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Thursday, December 16, 2010

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Review

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. – Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings.
This is how I felt when I logged into Cataclysm.  With the shattering, the world has completely changed into something new and fresh.  Many changes are welcome while some you look at and say, “Aw, why did they do that?”

Big bad worm in Deepholm.

Regardless of this, there is a great feel to the game and a complete breath of fresh air.  What was stale and old has been reborn into something, well, mostly wonderful.  Cataclysm has brought about a large change to many zone in the game.  Some zones remain cosmetically untouched, but others have seen drastic changes.  Some of the most minor changes are zone like The Hinterlands.  This zone has seen very little change.  The most noticeable change has been the war between the Alliance as the horde as each side has moved up their fronts and they have 2 new flight paths in the zone, including their old ones.
However, some zones have had drastic changes, such as The Barrens.  The zone has not only seen changes in the warfront but in its physical appearance.  A massive crater has separated The Barrens, now making it two separate zones.  Northern Barrens still remains primarily under the control of the Horde.  Southern Barrens has been assaulted by the Alliance, now making it their territory.  You will see something similar in many zones.
The new Thousand Needles.
Yes, in this expansion we finally get to see a progression of the war between the Horde and the Alliance.  Some once contested territories have been gained or lost, depending on your perspective.  For example, Hillsbrad Foothills and the town of South Shore has seen the alliance pushed out of the zone.  South Shore has been decimated and is under the control of the Horde.  There have been debates and complaints by people about such changes, but it’s mostly a Blizzard loves Horde or Blizzard love Alliance argument that holds no ground.  Step back and take a perspective look at it.  This is war, and in any war, territories will be gained and lost.
This is exactly what has happened here as the war between the Horde and the Alliance continues, making for an interesting twist and to me, a very welcome change to WoW.  Up to this point, much of Cataclysm has been a very welcome change, however, some things haven’t.  Some of my favorite zones are decimated.  If you ever liked Darkshore, I hope you have some nice photos of it from your last vacation cause its gone.  Camp Taurajo?  Same goes for it, hit the photo album.  Thousand Needles, one of my favorite zones for its unique look with its rock formations is now completely flooded.  Though these complaints are cosmetic ones, they are complaints none-the-less. 
I’m not a fan of the speed it takes to get from 80 to 85.  The journey to 85 felt way to short, to quick and too easy.  While leveling, I never had a single time I needed to group to get a quest done.  I like that so much of it is solo worthy but I would have liked to have had a few quests here and there that required a couple people to help you finish them.  I’m not talking dungeon quests either. 
Questing in the shattered Azeroth zones does bring on a minor complaint as well.  Though you do still have freedom to choose where to go to quest, you are now more herded.  This brings about a positive and negative.  The sheep herding that is done with the quests definitely does make it easier on the new players to now know where they should go next as the level.  However, it feels like you are being herded a little too much now.  It’s a bit more linear than before but you aren’t completely locked into it.  For me this is a positive and a negative.
Cut scene in Throne of Tides.
While questing to 85, there was a massive positive.  The excessive use of cut scenes made it very enjoyable and made you feel like you are taking part in a WoW movie.  Almost every major event in Cataclysm brings you a cut scene that lets you see what’s going on in greater depth and detail.  It helps to tell the ever evolving story and lore that has made this game so great to be a part of.
The new dungeons are fresh and fun.  Some of these dungeons incorporate cut scenes to help you see what your boss kill has done.  Every dungeon brings about new bosses, some with fun fight mechanics.  Be forewarned though, if you’ve heard the dungeons are hard, they aren’t really that bad.  On regular, these dungeons are here to prepare you for their heroic counterparts.  Heroic dungeons’ is where things do get a bit difficult.  The mobs hit considerably harder, making the healer primarily focus on the tank.  With this, CC is a life saver, so are people who pay attention.  Unlike Wrath of the Lich King, these dungeons require you to do more than just AOE everything until it is dead.  You now have to watch what you’re doing, manage your aggro and stay out of the freaking fire!
I haven’t had a chance to run every heroic, but I did get the honor of seeing the new heroic Deadmines.  I don’t want to spoil anything what so ever, but it’s a very nice change and a lot of fun!
If you’re a returning player, you’ll notice a big change in this expansion, your talent points.  They have been changed in a major way that requires everyone to relearn it.  Many of the skills and abilities have changed.  Also, you are now forced to spec down one single tree for a minimum of 31 points before you can spend points in any of the other trees.
This DOOMSHROOM oddly reminds me of another game.
However, the nice thing about just not the talent change but all the changes is that this is the time to start.  If you’ve been sitting around wondering if you should try wow, now IS the time to sign-up for a free trial account and give it a shot.  With all these massive changes, you won’t be forced to relearn anything as this is how it’s going to be for a while.  I highly recommend opening that trial account you’re thinking about opening.  Stop thinking, just do it.
Pros -
Overall this expansion is great. 
Nice graphics upgrades.
A lot of fun new quests.
The new dungeons are exciting.
Cut scenes are clean and enjoyable to watch.
Old world changes bring a new perspective on everything, and makes for a great new leveling environment for you to start an alt.
Cons -
Some zones are destroyed that we once loved.
Some towns no longer belong to your faction.
It’s a tad bit too easy to hit 85, as I feel it should have been a bit more of a challenge.

