Modern Warfare 2 Co-op gameplay footage

Two videos from the recent Game Crazy convention, where Activision showed off some of the co-op gameplay.
Some very impressive gameplay. The voice acting worked very well to draw me into the game. The first video is co-op from 2 player view, and the second one is from the 1 player view.

Star Wars: Where are the heroes?

I was planning to write something about the new series of videos of gameplay of Star Wars: The Old Republic but it looks like someone has already stated exactly how I felt. The four videos show off four classes, the bounty hunter, a sith, a mercenary, and one other that I can't recall at the moment. I have embedded the videos below if you wish to watch them first before continuing my article as that would make my article more understandable.

The main thing that stood out to me while watching was every time Bioware was exclaiming that combat would be "HEROIC!", all we saw was the player clicking and shooting at 2-3 enemy targets. Their concept of heroic and special is reached solely by the number of enemies one can engage at the same time. Yesterday, when playing my Deathknight on WoW, I mowed down 16 monsters that were my level, I can do much more as a mage.

When they speak about how heroic their game will feel and how much time and effort they are putting into the voice acting, I get the feeling that the designers aren't MMORPG players, some could be noobs to the genre. What makes combat feel heroic is giving the player the feeling like they did someting that makes a difference. In most MMORPGs, nothing a player does usually has any lasting effect. After the area is reset, the monsters reappear and another player(s) comes in to do the exact samething you did and the thousands of players before you did. The rare instances where something did feel heroic, the fall of Kerafym in Everquest on a PVP SERVER(large scale organization was difficult as all players could kill each other, which made AoEs very dangerous for the raid), the opening of the AQ gates(once per WoW server), and the season finals for the WoW arena tournaments. The thing that these all have in common is it left a lasting mark on the world.

So considering that definition of heroic(which is a hell of a lot better than killing 3-10 enemies at once, which everyone can do), the players aren't going to feel heroic at all. Killing multiple targets will become the new norm since it can be done at the onset of the game by everyone, so therefore it will become ordinary, not heroic. If they wanted to design a game that would be heroic, they would have to drastically change the foundations of the game to allow for each and every player to truly affect the world around them without it becoming repetitive or the 'norm'.

This would mean a more dynamic world, one that changes with and because of it's players. This was how it was like for a time in Everquest 1. GM events were almost daily and unique rewards were given each time as were cross-server wide announcements of the heroes. But the cost of staffing to achieve this was what made Sony scale back on this. The amount of GMs required to manage and administer the events was costly enough that Sony couldn't afford it.

I believe events like this are one of the best ways to create a dynamic world which would give the player the opportunity to feel heroic. The designers would create a front end system for GMs to manage their events, a system that would be incredibly customizable and allow for immense amounts of possibilities so as to prevent repetition in events. Although this kind of heroism is limited because not every player will be the winner, that is precisely what makes it heroic. By definition, a hero someone who distinguishes himself from the "normies", someone who is an "ideal", who everyone else "looks up to". So making every player a hero, and on top of that, right from the start of the game, would render their heroism meaningless.

Sorry if this dragged on a bit, but my need to write about my feelings on this increased each time I heard the term "heroic" uttered in Bioware's videos... which was a LOT.

Blizzcon Costume Contest

Wow... a far cry from the old days of weirdos and the one anime chick.


Here's a link to some of photos of the other cosplayer;

So the leaks were true

It has been officially announced, the next expansion for World of Warcraft will be called Cataclysm.

A few weeks back the details of the next expansion for WoW were leaked and posted on MMO Champion. It was quite detailed, listing the changes that would happen to the land of Azeroth, the lore behind the change, and the class changes. The identity of the two new races were later and separately found after some data mining by a clever person. Leaks this detailed and important(this isn't just another patch, it's a leak of an entire expansion) were scrutinized and written off as phony. Turns out they were all true. Now I wonder what kind of insider MMO Champion has in Blizzards company... I'm impressed though.

Rather than going through the list of changes which are already posted on every WoW fansite in the universe, I have posted a link to the official Cataclysm page below. There are many completely new additions to Azeroth, but unfortunately The Upside Down Sinners area is not one of them. It was an "unreachable" area near Kharazan and... well you gotta see it to know how scary it truly was. I'm guessing if they opened this area to the players, the ESRB would have to bump up the age rating on WoW. But I'm digressing.

