Archive for the ‘Bored!’ category

Old Heroes are best forgotten.

June 21, 2010

Wall of text alert!
I’ve been a gamer since the late 80’s. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I started with games like The Caverns of Zoarre (an extreme Rogue-like), Monty, Deathtrack, moved on to the Ultima series, the Diablos, etc. I’ve had Spectrums, MSX’s, basically everything but an Atari (They didn’t really take off in South Africa). Many a time I fondly look back at the games I haven’t touched in over 10 years and think of the joy I had playing them, the countless hours bent over that green screen trying to get to the next level, the next upgrade. I sometimes wish that the games of today had the same intense storylines as those text-based adventures, the same action as those Commander Keen games, the same immersion that makes you believe that you’re there, not behind a grimy keyboard.

And then I go do something stupid like downloading and playing my old heroes. Then I find Zoarre to be so much more infuriating than I remember. X-Com to be unforgiving to the pick-up-and-play generation. Ultima (the 3 -7 range) to be impossible to play without resorting to mountains of notes or googling a map and a spellbook walkthrough. Gran Turismo, the game that stunned us with its awesome graphics, realistic driving and stunning tracks, to be no better looking than what the average indie producer does as a side-job. I have a hundred other heroes that have disappointed me but I won’t go through the lot.

The problem is that my memory isn’t what it used to be, and I idolize the old games a bit too much. I look at todays games with the flashy graphics and expect them to have no depth, no proper story, no fun once you look past the pretty lights. A lot of the time I don’t give them enough credit. Another problem is that when I was younger, the choices we had wasn’t too great. We HAD to play whatever we had so we made it enjoyable, we lived into the games. But take Bioshock as an example: not many games of old had that much story behind it, that much choice, action, adventure.

Ok, some games do live up to the test of time – Arcanum is still one of the best RPGs I’ve played, and I still play it from time to time. Those old side-scrollers are still good for a pick up every now and then. Diablo will still be on my shelf to be dusted off every now and again for years to come. Syndicate Wars is still as captivating as ever.

I guess what I’m saying is that I for one shouldn’t live in the past and put today’s games against yesterday’s games. They hold their own memories, memories that should stay just that. Let them be, play today’s games, and if I do decide to relive the past, do so as a 15 year old boy again, not as a gamer with 20 years experience. Don’t expect too much of the old heroes, they’ve been in the retirement home for a long time.

Do you have any retro gems or relived disappointments from your gaming history? Let me know.

Advertisements

Keeping myself busy during the pre-launch slump.

June 10, 2010

I’ve gone as far as deactivating my account. The new dungeon holds no interest for me so I don’t see the need for paying a subscription for a game that I’ll only play again in a few months. This means I’ve had to find alternative distractions since even alting is off-limits to me now.

So what can one do once the shakes from withdrawal settles down? Well I’ve been splitting my time between PC games and my XBox, with the XBox getting a bit more attention than normal.

My XBox lineup:

  • #1: Forza 3: I’ve gone back to this game to get my driver level 50 and R1 WorldChampionship complete. Currently lvl 49 and 3 races into the last championship.
  • #2: Red Dead Redemption: Probably the best non-MMO I’ve played in years. I’m taking my sweet time with it and won’t be rushed to the end before I have all the sub-quests completed.
  • #3: Final Fantasy XIII: Not as fun as the old VI and VII Playstation versions, but still good enough to give a play through. Could have done with less cutscene and more customisation.

My PC lineup: (in no particular order)

  • Runescape: Started this last night. It’s a bit laggy on my slow dsl line, but playable and seems to have a lot of character growth available. I’ll be giving this a fair chance over the next few weeks.
  • Hydorah: Awesome side-scrolling spaceship game done in true 8-bit style with tons of powerups and shields. Great fun. Also have a look at the developer’s other 8-bit adventures. (Edit: site seems to be down at the moment)
  • Flash games: There’s tons of them all over the web but the one that got my attention the most in the last week was Wallace and Gromit’s Sprocket Rocket. Give it a try, it’s worth it. Another is a racing management sim called Formulawan. Originally a french game, they’ve been working hard to convert it and improve on some areas.
  • Torn City: It’s a text-based online RPG where the aim is to commit crimes, mug, steal, etc to get ahead. I’ve been playing this one for almost a year and it’s proven to be addictive and fun, but not a timesink.