If you’re thinking about getting the expansion, get it.  You will enjoy it.  If you’re thinking about starting a trial account, why are you still HERE?  I already told you before to open one.  Go on, get out of here and do it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cataclysm causes mayhem at flying trainers.

As most of you already know, World of Warcraft Cataclysm has exploded onto the servers and the rush for 85 has begun. If you were one of the many who purchased the digital copy or picked it up at a midnight release, then no doubt you already saw something similar to this video. If you weren’t one of them, more than likely you didn’t get to see the mob of players camping the Flying Trainer.

I had the fortunate misfortune of experiencing this personally. A large mob of I don’t know how many players crowded around the Flying Trainer like a hive of ants finding the sugar jar left open.

Enjoy the mayhem.




I won't have my copy till tomorrow when UPS arrives.  Until then, have fun playing Cata and I'll see you in game.

Thalack

Monday, December 6, 2010

World of Warcraft Cataclysm

Depending on where you are in the United States you're either just a bit over 12 hours or a bit shy of 12 hours till Cataclysm Midnight Madness begins.

Gamestop's across the country will be mobbed with rabid WoW fans eager to get their hands on the latest installment into the Warcraft franchise. Boasting new raids, new dungeons, tons of new quests, items, a reformed world and much much more; How can one not be excited about this expansion? So much has changed leading up to it and so much is about to change because of it.

Yet with all of this in hand, you've still got the super rabid wow geeks who go to extremes. I found this post on the mmo-champion forums. The forum begs to ask a simple question that truely shows how dedicated some fans really are.

What have you got stocked up for the climb to 85?

Check out the thread here

http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/806184-What-have-you-got-stocked-up-for-the-climb-to-85?p=9714302#post9714302


And find out just how extreme some wow players can get, or perhaps find out that you're even more extreme than them.

See you guys in WoW tomorrow, I'll be waiting for the UPS truck.

Friday, December 3, 2010

One Step Closer to Realizing World of Warcraft is REAL!

Hey gang,

My girlfriend showed me an article today I found to be quite amusing if not for simply the name of whats in the article.  A new pepper has been found that scores hgher than any other in terms of heat.  So what does this have to do with World of Warcraft?  Well, this super pepper is called a Naga Viper.  As we all know, Naga Vipers can be quite dangerous in World of Warcraft and it appears, real world Naga Vipers can be just as deadly, or worse!  This just prooves that World of Warcraft is slowly becoming a real world.  Enjoy the article.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20101203/sc_yblog_thelookout/worlds-hottest-pepper-is-hot-enough-to-strip-paint

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Call of Duty Black Ops review. Lock and load maggot!

