What gaming site's do you use?

Windows 7 updated with Window's live mail this week.  I dislike using Windows stuff, but to be honest, I was looking for a way to put all my feeds and email accounts in one place.  I am not going to install Outlook as I refuse to pay for something I used to get for free :) So, while I was waiting on all the accounts to download into the program, I started going through the websites I read on a regular basis.  When I worked out of the house, I used Netvibe's religiously.  Since I've been home, I really don't use it.  I am not sure why my user habit's have changed, but they have.

oh, I do know.  I bought a blackberry!  I do things like read feeds, email, twitter, facebook and so forth on my fabulous little machine.  I am one of those people who is walking around looking at a screen LOL!

Back on topic, so I was going through a list of feed's I had in netvibes.  Several are no longer relevant, several no longer update, and I found by the time I whittled down the list, it looked a little puny.

Massively

DDOcast

A Casual Stroll to Mordor

Zam

DDO daily

Keen and Graev's Gaming blog

That's all I have right now.  I know I sometimes click through to another gaming site, but there has to be some awesome things out there  simply not on my radar.

So I am asking ya'll.  You guys always know more than I do.  What do you read?  Where are you getting your gaming news?  Are there any gaming blogs you really like?

*** Odds~n~Ends***

I have my DDO static group tonight.  We are trying to get everyone flagged for an Stealer of Souls run in the Refuge.  I think we have 2 or 3 members that have never seen it.  I should have bought a case of beer!  I figure I am going to spend a lot of time biting my tongue so I don't spoil the surprise's for them :D

As an aside, the small guild bonus's seem to working right.  Playing once a week, we have gotten to around level 13 or 14, guild-wise.  I have no idea how long it will take us to get to a level where we can buy a guild ship, but it's the current carrot out in front of us.  We have almost all capped our toons.  We need something to work towards, and for now the guild ship is it :)  We've considered Reincarnating and using a dice roller to see who ends up as what character and race wise.  Could make for an interesting group LOL!!!

There have been a few hiccups with the EUibes transfers, but for the most part it seems to be working.  IMPORTANT: If you are receiving an error , please remove the dashes (-) from your Transfer key when entering it into the tool. (via DDO.com)

My static group plays on Ghallanda.  I am not sure how this is going to affect our log on times and lag, but I am hopeful tonight I will see a bunch of peeps I don't recognize!

I am off to finish dinner and then I am gonna spend a few hours in Stormreach!  Please leave me a comment here, or tweet me with some websites to check out!

Game on!!!

Europe FINALLY gets to transfer...and odds and ends :)

After six weeks of waiting, today is the day the EUbies (thanks TurbineTolero for putting this name in my head LOL) FINALLY arrive in mass with their old characters from Keeper and Devourer. *claps*

I am not going to wax poetic on the losses to their community as members who didn't want to recreate characters simply fell away from the game.  What I am hoping will happen is a resurrgence of passion amongst their community as they see familiar names running through Stormreach.  I am beyond excited this has born fruit worth eating.

The FAQ went up this morning over at DDO.com.  I perused most of it and found it well thought out, answering most of what I personally wanted to know.  I am hoping after feeling like the forgotten child in the corner, the European players read hope in the article.  IF they can read it.  I know most of the world can speak English, reading it can be an entirely different matter.  Players within the community are translating the FAQ amongst themselves into their native language.  The French version is already up.

Looks like most stuff IS going to transfer.  The special items in your personal bank, equipped items and personal inventory look like they will transfer.  If you had a founder's helm's and other items from limited edition boxed sets, they will be on the characters who already have them, but will not be available for newly created characters.  I am beyond 100% sure there will be hiccups, but I am super bloody thankful this is happening at last.

Guilds, Friends lists, Ignore lists, Mail, Auctions, ETC. will not transfer.  To be honest, that didn't surprise me.  I am pleased as punch EUbies are getting as much as they are.

The one massive "eww" moment on the FAQ came with the favor issue.  From what I am reading your total favor is transferring, however the rewards for said favor are not.  So drow and favored soul status is going to irk some people.  It is suggested in the FAQ you can re-earn favor on another character to pop drow/favored soul open on the server, buy it from the store, or maybe you have a character who had earned the favor, but never got the opportunity to speak with Nyx.  Personally, I think buying these two from the DDO store will be less of a headache.  This DDO store purchase is account wide and not simply server based.

I have really only hit the high points on the FAQ list.  Please please read the faq.  The transfer tool goes live around 6pm EST.  That appears to be 23:00 Central Europe time.  Super late, but I am sure some of you will be drinking coffee with your fingers hovering over the button.  Of course after six weeks of waiting, what's one more night, right?

***

Odd and Ends

The hubby and I played some DDO on Argo last night.  We checked out the Mabar event, and after 2 hours of waiting around, we were able to step into the spectral dragon instance.  Reading about the event, I didn't think it would work well.  Playing it, I realized DDO players can work through anything.  Using general chat and party invites to coordinate, we seamlessly beat the encounter.  Had a blast and crafted a Cloak of night to level 12 after hitting the auction house for some Motes of Night.  I really hope we see more of these type of events.

DDOcast said goodbye to our Founder and leader this past Friday on Episode 191.  If you haven't heard, Jerry Snook has been stolen by Turbine.  We all tried to get some kind of shared custody agreement to no avail.  He has garnered a dream job, and we all wish him well.  I spent most the cast silently trying not to sob over the mic.  I will miss him on the show and in my gaming world.  He has been an amazing friend, has taught me to be a better balanced podcaster, writer and has introduced me to many games and fun times.

Clanky put together this fantastic graphic.  I am using it as my wallpaper.  It reminds me to never stop dreaming.

JerrySnookWallpaper1280x1024
JerrySnookWallpaper1280x1024

Anne and Sigfried Trent are taking over the reins of the show.  I think Sylvurdragon is dubbing it DDOcast 2.0.  I like it.  One era is over and another starts.  I am going to try and stay with the show.  I have loved being a part of it, and learn so much from participating.  I have no idea what the Trent's have planned, but I am hopeful they will make an announcement over the next few days alerting all of us to what the future holds.

Fullscreen capture 1112010 50116 PM
Fullscreen capture 1112010 50116 PM

I am going to have to boycott my local electronics store.  They send out these $5.00 certificates whenever I spend enough money with them.  I had a certificate that was going to expire and walked through the store trying to decide which of the bevy of goodies I would buy this time around.  Fable 3 called out to me.  Being me, I of course bout the Collector's edition. I loved the packaging this came in, and the free hunter's lodge zone is pretty awesome.  I have been spending hour's playing through the storyline.  If you have played any of the other two Fable's, you know the story always seemed light hearted.  This third incarnation, has a really well thought out and decidedly darker, edgier plot.  I've been buying real estate, doing all the sidequests, and enjoying the heck out of the game.  If  you need a certain Demon door opened and are looking for a friend, add me to your friends list.  I don't mind making some extra cash while helping you out :D

I am off to box up the halloween decorations and shove something in the oven for dinner.  Then I will have to choose what I play.  Fable will probably win.

GAME ON!!!

P.S.  I have taken down the server status widgets for DDO and LOTRO.  Neither seem to be working atm.  I have added a search box for EQ2 at Zam.  This is probably more for my use than yours, but it is my site :D

Exploring more on Free to play

I love Twitter. I pretty much have an addiction to it. I spent 8 days at a girlfriend's this month. She had neither cable nor internet. It was like living in the dark ages! Ok, that's probably a little melodramatic, but can I say that based on the experience I may have noticed I twitched for my phone on a regular basis to check twitter, my email and facebook. This morning my twitter told me Champions Online announced they would be going Free to play early next year. ( Thank you Anne!) I wouldn't say I found the news unbelievable. It's becoming a popular refrain from the gaming companies.

I then found myself in a spirited conversation about Free to play. My feelings on it really couldn't be contained in 140 characters. Good thing I keep this blog around. :)

I don't hate Free to play for it's own sake. I should make that crystal clear. I have played Free to play games and even enjoyed a handful of them.

What I don't enjoy is when a pay to play game goes Free to play mid-stream.

Of course it has it's pros. People who have wanted to try the game have no barrier to entry. They can "try" the game for longer than a trial, and continue to play and perhaps pay according to their own terms.

From my own perspective, when a game I have been playing has switched it's business model, I've found it frustrating.

