I made a funny yesterday and I certainly don’t blame my self. What self respecting person would? I kid. It was my fault – I didn’t look. But I’m still not going to give up that it’s not completely my fault if something is messed up in the first place. I’m talking about the Sony Playstation store and the insane belief that one should be able to get a refund.
First off it stats right there in that little box image that what I was buying is a PSP game – which I already own on a system that BROKE OVER THE GOD DAMN WEEKEND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME. RAGE! GOD! Anyways, I have the insane belief to read the main text in the middle of the page and not automatically assume, hey I’m buying the WRONG PRODUCT. Well, I did. And it’s my mistake. So I go searching online as my generation is so wont to do and I find this little bit of Grade A customer service.
“All PlayStation®Store sales are final (no refunds) per the PlayStation®Network Terms of Service and User Agreement.”
What the fuck is this some bodega in the hood? Out of the millions of users that sony has, and I’m sure judging by just living every day in Philadelphia, or just gaming on the xbox live experience nevermind years of wow player stories, there are a bunch of complete and total moron’s out there! Someone will make a mistake. People do. We’re not perfect. Toss in someone’s money and you’re just begging for a disaster. I won’t even go into the whole “you signed this 12 page document that would require years of legal counsel to even begin understanding” as the whole “told you so”. I just cant deal with that much anger this morning. Well..10$ later, or 300$ later, however you want to spell it in my case, I had a bad sony weekend. But hot damn, Pixel Junk Monsters is fun!
Why? Life happens. I may write for a video game blog in my spare time, but that spare time seems less and less. I get home from work each weekday with about 7 hours before I end up going to bed. Living in the greater Philadelphia area, approximately 3 hours of that is chewed up by watching the Phillies, especially now in the postseason. (How ’bout that Halladay no-hitter last night?) Even after baseball season is gone, that time’s gonna be funneled into the Flyers. (season opener tonight on Versus)
Weekends have even less time for gaming, since I spend most of the weekend with my girlfriend. Can’t play videogames because of sports and women? Am I developing a life? I might have to turn in my geek badge and soldering gun after a quarter century of dedicated service.
When all’s said and done, I think I now have less than 10 hours each week to dedicate to gaming. Coming from being used to making gaming a second full-time job, it’s a huge shock. My pile of games to play grows as my time to play them shrinks. I haven’t finished a game since last October when I was unemployed and powered through Brutal Legend in two days.
The current list of games I’ve been playing (and what I’ll spend the rest of this post on – I swear this is a gaming blog, not a “living a boring life” blog) is as follows:
Team Fortress 2
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers
Assassin’s Creed II
Team Fortress 2
Yeah, it’s a game I’ve had for more than 2 years now, but the recent (probably not as recent as I think) Mann-Conomy pack has breathed a lot of new life and fun into the game. I had stopped playing right after the Sniper/Spy updates, so the weapon dynamic has completely changed with all the newer class updates. The number of achievements has nearly doubled, and the new item drop/shop/trade/upgrade system has made the game incredibly rich and complex, while still being fun and simple to jump into when you have 15 minutes to kill.
If you haven’t played TF2 in a while, break it out. It’s still able to eat 5 hours of your time in a sitting.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers
I’ve been a Magic player for 16 years now. I’m sure there are first-time readers stumbling onto this blog who were born around the time I started playing Magic. I was always quite good at the game mechanics, but had a very simple problem that kept me out of building incredible decks. Some decks cost $100+ just to obtain the basic resources to cast your spells. You could be looking at another $75-300 for your actual deck concept. It’s a game of outbuying your opponent, and I was always broke as hell as a kid.
The economic metagame is taken out of the equation in Duels of the Planeswalkers. There are a handful of fixed decks with unlockable sideboards (expansion cards that can be optionally added or swapped with cards in the base deck), each with roughly the same level of power depending on their core concept. I found this aspect highly enjoyable, because I was no longer at the mercy of my collection. (My actual Magic collection is expansive, more than 6,000 cards, but very few of my decks have all of what they need to reach their maximum potential. Furthermore, these decks are quite old and no longer sanctioned for tournament play.)
