Tuesday, January 26

Did you know ...

Kingsmouth has the tallest lighthouse in the entire north-eastern United States!

Sunday, January 24

AoC News

Robert E. Howard's birthday recently passed so it's time for some AoC news :)

Things, as ever, are moving forward in AoC. Patch 1.5 bought us the itemisation revamp along with the Commons District and now we have patch 1.6 looming on the horizon. 1.6 introduces Tier 3 raiding and a massive guild revamp. Guild's will now be able to gain/grind renown, guild cities made it clear from the outset guilds are important, this revamp confirms it and has some added bonuses, those bonuses include a tonne of RP elements to bring your guild city alive, as it stands a guild city has already seen some substantial growth, many vendors, whores, soldiers and trainers have moved in to take advantage of the protection and shelter and soon an abundance of decorations, statues and plant life will become available to those prepared to work for it. From what I've seen I would say RP players aren't grind/large guild orientated and these things will remain less than RP and just simple decorations for guilds who have achieved everything else? There are a couple of smaller RP elements introduced including the ability to rent out rooms in a tavern for those wanting to RP something of an adult nature or maybe for privacy to plot and scheme.

Some of the new renown items:

Full info on Guild Renown

AoC has always been balanced around group play, sadly as yet one of their promised crowning glories; mass sieges, have yet to be optimised, that along with probably one of the worst crafting systems out there and not enough PvP variety are a few rather sharp, deep thorns in it's side that may well be overlooked by some returners and maybe new players. 1.6 does promise some new PvP but it's likely to come towards the end of this set of patching. House of Crom, the new play field will be part of 1.6 but has yet to hit the test servers.

Tier 3 raiding along with a new token system for raid loot is already on the test server and is getting good reviews, seems that the more interesting mechanics, started with the Thunder River instance of Xibaluku have been carried forward in to raid instances. As somebody who enjoys the concept of 24 people working in harmony towards an end, I'm looking forward to T3, it's easy to tire of the hamster wheel of raiding and a recent visit back to my old guild shows that the majority there felt the same and have hung up their swords, staves and bows, maybe they will return when T3 hits live?

Further trickles of news about the expansion show cases some of the faction armours:

The Last legion

The Brittle Blade

The Scarlet Circle

Scholars of Cheng-ho

Tamarin Tigers

Wolves of the Steppes

The Shadows of Jade

Children of Yagkosha

The Hyrkanians

Looking forward to new raid content , the rest 1.6 has to offer and the 'Rise of the Godslayer' expansion was enough to get me back in to the game, rolled a carbon copy of my Tempest of Set back on the Hyrkania RP server, I transferred my toons to Crom a while back, so far it's been a joy, discovering the new twists and turns introduced since I last started a new toon, relishing the lush graphics and the so very nicely written quests and lore, after the dissapointment of Aion and the many F2P titles I tried, it feels like I've come home again. The new server merges this week will see an increase in population on our quiet RP server with no signs of discontent, it seems they did their homework well. The English speaking community will see the servers go down from 6 to 4.

Nahkti (V2) Facing a foe during his last act of heroism in Tortage

Wednesday, January 20

A little audio/visual distraction

IMPORTANT: Watch in full screen.

It's breakbeat so don't let the initial calm fool you and prepare for the shock of some joyous audio anarchy midway through. Enjoy :)

Sunday, January 17

Past experiences

I just stumbled upon this one:

From before the AvP franchise got fscked up by Hollywood,
the original Aliens vs Predator game by Rebellion for just 2,99€.

The Marine campaign is still one of the best computer-game attempts at capturing a movie's feel and atmosphere ever.
And multiplayer allows you to fight the final fight on an LV-422 map amongst others.
It's a good way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Hey! It's raining, and it's Sunday afternoon!

New experiences

Standing on a stepladder inside a closet in order to screw tight a screw.

Definately a first time experience for me.

In defence of the ludricous mental image, the closet is 7.7 feet high or 236 cm with an inside height of 226 cm. Width is 150cm or 4.9 feet and 66cm or 2 feet depth. Mounting the sldiing doors were also a new experience, but a painful one at that.

Friday, January 8

What to do?

Let me start of the New Year by wishing all the best for the coming year to everyone still reading this excuse for a Blog.

I've had a busy time of it.
Moving house, losing one job and getting another. Damn! I'm going to miss those 4 day weekends. THe regular ones are way too short and has too many people shopping on Saturdays and not enough stores open on Sundays.
With any luck I'll be rid of the old place completely this Monday. Handing in the keys.
I'm also grudginly settling into that 5x8.5 hours work schedule...

This means I have more regular hours to play MMO's in even if I actually have fewer irregular free time. So what should I do with it? I haven't been missing MMO's quite as much as I expected. I've been hanging out in Second Life a lot over the last half year or so and that accounts for some of it, but it doesn't quite give me that MMO fix. More importantly it doesn't give me my killing things with Phè fix.
So I put this to Phè a week or so ago and got some responses:

"Although I love Fallen Earth it is not really the game for you. It has an even higher fail/success ratio as Vanguard for you, I think. You will be more iritated by the flaws than enjoying the charms."

