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Posts tagged: Video Games

Two Weeks in Eve

For the past three years, I’ve been flirting with Eve. Standing back and watching, debating whether or not to do something about it.  I’d heard all the stories.  All of the excitement. The intensity. The passion.  And yet, I waited, quietly hoping for a chance.  About a month ago, I stepped up and made my move.

The stories were true.

For two weeks, I spent as much time as I could with Eve.  After everyone was asleep, I’d go for it.  I found myself thinking about Eve when I should have been working.  When I should have been focusing on more important things, my mind was elsewhere.

After two weeks, I realized that I had to make a bigger commitment if I wanted to keep Eve. All of my excuses to keep me from taking that step were failing.

I was falling in love with Eve Online.

What?  What did you think I was talking about?

I’m talking about an MMORPG.  Eve Online.

Maybe I should explain myself.

Three years ago, I listened to an episode of the Giant Bomb podcast. They mentioned the, now legendary, story from Eve Online about the player who became a mole in a competing alliance.  For two years, he worked his way up the ranks until he was second in command in the group.  That was when he struck, causing the alliance to crumble.  He got away with all of their money and assets.

That caught my attention.  After years of playing games that last for a few hours, spread out over a few weeks, the thought of living another life in a game that lasts years was appealing. I wanted to know more about it. I wanted to play this game.  I wanted to get a taste of this thing where I could work my way up the ranks of a corporation, in command of minions and technology.

And the little boy in me wanted to be a space pilot.

So what is Eve Online about?

The story is immense.  To explain everything that is there would take volumes.  Boiling it down to the basics, it’s about space exploration.  Basically, hundreds of years in the future, after corporations have taken over the business of space travel and exploration, a wormhole is discovered that leads to far-flung, uncharted area of space.  Warps gates are put under construction on either side of the wormhole, so when the time comes and it closes there will still be a way to travel to this new area.

Explorers and corporations begin pouring through the wormhole to lay claim to planets and stars. A wild-west type of civilization begins to form.

Then, without warning, before the gates are completed, the wormhole closes, stranding everyone in this new frontier, with no way to get home.

You join the game thousands of years after these events. Multiple civilizations have formed. Some have been at war for centuries.

It is with this backdrop that you start your career as a pilot.  You start with one ship, no isk, the game’s currency, and an agent who gives you tutorial missions and leads you to other agents.  From there you can become a pirate, a miner, a CEO of a corporation, a mercenary, whatever you want to be is up to you.

In this environment, you learn quickly that the real power is held by the corporations, they hold most of the money, sending out contracts for tasks that can be picked up and completed by other players. By other players, I mean you.  You can use these small tasks and contracts as rungs as you climb the corporate ladder, building up power, gaining assets, and earning isk.

This is what I was able to gather in the time that I played.  I also learned that all of the above was just the tip of the iceberg. There are skills to learn and ships to buy.  There is an intricate spiderweb of politics between all of the corporations, alliances, and coalitions that can be used to ones advantage. There are veterans who have played for years and are now famous within the game.

And then there is the community, both online and off. For the two weeks I spent with Eve Online, I immersed myself in the lore. The internet is filled with blogs and podcasts dedicated to it. There are even websites with news reports about the battles and events taking place in the game.  Even when you are not playing you can keep in touch with what is happening within.

Reading through some of the news reports, I saw that not only was the story I mentioned earlier true, but there are many more just like it.  Recently there was a report of a con man who scammed a corporation and made off with billions of isk. Another story tells of a players character being held for ransom by a group of players.  Unfortunately, he had no money to trade.  The solution?  His ransom was downgrade to a pizza …in real life.  There was a small wrinkle. In their drunken stupor, his captors gave him the wrong address to have the pizza delivered to.  So they’re mother received an unexplained late night pizza delivery.

Stories like these only make me want to play the game more.

The game’s currency, isk, actually has real world value. The game is free to download from the developer, CCP’s, website. But there is a monthly fee to pay, just like most older MMO’s.  However, the developers had a great idea.  You can either pay with real money, or you can use the in-game isk to purchase more time.  At the time when I played, it cost about 500 million isk to add another month on to your time.  Suddenly getting as much isk as possible sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it.

The graphics are surprisingly good.  When I heard that the game was around 10 years old, I figured it would look cartoony or low-res, but I was wrong.  CCP has been updating the game as time has passed.  If can be only be played on PC, but the upcoming game, Dust 514, is a PS3 exclusive.

Again CCP is exploring new territory.  Dust 514 and Eve Online are tied together.  Events that occur in one game will affect the other.

The two weeks I played were free, because I played the 14 day trial.  It ended a week ago.  Since, then, I’ve been thinking about going back to play more almost every day. Somehow it scratched an itch that I didn’t know I had.  I’m officially hooked and I’m about to drop the cash to get back in.

Give it a shot, you’ll be saying the same thing.

Starhawk Beta First Impressions

First Impressions of Starhawk Beta: AWESOME!!! Has the potential to be much better than the previous Warhawk. The new building mechanic is a great addition. There are only two drawbacks.  There is lack of a clear sense of direction when first dropped into a new game. Once you get past that, after a game or two, there is much to discover. The other issue I had was with the controls of the aircraft.  They feel a lot less responsive than the aircrafts of Warhawk.  I’m not sure if it’s intentional to show the speed, but I really felt as if I had to struggle to change direction in flight.

All in all, with a little fine tuning, I could see myself buying the game on release and having a lot of fun with it.

Check out the trailer.

What Is a Shame Pile?

I know you’re probably asking two questions right now. 1) What the hell is a shame pile? And 2) Who is this guy?

Well, I’ll answer one of those questions right now. The most important one.

Who am I? That doesn’t really matter, so I’ll get to that in a minute. What does matter is that I clear up what a shame pile is first.

You know that stack of novels that you have and haven’t read yet? That shelf of movies that you haven’t watched? That box of video games sitting there that you haven’t even put into your console or PC? Those are shame piles. Something that you own and is taking up space that you always plan on getting too…someday.

I have a shame pile. I have a cabinet of games that I’ve been trying to get to.
Now, who am I?

Well, I’m a nerd. But, I’m not your stereotypical nerd. I’m 34 years old. I know, I know. That doesn’t prove much. But stick with me here. I’m a father of a four year old daughter. I have a steady paying job. I do not live with my mother, or in a basement. I have friends that I don’t talk to online. I do not have a layer of Cheetos dust, or a lifetime supply of Mountain Dew, anywhere in my house. And most of all, I have social skills…..for the most part.

Basically, I am a normal self-sufficient adult who enjoys video games on a recreational level. Never mind what my twitter feed says.

So why am I starting a blog?

Well, that’s easy. This is a creative outlet for me. I may have neglected to mention that I also enjoy writing.

It’s been said that, if you want to become a great writer, you must write something every day. Now I’m not saying that I plan on posting here every single day, because I don’t. But I will post here to bounce ideas around, to post reviews as I work my way through my pile of shame, and sometimes to just get the creative juices flowing.

Feel free to drop by and see what I’m working on, read a review, or leave a comment.

Now excuse me while I dive back into my Shame Pile.