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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

mammoths

We’re off to Texas.  Enjoy the holiday.  Spare the turkeys.  Eat mammoth!

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Happy 4th, Blizzard!

4th

Time to relax, maybe have a Coke, and enjoy it.

As a player from day One, or real darn close to it given my own birthday is just days away, I think this was my birthday present, and Kinless was level 17 on 15 Dec 04 according to WoW Realms Census, I’ve got to say it’s been a helluva ride.  And with all of Northrend before me, for Kinless (now Arcarius), Msaker, Stormsoul, Greenclaw, and the others with Northrend on the horizon, some closer, some further, it’s sure to continue to be fun.

Happy Birthday, Blizzard.  And many more, and I look forward to seeing them and being there.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Mrgglggrggl. Too funny.

murlocs

When we ran into this quest…  Hilarious.

I love how Blizzard’s letting players try out bits and pieces of things we’ve seen around.  This, of course, is the BlizzCon murloc suit.  Just a white flag rather than a Blizzard flag.  And the quest chain itself was pretty entertaining.

I am absolutely in no hurry to level.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Relayer.

The scenery of the Alliance’s Valgarde in the Howling Fjord is absolutely stunning.

roger-dean

Reminds me a lot of Roger Dean’s work and his Yes album covers.  Relayer in particular.

relayer

Maybe the similarity is only in my eyes, but the Howling Fjord is evocative of it.

And remembering Relayer means I remember the album cover, and the poem inside.

Snakes are coiled upon the granite
Horsemen ride into the west
Moons are rising on the planet
where the worst must suffer like the rest.Pears are ripe and peaches falling.
Suns are setting in the east.
Women wail, and men are calling
to the god that’s in them, and to the beast.

Love is waiting for a lover.
Generations kneel for peace.
What men lose, Man will recover
polishing the brains his bones release.

Truth conceals itself in error.
History reveals its face:
days of ecstasy and terror
invent the future that invents the race.

Donald Lehmkuhl
(c) October 1974

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2008 in Musings

 

ZOMG I’m a WoW nerd. :)

Last night I was out at our local Game Stop picking up a Collector’s Edition and a regular edition of the expansion.  The TBC CE went to the wife so this time around she graciously let me have it.

There were like 80 or so people waiting for the midnight release.  It took an hour, but was amusing.  My general impression of the crowd: low 20′s, a lot of smokers (which surprised me), and WoW appeals to all types.  There was a granddad there with his granddaughter picking up a copy.  For her no doubt.  Cool.  Some kid had an Alienware laptop and loaded the game right then and there.  I think he got stuck at the patching.  Lol.

And hats off to the Evans, GA Game Stop folks.  They had issues with their credit card machines (apparently thousands of customers across the nation were buying with credit cards and that slowed the system tremendously).  They attempted to have a costume contest, nobody came in a costume, so they then did some other contest and split the prize between like six or seven folks.  They were friendly and I thought they handled it great.

So getting home, loading and patching both machines, and it didn’t take that long, probaby very few were doing the same so lots of bandwidth to grab the patches.  I then logged in with Stormsoul to do a few starter quests in the Borean Tundra.  I brought out my Frosty.  Two guildies logged on and brought our their own Frostys.  (Hard to hide with the achievements thing now. :) )  Cool beans.  I did the starter quests there in the Warsong Hold and logged out for the night.

This morning the wife and I created our Death Knights.  Definitely the opportunity to beat the mad rush.

I created a Blood Elf Death Knight in order to party with Halcyon.  She created a Human Death Knight to be the partner of Honorus.  I think Death Knight and Paladin duos would be pretty good together.  It turns out the entire starting sequence, through speaking with Thrall/Wrynn, you are alone with your faction.  Only after you complete the entire Death Knight introduction sequence does the other faction appear to you in Ebon Hold.

And that’s where Cenotaph, my guy, and Ombria, her gal, got to meet each other.  After doing basically the same quests basically side by side yet in our own universes.

