Archives for 2012

Build Your Own Hobbit House For $5000

Build Your Own Hobbit HouseI went and saw The Hobbit yesterday and aside from a numb bum (the movie runtime is 3 hours and 9 minutes plus the 15 mins of ads and trailers at the front-end), I enjoyed it immensely.

I probably didn’t enjoy it enough to want to build my own Hobbit dwelling, but if you get that way inclined, you can now give it a go:

How can you build a house if you have only $5,000? Simon Dale, a self-build devotee, knows the answer. He constructed his woodland home entirely from natural and reclaimed materials, including tiles from a showroom skip and spent $4,900 and only 4 months on this low-impact living.

Go check out the series of pictures of the build, it’s absolutely amazing.

Simon Dale, we salute you.

SWTOR Fan Vid: Quintessential Conversations

Kreep, from Pandamonium Guild, has made this rather funny vid showing how everyone may not be treated equal at times:

It is a time of struggle, it a time of rebellion, it is a time for vacation. Wait, what? A few of the galaxy’s greatest heroes are due a little R&R, but one of their number is in for a totally different experience, Star Wars style.


Thanks to Kaisa for the heads-up!

SWTOR Predictions For 2013

SWTOR Predictions For 2013Now that I’ve done the walk of shame regarding my 2 out of 5 success rate with my 2012 SWTOR predictions, I thought it was worth drawing together some predictions for the coming year.

Aside from my handful of guesses, I’ve also got some gems from my colleague Simon, so let’s jump in.

David’s Predictions

1. A further restructure of the SWTOR team at BioWare will occur in the first six months of 2013

I don’t think the ructions are over at BioWare and I think we’ll see a bunch more changes in staffing. Not the usual churn of staff, something more formal. You never know, the F2P move may be successful enough to force the change as the team grows. Or it could be the reverse.

2. Rise of the Hutt Cartel will be critically successful and a moderate commercial success

There’s already a lot of conjecture over how substantial SWTOR’s first expansion will be, but I’m being optimistic that it warrants the cost and that Makeb as promised will be a bunch of new zones with plenty to occupy. Story-wise I’m expecting it to be seen as a success, with a bump in player numbers leading to some moderate commercial success as well.

3. There will be no guild ships during 2013

Sorry, can’t see it happening – as much as we’d all love it.

4. Loss of oceanic servers

At best I think we’ll end up with one local server but i won’t be surprised if we lose the lot. If ROTHC is successful that may prevent the closure, so here’s hoping.

5. More players than the month after launch

This time next year I think that SWTOR will still be around and will have more players than it did at its peak in the month of two after launch in December 2011. The new subscription model will have had a lot to do with it, but I’m hopeful the content updates and bug fixes will continue to be regular and establish SWTOR as a longer-term MMO in the space.

Simon’s Predictions

Hmm… my crystal Death Star (Mk 1) suggested the following before it blew a hole in the Alderaan poster on the opposite wall and frightened the neighbour’s cat so severely it experienced both explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting at the same time (and you thought dianogas were bad):

1. Subscriber grumbling about having to pay anything for the Makeb expansion as soon as everyone emerges from their turkey coma.

2. Decent player retention from F2P with better than projected earnings from the Cartel Market. There will be no sub or player numbers mentioned in any future earnings call, needless to say (but that’s normal after a title goes F2P).

3. New maps for existing Warzones mid to late 2013 (just a hunch)

4. GLBT romance arcs will continue to be conveniently forgotten (ask all you like, they’ll never tell)

5. Gradual increase in quantity and quality of content within game updates as EA/BW see uptick in profitability and player-base stability, and confidence in the product’s future gradually strengthens.

6. I will have finally levelled a character up to 50 by Jan1 , 2013


Now over to you: do you agree with any of the above? Do you have your own predictions you’d like to share?

Our Most Popular Posts for 2012

storyline1 This probably isn’t of great interest to a lot of people, but to our regular readers you may like to know which stories pulled the largest number of readers during 2012.

Given we only moved to a wider MMO brief in the second half of this year, the skew is to SWTOR but it’s interesting all the same.

