Account Armor Fail

Security features on the internet are supposed to help us by preventing hackers and spam. Being a victim of a hacked account in World of Warcraft, I can totally relate and understand the need for tighter security control.

But there needs to be a line drawn for customers to have an easier login experience. No one wants to go through tedious steps only to be rejected repeatedly.

Take my experience with Tera Online, for example. I’m having a fucking awful time trying to login to my account on their website. They have came up with the Account Armor feature which acts like an authentication system for the user. But after trying the code, I get an error code that says that my account cannot be updated at this time – for many, many times. I’ve written in to the support email (because I can’t access their ticket system without logging in) for at least 3 times and posted on their Facebook page without any form of reply.

I’m not sure what I should do. I could always spam them more emails but either no one cares or they are getting a huge volume of emails.

teraonline2

 

[ADHD Review] Legend of Grimrock

Legend of Grimrock is hardcore – challenging and unforgiving. Even in its easy mode, I am having a hard time navigating through the dungeon while solving puzzles and avoiding poison clouds. It is a game that Magic Flunkies like me shouldn’t be touching, there’s absolutely nothing casual about the game, but I’m still enthralled by its old school charm.

Legend of Grimrock is a dungeon crawler that I haven’t seen in a while. Inspired by classics like Ultima Underworld and Dungeon Master, Legend of Grimrock takes your party through Mount Grimrock where you have to make your way to the bottom of the mountain to claim back your freedom. Get ready for some serious brainstorm while solving puzzles, I had the help of a walkthrough, but even then I had a hard time with it. Item drops are pretty random and unpredictable – I didn’t find a bow until I was 5 level down even though I had collected quite a nice number of arrows.

If you’re a magic user, you need to take time to get used to the magic system. Legend of Grimrock uses a rune system – you need to

locate the spell scroll and cast the spells accordingly to the runes in the scrolls. So whenever you cast a spell, you need to select the runes again before casting another spell. I like that it’s not an instant button mashing, especially if you’re in the middle of a heated battle and you’re fumbling with the buttons, it really shows the urgency of a real battle.

The Good:
– Legend of Grimrock puts you right into action, no lengthy introduction or tutorial (tutorial can be accessed by going to game menu)
– An interesting variety of races (Human, Minotaur, Lizardman and Insectoid) compared to the usual dwarf and elf combination

The Bad:
– Tilesets get boring after a while
– You need to micromanage your characters in the party

The Flunkies:
– Requires extreme brainpower for some of the puzzles
– Not a game you can play for 5 minutes and stop

One Free Week

I had a free week after serving my one month’s notice and before starting my new job. Initially, I thought I could use this time wisely to complete Mass Effect 3. But I kinda got bummed out after reading about the horrible ending through the internet. It wasn’t even *spoiler alert* type of news, just general in-your-face headlines. I would probably still continue playing it, but I am not as determined as before.

Tried going back to Rift since they are having a free week. Created a new character and logged in for all 5 minutes before logging out again. I don’t hate the game but I dread the questings and grindings all over again. Same for LOTRO, since they are having a new update, I went back just to try it out again. I’ve played LOTRO and DDO before they went F2P so coming back now I feel like everything is related to the cash shop. I understand that they do need to make money somehow, but when every single thing directs you to the cash shop, I know that it’s time to say goodbye again. Also, I thought it was beneath me to help a quest-giver to find a handkerchief. MMORPGs need to come up with quests that really do matter. I don’t mind the Fedex quests or the kill x creatures quests, as long as I know that these quests are making an impact to the world that I’m in.

I also resubbed Final Fantasy 14 to see what the state of game is. Only just started (and the introduction is about 30 minutes long), so probably could give another update soon.

Haven’t played Magic for the longest time. Kinda sore after my Dredge deck got wiped with a single Tormod’s Crypt. Melvin is tempting me with Legend of 5 Rings and I’m going through the rulebook right now. Seems like a fun game and it has been around since 1995. I’m surprised that it’s still going on strong. Might give it a go. Also been playing Assassin’s Creed Recollection on my iPhone. It’s a card game based on the lore of Assassin’s Creed. You win the game by taking over 2 out of 3 sites with ‘agents’ and ‘locations’ cards. If you’re a Magic player, it should be a rather easy game to pick up. You get a free deck but of course, need to pay more to unlock more cards. I don’t see myself paying money for the game, but it’s a good distraction to have on the go.

