Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Regan the Storyteller

Once upon a time, there were pigs who said: “Oink, oink.” They had names. The first little pig was called Taylor, the second one was called Lauren, and the third one was Regan. One day their mother sent them out to build their own houses. The first pig, Taylor, made her house out of straw. The second pig, Lauren, made her house out of sticks. The third pig, Regan, made her house out of bricks.

One morning the big bad wolf came to town. He was looking for pigs to eat, and he came to the first little pig’s house. He said, “Little pig, little pig, won’t you let me come in?”

And the pig said, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”

Then the wolf said, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I will blow your house in.” Then Taylor’s house blew down because it was made of straw. She ran to the second pig’s house.

The big bad wolf came and said, “Little pigs, little pigs, won’t you let me come in?”

Then Lauren and Taylor said, “Not by the hair of our chinny chin chins.”

Then the big bad wolf said, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in.”

Lauren’s house was made out of sticks, so the big bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew the house in. Lauren and Taylor ran to the third pig’s house.

Regan told Lauren and Taylor to come in when they got there.

Then the big bad wolf showed up. He said, “Little pigs, little pigs, won’t you let me come in?”

“Not by the hair of our chinny chin chins.” The three pigs said.

The big bad wolf said, “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in.”

He huffed and he puffed but he couldn’t blow the house made of bricks in. He had to come up with another plan to get in. He climbed up on the roof and tried to go down the chimney, but the pigs heard a noise.

The big bad wolf did not know that they put a big pot under the chimney, there was water in the pot, and a fire was burning under the pot. When the big bad wolf got in the house he landed in the pot. Then he flew out of the pot, and his tail was burnt.

The big bad wolf had to go to the Dr. Wolf. Then another wolf was making a robot wolf, and it said, “Little pigs, little pigs, tomorrow lets go to the apple tree to pick some apples.” It was just what the new wolf wanted his robot wolf to say.

The new wolf told the little pigs let’s go at eight AM to the apple tree. The pigs got up early, and they went to the apple tree and picked some apples. Then they went back home. A while later the new wolf showed up at Regan’s brick house to get the pigs to pick apples with him.

The pigs said, “We already picked some apples.”

Then the new wolf said, “What! How could you do that so fast?”

The robot wolf tried to punch down the brick wall, but it was too strong and the robot wolf fell apart. The robot wolf looked at the wall before he fell apart and said, “How did a pig make such a strong wall?” Then he fell completely apart.

The new wolf was upset that his robot fell apart.

The End

I found this on one of my USB drives while I was trying to free up space on it. It ends kind of abruptly, but I love the inclusion of the robot in what started out as a traditional Three Little Pigs Story.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WoW vs Other Computer RPGs

This is the second time this has happened to me. I'm currently playing Dragon Age Origins, and it's making me want to start playing World of Warcraft again. The sad thing is, it's not the multi-player aspect that makes me want to jump back in, it's the loot. The other time this happened was with Dungeon Siege. That one did make me jump back into the WoW world.

Ironically, it's the non-linear nature of Dragon Age that makes me frustrated with the loot you find. There are 7 tiers of material in the game. For the first 2/3 of the game, finding a weapon made out of the 6th tier material would be a big deal. Shops don't carry them, so for the most part you have to get them as quest items. That's fine. The problem is, late in the game, hired goons are running around armed with gobs of them. It's absurd. Another problem is that a tier 1 item with a +2 bonus to armor well might be more protective than stuff made out of the top end materials, yet I don't find the good stuff with the same sort of bonuses. It just feels wrong to have your max level character wearing unfinished light leather gloves because they provide better protection than massive dragon bone gauntlets.

Which gets me to another issue, the strength based requirement to wear different quality levels of armor is very annoying. WoW has a game mechanic that lets you wear anything you get as a reward for a quest. Sure, you might need to enlist some aid to finish a difficult quest, but once you're done you can automatically use your reward. What kind of game design is it to give a quest item that the player won't be able to wear until they level up 4 times? I also dislike the design decision to make the very best items in the game expensive shop items instead of quest rewards. I don't even want to talk about the economics of this game.

A large part of the fun of computer RPGs is decking your character out in increasingly better gear. Each item might only make a tiny difference, but those tiny differences add up by the time you've replaced every single item your character is using. It's a design mistake not to allow the player several opportunities to upgrade gear over the course of a game.

The long lifespan of a MMORPG is going to give the programmers far more time and resources to polish the mechanics of their game than the developers of a stand alone game will ever have. However they need to at least make them smooth enough so that when someone decides to play one, it doesn't drive them away from single player games back into the multi player ones.

Now from my post, you might think I didn't enjoy Dragon Age. That's actually far from the case. I love the game. I'm nearly done with my second play through. The story is awesome, but some of the mechanics and design decisions have made me want to play WoW again.