All posts by Ashgar

On Archeage

I find ArcheAge interesting, but it’s hard to talk about it without mentioning the current buy-in price. I’m not opposed to Founder’s Packs in general, but $150 for access right now seems outrageous. I understand asking for “the price of a game” as an entry fee, as Landmark did, but the price of three games is pushing it. It doesn’t help that the lowest price point is at the “price of a game” level. Random bonuses don’t mean much without context, so it’s hard to put a value on the other included things.

That said, there are things that attract me to it. I’m a systems person, and the class structure seems like it has some potential for experimentation. I don’t yet know the full details of how it works, but the ability to mix and match wildly different skill sets to “define” a class could be great, or it could be awful. Rift tried something similar, but it resulted in so many redundant abilities that the concept fell a bit flat. Rift also had a macro system that encouraged one-button class setups (and too many abilities to get by without macroing things), causing me to lose interest long before I reached endgame.

The PVP aspect of the game turns me off a bit. I’m all for opt-in PVP, but random ganking and griefing aren’t my cup of tea. From what I’ve heard, the justice system that’s supposed to cut down on this only encourages it, because there are crime-related factions and titles. I don’t know if it’s too late for Trion to do anything about it. Some MMOs have had some systems changes when coming over from Korea to give them broader appeal, and I could see this as one of the first things to get adjusted.

All told, I’m not sure what future ArcheAge and I have together, if any. My experience in import MMOs so far has been “pretty, but grindy and uninteresting”. They’re going to have to show me a lot to overcome this initial prejudice.

One more thing: Aggrochat for the week is out, and available here.

Current Events #1

Since I’m not going to be around to partake in the podcast this weekend, I’ll use this as an opportunity to comment on current things. Let’s get rolling!

Amplitude Kickstarter

The best rhythm game on the PS2 is getting an HD remake/sequel for the PS3/PS4 if it can hit a rather lofty goal here on Kickstarter. This was an incredibly fun experience in solo, local multi, and online multiplayer, and I really want this to succeed. That said, I dunno how well a PS-exclusive kickstarter for a niche genre will do, even coming from the company responsible for the original (and Guitar Hero, and Rock Band, and Dance Central).amplitude

Pokémon Announcement

Nintendo announced two new Pokémon games today: “Omega Ruby” and “Alpha Sapphire”. Presumably these are remakes of, or at least related to, the original Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire that originally released for the Game Boy Advance twelve years ago. There’s not much info to go on here, but I hope they address some things wrong with these games the first time around. Team Magma had it right: Hoenn has entirely too much water. An eternity encountering Tentacool doesn’t make for an interesting game.

Final Fantasy Five Four Job Fiesta

Not exactly current, as registrations are still almost a month away, but it has a blog here, a twitter here, and a subreddit here. The Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta is an event in which people agree to play through FF5 (the best Final Fantasy) under the constraint that you can only use 4 jobs out of the 20 normally granted to you over the course of the game. It started as a fun thing on a forum in 2009, and spread beyond the forum to become a fundraiser in 2011. Last year it raised $7,475 for Child’s Play. I encourage you to register and play this year even if you’ve never played FF5 before, especially since the release of the android/iOS versions makes getting a copy much easier.YHEJu3_C7HpHiCBI


On 弾幕

Once upon a time, there was a game called Overkill. It was a vertical-scrolling shooter for DOS, and it’s the first (non-educational) game I can remember owning and playing. It’s now freeware, so you can download it right here, and it started me on a journey to discovering other games in the genre. Overkill actually isn’t anything special as far as shooters go. Tyrian is from the same era, and most people I’ve talked to consider it a better game. I can’t adjust to either one now, as they feel a bit slow and outdated.

Humble beginnings
Humble beginnings

Fast forward a few years, to when I got my first video game console, a Playstation, and with it, G-Darius. I didn’t know it at the time, but G-Darius is the last in a series of shooters in which you fight giant fish. Despite a sometimes annoying power up system, this is the game that introduced me to what would become my favorite part about shooters: cool bosses. Despite the “fish” theme, they did really creative things with it, like a boss that goes through dimensional portals to attack you, and a boss based on a sea angel. After this, I discovered some of the things I missed on the super Nintendo via the power of emulators. This was my first exposure to things like Gradius and R-type. I later got pretty good at Gradius V. I was never actually any good at G-Darius.

Seriously, most of the bosses are fish.

Fast forward a few more years, and we hit a game called Ikaruga. This one’s on Steam, if you want to experience it for yourself. This rather unique game was my introduction to “Bullet Hell” shooters, and pretty much brings us into the present day (or at least the point of this post). In the last two podcasts, I’ve mentioned a bullet hell game of some sort as something I’ve been playing recently. The Touhou games, while fun, are only available as Japanese imports and are somewhat inaccessible to beginners. Danmaku Unlimited 2 is $5 on Steam, and can serve as an introduction to the genre. It’s quite good, has an awesome soundtrack, and Bel played it for Steampowered Sunday a week ago (on my recommendation).

Hard difficulty is hard.

There’s a bit of a recent resurgence, but games in this genre have gotten rarer as time goes by. I suspect part of this is because as the games attempt to cater toward fans of the genre, they become increasingly difficult to get into for people who aren’t fans of the genre. Hopefully Ikaruga coming to Steam is a sign that there’s interest, and we’ll see more soon.

A final note in closing: I’d like to think I’m pretty good, but I’m sure that since this is the internet, someone can do better. I’ll be waiting.

Hello world!

I suppose some kind of introduction goes here. Given my skill set, the default title seems appropriate.

I’m Ashgar, a name which isn’t original, but I’ve been using it for long enough that no one’s likely to take issue. I’m a programmer, a gamer, and now apparently a blogger. Among certain people, I’ve earned a reputation for knowing everything, but I can assure you this is false. There are plenty of things I don’t know, but I’m working on fixing that. My gaming history doesn’t go as far back as some, the first game I can remember owning and playing is Overkill. My MMO history is much shorter, as I entered the genre with World of Warcraft around the time Burning Crusade came out.

There’s a bit more to me than my background and history, but I think that wraps it up for an introductory post. I don’t know what brand of content is going to follow, but I’ll try to keep it interesting. Or at least educational.