Back to life, back to reality

January 5, 2009

It’s not everyday I get to slip a Soul II Soul reference in there, right?

At any rate, my holiday vacation is now unfortunately at an end.  And what a 2 weeks it was.  Lots of time with friends and family, including some great gaming experiences.  It’s back to real life for me – time to get back in the groove of the job and to try and get over my impending WAR withdrawal.  Over the past couple weeks, I’ve made a significant amount of progress on my Archmage main (now at level 35.5) as well as my Bright Wizard alt (lvl 13).  Lots of surprisingly good T4 questing along with a decent amount of ORvR.  As I mentioned earlier, I picked up my first warded gear (3 parts of the Annihilator set), and once I hit level 36/RR33 I’ll be able to actually wear it.  I also managed to get two real-life friends hooked on WAR, which has only deepened my enjoyment and fed my desire to play.

Along with a pretty absurd amount of WAR time, I got to dive in to Left 4 Dead and blast some zombies, which was incredibly fun.  It’s definitely a nice change of pace coming from an MMO to a frantic co-op shooter.  I also did a bit of Red Alert 3 online, but I think I’m to the point now where I’m just getting owned all the time and it’s not fun anymore.  I’ll probably give that one a rest until I can recruit some friends to join me to finish the campaign.  Rock Band 2 was a hit with the family, as usual, and my wife found out she’s a pretty good drummer.  And I saw just the tip of the iceberg on what promises to be a nice little JRPG in Lost Odyssey – I just hope I can give it the time it appears to deserve.

All in all, it was one of the more relaxing vacations I’ve had in years.  Although my pace in WAR will undoubtedly slow down now that I’m back at work, I’ve gotten a good chunk of the 30’s out of the way.  I think I’ll be able to relax through the last 4 levels without putting too much pressure on myself (especially if they keep that XP bonus – HINT).  I’m going to try and spread my gaming time between a variety of games, with WAR always being at the forefront.  I can honestly say I’m having a great time with Warhammer right now, and I think the future looks very bright as I march on to 40.


Happy New Year!/Rock Band is a wondrous invention

January 1, 2009

I sit at my computer, two hours into 2009.  My wife and I continued our boycott of New Year’s festivities this year and instead decided to go to an early movie, grab dinner, then hang out at home.  Hanging out turned into a Rock Band duo play session, or “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, as Dick Clark might call it.

That’s not all that notable unless you know my wife, who barely tolerates my gaming habit and will generally not go near a video game.  But she loves Rock Band.  As I sit here, I hear her banging away on the drums in the next room to Nirvana’s “Drain You”, a song I can’t imagine she’s a fan of.  This is why Rock Band and games like it are so great.  We have wiled away many an hour with her on drums or singing and me  doing a variety of rock functions.   It’s a bonding experience between us over what is essentially my hobby.  It’s especially funny considering how pissed she was last year when I told her I had bought a set of plastic drums that was going int he basement!

Speaking of pissed, after I failed “Joker and the Thief” for about the 5th time, we came up with a New Year’s resolution for me – stop getting so upset at video games.  Seriously, it’s dumb, but I do it all the time.  So that’s my project for next year this year.

So here’s wishing you and yours the best in the new year, and keep reading my blog if you’re so inclined.  I’m going to try to keep a relatively consistent update schedule with a variety of content.  I appreciate any and all feedback.

Back and (possibly) better than ever

December 30, 2008

I realize I haven’t been posting too much lately, which was mainly due to the Christmas holiday.  Well folks, that is all about to change, as I am back and better than ever – and ready to provide you with plenty of unsupported opinions and pseudo-news.

Despite my absence from this space, and from my home in general for a three-day span, I have been doing a decent amount of gaming over the past week or so.  I’ll use this post as a quick update and get into more depth later on the specific topics.  Here’s what I’ve been playing lately:

Warhammer Online

I’ve been playing both my main and my alt, though I am starting to focus in again on my main the Archmage for my grind through the 30’s.  I will reach my original goal of 34 shortly, so my new goal for the Christmas holiday is to hit 35.  It is slow going though.  That said, I’ve had some EPIC open-RvR advancements lately that I am looking forward to sharing with you in my next post.

Lost Odyssey

I picked up this little Japanese RPG off for around $20 in order to play it over break.  Unfortunately with the re-emergence of WAR for me lately, it hasn’t gotten the attention it apparently deserves.  I’ve put about 5 hours into it thus far and have been really impressed.  The combat is nice, the enemies are creative and varied, and the story is quite interesting thus far, even if the main character is a little bit unlikable.  I look forward to putting more time in with this over the next week and into the future.

