Back Once More Into the Breach

With Thanksgiving over, and the return to my normal work and school schedule, I’m here to look at what it is I want to do with the last 30 some days left in the year of 2009 (as it relates to gaming that is). There are a few things that I really want to get done and finished as I make my way toward 2010, in both MMOs and in Single player games, console and PC. I got to play around with my current games enough this long weekend to really determine what to do with these remaining days.

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Tomorrow is turkey day. I’ll probably be taking the long holiday weekend to myself to catch up on some school work, enjoy time with family, and get a side of gaming in. I most likely will not be posting or reading any forums once I leave the office today. So before all of that happens, I want to take a moment to give thanks.

I’m thankful to everyone that comes here and reads. You guys truly are a great bunch, and I’m continually surprised that people keep coming back. The discussions I’ve had for the past year here has been great, and the community even greater. Without the support of fellow gamers, I think our shared hobby would be a far more hollow and empty experience, existentialy speaking.

I’m thankful for the development studios. Mythic, Cryptic, SOE, Runic, Icarus Studios, Bioware, and yes, even Blizzard. You guys create the games that I play, have played, or will play. Without the work of you guys and your many, many employees, I wouldn’t have the entertainment outlet I do, and this blog would never have been around. I know you do it for money and profit, but the result is the same, I get games to enjoy.

I’m thankful for being blessed enough to be able to afford computers, video games, graphic cards, and time to partake in this hobby. Manny of us forget sometimes that these games are a luxury, something that we are lucky to be able to partake in. In this time of thanks-giving, I want to try to recognize that there are many things in life that could have happened to keep me from having the freedom to enjoy myself as I desire.

I’m thankful for my wife, future daughter, and family in general. Without real-life interactions and connections, I would be a different person, and far less happy because of it. Also, without the understanding of a good wife, I would not get to play nearly as much as I do.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers, and to everyone else, I hope you have a wonderful week.

Help a Warhammer player smile again

All of us that gather on the internet across these various blogs and websites are all part of a community. I’ve always placed a large factor of importance on communities, and believe that they are what give people strength beyond anything else in their lives. When feeling lonely, sad, or happy, you turn to the people around you first, to share with them, give support, and receive support in turn. One of our own in the Warhammer community is looking for some help in her real life.

Perizada is an Archmage on the Iron Rock server (where my DoK is, I’ve probably traded blows with her at some point). Her real name is Melanie. She suffers from severe periodontal disease brought about by an accident in her youth that caused major nerve and tissue damage in her mouth. The destruction of these tissues is why she is in the position she is in today, missing many teeth and what she has remaining “rotting way before her very eyes”. As a single mom living in California, I’m sure it’s difficult to spare time and money to be able to have the massive surgery needed to fix the issue. There are real problems with her situation beyond just a self esteem issue. The difficulty in getting work as people see bad teeth and the immediate perception is poor hygiene and not someone whom you want to employ. Or the link between periodontal disease and heart attacks.

 However, there is a contest of sorts, that is giving $30,000 of free dental work to whomever gets voted to receive it. You can watch Melanie’s video here. I’m not going to tell you to vote for her, or to vote at all, but if you have a minute, check out the site, watch her video, and if you feel moved to, cast your vote. There is no need to even sign up to vote, all that is required is a code input. You can vote every day if you wish.

As a community of gamers, and I’m sure a lot of us are Warhammer players, help Melanie out. Show her our support and see if we can bring some joy into the life of someone we interact with on a virtual level. I first came upon this on the official forums, and felt that as a community, I would spread the word as much as I could to help this girl (woman/mom/what-have-you) out.

On a more light-hearted note…

The images below best represent what I think of the SW and WL classes in tiers 1 through 3.

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Transfers inc.

Warhammer has announced that they will begin allowing players to transfer off of two servers starting on the second. Not unsurprising at first glance, but when you look at the origination servers you might find a bit of a surprise. Dark Crag and Phoenix throne. These two are the PvP and RP servers, respectively. So, they will be transferring off of one ruleset to that of another. Admittedly, I don’t think the impact would be as drastic for any other game, as it’s already based around PvP, and the only real PR restriction on Phoenix Throne is a naming policy, and other players encouraging role-play. As always, it’s a mixed bag of emotions for me, I’m sad to see servers consolidating, which leads to closing, but happy to have more bodies around to fight. It’s necessary, but not where we wanted to be a year and change after launch.

Weekend round-up

Off the beer bitches!

I’ll keep this short, as I don’t have much time.

This weekend I dabbled in games, I had to finish a drawing I was doing for my Art class, as well as paint the babies room, so free time was at a bit of a minimum.

WAR – Shadow Warrior: Played maybe 5 scenarios. I did get a piece of mail from the guild leader of a decent guild saying that if I wanted to come join up with them, I’m welcome to see if it would be a good fit. He’s aware of my situation as I’m pretty active on the boards. I’m probably going to give my guild another week, and then make a decision.

WAR – Disciple of Khaine: All city, all weekend. I kid you not. I think Saturday we were in there three times. It’s ridiculous. I played some SCs, did some city sieging. Farmed the palace a bit. The good news: got the purple bag from the invasion PQ and got a hot, HOT jewelry piece. I want to handcuff it and call it dirty names.