What I especially like about Duels of the Planeswalkers is the “Challenge Mode.” This is a series of single-turn puzzles that throw the player in the middle of a game in-progress (often in dire straits) with a simple objective: Win the game. This mimicked a series of similar puzzles published as a single photo in InQuest magazine back when I used to play heavily. It’s a fun bit of nostalgia, though I ran into a few cases where I successfully completed the challenge in a way the game wasn’t prepared to handle and lost.
Challenge Mode is my current go-to time waster when I sit at my computer and have a few minutes (rapidly spiraling into a half hour) to waste.
Assassin’s Creed II
Rounding out my “wasting my life on games that are nothing new” collection is AC2. I never played the first one, but the second one has me pretty deep. The storyline is presented in an awesome way, the ease of performing pretty badass assassinations on guards is a lot of fun, and the game does a great job representing boring collection systems (statues, feathers, seals, weapons, etc) in a slightly immersive way (having to drop items off at various locations, integrating it with the villa’s development)
There’s really just one thing keeping it from locking down my time 100%: Jumping puzzles. It’s not 2003 anymore. I know Ubisoft made Prince of Persia and probably even used the same engine to make Assassin’s Creed, but there’s nothing fun about jumping puzzles, especially with Assassin’s Creed’s wonky freerunning controls. I’ve abandoned several Assassin’s Tombs because the jumping puzzles were tedious and frustrating. It’s an unfortunate detraction to an otherwise perfect game.
So that’s too many words on why I haven’t done a Cataclysm beta live stream recently. Hopefully I can scrape together the time to do one in the next week or so. Stay tuned to this blog and I’ll let you know when I expect to do it. It seems my Vashj’ir blog posts were somewhat popular, so I’m sure some of you would like to see Vashj’ir live.
I now add my submission to the ever growing list of “Cigar Guy Photoshops”
Cigar Guy celebrates no hitter with Roy Halladay
Is this a bit like beer goggles? You know what I’m talking about. No? Well..you obviously didn’t go to college and are male. If you are male and went to college and still dont know what Beer Goggles are…you are fucking way lame. Anyhow, this contraption looks awesome. I’m a big fan of where smart phones are taking us and their usefullness. Then again I love Star Trek (STOP LAUGHING) and want us to move more in that direction. While I don’t know what actual aspects I can use this for – i’m the kind of guy who doesn’t mind waiting while looking thing sup or you know…researching where i’m going to eat before I leave the house. Just Sayin’
Boom. AS Advertised. y’all. You heard it here first.
I found out that the complete collection of FFXI is available on Steam for $10. What follows are my opinions based on my experiences with the game and its effects on a friend of mine.
(11:50:28 PM) surrealcatalyst: And good god, that’s such a fucking trap
(11:50:37 PM) surrealcatalyst: $10 for FFXI complete on Steam
(11:51:07 PM) surrealcatalyst: That game is part of a series of retaliation attacks for Hiroshima and Nagasakai.
(11:53:25 PM) surrealcatalyst: That game is a syphillis-laden cheese grater sized so that Japanese dicks pass harmlessly through it
(11:53:36 PM) surrealcatalyst: And the Japanese have a fun game of goading foreigners into sticking their dicks in it.
(11:53:58 PM) surrealcatalyst: I had a friend fail out of school playing that game
(11:54:07 PM) surrealcatalyst: Then not move out of the dorm after failing out
(11:54:12 PM) surrealcatalyst: And not tell his parents that he failed out
(11:54:26 PM) surrealcatalyst: While accumulating 375+ character levels in FFXI.
(11:56:34 PM) surrealcatalyst: WoW hasn’t even done that to people I know.
G4Tv has announced that Gears of War 3 has been Delayed. Bummer. It’s not just a few months, rather it is a full year! The new release date for Gears of War 3 will be sometime in FALL 2011. >.< In a press release from Microsoft they go on to state:
“Gears of War 3 promises to be the biggest entertainment launch of 2011. The teams at Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games have done great work thus far readying the title for release in the Spring of 2011. However, we’ve elected to move the launch of Gears of War 3 until Fall 2011 to make it the marquee title for the holiday season.”
