December 21, 2011

I Guess The Doctor Is Too Busy Guiding People Through Tutorials To Actually Help.

Today I played a Doctor Who MMO thing.
I was just looking at it and then I learned you could be a cat person so of course I played. I am a very predictable furry.

Basically, if you want to play a lot of shitty in-browser versions of Puzzle Fighter, Bust-A-Move, Pipe Dreams, and Sega Swirl, this is really the game for you.

You make your dude, and then the Doctor picks you up in the TARDIS! Whoo! I will give the game this: it looks really nice. It’s clearly flash-animated so that every animation isn’t individually drawn, but it has a great art style that looks really nice, and the little animated version of The Doctor is spiffy. Anyway, you go into the TARDIS and the Doctor says things like “Blah blah blah time crisis blah blah blah probably going to fight all the villains from the show since it’s relaunch in sequence blah blah.” And then he gives you a gadget, which is TOTALLY NOT A SONIC SCREWDRIVER because it sucks and you have to play little minigames to do things. Either that, or the Doctor is just really, really fucking good at Bust-A-Move, because he can unlock a door in like a second and it takes me clearing like 3 boards of Bust-A-Move to do that. Then you go out and you fight some of the plastic people from the first episode using your PUZZLE MINIGAME POWERS. I assume you eventually move to other times and places and fight other enemies from the show, but I certainly didn’t get that far. It’s also weird that, if I have gone back in time to the point where the plastic people were invading, then Earthlings don’t know about aliens. I’m a cat person. Shouldn’t they all be fucking terrified of me? World going to shit and whatnot? Or do they just assume the furry convention is in town or something? I assume they have furry cons in London.

Anyway, back to the game. Another thing I will give the game credit for is this: you really aren’t doing like… typical video game stuff in theory (although in execution, it’s just puzzle minigames, as I’ve said). The game has you unlocking doors, interrogating people, rewiring gadgets, and distracting enemies. You’re not running around with a gun and shooting people. You’re doing what the Doctor does in the show, which is to the game’s credit. You team up with a bunch of other players (in theory. This beta didn’t seem to have that working.) or if you solo, you get some AI characters to help you. You assign them to tasks and you do some yourself, or help them do them faster. “You barricade the door, you keep the woman calm, and I’ll hack this computer!” Again, in theory, really like the show, but in practice, it’s just playing board after board of these puzzle games, so it gets old fast.

The conversation, or “wits” minigame as they call it, is especially kind of bad. It’s like Sega Swirl, except there are ways to make special gems that do things like clear a whole line. In practice, this means that once you start a combo, it can kind of go on FOREVER. I had a combo last for a solid minute without me pressing anything in the game. And that combo didn’t give me enough points to finish off the task I was doing. Thanks, game!

The game’s microtransaction system really confuses me too. Going on missions and upgrading your gadget and whatnot requires “Energy.” The game always said I had 0 Energy, and was asking me to buy more, but it let me do everything anyway. Sometimes there was a number to the left of my Energy, which decreased when I did stuff. Maybe that was my actual value and it was a bug? In any case, it was not explained how Energy works. Is it a currency that regenerates over time, like in Spiral Knights? I kind of doubt it, though, as it’s required to buy clothing and TARDIS decorations and shit, so I assume it’s just a straight up microtransaction currency. If so, then that just seems really, really stupid. You have to have some way to keep free players coming back to play the game, so they’re tempted to spend money, whether that be “You can only play so many turns a day, unless you spend money” or “You can go in this special dungeon if you spend some money” or “You can play with this sick gear if you spend some money.” But just requiring a purchase to straight up play after a trial period, especially when your game is like this? That seems dumb. Then again, the BBC is stupid enough to price Doctor Who seasons at like 90 dollars in America for no fucking reason, so maybe that’s just that tendency shining through. Either way, the game doesn’t explain how this stuff works clearly, so who knows.

I… can’t suggest you try it? I mean, go for it, if you want. You don’t have to be a cat person. You could be, you know, a human. Or some green dude with a weird forehead. And maybe it’s just being aimed at kids, and that’s the problem. I mean, I could see having fun teaming up with my kid or whatever and playing this stuff. But I dunno if it would keep a child’s interest much longer than mine, unless they really, really wanted to see the outcome of the little stories in each level. Eh, I dunno.

July 4, 2011

Stars and Stripes! Charging Star!

I don’t do these very often anymore, but it’s the fourth of July and I kind of want to talk about it, so, you know. Let’s talk about the Operation Patriot Shield.

I’m rather enjoying it.

