WipEout HD


I have had more of a chance to play WipEout HD this weekend between Mega Man 9 sessions (and being sick, not feeling like going outside). WipEout HD is a gorgeous futuristic racing game that runs at a full 1080p and 60fps frame rate (most HD games if I recall correctly, run at 720p and 30fps). Well mostly 1080p, in order to keep a constant frame rate, the game dynamically scales the resolution, dropping it when necessary; It’s really an ingenious solution. Since the game moves so fast, the scaling isn’t noticeable by the human eye. It runs buttery smooth.

From what I understand, the tracks, vehicles and music are remastered selections from the PSP WipEout games. For $20 you get eight tracks (sixteen if you count the reverse tracks), a campaign, five modes and local split screen multiplayer and online play. Eight tracks may not seem like much, but between the campaign, difficulty, and what not, I don’t think anyone is going to get bored any time soon.

Of the five modes, Single Race, Tournament, Time Trial and Speed lap are pretty self explanatory per any racing game ever created. I haven’t ever seen zone mode before, it’s an endurance test. The goal is to stay alive as your ship continuously accelerates. I haven’t played through all eight of the single player campaign stages, but so far, the difficulty curve seems to be fairly smooth and balanced (so far. I hear that it gets fairly hard towards the end of the campaign).

The music is nice if you like upbeat techno and electronic music (what else would you race a futuristic racing game too?) If you don’t no big deal: WipEout HD is one of the only games on the PS3 at the moment that supports the use of custom soundtracks. So rock out and race to Vanilla Ice if you wish. There is also a photo mode, allowing you to take and edit screenshots of anything and thenretrieve them off of the PS3 photo menu.


There’s a feature enabled by default in WipEout HD called pilot assist. What it does is prevent you from constantly brushing up against the track walls (try turning it off, the game becomes like, 100x harder). It does though, drop your speed slightly (5% is what I heard) when it kicks in. So in other words, it theoretically makes the track narrower. Veterans might want to turn it off. Otherwise, it’s a very much welcome feature to newbies like myself.

Though WipEout HD is technically a derivative game since I guess there’s not a whole lot that’s brand spanking new if you are a fan of the PSP games. Everything though is so incredibly polished. I do mean everything; it looks great, plays great, and is filled with fun little things. It is also very much a traditional racing game. So, if you don’t generally dig racing games, WipEout might not do it for you. Otherwise, it’s well worth the $20.

Mega Man 9

It has been so long since I have played a game that was both legitimately difficult and fun. You see, I used to be good at Mega Man; there was a point, years ago in my childhood, where I could probably clear all of Mega Man 2 and 3 without dying, or at the very least dying less than 5 times.

This is a hard game, you will die. You will die and have to restart stages over and over again. Often. In fact, I spent about two hours re-attuning myself to this type of gaming environment. I swear that I died about 30 times before I got to the half-way point of any stage. Death after death after death, usually at the exact same enemy and spot. In any other game I would have just said, “fuck it” and gave up but not Mega Man. In fact, the difficulty is what makes it great. It is the well crafted kind of difficulty that drives you to play obsessively.

Mega Man 9 is patterned after Mega Man 2, in that there is no Mega Buster and no slide. Eliminating the Mega Buster was a wise choice in my opinion; it cheapened the bosses and the boss weapons. I miss the slide though, It was fun to play with. The gameplay feels exactly the same. I was a little worried that something might end up feeling off, being on a different system with a different controller and all. But no: the timing and the gameplay is exactly the same as the original NES games.

Mega Man 9 has an excellent presentation. Yes, the graphics are way outdated, I don’t think I need to tell anyone that, but it is visually appealing. One of the aspects that I have always loved about the Mega Man series was its graphical design and Capcom’s use of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s limited color pallet. Everything is vivid.

Graphically, it is also very clean. The level backgrounds for example are colorful and detailed without being a distraction. All of the sprites and important foreground elements are well contrasted and “pop out.” You know where to jump, the stairs don’t blend in with the background like I swear, half of all retro games. It’s getting there without dying that is the problem.

