• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mass Effect 3

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I'm not sure where to start with my thoughts on Mass Effect 3. It's been almost five years since I first took control of Commander Shepard as he was on a training mission above the planet of Eden Prime. Only now have some of the decisions I made in that game come to fruition and had a direct impact on the survival chances of all galactic life. I don't think any role-playing game series before has tried to carry over decision making through two other games, but it has helped to create an epic story with characters that I have grown to care about over the last few years.


The Mass Effect series are my favourite single-player RPGs, so it was with great excitement that I loaded up the final part of the trilogy. I'm happy to report that for the most part the game has not disappointed me, and certainly for 99% of it's running time it is the best Mass Effect game of the series by a long way. So, treat this review as a fans view of the single-player experience (I will touch on the new multiplayer component however). There may be some light spoilers, but I'll keep the heavy story spoilers in the hidden spoiler section.
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

In just over a week there will be A Clash of Kings...

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Only just over a week to go now until season two of Game of Thrones begins, which is based on the second book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, A Clash of Kings. I've been re-watching the first season in order to catch up and cannot wait to see how they handle the adaptation. I'm especially looking forwards to seeing what they do with the Battle of the Blackwater (in fact George RR Martin himself wrote that particular episode).

HBO have put up a great 22 minute long behind-the-scenes video that serves to bring you nicely up to speed with what happened in season one, as well as introducing some of the many new characters that will pop up in season 2. Check the embed at the bottom of this post.

I am still deeply engrossed in Mass Effect 3, and now almost at the end of the second act. My review is part written and will be up once I've completed the game, but one of the things that has really impressed me is the superb soundtrack. An incredible amount of work has gone into the sound design of the game, as evidenced by this great essay on Kotaku (which has been confirmed by the developers in the comments section). I find it really impressive that they are using sound in such creative ambient ways, and whilst I may not always notice such subtle touches I have definitely noticed the emotional responses that the music has triggered.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ME3 on the BBC (updated!)

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The BBC have now picked up on the furore surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3. Whilst being aware of the ongoing protests by a loud section of the fan community regarding the end of the game, I have managed to stay spoiler free so far. I'm still in the middle of the game myself (and absolutely loving it so far) so I can't really comment on the ending of the game until I have played it (my review will be up shortly after I have done so).

If the only issue that fans have with the ending of the game is that it is bleak then I can't see myself having an issue with it. I am expecting a bleak ending; anything else would seem like a cop-out to me (after all the whole story is about trying to survive an attack by unstoppable machine gods intent on wiping out all organic life - there ain't gonna be no rainbows and bunny rabbits in sight after that). It would also tie in with the game's themes of sacrifice and loss. In fact, I'm fully expecting Shepard to die at the end.

However, if the real issue is more that the ending is a poor one, rather than a bleak one, then I too may join the ranks of those protesting it. I'll find out soon enough.

One things for sure, Bioware have managed to create a game about which people care passionately. That's a good thing surely. Also it's nice to see the protesters are doing good work for charity, rather than just whining.

You can check out the full BBC article here.

Update: Dr Ray Muzyka, Bioware co-founder has now responded to the criticisms. You can find his (in my opinion respectful and well thought-out) response here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Smuggler level 50 build

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The smuggler talent trees page has now been updated to show the talents I will be picking up to level 50. All of the points gained between levels 40 and 50 will be going into the Sharpshooter tree, apart from a couple of point in Saboteur, to give a talent build of 31/7/3 Sharpshooter/Saboteur/Dirty Fighting.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Quesh

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Another planet completed and another milestone reached! Merec is now level 40 (gah, Speeder Piloting level 2 is expensive!) and is leaving the red chemical-stained skies of Quesh behind for the freezing atmosphere of Hoth.