I will have a write up later about my thoughts on the changes, though I will say this, I am a bit nervous and getting butterflies in my stomach when I think about the changes that are coming to the landscape and lore of Azeroth. But they quickly subside when I think about the awesomeness of playing a werewolf!

World of Warcraft - Cataclysm

EVE Online mass bans in style

CCP, the studio that runs EVE Online unleashed a mass ban, code named: Unholy Rage, to all of the accounts which they had tagged as botters and whose owners dealt in Real Money Transactions(RMT as CCP calls it), transactions which involve one player selling in-game items to another player in exchange for real world dollars, something which Blizzard and even the government of China have been addressing lately.

CCP began covertly investigating accounts which were suspected of RMT and botting. Before Unholy Rage, the company had been dealing with the offenses on a day to day basis, but now they were ready to deal with the problem systematically. They have been monitoring the activity of the accounts suspected of dealing in RMT or botting and writing down names. In one fell swoop, they banned a little over 6200 accounts during downtime maintenance. It was reported that although the accounts made up only 2% of the total number of servers, they had been using up 30% of the servers load.

Of course this is only the beginning. Even some industry's giants, Blizzard and Sony, haven't been able to completely rid their servers of these "undesirables". Some say there are even more botters and gold sellers now than before with the increased popularity and hacking of accounts. It does look like CCP is heading in the right direction though. There's a difference between having isolated incidents of bots and massive zones crawling with them.

Previously I had written that I was considering moving on to EVE Online from World of Warcraft. After almost 4 years of WoW, it doesn't suck me into the world of Azeroth like it used to; it's become a grind; a grind for exp, for loot, for reputation, for raid advancement, and so on. After reading about the new offensive they took to botters and real world sellers, I'm definitely going to give EVE Online a try next month, though I only hope that it lives up to my expectations.

Source: EVE Online - "Unholy Rage"

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow extended trailer

Yesterday, Konami released an extended version of the Castlevania trailer they first showed at E3. The added footage includes gameplay which shows a game that closely resembles Devil May Cry style in gameplay and ambiance. The trailer truly shows the terrifying world we find in the Castlevania game and it projects it on us very well. They also get major points for using Patrick Stewart. The weapons and combat looks fast paced and exciting. The environments in game give me the chills. Kudos to Konami for a well-made trailer.

Again, gaming companies try to squeeze more money out of the consumer

Over at I read an article "Pre-owned sales have no benefit to publishers", and the first response that came to mind was, why the fuck should it? The article mentions Eidos president Ian Livingstone who slammed the pre-owned games market because publishers and development studios didn't benefit. He believes that the games that the buyer didn't deem good enough to keep should continue to make more profit for the people who failed at developing a decent game.

Many have come to defend the practice of used game sales; in an interview of Microsoft exec Chris Lewis by Phil Elliott, Chris stated that he believes that used game sales is an important part of the gaming "ecosystem" and that it benefits the publishers in more intangible ways, like increased accessibility for those who wouldn't normally pay full price for a game they weren't sure of. Lending, borrowing, and reselling games at a used price increases the amount of people who experience the game. I should mention that the Gamestop execs also stood up for the practice, but Gamestop is an evil corporation that takes advantage of consumers... bastards.

There was also a statement by a representative of Microsoft on a separate occasion, which stated that they don't believe that used game sales hurts the industry because if the game is well designed and meets the expectations of the consumer, then it will not be resold. Essentially they stated that they make games that the buyers want to keep and play again so they aren't worried about it, which brings up the most important point of this discussion.

The expectation of a gamer is that they will find a game enjoyable and replayable. A person who buys a DVD of a movie they like expects the movie to be good enough that they will rewatch it again later, as does a gamer who buys a game. For those who wish to experiment and see if the movie lives up to the marketing hype, there are movie theaters, but in the gaming industry there is no such option. Sure there are demos, but only after buying and playing the entire game through(at least the main storyline that is) does the customer know if it's a game worthy of buying. It would be an interesting notion, if there were "theaters" for games and people could come in, play, and finish a game and pay a small fee. After wards, the gamer would then decide if the game was worth going to buy a copy of to play at home. Certainly this would weed out so many horrible games out of the market. But unfortunately, we don't live in that world, and the closest thing we have is used game sales.

