Thursday, February 15, 2007


I was playing Rappelz last week, not really doing much, wondering what there was to look forward to, when my thoughts drifted to World Of Warcraft. I've managed to avoid it for two years now - mainly because I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of paying a monthly fee. OK, entirely because I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of paying a monthly fee.

I figured that after this long, it couldn't hurt to give it a try, so I downloaded the client and set up a trial account. A day later, my opinion on monthly fees had pulled a 180. I'm not going to go on about how great the game is - everybody knows that by now, but the fact that my viewpoint changed so fast does say something.

I suppose it may have to do with the MMO's I've been exposed to. Anarchy Online was great when I was playing it - I wasn't lying when I mentioned how much I miss it sometimes a while back - but Funcom really gave too much of the game away. I already had access to what interested me, so it didn't make any sense to pay for what seemed to me like a minor incremental upgrade. The GPotato games are a special case since they don't charge a monthly fee, but I haven't spent a cent on any of them for the same reasons.

I can finally see why World Of Warcraft has become as popular as it has. For me, it's the cohesiveness of the world, which is the same reason I dug Anarchy Online so much. It feels like a real place, and that realness adds a sense of gravity to the encounters (positive or otherwise) with the other players in the game world.

I'm going to try not to write about it too much - there are literally thousands of other places you can go if you want to read about World Of Warcraft - but damn, I am hooked for now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sometimes, I Have No Idea What To Call These Things

It's a pain in the ass when Thursday comes and I have no idea what to do about an update. Today was once of those days, so today's post is going to be a mix of a few things. At least they're all game related.

First I took a look at Wormux which is, you guessed it, a clone of Worms. I'd been meaning to take a look at it for some time, but the lack of artificial intelligence and online play meant that it was a little less than easy for me to evaluate the game. No online play yet (that's coming in the 0.8 release), but Wormux finally has artificial intelligence. Well, it's certainly artificial, but whether or not it's intelligence is highly debatable. Perhaps the fact that the key to initiating a battle against the A.I. is to name the second player "AI-stupid" should have been a clue.

I'll say this: the game has a nice solid look and feel. The 2D graphics are drawn nicely and have a comfortable cartoon quality. The destructible environments don't generate into pixellated hell, even after a long battle. Once Wormux is playable over the net, it will be a lot of fun. For now, the artificial intelligence is just a bit too keen on getting stuck and walking in place for the duration of its minute long turn for the game to keep any sort of pace. If this only happened occasionally it would be easier to deal with, but it happened to me nearly every turn. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the network enabled release, though.

The second game I checked out was Brutal Chess which is, according to its bio on Happy Penguin, inspired by Battle Chess. For those of you who don't remember, Battle Chess was basically a good old fashioned game of chess with one gimmick: animations of your pieces actually fighting each other when you made a move.

While Brutal Chess is a nice looking front end with the option of picking different chess engines, there is absolutely nothing brutal about it so far. Well, unless you consider plastic chess pieces knocking over other chess pieces brutal. I don't. I am fairly sure that they plan on adding animations over time, as there is built in support for loading md3 (Quake 3) models. They also mention a particle engine, which I never saw used. It may be me, though, I haven't spent too much time with the game.

Lastly, I very briefly checked out Pox Nora. By very briefly, I mean I signed up for an account and took a short look at the tutorial. I'm not one for blindly jumping head first in to multiplayer games, so it may take a while (possibly forever) until I have anything to say about this one. If I actually manage to play it, I'll post my thoughts on it next week.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Level Four

Three days ago marked three years of Avert Your Eyes. The third year was a rough one, to be sure. Out of the entire year only one month had the four weeks worth of posts it was supposed to have. Two months had only one post for the entire month. A lousy season for sure, but there still were some highlights, and that's what this post is for.

The season kicked off with the demo of Northland - a game I meant to buy. Like many things this year, I never got around to it. Still, you can't deny the appeal of a quirky RTS featuring vikings as the main characters. I still load up the demo every now and then just to tinker around with them.

The award for most talked about game of the year goes to Sauerbraten. I started following it back in March, and continued to follow its progress for most of the year. The game has improved by leaps and bounds since I've been keeping my eye on it, and it seems poised to continue with this momentum throughout 2007. I can't even begin to speculate where the game might be by this time next year. I will however speculate that, by this time next year, nobody will even remember EDM. Good riddance I say. Also, don't forget that Sauerbraten's predecessor, Cube, hasn't yet thrown in the towel. At least not if ActionCube has anything to say about it.

If you combined the GPotato games - FlyFF, Space Cowboy Online, and Rappelz - they'd have beat out Sauerbraten in the most-talked-about category. FlyFF doesn't seem to have much staying power, I haven't even played it since I mentioned it. SCO and Rappelz, however, have had much more play time than their respective mentions might have led you to believe.

How could I mention MMORPGs without giving a nod to one of the more personal series of posts of season 3 - my retreat from Anarchy Online. It was tougher on me than it may have seemed. I'll admit, there are times when I miss it - quite a bit, in fact. There are even times when I think about going back. I don't know that I could, in fact I'm almost sure of it, but it certainly is a testament to how much gaming really can affect you.

Those were the major events of the season, as far as I'm concerned, but they're far from being the only event. At the beginning of the season, the Wii was still called the Revolution and nobody knew a damned thing about it. The year saw the 2.0 release of Glest, two amazing shooters - Gunroar and Z-lock - from Kenta Cho and Jumpei Isshiki respectively, the liberation of Savage: The Battle For Newerth, and probably the last mention of a UT2004 mod on the site.

What will the next season hold? More posts and a more regular schedule, if I have anything to say about it. Aside from that I can't say I know. There's only one way to find out... wait and see. And keep on reading, I hope.