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(Edit: I've updated this with some newer information gained in the few days of playing around I had after writing this.)

Okay so I've been participating in the Open Beta of FFXIV, and I just finished the last of the three opening storylines, so I want to opine about it a bit. )
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Placed under multiple cuts because big.

Dorms )

Me )

Other stuff )
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Uh-oh, looks like it's time for another one of Matt's opinion pieces.


Okay, so I'll admit it. My time on World of Warcraft has utterly changed the way I think about MMOs.

Those on my flist may or may not be aware that I've recently gotten back into Mabinogi. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I ever quit was because Alpha had stopped playing, and the game isn't really any fun alone. It's a fun game, and sufficiently removed from the train wreck that was Maple Story.

Between quitting and starting up again, though, a lot of time passed and a lot of things happened. This isn't about the game being different; this is about me being different. Despite all the updates made to it, Mabinogi has stayed the same more than it has changed. The game hasn't stopped being fun, but it has started to feel alien.

Take this announcement on the official Mabinogi forums, for instance. Reading this thread, and the responses to it, has driven home just how much my outlook on MMOs has changed.

Two years ago? I probably would have been singing the praises of this announcement right alongside many of the other posters in there. Things looked much more black and white to me back then.

Now, though, I've had the experience of what a game is like when run by a company that actively supports the modding community. And it could not possibly seem more mystifying to me that these people are so fervently against "modders", and that Nexon would have a blanket ban on all mods, both harmful and harmless.

I'll admit that some the "hacks" that get used in Nexon games are a far cry from the mods enjoyed by the WoW community-- many of them are outright malicious, and these games certainly have their share of cheaters-- a problem not remotely as rampant on WoW as it is in Mabinogi, and on Maple Story especially.

But I have a very big problem with the fact that strictly aesthetic mods are being tarred with the same brush as such hacks. That's what Nexon is doing.

Many of my friends will know that I make a minor hobby out of custom soundtracks. Since the music in Mabinogi is stored externally in .mp3 format, it's a cakewalk to replace the music files with my own in order to customize the soundtrack-- but uh-oh, I guess that makes me a dirty modder. You can get banned for that, can you believe it?

This is one of the reasons that I now feel like I'm nothing more than a guest in the world of Nexon MMOs.

I'm a little dumbfounded that this is what they're focusing their attention on, rather than combating the rampant botting that goes on in this game. It's disgraceful how easy it is to bot in this game, and how difficult it is to go five feet without tripping over a gold-farming bot. And this, while I could get banned for my custom soundtrack? It's almost farcical how out of line their priorities are.

I'm not quitting the game over this, don't get me wrong. I just find it utterly surreal how alien the Nexon MMO culture seems to me now. And it is a culture, make no mistake about that.

I'll just continue in my role as outside observer of the indigenous peoples and their strange folkways.
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So Taylor got me hooked on Heroes and I've spent the past week catching up on all three seasons (goddamn you). I just finished watching the most recent episode last night, and now I'm ready to opine about it on my journal.

I shouldn't have to say that there are probably spoilers in this.

Cut because I expect this to be long. )
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So. In what appears to be a temporary lapse in sanity, I've decided that I think I want to revive my old game project, Project Oracle. REMEMBER THAT OLD THING, GUYS?

I'm a much better writer now, I have a better handle on the difference between good ideas and bad ideas, I know a bit more about game design, I have better access to sound and graphics assets, and I generally know my head from my ass much better when it comes to technology than I was in High School when I started this thing. I'm kinda dying to get my hands dirty and make this thing not suck.

I still don't know how to balance a game, though, orz. I guess I'll have to improvise. Unless anyone knows how to balance stats in RPG Maker 2003? Heh, yeah, I'm not banking on it. Right now the game is on the wrong side of way too fucking easy.

However. What started as a self-insertion story involving me and my friends, I think I'm going to revise into an original story with original characters. Characters BASED on me and my friends, granted, but the cheese factor should be significantly reduced.

The basic story's still contrived and unoriginal, but I think I'm going to stop caring. I'm sure a lampshade here and there will make it all better. 8D

I'm already coming up with tons of ideas. )

^ Check out the cut if you're interested in the details of the game.
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So I was thinking about some stuff, and I felt like writing about it. I figured this was a fitting place for it; I've tried as hard as I could to make sure it wasn't another one of my boring technical rambles.

The Game Maker Paradox )
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So, I haplessly stumbled upon the colossal, mind-boggling time-waster that is StumbleUpon today. (Pun not intended in the slightest. I seriously could not think of another verb to use in that damn sentence. X-x)

I wouldn't be calling it a time-waster if it weren't fun; if it were boring, I wouldn't waste my time with it. But it did get me thinking about something, and put me in the mood for a nice rant. So YOU, my lovely little captive audience, get the privilege of coming along for the ride.

I've actually made an attempt to make it interesting to read, though. )


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July 2011

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