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In a very nice surprise, Black Desert Online released a stand alone character creator here. Not only does it appear to be free for anyone to download and try, but characters created can be saved for when the game actually launches later down the road. The tool comes in at just a bit over 6GB is size so keep that in mind. This is a feature i wish more and more studios would implement going forward. As someone that could spend hours just tweaking my character looks, this will save me so much time and allow me to get into the game so much quicker. 

I do admit i tend to drive my friends crazy when a new MMO launches. Everyone is typically eager to get in game and group up for adventures and whatnot. Then there's me still sitting on the character creator screen while everyone asks if i'm ready yet. Well, i'm never ready because i spend a lot of time, far too much time depending on who you ask, messing about with every minute detail of my character. I look at this as a long term decision on how i'll look in game for years to come so i don't like to rush in and half ass it. I'm hopefully not alone here!

It's understandable why more studios don't do this though. Most MMO's have absolutely garbage character creation options. A half dozen or so options for hair and maybe a few sliders for height and that's it. Nothing more than a few templates that require as little time as possible before getting into the game. Not so with many Korean MMO's though. I tend to go back to Aion as a good starting off point for any decent creator but BDO's version blows every other out of the water. This is the route i'd really like to see the genre move towards in the future. Go get your creator and start the madness.







The first ever trailer released for Blade & Soul came way back in 2009. Let that sink in for a second. That was over six years ago. The way i put that in prospective for myself is that i was still playing Final Fantasy XI back then. For me that was forever and a while ago. An eternity as far as MMO's go. I can still remember discussing this game with my guild at the time - about how amazing B&S looked. Well, anything looked amazing compared to what we were playing, so it didn't take much to impress us. Little did i know it would take longer for the game to release in the west than the complete duration of my XI playing time.



Blade & Soul is finally here and it's about damn time. Is it too little too late to make a mark on the MMO landscape? From my short play time so far, i'd have to say yes, absolutely. I could go through a laundry list of what the genre has gone through in the last six years, but that would take a week to read so i'll refrain. I will say this game had a window of opportunity a few years ago when it officially launched in Korea, but at this point, i just don't see it having any lasting power. I'm going to spend some more time in game before i fully make up my mind so this isn't a review of any sorts. This is just my gut feeling after waiting so long and finally getting to experience the first 20 levels or so. Take that as you will.

As with any Korean MMO, i see no reason to play as anything other than a female character. Lets be honest here - the eye candy is strong with this one. It certainly doesn't disappoint in that regard. I broke out my favorite anime tropes, from when i was younger and still watched anime, to create my character. Of course i have a thing for red heads so i did my best to indulge that the best i could. I think i did a decent job creating my Blade Master. I better have since i spent a ridiculous amount of time with the character creator, which by the way is pretty good.

Blade & Soul Blade Master

The martial arts theme is also prevalent in this one so it's no surprise that the use of high wire flying acrobatics is a major game play mechanic. I actually really enjoy this feature so far. It perfectly mixes what would typically be called a sprint and a glide into what could only be described as something from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I love that movie so it was no surprise to me that i enjoy it in this game. It's nice to see more and more MMO's embrace the fun of gliding without the need for flying mounts. This is the way i would personally go with any new MMO but that's just me. The beauty of this mechanic is that it also works on water and allows players to glide on the surface. It's ridiculously fun seeing how far you can glide by jumping off high structures since there's no limited glide resource.



Of course no MMO would get a second look from me without some sort of wardrobe or cosmetic feature. B&S doesn't disappoint in this regard either. The outfits are gorgeous and of course completely impractical for any sort of combat encounter. I've never been one of those players that required realistic protection in my games so i'm fine with this as well. This is why it's called fantasy. By level 20, i was already rocking six different outfits. Since armor doesn't actually have any sort of stats on it, one could wear whatever they like. They're completely for aesthetics. Player stats are handled by your weapon, jewelry, and what i like to call pizza slices. Anyone that has played will understand the reference.


