Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Relay For Life Walk in InWorldz



Earlier this year in July, Second Life held it's Relay for Life Walk, the high point of it's RFL fundraising season. Shortly after the Relay in Second Life came to a close for the year, it began on the InWorldz grid. After a few months of various events, came it's own Relay for Life Walk on Saturday November 1.


The event lasted for about 12 hours, from 9AM to 9PM (SL and IW time), and took place across four sims, Tiny Steps For A Cure, Muse Island, InBiz, and Bllavio's Furniture. "Having Muse Island been a godsend to be able to host ... events without occuring sim cost." I was told. This was one more sim in area, than last year. There were a number of Relayers from Second Life there, such as Oldesoul Eldemar, Madonna Daehlie, Wildstar Beaumont, and Bain Finch.


Unlike the track around a carnival build last year, this Walk resembled it's Second Life counterpart more, though was a little different.  The track going around the various exhibits, or camps, was raised a bit off the ground, accessible through ramps or by flying/jumping on it.


Bain Finch took me to the places where two previous major RFL in IW took place, the Fashion For Life and Job Fair. Taking me to the Fashion For Life space station, Bain told me it had been built by Logan Willow and took over a month, "He's been a sponsor of Relay from day one. ... We were trying to get some of the larger InWorldz groups take part. We had the two biggest agencies come together for the show and the Tinies also had a fashion day to help showcase their unique fashion. ... We had 3 fashion days, One for the host agency InStylez, one for New York Modelling Agency and the Tiny got together with the Dinkies for a show."

The Job Fair was in a simpler build, in a skybox high above Muse Island, Bain saying, "This was a dual event with the fair and Art Auction." Of the Job Fair, "It's a way to help promote IWz groups, businesses, land owners,etc. and help bring new people into RFL and RFL to their efforts to reach new members."

"Between the art auction headed by Ferrator Montoya, the job fair by Jillian2000 Quintessa and the Fashion For Life by Raven Dulce they raise 1/4 of our fundraising. Sadly the Fashion For life was Raven's last show as real-life forced her to close InStylez down. Llike always real-life comes first, and that been a rule within RFL too."


Getting back down to the ground, Bain then took me to the Dr. Klatt Memorial. Dr Klatt was the man credited with starting the Relay for Life, "When we heard the news of his passing we decided to do something special. It was unveiled at the start of the Luminaria ceremony. ...  And thanks again to Ferrator Montoya and Cassie Eldemar and few others they made that from a rough concept Panza and I came up with. Te Memorial Gardens will also be renamed the Dr Klatt's Memorial Gardens."


"The other big story is Lady Cha," Bain went on, "At the end of last years Relay she found Relay and created this sim in something silly like two days. We came over and our jaws dropped. (Her) goal is to turn this sim into SL ACS Island for survivors and caregivers."


Bain did have some bad news, "but sadly, she been fighting her third turn by cancer's icy finger. We are all praying hard for her and she's on heck of a fighter. I don't think she knows how to give up. I hope some day soon, you can interview her. She's a lovely soul."



As it turned out, there was some debate about how long to make the Walk event, "I didn't know until IWz there 3 different plans, the normal 24 hours one, a 12 and an 18 hour one." They had decided on twelve hours due to the size of the track, "Sting had suggest only a 6 hour one, but we decided other wise from the get go."


Bain soon had to go, but I continued looking around for a bit. Looking at the leaves of one tree, I found that they were actually the images of human faces.


Night soon fell, my viewer remaining in region default mode, as I walked around the track.




 The largest build was a castle, standing about seventy meters off the ground, or about ninety above sea level.




After The Walk came to a close came some news. The total number of InWorldz dollars or "Izzies" came to a total of 2 million raised. This is more than twice the amount raised by this time last season.

While the event was smaller than Second Life's Relay Walk, it demonstrated the enthusiasm of it's participants, and showed despite that the Linden Lab Terms of Service controversy that boosted it's numbers in the past is over, InWorldz continues grow and demonstrate great builds, and events, can be done there as well.

