Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Sequel Will Be Called: UniverseKnight

This week, you get a bit of a break from the deluge of Anarchy Online related posts. That break comes in the form of GalaxyMage, another entry into the ever-growing lineup of Open Source strategy games, but this one's got a twist. GalaxyMage takes the form of a Strategy RPG (although the GM team seems to prefer the term "tactical RPG"), much like Final Fantasy Tactics and mostly everything Nippon Ichi has ever done.

It's no surprise that I downloaded GalaxyMage the minute, no the second, no the very millisecond I saw it pop up on the Tome. Chances are, between the Playstation and GBA versions of Final Fantasy Tactics, I've spent more time playing those games than I have breathing. Really, this is the kind of project I've been waiting for someone to start (and have thought about starting myself) for years. I would have found myself quite inconsolable if, after all these years spent twitching in anticipation, the game was a turd.

Luckily, it's not. GalaxyMage is still in a very early state - the sprite graphics have been taken from Wesnoth and the maps aren't anything that's going to knock you out of your chair - but, it's completely playable. Not that half-assed "Well, it's playable online if you know your friend's IP address" crap either, its got AI. This is a far cry from most of GalaxyMage's Open Source brethren, and earns the game a huge amount of brownie points in my book.

If you've ever played Final Fantasy Tactics, you'll be able to play the game as soon as you find out what key does what. The battle system is nearly identical, of course with the names of skills and such things changed. There seems to be, as far as I can tell, no character advancement system in the game at this point in time, but I'm sure that one is planned.

You'll probably see me writing about this game again - probably more than once. As good as GalaxyMage is in such an early state, it looks like the Wesnoth team may have some competition for the top of the Linux strategy heap on the way.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Better Team

So, in case you were wondering - Yes, I picked a character. Yes, I'm going to make you wait longer before I tell you, as to build suspense. Yes, this is another post about Anarchy Online. Proceed.

It's the Trader, I picked the Trader. Yeah, I know, what a surprise. I picked the only character I've played in months. Anyway, there are other reasons I decided to stay with my lovable cash-hungry wrangle jockey. In last week's post (referenced above) I mentioned that my character was, how do you say, without an organization. Well, he's alone no more. As of Sunday evening, I'm proud to say I've joined an org - a great bunch of folks they are, too.

The aforementioned organization will, of course, remain nameless. I can say that I've had such a great time since joining, AO has almost become a different game. Pickup teams - although I'm sure I haven't seen the last of them for good - have gone to being my bread and butter to the equivalent of fast food. I haven't yet met a member of the organization who was an asshole - hell, I haven't met a member who I haven't liked immediately, and I'm not the type of person who goes around liking every person they meet. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I was a bit worried at first that joining an organization (or guild, if you'd prefer) might sap into my time for doing things such as blitzing missions, buying new weapons or, um, blitzing missions. Luckily, that hasn't been the case. If I need the time to do something along those lines (and I have needed it, what with installing a whole new set of implants and trying to blitz a new set of armor) it's mine, nobody's going to bother me about it.

One thing I am a bit worried about, a thing that worries me about the entire MMO genre, is that with my newfound organization, I'll lose out on time for playing other games. I'm sure I'll pull through - after all, if pretty much everyone in the world who does a webcomic can get their work done while remaining completely addicted to World Of Warcraft, I'm sure I can find time in my busy schedule for a few more games. See you next week folks.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Good Team

Before anything else is said, apologies are definitely in order. The circumstances surrounding the absence of the last two weeks' posts (and the lateness of this one) are not something I'm going to get into - it should suffice to say that I'd be very surprised if an army of orcs ever tried to invade my house again. It's a sad occurrence, as this marks AYE's 100th post. To see it delayed is to see my own insides wrapped around themselves in a glistening knot of pain. Anyway, it's yet another AO post.

My Trader has been hanging around the Temple of the Three Winds the last couple of days and, being a Trader, it's not like I can just run in there alone and solo everything. Teaming is a necessity, albeit one that usually comes with more than it's share of pitfalls. Lately, though, I'm starting to wonder if some sort of mystical change is taking place in the world of AO. It's the teams - they've... been good. Not just good enough either, I am proud to say that I've been in some damn good teams this last week.

Pick-up teams, as they're called, are all I've got. My character has no Organization (like a guild or clan in other games, for those of you who don't play AO) and no friends (yeah, I know, go ahead and start sobbing now). Well, that last part isn't entirely true, it's just that I haven't seen anyone on my friends list actually logged on in months. So, while the elite (no, not the l33t) sit back knowing they can team whenever they want it, I have no such luxury. I can only hope that some people around my level feel like teaming, and that they'll invite me to their team.

Most of time, I know what's going to happen before the first mob is targeted. This is ToTW we're talking about, not team missions which have the effect of forcing a little team work, whether you want it or not. No, this is ToTW - even if you're not killed instantly, chances are your teammates will train, kill-steal, and generally be assholes to any team in the vicinity. When you find a team who does none of the above, has people who actually know how to play their classes, and just generally stomps on through any mob they may meet, well, you can see why it brings a tear to my eye.

Next week, depending, we may bear witness to the final showdown between my two characters. At last, both the same level - the decision must be made. Who will level beyond 65? Who will continue the down the noble path laid out at both of their feet? Who will... well, you get the picture. Stay tuned, folks.