Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's your verdict on Rift?

Exactly 6 months ago I wrote on this blog: "So let's reconvene here on September 1st and discuss whether Rift was the game of 2011, or whether it tragically petered out after a few months." The moment has come, and I'd like to hear your verdict on Rift.

Personally I haven't played Rift in the last 6 months, having only played it before release in the beta. I do read various MMORPG blogs in which Rift is mentioned from time to time, so I do have a general impression of the hype having disappeared. A recurring theme is that the rifts of Rift are less fun now that the zones are less full of players. And of course I know Syncaine thinks that Rift went from the best game evah to totally unplayable with a single patch that nerfed dungeons. I am also aware that Rift claims to have 1 million "customers", without giving a definition of what a "customer" is. Everybody who bought a box? How many active subscribers does Rift have?

So what do you think of Rift now, 6 months after release? Has it lived up to all the expectations? Would you still recommend it to friends? Where would you say the strong points and weaknesses of Rift are now?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


How fast is your computer? Having now received my new computer, I find that this question is very hard to answer. There is no universal measure for speed of computers, you can only measure the time it takes the computer to do a specific task. So I've been running benchmark programs like 3DMark and find that my new computer has a score of just under 24,000, compared to 14,500 for the old one. I can also measure the frames per second of games, for example World of Tanks at highest graphics settings going up from 60 fps to 100 fps. But practically these measures of speed don't mean much. If World of Tanks didn't have a small display for frames per second, you wouldn't even be able to notice the difference between 60 and 100.

So what I am left with is a computer which FEELS a lot faster. This is mainly due to the solid state hard drive on which the operating system and the programs are stored. That results in much less time passing between me clicking on an icon and the computer doing what I asked him to. There is less wait for the computer to boot up and shut down, for starting programs, and for loading screens in games. That makes the new computer much nicer to work with, but it would be hard to put a number on this gain in speed and comfort.

A similar issue exists when measuring internet speed. Ask somebody how fast his internet is, and he'll probably give you a number expresses in MBit per second. I have a 20 MBit/s VDSL internet connection. 20 MBit/s ends up being up to 2 Mbyte per second of download speed, so this speed measure is relevant the day I want for example to download my digital copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, which will presumably be several gigabyte large. If the EA servers are able to send out data at that speed, being able to download 7 gigabyte per hour will be a big help. But for actually *playing* SWTOR the 20 MBit/s speed is irrelevant. For online games it is far more important how fast your "ping" is in milliseconds, because that determines how long you have to wait between you clicking and something appropriate happening. If you play on a server on a different continent, you might end up with half a second of ping, making your character react much slower than everybody else. It is hard to not stand in the fire if your ping is that high. Fortunately a lot of European servers for different games are situated in the area between Paris and the Netherlands, and I have 30 ms ping in many online games.

So, I have a really fast computer and a fast internet connection. Now I just need to decide what to use them for. I haven't even installed World of Warcraft on the new computer, only World of Tanks and Steam. And I don't really have any plans for MMORPGs before SWTOR. I just hope I can get into the beta soon. Apparently I'm not alone here, I see a lot of discussion of SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, and Diablo 3 in the blogosphere, and very little discussion of games that you can actually already play. Well, I have a large collection of games I bought in various Steam sales and haven't tried yet, maybe this is the opportunity to play them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are you invested?

Virtual property is an interesting subject, because it causes problems that real property doesn't have. One of these problems is the perennity of virtual items you buy. If you buy a sparkly pony in World of Warcraft from Blizzard, you expect that mount to be around for a while. At least as long as you still want to play that game. But what happens if Blizzard decides that they want to shut down WoW? If you only pay subscriptions, you can't really complain if a game company says that they'll stop accepting subscription payments and will close down a game in 6 months (like SOE did with Star Wars Galaxies). But if the business model is Free2Play with an item shop, a game closing down effectively makes the items you bought in that shop disappear, which obviously leads to upset customers.

This is exactly the problem Google has at the moment. They bought a social apps company named Slide a year ago for $200 million, and now decided to shut it down, probably because they started their own social network Google+ now. But Slide had a Free2Play casual game called SuperPoke! Pets, and according to the Washington Post the players are threatening law suits because of the money they "invested" in that game. In some cases thousands of dollars.

Now players in general tend to get rather upset if they can't access their online games. I recently started playing The Sims Social, which is a nice version of The Sims for Facebook. And although I didn't invest any money in it, I'm annoyed that I can't access that game due to a bug which affects many players and which gets you stuck on the loading screen at 65%. But in that situation I obviously have no legal case, and anyway it probably is just a temporary inconvenience. In the case of Star Wars Galaxies I did pay money for a subscription a long time ago, but as I haven't played for years I'm not really bothered, and I don't consider the time and money spent as an "investment".

A game I am currently playing, and where I bought something from the item shop, is World of Tanks. Now WoT is doing great, and I don't expect them to shut down anytime soon. But I do admit that I never read the legalese text that undoubtedly exists somewhere telling me what exactly my property rights are on the Löwe tank I paid real money for. Presumably I clicked through a legal agreement telling me that I don't have any rights at all. And so did the players of SuperPoke! Pets. But the legality of click-through agreements is not yet universally accepted, although US courts tend to consider them legal. And in the case of virtual property it isn't quite clear whether certain laws about property rights or consumer protection don't override the license terms. So unless the SuperPoke! Pets players really sue Google and thus establish some precedence, it is very hard to say what your virtual property rights are. In China there have been several cases where courts considered that the buyers had some fundamental rights even with virtual property they bought.

I'd like to hear from you whether there are games in which you feel invested to a point where you would consider a law suit if the game and your virtual property was taken away from you. Do you accept that you have absolutely no rights at all? Or do you consider that the time and money you spent on an online game under certain conditions gives you certain rights, even if you clicked accept on some terms of service you never read?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mortal Kombat Unlockables

Mortal Kombat Unlockables :  » 
Hidden Chest Locations
Entry Location » Hidden Chests

Search the indicated areas to find the hidden chests
Approach the tomb of DL45, then go left towards DL52. Look forward and right where little bugs appear near a patch of grass.

Hollow Of Infestation: 
Follow the wall from the lake where the area starts. Six skulls bugs will appear under it.

Go right from BM81. It is under the skull on the wall.

Meadow Of Despair: 
From the back row, go left from the furthest left Iron Maiden. It is on top of a slight mound around some bugs.

