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By Throne

ATLAS

From the sister studio of Wildcard, makers of ARK: Survival Evolved...
ATLAS: The ultimate survival MMO of unprecedented scale with 40,000+ simultaneous players in the same world. Join an endless adventure of piracy & sailing, exploration & combat, roleplaying & progression, settlement & civilization-building, in one of the largest game worlds ever! Explore, Build, Conquer!
https://store.steampowered.com/app/834910/ATLAS/
Early access, Thursday, December 13th  (Update:  delayed release to December 19th)
 

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By Throne

Kenshi 1.0 Released

It is generally a rarity that finds a single player game a feature of CotP articles, however, over recent months this game has entered my personal top five games of all-time and has passed my hourly steam totals for Mount & Blade, Fallout 4 and Skyrim in the process.  What the....yeah, I know.
So many titles over the years have claimed that it allows its players to "win" the game "their way" in an "open sandbox" environment.  Well, we cannot get the time back that we spent realizing that those developers were still significantly limited in the scope of what any individual's personal definition of in-game "freedom" actually means.  For me, M&B and SWG came close.  Unfortunately, both those games (or their EMU reboot) are either approaching or have surpassed the ten year mark of their seemingly eternal impending latest release. Enter Kenshi.
Freedom is a fun word in Kenshi...yes, you have the freedom to stay solo, group up with a squad, make a vegetable farm, join a faction, enslave a faction, slay the champion, be the richest hermit, recruit an army of robots or build the great city....blah blah, boring.  Now, the freedom to fail in the most unique form possible...that is the true gem in this game.  I will give you just the one example:
My squad is epic, I will tame the badlands and establish a civilized trading outpost...plan = awesome.  Headed for the abandoned fishing outpost.  Acid rain, not fun...put up tent, survived.  Reached fishing village, it is not a fishing village.  Really freaky "skin" people pour out of all the village buildings.  We put up a good fight but were overwhelmed.  One by one, my squad members were....stolen.  Knocked out, picked up and taken to some of the village huts.  What is going on here?  Then the screams.  Agonizing screams from my captured squad members.  No idea.  I am the last one to go down.  KO'd, picked up, taken to a nearby hut....
I died from blood loss.....after I was put into a grinder that peeled my skin off.
https://store.steampowered.com/app/233860/Kenshi/
 
WHAT IS KENSHI?
Kenshi is a single player sandbox PC game set in a vast and atmospheric ‘Sword-Punk’ style open world. With a mix of RPG elements, squad-based control and city-building features, gameplay is completely free-roaming and open: enjoy the freedom and potential to do whatever you want.
Set in an unrelenting world of bloodthirsty cannibals, starving bandits, brutal slavers and wild beasts, survival alone is a grueling struggle… You are not the chosen one. You’re not great and powerful. You don’t have more ‘hitpoints’ than everyone else. You are not the center of the universe, and you are not special. Unless you work for it.
Character Customization 
Edit your characters, build up their strengths and watch them endure and grow. Train Your Skills in Robotics, Thievery, Engineering, Medicine, Weapon Smithing and more!
Squad-Based Control
Play with one character or control a whole team; an army, even. Combat is Real-Time Strategy style with a choice of ranged and melee fighting styles
Build Your Base
Create and run your own city, manage an empire or simply wander the lands as a lone drifter. Research upgrades such as industry tech, weaponry crafting and trade goods
Wounds Affect Gameplay
Complex medical system where injured characters limp, crawl, bleed to death or pass out from starvation. Stem blood loss to avoid predators and replace lost limbs with robotic prosthetics
Open-ended Gameplay
An original sandbox world. Lay siege as a warlord or make your riches as a trader… There are endless game style possibilities and the world will never stop moving
Train hard
There is no level-scaling, the world does not level up along with you. At the start of the game almost everyone will be stronger than you and you’ll have to use your cunning to survive
Survive
Escape capture from deadly slavers & cannibal prisons, rescue your squad mates from grisly death and get them all home alive
Start A Faction
Keep to yourself, form an alliance or oppose other factions and territories of the world… good or bad
 
https://lofigames.com/road-map/
 


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By Throne

Drayvn ARK cluster updated with Extinction

The ARK: Extinction map has been added to Drayvn's Server Cluster.
The Goal:
Link multiple maps on one server so that players can truly enjoy everything the game offers. You can live on the Island and still explore the dungeons on Extinction while using the dragon you got from scorched and the spelunking tools you got from Aberration.
Note: This is a private server cluster created by Drayvn and is open to COTP members who are able to conduct themselves in a mature manner.  
Note II:  These servers are not modded in order to provide some difficulty to those who can handle it.
Maps currently in cluster:
The Island Scorched Earth Aberration Extinction Server Names:
Pheah Islands Pheah Scorched Pheah Aberration Pheah Extinction Forum Group Link: 
 
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By Throne

Fallout 76 is Live

Fallout 76 is live right now. It wasn’t supposed to go live until midnight last night but it’s arrived early so a few of us started our journey through Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic MMORPG yesterday.
So far, it is playing more like a Fallout 4 co-op with a new ((much larger) map than the pvp mayhem some were expecting.
I did run into a few brave souls who wanted to tangle early on, but not much came of it as there are protocols that keep open pvp from being too deadly until after you reach level 5.
I crashed twice in 10 hours, and my 4 yr old system held up nicely on ultra graphics (I7 - RX 480 - 32GB Ram).
The base building is unique and interesting.  Pieces snap much more smoothly than I remember in FO4.  If you find a unique plan (blueprint) like a crafting station or furniture, you can help your team out by building it for them on their camp (base) and they'll get to keep it, even if they move their base around.
The S.P.E.C.I.A.L system has been revamped with cards you can use to customize your characters perks and abilities, e.g. Guild Wars.  I didn't see it as a minus or plus, just something new to figure out and maximize for the way I play the game.
The difficulty was typical of Fallout games, where it can be a challenge for moderate gamers and daunting for casual gamers new to the Fallout franchise.
Good times are always best shared, and this game is no exception....running around with a team is much more enjoyable, however the game does not diminish whatsoever when it comes to making progress solo.
So far, it has my endorsement.
Join us in discord https://discord.gg/ar8NGD or on the forums
 

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By Elric

New Ark Expansion!

If you haven't already seen it, the new Ark expansion was released yesterday.  The new expansion, "Extinction", takes the players back to Earth to find a ravaged homeworld with all sorts of new creatures and challenges.  It seems like they've taken some popular mod content and created some massive "Titans" that function as world bosses throughout the new map. 
The new launch trailer: 
 
COTP does not have an "official" server right now.  Currently Cecil and I run a private server for any COTP members that want to join.  Hit me up via PM if you would like to give it a try!  We are working with our hosting company to get the new expansion server up today.
Here is the official content notes from the Steam page:
 
 
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Blogs

 

"Happy" Birthday...

Ever feel unwelcome, unwanted, and alone? Ever felt all of these on what is usually for most, a happy day? Well, I'm feeling that right now!   Lets rewind a bit, give some backstory, shall we? I'm now 24 years old; when I was born the Hammer and Sickle was ceasing to fly, the US was busy in Gulf War One, and the Internet was still being used mostly by universities and governments. Hell, I can still remember Neopets, and the birth of Ebay. Of course, that was when I was still living with my biological family. Confused? let me clarify; my parents fought. All the time. Over me, over jobs, over family. Lots of things. First it was just shouting. Then it went up to Domestic Abuse scale, and I have memories of RCMP officers asking me what had happened when I was 8. I recall a few times my dad slept over at friends, one singular time when I was on crutches due to someone being a idiot with improperly extinguished campfire on a beach, and me having to deal with my mother screaming at me. And then, around age 9, my mother started taking out her anger on me. Small things, like smacking me if I wasn't fast enough with homework, etc, or not being home before 7, that sort of thing.   Then it escalated into things like me being thrown into walls, down stairs, etc. Now, unlike a lot of other abuse stories I've read about and heard about, I actually spoke to someone. In my case, ironically enough, with my school disciplinarian. A few comments, a few visible bruises, a cracked collar bone, and a concussion later, and I was paid a visit from some people from the Ministry of Children and Family Development whilst at school. I don't recall much from that time, but I do remember a intensely unpleasant phone call to my mother.   And then I was placed into foster care. I'm not sure how the system works in the US, or in Europe, but our (Canadian) system is a bit oddball, with both permanent and temporary homes, both good and bad. I mostly got the bad, ranging from rich foster families where the "Fostie" as I was called, was very much NOT part of the family, to homes were the people in question, whilst nice, simply didn't know how to deal with foster kids, and all of our attendant baggage. Baggage you say? Whatever do you mean by "Baggage", Laz? Well, in my case, I was diagnosed at around age 8 as autistic; looking back, it probably contributed to troubles with my biological parents, at least with my mother. My dad didn't seem to care; he was always the voice of reason. And boy, did that diagnosis cause me grief from then on. Everything from being treated as if I was mentally deficient to awkward silences when people were told to being beat up by "Peers" in school, all that and more. It wasn't until I was 14-15 when I finally was properly diagnosed as "High Functioning Autistic" mixed with a bit of "Asperger's" thrown in for good mix.   "High Functioning Autistic?" You ask, "How is that different from Autism itself?". Quite a few differences, actually, of which I'll let Wikipedia help out. Oh, and Asperger's, for giggles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-functioning_autism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome   Still around? Yes? Good. Now, lets get this back on the road.   Essentially, ESPECIALLY in the last few years of me being in foster care, I was with foster parents who simply had no canoodling clue how to deal with someone like me; socially awkward, intensely so, and incredibly curious about everything. And, just for giggles, my last foster family? They were from the Baby Boomer generation, with all the cultural mores that intails. Also, thought that their previous experiences with foster care would help; it didn't. Let me put it this way; I love computers. Always have, always will. I attribute it to my biological father. However, when in foster care I'm told that due to "assessments" I'm not allowed to use a computer at home. I was in High School at the time. WTF, that can't be right, right? Sadly, yes. Even more amusing was my foster parents attempts to "reform" me, as if you can cure something like Autism with prayer, drugs, and negative reinforcement; it didn't, and only left me with a extreme distrust of religion, and people being given power, not earning it themselves. A even more amusing thing to note is that despite being denied a chance to use a computer at home ( to the point that when a friend lent me his to use to finish up a project, my asshole of a foster dad tossed it from the 2nd story balcony we had. Luckily we were able to pull the harddrive and recover the data. My foster dads reason? "I told you you can't use computers; your assessment said so, and by god it will be so!"), my foster parents each had a laptop. And my foster brothers.   Another funny thing to note is that, while foster families are SUPPOSED to help us "Get ready for life", they often don't. I wasn't even informed of the fact that the government washes their hands of us when we turn 19 until I graduated. Fun side note; my graduation? My foster dad grudgingly drove me to it when he couldn't find one of his own kids to do it, and then left me to wait after it was done. I eventually had a friend drive me home after I waited 4 hours, and after multiple phone calls that he picked up then hung up on.Nice man, my foster dad; treat your foster kids like Shinazzy, and your own flesh and blood like they were gold.... And then, abruptly, I was told to get out of the house; No warning, just " Get out". Luckily I managed to get a room from a friend before my foster dad pitcched me out on my ear. Even more amusing than that was the fact that, after scraping up the money for it (No help from my foster parents) they wanted to KEEP my 360, DS, and all my electronics that I had either bought or been gifted. That turned out a little badly for deal 'ol FD after he discovered that I had been taking lessons in self defense from someone at school; he tried to manhandle me around, I dislocated his shoulder, and broke a few fingers. I am 6' 1'', and maybe 140 pounds, he is 6' 2'', and 200 pounds. I had witnesses. It was strangely cathartic to give a little bit back of the Shinazzy I had to put up with over the years.   Since then, I've been in a variety of Shinazzy jobs, with the dual stigma of being a "fostie" and Autistic hanging over my head.   "How does this relate to having a bad day, Laz, especially your birthday?" I reply " Because my Birthdays have rarely been happy ones, and I usually have a aweful day" This also ties in with my intense dislike of nepotism, and people either with rich or well off families, or who are also rich or well off, as I grew up with little, got little, and was told I was lucky to have what little I did have. And in more than a few cases, told to "Praise God!" for that much.   So in closing, another year gone by, with little money, few friends, and my biological parents not wanting anything to do with me despite my biological brothers wanting to. At least my biological grandparents kept in touch, but they're starting to leave this mortal coil; a "happy Birthday", this has most certainly NOT been. No party, no real friends wishing me well, just another day were if I were to drop dead, very few people would actually care. And that, is something intensely depressing to realize   Post Script; To be honest, I'm not even sure WHY I'm writing this all down; posterity? Reasoning for the "come on with the constantly depressive comments" as Vindex Terrae puts it? Desire to tell my story, as depressing as it is? Musings of a intensely depressed, and somewhat manic mind? I don't know. All I do know is, that I am putting this up, to much derision, likely, or for no one at all to care, or even read, most likely. At this point, I don't really care anymore about being insulted, put down, or derided; I've experienced it all. Bring on your insults, your wrath; I don't care anymore .

