Its coming

I don't like the idea of Valentine's Day for the fact that its become very commercial. Yes its good to pamper someone on a special day, but it should help remind us that every day is important.

Anyways.. its coming. More Skyrim related V-day cards at Kotaku.


Magic Trick

I don't know about you, but I don't really like it when you have a nagging dream where it continues when you fall back asleep in the same night. I find (unless its about a hot girl) that you end up feeling restless and not very refreshed.

Last night's nagging dream was all about photography.

I think what it was telling me was that I need to take more photos and I need to do it now. Also, I want a fun, outgoing female (friend?) to be my spontaneous model so I can hone my craft.

For now, i'll have to settle for making ducks levitate.



Lets learn something!

Apparently to be implemented into the future: Anti-Aliasing


I didn't understand when I first read it. A blogger complaining about how much back-and-forth unnecessary walking there was in SW:TOR. I'll be the first to confirm that there are alot of open spaces in the game.. but possibly created to give a sense of size and enormity unlike the cities in Skyrim which are rather small and compact.

Then it happened to me.

My sniper was done destroying the terrorist cell in Nar Shaddaa and was tasked by a dark lord of the sith to track down a man of great importance with connections to her murdered father. From the ship, back to Nar Shaddaa, capturing the person, back to the ship, talking to the Keeper, travelling to Drommund Kaas *gasp* from the docking area, to the spaceport, to the taxi, to the taxi end point, into the capital city, another taxi to the Sith hq, talk to the dark lord. Hand in lousy quest for a pat on the head. Taxi back to main plaza area, walk to next taxi area, take taxi to the spaceport, spaceport to the docking area, enter ship, use the holoterminal to find out which planet to go to next... etc etc etc!

Simply.. too much walking. Fail.

Oh and 40k in credits just to learn how to fly a speeder? Gimme a break.



There can be something to be said that the leveling system in mmo's like Star Wars has it right. In that, your character starts with a small assortment of skills and slowly gains a few skills throughout their lifetime. In not swamping the player with all the skills, all at once, the player will learn to master the skills. 

My passion for Star Wars has been rekindled over the weekend when I started playing with my initial solo (vs the one I only played with my gf) character. It had been ages (2+ weeks easily) in which I even did a space mission with my Sniper. I decided with my upgraded pc, it would be a good time to test out pvp. It was a mistake, I didn'remember my skills, how they worked, how my talents were specced, nothing. I'm not a total noob at games though and managed to stay in the middle of the pack and provide decent dps.

Bottom Right area: Datacron!
It took a good couple hours of pve to determine what was the best configuration for my hotbars.. once again it was a poignant reminder that Bioware really needs to do something about a customization UI, as I tend to use 3+ horizontal hotbars at the bottom and don't like using vertical hotbars on the sides of the screens.


I wonder if dark side characters in the universe that was Star Wars noticed the change in their appearance as they got more evil. 

I noticed to my horror last night, that my Sniper started getting veiny cracks at the sides of his eyes and mouth. It was ugly to say the least and nothing like the scars or facial blemishes you add during character creation. I quickly checked my darkside points and saw that I was less than 100 points from reaching Dark II. Making this connection, my character decided to be a bit less bloodthirsty and a bit more merciful and a few quests later his skin was nice and smooth again.


There needs to be a bit more variety in armor and helmets in Star Wars. My bounty hunter had the same Cyclops-like helmet for over 13+ levels and only at the end of the Nar Shaddaa quests was he rewarded with a new spider-like helmet. 

I've never seen a helmet drop from loot yet and have only seen one or two other helmets available from different vendors.

Without color dyes, everyone tends to look the same and thats a bit sad.

In a galaxy far, far away.. everyone had the same color clothes.


Just give me a bit more time

Magic Number

Cosplay and Art

Missing some cosplay action? Me too.

Follow this Kotaku link for some more of this cosplay superstar (?) Meagan Marie.

And follow this one for more Mass Effect art



Sorry Stunner, you're not allowed to be played :P


Always Learning

My coworker had a good philosophy about buying booster packs for MTG whereas I prefer to prebuild decks via various websites. There was not only the excitement of opening a new pack (like gifts of Christmas day) but by getting cards you wouldn't normally look at..

