The Weekend in Games 
2007.02.05 11:35 - Entertainment, Microcode, Television
  1. Final Fantasy XII: Completed a handful of hunts, but the big achievement was running through the last dungeon and beating the ever-loving tar out of the final boss. The strategy guide suggested a minimum level of 40, and recommended 45+. At level 56 across all six characters, I didn't have to significantly modify gambits or equipment, nor swap characters out. I didn't even need to issue very many commands manually, which was actually pretty cool. There's still several metric tons of side-quest to be completed, but I think I can say that FFXII is the best of the lot. Leaving FFXI aside, since I've never bothered, and Tactics (barely played), X-2 (haven't played, never will), and a handful of other side entries, I think FFXII is the best FF game made thus far. Given what I've seen of FFXIII, I think that's likely to remain true for a while. Yasumi Matsuno left Square part-way through this game's development; does anyone know anything about where he wound up, or what games he's working on? Recommended if you miss Final Fantasy.
  2. Guild Wars: Nothing much. Did a little faction farming, completed a couple missions over the past week and opened up another Hero for my main character. A little burned-out on GW at the moment, especially with the latest round of skill-balancing going through right now. It's cool that ArenaNet goes to such lengths to make the PvP end of the game interesting, but I don't play PvP any more than necessary (which is to say, hardly at all, and never against/with actual people). Since the latest round of changes doesn't do me any favors in PvE land, I'm not that interested. Looking forward to details on expansion 4, one of these days. (Nightfall's really excellent, though.)
  3. Myst Online: URU: Aside from a few uncomfortable moments of confused identity Saturday night, Uru's actually pretty cool. Since it's a non-competitive game (and a non-violent game), it's more fun, in some ways, than anything else I've played (I never played Myst back when it was new). It hasn't grabbed me quite as firmly as it seems to have taken some other people, though. More poking around the dusty remains of a dead(?) civilisation this evening.
  4. Final Fantasy III: Couldn't help but be a come down from FFXII, but this is the last of the mainline FF games that I haven't played. So far, I loathe the magic system (seriously: it's the FF1 system, with some extra types of magic. I'll probably just have to keep my characters dedicated to specific lines of magic, which defeats the point of the job system), and the story is a bit less directed than I'd like, but I don't seem to have gotten really lost more than once. First impression: crummy, legacy magic system in an otherwise spectacular remake of an originally 8-bit game.


I hear there was a football game, but I didn't see much besides pretty mediocre commercials. Sorry, Matt, I think your team lost this year.
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Game Night 
2007.01.22 13:37 - Entertainment, Microcode, Internet Stupidity
I want to point out that I really, really enjoy being able to visit the Internet once in a while with the other Clan Pf!ers. I actually miss Enemy Territory, and am looking forward to ET: Quake Wars with some interest. (It's a shame, actually, that we don't seem to have been able to get into Battlefield 2. Not, I think, that it's been our fault, and we did give the old college try.)

I can also say that I missed the memo wherein it was explained that having a clan server was license to be a jerk about the way it was adminned.0 I suppose that brings me to a day last week, when four of us hopped onto a server we'd frequented in the past, and were quickly muted for being our usual boisterous selves. I guess we just weren't racking up the kills quickly enough for the [foobar]AintGotNoSenseOfHumor.2

Now, the server in question has never been known for an overabundance of flexibility. Or smarts, really, since they've instituted a profanity/obscenity filter that is a bit overagressive. I mean, overagressive if you like grape soda, anyway.

*sigh*

I wonder if they can start including a filter for ridiculous admins.

Footnotes

0. Yeah, yeah. Chatty [redacted] should get on IRC. Whatever, poindexter. Those of us not competing to be members of the Cyberathlete League1 play videogames for fun. Lighten up.
1. I don't care what you say, cyberathleticism is just not something I can take seriously. More so when the "prominent" "athletes" are apparently still the sort of guys that shoved people like me into locker rooms in younger days. When I thought it was just gaming dorks, it was laughable. Now, I think of it as an exercise in cruel irony.
2. Can they start making that a server flag, then? I mean, if excessive humor is grounds for mute+kickban, it would be nice to know ahead of time.
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Coming up on a deadline at work 
2006.12.14 12:08 - Entertainment, Microcode, Miscellanea, Site/Meta
I have some code that's due on Monday, plus maybe a bit more later that week (details forthcoming?). Busy at work, and the normal workday only gives me a few uninterrupted hours to actually get anything much done. On the upside, I just need to test it before I call it done right now. Woo!

Haven't finished FFXII yet: nights lately have been spent in Guild Wars, where I have finally gotten my primary character through Ascension[0] in the Prophecies campaign. So lonely in Guild Wars. Good thing, then, that Heroes[1] have let me proceed this far without having to take on help from random players more than once. (Yes, I am leery of attempting cooperation with unknown players. Too much time in FPS land, perhaps.)

While doing that, I've been rifling through monsters' pockets for elite skills[2]. The bosses in the missions in the Crystal Desert each have one, though, and there's one elite skill for each class of boss in the area. As it turns out, one of the mission has a boss of each class type, so I guess I'm going to spend some time capturing the four I don't have yet (having already grabbed the ones for my primary and secondary classes before completing all of the Ascension missions).

I'm going to try to spend some time in FFXII this weekend, though. Made it to Archades, got me a Sandalwood Chop, but haven't actually taken the taxi, yet.

In news not related to my being a gigantic dork, I went to a housewarming party last weekend.

Footnotes
0. Ascended characters can change secondary classes. At-will, now, since changes to the game system allow class changes at any town or outpost. I have, in fact, completed the Ascension mission in Nightfall, but it doesn't provide the option for un-Ascended characters from other campaigns. I'll still need to poke around to see what's required to open up the Nightfall and Factions classes to my character.
1. Guild Wars lets you pick up computer-controlled hencmen at every town, mission, and outpost in the game to fill out your party. Henchmen are pretty stupid, even with the AI upgrades that came with the Nightfall release. Henchmonks, in particular, are dumb as bricks. Heroes are sort of like super-henchmen, with better AI, and some control over their weapons, skills, attributes, and general behavior. You can only take along three per real person, though, and they're still inferior to a decent player.
2. Elite skills are 'better' than normal skills. I guess. (The ones I have are pretty swank, but they're not that awesome.) You can have one in your skill bar at any time, but no more than that, except in a couple of special circumstances. Elite skills have to be captured from bosses/named mobs, though, and yield a large chunk of experience in the process.
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The Terrible Tyranny of Gaming 
2006.11.27 15:05 - Entertainment, Microcode, Miscellanea
I bought Final Fantasy XII on launch day (Oct 31), had cracked it open that night, was ten hours in by the end of the week.

I am now ninety hours in, and barely progressing the story (I think I was around 50% through the story at 40 hours, and I might be at 55-60% now: have been to Mt. Bur-Omisace and am on my way through the Salikawood). I actually still enjoy poking around and grinding out levels and licenses, tracking down marks and so forth. My characters are all a stunningly low level 40, but I've got nearly the entire license board filled out (less the espers, some quickenings, and the 55+LP licenses on the armor and weapons section).

I still have a handful of hunts open, so I'll probably finish those I can get to before proceeding further with the story. Maybe I can be done with the game by the end of the year.
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Less than one decade remaining! 
2006.09.08 11:12 - Entertainment, Microcode, Internet Stupidity
Well, I'm assuming that. George Broussard says that Duke Nukem Forever is now being polished. I assume that means an actual release is nigh.
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