Normally I enjoy items that give me more content or jokes or entertain me or something of that nature. I’m not normally one for an item which such a pure benefit to stats and whatnot, but man, there’s just no hiding the fact that this shield is the Bee’s Knees. (I should be scared of those knees, since I’m still in Bees Hate You.) It just completely smooths gameplay. The shield throw is so useful you’re going to use it every fight, and it’ll always be useful in said fight. A one-turn stun, which might let a familiar get a free action, followed by a free crit is amazingly useful for taking on enemies you may not be able to handle otherwise. I’ve been equipping it with my Haiku Katana, so now I have two assured crits a fight, if I want them. This has been a lifesaver in Bees Hate You, as I’m now on the battlefield, where I have to lose tons of HP to Bee attacks every fight, and this assures I can still kill people.

I’m also just surprised that the simplicity of “different enchantments per class” hasn’t been used before. Most of them seem fairly useful for the class, too! Though I would probably want the Clubber’s enchantments when a Turtle Tamer, and the Disco Bandit’s when I’m an Accordion Thief. Then again, I suppose it gives me a reason to use Sing, so that might be worthwhile anyway. Either way, the class enchantments are all useful, and lend it a bit of variety, though the main use of +stats and the stun sticks around either way, so, you know, it’s only for a bit of flavor, I suppose.

Seriously, though, this reminds me of how excited I was about the stupid Pokemann Band-Aids that my pen pal keeps sending me. I started saying “fuck it” and using them, and having all that constant healing really picked my game up and made it more fun for me. It let me keep going, as these days I tend to just stop playing once I run out of VIP hot tub uses. Heh. I play the game out of habit, nostalgia, and wanting to keep up with the new stuff. I’m far, far beyond playing it for any level of challenge. This shield makes the game fun and easy, which I appreciate more and more. I’m never going to turn down more content, but I think that this is a pretty solid item. It’s certainly better than the Pilgrim Shield, which I guess this is supposed to be a replacement for. Well, I think it’s better. Shield throw. Fuck yeah.

March 21, 2011

I’m Sure The Damage He’s Doing Is Ironic In Some Way

I remember a time when I used to review Items of the Month! That was a time when I had less of a problem playing my turns every day, so that I could actually get around to trying out the items at a decent time. This isn’t happening anymore! Thus, especially with KoL, I have no idea what some of the IoTMs I bought do until months and months after, mostly because I am still insistent on doing 100% familiar runs. Thus, these reviews have fallen a bit to the side.

But I kind of wanted to talk about the Mini-Hipster. I’ve been using mine during this current KoL run that I’ve been working on, off and on, and he just really surprises me. At first glance, he’s kind of one of those “jack of all trades” familiars, which do all kinds of random shit all the time and I generally enjoy. He has the free combats tacked on to make him interesting to people who don’t just like cool shit, but he’s mostly just a familiar that does cool shit.

But when the Mini-Hipster single-handedly one-shots the Bonerdagon, well, I have to wonder what is up.

Seriously, the attack damage of the Hipster’s attacks is insane. I’m at a point in my run where I am doing maybe 50 damage with a regular attack, if I’m lucky, and the Hipster is doing 200-300 damage every time it decides to do an attack action. Of course, one of it’s attacks is Hot-Based, which is how it managed to take out the Bonerdagon with ease. I will admit that a dedicated attack familiar would probably do that much damage, if not more, over the course of a battle, but a dedicated attack familiar would not also be healing me and giving me lots of stats like the Hipster does. It just seems crazy.

I’m sure it’s not as crazy as I’m making it out to be, of course. It is a fairly rare action, so you can’t depend on it, and the first action the Hipster takes is always a stat-up action, I believe, so you have to be able to survive at least one hit, if not two, if you’re going to get lucky with it. No serious speed-runner would ever actually care about it. They’d just want the free combats against scaling monsters for free stats. Still, it feels like something is broken each time the hipster lazily shakes greasy hair sweat towards an enemy and it does 5 times the damage of my normal attack in sleaziness. I suppose that’s kind of the benefit of using Mr. Store stuff, though. It’s supposed to make you feel powerful, or like you’re getting away with something cool. I can’t say that isn’t why I pick them up. But normally there’s a sense of balance around them, or a sense of what it’s doing that’s powerful being very tied-in to the general theme or whatnot of the item. I don’t see that with these attacks. They strike me as odd.

I’m still going to enjoy the free kills but, yeah. Odd.

October 1, 2010

Retcon: Day Whatever Today Is

I just thought, for lack of anything more structured to say today, I’d collect some of my thoughts on Retcon thus far. (Retcon being the new Twilight Heroes ascension-style mechanic. You did read my plea to get you to play, right?) I’m going to just be open about things, so, you know, spoilarz if you care.