Champions Online – I “did” the Lemurian Crisis. Solo. I’m going to have to accept that I will never beat this crisis, and that no one ever does it. Once I got to the boss, I understood why. He’s a legendary villain, and he’s big and nasty, and looks like an overgrown Murlock. The real nasty part though, is that he’s surrounded by this purple-black fog. This fog, while innocuous at first glance, is actually the kryptonite of my character. Whenever anyone within the fog has full endurance, they start taking heavy damage. Yes, I am a END/REC character, built around having as much endurance at all times. I’m going to have to ride the bench on this one coach.

DAoC – Wha? What is this doing here? After my post last week asking about it, I gave it a whirl. It’s actually pretty neat. You can tell they’ve made crazy graphical improvements over the years. The interface is a tad lacking, but surprisingly decent for what it was. My biggest complaint is how the camera interfaces with the turning of my character. If I turned my character (not strafe) the camera is disconnected and remains in the direction as previously. I probably would never pay for it unless they offered some bundle deal with WAR.

Hills and Vales

PvP games like WAR tend to be a famine or feast situation. The dull, boring portions make you want to rub your face against a cheese grater. The fun, exciting times get you wondering if your pants need changing. Being able to swing with highs and lows is important in anything you do. Some people like to call it, “being balanced” or “behaving maturely” or whatever. I try to do that, but I confess, I think my frustration of late has been eeking out of me, and I hope that my experience last night does blow the lid off my frustration.

I logged on to my shadow warrior last night. Surprise, no one else was on. I decided to try a couple scenarios and see how it went. What I faced were packs of roaming Choppas, DoKs, and Chosen, with a flavoring of Sorceresses. The garnish was me never getting healed and focus fired by the enemy (my name is fairly recognizable, if not my guild tag). So, frustrated, I tried to make the best of my evening of WAR, but I had no idea what to do. Getting on my knight for PvP would be mostly pointless, for much the same reasons as it was on my SW. I don’t want to level another Order alt, and I just played my DoK last night. My only conclusion was to either not play, or do some PvE.

I decided to try to get a LV group going. *shudder*

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My Nemesis

Champions announced yesterday their upcoming Nemesis dungeon. This is a new lair for end-game players who are members of UNITY. It seems pretty interesting, and it ties more of your characters personal villian into the game which is nice. I’m still not seeing a hell of a lot of end-game available to me yet in game, which is still my biggest disapointment with the game. I want to have something to strive for in a game, and CO doesn’t give me that in the slightest. I’ll keep chugging away at the game, and will cap out soon I hope. I just got done with all I possibly can on Monster Island, and have to do the Lemuria Crisis now (if I can find an instance with more than just me in it…).

The Vanishing Clouds

I just finished reading the twelfth book in the Wheel of Time series last night. Overall, it was an incredible story, but it’s sad to see how noticeable a change in writer can be to a series. I’ve spent years upon years reading Jordan’s words, and becoming familiar with his style. I had finished doing my re-read of the series about a week and a half ago (November 9th to be precise), so that might be why the shift felt more jarring than usual for me. Sanderson is a talented writer for sure, he did a great job of picking up the reins and continuing the tale of Jordan’s world, but it will never be quite the same. Good but different.

I think the most jarring moment for me was when Mat first appeared in the book. His personality and actions just seemed so much rougher and abrupt than normal. I actually thought to myself, “This is not how Mat would speak.” The intent was to make him seem off-kilter and imbalanced by recent events, and experiencing emotions and situations that he never even thought he would be up against, but it just went a tad far. He was still true to ideals and outlooks that Mat has developed over the series, it was just the expression of them that seemed odd. Other than that one moment though, the book adhered amazingly well to each and every character.

The focus seemed to be upon Rand, and how he in particular was progressing as the story rushes to the end. By far, this was one of the most action-filled of all the books, plots were drawing to conclusions, or reaching finalization all over. Revelations were being sprung upon me left and right. Towards the end, at one point, I was completely flabbergasted and stunned by the story line for one character (Verin Sedai). But it fit. It all clicked together for me and it made so much sense, and was possible one of the best moments of the book.

I miss the descriptiveness of Jordan, and his way of pulling me into a world fully fleshed out and real, but I’ve spent so much time there, that I don’t need the pulling anymore. I just dive right in, and see it clear as day.

Crushing Will

My will to play my Shadow Warrior that is. I can live with being underpowered, I can live with being the red-headed step-child of the game. I can live being a joke to the opposition. What I can’t live with, is not having a crew of people to play with. My guild leader hasn’t logged on in a week, and for the past two months or so, I can count on one hand when had a full group of players around. Don’t take this as a doom and gloom post about subscription numbers. It’s necessary to understand that my guild has never had more than about 10 to 12 members in the guild at a time. We have been a small, skilled, mean-as-hell strike force. But when people stop logging on, each person is felt more as they represent a larger percentage of the total. I’ve been getting by with playing my DoK a lot more lately, but my SW is really my true love in this game, despite all its flaws, and I hate settling.