Modding Misadventures

So for the last few days I’ve had an interesting challenge.

Modding a video game, Dragon Age II specifically.

I recently obtained physical PC versions of both Dragon Age games after having the console versions for some time. And of course getting the PC version meant I had access to mods. I modded Dragon Age:Origins with relative ease, due to a mod manager utlity.

As you may have guessed I am not exactly a ‘tech minded’ person, whilst I feel I’m quite competent with computers I have never strayed that far into more technical aspects of working around programs and machines so this was a new thing for me entirely.

But Dragon Age II proved to be another species.

At first it seemed simple, download mods, to use mutiple mods entailed editing the chargenmorph.xml. Okay seemed easy…

Nope, broke the game. So I uninstalled and decided to start afresh.

I had found the ‘mod compiler’ and managed to get that to work after realising there was a file that needed to be kept near it. So I installed the mods and they seemed to work, no broken game. Woo…

Then this happened:

Short version, some of my installed mods didn’t work as I seemed to get a bunch of blank textures and one mod didn’t seem to work at all.

And then so that started more work, more wiping mods, reinstalling mods, one more reinstall. Then I found the problem. One of the mods for some reason part of it was slightly broken. So after a nervewracking attempt to mod an xml file, everything started to behave and as you can see here now my character screen looks like this:

 

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Oh But I Love You… Yet I Hate You (AKA: I suck at multiplayer)

So. For the last month or so the majority of my gaming time (of which there is quite a lot since I’m still unemployed at this point in time) has been taken up with one particular game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Now, for the most part I love this game. I love Star Wars, I love the two preceding ‘Old Republic’ games (which gave me two of my first ever ‘fangirling’ prospects). I love the storylines, I love the companions.

But then there’s something I don’t love.

You see although this game is an MMO it is marketed in a way that you don’t necessarily need to play it in a group and you can spend most of your time running around  on your own with the companion of your choice working through your own ‘personal story’. However, this doesn’t seem to work all of the time,currently on my main playthrough where I am playing as a smuggler I am  level 25 and on the planet of Tattooine. And I am stuck.

Yes. I am stuck.

How? Why?

Because despite the fact I have a bunch of quests that are earmarked as ‘level 25’ side quests I can’t complete them as they have level 25 bosses which generally require you to be a level above them to have much chance of making a dent in them. And the story quest for this zone ends with a fight with two level 28 bosses. Yet I found a batch of side quests that were apparently too high for my level and I practically breezed through them easily taking out mobs of characters that were levels 26-28 and I seemed to be getting somewhere.

Which leaves me with one option.

Level grinding.

Which is horrible, and tedious and just generally boring and involves me running around finding random mobs to take out that may or may not give me a good XP payout.  Oh and my character is running severely low on credits so when I die (which is happening too much) I don’t have the money to repair my gear so I’m stuck in an endless cycle of dying and respawning. Which gets very old, very fast as you can well imagine.

But wait this is an MMO right? You can play with other players!

Oh uh well…

SWTOR has a range of missions called ‘Flashpoints’ and ‘Heroics’ which are designed to be done in groups. And I can honestly admit I’ve not touched a single one of them. When apparently doing these will be a key to levelling up quicker and more credits and maybe actually getting somewhere with the game.

You see I can’t seem to grasp the ‘multiplayer’ part in games. I don’t like mutiplayer when I game I generally like to be on my own and like to just get on with the game and uncover the story. I’m much the same when I’m off the computer . Honestly I just don’t have the energy or the desire to do so. Online gaming is cutthroat, and I suppose I’m just too worried about making some big mistake and making whoever is questing with me annoyed. (Which happened to me in my first day of playing World of Warcraft)

But then there’s other issues that prevent me from ‘group gaming’ such as having a limited amount of time I can game in peace, I also tend to be on games at rather weird times when no one is really around, also I’m not sure if it’s just me but I have bad  lag issues with SWTOR and tend to get disconnected at random which isn’t ideal when questing. Add a group into the mix and chaos would reign supreme.

Or something like that. I could just be overthinking things (as always). But when you’re someone like me it’s not easy to warm up to the ‘multiplayer’ aspects of a game. It’d probably help if I actually knew anyone ‘IRL’ or even on another site I hang around with who plays but in a way I’m stuck on a little gaming island.

It’s making this game a bit of a chore, and I hate it when games become a chore it sucks the fun out of them.

So until I can get over that I think I’ll just be mob farming for  don’t know how long.

Mass Effect 3: My Final Thoughts

Yesterday I finally actually finished Mass Effect 3.

Although I had seen the endings actually playing through them was different indeed.

Please note spoilers will happen from this point onward. Read with caution.

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Thoughts on Mass Effect 3: Mk. 2.

I had intended to blog on this a while back, but I forgot and since this blog of mine fell into a bit of a slump I should try and pick it up a bit.