Lazurkri

Lazurkri

 

The Elder Scrolls Online - After 291 Hours

291 Hours.   That is how long it took me to become of the Legendary Hero of the Daggerfall Covenant. To stop Molag Bal and save all of Nirn. To collect every single skyshard available to the Daggerfall Covenant. Every public dungeon. Group Dungeon. Solo Dungeon. Quest. World Boss. All those blasted Dark Anchors and Mage Guild books.   Did I mention I was the Emperor of Cyrodiil for a bit?   And now I get to do it all again in the Veteran Rank content. Seems like they are starting me out in Auridon this time.   Smells like cat.   You know what? I will do it all again. Why you might ask? Simply because Cadwell asked me to.   Could you deny a face like that?   I won't lie to you... NPC after NPC, Quest after Quest, and Skyshard after Skyshard... it could drag on you. How many crazy, inept, or even helpless people exist on Nirn anyways? I had to torch a village of werewolves to help two lovers stay together because one had contracted lycanthropy. Decades of seclusion and safety destroyed by my hand. Or how about the time I got involved in a love triangle between a man, a woman, and her orc lover? I royally messed that one up, but I'm sure the young man will straighten things out when he returns from the military. Even the King of Daggerfall was ready to throw it all away until I stepped in to save him from his own realm of self-destruction.   But I think that is what makes this game... the mountains of diverse content with NPCs that feel real and meaningful in their tiny little bubbles. It was a bit strange that the Wyrd Sisters couldn't help the burning village less two minutes away from them... but those ladies still managed to convince me their plight was more important than the screaming villagers. Don't worry, I did eventually rescue the villagers and become their savior. They too continue to thank me for my efforts just like everyone else in the Daggerfall Covenant.   And I'm only a third of the way through the existing content. The Aldmeri Dominion and Ebonheart Pact each of their own royalty, monsters, and screaming villagers too. All separate storylines and experience.   As far as PvE goes... this is far more content at the release of an MMORPG than I have ever seen. The vast majority of it is solo content. It has really kept close to the Elder Scrolls with that.   That isn't to say you won't find and help other players... In over 90% of the quests in this game I always found another player or three working towards the same goals, and fighting the same monsters. We helped each other, delved through the dungeons, and completed our objectives faster than we could have done solo. The game made it VERY easy to work with people you meet during your travels and does appear to reward you for working together.   But not with your closest friends and allies. Between the quest phasing and the likelihood of being separated because the game won't stop you from going anywhere in a zone you wish... it was tough trying to level as a group with people you are used to playing with. I know a great number of people who left the game because of this.   I'm not sure if this says something negative about the game, or the types of players that now occupy MMORPGs. I'm younger than many of the players who were in Everquest at launch, or participated in AOL's Neverwinter Nights... but having jumped into Ultima Online solo I don't have a problem adjusting to this. If I wanted to play with people, I simply found people to play with who were in the same area, or doing the same quests. Half the time I played with other people I backtracked to help some random person with a portion of a quest I had already completed.   It seems like a lot of people were just frustrated they couldn't play with their select group of friends all the time or very easily. Understandable frustration, and I expect Zenimax will work on their phasing issues over time. After a few patches I did notice it became easier to help others with stuff I had already completed, but it still wasn't perfect. Still... I could find a way to bring the Multiplayer to the MMORPG without too much difficulty.   In all honesty it was the PvP in Cyrodiil that taught me to work with whoever was around me on the current objective.   As nice as it is to have you and your group together, when the battles start to get 30v30v30 on a few Keeps you start to keep less track of who is around you. Your mission becomes simple: locate the groups that seem to be active and progressing then join up.   Jump in their parties, their voice chats, and just go take some keeps. During my time in Cyrodiil and worked with large bands that consisted of members from six or seven guilds. There were groups of people working with their own guilds, but the ones that seemed to be doing the best were the loose, unaffiliated groups that wanted to accomplish the same thing. That kind of mentality carries over into PvE.   And it was a blast. It is probably the reason it took me near 300 hours to finish one-third of the game. All that PvP with siege and large groups. I did get some great loot every time I participated and a good amount of gold at the end of the ninety day season, so it felt a bit worthwhile. That and the emperor. Really felt good getting that for the few hours I had it.   I'll probably jump back into Cyrodiil for a bit before this next major patch changes up the campaigns. Just stall on the VR content for the time being.   So what about my statement from back in February? Do I still stand by those words?   I do.   Oh there were less people in PvP because everyone believed that you had to be max level to be worthwhile. It isn't true... you simply had to focus on being with a group instead of solo killing. A few of the classes and skills had some really big bugs, but they were not completely incapable of getting around. The huge number of quests and stuff to do was great... unless you felt forced to do it all as fast as possible so you don't get left behind. And you didn't... the megaserver pretty much ensured every zone was populated with people doing quests. Every single public dungeon I went into during my time there had people in it trying to complete it. I always managed to get people to help me complete the group achievements too.   But you know... It probably has the most content of an MMORPG released this year, and they've put out major patches (1.1, 1.2, and 1.3) pretty quickly. At this pace, I feel like I'm getting my money's worth every month. I don't feel like I've completed all the content and have to wait for the next major gear/raid update to have something to do. They are very open about upcoming changes, and every patch seems to get better. For a company that has never handled an MMORPG before, I believe they have done an excellent job.   If you gave the game a 7/10 at release it can easily become an 8 or 8.5 here in August 2014 with the release of 1.3.   Is it the best MMORPG of 2014?   I'd say so. They've not only fixed the majority of the bugs people complained about, but they are already implementing changes to the game at the request of the players. VR content has been made better, and even the trading/selling is getting an improvement here in August. It will include guild tabards and guild rank changes as well as a dye system based on the achievements in game. I'm expecting another raid/trial/zone content update before the end of the year at the rate they are going. I think I heard there were going to be some improvements to Werewolves too.   This company seems to be on the ball. Whatever stumbles they had out the gate seem to be gone and they are pushing fast to make sure they stay ahead of any new contenders that have appeared and will appear.   Time will tell, and I'm certainly willing to give them that and my money.

Liquid Wolf

Liquid Wolf

 

About Shadowbane

History of Shadowbane   Shadowbane was a free fantasy role-playing video game (MMORPG) created by Wolfpack Studios and published on March 25, 2003 by Ubisoft for Windows and Mac platforms. Originally commercial and subscription-driven, Shadowbane was launched in March 2003, and was the creation of text-MUD veterans J. Todd Coleman, James Nance, Josef Hall, Patrick Blanton and Robert Marsa and a team of 45 programmers, designers, artists and featured music by composer David Beaupre. It closed on July 1, 2009.   Shadowbane was a top-10 best selling PC game at launch, and had two noteworthy aspects. First, the majority of the game world allowed for open player versus player combat, making it an early pioneer title in the PvP MMO genre. Second, it was the first major MMO to offer dynamic world content as a primary feature of the game. Most MMOs are static, meaning the world itself does not change based on player actions. Dynamic worlds allow player to change the game world itself; morphing terrain, building and destroying buildings and fortifications, and setting up patrol paths for player-hired AI combatants. The game was considered a "cult hit" and sustained a small base of followers, but technical issues plagued the game at launch and failed to retain much of the early fanbase shortly afterward.   After the sale of Wolfpack Studios to Ubi Soft in March 2004, the live service was transitioned to a new management and (largely new) development team, led by Frank Lucero and Ala Diaz. This team later splintered off to become Stray Bullet Games in June 2006, and Mark Nuasha was brought in to run the organization. On March 15, 2006 the game was made free-to-play. A system of short ads was introduced on March 6, 2007 to fund operating costs, which are displayed when the game is opened or closed and when a character dies (with at least 10 minutes between death ads).[1] On March 19, 2008, all servers were closed to prepare for the "Shadowbane Reboot," a relaunching of the game to capitalize on stability and performance gains hindered by previously existing data.[2] All player characters and cities were deleted in this reboot. On March 25, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the game's launch, two servers were brought online followed by a third due to overpopulation.[3] The game was closed the following July.   The regular game took place in a dark fantasy world called Aerynth (the world will sometimes depend on the servers, many of which have unique world maps). Gameplay features many aspects typical of role-playing video games, such as experience points, character classes, and fantasy races. Character creation was fairly extensive, allowing for detailed, differentiate characters to be created.     Gameplay   Shadowbane was notable for emphasizing player-versus-player combat, implementing non-conventional races and specializing in siege warfare (players building cities and trying to raze enemy players' cities) whereas a significant number of MMORPGs released since Ultima Online usually restrict player killing to certain areas of the game or special dedicated PvP servers. The game also featured a seamless world map, and made no use of instancing.   Players were also allowed to own cities and capitals and most of the property and cities in Shadowbane were player owned. In effect, Shadowbane's war status was decided by the players rather than the game company. Whether a guild city went to war with another guild city was entirely up to the leaders. A government system was also implemented in the game. It ensured players were in total control of the Shadowbane world.   Though there were no quests in the game, Shadowbane featured PVP, Nation, and Siege Warfare systems, which offered players a wide range of in-game opportunities.     Transportation   The basic mode of transportation is by foot or by flight. Running and flight will use up your stamina and will have to be replenished during your trip if it is a far distance. The maps are open world so without other means of transportation available you always have the option of running. This is made easier with the implementation of a Traveling Stance spell and a sprint spell both of which are granted at level one. Some other classes offer different run speed enhancement spells. Throughout the Shadowbane world the player could interact with NPCs called runemasters, these NPCs allowed the player to teleport him or herself to a number of different cities across the world, also scattered across the world map were runegates which a player could use to the same effect as a runemaster. There was also a fairly unique ability implemented in Shadowbane that healer based classes could access allowing one to summon, or transport, a player character to their location within only a few moments via a spell. There are also items purchaseable from sage NPC's called scrolls of recall that will teleport your character to the Tree of Life you are bound to. All mage classes also are granted a personal recall spell, and wizards are granted a group recall spell.   Currency   Gold is the basic form of trade-able currency in the game. You acquire gold through the defeat of NPC Mobs and the sale of items you collect to vendors located in both NPC cities and player owned cities. The NPC cities offer you a safe, quick and convenient way to sell your items but are locked to a specific payout table. Player cities however can set their vendor payouts to different scales. While player cities offer the chance at a higher gold value for items you also run the risk of being hunted down within these cities. The player controlled vendors also are what craft different gear to be sold on them. You can set them to be random rolled stats payed for be gold on the vendor or specific stat sets paid for by resources gathered and held on a guild warehouse. You are also able to set prices for items you complete or that you place on said vendors.