Wildstar Beaumont took a number of pictures, which he posted on his Flickr:

RFL IW Track, RFL 2014 The Relay .

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Look at Avination


By Baron DeSantis

Second Life entered my own real life after having seen a television 'techie' show that mentioned it. I created an account, just out of interest, and then began a journey that is still ongoing after nearly 8 years. Much has changed since those early days, the graphics have improved as has the ability to build almost anything you can imagine. My rather dull ‘avi’ has turned into something resembling an actual person. Prices and costs too have changed. No longer do we need a ‘premium account’ to own land and many other things. The terms and conditions have changed almost as much, mostly slid in through the back door. Has anyone actually read ALL the hundreds of pages that the full TaC’s and ToS  entail? I’ll be honest…. I  read about half before my brain dissolved into a gray mush.

Nowadays, rival services have sprouted up so I was intrigued as to how a few would compare to my beloved SL. After a conversation in-world with a friend, I chose to try out Avination. Once having completed a very quick and simple ‘joining procedure’ I entered this new domain. Immediately I felt at home, the controls and graphics were the same using my installed Firestorm Phoenix viewer and so off I went to explore. At the ‘landing point’ there are a number of signs to help orientate you, but if you're from SL you can turn right and click on one that takes you to the main welcome area.

 My main interest was in land prices and the value of your ‘buck’ so after teleporting to an available sim, I was amazed at the difference in both the cost and what you got for your money. Land is sold/rented in the same sizes but the prim allowances are far higher. The sim I was on for example was your standard 65536 square meters but cost less than US$60/month with a prim allowance of a staggering 45,000. Compare that to the same size in SL and it proves the difference in value, a homestead for example allows a paltry 3750  prims fo 7850L$. Now, the currency used in-world at Avination is different, called the C$ and appears more expensive to buy if comparing straight forward amounts. 2000 C$ = 5.98 US$ or £3.88 Sterling. The same amount in Linden Dollars would cost 5.52 US$/£3.58 Sterling (Rates at time of visit). Not a huge difference I agree, more on money later.

As I was comparing this information I received an IM from a guy called Chad. At first I thought he was a salesman for the land, which he was, but he did not go into a sales pitch at all. In fact he was welcoming me to Avination and offered to show me around. Gratefully I accepted and within minutes was given a lovely house to live in FREE for two weeks. That was a bonus I suppose to all the great information that Chad was able to share. This article does not permit me to tell you everything we talked about, much of which was minor chit chat, but the main points I’ll tell you about.

Chad joined Avination, from Second Life, three years ago and “never looked back.” As I did, he found people far friendlier to ‘newbies’ than SL now seems to be and a great deal cheaper to ‘live in.’ Although Avination will run on the viewer I was using, there has been some ‘glitches’ when uploading files so he recommended I download the dedicated viewer instead. Yes, it is possible to get an ‘allowance’ of 10K C$ to transfer certain files, such as textures and yes you can have the same avatar name as SL if you wish. Within SL there are terminals all over the grid where you can arrange all the required ‘transfer details’. You can also transfer Linden Dollars to your Avination account at an exchange rate of approx.. 1000L$ to 800C$. Chad also shared some notecards detailing, in full, how to arrange the ‘allowance’ and avi name (For a copy ask me in-world at SL via a notecard and I’ll send on to you).

It appears that not only is there a mass, and I do mean a massive amount, of free useful (and funny) items available for the newcomer, but there are online advisers 24/7. Called “A-team,” these advisers will help you with any problem you may have and regular meetings are held in-world to discuss/inform about issues or upcoming events. The longest Chad ever had to wait for a problem to be resolved was 24 hours…. compare that to sending in a ticket to Linden Labs!

What had started as a quick ‘compare’ visit lasted over two hours, in which not only did I gain a place to live, some free stuff but most importantly I gained a wealth of really useful information and made a new friend. More on the differences between SL & Avination next time.

Quickie notes:

Avination is based in Germany but uses the Second Life system of time so no scary time comparisons to get used to.  Although much fewer users than SL, this is bound to grow rapidly, so don’t lose heart at thinking there are not enough folk about as this is a great chance to start fresh, but knowing how and what to do without the original ‘mistakes’ we all made when starting on SL.