So without further ado, the top 10* stories this year in reverse order are:

10. SWTOR Game Update 1.2 Patch Notes: Crew Skills

9. Heavy Damage: Jedi Guardian overview

8. WoW 5.04 Final Patch Notes

7. SWTOR 1.3 Patch Notes

6. Interview: BioWare’s Gabe Amatangelo on PvP, Server Transfers

5. SWTOR Game Update 1.2 Patch Notes: Classes and Combat

4. SWTOR Free Server Transfers: ‘Late April’

3. SWTOR Patch 1.1.4 notes

2. 30 Troopers Fighting Together

and number 1 is….

1. SWTOR Game Update 1.2 Patch Notes: Highlights

So if you look at the past year, SWTOR patch notes were the dominant thing, particularly the 1.2 update. Based on the data over the past three months it’s safe to say that the next list will be a lot more diverse 😉 We say it all the time but I’ll say it again: if there’s areas you want more coverage of, let us know in comments!

Note for transparency: I excluded our World of Warcraft Maps for Stormwind, Orgrimmar etc as they receive far and away the most views but are only used for a few seconds each by non-regular site visitors.

Review: Wolverine #49 – Rob Williams & Laurence Campbell

Wolverine #49My favourite Christmas movie of all time would have to be Die Hard. While it may not have the wholesome family fun and good morals that make up a typical Christmas film, it’s still a film set on Christmas Day and most people would agree that qualifies it. So when I heard that the current (Volume 3) series of Wolverine had an issue that was often described as Wolverine meets Die Hard, I got pretty darn excited. How hard would it be to mess that up? As it turns out, it’s not hard to mess up at all.

Wolverine #49 opens with Logan being forced to Christmas shop at the behest of Kitty Pryde as he makes a stopover in New York. The mall he chooses to shop at also is being visited by Toulouse Lexington, the daughter of a very wealthy man, who is then kidnapped by a gang masquerading as a Santa act. Usual kidnapping antics ensue, as Wolverine attempts to save the day.

If that description sounds derivative and clichéd to you, it’s because it is. Nothing here is even remotely unique to Wolverine’s character, and he could have easily been replaced by any number of superheroes within Marvel’s catalogue, or even John McClane himself. We barely see him, and his powers only become handy twice in the entire comic – even then a number of other heroes could have dealt with it too. It almost seems that writer Rob Williams had a basic story ready for whenever he had the chance to fit in a hero he was working on at the time.

That’s not to say any other parts of his by-the-book hostage story are particularly good either. The gang who are clad in Santa and Elf outfits have the privilege of having the stupidest name a gang could have: “the Black Christmess”. They jump from having one motive to a completely different one later in the story, and any attempt at making them even remotely sympathetic is lost. There is even a small sub-plot regarding the heiress and her relationship with her estranged father that is picked up, and then promptly forgotten. Nothing here feels particularly fleshed out, despite the fact that most of the issue is characters explaining themselves, leaving the action in the back seat.

Laurence Campbell’s art isn’t too bad – the environments are well detailed, and he has some fairly cool action shots thanks in part to Kris Justice’s colours. But the side cast all look like fairly generic stock characters, except for the heiress Toulouse, who actually looks like a librarian rather than the daughter of a wealthy business man.

Wolverine #49 is a poor attempt at making an action story set during Christmas. There is little action to keep you entertained in the mess of a story that could easily have its characters switched out without you even realising it. If you want to watch a man kill hundreds of terrorists on Christmas, stick to Die Hard. Wolverine #49 is definitely not worth your time.

SWTOR 2012 Predictions Review

taris3I love this time of year when I get to look back over the past 12 months and slap myself at how wrong I was with last year’s predictions. Let’s not draw out the agony any further and have a look at what were hits and misses from my crystal ball:

The predictions:

Expansion 1 will be announced

This prediction’s a bit of an easy one in that I’m sure planning is already underway. It’ll probably be the second half of the year when the announcement is made, and there’ll probably be a new race. A new class seems less likely though.

Well I got this right at least – although only just with Rise Of The Hutt Cartel only announced last week.

The 3-million player mark will be hit in the first half of 2012

This is the biggest risk I’m taking in that the number could be well under or well over that, though I doubt it. That said I’m fairly confident this watermark will be reached by July 2012, and then it’ll be a much slower growth trajectory from then on.

I think I should just shake my head sadly and move on yes?

Sensationalist journalism will dig its teeth in

Around February/March expect the first run of stories on people claiming SWTOR has taken over their lives / eaten their children / forced their spouse to taser them to stop playing the game.

