Monday, 07 December 2009
Reposted from Examiner.
Usually when you play a game, your goal is to beat it. There's nothing like that sweet feeling of victory when you see the end credits roll. But what about when you play an MMO game? Players get into MMOs knowing there won't be an "end," that they will waste away hours of their lives for a game that they can't even beat.
Or can they? Taiwanese World of Warcraft player, "Little Gray" has recently managed to be the first person to get all 986 achievements now available on WoW. For games like WoW, reaching the level cap is only the beginning, thanks to plenty of end-game content and achievements like the ones that Little Gray has gotten. Can it be said that Little Gray "beat" WoW? Only until Blizzard comes out with a new patch.
So how exactly do you beat an MMO? Reaching the level cap is a definite first must. Once you're there you must set to work collecting all the things that can be collected (limited edition mounts or pets? Special costumes?). Then you can gather every title and achievement that are available within the game (like the achievements on WoW, or collecting all the titles and Monster Information in Atlantica Online). Once that is out of the way, there is still more to do! Upgrade all your equipment to the highest that you can, and beat all the monsters/bosses that are created by the development team for perfectionists like you. Does your MMO have any competitions? Win them. If all this sounds too easy for you, don't worry - as you're working on these things, the game is sure to come out with a new content patch and give you lots more to do.
Ok so maybe fully beating an MMO is pretty difficult (if not impossible). But Little Gray's ability to get so many achievements is impressive. Think about it, WoW has been out for 5 years already, and only one person has managed to do this? This WoW player shows us that it's not impossible, at the very least. But you do need a few things before you set out to do the same in your MMO. Having a lot of time on your hands is a must. So is having a lot of patience. Being at least mildly perfectionist helps. And you will probably need to stock up on energy drinks and coffee. Good luck, my friends.
What do you think beating an MMO would take? ... And why do we go through the effort of playing games that we know we can never beat?
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I made an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago. You know the kind - you go into the store to "look around" and five minutes later you're walking out of the store with a newly purchased item, wondering what just happened.
I bought Rune Factory.
Rune Factory is a "Fantasy Harvest Moon," and it turned out not to be as bad or cheesy as I thought it would be. I came home, booted it up, and before long I was leveling up and farming like a pro. As in any Harvest Moon game, your character gets to try and win the heart of one of many women in the town, and eventually marry her. I decided that the adorable witch spa owner, Melody, was the woman for me.
Every day I farmed, took care of my pet monster/animals, ran around and wasted my stamina... then I just sat and stared at the DS screen blankly.
"What are you doing?" my husband asked me one time when he saw me doing this.
"Waiting for 3 PM in game."
"That's when the spa opens!"
Now, Rune Factory is different from Harvest Moon in that it is part Farming and Dating Sim, but also part RPG. So there is a main storyline and plot to follow. So one day my character awoke to find that Cecilia, the little daughter of the bookstore owner was missing. She's a cute little girl, too young for my character to court. But I figured finding her would make me look like a hero in the eyes of the love of my love, Melody. So naturally, I rescued the kid.
There are so many things that can bring a sense of fulfillment in Rune Factory. When you finally get enough wood to upgrade your house (2,000 pieces! 10 at a time!!!), you feel triumphant at the accomplishment. When the love meter of your chosen future wife reaches the maximum and you ask her to marry you, you can't help but feel happy.
But these aren't the best moments in the game.
In my opinion, there is one moment that is by far the best moment in Rune Factory.
After you rescue Cecilia, you can find her in her usual spots. But when you speak to her, she doesn't say what she usually says. Instead, she says:
"I LOVE you!"
I aww'ed out loud.
You would too. That made my day (is that kind of sad, actually?)
What is your favorite, most awwww-inspiring moment in a game you've played?
Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
By Natsume, Inc.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Being blind sucks. Really, it does, I'm not trying to be cute here. You miss out on so much. One of these things is the wonderful world of video games. How many video games do you know that would be good for a blind person? Not many, right?
And that, according to Alexander Stern of California, is a serious problem. Stern sued Sony for not making their MMOs blind accessible. This allegedly violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that "No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation." Stern claims that Massively Multiplayer Online games are a "place of public accommodation" and should therefore be made so that blind people can play them as well.
