Monday, September 7, 2009

Nanovor have taken over the world

About three days ago the kids and I were watching Cartoon Network when a commercial for nanovor popped on.



I didn't think much about it until after the commercial when the kids literally jumped out of their seats and wanted to go check it out on the computer RIGHT NOW I MIGHT DIE!

So we went there.

Three days later I am 20 dollars poorer from buying two of these nanovor toys at Toys R Us, and a lot more educated about how a "red spike" move might be accomplished by a 2.0 evolved nanovor bug.



This is what I do. I teach my kids how to kick your butts and unleash them upon you. Sorry about that.

As a parent, I was glad to see there were some chat controls available to me, so I'm in!

Nanovor is a pvp-only online game where you pit your swarm of microscopic bugs against an opponent's swarm of microscopic bugs.



The above shot is the initial battle screen. What you see there is that my character has five bugs in his swarm and has chosen the Plasma Lash nanovor to begin his battle. The Plasma Lash bug (or at least this generation of the bug) has four options to choose from: head whip, electro-lite, yellow spike, and skip. The battle proceeds as I choose one of those and click on the opponent's location (unless I choose the spike), and then I finally click which bug to swap out on the next round and reclick on your opponent's location.

After the battle orders have been made, my bug and your bug go at it.

This repeats and repeats until one person either leaves the game in frustration or one person's swarm is obliterated.



SPLAT! like that.

There is progression in this game so far (I mean, we've only been playing the game for 3 days or so . . . we don't know how far this will go yet). After playing and winning a few battles, you'll eventually earn a few badges.

Badges in this game are awesome things. Some of them will result in a new nanovor being added to your swarm and perhaps a few EMs. EMs are the stuff of evolution--Primordial ooze in a microscopic test tube. If you get the right combination of EMs you can take your bugs and evolve them into tougher 2.0 (And on) versions.

Here's a picture of a tank walker bug we evolved into it's 2.0 version.



Evolved bugs are stronger and usually have either more deadly attacks or more beneficial overrides. ahhh! We'll get to overrides . . . be patient.

Now besides earning your bugs and EMs through badges, you can also buy nanocash. Nanocash is where the free game ends. Each of those two 10$ Nanovor toys up above came with 400 nanocash. With nanocash you can buy three things. 1) a bug and 3 EMs for around 65 nanocash or so, 2) 6 EMs for around 55 nanocash, or 3) a whopping 6 or 7 bugs (always guaranteed a rare bug in the bunch) for 275 nanocash.

Here's a picture of my daughter opting for the 6 EMs choice.



Many bugs evolved this day . . . many bugs.

So, as we were saying, What the heck is an override? Overrides are buffs that you can apply to your nanovor to make it stronger, faster, or more deadly. Some are single use buffs (the spikes specifically) and some stay with your swarm until you cast over the top of it or win the match. You can only have one override running at a time.

Here's my one and only tip for you guys on overrides. Don't waste your breath casting a spike if you don't have a 2.0 version of a bug in your swarm that can actually make use of it. Not every 2.0 bug can make use of a spike either . . . only specific ones.

I think you'll figure it out from there.

Now, do I have complaints about Nanovor? You bet I have complaints! Who the heck wants to battle in a black 2-D boring space? My kids and I came up with a very compelling background space out in the parking lot in about 5 seconds.





Come on (who makes these things?) Smith and Tinker, Inc! You can do better than a black background!! We've seen your cartoon episodes; we expect more awesome backgrounds! (How'd I do at my angry consumer voice? not good?)

word.

See you in the Nanovor space!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

. . . but are you Dragon Blade tough?

Yeah, I've been playing this action game on the wii. I bought the game for ten bucks, and . . . I'm liking the change! haha.


Just to warn you up front, Dragon Blade gets ripped to shreds in two or three reviews over here at IGN and it is a couple years old, but there are also a few good reviews as well, so read on and let me add mine to the pile . . . I've so needed this game lately.

I like MMOs and I like playing "cute" games with my kids, but sometimes I need the difficulty to be raised a few notches, and Dragon Blade reminded me that games can be tuned a bit more difficult and be a bit more unforgiving. I NEEDED that.

What I like about this game is probably what most people hate . . . the graphics. They're "Everquest I" awful. You know when you see repeating textures forming an unintended pattern on the ground, that you're playing something that's going to remind me of everquest. I remember loading up Everquest back in the 2000's and thinking . . . you gotta be kidding me, these graphics are horrible. Then the social atmosphere of EQ overtook me.

So, because I think in terms of MMOs. This is like hack-n-slash meets a solo person "raid encounter" from Everquest. You grind on regular mobs and then you fight the raid boss for uber loot. Let me give you an example of game play here by talking through one of the encounters.

