Tag Archives: RPG
Yes,Victor, you games-meandering bastard.
You’re playing or trying TOO MANY freaking games.
You have Borderlands 2, Dark Souls PC, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and Morrowind (using the Morrowind visual enhancer) to tide you over on the non-MMO front.
Then you have an active sub to LOTRO, which you don’t play actively, and WoW, which you’re having trouble connecting to reliably.
AND you got a year’s membership to Pirate101?!
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!
Now you’re considering getting The Walking Dead and subbing to RIFT and getting the Storm Legion expansion? I mean, I understand wanting TWD, but you could never stick to RIFT!
And you want to go back just for the freaking housing?! What the bloody, bloody hell is churning around in your head?
For the love of all that is finger-licking good, like fried chicken, curb your purchases, at least till November.
Victor’s Meandering Mind.
One of the things I enjoy about Sword Art Online is that so much is left to the imagination. The setting of Aincrad and the 100-floor realm with literal permadeath basically begs to be expanded upon in various ways, mostly in terms of world-building, character depth, and psychological analysis.
One of the major disappointments of Sword Art Online as a piece of media, both as a light novel series and as an anime adaptation based on the light novels, is that there’s not enough story to go around.
Not to spoil the series, but Sword Art Online is comprised on nine or ten light novels. Aincrad, which we are introduced to as the Sword Art Online VRMMORPG, is completed by the end of the first novel, which is less than 200 pages in length (light novels tend to not go over 120 pages). Additional background and sidestories were added in the second SAO light novel, but that means that the potential of the Sword Art Online arc feels like it’s watered down because the first novel is essentially a time-skip of two years (By a third of the novel, this is already the case), with gaps in story filled in by novel number two.
Does this diminish the enjoyment of Sword Art Online? Somewhat. But at the same time, because much is left to the imagination, much is also given in recompense to the reader with the overactive imagination.
The funny thing about SAO is that because I’m a MMO game hopper, the the idea that the SAO light novel series is about multiple VRMMORPGs doesn’t seem so far-fetched, and may actually be a good thing, depending on how the author crafts the story. I shall read the novels and watch the anime closely and enjoy each step as it happens.
I made mention of Sword Art Online on Twitter a few days ago, but it’s taken me a while to really formulate my thoughts regarding this topic. While my write-up will probably be incomplete, it’s good to at least start the process of discussing this rather intriguing light novel and anime series.
To discuss Sword Art Online as an anime or written work to a group of MMORPG players is difficult, mostly because I get the feeling that some people aren’t particularly interested in the intersection of what is virtual and real and because direct comparisons to other media that discuss MMORPGs will enter the fray. To discuss Sword Art Online to a group of literary critics is also difficult, because the Japanese light novel structure, publishing format, and demographic is vastly different from that of reading other works (I defer to the Wikipedia page on Light Novels for a description of the differences between novels and light novels).
That said, I think the only way I can really discuss Sword Art Online (henceforth termed SAO in this piece) is if I discuss its premise and how reading and watching SAO makes me feel.
The story of SAO begins at 1:00 p.m. of November 6, 2022, when the world’s first completely immersive virtual reality MMORPG goes live in Japan. Only 10,000 copies are available for this game, and in the morning of the game’s release, all 10,000 copies are purchased.
To create the immersive experience of SAO, Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO, also developed a device known as NerveGear. The Nervegear is a VR helmet that works by rerouting signals from your brain into the game, such that you can perform actions in the world by thinking them, and your body would remain immobile because the NerveGear bypasses your ability to move.
At the story’s beginning, we are introduced to Kirito, who served as one of the 1000 beta testers in the game, and Cline, another player who befriends Kirito. Kirito teaches Cline the basics of SAO’s world, Aincrad. In SAO, aside from magical crystals that heal and teleport, there is no magic that can be cast in the game. Instead, players rely on weapon skills that are trained and leveled up in order to acquire new skills, in addition to allocating statistics that increase dexterity or strength. Aside from fighting skills, crafting and gathering skills also apparently exist in the game, such as smithing, item appraisal, and fishing.
Four hours and twenty five minutes after the launch of SAO, Cline attempts to log out to pick up a pizza, only to discover that the log out button has been greyed out and cannot be used.
At 5:30 p.m, all the players of the game are teleported back to the starting city. By 5:40 p.m. of November 6, 2012, all hell will have broken loose.
Between 5:30 and 5:40 p.m. the sunset-lit sky is tinged blood red, and blood drips from the sky. A faceless man, clad in dark robes, coalesces from the blood: an monolithic figure who simply says, “Attention players, welcome to my world.”
The faceless man is none other than Akihiko Kayaba, and he continues his speech by saying that the inability to log out of the game is not a bug, but a feature of SAO.
He continues, “You cannot log out of SAO yourselves, and no one on the outside can shut down or remove your NerveGear. Should this be attempted, the transmitter inside the NerveGear will act like a powerful microwave, destroying your brain, ending your life.”