..later down the road, you may find a use for them.
I had created a douche 'permission' deck which totally frustrated my gf the other day, but after a few games I realized that I was really lacking in the department of creatures as it was a blue control deck who's monsters were only ones that garnered cards in which I could draw.

Then I read a recent article about a white-blue aggressor deck.. and looked over that card above.. never really thought it would be good.. and then *lightbulb*.. YES. It will work for the permission deck. Nice and cheap to bring out without leaving you without mana. A creature that gains evasion on turn 2, and hits for 3.. pretty good.

And the Pendulum swings..

..the other way..

With a simple respec of my Powertech Bounty Hunter, TOR became enjoyable and exciting again, even if it was for a short time. I like it when my games are fun and exciting BUT not addictive; for when its not addictive I don't feel the need to (obviously?) play all the time and abandon other areas of life.

Although there are alot of things that bother me with TOR and thus have decreased my time with the game, it would be unfair to not talk about a few things that I enjoy.

Strong Storyline
Different for each class and i've found, in particular Nar Shaddaa, different quests for different class specializations (ie. Sith Assassin vs Sith Sorcerer). Thats a nice touch.. especially since there is exact class mirroring between factions. Not to give away spoilers, but the Imperial Agent will be searching for terrorists that blew up an Imperial cruise killing thousands of civilians, while the Sith Inquisitor is looking for important artifacts for their sith master.

Something is just wrong with this picture..

I think in life in general, people do better when they have a choice. You can tell me to do the dishes right now and ill be a bit resistant. But if you tell me if I can do the dishes between x time and y time, I will choose the time to do it and do a great job and have less resistance to it. TOR does a good job of giving the player decisions to make in the game. Better still, some decisions branch out with different results later. For example, my gf decided to kill a sith prisoner which was the son of an important npc, while I decided to let him go. When we went back to our individual instanced area, the npc attacked my gf for killing his son while he was estatic that I helped his son.

Although a bit hard when only using your first companion (b/c the droid that comes with your ship is pathetic) that may not be of the same dark/light alignment as you are, being able to choose an outcome really makes you care about your character. It makes me think twice when I play my 'light side' sith assassin when people betray me as it makes me think twice about punishing people and instead try to be more merciful and spare them. It upsets my companion, but I follow the type of way I believe my character would act in that situation.

Space combat
Although becoming a bit tedious as there are only 5 different missions right now that are exactly the same each time I play through, it reminds me of the game Freelancer. Good experience and good money, not to mention a currency that can be used to purchase high level goods. 


Friday Musings

Happy soon-to-be Friday!
Here is a nice (if not over-played) MTG teaser trailer to Dark Ascension.


I haven't been blogging too much about TOR b/c I think I realized i'm not having too much fun with it as before. Just like that *click* and what was very addictive, became 'meh.'

Lets go through the process of what makes TOR difficult to play and may damn the company when people are done with their first month of gametime.

Lack of money
Playing solo with my Bounty Hunter, I never truly struggled making money and surprised myself when I finished some quests in Nar Shaddaa and had 61k in credits. The problem i've seen is that crafting is a huge money sink especially when you're not doing Slicing as any gathering missions become very expensive. Second, skills become hugely expensive to purchase as you level. Crafting skills and class skills become very expensive; at level 23, although my Bounty Hunter had 61k, one class skill at that level cost 4k; I actually dread leveling up for fear that it'll cost me an arm and a leg, not to mention having to save up 25k for a mount.

Although I like the idea of modding your equipment to stay up to date with your level and not having to rely on drops to have the near-best gear, modding is a big time sink. I waste spend alot of time with two crafters just making items and breaking them down to level their skill. Then I need to make sure the proper characters with the correct gathering skills are gathering unique metals/fabrics/etc. Then I have to ensure that I gain the blue/purple recipes for the mods. By that time, my character is 2 levels higher than the mod I need and I can make the next version of the mod. This process seems slow, inefficient and tedious.

Simply: they stand far too close to you.
Always. Always, they're standing on your lootable corpse. 

