Friday, October 11, 2013

Cold Harsh Truth

How I think I play a gunslinger thief...

How I really play a gunslinger thief...

Well, at least I'm having fun.

On a more important note.  We need more leather hat diversity in Tyria!  Really!  How about a sombrero, cowboy hat or even that ugly thing this guy is wearing.  More leather hats ANet.  We need them.

Why hats?  Read here:
Bringing Back the Hat

And do not forget winter hats.
Men's Winter Hat Guide

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thoughts on Thoughts

Asuran NPCs don’t heal other Asuran NPCs when they are down.  I’ve seen charr and humans do it, but asurans don’t.  One less krewe member to compete with or pay?  Kinda ruthless asuran are.  Do Norn or Sylvari NPCs heal other NPCs?  I haven’t been in the Shiverpeaks or The Grove too much so I don’t know.

A wet pancake sounds better than my LCD screen speakers, so I finally decided to plug in my nice head phones.  Oh auditory nirvana!  Did you know the mesmer wand cast has a sound and the energy bolt as it travels?  The music plus the sound effects…what I’ve been missing!  If you don’t have good speakers, plug in headphones when you play, it will be an amazing experience.  But turn off the back ground chatter in Divinity’s Reach…to much moaning.  What’s with that? 

Have you noticed the engineer and warrior shoot rifles differently?  Engineers shoot from the hip, a very “commando” style.  Add a monocle to the character and it’s pretty sweet.  The warrior shoots by aiming the rifle.  They will bring it up to eye level, aim and shoot.  Warriors are trained in arms, precision is important to them. Engineers are trying to just control their overpowered micro-cannon. Pretty awesome ANet gives that feel through the animations.  

Speaking of animations, the charr need a different dance ANet. Please!  Mauri dances are amazing but only when added to the loud voice accompaniment.  Without the shouting it just looks...stompy.

The only other MMO I've ever played was WoW and I came in during Wrath of the Lich King and left after Cataclysm.  To be honest, I'm glad I left it all, it had become a tedium, but I do miss one thing most - the machinima.  "Who's the Tank", "Balad of the Noob", Oxhorn's "Inventing Swear Words", any of Cranius' or Greyfoo's videos, "Blind" and WoW Credor vids were all amazingly entertaining and added a unique dimension to the game outside of the game.  GW2 needs machinima.  It needs the emotes that help make it and/or the tools to create it.  The creative opportunities are just plain limitless.

If you are feeling rather pluckish toward annoying kids, go to Taigan Groves, east of Hoelbrak.  Grab a snowball and start chuckin', it's theraputic.

There is a prison at the bottom of Rata Sum.  I do not want to spoil it but the prisoners are hilariously funny, from talking bears to invisible chickens to catching stupid.  Just go there, you'll be glad you did.

I have very little understanding of guild Wars lore.  It's taken some reading on the wikis to get a feel for it.  The I ran across Wooden Potatoes' You Tube videos.   These videos explain how Tyria's history created the situations that currently exist in the game.  They are easy to watch, quite coherent,  have many "Aha!" moments and gave me an excellent link to Tyria's past.  There are currently 5 videos with more on the way.  

One more lore plug - Project Tyria.

Grawl are the walking comic relief of Tyria.  Best grawl dynamic event is by Balthazar's old statue (Deadgod's Lair POI).  Some grawl are going to complete a ritual to honor Badazar.  Jumping grawl on the attack yelling "Badazar!"  I was in stitches.

Speaking of Grawl, where is the meme "Its so easy, even a Grawl can do it."

See you in Tyria!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Reason #6 Why I Love Engineers

Big Ol' Bomb
The drakes expression is just priceless.

Do you really need any other reason?

See you in Tyria!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wintersday is AMAZING! A quick review.

I didn't log in until 10:00 pm central on 14 Dec.  i didn't now what to expect.  I was in Metrica Province on my asura and noticed huge gifts laying about, so I opened them.  KABOOM!!! presents and skritt everywhere.  I grab the presents in case they are on a timer or the skritt get them and then dispatch the skritt.