Submitted By: CheatPlanet

Mortal Kombat Fatalities
Entry Location: 
MK9 Fatalities 

  • Take A Spin: Press Forward(2), Down(2), X when in sweeping distance.
  • Up The Middle: Press Back, Forward, Down, Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
Cyber Sub-Zero
  • Brain Freeze: Press Down(2), Back, Down, Square when in jumping distance.
  • Kold Fusion: Press Down, Back, Down, Forward, Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Babality: Press Down, Forward, Back, Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Buzz Kill: Press Forward, Down, Forward, Back, Triangle when touching.
  • Nothing But Net: Press Back, Down, Back, Forward, Square when in jumping distance.
  • Mind Over Splatter: Press Down, Up, Down(2), R2 when in jumping distance.
  • Pest Control: Press Forward, Back, Forward, Down, Circle when in jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Press Down, Up, Down(2), X.
  • Half Mast: Press Back, Down, Back, Down, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Head-A-Rang: Press Up(2), Down, Forward, Square when in fullscreen distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Press Back, Forward, Down, R2.
  • Smash And Grab: Press Back, Forward(2), Back, Triangle when touching.
  • Three Points!: Press Forward(2), Back, Down, X when in sweeping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Press Down, Forward, Down, Square.
Johnny Cage
  • And The Winner Is!...: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Heads Up!: Press Forward(2), Back, Down, X when close.
  • Hook Up: Press Back, Forward, Back, Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • It Takes Guts: Press Down(2), Back, Forward, R2 when in sweeping distance.
  • Eat Your Heart Out: Press Down(2), Forward, Back, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Heartbreak: Press Back, Down, Back, Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Fan Opener: Press Down(2), Back, Forward, Triangle when close.
  • Splitting Headache: Press Forward, Down, Forward, Back, X sweeping distance.
Kung Lao
  • Hat Trick: Press Back, Forward(2), Back, Triangle when in sweeping distance.
  • Razor's Edge: Press Down(2), Forward, Back, Square when in sweeping distance.
Liu Kang
  • Fist Of Flame: Press Forward, Back, Down(2), X when in sweeping distance.
  • The Beast Within: Press Down(2), Forward, Down, Circle when in jumping distance.
  • Be Mine: Press Back, Forward, Back, Forward, Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Rip Off: Press Back, Forward, Back, Down, X when in jumping distance.
  • Ascension: Press Down(2), Forward, Back, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Little Off The Top: Press Down, Forward, Down, Back, Circle when in jumping distance.
  • As One: Press Down(2), Back, Down, R2 when in sweeping distance.
  • Make A Wish: Press Back, Forward, Back, Down, Circle when in sweeping distance.
Quan Chi
  • Beat Down: Press Forward(2), Down(2), Square when in sweeping distance.
  • On Your Knees: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Just A Scratch: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Transplant: Press Back, Forward(2), Down, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Acid Yak: Press Forward(2), Down, Up, X when in sweeping distance.
  • Weight Loss: Press Down(2), Forward, Back, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Nether Gates: Press Back, Forward, Back, X when touching.
  • Split Descision: Press Forward, Down, Forward, Triangle when touching.
  • Toasty! (Classic): Press Down, Up(2), Triangle when in jumping distance. Note: Requires Scorpion's alternate costume.
  • Lend A Hand: Press Forward, Back, Forward, Back, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Stripped Down: Press Forward, Down(2), Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Migraine: Press Back, Forward, Down, Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Mouthful: Press Back, Forward, Up, Triangle when in sweeping distance.
  • Robo-Sek: Press Forward, Down, Back, Forward, X when in fullscreen distance.
  • The Scarecrow: Press Down(2), Forward, Back, Square when in fullscreen distance.
Shang Tsung
  • Bang Bang!: Press Down, Back, Down, Forward, X when in jumping distance.
  • Identity Theft: Press Down(2), Back, Down, Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Smoked Out: Press Back, Forward, Back, Forward, Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Tremor: Press Back(2), Down, Forward, Triangle when in sweeping distance.
Sonya Blade
  • Kut-Throat: Press Down, Back, Forward, Back, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Scissor Split: Press Down(2), Back, Forward, Square when in jumping distance.
  • Have A Blast: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, R2 when in sweeping distance.
  • Time Served: Press Forward, Down, Forward, X when in sweeping distance.
  • Have An Ice Day: Press Back, Forward, Down, Forward, Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Spinal Smash: Press Down, Back, Down, Forward, Triangle when in sweeping distance.
Submitted By: CheatPlanet

Trophy List
Entry Location: 

  • Cyber Challenger: Complete 100 Online Matches
  • Wavenet...: Win 100 total Online Matches
  • Humiliation: Get a Flawless Victory in an Online Match
  • Tough Guy!: Win an Online Match
  • Robots Rule!: Win Arcade Tag Ladder with robot Sektor and Cyrax
  • Outstanding!: Win 10 Ranked Online Matches in a row
  • There Will Be Blood!: Spill 10000 pints of blood
  • License to Kill: Complete Fatality Trainer
  • Ultimate Respect!:Earn 2500 Respect Points via King of the Hill Matches
  • You Will Learn Respect!: Earn 1000 Respect Points via King of the Hill Matches
  • Undertaker: Unlock 50% of the Krypt
  • The Krypt Keeper: Unlock 100% of the Krypt
  • What Does This Button Do??: Complete Arcade Ladder without blocking (allowed to continue)
  • Fatality!: Perform a Fatality!
  • Block This!: Perform a 10-hit combo with any fighter
  • The Grappler: Perform every fighter's forward and backwards throws
  • Halfway There!: Complete Story Mode 50%
  • Back In Time...: Complete Story Mode 100%
  • A For Effort: Complete Tutorial Mode
  • The Competitor: Complete 200 Versus matches (online OR offline)
  • Ladder Master: Complete Arcade Ladder on max difficulty without using a continue
  • Don't Jump!: Win A Ranked Online Match without jumping
  • Where's The Arcade?: Complete Arcade Ladder with Any Fighter
  • Arcade Champion: Complete Arcade Ladder with All Fighters
  • Finish What You Start!: Perform a Fatality with all playable fighters
  • Tag, You're It!: Perform and land a Tag Combo
  • These Aren't My Glasses!: Complete all Test Your Sight mini-game challenges
  • Tower Apprentice: Complete 25 Tower missions
  • Tower Master: Complete all Tower missions
  • Dim Mak!: Complete all Test Your Strike mini-game challenges
  • I'm Not Dead Yet!: Comeback with under 10% health in an Online Ranked Match
  • e-X-cellent!: Successfully land every playable fighter's X-Ray attack
  • There Can Be Only One!: Win 10 King of the Hill Matches in a row
  • Throws Are For Champs: Perform 8 throws in an Online Ranked Match
  • Turtle!: Win both rounds with timer running out in an Online Ranked Match
  • My Kung Fu Is Strong: Gain Mastery of 1 Fighter
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger: Gain Mastery of All Fighters
  • I "Might" Be the Strongest: Complete all Test Your Might mini-game challenges
  • Luck Be A Lady: Get all MK Dragons in Test Your Luck
  • You've Got Style!: Unlock all Alternate Costumes
Secret Achievements
  • Complet-ality: Perform 1 of each type of "-ality"
  • Finish Him?: Perform any fighter's hidden finishing move
  • Hide and Seek: Discover and fight Hidden Kombatant 2 in Arcade Ladder
  • Pit Master: Discover and fight Hidden Kombatant 3 in Arcade Ladder
  • Brotherhood of Shadow: Discover and fight Hidden Kombatant 4 in Arcade Ladder
  • Ultimate Humiliation: Perform every fighter's hidden finishing move
  • Quan-Tease: Unlock Hidden Fighter "Quan Chi"
  • You Found Me!: Discover and fight Hidden Kombatant 1 in Arcade Ladder
  • Cold Fusion: Unlock Hidden Fighter "Cyber Sub-Zero"
  • Best...Alternate...Ever!: Unlock Mileena's 3rd Alternate Costume 
Submitted By: GamesRadar

- ( Baca Juga : Cheats Mortal Combat )
Referensi :
GamesRadar » Url:

