Getting cold.

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.

 

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Just when I thought I was out…

they, Blizzard, pull me back in.

Well, us actually.  The annual deal gets us 1) into the beta for the new expansion, and 2) Diablo III.  The wife was always going to get Diablo III.  There’s this cool looking flying mount.  We also got to cash in on the pet codes we got after they cancelled the magazine on us.  And there’s pandas.  Pandas.  (Already reserved my name: Sengxiongmao.)

It’s good.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 months since we’d last logged in.  But hopping back in, taking our Orcs up the Highlands, and noticing all the subtle little things (like map & letter reading graphics), and I’ve finally gotten “the Hallowed” achievement completed, I’m glad I’m back.  The wife is too.

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Until the expansion then.

We spent the evening lifting the last of the fog of war in our final maps in Telaria, the world of Rift.

And then we logged off in the Faceless Man’s laboratory.

Neelhtak, here waving, has a sad look on her face.

It’s time, however, to get through the Mines of Moria and beyond and await the Rise of Isengard.

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I scream, you scream, they all scream (but no ice cream)

LotRO calls them “Shouts” and “Cries.”

After the 15th or so it’s just screaming.

Every character appears to have them.  Lots of humanoid mobs appear to have them.

If you play LotRO have you noticed how vocal the world is?  Everyone is yelling.  Goblins in Moria.  Captains, Guardians, Wardens.  Seemingly everyone.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could tone it down some?

How about intimidating a mob with self-doubt imposed by “A Stony Regard” or the chilling feeling they’ll have after getting “The Cold Shoulder” from you?  Ooh, scary.

Or an aggressive taunt issued via “The Snarky Look” or “A Golf Clap?”  (“Gazgar, he mocks you.  Attack him!”)

I think I could enjoy a quieter slaying experience.

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Sneakers broken?

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.

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Best served chilled.

This screenshot does not do the actual graphics justice.  The ice here in Iron Pine Peak is so well done.  The frozen lake, with the craters of shattered ice, and the semi-visible sunken ice sheets and ships is simply awesome.

The architecture is unique and well done. Even the simplest of wooden shacks is incredibly nicely rendered.

Rift’s graphics remain the best I’ve seen in any game.

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Nightswimming at the Mines of Moria

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.
-R.E.M.

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