Monday, 13 May 2013

Is the 11th Doctor actually the 12th?

... on the Fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked — a question that must never ever be answered: "Doctor Who?" - Dorium Maldovar

Whilst I was watching this weeks episode "Nightmare in Silver", I couldn't help but do a bit of a double-take during one of the sequences. Now, I realise that there are spoilers out there due to american dvd's being released early, and I've avoided that like the plague, but I'd like to cover my own theory on something.

The theory being that Matt Smith isn't the 11th Doctor, but actually the 12th.

Now, the reason I even consider that is a sequence that stood out in "Nightmare in Silver" where the Doctor and Cyber-Doctor see the previous forms of the Doctor inside his mind. They cycle through in sequence until the 11th Doctor is meant to appear - instead you see a "regeneration effect" and then after that you see Matt Smith's Doctor.

The part in question I can't find a picture of online, but it
happens just after this and...
...before this.
I almost did a double-take when I saw it and thought maybe I'd imagined it. Replaying the sequence though, it really stood out that this "regeneration effect" was added into the timeline of the Doctors and made a convenient gap between Tennant and Smith.

Now, it has been discussed that the prophecy in question about the "Fall of the 11th" is referring to Matt Smith's Doctor, but what if he is actually the 12th? That for some reason he isn't aware of the 11th Doctor. Could the fall of the 11th refer to this mysterious 11th Doctor?

Now, when I looked at this sequence and started to run through my idea I remembered back to Matt Smiths first proper Doctor episode "The Eleventh Hour" in which we saw a similar sequence of all previous incarnations play out. But interestingly when the 11th Doctor would have appeared in order, Matt Smiths Doctor walks through the image. At the time, I thought that was for effect, but what if he walked through when the face of the actual 11th Doctor should have appeared?
See what I mean? Could the 12th have walked through
the image of the actual 11th?
Anyway, that's just one guys theory. If I'm right, I figured it out before the final episode of the Season, but after the Americans already knew! If I'm wrong, at least I had a theory of my own!! I'm looking forward to the end of this series and have really enjoyed it so far - although I would love more two-parters than the standalone episodes. Whilst that worked well for Star Trek, I can't help but feel Doctor Who benefited from two-parters - nothing like being left on the edge of your seat for an evening!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Defiance - Almost a great game!

Quarrel, my latest character. She came to life after I figured
out what I'm supposed to be doing in the game!

Well I should preface this by saying that I like Defiance as a game. It isn't perfect by any means, but I am loving the potential crossover with the TV series of the same name. If they do it right, this could be something special!

Talking with Cass - I'm kind of working with her at the
moment, but she is annoying!
It is advertised as an MMORPG, but whilst there are plenty of people playing, there is no community like you'd find in an MMO and that is because it is a game designed for consoles first and PC is just a port. This makes the game quite lonely - like standing in a crowd at a disco but not being "part" of what's going on.

This translates across the game so you travel around doing quests and getting involved with the Arkfalls, but whilst you see others, help them in fights, give them first aid when they go down... You can never talk to them. There is a clunky system for chat, but it is so counter-intuitive that you'll be hard pushed to figure out how to access it. For me, ahead of everything else, this game needs a fully functioning chat system. It needs... a Barrens Chat!

The rest of the game however is excellent. The third-person shooting element is cool, the main mission is interesting and the "Episode" missions which apparently tie into the TV show are very cool. It'll almost feel like I know the characters before the show starts. Here's hoping both the game and the TV show hit the spot!

40k - Back in the Groove!

Me and my boy proudly holding my "Emperor's Word"
Space Marines before they got beaten... again... twice!
Yes it's true - against all expectations, the Bristol Vanguard "Vanquish 2013" tournament has got me back into 40k. Sure I did terribad coming away with a draw, two defeats and two crushing defeats, but I really enjoyed the tournament and the people I played against. I saw some great armies, learnt a lot about 6th edition and now have the urge to get back on with taking my armies forward!

I came away with a very good sense of what had gone wrong with the army (basically it was vanilla marines with nothing spectacular in them to take advantage of 6th edition) and what I would need to work on - army list wise - to take advantage of missions in 6th edition. I also picked up the new Tau Codex and am planning to run that army as my main tournament force. I still have my Dark Angels on the back burner and will be seeing out the club Campaign with them whilst I look to put the Tau into place as my main army.

The Emperor's Word attempt to deal with the Tau hiding
nearby, the Veteran (far right in the squad) later scored
additional laurels for defeating an Ethereal and Stealthsuit
in solo close combat and almost breaking a Crisis Unit!
As I said, my opponents were all great and I went up against Tyranids, two Tau armies, Blood Angels and Chaos Space Marines. My lack of experience with 6th edition didn't help my performance, but I put in a ballsy display for my opponents and I like to think they felt I was a sporting opponent. The Tyranid player was one of the guys from the SWAT club and a damn fine chap, so my first game was a great easing into the weekend for both of us.

In the end I came in 68th out of 94 which sounds bad, but I honestly didn't mind. I needed a good tournament to get my interest back in 40k and it certainly did that. We had a fantastic showing from SWAT at the tournament and we fielded about 11 of us in total I believe.

