Tera: Celebrity toon wannabes via the character creator!

It's not perfect (it's actually pretty racist... but let's not go into that here), but it's very versatile!

Some faces get better results than others though. Those with very distinctive mouth shapes, for instance... :( Don't really come across well.

Can you tell who these toons are based on? >.>

So far I've only made females! But I think I'm going to try some males next!

It's also made me realise that many of our celebrity faces are really... well... uniform and average. OTOH we are sort of trained to find 'average' faces attractive, so that's not that surprising!

Never spent a cent on your F2P game? Congratulations, you're a hare!

I've noticed that whenever an F2P game is criticised as having somewhat evil monetisation strategies, someone will invariably pop up and say, 'I've never spent any money on this game, and I am so leet! You can totally play for free!'

...or at least, for very little!

*Nugget peers at her 2 Forsaken World accounts, with a grand total of US$301 spent in the course of more than 3 years.*

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees.... BUT!

That doesn't make you (or me!) a good little underdog, sticking it to The Man... or whatever the mentality seems to be in most F2P communities I've been a part of.

What that makes us is rabbits.

Or more accurately, mechanical hares.

Modern greyhound racing has its origins in coursing.[1] The first recorded attempt at racing greyhounds on a straight track was made beside the Welsh Harp reservoir, Hendon in 1876, but this experiment did not develop. The industry emerged in its recognizable modern form, featuring circular or oval tracks, with the invention of the mechanical or artificial hare in 1912 by Owen Patrick Smith.

- Wikipedia, the source of all truth! >.>

And the truth is, we're not only not sticking it to The Man, we're actively working FOR him. And we're well worth the 'pay' of our status, and our loot.

Because we run along in front of all the other, newer players who go... wait... if I just work a little bit more, I too can be...!

But it's a rigged game, because a lot of the time, these newer players fail to see the rest of the underlying structure that made us rabbits what we are.

We got in early. We're old players. Who've been playing a long time. We were able to cash in on booms in the economy which are no longer present in a mature game. So even though we didn't spend anything (or spent barely anything)... if you want to match a rabbit today, as a new player... Pay up.

Or sit there wondering why 'these other guys could farm it but I can't'. Then give up. Or pay up. XD

For example, if a newbie wanted to match my toons in Forsaken World today, they wouldn't be able to 'just farm' it all. I'd say at a guesstimate, the combination of both my accounts, if a newbie started playing this week and wanted to be at my power level within that week... conservatively, they'd have to drop about US$4,000 on the game.

That's crazy. But you know, the existence of the rabbits, bounding ahead... if they can run that fast and never get tired... surely I should be able to, too? *chase* *puff* *pant*  *chase* *puff* *pant*

...Ugh! Chasing is hard! I'll pay just a little bit to make things just a little easier.

Congratulations! The F2P game has another new customer, and another potential whale. ;)

Dance Dance Revolution obviously causes crazed shooting rampages! >.>

Ahem. Right. Yes, I am being totally facetious and snarky.

From a very good article on Gamasutra: Video games and gun violence: A year after Sandy Hook.

It's extremely in-depth, and well worth reading. And as to the origination of the snarkiness, here it be:

In November 2013, the Sandy Hook report was finally released, detailing what the authorities had discovered about Lanza and his motives for the shooting. It was a 44 page report, describing the event and what is believed to have been the cause of Lanza's rampage -- but you'll have to scroll a fair amount to find any mention of video games.

That's because, as discovered, Lanza didn't really have any out-of-the-ordinary desire for violent video games at all. Sure, he played them -- the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Grand Theft Auto were found in his basement -- but if anything, he actually had an obsession with a certain non-violent video game: Dance Dance Revolution.

"The GPS found in the home and reportedly belonging to the shooter indicated that he regularly went to the area of a theater that had a commercial version of the DDR game in the lobby," it continues. "In 2011 and up until a month before December 14, 2012, the shooter went to the theater and played the game. He went most every Friday through Sunday and played the game for four to ten hours."

"One of the things that really struck me was it mentioned that he wrote about fantasies of violence for his teachers," adds Olson. "There was just one teacher saying she was really upset about it, it was so graphic she didn't want to share them with other people. That is something you saw with the Virginia Tech shooter as well -- violent fantasies being handed into teachers."

