Merry Christmas folks. Let’s see what the Greatfather Winter has under the tree for us.
(And don’t forget the reason for the season either.)
Merry Christmas folks. Let’s see what the Greatfather Winter has under the tree for us.
(And don’t forget the reason for the season either.)
Happy Thanksgiving, speaking of getting cold.
I can also say the same of my iMac. Apparently, they say, the hard drive went out. No problem, we’ll replace the drive. Call back, “Where’s my computer?” “All done. We’re just testing it. Want it to be all okay.” “Okay.” I can go over to Barnes & Nobles and have a cup of coffee and wait. “How long?” “We’ll call you.” Uh…. “How long could I be waiting?” “We’ll call you within twenty four hours.” … They called back sooner. They had to swap out the logic board. Had one in stock. Great! Except that one was bad too. Had to order a board. And maybe the video card was bad too. And maybe it wasn’t the hard drive after all. As long as the aluminum is still okay, right?
And this clunky six year old laptop is barely adequate for internet browsing.
So, we’ve put the PS3 back into play. Two games featuring snow. Skyrim and Lord of the Rings: War in the North.
Skyrim is incredible. I’m playing a two-hander. The wife tried sword and board, but has decided being a mage is more the way to go. I saw the zombies she was making in the first dungeon. Nice. But the two-hander can one-shot, so I’ll stick with that. The graphics reminded the wife VERY MUCH of Morrowind. As opposed to the last game, Oblivion. The music too. So far I’ve done a few dungeons, acquired a House Karl, and became a Thegn. And some ogre-giant one-shotted me when I strayed too close to his mammoth cheese. But it’s an immersive world and I like that.
War in the North… The wife is a big LoTRO fan. Anything to do with the story she loves. It’s not bad. The graphics are nice. She didn’t like the split-screen cooperative mode, but we managed to fight our way into Fornost that way, and look to keep going with it.
So, a cold (as in dead) iMac, two titles involving snowy locales that we’re currently enjoying, and we’re moving up to North Dakota shortly. Can’t get colder than that.
It occurred to me the other night, as I ran through Bree, that in the real world I’d never run like that. From the bank to the hobby shop. I could. I’ve got shoes. I could make the run. But I don’t.
Likewise, in Bree, I could walk from the bank to the crafting hall. I could. I would use the insert key and slow down to something one might identify as “Not Being Chased by Orcs” speed. But I don’t.
I guess once it’s someone else doing the running it’s no big deal. I know if I had an army of minions and we were in a fast paced environment, I’d be very put out if they weren’t running hither and thither at my behest. “The keeps door has just been smashed down by someone in a holocaust cloak and you’re going to walk to it’s defense?? Don’t get winded and drink plenty of water. And be safe.” No, I’d be screaming “RUN YOU FOOLS! No, the other way!”
Even though the towns are really small in these online games, they’re still way too big to tolerate at a walkers pace. Rift’s recent update included the ability to ride one’s mount indoors. Sure, it’s technically possible in real life too, but when you go to meet your racial leader, don’t you think you can do so on foot, and not clop up to them on some horse? Maybe have some “Show some respect” zones where folks are dismounted, and slowed to a walk.
Bree sure could use some distractions to keep thoughts on track.
Finally we get to the Mines of Moria, the wife and I.
Here is Giselher, waiting for the Watcher to makes his appearance, awed by the harvest moon. (Maybe you dwarves can throw a few more rocks, you fools.)
Regarding the actual quest, they force us to do it solo. (Then again, aren’t legends usually born solo? There are no legendary armies. There are legendary warriors. And legendary weapons.)
Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September’s coming soon.
I’m pining for the moon.
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
could not describe nightswimming.
Ages past there was a tribe of Elves who called themselves “Children of the Stars” in their native tongue. Their feral traits, dusky skins, and dark hair gained them the name “Night Elves.” The Night Elf young would start their lives and early careers in their tree island, and would be without the benefit of the civilized things like an auction house, or even the more mature members of their own society. A lot like the domed city in Logan’s Run. Nobody over the level of 21. Late teens, early twenties, new to the land, they would make their way from Auberdine to Menethil Harbor, and then on a long run through the Wetlands, a mountainous gauntlet with Orcs, and then into the lands of the Dwarves, and with a run through the snow for the last stretch, they arrived at the capital of the world, Iron Forge. They’d never have a reason to look back at their start in Shadowglen.