Simple to arrange transfer of SL name, or create a new one using the well known ‘make own first name and pick a surname’ system.

Land is cheaper to buy/rent with much higher prim allowances.

Extremely ‘newbie’ friendly.

In-world help 24/7.

Many familiar names for businesses etc. There is no Avination version of Market Place as they believe it is better for people to actually visit stores in-world and thus build a rapport with each other and make for a more personal experience.. I agree on that point, though can be a bit frustrating at first.

Controls are almost identical to that of SL and many are easier to use. (if using the specific Avination viewer  recommended).

Now would be a great time to ‘get into the ground floor’ for buying a sim or creating a business base as things will only get busier.

Baron "Baz" DeSantis

Friday, October 24, 2014

Game Review: Archeage


By Nydia Tungsten & Brandi Streusel Tungsten

Part One

At first, I was very leery of the game, ArcheAge by Trion Worlds. I looked at the trailers and still had that bad taste in my mouth from League of Legends. But my friend, Ranchan, assured me it wasn’t anything like League of Legends, that these trailers actually portrayed the game as it was. So, I went ahead and created a Firran character in the game (Cat people…yes furry). They have three other races to choose from as well: Elves, Nuians and Harani. They are split into two factions (WoW flashback) with two races on each side

   You start out in a small village with small quest that will let you level up fast, but what you see in the village, and almost every other village you visit has blue glowing tables to help with your crafting. They are kind of like WoW, but these crafting benches go into more detail than I have seen in any other MMO.
There is a lot of crafting involved in a lot of missions, and a lot of ways for you to earn in-game money: From an outside comment, “as a game with strong sandbox influence, the majority of the content in game is generated by players. ArcheAge features 21 different crafting professions that help to fill the world with everything from potions and weapons to warships and houses.”

There is the Labor Point system, LP for short, which I think is very unique in the MMO industry. This is how they explain it:

“Labor Points” Almost every craft based, non quest action costs labor points to perform. The cost can be as small as 1-2 points for small things like picking flowers and as large a several dozen for more advanced actions like building. Labor Points are gained/refilled over time. A non-premium user will gain 5 points per 5 minutes of play and 0 points per 5 minutes while offline. A premium member will gain 10 points every 5 minutes and 5 points every 5 minutes while offline. The System is rounding up for example something cost 10 Labor Points and your Veteran Rank which gives 5% Labor Point reduce it still cost 10 Labor Points to craft.

There are the classes you can choose from and you get three of them as you progress, so you can choose from any of the ten classes in the game for a unique combination that suits you.  There are even arrows at your feet to help guide you along to your active quests, some people will say these are being held by the hand, but I disagree. It is up to you to interpret where you are and the routes you take, going in straight lines everywhere is not an option here.  The story line I am following is very well written and voiced. The writers should try writing for movies because I have found myself disappointed that the story line would pause until I reached the next milestone of it.

   The Graphics are from “CryEngine 3”. Look for yourself:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oT506JrOX0Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT506JrOX0Q )

This is the official trailer to the game and so far it is holding very true to my expectations through that video. I am only a level 16, so far, as I haven’t been able to play a lot of it but I expect good things of it. You can even have your own land to place a garden for growing your own crops and animals for quests as well as a house or even a castle. This ability is only available for paid patrons of the game, but there are plenty of public garden spaces to use as well. The only catch is other players can harvest after your things have been mature for 24 hours.

Now we come to the only problems I have found with the game and it IS the fact that it is an open world. There are only certain areas you can own land and those have filled up fast already. So the likelihood of you actually getting to build a house are very slim The homes that are there are bunched VERY close together and making them a very unattractive option. Your only option is to find a hidden area, grow what you need and hope you get back to it before someone destroys it or steals it. I have had two friends who have their “hidden” gardens raided.

