Well, we have much to discuss since the last website update. Let's get on to the news, shall we?
I'll start by explaining that the Pitboss game I was writing about on this website did come to a close a few months ago. In the end, neither my team nor or primary competition (Team 3) ended up winning the game; the victory was stolen instead through a Cultural Victory by Team 2. They cleverly took advantage of several factors specific to that map (Quick speed, three civs on a team, late era start) to pull off a very unlikely victory condition. Unfortunately for our team, we had specifically tested the cultural victory conditions that they were trying to win, one Legendary city per civ, and found that it did not work. However, our test gave the wrong conclusion for completely different reasons - you cannot win a victory of any kind in the first 20 turns of the game in Civ4. This extremely obscure rule caused our test to yield the wrong result, and so we made no attempt to stop Team 2's cultural victory, erroneously believing that their pursuit wouldn't work. Tough break for us, and a rather anti-climactic ending to the lategame showdown that we were preparing, but them's the breaks. Here's a link to the relevant forum if you would like to read some of the postgame threads at Realms Beyond. And yes, there were a lot of people who acted like jerks and trolled me during the game, but fortunately things have since calmed down.
In related Civ news, I'm playing out a Civ4 game for my YouTube channel, which has received a surprising amount of positive feedback thus far. People seem to like watching the Civ gameplay, even though it's very slow paced. I've put a link to the video playlist on my Civ4 page of Single Player games, or you can follow it right here. All of this stuff is listed on my YouTube channel, and should be easy to find from there.
We also have the release of Diablo 3 after innumerable years of waiting! There's a new section up there with two short articles on some of my preliminary thoughts. I'll be playing variant characters eventually, just not quite yet. I still haven't even taken a single character through Hell difficulty so far. I have a couple of fun ideas in mind for later - need to make sure that I can clear at least Normal and hopefully Nightmare difficulties without dying before putting them into practice.
Finally, there are still lots of League of Legends videos continuing to be posted on the YouTube channel. I've been picked to do casting for the IPL qualifiers, which is a rather large deal in the League of Legends community, and a nice honor to boot. Thanks again to everyone for all of their support.
Over the past few months, I have gotten more requests and messages asking for updates on the Solo Berserker than just about anything else I can recall. Well it's finally here, after almost a year of waiting: Final Fantasy 5 Solo Berserker Report. You're welcome! Seriously though, this was quite a story and should make for an interesting read. Go ahead and check it out, linked above and also off of the Final Fantasy main page.
I also realized that it was somewhat silly not to have a link to the Paypal account that I set up for my YouTube channel here on the website, and have added that link above. Over the years, I have had some people ask if there was a place that they could donate to support the website, and I always felt a bit silly turning away gifts. Now let's be clear about this: I do not need any contributions from anyone, and I feel somewhat uncomfortable even having the button up there on the front page. Nevertheless, if anyone wants to make a small donation out the goodness of their heart, the option is there, and I do appreciate it. But don't feel obligated to give me anything!
Finally, I'm still posting semi-regular updates to our Pitboss #6 Live Blog, which is linked immediately below this message. If the Civ4 stuff interests you, there's content there to be read.
In response to a couple of different requests, I'm going to keep readers updated on what's going on with the Pitboss #6 game that we're playing in Civ4. But since I'm not interested in doing so at the forums for Realms Beyond, I will do so here on my website instead, updating the same page a couple of times per week in somewhat of a Liveblog fashion. Yeah, not entirely sure how this will work out, but let's give it a try! You can find the page under the Multiplayer tab of the Civ4 section, or simply follow this link. I won't post an update on the front page every single time I add a new post, so keep an eye on the Pitboss #6 page itself.
This also probably goes without saying, but those playing on the other teams should avoid my posts here until the game concludes, for obvious spoiler reasons. Thanks.
Happy New Year 2012, everyone. Recent months have been slim pickings for the website, as most of my creative time has gone into producing videos for my YouTube channel instead. Now with over 7000 subscribers, there's a strong following that keeps up with my League of Legends activities online. I usually submit new videos every 2-3 days, and that channel that I linked to is the best place for current information about my latest work. I will post here at the website if any new articles are written; I am still keeping an eye open for another good turn-based strategy game. We'll see.
Unfortunately, there's been a great deal of recent bitterness and unpleasantness associated with my longtime Internet hangout of Realms Beyond. Many of the other posters have become angry over the way that I've carried out forum moderation, and I've become frustrated with constant sniping at me. I've often felt that others were trolling me, which is something I never would have believed at Realms Beyond. In any case, I'm not interested in trying to assign guilt or blame anyone in particular. I don't think that would solve the problems that are taking place. But I'm not enjoying the time that I used to spend browsing the forums, quite the opposite in fact. This past weekend, I came away feeling angry and frustrated at the comments that others were directing at me, to the point that it was hard getting my work done. I'm not going to subject myself to an unpleasant environment that makes me feel lousy, so... I'm going to step away from Realms Beyond for a while. Maybe I'll check back in a few months, I honestly don't know. I logged out of my account and deleted all my cookies and bookmarks, so there's no temptation to check things out by accident. Hopefully this will help fix the situation; it appears that I was becoming too controversial of a figure at RB. I wish everyone still there the best.
But hey, enough with the sombre news. Diablo 3 should be out within the next six months, and that will be a very exciting time indeed. Stay tuned, I plan to have a lot of D3 content when the game finally releases.
Happy Labor Day, comrades! VarisNox and I have completed our test run through solo queue Ranked mode in League of Legends, both of us reaching 1520 rating and Gold Tier (top 3% of players). It was a lot of fun and we did even better than I was expecting. Season One should be ending this week, and we will get a few extra perks for finishing the season with gold ranking, including a free skin for one of the champions. We're looking forward to trying out some other things when Season Two begins, with more ranked games, trying to put together a formal team of five for ranked play, and possibly even playing some 3s on Twisted Treeline. We'll see what happens - I'm much more interested in all of those things than whatever Dominion turns out to be (which probably won't release until 2012 anyway).
YouTube links for League of Legends have been updated and are now current as of this posting.
One thing that's killed me for years was the loss of most of my Civ3 reports when my old server hosting crashed in 2005. I still have the HTML files, but I lost almost all of the pictures that accompanied them, and they aren't interesting to read without the accompanying illustrations. Fortunately, I recently discovered that I could access my old site at kalikokottage.com through use of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Although it's far from perfect, and a lot of the pictures are still missing, there's enough surviving that I'm going to be able to salvage most of these reports. Therefore, I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks going through my old Civ3 reports and putting them back online again. I'll post another notice here when they're finished. Granted, there's probably not a lot of demand for stories about a game that came out back in 2001 at this point... But those reports are important to me personally, and it's worth the effort in my eyes to save them. I'm also going to put up links to Sirian's old website using the same Wayback Machine, as it's a terrible crime that those marvellous Diablo II and Civ3 reports have been lost into the abyss in recent years. Ember and Skeletorr deserve a better fate than that.
In other news, my YouTube channel has been approved for a partnership, which means that I can submit videos for advertising revenue. I should be able to make some minor income from ads on those videos, which is always nice. There will be more League of Legends announcements coming up pretty soon, which I'll talk more about as they take place. We also finished up a Pitboss game recently that I was playing in, under a fake pseudonym for anonymity purposes. You can read our fake forum thread here, and our real forum thread here. Unfortunately we weren't able to win this one - mostly due to factors taking place on the other side of the map beyond our control - but we did play a strong game and were one of the top powers at game's end. There's another Pitboss game being organized at Realms Beyond as I type this, with planned Always War and Medieval start settings. It should be very different from a lot of the other Civ4 Multiplayer games played thus far, so feel free to check it out.
Also, Civ5 still sucks. That will be all.
Well, long time no update, eh? Unfortunately I have been kept very busy with two different things over the past months. First of all, instead of writing reports I've been recording commentary videos for League of Legends, now getting ready to hit the 100 mark in total. While I do feel bad about not having more articles to write, League of Legends simply doesn't translate well to text, and writing long articles is rather pointless with the way that the metagame changes almost weekly with patches. If you write something long about a champion, odds are it will be obsoleted within a month or two. That's why I've decided to stick with the videos for the most part, and have since added a Livestream to capture even more gameplay for the viewing audience. All of this is linked from the League of Legends page on the menu above.
Secondly, the rest of my time has mostly been spent writing my dissertation lately, and when I'm spending six or more hours per day typing already, I don't have a great desire to do my typing on this website in my spare time. I noticed over the past decade that when I'm doing a lot of professional writing I do less writing for the website, and vice versa. However, I do have one addition to put up today, a short article about the introduction videos for the Civilization series. It's linked under the Miscellaneous section, or you can read it right here.
