Monday, April 28, 2008

Rant on MMORPGs

So, I thought I'd find out what everyone why so many people were playing MMORPGs. World of Warcraft is the main one, but there are others, so I thought I'd check out three, and if I had fun, I'd buy one and play it for a little while. So I got the trial versions for Lord of the Rings On-Line, Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft.

First problem: Every single one of them was a massive download (between 4.5 and 7 GB). This is ok. One expects a full retail version of a game to be pretty heavy in this day and age. My problem comes when, after downloading the whole thing, I install it, log-in and password, and then it decides it needs to download about another 2GB in patches. All of them did this. SWG was the worst, with it downloading what seemed to be the whole game again in patches and not telling me really how much time was missing. WoW was the best, with a reasonable amount of patching to be done. I'm also pretty impressed with the way WoW uses bittorrent to manage its downloads. Very cool, even if it did mean reconfiguring my router. But anyway, here's my main rant:

I just downloaded about 6 GBs from a website. I didn't go out and buy a box. I didn't install from a disk. I downloaded something from the publisher's official website. Why on earth can't they make an up-to-date installer, say, every 512 MB in patches? It's not like this would be difficult. It would make for a much better user experience. It would make for much less frustration.

But anyway, after downloading patches, setting up temporary accounts, etc., etc., I got playing. LotRo was first, and what an amazing n00b I was for the first little while. But it's easy to get the hang of, and I know most of the mythology, so it was good fun. The main story's well written, and the world is big right away. I did a ton of little newbie quests and had a great time killing boars and spiders and wolves and bandits and things. A little bit of lag, sometimes, but nothing I wouldn't expect from my horribly slow EPM connection. Then I moved on to SWG.

Star Wars Galaxies installed fine (and they gave me the longest trial period), but the interface is outdated, and the launcher, or whatever Sony Online Entertainment calls it, is just frustrating. The game isn't much better, and after running around a space station for a little while doing silly little errands for people I got quite bored. Left the space station to go to Tatooine, and got even more bored (boreder?). They get points for no lag, though ... but they lose them all because of the stupid way the interface works. To say SWG didn't grab my attention is putting it nicely.

Then World of Warcraft, the game with the economy of a small country, or whatever the on-line hype says. Uses bittorrent to manage the download, which was cool. Patches massively upon installation, which seems to be normal. So I started playing as some kind of elf, and things looked interesting. The first couple of quests were fun, very similar to what I found in LotRo (yes, yes, I know it was the other way around, LotRo ripped off WoW, but hey ... who cares), and then I started getting lag. Massive lag. I would be running in one direction, hold the 'w' key down for half a second, and end up running in a straight line for 5 or up to 10 seconds. So I quit. The next day I came back. Once again, fine for ten, fifteen minutes, and then massive lag again. I actually managed to finish all the quests in the starting village, even with all the lag, but it just got really, really boring trying to fight with it all the time.

So I bought Lord of the Rings on-line. And I played some of it today, and now I'm hooked properly. I did my first fellowship quest (Spider's Bane, for anyone who's played it), and it is so cool to do a little quest alongside someone who could be anywhere else in the world, and have fun, and then go your separate ways. Great stuff.

And that's it. I'm going to try and not get badly hooked. One of my friends said they're going to keep an eye on facebook, and if my wife's relationship status suddenly changes, he's grabbing some other friends and coming over to do an intervention. You're all invited to my intervention, by the way, if and when it happens. We can play Rock Band on the XBox.

I'll get round to translating this into Spanish at some point ... I'm sure ... I hope.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


De los muchos discos buenos que seguramente saldrán este año de la escena local (incluyendo el de Ciudad Pasarela, obviamente), el Monocyclos de Rey Gordiflón es el primero que aparece (creo) y está muy bueno. Hasta ahora los temas que más me han gustado (por si les interesa mi opinión) son "Mil Soledades" y "Principio Fin". Altamente recomendado. Cómprenlo pero ya.

Además, parece que va confirmando lo que uno ya sabía: que Andrés Guerrero en Supernova es uno de los nuevos ingenieros buenos que hay por estos lares.

We've got a lot of new records coming out this year on the local scene in Medellín (including, of course, Ciudad Pasarela's). Monocyclos by Rey Gordiflón is the first one to drop (I think) and its really good. Up to now the songs I like the best (if you care) are "Mil Soledades" and "Principio Fin". Highly recommended. Buy it now.

Besides, it seems to confirm what some of us already knew: that Andrés Guerrero at Supernova is one of the good new recording engineers in the city.