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Archive for June, 2009

World of Warcraft… on crack

Ever since World of Warcraft was released in 2004, I have loathed it. Partly because its so popular, but mostly because I despised the art style and graphics. Also, the gameplay style didn’t spark my interest either. It’s not just because of the type of game it is, I like the concept behind MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games). In fact, some of my friends and I have been patiently waiting for an MMORPG that appealed to us. We think we may have finally found that game in Aion: The Tower of Eternity. Aion, the biggest MMO launch of 2009, is a new game by NCsoft;  the same publisher who brought us Guild Wars, the only other MMO that my friends and I have sunk our metaphoric teeth into. This game has many of the features that I feel WOW was lacking, and will therefore be the first pay-2-play MMO that I purchase.  I could write a giant wall of text talking about why I think Aion will be better than its competitors, but I’ve decided I’d rather just state the top five reasons instead; creating a somewhat smaller wall of text. So with out further adieu I present to you,

The Top 5 reasons to play Aion over WOW:

1: It Doesn’t Look Like Ass

The game uses a modified version of the Crytek engine that was used in FarCry. This allows for very long draw distances along with highly detailed textures and character models. Aion0121All of this comes with system requirements that don’t need the latest hardware to run it smoothly. A single core CPU and a graphics card that is relatively ancient are all that’s needed.

2: Fun and Engaging Combat

While high-level combat in WOW is certainly engaging, from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t have the style or flair of Aion. Awesome animations and effects make even low level combat in Aion interesting. Progression seems better than WOW as well. You get to specialize your class at level 10, ability changing stigmas at level 20 and so on up to the current level cap of 50. Also at level 10 you receive your first wings, giving you the ability to fly. There aren’t any mounts, you are the mount. This opens up options like mid-air combat. When you do reach higher-level combat, the effects and animations going on can only be described as epic.

3: Character Customization

The ability to customize your character in Aion is unmatched. You can chose from dozens of hairstyles, facial features and tattoos. You also have the ability to change your characters’ face and body shape through numerous sliders. In-game you can dye armor and even apply a previous armor’s look to a new armor with better stats. After level 20 you gain access to stigmas which are basically like enchantments to further make your character look and feel unique.

4: PvPvE

When you create a character, you choose between Elyos and Asmodian; similar to Alliance and Horde. After level 15 you are able to enter the Abyss. Abyss acts as a gate between the two sides. Here your main objective is to defeat a third AI controlled race called the Balaur. The catch is, the other race is as well. Imagine you and a group of friends are attacking a group of monsters when all of a sudden a group of the enemy race comes in and joins the battle. There are even optional quests that ask you to go into enemy territory, with increased rewards. Awesome.

5. Art Style

Many people say that even though WOW has sub-par graphics, the  art style makes up for it. While I actually hate the WOW art style with a passion, I can see why some people might like it. Aion, on the other hand, has great graphics and a great art style. Armor is extremely detailed and is dynamic, growing shoulder spikes or a beautiful aura in battle. There is no shortage of beautiful vistas. Environmental details like giant flying beasts make the world seem alive and give the game a great sense of scale. These are some of the reasons Aion is a fascinating and often times awe-inspiring game.

Well, if you made it through that wall of text I hope you can see why Aion is so promising. It improves upon many of the things that I want in an MMO; good graphics, cool and deep gameplay, etc. The game comes out in the US on September 22nd but if you preorder now you get access to the ongoing beta. Hope to see you in Aion!


A Face Worth Forgetting

Song: “Two Weeks”

Artist: Grizzly Bear

Rating: B-

 

Here’s a game: put on this video, minimize the window, and just listen to the song.

Done? Now watch the video. This is the kind of video you watch after you’ve heard the song a couple of times, because otherwise the smiling glowing cherubs ruin it. This is music where the visuals should come to you fairly easily without any kind of visual guidance and though that can be argued for most music videos, that’s a discussion for another time.

I kinda like it, I’ll admit. It’s like your odd little cousin: kind of obnoxious, yet still earnest in its distinctiveness. And different, it is. It feels like the work of a true Brooklyn bohemian, a real ugly type who’ll knock around Williamsburg with the band. In actuality Mr. Director  hails from Cali and has a pretty impressive video-making resume and probably doesn’t have time to hang out with bow-tie wearing dorks between his sit-down with Karen O and watching first-draft reels of his Milli Vanilli biopic. 

But this video is not California. It’s almost plain. It’s almost boring. And therein lies the trick; all a decent video needs is a little something-something for the clever consumer to pick up on, a little treat to reward them for paying good attention. Sometimes the treat’s worth the trouble, sometimes it’s not. The “Two Weeks” video falls in between with our hero’s ever-so-slightly distorted facial features, noticeable even before they get glowing.  Who doesn’t enjoy a little Uncanny Valley every now and then?


