Posts Tagged ‘screenshot’

I “tweeted” last week that I was going to take advantage of an offer from Blizzard (seven whole days of free game time, woot!) to go and take a look at Karazhan.  The venerable Big Bear Butt offered to show me around the joint.  So, I finally saw Karazhan.  And took almost 250 screenshots of the place.

…it’s way bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.  Oh, and in BBB’s son’s continuing quest to Control All the Things, he managed to grab control of one of Moroes‘ beefy melee henchmen.  That would have made a nice difference if we were running the place at level.  Also, Tinhead is creepy, but the Opera Event is pretty cool, and the Chess Event is awesome.  Yes, it’s not real chess, but it’s good fun anyway (and, like in real chess, knights are nicely useful).

Some highlights (in no particular order, because I’m short on time):

…and then, just because Blizzard finally got with the program and decided to allow anyone, even trial accounts, to play any race, I fired up a Pandaran Rogue.  The Pandaran starting area is really nice… even if I can’t fly around in it.  It’s the new shiny, and I like it, but I still like Gilneas and Mulgore about as much.  The Pandarans themselves are very well done.  I like the “Red Panda” look the females can access, even if the real world red pandas aren’t actually pandas.

So I guess I’m a Tauren/Worgen/Panda kinda guy.  Though I still say Blizzard missed a trick in not letting Pandarans be Druids.  Still, their starter area is open to pretty much anyone, so have at it!  There are plenty of photo opportunities and some fun character animations.

Google+ collection of Karazhan shots

Google+ collection of Pandaria shots


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Trek Tales

As much as I like Star Trek Online, I’m looking forward to finishing it and moving on.  I suspect it’s similar to how I’d approach Star Wars The Old Republic, inasmuch as I want to play the story and then move on to another one.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and I’m not burned out on STO (and I still highly recommend it, flawed though it is at times, like any other game)… I just have a lot of other games I want to play, and I need to move on instead of getting stuck in a rut.  This also means I’m less likely to burn out on the game, since I’m not feeling obligated to play past the point where I’m having fun, whether because I’m in a raiding guild or paying a subscription I want to get good value out of.

It’s remarkably similar to how I approach novel reading, actually.  I liked the Harry Potter books when I read them, but I don’t feel much impetus to start over and reread them.  On occasion, I do pick up one of them and just start reading somewhere in the middle, just for fun.  Likewise, I’ll pick up I, Jedi once every few months and reread a random passage, just because that’s the era of Star Wars that I like the most.  It’s a lot like my bookmark system that I wrote about back in my Turning Back Time article, where I can just jump into the narrative wherever I feel like it.  I do similar things with DVDs when I’m working in the evenings; I’ll fire up a movie or TV show I’ve seen but maybe I’ll skip around to the parts that interest me at the moment as I paint or design.

We don’t see that much in games.  Between autosave systems like Batman Arkham Asylum/City and MMOs and their “always on” nature, the biggest games I’ve played lately aren’t all that amenable to replay unless I flat out start over.  Y’know, I don’t always want to do that.  Sometimes I just want to jump into the parts that I loved most the first time through and replay the fun bits, maybe with some tweaks to my approach.

Maybe World of Warcraft is tinkering a little bit with this, as Big Bear Butt suggests over thisaway, by letting players bypass the grind inherent in gearing up alts, but that’s not quite the same thing as replaying some of the narrative bits or trying something as a different class (I’ve argued before for full character respecs, all the way down to class, as I note over at BBBs’ place).  Sure, we can replay a dungeon here and there, but what about the stories out in the world at large?  I don’t think there’s any way to replay a world quest without firing up a new character, and that’s a time sink.

It might be fun, sure, but it’s like starting a novel all over again just to get to that cool part one third of the way in or watching a movie on videotape.  Sure, you can fast-forward a bit, but you can’t skip ahead like you could with a DVD.  We’re totally spoiled by DVDs and their instant access to varied scenes in a movie.  I have a hard time watching movies on VHS these days.  I’d like to see more of that sort of spoilage in gaming.

This is where STO really shines.  I’m convinced that the best writing in the game is in their Featured Episodes, each a handful of missions with some tight scripting and play.  No, there’s not a lot of player autonomy or choice for Bioware-flavored gaming fans, but sometimes that’s OK.  Yes, I’d love to see more simulationist MMO gaming and player choice, but just going along for the ride can still be good fun, especially in bite-sized chunks of time.  (Though I maintain that it’s a Very Bad Fit for subscription MMO gaming, I do love a good Final Fantasy or the like sometimes, just like I love Minecraft sometimes.  They can both be good fun, just different.)

Anyway, the Featured Episodes are replayable pretty much whenever you’d like, so long as you’ve done them once.  They autoscale to your level (and there are three selectable difficulty levels) both in challenge and in rewards (experience aside).  This is fantastic, as I can just go replay the missions I loved most without starting a new character.  It’s simpler in STO, thanks to the instanced nature of missions, but man, it’s a great core design decision.

