Thursday, January 31, 2008


I'm taking a break from posting for a few weeks. Too many real life responsibilities to keep things balanced. The software engineers think they have a release candidate ready to hand over to the test team. Then there is the crappy "family reorganization" thing I don't want but have to handle regardless. The other option, I suppose, is to further reduce the amount of time I play games... uh nope.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dancing Queen

My friend's family has a beach house, and we did a "boys' weekend" at the coast. A few facts to put the trip in context: Oregon, January, rain and snow and wind, (very) small town, five guys, beer, rum, more beer. We walked down to the beach and in to town a few times, but hung out at the beach house most of the weekend. Much non-PC social gaming this weekend.

Pool. The beach house is decorated in classic 1970s style. However. The pool table upstairs scored big points. A decade ago I could shoot pool. Not so much anymore. Note to self, brush up on billiards skills.

Dance Dance Revolution. At some point late Friday night someone pulls out DDR for the Xbox. Not my idea... but I'm drunk and happy and what the hell. I felt dorky and self conscious at first... but, you know, after you let go of silly notions like pride and shame the game is fun. It works as a party game. I couldn't imagine playing it by myself or stone cold sober. We danced for 4+ hours. But it's not really dancing. More like stomping in time with beat of the techno music. My body was hurting the next day. I recorded a 30-second video clip on my cell phone. Black mail material. Or insurance that a similar clip on my friend's cell phone won't show up on YouTube.

Chess. Four player cutthroat variation. Five second clock. Playing in the local hippie coffee shop Saturday morning. The teams weren't fair though. Our opponents couldn't remember how all the pieces moved. Or so they claimed. All I can say is L2Play newbs!

Halo. Most of my friends are the twitchy console gamer types. They paid me back for slaughtering them at poker and chess. I tried. I died. Over and over. I'll admit I'm not good at these games, but I'm playing against someone who recently spent 10 hours playing PvP on his day off from work. The same guy who refrains from shooting or throwing grenades to "make it fair." Gee, thanks. Hehe.

Poker. Texas Hold 'Em. We played for beers later Saturday night at the one bar in town. I put the hurt to my friends and won 8 beers. I opted for 4 micros instead of 8 light beers. Not that I have anything against PBR, but I was already drunk and I've learned to listen to that little voice that says slow down.

Dance Dance Mortal Kombat. Sunday morning we had the bright idea of trying the DDR pad with other games. Halo was a no go... but Mortal Kombat 2 worked. You can move the characters and attack by "dancing" on the game pad. The "Finish Him" move looks ridiculous but got us talking about the future of how we interface with games.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Theater Thursday - January 24

Today is a double feature. Funny stuff. Watch them. You will comply. Resistance is futile.

The Grind - Episode 1

The Grind - Episode 2

All I can say is... sky rockets in flight afternoon delight.

P.S. I promise next time I won't just repost something I saw on WOW Insider. Lame. I know. My excuse? Um, jury duty for a few days now. Listening to lawyers drone on and on is melting my fncking brain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Missing You

I pushed the reset button when I returned to World of Warcraft two months ago. A fresh start on a new server, new faction, and new guild. No complaints. A positive experience every time I play. I'm having a great time exploring new zones, new quest hubs, and new lore. The guild is full of friendly, fun, and mature people.

However. I miss the Outlands. There, I said it.

I retired my old main, a level 67 orc hunter. He's on vacation in Blade's Edge Mountains. But I'm considering playing him one night a week, just to get a taste of the Outlands. Why do I feel dirty thinking this?

Here is a thought I had driving home last night. I'm certain it's not an original thought. I can buy a new name from Blizzard for $10. I can buy a new server from Blizzard for $25. I'd happily pay Blizzard for the ability to start a new toon at level 60. I don't mean buying an account or paying someone to level up a toon for me. I just want the option on the character creation screen to start at a higher level than level one.

Some questions though...How would it work? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Perfect Storm

A few weeks ago Stormgaard over at Se7en Samurai was complaining about not having enough time to blog and wanted to cut back. His self-imposed slow down was, of course, short lived. A few days at most. And then what shows up in my Google Reader today? A freaking 35,000 word doctoral dissertation on how to play a holy paladin in World of Warcraft. All I can say is:


I don't play a paladin, but the piece is well written, provides concise details, and gave me some excellent insight into the class. Okay, I just lied... I do play a paladin... but that's my daughter's level 9 toon and a story for another day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Polish This

Polish. The word bothers me. Read Bildo's post about Conan getting delayed again "to polish the game even more." Excuse me for beating a dead horse, but this little rant is timely for me. You see, my work has delayed their main product again and they actually used "polish" as the excuse. Um... right... I'm in software test. I've seen defect log and it ain't pretty.

When a company tells its customers they're postponing a release for "polishing"... that is PR putting a positive spin on a bad situation. When a company tells itself they're postponing release for "polishing" ... that, my friends, is politics.

If I hear the "polish" excuse, I think the product has too many:
  • Broken features... that is, good ol' bugs. Hopefully minor things like typos and not hangs or crashes.
  • Half-finished features. Either the feature was poorly specced to begin with or the software engineer cut corners to finish on time.
  • Poorly designed features. Maybe it sounded good on paper but beta testers found it boring.

I had a point to all this... but lost it. Meh. I'm just bitter they delayed Smash Bros Brawl again.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where's My Warcraft?

Rum? Check.
Coke? Check.
Warcraft? No.

The kids are fast asleep. I have an adult beverage in hand. Thoughts of running a few dungeons buzzing on caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. I pugged Dead Mines the other night and they called me god after multiple demonstrations of my near divine healing skillz. Not to brag (hehe). Wonder how I'd do over the legal limit.