Word of the Day

chikanMy friends and I are preparing for a trip for Japan. I was gaining knowledge about Japan using the handy dandy Japan travel guide and learning the terms and definitions in the glossary. I came across something very amusing, and no it’s not the word that’s hilarious, it’s the definition.

Chikan (痴漢, チカン, or ちかん) is a Japanese term meaning “molester” or “pervert”

I know that Japanese have a word for everything, literally. Really it doesn’t surprise me, but the main point to make here is that this is on a Japanese travel guide, perhaps warning people to be aware and or stay away from trains and enclosed spaces. I’m worried now, are you?


Dancing with the Keyboard

nexon-america-inc-audition[1]After the whole story with Yogurting, I remembered a time when I had downloaded a free MMORPG called Audition. I had no idea what was in store for me as I installed and started the game. First it starts off with music that only a 13-year-old would listen to and takes you to a “closet” where you build your character with very limited options of making your unique character. This poorly designed, god awful music soundtrack was enough to have me delete the program without even playing it, but I pulled through with my ears bleeding and one eye gouged out.

This game is, according to the site, “an rhyme-based dancing MMO that draws its inspiration from Dance Dance Revolution. Players score points by timing arrow key combos properly.” I was doing this exact thing, but with  5 other people simultaneously! My character was the only one that wasn’t dancing as everyone else was, doing flips and whatnot, because I couldn’t comprehend exactly what was happening in front of me. Although I’ll admit it was a funny sight to see as it was apparent I was a complete noob with a bunch of people who were level 20’s and 30’s (I was a level 1 dancer!) and finish all the way through the end of the song, last of course. Sadly, I was laughing and enjoying myself enough to play for another half hour and finally decide to uninstall the game and never go back again. I realized that I the free MMO’s that are advertised on sites everywhere are something not worth looking into. Perhaps spending that extra $12 for World of Warcraft is worth something, even though I’m a huge WOW hater and never will play the game because its just too… anyway, Audition was entertaining, but  for the wrong reasons.

If you’re so curious as to the actual game play itself, I’m kind enough to give you just that. Ill also save you the trouble by having it play with a decent song. d._.b


Why Windows is more popular than Macs

Well, with advertising and word of mouth, one would assume that America is slowly becoming a Mac world, yet there are still so many people who prefer PC’s over Macs. That made me wonder, what is Windows doing to keep people hooked? I assumed that it had something to do with the variety of software available for PC’s. By far, if you want to play video games, buy a PC, if you want to go into engineering, buy a PC. But today, while stumbling, I found the true reason for Windows popularity. It’s Bill Gates, himself.

Look at him!
-Those genius glasses
-His luring eyes
-that sexy smirk
Who can resist Bill with dashing looks like that? So, the mystery is solved. PC’s are still number one not because of the performance (which, with windows 7 coming out, will be quite impressive), or the software. It’s the man himself, Bill Gates.


Dance of Confusion!

Yogurting_WP3_1280[1][2]

“Dont judge a book by its cover” is a very common saying. It sums it up when it comes to disliking objects by the way they look. When choosing a video game, a car, or even a cereal box, we determine how “good” and “bad” that certain object is. I’ll admit that I severely depend on the appearance more than I want to, and I’m sure everyone has the same problem. Maybe its just human nature? Now watch this video and guess what kind of game it is.

So what the heck are we looking at? If you guessed it was DDR or Stepmania of some sort then you were WAY off. If you guessed an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) then you obviously cheated. This game is developed by NTIX Soft in South Korea. It was only played in Korea and only a few were able to play it here in America. Now the whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes into play. Seriously, this game looks like A LOT of fun! This type of promotional advertisement really made me want to play the game as well as the thousands of people who also viewed the video. Ironically  the servers in Korea have already stopped, but it is still being played in Japan.. sorta. So what does this mean? Let me help you. Scott Sharkey from 1UP.com awarded Yogurting for #2 in ‘Worst Games, Best Names’ category. Thats right, this game sucks, but the introduction is a hit among Animated Music Videos (AMV’s). Here’s one of my favorite Yogurting AMV’s. Thanks to my dad for showing me this game.


Education in Japan


My spirit was broken today when I looked into studying abroad. My plans were to get education in Japan as an exchange student to quickly and most effectively learn the culture and the language. Unfortunately, it seems that it costs more money than I had originally thought. 20 weeks for $25,000? Talk about painful. When I looked around, it seemed to be the average point in cost. So I decided to talk to my private tutor (who I can no longer do because of the money) who mentioned about a “jet program”. After looking and doing some research I saw that I need to write a paper to the JAPANESE EMBASSY. Now if my paper was qualified, I have to go over the Japan and have an interview with the Japanese Embassy. The site also mentioned the brutality of the students who suceed and fail, which was 1 out of 100! It’s something I’m aiming for and I won’t let anything get in my way, but this is ridiculous. Makes me a sad little girl. Anyone in Japan willing to host? I don’t have swine flu!