Don’t Hate the Playa…

The LittleBigOgre (6 years old) recently caused his school to call home with a concern. The concern was that he was giving one of the girls in his class a ring. Two rings actually. One of them being a gold and diamond ring.

When asked where he got it from, he responded with, “My mom’s jewelry box. She doesn’t use them anymore.”

When asked why he gave the girl the ring he answered, “She wants to marry me.”

Our sources later informed us that there was some kissing with this girl, who is a grade higher than the LittleBigOgre. We asked the LittleBigOgre about this kissing and he defended himself by saying, “It was her idea.”

Indeed.

He then asked, “Can {name removed for the protection of the child} come over for a play date?” and “Can she sleep over?”

:|

Efficiency or Lazy?

I’m dead tired and the Men’s Olympic Semi-finals for Canada vs. Slovakia are on tonight at 9:30pm. I want to watch it, but I also want to get to bed right after the game.

So I’m thinking I could eliminate the time it’ll take me from going downstairs to upstairs if I move a TV up into the bedroom.

The other option is to just sleep on the couch.

I’m opting for sleeping on the couch, because moving the TV upstairs means moving it back down later.

Maybe I should drag a fridge over next to the couch…

Ubisoft DRM

I hate DRM and I hate piracy.

Really.

Pirates can shove their cutlasses up their asses and take a bath in rum.

Because of you fucking cheap assholes, petty, cowardly and often hypocritical thieves, we – legit customers – end up suffering idiotic DRM schemes that never end up working anyway.

All that out of the way, I’m not sure why Ubisoft doesn’t adopt a licensing system similar to what some of the tools I work with use. The system is that a server exists and to use the software it connects to the server and makes sure licenses are available. If so, it works. If not, you get told there are no licenses in use.

This is sort of what they’re doing already so what’s the difference?

You can check a license out from the server and set an expiry date. If you run over that time with the license, it automatically is revoked and restored to the license server. If you’re done before that time, you can just check it back in. If you want more time, just need to pop online for a few seconds to check in the license and pull it back out.

Easy.

The expiry date would be required, no “never” option simply because if you lose it, it’s gone.

Ding! Level 70!

Not me, I’ve hit level 70 with a number of characters and have a bunch more in level 60 range. No, the excitement isn’t for me, it’s for the Little Big Ogre who hit level 70 on his Dwarf Paladin on Monday!

The Little Big Ogre is only six years old and has been playing along side me sporadically for the last couple of months. He’s happily killing ghouls and ‘pirates’ in around Borean Tundra.

He hit level 70 while delving Coilfang Reservoir with his uncle, aunt and myself (playing a Priest).

I realized I was remiss in posting WoW stuff lately. Admittedly my play time has diminished because of holidays and Olympics (Go Canada!). By the time I would get on to play, most of the raids are half way through or finished so I’ve ended up playing Borderlands (hence the number of posts on it).

I played my Priest as a Holy spec and admit I had fun with it. We wiped once due to fearing people into other mobs, but otherwise it was pretty smooth considering I wasn’t sure what was bound to what click+modifier in Clique (I use Clique and Grid, not Healbot). I ended up using a lot of Binding Heal, the HoT, Prayer of Mending and Greater Heal when in a pinch.

Priest healing seems like Druid Feral DPSing – you have a lot of abilities available to you and you can do well enough easily or you can do some pretty amazing things if you know what you’re doing. I think I’ll get back to leveling the Priest who only needs 7 more levels to hit level 80. I’m also tempted to switch it back to a Dwarf from a Draenai.

I can’t remember why I thought switching that was a good idea.

WTH?

I was surfing around looking for a video of the Canada vs. Norway men’s hockey game that went on last night. I watched most of the game but had to stop watching near the end so I missed the two goals that made it 8-0.