Eldonis

Eldonis

 

Your Character.....The depth of choices between level 1 and level 75

First things First......Character Creation Shadowbane is a PVP driven type of a game that your entire build and plan for your character will determine your ultimate success or failure. You start out by none other than character creation. This is a feat all in its own. Due to Shadowbane's creation system you not only choose race, character role, and looks, but also you choose starting stats in the form of runes. As far as playable races, you got plenty of choices;   Aelfborn (half elves) Aracoix (bird man....and yes you do fly too) Centaur Dwarf Elf Half Giant Human Irekei (desert dweller) Minotaur Nephilim (demon with flight) Shades (white skinned humanoids) Vampire   Each race has its own burned in special ability. for example; aelfborn cannot be snared, minotaur cannot be stunned, shade cannot be blinded...ect. This makes you think about what race you want your character to be even more.   After you have a race nailed down you choose a profession. The starter professions are;   Fighter Healer Rouge Mage     Not every race can be every profession and not every profession can be any class. even more food for thought on your decision. More about the classes later.   Then comes your starting stats. These come in 2 forms. Your starting basic stats, and augmented stats in the form of runes. Some runes give the obvious of more health, dexterity, strength, intelligence, and mana, but some to the extent of having a little more defense or attack rating, different weapon mastery, to being able to run faster. Infinite possibility combinations exist all depending on what you want your character to do. And to be honest...some of the wackiest ideas you can think of wind up being the most fun.   Next is your initial play set. this varies from profession to profession, but most are just standard clothes with different types of weapons and shields.   Last but not least, choose your name, First and Last Name with the first name being the only one having to be unique.   First bit of gameplay.   After hours of sitting in front of a creation screen making sure you got all your things lined out you head into the world of Aerynth for the first time. You start out on a low level island with plenty to kill around you. You are also safe from PvP on this "Noob Isle." It is a very easy play style to pick up on; click to move, tab/click targeting, and click/hotkey powers. Like most games, you start out killing the Infamous Spiders and Goblin type mobs. ans slowly work your way up to bigger better enemies. It is very possible to solo your way through the entire level system, but so much more fun in groups. Every time you level up you get training points and stat points. The stat points go into your strength, intel, spirit, con, and dex, and the training points you have to visit a trainer to spend these on skills and proficiency. Most dump all their starting training into weapon mastery and armor classes, but once again the possibilities are endless on what you want.   Classes Once you reached level 10 on noob isle you have to choose a class. class choices are narrowed depending on what race, starting profession, and even gender. The entire list (broken down by starting profession) includes;   Assassin (Rouge/Mage) Barbarian (Fighter/Rouge) Bard (Rouge/Mage) Channeler (Healer/Mage) Confessor (Healer) Crusader (Healer/Fighter) Doomsayer (Healer/Mage) Druid (Healer) Fury (Female Mage only) Huntress (Female Fighter/Rouge) Necromancer (Mage) Nightstalker (Rouge) Prelate (Healer) Priest (Healer) Ranger (Fighter/Rouge) Scout (Rouge) Sentinel (Fighter) Templar (Fighter) Thief (Rouge) Warlock (Fighter/Mage) Warrior (Fighter) Wizard (Mage)   So many choices with so many different abilities....do some research it helps, or just wing it and hope for the best. Unless built to a template, there are also infinite ways you can differentiate your character from any other depending on how many training points you allocate and where.   Into the Real World   You get kicked out of the noob isle guild at level 22 and therefore become errent (one without a guild) if you die at this point you go to a grave yard spawning site in the main land and are eligible for PVP. If you make it off alive you visit a runemaster in town and pledge yourself to a lowbie city. Depending on the mapset there are 3-4 different zones for you to pledge to. in the beta there is only one mapset and only two starting cities. You must choose one, or be tagged to a guild tree in order to stay out of the heavily camped graveyard sites. Unfortunately these are disabled so far in the beta. Once you chose your city, it is off to level. the world is split into different leveling zones with different mobs in camps inside of them. Like stated in the beginning this is an open world map so take off running. your patience is your only limitation on what zone you want to hit up, Pick a camp, and KILL KILL KILL!! Oh i forgot to mention watch out for the griefers too. You will always find a max level character out wiping lowbies off their blades in the lower zones too. The main reason for this (other than the I want to be a griefer mindset) is discipline runes. More on these later as well.   Discipline/Stat Runes   Three basic runes drop in the world. Stat runes augment your maximum cap of individual stats, while proficiency runes give different weapon mastery skills, then there is the discipline runes. There are tons of discipline runes you can gather through different camps in the world, the only hindrance is you HAVE to be level 20 to apply the runes, and generally have to be about level 40 to kill the dropper mobs. These runes are once again restricted to races, classes, professions, and gender. You can apply 3 different disciplines from level 20-level 74. at level 75 you unlock a 4th discipline slot. Choose your disciplines wisely because it cost gold to remove them and the rune is destroyed in the process. The different disciplines grant specific powers, proficiency, and abilities. The complete list is as follows;   Animator Archer Archmage Artillerist Battle Magus Belgosch Berserker Black Mask Blade Master Blade Weaver Blood Horn Blood Prophet Bounty Hunter Clanwarden Commander Conjurer Dark Knight Darksworn Drannok Enchanter Forge Master Giant Killer Gladiator Gorgoi Huntsman Knight Prospector Rat Catcher Rune Caster Saboteur Sanctifier Sapper Savant Shroudborne Skydancer Storm Lord Strigoi Summoner Sun Dancer Thrall Traveler Undead Hunter Valkyr Werebear Wererat Werewolf Wyrmslayer   The best information on these discipline runes is found on the SBEMU specific, Morloch Wiki page. It gives more detail on whom can take what, and what powers/abilities each rune gives.   This game is a blast. Plenty of PvP to go around, oh and you get exp. points for PvP too! Lots of dynamic and unique characters, as well as play styles. This little blog only covers one aspect of this game....Your Character. There is still so much more for me to try and convey about the depth of this game, so stay tuned.

Eldonis

Eldonis

 

Have you ever thought about creating a...?

Welcome, what follows is, what I hope, a reasonable account of what or an attempt there of, can be involved in taking an idea from the mind to the finished product. I know I skip all sorts of steps but I hope it gives you the reader an idea of just how much can be involved.   If not I hope I provided you with a solution to that nighttime insomnia.   * * * I know many of us have watched a movie, a television show even a play or sat down and read a book or played a computer and come away thinking, "I could have done better", but could you?   It is easy to say such things, but be honest have you ever actually sat done, maybe with a pen and pad of paper to hand and actually tried to work through what is involved?   Let me use as an example, a computer game.   Okay, you have an idea for a game, you grab pen and paper and jot it down, now what?   Well how about a plot, not just a general overview but a plot that starts with the players entry into the game, but their passage through it to an end?   Is the end finite? Does it signal the completion of the game or is it just the end that you can think of at that stage?   Ah, that opens up the next question, is the game linear or open, if open then how open?   Next, the stories, yes I know you have a plot but what about all those other characters that the player may meet in the game, are they just faceless drones or do they have stories? Ah now we find ourselves expanding the plot line. we have characters we meet, some are trivial or minor characters there only to provide a clue or piece of an answer, but what about others, those who play a more pivotal role, do they have a story, do they NEED a story?   Okay now you have the plot line, major story and basic sub stories fleshed out it is time to start getting into the nuts and bolts of making the game. But wait, you have to create at least the background of a world, what does it look like, what different environments are there, how about towns and villages, weather?   So now you have foundation of information to use to build your game.   First, what system are you going to use? PC, MAC or console? Each has advantages and disadvantages.   Now then, what technology is it to be based upon? ultra modern, cutting edge or a couple of months older?   Why do I need to think about this, well it affects a lot of performance issues. Cutting edge will most likely have more problems since the technology is so new the full implications of how it will interact with other software, hardware and drivers in the case of PC's may not be completely understood because of the sheer range of options out there. While the slightly older technology is more mature, many if not most of the issues are already known, so there will be much fewer surprises.   Okay you have decided upon your target platform, so now starts the long and hard part of creating it all.   But wait, is this single player which reduces your demands and requirements or multi-player. Can you save you game state allowing for the player to pause and walk away for biological functions or is it persistent, running 24/7?   If it is multi-player, how many players, can a PC for example, act as host or are you swapping data between a few discreet machine, as to action, weapon selected, spell cast and location or is it more involved. Are you expecting a large enough number that a dedicated server will be required, what about all the data and processing for the game such as combat resolution, monster movements and everything else. How much data is going to be transmitted, how big a pipe do you need just to send data at peak time, what about data coming the other way?   Is the server self regulating, performing maintenance during up time or does it require the whole system to be to stopped and everything taken offline for several hours while garbage is disposed off, logs are transferred, backups are made. You will need to make double sure about data integrity, have an accident and lose every player character created because someone during maintenance made a spelling mistake could easily cost you your entire player base. Your servers are essentially huge interconnected databases, thousands, tens of thousands, potentially millions of entries long. How much performance do you require to host all those clients?   Just for now we will assume that there are tools to hand that you can purchase to assist you in creating your game instead of having to write the tools you need to make your game.   Right so what is involved.   Well you need graphics, these are the static images you see as background but also the art work that covers everything from your character, the skin they wear, the clothes they wear, to the items they interact with in appearance.   You also have to think about animations, unless you are happy with a static slideshow, you need things to move, so you have to make a mesh framework of each and every object that will move, be picked up, handles or occupy a fixed point in the world, around that you wrap a graphic so it looks like it is supposed to, but you may want to add extra realism, give it all those little imperfections that we find in the real world, so you add texture maps, which supply these slight but minor imperfections, you may also want to think about a perfect versus an imperfect look. A 'perfect' look is one that will be spotted quickly, nothing is perfect in the real world it has all sorts of flaws in the eye of the viewer, from smears and scratches to fingerprints, distortions in reflections and odd color values. So we need a light source and something to indicate where and how reflections react to our object hence you introduce a reflection map.   Not so easy is it, we have a mesh, and animation model a texture map, a graphic image overlay and a reflection map on each and every object in the game.   However, we were talking about animation, that means that the mesh must have discrete parts, points around which the rest rotate and move. Think of the human body, think about the range of motion in each and every joint you have, there is a lot of them in a large range of directions.   However we do not need all the possible combinations, just the most common and a few special ones for uncommon actions. Sitting, standing, talking, pulling a weapons or weapons, using that weapon, etc. Now if the player character is just standing there doing nothing, them it looks completely artificial, so you write a mini script that controls what the player character does when just standing still. It could, look around from time to time, pick its nose once in a while, scuff a foot on the ground, yawn, there are all sorts of actions to consider if you want them or not and which give depth of personalty to the players characters.   All right, lets say that process is well under way, now what about sound, how about music?   Everything in the real world usually produces a sound. Pick up a pencil from a flat surface, you heard a noise or two even if you ignored them. The scratch of the pencil against the surface as it moved under you impetus, maybe your fingernails rubbed across the surface producing another sound, maybe you dropped it and had to try again.   Music, watched a movie lately, nearly every scene had music of some sort. The movie people are not trying to push the price of the movie up or justify their jobs but they have found that a movie with music gets a better response than one without music, Watch the Movie 2001, the lack of music in the background takes a little time to notice but feel the difference, listen to the sound of an astronaut breathing inside his helmet while outside is no sound, its a little odd, eerie. In the movie industry, music is important, as it is in other industries, for with music you can convey happiness, sadness, joy, excitement, fear or terror. A well composed piece of music can sweep up the emotions of the player and take them on a roller coaster ride or lull them into a sense of peace and calm just before they open "that" door and release the hounds of hell.   Ambient sound is a fun one, most modern games have them, from birds chirping in the background to the honk of car horns in the distance and the thumping beat of some backstreet stereo system several blocks away to the dull steady drone of an engine or air circulation system aboard a star ship. Lets us not forget audio cues either, such as alarms, klaxons and others indicators to tell teh player that something has suddenly happened as a result of what they just did or because they reached that point in the script where something happens elsewhere in their environment. Think about that huge steel door through which they entered the ship clanging shut even though it is half a mile away and they are now locked inside.   So you have plot, storyline, background stories, a cast of characters, meshes and animation models, textures, bump maps, reflection maps, lights sources for each location, ambient sound, audio and music what is left?   Well how about the display, that window through which the player looks into your game world, how is arranged, how much is visible all the time, some of the time or only when in certain specific areas or groupings. How much impact does the display have upon the system demands, does it slow the system down to a crawl because there is so much to display on top of the game display or does it hardly impact the performance. Is it fixed, is it editable, can you move all elements around, turning them on or off so a player can customize it.   Alternatively you could have too much on the display at anyone time and overload the players capacity to take it all in and process it.   Finding that right balance takes time and much trial and error, most on paper you hope so it does not cost a great deal.   That brings up the question of an internal macro system or add-on system, allowing for creative players to add features for themselves, you will need to think hard about that for you will have to supply the language basics and some form of interpreter for the language to work within. Also how much access to internal values and data do you allow, too little and people cannot do anything worth while, too much and the game can be hacked and exploited.   If you are still here in this very quick and uneducated attempt to give an insight in to the thinking behind making a movie or game, then when done, pat your self on the back, because I know I talk far too much.   Let us not forget control and input systems, as these are critical, Next step, your project has been funded, you have a realistic as opposed to optimistic schedule of creation and its holding up. Your backers though are getting worried, they see their money going in but nothing coming out so you have to start the media game, you have to get out there and contact magazines, reviewers on web sites, bloggers and start talking about the next best thing since sliced bread that is two years away. Wait two years away, well its an arbitrary value but you have to start this early, and gradually build it up until that one single moment when you hold in you hand that pre-release "I hope there are no errors" final beta disk, the disk you may decide to let limited numbers of the gaming public loose upon to see what they find, what they break, and what you forgot to fix or someone on the development team finessed past your roving eye because they were having a bad day, didn't want to work on that bit of code or just could not think of a better way to do it.   You beta goes well, the player testers find only 600 action items out of hundreds of thousands, many are easy fixes, but you have one or two real problem points, items that require the combined brain power of all the coders and developers. So you turn them loose with orders to fix item a and item b and ignore everything else.   But your backers are demanding a return now, they are getting instant, you get threats of legal action perhaps, or maybe spurious accusations in a very polite an legal way of you taking their money and not giving anything in return. You just have too much pressure to show your game, to get it out there or throw your hands up and declare failure. So, you have no choice, you publish, you have already set up the advertising campaign, you have 30 second long adverts for TV, magazine spots selected, release parties planned, you hired Hollywood A-Lister's or B-Lister's to provide voices for your advertising campaign, lending their voice and face as a recognizable icon in the minds of the buying public.   You gear your self up, send the master disc to the duplicator's, they press the disc or discs and put it together with all the nice packaging you put together, along with manuals or other materials to include in the box. It all goes out to the distributors, who send it to the retailers, with strict instructions not to seel it until such and such a date. Of course someone ignores that and puts it on sale early, not much you can really do about it if its one or two, if its a chain, you could perhaps blacklist them and cross your fingers, maybe you could try legal sanctions but don't hold your breath.   Come the day of release and you stand there in front of the gaming press, smiling and laughing, talking earnestly about how good this is, how you and the team overcame all obstacles while knowing that a select few are busily working away on the first patch to fix those easy issues found in beta, when the word comes in.   And... well I will stop hear, because you are already thinking about and working upon your first expansion or addition to the game, maybe working from unfinished material intended from the original game but not included because of time, cost or other reasons.   I hope you have reached here for this is the end, in my poor man's attempt to give you just the briefest glimpse into the taking an idea from the your minds eye and what it may go through to become a reality. I have no idea what is actually involved and I imagine it is a lot more involved that my pitiful words here convey, but I feel fairly confidant I have hit at least some of the high points. The one thing I will guarantee is that along the way, there have been civil debates and hard, long drawn out slugging matches as two or more people argue over the best way to implement some feature or other. After all what is hard for one person may be of greatest ease to another, we are not after all, all the same. That would be boring if we were.