"okay....that was...interesting."  "Wait!  The loot."

I check through the inventory, find the gifts and I got a .....what?   A dirty ole sock!   Well not to be deterred I started hunting the map for gifts falling form the sky.  Explosions, skritt and gifts again and again.  I finally got some snow flakes, which fetched almost 2 silver a piece on the trading post. 

Curiosity has me now by the neck and I have to go see Lion's Arch.  I get to LA via the PvP/Mists quick travel.  The loading screen is gorgeous. 

I come out of the Vigil's fort, over the bridge and into a visual winter decoration eye-candy feast.  I'm blown away.  All I can do is just stand and watch, charr, kodan, tengu, skritt, and every other race throw snow balls at each other.  I notice a snow ball pile, grab some and start pelting.  Oh, and if you chuck a snowball at anyone, expect the NPCs to hit you back.  A snowball fight is a quintessential winter past time;  I can only imagine the snowball fights that will ensue as the Christmas holidays go on. 

A polar bear having a snowball fight with a human child.  There's a Coca-Cola commercial in there some where.


Notice the Tengu has the big pile of snowballs.

Told you the Kodan can throw hard.

As I made my way toward the genie I was met with a fantastic sight.  The genie is now a massive snow globe and the area is decorated with presents, floating glass stars, snowflakes, evergreen trees and snow, snow, snow, snow!  I'm telling you all, ANet put that vista on the bridge so all the screen shot junkies could take snap shots of the genie during every holiday season event.

The fountains redesign is just magical and amazing!

I then jumped in the the jumping puzzle.  Yes, you go into the jumping puzzle and it is HUGE!  In addition, players have to keep jumping.  Stand still and the snow flakes melt or you can get frostbite.  This thing is fun, even though I haven't gotten past the first part!  

Here are some shots of the puzzle from the starting point.  I'm totally amazed and the sheer size of the puzzle, its design and just all the attention put into it.

The next event I tried was the Guitar Hero inspired bell game.  Colored me impressed on this one, it is quite creative.  Upon entering a new song the players are place on a stage with two other players.  Your skills become notes associated with the colors painted on the stage.  

Glowing orbs start at the end of the stage and will move toward you.  When they hit the white line you have to hit the correct note/color on keys 1-4 or 6-9.  The songs become progressively harder; I actually got to the fourth round and it was tough.  I think with a little practice players can pick this up pretty quick, of course they'll need a lil' bit of rhythm.  Also, after some songs you get a "free play" for about 30 seconds wherein you can play what ever song you like.

Hit 8! No Blue!  I mean...what color is that?
   Finally, I got in the the snowball fight on steroids, "Snowball Mayhem"!!!!

Two teams are trying to get a gift near the center of the map and carry it back to their base, essentially capture the flag.  However, each player must choose a role: scout, heavy gunner or supporter.  Each role can do specific things.  Scouts are a hunter/thief mix with rapid shooting, a stealth and an awesome snowball sniper skill.  Heavy gunner is just that, massive spiked snow ball shooter with a mix of other heavy hitting shots but a slow mover when their skills are deployed.  The supporter is a blast!  players can lay down ice slicks, snow walls, a heal or turn themselves into a massive snowball and run people over!  I vote this best skill in Wintersday, you have to try it.

Yes, that is my Asura as a massive snowball.
 Folks, Wintersday has blown me away.  I thought I knew what level of detail and design to expect after halloween but this exceeded my expectations.  Oh and the music, I can't forget to comment on the music.  The music is perfect holiday, winter wonderland themed music, it perfectly fits.  I am going to enjoy myself thoroughly this Christmas season.

See you in Tyria.    

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bah Bye Bots. Bah Bye now. Bah Bye.

