The title just about says it all, at least where the world of gaming is concerned. In keeping with my personal philosophy about updating, I’ve refrained from dumping tripe here when there is nothing really worthwhile to say. Lucky for me, my host is cheap enough (and I don’t make anything from this site anyway) so that I don’t feel compelled to post on a semi-weekly basis with such great headlines as, "New MMOG Released, Meets Consumer’s Expectations by Sucking." However, real life pressures (like paying a mortgage and stuff) also contributed, so I’m sure I could have tossed something up there. No biggie, though; nobody reads this site anymore anyway. Well, except for all those hits I still get on High (Level) Adventure.

I’m still looking for a decent game, and have been, so here’s the quick version of the past 2 years (along with a lot of recycled graphics):

Neverwinter Nights 2
Preordered to look at their strange new toolkit. Picked the game up at full cost since preorders don’t really work anyway. All the problems of NWN1 at release plus a cumbersome new toolkit plus new bugs plus no SQL support plus system requirements that ensure that I could easily host a small private game for 4-6 players if I bought my own datacenter.

City of Villains
I played City of Heroes when it came out, and knew I was headed for trouble a la EQ-style mandated team roles. They didn’t even try to pretend it would be any different, even naming their classes tank, Defender, Blaster, etc. CoV took a little different approach, genericizing the classes a bit (which usually means, "suck at everything") which made for better soloing and some gameply dynamics that don’t rely on the main tank keeping aggro (snore). When my robotics/traps mastermind made 50 and was soloing Relentless paper missions with a few guys cooling their heels in the lobby just to make things more difficult, not even the sometimes interesting PvP could keep things all that interesting. Best part was watching what sort of super-offensive and ugly villains Kynn could come up with to piss everyone off in the combat zones.

Mount & Blade
If this ever gets finished, it will be one of the best games ever. Even if it never gets finished, it’s still one of the best games ever. I bought it about a year ago on the developer’s innovative "give me some money for potatoes and cabbage now and it’ll be cheaper for you as development continues" revenue model, and it was great then. I pick this up every few months to see what updates have been made, and inevitably get sucked into playing it like a maniac for a few weeks. If you’re interested in mounted combat, small scale medieval combat modeling, or kickass indie developers, I strongly recommend it.

Galactic Civilizations 2: The Dread Lords
Closest thing to MOO2 that I’ve seen come out. Enjoyable single player game in the same 4x style, gimpy graphics in the same style, total disregard for copy protection in the same style. Their mini-feud with those doorknobs at Starforce helped convince me to buy the game. See? Copy protection does lead to higher revenues!

Eve Online… again
I’ve resubscribed to Eve like 4 times now. Each time I enjoy it, then cancel because ultimately it’s just boring. Now, what everyone says in this situation is, "Mu, you’re a crabby old bastard who hates everyone, and Eve is all about the community!" Well, everyone should know what I think of "the community" by now, but what the hell. Some old school SFCers were playing, so Kynn and I hook up with their, uh, "oppressed cargo liberation" social club. Eve is really a good an innovative game in many respects, but ultimately even with a community it’s still fairly grindy, only the grind is more variable. It can consist of (A) grinding missions or mining rocks to make pitiful cash, (B) running around pointlessly in 0.0 space, or (C) camping a gate in lowsec and waiting for hours for inattentive pilots to fly through so you can An Ex Por Vas Ort Flam Corp Por their asses so you can then see the list of all the great stuff you could have looted from their wrecks if it hadn’t been destroyed. I left at about the same time that it was revealed that a CCP dev had been playing in, and providing favors for, the most dominant and ridiculously unstoppable alliance in 0.0, but I’m sure that had very much to do with it.

At least I got a nice present shortly after I resubscribed. Viva la goldfarmers!

 

Vanguard
Picked it up because Shad liked it, which is pretty unusual. Discover that it has 3 mini games bult into it, of which the standard one (fighting monsters) is the least interesting, but they do have an okay crafting system and a neat little version of Diplomacy: The Gathering. Unfortunately, it also requires three times the horsepower for a modest return. Like most MMOs, I lost interest when I got up to the point where I realized I was entering the EQ Planar Zone of Grinding Up for No Reason Whatsoever, but I keep it around because Max wants to build a boat.

