Trickythumbs’ Blag


Prince of Persia and KOTOR comic art

Time for a little update!

My playlist lately has consisted of Silversun Pickups and Nujabes — two very different types of music entirely. I love it when I’m on this kind of music kick, because it keeps my writing more interesting. When I write to the sound of a song I really dig, my writing just comes more easily and reads much more naturally.

Videogames are of course being played. A lot of my time has been spent with the new Prince of Persia, which I beat in three days. Oh-so-many light seeds. Removing the death mechanic was a good start, however now they need to find a way to make the game feel more satisfying. Peggle is incredibly easy most of the time, but you still get a lot of enjoyment out of the game. Maybe a good path would be to make the platforming elements more cinematic in nature without sacrificing even more player control. But anyhow, I enjoyed it as a rental — plus I found out there were some cool unlockable outfits like a Jade costume for the princess!

KOTOR Issue #36

In comics I continue to enjoy Invincible, NO HERO, Doktor Sleepless and The Astounding Wolf-Man. Whereas the KOTOR comic has switched back to Bong Dazo as artist, whose art just does not gel well with me. I’m probably not alone when I say that Brian Ching’s is a better fit. Now, that’s not to say that Dazo is a bad artist — he certainly is not. I think it’s just his sequential art that bothers me, because I don’t mind his pin-up stuff as much. The thing with Ching is that all his pages typically look quite wonderful whereas Dazo’s are … well … take a look for yourself. Here’s the last issue, featuring Brian Ching’s art. At least Dustin Weaver is more in-line with Ching’s style, so it’s not such a shock when they transition to him.

Anyhow, that’s about it for my ranting.

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A Quick Post

So the new year has dawned and things are off to a slow start, but I’m sure everything will kick into high gear before I realize it. I’m only a week or so away from being able to purchase my first iPhone (two year plan is about to expire) and thus my mind is currently focused around that new tiny world to explore with my pointer finger. Yes, I meant that to sound dirty and wrong.

As for gaming, the titles I’m drooling over right now are all surprisingly PC games. Champions Online, Dawn of War II, Dragon Age and Starcraft II. I’m hoping we get each of these before June, but that’s probably asking a bit too much. If anything, I’d be happy with waiting until the end of the year for Starcraft II, which would allow me to spend a lot more time with Dawn of War II for my strategy game needs.

Right now my time is being split between World of Warcraft, Persona 4 and City of Heroes. Although I’m also doing things like reading Anathem and World War Z, so, yeah … I’m too busy for my own good as usual. Oh, did I mention I’m trying to work on another D&D4E campaign as well? Although I’m half-tempted to wait until the middle of March, when the second Players Handbook comes out, so everyone involved can use the new classes and races.

Anyhow, that’s a small glimpse into my rather geeky life. I’m probably leaving out a lot of little things, which are very likely littered somewhere in my twitter feed! (@KyleHorner)



Hit me once, twice, thrice and maybe I’ll make a goddamn post

So the only person I really have to blame for the lack of posting is myself. I should really keep up on this thing, otherwise it’s a complete waste of my time and minimal if not near-nothing efforts. I’m sorry, I will do better to write things worth reading — or at least write things at all.

Check this out if you’re into graphic design or just like pretty images: see them here.

I stayed up all night learning new techniques and whatnot, since I’m doing graphic work that I’m actually getting paid for — even if it’s a minor amount. I enjoy it and would like to produce better images, so practice was almost a requirement. Plus, it gets another creative part of my brain turning, which is never a bad thing.

In other personal news that may or may not interest you, I’ve played a shit-ton of World of Warcraft in the past week. Let’s keep this short:

Leveled 74-77 Draenei Death Knight

Leveled 1-33 Human Priest

Leveled 1-27 Draenei Hunter

Basically, I discovered that the recruit-a-friend triple kill/quest XP makes leveling through old-world content a lot more enjoyable. Blizzard really needs to do more of this, if you ask me — a whole fucking truckload more. Between this shit and the re-customization service, I’d just like to see the option to pay for a character slot that would start me create a level 58 character with blue gear equivalent to the stuff a Death Knight gets. We already know it’s possible and I personally think that those who want to re-re-re-re-experience the 1-60 content can do so all they like.