Cenotaph & Ombria

Anyway, we’re going back in after lunch.

Enjoy the expansion!

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

On the eve of the expansion and Blizz busts their game?

The game’s been down since 5 a.m. pacific standard time.  That’s right, I’m a Federal Employee and had the day off.  And Fall’s come so the lawn’s dead anyway.  Nothing to look forward to but Pally Power.

Now there’s a problem with the in-game mail system?  That’s the reason they’ve given why it’s not been brought back online after their 5-11 a.m. pst maintenance.

ETA on the servers being back up is 4:30 p.m. pst or so.

WTF?  On the eve of the expansion you guys do this?  What the heck was so important that you had to insert it into the game today and it broke the game via the mail system?

That means we’ll have 1 day to play, unless we’re back to work, /raise hand, before we all start installing the expansion and on start up then having to download gigabytes of the inevitable patch to it?  Afterall, they must have mastered the disks before they nerfed the Paladins, so that patch, at least, is going to be required.

On the positive side, Game Spot’s computer generated cheerleader invited me to their midnight opening tomorrow night.  Ten p.m. actualy and I’m encouraged to wear a costume.  Yeah, right.  I won’t show up and tell them I’m a rogue.  Damn, that won’t work.  Never mind.  I’ll just go quarter till.  And I’ll be out the door at around midnight with two copies of the game.  Then it’s installing them, then going to sleep while it patches.  And Thursday, a personal day off, it’s off to Northrend for the Mrs. and I.  /cheer.

Edit: 10:30 est, so 7:30 pst, and the news server is down, and though the game loading screen starts without a message saying they’re down, there are no servers to pick from, only some Developmental zone, which has no servers on it.  So, still down, and about 8 hours late now.  Disappointing.

Edit: They really did screw up something.  Check out this link at WoW Insider.  Heh.  “Nothing to see.  Just move along.  Your stuff is fine.  We’ve just mailed you what you had in the mail.”  Or, in their words, “All items in the mail system will be sent to characters in one or more mail messages.”  Uh, isn’t that what’s gone wrong in the first place??  I know I use the mail as off-line storage and my bank toon regularly has pages and pages worth of items.  Recently I cleared out like 3 pages of items that’d been mailed to her, only to discover another 3 pages worth of stuff.  Which reminds me, I sure hope I didn’t lose all those BoE epics and Executioner Inscriptions I mailed to myself.  I *HATE* when that happens.  (I kid, I kid.)

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Heroic, but for how long?

Well, Thursday we’ll have our hands on Blizzard’s new expansion, and this weekend we’ll see the first Level 80 characters.  Among them will be the new Death Knights.

Afterall, nothing says “I love the new content” like having 24 of your guildies power you through to the end-game, leaving you standing there at the Frozen Throne stating “WTF?  This sucks.”  There should be an “Arsonist” achievement.  Where you burn through content like you set it on fire with kerosene on purpose.

Let’s say you take the “casual” gamer’s approach.  You know.  Where you have fun with it?  Where you read the quest text rather than download an add-on that replaces quests with 2 buttons:  “Click to Accept” and “Click to Turn-In.”  I’m wondering how long the Death Knight will feel “Heroic” to us regular gamers.  (Because I think the Heroic feeling won’t last past the weekend for this weekend’s level 80 Death Knights.  Because if they’re seriously happy at 80 this weekend, they can go ask the Ret Paladin community what happens when you feel good.)

I made a Death Knight in the beta.  I ran through the quests, provided my feedback, made it to Hellfire Peninsula.  It seems a strong class.

But what happens to them at 80?  When they’re just another tanking class?  Are they still going to feel “Heroic?”  Or are they just going to be another flavor of class?

What’s going to make them Heroic?  Storyline?  Please.  Are they all offspring of a randy Arthas and Innkeepers across Azeroth, and Kalimdor?  Bloodbrothers of the Centaur King?  Lay Brothers of the Scarlet High Self Opinion?  Spiffy outfits?  Let NPC’s be heroic with “color” text in their descriptions.  I think by “Hero class” folks might be expecting more than “color.”