Cheats Mortal Kombat

Cheats Mortal Kombat » Mortal Kombat Fatalities

Entry Location:
Fatality list
  • Take A Spin: Press Forward, Forward, Down, Down, A/X when in sweeping distance.
  • Up The Middle: Press Back, Forward, Down, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality:
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, Down, Down, A/X.
Cyber Sub-Zero
  • Brain Freeze: Press Down, Down, Back, Down, X/Square when in jumping distance.
  • Kold Fusion: Press Down, Back, Down, Forward, Y/Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Back, Forward, RT/R2 at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality:Down, Down, Up, RT/R2.
  • Babality: Press Down, Forward, Back, Y/Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Buzz Kill: Press Forward, Down, Forward, Back, Y/Triangle when touching.
  • Nothing But Net: Press Back, Down, Back, Forward, X/Square when in jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Up, RT/R2.
  • Mind Over Splatter: Press Down, Up, Down, Down, RT/R2 when in jumping distance.
  • Pest Control: Press Forward, Back, Forward, Down, B/Circle when in jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Press Down, Up, Down, Down, A/X.
  • Babality:
  • Half Mast: Press Back, Down, Back, Down, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Head-A-Rang: Press Up, Up, Down, Forward, X/Square when in fullscreen distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Press Back, Forward, Down, RT/R2.
  • Babality:
  • Smash And Grab: Press Back, Forward, Forward, Back, Y/Triangle when touching.
  • Three Points!: Press Forward, Forward, Back, Down, A/X when in sweeping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Press Down, Forward, Down, X/Square.
  • Babality:
Johnny Cage
  • And The Winner Is!...: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Heads Up!: Press Forward, Forward, Back, Down, A/X when close.
  • Babality
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Back, Forward, RT/R2.
  • Hook Up: Press Back, Forward, Back, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • It Takes Guts: Press Down, Down, Back, Forward, RT/R2 when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Forward, Down, Y/Triangle at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, B/Circle.
  • Eat Your Heart Out: Press Down, Down, Forward, Back, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Heartbreak: Press Back, Down, Back, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality:
  • Stage Fatality: Up, Up, Back, A/X.
  • Fan Opener: Press Down, Down, Back, Forward, Y/Triangle when close.
  • Splitting Headache: Press Forward, Down, Forward, Back, A/X sweeping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Forward, Down, Down, A/X.
  • Babality:
Kung Lao
  • Hat Trick: Press Back, Forward, Forward, Back, Y/Triangle when in sweeping distance.
  • Razor's Edge: Press Down, Down, Forward, Back, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality:
  • Stage Fatality:
Liu Kang
  • Fist Of Flame: Press Forward, Back, Down(2), A/X when in sweeping distance.
  • The Beast Within: Press Down(2), Forward, Down, B/Circle when in jumping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Down, Down, B/Circle at jumping distance
  • Stage Fatality:Down, Forward, Back, A/X
  • Be Mine: Press Back, Forward, Back, Forward, Y/Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Rip Off: Press Back, Forward, Back, Down, A/X when in jumping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Down, Forward, Back Y/Triangle at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, Down, X/Square.
  • Ascension: Press Down, Down, Forward, Back, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Little Off The Top: Press Down, Forward, Down, Back, B/Circle when in jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, Down, RT/R2.
  • As One: Press Down(2), Back, Down, RT/R2 when in sweeping distance.
  • Make A Wish: Press Back, Forward, Back, Down, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
Quan Chi
  • Beat Down: Press Forward(2), Down, Down X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • On Your Knees: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Back, Forward, Down, Y/Triangle.
  • Just A Scratch: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Transplant: Press Back, Forward, Forward Down, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, Down, Y/Triangle.
  • Acid Yak: Press Forward, Down, Down, Up, A/X when in sweeping distance.
  • Weight Loss: Press Down, Down Forward, Back, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Tasty Meal (Classic): Back, Back, Forward, Down, RT/R2 Note: Requires Reptile's DLC classic costume.
  • Babality: Back, Forward, Back, Down, A/X at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Forward, Down, Down, RT/R2.
  • Nether Gates: Press Back, Forward, Back, A/X when touching.
  • Split Descision: Press Forward, Down, Forward, Y/Triangle when touching.
  • Toasty! (Classic): Press Down, Up, Up, Y/Triangle when in jumping distance. Note: Requires Scorpion's alternate costume.
  • Babality:Down, Back, Forward, Down, Y/Triangle at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Forward, Up, Up, X/Square.
  • Lend A Hand: Press Forward, Back, Forward, Back, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Stripped Down: Press Forward, Down, Down, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, Down, Down X/Square.
  • Migraine: Press Back, Forward, Down, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Mouthful: Press Back, Forward, Up, Y/Triangle when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Down, Down, Up at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Down, Down X/Square.
  • Robo-Sek: Press Forward, Down, Back, Forward, A/X when in fullscreen distance.
  • The Scarecrow: Press Down, Down, Forward, Back, X/Square when in fullscreen distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Down, Forward, Down RT/R2.
Shang Tsung
  • Bang Bang!: Press Down, Back, Down, Forward, A/ when in jumping distance.
  • Identity Theft: Press Down, Down Back, Down, Y/Triangle when in jumping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Back, Down A/X at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality:
  • Smoked Out: Press Back, Forward, Back, Forward, X/Square when in sweeping distance.
  • Tremor: Press Back, Back, Down, Forward, Y/Triangle when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Back, Down, Forward, Down in jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Forward, Up, Up, X/Square.
Sonya Blade
  • Kut-Throat: Press Down, Back, Forward, Back, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Scissor Split: Press Down, Down, Back, Forward, X/Square when in jumping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Down, Forward A/X.
  • Stage Fatality: Back, Forward, Down Y/Triangle.
  • Have A Blast: Press Down, Forward, Down, Forward, RT/R2 when in sweeping distance.
  • Time Served: Press Forward, Down, Forward, A/X when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality: Down, Forward, Down, Back Y/Triangle at jumping distance.
  • Stage Fatality: Forward, Up, Up, B/Circle.
  • Have An Ice Day: Press Back, Forward, Down, Forward, B/Circle when in sweeping distance.
  • Spinal Smash: Press Down, Back, Down, Forward, Y/Triangle when in sweeping distance.
  • Babality: Down Back Down B/Circle at jumping distance.
  • Spine Rip (classic): Forward, Down, Forward Y/Triangle at close range.
  • Stage Fatality: Forward, Down, Back Y/Triangle. 
Submitted By: CheatPlanet

Kombat Codes
Entry Location: 
Code List 
  • Armless Kombat:9-1-1-9-1-1
  • Blocking Disabled: 0-2-0-0-2-0
  • Enhance Moves Disabled: 0-5-1-1-5-0
  • Explosive Kombat: 2-2-7-2-2-7
  • Headless Kombat: 8-0-8-8-0-8
  • Quick Uppercut Recovery: 3-0-3-3-0-3
  • Rainbow Kombat: 2-3-4-2-3-4
  • Sans Power: 0-4-4-4-4-0
  • Silent Kombat: 3-0-0-3-0-0
  • Specials Disabled: 7-3-1-7-3-1
  • Super Recovery: 1-2-3-1-2-3
  • Throwing Encouraged: 0-1-0-0-1-0
  • Tournament Mode: 1-1-1-1-1-1
  • X-Rays Disabled: 2-4-2-2-4-2
  • Zombie Kombat: 6-6-6-6-6-6 
Submitted By: GamesRadar

Secret Battles
Entry Location: 
Arcade Mode 

These secret battles can only be unlocked in Arcade Mode.
Unlockable Secret "Jade" Battle: Get a double flawless victory and perform a fatality on Shang Tsung when battling against him.
Secret "Smoke" Battle: On "The Living Forest" stage wait until Smoke appears behind one of the trees. On that moment press Down + the "Back" button repeatedly.
Secret "Reptile" Battle: On "The Pit 2 (Night)" stage wait until a shadowy figure flies across the moon, then get a double flawless victory and perform a stage fatality.
Secret "Noob Saibot" Battle: When you see Noob in "The Temple" stage's background win that battle without using the RT (Block) button.
Submitted By: GamesRadar

Vs Screen Codes
Entry Location: 
Vs Screen 
  • Armless Kombat: P1: 9-1-1 P2: 9-1-1
  • Blocking Disabled: P1: 0-2-0 P2: 0-2-0
  • Breakers Disabled: P1: 0-9-0 P2: 0-9-0
  • Dark Kombat: P1: 0-2-2 P2: 0-2-2
  • Double Dash: P1: 3-9-1 P2: 1-9-3
  • Dream Kombat: P1: 2-2-2 P2: 5-5-5
  • Enhance Moves Disabled: P1: 0-5-1 P2: 1-5-0
  • Explosive Kombat: P1: 2-2-7 P2: 2-2-7
  • Foreground Objects Disabled: P1: 0-0-1 P2: 0-0-1
  • Headless Kombat: P1: 8-0-8 P2: 8-0-8
  • Health Recovery: P1: 0-1-2 P2: 0-1-2
  • Hyper Fighting:         P1: 0-9-1 P2: 0-9-1
  • Invisible Kombat: P1: 7-7-0 P2: 7-7-0
  • Jumping Disabled: P1: 8-3-1 P2: 8-3-1
  • Kombos Disabled: P1: 9-3-1 P2: 9-3-1
  • No Blood:         P1: 9-0-0 P2: 9-0-0
  • Player 2 Half Health: P1: 0-0-0 P2: 1-1-0
  • Power Bars Disabled: P1: 4-0-4 P2: 4-0-4
  • Psycho Kombat:   P1: 7-0-7 P2: 7-0-7
  • Quick Uppercut Recovery: P1: 3-0-3 P2: 3-0-3
  • Rainbow Kombat: P1: 2-3-4 P2: 2-3-4
  • Sans Power: P1: 0-4-4 P2: 4-4-0
  • Silent Kombat: P1: 3-0-0 P2: 3-0-0
  • Specials Disabled: P1: 7-3-1 P2: 7-3-1
  • Super Recovery: P1: 1-2-3 P2: 1-2-3
  • Throwing Disabled: P1: 1-0-0 P2: 1-0-0
  • Throwing Encouraged: P1: 0-1-0 P2: 0-1-0
  • Tournaent Mode: P1: 1-1-1 P2: 1-1-1
  • Unlimited Super Meter: P1: 4-6-6 P2: 4-6-6
  • Vampire Kombat: P1: 4-2-4 P2: 4-2-4
  • X-Rays Disabled: P1: 2-4-2 P2: 2-4-2
  • Zombie Kombat: P1: 6-6-6 P2: 6-6-6 
Submitted By: GamesRadar