Ztuke

Ztuke

 

The Elder Scrolls Online - The Best MMO of 2014 That No One Wants to Pay For

So I've been in a few of The Elder Scrolls Online Betas. Three before the February 7th Beta.   I'll be honest... Those three didn't grab me. I created a character, hopped in, did a few quests... and logged out.   My background on why. TLDR: My perspective on MMOs had become such that I forgot I could do ANYTHING in these games, so was not playing them with the right mind.   So the Feb 7th TESO beta comes around.   Lets make a Templar. I'm going to go High Damage and Healing... in Heavy Armor.   The game let me.   I picked skills that looked promising. Massive Single target damage, and good Single Target/Multi-target heals.   The game let me.   I could swap between Two-handers for high damage, and sword and board for healing. Or staff... or anything.   Tank, DPS, Heal, Explore, Dungeon, PVP, Solo, Story... I could do it.   Anything.   There were some problems...   Four or five out of the fifty quests that I did were bugged. One wouldn't let me get around the bug. The beginning of the game is somewhat linear. First Area. Second Area... pretty much walking a path. I could see the problems with that. Getting to level 10 took FOREVER.   I mean I was level 20 in FFXIV in the same amount of ti... Oh right. FFXIV has 19 classes to level up to 50 on one character. Have to remember that.   And that linear area thing. It did guide me from one area to the next. Except I didn't have to do everything in the areas. I wasn't forced to run through every part of the zone, and learn about all the NPCs and events in the region.   But I could.   The areas were large... beautiful... populated. Hidden chests, Skyshards to get bonus Skill points, books to read, lore to discover, and resources to farm. Activities other players would have started and I could hop right in. Quests I had were completed simply because I helped someone who started it just before me. NPCs that would come find ME. (That was refreshing) Or served no other purpose than to just hint about some hidden away location or treasure. Which I could go find.   Tons of things to loot, open, and pillage.   Player A: "I'm getting little money from quests and mobs. How do they expect me to buy a horse?!" *I look up from my pillaging of crates, jars, and sacks* Me: "Clearly you have never played an Elder Scrolls game before. LOOT EVERYTHING. SELL EVERYTHING. If you can click it, take it."   1500 Gold by the time I was at level 6. Still needed 17K for the horse, but I'd have that by 20.   When I got to PvP? HUNDREDS of people were on my screen. Of course it was a laggy at times, but there were more people, and less lag, than I've seen in games with similar PvP. They'll hammer it out eventually too, so I'm not concerned. It is far beyond what I remember seeing in past games with similar features.   Whipping a trebuchet or catapult out of my pocket, and breaking down keep walls? Great. Dungeons and PvE events in the middle of a PvP battleground? Excellent. Missions to stealth/explore enemy territory, and finding hidden paths through mountains and over them? With treasure? O-M-G.   Worried that the faction on your server might not be the best... wait... there is only one server.   ----------------------------------   I had heard that TESO was going to be bad, or that it wasn't a good game... But it really is a fine MMO.   There isn't anything wrong with it at all.   Let me say that a different way... From the guy that bought First Releases/Collector's Editions of Vanguard, Warhammer Online, Age of Conan and Star Wars the Old Republic. The guy who has seen poor releases, developments, and misinformation about games. Experienced it first-hand and knows what to look for.   TESO is a perfectly fine game. It may not have the unlimited character development (Read: Grind) of FFXIV, but it is quite well done. Zenimax appears to be putting a great amount of attention and effort into this.   Perhaps rightly so... They keep hearing about how people don't want to play it, or expect it to fail.   But I haven't seen anything that would tell me the game is a flop. It appears to be content complete, and fully functional into end game. They even appear to have a hand on the leveling, exploration, and customization so people don't blow through the game in a month.   The Best MMO of 2014? Certainly worth of the title "Next Big Thing" as some have called it. (Single Mega-Server?! You should really support it just for that. I'm tired of multiple servers that lose population, or disconnect friends and guilds.)   The telling thing, for me, is this: Every nay-sayer says they will play the game when it goes Free to Play. Which means this is a game they want to play. Just not a game they want to pay for.   And really... Why would a company want them as a customer if they can't put in $15 a month as it is now? No... it seems to be fear. People are afraid, and repeating the worries and fears of others.   I can tell you that there really isn't a reason to be afraid. Nearly everything (content-wise and activity-wise) you can read about the game does appear to be true. They are not lying, and they appear to have worked hard to get it implemented and functioning. Will they need to make improvements? Yep. That is why you pay $15. New content, and improvements.   The game has been developed really well, and the creators are putting a lot of effort into making this "The Next Big Thing".   It might not be your thing, but that is something else altogether.

Liquid Wolf

Liquid Wolf

 

28 and 2014

So it would seem I'm turning 28, and 2014 is shaping up to be a good year.   I've been somewhat MIA for a good while now - Most of 2013 to be precise - and I'm in the process of settling back into the swing of things.   2013 consisted of me: Getting engaged in May. Buying a house in July Graduating with my BS in December.   It was a pretty hectic year. The wedding is coming up June 21, 2014.   But Games... Miniature Games, Video Games. Board Games, Role Playing Games.... I've suddenly found my time and self swamped with all of them. Friend says: Hey, wanna join us in a 4E game session? I say: Sure! That could be fun.   Coworker says: I'm starting a 2E session, want in on that? I say: Old School sounds awesome!   Game Store Owner says: We have a few tabletop games and board games happening multiple nights a week, want in on those? I say: Man... I love board games and miniatures.   It seems I've picked up far more than I can handle, and really enjoying very little of it. So I've been cutting out what I can and focusing on the things I want to enjoy.   I really do miss you guys, and after jumping into FFXIV during the January sale on Amazon, I'm getting the MMO feel back. At this point I'll keep on FFXIV, and dive into the TESO Betas. Hopefully catch up with some familiar faces, and get to know some new friends.   Looking forward to this next year, and the years beyond that.   Catch you all in Game.

Liquid Wolf

Liquid Wolf

 

