CoH > WoW

I kicked my brother off my World of Warcraft beta account so I could play for a while. I put in about 15 minutes and I logged off. I can’t believe that I’m so burned out. I didn’t even play that much. I guess it all comes down to the fact that it is just another treadmill in a pretty new package. After you get past the visuals, you just have the same old game.

However, I do still plan on playing WoW when it goes gold. I think the fact I’m playing a beta is getting in the way. I feel like I’m wasting my time playing a character that will be wiped. I certainly want to see the higher end of the game, as I’ve been told it is quite amazing. I just won’t bother until they are done with the game. Fact is, when you play a class and it is powerful, it often gets nerfed. Then you feel like the class sucks. However, if you start the class after the nerf, you approach things differently since you did not know about the class before. I’ve been through this so much in Asheron’s Call 2. It really is a game killing move. I think I’ll give Blizzard more time to flush out the game, so to speak.

City of Heroes seems to keep getting better. I got burned out with the low level game by rolling up so many different characters (which really is fun) and doing the same 4 or 5 levels. This weekend I picked one character (fire/energy blaster) and locked in on him. After getting up a few more levels, some real interesting things started happening. Mob AI started to improve, maps got more interesting, I traveled to other cities, and I started to kick some serious ass.

Special thanks goes out to my good bud who has been helping me out in CoH. You know who you are.

So for now, CoH > WoW. That is all.

Video Game Addiction

Below is a snip from an article I read today about television addiction. While reading it, I instantly recognized that I have had some of these same feelings related to playing video games. Anyway, I thought I’d put this here so I don’t forget about it. Hopefully it will help guide people towards a more healthy relationship with TV shows and video games.

What Really Happens When You Watch

Television exerts an almost hypnotic pull. If the box is on, your body is drawn to watch, researchers say. The quickly shifting images and loud noises prompt a reaction known as the orienting reflex, which evolved to protect us from potential predators. When you sense movement, your body freezes and “blood rushes to your brain so you can scope out what’s going on,” Kubey explains.

These images may attract your eyes the same way a flickering fire or light reflecting off the surface of a body of water does, adds Percy Tennenbaum, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of public policy and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. Even the best-intentioned people find they can’t look away when the television is on. Alexis Bloom, a New York City-based filmmaker, discovered this firsthand when she made a documentary about Bhutan, the Himalayan nation that in 1999 was the last place in the world to get television. While filming, she learned that Bhutanese monks performing religious ceremonies in people’s homes often found their eyes straying to the television in the corner.

Once it catches your attention, television sedates you like a drug. Scientists say television viewing increases your brain’s alpha waves and slows your beta waves, making you feel mellow and relaxed.

But once you turn off the television set, the good feelings evaporate. Any negative feelings you weren’t paying attention to while the set was on will surface. And you might experience symptoms of withdrawal, including boredom, dissatisfaction, irritability, a low energy level, and an inability to concentrate, Kubey says. In a weeklong study of people’s habits, Kubey and a colleague discovered that people were less likely to feel good after watching television than after exercising, reading a good book, or having an interesting conversation.

Given television’s hypnotic effects, it’s no wonder that it’s hard to turn off. Still, not everyone has a problem. Some people can watch a little television each week and switch it off easily, while others sense that they can’t control how much they watch and feel drawn to the television day after day. Researchers say they haven’t studied television habits enough to understand why.

City of Heroes – 3rd Time The Charm?

I logged back into City of Heroes last night, hoping to meet up with a good friend of mine, whom I’ve been running into in various MMORPGs for what now seems forever. He’s been playing CoH since just about the time I quit (for the second time).

I sat there looking at the character creation screen. What to do? Normally, my instincts lead me to try to find a solid class that can hold it’s own while soloing. That often leaves me playing a class I wouldn’t have normally picked just based on what appeals to me. So instead I asked myself, “Self, what appeals to you here? What looks fun?” Well, being a super hero type game, I wanted to look and fight like a super hero. That rules out one of the better solo classes I had read about, the Scrapper. Basically, a Scrapper is a front line melee fighter. There are some options for variety, like a Katana or Martial Arts, but they all seemed like rather typical fighting classes to me. The only one I’d still consider is the Spines Scrapper. He has venomous spines all over his body to hit people with. At least that seems different enough to try.

