Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dance Dance Tyria

Oh the videos are rollin' out! Interestingly one of the things I remember most about GW1 was the dance videos. Watching 30, 40, 50, people dancing in unison to techno was amazing.  How is this done?  Have everyone type "/dance *" then hit enter about the same time; the world server will sync everyone up.  So lest continue the dance tradition with a few videos.

Starting off is Starfleet Dental's dance video. I have to say I'm very impressed with the editing. To switch scenes yet keep the foot work in sync without any gapping takes time and good eye. I would have picked different music but that is just personal taste.

Here is Gangnam Style by Censtudios.  I really enjoyed watching this dance video.  Good locations, lots of sweeping camera passes, and just enough effects in sync with the music beat to spice things up. 

Now just because it is cool, a trio of Asuran sync dancing created by Gold Bro Studios.  It is a simple, straight-up dance video with some good music.  As I said, it's not fancy but getting to see a triple dose of Asuran poppin' & lockin' is choice.

Next up is NoX Oil Dance! by the guild Norse Oil eXpedition.  Though the camera work is very simple, it's a great example of how organized group dancing in a formation can look great.  Oh, did I mention they organized the dance ad hoc during a stress test?  Good stuff.

I hope you enjoy the videos.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for more amazing ones and will post more as I find them.  If you see any, drop my a line or post the ady in the comments section. 

Now all we need is an intese, Charr rock video and all will be right in the world. 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Need a Quick Guild Wars 2 Guide?

If you have not had an opportunity to read Azuriel's post "The GW2 QuickStart Guide" over at In an Age you need to check it out.

He reviews number of ways you can improve your in-game enjoyment. He explains how you can get 10 - 20 fps by toggling some settings. He points out to improve keyboard control and did you know there is auto-looting! Did you know you can auto-sort your inventory? Do you know where all the Asrua city portals are? What about collecting materials for crafting? Azuriel has it all figured out.

Go by In an Age and check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Also, check out "How to GW2". It contains a roll up of posts touching class styles, community, GW2 basics, describing dynamic events, heart zones, navigating PvE content, etc, etc, etc.

See you in Tyria!


Unanswered GW2 Questions...

How do Charr take baths?

How do Norn women shave? Why DON'T some Norn men shave...

Do unattractive mesmers have a skill called "Inebriated Vision"? Do they learn it from the local tavern goers, Han Ekin or Bud Miller?

What happens when Sylvari drink Miracle-Gro?

Do the Charr Legions have to do random drug tests on war bands for catnip abuse?

Is a narcissists favorite class the Mesmer?

If you kill a Sylvari is it classified as homicide or herbicide?

How bad is charr morning hair?

Did the great camel spirit blesse Norn women with sufficient fatty deposits so they could endure harsh environments on little food and water?

If a zombie eats a Sylvari, is it eating vegitarian?

How does a moose drop a magical rifle? What is it doing with a rifle anyway? Hunting Norn?

What is the ground speed velocity of an unladen Moa bird?


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day One

How to  begin? I've read a number of posts talking about the impeding release date of GW2. They have reminisced about their experiences of GW1, the years of waiting when their was either feast or famine of information, or their plans of what they will do in the new game. I've enjoyed reading every one of those posts. They offer an insight into the thoughts and feelings of their respective authors. I'm one of those people who enjoys observing others. Not to judge, just to learn, to see, to understand a little more. However these posts started a thought in me. Why do I want to play? I'm almost 40, I have 8 children, I'm in the military and I'm amazingly busy. I'm not your typical gamer, well maybe now a days I am, but why, with all that is one my plate, would I want to play?

My new Asuran Mesmer, Zinjin.  The graphics rock!
I can't say I was a huge GW1 player. To be honest, I never got a single toon to 20. I played it when I had some spare time, it was a side game. In addition, all my friends were playing WoW so I was there with them during WotLK. WoW eventually soured on me-too much Skinner box for my tastes. The same happened to my friends and so we just played nothing. Then in 2010/2011, news of Guild Wars 2 reached my ears but it wasn't until I watched the "manifesto" that my interest really perked. I sent the video to my friends and we all started to get excited. GW2 promised to remove a large chunk of what soured WoW for us. We eventually pre purchased the game so we could get beta access and we've been blown away since then.

To be honest, we have not been to concerned about crafting, skills, who is OP or not, or even loot. We were having a blast and enjoying ourselves. GW2 will now be our "bowling night" activity if you will. This is important to me, to us. My buds and I talk about all sorts of this while playing. Our jobs, families, idiots, sports, or we just do something crazy and enjoy the moment. For example, we use to play devilsaur aggro tag in Ungoro crater and see who could survive longest; we'd easily spend an hour just laughing at how crazy we were being. It was great though because it was a stress outlet, and we all need one. This is why I'm looking forward to playing GW2. It's a moment to put yourself into a story, an adventure. You can be as brave or as cowardly as you want. You can be the king or the pauper. You can be with friends who are geographically separated or you can be alone. Steve put is best, "You can be anything that you wanna be."