Mortal Kombat King of the Hill codes
Entry Location:
  • Spectator mode commands 
  • #1 Point: Down, Up, Triangle
  • "$%#&!": Up, Up, Circle
  • "FATALITY": Up, Up, Right, Right, square
  • "FIGHT!: Left, Right, square
  • "Finish Him!": Left, Right, Left, Right, triangle
  • "HA!": Down, Up, Down, X
  • "I'm Not Worthy": Down, Down, triangle
  • Big Clap: Right, Up, triangle
  • Cheese: Left, Up, Down, circle
  • Cover Face: Left, Right, circle
  • Devil Horns: Down, Up, square
  • Diamond: Up, Up, Down, Left, triangle
  • Double Devil Horns Towards Screen.: Up, Down, triangle
  • Gather Ice: Right, Right, Right, Left, triangle
  • Hop: Up, Up, square
  • Lighter: Down, Down, Up, Up, square
  • Point: Right, Right, square
  • Raiden Pose: Left, Left, Right, Right, square
  • Shake Head: Left, Right, X
  • Skunk (Stench): Up, Down, Down, circle
  • Sleep: Down, Down, Down, circle
  • Stink Wave: Right, Left, circle
  • Throw Tomato: Down, Down, Down, Up, X 
Submitted By: GamesRadar 
Referensi :
GamesRadar » Url:
 - ( Baca Juga : Kungfu Panda 2 : Official Mobile Game )

Sandbox is hard

Again I fully agree with Syncaine in that it is a lot easier to make a successful PvE theme park game than to make a successful PvP sandbox game. The market for PvE theme park games is obviously much bigger, and even a half-decent WoW clone like Rift can get 1 million customers (if not subscribers). Having said that, I think that Syncaine is wrong in attributing the difference to PvP vs. PvE. I believe that it is easier to make ANY theme park game, PvE OR PvP, than to make any sandbox game.

For example World of Tanks is up to 5 million players in a game with absolutely no PvE at all. But the PvP it has is very clearly structured, there is a clear narrative telling players where to go and what to do next. Meanwhile the excellent PvE sandbox game A Tale in the Desert has only a few thousand players.

It appears to me that the large majority of players likes to be told what to do, have a clear path of advancement with every step laid out in front of them. They gladly follow the instructions of "do A, then do B, then do C", but get confused if given the free choice of doing either A, B, or C, especially if told that these options aren't equally good. Even in a theme park PvE MMORPG, when given a choice, players hurry to find a guide or website telling them which option is the best. Anybody making a choice out of his own free will and ending up with the option that is 0.07% worse than the optimum is a clueless n00b. If you are forced to always make the absolutely best choice, you simply can't afford to think for yourself. And you have to avoid games that give you too many choices, aka sandbox games.

Sandbox is too hard for the players, thus too hard to make successful for the developers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Skill systems and character resets

To get the ball rolling on that Darkfall 2.0 character reset perfect harmony joint post between me and Syncaine, I thought I'd write up some thoughts on skill systems and character resets.

What I am talking about here is MMORPG systems in which you don't "level up" to increase your abilities, but where there is a more direct system in which you improve skills by using them. These sort of systems appeal to many due to them being more "immersive". There is a sort of easy-to-understand logic behind you getting better at wielding a sword by wielding a sword. After all, that is how you would do it in real life, right?

Unfortunately once you observe what people end up actually doing in MMORPGs with systems like these, it turns out that there are some obvious flaws. The game is often unable to distinguish between you exercising a skill for a normal game activity, and you exercising a skill for something silly to "grind" it. Thus if a game has a running skill, and an auto-run function, a player might place his avatar into a corner, and auto-run into that corner for hours, steadily increasing his running skill. Or if there is a skill to throw fireballs, the player might cast this spell against trees in complete safety to skill up. It's another fine example of players' tendency to optimize the fun out of games.

Now game developers are by definition idealists, otherwise they wouldn't work under the conditions prevalent in that industry. So games get released with skill systems that aren't robust against being manipulated by the players. And if you change the conditions later, as in you only gain fireball skill if your fireball actually deals damage to a mob that can hurt you, you end up with the problem of what to do with the people who already maxed out their skills in ways you hadn't anticipated.

Thus when Aventurine discussed a complete revamp of their skill system in Darkfall 2.0, the subject of character resets has turned up in the discussion. Probably not a "wipe", completely erasing all existing characters, but some sort of "skill reset". The problem being that in a game without levels, a skill reset is equivalent of resetting everybody to level 1, even if they keep their gear and other belongings.

Now people tend to care about their relative and absolute character status in a game a lot. MMORPGs are mostly static, that is not much in the virtual world changes through the actions of the players. The only thing that changes in every game is the virtual character itself, which makes his status a record of the personal history of that character which isn't recorded elsewhere in the world. Arthas might still sit on his frozen throne in Icecrown citadel, but you got the achievement, title, and possibly loot proving that you slew him. Reset the character, and there is nothing left of your virtual achievements. Your personal history is much more important to you than the game lore history, which only advances in patches and expansions, and then often has serious inconsistencies when playing through older content.

It is pretty obvious that if Blizzard tomorrow would announce that they will reset every character in World of Warcraft to level 1, they would lose millions of players immediately. So would a game like EVE, if they would reset everybody's skills to zero. If you play for the advancement of your character, and that advancement is taken away from you, that can be a good reason to quit playing. People clearly invest themselves less in betas where they know there will be a character reset (which is one of the reasons why developers get surprised by behavior of players after launch which is completely different to what they did in the beta).

On the other side of the medal are the obvious advantages of a reset: If players consider that others have gained "unfair" advantages through an exploit in the skill system, they might prefer a skill reset combined with a new skill system which is less easy to manipulate. And if the worst exploiters quit because of it, then so be it!

So what will happen if Darkfall 2.0 resets all skills is hard to predict. Being a niche game, Darkfall might benefit from having more dedicated players than a mainstream game. But that dedication might make these players even more angry about having lost their time "investment" in the game. And players hate major changes to games, so this could end up being the "NGE" of Darkfall, even if the new skill system is better and fairer than the old one. It sure will be interesting to watch what happens.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who are you, and what did you do with the Syncaine I know?

Friday is the traditional day for blog wars between me and Syncaine. Unfortunately it appears we will have to cancel that, because some doppelganger ate Syncaine and replaced him with somebody I agree with. That, or the guy is getting old and reasonable. Yesterday's post about how great it is to be able to spend $150 on a Free2Play game could have been written by me. And I completely agree with Syncaine's points on the greatness of turn-based strategy in general and Final Fantasy Tactics in particular.

Coming up: A joint post by Syncaine and Tobold on how the skill system in Darkfall 1.0 was completely messed up, and how good an idea it is from Aventurine to do a complete character reset in Darkfall 2.0.

Scary, isn't it?

Kungfu Panda 2 : Official Mobile Game

Kungfu Panda 2 : Official Mobile Game
Siapa yang tak kenal dengan Po si panda tambun yang jago kungfu? saat ini Kungfu Panda 2 tengah mengisi bioskop² Tanah Air di sequel filmnya yabg menarik.
Banyak versi game kungfu panda 2 di luar sana, terlebih untuk platform java, namun secara Official, inilah game java yang layak anda mainkan dari pengembang game kaboom dan publisher 24MAS, Game ini bergenre fighting dengan rientasi layar Potrait. 
Kungfu Panda 2 : Official Mobile Game
Developer : kaboom
Publisher : 24MAS
Genre     : Fighting
Platform  : J2ME
Kungfu Panda 2 Be The Master :
Mereka yang sangat mengidolakan Po dan membutuhkan game yang di garap dengan lebih serius bisa memainkan kungfu panda be master. Sesuai dengan jalan ceritanya, akhirnya Po bisa menjadi pendekar kungfu.
Tapi Untuk menjadi seorang master sejati ia mebutuhkan latihan-latihan yang khusu. Shifu memberikannya beberapa kitab berisi jurus khusus. Tugas anda dalam game ini adalah membimbing Po agar bisa menguasai seluruh jurus yang di berikan oleh shifu. - ( Baca Juga : Download Firefox Mobile  )

Kungfu Panda 2 Be The Master

Download Firefox Mobile

Download Firefox Mobile, Buat yang hobi internetan, pasti sudah kenal akrab dengan software yang satu ini. Tentu saja karena aplikasi ini memang sudah begitu populer pada versi dekstop. Dan penantian pecinta teknologi ponsel akan hadinya versi mobile untuk firefox berakhir sudah setelah belum lama ini Mozzila corporation meluncurkan aplikasi ini yang sebelumnya di kenal dengan codename Fennec.