Desegregation - Breaking Through the "PvP Game" Myth

<<This blog is intended for the Pathfinder Online community.>>   The "PvP Game" Myth   I'm sure you've all encountered it. You come into a new game where PvP is enabled, early on in the game someone kills you for absolutely no reason and shortly after you notice a PM "Welcome to (Game's Name)." The proponents of this type of play always say, "It's a PvP game, the point is to kill people." But is this really the intent? Does the ability to engage in Open World PvP automatically mean that a game is a "PvP game" and that killing people is the "point" of the game?   While the common perception seems to be yes, I actually consider it a fairly obvious truth that the answer is in fact no. Open world / non-factional PvP opens a game up into a broad world of realistic diplomacy and human interaction where the threat of violence is always present, but not guaranteed. Quite often cooperation can lead to better results for both parties than violence, but violence can often be the quickest way to get what's desired by those wielding power, especially if cooperation fails. This is in stark contrast to a true PvP game such a Halo, Planetside, or The Ettenmoors in Lord of the Rings Online where violence is the primary means of progression and cooperation between enemies is discouraged. Playing the former as if it were the latter actually detracts from the experience by replacing the depth, complexity, and of the interaction with a simple near-certainty of violence that the most dense neanderthal would understand perfectly. Fight or flight, kill or be killed.     It's an incredibly unfortunate circumstance because the depth and realism found in a non-faction based Open World PvP game cannot be found anywhere else, but these games tend to be dominated by players who operate with the basest and most animalistic instincts, strangling the potential complexity these titles could offer. Generally a developer cannot seek the depth and realism found in a game that offers open world / non-faction based PvP without proponents of the "PvP Game" myth coming in and planting their flag, and then abusing the rest of the customer until they leave. This pattern of behavior has lead to a segregation of PvP and PvE communities.   The Segregation   Most people quite simply do not want to be killed on a frequent basis while they are out questing, crafting, role-playing with their friends etc. But many PvPers exercise absolutely no restraint in who they kill, how they kill, and why they kill. They want to kill people, and that's that. The industry has been offering the same solution for a long time now. Segregate the populations. This generally happens in the form of a PvP server where players can slaughter one another without consequence or restraint, or in the form of offering some zones where PvP is nearly or entirely disabled and others where it has no restrictions.   It's been a successful compromise in many regards but it leaves no place for a player seeking a realistic world where sometimes things come to non-consensual violence but there is still a sane and mostly civilized society where most people generally don't bash in each-other's heads just for the fun of it. Where a true killer has some level of infamy because these is a much less savage society around him. Where a paladin who protects the innocent actually has someone to protect. No place for the pacifist preacher and the bloodthirsty barbarian to inhabit the same world. There is no middle ground, it's a "PvP game" or a "PvE game." A "PvP server" or a "PvE server." There is no reason for the two to inhabit the same space, and the PvEers quite simply will not put up with it.   Why This Won't Work in Pathfinder Online   Pathfinder Online is an MMO which contains non-factional Open World PvP. There are only three titles worth mentioning that I'm aware of with a similar model. EVE, Darkfall, and Mortal. Darkfall and Mortal have minimal restrictions on slaughter and a few small safe areas for players to start in. Both titles are very small, and low population is a constant concern. EVE has a huge amount of space with unrestricted PvP, but also a huge amount relatively safe space where the vast majority of the game's population lives.     Pathfinder Online is going for the former of the two models. Starter zones are for starting out in, not a place where people live long term like they do in EVE's high sec. These starter zones are separated by a great deal of space where PvP is enabled. Quite simply, if you want to have a game as much more successful than Darkfall and Mortal then these PvP enabled areas are going to require a much higher degree of regulation.   The Most Overlooked Fact of Pathfinder Online   In the community the greatest argument that Pathfinder Online is a PvP game is that it player interaction is the content, and that this is a non-consensual / non-faction Open World PvP game. You will not be able to go far in this game without the threat of being engaged in PvP. Every time you leave the starter zone you subject yourself to that chance. If you want a settlement, a point of interest, or an outpost and all the associated benefit you are giving people a target to raid. You may be able to avoid most PvP by joining groups with PvP oriented players who do most of it for you, but it's a fact that every group will have to deal with.   Here's three things that have been overlooked.   1. Crafting drives player interaction, and is non-consensual. Monsters in Pathfinder Online do not drop completed items, they drop resources. So guess what? Every single player will either have to craft there own items, or buy them from a player who does, just like a non-PvPer could contract a mercenary to do much of their PvP for them. But nobody, will be able to "opt out" of the usage of player crafted items and remain effective. There will likely never be a player in PFO who can craft everything they need, so trade is a major driver of player interaction in PFO as well.   2. PVE drives player interaction, and is non-consensual. I don't just mean you might aggro a mob and have to run out of range, in Pathfinder Online there are escalations that build up in strength over time. If someone doesn't deal with them, they escalate to the point they have negative impacts on the surrounding area and actually threaten your player owned structures. If you don't want your settlement destroyed by that vampire escalation then you are going to have to have someone go out there and fight them. Beyond that, like crafting and PvP there are skills that make players vastly more effective against certain types of NPCs. Your band of bloodthirsty PvPers may have to bring in someone who specializes in slaying vampires in order to deal with the threat effectively.     3. Trade drives player interaction, and is non-consensual. It's been confirmed that no region will have all the resources it needs to thrive on it's own, and that moving resources in this game will not be a matter of dropping them in a mail-box. In order to run a successful settlement, trade is an absolute necessity, and you will almost certainly have to trade with players from other regions of the game, driving player interaction.   So crafters, PvEers and traders have the same rights to claim that Pathfinder Online is a crafting game, a PvE game, or a trading game as PvPers have to claim it is a PvP game.   Desegregating the Game     I hope to that to this point I've established a fairly strong case that desegregation of the PvE and PvP community is not only desirable, but a necessity of PFO's longterm success. That we cannot afford to buy into the "PvP Game" myth, any more than we can do away with PvP entirely. PFO needs to make a compromise:   • The non-PvP crowd must accept that there is a level of danger present in PFO not present in non-PvP game that helps drive the player interaction this game uses in place of scripted content. They need to learn to embrace that added bit of danger and let it actually enhance their experience.   • The PvP crowd crowd needs to accept that they are not free to abuse everyone without limitations, and that an environment where people are constantly dying just because they exist is in-fact abusive. The history of MMO's shows PvPers cannot exercise enough self restraint to not run off the greater majority of the game's potential players, so heavier restrictions than most titles with open world / non-factional PvP have had in the past is a requirement.   What kind of PvP needs to be encouraged?   In order to allow for player interaction to be the game's driving mechanic PvP is nearly a requirement. We need that kind of content, so what do we want to see?   • Warfare- Conflict between player factions is in my opinion, the highest form of PvP. We want a world where there are large powerful groups sending their soldiers against one another to help further their beliefs and motives. • Raiding- We want there to be the temptation for groups to seal resources from one another. This helps create a strong element of competition but also is less harsh on individual players. • Limited Banditry / Trader Interception- A certain level of danger while trading helps turn it from a task of moving items from point A to point B to something exciting that actually takes a level of skill to be successful at. Too much danger strangles trade, and ultimately could end with many trade oriented players quitting due to an inability to turn a profit. • PvPer vs PvPer Combat- The system should encourage systems that cause PvP oriented players to attack each other. Why? Because it creates lots of content both parties can enjoy. Some players have grown to tolerate the brutality of unrestricted Open World PvP environments and those players shouldn't be forced to accept game mechanics that protect them from the conflict they desire.     What kind of PvP needs to be discouraged?   • Killing for Killing's Sake- With the exception of players who intentionally open themselves up to PvP without consequence, the game should highly discourage players running around killing people simply because they want combat. Players should generally have preventative measures they can take to minimize their exposure to PvP outside never leaving the starter zones, but if you are simply being killed because you exist there is little you can do to prevent that beyond quitting the game... so that's what many players will do if this is a serious problem.   How Does Pathfinder Online Achieve This Compromise?   Pathfinder Online offers many opportunities for "sanctioned" PvP designed to allow people to engage in positive PvP. There are war and feud systems designed to allow player factions to push forward their objectives through combat, a Stand and Deliver system to allow for banditry, factional warfare to let players who just want to fight engage in combat against similar players of opposing NPC factions, and outpost raids for resource competition and those looking for a high chance of player resistance.   Un-sanctioned PvP results in a lowered reputation. Unlike many other game's this isn't entirely preventing you from engaging in NPC outside what is considered sanctioned. The fact that there will be justifiable reasons for killing outside what the mechanics can measure is accounted for. But there shouldn't be a need to do so as frequently as someone killing for killings sake would, which is why lowering reputation comes with stronger and stronger penalties as it drops further and further.

Andius

Andius

 

Character Creation

Character creation can be a holy experience. It is a virtual baptism, a chance to wipe the slate clean and attempt to rebuild yourself according to a direction you set. It's easy to get drunk on that sense of possibility.   The problem comes when you're an altaholic like me. Much like real alcohol dependency, you build up a tolerance. Each individual drink and each gaming reset builds your tolerance, makes the next hit a little less impactful. I tend to constantly reset, delete, reset, delete. Reset.   What I'm going to try doing here is starting again, binging on that high, and then pushing each of those characters to full. Let that high last. I'm aware of the ridiculousness inherent in such thoughts - "Just one for the road!" - but knowing its ridiculousness doesn't stop the hypnotic power inherent in the idea.   -------   So what kind of reset am I talking about?   I have dabbled a bit in Rift, The Secret World, and Guild Wars 2. I've created characters with very specific concepts that sturdy in my mind, but not very flexible. As soon as I get a bit bored or the character deviates slightly from what I wanted, they snap. Delete. Reset. I want to end that aspect of it, and so I'm going to try surprising myself a bit. How? Randomize it a bit.   Ultimately, the class of the character won't determine the fun and fulfillment. What I do with the character will. I'm going to try surprising myself with these characters. Stephen King believed that you don't create characters - you discover them, pre-existing, and try to dust them off and bring them into the world as honestly and skillfully as you can. This isn't the same, but perhaps it shares some of the same genetic code as King's idea.   For each set of options, I'll go to random.org, input the number of choices, and decide from there. (E.g. if I'm deciding between Bobby, Jill, and Anish, and I get #2, then Jill is the winner.)   Let's go. -------   RIFT   Race: Mathosian - High Elf - Dwarf - Eth - Kelari - Bahmi === #2: High Elf Gender: Male - Female === #1: Male Calling: Cleric - Mage - Rogue - Warrior === #2: Mage   I'm going to try building this character around a primary soul, keeping it for the most part non-hybrid (unless I end up with something like Stormcaller, which is so AoE heavy that it'll make solo tougher than I want). As much of my time will be spent solo, I'll keep this menu restricted to offensive souls, though will play around with the others in group play.   Primary Soul: Elementalist - Harbinger - Necromancer - Pyromancer - Stormcaller - Warlock === #6: Warlock   I'll randomize the name, too. (I'm especially comfortable with this because most of us don't get to pick our names. They pick us, without asking permission.) Whatever number random.org picks between 1-20, that's how often I'll hit "Random" for name. I just hope I don't get something like "Dunkweasel" or whatever the elvish version of that is.   Name: 1-20 === #3: Seoscan   One down.   -------   Guild Wars 2   Race: Asura - Charr - Human - Norn - Sylvari === #2: Charr Gender: Male - Female === #1: Male Profession: Elementalist - Engineer - Guardian - Mesmer - Necromancer - Ranger - Thief - Warrior === #1: Elementalist   I know approximately jack about Charr names and don't see a randomizer in game, but found one here: http://dragonwatch.net/charrname/   Name: 1-20 === #18: Garfaz Brokenpaw   Two down, one to go.   -------   The Secret World   As you may know there are no races or classes in TSW. But I'm old school in this way - I'm more comfortable working within some sort of pre-set class-type parameters, and so I'll make one. TSW has three factions which I'll use for race. For class, it has pre-built "decks," or specific combinations of weapons and skills. I'll pick one of those decks as my class, and use that as a template for my primary weapons, gradually working towards the deck (mostly because you get a pretty badass outfit for completing the skills required by a specific deck).   Faction: Dragon - Illuminati - Templar === #1: Dragon Gender: Male - Female === #2: Female Primary Deck: Assassin - Chaos Theorist - Hunter - Martial Artist - Monk - Neoshaman - Ninja - Pandemonist - Warlord - Warrior - Wu === #10: Warrior (Assault Rifle & Shotgun)   Again, there's no name generator, but TSW is a modern world atmosphere. The Dragon are Seoul-based, so I might as well make this Dragon Korean. The factions are international, but this helps naturally narrow it.   I'll still randomize, drawing from Wikipedia's Korean name lists.   Family Name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_common_surnames_in_Asia#Korea Given Name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_popular_given_names#Female_names_2   Family Name: 1-50 === #28: Cho Given Name: 1-10 === #5: Seo-yun   -------   -Seoscan, the High Elven warlock -Garfaz Brokenpaw, the Charr elementalist -Cho "Seo-yun" Seo-yun, the Dragon warrior (phenomenal NES game, btw)   For any West Wing fans, the episode that jumps to mind is when Bartlet debates Ritchie. He spends so much of the pre-debate prep trying to come up with short, succinct sound bite answers that are incomplete, however easy to digest. Ritchie relies on this in the debate, and Bartlet tossed his attempts at this by embracing the complexity of the problems, asking Ritchie, "What are the next 10 words?"   Character creation was a blast. It was quick and easy. I'm excited to go forward.   ---   -AWK, Covenant of the Phoenix

AWK

AWK

 