I'm going to spend a little more time in the game and get myself to max level before i decide to write any sort of review. So far my negatives outweigh my positives but those could change later on. Evaluating any MMO on the first few levels is never something anyone should do. There are exceptions of course, if the game just outright stinks from the get-go, but this one doesn't so far. I'm not expecting my main opinion to change but stranger things have happened. Stay tuned!


Black Desert Online

I've been trying to stay away from this one. My concerted effort to skip any and all upcoming Korean MMO's due to my history with them was bound to fail. I really thought i could do it this time and stay away. In fact, I've skipped any opportunities to read up about the game and i certainly avoided participating in beta events. Other than my random curiosity leading to some stream viewing, i tossed this one in the pass bin before the notion of playing even began. I was done with Korean MMO's for good.

Then the subsequent nudges from friends to try the game began. That coupled with the current doldrum we're in right now MMO wise has only pushed me into the awaiting arms of yet another new game. Even with everything in the universe conspiring to get me in bed with another Korean mistress, i was still hesitant to do so. Unfortunately i then saw this informative video from someone that i have to curse at for rustling my jimmies. There are actually some good points i was surprised to hear about. The bad are still there of course. Those are unavoidable with this type of game unfortunately.



I like the fact that the game will require a time investment to achieve anything. This is my main gripe with anything out today in the market. Call me a fan of the old school model all you want but i just think game aspects are better when players are invested long term instead of disappearing for months at a time. Daily logging in isn't foreign to me and i still prefer this play style over any other. This has been more and more difficult to find in recent years.

The art style and game world are absolutely spectacular. I was surprised to see that the map seems pretty open with no loading screens between zones. The fact that there's no quick travel or flying is yet another aspect i absolutely adore. Want to get somewhere? Better start walking, or running, or riding! This makes a game world so much more immersive to me. Not being able to bypass it is something i wish more games would do. I like my quick travel to be handled by certain classes in game. Whether or not this is available in game is unknown to me though.



Also the character creator is absolutely phenomenal. Finally we have something that'll surpass Aion in terms of options, which is six years old now. It took long enough but hopefully this feature inspires more studios to stop skimping on a feature i find just as important as anything else in the game. I know fully well that my first couple of hours in game is going to be spent on the character creator alone. Such is the gaming life of an appearance junkie i suppose. I welcome it though.

All this would be perfect if it were not for two major gripes i still have with the game. It's still going to be PVP focused and it has action combat with no trinity. I'm not sure if i can overcome these two features and enjoy a game like this long term. I'm probably going to be spending the majority of my time dealing with both of these as they're obviously the main selling points of the game. Am i a fool for thinking i can overlook such overarching aspects and still enjoy the game? Possibly and probably. I'm still going to make up my own mind by trying it instead of just writing off.


I've been in one of my moods for the past month or so. One of those bored with everything and nothing interests me kind of moods. WoW has been on the back burner for quite some time as i wait for Legion. Other than the random mount farm here and there, I've not logged on much. If i were still raiding then of course this would all be different, but guilds seem to come and go far too easily these days.

Thanks to the release of the new Star Wars i had to go back to The Old Republic for a fix. I've actually done this quite a few times this past year actually. Every time i go back, i make it less than a week before i'm done and off again. This time was no different unfortunately. I don't know what it is but i just can't sit through any more dialogue or cutscenes in my MMO's. It completely ruins the flow of leveling for me and takes me right out of the game. TOR without the story isn't worth my time in my opinion. I know it's the major selling point but i think i'm over it for good.

This brings me to what i have been playing for the last few weeks. As has been my trend over the years, i seem to always find myself back in Lord of the Rings Online whenever i'm in a lull. Something about the atmosphere and game world always makes me miss it and eventually load it up for a few sessions here and there. Surprisingly, I've been sticking with it this time. I'm not sure how long this will last but it's been a nice change of pace and one i'm enjoying. Thanks a lot Steam for your damn sale!

