Black Desert character customization

Hey guys,

I recently heard about Black Desert. My mind is blown. The character customization in that game is crazy. I remember several weeks ago when I thought ESO had great customization options… this really is sometime else. You want a tattoo on a specific spot on your character’s left thigh? You got it. You want your hair to sway slightly to the right? Sure. You want that glint in your eye to suggest that light is coming from above? Okay.

Give it a watch. It usually takes me a good while before I am ready for my character to exist in its virtual reality. I mean, think about it this way: for the next 50 hours, this is what my character is going to look like while I play. I have a friend who told me he spends at least three hours customizing his characters. Gosh knows how long it would take him in Black Desert. I am also pretty sure there will be people who just buys the game for its character customization screen. Avid machinima makers are probably drooling as we speak.

Black Desert‘s site is currently down because they are catching on fire with the world wide web. However, snooping around their Facebook page revealed that they are a Korean game. They have not yet selected an English client publisher, although a client is in development.

So I’m sure everyone’s question is: How slow will the game move since every. single. person’s. character is so uniquely different? It is basically like living in the real world where every face is different from one another! The developer Pearl Abyss has stated that they will be using their own “Black Desert” engine that is made for handling the fast rendering required for the game. The game will be free to play and is still currently in Beta. And since you and I are most likely reading this off a computer, the game will be released on Microsoft Windows.

It’s almost scary how much control you have over your own character.

-Karen

 

Sources (x) (x)

 

 

Game of Thrones night at Storm Crow

Hey guys!

So tonight I went to Storm Crow Tavern for a Game of Thrones season 2 premiere thingy they were doing! I did a post about Storm Crow a while back, but I haven’t been back for quite a while. They’ve upped their game in terms of decor, and the board game selection tripled/quadrupled in size! If you’re into geeky stuff, definitely go check them out. They’ve probably got something on the wall catering to any fandom (I know there’s a Doctor Who wall, Game of Thrones stuff scattered throughout, Star Wars, and today I saw a Minecraft pickaxe). Even if you’re not particularly into a certain game or TV show, it’s still great to admire the effort they’ve put into curating and decorating their walls! Also, they’ve got the best selection of board games in Vancouver (there are about five sets of Cards Against Humanity, and plenty of Settlers of Catan amongst many others). Beware that certain games are missing parts to them such as their instruction booklet or game pieces.

Their menu also grew quite a bit. I remember when it was just a one page piece of paper, and you had a choice between four main dishes. Now you’ve got pages of food to cater to all your cravings. Their drinks menu has seen a similar growth.

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The Romulan Ale we ordered.

Now on to Game of Thrones night. They will be hosting a Game of Thrones episode showing every Sunday for the next while. Today, we had some games such as trivia, and a quick contest. Prizes such as tickets to a Game of Thrones improv show and $25 gift cards to Storm Crow were given out.

Season two!

Season two!

Here’s some tips on what you should do in order to actually get seats at the pub. My friend and I met at 5:00PM and then got to Storm Crow at 5:30PM. They put out a sign saying that the 6:00PM showing was full and that we could put down our name to see that 8:00PM showing. So we did that. We were told to come back at around 7, but it took a good half hour for the first showing’s patrons to exit the establishment. People tried to wait in line outside, but soon realized that they were only letting in people who were on the reservation list. Keep in mind that they did not take reservations before their first showing filled up, so I’m not sure how the future Game of Thrones showings will be like! As we were part of the later 8:00PM show, we were allowed to stay afterwards. The earlier people had to clear out as soon as their showing was done. Nonetheless, it was fun to watch the premiere with a group of other people who were into the show! The first episode did a great job to re-establish the character’s stories after our break from them!

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CAH with friendly strangers :)

After the episode ended, we moved on to playing board games. We ended up asking two other groups of people to play with us. We settled on Cards Against Humanity! All in all, it was a fun night! It’s quite a bit of hassle to secure a spot at the pub, but I’d definitely do it again some time in the future. Hopefully for the season finale?

