Monthly Archives: March 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOHtFZXdyZQ]

This is a bit of a heartwarming Kamen Rider-based post to lift the spirits of people out in the Netverse.

Some Kamen Rider cosplayers in Hong Kong spent a full day gathering up donations for Japanese relief while in-costume. The entire video is set to some heartwarming music as well, so it really gave me a nice feeling to watch it, even if I wasn’t there. Cheers!


I’ve been reading the blog Game Journalists are Incompetent F**kwits for the past month or so, and while I haven’t been actively thinking about the issues that stem from bad journalism, I have been noticing some rather disheartening things in my part of the world that have made me place my face in my palm (at least in my head) a couple of times. Some of it has something to do with journalism as well.

Now, disasters are one thing. They are unavoidable acts of nature.

Gullibility, on the other hand? Well, that’s the root of many, many stupid actions and negative emotions that could have otherwise been prevented.

In the past few weeks since the Quake in Japan (and the quake in the Philippines ~ we had one earlier this week), I’ve noticed at least three separate instances of people believing something and reacting poorly towards that something, when some research could have allayed their fears somewhat.

The first instance is a horrible prank made by some anonymous texter (or group of texters) who sent out warnings after news of the reactor in Japan started coming out. The text message relayed to was essentially to stock up on food and stay indoors to avoid radioactive rain. Two noticeable results occurred: Panic buying in some areas happened, and one school, fearing the safety of their charges, canceled school.

The second instance is far more innocuous, but no less distressing. The picture at the top of this post was recently plastered in various areas of a local shopping center. People saw it, posted it on Facebook, and Facebook and Twitter went nuts, with posters condemning the owners of the mall for the sign… which no company, including the shopping center owners, in their right mind would dare post. The signs were a well-orchestrated prank that could potentially lose the company that manages the mall a lot of money and bad publicity… especially because people are gullible.

The last one, which is the main reason I wrote this, is very meta. Carmen Pedrosa wrote yesterday about a report she found done by Harvard, which essentially made it known that people from the Philippines are “first among ‘the world’s most gullible races.'” The reason why this is meta is simple: She links to a post by a blog called The Mosquito Press, where all this information came from, yet does not notice that their FAQ page states that the site is a satirical publication. Cue a bit of competitive journlism from a different news organization calling her out on her faux pas.

The last line on the portion of her article about gullible Filipinos? “We are gullible because we are not able (sic) or do not question information. We prefer to believe what other persons tell us.”

What does this tell us?

 

1. People are gullible, but this can be avoided.

2. The curse of gullibility can be avoided by not having a knee-jerk reaction to everything you take in with your senses.

3. Research, Research, Research.

4. When in doubt, think first.

The funny thing about all this, I suppose, is that when one is so emotionally invested into things, it gets very difficult to have a critical look at what you’re seeing or experiencing.

What does this have specifically to do with games? Not much, unless you’re one of those people who got mindfucked by Metal Gear Solid 2.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvpj_p9MyHM]



Category: Everquest 2, MMOs

Not a 100% Gaming-Related Post.
As humans, we all tend to fear something in our lives. If it’s not death, or taxes, or rabid zombie chickens, it’s probably the unknown we’re most afraid of.

Case in point: my anxiety towards taking calls or playing Darkfall. Essentially, the fear is of no great consequence in the greater scheme of things (especially if you do what you do well), but I personally can’t shake off my anxiety.

With regard to life in general, I think we all do something to get rid of that anxiety somewhat. Some of us play games or have thought experiments. Some of us write. Some of us eat shrooms.

In my case, anxiety is best alleviated by being active, and not focusing on things that make me nervous.

When it came to work last week, my team leader had a heart-to-heart with me, and asked me to tell her more about me and what I expected of a Team Lead. I said that in general, I had trouble waiting for calls, but could function well enough once a call came in. In my old job, my Team Lead acted like a buffer to alleviate the anxiety by giving me additional jobs that could take me away from the phone or distract me.

The strange thing about this heart-to-heart is that, when I told her this, she said she understood, and asked me what I liked to do. I told her that I liked writing and blogging.

So… she gave me permission to blog during the lulls so I wouldn’t get so anxious.

This is why I’m writing this now, so I can enter this post later onto Games and Geekery.


Category: opinion, Personal

Last night, after talking with people and thinking about what I wanted, I decided to purchase a month of game time for EQ2.

Seeing as the computer I’m using now is different, however, it also meant that I’d need to redownload the client from scratch, only this time, there’s more of the client that needs downloading. At 12.4 GB, it’s not a quick download for my connection speeds, and some issues with their new launcher system made things rather worse on my end.

You see, I originally used the Station Launcher for trying to download the client, and got around 400 MB downloaded. I stopped the download for a bit to check something, and when I ran it again to continue the download, it was stuck in an error loop about scanning the remote manifest.

Some digging on the forums revealed that there was an alternative, game-specific launcher, so I tried that, but after installing it, the damned thing wouldn’t load past a screen with the SOE logo in the middle. I deleted the cache and cookies on IE, Chrome, and Firefox, restarted my computer, and even tried bypassing the download through the streaming client (it didn’t work), until I tried restarting my computer again and waiting for the EQ2 Launchpad to run its course and get to a log-in screen.

