Thursday, December 02, 2010

Die2Night Review: Zombie Fever grips the web!

Who knew that trying to survive against hordes of zombies while being cooped up with complete strangers, many of them a bit insane, could be so much fun?

Die2Night, a new web-based, zombie survival game, lets you do just that. Thrown into a town with 39 other folks, your mission is to work together to survive the horrible, zombie-filled nights ahead for as long as possible.

The game is free to play, though of course, there are some options to pay for perks. What makes this game really interesting is the social dynamic. When you start, you join a new town of 40 citizens, each one another player. There will never be any new citizens. Only losses to the zombies and the mental anguish that comes with any post-apocalyptic horror.

Within the game you can go out and scavenge the wasteland for goods, or stay in town and try to build defenses against the oncoming hordes that descend each night. But within each decision lies a social dynamic. There are only a certain number of action points to go around each day. And if you don't have enough defenses, people die. So agreeing what to build and when to build it becomes crucial. And at some point, food and water start to become scarce (water is also used to kill the zombies, making it doubly precious), lending even more stress and conflicting motives to the situation.

But the game leaves everything wide open. You have very little control over your fellow citizens, and if they decide they want to build a ham radio while you're trying to nail together mattresses to survive the night, there is nothing you can do but complain! And believe me, someone will complain! Which leads to another facet of the game, personal politics! You can issue anonymous complaints against any or all of your fellow citizens. If anyone gets a total of eight complaints, they are 'banished', allowed to live in the town, but unable to take from the common stashes. Apparently the banished players get some special abilities that upstanding citizens don't, including the ability to start a coup, but I haven't yet been banished myself, so I don't know for sure. I'll have to work on that...

The varying interactions within each town are varied and fluid, and an endless source of both amusement and frustration. Giving players their own tools to deal with internal social issues is brilliant, and an area that I hope gets fleshed out more in the future. It certainly is something that is missing from most online games. Generally the best option you have is 'mute'!

I've just scratched the surface of the game, having only survived for 4 days in my best outing. But each town has been a different experience. And the developer promises more new content in the future to keep your days as a survivor varied and interesting.

This game manages to fill two niches - free web-based game, and zombie apocalypse game, doing an excellent job on both counts. Definitely worth a look if this sort of thing interests you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dawntide Beta: Various Thoughts

The Dawntide beta client has finally reached a point of stability for me where I can actually play the game! Below are a few thoughts cobbled together from notes I jotted down over the past few days (some I may have mentioned previously).

  • You eat bread and water for some reason, though I see no visible change to my stats or messages telling me that I'm fatigued due to hunger/thirst

  • Food is eaten automatically if you have some in your pack. Water is only consumed when you do it manually.

  • You gain stats randomly as you use skills. Much like Ultima Online

  • Inventory is weight-based rather than slot-based. You still have slots in your pack for organization, but if you start running out, extra slots appear as long as you can carry the load. Nice feature!

  • There are issues selecting inventory slots when they overlap with the action bar at the bottom of the screen. Fortunately, you can move the windows around.

  • You get no information at all about what a recipe requires or what exactly it makes (besides the name of the item) until the recipe is purchased and learned. Considering how expensive recipes can be, it would be nice to be able to get a little more info before I purchase it.

  • The search feature doesn't work on the vendor menu.

  • Crafting skills up very slowly

  • Corpses have no visible indicator that they have been skinned. There should either be a visual clue, or when selected, the corpse should say something like (skinned) after the name if it has already been skinned. Doesn't make much sense that I couldn't tell just by looking at it.

  • Cooking basic meat requires no tools or even a campfire. Apparently you just lay raw meat out in the sun for a while and call it a day.

  • You use 'guts' to make bowstrings in-game. This is inaccurate. Sinew is used to make bowstrings. Guts are used to make sausage! Perhaps they were thinking of strings for musical instruments, which do use 'catgut' (not made from cats).

  • Five minute spell buffs are a micro-management pain. The more skilled you are at the spell school for the buff, the longer it should last.

  • There are no player-made campfires! This is a travesty! I'm starting a campfire petition!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dawntide Open Beta Journal #1

Note: These experiences are from the weekend on July 2-5th, 2010.

For various reasons, it's been a while since I've checked in on the Dawntide beta. But now that the game has officially entered open beta, I thought it was time to pay it another visit.

After the expected patching and updating (which went very smoothly), I logged in to find my old characters had been deleted. No big deal. I quickly make a new character, choosing to start with skills in Lumberjacking, Carpentry and Fletching, as well as some basic combat experience.