Naturally, their level 80 tanking prowess can’t be over the top.  “Oh, great.  Chuck Norris is here and he’s going to tank.  You Druids, Paladins, and Warriors may as well drop raid and reroll Gnomes or something.”  They’ll be as “Heroic” as anyone else in the roles they’ll be filling.  “Heroic” must not mean “Overpowered.”  That role’s filled with Ret Pallys whose tears can’t erase the fact they’re still pretty darn strong.  And Warlocks.

A 55 level headstart?  Does that make them “Heroic?”  Ask them how Heroic they feel, in Terrokar, hunting down a wolf to get a dog face helm.  It’s a cool helm, mind you, but for us Average Joes, not for the Heroes.

Either they meant “Shiney and new” when they said “Hero Class”, or they meant something else.  I’m wondering what that something else is going to wind up being.  I guess we’ll be finding out shortly. 

And this weekend, when they hit 80, there’s either going to be great rejoicing, and a bloodletting in Alterac Valleys, and across the quest objectives.

Or, there’ll be a lot of gnashing of teeth and wailing.  That is, if the servers manage any semblance of stability.  There were enough Death Knights on the Beta Server to cause serious problems.  Imagine Eleven Million players hitting the field.

It’s two more years of content.  And it may well be the longest shark jump in history.  But, then again, Dallas went on for 11 more years after someone shot J.R..  If Blizzard handed us a cold colander filled with leftover spaghetti noodles and said it was “Heroic” and priced it at $39.99 in a box at Best Buy, we’d probably be just as excited.  I know I am.

:)  In all fairness, the landscapes alone will be worth the price of admission to Northrend.  Seriously.  That haunted beach is going to blow you away.  And that’s hour one.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2008 in Musings

 

Ret, my pet. You’re lookin’ good.

Holy ma-moly!

I’ve tried Retribution before.  But it ain’t ever felt this good.  In the same gear as now, same weapon, and it’s like “e-z mode” has been unlocked now.  The blinders have been lifted up off my eyes.

I’m in Andorhol and some fights I was two-, three-shotting mobs just a level below me.  And it’s just all unleashed all at once.

Retribution Aura.  Blessing of Might.  Seal of Command.   Judgement of Light.  A Crusader Strike or two.  Holy Wrath to stop the casters from casting.  Hammer of Justice to stop the stubborn.  Hammer of Wrath to serve the Coup de Grace.

I dinged there in Andorhol and then what didn’t feel like a whole lot later I was nearly 1/3 into level 57.

I ran that place like Fixx ran parks.  Maybe at 70 it’s all QQ now, but at 56-57 Ret feels awesome!

honorus

And, yes, for the sharp eyed, that is a demon slaying enchant on my sword.  The sword, my Demonslayer, already comes with +99 against demons.  Add the demon slaying enchant, and I can’t imagine how much stronger I’ll be when I go up against demons.

That is also the full Imperial set.  No +Int on it.  Mana wasn’t too much an issue.  I’d drink every 3-4 fights.

And that Flesh Golem guy there in Andorhol?  I’d always avoided him.  But he can take that silly dragon off his portrait now.  Don’t know what that’s doing there.

honorus-vs-elite

The fight was trivial.  (P.S. I see in this screenshot my Seal of Command was down.  Which meant I wasn’t doing Judgements, and not getting Replenishment.  Something I’ll have to keep a better eye on.  Lol.)

Ret?  Whoa.  Just whoa.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

“Live” NPCs with a purpose.

Wilhelm, over on The Ancient Gaming Noob, had a great post yesterday about the Saleman of Waterdeep.  It was about his encounter with a wandering NPC in the town of Waterdeep, a location in the TorilMUD.  It was just a script, this salesman, and fooled even itself as it encountered another script and tried to sell it stuff.  (Proof positive that your computer does have a sense of humor.)