Tyranids take on Orks!
My friend Steve (lurking in the back of the photo with me and my boy in it), managed to come in 6th place with his awesome Tyranids (pictured left). His only defeat was against the guy who came in first place with a Grey Knight/Space Wolf armylist.

So a big thanks to the guys from Bristol Vanguard who organised the tournament and a big thumbs up to not just the SWAT guys, but everyone who attended and made it a memorable weekend!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Neverwinter Online... Why I won't be playing...

I tried to post the below on the Neverwinter forums... but it wouldn't let me...

From the title, you can tell straight off that I'm not going to be playing this at release and I really wish this wasn't the case. I was hoping this would be the game to get all my friends back into MMO's and also through the Foundry be able to craft adventures for them to participate in. This won't be a rant, just my thoughts on where the game went wrong for me.

I've followed the various dev posts on the game, watched plenty of YouTube vids, but finally got my hands on the game for Beta Weekend 3. A game has to grab you from the get go and Neverwinter fell painfully short of getting me psyched to play it come release. Whilst I understand it is a beta test, my issues aren't from the bugs (few of which I found) and the game feels almost complete and ready to go gold. Unfortunately the direction they've taken the game almost from the ground up has made it potentially the biggest step backwards in MMO design the genre has probably ever seen (I'll accept the Foundry is a good progressive step forward).

Almost the second you start the game you are greeted by a character creator that makes you wish you had the options from Ultima Online... Ok, so slight exaggeration, but this is not the awesome wealth of character creation options you'd expect from a Cryptic game. Instead you get mild differences ranging from ugly to semi ugly with huge bug eyes and expressionless features. It is shockingly hard to craft something that looks "passable" as a character model. As with most MMO's you get a taste of the endgame armour you'll be wearing when you create the character... but expect to suffer through some horrible looking stuff until you get there...

I won't go into the Pay2Win model they are doing too much, as they've been quite open about their philosophy in that regards. However with 4 classes in the game and only 2 character slots, you really suffer from having to roll a character, level them to see if you like them and then delete and start over to try a different race/class (good luck hanging onto your favourite character names when you reroll... you'll have to fork out if you want to "placeholder" any names for characters too...). This is not the game for alt-o-holics at all. You will be obliged at release to pay for more slots... and this is probably my biggest gripe for Pay2Win in that frankly it should have come as a boxed game for all - pay your £30 and get a playable version of the game with the Zen shop giving you cosmetic items and some minor extras. To release a game with 4 classes and 2 slots means you'll be forking out for the game regardless... It's like the old hot dogs come in packs of 8 and hot dog rolls come in packs of 6... in mmo form... :rolleyes:

Anyway, I tried 3 of the classes and took them through the starting areas. It feels very arcade-y but don't be fooled by the "it feels like the combat from TERA" - it isn't at all. Combat in TERA is very fluid whereas this is simply push left mouse button and hold it down moving the camera around a bit... occasionally use an ability... There is no fluidity to the supposed action combat at all and you have a painfully small amount of powers that really gives you little flexibility. I was quite despondent looking at my levelling powers and seeing minor changes to damage levels and occasionally a new power... I know most mmo's embrace the level up powers system, but honestly in this it feels more noticeable due to the lack of powers... Also, get used to not dying... it is shockingly easy to kill things and even easier to pop a potion (of which there are a ridiculous amount) and go from "almost dead" to fully healed with a quick press of a key... no trinity here... who needs a cleric when a pot can do the same job for little to no effort?

Other than that, there is a mix of voiced content and text... mostly text. This is no Old Republic voiced MMO and in many ways feels more akin to EQ/WoW in that regard, except with some Baldur's Gate style 1, 2 or 3 choices which inevitably all lead to the same answer. The quests in themselves are ok I guess, but where UO had you killing (or getting killed by) rabbits in the early days, WoW had you killing defias bandits for bandana's along comes Neverwinter that gives you a quest to get some peasant clothes... well colour me excited! :rolleyes: The intro quest alone shows how badly scripted the game is. You get an npc guy who winds up getting himself killed by "the big bad" in a silly "don't worry I'll solo her" moment... You feel no connection to him and his death wasn't even Leeroy Jenkins spectacular. It is a pointless (and very D&D DM way) of showing just how powerful the big bad is (and I'm sure she's endgame hard, so level 1 npc dude attacking her... yeah...). The trouble is, you don't care about him... even as a cleric you sit there and listen to him give his "save the city, there's no time left aaaaarghhh" speech rather than heal him up. Despite doing 5 or 6 playthroughs of the starter area (yay for delete/reroll...), I honestly couldn't tell you his name... :rolleyes:

This isn't a review as such, but I thought I should offer my feedback on it as I did try it and personally don't believe it floats my boat. At the end of the day it feels very 2005 in many areas and really with the likes of Old Republic, WoW, TERA and many other MMO's out there who have either crafted a better playing experience or taken the genre in different directions (with varying degrees of success, I'll agree), Neverwinter is a poor comparison to all of them. Where many newer mmo's take bits that work well and improve them when they clone WoW, Neverwinter hasn't made any effort to make this a game worth playing or anything better in any area than other games.