Call of Duty Black Ops plunges you head first into an unknown story line that comes with many twists and turns.  You find yourself inside of a room being interrogated and from there, many of the games missions will take place as flash backs.  However, will these flashbacks reveal a truth your interrogators are searching for, or reveal that everything you know is a lie?  And who are these interrogators?  Is it the US government, Russians, Vietnamese, or someone else?  All these questions will be answered as others come up in your mind.
From the start, you’re tossed into a mess of flash backs, questions, interrogations and bullets whizzing past your head.  What’s going on, where am I?  Only time will tell as you begin your Black Ops missions.  From facing off with Russians to battling in the trenches of Vietnam, you’re stuck in the middle with no way out.
The game takes place in the 1960’s, Kennedy is President and Vietnam is in full swing.  I was a bit disappointed at first to come to this realization as I was looking forward to another game of Modern Warfare.  Modern Warfare is where I began the series, which made me ignorant to previous installments of CoD and what time periods they may have taken place in.  That quickly went away as I played this game, finding myself fighting Russians, blowing them away and overall enjoying my surroundings and settings.
Quickly some voices became obvious to me as well.  The game is filled with some action packed star voices in the main roles.  With Sam Worthington, Ice Cube, Ed Harris and of course the one and only, Gary Oldman taking the role of the Russian Reznov in this action packed chapter of Call of Duty. 
I thought that Russian accent sounded familiar.  Anyone remember Air Force One?
As with previous CoD titles, the graphics suck you in with the detail and beauty.  The textures are spot on with the detail and a level of realism that immerses you into the world you’re fighting in. 
You get a large assortment or weapons to play with, even a crossbow with explosive tip arrows.  I found myself pleased watching people who already died from my arrow blow up.  The difficulty is on par with previous CoD games and makes it suitable for novices and harder setting for the hardened veterans.
The voice acting overall is well done.  It’s quite a trip to be getting orders from Ice Cube in the heat of battle.  Character animations enhance the voice acting as the lip syncing is really good, as recently it seems other game developers have gotten lazy.  Another game I’ve been playing, I’ll leave unmentioned, tends to have mouths moving before the voice begin, making it a bit distracting.
The feel of the game is just as you would expect from any CoD game.  With the ability to jump, crouch, sprint, go prone, lean and even go from a run and dive into a prone position. 
However all the praise I do give the game there are things I don’t like at times.  I dislike how cover sometimes doesn’t really cover you, and at times the computer seems to know exactly where you are without you being in view.  I’ve had many hiding places I’ve moved to before enemy forces show up, only to be met with a well placed frag grenade up my butt.  It does get disconcerting at times but you push through it because lets me honest, all’s fair in war!  Whatever gets you a kill gets you a kill, no matter what it is.  Well, except for those multiplayer wall hackers.  Yeah, I’ve met one on a Nuketown map.
The Multiplayer options are all there with levels, achievements, earning points and new weapons.  As you gain levels playing multiplayer games, you earn the right to new weapons, attachments, equipment and perks.  However, they do come at a cost as you do earn currency as you play and you have to buy your upgrades and weapons.  This enhances the gaming experience even further as you can play a premade class or build your own class with all the bells and whistles that you want.  With plenty of maps to choose from and play modes such as Team Death Match, Demolition, the ability to set these to hardcore, turn on or off friendly fire and other options, you are sure not to get bored any time soon.
Another new to the game mode you get is Zombies.  I haven’t had a chance to play this in multiplayer yet, I will tell you about it on the single player side.  You stand alone against unending hordes of zombies.  Special barriers help protect you as the zombies try to break through them.  At any time, you can repair the barriers to earn points and help aid you in staying alive.  But with each passing round, the zombies come faster and with more friends.  Occasionally, killing a zombie drops a power up.  From nuking all the zombies to double points, it helps you to survive.  On the walls, search for white outlines of guns as you can purchase different weapons from each marker on the wall.
As you stand alone battling the zombies, you must progress through the level.  Unfortunately, my aim isn’t great so I haven’t beaten any of the zombie levels yet.  There are 3 different zombie levels to choose from however out the gate you only get 1.  The other 2 are unlocked throughout the game.  I have unlocked one of the other levels so I don’t know how to access the last one yet.  I’ll say it is amusing listening to Kennedy as you fight zombies.
Overall, CoD Black Ops brings you what you would expect from any quality CoD title.  The fun is there, the guns are there and you even get to fly a Russian Hind!  The multiplayer will keep you occupied for a long time with all the options, achievements and other merits you can earn.  There is definitely a longevity built into this game and you shouldn’t get bored of it any time soon.
The graphics, as usual, blow you away with their beauty.  It also seems they’ve better implemented large explosions better in this chapter, sucking you in even deeper into the experience.  The sound, especially on surround speakers makes you feel like you are in the heat of battle.  You can almost feel the bullets flying past your head.  So grab your favorite gun, checks your grenades and don’t forget your knife.  Get ready to lock and load in this exciting chapter of CoD.