Basically, I thought the last quest was great. It had a nice little mechanic to it, dungeon-crawling through the building. I didn’t find anything particularly hard, but again, it’s designed for level 11 players, and I was level 50. No surprises there. What really struck me is how effective kidnapping my understudy was. I had played the game before understudies, of course, but I mean… I got to name her. She was Sharp-Ears. It really did seem like an affront, and it was effective. I could see a new player, who didn’t have a huge stockpile of sidekick-summoning items, really having a challenge without their understudy. We’ll see when I get there on this run, anyway.

The identity of The Mick, as well, caught me as off-guard. Mostly because I didn’t remember who the hell Michael Ace was. As I’m replaying, though, it’s pretty obvious. The problem was me getting quests out of order and years ago at this point. I didn’t remember all the plot points of the story! I’m seeing it set up as I go back through. That’s working well, too.

The actual Retcon itself didn’t work too well, though. I stumbled upon a bug that deleted all my item-summoning IoTMs and gave me thousands of lab suits instead. Of course, Ryme was very happy to help me get them back, which is awesome of him, and he got the bug fixed immediately after that, as far as I know. It’s a small operation, and it’s understandable for there to be a few bugs. It was kind of stressful for a moment, but not a big deal. Heh.

I’m enjoying playing through the game a bit quite a lot. I picked a fairly easy run for this first one, where I get free pulls and an endpoint where I can pull everything (Which, the more I think about it, I probably won’t pick again. 10 pulls a day is more than enough for the whole run, especially if I get access to all my stuff after I beat Ace again) and “Naturally Hyper,” which gives me a little time bonus, but doesn’t let me use caffeine and sugar, so I don’t feel obligated to run as many turns. I really can’t see myself not taking my sidekick from the beginning or locking myself off from gained skills, but I appreciate them having those options. It’s not really for me, though.

It is pretty amazing how powerful some of these IoTMs are, now that they’re in context. The biggest “wow” I’ve encountered is the Exotic Throwing Stars Gift Set. I’m looking through the blog, and I’m not finding a review of it? Must have forgotten to write one that month. Still, I knew it would be useful in this kind of setting, but not THIS useful. Basically all I’ve done is thrown stars to beat every enemy so far. They are obscenely powerful. Maybe I’ll eventually hit a level where they’re no longer slaughtering everyone before they can really attack me, but until then, man. Enjoying them. I’m also getting a lot more use out of the Mummers’ Gloves, now that the random stat bonuses are more useful, seeing as I’m not 10x powerful than most enemies I’m fighting.

There are a few weird choices. For instance, I can use my lost items and stuff on people who are under restrictions. That seems… odd. Maybe that changed or I’m not understanding it, but so I hear. Also, I didn’t get to perm a skill from my first run. That also seemed a bit off, but won’t be that big a deal in the long run.
Still, those are very minor complaints. Not even complaints, really. Retcon is fun times.
Fun times!

September 26, 2010

Basically, I’m Telling You To Play Twilight Heroes.

By the time you read this, Retcon will be happening. Of course, I write shit early, so I don’t have any amazing stories about it or anything, but I mean, I have to get the word out, right? I’ll give it a go.

There was a time when I played so many browser RPGs. SO MANY OF THEM I PLAYED! I did it all the time. You know this, you’ve been to this blog. However, recently, I haven’t really been doing as such. It’s not been from a lack of enjoyment, because when I do manage to jump in and play, I still have fun. Basically, I have trouble devoting my time to anything regularly nowadays, and those games sort of went the same way. It’s a shame, but it’s true. I still play once every week, or maybe less, I do admit, but it’s not a serious thing. I’ve wrung most of the “new” experiences out of something like KoL, and so there isn’t a whole lot extra there for me. I don’t really play games to achieve mastery. I play them to see new things and have fun, you know? I’m a Heart-y Diamond. Or something like that.

However, as I mentioned, Twilight Heroes is starting Retcon today. This is basically their version of ascension from KoL. Ascension is a great, great mechanic, and kept me playing KoL for a long, long time. Twilight Heroes is an equally fantastic game, and now that Retcon exists, I get to see so much more of it. I am never really an “endgame” sort of player in any of these sorts of things, and that’s been the state I’ve been within in Twilight Heroes for forever now. Retcon changes all that, though. I can redo quests I did so long ago, I probably don’t even remember them. I can try out the other classes, and see what I think about them. I can use some of my huge selection of IoTMs that are designed more for lower-level play, and see how they affect things. Suddenly, the game opens up a whole lot of newness. I am completely excited.