It is free to play though, after a fashion (expect to pay for 2 extra slots for characters at the very least + more when they bring new classes/races out), so I would encourage people to try it - this is my opinion after all and I am random guy #2234672893792538 on the internet. The Foundry alone may make that worthwhile (and I will agree the Foundry is possibly the best bit about the game). But if you are looking for an mmo that pushes the envelope, that is taking the genre in a new direction, that isn't a cynical cash shop forcing you to pay for literally everything, that is finally not just "another wow clone" then this isn't it. It's a half-hearted MMO, which is going to make you pay real £'s/$'s to get anywhere.

Just so you don't take the cash shop as the biggest gripe I have... I happily paid for mounts and pets in WoW and have paid for plenty of Cartel bits in Old Republic and Zen for stuff in Star Trek Online. I am often silly with my disposable income in this way (when I really shouldn't be...), so if this was an additional element to a solid game I'd happily fork out as normal, but from what I have seen of the game as they'll be releasing it, the strategy for the cash shop in Neverwinter feels different... and not in a good way... *shrugs*

I'm sorry Cryptic... but you just haven't hit a high note for me since CoH... :(

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Neverwinter Online

So, is Neverwinter Online the new hotness? Could it be the MMO to get D&D back on the map? The MMO to get myself playing with all the mates that drifted away from MMO's after WoW?

Well, I played Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 and they were both very good games, although I got much more mileage out of Neverwinter Nights 1 from an online RPing perspective. Whilst it wasn't an MMO, it was as close as you could get on a smaller scale. There were a few good persistent player-built worlds and I had the privilege of being part of one. Back then Neverwinter Nights was based off of "proper D&D" rather than the 4E version which in my opinion killed D&D. It removed the level of customisation and roleplay element in favour of a more combat-based game with fewer skills... what it created instead was a pen-n-paper MMORPG.

So, along comes Neverwinter Online with its 4E ruleset, which probably suits the game from a mechanics perspective. It is also created by Cryptic which gives it a certain pedigree, despite the hits they've taken to their rep since City of Heroes. The major plus for me is that it allows user created content. The "Foundry", as it is known, is similar (and better) than the system they used in Star Trek Online. Users will be able (from level 15) to create their own adventures and release them to the public. People can then play your adventures and rate them as they see fit.

I love the idea of being able to put my adventures down in a medium like this. I can combine RP with Computer Games like never before. So as long as the game is decent enough in itself, I am hopeful that it will be a fantastic way to get some of my friends back into MMO's and maybe even resurrect the old guild from WoW. Perhaps "The Mercenary Alliance" will rise once more!

I have my Beta Weekend #3 key entered, the game downloaded and an itch to scratch to get into it. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Blood Bowl

If there is one game that has taken the SWAT club by storm, it is Blood Bowl. The game has been around for yonks and frankly I've never really given it more than a passing glance. I've tried the Computer Game version, watched people play it and still it hasn't floated my boat.

However after trying the Blood Bowl Team Manager game, as well as seeing the enthusiasm of the guys at the club for it, I decided to give it a try. I have to admit it is better than I gave it credit for!

Anyway, I have decided to run with a Wood Elf team for the upcoming "Season 2" of the SWAT Blood Bowl League. I doubt I'll be able to match the more experienced players, but as long as I and my opponents have fun, that's all that really matters. The best thing about Blood Bowl? Not having to carry a suitcase around like you have to do with Warhammer 40k!

I have ordered a team to use and this is it:

Hopefully my painting can do them justice! No guarantees though, but I have set them up with a theme and true to Blood Bowl fashion, it is tongue-in-cheek!

Turning up to the wrong sporting event, the ladies of Athel Loren decide to make the most of things.......


1. Ara Besque - Lineswoman 70k
2. Dinah Mique - Lineswoman 70k
3. Gainer Fruntuck - Lineswoman 70k
4. Hori Zontalbaars - Lineswoman 70k
5. Pomme L'hors - Lineswoman 70k
6. Uneve Enbars - Lineswoman 70k
7. Piru Etturn - Lineswoman 70k
8. Hai Baars - Lineswoman 70k
9. Fleur Ek'zersise - Catcher 90k
10. Summer Salt - Wardancer 120k
11. Su Kahara - Wardancer 120k

2 rerolls (100k)

10k spare

Sunday, 17 March 2013

RIP 40k?

I am taking a break from Warhammer 40k for the foreseeable future... 6th edition hasn't grabbed me as an improvement over 5th edition at all. The general imbalance of the game along with the business strategy of new codexes forcing players to buy the "new hotness" has really lowered my interest.

I still have my models, but now I am thinking more along the lines of how I could look to offload them on ebay rather than how I could get a game at the club with them... 

I still have the Bristol Vanguard tournament in April I have signed up to, so that might rekindle my interest, however I find it far more likely that the over abundance of both Flyers and Forgeworld toys will easily handle anything my Vanilla Marines can throw at them. If anything, I'm just hoping for some fun opponents and chilling with the lads from SWAT.