To stress the futility of the attempt, he adds that several players’ friends and families have already attempted to remove the NerveGear from the heads of 213 players, resulting in their removal from the game as well as their deaths. The news media has already picked up on the story, and save for officials transferring players to hospitals by temporarily disconnecting the NerveGear from a power source and letting it run on its internal battery, it is expected that no further attempts to remove NerveGears will be made.
Furthermore, permadeath is instituted in SAO. If your HP drops to zero, the NerveGear will activate the microwave, killing players who fail to survive in the game.
To log out of the game, players must ascend the 100 levels of the floating realm Aincrad, defeating a floor boss on each level to gain entry into the next and ultimately defeat the final boss on the 100th floor. As a means of comparison, Kirito mentions earlier that beta testers spent two months attempting to reach the eighth floor.
As an added dagger to the back of every surviving player, Akihiko Kayaba presents each player with an in-game item, <<Mirror>>. Examination of the item forces every player remaining in the game to be represented by a scan of his real-life attributes, including height, weight, muscularity and facial features.
By 5:40 p.m., Kayaba’s speech ends, his robes and body revert to blood, fly back into the blood red sky, and disappear, revealing sunset once more.
These are the first 10 or so pages of the first book of Sword Art Online, and we’ll have more to talk about later on when I continue this post series. Till then, don’t die.
I have played a ton of games in my life, but rarely do I finish games, and even rarer still does a game grip me so completely that I play it more than once.
Here are my top 5 non-mmo video games.
5. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PS2)
Introduced a most intriguing concept to me (representing a world within a world in a game), and was my formal introduction to the Shin Megami Tensei staple of games.
4. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
First introduced me to the concept of death of a main character in a storyline. My very first RPG. Also, the first game that made me think critically about games and made me realize that some games are more valuable than others in teaching values and life lessons to people.
3. Front Mission 3 (PS1)
Oh god, this game. I spent nearly 250 hours playing both storylines of this game.
THIS GAME HAS FILIPINOS. FUCK YEAH! Bring about the DAGAT AHAS (Sea Snake)!
2. Azure Dreams (PS1)
Were it not for an unfortunate mishap on the 40th floor of a dungeon, I would have eventually finished this game with my +37 Gold sword and my pet kicking ass and taking names.
Also, first dating sim type game.
1. Parasite EVE II (PS1)
I spent three Christmas seasons repeating this game, sort of like a holiday ritual. I loved this game so much because it was always constantly challenging, and I loved the story… and I had a crush on Aya Brea.
BONUS: Fallout 1
Before I ever finished Baldur’s Gate, my copy of the game came with a free copy of Fallout 1. I repeated that game probably 7 times, all with a similar sort of loadout… trying to explore story paths that seemed likely.
I don’t ever remember stepping into a quantum accelerator, but I do remember sitting in front of a computer, writing this blog post, mostly because I’m doing it right now.
It seems that I’ve become the epitome of a quantum game leaper. Or hopper. Or Hip-hopper.
The point is this: I spent a month and a half in LOTRO and currently have a three month sub there. I switched to RIFT for five days, then moved to The Secret World for two weeks, then Star Trek Online for one week, and now I’m contemplating going to EVE Online to round out the pre-GW2 time.
At the same time, I want to maintain a sub to The Secret World, mostly because I want to see what Ragnar and Funcom do with their commitment to monthly updates. So… we’ll see what happens.
For now, I’ll keep leaping, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each leap will be the leap home.
Due to how my computer, monitors, and PlayStation 3 are set up, I can actually type this while looking at the television screen showing the PS3 interface. I’ve decided to try liveblogging the first few hours of FFXIII-2 to see if I like playing the game in this manner, and to gauge my personal interest in dividing my attention in this particular fashion in an attempt to try something new and blog more.
How it’ll work: most liveblogs use some kind of software that I have no idea where to get in order to liveblog quickly and efficiently. While I won’t be using that software, I can use their format of updating in tweet-like fashion, with the entries going chronologically upwards from the beginning (the bottom-most entry) to the most recent entry (directly below this paragraph) using military time to denote hours in the GMT+8 timezone.
I’ll begin in approximately 30 minutes from this post, at 19:30, after I grab dinner.
See you folks in a bit.
————– LIVEBLOG BELOW ————–
22:15 Standing in front of the First Time Gate. Will continue some other time.
22:13 It seems there’s also a map percentage aspect to the game. Can’t seem to trigger 100% on the first map though. Strange.
21:57 There appear to be sidequests for Artefacts and other items. Hmm… not sure what to think about fetch quests.
21:38 Got an artefact… Why not spell it Artifact? Is there a big difference?
21:27 So Snow actually left Serah to find Lightning for his fiance. That’s nice.
21:18 So the moogle is some kind of a treasure hunting device and a weapon. How multifunctional!
21:04 Oh man. I can save anywhere and it saves to the same file I made at the start of the game. That’s cool.
20:57 Crystarium has been altered somewhat. Not sure how to explain it, but basically, each crystal allows you to choose your path of development.