You might ask yourself, would Sulla really write 5000 words just to get in more jabs at Civ5? Readers, you be the judge!
New updates for the website! After many long months of inactivity, I have completed the writeup for the Solo Geomancer class in Final Fantasy 5. Follow the link to go read about it. The inspiration to finish this game came from T-Hawk's completion of a Solo White Mage, which is also linked from this website in the Final Fantasy section to help preserve it for posterity. I have also updated the League of Legends section with links to the most recent videos, in case anyone missed them when they were posted over at YouTube.
On a side note, I'll point out that it takes quite a bit more work to write an article than it does to create a video. Anyone can throw something up on YouTube with a little effort; I was surprised to discover just how easy the whole process was. However, it's much more difficult to write something online, or at least more difficult to write something worth reading that will hold the reader's interest. It can be very tempting in this day and age to ditch the written word for flashy video stuff. Dont worry though, I have no plans to stop writing anytime soon. There are still many subjects where the written medium works better, especially for strategy games like Civilization. I plan to use a mixture of different formats depending on whatever works best for the game in question, and the old art of the written word isn't going anywhere.
Civilization 5 released six months ago today.
To say that the game fell short of expectations would be an understatement. Civ5 was a disastrous mess on release, full of broken game elements and half-finished projects. For the first time in ten years, I found myself completely uninterested in playing the newest entry in the Civ series. For lack of a better word, the game was BORING. Very little action took place, and the choices presented to the player were not interesting or possessing any kind of strategic depth. I unintentionally found myself chronicling the downfall of the Civ series, which you can still find here on this website under the Civ5 heading. Within two months, I was finished with the game and moved on to other projects, something that I never thought I would find myself saying.
Time has since passed, and after a significant delay Firaxis has released a new patch, the "February" patch which was delayed until March in yet another PR gaffe. This patch has clearly improved the gameplay: in the words of a poster at CivFanatics, "no longer is Civ5 a broken game at the basic levels of gameplay." No longer can you conquer the planet by building four horsemen, no longer do you see massive ICS empires of size 4 filler cities relying on trading post spam and maximization of Scientist specialists. Kudos for that, Firaxis: you have now fixed the most glaringly broken gameplay systems that never should have appeared in a release product. Congratuations. But does that mean that Civ5 is now a good game? Absolutely not. While the game is in better shape, fixing the game's worst flaws still doesn't change the fact that it is a mediocre empire-builder. Even Civ5's most ardent defenders generally post things like "I enjoy the game despite its flaws" and "the game's not great now, but it will be eventually with more patches/expansions/mods." I simply don't have the patience for this, not when there are so many superior empire-builders out there. Perhaps if I were new to Civ5 and had never played any of these games before it would be different... but I know this stuff can and has been done better before.
I still keep an eye on what's going on with Civ5. Here are the major problems with the current gameplay; I'm basing this around high-level play at Immortal or Deity, as any lower difficulty is a joke for experienced players:
* Great Scientists and Research Agreements are simply broken aspects of gameplay. They have not been addressed in patches, and indeed were only strengthened in the most recent patch by making tech costs higher. Great Scientists can still lightbulb any tech on the tree, regardless of cost. Research Agreements can be "blocked" - if you research 25% of the cost of a tech, you will not get it for free from the "random" research agreement - and therefore with careful management, you can basically turn every single research agreement into a free Great Scientist. The net effect is that actual tech costs DO NOT MATTER; you are never actually researching the cost of the techs themselves, simply getting them for free from Great Scientist/research agreement spam. You can win by Spaceship on Deity in under 250 turns with ease; in fact, you can win by Spaceship on Deity in under 250 turns while playing a One City Challenge! After all, it doesn't matter how many beakers your own civ is producing, as an expert player will be cleaning up all of the industrial/modern techs they need for free. I find this to be a profoundly stupid research model for a game to employ. It's not fun or interesting, and it revolves around tedious microing of research through tech blocking. Nor are any of these rules explained or documented anywhere in the game; the whole research agreement blocking thing was discovered through trial and error. It's just a bad system, and use of GS/RAs dominates high level play. Civ5 would honestly be better off if research agreements were axed entirely from the game. (But then what is there to do diplomatically? See next point.)
* Diplomacy still offers no real incentives for cooperation whatsoever, and remains incredibly exploitable. As I mentioned before, there's no reason to be friends with the AI civs in this game. They will never vote for you in the UN, there's no Open Borders economic benefits to reap, there's no tech or map trading, and so on. Diplomacy in Civ5 functions like this: you sell your resources to the AI for cash, then you use your cash to purchase research agreements and city state friendship. And that's basically it. Sell your stuff, then use the gold to buy other stuff. There is nothing interesting about this to me; you can never befriend these guys, so why bother? There are also no penalties in Civ5 for screwing over the AI civs - you can drain all of their cash for gold per turn payments, declare war to wipe out the deal, and it has no effect at all. Or you can sell them cities for vast sums of gold, then declare war and recapture that city back instantly. Or you can sell a resource for cash, pillage it, and then resell it again for more cash. It drives me nuts that this kind of bull was noted as a problem in Civ3, corrected in Civ4... and then it's right back into the game again in Civ5. Did they learn anything?!? Furthermore, the AI is deliberately programmed to gang up on the human player if he or she is getting close to winning. They will also hate you if you start "warmongering" (even if you didn't declare war and are only punishing an aggressor!) and they will hate you for expanding and building cities. Basically, you are penalized for trying to build an empire in an empire-building game. Do these same rules apply to the AI civs? Of course not! They will happily war and expand to their heart's content, with no diplomatic penalty, then you will be the villain for acting the same way that they do. Say what you will about the erratic AIs in Civ3, at least they treated the player the same as the other AIs. Civ5 is right back to the old "you versus the world" gameplay from Civ 1/2, and I can't stand it.
* As if I even need to mention it, the AI remains totally braindead at combat, and has no idea how to play by the rules of one unit per tile gameplay. Multiplayer has also gone totally unaddressed in patches, and the competitive community is essentially dead. (We're still waiting on those Hotset, Play by Email, and Pitboss modes, by the way. Promised for released and still waiting six months later.) The victory endgame screens are still a joke, static painting and no replay. The Civilopedia is still full of errors and misdocumentation.
Anyway, I could go on but you get the point. While I'm glad that Civ5 has been fixed to the point where most buildings are actually worth having (instead of the player doing better by *NOT* having most buildings!), it's far from a polished or good game. High level gameplay is based around exploiting research agreements and Great Scientists, selling resources to raise cash to buy RAs and city state alliances. I mean, kudos if you like that sort of thing, but seriously? When selling resources in the early game is much more important than expanding and building cities, something is very, very wrong with the gameplay. This thread from Martin Alvito is what I consider to be the cutting edge in current Civ5 high level play. Martin's stuff is brilliant and creative - and it looks nothing like past Civilization games, or the empire-building genre in general. The gameplay of Civ5 is dumb, for lack of a better word. It doesn't interest me at all, and frankly, it doesn't seem to be very interesting to a lot of others either. There are tons of people playing Civ5, but most of them are playing at the intermediate difficulty levels, Noble to Emperor. I keep looking around the Internet - where are the extreme difficulty challenge games? Where are the people doing crazy variant games to make things harder? Outside of a few people pushing Deity spaceship games at CivFanatics' Strategy forum, I can't find anyone playing interesting Civ5 games. The elite talent from past Civ games isn't playing Civ5. There are no succession games, there are no tournament games, and the competitive MP ladder is dead. To me, that speaks volumes about the lack of depth in Civ5. When people are winning One City Challenge games on Deity, and winning them easily in the 1500s, where do you go from there? I have no idea, and it looks like everyone else feels the same way.
Because I don't plan on writing anything else on Civ5, the game has been demoted down to the Miscellaneous page. All the content is still there, just not on the front page anymore. That's a shame because the graphics I did for Civ5 are some of the best on this website, but oh well. In its place is the link to my League of Legends stuff, which deserves more promotion as that's where I'm spending most of my time now. I have about 60 full games casted and uploaded on YouTube, and I'm starting to draw a pretty good following there. Over 600 subscribers as I type this now, and hopefully pushing towards 1000 next! I've signed a deal to work with a YouTube group called TheButtonMasherz to help promote my videos and gain additional publicity. With enough viewers I could potentially even get some advertisers and start to monetize my work, which would be great for me. Still a long ways from that point right now, of course. I will continue to update the website any time that I feel I can say something better in text than in video; for example, there's an Annie guide for League of Legends that I'm posting today to read through. It all depends on the medium: Civ works better (much better) described in text, while a game like LoL really has to be done visually through video. As always, keep an eye on the front page here for updates. I'll let my readers know what's going on... somtimes infrequently, but I always update in time. This website is going on 9 years now!