"That's the thing: The typical teenager, especially male, is playing a violent video game on a regular basis, but I don't think the typical teenager is writing about graphic violent fantasties and handing them to people."

Weird. The single, largest predictor for nugget's liking any given game is whether or not it allows minion armies. Usually zmobies.

I was a bit disturbed upon realising this while playing my second day of Age of Conan, yesterday.

Every single game I've loved or really REALLY liked bigtime since LegendMUD (with the exception of Forsaken World), has allowed me to have a minion army. And I'm not even talking MMOs only here, but any game.

I blame it on spending my formative gaming years raising homunculi armies in LegendMUD.

The class I've started with in AoC is the necromancer. I'm level ?10?, I have 4 zmobies gwarrrrrrging along behind me, and I am as happy as a clam despite AoC being fugly and having really really bad animation. XD

Apparently I will forgive near anything if I can have minions.

...can it really be that simple? O.O

Suggest an MMO to a nugget! Preferably subscription-based, not F2P/P2W.

A nugget is currently poking around for a new MMO, due to certain major economic changes PWE made to Forsaken World.

There's a whole lot of complexity around it, but what it boils down to for me, is that I can no longer live off my in-game investments while spending real money on luxuries. Not just that, but newer toons without in-game investments now have real trouble (for the first time since the game was launched) building up enough capital to acquire investments. One of the reasons FW has lasted so long for me is I loved that every dollar I spent on FW felt like a 'treat yourself' vs a 'pay us for basic amenities'. That's gone now.

And soooooo... I'm in the market for a new MMO. Preferably subscription-based, because I don't want to think about money in-game, for a while. I do not believe that F2P games are in any way inferior to, or of a lower quality than subscription-based ones. However, in order to play an F2P game sanely, without turning into a whale, you need to know how much every single thing you do is worth in RL cash. That kinda kills some of the happy escapism, and adds a bit of a DoT effect to the nugget's limited Willpower bar. And for someone with horrible altitis, F2P games change alts from happy new bundles of exploration to costly happy new bundles of exploration.

So for now, I would really prefer a subscription-based MMO, so I don't have to think about stuff like that for a while.

Unfortunately, when I went looking for a subscription MMO, and not a F2P one, I found, to my horror, that the thing I feared 2 years ago has now come to pass.

Everyone has gone F2P, with the exception of WoW. I won't go back to WoW, because I don't like the person I turn into when I play WoW. In a WoW context, I turn into this extremely mercenary creature, who really only ranks and assesses people by how useful they are to her. WoW is the only MMO I've played where I haven't made a single friend, or met someone who could have (given more time) become a friend. So - WoW is out.

I don't want EVE, cause space doesn't do it for me, and neither does open-world PvP. The latter, though, I'm willing to accept if the premise is attractive enough. ATitD was great when I tried it, but really not for me. Sad fact - I'd rather kill than build things. ;)

Which leaves me, really, with no subscription-based MMOs at all. HALP!

MMOs nugget has tried
There are a few missing from the Pinterest board, as I've been too sluggy to add them.