This is King Tyl (please excuse the poor quality graphics . . . it's a photograph of a television set showing a game with dated looking graphics as it is)


King Tyl is hear to kick your butt. He's bigger than you, and he has a massive arm that delivers a wicked punch--both to your face and to the ground to cause shockwaves. He's also fond of dashing at you and running you over . . . only to punch the ground when you get up.


The key to beating any boss in this game is to discover their pattern and exploit that in their weak moments.

So here's what I figured out on this particular fight, which I died on a number of times and had to restart . . . I'm guessing 15 times at least.

King Tyl shoots streams of fire at you when you are away from him, so you need to dodge right and left as you get close to him. When you get close to him, he switches from streams of fire to ground shockwaves. To get him to perform a shockwave, you need to time it just right so that you run into his close range and then back out and then run back in again. Right after he does a shockwave to the ground he will be vulnerable for about a second.

After hitting him when he's vulnerable, King Tyl punches three times in his close vicinity and then braces to charge. You need to run slightly more than half way to the other side of the small small arena at that time. The moment after he charges is the moment he is vulnerable . . . that's when you break out the right dragon arm and just work him over with about four or five swipes with either your sword or your dragon arm.


If you get low on health (because you will make mistakes), you need to run to one of these "bells of health" (groan at the bad pun) and refuel.


Where it gets tricky is that when you defeat his "powerful" version, you need to have at least a good half bar of fire power left (there's a life bar and a fire power bar . . . you know, health and mana . . . just like in EQ) to finish off his "exposed" version. This is a common denominator in boss fights in Dragon Blade. You slash your way through a blue bar of life to expose a green bar of life. Once you get to the green bar of life, you have about 3 minutes or less to defeat your enemy or they heal themselves up to about a fifth of their blue bar.

The resulting fight is a weaving in and out and back and forth to finish this guy's complex pattern off. It's not an easy task, and when you defeat him after your 16th try, you . . . and your kids scream with delight. Not only because you *finally* beat this guy, but also because he drops the left arm of dragon killing awesomeness.


We had fun playing around with this new feature after the fight. When your character has his left arm drawn he slowly walks toward you with these ominous arms of fire. If you turn up the volume on this clip, you'll hear me saying in a funny accent, "where am I going?" while the character is walking away and then "I'm coming for you!" when I spin him around. hehe.

video

I gotta warn you though, your wrist and arm are going to be sore after playing this game. Since you use the wii remote to waggle your way through this game, it gets to be a bit painful.

Bottom line with this game for me is this: If you're looking for a challenge on your wii system, this might be a good game for you to pick up . . . especially if you can find it in a blockbuster for 10 bucks like I did.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Neosteam, is it for kids?

Repost from my Friendly Necromancer blog

Well, I started playing a new game called Neosteam about two weeks ago just to see how it was. I'd read a little bit about it in the latest Beckett's and thought I'd try my hand.

I'm now level 22 Lupine Strider, and I'm actually having a lot of fun playing this game. I mean, I'm basically a furry wolf guy brandishing a giant sword and towing around an animated golem pet I call gumby (whom I captured inside the belly of a land whale believe it or not).



I mean, yeah, that's fun right? It certainly looks like my kid would like that.

And yeah I stepped inside an AT-ST type of machine and blew away ten ant sized bad guys.



Of course that's fun! It's Star Wars! Kids love that stuff! I certainly did when I was a kid.

I mean, who wouldn't want to play a free (so far) game-that-shall-not-be-named-clone with more technology than a golem engineer in the aforementioned game can shake a stick at? Sure the soundtrack is horrible and the font is ugly, but it's free and looks awesome on my computer. Right?

ahem.

Excuse me while I take the subway train in neosteam to another train of thought.



Well, here's the deal, after watching the general chat fly by and having my eyes burned by what was being said and seeing that you can buy the female avatars bikinis with RMT . . . I figured this is a game that I'm really only going to be playing before the kids are up or after they go to bed for the most part. Or I may just have to play it real careful.

Here's something you can do as a parent if you're trying to filter out some text.



So luckily, by clicking those buttons you can turn off certain zones of chat (usually World Chat is where the majority of eye burn happens), but I don't think I can do anything to clothe the bikini-clad, which I've yet to run into. ;-) RUN AWAY FROM THE BIKINI CLAD!

General play seems safe enough so far, but I don't think I really want the kids to be playing this one a lot. As amber would call these elves on neosteam, they are "sexy ladies." LOL.

Just FYI, that's how I see it as of today . . .

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Neverwinter Nights 2

The Sunday night crew that I play with finished up Guild Wars and all the expansions last Sunday night.



Strangely enough, the final fight was not nearly as difficult as the two fights before it. So, our quick win kind of took us by surprise.