I had a request from one of the editors at Bitmob.com to rework the ending from my last editorial on Civ5 for use on their website. This was pretty cool for me, as it's the first time anyone ever requested that I write an article for an outside source. You can go read it now at the following link.
New (lengthy) article up today! In response to the many requests on what I would like to see in a Civilization game, I typed up some thoughts on how I would go about designing an imaginary Civ game. You can find it linked under the Miscellaneous section, or read it right here. Also note that with the end of the winter holiday I'm now back to a normal work schedule, which means that there will probably be fewer updates on the website in the upcoming weeks. These last two articles were very long even for me.
Merry Christmas! I have a holiday treat for the website in the form of two new articles. First of all, I've uploaded an editorial on Civ5 that I wrote back during the summer and never published, one in which I pondered what the new developments would mean and tried to predict where some problems might lie. At the time, I was only working with the information available in online previews, so feel free to check it out and see how accurate my guesses were. I've also uploaded a simultaneous short game report and editorial on the newest Civ5 patch, under the heading of "What Went Wrong with Civ5?", so you can probably guess how I feel about that. They are both listed under the Civ5 Editorials page. Unless something dramatic changes, I do not expect to be playing any more games of Civ5. Don't bother emailing me about this, I'm afraid you'll have to go somewhere else for Civ5 content.
While I haven't been updating this website much, I've been very active in uploading League of Legends videos to YouTube, with over 30 total games and still climbing. I have just shy of 200 subscribers right now, which is also pretty cool. Every game is still linked from this website under the Miscellaneous section, although I will not be posting on the front page when new videos go up (just too much work). I'm still trying to finish some Final Fantasy 5 stuff, although I have no idea when that will be done...
As always, thanks for reading, and maybe we'll finally see Diablo 3 in 2011! Here's hoping.
Hey folks, just wanted to check in here and provide a short update on what's going on. The honeymoon period for Civ5 is over, and I've noticed more and more people coming to the realization that this is a dud game. The Deity succession game that I finished with the Ottomans was a confirmation of all of the problems plaguing Civ5, which can be boiled down to two key points: the AI does not provide a challenge (even on the highest difficulty) and the game doesn't present interesting choices or decisions to be made. I honestly have no desire to play any more games, since they will all play out in similar fashion. Variants aren't enough to save a game if the core design itself is flawed.
Civ5 has managed to pull off the rare coup of aggravating all three sections of the Civilization community: Single Player, Multi Player, and Modding. My own reports cover the SP side of things, and the only semi-interesting challenge taking place at the moment is an informal competition to see how quickly players can win each victory type. Since people are already posting sub-Turn 200 Spaceship victories on Deity, that challenge isn't going to last much longer either. The MP side of Civ5 remains almost completely unplayable, and the Civilization ladder community is withering on the vine. I've watched some of the elite talent deserting in droves over the past few weeks, and who can blame them? Civ5 MP games not only have a staggering amount of technical problems, they're mostly determined by who can fast-move their opponent better, and who has less lag on their connection. I'm not sure why anyone would want to endure such a crummy experience when there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other Multiplayer games without Civ5's problems. Finally, while I personally have little interest in modding, I've also spotted a lot of complaints from the modding community over various hard coded values and obscure documentation from Firaxis. Perhaps that will change in time with more patches, but I'd certainly be skeptical of thinking that modders will easily "fix" the various problems with Civ5.
Overall, what a trainwreck. They messed this one up badly. Six weeks after release, and Realms Beyond's community is struggling to finish its first two succession games due to complete lack of interest. Nor do most people care about creating the first Epics competition. That's a terrible, terrible sign about the longterm health of this game. For anyone still on the fence about Civ5, I recommend not purchasing this game, at least not at the moment. The only real hope is that maybe a long sequence of patches will improve the game, and if you don't already have the game, you might as well wait until that takes place, if ever. I won't be writing anything else about Civ5 on my website unless some drastic changes take place.
Of course, that doesn't mean nothing will take place here at my website. I'm doing regular YouTube casts for League of Legends, which are linked under the Miscellaneous section above. After taking a break for a few months, I'm planning on returning to the Final Fantasy 5 solo challenge games - still about five more character classes yet to go. And there might be one or two other projects in the works, depending on how much time I have. Stay tuned...
Added a link to the Deity succession game I created at CivFanatics, which can be found under the Multiplayer section for Civ5.
I put up a fourth Civ5 writeup, which will probably be the last one for some time. I'm thinking of running a Deity succession game for Civ5, and will post a link here if one starts up.
I have posted a third Civ5 writeup, with the results of another Immortal game played with China. I think I'm beginning to get a strong handle on this game now, and the game doesn't play out the way that the developers seem to have intended. This is a long read, and should be a good once.
I posted a second Civ5 writeup today, this one about a game played on Immortal difficulty. Check it out in the Civ5 section of the website. I've also continued posting League of Legends videos on YouTube, all of which are linked from here under the Miscellaneous section. You might want to subscribe to my channel if you enjoy watching those, since I won't post an update here every time a new one goes up.
Did some work today, and finished the basic framework for a Civ5 section of the website. Still nothing listed under most of the pages, but that can be filled out in time. Doing the graphical elements is the hardest part, thankfully that's all done! No new writing itself though for now, apologies.
I've done my first writeup of a Civ5 game, which can be accessed at the following link. I still need to do all the graphics for a new section of the website, which will be coming later when I get the time. The link above will have to do for the moment!
Civ5 is now out and released to the public as of yesterday. I downloaded the free demo and played through the 100 turns they give you, typing up some of my initial impressions at Realms Beyond's forums. Long story short: decent game, fun for the moment because of the newness factor, but definitely a step backwards from Civ4. There are some major balance problems with this game already, and Multiplayer is so crippled as to be virtually unplayable at release. Nevertheless, I plan on purchasing the game sometime this weekend, and I'll have more impressions up here once I experience a full game or two.
If you're interested in a good long read, the writeup for the Pitboss #2 game has finally been completely, wrapping up with a total of 13 parts. It was a lot of work, and I'm glad to have it finished. I can see why so much of the Internet is moving towards podcasts and video commentaries - they're a lot easier to do, frankly. Writing is difficult, and takes much more effort. I'll continue to try and use whatever medium works best for different games: Civilization tends to favor a written, summary style while an action game like League of Legends doesn't translate well to text. And on that note, I'll conclude by saying that I've been adding some more League of Legend videos over on YouTube, which are linked from this website. Check out whatever interests you.
There are a couple more parts added for the Pitboss #2 game writeup; I've made it a goal to finish before Civ5 comes out. Looks like that will probably be the final writeup I do on Civ4, unless the new game would turn out to be terrible. There are also some more YouTube commentary videos ready for League of Legends, linked under the Miscellaneous section. I have some ideas about doing a variant Let's Play involving Legend of Zelda in the near future; please no one mention this to Dr. Nomadic.
I've added a Let's Play YouTube feature for the SNES game Megaman X, which is linked under the Miscellaneous section. Check it out if that sort of thing interests you. There is also one more addition to the Realms Beyond Pitboss #2 game, up to Part 6 now. I'm looking to cast some more League of Legends games, but haven't found a good replay yet in the past few days. Too many games with someone leaving on either side and creating an unwinnable 4 vs 5 situation. Hopefully I'll get another good one soon.
A new month, new additions to the website. I've reworked the main page to include a Miscellaneous section for games that don't have enough content to deserve their own full sections. The out-of-place Tetris page has now gone under that heading, as well as two other new sections. One contains my first commentary video for League of Legends, which I teased on this website a couple of weeks ago. Check it out to see what a typical game looks like, and if you're interested, signup for a free account. I'm always looking for more friends to game with online.
I've also been adding some updates (finally) to the Realms Beyond Pitboss #2 report, which is now up to five pages. I'm not going to add a post on the front page every time a new section goes up, but I will post here when the whole thing is complete. We're looking at about a dozen parts again before this thing is complete, so it won't be done for a little while yet...
Finally, because I've had some questions about this, no, I was not asked to work on Civilization 5 by Firaxis. I'm in the dark just like everyone else on this one. There won't be a Walkthrough for Civ5 when it comes out, apologies.