Mozzila corp. Sepertinya berusaha membawa  sebanyak mungkin fitur versi dekstop kedalam aplikasi ini. Anda dapat  mendandani tampilan firefox dengan tema yang disebut "Persona', Menampilkan Halaman situs dalam bentuk Fullscreen, mensinkronisasi data  Firefox mobile dengan yang ada pada komputer, Hingga menambah Add-ons yang juga menjadi keunggulan Firefox versi dekstop. - ( Baca Juga : Tips Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank lokal )

Browser ini juga di lengkapi fitur Download manager yang memungkinkan penggunanya mengunduh File menggunakan ponsel seperti halnya dengan dekstop. Download akan berlangsung di latar belakang sehingga kegiatan browsing tidak terganggu, bahkan jika pengguna mengunduh beberapa file dalam waktu bersamaan. Di tambah lagi, download manager memungkinkan anda menghentikan, pause dan resume proses download kapan saja anda mau.

Video game stores are dying

It is surprising easy to spot dying industries: There appears to be an universal law that forces them to get increasingly nasty in their fight for survival on their way down. Thus this week's news that Gamestop is stealing OnLive coupons from boxes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution to "not promote the competition" isn't all that surprising.

Like everybody else I used to buy my video games in stores like Gamestop. Over the years that experience turned worse and worse: The selection of PC games available got worse every year, and it was rare to meet an employee who could give you better advice on what game to buy than what you could have learned from 5 minutes with Google. Boxed games further suffered from the interaction between game companies and pirates, both of which I hold responsible for the evolution of DRM systems which mainly inconvenience legal buyers. These days I buy nearly all my games on Steam.

The only reason video games stores aren't dead yet is that consoles are lagging the PC in digital distribution. But that is really just a question of time. There are already handheld consoles which can't use any physical media at all any more, and services like XBox Live and Playstation Network are growing, despite this year's problems with hackers.

As gamers are getting older and richer, being able to resell a game or copy it for your friends is becoming less of a priority when deciding what game to buy and how. There was always a large group of gamers which just bought games for themselves, without ever making them available to other people through reselling or piracy. In many markets broadband internet is so widespread now that digital distribution simply has more advantages than disadvantages for the majority of possible customers. So why bother leaving the house, going to a shop that might not have a copy of the game you want to buy, and being limited to a selection of the latest best-sellers?

Apart from digital distribution being more practical for many consumers, there are also financial aspects. Digital distribution is clearly cheaper than retail distribution. Thus either more money goes to the game developers, or games become cheaper, or a mix of both. Actually games already ARE cheaper, by a significant amount, if you look at all games, and not just the best-selling games' prices on release day. Good prices come to people who wait, either for Steam sales or permanent price reductions. Rift now is available for $4.99 (albeit without the usual 30 free days, thus effectively the price is $19.99). And unlike video game stores, these lower prices for older games have unlimited availability, no more searching of bargain bins in vain for a cheap game. Furthermore digital distribution platforms have more indie and low-budget games than video game stores, there are a lot of excellent games under $20 on Steam.

Gamestop opening boxes of games to remove coupons for online services isn't going to change all this. The business model of selling video games in a box is clearly on its way out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Sims Social

Many years ago I played The Sims Online, which was not a big success. EA badly mangled the rather obvious idea of "The Sims as MMORPG" and created a game which wasn't all that much fun. But that never killed the general concept of transforming The Sims into a new game following the latest fad, so this month The Sims Social on Facebook was released. That fortunately turned out to be a better fit and easier to accomplish. While I only played a short while yet, I can already say that The Sims Social isn't all that bad for a Facebook game.

Basically the game takes many concepts from The Sims, like your avatar living in a house and having to take care of his needs for food, sleep, hygiene, and so on. And then adds many concepts from typical Facebook games, like the bar with your friends on the bottom of the screen, or planting and harvesting stuff in your garden. That mix works reasonably well.

The main problem is that the standards for Facebook games evolve over time, and EA obviously copied earlier iterations of Zynga games, which aren't top notch any more. For example there doesn't appear to be a filter in the gift / game request sending interface that would allow to only show your friends actually playing The Sims Social. Unless you don't mind spamming friends that don't play the game with game mails, you'll have to write down the names of your The Sims Social friends on a piece of paper, and then manually pick them from the list of all your friends whenever you want to ask your friends for help with something in the game. And as asking for help or exchanging gifts is a major part of social games, that gets annoying rather fast.

Just like in most other social games, your interaction with your friends in The Sims Social is asynchronous. That is you can visit your friends house and have social interactions with their avatars while your friends are offline. The gifts and help requests are actually the only part where in input of your friend is required. I haven't explored that concept further yet, but I wonder how the game handles the relationships between avatars in the long run. There appears to be options for romance and marriage, which seems odd to me if you pursue these options with a friends avatar without your friend having any input on this. I can't imagine you logging on and finding that your sim is now married or romantically involved with the sim of one of your friends without you even having been asked.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crowd control

I didn't go to Gamescom this weekend. I easily could have, it's less than 2 hours away by train, and neither train tickets nor entry tickets were prohibitively priced. But based on my experience with conventions and videos I saw from previous Gamescoms, I decided that it would probably be too crowded to be enjoyable for me. That turned out to be an accurate prediction, with people reporting dangerously crowded conditions at the entrance, and queues of up to 4 hours wait for the privilege of trying out a new game for 10 minutes on Sunday. I probably got more info staying at home and watching videos on various websites about the games presented in Cologne than what I would have seen if I had been there.

Now one of the videos I saw was Total Biscuit's 25 minutes of SWTOR commented gameplay. And one thing that struck me was that obviously there were problems in the starter zone shown with mobs not spawning fast enough for the handful of people trying to kill them for their quests. I got flashbacks to the best screenshot of World of Warcraft that I failed to take: 10 players in Elwynn Forest on launch days camping a level 1 kobold spawn spot.

Now the video also showed the main story line quest locations being instanced, and I'm not sure if you could simply skip all the side quests and play without being bothered too much by the inevitable crowding on the first days. But the whole thing makes me wonder whether there isn't a better way to start a new MMORPG.

The problem in this sort of game for the moment is that your location is linked to your level. There simply aren't all that many places where a level 1 character can go in these quest-based, level-based games. By choosing your faction and class, you automatically already chose the list of chores and errands disguised as "quests" that your character is going to do early on in his career. And on launch day, everybody is level 1, and thus has the same laundry list of stuff to do as those of the same class. "Kill 10 womp rats" type of quests are already by themselves not very interesting. But if the 10 womp rat spawn points are camped by 50 players, those quests are getting downright annoying. And even if the main story is instanced, you can't help but constantly run across other players which are obviously on the same story, which makes it hard to feel special.

Now ideally in an open world setting there would be a huge wilderness populated by low-level monsters, in which starting players would be randomly distributed. So players would be alone, would get quests not from NPCs but by some sort of long-distance communication, and would spend their early days learning how to fight mobs in the wilderness and getting towards a city somewhere in the center of it. But even that approach is probably not going to work if you consider SWTOR already having sold 350,000 pre-orders in the US alone.

So I question the value of having the start be open world in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Wouldn't it be better if the first 10 levels would be completely instanced before releasing players into an open world? It isn't as if they were likely to want to group for the low levels anyway. Somebody starting a new character half a year after launch is likely to play through an empty starter zone anyway, so why not offer that experience to everybody right from the start?

Monday, August 22, 2011

World of Tanks controls

Picture the following situation: A German heavy tank, Tiger II, bunny-hops past you. Then he notices you, uses his leet mouse-turn skillz to turn around in a fraction of a second, and proceeds to circle-strafe you. Obviously all this would look extremely silly, which is why it can't happen in World of Tanks. There is no jumping, instant turning, or sideways movement with a tank. The controls are a bit more realistic than that.

The strange thing is that in the world of PvP games this is an exception. A plate-wearing tank with a huge two-handed sword in WoW isn't any more realistic than the Tiger II tank with his bunny-hops and other unrealistic moves. But it is what you see on every battleground. In fact, when people talk about how "skilled" they are in PvP, most of the time they are expressing how good they are at moving in a totally unrealistic way.

In World of Tanks you sometimes meet one of these "skilled" PvP players. They are easy to recognize, because they fire their gun in the first second of combat. Because that is what pressing both mouse buttons in WoT will do, not mouse-turn. Apart from the controls being different, the biggest difference is the speed. The Tiger II, with improved chains, will turn at 26 degrees per second, thus needs 7 seconds to turn 180 degrees. His stock turret turns at 34 degrees per second, and thus manages the 180 degrees in 5 seconds. While technically turning the turret could be considered a "mouse-turn" (you use the mouse for it, just without the buttons), it is pretty obvious that your speed in moving the mouse has no influence on the result.