This one puzzled me a bit, my problem with Vanguard is that it's so close to what I want it to be but falling just short of it that the flaws indeed spoil the charms for me. I don't have that much of an emotional response to Fallen Earth. If Vanguard is the Incredibly cool Rock Band which touched my soul but somehow sells out at the same time, Fallen Earth is the quirky brainy Indie Pop band I kinda dig but never bought any records from.

I keep meaning to revisit it, but somehow never get around to it. Something I haven't managed to formulate stops me. Maybe it's a spectre of fear for having to manage spreadsheets just to keep track of Inventory and crafting components, or maybe it's a more generic sense of "I'll just end up bored with it in a few months like I always do". I'm not sure. I just know it's not what Phè thinks, or at least not the way it came across :-)

So what are the other options? Top of the list come COH, LOTRO and EQ2,
I actually fired up CoX one more time, and I wish I hadn't...
If I hadn't I'd have remembered it with nostalgia as a great game that unfortunately I'd outgrown the Superness aspect of, I've never been one to enjoy superheroes or vigilantes much you see. But fire it up I did and I had a real hard time coping with its dated graphics engine this time. It didn't help that I spawned at Facemakers, the clothing store, as this made the realization that while COX's customization is awesome inits expansiveness if I want to play dressup doll I really should stick with Second Life instead.
So CoX is off the list and I regret having tried it. Maybe with the new City, I mean expansion, that promises a GFX overhaul? CoX Gameplay is still rock solid and some of the best, especially when it comes to scaling and generated content Scripted, User or Randomized.


I know Phè has some deep seated personal trauma regarding EverQuest II which means we'll probably never get to explore the rich lore of Norrath together which I think is a shame. EverQuest II really does a lot of things right, and you really need some friends to play with in order to really enjoy it these days as the lower levels are a bit desolate now.
And it seems Phè also has a bit of a snobbish streak (just teasing) as the following sentiment shows: Maybe Allods could work. If it looks great for an F2P that means it doesn't look great at all to me, and I rather skip it.
Great for an F2P in my book means it's great period. Since there's very little difference in terms of quality between the two different styles. It just depends on whether you prefer to play in a system that wants you to hang around and grind alot raking in that subscription fee or a system that wants you to all but pay per view for your direct fun. Personally I'm leaning more towards the latter of late. F2P generally costs more on a Monthly basis than subscription based games, that's true. I can understand if that's a problem for some.
Allods Online tickles my "want to discover a new game and its systems" bone more than my "this is something I can spend months of my life playing" artery though so maybe I'll just go it alone when and if it launches or lets me into the Beta. I don't consider it a long term investment really. And I would really like to prod buttock and slay critters that look at us funny with Phè.

So what's left? LotRO?
I get the feeling it's mentioned because Phè hasn't got an actual cause for dislike rather than an avid interest. I mean, I gave him a copy for free 10 months ago and spent three months in Middle Earth all by my self afterwards. Not a sterling statement of interest that :-)
I liked LotRO more than I expected, but I never really touched base with the community for some reason. It's pretty close to EQ-2 in some good respects but my main qualm is that the only two classes I really liked were the two that had been introduced with the Moria expansion. Warden and Runekeeper.

It so happens those two are rather well suited for both Solo and Duo play, maybe even a small group of three. Warden is a spear wielding (Yay!) tank/melee DPS hybrid class with a combo system that's reminiscent of Age of Conan, and the Runekeeper is a DPS/Healer Hybrid which works a bit like some CoX classes. I.e. you build up power in either DPS or Healing by casting Runes of that type. Casting a Rune of the other branch negates the buildup. So a Runekeeper can spend a few minutes nuking away and dealing ever more damage, then heal him/herself and lose most of that Overkill whilst saving his/her skin or that of his/her mate.

So what do I do?
- Further ruin fond memories of CoX by forcing myself to play it at this time?
- Browbeat Phè into giving EverQuest-II a shot knowing it'll never get a fair shot?
- Give Fallen Earth another shot and run the risk of disappointing Phè by not liking it or worse, repeat the "Vanguard effect" within myself?
- Try LotRO and somehow convince Phè to play a Runekeeper?
- Do something completely different?

Darn. I think Phè and my expectations of the other's enjoyment of these games are almost completely opposite to each other. We really have not been playing together for way too long is the message.
Of course if we somehow manage to cross this huge hurdle and find something we both enjoy step#2 is to get Geeky on board too :-)

Sorry for the rambliness, apparent Phè bashing and otherwise low quality of this post. I just threw this out with no editting as it's something I've been thinking about in the back of my head this last week and I really felt I should put something on here even if it's of low quality.
I'm really not trying to bash on Phè's chocies. I do think there's one or two less than perfectly nuanced opionions concerning some games on his part but that's a crime I'm just as guilty of and quite alright with me when it doesn't get in the way of us having fun together. :-)