I won’t bother to open the local chat tab because of all the spamming that goes on with offers to “Buy gold here! We have the best gold prices @wepromisewewon’tscrewyou.com!” Those spammers spoil many of a MMO and they rip people off. Other free MMO’s have found a way to keep the rampant spam off their servers and I hope Trion Worlds will do the same soon.

    In my play through, you can see me create my avatar. One of the drawbacks to me is with the eyes…. They provide very little selection and I would like to see them expand on that. This is my first time play through. Give it a look and let me know what you think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQlm2djv5pg

If you would like to try it for yourself: http://www.trionworlds.com/archeage/en/

 And a few more videos you might enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MO8fL2jYUg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piG3AmM3Pu8&list=PLXI4IP7MnwtZ5M5bCAb8QKuQc-8SpdZW6

Part Two

Okay, I have been playing it for a few weeks now and discovered a few more things about the game. They have a court system where you can be on the jury. At first, you may think this may be a good thing by keeping the griefers on the straight and narrow. Well, it doesn’t seem to work. This system actually encourages griefers because it is the only way the players can become “Pirates”, so they grief more players on a larger scale and get rewarded for it.

While this is technically a free to play game, some of the quests you are given require you to grow items to complete them. The only way to grow what you need is to own land, which you can only do if you are a paying account. There are free, public gardens, but you are limited to what you can grow there.

If you are a player that doesn’t really enjoy PvP games and are hoping to stay safe in non PvP areas….sorry, there are none. Enemy factions can roam freely over all the continents, let alone part of the quest lines will send you into one so you need to go in order to finish the quest that will allow you to build a bigger farm.

  So, you see, there are many draw backs, and there have been times I just wanted to scream in frustration. But it’s beauty of graphics and physics keeps dragging me back. So, in the overall scope of things, I will have to give it a reluctant thumbs up and recommend you to look it over and decide for yourself if it is something you will enjoy.

As always, until next time,  GOOD GAMING TO YOU!

Nydia Tungsten

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dosbox


By Wesley Regenbogen

About DOSBOX
If you were a teenager in real life in the 90s,you probably learned to work with MS-DOS and you had a few programs and games that you liked. With the Windows environment coming out back then, the MS-DOS era was almost done and in most cases you weren’t able to run those programs and games again. The more new versions of Windows came, the less of a chance that you were able to run those programs and games. With Windows 7, 8.1 and the upcoming Windows 10 ( which will be released at the end of 2015, probably ) you don’t have a MS-DOS command-line.
But don’t be afraid, DOSBOX is a program that allows you to run these programs and games like you used to do in MS-DOS. You can download the program at http://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1 and install it. The current version, at the moment of writing this, is 0.74. The installation process is painless ( meaning : easy ) and you can use it directly.
Where do you download old games to use within DOSBOX ?
So, you are probably wondering, “Ok, so you got a program to use old programs and games with? But where do I get the games from, then?”
Well, I found a good website for that. It’s called “Best Old Games.net” and you can find it at http://www.bestoldgames.net/eng/. At the top of the site, you will find letters and if you click them, you get a list with games that are supported by DOSBOX. But, if you already know the game you are looking for, you can use the “search box” under the “Info” section of the site. You can also search games by category, under the “Games” section.
Should you encounter a problem, you can post it on their support forum as well, just click the “Best Old Games Support Forum” button.
Oh yes, I’m going to explain how to run and install programs and games later, but if you download games from the site, they are always in a .zip file format, you need to have a program to unzip them, like 7-Zip or WinZip or similar programs.
How to run a program or game under DOSBOX ?
So, you just downloaded a game on the website http://www.bestoldgames.net/eng/ and you downloaded the zip file and unzipped it with 7-Zip or a similar program. You need to extract it in a directory like C:\DOSGAMES or a similar directory. You can close down the unzipping program. 
Then you click on the “Dosbox v0.74” icon on your desktop. The program opens up and you see a DOSBOX window appear with the “Z:\” in the command-line. You need to follow the instructions below to mount the directory you created earlier ( without the quote signs ) :
At the “Z:\” command-line you need to type the following to mount the drive and directory:
Mount C C:\DOSGAMES”
You get this message in the command-line :
Drive C is mounted as a local directory c:\dosgames”
You can use the command “dir/p” to view the contents of the directory.
To go to the directory of the games that you downloaded earlier, you need to type in the following :
cd [NAME OF THE DIRECTORY]”
Then you go to the directory itself.
Then you need to type the command to run the game, that’s different from game to game, of course.
Some games need to be installed first.
You then need to run the SETUP or INSTALL command to run the setup.
In my opinion, this program is very well and runs smoothly. This is a great program and the site mentioned is one of the best sites to find old games and download them.
Wesley Regenbogen