Oh, did I mention the soundtrack? It’s awesome. Not quite at Mega Man 2’s level, which is the high bar for 8-bit sound tracks in my opinion, but it’s damn close. If you in any way enjoy platformers, Mega Man, or fun games, buy this now. Now.

The Guardian Legend

A retro review! I loved this game as a child even though I am almost certain that no one else has played or heard of it. You can probably thank the horrid box art for its obscurity (US box vs Japanese box)…but anyway, the story in a nutshell: You are Alyssa guardian of Earth, a robot chick in a bikini who happens to possess the ability to transform into a spaceship. The deathst…err an alien world by the name of Naju is heading straight for Earth and it is up to you to destroy the 10 seals, needed to activate the self-destruct mechanism.

The Guardian Legend is divided into two sections: The labyrinth, a vertical scrolling shoot-em-up and the corridors, an overhead action/adventure type area. As you explore the labyrinth you will come across the corridors. When you enter one, Alyssa transforms into a spaceship and the game goes into shmup mode. Naju itself is divided into five different zones: water, biological, crystal, organic and wasteland. The Guardian Legend is one of the earliest examples of a multi-genre game.

Labyrinth stageThe labyrinth sections are very similar to The Legend in Zelda. It’s an overhead map with a grid based zoning system. The gameplay is exploration based: Every time a corridor bosses is beaten, you receive a key that can be used to unlock various areas on the map. You must search for the next corridor to destroy the next seal.

The corridor sections look and feel very similar to Zanac, which makes sense considering that it was made two years earlier by the same company, Compile. I guess in a sense, The Guardian Legend is its spiritual successor. There are a total of 21 corridors in the game, though only 1 through 10 and 21 are required. The rest are optional for the sake of point/powerup farming and completionism.

The graphics are decent. I wouldn’t say that they are as stylish as say, Mario 3 or Battletoads, but the sprites are nice looking, large and well animated (the gunship transformation in particular). Each zone has a distinct look appropriate to its theme. The biological area for example, is filled with fauna in plant life set against a green background, whereas the organic zones have creepy vein/flesh looking things. The corridors are colorful and detailed. The labyrinth areas could have used more detail. there are many rooms that seem to be little more than a couple of walls and a floor.

There are collectible power chips available throughout the game. You can obtain them from defeating enemies, they are also just sort of scattered around. The chips serve several purposes: to use as currency, to upgrade existing weapons, to increase your lifebar, and as ammunition for the powerful secondary weapons. Speaking of which, there are a total of 13 weapons available in the game, 11 of which can be powered up. You have eve







like most NES games The Guardian legend uses a password system to save progress. I know that this gripe isn’t relevant anymore, given that every plays it on an emulator but it was a pain in the ass way back in the day. Geeze, they are the worst passwords. Ever. This is an example that will get you to level 9:

073z !lN4 dLaZ g1qK jfb0 Xpur Y5e7 bD?B

Back on track: It’s a great game. Very interesting concept, plays well, great music, great appearance. If you are into older titles, pick this one up if you can find it somewhere.

The Belkin n52te

100_1487Earlier this year Belkin released the n52te, an updated version of the n52 gaming keypad that I wrote about last year. I caved in and bought it recently. The n52 is comfortable because it has an ergonomically designed hand rest (if you have the n52te, it’s coated in rubber). Out of all the gamepads that I’ve tried, the n52 was the only comfortable peripheral, in my opinion at least.

I think that many people are put off by the fact that the n52 doesn’t have as many keys as some of the other popular gamepads. If you are wise about using both the n52 shift states (red, green, blue) and the normal keyboard shift states (shift, control, alt, and any combination of such), you will have MORE than enough buttons to bind everything that you could possibly want. Anyways, the n52te:


The keys on the n52te are a huge improvement. One of my only gripes about the original device was that the keys, especially the circular button, were very stiff and took quite a bit of time to break in. The new buttons are way more responsive. They are soft and quiet, I’d say somewhere between laptop keys and normal soft keys “feel wise.

