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2,000th Post

Where does the time go – I started this blog back in 2006 and have been posting fairly frequently ever since. I’ve met some wonderful people and some not so wonderful people. I’ve shared my experiences with numerous games over that period and I’ve had fun writing ‘my way’ which is typically drama free (and results in less comments but is true to my nature). Back in 2006 EQ2 was my game of choice, and while my desire to play it has faded over time I always look at it with fond memories. These days I bounce between a handful of games, at the moment the list includes EQ1, Vanguard, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Rift, and The Lord of the Rings Online, Sims 3, and whatever else happens to strike my fancy.

On the game ‘news’ front this week is pretty exciting. There were test patch notes released for 4.3 (World of Warcraft) and today 1.5 is going live in Rift which is bringing about all sorts of goodies. We’re counting down to the Sims 3 Pets release, and SW:TOR was also given a release date. I’m excited about Skyrim, which is supposed to release November 11th if all goes well. There’s a handful of other notable games releasing over the next few months that I’m sure have people pretty excited. It’s a great time to be a gamer (and a writer of said games).

I just want to thank everyone who continues to read this site, and any newcomers. While I write for myself (and always will) it’s incredibly heartwarming to know there are others out there reading about my adventures and sharing in my virtual travels. As always, happy gaming no matter where you find yourself. Hugs!

What Are We Waiting For #LotRO #W101 #WoW #EVE

It seems to be the time of year where we’re all waiting for things in our various games. The only exception (for me personally) at this time is EQ2, which has been abysmally quiet. The server merges have not taken place and aside from the push of the market place there wasn’t even a celebration in game for Thanksgiving. I suppose technically we are waiting on Frostfell to begin, but since this is a typical in game holiday I’m going to exclude it from the list. So. What are we waiting for?

LotRO – the November update which is (I believe) scheduled to take place today. This is going to introduce tasks, a whole slew of crafting changes (including farming), a barter wallet, class consumables, new mounts, new dye, and numerous other changes and goodies for players. Personally, I’m excited. I’m not a fan of the new shop window that will appear in the crafting panel and I’m not fond of how games are pushing their stores towards players who already pay the monthly subscription fee (it should be omitted if you have a subscription imo) but in F2P games this seems to be the new norm.

EVE – Incursion. While the really cool bits like the new character creator and sansha incursions won’t begin until January 2011, there are changes happening before then as well. (Scheduled at this time for November 30th). The learning skills are being removed and any points you’ve spent towards them are being reimbursed. There are new story line courier missions. There are numerous UI changes, camera changes, and ammo changes. New ships are being added. There is another patch coming just before Christmas which has very little details, and then the major incursion changes in January. Excited? Of course!

WoW – Cataclysm. Releasing December 7th we have already been privy to a whole bunch of changes. It would be impossible for me to list them all but a few that stand out are the class / race combo changes, hunters being able to tame foxes, lower level dungeons having the quest NPC’s added to the actual zones instead of you having to track them all down, of course there are the actual zone changes with the Shattering. Living through a cataclysm is great. It’s certainly not the first time one has taken place, but I do enjoy the entire world changing. There were new factions added and players have been busy dungeon grinding to raise them up. With those new factions came new mounts, and lets not forget the awesome Plants vs. Zombie tribute sunflower pet where you actually have to play a version of plants and zombies in game.

Wizard 101 – Gardening. Tipa has been posting her progress on the test server and I have to admit, it looks like fun. While I don’t play wizard 101 nearly as often as I’d like, I’m still a fan of the game and its unique combat style. I love seeing these types of updates, and I’m interested in diving right in and starting my own garden. I still haven’t even checked out Celestia, or any of the worlds after Krokotopia (Marleybone, Mooshu, Dragonspyre) but that is more of a lack of time then anything else.

The holidays are just around the corner and most of these games will also be adding some sort of winter update (including pretty much every single other MMO out there). I tend to avoid the real life holiday crowds as much as I can (I was diagnosed with  agoraphobia and it makes things difficult) and look forward to partaking in these virtual celebrations. Of course much of the month will also be taken up with family festivities so you may see a dip in posts, but I’ll do my best.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Protected: Day 5: Password is NaNoWriMo #LotRO #NaNoWriMo

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Taking in the Changes

It was bound to happen sooner or later. The lure of cosmetic gear in the LotRO store was calling my name. With my saved up turbine points yesterday I picked up three new pieces, and placed them in my wardrobe. Pleased that I can share the items across all characters that way, I think it was a good purchase. I love how the prices are incredibly reasonable, I don’t have to debate with myself over spending $10+ for a single outfit (Ahem, EQ2 I’m looking at you).

Lysthia the Minstrel is now level 33, Toargo and I spent some time yesterday completing Tier II skirmishes which are a LOT harder then Tier 1. We gathered a lot of tokens which I used to upgrade a few pieces of gear as well as my protector soldier. I wanted to work on some crafting, but I need to complete a metalsmith quest before I am able to move on to the next tier. Lysthia is my Armourer, able to do prospecting, metalsmithing, and tailoring. My other characters include a tinkerer, woodsman(woman) and historian – this allows me to have one of everything, and it works well. I’m eager to get back to doing regular quests. While skirmishes are a great source of xp if you do them as dailies, they don’t drop enough of the ‘other stuff’ that I enjoy like crafting materials and potions. Not to mention you miss out on the whole adventuring and exploring aspect of the game.

