Final Fantasy XIV: Great, when logging in happens

FFXIV Logo

FINAL FANTASY is a registered trademark of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (hereafter ARR) officially launched last week, aiming to make a game that was renowned for being terrible into something good. Square Enix didn’t anticipate so many people wanting to play, however, and there are not nearly enough servers for us all. There has been so much demand for the game that it took me four hours of trying to log in every five minutes before I could play yesterday. They’ve put a cap on the number of people who can be logged on to a given server at any given time, which makes it hard to actually get in to play the game… but once you do manage to log on to a character, the experience is great. By taking this route, Square Enix has managed to avoid the problem of lag, lag, lag that usually plagues highly-anticipated MMOs (and their expansions) when they are first released. This excellent gameplay experience comes, however, at the cost of angry customers.

This is a long article, so here’s my TL; DR: It’s like Final Fantasy XI, but with some modern MMO conventions. I recommend it, but if you want to play it you should wait a bit before doing so.

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Candy Crush Saga Review

Last weekend, I got to play some Candy Crush Saga on my friend’s phone. It was interesting enough, and different enough from Bejeweled, that I decided to download it and give it a more thorough try.

Screenshot

Photo credit: Albert Hsieh. Click the photo to see the original on Flickr.

Here’s the short version: the game isn’t necessarily bad. However, since it’s free-to-play, the designers have made some choices that I don’t agree with. They’ve created a game which requires strategy to beat, but luck can mess up all of your strategy. Their monetization strategies are also finely tuned to really eke money out of the players, for better or for worse. Continue reading

TorqueL, the Rolling Box 2D Platformer

I originally posted this on April 18, 2013 on my blog on Gamasutra. Cross-posting here because this game looks great. It’s on Steam Greenlight Concepts with a demo available, and I urge you to check it out.

Overcrowding at BitSummit meant that in the short time we had for looking at game demos, there was no time to see them all. I did see quite a few, and while most of the games I saw interested me in one way or another, a simple platformer named TorqueL took first prize for being fun to play.

TorqueL’s concept is simple. The developer bills it as the 2D rolling box platformer, and that description basically sums up the game. The only thing that sets this game apart from other 2D platformers — and the only thing it needs — is that player movement has been completely rethought.

TorqueL screenshot

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Beauty and the Beast (TV, 2012)

Two nights ago, right before bed, I got caught up on watching Once Upon a Time and found myself surprised by one of the, “if you like this show, maybe you’ll like one of these” recommendations.

BatB 2012 - Title

Beauty and the Beast? The font didn’t make it look like the 1980s show, but… a quick Wikipedia disambiguation search confirmed my suspicion that someone had rebooted the classic TV series. (It wasn’t until later that I realized I probably could have just clicked through the recommendation to find this out, but hey. I’m a nerd. Google FTW.)

I went to sleep, but not before posting this.

BatB Tweet

When I got up in the morning, one of the first things I did was start watching the show. That ended up being just about all I did with my day. Because for all the ways this reboot differs from the original, it still retains the core premise and feel of the original love story. Continue reading

Tangled, Part 3

This is the third and final entry in my series of rants about the animated movie, Tangled. I liked the movie, but was disappointed that it wasn’t better when it could have rivaled anything out of Pixar’s studio. Check out parts one and two, and keep in mind that there are spoilers ahead.

The Horse

Maximus, from Tangled

Maximus. Stalwart steed. When his human master fails to catch the thief, he carries on, doing a much better job than the incompetent guards can manage.

Until he decides to act like a dog. Continue reading

PyroFalkon’s Sims 3 Socialism Challenge

PyroFalkon's The Sims 3 Socialism Challenge

My friend PyroFalkon is a huge fan of The Sims. He was the one who introduced me to the Legacy Challenge, which has taken over how I play The Sims. He has created a new challenge which he calls the Sims 3 Socialism Challenge and is currently beta testing it in Let’s Play form on his YouTube channel.

I’ve enjoyed watching it and since much of my blog traffic is drawn to my Legacy Challenge scorecard spreadsheet, maybe some of you will like the Socialism Challenge, too. Today I’ll talk about the rules PyroFalkon has set up and my thoughts on how things have gone so far. Continue reading

MOOCs: Not Just a Moose Call Anymore

The internet is awash, lately, with sites aimed at making university-level education available for free to anyone with an internet connection. Such sites have generated a lot of excitement this year.

Apparently these Massively Open Online Classes have been around for a while now in one form or another. Now that the Ivy League universities are taking an interest in the idea, however, so is everyone else. And by “everyone else”, I mean millions of people all over the world. Literally millions. Multiple MOOC platforms have risen to popularity this year, with Coursera alone having something like 1.4 million registered users last I read. Even assuming that many, like myself, have created accounts on all the MOOC platforms they can find, I find it hard to believe that fewer than 2 million people have at least dipped their feet into the pool.

This post is the first in a series about MOOCs and my experiences with them. This first entry is about MOOCs in general. Continue reading

The Stage, My Life, and a Good Book

Theatre has played a huge part in my life.

I’d give you specific examples, but the truth is that theatre is so tied to who I am that an attempt at making an exhaustive list would fail to properly explain. I made my debut on stage a couple of weeks after I turned nine and I can’t imagine the course my life would have taken if I hadn’t.

My introduction to the theatre came in the form of a summer youth theatre conservatory which I attended every year for 9 years — the maximum the program allowed. My grandmother found it for me after my first ice skating lesson bored the tights off me. She wanted my brother and me to each take up some kind of extracurricular activity and I, having never thought about any such thing before, was picking Things That Looked Fun at random. Continue reading

SimCity Social Review

With a new SimCity game on the horizon for the first time in too many years, I decided to break my usual habit of boycotting Facebook games for being wastes of good gaming time and try SimCity Social.

I was hoping it might scratch my SimCity itch, but it’s pretty much a standard free-to-play model Facebook game. It has pretty graphics and works very smoothly, but it still relies on spamming your friends to get anywhere at a decent pace. It still requires almost no thought or strategy to play.

The only way it captures any real sim flavor is in the humor. It’s been forever since I played a SimCity game — forever meaning the heyday of SimCity 3000 — so I don’t know if SimCity 4 included the kind of humor that has become one of the hallmarks of The Sims. But that humor is present in SimCity Social. One of the interactions you can have with your police stations is “Taze Someone”, and if you do the status bar for the action is labelled “GZZZZTTT!!!”. That’s a large part of why (coupled with a lack of time to play games I value more highly) I’m still playing it.

To end on a mostly-unrelated note: since last I posted anything I was finally convinced to try League of Legends. I’m rather taken with it. Last week I figured out how to farm decently with Ryze. Hooray!