Friday, October 3, 2014

Game Review: Star Trek Online


By Bixyl Shuftan

Even if you know next to nothing about science-fiction, chances are you've heard about "Star Trek." Taking place in a future time, humans of a long since united Earth along with alien comrades "explore strange new worlds and new civilizations." Since the original show aired in the 1960s, there have been numerous additional telivision series and movies, in addition to books and comics, as it's popularity has grown. And of course there have been games. And more recently, a Multiplayer Online Game based on Star Trek has appeared: Star Trek Online.

Development of Star Trek Online started with the company Perpetual Entertainment in about 2004. But in 2008 they went bankrupt and sold the rights to Cryptic Studios, the makers of the MMO "City of Heroes," which then took over working on the game. Some friends of mine heard about the game sometime around this period of development, saying an alpha version was supposedly playtested at a sci-fi convention. But the game had a lot of problems, notably players had to team up for missions, and when someone had to leave, that left his/her friends unable to finish what they were doing. Even the Trekkers didn't like the game, I was told.

What to do about this problem? Cryptic's designers soon had a solution: make all the players ship captains. Beginning players do a series of missions on foot, eventually ending up in charge of a small ship. Once in charge of a vessel, the player controls its movement, weaponry, and other actions in the game's starship setting. This dual game play of both playing as a character and to "play as a starship" distinguishes Star Trek Online from other MMOs. As players progress in levels, and rank, they work their way up to larger ships.

The setting of the game is that about three decades have passed since the time in which the last of the "Next Generation" movies ("Nemesis") took place. Relations between the Federation and Klingon Empire have deteriorated and the two are once again at war. Meanwhile, a supernova has destroyed Romulus, the homeworld of the Romulans and the capital of their empire. The result are the Romulans spliting into two factions, the Romulan Empire under the old Imperial government, and the Romulan Republic, which favors peace with the Federation and Klingons and doing away with their culture of secrecy from other interstellar societies.

It used to be all players had to start with Federation characters, Klingons available only after players had progressed a number of levels. Now from the start you can play as either, a Romulan, or have a character from each. Players can play up to three characters without paying extra. Federation characters can be human, Vulcan, Andorian, or a number of well-known and not so well known races from within its borders, as well as Ferengi whom presumably some have left their home to become Federation citizens. Klingon characters can play Klingons of course, and a few races under the Empire's dominion, including the reptilian Gorn and the Orions. Romulan background characters are limited to just Romulans. For a real currency purchase, Federation players can have a Caitian (feline), Trill (joined), or Klingon character. Klingon players have the option of a Ferasan (a feline race that possibly might be the Kzinti from the Animated Series under another name) or Trill, and Romulans a Reman (a subject race of the Romulan Empire). All factions are open to having a liberated Borg character (think Seven of Nine) with a real currency purchase as well. You can have either a tactical (fighting and strategy skills), engineering, or science background. Each has it's own perks in the game.

Begining Federation players start out as graduates from the Academy at the top of their class, assigned to be on the fast track to command and made second in command on a ship of cadets under an experienced captain for a training cruise. But disaster strikes, and the Captain is taken by hostiles. Should the player pull through, his character ends up promoted and given official command.

Klingon players start out as a promising warrior who's risen up to the third in command on a Bird of Prey transporting a captured Federation spy. But the ship is attacked on the way, and events result in the player taking command and resuming the mission to take the spy to the Klingon homeworld for questioning. But this isn't the last you hear about the spy, and trying to track him down results in a long quest chain that leads to the character meeting two of the characters from "The Next Generation."