VPN Log Review Case Study

As an eDiscovery professional, I found the below article quite interesting.....especially considering the below linked video from the Onion from a couple years ago.   http://www.theonion....-oversea,14329/     Case Study: Pro-active Log Review Might Be A Good Idea   Andrew Valentine January 14th, 2013   With the New Year having arrived, it’s difficult not to reflect back on last year’s caseload. While the large-scale data breaches make the headlines and are widely discussed among security professionals, often the small and unknown cases are the ones that are remembered as being the most interesting from the investigators point of view. Every now and again a case comes along that, albeit small, still involves some unique attack vector – some clever and creative way that an attacker victimized an organization. It’s the unique one-offs, the ones that are different that often become the most memorable and most talked about amongst the investigators. Such a case came about in 2012. The scenario was as follows. We received a request from a US-based company asking for our help in understanding some anomalous activity that they were witnessing in their VPN logs. This organization had been slowly moving toward a more telecommuting oriented workforce, and they had therefore started to allow their developers to work from home on certain days. In order to accomplish this, they’d set up a fairly standard VPN concentrator approximately two years prior to our receiving their call. In early May 2012, after reading the 2012 DBIR, their IT security department decided that they should start actively monitoring logs being generated at the VPN concentrator. (As illustrated within our DBIR statistics, continual and pro-active log review happens basically never – only about 8% of breaches in 2011 were discovered by internal log review). So, they began scrutinizing daily VPN connections into their environment. What they found startled and surprised them: an open and active VPN connection from Shenyang, China! As in, this connection was LIVE when they discovered it. Besides the obvious, this discovery greatly unnerved security personnel for three main reasons: They’re a U.S. critical infrastructure company, and it was an unauthorized VPN connection from CHINA. The implications were severe and could not be overstated.
The company implemented two-factor authentication for these VPN connection. The second factor being a rotating token RSA key fob. If this security mechanism had been negotiated by an attacker, again, the implications were alarming.
The developer whose credentials were being used was sitting at his desk in the office.
Plainly stated, the VPN logs showed him logged in from China, yet the employee is right there, sitting at his desk, staring into his monitor. Shortly after making this discovery, they contacted our group for assistance. Based on what information they had obtained, the company initially suspected some kind of unknown malware that was able route traffic from a trusted internal connection to China, and then back. This was the only way they could intellectually resolve the authentication issue. What other explanation could there be? Our investigators spent the initial hours with the victim working to facilitate a thorough understanding of their network topology, segmentation, authentication, log collection and correlation and so on. One red flag that was immediately apparent to investigators was that this odd VPN connection from Shenyang was not new by any means. Unfortunately, available VPN logs only went back 6 months, but they showed almost daily connections from Shenyang, and occasionally these connections spanned the entire workday. In other words, not only were the intruders in the company’s environment on a frequent basis, but such had been the case for some time. Central to the investigation was the employee himself, the person whose credentials had been used to initiate and maintain a VPN connection from China. Employee profile –mid-40’s software developer versed in C, C++, perl, java, Ruby, php, python, etc. Relatively long tenure with the company, family man, inoffensive and quiet. Someone you wouldn’t look at twice in an elevator. For the sake of case study, let’s call him “Bob.” The company’s IT personnel were sure that the issue had to do with some kind of zero day malware that was able to initiate VPN connections from Bob’s desktop workstation via external proxy and then route that VPN traffic to China, only to be routed back to their concentrator. Yes, it is a bit of a convoluted theory, and like most convoluted theories, an incorrect one. As just a very basic investigative measure, once investigators acquired a forensic image of Bob’s desktop workstation, we worked to carve as many recoverable files out of unallocated disk space as possible. This would help to identify whether there had been malicious software on the system that may have been deleted. It would also serve to illustrate Bob’s work habits and potentially reveal anything he inadvertently downloaded onto his system. What we found surprised us – hundreds of .pdf invoices from a third party contractor/developer in (you guessed it) Shenyang, China. As it turns out, Bob had simply outsourced his own job to a Chinese consulting firm. Bob spent less that one fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him. Authentication was no problem, he physically FedExed his RSA token to China so that the third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the workday. It would appear that he was working an average 9 to 5 work day. Investigators checked his web browsing history, and that told the whole story. A typical ‘work day’ for Bob looked like this: 9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos 11:30 a.m. – Take lunch 1:00 p.m. – Ebay time. 2:00 – ish p.m Facebook updates – LinkedIn 4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management. 5:00 p.m. – Go home Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area. All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually. The best part? Investigators had the opportunity to read through his performance reviews while working alongside HR. For the last several years in a row he received excellent remarks. His code was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.     http://securityblog....be-a-good-idea/

Throne

Throne

 

What Happened to the MMO?

I have played almost every MMO that has come out, be it the beta or a subscription for the last 16 years. My first was a little 2d gem called The Realm that was actually a lot of fun.     Then came what I feel is the MMO that started it all, it was not the first but in my option is still the best, UO. The only game to date that made me feel as I was part of a living breathing world. Others have tried but failed and most do not even come close or even try. It's sad and I blame it on the next MMO I tried which was EQ or the beginning of the end.   EQ while being 3D for the first time started the amusement park style game which WoW then copied, perfected and plagues the market still.   Before EQ I never had to go collect 6 rat tails and turn them in for a reward. I just grabbed my sword, ran out into the world and tried not to die.   Before EQ I never had to camp mobs looking for some drop that might take 12 hours to get. I would join my buds in an edge of your seat romp through a dungeon trying not to be killed by NPC and PKers.   Scripted boss battles are the norm now, if you are the first to fight it then great the trial and error trying to figure it out can be fun. But that's not how it works, you read the strategy on the web and go through the motions, over and over and over again.   End game raiding, end game? Why do I want my game to have an end? So I run around collected rat tails long enough to where I can go to some place to get some gear by doing scripted boss battles so that I can move to the next tier dungeon for more scripted fun? Blah blah blah blah.   The above also started all the DPS counter BS which then alienates guild members and creates an unfriendly atmosphere. You can't come to the raid you only have a dull sword, you need a shiny one so get out. Players end up getting a superiority complex because then can follow a script better then the next guy. Way to go guys!!   Leveling up to gain new skills so you can watch your icon bars and click a button once a cool down is complete is also lame in my opinion. but that's what they all do these days and when playing I find myself just watching a bar to click a series of icon rather then being in the moment.   The amusement park ride gets old as you can tell by how just the members here jump from game to game looking for the one to no avail. I do not think the MMO genre will last if there is not a change in the way these games are made.   Grim and I have been playing UO on a free shard which once I was back in that world reminded me of what MMOs have become and how sad it is.   UO is not for everyone that is for certain, it's the wild wild west. The moment you step out of the protection of the town guards you need to be prepared to die and loose everything you have on you. Not only to PKers but even the NPCs will rummage through your gear and steal you stuff. Plus you're a ghost and will be standing next to your body watching the looting of your corpse until you can find a healer to rez you and make a mad dash back to your body. As nasty as that sounds it's what makes it so fun and exciting.   Some games have tried to capture what UO had, Darkfall and Mortal made good attempts at it. Darkfall I will not comment on as well that was a living hell for me and I do not want to go back there. Mortal sadly might have done it but I could not get used to playing in the first person view.   Man I could rant on for hours but I better get back to work before someone catches me

Bakath

Bakath

 

What is 'Covenant of the Phoenix'?

Back again, fellow Guildies. Last time I weighed you down with a lot of personal information about myself and promised you a more interesting read this time around. So I figured why not look at the guild as a whole instead of one ol' little member, hmm?   I'm not going to go too deep into the history of the Covenant, especially since that's already covered and way out of my time line. If you're curious about how Covenant of the Phoenix came to be, Throne has posted the first part of it's history right here. Personally, I think everyone should at least give it a look through. It's good to know your roots.   Instead, I will be looking at what makes the Covenant... well, the Covenant! And a bit of what you should expect of it's future.   A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (and yes, I have to pay George Lucas every time I use that line), several gamers put together the idea for a guild. That idea soon became the Covenant of the Phoenix. Their morals and beliefs on how one should be, even in a virtual setting, created the Charter. Every recruit reads the Charter, agreeing to abide by it's laws before becoming a true member of the Guild. In fact, before anyone can take a leadership position of any form, they must first be tested on their knowledge of the Charter and swear to uphold it.   There have been times that I have actually looked to the Charter for answers on how to handle situations within our Chapter. And the Charter did not disappoint. I'm not saying it's an end all, beat all source for information. But it certainly works as a guideline if you're on the edge about something.   So way back when the founders created Covenant of the Phoenix, what did they hope to accomplish? What was their driving goal for banding together? To get the 100% accurate answer to that, you'd have to ask someone like Throne. But I can certainly take a guess.   Let's take my own experience with online games for an example. I've hopped through a few here and there, and I've seen a lot of horrible practices not only from players, but from guilds as a whole. I've seen Elitism, been shunned by many just because I didn't know what I was doing or wasn't a high enough level. I've been completely ignored for not having all the gear others do, and told that I would be good when I "caught up".   But that's not how Covenant of the Phoenix operates. I've seen it with my own eyes, how you make the time and effort to help those who are struggling or just starting out. People who understand that real life takes precedence over trying to min/max your toon. Members offering to help push them through a hard area, play a lower level character with them, or flat out supply them with items and currency just because someone needed them. It's true that a lot of this is done as a synergy; the belief that doing this act will result in them doing the same when the roles are reversed. But that is not a bad idea to have.   Look at the Officers and Elders of your Chapter. Ask yourself: "Why have they been placed in charge? What made them volunteer for such an act?". I can tell you, it's not out of any bid for power or supremacy; that's just not how we Phoenix think and feel. They do so out of a sheer love of the games they play, and they want everyone to have the most fun they possibly can. Officers sacrifice their extra play time to bring something special to your experience. To make your game sessions a little better, and help everyone in your Chapter reach their goals. Without the organization of events by your Officers and Elders, a good amount of your play experience would be gone in an instant. No more group events with random games to keep you entertained. No more organized collecting of members for large scale runs through tough areas of the game. Nothing.   They are Covenant of the Phoenix.   And what about the members? The folks who join the Guild, growing it's ranks. Without all of you, we would have no Guild. If none of you had decided to join us, to add your hand to the fun we all have in our many games, Covenant of the Phoenix would have died out long ago. Your Chapter Leader, not long ago, was a regular member like you. They joined because they wanted people to play with; fun people who wanted to enhance the experience of their games together. And if they hadn't taken ranks within Covenant of the Phoenix, where would your Chapter be now? The future of Covenant of the Phoenix lies within it's members, every single one of them.   You are Covenant of the Phoenix.   So what is in the Covenant's future? That's up to you all to decide. When it was founded long ago, I can almost guarantee that none of them thought it would become so large. Hundreds of players stretched over dozens of games, all bearing the Phoenix's tags. All holding the same virtual morals and purpose: To have fun and to help others have fun. When the day comes that the current leadership moves on, Covenant will not be gone. New people will step up to take their place, the dreams and hopes of the guild itself lying upon their shoulders. We shall look up to them just as much as we do our current leaders. And they shall continue to bring all of us together and build a legacy for years to come.   I'm very new here, so I sadly did not have the privilege of meeting other members of our leadership that are no longer with us. But just glancing through the forums, even someone like myself can see how important those who are no longer with us have been to this guild. It is that kind of commitment and dedication to the Phoenix that lets me know how far we can all go. We all should shoulder such dedication to the Covenant, to uphold their dreams of how an online community must be. No one can replace our leadership team, nor should they. Instead, we take their beliefs and dreams for Covenant's future, and nurture them ourselves, to further it's legacy.   The bottom line is, the Covenant will last as long as we want it to. As we continue to pave the way through our games as a group, we set an example for those that will come after us. Much like raising a child, it is our actions and attitude towards our fellow players that will determine how the newer members will act and think.   So the next time you see someone yelling out in General chat for help, consider taking a break from your grinding to give them a hand. Heal or buff a random stranger in the middle of a tough fight. Ask an ungrouped player if they're looking to pair up. Because it is the hospitality and positiveness of us all that will determine just how far we go.   After all, we're all just here for fun, aren't we? Let's spread it out.

