I finally realized I had to do a screencap to show how gorgeous the game looks:
...that's Demara, my elven Archer. She was 5th lvl when I grabbed that image; she's now 7th. She's wearing the starting equipment for a female elven Archer.
Yes, her bottom is protected with a brass thong. I think this is the point Shamus was trying to make in his article, the one that led me to the open beta of the game.
One issue: why do they always make elves arachnodactyls?
Having reached 7th level and gotten a few quests under her...uh, belt?...she now has armor that more closely resembles a miniskirt. I don't have a picture of that one yet because Tera is a memory hog and it takes half of forever to switch from the game to the desktop, bring up MS Paint, paste the captured image, and save it.
(Note to self: check out Win 7 64-bit version. Is there any reason I couldn't run that on this system? The software should all work and I could then bump this thing to its maximum RAM capacity--whatever that is--and actually be able to use all of it. This might obviate a hardware upgrade for a few more years.)
But the trees look like real trees--and they move in the wind!--and the clouds look like real clouds, and the characters look realistic enough that calling them "toons" seems scarcely appropriate; and in fact a few times I found myself looking into the uncanny valley because some of their movements are just unrealistic enough.
Having begun to get used to the gameplay I'm finding that I'm beginning to enjoy the game more. Depending on what they charge I might end up subscribing to the thing. The movement system is still for the birds but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I'm attacking fewer and fewer NPCs the more I play. (Can't hurt friendlies, as I said, but it's still annoying.)
The introductory area is a royal pain to deal with; that doesn't help. They give your toon a temporary bump to 20th level, I guess so we can all see how the game will work once we've put some levels on, but once you get past it you're back to 1st level. (No idea if this will be the case when the game "goes gold" or not. This is, after all, an open beta, not the actual release of the game.)
On the plus side most of the user interface is fairly intuitive, at least for a 99th percentile computer user like me. (Okay, okay--95th. I'm not as good as I used to be.)
I can't remember all the races they have in this game. Elves, humans; something that looks vaguely like a tanuki;, something that looks like a 10-year-old girl; uh, a couple of other races. One is big, burly, and vaguely sauroid; one is slender, small, and kind of satyr-like, but with human hindquarters rather than goat-like. Of course all their facial parameters are variable, too, so you can give the "tanuki" rabbit ears and whatnot. I didn't fool around with all that, because I have no idea how long the open beta lasts; I might be shut out of this nonsense come Monday morning. I wanted to get into the game and start playing, especially since I lost about 24 hours to downloading the damn game.
WTF, it's only 35 GB. What's my problem, anyway?
I don't know what Shamus is talking about, though, with regard to the game being aimed solely at the 18-25 male crowd. Sure, the female elves are extra-hot for the bachelor gamers, but there's plenty for other subsets of Fandom! The male elves look gay, which will attract the yaoi crowd. The 10-year-old-girl race is obviously there for the lolicons. The "tanuki" are for the furs out there. Serious munchkin gamers (the ones who usually play orcs) can play the sauroids. I'm not sure who the semi-satyrs are aimed at but the female ones are the panty-flashing race that Shamus referred to. Add the "boob-jiggle physics" the game includes and you're in for a good time!
(The boob-jiggle physics is not enabled when the toon is running or in combat, which is probably just as well. "Damn, I died again because I was too busy watching her tits bounce to attack the bad guy! I hate this game! Why doesn't it have an auto-attack?" You cannot convince me that wouldn't happen...especially since I've done something like that in WoW.)
(Good GOD I need a girlfriend....)
...but I was so involved with playing the game that I didn't get back to bed until it was after 5 AM, and then I tossed and turned for a couple of hours. Naturally, then, I fell asleep around 7 AM...with the alarm set for 7:30 because I wanted to be at church at 8:30, for choir warmups before the service. I almost slept through the alarm, and I use a clock radio.
And I have no one to blame for this but myself.
But I can now go to bed and sleep as much as I want. No idea what dinner will be tonight, but I've been meaning to make spaghetti sauce as I haven't had ravioli in weeks and I've got plenty of hamburger.
* * *
Speaking of which....
Trooper Lefty--longtime reader and occasional commentor here at the Fungus--has been helping me arrange to buy a 1/4 beef from someone he knows, the person from whom he and his wife buy their beef.
It's looking like the old bunker is going to be flush with beef for a while sometime this May. One of his e-mails said that they typically end up with around 50 lbs of hamburger alone from half a side (or 1/4 of the whole thing). That's not including the huge wad of steaks and roasts that come out--all in all something approximating 170 lbs of meat, including meat which is processed into hamburger and/or stew meat.
Last night I did the math and figured I could stretch that much beef out until January. Let's face it: a pound of hamburger makes about 4-5 servings of pasta sauce, or a similar amount of chili. Two pounds of stew meat makes a week's worth of goulash. A pound of round steak is enough to make a wok-filling load of yakisoba. Etcetera.
It's gonna be a big check to write...but not as big a check as it would be for an equivalent amount of meat from the supermarket. If the price hasn't changed materially from when Trooper Lefty first contacted me, it's going to be at least $1 per pound less, and in some cases as much as $4 or $5 less! (But that's for cuts I don't buy because they're so spendy, so it means I get to eat better cuts of meat! Yahoo!) And I won't have to buy any more meat FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR unless I want pork, chicken, or sausage...and having this much beef on hand means I don't have to buy those cuts until and unless they're on sale for a good price.
Meat is probably the single largest chunk of my food budget, and I'd be doing this even if I had a job and was earning a paycheck.
All this came about because I mentioned getting the freezer and not being able to go hunting with Og in hopes of filling said freezer with venison--well, I'm grateful to Trooper Lefty for his help with this matter, and filling the freezer with tasty beef is just as good!
ADDENDUM: Turns out I could have another GB of RAM on this system without upgrading; I've got 2.5 GB and a 32-bit OS can access a maximum of 4 GB. With my 512 MB video card taking up that much space, I have room for another GB.
...but the motherboard can handle 8 GB of RAM. If I were to go to a 64-bit OS, I could stack her full of DIMMs and everything would run faster.
For maximum performance, I'd have to spend $167 on the memory to get four 2GB PC2-8500 DIMMs. Then another--what--$150 for the OS? That's $300...where a new computer costs about $750 or so, after tax and shipping.
(A new computer which would have about 6 GB of RAM and Win 7 64-bit...and need an upgraded video card, though I could probably use the one in this system.)
Well, ain't none of this happening before I get a job. Oh well.