Another big miss here – mostly related to the growth issue i.e. unless SWTOR hits 3 or 4 million users the sensationalist media is unlikely to kick in with a story.

Plans for a TOR movie will be announced

Either based on one of the novels i.e. Revan, or key story lines in the game, there’ll be at the very least hints thrown out by LucasArts or even Bioware/EA on movie plans. With or without Justin Bieber as Revan.

I won’t be a con-man and claim the announcement of Star Wars Episodes 7-9 count for this prediction given they won’t be set in the Old Republic era.

Australia / New Zealand launch

I have to throw in a local prediction here. The launch events will be in March in Sydney and Auckland as the respective largest cities in each country. One of the Bioware ‘Doctors’ will come for the launch, along with whichever community rep and/or developer that wins the lottery for the working holiday Down Under. There will be no flash mobs in full Star Wars kit riding kangaroos and kiwis. Well definitely no kiwis, as that’d be cruel.

Got this one right on the money – and my prediction of no flash mobs was a sure-fire one once it became apparent how low-key the event was going to be, although we did get to sit down one-on-one with BioWare’s Gabe Amatangelo.


So a 2/5 score: I reckon even Nostradamus could have done better but there you go. It won’t stop us making further predictions for 2013 – watch this space.

Over to you now: looking back over the past year, did things in SWTOR pan out for you like you expected they would?

Review: Hawkeye #6 – Matt Fraction & David Aja

Hawkeye6I once told a friend regarding Hawkeye that if Matt Fraction spent an entire issue dealing with Clint Barton doing the laundry I’d love every minute of it. It seems I almost got my wish in the special Christmas themed Hawkeye #6, which, for half the issue, is Clint trying to get his DVR to work. But that is the beauty of Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye –  although this issue also deals with the Russian Mafia and a crisis of faith, the best parts of this issue, and in this series in general, isn’t always the action. It’s the heart.

It’s almost Christmas time in the apartment that Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye lives. Over the next six days, he will deal with with a broken satellite dish, A.I.M., the Tracksuit Mafia and his own DVR.  As he deals with the issues of owning his own apartment (reluctantly bought off the Russian Mafia back in issue #1), Clint must also ask the question: can a man who is trying to do good, still end up making things worse?

This is how the heart makes its way  into Hawkeye. Clint Barton is a normal, regular human being. Granted; a regular human being who is also the greatest sharpshooter alive, but Matt Fraction taps into the human side of his psyche, stripping away the “heroic” traits of a super hero comic, and drawing on the more everyday experiences of this Avenger. We see him desperately try to avoid spoilers to his favourite television show, convince a neighbour his name isn’t Hawkguy, and try to clean his apartment. It is these moments that give the issue its charm – Clint is a normal human being, and acts like so. Even the cameos from other famous Marvel heroes give them more grounding features that most other writers gloss over.

That’s not to say that this issue skips over the heroic. The Tracksuit Mafia (or as I like to call them the “Bro Mafia”) return, intent on reclaiming their lot back. We meet their leader this issue, after a few surprisingly unsettling panels, which prompts Clint’s crisis of faith.

David Aja’s art, combined with Matt Hollingsworth’s colours look absolutely sublime. The wonderfully expressive faces thanks to a simple art style, combined with the flat colour palette and striking purples, make this one of the best looking comics all year. The layout also looks absolutely stunning, as Aja manages to fit more panels than one would think possible on a single page. It also helps that there is a nod to the old X-Men Arcade game that looks fantastic. Aja’s work on Hawkeye just looks brilliant overall.

If you haven’t picked up Hawkeye yet, let me ask you a question: what is wrong with you? Go and pick up the first six issues and get lost in the world of Clint Barton. Give these people money to make more comics – just so I can see that laundry issue.

Simple Tutorial: Transfer Data From Wii to Wii U

wiiu-trannsferHaving just spent a couple of hours setting up my new Wii U, I thought it might be useful to create a tutorial, as the official instructions missed a couple of simple explanations that caused me to make some mistakes. For this transfer to work you’ll need both consoles to be able to connect to the internet and for both to be able to be seen on your TV. For the sensor bar I just kept swapping the plug between the two consoles as I needed to, using separate power and AV connections for the two consoles.

