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Ragnarok Odyssey Ace & Pushing Keen out of his gaming comfort zone

ragnarok-odyssey-aceGaming for us may have mostly taken off with PC games but prior to that we did invest a good deal of time playing stuff like our Master System, Super Nintendo, and later on the N64 and PS2. We used to play all kinds of different stuff together but over the years he has withdrawn into a near impenetrable shell that doesn’t have much room for anything other than MMOs and a few other games. Getting him to even try other types of games can be incredibly difficult.

For years I’ve been trying to get him to play a Monster Hunter game with me but that hasn’t had much success at all. I think I might have mentioned a while back that the first attempt saw my PSP thrown to the ground in frustration. Anywho, a while back I discovered another game in the “Hunting Genre” called Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. From what I could tell it was the updated version of the game like Ultimate was for Tri. I picked it up for my Vita and after playing it for a short while I figured that I might be able to get him to try playing this with me.

Monster Hunter may not have drawn him in initially, but Ragnarok looked like it might do it. Bright colors, Norse-ish theme, wizards, etc. Plus the combat seems more approachable than Monstrer Hunter. If I couldn’t get him to try this out then there was really no hope. After a lot of complaining, guilt-tripping, extortion, and pestering I was finally able to convince him to play it with me. We downloaded the PS3 version of the game (which can play with the Vita as well) and gave it a go. [Read more...]

Streaming vs. Blogging

I’ve been talking with Graev and our K&G Community for a long time about the rise of video game streams.  A couple of them were harassing me last night because I do tend to rant and “QQ” when it comes to this new found medium for gaming commentary and entertainment.  It’s big.  There’s no doubt about it.  Seriously, people are making a living doing it, all the consoles are building it right into their feature list, and game developers are starting to pay (too) much attention to those who stream their games.  Let’s break this down.

Streaming vs. Blogging

Yeah, it was inevitable.  Podcasts, Blogs, Youtube videos, etc., all had their big day.  Streaming is in the spotlight now and it will be for a long time.  About a year ago was when the start of the decline began.  We certainly haven’t let up around here, and never will, but we’re feeling the burn.  Streaming provides that TV level of visual stimulation.  I won’t lie — even I prefer watching streams over reading blogs!

I feel like blogs and written commentary typically provide a higher level of quality commentary.  Streams are entertaining, and blogs are more analytical / academic / theoretical / philosophical/etc. It’s watching a tv vs. reading a magazine or a book.

Streaming is becoming a money maker.  In all the time we have ever blogged we’ve never once turned a profit.  We run ads here and receive donations to help us cover costs, but we still lose.   I can’t even fathom how or why I would want to do this for a living — it’s simply not the feel we’re going for here.  Streaming on the other hand feels, as a whole, more like a capitalistic endeavor.  That’s really not a bad thing, but it sets a tone. [Read more...]

Random Loot Drops

I’m playing a lot of Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls lately.  The game has truly devolved (or evolved depending on how you look at it) to be all about running Bounties and Rifts to obtain random drops.  That’s really the entire game now, which actually brings it closer to what made Diablo 2 so great.

As boring as that sounds, my enjoyment has gone way up.  I’m putting hours into D3 now, and I feel this overwhelming urge to keep going. That next monster is going to drop my Mask of Jeram.  That next Bloodstone gamble is going to have my sword.  It’ s always that drive to see what drops next that keeps my going.  I am a slave to and worship the RNG.

Maybe there’s a powerful motivator here that can be applied to other games, or has already been applied in the past.  I look back to the days of EverQuest, and I remember camping the Cyclops of Ocean of Tears.  I remember Graev spent 2 days straight camping the Ancient Crocodile hoping that he would drop the pants.  I would camp the Efreeti Lord Djarn to try and get the Golden Efreeti Boots for days.

I like world drops.  I like random loot.  I think I find way more enjoyment obtaining loot in this fashion than I do from questing or earning points to buy things.  There are moments of pure rage when I get the same stinking random hat four times in a row, and still can’t get the one I want, but that’s part of the randomness to it all.   I’m a fan of open-world dungeons where people get into groups and simply fight monsters.  I like slaying monsters with friends in any medium.  Doing it known there’s a chance for a great item I need to drop — all the better.

Thoughts? I know much of today’s modern MMO and gaming scene will disagree.  Is there room for more RNG, more meaningful world drops, more camping, etc., in our games?  I think there’s something there worth investigating.

Disney Magical World Part 2

Now for the continuation of my Disney Magical World review.

Worlds to visit in Disney Magical World

There are four connected worlds that you can head out to explore. They are Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh. They may not be called specifically that but you get the idea. Before you first set off to these worlds you are summoned by Yen Sid, the intense-looking sorcerer guy from Fantasia that I seriously think looks like Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, but I won’t go there… Anyway, he tells you about ghosts and sets you up with your first wand. In other worlds you will play through several episodes that will have you fighting off ghosts. You can make yourself stronger in each world by crafting more powerful wands and adventure outfits from the components that you find there. These adventure levels are full of crafting materials, some of which can be on the rare side, and will require subsequent playing for gathering purposes.

Defeat ghosts with your wand!

Defeat ghosts with your wand!

The gameplay of these areas is rather simple. You have a main attack along with a magic attack that has a set number of uses. There’s also a dodge ability and you can charge your main attack up to make it stronger. Still, I find these episodes to be very enjoyable and they offer some great variety to the game. Some of them aren’t exactly easy either. You may get a ton of gems which can be used to heal and resurrect you but the more of them you keep for the end of the level the more treasure you obtain. So sometimes you will be trying to scrape by with half a heart left because you want your best chance of finding that stupid rare rock or whatever. Some worlds also offer some additional gameplay elements. Cinderella, for example, lets you attend Balls which play out in a rhythm game fashion. It doesn’t seem overly complex when compared to similar offerings but I’m bad at it all the same. [Read more...]

Disney + Animal Crossing = Disney Magical World

disney-magical-worldWell, pretty much anyway. Disney Magical World might be more like Animal Crosing -lite or Diet Animal Crossing but it makes up for this with several cool features that you can’t find in Animal Crossing. Like in AC, the game progresses in real time. However, unlike AC the time of day doesn’t affect very much. The only real significant things I noticed are visual changes, shop item changes, and requests and whatnot changing out every 12 hours. The time of year does seem to play a part though given that right now in my game there are giant easter eggs and bunny outfits all over the place. I’m actually very excited to see what shows up around Halloween and Christmas but I can only hope the game can keep me interested that long.

Meet Mickey Mouse and all sorts of wonderful characters

Meet Mickey Mouse and all sorts of wonderful characters

What’s it like? What can you do in Disney Magical World?

Well, the game takes place in a small kingdom setting that consists of a main square with several connecting paths that lead off to shops, the castle, and other worlds.The main hub is full of normal people like yourself but is also spotted with various Disney characters from Mickey’s universe. So you will see characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy and several offshoot characters like Scrooge, HD&L, and Chip & Dale. Every now and then additional Disney characters might pop in as well.

As for spending your time, you can fish and pick various materials that regenerate over time and sell that at McDucks to earn some extra cash. The far better way to earn money seems to be running your Cafe that you acquire early in the game. When you are done with that you can head off to one of the four connected worlds to complete various special episodes. With all of the money and materials you rake in from all of these things, you can create tons of different outfits and furniture to furnish your cafe and room. I’ll further delve into some of these things below. [Read more...]