The point I would like to make is that when a game is released, consumers shouldn't consider reselling the game, they should find that it's so well designed that they want to play it over and over. Then there is also the argument that publishers should be selling an "enjoyable experience" which is what we get when we play a great game, and not just an "experience" which is what shitty games like the 50 Cent Bulletproof gives us.

New PS3 announced, slim and price drop

At the Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany, Sony has announced the new slim PS3, but not only is it smaller, it's cheaper! The $299 console will include an 120GB hard drive. It will be available in stores on the first week of September. In comparison, the Wii $250 and the Xbox 360 Pro(60GB) is priced at $299, but a price drop for the Xbox 360 line is expected soon. The announcement mentions that it's slimmer, but I don't think it's as small as I was expecting it to be as a "slim" version. It's only a 36% reduction in weight, 32% in size, 34% in power consumption. That's a bit underwhelming. I think the big change here that should be appreciated is the price drop.

Personally I think this is too little too late. I am surprised though that they would drop the price so drastically. Some time ago, SCE(Sony Computer Entertainment) stated they wouldn't drop the price on the previous model because they weren't willing to take a loss on the price of the console. By the way, traditionally, console manufacturers have sold their consoles for less than the cost of making it, but received the bulk of their revenue from royalties that developers paid to make games on their console. So at the time, Sony was selling their console for $399 and refused to budge on the price which really hurt accessibility for their console. So with fewer PS3 gamers, there were fewer studios developing games for it, aside from the traditional lineup of Playstation exclusives; Metal Gear, Socom, Final Fantasy(before 13), a few newcomers like Little Big Planet, the PS3 trails behind in big name titles like Halo(yes I know we're all sick of hearing about it but it's fuckin popular), Gears of War, and Crackdown.

While it began as an accessibility problem in price, it has snowballed into much bigger problems. I don't think this is enough to save the falling market share that Sony is holding onto.

Here is a video of the demo of PS3 by Kaz Hirai of SCE.

Starcraft 2 Gameplay Clips

Here's another post regarding Activision Blizzard's games, specifically Starcraft 2. Looks pretty damn good from what I see.

Modern Warfare 2 Weapons List

Here is a list of weapons that have been spotted in various MW2 videos, trailers, previews, etc.

This could of course be subject to change. Click on the links below to see a picture of the weapon.

Assault Rifles

Sniper Rifles

Sub-Machine Guns


Light/Heavy Machine Guns




  • - C4
  • - Frag Grenade
  • - Stun Grenade
  • - Smoke Grenade
  • - Semtex

Gun Attatchments

  • - Red Dot Sight
  • - Heartbeat Sensor
  • - ACOG
  • - Silencer
  • - EOTech Sight
  • - Thermal Scope
  • - Master Key

Grenade Launchers


  • - Riot Shield

Here's a really cool video of a an artist rendering of a MW2 cover. If you're an artist and a Modern Warfare fan then you might like this;

Source: MW2Blog, and Wikipedia for some of the pictures.

New Banner

Sorry I haven't updated much. I've been really busy. I'm going to a MMA tournament in a few hours.

I do have some news though, ShogunGT over at has made a new banner for me. The previous one was a placeholder. He did some amazing work on my new banner.

A new patch bringing the horror of Onyxia back

I usually don't write about game patches as they aren't usually meaninful enough to people who don't play the game, but this is a special one for us WoW players and it will help segway into a topic I want to cover later in this article. Blizzard, on November 5th, is buffing the Onyxia encounter to match the new level cap of players. They will also include loot that will remain graphically the same and retain the same names, but with updated stats. There will of course be a new drake mount that she can drop that will be modeled after her. Riding a black drake is sweeeeeet. So for those of you who want to grab a quick Onyxia achievement, I suggest you swing back and down her with a few of your buddies before November 5th.

