NaNoWriMo 2010 Begins…

I’m actually a couple days late with this.  I’m also off to a pretty poor start.  In any event, I’m participating again and am now working my way toward 50,000 words.  Last year I broke 5,000 words, which is the farthest I’ve ever gotten and double the year before.  My goal this year is really just to break 10,000.  Of course, I’d love to get the whole 50k, but I also like setting manageable expectations.

This year I’m actually dusting off an old idea and I really want to finish it.  I’d like to get this idea down on paper, and maybe stop having it hang around in the back of my head as one of those things I really should write.

My profile, as always, is here.  Feel free to add me as a writing buddy.  And to throw a little inspiration your way, enjoy this little music video…

I didn’t shoot you…

… you walked in front of me while I was shooting the bad guys, dumbass.

One thing playing Red Dead Redemption has shown me over the past couple of weeks is that some people simply refuse to learn how to play with other people.  It isn’t hard.  First off, if you are going to group with people in a posse, then how about you get out of your private chat with your buddy who isn’t playing this game so we can actually communicate.  Second, if I get there first and go in first, I’m first, until I’m dead.  When I die, you can be first.  So, until I bite the big one, how about you stop running in front of me?  Am I moving too slow?  How about you tell me that and say, “I’m taking lead.”  Of course, you’d need to be talking to me first.

Next, when I kill you because you are a dumbass who stepped in front of me, coming back and knifing me, and then shooting me, and then shooting me again, and then finding me and shooting me again, and then waiting until I get into a room and blowing me up with dynamite is not “making it fair.”  It was your damn fault you got killed, killing me 47 times and slowing us down isn’t going to cure your stupidity.  We are in a posse, doing this hideout together, quit being a tool and start killing the bad guys.

And when I get fed up, switch to the sniper rifle and sit at a safe distance killing everything so that you don’t get killed, don’t yell at me.  Don’t tell me I need to come in.  See the scoreboard at the end?  I got 47 kills and 29 head shots.  You got 6 kills.  All my deaths?  That’s you killing me.  Your deaths?  That’s you stepping in front of me and also repeatedly charging into the fort.  There are like twenty five guys in there.  How about you stay back here and help me kill them instead of charging in.

When I quit your posse, don’t give me a bad review.


Why an MMO?

Back in November, I started a thread over on the Epic Slant forums entitled “Does everything need to be an MMO?”  The spark for that post came from the various announcements of features for the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic. Things like full voice, instancing, henchmen, focus on story, etc. all lead me to believe this game is going to play like a single player game where you might sometimes group up with other people.  I mean, how advanced is the story telling a full voice going to be?  If I get a mission to hunt down an escaped criminal, and we end up having to kill him, only as the healer of the group I stood in the back while my buddy killed him, will the quest text change to reflect that?  Will my buddy’s name be a part of the quest or will it be like every other game and proceed either a) thanking me for something I didn’t do, or b) generically offering thanks without naming anyone in specific.  Obviously, there is a lot of “wait and see” when it comes to these things, but as I said in the thread, as more is announced I’m getting further and further from purchasing at launch.  As it is right now, I’m probably going to wait at least three months because I want to make sure the advancement and progression of the game doesn’t fall apart.

Over at The Banstick is a post about Away Team Tactics in the recently launched Star Trek Online.  It looks very cool.  But I have to wonder why I’m subscribing to an MMO to play a game with an NPC team.  Tying back into the forum post linked above, from my time in the STO beta I can say I absolutely would have jumped into this game if it were a Single Player RPG with a subscription option to participate in the MMO elements and perhaps some downloaded expansion packs later on.

Global Agenda, despite being more FPS than RPG, has an interesting model.  You buy the game, and that buys you the typical FPS.  There is a good overview at That’s a Terrible Idea.  If you decide you like the game, you can subscribe which gets you access to more game play modes and other MMO type elements (in game email, auction houses, player run bases, and more).

STO could do this by making solo play planet and space exploration free, as well as perhaps a few “arena” style PvP areas, even some multi-player PvE stuff, then having a subscription to actually participate in Federation vs Klingon vs other empires and have an impact on the balance of power.