The transfer process:

1. Have an SD card with at least 512 MB free

2. On the NEW (Wii U) Console: go to the shopping channel and download the Wii Transfer Tool to your system memory

3. On the NEW Console: after downloading successfully, go to the main Wii Menu and select the transfer tool. Follow the instructions and the required data will be downloaded to the SD card you will have inserted (the slot is just under the CD slot on the front of the console – just flip down the black lid and you’ll see it)

4. On the NEW Console: Go back to the main Wii Menu and remove the SD card ready to put in the old Wii console. No need to turn the console off.

5.  On the OLD (Wii) Console: If like me you’d already paired your Wii remotes with the new console, you’ll need to re-pair one with the old console. Just remove the battery case at the back of the remote, press the red sync button until the lights on the front of the remote start flashing, then press the sync button on the Wii console (it’s the red button inside the little white section just below where you insert the game CDs). The remote will stop flashing and you’re paired up.

6. On the OLD Console: go to the Nintendo Shopping Channel and download the Wii Transfer Tool to your system memory. The tool is located under the Channels box in the main menu of the Shopping Channel.

7. On the OLD Console: Insert the SD card you set up on the Wii U into this consoleGo to the main Wii menu and select the Transfer Tool and start it up. Follow the instructions on the screen. Your Wii’s info will be downloaded to the SD card. Remember – once this occurs all the info is removed from your old console. A cool animated transfer sequence shows on the screen while it is transferring. You’ll be told once it’s complete and when you can remove the SD card.

8. On the NEW Console: Insert the SD card. Open the transfer tool from the main Wii menu. It will say a transfer is already in progress and do you want to continue – do that. Follow the on-screen instructions. The second half of the animation sequence will play. You’ll be told when the process is complete.

That’s it!

If the tutorial has helped you or you think something is missing, please post in comments!

The Secret World Issue #5 Full Patch Notes

The Secret World Issue #5Better late than never, below are The Secret World Issue #5 full patch notes. Enjoy!



  • A brand new mission line is now available: „The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn“. This is the first DLC mission.  All current players and all players who purchase the game in December 2012 will receive it for free.  To access the mission please open the Item Store and claim it from the Boosts / Account tab.
  • The Uncertainty Principle – the mission to the new Auxiliary weapon ‘Quantum Brace’ has now been activated. To get started in this mission, talk to Moose in Kingsmouth.
  • From Carthage to Cairo – Tanis in the Scorched Desert needs help in covering her tracks in her involvement of a certain shipment.
  • Obstructive Persons – help Alina Florea in The Shadowy Forest with her plans to leave Morninglight.


  • A new Shortcut Bar is now available, which provides access to inventory slots that can be linked to hotkeys.
  • The maximum number of Gear Manager slots has now been correctly set to 100.
  • Equipping the chainsaw will now play a sound.
  • Fixed an issue where purchased items haven’t been delivered promptly.
  • If you log out or disconnect during the Ground Zero tutorial event, you will now be able to advance when you return to the game.
  • There is a new ‘smile’ emote available.
  • The chest category no longer shows empty when opening the Dressing Room GUI.
  • Albion Theatre: fixed some issues with sound from the stage being occluded on certain occasions.
  • There is now an animation shown from standing to sleeping when using the ‘sleep’ emote.


  • Just a Flesh Wound – Tier 5: Dr. Aldini is again rewarding players with the Chainsaw.


  • The Time Accelerator item can no longer be deleted accidentially.
  • The Casting Toolkit can now create a mould from Shield of Barbarossa and Black Eagle.
  • Fixed a clipping issue with the Cosmonaut suit.
  • The ‘Suit Pants. Dark grey’ no longer appear white with blood splatters in the preview.
  • Fixed a clipping issue with the head piece of the Mercenary Multislot Deck outfit.


  • Fixed an issue that prevented the PvP role buffs from not showing their stats anymore.
  • Slightly increased the effects of the Integrated Anima Conduits uniform buff.
  • You can now queue for the PvP minigames while in Fusang.


  • Getting killed by Fusang NPCs no longer causes durability loss on equipment.
  • Fixed an issue where the Custodian would walk in the wrong direction before turning around and proceeding in the correct direction.


  • You should no longer get stuck in the Red Hand Observatory area of The Besieged Farmlands.
  • You should no longer get stuck at the bottom of the Breach area in The Carpathian Fangs.
  • Fixed an issue with a floating propane bottle in The Carpathian Fangs.