  • Guild Wars 2
    Box purchase and CS based on F2P principles. Broke my heart, don't bother.
  • Guild Wars
    Box purchase. Ah, ArenaNet, I used to love you so much, believe in you even more.
  • Furcadia
    Free. I wish furries were my thing.
  • Runes of Magic
    F2P. Boring.
  • Glitch
    Dead from not doing F2P right. I would have paid a subs to keep it alive if they had asked. I'm sure many other Glitches would have, as well. They never asked.
  • Jade Dynasty
    Rapacious F2P. Wuxia styled, hilarious storylines, but the sheer grind and willpower cost to NOT spend got to me in the end. Also, I still resent them for that $20 mount I had to buy to access my midlevel content...
  • Heroes of Three Kingdoms
    Dead F2P. Closed by PWE after testing some concepts that made their fully-fledged way into Forsaken World.
  • Rift
    F2P, formerly subs. I really wanted to like this game. Trion loves its community the way ArenaNet used to. But the game is simply lacking on every level, from art, to sound, to combat. Does do dynamic events really, really well though.
  • City of Heroes
    Killed by NCsoft, formerly subs. Wouldn't really have interested me anyway. I don't care if it had one of the most advanced character creation screens for its day, if every option is ugly.
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea
    F2P. Fascinating... but F2P, which defeats the point of this whole post!
  • Forsaken World
    F2P. The reason for this post in the first place.
  • Chronicles of Spellborn
    Dead, formerly F2P, then ?free?. Killed itself just as I was getting to know it.
  • Lineage II
    F2P, formerly subs. Beautiful indoors, beautiful character models, hideous outdoors. The last was a deal breaker for me.
  • Aion
    F2P, formerly subs. Took hours to download and install, only to find that my bombshell vixen of a toon walked like a chicken. Deleted in 5ish minutes.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online
    Pay-for-content-unlocks. Fugly. Really smooth, but so ugly I uninstalled 10 minutes after installing.
  • Atlantica Online
    F2P. Can wield a party, much like GW. Horribly ugly, but interesting. But it's F2P!
  • Allods
    F2P. Tried recently to get back into Allods. Unfortunately, GPotato has implemented a ridiculously stupid authentication system, and after the Nth time of being told my password was incorrect, even though I'd just sent a password reset, AND reset it, AND was able to log into the Gpotato site itself, I gave up. All Gpotato games fall under this group now.
  • A Tale in the Desert
    Subs (I think). Great game, if you like building more than killing. I like killing more than building.
  • World of Warcraft
    Subscription with a growing cash shop. I don't like the person WoW turns me into, and I don't like their systems.
  • Tera Online
    F2P, formerly subs. Best combat I've ever seen. Beautiful art, great sound. So why it's not really 'sticky' for me, I don't know.
  • Neverwinter
    F2P. Feels like a cheap rip-off of Tera. As far as I can see, everything Neverwinter does, Tera does better.
  • Age of Wushu
    Paid 'VIP' status. Extremely promising, love the artwork, love the combat. Unfortunately, it's trying for an EVE-style economy, and from what I could see before I stopped logging in - it isn't working. At all.
  • Lord of the Rings Online
    Pay-for-content-unlocks (I think). Couldn't install on 2 computers now. Can't be bothered to troubleshoot.

Tera Online: Sidesaddle wut?!

It doesn't bug me at all that my slip of a girl Lancer somehow fights on foot with a lance twice her height and with a haft that is about the width of her waist.

It doesn't bug me that she has stiletto heels on her solleret, to go with her lingerie platemail.

But DAMN, it really freaking bothers me that she rides sidesaddle! LOL!

Age of Wushu - Wonderfully silly!

Not quite the screenshots I intended to post, but this was so silly that I had to share it. ;)

Yes, AoW is full, open-world PvP. Yes, carebear nugget likes it. It feels more like a PK MUD + sandbox than any other MMO I've played, and the world feels like a ... world!

I think one of the reasons the silliness of this dialogue works so well is that (pesky players aside), in other places almost all of AoW is totally IC (in character), and even this one is subtly done.

Exclusivity and accessibility in games, and why I won't buy a point-n-click adventure that I can't find a walkthrough for.

"Lara Croft is parachuting again. She whips in an ungainly fashion from side to side, bouncing off a few spiky twigs with noises of urgent discontent, before slamming full-force into a tree and impaling herself on a large branch. She gurgles brokenly and dies. This isn't the first time this has happened.

It's something like the sixteenth. I splutter angrily and set the controller down. I know this bit isn't supposed to be difficult. It's supposed to be exciting. Someone on the Tomb Raiderdevelopment team came up with the idea that rather than simply transition from one area to the next in a cutscene, it would much cooler if the player were to guide Lara, parachute-bound, through a gauntlet of deadly trees.

It's not cool. It's exasperating. The player suddenly has these brand new 'parachute controls' foisted on them, with no indication of what these new controls actually are. You're given about three seconds to try to work out how to steer before Lara is hurled brutally into an instant-death tree.