Dark Age of Camelot Level 1 to 25, a quick journey for the new player.

Level 1 to 12 can be easily attained through the special tutorial zone where you get the chance to learn various commands, trainers and other invaluable tools as you level.

If you don’t wish to level in the tutorial zone, you can move on to the regular zones and begin grinding and questing. If you leave the tutorial early, I highly recommend doing your local Nergal’s and or Balban’s Breach quest to receive a decent suit of starter armor. However, remaining in the tutorial will earn you a decent suit of armor that’s even better.

After this, your fastest leveling will be in the battlegrounds. Travel into your capital city and speak with your local teleporter. (See the videos linked at the bottom for more information on where to go in your realm.) Here you can easily select the battlegrounds option and automatically be sent to the one appropriate for your level. Inside the battlegrounds starting at level 10, you can find 2 quest NPC’s. One will offer you 3 kill quests. Each quest asks you to kill 15 mobs of a particular type. Completing these quests rewards a large amount of XP and also gives you aurulite.

Aurulite is used for the purchase of gear from a merchant in the battlegrounds, or can also be used in your catacombs area.

The second NPC offers 2 quests. Each one will ask you to kill 15 members from one of the two opposing realms. As of writing this, killing one player from an opposing realm actually counts as 4 kills. You’ll find that this really only requires you to kill 4 members to receive credit for all 15. In my opinion, this doesn’t appear to be a bug because my time spent in the battlegrounds; I rarely ever finished these 2 quests because I never saw anyone from the opposing realms.

Be forewarned, the level 20 to 24 battleground Thidranki, has a lot of fighting between the three realms and is very popular. Expect the kill 15 enemy realm quests fairly easily.

As a side note to the kill quests, I recommend a group. This isn’t because the mobs are hard, but because of the mechanics. If you are grouped, every kill counts as two. If you are having trouble getting a group, be vigilant. There is usually someone who needs a group and will be more than happy to join you. Also, you don’t have to be very close to get kill credit. Plenty of times me and someone else would split up, one person would kill one set of mobs and I would kill another, finishing 2 quests very quickly.

In Midgard, you will be looking for Channeler Sidral located in the capital city of Jordheim. Leaving the battleground will send you to Vindsaul Faste. You will want to find Stor Gothi Annark.

In Hibernia, you will be looking for Channeler Garl located in the capital city of Tir Na Nog. Leaving the battleground will send you to Druim Ligen. You will want to find Glasny.

In Albion, you will be looking for Channeler Deng’ani located in the capital city of Camelot. Leaving the battleground will send you to Castle Sauvage. You will want to find Master Visur.

For further information regarding the locations of these characters, please refer to the following links.

ALBION


HIBERNIA


MIDGARD



I hope this guide has helped you step into Dark Age of Camelot and that you find a realm that suits you and your play style. Thank you for reading.

Thalack

World of Warcraft need to know guide!

Hey there,

I came across a very interesting post on the mmo-champion forums today.  I thought it would be a good idea to link to it so as many people as possible can read it.

For a very very VERY small handful of you, say 5% of the WoW player base, most everything said in the post is pure common sense.  For the other 95%, I highly recommend you read it.