 

Almost Naked Angels

I have been getting a few followers lately and like a crack whore, I’m always hungry for more. The Magic Flunkies was created as a blog to poke fun at ourselves, which is fairly easy since I do it on a regular basis (getting poked). The post with the most views since The Magic Flunkies was set up belongs to the Marit Lage series, which is rather amazing considering that both of those posts have no bearing on game play or strategy. I like to think that there is a niche audience out there for non-competitive play and enjoys the poking.

The second most viewed post would be the one about female players. Did you know that people actually Google the term ‘female magic players’? Funny story, I was once trashed by a female player during a prerelease match (I think it was Scars of Mirrodin). I’m not really a competitive person (or sexist)  but come on, no guys would be proud of uttering the phrase ‘I got trashed by a girl’! Ladies, I look forward to your comments and letters…

In order to boost viewership and Google hits, I’ve decided to post a blog about….Angels! Sexy, sexy Magic: The Gathering Angels. Naked angels, barely naked angels, hot angels…hush, I’m making to get as many key terms as possible to generate hits.

Magic: The Gathering Angels have come a long long way since Serra Angel. I could be so so wrong, but I do believe that Serra Angel was one of the first angels for the game. Just look at her ample erm…heavenly incarnations! Serra Angel, along with Shivan Dragon were the chase rares of their time, sad that they have fallen from grace but at least Serra Angel has her good looks to depend on.

Fallen Angel, while not as pretty as Serra Angel, has been upgraded from a wingless angel (in Legends) to a winged angel (Commander) that looks suspiciously like Sinead O’Connor . I’m being very generous here, that was an old photo of Sinead.

My favourite Angel award goes to Akroma, Angel of Fury (or Akroma 2.0, or PMS Akroma). She has the honor of being the first mono-red angel and I think she looks absolutely ravishing in the artwork. I haven’t seen PMS Akroma being played before, come to think of it, I don’t think I have seen this card in real life before! I should probably hunt down a copy and build a PMS theme Commander deck using her as my Commander.

Anyway, these are my favourite angels in Magic: The Gathering. Special mention goes out to Angel of Despair, who coincidentally (or not) looks like Sinead O’Connor as well.

A quick search on the Gatherer listed 84 angels (excluding changeling), so what is your favourite angel?

Magic: The Gathering Toolbox

For the low, low price of free, WoTC finally published Magic: The Gathering Toolbox making a dozen over apps redundant in the iOS App Store.

Toolbox combines many of the other current apps into one nifty package –

– Lifetracker that can tracks up to 6 players with poison, deck size, number of times you cast your commander, commander and even storm count!

– Deck Builder and Card Search that work like Gatherer (albeit somewhat laggy), you’re able to search for all existing cards and add them into the deck. Card Search is pretty amazing, it shows flavour text, artist, release date and collector number of each card. Deck Builder allows you to test your opening hand, card draws and mulligans.

– News gets articles directly from DailyMTG.com so that you’re up to date on the official MTG related news. A nice add-on for the app, I hardly use it since I visit DailyMTG.com on a daily basis via my desktop, but it’ll be useful when I’m on the road.

– Event Calendar and Store Locator are the two functions that I have no need for. I’m not too sure if the Store Locator works worldwide or is it just for US.

Toolbox is currently free for download. According to their official announcement, you have to pay a ‘small amount’ for each expansion update BUT you get the expansion/s for free if you wait for the next core set to be released. Have I lost you yet? So let’s say, you have to pay $0.99 (or whatever amount) when Avacyn Restored is out, but if you wait till M13, you get Avacyn Restored, M13 and whatever sets that are released for free. Pretty generous of WoTC, considering that they have foil unlocks for Duel of the Planeswalker 2012. I could never figure out why people want to have ‘foil’ cards for virtual play.

Magic: The Gathering Tactics – A Quick Review

Magic: The Gathering Tactics released its first expansion – Secrets of Terisiare in December and just celebrated its first anniversary in January. I played MTG Tactics for a little bit when it was released and I wasn’t entirely pleased with it. I’ve been playing MTG since I was 12 – so almost 16 years now (and with nothing to prove) – so I’m always happy to see my favourite game in other various forms.