I spent a fair amount of time in WoW trying to get used to 4.0.1. My priest has changed a good amount. Number one, power regen was removed from all gear which meant that a lot of my heal set was now unnecessary. All mana regen gems were changed to spirit, which now controls in combat (and out) regen exclusively it seems. I no longer have a spirit buff, which is not too big of a deal since the stats on every single piece of gear has changed. My DPS 2h staff now only sports stam which I was sad to see, so I’ve switched to the 1h and off hand item full time for both specs. I decided to go discipline once more but I haven’t actually healed any level 80 heroics yet, so I can’t really give my opinion on those changes. I do not like how many justice items are required to purchase heirloom gear. Previously you could purchase shoulders or a bp for 40 emblems, which I had just enough of but neglected to puchase before 4.0.1 – now they are 2100+ justice which is FAR beyond what any other piece of gear costs, including the frost gear. When my emblems transferred to the new type it left me just shy of 600. A far cry from the 2100 required.

The earthquakes that are plaguing Azeroth are neat – but they cause me to have incredible bouts of vertigo. I have to close my eyes or look away until they pass. Having my screen shake up and down is not fun.

I don’t mind change but having to re-learn how to play all of my characters in each spec is daunting. I’ve been concentrating on the priest first because that’s my ‘main’ and the other characters I have will take a back seat. It gives me a headache now just to think of it. I haven’t even logged the paladin or death knight in to see how the changes have affected them, nor the rogue. One step at a time.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Yesterday Was Huge

I can’t remember the last time I had such an eventful day gaming so I’m going to go through each game one by one and my thoughts on them. The ones I’m playing, of course. Pictured above – my new home in EQ1! Doesn’t it look awesome. I need to purchase more trees for my lot, but so far I’m incredibly happy.

EverQuest (1): House of Thule went live and with it came a level cap increase (90) which of course also means new everything. Player housing was also released, and it’s just great (refer to my video yesterday for details). I spent a good chunk of time playing with my housing, and since I have the collectors edition I also had a lot of neat things to claim, including two paintings for the home, two mounts, and a few mercenary contract items. The down time was painless and I’d say out of all the updates yesterday the smoothest. I spent the morning watching the SOE Ustream event during the down time, and really appreciate the time and effort everyone put into it, especially since some had been at the office since 1am.

EverQuest 2: GU 58 went in yesterday. Some 5 room homes were given balconies which look really dang cool. I find it a little amusing that a 5-room home now has more item space then a T1 guild hall. I was a little put off by the fact that you can now purchase a 200 item expander from the market, as opposed to the 100 item expander (that don’t stack) crafted by players. $12. After playing both EQ2 and LotRO which have fairly elaborate markets, I feel that turbine does a MUCH better job on their price points. I really enjoy the new currency tab but wish it was shared across all characters so that I wouldn’t have to keep putting currency into my shared bank for alts. The new mount tab is also nice – but I still wish we had a quest item tab to clear out even more inventory space. The update had a number of bugs that still had to be worked out, and there was down time this morning for that. I haven’t tired the new zone yet, but new content is always good.

WoW: The game changing update 4.0.1 went in yesterday. The game didn’t come up until 9pm EST and then of course I had to disable every single AddOn I had until they’re updated. I like the changes to talents although it requires me to re-learn every single character I have which is not exactly fun. My single target dps is up on the shadow priest, but down in AoE damage. It felt odd to play her. I’m considering going holy instead of discipline, but I haven’t really decided yet. I went from 21,000 hp to 29,000 hp which was a nice change. I love what they’ve done to the talent window, the UI changes in general are nice looking. The graphic updates are quite nice. Azeroth is being plagued with earthquakes, and it’s giving me incredible bouts of vertigo, but a neat live event for the onset of a cataclysm.

LotRO: While there isn’t a huge patch going in right now – there is an incredible sale where you can purchase some quest packs for 75% off – and what’s more is if you actually quest through these packs you’ll make the turbine points back. Even though I have VIP access until February, I’m going to pick them up because – well, it’s just a fantastic sale and I know I won’t have a VIP account forever. The sale only goes on until midnight tonight, so be sure to take advantage of it. My Minstrel hit level 32 yesterday doing a few skirmishes, and I’m really excited about exploring further.

Happy gaming no matter where you find yourself!

Why so Much Emphasis?

After reading a number of early morning blog posts left over in my RSS reader from yesterday, I found myself wondering: Why do gamers put so much emphasis in what we and others are playing. Especially others. Why do we even care? Every day I read a post from one or more authors that includes some sort of semi derogatory remark condoning a group of players simply because of how they choose to spend their time. Or, to be more precise, where they choose to spend their time.