I appreciate the functions of Quick Travel, Imperial Fleet Pass, and tons of taxi waypoints, but there is alot of travel to get to things I need in the game. In Nar Shaddaa, the mailbox is so far away from the Cantina; I honestly don't see a problem with it being in the Cantina or right outside. In Balmorra, there are no crafting skill trainers, so a person would need to go to get to the Imperial Fleet. Sure you can use the Imperial Fleet Pass, but then what? You need to go to the spaceport hanger, jump into your ship, go to the holomap and select Balmorra, travel there, exit the ship, take a shuttle to the spaceport, go through the spaceport THEN take a taxi to wherever you last needed to quest. Thats ALOT of unnecessary travelling.

For the love of god; when you get similar items, or move them from your inventory to your bank and vice versa, it should stack appropriately. Why would the game put it in a separate stack? Another time sink, if you care about organization in your inventory/bank.

Disclaimer: I haven't done pvp yet, but I reserve the right to comment about it.
No tiered pvp? 
Seriously what mmo does that? stick level 10s against level 50s?
Sure, one will argue that everyone is leveled to 50 to create a more balanced playfield and allows you to play with your higher lvled friends, but is that really the case? No. Higher level players will have higher level skills that lowbies won't even possess. Higher level players will also have talent points that lower level plays won't have either. 
Yes yes, skill and teamwork will triumph over these imbalances.. but it makes a big difference to me.


Dark Ascension: Articles

Oh no; I waited too long and before I started writing this entry, 2 additional articles were posted on Wizard's website for more information on MTG's Dark Ascension...
The first article talks about a tap-able artifact that decreases the cost of flashback spells. I never really made a flashback deck, mostly b/c I didn't have enough Burning Vengeance's, spells with flashback from prior blocks, nor found too many good flashback cards in Innistrad. Maybe though, its not about the utility of the spell itself, but just triggering flashback so that Burning Vengeance can do it's job.
 The second article titled, My Increasing Devotion, talks about the author's love of token decks and how there will be some choice cards in DA that'll help fuel those kind of decks. I made a token deck myself made up of cards that pumped out tokens, ones that sacrificed them to (normally) do damage, or to be gobbled up by my Mycoloth to (hopefully) win the game. The purpose was to be good at free for all games by biding my time, slowing down damage and then attack relentlessly when I had a horde of tokens to use. Probably would be better if I had a few equipment to make them stronger... I don't think tokens is my playstyle though.
 The third article.. **reads it... eyes growing larger and larger**.. talks about how Sorin Markov, everyone's favorite vampiric planeswalker helped create the angel Avacyn! One thing I love about Magic is the rich storyline and how everything comes to be. It usually works out, but I like to make tribal-like decks that revolve around a type of creature; whether it is Elementals, Goblins, or Leviathans, its usually all the same kind of creatures. I'm like those Pokemon trainers that Ash had to face off against that all had the same kind of creatures. It all had a general theme.
 **reads the last article**
Well.. I think I know ill be making a Flashback deck now.. won't we?
Card advantage is one of the major themes to deck creation i've been concentration on these days.. and this will help it! 


MTG: Dark Ascension

So... looks like there are new developments/teasers for MTG.
New mechanics like Undying

This looks to be much better than the Persist mechanic.. though, you can make some interesting decks that have both..

Using Heartmender looks like an interesting way to play it... and they're all green... hmmm..
Two articles today: one on the new mechanics and the other on the direction of Dark Ascension

The Return

Wow; does this guy blog anymore these days?

Makes me wonder if I really want to be a technical writer or business systems analyst anymore.
Its probably just the fact that I've picked up and replaced one addiction for another and neither allows time for writing.

People attribute New Years with changing themselves and making resolutions.
I personally don't like "new years resolutions" b/c I feel its set to just one day and something that usually isn't successful.
And because of this, they usually end up being the same ones as the previous year.
That it is better that when you think of a way to improve yourself, to just start that day and not to wait any longer.
Do little baby steps and make it a habit; by making it a habit you will become successful. Force yourself to do it and it will become harder the longer you try.
But then one day it will just become second nature and then you've succeeded.

What kind of resolutions did you have this year?