Part Three of the Ironcore variant has been posted today. Did I win out successfully, or am I going back to square one for the third time?
Part Two of the Ironcore team variant has been posted. There were some, uh, unexpected difficulties along the way which delayed things a bit. I'll probably try to finish with that group, and then tackle the issue of writing up the RB Pitboss game.
I've taken up T-Hawk "Ironcore" variant challenge, and am in the process of trying to complete Final Fantasy 5 on a single party life without dying (and no grinding up levels to make things easier). Check out the new link in the Final Fantasy section - I've included a little extra feature at the end just for fun.
I'd also like to put out a call to anyone reading to check out League of Legends if they have a chance. League of Legends is a tower-based defense game, created by the same folks who made the Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) for anyone who might have played that. It's Player vs. Player game in which teams of 5 compete to see who can take out the enemy's base first. You have characters that are based around meele damage, spellcasters who nuke from long range, tanks and support characters, and so on. Best of all, League of Legends is 100% free to download and play! (Paying money will unlock some of the features faster, but confers no other benefits.) The only issue is that - just like Diablo - teaming up with random people off the Internet isn't nearly as much fun as joining up with friends. I know a couple of Civ4 MPers who are active with League of Legends, but I'd love to see more people getting involved. Hit me up if you're interested (username "Sullla") and we'll run some games.
I'm happy to report that the first two pages of the Pitboss #2 writeup have been added to the website, linked under the Civ4 Multiplayer page. There's so much to talk about, it's probably going to take about a month before the whole writeup is all said and done. I've also added a video commentary of my original Final Fantasy 5 solo monk character. You can find a link to the Youtube video at the following address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSOW-uJkpOQ. Enjoy!
Realms Beyond Pitboss #2 has finally ended, and we are the winners! Unfortunately there was a whole bunch of controversy at the end of the game, which is probably best off left there... Anyway, that means there should be some time to update the website in the weeks ahead. I have a new PC, and I'm hoping to use it to start capturing some video footage. That's what's all the rage on the Interwebs these days, right?
First though, there will probably be some giant written report about the Pitboss #2 game, which was epic in every meaning of the word.
The rumors of this web page's demise have been great exaggerated! I have another Final Fantasy 5 solo report up for the default Bare job, along with some minor improvements to the Final Fantasy page so that all of the solo games are linked from the character portraits on the left side, in addition to the text links. I'm sorry there hasn't been more content in the past few months; most of my gaming and writing time is taken up with the daily updates over at Realms Beyond for the Pitboss #2 game. Nonetheless, I have an idea or two that I'd like to write up here sometime soon.
It's Martin Luther King Day here in the US, and that means enough free time for me to get the finishing work done on two Final Fantasy 5 pages. The first is a standard report on the Chemist job. The second one covers two of the game's special super-bosses in extended detail. If you have any interest in FF5, you'll enjoy these two, especially that second one, it's a doozy...
Happy New Year 2010! I'm marking the occasion by uploading a Final Fantasy 5 solo report on one of the game's weakest classes, the Thief job. This one runs to two parts, so check it out.
For those curious about Final Fantasy 5 Advance, I have the whole thing set up on my PC now via emulation (please don't ask me where to find ROMs), including the codes to access all of the new jobs from game's start. Everything is in place to try out solo runs for the new classes at some point down the road, so I probably will have to do so, if only for curiosity's sake. Quick first impressions:
Gladiator: Tremendous Strength and Vitality, can equip virtually all melee weapons, and has an ability that deals 9999 damage... Possibly even stronger than the Samurai.
Cannoneer: Combine is outstanding, but the shooting ammo is very limited until late in the game. Rather unexciting for a solo game. At least you get to dress like a pirate.
Necromancer: Oath gets you through the early areas. Dark Arts are crazy strong, but you have to kill certain enemies to open them up, and some aren't found until the bonus dungeon. Healing would be a major problem, as the Necromancer has permanent Bone Mail status!
Oracle: Condemn is fun, although only useful early on. Predict is ridiculously random, and requires a spreadsheet to use effectively. This job can't equip anything but staves, so could be extremely difficult to complete...
While I was out Christmas shopping today, I glanced in the bargain bin at FYE and saw a copy of Final Fantasy 5 for the Gameboy Advance! It was only $10 so I had no choice but to pick it up. Then I went to the counter and the cashier told me that all bargain games were 75% off the listed price. Guess how much I paid in total for my copy of Final Fantasy 5?
$2.65 - with tax.
That raises the question, am I going to do solo games with the Cannoneer, Gladiator, Oracle, and Necromancer jobs? Maybe. I'm definitely going to finish all the jobs from the original game first before moving onto the extra stuff from the Gameboy Advance version. There's also the problem of taking screenshots from the Gameboy Advance cart; I guess I could use my digital camera, but that's a poor solution. What I'll probably do is download a FF5 Advance ROM and play the game on my PC via an emulator (note that this is 100% legal if you actually own the game in question). That would let me take my normal pictures, access all the jobs from the start of the game without the need to track down an antiquated Gameshark for the Gameboy Advance, and so on.
There's no new content updates today, however my FF5 solo Thief has gotten past his two biggest roadblock opponents, which means I'll be finishing within the next few weeks. Until then, let me wish all readers a very happy holidays, and a great start to 2010!
There is a new Final Fantasy 5 report posted today for the Mystic Knight class. Updates on the website have been few and far between, because nearly all of my gaming time is going into the Realms Beyond Pitboss game. You can follow the progress of my teammate Speaker and myself at the following link.
Quick news update for this week: I have posted another Final Fantasy 5 solo report for the Mediator/Beastmaster job on that section of the website. Also, if you haven't noticed the new Civ4 venture that Speaker and I are undertaking, check out the link in the news update below. Been a very slow first week, but we expect things to begin picking up soon enough.
There are two bits of news to report, the lesser one first. I have a fresh Final Fantasy 5 solo game posted, this time dealing with one of my favorite classes, the Time Mage. Go check it out.
Secondly, I am partnering with longtime friend Speaker in a new Civ4 Pitboss game being hosted at Realms Beyond. We are playing against nine other teams, and the game is about to get started, so wish us luck! You can follow along with the action in our spoiler thread at the Realms Beyond forums, and even watch what all of the other teams are doing in their own spoiler threads. You can even join us as an advisor, but you will have to stay out of the other threads and remain unspoiled to take on that role. Whatever the case may be, we hope you'll join the community and take part in what's sure to be an entertaining venture in the upcoming months. If you read the Apolyton game writeup and wondered what it would be like to join one of those games, now is your chance to find out!
I saw a copy of Rome: Total War on sale for $20 a couple of weeks ago, and I've been playing some of that during the past month. While the tactical battles are a lot of fun, ultimately the campaign elements are simply too weak to hold much longterm appeal for me. All you do is try to amass the largest army possible, and that's not enough depth to interest me. Plus, there is some seriously wonky city management (the design works, but the in-game documentation is pretty abysmal) and the AI in this game is a flat-out idiot. Five hours into the game, and I'm already crushing enemy armies that outnumber me 2:1, not a good sign! As a historian of the 18th century, I would really like to play around with Empire: Total War, however that game's supposed to have even more massive problems. Maybe later on when the patching process finishes?
In the meantime, there is a new Final Fantasy 5 short report on the Ninja class. I plan on starting another one next, so maybe I'll have more to come. Apologies to those who want more Diablo content, but it's just too time-consuming to work on at the moment. (I can play FF5 with half my attention while doing something else.)
The writeup for the Apolyton Demogame is finished, running to 13 parts in total. I have added the formal link under the Civ4 Multiplayer page (and stuck it at the top, so that hopefully it can be easily found).
The Apolyton Demogame is up to 10 parts now, and can be accessed through the link below. I will put up a formal listing once the report is finished. I have also heard that there were some issues with the hosting of the pictures for the Civ4 Walkthrough, which should now be sorted out.
Has it been three months already? Apologies for not doing much in the way of updates during the summer, as it was a very busy period. I spent most of the past six weeks first preparing for, and then teaching, a course at my university, which was an exciting time. Since I last posted on the main page, there was an addition of a Final Fantasy 5 writeup for the Dancer job. I also took the opportunity to go back and write up my oldest Civ3 reports in html, as their hosting on Geocities was set to expire with that site's closing in a few months. I left these reports intact, so it may be interesting to see how I did things when I was first starting out some... seven... years ago. (I feel old!)