Give. Me. My. Fucking. Level. 58. Character. Slots. Thanks. Bye.

Strange that I’m coming off so hostile in this post, since I’m listening to The Beatles while writing it. I don’t mean to sound or write hostile, but I guess that’s just how ready I am for this sort of elder service.

I’ve also been semi-neglecting my Twitter updates because of my recent WoW-a-thon. This is much easier to maintain, and my reason for not doing so has largely been because I don’t really like to tell people following me on Twitter about my time in Azeroth. It’s kind of like telling average people about how awesome motion pictures or music is: fucking redundant beyond reasonable belief.

In the realm of Blu-ray and such, I’ve been given Wall-e and The Incredible Hulk for birthday presents. Glad I got them, because both movies are testaments to owning an amazing HDTV and PS3 aka Blu-ray player aka machine I sometimes game on as well. Wall-e is much more a tour de force for HD content than anything else, which makes me all the more pissed that Disney/Pixar hasn’t put out all their previous movies on Blu-ray yet.

JUST GIVE ME THE INCREDIBLES AND THANK YOU GOODBYE, K.

Sorry, I’ll stop demanding things in un-enjoyable text now.

Oh yeah, also been reading more comics. I highly recommend NO HERO and cautiously recommend All-star Batman and Robin TPB Vol.1 and the newest issue of Invincible Iron Man that happens to be a decent jumping-on point in the story. Frank Miller and Jim Lee entertained me with the Batman and Robin stuff, but Miller definitely likes to make all his characters into this weird “I’M A MAN WHO HAS BIG HAIRY BALLS AND FUCKS WOMEN, HARD, A LOT … ” crazy types of characters. It’s even weird when this kind of dude his taking a little kid under his er, bat-wing, as it were. Marvel is on shaky ground with me right now, after the current “SECRET INVASION” bullshit and especially after making Tony Stark a big gaping, bleeding asshole throughout and after the whole Civil War debacle. However, with Issue 8 of Invincible Iron Man it seems like the character is going back to his roots of defying a government who’s spurned him with the kind of smarts you’d expect from a dude who build the world’s most destructive mobile weapon/armored suit with his bare hands.

As for comics you should be reading (and will be hung over a massive pit of blood-thirsty mutant boars for not doing so):

FreakAngels (free and awesome, free and awesome, you’re a set of testicles wearing a bonnet if you don’t check this thing out!)

Invincible

The Walking Dead

The Sword

The Astounding Wolf-Man

Doktor Sleepless

Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern (Rebirth is the start of his run, and he’s still going into next year’s awesome-sounding BLACEST NIGHT summer event)

So there, a hefty post to keep the two or three of you reading this entertained. Hope you got something out of it other than a slight bit of dribble down your chin!



Warhammer Online, Rock Band 2 and overduisms

So I’ve been busy with Warhammer Online and Rock Band 2 lately. Mostly it’s been Rock Band 2 and writing about Warhammer Online, but hopefully I can start to play it more in the coming days. My days have been filled with a lot of not doing things I’d like to be doing, such as cleaning up the mess that is my work area. Unfortunately every time I feel like doing work I’ve decided to apply that desire to the work that actually gets me paid.

Nothing much new in the way of comics, aside from me finally getting the first trade paperback of Robert Kirkman’s The Astonishing Wolf-Man. It’s a fun read that any Kirkfan will dig, so definitely check it out.

Anyhow, my time spent with Warhammer Online has definitely given me a lot of joy and entertainment. Although while discussing the game with a friend today on our way to grab some eats, I realized something that actually really bothers me. When you level up in WAR, you’ll find yourself in need to speak to an NPC to train a new abliity. This isn’t anything to be surprised by, however the same applies for your “Mastery” paths. For anyone that plays (or played, like myself) World of Warcraft, you can think of these a kind of like talents. They’re not really, but essentially it’s equatable. In WoW you can just pull up your talent window, but in WAR you’ve got to talk to this same NPC trainer.

The reason this is frustrating is because I like to look at my “Mastery” or “Talent” paths while doing tasks which require little attention like running across game maps or waiting for a Public Quest to reset. It seems like requiring players to be at this NPC to even LOOK at the masteries is a bit too much for my liking.