As everyone will probably know by now Bioware launched the ‘extended cut’ of Mass Effect 3 to try to patch up the endings of the game, which I blogged on before (and without needing to dig too deep it’s quite obvious what most of the fanbase thought)

I, still haven’t finished my personal ME3 playthrough due to a lack of time due to me finishing up college and also having some XBox trouble but I saw the endings online.

I will say I am satisfied.

All I really wished from the endings of Mass Effect 3 was clarity and closure, I wanted to know what had happened, what happened to my Skye Shepard who’d I spend so much time playing as, what had happened to my crew, my LI, the galaxy.
I got what I wanted, I knew what had happened, I knew where everyone was, I knew who had lived, who had died, how my little changes and plans would affect that big wide galaxy I had invested so much time in.

I was never mad at Bioware over what had happened, I was disappointed, confused even and wondering what had just happened and why this ending seemed like KOTOR 2 all over again where I didn’t know what had happened. It felt like for a game so entrenched in the ‘your choices matter’ mantra that they’d seemingly stripped that away and left us with endings that seemed to make little difference in the long run.

Do I think the endings are ideal? Not really, there’s still issues. Do I still wish there was some overreaching yay everyone lives, Shep is alive and you can run off with your LI into the sunset ending? I sure do.

But I’m content with what has been given to us, I understand and that was what I wanted the most.

 

Thoughts On Mass Effect 3

I had intended to do a post like this a while back but as bad as it seems I’ve lacked motivation to work on this blog. Also, I feel the ‘dust has settled’ on this a bit. So be warned, spoilers ahead

Now, as a preface I haven’t personally finished my playthrough of Mass Effect 3 I was vaugley spoiled for the ending before starting and my older brother completed his playthrough.

Mass Effect 3 was a game I almost didn’t get to play. My brother and I had put in a preorder at Game for the N7 collectors edition but of course we didn’t forsee Game going under. But we managed to get it from Blockbuster. In a way I suppose I’m slightly ‘glad’ we didn’t fork out for the N7 edition in the end. Even if I did really want that art book.

For the majory of the game, Mass Effect 3 is awesome. It starts of pretty strong with the whole being thrown straight back into the fight thing like with Mass Effect 2. The game starts of pretty dramatically and the opening scenes are pretty damn heart wrenching and gave me a ‘reason to fight’ as it were as it really hits home how dire the siutation is.

Character wise the game is excellent as well. It’s been 6 months since you last saw your crew so it’s interesting to see how people have changed. One of the ones I really liked was Jack. I’d liked her in the second game and liked seeing how she had ‘matured’ between games somewhat.

I found the Normandy felt pretty empty in the game as although you meet your old crew only  a handful come back to the ship. I was impressed by Vega, at first from what I had heard and seen I thought he would have been a very annoying character but he wasn’t as bad as he seemed. Diane Allers I found tolerable but to be fair I only kept her for the sake of a War Asset.  This game really does pull out all the stops in the way of ‘player punches’ such as what happens to Thane and Mordin.

Romance wise, I was impressed. One of my main thoughts was ‘how would they handle it’. In my game I romanced Garrus and really liked how that romance turned out. Especially the Citadel scene, what can I say I’m a fangirl.

Everything was great until the last 10 or so minutes. Pre battle when you touch down on London you can really get that sense of ‘do or die’ you can tell humanity is pushed back, this is the last chance especially with details such as the radio chatter which I found really sobering when they read off things such as the casualty counts in the different zones.

For me, the game starts to fall apart once you hit the Conduit. The last scene with Anderson is perfect though, and for me that would have been the perfect end.

I have no problems with a ending where Shepherd has died but I do have a problem with the lack of closure. The last parts of the game where you have to ‘make the choice’ which essentially seems to be ‘what colour explosions do you want’ the game just seems to become really chaotic and confusing. We know the reapers are falling and we’ve won but then what? What’s with the tropical planet? Why is the Normandy legging it out of there? Did Shepherd survive? Did humanity survive? Is everyone now stuck in the Sol system forever?

I know it seems weird to dislike the game for the ending alone but it just makes me feel dissapointed. But I guess I’ll just have to wait for this DLC that may help the ending make more sense.

She’s So Cute and Tiny!

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She came Wednesday as part of a trade I did. I didn’t realise how tiny these plushies were until I actually got her, she’s currently sitting by my laptop looking cute.

Let’s see…
Wednesday my brother and I saw Rango. I quite like the movie, especially from the standpoint of the graphics and effects of the film especially a lot of the scenery work. I would though say despite the PG rating it’s not a a ‘kids’ PG as it were so I’d be careful taking young kids to see this.

Also Dragon Age 2 came out yesterday. I’m pretty impressed by it, graphics wise the games taken a pretty big leap up. The combat system is vastly improved, there’s none of that shuffling you had to do in DA:O which is a plus. I’m generally enjoying it however I think I’ll always still be partial to DA:O mainly because of the characters from the first game. Time will tell but if you’ve been looking into the game I’d recommend it.