Romulan players start out as residents of a colony world made up of refugees from the chaos that followed the destruction of their homeworld twenty years earlier. Since then, they've gotten along without help from the Imperial government, and are content with doing without them. But just as they're throwing a party to celebrate, they come under attack by some strange aliens aided by the Imperial government's secret force, the Tal-shiar. The player has to fight them, and with the help of an old Romular Warbird parked in orbit gets some of the poplace to escape. The player and his crew end up meeting with D'Tan, the leader of the Romulan Republic whom enlists them to join his cause. Subequent missions involve the player helping to find a world for the Republic to establish itself and getting recognition and aid from the Federation and Klingons, whom at first think they might be some kind of trick by the Imperials. Success however comes at a price. Then Romulan players need to make a choice, will they have the Federation or the Klingons as an ally? Choosing one means access to their ships and some missions.

In carrying out their missions, players will have to do them out both on foot as either alone or the leader of an away team (character or ground mode), or out in space using the ship from the bridge (space mode). For instance, a mission may require the player to destroy a force of attacking ships in ship mode by manuvering the ship and using it's beam and torpedos to destroy (or cripple) them, steering the ship to keep one's strongest shields between they and the enemy. Then the player has to go in character mode to beam over an away team to a nearby planet or space station to deal with attackers whom have beamed down, as well as fix any damage done by them. Enemies destroyed, both in space mode and character mode, leave behind pickups, such as weapons, batteries, and parts. Ships and players, as well as members of the players bridge crew, need to be outfitted with weapons and shields/armor in addition to other fixtures to be more effective in battle. Players and Bridge Crews/away team members also have skills that are useful in fights and can be raised with experience points. Promitions lead to the acquiring of more skills, and able to use better weapons and shields/armor. From certain missions, players earn Dilithium ore, which when refined can be used to purchase special gear and ships.

Besides the missions, players can also get in line for PvP battles, in addition to PvE Fleet Actions in which up to 20 players can take part for a common goal such as beating an invasion fleet. There's also one feature unavailable on most other MORPGs, missions designed by other players. From The Foundry, players can access and play out missions made by others, a unique feature to the game, and can rate them once finished.

As one advances in level, players also advance in rank. At Level 3, players rise to Lieutenant. At Level 10, Federation and Klingon characters rise to Lieutenant Commander, Romulans to Centurion. At Level 20, Federation and Klingons rise to Commander, Romulans to Subcommander. At Level 30, Federation and Klingons achieve the rank of Captain, with Romulans becoming Commander rank. At Level 40, Federation players are promoted to Rear Admiral, Klingons Brigadier Generals, and Romulans Subadmirals. Players get more promotions every five ranks up to Level 60 for Fleet Admirals for Federation and Romulan players, Dahar Master for Klingons. With the rise in ranks comes accessibility to higher tiers of starship, where one can get larger and more powerful vessels, up to Tier Five for the admiral ranks. There's a variety of ships available, such as Federation Lieutenants being offered a choice between an escort vessel with an emphasis on combat, a science vessel that does well with researching and versitile in supporting other vessels, or an all-purpose light cruiser designed to perform multiple roles fairly well. Your character and your bridge crew have skills than can help out in space combat.

There's a kind of crafting system which one can research and develop then build items, presumably one that gets a boost if you're in a science ship. There's also a Duty Officer Assignment screen in which officers of your crew other than the bridge crew can be used to perform various assignments that can take from half an hour to over a day. Completing them can earn experience points and other rewards. Catastrophic failures can lead to the officer developing negative personality traits, or even it's removal.

There are guilds players can join, each with guild banks. Like many other MMOs, there's an exchange where players can buy and sell goods to and from other players. There's also Tribble Breeding, which can be a fun little distraction.

Star Trek Online is Free to Play, but some options are open only if you want to spend a little money, such as wanting to play as a Caitain character. These microtransactions require the use of ZEN credits from the company behind the game, Cryptic Studios. Besides ships and gear, one can use them to buy outfits for one's character, redesign the bridge, get pets, and more.