It could be the marquee for national pants day – it doesnt matter. Gears is a HUGE franchise no matter when it’s released. I am hopeful that they’ll have more time to polish it’s playability. As Richie and I have said many times on the Podcast we appreciate the time it takes to release a game and it’s subsequent effort involved. Don’t RUSH IT. DON’T PANIC. Just please don’t release a 3d version of this game. Or something Kinect related. I’ll fucking vomit.
So, here it is.
Are you ready?
Are you sitting down?
First. Blizzard said this “The next Arena Season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the official launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.”. Next up.
+ARENA_MASTER_NO_SEASON_TEXT = “Arena battles and Rated Battlegrounds are only available during an active player versus player combat season. Season nine will begin on December 14th, so be prepared at that time to take your shot at glory!”
So there you have it. Decemeber 7th. A tuesday. Boom.
In one word: Amazing.
In a song, what else?
Seriously, it looks and feels like this, which is a great thing. I might need to loop this song when I do my live streams of it.
The Vashj’ir experience starts with one of the most cinematic events you’ll ever see in-game, but I don’t think I want to spoil it. Suffice to say, it has fades and soft focus and all sorts of storytelling visual aids you wouldn’t expect to find in an MMO. Blizzard certainly learned their lesson from Wrathgate, and has the cinematics team working overtime on in-game content.
Vashj’ir proper begins inside of a shipwreck. Mercifully, the first quest rewards you with the Sea Legs buff. Before I go on with the zone flow, I’d like to say a few things about Vashj’ir conceptually.
I always wanted to see an underwater zone, ever since the first time I had to run into the Temple of Atal’Hakkar in Swamp of Sorrows. Having to swim underwater to get to an instance was a really different experience, and made me want all the combat to take place underwater. Also, playing a Warlock at the time, I saw that as requiring a Warlock to complete the dungeon, which would have been a positive for me.
Vanilla-era WoW environment design would have been awful at implementing an underwater zone or dungeon. This was the design mindset that thought a 5-hour slog through Blackrock Depths would be fun. There would be no “quality of life” buff like Sea Legs in a Vashj’ir designed by that mindset.
Sea Legs makes Vashj’ir. Vashj’ir without Sea Legs would be awful. The zone is absolutely massive, essentially its own continent roughly the size of Nagrand. Moving around that at 70% movement speed would take forever and make the zone very unfun. An underwater zone needs to be huge to work properly. The 60% movement speed buff works out very well, making walking speed in Vashj’ir slightly faster than normal ground walking speed, making the space between mobs and quests more than tolerable. Furthermore, a lack of permanent underwater breathing buff would have made the zone as much fun as those underwater levels in Sonic the Hedgehog. (I know how much everyone loved the “running out of air” music or that little chime warning that the panic music was about to start.)
Thanks to this buff, you can explore the depths of the ocean freely and at a pace that keeps it fun. Which is great, because the atmosphere of being underwater is something that truly needs to be experienced. The color scheme and art design is great, but what really sells the concept is the feeling that certain death is everywhere and about to strike. With raytraced shadows on, the massive shadows of mobs loom overhead, leading you to believe that large sharks or naga are about to descend upon you. Combat happens in 360 degrees, which is a blast. Adding to the confusion are the towering kelp plants obscuring your vision. On numerous occasions, I had mobs hiding behind them, aggroing me when I got too close.
The final touch of genius is that Blizzard found a way to neutralize the convenience of quest objective sparkles. There is an early quest where items are resting on the seabed against sand that is nearly the same color as the sparkles and the items. With the underwater wave effect, the sparkles are almost invisible further than 5 yards away.
After the first hub’s worth of quests, you get your underwater mount, the Abyssal Seahorse. The Abyssal Seahorse makes a great zone even better. It swims at 450%, which I don’t feel like doing the math on, but I believe it makes it a bit faster than a 310% flying mount. While riding the seahorse, you absolutely fly along underwater.
So far, Vashj’ir has been a brilliant zone. I spent 2+ hours there last night and didn’t even finish the first subzone or find the entrance to the Throne of Tides instance. Hopefully in the coming days, I’ll do another live stream of the zone, with many more viewers this time.