There’s a few other distractions, but these are the top ones at the moment. Oh, and a few web-comics that I’ll go over some other time. A special mention should probably go out to Plants vs. Zombies though, always a good fall-back game.

What games do you play when you’re bored with WoW? Comments appreciated.

LOTRO to go free.

June 4, 2010

Ok so I didn’t enjoy LOTRO when I played it when it came out the first time but I heard it got better with the patches. But since I’ve gone extreme-casual on WoW I might give it another spin. Here’s the lowdown from Massively

There’s been a lot of speculation that was largely wishful thinking, but it’s been confirmed this morning: Lord of the Rings Online is going free-to-play.

Yes, you heard that right. LOTRO will introduce Turbine’s innovative new pricing model that allows players to download the game and play for free, purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new LOTRO Store, or join the VIP program to get unlimited access to all of the game’s content for one low price.”

The news gets even better, as the offer is not restricted to Turbine players. The update will launch this fall across North America and Europe — Codemasters will also be adopting the pricing structure.

The beta program for the new free-to-play model will launch June 16th, and anyone interested in participating can sign up on the LotRO site.

Link to source

Good news to the Free-To-Play community but I doubt even this move will dent the WoWmachine’s power.

Hit me baby one more time (or Why be a tank?)

June 3, 2010

Tanks. They’re funny creatures, except of course for druids, who are funny creatures no matter the spec. In my experience most leadership positions were held by a tanking class, followed by a healer, followed by everything else… then a hunter. At the top of this pyramid through the classic ages (And occasionally when Blizzard feels kind enough not to nerf us or buff the bloody palas/DKs/druids/warlock pets) was the warrior.

To be honest, when I started playing WoW I had no idea what the role of the warrior was. I expected to go through life wielding huge axes and hitting stuff till they surrendered or bled to death. Imagine my surprise when I entered RFC for the first time and everyone huddled behind me, prodding me to go forward and keep everything busy while they cowered behind that boulder. In that moment, a new tank was born. I discarded my big 2handed axe, picked up a grey shield and a green sword and never looked back.

So what is it that makes a tank? I’ve seen many players try to tank after playing another class/role for a long time. Some succeed, some gain a level of mediocrity but most just fail. By fail I don’t mean running heroics or tanking a world spawn, I mean raid tanking.

Well, to me a tank has to have a few qualities.:

  • Confidence – A scared tank is a dead tank. A hesitant tank is a dead dps or healer. A tank must have an ego as big as his HP pool but the skills to back them up. No-one likes a cocky tank that can’t keep agro off the healer. This is also probably the reason why good tanks gravitate towards leadership positions in guilds.
  • Maths – Tanking theorycrafting is second only to mage theorycrafting imo. Firstly you have this magic number to attain before you can even start raiding (Defence Cap, soon to be gone but it’s still here so I mention it) and then you have to balance out stamina, armor, damage reduction, dodge rating, block rating, block value, parry, mitigation vs threat, etc etc etc. The permutations are limitless and every tank has his own way of doing things.
  • A Thick Skin – No I don’t mean Barkskin. When you start out you’re going to take flak. Think the healer gets blamed for everything? Wait till you mispull your first pack and cause a wipe.  Just persevere, preferably with a group of friends and a few beers, and hone the skills that will make raidleaders beg for your presence.  Oh, and you must enjoy being hit.. all the time… coz thats like… your job…
  • Gold – Getting the gear you need crafted, gemmed and enchanted, not to mention repaired, is gonna cost you a few small fortunes. Be prepared to having a money-making profession (that also benefits you) or rich guildies to help you out. And because every tiny stat helps so much when you’re a tank, you can’t afford to not get that +30 stam gem.
  • Gear – I hate it but it’s true. Tanks, especially warrior tanks, are gear dependent. You can fake your way into a VoA with some PvP gear and a bunch of blues hiding away as a DPS class, but as a tank it’s not your raidmates that judge your gear, but that big boss you’re trying to impress enough so he’ll keep hitting on you. Bosses care enough about things like whether you’re crit immune or if you have more hp than what he hits for or if you do enough threat to keep the hunter who doesn’t know how to FD alive. Of course Gear needs to be coupled with…
  • Skill – Tanking is like a dance. A complex dance, not a linedance. You can’t just bash two buttons every 3 seconds and expect to come out a winner like some DPS classes in the past. You have to be situationally aware, not just about your own position, but the boss and the spawning creep and your teammates. You have an ability for every situation and you need to know which one works the most effectively in what situation.