While I feel bad that anyone has to be left out of the wonderful world of MMOs, I'm not sure how a blind-friendly interface might be implemented. There are a number of video game titles for blind people out, but this is taking the issue a step further. Are online video games a public place? And does the Disabilities Act's power extend to the world of online interactions? It's up to the courts to decide that now.
Meanwhile, the social MMO Second Life has been a step ahead of the game. A new sound-based system is being developed for Second Life, to allow blind people to play the game. The system will let the player know who is speaking with distinct sounds, as well as which way they are facing, walking, and their position relative to you. These are still in early development, but the idea is there. Maybe with the help of this lawsuit (whether or not he wins), other video games and MMOs will follow suit.
Saturday, 07 November 2009
Hi there. Your name is Mannie. You are a travel agent.
Oh you're also dead.
The Grim Fandango is a hilarious, epic adventure of the skeletal Manuel Calavera (skelleton in Spanish, har har), who has to work off his time in a travel agency for the dead before he can move on to his final eternal rest. But things go wrong, as they usually do, and you end up doing some traveling yourself.
The characters are lovable, the scenery and graphics are gorgeous for the time (1998), and the entire game, in typical old school LucasArts style, is absolutely hilarious.
I've been playing this gem recently, and the only thing that sucks about the game is the controls - you can only use the keyboard, and Mannie tends to be a pain to maneuver into doorways.
Of course, the dialogues are the best part of this. Need convincing?
Glottis, the affable demon driver, talking about his car: "There was a high-pitched whining noise. Kinda grating, you know? I couldn't nail it down. It only stopped when I pulled up here."
Valesco: "What was it? The blower?"
Glottis: "Nah. It was Manny, screaming like a cat tied to a cruise missile."
Hector: "Ah Manny... so cynical... What happened to you, Manny, that caused you to lose your sense of hope, your love of life?"
Manny: I died.
But seriously, do yourself a favor and play this game. If you never have, you're missing out.
Who's with me?
China's at it again. It isn't enough that they enacted anti-addiction laws to prevent people from overdosing on MMORPGs. Or that they made a few changes to censor World of Warcraft (guys, black blood is still blood, isn't it?). Now Chinese online gamers have one more bit of news on their plate.
Now if you live in China, you can forget about pretending to be the opposite gender when you play online games. The new Gender Identification System uses a webcam to scan your face and determine your gender. This is supposedly intended to make women in MMOs feel more respected.
It also makes them easier targets. If a man starts to hit on a female in an online game, saying you have a boyfriend, are married, or don't go that way might not be much of a deterrent (in fact, that last one would probably only encourage further harassment). But say you're a man, and you can bet that the subject will be immediately dropped.
Or maybe this is the response to so many relationships that have been springing up from online interactions. Whatever the reasoning is, this Gender Recognition System better be good. Imagine being told by a machine that you are not really a woman? This can probably be solved by scanning something else... but I'm sure no one wants to go there.
Is this a good idea? Do you think there's any chance of this spreading outside China?
Best of David Lanz
By David Lanz
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Gone are the days when virtual reality was actually distinguishable from real reality! In keeping with the current fad of blurring every line in existance, Real Time Race is creating a system that will allow gamers to race with real people. Not that this isn't what they have been doing since the advent of online racing games. No, remember, this is reality meeting virtual reality. The difference in this new system is that you sit at home and use a controller to go through the race track, while the people you are racing against are actually there on the track, in real cars. And the whole thing is televised.
The way the system works is right before a race, a specially equipped car runs through the race, recording and creating an interactive map of the track. This data is sent to your system, allowing you to race through the track yourself when the race actually begins from the cockpit of a virtual but real car. The whole thing is so "real" that it has a distinctly unreal feel to it.
Not that I underestimate the common gamer, and not to downplay the difficulty of a racing video game.. but how is that fair? I mean, there's a bit of a difference between sitting at home and moving around a controller and sitting inside a car and driving through a track. Besides, why are we going through such a huge effort to stimulate this kind of thing? What happened to going out there and DOING it?
Do you think this is a brilliant idea, or not so much?
Monday, 19 October 2009
The Wii has gone to places that no other console has ever gone before - the living rooms of ordinary, everyday families. With this new acceptance of video games into almost the mainstream, the Wii has paved the way for new advances, new kinds of games, and... video games for babies?