The scroll wheel was also significantly loosened up so that it feels more akin to a normal mouse wheel. I own a Razer Diamondback, it feels pretty similar in terms of click and looseness. The dpad on the n52te comes with a “joystick” on it, kind of similar to the ones on the Playstation Dual Shock controllers. It’s made of plastic and doesn’t grip your thumb sufficiently. It is however, easily removable if you do not like it.

I don’t know why Belkin/Razer chose do to this, but the null shift state was eliminated. Consequently, that is one less set of keys that you are able to bind. So if you use all 4 (null, green, red and blue), you are kind of SoL. Rumor is that the null state might be re-added in a future driver update.


The orange rubbery non-slip pad has been replaced by 6 rubbery feet, which grip better. The orange pad though adequate, still slid a bit, especially when my desk was dirty. Earlier n52te models had problems with the pads being uneven and rocking. Belkin seems to have resolved the issue since my gamepad is fine.

The profiles now load onto the controller’s internal memory, allowing you to plug and play it without having to install anything. The software, now powered by Razer, is completely different now. The editor and the loader have been integrated. A few people have complained that the new software was hard to use. It doesn’t bother me, but I don’t extensively use the macros so, *shrug.*

To be honest, the $70 price tag for the Tournament Edition is a bit much (the new keys really really do feel much nicer though…and it matches my keyboard and mouse lol). If you already own an n52, it’s not a huge upgrade. If you don’t own one, if you can get past the learning curve it is an invaluable gaming tool. Highly recommended!


  • Bind your movement keys to the cursor keys instead of WASD. That way, you will be able to chat AND move, even if the chatbar is active. No more: “wwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa fuck.”
  • It was also suggested to bind all of your most commonly used spells to non printing keys.
  • The LED backlight can be toggled on and off with a switch on the bottom of the pad.

Game Review: Portal


I don’t think I’ve talked about Portal enough or how much I love it. Portal is a first person puzzle game/comedy based off of Narbacular Drop, a game created by students at the DigiPen Institute who were later hired by Valve to work on Portal. It’s not a traditional first person game; So if you dislike shooters, I still highly recommend picking it up for legitimate and refreshing fun.

I really expected it to be little more than a tech demo of the Portal gun, for the sake of introducing new gameplay and letting the modding community have at it. In fact, since the Portal mechanics and the puzzles are so damn fun and intuitive, I would have been happy with just a tech demo. Instead, I was very pleasantly surprised to find a self-contained immersive story with a compelling narrative.

Basically: You wake up in a futuristic sleeping chamber. Guided by a snarky computer voice, you are run through a series of “tests” with only a portal gun and the promise of moist cake. The gun shoots two portals that will attach to (almost) any surface and act as a gateway between each other.

The dialogue, written by the guys who did Old Man Murray (funny gaming website of early 00’s fame), is hilarious and just bizarre. It’s a pretty simple story that you just have to play because I can’t describe it very well without giving away the fun surprises. Oh, it also has the best ending song in the history of ending songs. Just, so satisfying.

If you don’t want to purchase all of the Orange Box (why not though? 5 games for $50 is a steal), Portal is available via Steam as a standalone download for $20. I guess my only con is that the game is fairly short at about 3 hours (give or take a half-hour) for a play-through. After completion, several additional modes unlock (not to mention the possibility of fun user created mods). WELL worth prying your fingers away from WoW for one of the best games of the year.

PS: For those who have beaten it, rumor is that the Valve online store will have Weighted Companion Cube toys (plushies??) in stock by this Christmas!

Orange Box: Impressions

kind of wanted to do a full article/review on Orange Box, but I am so damn tired this week from getting to bed past 1am every night (playing games of course). I need to finish reading through 2.3 PTR notes before making a commentary post (PROTECTION BUFF PALLYGASM).