Luckily, something I did must have worked, because it finally got past the loading screen and onto a log-in screen.

Right now, I’ve got 2.3 GB downloaded, and I’m hoping the other 10.1 GB gets downloaded sooner rather than later, as I’m itching to play. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out if there are any games I can play while waiting, or if I should nap first for a few hours while downloading. Ah well.


Category: Everquest 2, MMOs

I’ve been reading up on the recent security issue that Trion Worlds had with Rift. For the most part, I’m quite amazed to see the devs patch an exploit within two hours of someone finding it and talking about it on the forums. Not only was it fast, but Trion Worlds found the exact exploit with the help of this White Hat-wearing individual who was the first to discover the issue.

ZAM’s Rift site has an interview up with the white hat, named ManWitDaPlan, and here are some choice quotes from the fellow regarding security in this day and age of digital wonders.

Security is fickle. It’s finicky. It’s nitpicky. It demands attention to the minutae but will chastise those that cannot also see the big picture. And it punishes the slightest mistake or miscue or omission with the greatest severity.

 

Rift stands the best chance of dethroning WoW that I’ve seen of any contender to date, and not strictly because the game brings something new/special to the table. After all, Rift is derivative of all that went before it, just as WoW was, and as Ultima Online was of MUDs/MOOs, etc. all the way back to the first games writen for computers.

A key, and often overlooked, part of the equation is how the game is run, how the GMs interact with the players, how involved the developers are with the playerbase, and whether the game’s producer fosters a real sense of community for and with their customers. After all, a game is only as good as its developers make it and its players play it. Trion is striving to do right on all counts, and that puts pressure on the whole MMO world to do it better, whatever “it” might happen to be.

 

And my Favorite Quote:

Trion hit this like Jackie Chan channeling Bruce Lee, which is what you do when you find an exploit. No playing the blame game, no whining, just find and fix and slam the door on the hackers. “Crush the hackers, see them driven from before you, and hear the lamentation of their women!” (Apologies to Ahnold for that…)


I am quite in the mood for some retail therapy at the moment to soothe my frayed work-related nerves. Mostly, I’ve gotten a yearning for virtual worldliness, which I think requires some explanation.

I have a couple of ideas in mind to fulfill this need I have to acquire a new feeling of homeliness.

The first idea is to go back to Everquest 2 or perhaps even try EQ2X because that’s the one place where I can really enjoy the housing system. I could try EQ1, but that game is beyond my patience level, seeing as I’ve been thoroughly spoiled by newer games. I just need to figure out if I intend to play long-term to end-game, or craft myself a storm and build tons of housing items. :D

The second idea is to play EQ2 or EQ2X and Rift at the same time, so I can get my housing fix and my current MMO hotness fix.

The third idea I have is to give Games and Geekery a new home, by purchasing a domain name and finding myself a good host (to this end, I’m thinking of going with Arkenor’s host, called Arvixe).

Unfortunately, I’m too emotionally invested in all these ideas to be able to think things out more clearly. You’ve seen how… fickle… my gaming preoccupations can be.  Perhaps you can offer some good advice for me as to what might be a good course of action.

Heck, you may want to even offer me a different game to play. :)

Just comment with your thoughts so I can have something to think about. Thanks. :)


This is mostly a personal blog post, so please bear with me.

Last night, I began doing something again that I thought I would never do: answer calls and do call center work.

Now, I have nothing against the call center industry itself. It’s just that, much like playing Darkfall, it makes me feel extremely anxious to engage in the activity. This is mostly due to my own neuroses, and how my personality doesn’t seem to relax when faced with the possibility of an irate caller.

What I was told was that if there are no calls coming in at certain times, we can perform writing work. However, it feels like a bait and switch to realize that despite a lull in the calls, people will still eventually call, and you’ll still be scrambling to finish all the after-call work in time.

Unfortunately, it feels like my heart will burst every time I take a call. I hate that feeling immensely. I want it to go away, but I don’t think anyone in my family understands the emotional and physical response that this actual job gives me.

Still, it was my choice to enter the job and try and tough it out. But I guess I’m not as strong inside as I think I am.


Category: Personal

Square Enix’s various online game websites recently announced that the company would be temporarily suspending services for Final Fantasy XI and XIV beginning today, March 13, 2011, as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that affected the country recently.  The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has asked its customers to not use power unnecessarily in order to conserve electricity as TEPCO has noted they “expect extremely challenging situation in power supply for a while.”

Square Enix has complied with the request and will be shutting down their game servers to conserve electricity, providing updates as more information becomes available. The company also added that “players will not be billed for any PlayOnline service throughout the April billing cycle,” though that will also be updated as additional information becomes available.

It’s quite unfortunate that this had to happen to Japan and to Square Enix. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan as they go through this trying time.

Following the break is a list of all the affected services of Square Enix’s online division as taken from the FFXIV Lodestone.

(more…)


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