Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'Ere, He Says He's Not Dead

I have been outrageously busy with work lately, and blog-writing fell victim to my own private time recession (not to be confused with My Own Private Idaho, which I definitely do not want). It was comforting to know that my gaming friends noticed my absence; David had his wife ask Sandi if I was all right.

Even in the midst of lecture preparation and test grading, I have been able to play games at night. Final Fantasy XII has seen the most screen time, as I took to scouring Ivalice for the components necessary to forge the game's most expensive weapon, the Tournesol. I am currently one item and about 500,000 gil away from it, but the area in which I must obtain this last item sounds . . . problematic. I plan to begin exploratory forays soon.

I fired up Oblivion for the first time in close to a year last night, and I opted to install the game to the Xbox 360's hard drive. This decision was motivated primarily by the console's merciless manner of spinning the disc. Although Cyrodiil eats up almost every virtual inch of storage I have, playing the game without the drone of the optical drive was quite nice. I resumed my habit of lackadaisically meandering the countryside, slaying the odd bandit or goblin while looking for ruins I will probably never enter. What can I say? I am a spade at heart.

Game well this week, and may you have all the time you need to poke around your world.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Powerful Argument for Temperance

As a teetotaler, the last word of the title is metaphorical in nature. However, I find a need to avoid things like this in a way not unlike the nineteenth-century temperance movement argued for detachment from alcohol. Final Fantasy XII has been noted to resemble an online roleplaying game in its structure; while obviously a single-player experience, the combat and gear mechanics take a cue from the world of its numerical predecessor. Online games are generally designed to draw players into the games' worlds for long stretches of time. Final Fantasy XII managed to do that to me with one of the most inexplicably addictive systems possible -- its bestiary.

The game archives some basic data about each opponent you defeat in battle, like its creature type and a wordy description. However, more flavor content is available if the player defeats more of the varmints. In some cases, merely traveling through an area will net the requisite number of vanquished enemies, but not all foes are so numerous. I spent a good two hours last week trying to collect data on a monster that appears once in an entire portion of the game. I defeated the beast, vacated to another region, and returned to respawn the stupid thing. I now wander through previous areas to beat on nonaggressive denizens of Ivalice because I want the bestiary completed. Why do paragraphs of text mean so much to me?

While perusing the Escapist last week, I came across an offer for free EverQuest II. Does anyone know if it has a bestiary?

Game well this week, and may you have better luck than I at finding wyverns.