It goes beyond the forum cries of "children and posers." It's about the way the changes the store can bring to the way I approach a game.

I don't think I am entirely alone in this, but I am perhaps in a minority?

For instance, in DDO, I found the community changed. The player base before free to play had generally been tight knit, older, and well versed in Pnp rules of play. After free to play Turbine found they needed to add "signs" to the landscape to alert players to quest lines available to them. I found this disturbing. I'd played DDO and never found myself at a loss for where to go next, but the influx of new players seemed unable to follow the story lines from Korthos through the harbor into the Marketplace etc. I won't say the new people were dumb, but it was as if they were in such a hurry to blow through the content they couldn't or wouldn't read and enjoy the story.

The player base experienced a definite split. The has and has nots or rather I pay and you don't. People began putting up groups excluding free to play players. I didn't like it, but to be honest, some things took some getting used to. If you put up a LFM and weren't paying attention, you would find yourself running to an entrance and your group would thin out as players realized they didn't have the adventure pack. It made some guilds become terribly insular as they choose to simply skip PUGs all together and join alliances where they found other subscribers who knew the content and played with skill.

After reincarnations hit the game, and really I've ranted enough about Turbine's lame attempt to keep players interested in the game once they'd tapped their head on the 20th level cap, the Hearts of Wood hit the store. I didn't know these weren't lootable and it shocked me. When Turbine took the turn of only offering something in the store for real cash I didn't like it. ( as an aside according to Madfloyd's blog post on myddo.com in update 7 Hearts of wood should begin to drop in level appropriate chests!)

When guild housing FINALLY came to DDO, Astral Diamonds could only be found in the store.

LOTRO went Free to play a few months ago. I have to be honest here, I have only logged into it a few times. I paid the rent on the house I worked so hard to decorate and to check out a few things.

I still get the constant stream of "ad" emails from Turbine. The last one just kinda sent me over the edge. "Last chance to buy your Special Summer steed mount!"

One of my absolute favorite things about LOTRO was the festivals. I looked forward to them. I know when both the spring and summer festival's launched this last year I had my finger hovering over the "launch game" button. I worked my rear end off to earn tokens fishing, running races, and by gods I won't even tell you all the things I crafted and sold on the auction house to earn the gold for my spring and summer steeds.

Now you can buy all the housing items and steeds from the store. :(

Dyes. I made a bunch of money off of gathering the ingredients, farming and then using my scholar to make dyes in LOTRO. You can now buy dyes in the store.

The hubby used his cook to make food and sell it on the auction house. You can now buy it in the store.

I could go on, but it's simply disheartening.

It's not that I begrudge people the opportunity to play the game any way they choose to. It's that when I play a game and enjoy it, and then they rip the rug out from underneath me and tell me "Hey, don't work so hard, just use your credit card" I tend to get a little pissed off.

I LIKED playing LOTRO the way I was playing it. Sure I could still work my rearend off for things, but it stings a little when I see someone riding by on their summer steed and I wonder if they "earned" it or bought it. It DOES make a difference to me.

Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe I am being shallow and narrow minded. Maybe it's because when I started MMO gaming the idea of paying for your gear was repugnant and would get you banned, not only by the game, but by your gaming friends that I simply can't seem to pull the trigger and get with the times.

So yes, for now I am only playing DDO once a week with my static group. I haven't touched LOTRO. I am sticking with EQ2 because the way they chose to handle F2P suits me. The F2P servers are completely separate from the subscriber servers. People still have the chance to try EQ2 out and play and pay for it their way, but I can play it MY way and subscribe to it and not worry that I am going to work for 6 months on my Epic gear only to see it as an option in the store a year from now.

I think in future if a game launches Free to play I won't have any issue starting out just like everyone else. If a game launches with a subscription model, I won't be buying a lifetime subscription, and I think I'll wait and see if it goes Free to play. Why buy?

Perhaps I am an old fuddy duddy. That's ok. At least there are still options open to me. I suppose if all else fails there is always World of Warcraft! *throws up a little in her mouth*

We should all pay attention to the disclaimer that pops up on screen every time we log into a game.

Gameplay May Change During Online Play

Game on!!!

OT: You are more than just a military wife

***WARNING  The following article does not discuss video gaming in any way! You have been warned!*** I have learned a lot about labels in the last few years. Mostly, how much being labeled can define you if you let it.

For instance, as a military wife, The United States Navy labeled me as a "dependent."

Let's look at that word for a minute.

As defined by Webster's dictionary.

–nouna person who depends on or needs someone or something for aid, support, favor, etc.

Ummm... ewww!  I have no idea whose bright idea it was to come up with "dependent", but I would like to meet him in a dark alley someday. Honestly, as if life weren't full enough of obstacles, the USN thinks of me as dependent.  Fabulous.

I railed against the label for the first year of my marriage.  I had worked the last 7 years to find my independence, further my career, stand on my own two feet, and spit in the eye of any male who looked my way with "I am your hero and can save you" in his expression.   I'd met and married a good man, one who supported my dreams with love, but didn't try and run my life.  I was ecstatic.  Score one for 30 something single women everywhere.

We had been married less than twenty four hours when I began to understand I wasn't in full control of the situation at hand.

My newly minted husband drove us onto a local military base.  I felt intimidated by the guards wearing weapons at the gate, by the institutional buildings, and masses of uniformed men and women walking around.  I didn't belong here, I thought, as he grabbed my hand and walked me into the ID office.  After a long wait, a woman looked over my marriage certificate, passport, social security card, and all manner of documents before telling me to smile and look at the camera so she could get a picture for my dependent card.

I think I stopped breathing for a moment.  In  a fog, I could hear the lady asking me several times if I wanted my picture retaken.  I didn't.

My wonderful new husband had neglected to tell me my new title.  I don't think he saw it as any big deal.  Well either that, or he knew it was a big deal and figured  I wouldn't kill him in public!

I carried around an ID for two years where I wore an expression of shock and anger.

I dove head first into everything Navy.  I took classes on being a new military spouse, volunteered for the FRG, and read every book available on navigating the military maze.

Know what I discovered?

You are only as dependent as you think you are.  All my hard work didn't mean I was any more in control of my life than if I had let myself relax into it.  The Navy still told me when I could see my husband, where I would live and for how long, and how little closet space I would have thanks to the bazillion assorted uniforms.

On the occasion of his re-enlistment, an officer gifted me with a certificate listing among my many attributes, my unselfish and unwavering support of my husband.

I think in that moment standing on the deck of a battleship everything crystallized.   I counted as long as I was with him.  It's like the military lives in a time warp.  A 1950's time warp.

Surely I am more than just his wife?  I've had my own social security number for years, but when asked for it by a doctor's office the other day, I gave his.

I had acquaintances who couldn't figure out how much money they had because their hubby paid all the bills.  One girl moved while her hubby was away and was found outside her place of business balling her eyes out because she couldn't remember her address.  Another doesn't drive at all and has to call friends when her hubby is away.   Another quit college and moved to our base so she could stay home and just be a wife for a while.

Another favorite of mine is the email/phone call game I've watched be played out on facebook, at dinners, meetings, on a picnic or at the beach.

Imagine a group of spouses from the same command in a room.   One says "I've had an email every other day."  Next one counters with "Oh I had one everyday." Only to be one upped by the next one who announces "I had a phone call yesterday and emails every day." This game can go on and on until someone just gives in and walks away defeated wondering why her spouse can't find the time to email 5 times a day and call every night.  

It's sorta sad to watch how we fee the need to prove our spouses love us more than someone else's .  Or, let there be no mistake, one will say "Oh, well your husband doesn't actually have all that much to do I suppose.  Mine is busy working hard and can't spend that much time on his rearend writing me."  (Picture my face when I heard this conversation go on behind me at another command's party!)

I don't get it.  When I said it was a time warp, I wasn't kidding.  Out of my command, I can only think of a handful of spouses who are happy and fulfilled in their own right.  I am not saying you need to be working full time out of the home to be fulfilled.  You don't.  I just don't know many spouses who feel like they are fulfilling their own dreams and they seem to spend a lot of time being bitter about it.

I've had moments when a coffee creamer commercial brings me to tears and my hands freeze when I do a load of laundry and his socks fall out of the basket.   We all have those moments, but for me they are just moments.  I don't live in the dark spaces in between missions.  I live my own life.  Sometimes he's here, sometimes he's not, but in between I live.

