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Malik (4/10/06)  

In case you haven't been following it on your own, the Orrery (for Oblivion) has been priced around $1.89 for PC users and 150 GP for 360 users. Basically, Bethesda has taken the horse armor add on as a research tool and are still experimenting on how to best approach the prices and amount of content in the downloadable content packs. Who knows if the Mage Tower content will be 150 GP/$1.89 or more or less? It's all a learning experience, it seems, for Bethesda. 

I, for one, can easily agree with this plan. For one thing, it offers far more content and far more usefulness (I'm assuming on that) than two poorly designed pieces of horse armor. Between having a new quest (or more than one), a new location, and some new powers, this is definitely something bigger than two pieces of horse armor that are mostly useless since you are only on your horse for a small part of the game. 

Unlike most people who bitched about the pricing of content when the horse armor arrived, I don't mind the's the paying for something so utterly worthless that I mind. Although, if releasing small content packs on a regular basis was to occur, I would have a problem. While most people will try to argue that "a buck here, two bucks there, another buck here" is a perfectly fine business model (and from a business sense, it is great) for gamers to live with, it still ignores the fact (for us gamers) that we people tend to be idiots. In a way, it's like most things in life; small cost, yet when you keep buying this type of shit, then you into trouble financially. 

I do have one problem with the Orrery, however. I don't like the fact that the door to this room already exists in the initial release of the game. I don't like this for a simple reason; if the door is there, and I have to pay to open it, it feels more like something that was "left out" of the initial game rather than something being "added to" the initial release. If I need to spend money, I like to feel like I'm getting something new, rather than unlocking something old. 

Anyway, there really isn't much else to least I don't think there is. For the fourth or fifth time this year, I'm getting sick again. I guess it balances out for how I usually don't catch anything during the year. Well, time for me to get some much needed rest. 

By the way, before I go off to be horribly sick, I just want to say "Thank you!" to VG Cats for this.


Malik (4/11/06)  

I wish I had something to talk about today, but I'm afraid there's just not much to say. Well, I could say that I hate people who don't discipline their pets when they make a shit-ton of noise from 10:30 PM through 6:10 AM...and probably longer, but that was when I was trying to get sleep. I can also say that getting no sleep when sick is a bitch. 

Anyway, I'm really sick today, and I really shouldn't be doing anything today...including posting. So, I'll just end with this thought... 

Having demos on the Xbox Live Marketplace is a smart move. However, adding a demo after a game has been out for almost 5 months, and the game hardly got any recognition when it was new, is not a brilliant idea. What next...a THAW demo? Maybe a Gun demo? The Marketplace can be a very valuable tool for the 360, but only if people start to realize what it can do, and not just treat it like some pointless gimmick. 


Malik (4/13/06)  

While we, in the US, may have some complaints about the legal and social aspects of non-gamers (politicians) making anti-whatever-game laws, it could always be having to spend extra money to get a new power adapter when you buy your perfectly fine and working used system from an retailer.

A new law in Japan was supposed to completely prevent the resale of previously owned ("used") game systems. I'm not even sure of what the logic really was behind such a law. I'd guess it's to help the economy by making sure that any time a person buys a game system, it will be a new one with money going into the businesses involved, and not just the "laundering" of money, as we have in the US, that comes when we keep buying and selling the exact same console to the same major retail chain, without the manufacturer seeing a dime of it. 

I'd hate to image the BS that would happen if this type of law was put into any state or federal law books. It would make the annoying "news" that comes after a state has a new mature-game-restriction law look like a walk in paradise. 

Anyway, you can probably see that this is my first post of the week that is not incredibly short. I've been beyond sick, and I am finally getting my senses back. 

The only things I've really done while sick this week was spent a little time at my Oblivion tasks. I'm now well over 80 hours in, and am about 3 levels away from reaching my characters maximum level. I'm also still working on the main quest and the fighters guild quests. 

Speaking of which, I think there is one obvious error Bethesda did in the guild quests. If I'm going to be the leader of a guild/faction, then I shouldn't be hearing, everytime I come new a guild building, something along the lines of "So, I hear you're the new member of the guild". I'm the f#@$ing leader, and I should be respected as such. With how much work Bethesda put into fine tuning the radiant AI, the least they could've done is set a couple of extra flags for a few of the NPCs...simple flags that say something like "If PC is leader, then don't call him a newb". I know, this is nothing major, but since Bethesda believes so much in making even the smallest of details as perfect as possible, this is the least they could've done. 