I login to the familiar newbie town and immediately notice that every tree in town has been cut. Fair enough, I spy a few green-tops still standing across the bridge out of town, and head out to begin anew my career as an aspiring lumberjack.

As I wandered the landscape looking for more trees to harvest, I also took the time to practice my combat skills on the local rabbits and ducks.

Combat is the typical pick-target, push various attack buttons type. You do have the option of entering different stances (Balance, Force and something else). Each stance builds up specific stance points that can then be used to trigger other abilities. The combat animations seemed to be mostly nonexistent (they would occasionally fire off for special moves, but otherwise, combat was nothing to watch)

I tried harvesting a flower poking up from the ground, but after the casting timer wound down, the flower vanished and I received an error message telling me that my skill was insufficient to harvest this item. Would have been nice to get that message before the timer. It would also be nice to not deplete the resource.

Looking at the mini-map, I see a castle-type structure not far down the road. Perhaps it's another town? As it turns out, it was just an empty one-room keep, with a guard outside. But across the road was a camp full of vendors. Alas, none of them specialized in Fletching. I did however, find a general vendor who sold all sorts of random items and recipes at discounts. This vendor would also buy items!

Well, in theory anyway. As it turns out, everything I had was considered worthless. But the vendor did provide a couple of cheaper than normal recipes as well as an Icicle scroll. Magic! I had started the game with a single 5-minute buff spell, which I used every chance I could raising a couple of magic skills in tiny increments (and actually, you can just recast a spell over and over as long as you have mana, gaining skill the whole while, but that sort of mindless repetition bores me too quickly). But now I knew a real spell, one that would bring icy doom to my foes!

Heading back towards the main town, I scan the horizons, searching for something to practice my new Icicle spell on.

Image of a mushroom-headed giant I do spy this monstrosity in the distance, but having a healthy respect for my newbie status and my general lack of knowledge about the game, I give the mushroom-headed beast a wide berth.

Continuing onwards, I see a small, wee bunny hopping in the grass nearby. Perfect! Target bunny, cast spell, and... er.. well, nothing. Did I miss? Did it not work? I have no idea as there was no animation or text report. Hmmm. Let's try that again. Still nothing. So I do things the old-fashioned way, beating the bunny to a pulp with my hatchet and left hook. So it wasn't a ghost bunny (another common bug with the game world), perhaps I was doing something wrong. In my next combat encounter, I try mashing the spell button during melee. It seems to cast the spell, and maybe my animal foe lost a larger chunk of health than normal, but it's difficult to tell without any sort of combat feedback (sometimes numbers will float up from the target, but this also seems to be inconsistent). I try again a few more times and surprisingly, during one encounter, I actually do see spikes of ice shoot up from the ground underneath my opponent! OK. So I guess it is working, again it was just the animation

Next objective: How to make money? In my previous foray into the world of Dawntide, I recalled making bows for money. But looking at the vendor prices this time around, I didn't have enough cash to purchase any bow recipes. Looking ta my options, the only one that seemed viable was selling lumber. So I started a new career as a Carpenter, cutting down trees and making them into boards to sell to the vendor. After doing this for a bit, I was able to purchase the hunting bow recipe and discovered I also needed to know how to craft a bowstring. Alas, that recipe was another 3 copper!

Luckily, the general vendor had some pre-crafted bowstrings for sale! Seeing that as a much quicker option (I had no idea what sort of materials might be requested of me in order to make a single bowstring on my own), I purchased 10 or so and set about to crafting. After a couple of sad failures I had success! A Hunting Bow of my very own! Using up all of the remaining bowstrings, I managed to create two extra bows to sell. Looks like I had finally reached a point of being profitable!

Having finally achieved one of my initial goals, I now needed some arrowheads to go with the many arrow shafts and feathers I had sitting in my pack. But on my way back to the vendor, I was suddenly disconnected from the server (an unfortunately common occurrence) and decided to save that journey for the next Journal.

I really haven't been keeping up with the development of this game, but from looking at their news page, they seem to be on a steady patching cycle, which is always a good sign. At the moment, the random disconnects and crashes are way too common for me to want to spend much time in-game. Hopefully these technical issues will be cleared up soon and I can venture back into the online world of Dawntide without the frustration of having to login again every 10 minutes.

Short Summary: Has potential, but still has many technical hurdles to overcome.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SWTOR: WoW with Lightsabers?

So new info about the upcoming Bioware MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic has surfaced from E3.