And in living I have found and cherish relationship's with women who inspire me to be more than I am.  In my circle we each have a set of skills the others can rely on when needed.  I've watched a mom of 6 volunteer her time at the USO, for her FRG and raise her kids with joy everyday.  Her best friend, a mom of two, is one of the most organized women I know and never fails to make me laugh at myself.  A fellow gamer and military wife I know never lets  the every changing schedule of missions get her down and takes me out on girly dates.  Another wife I know has a career she's never let the military get in the way of.

Everyone of these women makes me strive to live with more tolerance of those around me who haven't quite gotten to a place where they can find their own way.

I am more than just a military wife.  I can let the label represent me, anger me, own me.  Or I can just say it's a part of who I am, but not the whole.

I am thinking of leaving the following answering message on my cell phone.

"I am sorry I am unable to answer the phone right now. 1. If you are calling to whine, plead or moan about your life, please hang up and talk to a mirror.  If you aren't getting emails, don't panic.  If you are calling to tell me how many emails/phone calls you are getting, please refer to number 1.   If you really feel the need,  please leave a message and I'll probably text you back.  Have a blessed day."

Too much? Probably, but if you are wondering if I am screening my calls? I am :D

DSC00836
DSC00836

As an aside, last time my husband went to sea, our puppy tried to get in his bag.

Cracked me up.

Maybe I can sneak into his sea bag next time? *ponders*

Summer's ending with Free to play

sentinels_fate_boxart
sentinels_fate_boxart

I've had a busy summer.  So many games, so little time.   I can feel the fall nip in the air here at the beach at last.  I am so grateful.  As I type out this blog, I have all the windows in my house thrown open to welcome the breeze. Mostly what I've been up to is Everquest II while huddled under the fan blades escaping the sweltering heat.  I'd been avoiding Everquest.  I didn't want to jump back into that world.  I lived it for 5 years in the original incarnation, lovingly referred to as Evercrack.  The hubby had picked up the box a half dozen times in our trips to my favorite electronics store, and I finally just picked up a couple of boxes.  I've spent 126 hours in the game so far, and I like it.  There are many reason's.

The biggest one being the way Sony chose to handle Free to play.  We'd signed up for the game on the subscription servers shortly after the announcement EQ2 would be free to play under the banner Everquest II Extended.  I knew from having read articles, Sony was creating Free to Play servers.  The subscription servers would be left mostly untouched.  Free to Play would be relegated to a seperate realms, and the character transfers would not be available between the subcription and Free to play servers.

After being hooked on LOTRO for months, Turbine's decision to move towards the free to play model left me desolate.  I began to notice I wasn't logging in as much, and my enjoyment seemed tarnished.  When I worked on deeds or towards a crafting goal, I wondered whether I was wasting my time since in a few months I would just buy the horse, potion or decorative item through the LOTRO store.

LOTRO launched F2P this past Friday.  I am sure it will bring a crop of new players to the beautiful Tolkien  world.  I still log into the game from time to time.  Mostly, to pay the rent on my house I spent hours painstakingly decorating.  I am in hopes I will find the drive to play again.  The DDOcast build guild has been created on the Vilya Server.  They revived my love for DDO, perhaps they will be the prescription I need to kindle new fire for LOTRO.

In the meantime, I am meandering Norrath.  EQ2 takes place 500 years after Everquest.  The geography is familiar, but not.  Graphically, I like it.  It doesn't have the same eye goggling landscapes of LOTRO or DDO, but it satisfies for now.  It's a more complicated game, and I have sometimes logged off wondering if I need a degree to play it.  I am having fun, and for now I feel safe knowing the game I am playing is not going to be changed significantly in the future.

I like that.  I need that.  I am grateful for that.

GAME ON!!!

P.S.  I hear from the EU DDO players they still don't have a date on when they will have their transfers to the newly named Global DDO.  Opps I meant to say transfers to Ghallanda, since that is where they are being ported.  Not much "Global" about it atm.  This is one time when I wish I hadn't been right.  I am saddened.  It's been almost  month since Codemaster's shut down the EU servers.  I am desperately hoping something is done soon before they all find something else to do and abandon a game they have come to love.  This strange silence must end.

DDO Europe... poor sods

Turbine and Codemaster's made the long awaited announcement concerning the future of DDO Europe this week. To read the announcement from Codemaster's go here.  To read the FAQ up over at Turbine go here.

I am beyond upset about how all of this was handled.  We've all been trying to figure out what the hold up was over there in Europe.  It appears Codemaster's either couldn't or wouldn't negotiate a new deal to handle the DDO Eberron content.

What does this mean for players from Europe who hadn't already made the move to our servers?  They will no longer be able to log into the European servers as of August 20th.  Supposedly, a free transfer service will be offered to them at some point as well as a token of good faith, 5000 Turbine points.  I sure hope Turbine gets the server transfers going before the 20th.

The following question on the FAQ shows how little Turbine seemed prepared for this move.

If our characters are transferred to the global service, will it just be the characters or all of their items and equipment as well?

We will provide more information at a later date on www.ddo.com regarding the details of the transfer of character data.

EKKKKKKKK!!! I don't know about you, but if I had 4 years worth of gear and banks, I would be cringing at this answer. I know Codemasters offered some unique items that were not part of the database here stateside, but I sure am praying they can work out the kinks and move everything they can over for the everyone.

Turbine mentions the phrase "Global Service" several times.  I am not sure how they are defining "Global."  I am assuming they are perhaps going to have servers in Europe?  Atm, I don't know of any over there.  I do know they mentioned in the announcement that French and German languages would be in beta by the end of the year.  If they are using my calendar, that's 5 months...>.<

I am pretty heartsick over this. I think the paying customers of DDO Europe got bent over and screwed. I found the whole announcement skimpy on details and overall it gave little to the players other than a ton of frustrated stress over what was happening with their accounts.  Maybe this speaks to Turbine getting caught with their pants down, but if they were given advance notice on this, EPIC FAIL!!!

If this was happening to me after the back and forth of the past year, I would be beyond ticked off.

It's not new in the world of gaming. Take overs, server merges, and game shut downs have been happening more and more. I am just sorry that Turbine's name happened to be all over this one. While I have not always agreed with their style of communication, I haven't ever seen them act this bad since the entire Free to Play fiasco that ended up being painfully dragged out for a year.

Shame on you...just shame, shame, shame. :(

I am interested in hearing any opinions from the European players and from anyone else.  So let me know what you think, here or on twitter.

In other news, I finally finished Dragonage: Awakenings tonight.  I am terribly behind the times, but I am slowly finishing off my mammoth library of games.  I will try and write more of my impression's on it later.

Game On!!!

Odds and Ends...

The website upgrades are finished.  I hired someone to help me this time, and saved myself a lot of headaches.  It's very very pink, no?  I love it, and am hopeful it is easier to read, navigate and enjoy! We are only a couple of weeks from Gencon.  My schedule is full, I have a new backpack to bring, and all my tickets are bought.  I am soooo excited I can hardly stand it.  If you have never been and are looking for information about the con, give a listen to DDO Cocktail Hour Episode 21. It's almost here :D

Rowanheal's Comprehensive Quest list has been updated again.  It's current through update 5.

The hubby has been busy working on his Ale Association favor during the LOTRO Summer Festival.  He got a new title and I had to get a pic of it.

ScreenShot00019
ScreenShot00019

Hysterical, no?

I've been hitting and miss on gaming.  I bought The Witcher when steam had it on sale and am about half way through it I think.  Since I didn't have enough games to finish, I also picked up Red Dead Redemption, a western styled rpg shooter.  Both of these games I can pick up and play and not realize hours have gone by.

Player's Handbook, my static group in DDO, made Guild Level 5.  It's slow going when we only play a couple of hours one day a week, but I am hopeful the small guild bonus will move from testing to live soon.

Basically, I am have been running around in life as I have in my gaming realms, like a chicken with my head cut off.  There is so much to get done, and so much to see.  I would love to slow time a little, so I could sit back and enjoy some of it and not feel like it is just rushing by.

Lastly, Zeff re-enlisted in the United States Navy last week.

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DSC00672

*sigh*  I will admit, he looked rather handsome swearing to uphold all manner of things, most of which amounted to me realizing we were committing to spending even more time apart.