The forge in Smokestead.  More art than machine.
So, today at 12:50 am central time I logged in with no problems at all. I made four quick characters to save my names and turned the game off. As I talked about in a previous post, my laptop broke and I've had to use the family computer. That computer is not a power house. It strains when the kids play Lego Star Wars so GW2 could possibly kill it. I will pick up my new rig today and after I have it all assembled and ready, then I will rip into GW2 in all it's visual glory. I'm not paying a subscription so my money is not going unused. To be honest, I've been able to play so much in betas and stress tests I feel my money was already well spent. I want to enjoy this game, not just play it, but enjoy it.

Update:  Got my new rig and HOLY COW!!!  GW2 is gorgeous!  I have all the setting maxed out and I still can't get over it.  I spent more time looking at water, floating particles, trees, and spell effects.  It is wonderful to just takeina game and pace it the way I want to.

Excellent job ANet.  Excellent job.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Big, the Undead and the Ugly

Look at the following picture-

More than just the Bone Napper!

No watch the the "Get Ready" video ANet released at the end of June. Pay attention at the 32 second mark.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is the BIG UNDEAD UGLY himself...ZHAITAN in the flesh. Well, other dragons' flesh...undead dragons' flesh I mean.

I took a few screen shots of the video just in case.

Maybe everyone else knew it was Zhaitan at the end of the video but I didn't. For me this is one of those, "Oh Sweet!" moments.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Because Nerdy Bookahs inspires me

I was reading Nerdy Bookahs and I just felt the need to promote some good wholesome Asura snark.

It took me a good 30 minutes to find a picture with that perfect near condesending look? I had to screen cap it from a video, but it works great.
I'd seen this one a long time ago and decided to recreate it.


Okay, not a snarky picture but I thought about what an Asuran paper lab ad might look like and came up with this.


I must say, those lil' buggers have really grown on me.


Monday, August 13, 2012

How to GW2

No, it's not my Laptop but it makes a great picture!
My computer died. 

After a short distance of falling brought upon by an 8 or 10 year old, the investigation is unable to determine, I am forced to use the "family" computer to blog.  So, after hours of Marvel Super Hero Squad online, Facebook, various kids' websites to include but not limited too PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, The Friend, LEGO, Boy's Life, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and etc, etc, etc.  I finally get to blog.  Woot!

Guild Wars 2 will be out 28 August!  Why are you not writing this down.  Go on, I'll wait.

Now if you are like my brother-in-law, you're a WoW bred MMORPG player.  You instinctively look for floating punctuation above NPC's heads.  You seek the rush of tagging a mob before that *&%^$ punk gets it.  You crave the challenge of finding 6 boar livers out of 25 dead boars.  You expect NPCs to vanish into thin air after you escorting them past vicious kobolds.  Unfortunately if you do this in GW2 you are going to one frustrated player.  But fear not, many excellent bloggers have put together some outstanding posts that will aid you in not being a total "GW2 Noob"  You will have to re-learn a little trial and error and that skill does matter.  You'll again enjoy wandering and exploring and learn that crafting is pretty fun and not just for level cap bonuses.

I would love to write-up a "How To" or a "Player's Guide" but time is a precious commodity and there are so many great bloggers who have already created excellent posts touching these subjects.  So with out further Adieu I suggest reading the following:

First off is a great post by the Magnificent Mistress of Illusion, Aly.  In  Navigating PvE content in Guild Wars 2 she describes how "hearts", waypoints, vistas, points of interest, skill challenges and the mini-map all affect your PvE experience and how to use them.  Also, I hear she makes a mean egg salad sandwich but unfortunately we'll never know.

Second, there is Class Homogenization by the Enigmatic Entomb.  He explains how individual and distinct each class is in GW2.  In addition, he illustrates how weapon based class skills may seem similar on the surface but are actually quite distinct.  This is a great starter post for the Sun Tzu strategists.     

Finally, there is Guild Wars 2 Tips  by Hunter; who has been the source for almost all things GW2 since 2009 or maybe longer.  He has written a short novel that explains the UI, character creation, story, game play, guilds, crafting, leveling, world vs world, jumping puzzles and the average ground speed of an unladen Moa bird.

GW2 will be different. You will have to play it differently but you know what, that's the best part about it. It's honestly different.

Update 14 August -
Some readers have pointed out some other great "getting started" posts on other blogs so I'm adding them in.

Siadina from Trippin Tyria suggests Community Highlights  from Guild Wars 2 Guru.  Please be advised you 'll probably need a Mountain Dew, its a very thorough read and covers EVERYTHING.

Bible of Dreams wrote-up Getting Started with Guild Wars 2.  She has a number of tips and tricks for players new to Guild Wars 2 but have some other MMO baggage.

And before I forget, you have to check out Overlords GW2 comic Dynamic Events. You can see it on the Deviant Art site or the GW2 Guru site.  It is quite fantastic.

See you in Tyria!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Dynamic Event Process or Getting from A to B pretty fast.