Based on this interview with Rich Vogel and this preview from Massively, let's see what sort of info they're giving us...

  • Player ships that don't actually fly anywhere. Instead they are glorified apartments and transportation hubs (kind of like a personal flight master)

  • War Zones = Battlegrounds

  • Crafting will be similar to WoW

  • There will be Raids

  • There will be Gear Progression

Unfortunately, it seems to me that they're heading in a direction that will make this game World of Warcraft with Lightsabers, which I find very disappointing.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Dawntide Beta: Day One - I'm a Lumberjack...

After two frustrating weeks of not being able to login successfully, they finally patch the servers with a fix that works! For the first time ever, I am able to interact with the game world and do stuff!

My first goal in this game was to check out the crafting side of things and see if I could manage to craft a set of bow and arrows for myself!

So I created a new character and gave them as many crafting skills as I could. Ready to harvest, I began hacking at the nearest tree. Harvesting is done by simply right-clicking on the resource. Then you get a 5-second action timer while your character performs the animation. Moving or otherwise interrupting the timer will cause it to stop without any resources being gathered. And yes, this does get tedious pretty quickly. Though interestingly enough, I saw some comments from the developers recently asking players to identify what sort of actions they would be likely to macro in-game so that the devs can work on trying to make them less tedious! They'll have to walk a careful tightrope when balancing that sort of thing, but it's good to hear that they understand the root concept of why players macro in the first place and are interested in trying to fix it.

Anyway, I chopped some more trees, and then chopped them again. You can get several harvests from each tree, but once a tree is depleted, the model is replaced with a stump. After a while the trees will regenerate, but it is definitely possible to clearcut an area. The stumps in the screenshot below were all created by myself. I imagine several players trying to harvest at the same time would wreak havoc on the natural shade in the area! Different trees not only provide different types of wood, but they can also be harder to cut. For example, there was an oak tree nearby that I hacked at maybe two dozen times, never once successful. However, all of the other nearby juniper trees fell before my mighty ax with little trouble. A nice touch to the game world. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of role the type of wood will play in crafting.

Dawntide Screenshot

Now that I had an ample supply of wood, it was time to get crafting. I open up my crafting window and proceed to churn out hundreds of arrow shafts. I noticed while making arrow shafts that my skill in Fletching was steadily increasing, as was the displayed success rate for making the shafts. But my success rate for bows wasn't changing at all. So as an experiment, I attempted to craft a few bows. Sure enough, this increased my Fletching skill as well as the chance I had for success at crafting that particular bow. Very interesting. This takes crafting specialization to a new level.

Checking an offline, player-made map, I saw that there was a cave nearby where copper could be acquired. So I jogged over there, found some colored lumps in the back of the cave and clicked on them to harvest copper ore.

Bags full, I jogged back to town, found the local forge and turned all of my copper ore into beautiful, shiny ingots. Now I just had to figure out how to turn those ingots into sharp, pointy arrowheads! I checked all the vendors, I asked in chat, I checked the boards, but everyone said it was available from the blacksmith. I looked at the blacksmith list half a dozen times and couldn't find the arrowhead recipe. Finally I saw it, buried deep in the extensive list of items on the blacksmith vendor. For some strange reason I had just assumed that the simpler recipes would be near the top.

So now I have arrow shafts, and I have arrow heads, but I'm still missing one component... feathers. I guess it's time to go hunting...

A couple of random interesting notes:
  • Characters have a Sanity rating

  • Characters also have an appearance rating that changes as you equip and unequip items

To Be Continued...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dawntide Beta Failure - 16 days and counting...

Still have yet to successfully login to the Dawntide beta, despite numerous attempts with more than one character over the past two weeks.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Beta Failure: Mortal Online and Dawntide

Both games severely disappointed me yesterday.

First off, Mortal Online had a new patch on Wednesday, but alas, despite trying a good dozen times throughout the day on Thursday, I was unable to ever connect to the patch server. Actually a fairly typical beta experience (though it shouldn't be for a game that claims it will be releasing within two weeks), but still frustrating nonetheless.

Dawntide failed on a more profound level. A friend got into the beta and had a couple of extra beta invites to hand out. So he assigned one to me, but I never received any email. If I try to connect to the beta/account management section of their website, it won't let me and instead asks for another login (which apparently I don't have. And when I click on the sign-me-up link, it just takes me to the beta application page!) So I now have two confirmation emails about my registration for beta (one from many months ago, one from yesterday), and I have a forum account, but my post on the forum about this issue has received no responses.