That’s right, I’ll be running a live stream from the Cataclysm beta tonight at 6:00 Eastern Standard Time. From the poll that I ran for the past 18 hours or so, it looks like I’ll be primarily be playing either a Feral Druid tank or a Resto Shaman.
I’ve never played a Shaman above level 25 or so. You may be in for a treat as I try to struggle my way through healing instances for the first time on a class I have little familiarity with.
I’ll also be taking viewer requests for what content they’d like to see. Feel free to post requests in comments to this post, as I’ll be checking it before starting the stream.
Available here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/surrealcatalyst-live
How exactly does MMO-Champion do this? This guy is the super slueth, or that he’s secretly in with Blizzard’s pr to generate interest (most likely). Fan sites are an effective way at getting out a message deeez days. As usual it appears the Druid Model’s will only look good on Taurens, Warlocks on Undead and Rogues on Douchebags Aspie kids. Is it me or do all of these armor sets look like they copied set designs from Flash Gordon?
Warlock Tier 11 Armor Video –
Looking like “the fabulous General Kala
Rogue Tier 11 Armor Video
Looking like…uhh..anything from this scene.
Druid Tier 11 Armor Preview
The white feathers is a little loopy and like the flying hawkmen dudes from..YOU GUESSED IT……FLASH GORDON
So I’m in the Cataclysm beta, and I could fire up a Ustream of beta footage, taking requests from viewers as to what content they would like me to find. Does that sound appealing to anyone?
I’d most likely run the stream around 6 or 7 PM EST on weekdays.
Where’s the fun in Massively Multiplayer when you’ve lost the tolerance for the masses, and can’t find yourself a single other player to spend time with in the game?
I started playing WoW on Christmas Day 2004. My friends from home, along with all of my suitemates at college had all purchased the game at roughly the same time. At that time, I bounced between a few servers, both Alliance and Horde, to find out where I was going to play.
I settled on the Arthas server, along with two suitemates and a close friend, despite my roommate playing on Durotan. We formed our own guild and leveled to 60 over the next 5-6 months, having fun and spending numerous sleepless nights playing the game.
Some time after hitting 60, my friends’ interest in the game tapered off. I left the guild we had formed and found my way into a group of guilds that ran raid content together. For several months, I raided Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair with this alliance of guilds, until the more hardcore among us grew tired of the more casual players who weren’t mirroring our efforts.
In January 2006, those hardcore members of our alliance formed our new guild (with its appropriately angsty and reflective name) – Ashen : The Brotherhood of the Fallen. I would find myself playing and raiding with Ashen nonstop for the next 7 months, failing three courses in college and quitting a part time job at Staples to do so.
Ashen was a playing experience I have never matched in more than 5 years of playing this game. At the time, it was considered an arduous task to assemble 40 players on a single night per week to raid, let alone form a guild of fewer than 50 players capable of fielding a 40-man raid on three set nights per week. The members of Ashen had an incomprehensible dedication and focus to our raiding, and in those 7 months, we powered through our three roadblock bosses in Molten Core (Golemagg, Majordomo and Ragnaros) and reduced Onyxia to farm status, as well as powering through Blackwing Lair.
I sometimes take off the rose-tinted glasses and reflect upon the people I raided with – vaguely familiar names that occasionally sprinkle my Facebook feed, dormant names on instant messenger friends lists. Some of them really were great people, and passed for a reasonable online definition of ‘friends.’ Others, however, were the same blatantly annoying personalities that I hate to see yelling out in trade chat, or spouting overused catchphrases in comments sections online (often using ‘lol’ as punctuation).
It’s the latter category that I’ve long since outgrown. As I’ve grown older, I’ve lost my ability to cope with and overlook that mentality in any theater. Whether it be online gaming, blog comments, Facebook comments, casual conversation – I can’t stand attention whoring and half-assed attempts to be, for lack of a better term, the class clown.
Unfortunately, those people are the loud minority (or are they a majority?) of online gamers. One simply needs to watch the brilliant documentary Second Skin (which is available for instant streaming on Netflix at the moment) and see the stereotypical online gamer in action (or would that be inaction?) This is the representation of the 12+ million WoW players in the world. No one tells stories or remembers how normal a WoW player they knew was.