He mentions the robotic NPCs of Everquest I, and the better, but still not perfect NPC’s of Everquest II.

We’re on the right track with our new MMOs.  They certainly look better.  And we all know the “wandering salesmen” of our Warhammer and Warcraft worlds, slowly wandering paths outside of established population centers.  Always looking to buy your garbage, and perhaps sell you rare items, if they’ve got it in stock, or give you a quest, or reward you for something.

I propose a new kind of NPC.  Your best friend in the whole wide world. 

He, or she, is only in existence when you log on, and returns to the ether when you log off.  The all-knowing game engine, the GE, created them, maybe more than one NPC, specifically for you.

See, the Game Engine knows what you need.  It sees your character, it knows what’s in your banks and bags.  (Albeit it would not know what you’ve given to another player to hold in trust for you.  That could be a hiccup here.)  You’re a Witch Hunter, say, and you’ve never seen a Witch Hunter hat drop, not in nearly 100 hours of playing.  Or you’re a Shaman, you raid, but you still have one green item equipped.  Those bracers you’ve yet to find a replacement for.

“Random Chance?!  Get thee behind me!”  Because here is what I propose, and I think it’s kind of cool.

The Game Engine generates an in-game NPC, that’s got a quest, or quest chain, for you, and completing that quest will get you your hat or those bracers.  It’s got what you need.

But it’s got to be slicker than that.  It’s not a handout.  This NPC does not simply spawn in front of you upon log in.

It should be an independent NPC, that’s got the programmed know-how on how to navigate a city, or a village and it’s surroundings.  Remember the bots from Quake and how they were programmed to handle terrain and act intelligently?

You won’t know he or she is out there either.  It’d be like winning a lottery, though with much better odds (or where would the fun be?), when the game decides to hook you up with a friend that’s programmed to go out and track you down.  (Remember, it’s not a freebie.)  And if you’re looking, maybe they’ll catch your eye and you’ll meet up more quickly.  (I picture a Witch Hunter spotting a lost looking Human in the Dwarf city.)  “Fritz!”  “Mannfred!  It’s been too long!”

Coach this friend in terms of a long-lost childhood friend who’s tracked you down.  Probably your race, from your starting town.  This friend’s heard you’ve become a Witch Hunter, or a Shaman, and “Ain’t that great?”  Then, “Say, maybe you haven’t heard about…” and off we go.  Come up with various quest chains, nothing anyone couldn’t solo, but not trivial, that this friend turns you on to. Complete the quests and acquire exactly what the Game Engine thinks you need.  Soulbound/Bind to Player, and zero sale value, of course, and not disenchantable perhaps.

The quests would be level appropriate.  Mid 30′s and your long lost buddy will send you to Stranglethorn Vale, perhaps.  (Some friend, eh?  Might explain the “long lost” part.)

“Fritz, your head.  Now aren’t you cold?  This autumn is particularly cold.  I can’t bear the thought of you catching a cold.  Hmm.  You know, there’s a doctor I know.  He has some friends in your line of work.  You’ll find him with Breuers Regiment.  Go see him.  Tell him I sent you.”

Remember, not everyone will have a friend active at the same time, so the world won’t be swamped with NPCs looking for players.  I think once a friend is spawned for someone, there should be a reasonable lifespan for it.  Not indefinite, but a few weeks.  Other players will see it, might wonder if it’s their friend, but won’t otherwise get anything from it.  Other than a “Say, don’t I … no, that’s not you.”

This could introduce any number of “one-off” types of quests into the game.  Not everyone will do every one of them, and no reason they couldn’t do the same ones that other people do, and random chance dictates.  It’s really unlimited of what can be offered to the player.

Personalized online gaming, with more friends than you knew looking out for you.  That would add a little more life to things.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2008 in Musings

 

Post Election Poll

I’m curious what you all think, being gamers that follow gamers in the blogosphere, following yesterdays election and what you’re thinking the future holds now.  All ten of you that read my blog.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2008 in Uncategorized

 
 
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