Rule #1 of Beta Tests - Make sure your beta testers can actually get into the game.

Rule #2 of Beta Tests - Make sure your beta testers can actually get into the game.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mortal Online Open Beta: Day Two

Day Two was a bit less exciting than Day One. Again I was only able to spend less than an hour in-game.

I logged into my character who was still standing by a tree near a respawn point. Initial load was extremely laggy, as before. With a plan in mind to craft a bow, I set about whacking at the tree. To chop a tree you have to be in combat mode with your axe in hand. Then, when you interact with the tree, a chopping animation plays and some wood may or may not be added to your pack. I found the animation a little unsettling. Due to the fact that you're locked into 1st person mode, I began to get a little motion-sick watching it. It's also kind of strange to not receive a system message letting you know whether or not your action was successful. Occasionally, I'll see a success message when harvesting, but that is a rare occurrence rather than the norm.

Anyway, I acquired 20 units of wood (which I hoped would be sufficient) and looked around for a town. I had read on the forums that crafting required a crafting table, which could be found in-town (and makes it impossible to bootstrap yourself up in the wilderness). Spying an impressive looking wall nearby, I headed off. However, once I got there, the doors were closed and I was unable to interact with them. I saw that the wall continued onwards, so I followed, hoping to find an open door. But the next entrance was the same, as was the one after that. I tried just running through the door and found I could make it partially in; far enough to see that the inside looked pretty barren. OK then. I guess I was trying to get into a point of interest that hadn't been completed yet. But since there was a road alongside the castle/town, surely it would lead somewhere. After a few minutes of running along the road I came to the end of the wall, which ran into a very tall and impressive-looking tower on the shore of an expansive lake. The tower was also closed.

This wasn't going how I had expected, but with that lush body of water beckoning to me, how could I resist. A quick jump from the cliff and I'll be swimm... er.. wait... I'm still falling.. straight through the water surface until I land on the floor of the lake. Hmmm. Can I swim up? No. Can I swim at all? Apparently not, as my avatar begins trekking on foot across the bottom of the lake. Behind me are sheer cliffs that I cant climb. Ahead I think I see a slope in the distance. So I start running. And running. And running some more. Hmmm. that slope doesn't seem any closer. I look behind and see the cliff I had recently jumped from. And though it's clearly in the distance, it's also astoundingly tall from my point of view. Clearly my target was much farther off than I thought it was. Time for a change of plan. Let's hit the suicide button. I wait the required 60 seconds and them I'm dead. And in ghost-form but still at the bottom of a lake! Crud. OK. However, now I have the option of a "Nearest Shrine" button. Another 60 seconds and I respawn. This time in a town! Hooray!

However, my wood was now lying on the bottom of some nameless fake lake in some unknown location. A quick trip to the edge of town and I harvest some more wood. After an extended run about town I finally find a place with a bow crafting bench (most of the buildings have no distinguishing marks of any kind). Excellent! I open up the interface, select a bow type, drop some wood in the slot and presto! I have a bow (though again no messages about success, skill gain, etc). Yay me! So I equip my new bow and draw on the string, which creates a circular reticule that narrows the longer I hold it (allowing for more precise shots I would assume), but alas, I have no arrows. I return to the crafting bench, and all the ones near it, but none give any options for arrow-making. I check my skill list. No help there. I ask aloud if anyone knows how to make arrows There are 3 other players in the vicinity, but none of them respond.

At this point it was approaching 1am my time, so I logged out on the rooftop, ready to continue my search for ammunition next time around.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dragon Age: Origins - Impressions

This writeup was originally titled First Impressions, but I've ended up playing much longer than I had planned on before posting this, so First Impressions no longer applies. I would call it a Review, but I feel like that term would be a disservice unless I had finished the game or played through a significant portion as well as experienced the content with different starting characters. But, I've done neither, instead spending my time as a Dwarven Warrior, stumbling around the countryside, looking for trouble.


Once you start playing the game, it quickly becomes obvious that this game is driven by it's story and voice acting. Every single conversation you have is completely voice-acted (though oddly enough, your character never utters a word aloud during these talks, making him/her seem like a semi-creepy mute). On top of the main storyline voices, when back at your camp, you can choose to engage any of your party members (you can gather various party members in your travels, each with their own unique personality and interests) in a personal dialogue. These can vary based on previous actions, how the party member currently feels about you, and even items in your inventory! There have been a number of times throughout the game where I felt like I was watching a movie as a certain portion of dialogue played out.