- Karen

ECCC 2014: Another year of slacking off right before finals

Hey all,

It’s the end of March and you know what that means (just kidding, pretty sure if you do know, you’re definitely in the minority)… EMERALD CITY COMICON!

Hurray for 5AMbussing.

Hurray for 5AMbussing.

A group of my friends and I managed to take some time off and bus to Seattle again for the con. We were very tactical with the whole thing. We stayed over at one person’s house so we could taxi off to the Greyhound station early Saturday morning. We had to wake up at 4:30AM in order to get dressed, and get to Pacific Central at 5:30. I think that was possibly the earliest I’ve woken up for something before. Anyway, the plan was for M, Mal, and I to bus down to Seattle first and be at the convention for both Saturday and Sunday, while our other friends with the car would drive down on Sunday and take us home with them.

My friend M was actually sick during the trip, so it was a little worrying for me and Mal. But overall, it was so much fun! It was quite different from last year because although there wasn’t a main celebrity that was on my bucket list of people I wanted to meet (unlike Misha Collins last year), I did meet a few celebrities that I respected  a lot!

Day 1

The first day was a hectic rush to get to the actual convention centre. We got off the bus, ran to the hotel, then took a taxi to the centre. A wave of nostalgia rushed through me when I walked through the front doors and saw the three sets of escalators that took all the guests to the main event floor. A banner read “Welcome to Emerald City Comicon” and I almost wanted to cry. I had such a great experience last year (albeit some issues with the line ups and such) that I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

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I dressed up as Castiel from Supernatural again on the first day, except a different version of the trench coat. I am actually so happy that my mom likes making these things.

The day was spent buying arts, tshirts, and geeked out assorted goodies. We watched Mark Sheppard’s panel (from Supernatural), and Osric Chau (also from the show) showed up to ask Mark a question. We later caught up with him to have a chat and take photos with him. Osric is honestly such a nice guy, and despite being tired, he was very accommodating to the fans! The convention had told him he would have to keep moving or else he’d cause a traffic jam, and he kept his word, but allowed fans to take selfies with him while walking. We spent some time helping him located a vendor who would sell a machete so that he could complete his cosplay (Glenn from The Walking Dead), but upon not being able to find one, he ripped one out of cardboard.

Osric Chau cosplaying as Glenn!

Osric Chau cosplaying as Glenn!

I ran into some old friends that I met from Emerald City last year. I cannot believe the lasting friendships I’ve managed to make just from conventions. (Shoutout to Delaney because we managed to run into each other on both days!!! And her cosplays are awesome.)

Unlike last year, it felt like I had a lot less time to shop around in the artist alleys and vendors. I suppose having more friends with you will slow everyone down a bit, but at the same time, having more people was so much fun! It was a different experience.

At night, we wanted to eat at the Cheesecake Factory across the street from the convention centre. Upon entering the crowded restaurant, we asked how long we’d have to wait for a table for three. The wait was 1 1/2 hours. We left. Instead, we opted for subs at Jimmy John’s. We tried sleeping earlier that night, and Mal did a great job of that. But M and I were not used to sleeping till around 4AM, so it was hard. I ended up sleeping at one, which was pretty good in my books. And that was day one.

Day 2

Our friends, T, F and B, came down on day 2 and we walked with them from our hotel to the convention centre. First order of business was getting photo op tickets for Karen Gillan. Although only F and I were getting tickets, we all lined up together. These guys :)

I wore my Tardis cosplay today, mostly because I wanted to wear it for a picture with Karen Gillan! Amy Pond was probably my favourite companion since I had started with her.

A picture of me with a weeping angel I found wandering around

A picture of me with a weeping angel I found wandering around

 

As a group, we did wander the convention floor, but since the day was only till 5PM and we got to the convention at around 11:30AM, the day was short. We had two panels we had to see (Mark Sheppard and Jim Beaver + Karen Gillan) and we had to go to the hall early to get seats. I still had a lot of things I wanted to buy, but didn’t manage to make it because of how tight schedule was. That was one of the biggest things that struck me this year. With six people travelling together for day 2, time evaporated.