I decided to choose something with a little variety, even though I have now been given early warnings that it is not possibly a very good solo class. I chose to go with a Defender, using Radiation Emission as my primary skillset and Dark Blast as my secondary skillset. So far it has been fun, if not way to early to comment on it. I am able to laydown a radiation field which has some debuffs (-accuracy -defense). This field is area of effect (AoE) so it hits everyone nearby my main target. Then, I blast away with my Dark attacks which also have accuracy debuffs.

Honestly, this has been my best character build yet. I’m breezing through missions, taking on 4 bad guys at once. I’m not sure how it will go in the future, but thanks to some help from my friend, I’ll give it a shot. If it gets ugly, I’ll switch to something else.

If it *is* going to get ugly, I hope it does so soon because I’m sick of starting over. It has become a chronic disease with me. My 2nd choice at this time is some sort of Blaster, as they have that whole super hero look going on hard core.

Yarrr, I be havin’ problems updating this blog, matey. I fear me sails have been shot full o’holes.

Why Did I Reactivate CoH?

Yeah, my account for City of Heroes is active again. I was sitting around at my computer, trying to think of something to do. Often when I feel that way I think about the fun times I’ve had in previous MMORPGs. Most of those fun times have involved 2 or 3 of the same people. One of them is playing CoH so I figured I’d try to hook up with him and give it another try.

Problem is, I still don’t enjoy the core gameplay. I can’t put my finger on it, but I can only do 2 or 3 missions before I feel the urge to log out and do something else. I’ve never had a character above level 10 (including my time in beta) so I would hope I’m missing out on the real fun still. I plan to pick one character and level them as far as I can to break past the previous max levels I’ve had.

Hopefully I will discover some new aspect of gameplay I’ve been missing out on.

World of Warcraft is still sitting on the back burner. I cannot come to grips with what is causing me to avoid it lately. I just seem to have no interest. Every class I’ve played is fun, for a while. Eventually I just get bored.

Been playing more BF:1942 (Desert Combat mod) lately. I am having a blast with that. Not any better at flying a helicopter yet. Quite the challenge. I still get a kick out of parachuting behind enemy lines and taking over a base single-handedly. Good times.

Latest MMORPG announcement? Star Trek MMORPG is now in development. Oh boy, I can see it now. The away team is in trouble so they call for someone to beam them up to the ship. Trouble is, the guy in charge of operating the transporter stepped away to make a sandwich.

So Long Dragon Empires

Dragon Empires development ceased due to technical issues

Codemasters has taken the decision to cancel further development of Dragon Empires, the company’s massively multiplayer online role playing project.

Dragon Empires received incredible support from its online community and won acclaim from PC and online media while in development. However, technical issues have resulted in the project’s discontinuation.

Many of the game’s development team, including programmers and artists, are being transferred to Codemasters internal development studios to work on current and future titles.

The decision to close Dragon Empires development does not impact on Codemasters long-term ambitions in the massively multiplayer online gaming market and the company remains very active in evaluating future opportunities.


I was a beta tester in phase 0.5 and I must say – I’m not shocked here. The scenery at times could be nice, but they had not implemented any combat or any mobs to fight. Just scenery. I was expecting beta 1.0 to get started soon and was hoping to try out more features, but no more.

Have You Seen My Classes Around Here?

My favorite kind of class to play in an MMORPG is a thief type. Stealthy with high damage potential. Problem is, these classes tend to be hard to play solo. So usually I end up being a fighter so I can actually finish quests and such. It’s not the class I really want, therefore I eventually get bored and quit the game altogether.