It is not unusual for your party to have conversations amongst themselves while you're wandering around. And oftentimes, one or more of your party members will chime in during a dialog scene, giving their own comments and opinions on the matter. This is really well done and helps sell the world. The characters come to life at every turn, even without your direct input.


Getting used to the combat system took me a while. It is a fairly typical setup, with an overhead view and an action bar full of ability icons, but this game adds a few wrinkles. At any given point you can pause the action and issue new orders to your teammates. You can also give them predefined actions based on certain criteria via a tactics system. For example, If being attacked by melee -> use block skill.

It's a very interesting system. And once you dig into it, you can actually set up some fairly complex AI for your party members. Unfortunately, the limited number of tactic slots really hurts. I often found that I was barely able to give them some basic orders and tell them to try and use a healing potion when near death. It would be nice to have a couple of extra base tactics slots for each character, especially given the number of abilities and stances that are available. Even purchasing extra slots at every opportunity, it still was never enough.

Feeling fairly confident in my brain vs computer abilities, I decided to play the game on the Hard difficulty setting. I do feel challenged quite often, and some Boss fights can be particularly rough, but once I clued in to the healer necessity (see below), things got a lot easier, though it's still no pushover.

I do have to say that I am pretty unhappy with the over-reliance on healing in Dragon Age. Healing potions barely cover it and are an easy way to go bankrupt. Even my dedicated tank character, using all of his stamina-draining defensive stances, gets easily mauled. It's virtually required that you either pick up the healing-oriented party member early on, or you spec one of your other characters into the healing tree. Even if you make maximum use of your stuns and such, there is still way too much damage being slung about for any party to survive the onslaught.

Dying during battle has no long-term effect. Instead (assuming that your party wins), all characters that were depleted completely of HP during the battle get back up, though each will now have an injury that reduces their effectiveness in some way. However, injuries can be instantly removed with application of an injury kit. So this effect never really plays a part in the game unless you forget to use your kits. I found that I was much more likely to either win the battle outright, or fail completely, forcing a reload.


Travel between sites is done in a simulated manner, with the player choosing where to go from a world map, and then watching a little blood-stained trail plod across the map, occasionally stopping for a random or scripted encounter. Once you reach a designated stopping point, there are usually a couple of zones there, one with friendly NPCs who serve as merchants and quest-givers, the rest for the local storyline events and for some random monster-bashing. The zones are pretty rigid, though they all have side quests and points of interest to be found if you go poking around enough.

I loved being able to complete the 'go kill these guys' quests without being required to have the quest beforehand (something that was promised in one of the infamous Warhammer Online promotional videos from Paul Barnett, but which was never delivered in-game).

I wish the talent trees were actually trees, giving you more branching choices rather than a bunch of linear ones.

When shopping with a vendor NPC, a handy-dandy popup window shows up when you mouseover an equipment item, allowing you to compare its stats to what you are currently wearing. Unfortunately, you are unable to compare items to anything any of my party members are using, which makes it a bit difficult to efficiently shop for your party members.

I found that there wasn't enough hotbar space to include all of a character's abilities.

I've had few instances of terrain trouble where a character would get stuck and not move unless I took control of them manually, and I've also had enemies hop up on benches where one or two members of my party would refuse to attack them

Sometimes story choices vanish for no apparent reason; sometimes you're offered dialogue choices that don't actually reflect what has happened previously (for example, one conversation choice I had at one point was 'So only one person can go through', but before this choice popped up, I had no idea that my progress in this particular quest would be limited to one person. That was revealed in another dialog tidbit that I hadn't yet accessed!)


It looks as if DLC will be a big part of this game, with no less than four downloadable options available right from the start (based on your purchase), plus several more available for completing certain parts of their browser-based game, Dragon Age Journeys. And on top of that, even though the game has been out for only two months, they've already released their next purchasable content for the game and have another expansion coming right behind it! They obviously plan on milking this for as much as they can. But if you're one of those players who gets a new game and rapidly burns through all the content, this might be good news!

And as with most games of this time, you can always turn to the mod community to find new and/or altered game content.


To be honest, Dragon Age: Origin was a little different from what I had envisioned. I was expecting a more open world like the Morrowind series. But Dragon Age is much more of a rail-driven game. Sure you can choose what order you visit the cities in, but visit them you will. And you will also solve many of their problems, one way or another. You can't really just go off an do whatever you want to for extended periods of time.

But despite my complaints and nit-pick, the story, characters and just plain 'fun-factor' are excellent. Overall, a very entertaining game.