Humans just went to their main city and took the train to Iron Forge. Gnome and Dwarves left their beginning area, passed through Kharanos, and into Iron Forge.
And there everyone passed the rest of their days, a short flight to Thorium Point and a year spent in the depths of Blackrock Mountain.
All that is to say, in the beginning days of World of Warcraft, if you played a Night Elf your experience was very much different than if you had started as one of the other three races.
(I think that difference was good. Too much became equalized.)
In Rift I was surprised at how asymmetrical the starting experiences were.
As a Defiant, in Terminus, you are literally on one road, after leaving the rebirth lab, as it winds it’s way through the mountains to the time machine. There are waypoints and gathering spots along that road, but if you stick to the road you will experience your story.
As a Guardian, it’s a little different. You start in the church where they’ve brought you back, and make your way down into the town. You do a few tasks in town, and then a few more outside of town, and then wind up in a war camp. A few quests in the fields before the war camp, and then on a precariously perched temple of sorts above those fields and camp. And finally through the fields to the final confrontation.
The Defiant had a road to follow. The Guardians had, for my lack of a more apt term, a destiny to meet. Playing through one in no way prepared you for the other.
And then the experience in the Defiant Freemarch and Guardian Silverwood are completely unique. And then into Defiant Stonefield and Guardian Gloamwood. It appears that through mid-level cap the Defiant and Guardians have their own unique zones to quest in.
It appears Defiant and Guardians converge at last in the Scarlet Gorge.
And then my level (26-27) means I have no knowledge of how further travels will separate or bring the sides together. There are 2 full zones south of Freemarch only reachable through Freemarch. There are three zones northwards, none of which require passing through Silverwood to reach.
Interesting. With the great passion I see sometimes for Yin=Yang, I am curious to see how this apparently uneven world will play out.
I’ll get to the Rift beta. But first, this…
Currently, as one of the more erudite bloggers may have said, I can’t really be arsed about Cataclysm lately.
I’ve done the math. In order for my leatherworker to create a set of the level 85 armor, leather or mail, and this is for my Hunter, mail, my wife’s Druid, caster, and my Druid, DPS, I need 1,235,000 stacks of leather. I kid you not. That reduces to 57 heavy leather, and that would let me buy 5 patterns. Out of the 24 I need to buy. Not that I’ve collected enough leather yet to even be able to craft those recipes. That would be 2,300,000 leather I’ve got to gather to get to that state first. Blacksmithing was much easier. And, truly, I love nothing more than circling Ulduum looking for elementium nodes. Truly. Circle, circle, circle. Vulture style. And beating the competition who’s selling elementium at 10g a bar. Because they’ve got time I don’t have apparently to clear the perimeter of the place, both directions. And after Tobold studied over 1,000 Troll artifacts and didn’t get the Zinroth sword, I’d have more luck sticking my head outside in the rainstorm and getting lightning struck with a unicorn and a pot of gold. A pot of gold, now that I can do something with. A play session in Cataclysm, waiting for the next expansion? I’ve got years to do that.
Speaking of luck, I did manage to get into the Rift Beta this weekend.
First reaction: Did the ex-Warhammer folks work on this? (It shares the game engine.) The Defiant area feels a little Chaos, the Guardian side like Nordland.
Second reaction: No bugs or crashes or funny stuff. Not bad at all. (I use bootcamp on my iMac to play Windows games. LoTRO is 50:50 whether or not I’ll get in or crash to a blue screen and be rebooted. The Rift Beta has run flawlessly every time I started it up. There’s a serious flickering in the media videos, but they’re otherwise stutter free. And the game is very nice looking.) But otherwise all the graphics happen when they should. Weapons connect like you’d expect them to. Your spells fly when you launch them.
Third reaction: Last night I took my Bahmi warrior to 12:30. (Lately I’ve wrapped up my gaming around 10:30 and watch old Smashing Pumpkin and Lemon Jelly videos on Youtube till I go to bed.)
Fourth reaction: Interesting. Everything is familiar to this WoW player, and yet a lot of interesting implementations. My Cleric has a pet that heals me. My Rogue has a pet that fights alongside him. My Warrior could have taken a course that would have allowed him a pet too (I believe). And the Mages, which I haven’t tried, they’ve got pets too. The grass sways, there’s questing underwater, with combat.
Fifth reaction: The intros are VERY VERY Warhammer Age of Reckoning like. One side is Chaos. The other is Grimmenhagen. But not too badly. The Chaos side is actually technological, and a little ways into the zone you find the buildings are Italian Alps inspired looking. The Human side is clearly Western Civilization hamlets.