However, I still got to take a picture with Karen. Actually, basically right before our turn, she had to take a quick break  so her smile could relax and she could take a sip of water. F and I stared at her for a good five minutes since we had entered an area that we could actually see her, unlike most of the people still in line. Fangirl.

Karen squared!

Karen squared!

The drive home was…interesting. We stopped by a Jack in the Box for dinner (we felt so american with our burgers that had a ridiculous amount of cheese and meat) and proceeded across the border. That’s when things started to get a little messy due to us getting a little lost. But in the end, we made it out okay! In the car, we were already making plans for next year! I can’t wait!

I’ll follow up this personal post with a shorter, snappier review of the convention (maybe to convince everyone to go?)!

- Karen

The Elder Scrolls Online beta testing

Hey guys,

Did anyone else try out The Elder Scrolls Online? It’s still possible for you to snag a beta code somewhere and test it out! Their email reads:

“This is our final large-scale beta event before Early Access. Join us from Friday, March 14th at 12:00PM EDT until Sunday, March 16th at 11:59PM EDT”

Early Access means you pay the $60 now and get to play it a bit earlier than the rest. I have yet to preorder since I am still gauging whether I want to get into it. However, the beta is quite promising.

Proof that you're in beta

Proof that you’re in beta

I’ve been searching for a good MMORPG for a while, and I did want to move away from World of Warcraft. It seems like every time I want to get back into the MMO world, my only option is WoW. I’m hoping ESO will make the cut for a high quality, well developed, and player filled game. I guess I can’t exactly tell how the final version will feel, or how many people will ultimately pick up the game, but as of now, the game’s developer ZeniMax has announced that 5 million people signed up for beta. This does not translate to actual players when the game ultimately releases, but it is still encouraging.

I’ve really only spent about 2 hours in the game so far to get a feel of the world and its mechanics. What was interesting was that this is a lot more skillshot-based than WoW, but that also means that getting to dodge attacks were quite fun. The inventory system is quite simple, but I have heard that as the game progresses, customizing your character’s skills and such get quite complicated? What was annoying to me was the lack of a mini map. I found it disorienting and I kept losing my sense of direction. Apparently, they’re using the compass system that they originally used in Skyrim. Not having played Skyrim, I’m used to having a mini map to guide me (I mean, this was there way back in Runescape days!). Do. Not. Like. However, their justification is that this will encourage players to explore ares.

Character creation was quite fun. There’s a lot of customizable features– easily double that of WoW. I got to change everything from my gut size to how high I want my cheekbones. However, I must say that their characters are not as…aesthetically pleasing as some games. I think that a lot of work can be done on how the characters can look more polished. Reminds me a lot of Rockstar’s GTA 5 problem where it was nearly impossible to create an attractive female character. I suppose in the end I was satisfied with my elf.

Screenshot 2014-03-14 22.25.48

 

Anyways, as I said, it is a promising game. I’m really hoping that this will evolve to be something that can compete with WoW. I’m not too sure about its pricing scheme: $60 for the game itself, than a subscription fee of $15 each month. Basically the exact same as WoW. But think of it this way: you’re thinking of launching a new game in a market with an undisputed leader. I honestly think that they should sell the game at a one time cost, with future expansions costing an extra amount. Thoughts?

-Karen

Alice: Madness Returns— Dementedly awesome

Hey all,

Caught in between classes and the many papers, projects and presentations that has lined my agenda. However, that makes this game I recently got perfect in terms of how I’m slowly going insane.

Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice. The premise of the story revolves around Alice having witnessed her family being killed in a  tragic fire. Having to face what she saw, and being the sole survivor, she is filled with the horrors that haunt her every day. In response, she escapes to a place she calls Wonderland, leading others in the real world to believe her mad. This game begins in 1875 and Alice is now 19. She has been released from the mental asylum, and is placed in an orphanage in Victorian London where Doctor Bumby watches over her. She’s getting better, but at the beginning of the game, she is sent to run an errand that accidentally leads her into Wonderland again, causing her to spiral down into her madness once again.

Now if you’re used to Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, you’ll be pleasantly (maybe) surprised. The beginning of the game is absolutely stunning.

The first screen cap I took in game. Couldn’t help myself—it was ridiculously beautiful.

This is not at all to say that the rest of the game is not stunning. I have to say that one of the main things that sold this game for me was how nice the graphics were. You’re moved from the natural beauty that is Wonderland before it starts to crumble in Alice’s mind, to a Steampunk-esque version of the Mad Hatter’s place. There is more (I’m only through the first chapter of the game…actually I’m stuck there, but I’ll explain why a little later on) as the game progresses, and people have hinted to me that it gets more disturbing.

Oh looks! It’s a statue of me crying <3

Screencap borrowed from (x) since I have not yet gotten here yet.

What stood out to me was that at the very beginning of the game you already feel a sense of unease. There are no jump scares in this game (at least not yet for me), but as you wander through the orphanage, you can’t help but be a bit nervous for what to expect at every turn that you make. Psychological horror is awesome.

Now on to what I did not like about this game: it’s buggy. I am currently stuck in the last part of the first chapter because I cannot get my freaking umbrella open to act as a shield. It turns out that I will have to go through my configuration files in my computer to fix this. I also had issues with getting the mouse that pops up when you open the options screen to go away. I ended up with three cursors on my screen as I played the game. I had to restart the whole thing in order to make it disappear. Since this game is about three years old, I’m sure there won’t be any updates to deal with these issues, so if you do get this game, know that this is what you’re getting yourself into. It’s not horribly hard to fix, but it does mess with your game experience since you will have to exit the game in order to fix what is wrong.

Additionally, if you’re very into fighting (I guess I like it, but I understand that not every single game has to be focused on solely that), Alice is quite limited in those terms. The Vorpal blade that she uses is her main attack, and her swinging it is quite straightforward. You press your left moue button. There are a few more side weapons, such a pepper grinder that can be used as a ranged gun, and bombs, but they’re not as prominent.

Overall, I’m pretty excited to squeeze some more time out of studying and invest it into Alice: Madness Returns!

-Karen

Whistler = A Winter Wonderland

Hey all, I have not been to Whistler for… I’m guessing at least ten years. To be fair, I was actually on another continent for five of those years, but I realized how much I wanted to see it again. It felt like the first time since I barely had any memories of it. It’s reading break and to start off our holiday, two friends and I went to the snow dusted municipality of Whistler. Here’s the thing though: we don’t snowboard or ski– so what is there to do there if you’re both hesitant to slide down the mountain at high speeds, and want to avoid spending a few hundred bucks on rentals? Well, our itinerary was basically the following:

1. Eat

2. Toboggan (Would recommend just heading by Canadian Tire and getting your own board. It costs $10 there, and $30 in Whistler)

A pic with some kid who taught us how to properly toboggan :)

A pic with some kid who taught us how to properly toboggan :)

3. Skate Photo 2-16-2014, 4 58 29 PM

4. Watch the Sochi Olympics in the square (or in the hotel with a nice can of beer at 9AM in the morning– Yay! We won men’s hockey which was no surprise!) IMG_2846 5. Eat

6. Watch shows (x)

Driving around Whistler was beautiful– it looked exactly like a winter wonderland that you would expect to see on Christmas Cards. The snow covered the limbs of trees, framing the green giants. In some areas up there, the snow was so thick and untouched it looked fake! I wish I could bring back the exact image of the environment with me because it was beautiful. But I guess I’ll have to do with just pictures.

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This was more beautiful in person!