Most importantly, the Apolyton Demogame has concluded and Teams Realms Beyond has been declared the winner! Now that the game has finished, I can begin publically tying up what I have been working on for the past 18 months. The first six parts have already been posted, and I will probably add another six to eight more parts before all is said and done. I will try to keep this front page updated on a weekly basis with new information going up. Until then, enjoy the first half of the Demogame's history!
I have a new solo report for Final Fantasy 5 posted, focusing on the Summoner job. This might seem random, but it's not unusual for me to be working on multiple different projects at once. Expect to see a Diablo update soon about Act III Hell, with either more progress or a grisly demise for Winnie.
Updated Winnie and Pooh Bear with a couple new chapters from Act II Hell.
Winnie has entered Hell difficulty, and faces his greatest challenge to date. Check the D2 section for two new updates.
I have updated Winnie's story with another new chapter. Read on to see how he fared in the closing parts of Nightmare difficulty.
More chapters of Winnie's journey have been posted in the D2 section. Check it out, y'all.
Happy Easter, to those who celebrate it! Thanks to a quiet Sunday, I have uploaded part three of Winnie's quest in the Diablo 2 section.
Long time no update, eh? Being overseas makes it a bit tougher to do work on the website. Anway, obviously the Epic 24 project never matieralized, however that's due to the fact that all of my Civ4 time is currently taken up by the Apolyton Demogame, in which I am serving as the current turn player for the Realms Beyond team. This is rather like being "up" all the time in a succession game! If you would like to read along and follow our team, follow this link to our team signup page. You will have to register for a forum account at the Apolyton website, however, so be aware of that.
I have added several different Final Fantasy 5 solo reports over the past couple of months, without putting a news post here on the front page about them. They aren't full fledged stories, but perhaps will help pass the time at the moment. The one thing that I have added, and the reason for this post, is a new Diablo 2 character. Every now and then I get the urge to play some good old D2, and this time I'm trying my hand at a pure summoning druid. We'll see how that goes...
Since the last news update posted here, I've added some more quick FF5 solo reports to that portion of the website. Next up will be my attempt at T-Hawk's massive Epic 24 game for Civ4, which will be my first stab at Civilization in quite a few months. I'm looking forward to it!
New Final Fantasy report posted: Black is back, in a new FF5-themed story. As we look ahead to 2009, I should warn readers that I'll be spending the first four months of the year overseas in London to conduct research for my dissertation. I'm not sure how much gaming and/or website work will get done during that period... but I'll probably find time to upload a couple things.
Two new reports to mention. First, a short summary of my abbreviated game in the last Master of Orion Imperium. I posted my in-game log this time, which may make for a different read. Second, I have posted a lengthy report introducing Final Fantasy 5, and explaining an entertaining variant run. If you enjoyed the story of Solo, the lonely Black Belt, you've got to check out his new revival!
There's a new report posted in the Final Fantasy section, on a different Final Fantasy game! Go check it out to see something a little different. I also realized last week that I had written an entire chapter for Skulla, and never got around to posting it. Added that to the Diablo 2 section as well. I will return to Skulla's journey when I have a set block of time to devote exclusively to D2 - which may not be for a while, sadly. I have to make sure I'm in practice before continuing a Hardcore character's journey!
Long post here, with me updating a couple of different things. First, I added a new Final Fantasy report in that section. I know I said I probably wouldn't be playing that game much before, then I got a new idea and had to run with it! I also created a new banner for the FF pages, something I'd been meaning to do for ages. Much as I love my Civ4 banner, it looks out of place in the other sections of the website.
A new DDR game came out a couple of weeks ago, and I picked it up. Called Dance Dance Revolution X, it's the 10th anniversary version of the game. Konami did some good things and bad things in this version, as usual. A welcome sight is a new 20-point rating scale for songs, instead of the old 10-point one. What's bizarre is that now you get can a "AAA" rating without getting a perfect score, which irritates me to no end. I call these "Fake AAAs" and don't pay any attention to them. In sight-reading through the songs for the first time, I managed to get 11 different (true) "AAA"s - either I'm getting better, or the songs are getting easier. Maybe both. I don't expect to create a page for this game, since I don't want to do the work and no one but me would bother reading it. Might upload some more videos eventually though.
Obviously the big game I'm waiting for is Diablo 3. Knowing Blizzard, it's at least a year away, if not two. Still, I'll probably continue adding all sorts of random content here until I finally get my hands on D3 - after which you won't see much Civ or MOO stuff appearing.
There's a new Final Fantasy report posted, "Living Off the Land." Better go ahead and read it, because it might be a long time before I write another one.
Imperium Twelve report posted. The ending will probably come as a surprise...
There's a new Civ4 report for Adventure 32. Really!
New Imperium report out today in the Master of Orion section, new Civ4 report coming in two weeks as soon as Adventure 32 closes. It's a busy period for the website right now.
Today we kick off the reopening of the RBO Imperia with closing day for Imperium Ten. The report is posted in the Master of Orion section of my website. Although this has been a quiet six weeks for my website, I have actually played and written several reports (two for MOO, one for Civ4) that are awaiting the closing of their relevant games to be posted. Expect a good deal of new content to be appearing over the next couple of months. I have also played further with Skulla (who is happily still alive at the moment!), and am waiting for the right time to write and post more information on his journey. That's another project in the works right now...
Another part of Skulla's tale added tonight. It's a busy time for me right now, as I search for a new apartment for next year - and my best friend is getting married next week. Apologies in advance if the updates are slow in coming for a bit.
I've posted several parts of Skulla's journey over the last few days, which is progressing very nicely so far. In fact, if anything I've been writing too much here on the website lately, with all this Diablo stuff, and it's beginning to drain my energies. I've decided that I'll take a short break from writing for a couple of weeks after finishing with Skulla (which hopefully won't be for a while yet, as he is Hardcore!) There should be more MOO content coming later this summer, as the Imperia tournament at Realms Beyond gets underway in the near future.
The year-long venture of the Nature's Cabal druid variant team finished earlier this week, and I completed the writeup of our travels. Check it out in the Diablo section (been doing a lot of updates there lately!) I also tweaked the front page slightly, since the quote had been up for too long.
I've added Comments from the Sponsor for the most recent RB Adventure, and finally got around to adding a link to my current Civ4 succession game. Since the last update, I have also finished Meatbag's journey, and started a new Diablo 2 character. He is Hardcore, so there's no clue how long I'll be able to keep him around - hopefully quite some time.
Meatbag's journey updated again with more information. I also added an index page to access them more easily, since he was approaching a half-dozen chapters. If anyone is reading the reports, it's been quite a ride so far.
Meatbag's third chapter is posted. How much further can I take him without dying?
Added another chapter to Meatbag's tale (D2). While I had some time to kill, I put together the graphics for a Diablo banner and added that to all of the pages in that section of the website. Perhaps this will motivate me to do the same for DDR and Final Fantasy...
Some quiet weeks here for the website. I'm not planning on disappearing permanently, just things have been busy lately. No new Civ reports, but I've updated all my succession game links (replacing pictures that were wiped out in CivFanatics' server hack) and added two new sections describing my online Diablo 2 team variant. There's also a new D2 solo character with a fairly extensive report to check out, for the interested. I'd like to get another Civ4 report finished sometime next month, however I don't want to make any promises...
Epic Seventeen report posted! Check it out in the Civ4 section.
This morning, I topped my high score on the Gameboy version of Tetris and broke the official Twin Galaxies world record score. In honor of this achievement, I've added a small Tetris page to the website. More substantial content coming next week, when Epic 17 closes. Report is written and awaiting the closing date for posting.
Happy New Year! Since last placing an update on the front page, I've added a Master of Orion game report to the website. Also new are additional Comments from the Sponsor for Civ4's Epic Sixteen, and two new DDR videos. I'll be busy throughout January, but expect more content to appear starting in February.
We've got a new Civ4 report up today for Epic Fourteen, Always War! Should make for a good read. There's also new content from my Diablo 2 team variant, and more videos to watch in the DDR section of the website.
This space isn't intended to serve as a "blog" of any kind, but I feel the need to explain some of the recent computer problems I've suffered through here. For most of the past month, my computer has been in the care of various repair shops, through an extremely time-consuming and expensive process of restoration. After several false starts, and having to wait on TWO discs to come through the mail from Microsoft, I finally have everything ready to go again. In the past couple days, I've caught up with the backlog over at RBCiv, organized the rest of the Civ tournament schedule through the end of 2007, and hope to get started with the very-challenging Always War Epic 14 game.
In other website news, I've also added a new video section to the DDR page, displaying some of my recent efforts in that area. The Diablo page is now up to date as well, taking the Druid variant team up through the end of Act III Nightmare. Hopefully I've taken care of all the administrative stuff now and can get back to playing some actual games!
