I Speek Teh Good English

Interesting study via Terra Nova on the fact that… people have trouble communicating through text. Duh statement, especially about everyone being self-centered a-holes, but an interesting read none-the-less.

Considering the importance I have to place on written communication (formal, with school, or personal, like letters to Kyo or reading her messages, etc.) it will force me to think a good deal more about how I communicate certain things, especially with Kyo (since formal writing isn’t exactly a weak point for me… I hope) because of my great habit of over-analyzing things (read as: I probably want to cut her more slack in my head, for she knows not what she does… I don’t for that matter to be honest).

Basically: “get it through your skull that what you just read probably wasn’t meant to offend you” especially coming her most stupendous stealthed one, my girlfriend (since she’s like… awesome and junk).

Oh, and to make sure I didn’t screw up on any of that, I’ll need to pick up Google Toolbar… not like they don’t already have me by the balls (oh, and by the way, it’s awesome).

Finally though… ZOMGZ Agent Shades (try to look past the boobies if you can… it’s hard, I know).

Healers

Ok, no suprise to anyone reading this, I like playing Healers. To be more correct (and to agree with Abalieno, in a sec), I like playing Support characters, it’s just that Healers (the ones that make the health bars go up) are the most direct method of insuring people… don’t die.

That being said, PvE Healing in World of Warcraft is boring as hell. Why? Beacuse it’s just making the bars go up. To be more correct, PvE Healing sucks… hell, for the sake of screwing my point over, PvE sucks as a whole.

Ok, so that being said… can you make supporting abilities more interesting (although healing’s pretty interesting as it is, better then being a DPS bot), possibly better then straight healing at keeping people alive (that whole “Ounce of Prevention, Pound of Cure” thing doesn’t really apply in MMOs). Still, you’re treading on the ground of the TBCs, so that way indeed lies madness.

Honestly, healing in PvP is slightly more interesting, although it really depends on communication (i.e. Teamspeak) and telling the person soaking up the damage to not be retarded. It really comes down to teamwork and not really based on the mechanics. The whole responsibility for keeping people alive is the attraction, and if you actually care about the people you’re working with, that helps… a lot.

Still, if you look at an example of a game without healers like RFO… well RFO‘s problem is that Consumables > player abilities in terms of keeping people alive, so that’s kinda fucked up. Rather similar to the debate over Health Pills being nearly as strong as Patcher skills (in the hands of a mediocore player) at keeping someone up. It’s outsourcing in games! (Although it stems back to D&D healing potions being called “Clerics in a Bottle”.)

Don’t know, I’ll have to think over this one, but I’m not sure how you work on making “support” a better “supporter” then a straight healer (just look at CoH with groups really asking for “Empathy” over dedicated Defenders in other areas like CC or buffs) without making the proper healer completely worthless. I think some CU SWG comparisons between Combat Medic and Doctor may be useful here (I’ll have to look the math up again later today).

PvP as Sport

Once again, awesomeness from Broken Toys. The whole set of comments are an interesting read, but a discussion regarding PvP peaked my interest (quoting the germane parts).

Abalieno (original comment):

“And in PvP you need immobility. You can have unexpected situations coming out of a proper use of the pieces, but you cannot have new pieces showing up and coming into play.”

Brask Mumei (original comment):

“It is a poor kind of PvP that demands immobility. PvP with fixed, immobile, well understood rules and playgrounds is merely a sport.”

Abalieno (original comment):

“The point is: any other possibility would be simply an exploit. Just the players racing to find the I-Win button and the devs chasing them to patch the holes.

If PvP isn’t “static” then your game will be doomed and completely inaccessible for new players that don’t know how to defend themselves from the “legitimate” exploits.”

Now this of course comes into play with Legion’s experience in MxO. Are CrashKill, or Zero or I exploiting by pushing our skills to their (what we feel to be legal) limits? Clearly some things we thought were kosher like style-switching mid-attack can now be considered an exploit (precedent here, just replace “Buffs do not dynamically update” with “Abilities”).

Still, these are things being clarified just now, two months after the release of CR2.0. Are these what Abalineo would call “legitimate” exploits, things that are deemed legal, but… well, the very essence of the “TankMageGod” (Lum’s arguement against skill-based systems sounds like a normal loadout-building session between Zero and I after all :P ). After all, being a Duelist and staying in Grab for Y period of time, and doing +20% damage with the Accuracy/Defense bonuses of Grab (and without the -35% damage) is quite overpowering after all.