It also might be worth noting that I could get all the fun I’m getting out of STO if it were a single player offline game.  Sure, I’d need to go online to catch up with Longasc or BlueKae or Tipa in-game (though I’m not so good at that anyway), but I’ve been playing the Featured Episode missions entirely solo since Longasc helped me through one of them some eight months or so ago.  STO is a good game solo, and it’s a good game with friends.

…but it’s about time to move on.  I’ll finish the game, plunk it in my “good game” memory and move on.  Maybe I’ll come back just for fun one of these days (a huge strength of the nonsubscription model), but it will be because I enjoyed it and want to again.  Maintaining that positive mentality toward a game is a Good Thing, methinketh.  I’ll probably play through the new Feature Episodes on the 11th, and then go play Batman Arkham City or Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.  Tally ho!

Oh, and here are some of my favorite screenshots from my STO play.  I have a LOT more, but these are my favorites.

Obligatory mug shot

Obligatory ship shot

Obligatory away team shot

Obligatory Earth orbit shot

Obligatory DS9 shot

Obligatory Empok Nor shot

Obligatory Enterprise-F Odyssey model shot (only available during the 2nd anniversary shindig)

Obligatory Memory Alpha shot

Obligatory cool planet shot

Obligatory cool space shot

Obligatory space station raiding shot

Obligatory shipping crates shot

Obligatory planetary cityscape shot

Obligatory weird lava planet shot

Obligatory Tribbles shot

Obligatory Gorn shot (my son's character, Sss'anta)

Obligatory noob shot (my daughter's character standing in a fountain, petting a Tribble)

…and a few other random shots.

Romulans experimenting on Borg tech

Reman Base

Broken down

Fire Caves

Blowing stuff up

This illustrates my favorite ground combat trick: my Science Captain’s “endothermic field somethingorother”… basically a nice Area of Effect ground fire.  It’s a blast to use on stationary targets.  It’s also good to use on NPCs, since standing in the fire confuses them, and they don’t use special abilities or move out of the fire.  Then I turn the Cryogun on them for a little fire-and-ice action.  Yeah, I love AoE attacks on targets that just sit there.

Standing in the fire

150 or so over on the Google hivemind.  Resistance is futile.

(4200+ not shown.  Yeah, I take a lot of screenshots.)

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I’ve written a few times now about Allods Online, and even posted a handful of screenshots.  It’s a beautiful game, full of interesting sights.  The lore of a world split into chunks, floating on the magic Astral (aetheric space with pretty blue cloudy strands of… stuff), populated by survivors of the world-shattering cataclysm, provides for some fun visual elements.  The verticality of the sights can be a bit… dizzying, though.  (So Ysharros, consider yourself warned…)

(As before, I’m hiding all the pretty pictures behind a More link to keep from killing anyone visiting the front page with a dialup internet connection.  If you’re direct linking to this, well… sorry, but it may take a little while to load.  As before, each picture is actually a link to a bigger version, if you’re looking for a closer look.)


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The prince formerly known as Arthas obviously has issues.  Even as the Big Bad Lich King, he’s playing second fiddle to Deathwing in the recent WoW buzz about Cataclysm.  (I mean, really, which is cooler, a dragon the size of a skyscraper who can crack the earth itself, or a fallen undeadish prince with identity issues and virtual feuds with Ozzy Osbourne?)  Is it any wonder why he might be feeling a little lonely and ignored?

Arthas needs some TLC.

As you might remember, I got my grubby little hands on a copy of his biography, Arthas, Rise of the Lich King, which wound up bring a pretty good read, even though the titular character isn’t my cup of tea.  So, it’s far past time I pass it along to someone else who might want to give it a whirl.  I’m sure the prince himself would approve of spreading his message of death, doom and destruction, at any rate.

So, in the fine tradition of bloggish contests established by none other than the one and only Big Bear, I’m going to try a little something other than drawing a name out of a hat to find a new home for this lovely, er, brooding hardbound novel.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on this very lightly used book (I read it once and have taken very good care of it), all you have to do is engage in a little exercise and cross your fingers.

I want you to convert me.

Show me what class and race I should play World of Warcraft with.

With a hundred words or less and at least one screenshot (and up to three), or concept art, as the case may be, make your case about what I should be playing when Cataclysm comes knocking.  Whether it’s a Worgen Druid, a Blood Elf Warrior or plain old Gnome Warlock, anything goes.  What do you think I should play as?  (Assume I’d be starting it from scratch, with no fairy godmother twinking me.)

Pretty much anything goes, from snarky “you should be a Human Mage because you’re a bloviating windbag” to thoughtful “you like X so you should play as Y”.  A caveat, though:  sex doesn’t sell around here, and neither does profanity.

Please send your text and graphics to my bloggish email, silverwings.art at gmail.  I’ll take entries for the next, oh… two weeks or so, so if you get your entries in before 11:59 PM (Blizzard standard time) on September 8th, you’re set.  I’ll run things through my Judging Grinder of Doom and post a winner hopefully by the end of that week.  (I’ll contact the lucky one for mailing information at that time, so don’t sweat sending any of that sort of thing with your entry.)