It's reporting day for Epic Thirteen - and I do have a shadow game to report! Be sure to head over to RBCiv to experience the craziness as dozens upon dozens of reports get posted.
Various odds and ends have been going onto the website in the last week, although nothing major in any one location. There are new Comments from the Sponsor from the recent RBCiv events, and another such one coming on Monday when Adventure 21 closes. I've also updated the Diablo section the website with the progress to date of our druid variant team. Finally, I want to mention to any readers that our popular Potluck event is going on now at Realms Beyond; feel free to come on over and sign up to take part in the fun!
I've added the "Comments from the Sponsor" for Adventure 20, which closes today. Our ongoing Diablo team variant has also been added to the D2 section, with the introduction and first part posted. I'll be in London for the next few weeks, so don't expect too much else for a little while.
Website hasn't been updated much lately, which is unusual for the summer. I traditionally take care of site maintenance/updating during the summer and winter months when I am not taking classes, but recently I've been working on another website - updating the back results on the Realms Beyond Civ website! Fortunately, that's finally finished now: we are completely caught up to date for the first time in 8 months over there. Whew.
Here on my own website, I've added my shadow report for Epic Eleven today. I've also got a new team variant for Diablo 2 going that will be getting some mention in the near future. And I finally bought a second Cobalt Flux pad from my friend, which will allow me to pursue DDR's final frontier: Doubles Mode! I'll have to put up something related to that eventually as well. Stay tuned...
No, the website is not dead - I just haven't added any notices on the front page of late. There's a short report from Epic Ten posted last week, and a brand-new, full-length report on Adventure Nineteen now available for reading. Both in the Civ4 section, of course. Enjoy!
Happy Daylights Savings! Since I last posted here, the website has gotten several Master of Orion updates, and another report is nearly done and about to be added soon. I've also initiated a new Civ4 succession game, and added a link to that. Since I finished my quest for 200 "AAA"s in the DDR games, that area of the website has also been updated slightly in some respects. There are plans in the works to initiate some new action at Realms Beyond Civ, so stayed tuned for more information.
Another month gone by... I've recently added quite a few games to the Master of Orion section, reflecting the time I've been spending on that one. I would like to see some more activity on the Civ4 front, but Realms Beyond Civ has been completely dead lately. I may have to get in touch with those in charge and find out what's going on there. In other news, I'm back to teaching and studying on Monday as my spring semester begins, so there may be less time for updates in the next couple months. Sorry!
No Diablo game tonight means a chance to finish catching up work on the website. Civ3 content is now fully up and running again (let me know if there are any broken links I didn't catch). I completed a thoroughly enjoyable game of Master of Orion earlier today, which I plan to write up a short report about sometime later this week. Keep an eye out for it.
Happy New Year! To celebrate, I have opened up a new section of my website, devoted to the classic space strategy game Master of Orion. Three new (short) reports are available for reading pleasure.
Diablo2 section of the site back up. Feel free to take a look at the journey of the Rogue Revival team! The only remaining section to work on is Civ3, but that will have to wait a bit longer.
DDR section of the website reopened for business! Can't say I expect to see much traffic there, but I redid the whole "AAA" section to make navigation easier and reflect progress made in the months since I last updated.
Website officially reopened at the new hosting here at garath.net. I'm still updating links and transferring files around, so certain sections of the website will remain closed for the immediate future, but at least the Civ4 area is up and running again. I plan on using the winter break between my semesters to get the rest of the website going once more. Let me know if you run into any broken links in the Civ4 section.
As far as what I've been up to, I haven't touched anything Civ-related in quite some time. Work and studies have been filling up my time in the worst way, although January should give me time to do some more gaming activity and other fun stuff. I have been squeezing in a fair amount of DDR, so I plan to redo that section of my website a bit to update my progress. And finally, I also bought and have been thoroughly enjoying Nintendo's new Wii console, so I may add some brief info on that as well. If you would like to add me to your Wii address book, send me an email and I'll be happy to hook you up.
Uploaded a MP report from a game earlier this week; it's not very long, but I'm sure some will enjoy reading it. I also updated my links page and added about 25 new links to reflect the growing number of people who have created websites for Realms Beyond activity.
I've added a report on my solo game Passive-Aggressive Hatty, an Always Peace Domination game. I'm also hoping to add a lot of links to my Civ4 page soon to reflect the many websites that have sprung up for our Realms Beyond events.
Epic Eight's report day has arrived. This figures to be a bit hectic, but you can find my report in the usual place.
Closing day for Adventure Eleven - and what a game it was! I also added a link to my new succession game at CivFanatics.
No report to post for Epic Seven (sorry, I don't have time for everything!) but I did add a short article on the Civil Service Slingshot. It's posted under the editorials section of my Civ4 site, the first such article to go there. A year after release, I have finally filled up all parts of my Civ4 website, heh.
Always War! The Epic Six report has been posted. I have also finished a report for Adventure Eleven, but you'll have to check back in a few weeks for that one.
My Adventure Nine report was posted last week, but I did not update this main page until today. Also added a link to my current succession game, RB21, on the Multiplayer tab of the Civ4 section.
I have uploaded the Epic Five report; should have posted something sooner, as it's been up since Monday. I also added the first part of my ongoing Multiplayer Epic game with the folks from Realms Beyond. Feel free to check that out in the Civ4 MP section of this site.
Ah, lazy Sunday afternoons... I have gone through and finally finished up rehabilitating the Civ3 section of this website, adding the pictures that I managed to save and compiling them into a page called "A Picture Farewell to Civ3." I also added links to this page from the missing reports on the Civ3 Games page. I doubt anyone will read this, but now I've finally managed to cross off one of my longterm to-do projects. In other news, a major coop Multiplayer game that I'm running at Realms Beyond is slated to start this week. Stay tuned...
I finally added a link to my Epic Three report on the main page, which was missing due to a period of Internet outage here last week. I also added a link to my new Succession Game, with the goal of winning a cultural victory without using the culture slider. Finally, I also added some links to other Civ-related websites that were missing before, should someone be interested in that.
Epic Two, the first Epic to finish in over five months, is finally open for reporting! Go check it out.
Updated the MP Quick Hits with another game played last night. And yes, in case you hadn't already noticed, the updates to this site are incredibly erratic. It all depends on when I have time and something to add!
The patch is out! And so are two game reports that I wrote up while I was playing it pre-release. Enjoy.
I added a Multiplayer game played this weekend to that part of the website. Still waiting on the patch... In other news, I have to mention local DC-area George Mason University's incredible run to the Final Four, which they completed yesterday. I've been to the George Mason campus before just to use the arcade in their student union, but never would I have expected this! Simply an amazing story.
A lazy night of watching TV gave me the chance to finally get my Civ3 content back on the website. Unfortunately, a lot of the pictures have been irretrievably lost forever... but a surprising amount of content remains. The Civ3 portion of my site is unlikely to get much, if any, traffic, but I'm certainly leaving it up as an archive of past games.
My Adventure Four report is up! Check it out.
Clearing up some old business, I finally finished my "AAA" stuff for DDR. Now I have all 100 "AAA" pictures up, for what that's worth. Also added a MP Quick Hit from earlier this week in the Civ4 section.
Diablo 2 portion of the site is back up. Does this mean that the Civ3 content is coming back soon? Maybe. If I get the time for it.
Large update today for the website, several different things added:
1) The Adventure Two report is up! It was a great game, feel free to check it out.
2) I finally updated my Links page with banners pointing to some of the other websites in the Realms Beyond community.
3) Updated the MP section of my Civ4 site with a new "Quick Hits" page for short MP game reports.
4) The Final Fantasy section of my site is back up! Goal is to get the Diablo II part up too by the end of this upcoming week.
It's closing day for the first Civ4 Epic, and my report has been posted. I also added a report from last weekend's MultiPlayer tournament, so if you haven't seen that it should also make for interesting reading.
I added another Civ4 Multiplayer report from a game I played last night, so that should give the Single Player crowd who hasn't tried much Multiplayer a better idea of what's up with that. I also achieved another milestone earlier last night: my 100th DDR "AAA". I'll be putting more content up related to that soon.
DDR section of the website is back up, as I continue the process of moving the old info over to the new site. Lots of new pictures up from the new "AAA"s. Final Fantasy section will be the next one to get transferred.