I pre-ordered The Half-Life 2: Orange Box over the weekend, which was unlocked at midnight the other evening. So I’ve sacrificed nearly all of my farming, instancing, and Doombeard leveling time this week for the sake of obsessing about it. I worship Valve games almost as much as I worship Blizzard games (almost). TL;DR version of the following: Get it. Get it now.

Team Fortress 2 is damn fun, the play reminds me of the WoW battlegrounds a bit in the sense that both are class based team versus team games with similar objectives (node capture, capture the flag, etcetera). I love the art style; it’s just perfect.

Portal is unique first person puzzle game that takes around 3 hours to complete, give or take a half hour. If you haven’t heard of it, YouTube the trailer, the portal gun is endlessly fascinating to play with. I was mostly interested in it for the gameplay value, I didn’t expect it to be funny! The AI adds sadistic humor to the game while interweaving narrative (it’s set in the Half-Life universe).

Upon completion, an advanced mode is unlocked with 6 more challenges, some limiting your time and the number of portals that you can use. I highly recommend playing through the game a second time in commentary mode, it offers insight on the game’s development and design.

I can’t comment on Episode 1 or 2 because I haven’t played them yet. I need to play through Episode 1 first (didn’t buy it originally, wanted to wait for them all to come out or for a compilation). But before that, I want to play through Half-Life 2 since it’s kind of been 3 years. Orange Box is a great deal. Even if you have already purchased HL2 and HL2: Episode 1, it’s still 3 excellent games for $50. A real bargain if you ask me!

Logitech G15: Initial Impressions & Experiences

Yeah, so Saturday morning I knocked a cup of coffee clear over my keyboard, ruining half of the keys. I took at as a clue from the gods of geek consumerism and hit Fry’s that afternoon to purchase a $99 keyboard: The Logitech G15 (the one with the LCD screen).

It was a decision between the Razer Tarantula and the G15. I preferred the way the Tarantula looked, but the LCD functionality won me over. I know that there are probably hundreds of reviews for it out there, so I will try to focus on the little nuances and quirks that aren’t commonly mentioned. I’ll take pictures and include them later if I remember.

Construction & Features
The G15 is a nice looking (every key is backlight with a blue glow) and solidly built keyboard. It’s relatively large, at around 1.5x the size of a standard board. So, if you use a small tray or have a desk with limited room, check to make sure that there will be space. It’s also significantly heavier than other keyboards, which is nice. I like a device with some weight to it. The keys are relatively soft, quiet (not clacky), and feel great to type on, but that’s based off of my personal preference. I would recommend finding a store with one on display and testing it out first before considering a purchase.

In addition to the standard keyset and the LCD screen, there are 18 keys to the left, broken up into three 6-key chunks that can be customized using a macroing system. Above the extra keys are 3 togglable states, adding up to a total of 54 extra buttons.

General word of caution: The software allows you to record complicated macros. Be careful because people have been banned for misusing them. As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t do it using WoW’s in-game macros, than it probably IS an exploit. I would stay away from the timing macros (bypassing the global cooldown for example is against the EULA).

There are two USB ports on the top of the keyboard. Unfortunately they are USB 1.1 and somewhat underpowered. Though sufficient for running devices like thumbdrives, you probably won’t be able to connect your iPod or web cam.

The wrist rest feels sort of cheap (it’s a plastic attachment). It is adequate and comfortable, but it would have been nice to say, have something more solid and permanent, similar to what I had on my old keyboard (Microsoft Ergonomic 4000). The cable management grooves on the underside of the keyboard are also marginally useful, since they aren’t large enough to fit thicker cords (my gamepad mostly).

The LCD Screen and Profiles

By default, the LCD will rotate between 5 displays: A clock showing time & date, a system performance meter showing CPU & RAM usage, a stopwatch, a media player controller (start, stop, pause, forward/back), and a POP3 email monitor. You can customize what to show and not show as well as disable/enable the auto-rotate in the settings. It’s worth noting that you cannot directly bind the G keys to things outside of the Logitech software (they don’t function like normal keys).