Ok, so why this post after my post just two days ago about quitting? Well as a social person, I have many of my WoW contacts on MSN and Facebook and somehow I got conned into tanking ICC again by a guildmate, which got me to thinking about some of the partners I’ve tanked with in the past, good and bad. Anyway, random post that’s stretched on way longer than usual. I’ll add some pretty pics soon. Oh and since I’ve only covered the basics and still have to get to the why, see part 2 soon.

Phoenix down

June 1, 2010

It’s finally happened. After 4 and a half years of being guildmaster I’ve relinquished my lead to one of my officers. I’m now marked as an inactive officer. I’ve tried playing a few times in the last few weeks and every time I just end up moping around on my main and then logging to my rogue for 1-2 dungeons. I do still immensely enjoy the game, the alting and the rogue’s totally overpowered playstyle. I don’t enjoy being guildmaster at the moment. I don’t want the responsibility of looking after 100 guildies. I’m not capable of leading or even attending a raid at this time.

Have I given up on WoW?

No, not by a long shot. I’m excited about Cataclysm and will be standing in that line to get my copy at midnight like I’ve done every expansion. I’m also enjoying my alts but I won’t be speedleveling him to get some raiding done before cata hits. Instead I’ll be taking my time and enjoying the scenery. I’ll divert my blogging attention back to the RP style I experimented with a few weeks ago and that was inspired by Piket.

So to my readers, I apologise for the absolutely crap content of the last few weeks and I’ll try to make up for it soon. I’ll also be opening a new section for my other writing (hint: loosely based on Azeroth’s past) that will hopefully end up in a book one day.

A change is as good as a holiday, or so I hope.

May 13, 2010

It’s finally happened. I’ve grown tired of guild mastering and subsequently WoW. I’ve been GM of my guild for over 4 years and an officer in my brother’s guild for 6 months before that. In other words it’s been ages since I’ve had some ME time in the game.

I’ve handed over full control to my most trusted officers, I’ve told my guild I’d be in the shadows for a while and I’ve set some goals for myself – fun stuff to do to keep me interested. Stuff like:

  • Gear up my hunter to attempt soloing as many old bosses as possible, with my final goal being Ragnaros.
  • Level up my rogue while keeping the RP flavour.
  • Play around and find myself a suitable caster (My priest doesn’t count)
  • Exploring hidden and interesting places in Azeroth before it all goes boom on us.
  • Actually make some gold.

Hopefully my guild will survive the ordeal, made worse considering it’s the start of the summer slump as well as approaching a new expansion. But we’ve been through worse and we’ve survived, so I guess it will be okay. Hopefully I’ll regain my interest in WoW and blogging about WoW and I’ll return to make a triumphant sweep of Ulduar and the likes.

Hopefully…

Molten Core

May 1, 2010


This still gives me goosebumps… nuff said