Well, the glut of traffic from the Walkthrough has finally died down. It was quite a wild ride while it lasted, but the strain was so great that I'm glad that it's over. Once December rolls around and the monthly bandwidth limit resets, I'll start restoring the parts of the website that I've been keeping down due to the traffic. In Civ4 news, there is now a writeup of a MP game that I played last week, in response to the many requests that I had for such a report from readers of the Walkthrough.
I recently moved most of the pictures in the Civ4 Walkthrough over to the CivFanatics server, using the webspace that Thunderfall generously provided me. Readers of the Walkthrough shouldn't notice any difference, but hopefully this will prevent the site from crashing again due to excess bandwidth usage. I also added a link to the Succession Game that Sirian and I have been playing. It's been a blast! If you haven't seen it, go check it out.
As a result of crashing Sirp's webhosting, I moved to a new website hosted by corwin90 here at . Tons of links not working for the moment, site is completely under construction. To anyone who reads this, don't bother contacting me with stuff not working - HEAVY construction taking place for the next few days as I transfer files over from the old webhosting
Civilization IV is released today! And surprise, surprise, I've already been working on it for more than six months. The website has been updated to reflect that, and I've got a detailed Civ4 Walkthrough all ready to go. The Walkthrough takes the reader through a complete game of Civ4; one part will be posted each day for the next seven days to celebrate Civ4's release week. So check out the new section of the site! There will be much activity in the days ahead.
Only one more week until Civ4 is released! Be sure to check back here when that date arrives... In other news, I updated the DDR page with more pictures. Over 20 "AAA"s now!
I have been burning up my dance pad lately; already recorded three more "AAA"s in the last three days and felt compelled to update the pictures section of the DDR page again. And yes, I made one update in 3 months followed by two updates in three days. Sue me.
Wow, only two weeks until the release of Civ4! Check back here after release day, I plan to have some info up... In the meantime, major update of the DDR section on this website. I added three pages of pictures, and now have a page reserved just for "AAA" pictures. Go check it out!
Dathon has written up his impressions on the Rogue Team and I have added them to my website. Still crossing fingers on hearing from some of the other Rogues before too much of the journey fades into memory... Here in College Park, I am preparing for yet another year of teaching/studying and looking forward to the release of Civ4. If the game's half as good as it looks from the screenshots, there will be plenty of information on it here shortly after release.
My friend Scott reminded me yesterday that I had forgotten to place an update here on the main page for the site work I've done in the past month. Oops. Rogue Revival's story is finished up through three dots, although the adventure continues now in Friendly Fire mode. I've also rehauled much of the DDR section, should anyone be reading that.
I posted my report for Epic 48, feel free to take a look because this may be one of my last Civ3 reports. I'm going to try and stay (relatively) current with Rogue Revival, but otherwise don't expect too many other updates in the near future. I have some summer projects lined up that I expect will eat up most of my time.
For various reasons, I ended up having some extra time this week and used it to work on the website. Hell Act Two added for Rogue Revival, perhaps it will make for some weekend reading.
Worried about getting too far behind, I finally managed to put together the writeup for Hell Act One in Rogue Revival. I don't want to make any promises, but I may be able to get Act Two done as well within the near future.
Epic 48 completed and report written. Check back in a couple of weeks for the posting when the game closes. In other news, I haven't forgotten about Rogue Revival; I have plenty of pictures (well over 300) to sort through and post when I get around to it. This next month will be a busy one for me, then after mid-May I'll have more time to work on the site. At least in theory.
I have returned from my trip to England/Wales/Iceland. And what's this? I've brought back a new Epic report with me, the first in two years! Take a look in the Civ3 section.
A reminder to anyone reading that I'll be in Europe all next week on spring break and this unable to read email or update anything on the site.
I finished up the journey of the Iron Fists yesterday, so I wrote the report and posted it today! It feels good not to be behind for once.
Made some significant additions in the last couple days. First of all, Rogue Revival is finally completed up to Hell difficulty, now only 2 acts behind our actual progress. I may actually get it to being current eventually. Secondly, I added the first half of my report for the latest Final Fantasy variant I'm running with the Iron Fists. I don't have a clue if anyone is actually reading this stuff, but I'm going to keep posting it anyway.
I've been working on the Rogue Revival section recently, completing up through Nightmare Act 4. I may actually catch up to the team's current progress in the near future. In other news, I've been updating the DDR content for DDR Extreme as I play my way through the game. Just about everything is unlocked at this point, so once I get at least a baseline score for every song I'll go back and tidy that page up a bit. And my latest Final Fantasy team is progressing nicely through the early stages of the game; nothing from that is likely to make it onto the site anytime soon, however.
All of the preliminary work for the site's new organization is finished. There should be no broken links, and all areas now have at least some content in them. I've finished the Rogue Revival story up through the end of Normal difficulty, and I'm going to attempt to try and catch up to where the team is now (if I can). I uploaded the second half of Blak's story to the Final Fantasy page as well, so that's now finished too. Of course my classes are now back in swing again, which means much less time, and I also just got my copy of DDR Extreme (Japan) yesterday too. So there is much to be done, and never enough time to do it in.
The initial skeleton frame of the new site was completed today, but there is still much work to be done, many broken links remain. Updated my personal section, added my long-overdue editorial on Conquests to my Civ3 page, and completed the entire section on the DDR series. Diablo and Final Fantasy sections still to be done.
I'm on winter break, working 40 hours/week, which is a blissful vacation from my normal work as a graduate student. That gave me enough time to start reorganizing my website, which has been sadly neglected for the last year. I'll be reworking the entire structure in the next two weeks, if all goes well.
In light of the unexpected firestorm of attention surrounding some of the information I put up on my website, I've taken down the sections relating to the actual beta test. I don't want to have a lawsuit on my hands here, after all. To be honest, I simply did not anticipate that anyone would be bothered by discusssing some apparently innocuous aspects of the beta testing process. It would seem I was wrong. To Atari, Firaxis, BreakAway, and anyone else who may have been involved, I offer my sincere apologies.
Conquests is released today, and my review of the game is similarly posted. Find out what all the fuss is about right here!
Still puttering away with Ender's Game 2. Another installment of the story was added today. I probably will finish the game right around the time that Conquests comes out in late October... Oh, and the Tetris personal best has been upped again to 578,023 points. :)
So anyway, yeah, I'm back. It's been a busy summer and the fall looks to be just as bad, but with the Conquests beta winding down and me finally on a regular schedule again, I hopefully won't be out of touch as badly as before. Speaker and I should be starting up EG2 within the next couple of days, and I'll be working hard behind the scenes to have a lot of info ready to disclose here on this site when the expansion comes out. As a further good sign, I even topped my personal best in Tetris this morning: 562,475 points :)
I've been home for about a week now, but am leaving again tomorrow for a trip with the family to Florida. Although it looks like I've been doing nothing of late, in reality I have been extremely busy with the Conquests beta, all of which is going on behind closed doors. I finished my fourth full game and report on it tonight, which I will make available when the game is released to the public in late October. Again, don't expect much of any word from me during the next month as I continue traveling and working on the beta.
I'm in Oxford at the moment posting this from my laptop computer. As I'm rather busy between work and sightseeing, don't expect to see any updates anytime soon; I had to go to some considerable lengths just to post this. :)
It being a Monday and the start of another week, I wanted to post some word on what was going on. I finished my second beta test game and wrote up my report on it; unfortunately, once again it can't go up on my site until the testing ends in the fall. Them's the rules sometimes. I also will mention that I'm leaving this Saturday, July 5th, to go to Britain for a month of study at Oxford University. I'll be taking a laptop with me, but no word on how often I'll be able to update when away from home. If I don't post anything for a while, it's because I'm 4000 miles away from the US!
The Epic 29 report is now up for perusal! I have also finished my first mission testing report for the Conquests beta test; while I obviously can't post it now, I'll have lots and lots of information readily available when it comes out sometime this fall. The beta version is still a little rough around the edges, but it looks like it's developing into a pretty solid form. This is very good news.
Added a link to the latest succession game that Speaker and I are playing out with little fanfare. I also should mention that I was accepted into the beta test for the next Civ3 expansion pack, so I'll have an inside view of how that develops. Not that I can reveal anything confidential to the public, but I should be able to post my impressions by the end of the summer. Stay tuned...
Now that my most recent SG has finished, I've actually gotten around to adding a link to it. I'm way too lazy sometimes - so sue me.
The Epic 27 report has been uploaded. Take a look!
Another large-scale report has been written for Epic 27 and will be uploaded on May 12 when the game closes. Always War is an engaging subject, so it should make for some interesting reading.