Twilight Heroes is a free experience worth your time. Retcon will make the game have a clear ending point, even if it changes down the line. In a sense, it’s “complete.” Because of that, you aren’t going to get a better time to jump in to the game, unless you jumped in near the beginning like myself. This is a perfect time to do that. I do suggest you do that. I’m biased for a lot of reasons, of course. I’ve made some damn good friends from the game, and am pretty damn close to someone who writes for it. But I enjoyed it before I had those connections, and I still enjoy it.

Oh shit, twitter just updated and said it went live. I’m jumping in. You guys should too.

July 25, 2010

Mojo of an acceptable size.

This is the first month in awhile I think I’m skipping both IoTMs. I mean, in general, the Juju Mojo Mask seems like a fairly useful item, but it just doesn’t seem like an item that’s going to get involved with how I play.

Unsurprisingly, this is an accessory with great stats. Anything that says “+2 Stats” is probably going to be relevant. On top of that, you can further tune it to get more stats in Moxie, Muscle, or Mysticality by setting up the various buffs the Mask can get you. It’s pretty all-around stat-tastic. This is why it’s powerful, if anything. The various Mask buffs also do some very nice side-benefits, but setting them up is kind of why I can’t get too excited about the mask.

Basically, for each one, you have to trigger them by doing a particular thing. For Mysticality, you cast a spell. For Muscle, you do a non-spell special move. For Moxie, you use a combat item. These seem fairly simple. These are the sorts of things that people playing seriously do all the time. These are almost trivial in that regard. However, I don’t play like that. I don’t use spells and moves and items anywhere near as much as I could or should. One might say that this would get me to go ahead and use these things. Yeah, that might be. It would certainly work if I was being rewarded with coolness for doing so. However, this is just awarding me with more base power. Again, useful as fuck, but that’s not why I buy these items. Okay, not why I buy them primarily. I want the coolness factor. I’m not feeling it from this.

I mean, this seems like a solid IoTM. Equipment is always of limited use, because it can’t be used in Hardcore. As such, I dunno, I tend to assume that equipment is going to be super-fantastically fun. This is powerful, but seems less fun than I desire. I’m sure most would probably be fine with owning one of these. Me, I’ll sit this month out.

July 20, 2010

Squids make the Best Hats.

I don’t think I really get this month’s Twilight Heroes IoTM.

Seppia’s cephalopod skullcap is a bunch of nice enchantments, but at the same time, extremely situational in it’s “cool” factor.
It’s main “cool” benefits are being a SQUID disc player and letting you breath underwater. There just aren’t that many underwater zones for that to be completely useful, though, and since it doesn’t seem to give any bonuses to SQUID discs (Maybe it does, but I’m not seeing anything about it on the wiki and I haven’t heard anything about it) and you don’t run around with a SQUID player equipped anyway, I don’t see that as much of a bonus.

There’s no doubt that the additional ice damage, a bit of -time, and PP regeneration are all great, though. I mean, those are powerful. But… well… it’s boring powerful. Those might be better than other hats. In fact, I would say that, yes, those benefits are better than most other hats in most situations. It’s certainly the best PP regeneration on a helmet, and while not as good as the -time on the xentrium helm, it’s got the other benefits, so it works out.

It’s just that those things aren’t flashy. I’m not an optimal player. I don’t want bleeding edge. I want cool things. There was an attempt to put interesting flavor on this useful bundle of enchantments, certainly, but that flavor just doesn’t come into play enough. I hope there are people who enjoy the benefits of this, certainly, but I just can’t really get excited by it. Oh well. So it goes.

June 28, 2010

Motorcycles ruin your fantasy game.

Normally, I review all the IoTMs every month. I do this because, I dunno, I’m thinking about them, and it takes up a day, and whatever, it’s fun. However, in KoL, I have, recently, always been in a Hardcore Oxy 100% Familiar run when they come out. Therefore, I don’t often get to try them out until after the month is over, and I’m mostly just working from the data I have about the item on whether or not I think it’s cool.

Well, let’s just say that the rogue program is very cool from a flavor standpoint, but I don’t really get the entire gist of what it does. As a familiar, though, I totally get it. It’s a Starfish that also acts as a potato when you equip it’s familiar equipment. This is something I am totally behind. Mostly because it’s hard not to be excited about anything good which has potato functionality.