  • The POP3 applet doesn’t natively work with Gmail because it doesn’t support SSL. In order to get it to work, you will have to install an SSL Wrapper (Stunnel or whatever, google it).
  • Most popular media players support the G15. If it doesn’t work out of the box, there’s usually a plugin/driver available.
  • In order to get the media buttons to work in Winamp: Go into preferences and enable global hotkeys.
  • You will need to keep iTunes unminimized in order for it to work with the controls (not docked into the system tray/taskbar that is).
  • The WoW applet displays basic character information, battlegrounds statistics, and whispers received. The character information is marginally useful. It shows basic stats, melee stats, durability and bag slots. It would be nice if there was a way to customize it (to say, display caster and healer relevant information). Betting that there’s a mod out there somewhere.
  • I haven’t tested the battleground support, didn’t get any PvP time in this weekend.
  • The whisper logging is awesome. I’ll usually leave WoW logged on, with all sounds off, and minimized while working on other things at home (working includes watching DVDs and surfing). The G15 will list the names of the last 4 people who sent you a tell, so I don’t have the urge to check WoW every few minutes for whispers.
  • The LCD will display a list of people who have tried to contact you. I get a fair amount of whispers and frequently go AFK, so the tell logging was nice!
  • Ventrillo 2.3.3 Beta adds G15 support! No more, “who the hell just SAID that?” situations.
  • There are a good number of G15 mods available now. I would check out G15 Forums, by far one of the best mod communities out there.


Though the WoW options aren’t all that super useful, I just can’t express how damn awesome it is NOT to have to lose WoW focus in order to check what song is playing, switch songs, unminimize Ventrillo to see who said what, etc. The G15 is a bit pricey, so if you are just looking for a vanilla keyboard, $80 to $90 might be a bit expensive. If you are in to new geek toys or are just looking for a way to pimp your desk, look no further: This is an excellent keyboard, two thumbs up!

Nostromo n52 Gamepad and WoW

Note: I wrote a more recent article on the Belkin n52te, an updated version of the n52, if anyone is interested in reading a comparison.

It took a about week for me to find the “perfect” WoW button configuration and a week or two more to get really comfortable using the n52 in multiple situations and on multiple characters. Once you pass the adjustment time frame, it really is a great gaming accessory to have, seeing that you can map pretty much every single ability and macro onto your left hand. 

The n52 has 3 rows of buttons (2 rows of 5, 1 row of 4 on the bottom), a D-pad where your thumb sits, a red button above it, a large button below it, and a clickable scroll wheel between the keypad buttons and the D-pad. It also has 3 different shift states (red, blue, green) which can be bound to any button. You can set each shift state to “momentary” (only active while holding the button) or toggle (active until you press the button again). If you aren’t sure what a shift state is or need more information, read the literature on Belkin’s website.

Anyways, I don’t know how useful this post is to anyone, but when I was Googling for information on WoW n52 setups, there wasn’t a whole lot of useful information available. I tried to make my setup as generic as possible to avoid having to tweak settings in the Nostromo software. So swapping ability positions means just swapping where I keep spells on my action bars in game.

Button Configuration
There are basically two ways in which people have the D-pad bound: a. using it to control basic movements or b. using it for shift states (shift, control, alt, and then jump or whatever). I do the former, binding it in this manner: forward, back, strafe left and strafe right (using the mouse to turn of course). Using it to control basic movements is actually what takes the most getting used to, since WASD is the norm. Even if it takes some time to get used to I would recommend binding the D-pad in this way, it will leave more of the keypad buttons open for abilties and shift states.

I have red shift set to momentary bound to the large red button above the D-pad and blue shift on toggle bound to scroll up. Normal (not red or blue) is used for spells and abilities, red is used for the non abilities (the map, social screen, battleground score, bags, etc), blue is bound to the raid icons (aka lucky charms) and other junk.

Shift (top action bar in WoW), alt (self cast), and control (pet bar) are bound to the leftmost keypad buttons on each row. The remaining 11 buttons on the three rows are bound to abilities. I have my most frequently used abilities bound to the middle buttons on the middle row because that is where my fingers naturally rest.