Lord of the Rings Online Champion

My previous highest level character was a level 33 Hunter. I've had this character for over five years and never really got anywhere with it. I realized it was perhaps the play style that's kept me from continuing so i decided to make something i thought i'd enjoy more. The Champion fits my criteria for what i enjoy in a class. A melee plate wearing juggernaut with crazy AoE capabilities. Whats not to love? It certainly hasn't disappointed so far and can only see it getting better with levels.

Lord of the Rings Online Champion

Speaking of those levels - it didn't take me very long to hit level 30 and quickly surpass my Hunter as my highest level character in game. Man do i love the level up animations which i somehow never noticed before. They might be new but i somehow doubt it. Mr. Oblivious strikes again me thinks. So far so good on the leveling front. Now is when i get into uncharted territory which has me really excited. I've not gone past these few zones before and i'm curious what they have in store for me. Bring on the adventure!

Obligatory showing off of my outfit may now commence -

Lord of the Rings Online Champion

Lord of the Rings Online Champion


This one is a little bit late but you know what they say. I'll call this one a Festivus miracle and place it somewhere between the airing of the grievances and the feats of strength. Thanks to a friend of mine i was able to snag myself an Amani Battle Bear out of Zul'Aman. Obviously this was another super simple mount to get but once again the desire to get in there and get it eluded me. No longer is that the case and mount number 135 is in the books. Time to get the pole out of the crawl space. Happy Festivus nerds.

Amani Battle Bear


Tis the season to upgrade the old PC. It's been almost four years since i built my current system. Certain parts have been upgraded along the way, such as my video card and storage, but everything else has remained relatively the same. While my build was fine and dandy a few years ago, it began to show its age recently in more demanding tasks such as streaming and rendering. 100% load while on Twitch meant it was time. Visions of "more power" and Tim Taylor cried out in my head.

5820k

My initial goal was to only upgrade what i needed to and reuse what i could. The CPU was first on my agenda, which pretty much dictated every other part. I decided to upgrade from my quad-core 2500k to a hexa-core 5820k. This meant a platform change from my old Z68 motherboard to a new X99 board. Unfortunately this also brought the need for an upgrade to DDR4 memory. Them's the breaks sometimes when it comes to upgrades. It was a much needed performance upgrade going from 4 threads to 12.

5820k

Now one does not simply acquire a six-core processor and not overclock the hell out of it. I've managed a stable 4.5GHz at 1.3 volts. I'm fairly certain i can push it much higher but i find no reason to do so. Keeping this overclock nice and cool is my H110i GTX. It's my first venture into water cooling, though it's an all in one system. No fussing about with tubes or liquids of any kind. It's rather quiet at idle but sounds like a leaf blower at max. Good thing it never gets there!

5820k

I decided to stick all this in a new 760T case. The reasoning for this was purely superficial. While it is a full tower case and my previous one was a mid tower, it's not that much bigger. It allowed me to install the radiator without having to drill any holes or make some gaudy adjustments that were sure to go wrong. The better airflow is definitely noticeable when it comes to temperatures inside the case. It just looks real nice and fits the color scheme of the motherboard. Yeah, i could have ditched this upgrade to save some dough, but i'm glad i didn't.

Everything else pretty much stayed the same and was migrated over from the old case. The only other exception would be the upgrade to my SSD capacity. I had been rocking a 120GB Samsung EVO for quite a while. As you can imagine, that didn't leave much room for many games. I was in a constant battle of install/uninstall just to save space and make room for games i wanted to try. I upgraded to a 500GB version of the same SSD, which cost me the same amount i paid for the previous capacity just a short while ago. More storage for the same price is always good. Hopefully now i can stop uninstalling everything and save some time.

