DA:2 fin, and AFK

13 04 2011

Finally finished Dragon Age 2.

Cliffnotes version : ultimately, I was a little dissapointed. It just doesn’t have the open ended feel of Dragon Age 1. Origins felt like an adventure. This, felt like…something else. The cliffhanger ending did little to redeem it. Overall the combat is cool and fun, but everything else is a step backwards from it’s predecessor.

—-

So I quit my job about a month ago, and tomorrow , 14th of April, will be my last day.

Not sure how long I’ll be offline/out of commision at the new job. I have few illusions that I’m going to be very, very busy for the next few months, possibly more. It’s an exciting change, and a huge challenge. It means I probably won’t be blogging much, though I can’t say for sure.

Until I’m back to posting, then : Peace out.

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Less Massive, more Story: MMORPG’s are Jersey Shore

28 02 2011

I find myself distanced from the MMORPG more every day, as I play less WoW and more other stuff. It started with Dead Space 2, and by the time I was finished i was so enthralled at having spent just under 2 weeks playing a game that had a plot, that had dialogue, that had actual character development… that when I was done, and looking at the WoW login screen, the only thought that occured to me was…

Why?

I’m not excited about Rift, as many of my mmorpg playing peers are. I’m still keen on The old Republic, but increasingly for the storyline aspects and less for the multiplayer. I think mmorpg’s are still great, of course, but every person goes through phases in their life, and mmorpg’s are one such phase. And here it is.

They’re the Jersey Shore of gaming.

Everybody trying to one up each other. To get with the in-crowd. To have the best ‘do’. That’s what it is. That’s what drives people who play mmorpgs. It’s about my gear/achievements/guild is better than yours. It’s about the accompanying drama and snarkiness. It’s about brandname purple handbags and dps-meter e-rep and hanging around in cliques badmouthing other cliques. That’s it. That’s everything about the entire genre in a nutshell.

I realised I wasn’t having much fun with it anymore. I enjoy some of the story aspects that mmorpg’s have, and WoW has come a long way in that regard.. but once you ding 85 and hit endgame, the story dries up, and is replaced with dailies and endless raiding tedium designed to keep us competing with all the other fabulously dressed online Snooki clones.

I miss what attracted me to MMORPG’s in the first place. Online worlds of wonder and exploration. Unfortunately, they’ve come to mirror the real-world and all it’s faults. What was once different, dangerous and filled with adventure has become the same, safe, and full of boredom.

They’ve become the online haven of e-guidos.

And it rarely matters which one you pick. They’re all the same, whether WoW or LotrO or Aion or Rift.

All you can do is try and play the games to experience content… and when that’s no longer enough, either embrace your inner guido, or move on. Sometimes a reroll staves off the content-boredom, but eventually you hit a point where even rolling a new character isn’t enough anymore. Where even an alternative mmo isn’t good enough anymore.

I find solace, now, in real life pursuits and singleplayer gaming. I’m enjoying my romps through games like Dead Space 2. I’m replaying Dragon Age:Origins – this time with the intent to actually finish it – in anticipation of Dragon Age 2. I’m looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever, and Max Payne 3… where once all I could look forward to was the next piece of epic lewtz. And i feel relieved. That this time, the need to fit in has finally passed, and I can just be me, and do what I like, enjoy what I enjoy.

And I enjoy nothing better than a good story.

 

 





Time to get mah New Year on

2 02 2011

So, 2011. One month already down, in fact. Where does the time go, eh?

My new year’s resolution was to get proper fit. Not ‘gym’ fit, but lean fit. Cardio fit. So Operation Avalanche (aka Skurm Cycles To Work) is in full swing. Bought a mountain bike and have been commuting to work. So far, so good. Traffic’s still a little bit intimidating (in darkest Africa, the taxi drivers don’t give a rat fuck about some random cyclist) but I mean, if you never take a risk in life because you’re too afraid, you’ll never accomplish anything meaningful.

It’s a blast though. Actually look forward to it. Cycling is far more fun than being stuck in traffic behind the wheel, that’s for sure. And if you don’t live too far from work like I do (a couple km’s only), the time taken to commute to and from work is roughly the same as driving. Sure, I get to the office a little sweaty, but the aircon in here is set to what feels like ten below zero so after a half hour of settling down to read the morning emails and whatnot, I’m cool and collected and definately invigorated. Early morning excercise makes all the difference. Highly reccomended – though it has to be something you enjoy. Forcing myself to cycle on a stationary bike upon waking just wasn’t working for me. It has to be something you look forward to. A hobby rather than an obligation.

WoW has taken a bit of a backseat, and I’m not certain I’ll be able to motivate myself into playing much of it ever again. Cataclysm is a beautiful game ‘n all, but the endgame barrier-to-entry is high, almost BC-level high, and while this is a good thing for the die-hard fans, the more casual players have been feeling a little left out. I’ll probably level an alt one day, but I think I’m finished with raiding and all that.  Level 85 is no longer the casual ‘log in and farm stuff on ez-mode’ game that Wrath of the Lich King was, and as much as people might have derided Wrath’s simplicity, it was also a great way to blow off some steam and just relax while farming a few instances for emblems or whatever. This is gone, now. Instances are long, and tough, and just don’t cater to the working plebs that make up the bulk of this game’s subscriber base. My guess is social/fun guilds will laregely die off. Maybe there will be levelling guilds again, but casual raiding will likely become a thing of the past.