I was thinking about the many reviews of ANet’s dynamic event system. They range from amazing and heralding in the next generation of questing systems to it’s a standard WoWesque quest system wrapped in a more streamline package. One amazing thing ANet’s Dynamic Event System (can I call it DES?) One thing the DES can do is produce quality content rapidly. The BWE3 Hunger Royale"end event" was reported to have been programed in about 12 hours.  Holy Data Crunching Batman that is pretty amazing. Let me try to put this into perspective in hopes I can explain why it’s impressive. I’ll give my best guess at all the work that could go into creating a Dynamic Event.
NOTE: I’m not a programmer, I’ve never designed a game but I have some experience with creating and development projects and I’ve field tested software systems where my main mission was to stress test it; nevertheless, I’m sure I’ve missed something. Please feel free to chime in.

Dynamic Event Design

The design phase would be the first step in creating a new event. All the possible ideas are brought in and trimmed down, refined and set in order. The timeline for this stage depends on the scope of the event(s). For example, an new event wherein you teach a Quaggan barber shop quartet to sing a song will have a shorter design period in comparison to a world scale event like Tyria vs Smaug the Trademarked. The following lists some areas ANet might address. Again this is not all-inclusive.
· Event Concept:
o Event Description: A very broad description of the event.
o Genre: What kind of event is it? Holiday, end-game?
· Game Mechanics:
o Core Gameplay:
§ What actions will be available to the player consistently and how will those actions influence the world?
§ Mode of play: How many different modes of play will be available in the event?
§ Event Flow: How will the player progress through the event? How will it be organized? Is it broken into mini-events? What triggers its beginning & end? How will in-game assessments be integrated into the flow of the event?
o Types of Characters:
§ How many different types of characters are there?
§ How do they behave differently?
o Gameplay Elements:
§ What environmental elements exist in the game that adds to the event?
§ Will there be items that act as a power-up, etc?
§ Are there different types of weapons?
o User Interface Functionality:
§ What are the user interface items and what functionality is needed for each of the items to include screens and menus?
o Narrative:
§ What is the back-story for the event and characters?
§ What scripting is required?
· Art:
o User Interface:
§ Will screen elements or menus alter?
§ What do they need to look like? Color scheme, design, resolution, fonts, etc.
o Gameplay Elements:
§ What do the event elements (characters and the setting ) look like?
o Sound and Music:
§ What music will be needed?
§ Will new sound effects and voice acting be required?

Dynamic Event Implementation

        After the event is designed ANet would have to implement the event in the game engine aka the game’s program. It doesn’t mean it goes into the online and running game, just into a local server for testing. Now if ANet wants to showcase how fast they can produce content and push it out, the data to prove it would most likely start at this point. The design process is more abstract; as a result, it is difficult to assign concrete data points since it’s a creative process and each design session is different. The implementation phase however can be measured since the game engine is constant, it can be compared to existing standards (the live game) and ANet can record the date it went in and a date it went live. 

Again, I’m making an educated guess but the new event will have to integrate correctly with probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of game process such as class mechanics, race mechanics, skills, timelines, dialogue, instructions, rendering, AI, physics, code, music, data tracking, correctly receiving and distributing data packets, in game analysis, collecting data for later analysis for future improvement and more things I’m probably missing.    

 After the event is in the local system, testing and maybe limit outside testing will occur to ensure that everything works together correctly. Glitches and bugs will be found and the team will address, repair and then test again. Depending on the severity of the glitch they may have to redesign the event. Additional testing will occur as needed and after all the kinks are worked out ANet will still have one more “scary” step - Deploying the event into the current, live and running game without disrupting hundreds of thousands of players’ online game experience. I say scary because you can test and test and test but you never know 100% what might come up when you “deploy something new” as they say in my business. ANet will know real fast if things go bad. Think Diablo III error code 37, yeah.

     So, after reading all that, and I probably missed a number of things, for ANet to successfully push a Hunger Games type event in ~12 hours for tens of thousands of players (I’m guessing the BWE3 number here) that worked, and from what I can tell without flaw, is pretty amazing. Also, in between each beta event/stress test, GW2 made improvements in many areas. In some cases adding new design elements to classes and races or altering the entire talent system.  Again, I’m guessing but I imagine the glitch list was very long, add to that changes in class mechanics, visuals, etc and all done in roughly an month’s time shows ANets ability to proactively address issues.  All of this tells me they built a game engine and a process that can create, implement, test and field working content efficiently and effectively. From just a preliminary review the ability to think-up new events seems to be the limiting factor, not the software. Future content drops will either reinforce or challenge this assessment.

     For my part, I’m confident ANet will be able to produce new events and content in a manner gamers are not use to seeing.  For those who have had concerns about “end-game” hopefully this will help soothe some of those worries.  It may not be end game raiding as many are acustom to but hey, since ANet is already into breaking paradigms why not include end game content?  Can you imagine BWE "end-events" popping up for all the endgamers to play in?  It will be fun to see.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Asura progeny "Yo Mama" jokes.

If you didn't have a good enough reason to play an Asuran, you do now. 


And if I may offer a humble contribution - 
Yo mama's IQ is so low, when I told her "pi-r-squared" she replied, "No, they're round."