CTV is carrying the game and they’re using Silverlight for their video player. My first thought was, “Why the heck are they using Silverlight?” Of course, I was having issues trying to watch the videos – all of them. It was telling me there was an error playing the video, please wait and because they’re trying to retrieve the video.

Rather vague message. I suspect I know what the issue is, it’s regional and somewhat convoluted.

I popped over to another work machine and fired up a browser to download something when I noticed MSN Canada had some interview videos. Curious, I fired one up.

MSN was using Flash for their videos.

There is a funny there…

Exploit or Common Sense?

A little Borderlands talk here and popping into MMOs and exploits.

I’ve always been good at finding holes in systems and games are systems when you look deep enough. Creatures have a pattern, be it a path or series of attacks or method to their movement or even sound cues.

I pick up on these intuitively and use them to my advantage.

Truth is, that’s all part of playing the game. These are all programmed in to be part of the challenge.

One example would be the way Skags in Borderlands work. They are some sort of twisted hybrid of lion, wolf and acid splitting worm. The face opens up to bite or spit (they’re really vulnerable if you shoot them in the face while it’s open – go figure), they howl at you, they pounce and claw or they charge at you. The larger ones sometimes spit acid, lightning (shock) or fire.

Taking them down is pretty simple; shoot them in the face when it is open, shoot them in the ass when they aren’t facing you and avoid shooting them head on because their armor will soak up the damage. When they charge, jump out of the way or at least jump because you’ll probably be knocked out of harm’s way. If they pounce, jump out of the way.

Knowing this, I can defeat them easily with the only challenge being when there are large numbers of them.

What do you do when a pack of wolves is chasing you? Stay on the ground where they can get you or do you get to high ground where their four legs aren’t able to get to?

That’s what I would do.

In some MMOs (like AC2) it was called ‘perching’. You’d get up somewhere high where the critters couldn’t get to you and pick them off. MMOs deal with this in various ways; the creatures ‘reset’, they warp up to you, they gain gain crazy reach or maybe they summon you to them.

Personally, I don’t believe that is an exploit because the game has mechanics for handling it. In the case of Borderlands, some of the Skags will shoot stuff at you while others will pounce on you. Either way, I still have to dodge stuff while aiming, timing and shooting the critters.

Others would disagree.

Another case of common sense would be when fighting that oversize moth that breathes exploding fire down on you. It’s idiotic to think you can just run around and shoot at it – maybe you could – while it was raining explosive death down on you (two hits dropped my near 400 point shield and a couple of more dropped my health).

I quickly noted the thing never swoops down so I bolted to the nearby vehicle shed where I used it as cover, popping out to shoot at the giant moth and popping back in when it started shooting back.

Exploit? I don’t think so, just common sense.

Truthfully, there could be some improvements to the AI in Borderlands. If I was up a tree shooting at wolves they’d run for cover, not just continue to bark and yap at me.

What I do agree is an exploit would be sitting in a location that creatures can reach but for some reason stop responding when you do. One example would be a corner in the Plane of Disease in EQ1, right on the inside right corner of the bone wall. There was a soft spot there that the creatures would stay agro to you but couldn’t attack you for what ever reason. As a melee type it wasn’t so useful but as a caster or ranged type it meant easy leveling.

That would be an exploit – it’s abusing a bug in the game for your advantage.

Another, similar exploit, would be in Deadmines of WoW where people would put their healer on a cannon that was out of reach of the melee enemies. The healer would then draw all sorts of heal agro on the tank taking VanCleef on so the adds would rush to the healer, only they couldn’t get to him.

Sounds like perching?

Not quite, because these adds had other targets to go after, they just couldn’t because of the agro list and not having a path to that healer. if the healer wasn’t exploiting the pathing, the encounter would be much tougher as the tank would have to keep the adds on him or they would have run off and squashed the healer.

I think there is a pretty fine line between what using common sense and what is using an exploit. MMO developers (and designers) really need to design for ‘common sense’ and avoid calling ‘exploit’ when it is something of their own failing. That said, if you know it’s a bug and make use of it for your own advantage then you get what you deserve for exploiting.

