Malik (8/30/04)  

Well, in the end, I decided against going to PAX. Some people, most of which have far longer attention spans than I do, would call this a mistake on my behalf. I, on the other hand, have no regrets. So, here's the basics of my decision...I at first, was thinking I may try to go to the second day of the show (my money is a bit on the short side since I did drop over $500 in my main computer in the last month) since that would be the Halo 2 day. Then I could also hit the other attractions that were running on both days. However, a couple of my friends, who went to PAX right when the thing was starting up on Saturday, stopped by my place on Saturday evening to pick up a couple of their books for the open D&D gaming at PAX. So, when I asked them about some details of the show, as of that point, I learned some things that turned me off from the whole deal. Mainly, there was only enough Fable going around for about 4 people to play at once and the playing consisted of the childhood of the main, it was a long demo. This meant, with the thousands of people at PAX, I would not have a chance in hell of playing Fable. Plus, there were only a handful of demos for any of the other preview games. This also means that the odds of getting to play Halo 2 would be pretty slim. Since I didn't want to spend the last $20 I had on watching people playing demo games, I decided to spend the money on a far better thing...pre-ordering Fable. 

However, I did get in more than my fair share of gaming this weekend, and I didn't have to blow more money than I'd want to, in order to do so. I spent plenty of time leveling my new invun/fire tanker on CoH. I think gaining 6 levels was a better investment of my time than watching people play games and drooling over their shoulders...if I could even get that close. I also decided to create a more traditional superhero on CoH. Since all of my main avatars are less than traditional (armor plated on my tanker and armored and hooded on my scrapper), I made a radiation/radiation defender with the classic spandex look. So far, I have to say I like the rad/rad action...however, since I made the character at 10:30 last night and went to bed shortly after doing so, I still haven't gotten my feeling on defenders yet...and I probably wont for a while since I want to at least get my travel power for my tanker before working much on another character (plus, it's fun being able to be a tanker and just take the damage without too much worry).

Anyway, as you can tell, from my lack of mentioning much on my scrapper and blaster, I've given up, for the most part, on them. I liked doing the blaster thing, but I picked fire/fire, and since there seems to be more of them than almost any other character, it just doesn't feel original enough to continue with...I know, rad/rad is a pretty standard combo too, but at least it's a little less common than fire/fire blaster. As for the scrapper...well, once you reach that magical level (around 20), they just feel worthless. No parties are actively seeking a scrapper (since they don't play any vital role...they tank a little and they deal a little damage...but a blaster deals a lot and a tanker tanks for a lot more), and it gets pretty hard to solo after you hit that special level point for each archetype.

On a different note...for those who were following the rumors of Half Life 2 going gold on September 1st, it looks like this rumor is just unfounded rumor. HL2 shouldn't be too far off, but September 1st, for the golden date, is looking to be about as likely as there being no more rip-off superheroes in CoH (nothing like seeing Magneto, Thor, and the Green Lantern running through Parez Park together to fight crime...or seeing Dr. Doom, Mr. Doom, Sr. Doom, Doom Man, Doctor Doom, Mister Doom, and Son of Doom, all Dr. Doom rip-offs, all within the same city section within a 60 minute span)...but who knows...I guess Valve can pull of some random surprise...I just wouldn't count on it.


Malik (8/31/04)  

There is some good news for nostalgic geeks like myself...assuming Sega doesn't mess up another good franchise...which they probably will do.  Anyway, Sega is bringing a new Shining Force to the PS2.

Just when I think I've had as much fun as possible from CoH I get a pleasant surprise. Like, for example, last night. I was playing with my tanker and I teamed up with one of my friends playing his rad/rad defender. Well, we were kicking ass and taking names, as usual, when we decided to hit Parez for some quick exp. Well, after about an hour of playing, we were getting ready to call it a night. My friend decided a few more groups of thugs and we'd go off to train and log out. Well, we kept watching good groups being taken on my other parties, so I was feeling discouraged...and that's when things went insane. 