Ok...actually, I have one other complaint with this game, and it's a big complaint. In fact, it's along the same lines as a complaint I had with KOTOR2, but slightly worse in Oblivion. The leveled loot/enemies BS. On one hand, since some monsters/NPCs will level with your character, that's dumb on it's own. It means that if I gather help for Burma (one quest involves you finding people to defend a town) when I'm level 2 or 3, then these pre-set guards who join me at a set level 15 will pwn the enemies they face (who are according to my level). However, since I'm at level 38, these enemies are level 38+ daedra/demora (demons), and thus these powerful heroes that I gathered are worthless and will die within the first few seconds of battle. By the way, the leveled enemies are annoying when you're below level 10, but they can become near impossible after level 20 (if you don't level your character like a power-leveling master). 

That's bad enough...but the leveled loot makes it even worse (this is the thing that KOTOR2 also caused me to complain about). On one hand, sometimes your enemies will simply not drop the items you really need. That's annoying. It's like in KOTOR2 when I never got Jedi robes because no enemies or chests contained them, despite how one of my friends got robes in nearly every chest he encountered (and he couldn't find a good blaster, which I found too many of). 

On the other hand, leveled loot can mean that, once you have started to obtain the best type of equipment in the game, you will simply stop caring. Case in point; when I first got to around level 18 or 20, I started to get glass armor (the best light armor material in the game). Now, at level 38, I still have the same armor being dropped. I only pick up items now to sell them. I never will loot an enemy or dungeon thinking that I may get some cool equipment out of it. Meanwhile, in Morrowind, there were (I could be off on this) only 3 sets of glass armor in the whole game. This meant that when you found it, you felt special. Do I feel special finding it in Oblivion...only if you mean "special" like the short bus type of "special". 

The same applies to all of my stuff. I have the best alchemy parts and ingredients, the best rings and amulets, the best full set of armor (the only part that's hard to find is the glass helmet), the best weapons with the best enchantments, the best soul gems (in Morrowind, a soul gem was not based on a few levels of monsters, but rather on the individual monster captured, and that was also far better), the best spells, the best...I have had the best everything since about 30-40 hours earlier on in the game. 

If anything, Oblivion, which is still fun (for now), is reminding me of City of Heroes. In CoH, the thing that turned me off of the game more than anything (including more than the idiots who didn't know how to play their class) was how the equipment in the game was worthless. In the end, if you wanted a single origin enhancement, you would get one. In fact, if you wanted the best character of your chosen class/type, you had so few unique things to find that your character started to look like everyone else's. Wanted to be a blaster? As of when I quit playing CoH (18 months ago), you'd be fire/fire with 6 slotted haste, fly, blah, blah. A tanker? Invuln/super strength (or fire) with provoke 6 slotted. 

I am getting that same vibe from Oblivion. If you want to play Oblivion and be a character like mine (thief first, fighter and mage tied for second), you will probably have the exact same equipment as what I have, the same spells, the same spells and equipment hot-keyed, and even the same race and birth sign. I do love the game, but I'm just not feeling that it's worth it as much as Morrowind, at least in terms of character stuff. The engine, the fewer number of crashes during the game, the combat style, the visuals...they are all a shit ton better in Oblivion, but the character abilities and equipment were just so much more amazing in Morrowind. 

I've heard people say that they think an awesome update to Oblivion would include a chance to fight against other player characters online in some sort of arena. I disagree. If it was Morrowind, I'd not be against it, but in Oblivion...I would be facing off against a few characters over and over again. There would be the pure mage (Breton, Atronach birth sign, major skills all the magic skills), tank (orc/redguard, warrior sign, heavy armor skill, blunt skill, athletics skill, and the other skills don't matter), the rogue (khajiit/wood elf, thief sign, alchemy, sneak, blade, marksman, and security for skills). There's also the same hybrids. Plus, in the end, all of the characters would even have the same exact equipment. There is just too little in the way of unique equipment, and with the leveled monster system, there is too little opportunity to deviate from the power leveling path. 