Sure, Whistler is cold, but it’s not too bad if you wear a decent amount of clothing. I was fine with a large waterproof jacket and a sweater inside. I would highly recommend not wearing jeans because any contact with the snow will result in you feeling like you wet yourself. This little three day holiday was refreshing in one other aspect as well: we did not wake up till noon every day. We planned everything quite well and knew when we had/should head out to Whistler Village again, so everyone felt well rested! I mean, it has been a while since we could all sleep in. Most of time during vacations, I am forced to wake up early in order to make the most of my time, but I realize that with proper planning, sleep is an option. Hope other fellow UBC students are having a good reading break so far, and that everyone else is enjoying the slow transition from winter to spring! – Karen

Borderlands 2 Review– A.K.A Where did all my time go?

Hey y’all,

I made one of the dumbest decisions one week before reading break (which is essentially Spring Break for university students in UBC) and bought Borderlands 2. The week before break is usually when everything is due– papers, midterms, presentations, you name it.

Anyway, I remember logging in and promising myself that I would play for 30 minutes. A very reasonable break duration, right? I finally logged off to hastily finish the rest of my course work three or so hours later.

What I like most about Borderlands 2 is how funny it is. I have not played the first game in the franchise, but I heard its storyline is not as well developed. I also bought the Mechromancer Pack along with the game, meaning I got to play as Gaige and controller her murderous robot Deathtrap. Gaige is a cool female character who is steampunk-esque in her attire (added coolness in my books). She built Deathtrap for a school science fair, but her opponent, Marcy, stole her blueprints and bribed the judges causing Gaige to come in third. However, when Marcy shoved Gaige, Deathtrap identified her as a hostile and killed her. Gaige then went to Pandora to evade arrest. Pretty neat backstory I’d say.

gaige

The reason why my short break turned into a uber long one was because of the storyline as explored through quests.

**Mid-game spoiler**
I was doing the Rising Action quest and I logged in during my “30 minute break” to finish it up and hand it in. Once I submitted the quest, in which I insert a new power core to generate energy for the rebel base called Sanctuary, I was notified that it had all been a trap. Now the inhabitants of Sanctuary were under attack because the corrupted power core hacked through the power shield that was protecting the city. However, there are other heroes in the story (Lilith, for those of you who have played Borderlands, returns as a NPC), and they manage to teleport the entire city into the sky, but accidentally leaves you behind by accident.

Reading the quest description...

Some of the quest descriptions in this game…

This basically meant I had to find my way back to Sanctuary. Which took me about three hours. I was so desperate to get back to the safe zone for rebels and log out there instead of anywhere else. I was quite attached, you see. I felt bad for drastically changing life in Sanctuary, and causing probably a few deaths to civilians in the process. I had to find my way home. In other words, I was hooked.
***End of mid-game spoilers**

Borderlands 2 revolves around the gamer playing one of the six playable characters on Pandora (4 without DLCs). You are a vault hunter, which means you have unique abilities. For example, my character Gaige can control a death machine in the form of Deathtrap as a Mechromancer. Maya, another character, is a siren, which means she can suspend enemies on another dimension. This allows her to do crowd control.

Unfortunately for you, as a vault hunter, the villain Handsome Jack (who is a brilliant villain by the way) is on the lookout for you. His aim is simple: kill you. Vault hunter interferes with his business of gathering the mineral Eridium and ruling the world so he must get rid of you. And everyone else in the city of Sanctuary who are basically the last of the resistance on Pandora.

handsome jack

This is a roleplaying, FPS game. If you’re looking for something fun, I would recommend this. You play this solo, so I sometimes get bored of it for that reason (you can invite a friends for a co-op mode though if they also have the game), but I take a break and I find myself missing it. Very funny, interesting characters (even their NPCs such as Moxxi and Tiny Tina! Google them up, they’re really cool. I may do a post in the future just to explore the characters in Borderlands!), and great storyline. Not to mention, they broke the world record for the most number of weapons in a game: 17,750,000.

-Karen