I will say this, after playing WoW, I have found that common sense, isn't very common.  That's why I link this thread.

http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/795945-What-Wrath-players-need-to-know-to-not-suck-at-Cata!

enjoy!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dark Age of Camelot - A brief summary of PvP/RvR

Hey gang,
Are you looking for a new, fresh MMO experience?  Are you looking for a game with some very fun and unique PvP?  Are you looking for one of the best MMO’s ever made?  Well you’re in the right place cause I’m going to tell you, give Dark Age of Camelot a shot!

Killing a badger for a quest in a Battleground.

Dark Age of Camelot was released back in 2001 by Mythic Entertainment.  They brought what was unique at the time, and still very unique 3 realm PvP game.  The forces of Albion, Hibernia and Midgard battle for control of keeps and relics, located in a PvP designated area called the Frontier. 
The Frontier is a large region, consisting of 4 zones per realm, and a vast ocean separating all of them.  Each zone contains PvE and PvP elements, sometimes cause PvP to become very interesting when you accidentally drag a bunch of aggressive monsters into the mix.  Every zone, less the ocean, contains 1 or 2 Keeps that can be captured for your realm.  Every Keep has outlying towers that be both used to help defend or captured and used to assault the Keep they are intended to protect.  Walls can be destroyed, doors broken, and climbing points for stealth classes to help your forces breach the Keeps easier.  Once inside, there is a secondary door defending what many in the game call the CK, or Center Keep.  Once these doors are down, the brutal battle to climb to the Lords room begins.  Upon reaching the Lords room, your teams must work quickly to kill any remaining defenders and defeating the Lord to claim the Keep as your realms.
Keeps aren’t simply there to be captured to say we captured it.  Capturing these Keeps does serve a purpose.  Controlling Keeps benefits your realm in favor of awarding you more XP and money.  Also, controlling certain Keeps will unlock a giant gate called the Relic Gate.  This makes the enemies relic vulnerable and ready to capture.  Capturing an enemies Relic further strengthens your forces, increasing magic or melee damage.

Thidranki Keep.

These areas are more ideal for end game players of level 50.  Don’t worry if you’re working on your grind to reach 50, there are alternative options for you.  You can choose to level inside of PvP zones, ideal for your level, called Battlegrounds.  There are multiple Battlegrounds and simply speaking with a teleporter will send you to the appropriate Battleground for your level.  Here, you can begin seeing and learning how PvP works.  Each Battleground has a Keep that be captured by any of the 3 realms at any time.  The Battlegrounds serve as a training area to help you learn about PvP, learn yours and your enemies skills and help you level along the way.
So if you’re looking for a new experience, something fresh, and something enjoyable, give Dark Age of Camelot a shot. 

Sign up for a free 14 day trial at http://www.darkageofcamelot.com/trial/
This is Thalack with Phase4Games giving you a big thanks for taking a time to read this and I hope you enjoy your time regardless what game you choose to play.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update

Hey everyone,

Just tossing a heads up to everyone.  I''m working on a review for Black Ops and will have it posted in the next week or so.  I've also signed up for a beta test of Rift, which looks like a promising MMO.  I am eager to get in and try it out and hand out my opinions and views on the game, baring an NDA if they have one.

Also...

DARK AGE OF CAMELOT newbies and fans ATTENTION!!!

If you're like me, you know daoc guides and tutorials aren't very common.  At times they can be a bit difficult to find, and on some subjects just don't exist at all.  I'm planning on a series of DAOC tutorials to primarily help out new players to the game to help them get into the game and take off even faster.  The goal is to help you learn the game quicker, and help educate you on decent points of interest for leveling to get you to the ultimate goal faster, RVR!



Keep check for new info on games soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Regnum Online review



 Hey there gang,

I'm here to shoot you a review to a game I read about a couple of weeks ago called Regnum Online.  I found this game as I hunted around for some Free to Play MMO's to test out and it sounded interesting.

The premise of the game is 3 waring realms battle to defend and take control of territory in a PVP designated area.  The battle continues as the 3 realms battle to capture Sacred Gems from the enemies castle and return it to theirs to get a special benefit for as long as they can control it.  This alone drew me to the game right away as it reminded me of another MMO of old I have loved for a very long time, Dark Age of Camelot.