In Anarchy Online, I was immediately drawn to the Fixer. The idea of being able to hack into stuff was cool. Unfortunately, the class really did not have any use for such skills and I ended up being a weak, slow levelling fighter. But at least, I could run real fast. Run away that is.

In Star Wars: Galaxies, I picked a Smuggler. This sounded great too, but I just ended up helping people make their gun do more damage. I also could not stand the visuals in this game. And where were all the players? Freaking world is abandoned all the time.

Asheron’s Call 2 did not have any thief classes, so I chose something which seemed a little different: Feral Intendant. This class has a pet and is a melee tank god. With health drains and the ability to dish out (and take) a lot of damage, this class was clearly overpowered. Also very very fun. I hit the level cap for the first time in my life. Soon after, Turbine redesigned all the classes and I’ve never felt the magic return. Also, this game has no clue how to implement pets. They would straggle way behind and get stuck on everything. Half the time I had troubles summoning one. I don’t normally like playing pet classes, and luckily this class could play just fine without one.

In WoW, they have a Rogue. This class is just about perfect for me, other than the fact that I have been having problems soloing. That and the fact that they have several cool classes I wanted to try. I will likely play a Rogue when it goes retail. But for now, I’ve been trying out the other classes. The Druid is fun because you can transform into other beasts and thus play different roles. The Warrior is possibly the most fun melee class I’ve ever played. Lately, I’ve been playing a Hunter. You can tame a beast to fight by your side. You get a ranged weapon and a good melee weapon. This seems targeted at being the ultimate solo class. Blizzard still has plenty to implement in this class so we shall see, but so far so good.

I can hear people saying, why play an MMORPG when you prefer to solo? Well, I don’t prefer to solo, but I end up doing it most of the time because of my schedule and short moments of time available to play. I rarely have time to put a group together and quest/hunt for 4 hours. But I still try to when I can and therefore I play MMORPGs. I prefer to be with a group, it’s just not that easy to do all the time.

WoW Has Less Wow Now

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft beta for few months now and have been enjoying it for the most part. However, there is a distinct level of “meh” rising. I am not feeling that tug you get when you want to get something accomplished in game. Part of it is the rest bonus. The longer I stay out of the game, the higher my XP bonus is. It is almost as if I am gaining interest on top of interest and it’s good enough to keep me logged out.

But then I log in and I can’t think of anything fun to do. The quests are getting a little dull for me. And I can’t seem to get someone above level 16 before I want to try a new class so that makes the game seem more repetitive than it really is since I am *actually* repeating quests over and over. I should probably stop that.

The way the game works, it sort of leads you from one area to the next. Sometimes I get into an area and I can’t wait to get out of it. I feel like I need to finish the quests before I can leave. Of course that is not true, but it is how I feel.

So I have been playing Asheron’s Call 2 on occasion. It is still pretty fun, but it is sort of like going back to your old home town that you swore you’d never go back to visit.

I picked up Battlefield: 1942 recently and have been practicing my flying skills in the single player mode before I dare try the multiplayer. That is a fun game, the variety of things you can do is very cool. Fly a plane, shoot big cannons from a battleship, pilot a landing craft, parachute out of a plane into enemy territory, even drive a tank. Pretty sweet game for $20. Highly recommended if you have not already been there.

I’m also looking forward to the release of that new Pirates! game. It looks cool and I’m sort of a Pirate freak anyway. Pirates and Monkeys you know.

Everybody Have Fun Tonight

I’ve been killing myself in the last few MMORPGs. I spend more time trying to figure out how things work and what is the best way to do something. I think it’s time to stop that whole behavior, as it is making the games NOT FUN.

So when I log in for the first time in World of Warcraft (hopefully this weekend?), I will be entering their world to have fun. No more stats. All seat of the pants. In fact, I think I’ll even role-play for a while. That would be a nice change.

I’m going to play that game as if I AM the character on the screen.

