reaping the cost of solitude

Monday, April 30, 2012

The meaning of life?

We say we are but a tiny spec in the vastness of the universe. I say, why do we put too much emphasis on size? It's overrated. It's an illusion with no other purpose but to entertain our otherwise unremarkable minds. Unremarkable they may be, but you can argue that your measly self-consciousness is far more valuable than the entire universe, for any kind of 'meaning' or 'purpose' could only be borne out of consciousness.

I suggest that the meaning of life is subjective. It could never be objective. Ever.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Diablo 3 Beta - First impressions / Review

I've been playing the beta ever since it was made open to the public. Honestly, I got bored a bit, but hopefully the rest of Act 1 (and the rest of the game) is interesting enough to keep me playing.

I do not really like the "no stat points" "no skill points" thing. Without those, I felt the game lost its role-playing aspect. They say taking out those aspects prevents players from ever making a mistake with stats and skill points ever again. Well, in my opinion, I want to make those mistakes. It's part of the thrill and excitement in RPGs, you know, to actually make decisions for your character and be rewarded or punished for those decisions. Removing those basically promotes carelessness while playing because, hey, I can always 'change skills' later anyway without consequences.

Also, role-playing games are supposed to be about making unique characters or avatars in a virtual environment. Stat and skill point distribution, and actual items made your Diablo 2 character unique. However, in Diablo 3 only the items make your character unique. That's pretty depressing if you ask me. What exactly is unique to your Barbarian and the Barbarian that's hacking monsters alongside you? Items(TM). Utterly depressing.

And I also prefer the idea of making different characters with different builds, instead of making only one Barbarian that can cater all builds. I mean, what exactly is the point of making another Barbarian? There isn't. They say a level 1 character is basically an empty canvass, but you see, in D3 a fully-leveled character is still pretty much an empty canvass, the only difference being, again, the Items(TM).

It's becoming quite obvious what the main focus is here. You guessed it. Add the fact that Blizzard is adding the shiny new Auction House where you can pawn these Items(TM) off for real-world money... makes it such an easy target for someone like me who finds the game's intense focus on items questionable- ever more so than the previous games.

Well, those are my first thoughts. That and the cool blood spatters when you hack 'em zombies dead. Bloodied zombies lose this time though. Hopefully after finishing the full game my opinions will change.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Diablo 3 - What Diablo should look like

I'm talking about the actual Diablo monster, not the game's World of Warcraft-looking environment. Anyway, I really wish they had spent more time thinking about their new Diablo model. Here it is at its present state:
While he does look good, and probably better than the one in Diablo 2, there's something about this design (and the previous ones) that's been bothering me. And I think I figured it out. This Diablo just doesn't scare me. Like, not at all.

When you look at the series and really get back down to what inspired Blizzard North way back when they were making the first Diablo, it's really about evil. Intense, unrelenting evil. The devil. Lucifer. Profane, unsettling, absurdly unnerving evil. Granted the development team at Blizzard has been hard at work updating their Diablo design for D3, the present model just leaves a lot be desired. To be honest, it just looks like a mindless alien.

But there was actually a time when they almost hit the nail on the design, or, should I say, they were almost on the right track to what I thought the likeness of Diablo should be. A few weeks back, IGN released this article showing the many design iterations the monsters in the game underwent before the designers settled on their current models - and that includes Diablo himself. One of those Diablo design concepts caught my eye, and it was this one:
I'm a fan of the "less is more" philosophy when it comes to Diablo. Among the 4 designs that were posted on that IGN article, this is what I thought was the most unnerving and closest to what I thought Diablo should be - really menacing, so evil-looking and sinister. It's not overly-endowed with exaggerated spikes and whatnot, and for once it's not stooping like a mindless animal.

It's got a really regal air of evil to it and its upright posture probably helps with that. It exudes intelligence, wisdom, making you think that this isn't just some dumb, lumbering monster running around on all fours chasing you. This guy actually looks like it knows what it's doing as opposed to something that's just killing everything in its path indiscriminately because it's programmed to do so by nature - like a shark. Well, that's what I actually thought of the previous designs of Diablo - they're basically just sharks. This Diablo, on the other hand, is on a whole new level of evilness and it's a creative path I wished the designers pursued more before giving in to their unfounded love for spikes and other theatrics.

That's probably what's wrong with designers these days, they are all about flashy appearances. Want something scary? Draw something big, put lots of spikes on it, and put an evil grin on its face. It's so easy and uninspired it's a shame. I would challenge the designers to be more subtle and experimental - stir up what lurks underneath. Also, is it me or are designers shying away from things that are disturbing? I'd like to see more disturbing concepts in media - video games, movies, or whatever.
Those aren't of Diablo of course, but if you think these are more scary than the current Diablo design, then there's definitely something wrong there. This is Diablo we are talking about. Diablo. He's supposed to be the scariest m.f. out there. Anything less is just disappointing.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I can't believe Jimmy Sieczka (from 20 reasons I hate the Phils) actually made a public apology

Jimmy Sieczka is a guy known infamously in the Philippines for hosting a video called "20 reasons why I dislike the Philippines". Guess what. Filipino politicians are mad. Like really irrationally mad. The thing that really irks me is that Jimmy Sieczka actually made a public apology for his 'actions'. You can view his public apology video here.

Apparently, politicians were threatening to declare him "persona non-grata" for his "transgressions":
Cebu City officials no longer plan to declare Sieczka “persona non grata” because of the apology he made, said Sylvan Jakosalem, chief of the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), who posted a comment on the site. Read more.
Mmmhm.... These politicians really don't know anything about democracy. Seriously.

"Persona non-grata" seems to be a term that gets thrown around these days- more often that it should be. Geezus, grow some cojones and accept criticism for pete's sake! Criticism is criticism. Harsh or mild, you have the right to be offended and respond in kind. Comment and refute the critic's claims to your heart's content, but actually moving to punish the critic on a political level? That's just really low.

Pretty soon, things are going to look like this if this doesn't stop:

Man #1: this place is a f@$%# mess!
Politician: I declare you persona non grata!

Man #2: the traffic in this place is impossible!
Politician: I declare you persona non grata!

Man #3: I hate this place!