Scroll up is bound to blue, scroll down is bound to the key that switched my action bars in WoW (bar 1 is for frequently used abilities, bar 2 is used for buffs), and scroll click is used for jumping. I have the button on the bottom bound to tab targetting. It seems like it would be a good place to bind jump but it really isn’t since you can’t use the D-pad and press it at the same time (not unless you were born with a second functioning thumb).

End Stuff
Oh by the way: The black hand rest is removable and adjustable; the manual just doesn’t really say how to do it. Hold the n52 firmly on a table and pull the black part straight up, it might require a bit of force. If you have large hands, you can move it down a peg, otherwise just remove it or leave it where it was.

I stated this at the beginning of the post but: the n52 takes some time to get used to, it has a fairly steep learning curve depending on how you choose to bind your keys. Give it some time, it might take a week or two to get used to.

Attached to this post is the .n52 file for my WoW configuration profile if anyone is interested.

Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 is a futuristic platformer that was released for the NES in 1988. This game is kicks ass, there’s really not much more that I can say (but I will anyways), it’s a classic. 

Though the original Mega Man started the series, it was it’s sequal that popularized it and set the standard for just about every Mega Man game to come. Several improvements were made in Mega Man 2 over it’s predecessor. Most notable: More robot bosses were added, more detailed graphics, energy tanks, and the password system. Mega Man was one of the very few series with an intuitive password system. It was a grid system that involved the placement of red dots, as opposed to writing down a 32 character alphanumeric string (lolz Faxanadu).

Mega Man 2 wasn’t as hard as it’s predecesor, but what it lacked in difficulty it more than made up in awesome level design. Not being frustrating and evil to the point of wanting to hurl your controller through the screen in NES rage isn’t a bad thing though (energy tanks good). It’s reasonably difficult for a notice to average player, but it’s not going to provide you with a Contra level challege. Either way, don’t let that deter you.

The graphics in general look more polished and sylish that it’s predecessor, and adds more distinctivness to the series. The backgrounds in Mega Man 2 are for the colorful and animated without being seizure inducing or distracting. There are a good amount of unique graphics, enough to give each stage a distinct feel. The sprites in this game are also very good. There’s a pretty wide variety of enemies, most of which are creative and well drawn.

Campcom, at least for the games that they made for the NES, set a high bar in terms of sound and music. Mega Man 2 is no exception, each track is memorable and catchy. I would even go as far as to say that it has the best soundtrack of all the Mega Man games. The Wily Fortress 1-2 theme has to be one of my favorite game tracks period.

If I had to make a list of my all time favorite NES games, Mega Man 2 would have to be pretty high up in rank (top 5 at least). It’s still a fun excellent game to play, even now. That’s pretty rare.

World of Warcraft vs Final Fantasy XI

Author’s Note: It’s worth noting that this article is several years old to the point where it’s not too relevant anymore to either game (since this posting seems get frequent traffic off of Google). I’d be interested though, in hearing how FFXI has changed since I originally posted this.

I don’t think I really ever made it clear why I quit Final Fantasy XI. As many people know, I bought and tried FFXI shorty after it was released in the US. Played it for about 2 months, before I got sick of it and quit. In short: It started to bore the hell out of me. Not comprehensive by all means, but just in case anyone is interested in hearing my two cents, a comparison between FFXI and World of Warcaft, and why I’m sticking with WoW.

I never did, still don’t, and likely never will ever have the time and patience it takes to play Final Fantasy XI up to the higher levels. Despite both being MMORPGs, FFXI and WoW actually differ greatly in play style. This becomes evident very early on. Leveling is very slow, and I can’t emphasize that enough. Leveling in FFXI has to be one of the most painful experiences. Ever. If you have the time, patience, and mentality to spend hours just grinding on things then kudos to you, but overall it’s a pretty boring experience especially since the combat is relatively repetitive.

