackie—the MC of the game (whom I’m playing as.) Missing teeth, wrecked face, this fellow has suffered horribly and this may fuel his desire to take this magic power from me.

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The Darkness manifests as a pair of very angry snake-headed tentacles that seem to hang out around my shoulders. They’re actually quite helpful—as you see above—and can grab guns from the ground, doors from cars to act as body shields, and even fling things (like doors and rebar) to ruin the day of whomever I threw them at.

Not to mention, I can also dual wield weapons (mostly handguns and Uzi’s in the demo with the odd shotgun.)

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If I get too close to a light source the Darkness freaks out and recedes (and it reasonably stuns me and makes it difficult to fight back.)

As a result, when entering an area, I try to sight any lamps or pools of light and put them out. Fortunately, guns manage to be an excellent candle-quitter for stopping these problems (just target and fire.) It’s my understanding that in the previous The Darkness the tentacles themselves could kill lights and in this one they will not—must use ammo.

And then… Then there’s this little guy:

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Okay, so the first screenshot it the imp getting his butt-electrocuted. I thought that was funny.

I believe this is called a darkling and he enters the battlefield time to time as a guide. He also leaps onto enemies and subdues them so that I can eat them.

And I do mean eat them.

Whilst it’s true that I can shoot them down with the guns—but it’s much more fun to whack them with the tentacles and then grab them. Once grabbed, I can execute them gruesomely with the tentacles to some effect. Often with some benefit such as health regen or additional ammo.

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Gruesome indeed.

Finally, when a person is downed (without a special execute) it leaves their “heart” intact and I can “devour their hearts,” which gains skill points that can be spent on a variety of upgrades to the character.

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Yeah, not happening.

In conclusion. The art style is a little bit cel-shaded making it feel just a wee bit comic-bookish; but it’s more photorealistic than it is cel-shading (a good comparison might be the game XIII). There’s the mobster with evil magic powers motif going on.

Intermittently I got an emotional introduction to his dead girlfrield (who sometimes appears in pools of light—symbolism here?) and that’s it for the demo.

Will it be a good game?


The demo comes across okay, although a little bit crass. This is a gruesome horror/action shooter after all so I guess we should cut it some slack there.

Meanwhile, that’s it for today. Adieu.