As we watched one solo dude taking on a few hellions, a couple of the hellions decided we looked like a couple of victims. Well, we could easily KS, but that's pretty lame to do, so we blindly jumped a wall nearby and waiting to get our bearings. Then, as my friend looks one way (the way we were heading) and I was looking back to see if anything followed us, one of the hellions jumped the wall. So, being the tanker, I pulled out my fire sword and went to work on this stupid hellion who was determined to make me into a KSing whore. As I layed him to rest, my friend started to say "DAMN!" over and over. Well, I thought he was just pissed that we were reverting to the dark side...KSing. Well, as I lay down the hellion, his talk starts to become more along the lines of "Damned!" and I see a fire ball fly over my shoulder. So, as I turn around, I see about 20 whites, a couple of yellows, and a good old-fashioned orange Damned staring us down. Off in all of the possible escape routes are more of the same, so we set to our grim job. As I let my flames do my talking, my friend is doing a great job debuffing. Then, I think another of the groups who was on one of our escape routes got a bit of the agro...and the party gets rolling like mad. By the end of everything, I had gained a good 3 or so bubbles of experience, used every inspiration I had (and I was collecting more as the battle raged) and I think my friend had the same problem. At the end, we had one final Fallen Buckshot to deal with and only enough endurance to slowly punch the dude (punch...wait...wait...wait...punch and miss...wait...wait...punch and deal piss damage). I should mention that since these hellions were whites and better to me, my friend was probably seeing a lot of yellow. Man, that is what CoH is all about. It's like reliving a good comic book as the countless forces of evil face down on one or two heroes with nothing more than a few moves and a strong sense of justice. 

So, anyway, I've been obsessing with CoH as usual. I don't think I'll slow down in my playing any until I've gotten at least two more of the travel powers (super speed is not fun enough on it's own...I need more...I need them all)...on different heroes, of course. So...yeah...CoH kicks arse. I'm thinking of doing the review thing if I could ever find the strength to stop playing for a few hours...speaking of which...


Malik (9/01/04)  

I didn't get in the CoH time I was hoping for last night. I got in enough time to get about 5 bubbles before life had to come at me full force. However, it was a good gaming session since I teamed with my rad/rad friend again and knocked out one of my more annoying missions (kill 10 CoT in Parez)...sadly, he wouldn't help me with the CoT Jewel Thief (cave/door) mission...not that he was being an ass, but those damned cave missions are bad enough without becoming a CoT cave mission...I guess I'll have to do that on my own (not that it's hard to accomplish, but it's less annoying if you have the speed of a tag-team). 

On a less CoH themed note...I was looking at the future of geekdom for the next 3-4 months and came across a rather bitchy thing...

Phantom Brave (RPG) 

Pikmin 2 (Hella Fun) 

Star Ocean 3 (RPG that should've come out 2/04) 

X-Men Legends (RPG) 

LotR: Third Age (RPG) 

Half-Life 2 (FPS should've been out around 10/03) 

Halo 2 (FPS...11/03) 

Shadow Hearts Covenant (RPG sequel of one of the best RPGs ever made)

GTA:SA (Need I say anymore) 

Burnout 3 (Arcade Driving) 

Fable (RPG...11/03) 

Paper Mario 2 (RPG) 

Need For Speed Underground 2 (Arcade Racing) 

Gran Tourismo 4 (Sim Racing) 

Wild Arms Alter Code: F (RPG remake of the hella sweet Wild Arms) 

Metroid Prime 2: Echos (FP Adventure) 

Baten Kaitos (RPG for GCN) 

Prince of Pursia 2 (You know the deal) 

Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition (Arcade Racing) 

Those would be some (not all) of the games of interest coming out in the next 3-4 months. Does anyone else see a problem with this? I know I sure do. I wont go into it too much right now (I'm saving that for Friday, if you catch my meaning), but I will say this; too many good games at once hurts everyone. The players have too many potentially fun games that will slip through their fingers to never be heard of again (especially with many RPGs that can disappear after their initial release), the developers will hurt (if 5 RPGs come out at once, then you will only see so many compared to if it's the only one offered at a given time period), which in turn will hurt us players again (when a game fails to do well, the chance of us seeing a sequel becomes rather grim...and most of the RPGs, which will be most strongly affected by this, are ones that will be great to see a sequel for)...this is just going to turn ugly. The worst part of this is how so many of these good games should have come out some time in the past (many of these titles were delayed and pushed back from last year or at least early this year...when we happened to have a drought of good games). The logic behind the developers and publishers of these games (especially those involved in an RPG) is nothing short of retarded...oh well. I hate to do it, but I'm going to play favorites, myself. I will pick mainly the games that have not jerked me around too much (SO3 will wait since it was delayed on several occasions...same with HL2), like GTA:SA and Burnout 3. I will show a little love to Fable and Halo 2, however. Fable just has so much to offer that it is really a breath of fresh air on the usually stale gaming for Halo 2...IT'S FREAKIN' HALO 2! Need I say more? I think not. I know I could say the same about HL2, but I don't plan to do as much multiplayer, so I wont need to hone my skills as quickly...and it will never vanish from store shelves, if the original is any indicator. Sadly, this means I will probably miss my chance with some great games, like SO3, Phantom Brave, and Wild Arms Alter Code: F...but these games have jerked me around...well, not Phantom Brave, but it's just too long of a game to get involved with at this time (time to beating a game is also another important factor). The saddest part is that it'll be a bitch to write any reviews as long as my life is consumed.