Red Alert 3

When I’ve got just an hour or so to play games, I tend to fire up Red Alert 3 for some quick online strategy.  With the latest influx of Christmas players, the competition has gotten closer to my level, and my record is leveling off as I climb closer to the .500 mark in 1v1 matches.  My faction of choice is the Soviets, at least for now.  Yes, I know they’re probably the most vanilla and boring of all the factions, but I seem to have the most success with them so far.  Although I haven’t learned the Rising Sun faction yet, so once I get around to that I may change my mind.  Also, my buddy and I haven’t continued the campaign mode yet, partly because of leveling in WAR, but mostly because of…

Left 4 Dead

I’ve only had one extended play session with this game, and it was only with one other person, but it was great.  Me and my buddy ran through the No Mercy scenario on Easy, and have plans with another guy to do some extended co-op gaming on harder levels and different scenarios in the very near future.  This game is undoubtedly going to be taking up a lot of my gaming time over the next couple months.  And I must say, it looks great on my computer, which although recently upgraded is far from top of the line.  Kudos to Valve for yet another quality offering (what else would we expect?).  I can’t wait to get deeper into this one.

Gearing up for the holiday gaming season

December 19, 2008

Well, it’s that time of year again – the holiday season is upon us. Along with the normal joys of the season, I am blessed to have a job that affords me a lot of vacation. Accordingly, today will be the last day I work in 2008 (WOOT!).

In the absence of work, I plan on playing an absurd amount of games. As much as the wife aggro will allow at least. I thought I’d put together a list of my gaming goals/planned fun for the next couple weeks.

1. In WAR, level my archmage to at least 34. As I just hit 32 and fully plan on leveling a couple more alts with friends, I think this is a reasonable goal. Sieging a couple keeps and seeing another fortress would be nice as well.

2. Purchase Left 4 Dead on the PC and mow through the zombie menace.

3. Purchase or rent Gears of War 2 and play through the co-op campaign.

4. Play a game of NBA 2k9 with my brother without spewing a stream of profanity.

5. Not playing any Call of Duty 4. No amount of good intentions will stop my profanity while playing that accursed game.

6. Finish the Red Alert 3 campaign with my buddy, and dominate an unsuspecting online opponent in a 1v1v1 game that is in reality 2v1.

7. I recently bought Lost Odyssey for cheap off, so I want to sink a few hours into that to see if I want to invest more time in that.

I think those are attainable goals to mix in with all the sleeping, eating, and not-working I’ll be doing over the next two weeks. Undoubtedly some of them won’t get finished, but that’s what goals are for. What goals do you guys have for the holiday break?

Tonight was not fun

December 15, 2008

Those weren’t my words exactly.  More specifically, “Tonight was one of the least fun nights of game playing that I have had in a long time.”.  That’s what I told my brother tonight after we followed up a game of NBA 2k9 with several rounds of Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox 360.

I love my brother, and I miss being able to play games with him in person, so it’s nice to have Xbox Live around to still allow us to play games from 120 miles away.  Unfortunately playing Call of Duty brings out the worst in me.  Why you ask?  Well, I get frustrated easily.  Especially when I spawn and die within less than 5 seconds.  Think how frustrating that would be.  Then repeat it thirty or forty times in the next 10 minutes.  That’s what my COD4 experience was like tonight.  Why, oh why, did they put the planes and the helicopters in the game?  I’ve never understood why the team who is leading gets a bonus in the form of superweapons that come onscreen and mop the floor with the already underpowered opposition.  If the Bulls are beating the Lakers by 20, do their field goals suddenly count for 4 points instead of 2?  It just does not make sense to me.  The other problem with COD4 is that almost everybody online now has been playing for over a year and are utter badasses.  They looked like they were playing with us out there.  Luckily we were in party chat so we didn’t have to deal with the annoying laughter of 13 year-olds, which was nice.

The problem with me getting frustrated is it stresses me out and makes me start cussing like a sailor.  I like to reign in the mouthiness around my brother because he’s got a young son, and I know he tries to watch what he says around him, which equates to pretty much doing it all the time.  I’m thinking of starting a policy of $1 per word, given straight to my brother as an incentive program for me to stop.  Maybe we’ll start a college fund for his son.  At this rate, he’ll be going to Harvard.  It would probably be better for all involved if I would never play Call of Duty 4 again.  I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.  Unfortunately, it’s the main game he plays.  I need to get him something else.

The other game we played was NBA 2k9, which I’m not quite as bad at, but still get frustrated with because he’s pretty solidly better than I am.  I never play that game unless I’m playing him or someone else in our “league”.  The quotes are because we’ve each played about two games worth in over a month.  Not that it’s not fun, it’s just not fun when you’re losing by thirty.  It’s actually a pretty good  game, and it’s realistic as well as far as I can tell.  I used to follow the NBA, but can’t name any players now except some of the stars, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage.  I had hoped getting this game would encourage me to watch some more highlights and get back into following basketball.  It hasn’t.  WAR may be partly to blame for that.  Very fun though – I would recommend it for people that know who they’ll be playing with/against.  The game seems to reward those who know what they’re doing.  Which is probably why I lose pretty consistently.

So all in all, very frustrating night.  Especially the Call of Duty 4 section, which was unfortunately the longer of the two.  I need to get rid of that game.  And I wonder why most of my time is dedicated to WAR.