20:48 Staring at a meteorite. Amazed it crashed without making a bigger crater.
20:43 LOL. First non-tutorial boss is called Gogmagog.
20:35 The game uses random encounters that require you to encounter the enemy in a time limit. That’s a nice implementation of two existing battle type tropes.
20:26 Hmm… early enemies dropping Accessories.
20:19 So… they give a brief overview of the ending of FFXIII through dialogue in the first hour. Not bad.
20:17 And the kupos of the moogle are weird. Some kind of dialogue weirdness.
20:07 LOL. Jumping mechanics included in the game now.
20:05 Live Trigger… Branching Dialog options, it seems.
20:01 Magical Changing Clothes. Go Squeenix go!
19:59 Noel Kreiss…. jumps into a time gate.
19:54 First Tutorial battle of the game completed, Multi-stage, very forgiving, extremely epic.
19:50 I guess they use gameplay footage to allow for cinematic actions. I got to choose how to engage my enemy in the cinema.
19:44 Apparently, the enemy is a fricking Bahamut of Chaos.
19:42 Cutscenes become actual gameplay footage now. Tutorial stage played as Lightning Riding Odin.
19:40 Caius and Lightning fight. Beasties galore in battle.
19:38 Opening Cinematic of the game. Lightning looks over the sea.
19:36 Game gives a bonus reward if you have FFXIII save data, and asks you to create a data file upon starting game. Autosave and manual save is available.
19:34 Game loaded, Opening Sequence playing. Pretty Cool.
19:30 Turning on PS3.
… and I’m feeling good.
2012 is a new year, and if the naysayers in this world would have it, the last year for humans to exist on the planet.
I don’t want to believe that. I mean, there’s so much to be thankful for.
Like Free Speech, and its counterpart, Using Words Responsibly.
Like Being Happy, and its counterpart, Choosing to be Angry.
And GAMES! Oh so many games!
This year, I choose to speak my mind more about the things that interest me, even if it makes me uncomfortable to open up in that way.
I will play the games I want and I will enjoy (or not enjoy) them at my leisure.
I will respect the minds of others, even if I disagree with their ideas.
I will not limit myself to one avenue of thought, and I will open up to other ideas and not act in a passive-aggressive manner to people of perceived authority.
I will not let the negativity of others invalidate what I feel towards a game.
I will balance my gaming with healthier pursuits.
I will finish that first book that’s been in my head and evolved since I was a kid.
I will define who I am by what I do and think, and not by what people think of me.
I will play more Final Fantasy XIV and maybe even get Final Fantasy XIII-2 on the PS3.
I will experience games I never thought to try out. That may include superhero MMORPGs.
I will keep writing about games!
I will stay smiling and awesome, the way I envision myself as being for the rest of my life.
Despite the many merits of Minecraft, I dislike the current state it’s in because it’s too sandboxy for me. Without any clearly defined goals set for myself to push through, Minecraft’s effect wasn’t that strong on me. I ultimately get bored playing the game after less than 30 minutes.
That said, disliking the game doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what Minecraft’s effect on me was.
While it could be said that my first Indie game purchase was Torchlight (Torchlight is, in fact, the first game I ever purchased through Steam, and my second Steam-enabled game after The Last Remnant), Minecraft was what really brought independent game development to the forefront of my game-loving mind.
Minecraft’s popularity and media coverage made many gamers take notice of independent developers and their many offerings, whether it be a storekeeper’s RPG in the form of Recettear, a roguelike like Dungeons of Dredmor, or a FPSS (First Person Santiy Survival) thriller such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Indies these days allow for exceptional gameplay experiences that do not necessarily require a high price to enjoy. Indeed, with Humble Indie Bundles and Royal Bundles available to the public these days, getting into the groove of loving low-cost, high quality gaming is proving to be a steadily popular choice among the discerning gamers out in PC and Xbox 360-land.
Even now, Minecraft is probably the biggest example of what indie gaming is, but since there’s no formal definition for what an indie game is, I doubt it actually holds the title of biggest indie game in a person’s heart.
That game probably goes to whatever awesome game is out at the moment. It’s a fickle way of thinking, perhaps, but it also means there’s a lot of love to go around. While The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Saint’s Row: The Third are going to be the AAA hits I look forward to playing in the near future, it’s the indie games that’ll keep me company when the money is tight and gaming urge is strong.
Who knows? Minecraft may even get randomized quests for fun before 2012. At least, I hope it gives me a reason to play it again. I could use a good excuse.
MY SON WILL NOT BE BORN FROM DRAGONS, BUT HIS FAITHFUL COMPANION WILL BE… DRAGONBORN!
Does that mean I can still get a prize from Bethesda Softworks if I do so?!
Anyway, Trailer Time:
Namco Bandai has announced that a localization of the PS3 RPG Tales of Graces F is coming to North America.
More information can be found on the Wikipedia Page for the game. In the meantime, I’m saving some money and hoping it gets released in my country as well.