On one hand, there are too many good games, but on the other hand...too much of a good thing is rarely as good.  Some things can be considered greater than the sum of it's parts, but at the same time, too many good things can be worse than the sum.  Oh well...for now, I have Paragon City to defend, and that's all I need; one good game.


Malik (9/02/04)  

I checked out the CoH test server last night as one of my friends reached for that almost impossible dream of getting a cape. I learned a few things from this experience that shed a new light on my CoH gaming experience. Firstly, the GMs care and love each and every one of us CoH children. When my friend had a mission that wouldn't end (the final contact would not respond to him to end the mission), he sent a support request and about 20 minutes later a GM poofed into existence as a police drone. Then the GM took some notes and the mission magically ended out of the blue. The GMs kick arse! 

Secondly, I saw that capes are not worth the effort on the test server (maybe on the real servers...) since you will have to redo all that crap again in the real game anyway. The mission involves a lot of time wasted in meeting a horde of different contacts, and then you're off to a massively tedious and brutal door mission. In the end, it took my friend a few hours to finally get to Icon (the clothing store of CoH) to be turned down for a cape...he didn't have the ridiculous 40,000 influence... 

The last thing I saw is that the chat window is about to get overly complicated (if this change carries over from the test server). Instead of the typical split window with chat info on one half and combat info on the other, there is one window with tabs at the top to change from one type of info to another. This means that if you're checking out the damage you're getting in combat and you hear the beep of a "tell" message...well, you have to click on the tab for "chat" and see what you're friend wanted before clicking the "top" tab again to see combat data...such an unnecessary headache. 

Speaking of headaches...I mentioned this a couple days ago, but here it is again...only not from me this time. The market place is about to become overly saturated with quality games and it's going to hurt badly for the companies not involved with the top contenders. I said it before, and I'll be saying it again tomorrow (in Malik's Bitchings), but now it's that's saying it. I love it when I'm a few days ahead of the other guys (hell, I've had my Malik's Bitchings part of this ready for a day or two before Gamespot got onto it...I'm that damned good). 


Malik (9/03/04)  

So another Friday is upon us.  Normally this would just mean that I can look forward to one and a half days of freedom from work...and a new issue of Malik's Bitchings, of course.  Well, the Bitchings are here, and I can look forward to a whole Saturday and a half of a Sunday off...but this weekend I get a little more out of the deal.  Firstly, I also get Monday (Labor Day) off from work, and I get Tuesday off (Malik Has Labored Too Much Day).  That's all great for me (although it might mean a lack of posting between now and Wednesday...but I may pull a rabbit, or a review as it may be, out of my ass in that time), but even better is what this weekend is going to entail.  Firstly, since it's my friend Bastich's birthday (happy birthday Bastich) today, there is fun to be had this weekend...which is always a good cause to celebrate.  Secondly, I have some plans with him for this weekend of the geekly persuasion.

We are going to take on the lowest level Task Force on CoH this weekend.  I'm a newb to the task force deal, so this is huge to me.  Bastich has done a bit more in the task force world (and the CoH world), but this should still be good for him too.  For those who don't know, a task force is a series of about 15 missions involving a major story arc on CoH.  During the series of missions, you must start with a small lead that eventually turns into a giant undertaking to clean up the streets of Paragon City.  This can involve anything from fighting a monster to fighting a super villain.  Either way, this will be hella sweet!

Also, last night I got to see World of Warcraft beta (see, not play...).  I have to say, this is not my idea of a fun game, but for those fans of Warcraft and traditional MMOs (as in, not like CoH), this is a definite must get when it finally comes out...which should be soon since the beta I saw was the stress test (which is usually one of the last steps before release).

Anyway, I have a lot to do and very little time to do it in...ok, I actually have a need for some CoH before the fellow geeks get off work tonight.  Plus, formatting Malik's Bitchings is a lot more draining than writing the basic text, and I feel I need a little CoH style fun.