Finished playing Epic27, work has begun on the report. It should be another large-scale report, on the order of Epics 14 or 21. I also fixed a broken link pointed to me by a reader and changed the quote on the page.
Got done some more things which needed fixing. I wrote up the closing note for the PBEM game and updated some the info surrounding it. I added my long-delayed Epic24 report, which had previously been posted only on the RBCiv forum. Touched up a few other minor things as well. The Epic27 report will be posted when that game ends in about three weeks.
Finally got around to doing a small update. I hope to fix up a few more things that have been ignored recently in the next few days. I've been away from Civ3 for a while trying to learn the ins and outs of Master of Orion 3 (MOO3). Since MOO3 is a badly broken game at the moment, I'm waiting for the patching process to smooth some of its bugs out and thus returning to Civ3 for a little while.
Finished Epic24 yesterday in one long session, report to be written in the near future. The PBEM game is on hold at the moment, as JMansell is away in France. We will continue and I will update when the game starts back up again.
Uploaded Epic22 report for the closing date of the game today. I've also updated my succession games section to reflect the finishing of RBP4 and the opening of RBD19.
Epic21 closes and I can finally now upload it for all to read! The surprise for this game was the addition of a fictional narrative to go along with the report; I was very happy with how it turned out and hopefully anyone reading this will take the time to read through it. I also finally got around to writing up my GOTM5 report about a game I played in March of last year(!) I wrote it more for myself than for anyone else, but if you're interested it's now up for viewing as well. Phew! Large update there!
I finished the Epic22 report today and added a link to my latest succession game, RBE6. I don't expect to have too much to do on this site until I upload the Epic21 report on Monday. Should be a fun read when I can finally go public with it.
Downloaded, played, and finished the short Epic22 game already. Now I've got to write up another report, heh - but this one will be a LOT shorter than the monster Epic21 report. Once again, the PBEM game has stalled and the save file seems to have disappeared...
I put the finishing touches on my Epic21 report today, and I have to say that I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I only wish I could post it today... but the closing date isn't for another two weeks. It will be up the first Monday in February. I may or may not be playing Epic22; time will dictate whether I can squeeze it in. We will see.
Updated the PBEM game with a new page to reflect what's going on at the moment. I finished Epic21 yesterday and have begun work on the report for it. The game was fun and I have some new things I want to try with the writeup to make it more interesting. You'll have to wait until report day, February 2nd, to read it though...
Happy New Year to all of you! A new year means new updates (finally) to this webpage. I wrote up a rather large update to the ongoing PBEM game, added a link to my current succession game, and changed the quote on the main page for the first time in a while. Look for more updates including (gasp) some new strategy pages in the near future as I finally have some free time for the first time in ages.
Best wishes to anyone who reads this for a happy and safe holiday season. Here in Baltimore we had a white Christmas for the first time ever in my twenty years, and I was able to have dinner tonight with friends and family. I hope that things go well for all of you, wherever you may be.
December is a busy month, what can I say. Not many updates because there has been no time for them. I haven't updated the PBEM game because there hasn't been anything to report as yet. Today I just updated my succession game status to reflect those that finished.
Epic18, the potluck game and my final Epic for this year, has been uploaded and can be read now.
Updated my PBEM game's progress. There's some interesting stuff going on there at the moment!
The report for Epic18 is about halfway complete and should be ready for report day a week from today. I've also updated the status of my PBEM game.
Epic17 report is finished! You can read it under the games page and find out all the sordid details.
Since I last updated this page, I've finished Epic18b and am currently working on the Epic17 report, praying that I can finish it for the report date on Monday. I've also started a PBEM game with three other players, which has been added to the games page. And, to round things out, I've added a link to RBE4, the Beyond Deity succession game that I'm in at the moment. I've involved in a lot at the moment, so updates will be sporatic at best to this page.
Finished Epic18a yesterday, hoping to write the Epic17 report before I play the 18b game. Bought Play the World today, and I have the same initial impressions as everyone else: single player features are great, multiplayer is atrocious at the moment. Why are timers mandatory for turn-based play? That makes no sense to me. Play By E-Mail (PBEM) is by far the best option at the moment. I hope to get a game of PBEM going soon with some RBCiv people - we'll see what develops.
I celebrate Halloween by adding a link to my SUL5a succession game and updating the description of RBE3 to reflect its victory. I'm looking forward to the Play the World expansion quite a bit once I finish Epic18's dual games.
My very detailed Epic14 report of a Monarch Always War game has been posted. I have also finished Epic17, an Honorable Deity variant, and will begin playing through Epic18, the "Double Potluck" contest today. Once I finish that dual game, it will be time to go out and get the expansion for Civ3 and see what it can do.
After considerable delay, the Epic14 report has been completed and will be posted in time for the opening of reports next Monday (10/28).
Hey - longtime with no updates but rest assured that I haven't died or quit playing Civ3 for good. I have instead been swamped with work and had no time to work on the site at all... The Epic14 report is about halfway finished and will be ready in time for the late October closing date. My solo Egypt game is nearly finished as well, a game that I do NOT plan on writing up; it's been a relief playing it not to have to chronicle everything I do. The last game of mine I didn't write up was my Greece5CC game in May! When will the Strategy section get updated? Well, my classes will end in December, so maybe sometime around Christmas...
I finished Epic14 yesterday and have begun preparing a monster report of the game (lots of screenshots). Of course the report date isn't until the end of October, so don't expect to read about it any time soon... With no competition games that I'm interested in going on at the moment, I just may get the chance to play a solo game. Imagine that!
Epic12 report posted! Have fun reading it. I start a new slate of games today, alternating between the Always War Epic14 (solo) and the Honorable Chinese RBE3 succession game.
I finished the brutal Epic12 today, so expect a writeup a week from today on report day. I also added a link to cracker's excellent website on Opening Strategies. I don't agree 100% with everything he says, but it will prove immensely helpful to anyone new to the game trying to learn how to start out. And finally, to those of you who discovered today was my birthday somehow (through CivFanatics, I guess) and wished me well: I offer my sincere thanks for the kind gesture.
The Epic9 report is finally finished! Now maybe I can actually play some Civ3 again...
Good to be back, even if my Terps did get killed at their game last night. I put up the first part of my Epic9 report today, and the second half will follow tomorrow. I also left it on a cliffhanger for tonight, so perhaps people will come back to my site to see what happened.
Not much time to work on the site right now. I will be very busy for the next week as I go through Early Week with the marching band at the University of Maryland. I'm quite busy at the moment, and working on the site is not one of my top priorities. I just hope to finish and report Epic9 by the deadline.
I finally finished putting up chapter 8b in the strategy section, as it was rather painful going, writing about all of the units in detail. Also, as of 12:00am tonight, my report for Epic8 will be up. Check it out!
Added a description of a short One City Challenge game that I played for GOTM10 yesterday. Check it out if you have time.
I've added links to all of my succession games, as well as short descriptions of them. If you've ever wondered what I did in my first SG, as well as which games I'm playing in now, you can find out.
A couple of different things have been going on here recently. I've put the next chapter of The Manual on hold for now as I work on some other things. I have begun putting up short descritions of my early solo games, which should prove instructional and entertaining to read (I sucked when I started too). And I finished Epic8 recently too and will be writing that up for the report date of August 12. Make sure to read that one; the game was a real blast.
I have fixed the holes in my navigational logo at the bottom of pages thanks to Hannes Bönhold's advice. There should also be a new chapter in The Manual before the day is out.
Sorry, not much up over the last couple days because I've been, umm, playing Civ3. My new PC came in the mail and I've been hooking stuff up and transferring files like crazy. I did put up a new editorial tonight though as to my feelings on exploits. And Civ3 runs like a dream on a 128MB graphics card btw... :)
The first steps have been taken to filling out my new layout. Over the past few days, I have put up my links page and the page about me. The first editorial in that section is up (although it's not new) and the first three chapters that will eventually form The Manual are done. There's a ton of work still needed to be done, but at least no sections of the menu are empty anymore.
Large-scale reorganization of my site begins today. I know how I want it to be set up; it's just a matter of moving things around and struggling with my small knowledge of html. I hope to get my strategy section up and running over the next week.
I finished Epic4 today and have begun writing my report for it. For those unfamiliar with the Epics, this was a Deity game played with the Romans on a large map. I'll post the report on Monday (7/22) when the game closes.
The site is under heavy construction for now, as I move my information from the poor hosting I had at geocities to the space provided by Sirp at kalikokottage.com. I am also weaning myself off of geocities' PageBuilder and learning pure html, so expect many of the pretty frivolities I had at my old site to be replaced by utilitarian text for a while.