For future upgrades, i need to look no further than a new monitor. I'd like to make the step up from 1080p into 1440p land. I don't think 4K is quite ready for prime time just yet. High refresh rate is also a consideration but those options are limited. A 27" 1440p - 144Hz G-Sync IPS panel is my goal down the line. I'm even considering one of the new 21:9 ultra widescreen ones as well but there are other consideration to make with that choice. For now, i'll stick with what i have until prices come down a bit.

Full list of every part (new & old):

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/NNpTGX
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/NNpTGX/by_merchant/

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor 
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H110i GTX 104.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler 
  • Motherboard: Asus X99-DELUXE/U3.1 ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard 
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4-2666 Memory 
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive 
  • Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive 
  • Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 970 4GB STRIX Video Card 
  • Case: Corsair 760T White V2 ATX Full Tower Case 
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional Gold 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX 
  • Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer 
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM (64-bit)
  • Monitor: Asus VS248H-P 24.0" Monitor 
  • Keyboard: Logitech G110 Wired Standard Keyboard
  • Mouse: Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse Wired Laser Mouse 
  • Headphones: SteelSeries 51006 Headphones




This mount had me doing a double take and shaking my head for a bit. For some reason, i couldn't figure out why my mount total went up by two after my last mount dropped. I thought i had somehow managed to forget a mount somewhere along the way. Had i just checked the achievement that popped up, all would have been explained. Instead i went through my entire list multiple times until i figured it out. I am a dummy sometimes. Mount #134,Blue Dragonhawk, is for collecting 100 mounts. I'm assuming it's a faction based achievement since i have more than that obviously. I'll pay more attention at some point.

Blue Dragonhawk


Once again i fail at collecting mounts. Another easy to acquire one that i was oblivious of, yet was super simple to get with a 100% drop rate. I'm of course talking about Reins of the Bronze Drake. Apparently i've never actually run The Culling of Stratholme on heroic difficulty or i'd have this mount already. Makes me wonder what other super easy to get mount i'm missing. I say that as if it's just one mount when i bloody well know it's probably a dozen of them. A smarter man would probably have some sort of checklist going, but where's the fun in that? Mount #133 complete!

Reins of the Bronze Drake




I'll never understand betas for a game i'm already playing. Now a new game that may be on the horizon as a brand new entity, i'd be all over. For something i've been playing for a while? Not so much. That would take the fun out of the game for me. I don't like knowing and don't want to know what to expect. I like to go in fresh so i can enjoy the game once it launches and not before. Granted i may know the main features, but i'm not playing them, so they'll remain fresh.

We're around seven to eight months out for Legion, give or take. I understand players are already bored to death of WoD and want something new. What that boredom is going to do is burn people out on the next expansion before it even launches. That's almost a year of the damn game before it even gets here. I mean, come on! That's nuts. Why do players do this? Am i just weird for not doing it as well? I can't be because i know myself. I also know lots of friends that are going to bored of the expansion a month after it launches because they've been playing it. Yet they continue to perpetuate the problem every opportunity they get. It's a vicious cycle.

We're already getting youtube videos and guides for stuff still in beta. I understand content creators have to get stuff out or they risk losing viewers, but come on! It's become oversaturated and unbelievably ridiculous. Does no one like waiting anymore? Maybe they're taking the "better to be bored later rather than now approach? I could see that i suppose, but i still think it's silly. How silly you may be asking?

I like to compare this to the new Batman vs. Superman trailer. It's terrible. In every way imaginable. I'm referring to the trailer itself and not anything involving the movie of course since i obviously haven't seen it. The blueprint of a great trailer is to tease the audience of what's to come with as little info as possible to get them excited and anticipating. Instead we got a trailer that gave away the entire plot of the movie while taking away all the drama and conflict between the two title characters by showing more than was necessary. The entire movie was right there laid out before us. It was a facepalm moment as i watched in disbelief. The tease was gone and i love the tease. in more ways than one.


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