Mike Lewis posted on the GW2 official forums a post about the War Against the Bots!  Sounds like a B grade science fiction film, doesn't it?  I am so glad they are after these things.  They can be a pain in the neck but yet sometimes they are a source of fun.  I took a screen shot of the one of those fun moments.  Below there are a set of bots running around Queensdale near where the champ cave troll event occurs.  Can you see where this is going?  Oh yes.  We trolled the troll into the bots path and let the champ troll do all the dirty work.  Pity I didn't get screen shots of that moment.

DIE multi-consonant named nude ranger bots!

Bot hunting was fun I must admit but just for a couple of times.  This helped me remember how ANet handled botting in GW1.  The following video illustrates.

Yes ladies and gents, that is ole' Grenth displaying his extreme displeasure with a bot.  It would be so cool to see that again but I guess it would not fit in with the current story with the six being rather silent and withdrawn these days.  Maybe getting run over by a massive herd of Skritt?  Or a dragon comes down and just swallows them up?  If you got a creative idea post it in the comments.

I know this is not the end of bots.  As long as there are player who buy gold there will be gold farmers.  Nevertheless, I'm glad to see ANet dealing with the issue since it has been a sore spot to so many.  In addition, it reinforces what we should already know - ANet is working through all the kinks of only a 4 month old game and doing a rather good job of it.  

See you in Tyria!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

One Picture Can be Made to Say a Thousand Words

 In a previous post Creation is Awesome I talked about how I'd take a screen shot or picture and work it different ways to see what I can create.  I wanted to share a few examples.

Original picture of a female thief in Divinity's Reach from ANet.
I added an elliptical blur centered on the lady thief.  With the back ground unfocused she becomes the solitary center of attention.  In addition, add a more cooler look to somber the mood down a little bit.

Here I added a drama filter found in the iPad app Snapseed.  It heightens the ambient light and contrast to produce a striking picture.  

I do not know if this is the original of if I worked on this one also but we'll use it as the baseline.

I love these style of pictures!  I used Colorblast! to desaturate the picture and then add back the reds and greens that you see.  I wanted to get the bow also but its base color really didn't stand out from the background so I just declared victory with what you see know.

Here is another example of a center focus but with and added filter on top.

This was a rather epic PvP picture from ANet.  I had to mess with it.

Here again with the drama filter.  Again, it pops out all the little details.

Here I added a drama filter, then a magenta based filter radiating out from the guardian and a frame to polish it off.  It really isn't meant to mean anything, it just looked cool.

This a grunge filter, also found in the Snapseed app.  It produces almost a past memory feel.

Female Norn warrior with an awesome hammer from ANet.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Creation is Awesome!

I love drawing. I did it all the time as a kid. I got into painting, sculpting, building models, setting said models on fire, building more models, ebony pencil, colored pencil, photography...I loved it all. Being a Dad, working and all the chores that come with growing up limits the time I can dedicate to just being creative. When I started seeing concept art for GW2 it just motivated me to do something, anything artistic.

Having an iPad, I started looking for art & photography apps and experimenting with all of them. I've had a awesome time mixing and matching filters, borders and effects. Sometimes I will take one picture and work it four or five different ways just to see what can be done. Amazingly, each one will have a different mood. If you are curious I typically use the following apps:

Snapseed - Essential. It is amazing how powerful and intuitive this apps is. I use this app for editing all my photography and a large part of my composition work.

Procreate - An amazing painting tool app. I have been using it since it came out and I still haven't scratched the surface of what it can do.

Pixlromatic+ - Filters, frames and effects galore. Most of the frames I use comes from this app. The preset color effects at also great but I can create them to my liking in Snapseed.

Colorblast! - A simple app for desaturating (removing color) from a picture and then adding specific colors. For example, a black & white picture of a rose but only the petals are red.

And there are others but I'll discuss them with some examples in a different post.

Below are a number of compositions I've done with original/source art from ANet or unclaimed pictures found on the web. If you know who made the source let me know and I'll gladly credit them.   I'll also apologize upfront if a picture looks pixly,  Picasa sometimes changes the resolution on pictures.  I'm trying to find a better solution for picture hosting.


See you in Tyria!