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DSC00701

Since he's a Sailor, he decided nothing would be more fitting than a celebration meal at Hooters!!!  *giggles*

I am hoping to get some real MMORPG time in this week.  Things have been so nutty, I need a little down time.  Wish me luck :)

GAME ON!!!

Players Handbook beats the Reaver!

Our static group ran through the last of the update 5 quests in DDO last night. The big top quest would have been a ton of fun.  Notice I say would have been...if we hadn't experienced mass kick outs.  I counted 12 boots while we were in that quest.  It got to the point where we actually considered just leaving. Such a pain to have the client fail over and over and over again.  I could find no rhyme or reason for it.  Some of us were running XP with Direct x9, some of us were running windows 7 with direct x10.  We are spread out across different states.  Our internet connections were not interrupted.  It just seemed to be something inside the quest.  Bleh.

I missed most of the quest waiting on loading screens, but I will say what I did see was beautiful.  I think the devs tweaked the music, and I would love to know who to thank for glorious tunes I heard in there.  The puzzles weren't too hard, and the traps and themed baddies made me giggle.

ScreenShot00006
ScreenShot00006

Zeff pulled the Big top hat.  He raved about it.  I wish this was a cosmetic.  It's fabulous.  We did finally convince him to put his minos legens back on.  Something about a fighter running around without heavy fortification made our cleric rather cranky!

After our underwhelming Update 5 experience, we headed over to give the reaver another try.   Raids are always dicey for us.  Even though we are way above level now, we have sub par gear.  I think we have maybe 2 or 3 plus six items now.  We're moving up in the world!!!

It took us a few practice runs.  We got in the swing of things, and after a few tries figured out how to beat the puzzle.  I know most of you are going "ohhh" "aww" big deal, but when we are a solid 6 person group who don't use the auction house, use what gear we find in quests and pass around the hat for a wand fund, we are pretty dang proud of finally getting this bloody quest finished!!!

Hellmy the drunken dwarf did our flying and kept the big guy's agro while we waited for balls to light up, the sorcerer put down some dancing balls and firewalls in the entrance to compliment the cleric's blade barriers, our rogue super shot air elementals, our bard/pally helped heal and kill air baddies, and our fighter was our puzzler extraordinaire.

It truly was a group effort, and one I am super duper proud of.

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Players Handbook posing triumphantly around the loot.

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Screenshot or it didn't happen...

Over the weekend, I flagged Rowanchop for the titan with the DDOcast Build Guild crew and got an odd piece of loot.

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I am wondering why a warforged would need a docent with waterbreathing???  I keep thinking the devs are going to weed all of these anomalies out of the game.  LOL.  I know, I am a dreamer.

There is a new DDO ad circulating around.  I am not terribly thrilled with this one.  The graphics in this thing look awful.  What kind of machine were they playing on, an E machine with an integrated video card???  Anyways, I am happy we have ads, right?  Watch and see for yourself!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA1KrsVWJzY&feature=player_embedded

In news from around the web, WTH?

"Recently, Blizzard Entertainment implemented a Real ID feature for some of its current games and all of its future Battle.net-based games. Today, Blizzard announced that it intends to require usage of the real names of Battle.net posters for its StarCraft II forums before release, and for its World of Warcraft forums shortly before the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. From the announcement: 'The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.'" via Slashdot

Ummm, does anyone else find this as terrifying as I do? I don't use my real name to game. I have used Rowanheal for over a decade. Do I really want some raging forumite to look for me on facebook? Or to look me up in my hometown? Privacy on the interwebs is already under attack, and this post has me worried as heck about what else is coming down the pike. I don't use the forums over there, but I had planned on it when Diablo III comes out. *shrugs* Guess I will be skipping that.

If you haven't already locked down your online information, let this be a warning shot over your brow!!!

Game on!!!

Summer Festival gone wild in LOTRO and Announced for DDO!

I have lost my mind over the summer festival in LOTRO.  I have spent a ton of hours since it's opening fishing, betting on hobbit eating contests, dwarven keg races, and running around and drinking with the Inn League. In the last 48 hours, I have ammassed an impressive stack of summer cosmetic items.  OMG where am I gonna store all of this stuff once the fall fesitval hits???  It's bound.  I am gonna have to empty out a bank or something.

Anyways, to say I am enjoying it, would be putting it lightly.  I am a total loser at betting on races.  I want the title, but seem to be especially bad at picking the random winners.  I think perhaps this is why I don't gamble in real life.  It's just not a lot of fun to lose all the time.

I am gonna be working overtime to try and get my Inn league Favor to Friend.  I am not sure it can be done during this festival, but I am commited to logging in everyday to run the daily quests.

Just to prove to you how obsessive I can be over cosmetics, each of the items I am about to show you in screenshots cost 12 tokens.  I started with zero and worked my rearend off getting all of these.

The picture at the top of this post is of my hunter laying in her front yard in the new hammock.  It was my first barter.  I had to have it for lazing in the sun.  Isn't it awesome?

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This is the short-sleeved summer dress dyed gold.  I have this one on my hunter.  Since they are bound, I am going to have to get both a dress and a cloak for all my girls.  Glad I like fishing.  At least I can dye them differently for each of the girls.

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This is the Golden Tree cloak.  Isn't it beautiful???  I left it the original color since I figured the gold matched my dress.  Yes, I think about these things.  Stop laughing!

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I had to have a new door mat to welcome guests with.

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And since I live in the shire, I figured it was only appropriate that I have a vegetable garden for snacking purposes.  Flowers are pretty, but I can't eat them.

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This is the wall paper I picked up in Celondim.  It's called the Festival of Enendhin.  Of course the paint color in my house is pink, so this is the pink version :D

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This is my new bedroom.  I picked up the summerfest bed, and the white wicker chair.  They match very well, plus they look very girly.

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This is the summerfest painting.  I love it and put it up in my living room.

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My keg/trophy room needed a new look as well, so I picked up the Summerfest wall paper out in Thorin's Hall.  I am actually considering doing the whole house in this paper.  It's just gorgeous.  And yes, even this room is pink :D

If you were counting, that's a total of 108 tokens so far.  WOW!!!

I haven't gotten all of the items yet, and I still need outfits for 2 of my girls, but its a work in progress.  If you want to see all the Decorations and Furniture being offered in the Summer Festival, Check out the excellent guide made by Kiarane over at A Casual Stroll to Mordor.

In DDO news, it appears that festival coins are dropping in chests.  Posts started popping up on my twitter and on the DDO forums.  It's just been confirmed!

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So if you've been in DDO and have picked up some coins already, hang onto them for incoming Festival guy.  Wonder what he'll be wearing?  Swim trunks and a snorkel?

If you haven't been over to DDO Cocktail hour, I've posted  their video below.  OMG it's hysterically funny.  It's a spoof of "I'm on a boat" which makes it even funnier to me since I play that song every time I am pulling onto the pier.

GAME ON!!!

Players Handbook plays Update 5 and Summer Festival odds and ends

Our static group logged into DDO with great excitement tonight.  Dreams of airships and fun new quests had us all logging in as soon as we could to get the party started. The hotfix Turbine applied today seems to have gone off without a hitch.  With every launch there seems to be a fewer bugs, but this one had everyone in a lather thanks to Guild renown being down.  I kept my fingers crossed all day and thankfully, it was fixed.

We ran through 3 of the new quests.    I think Party crashers is probably a wee tad over the lvl it states,and omg is it long.  Kinda fun, except for all the dickering about in different zones.  The one in the bar was long as well and had a bunch of jumping over buildings and through tunnels.  I am not sure who thought it was a great idea to make quests longer by adding in mazeish dungeons, but gee thanks for making me want to bang my head on my desk... oh and for the large glass of wine I finally poured to put myself out of misery.   The one with brawnpits made me giggle.  The brothers Grimm were simply funny as heck.  Plus, who really wants to teach a guy in a loin cloth to be an actor???

We were all a little curious about the Guild renown.  We managed to make it to level 3 running the 3 quests we did under level.  It's a 6 person guild.  We are probably never going to see Guild Level 100, but it didn't stop the end rewards from offering us guild minimum level 70 gear.  I could rant on that for days.  I think its a silly thing to have added.  In general, I think the way guild housing has been handled is really disgusting.  It's already begun to polarize the community.  I have no idea what the landscape is going to look like once it's over, but I feel sorry for all of us small guilds.

I found the lag no better or worse than usual.  I was kicked out of game once and had dps lag in a quest.  I am hoping I am the only one.

