“I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.”

The above is, as always of late, a movie quote. Who said it, in what movie, and when was that movie released in the USA? I will post the answers at the end of next week’s blog. Is the movie quote thing getting old? If so, I’ll drop it and go back to my old boring ways. 😉

No Matthew McAndrews’ Modem problems in this post. Mostly because of work stress and Mhari not feeling well I forgot to update the comic site yesterday. I’ll deal with that tonight, then post here with a comic strips only post. Sorry about that.

Health and Well-Being: Like I mentioned above, work is stressing me out this week. My boss is out on vacation and I am the person people are coming to for answers. But most of the time I don’t have them. And everything is under a heavy time pressure at present. Very heavy. Add to that Mhari’s worries about an upcoming surgery (it will be late in April), and her not feeling at ALL well this week, and I’m something of a mess. Not sleeping well, etc. Other than stress- and worry-related things, I’m doing quite well.

Mabinogi: I downloaded the beta for this and created my first character last week, but didn’t get a chance to play any until this week just before the beta closed and it went live on Thursday. It is… cute. It has traditional MMO components, but with a lot more weight on the social and crafting side. And it preaches morals some. Not a lot, but it is there. And it also tries to teach you about learning, proper diet, healthy living, etc… as they all have a direct effect on your character. The game has a very extensive crafting system, and is highly skill based directly next to a level-based system as well. You can advance in skills completely without leveling up, though leveling up does serve a purpose of giving you ability points with which you ‘buy’ new levels of your skills once you have used them properly long enough.

There are many better places than my blog to learn about this free-to-play MMO. Start with Nexon’s Mabinogi Site itself. The download for the client is almost a gigabyte in size, so be ready to wait a while while downloading. But the install is fairly good and fast once it gets going.

The graphics are not going to stress anyone’s system, at least not as far as I can tell. You start at 800×600 resolution and can’t change that without getting all the way into the game. Also, there is no support for 1440×900, which is the native resolution of one of my LCDs.

The style of the characters is all cute anime in look. And the interaction with NPCs is so like some of the anime-style ‘story games that come out of the Asian side of the world. The combat is a very interesting system similar to paper, scissors, rock, but with a little more complexity. You start out with assistance in what your opponent is going to do by icons that show in a ‘thought bubble’ above their head. They appear above your head as well. If they do Attack, you can (and should) Defend or Counter-attack. If they Defend, you can Smash (which gets through Defend). If they do Counter-Attack, you can Defend rather than Attack. If they Smash, Counter-Attack is also good. Or just trying to avoid the attack (which doesn’t work very well). There are a lot more complexities, like ranged combat with bow or crossbow (and more?), or magic (Lightning, Ice and Fire to start with, we varying special side-effects of their use in combat).

This game costs nothing to play in the ‘basic’ manner. And nothing is really out of your reach as a free play game. But if you want to store lots of stuff in your bank, use ‘storage bags’ and get other excellent extras on different days of the week, you have to pay in Nexon Cash. 5000 pts costs $5, 10,000 pts is $10, 30K is $30. 30 days of ‘Fantasy Life Club’ is 14,900 Nexon Cash, or about $14.90. This includes ‘Extra Storage’, ‘Nao’s Support’ and ‘Advanced Play’ (which each cost 9,300 Nexon cash for 30 days if bought seperatly).

The ‘Extra Storage Service’ (9,300 Nexon cash a month, or included with the 14,900 month Fantasy Life club) gets you

  • The ability to buy and use Storage Bags – These give you more inventory space – Which you will really need as many skills and quests require special tools, and those tools take inventory space when not in use, especially if you are also carrying weapons. AND the stuff you collect takes space. Very like Diablo in how the inventory works.
  • Double Bank Storage – Again, very welcome, as you are going to be wanting to put all your books someplace, if you intend to keep them. Me, I throw (drop) them away. They really need a ‘delete’… people are littering the place with books and you can only pick up things that belong to you.
  • Character tabs in bank inventory – This lets you share things between your characters that are on the same account.
  • Creation and Management of a Guild – Yes, guild creation does not appear to be ‘standard’. But you only need this to create and manage one. Not to belong to one.
  • and Personal shop – From the description this lets you buy and sell items with other Fantasy Life Club and Extra Storage buying members. I think you still need to buy a very expensive in-game license to do this, though. VERY expensive.