Which means that if you don't want to get shot in the back in World of Tanks, you will have to watch where you are going, where the enemy is, predict his movements, and move in a way that doesn't expose your back to him. And that requires a lot of skill. It just isn't the same sort of skill people talk about in other PvP games. Which is why I'm playing World of Tanks.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tips Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank lokal

Tips Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank lokal : Mungkin sudah banyak sahabat blogger yang menulis artikel tentang Tips Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank lokal tapi tidak ada salahnya kalo di artikel kali ini Nirwana mau membahas lagi gimana sih Cara Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank. Mau tau caranya ? Ok langsung aja ke tipsnya :

Pertama Login dulu ke Paypal bagi yang sudah punya account Paypal, bagi yang belum punya account Paypal silahkan regirtrasi dulu Disini.
Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank lokal
Kirim email ke paypal melalui tombol (Contact US) di sebelah kanan halaman setelah login .. (Isi Email yang akan di kirim ke paypal, Bahasa yang di gunakan harus menggunakan bahasa iggris.
Ini Contoh isi email yang pernah saya kirim ke CS Paypal dan ternyata berhasil Account Paypal saya Ter Verifikasi
"I have a problem in verifying my paypal account because I do not have a credit card and I want my paypal account verified by the local Indonesian bank account."
Setelah email terkirim ke Cs paypal tunggu beberapa jam  CS PayPal akan telepon Anda dan meminta  sebuah dokumen yang harus dikirimkan melalui email:
Dokument atau persyaratan yang di minta Paypal Di antaranya( disini saya pake rekening BRI ):
A. Photo ID (Kalo Saya Pake KTP )
B. Bank Pernyataan (Kalo Saya Pake Salinan Buku Tabungan BRI, Alamat dan nama di Buku Tabungan, KTP dan  account Paypal Harus Sama) 
Setelah Semua Persyaratan yang paypal minta terkirim Anda .Tunggu 1x24 jam yang paypal janjikan (kalo saya 2 hari) dan liat Hasilnya Account Paypal anda sudah terVerifikasi. - ( Baca juga : Hydraulic Tronton H. 2010 )

Belum punya account paypal silahkan klik Banner di bawah untuk Registrasi ( Free ) :
Daftar di PayPal, lalu mulai terima pembayaran menggunakan kartu kredit secara instan.
Untuk Tips Verifikasi Paypal ini, Bisa di Baca juga di Blog saya yang satu ini » Tips Verifikasi Paypal Via Bank BRI » Arivay

Friday, August 19, 2011

My lack of trust in humanity

Syp chimes in on the SWTOR morality debate with a very optimistic comment: "Plus, wouldn’t it be really cool if BioWare makes these choices and stories so compelling that it tears people away from grinding light/darkside points to do what they want to do?" Yes, Syp, that would be really cool. But, from my personal experience with gamers and developers, that isn't going to happen.

A "perfect" story for me would be one in which good and evil are so perfectly balanced that my natural choices would end me up somewhere in the grey area of the morality spectrum. That is where I see most people in real life ending up if judged by a jedi system of beliefs. I certainly am no un-emotional jedi of pure goodness and control over mind and body.

Unless Bioware adds grey morality gear to the game, which isn't planned, and frankly unlikely, following a grey story will disqualify players from wearing any morality gear. And I expect there to be some very cool morality gear which you can only wear if you are at the extreme ends of the scale. 99 out of 100 gamers will thus go into "let's optimize the fun out of this" mode. They won't even *read* the possible responses to some moral dilemma. They'll just automatically chose the one which is marked as giving the right points for the cool gear they are after. And that is where the story-based MMORPG gameplay will utterly fail.

Story-based MMORPGs and morality

In the past weeks there have been several bits of preview information about Star Wars: The Old Republic which made me think about virtual morality. For example it was revealed that there are romance options with your NPC companions, but that pursuing these options as a jedi would yield you dark side points. Or in other words, jedi don't have sex, because sex is evil. No wonder they died out and lost the old republic to the sith, who apparently get stronger by having sex.

There are two problems here. One is having a morality system which is black and white, with just one form of neutral in between. If you are a jedi and take decisions in SWTOR, you will either get light side points, or dark side points, or neither. That doesn't leave much room for complex moral decisions. And a lot of people will end up making all the obvious choices, not for reasons of story or role-playing, but because you need so and so many light side points to be able to wield the glowing lightsaber of holiness.

The other problem is that by clearly attaching good and evil points to decisions, the players are bound to the ideas of morality of the developers. If developers say that romance is evil, then it is so in the game. If they wanted to make straight sex good and gay sex evil, they could do so as well. Unless you keep stories extremely simplistic, there are bound to be situations where a player believes he is doing the moral thing, only to get slapped with points that tell him that the devs consider his choice to have been evil.

I think we will see a lot of stories in the future about players complaining how SWTOR judged their actions and awarded the "wrong" kind of points to actions the player considered "clearly" moral/amoral.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A first look at Games for Google+

This week I finally got access to Games for Google+, so I tried some of them to get a first impression. In particular I tried Angry Birds, City of Wonder, and Dragons of Atlantis. 3 games out of the 16 currently on offer.

Angry Birds on Google+ is like Angry Birds on every other platform. On Google+ your score gets compared to the scores of the people in your circles. And apparently there are multiplayer "maps". Not sure if these additions justify playing Angry Birds on Google+ instead of elsewhere.

Dragons of Atlantis appears to be one of these "build a city and attack your neighbors" games, like countless "browser strategy games" with names like Travian or Lords of Ultima. My principal problem with these games is that they do the opposite of intelligent matchmaking in a PvP game: Good matchmaking encourages players to fight other players of equal strength. By placing players randomly on a map and making it more advantageous to fight neighbors, you often end up with people having started earlier or playing more intensively completely crushing newer or more casual players without these even having a chance. Often that ends up with players hoping to make their neighbors quit, so they can have their cities "on farm", raiding them regularly for added resources. Unbalanced PvP does not a fun game make.

So in the end the game I spent the most time with ended up being City of Wonder. That is a city-building game with a Civilization theme. Curiously that ends up resembling Civilization more than the "official" social platform version of Civilization, Civ World on Facebook. On the other hand City of Wonder doesn't have much gameplay. It is just the basic Farmville principle of clicking on things in regular intervals. You'd advance fastest if you had City of Wonder running in the background while playing something else, and would ALT-TAB to it to click on some stuff every time the other game had some downtime. Compared to Farmville, City of Wonder is more complex, with a big technology tree, more different types of buildings, and more different factors like culture or happiness to optimize. But that just makes me want to play Civilization V instead, where I don't get constant advertising how I could improve my city by paying real money.

I will try some other Games for Google+, but up to now I can't say I have struck gold yet. Which isn't really surprising, as the competitor Facebook is also full of games which range from boring to just plain bad, with only a few pearls in between. If you haven't played it on Facebook, you might want to try Dragon Age Legends on Google+. That was one of the more decent games on Facebook, even if it obviously can't compare with the single-player Dragon Age games.

The death of WoW

Tipa thinks that social platforms will kill the MMORPG. Syp thinks 2011 is the end of the WoW era. And quite a lot of other blogger interpreted the announcement of patch 4.3 as sign of World of Warcraft's imminent death. Which is curious, because the new features announced aren't actually all that special or stand out in any way compared to features introduced in previous patches. Sorry, an appearance tab, old armor storage, and a looking-for-raid functionality is pretty much par for the course, and way less change than for example the introduction of the Dungeon Finder was.

World of Warcraft is soon to be 7 years old. Any game gets boring after playing it for years and for thousands of hours. I'm bored of WoW. I'm bored of quest-based fantasy MMORPGs in general. But I know that this is something that happens in my head, and not some weird conspiracy that colluded to make all fantasy MMORPGs worse with every patch.

And yes, the games industry like many other entertainment industries has fashion cycles, where everybody appears to be running after the same holy grail for some time, only to give up on the chase and go after something completely different the next year. MMORPGs are not only out of fashion, they are already two generations out of fashions, with the social games that were supposed to kill them going out of fashion already. These days everybody is making lobby-based "always online" single-player and multi-player games, preferably with a Free2Play business model.

That doesn't mean that MMORPGs in general or WoW in particular are dead. Rift claims to be the number 2 MMORPG with 1 million "customers", carefully avoiding the term "subscribers". SWTOR has high hopes for attracting 3 million players. At the current rate of player loss, World of Warcraft will stop to be number 1 MMORPG in the year 2020. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that WoW won't still be around in 2020. And a bunch of other MMORPGs will also still be around. There will still be success stories, with some games like Guild Wars 2 looking quite promising, and people getting excited about the WildStar trailer.

