Friday, November 28, 2008

I levels mah dudes

I've been doing a lot of leveling up lately. I took a character all the way through the Mages' guild quest line in Oblivion, getting him up to level 7 in the process. That doesn't sound like much, but I spent around 14 hours total with the guy working my way up to Arch-Mage of the guild. I don't know what it is about Oblivion, because the game is kind of badly put together and dumb in a lot of respects, but the world they've built there is pretty awesome.

It's cool to see how all the little stories you get from random quests and the main quest lines interweave. Take for example the Count of Skingraad, whom we know from another quest is a vampire. He plays some part in the Mages' guild quest line, too. Then there are the plans by the Necromancers (the antagonists of the Mages' guild quest line) to learn to summon Daedra from Oblivion, which you learn of by seeing books on Daedra and encountering stunted, weakling Daedra in one of your final raids on a Necromancer stronghold. That whole idea dovetails nicely with the plot of the main quest line in the game, about the cult Mythic Dawn which opens all of the Oblivion gates, letting Daedra into the world to herald the coming of Mehrunes Dagon, lord of that plane.

I've created another character to take through the Thieves' guild quest line, he's a Khajit Acrobat. I want to see how a stealth class plays in this game. I might then take him through the Dark Brotherhood line, or create an Assassin for that. That will leave the Arena line, which I'm not really interested in, and the Knights of the Nine and Shivering Isles quest lines, both of which require expansions. I think I'll hold off on those and get the PC version sometime for them.

The other night I felt like playing some more Diablo, so I jumped back into Lord of Desctruction, and fought through the middle third of that the fifth act of Diablo II. My Assassin is level 32 now, and I still don't have all of the skills unlocked. I think I've taken too scattershot of an approach with her. If I were to do it again, I'd focus more on one or two aspects of the skill tree rather than all three.

The last RPG I've been playing is WoW. I've got my Warrior up to level 10 now. I don't know what they consider zones in this game, but I'm at the third quest hub, which to me appears to be in the same big zone as the last two, which is called Durotar, and is where all Orcs start out. I've played solo the entire way so far, and only chatted with a couple of people, incidentally. At this point it might as well be an offline RPG, for how I've been playing it. I hear the game can be soloed all the way up to 80 now, but I wonder about the raids that start at around 60 or whatever. Do people still do them? I guess if I get that far I'll find out.

In comparison to FFXI, I'd say WoW is much more of a PC-centric game. Not a surprise since it was a) native to PC, and b) created in the West. The interface is well done, and of course the mouse and keyboard combination is integral to that. FFXI was much more built around a PS2 controller and keyboard combination. WoW is also much more user friendly, due to Blizzard apparently actually listening to their playerbase from time to time. There are handy keyboard shortcuts, lots of options to tweak, etcetera. And you can swim.

I played a little Halo online with some friends this week. We went 5-0 in a Social Slayer playlist, which was pretty remarkable. That's what good communication can do for a team. And finally, I downloaded SSFIITHDR, as I'm calling it. I suck at Street Fighter! I hop on to the online quick match matchmaker, and nine out of ten fights my opponent is Ken. No shit. the remaining 10% of the time is about half Ryu, and an equal distribution of the rest of the cast for the final 5%. I play Chun Li, having mastered Ryu and Ken many years ago, on the SNES. I've won maybe 2 matches online out of the 15 or 20 I've played. This game looks sweet in HD, though. It's too bad they couldn't add in more frames of animation, but that would have totally thrown off the gameplay, which at this point is more familiar to gamers than their mothers' faces.

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