I found Quesh to be a strange planet. It's much smaller than the other planets I have visited recently, with only one map zone (a big one mind!) and no bonus quest series. It's almost as if it was filler content. That's not to say that the world and questlines were of any less quality however.
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Friday, March 09, 2012

Smuggler Gunslinger PvE Rotations

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Now that I have reached level 40 with Merec and have acquired the vast majority of major gunslinger abilities I thought it would be good to share my hotbar setups and rotations. These are by no means perfect or meant as my recommendations to anyone else, but they serve me very well in game, allowing me to maximise dps and respond to any unusual circumstances quickly.

I'll continue to tweak them as I find more efficient ways of playing. Hopefully they may be of use to someone, and if anyone has any advice on how I can improve things please let me know!
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Where's my Mass Effect?!

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*sigh* It was supposed to arrive today but Amazon seem to have messed up. Looks like I won't be getting to play it until next week now...

Critical reception to the game has been stellar (average score of 94% after 45 critic reviews on Metacritic!), so it just makes the wait even harder. Bioware releasing great trailers like the new one below doesn't help either!


I'm just going to have to pass the time by making an epic post about my SWTOR rotations instead!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

SWTOR Guild Summit summary

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The livestream from the panels of day two of Bioware's Guild Summit has now finished, and I have to say I was really impressed. The livestreaming worked well despite the thousands of people watching, and the developers were informative, funny, and modest. I liked the way they didn't duck questions and admitted mistakes on several occasions and I'd like to see more of this open communication in the future. Great job Bioware.

There were absolutely loads of reveals and new information about upcoming content. Darth Hater have a great ten page summary of the panels here. It is well worth a read, but below are some of the highlights for me, in no particular order.
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Shepard returns

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Well, almost...

Mass Effect 3 is out today in the States, but I will have to wait until Friday before playing as it isn't launched until then in the EU, plus I'm away in Berlin on business *sigh*

However, by way of celebration I thought I'd share this great video. Surely one of the best scores of recent times. Still gives me goosebumps.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Guild Summit, Thrones and Florence

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A quick reminder that the first SWTOR Guild Summit is taking place tomorrow. Most of the event will be live streamed on the official site here, so you don't have any excuses for missing anything! Here is the schedule of events taking place that will be streamed:
  • 10:00AM CST (4PM GMT) – Welcome and Introductions
  • 10:30AM CST (4:30PM GMT) – State of the Game and Game Update 1.2 Presentation
  • Break (Livestream offline from 11:00am to 2:00pm)
  • 2:00PM CST (8:00PM GMT) – Operations and Flashpoints Discussion
  • 2:45PM CST (8:45PM GMT) – Player vs. Player Discussion
  • 3:30PM CST (9:30PM GMT) – Legacy Presentation
  • 4:00PM CST (10:00PM GMT) – Economy and Crew Skills Discussion
  • 4:30PM CST (10:30PM GMT) – Roleplayer's Discussion
  • 5:00PM CST (11:00PM GMT) – Guild Features Discussion
  • 5:30PM CST (11:30PM GMT) – User Interface Presentation
  • 6:00PM CST (12:00AM GMT) - ...And The Rest
The other piece of news I wanted to highlight today was the new trailer for season two of Game of Thrones, which starts on April 2nd (April 1st in the US). Season two is shaping up to be even more epic than the first, and the Florence and the Machines music works really well I think. Enjoy!

TOR keybindings

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I've had a couple of months playing The Old Republic with my new mouse and keyboard now and have finally managed to master the art of keybinding rather than clicking on my skills. It's amazing what a difference it makes to my reaction speed in game; much more than I would have anticipated. What's more I find that I'm able to watch the action much more now, rather than staring at the UI, as I do not have to look at what my hands or mouse cursor is doing. Consequently it is making the game even more fun to play.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to show my keybinding layout for my smuggler, along with how I currently have my Merc Steelseries Stealth set up. I will continue to tinker with it, but I'm pretty happy with how it is working for me now.
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Friday, March 02, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Launch Trailer

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Not long now...
... and this is an amazing trailer!