They finally put mounts in the game...JUST KIDDING!!!  Hellmy, our drunken dwarf, did find a way to ride an animal ingame though.

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I made him stay there long enough for me to get a screenshot.

The summer festival started in LOTRO today.  I am still trying to figure it all out.  Seems there is alot of fishing in this one.  Guess I will be a master angler by the time the festival is over.

Before I forget, there is an excellent guide to the Summer Festival over at A Casual Stroll to Mordor.

On the bad side, the outfits are bind on acquire, which means I am going to have to grind them out on all of my characters.  I like wearing the outfits.  This has me pretty steamed.  In past festivals, the outfits were no bound per character.  Which meant I only had to earn them and store them on one toon.  Egads, I just don't know if this makes the festival fun anymore.

I am posting a video below someone put together ot show off the new festival mount.  OMG, isn't she pretty?  I must must must have one of my own...or 3 or 4.

Anyways, as I am typing this I am riding to my next fishing hole in Thorin's hall.  :D

Game on!!!

Preparation for guild madness

Update 5 is coming to DDO this week.  I am excited to see how Guild Housing is going to affect the population. My static group had to make a decision.  Our guild leader had been gone for 3 plus years, and there was never a successor.  I wrote to Turbine to see if there was anything they could do.  There isn't at this time. :(

None of us were sure how things are going to work for guilds, but we were all fairly certain we would need a guild leader.  It meant leaving behind the guild name we had worn for almost 4 years.  TNT has been retired.

We then spent an hour or so trying to figure out a new guild name.  I won't bore you with the hilariousness that ensued, but we finally settled on Players Handbook.  It has so many meanings, and we just couldn't resist.

We are all pretty pumped up about earning a guild ship, but we understand since we are a 6 person static group that is might be a long slog.  I know  Turbine has insisted there are balances in place for small guilds, but I have to say, I am fairly positive small guilds are getting the shaft.

I am also not thrilled with the guild "level" being visible to everyone. I'd like a way to turn that off.

I am also deadly sure that guilds are about to do a big clean out.  Since Guild Renown will degrade once level 26 is reached  +1 per account, I foresee most guilds culling their member lists to getting rid of those that haven't logged on in a while.  Zeff and I haven't logged onto our main server in 7 months, I am sure we are gonna be guildless if we ever chose to play on there again.  I am sad about that, but it's a good business move.

I am not entirely happy with the way this is being rolled out, but I am glad that some kind of housing is coming to DDO.  I am hoping most of the kinks have been worked out and it will be smooth going.

In other news, my sorcerer has been after the Phoenix Robes for months.  We have run it 9 or 10  times trying to get them to pop.  FINALLY, on Tuesday they dropped for out drunken dwarf ranger who took pity on me and let me loot them.  Now I get to drive them nuts upgrading them LOL!

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I am including below the video Jerry over at DDOcast made as a preview of Update 5.  I refuse to go over to Lammania anymore.  It spoils the new content for me, but I appreciate those who will go see what's coming and help to make sure it's as bug free as possible.  Enjoy!

GAME ON!!!

Wardrobes, Pirates and Naughty Cheese

I've been playing tons of LOTRO lately.  Maybe it's the impending shadow of the changes coming to game, or perhaps its just that I am having a blast. I won enough items on my Runekeeper to dress her as a pirate.  Argggg!!!  The costume's in LOTRO are simply stupendous, and I have a mule holding a ton of outfits.

One really fantastic feature coming with the f2p announcement is the wardrobe system.  It's sorely needed.  Inventory space is at a premium in LOTRO.  Between all the crafting supplies, special end reward items, gear, costumes and decorations, its just really hard to keep everything.

Wardrobe is a special storage for your cosmetic items. That way they don't take up inventory, bank, vault, or housing storage. [Sapience] It's expandable to 50 slots, much like shared storage, in 10-slot increments. It's account level, so you buy it once and each character will have their own wardrobe.[Patience] It is 20 storage slots that holds cosmetic items. There are several things you can do with the items once in storage and some very cool tricks it can do, but you'll need to wait for the dev diary for the full details. [Sapience]

(quote from Lotro Life)

I can't wait for this in game.  I figure I will put my wardrobe on my mini first since she has attained lvl 42 and will have the most slots available.  W00t!!!  Inventory space on the way :)

I've made a hunter.  Totally soloable.  She's someone I can play when the hubby is off being Navyish.  I don't have to worry about taking a tour of rez circles (I kinda did on my mini).  She just doesn't get herself killed.  Her gear is better now that I have leveled several of the craft skills on other characters, and she has impeccable skills.  I'm only in my 20's with her, but so far she's displayed the greatest survivability of the character's I've made.

And lastly, I couldn't help myself.  I had to eat the cheese.

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This cheese can be found in the rep dungeon over in the barrow's, but over the Father's Day weekend, Turbine offered it up on a lottery.  I will not speak to the unresolved angst some employee up in Boston harbors with their daddy, but I will say I entered that lottery every time it popped on my screen.

Upon consuming this rather bad tasting bree cheese, you begin to slowly die.  The effect lasts for 20 minutes.  It's possible to heal or regen your way through it, but my little mini was so shocked by the after taste she keeled over in less than 30 seconds.

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The gods explained I had been rather unwise.

I giggled myself silly when I did this.  I'd heard the guild chatter about it, and couldn't stop myself from earning the title.

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I don't normally show a title on my mini.  It has to be something special before I will run around with some sort of pronouncement stamped over my head.  How could I resist Rowanheal, The Unwise???

Game on!!!

Lotro goes F2P...&^%^%#

My phone woke me up on Friday.  It takes a lot for my phone to wake my up since I have it on vibrate.  Irritated, I rolled over and grabbed the thing, briefly considered hurling it against a wall, and noticed I have a gazillion missed phone calls, texts, IM's and Tweets. I kinda stared at it and wondered if the interwebz had imploded overnight or something.  I mean why else would everyone be in such a state of emergency?

One scroll through my IM's explained.

Warner Brother's Announces LOTRO going Free to Play.

My immediate reaction was a sense of deja vu.  This simply couldn't be happening again.  I mean, seriously?

I spent the morning quietly smoldering.  I had to turn everything off and just let the thought percolate in my little grey cells.

What will follow below is an off the cuff almost stream of consciousness opinion piece on F2P in Middle-Earth.  I have thoughts.  Many of them are too slanted to share, but I have done my best to cull out the bad ones and try and make sense of what has essentially ruined my own personal gaming experience.

The announcement DDO was going Free to Play brought me to my gaming knees.  I spent the first few months tolerating it.  The next few  deciding if DDO was still a game I could enjoy.  By December 2009, I had quit playing my main characters.  I just didn't turn on the game except for Static group night.

By March of 2010, DDOcast had set up a static group type guild on Orien.  With some trepidation, I joined the guild and used the DDO store for the first time.  It was a terrible experience and unfortunately cemented the ire I had been living with for some time.

Free to play changed things.  I got a giggle when I read in the press release that things would essentially not change for VIP members of LOTRO.  I am not sure what crack Turbine is smoking, but once they cut through the haze of smoke, they have to admit,  the model changed things significantly.

The caliber of players changed.  I am keenly aware of it on Orien.  While I admit I have met several players who have benefited from the free to play model, most have gone VIP.  Being Free to play is simply a lot of work.  And yeah, as I predicted there is the class problem.  Most players just don't want to play with free to play people.  It a stigma that's grown like a cancer in the community.

The store has continued to grow in its role as the big fat easy button.

Things that drive me nuts in DDO's F2p?

Share the quest...I haven't bought that pack. Can someone get me a pass?...I didn't know this was a pay to play sorry...Oh we need a rez? I'll just buy a cake from the store!...Oh I ran out of mana, let me buy some pots from the store...I bought 32 point build but I don't understand what its for...I thought if I bought the pack I was flagged for the raid...Man this game is so easy to level in.  I've made it to 14 in 10 hours with xp pots, but the game has no story...I'm 12 my mom says I have to clean my room now...I need my moms credit card to get more points from the store...

I could probably go on forever.

I had someone tell me they were under the impression I hated free to play players.  I don't think I do.  I think I hate the way some Free to Play players treat DDO like a " you can win if you throw enough money at it" kinda game.  I don't like that the knowledge level of the players has decreased significantly. Not to mention Turbine has been on a "how can we make this easy" kick with DDO!  It's like they are playing to the lowest common denominator of Free to play players who can't read.