I am part of a lost faction of online gamers. The silent thinkers. Social gamers with the self-control to only speak when they have something to say. Granted, I have plenty to say, but I’ve seen what my audience looks like. I know the audience won’t respond. I know my words will simply be cast out to an ocean of ignorance and self-importance, so I say nothing.
WoW is my personal hell. A social player surrounded by thousands of other players, yet the vast majority I have encountered have not been worth my time. I’m a gamer from a simpler time, where a player with the right attitude was more important than their character’s equipment. Better gear drops all the time. Terrible players don’t necessarily get better.
I enjoy raiding, but I’m not an eager young 20-year-old raider anymore. I’m older, wiser, and quite frankly – tired. I don’t have the patience to live in the modern ‘raid scene’, where no one cares to find a group of people they enjoy playing with. Instead, my desire to see complex encounters and the aspect of the game I find the most fun is met with, “OMG WTF LINK 9000+ GS and ACHIEV, NUB!”
So instead, here I sit nearly 6 years later. Experienced in nearly all aspects of the game, 5 characters at the max level, and no method to take any of them further without subjecting myself to the tedium of the majority attitude toward endgame content. So how about it, Arthas? Is there any intelligent life left out there?
The Good – Here we have a 5$ Xbox Live Arcade exclusive. A prologue to Dead Rising 2, is it worth it? Depends, sure it’s cheap…but as with the original game, it’s a ton of fun if you ‘get’ it. Quick rundown on what DR is about…..KILLING ZOMBIES. In every way shape and form. This download takes place right before Dead Rising 2, you’re stuck in a small town with a zombie outbreak, trying to get your sick daughter out of there. Along the way you’ll come across other survivors that you’ll help out and whatnot. The core of the gameplay, find weapons, which are all over the place, and kill kill kill. You can tie items together to make new weapons, each kill stacking up PP (prestige points)….XP if you want a better understanding of it, all to level up. Doing so makes you more powerful, shows you more weapons combos, makes you faster, etc. The game probably takes a couple hours or so to get through, but a Dead Rising staple, it’s not meant to be played through just once. You level, do this and that, restart your story carrying over your level progress and become more badass. So I wound up getting more like 6 hours out of the game….so yes, it was definitely worth it to me as I had a ton of fun with it. 8/10
The Bad – Right off the bat, I’ll say the gameplay can feel a little clunky. There’s a cheesiness to the presentation, not necessarily bad, but don’t expect serious, scary stuff. The graphics are good, but textures up close a little booty…..but really, it’s a 1GB downloadable game so it’s understandable. Gameplay can get repetitive if you don’t switch up weapons.
The Ugly – Blood and gore baby!
In honor of you, my guests – all 100 of you that visit here on any given day, I want you to know how you get here. I think this is more of me wanting to put these terms out here for the world to see than anything else as I find endless humor in how people find our little blog. So here are the best search terms for this week in 2010.
anime neckbeard – hahahahahaha.
ratchet and clank birthday cakes – really? I think this is the world of warcraft cakes my eternal love wrote up about 3 years ago and all the R+C reviews combined together to form some sweet and juicy SEO. I bet there is a cherry on top of that cake. Along with 20 MILLION MISSLES MWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAH
halo reach sucks – no. you suck. go play again.
funny lines from halo reach – sorry I dont think there are any.
this bitch didn’t know when to shut the – You tell her dog.
the gamer – how we even managed to get on such an all encompassing set of words that go beyond just gaming, is mind blowing. Seriously you found us by typing “the gamer”?
fat computer programmer – Were you drawn to us by some ultra strong magnetic force?
tag your friends personalities – not before I tag you.
motherfucking zerg rush – Jack knows all about this in the Diamond Division (still don’t believe him)
play him off keyboard cat mp3 blog – EPIC WIN. People literally search US out..for play him off keyboard cat mp’3. I love you keyboard cat. Seriously.
starcraft humor – gamers have starcraft humor? no way.
halo reach fucking up your life – it did richie’s
bearded chubby asian – jack looking for his next date?
chozo team fortress 2 – I love how this dude, every single day, crops up on search. So amazing. Chozo..I love you. Curse words and all.