Mortal Online Open Beta: Day One

So the Open Beta for Mortal Online began yesterday. The client was available via torrent, but it seems today they simply have a direct download link.

Anyway, I had no technical issues with my setup. The download worked fine the first time around, installation was simply extracting the files from the zip, the updater ran, showed me the most recent patch notes and downloaded everything successfully (though there was a significant pause before the download actually started).

When I first tried to login at about 11pm PST last night, the servers were down. I checked back about an hour later and they were up, so I tried again, go in, and was soon making my first character.

The rough edges were immediately apparent. There were no mouseovers telling me what all the stats I could edit were for, there was no info about what differences there were between the races. I ended up just kind of speeding through the process, eager to see the world first-hand.

Waking up in the game world proved to be a laggy affair. My hard drive was given a thorough beating as the scenery and textures slowly popped into place. So the first thing I did was go and turn all the graphics options to the lowest settings. Some took effect immediately (such as turning off shadows), but something else I did (not sure what) said a client restart was required. But I was impatient, and once the trees had finished loading, the client seemed much more responsive.

There I was, in front of a nondescript wall in a forest with a bunch of other similar looking players, all with our starter axes. Of course, it was only moments before one of them came at me with murderous intentions. Luckily, being in combat stance causes you to move slower, so I was able to get some distance and give myself time to figure out how to wield my own axe! Once that was done, it was back into the fray! A few awkward blows were swung (combat feels very clunky), a few hits made, but no deaths that I saw. Quickly tiring of this, I instead turned my axe on some nearby trees, acquiring some wood. I noticed a small deer grazing nearby, so I decided to try my axe-wielding skills on the local fauna. But as I approached, the deer ran! It stopped a short distance off, so I tried again, and the same thing happened (though I did manage to get in one swing first)! It was a very cool moment to realize that this creature had some sense of self-preservation, and that I would probably need a bow to kill it.

Giving up on the slaughter for the moment, I scrolled through the very strange and confusing skill tree interface, trying to figure out if I had any crafting skills and how to use them. Alas, that quest was unsuccessful, but I did discover a Snooping skill! So off I went towards the nearest player who wasn't swinging their axe at me. Success! I could see in his pack, and it looked just like mine, empty except for a bit of lumber. Obviously this player either got some warning message about my actions (or he was just paranoid from all the axe-wielding maniacs in the vicinity), because he spun around and took a swing at my head. Departing the area quickly, I decided to just snoop as I was passing others, rather than standing around waiting for them to get angry. It was a mixed bag of failure and success, but it was interesting to notice how cautious everyone was. Noone attempted to run through you if they saw you coming and most people seemed to give other players a wide berth!

A short run down a nearby road and I found myself in a town. It had a number of buildings and seemed to be a decent size, but it felt oddly empty. The buildings were just lifeless husks, and all of the NPCs seemed to be gathered in a central market area, standing about in random spots (at least I saw no pattern in their placement). I checked a few of them, and all of the ones I saw seemed to be selling raw materials. Seeing some other players around, I again tried my hand at Snooping. Unfortunately, one of the players called for the guards, and I was quickly slain.

Now this was something new (in an old-school sort of way). Rather than being transported somewhere after death, I instead became a ghost. I couldn't see the nearby players or NPCs any longer, and the scenery gained a sort of washed out and smeared effect. I checked the in-game help to see how I could return to a more fleshy state, and found that I was supposed to look for the 'white lines' which would tell me where the priests were. I looked around and saw a number of white pillars of light extending into the sky. The brightness was supposed to tell you how close they were, but with the Death effect making everything blurry, it was difficult to get a good read on the markers. I made a brief stab and tracking what I thought was the brightest one, but when I climbed up to a second story and it appeared to be beyond a line of hills, I gave up and used the beta suicide option, which transported me to the closest priest. I expect that experience will help in the future when trying to locate a priest for resurrection, but they really should try and make it a bit clearer.

Once I was back in the land of the living, I made sure that I still had my newbie axe, and went to sleep next to a nearby tree. I was going to try and create another character before calling it a night, but the game crashed when I logged out.


In this short adventure, I could tell that the game is very unpolished and unfriendly to new players. There seems to be a severe lack of feedback given. A number of times I would try chopping a tree and receive no message about success or failure. My Snooping attempts never told me that I was being flagged as a criminal (which I assume is why I was guard-whacked in town). When first starting the game you're given a list of starting areas to choose from, but no information at all about what the differences between them might be. Melee combat is extremely crude. Supposedly they have a major combat patch on the way, but until it's implemented, I can only comment on what's actually in-game.