I know many of the new players have never done the Onyxia encounter, at least not at level 60 with a 40 man raid. Many of the new raid encounters were made much more streamlined and less complicated after the Burning Crusades was released. This was to reduce frustration in raids as there were already plenty of other factors, in raiding, which turned casual players off to the idea off to the idea, for example; having to dedicate an entire night to raiding, most of the raiding time being instructions, the heavy cost of repairs, and the level of gear required to even be considered for a raid. With the new "improved" raids, we've lost something in the process. The encounters, while more streamlined, also become trivial. The loss of abilities like fearing, random aggro wiping, and a lower limit on number of players in raids(down to 10/25, from 40) makes an encounter too simple, predictable, and less "epic".

Granted, I'm from the old school players of Everquest, in which there was no cap on number of players as all raids were outdoor encounters; the largest raid I've heard of was on a PVP server(where everyone could kill everyone) where 3 guilds gathered 225 people, and rezz tanked a boss, the boss would one shot a player, another player would take aggro while the previous was being rezzed. Now imagine that with 40 tanks, and another kicker was that in Everquest, you lost experience when you died, so over the course of half a day(which was how long the boss, Kerafym took to kill) all those tanks lost several levels which would take at least a month to regain. Now that's fuckin epic.

Now zoom 5 years ahead and we have WoW, where every noobie and casual guild has Ulduar and Naxx on farm status. Sorry for the extended digression, but that leads me to my current point. I think buffing Onyxia is a fantastic idea to show players what they have left, and hopefully that the grass is NOT greener on the other side. I also think the recycling and reusing old content is a good idea to improve the continuity of the game. WoW is supposed to represent a world, a realistic world, which means a dynamic world. So far it has been anything but that. Every content made has been frozen in time, and gives it a disposable one-time use feel.

Details of new WoW expasion

These are the new Halloween masks, shown is a goblin male and female, and a Worgen male and female. What makes it noteworthy is the Worgen female. This is the first time a female Worgen has been depicted in WoW. Now, this could be a coincidence but the fact that Blizzcon is coming up and a new expansion is expected soon make that option less likely. The goblins are likely to join the Horde as they were allied with the Burning Crusade in the Warcraft games, and the Worgen are likely to join the Alliance. The original Worgen were enemies of the Burning Crusade. The next expansion is being called Cataclysm by many because of a patent filing from Blizzard a short time ago.

The goblins would be the next logical race to join the Horde, or the ogres, both were part of the "evil" races in Warcraft. The Worgens are new to Warcraft though. I'm hoping Blizzard will be more creative when designing new racial abilities, no more of the "immune to X effect" or "increase X skill by Y points". Personally I'm hoping the Worgen will get some kind of thermal vision or special vision that allow them to distinguish between and spot horde and allies better, maybe allies glow blue while horde players glow red. I'm pretty sure the goblins will be getting the "+X to Engineering skill" but aside from that I hope they something like unlimited dynamite sticks that don't do much damage but is good for range pulling.

I know some of you might wonder why would Blizzard make the graphics as Halloween masks, but if you think about how quickly players are able to dig through the WoW files, it's not surprising that Blizz would want to disguise the new facial graphics as masks.

Tactical RPGs, a lost genre...

Tactical RPGs(TRPGs). When those words are uttered to gamers, often there is a confused look on their face, followed by a few guesses which are all simply RPGs. This genre has been around for years and sadly, it hasn't taken off quit like other genres. I guess it lacked those big hits that could propel it into the lime light like FF7 did for RPGs, Quake did for FPS, and Warcraft2/Starcraft did for RTS games. Although, there are quite a lot of high quality, entertaining, and addictive TRPGs, I suppose they don't have the marketability to really make the genre a staple part of a gaming diet.

TRPGs started on the NES console with Fire Emblem, the first TRPG. The gameplay of TRPGs can be compared to table top strategy games like Warhammer or Mechwarriors. It gives you the feeling of commanding an army. What distinguishes it from Real Time Strategy games is obviously it's not played in real time. Players take turns, moving characters on the field/board and activate abilities of the units against the opposing army. Some games use a field made up of squares to guide the movement of the units while other games, like Ogre Battle, allows completely free movement on the field.

While I admit that TRPGs have seen a rise in popularity lately with such games as La Pucelle, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Jean D'Arc, it feels like it's getting lost in the massive gaming industry which has fallen in love with shooter, RTS, and Roleplaying Games lately. So, here, I have recommended my top 5 TRPG games that you must try, my all time favorite TRPG being at the end of the list. Also, I know some of these games aren't pure TRPG games and may be mixed with other types of game play.