P.S. Skagzilla was my bitch. I didn’t have anywhere to perch and his armor made him immune to most of the stuff I could throw at him, but he couldn’t take me down either. Eventually I wore him down when I switched to an exploding sniper rifle.

Skags is so stoopid!

Borderlands – More Thoughts…

I’ve been playing this on and off soloing as a Hunter (Mordecai) solo and as the Siren (Lilith) online with Tim (UFTimmy – the guy who is so nice to me in comments on this site).

It’s been good fun. I have to say I’m really enjoying both classes, but I definitely prefer the Hunter. Using an explosive sniper rifle is just too much fun.

Mordecai is level 21 or so and into the second area while Lilith is around level 18 or 19 and close to getting into the next area.

Tim has been flip-flopping around from the Hunter to the Soldier to Brick. He stuck it out with Brick the longest, lasting several sessions and now seems to be flopping back over to the Hunter. I admit I tried out each of the classes and was originally intending to use the Hunter in online games but I found it difficult to compensate for lag with Tim hosts (clearly his PC has issues translating my awesomeness and therefore lags).

I have to admit, the Berserk ability is pretty sweet… and hilarious. I really like that it wasn’t just a matter of getting bigger or stronger, the guy actually goes nuts! Raving and laughing maniacally as he pummels stuff with his fists.

The vehicles are pretty fun too, though I found the controls for driving them to be a little weird. I suspected it was some innate penalty to Driving since I was playing a woman.

The steering works in a way that where you are looking is where you are going so you steer by mouselook which seemed a little odd to me. I do like that when you’re solo you can fire rockets and when you’re playing two (or more) players you one of you can get in the turret and handle the rockets while the other person handles the forward mounted gun… and run shit over.

I really liked running shit over, almost as much as I enjoyed blowing up my targets with the sniper rifle.

I’m amazed at how much simple fun there is to this game. It’s not Mass Effect as far as RPGs go, in fact it’s more like a shooter with levels. Still, good mindless fun when you need it.

Oculus, First Thing in the Morning…

… without having a coffee first.

I did the unthinkably hilarious Saturday morning. I popped on to WoW to run a quick daily dungeon instance on my Hunter so I could get my 2 Emblems of Frost. I was barely awake when I grouped up with a friend (Kaldonar – Resto/Bear Druid) and his son (Damogoth – tank/DPS Deathknight).

We fire up the random and are delighted to see Oculus. I groaned for a second and remembered that we had most of the group filled out by reliable people that have done it before so shouldn’t be any issues.

And it wasn’t. Good clean run except for one death.

Mine.

There was nothing a healer could do for this death, well, maybe a Priest might have saved me or maybe a Mage.

Or some coffee and a chance to wake up.

Any guesses on how I died?

We were attacking the Illusionist guy in the upper spire and got the last one down. Everyone then mounted up to fly down to the central spire where you fight him for real. I mounted up too and jumped into the air to fly on down.

Unfortunately, bears don’t fly.

That’s right. I mounted my regular mount instead of the drake-vehicle you get. And jumped off the ledge. Luckily I landed on one of the lower circles, though I did die. I had to explain that I could be rezzed because I fell to the bottom rung and then had to explain why I did that.

The best part about it?

I switched to Engineering last weekend and completely forgot I have a parachute tinkered into my cloak which would have saved me from dying.

NOTE: For those of you who don’t know, Oculus is an instanced dungeon where you are in the upper rungs of a spire in Borean Tundra (Nexus/Coldarra area). You start on foot until you rescue some drakes from a boss. At that point you pick one of three types of drakes to use for the instance; red = rank, gold = DPS and green = healer. The rest of the instance is hopping on and off the drakes to unlock the follow up bosses and then a final battle on the drakes against a big nasty dragon.

Falling from the sky is a bad thing, mmmkay?