Nope. Blizzavision has gone fubar on me. Hung at authentication. Perfect.

Thinking I need a "plan B game" for times like these. Something to fall back to if WOW is down. Maybe I'll dust off my copy of Rome Total War or try my hand at the boy's Zelda Twilight Princess. Now that should be interesting with good buzz going.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Theater Thursdays - January 17

Just Loot It via WOW Insider.

A modern Aristophanes emerges. The poetry is sublime.
Greed roll when you pass
Oops I mean need
Need need need
Then log with ninja speed

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Goodbye Guinness

Today I buried my Guinness, my dog of almost nine years, beneath a tree bordering a field behind my parents' house. I cannot describe my sadness. He was a great dog and a member of our family. Guinness was sweet, funny, smart, loving, protective, obedient, silly, friendly, and happy. He was a black lab and golden retriever mix and had the best qualities of both breeds. Guinness was a fantastic family pet.

He went so quick. Two days ago my daughter and I took him for a long walk. Last night we played for a long time with one of his new toys from Xmas. Noon today Avril called and said he was too weak to come in from outside. She took him to the vet, and I met them there. He was bleeding internally and badly. A tumor. Even with a blood transfusion and emergency surgery his odds were bleak. We had to make a difficult choice. His head was in my lap as he drifted off. I cried while I dug his grave and covered him over. I miss him already, but I won't forget all the good times we shared.

P.S. I'll tie this post back to gaming by sharing this silly little fact. Whenever I play a game where my character has a pet wolf, I've always named it Guinn. My ranger in pnp D&D, druid in Neverwinter Nights, and hunter in WOW all had pets named Guinn.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Adios Soulcalibur Legends

I'm not a fan of the fighter genre of video games. Too much button mashing for my liking. Except for the excellent Super Smash Bros series. However, I'm a daddy and a gamer. The kids and I bond while playing video games, so that means I play games outside of my comfort zone. For example, Soulcalibur Legends for the Nintendo Wii.

My son and I received the game through our GameFly account. Two days later it's back in the mail. We enjoyed Soulcalibur 2 for the Gamecube. Rather, my son enjoyed it and I tolerated it. Hehe. The Wii version looks about the same but features a cooperative quest mode. Completely unimpressed. This is a next gen game? My advice: save your money and your time.

What I disliked about the game the most were the controls. Okay, it's cool using the Wiimote like a sword... for about ten minutes. This makes me sound like a wimp but the constant, fast, and repetive motions made my arm joints sore. I didn't bother looking through the game's options to see if there were alternate control schemes available. To be honest I'd rather play Super Smash Bros Melee with the kids or watch the boy play Super Mario Galaxy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Where was I one year ago? What was I doing? It's hard to believe that a year has passed since the Burning Crusade was released.

A year ago my raiding guild was eager to start playing the expansion. We had a handful of people that played in the beta. Between their reports in the guild forums and the info we scoured from the intrawebs, the guildies were dying to start running the new instances and working on our Kara keys.

I reserved a copy at Gamestop and made plans to pick it up at midnight. That night I showed up early and stood outside in the cold drizzle with a few hundred others. The install and account upgrade went surprisingly smooth. I was soon in the game, stepping through the portal, and running away from a roaming fel reaver.

The Burning Crusade was the first time I played an MMO on release. I was a little kid again, feeling joy and giddiness like I hadn't felt for so many years. All the recent MMO releases just don't excite me. At least not enough to tolerate the standard new-release-problems-and-issues.

So... I've purposely been ignoring news and info about Warhammer. Anticipation is okay but only in small doses, thank you very much. However. Stupid me. I subscribed to the Warhamma podcast and listened to it on my shiny new iPod on the drive home tonight.

How many more months until WAR's release...?

Thursday, January 3, 2008


OMG. This blog is not a news site. But check out this video... could be video of early design work for the yet-to-be-announced Knights of the Old Republic MMO.


P.S. I feel dirty for fibbing. Forgive me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Auctioneer One Month Later

About one month ago I posted about the Auctioneer addon for World of Warcraft. Today's post is a quick recap on my experience with it.

A little background information. My main character (since resubscribing and going Alliance) is level 37 and has two gathering professions. I have a few other very low level characters. The loot and materials this character collects gets sent to my auction house character parked in Stormwind. His sole purpose is to scan the auction house, create auctions, and flip the occasional underpriced item.

He started with 2 gold and now has 190 gold in his pocket. This doesn't include the 100 or so gold he sent back to the other characters for gear. This is anecdotal evidence of course. Your mileage may vary.

Tobold posted a good article on the limitations of Auctioneer. See here. All valid points. But this is my thoughts on the addon... sure it has its limits and the data you get can be a bit whacky. However. It simplifies the auction house. I spend a fraction of the time posting auctions compared to my pre-Auctioneer days. No more hemming and hawing on the price of heavy leather for example.

My shaman is in STV now, so I have plenty of those Green Hill pages. But Auctioneer had no data on it. Weird. Then I realized it doesn't have any data because the auctions are bought out too fast. Sure enough, my auctions were gone in minutes.

A few more tips for you:
  • Search for underpriced raw materials such as herbs, ores, and leather.
  • Stay away from engineering and enchanting materials. I find them volatile and too much trouble. Cloth is also dicey.
  • Look for level 19, 29, 39, etc. weapons/armor with +stamina and +whatever else is good for the kind of class that would use it such as agility for hunters on leather gear or strength for warriors on chainmail gear or +shadow damage on for priests/warlocks on cloth gear.
  • Remember patience is key. Both in scanning and posting auctions. That is, you may have to sit on an item for days before you can post it for a good price.