Lord of the Rings Online
Ho hum. Wen picked it up and gave me her 10-day trial key, which was 9 days longer than I realized I didn’t like it at all. On the plus side, it didn’t require me to fortify my RAM like Vanguard did. The bad part is that everything is exactly the same, only easier. Well, except for crafting; I did manage to lose all my money in buying farming materials before I realized that farming was a way for the game to indirectly promote third party gold markets. At one point, I said, "I don’t enjoy this; this is boring. Wait, so is Vanguard. WTF am I doing?" Both accounts cancelled. Max can go get his own boat.

Half Life 2
Yeah okay I’m a little late getting on board with this. I was also a little late disembarking. From the beginning, it had all the stuff that I liked and disliked about the original (i.e. the pistol is the ultimate sniping weapon as bullets don’t have any falloff), but it was when I started running into the Roberta Williams-style puzzle fests that I really lost interest. With realistic physics, they’ve managed to model a puzzle where in order to get a ramp to lower to a point where you can jump it with a swampmobile, you only have to drag 5 or 6 air-filled plastic cylinders about 15 feet underwater to make part of it buoyant. When’s the last time you dragged a meter-long plastic cylinder filled with air 15 feet underwater? It also forces you to install Steam, and I have enough problems with junk on my system without installing a cranky applet that allows me to pay money for a completely broken version of a great game. I stopped playing this before I got to the part where you have to catch some cat fur on a piece of tape to make a disguise kit.

Pot Limit Omahahaha on Pokerstars
I’m looking for a different kind of boat. I manage to donk my way to supermegaomgwtfbbq profits in week one (mind you, this is relative; I’m playing .01/.02) and then think, Wait, I’m just donking my way to riches. I should learn something about this game. So I do, and immediately start losing. Please for the love of all that’s holy stay away from the Hutchinson Point Count System for Omaha high, unless you want to play against me, in which case there’s nothing better for your game.


I posted this graph asking for help on 2+2. Nobody helped.

 

SB: $3.52
Mu the Donkey (BB): $4.69
UTG: $3.75
MP: $4.80
CO: $3.00
BTN: $5.16

Preflop: Mu the Donkey is dealt 9 9 7 J (6 Players)
UTG calls $0.02, MP calls $0.02, CO checks, BTN raises to $0.10, SB folds, Mu the Donkey calls $0.08, UTG calls $0.08, MP folds, CO calls $0.08

Flop: ($0.43) T Q 9 (4 Players)
Mu the Donkey bets $0.20, UTG folds, CO calls $0.20, BTN raises to $1.23, Mu the Donkey calls $1.03, CO calls $1.03

Turn: ($4.12) T Q 9 K (3 Players)
Mu the Donkey checks, CO checks, BTN bets all-in for $3.83, Mu the Donkey calls all-in for $3.36, CO folds
Uncalled bet of $0.47 returned to BTN

River: ($10.84) T Q 9 K T (2 Players – 2 All-In)

Pot Size: $10.84 ($0.50 Rake)

BTN had J J 3 K and LOST (-$4.69)
Mu the Donkey had 9 9 7 J (a full house, Nines full of Tens) and WON (+$5.65)

This hand convinced me that I was just a luckbox, leading me to looking for information that made me play worse. BTN could have saved a little if he eased on the turn K, which would make a higher straight for AJxx.

So what am I doing now with all of my incredibly expansive free time (aside from writing, composing, doing some odd calligraphy, and smoking too much)?

Jagged Alliance 2
Just can’t argue with perfection.

 

Starcraft (1)
I think I must have bought this damn game about 6 times now. The zerg are still pretty hosed in PvP, but this is still a way better multiplayer game than Blizzard’s other little-known foray into the area (World of Warcraft). There’s a sequel coming out soon, and I’m sure I’ll buy it, although I secretly believe that Blizzard will make the same damn mistake they made with the Warcraft sequels, i.e. super micro everything.

World Championship Poker 2
Actually not a terrible game, although I’m pretty sure Greg Raymer isn’t this bluffable IRL. Plays reasonable by the book NLHE (except heads-up), slightly bad Omahahaha, and damned if I can figure out if it’s any good at Crazy Pineapple. It’s probably a good representation, since most people are pretty bad at Crazy Pineapple.

Anything good on the horizon? Not that I can see. Lum’s super seekrit project isn’t due out until 2008, which will probably be worth a shot. I’m still waiting for some indie without a hope in hell of getting a major publishing deal to come out with something enjoyable, though Mount & Blade already sort of fills this niche. The games I liked the best have sequels stuck in development hell (Jagged Alliance, Fallout, etc.) and, if they ever see the light of day, will take some positive fan spin for me to check out (that or a good demo).

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