While there are some things that some players may have a problem with, as some commented the ground and ship modes made it feel like two different games. Or players may feel that some races aren't shown right, such as the Caitians in the game having plantigrade rather than digigrade feet. But all and all, I can only consider this a great game and something Trek fans with PCs (sorry, no Apple OS version) should consider playing. So far I've gotten three characters, one from each faction, to over level 25, and have had plenty of fun doing so. Some "Delta Rising" missions involved characters from the "Voyager" crew, such as Lt. Commander (now Rear Admiral) Tuvac. Some missions involved a bit of time travel, interacting with characters from the Original Series.

Oh, under one faction's quest before you get to Level 25, you will witness one character from one of the TV series meeting his end (No, it's not Wesley Crusher).

So "Live Long and Prosper" and enjoy this (almost) free MMO.

Bixy Shuftan

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Game Review: League of Legends


By Nydia Tungsten & Brandi Tungsten

    I found out about this game through my daughter’s boyfriend, so I Googled it and took a look at some of the trailers of the game. When I saw the trailers, the graphics, the action, I was TOTALLY blown away, so I downloaded it. I was excitedly unable to believe a game like this was free to play. I watched even more trailers as I waited, getting more and more excited!

   Here is what I saw:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzHrjOMfHPY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nlJuwO0GDs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEnsqpThaFg
https://www.youtube.com/user/RiotGamesInc


     After seeing them, I couldn’t wait. I was almost drooling with anticipation to create one of those majestic characters that I had seen  (I loved the Neko), but instead of the game I was looking forward to, (sighs) I got this….  http://www.twitch.tv/nydia_tungsten/c/5192980 (may take a few minutes to load for some).

Now, I am not saying it is a bad game, (even though the tutorial leads you by the hand and speaks to you like one would to a toddler away from it’s mother for the first time) it is probably a great game for those that like the 3-D side scroller type of game. But, I am not one of those, and after seeing the trailers and getting this, I feel like RIOT games LIED to me…..offered me candy then shoved castor oil into my mouth ( I am being nice here, Bix ). To say I was disappointed would be like referring to Jaws as a guppy.

    Now, I try to keep my personal opinions to a minimum as I review any game, I truly try and give it a fair chance no matter the genre, but after the blatant misdirection of RIOT with their trailers, I cannot in all honesty give this game a fair review. As I am writing this, I am going so far as to uninstall it and vowing to never touch it again and SERIOUSLY even giving thought to not try anything from RIOT again, ever! I absolutely HATE bait and switch and I feel that is what they are trying to pull with this game.

    If you like the 3-D side scroller’s, you may thoroughly enjoy this game, but with this bitter taste in my mouth, I cannot, nor will I ever play it again. But, I will recommend you try it for yourself but don’t believe the trailers.

    Normally, I would either give the game a thumbs up or down at this point, but I won’t. Instead, I will give the game makers a “Finger up” and recommend they straighten up and fly right.

So until next time, GOOD GAMING TO YOU!

Nydia Tungsten

Monday, September 15, 2014

Microsoft in Negotiations to Buy Minecraft


 By Bixyl Shuftan

Four years since it appeared on the computer scene, "Minecraft" is likely to change hands from the small independant company Mojang to the corporate giant Microsoft. Reports from Bloomberg.com and other sources state that Microsoft is prepared to spend as much as 2 billion dollars to buy the game. The sources have asked not to be named, and stated the deal could be concluded this week. Microsoft and Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, have declined comment.

If true, this would be the first multi-million dollar deal made by Microsoft's current CEO. But they would also be getting an icon of the computer gaming industry, one that has gone from beyond the computer screen to popular culture. More than 54 million people have bought copies of the game, from sign-ups on the Mojang website to versions of the game on sale for the Playstation 4 and Microsoft's X-Box. It has become the third best selling game of all time. But it's not just the games people have been buying. Fans have been putting down money to buy Minecraft-inspired jackets, hoodies, hats, bedsheets and pillows, even plush dolls (insert huggable creeper plushie), in addition to Minecraft-themed Lego brick toys. One can see why the company created by Bill Gates is willing to spend $37 per user.