And yeah, it ruined DDO for me personally.

LOTRO will be different.   For one, I don't think the any one item in the store can be game breaking the way rez cakes, rest shrines, xp pots and mana pots have been for DDO.  The game has settings inside of it already that will stop most of that.  I foresee the store being able to sell a bunch of cosmetic items, something I would love to see in DDO.

Biggest issue I see coming is that LOTRO is not an instanced game.  While a select set of quests are instanced, it is generally a wide open world.  I can't wait for the servers to open up so a bunch of idiots can run rampant being loot whoring, kill stealing, camping morons.

Since the quests follow story lines, as the new population levels, they are going to be following each other around in waves trying to out kill steal another player to complete quests.

It's a disaster in the making.

I am  hoping Turbine will not be selling crafting items in the store.  So far, the LOTRO economy is pretty healthy.  Amassing any gold of significant quantities takes a bit of work.  Most of that work comes from crafting.

LOTRO offered life time subscriptions until recently (which should have been a signal more people picked up on).  I feel horrible for those who spent good money on a lifetime subscription to a game that will now attract the dredges of the gaming community at large.

Knowledge level is not going to be a super big deal.  LOTRO has cookie cutter builds a 5 year old could navigate.  It is however a big world.  I foresee a bunch of those ugly "signs" like they put in DDO helping players who can't figure it out. *rolls her eyes*

Most of us play LOTRO solo, we aren't gonna have to group with knuckle heads who can't find their ass from a hole in the ground.  I think  though we will see the same type of cancer in LOTRO suffered currently in DDO.  Free to play players will play amongst themselves.  There are fellowship quests, but the "looking for group" mechanic in LOTRO sucks monkey balls.  I think we will stick within our guilds for fellowships.

Things are gonna change.  The first six months of F2p in DDO were horrific.  I am girding my loins for the influx in Lotro this fall.

In general, I think we are going to see this model popping up more and more.  I live in fear of having to quit PC gaming entirely in favor of my console.  Turbine has been very open with how much money they are making from the model, and I expect a few more games here in the future to begin emulating what's already been highly successful overseas in the Asian market.

Used to be, you picked an MMO, paid your money and spent a few years in your fantasy world of choice.  You were spending your money, and with it, came a sense of commitment to a game world. With the advent of Free to play in the mainstream, younger players have learned to jump games when they like with no guilt and little thought.

I swear we are raising a generation of people with the attention spans of gnats.

It's almost enough to make me want to play WOW.  Almost...

GAME ON!!!

Being invisible

I rounded out my gaming weekend with more LOTRO.  I only squeezed a few hours in on Sunday, but I still pounded through some of the book quests.  They are always very very fun, and I enjoy seeing the story play out on the screen with my character making decisions. My hobbit mini finally got another of her race deeds completed.  My mini earned the deed to feign death for thirty seconds.  Once I realized I had it, I ran back to a town to visit the bard and slot it.  I couldn't wait to try it out.

Zeff joined me on my book adventure yesterday.  Most of the time we have little issue with the book content.  Every once in a while though, a set of quests come up that are truly challenging.  We found ourselves sneaking into caves to fight elite trolls.  They were several levels above us, but we both had an inspiration buff that gave us heightened hit points and mana.  As long as we took them on one at a time, everything was fine.  I would stand back and heal him while he killed the mean trolls.

There is a problem with trolls though.  They like to kick, and I found myself launched in the air.  Unfortunately, one of these kicks landed me at the feet of two more trolls.  I ran back toward Zeff screaming my head off.  He didn't think he could handle all three trolls.  Especially if I had had the aggro of two of them.  I just didn't have the hit points to handle that even with the mega boost from the buff.  I hit the feign death button and fell over dead.  Cackling, I yelled at the hubby I was dead and wished him luck.  He said a few bad words, and went back to killing the trolls.  His guardian is a beast and managed to kill them off after a few tense minutes.

I can't wait to find more trouble to get into and fall over dead.  It's just fabulous fun :D

I have been using every opportunity possible to ride my new blue roan horse.  Unfortunately, my horse like to play tricks on me.  The picture at the beginning of this article shows horsie has a habit of going invisible.  I must look hysterical riding across Middle Earth my horse playing tricks on me.

Basically, I had a blissful weekend gaming.  I have a long week ahead, and I am glad I had a chance to be a slug and enjoy myself.

***

Odd and Ends

DDOcast episode 166 is out and ready for your listening pleasure.  Jerry highlighted an article from my site last week. Pretty Cool!!!

DDO Cocktail Hour Episode 12 is also out.  This has to be one of their best shows yet.  It's completely hysterical!

I've also inserted below the DDO commercial.  I'm late in doing this, but someone sent me an e-mail about it.  My opinion?  I am thrilled that the commercial is out on the TV waves.  While I find it a wee tad underwhelming, I am still really happy to see DDO advertising in a big way.

I'm going to go fall into bed.

GAME ON!!!

Pantless...

I've completed most of my tasks for the week.  It's been a weird one.  The schedule here at home is on the fritz, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  I am annoyed, but military life is attempting to teaching me patience.  A year or so ago my head would have spun off.  I figure since my head's still  attached, and I haven't screamed at anyone, I must be patient! Feeling rather proud of my apparent ability to be task oriented and outwardly calm, I am rewarding myself with a weekend of gaming.  I can think of no better way to spend my time at the moment.  Ok, there are possibly productive things I could be doing, but who wants to be all productive all the time?  It's exhausting.

I'd squirreled away the horse race token and 12 leaves for my festival horse.  I have been salivating over the blue roan for a month.  Thankfully the barter vendor appeared back in the game, and I ran my little hobbit out there as soon as I logged into LOTRO today.  The picture at the top of this article is my new blue roan horse.  Sexy, yes?  LOVE HER!!!

On my run out to  Hengstacer's Farm to procure my new mount, I found my eye's bulging at the graphics.  I played on my new laptop today.  It's really the first long play session where I have experienced the Direct 10X graphics.  I might have needed a napkin to wipe up the drool.  Simply stunning.  I am almost kicking myself for not having given in to Windows 7 before now.  If you have been sitting on the fence about the upgrade, do yourself a favor.  Just do it.

I managed to level my little mini to 37.  *smiles*  She remains my favorite girl.  It could be because she was my first real LOTRO character.  Maybe it's just that she is a mini.  Probably it's all of those things plus the fact she's a hobbit.  She's just cute as a bug.

It took hours to level today.  I spent some of them thinking about my never ending trips to the skinner box.  LOTRO does a super job  making me press the lever.  As an example;  the quest called for me to get medallions from hillmen outside of Estedlin.  No problem.  I ran out there.  I killed hillmen.  A mediallion dropped every 5 or 8 kills.  I needed 12 medallions.  I ended up spending 45 minutes grinding through the random drop rate until I accomplished my task.  Yup, I truly do live in the skinner box.  *sigh*

I took a break from the grind when I heard some friends might be playing LOTRO.  One of them is rather new to the game, so I made a new girl and leveled her to 9 to help show him around.  I am a sucky tour guide, but its fun to see a game through someone else's unvarnished eyes.

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Everything went swimmingly.  We made a few levels.  I explained some of the tricks and ins and outs I've learned.  We decided to take a tour of a house, so I could show him how housing works.  After the purchase of a deluxe house, I am proud to let people in the door :)   One room has an Inn league keg as the centerpiece.  It's kind of the alarm system.  I figure someone wanders inside and sees the ale, they are gonna take a swig.  Especially dwarves and hobbits.  They can't resist!!!  Before I could get the words "Don't drink" out of my mouth, he'd swallowed a flagon of ale.  Within 15 seconds he hit the floor, ported and ended up pantless in Bree.  :D  I personally found it rather hysterical, although I worried he would be a wee tad upset.  It certainly added a whole new flavor to the tour.

I had a blast and hope he visits again soon.

I logged back on to by hobbit and found a quest which seemed relatively simply.  Collect a giant skull and return it to camp.  No big deal.

skull heavy
skull heavy

Do you see that thing?  Now someone explain to me how exactly my hobbit carried this monstrosity across a zone without falling over from the weight?