5. X-COM Apocalypse
This was one of the later games in the X-COM series which gave you the option of real time and turn based gameplay. The story puts you in charge of a special department of the government which handles alien invasions. You must manage resources, alliances with major coporations and government agencies, and must fend off an alien invasion. When you successfully down an alien ship, you can choose to engage it's survivors and recover what's left of their technology. When you enter ground battles, the game switches to a tactical interface. Engagements were exciting as anything could happen and the anxiety you feel when exploring an enemy ship or an alien landing site was what made this game great.

4. UFO: Aftermath
This was the answer to all the fans dreams of a sequel to the final X-COM game. Developed by ALTAR Interactive, this modern update of the series retains all that was great with the originals and gives you updated visuals. The controls are superb and the graphics will definitely give you the chills that you got when watching a horror movie. Like X-COM Apocalypse, there are two portions to this game, the management phase, where you build your bases, manage funds, and interact with other organizations, and the combat phase which remains the same alien horror based TRPG gameplay.

3. Shining Force Series
This series began on the Sega Genesis, and has spanned across several consoles, GBA, PS2, Sega Saturn, and its latest release is on the Nintendo DS. This was one of the original pioneers of this genre, incorporating both fantasy RPG elements and tactical gameplay, for the first time. For this list, I will be referring to the early Sega Genesis releases; I haven't played the sequels after. Graphics were great for it's time on the Sega Genesis, and still to this day are quite interesting. Battlefields were massive and the units were based on the classic RPG classes, mage, healer, fighter, etc. The story was always compelling and well written. This game was around in the beginning of this genre, and still a good contender in today's selection of TRPGs.

2. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
I originally played the PSP port of this PS2 game. Combat is quite smooth and the graphics are very well done, albeit a bit cartoonish. What really makes this unique game shine is the story. It's one of the funniest and most cynical stories I've ever seen in any type of game. The characters are very well developed and dialogue is always funny and interesting. The entire story is a comedy, which also includes some its of combat and out of combat features. One of the things you can do to adjust the game is increase the level of monsters in order to increase the exp gain. To do this, you must pass a bill(there are many types of bills) with the senate which are made up of the toughest monsters in the underworld. If your bill does not pass, then you can just slaughter the entire council in order to force them to. If you've tried the previously listed games and found that you enjoy TRPGs, or if you want to just give this a try, I am sure you will love it.

1. Final Fantasy Tactics(Playstation and PSP, not the shitty NDS version)
This is the first game to truly make it into the mainstream and gain a huge fanbase. This game is visually stunning, as all Final Fantasy games tend to be. But that is overshadowed by the incredible story and in-depth combat. Classes are plentiful and quite diverse. Each class fills specific roles and it never feels like any of them are just fillers. A large part of your team will also consist of special characters to the storyline who join your team permanently. These characters add a lot of flair and their abilities are always unique. The complexity of this game goes even further when you gain the ability to capture enemy beasts and make them part of your team. Unlike other games, the converted enemies are quite formidable and some are more powerful than your own soldiers. The story pulls at all of your emotions, it's saddening, tearful, exciting, and complex. But the cast of characters is not so many as to confuse you. Battles are often unique and tie themselves into the story quite well. Another feature which I was pleased to see was the level matching of the enemy units. As you gained levels and increased in strength, so did all enemies, no matter where you fought. You never had to deal with low level monsters while traveling around the map and a good challenge was easy to find. The cameos from the earlier Final Fantasy games was also a nice addition. This game is a must-play for any gamer who enjoys RPGs or TRPGs.

Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii

One upcoming game that I'm definitely looking forward to, is Monster Hunter Tri(or 3) on the Wii. I'm surprised that Sony passed up on this, parts 1 and 2 were on Sony platforms, and a few were also on the PSP. It looks like the Japanese release has already outsold Square Enix's Dragon Quest IX and Monster Hunter Tri is the newcomer.

Sales of Wii's have increased dramatically since the release of Monster Hunter Tri. The PSP's Monster Hunter held the top spots in Gamefaqs' most popular titles since their launch. There are three Monster Hunter titles on the PSP, all three are still on the websites top 10 games for PSP at this moment. One of the games was released years ago. That just goes to show the level of quality that the designers put into gameplay.