And what goes on in Minecraft does not necessarily stay in Minecraft. Because of it's ability to be an outlet for creativity, some players have made some elaborate builds. Recently a Cody Littley built a one kilobite hard drive in the game that actually works.


That Minecraft's creator Markus Perrson would be willing to sell to Microsoft might be news to some people. In the past, he has been critical of the large computer corporation, saying of Microsoft about it's criticized Windows 8 computer operating system, "stop trying to ruin the PC ... I'd rather have Minecraft not run on Win 8 at all than to play along." But as time went on, his relationship with the company improved.

So how would being bought up by Microsoft affect Mojang? The company has kept up it's "Indie spirit, not collecting data on it's users and encouraging employees to interact with fans online." With Microsoft having a "much more controlled PR presence ... It would certainly be a test of a culture clash to mix the two."

And of course, how would the buyout affect the game, "There have been cases in the past of big corporations taking someone else's game and turning it into a huge money-flip just to see what they can make out of it. Gamers will naturally be worried about this." Minecraft became a hit not through an ad campaign, but by masses of players who loved the game, spreading it through word of mouth on youtube channels and computer buliten boards.

So would Microsoft suddenly start doing things like offering starter packs of resources to players for a little cash? *Probably* not as the company most likely realizes fans would be very wary of any attempts to tinker with the game for the sake of getting money. So perhaps the company would avoid messing with the dynamics of the game, but "continuing to keep the game as broad and accessible as possible," not pulling it from Playstation, and raising more revenue through licensing of the brand by partnering with media companies for cartoon shows, and of course more Minecraft-related products.

It's also probable that Mojang would continue to develop the game on it's own, being free to work on ideas to continue to improve it, "essentially a Microsoft-funded skunkworks labratory of small and wild game ideas." It's possible part of the company could be split off into "an indie publishing group" with "the money and means to find and fund indie game projects free from corporate bureaucracy and red tape."

But over time, a number of small companies, such as TheHive, HyPixel, have sprung up making money through for-profit servers and other means without any of it going back to the company. It would be a challenge for Microsoft to  work with this "accepted and important part of the Minecraft ecosystem," but it isn't unreasonable to expect the megacorporation to work out a way for them to keep on going as before in exchange for a share of the profits.

But as gamers from places such as Second Life have found, such best-case scenerios do not always come to pass, and instead you have companies making short-term moves on raking in the money. Mojang's current business model is basically the gamer spending $27 on Minecraft once, and then the company never makes a dime off them again. So there is the possibility of perks introduced into the game for small fees, even as Minecraft fanatics howl that the spirit of the game is being ruined. The Mojang team that developed the game could end up leaving when their contracts are up, and further development is done by one of Microsoft's internal teams, eventually making it feel not quite the same to it's fans.

Microsoft could also start pulling the game from rival platforms. No longer would the game be available on Playstation, Android, or Apple. Modifications to the game such as the popular "Feed the Beast" could also vanish as Microsoft demands that Minecraft be played only on it's own servers. Finally, there are the gamers building things such as "Star Wars" Star Destroyers, "My Little Pony" characters, and  more. It's possible Microsoft's legal team would be too skitish of lawsuits by other corporations, and start cracking down.

But as writer Justin Davis of ign.com put it, neither a best case scenerio or a worst case one is likely to be enacted in it's entirety, "the truth is that there is no way Microsoft spends billions to acquire a single game without an expectation and plan for making more money from that game. But if handled with plenty of care, paitence, and thoughtfulness, this added emphasis on money doesn't need to ruin Minecraft's open nature or it's continued indie appeal."

It's possible that the deal might be called off. After all Minecraft is still making a lot of money, and Persson has bickered with Microsoft in the past. So for now it's fans watch and wait, hoping that the creeper outside their door in the game is the only thing they have to worry about.

Sources: BBC News, Bloomberg, IGN, Forbes, Polygon 

Bixyl Shuftan