*shakes her head*

Every once in a while the dev's need a swift kick in their rear ends for coming up with this kind of stuff...and then for leaving it in the game.  It certainly doesn't lend itself to immersion.  I will admit though, I laughed all the way  back to the camp.  I couldn't help myself.  I couldn't see my feet around that thing.  All I could do was run and pray nothing aggroed on me while I sprinted to the NPC!!!

I am off to do a little inventory maintenance before I pass out.  As usual, I am taking full advantage of my day of gaming.  It's 2:30 in the morning.  Yup, silly skinner box.  I need more food pellets!!!

GAME ON!!!

Crysis...on a laptop?

I got a new laptop.  At last.  I have been keeping my eye on one for the longest time.  Months.  It had gotten to the point that the hubby was tired of my hemming and hawing.  So, since I had diligently saved the dough, I went for it. I read review after review.   I am linking the one I bought here. I am quite excited.  I loaded LOTRO onto it last night and it runs beautifully.  I was actually shocked by how well it ran on my wireless network!!!

It feels like the little machine that could.

I decided to give it a true work out.  I went over and picked up Crysis.  I knew on high settings the thing was a graphic's card and processor hog.  Plus, I have been wanting to see if I could actually survive the game.  It's only supposed to be 10 hours long, but I figure with my inept n00bness it will take me 40 to actually see the ending :D

I just spent 4 hours playing Crysis on my laptop.  Seriously, it runs like a dream.  No hitching, framerate is decent, cinematic's are fine...now if only I could be a better shot?

The game is ancient.  It several years old.  I am way way way behind on this one.  Quite frankly, I can't believe I bought it.  I am not sure I am getting better at shooters.  In my first few hours of Crysis, I found myself hiding behind a lot of trees and bushes and make mad dashes for check points :D  Hey, its not how you play the game, it whether or not you win, right?

I have to say though, I am wondering what all the bragging was about in Crysis.  It's not...all that???  I mean I had just as much fun and frustration with Borderlands.  Ok, so the environment seems to be completely interactive.  I can shot, punch, blow up any number of items surronding me.  I am not sure why I want to, but it probably really cool that I can.  The AI is a wee tad not so smart.  It's not horrible, but it certainly not the best I've seen.  The story is ok.

So yes, I am having a good time with it, but I remain befuddled by what all the hype was about?  What am I missing?

*shrugs*  I am sure I will be bedazzled once I get to some of the more meaty content.  I say I played 4 hours.  It doesn't mean it was 4 hours of story continuation.  I might have maybe sorta died a whole heck of a lot and found my self re-spawning a whole bunch :D

I am thinking that since I have the ability to distract myself while anywhere in my house now, I should load up DDO on this thing.  Maybe I will be convinced to actually give the ice games another go.  Or maybe I will simply take a few hours to sort through the huge collectible bag I haven't touched for 9 lvls :)  All that running around could take an entire afternoon.

Anyways, I am off to watch TV on my laptop.  I can hulu to my heart's content while laying in bed recovering from my shooting frenzy.

GAME ON!!!

A quest gone wrong

Our static group met up tonight.  It took some work.  With my sailor often busy being Navyish, our bardish paladin always on the road and a case of being on death's door for our dwarf, it seemed like a miracle when we all managed to meet in the same time, same place for another round of DDO goodness. We decided to run one of the flagging quests out in the plane of yuck.  I say yuck because I truly never cottoned to any of the quests out there.  They always seemed to be a little resource heavy to me, but then I don't like when there are uber saves for insta-death spells.  Takes all the fun out of it for me LOL!

We took off and entered the Iron Maw.  Most of our party had never run the quest, or had only been inside once or twice, so it we all knew it was gonna be tough.  My sorc bought extra heal wands for our cleric, and we all made sure to have enough pots and bolts and arrows and such.

We started out ok.  We had the odd death here and there.  Nothing out of the ordinary for us.

About thirty minutes in, I began to notice a trend.  Our health bars were continually empty, and we didn't seem to be doing a whole heck of a lot of damage to the bad guys.

It got worse.

Our first party wipe wasn't all that surprising.  If often happens to us, and usually we slow down and tackle the content with a more tactical view towards completion.  Around party wipe three, and well into the second hour in the grips of a game of upstairs downstairs, we were feeling pretty frustrated.

Around hour three we just got the giggles.  It was a complete clusterf%$#.  We'd had more wipes than we could count and were beginning to notice our death counter was not all that far off from the monster's killed count.

Our sharp shooting rogue had a serious case of the laughter as we would complete one of the objectives just to be met with another.  It became ludicrous, and we all started cutting up and making jokes.  There are just some of the quests in DDO that seem to be predicated on the idea there is always a bigger carrot.  Open door A leads to finding monster B who needs killing before you can Find key C which opens another level and so on and so forth ad nauseum.  It's not that this was a bad quest, its just that it was a bad quest for us.

Around the 6th or 7th party wipe, almost all of us were naked.  We found a chest and praised the loot gods for giving us new clothes.  Our Fighter and ranger were trading out for different weapons, our cleric was running out of wands, and we weren't sure if we were any closer to getting to the end of the quest.

Around midnight we gave up.  The fun had very worn off as had every piece of gear we could scrounge up between us including our second set of clothes.  We got close to the end of the quest, but we simply too tired, and out of motivation to keep going.

It was a super night though.  We all had a chance to tackle the impossible, and while the devils won, we hope to go back and give them the smack down they deserve when we are better prepared.

We run into quests like this along the way.  One's that are just a little out of our reach.  We still aren't very well outfitted.  My sorc is wearing one plus  5 stat item and a handful of plus 4 stuff.  We don't have any greensteel as we haven't tried to six man a shroud.  Sometimes things aren't going to work out like they do on our main characters.  To be honest, that's half the adventure.  We have to out think things, try hilarious tactical solutions and sometimes we just don't make the grade.

I love it.

The first screen shot on this article is out kill count... I mean death count.  We tapped out at 104!!!  It kinda became a game in and of itself.  I have never been in a quest with a 100 plus deaths! LOL

The screenshot below is of my repair bill.  It was 42,000 gold.  ROFLMAO

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ScreenShot00118

I can't wait to see what kind of trouble we can get into next week.  I think we will probably have to run something to make some cash.  We are all out of wands and health pots :)

GAME ON!!!

Spring Fever Weekend Trip (off topic)

Warning!!! The following post is massively off-topic. It's my website. I am allowed the occasional fun post. Spring fever hit me in the last few weeks. If I look outside, I see a world clouded by a yellow fog. Welcome to high pollen counts. With the intrusion of the nasty stuff, I found myself cleaning out closets, black bagging things I haven't used in the last year, and scrubbing my place like a nesting pregnant woman. No, no babies here.

For his part, Zeff has quietly stayed out of my way. I am fairly sure he has decided that he benefits as long as I stay out of his side of the closet. He has this pants fetish. I am longing to cull some of the most unattractive ones from his wardrobe. I'll wait until he leaves again I think! :)

All of this Spring Fever has me longing to be outside in the sun. I came up with a plan. There are a bunch of touristy sights near me that I haven't seen yet. Being me, I planned a bunch of one day trips and then blindsided Zeff. I figure its a perfect couple date. Cut off from out computers, DVR, and Xbox, we will actually find ourselves conversing, laughing and postively communicating.

Plus, I am out in the sun and I can shop.

I don't want to leave that out. The shopping. There are many facets of my personality that are decidedly unusual for a female. I don't normally enjoy shopping, however, give me a tourist trap store and I go insane.

Our first trip was to Colonial Williamsburg. I might have planned this one first because I heard there was an outlet mall nearby. I mean its all about the history, learning and being together, but the outlet mall has a Coach, Fossil and other fine establishments. I need a new pink spring purse. *shrugs* Don't look at me like that.

After subjecting him to my squeals of delight at the mall for an hour, where he confiscated my bank and visa card, we wound our way through town to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's center. I suffered from sticker shock at the $46.00 per person 1 day pass at the ticket counter. We were able to use our military discount to save ten percent, but still. Good lord!

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The entire area is a walking tour. Winding your way through through the lush green trees, you'll encounter a working farm they are rebuilding piece by piece using only the tools and materials available in the eighteenth century. A carpenter in period dress explained and then demonstrated how he was making planks of siding for the main house.

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Next we visited the Governor's Palace. It's beautiful inside and out.

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DSC00613

Inside the house, there was a ladies sitting room. The walls were covered in embossed leather which had been brushed with bronze and gold leafing. When the sunlight hit this stuff the entire room glowed.