For Therapy Treatment in West Chester, PA go to Drew Alikakos for assistance.
MMO Report? What’s that you say? MMO’S SUCK. The content is boring – mmo’s are slow, boring, and poopsockish then again, so are some major sports out there so, kindly shut the fuck up. Now never you mind if you don’t like mmo’s this show is so spectacular in so many ways. First thing you see is it’s production value, which is quite good. I’d love to have a company have enough monies to drop on a set for me so of course you have to temper this a little. That said, there is a company with enough money to drop on a set for a show like this. THAT’S AWESOME. Which is why g4tv constantly walks upon the tightrope that is being “gamer” related and actually making money. SEE IMPOSSIBLE. Casey the host is spectacular in his delivery and actually makes you believe he is a MMO-Nerd. Which, he’s probably not. Normal people don’t play mmo’s. This all leads me to my point – webshows are great. And you should watch them. now.
MMO-Champion released images for Warlock’s Tier 11 model’s. It’s interesting to see the design change and I quite like it. Maybe not the facemask so much, it reminds me of a certain masked superhero,but i love the horns. And as always glowing shoulders is always a bigger. So, what do you think? Good stuff? Can you wait for Cataclysm?
Ugh. Achievements! Microsoft adding the achievement system has been the single biggest advancement in gaming since….hmm..the wii mote? HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m kidding. Wii-Mote *jerks off*. Please. Anyways. I’m playing my Shaman who does not have that “feat of strength” achievement for the Green Brewfest Stein errrrbody is getting. So I’m thinking wait a second how is this possible? You had to be part of the 2009 Brewfest event to get it Well blizzard has made it so you can get the achievement this year even if you missed it last year! TAH-DAH! So, how do you get the Stein if you didn’t get it in 2009? Man, It’s so stupidly easy even I could figure it out. As alliance you do this.
Get the quest “Now this is ram racing…Almost” where you use the racing reins to :
- Maintain a Trot for 8 seconds
- Maintain a Canter for 8 seconds
- Maintain a Gallop for 8 seconds
After completing that quest you return to Neill Rammstien for the quest “there and back again” where you have to get a keg from Flynn Firebrew in Kharanos and return it to Pol Amberstill. Do this 3 times before your ram goes away.
After you complete that quest a new quest will open up. “another year, another souvenir” where you are given the Stein.
For horde…you will do the maintaining parts then get a follow up quest from Ram Master Ray.
/Salute Enjoy your feat of strength.
Richie. I found you a girl. Her name is BIG TASHIA! And here is her friend. I”m totally insane. Why do I torture myself with this garbage? Oh! I know why! Because I’m a bastard. Yep. That’s it! Anyways. Youtube is great for some things like music videos from the 90’s or live music performances or, failblog with it’s 4 billion hits, but not so great for people who just happen to stumble upon crap. Which leads me to; the downside of youtube. It’s that it has created a platform for all the truly moronic people to spout insane shit. I mean, what’s with all this “unboxing” crap? Here’s an example of unboxing an iphone. Did the world REALLY need this video?
What is the appeal anyways? You’re talking over taking packaging out of a box? As if your commentary matters in any way possible. And with that, it leads me back to Tashia. She is obviously the expert on television programs such as the T.O Show and Chad Johnson Ochocinco’s show. /sarcasim. So…Tashia’s of the world. Go away. Please. I know you’re breathing heavy, go out and get a snickers bar will ya? Just please don’t put a video of you unboxing a box of snickers. My head just may explode.
Ok, I’m going to drop a bomb bomb bomb SHELL. Not really. I lie. I’m actually just going to put together some Fable 3 videos that are out right now.
Peter Molyneux visits the GameSpot live stage to show off Fable 3 with the worst possible interviewer possible. Good lord.
Here is a guide of the Fable 3 Levels – I like far more epic. 🙂
More gameplay – wings? Seriously?
Here is a good video of the emotions you can do to NPC’s
Lastly here is a combat video – which I know you’ve been waiting for – I love how the player uses the musket to shoot behind him without looking. Hilarious.