I really hope that more games that want to be MMOs consider Global Agenda’s model, as I think it is a superior one.  It allows players to scale up and down their participation and their cost without the all-or-nothing simple subscription model.  As it stands, from the beta I won’t be picking up STO as it, to me, felt a lot like Pirates of the Burning Sea which I also sort of liked but felt it was too much to pay for what I was getting.  But I’ll probably pick up Global Agenda, and if I enjoy it I may drop in to the full MMO from time to time when I feel its worth it.

To get back to the original question posed by the title, “MMO” is the latest craze in gaming buzzwords.  WoW has delivered so many money bags to the offices of Blizzard that every title wants to cash in, to be an MMO, whether they would be good at it or not.  I think more companies should take the time to consider if their game is actually going to be worth playing, and paying for, as an MMO and then design accordingly.  Either make an MMO or a Single Player game with some MMO elements, but don’t make a Single Player game and then charge a monthly fee for it.

Hot Fuzz

My super secret special contact (my brother’s wife) came through once again with free passes to see a movie screening. This time, from the guys who brought you Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz.

What Shaun did for zombies, Hot Fuzz does for buddy cop films.

Nick Angel (Simon Pegg) is an overachieving London cop. In fact, he makes everyone else look bad, so they ship him off to a small village far away from London. Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) is a local cop with no real ambition, but has a love of action films and a father who is the head cop in town. The locals are pretty lax on the letter of the law, but Nick refuses to change his attitude. And that’s when the murders begin… of course, everyone else in town seems to buy them as accidents, but not Nick and Danny.

All in all, seriously funny. I was laughing through nearly the entire film, while at the same time being thrilled with chases and gunfights and explosions and an unravelling mystery. Edgar Wright directs a top notch film, he and Simon can really write great comedy, and all the actors pull it off in style. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, you’ll like Hot Fuzz too.

As a bonus for the night at the movies, Simon, Nick and Edgar were all in attendance and did a wonderful Q&A afterwards. Fantastic!

Smokin` Aces

In case you haven’t seen a trailer that actually explains it, here is the short version: Buddy “Aces” Israel was a Las Vegas magician who turned mobster. Buddy causes a split in the Vegas mob with him running one side and Primo Sperazza on the other. Primo is sick and he’s ordered the death of Buddy. Buddy is in the process of turning Federal witness against the whole West Coast mob families. A couple of Primo’s guys decide they want to make sure Buddy dies (or maybe they just want to be the guys who do it) so they hire a few more hitmen to go after Buddy too. Oh, and some bail bondsmen guys are after Buddy for jumping bail. The Feds learn about the hit and hightail it to Lake Tahoe where Buddy is hiding to try to protect him, meanwhile the hitmen all decend on Tahoe as well.

There is alot of set up for the first part of the moive, introducing each of the hitmen (or hitwomen in the case of Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson), all the Feds and giving some background on Primo Sperazza, Buddy “Aces” Israel and the case against the mob. The characters and the actors (including Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, Tommy Flanagan, Curtis Armstrong, Matthew Fox, and more) make the movie… and when the shooting starts, the action ain’t half bad either.

All in all, this was a great fun movie. I recommend it, though it is a bit bloody, so it is not the best date movie and absolutely not for kids.

Alliance: Making My Way to 60

Ishiro of the Holy Order of Come Get Some Mutha Fu… I mean, the Shadow Priest has been palling around with his Paladin buddy Lorilai. Its funny, but when you don’t play for like 2 or 3 months, it seems like the 200% experience bonus just never ends. We’ve gone from 56 to almost 59 over the course of a couple of 3-4 hour game sessions. Of course, all those quests worth 4,000 – 6,000 exp each don’t hurt. If this keeps up, I expect us to hit level 60 within the next week, maybe two, all depending on Jodi’s work schedule.

One thing I can’t stand though is all the damn Horde. One of my pet peeves in WoW is really appearant right now. We are messing around with in Silithus and Winterspring, two places where either the Devs got lazy or just ran out of time because its neutral towns and both Alliance and Horde get the same quests. I suppose we could play on a PvP server where I could do something about that, but open PvP just grates my nerves. As it is, I had to repeat a quest 4 times the other night because it was an escort quest and a group of bored Horde kept killing the NPC. We could have fought back, but 5 level 60 Horde would have wiped the two of us at 56 all over the mountain side. Anyway… 60 will come soon enough for us, and then maybe we can level the playing field a bit.


This was a good movie. Adventure. Action. Comedy. Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn make the best buddies in a buddy movie that I’ve seen in a long time.

Definately worth the price of admission.