Rise Of The Hutt Cartel: More Details

tatooine9In the post-Christmas lull I thought it was worth rounding up any further snippets of info BioWare have released on 2013’s SWTOR expansion, Rise Of The Hutt Cartel. So here we go:

1. Story/Lore in Rise of The Hutt Cartel

Allison Berryman at BioWare:

We think players interested in lore are going to really enjoy the story in Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and I’d like to share a few more details – this seemed like a good thread for it!

The people of Makeb have remained neutral in wars between the great political powers in the galaxy. Relying on their wealth, isolation, and an army of mercenaries, the citizens have enjoyed centuries of prosperity. However, in the midst of the current galactic conflict, the Hutt Cartel has recognized the planet as a crucial stepping stone to increase their organization’s standing and reclaim the strength of their ancestors’ empire. They’ve hired Makeb’s mercenaries away and have made the citizens prisoners in their own homes, forcing them to reach out to the Republic in a desperate bid for rescue.

The Republic recognizes the Cartel’s seizure of Makeb as a bid for galactic power. With victory over the Empire seeming possible for the first time in decades, Supreme Chancellor Saresh is determined to respond to Makeb’s request for aid to stop the Cartel before they can become an even greater threat and compromise the Republic’s chance for victory.

Taking advantage of the chaos erupting between the Hutt Cartel and the Republic, the Sith Empire makes their own bold play for the hidden power of Makeb, seizing their chance to regain some of the strength lost to internal struggles and at the hands of the Republic’s military resurgence. They plan to outmaneuver all their enemies to usher in a new era of Imperial dominance.

2. Talent Trees In ROTHC

Allison Berryman again:

We know you’re all very interested to hear about how the new level cap is going to affect your class, and I wanted to share a little information about the upcoming changes with you. As part of the new content, every skill tree will be expanding and you can expect significant updates. Players will earn a new skill point with each level, and new skills will be available in each skill tree. Additionally, a new active ability will be introduced for each Advanced Class. We’ll have more details about many aspects of Rise of the Hutt Cartel as we approach launch, so keep your eyes on the website and dev tracker!

3. End-Game Gear and the Level Cap

This time… Allison Berryman:

Hi everyone! While we can’t address every concern raised in this thread right now, we can reassure you that the gear you’ve obtained in our current endgame will continue to be relevant after the expansion is released, and it will provide a great bootstrap into the higher-level content offered by Rise of the Hutt Cartel. You won’t be replacing your Dread Guard gear with gear you pick up as you level, and thanks to improvements in the way item power is calculated, we won’t be handing out any entry-level gear at the new level cap. You’ll hear more about RotHC as we approach its launch, and we’ll continue to answer questions and provide more details!

4. Size of the Expansion

Some person called Allison:

To give you all a better idea of Makeb’s scope, it’s a planet of equal size to our larger planets and it contains a variety of areas – sprawling mesas, underground caverns, garden estates, and more. It introduces faction-specific storylines, new Heroic missions and bosses, repeatable mission series, and new Datacrons! The 5 new levels will occupy players for a fair amount of time, and there’s plenty of content to get you there (including a lot of stuff tucked away for the explorers out there). Keep in mind that this announcement is just the start – as we approach Makeb’s launch, you’ll see more details about the content coming with Rise of the Hutt Cartel!

There you have it: I’d expect to see more detail fleshed out in the next month. What’s your take on the statements so far?

Christmas Greetings From The Oceanic Gamer

il_fullxfull.188510573.jpgJust a quick note to thank all our readers for their support over the past year. If Christmas is your thing, I hope it’s a good one for you with plenty of time to play the games you’re passionate about.

We’ll still be working away over this time: in fact there may be more content than usual! If there’s particular stuff you’d like us to cover over the ‘break’, then let us know in comments! We’ll be having a look back at 2012 and testing some of the predictions we made a year ago as well as making some new ones for 2013.

I also wanted to shout out to the great team that contribute quality stories to The Oceanic Gamer: it’s you folks who make this little gaming site rock in a big way.

[Pic via LiteGamer]

Star Wars Episode VII: Han Solo Contract Negotiations

As someone who salivates over any news about the upcoming Star Wars movies, I was initially disappointed to see this info was a parody but my disappointment waned pretty quickly when I watched them. The whole premise is negotiating with Harrison Ford to appear in Star Wars Episode 7.

Like the original movies, it’s a trilogy, so enjoy!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Huge thanks to Ken at SWTOR Gamers of Oceania for the heads-up!