Like I said, it's not that I hate Oblivion. However, I seriously doubt I'd ever start from the beginning as a new character. This first time through the game, I'm basically doing as much as possible, because I know that I won't feel like playing again when I've already experience what would be the best magic spells, the best swords, the best bows, the best armors, and so on. For being an open ended RPG, in regards to this, it plays a lot like any J-RPG. 


Malik (4/14/06)  

...this...No. No. I will just say one thing; this Tyrone McMillan of New York can say all the things he wants to, but there is not damned reason he should be even listened to if he said anything along the lines of "I thought I could escape the cops because I did it in GTA!" or anything remotely that idiotic. No. 

Sometimes I have to wonder...when these dumb-asses say shit like this, do they think it will get them off the hook? Do they actually like these games and think saying this shit will not cause any problems for either themselves or for the games they enjoy? Do they think that anyone should honestly take them seriously for saying this shit? Actually, I know the answer; 

The people who use this type of lame excuse are the same type who often times will not read newspapers or watch the evening news, and they hire the type of lawyer (often through the principal that illogical people attract illogical professionals) that knows this excuse will fail 99.9% of the time, but still hopes it will succeed since it could guarantee an easy civil suit versus the game's developers/publishers. If these people had any type of intelligence, they would realize how lame of an excuse this is, and they would realize that if this was true (the game made them do the crime), then they would probably face a longer time incarcerated at a mental hospital (which can be far worse, depending on the funding for mental health in said state, than prison). Blah. 

Also, on the note of stupidity (and I still am sad to refer to this as such a thing), a release time frame for Xenosaga 3 has been announced. It should be coming out in the final couple of months of some location. The details of Japan, US, or worldwide are a little vague...but then again, when are they not. However, I can say, without any doubt, while I would like to experience the plot of the game (just for closure since I beat XS1 and 2), some changes are needed. 

First off, the plot needs to stop over convoluting itself. I can see the use of a deep and complex plot, but in XS2, Monolith just went off the deep end by trying as hard as humanly possible to confuse the game, rather than attempt to tell an interesting story. Anyway, the plot better make some sense since it's also the last chapter of the series, and that is when one should walk away thinking "I see it all so clearly now!" as opposed to "what the f#@% was all of that supposed to mean?" 

Secondly, the game engine should be tweaked. By tweaked, I mean it has to be the complete opposite of the engine from XS2. The use of AWGS (mechs) only in weird The slow walking pace and long load times...f#@^ no! The pointless battle system that was either hard as hell or slow as a snail in a f#@&ing coma...if anything, change this one part. The GS (Good Samaritan) quest...why include a fetch quest system and make it involve so many important items that it's almost required, despite being boring as shit? No! The use of the same boring! 

That last one, actually, wouldn't be too hard to fix. Stop having a focus on Shion (she is a good representative of a average person...incredibly average), or even KOS-MOS (she's a freakin' emotionless emotions from her means no emotional response from the gamer). How about we bring back Jr. and chaos in the style in which they were in the first XS game; mysterious, adventurous, and interesting. 

Actually, thinking about all I just wrote, I can sum up the best way to improve Xenosaga; scrap the project and let it end. It started as a thing that brought great hope to Xenogears fans, and now I just keep thinking how much I want Square Enix (who I no longer trust to make sequels of beloved games) to just revive XG into a new series that remains true to the original...actually, I would like that, but since it won't happen, I'll be happy to have my annual play through of Xenogears and to relive some glorious memories of what once was, and to think of what it could've been. 

Before I end the day on a purely annoyed and bitter note, I heard some good news. Strike that...I heard some freakin' awesome news. Yes, Ubisoft will not include Starforce "protection" in any more games. Most importantly, this means that Heroes of Might and Magic V will be free from this scourge. 

Anytime a company that used intimidation and faulty programming to try to force it's way into the homes and wallets of every possible consumer, I'm happy to see them rejected. In fact, this is one of the most important steps in seeing Starforce eliminated. It's not complaining to Starforce (after all, if you complain to them, they don't get money from you, but rather from a publisher, and thus they don't give a shit), but rather complaining to the people who want money directly from you...the publishers. Plus, if the number 2 publisher rejects Starforce, it may be the start of a chain reaction (one could always hope). After all, I would rather see less protection on games (and thus a possible small cost increase to cover piracy) than to see a copy protection software (which Starforce isn't even really one...they just delay piracy by a few days) one my computer that can run a risk of nuking my DVD drive...or anyone else's drives for that matter. 


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