I reserve the right to do something nice for any entry that I find particularly notable.  (Which usually means doing some sort of art, as might be noted in my Mini Portfolio.)  It’s not guaranteed, and it may take a lower priority after other art projects I have going, but I do enjoy crafting the occasional bit of WoW fan art.

I also reserve the right to post the winners and notable entries, but if you object to public display of your brilliance, just let me know in your entry and I’ll keep your work under wraps.  (It won’t affect the judging.)

Tally ho, then, and good luck!

Oh, and if nobody enters, well… I’ll find a way to break the news to Arthas.  (And in fact, if you don’t want the book, feel free to send along a consolation note to the prince.  I’m sure it’ll brighten his day.)

Edited to add:

Mama Druid asked a good question down there in the comments:

Would you play if the winning argument, well, wins you over?

To which I answered:

To answer the question, well… how about a solid “maybe”. I would *like* to, but finances might get in the way. If I have to buy the original WoW, TBC, Wrath *and* Cataclysm to get to play the winner’s suggestion, well, that’s an uphill battle. If I can just buy the base game and go to town, well, maybe $20 is worth playing WoW for a month to get a couple of articles and loads of screenshots out of it, right?

That said, whether or not I will actually wind up playing the winner’s suggestion is completely irrelevant for the judging. It might make for some fun articles, to be sure, watching me struggle with something I’m unfamiliar with, but for the sake of getting this Arthas novel a new home, let’s just leave it at “that would be a fun follow up”.

So don’t sweat it; this contest is all about the entries.  Make your case for what I should play, and that will be enough.  Though, if I do wind up playing it later, I’ll be sure to credit you and write some articles on it.

It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped by. Would you play if the winning argument, well, wins you over? :)

Since I haven’t the time to compose an appropriate entry, I’ll quickly suggest to you a male Troll Druid.

• Trolls are the least played race. Why, I do not know. Their lore is fascinating. Don’t let them become extinct!

• Male trolls are very entertaining. Their laugh, their dance, their myriad of hair/face paint/tusk combos… the male troll is just a fun loving guy. Besides, something’s gone wrong with the creation process for female trolls. Somehow 95% of them end up with the same face! I would stay away from that voodoo if I were you.

• Druid. I might be a bit biased, but with the druid class you can experience any component of the holy trinity with a mere respec and gear change. An added bonus is you have options with the dps third: melee or spellcaster. No other class can make the same claim.

I think I just talked myself into making a male Troll Druid of my own!


Wait, the Mama Druid? The one who had such awesome naming articles, but whose blog fell off the ‘net? If so, good to see you! If not, well… hello!

To answer the question, well… how about a solid “maybe”. I would *like* to, but finances might get in the way. If I have to buy the original WoW, TBC, Wrath *and* Cataclysm to get to play the winner’s suggestion, well, that’s an uphill battle. If I can just buy the base game and go to town, well, maybe $20 is worth playing WoW for a month to get a couple of articles and loads of screenshots out of it, right?

That said, whether or not I will actually wind up playing the winner’s suggestion is completely irrelevant for the judging. It might make for some fun articles, to be sure, watching me struggle with something I’m unfamiliar with, but for the sake of getting this Arthas novel a new home, let’s just leave it at “that would be a fun follow up”

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Or, how I turned a blogger meme to my own subtly nefarious designs, and employed fairly lame puns to describe my shutterbug tendency. Next step, take over the world, Pinky!


Melf_Himself describes the trend well over at Word of Shadow, complete with a well-traced lineage. (It’s interesting to see how these things mutate and evolve. This one didn’t even start with gamers, but we’ve claimed it.) While I’m generally not a meme participant, I’ve been looking for a reason to put up a few more screenshots as a respite from my usual walls of text or mini posts with links, so when Melf “tagged” me, I figured I’d run with it. It’s been a lot of fun seeing what other people have dredged up, and it’s been even more fun digging through my old files. So, I’m playing with this meme.

And then doing something different. That’s just what I do. That said, the meme itself is pretty fun, so here’s the shot that best satisfies the rules, beyond which I feel little further obligation to play by the rules, and will just have fun. (Sixth folder of screenshots, sixth screenshot.)

Capoeira Troll

Capoeira Troll

Interestingly, considering the love/hate relationship I have with the game, it’s a World of Warcraft image from my latest ten day trial. I’ve done a few now, and for this one, I wanted to try out a Troll and a Rogue, a race and class I’d never played before. (I’m a Hunter/Druid fan, Dwarf or Tauren.) It turned out to be the character I played to the highest level, mostly because I wasn’t trying alts out this trial period, and because I wanted to see as many areas as possible.

This is one of my art reference shots, with my hapless little level 6 (!) Splattamon doing his best Capoeira dance outside of that Troll village just outside of the starting area. I was studying the animation, since I have a passing interest in Capoeira and specialized in animation when I earned my college degree. Animation is one of those things that the Blizzard guys really do well, and it stretches the art direction further than the relatively low poly models would suggest at a glance. Once again, strong art direction (and animation) >>>high poly count, huge texture and other assorted tech bling.


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