Yet Another Cancelled MMORPG

I hit the old cancel button on FFXI last night. Account good until the end of June. I don’t know why, I can’t quite put my fingers on it, but I just get bored of this game. It is one of the best made MMORPGs I have played, but I have no interest in playing it. Weird.

A comment about cancelling accounts. Most MMORPGs allow you to play out the remaining time on your account when you cancel. Asheron’s Call 2 says good bye. No more access for you, and no money back. Turbine (the developers of AC2) blame that on Microsoft since MS did the billing. Turbine bought full control of the Asheron’s Call games back from MS and yet they still have this same stupid policy.

The timer is ticking, waiting for my World of Warcraft beta invite. Should be in the next two weeks. Hopefully those comets won’t hit earth before then.

City of Heroes Humor

There is a guy playing City of Heroes who keeps having conversations at the payphones. All you can hear is one side of the conversation (the pay phones don’t actually work so he is making it all up). It is very funny stuff. You can go look for the thread at the CoH forums ( but here is one of the conversations. Major kudos goes out to this guy whoever he is.

Ascendant: Hello, is this the offices of Saul Rubenstien, Agent to Paragon’s Elite?
Ascendant: Great. Can I speak to him? I’m a client.
Ascendant: Ascendant. No, with an ‘A’. D-A-N-T.
Ascendant: Ok, I’ll hold.
Ascendant: –lor said ‘Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be, but my life, my love and m–
Ascendant: Hello, Saul, it’s Ascendant.
Ascendant: No, the one with an ‘A’.
Ascendant: I’m glad you asked. I’ve been going over these products you’ve sent me—
Ascendant: Right, for the merchandizing campaign…
Ascendant: Well, no, they aren’t. That’s why I’m calling, actually.
Ascendant: I’m not really happy with them.
Ascendant: Well, for starters, there’s the breakfast cereal.
Ascendant: Right, Ascendant-O’s.
Ascendant: Ok, it says here on the box ‘Includes Xenonite, the Secret Source of Ascendant’s Power’.
Ascendant: Well, for one thing, Xenonite is NOT the secret source of my powers.
Ascendant: No, Saul… No, it isn’t. Trust me on this.
Ascendant: Saul, Xenonite TAKES AWAY my powers.
Ascendant: Yeah, it does. In fact, if I’m exposed to it too long, it could kill me.
Ascendant: I dunno. It’s got something to do with radioactivity, I think.
Ascendant: Anyway, I poured a bowl of Ascendant-O’s yesterday to see what they taste like and nearly died before I could finish adding the milk.
Ascendant: Well, if the cat hadn’t come along and eaten it all, I would have, Saul.
Ascendant: My point is that we aren’t going to be selling Ascendant-O’s…
Ascendant: Because, Saul, I’m not putting on a lead suit every time I have to go to the cereal aisle in the grocery store.
Ascendant: I don’t care if you have already have a lot of pre-orders for it.
Ascendant: Really? How much?
Ascendant: From who?
Ascendant: Ok… Right… Yeah… Uh huh… Him, too? Really?
Ascendant: Yeah, well the problem here is that all those guys you just mentioned are supervillains, Saul.
Ascendant: Yes, even him. I just beat him up like an hour ago for trying to poison the city’s water supply.
Ascendant: I don’t care if his check cleared, Saul. That’s not the point…
Ascendant: Well, of course they’re going to use it to try and kill me, Saul.
Ascendant: Why else would a bunch of supervillains want a kid’s cereal laced with the one rare radioactive element I’m vulnerable to?
Ascendant: No, I don’t think they just want a well balanced breakfast.
Ascendant: Ok, as far as I’m concerned, this is a dead issue, Saul. Big NO on Ascendant-O’s.
Ascendant: Moving on: The Ascendant action figure.
Ascendant: No, I’m very disappointed, actually.
Ascendant: Well, for starters, it comes with a laser sword and a talking dinosaur that I supposedly ride into battle.