At its core, MTG Tactics feels very traditional Magic. You build a deck of spells, creatures and artifacts and try to beat your opponent down to 0 life. You don’t get lands but the mana system in MTG Tactics is rather nifty. You generate mana each turn based on the percentage of the colour/s in your deck. For example, if you are using a mono white deck, then you only generate white mana each turn. If your deck is 50% white, 50% red, then you have a 50% chance of generating either white mana or red mana each turn. To prevent mana screw, you actually get an increase of mana each turn – turn 1, 1 mana, turn 2, 2 mana and so on. Secrets of Terisiare introduced a mana surge mechanics that staggers the mana generation so you don’t get an overwhelming amount of mana.

However, once you completed the tutorial quests, you will soon realise that you have to purchase additional chapters in order to advance the game. Similarly, you have to buy booster packs to power up your deck. SOE would love to tell you that the game is free-to-play, but really, like most SOE games, micro-transaction plays a huge part.

Magic: The Gathering Tactics is a great venture out of the game that we are used to but it needs a lot of work to make it enjoyable.

What I’ve been playing

World of Warcraft

I’m a sucker for freebies so decided to sign up a year’s worth of World of Warcraft to get Diablo 3 and early beta access to Mist of Pandaria. My mage is stuck at level 80 and I find it absolutely hard to level him, I seem to die so much easier and faster compared to my previous pre-expansion incarnation. I started leveling a hunter all the way to 60 and I got really really bored. The quests are all the same, you do all the heroics to upgrade your gear and you grind more. With the cross server Dungeon Finder, no one speaks anymore. With just a wipe, players will just cuss and leave the group. I remember a time when people actually talk in group chats and we actually try to make the group work even after a few wipes. While making the game more accessible, Blizzard also removed the ‘social’ aspect of the game. The players that I am in group with can be just generic companions for all I know.

Everquest 2

I replayed Everquest 2 while waiting for SWTOR to launch. I stumbled upon the double (or was it triple?) Sony Cash day and took the opportunity to buy a floating cloud – yes, it is a floating mount not a flying mount. Gameplay was a lot similar to what I played despite the latest expansion. I got to around level 20 before I got bored of it. Again. There are many elements of Everquest 2 that makes it a lot more interesting than World of Warcraft – housing, crafting of furniture, collection, languages, gods – but at its core, Everquest 2 still feels the same as World of Warcraft. You kill X number of creatures, get XP. You run some errand for XYZ, you get XP. I never quite feel that I am making an impact at all.

Rift

By now, you should know that I probably have a serious case of ADHD. Maybe it’s the lack of a serious guild, or maybe the game is not that enticing enough. For Rift, I do enjoy the class system and the option to be  is really attractive. Similarly, the Rifts system is pretty cool. I can’t really pinpoint one thing in Rift that made me bored, but I am bored of that game. I would probably resub at some point in the future (actually I tried doing it during the free trial week but received some patching error that can’t seem to be resolved).

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Ahh, the new kid on the block. For starters, getting the game itself was pulling teeth since I’m all the way in Singapore. I couldn’t get the digital copy since the site is geo-blocked and physical copies are all sold out. I ended up purchasing the activation code on some seedy website just so that I can play. I enjoyed playing the game a lot – rolled a Smuggler as my first character until level 27 when I felt pretty fatigued. My Smuggler has trouble keeping alive and I ended with only a few HP after each battle. I decided to try out a Jedi Consular until level 20 when I realised that I have to go through the same side quests as my Smuggler since the areas are all fixed.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is an awesome game – great story lines, engaging characters, conversation options and voice acting. But most of the time, it feels like a single player game. I struggle to form group for heroic quests but getting groups of flashpoints is almost impossible. Kind of like a mash of Mass Effect 2 and KOTOR. So despicable me canceled my subscription after getting my Founder status.

The Magic Flunkies, Redux

Welcome (back?) to The Magic Flunkies! It’s hard to imagine that our first entry was way back in 2006, since then, we have accomplished almost nothing! I still have tons of RPGs going nowhere, characters stuck in mid levels in various MMORPG – World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, DDO, LOTRO, Rift and lately, Star Wars: The Old Republic – and fortunately, I have found a new playgroup to satisfy my Magic: The Gathering needs.

Just in case you’re new here, click here to read all about The Magic Flunkies. Most of our daily hits come from Google search for Marit Lage which I actually wrote two articles on – one and two – I still get sporadic comments from people on these entries.

The original intent of this blog was to write about our (my friend Melvin who has moved on to miniature gaming now) Magic: The Gathering experience. Now that I’m playing lesser of that and more of RPGs, I’ll be using The Magic Flunkies to write short reviews of games too.