The rogue program is a June Super-Content Familiar, so it gives you super-content. In this case, it gives you access to the Game Grid arcade by giving you tokens, which you can use to play various video games. These games are little mini-games which, if played well, give you tickets. You can use these tickets to buy a wide variety of items, including a coffee pixie stick, which is the now-required spleen-for-adventures item in these things. The other items seem pretty cool, too. I could see people getting into the Superduperball, since it just flat-out gives you stats. Could sell for a lot so that crazy rich people could level up without actually spending turns… but, of course, it’s untradable, which kind of kills that idea. The spider ring has a deleveler you can use for free once per combat, which is nice. The finger cuffs are a simple stunner which is always useful to have around. There are a bunch of hats that train different stats, which is always cool. The top prizes are a really good ranged weapon and access to a new chat channel, both of which are fine long-term goals.

To buy these things, though, you need to earn tickets. You do these by playing games, and here is where the part about me not being able to play this content yet screws me. I can’t really determine how cool these games are without playing them. Trust me, I’ve tried! I bet they’re awesome, too. Actually, I have little doubt they are. But I can’t really make vague suggestions about which ones to play or whatever that probably aren’t useful without actually playing them. I guess this is where this “review” falls short.

Still, super content! In a familiar! Which gives you MP and potatoes! And is also a Tron reference! Seems like a no brainer, right? Right? Maybe?

June 25, 2010

A wide variety of barrels to choose from.

I hear work is being done on Retcon for Twilight Heroes. This is top of exciting! It really is. I can’t wait to play through the game a few times like that. It’ll be fantastic. However, we’re still in a pre-retcon environment at the moment, and that means that IoTMs like the n-barreled shotgun are a bit harder sell. It’s an IoTM designed to level up with you, and to be useful in all sections of the game as you go along. However, since the only section of the game that exists for me at this point is the endgame, it’s hard to get all that excited about it? IoTMs like the insanely super XL bowl have similar issues, since they’re only cool in a world where you actually switch character classes on a semi-regular basis. The bowl had the added benefit of being completely hilarious, though, which made me really like it.

The n-barreled shotgun is less hilarious, but still an interesting concept, and it seems solid. +XP just seems like something that’s always going to get those eventual speed-runners excited, and the fact that it can do two types of damage, depending on setting, is something that will hopefully come into play. The top version is no slouch either, which means it should work through the whole storyline thing, though perhaps not competing with the super-high-level stuff. It’s a functional, solid weapon.

However, I have to wonder if I would ever pick this over the GigaGuy Cannon. That gives me access to it’s moves, some of which are really good, but more importantly, it lets me pick up all the healing items. I like healing items. Right now, when I have a billion of them, it’s not important, but in a retcon environment, I wonder if I wouldn’t just use the GigaGuy Cannon until I get really high in level, so I could stockpile those. Still, that’s a personal preference for someone who values healing and defense above everything else, and also, you know, maybe you don’t have a GigaGuy Cannon. If so, I’m sure the shotgun will work great, if you’re wanting an IoTM ranged weapon.

I can’t wait until retcon so I can make more effective value judgments, though. Also, so I can play through all the retcon content, and all the old content again. Excitement!

May 27, 2010

IoTM Review: Bark! Beep! Boop!

Hello. There’s a new IoTM in town. The town of Twilight. That item is the A.R.F. VIP Card.

Basically, if I wanted to be all minimalist or whatever in my description, I would say that this is the TH version of the June Super-content familiar in KoL. This opens up a big zone with lots of little goals and little puzzles to deal with, and it’s actually rather neat. It can either be used to give you a wide variety of buffs, or you can work slowly but surely to collect various scripts, combining them into other scripts, and then using them with Silver comPutty to make some really cool equipment. None of them are going to set the world on fire, perse. None of them are as good as other IoTMs or whatnot. But they’re all quite useful in their own right, and it’s just cool to collect things, yes?
Again, it’s all about long-term goals, and this thing has them. It’d take quite awhile to assemble all of those items. Granted, you do get 20 uses of the A.R.F. a day, but that’s still awhile to collect all of those, since you need to grab degaussers between each fight to collect the scripts.

Finally, of course, is the fact that this item is, much like those content familiars, open to all. Anyone can ask to trade for some A.R.F. passes and get in there. However, unlike a lot of the super-content familiar stuff, you’d need a much bigger stack of these passes. I think this is a good thing. Anyone can experience the content, but it also will create, eventually, at least, an additional market for the passes. One could imagine, anyway.
Erm, well, I checked the auction house, and the auctions are for like… stacks of 50-100, and not that expensive, so maybe I’m wrong there. Oh well. Still, it’s nice that all this solid content isn’t locked out.

Anyway, I think the A.R.F. card is good stuff. I really need to put more time into it myself, and really see everything. The fact that I need to do that is a good thing, I think. This gets my seal of approval. Not that you ever thought it didn’t, I suppose.