This week has been all about finding out what the heck it is that we will be doing over the next year or so until Diablo III is released. Unfortunately the official word is that they won't give us a firm release date. You know how Blizzard works. They like to get everything and every detail wonderful before they hit the release button. That's too their credit. Yup, I just complimented Blizzard.

After considering Space Siege and Titan Quest, we eventually rested upon Neverwinter Nights 2 (NWN2). After downloading the game and playing it for a couple hours last night . . . boy do I hope we've made the right decision. You see, Guild Wars was pretty fast paced. Things happened relatively quickly and it was an adrenaline rush at some times. NWN2 is more strategic than Guild Wars. I really hope the guys like this. The interface is also a little weird. moving the mouse to the edges of the screen to rotate the camera is odd and you have to press the asterisks key a few times in different situations to get the right view. It's highly likely that I'm just in the noob phase here where I'm learning controls.

What I do like about it so far is that the story is much more in depth and rich. There's more cut scenes (at least here in the beginning).

So, here goes nothing . . . I imagine our troupe will start playing either next Sunday night or the one after that.

OH! ONE MORE THING!

During all this research I actually did find a game I want to give a shot. I don't think it'd be right for our crew, but I think I want to try Demigod. I'll have to keep you informed if I jump in with both feet or not.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I AM STINGITE

Hi. I'm Stingite. I've been blogging haphazardly for a few years, and that should probably stop. Well, the haphazard part, not the blogging part. Ok, both should probably stop, but I'm not that smart. Yes, long drawn out self-torture is the only way to fly. I've blogged about Lord of the Rings, and I'm still blogging about Wizard 101. All my old wonderful writing from EQ are lost somewhere that I'll never get them back most likely, but I might try.

So, first things first, a repost of a blog of mine from The Friendly Necromancer where I tell about the name stingite. It's where I'm getting the name for this blog.

So I've been getting some questions as to where the handle "Stingite" comes from. No, it doesn't come from some strange adoration of the singer Sting. Although, good on him for trying to take on the ballads of John Dowland. And, no, it is not some equally strange worship of Bilbo Baggin's knife named "Sting."

So, sit back and relax while I tell you of the origins of my handle Stingite.

*begin cut and paste*

Stingite originally is this fella.



That's Stingite standing tall in a place known as the Plane of Time in the game Everquest. Though there were a couple MMO's before Everquest (or EQ), EQ is the father of a lot of these MMO games, or sometimes called a first generation MMORPG.

Around the time Amber Deathsong was born (in real life) there was a fantastic expansion to the game of Everquest called, The Shadows of Luclin. I had played a cleric class up to that point, but I knew that I really wanted to play a new class that was released with the Luclin expansion called "The Beastlord."

Oh man, they were awesome. Everyone in my guild (that's a big group of people that hang together under a name and get a private channel between friends) was pretty irked that I had switched classes from a cleric to a beastlord, but they hadn't had to suffer the indignation of staring at their spellbook for a year while they all ran around hitting stuff. (you used to have to sit and stare at a really dumb spellbook graphic to regain your mana faster.)

I also knew that I wanted to be an iksar. I mean, who doesn't want to be a scaley lizardman character at least once in their life? Not only that, my favorite starting area of any Everquest land (and believe me, there were tons of starting areas) was the field of bone, which was dominated by iksars. The field of bone was overrun by tons of these guys, scorpions.



So, knowing that the land my character was birthed in had a lot of those scorpions, I called myself STING-ite . . . or "of the sting." And it just kind of stuck from there. The following four or five years that I played Everquest just kind of solidified that name for me. I mean, when every time you log in and say hello in guild chat and everyone says, "STINGER!" or "STINGI!" or "STING!" it just kind of becomes a big part of your online persona. I AM STINGITE!

Of course I took the name on to other games like World of Warcraft (hunter character with a spider pet named "rimshot").



or Guild Wars (ranger beastmaster build with a lizard pet named "shoes") . . .



Or Lord of the Rings (champion, dual wielder major aoe dps man)



And pretty much any save file I do on any console game . . .

It just kind of became my handle online, which reminds me . . . I need to go reserve that name in free realms. If only Wizard 101 would find a way to approve that name for me somehow. That would be awesome. I'd drop "Thomas Lionblood" in an instant.

So that, my friends, is where the name Stingite comes from . . . a lizard man character in the game of Everquest who grew up in a land of scorpions.

*End cut and paste*

So that's that . . . this blog has begun! Finally, a place to call my own where I can blog about ANYTHING rather than specific things! Games, movies, thoughts, but mostly games. Finally. Well, I hope it goes well at least.

Now to come up with a fancy tag line like the "Happy Dueling" line I use on my Wizard101 blog. Meh, I may just keep that one.

Happy Dueling!