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.

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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 Half.com 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 half.com, 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?


The Evolution of the Instruction Manual Theorem

December 18, 2008

I like to think of myself as a smart and creative person, but when it comes right down to it I tend to have a lack of truly original ideas. I am an accountant after all, and in the current economic climate “creative” and “original” accounting tend to be heavily frowned upon (if not outright prosecuted). That said, when an interesting item originates with me, I like to share it.

I like to think about correlations. For example, the amount and variety of alcohol at a company party is directly proportional to how much I want to attend. Alternatively, the presence of my old roommate (who I’m not comfortable making conversation with, but is engaged to my coworker) is inversely proportional to my desire to be there.

During the course of my life I have come up with many brilliant correlative theories that could one day make me famous and wealthy; unfortunately I have forgotten most of them. Of the two that remain, however, one has to do with video games.

I have owned many video games in my life, and for most of them have read at least the majority of the instruction manual, if not the whole thing. From that experience and the subsequent playing of the game, I came up with the theory that the quality of the game is directly proportional to the quality of the manual.

I think this idea may have been a result of me being raised on a steady diet of excellent first-party Nintendo games, as they almost always have excellent instructions and are almost always awesome games. Also, my favorite PC games in my formative gaming years were the Command & Conquer games, and I loved reading about all the different units and buildings in those games. Plus Kane is the man.

Over the years the theory seemed to hold up relatively well. Only recently have I made some slight modifications to it. Obviously MMO booklets are out of date by the time the first patch comes, although I was pretty happy with the books for both WoW and WAR (even though WAR’s book left out several obvious things that I would have covered). So you have to take MMOs out if the equation. Further, I have to come to understand that a poor manual does not necessarily preclude a game from being awesome.

However, there is no game in my recollection that has had an excellent instruction manual but has been a crappy game. So the current incarnation of The Instruction Manual Theorem is thus:

“Any video game with a well-written instruction manual will be an excellent game.”

I just purchased Lost Odyssey, which I have not yet played. I have read some of the manual though, and it is a quality piece of work. I’m looking forward to playing it and putting my theory officially to the test. Let me know how your own experiments go and feel free to prove/disprove me.

P.S. This theory will probably not make me nearly as famous as The Iced Tea Theory, which states the quality of a restaurant is directly proportional to the quality of its iced tea. This theory I have extensively tested – it is solid as bedrock. It may become a law soon.