Now, how do you fix that? Do you force these grey-area issues into common use so they must be addressed. I tried that with the Sidekick Combo thing, and well, besides almost getting me the boot from the guild (slight exageration, but not by much…), it wasn’t fixed until CR2.0. Well, the Developers are only going to publish rules through negation (you can’t do this, that, and that other thing with your tongue, etc.), so then is it not up to the player base to make a set of “rules” (as close as possible, meaning what the community accepts as “kosher”, like the uber-DoTed weapons in pre-CU SWG and how there was a soft boycott of them, on Gorath at least).

Still, wouldn’t that mean breaking the lovely information embargo? Yeah it would… wouldn’t it. And of course the guild stands little to gain from a community drive to understand the new combat system, I’m pretty confident we’re on the bleeding edge of that.

Then again, this is bigger then the guild, this is a whole game that could be aided by turning PvP in a codefied sport, not some weirdo hack-rampant Diablo II server.

Embargos not withstanding, the only way for this not to be another Sidekick Combo is that a) the Developers fix things that are obviously broken (and judging from their responses on Dynamic Buffs, this could be another one of those things that takes forever to fix), b) the community to take their ball and go home if things go to shit. Both of these are terrible options…

so apart from pure scientifc purposes, there’s just about no upside. Works for me since the research is what I care about, but that would hardly suade the guild(s). Funnily enough, issue of releasing information (in MxO specifically) has been near the forefront of my mind for the better part of a year (the Sidekick Combo post is a year-old in a week)…

So, MxO’s already inaccessable to those outside the PvP elite, and it’s pretty obvious it’s doomed. FTW!

Indiana Jones with Tatas

(That is not my line mind you, that blonde chick (not Jennifer Tsao from EGM, the one with the dog) said it The 1UP Show a bit back.)

Got to play a little Tomb Raider: Legend today after I got done with MxO (stopped at a shade over 200mil). So far I’m liking it. Running it at my desktop res and just turned off FSAA and it was running really nice. For the brief bit I’ve played (about a level and a half), the controls really feel tight which is something I’ve never felt a game’s gotten right with the mouse and keyboard. My one gripe though is that when going to aim, my cursor could be right over the dude, but it wouldn’t be connecting, especially when I was shooting through a doorway. That’s really minor though as running in and shooting people in the face with the pistols feels awesome.

In MxO news, we’ve got a thread in the private section of our boards going on right now about our RP stance/position/whatever. Basically, just going over what we feel our role as Cypherites is, how we approach things (from the RP POV, which we rarely use to be honest, we’re very pragmatic 99% of the time). Should be an interesting read after we get some people in it. (We’ll be moving it down to the DMZ in a bit.)

Outside of that, I decided to give the Lightning extension for T-bird a whirl. It really does feel like a 0.1 release, but it does what I need it to do (really rare and minor calendaring). Hopefully it’ll get more tightly integrated with T-bird later on, but like I said, it’s good for basic stuff right now. If you use Thunderbird and don’t really need a full-out calendar, you might want to give it a whirl. Sunbird‘s the standalone version that has a couple more features at the moment if you prefer that.

Off to the dentist in a bit, yay!

Music, Widgets and Info

Mostly got cash for most of the day in MxO, although they didn’t take the servers down like they said they would, so might be doing a bit of that tonight as well.

After 4am, I got off MxO and got to work on the site, which I just finished now actually (mostly, still getting an odd validation error that I’ll have to pin down later today).

To begin with I began widgetizing the site (word stolen from the linked blog, and I really couldn’t have gotten a lot of it working without reading that post) with ever fun WordPress Widgets (which I’ll need to add to the Legion site whenever it becomes actually needed :P ). To do so, I needed to update the lovely Almost Spring! theme (painless) and then get cracking.

After playing with Widgets for a bit I discovered a bit of a problem: it broke my hierarchy setting (the games are children of the MMOs section, so it shows them like that, now). After reading around in the Codex, I just did a quick in widgets.php, reuploaded and all was good (and better then before, since it’s now showing empty sections, meaning I don’t have to actually put things in the MMO section if they’re already in a child).

Next up was adding the XFN link into Meta, pretty simply once I actually RTFM’d and just made a my own Meta function in functions.php. After that I just slapped the Creative Commons License in the Footer and was just about done.

Last thing was something I was saw when reading up on Widgets yesterday, last.fm (now you too can know my bad taste in music). Audioscrobbler Winamp Plugin + last.fm = tracking of music and such. I was playing around with a couple of their display options and they didn’t really suit the small sidebar spot I wanted it to fill. After doing a bit of searching and not really being happy with a graphic solution I decided to just use an RSS feed of my recently played and use a simple RSS Widget to display the last couple entries. (It’s at the bottom of the sidebar, right above Meta.)

That’s about it for the site, and my first couple stabs at that validation error while I was writing this didn’t do anything, so yeah… I’m heading to bed.

Oh, and Dentist appointment tomorrow in the morning. Yay! Not…