Beyond starting cycling and ‘quitting’ WoW, I haven’t got much else going on. 2011’s started with a bit of a whimper as far as my personal life goes. Lots of stuff going on with the weather and crazy shit going down in the Middle East though. “Interesting times”, indeed. Plan this year is simple. I have no great aspirations. I’m sorta happy with where I am. Sooner or later you realise that while you may not be living the dream… ‘this’ isn’t so bad. We’ve all got stuff we need to work on, whether advancing your career or studying more or losing weight or quitting smoking. Which is good – everyone needs a goal. Mine are simply becoming…simpler. Easier. Actually attainable. And it’s great to see efforts bearing some fruit, rather than setting yourself impossible goals resulting in failure after failure.

Baby steps, y’all.





Failternet

8 12 2010

So yeah, my dreams and aspirations of plunging headfirst into Cataclym came to a screeching halt yesterday. Upon installing the game (a fresh install…), it hit me with a 9.1 gig patch.

Which is a pretty big deal when you have third-world internet. 512k ADSL means I get about a gig and a half, maybe 2 a day. Which means I’m basically out of commission for about a week. Judging by how fast people have been hitting the level cap (world first was a pally, in 6 hours…lolwtf), by the time I get to play everyone might have already finished the game.

Guess you gotta look at the bright side, it’s a week longer of having some kind of a life in the real world.





Scott Pilgrim = FLCL

1 12 2010

I saw Scott Pilgrim a few days ago. Was not terribly impressed. I thought it was okay. Maybe the comics are better. I dunno.

Today while thinking back on good anime series, probably one of my favourites popped opped. FLCL. It’s about a guy who develops superpowers, meets a mysterious girl, falls in love with her and has to do impossible battle with insane enemies.  It’s filled with guitars and cartoon violence and pokes at pop and video game culture. Along the way he discovers the meaning of life, love, the universe and everything.

Sounds familiar, right?Blatant  Scott Pilgrim ripoff, right?

Except it was done ten years ago.


FLCL is an amazing anime. The animation quality itself is superb, and it’s short enough (6 episodes) to watch over a weekend without being overwhelmed as per the usual anime marathons. It’s got it all, comedy, action, a great story and the best part, it weaves in a truly poignant, thought provoking and ultimately heart rending story that leaves you breathless. It’s a classic, and an example of the greatness that anime sometimes bestows upon the world (in between the usual bishi drivel)

Hipster kids, do yourselves a favour. Get this. Watch it. Learn to appreciate subtitles. Forget about Scott Pilgrim. This is the comic/movie/whatever that Scott Pilgrim wishes it was.  Who knows, perhaps it was O’Malley’s inspiration… although looking at it now, it seems a hell of a lot more like plagiarism.





iPod. iSoldout.

26 11 2010

So I bought an iPod today. It’s only the new Shuffle, it was pretty cheap and I needed a new mp3 players since losing my old el-cheapo. Did I say losing? I meant since it got affirmitavely redistributed. Anyway.

This is the first Apple product I’ve bought. Ever. I’ve always flat out refused to buy Apple, believing it’s all overpriced hype. But for all the hype and the closed nature of Apple products, they know how to make quality stuff that simply works. This iPod sounds a million times better and clearer than my previous mp3 players. It’s tiny, and it’s built well. It doesn’t feel cheap. The silver metal finish is nice. It looks good. But the kicker has to be how easy and intuitive to use it is. How clever it is. For a little under R500, I get a player with only 2 gigs capacity, sure. But the voiceover functionality is simply awesome. Being able to press a little button and hear my iPod tell me what track or playlist I’m listening to is the shit. The hot shit. I love that.

Apple remains so far ahead of the design curve, it’s quite embarrasing. Everyone continues to play catchup. Example : the new Nanos have touch screens. On a device barely 2 inches across. I mean, that’s just screams cool. I think, if this little Shuffle is any indication of the quality, features, design and ease of use of all of the rest of Apple’s products, I may just have sold my soul to the devil Steve Jobs.





WoW: The Shattering, and how obsession solves nothing

24 11 2010

Bugger. Doesn’t look like I’ll be quittin you, WoW, after all.

The Shattering is happening as we speak. Basically Deathwing – some bad nasty dragon guy – popped out of his hole in the ground and is going on a rampage across Azeroth.

I was determined not to get sucked back into the timesink that is WoW, but after hearing some of the (fellow) fanboy hype I can’t help but take a curious peek. I’m terrified because WoW is like being an alcoholic. Even if you quit drinking, you’re still an alcoholic. All it takes is that one drink to get you back on the wagon.

But, dammit, I can’t really help it. WoW is, after all, my thing. Other people have action cricket, or binge drinking, or stamp collecting. The only hobby I’ve ever really enjoyed was playing WoW. It made me happy.

End of the day, what point is there to getting fit and pursuing other activities if you aren’t really enjoying them? Gym is punishment every day. While I’ll continue focusing on gaining some level of personal fitness, obsessing about it isn’t actually making me a happier person. Like, what point is there to being fit and toned if you’re still an antisocial recluse? Pumping iron 4 times a week and spending hours walking and hiking is enjoyable, but like anything in life if you begin obsessing about one thing, it doesn’t actually make you happy. It becomes a chore. Wow became a chore for me and I stopped liking it. Now, this personal fitness drive is becoming a lot more like work and a lot less like fun.

Perhaps it’s possible to find some kind of equilibrium in life. To do what you must as well as what you enjoy.

Hell, it’s worth a shot.