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The palace gardens were just as stunning. Tulips everywhere and the trellis's and arbors teaming with beauty. The also had a hedge maze. Zeff and I might have made a couple of jokes about finding Wandering elves!

We wandered around the streets taking in all the period buildings, being greeting by actors in period dress demonstrating everything from blacksmithing to book binding. We ate lunch at one of the tavern's and we had a blast listening to our waitress tell stories about how the stew was no longer made with possum and squirrel, but chicken and vegetables. She felt the soup had lost some of it's gamey flavor, but it was alright she guessed LOL!

At one point we heard drums and whistles and lined up on the street to see the Colonials march by.

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DSC00623

We toured the capitol building and were told the stories of how George Washington, Thomas Payne, Thomas Jefferson and others had walked the halls and danced in the ballroom.

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By late afternoon, the actor's had set up to do a reenactment of the events leading leading up to Virginia's decision to join the other 12 colony's in the American Revolution. They were wired with microphones and there were hidden speakers along the streets, so as we followed the action we could always hear the story.

We had a blast. I just can't put it any other way. We came home exhausted, but happy. We'd learned some history, seen some beautiful things, but mostly we'd each savored spending an entire day being together.

My spring fever has not been quenched. I am hoping to drag him down to the beach later, and I have a few more day trips in the works.

For now, I am off to play some LOTRO and relax.

What are your plans for Spring?

GAME ON!!!

Sentinel's Bracers and Another horsie!!!

DDOcast Build Guild got together this morning to run the new Update 4 content. We were right at the level range. I worried a bit that it would be difficult, but we found after a few minutes that we were doing fine. I know it was going to be a good loot day when I found a sigil in the first chest. When I found one in the second chest, I felt super lucky. By the time I got to the third chest and pulled the last sigil I needed, the group was cussing me in a nice way. The loot gods FINALLY decided to smile on me.

The group finished up in the tower and I ran down to pick my end reward. I had read something on the forums about the bracer's, but hadn't been paying close attention. Once I upgraded them, I ended up happy and awfully surprised.

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My monk donned her new fabulous gear and ran off to complete the tower one more time. It's the first piece of actual good gear she's pulled on Orien, and I was super pleased by how well they worked. I am a killing machine baby!!!

Everyone seemed to enjoy the new content. Well, ok. I will be honest. Some of the group had choice words for the "pit lite" quest :D I swear I didn't egg them on. One of the players just couldn't get the jumps. I ended up going after his stone, and carrying back up for a rez. Comments ranged from "Interesting" to "OMG, what the #$%". I think I am not the only one who is not happy with the mechanics in this quest. One things I have figured out. Don't fight where the jets send you. Let go of the mouse, take your hands off the keyboard, and put your arms in the air. You will normally land where you are supposed to.

DDOcast Episode 163 is up and ready for your listening please. We had several live callers, had a round panel on different subjects... plus Clanky is back with another clerical errors.

After finishing up with the DDOcast Build Guild, I logged into LOTRO for some fun with the hubby. I checked out my lotteries, and saw that my mini had won her horse. *jumps up and down with joy* It's a good thing. I was going to be low on cash to buy hers. Now, I can catch up with training all the levels I've skipped due to being poor.

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It cracks me up to see how small the hobbit pony is. In the above pic, Zeff is on his dwarf. Even his pyon is bigger. I figure it has to be. Dwarf's drink an awful lot of ale, giving them a wide girth. I almost feel sorry for his pony now that I think about it.

We ran through some average content, did a few parts of the book we are on. Nothing to write home about. Except we got this great end reward from a quest.

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Ok, so you might be wondering what's so great about a pipe?

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I couldn't wait to find out. So I lit up and watched. I blew out the smoke and it made a bird. Now you can buy pipe weed that will do this, but the pipe we were rewarded lets me smoke once an hour and it will never run out. How cool is that?

It's late here and I have had a full day of gaming. I think I am going to go crawl in bed with a book. Anyone read the Honor Harrington series by David Weber? If you like space opera, this is some of the best I have read. Its just excellent. I'm itching to read the last five books I have stacked up on my nightstand, but tonight, I am going to read Jim Butcher's new Harry Dresden book Changes. I've had a friend who has called me for 6 days to see if I have read it yet. Maybe tomorrow I can say yes and gab about the thing :)

GAME ON!!!

I rolled a one on Update 4

Update 4 came to DDO this week. My static group decided to try them out even though we were way above level. The story line is fabulous. It's pirate zombies. Absolutely cool.

If you want a more fullish look at Update 4, take a look at the video Jerry over at DDOcast made as a preview.

I am just going to hit the highlights.

This first picture is of a bug. A pirate hat that kept swinging in the wind of the underground tunnels long after the wearer of said hat had passed into the next life. I love these bugs. It isn't game breaking, and really just darn funny.

Over all, I will give this new set of adventures a big thumbs up. I enjoyed the flow of the storyline, the excellent graphics, and I have a thing pirates.

Let me also say, I am super thrilled that Turbine found a use for Searing Heights. I will also mention that I think the use of signs in an open area to post the way to a new quest is simply stupid. *rolls her eyes* It completely breaks with any kind of immersion as you are lead by the nose to the quest. Geez thanks for treating me like an idiot.

My eyes were stunned at the quality of the graphics in the new quests.

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Look at that beautiful pirate ship. You walk around a corner and there it is.

Across from the ship, as if as a warning to those who would trespass, is a nasty looking round metal cage.

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I remarked to our group that I would do whatever it takes to make sure I didn't end up a prisoner in that thing...including leaving them all to die and running for an exit :D

Up on top of the pirate ship I found a huge throne.

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After dispatching all of the bad zombie pirate men, I sat down with the pirate flag above my head contemplating changing careers. The pirates had a huge dragon like stash of gold. It obviously pays well to be a pirate. Plus, we'd taken over their ship. I look good on a throne darn it!!!

Perhaps the funniest moment in the new quests was when the general appeared. This screenshot isn't as good as I would like, but we killed him too quickly.

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That's right people. A kobold is riding a minotaur. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! We had a madmax/transformers kinda moment in Static Group and we were all cracking up. It's these fun moments that keep me coming back to the game. Turbine has plenty of fabulous surprises up their sleeve.

There is one quest I will never run again. EVER!!! It involved a series of jumps via levers you would use to aim steam jets so you could SOMEHOW accurately aim yourself at a little bitty pipe. If I want to feel frustrated, I can run the pit or coalescence chamber or fall down into the lava pit of pipes in the von 4 (which they nerfed the heck out of and put a bridge over... lamesauce).

My girlfriend, who is perhaps the most cheerful person I know, actually cussed... out loud... over her mike... In over three years of playing with her, I can say that it is practically unheard of. By the time this quest was over, I spent almost 20 minutes getting her over pipes so she could loot the last chest to see if she had a sigil in it. She didn't. Turbine can kiss my rear end on this one. Shove that pit "light" garbage where the sun doesn't shine baby.

With this one exception, I had a blast helping House Deneith out with their little pirate problem. There was some conversation about whether or not the houses were terribly trustworthy amongst our group. The source books note the underhandedness of each of the houses. Perhaps I should feel a little dirty.

Then again, they gave me a choice between some fabulous end rewards I can continue to upgrade as my sorcerer grows up. I don't think I completely trust them, but they give good loot.

In other news, I have been playing a ton of Final Fantasy 13. I have been playing it so much that when the hubby sent me a text today he suggested I should put the controller down and pause the game before I wrote him back. How did he know I was playing? *feels paranoid* I bet he has hidden cameras in the house.

Of course, it could simply be that I have been playing with every spare minute of my day. Every night he has been able to come home, he walks in to find me sitting on the couch with the game on. He kisses me hello and I say "Let me find a save crystal." He laughs and walks away shaking his head.

Hey, don't look at me like that. He knew I was a gamer when he married me :D

I upgraded lightning's weapon today. I am still wondering if I choose the right one to upgrade. I stuck with the Blazefire saber. I know the Axisblade is awesome and the Lionheart is fabulous. I am only sitting at a stage two of the upgrade. I think in the end probably the Axis blade will be what I use for my Omega Weapon.

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Have I mentioned I am addicted? I am so into this story I actually considered buying a Lightning figurine from square enix.

Ok, I'm off to play a few more hours before I pass out.

GAME ON!!!