Friday, August 31, 2007

Hell At 70

Yeah babies, I'm 70. But more importantly, I'm moving along in gearing and keying.

We ran a short hop into Steamvaults last night to grab fragment 2 on the road to Kara. Mebbe get through Arc. tonight. Who knows.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

We are pirates of the round table . . . we dance when ever able . . .

Me hanging with my new Aldorian homies . . .

And the winners are . . . Hells, Kat, Tigs, Sups and Vile

Dance Dance Revolution!

Shadow Lab Run

No, that was no run. That was a four and a half hour slog.

But, we did it. Got two quests plus the key quest. Brought Murmur down on the second try. Great leadership from Vilemedia, super heals from Supernovan, oustanding sapping and dps from Kathmira, and of course some mean kitty DPS from Tigan.

Kodak moments, before (above) and after Murmur

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pondering LOTRO

I confess to only my second occassion of burnout playing WoW. It happened last week, mostly as a result of a serious grind with Vilemedia, to get Hellgrima to 70, which we accomplished. Hell may end up being better than Hall, largely because of the advantage of being version 3 of an endgame toon. Yeah, there is stuff to know.

So, since I'd finished pounding out both class syllabi, despite being on a gamer machine with no apps. (god bless you Google, for Google docs), I decided to see if WoW was really that darned good or if most decent MMOs are just that good. +grin+

Sarah and I couldn't resist ducking into the EB Games to oogle titles. Frankly I was curious about BioShock, a 'new gen' FPS allegedly. But I don't have an XBox just yet. They had one copy left of LOTRO, an MMO which I'd been thinking about anyhow, since I am a serious LOTR fan. (Have read the books and own all the flicks and did the midnight stand in line for the last flick. I even read the book about the books, that tells how it all works out for the characters.)

So I installed LOTRO, and man is my lappie good or what, while playing WoW I downloaded all the updates (about an hour's worth) in the background. And then... I stepped in to take a look around. I'm on a 10 day free trial. What my household doesn't need is another game subscription (we have 2 for me, and one each for Akie and Clive. cha-ching.) While looking at races and classes, Akie and I found ourselves using WoW to characterize the choices: healer, tank, pallie, mage. etc.

I've rolled a tank (Guardian), hunter, and healer (Minstrel) and started to play a bit. The graphics are very different. The effort is to be realistic, but I keep feeling like it's 2D even though it isn't. I've been trying to figure out why. I think it's because the character movements are so stiff compared to WoW (and it's not like WoW is that life like). I also feel very separate from my toon. Not sure why. The landscapes are interesting and there is clearly general MMO knowledge that lets one navigate with skill. You can just "feel" where you should go and what you should click.

There are a lot of elements that have been borrowed from WoW. Instead of a ! over the head of a quest giver you see a ring, but hey, same thing. The big and mini maps both have more built-in info iconically displayed, and that's nice. The story is there, but well... it ain't exactly literature, nor is it particularly well woven into the LOTR line, at least in noobie ville. THe quests for noobs are similar: kill 20 of this, talk to this, find this and bring it back. This really might be a noobie ville thing so I'll suspend judgment.

At any rate, I feel very distant from this toon. It feels like paper dolls played through a veil of some sort. I dunno. I'm gonna play the full 10 days. It may just be a matter of habituation to WoW.

Sadly, their server update day is ALSO TUESDAY. arg! Here are shots of the quest log and the character panel. I don't like the quest log. It's so... intrusive. And hey, where are the tooltips?! I'm a noob and help is very hard to come by. Hmmm James, maybe a comparison is in order here. This may illuminate what makes WoW different.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

VileMedia . . . King of the Ogres!

After many trials and tribulation and with the slaying of four of Gruul's seven sons, I was proclaimed the King of the Ogres last night. It is an honor I think you'll all agree is long overdue. There was a kegger and some rhythmic drumming and all agreed it was a grand time. As the King of the Ogres, I am neutral with the Ogres of Blade's Edge and when I dance near one they dance with me . . . just like in real life.

I'll add my shot to Hall's below.

And to finish it up . . . Vile posing before Kagrath, the last boss of Shattered Halls. This photo was taken shortly before Kagrath's untimely death. The police said all the witnesses testified that he simply slipped. Oddly, Vile was wearing a different pair of pants when authorities arrived.

Balamor & Hallgrima revisited as Horde

Monday, August 13, 2007

Really, meet the new tank . . . new gear, new jokes*.

Mister VileMedia . . . Tin Can!
Strenght: 360
Agility: 205
Stamina: 604!
Intellect: 29
Spirit: 52

Armor: 7678
Health: 10300

Defense: 400
Dodge: 9.8%
Parry: 12.0%
Block: 12.0%

DPS: 326

Crit: 13.4%

If you thought Via was dumb with 32 . . . marvel at the 29! Yet, he's lean and mean and here to chew bubble gum and kick ass . . . and he's all out of bubble . . . oh wait, one piece left. That was close, mannn. 56 quests and 6 instances and a handful of enchants and he'll be Via'ish.