That's right. One of the toys in the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn line is the Smart Bounce and Spin Pony - a video game for toddlers that utilizes a peripheral controller in the shape of.. a bouncy pony. As a child bounces on a toy horse, images and videos appear on the screen before them. I won't dwell on the fact that moving your head so much when you're looking at something stationary is not the best thing you can do for your eyes. Besides that it seems like an educational game that combines the exhillerating fun of bouncing with the duller excitement of watching TV. I'm not sure how interactive it is, but the child does respond to the images by spinning some stuff and poking some other stuff on the pony.
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZeiK7tozJg
Granted, this specific case can only be blamed on Nintento indirectly, but that's enough for me. If it weren't for the Wii making games family friendly and showing you that it's ok, and even encouraged, to wave your arms and bodies wildly when you're playing a video game, would this toy ever have been made?
That's debatable. There are already laptops, videos, and countless interactive games for toddlers out there. So maybe this was the next logical step.
What do you think? Is this too early to introduce kids to video games? Or is it never too early?
Castle Roogna (Xanth Novels)
By Piers Anthony
Tuesday, 06 October 2009
Aaaand we're back. Last time we all shared what our gaming aliases are (this is beginning to feel like show and tell). This time, let's talk about something more substantial - things that have no right existing.
You know you have at least one thing you feel the video game world could do without. We at HL do:
What could you do without in the gaming world?
Games created specifically to show off the capabilities of a system. I'm talking about the Wii and the DS here, guys. Seriously, I hate it when games make you do things with the stylus or the wii-mote just because they can. It's perfectly possible to have a great game on both systems that uses their specialties well, instead of forcing them on. The World Ends With You is one of my favorite games and it uses every single thing you could possibly do with the DS. You've done it once... you can do it again!
First person shooters. Halo, Call of Duty, gah it's the most tired gameplay format for me. If there's a decent story behind it, like MGS or something, then I guess it's excusable...but Halo sucks eggs. Boom.
Assholes during online play, delays, obvious game-design laziness, and franchises refusing to learn from their mistakes. You can probably imagine what I think of Super Smash Bros. Brawl… the most enjoyable clusterf*ck of all time, that’s what.
What about you?
What are some things you could do without in the gaming world?
You might have seen the player profiles that we at Hardest Level have written. So now you know too much about us, and we know very little about you. That's just not right!
So here is your chance to share.
Introducing, "What About You?", aka "WAY."
We were hoping that our readers would see how we'd bared our player souls to you and do the same in return, but maybe it was too much at one time. So instead, let's take this one question at a time.
Today's question is... *Drumroll*
What is your gaming alias and why?
Just to refresh your memory (or in case you didn't get to see the originals), here is what we at HL said:
Altair Specineff, Darth Zebra, Fatal K.O, Peanut Butter. Contrary to popular belief, the Altair in my name doesn't come from the Assassin's Creed character but both the irregular, football shaped star and a villain from Bomberman 64. Specineff is the rollerblading, cybernetic grim reaper from the second Virtual-On game.
Riskbreaker. Magus. Or Doofus McPaddle.
The Littoface (that's me :D ) said:
There's a little story behind this one. Names mean a huge deal for me. I mean, a huge deal. Sometimes I take more time figuring out what to name my character in games than actually playing the game. So one day I decided I needed a new screenname, so I went in search of a good name to use.
I found Aeval, and who she was. I liked the name, and had the hidden pleasure of knowing what the name stands for. So it stuck.
...Which makes it all the more ironic when so many people think that I'm a guy because apparently Aeval sounds like a guy's name.
(...I talk a lot apparently.)
What about YOU?
What is your gaming alias and what's the story behind it?
Castle Roogna (Xanth Novels)
By Piers Anthony
Current theme: Umineko No Naku Koro Ni
Hi there! c:
*Waves!* I'm hopping over from my old (OLD) account, Thundermoon, for personal reasons, and because it is just so full of teenage angst! It was depressing me. I turned 22 on July 1st this year, and well... maybe it's time to grow up? (Yeah right xD) A little about me: My name is Yuliya, but people tend to call me.. actually, people tend to call me Yuliya, even if I introduce myself as Julie. Some people just call me Hey You. That's fine too. I'm a fresh graduate from NYU. I got married on July 13th. (When my name officially became Yuliya Geikhman-Adrianzen de la Puente. Nice, right?) And... Well, that's about it for me. -Littoface