You fall back on videogame logic. Left stick steers. OK. But is it inverted on the horizontal axis or not? Wham. Dead. Okay. Right stick does the camera. But is that also controlling the direction she faces, or…? Wham. Dead. God. Right. I think I can steer her now. Am I supposed to aim over there, or…? Wham. Dead.

I almost stopped playing Tomb Raider at this point. What made me persevere was, again, videogame logic. This section is only a small set piece, like in so many games these days, a brief if pointless diversion before I can get back to the real gameplay. The gameplay where I understand the rules and the controls.

So I persevered. I kept playing. But it was touch and go for a moment there. Had I not been so versed in what to expect from videogames, Tome Raider would've been irreversibly shelved. It's not like I don't have other things to do with my free time, after all.

It occurred to me that this is what every game must feel like for people who are new to games, those who aren't versed in their inscrutable logic. You're given all these sticks and buttons and a brief, impenetrable set of instructions (left stick moves the guy; right stick controls where he's looking, and also the gun; right trigger - that's the squeezy one at the back - shoots the baddies, but only if you hold the left trigger first) then you're hurled into this unfamiliar world full of things that hate you."

Accessibility & the Folly of Exclusivism, Tom Battey, Gamasutra

"Games, especially the more “core” games, have this notion that they should be arbitrarily hard, that they shouldn’t hold your hand -- and that the ensuing exclusivity is a good thing.

That’s bullshit.

Over time, we’ve come to isolate ourselves. We put ourselves in the strange position of locking away the secrets of gaming knowledge from those who aren’t physically capable of playing them. While it is true that a blind man will never be able to see a film in quite the same way that most can, or that a deaf woman will not ever be able to hear a song, those experiences aren’t locked away by choice. I’ve never seen a book printed with obnoxiously small font just to keep people from being able to read it at all. This is something completely unique to videogames, and even there it’s far from universal.


I have plenty of friends and family whose opinions I deeply respect and value, but because videogames are inaccessible to those who haven’t been playing for a good chunk of their lives, or those who have a disability, I can’t share all of the great stories or experiences games have to offer.


More and more core gamers decry the fact that the casuals are playing simple games instead of the big beefy manly ones that they happen to think are intrinsically superior. At the same time core gamers howl at the idea of “easier” modes or options that remove combat entirely. Instead of encouraging broader options for new players, we’ve collectively continued to wall ourselves off and push potential fans away.

A while back, I wrote a little piece about how my mom’s rheumatoid arthritis kept her from being able to ever play Mass Effect. I called her last week to talk about some of the games I’ve been playing -- AntichamberTomb Raider, BioShock Infinite. With each one I was as descriptive as possible because I knew she wouldn’t get the chance to experience these games for herself. No matter what, some narratives are locked away; forever lost to her.

She’s not the only one either; especially when we start thinking about everyone in our lives that we care for. Friends, family, lovers -- they will never know the depth of our medium, unless we start opening it up. This isn’t about being taken seriously by the outsiders, this is about connecting with the other people in our lives."

BioShock Infinite's problem is not violence, Daniel Starkey, Destructoid


This is also why I won't buy point-and-click adventure games that I cannot find walkthroughs for prior to purchasing them. I don't enjoy solving point and click puzzles at ALL. Myst-type games leave me cold. I'd much rather enjoy them as interactive movies. 

Luckily for me, almost all the adventure games I've been interested in recently have had walkthroughs.

The most amazing ones are the Book of Unwritten Tales, and Machinarium. The Longest Journey nets an honourable mention as well.

They are wonderful games, I can't praise them enough. Book of Unwritten Tales, especially, is way up there with Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island. It's just that good. But the things I enjoy have changed, and without walkthroughs, I have neither the time, the patience, nor the inclination to solve arcane puzzles just to enjoy a good, interactive visual story. Quite simply, if you give me a choice between solving some crazed random puzzle (Gabriel Knight, I'm looking at you) in a point and click, and wandering off to an RPG or MMO to kill things, I'll pick killing things any day.

So it's wonderful for me that walkthroughs for point-n-click are so widely available, and there (doesn't seem) to be a chorus of 'omg looser'! that goes up in association with them. How nice it would be if other game genres were equally accessible and welcoming.