FFXI is geared almost exclusively towards group play. You can solo up to level 10, and maybe up to level 15, but past that all soloing activity stops cold turkey. A group is basically required in order to do any of the quests. Finding a group to party with is another painful procedure. I often only have time to play in one or two hour chunks, I don’t know about anyone else, but spending those one or two hours finding a group just so I can do one quest isn’t my idea of fun. Even then, the quests really didn’t offer that great of a reward or experience.

Some people like to solo, some people like to group, some people like to do both! One of the most significant aspects of WoW is that you can choose how you want to play, thus appealing to a much broader range of players. Want to play alone? All good, most of the normal quests can be completed under an hour. Want to group? There are plenty of elite quests designed for a full group of players. The duration for most of these are around 2 hours. Want more? For higher level players (level 60), there are raid instances, designed for a group up to 40 players. The quests for the most part are well written, and offer a nice chunk of experience and usually a nice cash/item reward so that it feels worthwhile. Lots of bad Blizzard puns…LOTS. You absolutely can’t miss those.

The death penalty in Warcraft is a lot less frustrating than just about all other MMORPGs, no deleveling, no experience penalty. When you die, you appear in ghost form at the closest graveyard, and must run back to your body. You can also resurrect at the graveyard, but with a much heavier equipment penalty (which will ultimately cost you some cash, but no experience will be lost). The game doesn’t feel like it’s punishing you!

It’s hard to compare the graphics between the two games because they are each styled pretty differently. FFXI is more anime-ish and realistic, while WoW has a cartoony feel. I would have to say that the FFXI graphics in general are better textured and are smoother. The character models are also a bit better than the models in WoW, though they seemed to lack variety. Not enough facial customization 🙁

Graphical comparisons with WoW against other MMORPGs has been a popular discussion. It really does depend on your personal taste I suppose. WoW has a lower polygon count than other MMORPGs, which contributes to its cartoony feel. Some people don’t like that, but I personally think that it adds a lot of character, since it’s appropriate to how the Warcraft RTS games look and feel. Anyone who has ever played a Warcraft game knows this…It’s hard to judge style by screenshots alone. Most of the beauty is in the way the world is designed, the level of detail, the uniqueness that each zone has, and how lively each area is. FFXI just seemed to be missing much of that.

From the beginning, I just felt that Azeroth was more immersible than Vana’diel. Both worlds are fascinating, but Warcraft has 10 years of backstory and history under its belt. From the savanna like barrens, the jungle like Stranglethorn Vale, to the throne room of Lordaeron, it’s all there. (shame on you all who haven’t at least read about Warcraft history on the page. I mean, you should at LEAST KNOW WHO ARTHAS IS D:).

Several things severely annoyed me about FFXI, the first and most notable one being the ass interface. It just sucks…and it sucks hard. Annoying to use, limited, unintuitive, and hard to customize. It feels like it was designed for use on a Playstation controller, which it most likely was, so it didn’t seem to be optimized much at all for those of us who have the privilege of playing with a mouse. The WoW interface on the other hand is intuitive and very easy to use and customize. Virtually no learning curve. And, with the upcoming content patch, it will be even better (finally adding additional bars into the interface so I don’t have to download Cosmos).

Another important thing: It’s impossible to ALT+TAB out of FFXI, minimize it, or otherwise without automatically being disconnected from the game, and sent to the stupid Playonline menus. This pisses me off so fucking much. Being able to check things online while playing really isn’t too much, especially for an MMORPG. I don’t have all that much free time, so on many occasions, when I do play, I have the game running in the background while I read lecture slides, so I can occasionally bring the game into focus to check on auction and chat with friends. I mean, at least allow me to run it windowed, or god forbid minimized so I can look up quest stuff in Firefox….

Oh yeah, you can jump in WoW. YOU CAN JUMP! Jump over people’s heads, jump off of the Stonewrought Dam and Freewind Post (to your death). Why can’t you jump in FFXI? That’s important… In FFXI, you had to pay an additional $1 a month per extra character. WoW allows you 10 per server. It really_really_is nice to have alternative characters, especially if you want a taste of the different classes or are trying to keep on equal levels with friends.