Nitrous

Nitrous

 

Introductions

Hello, Phoenix Guildies!   Since I figured I got a bit of time on my hands, it's time to start working on a blog. Seems to be a fairly empty section of the site, which is a darn shame, considering I find this could be a handy way of getting to know your fellow guild mates outside of your own chapter.   So for our first entry here, I thought I might go ahead with introductions. Who I am, what I've done, and what you can expect from this.   My name is Alan, though I go under the online name of 'Nitrous' around here. I'm 29 years old and live in the state of Oregon with my wife Rachelle, who is also a member of this guild (SeaChelle). I joined with the Phoenix on February 17th, 2012 (on my wife's birthday, no less!) and tied the knot with SeaChelle on March 31st, 2012. That little bit isn't so much for your information as it is for mine, as my memory is kind of shotty and I'd rather have some kind of reminder of exactly what day my anniversary is.   I've been a gamer since I was three years old, when my father purchased an Atari 2600 for the house. I was hooked on it from day one, in particular the racing games. The noises and graphics, which were fantastic at the time, held the attention of my small brain for hours on end. I moved on to the Nintendo era, following them from the NES to the Super NES, all the way to the N64. Playstation followed, with Playstation 2, and then 3. I skipped over the Gamecube, as I was more focused upon Sony's entry's into the gaming world. And I never touched an X-Box, even to this very day. I've held onto most of this collection, and added to it over the years, giving me a nice chunk of video gaming history right in my own apartment.   PC gaming, however, was beyond my reach. While a console would only cost me between $100 - $400, the purchase of a gaming computer would easily start around $800, something I really didn't want to jump into. It wasn't until about a couple years ago that I was ever even able to consider the purchase.   My first introduction to online gaming was with Everquest Online, though it wasn't my account. A friend that I always went to visit after school had a subscription, so I played a couple of times with him. It was an interesting experience, though at the time I was more interested in Omikron: The Nomad Soul. After that, I wasn't very involved in online gaming. I knew of it, thanks to publications like PC Gamer, but I didn't get to try it for myself again until World of Warcraft. At that point, I didn't have a guild or even a lot of friends who could play with me, so I tired of the game within a month.   I moved on to Final Fantasy 11 for two reasons. One, I was invited by a few friends to play, and two, the game had gone on sale. I played for two months this time, but quickly realized that chances of me playing with my friends were low, since they had maxed out characters and weren't willing to level a lower job.   Needless to say, my history with online games wasn't a great one. And yet I felt compelled to purchase Final Fantasy 14 upon it's release, thinking perhaps if I started from the beginning of an MMO's cycle, my chances would be better to find and keep a group. I couldn't have chosen a worse game to try this with, as it turned out to be a complete failure at launch. What was worse, I purchased the Collector's Edition, wasting a total of $75 on it.   Star Wars: The Old Republic came after this. I waited about a week after launch before I picked it up, after hearing that it was actually quite fun. I decided against the Collector's Edition this time, just in case. And I've been playing it ever since then. For the first month or so, I played on Vrook Lamar and Krayt Dragon, since some of my friends were playing at the time, but once they had dropped out I went actively looking for a Guild. And that's when I came across Covenant of the Phoenix.   And here we are. Since joining the Phoenix, I've met a great group of people and become a Sentry in the PvE Chapter for SW:TOR. I know this has been a lot of boring information, and for those of you who have read through all of this, good on you. I promise to try and make any posts following this much more interesting or entertaining.

Nitrous

Nitrous

 

TERA SUPPORT IS HILARIOUS

Conversation between CotP member "Smurph" and TERA Support   SubjectChat Session Discussion Thread GM Dubstar said...05/12/2012 12:30 AMLet me know if you have any other questions..   Brandon “GM Dubstar” EME Customer Support - Specialist     ** OUR STAFF WILL NEVER ASK FOR YOUR PASSWORD ** ** Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe** Chat Transcript05/12/2012 12:29 AMHi, my name is GM Dubstar. How may I help you? Smurph .: Hey. Smurph .: How are you doing? Smurph .: Uhm. One second please Smurph .: Alrighty Smurph .: Hi Smurph .: My name in game is Condoms Smurph .: and my guild members are feeling semi offended by the name Smurph .: as well as some of the players in game. Smurph .: I was wondering if I could get you to change my name? GM Dubstar: lolol sure Smurph .: Smurph .: Dubstar. So pro. Smurph .: So atm I'm on my mini toon GM Dubstar: I'd be offended too if I was running around with male genitals.. Smurph .: Smurph. Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: Most hellarious support ever. Smurph .: Alright Smurph .: So im on smurph Smurph .: im about to delete it Smurph .: Could you have my name Condoms Smurph .: renamed to Smurph? GM Dubstar: What server, young condom? Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: Valley of Titans GM Dubstar: To smurph? Smurph .: Yeahp Smurph .: let me delete real fast GM Dubstar: And want the one on BC changed too? GM Dubstar: Dont delete anything.. Smurph .: BC? GM Dubstar: Please Smurph .: Oops. Smurph .: :l Smurph .: Already deleted Smurph Smurph .: meh. Smurph .: Its no big deal. it was a lvl 28 toon that I am no longer using GM Dubstar: Mk.. Smurph .: I dont have one on bc. Smurph .: or at least not that im aware of. GM Dubstar: It says you do. GM Dubstar: Named condom Smurph .: Uhh. GM Dubstar: But your good to go, young Smurph Smurph .: Nope. Smurph .: Kay Smurph .: Oh GM Dubstar: You know what would be really weird? Smurph .: one more tang. Smurph .: What? GM Dubstar: A Smurph condom lol Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: My toon is still named Condoms. GM Dubstar: Hmm.. This is a sticky situation GM Dubstar: lolz GM Dubstar: Close your launcher GM Dubstar: And give it another thrust Smurph .: Zoomfg lol Smurph .: Gonna go all day huh? Smurph .: Smurph .: Is it also possible for me to change my appearance? Smurph .: Make my toon look more.. Smurph .: short and blue Smurph .: I'm already an elin Smurph .: just the hair isnt blue. Smurph .: It'll bug me to no end. GM Dubstar: Once again, restart launcher Smurph .: Booting. Smurph .: Elder dubstar. Smurph .: Still nuthin. GM Dubstar: '''____''' Smurph .: ill reboot it again GM Dubstar: Go to the banker or parcel claim window Smurph .: Okay GM Dubstar: You actually have to exit the launcher as well Smurph .: Oh Smurph .: Didnt do that Smurph .: Still nothin Smurph .: loggging in and heading to banker thingy Smurph .: extra g in there. Smurph .: for fun iguess Smurph .: Okay. Smurph .: I'm there. Smurph .: Did you change Condom's name? Smurph .: I'm Condoms Smurph .: multiple. GM Dubstar: On VT? GM Dubstar: Lol what? Smurph .: Valley of Titans Smurph .: Yeah I'm Condoms Smurph .: Awe snap you did condom? GM Dubstar: You should be smurph? Smurph .: Nope. Smurph .: Still Condoms. GM Dubstar: Great.. Now we have 2 condoms, and only 1 smurph.. Smurph .: lol. GM Dubstar: How is this gonna work out?? Smurph .: Idk. Smurph .: What happened? lol Smurph .: Whats the problemo here xD Smurph .: Tell me what to do oh wise one. GM Dubstar: Hmm.. I think that name is already taken? Smurph .: No. Smurph .: I just deleted it Smurph .: like while we were talking Smurph .: Smurph GM Dubstar: I see that.. Smurph .: Mmk.. GM Dubstar: How's Dr. Smurph? Smurph .: D: Smurph .: Nuuu. Smurph GM Dubstar: Or smurph.condoms Smurph .: What happened? GM Dubstar: Smurph.condoms.inc.. Smurph .: How is Smurph taken already? Smurph .: lol GM Dubstar: You can have your own condom company inside the world of tera? Smurph .: Lol? GM Dubstar: Be all like come here buddy, I have my condom on, I'm ready to go!! GM Dubstar: Haha jk.. Smurph .: Lol GM Dubstar: But Its not letting me change it right now Smurph .: My guild members are Loling hard about this stuff. Smurph .: Whys that? GM Dubstar: Maybe we shall give it a minute Smurph .: mmk. Smurph .: I have minutes. Smurph .: and hours. Smurph .: friday night no lifer right here. Smurph .: Shall we chit chat? GM Dubstar: Haha I'm down GM Dubstar: I cant take too long though Smurph .: How does one like yourself become a "GM" GM Dubstar: I was born as such.. Smurph .: lol GM Dubstar: Raised by the popori GM Dubstar: trained by the amen GM Dubstar: Then granted powers by the priest when ready GM Dubstar: A really long, tough process Smurph .: q Smurph .: Lol GM Dubstar: Kind of like 300 GM Dubstar: That's what the sky looks like here, too Smurph .: Are all GMs so... Smurph .: trolly? Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: All I wanted change my condom and now im getting all these stories Smurph .: TERRIBLE SUPPORT Smurph .: RAGE GM Dubstar: hey.. that's Terable support round here GM Dubstar: and all this is coming from a condom.. GM Dubstar: That's why you smell bro Smurph .: Woah Smurph .: Too far man! Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: They pay you for this? GM stuff? GM Dubstar: Earlier, I saw a little crab from Cutthroat harbor running across you earlier Smurph .: in TERA accounts? GM Dubstar: Nah its more like slavery Smurph .: Awe Jeepers Smurph .: I'd work as a GM GM Dubstar: Restart the launcher now, btw Smurph .: they'd have to pay me in condoms tho Smurph .: MAGNUMS ONLY Smurph .: Not to brag. But I'm rockin at least a pinky. GM Dubstar: Hahaha whatever.. Smurph .: pinky and a half on a good day. Smurph .: umad. GM Dubstar: This link if for you brotha: GM Dubstar: http://www.allcondom...ger-condoms.htm Smurph .: Offended! Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: I'm soooooooo screenshotting this entire convo bro. GM Dubstar: wait till you see your new name.. Mr.Small.Condom GM Dubstar: lolol Smurph .: If you'd like I can bleep yer name out tho. Dont want you to get in truble xD Smurph .: Aye it worked Smurph .: Now how about my look? Can I edit that somehow? Smurph .: My hair mostly. Smurph .: I mean if my name is smurph, gotta play the part. Smurph .: blue hair n all. GM Dubstar: Idc bout the name.. Dubstar will become a know world wide entity.. Smurph .: lol GM Dubstar: The worlds first large-scale Smurph Condom Manufacture Smurph .: Ahh Smurph .: I see it now. Smurph .: Rolling in the condoms. Smurph .: We make them Smurph size Smurph .: All of asia be so happy Smurph .: We very happy asian man Smurph .: So happy! Smurph .: Asia man wear long time! Smurph .: All time! GM Dubstar: Lolololz Smurph .: xD GM Dubstar: that just made my day.. GM Dubstar: I was about to go home GM Dubstar: But effff it, I'll stay for another 8 hrs.. Hoping to get a player as BA as you Smurph .: Awe Shinazzy. Smurph .: No way that will happen. Smurph .: COSMETICS BRO Smurph .: I WANT THE BLUE HAIRS Smurph .: DO UHT GM Dubstar: I thought we went over this? Smurph .: MOST IMPORTANT PART OF TERA EXPERIENCE Smurph .: No we got caught up in the condoms GM Dubstar: You cant change your look unless you have a mutated disease with crabs on you.. GM Dubstar: Which smurphs are immune to Smurph .: Jeepers Smurph .: the one time condoms have foiled my plan GM Dubstar: Nah, go to the banker.. GM Dubstar: One time?? Smurph .: Yeah GM Dubstar: I usually reuse those suckers.. Smurph .: I aint got kids Smurph .: Lol GM Dubstar: Me neither Smurph .: Dude Smurph .: I could milk this all day Smurph .: You just give me anything I want Smurph .: Lolololol GM Dubstar: Go to the banker and get your stupid little parcel, and make yourself blue Smurph .: Milk. Condoms. Semen. Smurph .: Lulz Smurph .: Thanks bro. Smurph .: THANKS Smurph .: AND ITS NOT STUPID Smurph .: ITS IMPORTANT Smurph .: IMPORTANT PARCEL GM Dubstar: Eww.. Smurph .: Parcel not there yet Smurph .: Idk GM Dubstar: Have you got the parcel yet? Smurph .: No GM Dubstar: So why it wouldn't let me change your name earlier.. Smurph .: I hadnt taken my condom off yet. Smurph .: I forgot. Smurph .: >.< GM Dubstar: Is I accidentally changed some character named Condom to smurph GM Dubstar: And he had 3 condom characters.. On 3 different servers Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: Someone is dedicated. Smurph .: Really doesnt want to have kids GM Dubstar: So if anyone ever tells you their getting screwed by Tera.. Smurph .: Be like wtfbbq? Smurph .: Lol GM Dubstar: You can say at least there's at least a condom on all the servers ;d Smurph .: Yeah Smurph .: Makes sense. Smurph .: Procrastinating parcel. Smurph .: So do you play tera Smurph .: or just work for enmasse. GM Dubstar: I played before launch on the production server GM Dubstar: And made it to lvl 25 GM Dubstar: But since launch I havent had time to play GM Dubstar: We got 4 more min's to chat, btw.. Smurph .: Busy fixing condoms. Smurph .: You're shift over in 4m ins Smurph .: or what. Smurph .: your* GM Dubstar: Nope, gotta go help more gamers ;d Smurph .: Ahh fun. GM Dubstar: But you'll get the appearance change tomorrow. Smurph .: Now I see the real reason for que time. Smurph .: Ahh thanks. GM Dubstar: So you get to run around another day looking like a condom Smurph .: My hair is purple. Smurph .: MEH GM Dubstar: Yeah, once your in, its like VIP Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: Well hey man GM Dubstar: http://www.condomdep...id/207/pid/2380 Smurph .: If you ever get to play Smurph .: Play on Valley of Titans GM Dubstar: I found ya!!! Smurph .: and send me a tell Smurph .: lolol GM Dubstar: I hear that's where its at.. Smurph .: VoT? Smurph .: yeah pretty big server. Smurph .: PvP all day. Smurph .: No lifer kids like me always online. GM Dubstar: Yep, that seems to be the most intense one.. GM Dubstar: But you should actually get that deal once you restart the browser Smurph .: Well between the 4chan guilds Smurph .: and the reddit guilds. Smurph .: What deal? Smurph .: oh hey GM Dubstar: Sorry, launcher lol Smurph .: got the parcel thingy GM Dubstar: Your good to go Smurph .: didnt need to restart. GM Dubstar: GM Dubstar: Realyy? That's odd Smurph .: Real odd. Smurph .: Well seriously dude Smurph .: Thanks Smurph .: Alot Smurph .: You're super canoodling cool GM Dubstar: Oh well.. Smurph .: Best support I have ever had. GM Dubstar: You as well, my man.. Smurph .: Hellarious GM Dubstar: That's what were aiming for.. Smurph .: : d Smurph .: Serious, EU Tera support I heard is terrible Smurph .: Froggster? Jeepers dat. GM Dubstar: And you caught me at hour 15 of my shift, so your starting to catch a different side of me lol Smurph .: You guys here though. Doing good work. GM Dubstar: Yeah Everyone and their aunt likes our support GM Dubstar: Besides trolls GM Dubstar: but trolls will be trolls Smurph .: 15 hours Smurph .: you work 24 hours straight? Smurph .: or what. GM Dubstar: I'm trying lol Smurph .: Money must be good. Smurph .: You work from home? GM Dubstar: We might run out of coffee soon though, if I keep at it GM Dubstar: Nah we got an office GM Dubstar: Our own office Smurph .: Out of where? GM Dubstar: Some realm over Tera.. Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: Kay. GM Dubstar: Looking down on yall fools runnin around slayin each other Smurph .: Lol Smurph .: Well alright dude Smurph .: Lookout for a post on TERA forums called Dubstar World Wide Entity GM Dubstar: Any more questions for the mighty Dubstar before we depart? Smurph .: Humn.. Smurph .: Uhh... Got any free stuff you can give me? GM Dubstar: Lol Ill call the Tera IRS tomorrow and get things squared away Smurph .: Idk. GM Dubstar: Mmh not today lol Smurph .: Lol alright Smurph .: Then I'm set GM Dubstar: I'll send you an email so you can come strait to me if you have any more issues Smurph .: Serious? Smurph .: Thanks GM Dubstar: You seem like the type to repost this.. Smurph .: repost what? GM Dubstar: This convo Smurph .: Yeah Smurph .: Totally plan on it. Smurph .: You said you were cool with it. GM Dubstar: So WHUDDDDDDDDDDDUP REDDIT Smurph .: Lol kay. GM Dubstar: That's the fattest shout out yall have got to date.. Smurph .: Meh. I guess ill post it on reddit GM Dubstar: And my main man condom aka Papa Smurph.. Smurph .: though I dont really use it alot. Smurph .: Papa condom. Smurph .: xD GM Dubstar: Please dont lol Smurph .: Dude you just gave them a shoutout Smurph .: I gotta now. GM Dubstar: But if you wern't planning on it please don't! Smurph .: The world must see it Smurph .: THE WORLD MUST SEE THE TRUE POWER Smurph .: OF SMURPH CONDOM INC. GM Dubstar: Haha whatever bro do what you do.. GM Dubstar: Lololz Smurph .: and Dubstar enterprises. Smurph .: Alright get to work slacker. Smurph .: Pz Smurph .: oh wait Smurph .: that link. Smurph .: gimme. GM Dubstar: haha what link? Smurph .: GM Dubstar: I'll send you an email so you can come strait to me if you have any more issues Smurph .: oh email Smurph .: alrighty Smurph .: D3rp Smurph .: Well then alright thats it. Smurph .: Cya dude. Smurph .: Thanks for the help and the laughs! GM Dubstar: lol have a good one, have fun!! 'Smurph .' disconnected ('Concluded by Agent'). [---001:010893:28166---]   Source: TERA SUPPORT IS HILARIOUS