The only thing that is dead is the MMORPG gold rush, and that is something to be thankful for. It only created a huge number of very bad games in the hope of getting rich quick. Surprise, surprise, video game players aren't total idiots, and bad games don't really do well. Especially not if you have a business model where you expect your customers to keep paying for a long time, instead of selling them a game they can't test first and running with the money before the customer finds out the game is bad. For all the possible objections one can have against the Free2Play model, it does force game developers to make games that are high quality, because otherwise the players never move past the free content.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MODs and MORs

The basic principle of a MMORPG is that the player has access to a virtual world which offers very different activities for him. He can quest, he can farm monsters, he can socialize, he can PvP under different rulesets (battlegrounds, arenas, open world), he can engage in cooperative PvE in different group sizes and difficulties (dungeons, heroics, raids), he can gather resources, he can craft items, or he could just travel the virtual world as a tourist. Offering so many different things can be attractive, but it also has disadvantages: It is expensive to produce, and invariably some activities end up being much more popular than others; sometimes the various activities even hinder each other, for example the spell the developers would like to put in for PvE would unbalance PvP, or the ability to craft really good items would keep people from searching for loot in dungeons.

After many companies failed miserably at offering a popular MMORPG which has something for everybody, the game flavor of the day isn't the MMORPG any more, but the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), the lobby-based game of PvP in instanced battle arenas. There are various games like these based on the DotA real-time strategy / role-playing mix. There are many different shooter games; including World of Tanks and the other announced "World of" games, which is somewhat ironic because their main difference to a MMORPG is the absence of a world. As much as Trion claims that their MMORPG Rift is successful, their next game is a MOBA: End of Nations, a real-time strategy, lobby-based game. Even the ancient Age of Empires brand this week opened up Age of Empires Online, which also is a MOBA. And Mythic re-designed their failed MMORPG WAR as a MOBA too. Pretty much all of these are based on the Free2Play business model. And unlike the MMORPG business which has 10 failures for every successful game, most of the MOBAs appear to be making money. Lobby-based games concentrating on just one activity are obviously cheaper to make than MMORPGs, without being any less popular.

Many fans of the world aspects of MMORPGs already complain that tools like the Dungeon Finder enable players to run dungeons as if they were in a lobby-based game. Only that this creates an extremely expensive and badly balanced lobby-based game. The MOBAs are frequently PvP games, but for example Age of Empires Online also has an extensive PvE campaign. There is no reason why we couldn't have MODs (multiplayer online dungeons) or even MORs (multiplayer online raids). Judging by how the people who play dungeons and raids always complain about having to play the leveling game, or doing quests, or doing other activities to get consumables for raiding, it is quite likely that a lobby-based game with dungeons and/or raids would be extremely successful. Not to mention much cheaper to produce, and much better balanced. And on the other side of the equation we could have MMORPGs with better virtual worlds, more meaningful questing and leveling, without that annoying raid endgame tacked on the end. Make two games for the price of one, each one better than the compromise you get by bundling them together.

Lowering tank responsibility

After 7 years of people discussing how the holy trinity of tank, healer, damage dealers is broken, after 7 years of tank shortages, after even the attempt to bribe people to tank failed, Blizzard is finally caving in. They are finally making a tank as easy to play as a damage dealer by making threat generation easier and automatic. To the point that "We expect the community to gradually stop using threat-tracking mods as players realize they don’t need them."

Now lots of people are going to discuss these changes in terms of "nerfing", "making WoW easier", etc. But the actual point of the changes is that it distributes the responsibility for success and failure more evenly in a group. If a large enough number of players would have actually liked to shoulder a higher responsibility, they had 7 years to express that by taking on one of the roles that tended to get all the blame in a group, tank or healer. It has been blindingly obvious that this wasn't the case, and that 80% to 90% of players preferred the less stressful, less responsible damage dealer role which was only foreseen for 60%. Even after handing out extra bribes for tanks, it was faster to find 3 damage dealers than 1 tank.

World of Warcraft always had the tools for a good group to share responsibility. Damage dealers always had the option to /assist, to throttle their damage, and in many cases help with crowd control or other aggro management abilities. People who only played in such good groups with highly skilled guild mates will probably fail to see the necessity of the announced changes. Unfortunately the reality of the Dungeon Finder and the pickup group was a very different one. The old model resulted in mediocre players of DPS classes to expect to be carried by overgeared tanks and good healers, throwing hissy fits if they happened to be grouped with a tank who wasn't geared and skilled any better if they were, or a healer who couldn't work miracles when the damage dealer's bad play resulted in drawing aggro. The old model channeled all the bad players into the damage dealer role.

In the end it was always the tank or healer who got blamed for a wipe, while the damage dealers measured their epeen in pure damage per second with zero regard for the survival of the group. As a social experiment of collaboration it was a complete failure, you can't have 2 people responsible for everybody surviving, and 3 responsible for "winning" by killing the mobs. You end up with 2 players either being blamed or being taking for granted, while the other 3 either do the blaming or congratulate themselves.

Note that while the threat changes principally affect tanks, there will be a corresponding strong effect on healers as well. If the tank holds aggro, a healer's role gets a lot easier than if the damage dealers constantly draw aggro and then blame the healer when they die.

The main disadvantage of the change is that it will move tactics back to where they were in Wrath, with the little restraint that damage dealers had in Cataclysm evaporating in an instant. It'll be AoE damage all the way, with DPS classes that aren't good at dealing area damage becoming less useful. But the alternative would have been a change which instead of lowering the responsibility of tanks and healers would have increased the responsibility of damage dealers, at which point group play would have become a niche activity. Making it easier for a tank to overcome the lack of tactical gameplay of the average damage dealer was probably the best option Blizzard had.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mythic says I'm right

So Mythic agreed with "Why do we PvP?" post and realized that all this virtual world nonsense and character advancement is only getting into the way of a good PvP game. So they are taking the Warhammer Online engine and are creating Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes with it. A lobby based, Free2Play, fantasy battle game with 3 factions.

In hindsight it appears obvious that this is the game they should have released in 2008. They would have become silly rich by now if they had done so. Instead they grafted an inferior WoW clone nobody liked on the fantasy battle game people actually wanted to play, wasted millions, and are widely regarded as a failure. It is good that they've realized now where the actual strength of their game is, even if by now the lobby-based battle game market is much more crowded. Nevertheless I expect WARWoH to do well, and to make the original WAR obsolete to the point of it closing down in a few years.

Splungthrust: Tales of Flimbonia

In his usual brilliant but slightly weird style, Melmoth of Killed in a Smiling Accident describes Splungthrust: Tales of Flimbonia as
Perhaps the greatest MMO of all time, it had everything that MMO players wanted. Huge sandbox elements seamlessly merged with theme park areas for the perfect questing experience. A genre-busting world design, which incorporated fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, and the wild west. An incredibly expansive player housing system. Intricate crafting that produced powerful customisable items. Twenty races. Fifty classes. Perfectly balanced meaningful PvP. Complex NPC AI that created exciting and challenging escort quests. Over seven years of unique content through three hundred character levels, with zero grind. A world which would permanently change based on the players’ actions. An active combat system that allowed for tactical or twitch game-play based on player preference. A detailed character customisation model allowing for intricate body specifications, such as left toe tendon length and eyebrow hair population density. In short, it was a utopia of MMO design. Unfortunately during beta testing the players complained that mailboxes were painted blue when clearly they should be red; the developers didn’t listen, and so nobody played the game upon its release.
The chances that we will see anything like a Splungthrust: Tales of Flimbonia anytime soon are slim. But the chances that some up the upcoming MMORPGs are actually quite good, but will be criticized heavily for minor flaws are high. I think the MMORPG market has a arrived at a stage of maturity and cynicism that no game will ever again be launched to universal acclaim. Not even Splungthrust: Tales of Flimbonia.

World of Battleships announced

I like World of Tanks. But when announced World of Warplanes as a sequel, I wasn't impressed. Maybe the game will surprise me when I can play it, but instinctively I have doubts about applying what worked for WoT to a three-dimensional battlefield. I would have preferred a very different sequel. Fortunately today announced the sequel I would have wished for: World of Battleships.

I am a huge fan of naval combat games, since Harpoon on the Amiga. And for me the big selling point of World of Tanks is that is is a non-twitchy shooter game. That is something that I can easily imagine being well reproduced in World of Battleships, while the higher speed and added complexity of the third dimension will presumably require faster reaction for World of Warplanes.