Despite all of this, I did feel engaged and I'm eager for another chance to dive into Mortal Online. Hopefully I'll be able to allot some more playtime this week and get a better idea of how the game works and what it's all about.

My next goals are to craft something and to learn a new skill! Oh, and maybe kill someone!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Clomp! League : Season Three, Day One

After what seemed an overly long hiatus (to bloodthirsty orcs anyway), Season Three of the Clomp! Cup was organized and ready to rumble. The Greenskins of Azh's Bashas gnashed their teeth in anticipation of the first day's match against the opposing Orc team, the Zerkr'z.

A bit worried about facing off against the veteran Bashas team, the Zerkr'z opted to hire a Star Player by the name of Varag Goul-Chewer for this match. His presence would be notable in the game, but perhaps not as expected.

First Half:

The Bashas receive the opening kickoff deep in their own half of the field. Gugfak, Thrower for the Bashas team, rolls to the right with excellent protection. The two front lines of the Greenskin teams collide. Goul-Chewer grabs hold of Galnak on the Bashas team, but the wily Black Orc is no rookie, and with a decisive move, hurls Varag to the ground. With Goul-Chewer down, and another Zerkr'z Black Orc KOed, Gugfak has plenty of room to step forward and deliver a short pass to Badhag, who streaks down the field, scoring the opening touchdown of the game!

On the ensuing kickoff, Earguff KOs another Zerkr'z Black Orc, opening the way for Badhag, with the assistance of the little Goblin Itsham, to fly into the backfield, delivering a punishing blow to the Zerkr'z Thrower that removes him from the game. With the ball on the ground and the Zerkr'z players out of position, it's an easy scoop and score for Marfak, another Bashas Blitzer.

As the ball again sails through the air on a kickoff, one enraged Zerkr'z fan hurls a large, pointy rock at Varag Goul-Chewer, catching the mercenary in the side of the head. Stunned, Varag falls to the ground, his noggin colliding with the turf in unison with the squigskin. Bereft of their only Thrower, The Zerkr'z try to draft their Blizter Galth into action as a passer. But his skills in that area prove to be inept, and the pass flies errant, landing amidst the Bashas team, lacking only the pretty bow that would clearly mark it as a gift! Gugfak grabs the ball, and in a play reminiscent of the first score of the game, makes a short pass to Badhag who rumbles down the right sideline unopposed. Finally recovering from his head injury, Varag Goul-Chewer hops up from the ground and makes a desperate dash across the field. But Badhag nimbly dodges, keeping his feet inbounds along the edge of the field as he dashes into the endzone for his second score of the game, taking the Basahs into halftime with a 3-0 lead!

Second Half:

The Zerkr'z receive the ball to start the second half. Varag, embarrassed by his performance in the first half, takes his anger out on Itsham, stunning the gobo with a heavy blow. Galth, still trying to fill in as the Zerkr'z Thrower, muffs the pickup, allowing the Bashas to break the lines before the play had even really begun. But the Zerkr'z recover quickly, and in a surprise trick play, Galth sprints past the ball, leaving it on the turf for Lineman Moklor to pick up who then makes a toss to Galth who had continued running upfield. Galth handoffs to Marfak (on the Zerkr'z team. Greenskins aren't known for being especially original with names), who sprints for the endzone. But Itsham latches on to one leg, slowing the ball-carrier down just enough for Gorfang to move up and lay the Zerkr'z Blitzer out. The Goblin grabs the ball, carrying it in the other direction with several teammates providing a defensive screen. Gugfak retreats from the line of scrimmage and takes the ball from the Itsham before running to the far side of the field and scanning downfield for a potential receiver. Meanwhile, far away from the rest of the action, Varag Goug'Liver, a Black Orc on the Bashas team known for being especially vicious, delivers a bone-crunching elbow to the face of Moklor, sending the Zerkr'z Lineman to the locker room with a broken jaw. Gugfak continues moving, crossing midfield before Galth (on the Bashas team) breaks free from the pack. Another quick, accurate pass lands in the receiver's hands, and Galth sprints down the field, angling away from both teams and trotting into the endzone as the playclock expires.

Final Score: Azh's Bashas 4, Zerkr'z 0

Clomp! League: Season Three, Intro

And Season Three of the Clomp! Cup is off and running! After the trouble encountered last season where a number of teams went MIA, it was decided that Season Three would be limited to veteran coaches who had already proven their reliability. This season will also be the first to use the newly implemented playoff feature for multiplayer tournaments.