    Next is Nao’s Support Services, 9,300 Nexon cash a month (or as part of the 14,900 NC Fantasy Life Club) includes:

  • Resurrection by Nao – This is a special resurrection that avoids the ‘death penalties’ of a normal on, and as a side effect will ‘bless’ all your items for a short time. Also apparently the chance of failing at being able to fix items will be greatly reduced, and the rate at which the durability of items decreases is reduced. So you will spend less time repairing and replacing worn items.
  • Birthday present from Nao – Once a week (matching whatever day you created your character on), you will get a ‘gift’ – This can be so very, very many different things.
  • 20th Birthday Present from Nao – A rare accessory if you keep a character around for 20 weeks. It will have special enchanted attribute points. Whatever those are.
  • Emergency Escape Bomb – You can have up to 3 a day. If you are surrounded by more than you can handle, you can use one of these to knock down (KO?) all the monsters in the area.

    And there is the ‘Advanced Play Services’ for 9,300 NC a month (or included in the 14,900 NC Fantasy Life Club):

  • Full Recovery Potion – Every Monday you will get a Full Recovery Potion – This recovers all of your HP, MP and Stamina in a single use.
  • Dye Ampule – Every Tuesday you will get one of these things which will let you change the color of your fabric clothing items.
  • Recover Booster – Every Wednesday you get one of these. When it’s used, the recovery of all your HP, MP, Stamina and Injury points will be MUCH quicker.
  • Party Phoenix Feather – Every Thursday you get one of these. They will resurrect ALL KO’d party members during a battle… except for yourself.
  • Waxen Wing of Goddess – Every Friday you get this one. This will teleport you to any town you have visited in the past. (I know for a fact that these sometimes appear as dungeon treasure, as I have gotten one)
  • Skill Reset Capsule – Ever Saturday you get this. It will reset the skill of your choice by one level (the lowest level something can go is ‘F’). All the ability points you put into that skill to get it up that level will be returned to be used elsewhere, if you want. They note specifically on this one that it can’t be traded…
  • Camp Kit – Every Sunday this is given to you. It lets you create your own camp and password-protect it. This camp also acts as a spawning point you can ‘go back to’ when you are KO’d in the field.
  • Remote Bank Coupon – This is a ‘randomly received’ item. It lets you do what it says… you can use a bank from anywhere in the world.
  • Remote Healer Coupon – Randomly awarded, this one, like the Bank Coupon, lets you call on the services of the healer shop from anywhere.
  • Remote Blacksmith Coupon – Like the other coupons, but to access the Blacksmith shop from anywhere.
  • Remote Tailor Coupon – Like other coupons, but for the Tailer shop.
  • Advanced Phoenix Feather – Resurrect anyone, anywhere, even if they are nowhere near you, just by typing in their name. Randomly received item.
  • Tendering Potion – This seems to make monsters think you are weaker than you are. I don’t quite understand it. Randomly awarded.
  • Campfire Kit – Lets you build a campfire without the skill or supplies you would otherwise need to make one. Randomly awarded.

    So this game is working on the ‘quality of life costs extra’ or ‘Micro Transactions’ business model. You don’t HAVE to pay a monthly fee, but if you do, you’ll get all this ‘cool’ stuff and be something special. Without it, you can still play, but life will be much harder for you. Yes, the first tastes are all free… They even have ‘Trial’ versions of all these things that last for 1 week. Just to get you hooked.

    I’m going to fiddle with this game some more on the free level, maybe do the trials of the packages… but I doubt I am going to stick long with the game.

    Second Life: Messed with it some. Played some solo Devil May Care, did some easter egg hunting, and bought free bunny avatars and not-free ones.

    Eve Online: A couple missions here and there. Nothing special. Going to try some of the dual boxing stuff this weekend if I can get out from under work. (I might be working from home all weekend – ICK!).

    City of Heroes/Villains: Only did Monday and Wednesday stuff. I plan to do Villains stuff tonight… but work is conspiring against me.

    Answers to last week’s quote:
    Quote: "Gosh, you’ve… really got some nice toys here."
    Said by: Batty, played by Rutger Hauer
    In the Movie: Blade Runner
    Which was released in the USA in: 1982

    Due to stress… I didn’t bother with any trivia about things in the quote above. I’m just glad that I found one by someone who hasn’t gone and died… But that is one of the hazards of pulling quotes from 20- and 30-year old movies, I guess.

    May everyone reading this have a good weekend. I’m going to try to get some rest between working and dealing with dust-laden computers.