I am positively surprised about the speed of Official release date of World of Tanks was in April, 4 months later the website of World of Warplanes is up, and a playable alpha version of the game will be presented at Gamescom next weekend. And that is without neglecting their first game; WoT already has 3 content patches with new maps and new tanks added since I started playing in May. But even with all that display of speed, I would be quite surprised if World of Battleships would come out before 2013. Well, I'll be waiting.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Social platform games

Apparently Games for Google+ launched last week in the USA, but isn't yet available world wide. I haven't got access to it yet, and my appeal to not get kicked out from Google+ is still pending, so I don't have first-hand experience of the Google games yet. But from what I read the games are mostly games that already run on Facebook, and I've been playing several Facebook games over the summer. So here are some thoughts on these social platform games, with examples.

My current favorite Facebook game is Kings Bounty: Legions by Nival. The original King's Bounty game from 1990 was the predecessor of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. In 2008 the brand was revived in a series of quite good single-player games, and now there is a Facebook version. What is remarkable is how close in quality the Facebook version is to the single-player games. If you go into full-screen mode, the only indication that you aren't playing a single-player game is the list of friends at the bottom of the screen. The hex-map turn-based combat is pretty much identical to that of the single-player games. There is no comparison with simple cow-clicking games, in fact the game is actually quite hard. Even just following the main quest line is fraught with danger, as you risk the level of your enemies rising faster than yours if you don't do various side quests and farm lower level battles.

The main issue with Kings Bounty: Legions is that there isn't really a good reason why that game should be on a social platform like Facebook in the first place. There are token social functions like sending gifts to your friends, but the game is clearly designed as a single-player experience with very little social interaction. You can PvP your friends, but only if both of you are online at the same time, unlike many other Facebook strategy games which allow asynchronous combat.

Another game I've been playing a lot on Facebook lately is Zynga's Empires & Allies. This is more classic Facebook game design, think Farmville meets strategy games. The social interaction between you and your Facebook friends is a lot stronger, in fact you don't advance much if you don't have at least half a dozen friends also playing, because all troop updates are based on exchanged gifts. If you don't get gifts from your friends, you would need to buy these for cash, and they aren't even cheap. But even if this is unmistakably a Zynga game, the evolution from earlier games is clearly visible as well. There is a combat system based on a rock-paper-scissors balance. You don't just click stuff to make your city grow, you level up, build new troops, upgrade them, and lead them to battle. There is a big PvE campaign and asynchronous PvP battles against your friends.

Recently I started a new Facebook game called Master Dealer, which is another example of the evolution of Facebook games. This one isn't from Zynga, but it is an evolution of Zynga's popular Mafia Wars. Instead of having a primitive progress bar where you advance just by clicking on a button, Master Dealer has a "trading card" turn-based combat system. In a somewhat weird variation of social gaming, Master Dealer is a PvE game, but puts the profile photos and names of your Facebook friends on the computer-controlled enemies. Even if these friends don't actually play Master Dealer themselves (and are thus totally unaware that you just crushed them in combat).

If I ever get to play Games for Google+, it will be interesting to see how they handle social gaming, and if it will evolve in a different direction than Facebook games. In Facebook all friendships are mutual, if I am your friend, you are also mine. That isn't the case in Google+, I can be in your circles without you being in mine, and different circles can indicate different levels of interaction.

I do think that while games on social platforms still have some obvious flaws, one shouldn't totally dismiss them without a closer look. I believe that some aspects of them would be well worth implementing into MMORPGs. For example I'd love to see guilds being able to cooperate in an asynchronous manner, with everybody contributing at his own pace and timing, for example by building a guild castle together over months. The current cooperative mode of MMORPGs, where people need to be there at the same time, for the same block of hours, and preferably at the same level of skill and gear, is far too limited. Social platform games might not be quite that hardcore, but they do have some interesting approaches how to get people to interact without being online at the same time and intensity.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why do we PvP?

Why do people PvP in a MMORPG? If you ask the fans, you will end up with one variation of the answer that fighting against another human is intrinsically more interesting than fighting a scripted AI mob. Which is pretty much the reason why I keep enjoying World of Tanks after over 3,000 battles. But if we observe what people actually do in a MMORPG, does this answer hold up?

It is known that given the chance PvP players in a MMORPG will engage in win trading. Recent examples are a rift PvP exploit in Rift or Tol Barad in World of Warcraft. And then there are countless stories from pretty much every PvP MMORPG in existence about how players went to extreme lengths to win PvP by means which have nothing whatsoever to do with actually playing the game: Denial of Service attacks on the enemy alliance's Teamspeak servers in EVE. Attacking the enemy keep at 3 am in the morning when all possible defenders are logged off in WAR or DAoC. And the list goes on and on. If people were actually interested in fighting a more intelligent opponent, then why would they trade wins or attack when only a token AI defending force is present?

I think the answer is that in a MMORPG the ultimate purpose of any activity (PvP or PvE) is always character advancement. And that character advancement purpose has the unfortunate habit to trump every other possible purpose. Frequently to the point where people choose advancement over fun. "Yeah, it would be more fun to actually battle the other faction over that PvP rift, but lets just trade wins to get more prestige per hour." Unless game developers succeed in the impossible task of every activity giving exactly the same amount of reward for the same effort, players will always look for shortcuts to faster advancement, regardless of whether that shortcut is actually fun to play.

The solution is to rather do PvP games which aren't strictly MMORPGs, and where the fun of the battle against an intelligent opponent beats out the draw of the character advancement. I've found mine with World of Tanks. I hear League of Legends also works that way. And Trion goes from Rift to End of Nations. I think we will see a lot more successful PvP in the future that aren't MMORPGs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

At the borders of legal justice

Bernie Maddoff is in jail for the next 150 years. He misled investors with a Ponzi scheme, a scam in which you promise people a high return on investment, which you pay not with any real business, but with the money new investors give you. In real life, this is fraud, and if you are caught you will go to jail for it. In a game, for example if I offer you a dodgy deal for a street in Monopoly counting on the fact that you are bad with numbers, this is part of the game and I won't go to jail for it. It's just play money. But what of situations that are in between?

The big EVE news this week was about the biggest scam ever, a Ponzi scheme netting the fraudsters 1 trillion ISK. Now we can cite the monopoly example and consider that just play money. But ISK aren't just play money, they can be converted into real money. Depending on the exchange rate the 1 trillion ISK is worth between $38,000 and $52,000 of real money. A previous case of fraud in EVE was reported as somebody stealing ISK, who exchanged it for real money, and "used the cash to put down a deposit on a house and to pay medical bills". If you can pay your real world bills with it, it isn't play money any more.

From EVE to the EQII Station Exchange to the Diablo III real money auction house, the link between virtual items and real world dollar value is getting stronger all the time. And at some point the legal protection has to kick in. Running a ponzi scheme in a foreign currency won't protect you from the law, so why should it protect you if that currency is a virtual one? If money stopped to be in the jurisdiction of the real world as soon as you transformed it into virtual currency, we would have created a legal way to launder money. I do not think real world governments are going to agree.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hydraulic Tronton H. 2010

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am Tobold

People who are the victims of identity theft are understandably upset. Today I am even more upset, because Google wants not just to steal my identity, they want to completely erase it. I have this blog with nearly 5 million visitors, a Google+ page which 228 people added to their circles, 341 friends on my Facebook page, and 26 professional connection on my Linkedin profile. And Google+ just send notice that they think that I don't exist, and that unless I change my name in my Google profile, they will block my access to Google+, Buzz, Picasa, and even the Google newsreader. They didn't say anything about Blogger, but that would probably come next when they closer integrate blogs into Google+.

I am Tobold. This is not a "nickname", it is a complete identity. It is the name people know me under. It is the search term most frequently used to find my blog. After adding the family name to it, the name completely complies with the Google+ naming policy: "If you’re referred to by more than one name, only use the one that commonly identifies you". Tobold is the name that commonly identifies me. It is the name game companies contact me under when they want to show me their latest product or give me an interview.

The name that is printed on my photo ID does not commonly identify me on the internet. If you Google it, you'll find the website of somebody else who happens to have the same name as me. And if you find the traces of me with my real name, it will be of a very different aspect of me: You would find my patents, my scientific publications. Stuff I definitely do not want to get mixed up with my writing about games. I neither want the people who search my science stuff to find my games blog, nor do I want the people who search for my games stuff to find my work-related activities. I don't even know if it couldn't get me into all sorts of trouble at work if I mixed these two identities.

If Google kills the Tobold identity, I will let that identity die. It is an important part of my life, but not important enough to risk my livelihood for it. Lots of other creative people have pseudonyms, and if Google tells every writer and artist that they can't use the name they are known under, their social network will only be the poorer for it.

"Dear Sting! It has come to our attention that your real name is Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner. Please change your page with the 3 million fans to your real name, or we will kick you from our social network!".