Speaking from personal experience, Monster Hunter is an addictive series. Combat is varied and replay value is off the charts. There is one thing you should consider though, it is that the game can become repetitive. The goal of the game is to complete quests that involve usually killing monsters. On the PSP titles, the areas were recycled so there was a lack of variety. But the new title on the Wii could be completely different. But whatever you can infer about the game, there's no arguing it's dominance in the Japanese market. Famitsu, a magazine that is very strict with their scoring system, giving out only 10 perfect scores in it's 20 year history, has given Monster Hunter Tri a perfect score.

Here are some videos of it's gameplay;

Class System in Aion

I know I previously said that I wouldn't be playing Aion as it looks like a superficial game with no real innovations, which is confirmed by the following video, but the graphics are quite dark and impressive. Watch the Developer's Diary and see the graphics, but also listen to what they have to say. Doesn't seem to be anything "new" in this MMORPG.

A look at DC's new MMORPG

A new competitor to the MMORPG market is Sony's DC Universe Online. It's being developed by Sony Online Austin and published by Sony Online Entertainment(remember Everquest?). Jim Lee and a handful of other big names from the comic book industry are heading up the creative department along with two former developers from Everquest. At first glance the game heavily resembles NCSoft's City of Heroes/Villains in graphics and in gameplay. There are some differences though that make this an attractive game that I want to try out. So what sets this game apart from Champions Online and City of Heroes? In this writeup I will cover what makes DCUO stand out and whether it looks to be another "WoW" killer (that phrase should be put in the Oxford dictionary for how often it's been used).

Physics and Environment
Players will be able to use elements from the environment like cars to attack enemies. Imagine all those times you've seen Superman or the Hulk(sorry I'm a Marvel fanboy) lift a car and coss it with one hand at the villain.

Obviously a big plus in playing in DCUO is that you will be flying, running, or teleporting around the cities that we are all familiar with, Gotham City, Metropolis City, and even Arkham Asylum. Those were the confirmed locations; I hope that will be adding in Atlantis, San Francisco, Coast City, and Atlantis. By the way, it was explicitly stated that at launch, DCUO will only include locations on Earth.

Build Your Own Legacy
At Comic Con, it was emphasized that the player would be able to influence the world and affect it. This sounds difficult to impement in the world of MMOs. The goal for the developers is to draw in as many players as they can, all of who will be heroes. It's also mentioned that the player could possibly join the JLA, become a superhero, and interact with the big names of DC. I imagine that this will turn out to

Another issue that was touched on was having quest items, consequences, and events early in a heroes career will make comebacks and affect them later. This seems like a great idea because at times playing an RPG does feel like one is just hopping from bubble to bubble, each stage in a characters life completely cut off from the previous.

Contested Missions(PVP Missions)
While they wouldn't elaborate much on this, it was stated that players will compete with each other directly for mission goals. Imagine while playing a villain, after having kidnapped the daughter of a famous scientist, another player, playing as a hero, bursts into the area to stop you from completing your mission. Seems like a great and fresh concept to bring to PVP, but implementing this kind of system could be easier said than done.

What I'm hoping for
What I'm hoping for is for the game to tie into events in DC comics through server-wide events in the gaming world. If, for example, a senior member of the JLA who had a long standing career of good deeds suddenly defects to the other side, this should be reflected immediately in DCUO. I think this would be a great service for the fans of DC co/mics and a source of engaging and interesting events.

There is no release date set yet. The game is still in development but a early build was on display for people to play at this year's Comic Con. The developers also held a panel discussion at the convention giving players a chance to ask questions about the game.

Unfortunately, after seeing the combat game play you will notice that it resembles other games like City of Heroes. Even if exploration, questing system, and pvp runs great, the core of the game, combat, will be the most important aspect. It's what most players spend the large majority of their time doing, fighting. After seeing their combat HUD and combat system, I am hoping they will make something more innovative and more intuitive. Maybe they should take a cue from FFXIII developer, Yoshinori Kitase, and look at games from other genres, like Call of Duty and what makes them work so well.

Despite that, this game, Star Trek Online, and Eve Online are the main three games I'm looking to move on to after my WoW subscription ends next month.

Here are some videos of gameplay;