* "New Jokes" is a trademark for "ViaMedia Old Jokes Inc." There are in fact very few new jokes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Meet the new tank . . . new gear, same jokes.

Mister ViaMedia . . . Tank!

Strenght: 397
Agility: 252
Stamina: 620!
Intellect: 32
Spirit: 50

Armor: 12093
Health: 10600

Defense: 485
Dodge: 18.2%
Parry: 16.3%
Block: 20.2%

DPS: 288

Crit: 15.1%

Akkie growing up forcing me back into the Tin Can. So, there it is in all its green glory . . . except the boots which are actually green, but I spend so much time knee keep in blood they have been stained. I repeat . . . that is a stain . . . I AM NOT WEARING ORANGE BOOTS THAT SCREAM, "HEY! I'M WEARING ORANGE BOOTS!"

Our Akie Grows Up

I didn't want to bump Via's elegant post, so this is short. Read his below for the full account. Akmalla, lvl 65, ran Sethekk Halls with us last night. This shot is right before our last wipe, or right after.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Touching the Back Wall

In over two hours we had gone down more often then Bush's ratings in six years. And then the man with the crown [our priest] said, "We're getting those pants!". The pants in question were for our priest and we had tried to get them off the last boss in Sethekk Hall over a dozen times. Yet, that wasn't the point. It was no different then Travis firing a cannon ball at Santa Anna's [This Santa didn't bring presents] playing of the Degüello outside the walls of the Alamo. Like then, we were outnumbered and outgunned. Both were statements of defiance . . . and we would joyously be defiant!

The point was we were touching the back wall of the instance regardless of what it cost. And there we were facing the toughest room in an instance that had remained tough all the way. And though virtually battered and bloodied . . . we were not beaten or bowed! Though dented we were determined. We pushed through the punishing pulls. We wiped more than once, but we whittled away at those before us.

And then we stood before the last pull before the last boss . . . an ugly grouping of six . . . and we were only five . . . and one was so low the two good pieces of gear she got she cannot use for two more levels. Undaunted, we pulled and then gutted out a long engagement that included more then a number of fears on the group and included the loss of our main healer [our priest and the man with the crown].

Our druid jumped from kitty form and started healing . . . and healed better then I've ever seen him. Our lowbie warrior gutted it out against elites three levels higher then her. Our warlock stepped back and kept one feared and one engaged by her demon and I'm sure dotted the hell out the rest.

And . . .

There we stood . . . all alive except the priest, but still standing!

So, we approached the last boss. A place there were times I know we all doubted we would see. The priest had to be summoned by the warlock because there were respawns at the front door. There was no do-overs available this time. No extra lives. It was overtime and we had no more time outs and the sun was in our eyes and we had to walk through the snow uphill both ways, etc. It was last call.

We approached knowing we had one chance, but we only ever needed one chance if we got it right [and got lucky]. Almost immediately we lost our druid [one HELL of a DPSer]. Like with the loss of the priest in the last pull, it was a blow, but almost a benefit as everyone focused even more and worked that much harder to gut it out. And like before, four stood when the killing stopped.

No, we didn't get the pants, but we will even if it is just to DE them.

Yet, I honestly had tears in my eyes when that boss fell. The entire run was a work of art. Now, don't think Elvis on velvet or a real classy nude study. My favorite work of art is The Raft of the Medusa. Folks mistake it for something gruesome and grotesque, but it is really the capturing of a moment of great joy.

It was painted from the accounts of a true incident off the coast of Africa where folks were stranded on a raft. The painting is the moment of rescue. There is a tiny boat off on the horizon and those in the back of the painting have seen it and those in the front have not. We are looking from the past towards the future . . . through the dead and dying . . . and we see those still in the past with their despair and those in the future with their joy.

Smashing away at the last boss and watching his health fall, but knowing our best DPSer had fallen and that we had one party member who if not for the random polymorphs from the boss should have long fallen to the Arcane bolts and knowing the priest and warlock only had so much mana . . . that moment . . . when we passed from determined to delighted . . . that moment of his death and our life . . . that moment . . . would have meant so much less if the road had not been so rough.

And after the cheers you leave and the instance and it resets. Nothing has really been changed. There are no physical trophies. There is no real persistence. What is virtually gained will be eventually lost either through the someday cancelling of our accounts or the death of the game. What remains are the memories of moments. I can't remember the countless trash mobs we fought through to get to that moment, but I will long remember that moment.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Am Murloc

I stumbled across a rock concert in WoW tonight. This stage was set up right outside SHattrath. The real band's actual music was streaming inside WoW. Folks were rockin' out.

The band playing, L70ETC, will be playing at Blizzcon this week. Their tunes can be seen on YouTube and on the Blizzcon page. Here's a link to my two favorites: I Am Murloc, and Storm, Earth and Fire.

I could watch these over and over. These guys really nail the whole headbanger rock genre in their music, lyrics, and video.

Oh, btw, L70ETC stands for Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftan.

ZOMG, someone captured the "event" live in Shatt. Here's their uploaded vid. What a world we live in.