Throne

Throne

 

Classical Music

Here is my top ten favorite classical music pieces. I'm not a buff by any means, but I do enjoy some good classics every now and then.     1. In the Hall of the Mountain King - Edvard Grieg - Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Opus 46 - 1876       2. Lacrimosa (Requiem) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem Mass in D Minor (K. 626) - 1791     3. O Fortuna - Carl Orff - First movement from Carmina Burana - 1935       4. Morning Mood - Edvard Grieg - Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Opus 23 - 1875     5. Bolero - Maurice Ravel - Orchestra - 1928     6. Kanon in D - Johann Pachelbel - Musikalische Ergötzung - abt 1694     7. La Primavera - Antonio Lucio Vivaldi - Le Quattro Stagioni (Opus 8, RV 269) 1723     8. Symphony No. 9 in D minor - Ludwig van Beethoven - Opus 125 1824     9. Clarinet concerto in A major (Adagio) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - K. 622 1791     10. Hallelujah - Georg Friederich Handel - Messiah HWV 56, 1741    

Throne

Throne

 

CotP History: Part 1

September 2000 - Asheron's Call: Darktide     Throne, then known as "Ceraphim", met Oonagh, then "Audria" in the Gharundim desert town of Al Arqas where she swore fealty to the idealistic young warrior....and subsequently, the idea behind what would some day become the Covenant of the Phoenix was born.   Al Arqas was mostly known for a decent out of the way place to start a new character....and that was about it. It was a fairly nice place to have a life-stone bind and a semi-nearby archmage to buy components. The nearby mosswart caves provided some low level hunting, but not much else. We did not have much in terms of competition, but it's worth saying that we were the dominant monarchy in Al Arqas for the entirety of the time I played (Sep/2000 - Aug/2003).   Not long after meeting Audria, a few other key CotP members joined, including Metal Man (James), Peanut Gallery and Methanol.     It was an age of stability on the most brutal free for all PvP servers of it's time. Darktide politics was limited to a single war front, Anti-PK's (Antis) vs PK's...and the anti-PK's were winning, hence, the stability. The patch that brought Ayan Bakur to the world of Dereth was not long in the past and the glorious city was owned by Anti-PK's, a conglomerate of 20-30 Monarchies who enjoyed the benefit of the best exp (Olthoi/Tusker) dungeons nearby.     While the tag "Zandar Blackrock" wasn't known as a major monarchy at the time, through Ceraphim, it was involved in many of the server's great wars and turning points. We didn't get in on the early wars between TM, SiN, BR and CED up in Arwic and Eastham, but we did make it in on the second Ayan Bakur wars and pretty much everything else server-wide thereafter. Those were tough days when one pk clan, one neutral clan and one supposedly anti clan (wilc) joined forces to create a single PK clan (GEN) that would clean the carebears out of Ayan Bakur. They cleaned out just enough of us Antis to allow KoC (Blood), previously limited to Kara and the Mountain Retreat, to come in, clean up what was left of a brutal war and take Ayan Bakur for themselves. KoC would hold Ayan Bakur for the remainder of the city's relevancy (until Tusker Island), despite several attempts to regain the territory.     After our defeat, most antis spread out, some to Teth (under the protection of Alberion Mindeater), but most went to Kryst, a new island chain in the SE corner of Dereth.   To combat the growing rarity of actual Anti-PK monarchies, we joined the Darktide Rhino Party to better combat the growing forces of evil (RPK's). It was around this time that Polar Kraken (Jassid), Lyandrill (Ayn) and Kaobang joined in on the fun.   During our heyday we often defeated challenges to our superiority in Al Arqas, this was never more evident in our war against Choo Choo and Addiction. After 3 or 4 minor skirmishes to go along with the two major vitae filled battles, we put an end to their ambitions...and their guild, which fell apart a few weeks later.   We eventually left the Rhino Party due to lack of actual action (plenty of meetings though) and began searching out trouble on our own. This eventually led to being a founding member of the foremost turning point in Anti history, at least since the first Ayan Bakur War was won. Antiville was the idea that eventually led antis back to dominance after basically being spread out and disorganized for the better part of two years. It brought several of the largest remaining anti guilds together as neighbors and allowed for a combined effort no matter where we took the fight and who we took it too. So it came to pass, 2 years after they took Ayan Bakur from us, we took Tusker Island from KoC.   While our time in Asheron's Call would span several more years as House of Blackrock and eventually Powers Inc, my time ended in August of 2003 as I began playing elsewhere, in a galaxy, far far away...   TBC     Source: CotP History: Part 1

Throne

Throne

 

Ork Murder and Wizards

So this is my first venture into blog territory, and i thought it would be appropriate because i love to write and give people something to enjoy. I entitled this 'Joe's Uber Fun Blog' in reference to my youtube show 'Joe's Uber Fun Hour' which is very different to your usual viewing, anyway i didnt start this to talk about my show (youtube.com/joesuberfunhour )   so, to the article at hand   Ork Murder and Wizards   For me, as an Australian, Space Marine releases tomorrow, and by god i am keen, i spent about 8 hours today watching someone stream it from start to finish over the internet, and even though i know what happens, ill probably give it a few playthroughs myself. I am a huge warhammer fan, i am tattooed in very painful area's with warhammer art (no, NOT on my nads, thanks for the thought though ) and i plan on having the emperor's litany and alot of chaos and imperial art tattooed on my back, its going to look amazing, and cost me more money than i can save. I have spent alot of time playing through the demo of this and looking at dev diaries and im am very pleased at how the IP was handled, though that being said, it is relic and THQ, who did Dawn of war, making this, so i have plenty of faith (and i did watch the stream, so yeah GG).   Now with Space Marine looking very very good, and worth more than one purchase (to me, games companies that go above and beyond to deliver an amazing product and not think with their wallets deserve my support, so i show it buy buying multiple copies of their product, i have done this with batman arkham asylum, which i own 3 copies -pc CE, steam and ps3, and so far, none others, because no other developer has 'wowed' me like that). with the game being that good, my hopes for the MMO (Dark Millenium Online) of being an excellent game are rising even higher.   ****   So about once a week i check gog.com for any new releases in the hopes i get some awesome hidden gems that i miss, and with great pleasure i was able to see and buy one. Nox was released on gog.com this week to my delight, and by got that games was so far ahead of its time, its just so smooth, the effects in the game are crazy (the freaking mouse pointer on the main menu entertains me WAY more than it should) and the gameplay is challenging and solid. Nox is a game similar to diablo, but without skillpoints and skill trees, you can play 3 classes (warrior, conjuror and wizard) and play through 3 slightly different campaigns. when you level up its like you just defeated an immortal and had a quickening, its brutal as. i chose to play as a wizard, because i love casters, the casting in the game is very different to any other game, and, it may be the fact that im not very sober right now, or that im slack, but im not going to explain it youll just have to buy this gem for 5.99 and get blown away yourself, the game kicks an amazing amount of arse.   ****   so sitiing here in my room, looking at my 30" monitor, typing this, with a self constructed 'Joe Version' Tallie of rum and coke (half a bottle of captain morgan, with coke added to the bottle) i think about how i like to entertain, i like to make people laugh, give people an experience, i try to do that with my youtube show, right now it may seem like just a bunch of cut together videos and music of me and my friends being incredibly drunk, but its more than that, its effort, in my episodic series, im currently shooting my 8th episode in a very different way, with a story and proffesional camera angles and shots, with alot of it being done completely sober, with some slightly scripted dialouge. And this blog, i want to show more of me to this guild, that even though i have been slightly absent from in the past year, i care about, ive been a member for 3 years, been an officer of the Warhammer Online chapter, the leader of the champions online chapter, and moderator of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop board (which i assume and hope in the future ill be in charge of the DMO chapter heres hoping, hint hint)   so thats my first rant into a keyboard screen thing, i am intoxicated check my spam thread in jabberworks, its entertaining to say the least, i try to sound all coherent when im not, its great   um, death to the false emperor?   -Fen

Fen

Fen

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