There are those who have made up their minds that everyone who plays a free to play game must be a certain ‘class’ of gamer. How dare they actually enjoy ‘the grind’ that comes with a lot of these games. Don’t they know that in the long run they’ll pay more for their “free” game then some people will pay for their monthly subscription?! Then there are the WoW gamers. Don’t even get me started on these people. I have heard everything from how close minded they are to how stupid they must be, simply because of where they choose to spend their time. It’s as though we as gamers have moved into certain categories and stereotypes not based on who we are, but because of where we play.You ask a fellow blogger their game of choice and suddenly your opinion of them shifts slightly.

So I ask again – why does this aspect of a person even matter. Why are we so keen to judge someone based on a persons decision to spend their free time where they wish. I have even heard people go so far as to say they do not like a particular person because they play certain games that they are not fond of. Really? Are we so shallow that we are now making character judgements based on video games?

I simply don’t understand it.

In my opinion it doesn’t matter where you play, so long as you have fun. In fact voicing my opinion about any other ‘type’ of gamer is a moot point because when it comes to how others are spending their time – my opinion doesn’t matter! It’s their time, their money, and what I think of the matter is completely irrelevant. I refuse to classify a person based on whether they’re playing EQ2, EQ, VG, LotRo, WoW, WAR, DDO, Darkfall, Wizard101, Runes of Magic, EVE, Alganon, Fallen Earth, Lineage II, Allods, Champions, STO, Free Realms, Aion, FFXIV, SWG, Guild Wars, AoC, or any other game.

Go play, and enjoy. Don’t like it? Move on and find something you DO enjoy. It’s a game. They’re supposed to be fun. There are SO many games out there and despite what others would say about them all cloning one another there are always unique factors to each and every game – you may be surprised at what you end up playing and enjoying. I implore gamers to make their own decisions about what they like and don’t like, and refuse to be classified into a category of gamer simply because of where they spend their time.

Questing with 500 of your Closest Friends

One thing I really miss from my EQ days is that feeling of “wow, this is bigger then us”. Those raids that involved people from all over the server, joining together for a better cause. Yesterday, I briefly felt this again in WoW, and it was a lot of fun. There’s a new world event in game and while I typically praised only EQ2 for having live events, that has changed. In this event you’re sent to take down one very specific character, and take back the Echo Isles (for the horde at least). There’s a series of quests that lead up to an eventual attack and it was a LOT of fun. Especially since this is open to everyone on that same portion of the quest, as the screen shot depicts above (we’re all charging into battle). It was a great time even though I had to turn off channels because – well. Because.

I was slightly disappointed with the rewards only because one was a cloak and since WoW has no appearance slots it’s not something I’d ever wear. I’d much rather a tabard to add to my collection, or a shirt. It was still a good time, and I was glad to have gained yet another achievement.

Speaking of collections, I’ve been working on the pet achievement. I own 43/50 so far, and I’m quickly approaching the final rank. Of course that meant browsing through the broker and purchasing absolutely every pet I could afford, but it was worth it (to me of course, I’m sure others think I’m insane).

The warlock is 20 emblems away from purchasing her 75 emblem hat, and I’m excited about that. It’ll be nice to have a meta slot, and have a full ‘set’ of gear although I still need to work on my other slots like jewelery. That will come in time. I’ve also had a good time working on my factions, and simply enjoying the game.

On a completely unrelated note, LotRO has gone F2P, and you can find me on the Landroval server if any of you plan on checking it out. Let me know who you’re there as, so I can add to friends! Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Weekend Gaming for Me

During the week I have very little choice in what games I play. I need to write about certain ones, or I need to prepare for an article, or I need to familiarize myself with it. Where I used to play video games for fun as a hobby, it turned into work, and thus I have been slightly less inclined to play on the weekends because of this. I am sure that would be true for anyone in my position. One thing I’ve done to ‘entice’ myself on weekends to still find the things I love in games is to make sure there are a few around that I play ‘only for me’ and not for work. Dragon Age, Sims 3, the Lord of the Rings Online, and a few other games I have fit into that category.

I spent pretty much all weekend playing Sims 3, and I had so much fun. The game is so involved compared to the older versions, and I giggled and laughed over their antics. I also went out to EBGames (after some groceries and other chores of course) and picked up the latest expansion, World Adventures. I installed it, and then barely touched it because I was still having so much fun completing the goals in the first game.

While I was at EBGames, I also found a collectors edition copy of the Lord of the Rings Online for $10! Wow, what a deal. This comes with the original game, the Mines of Moria expansion, a map, a small bag with ‘the one ring’ inside, a poster, a soundtrack CD, an art book, and a few other goodies. Even though I already have a LoTRO account, I’m tempted to start this second one up and close down my first one (my highest character is level 19, which I am fairly confident I could reach again). Maybe I can find a friend who would like the first account and they won’t have to purchase the game (or Mirkwood, as I’ve already bought that) and they can just take over the billing, who knows.

In any case, it was a great weekend, with lots of gaming but not the usual games I play. I did get some more EQ2 time in, and worked on a few achievements as well as finishing off the Chronomagic quest from Sunday which was Acadachism. I didn’t get the three final aa that I need, nor did I work on NaNoWriMo at all, which means today I’m well behind. Hoping to take care of that as soon as I post this entry.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

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