Gaming Update…

January 27, 2006

I’ve been pretty busy lately so gaming has been kept to a minimum, or at least to late nights, but I’ve had a shift in what I’m playing.

While I wouldn’t really call Project Entropia a “scam”, I’ve got some issues with it. It appears that the groups of folks who pump the most money into the game are the only ones gaining anything in the game and rewards are certainly not comparable to what is going into the system. I didn’t interact with any of these “ubers” except via the forums but it seemed like everyone I talked to was putting around $20-50 a month into the game just to keep their character going. OUCH!! You could pick up a smoking habit and it would be cheaper. It really snowballs too – you can only sweat so much before you get capped and then you’re forced to put money to keep playing. I just see it as becoming a big black hole for money and I’m not willing to fall into that one. However, I have to say that I met some really great folks while in game. Everyone seems to be pretty nice (I didn’t venture to the PvP arena so things may be different there) and were generally helpful but I’m grateful that I never dropped any money into it so I don’t feel bad just walking away.
It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve gotten into Battlefield 2. I’ve finally ventured on to the multi-player servers and haven’t been to bed before 1am on any night that I’ve played. While I’m certainly not Rambo yet, I’m getting better and completely addicted. (My current profile)
Lastly, I’ve been really remiss in playing UO – while I’m still technically a GM over a Montis Draconis, I’m not quite sure how I keep that job. I’ve only hopped on for a few minutes here and there and certainly not contributed near as much as I should. Although it had been rather quiet when I have been on, I’m hoping that I’ll have some time this weekend so I can get a few things done.


Game Realism…

January 6, 2006

With the much (over?) hyped release of XBox 360, I’ve had a resurgence of interest in PC gaming. Not that the 360 is bad or anything, I’ve stood at the game display in Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Fry’s for quite a while marveling at the near photorealism of the graphics, I’m just not willing to shell out the $400+ for a premium system when I know it will be taking a good hit in the price in the next year or so. Plus, I don’t have a HD box to plug it in to so it really would be a bit of a waste until then.

Since my brother James moved back to Dallas and brought with him Battlefield 2 which, along with Empire Earth II (beats Age of Empires III hands down in my book), really has gotten me back into my PC for gaming. I got Battlefield 2 and the Nostromo SpeedPad n52 (my review) for my birthday but had to upgrade my system so that I could run the game – the game is pretty beefy in it’s requirements, and am still working out the kinks of the upgrade but, like the 360, I am just amazed at the level of detail and the graphics that games have now. Be it a flight simulator for the next version of Windows or a FPS like Battlefield 2, things are just getting better and more realistic. Made me nostalgic enough to play the old school games – like the ones for the Atari I recently got on my iPAQ (PocketPC). 🙂

Project Entropia…

November 14, 2005

Project Entropia is a space age based MMORPG that boasts a real cash economy that I discovered via a /. article chronicling it’s recent sale of virtual in-game real estate. MindArk, a Swedish based company, developed the game a few years ago but it seems to have been relatively unknown (as far as I can tell) until these high-profile sales.

Anyway, here’s the rundown: the game is free to download and play, provided you don’t mind waiting the 5 hours it takes to get it at 30Kbps, but you can improve your in game situation by purchasing virtual cash (1USD = 10PED) with a credit card or some other forms of real money. So far nothing ground-breaking right?? Well, the biggest deal is that you can pull your virtual cash BACK OUT of the system at the same exchange rate!! Skeptically, I mashed the download link to see what the fuss was about and headed to bed…

So I hop on my PC the next morning anxious to see the new virtual world…crap…download error out less than 1/2 way thru so I have to wait another 3 hours to get the rest of the program.

Finally up and running I log in for the first time to being setting up my avatar. BTW, in the intervening few hours I managed to read the PE forum and even got thru a few new user guides. Overall, the initial avatar creation was pretty good – a bit clunky in how the sliders worked but not unusable. After creation, you’re dropped into the world and have a few little tutorial pop-ups to get you going with the controls. The controls are a little awkward in my opinion but I’m going to give them a chance before I go complaining too much since it may just be my UO bias.

So after wandering around and exploring for a short period I began interacting with the other folks in-game and even managed to make a few PED (that’s their virtual currency). The graphics have been better than I’d expected them to be and the game play, although a bit limited due to my hesitancy to drop real cash yet and my “new” state (read: limited skills), has been quite good. So far I think I’ve logged a few hours and hopefully will have a chance for a few more later this week.