Ascendant: I don’t have either one of those things, Saul.
Ascendant: I don’t care if the focus groups thought it would be cool.
Ascendant: That’s utterly ridiculous, Saul.
Ascendant: Yes, it is. For one thing, where am I going to get a laser sword? Or a talking dinosaur, for that matter?
Ascendant: Fine, whatever. Anyway, I’m also a little concerned about the fact that it features ‘Burning Halo Action’…
Ascendant: Right, but aside from the fact that I don’t actually have that power–
Ascendant: No, Saul, I don’t.
Ascendant: I’d know it if I did, Saul, trust me.
Ascendant: –Aside from the fact that I don’t have anything like a Burning Halo power, do you really think it’s a good idea to sell kids an action figure that can spotaneously burst into flame?
Ascendant: I see… Well, we’re going to hold on that until I approve a redesign.
Ascendant: Moving on. The Ascendant Cave Action Playset.
Ascendant: Yeah, I actually like this thing. It doesn’t look anything like my apartment, but it’s pretty cool, I guess.
Ascendant: What do you mean they changed the name so it could fit on the box?
Ascendant: Well, sure, I guess Ascendant Cave Action Playset is a little long, but couldn’t they use a smaller font?
Ascendant: Fine, so what do they call it now? The Action Cave? Ascendant’s Lair? What?
Ascendant: The A-Hole?!?!?!
Ascendant: Why on Earth would they call it the A-Hole, Saul?
Ascendant: Yes, I understand the ‘A’ is short for Ascendant, you moron, but why not call it the A-Cave? or the A-Lair?
Ascendant: Uh huh… Yeah… I see…
Ascendant: Well, we’re NOT calling my secret headquarters the A-Hole, Saul, and that’s final.
Ascendant: Because I don’t want people to hear the word ‘Ascendant’ and immediately think ‘A-Hole’.
Ascendant: Ok, moving on. The Ascendant Action Hour TV Show.
Ascendant: Right. I actually like the opening animation of me that you’ve put together.
Ascendant: Right, the one where I’m sheathed in a burning halo of flame, riding around the city on a talking dinosaur, hitting bad guys with my laser sword and eating chunks of raw Xenonite.
Ascendant: I mean, that’s still not anything remotely close to real life, but I guess it looks pretty cool and the theme song is pretty catchy, so I’ll let it pass for now.
Ascendant: It’s the rest of the show that I have problems with, Saul.
Ascendant: Well, for one thing, outside of the opening theme part, the show itself is apparently just old episodes of Nightline, except every time someone says ‘Ted Koppel’, you dub over it with ‘Ascendant’.
Ascendant: I don’t care if each episode only costs $22.50 plus shipping to make, Saul. In fact, I don’t think you can even legally broadcast it.
Ascendant: What offshore pirate transmitter?
Ascendant: Saul, that’s a federal offence.
Ascendant: Yes… Yes, it is.
Ascendant: Yes, someone WILL care… They’re called the FCC, Saul.
Ascendant: Look, Saul, I’ve got to fire you.
Ascendant: I don’t see where you’ve left me much choice, Saul.
Ascendant: You’re selling cereal that can kill me to my archenemies, you’ve made my action figure not only ludicrous but potentially lethal to kids, and you’re comitting felonies by broadcasting illegal transmissions of Nightline from off shore.
Ascendant: Oh, and I almost forgot, you’re selling an action playset which proudly proclaims on the box that ‘Ascendant stores all of his most precious items inside his incredible A-Hole.’
Ascendant: And worst of all, my name is stamped all over all of this, Saul… I’m the one who’s going to be sued, or killed, or arrested… Maybe in that order, too.
Ascendant: Saul…
Ascendant: Saul…
Ascendant: Stop crying Saul…
Ascendant: Look… I know you tried your best.
Ascendant: (Sigh)… Ok, Fine…
Ascendant: Look, Ok, but just one more chance, Saul….
Ascendant: Just don’t do anything more until we can have a meeting, Saul.
Ascendant: No… For the last time, NO Broadway musical! Don’t even MENTION that idea again.
Ascendant: Ok, bye.