Many teams from Season Two returned for another shot at the title, but there are also several new contestants, including the first Dark Elf team to accept the challenge of competing in the Clomp! Cup. Total number of teams competing: 14.

Returning Teams:
The Dance of Death (Chaos) (Champions of Season Two)
Blood Fang Boyz (Orc) (Champions of Season One)
Azh's Bashas (Orc)
The Altdorf Avengers (Human)
Bufo Draconis (Lizardmen)
Tree Rats (Wood Elf)
Zerkr'z (Orc)
Nurgle's Pathogens (Chaos)

New Teams:
Khornate Kilers (Chaos)
East Eden Sins (Lizardmen)
Ithrond Ironstars (Dark Elf)
Odin's Hammer (Dwarf)
Plaguerunnaz (Skaven)
Chaos 101 (Chaos)

Read the full post to see links to the individual match summaries for Azh's Bashas.

Full details about this season (so far) can be found on the Shadowclan wiki.

Links to recaps of completed matches for Azh's Bashas will be added here as they occur.

Day One - Zerkr'z

Friday, January 08, 2010

Clomp! League : Season Two, Day Nine

The Day 8 match against the Dwarven team, Ground Round, was resolved 1-0 in favor of Azh's Bashas due to a no-show by the Dwarves.

On the final day of the second season of he Clomp! Cup Tournament, Azh's Bashas, in the running for one of the top two spots in the division, square off against the equally tough Altdorf Avengers and one of the most violent players in the league, Borgrut Lucky.

First Half:

The Avengers receive a short kick that drops just over the midfield line on the left side of offense. Dunkel Huppert, lone man in the backfield, easily trots over and picks it up, making a short forward shuffle pass to receiver Arne Filibert who cuts back across the field and streaks up the right sideline. But Marfak, one of the Bashas Blizters, is in the area and knocks the ball loose. A series of blocks from his teammates sends most of the nearby Avengers to the ground, but Marfak fails to pickup the ball, watching in shoot out of bounds where the fans throw it back to the middle of the field near the Bashas goal. Both teams break from the scrum on the sidelines to form a new one around the ball. Riknast takes the ball, but Filibert and Dieter Geet, the two muscle-bound Catchers for the Avengers, slip their blocks and harass the Blitzer, tripping him up as he tries to push past and move downfield. A timely strike by Borgrut, the Avengers star Ogre, sends one of the Black Orcs out of the game with a broken jaw, clearing room in the middle of the field for extra support to stream in. Marfak briefly emerges from the melee, squigskin in hand, But Borgrut meets him head on, sending both the Blitzer and the ball to the turf. Earguff delivers a retaliatory blow to the Ogre, but despite the ferocity of the attack, the beast's Thick Skull turns what would have been a damaging attack into nothing more than a bad headache for the brute. Bloodlust gets the better of both teams, and half ends with several more brutal knockdowns and a 0-0 tie score.

Second Half:

The opening of the second half sees the first appearance in the game of Gugfak, Bashas Thrower, and Itsham the Goblin. Dodging a heavy blitz from the Avengers, Gugfak tosses the ball to Galth near the midfield line. Marfak, running interference along the same sideline, smashes the collarbone of the lone defender, clearing a wide open path for Galth who rumbles into the endzone for the first score of the game!

Dunkel Hupert receives the kickoff, moving up in the pocket behind his line while the two star Catchers streak downfield. The Bashas converge on both knocking Dieter Geet to the ground. But Arne Filibert slips away from a tackler and catches a perfectly thrown strike in the endzone to tie up the game.

On the ensuing possession change, Gugfak, again avoiding an Avenger blitz, makes a short pass to Itsham at midfield. Itsham slips to the right side, moving up between two orcs for protection. But along the way, he lashes out with a quick boot to the head of a prone Arne Filibert, giving the receiver a concussion and sending him off the field. But the Avengers are not caught as out of position as before. Borgrut KOs Gramnast Jr, making room for another Avenger to pound the little Goblin into the ground. Both teams struggle for possession of the ball, but amidst the flailing limbs and spiked armor, controlling the squigskin proves to be a difficult task, and neither side comes close to scoring again as time winds down, ending the game in a tie, with one score apiece!

Final Score: Azh's Bashas 1, The Altdorf Avengers 1

Final Results: Azh's Bashas finished 3rd in their division, and did not earn a berth in the Divisional Championship game. Season Two of the Clomp! Cup was won by a Chaos team from Division One, The Dance of Death.