Etc.: And I’m not sure if I’m giving anything away (I’d have to have readers for that) but the intros actually conclude with your side losing to the ultimate evil. But, lucky for everyone, they can send you back in time to make sure it doesn’t come to pass. It’s all on you.
I haven’t tried the crafting. Though I’ve mined some tin (the starter ore) on one character.
The rifts of Rift act like Public Quests in Warhammer, with a button at top of your screen to join the Public Group if you’re out soloing. In Warhammer they were static events, here and there, and acted as basically repeatable super quests. In Rift the rifts act like Public Quests but appear to spawn randomly. On the beta servers they were extreme zerg fests. I got some shards. Like 20 blue ones. I think I need 200 blue ones and then some other kind to get something for them.
No matter how the rifts might play out being a major feature of this game, consider the game has got some interesting quests. It’s got instanced dungeons. It’s got guilds and crafting and an auction house. It’s got mounts. It’s got two factions, each with their own lore. Neither are the “good” or “evil” side, they’re just differences of approach. Remove the rifts and you’ve got another WoW. WoW was good. This could be as well. It simply needs to overcome the gravity and momentum WoW affects on the MMORPG masses.
Zoiks. I missed a milestone.
I was looking at the archives in the sidebar to the right, and I noted I’d posted in December 2010 *and* December 2005. Five years I’ve been posting here.
Anyway, I’m saving up some thoughts for my “Month with the expansion” post. I might have one character at level 85 by then. And if I keep at it with Archaeology, two. It’s surprising and shocking to see how much xp is given for “crafting” be it looting an archaeology node, solving the clues, or harvesting a metal node. My wife just dinged 83 and I’m 84 and 3/4. The difference being I’ve been mining and doing archaeology. (This is better than heirlooms.)
Anyway, a few more days and the month with the expansion will be done. And posted.
This years Christmas present way made up for last years lame Red Rider BB Gun.
It’s a Zeppelin. That you fly. In 3D. With a gun that shoots other zeppelins, and other devices too apparently. It leaves air mines. It’s got nitro boost. It’ll go five minutes, or until you’re shot down.
It’s definitely better than that damn BB gun. I nearly put my eye out with it. ./ Safety comes first!
On the home front, Junior finally gave up a smile with the camera in front of him while in his Christmas jammies.
My Alliance Hunter, not part of a duo with the wife, took the lead in exploring some of the new content opened up when Deathwing and the Naga decided to wake up and cut loose.
At level 82 and a half he has now “cleared” the underwater zone of Vashj’ir.
Some awesome graphics and some of the things you do to help out your side just blew me away. Totally unexpected but very, very cool.
He came away with mostly new gear, aside from a trinket perhaps, and the gear comprised a set that looked particularly good.
As a leatherworker there wasn’t *that* much leather to be found. I made a few pieces for the three leatherworker gear wearers (two druids and the hunter).
(My Orc Warrior managed to round up enough Obsidium and then Elementium, at level 80, to reach level 500 in his blacksmithing. He’s going Protection to keep his Shaman Princess safe, and good news was till 500 blacksmithing all the tank gear he made was for level 80. The DPS gear leveled up to 83. Plus side ore is easy to get, and he’s crafted gear now for himself, my two other plate wearers, and the wife’s Deathknight.)
One thing, though, and maybe it’s because I’m playing a Hunter. But there appeared to be nothing particularly challenging in all of Vashj’ir. Nothing I couldn’t blow through and nowhere did I come anywhere close to dying. I guess maybe that’s why folks think the dungeons are so hard, is it because the PVE is so easy?
But, otherwise, some spectacular scenery out there. I love the Twilight Highlands which has a cool, water containing, yet dry enough, northern California feel to it. And then there’s Uldum which, at least to me, is as rich as Vashj’ir, despite being a desert. Think Indiana Jones without the dust and haze, and far more spectacular egyptian setting. This is a home of the gods indeed. I have played through neither area, simply running through gathering Elementium.
Pretty human girl by his side that’s not all conflicted with her bad boy male friends? Check.
Flying colors while flying? Check.
Knife fight with Deathwing going down? You can double check that factoid.
Oh, yeah, Martek’s got it going on.
(And anyone else catch, out of four admirers, one of these four ain’t like the others?)
(And I’m loving all the new quest devices Blizzard has introduced. And we’re nowhere near “end-game raiding.” Nice.)