From the website

 Regnum offers 3 realms to choose from.
- 9 fully customizable player characters.
- An ever expanding number of quests.
- The ability to capture forts and castles.
- Expansive lands to explore.


Fighting a giant SNOW BEAST!!!  Oh wait, thats a bear.

There are currently 3 servers available to choose from.  Horus (English server), Ra (Spanish server) and Amun (Experimental/test server)  Once you've chosen your server its time to choose which of the 3 realms you'll be joining, Alsius, Ignis and Syrtis.  Each realm contains 3 separate races with 6 classes to choose from.  The Archer, who can specialise as a Marksman or Hunter.  The Warrior who can later choose to be a Knight or Barbarian.  And lastly the Mage who can become a Warlock or a Conjuror.  Once you've chosen your class, customised your character and his/her look, you're off to the game world.

The game world beings in whats called the Beginners Area, which is also a safe zone from PVP.  This zone is your basic teach the player about the game, movement, combat and get you used to your surroundings and skills.  The user interface is fairly simple and straight forward compared to most MMO's.  Its a nice change of pace, and the game doesn't really hold your hand for long before you're thrown into the world to fend for yourself.


Entrance to Montsognir.

Upon completing all the quests in the Beginners Area, which should be around level 10ish, you are then given a quest to move on and into the Inner Realm.  Here is where your adventure continues as you embark on your journey to reaching level 50 and start your conquest in RVR combat. 

Training isn't terribly detailed in this game, and you get plenty of points to spend.  I'd recommend holding onto a few points because once you get to the Inner Realm, you are given the chance to specialise and you'll be receiving a few more talents to choose from to spec in.

I found the game enjoyable and simple.  Unfortunately, it also brought back wonderful memories of Dark Age of Camelot.  Because of this, it made me want to quit playing Regnum just to get a taste of an fun old school game.  The graphics are very simple in Regnum, nothing cutting edge but neither are they the worst I've ever seen.  Some mouse movements can get awkward at times as it seems to jump and skip.  The animations and models on the creatures in the game are fairly simple so don't expect anything to pop out at you, at least not in the first 10 levels.  Combat animations of your character as also simple yet straight forward.

Killing and innocent Ferret.  Awwww :(


I would happily recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun time and something simple.  I will continue to play to game a bit more to try out the RVR.  I can give this game a fairly good rating overall and do recommend it, but as it stands at the moment, if you can afford the $14.99 for Dark Age of Camelot, I would highly suggest that over this.  However if you can't, this game will give you a very solid enjoyment for your time spent in it.

OVERALL


The Graphics don't stand out, but are decent enough.
Some jumpy moments with mouse and keyboard.
Simple interface and training makes it fun and easy to learn.
Three realms instead of the typical 2 to choose from.


They even have Tauntauns!!

RECOMMENDATION

If you want something new and fresh new feel that isn't hard to learn, fun to play and a PVP environment that isn't commonly seen, then you should definitely give this a try.



This is Thalack with Phase4Games thanking you for reading this review and I'll see you next time.  Feel free to leave comments and make sure to subscribe to my blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to the Gamer Log

Hey there,

You've successfully stumbled upon my blog of games.  The primary focus will be MMORPGS, but will also, at times, spread to other games.  I'll be leaving reviews, guides, how to and other various resources with this blog.

You'll see most of the blogs here will primarily focused on World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online and Dark Age of Camelot. 

Future reviews/blogs will also cover other games of interest that I find myself playing.  Currently I am downloading Call of Duty: Black Ops so expect a review and thoughts soon.

If you have a fun MMO to suggest, please feel free to and I'll try to check it out if I have time.  Also, if you have access to beta keys, I'll be more than happy to post my thoughts and feelings on games if I get a chance to beta test them, after the NDA has been lifted of course.

Enjoy the blog, and remember, we all have our own opinions so please do not be offended if my review of a game does not agree with your experience.  We all have different tastes so please keep an open mind, as I will also try my best to do the same.  You never know, you might find a pattern where if I give the game a bad review, its a game you love.