As for Rock Band 2, well, it’s more of the same. That’s not a bad thing and I feel like my 60 dollars was quite well spent, but should this thing really be called Rock Band 2? I almost feel like it should be Rock Band v2.0 instead, as the current title supposes the game is a proper sequel, which it’s not. It’s a really great update to the platform, a hugely well valued expansion pack and a hardware update.

My personal feelings are that I’d like to see Harmonix get a little crazy with their name game. I don’t think I want them to do Rock Band 3. What I’d rather see is another “Rock Band-like” game but set in a much less lifelike world. The cartoony and surreal vibe of the current game just screams for them to take it into strange and wonderful territories. I want to play a show on the moon or maybe have some kind of epic Battle of the Bands mode where your characters actually perform fighting animations based on the level of your playing style.

Another thing I wouldn’t mind seeing Harmonix tackle is adding some kind of character progression system into the game. They could add in levels or just do some sort of cosmetic upgrading system where the longer, harder and more impressively you rock, the better your stuff gets.

Just some thoughts that’ve been rattling around in my brain.



Work, work!

It’s funny that I should begin this post with at title that harkens back to Warcraft, since I’ve been working pretty heavily on write-ups for Warhammer Online. The game is coming soon, but the NDA-lift is coming even sooner. So the game may as well be out now as far as everyone at Massively is concerned — me included! Of course I’ve also been busy with some feature work and podcasting for Big Download, as well. The newest BigCast will be up this coming Monday, so check out the website or subscribe to our iTunes feed!

I got into the Red Alert 3 beta. It’s a pretty decent game from the looks of things. However, the terrible online play (POWERED BY GAMESPY, BLECH!) made me go back to Company of Heroes just to enjoy its beautifully smooth and silky online features. Oh, how I want to caress that game disc every time I play it. So you’re on notice Red Alert 3, if your singleplayer isn’t better than this I’m going to be sorely disappointed in you!

I’ll get back to this Blag when things calm down, which could be a little while. So instead, I think I’ll get back as soon as I can. Yeah that’s probably for the best.



Warhammer Online to release on Sept 23rd?

Will WAR see a release by the end of September this year? Seems likely, especially given the fact that Mythic Entertainment and Electronic Arts want to be sure to beat Wrath of the Lich King out of the door as soon as they can without sacrificing too much quality — but a little content. I would still argue that overall game quality is both the quality of a game’s content and the quantity, especially with an MMO. You can have the most polished content you want, but there needs to be a certain amount of it to even matter. We’ll see, I haven’t disregarded Warhammer Online yet but I certainly doubt it’s ability to compete with the big boys. Especially with a KOTOR MMO on the way now from BioWare.

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Turn-based bitching
July 24, 2008, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Videogames | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m really digging the remake of Final Fantasy IV on the DS. I never really bothred with the GBA port, so I decided this was the perfect time to dive back into my past a bit. I’m really starting to get tired of JRPGs (and RPGs in general) that want to move into “real-time action” territory. I don’t have a problem with action games, in fact I quite love them. I only wish that RPG developers could figure out different “innovations” than just mapping leveling-up and looting systems to a less than wonderful action game, which is what many of those games tend to become.

Sometimes simple RPG mechanics with a lot of charm are enough to win me over. I don’t need to have some insanely deep system that’s a headache to even figure out before it becomes any fun. I just want an engaging battle system with an addictive level-up mechanic. Add a twist or two, but keep it within reason. The same goes for strategy games too, they need some more turn-based love. Games like Disgaea and Civilization Revolution are so much fun to play and yet we see so very few of them.

I honestly wonder what’s stopping a good developer from taking a compelling concept and developing a great turn-based RPG with a couple of really great innovations in it. Where’s my turn-based zombie survival RPG with a dark and human story ala The Walking Dead or my giant online co-op turn-based mecha/monster battle RPG? Let me and my friends form Zoltron (Voltron’s lesser-known cousin) and bash some giant alien monster heads in. Give me something strange, daring and different!

The game that will never be!

The game that will never be!

It’s all just wishful thinking, though. Pipedreams and all that stuff we hate to remind ourselves about. No publisher would ever take the chance on something like what I’ve suggested, unfortunately. Although, I personally think an RPG where you and three or four other survivors deal with a zombie apocalypse is genius. Maybe someday…